Progressive populists and other people’s money

Margaret Thatcher famously said, “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” Yet socialism is what our re-energized Democrats/ Progressives/ Populists want to run on. From The Wall Street Journal:

Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats
The de Blasio-Warren agenda won’t travel. Colorado is the real political harbinger.
By Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler | Dec. 2, 2013 6:57 p.m. ET

If you talk to leading progressives these days, you’ll be sure to hear this message: The Democratic Party should embrace the economic populism of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Such economic populism, they argue, should be the guiding star for Democrats heading into 2016. Nothing would be more disastrous for Democrats.

While New Yorkers think of their city as the center of the universe, the last time its mayor won a race for governor or senator—let alone president—was 1869. For the past 144 years, what has happened in the Big Apple stayed in the Big Apple. Some liberals believe Sen. Warren would be the Democratic Party’s strongest presidential candidate in 2016. But what works in midnight-blue Massachusetts—a state that has had a Republican senator for a total of 152 weeks since 1979—hasn’t sold on a national level since 1960.

The political problems of liberal populism are bad enough. Worse are the actual policies proposed by left-wing populists. The movement relies on a potent “we can have it all” fantasy that goes something like this: If we force the wealthy to pay higher taxes (there are 300,000 tax filers who earn more than $1 million), close a few corporate tax loopholes, and break up some big banks then —presto!— we can pay for, and even expand, existing entitlements. Meanwhile, we can invest more deeply in K-12 education, infrastructure, health research, clean energy and more.

A lot more at the link.

The authors continue to note the economic silliness of Senator Warren’s proposals. Social Security, they noted, has been paying out more in retirement benefits than it receives in payroll taxes since 2010,1 and that the benefits calculation formula increases benefits at a faster rate than inflation, but Mrs Warren is calling for an expansion of Social Security and its benefits, and increasing taxes on working people and businesses2 to pay for it. Some of the Democrats absolutely love that!

Activists reach out to ‘the Elizabeth Warren wing’
By Ned Resnikoff | 11/17/13 11:30 AM—Updated 11/17/13 11:48 AM

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has not expressed any interest in running for president. Yet that hasn’t stopped members of the Democratic Party’s left flank from using her name to put pressure on other 2016 hopefuls.

Case in point: When rumored presidential candidate and current Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley visited the key primary state of New Hampshire on Saturday, members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) were waiting with a sheaf of pro-Warren bumper stickers. The group distributed the stickers at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, a Democratic fundraiser in Manchester, N.H., where O’Malley was the keynote speaker.

 

Warren is a popular figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party due to her aggressive focus on inequality and financial reform. Last week, The New Republic’s Noam Schieber floated her as a potential candidate in the 2016 Democratic Party, where should could serve as a foil to the more Wall Street-friendly Hillary Clinton.

The PCCC has not said that it is trying to draft Warren into the race. Instead, the group appears to be trying to demonstrate the popularity of her anti-austerity, pro-financial reform message in the hopes that other Democratic politicians will begin to emulate it.

Emphasis mine; more at the link.

This goes back to the quote from Lady Margaret Thatcher: the socialists/ progressives/ populists seem to believe that there is just plenty of money, plenty of money, for everybody to have a nice income, if everybody would just share and share alike, and if people won’t share voluntarily — those greedy capitalist pigs!3 — why, then, it’s up to the government to make them share. The idea that reducing the rewards for the producers of wealth might do something really radical like lead to a reduction in wealth produced doesn’t seem to occur to them.

And we can see the results of trying to extend more and more benefits to people who have not earned them, from Greece and the other just-slightly-less-sick countries of Europe, with their bloated government benefits programs for which they could not pay, to Detroit, which is going into Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The Democrats might not like the austerity measures, but the responsible leaders in Europe have already seen that those are the only things which might save them from the folly of past profligacy.

Messrs Cowan and Kessler did not seem to think that the victories of Dr Warren in 2012 and Bill de Blasio this year really meant that much in a national sense:

On the same day that Bill de Blasio won in New York City, a referendum to raise taxes on high-income Coloradans to fund public education and universal pre-K failed in a landslide. This is the type of state that Democrats captured in 2008 to realign the national electoral map, and they did so through offering a vision of pragmatic progressive government, not fantasy-based blue-state populism. Before Democrats follow Sen. Warren and Mayor-elect de Blasio over the populist cliff, they should consider Colorado as the true 2013 Election Day harbinger of American liberalism.

The trouble with that logic is that those same Coloradans voted to re-elect President Obama, which meant, inter alia, that they were voting for higher taxes on themselves, and they knew it. Mitt Romney campaigned on running government more efficiently and less expensively, with lower rather than higher tax rates, and he won only 46.13% of their votes, compared to the 51.49% carried by Mr Obama. Given a good enough Democratic candidate,4 and a perhaps not-so-good Republican opponent, a progressive populist actually could win the 2016 election. It would wind up an absolute disaster for our country if such were to happen, and said candidate was able to put his policies into practice, but we have clearly seen, in 2012, that just because a candidate’s policies just flat didn’t work does not mean he couldn’t be elected.
_______________________

  1. Note that, in 2011 and 2012, the employee’s portion of Social Security taxes was reduced from 6.2% to 4.2% of gross wages; the 6.2% rate was restored for 2013.
  2. Messrs Cowan and Kessler put the tab as $750 billion on workers and another $750 billion on employers.
  3. I’d note here that Senator Warren, that great crusader for the middle class and supporter of the occupy movement, is herself one of the 1%ers, with a $5 million home and a stock and mutual funds portfolio of $8 million. Dr Warren, who had been outspoken that the wealthy need to pay more in taxes, had the option of paying the higher 5.85% Massachusetts state tax — it’s voluntary — rather than the lower, mandatory rate of 5.30%, and chose to pay the lower rate, on an income of $716,000. At The First Street Journal, our word for that is Democrisy.
  4. Even though it is the position of The First Street Journal that Barack Hussein Obama is the worst President in decades, it is your Editor’s opinion that he was one of the best presidential candidates ever.

50 Comments

  1. The idea that reducing the rewards for the producers of wealth might do something really radical like lead to a reduction in wealth produced doesn’t seem to occur to them.

    I’ve said before – they don’t care. Economic growth has never been part of their agenda, only political power for themselves. We conservatives make a mistake when we assume left wingers have the same goals we do, like economic prosperity, for example, and that their policies, which don’t achieve our goals, are thus based on ignorance. For most left wingers, economics is less important than politics, especially the kinds of politics (like making more people dependent on government) which increases their own power.

  2. a progressive populist actually could win the 2016 election. It would wind up an absolute disaster for our country if such were to happen, and said candidate was able to put his policies into practice, but we have clearly seen, in 2012, that just because a candidate’s policies just flat didn’t work does not mean he couldn’t be elected.

    A populist could win? You know a populist will win, period. Their policies don’t have to work the way you or I would think. They only have to provide them with power and their voters with benefits they didn’t earn. Right now the “takers” out number and out vote the “makers” by a slight majority. Since all the trappings of a constitutional republic have been cast aside ( including filibuster) the tyranny of the majority is all that’s left. Open the boarder to illegal aliens, offer them Obamaphones (or Hillaryphones) and let’s see if a populist “could” win. Indeed.

