Powerline Prizes for Better and Worse

Lots of good songs showing up in Powerline’s artful debt-ceiling contest. I, like many others, enjoyed this punk rock anthem, “You’re Gonna Pay”:

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I am much less taken with the exceedingly popular ditty “Don’t You See”, not so much for any flaw in the song — it’s nice enough; it has a good beat, and the kid singing it has a voice that’s pure and true — but I always get creeped-out when children are used to deliver political messages. Let’s be consistent, here, many found it disturbing-to-outrageous when children were hauled out to sing the praises of Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

Granted, there is a difference between singing the praises of one man, dear-leader-style, and promising “happiness and freedom” (to already-free people) under his benevolent brilliance, versus singing in protest of policy. I’d say the “dear leader” singing rates distinctly higher on the skin-crawl factor than the policy grouse, but in either case, using the sweet, piping voices of children to deliver political propaganda seems beyond the pale, to me, and I wish people would stop doing it.

I have one other very minor quibble with “Don’t You See,” and that’s with the first line of the catchy, singable refrain: Don’t you see, dear Uncle Sam/the more you give me the less I have…

It grates for two reasons, first because I’m sure the writer did not intend for the thing to sound overtly materialistic but “the less I have” sends the listener right there, and second because my ear and my heart what to hear:

Don’t you see, dear Uncle Sam
the more you give me
the less I am.

It’s a small changeam is a small word — but it turns the focus of the song away from craven materialism and “things” and gets to the heart of the matter: that the workings of the social state act as a beat-down against the human spirit, particularly in a bootstrap nation such as our own. It is, frankly, a billy-club against hope:

When folks –- any folks, of any background — are using their own gifts and ingenuity to make their way, they have reason to hold up their heads, to defer failure and to pursue their dreams and goals . . . When people feel good about what they are doing, when they feel like they have some control over the direction their lives take –- they have hope. And hope is not simply a feeling. Hope says, “awake, O Sleeper, arise from death!” Hope is the builder of bridges, the tamer of winds, the harnesser of ideas and possibilities. A poor man with hope is immeasurably richer than a wealthy man without it, because he carries within him the spark that can alight a thousand tomorrows.

By the curb, toward the edge of the flagging,
A knife-grinder works at his wheel, sharpening a great knife;
Bending over, he carefully holds it to the stone—by foot and knee,
With measur’d tread, he turns rapidly—As he presses with light but firm hand,
Forth issue, then, in copious golden jets,
Sparkles from the wheel.
– Walt Whitman “Sparkles from the Wheel”

Hope sparkles from the wheel, and all possibility is contained therein. And the man who can sharpen his own knife, and teach his children that craft, will never be helpless or hungry or cast aside as worthless. He will, therefore, be at peace, and so will his house…

The songs of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan were used powerfully by progressives, because their songs spoke to precisely that — the grinding sparkles of the human spirit, and human dignity that glow and grow and fly forward. If the right wants to use music and art in order to make their case, they will have to address that same spirit — and not something as mundane as policy — if it wants to have a similar impact.

Revolution created in order to protect what I have is revolution burdened with questions of morality centered on greed and acquisition and it cannot but invite scrutiny of who “has” too much, or too little.

Revolution created in order to preserve who I am — my dreams, my abilities, my imagination, my hopes — focuses the questions on our essential freedom to honor the truth of who and what we are, and that is where the focus must be, if social states are to be defeated.

A lot of lip-service is paid to that sort of freedom by many Democrats, but only for those groups contributing to its coffers. Perhaps that ideal is too narrowly embraced from the right, but that can easily change.

Meanwhile, let’s remember that tyranny fears art it does not control. And why art is so necessary, and must be free — and speak to the longings of our spirits — and why all of these entries over at Powerline are a hopeful sign of energetic pushback against a government full of out-of-control ninnies, zombies and all-too-greedy elitists.

Just let’s leave the children out of it, is all.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Dynan

    Lex orandi,

    Lex credendi,

    Lex vivendi.

