Why is socialism bad by Church teaching?

Hello,

I was reading in my AP European History textbook about the beginning of socialism in England in the 1800s, and I was curious why socialism is bad by the Church's teachings. I see how socialism (allegedly) helps the poor and needy, and everyone would be doing things equal. Is it because we wouldn't have freedom of religion? Help me out please, I'm not trying to be a heretic, just I'm curious to know why socialism is bad. I already know why socialism is bad in terms of euthanasia, but I'm ignorant in other areas.

Thanks!

If you read Pope Leo XIII’s famous encyclical Rerum Novarum, you’ll get a clear insight into why socialism is considered wrong. It’s not just a matter of Church teaching, but as Pope Leo says, it’s a problem of natural law.

Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found.

-Rerum Novarum, Para. 15

Basically, you have a natural right to property in order to feed your family. If you have to go work for someone, you can’t be at home working the land or otherwise providing for your family. Therefore, your employer compensates you for your time. You take these wages and convert them into property so you can feed, clothe, and shelter your family. Taxes are certainly acceptable, as they are part of your obligation to the state–your return to the state for what it provides to you. But for the state to take your wages and redistribute them crosses the line and deprives you of your natural right to property. Within 100 years of Pope Leo XIII’s work on socialism and communism, it became apparent with the Soviet Union and its years of forced famines that when you redistribute wealth, it doesn’t make everyone rich–but just the opposite.

For further reading, see

papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13rerum.htm
papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13apost.htm
papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13evl.htm
vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus_en.html

-ACEGC

[quote="John_Monaco, post:1, topic:196903"]
Hello,

I was reading in my AP European History textbook about the beginning of socialism in England in the 1800s, and I was curious why socialism is bad by the Church's teachings. I see how socialism (allegedly) helps the poor and needy, and everyone would be doing things equal. Is it because we wouldn't have freedom of religion? Help me out please, I'm not trying to be a heretic, just I'm curious to know why socialism is bad. I already know why socialism is bad in terms of euthanasia, but I'm ignorant in other areas.

Thanks!

[/quote]

This is what someone else on this forum wrote:

The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on socialism is very interesting in this regard. Of course, the historical parts of the entry are incomplete, because it was written before WWI. But the discussion of the ways in which socialism is inconsistent with Catholicism remains applicable.

In sum, the Encyclopedia identifies the following respects in which socialism conflicts with Catholic teaching:

  1. Socialism is materialistic. "Socialism appropriates all human desires and centres them on the here-and-now, on material benefit and prosperity. But material goods are so limited in quality, in quantity, and in duration that they are incapable of satisfying human desires, which will ever covet more and more and never feel satisfaction."

  2. Socialism is deterministic. "Holding that society makes the individuals of which it is composed, and not vice versa, it has quite lost touch with the invigorating Christian doctrine of free will. ... Any power which claims to appropriate and discipline [the individual's] interior life, and which affords him sanctions that transcend all evolutionary and scientific determinism, must necessarily incur Socialist opposition."

  3. Because of 2, socialism is hostile to the Church and the family. "Socialism, with its essentially materialistic nature, can admit no raison d'etre for a spiritual power, as complementary and superior to the secular power of the State. ... The State was never meant to appropriate to itself the main parental duties, it was rather meant to provide the parents, especially poor parents, with a wider, freer, healthier family sphere in which to be properly parental."

  4. Socialism conflicts with the natural law regarding private property. "If man, [according to Aquinas], has the right to own, control, and use private property, the State cannot give him this right or take it away; it can only protect it."

In other words: "It is true that the institutions of religion, of the family, and of private ownership are liable to great abuses, but the perfection of human effort and character demands a freedom of choice between good and evil as their first necessary condition. This area of free choice is provided, on the material side, by private ownership; on the spiritual and material, by the Christian Family; and on the purely spiritual by religion. The State, then, instead of depriving men of these opportunities of free and fine production, not only of material but also of intellectual values, should rather constitute itself as their defender."

Socialism is contrary to democracy in that socialism calls for the redistribution of wealth and abolishment of private property. This means that if you work harder in your job than your co-worker you will not be rewarded.

There is no incentive to excel. All wealth is distributed evenly and everything is state run and owned. Few freedms exist. Couples were not allowed to have public displays of affections and I am sure it is discouraged even now.

Before the Soviet Union reverted to Russia it was primarily and still is very socialist although they are becoming more democratic.

