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Must a Catholic Love the State?
Ludwig von Mises Institute ^ | 2005 | David Gordon

Posted on 04/17/2011 1:31:17 PM PDT by WPaCon

Thomas Woods here addresses a question that many of his readers will find of vital personal concern, but even those who need not confront this question directly have much to gain from his analysis of it. Woods is a Roman Catholic and also supports free enterprise capitalism. He rejects the need for any government intervention to correct the supposed excesses of the free market. In support of this view, Woods relies principally upon Austrian economics, of which he shows himself in this book a gifted expositor.

May a Catholic accept the free market in the unreserved fashion of our author? Some have claimed not, and several exponents of Catholic social thought, as they conceive it, have taxed Woods with inconsistency. Austrian economics, critics such as John Sharpe allege, ruthlessly subordinates the common good to economic efficiency. Catholic personalism rejects such "economism," and papal social encyclicals, beginning with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891), support restraints on the market that Woods rejects. Though Leo and his successors endorse the right of private property and denounce socialism, they also support the "living" or "family" wage and, to that end, regard with favor the economic effects of labor unions. If Woods does not find these papal pronouncements to his liking, has he not cast aside the magisterium of his Church? Roma locuta, causa finita est.

Further, what of the distributist economic system defended by such great Catholic apologists as Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton? Is not this system a faithful and creative attempt to fulfill the papal mandates? The advocates of this system maintain that a regime of widespread ownership of land and small-scale craft production obeys natural law and Catholic tradition. By contrast, does not modern finance capitalism flout the Church’s condemnation of usury?

Woods mounts a magnificent attack on Catholic critics of the free market. Austrian economics, contrary to its detractors, does not at all assume that people pursue, or should pursue, their financial gain to the exclusion of all else. Woods has here been greatly influenced by Murray Rothbard, and he notes that "[m]uch of his [Rothbard’s] career was dedicated to exposing the injustice of socialism and making the moral case for private property and in fact he explicitly rejected the utilitarian case for the free market" (p. 25).

It is the Chicago School, not the Austrians, that preaches the gospel of efficiency; and Woods in this connection makes an insightful criticism of a prize ornament of Chicago theory. According to the Coase Theorem, actors in the free market will deal with externalities through negotiation to a mutually advantageous settlement. Absent transactions costs, the final settlement will be the same regardless of the initial distribution of assets. The welfare economics of A.C. Pigou, which called for massive government intervention to "correct" the market, has been struck a fatal blow. Do we not have here a triumph of free market economics?

Austrians are not convinced. What happens if the property disputes reach the courts? Then, supporters of the Theorem such as Richard Posner claim, judges should endeavor to settle matters to maximize wealth. Such disregard for rights exemplifies just the "economism" that arouses the Catholic critics, and Woods fully brings out that the Chicago approach rests on assumptions about ethics. It is not the pure product of scientific analysis. Woods also notes that Coase himself entirely shares the efficiency perspective: it is not just his disciples such as Posner who are here at fault.

But does not Woods’s defense of the Austrians against economism land him in a new problem? He says that Austrians rely on ethics, not efficiency, to vindicate capitalism; but if he rests his case on ethics, is he not as a Catholic subject to papal authority? How then can he defend the strict laissez-faire policy that the popes on ethical grounds reject?

Woods has an ingenious response. The papacy does indeed have final authority on questions of faith and morals, but this jurisdiction does not extend to economic theory and history. When Leo tells us, e.g., that employers ought to pay a "living wage" that enables a man fully to support a family, he implicitly rejects a conclusion of Austrian economics. The Pope assumes that wage rates are set at the discretion of the employer. If the employer pays less than a living wage, he stands subject to ethical judgment.

The assumption is false. In a free market, workers earn the value of what they contribute to the product—in technical language, their "marginal value product," discounted for time. Employers who pay less than this will lose their workers to firms that find it profitable to offer better rates. An employer will not pay more than the discounted marginal product because this is all the employee’s labor is worth to him.