  3. I think you understand the distinction between political and theological re this Pope; however, they do not.

    Though not myself a Catholic, I find this Pope refreshing. As I see it, he is attempting to put the same social preachings of Jesus Christ forward to a world which needs them so badly.

    As can be seen of some of Dana’s commenters, this surprise has put them into a tailspin, because coming from a Pope they know they have been confronted and therefore have to listen and respond.

    Once a Pope becomes political there is no distinction. As I said he’s either a politician or a Priest. Can’t have allegiance to both. And don’t ever presume to tell us what we “understand” you condescending dweeb.

    Of course you’d find this Pope “refreshing” anyone who agrees with your leftist dribble is refreshing and the rest just “radicals”. And I don’t see it as putting the social teachings of Christ forward because he had moral, not social teachings and they were based on the Lord God not Marxist philosophy.

    Finally, nobody is “in a tailspin”. And I for one, don’t have to listen or respond to anybody specially since I’m Lutheran.

    But it would figure that an old commie atheist couldn’t hold back once he saw a crack in the Catholic Church. Hey fellas, if he’s for the Pope’s stand you better consider the source. He’s an agnostic/atheist or something and a progressive/commie or something.

    The job of a Pope is not to preach hope and change it’s to preach Faith and Salvation. Leave the H&C to the politicians. They do so well at it.

  4. Observer
    Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 14:26

    [Comment from previously banned commenter, who has once again wormed his way around the filter, removed. If there was ever any doubt that Observer is Perry, it has been removed by this comment on the Victory Girls, in which Observer embedded the hyperlink back to his site. -- Editor]

    They, the left, are incapable of either self-control or the recognition of any boundaries between their urges, wants, and appetites, and the independent lives of others. That is why they, Perry for a specific example, were and are always forecasting violence. They know where their mindset and obnoxious behaviors must ultimately lead: either to their domination of others or to a violent reaction from them. Nonetheless they would rather die than to be ignored and left to peaceably pursue their private aims. In a universe without objective meaning, their psychological universe, attracting the attention of others, through whatever methods necessary, is the only distraction they have from the specter of the meaninglessness and eternal blackness that they know awaits them.

  5. I gotta say DNW, from my reading of history the lefts only objective is the violent domination of others. I wish I could believe their “mindset and obnoxious behaviors ” could lead others to a “violent reaction” to them but history says otherwise. People seem to put up with, adapt to, and persevere a whole bunch of shit before that “violent reaction ” occurs if it does at all. Look at Germany, or Russia. If someone told me twenty years ago I’d put up with a government that told me what light bulb to buy, how my toilet should flush, where I could smoke, who I had to hire etcetera, let alone what insurance product I had to buy with my own money for my own family I’d have called them nuts. I’m a free American nobody can tell me this crap. Well, look at that, it has arrived. If they told me the IRS would be in charge of health insurance or that the NSA would be spying on me I’d have laughed. Not in America.

    Sorry fellas, we’ve been screwed and betrayed by the Perry’s of this country. They are not our “friends on the left”. They are tyrants, despots. Why do the Perry’s of America care what kind of health insurance I have? And why do they believe they have a right to tell me what kind to buy? How has my insurance become their business?

  6. ” Why do the Perry’s of America care what kind of health insurance I have? And why do they believe they have a right to tell me what kind to buy? How has my insurance become their business?”

    That’s the core question, right? And it’s the question they continually try to evade when confronted with it. They do so as we know to our long experience and great weariness, by a method of circular reasoning: assuming a collectivist premise [rhetorically ornamented on occasion by specious historical examples, or raw assertions of metaphysical inevitability] and then arguing that since “we are all in this together”, the costs and benefits ought to be more “justly” distributed.

    Thus, a by veritable torrent of illogic and verbal equivocation they hope to obscure the simple question: How is it exactly, by what precise facts and inferences is it, that Perry, say, has established a justifiable and open-ended life claim against Hoagie?

    When you have the patience to slog through the volumes of their misdirection and emotive gibberish, as we have done here and on CSPT, you eventually discover at the end of that weary trail, that Perry wants you to buy the insurance you don’t need but he insists you to buy, because your throwing your money away on product you will never use and probably cannot use, will supposedly reduce the cost of the insurance Perry’s daughter buys.

    It was in essence the same argument made by Jeromy Brown: he blew a gasket internally, therefore you (or someone like you) should pay for his personal defectiveness; or that made by the Troll Phoenician in a Time of Romans: he had a festering infected backside, therefore you (someone like you) should underwrite his treatment.

    In each instance this is NOT a case of a danger that is universally distributive across the political “community”, even in principle. In other words, it’s not like an armed alien invasion of the country which in principle strikes indiscriminately, nor like an infectious plague to which no one has any resistance, nor is it something which can be said to be unequivocally in everyone’s best interest to sacrifice for.

    It is instead, theft under the cover of law, justified by a supposed altruism. As the boy from Iowa said when challenged on the defensibility of his ultimate premise, (close paraphrase), “Who are you to set limits on my altruism?”

    In other words it’s not law or justice at all. It’s just what they want; and in order to get what they want, you must become their social property.

    They don’t want the right to purchase, own and work 40 acres and a mule. They don’t want equality before the bar of justice. They want you and your life efforts, bent to their will.

    You can fight them or yield. Those as you point out, are our only choices; because there’s no reasoning with human shit like that. Not on principles, anyway.

  7. Hoagie writes,

    ” People seem to put up with, adapt to, and persevere a whole bunch of shit before that “violent reaction ” occurs if it does at all. Look at Germany, or Russia. If someone told me twenty years ago I’d put up with a government that told me what light bulb to buy, how my toilet should flush, where I could smoke, who I had to hire etcetera, let alone what insurance product I had to buy with my own money for my own family I’d have called them nuts. I’m a free American nobody can tell me this crap. Well, look at that, it has arrived. If they told me the IRS would be in charge of health insurance or that the NSA would be spying on me I’d have laughed. Not in America. “

    Well, you are right.

    The Stalinist mindset, the mindset of Perry or those Iowa Liberal boys, has spread wisely in this country, and it doesn’t seem that stepping back and allowing those behaviorally incontinent and morally imbecilic types to have their way and smash themselves against the brick wall they are steaming toward, will work. They want, they demand, others as a cushion.

    Here’s a couple of articles that highlight the cost and the sheer self-destructive absurdity of having anything to do with moral imbeciles. They are like tar babies that insist you touch rather than ignore them.

    In one shruggable moment of modern day absurdity:

    ” Samuel See, 34, a popular English professor at the Ivy League school, mysteriously died in jail just hours after his arrest -

    …findings from the medical examiner in New Haven, found that neither trauma nor suicide appeared to be a factor in See’s death.

    See was arrested on Nov. 23, after police were called to his home for a report of a domestic dispute. There, they found See and his estranged husband, Saunder Ganglani, who were both in violation of protective orders against one another

    See resisted arrest, struggled with officers and fell to the ground, police said, cutting his face above his left eye. He was treated by paramedics, transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was treated and released back to police custody at 9:10 p.m. that same day, police said …

    By 6 a.m. the next day, See was dead, police said.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/trauma-kill-yale-professor-died-police-custody-police/story?id=21084815

    In another incident not quite so easy to respond to with a contemptuous snort … we witness a member of the stupid class throwing itself on your [in principle] doorstep, and demanding that you thereby becoming their servant, forced to operate according to their standards.

