The market and the moral man


Free Market advocates often make arguments for the strength of their system based on the strength of the market, or the effects that may be produced by the market for the economy, society, technology, etc.

When however, we come to the subject of morality, there is very little cause effect argumentation which is demonstrated for the market and morals. This is because it is painfully obvious that the market does not of its own workings produce moral men. This does not mean by contrast, that there are no moral men in business today, though in places like Goldman and Sachs they are no doubt difficult to find. Rather, I mean to say that when we look at the effects of the market on man, we must say that it creates primarily greed, and spirals to many other vices.

Moreover, the market does not of its own accord make the populace moral. If by no other method, we could show this by tracing the decline in religion and morals since the advent of English Capitalism in the 18th century. The most preeminent case to be made against the market in the area of morals, is pornography.

In the year 2000, Hollywood put out just over 400 feature films. The "adult entertainment" industry, so-called, produced 11,000. This is not some communist scheme to undermine American morals. Crypto-commies are not funneling millions into production and spiriting away billions to fund revolution for the proletariat. Quite the contrary, the rise of the "adult" industry, which was estimated at $5 million in 1970 is estimated around $10 billion today (Reefer Madness, Sex drugs and cheap labor in the American black market, by Eric Schlosser, pg. 115) is due precisely to the demands of the market. This is not merely a modern phenomenon, it started in the 1920s where peep shows, seedy stores and back alley theaters began making profits from men who would slip away. I mention by the way communists because in arguing this point previously with a colleague, he argued pornography's presence was due to the ACLU, which is sadly naive at best.

Two main revolutions happened to increase both the demand and the distribution of pornography by moving it out of the seedy back alley into the home or an accepted mainstream. The first was Hugh Heffener, who took sex to the next level and moved his cut and paste operation on his kitchen table to his first issue with a Marylin Monroe centerfold which printed 70,000 copies in its first run. Within three years he had a millions subscribers.
The second, and far less known, is a hard working entrepreneur by the name of Reuben Sturman. Sturman worked hard selling comic books he had obtained which were sent back to the publisher or to be destroyed, and moved into several other fields. The success of Playboy had brought about numerous imitations, and the high demand for magazines and books caught his eye. Seeing the chance to make money Sturman embarked on distribution of as much as he could get his hand on. This is important, whether Sturman viewed the stuff he distributed is largely immaterial, he was a hardworking businessman who saw a chance to make millions, like any good entrepreneur, and he went for it. He was not a communist or an ACLU guru, he was a hard working capitalist responding to the demand of the market, and even increasing the demand. When he came hard up against obscenity laws, he laid out a clever procedure, sue the government and drag cases out. To avoid the government, he began setting up shell companies for distribution and paying men money just to have a name on paper who didn't even have to do anything. At one point, according to Schlosser, Sturman actually picked names out of phone books to make as CEOs of distribution companies.

A clever businessman, Sturman realized that his business could be taken to the next level, and in 1976 prepared for the audio visual tape, we know today as VCR. Hollywood studies resisted the medium, but adult video was ready for it and in 1979 75% of all video cassettes were pornography. (Schlosser pg. 148) This means functionally that the porn industry was responsible for the launch of the VCR. He would not have entered into a medium that was at first cost prohibitive unless the demand was there. Sturman's logic is impeccable, most of his clients don't want to handle the stuff, and most men who deal in porn or would otherwise venture to a seedy theater are afraid of the social stigmas attached to it, or if the wives find out (since most women, retaining their common sense, have righteous indignation over the sacrilege against their wedding vows. People commonly site playgirl as evidence of womens' interest in porn, but the majority of the subscribers are gay men); thus Sturman took the business to them.

In 1992, after failing for 20 years to prosecute Sturman for obscenity, the he was prosecuted for tax evasion once one of his Swiss bank accounts were discovered. This ended his control over distribution and control of adult entertainment. He had established numerous front companies, which with him out of the picture took control themselves. As I mentioned, in the year 2000, Hollywood produced over 400 feature films. The porn industry produced 11,000. This is due to the market. People want these products. It is the largest export in America and perhaps the most shameful tribute to our decadence.

All of this should serve as a reminder that the "market" is a-moral, it is not moral in itself or immoral. It is a tool, and it must be controlled by a user as all tools. Irrespective of who controls it, it will be controlled because there is in truth no such thing as a "free" market. It is simply the market, and it will be controlled by those with the most wealth in influence if there is a vacuum, and if the government exerts too much control such as in a command economy or a communist country, there will be little activity in the market to sustain healthy economic activity. Yet the market is not capable of producing moral men, it is only capable of producing goods to be bought and sold. Sturman is an example of a product of the market, and if anything a champion of it. He responded to demand by increasing and distributing the supply, including financing new mediums that would take years to hit critical mass such as VCR. He did it by contributing to America's moral decline and descent into anarchy.

The fact is, and this can be observed in all societies and follows from natural law, vicious men must be controlled either from the inside (by changing their will, doing penance and converting to good) or from the outside (prison). A society that becomes dominated by vicious men is doomed. This is due to the fact that it can not operate for the common good. Those in charge look to what pleases them, and we see this today with our representatives in government. They don't care about the common good of this country. Men do not care what is good for their families. As Pope Leo XIII observed in Rerum Novarum, the family is the basic building block of society. As the family goes, so does society. Plain and simple.

Thus the market needs to be regulated by some force, not necessarily by a central government, it can also be by a local government accountable to its local citizens. Yet if a government does not rule justly, then men will rule for themselves and when that happens the most puerile and wealthy rule for their own interest. As the old rule goes, might makes right, and when man is left to his own devices, without grace, he will incline toward evil, not good, because the will is fixed on imperfect goods after the fall.

Michael Novak observed, in response to Sohltshenitsyn's Harvard address, that he would rather see a government that allowed pornography because that meant we are free. This is the same bedrock principle of men such as Sturman, Heffner and Flynt, they should be absolutely free to market filth, and to profit from it. The problem is it is not true freedom. Even if all of religion were wrong and porn were okay rather than a complete degradation of the human person to an animal and sense experience without dignity, the concept itself does not represent freedom, but anarchy. If everyone is free to do what he wills he is not capable of choosing the good, or at least, something outside himself. He is only free to choose what is on the inside, what he immediately desires. This principle is the complete corruption of the common good. There are some things which are more important than market forces, and which need to be suppressed. Now could the government stop all pornography if it criminalized it? Probably not. This is a long standing problem stretching back to the 19th century when the work of some entrepreneurial French photographers had produced a flood of nude photos circulating around the US and especially in the Union Army. Yet a culture which vilifies and prosecutes porn, keeping it out of the public as best it can, will find that vicious men are kept in control, and is a fundamentally healthier society than where men are free to do whatever the market leads them. Just ask your wife.

58 comments:

Mr. Piccolo,  Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 12:12:00 PM CDT  

Great post. This is why I find the attraction of so many conservative Christians to libertarianism so bizarre. If you are going to have the State, whether local or not, intervene in the market to protect morals by banning pornography or prostitution, why not have it intervene elsewhere for moral reasons? Is sex the only moral topic that admits State intervention in the market?

I can understand the attraction of libertarianism to social liberals, and indeed many libertarians appear to be of the "pot-smoking, porn-watching Republican" variety. But it just seems weird for traditionalists to be so attracted to market fundamentalism.

I also would agree that not all capitalists are bad people, but capitalist competition often forces capitalists to act in a bad or at least amoral fashion. If one company wants to pay its workers good wages, spend extra money to make sure they don't pollute, or refuses to make their employees work grueling hours, they are likely to find themselves put out of business by less scrupulous companies that have no problem gaining the economic advantages available from outsourcing to practical slave laborers in China or elsewhere or who don't care if they are polluting people's drinking water, etc.

Mark Noonan Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 3:11:00 PM CDT  

Mr. Piccolo,

Indeed. I got a taste of capitalism with my bank this morning. Seems that I did too many transactions with my savings account this past month and was charge $45.00 in fees as a penalty. I managed to get the fees credited, but this is still an excellent example of what is wrong with rampant capitalism.

Some clever, young executive at some point figured that a good way to increase the bottom line was to charge people a fee if they use their account "too much". That it didn't cost the bank anything is immaterial - it was $45 more for the quarterly balance sheet. The guy probably got a bonus for thinking it up.

An amoral pursuit of mere money is the plague of our economy - and until we show the moral courage to regulate it, while at the same time smacking down the Statists who would give us bureaucratic masters in place of Corporate, we're just going to keep sliding down.

Joe Hargrave Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 3:36:00 PM CDT  

Athanasius,

You write,

"In the year 2000, Hollywood put out just over 400 feature films. The "adult entertainment" industry, so-called, produced 11,000. This is not some communist scheme to undermine American morals. "

I believe the sexual revolution in itself was precisely that. Since the French Revolution communists (or their predecessors) have used pornography as a weapon against virtue and against God. The Jacobins flooded the streets of Paris with it.

Of course now it has become one of the most profitable businesses in America, but it still serves communist ends - to destroy the family, to isolate the individual, and to make him or her increasingly dependent on the state.

"There are some things which are more important than market forces, and which need to be suppressed."

That there are some things more important is without question.

To me, a more relevant question is, how does a relatively small minority "suppress" anything?

Another question is, why would an atheistic, globalist regime ever have an interest in regulating in the interests of souls that it doesn't believe in? A regime that views man as nothing more than a complicated interface of pleasure and pain receptors?

This is my primary problem with the radical anti-libertarian, pro-regulation arguments these days. To call for regulation is to call for the government to have more power over our lives. If the government is an atheist regime hostile to Christianity, as I believe this one is, then to me this is not a good idea.

Show me a Christian government and I'll be the first on board for the regulation of vice. But I don't trust this government to do anything, and the less power it has, the better.

Mr. Piccolo,  Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 4:59:00 PM CDT  

@ Mr. Hargrave,

I am not sure about your argument. There are plenty of libertarians that are very comfortable with the idea of a free market in pornography, and truth be told, it makes sense if you accept market fundamentalism.

