Approximately 400 years ago, the settlers who landed at Plymouth Rock (Pilgrims) decided at the get-go that they would hold all in common. All would work for the good of all. They were led in this venture by their governor, William Bradford. The result was several years of paltry harvests plus resentments among the pilgrims that they could not benefit from their own labor. Bradford and the others had the wisdom to know that socialism (for that is what it was) was an inherently flawed system that was doomed to failure. Bradford divided the land among the settlers and decreed that what the farmers grew was theirs to use. Lo and behold, both planting and harvests increased dramatically and the famines they had experienced became a thing of the past. Read here and here for more details and context.
Of course I need not go into the spectacular failures of socialism that have been evidenced throughout modern history, most notably the FORMER Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the other Iron Curtain countries. They and the free world were at odds with one another during what was known as the Cold War. They collapsed as a result of the inherent corruption and flaws of socialism. By and large, their leaders had not the wisdom and humility that William Bradford possessed 400 years ago. Of course Bradford was a professed Christian and the Iron Curtain leaders were atheists so that accounts for a large part of their mental dispositions.
In light of all this, I and many others look with dismay upon the words of the Holy Father as he addressed United Nations leaders today. I link now to the complete address that he gave. Let me remind one and all that the Holy Father, by virtue of his office, will never solemnly proclaim error. He can speak infallibly on matters of faith and morals: immutable and inherent truths of the Church. He does not possess those same guarantees when it comes to matters of prudential judgment. A discussion on what economic policies to pursue falls into this area in which good Catholics can respectfully disagree with the Pope simply because in these matters the Holy Father may well be in error from a prudential perspective.
Yes. With respect to the Holy Father's economic ideas, I beg to differ. In his address he appeals to a "legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state". With all due respect to His Holiness, this notion is not only incorrect, but downright dangerous to all who would be impacted by its implementation. All those already impacted by this concept have already experienced the inherent tyranny of a state so empowered.
Let's examine that phrase that he coined: "legitimate redistribution". Why does he betray a need to qualify the word "redistribution" with "legitimate"? Either it's understood to be legitimate or it isn't legitimate. The very attempt to sanitize this "redistribution" with the word "legitimate" makes plain that he is trying his darnedest to get us to accept a very illegitimate redistribution.
Now for the places cursed with this "legitimate redistribution", we must ask "how does the state obtain these economic benefits to redistribute"? Isn't it odd how progressive Catholics (and it appears the Holy Father is
Pope Francis might do well to examine the words of his predecessors, going all the way back to Pius IX. They saw clearly the dangers of socialism and a bloated, arrogant state. Yes the state that is empowered to give us things is the state that is empowered to take them away. If more and more power is ascribed to the state - and by extension to the oligarchy running it - it will become more and more corrupt and tyrannical. Don't we see that today with Obamacare breathing down our necks?
Remembering that "redistribution" can hardly be called a dogma of faith, I have no bones opining that the desire for this "redistribution" is at best dangerously simplistic and naive if not downright moronic and deadly. The Holy Father can and should speak about matters of immutable dogma and inherent morality. Most people understand that the most common predictor of poverty for an individual is whether or not they come from an intact family where biological father and biological mother remain married to each other and who observe chastity in keeping with their married state. So many evils militate against the family and against life (the Holy Father did make mention of the culture of death): contraception, abortion, acceptance of homosexuality and other perversions, etc. Would not the Church and the world be better off if the Roman Catholic clergy would concentrate on faith and morals and stop meddling in matters where she has no practical expertise? Yes.