• John

    “To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”
    G. K. Chesterton

  • Dan C

    The right wing of Catholcism needs to stop its embarrassing embrace of a Gospel that praises wealth. Robert Sirico’s latest book spent 75% doing just that.

    Bad news: it was the rich man in a recent Gospel who failed the Marcan call to discipleship. It is Luke who says “Woe to the rich,”. “blessed are the poor.” It was Matthew who framed the Final Judgement as a “whatever you do for the least of these.”

    Catholic right wing economics starts out antagonistic to everything printed on this. Just read Jody Bottom or George Weigel on Caritatas in Veritate. Or Weigel’s comment on the teaching authority of the US bishops (and the Vatican) on economic matters that differ from his libertarianism- that such teachings are binding on “exactly no one.”

    Liberation theology is closer to the Gospel than the current economic distraction that he leaders of the Catholic Right Wing present.

    • merkn

      This is an excellent post by Mr. Alquist. Speaking as an unrepentant right winger, what is it you seem to think we believe that disagrees with catholic social teaching. Centisimus Annus pretty much covers what I believe. What is the distraction you feel we present.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        If Centisimus Annus covers what you believe regarding Social Justice, then your education as a Catholic is deficient. Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, Mater et Magister, Populorum Progressio, Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Caritas in Veritatae would round things out though.

        • merkn

          Oh a rebuke from the phony scholar. Clearly I am not as well read as I thought. Why stop there? Why not include the Summa and the City of God? Enlighten me. In what respects do the other works you reference contradict or render deficient the teaching in centisimus annis?

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

            I’m no scholar, friend. I’ve never even played one on TV. But I will make an effort to answer your question, nevertheless.

            The titles listed make up, together, a body of works known as the Social Justice encyclicals. They build upon one another, like bricks in a building.

            Rerum Novarum is the first, the foundation upon which the others all rely. (Did you ever wonder what ‘hundred years’ JPII was referring to?) Leo XIII uses this letter as an opportunity to reflect on the passing away of an old economic order, fuedalism and guilds, and the birthing of a new one, Capitalism/Socialism. Literally, Rerum Novarum means “On New Things”. A generation before the first Communist revolution, he foretells the struggles which will ravage Europe and the rest of the modern world in the 20th century. And he offers his prescription for staving off this horrific future possibility, centered largely around labor unions as a replacement for guilds, and the role of the Church in addressing matters of justice for working classes and labor.

            In Quadragesimus Annos (“In Forty Years”) Pius XI takes up this theme again, in light of the War to End All Wars and the Soviet Revolution as well as the advent of Facism. He repeats RN’s concern for labor, and then extends this into a condemnation of concentrated wealth in the hands of the few. It is from this encyclical that the concept of subsidiarity is drawn.

            John XXIII followed this up with Mater et Magister (“Mother and Teacher”), where he moves the discussion of social justice beyond his predecessors’ emphasis on individual action and placed responsibility for seeking justice into the hands of the State. he also updates the Church’s understanding of her own teaching on private property in light of the developments of the modern economy. While this encyclical is to be read in light of it’s predecessors, it is also useful to read it side by side with Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”).

            Paul VI then penned Populorum Progresso (“The Progress of Peoples) where he reiterated John XXIII’s call for state action in pursuit of justice. This was followed by Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work”) where JPII addressed the role of work int he salvation of man, pointing out that man was not made for work, as some would have us believe, but that work was made for man.

            JPII then wrote Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (“On Social Concerns”) as a critique of the twin errors of Capitalism and Communism, on the 20th anniversary of Populorum Progresso.

            JPII’s final encyclical you have read. It deals with the preferential option for the poor in light of the fall of Communism. It is a reflection on the century which has passed, and the developments which have taken place in Catholic thought, since Rerum Novarum.

            Finally, Benedict XVI offered us Caritas in Veritatae (“Love in Truth”) as a criticism of the prevailing ideologies both left and right, challenging the Christian man in the 21st century to find a new way of thinking and acting on these questions, one which integrates the teachings of past encyclicals with our role as stewards of ecologies in light of the limitations of both business and government.

            So you see, even if you are one of those folks who identifies JPII overwhelmingly with the whole papacy, CA only gives you a slice of his thought on this question. And in fact you can’t even understand the opening sentence of CA, much less the whole encyclical, without a proper working knowledge of, at the very least, Rerum Novarum.

            Aquinas and Augustine also offer much profit to the careful reader, but they are not the basis for the Church’s teachings on social justice. Although I have no doubt the Summa, at least, can be used to defend every point of this developing theology.

            I hope this answers at leas tthe question why these documents are singled out. it is because they are a coherent whole. Otherwise, grasping its tale, you might mistake the elephant for a snake.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

            I’m no scholar, friend. I’ve never even played one on TV. But I will make an effort to answer your question, nevertheless.

            The titles listed make up, together, a body of works known as the Social Justice encyclicals. They build upon one another, like bricks in a building.

            Rerum Novarum is the first, the foundation upon which the others all rely. (Did you ever wonder what ‘hundred years’ JPII was referring to?) Leo XIII uses this letter as an opportunity to reflect on the passing away of an old economic order, fuedalism and guilds, and the birthing of a new one, Capitalism/Socialism. Literally, Rerum Novarum means “On New Things”. A generation before the first Communist revolution, he foretells the struggles which will ravage Europe and the rest of the modern world in the 20th century. And he offers his prescription for staving off this horrific future possibility, centered largely around labor unions as a replacement for guilds, and the role of the Church in addressing matters of justice for working classes and labor.

            In Quadragesimus Annos (“In Forty Years”) Pius XI takes up this theme again, in light of the War to End All Wars and the Soviet Revolution as well as the advent of Facism. He repeats RN’s concern for labor, and then extends this into a condemnation of concentrated wealth in the hands of the few. It is from this encyclical that the concept of subsidiarity is drawn.

            John XXIII followed this up with Mater et Magister (“Mother and Teacher”), where he moves the discussion of social justice beyond his predecessors’ emphasis on individual action and placed responsibility for seeking justice into the hands of the State. he also updates the Church’s understanding of her own teaching on private property in light of the developments of the modern economy. While this encyclical is to be read in light of it’s predecessors, it is also useful to read it side by side with Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”).

            Paul VI then penned Populorum Progresso (“The Progress of Peoples) where he reiterated John XXIII’s call for state action in pursuit of justice. This was followed by Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work”) where JPII addressed the role of work int he salvation of man, pointing out that man was not made for work, as some would have us believe, but that work was made for man.

            JPII then wrote Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (“On Social Concerns”) as a critique of the twin errors of Capitalism and Communism, on the 20th anniversary of Populorum Progresso.

            JPII’s final encyclical you have read. It deals with the preferential option for the poor in light of the fall of Communism. It is a reflection on the century which has passed, and the developments which have taken place in Catholic thought, since Rerum Novarum.

            Finally, Benedict XVI offered us Caritas in Veritatae (“Love in Truth”) as a criticism of the prevailing ideologies both left and right, challenging the Christian man in the 21st century to find a new way of thinking and acting on these questions, one which integrates the teachings of past encyclicals with our role as stewards of ecologies in light of the limitations of both business and government.