There are different types of socialism and are some often thrive under Communist rule..

Socialized medicine is frowned on in the U.S. and this is basically what is the proposed end result of the new health plan. Canada and Britain have socialized medicine along with other countries. It is not a popular idea in the U.S. because there is no incentive for the doctors to excel or even do a good job and taxes are usually raised to pay for this. Of course, the primary motivator is money and goods in the U.S. and that is threatened in a socialist medical community.

I asked fellow visiting from China to take care of my dad when he was ill and he and his wife who is a doctor were allowed to have two children, the limit imposed by the government is one child per family. Until very recently it was frowned on for any family to have more than one.
China has performed millions of abortions, sterilizations and infanticide since they implemented this policy in the 70's. They are now having problems because there are an excess of young men and not enough young women available for marriage.

Most of the aborted and murdered children were girls becaused they we valued less. Now they do not have enough women. Socialism in China since the Cultural Revolution has been a vehicle for people to be murdered who excercise free speech and assembly such as the Tiananmen Square massacre. Wiki on Mao-"Mao's policies and political purges from 1949 to 1976 are widely believed to have caused the deaths of between 50 to 70 million people." This was the Cultural Revolution that not only brought famine but the murder of any person or group of people who did not fit into the Revolutionary plan. Anything culturally Western was collected and destroyed as were many Christians and foreigners who lived in China at the time.

Where the seeds of Socialism have been sown has meant the loss of millions of lives born and unborn.

Many Chinese have escaped from China and earlier in history from Taiwan to the U.S. to escape the rigid social structure and oppression. I know such a elderly woman and on her journey her she had to "give up" a child to get here.

Also, look up Stalin, you won't believe how under his brand of socialism he resorted to murder and starve millions of Russians. History is so important and all of this has affected Catholics and the Church as well as Facist governments.

Thank you for the great question, I am sure others have much to add. Are you writing a paper for school?:hmmm:

One way to understand socialism for what it is, is to compare it to its exact opposite, objectivism. Best way to understand that can be found by reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Now, bear in mind, she turned into an atheist. A bit of her philosophy will rankle good Catholics. But in this book the contrast of socialism and objectivism, while not making objectivism seem like the complete right answer, will sure put socialism in its proper perspective.

[quote="I_Fortuna, post:5, topic:196903"]
Socialism is contrary to democracy in that socialism calls for the redistribution of wealth and abolishment of private property. This means that if you work harder in your job than your co-worker you will not be rewarded.

...

There are different types of socialism and are some often thrive under Communist rule..

Socialized medicine is frowned on in the U.S. and this is basically what is the proposed end result of the new health plan. Canada and Britain have socialized medicine along with other countries. It is not a popular idea in the U.S. because there is no incentive for the doctors to excel or even do a good job and taxes are usually raised to pay for this. Of course, the primary motivator is money and goods in the U.S. and that is threatened in a socialist medical community.

[/quote]

So you are saying that capitalism relies on greed (money and goods) and that this is a good thing because it respects human freedom. One forgets the barbarism in capitalism; the stick of poverty instead of the carrot of wealth. Capitalism needs poverty as a motivator too:

Capitalistic democracy would base its mandate on the individual's acceptance of
responsibility for his own welfare through the exercise of private property
rights. Since it would promise only equal opportunity to a good life rather
than a good life itself, its ideology would require neither authoritarian
moralization nor totalitarian control, because individual failures would not
imply dysfunction of the system. Rather, such failures would be deemed
necessary in the selection process to keep the system healthy, the concept of
the survival of the fittest being the foundation of capitalistic social
Darwinism. Capital formation requires inequlity of wealth. Social welfare
safety nets would be tolerated in capitalistic democracies merely as
humanitarian compromises, a decadent liberal concession of the theoretical
sanctity of market efficiency. For the true believer of capitalism, economic
efficiency should ideally be maintained with social euthanasia of the
economically unfit. Charity is bad economics, except when charity contributes
in the short term to reducing other high costs of preserving law and order, of
preventing crimes of the poor, social unrest or revolution, though not crimes
against the poor. The most efficient method of eliminating poverty is to let
the poor die with natural obsolecence. ** It is the fear of poverty that provide
the psychological fuel for economic initiative. Making poverty sufferable
through social welfare programs would erode the vitality of the economic system.**

