Theft, Charity and Virtue Signaling

Friday, March 24, AD 2017

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.  This is absolutely brilliant by Dystopic at the bog Declination:


Competitive morality requires that you trumpet your moral achievements to the world. Stephen Colbert shows us how it is to be done:



Here Stephen Colbert is telling us that we are not Christians, and do not follow Christ, if we don’t want to give our earnings to the government. This is designed to wound a genuine Christian, by calling him a poor follower of Christ, and elevate himself as a superior agent of morality at the same time.

Mr. Colbert would be well-advised to read Matthew 6:2:

Therefore when you give your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Stephen Colbert and his ilk are revealed for what they are: hypocritical trumpeters of their charity.

So long as one man in the world has less than another, men like Stephen Colbert will find cause to call us selfish and uncharitable for not giving all of our wealth to the government, to spend as it sees fit.

Those same people say that churches don’t do enough to help the poor. This meme is a great illustration:


Give all your money to government, and not churches, because it is better at helping people. Right.

These people know that charity and taxation are not the same thing, and yet they continue to make these insinuations, continue to trumpet their moral superiority. “I’m better than you,” says the liberal. Sometimes they imply that they are more moral in sarcastic, passive-aggressive fashion. “I worked for Greenpeace, did you?”

My first instinct would be to say “no, I prefer to donate my time and money to the parents of kids with cancer in my hometown, because charity starts at home.” But that’s actually a bad reply. It’s a form of trumpeting your own charity right back at them. More importantly, it doesn’t work.

That is their heresy, not ours. We’ve no need for that sort of thing. Instead, explain how their charity really isn’t charity. If you’re taking someone else’s money, grabbing a cut for yourself, and passing along some of it to another in exchange for his vote, you’re no Mother Theresa. You’re an asshole.

The Clinton Foundation was more interested in ensuring Chelsea Clinton’s dress fit right than whatever was going on in Haiti. Whenever massive amounts of money are moved from place to place, these people get a slice of it. They can also determine who it goes to, and under what conditions.

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12 Responses to Theft, Charity and Virtue Signaling

  • Since the conscience of man has been repudiated by the atheist and the government; involuntary charity is extortion.

  • Heard a great name for virtue signallers like Colbert: “fake liberals”. It really gets the going…

  • Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. Helping the poor is important, but having faith is by far the greatest gift of all as it will lead us to an eternal life with God. Given the very poor moral and religious state of our modern world, I would say that the true tragic crises of poverty is of one in faith.
    So Steve, you may want to recalibrate your catholic message and forego the easy talking points of the low hanging fruit.

  • Some really great “encapsulation-phrases”, describing very effectively the current moral-shaming argumentation that many Catholics cannot stand up to, and so are cowed into submission:

    “Competitive morality”; “Virtue-signalling”; or “Aggressive morality” (that last one is my fusion/improvisation).

    Here in the SF Baytheist Area it is a rich vein of all the above. So many noses in the air, so much aggressively superior morality.

  • My understanding is that surveys indicate Liberals give far less to charity than do Conservatives. Personally, I would like to see the Federal Government completely out of the charity business and that it become a local community obligation so that charity is seen a a personal and close to home obligation. The other thing about close to home charity is that we would be more motivated to find work for those on welfare. Welfare now is a way to maintain the Democrat voter base and is morally evil as it encourages the recipients to stay on the dole.

  • I don’t take virtue lectures from evil people that think murdering 57 million babies is a “choice.”

    If President Trump or I tried to say, “The US is a Christian Nation,” we’d be called homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, white-supremacist, xenophobic.

    Simply put, liberalism and social justice are stealing from your neighbor with the government as middleman.

    Finally, since I’ve been paying taxes and doing good works, say, the 1960’s, the US government has spent tens of trillions of real dollars on poverty, is now $20 trillion in unsustainable debt, and yet there are millions more poor Americans.

    If the federal government took over the Sahara Desert, in five years, there would be a shortage of sand (Milton Friedman).

  • A recent poster from a counter protester at a Defund Planned Parenthood rally stated;. “Planned Parenthood Saves Lives!”

    When asked to compare his tally to the death toll racked up thus far by abortion on demand, he couldn’t give an answer.
    All he could do is smile.

    This is liberal justice mush.

    Killing the innocent is Saving Lives.

    And Jesus continues to weep…

  • When churches and charitable organizations of 19th century were faced with (swamped by) the poverty of urbanization and industrialization and migration- not just international but also within the US- it was thought that having a more organized approach that could be offered by a centralized system would be helpful. It does seem the devil presents solutions which sound good, but he remains in the details.

  • We lived in a third world country for three years in the late 80s so I’ve seen poverty. Each time I visit downtown San Francisco to housesit for my eldest I am appalled and saddened at the ever increasing numbers of homeless men and women. Sleeping in door ways and up against buildings like the Ritz in the bone chilling cold and rain from dusk to dawn. By morning they’ve disappeared leaving behind trash, their nest of clothes and the smell of urine. Rarely are they middle aged or seniors. Mostly they are able bodied young adults. Maybe they are down on Market Street panhandling during the day or have gone to the Tenderloin to score drugs. I never see any homeless in Chinatown. The churches have many programs, free meals and some shelter. The city government hands out cash on a certain day and that is what keeps them there. There are shanty towns beneath the freeway over passes. The city looks the other way it appears. Just hand out the checks and look the other way in liberal San Francisco.

  • CAM.

    They pay so they don’t have to look.
    They have done their duty.
    The crumbs they have given, and the crumbs they shall receive.

  • Right on schedule… Mark Shea has to prove the post’s point.

    Myself I keep wondering how we have an obesity epidemic if nobody’s feeding these kids.

  • People want to feel good about themselves, but don’t want the oppression of religious affiliation. By “virtue signaling” they think they can assuage that nagging feeling something is missing. Secularists use Christian values to nudge people into handing over charitable works and fellowship into the hands of government.

Do Cop Lives Matter?

Friday, July 8, AD 2016




Eleven police officers were shot ambush-style, including five fatally, in Dallas Thursday night by at least two snipers, amid a protest against the recent police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, according to the Dallas Police.

One of the suspects had engaged in a standoff for several hours with police, but a Dallas city official announced around 3:30 a.m. that it was over. It was not immediately known what his condition was.

The condition of the six wounded officers remains unknown. One civilian was also injured.

Officials said the gunmen aimed to kill as many officers as possible.

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20 Responses to Do Cop Lives Matter?

  • Agree, “this country desperately needs two “honest conversations:” on race and on the welfare state.” The Democrat policy of containment has obviously failed, e.g. Detroit. One idea to fix this is to not allow folks on welfare to vote as they will vote for more welfare. This, of course, would be the end of the corrupt Democrat party which uses bribes such as welfare to win votes. But I am afraid things will have to get a whole lot worse before anything happens.

  • No, hope and change.
    Mr. Dowd, that (bread and circuses) is part the problem. But, your solution will never happen.
    Pray for the best. Prepare for the worst.

  • Shea achieved peak tackiness by posting last night:

    Dear Simcha Fisher
    I have to head up to Canada today and will be unavailable for lunatic comments comparing me to Satan for noticing the bleeding obvious.

    So could you do me a solid and cover my shift in your comboxes by taking the lunatics who compare me to Satan for noticing that Philandro Castile was butchered in cold blood for doing all things that a citizen of the United States is supposed to do while crazy gun-toting white “patriots” are still breathing despite posing an obvious menace?


    Paragraph 2 is entirely a link to a short post by Simcha pretty much stating the same thing. The only person who managed to be even tackier was Vox Day’s post today (but then I don’t think anybody’s looked to him for good taste).

    I think what bugs me most about these people is… You notice a problem in the country? Fine, voice it, bring it up, then ask for suggestions on improving it. But no, the modern know-nothings of the internet continue to opine on and on about stuff without ever bothering to inform themselves of the details.

    You have a problem with the cops? Ok, fine. What laws and regulations, specifically need to be changed? Which procedures need to be changed? Should we form a citizen committee to oversee the hiring/firing of individuals for the law? Will you sit on it? The legal system of civilization is as complex and intricate as any machine and you can’t just say “i want X!” and expect to get it any more than screaming those words at your computer will produce the result you want.

    Of course nobody does any of that – not even the simplest research (or to find someone who has done the research). Because to do any of that would require effort, and in modern society ‘effort’ is a filthier F-word than the four-letter euphemism for sex.

  • Ah, isn’t that sweet, Shea and Fisher, like good little leftists, doing their best to stoke racial hate. Here is Fisher’s blog post, preserved for posterity before she takes it down:

    “On July 6, 2016, police were involved in a violent altercation with an armed man. 62-year-old William Bruce Ray was pointing a shotgun at passing cars on the highway.

    Police arrived, assessed the situation, and wrestled the gun away from him. During the struggle, Ray brought out a handgun and fired it. Police eventually got Ray under control and took him into custody.

    He had two guns.

    He was openly threatening the lives of passers by.

    He tried to kill policemen.

    He is still alive.

    He is white.

    That’s all I have to say.”
    – See more at:

    Some of the comments to this are very good:

    1 hour ago
    Barbara Stein

    “This kind of sh*t-stirring is what lead to five police officers dead. If you produce more anger and hatred for people, don’t say it. What would Our Lord have done? Fight?”

    2 hours ago

    “When that is all you have to say, you contribute to the atmosphere that leads to Dallas.”

    10 hours ago
    Pete Thegreek

    “He is still alive.

    He is white.

    That’s all I have to say.”

    “So, I’ve been thinking about this today, probably shouldn’t have been, but I was. The more I did, the more I realized how witless, vile, bigoted and stupid your snide little aside is here. Your implication being that cops won’t shoot white people like they do black people. I really want to think you believe that because you’re too lazy to actually fact check, but I’m not sure.

    So, just to clear this up:

    So far, in the year 2016, police across the United States have shot and killed 279 whites. Over the exact same time period, the police have killed 136 blacks. So, no, lots more whites get killed by police than blacks.

    Oh, and just among the recently killed whites, there was an 18 y/o named Dylan Noble. The police shot and killed him in the street, even though he was totally unarmed. Now I looked back through your blog here and through Mark Shea’s blog for any mention of him and found, well, nothing. His death was not politically useful, so it will be ignored by both of you, just like the rest of the 278. Had he been black, you and Mark would both be screaming about how racist the cops obviously were, but since he was white, he has only a few friends to remember him.

    You didn’t even know his name until I posted it here.

    Screen capping this for later.”

    – See more at:

    When it comes to clueless leftists like Shea and Fisher, the statement of Orwell comes to mind:

    “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

  • Did you see the comment Shea left on Fischer’s article?

    Whites with guns are patriots. Blacks with guns are thugs. That’s secret formula. I believe the custom at this point is to turn the conversation to abortion and say that this murder doesn’t matter because more black people die by abortion. The use of the unborn as human shields for every Right Wing Culture of Death Talking Points has brought the “prolife” movement’s credibility right down in the sewer. Attention Right Wing: be more prolife, not less. Defend the unborn *and* innocent people killed by police violence. When unarmed black men have a 700% higher chance of dying at the hands of cops then unarmed white men, that’s not a statistical oddity. It’s racism and your party has declared itself its champion by nominating Donald Trump. Face it.