Also, if we have to wait for a confessional State to regulate vice, we will be waiting for a long time, particularly in a country as religiously diverse as the U.S.

The real problem these days is that not everyone is a conservative Christian, so government policy will end up being a battle between social liberals and social conservatives, with both groups calling upon the power of the State or opposing the State when it suits them, which is just fine with me, I have no problem with the use of State power to further some moral goals. I mean, how else would we make sure prostitution, for example, is illegal?

Joe Hargrave Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 7:51:00 PM CDT  

Mr. P,

Undoubtedly the mainstream position among libertarians is probably for a free market in porn.

What I would hope to see, at the very least, is an acknowledgement that local communities have a right to regulate vice. Some libertarians are ok with that, others aren't.

Its not a question, though, for me of whether or not a "confessional" regime will exist here - it won't.

Giving an atheist regime more power isn't going to result in the regulation of vice, though. This is the situation we're stuck with.

The third option is to oppose and shrink the secular state (the federal government) to open up more breathing space for government at the state/local levels.

I don't believe we live under conditions in which it is wise or smart to grant the state more power over our lives.

I guess as I become older and I read more about the real abuses that can take place when granting a secular regime more power, I come to see that this power is often used against Christians, not for them. If you look at Child Protective Services, if you look at the disgusting "sex-ed" programs, if you look at the radical homosexual agenda (which Obama's education czar pushes), and thats just to name a few, you see a regime that is overtly hostile to traditional Christian values.

Giving more power to even a just regime can be a delicate balancing act; to give more to an atheist regime filled to the bring with people who are schooled in the 60's style sexual and social revolutionary rhetoric, to me, is quite irrational.

This is the really-existing state, and so any discussion about how much power the state ought to have has to take into account the moral, spiritual, religious, cultural, etc. content of the really-existing state. In an ideal world a just government would have broad powers to regulate vice. In the real world, a government full of liberal "Christians" (de facto atheists if you ask me) and actual atheists should be starved of power.

Mr. Piccolo,  Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 8:14:00 PM CDT  

@Mr. Hargrave,

You make some very good points. This is why I wish we had more than two parties! But I still think there are some things governments do even under the current situation that are not so bad.

I am generally supportive of things like Social Security and public utilities and would hate to see these things privatized or deregulated, looking at the history of actual privatization and deregulation under neoliberalism.

Perhaps we can distinguish between good government intervention and the bad kind? I agree with almost everything you say about government intrusion into things like family life and sex education. I just worry that the oligarchs will take advantage of the justified anti-government feelings around today to further their looting campaigns.

I believe these oligarchic forces have been able to accomplish a lot by taking advantage of social conservatives, promising them a return to a more humane society while engaging in pirate capitalism. And the social conservatives are always left with nothing to show for their efforts besides a worsening material situation. Our popular culture (produced by private enterprises, not the State) has only gotten crasser since Reagan.

Athanasius Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:06:00 PM CDT  

Show me a Christian government and I'll be the first on board for the regulation of vice. But I don't trust this government to do anything, and the less power it has, the better.

This government does not equal all government. I don't trust this government, irrespective of whether a republican or a democrat is at the helm, as far as I could throw a football field. This does not deny that in justice the state has certain obligations. To argue against positive government regulation on the basis of "this" government which is compromised by market interests from top to bottom is not addressing the real issue. Pope Leo XIII talks about the majesty of the state for instance. If we are going to talk about "this" government then frankly we will never get anywhere.

Secondly, the argument that the proliferation of porn is an effect of communism is simply ridiculous, especially given that under Kruschev the Soviet government defended the family better than the Capitalist west by outlawing easy divorce, declaring free love and the glass of water propaganda as counter-revolutionary and offering incentives for having children and Church weddings. This was because the Soviets saw the evil that free-love brought, unlike the French in the 18th century or America in the 20th. Moreover porn proliferated in the 17th and 18th centuries in France because of massive demand by the aristocracy, a century and a half before Marx. Did communists in the US think they could undermine morals by advocating porn? Of course they did. Yet by themselves they could not have done it, rather the immorality and love of pleasure which the market had inspired in the post WWII generation created the demand which Sturman and Heffner brought to them. If it weren't for entrepreneurs who saw the lucrative aspect of porn it never would have proliferated to the extent that it has, communism or no communism. As I said in the post, to attribute the growth of porn to commies is naive at best. It was the market. Chesterton said it best when he said communism would betray the family if it had the chance, but it is capitalism which has stabbed the family in the back.

Joe Hargrave Monday, April 26, 2010 at 1:47:00 AM CDT  

"If we are going to talk about "this" government then frankly we will never get anywhere. "

So, if we stay in the realm of pure theory, and ignore reality, then we'll get "somewhere."

Ok.

" the argument that the proliferation of porn is an effect of communism is simply ridiculous"

Does that make this later thought of yours "ridiculous":

"Did communists in the US think they could undermine morals by advocating porn? Of course they did."

Thanks. That was my point.

From a historical point of view, its ridiculous to claim that the Soviet government - the Soviet government of gulags, state atheism, and subsidized abortion on demand - "defended the family better than the Capitalist West."

I guess Pius XII and JP II and every other Pope of the 20th century was just "ridiculous", a blind idiot, for not supporting the USSR in the name of protecting families instead of opposing it as the greatest enemy to the Church and human freedom. If only they'd let Chesterton's isolated quips guide their formulation of social teaching!

Even if the Soviet government reversed some of the madness of the Bolshevik Revolution, one could say that about any post-revolutionary society. The porn and the rest of the immoral filth is a necessary pre-cursor to the revolution; after the revolution it naturally has to be dialed back to some degree for society to function.

The problem is that we never had the full revolution here - its an ongoing assault, an ongoing weakening of Christian civilization of the West, which was much stronger than that of the East.

Hence we are still in a preparatory phase in which porn fulfills that basic function.

Joe Hargrave Monday, April 26, 2010 at 1:58:00 AM CDT  

For the record, I agree with everything you said in the first paragraph until your last sentence, and you're wrong if you think I am arguing against "positive government regulation" in the abstract.

We can have this discussion without it turning into a fight. I think my first post to you was respectful enough. I would like to think we can disagree here, have different thoughts, without resorting to calling one another "ridiculous."

But if disagreement is not possible without hostility, then it might be best to move on, I suppose. I apologize, for what its worth, for my tone in the last post. I think we're all on the same side here.

Chris Campbell Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:08:00 AM CDT  

Piccolo "This is why I find the attraction of so many conservative Christians to libertarianism so bizarre."

Me too, but I think between Mises and Tom Woods, they make a very subtle arguement that sounds very Catholic in many of their writings.They demonize Distribs as Rosary carrying leftists ,then make Catholic-sounding arguements, suc has reducing the centralized state mess and often appeal to Catholic sensabilities.
I went about a year ago to a party and their was a fellow with a tee shirt that said something like "Catholic Libertarian" on it. What a contrast, a Catholic that supports the movement with "liberty" as it ultimate end, undefined and left up to the individual, never mind the fallen nature of man,etc. He even said soemthing like "hey, Mises is a Catholic group", citing Woods and others that write there. It is subtle, but a deadly form of 19th century liberalism...

Chris Campbell Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:17:00 AM CDT  

Joe states "Another question is, why would an atheistic, globalist regime ever have an interest in regulating in the interests of souls that it doesn't believe in? "

answer, and you should know this as you have mentioned you often listen to Alex Jones and have done so with a room full of people is this-they have an itnerest in you for your money, possessions and to use you as a tool and slave in the NWO.

also, to your other points in that post, communism/marxism was but a means to an end, you are right, the root of communism came from Masonic French Revlot,etc...but again, it is a means to an end, that of the one world Govt to be someday ruled by the Man of Sin....communism in a practical, practiced sense is dead in most areas, China being one of exceptions.They no longer have to have a iron fisted regime, they have us already in materialism,etc.

Chris Campbell Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:23:00 AM CDT  

Piccolo says"You make some very good points. This is why I wish we had more than two parties!"

actually, there are, but most people will make excuses, be ruled by fear and apathy, hence they are waitign for somone else to get that ball rolling and make a big splash, then they can get on board.

I was for almost 4 yrs, state Chair of the Constitution Party in my state, trust me, saw it and heard it.Result, a party with mostly good stances that is languishing as people will not have the courage to act-signing a petition, getting involved, running for office, voting,handing out literature,etc.

These days, most people prefer notto do anything but make excuses, which in turn make them feel good and absolve them of any role in inaction.

Only when a train is goign ful lthrottle will thy jump on board and anymore, not enough steam-makers to get that locomotive going...

Chris Campbell Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:27:00 AM CDT  

Athanasius,

good points-the principle, that a Govt must serve God and the moral order, applies whether it is the current Boogeyman, Obama, or anyone else. We get what crappy candidates we are willing to support and vote in.And failing to be as holy as we ought.

The govt as a duty to protect morals, whether this govt will do it or not, it is im-material, Joe, it still has a duty and will be-and I beleive is-being punished for failing its duty.

again, anyone for working toward a Catholic state?

Donald Goodman Monday, April 26, 2010 at 8:54:00 AM CDT  

+AMDG

I think it's silly to avoid giving our government the power to do good just because it's also got the power to do evil. *All* government has the power to do evil. Yet even the fundamentally bankrupt Roman empire received the following paean from St. Paul:

"Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God's minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake." Romans 13:1-5.

To encourage the government to exercise its power against vice or in favor of virtue is never a bad idea, for the government "beareth not the sword in vain".

It's absolutely essential that we encourage the government to reign in the market in appropriate ways; when taken to its logical conclusion, the libertarian free market ethos is disgusting to a degree that even communism has trouble matching. Take, for example, Murray Rothbard's free-market solution for child abuse:

"In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children. Superficially, this sounds monstrous and inhuman. But closer thought will reveal the superior humanism of such a market....The demand for babies and children is usually far greater than the supply, and hence we see daily tragedies of adults denied the joys of adopting children by prying and tyrannical adoption agencies. In fact, we find a large unsatisfied demand by adults and couples for children, along with a large number of surplus and unwanted babies neglected or maltreated by their parents. Allowing a free market in children would eliminate this imbalance, and would allow for an allocation of babies and children away from parents who dislike or do not care for their children, and toward foster parents who deeply desire such children. Everyone involved: the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents purchasing the children, would be better off in this sort of society.[13]"

Murray Rothbard, _The Ethics of Liberty_. You can read the full text at the Mises Institute website.