  • Dan

    Its about preserving material wealth. That is all Club for Growth and Grover Norquist want. One can attempt to dress it in the clothes the Anchoress wants it to wear, but when conservative Catholic blogs post comment and critique built around the paying of taxes and the taking of wealth as 1) unfair due to fact that the “wealthy pay more taxes” 2) taking money from the wealthy slows down the economy 3) discussions about taxing luxury income become sessiions that villify individuals as promoting class conflict and envy, one really needs to face the reality: its all abut the Benjamins.

    Welcome to the society of Greed is Good, in which Catholics can unabashedly embrace Ayn Rand and be held as paradigms of Catholic Thinkers (Paul Ryan, for example).

    One other point: Bootstrap cultural promotion is not Christian ethic.

    ["Bootstrap cultural promotion is not Christian ethic." That's debatable. What is NOT debate able is that freedom and the encouragement to grow into one's gifts and potentials most definitely IS a Christian ethic. -admin]

  • Mary

    I’m equally “creeped out” when children are used to deliver political messages– and hope the conservatives don’t use the “Don’t you see” song…
    I was trying to be open-minded about gay marriage and following the liberal logic until a young Facebook friend posted a video on her Facebook wall of a child under 10yrs using profanity in his “speech”– that it was “nobody’s business who his mommies f*****” As a professional educator I regret, now, not reporting the site as child abuse before unfriending the friend…
    Anchoress, if someone should nominate you for national office, you’d have my vote…

  • James

    (Dan said – “Welcome to the society of Greed is Good, in which Catholics can unabashedly embrace Ayn Rand and be held as paradigms of Catholic Thinkers (Paul Ryan, for example).

    Welcome to a society where your version of Christian charity is a mandate from a bureaucratic Godless Caesar to redistribute what is not Caesar’s to possess. A society where so-called Catholics can unabashedly embrace the Party of The Culture of Death that openly promotes, abortion, infanticide, homosexuality, euthanasia, secularism, humanism, and the Godless failure that is socialism.

    When you replace God’s will with Caesar’s mandates, you will soon find that Caesar has little tolerance for God’s will.

    Most Catholics on the Left will openly disagree with any number of Truths that the Word of God has revealed through The Church, and they do so with the self-righteous conviction that the only commandment that matters is to “love” one neighbor, by giving him another neighbor’s bread.

    But alas: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

    True charity comes from our own heart- not by force from someone elses pocket.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And James, don’t forget some of the “swell” things our tax dollars support!

    Such as a pointless war in Libya, and the PLO.

    (It’s enough to make one want to go Galt!)

  • SteveM

    Re: James “When you replace God’s will with Caesar’s mandates, you will soon find that Caesar has little tolerance for God’s will.”

    And talk about the Culture of Death, note that the same State coercion applies to feeding its sacrosanct TRILLION dollar Military-Security Leviathan.

    It all depends on what side Caesar’s Bread is buttered on…

  • James

    (SteveM said – “And talk about the Culture of Death, note that the same State coercion applies to feeding its sacrosanct TRILLION dollar Military-Security Leviathan. It all depends on what side Caesar’s Bread is buttered on…”)

    The operative word Steve, is “security”. As in the security that protects our freedoms. Redistribution of wealth fundamentally destroys the very freedoms that our military was designed to protect.

    But if you’re willing to label our military as “The Culture of Death”, equivalent to the abortion activists who promote the murder of the most innocent and defenseless of all human classes, then I think you’ve missed the point of our democracy.

    “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
    — G.K. Chesterton

  • Dan 2

    Thou shalt not envy thy neighbors goods. And thus justify trying to steal them for yourself.

    There was a man who owned a vineyard. And early in the morning he hired 10 men to clear his field, if you work all day I will pay you $100 a piece. Okay, we agree.
    Later in the day he saw the work wasn’t going fast enough and he hired 5 more men and said if you work the rest of the day I will pay you $100 a piece. Great we agree.
    Towards the afternoon he saw the work wasn’t going fast enough and he hired 5 more men and also paid them $100 for the rest of the day.

