sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2011

Empreendedores e João Paulo II


Um texto do site Catholic Culture.

What entrepreneurs should learn from Blessed John Paul II 

By Phil Lawler | December 20, 2011 5:55 PM

In an era of global enterprise, when some overweight financial firms are deemed “too big to fail,” how should an honest Christian entrepreneur behave? Can the abstract principles of Catholic social teaching be applied to the practicalities of life in the business world? Andreas Widmer tackles those questions in The Pope and the CEO.

Widmer, a former member of the Swiss Guard, saw Pope John Paul II at close range, and was inspired by his example as a leader as well as a teacher of Catholic doctrine. When he announced that he was leaving the Swiss Guard, the Pope gave him a final order: “Go and bring Christ to the world.” After years in business, Widmer does his best to fulfill that order with this book.

After leaving the Vatican, Widmer frankly admits that he made a series of mistakes. He plunged headlong into the corporate world, made a great deal of money, and very nearly ruined his life. After a series of jobs that left him financially secure but emotionally unsatisfied, he risked his fortune on a new venture, lost, and crashed. After a period of soul-searching he realized that he had forgotten both the Pope’s exhortation and the lessons he had learned by observing that great man in action.

So Widmer started out again—this time, trying to maintain his unity of life, and live out the principle of Catholic social teaching in his business dealings. Today he works with the SEVEN Fund, a charitable organization that promotes entrepreneurial approaches to the fight against poverty.

In this anti-poverty work, Widmer disdains the organizations that “patronize the poor,” and warns against those who use world poverty as an excuse to establish their own fiefdoms. To work effectively for the poor, he insists, one must understand their needs, unlock their abilities, and help them to generate new wealth by themselves.

Helping people to realize their potential: this, Widmer argues, is the key not just to anti-poverty work, but to any successful enterprise. He uses Blessed John Paul II as an illustration of his point. The late Pontiff touched and inspired countless millions of people because he cared for them: genuinely, deeply, consistently. A great leader succeeds by serving others.

The lessons in leadership furnished by John Paul II are inextricably entwined with the Pope’s spiritual teachings, Widmer points out. A good leader—in the business world or in any other line of work—should exhibit the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. It takes humility, too, to recognize one’s own limitations and to recognize good advice. And Widmer, following John Paul II, takes the extra step to say that prayer is essential as well, to help keep everything in proper perspective.

The Pope and the CEO is not a textbook of Catholic social teaching, but an innovative sort of management manual, which could be enjoyed by non-Catholic and non-Christian readers. The author makes these points not by citing dogmas or listing formulas, but by relating short stories about the work habits of John Paul II and showing how the Pontiff embodied the qualities of leadership. Widmer is a good story-teller, and he draws out the morals of his stories gently, without preaching.

In the process, the former Swiss Guard includes a number of interesting stories about the life of the late Pontiff, including a few that were new to me. I had not realized, for instance that Ronald Reagan’s famous challenge to Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” was delivered shortly after the American president met with Pope John Paul. Was that a coincidence? Nor was I aware that the late Pope lost a long battle over the spelling of his name on his tombstone.

While it is primarily a book about management, The Pope and the CEO includes enough of these little tales, and enough other different elements, to satisfy readers who have no special interest in economic affairs. Any reader with an appetite for stories about Blessed John Paul II will enjoy this book, as will anyone who would enjoy a taste of life in the Swiss Guard, or the recollections of a young entrepreneur, or some sound spiritual advice. This book has enough interesting facets to appeal to a wide variety of different sorts of readers—which, come to think of it, might make it a solution to some last-minute Christmas-shopping problems.

In fact, the most charming anecdote in the book is a Christmas story. With a vivid personal memory, Widmer lets us know that while Swiss Guard are pledged to take care of the Pope, sometimes it is the Pope who takes care of the Swiss Guard. The story—I won’t give it away; look for it beginning on page 73—beautifully illustrates a central theme of the book: that a great man and a great leader is never too busy to notice the people who serve him.

sábado, 3 de dezembro de 2011

Solidariedade e Subsidiariedade


How to Understand Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity and Subsidiarity

I've gotten questions in the past about how the Vatican views the international financial crisis, as well as what Catholics should think about a variety of economic and social issues.  I think that in addressing any of these questions, there are exactly two tools that we need to have at our disposal: solidarity and subsidiarity.  Both of them are aspects of the second great commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves:

  • Solidarity is the notion that we're connected with our neighbors: down the street, throughout the country, and around the world. We can't, as Christians, just say “I'll take care of myself, I don't care about my poor next-door neighbor.” Likewise, we can't, as Christians, just say, “I'll take care of America, I don't care about the poor Third World.” The presence of international borders doesn't curb our need to love neighbor. If it did, then how do we explain the Good Samaritan, who wasn't from Israel?

  • Subsidiarity is equally important. It's the idea that problems should be solved at the smallest and most intimate level possible. For example, the federal government shouldn't be solving problems states can solve, states shouldn't be solving problems that communities can solve, and so on. This is another aspect of charity. Charity isn't a faceless international bureaucracy doling out tax dollars. It's a soul exhibiting the love of Christ. This also means that our moral obligations to tend for our family are higher than our moral obligation to care for our neighborhood, or community, or city, or state, or country, or planet. We have some degree of moral duty and responsibility towards each of these, but it's best understood as concentric circles.
These are the two things that the Church teaches: solidarity and subsidiarity are very important.  At this point, we're largely in the realm of prudence.  Church leaders may suggest a solution to economic or political issues, but in almost every case, Catholics are free to disagree.  So if you understand these two principles, you're 90% of the way towards being able to formulate a Catholic response to any of the world's problems.  And these two principles help balance one another out, as Pope Benedict XVI explained in Caritas in Veritate:
The principle of subsidiarity must remain closely linked to the principle of solidarity and vice versa, since the former without the latter gives way to social privatism, while the latter without the former gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need.
In that encyclical, he did a good job of laying out the role of both solidarity and subsidiarity.  Solidarity helps civilize the market, so we don't have the brutal excess of the sweatshop and the plantation:
Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. While in the past it was possible to argue that justice had to come first and gratuitousness could follow afterwards, as a complement, today it is clear that without gratuitousness, there can be no justice in the first place. What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. Charity in truth, in this case, requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself.

One risk we can fall into is what Charles Dickens called “telescopic charity” (I’m indebted to Fr. Paul Scalia for this term). It's the idea that we're going to meddle in the affairs of complete strangers, while refusing to love our family or those people we see every day. He mentioned seeing it a lot among high-schoolers: they want to stop all the injustice in the world on a grand scale, but refuse to stop perpetrating injustices.  That's a cop out, and not the appropriate Christian solution.  It's even more of a cop out when we think that we can accomplish this charity simply by writing a check, or worse, by having the government write a check for us.
So note what Benedict said above, about how solidarity can't simply be delegated to the State.  That's critically important.  Yes, we have an obligation to love our neighbors around the country and across the globe.  But no, that's not an obligation that's met through your tax dollars. The federal government cannot love for you.  The State certainly has some role to play, but the assumption that only the State has a role to play isn't a Christian one.