            So you see, even if you are one of those folks who identifies JPII overwhelmingly with the whole papacy, CA only gives you a slice of his thought on this question. And in fact you can’t even understand the opening sentence of CA, much less the whole encyclical, without a proper working knowledge of, at the very least, Rerum Novarum.

            Aquinas and Augustine also offer much profit to the careful reader, but they are not the basis for the Church’s teachings on social justice. Although I have no doubt the Summa, at least, can be used to defend every point of this developing theology.

            I hope this answers at least the question why these documents are singled out. it is because they are a coherent whole. Otherwise, grasping its tale, you might mistake the elephant for a snake.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

            Since it doesn’t like my long answer, let me give a short one. They make up a body of work, the Social Justice encyclicals, which are to be read in light of one another, each Pope building on the thoughts and teachings of his predecessors. The opening sentence of Cent.Anno makes no sense without knowing something of Rerum Novarum, at least.

            • Merkn

              I have read Rerum Novarum. Your wikipedia summary does not answer any of the questions I pose. It is an ad hominem non response. What exactly is it that you believe we right wingers believe that is inconsistent with the Church’s teaching? In what respect is CA contradicted by any of the others? As I read it it is a synthesis of what has gone before. None of the subsequent writings detracts from it in any respect. To say that Aquinas is irrelevant to the Church’s teaching on social justice suggests you have not read him as carefully as you seem to suggest.

              • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                I am sorry, I did not consult wikipedia, but I am honoured you consider my summation encyclopedic.

                You did not ask me the questions you now pose. You professed agreement with CA, and asked a question in general, about your deficiency. I responded, based on the information you provided, with the obvious deficiency that the Church’s doctrines of Social Justice are not fully encapsulated within one encyclical. You then berated me as a phony scholar and asked me, specifically, why I recommended those particular titles. I answered the question you posed to me in the most concise way I know.

                IOW, I most certainly did answer the question you asked of me. If you meant to ask a different question of me, you had the opportunity.

                But let me ask you to describe how your particular viewpoint enshrines the preferential option for the poor, in concrete terms? I ask because this is the central thrust of JPII’s encyclical you initially claimed full agreement with.

                • merkn

                  My point is I accept the preferential option for the poor. How is that inconsistent with a believe in the superirity of free market capitalism to other economic systems? I do not see a contradiction.

                  • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                    In concrete terms? That was my question to you.

                    I desire truly free markets myself. I am a distributist, for lack of a better term. But the economic positions proposed by the Republican party, and American conservatives by and large are not free market economics. And they most certainly do not enshrine any sort of preferential option for the poor.

                    So, if by support of free market economics you mean what most Americans mean by free market politics, then you don’t actually support any kind of preferential option for the poor, and either do not understand what JPII is talking about (because you aren’t familiar with the body of works he was drawing on) or you are engaging in self deception about what preferential options for the poor are.

                    The other possibility is you mean something by free market economics that gets you drummed out of the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism, in which case i say welcome aboard!!!

                    • Merkn

                      I do not know why you think I have anything to do with the Republican party. I came to be on the right as a shorthand way of aging I reject the statism of the left. I agree the republican Party is not a Free Markets party. The preferential option for the poor is best seen as a personal obligation of the individual. It is not a license to empower the state to “do good”. When it is you get health care reform which subordinates health care to the power of the state and makes things like abortion and euthanasia inevitable.

    • Ted Seeber

      What’s the gospel reference that praises wealth? I must have missed that one!

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    To say that the law of supply and demand is simplistic is so wrongheaded, it is breathtaking. Supply and demand is the least simplistic economic system we have ever created and put into function. Everybody participates, and does so in a way that does not take an undue amount of time and effort.

    I’m not familiar with what “demand a demand” means and google’s no help here. Could somebody explain that? And while I’m looking for definition, could somebody explain the difference between want and fancy? I am especially interested in how the latter is a manifestation of the weaker side of human nature and the former is not. Dale’s usage strikes me as simply strange.

    To say “In order to have a just society we need to act with principles other than economic profit.” is a trite truism. It’s also a straw man unless you’re fighting one of the totalitarian systems which unhealthily meld economics with morality. A major portion of the genius of capitalism is its willingness to harness the amoral and ameliorate the evil through the mechanism of the market. This does not make capitalism moral. Now capitalism backed by a decent morality is far superior to capitalism backed by unsound morality but that’s true of everything. It certainly does not establish that “The old economic models no longer work.” That is something that needs proof and nothing is provided.

    I am dubious that nobody has ever written about having a just society requires non-economic thinking except Popes. It would be useful if there were any evidence whatsoever introduced for the truth of this.

    There is a similar lack of evidence that justice is served by reducing the rich. I believe that the poor today are no better than the poor of yesterday but the rich of today are much better at creating wealth than the rich of yesterday. Why should this difference in effort and efficacy between the rich of today and yesterday not end up with a richer rich class? The rich class’ increased capacity for action may yield a greater obligation to charity, but I do not see how it yields a greater obligation of justice. Justice for the able poor is to be had in treating them with dignity as they are God’s children no less than anyone else and offering them ample opportunity to improve their position. If George Soros had been unsuccessful at breaking the British pound, he would have been poor. He had bet it all and borrowed every dollar he could on the scheme. I do not think Soros would have been due much in the way of charity, just simple justice because his time of poverty would likely be measured in days until somebody gave him a new job. So what would we have owed him?

    Now your average soup kitchen visitor is not George Soros and they do need our support as christians in ways George Soros probably doesn’t. But every thing we give them in justice (as opposed to charity) is equally due to Soros. That even handedness is what distinguishes justice, which is due everybody, from charity, which picks and chooses according to individual circumstance in order to maximize the benefit.

    I remain somewhat unenlightened on the concept of distributive justice, mostly on how the definitions I’ve read can be reconciled with II Thessalonians 3:10. I hope that I’ve been reading poor explanations of the concept. How one is to judge a just distribution without engaging in the information problems that sank the totalitarians or without making a mockery of justice has never quite been explained to me.

    • merkn

      Disagree with your point that the poor of today are no better off than the poor of yesterday if you are referring to material wants. I don’t think it can be denied by anyone that the bottom 10 percent in the US ( to pick one of the world’s wealthier countries) is better off materially in every way than that same 10 % 100 , 50 or even 25 years ago. That is directly attributable to the benefits of free market captalism in a relatively free society.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Heh, you nailed me before I got my correction out. Mea culpa, you are right.

      • Ted Seeber

        I can. But only by measuring wealth spiritually instead of materially. The divorce rate, the broken homes, the confusion of want and need, abortion, all says that the poor are actually WORSE OFF in the 21st century than they were in the 13th.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Yeah, and most of that show strong correlation with many welfare policies. (it’s a dark joke on some parts of the web that “welfare did more destruction to the black family in a few decades than slavery did in over a century”) After all, the “gilded age” was closer to Randian than anything we have now, and families etc were still stronger than.

          So a what if question (pure what if, we can debate about whether it really is later): if it was shown that the government’s “social justice” policies had a negative trade off with your “spiritual wealth”, would you abandon them?

          • Ted Seeber

            I do abandon them, in what I want for an ideal intentional community. I support only governments no greater than 10,000 citizens. I support subsidiarity in currency and self-defense.