The power of the state in a modern capitalistic democracy would be restricted to
that of maintaining national security, preserving basic human rights as defined
in the liberal tradition of the Enlightenment, which would not include the right
of economic security, of protecting the sacredness of private property rights in
order to insure the efficient functioning of the market mechanism and upholding
the principle of return on capital as the driving force in human society.

archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/a-list/2001/msg01580.htm

Most of the aborted and murdered children were girls becaused they we valued less. Now they do not have enough women. Socialism in China since the Cultural Revolution has been a vehicle for people to be murdered who excercise free speech and assembly such as the Tiananmen Square massacre. Wiki on Mao-"Mao's policies and political purges from 1949 to 1976 are widely believed to have caused the deaths of between 50 to 70 million people." This was the Cultural Revolution that not only brought famine but the murder of any person or group of people who did not fit into the Revolutionary plan. Anything culturally Western was collected and destroyed as were many Christians and foreigners who lived in China at the time.

Where the seeds of Socialism have been sown has meant the loss of millions of lives born and unborn.

As Mao said:

A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

Socialism is an idea based on a fundamental view of humanity that is incompatible with catholicism.

Socialism typically presumes that humanity is good unless influenced towards evil by outside oppression or the possession of excessive wealth and power. This is why socialism assumes that things will improve if the excessive wealth is taken away from those who have it and distributed to those most needy. They believe that this course of action is a two pronged counter-attack against injustice.

The failure of socialism is guaranteed because socialism does not account for original sin. As catholics, we believe that humans are good, but tragically flawed. That tragic flaw is powerful enough that if you remove the potential for great success, you will also remove the motive for great initiative. History bears this out in every socialist/communist state ever. (China, IMO, is more of a fascist state than a communist one, but that's another topic! Fascist being defined not as nazis, but as a totalitarian government where private ownership of means of production makes up at least a substantial part of the economy).

The presence of the stain of original sin in humanity predicts two outcomes for socialism:
1. There will be less initiative, less enterprise and less innovation.
2. The absolute power that socialism inherently gives to the state will corrupt those that end up holding that power.

Again, history bears this out.

And by the way, original sin also militates against unregulated capitalism. Without restraint, power breeds the aquisition of more power and wealth drives the avarice for more. It eventually becomes a society of extreme wealth and extreme poverty with little in between. Much of South America looks like this.

The ideal system (IMO) is based on free enterprise, privately owned, but with a legal and tax system that places a heavier burden on larger, more capitalized businesses than small individually owned ones. Catholic thinkers call this "Distributism", but it has only been tried where it has occurred by accident; typically newly settled areas where there hasn't been enough time for wealth to be accumulated into the hands of just a few robber barons. America today is just emerging from that era of accidental distributism and only a few are aware of how much we are losing via the conglomeration of wealth into the hands of massive corporations (that theoretically are owned by the shareholders, but are really controlled and exploited by a small cadre of insiders).

[quote="manualman, post:8, topic:196903"]

The ideal system (IMO) is based on free enterprise, privately owned, but with a legal and tax system that places a heavier burden on larger, more capitalized businesses than small individually owned ones. Catholic thinkers call this "Distributism", but it has only been tried where it has occurred by accident; typically newly settled areas where there hasn't been enough time for wealth to be accumulated into the hands of just a few robber barons. America today is just emerging from that era of accidental distributism and only a few are aware of how much we are losing via the conglomeration of wealth into the hands of massive corporations (that theoretically are owned by the shareholders, but are really controlled and exploited by a small cadre of insiders).

[/quote]

I would quibble with this just a bit. I think it's still possible for ordinary people to accumulate wealth. But to do it, you have to not only avoid the Scylla of Socialism but also the Charybdis of Consumerism. I have spent many, many years observing the borrowing and spending habits of people, and it's just a fact that most people waste a very large portion of what they earn. They often don't see it. They just do it. It isn't always big consumption either; the meals out, the entertainment, the big screen, the electronic gadgets, the "better than they have to be" clothing, the new car, the vacation trips to Mexico or the Caribbean. Most of it is little stuff, or relatively little stuff. But it adds up.

It was interesting to me to read the book, kind of old now, entitled "The Millionaire Next Door". It cited some interesting things. First, there is no particular correllation between high earnings and wealth. Most high earners just waste on a bigger scale. Few millionaires in this country inherited it. The people who accumulate a million in net worth are usually small business people; self-employed, who live below their means. But some people who are employed by others also accumulate wealth; again, largely by living below their means. They drive older cars, live in modest houses, stay home at night, make their own meals. On and on. Most people, of course, try to live above their means, and pay a heavy price for doing it.

