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As Pope, obviously Pope Francis is a man who wields significant power. What I didn’t realize until I started reading Pope Francis’ writing is the sheer scope and power of his work.

There is a reason that Rush Limbaugh went after Pope Francis. Interestingly enough, it’s the same reason Pope Francis was able to brush aside Rush Limbaugh’s arguments as if he were a gnat (ok, a bloated gnat to be sure).

In the interest of self-improvement, here’s my diary on how Pope Francis does what he does and what makes it so damn powerful.

 photo pope-francis_zps8bb12fda.jpg

At the heart of the conservative view of the economy is a belief. It’s not an economic belief. It’s a moral belief. It’s a view of how things should and shouldn't work.

The belief is in pure individualism and is often expressed when you hear anyone talk about “free markets”.

George Lakoff explains that in a strict father family, the father is the Decider. He is the head of the family and his authority must not be challenged. He provides for his family and disciplines them, with force if necessary, in order to shape them into proper moral beings.  

So how does this relate to markets?

Conservatives believe in a moral view of the world where the market itself is seen as “the Decider”:

Your conservative friends likely accept and argue this belief without even thinking about it as a belief. It looks something like this:

•    “Let the markets decide!”
•    Capitalism = Freedom
•    Any interference with markets is bad

Basically, all authority should be invested in ‘markets’ and government should remain hands off.

You know the argument. You’ve likely argued with your conservative friends (or others) in some way shape or form about this. If you have, you’ve likely seen them become very heated as somehow one way or another they see you as trying to limit this perceived freedom.

According to Lakoff:

The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values.
Conservatives see the market as the ultimate moral authority.

Think about this for a second. At the heart of conservative philosophy lies the belief that if everyone is selfish, somehow, and they can’t tell you quite how, a world will emerge which will benefit everyone. You’ve also heard this phrased as “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

This belief in individualism alone and fundamentalist capitalism explains why conservatives feel that neither science nor government (nor anything else for that matter) should have any authority over the market.

A brief prelude before talking about the guy you really care about

Most people understand this conservative moral framework so I’m likely not telling you anything you don’t know.

However, in discussions, we often forget or drift away from our own moral positions into other types of arguments.

Some of the mistakes I've made/seen:

•    Focusing on the ‘truth’
•    Telling conservatives that their arguments are wrong/dumb/stupid
•    Discussing policy
•    Falling into Democratic and Republican arguments
•    Accepting conservative moral framing
•    Not explaining my moral frame (or not arguing for a better moral frame)
•    Leading with solutions before we've made a strong enough case for change

I'm sure there's others, but these were top of mind. Where we want to be is making more powerful moral arguments. This lays the groundwork for solutions.

A few examples when it comes to discussing economics. What are the challenges with laissez-faire capitalism? What is the moral case for change?

How does Pope Francis do it?

This Pope would be powerful even if he weren’t Pope because not only does he understand the importance of moral arguments but he's able to make the case like few others I've seen.

He points out the deification and false power attributed to markets:

“The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything that stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.”
A deified market. I wish I would have said that. This is exactly the power some want to invest in markets when they say “Let the markets decide”.  

Do we really want to grant markets that much control over our lives?

Markets have allowed slavery in the past. Markets have allowed child labor. Markets have led to monopolies and vast inequality.  Do we really want to get rid of laws prohibiting slavery? Do we really want to allow companies to hire children again?

Shouldn’t we maybe be saying “Let the people decide!” or “Let’s do what’s right!”

Anyways, back to Pope Francis. Here, he reminds us of the importance of other values:

“Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “Thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.”
Markets say nothing about the morality of killing. This is a belief that we have made into law through government. Markets don’t care one way or the other.

The same goes for inequality. When has the market has ever weighed in on starving or inequality? Last time I checked, markets simply determined price and helped efficiently allocate resources.

Francis goes further though:

“Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of Ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it threatens the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, Ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside the categories of the marketplace.”
Wow. Not only a rejection of ethics, but God. No wonder he's making such a stir here in the U.S. where certain groups have been selling us supply-side Jesus for the past 40 years.

He is right though: Ethics exist outside of markets and should guide markets.

Compassion, caring, empathy, and feeling. Also outside of markets:

“To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”
It's not that markets don't care; it's simply that markets are about trade.

Yet we’re being told we should set everything outside of trade aside and somehow markets will magically deliver us a better life for all. Despite any evidence to the contrary, we’re supposed to believe that somehow out there this great utopia awaits if we can just find a purer form of markets.

Is the Pope socialist?

Does this make the Pope anti-capitalist, or in Rush Limbaugh’s words “pure Marxism”?

Here is how the Pope answered Limbaugh:

"The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended."
What I really admire about Francis here is that he doesn't get upset with Limbaugh. He doesn't get defensive. He simply says what he believes and shows empathy for people who believe differently. He believes Marxism is wrong, but the people are good. In other words, he disputes the ideology rather than the people.

Then, he goes on to emphasize how he isn’t against capitalism, only certain aspects of supply-side economics:

"The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view but according to the Church’s social doctrine. This does not mean being a Marxist."
I don't think Limbaugh ever thought the Pope would respond. Not only that, but what a response.

The Pope simply reminded us of the failed promise of trickle-down economics, a certain kind of capitalism, and how pointing this out does not make him a socialist.

Notice he didn't call Limbaugh an idiot. He didn't lose his cool. He simply held his moral ground.

This is the last reaction people like Rush Limbaugh want and my guess is that Rush will search for weaker folks to bait.  

The tyranny of markets

Another argument I’ve heard from conservatives is an anti-government argument. You hear this a lot when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

The argument goes something like this: Government shouldn’t force me to do anything I don’t want to do.

You’ll see it expressed in memes like the following:

 photo tyranny-of-the-market_zpsaea59e27.jpg

Spooky, right? Big government is bad and making me do things I don’t want.

In some sense, this is a version of de Toqueville’s “tyranny of the majority”.
This is a good argument for Constitutional Rights. What it isn’t, however, is a good argument for fundamentalist capitalism.

Why? Because unfettered markets have their own tyranny. Pope Francis explains:

“While the earnings of the minority are growing exponentially, so, too, is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. The imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation…. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules…”
Yes, our Democracy (or Constitutional Republic as my Libertarian friends will remind me) imposes laws. We elect people to act in our interests and our representatives create laws. These laws range from traffic rules to food quality rules to rules that govern transactions to transparency rules to laws against specific crimes such as murder or rape.

In this system, each person has an equal vote. One person, one vote.

In a market where you vote with your dollars, one dollar equals one vote. Doesn’t this system impose a much greater tyranny? Don't you have less influence?

A billionaire would have a million times more power in this system than the average person. Do we really want a system where your vote depends on how much you own and how many dollars you hold?