What then happens when the law or labor union coercion compels employers to raise wages higher than the market rate? Unemployment results: workers whose marginal value products fall below the higher rates will be discharged, or not hired in the first place.

Obviously, Woods maintains, the Pope cannot have been aware of these ill effects when he recommended the living wage: he relied in his encyclical on faulty economic theory. To differ with the Pope, then, does not require the Catholic defender of the free market to question the Pope’s moral authority: he need only deny that the Pope’s judgments about economic theory have binding force. In like fashion, believers stand free to make their own evaluations of secular history. The Industrial Revolution, however the Vatican may view it, was a blessing rather than a curse to the European masses.

Woods appeals to Pope Leo himself to justify his contention about the limits of papal authority: "If I [Leo XIII] were to pronounce on any single matter of a prevailing economic problem, I should be interfering with the freedom of men to work out their own affairs. Certain cases must be solved in the domain of facts" (p. 4).

But is not Woods here caught in a contradiction? He says that Rothbard’s defense of capitalism rests on ethics but also insists that the judgments of Austrian economics escape papal authority. If this is so, must not Austrian economics entail no ethical judgments? How, then, can the claim about Rothbard be maintained, given that Rothbard relied on Austrian economics?

The response to this difficulty raises a fundamental issue. Austrian economics makes no judgments about ethics. If an economist argues, in the fashion just explained, that minimum wage laws cause unemployment, he has made a purely factual assertion: "Father James Sadowsky, S.J., . . . expressed it well when he said that ethics is prescriptive while economics is descriptive. ‘Economics,’ he says, ‘indicates the probable effects of certain policies, while ethics determines what one should do.’ These are two very different things" (p. 31). But given certain truths of economics, ethical judgments at once suggest themselves to the normal mind. Someone, e.g., who accepts the Austrian view of the effects of mandatory minimum wages will be unlikely to be a committed advocate of this measure.

Our author goes further. Not only may Catholics licitly reject papal teachings that contravene sound economics: they should also embrace with enthusiasm Austrian theory. "I [Woods] am convinced that a profound philosophical commonality exists between Catholicism and the brilliant edifice of truth to be found within the Austrian school of economics. . . . Carl Menger, but above all Mises and his followers, sought to ground economic principles on the basis of absolute truth, apprehensible by means of reflection on the nature of reality. What in the social sciences could be more congenial to the Catholic mind than this?" (p. 216). 1 The connection between the Austrian school and Catholicism, further, is more than theoretical: the Spanish scholastics of the sixteenth century were important precursors of Austrianism.

To throw into question views of the popes demands from a Catholic great circumspection, but no such restraint is needed when one’s targets lack ecclesiastical authority. Woods displays his formidable polemical skills to full effect in his demolition of distributism. Hilaire Belloc in The Servile State, a book that won Friedrich Hayek’s praise, warned against statism’s assault on liberty, but unfortunately, as Woods abundantly shows, his remedy partook of the disease it pretended to cure.

Belloc and his fellow distributists supported the family farm, through which people could free themselves from the sudden swings of the market. If a family could produce its basic needs for itself, it need not fear changing economic conditions. If this is right, Woods asks, why have so few people abandoned the market for subsistence farming? Are the backbreaking labor and low standard of living of European peasants really the ideal form of life to which we must all aspire? Most people have the sense not to abandon so readily the immense advantages of the division of labor.

But those who find distributism plausible are in a market society free to follow their wishes. In like fashion, those who do not like what Mises called "mass production for the masses" are at liberty to confine their purchases to handmade goods. Distributists find this insufficient, and demand that people be restricted by law from engaging in large-scale production. Only a state with total power over people’s lives could enforce the stringent restrictions that distributism demands. Belloc, I fear, despite his many services to liberty and his penetrating gifts as a historian, had an affinity for the Jacobins. Those inclined to doubt that a staunch Catholic could hold such a view should examine Belloc’s The French Revolution.