It's interesting too, that most self-made millionaires are more religious than the average; stay with the same spouse for life and are relatively charitable compared to most. Generosity to Charity is nowhere near as expensive as even one divorce.

Distributism in practice, in my opinion, is as much in the hands of the individual and family as it is in the hands of the government; perhaps more so.

And the Popes do caution against consumerism; precisely because it makes "wage slaves" of us all and misdirects our values.

I have no real argument with you Ridgerunner, nor do I see where you particularly disagree with my post. I agree that it is still possible in America to build wealth. But the odds are stacked further against it every year.

An example from my own industry. It was once possible for a long time landowner to hire a surveyor and an engineer to subdivide his land for a modest cost and sell the lots individually and make a profit from it. Today, not so much. Today the process of subdividing land in an urbanizing area takes years and you must sink $30,000 to $50,000 per 1/3 lot into improvements on the lot before you can make your very first sale. Government regulations essentially outlawed the small landowner from development and made it the domain of well capitalized development corporations and rich investors. This is the exact opposite direction we should be going in if we desire to empower the individual to economic success.

[quote="manualman, post:10, topic:196903"]
I have no real argument with you Ridgerunner, nor do I see where you particularly disagree with my post. I agree that it is still possible in America to build wealth. But the odds are stacked further against it every year.

An example from my own industry. It was once possible for a long time landowner to hire a surveyor and an engineer to subdivide his land for a modest cost and sell the lots individually and make a profit from it. Today, not so much. Today the process of subdividing land in an urbanizing area takes years and you must sink $30,000 to $50,000 per 1/3 lot into improvements on the lot before you can make your very first sale. Government regulations essentially outlawed the small landowner from development and made it the domain of well capitalized development corporations and rich investors. This is the exact opposite direction we should be going in if we desire to empower the individual to economic success.

[/quote]

No, I don't think we disagree in principle, but I think perhaps you are taking a longer view than I was. I definitely believe the current government, minimally, has no regard for the private acquisition of productive assets in the hands of ordinary people. At worst, it opposes it, which seems to be the more likely conclusion, since everything it does is discouraging to asset accumulation by ordinary individuals. Perhaps even worse, it discourages optimism. I agree that the future does not look very promising in that regard. But all is not lost; the "one-party state" we presently have may lose power. If it does, I think we'll see a productive surge of almost unprecedented scope. I don't know a single small business person who believes otherwise, and one must remember they create most jobs.

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:9, topic:196903"]
It was interesting to me to read the book, kind of old now, entitled "The Millionaire Next Door". It cited some interesting things. First, there is no particular correllation between high earnings and wealth. Most high earners just waste on a bigger scale. Few millionaires in this country inherited it. The people who accumulate a million in net worth are usually small business people; self-employed, who live below their means. But some people who are employed by others also accumulate wealth; again, largely by living below their means. They drive older cars, live in modest houses, stay home at night, make their own meals. On and on. Most people, of course, try to live above their means, and pay a heavy price for doing it.

[/quote]

Here is the Socialist mantra on this paragraph: I'm jealous. Since these high earners waste so much money and other people need it more then they do, lets take it.

[quote="John_Monaco, post:1, topic:196903"]

I was reading in my AP European History textbook about the beginning of socialism in England in the 1800s, and I was curious why socialism is bad by the Church's teachings. I see how socialism (allegedly) helps the poor and needy, and everyone would be doing things equal. Is it because we wouldn't have freedom of religion? Help me out please, I'm not trying to be a heretic, just I'm curious to know why socialism is bad. I already know why socialism is bad in terms of euthanasia, but I'm ignorant in other areas.
!

[/quote]

Catechism 2425: The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modern times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market." Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

The Church primarily supports a third way idea, called distributism, that is presented as an alternative to capitalism and socialism—parts of both are criticized above. (Note the careful wording above as to not outright deny socialism, communism or capitalism, but rather ideologies and aspects of them.) I would encourage you to read for yourself and make your own decisions about political and economic systems within the scope of the Church's social teachings, particularly against the materialism which defines both capitalism and communism.

