From an otherwise much-enjoyed source, a rant in favor of Christian redistribution tacked on to a jeremiad against capitalism:
From a traditional Christian point of view, then, the main danger of actually existing capitalism is not that it makes people poor, but on the contrary that it makes them rich compared to most people who have ever lived, and certainly fixates them on the acquisition of material wealth.
Traditional conservatives aim not so much to make people rich as to make their lives affordable and high-quality, since balancing those two is so difficult that it remains one of the few interesting problems in governance.
For example, Houston thrived when you could afford apartments for a couple hundred a month. Artists descended on the town, and all sorts of weirdness was camped out across its spread, living in trailers, vans, garages, industrial lofts, workshops, and bomb shelters. As soon as the usual “and it’s all free” idiots descended with social programs, rents and property taxes went up, and the interesting people got the heck out of there and moved to Florida.
If you give people low rent, quality food, and a slightly boring but stable lifestyle, it leaves them with more time to get over their monkey behaviors (agitation, neurosis, resentment, fidgeting) and figure out who they are by finding beauty in the world. Eventually you get people who simply appreciate being alive and the pleasures within it, like conversation, lager, music, pipes, and the immeasurable beauty of nature.
If you give them money, but prices remain high, you create neurotic people who never have enough yet spend what they do have carelessly, since it came to them easily. These make the best corporate tools, both as obedient workers and mindless consumers, but only the dumb managers want those; the smart ones want effective workers and informed consumers, since only the former achieve quality results and only the latter can actually be advertised to with anything other than appeals to monkey behavior (novelty, lust, gluttony, posturing).
Normally, in capitalism money finds a point of equilibrium, with a few people owning most of the industries; under socialism, your only other real option, money stays in motion through redistribution, but this creates such dynamic and destabilizing change that it requires the tax collectors to become totalitarians in order to keep the system semi-functional.
The hybrid systems of the West currently appear to be free market, but in fact operate in markets highly controlled by regulations and laws, where almost a third of the cost at any level is abstracted away by government for redistribution or forced to be spent on pro forma regulatory compliance.
If we have to identify a guilty party in the spread of materialism, this redistribution of wealth fits the profile. It both dumps money onto the population and, by reducing the question of civilization to economics, encourages a lust for money.
To many libertarians, this independence from culture and history seems like a feature of free market economies, but others see it as a bug that needs correction. In the words of Milton Friedman:
The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy.
Money serves as an agent for its own interests alone. Like any form of power, it propagates itself, so that if it is not redirected toward some goal, it serves only itself and becomes parasitic.
This means that we cannot escape the problems of money by limiting our economies, but must instead add goals outside of the economic system itself so that our economies do not become destructive.
While Leftism pretends to have an altruistic goal in equality, in reality it uses equality as a method of abolishing hierarchy, culture, and standards so that money alone can rule. The ego is set free from goals by this process.
We can reach that state through either extreme. A pure libertarian society would become a nightmare much as a Communist one would, and in the end, they would resemble each other more than they would like.
In a society purely devoted to economics, power will quickly centralize around a few major market actors who have risen to the size where they cannot be replaced. Similarly, in socialism, the command economy chooses counterparts to these.
For a society to have culture, it must have a goal and a single ethnic group so that the culture is bound to that group. Culture comes from within and cannot be imposed. This obviates the modern nation-state of multiple ethnic groups.
Feser makes some good points, as usual, but in the end, using religion to control an economy has the same problems as using ideology to do the same. The only escape for any of us is to restore organic civilization through culture.