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Mark Shea's Blog: So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again!
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WARNING TO ALL: Pope still Catholic. Mainstream media dismayed. Film at 11.
. Seriously though. This is one of those areas where the Conservatives (in the political sense, not theological) really wish the Church would just shut up. Note that these are the same conservatives swift to criticism liberals for wishing the Church would shut up about pelvic issues. . If you’re confusing and confounding both the Left and the Right, it’s a pretty good indication you’re doing something right.
Well put, Mark S. (not for Shea)!
Whether people like it or not, Catholic social teaching on the economy has never been libertarian.
And yet another situation where the word “libertarianism” pops up but bears to relation to actual libertarianism.
to relation = no relation
Agreed. What the Church officials are talking strong issue with is standard private market conservatism. True libertarianism would be even more out of step with Catholic thought.
Snappy typical response, yet just as wrong and misinformed.
So enlighten us.
This may help.
Morris, it would seem libertarians have no objection to the union shop.
I’m somewhat slow-witted, so I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Libertarians have no objection to people doing what they choose to do as long as that does not involve coercing other, aggression towards others, or theft. If you’re talking about workers forming a union, more power to them…provided they don’t coerce or partner with the state to coerce, and leave people free to hire them or hire non-union. If I missed the boat, let me know.
That is helpful. Currently, in the so-called “right-to-work” states, the state makes it illegal for a employer and union to mutually agree to a union shop or closed shop (i.e. that the employer will hire union members). Rockwell seems to imply this is inappropriate state interference in a private contract.
But Mark, as a faithful libertarian Catholic I can serve two masters!
I sent this to my Father (uber Catholic) who is a libertarian, asking him if he’d care to comment.
“Yes. In fact, I could write reams of material on this,
but to what end? Who would read it? (*we generally glaze over when he writes on the subject because we are too busy raising kids and trying to make a living).
The cardinal mentions countries without natural
resources. Because of this lack of resources, he says,
the people of countries with abundant natural
resources are morally obligated to send their
earnings to the people who live in the areas lacking
I need only to refer to one place that gives the lie
to this theory: Hong Kong. Hong Kong has zero
natural resources, and possibly the highest population density
in the world.
Why are there fewer “poor people” in Hong Kong than
in, say, Honduras where there are abundant natural
Answer: there is a very free market in Hong Kong, even
now that it is under red hegemony. In Honduras, the
economy is strangled by corruption.
Hong Kong is an Asian Manhattan. Phenomenal wealth butting right against sad deprivation. Hong Kong is a financial capital, that is a center of fiscalization of the economy. Money, not product, or work, is the center of worship.
That is Hong Kong
Thanks, sent him the links. He’s too smart to go down easy though.
“Read the entire cnn article. Near the bottom
they finally calculate in the poverty rate AFTER
counting welfare benefits.
Look, there are poor people living in Santa Barbara.
But getting back to my point, which you appear to have
glossed over, the Cardinal referenced countries without
natural resources, as if that were the reason for widespread
poverty. Hong Kong has NO natural resources. In spite
of this, the poverty level is low. Not non existent, but low.”
Now he’s a little p.o.’d: “Compare the poverty rate in Hong Kong with that of Honduras:
60% living in poverty, 36% living in extreme poverty. Q.E.D.”
Money, not product, or work, is the center of worship.
(I get it)
My thoughts: Anna Lisa’s father mischaracterizes Pope Francis’s teaching — which is a reiteration of Pope Paul VI’s teaching — as a categorical assertion that development is a monotonic function of natural resources. If that’s not what the popes are teaching, then it wouldn’t be true that he “need only to refer to one place that gives the lie to this theory.”
Here is Evangelii Gaudium 190, referenced by Cardinal Rogriguez. Note in particular the expression “fewer resources or less development.” Is Hong Kong a place with less development than Honduras?
