Ahistoric, Unscientific Papal Prejudice Is Okay When It’s About Capitalism, Anyway!

Jesus Christ. |||Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium about the "new tyranny" of "unfettered capitalism" might just be the biggest thing to hit the lefty blogosphere since Mitt Romney uttered the instantly immortal, irrelevant phrase "binders full of women."

"It's about time," says Daily Kos diarist Egberto Willies. "Great Pope or Greatest Pope?" wondered Wonkette's Commie Girl. "Pope Francis Strafes Libertarian Economics," celebrated Slate's Matthew Yglesias. It's like that time Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope, only this time the Pope is Sinead O'Connor, and the picture is capitalism! Yay!

I don't wish to stand in the way of people enjoying other people's prejudices, but Francis's hyperbolic rants about the role and allegedly dictatorial power of free markets are embarrassing in their wrongness. Cheering them on is like donating money to a Creationist Museum, only with more potential impact. To take one papal passage out of dozens:

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.

"Without any means of escape," the man said. ||| The EconomistThe EconomistMore people have escaped poverty the past 25 years than were alive on the planet in 1800. Their "means of escape" was largely the introduction of at least some "laws of competition" in endeavors that had long been the exclusive domain of authoritarian, monopolistic governments. Here's The Economist:

In 1990, 43% of the population of developing countries lived in extreme poverty (then defined as subsisting on $1 a day); the absolute number was 1.9 billion people. By 2000 the proportion was down to a third. By 2010 it was 21% (or 1.2 billion; the poverty line was then $1.25, the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines in 2005 prices, adjusted for differences in purchasing power). The global poverty rate had been cut in half in 20 years.

The country that cut poverty the most was China, which in 1980 had the largest number of poor people anywhere. China saw a huge increase in income inequality—but even more growth. Between 1981 and 2010 it lifted a stunning 680m people out poverty—more than the entire current population of Latin America. This cut its poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to about 10% now. China alone accounts for around three quarters of the world’s total decline in extreme poverty over the past 30 years.

And don't forget Africa and India!

In Africa, inflation-adjusted per capita incomes rose by an astonishing 97 percent between 1999 and 2010. Hunger in India shrank by 90 percent after the country replaced 40 years’ worth of socialist stagnation with capitalist reforms in 1991.

I actually like the new guy, otherwise. |||To look upon the miracles of this world and lament the lack of "means of escape" is to advertise your own ignorance. To call it a "tyranny" is to do violence to any meaningful sense of that important word (much like Francis's predecessor did with his silly "dictatorship of relativism" crack). And to make such absolutist statements as "everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest" is to admit up front that you are not primarily interested in spreading truth, but rather in exciting popular passions. Which I suppose makes sense.

It's a free world; Pope's gonna Pope & all that. I don't go to the Vatican for global economics, and Catholics probably don't seek out Reason for spiritual guidance. And the new kid in the Vatican actually seems pretty good to my outsider eyes. But prejudice against global capitalism isn't some kind of twee affect coming from the mouth of one of the globe's largest religious institutions. It's an out-and-out attempt to rewrite measurable history to fit theological imperatives. Liberals who congratulate themselves on mocking creationists while co-signing factually laughable claims about the world they actually live in are not exactly demonstrating a consistent adherence to the Scientific Method.

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.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What do you expect from the institution that is the actual, honest-to-god, inventor of the term "social justice"?

  • timbo||

    This from a guy who believes he is eating someone's flesh and drinking their blood.
    Unfettered capitalism has arguably never existed in the previous century.
    He is simply the microcosm of the idiot world view and total ignorance of what free markets actually are capable of.
    Listening to this dope's view of markets is like listening to Miley Cyrus' views on splitting the atom.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    People today don't realize how anti-market christianity was until the last half century or so and that progressives inherent distrust of money and markets originates in those christian beliefs.

  • timbo||

    How are the crazy Christians of the crusades any different than the muslims today?
    Organized religion is the primary cause of strife, the world over, for the last 1000 years.

    At the same time, I'm glad we have it. Can you imagine if all of the idiot sheep of the world did not think that some magical goblin was going to strike them down for doing something wrong?

  • trutherator||

    This "magical goblin", as you call him, the one and only, has struck down MANY a bad guy for "doing something wrong". At least you get it that the evil-doers cannot really believe they will answer to a real Biblical God. Met a Chinese Communist once, studying locally in Miami Florida on a United States government scholarship (kid you not), who said that's why they don't crack down even worse on Christians in China. They're just simply good people!

