13) Reformation’s Restoration

11-3The difference between Humanism Renaissance and Bible Reformation is encapsulated in the terms “elite” for Humanists, and its antonyms for for Bible believers:

Humanists don’t want equality, they want to be at the top of a social pyramid.

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Of course they reject any higher authority than themselves, especially any authority that requires sharing wealth.Don’t imagine that living in a democracy keeps Americans safe from exploitation by an elite group of the world’s most gifted secular-humanist leaders.

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The top 1% of U.S. earners now hold more wealth than all of the entire middle class.

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As of 2021, the nation’s middle class, defined as the middle 60% of the population, accounting for 77.5 million families, altogether holds less wealth than the top 1% of the population. Their share in three main categories of assets — real estate, equities and private businesses — slumped in one generation. That made their lives more precarious, with fewer financial reserves to fall back on when they lose their jobs…

The concentration of wealth in the hands of a fraction of the population is at the core of some of the country’s major political battles…

Financially squeezed workers helped drive support for former President Donald Trump and the populist turn in the Republican party.

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The status of the middle class in America has fallen to that of supporting the rise of the elite class.

And then there was COVID.

We’re Living Through the Greatest Transfer of Wealth From the Middle Class to the Elites in History

When historians look back on the decisions made beginning in March 2020 and still going strong, this period will be remembered as the “Great Consolidation”—the acceleration of a historic wealth transfer and power concentration out of the hands of the middle class and into those with political power and connections.

The “connected” form a powerful bloc comprised of big government, big business and big special interests. And though their monikers label them “big,” they are comprised of relatively small elites. And they are seeking to use their power to benefit themselves at your expense.

Prior to COVID, more than 30 million small businesses accounted for about half the GDP and jobs in America; the other half of the economy was concentrated in 20,000 big companies. So you might have expected that small businesses would have had an equal amount of negotiating power when the pandemic hit as big companies. You would be wrong…

big firms were deemed “essential” and allowed to stay open during the pandemic, while small businesses were subjected to punishing lockdown orders and forced to close, in part or completely. Many of the examples were doubly infuriating given the absurd hypocrisies they presented. For example, big box pet retailers like PetSmart that groomedpet hair and nails were deemed essential—while salons owned by small business owners that served humans were not. The LA-area Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill was forced to close their outdoor dining—while a movie production not only operated but hosted a catering tent serving food to crew in the same parking lot that the restaurant had been forced to abandon…

And the results of this are fairly easy to follow…

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses were murdered in just a few short months—by government edict—while seven tech companies gained $3.4 trillion in market value. If you were able to access capital—which is code for already being big or wealthy, even if you weren’t in some cases financially sound—it was plentiful and, for debt capital, available at historically low interest rates. 2020 became a record year for IPOs and for other capital-raising vehicles like special purpose acquisition companies…

The one-two punch of government fiscal and Fed monetary policy continued to destroy the fabric of the economy for the average American. It dislocated the labor markets and the supply chain and it has ultimately led to inflation, which is making the basic cost of living much more expensive for Americans all across the country.

In short, while your dollars today purchase fewer goods and services and your lives are more expensive and disrupted, those who are well-connected and asset-rich benefitted from outsized wealth increases driven by government policy…

It is harder and riskier to start and own a business. It is more challenging to save money, and…more risk to earn what would normally be considered an appropriate return.

What does that have to do with the Protestant Reformation?

The Protestant Reformation is a vivid example of how religious transformation could set in motion institutional changes, leading to profound consequences for economic and political development. Max Weber was the first to identify the significant role that the Reformation played in socio-economic developmen of Western Europe…

Notice how none of these elements were present in the French Revolution.