Yet this is the system many want to institute, a system of market fundamentalism, where everything should somehow be decided by the “market”.

A system where the rules change depending on how much money you have.  

How again is this going to be better for everyone? How is this ethical?

Francis reminds us that markets should be subjects, not rulers:

“Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect, and promote the poor. I exhort you to a generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.”
Takeaways from the Pope (Subtitle: Pope-a-dope strategies)

Whew!  Before I turn Catholic, I’m going to come down from my Francis lovapalooza and summarize a few things I took away from Pope Francis:

•    It's the ideology, not the person. Most conservatives I know are good people who honestly think they are doing what is best. Treat them as such (until at least they prove differently).
•    Win the person, not the argument. Has telling someone how wrong they are ever changed their mind? Has someone ever changed your mind this way?
•    Make your arguments more moral. This is the George Lakoff argument that everyone knows but doesn’t get used nearly enough.
•    Capitalism is not god. Thank you for reminding us, Pope Francis, that capitalism should serve the needs of the people. It is what we make it and needs to be subject to other forces if it is going to work for the benefit of all.

How am I going to use this?

I’ll talk about some of the examples where markets haven’t worked so well. Child labor is a great one, for example. In Britain in 1819, lawmakers introduced a law called the Cotton Factories Regulation Act. This law banned the employment of children under age 9 in cotton factories (which were at the time recognized as extremely hazardous to your health). At the time, some members of the House of Lords argued that ‘labour ought to be free’.

Heheh … Does “ought to be free” sound familiar?

 photo capitalism-isnt-working_zpsf3de9f4d.jpg

Examples like this demonstrate that “freedom” of markets is actually what we want it to be. We now take for granted that children under certain ages should not be employed as part of what we think of as a “free market”. Markets themselves never came up with this rule though.

Keep the discussion civil. I wouldn’t, for instance, say something like the following: “You’re making the market a god!”

I bring that point up here only because it helps to understand the moral worldview behind many of the arguments you hear everyday.

I would also illustrate the moral arguments for change. Pope Francis does this by talking about the outcomes we’re seeing as a result of our current capitalist system: economic inequality, increasing indifference to how we treat each other, and the erosion of ethics.

Once you’ve laid the moral foundation for change, then and only then, should you start talking about solutions.

All too often solutions are where we start. Then and only then, should you make the case for a working capitalism.

Originally posted to akadjian on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 05:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks, Street Prophets , and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  now what has he done for women? (7+ / 0-)

    nothing except say abortion is "horrific".
    and yes, many people do not get past that issue. including myself.

    as long as women do not control their bodies they have no control over their lives.

    IMHO this pope being seen as some sort of revelation is a mistake. he is nothing more than a new facade over an archaic belief system. a system that clings towards control.

    •  Good point- I haven't seen anything (10+ / 0-)

      He makes a good case against "free market" capitalism.

      I'm not trying to argue the end all/be all of the pope. Just that he makes one of the best cases I've seen for reforming capitalism.

      It's a step further than the last Pope and more than many are doing here in the U.S. when it comes to this issue

    •  What did Martin Luther King II do for women? (15+ / 0-)

      Ghandi? Budha? George Washington?

      What did Gloria Steinem do for economic inequality?

      Our heroes each focused on his or her respective issue and fought hard for it.

      •  that is not the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01, NonnyO

        the catholic church is supposed to be a moral compass not a tool for equality nor social justice.

        if they claim they are after social justice how do they decide what inequalities to address? how do they decide what or whom they want to attack?
        obviously hey want to attack women.

        ghandi, MLK Gloria steinem never actively sought to take rights from another person in their fight for equality.

        the church is STILL attacking women after doing so for centuries.
        i cant turn a blind eye to that because they talk of equality in other areas.

        •  No one is asking you to (8+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure either how you don't see any morality in fighting for economic equality and social justice

          Is the Catholic church patriarchal? Sure.

          Does that somehow invalidate their stance on economic inequality? No.

        •  The church (9+ / 0-)
          the catholic church is supposed to be a moral compass not a tool for equality nor social justice.
          is supposed to be a tool for equality and social justice because of it's moral compass... as MLK put it "the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice... Give the fact that capitalism exploits women in general and poor women and women of color in particular, it can be argued that his focus on the ills of capitalism is a women's rights stance. Yes, there remains much to be done...and yes, the church's record, past and present on women is, at best deplorable... but he's at the helm of an ecclesiological aircraft carrier; it's not going to pivot on a dime.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:40:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No it's going to pivot on the recommendations (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO

            of Francis's committee appointed to "study" the abuse of children within the church.  In other words, NO change is coming, just more side steps and cover-ups. And not just for women. Try Francis on gay marriage in Argentina.

            •  Have you (0+ / 0-)

              considered therapy?

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:16:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nice dodge. (0+ / 0-)

                Do YOU think appointing a committee to study the issue of child abuse in his own institution, which has been happening all over the world for over half a century is a compassionate and caring and "take charge" action?

                •  Do you think (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marykk, Hammerhand

                  being an asshole to people who are not/no longer Catholic and hijacking diaries moves the needle towards anything resembling a solution?

                  Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                  by awesumtenor on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:24:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well now we don't have to worry (0+ / 0-)

                    about the nonsensical committee to study the child abuse problem.  The UN has officially taken up the issue and will be grilling the Vatican about it.

                    Now why, do you suppose, the RCC only decided to deal with the abuse issues when they came into the light of day?  Seems to  me that if this institution represents any kind of morality, it's response would have been to clean it up instead of covering it up.  Even Francis was involved in a cover up incident in Argentina.  

                    So what you call "being an asshole" I call using reaon and skepticism, especially when it comes to institutions as corrupt as the RCC.

                    Hijacking? How silly.

                    •  You keep using those words (0+ / 0-)

                      I dont think they mean what you think they mean. Given your Pavlovian anger response anytime the RCC is mentioned it is clear to everyone except you that there is no reason in and nothing reasonable about your actions... I have neither stated nor implied that the RCC as an institution representative of any kind of morality but hey; why let something as insignificant as facts get in the way of a good rant. This diary is not about RCC clergy pedophilia and sexual abuse and every diary and comment that mentions the RCC is not obligated to discuss that just because you are stuck on it. We live in a country and in a society that has been racist since 1607 yet if I were to take a page out of your book and try to force you to discuss why you are complicit in perpetuating that racism you would not accept that framing as valid...nor would you think I had any right to try to force a diary not about racism to jump the track the diarist put it on in order to make it about what I want and you would not even entertain the idea that my attempting to do so was remotely the product of reason.

                      So your being an asshole is nothing more than your being an asshole sans reason and sans logic... what you are claiming to be reason and skepticism is reactive and visceral and occurs for the same reason your leg moves when the doctor strike your patella in the right place...