  • KPres||

    That's because it's a 2000 year old ethical system built for people that lived 2000 years ago (long before markets had developed and penetrated society the way they have today) and it has nothing at all to do with the modern world.

    I can't tell what's more annoying, how ignorant Christians are about their own religion, or how dumb so-called humanist progressives are that blindly adopt nearly every antiquated religious doctrine then somehow claim to be secular. Humanism is just religion minus the word "God".

    They're both fighting a losing battle, though. Markets are without question the most efficient and fairest form of human interaction. Their spread is evolutionary and unstoppable. Progress is one direction in the long run...toward markets, away from authoritarianism.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    April 26th?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Greek Orthodox Thanksgiving.

  • kevrob||

    ..and he's from Latin America: hotbed of liberation theology (Marxism in religious drag).

    I fired the Pope a few papacies ago. I highly recommend it.

    Kevin R

  • Game of Gnomes||

    I've skimmed through some liberation theology texts as full of bullshit as Marx.

    My wife spent time in rural Peru. The conditions sound terrible worse even than what I saw in the Appalachians. I can understand the ease that liberation theology developed, but it is folly. Government and the church itself are the biggest present and historical reasons for the poverty in places like South America.

  • KPres||

    Poverty exists because people resist markets in favor of antiquated ethical norms usually created by some zombie religion. It's not a coincidence that well-being in the west exploded after the Enlightenment first first presented self-interest as something other than a damnable offense, and finally gave people a reprieve from the rigid, anti-life morality religions had been tormenting people with since antiquity. But what can you do? Eternal damnation is a powerful idea.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...but Francis's hyperbolic rants about the role and allegedly dictatorial power of free markets are embarrassing in their wrongness.

    It doesn't take a former altar boy - which I am - to know that the Pope is, in fact, infallible.

  • Sevo||

    I'll bet you meant "fallible".

  • ||

    I think he meant "fellatio"

  • entropy_factor||

    +1 pedo-pope

  • BoscoH||

    Maybe he means that the Pope can't fall. It happens to a lot of old people, you know. Tragic.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    to know that the Pope is, in fact, infallible

    Only when speaking ex cathedra.

  • trutherator||

    I think you mean en cathedra?
    (Reason forums are so much fun)

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It doesn't take a former altar boy - which I am - to know that the Pope is, in fact, infallible.

    I'm sorry to hear of your molestation.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No, my childhood priest was a drunk, not a diddler.

    And believe me, I would know. I would definitely have been targeted. I was quite the looker.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You poor child. Repressing those horrible memories for all these years.

    Just because your priest was a drunk doesn't mean you weren't molested. We will get you some top notch state funded counseling.

  • Michael Price||

    Sure you were. Face it you never got over being rejected by a pedophile.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Hunger in India shrank by 90 percent after the country replaced 40 years’ worth of socialist stagnation with capitalist reforms in 1991."...

    It's interesting how a market can remain seriously distorted and *still* deliver these sorts of results.
    Imagine if they actually got the government out of the way.

  • Dweebston||

    Sadly (I often worry), the best we can hope for is the benevolent dictatorship of crony capitalists, lead by politicians who understand that feathering their nests is a goal best served by allowing some degree of liberal market policies and abetted by bureacrats amenable to working for client firms. There is no libertarian populism robust enough to confront the reactionary mercantilist superstitions of the ignorant masses. If the country slides into revolution, the threads holding together America's market economy unravel in an orgy of frenetic anti-capitalism.

  • ||

    This might be a good thing.

    The left seems to hate everything the Catholic church does and dismisses it as "fanatisism".

    Now that left wing economics has become canon for the church it might be easier to dismiss it as fanaticism as well.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Left wing economics originated in the church.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    OT: In speaking of the Spratly Islands (aka Where WWIII Shall Start)...

    Southeast Asia's top diplomat has warned that the South China Sea disputes risk becoming "Asia's Palestine"

    Umm...doesn't Asia already have a "Palestine"?

  • ||

    Umm...doesn't Asia already have a "Palestine"?

    Tibet?

  • Sevo||

    I think he meant Sarajevo.

  • Sigivald||

    I think he meant "Palestine", which is a specific and comprehensible place-name even for those of us who don't think it's a State that ought to replace (or supplement) Israel.

