Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Terry Pratchet and Pope John Paul II

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”- Granny Weatherwax, I Shall Wear Midnight, By Terry Pratchet

All of this can be summed up by repeating once more that economic freedom is only one element of human freedom. When it becomes autonomous, when man is seen more as a producer or consumer of goods than as a subject who produces and consumes in order to live, then economic freedom loses its necessary relationship to the human person and ends up by alienating and oppressing him.-- Centesimus Annus 39, Pope John Paul II (is it too soon to call him St. Pope John Paul The Great?)

In Chapter two, Fr Zieba begins to redeem himself somewhat in my eyes, by identifying, along with Pope John Paul II, the central problem of economics as a science- that it treats human beings as THINGS rather than PEOPLE. As old Granny Weatherwax said in Terry Pratchet's novel, that's the beginning of evil, right there. Price signals aren't enough to tell you if the grapes you buy at the supermarket were raised by drug lords in Chile enslaving local populations as a cover crop encircling an interior of cocaine production- and such things have been known to happen.

Catholics have begun to fight back with "Eat Local" campaigns and "Fair Trade" for that stuff that can't be grown locally; but the majority of the world's consumers are kept in the dark as to the moral implications of the decisions they make in the marketplace every day. They have been reduced to mere consumers- trying to get the most value for the cheapest price- no matter what moral evil may lurk behind their purchases. Even environmental pollution has been exported, leading to massive pollution problems in China and Mexico, and even more so in the rest of the developing world.

So I begin this Lent with the urge that we don't need a free market- what we really need is a THINKING market.


Theodore Seeber said...

Responses like "I don't believe in that God either" are both lame and disingenuous. The only thing that puts me at odds with the New Atheists is their inability to refute the concept of intelligent design when it is presented without speculation as to who the designer is. The mistake is to say that it is the Judeo-Christian God. That brings on ridicule and derision as well it should. What I know is that there are almost infinite examples of design in the Cosmos, Nature, Life, whatever. Design requires a designer. We don't know much about the designer. On one extreme, people deny that there is a design or a designer. On the other extreme, God is identified as the designer. I say there is a designer and I call it Nature.

Theodore Seeber said...

Don't tell me. Follow the link and tell the Jesuits. I'd be surprised if your post stays up an hour. They're too busy "plus signing" their own sins out of existence to understand your point (which, oddly enough, I agree with).

Theodore Seeber said...

Wow. I never knew about The Jesuit Post. Are the threads always this interesting?

Theodore Seeber said...

Seem to be. But they recently added a draconian commenting policy which keeps the threads from getting more interesting and allows no room for dissent or speculation on the idea that the Jesuit method has, in fact, let to heterodox speculation.

Theodore Seeber said...

Heterodox speculation. That sounds serious. How can you argue with an atheist who knows the orthodox version of your faith and tell him that the God he doesn't believe in is not the God you believe either? By refuting the God that the atheist identifies as the Christian God based on stated beliefs by the Church, you would automatically be delving into heterodox speculation. You can't win either way. The only thing you can do is say that you do believe in the God that the atheist identifies as the God he doesn't believe in?

Theodore Seeber said...

Exactly. Or at least in this case. It gets worse when you try to talk to some of the generation that doubts that the church's truth is "reality" even when they claim to follow the Church. Then you get the articles from America magazine wondering if women should be priests, if contraception is allowable why not gay marriage, and the like.

Theodore Seeber said...

I'm willing to cut some slack for those who admit that their favorite sins ARE sins- we're all human, we're all sinners, we're all working on it.

Otherwise, yes, I do agree. And it does a lot of damage to both those inside the faith and those outside of it when we have clerics who are neither one or the other and public about it.

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