    What’s “funny” is that NOBODY brought up abortion at all until Shea did. The man’s writings have really become unmoored from reality.

  • Mark-who?
    What a maroon. No! I apologize for insulting morons.
    The Obama/race-baiting/hope and change meme is the regime’s and the media’s SOP/go-to/default setting/knee-jerk.
    And, five Dallas PO’s are KIA.
    Mr. Castile may be a Second Amendment martyr. One could assign blame to anti-Second Amendment hysteria for Mr. Castile’s tragic death. Mr. Castile’s fatal mistake was to try to do the “right thing” by informing the PO that he had in his possession a legal/permitted concealed carry weapon, and then reach for his ID.

  • We’ve been through this before, sadly. Despite what I heard on NPR this morning, we’re not really searching for a motive for the mass murder of the Dallas police officers (NPR needs help on this score, since they also couldn’t figure out the motive for the Orlando night club shootings).
    In 2014 in early December Obama criticized the police and injected race into the killings of Eric Garner in NYC and Michael Brown in Ferguson. He said “this is not a black issue, this is an American issue.” Later, a grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict the officers in the Garner case, and the shooting of Brown turned out to be justified according to Obama’s own Justice Department. On December 21, within weeks of Obama’s premature judgments about Garner and Brown’s deaths, NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot in their patrol car by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who said on social media he was motivated by the deaths of Brown and Garner.
    Early yesterday, Obama again took to the airwaves to pronounce on two police shootings that had just occurred and were nowhere near being fully investigated to find out exactly what happened. No problem for Obama, who opined: “When incidents like this occur, there is a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin they are not being treated the same. And that hurts. And that should trouble all of us. This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue.” (note the exact same language as in 2014).
    Within 24 hours of Obama’s statement, 5 Dallas police officers lie dead at the hands of a heavily armed (including bombs) militant at a supposedly peaceful Black Lives Matter rally.
    Mr. President, for God’s sake, stop stoking the fires of racial resentment, especially when you don’t even take a pause to wait for investigations to figure out all the facts and circumstances. Your rhetoric is dishonest, and is always followed by multiple cop killings. Some people might conclude you want to incite violence. Prove them wrong, and just shut up next time.

  • After making rash-judgments from afar, Obama comes out for gun-control. How about a little mouth-control, Mr. Provocateur-in-Chief. On the Left, everything is politicized and all the answers are to be derived from more and more government and less and less personal freedom and the personal responsibility that goes with it.

  • . The Michael Brown case has no place in the discussion of innocent blacks being killed…yet his name was conflated with such twice in the nytimes today. We (excepting his mom) now know he was not holding up his hands and two agencies found the same groups of false witnesses and credible witnesses which latter matched the forensic evidence. He was leaving a robbery as the cop had been warned and was 292 pounds at 6’4″ and coming toward the 6’4″ but 210 lb. officer after already having punched the officer and trying to get his gun…a minute prior. The reason he was shot 6 times is because if 9mm bullets keep hitting non vital organs ( arm in this case twice )…the person keeps moving toward you. There was a case of a man getting 24 bullets in him and only then did he die. Ergo in home defense, I again vote for the shotgun as to stopping power….although marksmen with pistols hitting vital organs for sure are another option. I’m sure there were many black victims of Michael Brown’s size and immorality in his neighborhood…who were glad he went to his individual judgement. They’ll never say it. But they are relieved. They’ll never write an op ed as Brown’s mother did today in the nytimes….but they’re relieved he went to judgement.

  • He’s been spending all his life living in a Mark Shea Paradise. Calumniating is his life living in a Mark Shea Paradise. Libel and slander and libel, puts it on his blog and justifies it from the bible. If you have a fact that needs some obfuscation you can have a talk with Mark for a minor donation. Why is it so hard to see, almost three hundred pounds of calumny.

  • Oh he made it to a computer today and seems to be furiously trying to make up now. Let’s see he has posts titled (along with some text when appropriate)…

    “Guardians, Not Warriors” – Heard a really interesting interview on my drive up to Canada yesterday about the right and wrong way to form cops so that they approach their work as guardians of the common good and not (as does happen) as militarized warriors against a subject population.

    “This entirely civil and Christian video” – …is without any possible comparison the most searing indictment of white privilege I can imagine

    “Prayers for Dallas” – Followed by such and a meme image from Martin Luthor King, Jr.

    “More of this” – Followed by an actually good picture (though it makes you wonder why he doesn’t go out searching for more pictures like that).

    “Common Sense” – Containing only a daily show clip. Because we all know how unbiased and common sensical that show is.

    Again, a bunch of mushy-headed emotionalism that further proves how addicted Shea has become to the spiritual equivalent of junk food with nothing actually nutritious. Compare his posts to someone like Peter Grant who actually worked as a prison chaplain and it becomes plain to see that the popular voice for the “new catholic evangelical movement” is one who has shed all his spiritual clothes.

  • Is Mark Shea important or something? I’m not familiar with him.

  • Bill Bannon, your comment on the 9 m/m Parabellum cartridge is interesting. “There was a case of a man getting 24 bullets in him and only then did he die.” This reminds me of the Army’s experience with the .38 Long Colt cartridge in the Philippines. The poor terminal ballistic performance of that cartridge led to the adoption of the .45 ACP in 1911.
    A police officer should draw his weapon only when clearly justified, and I understand that police training does not recommend the mere winging of a genuine threat but the positive stopping of that threat. The systemic shock of being hit by a .45 usually accomplishes that task. My work experience was elsewhere so I’ll simply observe with Gilbert & Sullivan that “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one.” I hesitate to make a recommendation for home defense, The best weapon is surely that which one can most competently use.

  • Will and Bill, I think both of you may enjoy this video of an activist undergoing some police training scenarios.

  • Thank you Nate, for the reality of it. We have, of late, let Pajama Boy control the conversation.

  • If I had a nickel for every column I’ve seen about Mark Shea, Ross Douthat, and Michael Voris, I’d be a rich man. If I had a nickel less for every column I’ve read written by any of them, it’d cost me less than a quarter.

    I feel like we spend too much time on trolls. I was thinking about that after reading the recent anti-“God Bless America” article linked to here. I got angry with myself afterwards – why did I waste my time on it? There can be value in keeping up with what one’s opponents think, but there’s no value in reading trolls. On another blog, someone made the comment that we should always respond to violence with anger. I replied that anger makes us more prone to violence. If we just stopped goading each other – not rebuking, not debating, but goading – how much better off would we be?

  • I replied that anger makes us more prone to violence. If we just stopped goading each other – not rebuking, not debating, but goading – how much better off would we be?

    I once read a book called “the Silence of Adam” which proposed that according to the text, there is a heavy implication that Adam was actually right beside Eve, present when the serpent tempted her. Even if not true, it is an applicable Aesop about the dangers of standing silent and letting lies be whispered such that others are led astray. This isn’t a call to always answer trolls (they do love attention) but not everyone that disagrees is a troll either. Shea has set himself up enough as a thought leader that it can be unwise to leave him unchallenged.
    Plus some of us remember when he used to be better so it’s also a eulogy for mind and wit that’s ruining itself.

  • Nate…..great video and a step forward that the activist agreed to the experience and changed somewhat.
    William….yes I’m aware that the 45 is one of the best stopping power rounds but if you miss and the shell goes out your window and into a neighbor’s, then a 20 gauge does the stopping power part but it’s lethality vitiates with neighborhood travel and that travel spreads out the pellets to that same safer end.

  • Shea and Fischer deserve the ICE 9 virus.

  • Bill Bannon, you make a good point. There are also frangible bullets for the purpose. It is such a lugubrious subject that I’d not even discuss it but to give at least the best advice. We live out in the country but many live just a bit of paint and sheetrock away from their neighbors. No universal answers, except pray always.

Why the Welfare State

Monday, August 26, AD 2013

A powerful scene from the movie The Mudlark (1950), which is a fictional account of a young orphan who scrounges a very meager living by trying to find items of value washed ashore along the banks of the Thames, and who goes to see Queen Victoria and causes her to end her withdrawal from public life after the death of her beloved Prince Albert in 1861.  In the above scene Alec Guinness, at the top of his game, portrays Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli giving a speech condemning the conditions in England that caused the boy to be leading a life of poverty and misery.  Guinness did the speech in one take which is a feat of acting that is almost preternatural.

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21 Responses to Why the Welfare State

  • I wonder if in lieu of the current Social Security disability system we had a system of mandatory income assessments to a dedicated account which the subject could direct to one or more licensed indemnity and annuity plans. Garnering benefits would require persuading a private insurer to extend benefits or persuading a hearing examiner to award them. Vetting by a private insurer and adversarial hearings pitting the claimant against a private insurer might screen out some of the more dubious claims. A private insurer will have a different organization culture and more constrained resources than the Social Security Administration. You could limit government income transfers to the disabled to those who lapsed into that state before age 33 or thereabouts.

  • I am a great believer in whole life, and I have invested in some Knights of Columbus policies. If I had invested the amount that I paid over in social security taxes, I would have been able to retire, if I had so desired, about five years ago.

    In regard to social security disability, it could be privatized for most workers, a la what is done for worker’s comp in most states. In reference to payments to the truly disabled who would never have worked we would have to develop the political will to distinguish between those who are truly disabled from fake disabilities so popular these days. A prime example:

  • IIRC, SSI has a much smaller primary clientele than Social Security Disability – something along the lines of 1.2 million v. 8 million.

    Megan McArdle has written about some of the difficulties in parsing disability claims.


  • The poor we have always with us. But the welfare state comes from the mistaken idea that the proper corporate response is to institutionalize charity in the State. It is not wrong to have a corporate response for instance in the Church, or humanist organizations, but must make sure the response remains true to the dignity of the persons involved. Not to institutionalize the response so much that the dignity of each person is lost. The poor person is not respected as an individual with capabilities.

    Yes it all began with good intentions. So did the unions.
    Also The civilian militia banded together to protect and defend each other in forming young America , but today’s DOD seems to turn against those good original intentions.
    the current use of power contravailing the proclaimed good intentions, doesn’t mean much about unions or charities or general defense, but a lot about how those people in charge respect or disrespect other human beings. How they misappropriate the good intentions to garner power.

  • A Welfare State is incompatible with Equality Before the Law. Attempting to join the two into one State yields as fruit those who would “game the system”.

    Our Savior never taught us to render the poor unto Caesar. Too bad Queen Victoria failed to heed the instruction He gave to the rich young man, “Sell all you have and give the proceeds to the poor. Then come follow Me.” Britain’s royals have immense personal fortunes, you know.

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  • At what point does the withdrawal of panem et circenses lead to a breakdown of public order?

