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Q&A  June AD 2011
Our Lady of the Rosary
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Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism
Why Aren't the Gospels Uniform in Coverage
Catholic University of America and the Budget "Compromise"?

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Our Lady of the Rosary
Review: Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism

Williamson, Kevin D., The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, Washington D.C., Regnery Publishing Inc., 2011, 304 pp. (recommended, but with reservations).

Webster's first definition of socialism is:

so·cial·ism:noun \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\ 1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.{1}

If I have any problem with Williamson's presentation it is based on a narrow construction of this definition:

the use of the state to execute the redistribution of wealth, income, or other goods is both morally and economically complicated. But it is not sufficient, on its own, to constitute socialism. Central planning, not simple redistribution, is the defining feature of socialism. Under socialism The Plan is everything.

I disagree, first because both the central planning and the redistribution are of the essence of socialism, and second because, in real life, one doesn't exist without the other. The state that redistributes the wealth of its citizens, either for welfare or for warfare, has a de facto plan. That plan may not tell each citizen where and when to report for work, but it does specify where the state's monies will come from and where they will go.

The plan may specify a “progressive” tax to take money from the productive so that a state bureaucracy can redistribute it for welfare or warfare. Such a plan also implies an army of social workers to cope with the inevitable damage welfare and warfare do to family life. The plan may include financing the state by means of a banking cartel to monetize the state's debt, to counterfeit money, and to debase the currency. The plan may even envision a world-state, “a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth{2} referred to elsewhere as an “international authority with the necessary competence and power,” without which “governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense....” An armed world authority to redistribute wealth and keep peace among disarmed nations sounds like a Whale of a Plan.

Beyond the description of Williamson as “deputy managing editor of National Review,” it is clear that he is a neo conservative (not a true conservative) from his characterization of withdrawal from the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as “surrender,” as though America had been attacked and would fail to defend itself without eternal war; and by his declaring that “the anti-war movement in the United States, was explicitly and unquestionably a creature of socialism.”{3} (Of course he fails to explain how someone opposed to war, in general or in specific, can be a socialist in the absence of a centrally planned economy!) As a neo con, Williamson recognizes that if he refers to the welfare state as socialist, he must also label the warfare state as socialist—which both are— whether or not people are told what to produce and where.

To address the problems the United States are currently facing, one has to address the excessive spending of government on all unconstitutional or unnecessary activities, whether they be welfare or warfare. (For neo cons war spending and most foreign aid are sacrosanct.) One also has to consider the federally chartered banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve, which Williamson mentions only once, in passing, in a description of World War I war socialism.{4}

While Williamson does criticize government planning for “energy independence” I didn't see anything on global warming, Lysenkoism, or other government abuse of science.

Nonetheless, Williamson does a marvelous job of describing the failure of socialist regimes in actual practice—not just in the Soviet Union, but in a number of African countries, India, Venezuela, and much of Europe. He thoroughly debunks the success of socialism in Sweden, and makes the case that a welfare society can succeed even partially only among highly motivated people of a unified culture—Islamic immigration has taken its toll. Two chapters address the problems of government schools, both from the standpoint of student indoctrination, and of bureaucratic inefficiency. It is socialism and not free enterprise that pollutes the water, dries up the lake, spills the oil, and generally damages the environment.

Perhaps the most important lesson comes early in the book when it explains that, without the intelligence gathered from a free market, socialist planners cannot properly allocate resources to produce what is actually needed and desired by the nation, making socialism inherently wasteful and forcing people to endure a lower standard of living (the socialist calculation problem). An epilogue reinforces this understanding with a discussion of how the market sets fair prices. And, if anybody was wondering, there are chapters on the ongoing socialization of America, and on ObamaCare as socialism.

If one can ignore the neo conservatism, the The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, is well worth the modest price and the time to read it.{5}

Our Lady of the Rosary
Why Aren't the Gospels Uniform in Coverage?

 Question: Why don't all of the Gospels report the incident of Peter walking on water? Matthew 14: 24-35 describes it, Mark 6 and John 6 do not, and Luke mentions nothing at all about Jesus or Peter walking on the water.{6Why is there no uniformity?

Answer:  Some critics of Christianity point to discrepancies like these to suggest that the Gospels are unreliable accounts, or even outright forgeries. This is foolish, for there are many why the accounts might vary. While the Scriptures are inspired by God, and are therefore inerrant, they were written down by individuals with differing backgrounds and points of view. Inerrancy applies to the underlying religious message, and not to subjective descriptions, nor to scientific accuracy (i.e. one evangelist may remember a red cloak while another remembers purple; colloquial expressions about the sun coming up and going down say nothing about the dynamics of the solar system).

The most practical reason for an event to be left out is that the New Testament was originally written on papyrus, a hand made paper, with the associated hand made ink, that was laborious to produce. Unless the writer considered something important, he did not write it for lack of abundant paper.

There were four Evangelists, of which two (Matthew and John) were eye witnesses to some of the events in the New Testament. Luke seems to be a question-asking historian who interviewed those who would know, including the Blessed Virgin. Mark was Saint Peter's disciple, and is presumed to have learned of the events by hearing Peter's sermons. It is reasonable that they have varying degrees of knowledge about various events.

John wrote in old age, and may have forgotten some details—especially those details not essential to the religious message. The event of Peter, or even Jesus, walking on the water pales to insignificance when compared with the importance of Christ's promise to give His disciples His body and blood, earlier in the same chapter. Perhaps John mentions Jesus walking on water in order to demonstrate that He had the power to do seemingly impossible things, whether they be walking on water or giving us His body and blood.