    “The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan are suing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of Tamesha Means, 30, of Muskegon, Mich., according to a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. district court in eastern Michigan.

    The suit comes amid growing numbers of mergers between Catholic hospitals and non-religious systems in the U.S. and it argues that the Bishops’ directives — particularly those that ban abortion — result in negligent treatment for certain patients.

    “They have an obligation to ensure that the directives do not increase harm to women’s health and that women have the information they need,” said Louise Melling, an ACLU spokeswoman. “

    http://www.nbcnews.com/health/catholic-hospitals-religious-rules-led-negligent-care-miscarriage-aclu-says-2D11674429

    Looks like the so-called progressive class will never back off until you consent to carry them, just the way they wish to be carried. Or otherwise deal with them.

  8. Hoagie, quite reasonably, asks:

    Why do the Perry’s of America care what kind of health insurance I have? And why do they believe they have a right to tell me what kind to buy? How has my insurance become their business?

    And then answers his own question earlier in his post:

    I gotta say DNW, from my reading of history the lefts only objective is the violent domination of others.

  9. Then you guys can see why I’m distressed when you dance around the Pope in the other blog. If this Pope espouses the same populist/socialist crap that Perry does then he is no different than Perry. Believe me, it truly pains me to speak that way about a Catholic Pope. I’m a guy who always respected the Catholics for holding the line on both Civilization and Christianity when the Protestant sects were dropping like flies. I started as an Episcopalian, left when they granted amnesty to Vietnam war draft dodgers. Went to Presbyterian and left when they went with women preachers. Then to Methodist with that same result and finally Lutheran and they too went all wobbly but I’ve now just settled as a Lutheran in name only (a LINO I guess). But the Catholics always held the line against the Barbarians at the Gate. Now this. The insidiousness of the left has to destroy everything it touches right down to God’s Holy Church.

    With them everything is politics. My religion, my health insurance, what car I drive, the foods I eat, how much taxes I pay, my retirement and all the rest of a common free man’s life. Will there ever be another society who will know the True Freedom we Americans once knew?

    I was once told that man’s natural state is to be free. I have come to believe that most men’s natural state is to be slaves to the state.

  10. I started as an Episcopalian, left when they granted amnesty to Vietnam war draft dodgers.

    As Johnny Carson used to say: I did not know that.

    Still, it’s no surprise. My brother joined an Episcopal church and I sometimes went to their services. The lady priestess always managed to inject left wing politics into her sermons, blathering about gun control after Columbine, etc. Then, in 2003, I got to watch them split in two at their big convention here in Minneapolis over ordaining gay bishops. The conservatives were told to pound sand so that they could engage in, as Art Downs would put it – The Blessing of the Buggers. In short, as you put it, they are now much more of a political institution than a religious one.

  11. Eric, I may have misspoke. Allow me to be clear before dumbasses the globe over call me a liar. The “official” Episcopal church did not grant some broad based asylum in the late 60′s to my knowledge. The church in Philadelphia of which I was a member granted unlimited sanctuary to draft dodgers and there was an “underground railroad” to help get them to Canada when the feds weren’t looking. The main offending church was Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square of which I was a member. I objected but in 1966 when a 15 year old snot nose objected he was told to shut up. Although I’m not sure if it was because I was 15 or because I was not a member of the anti-war crowd. I assume the latter, since 16 year old girls were holding abortion rallies and that seemed okay. Any way, my Holy Trinity was filled with mostly pompous, Main Line blue-bloods full of rich white guilt. So I left.

  12. This business of the Pope’s recent Apostolic Exhortation, the EVANGELII GAUDIUM, is rather interesting. He is apparently not speaking Ex Cathedra, but rather in some “pastoral” sense.

    Nonetheless, I don’t think that one can put a very positive a spin on this. The guy is a modern Jesuit, raised up on a socially dysfunctional authoritarian continent and in the defective cultural framework which inspired the so-called “liberation theology”.

    In essence, he’s the dysfunctional product of a dysfunctional system of association, seeking dysfunctional solutions. His solution to the human problems caused by the hierarchical collectivist authoritarianism of the South American and Latin tradition, is to institute a superficially egalitarian but in effect authoritarian and redistributive collectivism from which there is equally no escape.

    When he personally speaks of solidarity, he speaks as one of the gliding class. He does not and has never built anything himself … he’s sawn no timbers, woven no nets, caught no fish for his livelihood. So what if he rides a bus and lives in a cheap apartment? Is that a sacrifice of some kind? What has he actually himself earned through the kind of production he seems determined to “pontificate” about?

    What does his riding the bus do to solve the problems of defective land tenure laws, or corrupt government and monopolies?

    The doctrine of “solidarity” does no more than drag everyone down into the hell hole of the dysfunctional collectivist mind, and call it “gladness”.

    But, the left, whether the church left, or the political left, has given up on the notion of personal responsibility. For them, a good and honest system of rules ensuring the effective exercise of personal responsibility, and the enjoyment of the opportunities it provides, is as useless as, well, to quote myself, as a fiddle is to a dog.

    Perhaps, this is an organic condition with them. Maybe they are a randomly evolved – or social scaffolding inhabiting – subspecies of man which is congenitally incapable of or disinterested freedom; built that way, much in the way Perry’s family seems (from his description) to have a crook gene in it.

    Science may eventually provide the answer to that question. In the meantime, God preserve us from the fetid hot breath of the pseudo-men and their soft pawing hands. Let’s hope it need never come to the point of violence that the left continually threatens.

    There must be some way to make the kind back off, short of killing them.

  13. Hoagie wrote:

    Then you guys can see why I’m distressed when you dance around the Pope in the other blog. If this Pope espouses the same populist/socialist crap that Perry does then he is no different than Perry.

    No, he’s different from Perry, way different from Perry.

    The problem is that His Holiness, as well as his recent predecessors, were basing their statements on Jesus exhortation, in Matthew 22:39, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is a goal, an aspiration, and a dream, one which I have yet to attain, but it’s simply not a rational basis for economics. Even if half of the world truly did love their neighbors as they love themselves, the other half would not, and the other half would be basing their economic decisions upon their greater love for their wives and their children than for some stranger.

    Karl Marx thought that socialism would just naturally occur, as the proletariat would get fed up with the wealthy capitalists, have a revolution which threw out the capitalists, and then would all simply agree to share and share alike. The first two things are possible under our human nature, but the third is not: humans do love their children more than the children of the guys in the next town, and will seek advantages for their children and their families even at the expense of the families on the other side of the tracks. Herr Marx, who recognized no religious faith as valid, had a religious faith of his own, that the masses would simply change their behavior. The Bishop of Rome, on the other hand, sees something to which we should all aspire, but that leaves him unable to really appreciate the realities of economic behavior as practiced by us flawed and sinful individuals.

    The ironic thing for the left is that the one thing which could actually get them closer to socialism is the one thing that they most abhor: Christianity, and, realistically speaking, Catholicism.

