• IRVCath

    Oh, it conserves, all right. The problem is that much of what is being conserved is not what Catholics should conserve.

    I think a lot of it is that Catholics in this country have been so eager to assimilate (understandable given our historical experiences) that we’ve adopted wholesale a lot of the attributes of our non-Catholic neighbors, including their bad habits. With the Left, it is obvious; but it is harder for those of us on the Right to see it. A lot of this can be pinpointed by our uncritical assimilation into mainstream culture.

  • Jim Dailey

    I think the writer is making a couple of “leaps” here. The first is tying conservative Catholics to Walmart management. Where is there a conservative Catholic blog approving of Walmart’s treatment of this woman? The second leap is the idea that the government, if it could only have more hard-earned taxpayer money – will somehow ending up caring for this woman and her child in particular and the poor in general.
    I think it is nothing more than polemics to equate conservative Catholics with a Walmart management structure that will not move a pregnant woman to lighter duty. Do you have an article wherein anyone, speaking as a Catholic, says that what Walmart did is appropriate? If not, please stop sowing an “us vs. them” mentality. I may get you clicks on a blog but really does little to promote understanding. St. Thomas would be ashamed.
    Secondly, the idea of paying money to this particular administration at this particular time with the idea that they will spend it caring for the poor is, at best, naive. I think you would be far better served pointing out how billions of dollars better suited to helping care for the poor are instead being spent on things like abortion than moaning that people should fork over yet more money to this poorly managed secular regime.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      The second leap is the idea that the government, if it could only have more hard-earned taxpayer money – will somehow ending up caring for this woman and her child in particular and the poor in general.

      Where did Mark or his correspondent make this leap?

      • Jim Dailey

        In the click through where Mark references an argument that purports to provide support that “conservative Catholics” are somehow trying to destroy social networks for the poor is this telling quote:

        ” And while private help and charity are great things and to be
        encouraged, nonetheless help typically comes through the state whose
        proper job is precisely to provide for the common good. So in addition
        to our charitable work, we are to pay taxes cheerfully.”

        Speaking for “conservative Catholics” everywhere, we do not look with suspicion on what the Church is telling us, but we are very very skeptical of politicians in general and the politicians running the executive branch in particular. Politicians in general have a funny way of deciding what the “common good” is, and these particular politicians have repeatedly insulted Catholic teachings.
        I read recently that the Federal government cheerfully handed over $24 million to Planned Parenthood to build a murder-mill in Atlanta Georgia. The article happily described how many murders (“procedures”) could performed per day as a result of the construction of the slaughterhouse (“facility”). Doing the math, one can see that if the slaughterhouse operates at the chilling “full capacity” statistic cited by the cheerful PP flack, the average per-murder charge works out to an astonishing $2,200 per killing.

        Again, we Conservative Catholics are all for helping the poor, not murdering them. Which is why we find it curious that “liberal” Catholics would demand we “cheerfully” pay 1 penny more in taxes to the current regime.

        • Dan C

          Sweden. Australia. New Zealand. Examples of generous social welfare states that work.

          You answer the question of taxes for social welfare with “Abortion!” as if that is a real explanation of your position.

          What is an explanation of your position is, no matter what good, or what magisterial authority indicates on social welfare entitlements, you do not want to give more “hard-earned money to the government.”

          • Benjamin2.0

            What is an explanation of your position is, no matter what good, or what magisterial authority indicates on social welfare entitlements, you do not want to give more “hard-earned money to the government.”

            If such cannoodling tends to be counterintuitive in this country, why not oppose it?

            As the man said:

            the idea of paying money to this particular administration at this particular time with the idea that they will spend it caring for the poor is, at best, naive. I think you would be far better served pointing out how billions of dollars better suited to helping care for the poor are instead being spent on things like abortion than moaning that people should fork over yet more money to this poorly managed secular regime.

            • Dan C

              You say code words that are supposed to mean something. You invoke “Obama hate” which has been the conservative policy motivator since Republicans declared that they were intent to make this administration fail. You invoke imperialism which again is to mean something.

              It’s not 2004. Such code words carry less weight and there is really only a discredited argument at this point for the constant spew of nonsensical rationalities to oppose government at all cost.

              Victimizing others to achieve Obama-hate goals is de rigeur, I understand. But it is immoral.

              • Dave G.

                Unfortunately, the word hate has become its own code word, like so many others, in recent years.

                • Dan C

                  I am all for a synonym, but it has to be powerful enough to described these events and complete enough to do so too:

                  http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1452899

                  http://mediamattersaction.org/mobile/message/onepagers/201208310001

                  • Dave G.

                    Opposing Obama is not hate. Anymore than opposing Bush or vowing to defeat him from the election night of 2000 on was not hate. I’m sure there is always hate able to be found in any group. But it’s not hate to oppose or be honest about wanting him to fail. It’s politics, for better or worse. Even admitting wanting him to fail, though that is better than those who were more worried about Bush’s rising poll numbers in the wake of 9/11 than how to protect against further terrorist attacks. That, to me, was it’s own form of hate.

                    • Dan C

                      I would have been more impressed if Democrats had not rolled over and played dead nor accepted blame as Rove, Cheney, and Bush dishes out to them after 9-11. In fact, I have tried to find evidence of a coordinated opposition to Bush among elected Democrats at the time and could not find it.

                      Essentially, I recall that Bush was elected and coordinate opposition died.

                      Now, coordinates opposition to policies that one is opposed to is different than trying to personally sink the President.

                    • Dave G,

                      Perhaps in your part of the country, but not mine. Nor the part covered by the news. In fact, the first post-9/11 complaint I heard was in late October, 2001. A pundit was on CNN complaining that critics of Bush since 9/11 were being called unpatriotic. That came as a shock, since I hadn’t heard anyone criticizing Bush up to that point. Much less calling anyone unpatriotic. But after that, as I paid closer attention, I noticed that the criticisms and accusations began to fly. Not so much from officially elected pols as much as pundits and activists. Back then, the narrative was that the attacks were a result of Bush’s elections (that was before we realized they had been planned for years before 2000). All of this following months of threats and accusations that Bush was illegally elected and that the election was a fraud and that Bush was going to be made a lame duck from day one. 9/11, I fear, did little to re-frame the priorities. Not that I’m a fan of Bush or Rove. I can’t abide Rove personally, at least Rove as the professional. But it is what it is. I don’t doubt there were conservatives who only pushed for war in the Middle East for oil. I don’t doubt there were liberals who did everything they could, up to hindering America’s own, in order to hamstring Bush. Such is politics. A practical profession at its best, an ugly one more often than not.

          • Jim Dailey

            I think a more accurate representation of my position is that I do not want to give more hard-earned money to the government until the government has proven it will spend the money it is currently taking in a way that is consistent with Catholic social teaching.

            You offer up examples of a few small countries where the government works better. Fine. I will not even debate you on your broad claims. I will instead offer a slightly different example. I recently visited Dublin Ireland and was happily astonished at how well public transportation works in Dublin. It was amazing! Buses were on time! They were cheap! They went everywhere! So here is another small country doing something much much better than our government is doing. Embarrassingly better.

            So no, I do not doubt that other countries are much much better at social care than the US. but whose fault is that? And why is the answer always “pay more taxes”? Waht on earth makes you think that without skeptical oversight, constant badgering, and demands for budgetary clarity that our woefully operated government will ever do better at anything?

            So, until I see these things happen, I am very opposed to giving any government more money.

            It is time for liberals to admit that “paying taxes” is not the answer. I would propse that instead the liberals

          • Joseph

            Sweden, Australia, and NZ are also examples of nations that aren’t imperialist and do not find whatever excuses they can to launch some military expansion and/or operation somewhere in the world. Not to mention, the public funds that the US government currently has places them in other questionable buckets for spending that do not in any way help the needy (I’m also thinking back to the Reagan administration lest you attempt to pain me into the ‘Obama-hater’ corner). Throwing them additional money is hardly going to change their approach to social justice/welfare and how they spend public monies.
            Before Americans start opting for more taxation to help the needy, there needs to be a complete revamp of the government… otherwise the money is just going to be used for pet projects, lining the pockets of government officials and their corporate partners, and to promote pop cultural social programs which are completely contrary to science, nature, and reason.
            I agree that there is an *ideal* and that there are examples of that ideal actually working to an extent, but the US is so vastly different and at odds with that ideal that expecting it to change with a few more spending dollars is simply naïve.

        • Andy

          Neat combination – this particular administration would screw it up while a conservative one would get it right. Please offer proof that a conservative administration would be better for the caring for the poor. “Speaking for “conservative Catholics” everywhere” – speaking for someone who reads conservative and liberal blogs I only see complaints about the Social Teaching and the poor from conservatives while I see comments form liberal blogs about the teaching of the church on abortion and birth control. The reality – a pox on both houses.

          • Jim Dailey

            Your comment asks me to “offer proof that a conservative administration would be better for caring for the poor.” Please re-read my comment. Note that I expressed skepticism of “politicians in general.” Therefore, I really do not feel it is incumbent on me to offer any proof, other than the proof that the current administration has removed all doubt about it’s methods of “helping” pregnant women, and that anyone that call themselves Catholic should be appalled and disgusted by these methods, and therefore should not feel obligated to “cheerfully” pay taxes to this administration.
            You then say that you only see “complaints” from conservative Catholic bloggers. Based on your interpretation of my post, I think you see what you want. That is, you skipped right over my general skepticism and attacked my presumed politics.
            My general viewpoint on the entire situation is that we Americans are doing a very very poor job of managing their government. We are very good at “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree.”
            The solution offered by liberal Catholics is never to demand that our government allocate it’s current resources in a way that is more in line with Catholic teaching. The solution is always “Pay more taxes”. Why is that?

            • Andy

              Your response ” really do not feel it is incumbent on me to offer any proof, other than the proof that the current administration has removed all doubt about it’s methods of “helping” pregnant women” is the issue. Where has this administration done anything that is different then other administrations – I mean specific actions taken to hurt the poor – not accusations and innuendo. I find this administration to be at best not terribly good, but to condemn them as worse than others needs evidence.
              You also missed my comment – I see complaints about economic teachings of the church from conservative bloggers and complaints about sexual teaching of the the church form liberals. You skipped over my entire comment which included liberals. I will reiterate my belief – a pox on both houses.

              • Jim Dailey

                I think the term “War on Women” – which was code for abortion rights – is a significant reason for this administration being elected. In another post I cited a $24 mm grant to PP to build a baby-murder slaughterhouse (excuse me – an “abortion facility”.) I could come up with other examples, but I would rather not.
                I think we are reaching agreement here that our government has historically done a terrible job of helping the poor. Arguing over who has done a worse job is somewhat akin to arguing about who’s shit stinks worse (pardon me.)

                I object to the whole “cheerfully pay taxes” crack. I thin most conservative, skeptical Catholics do.

                Yes indeed, a pox on both houses. Unfortunately, unless Catholics start speaking with one voice regarding these injustices, our viewpoint is easy to divide and conquer. Mark’s proposed solution is far short of this type of unification.

          • Mike Blackadder

            Well Andy, in general we do tend to support a party/candidate due to a conviction that they would do a better job than the other. And yes, sometimes conservatives are arguing about smaller (or more local) government as an alternative to big government ‘doing a better job’ and that seems to be more what Jim Dailey is arguing in this case.

            It is a legitimate point to discuss exactly how effective we are at providing relief to the poor through taxation via Democrat policies. Democrats claim to serve the poor and claim that Republicans hate the poor or are ‘at war with women’, etc., but you do realize that these are simply attack slogans right? You don’t ACTUALLY THINK that this is the REAL characterization of what separates Republicans from Democrats do you?

            • Andy

              Good morning Mike – I am more concerned about the intrusion of “politics as usual” into this debate. I can accept the need to talk about the need for local vs. large government actions. I can see the need to talk bout effectiveness. I don’t see the need to bring in Democrat vs. Republican, because neither “side”if you will does a good job, and both sides use their attack lines to make money. My fear is that there is not a real separation between Democrats and Republicans – both worship mammon, both worship moloch – just in different ways. My sincere prayer is that Catholics and other like-minded individuals can have the debate and find a new path to support those in need.

              • Mike Blackadder

                I think you’re right, and that’s a hopeful and worthy prayer to move forward. So why is the conversation started with the suggestion that conservative Catholics are against helping the poor when in reality we are actually just opposing what we think is a misguided Democrat policy?

                Why do we start the conversation suggesting that ‘ a huge percentage of Catholic conservatives don’t think with the Church, but instead mine the Church’s teaching for a few things they like and then navigate most of the rest of life according to their tribal allegiances and little shibboleths, code words, and tribal markers’? That kind of sounds like an accusation that conservatives Catholics don’t have a worthy contribution to make to the Catholic conversation. And I agree that it is counterproductive to continue to perpetuate this myth.

                Notice that even as Jim Dailey responds to these assertions he doesn’t reply with the counterargument that progressive Catholics don’t care about the poor or accuse them of being cafeteria Catholics only because they don’t follow his ideas of how Catholicism manifests in certain political decisions. That means he is being more open-minded than his counterpart, and is simply trying to steer the conversation into a more productive area and that is my intention as well.

                • Andy

                  I agree I think that our host paints with a large brush – one that seems to designed to cause conversation and ‘argument”. I agree that we need a productive conversation, that is why I react to to the intrusion of politics. For me on a personal level it is funny – we live in a small town and many of the folks in it are living near or below the poverty level. One of my friends is a conservative Catholic with all letters capitalized, to him i am the evil liberal. Yet on just about every Thursday he and his wife, my wife and myself and couple other folks get together at our local tavern for chili night (it is our social ministry group, our parish priest says we have missed what social ministry means :0). It on those nights that we plan the almost weekly events to support people in need – he is one of the most vocal proponents of all we do – and the first to “put pressure” on various folks who would otherwise not be willing to be involved. His phrase is that being poor does not know conservative from liberal. If now only I could convert him to being a Yankees fan all would be well.

                  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                    Andy, I was with you right up until you showed yourself a Yankees fan.

