The Pope Dabbles in Economics

He gets some things right and some things wrong.

Pope Francis wrote in his recent apostolic exhortation, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.”

He’s right — but not in the way he intends. Before I elaborate, let’s look at what else Francis said.

He complained that “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

Here he’s partly right and partly wrong.

“In this context,” he went on,

some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

Again, he’s partly right, though again not as he intended, and partly wrong.

He further stated, “This imbalance [i.e., inequality] is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace.”

Here he has things precisely backwards.

“In this system,” he added, “which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”

He’s got a point, to which I will return shortly.

When I say the pope gets some things right, just not in the way he intends, here’s what I mean: In an important sense, we do have “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” But it is not the free market; rather, it’s interventionism, corporatism, crony capitalism, or just plain capitalism — that is, the abrogation of the free market on behalf of special, mostly business, interests. The reigning system is riddled with exclusion and inequality, the victims of which are society’s most vulnerable people. It’s easy to overlook this because the system produces a great volume and variety of consumer goods that even low-income people can afford. (The system needs consumers, though without intervention we could expect prices to be lower.)

It is true that those we call the poor in this country have household products that most middle-class people lacked, say, 40 years ago, and many things that no one had less than 20 years ago because they hadn’t been invented yet. It is also true that poverty worldwide has been much diminished in the last few decades, thanks to the demise of central planning and the introduction of limited market-style reforms (that nevertheless fall short of Adam Smith’s “system of natural liberty,” which consistently applied would include land reform).

But these are not the only measures of well-being. People are excluded and treated unequally to the extent that governments prevent them from breaking away from traditional (and, in the present context, oppressive) wage employment and setting out on their own or in cooperative ventures with peers. The prospect of self-employment, particularly among low-income people with government schooling, is next to impossible due to taxation, product regulation, occupational licensing, zoning and other land-use restrictions and exclusions, building codes, maximum-residential-density and other sprawl-inducing requirements, street-vendor and taxi-cab limits, minimum-wage laws, “intellectual property,” and more. Government has myriad ways to make what’s been called a comfortable subsistence much more expensive. All this is decreed on behalf of vested interests who want to preserve their current advantages.

“The poorer you are, the more you need access to informal and flexible alternatives, and the more you need opportunities to apply some creative hustling. When the state shuts that out, it shuts poor people into ghettoized poverty,” Charles W. Johnson writes. (See his “Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know It,” and Gary Chartier’s “Government Is No Friend of the Poor.”)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    The Pope! How many Krugmans has he got?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    The apostles were socialists. (Read Acts and tell me they weren't.) Why not the Pope?

  • David Wall||

    Right. Matthew 12:24 among many other scriptures.

  • David Wall||

    Matthew 19:24

  • ||

    The apostles were socialists.

    Definitely not. Even they'd wanted to be they didn't have the power of the state - that wouldn't come until Constantine.

    They were communitarians; possibly even communists. They lived in communes and advocated for collective ownership of property by the churches. But on a voluntary basis among their theological fellow travelers - not among broader society through the force of government.

    I don't agree with either philosophy, but one is voluntary where the other is not, and that makes a tremendous difference.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    According to the Bible they had more than mere government. They had the power of God behind them. Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira. "11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."

  • AlmightyJB||

    You know who else quoted scripture?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Who else quoted scripture?!?! I did!!! Our that them thar VALUES of society outta come from that them thar HOLY BIBLE, and if ya read it right, it actually says that God wants us to KILL EVERYBODY!!! Follow me through now: No one is righteous, NONE (Romans 3:10). Therefore, ALL must have done at least one thing bad, since they’d be righteous, had they never done anything bad. Well, maybe they haven’t actually DONE evil, maybe they THOUGHT something bad (Matt. 5:28, thoughts can be sins). In any case, they must’ve broken SOME commandment, in thinking or acting, or else they'd be righteous. James 2:10 tells us that if we've broken ANY commandment, we broke them ALL. Now we can’t weasel out of this by saying that the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament, because Christ said that he’s come to fulfill the old law, not to destroy it (Matt. 5:17). So we MUST conclude that all are guilty of everything. And the Old Testament lists many capital offenses! There’s working on Sunday. There’s also making sacrifices to, or worshipping, the wrong God (Exodus 22:20, Deut. 17:2-5), or even showing contempt for the Lord’s priests or judges (Deut. 17:12). All are guilty of everything, including the capital offenses. OK, so now we’re finally there... God’s Word COMMANDS us such that we’ve got to kill EVERYBODY!!!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Jim Jones?

  • SQRLSY One||

    All right, ya got me pegged, “SQRLSY One” is a “Gnome De Plume” (AKA, a Feather-Pen named Gnome) for Jimmy Jones… I am he, I ‘fess up… PLEASE don’t tell anyone! (HOW in GAWD’s Holy Name did ya EVER figure me out? Ya got contacts at the NSA?!?!)

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    All right, ya got me pegged

    That was not at you SQRLSY.

    It was at at AJB's attempt to play the Godwin game...

    ...which you fucked up BTW. Ruined a perfectly good Godwin.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ananias and Sapphira promised to give their goods to the church. They not only reneged, mthey lied to St. Peter's face. They were not practicing the free-market virtues.

    They didnt have to promise their wealth to the church. St. Paul didn't - he supported himself as a tentmaker - "working with my own hands."

  • Live Free or Diet||

    They were not practicing the free-market virtues.

    I did not claim they were. I used Luke's tale of Ananias and Sapphira to point out that their communal-collective group -- far from remaining voluntary, as PM claimed -- was ruled through fear and death. It says so right there in the text. Twice.

  • ||

    ...their communal-collective group -- far from remaining voluntary, as PM claimed -- was ruled through fear and death.

    According to the story, they were struck dead by God himself for reneging on the deal they agreed to. That's a pretty severe contract, but one they could have avoided by not making the initial agreement. Doesn't seem to have happened since then either despite millions of people joining the church and then either leaving, or at least failing to tithe, so... take that for what it's worth.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    According to the story, they were struck dead by God himself for reneging on the deal they agreed to.

    I suggest you read it again, Luke wrote it as a passive event, as if they each broke a hip three hours apart and died from the fall. (For example in Koine, "Ananias hearing these words, having fallen down, did expire, and great fear came upon all who heard these things.")
    I suggest Luke the Physician knew exactly how they were murdered and didn't care to record the facts.

  • ||

    I don't read Greek, so I've only ever heard the story in the NIV and KJV English translations, which goes like this:

    3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?... You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. - NIV

    3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?... thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. - KJV

    I always interpreted it as a punishment from God for disobedience.

  • ||

    In any case, think you might be getting wrapped up in retarded semantics much? The fucking point was that church membership was voluntary. If you didn't want to live in a commune and share your property and wealth you didn't have to join the church. It wasn't until much later when the church was married to the state that membership became compulsory. SLD on communism is that it's peachy keen when it's voluntary. I didn't realize religious communism was exempt from that disclaimer.

    As I mentioned, I think communism is immoral regardless of whether it's voluntary or not. But if anybody is stupid enough to volunteer for it, they pretty much get what they deserve.

  • David Wall||

    Philosophically, they were socialists or communists if you like. They were against Aristotelian notions of man's free will, rationality, and a living a good, virtuous life for the rewards of happiness on earth--ideas at their disposal in their times.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Church has traditionally been criticized for following Aristotle too much, mot too little.

