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  1. Paul Zummo permalink
    October 18, 2010 6:35 pm

    Blah blah blah fake conservatism. Blah blah Enlightenment. If you put more than fifteen seconds worth of consideration into these posts I
    d take it more seriously. But in all honesty, I consider high school philosophy students to be more worthy interlocutors.

  2. October 18, 2010 8:03 pm

    This social order puts the state at the top, charged with oversight of the common good. There is nothing “small government” about it. Think about the papal states. The Habsburg empire. Tsarist Russia.

    All three of those had much smaller governments relative to their economies than any modern developed state and provided levels of social services seen only in the most undeveloped parts of the undeveloped world. The modern US is a veritable workers paradise by comparison.

    If it’s a social safety net of the sort that the US can credibly be accused of lacking that you’re searching for, you’ll have to turn to upstanding exemplars of Catholic social teaching such as Bismark.

    Of course, the success of that most Catholic of rulers in his enforcement of Catholic social teaching can be seen in the fact that the nuns whom he had expelled and who died in the wreck of the Deutschland (memorialized so brilliantly by Hopkins) were going to… the US.

  3. October 18, 2010 8:58 pm

    Darwin, yes of course the economic size of government was smaller, but the reach was not. The was no ideological opposition to the role of the state as developed in liberalism. Catholic social teaching did lay down some clear limits, but is also followed the tradition that governments sits on top of the social order. It was charged with the common good. And CST from Leo onwards spelled out exactly what the state needs to do. It’s all there in black and white, and yet ignored by the likes of Paul Zummo. I don’t care if he opts not to engage me; I would much rather he pick up and read the key papal social encyclicals.

  4. October 18, 2010 9:05 pm

    Those who have read here for some time can recall my own attempts at making similar points in simpler ways.

    (See: http://vox-nova.com/2010/01/18/call-them-what-you-like-individualism-and-secularism-are-problematic/, for instance)

    I find it odd that people protest so loudly at this here, it seems much more developed than anything I wrote before. What is “high school” about that?

  5. Kurt permalink
    October 18, 2010 10:30 pm

    DC,

    Thank you for your references to the situation in Imperial Germany. Hopkins’ poem is one of my favorites and, as the great-grandson of a Kulturkampf refugee, it has great meaning to me.

    Bismarck launched the Kulturkampf in 1871, expanded it with the May Laws of 1873, and further laws in 1875. The repression was cruel and intolerant. By the late 1870s, half of the Prussian episcopate was in jail or exile, a quarter of parishes were without pastors, lay Catholics were dismissed from the civil service and religious orders were repressed. However, thanks to Catholic direct action and passive resistance, by 1877 the Kulturkampf began to fail and the next decade saw its dismantling.

    The key event for this reversal was the election in 1877 of 13 Socialist deputies to the Reichstag. Bismarck, fearful of the growing Socialist power (that would increase its parliamentary representation in each election), changed course and abandoned the Kulturkampf in deference to his new anti-socialist campaign. While the Catholic Party never supported the repressive anti-socialist laws passed by Bismarck, the Chancellor sought to make an anti-socialist alliance with them in other ways.

    The head of the Catholic Party in Westphalia, Ferdinand von Galen, introduced the first health care bill in 1877, based on the recommendations of Bishop William von Ketteler. In 1883, Bismarck accepted the proposal of the Catholic Party for social insurance for sickness and further agreed to the Catholic Party’s call to expand it to include old age and disability insurance in 1889.

    The social insurance programs designed by the Catholics and enacted by Bismarck were opposed by both the National Liberal Party on the Right and by the Socialists on the Left — as the Socialist platform opposed such programs controlled by the Imperialist Reich believing such programs must follow and not preceded the establishment of a workers state.

  6. October 18, 2010 11:08 pm

    MM:

    One the points I think you miss from Paul’s post is that modern liberalism drives wedges between communities through the promotion of relativism i.e. individual mores. This individualism fostered by morality changes in turns makes the kind of community needed to have real protection for the poor on healthcare, etc. in the local level.