Distributists assail capitalism as based on usury, but Woods shows with little difficulty that Belloc’s views on this subject were confused. Belloc thought that taking any interest on "unproductive" loans was usurious; but Woods, relying on the monumental work of John T. Noonan, The Scholastic Analysis of Usury, points out that Belloc’s "chief distinction, between consumption and production loans, is totally unfounded" in Catholic moral teaching (p. 121, quoting Noonan).

In his excellent account of usury, Woods places great stress on the influence of an argument advanced by Aquinas. He maintained that interest on a loan unfairly requires the lender to pay twice for the same thing. For some goods, like a house, we can distinguish between use and ownership. I can rent your house without owning it. But for others, no such distinction is possible: I cannot use wine, e.g., without owning what I then consume. Money belongs to the latter class: St. Thomas says that the "proper and principal use of money is its consumption or alienation whereby it is sunk in exchange" (p. 110, quoting Aquinas). If so, "it is not legitimate to charge rent on money. . . for this would be charging both for the use of the money and for the money itself" (p. 111).

Woods rightly finds this argument "peculiar" and wonders what is wrong with selling the same thing twice, if this results from a voluntary agreement. But is there a fallacy in the argument itself? I suggest that Aquinas has relied on an implicit mistaken assumption. He thinks that if the lender were charged only once, he would have to repay no more than the amount of money he loaned. If he has to pay more than this, then, the creditor has charged him twice over. But as Woods aptly notes, "the phenomenon of time preference means that a good in the present will be valued more than the same quantity of that good in the future" (p. 116). Time preference of course applies to money; and, given this fact, we can identify precisely what is wrong with Aquinas’s argument. The cost of obtaining money now is a greater sum of money in the future. If so, the borrower who has to pay interest is not being charged twice for the same good. He is only charged once.

Woods, one of the best classical liberal scholars of his generation, has once more placed us in his debt with this lucid and tightly argued book. 2

1At one point I think that Woods goes too far. He notes John Stuart Mill’s odd view that "we might find some place in the universe where two and two did not make four" (p. 216) and thinks that this is grounded in the belief that the world is not an orderly creation. But Mill did not deny that there are laws that are without exception true. He thought that these laws are empirical generalizations, not necessary truths. This view does not deny that the world is orderly.

2See my review of his The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History in The Mises Review, Winter 2004.


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholic; economics; thomas; woods
This is an old review, but I could not find anything on this site about The Church and the Market, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. I have not read the book, but I would like to know if any freepers have any thoughts about the book or the review.
1 posted on 04/17/2011 1:31:23 PM PDT by WPaCon
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To: WPaCon
The Bible also teaches that you should support your government and follow their laws. Hebrews 13:17 states "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you."

But what if our government is corrupt and it's practices run counter to the Teachings of the Father and Son? Are we still required to follow them? The answer, in my book at least, is a resounding NO.
2 posted on 04/17/2011 1:47:07 PM PDT by NWFLConservative (Fight Like a Girl!!...............Saracuda in 2012)
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To: NWFLConservative
But what if our government is corrupt and it's practices run counter to the Teachings of the Father and Son? Are we still required to follow them? The answer, in my book at least, is a resounding NO.

You are correct.

Did you read the article, though? It doesn't have much to do with Christians obeying the state, but is a review about the book The Church and the Market. But I have to admit, the title of the article is a bit misleading.

3 posted on 04/17/2011 1:57:21 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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To: WPaCon

Yes, and it’s an excellent article.


4 posted on 04/17/2011 2:00:57 PM PDT by NWFLConservative (Fight Like a Girl!!...............Saracuda in 2012)
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To: NWFLConservative

Glad you like it!


5 posted on 04/17/2011 2:02:40 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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To: WPaCon

I know Romans says to respect the rulers, because they are appointed by God.

But I prefer Bonhoeffer’s stance on fighting the state if it is evil.


6 posted on 04/17/2011 2:27:50 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: NWFLConservative

No, we are never to follow evil, but rather to call it out and expose it for all it is. The state is just a bunch of people, and nowhere are we called to put them above Christ.

On the other hand, the way the Wisconsin Union Thugs, for instance, are demonstrating against the law of the land, refusing to leave the building, calling for anarchy to get their way — that kind of destructive action against the law of the land I believe is evil.