                    • Andy

                      Damn copy and paste – Part of my comment don’t come through – it is me being a Yankees fan he a Boston fan that now leads to our most heated discussion, and not politics or being conservative or liberal, or favoring the TLM or the NO. If we can learn to get past the artificial labels we can work together and can be surprised at what we have in common.

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      In which case you would do well to listen to him on this :)

                • Marthe Lépine

                  When you complain that Mark has written that “a huge percentage of Catholic conservatives don’t think with the
                  Church, but instead mine the Church’s teaching for a few things they
                  like and then navigate most of the rest of life according to their
                  tribal allegiances and little shibboleths, code words, and tribal
                  markers’? Well, these are actually the first kind of US Catholic conservatives that I encountered when I began to read blogs, and I was quite troubled by some of what I was reading. There seemed to be a lot of them, and they were vocal. I don’t see why Mark should not talk this way about a rather large number of Catholic conservatives. After all, they are the ones who need to hear correction. By the way, when the Old Testament prophets were speaking, do you really think that, because probably not all the Hebrews were guilty of whatever the prophets condemned, the prophets should have used more selective language or arguments? (Before Ii get accused of claiming that Mark is a prophet, I am only bringing this up as an example oe other people who used strong language.)

        • Marthe Lépine

          But, but… That “telling quote” is from Pope Francis!

          • Jim Dailey

            No it is not. Re-read the article.
            Pope Francis may have said something “like” this, but please provide the reference.

    • Kurt

      As a conservative, I do not personally approve of what Walmart did but I believe it is a private decision between Walmart and its accountant.

      • Marthe Lépine

        every business and economic decision has a moral content; do you mean that it is nobody’s business that such a large corporation is acting immorally?

      • Joseph

        If she was fired simply because she is pregnant, then she should be able to sue for a hefty sum. That’s tantamount to firing someone because they’re black or Catholic. You may respect that it is a private decision, but it’s a wrong decision, immoral, and should not go unpunished.
        On the other hand, if she was fired for legitimate purposes, such as surfing for internet porn while on the job, then pregnancy shouldn’t protect her.
        That can be abused though, and has. I once witnessed a woman get fired from her position because she was Chinese and her accent was too thick… and she had the audacity to ask for a raise after three years of employment (I know this because I eavesdropped on the managers who made the decision). Of course, they told her that she wasn’t *learning as quickly as she should have and wasn’t meeting any milestones* when she was fired. So, more than likely, Wal-Mart will just make up some reason why she was let go. And how else do you deal with Ebenezer Scrooge other than socially ostracising him?

      • cmfe

        :)

      • Marthe Lépine

        I’ve heard a similar argument before… it goes “I do not personally approve of abortion, but I believe it is a private decision…”

        • LFM

          The abortionist’s actions are rather more permanent than Walmart’s.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I don’t think that Mark specifically said that taxes should be increased in order to better help the poor. A lot of tax money is being used in your country for war-related production and activities – I heard that it was more than most other developed countries, added together, are spending for similar purposes – and I am certain that it would be possible to divert some of that money to better helping the poor, or finance organizations that do a good job helping the poor. And it is just one example of funds that could be found to provide for the common good without increasing taxes.

      • LFM

        The US funds war-related production and activities at a higher rate than any other nation because other nations in its orbit – including, especially, Canada! – do not carry their full weight when it comes to defending themselves. There are no doubt many expenditures in this area with which you or I might disagree, but that does not contradict the truth of my original point.

        • Marthe Lépine

          I hear your argument as another symptom of the US typical and enormous superiority complex… Other countries may have other priorities than warmongering

          • LFM

            I am disappointed in you, Marthe Lepine, for the following reasons:
            1. That’s an ad hominem argument.
            2. It’s a *wrong* ad hominem argument, in that it’s based on a false assumption about me. I’m a Canadian, not an American. It is always a mistake to assume that anyone who disagrees with you is doing so from purely personal motives.
            3. It’s an irrelevant ad hominem argument. I said specifically that I was not referring to the costs of “warmongering” but of self-defense. The US has taken on the burden of protecting itself and its allies from their many enemies. Do you doubt that we all have them? Like the inhabitants of the Shire, we are a short journey away from enemies that would “freeze our hearts” if they could. They were protected by the Rangers; we are protected by American firepower.

            Having said that, I can certainly agree that US military actions in the world are often ill-considered, wasteful, and endanger themselves and others. But that has nothing to do with my original point, which was that their military defense spending to some degree sets the rest of us free from having to spend the money ourselves.

            • Mike Blackadder

              I’m Canadian too. And it doesn’t mean we need to hate Americans. Good for us. And nice comment.

              • LFM

                Thanks. I fear the tone is fiercer than I intended, but that was exasperation, not anger. In times like these, though, we ought to take care not to add to the virulent tone of polemical debates. So: mea culpa.

            • Marthe Lépine

              But why do we, as Canadians, have to worry about enemies on our frontier? When was the last time there were enemies on our frontier? Right, in 1812, as our government insisted on celebrating two years ago. And who were those enemies? And why did Queen Victoria ruled out Kingston, in favour of that place in the boondogs called ByeTown, as the location for Canada’s capital? Why should we even trust the US to protect us in times of need? Their interests come first, as do the profits of their mllitary-industrial complex. This is not hate, it is realism! Who elected the US as the policemen of the world?

              • Dave G.

                You just demonstrated a point I’ve made for years. Our disastrous policies in Iraq didn’t make people around the world dislike us. Our policies just gave some who already disliked us an excuse to voice it louder.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Your disastrous policies in Iraq just confirmed many peoples’ opinions, who then felt more inclined to express them.

              • LFM

                Mme Lepine, I am afraid that there is a great deal about modern warfare and modern systems of defense that you do not understand. It’s impossible to be certain, but without NATO (in the past; its relevance now is less clear) which was largely supported by the US, without US military capacity to police the areas of the world in which we might want to sell our goods – heck, without the US’s capacity to defend itself – our largest trading partner – this country would soon cease to exist as an independent nation. Don’t deceive yourself, either, that militant Islamists dislike us much less than the United States, They too would have more capacity to attack us if not for US military intelligence systems.

                I expect that Mike Blackadder could give you a more sophisticated explanation, as military expenditures and defense alliances are not really a strong point of mine. I believe, however, that what I’ve said here is true so far as it goes.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  However, I am under a strong impression that militant Islamists would not dislike Canada as much as they do if we were not so closely associated in their minds with the US.

                  • LFM

                    I must respectfully tell you that I am extremely skeptical of that statement. You might consider that one of the ugliest episodes of Islamist jihadism in the last 10 years took place in Bombay/Mumbai. India is not know for its close ties with the United States. Nor is Russia, which was also subject to a particularly ugly attack by Chechen Muslim extremists.

            • Andy

              I am not sure that the US spends so much on the military because the rest of the world does not – I fear it is a far different reason – the amount of money that is made creating and selling weapons and weapons systems I think is the real reason. We have our congress voting to invest in weapons and weapons systems that the Pentagon says it doesn’t want, because of pressure from lobbyists.

              • LFM

                I don’t doubt that military lobbying has something to do with US military spending – which, may I remind you, is significantly less than it used to be. That *still* does not contradict my original point. Some issues are “and” not “or”.

                • Andy

                  I am not debating amount – I believe that we spend that amount of money which is $640 billion compared to the next 8 countries which is $607 billion – not out of altruism and desire to make up for others. The US made $66.3 billion, most of which came from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Israel, Djibouti, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain, Algeria, Egypt and Peru. Where are most of our “issues” and what does ISIS now possess for weapons. I thick take away the profit motive for the US government – our sales make up about 44% of the world weapons trade. I do not see the altruism in that – I see money.

                  • LFM

                    Yes, well, I’m not debating amount either. I repeat, there are many different motives and issues at stake in US military spending. Not all of them are purely selfish.

                    Also, the sale of military equipment is not the same as “military spending” so I am not certain of the point you wish to make here. If what you mean is that weapons sales by the US military and private firms suggest that the US is a “warmongering” nation in that it contributes to the possibility of war in the world, fine. That is not the same issue as the amount of money *spent* out of the public purse to defend itself and its allies from the incursions of other nations.

                    • Andy

                      My debate os the reason – you ascribe it to the US having to pick up the slack because other countries are not dong their fair share – my belief is that if there was not money to be made we wouldn’t be so interested in the military.

                    • LFM

                      Can you not see that these are two completely different issues? Money spent on one project (defense) is NOT the same thing as money earned on another project (sales of military weapons), even if the two projects make use of similar tools (i.e. military weapons). Because this or that group might be interested in pursuing the first, it does not follow that the same groups will be pursuing the second goal. And they will certainly not be pursuing their goals for the same reasons; it could be argued that the latter is antithetical to the former.

                      If what you mean is that US expenditure on weapons manufacture is largely devoted to making weapons for sale in international markets (this has emerged somewhat sketchily from what you have written so far), I can only assume that the profits earned in such transactions with the US military will come back to the US military. While not altruistic, and potentially dangerous, such transactions are not essentially selfish, either. Nor do they reduce the totality of public funds available to help the poor.

                      Finally, if what you mean is that the US’s “help” in military matters consists simply of selling weapons to allies, that, again, is not what I was talking about. I’m talking about the American submarines, nuclear reactors, defense posts, and men stationed around the world since WWII. At one time, these helped to ensure that the Soviets did not rule all air and sea routes; today, the enemies are more varied and perhaps less powerful, which is why US military spending has declined.

                    • Andy

                      You seem to have shifted – above you said that the US has to spend so much money on the military because other nations are not picking up their fair share – “The US has taken on the burden of protecting itself and its allies from their many enemies. “, “The US funds war-related production and activities at a higher rate than any other nation because other nations in its orbit – including, especially, Canada! – do not carry their full weight when it comes to defending themselves.” I take exception to that rationale. I see little that supports we are doing this for reasons other than there is money to be made – if not by the US government, then the amount of money that congress nets from lobbyists – $65 million in 2013. In fact in the past 12 years the amount to keep those bases open for non-military contractors was $385 billion with only about 10-12 companies reaping the majority of this money. It is those 10-12 companies that are the largest lobbyists in the area of military spending – estimates of “$100 – 150 million – not a bad investment.
                      I think that the US has to stop being the policeman for the world – we create more enemies than we do allies. It is time to let other countries step up to the plate – and yes I know why WW II started, because of the issues from the Treaty of Versailles which crippled Germany and allowed fore the rise of Fascism and Nazism. Look around the world now

                    • LFM

                      I haven’t shifted. However, I did offer several options for you to choose from in my most recent post to try to determine exactly how you think that US *earnings* in the arms trade are necessarily related to US expenditure on self defense. The two are NOT the same thing. (Greedy and or dishonest lobbying, etc., is a different issue, again.) Please stop arguing as if they were. Your account books must look a right mess at tax time because you can’t appear to tell the difference between earnings and expenditures. At least, that is how your argument looks to me, but I’ll take correction if need be – from someone else please, not you, because so far as I can tell we are simply talking past each other.

                      The US, as the world’s major nuclear and economic power, cannot stop being the world’s policeman without causing enormous problems for other nations. But yes, indeed, the rest of us should step up to the plate. We will, however, have less money to spend on the social programs Marthe Lepine approves if we do so.

                      About the Treaty of Versailles: I’m not sure what your point is in bringing this up as if it refuted something I had said. If what you mean is that I or others writing here would have supported it because we believe in taking hostile actions against enemies even in victory, I assure you you’re mistaken.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      I have asked before: Has there been a democratic vote somewhere to choose the US as the policeman of the world? Seems to me that it is only a leftover from earlier “imperialist” dreams…

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      I think that more than one Pope condemned the continued development and making of more and more powerful weapons and said that the money could be better spent. Some of that was in Encyclical Letters, which are official Church teaching…

                    • LFM

                      The development and creation of more powerful weapons is only one element of American military spending. I do not know how large a portion it forms of the whole US military budget, and do not have the leisure to explore such a complex issue. But as you have raised the issue, perhaps you ought to inquire into the matter? Remember, too (as I have been trying to explain to Andy) the creation of weapons that are ultimately sold on to other groups does not necessarily reduce the totality of funds available for other uses, including the assistance of the poor. Also recognise that military industries, like other industries, keep large numbers of skilled workers employed, which is why it is difficult to switch gears when their production capacity becomes superfluous to needs.

                      According to Nancy Mitford (surprisingly reliable as a historian, though eccentric) Louis XV once travelled through Paris in his coach and was so perturbed by the poverty that he saw that he went home and had to be argued out of firing a large portion of Versailles’ gardening staff. Often the solutions to poverty proposed by well-intentioned idealists show a similar lack of foresight.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Eh! Just occurred to me: Maybe if the US did sell so many weapons all around the world, there would not be as much need to spend so much money to prepare to defend itself from the incursions of other nations….

          • Mike Blackadder

            I’m not sure that you DO know how WWII happened and was not prevented. It wasn’t only the US who came to the battle much too late, but ALL of Europe too. Yet they are warmongers? Whatever.

        • Mike Blackadder

          Exactly. Notice Marthe isn’t making any claim about INCREASED military expenditure. Americans spend far less on their military now than they did historically. The reason why they still spend so much more than others is not that they are war mongers, but because most others have reduced military spending to irresponsibly low levels. Irresponsible if not for the knowledge that they are allies of the US, and that the US is powerful enough and friendly enough to advocate on their behalf if necessary.

          Look what happens when the US suggests they will step back from carrying the military initiative! leading from behind. It’s starting to look like WWIII and obviously Marthe doesn’t know [how] WWII happened. Maybe she thinks it was friendly war mongers who were the problem…

          • Marthe Lépine

            Oh Yes I know that WWII happened. And I happen to know that the US bothered to get involved only when they were directly attacked at Pearl Harbour, not when the Nazi invasion of Europe did start…

            • Mike Blackadder

              My mistake, I meant to write ‘ …Marthe does know HOW WWII happened.’

            • NB_Liberallies

              You may want to pick up a few more history books than the ones you’ve read. The USA was already involved in WWII long before Pearl Harbor.

              For example, the US Navy, before Pearl Harbor, had a “shoot-on-sight” policy against any Nazi Germany Navy boat it encountered in any part of the World.