  7. digbydolben permalink
    October 19, 2010 5:28 am

    The most “revolutionary” socio-political system ever devised by the mind of man is neo-liberal capitalist economics. It is profoundly materialist and libertarian to such an extent that it violates the ethos of traditional, communal Christian orthodoxy, in ways that absolutely exhilirated Marx, who conceived it to be the highest stage of human development, just before his delusional “workers’ revolution” that would transform human nature, by ending the “hierarchy” that Nietzsche rightly saw as humanity’s natural inclination, and by transfering control of the “means of production” into the hands of the poor and “classless.”

    That divinely “infallible hand of the Market” that the neo-liberal and Reaganite economists so adore uproots traditional cultures and “transforms” and degrades human environments all over the world continuously; it has to, in order to be constantly altering and strengthening the impulse to “consume,” which would otherwise exhaust itself.

    Recognition of the significance and meaningfulness of that term Marx used to describe accurately the essential spirit of capitalism is what has caused modern popes and especially John Paul II to call the neo-liberal societies of the West “cultures of death”: “the transvaluation of all values.”

    That ominous phrase alone, used approvingly by Marx, to describe capitalism’s essence, should long ago have been enough to persuade Catholic and other philosophers of traditional spirtual systems that American “conservatism” is actually an ENEMY to traditional values and traditional religious systems. It is in revolt against them.

  8. October 19, 2010 8:06 am

    I do not believe an argument about nomenclature is worth having. Let them have the “conservative” moniker, I say. But then again, I am pretty a-political. I still think it distracts from the conversation.

    As for the philosophical foundation, it seems that those who would defend economic and political liberalism by trying to reconcile it with Catholic traditional thought are fundamentally in bad faith, or are just ignorant of Catholic philosophy altogether. One only need look at the debates last century between those of the traditionalist Thomist school, best represented by Charles de Koninck and his advocacy for the “common good”, and those of the school of Jacques Maritain, who advocated for the idea that the good of the individual was ontologically superior to the good of the State. It is pretty conclusive that Thomas never taught the latter. As for appeals to Bellarmine et. al., let us not forget that they were Jesuits, and as in the case of Suarez, they had a pretty skewed and quasi-nominalistic metaphysical basis for their thought. There is a reason why “Jesuitical” was a four letter word, especially in moral theology.

    When Old Testament thought speaks for the powerful to judge for the orphan and widow, I am thus at a loss to see who would do the judging in the case of the neoliberal perspective. Only those with power can have mercy. I am also reminded of a quote by Colombian philosopher, Nicolas Gomez Davila:

    “Nations and individuals, with rare exceptions, comport themselves with decency only when circumstances permit no other choice.”

    To be somewhat incendiary, I think there needs to be an apologia for coerced virtue, as I am beginning to think that there is no other kind.

  9. Nate Wildermuth permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:41 am

    Great post, MM. It’s good to point out how deeply entrenched the Enlightenment is in our history, culture, and politics.

  10. October 19, 2010 8:47 am

    Michael – I agree with you, but I believe that Paul is himself espousing that very same liberalism that makes the individual preeminent. Remember, there is a very small gap between the leftish liberalism that emerged in the 1960s and the rightish liberalism that came into its own in the 1980s.

  11. October 19, 2010 8:56 am

    Sam, they protest so loudly because their house of cards is so flimsy. It is epistemic closure dressed in Catholic garb, and pretty cheap and ugly Catholic garb at that, with all the beauty of Catholic social teaching tossed out.

    Like so many on that site, and on the American right in general, Paul is a hard-core liberal, wedded to American secular values and the idea of America. He does his best to force Catholicism into this box, and what is left is barely even recognizable as Catholicism. He even invokes a philosophical parallel universe to make his case. This tinpot emperor has no clothes, and has not had clothes for quite some time. They don’t like you saying that, though, do they?

  12. Chris C. permalink
    October 19, 2010 10:21 am

    I have read this argument before and I am always confused by it. Is the point just to condemn economic ideas of political conservatives as being a form of philosophical Liberalism of the type condemned by the Church or is it to also endorse the policies of the US politcal left, such as the Welfare State, and the Great Society? Or do such policies represent a more extreme form of Liberalism and therby are also to be condemned? If the latter good luck proving that, but please make the case. I have doubts that you can since at least from appearances so very many on the left are also very hostile to the Church and rejection of God and His Church was at the core of the condemnation of Liberalism in favor of the primacy of Man and his own arrogant ideas. I do not disagree that political conservatives have much to answer for as well, but I doubt they are alone.