                      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

                      by awesumtenor on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 08:26:24 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  This diary is about giving weight (0+ / 0-)

                        to the writings/opinions of a man who has no moral/ethical right (or even the educational expertise) to be lecturing the rest of the world on economics, social justice, materialism, capitalism, the 1%, the poor or poverty, equality, etc. etc.  

                        This is certainly totally connected to your claim that he should be listened to on these topics.  You say he should be listened to and I say he shouldn't.  

                        I hope that is succinct enough for you.

                      •  And one more thing.... (0+ / 0-)

                        you need to work on the name calling.  Note that even though I strongly disagree with the premise of this diary, I have not called you or anyone else who doesn't share my views an "asshole".

        •  So don't. (10+ / 0-)

          You don't have to become Catholic or decide that Pope Francis is the best thing since sliced bread. The Church remains truly bad on women's issues, on LGBTQ issues and on sexual issues generally (condoms for AIDS prevention, for example).
          That said, a change in emphasis, even if not in doctrine, from an obsession with such things to a focus on poverty and inequality is welcome. We can take a powerful ally on one issue even while we oppose him on others.

          The Pope speaking out on this is unequivocally a good thing. Whatever he says on other topics. His stance on abortion is horrific. Whatever good things he supports economically. It's still better to have a Pope who's good on one issue than one who's bad on all.
          And since I'm aware there's no real change in doctrine on either issue, emphasis matters. He could have chosen, as other recent Popes have done to emphasize abortion (and attacks on gays and birth control, etc) and deemphasize poverty, but he hasn't he's gone the other way and that matters.

          The Empire never ended.

          by thejeff on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:53:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The church since the writing of the Gospels (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JuliathePoet, mmacdDE

          has been about the morality of social justice and it has never been about women's rights I'm sad to say.

          My point is this: look to the church for social justice and look elsewhere for someone to fight for women's rights. You are not going to find a person or organization that is all things to everyone.

    •  If you wait for someone to be everything to... (16+ / 0-)

      everyone, you will be waiting for a long time.  The Pope did say that even though contraception and abortion are important issues to the church, they should not be the central focus and that too many Catholics are so focused on them that they are missing much more important issues like the suffering of the poor.  

      It is not an all out call for support for the pro-choice women's healthcare movement by any means but relative to the last pope's hard core stance against women's healthcare rights, it is a fairly large leap in the right direction.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 09:11:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i really dont think that womens rights (5+ / 0-)

        can  be dismissed just because the church speaks of other issues.

        and taking away any persons rights is a HUGE leap in the wrong direction- and that is what the church aspires to.

        •  I am by no means dismissing women's rights... (10+ / 0-)

          But as I said, things are relative.  The last Pope was at war with women's rights and this Pope has tried to temper those reactions and guide the church (albiet slowly) away from them.  How do you think the Pope could more effectively have done this?  Come out as pro-abortion against what 1 billion catholic faithful have been taught to be vehemently against for their entire lives?  Convincing members of his church to back away from abortion and contraception as one of its priorities will be difficult enough.

          The Pope has taken on the challenge of fighting for the poor and against mammon which is a mighty big fight.  He has done so while trying to ease the church away from its antigay stance, its anti woman stance and even away from its anti-any-other-religion-but-mine stance (including athiests).  That is a huge undertaking that is not going to happen over night.  I think we can applaud his efforts to move the church in the right direction without the accusation of dismissing women's rights.

          The fight for women's rights continues and is not hampered in any way by this Pope.  In fact, by emphasizing that denying women's health care should not be one of the focal points of the church, it actually lessons one of the formerly formidable opponents to the cause.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:54:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So what has Francis DONE (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            crescentdave, NonnyO

            to stop the US bishops from denying women the right to choose birth control, either through their insurance or through the catholic owned hospitals?    

            The Pope isn't hampering the women's rights movement?  Where do you live?

            •  Did they deny women's right to choose before... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, JuliathePoet

              Pope Francis?  Has he made it worse in any way than it already was?  He is not hampering anything it is just that he has not been able to stop anything either.  I believe he is picking his battles and the plight of the poor is first on his list.  The fact that he has made the point that the church should NOT be focusing so much of its efforts on birth control and abortion is, in my mind, a step in the right direction (even though I hope that the steps get longer and more frequent).  Give me one example where this Pope has made any new policy worse than what was already there OR made any existing policy worse in any way.  

              Face it, the Catholic Church was pretty screwed up with their priorities from women's health issues to gay rights to child molestation to its treatment of the poor to its mafia ties and more.  A Pope cannot just walk in on day one ane turn the Titantic back into a luxury steamliner.  It takes time and effort and picking the battles you can win, one at a time.  I am amazed at how aggressive he is being and you are criticizing him for not fixing everything already.  

              I am not asking you to be patient with him.  By all means, keep fighting and I hope you win.  I just want you to realize that one of the fiercest opponents to women's health issues, the Catholic Church, has a leader now who has stated that it should no longer be the primary focus of the church to oppose women's health issues.  I hope that he will do more soon but for now, at least that is something which is more than the last three Popes have done combined.

              "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

              by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:49:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This institution has had 2000 years to turn (0+ / 0-)

                the ship.  I think that is plenty of time. The world has been patient through centuries of murder and mayhem, theft and corruption from this church. I think it's time to be very very very impatient!

                 You are operating on an unevidenced idea that Francis is different from past popes. Of course, he may be the first to have hired a PR team to help with the "pull the wool over the eyes" campaign.  From what I can see on diaries and comment threads like this, it's unfortunately working very well.  Now if he just creates committees to study the problems of women's rights and gay rights, like he did on the child abuse issue, he'll have all the bases covered.  

                He can then spend his time lecturing the world on the plights of the poor, despite his institution's huge hand in creating poverty, and lecture the world on materialism from his golden palaces.  

                Most people would never be patient with a political ruler whose government behaved in the way that the RCC does, nor would they tolerate a leader who continues to make speeches based on sheer hypocrisy of speech v. action.   Religion always gets a pass. Until we change that, we will continue to be tied to a very long and heavy chain of bondage.

    •  maybe that's cause even the Pope can only (4+ / 0-)

      win one war against Mammon at a time.