            But I also support heresy trials for greed, complete with exile from the intentional community.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

              One thing I can say for you Ted, at least your societal experiment won’t leave much of a crater when it augurs into the ground based on bad economics. That puts you ahead of most of the 20th century novel system types.

        • merkn

          I agree with you that the poor may be worse off spiritually, but how is that the fault of the rich, and how can it be addressed by government sponsored social programs?

      • ChrisB

        “I don’t think it can be denied by anyone that the bottom 10 percent in the US ( to pick one of the world’s wealthier countries) is better off materially in every way than that same 10 % 100 , 50 or even 25 years ago. ”

        It’s not clear that they’re better off materially than they were 25 years. Their health to be worse, and their inflation-adjusted income may be lower.

        • merkn

          Why do you say their health had to be worse? They have access to prescrpition drugs and Medicaid benefits that were not available 25 years ago. They have cell phones provided by the government. How is their income level lower when you include all anflation adjusted benefits? Don’t mistake me. I am not saying that everything is OK. These people need help. They want help. But what exactly is the help they need and how can we best give it to them?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      I think I should clarify on one point where I misspoke. The poor today have also improved, and their economic position is better for it. Their improvement, however, is not on the order of the improvement in higher economic strata.

    • Ted Seeber

      How to demand a demand: ADVERTISE! In other words, if you don’t have a market, create one. Bonus points if you can get the government to decide your product is “essential to modern life” and do your advertising for you in the creation of laws and circumstances that require people to buy your product.

      • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

        Yeah, but “getting government involved” (full stop, doesn’t matter what else follows) is antithetical to free-market principles.

        Meanwhile, all the advertisement in the world won’t create a market if people don’t bother buying. I could advertise a bucket of my phlegm all day on the home shopping network but I’m probably not going to get enough of a market to be rich. There’s a large and vast graveyard filled with many that tried to create a market and failed.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          And then there is the automobile. You know, the ones we drive because there is no viable public transit alternative, because viable public transit alternatives that did exist were purchased by auto manufacturers and driven into the ground or dismantled?

          There’s your example of the free market at work in demanding a demand.

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            Riiiiight. This would be around the time they suppressed the engine that runs on water, eh? Or would this be the transportation promises the aliens tried bringing to Roswell that the companies paid the government to hush up?

            lol :D thanks Zeki, you’re always good for a laugh.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy

              People got convicted for it in this country, Nate. It really happened, and your ignorance of history simply isn’t my problem.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

              But I will say if most right-wingers in the US were the small-minded ignorant children you represent them as, it is no wonder Willard Rmoney got the nod. No conspiracy there, more a confederacy of some sort…

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Hezekiah – While it is certainly possible for viable public transport to be bought up and junked, that does not stop new market entrants from replicating them under new management. The only thing that can stop that is legal rules blocking it, something that a free market would actually disallow.

            I put such conspiracies under the heading of separating idiots from their money, a task to be done quickly, with minimum fuss, so that we can move forward with putting things to right in society. It’s not a particularly pleasant task, but neither is separating a toddler from a loaded firearm. It’s just a very good idea no matter the collateral mess.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

              Frankly, I will believe today’s free marketeers when I see them take up the cause of overturning settled law on the 14th amendment.

              As long as business is conducted under the guise of legal fictions such as corporate personhood, insulating capitalists from real personal risk, such talk is little more than the fluffer on a fluffernutter sandwich, if the nutter in question is squirrel poop rather than peanut butter.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                Which part of the 14th amendment? There’s a lively subcommunity on the US right plotting to reinvigorate the privileges and immunities clause from the drubbing it received in the slaughterhouse cases:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter-House_Cases

                I think you’re looking for an anti-corporatist right wing. It’s there. I’m a member.

                • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                  And I’m on record with you that you aren’t the problem, but part of the solution.

                  But let’s be honest, how small a minority are we in this culture?

                  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                    The US Congress regularly has anti-corporatist legislation introduced. Who votes for and against it is public record. The sad answer is yes, anti-corporatism is a minority position. The silver lining is that it seems to be on a long-term rise. Surprising to some, more Republicans usually vote for the anti-corporatist measures than Democrats.

                    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                      Thats not surprising in the least, especially not to folks here. The criticism constantly offered of republican politics and economics on these pages is motivated by a conviction that the GOP is the motley crue most amenable to persuasion toward being humane.

                      I don’t have much use for Republicans, but I have voted for a couple. I wouldn’t touch a ballot for a democrat if you yourself guaranteed me it’d result in free kittens and unicorn stickers for every little girl in America. Mark has always sounded like he iss of the same mind.

                      We all gripe about republicans because we’d like SOMETHING we could actually endorse in opposition to the evils of leftism.

            • Dan Berger

              While it is certainly possible for viable public transport to be bought up and junked, that does not stop new market entrants from replicating them under new management.

              Bwahahaha!! (wipes tears of laughter away) Thanks! I needed that.

              Ever heard of the transcontinental railroad? That was a giant government program, and it wouldn’t have happened without about three sh1tloads of government money.

              The reason the streetcars didn’t come back is that the previous owners ripped out the tracks on which they had run. That’s a major capital investment, right there, and few people are willing to put up that kind of money on spec, even if they have it. It would take government support to keep afloat long enough to put in new infrastructure for such a system.

              In short, public transit systems are enormous capital investments. Once they are going concerns, you might be able to privatize them. But there aren’t any new, traditional public transit systems started by private capital alone, because private capital couldn’t make it pay soon enough to keep from going bankrupt without government support. It’s the same reason that there are so few successful new automobile companies. Inventory and infrastructure needs are huge.

        • Ted Seeber

          “Yeah, but “getting government involved” (full stop, doesn’t matter what else follows) is antithetical to free-market principles.”

          As soon as you sign a contract enforceable in a court of law, government is involved. You can’t get rid of government that easily.

          Plus, I think you forget that the Church guarantees the right of solidarity- which is GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT.

          • merkn

            How does the right of solidarity “guarantee goverment involvement”. If you mean that Government has a proper sphere in society to enforce the law, I do not think anyone disagrees, but that does not mean the government may enforce social programs.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

              You should go read Mater et Magister. It answers your questions fully.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “how the definitions I’ve read can be reconciled with II Thessalonians 3:10.” Get a good commentary. It looks like you’re committing the standard error of reading a verse more or less at face value without reference to the greater whole or historical context. IIRC, Paul wrote those words to correct a misunderstanding about the parousia. Some folks thought it was imminent and had given themselves over to idleness a la Harold Camping. It’s not meant to be declarative on work, justice, or charity. Unsurprisingly, it being a letter to a specific church at a specific time, it contains writings specific to that church at that time.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Sorry, I’m done with doing my critics work for them. If you have a specific link to a criticism, that’s fine. For me to go out and try to hunt down a “good commentary” leaves me begging you to approve of whatever commentary I find. That’s no way to have a civilized conversation. I do find it odd that such a limited letter that has no meaning beyond the specific to a particular church at a particular time even made it into the Bible. If we’re not to draw universal lessons from it, why is it there?

