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Know your radical leftists

At New York magazine's Daily Intelligencer blog, Dan Amira has a fun quiz based on Francis's new apostolic exhortation: "Bill de Blasio or the Pope?"

Which of those two gentlemen said, "Inequality is the root of social ills"? And who said, "We cannot resign ourselves to the mind-set that says rising inequality is a necessary byproduct of urban success”? It's surprisingly difficult -- or not so surprising, I suppose, given de Blasio's ideological roots in South American activism and the social Gospel. Anyway, I got 9/10. Don't hate.

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Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.



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just 6 out of ten.. my excuse is, I 'm 3000 miles from NYC and 6000 from Rome.. (-:

Here is another interesting juxtaposition. The Times, noting the emphasis Bill de Blasio placed on economic inequity, says it is stepping up coverage of poverty in New York City:

And Pope Francis also seems to call in his newly released letter for better news coverage of poverty:  

"How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality."



Intriguing justapositions indeed. A pope from South America who is an advocate for the poor and a mayor who believes in liberation theology. de Blasio is not allied with any churche while Bergoglio is the leader of the largest church. Both have Italian mothers.  We have not had a pope like Francis who advocated for the poor like this. Same for the Mayor. 

How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion.

Solution: Government control of the news media so that the elderly homeless person's death is properly and respectfully reported.  In addition, the stock market news must be reported with the proper perspective, including the fact that the exclusion reflects the inequity of our economic system (See Hugo Chavez and Joseph Stalin for models of how the economic system ought to be configured).

Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.

Solution: Detain and transport those throwing away food to the appropriate camp for re-education.  (See Pol Pot's techniques for pointers on how to do this)

Next problem?

Thanks, Bob.  We do need a regular dose of Acton Institute kristyanitee a la "Fr." Robert Sirico.

No, Bob's comments, repellent as they are, represent a real alternative to the Acton Institute's spin, which would have you believe that, when properly understood, most of what Pope Francis is saying is perfectly consistent with the economic policies of the Republican Party. I find Bob's candor refreshing. Not for him the vain effort to rescue the pope from his foolish economic ideas. For him, the pope is an authority on all questions having to do with sexual morality but knows nothing about wealth and poverty. 

Pope Francis does seem to be making some heaway on the right.  The current First Things has an article about the Pope's economics that's quite encouraging.  The "free market Catholic" author, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, tells us

"What in 2006 looked like the invisible hand of the market leading the financialization of the economy turned out to be a disastrous instance of crony-capitalist central planning. And when the Pope denounced it, I was among those condescendingly explaining to him that he didn't get it. What it turns out is that economists actually know very, very little, and that a lot of what we thought we knew turned out to be wrong. Given this hard-to-swallow fact, the prophetic voice of the Church that reminds us of what must be the ends of economic activity is very salutary."


He says emphatically that we must all think *first* about the effect of economic policies on the poor.  That, I think, is a very,very great step forward for a free marketer of any sort.  Mr. Gobry is himself an entrepreneur.  I wish him well.


("Crony-capitalist central planning"??  What in the world is that.)

Ann, Crony capiralism and central planning don't usually go together, but there is no reason why they can't. Crony capitalism is when the government takes care of its friends, like making the banks whole and then forgetting about the mortgage-payers the banks made unwhole. Central planning is when the government decides for the banks whom they will make whole and whom they will make unwhole. As when the secretary of the Treasury clears every move with Goldman Sachs.

That is the top-down view. Pope Francis, bless him, looks at the situation from the bottom up.

Ann, Sorry, I just gave you two examples of crony capitalism. A better example of central planning would be the government decidinfg what kind of coverage everybody's insurance policy must contain. Since this was cone with the aid, advice, assistance and insistence of Big Insurance, it could also be seen as crony capitalism. Especially since it was done with so much private-sector input. Usually when they talk about central planning they are thinking of government bureaucrats, not insurance company bureaucrats.

Tom B, if we define central planning as any Government regulation to insure product safety, product honesty, elimination of product scams. ecological restrictions etc.and maybe ,God forgive me ,even  single payer plans, .. . I guess I'm all for a bigger dose of what some would  call central planning...... and  anyone,[Bob?]  please don't call a fan of Pol Pot or Stalin..  

Ed, I think there is a difference between regulation and planning. Product safety, honesty in advertising, ecological restrictions are all about things corporations and individuals cannot, for the good of the larger society, be allowed to do, or that need to be subject to restrictions so everyone doesn't do them at once. I know that during the past 40 years the distinction between regulation and tyranny has been wiped out, along with the difference between democratic socialism and soviet communism and the difference between market capitalism and crony capitalism. All that surely should have been wiped out considering how much money certain parties have spent buying politicians, packing courts and buying or gaming the media to attain that result.

When one seriously considers the alternatives to free enterprise economic systems and turns to the various socialist models, i.e., National Socialism, Marxism, the European quasi-socialist regimes, and Obama's desired "fundamental transformation" templates, what ithey all lead to is some form of total state control of all human activities.  For example, the health of the American people, for liberals and socialists, would compel the government to control:

< What we eat

< How much and what kind of exercise we perform

< How, and how much, we are feeding our children

<How much we smoke and/or drink

<What kind of supplements we do or don,t take

Another example:  Environmental concerns:

<How big is our house?  (How much energy do we use, and what kind?)

<Where do we live?  (How much fuel do we use & what kind?)

<Where do we work?  (Same questions as where we live)

The list could go on and on and on.

By the way, I presume that by "unfettered" capitalism the Holy Father means "unregulated" capitalism.  Where does that even exist?


And again by the way:  Thanks to those who answered my post with civility and kindness.  Believe it or not, I was touched by that (and I am not being ironic)



Tom Blackburn: there is indeed no reason that central control and crony capitalism can't coexists quite happily. Some would argue that that's precisely what's going on in China. There are faint signs that Xi Jinping may try to change this, but the vested interests are enormous. Francis I surely has his work cut out for him in trying to change the Vatican, but it's a kindergarten compared to China.

@ Nicholas Clifford:  "to change the Vatican, but it's a kindergarten compared to China."

Maybe.  With China, it is more the degrees of magnitude that inflates their issues.  China is just soooooo big, sooooo many people.  It's hard for any political regime or hegemony to move a giant dinosaur to effective reform and change.

The Vatican on the other hand actually does resemble the mysterious, hidden, and remote Chinese imperial court at the end of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th century.

Then in China real eunchs, not just ones for the sake of the kingdom a la St. Paul, choreographed and staged managed the daily ceremonial life of the imperial court [much like our hierarchs parading around in the Vatican in medieval costumes as if in some twisted kabuki theater - I know I'm mixing cultural metaphors] with little regard for and totally oblivious to the revolutionary currents churning Chinese society just outside the walls of the Forbidden City - an apt metaphor for the modern Vatican, especially for us sheeple.

No wonder it took the convergence in the 20th century of mass starvation, world-wide economic depression, corrupt western colonialism, two world wars, brutal Japanese military occupation and exploitation [read The Rape of Nanking], to finally bring the Peoples Red Army to power under Mao Zedong.

As much as I admire our Jesuit pope, Francesco's efforts toward reform and renewal will eventually be overwhelmed - just like they were in the last forty years with our Polish and German popes - unless Francesco enables the PEOPLE to find ways to SEPARATE the MONEY from MINISTRY.


Very interesting analogy, Jim Jenkins.  But China didnt' do awfully well under Mao either.

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