              There was also an economic war going on against Germany and Japan.

              the United States was providing military assistant, raw materials, etc. to Britain before Pearl Harbor. Countless of U-boats and German ships were sank thanks to American Navy spotting them and alerting the British of the locations.

              What is proper to say is that the USA did not declare War on Japan until Pearl Harbor. After the USA declared War on Japan, Nazi Germany and Italy followed and declared War on the USA.

              Furthermore, countless of Americans were already fighting in Europe, especially fighter pilots, long before Pearl Harbor.

              I am a foreigner, I was not born here in the USA. It never ceases to amaze me the hatred and disgust so many Americans hold for their great Nation. Yes, the USA is not perfect. No nation on Earth can be. But until you’ve lived in a totalitarian nation, you do not know what you have here in the USA. From “Freedom of Speech” to “Right to a Speedy Trial”, the “Hate-America” crowd in the USA is revolting.

    • cmfe

      I don’t see mark as trying to sow an “us vs. them” mentality at all, but instead to move beyond American political conceptualizations of issues to a more authentic Catholic point of view.

      • Jim Dailey

        cmfe –

        I dunno – the following quote from the article seems pretty clear to me.

        “I think mostly the reason is that a huge percentage of Catholic
        conservatives don’t think with the Church, but instead mine the Church’steaching for a few things they like and then navigate most of the rest of life according to their tribal allegiances and little shibboleths, code words, and tribal markers. Feminists are part of Them (Liberals! Proaborts! Democrats!) Therefore if they say it, it’s bad.

        This is a profoundly unCatholic and deeply ideological (read: “heretical”) way of navigating reality, of course.”

        • NB_Liberallies

          Jim, I agree with you. I find Mark’s article insulting and in poor form. He has zero propblem stereotyping a whole lot of people.

          I am a Catholic conservative and I have always claimed it is irresponsible and immoral for a company/business to fire a woman or treat her bad, in any way, shape or form, because she is pregnant.

          Mark made countless of sweeping generalizations in his article.

          In fact, his article is defaming and falsely accusing, both sins in the Catholic Church, Catholic conservatives. His “I am holier than Catholic conservatives” attitude is quite shameful and shows a lot of pride on his part.

          • Mike Blackadder

            He also maybe just doesn’t understand where Conservative Catholics are coming from. We do reply here often enough though, you’d think he would have some idea. Sometimes I think it’s more about drawing attention to a post. It’s annoying, but it starts the conversation and outs some dysfunctional views of what the ‘other’ thinks.

            • NB_Liberallies

              Mike, I believe Mark is confusing Catholic conservatives with Protestant conservatives. I have had quite a few dust-ups with Protestant conservatives who believe what Mark claims is believed by Catholic conservatives.

              It may be true, it is about drawing attention to a post, but geez, why make sweeping generalizations about Catholic conservatives.

              • Marthe Lépine

                If you are correct in your distinction between Catholic and Protestant conservatives, why should Mark just “preach to the choir” and only talk in ways that Catholic conservatives might like? There are probably a lot of different other people reading blogs such as Mark’s. In addition, when I started reading blogs several years ago, I have been reading a very conservative blog (it still exists but i won’t name it), definitely claiming to be Catholic, that clearly claimed many of the erroneous ideas that Mark is writing against, and clearly tried to distort or ignore the Catholic church teaching when they dislike it. And is it not a fact that Catholic conservatives are the majority of the ones being quite vocal against Pope Francis and even talking as if they need to save the Church from him? Mark just cannot start each of his posts with a complete list, with names, of the actual people he is talking about.

                • NB_Liberallies

                  It is the majority of Catholic conservatives who are vocally against Pope Francis? Where do you get this from? Protestant conservatives, and not even all of them, are the ones who enjoy attacking the Pope. Why? more so because he is Catholic than his economic believes.

                  Mark’s article is pressumptious, judgemental, it judgest the hearts of Catholic conservatives, going as far ast telling us what we think. You love to claim no one can judge, but you certaionly don’t make Mark’s judging of people because the judging aligns with your way of thinking. Mark can’t be farther from the truth, because it is impossible.

                  Talk in ways Catholic conservatives might like? Mark made a sweeping generalization of Catholic conservatives and judge us. Both of these are quite immoral and wrong.

                  Mark can easily write an article where he is not judging people, makes assumptions, and generalizes about a very large number of people.

                  I forwarded Mark’s article to about 100 Catholic conservatives. They had the same reaction I had. Mark is way off the mark. He doesn’t know too many Catholic conservatives. None of the Catholic conservatives I emailed the article to agreed with Walmart’s action, if true, of firing a woman solely for being pregnant.

                  It never ceases to amaze me how those who claim others should not judge nor make assumptions about others, are the first ones inline making the assumptions and judging people. So far, you and Mark, are the ones making assumptions and judging people. Please start acting as you demand others act. Thanks.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    You are turning my words around. I did not mean that the majority of Catholics are vocally against Pope Francis. I said that a majority of those who are vocally against Pope Francis are Catholic. Not the same thing at all. And it is not just my opinion, I picked it up from some other article on the Internet (unfortunately, I don’t keep a notepad next to the screen to copy each and every site address as I follow one link after another).

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      I didn’t turn your words around. You said, and I quote you, “…is it not a fact that Catholic conservatives are the majority of the ones being quite vocal against Pope Francis ”

                      You claimed it is a fact that Catholic conservatives are the majority going after Pope Francis. This is a complete falsehood!

                      You picked it up from an article on the internet? And you believe everything you read? Sounds like you believe everything you read that supports your Liberal leanings.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      So you need me to show you how to read a sentence and analyse its content, in a language that is not even mine? “Catholic conservatives are the majority of the ones who are quite vocal…” and “a majority of the ones who are quite vocal are Catholics…” are two different forms that actually say exactly the same thing… Just read more slowly.

                • Jim Dailey

                  Why not name the blog?

                  I am sure that there are blogs openly questioning Francis’ actions, and some comment boxes at these blogs may indeed say something to the effect of “saving the Church” from Pope Francis. For example, the people at “The American Catholic” seems to be holier than the Pope.

                  But again, how the bloggers and commenters at that site would feel about the Walmart case should not be predicted, or supposed, or assumed. I would be willing to bet that the people at that blog would (provided the facts are true insofar as presented) soundly denounce Walmart for their actions. Further, I am willing to bet those people would be first in line with good, sound, businsslike comments about how to efficiently and effectively reform America’s social services to better benefit the people that truly need help.

                  I really cannot understand why you would think otherwise.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    I was not assuming what they would say about Walmart, I was just indicating that there are Catholic conservatives who strongly argue in favour of less-than-Catholic views, in general, about a number of conservative attitudes (which included, years ago, things such as torture). I don’t read them much any more, but I was commenting about their general attitude.

              • cmfe

                Well, Cardinal George did say that American everyone is a Calvinist, including Catholics!

          • Jim Dailey

            I am really pretty surprised at Mark. I do not always agree with his viewpoints, but I generally find them to be well-balanced and well-researched and they generally attempt to present both sides of a debate. I like to hear the “liberal” interpretation of events as food for thought, and I take it seriously (when it is well researched).
            I am disappointed because articles like this causes skepticism on my part to say – “That’s not even worth reading.”
            Marc Barnes (Bad Catholic) recently wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about “TopTen Lists” or “How to get People To Read Your Blog” (something like that, anyway) and he goes through the reasons people do this and how it is affecting journalism. I hope that my little corner of the universe where I come for thoughtful discussion and intelligent exchange of ideas will not be affected by the cold, hard economic facts of “click-throughs”.

          • Marthe Lépine

            Why do you keep reading him? By the way, I think that what can be perceived as an “holier than you” attitude is quite possibly a manifestation of an Irish temper – getting angry at some of the things he hears and reads and reacting a little too fast. On the other hand, I have read somewhere that some canonized saints also had a quick temper…

  • Sherry

    I don’t know where this woman is located, but if she can reach out to the Sisters of Life, out of NY, they might be able to put her in touch with help so she can weather this pregnancy, and in some cases, they take in the woman, and let her live with them for up to six months post birth while the new mother gets her footing.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      The Walmart she worked at is in Laurel, MD, wherever that is. The baby’s 3 months old give or take at this point (pregnant in 9/13).

      • Sherry

        I know where Laurel, MD is, and the sisters of life have a home in Wheaton, MD, so they might be able to give her some solace, community and sanctuary even now.

  • Cypressclimber

    There’s one obvious problem with this whole post. Why assume the linked article gets the facts right?

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      I tried to find an article that even gave a token hearing on the other side of the story but was unsuccessful. All that came up were various prosecutor briefs about how Walmart was awful and this woman was 100% in the right.

      Since these prosecutors’ briefs would seem to make a discrimination suit a slam dunk, the only question left would seem to be when is the filing? If there isn’t one, I’d be suspicious of the truth value of these stories that are all over the left side of the Internet.

  • Mike Blackadder

    I think that Mark is right to a degree in that many conservative Catholics might initially presume that Walmart is in the right before having learned any of the facts. Similarly, liberal Catholics will assume it is big business sticking it to a poor pregnant woman before learning the facts. A similar thing went down with the situation in Ferguson.

    That being said, I would hope that we all kind of come around to the same conclusion once a situation is better understood. I really don’t think that conservative or liberals Catholics have completely different sets of morals or that they would disagree about the unfairness or the consequence of a society that continues to punish women for carrying a child, which is perfectly natural and essential to human society.

    My initial reaction to this story, while admittedly uniformed, was not to characterize primarily as big business, but as a general symptom of a society who embraces ‘choice’ as an alternative to life. It’s just another example among many of how with ‘choice’ comes the implies responsibility falling squarely on the shoulders of the most vulnerable women who have difficulty supporting their families. When she decides to abort a child it is HER fault, not the irresponsible boyfriend’s fault, not the family who chooses not to help support her with a child, not the employer who would have fired her. When she chooses life, the same folks hold her accountable for all of her difficulties because she could have had an sbortion.

    • Cypressclimber

      From my experience as an employer in many positions over the years, I can tell you that when people lose their jobs, they rarely explain it in terms favorable to the employer. “Why were you fired?” Is seldom answered with, “I was late too many times” or “I was insubordinate” or “I was surfing porn on the Internet” or what-have-you.

      Meanwhile, employers cannot–absolutely canNOT–talk about the reasons they dismiss an employee.

      So why was this woman fired? I have no idea. Maybe she was treated cruelly. Very possible. Or maybe she was fired for some other reason, which she, naturally, is not eager to advertise.

      It would seem to me that this whole post hinges on that question, doesn’t it?

      Or would our admirable host still peg a post about how inconsistent “Catholic conservatives” are to a post about a poor woman fired for entirely legitimate reasons? Would he then title his post, “On Walmart firing a pregnant woman for dipping into the till”? (Note to the inattentive: I am NOT accusing this poor woman of anything.)

      • cmfe

        I didn’t get fired, but I was written up when I had to leave work early because the school called to tell me that one of my kids was sick and I needed to pick her up. My supervisor took the call, but it was still considered unexcused according to company policy. Two more times and company policy dictated that I would be fired despite excellent performance reviews and the fact that I was the one training the new hirees. It is brutal on the bottom.

        • Cypressclimber

          CMFE:

          I’m sorry to hear that. My question for you, if you care to say: What would you suggest be the policy? And if you offer a reply, will you stay around for some followup questions?

          My point isn’t to put you on the spot, but to explore what real options there are. A lot of companies’ policies sound cold, and while obviously that may be because they are, it can also be because of the limited options the company has. I, for one, would be curious to have your employer explain its rationale for that policy.

          • S. Murphy

            My suggestion would be that the supervisor on the ground have the guidance from higher to use discretion in deciding whether to excuse an absence – thus “I took the call myself; the school wanted my employee to pick up a sick child, this employee has an outstanding record; therefore I will not write him/ her up for an enexcused absence” would win over “according to company policy, this is an unexcused absence; you now have one strike against you.”

            • Cypressclimber

              OK, but again, the question remains, why does a company have such a policy? After all, a company has the problem of having workers at work, doing the jobs needed; and if someone has to go, urgently, what happens to the work they were there to do?

              I’m not defending either heartless or thoughtless outcomes; just pointing out that a lot of these things happen for understandable reasons. I doubt very many companies end up with policies they have because someone said, “hmm, how can I make life truly miserable for poor, vulnerable people?”

              • Marthe Lépine

                On the other hand, we are now in the 21st century, when both parents often have to work. Companies nowadays should have policies that do not interfere with the parenting duties of a working parent. Kids do get sick at school, and not everyone can afford a nanny to pick them up and look after them..

                • NB_Liberallies

                  But if we are talking about Roman Catholic values, why do both parents have to work? The fact is, we don’t. Both parents do not have to work.

                  I know quite a few couples, whose husband or wife make a decent living, anywhere between $45,000 to $100,000, and one of them stays home.

                  Too many Catholics forget the part that we must make sacrifices. Instead of two cars, one. Instead of having cable television, regular tv. Instead of buying video games for the kids, go to local library and check-out books.

                  Too many Catholics, including me, have bought into the materialistic/consumeristic culture of Western World.

                  While there are exceptions, I am willing to bet, that in the majority of cases, both parents do not have to work.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    But that not excuse employers nowadays for not having family-friendly policies. After all, at least in my country, there is some legislation about parental leave… And, for one example among many, just paying the rent in some cities requires two incomes. And I have read somewhere that in your country, just paying the medical bills for a family can be a cause of bankruptcy – maybe 2 incomes are more necessary than you assume from passing judgement on what choices people are making in consumer goods. (Mark had a link a little while ago that mentioned a family who had fallen into poverty, but still found that continuing to drive their fully paid luxury car was cheaper than getting rid of it (to satisfy people like you) and having to rely on a less reliable second hand car)

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Wow, you certainly have a lot of anamosity against people who “dare” not agree with you. Geez, calm down.

                      Satisfy me? great way to make assumptions. We are supposed to satify God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and no one else.

                      Drop the attitude and assumptions and we can have a respectful debate.

                      Judging? Again, who is judging? I am speaking out of experience. I am 40 years old and I have seen a lot throughout my short life.

