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Political Philosophies & the Gospel

The following is an account of a parable that I thought of recently.

The Hospital, the Patients and the Nurses

There is a hospital with sickly and dying patients. There are nurses running around and caring for the patients, in every way they can, as best as they can. The prognosis of death is certain -- the patients know it and so do the nurses. However, the nurses are animated and intense and intentional in their activity. For they have heard a rumor -- that a doctor who has the cure is on his way. And, when he arrives, all will be well with the patients....and, with themselves as well?!?! For, on closer inspection, one learns that the nurses were themselves patients in this hospital. They still carry with them the marks of the same wasting disease. However, at some point, they believed in the rumor and in the hope it afforded, they found sufficient energy to get up, join the nurses and continue the work of caring for the patients and telling them of the rumor. They spend their days caring for each other as well, in every way they can, as best as they can. And, they continue encouraging hope in one another with the rumor.

Of course, the mortuary is full of dead bodies -- of patients and nurses who have died. But, the living nurses seem not be discouraged. For the whole of the rumor they believe is actually quite fantastical. And, every generation of nurses has passed this down until the present time. The rumor has it that this doctor can bring the dead back to life!!!

Among the patients, there are many who try many different potions and concoctions -- medicines of their own or others' making -- medicines of unnatural origin, magical "potions" made from sewage or waste water, that promise something for nothing. However, every medicine they try only seems to exacerbate the disease. Many of these medicines have strange effects. One of them, in particular, is worth noting. It makes the drinkers get up and go to the maker of the potion and ask him or her to force as many patients as possible to band together and help care for one or two patients. They hand over control of their own lives to the potion maker patient and present him or her with weapons of coercion to enact the plan!

There are some who do not try any unnatural medicine. Instead, they engage with other patients and nurses and try to bring value to the others, by doing tasks for others that they can do well in exchange for favors or tasks that they themselves cannot do or cannot do as well. Some clean the floors, some cook, some wash dishes, some read to others, etc. Overall, they create an economy of mutual value creation in the hospital. In keeping themselves busy in this manner and making the hospital a better place, they find meaning and happiness. Some of them are happy to an extent where they no longer constantly feel the ill-effects of their ailments.

However, at the end, all must die. The productive patients in the latter category die slowly and perhaps, happily. The wards dominated by patients in the latter category seem quite happy. The wards dominated by the former type of patients, addicted, as it seems, to sloth, and all sorts of superstitious magic and mind-control seem quite despondent.

Here ends the parable.

The Interpretation

The hospital is the world. The nurses and the patients are people. The rumor is the Gospel. The doctor is Jesus Christ. The first nurses are the Apostles and other eyewitnesses. The nurses are the Church.

The unnatural potions and concoctions are alternate rumors and evil political philosophies such as Communism and progressivism. 

The ones who do not try unnatural medicine are those that are committed to freedom and liberty -- and esp. to free enterprise and free markets.

The Moral of the Story

Libertarianism is implicitly good. It does great good in the world. It creates value and makes the world a better and freer place. It values freedom as a good of the highest order. When compared to the evils of progressivism, libertarianism is good.

Furthermore, libertarianism's cherished ideals of free enterprise, hard work, prudence, savings, investment and free and voluntary charity based on community and relationship, as opposed to impersonal coercive fiat, are also explicitly compatible with the Gospel.

However, the only drawback is that libertarianism is not an ultimate answer to the problems facing man. Ultimately, it cannot save. Ultimately, only Jesus can save.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (from 2 Corinthians 5 : 17 - 21)

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”" (from Revelation 21 : 1 - 5)

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