Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Pope on Love--Rat Choice Theory, Part 8

To put Pope Benedict XVI’s recent speech in the broader context of his political thought, let me offer something from his recent encyclical GOD IS LOVE, which should charm Christians and libertarians--not to mention Christian libertarians--alike. I only promised not to say more about last week’s speech for now, but I can’t ignore Rat Choice Theory altogether.

There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbor is indispensable. The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a merely bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person--every person--needs: namely loving, personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need....In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live "by bread alone"...a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Ah, so the Pope is, unsurprisingly, a compassionate conservative.

. . .in the tradition of Frances Perkins and Harry Hopkins!

Steve, Obviously ’dem’s fighting words, esp. in the case of Harry Hopkins, who was, unlike the pope, soft on communism. Still, there’s something to appealing to the "old Democrats," those Democrats who were actually more family (and orthodox Catholic) friendly than the old Republicans. (Until the 60s, the Reps. were the party of the ERA and the Democrats were probably more pro-life.) On this point, it’s good to check out the work of Allan Carlson. But with the death of Carey McWilliams, there are no old Democrats left--Casey Jr. is an empty, empty suit. He couldn’t even read that interesting speech Joe talked about as if he understood it. (Say what you will about the president--who certainly couldn’t write a great speech on his own, he has the brains and self-discipline to read them as if they were his own.)

Peter - sometimes, guys just wanna have fun. I suppose like Carey McWilliams I keep imagining a Democratic Party.

Many of you might already know about this, but Ft. Neuhaus has posted his commentary about the reaction to the Pope’s speech at the First Things site. It is worth a read.

As someone who has recently jumped into the political fray, I can say that those old D’s do exist. I talk to them "on the doors" but they have averted their eyes from what the party has actualy become. They still hate Repubs and the old Dems lives on in their memories. Repubs still mean wealth & privilege to them. I remember when I felt the same but attending a Dem central committee meeting almost cured me of it (that happened after 9/11).

Steve: You’re, I know. But I love playing old Democrat. Carol: Every time I go to a Rep. meeting, I still am repulsed just a bit by the whiff of oligarchy, but of course a little oligarchy (and of course there’s a lot good about oligarchic motivation) is a lot better than the irresponsible elitist literary politics of resentment. And the truth is that Republicans are much less oligarchic than they used to be, partly due to the fact that most genuinely religious and deeply patriotic Americans with varying degrees of reluctance have switched sizes over the last generation or so.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/8995