  14. Some additional observations and remarks on Francis:

    Glancing at Wiki, I see that there is some claim that Francis’ CV ought to include significant work as a “Chemical technician”, or even a “bar bouncer”.

    CNN Religion blogs for example,

    “The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.

    He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a “pope of the people.” And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests’ laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.”

    Wiki puts his CV thus:

    “He attended the technical secondary school Escuela Nacional de Educación Técnica N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen[29] and graduated with a chemical technician’s diploma.[30] He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory”

    ” A few years”, they say.

    and

    “Before joining the Jesuits, Bergoglio worked as a bar bouncer, as a janitor sweeping floors, and also ran tests in a chemical laboratory …”

    Now just for perspective, Wiki describes the position of chemical technician as,

    “Chemical technologists and technicians are workers who provide technical support or services in chemical-related fields. They may work under direct supervision or may work independently, depending on their specific position and duties. Their work environments differ widely, and include but are not limited to laboratories and industrial settings. As such, it is nearly impossible to generalize the duties of chem techs as their individual jobs vary greatly. …

    Chemical or biochemical technicians often work in clinical (medical) laboratories conducting routine analyses of medical samples. …They may typically assist in setting up and conducting chemical experiments, and may operate lab equipment under supervision.”

    emphasis added

    Doesn’t sound like tough or especially responsible or even productive work. And consider the timeline information we can glean:

    “Jorge Mario Bergoglio;[b(orn)] 17 December 1936″

    “Bergoglio worked briefly ["a few years" someone said ?] as a chemical technician before entering seminary”

    “entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on 11 March 1958″

    “At the conclusion of his novitiate in the Society of Jesus, Bergoglio officially became a Jesuit on 12 March 1960, when he made the religious profession of the initial, temporary vows of a member of the order”

    “He was ordained a priest in 1969″ all cites are Wiki

    The official Vatican news source has this,

    “born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He studied as and holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he moved to the novitiate of the Company of Jesus where he finished studies in the humanities in Chile. “

    That “degree” is apparently some kind of technical high school certificate; as a close reading of Wiki earlier implied: “He attended the technical secondary school Escuela Nacional de Educación Técnica N° 27 …”

    This much is more or less clear then: Francis was born at the end of 1936. He entered the seminary at the beginning of the third month of 1958. A crude calculation would suggest that he was 22. In fact he was 21 and 3 months when he entered the seminary.

    His health crisis requiring his prolonged hospitalization has been stated as taking place when he was 20 almost 21.

    Thus, the statements that, “He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory” and that he was a bar bouncer become somewhat problematical if taken as indicating any significant experience or effort in, or with, the productive world.

    Francis was not working as a lab tech in March of 1958. He was sick with a pulmonary infection requiring hospitalization in the time period immediately before that.

    His stint in a lab then, appears according to the Argentine Clarin profile to have been sometime in 1956, and he was reported as working the morning shift from “7 to 13″, or presumably 7 am to 1 PM. This was a job obtained through personal contacts, the paper reports.

    Not exactly a Simone Weil experience; though perhaps comparable in overall duration if not intensity.

    Maybe he delivered newspapers as a kid too.

    He’s probably a decent man. He’s probably sincere. Father Sirico of the Acton institute, categorically reassures us that Francis is not a liberation theologist.

    But the guy does have some serious culture related perspective problems. It’s not just Americans who are culturally blinded …

  15. and the other half would be basing their economic decisions upon their greater love for their wives and their children than for some stranger.

    And that is how it should be. Anyone who did not put his/her family first is a fool and a knave, and nothing in the Bible says otherwise.

  16. The ironic thing for the left is that the one thing which could actually get them closer to socialism

    That’s assuming anyone really wants socialism, and, in truth, no one does. It’s goal of material equality is a stupid one, since it makes material things the sole measure of value, and is thus a form of idolatry. It’s likely the only way you could make socialism happen is through force, and even if you did manage to attain a state of material equality among all persons, rather than get universal brotherhood, you would more likely get universal hatred and distrust, since everyone would fear that someone else had a penny more than they did.

  17. Eric
    Friday, 6 December 2013 at 14:45

    and the other half would be basing their economic decisions upon their greater love for their wives and their children than for some stranger.

    And that is how it should be. Anyone who did not put his/her family first is a fool and a knave, and nothing in the Bible says otherwise.”

    Interestingly enough, the Baltimore catechism presents just such a hierarchy as ordinate and proper. The newer Catholic catechisms seem so full of emotive and phenomenologically flavored language as to be incomprehensible. Sometime in the 1960′s the Old Testament prophets became a convenient mine of quotes for those obsessed with “welcoming the alien”. Probably leveraged by a fairly substantial cohort of church people seeking “normalization” themselves.

    The liberal catchphrase of late, “Love the sinner but hate the sin”, has most recently become the community values axiom of “celebrate the sinner and embrace their sin”.

    We know of course that the signal trait of the so-called progressive is its obsession with unconditional “inclusion” to the exclusion of every potentially justifying criteria or principle. The question is, “Why?”

    What particular doctrine, or perhaps more broadly, psychological trait, is behind this obsession of the progressive?

    To tentatively answer my own question, it could be a combination of things:

    1, The usefulness to the internal enemies of a system, of a demand for unconditional inclusion: Useful as a dialectical tool for subverting what these internal enemies see as an “unjust” or undesirable system. The obvious technique is to introduce an indigestible nugget, consciously promote and develop this contradiction within the system, declare it a valid part of the system, and watch the system break apart under the stress of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. As a concrete example, picture the difficulties of maintaining a constitutional polity – which the left despises – when such a system predicated as it is upon a self-supporting populace capable of personal self-governance and behavioral responsibility, is subsequently freighted with and made responsible for a significant population of persons either incapable of , or uninterested in, that independent and self-responsible life-way.

    2, A kind of psychological monism which has an emotional resonance with some minds which just feel more comfortable in the warm center of a humid non-judmental scrum.

    3, As a political expression of that constellation of smaller progressivist views concerning the ontological status of reason and responsibility in man’s life. The progressive, believing in the superficiality of reason, the objective meaninglessness of reality, and the primacy of emotion and unconscious drives in man’s existence, finds the collective to be, contextually speaking, the only “worthwhile and emotionally satisfying existence” possible. Emotional satisfaction exists for the progressive as the highest end of man within a larger field of ultimate meaninglessness.

    My guess is that most globally, the explanation is that it’s # 3 that is the general motivating force of progressivism, and that subsuming under that tactically, it’s by #1 that they seek to realize their aims.

    Christians are making a big error in aligning themselves with the neurotic disciples of nothingness; though it must be said that the same psychological dysfunctions and impulsions that drive some people into progressivism for psychological comfort, probably drive others into the church, with not very much better results.

  18. - There must be some way to make the kind back off, short of killing them.

    There is no way, DNW. Your absolutely right in your analysis of liberals and their life-denying philosophy and I have come to the conclusion that we can’t afford to wait. The only language liberals understand is violence and we shouldn’t be afraid to do it to them before they do it to us.

