David Brat, the economics professor who defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Tuesday in a surprise upset, has advocated for a system that "synthesize[s] Christianity and capitalism" and warned that if society doesn't shape up, a Hitler-like figure could rise up.
Until Tuesday, Brat hadn't attracted too much attention. Cantor was widely expected to win against the political novice, who teaches at Randolph-Macon College.
But with victory comes more scrutiny. Brat struggled in an interview on MSNBC Wednesday morning when asked about his views on the minimum wage, free trade and Syria.
Brat's thoughts about another Hitler came in a 2011 essay entitled "God and Advanced Mammon -- Can Theological Types Handle Usury and Capitalism?" and dug up by the Wall Street Journal. From his piece:
Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily. The church should rise up higher than Nietzsche could see and prove him wrong. We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it. If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take.
A few lines later, he adds, "I think the main point is that we need to synthesize Christianity and capitalism."
Cantor's defeat means that there are no more Jewish Republicans in Congress. In fact, Cantor was the only non-Christian GOP member of Congress.
According to Jack Jenkins at ThinkProgress, "Brat’s CV lists him as a graduate of Hope College, a Christian school in Michigan, and Princeton Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. seminary in New Jersey. He claims to be a 'fairly orthodox Calvinist,' but several of his published writings expose a unsettling core theology that is centered around lifting up unregulated, free-market capitalism as a morally righteous system that churches should embrace -- or else."
In his 2011 essay, Brat also criticized conservatives -- as well as liberals -- for inconsistency on their positions.
"The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality," he wrote. "The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule."
Brat's Democratic opponent in November will be Jack Trammell, who is also a professor at Randolph-Macon College.