Next Volley in the Class War

Next Volley in the Class War October 8, 2012

Rich to middle class and poor: cheer for us as we walk all over you.

I suspect the reason this stuff sells in America is that we still hope to join the ranks of the people who congratulate themselves as Makers (you know, corporations on welfare and bailouts). It’s sort of like Horatio Alger, except with all the ties to the Christian tradition of respect for God and the poor incinerated by Rand’s absolute hostility to Christian charity. A Christian culture was smart enough to recognize that Rand and the people who make films like this are enemies of God and enemies of the human race. The Thing that Used to Be Conservatism is actually dumb enough to regard this as a message of liberation and not as a command from the Rich to the middle class and poor: “To a gas chamber, go!”

Most hilarious part: Conservative Catholics seriously trying to paint this evil woman and her hatred of God and man as Aristotle to Paul Ryan’s Aquinas.

That may have had the desired effect in helping maintain unit cohesion inside the epistemic closure bubble of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism. But outside it, where old people and veterans and other members of the worthless 47% live, allowing that Makers and Takers stuff to be spoken plainly by the Plastic Android turned out to be the most devastating single blunder of a gaffe-ridden campaign. Turns out people who have sacrificed for their country don’t like being dismissed as human debris by an out of touch plutocrat given to transparent class war rhetoric.

The problem, of course, is that they won’t escape such class warfare by voting for Obama. As Ross Douthat smartly noted, they are both lapdogs of the rich and both enemies of the poor, in their own ways.

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  • Ellen

    I tried to read Ayn Rand’s novels but gave up. I am all for individual effort, but she was a nutcase and Not A Nice Person.

    • ivan_the_mad

      I did finish it, and I’m with WFB, I had to flog myself to finish it. Chambers’ review of the book is still worth reading. Rand never forgave Buckley for running Chambers’ scathing review, which I find amusing considering the direction in which NR was going prior even to Buckley’s passing.

      • ivan_the_mad

        By it I mean “Atlas Shrugged”. I also read “Anthem” but I didn’t care for that either.

  • SecretAgentMan

    Rand has a few valuable insights about work and profit. But, like all intelligent dimwits, she mistook having a few good ideas for having all of them.

    • Dan C

      Ayn Rand is to the right wing in the 21st century as Marx was to the left wing in the 1970’s. And embarassing affection. Ayn Rand and such things as “the 47%” are common discussion topics in the halls of the AEI, the Acton Insititute programs and propaganda, and enthusiastically supported combox opinions on First Things.

      When the left was faced with the disgrace of how communism was played out in real-world experiments like the USSR or Viet Nam or China, the left always claimed “but that isn’t REALLY communism.” When the right wing in the 21st century is faced with how libertarian/small governmentist approaches play out in countries like Haiti or Africa, the right wing constantly claims “but that isn’t really small governmentism.”

      I saw small governmentism just last week. There is no time for those theoretical “mediating” societal organizations as one maintains one’s own utility infrastrucure for power, water, constant vehicle repair due to inadequate roads and accidents on the raod due to a lack of governing rules. The thought of libertarianism as eminently fair in the face of small government is ridiculous-“small” means rapid decisions, no appeals, and no time for some survivalist to show up in court with some recitation of the Declaration of Independence to fight traffic tickets. There is no process for that- there is no government. No government means wealth and power control everyone, thus determining everything in life, including economic opportunity, which is obviously stifled in these economies.

      Ayn Rand has been tried and failed. Small governmentism is not helpful for the complexities of modern lives.

      • Dave P.

        Small governmentism is not helpful for the complexities of modern lives.

        I think one may fairly contest how much government should be involved and at what level without invoking the spectre of Ayn Rand. I personally believe that the Federal government should stick with its functions as defined by the Constitution. But that does not mean I don’t support social programs at state or local level, so long as they are within budget and run efficiently. Even there, however, there are limits.

        • Agreed, let each state work out the programs they want. If Objectivists want to take over say… Wyoming and run it devoid of charity, let them. If Catholics want to take over… North Dakota (if it existed) and set up aid every fifty feet, let them. Then let people vote on the states and laws they prefer in the ballot box and with their feet. At most, the feds might help people move easier, but otherwise, keep the beast small and focused on what it was assigned to do by the founders.

    • Tim in Cleveland

      Why do people insist that Rand had some good ideas before criticizing her? Is that like people saying Obama is a great orator before criticizing him? I’ve never seen a good idea from Rand that wasn’t somebody else’s first and Obama isn’t that great of an orator.