    As long as the sheeple believe the lies that let Ohbummer fake his election and steal this Republic then patriots will have to do what is necessary. What they have done to us this THEFT of our country is violence and it must be met with violence.

    We can’t wait for them to bring out their weapons first. We are better armed, more patriotism, and better prepared, so we should meet their political theft with righteous retaliation.

  19. DNW wrote:

    Chemical or biochemical technicians often work in clinical (medical) laboratories conducting routine analyses of medical samples. …They may typically assist in setting up and conducting chemical experiments, and may operate lab equipment under supervision.”

    Doesn’t sound like tough or especially responsible or even productive work.

    I disagree: if the technician sets up the experiments or tests incorrectly, the results returned are likely to be inaccurate. Imagine what that would mean for something as simple as a blood glucose test, and a possible faulty prescription for an insulin dose. That work sounds to me to be responsible and productive, and, depending upon volume and pace, could be very tough as well.

  20. 1, The usefulness to the internal enemies of a system, of a demand for unconditional inclusion:

    I disagree. Left wingers already have inclusion within their own group, what they want is to force US to join THEM.

    A couple months ago I posted a quote from Heinlein. The net effect is there are two kinds of people – those who think people should be controlled, and those who have no such desire. Left wingers fall into the former group. That’s what Obamacare (and, socialism generally) is all about. Control.

  21. Hello Mr. Anderson;

    A month ago I posted a fictional piece I had written that was set in the year 2035. An unstated assumption of that piece was that Texas had declared independence due to disgust over how the US Federal government had been running things. Also included in that piece was the notion that the Texas economy was booming while the old US was stuck in stagnation (23% unemployment, $10/gallon gasoline, etc.) Indeed, in a follow-on to that piece (which I did not publish here) other states were starting to join Texas in what basically amounted to a peaceful revolution. It’s a sort of twist on the theme from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, in which individual states instead of individual persons say to the leftist Leviathan: “Sorry, but we refuse to participate in your sick and corrupt system any more”.

  22. Some additional observations and remarks on Francis:

    The thing is – no one listens to the Pope any more.

    Even the left wingers who claim to admire him will dismiss everything he says when he stands firm on being Pro-Life and for normal marriage. It’s not like he’s going to win them over on those issues.

  23. Well, Eric, some of us still listen to the Pope.

    I would have to ask you why anyone would listen to a priest who espouses socialist doctrine as religious dogma? Again Editor, he’s either a priest or a politician but he can’t be both. This Pope is the exactly wrong person for the job just when we (Christians) need a strong, Jesus loving, freedom loving example of Christian love. Socialists and communists need not apply. Again, if Perry likes him what does that tell you?

  24. Editor
    Friday, 6 December 2013 at 21:33

    DNW wrote:

    Chemical or biochemical technicians often work in clinical (medical) laboratories conducting routine analyses of medical samples. …They may typically assist in setting up and conducting chemical experiments, and may operate lab equipment under supervision.”

    Doesn’t sound like tough or especially responsible or even productive work.

    I disagree: if the technician sets up the experiments or tests incorrectly, the results returned are likely to be inaccurate. Imagine what that would mean for something as simple as a blood glucose test, and a possible faulty prescription for an insulin dose. That work sounds to me to be responsible and productive, and, depending upon volume and pace, could be very tough as well.

    I suppose that if you took the cases to an extreme or in the abstract, stipulating someone involved in the modern medical field, rather than a food services company as was Francis; and someone subjected to a stepped up day-in-day out pace, instead of Francis’ apparent 6 hour work day; and someone involved in it competitively for years as their very livelihood, instead of for what looks like part of one year at a job gained through personal connections as seems to be Francis’ case, then you could probably support such a claim.

    In fact, someone very close to me (not the MD sister I have mentioned) works as a medical technician for a Catholic hospital; and works very hard and increasingly under conditions of generally deteriorating morale; as the “religious” who nominally run the organization seem much more interested in social justice and progressive politics issues, than the welfare of those who do the medical work.

    As a matter of fact she and I had a couple of relatively heated conversations when I told her I was going to take some financial information she had shared with me and make some very hard political points with it. As it was I merely posted some information about the entitlement mentality of non-catholic and probably largely anti-catholic users of their services who not only shrugged at the notion of paying for what they received, but blamed the Catholic hospitals for providing insufficient services to a protesting population which had willfully and unapologetically ensconced a brazen criminal conspiracy in city hall, while ignoring the fact that they had in so doing destroyed their own municipal institutions.

    The nuns of course, were essentially enabling this behavior to the tune of a couple hundred million a year, while the blood and lab techs worked in overcrowded conditions.

    Social justice? F*ck social justice, and all the neurotic and closeted masochist ass wipes that sing the tune.

    As for Francis, and his supposed man of the people work-life experiences , allow me to requote myself for context. A quote which is I think balanced and temperate and at least grants that there is some kernel of truth behind the hyperbolic framing; but, a kernel which constitutes a completely inadequate foundation for any claim that he has any serious productive work life experience, or understanding of the same.

    This much is more or less clear then: Francis was born at the end of 1936. He entered the seminary at the beginning of the third month of 1958. A crude calculation would suggest that he was 22. In fact he was 21 and 3 months when he entered the seminary.

    His health crisis requiring his prolonged hospitalization has been stated as taking place when he was 20 almost 21.

    Thus, the statements that, “He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory” and that he was a bar bouncer become somewhat problematical if taken as indicating any significant experience or effort in, or with, the productive world.

    Francis was not working as a lab tech in March of 1958. He was sick with a pulmonary infection requiring hospitalization in the time period immediately before that.

    His stint in a lab then, appears according to the Argentine Clarin profile to have been sometime in 1956, and he was reported as working the morning shift from “7 to 13″, or presumably 7 am to 1 PM. This was a job obtained through personal contacts, the paper reports.

    Not exactly a Simone Weil experience; though perhaps comparable in overall duration if not intensity.

    Maybe he delivered newspapers as a kid too.

    He’s probably a decent man. He’s probably sincere. Father Sirico of the Acton institute, categorically reassures us that Francis is not a liberation theologist.

    But the guy does have some serious culture related perspective problems. It’s not just Americans who are culturally blinded …

    Francis is no more a worker than Benedict was a Nazi. And Benedict was certainly no Nazi.

  25. Well, Eric, some of us still listen to the Pope.

    The last Pope worth listening to was JP II. That’s because, when he said things like abortion and Communism were evil, he meant it. No knock on Ratzinger, but he was too old and frail to be an effective Pope, everyone knew he would only rule for a few years, and that’s what happened. Francis is old, too, but if he thinks he can influence left wingers on social issues by saying what they want to hear on economics, he’s deluding himself. No lefty is ever gonna say “Now that the Pope is pushing semi-socialism, we should start listening to him on abortion, gay marriage, and a celibate (male) priesthood”.

  26. Hoagie wrote:

    Again Editor, he’s either a priest or a politician but he can’t be both.

    I don’t think that the two can be separated at all. I’m an American, but I’m also a Catholic; I can be both, and, in fact, I have to be both: one thing I’ve never accepted is the notion that people can simply wall off part of their experiences, and say that they have no influence at all on the rest of their lives.

