Francis arrives: The Midas Cult goes ballistic


Pope Francis arrived in the United States yesterday and the Midas Cultists were out somewhere rending their Brunello Cucinellis. Their media toadies reacted as if the pope had stolen the Cucinellis they don’t have to rend. It might be useful this morning to revisit just why (2013, emphasis mine):

In his strongest remarks yet concerning the world’s economic and financial crises, the pope said, “Money has to serve, not to rule.

“We have created new idols,” Pope Francis told a group of diplomats gathered at the Vatican on May 16, and the “golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” According to Pope Francis, a major reason behind the increase in social and economic woes worldwide “is in our relationship with money and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society.”

Blasphemy! Get a load of the intensity of the cultistsoverreaction:

I’m sorry, who needs an exorcism? Because, sure, this is just the way all well-adjusted, non-zealots react to having their dogma faith economic theories challenged. Francis might as well have suggested George Washington had sex with sheep. I don’t know what psychologists would call the over-the-top response, but it is what friends from a prayer group once called “being convicted of God.” That is, having God prick your conscience in a most uncomfortable way. The guilty always get pissed at prophets. Attacking the messenger goes back a long, long way.

Capitalism has metastasized into a cult, as Francis said, and the cultists are not amused at being called on it. “No one challenges the golden calf of predatory capitalism or overturns the money tables of the global warming deniers and gets away unscathed.”

As I wrote before:

What Milton Friedman called capitalism in 1962 looks more like an economic cult today. Question the basic assumptions behind corporate capitalism, publicly point out its shortcomings and suggest we are overdue for an upgrade, and the Chamber of Commerce practically bursts through the door like the Spanish Inquisition to accuse you of communism and heresy. Why you … you want to punish success! It’s weirdly reflexive and a mite hysterical…

We think we invented capitalism. Yet there have been “capitalist acts between consenting adults” since before Hammurabi. We don’t call one capitalist enterprise the world’s oldest profession for nothing. There’s a restaurant in China that has been in operation for nearly 1000 years. And pubs in England that have been in business for 900.

And go figure, all supporting local economies and families for countless generations without being incorporated in Delaware or in a single building in a tax haven like the Cayman Islands. Those are late accretions on the capitalism model for organizing an economy. But question them and you’d think they had been written in stone on Mount Sinai.

Wonder if there is still room in Petersburg, Kentucky for a Milton Friedman Museum?

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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