      • SecretAgentMan

        Because it means the criticism is intended to be fair and accurate. It’s not as though every book is held out as the Bible and every author purports to be God (less so, in Rand’s case, but we don’t have to share her limited mental world, do we). Rand can write good things and bad things all in the same book.

    • ivan_the_mad

      I think a better way to put would be that she’s a heretic. Like all heretics, she took something true, and distorted it, or added to it, or took something away, resulting in a horrible untruth (totally didn’t steal that from Belloc).

  • Euphemos

    Thank you for advancing the conversation, and for declining to succumb to the divisive spirit pervading our culture or to the temptation to replace thoughtfulness with snarkiness. Thank you for declining to topple straw men instead of wrestling with the real challenges we face… Oh wait, not you, sorry, wrong blog.

    • Tim in Cleveland

      Thank you for advancing the conversation, and for declining to succumb to the divisive spirit pervading our culture or to the temptation to replace thoughtfulness with snarkiness. Thank you for declining to topple straw men instead of wrestling with the real challenges we face… Oh wait, not you, sorry, wrong comment.

  • “…cheer for us as we walk all over you.”

    It’s a message that often sells. Historically it’s not new, and today it’s not unique to capitalism. People cheer while their dear leader, commissar, plutocrat, or feudal lord walks all over them. Maybe they’re compelled to, maybe they think they’re compelled to, maybe they really love Big Brother.

  • Blog Goliard

    The answer to class warfare against the middle class and poor is not class warfare against the rich.

    Some days, I’m not quite sure Mark gets that.

    • Mark Shea

      Correct. The answer is the gospel of Jesus Christ and not the worship of money, sex, and power–which is the central message of Ayn Rand and, coincidently, of the makers and manufacturers of American culture on both the left and the right.

      • Blog Goliard

        An excellent summation. The only thing you left out is worship of self, I think. Tack that on, and it’s hard to find any serious ill besetting our society that’s unrelated to one of these false worships.

        • Mark Shea

          Worship of Money, Sex, and Power = worship of self, just as worship of the Trinity = worship of God.

        • Dan C

          “Woe to the rich.”

          Saying it without quotes often allows people to forget that it is from the Gospel of Luke. It is part of the Lucan beautitudes.

          Mr. Shea is even diplomatic about such matters (like Matthew was). Even still, Mr. Shea needs to write a whole bunch of words explaining himself. Its a good thing Luke didn’t blog.

          Luke has God taking sides. This is what needs explaining.

        • I’m pretty sure the causation of all of society’s ills are mankind’s fallen nature and original sin. 😉

      • Richard Johnson

        Our culture has gone so far over the cliff that an appeal from those Gospels is branded almost immediately as socialism and class warfare.

        • Blog Goliard

          Depends on who’s making the appeal. It’s perfectly right and just to presume, based on past experience, that any appeal to the Gospels from the usual social justice suspects is being made less to advance the Gospel than to place it at the service of socialism.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            I’d be much more concerned that socialists have an easier time appealing to the Gospels than guys arguing for eliminating one of the precious few preferential options for the poor here through increasing their tax burdens to achieve parity with the wealthiest,(what portion did you use again?, oh yes,) quintile…

          • Ted Seeber

            This assumption makes no sense to me. Can you explain further?

            • Good night, it’s like you never venture outside your own conclave. I just have to quote:

              Just type “social justice” into a search engine alongside almost any institution’s name and you’ll find such twaddle. The Ford Foundation gave the Newseum a grant “for a Web site incorporating videos, interactive games and primary resources in a curriculum-based structure for classroom use and to organize a forum on journalism and social justice.” In 2010 the Smithsonian held a conference on “A Deeper Diversity, the Nation’s Health: Renewing Social Justice and Human Well-Being in Our Time.” The Muslim American Society, the organization founded by and through which the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the United States, declares on its Web site that it “hopes to contribute to the promotion of peace and social justice.” Even the American Nazi Party, not wanting to be left out of all the fun, identifies “[s]ocial justice for White Working Class people throughout our land” as one of their main tenets.

              Jonah Goldberg, Tyranny of Cliches

              And that’s just one paragraph out of a long chapter. No really, try the game yourself. Pick a socialist, leftist, etc organization, and see if “social justice” pops up in their literature. I’ll give Mark Shea a dollar if you can find one that doesn’t. It’s so pervasive, your post is rather like hearing someone not get that the ocean is wet.

              • ivan_the_mad

                And speaking of twaddle, Jonah Goldberg, everyone.

                How about this for mentions of social justice. Go ahead. Ctrl+F to your heart’s content.