        • ivan_the_mad

          We are meant to draw lessons from it, just not the one you’re trying to draw. I’m sure your local Catholic bookstore can direct you to a good commentary.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            You’re dodging. I’m calling you on it. Any commentary I come up with that runs counter to your claims can simply be dismissed by you as not a good commentary. I’m not playing that game. You can certainly name a good commentary, can’t you? But then I get to be the one who judges and *that* seems to be what you’re gaming. I say, you judge, not the other way around seems to be your preferred outcome. Again, this is no way to run a civilized conversation.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “Justice for the able poor is to be had in treating them with dignity as they are God’s children no less than anyone else and offering them ample opportunity to improve their position.” Incorrect. See universal destination of goods, Rerum Novarum.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        You’ve gotta learn the hip lingo, square, instead of quoting these dusty ancient latin texts, daddy-o.

        Ignoring, of course, that Leo XIII was writing weeellllll after that presbyterian moralist posited theories about an invisible hand.

        • Ted Seeber

          Presbyterians, by Catholic Standards, are moral relativists and thus to be ignored.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Incorrect? Are you really saying that I should not treat the poor as my moral equals? Are you really saying I should not make sure they have the opportunity to earn money? And you’re maintaining that this is a Catholic position? Now saying my definition was incomplete would at least have been sane. This doesn’t even rise to that. If you want to restate it as a complaint that I’m incomplete, please be specific if you want me to treat you at all seriously.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “See universal destination of goods, Rerum Novarum.” If you’d done that, you wouldn’t have needed to ask those silly questions.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            More specific please, as those generalities do not support your point so far as I see.

    • John C

      TMLutas: “Demand a demand”? Just think the latest hot new app on the latest hot new iphone. Or the brand new soft drink that’s different from all other soft drinks. Or the latest CD from Lady GooGoo. Or the latest nail polish from Revlon. Jeez, this is fun! I could go on all day!

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        I’m sure you could go on. Unfortunately you haven’t actually defined what demand a demand is, nor have you established that your definition has anything to do with Dale’s definition. An undefined neologism is a slippery thing. You can claim it means anything.

    • http://OmniaVincitVeritas DB

      Superb insights, TMLutas. I just posted part I of a related critique that might appeal to you. It can be found at:

      http://vlogicusinsight.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/separated-shoulders-a-detailed-critique-of-on-all-of-our-shoulders/

      God Bless!

      DB

    • http://jscafenette.com Manny

      Excellent comment TML. I would disagree on one thing. The poor of today are much better off than the poor of previous eras.

      Here’s the core issue in my opinion. What is Chesterton’s or the Popes’ understanding and scholarship of economics? Karl Marx out of thin air created an “economic system” that was supposed to be a utopia, communism. It failed because it was generated from any lack of understanding of economics. Now distributism is not all that different than real life capitalism (and by that I mean it’s not the straw man laissez-faire capitalism that has never actually existed), so I’m not that hard against whatever principles of distributism are advocated. But I am against anyone who claims they can devise an economic system that will bring heaven to earth, especially by people with no economic backgrounds. Economic systems arise organically through trade and the practical regulations placed on trade. You can’t devise one from one’s head, unless of course you’re God, and I don’t think the Popes are claiming they have some special insight on the issue. Where in any economic textbook is the concept of distributism?

  • Dan C

    Wealth is praised as an end in itself. It is among varied right wingers a sign of virtue, a sign of God’s favor, or a sign in which an individual gets special privileges and exceptions (such as the line of thought that one can’t upset the “job creator” too much with taxes or regulations, because the incentive to do what is good and true to hire someone might be dismissed to easily).

    We can start with Jody Bottum’s line by line dissection of Caritatas in Veritate and the Weigel essay on the matter as examples of where the Catholic right intelligentsia dismisses CST. As I noted before, Mr. Weigel and others will claim that there lacks much binding when bishops, like Cardinal Dolan dismiss the shrink-the-government-until-it-drowns-in-the-bathtubism of Grover Norquist, a thought well-entrenched among the First Things Party of the Catholic Right.

    Acton, for example, embraces novel theological and philosophical points embracing wealth as a virtue. Again, this is not a Gospel value.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      Wealth is not an end in itself and I don’t know too many right wingers who actually believe that. Wealth is a measure of possibility, of past deeds done and debts owed, of discipline and the willingness to put off gratification today for larger goals tomorrow. Discipline, foresight, industry, these *are* actually virtues but wealth itself? Any thief can gain wealth without virtue.

    • Merkn

      Name one “right winger” that believes wealth is an end in itself. That is by definition a materialist philosophy that is closer to marxism and its obsession with equal material outcomes for all.

      • Mark Shea

        Do you really believe the Church is wrong to say there is such a thing as the sin of greed (i.e. the sin of believing that wealth is an end in itself). Or do you simply wish to claim that all conservatives are immune from this sin and only your ideological opponents are prey to it.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          It’s pretty clear that sin is a universal of the human condition. But there is a difference between a sin that is incidental to a category and sin which is raised up as virtue by that category. There may be left/right wingers that are pedophiles. In fact, I guarantee it. But it does not necessarily follow that left/right wing thought elevates pedophilia and may justly be tagged as pedophilia friendly. To prove that requires something much, much more.

          So to the sin of greed, of course it exists on the right, as it does on the left. It’s one of the bigs, a universal failing that strikes us all across the political spectrum. But where it strikes, I believe it is incidental to what most people would recognize as conservatism or liberalism. The closest that exists on the right is in the Randian elevation of self-interest but even that, ultimately, is a miss. As an atheist, Rand must find some master mechanism to substitute for the regulatory power of God and settles on self-interest. The overwhelming reception of the idea on the right has been that it’s an interesting backup when faith fails (as faith has failed even great men such as St. Peter) but useful only as a backup. It is something that has its best use as a way to tame the atheists into something approaching civilized behavior.

        • merkn

          No. I agree with you Greed is a sin. Anyone who believes wealth is a proper end is wrong, and depending on his actions, risks committing the sin of greed. In fact it is a mortal sin when all three conditons are presnt. My point is that there is nothing inherent in free market capitalism that requires anyone to be greedy. No responsible proponent that I am aware of advocates such a position. Certainly not Friedman, hayak or smith. There could be something i am missing. tell me. Captalism and fee markets are based on a respect for individual dignity and conscience. The only way you can get someone to give you anything is by persuading him. You cannot compel him. My obligation to aid the poor is personal to me. I cannot discharge it by voting for someone who promises to take someone else’s money to give it to the poor. Nor is it perissible for me to judge the relative sinfulness of others by how they conduct themselves with their wealth, though I may judge particular instances of conduct. It is the distinction between the sin and the sinner.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        I can name any number of them, it isn’t fair to go around publicising the names of private citizens to win debating points. GOP voters are their own worst enemies in this regard.

  • Dan C

    Also, there is an unproven act of faith on the right that is more central than the Mystery of the Eucharist: Welfare creates poverty. Another act of faith on the right: Welfare creates immorality.

    Prove it.

    My claim is that wealth creates greed and immorality. I have a lot of the psalms and much of the synoptics’ “Sermon on the Mount” to support this.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      Also, there is an unproven act of faith on the right that is more central than the Mystery of the Eucharist: Welfare creates poverty. Another act of faith on the right: Welfare creates immorality.