Economists have long recognized that monopolies are more likely to engage in unproductive and often illegal activities, resulting in economic losses…eight of the ten most corrupt countries are also among the countries with the highest governmental restrictions on religious liberty…Second, religious freedom reduces conflict within a society, encouraging tolerance and respect for different beliefs…with the decrease in social hostilities. Third, religious freedom promotes the protection of civil and human rights, such as freedom of speech, press and assembly (Grim and Finke, 2011). These rights are essential for the exchange of ideas – a very important component of an innovative economy…

Why was education important for Protestants? Martin Luther wanted all Christians to read the Bible. One of the five foundational solae of the Protestant Reformation was Sola Scripture (Latin: “Scripture alone”) – the teaching that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. However, for Christians to be able to read the Bible, it was necessary to increase their literacy rate…

The higher educational attainments by Protestants also had significant positive spillovers…First, education increases labor productivity…[and] fosters technological innovation and new knowledge creation…

more educated individuals make better decisions about health, marriage, and parenting…Education also affects individual preferences, making people more patient, more goal-oriented, and less likely to engage in risky behavior. All of these behaviors could be linked with better economic outcomes…

For Protestants, beginning with Martin Luther, diligent work was seen as a response to the grace of God, as well as a God given duty which benefits both the individual and society as a whole…

Protestant entrepreneurs are more likely to have a view that their duty is to add value to society through their work and that “their work is a calling from God…”

Protestants have higher levels of trust and are less willing to break the law… they are also more likely to honestly report misbehaviors of others…countries that were significantly influenced by Protestant missionaries have a significantly lower level of corruption…Yuyu Chen and co-authors (2014) attribute part of China’s recent economic success to disseminations of Protestant social values by western missionaries…

In civil society, citizens voluntarily organize activities and services for themselves and other people. A good example of a country with a strong civil society is the United State of America…the United States is the most charitable country in the world, with Americans donating approximately 2 percent of gross domestic product.

The main principles of the American civil society were laid out in the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1789 Constitution of the United States of America…out of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants…

“in every society” there is strong evidence that “Protestant groups are more active than other religious groups in forming and supporting non-profit organizations…”Protestant missionaries played an important role in fostering the growth of organizational civil society…tried to reform what they viewed as abuses in other societies…

greater civil engagement leads to closer monitoring of the government…and lower corruption… therefore, civil society has been linked to economic growth..

Politics was one area where the Reformation had an immediate and obvious impact…Where the Reformation took hold, the ruling elite evicted the Catholic Church from power, thus fundamentally altering the governance system of Europe…when the ruling religious elite lost its power during the Reformation, the role of democratic parliaments has increased…Robert Woodberry (2012) highlighted the role Protestant missionaries played in influencing the rise and spread of stable democracy around the world…

the Protestant Reformation made a “revolution” in legal thinking and institutions…Protestant legal innovations, such as protecting private property rights and contracts, were most effective in the economic sphere.

The Reformation’s emphasis on family as an integral unit of a stable society and marriage as a permanent relationship between a man and a woman is in stark contrast to Renaissance women who were treated as sexual objects to be used then discarded or marital means of improving a man’s social and/or political alliances.

The Protestant attitude toward sexuality rested upon a larger system of beliefs about the family. Just as reformation ideas emphasized the importance of the individual, so too did Protestantism encourage a heightened sense of the family as a discrete unit…the nuclear family that emerged in this period stood as an independent entity, a “little commonwealth” ruled by its own patriarch, and mirroring the political unit of the state…Once wed, husbands and wives were encouraged to learn to love each other, a significant departure from an older ideal of extramarital and unrequited courtly love…” (D’Emilio and Freedman, 4)

To Luther, virginity or abstinence from sex were abnormal conditions which could be overcome by marriage, which was just as necessary to men as eating and drinking. Even though separation without remarriage was the only form of divorce that Christ had specifically sanctioned, Luther chose to accept this as advisory rather than mandatory. He believed that adultery on the part of either partner automatically dissolved a marriage, and that if a woman refused conjugal rights to her husband or one partner prevented another from leading a pure life, divorce was the only practical alternative…

women could also be indispensable companions and helpmates (Tannahill, 327-328)…

The Reformation woman’s role and protected status in a family is inextricably bound up with female’s unique capacity to engage in the reproduction essential to maintaining a society and even human life itself.

Renaissance Humanism’s push for gender equality and women’s rights in the workforce take away the physical and financial prerogatives of women who spend their most productive years on health-demanding pregnancy, child rearing, and domestic support of a husband’s pursuit of income for the entire family.

