Dabney On Corporations

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The following is my reading of an excerpt from an essay by Robert Lewis Dabney entitled “The Philosophy Regulating Private Corporations.” R.L. Dabney is one of my very favorite historical figures. He was a preeminent theologian and a very gifted intellectual. He was a Presbyterian minister, seminary professor, and served as chaplain for Stonewall Jackson. His work was essential to the continued conservatism and orthodoxy of the Southern Presbyterian Church. Sadly the modern denominations, that he and those like him spiritually fathered, do not give him the proper respect and credit he is due. Clearly, it would be far easier to condemn him for his now unfashionable racial and political views than to confront the modern Zeitgeist. His intellectualism towers above the modern theologians who are his descendants and I think that in time he will be justified. He wrote about a wide range of issues, including economic ones. This passage here has to do with the negative effects of industrialization and the centralization of capital. Some of his criticisms sound similar to those of Karl Marx, but they are being made from the viewpoint of a reactionary rather than a revolutionary socialist.

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