                      Paying medical bills can cause bankruptcy? Hmmm…my wife and I pay medical bills, and we’ve never even had to contemplate bankruptcy. We are a middle class family with children. We aren’t close to being wealthy.

                      Like I said, two incomes may be necessary, somtimes, but it is the exception, not the norm. I have seen countless of families, given what I do, who complain about money. Yet, you look at their lifestyle and they can cut cable, sell the third car, stop buying video games, have better food budgets, etc.

                      No one is making a judgment about anyone’s heart or soul, but again, we can certainly and MUST make judgements on whether actions/omissions are Moral or Immoral. Too many “Liberal” Catholics have fallen for the Liberal canard that we shouldn’t pass judgement or judge anything. This is a very anti-Catholic attitude.

                      Regardless, you seem to be looking for a fight and not respectful debate. If it is the latter, let me know. If the former, don’t bother replying since I won’t reply. In either case, please keep me and my family in your prayers. I will certainly do it for you and your family.

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      Did a child of yours require open-heart surgery? Did your health insurance refuse to cover the surgeons fee, leaving you to shell-out five figures worth? What Marthe is referring to is catastrophic medical problems — the number one cause of bankruptcies, I believe, because even the best insurance plans don’t cover everything.

                      You say it is not the norm for families to need two incomes, and that may be true in your area, but it is not true in mine, where housing costs are exorbitant, food prices keep rising, and many jobs no longer provide health care or even a full-week’s worth of salary.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Actually, YES on both accounts. It wasn’t open-heart surgery, but worst, loss of a child. But instead of crying and whinning and complaining and getting a lawyer. My wife and I worked out a deal with the physicians and hospitals.

                      Please, don’t make assumptions about the people you are posting to.

                      Healthcare is not the obligation of an employer. Your healthcare and that of your family is the obligation of your husband and yours.

                      Housing cost is high? Live in a place where you can afford it.

                      Again, we can make countless of excuses for ourselves or live with in our means in a place where we can afford it.

                      Tired of Americans, I am a foreigner, who had to work hard to make it, constantly complaining. Whatever happened to the Americans who work hard and don’t let any excuse get on their way?

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      I am genuinely sorry for your loss.

                      We didn’t whine, we negotiated down from 6 figures. Thank God that at the time we were able to pay. If that were to happen now, our child would be dead.

                      Can’t move — believe me, we’ve looked into it. And we were living well within our means until my husband’s employers started getting greedier and greedier, and we suffered a ridiculous run of bad luck.

                      You caution me against making assumptions, but you’ve made several too.

                      Finally, just because you have managed to do ok doesn’t mean that anyone who hasn’t is lazy or whiny or living beyond their means.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      By the way, I am also speaking out of experience, and you are young enough to be my youngest son… If I had had the opportunity to get married.

                  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                    I HAVE to work, because my husband’s salary, as a result of the screwed-up anti-family nature of his industry, is no longer enough to cover our basic needs (and I mean basic) every month. And it is almost as difficult for many other families I know.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Basic? I hope you are typing from an internet cafe and not from your internet provider and that you are using a library or friends computer.

                      Computers and interent are not basic.

                      If what you say is the truth, then, like I said, you are part of the exception. However, I know people who believe that having three cars, when only one is needed, having Comcast Cable, and other luxuries are “basic”. I am not saying this is you, but given the times we live in and the poor catechizing by our Catholic churches, there is quite a lot of confusion out there.

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      Assuming the worst, huh? I am typing from home with our high-speed internet (bundled together with our phone — a phone is a basic, right?), because both my husband and I need it for work. We have ONE 14-year-old car with 85K miles on it, because we walk or take public transportation whenever possible. My shoes have actual holes in them (all that walking!), but I can’t afford to get another pair.

                      When in my area studio apartments cost $3000 a month, and a two-bedroom home can go for $700,000, you’d be surprised at how many families genuinely need two incomes.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Phone is a basic, but not internet. I bet you and your husband also have a cell phone. Hopefully not, since cell phones are not basics.

                      If you are honestly living in $3000 a month for a studio and a two-bedroom home cost $700,000, you are definitely living in the wrong part of town if you can barely make it and pay only “basics”.

                      You work from home? If you need it for work, you can bill your company for it. If your company doesn’t pay for it, you can have the IRS count it as a business expense and it alleviates your tax burden.

                      I didn’t make any assumptions, I just asked questions and even said you may be the exception.

                      However, given the information you are giving, it sounds like you chose a life you could not afford and now dues are do. Don’t blame companies and others for the poor life decisions you and your husband may have made.

                      and I am genuinely sorry for your child. I know the pain and helplessness you must have felt. Glad he is alive, hopefully doing well.

                      By the way, you have so much to offer up to God. One car, just like me. Holes in your shoes, just like me. Houses in my area go for about $400,000, which is not cheap. But I refuse to whine or complain. I refuse to blame anyone else for anything that I may not have.

                      Take what you don’t have, take the holes in your shoes, and offer it up to God for forgiveness of your sins, that of your family members, for forgiveness of my sins, the sins of the World. Suffer with a happy face.

                      Americans do not know what they have. Where I come from, people would be considered rich for having shoes with holes. A studio is a luxury and if you got into a home…wow.

                      Yes, Americans have become whiners, complainers, weak minded individuals who do not know how to suffer. The Americans of today, would not make this Nation great. In fact, it is obvious that the USA, in fact, the Western World is in a deep, deep decline.

                      You’d be surprised how many families have built themselves lives that require two incomes, but can live with much less and in turn, with one income.

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      Ok, I’m done. You appear determined to blame me for my circumstances, and I’m not about to spell out in detail why, in fact, it was not all our fault. Despite my financial and other troubles (and I had an especially bad day today) I regularly thank God for what we do have, and I really do consider myself lucky compared to many others around the world. But that doesn’t make my troubles non-existent or invalid.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      I can only come to conclusions based on what you wrote. I can only take your word and do so when you say you are not to blame for your circumstances.

                      I guess all we can do, when life throws us curve balls, is get down on our knees, pray and thank God for the good times, great things He gives us everyday and pray that the bad times help us get us, our loved ones, and the whole World, even our enemies into Heaven.

                      Please, pray for me, I desperately need it. I will pray for your and your family.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      At some times when things got very very bad for me, I had been saying the Lord’s Prayer and putting an emphasis on “Thy will be done”, adding “but please help me!”. Trying to be thankful for the good times has been a long struggle for me (since I have been partly handicapped by depression all my life), but I think that I am moving this way, little by very little. Pray for me too, I will pray for you..

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      Thank you for your prayers, and in fact I did pray for you. At least I think I did — my memory of last night is rather hazy because the baby kept waking up; regardless I will keep you in my prayers.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Oh, how charitable and non-judgmental can you be! You can make all those comments without really knowing a situation. For example, your comment “a studio is a luxury”: A studio, as I know it, is actually a small apartment with only one room that serves both to live and to sleep, with a small galley kitchen (e.g. a single counter along the narrower wall, with little, if any, separation from that one room), and you call that a luxury? This is extremely basic living quarters, and for a family it is well below basic needs. Ant telling a fellow Christian that she does not know how to suffer smacks of pharisaism. Of course it is only my opinion….

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Hmmm…please read my posts and do not reply to what you think you read. You are replying to what you think I typed and not to what I actually typed.

                      I was talking about the fact in the foreign nation I come from, having a studio is a luxury! And if you are able to buy a house in the country I come from, NOT THE USA, wow.

                      You do not know what is pharisaism if you honestly believe that telling another Christian she doesn’t know how to suffer is pharisaism. But it is amusing how you enjoy judging, but how dare if you believe, others you disagree with, judge, right?

                      Telling Americans they do not know how to suffer is hardly pharisaism. It is a fact. At no point did I put myself as the example of a great Christian all should follow. I can assure you, I am hardly a great Christian all should follow. I need tons upon tons, upon tons of prayers. I hope Jesus is a Mercyful advocate, when I die, and not a harsh Judge.

                      Like I told you earlier today, you are looking for a fight and are angry at me for challenging your 1960s, Hippie, very liberal, left wing views.

                      You don’t like people having opposing views. why? and why do you enjoy throwing hte silly and secular humanists….”…you are judging!”

                      Please, read my posts carefully and reply to what I type, not to what you interpreted. Thanks.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Eh, thanks for the “1960s, Hippie, liberal, left wing”… I am only a Catholic brought up in another culture than that of the US. Plus, the Catholic university I attended even had Rerum Novarum among its required textbooks in economics. So, you too don’t like people having opposing views?

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      I enjoy respectful debates. Again, unsure why, but you are looking for a fight, instead of a espectful debates. You’ve made this personal and don’t like it when you feel it is turned on you.

                      I don’t mind opposing views, as long as those who are presenting opposing views understand, others are going to disagree with you.

                      You seem to be quite upset anyone has “dared” oppose your views. why?

                      And since when calling anyone’s opinions, 1960s, left wing, hippie constitute not liking people having opposing views?

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Well, calling some opinions “1960s, left wing, hippie” really does sound like an attack… And by the way, I have never been a hippie: in the 1960s I had already graduated from university (at age 18) and was into graduate studies… I just think in a different way since I come from a different culture.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      By the way, my phone, at all of $40 a year, is tied to my Internet – just a regular phone without Internet would cost more!

                  • cmfe

                    There are many situations in life that would lead to the need to work. It’s not materialism, it’s survival.

                • Cypressclimber

                  Well, it’s fine for you to say what companies “ought” to do to make life easier for their employees. And if they can, great.

                  But if you are running a restaurant, and you suddenly are down an employee during a busy shift, you may not be able to get someone in right away. Meanwhile you have customers not being served; customers who may not return.

                  I don’t mean to be snarky: what should the manager do, hand out copies of your post to the customers, so they can read them while they wait for their meals?

                  The notion that “companies should have policies that do not interfere with the parenting duties of a working parent” is remarkably high-handed. It’s just so bizarre. Employers do not have magical powers that they can solve both their own problems and those of their employees.

                  Again, for the inattentive: I’m not defending callousness or cruelty. By all means, employers should be caring and sensitive. But they also have to run their businesses in such a way as to stay in business. They have problems to solve. And if an employee is — for the best of reasons — unreliable, however sympathetic the employer may be, it’s still…a problem. That the employer still needs to solve, in order to stay successful in business.

                  As opposed to being out of business, and now none of those employees have work.

                  • NB_Liberallies

                    Marthe forgets or simply ignores that those of us who own businesses, also have families, children, to feed, bills to pay at home and in the business.

                    They demand, what Bishop Fultonsheen called, false compassion. Yes, if true, if a woman is fired solely because she was pregnant, that is crule and quite immoral. But something tells me, as is always the case with stories against Walmart, that there is a lot more to this story than we have been told so far.

                    I know, for example, the story of a young woman who was fired from her job for being pregnant. Well, hearing it this way, it sounds horrific. how dare the company?! However, the company had a strict policy of not fraternizing with fellow employees, especially managers with those whom they managed. Marriage was the only exception. The woman signed the contract and agreeing with this policy. About 5 years later, out of wedlock, she became pregnant thanks to her fraternization with an employee she managed. The company waited until she gave birth and all medical bills were paid through the companies healthinsurance. She was given a 6 month severance package and let go for violating company policies.

                    The reason the company has this policy in place is to avoid the apperance of preferance of one employee or another when doing reviews, salary hikes, etc. But this is the type of stop the Left wing Catholics and Left wings in general, love to ignore.

                    There are certainly companies out there, which are clearly cruel and very immoral. Companies that threat their employees like gargabe, but it is hardly all of them.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      I agree, this an example of a company doing the right thing in the right way. On the other hand, I heard of another company where an employee broke an ankle because of unsafe working conditions. The employer just allowed him to go home, without helping with transportation, as he obviously could not drive himself. Another employee drove him to the hospital, and they were both fired. Good examples do need to be offered as models (as in the story you just gave), while we need to be vocal about the bad ones. That seems to be just as it should be. But in the Walmart case being discussed, it seems that the company should have tried to find a safer job for the woman, and it is actually the law in Canada. And again, with a union and a grievance process, it would have been possible to know both sides of the problem and make a correct judgement, however it is not necessary for us to know all the details of both sides of the matter in order to comment about what the principle of what the correct decision should have been.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Eh! I have been self-employed for over 35 years; that too is “having a business”! I just have a different perspective.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    Well, about the restaurant… I do have some good friends, a married couple, who happen to have a restaurant just next door (and were even my landlords for a while). What do you do if an employee has to leave? Maybe you do what my friends do: The husband spends a lot of time in the kitchen… The wife, or one of their daughters, often serves customers – I have even caught her wiping tables or vacuuming the floor one evening that I went in late.They just make do until the employee is able to come back. That is often what any small business does – of course in a very small business the employer and the employees often become friend. It should not be that difficult for a larger business to do the same. As well, this should be part of the planning if a business expects to hire employees nowadays.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Well that’s great. I’m serious, that’s great. But you do realize that lots of people don’t happen to have the options your friends do?

                      As it happens, I eat out a lot. Because I’m single, I often sit at the bar to eat. When I do, I get to see a lot of things, hear a lot of discussion among the employees, and ask questions. No doubt there are things I’m not privy to, but I have gained a lot of insight into what goes on in restaurants that I’d never have learned otherwise.

                      And, I might point out, before going on, that most of this is from employees, far less from managers or owners.

                      Lots of times, I’ve seen the servers really harried and pushed hard. I’ll ask, what’s wrong? And a lot of the time they are short-staffed, and it’s because someone didn’t make it in. And while I don’t doubt there are many times the boss didn’t do all s/he could, I can also tell you, based on what these employees shared, that it was because of employees being sick, or out of town, or on medical leave, or having children to care for, or working another job. In other words, the employer sometimes doesn’t magically solve this problem.

                      Now, my anecdotes don’t settle all questions; but then, neither do yours, either, right?

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Sometimes people have to work hard. This happens with any kind of work, it is just part of life. WE do what we can. Since in earlier days I did eat out a lot (because when I was too busy with my work I did not have a spouse to bring me a meal) and even became friend with a number of waiters and waitresses. Some times are more difficult than others, and some people take it in stride while others have difficulty coping. That’s just life. It just does not justify an employer being unfair to employees.