Benedict's vision of the economy is refreshing, and I wish more politicians here and abroad would take these words to heart.  A free market is a good, but a truly free market should make it possible for individuals and businesses to work for profit, or work for the good of others.  I think that tax-exempt charitable organizations are one helpful way in which the State facilitates charity without getting too much in the way (but even here, only if the tax-exemption doesn't come with a lot of strings attached that destroy the independence of the charity).

About subsidiarity, which he called “an expression of inalienable human freedom,”  Pope Benedict has this to say:
Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing in the person a subject who is always capable of giving something to others. By considering reciprocity as the heart of what it is to be a human being, subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state. It is able to take account both of the manifold articulation of plans — and therefore of the plurality of subjects — as well as the coordination of those plans.

So for example, you've got a friend who loses his job.  If the State takes care of him, he's treated impersonally, and he's at the risk of being treated as a helpless victim.  In contrast, if you and your other friends (or perhaps your local parish) help take care of him, it's personal and loving.  Plus, you're treating him as a friend with inherent dignity, not simply a victim.  Maybe your generosity will encourage him to help contribute in some way in return (either to you or others), something he's unlikely to have done in response to the welfare state.  That is, the more personal approach is the one more likely to cultivate respect and charity.

Benedict then remarks on the role that subsidiary plays in globalization, while emphasizing the role for international authority as well:

Hence the principle of subsidiarity is particularly well-suited to managing globalization and directing it towards authentic human development. In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. Globalization certainly requires authority, insofar as it poses the problem of a global common good that needs to be pursued. This authority, however, must be organized in a subsidiary and stratified way, if it is not to infringe upon freedom and if it is to yield effective results in practice.
So the pope is endorsing some degree of international authority for regulating globalization, while emphasizing that we don't want a tyrannical world government.  We want as local a solution as is possible: it just happens that for certain things in international relations, the most local solution possible is international.
o what does this authority look like?  We've seen it manifested in multilateral treaties in the past.  For example, the 1912 International Opium Convention was an agreement in which 13 major nations agreed to outlaw opium.  It helped regulate an international problem (the drug trade) in a way that wouldn't have been as effective done more locally (as China discovered, when it tried to unilaterally outlaw opium).  So when we read this, it's easy to conjure up visions of a UN world-government, but that's not what's being talked about.

Finally, there is a healthy debate over whether the role played by the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the rest are helpful.  Should they exist?  Should they be reformed?  If they continue to exist, what should their institutional goals be, and what means should they use to achieve these goals?  These, and all of the related questions, are prudential.  Once you understand the importance of subsidiarity and solidarity, and are motivated by a true love of neighbor, it's largely up to you to decide how you think these things should best be handled.

segunda-feira, 21 de novembro de 2011

Usura Ainda é Pecado.


Grande texto do Presidente da American Chesterton Society, Dale Alhquist (foto acima), do site Crisis  Magazine.

The Catholic Church is always condemned for condemning sins. Since we are all sinners, sin is the last thing we want to hear about. But of course, if we don’t confess our sins and flee from our sins, sin is the last thing we will hear about.  That’s why the Church has a certain obligation to keep bringing these things up.
The Church has to do the hard and thankless work of condemning sins.  There are few folks—well, more than a few—who do not consider the Church a trustworthy authority on the subject of sin.  They are quick to point out that priests and bishops and even popes have turned out to be guilty of the same sins they have condemned.  But this excuse for questioning the authority of the Church doesn’t wear well.  It is hypocritical to criticize hypocrites.  The more interesting challenge is this: do sins change? Or rather, does the Catholic Church condemn something as being a sin in one age, but excuse it as not being a sin in another age?  This is an argument that is often used against the Church’s moral teaching.
In the 1960s many people in the Catholic Church were anticipating that Pope Paul VI would issue an encyclical that would permit contraception.  Some argued that there was precedent for such a change in the Church’s teaching.  After all, the Church once condemned usury as a sin, but no longer did.
But the encyclical Humane Vitae surprised and infuriated a lot of people: the Pope upheld the Church’s teachings instead of altering them.  He also warned about what would happen if the world embraced a contraceptive mentality: it would lead to abortion, divorce, and sexual perversion.  Turned out he was right.
But in the social and religious chaos of the second half of the 20th century, most everyone missed an important point that is now coming to bear on the economic chaos of the early 21st century: the Church also never changed her teaching on usury.  Like contraception, usury is still a sin.

It was condemned right from the beginning. In Psalm 15, which is read on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear: “Lord, who may abide in your tent?  Who may dwell on your holy mountain?  Whoever walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart…who keeps an oath despite the cost, lends no money at interest…”  Take a look also at Exodus 22:24, Leviticus 25:36-27, Deuteronomy 23:20, all of which clearly forbid usury.
Usury was also condemned by the Pagan philosophers Plato and Aristotle.
The theme was taken up by St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and other Church Fathers, who attacked usury in no uncertain terms.  Several popes, including St. Leo the Great, Gregory IX and Innocent III spoke out against usury.  In the 14th century, Pope Benedict XIV issued an encyclical specifically upholding the condemnation against usury, saying the Church had not changed her position (just as Pope Paul VI made clear with regards to contraception).  At least five Church Councils condemned usury, including the famous Council of Nicaea, which gave us our Creed, and the Second Lateran Council, which called usury “despicable and blameworthy by divine and human laws.”
The great Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, makes it clear: “To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this…leads to inequality which is contrary to justice.”  He argues that economic exchange is necessary to maintain a society, but unjust exchange will destroy a society, and usury, as he points out, is an example of unjust exchange.
Even Chaucer wrote that usury is “hateful to Christ and to His company.” 

The Church did not change her position against usury. The problem is the world changed its position.  As G.K. Chesterton says, during the highpoint of Christian society, usury was “everywhere denounced and forbidden.”  But now it is “everywhere flattered and condoned.”  What was condemned by all of Western civilization for centuries, led by the Church, was suddenly embraced by that civilization in the wake of the Reformation and the Enlightenment—and the rejection of faith and reason.  Chesterton points out that as we have grown “much vaguer about usury being usury,” we have grown much vaguer about all the other sins being sinful.
And what do we have to show for our ignoring this teaching of the Church?  A $12.86 trillion consumer debt.  More than 20 percent of home mortgages that exceed the value of the property.  A government that keeps spending money that it does not have.  A borrowing mentality that never considers how it is going to pay anything back.  Economic collapse.  As Chesterton warns, echoing the popes and the saints before him, usury devours and destroys: “It is a gigantic heap of debt, like a heap of dirt. It is a heap of debts hoarded until they have gone bad.  It is now a heap of bad debts which a little more bad debt will send toppling into the mire.”
Interestingly enough, there is a connection between contraception and usury.  Both are a form of taking the pleasure without paying for it, of being irresponsible and selfish, rather than fruitful and charitable.  “Usury,” says Chesterton, “is in its nature at war with life.”
But just as most people don’t want to hear about the sin of contraception, most people don’t want to hear about the sin of usury.  Because most people don’t want to hear about sin.  That continues to be a problem.  But prophets like Chesterton remind us about these things, even if we don’t listen.  “Though men may grow used to usury, and even practise it without shame under the present professional standard, yet God does not grow used to usury, any more than to murder or to devil-worship…”  Strong words.
And to anyone who would make the argument that our economy and our society depend on ignoring this Church teaching, Chesterton offers an equally stern rebuke: “It is a lie to say that the monstrous complicated accumulation of modern finance is essential to civilization, or the social and moral well-being of ordinary men and women.”
How do we get out of the mess we are in?  Looks like I’m out of space!  I will suggest, however, that we could start by praying the Our Father, and considering its literal meaning, which is: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

(Agradeço a indicação do texto ao site New Advent)

sábado, 19 de novembro de 2011

Papa: "Africa deve evitar a Rendição às Leis do Mercado e o Tribalismo"

Do site Rome Reports:

November 18, 2011. ( It was in the early afternoon, that the pope began his apostolic visit to Benin. He was greeted at Cotonou's international airport by president Thomas Yayi Boni and his wife Chantal. The pope was also welcomed by hundreds of locals who waved colored cloths and danced to traditional African rhythms.

During his first speech, the pope said, the country shouldn't forget its rich history as it continues to build its future.

Benedict XVI
“It needs to be accompanied by prudence for the good of all in order to avoid the pitfalls which exist on the African continent and elsewhere, such as the unconditional surrender to the law of the market or that of finance, nationalism or exaggerated and sterile tribalism.”

The pope also talked about the presence of the Catholic Church in Benin, especially when it comes to education and healthcare.

Benedict XVI
“She wants to be close to those who are in need, near to those who search for God. She wants to make it understood that God is neither absent nor irrelevant as some would have us believe, but that He is the friend of man.”

The visit marks the pope's second trip to Africa, but the first to Benin. The three main reasons for his apostolic visit were also laid out during his speech.

One of them is to honor late Cardinal Bernard Gantin in his native country. Gantin served as the Dean of the College of Cardinals and worked closely with Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI
“We both happily assisted my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, in the exercise of his Petrine ministry. We had many occasions to meet, to engage in profound discussions and to pray together.”

During his speech the pope also highlighted the two other reasons for his visit. They include celebrating the country's 150th evangelization anniversary. And also, presenting African bishops with a new Apostolic Exhortation. The papal document is meant to be a pastoral guide for the Church in Africa.

quinta-feira, 10 de novembro de 2011

Vaticano se Arrepende do Texto sobre Economia


Como lembrei aqui o texto não é da doutrina católica, não foi assinado pelo Papa, é apenas um texto de um Concílio Pontifício, mas parece que saiu sem os devidos cuidados. O Secretário de Estado do Vaticano não gostou do que leu e reagiu.

Too Much Confusion. Bertone Puts the Curia Under Lock and Key

The document of "Iustitia et Pax" on the global financial crisis is blasted with criticism. The secretary of state disowns it. "L'Osservatore Romano" tears it to shreds. From now on, any new Vatican text will have to be authorized in advance by the cardinal.
by Sandro Magister

ROME, November 10, 2011 – Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state was doing damage control on the latest of many moments of confusion in the Roman curia.

In the hot seat was the document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace. A document that had disturbed many, inside and outside of the Vatican.

The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state.

The conclusion of the summit was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state.

Of course, the fact that Bertone and his colleagues had seen that document only after its publication is astonishing in itself.

Already on October 19, in fact, five days ahead of time, the Vatican press office – which reports directly to the secretary of state – had made the announcement of the press conference to present the document, at which the speakers would be Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the pontifical council for justice and peace, and Bishop Mario Toso, the council's secretary.

Toso, a Salesian like Bertone and his longtime friend, was chosen for this office by the cardinal secretary of state himself.

As for the text of the document, the Vatican press office had given notice that it was already available in four languages, and would be distributed to accredited journalists three hours before it was made public.

On October 22, a further notification added the name of Professor Leonardo Becchetti to the ticket of the presenters.

Becchetti, a professor of economics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata and an expert on microcredit and fair trade, is believed to have been the main architect of the document.

And in fact, at the press conference presenting the document on October 24, his remarks were the most specific, centered in particular on calling for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, called a "Tobin tax" after the name of its creator, or a "Robin Hood tax."

 At the G20 summit in Cannes, the idea of this tax popped up in some of the comments of Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy, but nothing concrete was done about it.

Another assertion of the Vatican document, according to which the economy of Europe is in danger of inflation rather than deflation, was contradicted on November 1 by the decision of the new governor of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who lowered the interest rate of the euro instead of raising it, as is always done when inflation is a real threat.

As for the main objective of the document, nothing less than a one world government of politics and the economy, this came out of the G20 in Cannes shredded to pieces. Not only did no one even speak vaguely of such a utopia, but the little that was decided in the concrete went in the opposite direction. The disorder in the world is now more severe than before, and has its most serious deficit in the increased the inability of European governments to guarantee "governance" of the continent.

It is little consolation for the Vatican document that it has been compared to the views of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Or that it was echoed in a pugnacious  article by Anglican primate Rowan Williams in the "Financial Times" on November 2, in favor of the "Robin Hood tax."

domingo, 6 de novembro de 2011

Rick Santorum: Economia e Moral

Rick Santorum, meu candidato a presidente nos Estados Unidos, chegou para discursar ontem em Des Moines (Iowa) e como todos os candidatos esperava-se que ele falasse sobre a crise econômica. Mas ele começou e centrou seu discurso na moral.

Ele disse (traduzo em azul):

"The economy is inextricably linked to the moral fabric of this country. And we can’t have a real solution-based conversation about fixing the economic problems in this country without faith and family being a large part of that conversation.”

"The family is a necessary building block for fiscal goals".

“You cannot have limited government if you have broken families because someone has to pick up the pieces, and the ones who pick up the pieces are the taxpayers." 

(A economia está intrinsecamente relacionada com o tecido moral de um país. E nós não podemos ter uma conversa voltada para solução reais para problemas econômicos neste país sem que fé e família sejam uma grande parte da conversa.

A família é pedra fundamental para objetivos fiscais.

Você não pode ter um governo limitado se você famílias destruídas, porque alguém tem juntar as partes quebradas, e aqueles que fazem isso são os contribuintes.")

Santorum disse que como presidente irá banir o aborto, defender o casamento entre homens e mulheres (já há lei para defender o casamento entre homens e mulheres nos Estados Unidos, mas o Obama não a tem defendido nos tribunais) e eliminar subsídios federais a pesquisas com células embrionárias (já há projeto de lei para isso no Congresso americano).