    One key area where the Church freed itself from Aristotelian doctrine was that tgey rejected his idea that a large portion of the human race were bornn slaves and should do all the tough work so philophers would have leisure to philosophizEe.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    People are gonna start calling you John.

    Maybe "religious John"?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You wished je to cut down on my posts on objectioable topics.I accordingly reduced the number of offensive threads that I initiated. But I made clear that I would feel free to comment whenever a Reason staffer brought up a topic, no matter how delicate.

    I don't wish to boast, but it is my hope that ky comments might be at least as useful as the anti-compulsory-vaccination folks.

  • David Wall||

    Only after St Thomas Aquinas who reinstated of Aristotelian reason into the culture that then led to Renaissance. Like everything else the church did, after Aquinas, it instituted an unthinking allegiance to Aristotle's ideas of the physical world which were proven wrong. The great scientists of the 15th and 16th centuries had to overcame church dogma of rigid adherence to Aristotle's wrong ideas about the physical world in making their discoveries. Aristotle had the overall approach right but was wrong about many of his ideas about the physical world. Christianity has always set mankind back. It is ignorant, mystical, stupid and an evil force against the progress of man.

  • ||

    Christianity has always set mankind back.

    hmmm

    A quick look at the morality of pagans compared to the morality of Christians I have to say you are completely fucked up.

    Also I just "LOOOOOOOVVVE" how you embrace the progressive view of history.

    "Set mankind back" from what? Utopia?

  • David Wall||

    From what? From rationality--that is what I mean by progress. Greek philosophy was only a start, but it created a culture that respected man's mind; Christianity undercuts man's mind. It is promotes self-sacrifice--man as a sacrificial animal--mysticism and duty to god. All horrific killers of man.

    Man lives and dies by the use of his mind. Ideas that undercut man's mind are evil and despicable.

  • ||

    We've apparently got a Randroid Objectivist who thinks Greek culture was a 24/7 philosophical circle jerk devoid of mysticism until Christianity came along. I guess they don't read the classics of Greek... wait for it... mythology in high schools anymore.

  • David Wall||

    Metaphysically, the important idea that Greek introduced is the idea that the world is knowable and that man's mind was capable of understanding the world. These ideas were critical to mankind.

    The Greeks were a turning point in spite of their mythologies, support of human slavery and various other anachronism. Mankind still has a long way to go. Your insipid cynicism and stupid smears only provide further evidence of this.

  • ||

    And Greek metaphysics permeated Western society regardless of which brand of mysticism was popular for the next several thousand years. That the ancient Greeks laid out the foundation for Western thought is hardly a novel discovery. The contention that uniquely Catholic mysticism killed it is the part that's boneheaded.

  • David Wall||

    Thank God it didn't kill it, but it tried its best. The Renaissance and the discovery of the scientific method happened in spite and usually in opposition of the church. Or are you going to say the church as a great, wonderful supporter of Galileo and the other persecuted early scientists.

  • ||

    The scientific method also contradicted pretty much the entirety of the ancient Greek view of nature, the universe, and man. It was Aristotle, recall, who first rejected heliocentrism and defended the geocentric model that the church would later persecute Galileo for helping to refute. And it's worth repeating that Greek philosophy was, at the time of Galileo's trial, 2,100 years old, having survived the Greek and Roman mystics and pagans before the church became the mysticism du jour, with the ancient Greek model of geocentrism still, quite obviously, alive, well, and pretty highly revered.

    I couldn't less give a shit about your hate boner for the Catholic church (for your edification, I'm not Catholic). The only reason I even replied to your comments was to correct some egregious historical inaccuracies, mainly having to do with the ostensible absence of mysticism in the Western world in pre-Christian times.

  • David Wall||

    Wrap a tidy package deal of ideas up any way you want so you can send them down the river for your own personal solace. Nevertheless, the church has been against man's mind from the beginning and fought against human freedom and knowledge, with a few notable exceptions, every step of the way.

    I am not primarily against religion. My business partner and most of my family are among the religious faithful and they are, otherwise, very virtuous individuals. I am though, a spiritual (human spirit) advocate for human rationality. Unfortunately, that necessarily leads to spirited opposition to religious advocates like yourself.

  • ||

    ...the church has been against man's mind from the beginning and fought against human freedom and knowledge, with a few notable exceptions, every step of the way.

    Augustine, Aquinas, and Mendel might take issue with that characterization.

    The church has committed atrocities and opposed certain historical advancements of human freedom and knowledge, but your characterization is broad almost to the point of meaninglessness. Particularly in a modern context. The number of people throughout the world, theist and non-theist alike, made literate in Catholic schools or made well in Catholic hospitals is an easy example to point to in contradiction of the absolute nature of Rand's your statement. Rand's insights into the moral underpinnings of altruism are worthwhile and her criticism of the church's (as well as secular society's) hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy on the subject valid. Try not to make them into something more than they are. Or at least bother reading the Greek philosophers she idolized.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, that necessarily leads to spirited opposition to religious advocates like yourself.

    I am not a religious advocate (still not Catholic; haven't been inside a church in my adult life). And I love a spirited discussion. But I'm of the opinion that a discussion based primarily on history should maintain at least some fealty to the accuracy thereof. Your story of Christianity introducing long-dead mysticism into a secular humanist world ruled by Hellenistic philosophy, plunging a highly enlightened society of philosopher kings into abject ignorance is historical fiction, and bad historical fiction at that. Good historical fiction at least attempts to maintain plausibility within the context of the known record.

  • Mark22||

    There's nothing wrong with mysticism per se. There is something wrong with mysticism imposed as part of a theocratic dictatorship like the Catholic church. So, Aristotelians may have been wrong on science, but I don't recall them forcing people to convert to their erroneous beliefs under penalty of law, torture or threats of death, like the Catholich church tried to.

    Reason and rationality isn't a question of always being objectively right, it's a question of the approach you take towards determining truth, and the Catholic church is about as far from reason and rationality as any organization can be.

  • ||

    Greek philosophy was only a start, but it created a culture that respected man's mind

    So much so that the Greeks practiced human sacrifice to get omens from the gods and were big on slavery as well.

    I think not.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    A quick look at the morality of pagans compared to the morality of Christians I have to say you are completely fucked up.

    Do you mean the spoken morality or the practiced morality?

    As soon as Christians gained power in the Roman Empire they persecuted the hell out of pagans, and when they ran out of pagans they started burning each other at the stake over superfluous vowels and filioques, etc.

    St. Jerome complained constantly about Christians "making the Body of Christ a corpse" and St. Augustine chided Christians for scandalizing pagans by not merely failing to forgive enemies but failing even to forgive friends. Neither was a noted pagan advocate.

  • Mark22||

    "A quick look at the morality of pagans compared to the morality of Christians I have to say you are completely fucked up."

    If you look at the moral edicts of Ashoka, the were two millennia ahead of Judeo-Christian morality.

    Judeo-Christian morality started out as a vicious, authoritarian, bloody set of tribal laws. It was reshaped into something approaching what people imagine it to be only under the pressure of the Enlightenment and changes in Western society.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The great scientists of the 15th and 16th centuries had to overcame church dogma of rigid adherence to Aristotle's wrong ideas about the physical world in making their discoveries.