                  • Marthe Lépine

                    What a company can do for their personnel policies to be more family-friendly depends of course on the size of the company and its resources. But in the case of businesses that do have several employees, such measures should nowadays be considered as just another cost of doing business. Actually, the Church teaches that the workers don’t exist to serve the employers, rather that the job of wealthy people should be to create work for the workers, at living wages and under conditions that respect the family. Of course, this is a very difficult concept for people who have been raised believing that the only social responsibility of corporations is to make money for their shareholders. But this does not mean that it is not a valid principle.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Besides, as I see it, it was an “excused” absence if the supervisor had taken the call and let the employee go and pick up the child. It there was something wrong with this, the blame should be on the supervisor. I won a case appealing having passed over for a promotion, based on that argument: The employer claimed that I had made 3 mistakes in giving replies to customers, but the letters had been approved by a supervisor before getting sent, so they were not only MY mistakes and I won the case.

          • cmfe

            There is not much you can do when you have to leave for a sick kid, but a surprising number of companies are completely inflexible about any situation that requires family time. My supervisor felt pretty bad, it was the only mark against me, but she was compelled to follow company policy. The reality of the job market for many is unforgiving and very insecure.

          • Marthe Lépine

            That is where having a union is useful (and even necessary) A union representative would have been able to bring the matter up without the employee risking losing her job.

            • Cypressclimber

              Another report from Fantasy Land.

              • Marthe Lépine

                I have been a union representative for several years, and a paid union staff representative. My father has been a union official for even more years than me. My father’s uncle has been a founding member of the Montreal Labour Council at the time Leo XIII wrote Rerum Novarum. Hardly a report from Fantasy Land. Just professional experience…

                • Cypressclimber

                  (Smiling) Well, that explains a lot.

      • jroberts548

        That’s really unfair that Walmart can’t do anything about its employees defaming it like that. I didn’t know that employer’s can’t say anything about the reason for terminating the employer-employee relationship.

        What are the actual consequences? Obviously, the employer is physically capable of saying why they fired the employee. Is there some legal consequence? What, concretely, do you mean when you say “employers cannot–absolutely canNOT–talk about the reasons they dismiss an employee”?

        • Mike Blackadder

          Good question. May be true that an employer would be forbidden from discussing reasons for dismissal, but probably because of corporate policy, not government regulation.

          • Cypressclimber

            No, it’s not merely company policy. As I tried to make clear, it arises out of both black-letter law, and jurisprudence, regarding employee rights.

            A lot of folks think it’s all a matter of just this or that law. It’s not; it’s a function of all sorts of law, including regulations, legal advisories from agencies, and the outcomes of litigation.

        • Cypressclimber

          JRoberts:

          For clarity, I am not a lawyer, but I have been (and am now) an employer; and I’ve always relied on others in whatever organization I worked for to guide me in these matters. What follows is what they’ve taught me, over many years…

          First, the contents of an employee’s personnel file are confidential. So the employer has a duty to protect that, and is bound by that. Since this is something that protects the employee, the employee is not bound by that same confidentiality. Thus, the employee can say anything s/he wants, while the employer cannot reply with anything that is confidential. This applies after employment ends.

          Second, the employer always risks a defamation lawsuit if s/he says anything derogatory about the employee (current or former).

          Here’s a real world example. Someone calls me about Joe Dokes, who used to work for me. The one calling is considering Joe Dokes for a job. The caller wants to know about Joe Dokes.

          All I can say is, Joe did start working in 1988, and ended in 1989. No other description of that employee’s performance whatsoever. The reason is the risk of a defamation lawsuit.

          Now, some might say all this is over-protective. Again, I’m not a lawyer. However, the lawyers who give this advice within companies do so for good reasons. Their job is to keep their clients out of legal trouble.

          • Marthe Lépine

            So, if Joe has been dismissed because he was caught stealing, his previous employer should not warn the one requesting information, unless he has spent considerably more money than was stolen in legal matters? Then what is the point of asking for references? Or is the law different between Canada and the US?

            • Cypressclimber

              I have no information about Canadian law. I am in the U.S., and what I’ve posted is from several different jobs, with several different human resources departments, giving advice about how employers must navigate dangerous legal waters.

              There is still value in asking references. First, you can still learn a lot about a person from personal, i.e., non-employer references. Second, not all employers will be as careful as I was taught to be. That’s their lookout.

    • Dan C

      I do think some Catholic conservatives and liberals have profoundly different sets of morals. There is the Acton/Novak side of the fence (getting aid and succor from folks like Longenecker and Reno) who cannot support for religious reasons welfare entitlement, wage laws, or benefit laws insisting on a measure of social justice. In fact, I claim that they are willing to permit an enormous amount of suffering to see these policies through. A one time poster here, jonk, has similar views.

      I doubt that liberal Catholics like Stoker-Bruenig or Morning’s Minuon or MSWinters share that ethical view.

      • Mike Blackadder

        Sure Dan, SOME conservatives and liberals have different morals. Not supporting a liberal policy, even not ‘insisting on a measure of social justice’ (at what cost and in what circumstance?) is not indicative of moral depravity, it’s indicative of a different perspective of social justice, and a different perspective of how to improve social problems like poverty.

        • Dan C

          Error can be fervently and sincerely held. It is still error.

          Why do conservatives resist the authority of CST and it’s pretty clear leaning toward European Christian Democrats?

          • Mike Blackadder

            Error is not moral depravity. That’s why I don’t accuse you of any such thing. Pick a fight with somebody else.

        • cmfe

          Here’s the deal, Blackadder (love your name BTW) Conservatives are very quick to condemn women who become single mothers. We as a society have failed to come to grips with the level of abuse against women. Rape is not prosecuted, domestic abusers go free, women are not valued. When they get pregnant and most need support, the response of too many Catholics is to dismiss them as immoral and deserving of their fate. If we want to save babies, we have to value their mothers.

          • Mike Blackadder

            I agree. Certainly it is often the case that the single mother is somewhat responsible for her situation, but as you say, not always. Sometimes a woman is raped, sometimes it is that her husband has left her. So why judge if you don’t know? Besides, people make mistakes, and at the very least Catholic conservatives ought to recognize that this woman had to make a choice and she chose life.

          • NB_Liberallies

            You also miss the point that increasingly, thanks to the radical feminist culture in the USA, there are now many women who have a child and do not want the father involved. This doesn’t take way from what you said in your post, but many women are not the victims certain sector of society love to claim they are. Many women, today, freely and immoraly, choose to be single mothers.

            • Marthe Lépine

              Some of them may later regret it, but then it is too late to turn the clock back. If some of them are Catholic, truly repent and go to Confession, the fact remains that a child is coming. We don’t know the soul of those women and we should not undertake upon ourselves to judge and/or condemn them. They and their children are human beings in need of help. We are all sinners, just as those women are, except that in most cases our own sins don’t have such visible consequences.

              • NB_Liberallies

                Marthe, I am not condemning them, I am condemning their actions. We can’t judge their heart, reason for their action, omission, etc, only God can, but we can certaionly judge the action as Moral or Immoral.

                There are children in need of help, but what do you do when women refuse any help for their children? or they don’t see a problem with their actions or omissions that end up hurting the children? What do you do when women, as I have know a few, have children in order to abuse systems, businesses, corporations, etc?

                • Marthe Lépine

                  That is where the attitude “love the sinner, hate the sin” is doing its damages. I don’t think we are allowed to do anything else than support the mother and her child – if we can, unless we are in a position of authority responsible to manage one of those systems. Seems to me it is the same kind of situation as what we should do about some of our relatives or friends who are atheists, who live together without being married, or are doing a number of other similar things.

                  • NB_Liberallies

                    Sorry, Marthe. Your attitude is very wrong. We must judge actions as good or bad. You are preaching silly secular humanist/atheist propaganda. “don’t judge…”, “who are you to judge…”, etc. These are attacks against Catholic teachings.

                    It is more than clear that we must, we have to, judge actions and omissions. In fact, YOU have done it all over this forum and Mark, the author of this article, did so as well. It just seems that neither one of you want any type of judging that doesn’t conform with your way of thinking.

                    Yes, judge the sin and not the sinner. Be charitable, loving, respectful towards teh sinner. We must Love and Embrace, with true charity, our atheists friends and family members. But this does not mean that we stay quiet about their immoral actions and omissions. We must always speak and act with the Truth and Morality never mincing words, but doing it with love, charity, respect, and making sure the Holy Spirit, not your passion or persona beliefs, are leading the dicussion.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      There is a difference between a blog like this one, where Mark is trying about the truth – it is a proper place to speak and act with the Truth and Morality. But when it comes with individual sinners around us… What did Jesus say to the Samaritan woman, again? He did say something, but after she opened up about her own sin; if she had left without admitting anything, I doubt that Jesus would have run after her.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      So, we must only speak the Truth in blogs? We must speak the Truth whenever and wherever we are.

                      If we know someone is living in sin, especially a loved one, it is our Moral obligation to speak the Truth to this individual. Again, with love, charity, and respect. It shouldn’t be the topic of conversation all the time, but the Truth must be spoken by those who know it. We will be judged very harshly, by God, if we stay quiet and do not speak the Truth, especially when it comes to the actions and omissions of our family and friends.

                      By the way, yes, Jesus would have run after her, if not physically, Spiritually, until the Samaritan woman died. Jesus runs after us, all human beings, daily, begging us to come to him, be with him, and stop sinning. You are mistaken on your assumption Jesus would not have run after the Samaritan woman.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Always speak and act with Truth and Morality… So you mean to say that my friend who is now a grandmother and loves her grandson should always tell her unmarried daughter and her common-law husband, every time she wants to see her grandson, how much their lifestyle is immoral. They both are adults, they have been raised as Catholics and have made their choices while knowing what they are doing. Thus my friend should not be afraid to antagonize them and speak up all the time…Sure,she will certainly get them to convert some day! But being nice and accepting will be sending them straight to hell.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      What? what the heck. Again, you read what you want it to read, not what I typed.

                      Honestly, at this point. Please address my points, not what your imagination.

                      Wow…honestly, with all due respect to someone who is older than me, please slow down, read what people write, and then respond.

                      Always speak the truth doesn’t mean, constantly annoy the heck out of people. WOW!! There is a time and place, it is called prudence. We must be prudent when we speak the Truth.

                      I currently have a situation, in my family, in which I had to tell someone the Truth. We only talk abou it when the individual brings up the situation, but, with love and charity, I don’t mince words and tell the Truth.

                      Of course be nice, love, respectful, charitable, but NEVER ACCEPTING of the sin. Accept the person as a son/daughter of God, but never accept the sin as normal.

                      The action of cohabitation is immoral. This must never be accepted as normal. When and how your friend chooses to address this with her daughter is up to her, but when she does address it, she must not mince words or hide the truth from her daughter.

                      Please, don’t interpret what you read in a way that fits how you think.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      I have been trying to say exactly the same thing that you just said and really got the impression that you were jumping all over me with the tone you were using. You also have been reading things I did not mean in what I was writing and you also jumped to conclusions. Now – we are even.

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      It sounds like we are both bull headed and passionate about our beliefs. A very good thing in a World where most people seem to only care about sports and the local bar.

                      The thing we both are for sure, and it is a great thing, is son and a daughter of God. I hope to meet you one day in Heaven and we can laugh up this dust-up.

                      Please pray for me. I need it badly. I have great weaknesses that can lead to great evil if I lose control. Pray for my children and wife too.I will keep you in my prayers from today until the day I die.

                      You make some good points. I’ll reply to them tomorrow.

                      VIVA CRISTO REY! Y que tu Angel de la guardia te cuide y proteja.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Thank you. Am praying also.

              • Mike Blackadder

                Right, but according to that logic we may as well not talk about anything. We shouldn’t talk about Walmart maybe firing a woman because they found out she was pregnant, because we’re all sinners and we don’t know their hearts and we are judging.

                And there’s the problem. You can’t on one hand adopt the most uncharitable explanation for the person who fired her, and then block any alternative perhaps true explanation by saying it is wrong to judge and condemn others. Not only is that not a rational mindset, it’s an unchristian mindset.

            • Mike Blackadder

              I couldn’t speak to whether or not this is true. However you raise an important point that is sometimes lost in secular and overly ‘progressive’ morality. There is more to right and wrong than ‘victim identification’.

              Yes, in general we should support the victim and oppose the abuser, but assuming the status of a victim does not excuse all other behavior; it ought not be considered a shield against individual correction or a bludgeon to silence the legitimate concerns of everyone else. And the worst offense from progressives is that this victimization worldview is very often applied to whole groups of people simple because of their race, their ancestry, their religion, their sexual orientation. In this case, we see this same principle used to suggest that we ought not question the decisions of the prospective single mother even as we assume the most uncharitable motivation behind her being fired. This worldview also explains why a black lesbian is allowed to talk about how much she hates Chinese people, and a white man is not allowed to mention Islam when he talks about ‘youths’ burning up cars in France.

  • ivan_the_mad

    “There are two kinds of ‘atheism’: the atheism of the right, which professes to love God and ignores neighbor; and the atheism of the left, which professes to love neighbor and ignores God.” — Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests

    • cmfe

      If, by this quote you are saying that both sides are irretrievably wrong, you dodge the work of finding a truly compassionate response and implementing it. The stakes are too high for us to simply throw up our hands and say it’s too difficult.

      • ivan_the_mad

        You’re stretching quite a bit here. Have a nice day.

    • Benjamin2.0

      I couldn’t help remembering Davila’s aphorism #944:

      Religious individualism forgets the neighbor; communitarianism forgets God. The more serious error is always the latter.

      Of course, I remembered the number and didn’t have to Google it.

      Off the top of my head.

      Totally.

    • LFM

      This is tendentious and insinuating. Although I’ve certainly encountered examples of the second type, I don’t recognise the first of the two, No one I’ve met who really seemed to love God actually ignored his neighbour, and most have been eager to help in every possible way. Of course, some might be more gifted in prayer, and others in more active vocations.

      Please do not make the mistake of the kind of Protestants who think that only direct involvement in bodily works of mercy “count” as love of neighbour.