God is a God of Order, and He made Order from Chaos. Chaos is not of Him.


7 posted on 04/17/2011 2:28:36 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: NWFLConservative

A better way to word your question:

“To what degree are we to obey our national leaders, even to the point of loading people on ‘the trains?’”

No. At some point, as God’s people, we resist, with whatever is necessary to ensure that evil is defeated.


8 posted on 04/17/2011 2:29:43 PM PDT by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: NYer; Salvation

ping!


9 posted on 04/17/2011 2:37:30 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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To: stfassisi

I recall mentioning this book to you before, so here’s a ping to a review of it.


10 posted on 04/17/2011 2:38:36 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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To: WPaCon
If this is right, Woods asks, why have so few people abandoned the market for subsistence farming? Are the backbreaking labor and low standard of living of European peasants really the ideal form of life to which we must all aspire? Most people have the sense not to abandon so readily the immense advantages of the division of labor.

This is true. We sometimes watch a local PBS program called "Folkways," which demonstrates the very impressive individual subsistence skills of our pioneer ancestors. It's quite amazing, the number of things the ordinary pioneer family could accomplish.

And yet, they didn't have flush toilets. Or running water. Or antibiotics. Or refrigeration. Or the opportunity to go to Mass every Sunday. I appreciate all the benefits of the modern economic system, charming as it can be to visit a historic site.

I believe that "social justice," so to speak, or a moral approach to macro-economics should focus on what produces the best outcomes for people. How invincibly ignorant does one have to be to continue supporting minimum-wage laws or government-run medical services over free markets? Why is a free market - including personal altruism and freely-chosen private charity - less moral than coercion?

11 posted on 04/17/2011 2:51:15 PM PDT by Tax-chick (If you believe, you will see the glory of God.)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe

God has used rulers to do his will but then he uses us ALL to do his will. I don’t think just because God HAS appointed rulers that you can make a general case that ALL rulers are APPOINTED by God. I don’t believe Roman Catholics believe that anyway.


12 posted on 04/17/2011 3:47:17 PM PDT by DManA
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To: WPaCon

Dear friend, after finding out that Woods is fan of Ludwig Von Mises from which the article comes out of Von Mises Institute,, I know the spirit of which he is writing, and much of it is self serving

Here is a quote from Von Mises(sounding more like Ayn Rand)

“Social cooperation has nothing to do with personal love or with a general commandment to love one another… [People] cooperate because this best serves their own interests. Neither love nor charity nor any other sympathetic sentiment but rightly understood selfishness is what originally impelled man to adjust himself to the requirements of society…and to substitute peaceful collaboration to enmity and conflict.”Von Mises- (Human Action, p. 168-9)

Von Mises separated himself from Church Social and economic teaching when it was to his advantage

It’s holy week and I do not wish to go round and round with this


13 posted on 04/17/2011 3:57:01 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: WPaCon
There was a good article about woods from the Remnant magazine.Here it is for those who wish to see it

Ludwig von Mises versus Christ,

the Gospel and the Church

(An Open Letter to Tom Woods)


Christopher A. Ferrara
REMNANT COLUMNIST, New Jersey


Dear Tom:

When we wrote The Great Façade together back in 2002, I was one of the most ardent supporters of your work. Indeed, I saw you as a big part of the future of the “traditionalist” movement in America. But I did not anticipate your public dissent from the Church’s social teaching in favor of the radically laissez faire “Austrian school” of economics, whose pretensions range far beyond economics to a comprehensive “philosophy of liberty” that cannot be reconciled with the teaching of the Magisterium on the duties of men and societies toward Christ and His Church, or even the duties of men toward each other on the level of natural justice. Nor did I anticipate that you would become a “scholar in residence” for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a radical libertarian cult dedicated to the thought of von Mises and his “anarcho-capitalist” disciple, Murray Rothbard, both agnostic liberals who utterly rejected the role of the Church and the Gospel in the constitution of social order.

