- Jan 14, 2015
- Reaction score
To be fair, he's specifically attacking pagans who did not care about morality at all, which is certainly not true of modern right-wing Christian groups, but still it's clear that he thinks that the government should have a role to play in the citizens' moral life.Georgios Scholarios said:It seems to me that St. Augustine specifically attacks a very similar line of thought that pagans of his time held (<i>City of God</i>, 2.20):juliogb said:these lines of thaught are for minimum state and private charity, how that can be anti-cristian?That's a complicated and difficult question which I trust you would agree is not best answered by resorting to John Locke, Adam Smith, or the Austrian school of economics.
'As long as it endures,' they say, 'as long as it prospers amid plenty and can boast of victories and enjoy the security of peace, what do morals matter to us? What concerns us more is that everyone should become richer and richer, so as to be able to bear the costs of his daily excesses, and to lord it over his economically weaker fellows. Let the poor toady to the rich in order to fill their stomachs and enjoy indolent ease under their patronage. Let the rich use the poor to surround themselves with a crowd of satellites and to enhance their prestige . . . Rulers must not bother whether their people are virtuous, if only they can keep them subject. The people of the provinces must not obey the governors as guardians of their morals, but as managers of their affairs and purveyors of their pleasures. They are not to show them sincere respect, but cower before them in base servility. <b>As for laws, let them look to wrongs against property without bothering about moral propriety.
No one should be brought to court, except one who has done harm or nuisance to another's property, home, or limb, or to an unwilling party. As for the rest, each man can do his own sweet will with his goods, with his subjects, or with the goods or subjects of any others who consent. . .</b>'
Also, here is St. Gregory the Great on buying grain from serfs (source):
We have learned that the serfs of the Church are grievously burdened in the matter of prices of grain, so that the purchase price fixed for them is not observed in time of plenty. And it is our desire that the standard purchase price be observed in their regard at all times according to the official prices, whether the harvest be great or small.
Sorry, my english is not that good, but I didnt saw anything like a defense of welfare state in that St. Augustine text of Civitas Dei, and we also must keep in mind that Augustine's time was quite diferent from ours, back then they had slaves for instance and some people still saw the emperors as living gods, and most rich people back then were roman generals, poiticians and magistrates, all them somehow linked with government. However, the state is a monopoly based in violence, I don't see how state funded ''charity'' could be more christian than private funded charity.