                That some will use the same phrases as the Church, that some will distort Her teaching to their own ends, is hardly new. It’s certainly not something the left has a monopoly on. In fact, it’s so pervasive, your post is rather like hearing someone gasp in amazement that the ocean is wet.

                • You’re right, some will distort her teaching. And? The context was:

                  It’s perfectly right and just to presume, based on past experience, that any appeal to the Gospels from the usual social justice suspects is being made less to advance the Gospel than to place it at the service of socialism.

                  Ted was surprised by this so I provided just a sample of that experience Goliard was speaking of. Seems like you’re the one that needs to remind Ted of people corrupting the Church’s aim more than I or Goliard who were making reference to it. It sucks, but it nonetheless remains that the Church should be aware of how others are using her words and be ready to rehabilitate them if needed.

                  I’m confused since your post is written in the tone of a rebuttal, but it’s really a support/echo of what I pointed out. I mean, unless your listing of the Church is that it is a leftist/socialist/etc organization, which I would disagree with. (I wouldn’t even call it rightist either.) So… thank you?

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    Well, not at all. But thanks for playing.

                    • This goes towards my theory that nowadays people can’t even really explain why they disagree with someone else, just that they’re supposed to for some reason.

                      Heck, I should recommend ToC just because he has a chapter in there devoted to the Catholic Church… and it is probably one of the greatest apologetic for the institution I’ve ever read from a Jew in a long time.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      You are very full of yourself.

              • Ted Seeber

                I DO never venture outside my own conclave- I consider atheists of ANY SORT to be bad source data.

                • …Well guess I can’t fault you (hm, from my analogy, I guess a farmboy from Kansas wouldn’t know much about the ocean, so i guess I do owe you some apologies: sorry). So… yeah, lots of people around are taking the Church’s “social justice” idea and running with it in directions that would be comical if they weren’t so horrifying. Gotten to the point that for many people, they wouldn’t even know that “social justice” has anything to do with Catholicism (if not a contradiction in terms for them).

          • Irenist

            “It’s perfectly right and just to presume, based on past experience, that any appeal to the Gospels from the usual social justice suspects is being made less to advance the Gospel than to place it at the service of socialism.”
            Socialism? Socialism?! Is someone trying to nationalize the factories and coal mines and I missed it? *Who* is advocating for socialism outside of some fossils at the LCWR or some such place? *This* is the problem with contemporary conservatism. Conservatives first warred with advocates of laissez faire capitalism (1789-1848). Then with socialists (1848-1989). Now (1989-present) that socialism is beyond moribund the world over, and laissez faire ideologues like the acolytes of Rand are again the monomaniacal Jacobins of our time, “conservatives” are still busy rehashing the arguments of 1980. Stop refighting the last war, please. Are older “conservatives” capable of realizing that 1980 is over and fusionism has become a disaster, or do I just need to wait for Boomers to age out of the voting population before a really Burkean conservatism will have a hope of returning? Defenders of faith and family spend all night drowsily keeping watch for fear of the State, never suspecting that it’s the Corporation that’s getting ready to stab them in the back. Wake up.

            • The Green Party?
              American communist party?
              American socialist party?

              I could go on, just pick a group. 😉

              You’re not too far off on the rest of it though.

              • Irenist

                “You’re not too far off on the rest of it though.”
                That’s kind of you.
                As for the Greens, Communists, and Socialists, I think they rather buttress my case that socialism is beyond moribund! Socialism was a real danger, circa 1848-1989, and conservatives (particularly in the English-speaking world) fought it with admirable effectiveness and courage. But it’s not a live danger anymore. Staring fixedly at its corpse worrying that it will wake up distracts us from those servants of the Enemy that are still alive.

                • Well… that gets into a lot about intellectual history and social movements which will probably overload the blogging software were we to discuss it. It has appeared to me that only OVERT socialism is dead, but the movement & idea itself has mostly gone more subtle and hidden. In other words, it’s no longer the Godzilla of old, but John Carpenter’s The Thing that is now fought. Though things like Obamacare (or Occupy Wall Street) convince me that it is still very much alive and dangerous.

                  But then at some point, we’re probably just arguing about degrees of difference (i.e. you may consider say… 10% of socialism to be acceptable while I’m not comfortable with anything above 5%).