Your dissent from the social teaching has spawned a host of articles against you by reputable Catholic commentators, such as those found here, here, here, here here and here, the last being a just-published five part series in Chronicles magazine under the title “Is Thomas Woods a Dissenter?” At this point, by my count, no fewer than a dozen Catholic scholars have denounced your dissent from Magisterial teaching on such basic principles as the just wage, the moral primacy of labor over capital, the evil of usury and price-gouging, the immorality of the so-called “absolute right” of private property, and the necessity of government, guided by divine and natural law, for the rule of fallen men.  (You have even taken recently to advancing Rothbard’s “anarcho-capitalist” fantasy of the abolition of all government and the creation of a “stateless society.”)

The very point of The Great Façade was that “traditionalist” Catholics do not dissent from Catholic doctrine as such, but rather merely exercise their right to prescind from certain liturgical and pastoral novelties unknown in the Church before the 1960s and never imposed on the faithful as binding obligations of our religion. For example, Pope Benedict’s historic proclamation that the traditional Latin Mass was “never abrogated” and was “in principle always permitted” has demonstrated the truth of the book’s basic claim. But there you were, Tom, in the months following publication of our book, declaring your dissent from teaching on faith and morals clearly enunciated as binding by numerous Popes who have taught on justice in the marketplace and the right ordering of the State.

And since it was the very book we co-authored, along with your tenure at The Remnant and The Latin Mass magazine, that gave you prominence as a traditionalist in the first place, you could hardly expect your former colleagues to remain silent as you continued your stream of pronouncements against papal teaching, including the truly impudent remark that the Popes’ “attempt to elevate such principles as the ‘just wage’ to the level of binding doctrine is something altogether different, and indeed is fraught with error”—no stray utterance but something you later repeated between hard covers in your much-criticized The Church and the Market (p. 79). Have you no appreciation of the sheer audacity of a recent convert purporting to lecture cradle Catholics on the “errors” of Church teachings affirmed by Pope after Pope for centuries?

Now it is one thing, Tom, to express your opinion—your erring opinion—that in pronouncing on matters of economic and social justice the Popes have exceeded what you consider to be the limits of their competence, even if the Popes themselves, answering dissenters like yourself, have insisted on their right and duty to pronounce on precisely such matters.  But it is quite another thing to claim, as you do, that you are exercising legitimate freedom in the Church—no, you are not—and, far worse, to engage in a campaign to persuade faithful Catholics that what your Institute preaches—a form of economic and social liberalism condemned by a long line of Popes (cf. Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei, n. 61)—is “perfectly compatible” with traditional Roman Catholicism. This propaganda has even found its way into an otherwise promising new magazine, “The Traditionalist,” the inaugural issue of which included a full-page advertisement in tribute to von Mises, whose dogmatically anti-Christian worldview is evident in the quotations set forth below.

In a piece that mentioned the circumstances of our falling out over your dissent from the social teaching and your post-Great Facade cooperation with the Southern Poverty Law Center in its witch-hunt of traditionalist Catholics (including me), I mentioned some of the outrageous opinions of Rothbard, who advocated not only legalized abortion, prostitution, drug use, bribery, and blackmail, but also the legal right to starve unwanted children to death, for which he argued in a book your Institute markets to the world as a “classic of liberty.” And you, Tom, have written in praise of that same book without mentioning its morally depraved contentions, stating only that “Rothbard set out the philosophical implications of the idea of self-ownership”—an idea at war with man’s very being as a creature of God. Nor have you ever mentioned Rothbard’s repeated praise of what his whole body of work hails as “the overthrow of the Old Order… by mass libertarian action erupting in such great revolutions of the West as the French and American Revolutions, and bringing about the glories of the Industrial Revolution and the advances of liberty…”

For that matter, Tom, I have never seen you criticize Rothbard’s attack on Catholic “integrism”—yes, he used that very word, that very insult to traditional Roman Catholics you and I wrote The Great Façade to answer.  Remember?  In that particular article Rothbard imperiously belittled “The Church’s hatred of liberalism in general, from which it proceeds to attack economic liberalism…” In the same article your mentor described Pius XI’s landmark social encyclical Quadragesimo anno as “virulently anti-capitalist and, in fact, pro-fascist. This fascist tendency is revealed by the trend of European Catholicism between the wars…” Your mentor called Pope Pius XI a Fascist, Tom.  But then, you too have heaped criticism on Quadragesimo—based on your informal study of economics, a field in which you have no degree or other recognized credential.  (In fact, before you joined the Institute you taught history at a community college.)

