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Archive for March 21st, 2012

From the Catechism

2422 The Church’s social teaching comprises a body of doctrine, which is articulated as the Church interprets events in the course of history, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, in the light of the whole of what has been revealed by Jesus Christ.202This teaching can be more easily accepted by men of good will, the more the faithful let themselves be guided by it.

2423The Church’s social teaching proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action:

Any system in which social relationships are determined entirely by economic factors is contrary to the nature of the human person and his acts.203

2424 A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order.204

2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice.221 In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good.”222Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.

2435 Recourse to a strike is morally legitimate when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit. It becomes morally unacceptable when accompanied by violence, or when objectives are included that are not directly linked to working conditions or are contrary to the common good.

2436 It is unjust not to pay the social security contributions required by legitimate authority.

A system that “subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production” is contrary to human dignity.205 Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. “You cannot serve God and mammon.”206

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Isolated Incidents

“Just as their ‘conservative’ predecessors tried to erase from collective memory the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib prison torture in Iraq, these ‘liberals’ attempt to excise from memory American Marines urinating on dead Muslims and the rampage by the four-times-deployed Bales in Afghanistan. They give themselves political cover and comfort with the illusion that this was just an isolated incident, involving a lone gunman, killing children, in a distant Afghan village, where America is, after all, only pursuing the worthy mission of spreading democracy.

With an exceptionalist view of our own goodness, Americans ignore the genocidal carnage unleashed on the world in the decades since the good war was fought by America’s greatest generation. The reason isn’t complicated. The chicken hawk elites who start, propagandize, and run the wars don’t have to put themselves in harm’s way fighting them. The Bushes and Obamas send 20-somethings to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East and the tribal hills of Central Asia, in service to the industrial war profiteers, the neoconservative think tank experts, and the editorial page war hawks. Done in the name of ‘national defense,’ offensive military spending becomes Republican corporate welfare and a Democratic jobs program.”

I have been warning for a very long time that America will pay the price for subjecting its soldiers to repeated deployments. That a soldier who has served four times in the theatre of war apparently lost it and murdered mostly children and women is not “an isolated incident”, only the starkest reminder that when you train someone to kill and then put them in the most stressful conditions imaginable bad things happen. When you factor in that many if not most of these young people are the products of modern American youth culture, with its violent video games, metal and rap musics, and general ignorance about the wider world, well, you are asking for it.

More on the American way of death, by a Democratic libertarian here.

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(Reality Alert: This is not satire. I did not make this up.)

At his victory party after winning the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney said that, realizing he had no clean shirt for the appearance, he had washed his shirt in the sink of his hotel room, and dried it with an iron. A reporter noted that the shirt appeared freshly pressed.

Like I said, I did not make this up. If I had, I would have had the governor say “I couldn’t find an iron or a hair dryer, so I blew on it until it was dry”.)

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