An Unequal Division of Labor (2018)

Most working mothers return home to a second shift of unpaid housework and caregiving after their official workday ends. When paid work, household labor, and child care are combined, working mothers spend more time working than fathers…

the assumptions and biases of the traditional sociological approaches to reproduction and women’s roles…are contrasted with the feminist perspective, an approach which is rapidly gaining in popularity…The four themes to be examined here are: reproductive control, childbearing as work, the changing traditional family and the advent of technological reproduction…these serve as good illustrations of the complex issues involved in the…wide-sweeping changes which are occurring in…roles of women.

We can track what a lack of a husband’s financial and sexual protection meant for Renaissance women who weren’t attractive, which meant every woman who aged out, or were socially undesirable, based on current statistics in our own Humanistic society.

Humanism’s gender equality harms not only a woman’s financial status, but as noted in the fundamentally sex-obsessed Renaissance societies, a woman’s sexual safety.

A system of gender self-identification would put women at risk

The Economist, published 2018

Kristina Harrison works for [Britain’s] National Health Service. She is a political campaigner and a post-operative transsexual (someone who has surgery and hormone treatment to be treated as if a member of the opposite sex). She argues that moving away from a diagnostic system of legal gender recognition to one of self-declaration would fail some vulnerable youngsters, undermine women’s sex-based protections and harm trans people themselves…

The label “transgender”, and the terms “trans man” and “trans woman”, are more nebulous terms for any biologically female person who identifies as a man, and any male who identifies as a woman. This is a much broader category: an umbrella term including, as well as transsexuals, males who identify as women but wish to retain their male bodies, people who are “gender fluid” (identifying as women some days and men other days), and people who would previously have been known as cross-dressing men…

Perhaps you can begin to understand the concerns of many women when it is increasingly being asserted in practice, if not fully in law, that simply identifying as a woman means being able to access women’s and girls’ private, formerly single-sex, spaces—toilets, rape-crisis centres and so on…

changes, after thousands of years of sex-based definitions, are happening with a minimum of political scrutiny. Public debate about them is deliberately impeded by a toxic and authoritarian atmosphere in which serious, repeated attempts have been made to silence and sideline dissenting voices, particularly those of women. This is despite huge implications for women and transsexuals, as well as for democratic politics and everyday cultural pressures.

The allegation of transphobia is…now used for anyone who dares dissent from the claims of this ideology or who supports sex-based rights. Being labelled transphobic can lead to harassment, and harm one’s reputation and career. That fear greatly affects people’s willingness to speak out. It is surely no coincidence that not a single female MP, and only one male MP that I’m aware of, have publicly questioned any aspect of these controversial proposals. This is not healthy for democracy…

the Equality Act of 2010…recognises that women as a sex are a disadvantaged, vulnerable group, and upholds their right to single-sex spaces and services. Domestic-violence shelters, for example, are places where women and their children can find refuge after attacks, almost always carried out by males…the presence of people who are born male, however they later identify, would set back or even prevent their recovery.

Many women who work with some of the most vulnerable women and girls in our society also fear that predatory men, who often go to great lengths to gain access to vulnerable women, would abuse the notion of gender self-identity…In other words, biological males can look, sound and act exactly like average males, but are trans women if they say they are. What could be more helpful for a predatory man who seeks to masquerade as a trans woman? In fact, such an abuse has already happened. In 2012 Christopher Hambrook assaulted women in two homeless shelters in Toronto, gaining access by falsely claiming he was a trans woman. State law had changed earlier that year to recognise self-declared gender identity…

Gender self-identification goes far beyond respecting people’s right to believe what they want; to dress or act or express their identity as they want…This is a political and social demand that affects everybody, but in particular women…

I would draw an analogy with religious identities. In liberal democracies, people can believe in God and a holy text, dress and worship as they wish, and be protected by law from discrimination. But they cannot insist the rest of us adhere to those beliefs, or turn their holy texts into laws that we must obey.

Gender self-identification…affects the right of women to define themselves…fundamentally, women are members of a sex with shared biology and socialisation. Biological sex is real and is the very foundation of our species.

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