Work Ethics

by G. Murphy Donovan (August 2012)

 depredations committed in the name of faith. For many, on the progressive side of the political spectrum, religion is little more than an historical anachronism.

series also) says “not so fast,” to those who minimize religion. For Ferguson, the earthly value of religion in America is a function of reconciliation, reform, and diversity of thought. Islam never saw reform and Europe merely nationalized the Protestant and Catholic variants of Christianity. In contrast, America left faith to personal, not public conscience, and prospered in unprecedented ways.

working less too. Indeed!

then as now.

Christian and Islamic scripture took an ancient Midrash and turned it on its head. And Catholic antipathy for commerce lasted well into the Enlightenment. Antiquated views of usury and other haram practices still plague Muslim economies today. The vestigial contempt of Christian Socialists and Muslim recidivists for commerce and capitalism has an ancient lineage.

quipped the sage of Monticello.

Adams was preaching to the choir. Unlike Christianity and Islam, conflicts between religion and worldly achievement did not exist for most Jews. Or at least such conflicts, for the most part, did not restrain entrepreneurship in the arts, science, or industry. Indeed, this single facet of Hebrew culture may explain the extraordinary success of Diaspora minorities worldwide. Jews were able and enterprising enough to fill many of the vacuums created by restrictive Christian and Islamic commercial dogmas.

Religious pluralism and the separation of church and state were of a piece with ethnic, cultural, and political tolerance. Ethnic tolerance may have been an orphan for several generations, but the moral basis was there from the beginning.

clause,’ those few words that make the American religious, political, and commercial success possible – and unique.

G. Murphy Donovan writes frequently about politics and national security.

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