    After all, as Talleyrand observed “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

    Will the force of law, backed by bayonets, be enough to keep the underclass in check? If we want to curtail welfare spending, are we ready for a repetition of les journées de juin 1848, following the closure of les Ateliers Nationaux? Then, the Liberals secured a victory over the Radical Republicans, but at the cost of 1,500 dead in the streets and thousands of summary executions of prisoners. The Assembly, one recalls, welcomed the surrender of the last barricade with cries of “Long Live the Republic!” What they got, inevitably, was Napoléon III; as Marx observed of this, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

    Nowadays, when governments depend for their legitimacy on media coverage and the cult of personality, it is pretty generally recognised that welfare cheques, drug-dealing and cheap alcohol are indispensible guarantees of the political order.

  • welfare state??…no….welfare country!!

  • I agree with Anzlyne. Charity cannot be legislated or imposed by punitive means, only justice. In most cases I think “social injustice” is due to a lack of poor enforcement of existing laws, or corruption, and not a reason for more laws, state controls, etc.

  • Ah,yes,’THE TRULY NEEDY’ The poor are playing the system especially those pernicious six year olds and those sneaky octogenerians.
    Look at the stastics, most people helped by the state are kids,oldsters and white.
    Let’s let the poor die in the streets like in India.
    Let’s let malnutrition be the lot of the great unwashed.

  • (continued)
    Let’s let humongous profits dictate whom we fire of lay off.
    Let’s let the bottom line dictate our ways of conceding employment.
    But above all let’s keep up our search the Regan’s “truly needy ” as the opposite o the “welfare queens.”
    Get off it, writer, we got your number during the last half of the Regan administration.

  • Joe, if you are going to go on a tirade at least try to come up with original material. I have heard these rants from die in the ditch defenders of the Welfare State since before you were probably born and it does not become any more convincing with repetition. It is one thing to help those who cannot help themselves. It is another thing to have one in six Americans currently receiving food stamps or to have welfare benefits so high in many states that going to work involves a financial loss:

    Finally, it is Reagan not Regan.

  • @joseph vellone – your cry is no different than the cry of Judas Iscariot.

    John 12:1-8 RSVCE

    12 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

    4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

    7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”


    That’s all liberal progressive Democrats want to do. Tax those who produce while claiming this is done to help the poor. Horse manure! It’s the gospel of envy, the policy of abdicating one’s own personal responsibility to help the poor one’s self. Read Deuteronomy 15:7-8:

    If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.

    That is your personal and individual responsibility and mine, NOT nanny Caesar, NOT some nameless, faceless corporate entity, NOT some Diocesan chancery!

  • Judas is the patron saint of modern secular social-justice – a precursor to full blown Marxism.

    Judas used the false narrative and motive to “sell the perfumed oil to help the poor” only so he could be its broker, extract his vig and profit in the exchange.

  • Catholics have a duty to help the poor. How many times did Christ compel us in the Gospels? We can neither be Big Statists NOR Ayn Randian anarcho-capitalists.

    The current system does need reform, yes. It should be used for the principle of “teaching a man how to fish so he can eat for a life time.” Let’s consider this, for a moment. There are millions of acres of fallow farmland in America, and countless farmers are approaching old age. How about a 21st century Homesteading Act? Most homeless are sane and free of a criminal record. Give them a plot of land, give them training in farming and sustainable agriculture- as well as entrepreneurship and marketing products- and for ten ears let that land ownership go tax free.

    Let’s find ways to give people dignity again. Good work and ownership are such means of dignity and self-worth.

  • There nothing intrinsically wrong with Ben-in-SoCal’s idea, just as long as we don’t abdicate to Caesar our God-given responsibility found in Deuteronomy 15:7-8. Furthermore, the principle of subsidiarity applies. I for one am sick and tired of these godless liberal progressive Democrats crying, “It’s for the poor.” They don’t give a darn about the poor, only about how much license they may gain for themselves while abdicating all personal responsibility and evading all personal accountability.

    Yes, I am in a foul mood today. Not related to this post, I found out that the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is the 5th in this year to be shutdown (including Ben-in-SoCal’s San Onofre units 2 and 3), all thanks to the machinations of the idiot in charge. If we keep on emasculating our energy infrastructure, there won’t be any money left to help the poor, or to till the farms, and we’ll all be poor and sitting in the dark!


  • Absolutely Paul. The sad fact is, we have lost a sense of balance in this country. Many people genuinely do need help, but the problem is that you can’t help people who refuse to help themselves. There are some people who are takers; young healthy men should not receive checks simply because they are unemployed. Put them to work in the wilderness reparing bridges and trails! The Civilian Conservation Corps was a tremendous project! We need to find that precious balance between social and individual responsibility.

  • “There are millions of acres of fallow farmland in America, and countless farmers are approaching old age. How about a 21st century Homesteading Act? ”


  • Yes I am. We need to do something to counteract the plague of poverty. Why not give sane, criminally-free homeless the dignity of good work and ownership?

  • Are you saying we should deal with the over-blown handing out of free stuff by handing out free land.
    Where are all of these acres?
    I guess the owners of that land would just donate it…? and the heirs would go along with it too because of the estate tax at death of owner.
    and I guess there would be a welfare to work clause– they would have to develop the land.
    Trying to develop some of that land might just make them want a job with the government instead. We could have a one employer system.

Link Roundup

Tuesday, August 13, AD 2013

Because when you go three weeks between blogposts, things sort of build up in the queue.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is Still My Enemy

Typically brilliant insight from Simcha Fisher about the sudden conservative and Christian appreciation for Mother Russia – you know, the authoritarian state run by the corrupt,  narcissistic, kleptomaniac.

Who Knew? The welfare state may not be such a great thing after all.

Fascinating documentary in Great Britain where welfare recipients are forced to live on 1949 allotments. If your primary concern is making sure those on welfare have every last need and want met, then the modern system is the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re into old fashioned concepts such as human dignity, maybe things were better once upon a time.

Voter ID Laws = Jim Crow

Leave it to a mediocre pop artist to really get to the heart of the issue. John Legend has decreed that the newly passed voter ID law in North Carolina is the new Jim Crow. Because having to show a picture of yourself before voting is totally the same as segregated schools.

The Cowardice of the Stupid Party

Republican Congressman would totally love to hold town hall meetings during the summer recess to discuss the immigration bill, but they like got that thing that they gotta do. You know. That thing. Right Vinny?

The Fourth Branch

The usual cheerful article from Kevin Williamson. President Obama has essentially handed over the management of government to bureaucratic functionaries. If anything Williamson undersells the painful reality of life in Washington. Our government is in the hands of well-meaning, well-credentialed, but power-hungry managerial type so perfectly depicted in CS Lewis’s masterpiece, That Hideous Strength. Basically it’s the N.I.C.E. minus the scary head thing. What’s worse is that President Obama is using these agencies to bypass that pesky little thing known as Congress. As Williamson puts it:

IPAB is the most dramatic example of President Obama’s approach to government by expert decree, but much of the rest of his domestic program, from the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law to his economic agenda, is substantially similar. In total, it amounts to that fundamental transformation of American society that President Obama promised as a candidate: but instead of the new birth of hope and change, it is the transformation of a constitutional republic operating under laws passed by democratically accountable legislators into a servile nation under the management of an unaccountable administrative state. The real import of Barack Obama’s political career will be felt long after he leaves office, in the form of a permanently expanded state that is more assertive of its own interests and more ruthless in punishing its enemies. At times, he has advanced this project abetted by congressional Democrats, as with the health-care law’s investiture of extraordinary powers in the executive bureaucracy, but he also has advanced it without legislative assistance — and, more troubling still, in plain violation of the law. President Obama and his admirers choose to call this “pragmatism,” but what it is is a mild expression of totalitarianism, under which the interests of the country are conflated with those of the president’s administration and his party. Barack Obama is the first president of the democracy that John Adams warned us about.

The Worst Decision Ever Made in the Harry Potter Universe

And on a lighter note, a look back at a rather questionable hiring decision.



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John Adams: Prophet?

Thursday, June 20, AD 2013

Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions of the United States, 1787

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14 Responses to John Adams: Prophet?

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  • Adams’ statement is somewhat prescient. He gets a little Ayn Randian there with the statements about the idle and the vicious, but point taken. Not to go Vox Nova on this blog, but one could argue that there’s a strong countervailing power against this tendency coming from the undemocratic forces wielded by elites and moneyed interests. (If you doubt America has its own version of aristocracy, just try to work in Hollywood and challenge Lord Geffen. Or talk to a judge.) The irony, of course, is that these elites are often characterized by self-loathing that compels them toward the same redistributive policy prescriptions as the lowly masses. Oh, they’ll still protect their private property tooth and nail, but it’s not as though they’re a bulwark against democratic chaos.

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  • It’s not solely the “idle and vicious.”

    Today’s WSJ: George Melloan writes a review entitled “A Jeremiad to Heed” of Niall Ferguson’s book, “The Great Degeneration.”

    Mr. Melloan writes about “the strangling of private initiative by an ever-encroaching state.” Professor Ferguson cites crises in economics, politics and culture. The most threatened institutions are: representative government, free markets, the rule of law, and civil society. Regarding the erosion of the rule of law, politicians ignore the Constitution and spawn huge numbers of “unwise and unenforceable laws and regulations.” As government expands, civil society retreats.

  • St Thomas ascribes private property to positive law. : “Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” [ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1]

    This is not the only place in his writings where one can see the influence of the Roman jurisprudence; here, its stark distinction between possession, which is a fact and ownership, which is a right.

    One can see this principle working to great effect in the French Revolution. Take Mirabeau (a moderate) “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens”

    So, too, Robespierre (not a moderate) “In defining liberty, the first of man’s needs, the most sacred of his natural rights, we have said, quite correctly, that its limit is to be found in the rights of others. Why have you not applied this principle to property, which is a social institution, as if natural laws were less inviolable than human conventions?”

  • These men were SO WISE If John Adams were alive today and said or wrote that he would be ridiculed and called a “racist”. The people in power have more than three years left to circumvent the Constitution and create their twisted vision of America. I am praying that the Constitution is the true bulwark that can save us. It is being severely bent but I do not think it will break.

  • L.P., I was about to enter that one-word (“racist” the most versatile word in the political lexicon) comment.

    Remember the Second Great Commandment, love thy neighbor as thyself (even if he is a rich SOB).

    Schemes to “take from the rich” ever and always degenerate into envy, hatred, violence, and dystopia.

  • T Shaw wrote, “Schemes to “take from the rich” ever and always degenerate into envy, hatred, violence, and dystopia.”

    And yet, the increase in the number of landowners in France from from 43 before the Revolution to 10,000,000 in 1789 provided the greatest element of social stability for over a century. The new peasant proprietors, along with the petit bougeoisie were the backbone of the Party of Order

  • 43? Where did you get that number MPS? I believe that between 30-40 percent of all land prior to the Revolution in France was owned by peasant proprietors. Of course quite a few peasants fought against the Revolution that tended to be much more popular in the cities than in rural areas.

  • Donald M McClarey

    All but 43 proprietors held of a subject superior, to whom various duties and ground annuals were due. Only a pairie-fief amounted to absolute ownership (dominium directum) Everyone else had only the “dominium utile” – ownership of the use. Even where inflation had rendered the feu-duties trivial, the casualties payable on succession or alienation often amounted to half-a-year’s profits and the superior usually retained the sporting, timber and mineral rights.

