Washington, DC, July 29, 2009 -- NLE'09 in the FEMA Sim Center.  FEMA/Bill Koplitz

Master, Peer, Ward, Puppet

In 1886 a terrible drought turned the plains of Texas to a vast expanse of dust. The United States Congress responded by appropriating $10,000 for seed for Texas farmers, who were in dire straits. This proposal was not folded into some enormous all-or-nothing bill, but was its own thing, to be voted for or against, [...]

Economic Inequality and the Hypocrisy of Power

That a French socialist economist is trashing the American economy for fomenting inequality should hardly be news. But Thomas Piketty is enjoying some moments in the popular press, before returning to the usual comfortable sinecure for the left—academia. Why? Well, we are told, economic inequality is on the march again, and must be stopped. Stopped [...]

Leo XIII Knew Socialism Would Fail Because it was Evil

It is generally held that Catholic Social Teaching begins with Pope Leo XIII’s masterly encyclical, Rerum Novarum (1891).  That, as I’ve tried to show, is a dreadful mistake.  Pope Leo considered it his duty to apply to current concerns the constant teaching of the Church and of the word of God.  Like Thomas Aquinas, the [...]

Leo XIII: “Taxing the Rich Does Not Help the Poor”

In Quod Apostolici Muneris (1878), Pope Leo XIII deplores those who “under the motley and all but barbarous terms and titles of Socialists, Communists, and Nihilists, are spread abroad throughout the world,” striving in alliance for “the purpose long resolved upon, of uprooting the foundations of civil society at large.”  It may sound odd to [...]

Eat the Rich Now, Starve Later

There is one group that is not protected from hate-speech: the rich. For the rich it is permissible, and in some circles de rigueur, to speak disparagingly or hatefully. This, I imagine, is because it is widely supposed that if you hate the rich you must love the poor, and love of the poor, at [...]

Reflections on the French Election

The election of Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande to the presidency of France epitomizes the sorry state of contemporary democracy. By that, I don’t mean to imply that the French people should have voted for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. Neither would be capable of solving France’s intractable problems in a way acceptable to French voters, [...]

Economics: The Cheerful Science

Chances are, you’ve heard economics referred to as “the dismal science.” That unflattering description is glib and catchy; it is also 100 percent wrong. Let me set the record straight and explain why economics—far from being dismal—is cause for hope, joy, cheer, and optimism. Thomas Carlyle, a 19th-century Scottish essayist, coined the phrase “the dismal [...]

Illusions and Realities — Latin America’s Poor: Entrepreneurs, Not Proletarians

The big argument among Latin America's Catholics today may be symbolized thus: Gustavo vs. Hernando. Gustavo Gutierrez is a sensitive, intelligent priest of Lima, Peru, the father of liberation theology. In his early writings (The Theology of Liberation, 1971), more than in his recent writings, Gustavo has argued that "class struggle" is a fact of [...]

Sense and Nonsense: Gnostic Catholicism

Eric Voegelin's thesis that Gnostic ideology is dominant in the modern mind, including the religious mind, because of the weakness of Christian faith, has been much on my mind of late. In a sense, nothing is more curious than the susceptibility of apparently free, intelligent Christians to ideologies, which have parodied or replaced Christianity, even [...]