Not to mention this little Rothbardian gem:

"In the libertarian society, then, the mother would have the absolute right to her own body and therefore to perform an abortion."

Which is true; those libertarians, like Ron Paul, who do not support abortion are not being consistent libertarians. I'm proud of them for this, but the fact remains.

Saying that you don't want the government to have any power to pass legislation encouraging virtue or discouraging vice is saying you want people to be able to set up a free market in babies, which is a perfectly logical facet of libertarian thinking. We all know that nobody reading here with any sympathy supports such a monstrosity, but I don't see how one can say giving our government more power over the market is ipso facto a bad idea without going here.

The tyrannies of Child Protective Services are a different matter, of course. CPS is actually a little bit *toward* a free market in children, albeit a heavily government-sponsored monopolized one. The traditional norm in society was for there to be *no* market in children at all; children could never be taken from the custody of their parents, no matter how disgusting those parents were. Surely we can work for a happy medium here.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:29:00 AM CDT  

"I think it's silly to avoid giving our government the power to do good just because it's also got the power to do evil."

First of all, its not silly to be cautious of granting more power to any government, given the historical facts of corruption and oppression by governments.

Secondly, as I hope I made clear, and as I would hope intelligent people would be able to discern, I don't want to give a government of atheistic sexual revolutionaries more power on the rather irrational assumption that government "as such" necessarily will regulate vice in the manner Christians require.

That's an erroneous and dangerous assumption.

And if you want to quote St. Paul, don't forget Acts 5:29. And don't forget Wisdom 6:7. I mean seriously, if you think I haven't read Romans, you're mistaken.

As Pope Leo says in Libertas:

"Lawful power is from God, "and whosoever resisteth authority resisteth the ordinance of God' ;(6) wherefore, obedience is greatly ennobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God." (13)

You could say that in America circa 2010, with the college professor and his radical friends in the White House, the power to command is wanting, and obedience to specific ordinances could very well be unlawful - such as public funding of abortion with our tax dollars.

At any rate, Leo envisioned circumstances under which resistance to government authority would be just.

"the libertarian free market ethos is disgusting to a degree that even communism has trouble matching"

Donald,

This is where we part ways. If you honestly see the "libertarian free market ethos" as something worse than communism - which is responsible for the persecution and mass murder of hundreds of millions of Christians throughout history - then I don't think we can discuss much of anything.

You're taking the extreme - Rothbard, an obscure academic - and making him a representative of the norm. A few Rothbard quotes supporting "child markets" and abortion on demand is absolutely nothing compared to the fact that, thanks to the Soviet legacy of abortion on demand, there are more abortions in Russian now than live births and tens of millions of sterile women.

Rothbard and other anarchists have been individualist materialists; the communists are collectivist materialists. Both are deeply hostile to Christianity, but only one has ever ruled over 1/3 of planet Earth. The other barely manages to keep up a list of steady subscribers to its newsletters.

"Saying that you don't want the government to have any power to pass legislation encouraging virtue or discouraging vice is saying you want people to be able to set up a free market in babies"

No it isn't.

Chris Campbell Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:44:00 AM CDT  

Joe, nice to see you are feeling a bit better, read your post other night on FB......

something I got thinking about last few hrs, even though in Europe in the old days, we may have had morally bankrupt soverigns, some even bankrupt in public, but still many of them were urged and indeed did, enforce public morality...in the Church, we see that Pope Alexander VI was morally bankrupt and a terrible example as well of nepotism,etc....but his actual guidance of the Church was fine, in other words, he did not promote heresy...henry VIII before and after breaking from the Church enforced a certain morality, ie-shutting down and punishing Lutherns and Calvinists, despite his lack of morals personally.

Other Catholic rulers remained in teh Church, but had illigitimate children and often, scandal....

point is that they still enforced morals-guarantee most if not all would have at their times, attacked pornography and abortion.

Joe Hargrave Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:10:00 AM CDT  

Chris,

With due respect, you can't point to "Catholic rulers" of bygone ages as a valid comparison to today's rulers.

Nearly two and a half centuries of bloodshed by crazed revolutionaries stands between those times you speak of and today's situation.

I agree with you that those rulers of the past, even though they were personally corrupt, still regulated vice - it was part of the expectation of their office, something to which all or most of society consented and demanded, really.

Today's rulers are not simply personally corrupt - they are beholden to corrupt, anti-Christian ideologies. The 1960s holdovers and the perverts that fill BHO's administrative ranks are not lapsed Catholics who still see regulation of vice as a moral duty, and I shouldn't have to tell you that.

Donald Goodman Monday, April 26, 2010 at 12:15:00 PM CDT  

+AMDG

"First of all, its not silly to be cautious of granting more power to any government"

Assertion is fun, but it doesn't advance the dispute. *Why* isn't it silly? I argued that it's a bad argument because all governments have the power to do evil, so by arguing that this power means you should avoid giving it any additional power means that you're arguing against giving *any* government additional power. Why do you disagree?

"Secondly, as I hope I made clear, and as I would hope intelligent people would be able to discern, I don't want to give a government of atheistic sexual revolutionaries more power on the rather irrational assumption that government "as such" necessarily will regulate vice in the manner Christians require."

Throwing in implications that your opponents are not intelligent also does not advance the discussion.

This is also a straw man. Nobody said that government will necessarily regulate vice in a Christian manner, only that giving it the power to do so is a good thing. If you have a response to that, I welcome it.

"And if you want to quote St. Paul, don't forget Acts 5:29. And don't forget Wisdom 6:7. I mean seriously, if you think I haven't read Romans, you're mistaken."

Who said you hadn't read Romans?

Neither of your citations are apropos here anyway. Which leads us to your next straw man:

"[snipped] At any rate, Leo envisioned circumstances under which resistance to government authority would be just."

Why do you bring this up? Clearly the unjust law is no law at all, but who argued that it is?

"This is where we part ways. If you honestly see the "libertarian free market ethos" as something worse than communism ... then I don't think we can discuss much of anything."

I didn't say it was worse; I said that even communism has trouble matching it, not that it couldn't. But if you can think of anything communism proposes that matches in sheer intellectual repugnance babies being bought and sold like potatoes or Big Macs, let me know.

"You're taking the extreme - Rothbard, an obscure academic - and making him a representative of the norm."

Rothbard's hardly obscure; he's one of the great patriarchs of capitalism. The fact that the Mises Institute put his entire book online ought to mean something in that regard. And yes, it's an extreme, but it's a logical extreme. If you accept the principles of free market capitalism, you can't avoid Rothbard's baby-market conclusions without being inconsistent.

Pure capitalism states that a market ought to be free from all limitations but for fraud, theft, and coercion (which are generally *very* loosely defined). So buying and selling babies is which: fraud, theft, or coercion?

"[O]nly one has ever ruled over 1/3 of planet Earth. The other barely manages to keep up a list of steady subscribers to its newsletters."

I think you're underestimating the popularity of libertarian ideas, but yes, communism has had the benefit of power in determining the gravity of its evil. Let's put pure capitalism in effect over 1/3 of the globe, and see how much evil we can drum up with free baby-markets, and after a century *then* make the comparison, shall we?

Don't confuse the practical evil with the theoretical evil. Communism has done more practical evil because it's had more practical power; pure capitalism might well rival it in the same circumstances. Here, I'm talking about conceptual evils, the intellectual repulsiveness of the conclusions its principles lead to.

"No it isn't."

Again with the mere assertion. Please explain to me why the free market in babies does not follow logically from the first principles of the free market economy. Then we'll have something to discuss.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave,  Monday, April 26, 2010 at 3:28:00 PM CDT  

Donald,

I don't have time to respond to you in full right now.

I just wanted to say that I don't question your intelligence, and I'm sorry if it came off that way.

I said what I said because I am quite certain you ARE an intelligent fellow, and that you CAN discern my meaning.

I also apologize if I did indeed make "strawmen" out of your arguments; sometimes the brevity of a reply can make it look as such, though I assure you it is not my intention.

We'll have plenty to discuss later. As I said, though, I certainly hope we can have a difference opinion without ugliness. If not, so be it.

Donald Goodman Monday, April 26, 2010 at 3:33:00 PM CDT  

+AMDG

"We'll have plenty to discuss later. As I said, though, I certainly hope we can have a difference opinion without ugliness. If not, so be it."

I hope so, too. I'm looking forward to hearing further from you.

Joe Hargrave,  Monday, April 26, 2010 at 9:52:00 PM CDT  

Donald,

Re. your last post:

"*Why* isn't it silly?"

I did give a reason, albeit a very short and board one without much substance for want of time. I said,

"given the historical facts of corruption and oppression by governments"

And I would add, especially governments run by men who are materialists and hedonists, actual or practical atheists, crypto-communists, etc. Do I need to explain also why such men would be detrimental to the Christian faith?

"Nobody said that government will necessarily regulate vice in a Christian manner, only that giving it the power to do so is a good thing."

If you don't take into account the characteristics of the current government, then you're assuming that in giving it the power to regulate vice it will do so. Why does one follow from the other?

Because you wouldn't grant it the power if you didn't think it would do it, if you knew it would be used to enforce not Christian virtues but degenerate leftist values. At least, I assume you wouldn't - I thought it was a reasonable assumption to make. I can only ask forgiveness if it was not.

It is a good thing to give a good (or at least, a not completely evil) government such powers. It is a bad thing to give a bad government such powers. Do you want Obama defining what is and what isn't a vice? Or the UN? How about International Planned Parenthood?

If we can agree that this isn't a desirable outcome, then we're on the same page, I guess, even if we want to formulate our views in a different way.

"Who said you hadn't read Romans?"

You quoted Romans 13. I know it well. So I guess that's not an explicit declaration that I haven't read it, but I did want to let you know I was familiar with the argument.

"Neither of your citations are apropos here anyway."

Well, actually they are - they both appear in Immortale Dei by Leo XIII in the same context as Romans 13, in the discussion on human liberty and our relation to the state as Christians.

The problem is that we're in a situation now much worse than the one Leo faced, I think. It justifies a deepening of his analysis.

"Clearly the unjust law is no law at all, but who argued that it is?"

No one. The point is that if you grant more power to an atheist regime, you're eventually going to be confronted with the necessity of disobeying it. Why feed the beast?

"if you can think of anything communism proposes that matches in sheer intellectual repugnance babies being bought and sold like potatoes or Big Macs"

This is the problem, and this is a true strawman - where is the "capitalist" society that has condoned this?

It's never existed, because most capitalist societies have been Christian societies, with deep roots in Christendom. Capitalism may corrode the foundations of Christian morality but communism utterly destroys them.

Do you really need a litany of communist horrors? The millions of dead bodies, the destroyed churches, the massacred and tortured priests and brothers and nuns, the tens and tens of millions of aborted babies (they were doing it long before communist agitators in the West achieved political clout)?

The sheer intellectual repugnance of communism is that it reduces man to an animal, an organic turning machine with no soul and no spirit, only a program downloaded into his psyche by the all-knowing Party.

"Rothbard's hardly obscure; he's one of the great patriarchs of capitalism."

No he isn't. He's one of the great patriarchs of anarcho-capitalism, which is hardly representative of all people who would identify as capitalist. Adam Smith is a patriarch of capitalism. David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill are patriarchs of capitalism.

Rothbard was an intellectual with a relatively small following which never held sway in any government in the world I've ever heard of.

Joe Hargrave,  Monday, April 26, 2010 at 9:52:00 PM CDT  

" The fact that the Mises Institute put his entire book online ought to mean something in that regard."

They have a lot of books on there. It really doesn't mean much, except to say that he is an important figure in their history. But the Mises Institute is just a think-tank. It hasn't murdered millions of Christians for the past 100 years, and I don't think it would if it could.

" If you accept the principles of free market capitalism, you can't avoid Rothbard's baby-market conclusions without being inconsistent."

Rothbard's "baby market" follows from his atheism and materialism, not necessarily his capitalism.

That said, the idea of total anarchy also follows from materialism. What I question - what I reject really - is the notion that capitalism is inherently anarchistic, that only an anarchy can be defined as capitalistic, etc.

Those are the terms of Rothbard, to be sure - but who says Rothbard is right? Pope Leo XIII, Pius XI, JP II - all of these Popes, instead of defining THEIR teaching as anti-capitalist, rather sought to establish rules by which individuals and businesses and organizations were to conduct themselves in the marketplace.

The idea that the only possible market is an amoral market not only leads to the conclusion that a command economy (which is both immoral and doesn't work) is the only alternative, it flies in the face of over a century of Papal teaching.

In paragraph 101 of Quadragesimo Anno, for instance, Pius XI says,

"With all his energy Leo XIII sought to adjust this economic system according to the norms of right order; hence, it is evident that this system is not to be condemned in itself. And surely it is not of its own nature vicious."

So Leo disagrees with Rothbard. Pius disagrees with Rothbard. I disagree with Rothbard. I don't see why you or any other Catholic ought to agree with Rothbard, and then try to oppose him within his own flimsy theoretical sandbox.

"So buying and selling babies is which: fraud, theft, or coercion?"

You realize that there are a lot of libertarians who reject Rothbard's and Rand's arguments on abortion and child markets on the basis of their theory of self-ownership, or on Christian principles in general (again, Rothbard and Rand being atheists and materialists, and the vast majority of capitalists and libertarians holding to Christian views to some degree or another).

Ultimately your arguments only work, in my view, if to be a capitalist one MUST also be a materialist, must have no recognition of the human soul, must recognize nothing as sacred, etc. I don't think this is true.

I could be mistaken about your view as well. If I am, I sincerely apologize. I am just trying to make sense of it, that's all.

"Don't confuse the practical evil with the theoretical evil."

I don't. Practical evil is what we ought to be most concerned with. Why would I be concerned with "theoretical evil" when real evil is everywhere?

"Here, I'm talking about conceptual evils, the intellectual repulsiveness of the conclusions its principles lead to."

Ok, and that's fine - but understand that I'm talking about real evils, which, I guess, to me are more repulsive than someone's thoughts, which cause relatively less harm than gulags, firing squads, prison camps, guillotines and the like.

I don't mean that sarcastically, and I really do see the value in critiquing anarcho-capitalism - but to blow its influence or the threat of it out of proportion, to forget or ignore history, well, I'm just not interested in that.

Again I apologize for any offense I may have caused.

John Médaille Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:15:00 PM CDT  

But the Mises Institute is just a think-tank. It hasn't murdered millions of Christians for the past 100 years, and I don't think it would if it could.

That's a pretty low standard of comparison Joe. I think a lot of organizations might pass that test.

But it is even doubtful that they pass that test. If you read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, you will find that Hayek's people were quite willing to work with repressive dictators, and Hayek himself defended them.

Joe Hargrave,  Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:53:00 PM CDT  

John,

I only know of two dictators who embraced "free market" ideologies: Franco and Pinochet. That's what I base the following remarks on. If there are others, I'm not familiar with them.

Neither of these men came to power on a pro-free market agenda, but an anti-communist, pro-Catholic agenda. Only after the establishment of power were consultants from the Chicago school or the IMF (hardly the same as the Austrian school) play a role in the policies of these countries.

I'm not aware of what role "Hayek's people" played in either case, though I know Milton Friedman and his people did play a role in Chile.

Frankly I think both of these regimes were preferable to their communist or anarchist counterparts. They adopted free-market policies within the context of heavily Catholicized cultures and as a result they actually experienced economic growth. Wasn't the Mondragon formed during Franco's rule? At least it seems he was ambivalent towards it. So even in a country in which the dictator is following "free market" directives, a workers-owned cooperative could be established and thrive and become the most successful in the world.

I don't know what the relationship is between the Mondragon's success and Franco's policies - if any - but it wouldn't surprise me if there were some connection.

Would I prefer democratic/republican forms of government to autocracy or military dictatorship? Absolutely, as any Catholic is permitted to.

Would I refuse to fight against communism unless they were given outcomes? Absolutely not. I would choose Franco/Pinochet in the face of Marxism-Leninism. And I'm fairly certain, though not absolutely positive, that Ms. Klein would not.

Donald Goodman Monday, April 26, 2010 at 11:54:00 PM CDT  

+AMDG

Joe, let's just cut to the chase. Let's take a pretty mainstream free-market source. Wikipedia could hardly be accused of being a fringe, anarchic element of capitalism. Here's how it defines the free market:

"A free market is a market without economic intervention and regulation by government except to outlaw and prosecute force or fraud."

This is a fairly typical definition, though the phrase I've usually read and heard is "fraud, theft, and coercion." These are not the words of a fringe nutjob; it's a perfectly orthodox, normal, and commonly accepted definition of the free market.

Now answer for me the following questions, and maybe I'll be able to see where you're coming from:

1.) Why is a free market in babies not completely compatible with this normal, mainstream definition?
2.) Why is a controlled market in babies, like the one we have now, not completely incompatible with this normal, mainstream definition?

Rothbard is certainly a hardcore free marketeer, but he's only on the fringe because so few people are willing to carry these principles to their logical conclusions. What he's saying is the logical conclusion of capitalist principles. As I mentioned before, I'm thrilled that many capitalists are repulsed by Rothbard's conclusions; however, their revulsion is inconsistent with their capitalism.

The point of Athanasius's post was that markets do not promote virtue, but rather vice. I argue that he's clearly right. Indeed, even mainstream capitalists, and Catholic capitalists like Tom Woods, will happily declare economics "value-free" or "value-neutral," that it's not a market's business to worry about virtue or vice. Athanasius is agreeing with that, *and observing that that's precisely the problem*. When markets are *not* directed toward a higher end by a rightly constituted power, they will inevitably encourage vice because they give free reign to human nature, which is given to vice. So unless they are directed by a rightly constituted power, they will degrade society.

On the other hand, capitalism is positively opposed to such direction of the markets, which it holds are better directed by themselves. That, indeed, is precisely what they hold differentiates capitalism from communism: there is no central direction in the economy in capitalism.

Capitalists that want to limit the markets in babies and porn are to that extent being good Christians; but they are also to that extent being bad capitalists.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Mr. Piccolo,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:08:00 AM CDT  

@Mr. Hargrave

You write:

“You realize that there are a lot of libertarians who reject Rothbard's and Rand's arguments on abortion and child markets on the basis of their theory of self-ownership, or on Christian principles in general (again, Rothbard and Rand being atheists and materialists, and the vast majority of capitalists and libertarians holding to Christian views to some degree or another).”

Perhaps a good many libertarians are socially conservative Christians, but many are not. Perhaps because this blog attracts a Christian (specifically Catholic) audience, we often forget that a good number of people who hold what could be termed libertarian views are indeed socially liberal. I believe, for example, that the Libertarian Party in the U.S. was or is now pro-choice, although I think there was some controversy over that issue within the party.

But you do make a good point about some libertarians being able to reconcile their libertarian views with socially conservative ones on topics like abortion, but this brings me to the issue of communism.

I have two points on the communism issue. First, while I may not like everything the Obama Administration has done, I don't think he is a crypto-communist. He is either a pretty mundane neoliberal New Democrat or a mild progressive, depending on who you ask.

Second, I believe one could actually, and not just theoretically, be a communist and be against abortion. For example, I believe French Communist leader Maurice Thorez was against birth control in general because he felt it represented an attack on the working-class and an excuse to not raise living standards for the workers and the poor by trying to get them to simply have less children. To Thorez, birth control was an essentially bourgeois idea. In fact, I even believe that Thorez supported population increases and a wage supplement to fathers of large families. That policy right there is more pro-family than anything I have seen from either the Republicans or the Democrats in a long while.

To be sure, the point I am trying to make with Thorez is not that communism is a good thing, but that some people who believe in an "ism" can “run against the pack”, so to speak, just as folks like Ron Paul defy other libertarians by supporting state action against the practice of abortion.

Thus, when we evaluate a state intervention we can discern between those state interventions that are pernicious and those that are not, based on our principles or practical thoughts on a subject.

Mr. Piccolo,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 1:17:00 AM CDT  

Final Note....

So when some libertarians do support state intervention in the market to promote moral goals or advance values other than market values, they do seem to be moving away from the idea of laissez-faire free markets. I think this was the point of the original post by Athanasius (if I may be so bold).

So for example, when we seek to, say, ban prostitution, we are constraining the market. We are calling upon the power of the State to outlaw a certain market transaction, in this case the market transaction of sex for money. We may have many reasons for doing so. We may feel it is degrading to men and women, both prostitute and customer. We may feel it turns sex into a commodity. We may argue that it spreads disease. But the main point is that we bring values to the table other than market values and that is the key here, I think.

The market, by itself, has no real values except exchange values. As Athanasius put it, markets are amoral. Therefore, markets need to be constrained by some moral force, which is often (but not always) the State, lest we end up in a world where exchange value is our only value.

Athanasius Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 1:57:00 AM CDT  

Wow, the consequences of working two jobs, you miss out on excellent discussion, and I"m not sure I can equal Mr. Goodman's excellent observations. I did however, want to make mention of one point:

@Joe:

So, if we stay in the realm of pure theory, and ignore reality, then we'll get "somewhere."

That's not what I meant at all. I meant we can always talk about "this" government, because every government has its failings. I don't trust our current government to do the "right thing" in most circumstances, and I am often surprised when it does. What I meant to say, and if I gave you the impression otherwise I apologize, is that we can't base what the government should be doing, or deny that the current government ought to do it, based on that they might do other things. Frankly, if the government infringed on some of my free speech rights, such as being able to conduct myself freely online for instance (is anyone else amazed that the internet has been as free as it has for so long?), and also outlawed pornography, the country would be a better place.

This is because my inability to "express" myself pails in comparison to the evil of pornography when we consider man's final end. We could talk about "this" government all day, but I think they should still have the right to outlaw pornography, irrespective of whether we are talking about an Obama or a Bush at the helm.

Thanks. That was my point.

From a historical point of view, its ridiculous to claim that the Soviet government - the Soviet government of gulags, state atheism, and subsidized abortion on demand - "defended the family better than the Capitalist West."

I guess Pius XII and JP II and every other Pope of the 20th century was just "ridiculous", a blind idiot, for not supporting the USSR in the name of protecting families instead of opposing it as the greatest enemy to the Church and human freedom. If only they'd let Chesterton's isolated quips guide their formulation of social teaching!


That is way overreaching. None of the Popes you mentioned held the west as the bastion of protection for the family either. In a broad sense of course no one in their right mind would say the Soviet Union was a better place than anywhere else in the world, or that its economic model was sound, or that its government was sound, and I never said that they were. When you consider however on questions of defense of the family, the Soviets made a 180 from their earlier policies because they saw the escalation of crime, disorder and erosion of patriotism caused by it, and realized no healthy polity can be built on a society without the family. I never said it corrected the other evils of communism, far from it. Yet you also have to acknowledge that most of our info on the Soviets come from the 90s when information previously kept in Russia was available to the West, so this is not exactly something a Reagan or a JPII could have pointed to and said they've got at least one thing right. On that score, they defended the family better than the West. Overall, it was a brutal regime. My comment was qualified with respect to the family, not overall life.

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:14:00 AM CDT  

Ath,

"every government has its failings"

Some have more than others. Many, many more.

"we can't base what the government should be doing, or deny that the current government ought to do it, based on that they might do other things"

And I do understand this. I understand that you are primarily concerned with the "should" here, and I don't mean to detract from that.

I wanted to open up a discussion, by way of my initial questions in my initial post, of how you reconcile what you (and I) think "should" be with what "is."

I assumed that this was the point of a com-box discussion following a post; to raise topics related to the subject matter. I didn't think I was going off-topic, but its your post, your thread, so if I am I apologize.

Here's my argument: if you give the US government the power to regulate porn, you give it the power to regulate a great deal, and you set a precedent for its intrusion into other areas. You can say now that your loss of first amendment rights is small change next to the evil of porn, but without those rights, who would be able to denounce porn?

Now, I am perfectly fine with LOCAL governments having power in these matters, because they are more directly accountable for a number of logistical and institutional reasons. Believe me, I was fully supportive of Ave Maria town and I was incensed when the ACLU interfered with its attempt to banish porn from its store shelves (and to outlaw abortion).

That's the key distinction. And I know you mentioned it in your post, that you were OK with local regulation; I have to go a step further and say that under these circumstances, local regulation is really the only acceptable form to me.

We may disagree on that, and that's fine. We'll agree to disagree :) I see political power in this polarized country becoming a zero-sum game between the local/state and federal levels. And so in that fight, I'm with the tenthers.

"None of the Popes you mentioned held the west as the bastion of protection for the family either."

I think there's a pretty big difference between their critique of capitalism's side-effects on the family, and its ceaseless condemnation of communist tyranny.

"I never said that they were"

I well, I didn't say you said those specific things either. I only quoted what you actually did say, and which I still believe is quite terribly wrong.

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:14:00 AM CDT  

"[the Soviets] realized no healthy polity can be built on a society without the family"

As I acknowledged, yes. But you have to realize, first of all, that the "traditional family" was forcibly glued back together by Stalin after Lenin and Trotsky smashed it up. All of Russia's traditional organic and spiritual institutions were patched back together (and supervised by the GPU, NKVD, KGB, etc.) All of these institutions, in whatever capacity they were ALLOWED by the Soviet state to exist, could be arbitrarily denied or broken up at any time by the authorities.

This just goes to show that you really can't have the last seven commandments without the first three.

"I never said it corrected the other evils of communism, far from it."

Again, I didn't say you said that... I hope you realize this.

"On that score, they defended the family better than the West"

On what score, exactly? At what point did the West utterly destroy the family, outlaw it, and then try to patch it back together by governmental decree? This is the real overreach here, in my opinion - to say that the capitalist West, with its imperfections, somehow outdid Soviet tyranny in the family destruction department.

Again I have to point out that there are now more abortions in Russia than births, that tens of millions of women are sterile from repeat abortions, that Eastern Europe in general has the highest abortion rates in the world, and that the population of Russia and the former Soviet republics is plummeting as a result.

That is the legacy of seven decades of communism; that is the meaninglessness of whatever post-war bureaucratic measures were taken to maintain a semblance of social stability while the Soviet economy settled into its irrevocable decline.

Donald Goodman Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:14:00 AM CDT  

+AMDG

"On what score, exactly? At what point did the West utterly destroy the family, outlaw it, and then try to patch it back together by governmental decree? This is the real overreach here, in my opinion - to say that the capitalist West, with its imperfections, somehow outdid Soviet tyranny in the family destruction department."

The West has done exactly that. 50% of births are out of wedlock, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Divorce is on demand, abortion is on demand for a significant part of pregnancy and still permitted with some largely meaningless restrictions throughout pregnancy, while birth control is available dirt-cheap, oftentimes free, for everybody of any age. Only 5% of those being married have remained chaste prior to marriage. Premarital sex is glorified, and simply assumed. The population of all Western countries is consequently plummeting; even America's would be but for huge influxes of immigrants, legal and illegal.

Yes, the West has absolutely destroyed the family, just as thoroughly as the Soviets did.

The Soviets were bad folks, but that doesn't mean that others aren't bad, too.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 6:54:00 AM CDT  

Donald,

"Yes, the West has absolutely destroyed the family, just as thoroughly as the Soviets did."

No. People in the West did it to themselves through indifference and affluence, with the help communist subversives (who infiltrated academia, the unions, the entertainment industry, the legal profession and the Church).

In the Soviet Union, the Bolsheviks destroyed the family and the Stalinists who came after them made an undignified puppet out of it. Family on the terms of the apparatchik.

We in the West could have turned it around without facing firing squads and gulags. What was required was to root out communist subversion, starting with our own churches, our own parishes. Communist penetration of Western institutions was severe enough that it shares at least half the blame with "free markets" for the disintegration of Christendom.

It's not "capitalism" preaching hatred of religion, tradition, and family values on the college campuses. It was never pure capitalists who flooded the market with the garbage from Hollywood, which was and remains runover with limousine socialists. When CPS comes for your children, its not to sell them on the child market, but to make sure you aren't trying something radical like homeschooling and teaching from the Bible. And when children are exposed to pornography these days, its just as likely to happen in a disgusting homoerotic "sex-ed" class paid for with state and federal dollars as it is on the Internet or with a magazine.

In other words, when all of these things happen, they're being done by people who are either socialists or communists at heart.

That said, the luxury and pleasure afforded by the consumer economy, the modern capitalist economy, made men soft and weak. It made them indifferent to the subversion taking place all around them. The "greatest generation" checked out and bought into a materialist pipe dream after having suffered through the Depression and the War. What was the mantra? "My kids will have what I didn't have" - pure materialism. Their kids needed to struggle like they did because struggle gives life meaning. Instead they were pampered with consumer goods and had more leisure and free time than any generation in human history. And they showed their gratitude by becoming sexual and social revolutionaries in the 1960s.

"The Soviets were bad folks, but that doesn't mean that others aren't bad, too."

Right, because that's what I argued.

You didn't like it when you thought I was making a strawman out of your argument. Please don't make one out of mine.

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:16:00 AM CDT  

As for Rothbard,

" he's only on the fringe because so few people are willing to carry these principles to their logical conclusions"

I completely disagree, and I already explained why.

I also understand why it is an attractive argument if you want to bore through capitalism, but it is simply a failure.

