Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lots of people are quoting Texas governor Rick Perry on how the Great Recession is part of God's plan for America--
I think in America from time to time we have to go through some difficult times — and I think we’re going through those difficult economic times for a purpose, to bring us back to those Biblical principles of you know, you don’t spend all the money. You work hard for those six years and you put up that seventh year in the warehouse to take you through the hard times. And not spending all of our money. Not asking for Pharaoh to give everything to everybody and to take care of folks because at the end of the day, it’s slavery. We become slaves to government.
But hardly anybody seems to have noticed how deeply Perry has garbled the story from Genesis 41, and how the story is about God explicitly endorsing a high-tax welfare state.

Pharaoh dreams of the seven fat cows and the seven lean ones, and young Joseph explains to him that that means a coming cycle of seven fat years and seven lean years (not six and one!), and advises him to take twenty percent of all the harvests for the next seven years and put it in government storehouses, so that then when the hard times come he will be able to dole out food to the suffering people. Of course it works--this is what brings Joseph's brothers to Egypt after the famine has begun. (But not into slavery--that starts in Exodus, after Joseph is dead and the Egyptians have forgotten what a great prime minister he was, while meanwhile the Hebrews in Egypt have been fruitful and multiplied to an apparently pretty obnoxious extent.)

Not being a person of faith myself, I don't think we should adopt Yahweh's idea here just because it's in the Bible, but if it's a good idea, what the hell?

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