• Will

    I am not going to judge socialism, but we do not have it in the US.

  • David N

    And yet all government systems involve some element of government control of goods and services, and the fundraising thereof always involves coercion. most Americans wouldn’t recognise a socialist if one hit them in the face with a wet fish. It is used as an unintelligent perjorative much as ‘fascist’ was when I was a student. The question is more one of where the boundary between the state and individual lies. It is one of the reasons why I get annoyed with people who insist on their ‘rights’ – whatever their politics. You can’t have ‘rights’ without a corresponding ‘duty’ on someone to enforce them. This requires state intervention and state coercion. More rights mean more state involvement in your life. Fewer rights mean less state involvement. So those who advocate ‘small government’ solutions implicitly state you have few rights. Those who advocate many rights of man implicitly require much state involvement in their subjects lives.

    • Mr. Patton

      A complete mastery of cause and effect and very eloquently scribed. Well done, sir!

  • flyingvic

    How things have changed from the Church described in Acts 4, where no-one of the whole company of believers claimed any of his possessions as his own, and everything was laid at th feet of the apostles, to be distributed to any who were in need!

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Rerum Novarum was not commenting on communism within a religious community, but on communism and socialism within civic society. In fact, the only place I know of where pure communism (of the sort we read about in Acts) exists is in Catholic (and some Anglican) religious communities.

  • JamesR

    “How things have changed from the Church described in Acts 4, where no-one of the whole company of believers claimed any of his possessions as his own, and everything was laid at th feet of the apostles, to be distributed to any who were in need!” When our governing class in Washington begins to resemble, in any way, shape or form, the Apostles, let me know! Until then, I think I’d prefer to not disclaim my possessions and lay them at their feet for them to distribute according to their perception of need.

    David says:
    “More rights mean more state involvement in your life. Fewer rights mean less state involvement. So those who advocate ‘small government’ solutions implicitly state you have few rights.” I don’t understand you.
    The right I have to freely speak my mind is impaired by “more” state involvement. Restrictions, rules, regulations…..is it “hate” speech, is it “yelling fire in a crowded theatre,” is it “disturbing the peace,” is it in being said in a “regulated” or “licensed” medium….all involving more state actors and involvement to monitor; control; regulate; tax. Increasing Federal oversight, control, restrictions, taxation, fees, over the Internet which you KNOW are coming will be the result of MORE rather than less state involvement.
    The right I have to “peaceable assemble,” is similarly constrained by “more” rather than “less” state involvement.
    The right I have to buy a firearm if I so desire, is subject to the regulations, licensing requirements, restrictions, taxes, etc., imposed by more rather than less state involvement.
    The right I have to use my real property however I see fit — whether it be to set up a home office, build an addition, burn leaves in the back yard, set off fireworks today, own a couple of dogs, fence it, plant a hedge — are all subject to the whims of city, county, local, state, and federal rules, regulations, ordinances, decrees, “Development Plans,” or mandates.
    My right to seek redress and get the attention of one of my ruling class betters who may be in a position to withdraw or change a tax, ordinance, regulation, rule, or mandates is enhanced if the government is “smaller,” — meaning more LOCALIZED, and virtually impossible if it is “larger” and centralized and controlled by faraway faceless bureacrats a thousand miles away at Mordor on the Potomac.

    “I am not going to judge socialism, but we do not have it in the US.” We don’t have communism in the US either, but I can judge it.

  • SteveD

    ‘The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money’ – Margaret Thatcher. The money leaks massively into the cost of socialist bureaucracies and, in some societies, directly into the pockets of those controlling the budgets. Socialism spreads shortages very efficiently, it is a great pity that capitalism has not developed mechanisms to spread its benefits so reliably. Rerum Novarum was prophetic and reading it stopped me believing that one day, somewhere, a socialist society might actually work.

    • flyingvic

      . . . as opposed to Capitalism where everybody runs out of their own money because it flows into bankers’ bonuses . . .

      • SteveD

        I agree about the excesses of capitalism but we would never have heard about these latest systemic failures in a socialist society. The fact that leaders in the USSR (even at quite a modest level) were not faced with the need to queue for bread or luxuried unknown to the toiling masses (as they had their own private shops) was not widely advertised. I did once queue for bread in the UK in the seventies when the bakers went on strike, a privilege unknown to their brother bakers in the USSR.
        (Newsflash – FlyingVic shot down several times in one day!)

        • flyingvic

          Not me, mate! I keep well away from Syria . . .

  • Robert

    Yes, there is a fine tradition of Christian Socialism in the Church of England (e.g., the Jubilee Group) and Europe that promotes the social teaching of the Catholic Church. It is odd that so many Christians never stop to question whether capitalism can lead us into a “New Jerusalem.” I recall a particularly stirring sermon at Thaxted Parish Church (by Conrad Noel’s son in law) on May Day: “Our Lady, Prototype of the Socialist Woman.” Well, apart from the eccentricities of well-meaning Christian Socialists (often drawn from the privileged classes and some, perhaps, naive about economic realities), they are part of the Body of Christ and remind us of fundamental gospel truths such as the preferential option for the poor proclaimed in the Magnificat: “He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the humble and meek.”

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Sticking up for the poor and working for the poor is not necessarily socialistic. Socialism is the forced nationalization, control and dominance of commerce and ownership by the state.

  • JamesR

    “. . as opposed to Capitalism where everybody runs out of their own money because it flows into bankers’ bonuses . . .”

    How so? Who is this “everybody,” of which you speak? And how do a few dozen Wall Street big shots getting some extra allegedly “underserved” millions in bonuses impact the 15 TRILLION dollar debt hole our country is in?

    The Lefty/Socialist campaign narrative has increasingly become to promote class warfare/envy. The “evil” corporate profits and “greedy” rich, and if we could only soak that undeserving “1%” for more money, all our problems will be solved. Alas, basic arithmetic has never been one of their strengths – so illogical appeals to emotion will have to suffice – and will probably once again do so.

    Robert, I don’t know of pure Capitalism, which is not in effect anywhere in the world to my knowledge – certainly not in the US — will lead us to a New Jerusalem. However, I believe it is reasonably safe to say that a Socialistic form of government, attempted and in place in varying degrees throughout Europe, is probably not the answer. It appears that Western Europe has increasingly become “post-Christian” over the past 65 years — with empty Churches, and tens of millions who are agnostic at best, if not outright atheists. I have no idea whether there is any sort of correlation or connection between the forms of government that have evolved post-war, and a decline in those who practice Christianity or not.

  • flyingvic

    “. . . as opposed to capitalism . . .” was a flippant rejoinder attempting to balance Thatcher’s cleverdick comment in the previous post. But it had a point to it, certainly for UK residents: Barclays Bank, one of the ‘Big 4′ banks in UK, has just been fined a record £290 million for illegally fixing interbank lending rates. Barclays’ chairman, estimated personal fortune £105 million, has just resigned, apparently with a ‘package’ worth several million more. (Why?) (And if a humble bank clerk stole a fiver out of the till he’d have been sacked and prosecuted, no doubt.) We wait to see the fall-out among the other banks – but all the money the bankers ‘fiddled’ into their own pockets through this kind of illegal rate manipulation had to come from somewhere, and ultimately it will have been paid for out of higher charges and lower interest payments lumped upon the little individual customers at the bottom of the pyramid. In short, these bankers have stolen from just about everybody.

    Socialism is not the favourite system, apparently, among the readers of this blog, and I can’t say that it is mine either. In the interest of balance, however, let us not forget that capitalism engenders competition and competition creates losers as well as winners. Sadly, capitalism is better at creating losers than looking after them.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      The papal encyclical Rerum Novarum condemns both socialism and unrestrained capitalism. John Paul Ii criticized both because, when they become ideologies they offer materialistic answers to mankind’s problems. As such, both are houses built on sand.

  • Katherine

    Too many Catholics subscribe to the idea that increasing dependency by getting more Americans hooked on crack-like government handouts of property stolen from others is the solution to poverty and greed, when in fact it only increases both. Both stealing and being the recipient of stolen goods is immoral. God gives us free will, government takes it away.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/304964/getting-religion-back-our-economic-lives-interview?pg=2

    LOPEZ: How can you get more greed with socialism than capitalism?

    FR. SIRICO: To the extent that socialism holds back creativity and thus productivity, it increases poverty. When people become desperate, even good people can become self-centered. Few of us are at our best in crowds where everyone is trying to get out the same exit, or when trying to grab for the last remaining sale item. Socialism begins with the material world (the redistribution of pre-existing things); capitalism begins with ideas and dreams (the creation of things). Socialism increases the hoarding instinct and often places power in the hands of petty dictators (wait in line in a governmental office to see what I mean). We all know where that leads.

    Of course, I am not saying that a system of free exchange will abolish greed. But even here, free markets and competition tend to temper greed, subordinating it to the service of others, which is the only way you are going to be successful in the market.

  • Michael

    The answer to this is “yes”, as the book “Catholic Socialism” by Francesco Nitti conclusively shows.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X