      Prove it.

      There’s so much on that which has been proven (it’s not an “act of faith” by any “right-winger”) the links will probably block this comment as spam. But here’s some primers:
      1) there’s the basic fact that poverty rates were decreasing on their own when Johnson started his “war on poverty” movement. That decrease stopped (or at least, wasn’t as severe as before) after the government policies began and even spiked sometimes after that. a source: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/does-welfare-diminish-poverty/
      2) As for effects on families & morals again there is the simple observation that families everywhere were more intact (even during the most greedy ages) until government welfare started up. another source http://www.nationalaffairs.com/public_interest/detail/how-the-great-society-destroyed-the-american-family

      (there’s also lots of records of immigrants, coming from cultures with strong family backgrounds, finding their family rates decreasing when they move to countries with more generous welfare programs)

      See also: http://www.scribd.com/doc/88767476/The-American-Welfare-State-How-We-Spend-Nearly-1-Trillion-a-Year-Fighting-Poverty-And-Fail-Cato-Policy-Analysis-No-694

      Again, this is only GOVERNMENT welfare. Private welfare and charity nobody has a problem with.

      • Dan C

        The first two articles mix correlation with causation. In fact, the Moynihan article is high rhetoric and little data. That’s a yawner.

        The Cato article is far far more judicious. Still, whilewritten with a bias, it has some notes: welfare decreases the impact of poverty which would be more severe without welfare.

        I am unclear what you think handouts do. Especially parsimonious ones. Welfare prevents worse outcomes. Only jobs provide better ones. Without the wealthy desirous of creating work instead of hording wealth, there is no change in welfare. I work in a ghetto. Most folks work for decades between bad jobs that never provide benefits, that lay them off on the routine, that they leave after the hardly civilized boss attempts a sexual assault. This is life in the workplace in the ghetto. Some, rare, rare folks are the worshipped conservative anti-Madonna, that demoness you have labeled the “welfare momma,” that hateful image of genrational welfare.

        Most work. The job markets in ghettos just resemble more and more the job markets in third world countries like Haiti-limited and scarce. Which as we homogenize employment opportunity through a globalized economy should come as no surprise. Everyone may not be lifted up in America in such a global economy controlled by Wall Street moneychangers-most of whom make nothing from the earth or make no products, just money for rich folk. A global employment market means Americans may have to exist like Haitians in an economy-educated and underemployed and desperate, while a fiscal oligarchy controls their futures.

        Private charity, which is a small part of America’s support of the poor, can start at anytime, but has not. No responsible adult in this discussion who has responsibility for the poor seriously thinks the cessation of government support is going to be a benefit in welfare, not do they think private charity is going to provide support equal to even a double digit percentage of the impact of current welfare system. I reference the once-venerated-by-the-right wing Cardinal Dolan’s recent letter on this matter, answering his MidWest, Ryan-supporting fellow bishops. Government has a role.

        Imagine the Nirvana of the libertarians like Sirico or Weigel. Let us begin with impacts to a health care system in which the poor get none. Medicaid, via the Cato report, is a third of the right-wing-offending behomoth of “the welfare state.” Let’s remove it. Let’s whip away children’s free health care. Now what? Would private charity be able to support the impact? How would vaccines be provided? How would hospitals in poor neighborhoods fare? Clearly at that level, a two-tier outcome system would evolve, in which the poor got worse care. The poor would not attend well-staffed hospitals with good doctors. This is a clear possibility.

        The anarchists of the 1980′s had no plan to replace the systems they hated once they crushed them. Today’s anarchists are anarcho-individualists who want to crush the welfare system and leave a Darwinian market in its place. Which is to say, nothing. If there is no money, there is no market.

        I have seen countries with small governments. These places have private armies to protect the wealthy. And one can’t drink the water. In small government systems, the strong protect themselves and no one else. The weak, which is the majority of the population, suffer extensively (a future for which the Catholic right is prepping us with its promotion of the value of suffering). The whole First Things Party has a discussion of the promotion of faith in government and society. Except when it comes to the Sermon in the Mount for the already-born. When a government which can support its poor, rejects this obligation, it ceases to function as a Christian-based society and, even more, cannot claim a foundation in faith.

        • Andy

          Dan
          Very well written! I work in an area of high rural poverty rates – taking away the already lacking levels of support would be the death quite literally of many of the folks I work with. THe worship of mammon and the prosperity gospel seem to have invaded an entire segment of cathlic thought.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          In fact, the Moynihan article is high rhetoric and little data.

          Followed by a post of high rhetoric and little data…

          My mistake for thinking you were actually interested in any facts or data to begin with.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “most of whom make nothing from the earth or make no products” Sounds like someone’s been reading Leo XIII or Belloc.

      • Dan C

        Wealth creates immorality.

        • merkn

          The New testament teaches the opposite.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

            Wealth creates morality, or Poverty creates immorality?

            The New Testament claims neither. But they are the only two possible options of the category “opposite Dan C’s claim.”

            Perhaps you meant the New Testament teaches differently? If so, say so. If you can’t speak clearly, why should anyone assume you are thinking clearly?

            • merkn

              You are right. I was imprecise. The whited seplucher passage of the New Testament is quite clear sin is the product of free choice and disordered desires. It is not caused by material things. So wealth cannot create immorality. That is why greed is an inordinate desire for wealth. It is not simply having wealth. The poor can be greedy. The rich can be virtuous, such as Joseph of Arimethea.

              • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

                If one good deed qualifies as virtue, then who isn’t virtuous?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      It is an article of faith on the right that incentives matter. Then again the left and center also believe this so I’m not entirely sure what is objectionable about that. That perverse incentives exist in virtually every government welfare schemes is well documented. It is fairly uncontroversial that 80% marginal tax rates disincent the wealthy from working hard and creating jobs. But welfare contains income points where exactly that sort of brutally unfair tax rates effectively apply. So a certain percent persist and escape the poverty trap anyway but a certain number of people just don’t make the effort to get past those points and remain mired in poverty. This gives us a net higher poverty rate with welfare than otherwise.

  • Elaine S.

    “Another act of faith on the right: Welfare creates immorality.”
    If you’re referring to the oft-repeated assertion that welfare undermined the family, I think that’s kind of a chicken-and-egg question. Did the welfare state CAUSE the breakdown of the family, or did the welfare state develop BECAUSE the family had already started to disintegrate and government “had to” step in? Personally I think the two feed off of and perpetuate one another to a certain extent, but ultimately family breakdown due to the sexual revolution, easy divorce, and other causes was the “chicken” that laid the “egg” of the nanny state, and not the other way around.

    • Dan C

      I maintain in states with more extensive welfare and entitlement environments, like Scandinavian countries, crime is less in impoverished communitiies, and outcomes, like better educations and consequent stable families a generation after enlisting on welfare is more routine.

      We have a parsimonious welfare state for the poor.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Have a care. The Scandinavian countries went broke in the ’90s. The american left has had a disconnect ever since between the Scandinavian nations in reality and those in their imagination. There is a recent appreciation on the right of certain initiatives coming out of Scandinavia these days.

    • Dan C

      Welath creates immorality. No one is attending to this. Possession and greed dominate a market system. Wealth, more than welfare, is the problem.