Acho que os Estados Unidos, como qualquer país do mundo, vai perder  chance espetacular de eleger Santorum. O mundo de hoje, e qualquer faculdade de economia, ainda não quer entender a conexão íntima entre moral e economia.

(Agradeço a notícia ao site Pew Sitter)

segunda-feira, 24 de outubro de 2011

Vaticano e a Crise Financeira

O Vaticano soltou hoje um documento sobre a crise financeira que se alastra desde 2008. Primeiro, deve-se lembrar que é um documento do Conselho Pontifício para Justiça e Paz, não é um documento do Papa, não faz parte do magistério da Igreja. Há muitos aspectos a considerar, posteriormente eu vou analisar mais de perto, mas fiquei satisfeito com o que vi inicialmente. Serve como uma boa crítica aos que são católicos, mas defendem abordagens da escola austríaca de economia (extremo liberalismo e individualismo), como Thomas Woods Jr. Eu apenas tenho muita dificuldade desse negócio de governo mundial para qualquer coisa, por isso tendo a discordar quando o documento do Vaticano ressalta a necessidade disto. A gente já sabe no que dá isso, basta ver a ONU, o FMI e o Banco Mundial, todos completamente ineficientes.

Mas pelo menos o Vaticano ressalta a liberdade dos países para aderir a esta suposta autoridade mundial e diz quais devem ser a base da autoridade: caridade e verdade. Isto é utópico, mas reforça a necessiade de ética na economia.

O documento se chama Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.  

Gosto quando o texto ressalta a necessiadade de ética na economia, isto leva-nos ao Distributismo.

Ressalto as seguintes partes do texto:

Regulations and controls, imperfect though they may be, already often exist at the national and regional levels; whereas on the international level, it is hard to apply and consolidate such controls and rules.

The inequalities and distortions of capitalist development are often an expression not only of economic liberalism but also of utilitarian thinking: that is, theoretical and practical approaches according to which what is useful for the individual leads to the good of the community. This saying has a core of truth, but it cannot be ignored that individual utility – even where it is legitimate – does not always favour the common good. In many cases a spirit of solidarity is called for that transcends personal utility for the good of the community.


However, to interpret the current new social question lucidly, we must avoid the error – itself a product of neo-liberal thinking – that would consider all the problems that need tackling to be exclusively of a technical nature. In such a guise, they evade the needed discernment and ethical evaluation. In this context Benedict XVI's encyclical warns about the dangers of the technocracy ideology: that is, of making technology absolute, which “tends to prevent people from recognizing anything that cannot be explained in terms of matter alone” and minimizing the value of the choices made by the concrete human individual who works in the economic-financial system by reducing them to mere technical variables. Being closed to a “beyond” in the sense of something more than technology, not only makes it impossible to find adequate solutions to the problems, but it impoverishes the principal victims of the crisis more and more from the material standpoint. 

Sobre a Autoridade Mundial:

This is a complex and delicate process. A supranational Authority of this kind should have a realistic structure and be set up gradually. It should be favourable to the existence of efficient and effective monetary and financial systems; that is, free and stable markets overseen by a suitable legal framework, well-functioning in support of sustainable development and social progress of all, and inspired by the values of charity and truth. It is a matter of an Authority with a global reach that cannot be imposed by force, coercion or violence, but should be the outcome of a free and shared agreement and a reflection of the permanent and historic needs of the world common good. It ought to arise from a process of progressive maturation of consciences and freedoms as well as the awareness of growing responsibilities. Consequently, reciprocal trust, autonomy and participation cannot be overlooked as if they were superfluous elements. The consent should involve an ever greater number of countries that adhere with conviction, through a sincere dialogue that values the minority opinions rather than marginalizing them. So the world Authority should consistently involve all peoples in a collaboration in which they are called to contribute, bringing to it the heritage of their virtues and their civilizations.

domingo, 23 de outubro de 2011

12 Passos para Distributismo

Eu ainda estou estudando Distributismo (também chamado Distributivismo), eu acho uma grande idéia que está presente bem antes do que se supõe (pensa-se que começou com a encíclica Rerum Novarum, mas pode-se encontrar pensamentos Distributista bem mais antigos), mas que precisa de aprimoramentos, para avançar nos dias de competição e desespero de hoje.

Os 12 pontos abaixo da American Chesterton Society resumem um pouco o pensar Distributista (acho que faltou ressaltar um pouco mais a importância de que todos tenham propriedade, mas entendo que está incluso em pelo menos dois pontos) e levanta também muitos questionamentos. Vamos ao texto de Nancy Carpentier.

Adapted from an editorial that ran in our December, 2009 issue:

Gilbert Magazine is inspired to give its readers a gift: a way to detoxify from Capitalism. In favor of what? Distributism, of course. Like that other “concept” found difficult and thus left untried, Distributism is often grossly misunderstood. Over the years, we have received letters claiming it is “foolish,” “impractical,” “backward,” and “unlikely”—strange words to describe the only economic scheme that functions for everyone and that can be sustained over time. Nothing but Distributism, we retort, is more likely to survive the current financial mess we find ourselves in—will enough of us realize it in time, and return to sanity? Toward this end we present the Twelve-Step Program for Distributism, a primer for the reluctant and a refresher course to help our readers kick the Capitalism habit.

Step One. Begin by thinking like a Distributist. A little-known but powerful idea called subsidiarity states that larger entities like states and federal authorities should not assume rights and responsibilities proper to smaller entities, especially the family. The principle works both ways, of course—a thirteen-year-old boy must not presume to switch around signs for the local county roads; neither should the county be permitted to determine whether the boy goes to bed without his supper for the prank. What are the undue influences in your own home? Act to remove these, and fight to keep them out.

Step Two. Look at your possessions. Which do you own and which own you? Possessions that give nothing and drain your checkbook are worse than worthless; get rid of them. Consider possessions as resources, and you will see them in a new light. One person stopped tossing cardboard, kitchen scraps, and old potting soil; he now mixes these with composting worms and grows vegetables and fruits no money can buy. All on his apartment balcony.

Step Three. A billboard appearing nationally displays several small infants with the caption: “Children, our greatest resource.” We cannot say it better. Married? Have a child. Have one? Have another. Find your joy in love of God and family. You’ll never regret it.

Step Four. Stop working for your boss. No, we’re not suggesting you quit your job—ready cash is a resource, after all. Rather, put your job and your boss in their proper place, after the family. Many people work long years for perks that, if they ever come, fail to satisfy. Awards won’t console you on your deathbed.

Step Five. Married? Get your wife fired. Many couples have no idea what a working wife and mother costs the family. Never mind the childcare; how many times a week do you eat out or buy take-home, not because you want to (or even have the money), but simply because mom and dad are exhausted and the kids are screaming? Is your freezer stuffed with “convenience foods”? Did you buy a boat that sits in the backyard ten months out of the year because “Suzy’s working and we can afford it”?

Step Six. Are you thriving, or just surviving? Ever run to the store for something only to discover its twin on the shelf when you got home? Can’t find clean socks? You’ve got a management problem. See Steps Two and Five.

Step Seven. Still working on Sunday when you don’t have to? Even God knew when to quit. Genuine recreation fixes friendships, saves marriages, and restores the soul—play is a serious matter; we can’t live without it.

Step Eight. Resurrect the fine old art of bartering. Yes, the government hates anything that can’t be taxed. But most barters have to do with the rare odd jobs we can’t do ourselves, like fixing a broken eave board on a second-story roof; your neighbor has the equipment; why should you buy them for a one-time job? Especially when he needs a new rotor cap for his old Ford and you have the part.

Step Nine. Learn to feed yourself. The price of food at the grocer’s is increasing out of all proportion to what it’s worth—shipping and packaging costs are responsible. Fresh vegetables are easy to grow in a small garden space or even under fluorescent shop lights. Take up hunting and fishing; study the art of foraging. And when you buy, make it local.

Step Ten. Children learn more by osmosis and less by lecture. Help them do the work proper to them by not stooping to do it yourself. Triumph through struggle is the mother of self-esteem.
Step Eleven. Do you home school or send your children to private school? Attend a local school board meeting anyway, and learn how your tax money is spent. Find out what’s happening at city hall, and hold elected officials accountable. You needn’t run for office—a boar in the ointment is worth at least one in the mayor’s chair.

Step Twelve. Tell a neighbor about Distributism. Tell another one. And another. Once upon a time we were all Distributists, for Distributism is nothing more than the economy of the family. It is, we must repeat, the only system that works. Sustainable business practices and agriculture, holistic management, the return of stay-at-home mothering: these are not mere escapism from a world that is falling down around us. They are attempts to restore something we had and must have again if we are to survive. Best of all, Distributism is free.

Um Católico de Auschwitz e sua Namorada


Este blog começou depois que visitei Auschwitz. E hoje li uma linda história de amor e honra sobre um católico que foi preso em Auschwitz acusado de ser resistente e que acabou salvando uma moça judia por quem se apaixonou no campo de concentração. Ele morreu hoje. Que Deus tenha Jerzy Bielicki (foto acima),  e sua namorada, Cyla Cybulska, que morreu em 2002. Eles passaram 39 anos sem se ver depois que fugiram de Auschwitz. Abaixo a história deles,

The young Catholic man spirited his Jewish girlfriend out of Auschwitz in 1944, saving her life. Yet it took 39 years for them to see each other again.

Jerzy Bielecki, a German-speaking Polish inmate at the same Nazi death camp, lived to age 90 and died peacefully in his sleep Thursday at his home in Nowy Targ in southern Poland, his daughter, Alicja Januchowski said Saturday.

Januchowski, a New Yorker, spoke to The Associated Press from Nowy Targ, where she had been with her ailing father.

The Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem awarded Bielecki the Righteous Among the Nations title in 1985 for saving the girlfriend, Cyla Cybulska. It all happened in July 1944, when the 23-year-old Bielecki used his relatively privileged position in Auschwitz to orchestrate a daring escape for both of them.

Bielecki was 19 when the Germans seized him on the false suspicion he was a resistance fighter, and brought him to Auschwitz in April 1940 in the first transport of inmates, all Poles. He was given number 243.

Cybulska, her parents, two brothers and a younger sister were rounded up in January 1943 in the Lomza ghetto in northern Poland and taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her parents and sister were immediately killed in the gas chambers, but she and her brothers were sent to work.

By September, 22-year-old Cybulska was the only one left alive, with inmate number 29558 tattooed on her left forearm.

They met and their love blossomed, making Bielecki determined to find a way to escape.

From a fellow Polish inmate working at a uniform warehouse, Bielecki secretly got a complete SS uniform and a pass. Then dressed as SS officer, he pretended he was taking a Jewish inmate out of the camp for interrogation. He led Cybulska to a side gate, where a sleepy SS-man let them go through.

The fear of being gunned down himself reverberated through his first steps of freedom.

“I felt pain in my backbone, where I was expecting to be shot,” Bielecki told the AP in an interview in 2010.

For more than a week they hid in the fields during the day and marched during the night, until they reached the house of Bielecki’s uncle. There, they were separated, as the family wanted Bielecki back home in Krakow, and Cybulska was sent to hide with a farm family.

They failed to meet back up after the war.

Bielecki stayed in Poland and settled in Nowy Targ, where he raised a family and worked as the director of a school for bus and car mechanics. Cybulska married a Jewish man, David Zacharowitz, with whom she went to Sweden and then to New York.

Sheer chance allowed them to meet again. While talking with her Polish cleaning woman in 1982, Cybulska related her Auschwitz escape story.

The woman, stunned, said she had heard Bielecki tell the same story on Polish TV. She then helped Cybulska find Bielecki in Poland.

In the summer of 1983, they met at the Krakow airport. He brought 39 red roses, one for each year they had spent apart.

Cybulska died in New York in 2002.

Bielecki is survived by his wife, two daughters, four grandchildren and a great-grandson. A Catholic funeral Mass and burial are to be held in Nowy Targ on Monday.

(Agradeço ao blog The Deacon's Bench pela história)

quarta-feira, 12 de outubro de 2011

Panfleto Distributivista para os Manifestantes de Nova Iorque

Aqui você pode ler um texto de Richard Aleman sobre a distribuição do panfleto que vai abaixo.  

Não concordo com 100% do que ele diz, acho que ele não poderia colocar em pé de igualdade o Tea Party (muito melhor nas suas idéias e muito mais cristão) com os manifestantes de Nova Iorque. Estes manifestantes não têm posição clara, são financiados por sindicatos ou ONGs escusas, e há vários vídeos bastantes pertubadores deles (como uns em que eles pregam sexo com animais). Em suma, Aleman cometeu um erro ao igualá-los ao Tea Party.

Mas acho realmente que o distributivismo tem a melhor alternativa e o melhor mestre: Jesus Cristo. E louvo a distribuição dos panfletos.

Além disso, não acho que seja uma questão de socialismo é big government, e capitalismo é big business. Para mim, os dois sistemas sempre juntam os dois. Apesar de haver grandes diferenças entre capitalismo e socialismo e ter inúmeras razões para se preferir capitalismo.

"Dê a Cesar o que é de César..."

Ótimo texto do Padre Ryan Erlenbush sobre a passagem Mt 22:15-21. Na qual Jesus, quando lhe perguntado se deve-se pagar impostos ao Império Romano, pede que olhem para a imagem que há na moeda. É a imagem de César, então deve-se dar a César o que é dele. O Homem é a imagem de Deus, então...

Vejam texto abaixo que está originalmente no site The New Theological Movement.

Money in the imagem of Caesar, and Man in the Image of God.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 22:15-21

Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.”

The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians sought to trap our Savior by asking him the question of the tax – Is it lawful to pay the tax to Caesar? In response to this, the good Jesus points out that the image of Caesar is on the coin – but that we are to render to God what is God’s.

As the Fathers of the Church read this passage, they recognize that the coin is made with the image of Caesar, but man is made in the image of God. 

It will be well for us to consider the historical debate among the Jews which set the stage for the question of taxation. We will then consider the manner in which man is in the image of his Creator.

The debate about taxation, from Fr. Cornelius a’ Lapide

Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?

The occasion of this question being propounded to Christ, was as follows. About this time one Judas, of Galilee, had taught that it was not lawful for the Jews to be in subjection to the Romans, and pay them taxes. Now Christ and the Apostles were regarded as Galilæans; and the Jews professed to look upon them as upholders of this teaching of Judas the Galilæan, as being their countryman. And for this reason they frequently repudiated this error of theirs. Hear S. Jerome (in cap. 3, ad Tit. ver. I), “I think,” says he, “this precept was given by the Apostle, because at that time the teaching of Judas the Galilæan was still in vogue, and had many followers. Among their other tenets, they held it probable that, according to the law, no one ought to be called lord, except God only; and that those who paid tithes to the Temple ought not to render tribute to Cæsar. This sect increased to so great an extent as to influence a great part of the Pharisees as well as the rest of the people, so that they referred this question about the lawfulness of paying tribute to Cæsar to our Lord, who answered prudently and cautiously, Render, &c. S. Paul’s teaching is in agreement with this answer, in that he bids believers be in subjection to princes and powers.” (Cornelius Cornelii, On Matthew)

Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

As though He said, “Since ye, O ye Jews, are now subject to Cæsar, and use his coins, do ye not so much give as render or restore (reddite) to him the denarius which is due to him as tribute. But spiritual things, that is to say, worship and piety, give ye (date) to God. For this God exacts as what is rightly His due. So shall it come to pass that ye will offend neither against God nor Cæsar.”

Observe: that Christ is here unwilling to enter into the question whether the Jews were justly or unjustly subjects and tributaries of the Romans. For this was a doubtful question. For prima facie, the negative, that they were not justly subject, would seem the more correct. For Pompey, who first reduced the Jews under the Roman yoke, was only called in by Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, the grandsons of Simon the high priest, to decide between them which of the two was to succeed to the Jewish sovereignty and high-priesthood. By what right then did Pompey pass them over, and transfer the sovereign power over Judea to the Romans? […] And yet, if we examine what happened more carefully, we shall perceive that the contrary proposition is the more probable, namely, that Pompey seized upon Judea by the right of a just war. […] Hyrcanus being unable to keep it by himself, delivered it to Pompey, with the consent of the elders and nobles of the Jews, who preferred to be subject to the Romans rather than to Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. For they saw that without the Romans, the Jewish state would be annihilated by schisms and seditions. See the relation in Josephus (lib. 24, c. 5, &c.).

Lastly, prescription was on the side of the Romans, for they had been in peaceful possession of Judea for about a hundred years, with at least the tacit assent of the Jewish people. And without doubt the position of the possessor is the stronger. Wherefore, if the Pharisees wished to deprive the Romans of this possession, the onus probandi lay upon them of showing that they had acquired it unjustly. Since they were not able to do this, the Romans rightly retained possession. […] Christ therefore, in this place, does not choose to enter into the question whether the Roman dominion over Judea, and their imposition of tribute, was just or unjust: but He takes for granted that, as a matter of fact, that which was strengthened and confirmed by the various titles specified above was just. […]

Christ answers, on the contrary, that it was not an injury to God and the faith, nor an indignity to a faithful nation, if the people of God were subject to Cæsar, a Gentile; and that the Jews themselves might both profitably and honourably obey both God and a Gentile prince, if they would but render to both their due; and if they would do this with prudence, so as to arouse against them neither God nor Cæsar, and so destroy their whole nation, as they did not long afterwards. For it is better to pay money than to lose life and everything.

Money in the image of Caesar, man in the image of God

Fr. Cornelius a’ Lapide offers several important quotations from the Church Fathers:

S. Hilary says, “We are bound to render unto God the things of God, our body, soul, and will; for the coin of Cæsar is in gold, in which his image is engraven; but God’s coin is man, in whom is the image of God. Give your money then to Cæsar, but keep for God the consciousness of your innocence.” And S. Augustine says, “To God must be given Christian love, to kings human fear.” And S. Bernard, or whoever was the author of the book on the Lord’s Passion, says (cap. 3), “Render unto Cæsar the penny which has Cæsar’s image; render unto God the soul which He created after His own image and likeness, and ye shall be righteous.”

The coins of the day were engraved with the image of Caesar, and this proved that they belong to his dominion and authority; but the soul is made in the image of God. Therefore, when our Savior states that we are to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to give to God what belongs to God, he signifies that we must give our soul (that is, especially, our intellect and will) to almighty God.

As St. John of the Cross stated so well: “One human thought is worth more than the whole world; therefore God alone is worthy of it.” (Sayings of Light and Love)

How man is in God’s image

St. Thomas Aquinas, summarizing the tradition, tells us that man is in the image of God principally according to his soul. The soul of man, with both intellect and will, has been created in God’s image.

Still, even the body contains something of the image of God – St. Thomas points out that the manner in which the soul is in the whole body and gives life to the body signifies something of the way in which God is present in all creation and holds all things in being.

Still, it is most especially insofar as the soul has the faculties of the intellect and will that it is in the image of God. Indeed, here we recognize even something of an analogy of the greatest mystery of all: The Most Holy Trinity.

After the manner in which the soul has an intellect and a will, so too there is generation and spiration in God. The Son proceeds from the Father as thought in the soul, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as willing from the soul through the intellect.

Consider your dignity, oh man! You have been made in the image of the Almighty!
Why then waste your intellect and will on those things which fade away? God alone remains.

terça-feira, 11 de outubro de 2011

Economistas Têm Alguma Utilidade?

Interessante texto de John Kay, no Financial Times, de agosto deste ano, mas só agora li. Não vou reproduzir todo o texto, pois o FT pede que isto não seja feito, uma vez que cobra para acessar os artigos, mas aqui vão algumas partes importantes. Clique no título para acessar texto completo.

Financial Times - August 25, 2011

The reputation of economists, never high, has been a casualty of the global crisis. Ever since the world’s financial system teetered on the abyss following the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago next month, critics from Queen Elizabeth II downwards have posed one uncomfortable yet highly pertinent question: are economists of any use at all?

If you ask why economists persist in making predictions despite these difficulties, the answer is that few do. Yet that still leaves a vocal minority who have responded cynically to the insatiable public demand for forecasts. Mostly they are employed in the financial sector – for their entertainment value rather than their advice. Economists often make unrealistic assumptions but so do physicists, and for good reasons. Physicists will describe motion on frictionless plains or gravity in a world without air resistance. Not because anyone believes that the world is frictionless and airless, but because it is too difficult to study everything at once. A simplifying model eliminates confounding factors and focuses on a particular issue of interest. This is as legitimate a method in economics as in physics.