    As the day was done, all the men came to him to be paid and ranted how it was not fair because the last men were being paid much more for 3 hours of work vs the men who started early in the morning.

    Surely you all know this parable, note how it did not work out. The vineyard owner did not say oh you are right, let’s pool all the money together that you earned and divide it by those who need it the most. He did not say oh you are right, I want to do this fairly by your standards and pay you all the same hourly wage.

    Jesus has the vineyard owner say. Why do you complain, is this not what you agreed to? And it is my field, and my money to do with as I want.

    It is an emphasis on property rights and ownership, it is not about the rights of the collective to take what the rich man has. Stop with the envy.

  • James

    (Rhinestone Suderman- “Such as a pointless war in Libya, and the PLO.”)

    I find it amazing Rhinestone, that Bush sought and received congressional approval to go to war, and yet- he was labeled a war monger by the Left.

    And now, Obama has not only failed to pull our troops out of Iraq like he promised (with 3 or 4 ever-changing deadlines) but he actually by-passed congress to launch two additional illegal wars in Libya and in Yemen.

    And not a single Left-wing anti-war protest can be found.

    It’s amazing how “principled” these Liberals are, ain’t it?

  • SteveM

    Re: James “Redistribution of wealth fundamentally destroys the very freedoms that our military was designed to protect.”

    Uh…believe it or not, extracting a TRILLION bucks a year for the Leviathan is also a redistribution of wealth. And OBTW, another $120 BILLION is scheduled to be “redistributed” to Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2012.

    Welcome to the North American version of sclerotic Rome and the bankrupt Soviet Empire. A bloated National Security State basking in the warped religion of Military Exceptionalism that “protects” the freedoms of Crony Capitalists who parasitically hollow out the American economy.

    In that context, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose…”

  • James

    (SteveM said – “Uh…believe it or not, extracting a TRILLION bucks a year for the Leviathan is also a redistribution of wealth.”)

    Really Steve? So the military isn’t earning that “wealth” and the “poor” are?

    (“And OBTW, another $120 BILLION is scheduled to be “redistributed” to Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2012.”)

    So? Tell it to your President.

  • James

    (SteveM said “Welcome to the North American version of sclerotic Rome and the bankrupt Soviet Empire. A bloated National Security State basking in the warped religion of Military Exceptionalism that “protects” the freedoms of Crony Capitalists who parasitically hollow out the American economy.”)

    Still upset about the Berlin Wall coming down aren’t ya Comrade.

  • James

    Actually we spend about $700 billion on our military.

    On entitlements?

    Twice that amount.

    ——————————-

    “A constant claim among liberals is that government spends more on defense than anything else in the federal budget. The reality is that even after paying for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, Washington spends twice as much on entitlement programs than on defense.”

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/07/charticle-defense-spending-vs-entitlement-spending#ixzz1TjCP5t9P

  • SteveM

    Re: James – Defense Spending:

    http://blog.independent.org/2010/04/17/defense-spending-is-much-greater-than-you-think/

    And re: President Eisenhower:

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

    DoD spends $400,000,000 on Military Bands alone…

  • James

    Gee Steve, your cited source certainly is “creative” with what they deem as “military” spending.

    Department of Defense

    636.5

    Department of Energy (nuclear weapons & environ. cleanup)

    16.7

    Department of State (plus intern. assistance)

    36.3

    Department of Veterans Affairs

    95.5

    Department of Homeland Security

    51.7

    Department of the Treasury (for Military Retirement Fund)

    54.9

    National Aeronautics & Space Administration (1/2 of total)

    9.6

    Net interest attributable to past debt-financed defense outlays

    126.3

    Total

    1,027.5

    ————————-

    My source cited a chart from The White House Office Of Management and Budget.

    Apparently they don’t see things eye to eye with your source huh.

  • SteveM

    James, OK you worship at the alter of Military Exceptionalism. Where the idea of the “Common Good” does not extend beyond weapons systems.