    I mean, it IS in Asia; the Middle-East isn't a separate continent, and the Arabian Peninsula on up to Turkey has traditionally been assigned to Asia as long as there's been an idea of "Asia" to assign it to, pretty much.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That's what made it funny. You'd think a high-ranking Asian diplomat would know what other nations were in, you know, Asia.

    Or perhaps it just doesn't sound as silly in the original Indonesian.

  • ||

    You know who else could not take a joke about Palestine?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus?

  • ||

    I was thinking of TS Lawrence...but that works as well.

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, but the analogy is horrible. There's no "Spratly" people living there, there's no other people building houses there.
    Why didn't he just blow it out his ass totally; he could'a said it'll make people 'think out side the box', or maybe it's a 'wake up call!'

  • Dweebston||

    "Start an international dialogue."

  • MJGreen||

    Hot damn, Matt. I'm gonna set up a cocktail party in your honor.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Is the papacy still superstitious about condoms?

  • ||

    Sperm are no longer sacred...they are in fact now the "people's" sperm.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Condoms are the opiate of the masses.

  • Medical Physics Guy||

    The pope only performed three lousy miracles. I understand two of them were card tricks.

  • Sevo||

    Did he saw a nun in half?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Also from this Papal statement: Francis agrees Reason is right about immigration:

    "Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralysing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development! How attractive are those cities which, even in their architectural design, are full of spaces which connect, relate and favour the recognition of others!"

    http://bit.ly/1blrFn0

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What's the pope's position on Muslim immigration to the vatican?

  • ||

    Liberals who congratulate themselves on mocking creationists while co-signing factually laughable claims about the world they actually live in are not exactly demonstrating a consistent adherence to the Scientific Method.

    I think Catholics get around the whole evolution/creationist debate by claiming we do not know how long God's 7 days were.

    Basically they say evolution and creationism do not conflict.

  • #||

    Yeah, that's about right. And the universe starting with the big bang and ocean animals coming before land and humans coming last is ordinarily consistent with the creation story.

  • ||

    ocean animals coming before land and humans coming last

    This is pretty incredible that some rabbi 3000+ years ago made the same observation that Darwin used to draft his theory.

    Then again maybe it was simply a coincidence rather then an observation of the natural world.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *shrugs* Aristotle made similar and even more accurate observations than that, concerning natural selection.

  • #||

    The bits and pieces were all there before Darwin. Adam Smith almost gets there as well in his "Theory of Moral Sentiment." Darwin is just the one who put it all together and made it popular.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And as usual, Wallace gets the shaft. :)

  • Sevo||

    Shermer claims that Adam Smith's 'spontaneous order' influenced Darwin's work.
    I haven't read it in a while, but the circumstantial evidence was persuasive.

  • Acosmist||

    My recollection is that he actually denied natural selection, which had been anticipated by Empedocles, because it left no room for telos. Physics 2.8, for reference.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Yeah, that's about right.

    No it isn't. The Catholic church hasn't advocated for a literal interpretation of Genesis for some time, and doesn't resort to arguments like different lengths of days as a workaround.. The position is that Genesis contains moral truths but not historical facts.

  • widget||

    Matt must be one of damned Episcopalians.

  • jorgeborges||

    Lately I've been thinking that when people speak out against capitalism, they're actually speaking against the European nobility-dominated class system of 100+ years ago. I have absolutely no evidence to back this up but it still makes sense to me.

  • #||

    Similarly the latin american view of what capitalism is tends to be politically connected large land owners using government law to grant them monopolies and other privileges.

    The US is an oddity in that it began as largely free market, so when the word capitalism is used here it often can mean something different.

  • widget||

    Capital is the money a business uses to operate. There's nothing moral or immoral about it. Put the 'ism' on it and all hell breaks loose. It's just baffling to me that goes that way.

  • Sevo||

    "Lately I've been thinking that when people speak out against capitalism, they're actually speaking against the European nobility-dominated class system of 100+ years ago."

    Could be. I have to wonder what reference this guy has.

  • jorgeborges||

    One example:
    I'm convinced that most people think communism was a response to capitalism; if you were doing word-association and someone said "black" you would probably think "white", likewise if they said "capitalism" you would probably think "communism".
    But it was obviously more a response to Russia's previous economic system consisting of nobles and serfs.
    I would need a lot more time than I have to explain this better, but maybe you get the general idea.

  • Sevo||

    According to Pipes "Russian Revolution", communism in Russia looks more like a naked power grab by Lenin than anything else.
    The man seems as much a cynical opportunist as that fraud Teddy Kennedy.