      Thismflies directly counter to Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Robert Sirico who posit as a broad assumption, that wealth is a sign of virute in some way- either a sign of favor, or a sign one has “done good.”

      I put forth the opposite: wealth is a sign of immorality.

      • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com Dan F.

        not quite – I think some St. Basil is appropriate here:

        Is God unjust, dividing unequally the goods of this life? Why are you rich, while the other is poor? Isn’t it, if for no other reason, so that you can gain a reward for your kindness and faithful stewardship, and for him to be honored with the great virtue of patience?

        He goes on of course to condemn the rich man for avarice

        But you, having gathered everything inside the empty bosom of avarice, do you think that you wrong no one, while you rob so many people?

        The point being that it isn’t wealth per se that creates immorality anymore than money is the root of all evil. It’s the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Not every rich man is a villian or successful because he stole from the poor. Many are but generalizing large groups of people prevents us from seeing their humanity.

        • ivan_the_mad

          I agree. Wealth is not intrinsically evil, greed is. I hold in my head two ideas, one from Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum, that a man owns the product of his labors, and something Chesterton wrote, I think from What’s Wrong with the World, running something like “Every man has a right to earn a living, but not the right to earn the living of three or four other men besides”.

          • ivan_the_mad

            And yes, those two ideas are an exhaustive list of what’s in my head :P

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          The point being that it isn’t wealth per se that creates immorality anymore than money is the root of all evil. It’s the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Not every rich man is a villian or successful because he stole from the poor. Many are but generalizing large groups of people prevents us from seeing their humanity.

          +1 internet for this

        • Ted Seeber

          It’s easy to tell a virtuous rich man from an immoral one. The virtuous one doesn’t have any bank accounts left because he’s given it all away.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            This is the nattering of someone who has no concept of seed corn. I want to gain wealth so I can do great deeds and right great wrongs. Undercapitalized efforts that fail are no sign of virtue. Successful efforts that turn a profit are no sign of vice.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

              A concept of seed corn? You mean to say you have an abstract theory claiming to mimic the practise of farmers, or do you have actual experience saving seeds?

              I have the latter. I still agree with Ted. because we did refuse to eat or feed the poor with the seed, and instead used its fruits to feed ourselves and the poor. What we did not do was try to save as much seed as possible, until our barns were bursting with dried seed. If the overwhelming majority of the fruit of production isn’t being ground into meal to fill bellies, then saving seeds is pointless.

              Lived experience is much more useful in educating human beings than regurgitating abstractions.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                Um, actually, I have both. I don’t plant much (living in suburbia means it’s all backyard gardening) but I have eaten tomatoes from saved seeds set aside from previous meals. I pay attention to the GMO debates and worry about Monsanto going over the line and closing off seed saving.

                By saving seed corn in the intellectual sense, I mean that there is some amount of resources that we should not use to fill the bellies of the poor today so that we can fund the elimination of smallpox, which we have eliminated. Ditto for rinderpest, and we’re working on malaria. This concept is not especially tricky or controversial. Figuring out which projects should be done now and which ones not, what are the relative balances appropriate between the long term projects that are financed right now, and what are the balances between immediate consumption and financing these longer term projects *is* tricky. It’s so tricky that we haven’t figured out how to properly do it yet. The best we’ve come up with is capitalism, a system which simply refrains from assigning virtue or vice to the status of one’s bank balance.

                If you’re a farmer and your traditional market is Ethiopia, and you’ve got irrigation, a bad, multi-year drought reducing yields on 90% of your competitors would mean cheap land available and an incentive to put more acreage under irrigation. But put in neverending loads of free food aid and the incentives change and you end up financially against the wall too. That’s not a solution but it *is* what happened in Ethiopia during the 1980s.

                The best current thinking is that absent very temporary disruptions (earthquake, tsunami) starvation is a political issue. People set up rules that stop food from moving and people starve because of those rules. If that is true, it doesn’t matter how much you divert to feeding the poor, people will still starve and that extra food is going to destroy more marginal producers. Overwhelmingly the people going bust are going to be poor farmers who are just a bit above subsistence agriculture. Spending more, not solving the problem of starvation, and knocking poor farmers in the head is not what I call authentic Catholicism.

                • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                  I don’t want more spending. I want rules knocked down, just like you. That’s not what is actually going to happen by supporting the GOP.

                  Men should be able to lay claim to unproductive property they make productive. In just parks alone, it is scandalous the amount of land reserved for the pure recreational enjoyment of the upper and middle classes. This doesnt even get into the vast tracks held by speculators. Nor the real estate markets which give preference to the wealthy, so that land which could be made productive by mostly human labour is given over to concerns which seek to reduce the involvement of human labour.

                  As I am sure you’ve figured out I am a georgist. One thing my ancestors had very very right was denying any man ownership of land.

                  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                    Bill Buckley and the NR crew showed how to fix the problem of wayward Republicans way back in the mid-century fights against the Birchers. You go to the right of them and purge them as insufficiently conservative because that’s the direction from which they have few defenses.

                    The trick these folks have is to loudly proclaim principles and quietly not live up to them. Well, identify the inconsistencies, chapter and verse, and nail them for it. An example: there is no, zero, nada economic theory held by any Republican that justifies the Attorney General setting a global production quota for the production of a list of pharmaceuticals. Yet any Republican who supports the current war on drugs does so. During the current administration, the predictable finally happened, we got an AG operation that significantly drifted their permissions off of market needs and we got a major spike in shortages. I’ve personally helped people get around those shortages and warned hundreds to have a care so they get their refills in early.

                    On land, I’d offer up state land in a new homestead act. It’s not socialist as it reduces government control of the means of production. It is redistributionist in favor of the poor and provides all the right incentives because it requires work. There are actually several communities that are already doing this, mostly on the plains. There’s no reason for it not to be tried elsewhere.

                    I can’t agree about no ownership of land. The tragedy of the commons is a real problem that is fixed by land ownership.

          • Merkn

            So anyone with a savings is by that definition immoral? Or do you have a dollar limit or cutoff?

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

              Look at the lilies and the birds. They don’t start manufacturing conglomerates or corporate agriculture consortiums and yet they are arrayed in beautiful splendor, and eat and reproduce.

              If God sees to the maintenance of these, that are inconsequential compared to those who bear the Imagio Dei, how much more is His concern for man?

              I was wrong, instead of the Social Encyclicals, you might try just reading the Gospels.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                Because we love our children, we’d like to save them from an average lifespan of 35 and an appalling array of diseases. The lilies and the birds are unable to do this for their children though we can. And if we can, and we don’t, how are we any different than the 3rd servant who buried his talent (Matt 25)?

                • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

                  If we can find a way to upload our consciousness into a digital format, loosing ourselves from our bodies and achieving immortality all on our own…

                  It’s the same thing. Do the things God commands. Once those are all checked off, only then move on to avoiding the human condition.

              • Merkn

                I have read them, and read them daily. I do not accept the sola scripture reading that your answer suggests. I suggest you might try a decent Catholic commentary.

      • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

        Welath creates immorality. No one is attending to this. Possession and greed dominate a market system. Wealth, more than welfare, is the problem.

        I put forth the opposite: wealth is a sign of immorality.