          • Al

            As one of the makers, just not a fortune 500 one, I will testify that the entire enterprise of entrepreneurhip is nerve wracking, painful, beyond risky, creates a take it and shut up grim atmosphere occasionally… chaos…a never ending roller coaster, if your successful you have a hundred fathers…if not your the elephant man with aids and Ebola…somtimes you suffer from are we gonna make payroll nausea? Your definitely Not a Prophet in your own land…you experience the envy, jealousy, isolationism….scam artists, litigious experts,….political operatives who can use a toothpick to leverage an elephant….on top of that your competition is gunning for you and your family is angry with you….you employ a number of people, try to stay loyal and you all bust your tail to get and keep the plane in the air each day…..I live modestly…duplexes behind me and all bi levels on my block….the company has great prospects but we have to crawl, scratch, and act as a punching bag that moves forward with little ability o hit back just essentially keep getting punched but like rocky balboa says…just keep moving forward….your employees must share in this commitment and this stamina… addition you have to fund the HHS mandate because there is no legal nonprofit willing to come to your aid….and your investors…friends and family who have supported you all those years…you need to o the moral thing and find a return for them…meaning pay them back because they took such long shot bet on you…so you can’t go out and pick a public fight with the government in the papers….. Your immortal sole is in jeapordy because of a policy supported by the democrats and meanwhile the punditry continues to try and define and label you as a mammon worshiper…and they have no earthly idea what they are talking about because they haven’t experienced it…..atlas shrugged only speaks to me in the sense of the Herculean efforts it takes to make things and sell things and the ridiculous roadblocks that get in your way………being an entrepreneur is in reality like being the leader of a party of people who are depending on you to traverse the worlds most expansive and trap laden minefield no turning back…get some crutches because even if you make it you will lose a butt cheek, an eye…and quote possibly lose the ability to reproduce….did I mention the group will backseat drive your every choice? Any savvy and sane entrepreneur looks at the minefield and the number of variables lined up against him and should instinctively realize that…..indeed hope IS a strategy…..with a firm commitment to th will, mind an heart I pound away each day……but I always pray, ask, repent, and pray some more….fools do otherwise.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Aw, Al, everybody’s job sucks in some way.

              My boss doesn’t like to keep his trucks stocked, and I work for one of the top services in the country… I have to account for every peice of gauze I used to staunch a gaping chest wound… Then there’s family members who blame me when daddy dies, rather than the steady diet of fat and corn syrup… don’t get me started on the guy who just shot my patient and will be damned if I try to revive him… recalcitrant nurses who want me to transport a Pt to a higher level of care without any kind of report… Doctors who won’t take the time to look at a pt’s current history before prescribing whatever drug the pharma rep is pushing with her bodacious tatas, forcing me to go out in rain and darkness to rescue their seizing Pt…

              And I do it all for less than $13/hr, plus overtime.

              Get a grip on yourself and stop whining like a pansy. And people wonder why I think Modernity is predicated on avarice?

              • Mark Shea

                If you can’t refrain from gratuitous insults, I’m going to limit you to five posts a day. Just stick to the subject.

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  You’ve gotta admit though, Chief, I had a heck of a run this time, before “pansy” slipped out. I’m not exactly proud or satisfied, but I do have to recognise I gave it the ol’ vocational school try!

                • Nah, we need to have extra gratuitous insults, just to encourage us all to laugh at ourselves. (like those old SNL news desk routines)

                  Though I’ll freely admit you Catholics with your mastery of Latin and multi-syllable words will probably clean my clock. Second only to the French.

                  (that last one was a MP:Holy Grail reference)

              • Al

                Damn Hezi….this sh#t just got real! 🙂 That’s some gritty narrative -and-sutble-halo-polishing mashup you have put together there….despite your sobering time-stopping-make-example-of-and-than-do-lets-all-do-EXAMEN exercise……”The Rules of Economics plucked from the engines of the relentless unyielding Universe” still goes on anyways…….huh!? What to do?!……… Anyways, I bet some kid from the Sudan has us both beat. If I may offer a consolation?, perhaps we could cancel “Casual Fridays” for “Violence-Sickness & Death Thursdays” that kind of starkness could really be a shot in the arm.. and who knows maybe it will fire the sales team up?…I can see the motivational speech to achieve the 4th quarter numbers…”Now remember guys… your existence, your family’s existence, your career, your trade, your skills, your livelihood…means nothing!….(Going a bit religious now) and GOD wants you to know that it “Means Nothing” ….when compared to the stark reality of physical pain & death! NOW! I want a full month…I SAID A FULL MONTH! of naval gazing and contemplating that thought before you make a single cold call…you prideful-self-absorbed going-about-your-daily-existence-as-if-it-really-mattered scum!….Don’t you back-talk me about how Jesus was a carpenter for most of his life Todd…I will write you up!

