The Prophet Chesterton on Donald Trump

The Prophet Chesterton on Donald Trump July 23, 2015

…and his supporters who declare “Donald Trump cannot be bribed because he is so rich”:

Only the Christian Church can offer any rational objection to a complete confidence in the rich. For she has maintained from the beginning that the danger was not in man’s environment, but in man. Further, she has maintained that if we come to talk of a dangerous environment, the most dangerous environment of all is the commodious environment. I know that the most modern manufacture has been really occupied in trying to produce an abnormally large needle. I know that the most recent biologists have been chiefly anxious to discover a very small camel. But if we diminish the camel to his smallest, or open the eye of the needle to its largest — if, in short, we assume the words of Christ to have meant the very least that they could mean, His words must at the very least mean this — that rich men are not very likely to be morally trustworthy. Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags. The mere minimum of the Church would be a deadly ultimatum to the world. For the whole modern world is absolutely based on the assumption, not that the rich are necessary (which is tenable), but that the rich are trustworthy, which (for a Christian) is not tenable. You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man. The whole case for Christianity is that a man who is dependent upon the luxuries of this life is a corrupt man, spiritually corrupt, politically corrupt, financially corrupt. There is one thing that Christ and all the Christian saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor.

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  • ManyMoreSpices

    It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice.

    CCC 2267 would like to have a word with you, Gil.

    Anyway, “Donald Trump cannot be bribed because he is so rich” is especially dumb because of the type of rich person that he is. I know wealthy people who live simply. Their needs are met, they don’t work (the specific people I’m thinking of are retired) and I don’t see them as having aspirations to greater wealth. I’m likely to trust them not to take a bribe. But Trump? Trump’s life is organized around accumulating more lucre. Of course we should worry that he could be bribed.

    This is like saying that we can trust Hugh Hefner not to be lecherous because he already lives with a harem of strumpets.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      “It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice.

      CCC 2267 would like to have a word with you, Gil.”

      As death penalty supporters always point out, there is some wiggle room in the Catechism, a day so it isn’t demonstrably unchristian.

      But it’s wonderful to see there is a class of society for which you’ll invoke CCC2267.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        Help me out here: what is my position on capital punishment? Be sure to show your work.

        While you’re busy with that, I’ll point out that if the sole justification for capital punishment is that someone is a “violator[] of definable justice,” there is no “wiggle room” for that. Mere commission of an offense against justice – no matter how severe – does not warrant the death penalty. If you do not further demonstrate that capital punishment is “the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the [rich] unjust aggressor,” then it is indeed “demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich[.]”

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          No work needed on my part. A lawyer should be able to argue in good faith without erecting multiple sttawmen. Not accustomed to it, obviously, but capable nevertheless.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Could it be argued… That Chesterton should join Pope Francis in the ranks of the Marxists?

    • Mariana Baca

      What? Why? Nothing he says there is Communist. He says there might be reason to kill the rich, just like there might be reason to elect the rich. Those are regarding temporal matters. It is on eternal matters he is speaking, that we shouldn’t trust the rich on account of their riches.