        So the answer to sin must then be poverty. (because apparently the poor are perfectly moral) The world was perfect before people started creating things they wanted/needed (the econ definition of wealth).

        There then is your argument against welfare. If we increase the wealth of the poor, they’ll become immoral. In fact, communists must have the most moral countries of all since they create so much poverty.

        Or, you know, it could be that man is fallen creature who will use anything and everything to be immoral.

        • Ted Seeber

          St. Francis indeed taught that one answer to the sin of Greed was Poverty. Just as he taught that the answer to the sin of Pride was Obedience, and the answer to the sin of Lust was Chastity.

        • http://OmniaVincitVeritas DB

          Excellent insights, Nate. Many well-intentioned but misguided people also believe that the poor cannot be greedy, similar to the thinking of those muddle-headed yahoos who claim that only white people can be racist.

          I’ve addressed Catholic Social Doctrine and Economics via a few posts at my blog that you might find intriguing, including part I of a detailed critique of “On all of our shoulders” posted earlier today at
          http://vlogicusinsight.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/separated-shoulders-a-detailed-critique-of-on-all-of-our-shoulders/

          God Bless!

          DB

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

          The answer to the sin of greed is indeed poverty! The voluntary embrace of poverty, in order to tend to the least of these. Which is more important, saving a dollar, or seeing the face of Christ? He never said He’d be present in the man who puts your money in a strongbox so that he might lend it out at interest, netting you 3.5% on your investment. And He certainly isn’t in the 3.5%.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Two men go and work in a soup kitchen. One has fine clothes, the other not so fine. Is tending to the least of these lessened by your dress when you do it? I would have thought it irrelevant. The better financed man has a greater obligation because he has greater possibilities. God demands we give our best. He does not demand a flat amount, but a flat percent.

            The *love* of money is the root of all evil. If you cannot give up the love of money, it’s perfectly reasonable to give up money itself and live in poverty. But that does not invalidate the approach of someone who successfully gives up love of money. An answer to loving money as an end to itself is simply not to love it that way. I say that is a Catholic answer. I recognize there are other answers. Why won’t you recognize that your preferred solution is not the only one?

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

              Because people are freezing to death in a land covered in unoccupied housing; starving, literally, in a land of plenty.

              I am all for wealth creation. If we are to have laws, let them be laws which penalise hoarding and speculation and reward real labor.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                1/3 of our homeless are mentally ill off their meds. That’s a real problem but not one that’s fixable by seizing property. You’re not coming from the same background as I am so you probably don’t realize how painful a diatribe against hoarders and speculators is for anybody that’s coming out of the communist world. If you want to take this up on your blog, I’ll be happy to do it there in depth (we’re getting nested pretty deep here). I’m willing to listen to your point and I hope whatever it is is actually better than I’m reading it because the hoarder/speculator thing has such an ugly history to it.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

              Again, “Universal Destination of Goods”. It is not about percentages.

              Look, you know far more than I about the modern secular art of Economics. You need to give at least as much study to what the Church has to teach on the subject, don’t you think? Luke and Acts, then the Basil, then the Social Encyclicals.

              Because you aren’t engaging in a hard science, no matter how much some economists like to imagine they are. There is nothing objective there that is outside the judgment of the Church.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

                You’re right that economics is a bit mushy. We haven’t progressed nearly far enough to call economics a hard science. But what does the mushiness of economics knowledge have to do with the Church? Economics is the art of distributing limited resources in a world of unlimited human wants. The Church’s interest is in forming consciences so that the wants that economics is ordering against are pleasing to God. I do not see a conflict. If economics is messing around with the wants, it’s gone beyond its natural limits.

  • Mark

    Funny, the one time the gospel refers to the apostles and money, One of them is getting paid to betray our Lord

    • merkn

      Another time is when Judas condemns Mary for squandering her perfume when it could have been sold for the benefit of the poor.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

        And when people start griping about the Wealthy using their resources to glorify the Son of Man, I’ll jump right in and quote that prooftext right alongside you!!!

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          People use their wealth, sometimes, to glorify the Son of Man. It happens. This means that proper broadsides at the wealthy need to have at least a modicum of target selection or you *are* “griping about the Wealthy using their resources to glorify the Son of Man” as you say.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

            No one is glorified by full coffers. It is only in emptying coffers that any possibility of glorifying God is possible. There is a real trend, well documented, that wealth becomes concentrated more and more in fewer and fewer hands under capitalism/socialism. This system, capitalism/socialism is predicated on the collection of wealth. The creation of wealth need not be collected, but could instead be dispersed. But to do that you would have to have a culture which does vilify greed. This one is not it.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

              I won’t address socialism because it’s got a problem that it just doesn’t work. That’s a non-starter.

              All money is eventually spent, all wealth expended. If nothing else, you die and your estate spends itself dry according to the default inheritance laws of whatever polity you end up passing away in. What is up for discussion is when is it spent, at what pace, and to what purpose.

              You are correct about the concentration of wealth in real life capitalism. But the problem isn’t capitalism per se. It is in the ability and willingness of the rich to block their competitors through the political system. Wealth accumulates where economic decisions produce profits and dissipates where economic decisions produce loss. That is the profit and loss system, capitalism. Capitalists who buy the law should be punished. That fixes the problem. Unfortunately we have grown our governments so complex that we can barely count them, much less properly supervise them.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

            On second thought, just no.

            The architecture of this civilisation comparable tot he Cathedrals of Christendom? Banks, Law Offices, Corporate Headquarters.

            The art comparable? None. Lots of art is produced, to improve beer and shampoo sales in the case of television, to make a buck off the viewer directly in the case of movies. And neither begins to approach Christian Art in quality, no matter the skill of its manufacturers, notwithstanding a few self-important egos that make their livelihood pretending it is.

            So little wealth in this nation is put towards glorifying the Son of Man as to leave me wondering what color the sky is on your world.

            • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

              On second thought, I will respond on this one too.

              Whatever makes you think that the icon painters are not engaged in capitalism? What incompatibility is there between capitalism and the creation of christian art? I would suggest that for the capitalist period, most of the cathedrals were built using it.

              I just got finished viewing a video. In the presentation was a minor fact, that somebody made a movie that “wowed Cannes” and won a prize. It was made for $218. Capitalism has reduced the price of tools necessary to create art to such a small level that the wonder is why you or I do not make christian art. In my case, I know why. I’ve tried and I’m awful at it. So why don’t you? If you’re connected enough to reach this forum, you probably have access to a machine that can be turned into an artist station for the cost of a DVD blank. Download the ArtistX DVD and have at it and encourage other religious minded people to do likewise.

              Sound, sight, touch, all art is within our reach to the limits of our talent and a good chunk of that would not be true but for capitalism. That we do not take advantage of our opportunities is a sickness of the spirit, not of our economic system.

  • Cantorboy

    Can’t believe nobody has said it yet..
    OK Mark, let’s hear it in your best John Houseman voice: “You come in here with a skull full of mush, and you leave thinking like a Catholic!”

    Been workin’ for me. Keep up the good work.

    • Mark Shea

      Gawrsh! Thanks! You’re a mensch!