                So onwards,….You will note despite my b#tching…and your straw-manning.. I’m still ticking…and that is one of the points. Most business owners are not “Rich, Mammon-Worshipers-Country-Clubbers..”…they are in fact great workers & risk takers that “Teach People to Fish” just like somebody provided the economic resources to teach you your trade St Elsewhere.. …those people do not need to be belittled or even ignored for their sacrifices and their sacrifices are never really told in the media. Now Jack Welch & Warren Buffet’s story gets told….some “Artisan Bread Shop with goatees, tatoo and lattes in uptown” get smugly told…but the dude who sells golf carts for a living and employs 5 people does not. Its not necessarily a sad story…but when the criticism comes. I can safely say that most people have no idea what the hell they are talking about at all. They have no idea what it takes to do these things and the sacrifice to provide people like you with your job my friend and people should be educated about it instead of fed caricatures. Think its easy? Go try it. Go be the guy who is suppose to supply you with the bandages…you will find out that he is not the Mr. Henry Potter the media and the culture make him out to be.

                In regards to Atlas Shrugged…the only thing I like about it is what I said…it does a good job explaining the numerous ridiculous hurdles that are thrown in your way in bringing a product, good, or service to the market and where those hurdles come and originate from at times…….any deeper meanings should be left unexplored.

                All my love Hezeee! 🙂

        • ivan_the_mad

          People don’t like being reminded that they can’t serve two masters.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    The best cure for an evil book is a good book. Forget Ayn Rand and go read The Lord of the Rings.

    I’ll vote for any candidate who can recite the Lord’s Prayer in Sindarin and mean it.

    • Dan C

      Or the Gospel of Luke.

      The Gospel of Luke gets short-shrift.

      Even Benedict, in the first two books of his Jesus Trilogy, leans very little on the material of Luke, envisioning his Jesus as present as Matthew’s Jesus mostly. He so avoids Luke, he has delayed the Nativity narratives until the final book of his trilogy.

      Luke is the Gospel written to those who are to “inherit the earth.” As such, it speaks in a special way to those who work with the poor. It is difficult, or dull, or bland to academics or prelates who see Jesus in very different (albeit also correct) ways.

      No one who reads the Gospel of Luke (or its follow-up-the Acts of the Apostles) can find anything meaningful or mildly compatible with Ayn Rand. She isn’t a heretic, she is dramatically in error.

      • Just try to get through the first chapters of Acts, and their portrait of life in the early Church. Everyone sold everything to give to one another. Be careful what you wish for! We’ve been reading through Acts as a family, and when we came to the end of Chapter 3, one of my boys quipped ‘I wish some Catholics would sell their homes and give us some money.’ I pointed out that if this was the standard, unfortunately we would have to sell our home then as well, and give what we had to others. It’s not easy drawing a line between us and them – there are always those who see us as part of them, no matter what we think.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Go back and read it again, Dave. It doesn’t say they sold all they had and gave it to us. Everyone sold what they had. I mean, you own a house, for St Pete’s sake.

  • Jamie R

    In point of fact, this stuff doesn’t sell. Atlas Shrugged Part I had a budget of $20M, and a lifetime gross of $4M. If the producers actually believed in the market, part II wouldn’t get made.

  • Will

    ” Conservative Catholics seriously trying to paint this evil woman and her hatred of God and man as Aristotle to Paul Ryan’s Aquinas.”

    Now I’m confused. Are you saying that Rand IS Ryan’s guru, rendering him ritually unclean? Or that those “conservative Catholics” are displaying their stupidity by claiming she is?

    Excuse me, I’m short, and have to go borrow some money from all my wealthy Objectivist friends.

  • Jason

    *sigh* Here we go again. Trot out the spectre of class warfare and corporate welfare, ignore the good ideas Rand had by calling attention to her atheism, and tar Paul Ryan and libertarian-leaning conservatives all in one blog post. And of course your amen corner is right on cue, accusing what they don’t understand. It’s too bad, really – compulsory reading of “Atlas Shrugged” could actually help turn our economy around, and shrink welfare of all types, to the betterment of everyone.

    • Dan Berger

      compulsory reading of “Atlas Shrugged” could actually help turn our economy around, and shrink welfare of all types, to the betterment of everyone.

      The contempt for anyone not at the economic tip-top drips from every page of that tedious doorstop. Good gravy, man, didn’t you notice how John Galt, because he’s John Galt, is assumed to be worthy of the worship of every sentient being even as he grinds their faces into the dirt and takes their women? Conan the Barbarian would be proud.

    • Dan C

      Ayn Rand has nothing compatible with Christianity. Her failure to understand communitarian responsibilities should embarass you. Again, Luke and Acts should be required reading. Ayn Rand is a dollop of poison.