    You asked, “Again, if Perry likes him what does that tell you?” It tells me that Perry addressed only the parts he wanted to hear. The Pope also said that there would be no change in the Church’s positions on abortion, contraception, homosexual activity or the ordination of women. Were those the subjects under discussion, we’d be hearing the left tell us what a rabid, reich-wing reactionary the Pope was.

    Even we conservatives are hardly ideologically monolithic. You’ve been reading what I’ve been writing for years now, so you know how conservative I am, but you also know that I differ with the “expected” conservative positions on immigration and capital punishment.

  27. Eric wrote:

    The last Pope worth listening to was JP II. That’s because, when he said things like abortion and Communism were evil, he meant it.

    Then perhaps you weren’t listening to all Pope John Paul II said. Normally, I would not have quoted an entire long article like this,

    What is Social Justice? From John Paul II to Benedict XVI
    July 25, 2013

    The third and final installment in a series on social justice in Catholic social doctrine

    J. J. Ziegler

    When the Italian Jesuit Father Luigi Taparelli D’Azeglio (1793-1862) coined the term “social justice” in the middle of the 19th century, he probably could not have foreseen its mention in an 1894 curial document and a 1904 encyclical, nor the importance attached to it by Pope Pius XI (1922-39) and subsequent pontiffs, culminating in the authoritative teaching on social justice in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992).

    After the Catechism’s promulgation, Blessed John Paul II (1978-2005) continued to speak about social justice. In a 1993 audience devoted to priests and politics, he said that “Jesus formulated the precept of mutual love, which implies respect for every person and his rights. It implies rules of social justice aiming at recognizing what is each person’s due and at harmoniously sharing earthly goods among individuals, families and groups.”

    John Paul taught that as priests follow the “precept of mutual love” which “implies rules of social justice,” they must do so in different ways from the laity. Strongly affirming the teaching of the 1971 Synod of Bishops, which was devoted in part to justice in the world, John Paul said that

    in circumstances in which there legitimately exist different political, social and economic options, priests like all citizens have a right to make their own personal choices. But since political options are by nature contingent and never in an entirely adequate and perennial way interpret the Gospel, the priest, who is the witness of things to come, must keep a certain distance from any political office or involvement.

    Quoting the Catechism, Blessed John Paul added that “it is not the role of the pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens.”

    In his 1994 apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, John Paul taught that social justice has its deepest roots in creation and in the institution of the jubilee year, described in Leviticus 25. “The riches of Creation were to be considered as a common good of the whole of humanity,” he wrote. “Those who possessed these goods as personal property were really only stewards, ministers charged with working in the name of God, who remains the sole owner in the full sense, since it is God’s will that created goods should serve everyone in a just way. The jubilee year was meant to restore this social justice. The social doctrine of the Church, which has always been a part of Church teaching and which has developed greatly in the last century, particularly after the Encyclical Rerum Novarum, is rooted in the tradition of the jubilee year” (no. 13).

    In his 1995 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, John Paul called for “a serious commitment to foster on the continent conditions of greater social justice and good government”—or, as the Latin text literally states, “conditions of greater social justice and the more just exercise of power”—“in order thereby to prepare the ground for peace” (no. 117).  “If you want peace, work for justice,” he added, quoting Paul VI’s well-known statement.

    Two years later, in an address to Philippine bishops, John Paul further developed Catholic teaching on social justice by explicitly linking social justice to the defense of the family.

    “Two crucial and intimately related areas of pastoral life [are] the family and the promotion of social justice,” he said. “Indeed, the defense and promotion of the family, the heart of every society, is a preeminent task facing all those committed to the pursuit of social well-being and justice.” The pope added:

    It falls in the first place to you, the bishops, to form the consciences of the faithful in accordance with the Church’s teachings, so that the laity in particular may work effectively for the introduction of public policies which strengthen family life. Your Conference has spoken out frequently on this theme, recalling that a family policy must be the basis and driving force of all social policies. In this sense the State, which by its nature is ordered to the common good, is bound to defend the family, respecting its natural structure and inalienable rights.

    Recalling Laborem Exercens, his 1981 encyclical on work, John Paul reflected on the link between a family-centered economy and social justice:

    The economy likewise has a vital part to play in ensuring the strength of the family. One of the main criticisms which the Church’s pastors have to make regarding the prevailing socioeconomic system, understood as the subordination of almost all other values to market forces, is that the family dimension of the work contract is generally ignored. Such a system makes little or no provision for the family wage. How far are most societies from what the Church urges: “Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future” (Laborem Exercens, no. 19)! Legislators, leaders of business, industry and labor, educators and those working in the mass media, and families themselves, must all be encouraged to re-create a family-centered economy, based on principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. True social justice passes by way of the family!

    In his 1998 motu proprio on the theological and juridical nature of episcopal conferences (Apostolos Suos), Blessed John Paul listed “the promotion of social justice” as one of the issues that “call for the joint action of bishops” (no. 15).

    Between 1999 and 2003, the pope mentioned social justice in four post-synodal apostolic exhortations devoted to the life of the Church in various regions.  In Ecclesia in America(1999), he taught that

    by her social doctrine the Church makes an effective contribution to the issues presented by the current globalized economy. Her moral vision in this area rests on the threefold cornerstone of human dignity, solidarity, and subsidiarity. The globalized economy must be analyzed in the light of the principles of social justice, respecting the preferential option for the poor who must be allowed to take their place in such an economy, and the requirements of the international common good (no. 55).

    “For democracy to develop, there is a need for civic education and the promotion of public order and peace,” he added. “In effect, there is no authentic and stable democracy without social justice. Thus the Church needs to pay greater attention to the formation of consciences” (no. 56).

    In Ecclesia in Asia (1999), John Paul observed “a growing awareness throughout Asia of people’s capacity to change unjust structures” in the face of corruption. “There are new demands for greater social justice, for more participation in government and economic life, for equal opportunities in education and for a just share in the resources of the nation” (no. 8).

    In Ecclesia in Oceania (2001), the pope mentioned social justice six times. He said, for example, that “the parish as a community cannot insulate itself from the realities of the world around it. The Christian community must be attentive to issues of social justice and spiritual hunger in society” (no. 13).

    “Cooperation in areas of charity and social justice is a clear sign of Christian fraternity” (no. 23), he continued, as he reflected on efforts to promote Christian unity. Commitment to social justice, he added, forms an important part of the Church’s evangelizing mission:

    The Church regards the social apostolate as an integral part of her evangelizing mission to speak a word of hope to the world; and her commitment in this regard is seen in her contribution to human development, her promotion of human rights, the defense of human life and dignity, social justice, and protection of the environment … It is certain that commitment to social justice and peace is an integral part of the Church’s mission in the world. Yet her mission does not depend upon political power. The Church is concerned with the temporal aspects of the common good because they are ordered to the sovereign Good, our ultimate end (no. 26).

    Towards the end of his pontificate, Blessed John Paul returned to a theme he emphasized in his very first encyclical: the link between social justice and human dignity. In Ecclesia in Europa (2003), he wrote that because the Church’s social teaching “is aimed at defending and promoting the dignity of the human person, which is the basis not only of economic and political life, but also of social justice and peace, this doctrine proves capable of upholding the supporting structures of Europe’s future” (no. 98).

    In a similar vein, John Paul wrote in his final apostolic exhortation, Pastores Gregis(2003), that “the Ten Commandments have a firm foundation in human nature itself, and thus the values which they defend have universal validity. This is particularly true of values such as human life, which must be defended from conception until its end in natural death; the freedom of individuals and of nations, social justice and the structures needed to achieve it” (no. 29). He repeated his earlier teaching that “the globalized economy must be analyzed in the light of the principles of social justice, respecting the preferential option for the poor who must be allowed to take their place in such an economy, and the requirements of the international common good” (no. 69).

    Toward the end of John Paul’s pontificate, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, also returned briefly to the theme of social justice. In its 2002 doctrinal note on the participation of Catholics in political life, the Congregation taught that Catholics must promote the “right to religious freedom and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person and of the common good, with respect for social justice, the principles of human solidarity and subsidiarity, according to which the rights of all individuals, families, and organizations and their practical implementation must be acknowledged” (no. 4).

    A year to the day before Blessed John Paul died, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released, at the pontiff’s request, the Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church “in order to give a concise but complete overview of the Church’s social teaching.” Although social justice is not one of the topical headings, the phrase does appear in 11 of the document’s paragraphs, three times in reference to earlier texts of the Magisterium.

    “A large part of the Church’s social teaching is solicited and determined by important social questions, to which social justice is the proper answer,” the Compendium noted (no. 81). Social justice “represents a real development in general justice, the justice that regulates social relationships according to the criterion of observance of the law. Social justice, a requirement related to the social question which today is worldwide in scope, concerns the social, political, and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions” (no. 201).

    In subsequent paragraphs, the Compendium taught that

    • “human work is a right upon which the promotion of social justice and civil peace directly depend” (no. 292)
    • “an equitable distribution of income is to be sought on the basis of criteria not merely of commutative justice but also of social justice, that is, considering, beyond the objective value of the work rendered, the human dignity of the subjects who perform it” (no. 303)
    • “properly speaking, unions are promoters of the struggle for social justice, for the rights of workers in their particular professions: ‘this struggle should be seen as a normal endeavor ‘for’ the just good … not a struggle ‘against’ others’” (no. 306, citing Laborem Exercens)
    • “it is possible for the financial accounts to be in order, and yet for the people — who make up the firm’s most valuable asset — to be humiliated and their dignity offended. This is what happens when businesses are part of social and cultural systems marked by the exploitation of people, tending to avoid the obligations of social justice and to violate the rights of workers” (no. 340)
    • “among the deformities of the democratic system, political corruption is one of the most serious because it betrays at one and the same time both moral principles and the norms of social justice” (no. 411)
    • “the legitimate requirements of economic efficiency need to be better harmonized with those of political participation and social justice. Concretely, this means that solidarity must be made an integral part of the networks of economic, political and social interdependence that the current process of globalization tends to consolidate” (no. 564)

    Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013)

    Social justice was an important concern of Pope Benedict XVI: he spoke about it in at least 48 of his addresses and other writings.

    In 2005, he promulgated the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church(2005), which summarized the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on social justice. “Society ensures social justice when it respects the dignity and the rights of the person as the proper end of society itself,” the Compendium teaches. “Furthermore, society pursues social justice, which is linked to the common good and to the exercise of authority, when it provides the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain what is their due” (no. 411).

    Subsequent questions that appear under the heading of social justice discussed human equality (no. 412), social inequalities (no. 413), and human solidarity (no. 414). In a later paragraph, the Compendium taught that social and economic life “should be pursued according to its own proper methods within the sphere of the moral order, at the service of the whole human being and of the entire human community in keeping with social justice” (no. 511).

    “The journey of lay Christians, from the mid-19th century to today, has brought them to the awareness that charitable acts must not replace the commitment to social justice,” Pope Benedict said in a 2006 address to Italian business leaders. Two months later, heagain recalled the important role of the laity in striving for social justice:

    Equally urgent is a tenacious, on-going and shared effort to promote social justice. Democracy will attain its full actualization only when every person and each people have access to the primary goods (life, food, water, health care, education, work, and the certainty of their rights) through an ordering of internal and international relations that assures each person of the possibility of participating in them.

    True social justice, furthermore, can only be possible in a perspective of genuine solidarity that commits people to live and work always for one another and never against or to the detriment of others. Thus, to achieve this in practice in the context of the contemporary world is the great challenge of Christian lay people.

    Recalling a frequently-mentioned theme of Catholic social teaching, Pope Benedict said in a 2008 address that a “commitment to promoting effective social justice in international relations demands of each one an awareness that the goods of creation are destined for all, and that in the world community economies must be oriented toward the sharing of these goods, their lasting use, and the fair division of the benefits that derive from them.”

    Although Pope Benedict mentioned social justice frequently, he referred to it only twice in his 2009 social encyclical Caritas in Veritate. “From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI’s day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today’s profoundly changed environment,” he wrote (no. 25), adding:

    The market is subject to the principles of so-called commutative justice, which regulates the relations of giving and receiving between parties to a transaction. But the social doctrine of the Church has unceasingly highlighted the importance of distributive justice and social justice for the market economy, not only because it belongs within a broader social and political context, but also because of the wider network of relations within which it operates. In fact, if the market is governed solely by the principle of the equivalence in value of exchanged goods, it cannot produce the social cohesion that it requires in order to function well (no. 35).

    In a significant reference to social justice in 2010, Pope Benedict incisively linked “real social justice” to civil liberties, respect for life, and respect for the nature of marriage. Addressing the ambassador from Ecuador, he said that “the pillars of every human community worthy of this name” include “the defense of life from its conception to its natural end, religious freedom, the free expression of thought, and also the other civil freedoms. The latter constitute the authentic condition for real social justice. This, in turn, can only be affirmed on the basis of the support and protection, in both juridical and economic terms, of the primary cell of society: which is nothing other than the family based on the matrimonial union of a man and a woman.”

    Five months before his resignation, Pope Benedict again linked “authentically human social justice” to the defense of the unborn and of marriage. “Your political and institutional commitment must not, then, be limited to responding to the requirements of market logic,” he said to a group of Italian political leaders, adding:

    Rather, its central and indispensable goal must remain the search for the common good, correctly understood, and the promotion and protection of the inalienable dignity of the human person … The areas in which this decisive discernment is to be exercised are … not separate from one another but profoundly interconnected; they possess a manifest continuum which is constituted by respect for the transcendent dignity of human beings, in the fact that they were made in the image of the Creator and are the ultimate goal of any authentically human social justice. The commitment to respecting life in all its phases from conception to natural death — and the consequent rejection of procured abortion, euthanasia and any form of eugenics — is, in fact, interwoven with respecting marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman and, in its turn, as the foundation for the community of family life.

    Pope Pius XI wrote in 1937 that “it is [the essence] of social justice to demand from individuals everything that is necessary for the common good.” Just as Pius XI emphasized that social justice makes demands upon employers, and Paul VI emphasized that social justice makes demands upon wealthy nations, so John Paul II and Benedict XVI taught that “real social justice” and “authentically human social justice” demand that governments defend and promote the family.


  28. Again Editor, he’s either a priest or a politician but he can’t be both.

    I don’t think that the two can be separated at all. I’m an American, but I’m also a Catholic; I can be both, and, in fact, I have to be both: one thing I’ve never accepted is the notion that people can simply wall off part of their experiences, and say that they have no influence at all on the rest of their lives.

    Hoagie’s right. Once the Pope starts taking sides in the ideological war, he becomes a politician and, in the process, alienates half of his flock. If he starts pushing a socialist agenda, people who are conservative on social issues will tune him out, and left wingers, most of whom don’t even believe in God, will just exploit him for their own purposes while rejecting utterly anything he has to say about life or family values.

  29. I don’t think that the two can be separated at all. I’m an American, but I’m also a Catholic; I can be both, and, in fact, I have to be both: one thing I’ve never accepted is the notion that people can simply wall off part of their experiences, and say that they have no influence at all on the rest of their lives.

    Eric, I do not believe nor would I ever think that Catholics or anybody else would “wall off” any part of any experience, of any thing. However, I do believe this Pope, is a commie. Tell me I’m wrong show me how he is different from Perry.

    [Comment edited to fix formatting error; no changes made to content. -- Editor]

  30. Tell me I’m wrong show me how he is different from Perry.

    Well, he doesn’t seem to be driven by malice the way Perry and Pho are. Also, unlike them, he appears to believe in God. But he seems to be awfully naive about socialism. Unless he thinks we should all form hippie communes (i.e., voluntary socialism), he doesn’t seem to grasp that socialism has to be coerced, that it requires government force.

    I said before, Catholic officials, from the basic parish priest all the way up to the Vatican, seem to be woefully uninformed about business and basic economics. They don’t seem to realize that free markets and free people go together. Further, they seem blind to the fact that unrestrained government, not unrestrained markets, are by far the geeatest threat to human liberty. You’d think the history of the 20th century, with its dictators, totalitarian regimes, and mass murder would have taught them something, but apparently not.

  31. Hoagie wrote:

    (Dana), I do not believe nor would I ever think that Catholics or anybody else would “wall off” any part of any experience, of any thing. However, I do believe this Pope, is a commie. Tell me I’m wrong show me how he is different from Perry.

    Just change the subject from the economic to the social issues, and the differences will become clear. And I think you’ll find that this Pope’s positions on economics are pretty much indistinguishable, at least in his public pronouncements, from his recent predecessors. His style is very different, more the pastor than the theologian, and that has fooled our fiends on the left, but we shouldn’t let it fool us.

  32. Eric wrote:

    Well, he doesn’t seem to be driven by malice the way Perry and Pho are. Also, unlike them, he appears to believe in God. But he seems to be awfully naive about socialism. Unless he thinks we should all form hippie communes (i.e., voluntary socialism), he doesn’t seem to grasp that socialism has to be coerced, that it requires government force.

    Actually, such communities, on a small scale, were how many of the early Christians lived, and we can see statements which clearly indicate such in both Acts and several of the epistles of St Paul. Such communities have existed, in various numbers, for centuries, but they can never seem to grow very large before human nature destroys them. (I’d call the Israeli kibutzzim voluntary socialist communities.)

    Such communities can exist when people follow Jesus’ statement that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves, something very difficult in actual practice, and something which has never come anywhere close to succeeding in anything larger than a small community.

    I said before, Catholic officials, from the basic parish priest all the way up to the Vatican, seem to be woefully uninformed about business and basic economics. They don’t seem to realize that free markets and free people go together. Further, they seem blind to the fact that unrestrained government, not unrestrained markets, are by far the geeatest threat to human liberty. You’d think the history of the 20th century, with its dictators, totalitarian regimes, and mass murder would have taught them something, but apparently not.

    I agree with that statement, and it is the truth of that statement which keeps me a conservative.

    Capitalism is the only truly productive economic system human beings have ever known; even Karl Marx believed that capitalism would have to succeed and flourish, to create an economic base of sufficient goods, for socialism to be successful in supplanting it. Herr Marx erred because he, too, could not grasp the individualistic nature of human beings would never allow all people to agree and to continue to produce in a socialist system.

    But while capitalism is the only truly productive economic system we have ever known, she is also a harsh master: capitalism enables people to become real winners, through diligence and hard work, but it also allows people to fail, through indolence and sloth and laziness, through decisions which have turned out poorly, and, sometimes, through just plain bad luck. That is the part which motivates the thinking of both the socialists and of much of the priesthood: they see it as just plain unfair that some people fail.

    Our priests would love to see some sort of system in which people really cannot fail, in which people will always make enough to put a roof over their heads and food on their tables. The trouble is, as has been proven again and again and again, if people are guaranteed a roof over their heads and food on their tables, some will choose not to have to work for them.

  33. - Hello Mr. Anderson;

    - A month ago I posted a fictional piece I had written that was set in the year 2035

    Fiction! What are you doing to defend this country from liberalism FOR REAL?!??

    I know what I am doing but I can’t say in public.

  34. Fiction! What are you doing to defend this country from liberalism FOR REAL?!??

    Don’t discount fiction. George Orwell’s 1984 was a very effective warning against the evils of left wing totalitarianism. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged had a similar effect in both defending the morality of free markets and individual freedom while condemning the collectivist “Morality” of the Left. The conservative movement owes a lot to those two books, as well as the writings of William F Buckley and CS Lewis, to name just a few.

  35. Just change the subject from the economic to the social issues, and the differences will become clear. And I think you’ll find that this Pope’s positions on economics are pretty much indistinguishable, at least in his public pronouncements, from his recent predecessors. His style is very different, more the pastor than the theologian, and that has fooled our fiends on the left, but we shouldn’t let it fool us.

    Perhaps. But Francis needs to be careful how he is portrayed. When godless scum like Perry and Pho quote him with approval, something is wrong.

  36. Actually, such communities, on a small scale, were how many of the early Christians lived, and we can see statements which clearly indicate such in both Acts and several of the epistles of St Paul. Such communities have existed, in various numbers, for centuries, but they can never seem to grow very large before human nature destroys them.

    I have read that medieval monasteries existed in a sort of quasi-socialism for centuries, but socialism per se wasn’t the goal, but rather service to God. That said, they seemed to have accumulated a whole bunch of treasure, which the Vikings loved to steal, so maybe they were a bunch of greedy bastards after all.

  37. Such communities can exist when people follow Jesus’ statement that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves, something very difficult in actual practice, and something which has never come anywhere close to succeeding in anything larger than a small community.

    Right. But I never interpreted “Love your neigbor as yourself” as having anything to do with socialism. Socialism focuses on the material, as in its demand for material equality, as if material things were the only thing that mattered in life.

    That’s probably why communes and other such communities never work long term. Jealousy and resentment start to build up as its members start to fear that someone else has more money or more stuff than they do, as if that really matters.

    The beauty of capitalism is it gets rid of that resentment. As long as money is earned honestly, there’s no reason to resent someone else’s success. And, like you said, capitalism rewards the right things: Responsibility, hard work, discipline, innovation, education, creativity, etc. What does socialism reward? Only the socialists running the system.

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