For some reason, in the United States, some people believe that any government intervention into or control over private enterprise is a form of heretical socialism. A recent example is the labeling of Obamacare as socialism. Despite this label, this does not mean that the Church has written against government intervention into private enterprise. In fact, the Church has consistently supported the role of the state within an economic system, as well as strongly supported other groups commonly associated with socialism, such as labor unions. This has been done up to today, including in Caritas in Veritate, which was published last year.

Note the statement: "Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended."

The Church, quite correctly, leaves it to the people of a state to decide what is reasonable regulation as long as it does not enter totalitarian, atheistic, or materialistic heresies. This level of regulation has varied widely across countries and cultures without official intervention by the Church in most cases. This is how we, as Catholics, get to disagree over political issues, such as health care..

In particular, you should read:

Rerum Novarum
Quadragesimo Anno
Pope Pius XII
Mater et Magistra
Dignitatis Humanae
Gaudium et Spes
Populorum progressio
Centesimus Annus
Laborem Exercens
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
Caritas in Veritate

Radical Materialism is against Catholic teaching and praxis, and that includes socialism/communism (Marx said they both meant the same thing) and Laissez-Faire "anything goes" Captialism. Man does not live by bread alone, and Radical Materialism makes an idol out of stuff. So Ayn Rand can take a leap along with Karl Marx. A great example of Laissez-Faire Capitalism is the lack of regulation in the derivatives market as fought against by Brooksley Born; forced out under Clinton for daring to make outright fraud illegal. Her warning stands: no regulation--and there is none to date--banks and banking houses will fail again and again. Can't keep laundering Russian drug money forever and expect the keepers of the gate to not want to rip you off. May we dedicate ourselves to John Paul II's "preferential option for the poor" and "work and pray" to that end. And that means dumping Radical Materialism in any and every form. I pray we can stop redecorating churches and use that cash to buy cheap houses with zero interest loans for the poor. St. Louis stabilized the area around its cathedral in like manner. I would ask for prayers to form parish credit unions, something that was once as commonplace as daycare in churches serving the working poor. Let's get the vulnerable out of the grip of payday loan sharks and check cashing services that exact a high fee. **B.Y.O.B. Be Your Own Bank.

St. Joseph the Worker, shepherd us through these trying times and bring us to Christ's abundant life and life eternal. AMEN**

[quote="John_Monaco, post:1, topic:196903"]
Hello,

I was reading in my AP European History textbook about the beginning of socialism in England in the 1800s, and I was curious why socialism is bad by the Church's teachings. I see how socialism (allegedly) helps the poor and needy

[/quote]

Allegedly is right, wherever it has been practiced it has led to brutal totalitarianism and failed economic policies that created untold misery

Help me out please, just I'm curious to know why socialism is bad.

For one thing, it violates individual rights. For another, it violates the principal of subsidiarity which is foundational to any number of Catholic Teachings

I believe there exists an inherent link between Socialism and atheism that renders it completely incompatible with Christianity. That link is made in the underlying premise of Socialism - positivism, the notion that through human activity, the ills of humanity can be cured. Positivism leads the Socialist to conclude that as man continues to flounder and fail, other activity or more activity must be tried. Thus any institution that limits the scope of possible human effort on other than pragmatic grounds must be put down and eradicated (i.e. Christianity, which red lines a variety of behaviors or possible positivist solutions on moral grounds). Positivism also leads the Socialist to conclude that central orchestration of human activity is necessary to effectively attempt solutions, and that natural human tendencies must be countered and corrected by human, rather than other (spiritual) means. Precisely because Socialism shares with Christianity the recognition that natural human tendencies need reform, many Christians confuse the aims of Socialism, which are entirely materialistic.

Capitalism differs. Capitalism makes no statement as to reform of the tendencies of the human being, but rather recognizes and attempts to use those inadequacies to a practical end. At its worst, Capitalism tries to co-opt religion. Here, the Capitalist hopes to find in religion a justification for human weakness and a means of embracing it (as in success theology). At its best, Capitalism leaves hands off religion, and the Capitalist is chastened and informed by it.