      ISTR John Paul II originally being something of a pro-union man (Solidarnosc). Helped bring down the Wall. A generation later, time to tackle the opposite tyrant of "free markets"? After all, "deified" = made a god.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do NOT believe you should agree with him (7+ / 0-)

      on everything. He is, when it comes down it, just a man. However, I don't think it is necessary to admire him, like him, or agree with everything he says to welcome much of what he says as useful. We here on this site frequently disagree vehemently with some of the people we work to elect on some of the issues we hold most dear, while still seeing those people as better than the alternatives available. Besides, I think you are depending on a slight mistranslation of his words:  

      Italian original of the paragraph in question:

      La pace è inoltre ferita da qualunque negazione della dignità umana, prima fra tutte dalla impossibilità di nutrirsi in modo sufficiente. Non possono lasciarci indifferenti i volti di quanti soffrono la fame, soprattutto dei bambini, se pensiamo a quanto cibo viene sprecato ogni giorno in molte parti del mondo, immerse in quella che ho più volte definito la “cultura dello scarto”. Purtroppo, oggetto di scarto non sono solo il cibo o i beni superflui, ma spesso gli stessi esseri umani, che vengono “scartati” come fossero “cose non necessarie”. Ad esempio, desta orrore il solo pensiero che vi siano bambini che non potranno mai vedere la luce, vittime dell’aborto, o quelli che vengono utilizzati come soldati, violentati o uccisi nei conflitti armati, o fatti oggetti di mercato in quella tremenda forma di schiavitù moderna che è la tratta degli esseri umani, la quale è un delitto contro l’umanità.
      Vatican's official English translation of same paragraph:
      Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed “the throwaway culture”. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as “unnecessary”. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.
      My own, slightly different and highly unofficial, translation of this single sentence:
      For example, the mere thought conveys horror that there are children who will never see the light of day, victims of abortion; children being used as soldiers, raped and killed in armed conflicts; and children made into chattel in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.
      I disagree with the man on abortion. Were he an American citizen running for political office, his position on that would for me disqualify him as a candidate. I don't think that abortion, before viability of the fetus, is equivalent to discarding an "unnecessary" human being, because I don't believe blastocysts or previable fetuses have reached a point at which they should be considered human, with all attendant rights. So I believe, with the majority of other Kossacks, that this painful and personal decision is not one in which the state should have any say whatsoever, at least until such point as a pregnancy is viable outside the womb, at which point my position becomes considerably more nuanced. I strongly doubt that either the Pope or I could convince the other on this matter, because we are not operating from the same basic assumptions.

      However, that fundamental disagreement does not mean that I consider him personally, or all Catholics everywhere, anti-woman because of this single issue, even though I think this doctrinal point does create and empower misogyny in far too many Catholics. If, and I emphasize IF, we here also believed that full humanity began at conception, then would not we too feel horror at the thought of discarded children? And would not that horror be irregardless of the gender of the mother?

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:24:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The reason WHY there are so many hungry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO

        mouths in the world is that there are too many children and not enough resources in many many places. So how in the world does this pope or any pope have the right to comment on hunger when their own basic policies cause overpopulation?

        •  That is not "the" sole reason (5+ / 0-)

          Or even the most significant reason. Many of those "too many hungry children" exist because their parents choose to have them. You can't be pro-choice without honoring those choices as well.

          There is hunger in the world because some of us have far more food than we need, and waste much of it; without thought for sending some of it to those places with fewer resources. We could adequately feed everybody if we made the effort to do so.  

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:19:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Catte Nappe- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            It might help you to read some articles or research on the root causes of poverty, not just world wide, but in the US.   Lack of access to reproductive health services and the availability of birth control is a major factor. Ignoring that fact is like ignoring the fact that coal plants spewing pollution into the sky is a major factor in climate change.

            My question is... why do commentors on here continue to give this Pope and his institution a pass on all its wrongful and destructive actions in the world?  Where are the picket lines and protest rallies in front of the Vatican or even the offices of the US Bishops?  

            •  Thanks for the suggestion /snark (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk

              Believe me, I know a great deal about the root causes of poverty. I've spent decades on the issue. Lack of access to birth control is "a" factor, not "the" factor. And in terms of how major it is in the US, I'd propose that lack of adequate sex education is an even bigger deal, because if you don't know about birth control having access to it doesn't help much. Then there are all those other major factors, like lack of living wages, transportation issues, and many more.

              As to some commenters response re the Pope, I don't see anybody giving the church a pass. What you are seeing, and apparently experiencing, is something that causes disagreement here on many issues. That is the "black and white" vs "gray" thinking, the absolute vs the nuance. Church leaders, and some members, have a lot to be ashemed of on a number of issues. That said, the Pope has an influential voice, and when he says, in effect, "don't spend so much of your time and money attacking those who use birth cotrol, or those who are gay; spend a great deal more of your time an money feeding the hungry and helping the poor" then some of us are going to say "rAmen".

              Regarding their position on birth control - that goes back to the "choice"issue to some extent. Their members can choose to follow teaching, or not. It's akin to the old saying "don't like abortion? Don't get one". But still, nobody here is giving a pass to those church leaders who are working so diligently to make the Methodists and the Hindus and the Athesists follow their church teaching. Some of us do, however, appreciate a Pope who is advising those people to work a lot less diligently on that, and a lot more diligently on meeting basic human needs. A whole lot can be done to alleviate poverty and suffering without demanding they also overturn centuries of their own teachings.

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 12:18:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  He SAYS.... (0+ / 0-)

                'don't spend so much time and money attacking social issues like abortion etc.'  but he DOES nothing action-wise to follow up on that. The US bishops have changed nothing and no one is telling them to do so, except for Francis's vague suggestions. They are still lobbying and have recently added the Obamacare issue to their list. Has Francis said 'cool it' on the health insurance coverage for contraception issue? Has he told them directly to 'lay low' on that and concentrate on the poor? No.   Francis could decide tomorrow to lift or modify the Religious and Ethical Directives governing catholic hospitals without any consulting or voting or anything. He has the power to do so. Yet he hasn't.  And now we have a lawsuit by the ACLU against the US bishops on behalf of a woman who went thru terrible agony and loss as a direct result of those Directives.  Francis is silent on this.

                 As far as meeting basic human needs... tell us what the church is doing on that without any strings attached.  What was being done under Mother Teresa?  60% of the money for catholic charities in the US comes from the taxpayers. Do you see Francis acknowledging that or any signs on the walls of catholic charities thanking the US government for its prop up of their work?  Sure, they'll take our money and then they'll take all the credit.   When one delves down into the details of the charity work by the RCC all over the world, the picture is less than rosy.

                It's ALL talk and nothing else, but it has certainly worked its magic on our media and apparently many who write and post on Kos.

                 

                •  Talking (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marykk, occupystephanie

                  That is what Popes "DO". It's pretty much a short form of their job description. And what he "says" will begin to sway what a lot of people "do". I have no idea what he may be telling any of the Bishops behind the scenes, if anything, but what he is saying publically influences them, and influences people who influence them. Changing any organization's culture is a slow process, with little immediate visible movemement. And the Catholic Chruch is a particularly large and calcified organization. We'll know if he had any measurable effect 20 years from now. Meanwhile, if he's going to keep doing his job, and talking, I'm pleased he's talking about poverty, income inequality, and the absence of morality in the profit calculus of capitalism. Much better than other things Popes can, and have, talked about at length.  

