So I have some pretty nifty friends on my social media and the following articles are making the rounds, much to my amusement :)

The first one basically calls him out for trying to link Calvinism with Libertarianism.

The quotes my friends have pulled from the article are:

Despite his love of freedom, Calvin also had what we might call "Talibanesque" tendencies, since he believed in the sovereignty of God and the total depravity of humankind; humans are so sinful that even believers get it wrong most of the time and thus need strict rules to save them from themselves and others. In particular, Calvin worried about how the rich and powerful would use their privileged positions to exploit the poor and vulnerable.

All this causes me to wonder in what sense Dave Brat and his economic ilk consider themselves Calvinist, even in theory. At best, I would call libertarian capitalism "Calvinish," in the sense that people who unabashedly call themselves Calvinists often tend to embrace free markets. But though Calvin's thought might reasonably lend itself to well-regulated markets with genuine safety nets, I would defy these people to make a persuasive, coherent case for unfettered, Ayn-Rand-style, self-interested capitalism using Calvin's own writings.


The next article that's floating around basically takes Mr Brat to task for his scholarship.

Again here are the choice quotes my friends are pulling out for their posts

I am genuinely enchanted that a self-described practicing Catholic thinks that "Rational Man" took a nap from Jesus to the Reformation. (Sorry Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, and Erasmus you must have been just a bad dream.) But I can't help but notice that this argument is awfully familiar.

So it's not that Brat is entirely wrong. It's that he's only selectively right, in a manner that borders on self-parody. In the first place, anyone who uses the term "Dark Ages" to describe the period that gave us the Renaissance might as well just say, "I have a cartoonish view of history and don't know what I'm talking about."

And it's here, where he talks about God, that Brat's cafeteria scholarship and intellectual incoherence really emerges. Brat currently attends a Catholic church yet, in distinction to Pope Francis, he believes that capitalism and Christianity should merge. He described his victory as a miracle yet he quotes Nietzsche as a source for his vision of how Christianity should move forward. That's right, Nietzsche, who thought that all Christianity was a "slave morality" created by the weak to restrain the strong‚ÄĒi.e., the atheistic, amoral √úbermenschen. This isn't scholarship; it's cherry picking from a liberal arts reading list with no historical consciousness whatsoever.


I think it's safe to say that my friends are not fans ;)