    I happen to be Catholic and our teachings about War and it’s appetite are more circumspect.

  • James

    (Steve said – “James, OK you worship at the alter of Military Exceptionalism. Where the idea of the “Common Good” does not extend beyond weapons systems.”)

    What does that even mean?

    (“I happen to be Catholic and our teachings about War and it’s appetite are more circumspect.”)

    Yes. And you should heed that point while you’re spewing out all of your black and white ‘war-monger versus self-righteous-pacifist-saint’ hyperbole.

  • James

    Tell me Steve,

    What does your Catholic teaching say about the murder of the most innocent and defenseless of all human classes: the unborn?

    Is it ever acceptable?

    Is war?

  • http://tastyinfidelicacies.blogspot.com Jewel

    Ah, dear woman, you say so much better what I tried to say here:
    http://tastyinfidelicacies.blogspot.com/2011/07/flickering-candle-from-darkest-corner.html

    And let us not forget that tiny Estonia stalled the tanks in their tracks with naught more than song:

    http://www.singingrevolution.com/

  • Joseph Marshall

    taking money from the wealthy slows down the economy

    That, at least, is a bunch of horse feathers. Give a man enough money to buy a grandiose boat, and you have, at the most, benefited one boat shop. Take the same money and give it to 1000 people to buy shoes and you have benefited as many as 1000 shoe stores.

    This is what entitlements do. This is what almost all regular government spending [with the major exception of big ticket weapons systems] does.

    One rich man or woman can only buy dozens of things. Everybody who is on Social Security, lumped together, buys millions of things. Who benefits the economy the most? That is a no-brainer.

    For the past 30 years, the American ecomony has been rigged to allow people earning $100,000+ to become, if they choose, inordinately wealthy [on the order of 3-5 times expansion of total net worth] with incredible ease, and also has been rigged to make virtually impossible for anyone earning $30,000 or less to increase their net worth at all.

    About 3/5 of this country have functioned as the goose that lays the golden eggs for the other 2/5.

    It has been run that way since about 1981. And it was not run that way for the preceeding 35 years. So this is not some law of nature or “invisible hand of the market” at work. It has been manufactured by artificially depressed interest rates and consequent wild stock speculation which has now crashed 3 separate times, constantly throwing large numbers of the lower 3/5 of us out of work and wiping out any pittance of increase in net worth which we may have scraped together. Those who managed to keep their homes have bid their equity sweet goodbye.

    America is the land of opportunity for people who already have significant discretionary income. For everybody else it is a satin lined and well upholstered sweatshop.

    But the goose that lays the golden eggs is dead. The jobs are not coming back, because the money necessary for enterprise has largely been drained into stock portfolios.

    Unfortunately, cutting the Federal Budget will not do a thing to help this, it will simply further inhibit the spending power of the lowest 1/5 of us–the “associates” at Wal-Mart, the burger flippers, the chicken fryers, and the nursery help. As well as those supported by entitlements. Of course, their spending power beyond survival was almost totally drained away about 10 years ago. Even if they stay employed [which many won't] they will remain economically inert.

    But not cutting the federal budget and attempting to “stimulate” the economy with spending has not and will not work. The number of drainage tiles into the Stock Market is now so great that any attempt by the government to provide money to ongoing businesses of any kind simply drains back into equities. This is why the stock market has recovered but the jobs never came back. One no longer results in the other.

    The service workers on the next step of the scale–the janitors, the cafeteria workers, and everybody else that is the base of the SEIU, are being systematically plundered by the oil companies through gasoline. And the money is going straight into the portfolios of energy stocks.

    And now the plundering has started in earnest at the next step up–the teachers, the firemen, the policemen, and the civil servants.

    After that will come the workers in the skilled trades, the independent business owners and small LLC’s, and the lower levels of private office staff. And then the middle and supervisory levels.

    At that point the lower 3/5′s of us will have been drained totally dry, left essentially at a level of paycheck to paycheck, that the lower 2/5 of us are already reaching.