190. Sometimes it is a matter of hearing the cry of entire peoples, the poorest peoples of the earth, since “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights, but also on respect for the rights of peoples”. Sadly, even human rights can be used as a justification for an inordinate defense of individual rights or the rights of the richer peoples. With due respect for the autonomy and culture of every nation, we must never forget that the planet belongs to all mankind and is meant for all mankind; the mere fact that some people are born in places with fewer resources or less development does not justify the fact that they are living with less dignity. It must be reiterated that “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others”. To speak properly of our own rights, we need to broaden our perspective and to hear the plea of other peoples and other regions than those of our own country. We need to grow in a solidarity which “would allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny”, since “every person is called to self-fulfilment”.’
And the footnotes:
 PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 157.
 PAUL VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (14 May 1971), 23: AAS 63 (1971), 418.
 PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio (26 March 1967), 65: AAS 59 (1967), 289.
 Ibid., 15: AAS 59 (1967), 265.
The thing is, is that he would agree with everything that you just quoted. He just doesn’t have the faith that Pope Francis knows how to grow an economy. He would tell me something like, “do you think that the current system is unjust? Fine, let’s work to improve it, but misty eyes and a lump in the throat won’t do the job.”
This is what he said:
“Still, the Cardinal should inquire why there is more poverty
in his country than in Hong Kong (a city I picked at random.)
The answer: a market economy, not a command economy.
I rest my case that our churchmen should stick to that
which they know: theology. Economics is not their
If your father agrees with what the Cardinal actually said, I suppose it’s fine if he disagrees with what the Cardinal didn’t say.
Oops, I should have told him I would post his response….
While the speech is largely reasonable–I am no libertarian, but a free marketeer–it must be recognized that the American market-based economics is largely unique in the world. Every economic discussion I have had with Europeans has been a dead end. We’ve had S American clients firms and govts ready to open up markets to competition and provide jobs for their people. That is not a dominant view of economics in S. A. however. This cardinal is another South American clergy who may have some liberation theology views owning to the unjust oligarchies that rule those countries. Those countries are not run on market economics, but cronyism. There are a variety of causes of poverty in a nation. Could be climate, lack of natural resources, etc. The despotic national governments are a huge cause of poverty. Nothing “trickles down” to the poor but those in power are greatly enriched.
Not seeing much trickle down here either. Probably because of our unjust oligarchy: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/21/americas-oligarchy-not-democracy-or-republic-unive/
Yes, O has really put us into crony capitalism like never before. He’s pumped money into Wall St. His many regulations, not just Ocare, have stalled employment and hobbled small businesses. Govt crony spending and regulations do not improve the economy.
Well that’s what happens when you get politicians who are bought and sold by corporations. Romney would have been so much worse. We’ve been on the path to oligarchy since Regan and Clinton started deregulating everything.
Excellent article in American Conservative: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/who-owns-america/
Those who think there is “deregulation” in any meaningful way are silly. Regulations are not the enemy of the big corporations, they are their very good friends; the regulatory agencies are used by the established economic powers to keep competitors at bay by raising barriers to entry and keeping competition to a minimum.
Fair enough, although the deregulation scheme that began during the Reagan and Clinton years was deregulation in the sense that the regulations were changed to be big company friendly rather than consumer/citizen/entrepreneurial friendly.
Here’s a Catholic libertarian’s response to the Honduran Cardinal’s speech, for those interested.
And an earlier article by the same author regarding the myths about libertarianism that float around in Catholic circles….like, um, this one (he links to one of Mark S’s posts).
Thank you for posting the full text. Context is always important.
The idea that we somehow have a “libertarian” global economy, when it is controlled by states, who have a monopoly on currency, and who are influenced by large businesses to create laws, regulations, and trade regimes in their favor, is laughable. The thought that someone from one of the most corrupt, violent, and impoverished narcostates in the hemisphere blames those conditions on anti-government influences is pitiful.
It’s a shame folks refuse to dialogue with libertarian-leaning Catholics. I know it’s not as much fun as building straw men, but we might actually learn something from each other. Like the fact that we’re not a bunch of 80s movie stereotypes, with sweaters tied around our necks reading the finance section of the newspaper.
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