  • jorgeborges||

    Sure, it could have been a power grab. But he needed at least some of the people to go along with it and there's no way those Russians really could have been revolting against capitalism because they had never lived under anything resembling capitalism.

  • Sevo||

    Pipes is the first book I've read on it. Lenin did have some people, but not nearly what the hagiographies claim, and you're right in that capitalism was barely in evidence.
    But the peasants had a strong tendency toward 'populism' and a strong history of communal living.
    They were more than willing to grab the landlords fields only to have them grabbed by the state in turn.

  • Brian||

    The Communist Manifesto directly criticizes capitalism, so, it is, at least philosophically, reacting to capitalism.

    What was going through any russian's mind during the revolution is hard to tell. When people are feeling oppressed, pissed off about it, and want to kill/eat the rich, vague references to "ownership of the means of production" are probably all you need to get the ball rolling.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Capitalism was a word coined by Marx to describe the mid 19th century European mercantilist economic-political systems.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And the Fascists:

    http://www.crossroadsinitiativ.....ction.html

    And that's just one Pope

  • Irish||

    This might have a point if it were the current Pope and not a pope that's been dead for 80 years.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    John Paul II wasn't so hot for Communism, either.

    And "that was 80 years ago!" isn't that powerful an argument in the Catholic context.

  • Irish||

    Given that the Pope who followed the one you quoted actually signed agreements with the Nazis, knew about the Holocaust and chose not to help the Jews, and responded to a letter about Nazis murdering Ukranian Jews by telling the letter sender to "bear adversity with serene patience," I'm not entirely sure you can claim the church was consistently on the side of good when it came to totalitarianism.

    I find it interesting that you quote Pius XI, mention John Paul II and skip Pius XII. Why is that?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Pius XII saved more Jews than his critics. Hid them in convents, churches, and the Vatican itself. Gave them false papers. Inundated Axis governments with pleas for mercy on the Jews' behalf.

    The controversy is if he saved *enough* Jews, not whether he saved any. Specifically, would more repeated, and more public denunciations of the Holocaust have save more Jews than it endangered? Would the number of Jews saved have exceeded the number of Jews killed when the National Socialists retaliated by breaking into convents, churches, etc and murdered the Jews sheltering there?

    I don't know the answer to that question.

    I *do* know that the foreign minister of Israel, Golda Meir, said this on Pius's death:

    ""We share the grief of the world over the death of His Holiness Pius XII. During a generation of wars and dissensions, he affirmed the high ideals of peace and compassion. During the ten years of Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims. The life of our time has been enriched by a voice which expressed the great moral truths above the tumults of daily conflicts. We grieve over the loss of a great defender of peace."

    See more at

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrar.....sdef2.html

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Pius's approach of diplomatic initiatives and limited public interventions also applied to the persecution of Catholics in Germany and Poland, also on the grounds that the National Socialists might retaliate. So that would make him anti-Catholic, I suppose?

    (It was Pius XI, by the way, who signed the Concordat with Hitlerite Germany - then publicly denounced the National Socialists for violating it)

  • ||

    Historically Pope politics are all over the map...I wonder if we will ever get a libertarian pope?

  • Sevo||

    Corning|11.26.13 @ 7:01PM|#
    "Historically Pope politics are all over the map"...

    No great surprise; they're all listening to voices in their heads.

  • cavalier973||

    “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

  • ||

    I think Alexander VI listened more to the voices in his dick.

    But yeah I think they were politically mailable for more pragmatic reasons.

    A Pope would support the French King when he thought it helped gain or preserve the power of the Church and didn't when it didn't. That sort of thing.

    Popes are not screaming Shaman but tend to be more politically savvy as history shows.

    I think this could very well be what is going on with Francis...or at least he thinks this will help gain or preserve the power of the Church. And probably does not give a shit whether any of it is true.

  • Sevo||

    "Popes are not screaming Shaman but tend to be more politically savvy as history shows."

    No doubt; hell they *got* to be pope by politicking.
    But when they spout off about peripheral issues, you might just as well listen to some kid talk about his dreams.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I wonder if we will ever get a libertarian pope?

    Not likely. I think that line stopped at Jesus of Nazareth. Beyond that, you largely get a**hole politicians intent on aggrandizing their own political base.

