If Socialism, like all errors, contains some
truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based
nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable
with true Christianity.
Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms;
no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.
(Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno #120, emphasis supplied.)
|Thursday, January 21st A.D. 2010
Saint Agnes, Virgin & Martyr
Benedict XVI-World Day of Peace, 1 January 2010
Most people, even if they have never taken a course in logic, recognize the fundamental logical principle that it is impossible for something to be and to not be simultaneously. Everyday experience has taught us that--for example--an automobile cannot be red and be not red at the same time--it is impossible for an animal to not be a cat and to be a cat at the same time. The two statements, the one that "none of the animals is a cat," and the other that "some of the animals are cats," are called contradictories--they simply cannot both be true at the same time.
Although this principle of "non-contradiction" seems self evident, in practice it is sometime difficult to see that there is a logical contradiction between two statements--particularly if the statements are at all embellished with flowery language or technical terms. For example if we took the proposition that "none of the animals is a feline," and opposed it to the statement that "some of the animals are cats," the contradiction would not be apparent until it dawned on us that "feline" is just the Latin word for "cat." The contradiction might be even less apparent if the two propositions were separated by a few paragraphs, or if we threw in a few more unfamiliar words that mean "cat."
In his annual address on this year's (A.D. 2010) "World Day of Peace," speaking about the responsibility to care for creation, Pope Benedict XVI quite correctly observed that
... whenever nature, and human beings in particular, are seen merely as products of chance or an evolutionary determinism, our overall sense of responsibility wanes. On the other hand, seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings.(2)
Seeing mankind as "product of chance or of an evolutionary determinism" is at the heart of atheism, and the environmental record in atheistic countries is dismal. The Aral Sea disaster is something of a legendary ecological horror story, as is the meltdown at Chernobyl [photographs here] Authorities there admit to 400,000 deaths a year from air pollution in China. Independent estimates nearly double that figure to 750,000 annual deaths from pollution alone. "From Vilnius to Vladivostok, a beleaguered environment bears witness to a legacy of irresponsibility: the rivers of the former U.S.S.R. are open sewers of human and chemical waste; the Aral sea is drying up; in many Soviet cities the air is so polluted that it puts millions at risk of respiratory diseases. Tons of nuclear waste is spread out all over the country and toxic chemicals have poisoned the soil" [photographs here]. Other former Soviet countries shared the same "Poisoned Legacy"
Indeed, "seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings." No question, so far. But the contradiction is found in the recommendations made by the Holy Father throughout the rest of the letter. In clear terms he offers a socialist solution to all of the environmental issues facing us, both actual and perceived. (In the midst of one of the coldest winters on record in the northern hemisphere, he was prudent enough to refer to the fraud of global warming as climate change.") We need, he claims, a global government--as if the national governments we have today were not enough of a drag on humanity. For Benedict, government is the solution, while in reality it is a giant part of the problem.
Note that everything is a crisis, for this is the method of "socialist science"--"the sky is falling," and there is not time to think about whether or not it really is, or what might be done about it without causing further harm.
Prudence would thus dictate a profound, long-term review of our model of development, one which would take into consideration the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications.... They require us to rethink the path which we are traveling together. Specifically, they call for a lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity, with new rules and forms of engagement, one which focuses confidently and courageously on strategies that actually work, while decisively rejecting those that have failed. Only in this way can the current crisis become an opportunity for discernment and new strategic planning (5, italics in the original, bold emphasis mine).
Indeed, the Soviet experience demonstrates the need to decisively reject socialism, not adopt it. Clearly that when property is owned collectively by everyone it is owned by no one, and abused by all—bad, if not fatal, for the environment. In these United States, the federal government notoriously exempts itself routinely from environmental regulations which all others must obey under draconian penalties. For example, the federal Tennessee Valley Authority refuses to comply with the clean air regulations of the States in which it operates, and its violation has been supported by the federal Supreme Court. The Department of Defense produces hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic waste each year, with disposal often left to the ingenuity of local commanders. Napalm, Depleted Uranium [nasty video here], and Agent Orange benefit neither the flora nor the fauna where they are used. More benign government interference often comes from emotional demands to limit things like chemicals and fertilizers—DDT, or the Alar Scare, for example—or something as simple as forcing consumers to recycle soda cans at a net loss of materials, money, energy, and effort.
“the international community has an urgent duty to find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources, involving poor countries in the process, in order to plan together for the future”.[He quotes himself in Caritas in veritate, 49] The ecological crisis shows the urgency of a solidarity which embraces time and space. It is important to acknowledge that among the causes of the present ecological crisis is the historical responsibility of the industrialized countries. Yet the less developed countries, and emerging countries in particular, are not exempt from their own responsibilities with regard to creation, for the duty of gradually adopting effective environmental measures and policies is incumbent upon all. This would be accomplished more easily if self-interest played a lesser role in the granting of aid and the sharing of knowledge and cleaner technologies (8, bold emphasis mine).