[quote="Biggie, post:16, topic:196903"]
I believe there exists an inherent link between Socialism and atheism that renders it completely incompatible with Christianity. That link is made in the underlying premise of Socialism - positivism, the notion that through human activity, the ills of humanity can be cured. Positivism leads the Socialist to conclude that as man continues to flounder and fail, other activity or more activity must be tried. Thus any institution that limits the scope of possible human effort on other than pragmatic grounds must be put down and eradicated (i.e. Christianity, which red lines a variety of behaviors or possible positivist solutions on moral grounds). Positivism also leads the Socialist to conclude that central orchestration of human activity is necessary to effectively attempt solutions, and that natural human tendencies must be countered and corrected by human, rather than other (spiritual) means. Precisely because Socialism shares with Christianity the recognition that natural human tendencies need reform, many Christians confuse the aims of Socialism, which are entirely materialistic.

Capitalism differs. Capitalism makes no statement as to reform of the tendencies of the human being, but rather recognizes and attempts to use those inadequacies to a practical end. At its worst, Capitalism tries to co-opt religion. Here, the Capitalist hopes to find in religion a justification for human weakness and a means of embracing it (as in success theology). At its best, Capitalism leaves hands off religion, and the Capitalist is chastened and informed by it.

[/quote]

Socialism at its essence represents mercy for the working classes. But capitalism is at best apathetic for the welfare of the working classes except in the global competition of the Cold War between socialism and capitalism where the working classes in capitalist countries had to be looked out for and appeased. For instance neo-liberal globalization has caused immense poverty and suffering (much more than Chairman Mao's programs implemented with his benign intentions:)

Neo-liberal globalization has caused poverty for three-quarters of the world's population, which brings it to more than 3 billion. At least 3 percent of these victims die prematurely of starvation, bringing it to 90 million, mostly children who died from malnutrition. That statistical evidence is more scientific than the alleged 30 million deaths in China.

Capitalistic democracy would base its mandate on the individual's acceptance of
responsibility for his own welfare through the exercise of private property
rights. Since it would promise only equal opportunity to a good life rather
than a good life itself, its ideology would require neither authoritarian
moralization nor totalitarian control, because individual failures would not
imply dysfunction of the system. Rather, such failures would be deemed
necessary in the selection process to keep the system healthy, the concept of
the survival of the fittest being the foundation of capitalistic social
Darwinism. Capital formation requires inequlity of wealth. Social welfare
safety nets would be tolerated in capitalistic democracies merely as
humanitarian compromises, a decadent liberal concession of the theoretical
sanctity of market efficiency. For the true believer of capitalism, economic
efficiency should ideally be maintained with social euthanasia of the
economically unfit. Charity is bad economics, except when charity contributes
in the short term to reducing other high costs of preserving law and order, of
preventing crimes of the poor, social unrest or revolution, though not crimes
against the poor. The most efficient method of eliminating poverty is to let
the poor die with natural obsolecence. It is the fear of poverty that provide
the psychological fuel for economic initiative. Making poverty sufferable
through social welfare programs would erode the vitality of the economic system.

The power of the state in a modern capitalistic democracy would be restricted to
that of maintaining national security, preserving basic human rights as defined
in the liberal tradition of the Enlightenment, which would not include the right
of economic security, of protecting the sacredness of private property rights in
order to insure the efficient functioning of the market mechanism and upholding
the principle of return on capital as the driving force in human society.

In other words, capitalism requires the perpetuation of poverty as a negative economic incentive for productivity (even in the midst of global industrial overcapacity where there is individual scarcity despite industrial plenitude); the essence of capitalism regards mercy for the poor as a sign of weakness, incompatible with its Darwinian tendencies to cruelly dispose of the economically unfit.

Theologically, I see God's mercy (not his justice) as the only way to reconcile the existence of a benevolent god with a flawed creation. (My thread about this is here.) (I am not convinced of the "free will" argument at all since I believe it is better [for me at least] to live in a world where suffering and hardship is impossible but I do not experience free will, nor do I believe that human "free will" is anything to be impressed with since our will is obviously limited by our circumstances and intellect capacity [imposed by neurological and biological constraints])

[quote="Black_Rose, post:17, topic:196903"]
Socialism at its essence represents mercy for the working classes. But capitalism is at best apathetic for the welfare of the working classes except in the global competition of the Cold War between socialism and capitalism where the working classes in capitalist countries had to be looked out for and appeased. For instance neo-liberal globalization has caused immense poverty and suffering (much more than Chairman Mao's programs implemented with his benign intentions:)

[/quote]

Let's go to this paragraph, since I am short on time.

First, the concept of class needs to be examined. The notion that definable classes of Bourgeoisie and Proletariat transplantable from epoch to epoch is a Socialist construct and utter nonsense. It is a creation of Marx. No class, no dialectic. It is necessary to the Socialist model that such classes exist which can then be artificially pitted through the mechanism of envy one against another to provide the lubricant for revolt. Socialism defines class, promulgates it, enshrines it and, in the name of eradicating its own creation, dismantles society.

Capitalism rejects the notion of class, and envisions individuals moving up and down the economic ladder freely based on achievement and ability.

And mercy does not exist in intention, but in outcomes. The current destruction of the European economy and the historical depravity of Socialist experiments were and are not merciful because they purportedly mean well (although even that could be debated). They were and are violence itself, fiscal and real, based on the fruit of the tree.

Here is a clear explanation of why socialism does not help the poor and why it is so insidiously evil: youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/a/u/0/z_LNIdmsPDU

As an addendum to the Marxist claptrap, it’s interesting that it is Karl Marx that coined the term “capitalism” as a pejorative term to condemn wealth and foment class warfare. The capacity to motivate work and the reinvestment of profits constitute the driving force for the productivity of free enterprise. So against the confused and misled, it is wise to examine Christ’s teaching on using our talents, and on wealth.

Facing Reality
Christ’s teaching on wealth and property

In his outstanding work Christians For Freedom, Ignatius 1986, p 43-47, (with a new edition, since), Dr Alejandro Chafuen has examined carefully the teaching of Christ and wealth. Citing the case of the rich young man in Luke 18:18-25, Dr Chafuen remarks that many authors think that Jesus was condemning the possession of riches, but “the Late Scholastics indicated that this was not the correct interpretation. Citing Luke 14:26, where Jesus says, ‘If any man come to Me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be My disciple,’ the Scholastics pointed out that this passage does not enjoin Christians to hate their fathers. Such doctrine would contradict the Fourth Commandment. Thomist and Scholastic interpretations of this passage is that the entrance to the kingdom of Heaven is denied to anyone who values things more than God. In Matthew’s Gospel (10:37), the same passage reads: ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to Me is not worthy of Me.’ It would be a violation of the natural order to value a created thing above its creator, as did the young ruler who pursued riches as his ultimate goal.

“As is indicated in Luke (12:29-31): ‘you must not set your heart on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry. It is the pagans of this world who set their hearts on all these things. Your father well knows you need them. No; set your hearts on His kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well.’ Dr Chafuen notes that “many people close to Jesus were quite wealthy for their times. Joseph seems to have had his own business and perhaps a donkey; Peter owned a fishing boat, and Matthew was a tax collector. Jesus praised the rich man Zaccheus. It was the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea who kept faith even when the Apostles were beset by doubt (Mt 27:57). Jesus does not condemn the possession of riches but, rather disordered attachment to them.” Notice also that Jesus did not ask His Apostles to renounce their property.

Some misrepresent Acts 2:44-47, where the faithful lived together and owned everything in common. These so-called “Apostolics” were condemned by St Thomas and the Late Scholastics, who quote St Augustine. Why?
In his Summa, II-II, Q. 66, art. 2, resp., St Thomas quotes St Augustine: “Augustine says: ‘The people styled apostolic are those who arrogantly claimed this title for themselves because they refused to admit married folk or property owners to their fellowship, arguing from the model of the many monks and clerics in the Catholic Church (De Haeresibus 40).’ But such people are heretics because they cut themselves off from the Church by alleging that those who, unlike themselves, marry and own property have no hope of salvation.”

The Medieval Schoolmen who preferred to be called the “Doctors”, “were the foremost thinkers of their times.” (Op. cit. p 21). They employed logic and reasoning for the development of mankind. Chafuen incisively points out: “The Doctors offered utilitarian arguments to show that goods that are privately owned are better used than commonly owned goods. This explanation offers a budding theory of economic development: the division of goods and their ultimate possession by private individuals facilitates increased production.”

Free enterprise is not “greed driven” it is common good driven for the welfare of the greatest number and dependant on consumer satisfaction and competition, dependant on the laws of cause and effect involving God-given reason, and based on a standard social principle of Christ’s Church -- subsidiarity.

Not one Pope, since the inception of the idea of socialism, has supported the concept. At its base, it debases the dignity of the human person and subjugates it to the greater good of "society". Here are some brief quotes by 19th - 21st century Pontiffs:

tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/socialism/what-the-popes-really-say-about-socialism.html

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