Here I wish to bring the attention of Catholics to the equally Christophobic and anti-Catholic views of von Mises, recently exposed in an online debate at angelqueen.org in a thread entitled “Unmasking the Austrian School.” These views appear in von Mises’s Socialism, which your Institute touts as a “masterwork” that presents “a critique of the entire intellectual apparatus that accompanies the socialist idea, including the implicit religious doctrines behind Western socialist thinking…”

In the following “baker’s dozen” of quotations from Chapter 29 of Socialism, von Mises attacks Christ, the Gospels and the Church as enemies of freedom and society and fomenters of socialism and slavery, calls Christianity a “religion of hatred,” and declares that the Church must reform herself by embracing liberalism and capitalism. The quotations all appear online here, which is where the Catholic who started the thread at angelqueen.org (someone with a screen name of GordonG) found them.

Tom, since you have rebuffed all private entreaties concerning your campaign to advance radical libertarianism within the Church and among traditionalists in particular, we who once promoted your work feel obliged to protest publicly what you are doing and to call upon you to make amends for the confusion you are causing.

For one thing, you have a duty before God as a confirmed member of the Church (albeit a rather new member) to denounce and repudiate categorically the following quotations from von Mises’s book, and to sever your ties with the Institute that promotes his (and Rothbard’s) anti-Catholic, Christophobic and indeed immoral ideology of “liberty.” 

Furthermore, it is time to stop pretending, as you have for years, that the controversy your own words and deeds have aroused among the faithful is a debate about “economics” or such particulars as the wisdom of minimum wage laws. You have allied yourself with an organization whose view of man, society and human liberty is inimical to the law of the Gospel. You must choose between the Magisterium and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, and no amount of sophistry can hide the reality of that choice. 

As your former collaborator and colleague, and as one who admires your gifts and knows what they could bring to a defense of the Church’s social teaching instead of your seemingly incessant attack upon it, I hope you will take this letter, not as a provocation, but as an invitation to reconsider the course you have chosen, turn back, and rejoin your brothers in the Faith.

Sincerely,

Christopher A. Ferrara

§

LUDWIG VON MISES

VERSUS

CHRIST, THE GOSPEL AND THE CHURCH

From Chapter 29 of Socialism

http://mises.org/books/socialism/part4_ch29.aspx 

1.          Jesus’ preaching of a Kingdom to come destroys all social ties: 

The expectation of God’s own reorganization when the time came and the exclusive transfer of all action and thought to the future Kingdom of God, made Jesus’s teaching utterly negative. He rejects everything that exists without offering anything to replace it. He arrives at dissolving all existing social ties….

2.         Jesus is like the Bolshevists:

His zeal in destroying social ties knows no limits. The motive force behind the purity and power of this complete negation is ecstatic inspiration and enthusiastic hope of a new world. Hence his passionate attack upon everything that exists. Everything may be destroyed because God in His omnipotence will rebuild the future order. No need to scrutinize whether anything can be carried over from the old to the new order, because this new order will arise without human aid. It demands therefore from its adherents no system of ethics, no particular conduct in any positive direction. Faith and faith alone, hope, expectation—that is all he needs. He need contribute nothing to the reconstruction of the future, this God Himself has provided for. The clearest modern parallel to the attitude of complete negation of primitive Christianity is Bolshevism. The Bolshevists, too, wish to destroy everything that exists because they regard it as hopelessly bad. But they have in mind ideas, indefinite and contradictory though they may be, of the future social order. They demand not only that their followers shall destroy all that is, but also that they pursue a definite line of conduct leading towards the future Kingdom of which they have dreamt. Jesus teaching in this respect, on the other hand, is merely negation.

3.        Jesus despises the rich, inciting the world to violence against them and their property, and His teaching has borne “evil seed”:  

One thing of course is clear, and no skilful interpretation can obscure it. Jesus words are full of resentment against the rich, and the Apostles are no meeker in this respect. The Rich Man is condemned because he is rich, the Beggar praised because he is poor. The only reason why Jesus does not declare war against the rich and preach revenge on them is that God has said: “Revenge is mine.”

 

In God’s Kingdom the poor shall be rich, but the rich shall be made to suffer. Later revisers have tried to soften the words of Christ against the rich, of which the most complete and powerful version is found in the Gospel of Luke, but there is quite enough left to support those who incite the world to hatred of the rich, revenge, murder and arson. Up to the time of modern Socialism no movement against private poverty which has arisen in the Christian world has failed to seek authority in Jesus, the Apostles, and the Christian Fathers, not to mention those who, like Tolstoy, made the Gospel resentment against the rich the very heart and soul of their teaching.
 

This is a case in which the Redeemer’s words bore evil seed. More harm has been done, and more blood shed, on account of them than by the persecution of heretics and the burning of witches. They have always rendered the Church defenseless against all movements which aim at destroying human society….

4.         The Church, not Enlightenment liberalism, cleared the way for Socialism:  

…. It would be foolish to maintain that Enlightenment, by undermining the religious feeling of the masses, had cleared the way for Socialism. On the contrary, it is the resistance which the Church has offered to the spread of liberal ideas which has prepared the soil for the destructive resentment of modern socialist thought. Not only has the Church done nothing to extinguish the fire, it has even blown upon the embers….

5.        Christian doctrine is destructive of society, prohibits concern for sustenance and work, preaches hatred of the family, and even endorses castration:

…. So it is that Christian doctrine, once separated from the context in which Christ preached it—expectation of the imminent Kingdom of God—can be extremely destructive. Never and nowhere can a system of social ethics embracing social co-operation be built up on a doctrine which prohibits any concern for sustenance, and work, while it expresses fierce resentment against the rich, preaches hatred of the family, and advocates voluntary castration.

6.         The Gospel played no part in the building of Western civilization:  

The cultural achievements of the Church in its centuries of development are the work of the Church, not of Christianity. It is an open question how much of this work is due to the civilization inherited from the Roman state and how much to the idea of Christian love completely transformed under the influence of the Stoics and other ancient philosophers. The social ethics of Jesus have no part in this cultural development. The Church's achievement in this case was to render them harmless, but always only for a limited period of time….

7.         Because it opposes liberalism, the Church is an enemy of society:

The fate of Civilization is involved. For it is not as if the resistance of the Church to liberal ideas was harmless. The Church is such a tremendous power that its enmity to the forces which bring society into existence would be enough to break our whole culture into fragments. In the last decades we have witnessed with horror its terrible transformation into an enemy of society. For the Church, Catholic as well as Protestant, is not the least of the factors responsible for the prevalence of destructive ideals in the world today

8.        Liberalism is superior to Christianity and has restored humanity by overthrowing the Church, which is why the Church hates it:  

Historically it is easy to understand the dislike which the Church has shown for economic liberty and political Liberalism in any form. Liberalism is the flower of that rational enlightenment which dealt a deathblow to the regime of the old Church and from which modern historical criticism has sprung. It was Liberalism that undermined the power of the classes that had for centuries been closely bound up with the Church. It transformed the world more than Christianity had ever done. It restored humanity to the world and to life. It awakened forces which shook the foundations of the inert traditionalism on which Church and creed rested. The new outlook caused the Church great uneasiness, and it has not yet adjusted itself to even the externals of the modern epoch.