  • http://www.caelumetterra.wordpress.com Daniel Nichols

    Oddly, Mr Ahlquist endorsed Rick Santorum early in this presidential race…Many consider him a pseudo-distributist.

    • ivan_the_mad

      He’s also clearly No True Scotsman.

  • Stilbelieve

    If the Church is so critical of capitalism, which only produced the best living standards for the most people the world has ever known, why haven’t they gone into the business of producing and providing the common needs of people to show the rest of us how it should be done? But may I be so rude to suggest that perhaps they should spend a little more time, first, teaching their flocks, at least in the capital of capitalism, the U.S., that giving the first pro-abortion, pro-infanticide candidate for President 54% of their vote, which included most of the bishops and clergy, does not comport with their professing in church on Sundays that God is the giver of life and their praying before the Holy Eucharist for His will to be done on earth, and to be delivered from evil. Once they have mastered what their vocation is, helping the laity have a properly formed conscience, including themselves, then I will have a little more confidence that they know what they are talking about concerning the business owners who are providing jobs for people and supplying people with the goods that they need and want.

    • Mark Shea

      If the Church is so critical of capitalism, which only produced the best living standards for the most people the world has ever known, why haven’t they gone into the business of producing and providing the common needs of people to show the rest of us how it should be done?

      Because the Church is not a business? Thank you for proving my point, yet again, about the disastrously corrupting influence on catechesis the Thing that Used to be Conservatism has had on catechesis.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        I disagree to the extent that the Church *does* run businesses. The weakness in the argument is that the Church does not disagree with capitalism properly understood. It disagrees with what is done with the fruits of capitalism, the lifestyle choices that too many choose that are sinful in various ways including lacking in charity and justice.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

          Capitalism, properly understood, has no preferential option for the poor, whatsoever. Popes spanning 3 centuries say you’re wrong on this one.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

            Capitalism does not concern itself with the poor one way or the other except to give them the best opportunity possible to stop being poor. That is the best you can really hope for from an economic system that actually sticks to what it’s supposed to be doing. The preferential option for the poor is best exercised by the preferences of those who have money giving some of their money, along with their time and their talent to help the poor. The POFP is anti-efficiency. Economics is all about efficiency. We choose POFP out of love, not out of some misguided idea that it makes economic sense. It does not. It never has.

            Economics is not everything. That’s one of the other nice things about capitalism. It does not pretend to answer all questions.

            The real world problem is that we end up both with less wealth and more poor when we monkey around and try to force economics into a role it is not suited to fulfill. I think the popes have never been much in favor of enforced poverty when there was an alternative.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

      How can you call a culture which embraces nihilism, abortion, infanticide and the destruction of the family the best living standards?

      That only makes sense if you value physical comfort for yourself over the commonweal. I say capitalism/socialism (they are brothers born of the same mother you know) have produced the absolute worst standards of living even before the Nativity. Even pagans recognised real virtue, even if they only expected it of decent women.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

        Living standards has a technical definition. I think you are using a different definition so of course you don’t agree. But if you don’t agree, you really ought to lay out what you mean by living standards. That might at least give you a shot at resolving the conflict.

  • Stilbelieve

    Oh, yeah, let’s not forget the U.S. bishops are one of the biggest supporters and defenders of unions in the country today, such as they showed to be in Wisconsin. And today’s unions are the biggest financial and volunteer contributors to the election of pro-abortion legislators and executives of state and the federal govenment.

    • Mark Shea

      It’s true that the Magisterium are often not good Republicans at all. And it’s also clear that when it comes to a choice between the two, you prefer your instruction in the Faith from the GOP and Fox.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

      Read Rerum Novarum.

      Must. Not. Express. My. Opinion. Is. Still. A. Child. Of. God. No matter how obscured by the grime of commerce.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

      I too am against unions. My opposition to them is largely because they lower the wages of the non-union majority in favor of their membership minority. That’s not a true labor movement in my book. They also are too prone to violence and have extracted legal privileges that never should have been granted in the United States. I would like to see them replaced with more effective organizations that would improve capitalism by focusing on job creation. Nothing advances the interests of workers more than persistent low unemployment and our current labor organizations do not focus on that.

      I fault the bishops for not seeing the need to improve labor organizations and being satisfied with, and giving their support to, the poor excuse for labor groups we have now. But it’s not like labor groups are their bread and butter so I don’t get too bent out of shape about it and I am confident that if bishops were to be given a choice between current unions and something better, they would support the better alternative.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

        Wait, you oppose Unions because some have misused the right of labor to organise? But to object to capitalism because many capitalists have done so is beyond the pale?

        Seriously, put some real reflection into the Social Justice encyclicals. They are a real eye-opener.

        • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

          I oppose unions because they *all* have misused the right of labor to organize. The lowering wages for the non-unionized bit is the deal breaker for me. That’s a universal feature of collective bargaining unions. Beggar they neighbor is not Catholic. Nor is beggar thy neighbor a sign of a real worker’s movement. Labor unions as currently constituted are membership clubs. We can do better for workers and I’m convinced that it would improve capitalism’s results.

  • Nora

    I look forward to Mark Shea’s next book as I am guessing he will not be charging for the book as making a profit is evil. Praying for Mr. Shea and all who read this blog.

    p.s. Odd that many of us Catholics, including myself, who want to deal with the intrinsic evil of abortion first and then move on to prudential matters are vilified by many of the “social justice set.” Why is it that people like me who believe that a thriving economy – not at the exclusion of human dignity – is the best way for families to feed themselves and to help their neighbor are called heartless? Why is taxing someone else excessively charity?

    • Mark Shea

      Who said making a profit is evil? Straw man much?

      • Nora

        Not a straw man at all. It’s the logical conclusion of bashing free markets as being just some amoral Presbyterian’s idea of an economic system [see combox above for details].

        For some on here who bash pro-lifers and call them EXTREMISTS because they vote with the Republicans currently because the only alternative is to support someone who supports intrinsic evil, they themselves become so extreme that they can no longer see in themselves that they are one half of the warning Chesterton gives. They exempt themselves from his admonitions and become caricatures of what he was saying as well as lacking any sense of charity they claim the other side has none of.

        So be dismissive of people as “Fox News Watchers,” speaking of straw man, and ignore the unintended consequences of your words and realize that no economic system is going to be completely just as this is not Heaven, this is earth.

        Praying for all of this blog as we are One Body.

        • Mark Shea

          Okay. Now you move from the lie that Distributist think it is evil to turn a profit to the lie that anybody here is calling prolifers extremists. You really have a gift for strawman arguments. And lying.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garret

          Abandoning the trivuum is among Western Man’s greatest mistakes.

          It does not follow logically, in the least, that rejection of Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is a rejection of the notion that a man is entitled to the fruits of his labor. Rejection of the profit motive is not rejection of profit, per se.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          Acknowledging the historical fact that “Free Markets” and the “Invisible hand” were the creations of a Presbyterian moralist is bashing? That was mine.

          Or was it Ted’s comment that Presbyterians are Amoral which is bashing, not your protestant brothers and sisters, but your precious markets?

          Sort of a skewed set of values, ain’t it?

      • Merkn

        I thought that was Hezakiah’s interpretation of the Lillies of the Field passage that he used to condemn ownership of a savings account. I take it you disagree?