      • ivan_the_mad

        You’re stretching quite a bit here. Have a nice day.

        • LFM

          No I’m not. And please don’t use “have a nice day” in that insulting fashion. It’s unwarranted – i.e., a stretch.

  • LFM

    Mark, I don’t understand the direction you’ve taken recently. This is a wrong-headed, and wrong, caricature of “conservative” Catholics. First, it’s only valid in the United States, which is the only country I know in which “conservative” actually means “laissez-faire” economic policy (although the rest of the world has sort of taken it up too in the last 20 years, for obvious reasons). Second, I’m not at all sure how valid it is even in the United States. The conservative writers I read say that Walmart is not necessarily as bad as it’s made out to be. They *don’t* say, “We love Walmart! O holy temple of cheap low-quality goods! O juggernaut of consumerism that crushes prices and workers in a single blow!” I mean, that sounds more like the worst of those worldly-pseudo-Gospel adherents that show up on television than any conservative Christian believers I know.

    Sigh. In a deeply divided country, as yours is nowadays, this kind of insistence on seeing the worst in your opponents – left, right, and in-between – even if it isn’t there – really doesn’t help much. [Edited for emphasis Mon. 9:47 p.m.]

    • cmfe

      Pope Francis specifically mentioned “trickle down economics”, which is a specifically American conservative term. I think our Pope is trying to reach Catholic conservatives and help them consider a more authentically Catholic point of view. We are deeply divided

      • Mike Blackadder

        Yeah, I agree, but I think this is a bit of a blunder from Francis. He needs to be careful that he’s discussing things in a competent way. If he wants to make an empirical argument (as he does here) then he ought to provide an empirical basis for his argument and do so competently.

      • LFM

        “Trickle-down economics” are not necessarily false. Past a certain level of social organization, the only economic force that has ever been shown to make a society richer from top to bottom is capitalism, although certainly not in an egalitarian fashion, especially for those who are not employed in the new jobs created by industrial capitalism.

        The trouble is that in a society in which the poor have already been rendered destitute by overcrowding, the impoverishment of the soil, and displacement, there are always more poor people to step in whenever poor workers try to organize. That’s why unions are not usually effective until a certain level of social security has been reached within a given nation, so that workers can risk getting fired for organizing/striking, because they know that they cannot readily be replaced. (That is most unlikely to happen in the US, by the way, if it keeps on accepting or winking at huge numbers of illegal immigrants from Latin America – essentially “scab” labour.)

        I’m not a libertarian or even a supporter of laissez-faire economics in the more general sense. I believe in the provision of a social safety net. But if it’s done wrong, it can actually leave people as badly off as they were without it, if in somewhat different ways.

        • Marthe Lépine

          It seems to me that an idea I learned in the 60′ when I was a graduate student in economics has been forgotten, and could be useful nowadays: the idea of the “multiplier effect”. Maybe “trickle-down economics” is what it has morphed into. The idea was that money that was put into the economy, for example in the form of new jobs, or new infrastructure projects, after having received by workers, or other businesses, would then be spent on goods and services (with some perhaps saved), to become once again a source of wages and other revenues, and these wages and other revenues would in turn be spent (and/or saved) and so on, so the benefits of the initial money would keep spreading until a certain point. There were ways to calculate the total effect of the circulation of that money, which would be called a multiplier effect. Maybe, originally, trickle-down proponents assumed such a redistribution of money. But I have almost never seen any mention of that multiplier effect in the last several years. I realize that an economist like Keynes is now out of fashion, but the idea made sense.

      • NB_Liberallies

        Actually, no. Pope Francis didn’t attack “trickle down economics”. That is what the American media claimed he attacked. Pope Francis attacked cronie capitalism.

        Cronie capitalism and Trickle Down Economics are two very different things.

        • Mike Blackadder

          Actually he did specifically talk about trickle down economics and basically dismissed it as being immoral and invalidated by historical experience. Re: Evangelii Gaudium.

          • NB_Liberallies

            Mike, he talks about “unfettered” capitalism. Not trickle down. His article is written in Spanish first, translated to Latin, and then translated to the rest of the languages in teh World. Then, the media tells the World, the media’s version, of what the Pope meant.

            No where does Pope Francis attack “trickle down” in the original version he wrote in Spanish.

            • Mike Blackadder

              I am referring to: “In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

              Now you might be right that ‘trickle down’ was translated into the English version. But it IS the English version as it appears at the Vatican. So how can we pretend he didn’t say this?

              • NB_Liberallies

                I blame the translator, not the Pope. :-) But I understand what you mean. The official Vatican website, does have the English verision and thus, it becomes official Vatican position.

                I do agree with one thing. The United States of America, today’s capitalism, which is cronie capitalis, no longer real capitalsim, is out of control. Corporate America is all about making the investors happy, at whatever cause. As Roman Catholics, we know that the first and most important reason to create a business is to serve the Lord and serve the community. A side effect of this, is making money. It is a sin to treat employees less than human beings, as way too many corporations in the USA do today. The NUMBER one reason to exist, of too many of today’s corporations, is only to make money, no matter the way they do it and whose life they destroy. The thing is, this is not a liberal or conservative thing. It is done by both sides.

                I will give you one example. I have a brother and a very good friend who work for a engine making company. They are engineers. The last CEO walked away with a 14 million dollar golden parachute despite making countless of poor decisions that have brought the company to the brink of destruction. Why should the CEO walk away with 14 million dollars, after destroying the company, while the $80K and above engineer walks away with nothing, but a pink slip? This is quite immoral and it happens way too often.

                However, I am for capitalism. It is the one economic system that has brought most people out of poverty and allowed countless to build small business and live off these or make these small businesses into huge companies, which in turn employ countless of people.

                Capitalism is a great thing. Cronie capitalism, investors first capitalism is as bad as communist economic policies.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  As Mark has often quoted from Chesterton: the problem is not capitalism, it is that there are too few capitalists.

                  • NB_Liberallies

                    I disagree. I think the problem is there are quite a few capitalists, but not enough of us in positions of leadership.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Right, but why is it that not enough of us who are in positions of leadership cannot access the capital to start and/or support their own businesses?

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      Because we don’t have great business plans. We don’t take the time to research and find out how to create businesses.

                      Walmart started as a small corner store and look where it is today.

                      I am in the process of becoming a partner in my best friends Hardscape/Landscape business. He ran the business for 10 years, mortgage his house twice. Works 6am until 7pm.

                      The capital is there. The thing is, are you willing to make the needed sacrifices to run your own business. Most people claim they are, but they refuse to realize, it takes hardwork, dedication, and that most sane banks, are not willing to lend money to poorly run small businesses.

                      Let’s not blame banks, corporations, etc all the time.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Is (was) your friend married? It is impossible to have that kind of dedication to a business and be a responsible member of a family… Do you mean that a business should be his “god”? I have been self-employed for over 35 years, was never married, worked hard, but received almost no support; do you mean that I should have considered my business as my god? I was just trying to support myself, does it mean that I was not prepared to work hard?

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      His business is his “god”? Where do you come up with these things? Of course not. God is his ONLY God and his family came second, after God, and thirdly, his job.

                      It isn’t impossible to have that type of dedication, run a succesful business, and be a responsible member of a family.

                      My friend is in fact, a God fearing man. Goes to Church every Sunday and even on weekdays. His has a very happy family and is very succesful.

                      Excuses come a dime a dozen. This is the reason why most people fail at their own business, not because of lack of capital.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Yea, he also sounds like some kind of superman… we don’t all have the ability to never sleep. You mean that in the 11 hours left before and after his work day, he manages to have a happy family (did you ask his wife?) and to to church almost every day. As well as eat regular meals (maybe he does not, or he just breezes in at meal time and gulp down whatever his wife has prepared) and sleep enough hours. Good for him! Keep presenting that kind of impossible ideal, and you can blame everybody else for not trying hard enough to measure up, therefore not deserving any help with working capital. Then they become poor and it is their own fault..

                    • NB_Liberallies

                      His wife is best friends with us, so yes I know. They are a very happy couple. Never neglected his kids nor his wife.

                      “superman”? Hardly, but his attitude, he is a foriegner like me. is what was the American spirit when this Nation moved forward. and became great.

                      Today, as you are showing, people are full of excuses as to why they can’t make it. They attack people who “dare” work hard and make it, while keeping family, kids happy and keeping up with Christian responsabilities. They call what was once done by many Americans, impossible.

                      Your type of, “it is impossible to do”, “Can’t do” attitude is what is destroying Western culture.

                      Why do you harbor so much disdain for people who work hard?

                      Nothing is impossible to those who work hard and stop making excuses. It doesn’t mean you aren’t going to fail. I saw my friend, who today is very succesful, come close to losing his house. I saw him come close to losing his business. But instead of whining, complaining, he learned from his failures, got up, worked very hard and continued to move on.

                      He has a, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD!!” attitude. It is not that he is a superman, it is that he trusts God and doesn’t constantly attack anyone who is more succesful than him and he doesn’t blame otehr companies who compete against him.

                    • LFM

                      It is possible to work hard and not make excuses, and still fail, perhaps for internal reasons (depression, lack of aptitude for certain skills) or external ones (illness, competing responsibilities, social upheaval).

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Thank you, I wanted to write something to that effect but did not have enough time for the moment. I could write at length about my own situation, for example, and I really feel attacked when people are talking about making excuses, not being willing to work hard enough, or whining, or whatever other perceived personal failings for my “lack of success”, without knowing any of the facts (even if they talk in general terms and are certainly not targeting any one in particular, least of all me).

                    • LFM

                      You should just keep reminding yourself that since the people who make such statements don’t know your situation, they really can’t be talking about you. It’s also possible that they themselves have a chip on their shoulders and express it through criticism of others.

                      People are not infinitely flexible for all kinds of legitimate reasons. For example, I might have been better off if I had obtained a degree in accounting or computer science, as I was often told, but I knew there was not much use in making the attempt. Some skills, like singing in the opera, require an innate talent or aptitude as well as hard work and discipline.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Thank you

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Ironically, I was pushed almost against my will to obtain a degree in accounting, settled for business, and I think I might have been better off if I had held my ground and went directly into doing what I liked better. Life can be strange…

                    • LFM

                      Well, in my own case it wasn’t so much a question of choosing to do what I liked, as being incapable of doing anything else, at least at that time. (I have been diagnosed with ADD, and while I’m still a little uncertain of that diagnosis, it does seem to fit.) I gradually acquired some ability to master my butterfly attention-span as I got older, but up until age 21 or so I had immense difficulty with it, in spite of many efforts to reform and to compel my attention. Anyway, the point is that by one’s early 20s it’s a bit late to go back and try to become a physicist or accountant or marketing trainee. So I was stuck with doing what came naturally to me. For many years I made an excellent living at it, too, surprisingly enough, but a tendency to be a little too outspoken (also an ADD characteristic) has made the last few years more difficult.

                    • cmfe

                      The difficulty with emphasizing individualism to the extent our culture does is that those who do well assume that they did it all themselves. This can leave one free to blame those who don’t for their failure. Education, upbringing, health and opportunity are assumed to be equal. I hobbles us both from gratitude for our success and compassion for the less fortunate. It is spiritually impoverishing.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Thank you. And a question: a few weeks earlier on this same blog, a discussion arose in the combox that I found very informative, in fact. It had to do with remnants of a Calvinist culture that still affect our way of thinking. Would you say that what you just said has something to do with it?
                      It went something like what will follow and was apparently brought to us by the “Enlightenment”. (This is an oversimplification, but since my background is French-Canadian Catholic, I did not really know much about this before and hardly knew what the Enlightenment because I only came across the term in high school studies of English literature.).
                      According to this philosophy, some people are predestined to be saved, and the sign of it is that they are blessed by God and they succeed, mostly materially. So, people will work very hard and/or have a lot of talent, and succeed, and think that they already did, or do, win the approval and blessing of God. On the other hand, if people are poor, it is probably their own fault, they don’t work hard enough, e.g. they are lazy, and they are rejected by God or were predestined to be rejected. Nowadays, in that equation God can be replaced by social recognition, and you get a similar idea.
                      What do you think?

                    • cmfe

                      I think you’re spot on. I mentioned elsewhere that Cardinal George has joked about it, but the United States was settled by mostly Calvinist Protestants. We who are Catholic here have adopted many of those attitudes without really examining them. The hostility towards the poor and needy, the Prosperity Gospel are all part of it. It seems that Job’s “friends” had descendants and they emigrated here! As far as right views and left views, it’s like that joke about the blind men arguing about the elephant. They are fighting because one thinks it’s like a rope, one like a tree trunk, one broad and flat like a wall. Everybody has a piece of the puzzle, but unless we talk to each other and to each other, not to “win” but to understand, we’ll never make any headway. A prolife movement that doesn’t consider what life choices are available to an expectant mothers and be compassionate for what she faces will fail. It’s not enough to be anti-abortion. We have to be pro-mother. From a Calvinist perspective, empathy will a “fallen” person is pointless. As Catholics, we should know and do better.

                    • LFM

                      I agree with what you say about Calvinist Catholics in the US, but there is one point I would add about expectant mothers: I worry about the consequences of fatherlessness for children and for society at large. I know of course that not all expectant mothers with financial troubles are single, and if they are, it isn’t necessarily by choice, but now that the shame of single motherhood is largely gone, a surprising number of women simply engage in sexual relations without caution, and let the chips, or children, fall where they may. Even when these prospective mothers have enough money or support to care for their children, however, the children tend to be damaged by it. Their prospects in life are nearly always worse than those of children born to intact families, and they perpetuate the behavior of their feckless parents, so that irresponsible fatherhood and motherhood pass down the generations. The social costs of this are enormous – and I am not referring to money.

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                      No, no, I agree with Marthe here, there are way too few capitalists at present.

                      Remember, we have an extra 2-3 billion entering in on the labor side with the Deng reforms and the ending of the permit raj in India. We have a desperate need for more capitalists to create the jobs that will employ people coming off of subsistence farming and serfdom.

                • Mike Blackadder

                  To be honest I hadn’t actually considered the possibility that this ‘trickle down’ comment was actually maybe just a translation thing because I did find it was one of the more amateurish comments that I’d ever seen written by any Pope. That’s something I’ll take into consideration and maybe look at the original native language in the future when something looks THAT bad.

