Related Post Roulette

30 Responses

  1. Avatar Bob says:

    Cafeteria CatholicsReport

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    A joke I made up myself:

    What’s the difference between an evangelical and the Devil?

    The Devil can quote scripture.

    If you’d like to use it in conversation with Catholics, please go for it with gusto. (Note: It works best when you quote scripture and your opponent points out that “even Satan”, etc.)Report

  3. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Great post, Jack. In the end, what I hope this and other messages from religious leaders push is not the end of market-capitalism, but the realization that alongside such capitalism needs to exist a strong social safety net. I think, in other words, perhaps in my naivete, that the two can exist alongside one another quite comfortably – safety nets and markets – and both can without too much state intervention into the economy (or our private lives, for that matter). This has always been my problem with left-wingers and right-wingers – they seem to accept that the others are simply wrong about X or Y when in fact, perhaps the two are both wrong.

    For instance, I see no reason why market solutions cannot be applied better to our horrible health care system, but also the reality that some people will simply not be able to pay for said market solutions. The state need not run health care to give people the power to purchase it.

    I think left out of much of left-wing rhetoric is the very real problem with state and corporate cooperation to enlarge one another at the expense of the citizenry (or consumers, however you want to put it.) Subsidized supply rather than subsidized demand. And I think if conservatives really want to win again, they need to start looking at the market as an efficient way to create a better welfare state. Subsidize demand, but make sure the net is strong enough to catch everyone.

    As far as I’m concerned Randian philosophy is not compatible with Church teachings. However, a different breed of libertarianism, that accepted some form of the welfare state and fewer intercessions into the economy than we now see, could very well be compatible.Report

    • Avatar jfxgillis says:

      E.D.:

      I don’t see how this is possible. “Libertarianism” with a safety net” ceases to be libertarianism.

      The left has been shrieking about corporate concentration for a hundred years, but the electorate isn’t listening. Or rather, the Left’s plaints have been drowned out by the corporate media and their subsidary, the Republican party, in it’s successful introduction of the idea that Big Business is no threat compared to Big Government.

      Shrug. Looks like it took a few decades, but the electorate seems increasingly sceptical.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

        Big Government and Big Business go hand in hand – and the Dems and Repubs are equal partners in this game. They both enlarge government and special business interests benefit (though change to some degree depending on who is in charge). I think you misunderstand libertarianism or at least box it into too small a box. I know many libertarians who think safety nets are important – they just disagree with the nature of implementation. Of course, many libertarians are against any state action at all…Report

        • Avatar jfxgillis says:

          E.D.:

          Well, yeah. Big Business utilized it’s huge accumulation of wealth and power to drive the government to serve Big Business’s ends.

          The answer is not to dismantle Big Government and thereby destroy the last remaining feasible countervailing power to Big Business. The answer is to put Government on a footing to resist corporate hegemony.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

            You know the core problem with liberalism – with Big Government as countervailing force to Big Business – is that it is “easier said than done.” And that’s almost always how it plays out. The problem, of course, is that as Government grows, so does the ability for special interests to influence said government to do even more favors for them. The likelihood of regulatory capture goes up and up and up. The “good intentions” of the state continue to be compromised over and over again. Capital is better guarded by state regulations and barriers to entry which decrease competitiveness than by a limited government who does not bail out corporations or subsidize them or create rules which make start-ups weakened from the get-go.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        “Libertarianism” with a safety net” ceases to be libertarianism.

        Eh. Give your fellow humans a little more credit. There are many schools of thought, many ways to believe in liberty, and many ways to be a libertarian.

        Of course there are points when one would cease to be libertarian, or a republican, or a democrat, or a Muslim, or a Christian (or a Catholic!) but I’m pretty sure that I don’t have the competence to delineate when someone ceases to be this and starts to be something else. It’s fuzzier than that.

        Am I mistaken? Is it not fuzzy at all and is as easy as pointing out where the well-deliniated lines are?Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Having read through The Corner, I find that they’re not even trying.

    Back in my day, we would have gone for something like this:
    The opening would have started with “The Pope is, once again, 100% correct!”
    In the middle, I would have discussed the Catholic Church’s stance toward “coercion” and discussed how, obviously, they didn’t want the *GOVERNMENTS* to be behind the redistribution. Jesus didn’t say “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and, while you’re there, drop off what is God’s too because Caesar knows how to best deal with that.”
    *THEN* I would have gone into a discussion of tithing, and talked about how 10% of whatever number I’d come up with (I’d have a good one) is larger than the full number of whatever the government was doing and how the fact that His Holiness Himself had to point out to us, again, that we weren’t tithing enough was a huge rebuke and we needed, as individuals in Christ, to do more and *THAT IS ALL RATZINGER WAS SAYING*.