    During « la Grande Peur » between 19 July and 3 August 1789, manorial records, terriers and rent-rolls were destroyed by peasants all over France with quite remarkable thoroughness.

  • Ergo, I had in mind . . .

    “In 1932-33, the Ukraine, formerly the breadbasket of Russia, was turned into a desolate wasteland during the ‘Holodomor.’ Malcolm Muggerage wrote in his book, War on the Peasants, ‘On one side, millions of starving peasants, their bellies often swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldiers, members of the GPU (secret police) carrying out the instructions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They had gone over the country like a swarm of locusts and taken away everything edible, they had shot or exiled thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages, they had reduced some of the most fertile land in the world to a melancholy desert.’ More than 7 million people died so that their farms could be collectivized by Moscow.
    “The policies of the Communist Party in China caused more than 76 million people to starve between 1958 and 1961. Called the Three Years of Great Chinese Famine, the government had ruled that changes in farming techniques were the law. People were not allowed private plots to grow their own food and all farms were arranged into communes (collectivism strikes again). Yang Jisheng, a Chinese historian wrote in his book Tombstone, ‘In Xinyang, people starved at the doors of the grain warehouses. As they died, they shouted, “Communist Party, Chairman Mao, save us”. If the granaries of Henan and Hebei had been opened, no one need have died. As people were dying in large numbers around them, officials did not think to save them. Their only concern was how to fulfill the delivery of grain.’ To this day, Yang Jisheng’s book about the famine is banned on Mainland China.”
    From a Daisy Luther piece published in “The Organic Prepper.”

  • There are opposing realities that a Catholic has to recognize: None of our possessions are “owned” by us; we’re merely borrowing them during our time in this world. Hopefully we are good stewards of that property. A wise person realizes that our endowments are not purely a result of our own actions, but are also a product of fortune. These things temper our understanding of “private” property.

    Having said that, Adams’ point is still valid: It’s hard to imagine a just society where the rule of law does not include fairly strict protections on property. I’m not an expert on natural law or natural rights, but there are those Ten Commandments. Property rights might not be as absolute as the right to life, but a just order based on the rule of law depends on them heavily.

  • J Christian wrote, “It’s hard to imagine a just society where the rule of law does not include fairly strict protections on property”

    Absolutely, but to elevate them into “natural rights” can lead to inflexibility. For example, most legal systems have some system of prescription, whereby a bona fide possessor can acquire ownership by long, undisputed possession. A system whereby dormant claims, especially to land, could be raised after a century would make everyone’s title insecure. Again, some legal systems tend to favour a bona fide purchaser’s rights over the original owner’s more than others. French law is rather more generous than Scottish, but neither is manifestly unjust. Reasonable people, even reasonable jurists (if that is not an oxymoron) can differ and moral theologians have always agreed that this is properly the province of the civil law.

    Rousseau, a citizen of Geneva, thought property rights were more likely to be respected in a society of small property owners than one of rich men and beggars; a sad commentary on human nature, no doubt, but I believe he was right. I graze my sheep on open moorland, but there are parts of Glasgow where I would not leave a bike unattended

  • T Shaw

    But what you give are examples of collectivism, which is notoriously inefficient, not redistribution. The French Revolution adopted the opposite process; it redistributed the royal domain, the confiscated estates of emigrants and malignants, the common lands, the forest lands, it abolished the payments to feudal lords for work no longer done or value given, payments due to them “from the time, the obscure and distant time, when power went with land, and the local landowner was the local government, the ruler and protector of the people, and was paid accordingly.”

    As Populorum Progressio says, “If certain landed estates impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.”

A Lazier America

Monday, December 17, AD 2012



I think that the re-election of Obama will come to be viewed by most Americans as an umitigated disaster in the years to come.  He has been a curse upon this country in so many ways, but perhaps especially in regard to the American character.


The London-based Think Tank Legatum Institute recently offered empirical evidence of what many Americans have been thinking lately. Our national well-being is slipping.

Over the past four years, prosperity has increased around the globe, while it has remained stagnant in the United States, the Legatum Institute reports. As a result, the Institute ranked the United States 12th out of 142 countries on its 2012 Prosperity Index, putting the country outside the top ten for the first time.

Go here to read the rest.  The summary of the report in regard to the US makes for depressing reading:

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7 Responses to A Lazier America

  • From John Hinderaker: “For the first time in history, the average Canadian is wealthier than the average American. Canada has a conservative government, and they have passed us like we are standing still. Which we are, at best. . . . Do Barack Obama and his minions want America to be one of the world’s ten most prosperous countries? If you believe, as I do, that actions speak louder than words, the answer is No.”

    Point of Information: The economc/financial crisis ended in 2009. Why, for the past three yrears, are “they” still running up catastrophic, $1.4 trillion annual deficits (fiscal policy); and Fred (monetary policy) is keeping interest rates at zero (negative with inflation), and printing hyper-inflationary, $1 trillion of green confetti a year?

    Even money says we are hurtling toward an economic apocalypse.

    Since 2008, it has been “government of the banks, for the banks and by the banks.”

    Note to self: Sixth Avenue (Canadian Consulate) emigrate to Canada.

  • Losers Psalm #666….
    Very good parody.

  • I think you give Americans too much credit.

  • We are not becoming lazier, we are becoming more godless and a great deal more immoral. The Declaration of Independence is in shambles. The Republic is dead in the water, and those who value freedom better wake up from their lethargy and recover belief in the God our nation once trusted. That is the only answer to all our current problems

  • The economic Utopia this government prepareth for us is a pretty far cry from St. Thomas More’s Utopia. In his, everyone worked or else was shamed by being locked up in solid gold chains. In Obama’s, everyone is offered gold chains or else shamed by being made to work.

  • Thank you, Donald McClarey for this post. It is refreshing to hear clarity: 30% interest is usury. Taxes may not go above 30% before becoming confiscatory, extortion and cruel and unusual punishment according to the Ninth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment for “colonialism” as Dinesh D’Souza says. Distributism is the virtue of Charity imposed by the state. Charity, all virtues, must be voluntary acts of the person’s soul. Either that or it is stolen property being distributed. Even voluntarily donated charity becomes stolen property if the recipient is capable, but refuses out of vice to provide for himself. That recipient becomes the recipient of stolen property extorted or cheated of honest people. Extorted virtues are not conducive to peace and tranquility. Subsidiarity, authentic authority given over to the states, will permit the people to determine how much and what may be done for charity. The Virtue of Charity is the realm of the transcendent and the domain of the human being’s immortal soul, the responsibility of the Church.

  • “cruel and unusual punishment according to the Ninth Amendment” the Ninth Amendment protects rights not inscribed in our founding principles, like subsidiarity. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment like confiscatory fines, penalties and taxes, the penalty must fit the crime. The HHS Mandate defies the Eighth Amendment. Rapacious fines are prohibited in the 8th Amendment. 100% taxes are also prohibited. Being an American citizen protected under the Eighth Amendment prevents deliterious fines and taxes.
    Thanks for listening

The Forgotten Men & Women of America

Monday, November 26, AD 2012

In 1883, William Graham Sumner published an essay titled “The Forgotten Man” (originally titled “On the Case of a Certain Man Who Is Never Thought Of” – not quite as catchy) which is as relevant today as it was when it was written. The essay is a great exposition of the laissez-faire understanding and approach to social problems and articulates what I believe many on the libertarian right and within the Tea Party believe today. From a Catholic point of view, there is much I find agreeable within it, though there are certain tangents, unnecessary to the main argument, that I would take issue with.

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14 Responses to The Forgotten Men & Women of America

  • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – CS Lewis

  • Bureaucracies, militaries, etc. are unproductive but necessary to varying extents.

    No, the civil service and the military perform useful services. They are not, however, services that emerge from market transactions, hence the resort to public agency.

  • Useful does not = productive. Unproductive does not = useless.

  • ” . . . the civil service and the military perform useful services.”

    Truth. The military destroys things and kills people in order to prevent such evils from being inflicted on the citizenry. It does not (since they stopped issuing letters of marque) produce wealth, goods, or servicers. It takes assets, economic resources, wealth from the producers. Similarly, the civil service/bureaucrats do not produce but take from the productive sectors.

    And, above the two are politicians that deal in coersion and fraud; and have devolved into latter-day Gracchi trading bread and circuses for votes.

    Some thoughts:

    This rewards bad behavior.

    See Zerohedge, PA has issued a study showing how a family of four on various welfare entitlements has higher disposable income than the similar family that grosses $69,000 a year.

    There is no such a thing as a free lunch; or something for nothing. Someone pays for it.

    It’s always other people’s money.

    Nations reach breaking points when producers/taxpayers become outnumbered by dependents/tax takers.

    Symptoms of national disaster include the tax-taking segments growing more rapidly than the wealth-producing sectors, they call it “The evil, unjust private sector.” In 2011, the US national debt grew by more than did the evil, unjust private sector GDP, and that is just one part of the increases in government taking.

    Voting for abortionists, sodomists, and class hate-mongers (they promise to take more from somebody else that you hate whom they charge isn’t paying his “fair share”) to feed the Obama-voting moron bloc is not one of the Corporal Works of Mercy.

    Let’s have some fun. List the public utils produced by various bureaucracies.

    I’ll start with the EPA: higher prices for elecricity, gasoline, home heating oil; and shortages to boot.

    Feel free to jump in.

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  • Seeing as salty truth-tellers of old are the elixir of choice in these parts, I offer, for your edification, from 1872…

    Michael Muller, while a favourite of some (what are now thought to be) fringe Catholic groups, has in his other works great insights into prayer and the faith. Well worth a read, IMHO. Deeply rooted in the 32nd Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori.

  • “Vice is its own curse. If we let nature alone, she cures vice by the most frightful penalties.”

    He ignores the penalties inflicted on the innocent bystanders. No man is an island. No action happens in a vacuum. Every vice has a societal cost. The idea of victimless crime is non-reality.

    You read Sumner’s quote and see an affirmation of natural law. I see a justification of natural selection, which wouldn’t be surprising since such thought was rising to the forefront of academic thought in his time.

  • Darren O.,

    I’m familiar with Michael Muller. He’s the theological equivalent of 90-proof alcohol – drink it only if you’re sure you can handle it.


    Some things labeled “victimless crimes” really do have victims. Others really are harmless. Marijuana does not post a greater risk to society than alcohol; both should be prohibited or both should be legalized. In my opinion, both should be legal, not one person ought to ever be molested by the state for possessing or indulging in them. We can and should still punish crimes resulting from intoxication, but not everyone, not even the majority, will abuse these substances to the point that they pose an actual threat to someone else (to the point where the police need to become involved, that is).

    Sumner’s point and mine is that you cannot save people from themselves, and that what motivates the majority of intervention by the state is not so much a concern for society as a self-righteous delusion that enlightened elites will save the lower classes from themselves and elevate them. I reject this fantasy on moral and practical grounds.

  • “Marijuana does not post a greater risk to society than alcohol; both should be prohibited or both should be legalized.”