Since there are easy responses to these common criticisms of bad predictions and unrealistic assumptions, attacks on the profession are ignored by professional academic economists, who complain that the critics do not understand what economists really do. But if the critics did understand what economists really do, public criticism might be more severe yet.

The two branches of economics most relevant to the recent crisis are macroeconomics and financial economics. Macroeconomics deals with growth and business cycles. Its dominant paradigm is known as “dynamic stochastic general equilibrium” (thankfully abbreviated to DSGE) – a complex model structure that seeks to incorporate, in a single framework, time, risk and the need to take account of the behaviour of many different companies and households.

A close relationship exists between these three theories. But the account of recent events given by proponents of these models was comprehensively false. They proclaimed stability where there was impending crisis, and market efficiency where there was gross asset mispricing.

In his presidential lecture to the American Economic Association in 2003, Robert Lucas of the University of Chicago, the Nobel prizewinning doyen of modern macroeconomics, claimed that “macroeconomics has succeeded: its central problem of depression prevention has been solved”. Prof Lucas based his assertion on the institutional innovations noted by Mr Greenspan and the IMF authors, and the deeper theoretical insights that he and his colleagues claimed to have derived from models based on DSGE and the capital asset pricing model.


Another line of attack would discard altogether the idea that the economic world can be described by any universal model in which all key relationships are predetermined. Economic behaviour is influenced by technologies and cultures, which evolve in ways that are certainly not random but that cannot be fully, or perhaps at all, described by the kinds of variables and equations with which economists are familiar. The future is radically uncertain and models, when employed, must be context specific.

But you would not nowadays be able to publish similar work in a good economics journal. You would be told that your model was theoretically inadequate – it lacked rigour, failed to demonstrate consistency. To be “ad hoc” is a cardinal sin. Rigour and consistency are the two most powerful words in economics today.

. . .

Consistency and rigour are features of a deductive approach, which draws conclusions from a group of axioms – and whose empirical relevance depends entirely on the universal validity of the axioms. The only descriptions that fully meet the requirements of consistency and rigour are completely artificial worlds, such as the “plug-and-play” environments of DSGE – or the Grand Theft Auto computer game.

For many people, deductive reasoning is the mark of science: induction – in which the argument is derived from the subject matter – is the characteristic method of history or literary criticism. But this is an artificial, exaggerated distinction. Scientific progress – not just in applied subjects such as engineering and medicine but also in more theoretical subjects including physics – is frequently the result of observation that something does work, which runs far ahead of any understanding of why it works.

Not within the economics profession. There, deductive reasoning based on logical inference from a specific set of a priori deductions is “exactly the right way to do things”. What is absurd is not the use of the deductive method but the claim to exclusivity made for it. This debate is not simply about mathematics versus poetry. Deductive reasoning necessarily draws on mathematics and formal logic: inductive reasoning, based on experience and above all careful observation, will often make use of statistics and mathematics.

The writer, an FT columnist, is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford

domingo, 2 de outubro de 2011

Não é a Economia, Estúpido!

Excelente texto de Bruce Walker no site American Thinker que mostra que o que realmente importa para um país são os valores e não a economia.

It Is Not the Economy, Stupid

By Bruce Walker

Watching the Republican debates, listening to the droning of our dreary presidential flop, reading what wise pundits on the right as well as the left say, one might assume that economics was the standard of all policy and politics.  Twenty years ago, when Bill Clinton ran for president, his mantra was clear: "It's the economy, stupid!"

I pray that we do not surrender to the damnable vice of utter materialism.  If we do, nothing can save us.  America is a rich nation which is being drained and hobbled by those who hate it with unbridled venom.  "God damn America!" Obama's preacher screeched.  All over the world and all over our nation, grotesque little monsters frown and sneer at our country.

They hate us, but they do not hate our wealth, nor do they particularly hate how wealth is divided in our nation (every nation, without exception, has its "upper ten percent," its "super-rich" and its "very poor.")  We think that the attack on America is based upon economics because those who hate us spout class warfare all the time.  But that is simply another lie told by those who think lying is fine.
Modern life, particularly in America and modern industrialized societies, is pure luxury compared with any other era of human history.  Our biggest health problem is obesity, yet because the left cannot discard the hopelessly silly notion of rampant hunger in America, one is likely to find in the same leftist screed a condemnation of our heartless indifference to childhood hunger and a call for fat poor kids to exercise more.

Look at the object of consumer consumption today.  Software, particularly computer gaming, takes up a huge chunk of discretionary spending.  Cable television is stuffed like a pig with venal, vaporous, and vicious programming.  The coronation of all forms of celebrity leads us into countless cul-de-sacs of despair as Casey Anthony is vetted for a career in pornography.

There are places where real need is desperate, particularly in Africa, but the cause of hardship is not economic.  Rather, it is political.  Leaders cannot have their subjects affluent.  These wretches must, instead, be forced into corrals of poverty.  All the trillions of dollars of aid which America and Europe have given to these nations have not helped the poor.

Why would anyone want his own people poor?  Why do leftists here create phantasms like global warming and demand holy altars to worship dirt?  Why do they ignore the ghastly deconstruction of wholesome youth, which is the sole aim of state-controlled education and culture?  It has nothing to do with money or with markets or with any other aspect of conventional economics.

Reach back to Orwell and to C.S. Lewis, writing more than sixty years ago, and grasp what these prescient men saw then.  In 1984, there was grinding poverty for nearly all, but a modicum of affluence for members of the Inner Party.  Orwell leaves no doubt that the societal poverty is a central policy of the Inner Party.  Obsessed with simple survival, the slaves of Oceania have no room for any greater existence.  If manna fell from Heaven, the Inner Party would gather it all up and burn it.  Orwell describes a secular Hell.

C.S. Lewis describes a spiritual Hell.  In The Great Divorce, Lewis shows us a society in which anyone can create anything he wishes just by wishing.  Although the reader can see their utterly hopeless and accursed existence, these subjects of godless afterlife do not know that they are in Hell.

Stuff cannot give us purpose or peace.  Any society which focuses on "stuff" will end up, whether as rich as Beverly Hills or as poor as Havana, worshipping false gods and living horrible lives.  When Republicans say that "jobs" is the only real issue, when Republicans seem to believe that prenatal infanticide, snickering defamation of Judeo-Christian faith, or flaying of family in the torture chambers of leftism is a distraction, let us hope that they do not mean it.

Obama and his orcs view life as a soulless struggle for stuff without a Great Watchman who judges those who lie and steal and bully in pursuit of some invented "noble" goal.  This is entirely and eternally wrong: life is the pursuit of truth, of love, of honor, and of liberty.  America was created not for purposes of comfort or money.  It was created so that each of us could seek, unmolested by public needs, a private path to what is right. 