Who is it that feeds the world? It is their fault? They should send aid to all the crooked tin-pot dictators of the world, and the crooks will not use it to bribe friends, sell it to the poor, or sock it away in a Swiss bank?
To be sure, among the basic problems which the international community has to address is that of energy resources and the development of joint and sustainable strategies to satisfy the energy needs of the present and future generations. This means that technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency. At the same time there is a need to encourage research into, and utilization of, forms of energy with lower impact on the environment and “a world-wide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them”. [He again quotes himself in Caritas in veritate, 49] The ecological crisis offers an historic opportunity to develop a common plan of action aimed at orienting the model of global development.... (9, bold emphasis mine).
Redistribution was a big feature of Caritas in veritate (36, 37, 39, 42, 49). Pope Benedict even tried to blame the idea on Leo XIII, a stroke of sure fantasy. And let us not forget that this is the same Pope who last year called for a UN with "real teeth"! That is his idea of "the international community."
A sustainable comprehensive management of the environment and the resources of the planet demands that human intelligence be directed to technological and scientific research and its practical applications.... the “global solidarity” for which I myself appealed in my Message for the 2009 World Day of Peace [He quotes himself in last year's message, #8] are essential attitudes in shaping our efforts to protect creation through a better internationally-coordinated management of the earth’s resources, particularly today, when there is an increasingly clear link between combatting environmental degradation and promoting an integral human development. These two realities are inseparable, since “the integral development of individuals necessarily entails a joint effort for the development of humanity as a whole”.[Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 43.] ... Ambitious national policies are required, together with a necessary international commitment which will offer important benefits especially in the medium and long term. (10, bold emphasis mine).
... The media also have a responsibility in this regard to offer positive and inspiring models. In a word, concern for the environment calls for a broad global vision of the world; a responsible common effort to move beyond approaches based on selfish nationalistic interests towards a vision constantly open to the needs of all peoples. (11, bold emphasis mine)
We have it on the word of Pope Pius XI that "Religious socialism, [and] Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist. Could Pope Pius have been wrong, and the Conciliar Popes right? Can there be a Catholic Socialism? No there cannot. And some of the issues Pope Benedict mentioned on January 1st help to demonstrate why Socialism and Catholicism are contradictories.
As Catholics we believe that the world and everything in it is God's creation, including what God created on the sixth day—“God created man to His own image ... male and female he created them.... saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis i: 27-28). That we were created in God's "image and likeness" tells us that in some small way, we share in God's perfections. He also gave us duties to perform in this world. Taken together, or even separately, these two facts demonstrate that we have rights under the Natural Moral Law and Divine Positive Law. These are the "unalienable rights" of which Thomas Jefferson wrote in our Declaration of Independence, the ones with which we are "endowed by our Creator," "nature's God." The worship of God, life and the means to defend it, liberty, private property, the formation and preservation of a family, the education of one's children, speaking the truth, and what Jefferson called "the pursuit of happiness" are among the rights given to men and women by God--none of these rights are creations of the state.
Socialism claims all of these God-given rights for the state, usually re-granting some of them as privileges to the citizens, but keeping many of the important ones to itself. Apart from the trivial case of the monastery or utopian socialist community, the citizen has no choice but to give over the rights demanded by the state, for the state has the power of taxation, the power of the police, and, ultimately, the power of the firing squad. The citizen born into a socialist state finds that it has power over every important aspect of his life--education, employment, marriage, housing, medicine, travel--perhaps even over the worship of God. In the name of what the elite loosely call "the common good," or "the will of the people," or some other highly imprecise and meaningless term, man's God given rights are taken and God's sovereignty is denied.
Curiously, the socialist may speak of many more rights than the Christian, "rights" to food, shelter, healthcare, development, clean water, free education, perhaps even to music, sports, recreation, and retirement. But these are not the God given rights of those "made in His image"--rather, they are allotments made by the state, taken by force from those who work and have, and given to those who will not and have not. Always they are contingent on pleasing the elite who run the state, they may be taken away capriciously, and some of them may actually violate God's laws.
Nor does socialism alleviate the evils of the world. We have already seen its ecological effects. Rather than mitigating the misery of the poor by redistributing wealth, it redistributes misery while impairing the creation of wealth, making the birth of children as well as old age into a burden to be avoided if possible. It is anti-life. From the misery of the Great Depression to the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, it has a track record that cannot be disregarded by anyone whose mind is not clouded with contradictions.
I've not yet linked it to the site, but my page on "Truth" (and particularly the section on "Truth of the Modernist") may be useful in understanding the ongoing contradictions of Modernism.
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