God & Good vs. Mammon & Machiavelli :: by Wilfred Hahn

Mr. Robert Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst for Stratfor recently wrote the following in an article entitled Machiavelli’s Virtue:

“What is modernity? Is it skyscrapers, smart phones, wonder drugs, atomic bombs? You’re not even close. Modernity, at least in the West, is the journey away from religious virtue toward secular self-interest. Religious virtue is fine for one’s family and the world of private morality. But the state — that defining political structure of modern times — requires something colder, more chilling. For the state must organize the lives of millions of strangers and protect their need to selfishly acquire material possessions. […] The state appeals not to God, but to individual selfishness. Thus, it clears the path for progress.”

Mr. Kaplan may just as well have provided an exegesis of various Bible scriptures, as his observations are accurate. The Bible clearly does confirm the values upon which worldly affairs would be conducted — self-interest (or vested-interest). What Mr. Kaplan neglects to mention is that the world and its leaders would be “cursed” because of this state of affairs (for example, see Isaiah 24:3-6).

The world in this present state is surely run by self- and vested-interest. That’s not to say that there are not people who are other-worldly, to whom the things of this world appear strangely dim, or whose motives are inspired by love. It is just that there are proportionately many less of them. The values of the world, its societies and people, have been roundly turned towards materialism in recent times.

A century of humanistic influences has revised the definitions of human happiness, achievement, and progress. None of these are any longer defined by “eternal values” or from an eternal timeline. Success in these endeavors is defined solely in terms of material wealth, net worth, GDP growth, a rising standard of living or a rising MSCI World All-Country Index (representing the global stock market value).

By necessity, a world that is defined by the “need to selfishly acquire material possessions” and is set apart from “private morals” or conscience and “religious virtue” must be terrifyingly competitive. It would be a world of deceit and theft. And, indeed, such conduct and doctrine is accepted today in the world of geopolitics and political economy.

Not surprisingly, the Bible foreknew such conditions. We find this message most directly in the two visions of the Prophet Zechariah found in chapter 5 of the book of the same name. Here is mentioned the two sins that would define the world of the last days — lying and stealing (verse 3). A two-part study of these two visions can be found on our website. The conclusions are “chilling,” to borrow Mr. Kaplan’s description of geopolitics today.

Firstly, lying (in other words, swearing falsely in the name of truth) is the glue of our world’s economic and geopolitical systems. At the highest levels, it is mirrored in the institution of contract law. Legions of lawyers are required to establish a rigid framework in which world commerce functions. Of course, this wouldn’t be required in the first place if there were not so many false promises. Most contracts today are made on the premise of what is legally allowable as opposed to what is right or moral. All that is required to get out of an obligation or a promise is a simple loophole. It is as easy as that for the most part.

The same attitude applies to the world of geopolitics. The “lie” is the most deftly used technique in the pursuit of a nation’s interests. Lying and deceit are definitely essential.

What about stealing? In our time, stealing possibly may not be more prevalent than ever before, however, it certainly has become much more sophisticated. There are numerous types of stealing that are institutionalized into world systems. For example, consider the phenomenon of inflation (the price of goods continually rising in currency terms). Today it is one of the biggest forms of stealing. Yet, every central bank in the world today will argue that some stealing (inflation) is necessary for the smooth and safe functioning of economies and financial systems.

Stealing is endemic — and accepted! — in many other areas. Corporate executives steal from shareholders (like never before) and countries try to steal precious resources from other countries (oil, for example), although such motivations are couched in official policy-speak such as “securing our interests” or “gaining access through free trade.” Such techniques are the norm today.

In conclusion, we see that swearing falsely and stealing are at the very root and apex of man’s global endtime edifice.

Despite Mr. Kaplan’s cogent perspectives on the world’s state of affairs, he concludes: “This is not something to lament, however. For in the last analysis, self-interest can lead to peace while rigid moral principles can lead to war. Self-interest informs compromise with other human beings.”

He chooses to have faith that Global Man can tame and harness Mammon for the good of mankind by using Machiavellian techniques. He couldn’t be more wrong. One day, after “the renewal of all things” (Matthew 19:28) there will be a new order, one diametrically opposite to what we have today. It will not be defined by self-interest or vested-interest. True peace, justice and love will prevail. That will be the 1,000-year kingdom (the Millennium according to chiliasm) outlined in the Bible.