                  You, of course, are free to kvetch about how slow change is, and how little he has actually done so far, and how others welcome the new tone coming from the Vatican. But quit pretending you have a good faith question about why some commenters here are taking the views of him they are. It appears you don't want an exchange of ideas, you just want to bitch about religion in general, or Catholics in particular.

                  “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                  by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 03:06:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Once again, I've said nothing about (0+ / 0-)

                    people who practice catholicism.  I have only addressed the RCC, its policies and its leaders.  

                    What YOU don't seem to want to do is to take lessons learned in history (or even recent history of Francis in Argentina) and apply some skepticism and hard questioning of what Francis is doing now.

                    The UN just took on the task of grilling the Vatican about the massive and decades old abuse issue.  Francis simply formed a committee to "study the problem".  Why does it take a secular institution to get this religious institution to behave in a moral way?  

                    Talk is cheap. Francis has the power and has had the time to "shake up" this institution.  

                    Any good exchange of ideas includes hard questions. The problem is that many on Kos don't even want them asked.

        •  Okay, I get where some Catholics are coming from (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frostbite, marykk, JuliathePoet, Skyye, mmacdDE

          regarding abortion, although I disagree with them. And yes, I think many other Catholics are simple hypocrites on the matter who use their religion's doctrine as a excuse to try to control women.

          However, I not only do not condone the official Catholic position on contraception, but have to say it has never made any sense to me from any point of view. Even if it were taken as a given (and I do not take it as even likely) that there were a God and He had actually said "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth", we've done that. Mission way overaccomplished. I see no need to equivocate in saying that the Catholic Church, Pope included, is wrong on this.

          All that said, though, I'm not going to demand credentials from someone to whom hundreds of millions of people listen who is raising up hunger, inequality, and economic injustice as important issues that need to be addressed. At least, not until there is a better spokesperson who is just as likely to be heard.

          My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
          --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

          by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:56:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm very interested to see what Francis (3+ / 0-)

            does w/r/t contraception.  The Church's "doctrine" on this is hardly longstanding; I think it originated with Paul VI.  I'm sure Francis believes that abortion is wrong.  But I think he's far too intelligent to believe contraception is wrong.  That, and acceptance of gay relationships, are points on which we may see so-called doctrinal change.

            •  I don't know. I hope you are right. n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JuliathePoet

              My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
              --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

              by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 05:18:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I think that simply moving to the point (3+ / 0-)

              where the Catholic Church encourages its members to make thoughtful, prayerful choices, regarding birth control, would be a reasonable next step to expect. I know a lot of liberal Catholics, who hope that the Catholic Church follows the Mormon stance, that gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight couples, without calling it marriage.

              Most progressive/liberal Mormons have taken the further step of not differentiating civil marriages, and allowing same sex couples to be civilly married, while protecting the rights of all churches to be decide the criteria for religious solemnization, in their religious traditions. I think that the next few years will shake out a lot of issues on gay rights, and I think that if Catholic religious leaders focus on economic inequality, and now out of gay rights and birth control/abortion discussions, that transition could be a lot smoother. So, I hope American Catholics end up following the Pope's example, at least in regards to income inequality. :-)

            •  The church has had this doctrine since (0+ / 0-)

              birth control was invented.  My mother could not get a diaphram in MA in the 50's because the church owned the legislature in those days. She had to cross into CT to do so.  

              Of course Francis believes contraception is morally wrong. If he didn't, or if he ever expressed that, he'd be out of a job.

              •  Hell, you couldn't get contraception (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marykk

                in New York State in the 60s unless you were married.  I was there.  That wasn't Catholicism, it was everyone; that was the craziness of the times.

                I believe that Paul VI commissioned some kind of study group and then disregarded their recommendation and said all birth control was bad.  

                •  Yup (0+ / 0-)

                  It was not the church but the State of Connecticut that went after Griswold, you know.

                  If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                  by marykk on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:00:22 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You don't seem to understand the (0+ / 0-)

                    political power the RCC has in the US... although I think that could be waning as people are getting more than fed up with it.  The CT legislature was dominated by reps that were Catholic.  From Americans United for Separation of Church and State's website...

                    "Connecticut’s anti-birth control statute was only being sporadically enforced at the time, and some types of birth control were available in drug stores. But Buxton and Griswold (who opened the birth control clinic in New Haven) believed that as long as the law was in place, access to contraceptives wasn’t secure.

                    Sure enough, when they opened their facility, conservative religious leaders went on the warpath. The state’s politically powerful Roman Catholic hierarchy demanded action, leading to the raid on the clinic."

    •  He's no more than.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, NonnyO

      ....one illegitimate power-holder criticizing other illegitimate power-holders. Al Capone pulled the same stunt. It's one of the oldest political scams in the book.

      Why should we be surprised that he says nice things and perhaps, one day, even might do nice things? It's very hard to think of a power-holder that never does this. The Khymer Rouge, perhaps. But even Nazis could be nice when it suited their purposes. The Pope is certainly no Nazi, so he finds it even easier to put on the human face.

      But in the end, he wields stolen power in the name of a fraudulent ideology. And, as you point out, he perpetuates some of the most destructive prejudices the human race has ever entertained, such as sexism.

      Call me back when there's a woman Pope. Until then, I'm not listening, and my wish for him is defeat and ruin. A genteel, blood-free ruin, to be sure. But he and his Church need to be gone.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:40:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The church doesn't control anyone's body. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JuliathePoet, mmacdDE

      I'm pretty sure the only Catholic theocracy left is the Vatican itself.  They have every right in the world to make their moral case, and even lobby to have policies reflect their views like anyone else.  However, if you cannot legally control your body, your beef is really with the government, not the church.

      •  Ummm..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01, NonnyO

        ....that's like saying the KKK is fine because it doesn't control any state governments. Propagating foul opinions matters. And you don't get the right to say one bad thing because somewhere else you said one good thing.

        You are responsible for what you advocate. And the Church, because of its absurd and arrogant pretensions ("Vicar of Christ," "Church Universal," and so on) claims far more authority and thus takes on far more responsibility than any earthly ruler. They made that bed, and they can lie in it.

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:45:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By all means... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, frostbite, JuliathePoet, Skyye

          ...speak out against church teaching, but likewise the good should not be discounted because of teachings you don't like.  The KKK analogy doesn't quite work because it exists for no purpose other than hate and sometimes violently manifests that hate.  The Church exists if anything to manifest God's love, which in their view includes to the unborn, and as this Pope is trying to convey, is just a small part of what they teach.

          •  You might think the church exists "if anything" to (0+ / 0-)

            manifest god's love, but a lot of us would disagree that's why the church exists. It certainly isn't a given . . .  And loving the unborn is swell--but what about loving the already born of the female gender?

      •  Right. The RCC NEVER uses its power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO

        or wealth to influence government!