    Unfortunately, even taxing the rich won’t help. Any such revenue extracted will drain back into equities and aid in the re-distribution of wealth from the rich to the rich.

    The goose that lays the golden eggs is dead. All that can be done with it now is cook it and broth the bones. Or merely leave it to rot.

  • Andy

    James
    What do the Pope and the Bishops say about budgets as moral documents – budgets should not be created to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable of us. I guess the diatribe that is often heard about some catholics that only abortion and matters of sx are important in church teaching are true – the church has rich social justice teaching beyond abortion and sx and we all should be true it.
    You constant support of the oligarchy of business and the wealthy is tiresome. This oligarchy which you blithely parrot has essentially plundered the American economic system and now are draining America of the ability to support itself.
    The America of the future will become a country akin to what destroyed the Soviet Union – its state-run oligarchy dependent on a military-industrial complex, that was unable to sustain itself. The morning in America that Reagan trumpeted has now become the night of America.

  • James

    (Joseph wrote – “Give a man enough money to buy a grandiose boat, and you have, at the most, benefited one boat shop.”)

    Actually you’ve benefited the shop’s employees and the various sources of material and manpower that actually created and transported the boat. Not to mention the after market dollars spent on upkeep and maintenance (materials and the shops and their employees), fuel, insurance, fees, and untold expenses generated by the use of the vessel: sailing excursions, parties, etc. and the myriad of related expenses of those activities and all the people involved in them.

    So how many after market economic stimulants will those 1000 pairs of shoes provide Joseph?

    ——————————-

    Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth: Answering the Critics

    Critics’ Objection No. 3: Government Spending Has a Multiplier Effect That Allows the Money to Re-circulate Through the Economy Multiple Times.

    This point is correct but irrelevant to the question of stimulus. Yes, $100 in unemployment benefits can be spent at a grocery store, which, in turn, can use that $100 to pay salaries and support other jobs. The total amount of additional economic activity will be well above $100; but because government borrows the $100, that same money is now unavailable to the private sector–which would have spent the same $100 with the same multiplier effect.

    Consider a more comprehensive example. A family might normally put its $10,000 savings in a CD at the local bank. The bank would then lend that $10,000 to the local hardware store, which would then recycle that spending around the town, supporting local jobs. Suppose that the family instead buys a $10,000 government bond that funds the stimulus bill. Washington spends that $10,000 in a different town, supporting jobs there instead. The stimulus has not created new spending, jobs, or a multiplier effect. It has merely moved them to a new town.

    The mistaken view of fiscal stimulus persists because people can easily observe the factories and people put to work with government funds. By contrast, people cannot easily observe the jobs that would have been created or factories used elsewhere in the economy with those same dollars had they not been lent to Washington.

    In his 1848 essay, “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen,” French economist Frederic Bastiat termed this the “broken-window fallacy,” a reference to a local myth that breaking windows would stimulate the economy by creating window-repair jobs. In reality, the window-repair spending comes out of funds that otherwise would have been spent (and created jobs) elsewhere in town. Today, the broken-windows fallacy explains why thousands of new stimulus jobs are not improving the total employment picture.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/01/why-government-spending-does-not-stimulate-economic-growth-answering-the-critics

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Joseph, you’re not seeing the bigger picture.

    A boat is not just a boat. (Starts to sing, “A kiss is just a kiss/a sigh is just a sigh”. . . stops myself, just in time.)

    A boat needs to be designed in the first place—this gives work to boat deisgners. It needs to be sold—work for boat dealers. A boat needs gas, to run on; more work for those who buy, and sell, the gas it needs. It needs repairs; more work for those who repair, and specialize, in fixing boats. If it’s a luxury yacht, it will need fancy furniture, cushions, drapes, etc.; more money for furniture sellers, and interior designers. If the owners decide to throw a party, it will need food, drinks, entertainers, maybe new outfits—all this means more work, and more profits, for those who supply those needs.

    You benefit much more than one man running a boat shop. As for the man running the boat shop—he buys groceries, clothing, etc., so he’s benefitting other merchants. He’s also paying taxes—you know; that thing that helps pay for Social Security and all the other entitlement programs you claim to like from the government; did you really think there was a goose somewhere, popping out golden eggs, and the government just gathers them up and hands them out, but eeeeeeeeevil Republicans are stopping them. . . . etc., etc., etc.

    Working men and women, rich, middle-class, blue-collar, are the magic geese of our society, that provide the gold; and the government keeps undercutting them by heavy taxation, and forcing them to subsidize out of control government unions.

    Of course, if the boat owner goes out of business because no one is buying any more boats—well, no more taxes from him. If he goes out of business, all his employees will be out of work, too, not to mention the boat builders, boat designers, etc., who all depended on him for their livlihood. That’s okay, you say! They can all go on unemployment! However, if lots of people are out of work, and fewer, and fewer of them, are paying taxes, there won’t be as much money coming in for all those entitlement programs you want. Hence, the programs will be cut back. So the people on Social Security won’t be buying much of anything. Neither will the “rich”, who will probably want to hang on to what they’ve got in these risky financial times, rather than spend too much. Anyway, we’ve got a war to fight in Libya! We don’t know who we’re fighting, or why, but we’ve got spend money on that war! And send foreign aid to Pakistan! And the Palestinians! If you don’t want to support these things, you’re a heartless Republican!

    And, if you gave the same money to 1000 people to buy shoes—some of them would buy shoes; some of them would buy booze, or cigarettes, or go to Vegas. Then they’ll ask for more money. To buy shoes. ‘Cuz they need shoes, and it’s the government’s job to give them shoes! So tax the rich already, and get them money from them!

    It’s a waste of words, with you, I know; you see capitalism as something dead, which simply needs to be buried. That’s too bad.

  • James

    Andy,

    Let’s see what a couple of Popes had to say about this, along with the Catechism, shall we?

    And if you don’t like this, then you ain’t gonna like what John Paul II or (then Cardinal) Ratzinger had to say either:

    ————————–

    http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=6155&CFID=90094278&CFTOKEN=81689479

    [James, did you NOT understand me when I said that you can't put full articles into the comments thread? A url and a SMALL excerpt, please. If you can't be reasonable about it, we're going to have an issue. I asked you also to go through your other posts and do the same. I do not have time to do it, so you'll have to, or I'll have to delete them. I'm not going to open myself up to copyright infringements charges. -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Yes, James, the “principles” of the Left, are a strange and wonderous thing to behold! /Sarc.

    Bush was a war criminal, but Obama’s war in Libya—what war? Where’s Libya? Who cares? Hey, let’s talk about how the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes, instead!

    And all because this president has a “D” instead of an “R” after his name.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Steve, Andy—Communism doesn’t work.

    Not even when you tart it up as “Catholic Social Justice”, or some such wonderful-sounding thing.

    It. Does. Not. Work.

    Please, give it a rest, already! Tens of millions dead in the Gulags, re-education camps and prisons, failed economies, blighted lives, the wretchedness of tyranny, and people are still trying the old Bullwinkle the Moose trick of trying to pull something workable out of a hat, shouting “This time for sure!”

    It doesn’t work. It never works.

  • James

    (Rhinestone said – “Steve, Andy—Communism doesn’t work.

    Not even when you tart it up as “Catholic Social Justice”, or some such wonderful-sounding thing.”)

    Ladies and Gentlemen we have the thread winner!

    Excellent summarization Rhinestone.

    I tip my hat to you sir. It is an honor.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I tip my hat back to you, James!

    The honor is all mine!

    (And I thank you.)

  • SteveM

    Anchoress, I don’t know what your original intent of this blog posting was. But I’ll leave it to you to sort through the unfortunate, inchoate intellectual detritus that followed.

    Re: James’ and Rhinestone’s postings. I do hope that you are more than that…

    [Since you asked, the intent of this post was to discuss the use of children in political propaganda, the fact that both capitalism and socialism are flawed and dangerous to the human spirit when taken to excess and um, if the right wants to use music and art, it needs to speak to something larger than a policy. That wasn't clear, I suppose, because the comments are all the usual. I try to let people speak their minds about whatever, whether they're doing so from the right or the left, as long as they keep it civil. But I have to be honest, I'm sick to death of this fruitless debate between people who will never be convinced by any sort of argument, civil or otherwise, on either side. Debate is a valuable thing, but this incessant "we're better!" "no, we're better and you're evil!" back-and-forth goes nowhere, and I'm fed up. This is hours and hours and hours of profitless point-scoring off each other. I'm sick of what these comments threads descend into, constantly. I don't like it. It's not even interesting, anymore, because it's always the same predictable arguments entered into (on either side) all the time. I think I need to take a break from comments -- shut them down for a few days. It's making me miserable and it's gotten to the point where I'm thinking about giving up blogging all-together. Comments closed -admin]

  • James

    (SteveM said – “Anchoress, I don’t know what your original intent of this blog posting was. But I’ll leave it to you to sort through the unfortunate, inchoate intellectual detritus that followed.”)

    Really Steve? Coming from you?

    The guy who wrote:

    “James, OK you worship at the alter of Military Exceptionalism. Where the idea of the “Common Good” does not extend beyond weapons systems.”

    This is a typical Liberal response. When they can’t defeat your arguments, they attempt to stifle your voice.

    Oh and Steve? You might want to give your thesaurus a rest.

  • Joseph Marshall

    It’s a waste of words, with you, I know; you see capitalism as something dead, which simply needs to be buried. That’s too bad.

    Oh no, Rhinestone, capitalism is alive and well. It is flourishing in China and in India. All the good things people say about it are going on there, as well as all the bad things, which they are beginning to find out. They might even learn, particularly the Indians, from the West’s failure to catch the problems in their infancy, and control them.

    They are the lands of opportunity. They are the places where someone starting small and frugally has an exceptional chance of acquiring serious wealth by actually doing business and making things. There is serious wealth in America, but it’s not usually acquired by making things, it is usually acquired by trading in equities. And for that you need discretionary income.

    This is financial oligarchy, not capitalism. Moving money around is not the same thing as using money in enterprise. We ceased to be capitalist when we failed to respond effectively to the cartelization of oil [which, by the way, was never possible by drilling more wells alone--and still isn't] Reaganomics was, in fact, a deliberate substitution of equity growth as the major measure of economic health, rather than the general standard of living, or anything real in the way of production of goods and services.

    The results are as you see them. You can blame whoever you like for it, but the bulk of America’s wealth has been shifted to the task of moving money around and away from the capitalist world of making things, growing things, selling goods, and selling services. All that is left for the majority here is “a job” and a chance to live paycheck to paycheck. And there is a steadily growing number of those those who are slipping into mere subsistence from gainful employment, or cannot find employment at all.

    Enterprise here, which is the heart of capitalism, is strangled in it’s own umbilical cord.

  • Dan

    Freedom to grow as well as the encouragement to do so is vital and the current spare and parsimonious support provided from the government, which currently is a stand-in for the community as a whole, is a disgrace. This is not the case in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, social welfare states that provide the backdrop for the encyclicals God is Love and Love in Truth.

    Part of the argument for the role of government in mandating who gets to marry whom as well as determining the legality of abortion involves what is perceived as a positive role of authority and government in deciding cultural values. If the government’s role is to merely maintain an enormous army, defense-industrial contracts, nuclear weapons, and then maintain societal order, then one is defining a brutal, armed, militaristic society without any other supports. The consequences of that structure would be tragic for society’s weakest.

    I recommend a cessation of swallowing right wing propaganda. The right wing struggles to explain the economic success of Australia which receives twice as much governmental revenue per GDP than the US.

    Society’s weakest have not been cared for by the Church exclusively. The Church could have taken over the responsibility, but it hasn’t done so.


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