    Copernicus' (and by extension Galileo's) theory was wrong (it assumed the planets had circular orbits) and did not match contemporary astronomical observation as well as Ptolemy's geocentric theory. The church was totally sticking its nose in where it didn't belong when it excommunicated Galileo, but it certainly wasn't clear at that point that he was right.

  • ||

    The church was totally sticking its nose in where it didn't belong when it excommunicated Galileo, but it certainly wasn't clear at that point that he was right.

    Technically Galileo wasn't excommunicated. That would have implied eternal damnation. The church was happy merely to keep him confined to house arrest and prevent him from publishing for the remainder of his natural life.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    One key area where the Church freed itself from Aristotelian doctrine was that tgey rejected his idea that a large portion of the human race were bornn slaves and should do all the tough work so philophers would have leisure to philosophizEe.

    How is that again?

    Ephesians 6:5: Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.

    Colossians 3:22: Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.

    1 Timothy 6:1: Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

    Titus 2:9-10: Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

    1 Peter 2:18: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

  • David Wall||

    I'm impressed. You couldn't have goggled all of these quotes. You've got a lot of biblical knowledge for one who is presumably a non-believer.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I was raised mostly in the Southern US, so I was advised by friends and neighbors to read the Bible. To everyone's surprise, I did. And I would read it again whenever I found myself tempted to believe in it. This led me gradually into a sort of functional atheism at a young age. The books of the prophets (the latter Old Testament) is a particularly effective section, BTW.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    +1 bravery

    Good on ya, Diet.

    I remained a "Christian" into my late 30s, because I was a coward. I was told that questioning the bible was a ticket straight to hell.

    The absurdity of magical beings was always in the back of my mind, but I dared not let it take the form of words or ideas.

    Pretty good hook they got there.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I remained a "Christian" into my late 30s, because I was a coward. I was told that questioning the bible was a ticket straight to hell.

    A real coward would never be so honest about it, of course.
    I went the other way around. I was offending them by comparing the Bible to what they were doing. Like asking why (by excluding wine) they felt they needed to be holier than Jesus, especially in light of his first miracle. What, was he young and just didn't quite have things right yet?
    I also suggested things like what Jesus wrote in the sand (John 8:1-11) was, "Who's the guy you caught her with, a friend? Or were the lot of you forcing her, perhaps?"
    They were glad to leave me alone.

  • Homple||

    The Bible is good for racy stories, though. David and Bathsheba, Judith and Holofernes. Laban getting Jacob drunk and slipping his defective daughter Leah into the wedding tent instead of Rachel, the much hotter sister....

    Also, the King James Version has some language on a level with Shakespeare's.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The idea of patiently enduring humble circumstances - and mistreatment by "froward" masters, no less- does not imply that the servantsare heing justly dealt with. Now, this opens another can of worms about endurance of suffering vs. rebelling against oppression, but it's not the same as positing a class of persons fit only for slavery.

    Not only did whole religious orders work to ransom Christians held in slavery, but the Popes issued thundering denunciations of the enslavement of non-Christians (the Pope was obeyed in this about as well as he was obeyed about not committing adultery).

    Of course it's a l8ng story with plenty of backsliding, but the trend innChristendom was away from slavery.

  • Mark22||

    For any political position you want to find, you can find popes that espoused them. Usually, popes just say whatever serves the long-term financial and political interests of the church.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    LFOD: Missing the part where it says that the majority of the world should be enslaved, which was the OP's point about Aristotlean/Socratic views.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If you're replying to me, I said "a large portion," not a majority.

  • ||

    They were communitarians; possibly even communists.

    In other words a family.

    I do not know why every time a basic family structure comes up everyone has to jump on the "Its socialism" bandwagon.

  • ||

    I tend to think of a family as a much smaller functional unit. Each regional church in early Christianity served as its own communal society. People tend to live relatively communally within their immediate family, much less communally or not at all communally with their extended family, but virtually nobody lives communally with, say, their entire neighborhood.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    In other words a family.

    A family that valued murdering two of their own for a non-violent offense.

  • DarrenM||

    A family that valued murdering two of their own for a non-violent offense.

    Honor killings?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Dishonor murders.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Volunteering to share your resources within a community is hardly the same as the state running things.

  • David Wall||

    No, but religious duty has been a precursor to the state running things. Agents of the state including popes, kings, dictators of all sorts through the ages have used duties to god or god proxies (society & the community) to enslave man for 2 millennium.

    Face it.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    None of which reflects anything about the early church, which really only held the power to shun apostates. I guess it's plausible they murdered them but that's not what their literature claims, and I'm unfortunately not aware of any other primary sources.

  • David Wall||

    The mysticism of the early church and duty toward god accelerated man's march away from the Greeks initial beach head of reason and rationality. The results were 1500+ years of human suffering during the Dark Ages.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    And that has what to do with the setup described in Acts?

  • David Wall||

    Acts was Luke's more or less successful attempt to legitimize Christianity in the Roman Empire. Christ's followers reintroduced man's prehistoric mysticism into the Roman culture and led it further away from the rational views of the Greeks. Man lives, survives and flourishes by the use of his mind. Christianity finally severed the Greek metaphysics that reality was a knowable universe, undercut man's main means of living successfully on this earth and doomed him to a culture of mysticism, duty to a god and away from living life for life's sake. Christianity led to the Dark Ages and untold suffering.

  • ||

    Christianity was shunned as a radical, annoying offshoot of Judaism until Constantine, which was most likely around 200 years after Acts was written. And it was a further 300 years after that the Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, began with the collapse of the Roman empire. Your time line is way, way off.

  • David Wall||

    So, you are saying the Dark Ages were not dominated by Christianity. Support this, please.

  • ||

    So, you are saying the Dark Ages were not dominated by Christianity.

    You can write, so it should follow that you can read. Try again.

  • David Wall||

    Ideas are ideas. History determines when they come to fruition. The Roman Empire collapsed for a variety or reasons, no doubt, Christianity contributed and cashed in on the collapse.

  • ||

    All I was pointing out initially is that the apostles' great grand kids probably weren't alive long enough to see state endorsement of Christianity under Constantine, in contradiction of your contention that Acts was Luke's more or less successful attempt to legitimize Christianity in the Roman Empire. Christianity didn't attain legitimacy in the empire for at least 2 centuries after Acts was written. And when it did, it merely supplanted pagan mysticism and ritualism, in contradiction of your contention that Christ's followers reintroduced man's prehistoric mysticism into the Roman culture... It betrays an incredible historical ignorance to say that Greek and then Roman culture were untainted by the stink of mysticism until Christianity got it's tentacles on the emperor.

  • ||

    The church (as a political organ much more so than as a theological one) did play a pivotal role in the Middle Ages in Europe, just not quite the role you think it did, or on the timeline you suggested.

  • David Wall||

    I am a retired businessman, not a historian, but I am a sometime student. It is my understanding that early Christian evangelicals like Luke were trying to placate Roman Emperors by convincing them that their Sect was not a threat to Roman power. That was Luke's intent with the his apologies enumerated in Acts. They just wanted to get out of the cross hairs so they could grow their sect without being slaughtered.

    So it took several hundred years for the sect to grow. My point is that the ideas of the early Christians eventually led the Roman culture away from Greek philosophy. This was terrible tragedy for mankind.

  • ||

    My point is that the ideas of the early Christians eventually led the Roman culture away from Greek philosophy.