        •  Of course they do. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, JuliathePoet

          I thought I acknowledged that.

          •  No, you said that a woman's beef (0+ / 0-)

            about their bodies being controlled is solely with the government's and not with the church.

            The US bishops conference PAYS it's own lobbyists to influence government on issues of women's rights and birth control every day in this country (and in other countries too).   So the beef is just as much against the church as it is the government.

            •  But it is for the government to decide... (0+ / 0-)

              ...as with any other lobby, whether to listen to them or not.  If the implied message is the Church made us do it, that is a cop out.  I also said people should speak out against the church just as I for example would speak out against the NRA, but again it is ultimately elected officials who make the decisions and need to be held to account.  One difference though is I don't believe the church has a PAC or otherwise funds campaigns.

              •  The church itself can not have PAC (0+ / 0-)

                but CatholicVote.org is a PAC.  And of course, it works to finance the campaigns of candidates who follow the church's teachings.  

                Then there is this from the Human Rights Campaign website...

                "The Roman Catholic Church and its affiliate, the Knights of Columbus, played a leading role in funding anti-LGBT equality efforts in the four states where marriage equality was on the ballot this fall. The Church hierarchy invested nearly $2 million in the failed attempts to write discrimination into the Minnesota constitution and stem marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Dioceses from across the country supported these efforts financially, thought it’s doubtful that the parishioners fueling these contributions had any idea that their money was being used to fund discrimination."

      •  They don't need to control anyone's body... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE

        As long as the Vatican/pope/clergy brainwashes them with religious doctrine, the peasants will control themselves.

        It has worked that way for two millenia.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:09:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          and in some places, it works too well.

          Not everywhere though. Most catholic women in this country use birth control, and don't think anything about it.

          When the government puts restrictions on birth control it has a lot more effect on ALL women, not just Catholic ones.

    •  Economic justice (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, akadjian, Skyye, ChuckInReno

      Is a women's issue.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 02:37:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two things about this pope... (0+ / 0-)

      ... that so many seem to see as a doddering old uncle with the silly smile sitting in a corner at a family reunion:

      1 - Frankie is carrying on the doctrine of controlling women's reproductive rights; he doesn't have to physically control their bodies if they're brainwashed by the church into obeying church doctrine, or the men in their lives do that on behalf of the church.  That's been the RCC's preferred method of controlling people for many centuries.  'Keep the people illiterate because ignorant people are easier to control' (as was written by one of the early popes, which is why they kept everyone except clergy uneducated, including monarchs who did the popes' bidding because they couldn't think for themselves).  I wondered when the standard and routine extreme misogyny would come out of his "pretty little speeches" of late.  We didn't have to wait long.

      Pope, after conservatives' criticism, calls abortion "horrific" - Reuters: By Philip Pullella, 13 January 2014
      [More at link.]
      VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, whom conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church have accused of not speaking out forcefully enough against abortion, on Monday called the practice "horrific".

      The pope made his toughest remarks to date on abortion in his yearly address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, a speech known as his "State of the World" address.

      This is what I wrote this morning in C&J:
      "State of the World" is over-the-top presumptuous, don'tcha think, Frankie?  You're ignoring atheists, agnostics, and all the other religions in the world and forgetting that the Vatican lost a lot of political power once Henry VIII broke with the Vatican's mafia-like control of the ruling monarchs and leaders who followed dictatorial Vatican orders at that time.  Then, good gracious, but those upstart and uppity Separatists and Puritans and Quakers, etc., ignored you completely, and horror of horrors, when they became independent they made church and state separate which cut you out of the power structure of the US!  The worst came with the Pill and Abortion Rights for women, didn't it Frankie?  Boff!  Pow!  Bang!

      Now most of Europe ignores Frankie and his church, only the reichwingnuts and moronic politicians and a couple of SCOTUS justices in the US pay any attention to 'em when they use religious doctrine as the basis for civil laws (unfortunately for women!).  They and Moronic Media saw "dear" little Frankie's goofy grin and erroneously thought he was a benign little uncle because he said some pretty words that everyone says about innocuous subjects (but about which the Vatican does nothing) - but, of course, he hypocritically avoided the topic of pedophile priests and has not turned any of them over to law enforcement to stand trial for their crimes, and everyone has politely ignored the topic like their crimes never happened.

      About women's bodies and the false issues of abortion &/or birth control?  Ah!  THAT brought out the goofy little uncle pope's True Colors.  The patriarchal church STILL wants absolute control over women's reproductive rights, STILL wants to order political and civic "leaders" to obey the dictates of the Vatican, even if they aren't Catholics.  Bastardos!!!!!

         No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.
           -- Frederica Mathewes-Green
      2 - Frankie has NOT done anything about turning the pedophile priests over to law enforcement to be tried for their crimes.  Indeed, he will protect them at all costs.  The RCC owns more land around the world than any other institution and they own vast treasure troves of art.  They will sell none of those valuables to pay off the people who were harmed by the pedophilic priests, nor cut down on their own expenses..., but they'll either collect from insurance companies to pay off the law suits, or they'll bleed their congregations dry of money and they'll turn to government for handouts to church "charities" (i.e., refilling their coffers).  How is that fair when secular government turns taxpayer money over to religious organizations who are richer than the god they invented?  [It's unconstitutional and illegal in the US, but Dumbya's 'office of faith-based initiatives' is up and being run through the White House and now controlled by Obama..., and that office is, I'm sure, gearing up for trying to implement a national religion to force people to believe in - by force, if not coercion.]

      There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.  Two millenia of rampant crime, torture, murder, prostitution, pedophelia, coercion, inquisitions and crimes we've not thought of, and still people who lack any formal education and historical studies kneel to doddering old control-freaks dressed in priestly robes and disguised as benign old men.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:41:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  purity? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, marykk, occupystephanie

      All or nothing? You're either for me, or against me?

      Change in a 2000-year old institution takes TIME. I see change in the past year, more than I've seen in my lifetime. I am encouraged, and hopeful.

      Of course there's a long way to go, but as a wise sage once said, every journey begins with a single step.  Francis has taken the first step.

      That doesn't mean we let him off the hook, and let him rest in the afterglow of recognition for a job well done- we need to applaud this change, and demand more.

      -5.38, -2.97
      The NRA doesn't represent the interests of gun owners. So why are you still a member?

      by ChuckInReno on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:35:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)
        Change in a 2000-year old institution takes TIME. I see change in the past year, more than I've seen in my lifetime. I am encouraged, and hopeful.
        I am astonished at the changes so far. Lots of Princes of the Church have whiplash.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:01:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent - republished to Anglican Kossacks. (9+ / 0-)



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:19:16 AM PST

  •  Adam Smith was a moralist & been misued (11+ / 0-)

    To address income inequality, there must be a living wage.