                  I agree with you in the criticism of crony capitalism, in criticisms of American capitalism, criticisms of capitalism in general. From an empirical point of view you have to say that Capitalism is enormously successful compared with other economic mechanisms both in the aggregate and to serve the individual rich and poor – though there are some who ARE excluded. It’s exactly the ability under free markets to spread decision making and risk around to basically everybody (instead of systems that concentrate decisions and power) that makes it so effective and coordinated (perhaps ironically). It is in the exception to this vision of Capitalism where it goes wrong.

                  Beyond empiricism I would also say that there is something inherently good about the idea of freedom to trade and freedom of enterprise. Certainly there are necessary limitations on such freedom, however as a basic principle it seems that it is very much the instruction of Catholic doctrine that this freedom to work, to obtain more permanent security from such work (ie. being able to work towards one’s own security through retaining permanent possessions) and to freely make decisions in such enterprise is an inherent right according to our nature and dignity as human beings. Inasmuch as Capitalism recognizes and espouses this principle of our human dignity through work it is perhaps an inherently good system.

                  That being said, it is this empirical success and recognition of human dignity that renders Capitalism a good thing and absolute faith in ‘Capitalism’ or the ‘invisible hand’ is certainly just another idol if you lose sight of what this economic system is supposed to serve; which is humanity and justice.

                  So yes, there are all kinds of exceptions to GOOD being served under basic Capitalism. There ARE the excluded. And as Francis rightly points out, even Welfare is not an acceptable solution to that problem – it is the basic idea that only an ability to earn money is of value that is a fundamental problem. Similarly there are all kinds of practical situations/characteristics where the system no longer works empirically (like under monopolies, the fact that Capital tends to be concentrated with the few and the ensuing imbalance of power, where information is systematically inaccurate or difficult to obtain).

                  And when we start considering these realities of the real Capitalist system, when we consider that there are many people whose contribution to society is not capitalist in nature we need to be able to see beyond these ideologies to a fuller ideology like what is presented in the teachings of the Catholic church and also what human empathy and common sense would dictate.

              • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                One problem with the papal statement is that it is something of a straw man. Supply siders do not, in fact, have a naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power. But putting that aside for a moment, the key phrase is “which has never been confirmed by the facts”. This is important because it establishes here that facts are what are in contention, not the gospel. In matters of economic fact, the opinion of the Pope is not privileged. The facts are what they are.

                • Mike Blackadder

                  Yes exactly. He’s trying to make an assertion about what is essentially a tactic to raise up the wellbeing of those at the bottom (ie. trickle DOWN). He can only do so by claiming it doesn’t work. What he does though is asserts that there is no reason to think that a trickle down tactic actually works, and then infers that the only reason one would support such a policy is that they don’t really care about the less fortunate, which is an easily refutable assertion; simply by knowing how you actually feel and how you are motivated politically. I see this as him expressing his opinion based on his experience as a man, which doesn’t bother me, except that it seems to be such a shallow echo-chamber-like opinion that it reflects poorly on him which is unfortunate.

                  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                    Pope Francis is playing a tough game in my opinion. If he is in error (and checking is still on my to do list) it is, to my mind, a minor error. On the broad strokes he’s done quite a bit of good including reviving Kemp style republicanism in the US (Paul Ryan seems to be picking up that standard) which is pretty remarkable.

                    The Pope could do a lot of good if he were to promote improving the legal protection of the goods of the poor which are inadequately protected almost everywhere. In the Aparecida document he had a role in writing and uses as a model, they took a starter stab at the problem with their comment on despoliation but it’s a miserable, bare framework that could use a great deal of elaboration beyond what Aparecida laid out.

                    Venture capitalism for the poor, or grubstaking the poor would be the road forward and lead to a greater support for the Vatican from among the US right. Pope Francis wouldn’t have to move an inch substantively, either. He’s pretty much said it all. He’s just saying it in such a left-friendly way that the right’s having difficulty understanding him.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Thank you again for your response. This is a valuable perspective on Francis’ actual disposition towards economics. I will try to better inform myself to figure this guy out.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      A question: I have read some time ago about some kind of “micro-financing” done in some parts of the world. I think that some banker from India received a Nobel prize about something like this. It seems that this has helped a lot of people to get out of poverty by starting small businesses. Is it similar to what you call “venture capitalism” or “grubstaking”? I had assumed that venture capitalism had to do with financing larger operations in order to allow them to start something innovative while running a smaller risk. And what about the financing things such as “crowdsourcing”? Maybe this is not the right place for a lecture about finance, but I wonder if you could give a couple of links for people like myself who have studied economics a few generations ago. Thanks.
                      PS you mentioned in an earlier comment something about doing such things via “bitcoins”, would that be related? (by the way, I have noticed an interesting post explaining bitcoins in your own blog; I am a little busy right now but I intend to go and read it soon.)

                    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                      Micro-financing is a variant of what I’m talking about. It’s not the whole ball of wax. What if an EBT card took the sales tax from purchases to the poor and put either all or a portion of the revenues into a tax free grubstake account linked to the individual and accessible only when they get off public aid? That’s not micro-finance but it *is* grubstaking. This is a development just waiting to be picked up by a new Jack Kemp.

                      Bitcoin as a low transaction cost, distributed electronic ledger communications protocol allows for incredibly small investments. I’m participating in 25 loans (24 active, 1 pending), most at .0003 bitcoins. I will be diversifying out to 100 loans and then inch up the amounts. The dollar value at writing of .0003 bitcoins is $0.1455. Try doing that with any national currency on the planet and you’ll quickly find that it’s impossible to do. The transaction costs eat it all up.

                      At amounts that small, you can cold turkey a few days on your cigarette habit or skip a month of netflix and accumulate a diversified loan portfolio startup (yes, I know, that’s for the 1st world poor). My own bitcoin funds are exclusively accumulated via micropayments and reinvesting the money. In theory, any poor person with internet access could have accumulated the same funds.

                      One key here is the smallest unit of account in bitcoin, the satoshi. It is 0.00000001 bitcoin. This multiplies work available because small tasks that are worth less than a penny can be wedged into your ‘stand in line’ time at the grocers, etc. Another key is that business transactions can be accomplished cheaper than with credit cards, checks, or even cash.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I will copy this in my computer and get into more research on this interesting development later (starting by reading your blog)..

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            Pope Francis made a statement of fact that trickle down economics has never had any evidence for it working in the real world. I think that he’s probably wrong on that point. The solution, however, is not to get your panties in a bunch about Pope Francis. The solution is to gather real examples of these policies working and to write a nice, respectful, open letter to the Pope giving the specific evidence that he made a factual error when he said what he said.

            Either the professional literature in economics supports the Pope or it doesn’t. If the Pope’s understanding of the professional literature of economics is deficient, that’s not a challenge to the faith, but it is a barrier to Pope Francis’ effectiveness in office regarding economic matters.

            Alternatively, if Pope Francis is right, that supply side solutions have never been documented to work, that’s an astonishing matter that the Pope has shone a light on and a very valuable public service.

            • Mike Blackadder

              Good advice not to get one’s ‘panties in a knot’. That said, you see the consequence of what Francis has instructed in cmfe’s comment above – that Catholic conservatives therefore don’t follow an ‘authentic’ Catholic point of view.

              It’s true we don’t need to get upset or leave the church or anything crazy, but it’s also maybe legitimate in this context to question what Francis is sometimes asserting when it isn’t actually a question of real church dogma.

              Whether or not it is wise to do so, Francis is with this kind of commentary venturing into the political arena in a much more specific manner. And he plays both sides by choosing to talk politically and empirically but using prophetic assertions like ‘thou shalt not’ to an ‘economy of exclusion and inequality’ as though it is actually a new 11th commandment.

              In my view it is legitimate to question empirical and political assertions (though respectfully) in the way that empirical and political assertions are normally vetted. If we refuse to do the same when it is the Pope then as Catholics we really ARE practicing a kind of idolatry of the papacy. Wouldn’t you agree?

              • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

                I know of nobody of any consequence that attaches any theological significance to a papal error in fact on a non-religious issue so we’re really discussing a theoretical here. Anyone who does this would have difficulty convincing me that they’re actually Catholic.

    • Joe

      But Mark primarily writes for an American audience, so of course he’s going to write about American “conservatives”.

  • Catholic pilgrim

    Yes Mark, I read the same attacks by “Catholic conservatives” on Sen. Bernie Sanders (a Socialist Jew from Vermont) who has numerously cited Pope Francis’s teachings on the Senate floor, interviews & press releases. Is Catholicism about embracing & promoting ALL that is True, Good & Beautiful (even if found amongst the “undesirables” like Socialists) so that all may come to share in the life of Christ Jesus & His work of reconciling the whole world to God through His Death and Resurrection? Or is Catholicism about attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders simply because he’s not a Republican conservative or attacking a politician (or even bishop) for being Pro-Immigration? Sometimes (like when all one can say about someone is negative, bitter things) it’s better to remain silent, think about God & smile. This is my advice to Catholic conservatives. Let’s choose to fight big fights, not petty ones. Let’s choose to talk about ideas, not personal attacks.

  • Peggy

    You’ve put words in the mouths of lots of people who, to my knowledge, have not said a gosh-darned thing about this story.

    I do find it odd and foolish of WM to so blatantly break employment law. I have generally not believed all that has been said about WM as much of the case against is a pro-union agenda. Activists (on both sides) do not tell the whole story, just enough to make the case they want. We’ve seen this most recently in Ferguson of course.

    If this story is true, it is truly awful!

    • cmfe

      In states that have “right to work laws”, which the Republican party has worked hard to get passed, a company can fire a person for any or no reason. I have brought this issue up on other threads and have encountered all out denial that this occurs. This sort of things happens, it is awful as you say, and it is devastating to families.

      • jroberts548

        In every state with at-will employment, an employer can fire someone for any reason, unless the employee is protected by a contract or the state or federal discrimination law. “Right-to-work” laws are about whether unions and employers can make union membership mandatory. At-will employment, which is the law in every state, is about whether employers and employees can terminate the relationship.

        This is in contrast to civil law countries, where the presumption is that the relationship can only be terminated either for cause or with some amount of notice.

        We really should abandon at-will employment, especially if we’re going to continue to subsidize employer-based health insurance. We have so many discrimination laws and transaction costs on top of at-will employment on the employer’s side, and employees don’t want to risk losing health insurance, that at any economic gains from at-will employment are minimal.

        • Mike Blackadder

          I didn’t know that. So there is no employment regulation or discrimination law at the federal level that would stop an employer from firing a woman because she is pregnant? If that’s the case then I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Walmart has done just that.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            The described behavior violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended. It’s called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which specifies discrimination against the pregnant as discrimination on the basis of sex.

            If they violated the law, she deserves a financial settlement and a job with the company. The question is whether the facts actually are as described. With Walmart shutting up, probably in anticipation of a lawsuit, it’s tough to tell the facts from outside.

            • Mike Blackadder

              Now THAT makes sense. Thank you for your reply.

        • Cypressclimber

          Also, ‘at will’ employment is really a false promise. In reality, if you dismiss someone, you better have a case, because even if you can, “legally,” dismiss someone “at will,” that doesn’t mean you can’t be sued, subsequently, for any number of charges relating to “wrongful discharge” or discrimination.

          The truth is, the only one who can actually be dismissed “at will” are single, white heterosexual males below a certain age, and with no known disability — because they belong to no protected class or category.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    We are fast witnessing a sweeping political realignment. In the past, social conservatives held hands with economic conservatives, and social liberals slept with economic liberals. Soon, we will see the social liberals tie the knot with economic conservatives, leaving social conservatives with economic liberals. Witness the rise of the (socially) liberal rich. They support abortion, homosex, and soon molestation (or child-love as it will be known). They also want to stay rich, so they will push for economic conservative programs. We see it already today with the ultra-rich like Gates and Buffet bemoaning the fact that they don’t pay enough taxes, and yet fighting tooth-and-nail to keep from having to pay any more taxes. The political system as we know it will not be the same.

    • Mike Blackadder

      And don’t forget the new term for euthanasia: Life Completion. You know, I finally got to visit India. Life complete.

      • Joseph

        Life Completion? Wow. Reminds me of the song by Queensryche, ‘NM-156′ where cyborgs are programmed to control the population and each ‘person’ is a ‘number’. When the number comes up, it must be terminated. ‘Life Completion’ = ‘End of Line’. Program Terminated. Talk about dehumanizing.
        Euthanasia was actually better, if that makes any sense.

  • Cypressclimber

    Let me offer another employer perspective, for what it’s worth (i.e., only that of a small employer)…

    The notion that employers are oh-so-eager to discipline and fire employees who don’t fit the mold runs against my own experience. Hiring employees is a big deal. There’s a lot of work involved in getting them in, interviewing them, making sure they are who they say they are. Then, training them, moving them along, etc.

    I realize it may be different for a big company, but I still tend to think that even for big operations, keeping an employee, if you can, is preferable than getting someone new. Remember the saying, “better the devil you know, than the one you don’t”? That applies here. New people are an “X factor,” and that’s true with big or small operations. And while Wal-Mart, worldwide, is a big operation, in each particular store, not so much. I’m guessing (just a guess) that keeping the known quantity on the payroll still beats the unknown, for the manager who realizes how many headaches come with interviewing and training.

    All this tends to make me skeptical of the following narrative: “So-and-so was such a great employee, everyone loved her, and really, all she did wrong was this little thing…and swoosh! The big bad corporate bosses cast her out into the snow!”

    • Mike Blackadder

      Yeah, I’m sure this is true according to your experience, but really it’s quite a different situation with a company like Walmart. You have to realize where Walmart positions themselves and that they compete on a business model of being able to turn-over employees with ease. And yes that strategy has all kinds of difficulties like retraining, like ever changing personality conflicts, big time resources required in HR, cookie cutter job descriptions. But that’s exactly what Walmart does to maintain the lowest possible wages.
      That’s not me trying to slander Walmart or be over the top, it’s really my understanding of how they operate, and probably shouldn’t assume that the disincentive to dismiss an employee (for business reasons) would be highly relevant in this case.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Another complaint I have heard about Walmart is that once they settle in an area, a lot of local businesses are not able to compete with them and eventually have to close, with all the ill effects this can have, particularly on smaller towns. Of course one has to wonder why their small town customers won’t support those smaller businesses, but sometimes the lure of lower prices and a larger choice can become difficult to resist, particularly when a family is struggling financially.

        • Mike Blackadder

          It’s true and it’s a complex issue. You have to say that Walmart’s low prices for common things is not only a lure, but is beneficial in that way for those who struggle financially. Not only do they have low prices but their presence drives down prices with others who try to complete. There are two sides to that story. Yes it’s tough that these low prices make it hard to be a small business trying to turn a profit, but it also means that a struggling family can afford to buy their kid a backpack for school or new cloths when they grow out of the old ones.
          We can argue about the injustice of low wages which is legitimate, but also we consider the context that these low wages translate into low prices that mostly benefit families who are less well off, and that these low wages also accompany what is a low skill/highly accessible work opportunity for people who otherwise don’t have a job, which once again mostly benefits the low income family who can’t find a job.

          • Marthe Lépine

            I agree with you here. It is a very complex situation, and we could argue forever about the various causes and effects, which would be a valid discussion, but would require entire books or arguments back and forth.

      • Cypressclimber

        I don’t really know, but my gut tells me that the disincentives for dismissal of employees would remain in very large operations.

  • virago

    Bottom line,to be a good Catholic I must be a liberal??? But when I was a liberal I was a poor specimen of humanity.

    I don’t have the time to contribute herd very often; I’m involved ed in research, grad school and making a living so I can pay my and my families fair share (am happy and grateful to do so) but I come and lurk often. I have become so surprised and saddle at that characteristic way conservative s and libertarians are viewed here.

    One could forget this blog had anything to do with Catholicism.

    • cmfe

      The point, as I understood it, was to get beyond categories of political thought that we absorb from the culture and try to get to an authentically Catholic perspective. Sadly conservative v. liberal is the way so many discussions turn out. We’re like fish who don’t understand we’re wet.

      • virago

        Really? I don’t always get that from your posts. I’ll read them with more care; I must have missed something. Thank you.

    • chezami

      I thought it was Catholic, not liberal, to think that a mother should not be punished for having a baby. indeed, I remember just a couple of years ago when people objected to Obama speaking of a baby as a punishment. Apparently, when a corporation punishes pregnancy that’s okay.

      • virago

        I don’t want a woman fired because she’s pregnant. I don’t know all the facts in this case. It’s Wal-Mart, it could have happened that way. I just get tired of being beaten over the head with idea that conservatives aren’t pro-life unless they absolutely follow your line of thought.

        I do remember what Obama said. The Walton family must agree with him, they donated money to his campaign. I learn things when I come here but sometimes the ROI isn’t immediately apparent.

  • virago

    Another reason I don’t comment often is poor typing skills, obviously.

  • Andy

    Charles
    Unfortunately I have been told by many Catholic “pro-lifers” that companies have a right to fire women if they are pregnant, because it is a business decision and companies need not be bothered by the common good. I am not defending Mark’s blog comments, although he paints both “conservatives” and “liberals” with a broad brush, I was responding to the insertion of politics into this conversation.

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    I’ve also encountered conservative Catholics who have stated unequivocally that pregnant unmarried* women don’t deserve any help unless they have fully repented of their sins, to the satisfaction of said Catholics. So yeah, they are out there.

    *Based on the linked article, I don’t know if this particular woman is married. I am going to guess that she is sinful in one way or another, like every single one of us.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Really? Now where’s that link to conservative Catholics who support Walmart’s decision to fire a woman because she is pregnant?

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    I never claimed to have such a link; I was simply offering evidence for the more general proposition that some Catholics are ok with pregnant women getting fired as a consequence of their pregnancies.

  • Mike Blackadder

    I guess that the point is I take this as your characterization of what MANY Catholic conservatives think, but that this probably doesn’t match reality. In reality being conservatives doesn’t actually make you dispassionate or uninterested in helping people who are vulnerable.

    Yes, a conservative is more often considering social issues and a possible instance of social injustice from the angle of personal responsibility. They ask the question: is this really a systematic fault in our political and economic system or is it partly due to choices being made by the individual affected? And yes, I think it’s fair to say that a conservative Catholic might even as a first reaction tend to blame the single mother’s own choices – whether because she is having sexual relations outside of a committed marriage, or she is purposely having children for welfare benefits, etc. The conservative Catholic might imagine that the general problem of poverty around single motherhood is generally attributable to an unethical approach to sexuality and mistreatment of life (whether or not abortion is the choice).

    Given that conservative position you can see how they might see a policy of increased welfare as either mostly irrelevant to the problem or even counterproductive because it only infers less responsibility on society to adopt a healthy and moral approach to sexuality and the family.

    The conservative isn’t opposing such policies because they don’t care, but quite the contrary, they oppose proliferation of the problem and/or denial of the real solution. The idea that conservative Catholics are expecting women to ‘repent of their sins’ before they are deserving of help is I think your own invention or is a fringe view that you’ve been exposed to that you paint with a broad brush to represent all conservatives.

    Meanwhile if you are a progressive and a Democrat I think it’s pretty hard to deny a prolific (probably a supermajority) who claim it is a woman’s right to choose abortion, a woman’s right to be sexually liberated through abortion and contraceptives. This is the mainstream progressive opinion.

    On the other hand asking single mothers for public repentance of sins as a precondition to social assistance or the view that pregnant women can legitimately be fired from their jobs without criticism is obviously NOT a mainstream conservative view. If it were you would think that you could find someone who is expressing that particular view. If that was conservative policy you’d think that conservatives would be expressing this policy.

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    “I take this as your characterization of what MANY Catholic conservatives think”

    In which case you are reading too much into what I wrote, because I never used the words “all” or “many” or “most.” I simply stated that there are SOME conservative Catholics who think this way, which I know because they TOLD me they think this way.

    ” If it were you would think that you could find someone who is expressing that particular view.”

    But I DID find some people who have expressed that view, that they will withhold their charity and assistance and think the Catholic Church should too, until they/the Church are/is assured that these sinners will never sin again. Jesus said “Love thy neighbor,” not “Love thy neighbor if she deserves it.” He told the woman about to be stoned to “Go and sin no more,” but that was AFTER He helped her. We don’t even know that in fact she never sinned again, yet Jesus still helped her.

    But I’m getting sidetracked — my point is that some Catholics think this and say this. And others create or vote on policy that encourages this attitude, in big ways and in small (another way of expressing the sentiment, in deeds rather than words). I don’t want to get into a specific policy debate, but I have noticed that some (there’s that word again) of the conservatives who oppose the policies you mention because they think they won’t solve the problem don’t to put forth policies they think *would* solve the problem, other than to say “don’t have sex.” That makes me think that they don’t actually care about helping.

  • Mike Blackadder

    What I meant is that if it is in fact a common or mainstream conservative Catholic position that Walmart ought to be allowed to fire a woman because she is pregnant that you would be able to find someone expressing that view that you can actually substantiate! ie. not secret conversations. I’m not saying you didn’t have such a conversation. But if it isn’t in fact a rare (or perhaps misunderstood) position (by you) of conservative Catholics then certainly you’d think you could find ONE such example who has said so in some public forum. If we can’t do that then we’re a long way from substantiating that this is an idea that many such conservatives would endorse, let alone suggest it is a mainstream idea.

    For example, I may as well say that liberal Catholics support infanticide or that they support Sharia Law. Those assertions are equally substantiated as your assertions about conservative Catholics.

  • Mike Blackadder

    When you dismiss what you characterize as ‘don’t have sex’ solution of conservative Catholics I hope you realize that you are actually dismissing the Catholic social teaching, not the ‘conservative’ social teaching.

    Catholic social doctrine unapologetically advocates for the complete family as the most fundamental and necessary element of human society, and in that spirit places great emphasis on how sexual immorality plagues our civilization. And I think you’d have to admit that this is a position that is vindicated by the facts.

    Now you say that conservatives offer no counter policies to what they criticize. So they don’t offer an alternative to abortion or an alternative to welfare sustenance? For one thing, I think that it’s just false to even claim that you can simultaneously promote abortion while promoting child welfare support. It’s exactly easy access to abortion, the lack of consequences associated with that choice that makes it all the more unexpected or radical to choose the opposite. It’s exactly because a woman CAN choose to have an abortion, and will commonly have an abortion, that it is made as easy as possible without repercussion that a boyfriend or parent will expect them to have an abortion. It’s exactly the ease of such abortion that an employer will have reason to blame a woman for choosing life. The position of making abortion available and easy is very much part of what builds up this culture that makes choosing life difficult.

    For another thing conservatives do all kinds of things to support the position of single motherhood, of choosing life. Simply take a look at the initiatives that pro-life groups are engaged in. Very little has to do with legal questions and much more is to do with educating women, providing them options (like a place to stay if they must leave home). And conservatives are right to acknowledge that there aren’t easy answers to some issues of sexual immorality (like simply throwing money at it). When a woman is pregnant and abandoned to deal with a decision and supporting the child on her own then we’re a long way from solving what is hurting us as a society. For that reason even if conservatives were only preaching ‘don’t have sex [outside of marriage]‘ they’re much closer to starting at the right place than their liberal counterparts who endorse simultaneously bodily autonomy, sexual license and free money when all else fails.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Actually there is at least one comment somewhere in this combox that does say that, or more exactly that Walmart is a private entity and that firing the woman was a private decision that we had no reason to criticize. Just scroll up for about 3 pages…

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    Once again, I said SOME conservative Catholics believe xyz, and I stand by that assertion. If you want to say that SOME liberal Catholics support infanticide, knock yourself out; I will not dispute you, I will instead assume that in fact you have encountered SOME liberal Catholics who have expressed such a view. (And btw, this hostility to pregnant women in need is something I have encountered among liberals and secular people, too; another word I never used — “only”).

    Define “public forum.” does the comment have to be reported in the news media? What counts as a valid news organ? Is a publicly-available blog a public forum? Does it depend on the size of the readership or viewership? If so, what’s the magic number? Does the speaker have to have a certain Q rating (or whatever that metric is)? What about a priest berating a single mother in front of a crowd at the church, or is that not public enough?

    My point being: trying to avoid the problem or denying its existence by getting caught up in the status of the speaker or the publicness of the forum isn’t a good tactic. This opinion is held by some Catholics — that’s a bad thing, and it needs to be addressed (just as we must address the existence of pro-choice Catholics!). Moreover, there is a perception that some conservative Catholics are uncharitable towards those in need; heck, it’s a perception I have, based on years of reading diverse writings. Regardless of how that perception arose, it must also be addressed, because it undercuts the pro-life movement.

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    I’m not dismissing it, I am simply saying that because of human nature, it is not enough to say “don’t have sex.” People will, and women will get knocked up. It’s not an either/or situation — we can tell people to not have sex outside of marriage AND help those that do.

    “I think that it’s just false to even claim that you can simultaneously promote abortion while promoting child welfare support.”
    I agree with you there. Providing help — pre- and post-natal care, housing, health insurance, diapers and gear, affordable daycare, etc. — takes a lot of time and money, and requires us to step outside of our little bubbles and pay attention to others. How much easier to send a woman off to a clinic and say “problem solved.” (n.b. I’m being sarcastic.)

    I agree that some conservatives are coming up with solutions. And I REALLY don’t want to debate specific policies, but I will say 1) private charity is not enough and has never been enough and 2) some conservatives really do stay inside their little bubbles.

  • Mike Blackadder

    “I’m not dismissing it, I am simply saying that because of human nature, it is not enough to say “don’t have sex.” People will, and women will get knocked up. It’s not an either/or situation — we can tell people to not have sex outside of marriage AND help those that do.”

    Well I don’t think that the point is to hope to eradicate unexpected pregnancy, or pregnancy outside of wedlock. Therefore, the fact that people will have sex and get knocked up unexpectedly doesn’t make encouraging sexual morality a futile policy. Once again, the straw man seems to be that social conservatives refuse to lift a finger to help a single mother. Read up on what pro-life activism is about and then tell me which of these supports which are meant to help single pregnant women keep their babies is supported by Democrats.

    The fact is that what social conservatives are peddling is a harder sell. It’s harder to start by saying killing the unborn is the taking of an innocent life and not on the the table (except in legitimate circumstances), and then addressing the choices before you.

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    I really feel like we are talking in circles here, when we actually seem to agree on most things. For instance, I really do agree that we need to continue to preach greater responsibility with regard to sex, even though some people won’t listen. I am well aware of what pro-life activism is doing, and I heartily approve, but there needs to be more. Perhaps where we disagree is solely with the fact that I think there are some (some!) conservative Catholics who are uncharitable? :)

  • Mike Blackadder

    A public forum might be one where the view is aired such that the view is open to a response from others. If you say something despicable publicly (like this priest) then he might hear from his parishioners, from fellow priests, from the bishop, etc. That allows you to actually gauge what serves as a mainstream view. What some self-identified Cstholic conservative is interpreted to have said to you, if not tested against anyone else’s view hardly seems to be a rational criticism of what other conservatives are thinking.

  • cmfe

    This I believe is the crux of it. It undermines the prolife movement more than anything else. The lack of healthcare, and access to resources are some of the main reasons why women choose abortion. We have 29 states that allow a rapist to sue their victim for parental rights. Abortion might seem a better alternative to having to co-parent and share your child with such a person. Cardinal Dolan refused to support the Violence Against Women Act. These are areas where the Church needs to speak up and earn the trust of women. Just dismissing women as a bunch of sluts without considering the obstacles facing them only leads to the Church looking callous and nothing it has to say will be heard.

  • Mike Blackadder

    And if you acknowledge that’s true then why bring it up?

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    Huh?

  • Mike Blackadder

    In that case Marthe we should find that comment and give them a talking to! ;)

  • Mike Blackadder

    Well I’m probably misinterpreting. You’re probably right that we don’t really disagree. And yes certainly there are some conservative Catholics who are uncharitable.


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