    • Atlas Shrugged should be compulsory reading? Really? Ayn Rand’s ideology is poison. How about Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, Bastiat’s The Law, and Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics instead.

      • Sowell has a lot to recommend. I’d add “Vision of the Anointed” to it just so people might learn to question those in power a bit more.

    • Ted Seeber

      Ayn Rand had no good ideas of her own from a Catholic standpoint. There is nothing in atheism worth emulating- everything that is, is plagerized from Catholicism.

    • Irenist

      Oh, Jason. “Compulsory” reading. Such reverence for liberty. Typical.

      • ivan_the_mad

        I don’t remember whence I’m stealing this, maybe TAC, but there’s nothing conservative about failing to conserve small farms and businesses, and nothing liberal about compulsory education or healthcare. We might say something in a similar vein about libertarians mandating summer reading for everyone.

        • True. Though maybe someone can clarify something for me.

          I suspect the reason this stuff sells in America is that we still hope to join the ranks of the people who congratulate themselves as Makers (you know, corporations on welfare and bailouts).

          Just from what I know, wouldn’t Rand condemn corporate welfare and bailouts as well? (at least from what even Shea has pointed out, that would make the corporations takers, not makers) Also, did she say charity should be outlawed or just that it was a bad idea? Because there is a world of difference between them. Heck, I think it’d be a good idea for all students to learn basic economics, but I don’t want a government mandated policy enforcing my idea. Or I think it’d be a great idea if everyone was Christian, but I don’t want the government spreading conversion by sword and bullet. (Am I the only one that gets an excluded middle vibe from some of Mark’s posts?)

          • Irenist

            “Just from what I know, wouldn’t Rand condemn corporate welfare and bailouts as well?”
            She might’ve justified them the way she justified receiving welfare-type benefits herself, but let’s assume for argument’s sake she’d condemn them. Marx might’ve condemned actually existing communism, too. But the fact that Rand’s bad ideas lead to the bad results we actually have (corporate welfare recipients spouting Randian nostrums in self-justification) is an indictment of her ideas, just as communism’s results are of Marxism: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Not to acknowledge this is to fall into the trap of “my ideology can never fail, it can only be failed.” (I suppose an atheist might complain that the Church is an example of just such an ideology, in that we always say that, e.g., the Borgia popes were failures as Christians, not a failure of Christianity: but I’m a lot more willing to give God such very extreme benefit of the doubt than I am Rand or Marx.)
            “Also, did she say charity should be outlawed or just that it was a bad idea?”
            Even assuming just the latter, her views would be morally monstrous.

            • Fair enough. Now let’s argue over how we agree. 😉

              On Christianity, I think what allows it to be given a pass is that it predicts and admits that many will fail at its own efforts. Marx & Rand are both flawed because they assume no deviation among a population when anyone who has spent any time around people should know better.

              Although I’m not entirely convinced her ideas would lead to corporate welfare, some of that is just because so many people confuse Randism and Libertarianism that I could be missing the correlation.

              Even assuming just the latter, her views would be morally monstrous.

              True, but the consequences are far less if she’s not having police arrest charities. Because I at least have enough faith in humanity (cynical misanthrope that I am) that if her view was to compete in the open marketplace of ideas, it wouldn’t gain near enough traction. (those that would latch onto it would probably have found some other reason to be stingy) As long as her views aren’t being enforced by the cops, let them be foolish, it will be an easy victory if we have to fight against them for the hearts & minds of others.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                And we believe Christianity doesn’t get this pass because an ideology some call Christianity got the formula right. We believe that God became man, died, conquered both Death and Hell, and in so doing, got back here in time for a fish fry just to promise that Hell would never win.

  • “Rich to middle class and poor: cheer for us as we walk all over you.”

    Please. Lets not make this about one income bracket against another. Especially considering that the different brackets from top to bottom often represent the exact same people over time. Many rich people are, believe it or not, good people who do things like go to church, pray and give to charity – and not just as a means to make themselves look good.

    We should be going after corporatists: rich people in bed with government. Class warfare only plays into their hands because, when people beg their state masters to take more of their liberties away in the name of fighting the rich the corporatists who lobby and fund our politicians only become even more influential over the lives of private citizens. More government power means more corporatist power.

    Lets employ some logic here: pretty much all corporatists are rich but not all rich people are corporatists. Lets make sure that we’re opposing the true bad guys here and not the people who are pretty much just like you or me but with more money.

    • Dan C

      Woe to the rich.

      Why isn’t that and about half the Psalms an example of God taking sides?

      I am all for the discussion, but I think the burden is on the wealth-apologists on the right wing to clarify the Gospel of Luke.

      • I like how admitting that the rich might be people also (who you know… have souls and dignity and also need salvation – probably also loved by God as well) turns one into a “wealth-apologist”. Heck, if one takes a scale based upon most of the world and/or human history, you yourself are rich as well, Dan. Maybe you should clarify the gospel of Luke as well, explain why your richness is exempt from woe while others aren’t.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Dan C could be a whole lot wealthier in this country if he had half a mind to. He’s a physician, Nate. And whether he’s competent as an MD, he’s long demonstrated himself to be a very decent sort of chap, even if he is a wee bit confused on the importance of family and community.

      • I think we should treat the rich with charity and not judge them or punish them simply because they are more fortunate than you or me.

        With that said, I think we should punish the criminals who got rich through immoral means and stop it from happening again. End bailouts, end protective regulations and hold corporations responsible for their actions. I’m not critical necessarily of “the rich” as a class but I am very critical of many rich people.

        I actually have much more respect for our poor than our rich and I make it a point never to criticize anyone less fortunate than myself.

        How that makes me a wealth-apologist is beyond me.

        • Sir, one day I simply must buy you drink.

          End bailouts, end protective regulations and hold corporations responsible for their actions.

          What’s funny is I think we could “hold co responsible” by simply letting them suffer the market consequences of their actions.

          But then, politicians don’t like the “do nothing” answer because that puts them out of jobs. 😉

    • Ted Seeber

      “Lets not make this about one income bracket against another. ”

      I’ll agree to that if those who do get lucky enough to spend some time in the top income bracket agree to refrain from sin instead of reveling in it.

      I’ll believe that when I see a return and strengthening of the Philadelphia Nun’s Loophole in tax code.

      • Some rich people refrain from sin and some revel in it. That’s my entire point. We must be very rigorous in our public policy to not treat them all the same but punish the criminals and end corporate welfare without ruining good people.

        • Ted Seeber

          I’ve never met a rich man who didn’t revel in it.

          I have met people who were once rich who didn’t revel in it- they usually give the money away faster than they make it though, and quickly exit from the top income brackets merely by giving it all away and living like paupers.

          Thus my reference to St. Katherine Drexel, and the loophole in American tax code her life inspired.

          It is my considered opinion that anybody complaining about taxes for the rich- should take her way out. If enough people did it, the Philadelphia Nun’s Loophole would come back, and we might even be able to get private charity to the point where it is feasible to eliminate welfare.

          What I don’t want to do is reward the Capital Sins, though. NO government should ever create an economic system that rewards sin.

    • I think Christian makes a good point. Income’s not the same as wealth. People should have the opportunity to be rewarded for their labor. But on the other hand there should be more thought put towards rewarding capital – the Monsanto example Mark also highlights being a good example.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        So when they start rewarding labor in this country instead of giving the fattest income streams to who can lie best, you wake me, James.

  • Ted Seeber

    I am convinced that Ayn Rand and Stalin had more in common than either would have liked to admit.

  • Dan C

    Dorothy Day, noting all along that it is not up to her to determine the outcome and success of her actions and that it was up to God, did develop our language of peace and justice, especially in terms of peace in the face of a nuclear society.

    She created Houses of Hospitality which can be still found in every major city, which remain, as Catholic Worker co-founder Peter Maurin noted, Schools for the Gospel.

    The papal encyclicals form major teaching devices throughout the centuries. That role is primary for the papacy, thus fulfilling that substantive need for humanity.

    Material self-reliance is not necessarily a Christian virtue, and may be a false virtue built on anxiety or pride. Mendicant orders certainly experimented with a denial of material self-reliance and participated in routine begging for themselves and the poor. This substantively differed from the monastic traditions that were alternative structures for religious orders at the time.

    I will agree that the Mormon’s are models of charity.

  • Irenist

    I’d bet everything I have that Dorothy Day did a lot more with her life than you have, Mr. D’Hippolito. You vent all you want, but you leave any and all Servants of God out of it, okay?

  • Ted Seeber

    I think you mean “Bishop’s Pantry”, as back in the early days in Utah this was quite literally the Bishop’s Pantry. Having said that, I’ll put up the record of most Grand Knights of the Knights of Columbus against any Mormon Bishop- I’ve never known a hungry man to be turned away on the doorstep of a Grand Knight without *some* provision.

  • Irenist

    Say, are you the same Joseph D’Hippolito that accused the Vatican of having a “pro-Saddam tilt,” and said of the Vatican that “intelligent people will recognize the Vatican’s support for the innocent as nothing but a cover for its own geopolitical interests and cynical personal agendas – as, unfortunately, it has been to this point.”?

    Because if you are, I think Mark’s in pretty good company for having drawn your ire.

    • Mark Shea

      Joe divides his time between going around the internet claiming I am stalking him (I have avoided him like the plague for five years), and persistently trying to get into my comboxes. I can’t count how many times I have banned this guy who claims I won’t leave him alone.

      • Irenist

        Ah. Well, as I said, Mark, at least you’re in good company!

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Nate WInchester,

    From context I gather you are respodIng to IrenIst reapondIng to Blog GolIard. If not, please Ignore.

    Good nIght yourself. Jonah dIdn’t lIst any socIalIst organIzatIons. Blog specIfIcally stated he dIstrusted quotatIons of the Gospel by socIal justIce types. Jonah doesnt lIst any Gospel quotes eIther.

    Surely you are dIstracted by pressIng personal Issues? You are a much more careful reader usually. I shall pray.

    • No socialist organizations? Seriously? The American National Socialists (Nazis for short) is not a socialist organization?

      Ok, clearly you need to define whatever you’re meaning by “socialist” first (and fix your ‘I’s) since I’m wondering if you believe there are any socialist organizations in the world.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Oh jeeze.

    I stand corrected. The Greens, CPUSA and the SkokIe nazIs are just about the greatest threat to AmerIcan lIberty, what wIth theIr huge popular support and all. You’re provIng the other guy’s poInt and don’t e en know It.

    And you’ll just have to forgIve my poor typIng. Im usIng a ,heap droId In between caedIac.arrests.and drug overdoses. I sImply dont have the equIpmemt or tIme to ensure every comment meets your school marm standards.

    • I never said they were the greatest threats to America. The biggest threat to America is… well Americans. To quote John Adams: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

      Wait a sec… why the heck are you on here if you’re having heart attacks and drugs? Get off this and get well first! (everyone knows comment sections on the internet will just aggravate your heart) There’s more important things in life than arguing with idiots.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I was working, Nate. The radio chirps, I respond. Sometimes with lights and sirens blaring.

        In between, to combat the long boredoms, I read Shea’s blog and

        When I’m not here, it’s either for my own soul’s good, or because the editors at Cracked had a phenomenal day.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          And when I comment in-line, as opposed to at the bottom, you know I am on a PC and not that crappy droid. Why it capitalises all Is sometimes, and only Is standing alone sometimes, I still don’t know. I really don’t find the phones to be all that smart.

        • Man, I used to read cracked so much. Then Briggs kind of spoiled it for me… (not to mention, some of the stuff there started getting bad)

          Oh now I get it: your work deals with CAs and DOs, not that you were going through them. Well that’s at least a relief.

          • It’s barely work if you love it.

            EMS= Earn Money Sleeping. Or in the case of this old insomniac with a second hand smartphone, Earn Money Surfing!

            • My father worked that job for many years so I know it plenty. (some days I even consider joining it)

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Oh jeeze.

    I stand corrected. The Greens, CPUSA and the SkokIe nazIs are just about the greatest threat to AmerIcan lIberty, what wIth theIr huge popular support and all. You’re provIng the other guy’s poInt and don’t e en know It.

    And you’ll just have to forgIve my poor typIng. Im usIng a cheap droId In between cardIac.arrests.and drug overdoses. I sImply dont have the equIpmemt or tIme to ensure every comment meets your school marm standards.

    And I also lack the InclInatIon, In all honesty.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    I hate It I cant thread thIs reaponse, and apparently the phone just started capItalIsIng all the Is agaIn, but here goes…

    EIther you do what you do for the love of someone, or you do It for money. There’s also the lulz I suppose, but I dIgress.

    If Its the dough, I stand by avarIce concede the Sudanese chIld.

    If Its love of someone, or even a bIg group of someones, then they need you to man up, fInd an oulet for all that dIstress, so you can keep on truckIng on the eustress, brother. I am edIfIed to see you get me, lIke the lovely TMLutas. (I know, Mark’s worrIed about me staInIng hIs carpet, and that Is faIr too).

    And I am wIth Chesterton, the problem wIth capItalIsm Is too few capItalIsts, not too many. Keep on truckIng where the good Lord put ya. and peace be upon ya too. But you gotta see that sunny sIde. The fIre In your belly only works so long and leads to an early grave. Decent busInessmen are too valuable to dIe young! or eveb late mIddle aged.