What People Are Commenting
Capitalism and Distributism
I would like to thank you for yet another timely and well done work, Biases and Historic Errors of Arthur Penty. In addition to being highly informative, it begins to explain one of the areas of doctrinal crises we Catholics are facing today. It also, if I may politely say, gives subtle evidence of it. Let me explain, if I may, how even the vigilant can be deceived.
The author, in her fine book review, has fallen prey to a tactic of those she rightfully condemns. She, unwittingly I believe, repeats the deceptive phrase "unrestricted Capitalism" when stating that there are "evils inherent in unrestricted Capitalism" (paragraph 15 under the heading An incomplete idea of the Kingdom of God).
I will focus on the use of these italicized words together, as evil is not inherent in something that must be qualified. This is not merely semantics, but is designed by enemies to deceive. Capitalism is not inherently evil. The inherent evil in the author's phrase is the "unrestricted" designation, not the "Capitalism" one. Anything "unrestricted" is evil, as we are always and everywhere bound by natural and divine law. Even a supreme good, such as the reception of the Holy Eucharist, is restricted. We may receive Holy Communion once per day and only an extreme circumstance allows a second. We would commit sacrilege to disobey this precept. Clearly, the evil is in disobeying the legitimate restrictions, not in the activity itself. We must become familiar with deceptive speech so as not to be trapped. Let's look again at the compromised phrase mentioned above, "evils inherent in unrestricted Capitalism." The evil is in the adjective, not the noun.
This is a tactic which has been utilized before, by no less than two of our Supreme Pontiffs, since the introduction of Ostpolitik at Vatican Council II (see Declaration of Resistance to the Vatican Ostpolitik).
Pope John Paul II has publicly condemned "radical Capitalism" and Pope Benedict XVI, as recently as this week, has repeated a condemnation of "unrestricted Capitalism". They do this for a reason and I will note two important points. Firstly, they must attach the qualifying adjectives (radical, unrestricted) to the noun, because they are talking about something (Capitalism) which is otherwise good. Capitalism is morally neutral, and thus intrinsically good, because it can be practiced in complete accord with natural laws and Catholic teaching.) Secondly, the economic systems which the Church has officially condemned, Communism and Socialism most notably, can never be qualified at any level as good (see Pius XI Against the Third Position). They violate the laws of God at a fundamental level. By definition, they are intrinsically (inherently) evil.
Do not be fooled by ignoratio elenchi. Learn to recognize these diversionary arguments used against free markets, such as those communist/socialist/distributists who proclaim a false hatred of "materialism" or "industrialism," lay the "oppression of the poor" at the feet of Capitalism, or tempt good Catholics to their side by blaming Capitalism for working mothers. They are purposefully misleading, and we Catholics must better understand that it is the condemned alternatives they offer which in themselves abuse the laws of God. That we all might sin is true, that Capitalism is sinful is false.
As the Revolution marches on, the steps used to implement error are repeated and thus become visible. First, the perpetrators stop the mention and punishment of that which is evil. Second, they begin to attack a good which is in opposition to that evil. Lastly, they actively promote the evil. The change from good to evil is gradual but rapid. Concerning error: tolerance of it becomes acceptance which becomes participation which becomes persecution. The reality is the persecution of Truth. Will we defend the Truth or will we weakly consider the Holy Father and our Bishops to be in the ever-expanding category of the "invincibly ignorant"? God forbid!
Do not be deceived. Our Lady warned us what failure to convert Russia means: Russia will spread her errors (schism, heresy and the social ruin of people). Who will dare take exception to the Mother of God?
Support from Sweden
Dear Editor of Tradition in Action,
I am writing you from Sweden, to give you many thanks for your great website and effort. Your website always gives me hope and strength.
I especially appreciate your articles against the leftist winds that are blowing among traditional Catholics. Here in Sweden this leftism is rampant, with an attitude that Distributism seems to be an automatic necessity for a traditional Catholics. Of course it-s not so, which your great articles so clearly show.
Here in Sweden there is a chapter of the League of the Social Kingship of Christ, which of course in their magazine publishes articles by all different characters, but maybe most alarming to me are their leanings towards Peter Maurin, and Dorothy Day. Another shocking thing was that even a SSPX-priest held a lecture here not long ago on Dorothy Day and the Catholic Workers Movement, in a positive light.
So your great website has given me strength and "ammunition" to show that this does not have basis in Tradition. And because of this, I wonder if there is any chance that you would let me translate some of your articles into Swedish.
U.N. - Malmo, Sweden
The Editor responds:
Dear Mr. U.N.,
Thank you for your kind words. It is really encouraging to see that our website is reaching good Catholics like you in Sweden, and helping them to hold the true traditional position of the Church in social matters.
It was also informative to see how far dissemination of the bad doctrine of Distributism is going in certain traditionalist circles. We would certainly appreciate receiving any further information on this topic which we could possibly share with our readers.
You may translate into Swedish the relevant articles from our website, under your personal responsibility. Since no one in our office is familiar with your language, we cannot stand behind any translation. This conditional permission is granted only for a non-profit use of these articles on the Internet, or for small circulation newsletters. As a condition for this use, we ask that full credit to the authors and source is given.
Posted May 18, 2007
The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA
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