    Kids these days.

    Don’t even know how to read a damn document.Report

  5. Avatar Caltha palustris says:

    EDK,

    push is not the end of market-capitalism, but the realization that alongside such capitalism…

    The long and the short of all of it is: world-wide support for stricter regulations on commodities derivatives markets. That is except (with some US financial traders employed making a “bomb of money” in index speculation, and the powerful who control the “purse strings”… like Goldman Sachs AND Morgan Stanely).

    Which reminds me, of an expatriate Israeli who fought in the Six-Day War who said to me, “Money is like a gun in your hand, it gives you power over others who have less than you do.”Report

  6. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    great post. only one small piece i would add. a number of the dissident-o-cons do support quite strongly Benedict’s position (and by extension the entire tradition of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church going back to Rerum Novarum). People like Rod Dreher, John Schwenkler, probably Daniel Larison. But for sure the movement cons of the Catholic variety (Weigel, Novak, K-lo) continue to valorize their American right-wing ideology over their religion, hypocritically subverting their proclaimed Catholic primacy of thought.Report

    • Avatar Bob says:

      Chris, you just reinforce Jack’s point. Of course, obviously, many Catholics support the Pope. What I find amusing is the fact that a term like Cafeteria Catholic, usually hurled at more liberal Catholics, can now be applied to Reich Wing Catholics. Seems their faith is also severd cafeteria style.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      A variant on another, wonderful, response.

      “The Pope says a lot of stuff.”

      The Catholic Church, being what it is, is chock full of all kinds of stuff that pretty much everybody can and will disagree with.

      So, in response, you just point out something that the person pointing out disagrees with.

      So, as Ross pointed out, when someone points out that the Pope is pro-life to someone who is pro-choice, the pro-choicer can point out that the Pope is also against the death penalty.

      Then both sides can get huffy for a second and then politely go back to ignoring pretty much anything the Church teaches for a while.Report

  7. Avatar Patrick Duffy says:

    I would be more willing to consider your opinions if you would avoid ad hominem statements (e.g. “staggeringly dishonest,” “deluded,” etc.) which would allow debate to center on logic and facts, rather than whether you think the other person’s position should be rejected because you don’t like them.Report

    • Avatar jfxgillis says:

      Patrick:

      As is clear from the rest of the article, the only commentator I described as dishonest was George Weigel, hence “staggeringly dishonest” must apply to him.

      Now when the logic and facts lead you to the conclusion that a given argument is staggeringly dishonest, must one refrain from stating that inescapable conclusion for fear that some reader will misapply the notion of ad hominem?Report

  8. Avatar Jim says:

    Their main problem is that they, Whigs, want to call themselves conservative. That puts them in bed with people who have never in 200 years accepted some of their core principles, such as reverence for free markets. That leads to all these contortions.

    Love the screen name, Caltha palustris. Did you know your leaves are edible as a steamed vegetable?Report

  9. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    If there were a substantive difference between excluding the poor from wealth creation and redistribution of wealth he might have a point.

    The difference is between equality of opportunity and equality of result. The dialectics is between freedom and equality. So of course there is a “substantive” difference between the two. So much so that most of political philosophy is written so as to resolve the contradiction.

    Surprise! The Pope is still Catholic! The Pope wants “a regime of global capital controls” according to you–although I can’t see how you can derive this from the quote you put up. What else is Novarum? The Pope wants “global capital controls” just like he wants “global controls” on just about everything else, including how people choose to use and abuse their own genitalia. The Pope is a control freak. That’s why he’s Pope.

    You quote a 1891 text that lays out the Church’s so-called social teachings and then call it a “new teaching” that today’s so-called right wing “can’t get their minds around.” Somehow I think there’s a lot you need to “get your mind around” as well if something that happened in 1891 is still “new” for you–and that’s not even considering that in 1891, Capitalism was hardly a “new” thing at all–it had existed for over two centuries by that time. One thing that’s clear is that the Pope and/or the Catholic Church can hardly be analyzed according to your used-up left/right dichotomy.

    The Rerum Novarum / New Things is capitalism. The Church/Pope will always be against it since it means people will have the freedom to choose, and will have to think for themselves, which are against Church dogma/teaching. Capitalism is decentralized, which is against hieracharcal Catholic attitudes towards the use of power. The Capitalist/Industrial Revolution was against the Church more than against the entrenched nobility, etc etc.Report

    • Avatar jfxgillis says:

      Roque:

      I didn’t bother quoting the global-capital-controls passage because it’s been quoted everywhere. You’re pretty much the only person I’ve seen dispute that. I think it’s parapgraph 44 but I could be mistaken.

      Of course Rerum Novarum is “Capitalism”; what it is not is lassiez faire Capitalism. In strictly secular-political terms, it’s on the left half of the range of policy that falls under the rubric of Social Democracy.

      Equality of opportunity. Yeah. Right. Like Victor Hugo’s rumination on the law: The Law is a wonderful thing, it treats all equally. The rich and poor alike are prohibited from living under bridges.Report

  10. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    The Rerum Novarum was about capitalism. The “new things” of the title referred to political consequences of the capitalist industrial revolution: urbanization, new class sysem (workers/owners,) women’s issues etc etc. The Pope was trying to restrict capitalism to make it accord with Catholic dogma and thereby “solve” these political issues within Catholic dogma. His proposal was a critique of lassiez-faire capitalism. The Church has its own take on these issues which will be hard for you to understand if you continue to force it into your preconceived left/right template.

    Victor Hugo’s rumination, as you please to call it, is not the point–although it does have a lot of impact amongst adolescents. The point is that you say there is no “substantive difference” between freedom and equality. On this basis, you dispute what Weigel has to say: you say,

    If there were a substantive difference between excluding the poor from wealth creation and redistribution of wealth he might have a point.

    The difference is between equality of opportunity and equality of result. The dialectics is between freedom and equality. Since there plainly is a “substantive difference,” you’re bound to admit that Weigel has a point.Report

    • Avatar jfxgillis says:

      Roque:

      The Pope was trying to restrict capitalism to make it accord with Catholic dogma and thereby “solve” these political issues within Catholic dogma.

      Yes. Of course. I quote agree with that reading.

      Now. On your other point. INCLUDING three billion poor people in the distribution–note, I said distribution, not redistribution–of the proceeds of neoliberal capitalism necessarily reduces the Return to Capital for those holding the Capital. The holders of Capital hence fiercely resist that inclusion. That’s a no-brainer for anyone who sees how the world really works rather than thinking the world looks like some model written by some twenty-something rich kid with a fellowship at the von Mises institute.

      And even at that, Weiegel was simply WRONG about what the Pope said. BXVI explicitly endorsed redistribution as a remeedy for the “grave imbalances” that arise when the economy is viewed merely as an engine of wealth creation. That part I DID quote because it leapt out at me last Wednesday or so or whenever I read the whole thing through.Report

      • Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

        The point is, you said that there was no “substantive difference” between excluding or including the world’s poor in “wealth creation” and “redistributing” the world’s wealth. You said that this lack of “substantive difference” between the two made Weigel’s analysis worthless and that, in case you were wrong, i.e., in case there really is a “substantive difference” between the two, Weigel would then “have a point,” according to your own words. By now I think it’s obvious that there is a “substantive difference” between the two and therefore that Weigel does “have a point” after all.

        Then there’s this:

        INCLUDING three billion poor people in the distribution–note, I said distribution, not redistribution–of the proceeds of neoliberal capitalism necessarily reduces the Return to Capital for those holding the Capital. The holders of Capital hence fiercely resist that inclusion. That’s a no-brainer for anyone who sees how the world really works rather than thinking the world looks like some model written by some twenty-something rich kid with a fellowship at the von Mises institute.

        A couple of quick points:

        The above is incomprehensible. It smacks of university jargon. For example, what, exactly, is “distribution, not redistribution?” If it’s not just another mindless slogan, then, what on Earth does it mean? In your world are resources first distributed, according to some unfair rule, and then redistributed, again, according to some other even more unfair rule? Therefore, in your new theory and praxis, resources first must be distributed to the three billion Earthlings living below the UNDP poverty line, before they’re redistributed to the bloodsucking capitalist running dogs, under the rubric of “return to Capital,” where this new distribution scheme will be unsatisfactory for the “holders of Capital” because it will be much less than before, under today’s unfair system? How would this work, if at all? Aren’t you just refrying the old Commie beans with a lot more lard than necessary?

        Next, what is “return to capital?” Is that like investment return, or the money one gets by lending money at a discount? Like I lend you ten bucks today but you promise to pay me twelve back in three years, etc etc.

        So if somehow “three billion poor people” are “included in the distribution” of the world’s resources, how on Earth would this hurt the interests of the “holders of Capital?” You’re not talking about taking anything away from the “holders of Capital” so one assumes that they will continue to enjoy the resources that already have been “distributed” to them. Just having another three billion people in there, with resources to use, according to you, won’t diminish the resources already at the disposition of the world’s “holders of Capital.” In fact, one can imagine that in this scenario the “holders of Capital” would begin to realize even better or more “return to Capital” than before: the addition of three billion more people to the marketplace will only benefit people with stuff to sell them, for example the “holders of Capital,” who will want to sell these three billion ex poor people the Capital they need to do whatever the hell they want, etc etc.

        To have this make any sense at all, you must be be working with a so-called Mercantalist economic world view, where wealth is a finite quantity to be “distributed” all over society. Under this world view, someone’s having a certain amount of wealth implies that someone else, somewhere, will lack that certain amount, so that in the end the tally comes out at zero.

        Your remark about the twenty-something kid’s “model” at the Van Mises Institute went over my head. I guess you had to be there.Report

        • Avatar Travis says:

          Well, yes. There is a finite amount of “wealth” on this planet, just like there is a finite amount of everything on this planet.

          Wealth is, ultimately, a function of the exploitation of finite resources to create tangible objects (bottles of Pepsi, jet planes, computer code) that are desired by other people and, hence, can be sold to them for a profit.

          The limits of those finite resources define a limit as to how much wealth can be created.

          Every barrel of oil that we burn in the United States is a barrel of oil that is not available to burn in Lithuania or Bolivia or India or Nigeria. It will never be available to burn there and, in human timescales, it will never be replaced.

          If, hypothetically, the rest of the world consumed oil at the rate the United States does, oil prices would skyrocket and the Earth’s total supply of oil would be depleted within a couple decades. There simply is not enough of that resource to go around.

          Similarly, there is almost certainly not enough steel on this planet to build enough automobiles to bring the rest of the world up to the standard of the United States – 765 cars per 1000 people, the highest ratio of any nation. At our current global population, that would require that 4.6 billion cars exist on the planet.

          This is the problem with much of modern economics – it assumes a fantasy world where resources are infinite and our species can just keep growing exponentially forever. It’s ludicrous and it’s dangerous – not to mention wrong.Report

          • Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

            This is the problem with much of modern economics – it assumes a fantasy world where resources are infinite and our species can just keep growing exponentially forever. It’s ludicrous and it’s dangerous – not to mention wrong.

            You must not have read much economics. Any introductory textbook will tell you that resources are finite while wants are infinite, which gives you the eternal dialectics of “much of modern economics” in a nutshell. Resources are finite but “everything else on the Planet” isn’t, obviously. For example, ideas are not finite. Orgasms are not finite either. One can go on having ideas and orgasms forever and never run out. That’s why wealth can continue to be created out of finite resources–people get new ideas. That’s why people can go on having orgasms even though their genitalia are limited.

            Wealth is created by using resources as factors of production–again, I’m taking this from introductory economics textbooks. I really don’t know if wealth creation is infinite in a strict mathematical sense but it certainly is in a practical sense. For example, there’s always at least one more dollar to be made by any business, isn’t there? Isn’t this why we have entrepreneurs? They’re always chasing the ultimate dollar profit but it doesn’t exist: there’s always at least one more and the entrepreneur must have that one too, etc etc.

            This is why the so-called analysis by Herr Docktor Guest Author, above, is worthless. It’s just teenage elucubration. Maybe if high school students, like our “guest author,” took an introductory economics course along with all the other ones about America’s imperialistic genocides, this kind of hogwash could be avoided.Report

  11. Avatar Barry says:

    “In search of this latter category of right-wing opinion, my first stop was naturally National Review’s group blog The Corner. And boy did I strike gold. The commentary there ran the gamut from deluded through incoherent all the way to staggeringly dishonest. ”

    If insanity and horrible logic were gold, the Corner would be El Dorado.Report