    That simply isn't the case. Christianity adopted many Greek philosophical concepts, just as it integrated other cultural traditions and practices from broader Rome, including heisting most of its holidays from the existing pagan traditions. As I said upthread, Greek philosophy has formed an integral part of Western thought since it was first created 2600-ish years ago. Christianity was born within it. I know it's wiki, but check out the following article for some examples:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....ristianity

  • David Wall||

    Aristotle's influence in the church occurred much later with St. Thomas of Aquinas. I addressed this issue above.

  • ||

    Aristotle's influence in the church occurred much later with St. Thomas of Aquinas. I addressed this issue above.

    That isn't an exhaustive list and wasn't what I was referring to. The wiki article is short. Easy reading. Not a ton of big words. Succinct summaries. If you read it 3 or 4 times you should probably be able to comprehend at least some of it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Remind me - which Greek philosopher did Ayn Rand love?

  • David Wall||

    I am not your servant, Eduard. Look it up yourself. If you don't want to talk about ideas, take a hike.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You seem to have missed my point.AynnRand loved Aristotle so much that in comparison Aquinas had 8nly a mild preference.

  • David Wall||

    So what? PM is discussing his Christian religion and trying to convince me it hasn't and won't lead to further disaster.

  • ||

    PM is discussing his Christian religion and trying to convince me it hasn't and won't lead to further disaster.

    Reading comprehension is demonstrably not a strong suit of yours, but actually, I was merely correcting some of your history since it was off by nearly half a millennium. If you're going to discuss the demise of the Roman empire and the misdeeds of the Catholic church it'd be helpful if you actually had some idea what they were and when they took place.

  • David Wall||

    The Dark Ages were not mankind's greatest human tragedies and the Christian Church did not play a hand in it? Is that right PM?

    Am I reading you on that correctly?

  • ||

    Am I reading you on that correctly?

    Nope. Still not reading me correctly. You've got a hard enough time managing to comprehend the words I've actually typed, don't make it harder on yourself by inventing words I never said.

  • ||

    Protip: The fact that you were off by 300-500 years on both the Christianization of the Roman empire and it's eventual fall that led to the Middle Ages; and that you are historically illiterate concerning the cultural and social mores of Greek and Roman society; doesn't negate the Catholic church's role in the violence and dysfunction of Europe during the Middle Ages.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Actually that's a bit backwards; the empire was already falling apart in the late first century AD. The "Year of the Seven Emperors" took place when Christianity was still an obscure sect. The Roman persecution of Christians was motivated by fears that the government and society were falling apart because Jupiter and company were pissed about not being worshipped by everyone.

    Either way, to hold Christianity responsible for the fall of Rome is ridiculous.

  • ||

    the empire was already falling apart in the late first century AD. The "Year of the Seven Emperors" took place when Christianity was still an obscure sect.

    The nesting is dead at this point, so I don't know if this was addressed to me, but that was more or less my point: when Acts was written (probably 60-80 AD) Christianity was hardly being legitimized. The official adoption of Christianity occurred while Constantine ruled from 306 to 324 AD. To say that Acts was Luke's more or less successful attempt to legitimize Christianity in the Roman empire is hogwash.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Dark Ages were not mankind's greatest human tragedies and the Christian Church did not play a hand in it? Is that right PM?

    So I take it you're going to credit Islam for transforming a fringey tribe of guys chopping each other's heads off in the desert, to the most wealthy and advanced civilization the world had ever known during that same time?

  • Homple||

    This sounds like Petrarch (who first coined the phrase "dark ages") pissing and moaning about how the world had gone to blazes since the end of Roman Empire.

    Historians since the early 20th Century have been noticing that the period was not as dark as claimed. Start with Henri Pirenne's Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade and check out some modern scholarship kicked off by that little volume.

  • ||

    Historians since the early 20th Century have been noticing that the period was not as dark as claimed.

    Indeed, the term "Dark Ages" isn't even used among historians and academics anymore. I actually got into an e-argument several years ago with someone over the term, unaware that it had both fallen out of favor and the new historical developments that caused the disuse of the term. Felt pretty stupid afterwards.

  • PaulW||

    2 Thessalonians 3 (The Message)

    10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.

    14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

  • Vampire||

    The Pope, and all whom attend the Churches, believe the word of God, and so fourth should believe in free markets and true freedom and liberty as defined.

    Yet there are individuals, who study the bible and many a scripture that clearly state "thou shalt not steal". These very individuals then go on to advocate theft, force and coercion by the government.

    If theft is immoral, then how can one advocate taxation, which is forced and in no way voluntary? Theft is theft no matter whom engages in it, and it seems politicians in the eyes of some individuals get a free pass to do so, while other individuals know not what they are advocating because they know no better.

    Free individuals should not be subjected to force, threats or acts of violence simply because other individuals do not know. One of the many reasons these individuals "don't know" is because they are shielded from facing the consequences of the theft they advocate.

    The church, if it really wanted the world "to be a better place" and attempt to rid it of these ills etc should be advocating freedom and liberty, along with free market economics. Anything else would be antithetical to their goal of thou shalt not steal and so on, as well as hypocritical to say the least.

  • Boisfeuras||

    "Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms? A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralised that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of kingdom, which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity. For it was a witty and truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, 'What is your idea, in infesting the sea?' And the pirate answered, 'The same as yours, in infesting the earth! but because I do it with a tiny craft, I'm called a pirate; because you have a mighty army, you're called an emperor.'"

    – Augustine of Hippo, City of God Against the Pagans

  • Agammamon||

    ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life . . .

    How does it set a clear limit? I mean its not like Catholics (or indeed, Christians in general) follow that commandment. Is it like the 9th and 10th amendments - a nice idea but ignored when inconvenient?

  • Acosmist||

    Huh?

  • ||

    TEH CRUSADES!

  • ||

    Which I mean, it is a point, but I haven't noticed the Catholic church make a practice of raising privates armies to go sack the holy land in the intervening 700 years.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Ah, the glory days!

  • Acosmist||

    A tip of the fedora to you too!

  • Agammamon||

    There're are a ton of Christians in the military and not one of them is a CO. Then figure in all the civilian personnel deciding who to kill.

    The commandments are pretty straightforward and don't have a lot of wiggle-room - Thou shall not kill is as simple as thou shall have no gods before me. Then add in Christ's 'turn the other cheek' bit and the traditional view that this world is meaningless except as a path to the afterlife and there really is no theological underpinning for Christians killing in any circumstance.

  • Irish||

    Thou shall not kill is as simple as thou shall have no gods before me.

    Yeah, but the actual original commandment in Hebrew was "You shall not murder" and in context clearly means don't kill other Hebrews.

  • ||

    ...there really is no theological underpinning for Christians killing in any circumstance.

    Irish addresses the main substance of this by pointing out the commandment is normally interpreted as "You shall not murder", which carries a completely different meaning.

    But also bear in mind the same Jesus who extolled the virtues of non-violence also admonished his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords in Luke 22:36. It's hard to imagine what he envisioned them being used for if not self defense (although he turns around a few verses later when Peter strikes the ear of the guard come to arrest him and admonishes Peter for it).

    Also, you may have heard of "Just War" theory. It was invented by the Catholic church.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Also, you may have heard of "Just War" theory. It was invented by the Catholic church.

    And then ignored by same.