    There is a point when risks becomes too costly for society. While alcohol comes with its costs, introducing another intoxicant into the market will simply increase the harm incurred. And while the one indulging won’t be prosecuted in a legalize all vices society, everyone else would be punished in some form.

    This is the problem I have with the Ron Paul crowd and its obsession with legalizing narcotics. It is their belief in the license to participate in vices as the ultimate example of real freedom. Their freedom is embracing the worst habits of us and not the free exercise of what makes us a great citizen, community and country.

    “Sumner’s point and mine is that you cannot save people from themselves”

    It’s true the decision to do good or bad ultimately lies with the individual. However, law can have a positive effect in deterring one to do harm to him or herself. Absent the law, the tempted individual sees license to partake of legal activity without a true understanding of serious, even dire, consequences.

    You acknowledge there is a risk to legalization, but your interpretation of Sumner’s point makes risk evaluation pointless. For no matter the risk, you can’t save people from themselves. The result is a society where there are no personal limits. All narcotics are legalized, and no societal costs until harm to another party is done. That’s a difficult argument to make to a mother crying over a child killed by a school bus driver who showed up to work hung over from a crack high.

  • Kyle,

    I question whether or not the costs of prosecuting people for marijuana are greater than the alleged harm that these people cause society. It is a grave thing to take away a person’s freedom, or to otherwise interfere in their life, and it is all done at the expense of the taxpayer (i.e. forgotten man). Is it justifiable to cause real and lasting harm to moderate drug users? Because that is what happens when the state arrests, prosecutes, fines, monitors and ultimately imprisons a man. It is harm to a real individual, who may have dependents, who may be a worker paying taxes, who may have any number of social roles.

    So when you say that the “harm incurred” would be increased, I see that it would be decreased.

    “It is their belief in the license to participate in vices as the ultimate example of real freedom.”

    That’s really just not true. I think Ron Paul and many of us supporters would be the first to acknowledge that those who sin, are slaves to sin, that those who are addicts are not really free. This isn’t about suggesting the best means to personal freedom, but rather defining the role and the limitations of the state and the rights of the individual. We believe people ought to be free to make bad choices, though I honestly don’t see the substantial difference between having a drink (which we all regard as morally neutral, not being Puritans) and smoking a joint.

    It is also about, again, the forgotten man – the taxpayer, who has to cough up the dough to finance the criminal justice system that prosecutes all of these people for their own good. I don’t want my tax dollars spent on this. America was fine when marijuana wasn’t a controlled substance, and it will be fine again when these absurd laws are finally scrapped.

    “However, law can have a positive effect in deterring one to do harm to him or herself. ”

    Whenever you use the word “law”, I see “coercion”, because that is what we are really talking about, and in my view the use of force against a person requires a much greater justification than “they have a bad habit we need to stop for their own good.” And I have to tell you, from personal experience, that I’ve known maybe one, two at the most people who were afraid to smoke marijuana because it was “against the law.” It is a non-factor for most normal human beings. Many more people I knew refused to smoke because of drug tests or even lie detector tests that current or potential employers might subject them to.

    Believe it or not, freedom does work. Because freedom includes the rights of employers not to have potheads for employees, especially when people want to join the police or firefighters or military. This idea of the coercive state as our nanny, telling us what is best for us, though, is a degradation of human dignity. We have enough people throwing away their dignity all on their own, and we don’t need the state adding to it.

    “Absent the law, the tempted individual sees license to partake of legal activity without a true understanding of serious, even dire, consequences.”

    What I just said really proves this false. People lose their jobs, their friends, their money, their homes due to drug addiction. These are punishment enough, and they are all imposed by organic social institutions, not the artificial Leviathan. On the other hand, people who use drugs and can retain all of these things have demonstrated that they have a handle on it, and it is stupid and vindictive to punish them for it.

    “That’s a difficult argument to make to a mother crying over a child killed by a school bus driver who showed up to work hung over from a crack high.”

    She should be mad at the school for not screening their employees. Do you really think a crackhead cares that crack is against the law? To even become a crackhead you would have already have to have broken dozens of laws. Crackheads should be removed from the streets and put in rehabilitation facilities (not prisons where they can be gang-raped by unchecked prison gangs), not because they violated some absurd Puritanical rule against intoxicants, but because they do pose a threat.

    But a casual pot smoker is not a crackhead, and less of a danger than an alcoholic.

  • Hi Bonchamps. Had to step away and get some things done. Back to the discussion…

    You and I agree there are reasonable limits on freedoms. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can yell fire in a theater. Right to bear arms doesn’t mean you can possess a nuclear missile in your backyard. The debate is where to draw the line.

    You mentioned the costs to enforce the drug laws as a justification to cease the prohibition. It is my belief that the rightness or wrongness of a law is never based on its enforceability or its costs.

    If we, as a society, decide sex trafficking is wrong and should be illegal, does it matter the cost to enforce it? At what budgetary line does a harmful activity became non-harmful? Is sex trafficking bad when enforcement is $1 million but licit when enforcement costs $1 million + $1?

    How much has been spent on stopping and prosecuting murder? By the legalize narcotics standards, we should cease those laws. They are simply ineffective and too costly. Murderers will murder anyway. Or, is it possible the very existence of the law provides a beneficial deterrence to would be murders?

    You say the drug user’s addiction is punishment enough. If you have known, worked with, lived with, been the victim of, etc. an addict, you know that person is not the only one punished. Those people are the real forgotten men, the trail of victims the addict leaves behind. Those who have to live with the costs incurred by an addict’s habit. Don’t forget those forgotten men.

    In regards to Ron Paul supporters, I know very well how they think and what issues are important to them. The Paulistas rally around narcotic legalization as the ultimate example of freedom. Yet, finding such fervor about the rights of the unborn and religious freedom is virtually silent. They claim to be freedom fighters, but their motivations are really selfish. “Let me smoke my pot. Erase my debts you evil big banks.”

    I could go on and on about the problems of Paulistas. I have 2 in the family and have seen endless postings by them and their friends. You are the sanest one I’ve ever met, probably the only sane one.

  • “You mentioned the costs to enforce the drug laws as a justification to cease the prohibition. It is my belief that the rightness or wrongness of a law is never based on its enforceability or its costs.”

    Well, I don’t share that belief. I think it is morally wrong to not consider the practicality or the costs, because if they are worse than the problem that the policy claims to address, you are imposing unfair and unnecessary burdens on people. Costs matter, especially when you are proposing to confiscate people’s private property to pay them. There is rightness and wrongness to consider every step along the way. When you say you don’t care about costs, you’re basically saying that you don’t care about the consequences of your actions. How is that anything other than sociopathic?

    “If we, as a society, decide sex trafficking is wrong and should be illegal, does it matter the cost to enforce it? ”

    Yes, it does matter. It absolutely matters. There is a hierarchy of needs and priorities. I don’t know exactly where sex trafficking falls on that hierarchy, but I’m pretty sure that there are things higher than it that need to be addressed before that issue can be addressed.

    “How much has been spent on stopping and prosecuting murder? By the legalize narcotics standards, we should cease those laws. They are simply ineffective and too costly. Murderers will murder anyway. Or, is it possible the very existence of the law provides a beneficial deterrence to would be murders?”

    The state exists to protect natural rights. Laws against murder reflect the fact that we have a natural right to life that no man is justified in violating. Laws against marijuana, on the other hand, prevent people from engaging in behavior that AT BEST might theoretically cause someone else harm. At worst they are proposed to save people form themselves, which is a violation of human dignity and free will.

    The law does not exist to “instruct.” It does not exist to make us better people. That is the role of religion, of society, of our families. The law exists to protect our rights against would-be violators. That’s all.

    “You say the drug user’s addiction is punishment enough. If you have known, worked with, lived with, been the victim of, etc. an addict, you know that person is not the only one punished. Those people are the real forgotten men, the trail of victims the addict leaves behind. Those who have to live with the costs incurred by an addict’s habit. Don’t forget those forgotten men.”

    First of all, I have.

    Secondly, the state doesn’t exist to help those people. That is what families, churches, and local organizations are for. The state shouldn’t have a thing to do with what ought to be a private matter.

    “I know very well how they think and what issues are important to them. The Paulistas rally around narcotic legalization as the ultimate example of freedom.”

    Well, this is at stereotype. I am a Ron Paul supporter, and I don’t believe that. Neither does Judge Napolitano, Tom Woods, Chuck Baldwin or any number of conservative religious Ron Paul supporters.

    “You are the sanest one I’ve ever met, probably the only sane one.”

    Check out the guys I mentioned.

  • Again, and with reference to Blackadder’s contention, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has a budget of $6.9 bn, of which the Department of Justice attributes $3.5 bn to the cost of incarcerating people for whom the top count was a drug charge. Federal prisoners account for about 11% of the nation’s inmates, but a much higher share of those incarcerated for street drugs (~30%). The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has a budget of $2.4 bn. Overall, around 20% of the sum of costs for law enforcement at all levels of government is attributable to the gross costs of enforcing the drug laws. Not 10% of all public expenditure is lavished on police, courts, and prisons. About 2% of all public expenditure can be fairly attributable to drug enforcement.

    (While we are at it, libertarians, around 15% of all public expenditure is allocated to the military, and somewhat under 30% of all soldiers are billeted abroad, so “the empire” accounts for just north of 4% of public expenditure).

Timely Quotes

Thursday, September 20, AD 2012

In light of the 47% (oops, where did those one to two minutes of recording go?) non-controversy, I thought that a game of guess who said the quote would be fun.  Use of a search engine is verboten!

1.  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.


2.  The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.


3.  I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all American history – one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people. Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary. In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving the people.


4.  Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.


5.  It is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of the right order, for a larger and higher organisation, to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies.

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21 Responses to Timely Quotes

  • 1. I have heard it before, but forgot who said it. Franklin, Maritain, maybe even as far back as Socrates/Plato (kind of guessing here)?

    2. No idea, but I like it.

    3. Could have been almost anyone talking about any administration from WW I forward.

    4. no clue

    5 & 6 – no clue, but 5 sounds like something from a Pope or CCC on subsidiarity, and 6 sounds like subsidiarity as well

    7-10 – No clue, but they make sense.

    So let me tally that up here….. looks like I am 0 for 10. About the same as the likelihood of any of these ten points getting through to the thick skulls in D.C. and most state capitols.

  • Thanks for trying cmatt. I intended the quotes to be challenging, albeit not impossible. Number five was indeed said by a Pope.

  • Quote No 6 – I wonder if Lincoln had Robespierre in mind, when he wrote that. “Democracy is a state in which the sovereign people, guided by laws that are of their own making, do for themselves all that they can do well, and by their delegates do all that they cannot do for themselves.” (La démocratie est un état où le peuple souverain, guidé par des lois qui sont son ouvrage, fait par lui-même tout ce qu’il peut bien faire, et par des délégués tout ce qu’il ne peut faire lui-même) [Speech to the Convention, 17 pluviôse An II]

    Both the sentiment and the expression are remarkably similar and many editions of the proceedings of the Convention were widely published, both in French and in English. Perhaps Lincoln had read it and the aphorism stuck in his memory, when the source was forgotten.

  • A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

    I am reminded here of an incident from the 1972 campaign. George McGovern was speaking at a group of auto workers and mentioned his plan to fund more lavish government spending by raising the estate tax; the audience booed him. McGovern couldn’t understand it. Those auto workers were never going to pay the estate tax, so why should they be so opposed to it being raised on the rich?

    Conservatives should not make McGovern’s mistake.

  • “Quote No 6 – I wonder if Lincoln had Robespierre in mind,”

    Lincoln did write it MPS, although I doubt if he had Robespierre in mind. Outside of American history Lincoln didn’t read much history. During the 1860 campaign Lincoln learned that it was being claimed by his campaign that Lincoln had read Plutarch’s Lives. Lincoln hadn’t, but he immediately sat down and read it, to make the campaign claim true.

  • I recognized the Lincoln quote and also No 9 (C S Lewis Hideous Strength)

    I would guess No 1 is Franklin – He certainly said something similar, which Lord Acton quoted.

    Must pass on the rest!

    By the by, Charlotte Corday took Plutarch’s Lives to read on her coach journey to Paris to kill Marat.

  • Everyone in France at that time was reading way too much classical history!
    Correct as to number 9, incorrect as to number one. I will have a speech of Franklin in a post for tomorrow.

  • The 3d quotation is from Franklin Roosevelt.

  • I will guess that #5 is Leo xiii

  • #3 sounds like FDR’s stump speeches in the 1932 campaign against Hoover.

  • Correct Micha! FDR ran as a deficit hawk in 1932!

  • I’ll take a guess at a few of these
    1. Alex de Tocqueville
    2. Julius Ceasar
    8. Hayek
    9. G. K. Chesterton
    10. John Adams
    I’m guessing here, but there honest guesses.

  • Correct as to one and eight PD. No as to two and nine. Close as to ten.

  • mmm, close as to ten? Henry Adams, Adam Smith or Adam Sandler are my next best bets.

  • Would number 9 be C.S. Lewis? (Perhaps in the voice of Screwtape or one of the characters employed by N.I.C.E.?).

  • My guess would be that #2 was uttered in 1932, 1946, or 1952. Possible candidates would be Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Robert Taft, Douglas MacArthur, or Dwight Eisenhower.

  • As to number 9 Art you are correct. It is from That Hideous Strength and uttered by one of the villains. You are incorrect as to number 2, although the quotation was written in the last century.

  • Number 2 is Marcus Tullius Cicero, Republican to the end ! (though he did have some bouts with ingratiation – no one is perfect except Jesus and His Mother!)

  • Close Paul. That is actually a quote put into the mouth of Cicero by novelist Taylor Caldwell in her novel about Cicero, A Pillar of Iron (1965).

Solidarity and the Welfare State

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

An interesting look at Paul Ryan by Father Barron based upon the twin poles of Catholic social teaching:  subsidiarity and solidarity.  It is easy to see how the welfare state, consolidating ever more power in the central government, is destructive of subsidiarity.  What is often overlooked however, is how destructive the welfare state tends to be also of solidarity.

1.  A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them.  We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash.  Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

2.  A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy.  Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

3.  As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

4.  By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

5.  Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women.  The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

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15 Responses to Solidarity and the Welfare State

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  • It is remarkable how rapidly the main social functions of the family have been transferred to the state. Until 1745, here in Scotland, north of Stirling, justice, production and consumption, education, health were almost entirely the responsibility of the family, especially the extended family, the sept or clan. In the Lowlands, the burghs were, effectively, petty republics, governed by the incorporations or guilds and, in the countryside, the laird and his barony court and the minister and elders in the kirk-session, were the effective government. A very good example of subsidiarity and solidarity working together.

  • Nicely done. I would just add a few thoughts.

    The danger for us as critics, I believe, is to so dislike the welfare state that we disconnect from the principle of solidarity altogether. While I am extremely reluctant to count government mandated redistributionism as any kind of charity and question its virtues in many ways, I do think in solidarity we must recognize our “sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone”. So your question as to what replaces the welfare state must be fully answered, I think, before it can be replaced.


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  • Here’s a charitable man.

    From Bay Times which just fact-checked it.

    “In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had disappeared,” the story reads. “She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay’s daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York and asked them to help find his friend’s missing daughter. Romney’s accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York and talked with everyone they could – prostitutes, drug addicts – anyone.

    “That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD traced the call to a home in New Jersey, where they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another day. Romney’s former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter’s life, saying, ‘It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die.’”

    That is my Romney reverse detraction for today.

  • You are giving Romney too much credit, T. Shaw. It was of little consequence for Romney to make this easy gesture. First, he is rich so it doesn’t count. Second, the closure of his firm was hardly a sacrifice since the government that built it no doubt continued to run it. Finally, the real hero was government in the form of the NYPD, which plainly would have found the girl eventually.

  • 1. A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them. We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash. Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

    The public housing authority, the child protective apparat, the ‘family services apparat’, state asylums and sanitoriums, and the public schools require a great deal of manpower. Insurance, voucher, and cash transfer programs, not so much.

    2. A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy. Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

    More precisely, increases economic sclerosis. France has a particularly serious case.

    3. As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

    Yes, but what often divides these two classes is a position in the life-cycle. I suspect you would find occupational factors, cultural factors, and social-psychological factors more important in influencing voting behavior.

    4. By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

    True, but a great deal of the problem is not common provision per se but poorly structured incentives incorporated into the existing programs.

    5. Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women. The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

    True of AFDC and like problems. The thing is, AFDC turned out to have a permissive influence on this sort of behavior. It was not much of a motor of it and the reduction in the size of welfare rolls has not been accompanied by improvements in family maintenance.

    6. Welfare benefits tend to foster a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to tolerate any diminution of such benefits for the common good, even when a country is careening toward bankruptcy.

    There is a good deal of truth to that with regard to benefits for the elderly. The trouble is, the elderly are the least able to adjust to changes in economic circumstances. You do not really see much in the way of mobilization of the non-elderly poor. The resistance you’re seeing comes from the delivery apparat and from the brokering politicians.

    7. Welfare states tend to involve ever-increasing domination of society by those who write the rules that govern the welfare state and administer it. Rather than societies governed by debate and compromise, government diktat becomes the order of the day.

    Aaron Wildavsky would have disagreed with you. He said the hallmark of contemporary political society was bureaucracy without authority.

    It increasingly seems Congress is incapable of accomplishing anything at all.

    8. Welfare states, because of their scope and power, inevitably threaten basic human freedoms. The HHS mandate, devised by President Obama for a cheap political advantage this election year, is a prime example.

    More precisely, they are one vector among many that acts to diminish independence of mind and self-confident discretion on the part of both the man in the street and local politicians.

    9. Welfare states dull the desire of people to engage in charitable activities, and take ever greater sums from the populations they exist upon, depleting the funds available for charity.

    This is true to a point, but often welfare bureaucracies and private charity are addressing somewhat different sets of problems. One is not a substitute for the other.

    10. Solidarity is possible only in societies which view their people as adults, capable of working together for the common good. Welfare states tend to view populations as clients who must be led into paths that the controllers of the welfare states deem desirable.


    One of the great questions of this century will be what comes after the welfare states, which are manifestly dying. The beginning of an answer would be to consider what contributes in a society to true solidarity and what does not.

  • MP: Thanks.

    St. Melanie (my wife) thinks I had a bad day. On the contrary, it was a good day. I didn’t get shot when, within a minute of when I was and a hundred yards of me, 10 were less lucky. You don’t hear the one that hits you.

    Even better, I learned that it’s a blessing to vote for the 100% pro-abortion incumbent prez and VP candidates because Romney’s so-called Catholic running mate is objectively evil: he’s only 98% pro-life.

  • Sending up a prayer for your deliverance T.Shaw and for those who were not so fortunate.

  • Thank you, Mac.

    Recalls that we do not know the hour or day.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary and my sainted mother in Heaven, obviously, have prayed and interceded for me these many years.

    Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it know that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you O virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To You I come. Before You I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not my petitions but in Your Mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

  • It is reasonable to oppose Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc. because they are used by those who embrace socialistic government control of the economy.

    Social Security (retirement) has been a systematic looting of alleged “retirement benefits” by the federal government. There is no respect for private property and the level at which the secular leaning government that is involved is too high, and prone to corruption. Retention by the individual of ownership of the funds, if we are to require a set aside of funds would be allowing the individual retain his money for himself and his family for their benefit and for their use in the society, including supporting and helping the poor.

    Other programs, such as unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. as currently used are designed not to help the recipients, but to enslave in a cynic manner for retention of power. In addition, as we see in the current administration, whether it be the “freedom to worship,” denial of Catholic agencies to provide adoption services (to this children not murdered by abortion), denial of Catholic agencies to assist victims of the international slave trade because they won’t provide or promote intrinsic evils and the HHS mandates, the exercise of the state of solidarity by the provision of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is designed, implicitly, to marginalize the role of Faith in the society. The Church, and other believers, need to say that the so-called “welfare” state has failed and that even if the faith-communities provisions of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is lacking, it is much better in the long run for both the physical and spiritual needs of those members of the Body of Christ that are in need. Unfortunately this is an all or nothing proposition because the once the politicians get a nose under the tent, they are an 800 lb. bully. In the area of solidarity services, you cannot be a little pregnant with State. (Additionally, it is likely that the absence of the Leviathan, would allow for greater marketplace rewards that could be used to either employ others or help the truly needy.)

    The absence of government in the provision of these services, in this digital age, would be a blessing because it would require those members of the Church, who support the coercive solidarity of the state to stand and be counted and support the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not the State. Supporting the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) is not a matter of charitable deductions; it is a central obligation of the Faithful to support the mission of the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not for the benefit of a tax return.

    Given the history of failures of the socialist-based policies of the so-called Progressives through the New Deal, the Great Society to the present, I think the most cogent moral position is that for a country the size and complexity of ours that the coercive solidarity of the state has been a failure and should be rejected and abandoned.

    A closing note, by way of a simple and simplistic example of the failure of the coercive solidarity of the state; the “Head Start” program has since its inception cost the taxpayers of the USA approximately $160 billion dollars (or 1% of the current national debt) and it has never demonstrated any measurable long-term beneficial effect on the society or to those to which is was directed, yet the socialist left refuses to accept this and demands more money to “make it work.” The principal here is power and its retention, and not the provision of any benefit to which is was directed and that is why this, and so much else of the coercive solidarity is in conflict with the Church’s teaching of subsidiarity.

    N.B. The portion of the national debt relating Head Start is for one failed program, imagine if all of the failed programs were eliminated and what the national debt would be? What amount of private capital and income could in the society and from which faithful Catholics could, in the true and faithful spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity could be directed, effectively by Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) to those needy and less fortunate in our society.

    Pray for me as I pray for you.

  • There is another reason to oppose many (most? all?) government “social welfare” programs (and many other things as well, like art endowments, etc) If Oskari Juurikkala is correct in his analysis of Social Security and fertility rates, then Social Security is one of the last things the Church and other pro-lifers want to have around. (Making Kids Worthless, found at

    I have also read that public education is also correlated with fewer children (and homeschooling correlated with having more), but I don’t have much information on that. That information came to me from “There’s No Place Like Work” by Brian Robertson.