  13. October 19, 2010 1:51 pm

    MM,

    Darwin, yes of course the economic size of government was smaller, but the reach was not. The was no ideological opposition to the role of the state as developed in liberalism. Catholic social teaching did lay down some clear limits, but is also followed the tradition that governments sits on top of the social order. It was charged with the common good.

    It’s reach was not smaller how? The sort of comprehensive, high-touch social safety nets you advocate were in no was present in any of those three countries. Nor were progressive taxation. And inequality, which you are strongly averse to, was incredibly high with a landed aristocracy who had priviliges and control over the lower classes which our top 1% can only imagine.

    This is what I think those of us who really do have conservative temperments find so maddening about your “who are the real conservatives here” line of argument. These monarchies you name off may not have had an explicit philosophy of limited goverment, but they did have a severe limit on the reach of the state imposed by lack of funds, technology, and frankly by an ossified social structure resulting from hereditary aristocracy which often didn’t feel as much noblesse oblige as it should have.

    Frankly, I don’t really care if limitation on government is principled or merely the result of practical and traditional limitations — I oppose a statism which tends to overwhelm every other social obligation except affection and replace it with a singular relationship between the individual and the all powerful state. You yourself have at times bemoaned the way that this sort of self-indulgent individualism has infiltrated leftism since the 1960s.

    And yet, if someone seeks to preserve what little is left of traditional society, or even rebuilt true social ties of community short of the all consuming state, and to limit the power of the state to do so — you attack this move as being motivated by liberal individualism. How can you on the one hand point to the example of traditional societies, and yet at the same time attack all those who seek to move even small incremental steps in that direction?

    Leave the title of “conservatism” to those who actually want to live in a more traditional manner and be happy with being a “progressive” or whatever title seems appropriate for those steaming ever onward into the brave new world which is always just one more statist intervention away.

  14. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:27 pm

    From the social science data…who gives more time and treasure and even blood:

    — Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

    – Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

    – Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

    – Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

    – In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

    – People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

  15. Kurt permalink
    October 19, 2010 3:00 pm

    Yes, Austin. And that same survey shows that religious liberals are the most generous givers while non-religious conservatives are the least generous, with religious conservatives in second place and non-religious liberals in third.

    As a religous liberal, I appreciate your affirmation, but I really feel God calls me to do more.

    And while I don’t mean to criticize those who give to charity, I would note the top three catagories are: 1) maintanance of one’s own house of worship, 2) the Opera and other arts, and 3) ASPCA and other animal welfare to help the lost puppies and bunnies.

    Relief of the poor ranks farther down and helping the poor become self-sufficient is WAY down.

  16. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:06 pm

    Those calling for smaller government give far more to charity than those calling for bigger government. Conservative Republicans give far more than liberal Democrats.

  17. October 19, 2010 6:32 pm

    The state is the Worst Idea Ever. It is an artificial construct. A crappy, Euro-centric construct supported by a lot of crappy European philosophy. Catholic social teaching as your describe it here seems woefully circumscribed. The Pope should write a new encyclical to encompass the greater part of the human experience, which did not include a tradition of the state. Christianity doesn’t need the state. May it wither away.

  18. digbydolben permalink
    October 19, 2010 6:35 pm

    And yet, if someone seeks to preserve what little is left of traditional society, or even rebuilt true social ties of community short of the all consuming state, and to limit the power of the state to do so — you attack this move as being motivated by liberal individualism.

    And what is most maddening, Darwin Catholic, to those of us who are not of your neo-liberal ilk (which is NO WHERE NEAR “traditional” Burkean conservatism) is to see you, over and over again, failing to perceive that the radically capitalist system of the United States, predicated upon constant consumption of un-needed “products,” and the “transvaluation of all values” in order to “commodify life,” as the papal encyclicals have termed it–that such a system of political economy CANNOT LIVE WITH TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES!

    It must destroy them, by exerting the power of the “all-consuming” corporations.

  19. Kurt permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:06 pm

    I want to be fair to Austin and conservatives.

    The study he cites above does not include the very generous giving — tens of millions of dollars — that conservatives and their friends in corporate America and overseas corporations have been donating in the past two months to non-profits like American Crossroads, the American Future Fund, etc.

    While we are not really sure how much of this surge in conservative giving is from American conservatives and how much is from foriegn corporations, is truly is an amazing act of generosity.

  20. digbydolben permalink
    October 20, 2010 12:25 am

    A crappy Euro-centric construct supported by a lot of crappy European philosophy.

    Spoken like a true Nativist anti-intellectual Lizzy. Please tell it to Maimonides, Confucius, Ashoka, et. al., who, when last I checked, weren’t listed among “European” political theorists. Whenever the “State” “withers away,” it will only be to be replaced by world government, and I suspect you won’t like that, no matter how much the Vatican approves it.

  21. October 20, 2010 4:32 am

    It seems that corporate and capitalist giving may not be so benevolent after all. What good is giving a little bit more money to the poor when the distribution of wealth continues to be so uneven? Sort of like robbing Peter to pay (a little of it back) to Paul. As Archbishop Camara was famous for saying, if I feed the poor, I am called a saint. If I ask why the poor have no food, I am condemned as a communist. I realize that such things sound Marxist to the liberal ear, but who cares? Go pound sand.

  22. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 20, 2010 7:23 am

    I will just keep saying it. Conservative Republicans give more to charity than liberal Democrats. Those who call for smaller government give more to charity than those who call for larger government.

    Conservative Republicans are like the Good Samaritan. He took care of the man himself and then paid out of his own pocket for the man’s care. Liberal Democrats are like those who passed him by; let someone else care for him.

    Facts is fact, boys. Ain’t no way around it.

  23. October 20, 2010 9:34 am

    What are the implications of your ‘facts’, Austin?

  24. Matt Bowman permalink
    October 20, 2010 10:17 am

    I actually think there are valuable points in MM’s post, for example calling for reflection on the Church’s social encyclicals. But he does a disservice to his own effort by adding in comments like this: “One shocking figure is that none of the Republicans running for Senate accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.” What does this have to do with the point of conservatives being liberals? And why cannot people disagree with some scientists even if they are a self-declared consensus (or to be more specific, why cannot they challenge what really is the consensus, and whether it is based on good science)? Even if someone disagrees with skeptics of man made global warming, is a challenge of the science not only wrong but inherently unreasonable? Challenging the science doesn’t represent a rejection of “authority” but actually a recognition of the authority of the scientific method even as applied to what many scientists believe. And of course the “consensus” has already changed its tune from “global warming” to “climate change” and now to “climate disruption.” I just don’t see how this helps the argument–it’s a distraction, and it makes the above reflections seem as partisan as the conservatives it is trying to attack.

  25. Kurt permalink
    October 20, 2010 10:43 am

    Austin, I don’t dispute your claim that Republicans give about $300 more to charity per year than Democrats. Wow!

    My neighbor works for the development office of the Opera and he spends quite a bit of time taking elderly GOP ladies out to lunch. He would be the first to agree with you.

    The former Republican Committee Chairman for my ward also has been very a very generous giver to Exeter Academy, probably enough to single handedly raise the statistical Republican average.

    His grandson is prepping there now, as has his family for generations. It must be nice that the young man can see grand-pa-pa’s name on a wing of one of the buildings. Priceless.

    But Austin, you don’t give the Republicans enough credit. The waiters at the Metropolitan Club tell me their clientle are very good tippers. Much better than those Democrat slobs at Clancy’s Bar & Grille.

    Now if the god Republican guys at the Met Club would just stop referring to 52 year old waiters as “boy” when they leave those generous tips, all would be good.

  26. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 20, 2010 11:42 am

    I ask you, Sam. Why would it be that liberals who pride themselves on social justice do not seem to practice it in their personal lives? The research shows that liberal households not only give significantly less than conservative households, they do so even though they also have higher incomes than conservative households. Is there hypocrisy here, Sam? Serious question.

  27. October 20, 2010 12:57 pm

    “Is there hypocrisy here, Sam?” Yes, no question.

    Now to my question, Austin: What are the implications of that hypocrisy?

    Serious question.

  28. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 20, 2010 2:59 pm

    I don’t know, Sam…what do you think they are?

  29. Kurt permalink
    October 20, 2010 4:13 pm

    “…what do you think they are?”

    Phillistines with no appreciation of opera and clearly people who did not prep at the “right” schools. Any Republican from a “good family” knows you give back to where you prepped.

    That and the fact then when hold even for age (the mean age for charitable giving is above 66), the political differences don’t hold up.

  30. October 20, 2010 6:44 pm

    Austin, this is a bit silly. Just look at the line of conversation.

    You asserted:

    Ruse – “…Conservative Republicans give more to charity than liberal Democrats. Those who call for smaller government give more to charity than those who call for larger government… Facts are facts, boys. Ain’t no way around it.”

    Then, I asked:

    Rocha – “What are the implications of your ‘facts’, Austin?”

    To this question you replied:

    Ruse – “I ask you, Sam. Why would it be that liberals who pride themselves on social justice do not seem to practice it in their personal lives? The research shows that liberal households not only give significantly less than conservative households, they do so even though they also have higher incomes than conservative households. Is there hypocrisy here, Sam?…”

    I responded:

    Rocha – “Is there hypocrisy here… Yes, no question.”

    I continued to ask:

    Rocha – “Now to my question, Austin: What are the implications of that hypocrisy?”

    You replied:

    Ruse – “I don’t know, Sam… what do you think they are?”

    ********************

    Now, I have asked two questions and you have responded to them with questions both times. The first time I answered in goodwill, but this time I am calling your game as I see it.

    Please, you’ve done this before, answer my question — or, as you did before, say it doesn’t interest you and retreat.

    One more time: What are the implications of the fact of hypocrisy that you have repeated numerous times?

    Thanks, in advance, for your reply.

  31. Kurt permalink
    October 20, 2010 8:50 pm

    Sam,

    Don’t hold your breathe. Austin has found a difference of about $300/year in charitable giving between self-described liberals and conservatives and from that average difference, he makes the sweeping accusation that “liberals who pride themselves on social justice do not seem to practice it in their personal lives.”

    I’m not sure a $300 average difference makes one a hypocrite, particularly when the data is held constant for age it disappears and when held constant for church membership, it reverses itself, with liberals as more generous.

    And Austin confuses charitable giving with social justice or even relief of the poor. The survey he cites simply measures giving to a charity, be it Save the Seals, avant-garde performance art, tree plantings in Morris County NJ, or the Greater Dubuque Iowa Federation of Garden Clubs.

    Austin is just again making himself into someone that it is hard to take seriously.

  32. October 21, 2010 2:45 pm

    Austin, are you there?

  33. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 21, 2010 8:13 pm

    Sam,

    I don’t know. I am just a reporter not a deep thinker. You tell me.

  34. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 21, 2010 8:23 pm

    Sorry, Sam..i was in a meeting all day yesterday and most of today…

  35. October 22, 2010 10:10 am

    Sorry for being so pushy, Austin.

    I would suggest that, if your points are merely anecdotal and journalistic, you present them in ways that don’t seem to have implications couched in them. To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time seeing how your “reports” do not contain implicit points and assumptions that, for some reason, you don’t want to share with me explicitly.

    I will honor your request that I “tell you” by trying to draft a post on this very question here very soon.

    Peace and good,

    Sam

  36. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:21 pm

    Question. What is the good Catholic thing to do?

    I provide health insurance for most of my 9 full time employees and families. Given the new healthcare law, is it the better Catholic thing to do to keep paying this rather expensive benefit? Or is it the better Catholic thing to do to cut them off and recommend that they hook into a government program?

  37. Kurt permalink
    October 22, 2010 3:23 pm

    Good question, Austin.

    A for-profit company with nine employees will receive tax credits for keeping their employer sponsored plans, so for them, they will be in a better position to maintain benefits. Your group, I believe, is a non-profit, so you are where you are now, no better no worse.

    If your motivation for providing employee benefits currently is out a sense of Catholic charity, unaided by any labor market forces to provide insurance, that is commendable to you as a person. Of course, it would be a social disaster if people only had health care based on their employer’s degree of good Catholic devotion.

  38. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 22, 2010 4:32 pm

    Which is the better CAtholic? One who provides benefits for their employees or one who relies on the government to provide insurance for their employees?

  39. digbydolben permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:42 pm

    Tell me something, Austin, as a “conservative,” you dislike “dependency,” right? Well, then do you think it’s preferable for your employees to be “dependent” upon you, or, instead, “dependent” upon a government of their own electing. Or, to put it differently, as I recognise that, as a “conservative” of some sort, you despise the all-powerful “nanny state” (as do I, in some moods), is “dependence” upon a local government, representing one’s own community, really the same thing as “dependence” upon the “nanny state,” and wouldn’t “dependence” upon one’s parish, tribe or local courthouse be better, for them, than “dependence” upon you?