    In 1648 the Pope wrote an encyclical denouncing the Catholic monarchs who got sick of fighting and agreed to end the Thirty Years War against Protestant states. Think about that for a minute.

  • ||

    Which is completely irrelevant to the point I was making, which was that there has been a theological justification for killing under certain circumstances within the Christian tradition basically since the beginning.

  • David Wall||

    It is disheartening to see a credentialed blogger on a site that supposedly promotes "free minds and free markets" put forth such a lame defense of capitalism. "Cronyism" from "capitalism" must clearly be distinguished. Capitalism is a political system without any institutionalized use of force which makes it the only moral political system. Any government interference in behest of a profit-making organization is "cronyism" and is the exact opposite of "capitalism" in the context of free trade verses government-enforced financial exchange.

    Proponents of capitalism should stop using the contradictory term "crony capitalism". It is either "cronyism" or "capitalism". Please define your terms, establish the principles at stake, and provide intellectual guidance. Otherwise the Pope and all the other immoral enemies of freedom and capitalism will continue to win.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    There are two schools on this.

    1. Those in your camp who equate Capitalism to the free market and want to call the current system Cronyism.

    2. Those who want to use the term free-market and let the word Capitalism be defined as "Crony Capitalism".

    I'm in camp 1, as I embrace the term Capitalism, but you are correct, we really need to pick a convention and stick to it. If it's confusing for us, think of the dim bulbs watching MSNBC.

  • David Wall||

    I say no to #2. Embrace the term capitalism. It is exactly right. The raising of capital--of all sorts--is what spurs man's progress. "Socialist capitalism", "communist capitalism", "crony capitalism". Nonsense, word salad terms. Should be abolished from liberty-promoters lexicon.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The word Capitalism was coined by Marx to describe the mercantilist systems of European countries in the early 19th century. It inherently meant what we would refer to as crony capitalism which is how much of the world still defines it.

    It is unfortunate that free markets or economic liberty while more accurate are not as pithy as Marx's word.

  • David Wall||

    Yeah, Engels popularized the term. But taking the term with its negative connotation allows a principled defender to define the system in moralistic terms. I full throated, moral defense of capitalism is the only strategy that hasn't been tried. All others have failed (e.g., primarily utilitarianism by Buckley are many, many others). Redefine and defend it on moral grounds and half the battle is won.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You're assuming everyone else has the same moral principles that you do. Like it or not, with regard to most people in our society, you're going to have a hell of a time defending on "moral grounds" the right of a wealthy person refuse to give food to a starving person.

  • Don'tTreadOnMe||

    Now I'm only addressing politics here, but in order to have the left even listen to a discussion in defense of capitalism much less begin to vote that way I would humbly suggest promoting the use of the term "Free Market System" exclusive of the term "Capitalism". The opportunity to respond to the question about distinctions,"So you're just talking about capitalism, right?" at least affords the chance to set the hook. Otherwise, it's just Hands-to-the-face….

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Hogwash. Crony capitalism involves the raising of capital too, and does not appear much different from market capitalism to the casual observer.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Whoa. Are you saying that an Argentine cleric might not be the best source of economic insight and wisdom?

  • ||

    It really is hard to believe considering what a great economic success that Latin American countries shepherded by the Catholic church have historically been.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Argentina was doing well economically until Peron - not the Church - messed it up.

    A few centuries ago, mPope Francis' own order - the Jesuits - set up a Latin American republic which protected the Indians from colonialist exploitation. Even Voltaire was impressed.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't everyone rebut me at once!

  • ||

    Argentina was a basket case from the early 1900's. The decade preceding Peron wasn't known as the Infamous Decade for no reason. Not necessarily the fault of the church, but crediting the church for a prosperous pre-Peron Argentina that never existed is disingenuous. The country was economically prosperous in the late 1800's, also having nothing to do with the church, and predating Peron by a margin much larger than your construction suggested.

    Your second line needs no refutation because it's a non-sequitur, unless protecting native South Americans from colonial expansion represents economic success.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Goodness - I wasnt crediting the Church for Argentine prosperity, simply saying the Church didn't prevent it. And if the Church can't take the credit for Latin American economies, still less can it take the blame.

    The Jesuit republic counteracts the notion that the Church always and everywhere underwrote colonial exploitation, another suggestion dropped by a commenter.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I think I was relying on Paul Johnson for Peron being the culprit, but if the prosperity ended earlier, it still existed, and I doubt it was the church which ended it.

  • ||

    Fair enough. Point being, the church doesn't exactly have a history of ushering in laissez-faire economic prosperity in Latin America, so it isn't terribly surprising that a pope from that region would be more or less economically illiterate.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The thing is, he made clear that his remarks were not aased on some personal fancy of his, but in line with Catholic social teaching going hack over a century.

  • Specail Sauce||

    If only the church could replace corporations in the cronyism equation. Big church in bed with big government could solve all the worlds problems. Too bad there is no history of such a glorious partnership... Oh yeah, and fuck the Pope.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    There was the beer monopoly - which led to competition between local monastaries/breweries - which led to a lot of improvement in beer technology.
    http://www.belgianbeercafe.us/.....t-beer.cfm

  • Specail Sauce||

    Now it all makes sense. Jimmy Carter was actually the Pope! I should have known it took divine inspiration to suck that bad.

  • Don'tTreadOnMe||

    +1

  • ||

    "...some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts,..."

    Pope trots out old, tired marxist horse shit. Masses gobble it up.

    Imagine, if you will, that you can travel back in time. Go back to 12th century europe and grab someone then bring them back to the present and let them observe the united states.

    What do you suppose would be the most striking to them?

  • ||

    What do you suppose would be the most striking to them?

    Internet porn.

  • ||

    Heh. Good one.

    After the initial wonderment over technological marvels they would probably be amazed by the vast reduction in 'inequality'. Average people are wearing nice clothes, have plenty to eat, own property, are free to move about as they please, and can improve their lot. No evidence huh?

    All of those spectacular improvements are the result of what little bit of capitalism that has been allowed to exist. Not one single bit of improvement is due to the catholic church, its teachings, or the result of any redistributionist actions.

    Francis is a vile little cocksucker spouting the same old politics of envy that have caused his own country's condition to go down the shitter. His is identical to the vomit spewed by chavez and maduro that turned venezuela into a hell hole. The sooner he croaks, the better.

  • Acosmist||

    Not one single bit of improvement is due to the Church? That's implausible on its face.

  • ||

    Please explain and give examples.

  • Acosmist||

    Big bang theory good enough for you?

  • ||

    Huh?

  • Acosmist||

    The big bang theory, it's a...scientific theory. In the field of cosmology.

    There's also a TV show of the same name, but that is not the thing I am thinking of.

    Perhaps that is your source of confusion.

  • ||

    I dont really buy the BBT or that Odin formed the world out of his belly button lint, but I am not going to debate about that here.

    That is not what I asked.

  • Acosmist||

    Oh.

    I thought the big bang theory was considered the best theory about the origin of the universe. I'm not an expert on physics, so I really just have to depend on what the experts say, and they're pretty clear about that one.

    But if you don't agree with it, I can see why you would not take that as an example.

  • ||

    I am not trying to be argumentative, but best theory does not equal correct theory. I am firmly convinced that science will eventually answer that question, I just dont think they have done so yet.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The catholic church created the universe? Well then providing material wealth for all the poor people ought to be a breeze. Someone tell the pope to on that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I thought the big bang theory was considered the best theory about the origin of the universe.

    BBT doesn't explain the origin of the universe, it explains the expansion of the universe. It assumes something already existed before the BB. (though what "before" means in that context is unclear)

  • Irish||

    What did the Catholic Church have to do with the Big Bang Theory?

  • Libertarius||

    They endorsed it wholeheartedly, because the rationalism and nihilism which became pervasive in modern physics after Einstein made creationism appear possible.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The church did advance the concept of rule of law, which is an important component of functioning market economies.

  • seguin||

    The study of genetics.

  • ||

    Please explain and give examples.

    The Catholic church does do a lot of good charitable work. Which, in a real free market, would be a valuable service. There really are certain people who are deserving and in need of charity, and churches are just one possible avenue for providing them with aid without involving the state.

    It would be interesting to see how charitable the Catholic church could afford to be if Francis got his way though. Hard to bleed your 10% to the church when the other 90 is going to the government. The church's charitable mission also seems pretty redundant when the ostensibly beneficent state takes on the role of provider.

  • Don'tTreadOnMe||

    Good point, but I'd rather not pay for the overhead of stained glass and vestments.

    Your second point is also and interesting one as watching the state and the church fighting over the last time rolling on the table would be entertaining. Of course the reality that has played out again and again from the beginning of time is that church and state are often part of a power pact to control 'the people'. Perhaps the U.S. has managed to untangle that evil web better than most modern states, but we still seem to have to say, "….Under God" to justify ourselves.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well they do take that money they con out of the poor and invest a lot of it in the stock market so there is that. But then according to the pope that's sinful behavior.

  • Acosmist||

    Huh?

  • ||

    The Renaissance was largely funded by the Church.

    Also it helped keep back the Golden Horde.

    If you look at Christianity rather then just the Church you might notice modern liberal democracy started in Christian States. I do not think that is a coincidence.

  • ||

    I forgot to include the enormous increase in life expectancy and improvements in overall health.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It would be a lot better if everyone lived in 3rd world conditions except for the vanguard which of course can't be expected to rule the world form the poor camps.

  • ||

    You are right on the money, so to speak.

    People in power always seek to increase their power and maintain the status quo. Everything they do is to that end and the result is exactly what you said.

  • AdamJ||

    People watching Internet porn on personal video devices while flying on airplanes?

  • ||

    Cars and how big everyone is.

  • AlmightyJB||

    So the pope will be distributing the church's wealth to the poor starting when exactly? Until that time, FTP.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm not counting the money distributed through class action settlements to the children they raped which probably mostly went to lawyers.

  • Acosmist||

    Lots of Catholic charities out there.

  • ||

    The modus operandi of charities is to collect money from the general population and give a portion of it to their stated cause and keep the rest.

    The church ( or any charity ) is not distributing it's own wealth, just yours.

  • ||

    Well as far as i can see people gave it voluntarily to the church.

    They gained it through voluntary means. It is their wealth they are distributing.

  • AlmightyJB||

    There is a lot of corporate and individual sponsored charity work being done as well. But if your going to spout off about inequality while your taking showers in your gold plated bathroom (golden showers?), then your just a hypocritical lying asshole. So typical and common with that type though.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I always get a kick out of these expose's of the Catholic Church's supposed wealth. Counting land that it needs to operate and fulfill its mission as "wealth" is dirty pool. Yes, they could make a good chunk of change selling off all their churches, schools, monasteries, and hospitals and going out of business forever.

  • ||

    PP&E appears on every company's balance sheet, despite the fact that they can't operate without those capital goods. In terms of valuation, the church shouldn't be judged by special divine accounting.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I'm not talking about accounting practices, I'm talking about calls for them to "give their wealth to the poor" which would require going out of business and taking away institutions that already help the poor.

  • ||

    Something tells me not every dime of the church's rental income from its commercial property in places like NYC is supporting soup kitchens. For that matter, the Vatican could probably afford to sell a few of it's luxury residences in Vatican city without compromising its mission. I don't think anybody is asking the church to put the pope in a tent on the streets of Rome, but it's comically ironic when they are guilt tripping middle class people to give their bottom dollar to the church while they're holding assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Stevecsd||

    ....hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.”

    So when is the pope going to end the exclusion and inequality of the economy that he has direct control of, the Vatican?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Imagine, if you will, that you can travel back in time. Go back to 12th century europe and grab someone then bring them back to the present and let them observe the united states.

    What do you suppose would be the most striking to them?

    Fat poor people.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Fat poor people.

    Not likely. Remember Friar Tuck? Obesity among the destitute goes back a long, long way. Hippocrates wrote that "Corpulence is not only a disease itself, but the harbinger of others," and he noted many young Scythian nomad women were particularly podgy.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The pope's understanding standing of economics is horribly anachronistic. Not 100 or 200 year so but 1500 years. In early feudal Europe people became rich through violence - stealing land that had previously belonged to someone else and then forcing other people to work the land in perpetuity, as serfs. The fact that the western world has been moving away from the model, with increasing speed, for the last 1,000+ years is lost on him (in fairness, the model was repeated with the Spanish conquest of latin america. As is the reality that modern market economies provide unlimited opportunity for almost all of their citizens and that very little wealth in these countries are tied to the ownership of real estate.

  • SQRLSY One||

    The Pope’s a Dope on a Rope… All he needs to do, seeing as he’s got a little tiny Nation of his own called “The Vatican”, is, since he’s got all the economic answers, to set up his own little economic power-house there, using HIS economic theories, and I am QUITE sure that in no time at all, there will not be ONE single sick or poor person in The Vatican, and that The Vatican will then be the world’s source of affordable anti-gravity pods and controlled thermonuclear energy power stations and other wondrous new products! Who knows, maybe they could even invent and honest politician!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Actually, I guess the idea I have so generously donated here, though… WITHOUT trying to claim IP rights to it… Might not work as intended. Why? With such a limited amount of land, the Vatican could not POSSIBLY raise enough young altar boys to feed their machine, truly independent of the outside world… TBD, though, we’ll never know till we try it out; how many altar boys would we have to send them to get how many anti-gravity pods in return? “The Devil is in the details”.

  • shut the fuck up mary||

    .

  • VG Zaytsev||

    OT

    There's having a long discussion on raising the minimum wage on the MHP show this morning. The token conservative on the show is kicking lefty ass with logic and facts about the effects of raising it.

  • ||

    Advocating for raising the MW is founded on the mistaken notion that increasing the number of dollars paid to workers is the same as increasing their share of wealth. In fact, the market quickly adjusts to a hike in wages by a hike in prices. In the end the workers are paid the same as before the hike.

    MW advocates simply do not understand what money is. As has been pointed out many times here, they are animists. They think a dollar has a value in and of itself.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Actually, they're being surprisingly honest in saying that mw is a political winner for the dems and that's why they should push it.

    A point that the token conservative rephrased as their advocating policies that hurt the poor because they help dems get elected.

  • Don'tTreadOnMe||

    ^^THIS!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    He complained that “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

    Poor little guy. Those lowbrow megachurches are kicking his ass in the marketplace of bad ideas. No wonder he's so distraught.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    E J Dionne uses a lot of words he doesn't actually know the definitions of.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The token conservative on the show is kicking lefty ass with logic and facts about the effects of raising it.

    IOW, losing.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Not making much effect on the morons on the show but anyone watching has to realize that he's getting the best of them.

    At one point the head retard responded to him citing media reports with "Yeah in Murdoch's paper"

  • ||

    You forget that the majority of the people watching the show are morons also.

    Typically when I talk to any left leaning person, if I quote any libertarian or conservative ( Sowell comes to mind ) they typically start a spittle flecked rant about how much they hate that person and completely disregard the facts or logic of the statement.

    In other words, they are completely irrational.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    With their ratings I think the audience is largely people like me & Brooks that watch to laugh and marvel at their idiocy.

  • Ted S.||

    You forget that the majority of the people watching the show are morons also.

    Yeah, the two people other than Zaytsev are the majority of MSNBC viewers.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    David Brooks is outraged by evil intolerant rednecks.

  • ||

    Brooks thinks we need an emperor instead of a president with very limited power. I think Brooks rides the short bus.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Peter King says Snowden is a TRAITOR.

    What does that make you, you lying fuck?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Why does anyone pay attention to that moron? Oh yeah, he's become the neo-cons last hope - LOL.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Peter King says Snowden is a TRAITOR.

    He is a traitor, to the government. Of course, since the government are traitors to the People, that makes him a HERO.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Now the head retard is saying that big mega-banks are backing pay-day lenders to reap obscene profits by ripping off poor people.

    She actually thinks that the banks that won't loan money to solidly profitable small businesses are raking it in off of $50 & $100 payday loans.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    but anyone watching has to realize that he's getting the best of them.

    Unfortunately, I suspect the majority of the viewers look up to Melissa Harris Racetroller, and accept her words at face value, while dismissing out of hand any notion which contradicts the approved narrative.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    King slams down the b9/11 card.

    Game, set, and MATCH!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That would be the 9/11 card.

    stupid keyboard

    --------

    Snowden is narcissist. He doesn't love America, he just wants to watch the world burn. -David Brooks

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Now they're jizzing all over the table at the idea that Lizzie Warren will be their pres candidate in '16. Especially orgasmic when paired with a crazy tee-bagger R candidate like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Has Warren ever uttered anything but vapid platitudes?

    I don't exactly hang on her every word, but what I have seen is almost entirely substanceless "wouldn't it be nice if..." blather, and wealth envy fingerpointing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Warren has, during Senate committee hearings, grilled some bank regulators, SEC and CFTC types about big banks being allowed to rig the markets and then get off with slaps on the wrist when caught. She even made a fairly libertarian point about how unjust it is that prosecutors love to "make examples" and "send messages" when ordinary people commit minor violations of the law, but then cite "prosecutorial discretion" and "limited resources" when a big bank is caught blatantly breaking the law.

    Of course, the likelihood that she understands the root cause of that dichotomy is essentially zero.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now Mike Rogers is on ABC, saying Snowden should come home to America and turn himself in to the Proper Authorities, so we can hang him for his treasonous acts.

    WHY DOESN'T HE COME HOME?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Top Warmonger Kristol and Obama Fascist sycophant Ratner both think domestic spying is a great idea.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Greta van Susstern keeps saying that the program violates the plain language of the constitution.

    Political hacks look at her slack jawed - probably wondering what this constitution thingy is and why anyone cares about what's in it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not quite slackjawed, but Van Susstern is way overstating the case. There's no plain language I'm aware of that it violates.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Sleazy little crook Ratner says, "Obama will do what's best for us."

    Goatfucking Jesus, you despicable little sycophant, get off your knees and wipe the jizz off your chin.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Political hacks look at her slack jawed - probably wondering what this constitution thingy is and why anyone cares about what's in it.

    9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11!!!!!!!

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    How about something along the lines of "The War Corps"? We have the Peace Corps and the Job Corps. Why not the War Corps? Poor people would be drafted into the War Corps and sent to fight endless wars until they die off. How about it folks? HA!!!

  • Don'tTreadOnMe||

    We have it already….called the US Army...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Now Ratner wonders how could they let the President run around saying that stuff about "keep your insurance"? Those damn flunkies, it's all their fault.

    Keep sucking.

    Also, we need more Great Things; paid for by the government with borrowed money. STIMULUS!!!111!!1

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It's not Obama's fault that someone sabotaged his teleprompter. He's just another victim like Ron Burgundy.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Ratner apparently thinks BOOOOSH was a libertarian.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    I'm sure that when the Pope reads this article he will want to hire the author to come to Rome and advise him, with a handsome salary and lots of perks of course.

  • Mike M.||

    I'm still waiting to hear what this new pope thinks about guys who molest children.

  • Specail Sauce||

    Molestation is the perverted outcome of unfetterd Capitalism. The priests were the unwilling pawns of the free market, and the alter boys were born as cogs in the capitalist machine.

  • OldMexican||

    But it is not the free market; rather, it’s interventionism, corporatism, crony capitalism, or just plain capitalism - that is, the abrogation of the free market on behalf of special, mostly business, interests.


    Don't change the meaning of the word, Sheldon. What you're describing - the abrogation of the free market by special business interests - is called mercantilism.

    Capitalism is the process of employing savings and capital goods to produce new tradeable goods. That has NOTHING to do with businesses that are politically well-connected. Confusing capitalism with mercantilism is like confusing gun shooting with gang shootings.

  • Calidissident||

    If you read the link, he makes a pretty good case that capitalism did , I would not originally mean "free-market" and even today say most non-libertarians don't make that equation either, or if they do, they do so mistakenly (i.e. they consider things that are blatantly anti-free market to be examples of free-market capitalism). I don't have anything against the word "capitalism" and I've always equated it with free markets, but I would prefer a word that less subject to interpretation.

  • OldMexican||

    The prospect of self-employment[...] is next to impossible due to [...] "intellectual property,"[...]


    Uh, oh. Sheldon, you're treading on dangerous ground here, for you risk the wrath from those that subscribe to faux property rights (which they call, with a very sick sense of humor, "intellectual property")

  • Libertarius||

    Yes comrade, there is no such thing as an individual mind which invests intelligent effort to the end of inventing something. Nobody invents anything, everything just magically manifests from some indeterminate, abstract order which consists of everybody somewhere but nobody anywhere. We need not consider the incentive of human minds, for they will continue to provide us with technological progress and advances in our standard of living regardless of whether we recognize an individual's right to own the products of his intellectual effort.

    /Marxist or "Anarcho-Capitalist"? Toss a coin.

  • ||

    Don't steal the pencil off my desk, for that is a vile act of theft of my property, but feel free to photograph and publish the unfinished engineering plans, or architectural drafts, or musical symphony, or manuscript that the pencil was being used to produce. For the products of my mind are not my own, and have no value that can be diminished, seized, or transferred.

    This logic is flawless.

  • ||

    Even if you don't think intellectual property deserves legal protection (and the current IP laws both in this country and internationally are a total fucking joke, don't get me wrong), it boggles the mind how a libertarian could possibly conclude that intellectual labor is without value or form. Where in the fuck do you think the physical goods that constitute your narrow conception of "property" come from?

  • Libertarius||

    And I thought I was the last defender of property rights on these forums.

    "But, you see, IP is just an arbitrary government monopoly, just because if this then that if that then this if this then that if that then the other thing"

    Their arguments are rationalistic nonsense, but the anti-IP crowd is bizarrely emotional on the subject. I've seen videos where anarchists cry about how scientific development has been stunted by IP, that we would all be George Jetson by now if only it weren't for those dastardly IP rights.

    The antagonism towards IP is born from a confusion of cause and effect, let alone the moral considerations. Technological progress in the factors of production occurs *because* the incentive of creation is recognized by IP laws. Why the hell would anybody, whether a guy in his garage or a corporation paying for R&D, invest enormous efforts and capital towards creating *anything* that they did not possess the right to own and sell?

    Do these anarchists think inventors are going to just do it for nothing? But they are tremendously rationalistic, so they won't let reality get in the way of their theories.

  • ||

    Tbh, I don't have a good solution for how to properly recognize and protect intellectual property in the same way that physical property is recognized from a libertarian perspective, and I recognize that it's more complicated than physical property. But I'm not comfortable saying that therefore, intellectual property doesn't exist or intellectual labor has no value.

    Our current set of IP laws is absurd. Mickey Mouse shouldn't be copy protected 50 years after Walt Disney's death. Happy Birthday To You shouldn't be copy protected 70 years after Patty Hill's death. Backing up my DVD collection or storing my MP3's on multiple devices shouldn't constitute illegal copying. How to decide the length and extent of copy protection? There's not a natural conclusion you can reach from first principles on the issue like there is with physical property. Obviously in terms of patents and processes, the best form of IP protection can sometimes be no IP protection at all - if you can keep a trade secret. Non-disclosure and non-compete agreements can be a lot more useful than the patent itself in protecting your idea. But it's hard to argue, for example, that good corporate espionage is ethical by way of its being successful.

    So I do understand the concerns about IP and how to approach it from a legal perspective, but I reject the premise that the products of my mind are valueless while the products of my hands are.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Ah, but you're recognizing a fundamental difference between physical property (which is held in perpetuity) and intellectual "property" (which you admit should only be held for a short time). They're really two entirely different concepts.

  • ||

    Absolutely correct. They are certainly different in nature, but like I said, I reject the premise that because they are different in nature that IP doesn't exist.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well, IP obviously exists because the law protects it. Does it have some natural law justification independent of its utility? That's a hard pill to swallow.

  • ||

    Well, IP obviously exists because the law protects it.

    No. That's not remotely what I meant. Intellectual property exists by nature of human beings having thinking minds and unique ideas. Regardless of whether it is legally protected or not it exists.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Actually I believe the logic is that unlike physical property, plans and symphonies are non-rivalrous. If I take your lawnmower you can't use it anymore, but if I copy down your symphony that doesn't prevent you from playing it.

    I do believe there's a place for IP but it's an entirely utilitarian concept.

  • ||

    ...but if I copy down your symphony that doesn't prevent you from playing it.

    Well it gets tricky though when you copy it down, and then you start playing it to paying audiences, or you record it and sell it to paying customers. You've deprived me of the benefits accrued to my intellectual labor.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So every competitor of a person who came up with an idea is stealing from them?

  • ||

    Independent discovery happens and is recognized even under the current IP scheme. That's not the same thing as copying something you didn't create or discover from somebody else and then presenting it as your own and capitalizing on it.

  • RishJoMo||

    lol that old pope dude cracks me up man.

    www.Anon-True.tk

  • thorax232||

    Very well written article!

  • Jackand Ace||

    "It is also true that poverty worldwide has been much diminished in the last few decades, thanks to the demise of central planning and the introduction of limited market-style reforms..."

    Hard to know where to begin with that statement. In Reason just today, the world has been given an F for freedoms, yet you are touting the demise of central planning and the introduction of more freedoms. Which is it?

    In addition, these are the stats on the poverty decline you are praising:

    "The number of people living on LESS THAN $1.25 PER DAY has decreased dramatically in the past three decades, from half the citizens in the developing world in 1981 to 21 percent in 2010, despite a 59 percent increase in the developing world population. However, a new analysis of extreme poverty released today by the World Bank shows that there are still 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, and despite recent impressive progress..."

    Patting yourself on the back because a number of people now make more than $1.25 per day? The Pope is right. He is "dabbling" in the plight of the poor, not economics. Its about time someone did.

  • Jackand Ace||

    And, by the way, the poverty rate in the US is increasing, if anything.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....PN20130917

    "The number of U.S. residents living in poverty edged up to 46.5 million last year, the latest sign that an economic recovery marked by a stock market boom has not trickled down to ordinary Americans."

    Maybe the Pope is singling out America for neglecting the plight of the poor.

  • DarrenM||

    Isn't the poverty rate now defined as simply the lowest 10% of income earners? Anyway, the definition of what it means to be 'poor' has changed.

  • Jackand Ace||

    This is the definition of poverty in the US

    The poverty threshold in 2012 was an income of $23,492 for a family of four.

    That is less than $6,000 per year for each family member. You would be hard pressed to tell me what those dollars would provide in food, shelter, health care, transportation, clothes, and simple emergencies.

    And see my above statement for how many people in the world live on less than $1.25 per day. Those who made $1.26 are not even counted.

  • SForza||

    So the policies Obama has been implementing for the last 5 years, the very same type of policies the Pope is arguing for, are increasing poverty in the U.S.? Shocking!

  • Jackand Ace||

    Really? You think Obama has changed the game when it comes to income inequality, or poverty? Please. No President has since Reagan. Its the same game.

    I doubt the Pope has argued for a health care system that is a boon to insurance companies, or a reduction in SNAP, or a minimum wage that is status quo, or greater disparity in income equality. All of those things happened with Obama.

  • creech||

    How does one live on $1.25 per day? One suspects these are distorted numbers to gain sympathy. So, what goods and services are being consumed in order to "live on $1.25 per day" and what would said goods and services cost in the U.S.?

  • Jackand Ace||

    Pretty dismal, eh? Its from the World Bank, and numbers always used to measure world poverty. If the numbers were to be falsified to gain sympathy, they would not have shown some improvement in them...even if the end result is still dismal, and exactly what the Pope is speaking about.

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/ne.....ges-remain

  • DarrenM||

    When the pope laments that the prevailing ideologies “reject the right of states [i.e., governments], charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control,” one must suppress the urge to laugh.

    What ever happened to "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Render unto God that which is Gods'."? Oh, right. The Catholic Church is by its nature very centralized, so the Pope probably sees anything that is NOT centralized as Evil and Good can only come from the State.

  • Jackand Ace||

    The person who said that also said this, when asked how best to get to heaven. Sell ALL your possessions, and give the money to the poor. In other words, have no possessions. In such a world, I believe he felt then that you could render unto Caesar all that is his. But alas, that was such an inconvenient instruction and never followed, so we are left with "Caesar" stepping in and helping out.

  • ibcbet||

    Agents of the state including popes, kings, dictators of all sorts through the ages have used duties to god or god proxies (society & the community) to enslave man for 2 millennium.

  • ibcbet||

    Agents of the state including popes, kings, dictators of all sorts through the ages have used duties to god or god proxies (society & the community) to enslave man for 2 millennium.

  • MaggieMansfielddva||

    uptil I saw the draft for $8854, I accept ...that...my brother was like realie earning money in their spare time online.. there brothers friend haz done this 4 only about seven months and recently paid for the depts on there home and bought a gorgeous volvo. see page
    ===========================
    WWW.HomeProfitSystem.COM/tec30
    ===========================

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement