Santorum thinks pope is socialist/ marxist

Fresh off a dissent with Church teachings on immigration policy, Rick Santorum – the one extremist Republican presidential candidate who has not yet had his day in the sun – is showing an interest in rising inequality. This is what he has to say:

“They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality. President Obama is for income equality. That’s socialism. It’s worse yet, it’s Marxism.”

Let’s unpack this a little. What Obama has supported is a return to top marginal tax rates to those under the Clinton years, and really only for the top income earners at that – a small positive step in the face of three decades of sustained upward redistribution of income in the United States. That’s it. For this crime, Santorum dubs Obama a socialist/marxist. And yet, Pope Benedict XVI has made a far stronger case for redistribution than Obama. By implication, that also makes him an even bigger socialist/marxist.

Consider his recent World Day of Peace remarks, where he links peace with distributive justice:

“In order to be true peacemakers, we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution.”

Or go back to his masterful social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate:

“Profit is useful if it serves as a means towards an end that provides a sense both of how to produce it and how to make good use of it. Once profit becomes the exclusive goal… it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty…

The world’s wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “The scandal of glaring inequalities” continues …

The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone … Through the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries (i.e. the massive increase in relative poverty), not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of “social capital”: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence.

Lowering the level of protection accorded to the rights of workers, or abandoning mechanisms of wealth redistribution in order to increase the country’s international competitiveness, hinder the achievement of lasting development …

The processes of globalization, suitably understood and directed, open up the unprecedented possibility of large-scale redistribution of wealth on a world-wide scale; if badly directed, however, they can lead to an increase in poverty and inequality, and could even trigger a global crisis. It is necessary to correct the malfunctions, some of them serious, that cause new divisions between peoples and within peoples, and also to ensure that the redistribution of wealth does not come about through the redistribution or increase of poverty: a real danger if the present situation were to be badly managed.”

And if you think this guy is bad, how about some of his predecessors? Just a quick sampling:

Pope Paul VI:

“There is a need to establish a greater justice in the sharing of goods, both within national communities and on the international level.”

Pope John XXIII:

“The economic prosperity of a nation is not so much its total assets in terms of wealth and property, as the equitable division and distribution of this wealth.”

Pius XI:

“The riches that economic-social developments constantly increase ought to be so distributed among individual persons and classes that the common advantage of all … By this law of social justice, one class is forbidden to exclude the other from sharing in the benefits … To each, therefore, must be given his own share of goods, and the distribution of created goods, which, as every discerning person knows, is laboring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice.”

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  • Kurt

    There are obvious differences between the Pope and President Obama. For example the Pope is….ummm…ah….well, he’s not like Obama. He’s…..well, ….Obama’s not a real American. I mean, I guess the Pope is not American too, but in a different way. Pope Benedict could be an American….I mean he would “fit in” better in our society than people like Obama. I think you know what I mean.

    • Josh

      Um… well… Nope, I haven’t got a clue what you mean.

  • http://kylecupp.com Kyle R. Cupp

    I hear that Obama eats three capitalists for breakfast every morning.

    • http://www.samrocha.com Sam Rocha

      I heard that too! So weird. Gross.

      Sam

    • http://breadhere.wordpress.com Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

      It’s the breakfast of Marxist Champions, didn’t you know that?!

  • brettsalkeld

    I have no problem with the fact that some people make more than others (though I have a huge problem with the scale to which this has been and is being pushed), but Santorum’s ideas about why some people make more than others are completely disingenuous.

    As a professor of theology, I will be at the bottom of the university payscale. But it has nothing to do with me working less hard, having worse ideas, or taking fewer risks than my colleagues in law or medicine or engineering. In point of fact, just getting a doctorate in theology was a much bigger risk financially than going to law school would have been. (Theologians and lawyers have remarkably overlapping skill sets.)

    Santorum is taking things that are only very occasionally true (and which never exist in isolation from other factors) and turning them into dogma. He completely ignores the complex combination of reasons why some people make more than others.

  • http://walktheway.wordpress.com John Donaghy

    Thanks, This saved me looking up the passages from Catholic Social Teaching.

    It seems, though, that Santorum thinks getting rid of income inequality means absolute equality. As I understand CST, the question includes the problem of extreme inequality and, perhaps better, inequity.

    • brettsalkeld

      The thing is, of course, that anyone who thinks before they talk knows that no serious person thinks every person should make exactly the same as every other person. Not that I don’t believe Santorum was thinking. I am fairly sure he was. Even though he knows that no one believes what he’s arguing against, Santorum is ignoring what he knows to be true in order to invent a strawman so that he can spout soundbites. This is political discourse at its worst.

  • Paul DuBois

    I have said many times progressives are misunderstood. We do not hate the rich, we just want them to stop complaining about it.

    • john f

      LOL, Paul, I know ,to listen to some of those on the right , you’d think the poor are the ones that are underworked and overpaid.

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  • http://www.politicalmirage.com Nate

    Pope Alexander VI:

    “There’s nothing wrong with selling Cardinalships and Indulgences to keep ones lavish lifestyle”

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  • http://gravatar.com/danallison34 Dan Allison

    Santorum is an evil idiot. The problem in this country is that people who work hard and play by the rules get screwed, and the rich are for the most part lazy thieves. I know because I haven’t lived in a fantasy world like Santorum does.