Mark may not have known of the incident—perhaps because of Peter's modesty in talking about himself. Likewise, both Matthew 16 and Mark 8 mention Peter's identification of Jesus as “the Christ,” but Mark makes no mention of the establishment of the Church upon the rock of Peter.{7} Luke 9 is much like Mark 8.{8}

Not everything that happened in the life of our Lord is in the Bible, As Saint John said: “But there are also many other things which Jesus did which, if they were written every one, the world itself. I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.”{9}

Our Lady of the Rosary
Catholic University of America and the Budget "Compromise"?

 Question: A large number of professors at the Catholic University of America and other Catholic institutions addressed a letter to the Speaker of the House complaining that the recent budget compromise violates Catholic social doctrine by cutting programs for the poor. To what degree are taxpayers morally required to assist the poor?

Answer: If anything, the budget “compromise” was an utterly inadequate attempt to return these United States to fiscal responsibility, and will hurt the poor at least as much as those of greater means. First of all the budget was not cut relative to previous years' levels—it just wasn't increased as much as initially proposed. The “bipartisan compromise” to avert “shutting down the government” raised the annual deficit from last year's $1.29 trillion to $1.58 trillion for fiscal 2011. That is less than the $1.65 trillion Obama wanted to raise it, but it is still a move in the wrong direction. The most “radical” budget cutting plan is Senator Rand Paul's bid to cut $300 billion in spending in 2011, but it would “reduce” the deficit so as to add only a “paltry” trillion dollars or so to our current $14.6 trillion national debt. Remember that a trillion is a thousand billion—cutting millions is insignificant, and even billions make little impact, trillions of dollars in cuts are needed. Worse, the government does not keep books like normal people, businesses, and corporations are required to—a lot of liabilities are kept “off the books”—our outstanding unfunded liabilities for social security, medicare, medicaid, and prescription drugs are estimated to be somewhere between another $40 trillion and $100 trillion. Most of those liabilities are for benefits which people have paid for in taxes, but which taxes the government has already spent on other things.

The letter from the professors starts with the usual Modernist cant about how good it is to dialogue (the Speaker will be giving the commencement address at CUA's upcoming graduation):

It is good for Catholic universities to host and engage the thoughts of powerful public figures, even Catholics such as yourself who fail to recognize (whether out of a lack of awareness or dissent) important aspects of Catholic teaching.

If, indeed, Mr. Boehner were someone who failed to recognize the teachings of the Church, he would have no business addressing the University or any other Catholic school. But the reverse is more accurately the case—Boehner has a first class record on pro-life issues, while Catholic academia has generally descended into morally degenerate Socialism, with a consequent loss of regard for human rights to life and property. It is the highest degree of Chutzpah to lecture Boehner in this way while giving a free pass to many far more liberal “Catholic” politicians with consistent anti-Catholic voting records.

The professors continue:

From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress.

Wrong again! Our Lord and His Church have never demanded that anyone steal from the rich to give to the poor. Such “transfers” damage the productive capacity of the nation and have to be paid for by society. Charity is supposed to come from the surplus of productive people, not from borrowing—not from astronomical debt. The $50 to $115 trillion worth of debt mentioned above are evidence that a substantial theft has already taken place—about $33,000 from every man, woman, and child in the nation—those liabilities will be paid back by our children, grandchildren, and great-grands, with substantial interest.

Or the government can just print the money. But such printing (counterfeiting, really) only devalues the money already in circulation. Inflation generally harms the poor far more than the rich—the poor man's $100 now buys only $50 worth of goods, but the rich man's $1,000,000 still buys $500,000 worth of goods—and the rich tend to receive the new money before the poor, while it is still worth something.

Or the government can just raise taxes on the “rich”—probably the professors' favorite option. “Soak the rich” is a popular Modernist slogan. But, who are the rich, and how much are they already paying, and what effect will tax increases on these folks have on the poor? Well, it turns out that the top 50% of taxpayers are those making more than about $33,000 a year, and that these taxpayers already pay over 97% of the entire tax bill! $33,000 is not a princely sum—certainly inadequate to support the numerous small businesses who employ many of our middle and lower class workers, and which would have to close their doors and lay off their employees if further taxed. Taxing the wealthy decreases national production, leaving fewer goods to redistribute. Big favor to the poor!

The professors seem oblivious to the damage government programs do to poor families every year—some of which is quantifiable in dollars while some is not. Consider the loss of self esteem and self reliance, the families broken up in order to be eligible for payments, the crime bred from idleness, the distortion of reality caused by public education, the encouragement to contraception and abortion and the inducement to vote for Socialist and anti-life candidates.

The “Catholic” professors ought to consider that the Church used to provide a significant portion of all institutional charity. That was before Modernism emptied the convents and the seminaries, and “Catholic” religious sought more “socially relevant” vocations.

The professors do suggest “eliminating unnecessary military spending, and addressing the long term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.” Boehner might not agree with the first, but it is difficult to understand why we have troops in over a hundred foreign countries and spend as much as the rest of the world put together on what is euphemistically called “defense.”  But he is not the only one guilty of perpetuating a warfare economyboth major political parties have been doing that for many decades.  The professors fail to understand that skyrocketing medical and retirement costs are the result of too much government and not too little. Inflation and socialized medicine are products of government, not free enterprise.

In penance (and for education) the professors need to read Tom Woods, The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy. Indeed, everyone should read it!



2  Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate, #67, CCC #2308, italics added.

3  Page 189 and 229

4  Page 209-210. Yes, Virginia, the Federal Reserve (Fed) is not federal—but it is empowered by the federal government (federaldes) to do things that would get normal people incarcerated and/or executed. The symbiotic relationship between the Fed and the federaldes is a good example of corporatist socialism.

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