  • Boisfeuras||

    And that's just one Pope

    Okay, then what about these:

    Boniface VIII
    John VII (serial rapist)
    Benedict IX (simony, bestiality, murder)
    Alexander VI (i.e. Rodrigo Borgia)
    Stephen VI (Cadaver Synod)
    Clement VIII (Roman Inquisition)
    Sixtus IV (Spanish Inquisition)
    Innocent III (Albigensian Crusade)
    Urban VIII (arrest of Galileo)
    Nicholas III (nepotism)
    Clement V (Knights Templar persecution)
    Leo X (indulgences, corruption)
    Sergius III (murdered his two predecessors)
    Julius III (pederasty)
    Paul III (pimp for 40,000 prostitutes)
    John XII (the Otto I/Berengar dispute)
    Urban VI (precipitated the Great Schism)

  • Sevo||

    Oh, well, they just, uh, well, they weren't pope-popes!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Ummm...are you trying to suggest that free market capitalism is comparable to Communism, Nazism and Fascism?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    No.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That's true. However, when it came to "social justice", in the original, Jesuit, "Third Way" sense you can hardly call Pope Pius XI an opponent, considering he issued the Quadragesima Anno encyclical letter, honoring the previous Papal encyclical Rerum Novarum, which clearly stated that the Catholic Church supported a "middle-way" between capitalism and socialism.

    Pope Francis (weird to write a Pope name with no Roman numerals after it) is no radical, he is following over 100 years of Catholic precedent on the matter.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, for better or worse. I hope Reason doesn't run a bunch of NYT style "OMG, Pope is Catholic!!!" headlines.

  • widget||

    Click on HM's link. It's spectacular.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Derbyshire on Christianity becoming a "ghetto religion". The new pope certainly isn't wasting any time getting with the program....

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What do you think about this part of the linked article:

    "The response of Pope Francis to the rising tide of economic migrants from Africa trying to break into Europe was to visit the overwhelmed Italian island of Lampedusa and criticize the “indifference” shown to the Africans—as if their journeys were not perfectly voluntary, and the besieged Italians of Lampedusa were not entitled to feel themselves victims of Papal indifference."

  • Dweebston||

    It makes me wonder why Lampedusans, or anyone, look to a Papal figure for authority over purely secular matters. Or were they hoping Francis would admonish all of the Catholic African immigrants into going home?

  • widget||

    Can't speak for Hawk. Derbyshire also points out that Nigeria has a fertility of over 7 kids per woman. If that persists, the Italians will really know what 'besieged' means.

  • Sevo||

    "If that persists, the Italians will really know what 'besieged' means."

    Since the Italian birthrate is below replacement level, it might just mean enough people working to pay all the retirement benefits.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    I think you can look forward to Europeans increasingly washing their hands of papal pronouncements, if not the church entirely. Religions that promote self destruction tend to have a short and merry life.

  • Winston||

    Religions that promote self destruction tend to have a short and merry life.

    So...what about suicide bombers?

  • cavalier973||

    They'll go the way of the Shakers, of course.

  • cavalier973||

    On the plus side, they're likely to leave to posterity a culturally significant piece of music.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Can you distinguish between the Pope's pronouncements on immigration and the prpnouncements of the Reason staff?

  • Dweebston||

    America's welfarism, especially with regard to immigrants, has nothing on the safety nets of Europe, and their economies tend to be much more sclerotic.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Perhaps Nick Gillespie is the pope's alter-ego?

  • Marc F Cheney||

    I think you misspelled Laputans.

    Lilliputians?

  • Winston||

    So Welch thinks "liberalism" is anti-dictatorial? You mean the form of liberalism that hasn't been practiced for about 100 years?

    So what does Reason think of Tom Watson's battles against Catholicism and circumcision?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Leo Frank basher? He was quite a piece of work!

  • ||

    So Welch thinks "liberalism" is anti-dictatorial? You mean the form of liberalism that hasn't been practiced for about 100 years?

    Yeah sure fight against classical liberals for trying to get our word back that the left stole from us.

  • np||

    Liberalism in the political context still means classical liberalism in most of Europe. And the Liberal Democratic Party in Australia is their libertarian party for example. So yeah considering Catholicism isn't relegated to just the US, outside of the US it's still true in many places, where there are Socialists, Nationalists, Labour, Conservatives and Liberals (i.e. Social Democrats vs Liberal Democrats)

  • Killazontherun||

    Cheering them on is like donating money to a Creationist Museum, only with more potential impact.

