Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Francis Bellamy. Christian Socialism; a philosophical balance underlying the Pledge of Allegiance

What is socialism, that so many fear it so much.
The Author of the Pledge of Allegiance was "Christian Socialist" -
What did that mean? What does "socialism" mean today; 
How did a concept with such a range of ideas become vilified.

Christian Socialism includes a Responsive Capitalism;
Fiduciary Capitalism.  A mutuality in culture.

In 1892, this Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.  He was a Christian Socialist, a concept that combines social justice and responsibility with a religious Founder's teachings to do that:  an idea that has brewed some hate sites with agendas to keep people from feeling safe if they look further into it, see ://rexcurry.net/pledgetragedy.html/ Do the old words of political difference carry informative meaning any more. Could perhaps be interested in a little political test? Who, for example,  is a neoliberal, a sectary. What was Francis Bellamy?  Who is what except by the imposed labels of others dismissing them. See ://knol.google.com/k/artur-landerzon-barrera-garcia/could-perhaps-be-interested-in-a/ahpk7a5l7a4r/93#

What did Christian Socialism mean at the time. As with any other movement, there were extremes and a middle. Other sites address Bellamy's life and the history of the Pledge, see for example ://oldtimeislands.org/pledge/pledge.htm/.  Francis Bellamy's cousin, Edward Bellamy, was also socialist, but focused more on utopian ideals, with "political, social and economic equality for all", see site.  Francis Bellamy left out "equality" in the pledge for practical reasons:  there was strong opposition to equality for women and blacks.  Apparently he had to leave his church because of his socialist leanings in seeking equality.

In retirement, Francis Bellamy left the church entirely because of its racism.

Was Bellamy a Marxist.  No.

Christian Socialism embraces a range of ideas, within a general concept that unbridled capitalism leads to exploitation of workers for the sake of owner profits.  A Christian should extend a hand to help, seek a balance as the religious Christianity of the time advocated in book and liturgy. Francis Bellamy the minister said, in a sense, don't just talk it; do it. A person's station in life is a combination of context and character; neither all context, so that industrialism is 100% villain; and not all character, so that if someone is poor, that person deserves it.

Did Francis Bellamy advocate pooling of assets, common ownership as a prerequisite to being a Christian Socialist. We do not find that.  His idea of Christian sharing, like a fiduciary obligation to the less fortunate, fell short of compulsory joining communes.  for him, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address call for government of the people, by the people, for the people, includes concern for the sustenance and opportunity for all idea.  But lose all you have?  NO.  You are not required, in order to be socially responsible, to sell all you have and give it away.  Is that so?  Experts, researchers, line up. We are interested. How were mindsets so changed. Were there active agendas to paint midground people as extreme, media and talking head blitzes, see Wars for the Mind. Technologies for Control.

Start here in vetting whether Francis and even Edward Bellamy were in the center of ideas, a balancing. Or at an extreme, an individual's condition in life is because of this or that, but not a blend.

We see a mid-position -- Christian Socialism as a midground.  What dictates a person's economic position.  Christian Socialism, Francis Bellamy's perspective, would say that economic position results not just from aspects of an individual's character (assuming the person is responsible for his or her character solely).  Economic position is also a result of context (assuming that context comes from outside.

Economic imbalance: vast income and opportunity disparities, that resulting in an extreme of deprivation for some, and an extreme of excess for others, has nuanced origins according to Christian Socialism.  It is a balance, a combination of factors.

19th Century Christian Socialism. 

And sin.  Read carefully this fair use quotation about how in the 19th Century  "sins" of the people were reflected in their economic condition.  Marx said no -- economic condition results from the economic, politicsl, social environment.  Frances and Edward Bellamy took the midground.   Both were important.  This from American Socialists and Reformers, Ch.3, by John Baer, 2007: http://www.oldtimeislands.org/pledge/pdgech3.htm

The orthodox Christianity of the 18th and 19th century often placed the entire responsibility for the sad condition of humanity on the sins of individuals. Marxist theories in the 19th century assumed that individual defects of character were chiefly the result of a faulty economic, political, and social environment. Edward and Francis Bellamy took the intermediate position that both personal character traits and economic, political and social organizations were responsible for many of the miseries of mankind.  (Emphasis supplied)
This balance reflects the moderates' position in current political ranges as well:

1) totalitarian ideologies at either end press for one set of factors justifying themselves; and
2) a mid-ground is willing to see elements at work, of many factors.

Thus, the hate sites for those who disagree with the ideology du jour, is that so?  Someone research the hate sites, the hate speech.  What is at work?  Why should dear Francis Bellamy get vilified?

Feudalism Redux.  A reversion to feudalism? Set roles? Restrictions? Feudalism:  Areas with a Lord, the  peasant, the Clergy, and the Military? Save us. Look up Feudalism at ://www.lectlaw.com/def/f024.htm/.

1.  Christian Socialism description.

The most accurate description of the context of Christian Socialism, we think, is this:

That the Christian Socialist movement arose because of the "clash between Christian ideals and the effects of competitive businesss."  See ://www.questia.com/library/economics-and-business/economics/economic-systems/christian-socialism.jsp

Who could argue with that?

Christian ideals, vs.  what happens in competitive business.

An obvious disconnect. How to care for your neighbor, when your main objective in life is to make money off him. Privatize public utilities, for example.  Will that end up enriching owners and shareholders, or serving the needs of less-clouted communities. From those who have, more will be required, two coats when one are asked for, etc. The traditional Sunday Morning meets bankroll-addiction.  My Fair Shady: Privatizer Alert

Is that older definition still operative.   It appears to be.  There is a website, see ://christiansocialistpartyusa.org/.  Christian Socialism appears to espouse sustenance for all, healing, helping the poor and incarcerated.  But watch the wrathed ones:  There has been pressure on Wikipedia to remove the page from its tome, and so it did, says the site, and the Christian Socialist site asks people please to see what it really does and reinstate it on the Wikipedia place.  This identifies clearly as a Christian site.

2. History of the Christian Socialist movement; positions.

The movement started in England in 1848, says ://www.jstor.org/pss/2762617, in Christian Socialism in America. The date is 1909 for the article.   It meant a "philanthropic attitude, toward the poor, the oppressed."

Most Christian socialists preach an ethical point of view rather than a political program:  improvement of conditions, but not a "socialist" political-revolt-takeover of means of production in the Marxian sense. In Germany, the movement was started by Protestants, and there JSTOR stops unless you pay.  That site gives the start date of 1848, after a failure of something called Chartism.

So:  There were two basic lines of thought:
  • One Marxist, and secular;  with violence
  • The other cooperative, guided by thinkers who sought common ground between producers and laborers, thinkers like (this list from ://www.questia.com/library/economics-and-business/economics/economic-systems/christian-socialism.jsp) Ludlow, Maurice, Kingsley, Carlyle, Southey, Coleridge -- have to look them all up.

Christian Socialism in Europe meant "a party or trade union directed by religious leaders in contrast to socialist unions and parties."  See ://www.questia.com/library/economics-and-business/economics/economic-systems/christian-socialism.jsp/

But the thrust of the Christian Socialists was not revolution, overturning who owned what. They sought to "encourage the labouring masses and the church to cooperate against capitalism."  Nothing "Nazi" there.  See the definition:  the disconnect between Christian ethics and the marketplace."  Cooperate against the abuses because a Christian would have to do that.  The issue is still with us.  What does capitalism need to do to become more "Christian" and can capitalism do that and still be capitalism, they might ask.

"Responsive capitalism" may be an answer -- work on that. Even fiduciary capitalism. Would that be consistent with people's traditional religious values, Christian but still making appropriate money.

Those earlier religious-cooperating people addressed the disconnect by helping working people form associations, go to college.  That succeeded, to a degree -- we do have unions, education more broadly based. Now watch them go: My Fair Shady: Privatizer Alertl

The religious-commerce thinkers failed, however,  in trying to get the producers, the capitalists, to cooperate, and that also is still with us.  See the Questia site.

2.  So:  How to be both a clergyman and a socialist.

They are only inconsistent in a current climate where anything "socialist" must be bad, and even subversive.

Can't be both, say some. Pick sides. Either you're socialist, thinking of the Marxist overthrow idea, or you're capitalist, the good guys.  They miss the point that socialism embraces a broad range of people concerned with laborers and conditions:  from the religious cooperatives to the Marxists.

To label all 'socialist' ideas as though they were the Marxian extreme is bad propaganda, but it works. Religious cooperation Socialism is not the Marxist extremist overthrow idea.  Like anything else, there are extremists who get all the attention from those who want to prevent people from thinking. 

3.  Options. 

With the publicity against anything socialist, and mis-associating socialists with Marxists, some say the choice has to be for the producers, the capitalists; and against the workers. Look at the placards at rallies.  People virtually spit out "socialist" as the worst pejorative in the world.  Yet many of those people may be Christian. Christian Socialist, even, if they were allowed to find out what it meant.

Why?  Some need to have absolutes.  Some panic at the idea that capitalism may not be wonderful after all, for all; or they need to side with capitalism because that is their bread and butter, regardless of its effect on other humana.  Manipulate others into panicking.  What?  Challenge competitive business?  Up go the crossed index fingers against the evil.  Is it true that they have garnered support with emotional talk, not history and fact, so that Tea Parties accuse people of "socialism" as though it were some drooling vampire.  Talk about propaganda. This is over the top.

See this modern, even Nazi view of socialism as this site relates it back to 1892 and the clash of Christian ideals and the effects of competitive business (to feat that is absurd) see ://rexcurry.net/pledgetragedy.html/  This person has a large ax to grind, and it is difficult to even read the site seriously.  It is all agenda, all unilateral conclusion, no objective discussion. Keep looking.

4.  History does not support that extremist view of all socialism.

Just as history does not support the extremist fundamentalist view of Christianinty as all "Christianity."  Go back to history again to see how far off base extremist views are, how manipulative. Like it or not, there is a reasonable range of belief within categories. Is that so?

There are other sites,  a blog that addresses issues of libertarianism and socialism and capitalism - and inconsistencies among them as the theories are followed through.  The main point seems valid, however:


Francis Bellamy, you have been maligned, as have other Christian Socialists.

People who knee-jerk against the word socialism have been carefully taught.  Is there an insidious form of propaganda going on here, keeping you from vetting what you are told.  Check the motives of the teacher.  When the Roots of Belief are Propaganda. What then?

Wikipedia now has a site back up for Christian Socialists as an alternate track to the Marxists, but it is wrong wrong wrong.

Who has energy to fix it.

Wikipedia says that a fundamental tenet of socialism is "community of goods."  That is only the Marxist view, not the Christian Socialists who seek only balance and responsibility, not an upset.

Who got at Wikipedia?  If Wikipedia hides the true range of socialism, it is complicit in propaganda that says social responsibility means community of goods.  Iis that so, Wikipedia?
  • The term "socialism" as in Christian Socialism is on one track, seeking cooperation between producers and workers so that Christian precepts can coexist with capitalism; 
  • and then there is another track, the Marx track of overthrow and revolution and forced "equality".  
Some would and do throw Marx around as though there is but one approach - revolution --  to looking out for workers, ascribing some responsibility to producers for how they produce, and the human cost.  That kind of propaganda is more a danger to our democratic society than any idea of reaching out to workers, a self-interest rightly understood idea for the producers.

Some people, even Tea Party people, may be interested to know that a fully American approach to reconciling the ethics of Christianity with workers' conditions in capitalism may result in a responsive capitalism.  That idea might satisfy Clergy and Producers alike. But not those drooly-joker-vampire websites.

But an American approach, with duties to all the people,  cannot include control by corporations.  Commercial corporations are legal entities whose obligation is to the bottom line. The shareholders.  Not you, the consumer, the people. That would take a change of the corporate charter, to become a fiduciary.  America already is a fiduciary nation.

Who woulda thunk it?

See  An Act to Incorporate the United States as a National Fiduciary Corporation, Not Commercial. No common good. Keep the people away from realizing that their corporate handlers in secret, the ones who trump up the buses, are not acting in their interest at all.  By law, they can't.  They serve the shareholders, not you.  Go, Francis Bellamy.  Come back,

They have to force their own way, is that so? And it also works. People follow noise.

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