Rothbard wasn't right about capitalism because there is nothing about capitalism that necessitates materialism. If you are a materialist and a capitalist, then yes, Rothbard's argument is logical.

Rerum Novarum (and its sucessors), on the other hand, is how one analyzes capitalism from a spiritual/Christian standpoint. If you are a Christian and a capitalist, then Pope Leo's argument is logical.

So you see, the problem here is the basic philosophical premise from which one begins - materialism or spirituality, atheism or theism, secularism or Christianity. Neither of these demand that you become a capitalist or a communist, though the majority of professed philosophical materialists, I believe, have been communists (for reasons I'll leave aside for now.

So your claim is simply false. One doesn't have to accept Rothbard's materialism and atheism as a premise, and therefore, one doesn't have to accept Rothbard's logic.

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 7:21:00 AM CDT  

" When markets are *not* directed toward a higher end by a rightly constituted power, they will inevitably encourage vice because they give free reign to human nature, which is given to vice. So unless they are directed by a rightly constituted power, they will degrade society."

I agree. We don't have a rightly constituted power, though. It will not guide us towards higher ends. It will drive us into the gutter. So we are much better off fighting against this power and creating breathing space for local government, which barely even exists as anything more than a rubber-stamp committee in many places.

And to be clear, this "direction" is not supposed to come from centralized federal bureaucracies, let alone the population-control obsessed United Nations. Christians are obliged to resist these "powers."

John Médaille Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 8:42:00 AM CDT  

Joe, just a few historical facts that might be helpful. The Basques did not support Franco, and were punished for it. Don Jose Arrizmendi was imprisoned by Franco. They could not get a license to start a cooperative, and had to buy out a failed parafin stove factory to begin with. The government was hostile to their efforts, and didn't accept them until the 60's.

The same was true in Italy, where Mussolini suppressed the Emilian cooperatives, which had to be re-established after the war.

And it was Hayek, not Friedman who took the lead in Chile. Friedman got the blame because of his "Shock Doctrine" speech, but it was the only time he went to Chile. Hayek kept going back and consulting with the gov't. Not that there is a great difference between them. Austrianism, for all its claims to be radical, it merely neoclassicism on steroids. The only real disagreements are over money (Gold v. monetarism) and epistemology (Economics as a deductive, speculative science or an empirical inductive science.)

And the habit of justifying state terrorism on the grounds that it is "better than communism" is unconvincing, especially in the case of Chile. Allende was democratically elected and established no prison camps, "disappeard" no one, use "shock treatments" on no one. He did, however, threaten very powerful business interests. And I wouldn't even object to his removal, had the removal been something done by the Chileans themselves, rather than something orchestrated by the army and the CIA.

The capitalists hate us just as much as the communists. That is to say, the liberals hate us, regardless of whether they are left wing liberals (socialists) or right-wing liberals (libertarians.)

Cosmos,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 9:52:00 AM CDT  

The comparison of the 400 feature films made by Hollywood and the over 10,000 pornographic films made the same year is somewhat inapposite for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, Hollywood makes super-high budget and high quality films (even if often unsuccessfully) which take months and millions of dollars to make. Pornographic are low budget monstrosities which require virtually none of these resources (talented writers, film crews, actors, producers, editors, etc.). Part of the reason they are churned out like hotcake is because it is possible to do so. Whether or not the market demands it, there are simply not enough resources to pull off 11,000 full length motion pictures.

Second, if we are comparing the markets, it should be non-pornographic films v. pornographic films. To be fair, the former category would include TV shows and would bring the number up immensely. If we are comparing major motion picture level pornography, there is probably one or two a year because major motion pictures have to target a much larger audience to make money.

On the other hand, I bet you it takes a suprisingly small sales to make porn profitable. I also bet that the men who were buying porn in 1979 were buying a lot of it.

Further, the purpose of a pornographic film is much more precise. It is suceessful if it sexually arrousing. If you have hired an attractive woman and she engages in sexual activity, your mission has neen accomplished. It is harder to get people to "risk" spending 2 hours and the equivalent of $10 to see a story (hence explosions, beautiful women, nudity, etc.)

And wouldn't Catholics capitalists argue that we should apply free market principles to licit areas of commerce because the collective activity of interested men more efficiently allocates resources than the attempted regulation of intellectuals? You can think capitalism makes sense without claiming market forces dictate morality. I.e., capitalism applies to buying and selling what is not morally forbidden (farmers and consumers should dictate the price of butter while pornographers should be prosecuted).

Even Novak does not think that we should just let the market dictate morality. He is not arguing that pornography is good because people want it (i.e., the market dfemands it). He probably thinks, in line with Aquinas, that not all vices should be regulated because the evil of an over-reaching government is also very dangerous to society for a number of reasons. I agree that his love of freedom is misguided in that a lot of free people are going to end up in hell, but he is not as untetherred from the tradition as you make it sound.

Donald Goodman Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:42:00 AM CDT  

+AMDG

""The Soviets were bad folks, but that doesn't mean that others aren't bad, too."

You didn't like it when you thought I was making a strawman out of your argument. Please don't make one out of mine."

Well, Joe, it's hard to tell *what* you're saying. Every time we bring up an evil of capitalism, your response is to tell us how bad the Soviets were. That's true; but it doesn't mean that capitalism isn't bad.

""[Rothbard]'s only on the fringe because so few people are willing to carry these principles to their logical conclusions"

I completely disagree, and I already explained why."

I seek in vain to see where you've done so. You've pointed out that materialism is different from capitalism, which is true enough, but it's also irrelevant. You've not countered the point that capitalism's construction of the free market is essentially materialist. Once again, here's how mainstream capitalists define the market:

"A free market is a market without economic intervention and regulation by government except to outlaw and prosecute force or fraud."

Here are the two questions I want you to answer, to help explain why you think Rothbard's opinions aren't a logical extension of this definition:

1.) Why is a free market in babies not completely compatible with this normal, mainstream definition?
2.) Why is a controlled market in babies, like the one we have now, not completely incompatible with this normal, mainstream definition?

If you can answer these two questions, then answer them. But saying "materialism is different from capitalism" isn't an answer.

To move to specific issues: "People in the West did it to themselves through indifference and affluence, with the help communist subversives (who infiltrated academia, the unions, the entertainment industry, the legal profession and the Church)."

Conspiracies are fun and all, and sometimes they're even true. In this case, it is *partly* true. But this is a singularly unsatisfactory answer in this case. The descent of American morality did *not* start in the 1960s; Americans were famous even in France for being morally profligate during the Second World War, for example. The "Gay Nineties" (that's the 1890s) were legendary for their loose morals, and communism was hardly in a position to be subverting capitalist morals then. The 1920s was probably the watershed for public morals, and while the Soviets existed then, it's tough to ascribe a massive Western cultural movement to them so early after their rise to power.

But the bottom line is: who cares? If capitalism is a milieu which encourages the total destruction of the family, how is it better in that regard than communism, which is a milieu that encourages the total destruction of the family?

@Cosmos: "You can think capitalism makes sense without claiming market forces dictate morality."

I don't think any capitalist thinks market forces dictate morality. But capitalism as a doctrine states that *morality doesn't matter*. It's a "value-free" science; the market is the best allocator of all resources. Who cares if it's moral? If the state starts telling the market what it can do in one area, it's only a slippery slope toward telling the market what it can do in all areas. The state should stay out of the market, except for preventing fraud, theft, and coercion. Selling porn and babies is none of those things.

Now, free markets are *not* essentially materialist. Distributism supports free markets. But we support free markets directed toward the common good, not so-called "self-regulating" free markets. But that's not capitalism; indeed, it's incompatible with any consistent notion of capitalism.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 3:17:00 PM CDT  

Donald,

It's clear we can't have this discussion.

"Every time we bring up an evil of capitalism, your response is to tell us how bad the Soviets were."

That simply isn't true. I didn't even bring up the Soviets. I did mention communists in the US in my original post; Ath brought up the Soviet government in his reply, and that is what introduced it into the discussion.

But aside from that, its just a false representation of my argument, a strawman, the very thing you got hot and bothered about in your earlier posts. If you won't play by your own rules, then I'm not going to play your game.

It's nothing personal, I'm not angry with you, and if you want to declare yourself a victory because I won't proceed along these lines, feel free.

" You've pointed out that materialism is different from capitalism, which is true enough, but it's also irrelevant."

No, Donald, it IS relevant IF you're making the case that Rothbard's argument is the only logical one, which you ARE doing.

I mean, don't know how you define "relevant" - I tend to think of it as "directly related to the topic at hand", which materialism is, given that it is Rothbard's fundamental philosophical orientation (remember the anarchist slogan - No Gods, No Masters!)

You keep talking about this baby market - my answer is that a Christian society wouldn't allow it regardless of what degree it thought the market ought to be regulated, because it would violate human dignity.

Societies always have and always will set parameters on economic behavior that a pure materialist anarchist like Rothbard or Rand will not approve of.

This is because human beings and human societies ARE NOT what Rothbard thinks they are. Rothbard is wrong. He's wrong because he's a materialist, because he has a view of man without a soul, just like the communists for that matter. THAT is why it is relevant.

I mean, if you don't "get" that, then we have nothing to discuss.

". You've not countered the point that capitalism's construction of the free market is essentially materialist."

For methodological reasons, yes - not philosophical reasons. Please look up the difference between methodological materialism/individualism, which makes certain assumptions for the purpose of constructing THEORETICAL models, and philosophical materialism/individualism, which moves beyond temporary assumptions and asserts these as fundamental truths about reality.

Methodological materialism is something ALL scientists do; philosophical materialism is something NO CHRISTIAN can accept. In economics, same with individualism.

For you to assert that capitalism can ONLY be materialist is to flush 120 years of Catholic social teaching down the drain, starting with Rerum Novarum, in which Pope Leo did NOT begin from materialist assumptions about man and society, but Christian and spiritual ones, and established rules for the basic actors in the capitalist market.

I mean, have you read Rerum Novarum? You do realize he's talking about capitalism right? And that Pius XI is echoing him, once again, when he says,

"With all his energy Leo XIII sought to adjust this economic system according to the norms of right order; hence, it is evident that this system is not to be condemned in itself. And surely it is not of its own nature vicious."

I'd like to see from you - never mind your questions - an explanation as to why Leo should have just folded up the whole enterprise, why he apparently wrongly, naively assumed that capitalism was being undertaken not by blind historical forces or amoral machines, but MEN with souls to whom he could appeal with moral instruction (which is why he called for distributism as well...)

Joe Hargrave Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 3:18:00 PM CDT  

The burden here is really on you, not me. Of course you're all over the map, telling Cosmos that "Distributism supports free markets." Really? I thought that though "many capitalists are repulsed by Rothbard's conclusions; however, their revulsion is inconsistent with their capitalism"

So how can you support "free markets" as a distributist without going the way of Rothbard? By adhering to Catholic social teaching! Markets are as moral as the men who make them up. Their morals, in turn, are shaped by the dominant ideas in society - will it be the Christianity of Pope Leo or the Objectivism of Ayn Rand? That's the battle we fight.

Your problem, again, is confusing methodology with philosophy.

The following statement is one that economists believe the evidence shows to simple be a truth:

"the market is the best allocator of all resources"

The following statement is philosophy:

"The state should stay out of the market"

These are not logically related. You know they aren't, because you're a distributist who apparently doesn't reject free markets. That makes you a capitalist. It makes me a capitalist. It makes all of us capitalists. Private property + free markets = capitalism. Simple old Leo had it right all along.


"The descent of American morality did *not* start in the 1960s"

I didn't say that. It's when the sexual revolution occur ed though - a significant historical event.

Do you know what a strawman is?

Secondly, "the Soviets" and "communism" are not identical - radical communism has been around since at least the French Revolution, certainly in the early 19th century, and was a worldwide movement before the Bolshevik Revolution, spreading its filth and corruption wherever it went.

But prior to the 60s in the West, it was not the dominant tendency in our culture, educational facilities, and welfare bureaucracies. That's the difference.

" If capitalism is a milieu which encourages the total destruction of the family, how is it better in that regard than communism"

Capitalism does at a pace and with means that average men with strong moral leadership can resist. We do have free will, you know. We can fight back. Or at least we could have. Now I'm not so sure.

Communism does it with machine guns, gulags, and secret police. It isn't impossible but it forces you to perform a moral calculus that almost inevitably results in going along to get along.

Anyway, I'm done with this. Have fun with yet another reply that misses the point, makes strawmen out of my arguments, and continues to equivocate the most brutal regime in history with a relatively good one.

If you want to make a serious attempt to engage my point and not grandstand in front of an audience, my email address can be found at the url linked through my name.

Good day and God Bless.

John Médaille Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:53:00 PM CDT  

Just a few quick comments. Joe, you have justified terror by referring to the communists, a rather low standard. In the specific case, Allende was President of Chile for three years without establishing a single concentration camp, but the terror under Pinochet began immediately.

The statement "The market is the best allocator of all resources" is simply not true, and is specifically denied by JPII. The market allocates market commodities. That is, human made, reproducible commodities with elastic demand curves. Other commodities it does not allocate well. In fact, any pricing system is a rationing system, which means that some must do without. S/D curves can never cross at 100% of demand. Some goods need to be socialized. Do you really want an education system, for example, that excludes those without sufficient money?

In totalizing the market, you turn it from a useful tool into a golden idol. There are things it does well, and things it does not do well. Our choice is not really between truth and error, but in arranging the truths in their proper order, in refusing to allow a lesser truth to displace a greater one. The market has a truth that must be respected. But the market, like any other human institution, has its proper domain, inside of which it is a positive good, and outside of which it becomes an evil. This is true of everything human.

Further, Rothbard is not a radical from an Austrian standpoint, and he is, if anything, milder than Mises. It is Mises who denies God, disparages Christ, hates the Church, and teaches that Capitalism and Christianity are incompatible (see Can Mises be Baptized, http://distributism.blogspot.com/2008/11/can-mises-be-baptized_09.html)

I happen to agree with Mises: if what he says about action is true, than God cannot exist; if what he says about capitalism is true, then it cannot be reconciled with Christianity. Your argument is not really with the distributists; it is with the Miseans. They are ones saying these things; we are merely agreeing with them.

Joe Hargrave Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 5:41:00 PM CDT  

John,

"you have justified terror by referring to the communists"

All I said was that I would choose Franco or Pinochet over the FAI/CNT or Allende (and if you don't think Allende was paving the way to a Soviet style state, I'd say you are mistaken).

Not every country can have a peaceful, democratic/republican response to communism.

And I don't even know what you mean by "low standard." I think what communism typically does to a country makes the stakes pretty high in opposing it.

""The market is the best allocator of all resources" is simply not true"

I'm not saying it is true. What I am saying, however, is that it is not philosophical argument, but rather a statement that economists believe is empirically and theoretically justified.

One doesn't have to agree with them to understand that it is NOT the same as philosophical materialism (the view that only "matter", narrowly defined to exclude all things spiritual, exists).

Nor are the two statements logically connected. That is the only point.

"you turn it from a useful tool into a golden idol"

I hope that was the general "you", because I don't.

I honestly don't know why you are lecturing me about the limitations of markets - I thought it was a given that we agree on these things.

What I am doing is making a clear distinction between assumptions used in theoretical models and philosophical beliefs about the nature of man and reality. This is a well-known distinction made by most scientists and most theologians in the natural sciences ("naturalism" might be used instead of materialism, but it boils down to the same thing). The same is true of economics.

"Rothbard is not a radical from an Austrian standpoint"

Tell Donald Goodman. I don't really care about Rothbard. I think he's irrelevant to this entire discussion.

"Your argument is not really with the distributists; it is with the Miseans. They are ones saying these things; we are merely agreeing with them."

You always say this. If you agree with them, you're arguments are their arguments. If I argue against and discredit your arguments, I discredit theirs. That's what happens when you assume someone else's argument as your own.

That said, I grant your "if"; but I maintain that Mises philosophy is not true, and that no philosophical statement is logically connected to any methodology, even if one inspires the other. If the Austrian school correctly predicts an economic collapse, it doesn't make Mises materialistic, atheistic individualism true. In the same way, Richard Dawkins may be able to tell us a great deal about some evolutionary event, but it doesn't make his atheism true.

Donald Goodman Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:57:00 PM CDT  

I'm not interested in victory; I'm interested in finding the truth.

"I didn't even bring up the Soviets."

All right; Russian communists and their infiltrating agents. If you consider that a significant difference, feel free.

Joe, if you're unable to answer the two questions I posed, just say so. Refusing to answer them doesn't help anyone.

The point I'm making, and that Athanasius originally made, is that the capitalist free market is by definition materialistic, and therefore encourages vice. Rothbard's materialism fits quite well into that, and he draws that materialistic model to its logical conclusion. You won't. Good for you; it shows a good moral sense. But it's still inconsistent relative to capitalism.

You respond by saying, essentially, that yes, baby markets *are* consistent with the capitalist free market (at least, you never say how they aren't despite repeated requests to do so), but that that's just methodology; because we're Christian, we still accept the capitalist free market while denying the baby markets that are otherwise perfectly consistent with it, and that's philosophy.

For myself, I will not accept a notion and then refuse to put it into practice. If a principle yields morally unacceptable results, that principle is faulty, and I reject it. Yet the capitalist free market, by the definition I gave above from a mainstream source that is still unrefuted, yields this unacceptable result. Therefore, I conclude that the principle is faulty.

One can also prove it's faulty by deriving contradictory conclusions from better first principles, but that's well beyond the scope of this combox.

"I mean, have you read Rerum Novarum? You do realize he's talking about capitalism right?"

Let's pause here. Joe, are you really arguing that Leo XIII and Pius XI wrote in *support* of capitalism? And yet you still ask me if *I* have read _Rerum Novarum_? Catholic social teaching, from both these popes and others, directly contradicts many basic tenets of capitalism. _Rerum Novarum_ is famous as a Catholic anti-capitalist document, among distributists and capitalists alike. I'd suggest rereading it and seeing what you find.


"Anyway, I'm done with this. Have fun with yet another reply that misses the point, makes strawmen out of my arguments, and continues to equivocate the most brutal regime in history with a relatively good one."

I'm doing my best to answer your objections; you're repeatedly ignoring the two simple questions I'm asking you to answer. If it makes you happy to withdraw from any discussion confident in your rectitude, by all means feel free. But don't blame it on me.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave,  Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:32:00 PM CDT  

Donald,

You're completely wrong about Rerum Novarum. Read the quote from Quadragesimo Anno. Paragraph 101.

I told you where to find my email if you want to discuss it more.

Good luck and God Bless.

Richard Aleman Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 6:41:00 AM CDT  

John Sharpe answers that very paragraph in his article "Work and Property"

http://distributist.blogspot.com/2007/09/work-and-property.html

Donald Goodman Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 7:35:00 AM CDT  

+AMDG

@Joe: You're confused. What Pius XI is saying here is that the system in which different people provide labor and capital is not inherently wicked. *That's all.* But that, all by itself, is not capitalism. He's also saying that the system as it stood then needs lots of adjustment to accord with right order. That adjustment includes things like rejecting the definition of the free market given above, which you've persistently refused to address. You've got to read the whole thing, not just one paragraph. Look at paragraphs 102, 107, 109. For example. Paragraph 110 shows the heavy changes that must be made in a capitalist system to make it just.

He's saying that capitalism, as the modern world has set it up, is *wrong*, and needs to "return to right and sound order."

The Popes don't condemn free markets, because doing that would be stupid. But they most definitely do condemn what we know as "capitalism."

You're the first person I've ever met who read those encyclicals as being pro-capitalist. Really, they're just not. Since obviously nothing I say can affect you (since nothing I even *ask* has affected you), read the John Sharpe article that Richard linked, which is excellent. Specifically, look at the following:

"Nevertheless, how many commentators, looking at both QA and Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (RN), envision the Church to have in fact condemned “capitalism” by her pronouncements in both these encyclicals? Which means that these reliable thinkers certainly, and with good reason, believe that some thing signified by the term “capitalism” was indeed condemned, notwithstanding the “neutrality” of the system that Pius XI characterized as “not vicious of its very nature.” Msgr. Luigi Civardi, author of so many books on the Church’s social teaching and its salutary effect on the world, states plainly that RN “condemns the capitalistic system.”9 Bishop Emile Guerry for his part explained why “the Popes condemned liberal capitalism so severely” by saying that “the ‘social system’ itself [is condemned] where it is based on a concept of private ownership opposed to the community end assigned by God to the goods of the earth.”10 Amintore Fanfani, whose study of the “capitalist spirit” more than rivals the treatises of Weber and Tawney, declared that “there is an unbridgeable gulf between the Catholic and the capitalistic conception of life.”...Anyone who maintains that “capitalism” of itself escaped condemnation in QA would have to prove that the “thing” signified by the term as it is used today does not imply free competition, Enlightenment or classically liberal economic doctrine, the near worship of technology, the modern doctrine of individualism, the practical tyranny of international finance, and the concentration of productive property in relatively few hands. The “capitalism,” then, that was not condemned in QA was a theoretical “capitalism” of which eye has not seen nor ear heard (1 Cor. ii:9)....A “capitalism” that was not encompassed or included by the Pope’s condemnatory words in QA is a theoretical capitalism that has never existed and will never exist."

The rest is good, too.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 4:25:00 PM CDT  

A few points.

1. I don't care about appeals to authority from second-hand sources. I form my own opinions.

2. I never used the phrase "pro-capitalist" or characterized the encyclicals as such. This is a gross misrepresentation of my position, but I believe it stems from a disagreement over what capitalism is, and isn't, over what is necessary or sufficient for its existence.

3. The invitation is still open.

Donald Goodman Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 7:33:00 PM CDT  

+AMDG

1. Are you really so confident in your opinion that you won't listen to anybody else's?

2. You stated that the encyclicals were defending the capitalist position; if that doesn't mean they're pro-capitalist, I don't know what it does mean. Further, when I said that Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno were against capitalism, you told me I was wrong. What conclusions was I supposed to draw?

3. I prefer open rather than private debates; let me know when you're willing to respond to the questions I asked.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Joe Hargrave,  Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 9:40:00 PM CDT  

Donald,

1. I didn't say that. I'm listening to you, aren't I?

2. I stated no such thing. Again, it's strange that a man who complains about strawmen is practically a factory for them.

I stated that the encyclicals were establishing rules for participants in the capitalist economy, that's all. That means this mode of economy is not inherently evil, but that it is in need of guidance and correction.

3. I already explained why I don't think your questions are relevant.

You acknowledged it even, and said:

"saying "materialism is different from capitalism" isn't an answer"

I explained to you why I believe it IS an answer, and if that isn't good enough for you, then that's that.

The invitation is still open, and this is the last post. Good luck and God Bless.

Donald Goodman Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 7:15:00 AM CDT  

+AMDG

1. You said: "I don't care about appeals to authority from second-hand sources. I form my own opinions." In other words, whatever these other people say is irrelevant to you, because you've already formed your own opinions. You *did* say that. You don't have to agree with secondary sources, of course; nobody agrees with all of them. But to say you don't care about them is a different thing.

2. Joe, I said: "_Rerum Novarum_ is famous as a Catholic anti-capitalist document, among distributists and capitalists alike. I'd suggest rereading it and seeing what you find." Your response was: "You're completely wrong about Rerum Novarum. Read the quote from Quadragesimo Anno. Paragraph 101." In other words, that _Rerum Novarum_ is *not* an anti-capitalist document.

Further, you said: "It makes all of us capitalists. Private property + free markets = capitalism. Simple old Leo had it right all along." You also said: "Rerum Novarum (and its sucessors), on the other hand, is how one analyzes capitalism from a spiritual/Christian standpoint. If you are a Christian and a capitalist, then Pope Leo's argument is logical." In other words, that _Rerum Novarum_ is an analysis of capitalism from a Christian standpoint, rather than a statement of what's wrong with capitalism and what we should have instead.

If that's not saying that _Rerum Novarum_ is a capitalist document, it's hard to see what it *is* saying.

3. No, you didn't answer. I asked you why baby markets aren't consistent with the definition of the free market accepted by capitalists and given above. You've not answered that. You've said why it's not consistent with *your* definition of a free market, which includes lots of notions that the capitalist definition doesn't, like human dignity.

The definition, again, is this: "A free market is a market without economic intervention and regulation by government except to outlaw and prosecute force or fraud."

So let's make it just one question: "Why aren't baby markets completely consistent with this definition?"

I'm not asking you why *you* don't like baby-markets; I know the answer to that. I'm asking you why a capitalist, who agrees with this definition, wouldn't like baby markets without substantially altering that definition.

You've never even tried to answer that.

Once again, I'm not interested in private debates. It's hard for me to see why we can't discuss this in public if we're able to discuss it in private. If you've got some compelling reason for privacy, let me know; otherwise, I'd prefer not to fill up my inbox when this combox is still available.

Praise be to Christ the King!

John Médaille Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 7:33:00 AM CDT  

Just a word on the interpretation of RN. Leo condemns "Liberalism," which is the old name for "capitalism." The later term was originally the Marxist epithet for the liberals. But the shoe seemed to fit, and the capitalists were happy to wear it.

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:11:00 AM CDT  

Joe states: From a historical point of view, its ridiculous to claim that the Soviet government - the Soviet government of gulags, state atheism, and subsidized abortion on demand - "defended the family better than the Capitalist West."

actually, Athanasius quoted Chesterton as noting communism would attack the family, but it is capitalism that openly promotoes porno, the USA and Denmark leading the way in child porn last I heard and both supposedly free and capitalist.

The Soviets quickly learned that unrestricted porn and sex was degenerate and by the mid 20's had outlawed porn.I know personally of priests that during the 70's and 80's were stripped searched entering the USSR for porn...bibles were not an issue and often guards allowed religious tracts,etc.

Soviets were happy to destroy minds and morals in non-communist nations with porn, but banned it in their territories.....so yes, in a sense, both the marxist and capitalist make a lot of money on porn.Hudge and Gudge again working in unison, one for profit, the other for power.....

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:17:00 AM CDT  

Donald says "The point of Athanasius's post was that markets do not promote virtue, but rather vice"

true, we saw this with slavery, the northern shippers were happy to pack as many people as possible on ships to the New World...sometimes even trading despite the 1808 ban and the bans put in effect in Europe.Northern industry benefitted from trade in human beings.They were viewed as a commodity, nothing more. Despite that, the Govt propaganda in schools today and in media is that it was the South alone that was evil and bad, no mention,hardly, of the North.Matter of fact, it took an episode of Different Strokes I saw as a child that I learned that it was Northern merchant vessels that brought the blacks to America...

and Porn, a lot of money to be made there, no real movements in Govt nor industry to clean that up either.

2 examples of Hudge and Gudge working hand in hand.

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:20:00 AM CDT  

Joe says "if you look at the disgusting "sex-ed" programs, if you look at the radical homosexual agenda (which Obama's education czar pushes), and thats just to name a few, you see a regime that is overtly hostile to traditional Christian values"

joe is right, to a point, but hope he has and still will, blame the GOP/Bush machine equally, for his No Chold Left Behind bill (written by Teddy Kennedy) was similar to bills he was for in Texas, were mandatory psych testing and drugging was a big part, sponsored by Elie Lilly(?).

Let us recall, too, the homos had almost unrestricted access to the Bush White House and several were given high profile jobs.

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:27:00 AM CDT  

Joe says "No. People in the West did it to themselves through indifference and affluence, with the help communist subversives (who infiltrated academia, the unions, the entertainment industry, the legal profession and the Church)."

actually, yes and no-in recent times, partially, but least we forget, teh west had a huge spate of foundling homes in the mid-late 1800's, in Imperial Russia, athiestic France, Constitutional Monarcy Britain, etc,etc....

it was not the professors and soviets alone....nor is everything to be blamed on the soviets, brought to power by capitalists in Wall Street, by the way. it was capitalists that financed Marx and led to the sovietization of the USA, 2 examples-Federal Reserve and national income tax....

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:41:00 AM CDT  

Joe says "All I said was that I would choose Franco or Pinochet over the FAI/CNT or Allende (and if you don't think Allende was paving the way to a Soviet style state, I'd say you are mistaken)."

for starters, I too would prefer Franoc over the leftists.He was a practicing Catholic, but the problem is, he was too pragmatic and did not work to set up a corporate state as Dolfuss tried, who was also a authoratarian btw.

problem is, we should have never gotten to the point of Franco vs Leftits or Allende vs Pinochet...we shold have nipped it in the bud prior to it getting that bad...same now, the hudge/gudge system has largely give us only 2 choices and largley sqaushes any others..Both Pinochet/Franco had a lot of draw backs...This thinking is from the standpoint that many want to deal with the "here and now realitiy" and not work for the ideal...

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:45:00 AM CDT  

Piccolo states "I believe, for example, that the Libertarian Party in the U.S. was or is now pro-choice, although I think there was some controversy over that issue within the party. "

When I used to work with them on common interest issues, that wa a real fight in LP, most agreeing not to argue about it and ignore the issue.Most LPers are pro-choice.many splittoo over their last prez candidate, as he was a big name, but a neocon and had skeletons.

Chris Campbell Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:52:00 AM CDT  

John Médaille said...
Just a word on the interpretation of RN. Leo condemns "Liberalism," which is the old name for "capitalism." The later term was originally the Marxist epithet for the liberals. But the shoe seemed to fit, and the capitalists were happy to wear it.


Comment-true, what was liberal yesterday is conservative today and vice versa....was just reading today, that many "conservatives' are angry that Obama is allegedly wanting to ship away at Miranda, a ruling that in the 60's was viewed as liberal america-hating and anti-police by "conservatives".

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template Werd by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP