We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, July 10. 2015
A masterful and wise piece from Williamson: Catholics Against Capitalism:
That men of the cloth, of all people, should be blind to what is really happening right now on the global economic scale is remarkable, ironic, and sad. Cure one or two people of blindness and you’re a saint; prevent blindness in millions and you’re Monsanto.
People of the cloth, like many academics, can be insulated from the realities of production and oblivious as to how or where their iPhones, cars, medicines, airplanes, and foods come from. Not from magic fairies or community activists.
Many of us are parasites, may hate to admit it, but it is important that we do so anyway. Including me, selling business services. Free market production is the engine which eliminates poverty and despair. Even Commie China realized that.
The rest of us are, sadly, parasites on that mechanism: doctors, lawyers, financiers, teachers, insurance salesmen, politicians, government employees, etc etc etc. Often useful and valuable, but still parasites on the producers. Over time, with technology, there are fewer producers and more service parasites to the point that we parasites can pretend that we have a functional economy of our own.
I have friends who make real things: sails for sailboats, parts for machines, tables, tires, oil wells, medical devices, artisanal goat cheese, and things like that. Also, harvest lobsters, harvest peaches, and blueberries. They are the foundation and we are the beneficiaries.
But Williamson's main point has to do with the Church's apparent faith in the State. What State, pray tell, run by whom? God? It's utopian lunacy or dystopian lunacy, take your pick.
Me? Raised Roman Catholic, love the Church in the abstract, but an evangelical protestant at present. A long story of course, which I will never be able to find the words to explain, but wish the Church would focus on the blood of Christ instead of secular matters.
Now gone fishin' for the weekend. Block Island Sound. Maybe stop up by Cuttyhunk. Got beer, got girl, got boat, got gas, got bathing suit, got flip-flops. Will feed on Blues, Stripers, clams, and oysters. Life is good in New England. (Too bad the retarded government makes us throw back the small stripers and keep the big ones. As usual, government has it ass-backwards - kill the producer-breeders and throw back the useless small ones of whom 1/5000 will survive the Tuna, sharks, and Swordfish.)
Recipe tip: When you filet your Striper on the boat, cut out some thin slices, smear a little wasabi on them and maybe a splash of teriyaki. Then take a swig of Corona with lime in it to wash it down. That is heaven on earth.
Addendum: Latin America’s Leftist Slide
Tracked: Jul 11, 13:00
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Interesting, I made similar notes on my hometown paper recently. The Church's disdain for capitalism is tragic...and sinful.
Me? Never a big fan of the RCC. No longer an evangelical. Yet a fervent believer, and hopefully faithful til the end.
I am a Roman Catholic (I'm in the Knights of Columbus too).
I'm always disappointed when the Church strays too far into partisan political territory. Our great strength over 2,000 years has always been our ability to offer faith and charity regardless of the whims and vagaries of temporal powers.
I've watched mainstream Protestant denominations decide they need to be "socially relevant" and then implode as their membership falls through the floor.
Christ consistently defies political pigeon-holing: he is neither a leftie community activist nor a right-wing conservative.
I can only have faith that, in the long run, the Church will see off these latest theological fads and notions just as she has in the past.
I'm not sure what in seminary teaches one to become an expert in economics. Nonetheless, many members of the clergy treat the topic as their province, likely because it involves moral questions. Yet, what field of human endeavor doesn't involve moral questions?
Hating the rich is not the same thing as loving the poor.
let me interrupt the usual bigotry for a moment.
these clergymen aren't speaking for the RCC, which speaks with one voice on doctrinal matters, of which capitalism is not one.
orthodox Christians and even most protestants (I'm guessing) are aware that Christians believe they living in this world by necessity, but are not of this world by baptism.
so the RCC isn't concerned about why little barry is president, or whether the king of france is a soviet or if OsamaCare is good social policy -- the author totally gets the "render unto Caesar" reference wrong and out of context. you Christians have a personal obligation to alleviate the miseries of the human condition.
your Jesus told you exactly what's important. so when you face your God and He asks you when you fed Him or clothed Him, or visited Him in the hospital and you say, well, I totally supported capitalism and Monsanto fed billions, it's not going to work.
"you Christians have a personal obligation to alleviate the miseries of the human condition."
Exactly. A socialist state does not relieve you of that obligation.
But Francis' anticapitalism is not socialism. The Roman churches ideal state is the largely mythical medieval theocracy. Cluny and the Benedictine Rule is probably its greatest exemplar
Uh yeah thanks, but we'll figure out our religion for ourselves.
I always thought the Pope was in charge of saving souls, not saving the Earth?
I am left with the impression he is more concerned with earthly issues rather than spiritual ones.
Is he indicative of the thinking at the top of the Catholic Church now?
thinking is above your pay grade, don't worry about it.
no you won't, or can't.
go ahead, deny my assertion and back it up.
Thank you Donny.
And I return the compliment. Most heartily.
If this report is accurate the conference participants sound pathetic, like sclerotic dinosaurs nattering on about an economy that doesn’t exist. Are they so heavily invested in old theories, old vocabulary, an old tool kit, and stale, obsolete ideas that they cannot wrap their heads around the morphing and emerging “new” economy.
Personally, I prefer to say "piggybacking" instead of parasite. So, yeah, most of us our piggybacking on the real "grow the pie" kind of wealth created by the makers(creators), the producers, the entrepreneurs, and the extractors. Today it's topheavy with the takers on top, the makers on the bottom. I suspect that the chattering classes are guiltier than the rest of us.
