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« This just in... men and women are different | Main | "If you forget the way to go and lose where you came from, if no one is standing beside you, be still and know I am" »

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


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Rick -

Rush is often guilty of shallow thinking and speaking, which is okay, I guess. One can't be an expert on everything and still run a daily show. But wishes he'd stick to things about which he doesn't need to be shallow. And to use the Washington Past as his his source. Oh my. Surely experience tells him that isn't wise.

I haven't been up to being able to go to The Acton Institute website, but I'll bet if you go there you'll find a post or two on the latest message. I know so little that I can't even say if it's an encyclical.

The Acton Institute is well-grounded. I don't agree with all the positions it takes, but it is firmly committed to free market enterprise. Its work in pushing back against the communist liberation theology in South America is worthy of praise. Fundamental education re the rule of law, the absolute necessity for private property in being able to found a true middle class - the whole Northern European ideas of contract law, etc.

If you've the time and health to visit it, you'll be well rewarded. It's where I first found Bastiat. Now there is a thoroughly Catholic economic philosopher that Pope Frances should be reading and quoting.

Rick aka Mr. Brutally Honest

Listen, I like Rush and have been a fan... to the chagrin of many.

But my recent and most passionate embrace of my Catholic roots trumps my dittohead status (and in fact, has tempered it over time).

I honestly do hope that he'll take the time to go deeper. I believe he'll love what he finds.

I really do.

Tim Chesterton

The key quote for me:

'Catholi­cism tran­scends polit­i­cal debates, and you will not under­stand it until you forgo the habit of talk­ing about it politically.'

What he says about Catholicism is, I believe, true of Christianity in general. Real Christianity does not line up 100% with the ideology of any political party, and the attempt to make it do so will only distort it.


Here's what I get when I go straight to the source. Actually, it's Vatican Press' PDF translated into English, by someone who may have gotten it wrong, since I got it off the Post's website.

But then, if you go to Rush's post, he allows for this in a subtitle "(Unless it's a deliberate mistranslation by leftists)."

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

It looks like Rush got it more or less right here. Where am I going wrong with that?

In fact, to evaluate the Pope's words most charitably, I have to consider maybe the problem is that he isn't writing about the United States. That would excuse passages like "Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting." They're not waiting here. Our poor people are fat. Statements like these make much more sense when viewed in a global context. There still is famine in other countries.

(And a lot of malnutrition stateside, but generally not from anyone having too long without a meal, or from the affluent being indifferent to the poor.)

Can't find a way to charitably interpret the following: "[Trickle-down] which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system." That was just a silly thing to say.

We're applying a pretty fair test to so-called "trickle-down" when we try to reject it, are we not? We make a bunch of rules to ensure that no one has too much loot, and what happens. We get more poor people. Do I need to list examples? Such failed experiments result in "facts," and the facts provide support for the thinking that economic freedom has a lot to do with fighting poverty. That, and this connection does not rely in any way on "the goodness of those wielding economic power."

Speaking just for myself, when I support capitalism, that summation has very little to do with what motivates me. Goodness of those in power has nothing to do with it. We're all sons of Adam, aren't we? Why are we trying to find angels among us when we know we won't find them? To me it's just simple logic: First step to fighting poverty, is to make it okay for people to enrich themselves. Argue that point if you want to, but that's my basis, and it isn't only mine. Pope Francis, according to his own words, has made a mistake in understanding the motives of the opposition. He's arguing like a lib.

I get how there's a linguistic difference between "trickle-down" and "capitalism." But I don't see how it matters. I've gone back to the source, as much as I can, and my finding is that it is Pope Francis who is more guilty of failing to look into things. Now if he wants to start chastising people to evaluate the results of their efforts, their ObamaCare legislation, their voting en masse for one political party, if he wants to scold people for seeing a Detroit debacle right in front of their noses and entirely ignoring the lessons that arise from that, I'll back him 110% there. But that isn't what he said.

Rick aka Mr. Brutally Honest


Don't know if you've seen this over at National Review but I think it speaks, in part certainly, to your concerns.

And I think you're heading in the right direction when you acknowledge the Pope is the head of all Catholics, not just American Catholics, and that this Exhortation is speaking to the global community, not targeting America.

Any ideology lacking the moral boundaries provided by a vibrant Christian faith is an ideology that leads to inequality, economic or otherwise.

This I believe is what the Pope is getting at.

And for that, he is being villified by people I would normally consider to be partners in the struggle for good, for decency, for what is right.

It's troubling for me. Most troubling.

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