    The following is from a book noted below.

    Unskilled Wage

    Among Adam Smith’s many insights, one deserves special attention. It is his observation that the condition of unskilled wages is a reliable indicator of the overall health of an economy. In his words:
    The liberal reward of labor, therefore, as it is the necessary effect, so it is the natural symptom of increasing national wealth. The scanty maintenance of the laboring poor, on the other hand, is the natural symptom that things are at a stand, and their starving condition that they are going backwards fast.
    The wages of unskilled workers are the canary in the coal mine. As Adam Smith warned in the quote above, when these wages stop growing it is a sign the economy has ground to a halt. When they are falling, it is a sure bet the economy is shrinking and in serious trouble.
    Among other ways that the corporations have been favored in recent decades, right now the terrible TPP is slated for fast track by the Obama administration.

    Again, here is Adam Smith

    The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce  which comes from [businessmen] ... comes from an order  of men ... who have generally an interest to deceive and  even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon  many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

    Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

    The book is

    “Worse than You Think: The Real Economy Hidden Beneath Washington’s Rigged Statistics, And Where To Go From Here”, by Keith Quincy.

    •  Adam Smith also favored progressive taxation! (6+ / 0-)

      "The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state." - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

      The wealthy should contribute back to the community in proportion to the amount they've benefited from it.

    •  IIRC.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....Adam Smith and other classical economists were also aware that their model of free trade, "A makes X, B makes Y, they sell to each other, and both prosper," depended on capital being relatively immobile. Obviously, if A owns the factories in B that make Y, and repatriates their profits, B is going to be royally screwed.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:48:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to Street Prophets (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, Catte Nappe, marykk, frostbite, Skyye

    Very well thought out and presented. Thank you.

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:57:20 AM PST

  •  only a religion can beat another religion (2+ / 0-)

    You cannot answer a moral argument except in moral terms because you cannot substitute values with facts. 'Is' and 'ought' are completely different things to a philosopher, and many errors come from confusing them either accidentally or deliberately.  One could easily argue that moral values absolutely are imposed upon the world by human (or divine) will and are held regardless of the reality around us because they cannot exist otherwise.

    Capitalism is as much a religion as Christianity.  It has a godhead that serves as the prime mover of the world, the source of all values, and the sole judge beyond all appeal of our actions: from which all things both good and bad come according to obedience or disobedience to its will revealed both in scripture and in the workings of the world that can be known through the exercise of reason.  

    Submission to the dictates of capitalism motivated by faith, hope, and joy of what is freely given is held to be paradoxically liberating and leads to individual well-being both physical and mental as well as harmony with others ... while resistance motivated by pride is futile and ensures suffering both inside and out.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:20:51 PM PST

    •  False on the face of it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, NonnyO

      Religion is dissolving into a glowing cloud of vague spirituality in most of the developed world. Even the Church is fading -- you disregard the disdain for its teachings on contraception because that suits you, but these rest upon exactly the same claims to authority as everything else they propound. Francis has turned into Pope Pick-and-Choose for some of the progressive community. I will be interested to see how long that lasts.

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:52:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'ed for Pope-a-dope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akadjian, Skyye

    And your analysis is spot on, too.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:39:40 PM PST

  •  His office gives him lots of power. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, marykk, frostbite, JuliathePoet, Skyye

    He can now direct the Church of one billion in a way nobody else can.  The Papacy is also one of the world's strongest bully pulpits.  Before he was Pope who had heard of him outside of Argentina?

  •  The real sign of his power will be... what changes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akadjian

    I don't think much is going to change.

  •  Try this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Skyye

    Every time you stare down a mother using food stamps, an abortion mill gets its wings...

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 01:45:22 PM PST

    •  Or this... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, frostbite, Skyye, ChuckInReno

      How on earth do you expect people to hear the "silent scream" of the fetus when you insist they be deaf to the perfectly audible cries of the poor, the groans of the sick and the anguished, screaming victims of war?  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 01:47:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  From a false premise, all conclusions follow. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frostbite, crescentdave, marykk

    Why the Pope would be powerful even if he weren't Pope

    I agree that the current papal message is a good one, and the current pontiff is a power.  

    If he were not pope, who would hear him?  Who in the church or the media would pay any attention?  

    Luckily Francis is pope.

  •  As long as Francis stands in the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO

    Vatican, he hasn't a moral leg to stand on in terms of any topic, including money and capitalism or the poor for that matter.  And anyone who is paying attention to what goes on behind the curtains ( or has read anything about the RCC's history) would know that. Just look at how his institution shackles women by holding them to some bronze age view and forcing them to have children they don't want or need. This is a major contributor to poverty and economic disadvantage.

    As far as I'm concerned the terms pope/vatican/RCC used in the same sentence discussing morality of any kind is an oxymoron.

    •  We get it, Fishtroller (5+ / 0-)

      You hate Catholicism.  You hate the Pope.  You hate Catholics.  Regardless of anything good they may say or do, you remain skeptical and will discount any good done because it was done by Catholics.

      Yeah, got that by about the third post of yours on diaries about Catholics.  It's been pretty well hammered home by the fifth or sixth or tenth time you post a comment on a thread, I think.

      I don't think blind unreasoning hatred is really a good tool for a balanced assessment of things, but I guess if it floats your boat...

      •  I said nothing about catholics. (0+ / 0-)

        And this diary is about the tenth or so that has tried to argue that Pope Francis is the hero of world economic theory and practices and a savior to the poor.  As long as people are going to post diaries arguing this, I will comment.

    •  You can take the words Pope & Francis out ... (4+ / 0-)

      of the above article if you'd like and the argument is just as valid.

      It's not a pro-Pope, pro-Catholic article.

      It is about fighting against economic inequality. It just so happened the Pope makes an excellent case.

      If you aren't interested, perhaps there are other areas where you could spend your time more positively.

      •  It doesn't "just so happen" that this Pope (0+ / 0-)

        is creating the writings and making the public statements he is making.  In my view it's all a carefully crafted PR blanket being used to deflect the public's attention from the abuse of children (still occuring), the actual treatment of women and gays, and the corruptions of the Vatican bank and economic system of the RCC.

        If Francis wants to address economic inequality, he will come out with a declaration saying that all women have a right to control their own fertility.  With out that, he and the RCC continues to be a huge player in the CREATION of poverty and economic inequality.  Why is that so hard to understand?

        I don't make suggestions as to how YOU should be spending your time on Kos, and I would appreciate the same courtesy.

        •  If you wrote about your beliefs, I simply think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hammerhand, marykk

          you'd have a better chance convincing people instead of through your trolling efforts.

          But I guess you'd have to come up with another name.

          Oh well, since you're self-admitting that you're an anti-religious troll, any further response is pretty much a waste of both of our time.

          Especially since I'm not arguing for religion in any way, shape, or form.

