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Archive for June, 2013

Plutonomy 101

https://caelumetterra.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/72e5c-billboardamericanway.jpgIn early 2013, Oxfam reported that the fortunes made by the world’s 100 richest people over the course of 2012 – roughly $240 billion – would be enough to lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty four times over. In the Oxfam report, “The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All,” the international charity noted that in the past 20 years, the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60%. Barbara Stocking, an Oxfam executive, noted that this type of extreme wealth is “economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive…We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true.”

That is just one paragraph of an extensive and well-researched report on the global corporatocracy published by Occupy.com. You can read the whole thing here.

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Just a Note

I will not have internet access for the weekend, and am on vacation next week. If you are involved in a discussion with me in the comboxes do not be offended if I don’t reply to your (I’m sure) imminently reasonable rejoinders to my arguments. And I don’t know how much time I will have to post anything next week, what with family time and my upcoming  Beer Summit with Tom Storck…

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Not of this World

I recently ran across something called “The Catholic and Royal Army of America” on Facebook. It states as its purpose: “The goal of the CRAA (http://www.joanandtherese.com/) is to establish a Catholic Monarchy for the United States and to support Catholic Monarchies around the world, notably the restoration of the Kingdom of Catholic France.”

The whole feel of the thing is a sort of tribal Catholicism, with an emphasis on French Catholic traditionalism.

But a Catholic monarchy in the United States? Really? Are you serious?

And a “Catholic Army”? Huh? What is this, Christian jihad?

A disclaimer: I once, for about 15 minutes, described myself as a monarchist. This was about an hour after I had called myself a communist, 45 minutes after I was an anarchist, and 15 minutes after a fling with Buddhism. When I was young I was philosophically promiscuous; I would try on worldviews like spectacles with different colored glass, see how the world looked, and when I detected a flaw in the glass or saw a prettier color of lenses off they would come.

Returning to the Catholic Church in my late twenties did a lot to stabilize me, but as you know, within Catholicism there is a bewildering variety of visions, almost like there are many different Catholicisms. So briefly I was a monarchist; it was a contrarian position, in keeping with my temperament.

But it didn’t last long; after all there is history to contend with. Even the densest romantic can’t deny that human imperfection means that any sort of “Catholic kingdom” is bound to disappoint and, indeed, scandalize. All political orders are bound to do the same, but isn’t it better to be disillusioned with a secular order than one that proclaims itself “Catholic”?

Catholic monarchism’s heritage is an understandable anticlericalism. And justifiable revolution.

In fact, it is better for the Church and for the world for the Church to be an outsider, not affiliated with worldly power.

And this is the gift of Pope Francis: he speaks of a Church of the poor, and eschews the trappings of aristocracy. His vision of the Church is one of a Love big enough to embrace humanity, a Catholicism that is universal, not tribal.

When one looks at the words and example of Christ, the One Who turned everything upside down and inside out, who can doubt that this vision is the one that most reflects the Gospel?

For there is only one King, and it is Christ. And He said “My kingdom is not of this world”, however much Christians, almost since the beginning, have striven to make it so.

But our King is a king of paradox, and He is crowned with thorns.

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The Inevitable

All right. I married late and was 42 when my first child was born. And as my bride is much younger, that means that I will be 60 when this new baby makes his entrance.

So I suppose it was inevitable.

A few days ago I went to the store with William, our two year old, who always wants to go with me. He is a beautiful child, and we were walking hand in hand. An elderly black man was exiting the store as we were about to enter. He smiled benignly at Will and said “Cute grandbaby.”

I said, weakly, “Thanks.”

Suddenly I felt like this guy:

Well, at least it didn’t happen until I was almost 60; I’m sure it has happened to dads a lot younger than me….

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minimum wage

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