Friday, February 28, 2014

Private Property is under a mortgage to the poor

It's been a while since I posted. To be honest, I feel very beat up by the past week in the culture wars. It is time to concede the secular culture. Catholicism can't affect it anymore. The democracy has spoken- subjectivity has spoken and won out over objective truth.

Which is why I'm at a very curious point in my reading of Papal Economics. I'm in the middle of a chapter discussing Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, the social concern of the church, in which Pope John Paul II took the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's Populorum Progresso to strongly criticize the very form of central planning recommended in the previous document. The central planning of progressive socialists, it is argued, is inherently destructive of the natural subjectivity of the actors in the marketplace- by replacing organic consumer action with central planning based on objectivity instead.

I for one find it a bit strange that the very democracy I'm struggling to understand, a democracy that has now rejected what I see as very plain objective truths regarding human sexuality and greed, is in fact what Fr. Zieba is arguing in this book FOR the existence of. I've written before on how I struggle with the idea of Freedom as License to Commit Evil, and this is what disturbs me about the approach of Catholic Libertarians to a free market.

It is possible that Pope John Paul The Great's experience with communism greatly influenced his love of the free market, but even he points out that the free market owes a great debt to those whose labor goes largely unrewarded. Piling up large profit into capital for additional investments is necessary, but it should come at a cost- a mortgage to the poor. The universal destination of goods remains one of equality- or at the very least, one fulfilling the needs of the poor. As Pope Francis put it a bit more forcefully recently in one of his homilies that went viral on the internet, anything extra that you would spend on luxury, rightly belongs to your starving brother.

As we kick off this season of lent this weekend, I would do well to remember that, especially since my Knights Council will be attacking one symptom of my external gluttony directly- with a canned food drive. I plan on giving 120 cans from my family this Lent, and doing so will barely put a dent in our pantry. Must remember to check those expiration dates as well while I'm doing it, some of that food has been on the shelf a very, very long time. If I can't find 40 cans per person in my family to give that have good expiration dates, I'll buy some, but the exercise should at least give us the chance to look.

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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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