  40. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 23, 2010 9:26 am

    Which is the better Catholic? One who provides benefits for their employees? Or one who relies on teh government to provide insurance for their employees.

  41. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 23, 2010 4:49 pm

    Who’s against dependency?

  42. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 23, 2010 5:19 pm

    Or one who provides benefits for their employees and works/votes so that the government will make laws making it more likely that even those poor saps with uncharitable employers get insurance?

    Enough with the lame false dichotomies Mr. Ruse.

  43. Kurt permalink
    October 23, 2010 6:50 pm

    Which is the better Catholic? One who provides benefits for their employees? Or one who relies on teh government to provide insurance for their employees.

    From a Catholic perspective it is always better to act with justice and charity than to leave it to others.

    The better Catholic employer provides benefits rather than leaving it to others.

    The better Catholic worker promotes solidarity among his fellow workers so they can win just benefits for themselves through collective bargaining, rather than leaving it to the charity of employers or the government.

    The better Catholic citizen works for social insurance rather than leaving it to others (employers or trade unions).

    The better Catholic head of household, rather than mouthing off at Tea Party rallies about his right to go without health insurance, sees that he and his family are covered.

  44. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 23, 2010 9:11 pm

    Brett,

    I would think from this group that the person who relies on govenment funding would be the best Catholic. It seems to me from these threads that there is no higher expression of Catholicism than government programs.

  45. digbydolben permalink
    October 23, 2010 9:53 pm

    Mr. Ruse, opposition to “dependency” is implicit in the Church’s advocacy of both subsidiarity and distributism:
    Subsidiarity
    Pope Pius XI said, “It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and/or industry.”
    Distributism
    Distributism holds that social and economic structures should promote wide ownership of corporations and is the basis for anti-trust laws and economic cooperatives including credit unions. Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno and Centesimus Annus are Catholic Social Teaching documents which advocate economic distributism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_social_teaching#Subsidiarity

    Additionally, it seems to me that its opposition to “dependency” is the one thing about liberation theology that the Magisterium has never condemned.

  46. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:03 am

    From a Catholic perspective it is always better to act with justice and charity than to leave it to others.

    YES.

    The better Catholic employer provides benefits rather than leaving it to others.

    YES.

    The better Catholic worker promotes solidarity among his fellow workers so they can win just benefits for themselves through collective bargaining, rather than leaving it to the charity of employers or the government.

    CAN’T SEE THIS. ARE MY EMPLOYEES SUPPOSED TO ORGANIZER? PRO-LIFE WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE AND ALL THAT?

    The better Catholic citizen works for social insurance rather than leaving it to others (employers or trade unions).

    LIKE TRYING TO GET GEORGE SOROS AND BILL GATES TO PONY UP BILLIONS FOR A NON-PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY. I WOULD BE VERY DOWN WITH THAT.

    The better Catholic head of household, rather than mouthing off at Tea Party rallies about his right to go without health insurance, sees that he and his family are covered.

    I WOULD SAY THIS IS NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

  47. Kurt permalink
    October 24, 2010 4:34 pm

    YES.

    Glad we agree.

    YES.

    So glad we agree, I might need a cocktail.

    CAN’T SEE THIS.

    It does not surprise me in the least you can’t see that. But Christ cured the blind, so as Christians we have hope.

    LIKE TRYING TO GET GEORGE SOROS AND BILL GATES TO PONY UP BILLIONS FOR A NON-PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANY. I WOULD BE VERY DOWN WITH THAT.

    Not limiting the field of actors to those two individuals, the new health care law does a lot to enable creation of a non-profit insurance option.

    I WOULD SAY THIS IS NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

    I am sure you are right. Many of those most quick to mouth off about the right to go without health insurance have little intention of actually doing it. They are full of hot air.

  48. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 24, 2010 7:13 pm

    “I would think from this group that the person who relies on govenment funding would be the best Catholic. It seems to me from these threads that there is no higher expression of Catholicism than government programs.”

    Austin, the reason your punches don’t land is because you are fighting an imaginary opponent. Just because you think all government programs are evil doesn’t mean that everyone who disagrees with you thinks they are the solution to all the world’s problems.

    I pointed out that you were dealing in false dichotomy and your response was to exaggerate one end of that dichotomy beyond belief. That doesn’t fix the problem.

    Are you willing to acknowledge that the good Catholic employer both covers his employees and works towards a system that provides coverage for others? Or do you insist that these two aims are mutually exclusive? Is personal charity the only and exclusive road to justice? If so, why give to Caesar what is Caesar’s? ‘Cause he’s got wars to fight?

  49. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:44 pm

    Kurt…I think it would have been terrific if rich guys on the left or right had gotten together and created a massive non-profit health care insurance company that any uninsured person could get into. The government i don’t trust and don’t much like.

  50. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 24, 2010 7:47 pm

    Brett,

    I think my responsibility is to do my work which is to protect the unborn child from rapacious UN radicals. That’s my job. In my spare time, I work on getting the Order of Malta more involved in the pro-life issue. I also work on pornography.

    Do i think there is a responsibility for me to work toward coverage for all. No. Not at all. It is not my vocation. Perhaps it is others. Perhaps it is yours to a larger extent that commenting on blogs.

    Personally, i oppose government provided health care. I would support a massive non-profit to do it, though. Do i support it enough to actually work on it? No. Its’ not my work.

  51. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 25, 2010 9:07 am

    You are equivocating. Whether it is the specific work you are called to is a separate question. (And I have no problem with the fact that people are called to work on different issues.)

    The issue here is whether or not there are other options for a good Catholic employer than the two you present. The fact that you spend most of your time working on other issues doesn’t change the fact that you have presented a false dichotomy in your “blog time.” I didn’t ask, “Must Austin Ruse work toward universal coverage?” Rather, I asked whether the hypothetical “Good Catholic employer” has other options besides the two you presented. I think the answer to that is clear. Your refusal to face the question forthrightly indicates that it is clear to you as well.

  52. Kurt permalink
    October 25, 2010 9:16 am

    I think it would have been terrific if rich guys on the left or right had gotten together and created a massive non-profit health care insurance company that any uninsured person could get into. The government i don’t trust and don’t much like.

    Then you must think at least parts of the health care bill are terrific, because it opens up the option for a non-profit. In fact, one of the compromises moderate Democrats offered to the public option was just such a non-profit. The GOP universally opposed it and unfortunately we (I guess that includes you and me) were not able to overcome their opposition.

    Of course, we progressives don’t have your presumption that a non-profit health care plans has to be founded and designed by rich people or that the paternalism of employers is the basis for workplace health care plans.

    Personally, i oppose government provided health care. Well, you should be very happy with the health care system here in the United States where health care providers are in the private sector and will remain so under the new legislation.

    Or did you mean health care financing rather than health care providers?

  53. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 25, 2010 9:32 am

    Brett,

    Let me be direct…

    “Are you willing to acknowledge that the good Catholic employer both covers his employees and works towards a system that provides coverage for others?”

    NO.

    “Or do you insist that these two aims are mutually exclusive?”

    NO.

    “Is personal charity the only and exclusive road to justice?”

    NO.

  54. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 25, 2010 10:06 am

    Thanks for this direct answer. If I may push a little further, given that the two are not mutually exclusive. why would a good Catholic employer not be concerned that those not under his employ also get coverage?

  55. October 25, 2010 10:33 am

    This hurts my feelings, Austin. Why are you so willing to answer the questions of these guys, and never care to answer mine? Wait, maybe I shouldn’t have put that in the form of a question! :)

    -Sam

  56. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 25, 2010 11:03 am

    For the reason you found inadequate before; because it may not be his vocation. He may be working on other worthy issues. He may be focusing on his family.

  57. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 25, 2010 11:05 am

    Sam,

    But I did answer. The answer wa a sincere, I don’t know the implications.

    Big hugs though!

  58. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 25, 2010 12:39 pm

    Austin,
    You’ll have to forgive me. I thought you felt Catholics in general should not work for general insurance coverage, not simply that a given individual Catholic might have other priorities for his or her own time. In other words, I had the distinct impression that you thought working towards getting the uninsured insured, by anything other than private means, an unCatholic use of one’s time.

  59. Ronald King permalink
    October 25, 2010 12:42 pm

    It seems that there aren’t enough good catholics who care enough to create a system of universal healthcare coverage. The opiate that numbs them to the reality of living selfishly is charitable donations.

  60. Kurt permalink
    October 25, 2010 1:45 pm

    It seems that there aren’t enough good catholics who care enough to create a system of universal healthcare coverage.

    Not true. There are enough. That is why we were able to get enactment of a system of universal health care. I think it is almost a provable fact this legislation would not have passed without the Catholic support it received.

  61. Agellius permalink
    October 25, 2010 3:41 pm

    “These guys always brush over or obfuscate the debt owed by American political thought to the Enlightenment.”

    On the contrary, I have often heard conservatives give credit for “American values” to the Enlightenment. In my experience the challenge has been rather to convince Catholic conservatives that basing their political views on Enlightenment ideas is a bad idea.

  62. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 25, 2010 5:06 pm

    Brett,
    I believe working toward public financing of health coverage is a mistake but certainly not unCatholic. I believe it would be remarkably Catholic to work toward setting up a nonprofit for that purpose, however.

    What do you think of the Knights of Columbus life insurance program?

  63. Ronald King permalink
    October 25, 2010 7:36 pm

    Kurt, I should have been clearer. For those who do not support government enacted universal health care and who wanted private coverage the alternative would be to unite the 60 million catholics to fund a system of health care.
    However, I do not think there are enough good Catholics on either side to do this. I do not see creative thinking in the leadership that could make this a possibility nor do I see the willingness to sacrifice enough time, money or energy to create this reality.
    Most of the time, money and energy is used in fighting an enemy outside of us when the enenmy is us and our selfish pursuits.
    Thus, government must provide what we are incapable of providing due to our lack of sufficient sacrifice. We truly are afraid to give up everything.

  64. digbydolben permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:14 pm

    The bad ideas of the so-called “Enlightenment” were the beginning of the end of orthodox Christianity in the West. After it, all you get is retrenchment and cultural surrender (a la the Lutheran-tinged, Augustine-loving Benedict Ratzinger) to Protestant heresy.

    You “conservatives” who think that the Enlightenment was pro-Bible and pro-Christianity ought to read Gibbon on the role of Christianity in the decline of the Roman Empire. Gibbon, unfortunately, is more representative of the “Enlightenment” than Edumnd Burke.

  65. Kurt permalink
    October 26, 2010 2:07 pm

    What do you think of the Knights of Columbus life insurance program?

    Wonderfully modeled after trade union H&W funds which, before social insurance, performed an essential function and now offer a beneficial supplement to Social Security widows and orphans benefits.

    It should cause pause among those who claim everything initiated by the socialists is anti-Catholic.

  66. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 26, 2010 9:02 pm

    More of that….less government, more of that…

  67. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 27, 2010 7:35 am

    Austin,
    I don’t know a lot about it. I like the idea that I can trust the Knights not to pay for abortions with my money. Could you or Kurt give us (or point us to) a nice summary of how it differs from standard insurance schemes. Does it have provisions for not turning down those diagnosed with disease? Does it have provisions for low-income persons? etc.

  68. brettsalkeld permalink*
    October 27, 2010 7:36 am

    Also, being from the land of ACTUAL government insurance, can I ask you if you see much difference between ACTUAL government insurance and increased government regulation of private insurance?

  69. Kurt permalink
    October 27, 2010 8:09 am

    I like the idea that I can trust the Knights not to pay for abortions with my money.

    The KCs don’t offer a health insurance option. They have found that without universal coverage, it is economically impractical. The new law does give them an opportunity to enter this market (ministry?).

    Could you or Kurt give us (or point us to) a nice summary of how it differs from standard insurance schemes.

    Not substantially different from individual policies. The company is extremely sound financially. The fraternal nature of the organization keeps marketing costs low. At a time when some other Catholic fraternal insurance groups are doing poorly (like the Greek Catholic Union — sorry, Henry), the KCs have keep a very high industry rating for soundness.

    Does it have provisions for not turning down those diagnosed with disease?

    Yes.

    Does it have provisions for low-income persons? No

  70. Austin Ruse permalink
    October 27, 2010 12:11 pm

    The Knights do not offer health insurance. Their plan is for life insurance. I am covered, for instance, by $500,000.

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