    Well stated. Anti free market dogma is the most harmful creed in human history.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I agree. And we, Capitalists, need to be able to present simple, rational arguments to oppose said dogma, because most people don't know the first thing about economics.

  • Dweebston||

    I'd probably start by eschewing the term capitalist. I don't think it's budging from the rapacious orphan-buggering Snidely Whiplash caricature promulgated by the left over the past century. I doubt we're winning back liberal, either.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Orphan buggering? But, my monocle might fall out of place if I were to try that.

  • Sevo||

    ..."I don't think it's budging from the rapacious orphan-buggering Snidely Whiplash caricature promulgated by the left over the past century."...

    That is such obvious hyperbole that we ought to be able to use it as humorous cartoon-creations.
    But the left is so damn ignorant that the Scrooge McDuck 'swimming in cash' joke goes right over their heads. Even the ones with money!

  • Libertarius||

    LOL, it is all coming full circle. The leftoids, who pose as secular champions of reason, are embracing an avowed mystic whose knowledge of earthly economics mirrors their own.

  • johnnyp70||

    Good strategy. Instead of attacking liberal economic ideas as ahistorical and unscientific, attack them when they are expressed by the pope, whom they hate.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Dumb cartoon. I FTFY.

    (I spent way too damn much time on that).

  • Donut-san||

    Well done.

  • Sevo||

    Nice!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well said.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    So.... the pope wants to destroy a wealthy Earth?

    Political cartoons are just too fucking subtle for me, I guess.

  • Winston||

    Of course isn't progressivism just secular versions of certain Catholic and Protestant movements?

  • ||

    No. Progressives are just socialists who called themselves progressive because the word "socialist" had, by the 1900s, become toxic in the US.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Of course isn't progressivism just secular versions of certain Catholic and Protestant movements?

    Essentially, with scientific management thrown on top.

  • cavalier973||

    If you haven't been to the site yet, I present the Marginal Revolution University.

  • cavalier973||

    I'm going through the "International Trade" course. When I finish, I'll get a certificate of completion! For free!

    I learned about some ideas that I had not heard of before; like the Gravity Model of Trade.

  • ||

    Thanks for the link.

  • XM||

    I went to Walmart today and the PS4 and Xbox ones were already sold out.

    Just think about the hungry children that could have been fed with the 500 dollars the losers spent on gaming consoles. Using your imagination is FREE, but Sony and Microsoft have to make money. The pope see right through their scheme.

    When will the state take over ballparks and convert them into orphanages? Bunch of grown men prancing around the field with a ball while homeless children shiver in the winter cold?

  • Sevo||

    ^+ N [sarc]

  • ||

    I went to Walmart today and the PS4 and Xbox ones were already sold out.

    It is for the best. Both have hardware issues, Price will probably come down in 18 months, new games will come that are far better then the crappy launch titles and if you are really honest with yourself there is still a shit ton of PS3 and Xbox 360 games that are great and super cheap that you have not played yet.

  • entropy_factor||

    notice the left is quite silent about his comments about progressive thought being "juvenile" and abortion being "always wrong". They should do their research before cheering him haha

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Just a few weeks ago, everyone here was telling me how much they liked this pope. For as many brilliant people as there are in the Reason commentariat (and I don't say that sarcastically), there isn't a lot of good people judgement. I predicted Francis was going to be palming this garbage from day one.

  • Sevo||

    Bill,
    'Everyone'? I don't think so.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Okay, sorry. I'm just feeling a little self-righteous from the time on the Feeney thread.

  • ||

    Feeney sucks!!!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Even more, Feeney swallows!!!

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Who the fuck said that? I want names.

  • Eric Bana||

    I heard a pastor in church the other days say that free market economics delivers good results but reduces people to a statistic. *Face palm*

  • Sevo||

    Eric Bana|11.26.13 @ 11:15PM|#
    "I heard a pastor in church the other days say that free market economics delivers good results but reduces people to a statistic."

    Mild, Euro-socialism does exactly that. Move a bit farther across the spectrum and it reduces people to corpses.

  • ||

    reduces people to a statistic.

    Yeah sure and a state planned economy does not do that one tiny bit.

    What a piece of shit.

    Give me his name and church he is at and will be happy to send him a nice email about social security numbers, how money is allocated by census, and numbers tattooed on people's arms during the Holocaust.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Because the notion of leaving people free to live as human beings trusting their own values and judgments reduces people to statistics. Sigh. I've suggested as much before, but the humanities really, really is in decline. When a pastor can make such an incredibly ignorant statement, you really know that thinking outside the STEM fields has gone barren.

  • cavalier973||

    Sounds like Jim Wallis. Was that Jim Wallis? Why are you listening to Jim Wallis?

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Popes gotta 'tard.

  • ziggy||

    Why does the left get all excited about this? The catholic church in Latin America played a crucial role in helping communist guerrillas, which was ironic considering what communist countries where doing to religious institutions.

    I am surprised his rhetoric isn't more "extreme"...

  • cavalier973||

    The (evangelical and Baptist) pastors that I know personally are more likely to listen to Limbaugh and Hannity, and so would assert their support for the Free Market, even if they may have an imperfect understanding what the Free Market is. As they are Protestant and Protestant-ish (technically, Baptists aren't Protestants), they would not be impressed or guided by pronouncements by what they would call a Satanic leader of an Apostate Church.

    If anything, they would count this as another sign that we are in the Last Days, and that the Antichrist is probably living today, and that it is probably Francis.

    FRANCIS!

  • ||

    This is a long story, see Rasmussen, "The Bishops vs. the Bourgeoisie," Reason 18 (December 1986): 66

  • Invisible Finger||

    More people have escaped poverty the past 25 years

    China, India, Africa...

    Look, when the pope says "people", he means Catholics. Where's the poverty eradication in South America? (And the second question, "Where's the capitalism in South America?)

  • Invisible Finger||

    Catholics probably don't seek out Reason for spiritual guidance.

    I am one (lapsed) Catholic that has.

    Libertarianism is the political side of "Live and let live", and that's about as close to Jesus H. Christ's philosophy as one can get.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Liberals who congratulate themselves on mocking creationists while co-signing factually laughable claims about the world they actually live in are not exactly demonstrating a consistent adherence to the Scientific Method.

    There is no such thing as a progressive adhering to the Scientific Method.

    So I find the left's high-fiving of the Pope to be completely consistent and therefore predictable.

  • trutherator||

    Scientific method:

    Scientific Method Step 1: Make Observations

    Scientific Method Step 2: Propose a Hypothesis

    Scientific Method Step 3: Design an Experiment to Test the Hypothesis, using Controlled Variables, Independent Variable, Dependent Variable

    Scientific Method Step 4: Test the Hypothesis

    Scientific Method Step 5: Accept or Reject the Hypothesis

    Scientific Method Step 6: Revise the Hypothesis (Rejected) or Draw Conclusions (Accepted)

    Darwinism has never made it through these 6 steps either. There is no variable anybody can control for long-ages Darwinism. Every time they get to Step 6 and get the Reject, they just make up steps in between...

    This is why Stephen Gould wrote that the scientific method "isn't enough" anymore to "prove" something. That's why he made up the "punctuated equilibrium", ahem, "theory", to cover for the punctuation nobody ever finds in the fossil record. (Unless you knock around a few bones to "correct" the "distortions" like Leakey had to do with Lucy).

    Creation science is tyranny's biggest enemy. That's why Mao made sure Darwinism was the first priority for schools after conquering China, not Marxism.

    Darwinism: Another "progressive" idea to pave the way for tyranny.

  • rogerfgay||

    Quite frankly, I don't know at this point what the fuss is all about. Adam Smith opposed unfettered capitalism too, and those good statistics given in the spirit of rebuttal didn't happen in the context of unfettered capitalism either.

  • SQRLSY One||

    The only unfetteredness we have seen in history is unfettered human will to fetter the Hell out of everyone else’s freedoms… Stalin and Mao come to mind; they treasured their own freedom, and that of NO ONE else on the whole stinkin’ planet! Why is “unfettered economic freedom” such an abominable boogey-man, when the term itself is an anti-oxymoron? Unfettered un-fetteredness? Free freedom? Now THAT is a scary boogeyman indeed!? What will they think of next, to scare us with, benevolent benevolence?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Oh, hey, wait, I forgot… “Freedom isn’t free”, and the neo-cons and patriots and militarists are fond of reminding us of it in no uncertain terms, as if this were cast in stone, in the Laws of the Universe, that it can be no other way, and that the more money we spend on wars, the more free we are. So we MUST fund those wars on drugs, poverty, income inequality, trans fats, and so on… We MUST! Because freedom isn’t free, ya know!

  • thorax232||

    Capitalism. There's no reason not to love it.

  • trutherator||

    How can anybody be Christian that promotes policies that Jesus Christ himself condemned. And why go along with the Pharisees that "devour widows' houses", as Jesus said it, and agree to call them Christians, when in fact they are identity thieves. If a guy tells you they are Napoleon, you put them in the insane asylum. That's how you should react when you hear some guy blame Christians for killing their neighbor, or stealing from them?

    Jesus Christ himself physically and painfully beat the hell out of the money changers, something that I see libertarians refraining from doing to the money changers of today, including the ones that seem to want to blame Christianity by proxy and the Bible by association for the money changers! World gone mad!

    Before Jesus Christ was born in flesh, nobody thought of all mankind as equals, and kings oppressing tribes and tribes conquering their neighbors was default.

    So not only did Jesus beat out the money changers, when the tax collector came, he told it right:

    Matthew 17:24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

    25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

    26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

  • SQRLSY One||

    But Trutherator! We have to kill EVERYONE! Yes, it is true!
    No one is righteous, not a one (Romans 3:10). Therefore, everyone 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 anything bad, 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, then, or else they WOULD be righteous. Then James 2:10 tells us that if one has broken ANY commandment, one has broken 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 inexorably, we must draw the conclusion that all are guilty of everything. And the Old Testament lists many, 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!!!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Trying to get back on topic here… When the Pope & other such do-gooders love to get their noses out of joint looking down on the evils of that them thar “capitalism” (notice it is an “ism” and not simply called economic freedom), how come they hardly ever talk nuts-and-bolts about what they propose to replace it with? What does the Pope want to see in the place of economic / property freedom?

  • REMant||

    I'm not sure many have actually read the pope's 224 page message, which may be found here, should they wish to do so: http://www.vatican.va/holy_fat.....um_en.html

    He writes that selfish people are usually unhappy, AND that those who constantly sacrifice are also without joy in their lives. That joy arises from the faith in the ultimate goodness of the world and the unconditional love of God. And this, he continues, is to be found in our everyday lives, and relations with others.

    He relates this to Christ, and hence to evangelization, but it might as well have been penned by Aristotle or some Stoic. The message is the same as Calvin's and Luther's, and it is the essence of Adam Smith, if not "captitalism" per se, which is more concerned with the activities of banks. The church is not to be a tollhouse, the pope opines. Smith and the protestants would say instead we must consider what is in our true self-interest.

  • REMant||

    But Francis, like most everyone else, unfortunately misunderstands that survival of the fittest has never meant survival of the strongest, rather of those, who, like the Stoics, live according to nature.

    The fact of the matter is that an attempt to ameliorate the conditions of the poor without allowing them to do it themselves, is pointless, since if they don't, there will not be the wherewithal to do it.

    The rich are not rich because they are better; it is because they have stolen from others. This his holiness should grasp, given his prologue. The pope has selfishness arising with prosperity, when it is prosperity which arises from selfishness. It is this which keeps him mired in that which he professes to want to overcome, and the Democrats and neocons, Mr Welch, too. There's only one way out, and that's protestant libertarian republicanism.

  • Trump||

    How is protestant libertarian republicanism the way out? This question is not rhetorical--I actually don't know what the ideology does that would get us out.

    Also, a way out of what?

  • Trump||

    You're not saying anything in this post.

    - "...to make such absolutist statements as 'everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest' is to admit up front that you are not primarily interested in spreading truth..."

    How?

    - "More people have escaped poverty the past 25 years than were alive on the planet in 1800."

    So what? The total number of people who have existed between 25 years ago and now far surpasses the world's population in 1800. All this says is "probably lots of people have escaped poverty." There's nothing relevant between those groups of people.

    Also, "escaping poverty" doesn't equate to escaping shitty living conditions that more money could fix.

    - China lifted 680m people out of poverty (more than the pop. of LatAm!).

    Who cares? China is not Latin America (and probably has a different poverty line). That comparison makes no sense, and it still leaves me wondering "does that mean life is better, now?"

    - Finally, you mention Africa and India. All of a sudden, the metric you use for improvement is the percentage increase of inflation-adjusted per capita income. 97%! Is the resulting per capita income even sufficient? From where did the increase come? And why the shift in success metric?

    Do you really think that the "poverty line" is the difference between satisfying biological and security needs and leaving them unsatisfied? The bottom two levels of Maslow's Pyramid should probably be the standard for "outside of poverty."

GET REASON MAGAZINE

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

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement