When Ideology Takes Over

It forces people to make crazy and stupid statement that fit the ideological box rather than reality. So, for instance, as ideological wingnuttery transforms “government is the problem” from a mere aphorism to an All Explaining Dogma about Everything, you get the spectacle of an educated person declaring:

STEVE WYNN: ‘Gov’t never increased standard of living of one single human being in civilization’s history’…

Of course, the first and most obvious conclusion from this observation, if it were true, is “Then let us *immediately* get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, since these immense and costly government interventions cannot possibly help raise the standard of living for these nations. We must also re-write our history books in order to testify to the faith propositions that the anti-trust acts, labor laws and child labor laws of government never raised the standard of living for a single human being in a sweat shop. Likewise, the wise and good practices of business from 1929 to 1933 were *wholly* responsible for ending the Depression and the state did not help a single solitary person. Nor did the vast government undertaking of the Allies from 1939 to 1945 help a single solitary person.

Of course, what this ideological parrot *really* means is that the state has no business interfering with laissez faire capitalism, but has every right to impose the End to Evil crowd’s vision of Redemption Through Democratic Capitalism on sundry countries that need to be bombed into salvation. He has *immense* faith that our government adventures in nation-building in Iraq, Afghanistan and (who knows?) Iran will improve the lives of those who survive the next Shock and Awe campaign. He just doesn’t want the state to bother with the common good when it gets in the way of his worship of capitalism as an article of Sacred Tradition.

This is but one of the reasons Catholic would do well to learn about the Church’s actual teaching about the role of the state (hint: it exists to preserve the common good and therefore to help people increase their standard of living) and not get all their social doctrine from yammering ideologues on talk radio who seem to be proposing that we return to a state of nature in which anarchy frees us to release our innate goodness on the world.

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