9.         Christianity has become a religion of hate, seeking to destroy the “wonderful new world” of liberalism:

True, the priests in Catholic countries sprinkle holy water on newly laid railways and dynamos of new power stations, but the professed Christian still shudders inwardly at the workings of a civilization which his faith cannot grasp. The Church strongly resented modernity and the modern spirit. What wonder, then, that it allied itself with those whom resentment had driven to wish for the break-up of this wonderful new world, and feverishly explored its well-stocked arsenal for the means to denounce the earthly struggle for work and wealth. The religion which called itself the religion of love became a religion of hatred in a world that seemed ripe for happiness. Any would-be destroyers of the modern social order could count on finding a champion in Christianity.

10.      Because they follow the Gospel and have not been “inoculated” with liberal philosophy, priests and monks are the enemies of society:  

Priests and monks who practiced true Christian charity, ministered and taught in hospitals and prisons and knew all there was to know about suffering and sinning humanity—these were the first to be ensnared by the new gospel of social destruction. Only a firm grasp of liberal philosophy could have inoculated them against the infectious resentment which raged among their protégés and was justified by the Gospels. As it was, they became dangerous enemies of society. From the work of charity sprang hatred of society.

11.      The Church and the Papacy seek to enslave men by depriving them of reason and the spiritual freedom of capitalism:  

The Church knows that it cannot win unless it can seal the fount from which its opponent continues to draw inspiration. As long as rationalism and the spiritual freedom of the individual are maintained in economic life, the Church will never succeed in fettering thought and shepherding the intellect in the desired direction. To do this it would first have to obtain supremacy over all human activity. Therefore it cannot rest content to live as a free Church in a free state [the very slogan of Cavour, the great Masonic enemy of the Church and Blessed Pius IX - CAF]; it must seek to dominate that state. The Papacy of Rome and the Protestant national churches both fight for such dominion as would enable them to order all things temporal according to their ideals. The Church can tolerate no other spiritual power. Every independent spiritual power is a menace to it, a menace which increases in strength as the rationalization of life progresses.

12.      Christianity needs socialism in order to maintain theocracy against the threat of “independent production”:  

Now independent production does not tolerate any spiritual over-lordship. In our day, dominion over the mind can only be obtained through the control of production. All Churches have long been dimly aware of this, but it was first made clear to them when the socialist idea, rising from an independent source, made itself felt as a powerful and rapidly growing force. It then dawned upon the Churches that theocracy is only possible in a socialist community.

13.      The Church must “transform” itself by embracing capitalism rather than papal teaching, such as that of Pius XI:   

If the Roman Church is to find any way out of the crisis into which nationalism has brought it, then it must be thoroughly transformed. It may be that this transformation and reformation will lead to its unconditional acceptance of the indispensability of private ownership in the means of production. At present it is still far from this, as witness the recent encyclical Quadragesimo anno.


14 posted on 04/17/2011 4:09:57 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

When Social cooperation is achieve by state coercion, the implied threat of violence, then he is correct, I DOES have nothing to do with personal love. It has to do with staying out of rape prisons.


15 posted on 04/17/2011 4:18:14 PM PDT by DManA
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To: stfassisi
It’s holy week and I do not wish to go round and round with this

I respect that wish and in response, I'll just wish you a blessed Holy Week.

16 posted on 04/17/2011 4:25:38 PM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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To: DManA

Von Mises quote said nothing about state coercion,so I don’t know how you made that connection.


17 posted on 04/17/2011 4:28:25 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

The connection is obvious.


18 posted on 04/17/2011 6:24:44 PM PDT by DManA
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To: wideawake

Ping for your interest.


19 posted on 04/17/2011 7:32:38 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Hachodesh hazeh lakhem ro'sh chodashim; ri'shon hu' lakhem lechodshey hashanah.)
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To: WPaCon

He posts a thousand word discussion of the topic and then says he’s too pious to discuss it. And you respect that?

I respect what he says his INTENTIONS were during Holy Week.


20 posted on 04/18/2011 6:12:28 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

I’ve discussed this with him a bit before. I already pretty much know his positions, so I don’t really feel like keeping on arguing about it.


21 posted on 04/18/2011 6:29:22 AM PDT by WPaCon (Obama: pansy progressive, mad Mohammedan, or totalitarian tyrant? Or all three?)
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