It is the left which rewrote our history to make the Founding Fathers ciphers in some vast battle between capitalism and socialism.  In 1938, Dorothy Thompson, the first journalist to be expelled from Nazi Germany, wrote a small book which explains how history professors were teaching students to interpret history from the standpoint of materialism, as if the Constitution should be read wholly in the life of the economic status of the men who framed it, with the presumption that they were incapable of disinterested thinking.  Thompson warns that this will shrink human life to sterile economic analysis of life1.

The war we fight involves jobs, money, taxes, and other elements of economics -- and it is perfectly proper to make arguments in favor of ordered liberty -- but the heart of our battle to defend our way of life would not end if next year we found a way to synthetically create all we might want without any effort beyond our wishing for it.  Peel back the thin and translucent layer of stuff and find a vastly deeper and more vital conflict between men who would be gods or druids to empty nature-worship and people who have immortal souls and know the infinite importance of that truth.  It is not the economy, stupid.

quinta-feira, 29 de setembro de 2011

Vaticano pede Ética no Mercado Financeiro Global

A Economia precisa da moral...Vídeo da Rome Reports.

September 29, 2011. ( The Vatican's secretary for external relations, Dominique Mamberti, addressed the UN general assembly saying that the world economy was lacking a code of ethics.

Arch. Dominique Mamberti
Secretary for External Relations

“Ethics is not an external element to the economy and the economy has no future if it has no moral element: in other words, the ethical dimension is crucial to tackle the economic problems.”

The Vatican secretary also noted that a lack of responsibility and morality in today's economy leaves an unfair burden on future generations.

Arch. Dominique Mamberti
Secretary for External Relations

“The economy therefore needs ethics in order to function properly, not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics centered on the person and able to offer prospects for new generations.”

This speech is the latest development in a string of warnings by the Vatican calling for a revision of the global finance system in order fix any unfair distortions.

The secretary's speech was heard by different members of the UN general assembly, however the Vatican is only a permanent observer at the organization and holds no voting powers when it comes to resolutions.

sexta-feira, 23 de setembro de 2011

Cristainismo não é Capitalismo nem Socialismo


Ótimo texto de Mark Shea sobre algumas pessoas que tentam ler as escrituras como ou apoiando o capitalismo ou o socialismo. Para mim, basta lembrar da passagem Lucas 20:25.

Abaixo, texto de Shea.

The Gospel is Not a Political Programme

I remember an Outer Limits episode from a few years ago where a guy living in some dystopian future where humans are mind-controlled slaves to a conquering alien race is liberated from his thralldom by an underground movement proclaiming itself as a sort of Human Liberation Front. They deprogram him, teach him that he is free to think as he wants, reunite him with his wife, and then send him on a mission to kill High Muckety Muck Overlord Humptyfratz of the Alien High Council. He goes forth on his dangerous mission and against all odds, succeeds in the assassination.  When he returns to the Underground Headquarters, he discovers that the Human Liberation Front is controlled by the Great Dalmoody Hoositz of the Alien Military Command, who needed Humptyfratz killed in order to seize power and control the Alien Government. He is then remanded back into slavery along with his wife and given a mind wipe by the New Order.
Good times. Good times.

I am reminded of this story as I read this perniciously wrong-headed piece in by Gregory Paul in the WaPo, which (rightly) argues that many of the dogmatic political commitments of conservative Christians to laissez faire capitalism, militarism, and so forth are only granted Christian baptism by an extremely selective reading of Scripture. Indeed, as he points out, many of these commitments gain much more of their inspiration from atheists like Ayn Rand or sundry social Darwinists than they do from Christ. Somebody who gleefully whoops “Yeah!” at the thought of an uninsured person dying is just not on the same page as the One who wept at the tomb of Lazarus. The sooner Christians are deprogrammed from the notion that individualistic, consumer-driven capitalism is Sacred Tradition, the sooner they will be able to clear their minds of cant and think with the mind of the Church. This will include constant attempts to enlist, for instance, St. Paul as a political commentator on government programs for feeding the hungry.

For the fact is this: When St. Paul says, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess 3:10), he is not talking about condemning state-run welfare programs. He is not, in fact, talking about the state at all. He is talking about life withinthe community of believers and demanding that members of the body of Christ, not the body politic, pull their weight. How we are to treat the poor, whether inside or outside the Church, is discussed, not in political treatises, but by Jesus, who, says (scarily), “Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.” I have no idea how to do that, so I do what you probably do: try to give as I can and pay my taxes which support state efforts which do that, as well. Does this mean that Jesus is, as Mr. Paul tries to insist, a “socialist”? No, it means that Jesus is also not proposing a political programme any more than St. Paul is. Jesus has no theory of government or economics to propose. He recognizes the right of private property (implicit in the command “You shall not steal”). He radiates a general distrust of wealth, but he does not condemn possessions and he deliberately absents himself from quarrels about money (though uses the imagery of money and finance to illustrate his parables constantly). But he is no more a proto-socialist than he is a proto-capitalist.

Nor does the early Church propose socialism as Mr. Paul claims when he notes that Acts tells us “the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. … No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. … There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” This is, once again, a record of how the embryonic Church conducted its internal affairs, not a record of the Church marching to Rome and demanding the state embrace socialism. Mr. Paul’s grotesque claim, “Now folks, that’s outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx—who likely got the general idea from the Gospels” has to be one of the most illiterate readings in history of both the New Testament and Marx.  Somehow, I missed the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by means of force, the state imposing the will of the proletariat with power growing from the barrel of a gun, and the worship of Christ as the opiate of the masses in the book of Acts.

In the same way, the Council of Jerusalem (which was essentially a sort of monarchical democratic model of consensus decision-making) does not mean that the Church went around demanding that the Roman Empire be replaced with a similar model, or holding the Second Continental Congress and cheering for democracy as a Christian value. The burden of the Church is not to micromanage our economics and politics. Nor is it to commit us to some political theory.

Of course, Mr. Paul writes with a transparent agenda. He wants to arraign Christians as hypocrites—an easy enough task in a community consisting of nothing but sinners. But deprogramming us from the lie that ruthless individualistic consumer-driven capitalism is a feature of sacred tradition is not really helped by trying to reprogram us with the lie that Jesus was a Marxist or that the Gospel is, at bottom, a political ideology. It’s not. It is itself and our impoverished little human systems of order we call “ideologies” are just scraps torn from it. The old word for such scraps was “heresy”—an unpopular word today, which is a pity since it still describes ideology perfectly. “Heresy” comes from the Greek word referring to the drawing out of thread on a whole weave, so that a piece of the garment falls off and the whole thing is ruined. That’s what heretics and ideologues (but I repeat myself) always do: take a piece of the Gospel and use it to attack the whole. If somebody tells you Jesus was a capitalist or a socialist, a liberal or a conservative, a nationalist or a globalist, a member of this party or a member of that one, you are talking to a heretic.