Tuesday, February 15, 2005
In today's Ethics II class a partner and I participated in a disputatio against two other classmates. A disputatio is a form of debate on a theological (or in this case, Christian moral) topic. My partner and I drew the short end of the stick and had to argue, from a Christian perspective, that it is a bad idea for a Christian employer to pay their employees a just wage. I suppose there is some poetic justice in it because one of my opponents also opposed me last year in the Arian Disputatio - he was the Arian.
Anyway, it was a tough argument to make. The force of our argument drew heavily on economic theory and principles and focused less on moral theology and Scripture - quite frankly, because 99% of it is against our case. We tried to posit a theory of just income over against a just wage which would utilize market forces rather than flout them. The trouble is, if you carry the argument far enough, economically speaking, it breaks down. But then, so does the economic arguments for a just wage. It is safe to say that given our time constraints we could not go into heavy economic arguments, nor would we either have the knowledge or desire to do so. The decision will be rendered on Thursday and I've no doubt that it will fall against us. However, I do believe that given our task, we did a good job making our case, even if we didn't believe a word of it. I had fun with it though and cranked up the drama a notch or seven, but then, by now, my classmates have come to expect that from me. I couldn;t take quite as many pot-shots in this one as I did when I argued against the Arian heretics, but I did manage to sneak in the phrase "anti-Keynesian idealism".