I can't figure out people who claim to be concerned about how to answer Jesus's question "when did you feed or clothe me," particularly people who tell me openly they don't believe a word about Jesus--and then seem to think that voting for redistributionist policies is going to play but supporting the only system that's ever been effective lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty will not.
I suspect neither is much to the point, and the real point will be what each of us did with his own money and effort. I'm quite certain I needn't concern myself with tut-tutting from anyone who's expecting other people's tax money to accomplish his charitable obligations for him, no matter how frantically he tries to grab the moral high ground in every single discussion.
Donny, your cogent contributions to the discussion are overshadowed by your dysfunctional worn attacks. You sometimes contradict your previous comments to twist meanings to buttress your victimhood.
I really don't see doctors, some lawyers,,some financiers, teachers, insurance salesmen as parasites. They make it easier or better to be a producer. Besides apart from health insurance you are not required to use any of them.
I can, but it's tedious and lengthy, because it involves removing so many weeds from the garden.
Also, I don't want to, because you are getting an important part right that many Christians get wrong, and it seems counterproductive for me to kick you for that. I will simply say that you are getting it almost right, and carry on, but with caution, alert for modifications.
Sorry if that seems condescending. I don't mean it that way.
Donny - let's get it clear: Jesus did not speak about capitalism, racism, sexism, or all the other "isms" that are so prominent today. What he did speak about was hypocrisy, particularly of those who were so zealously convicting other of various sins while ignoring their own.
Furthermore, Jesus did not advocate a state solution for poverty and other ills: he told his followers they had to address these ills directly. Which, to be blunt, most Christians try to do. Indeed, history show us that most of our "social safety net" was in some way begun by Christians. Back in the day, when we moved here and joined the local parish, I was struck by the outreach being practiced by parishioners. CNIB, Guides, Scouts, Cystic Fibrosis, Meals on Wheels - the list could go on and on. The parishioners of St Mike's were truly going out into the community to serve.
However, Jesus never said "hand over you money to the state so nameless bureaucrats can decide where your charity is best spent". It can be fairly argued that state welfare programs enrich the bureaucracy while being not that helpful to the needy who are deemed to require aid. Actually, it can also be argued that government programs actually hinder the needy should they try to improve their situation. Furthermore, for Christians, their ability to provide the aid you think they should is hampered if their assets are confiscated by a socialist state on behalf of a "greater good".
Donny is simply an irrecoverably bigoted jackass with an axe to grind. Ignore it. It lives to disrupt.
They are parasites. Not necessarily in the pejorative sense.
I am fine with the rebuttal to his Holiness. The dude is whacked out confused and bad ideas lead to human misery.
However, the author's division of producers and parasites is simply a naive, materialistic, folk version of economics. Services such as teachers and insurance brokers add value to fellow humans and are every bit as important to the economy as makers of things and entrepreneurs. Teachers solve the problem of educating the youth. Insurance salespeople provide reduced financial risk, essential in moden markets.
Good post ruined with seriously sloppy and economically naive nonsense.
They perform a service. Is the idea that if you produce goods, you're not a parasite, but if you perform services, you are? Same for teachers, house-painters, plumbers, home-makers?
since you're RCC, I offer you your own Catechism, which is said to be the deposit of your faith. since Jesus lived under roman imperial rule, it's not surprising He didn't opine on what a good government might do. You could read Augustine's City of God for an insight.
(nonRCC are invited to review your own statement of dogma, if you have any)
Duties of civil authorities
2236 The exercise of authority is meant to give outward expression to a just hierarchy of values in order to facilitate the exercise of freedom and responsibility by all. Those in authority should practice distributive justice wisely, taking account of the needs and contribution of each, with a view to harmony and peace. They should take care that the regulations and measures they adopt are not a source of temptation by setting personal interest against that of the community.42
The duties of citizens
2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. the love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.
2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country:
Pay to all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.45
taking and holding the moral high ground is what I do naturally, and, with surprisingly little effort.
from there, I can assure you, if are a Christian, or even a protestant, and your conscience is squared away on whether you fed your Savior's sheep in this life, you don't have to give a second thought about defending capitalism's spotty role in lifting up the human condition.
I once told a college professor that I wanted my carrer to be doing something important. He responded that the only important job was growing food or making clothes - everything else is fluff.
He went on to say that that didn't mean everything else was worthless; there's still lots of stuff that needs to get done - and that is worth doing. But his point was that the forther away you get from producing food, the more dispensible you are; the more your job is "fluff." (And his real point was that I should choose whatever carrer I felt I was suited for, but that I should avoid climbing on the high horse because - someone else was always going to be doing more important stuff than I was.)
The problem is that "many Christians" are not "you people".
One formulation regards the real problem of Christians not infrequently understanding - as Williamson explains - that altruism and statist force are dissimilar in the extreme, while the other is a rank generalization aimed at inflaming a point of low-level partisan rhetoric. Or baiting; trolling.
One point IS a point; a philosophical construct of more than sufficient structure that Williamson - who is a strong writer - could sink your teeth into it in half a thousand words. The other is a simple, predictable cartoon extrapolated from mostly thin air for another purpose entirely, which is to inquisition a spirituality and some religions - "you people" - for the mistakes of their various minorities of economic idiots and Marxists.
Whether Protestant or Catholic.
Jesus is a classic, proper anarchist. Assuming anybody can yet see themselves clear to see it.
Kindly don't feed the trolls.
(Below an excerpt apparently chosen to conflate official Christianity with official force does the opposite. The poor(ly reasoned and moved) ye have with ye always...
Bird Dog...this is the perfect opportunity to just say you were wrong on this point. Service providers aren't parasitic even in a non pejorative sense.