  • Yesterday a young woman who had had a minor accident came into the office some two months after the accident, claiming that she needed disability as she had lost her job and still had pain from the accident. Her exam was normal. A refusal to give her disability provoked a hostile sarcastic remark. Last week a male and female “significant other” couple wanted disability for her severe muscle pain. Her exam was normal. Refusal to give disability was followed by the couple’s disapointed exit with the female partner abandoning her slouched painful gait in favor of a brisk walk. A man paid by the state to administer insulin to his somewhat developmentally delayed wife failed to do so and still recieved payments. His excuse? “we were moving to a new apartment”. I could go on and on. What will become of our nation when the receptees of largesse from the state outnumber taxpayers? Sol Olinski knows.

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Blood Boil Story of the Day

Wednesday, March 7, AD 2012

In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum

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32 Responses to Blood Boil Story of the Day

  • … or blood pressure spike of the day.
    Well, it’s the bills and there’s only little over half, so yeah.
    Two things:The ethicks of me and how dismal the information age is in government databases.

  • This is the conequence of the liberal mindset.

  • Arrggh! Consequence – can’t spell this morning!

  • This should not surprise anyone.

  • It certainly would not have surprised Pope Leo XIII Mike or one of his contemporaries:

    “In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.””

  • Maybe that attitude explains why we have the “Hate and Chains” regime running the country into the mud.

  • 1. It is a very odd contingency for which the eligibility standards did not take account. I am not sure why that would make your blood boil.

    2. Conjoined to that, you have a women who has been granted a lump sum which could generate for her north of $20,000 in interest and dividends per annum after taxes have been paid but who is under the impression she has no income. I can see chuckling and shaking my head over that, not getting angry.

    3. Conjoined to that, you have someone who fancies that her elevated and freely assumed housing and transportation expenses justify drawing on federal grocery subsidies. A mixture of dismay and amusement at that, I can feel. The thing is, obtuse and self-centered people are everywhere, and the damage they do (see the divorce courts) usually exceeds the $600 or $1,200 this woman was unjustly awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • “It is a very odd contingency for which the eligibility standards did not take account. I am not sure why that would make your blood boil”.

    Ha! You have got to be kidding Art! I see this type of gaming of the system all the time in my practice. This is merely an egregious example of something that occurs constantly in our society.

    “I can see chuckling and shaking my head over that, not getting angry.”

    You miss the point entirely Art. Her entitlement mentality is the problem not her ignorance (and I have little doubt that ignorance was not what caused her to continue taking food stamps after winning a million bucks). Ignorance can usually be corrected, while the idea that someone has a right to be supported by others is perhaps incurable after enough able-bodied people in a society believe it.

  • Donald, you’ve hit the nail on the head. What I immediately thought of was the fact that this obviously able bodied person (judging by the fact that she is able to go to the grocery store on her own and carry her own groceries in and out of the house) had no job and had been living on the government’s tab for who knows how long. Now that she has money laying around and some financial freedom to pay off any debts she might have, she didn’t go looking for a job or get a new wardrobe to help herself get a job when the money runs out.

    She seems to have no skills in this regard and that is one of the major problems of the welfare system. No job training, no cutoffs, no demands on the individual to help themselves while the government helps them get through a rough patch in their lives. It’s easy to get into the mindset that I can’t do this by myself when the government continually tells you can’t.

  • Ha! You have got to be kidding Art! I see this type of gaming of the system all the time in my practice. This is merely an egregious example of something that occurs constantly in our society.

    You represent trustafarians applying for food stamps?

  • I sue people who owe debts, represent people who owe debts and have always had a criminal defense practice. I would see more of it if I didn’t refer out my worker’s compensation cases to other attorneys. The number of people skimming from Uncle Sucker, and his state equivalents, is hard to exaggerate.

  • This is just one person…it’s human nature to take advantage of any system.
    The issue is, can we prevent most of it or even more important, do we stop essential programs for the people who really need and deserve them because people take advantage?
    As Catholics, it should be in our nature to help people, to donate, to support those that require it. Instead of focusing in on one bonehead woman, let’s work TOGETHER with government to make the systems more effective and efficient.

    I have a wonderful uncle who worked for 35 years and then was laid off middle of last year. He tried to find a job in his field of work, could not. He tried to find any job that could cover the bills, he could not. If not for unemployment during that 6 month period, he could have lost his house. Instead, he is still in his house and now has a job that he can work for the next 5 years with dignity.
    Programs are designed to help those who deserve and need them. They are flawed because we as humans are flawed, but instead of putting out negative because of this young woman, let’s figure a way to put out postive while still aiding those who require our assistance, love and prayers.

  • “They are flawed because we as humans are flawed, but instead of putting out negative because of this young woman, let’s figure a way to put out postive while still aiding those who require our assistance, love and prayers.”

    Indeed, and a swift kick in the hind end to those who are simply milking the system, something which is sometimes of assistance for those who wish to go through life as everybody else’s guest. I do not blame them conpletely of course, because the modern welfare state teachs people to be moochers, to game the system and to embrace petty larcency from the State as a way of life.

    Oh well, these things tend to be self-correcting, although not in a pleasant manner:

    “And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! “

  • Anecdotal:

    A long-time friend is retired from a NY PD (decent pension) and is collecting early Social Security. His wife has a full-time job with excellent benefits. He held a job but was laid off. Now, he receives a third (unemployment) government check. He says he is, “Unemployed and Overjoyed!”

    This week he is going to SS and get another $1,000 a month disability until he hits full SS age. “I got my rights!” Seriously . . .

    The execrable, vile Repugs won’t force the evil rich pay their “fair share” in taxes and want to starve the unemployed after 29 months!

  • Another unemployed and overjoyed: Wife of a Partner in a Wall Street Law Firm. I advised her not to wear her minks to the unemployment office.

    Cardinal Dolan refuses to pay for my condoms!

  • A long-time friend is retired from a NY PD (decent pension) and is collecting early Social Security.

    Are you sure you have not confounded disability benefits from his employer with disability benefits from the Social Security Administration? Disability benefits derived from employment as a police officer have been notorious for decades (tho’, if I understand correctly, they are less egregious than used to be the case). Social Security Disability is a program difficult to administer consistently as it requires discretionary decisions by hearing examiners, but the program has a considerable buy-in requirement and recipients are generally on it for a limited term of years before returning to the work force or reaching the age where they are eligible for old age and retirement benefits. I believe there are severe and perhaps absolute earned income limits if one is drawing benefits, but we can check. The disability beneficiary I know best retired at 59 (due to the effects of lupus) after nearly forty years of continuous employment.

  • AD: 100% sure. One may collect reduced-benefit SS at 62, depending, and there is the earned income reduction. Given the same “expiration date” assumption the present value of the reduced payments at 62 is not materially less than at 67 years.

    My man had 25 years and retired straight on longevity. In fact, he busted a bone on the job and was on full pay for years while he worked off the books, cash. When they retire they get one month paid terminal leave for each ten years service.

    You and i have too much time on our hands.

  • If he is collecting the old age and retirement benefits payable at age 62, I do not believe he is eligible for Social Security Disability, and he cannot be eligible for unemployement compensation unless he was let go from an on-the-books job and met a number of subsidiary requirements. Again, if he is at full salary due to an on-the-job injury, that would be derived from the union contract, not the Social Security law.

  • AD: May pal is on a PD pension.

    He is on SS.

    And, being that he was laid off from a full time on the books job: he is collecting unemployment benefits.

    He said he was going to apply for SS disbaility. I agree he probably won’t get it.

    I like his style and he is a friend.

    You and I have way too much time on our hands.

  • 1. His pension is deferred compensation. Public sector pensions in New York are fully funded as a rule, so retirees like your bud are generally not on a dole. As he is a municipal employee and a veteran of the police department, it is quite conceivable his pension is not fully funded. The thing is, total compensation for public sector employees is inflated by the deference New York politicians grant to public sector unions. That is not precisely ‘mooching’, more like ‘rent seeking’.

    2. You are right. It appears that you can draw disability benefits between the ages of 62 and the full retirement age (currently 66 and change). However, if he has not been for some years a working cop and was recently employed in some other occupation without injury, he categorically fails to qualify if his wages exceeded $1,000 a month. Tell him to break his leg again.

    3. Noodling around the New York State Department of Labor’s site, I see you are correct about that too. It is very explicit that unemployment compensation is intended only for those who are work-ready. That your friend may be, but such a contention would be rather in contrast to those he is making to the Social Security Administration in order to qualify for disability benefits.

    4. Drawing unemployment compensation is not in all cases ‘mooching’ either. You paid the taxes which support the benefits over the course of your work life. It is an income transfer program rather than an insurance or pension program, but if you draw benefits for no more than four months in a 15 year period, you might still be paying in more than you received.

  • We gotta get a life, AD!

  • According to the reporter (at the very end of the segment), it was completely legal for the person to continue to collect the food stamps. Assuming this is true, how is she ‘gaming the system’? Do we say that those who inherit millions from their parents and pay only 15% on investment gains and dividends are ‘gaming the system.’ Of course not, we say that they are simply paying as little as they are legally required to. This lottery winner paid her taxes during the year (certainly more in taxes than she ever will recieve in benefits) on what she won. In the year she won, she paid, say, $200,000 in taxes. $200,000 less $2,400 in benefits equals net tax of $197,600. She did everything she was legally entitled to do to reduce her taxes just like everyone else. When Bush sent out those $300 or $600 checks a few years back, did you return yours and say, “No, I cant take this?”

  • “This lottery winner paid her taxes during the year (certainly more in taxes than she ever will recieve in benefits) on what she won.”

    She had no choice since lottery winners have no option on that score, the taxes being taken out before they get a check for the remainder.

    “According to the reporter (at the very end of the segment), it was completely legal for the person to continue to collect the food stamps.”

    I doubt if the reporter was correct, since the Michigan food stamp program has an asset limit:
    “Asset Limit
    Effective October 1, 2011 there is an asset limit for FAP groups. Certain assets such as checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposits are considered when determining eligibility for FAP.”,4562,7-124-5453_5527-13176–,00.html

    “Do we say that those who inherit millions from their parents and pay only 15% on investment gains and dividends are ‘gaming the system.’ ”

    No, we call it the government not double taxing income that their parents already paid tax on. That does not even rise to red herring status in attempting to justify the bald faced theft of this welfare cheat.

    If you truly cannot see what is wrong about someone with several hundred thousand dollars getting food stamps, I feel sorry for you.

  • For such as the hapless who aren’t lottery winners, even if only lottery customers, who are recipients of state and federal benefits, why aren’t the budget mavens coordinating fed and state benefits to each social security number including the IRS EIC credits. Department cooperation via ss# input could help deficit spending and waste.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t the welfare system recoup its outlays from lottery winners?

  • “She seems to have no skills in this regard and that is one of the major problems of the welfare system. No job training, no cutoffs, no demands on the individual to help themselves while the government helps them get through a rough patch in their lives.”

    The Clinton-era welfare reforms place a 5-year lifetime limit on what used to be called Aid to Families with Dependent Children and is now called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). However, there are various ways to stop the 5-year “clock” and extend benefits longer, such as by being enrolled in postsecondary education or job training programs. Other benefits such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (formerly known as “food stamps”) have no time limit as far as I know.

  • “She had no choice since lottery winners have no option on that score, the taxes being taken out before they get a check for the remainder.”

    Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall. What the government took out as withholding could have come right back to her with the filing of her tax return.

    “I doubt if the reporter was correct, since the Michigan food stamp program has an asset limit:”

    That of course, would change my argument/opinion completely.

    “No, we call it the government not double taxing income that their parents already paid tax on.”

    If I had been referring to the Estate Tax, yes. Income tax is a different story. Example, I inherit $1 million. I invest the $1 million and earn dividends/capital gains of $60,000. My parents never paid tax on the $60,000 (yeah, I know, the corporation already paid its tax on the dividends I received…).

    Your blood boils when an inner city black woman who probably has no father, no sense of family, no proper upbringing regarding work/education/etc, no self-worth, and no clue on how to succeed financially (other than to buy lottery tickets!!), continues to recieve her $2,400 of reverse taxes after the big win. My blood boils when I read articles like this:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About 12,000 tax cheats have come clean under a program that offered reduced penalties and no jail time to people who voluntarily disclosed assets they were hiding overseas, the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday.

    Those people have so far paid $500 million in back taxes and interest. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said he expects the cases to yield substantially more money from penalties that have yet to be paid.

    The voluntary disclosure program, which ran from February to last week, is part of a larger effort by the IRS to crack down on tax dodgers who hide assets in overseas accounts. The agency stepped up its efforts in 2009, when Swiss banking giant UBS AG agreed to pay a $780 million fine and turn over details on thousands of accounts suspected of holding undeclared assets from American customers.

    Since then, the IRS has opened new enforcement offices overseas, beefed up staffing and expanded cooperation with foreign governments. A similar disclosure program in 2009 has so far netted $2.2 billion in back taxes, penalties and fines, from people with accounts in 140 countries, Shulman said.

    I guess my point is that this welfare queen is really just a petty theif. Really, $2,400? Even with the number of tax returns understating tax by $20,000 or $200,000 or more based on grey areas in the law, black areas that the CPAs call grey areas, and outright fraud?

  • Obama needs more of my children’s and grandchildren’s money!

    He just spent $10,000,000 to develop a $50 light bulb. The evil rich ain’t payin’ their fair share!

    The income tax is un-American and un-Christian. They had to subvert, er, amend the Constitution to impose it. Since 1913, the government owns you.

    Commie assassins like Bernardine Dorhn have more rights than alleged tax evaders. Under the Internal Revenue Code and tax crime practice you have no rights, e.g., the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

    The IRS makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a bunch of cub scouts.

  • “Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall.”

    Yep, if you lose a lot of money in foolish business ventures you can save something on tax. Likewise if you set up a charitable trust where you have no access to the money for personal use, you can save on taxes. I doubt if either option would have been enticing to the welfare cheat million dollar lottery winner.

    “Your blood boils when an inner city black woman ”

    What a truly despicable attempt to bring race into the discusion, especially since the welfare cheat in question is white. No, my ire is directed at those, regardless of race, who pilfer public funds for private gain. As to the tax system, that monument to political chicanery piled upon byzantine complexity, I am in favor of root and branch reform, although that was not the subject of this post, although I have touched upon it in previous posts.

  • Oh but she did have a choice. Had she gone to slick CPA firm in Any-Mid-Size-Town USA they would have been glad to set her up with a few trusts, or a horse farm, or any or the type of tax shelter or scheme (from relatively benign to downright fraudulent) to reduce her windfall. What the government took out as withholding could have come right back to her with the filing of her tax return.

    I will leave it to Mr. Petrik to educate us all, but if I am not mistaken discoverable personal income in this country amounts to about $10 tn. About 25% of that is placed outside the boundaries of the tax base by a mass of deductions, exemptions, and credits. This woman was not antecedently engaged in investment or business, so I would tend to suspect her opportunities between the lottery award and the present day (a few months in time) were pretty minimal as to reducing the tax man’s share of her winnings.

    Let us posit for a moment she actually received $720,000. If she put 60% in equities and 40% in bonds, she might get $24,000 in nominal interest and dividends per year ‘ere income taxes. However, if you conceived of her income as a compound of real interest, real capital gains, and dividends, her imputed investment income might be something more along the lines of $14,000. Eligibility standards for certain means-tested programs (Medicaid, food stamps, and housing subsidies) are a multiple (1x to 1.75x) of the poverty line. The poverty line for a single individual is currently about $11,000. Depending on how you define her investment income, she might just qualify for some of these programs.

  • Had she gone to slick CPA firm

    I can think of adjectives for the accountants with whom I have crossed paths. ‘Slick’ would never be one.

Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

In light of Zach’s stellar posting which generated over 240 comments ranging from anarchism to Oscar Romero and which inspired a posting by Michael Denton.  These comments, although informative to a certain extent, may have detracted from the original intent of the posting.  Henceforth in regards to said activities being done on Zach’s posting concerning Representative Chris Smith, I am starting a new tradition here at American Catholic, the open thread.

So feel free to comment to your hearts delight that isn’t related to any other postings on this website.

The comments policy is still in place so don’t forget to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.


Marxist Health Care

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12 Responses to Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

  • I do not oppose a health care bill that extends coverage beyond the narrow concerns protected under Medicaid, Medicare, and SSI. I object to bloated bills that have not been read. I object to rushing to publish a bill, any bill, for purely political reasons. I object to “stealth” measures to hide within larger bills truly controversial legislation like FOCA. I object to the blackmail that this process creates, diminishing debate and deliberation to little more than key points, without the detail necessary to analyze the effects. Most of all, I object to a President, ANY President, telling the legislature what kind of legislation to pass, what it should do and say, and when it shall be completed. This is bullying and strikes as the core of the Separation of Powers.

    In the instant debate, I am THRILLED to see this rush to cobble together a bill delayed. Now, maybe, we can come up with something that specifically addresses the issues as hand without delving into issues that should be addressed as separate bills.

  • G-Veg,

    I agree to most of your points except the need for government run health care. Which both violates subsidiarity and distributism.

  • I forget who pointed out. Appropos of your cartoon, it appears the right has an unhealthy obsession with anal penetration, specifically anal rape.

  • M.Z.,

    What gnostic class can I take to follow your line of thinking?

  • Tito,

    I love you, man, but you are better than a post with that cartoon as its header.

  • Frankly, the cartoon was a lot more innocuous than M.Z.’s rather inflammatory response to it.

  • Why does it violate subsidiarity?

  • The principle of subsidiarity is that matters should be handled at the most local level as possible and if it cannot adequately at that level be taken care of, it can move up to the next point. The problem is, I think most Democrats will argue, is that the states do not have the resources to address the matter sufficiently because it is fixing a regional problem within a intricately more complicated problem. So, I don’t think one can simply say it violates subsidiarity as if that is some obvious objective fact that cannot, rightly or wrongly, be disputed.

    All Democratic proposals aside. I have read criticism after criticism, but I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem. I have seen what I think are credible starting-points amending parts of the system, but nothing comprehensively to address the whole of health care in America, while restraining the government. If this were really a serious problem, I’d almost expect a solution. The closest thing I’ve seen is the Patients Choice Act which has earned about every stripe of Republican criticism and has incorporated by and large waves of Democratic ideas.

    I think the *structure* of the health care markets is deeply flawed and I don’t see them re-structuring unless it is via the legislative process. I’m sure we won’t agree on details. But it seems opposition to Democratic health care proposals almost always opposition (indirectly) to reform, which ends up not happening — to the total chagrin of the people who need it the most.

  • Eric,

    Were the Federal Government to provide a straightforward and unrestricted subsidy to state, county, and municipal government determined according to a formula taking into account population and per capita income, the principal structural impediment to state authorities acting as medical insurers would be removed. Why not leave general income redistribution, macroeconomic stabilization (e.g. unemployment compensation), and public works implicated in moving people and goods across state lines to the center and other services to the periphery?

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  • Eric,
    I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem.

    have you checked out the Republican proposals? John McCain’s policy is a great starting point. I believe it’s the brainchild of an actual physician.

    Here’s the key points without getting into the nitty gritty:

    1. Tort Reform – liability insurance and payouts for exorbitant claims account for 20% of healthcare costs.

    2. Equal Access – eliminate preferential tax treatment of employer sponsored plans vs. private plans. Accomplished by eliminating the employer’s deduction, and giving a tax credit to all Americans with which to purchase health care as they see fit.

    3. Open Market – allow individuals and employers to purchase any plan authorized by any state.

    4. Encourage Health savings and catastrophic INSURANCE coverage instead of pre-paid health care.

    These actions will drive down the cost of health care while maintaining the motivators for continued advancement and excellence.

    Now, you can never again say haven’t heard any alternatives.

Is Obama a Socialist? You be the Judge.

Monday, October 27, AD 2008

“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.

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6 Responses to Is Obama a Socialist? You be the Judge.

  • David Bernstein at Volokh has a fairly balanced take on Obama’s remarks:

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  • I think the post fus01 links to nails it pretty well, especially with its closing:

    It’s true that most Americans, when asked by pollsters, think that it’s emphatically not the government’s job to redistribute wealth. But are people so stupid as to not recognize that when politicians talk about a “right to health care,” or “equalizing educational opportunities,” or “making the rich pay a fair share of taxes,” or “ensuring that all Americans have the means to go to college,” and so forth and so on, that they are advocating the redistribution of wealth? Is it okay for a politician to talk about the redistribution of wealth only so long as you don’t actually use phrases such as “redistribution” or “spreading the wealth,” in which case he suddenly becomes “socialist”? If so, then American political discourse, which I never thought to be especially elevated, is in even a worse state than I thought.

    Not to sound like an elitist, but it’s one of the odd contradictions of the American voting public that although many essentially socialist (as in European stype social democrat) ideas are moderately popular with voters, and yet the concept of socialism is seriously unpopular.

    Or more cynically, perhaps it’s that Americans like free stuff, but don’t like the idea that their earnings might actually be taxed in order to give others free stuff.

  • Well said — DarwinCatholic and David Bernstein.

  • My opinion resembles the Volokh writer’s. Obama’s mention of redistribution is too vague to be scared or excited about. I’m not sure why Drudge got so excited about this. Why would he think it to be a bombshell?

    Government always redistributes wealth. This is most obvious in the case of, say, Social Security. But military spending, foreign aid, and domestic improvements channels wealth to government employees and contractors.

    I guess it’s the redistribution from private citizen to other private citizen *without pretense* that gets some people nervous.

  • Of course, the Christian Democrats in Germany accepted many of the same principles as Clement Atlee regarding the state’s duties to enforce positive rights and not just negative ones. I would agree with you that Obama is a social democrat, but on economic issues he shares a lot of ground with at least one branch Christian democrats as well.