          I'd rather spend my time fighting for a better economy. Best of luck though in your trolling!

          •  You are recommending the views of a person (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Superpole

            who heads a religious institution and you are saying that even if he didn't represent this institution, his views would be great to pay attention to.  But he does head this institution, so your supposition is false and useless.

            There are treatises and papers written all over the world every day by thousands of economic experts etc. and yet you choose this man's views to recommend. Why?  Possibly you feel this man has more expertise than any of the others, or you feel this man's views have some sort of higher moral status than others?  Your premise is suspicious and since you chose to point to pope Francis, then that is who should be scrutinized for his views and actions. Not just one of his views, but all of them. And not as a fanticized 'regular person', but as he is- the titular head of the world power of the RCC.

            You did a nice job of diminishing or trying to disconnect the core issue of women and poverty not just raised by me, but by other commentors, but in my view, it didn't work.  

            I have found that those who sling the arrow of "troll" are usually doing so because they either can't or won't address the concerns raised by commentors.  It's a weak dodge at best and certainly does nothing to discourage people who have legitimate observations to the ideas presented in diaries.

            •  Right.. the Pope as Rock Star, the Pope as (0+ / 0-)

              champion of the poor, the victims of the obvious excesses of the one percent is one more pipe dream.

              this baloney precludes the one percent actually operate using any sort of moral compass and sort of ethical compass...

              Hah Hha hahhh hah hhhah hahhh!!

              that's a good one.

              "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

              by Superpole on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 04:04:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Pope and the Vatican pow-wows (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Superpole

                with the 1% all the time and doesn't hesitate to take their money (note recent story over big donor and fixing up St. Patrick's cathedral).  I can bet you that Dolan went running to this donor to smooth things over under the radar.

                I think there is a Francis cult popping up, and some of the diaries on Kos are encouraging it.

                •  the "Church" Is DOA in Ireland (0+ / 0-)

                  and Poland... finished.

                  would be here, too, if not for the gazillions of Hispanics...

                  "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

                  by Superpole on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 05:03:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well if people continue to laud (0+ / 0-)

                    this new Pope without any hard evidence of "change", and the media continues to celebrate him without doing any background 'what's really going on' reporting, this massive Vatican PR campaign may change your optimism on the RCC's decline.

                    People want to believe this stuff so desparately they are willing to suspend all rational inquiry and badly needed skepticism/

                    •  You're Kidding, Right? (0+ / 0-)

                      mainstream propaganda doesn't mean shit to me.

                      it's irrelevant what I THINK of the church, compared to entire nations like Ireland. there it's OVER. they are finished with the church's rigid, uselessly dogmatic, anti gay, anti women's rights bullshit.

                      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

                      by Superpole on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 05:57:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Pope Francis, TPP, random query (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChuckInReno

    The Pope needs to speak out against TPP.  Raise awareness, that's all we need, the wretched immoralism of the agreement will be obvious to any who pay attention to his direction to investigate its utter wrongness.

    Random aside, what's our current % of eligible voters (say, presidential election) who actually DO vote?

    thx!

    •  The pope sent a representative to the World Trade (5+ / 0-)

      Organization conference last month which was a venue for TPP discussions. The statement he gave is at this link.

      This is an excerpt:

      “ The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for the pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but because society needs to be cured of a sickness which is weakening and frustrating it, and which can only lead to new crises. Welfare projects, which meet certain urgent needs, should be considered merely temporary responses. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills”.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:29:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh huh (0+ / 0-)

        "Inequality is the root of social ills." Except, of course, inequality between women and men. And sexual minorities. And now, back to my stirring speech.

        "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". –George Orwell

        by crescentdave on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:24:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you want isn't what the original commenter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Emmet

          asked for. He/she said:

          The Pope needs to speak out against TPP.  Raise awareness, that's all we need
          I happened to have the answer to that.  Of course you're not saying anything false or untrue. The words don't resonate for you. They may have sounded different to   the audience that heard them in person.  

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 07:41:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this thoughtful, and act provoking post (5+ / 0-)

    Something we all need to remember, (or learn if we didn't already know) is that civil discussions with those on the religious right, can be based on moral grounds. We just need to understand the basics of philosophy, and the history of religion, and refuse to concede that "Markets have Mystical Powers" that are somehow endowed by God.

    I'm a progressive Mormon, and oftentimes the conversations I have with more conservative members is exhausting. It doesn't mean that they aren't worthwhile. It can sometimes take years of conversations, but consistency does pay off, and loving relationships with the people I am talking with, keeps me going.

    One thing that I have found is the most important factor in people listening, is loving the person, even if some or most of their ideas are terrible to me.  Being someone who is seen as safe to come and talk to, when someone is starting to question the politics of their parents or families, is often the difference between debate, and discussion. Discussions, in my experience, is more likely to change people.

    •  I've found the same thing Julia (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      I think its rare that people change their mind in a debate.

      If anything, debates are likely to cause people to "dig in" in order to win.

      When you know people and they trust you and you can discuss things without attacking the person is when I've seen people most open.

      Well said!

  •  Thank You - N/T (0+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:45:28 PM PST

  •  Occupy goes to the Vatican (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, akadjian, marykk

    Not being a Catholic it would be easy to say I don't have a dog in the fight but the Pope has the ability to act as an enormous moral agent.  As best I understand much if not most of what he could came directly from Occupy microphones on any given night.  If you really believe in economic equality and you have an ally with the power of the the Pope, for God's sake, for the 99%'s sake, why would you dismiss him.  Yet a good many of the comments remain of the "he hasn't done anything or it's all words" variety.  

    Now to put in the the Southern vernacular, if I were a smart feller, I'd get my horses lined up in trace and my ducks in a row before I went off to reform the whole church, the whole world.  So read "The Pope is Utterly Transforming the Vatican"  Then come back and tell me that he isn't doing anything.  

    First order of business is to bring in his own team and reduce the power of the obstruction and he's doing that while he continues to tell you what his mission is going to look like.  And to those who said he would never be able to control the American bishops you might want to take a look at the final picture in the above mentioned article.  It appears that Burke has not only been replaced but appears to have been silenced as well.

    Pope Francis will continue to preach a more conservative ideology than many would like.  You won't see Catholic gay weddings, female priests, the blessing of abortions.  But you will see a much greater tolerance for people who espouse all the liberal things your heart desires.  You won't see Bishops who refuse communion to politicians who disagree with the church for instance. John Kerry for instance.  

    What you will see is a world wide church dedicated to equality.  Now personally I believe that when we achieve break the spell that has been cast on the people by the power of and in the name of greed that we will be well on our way to achieving those liberal goals on our own.  We won't need Pope's in high places speaking for us when we truly control the microphone.  That's what equality means.

    Give the guy a chance.  The church is like the worlds largest ocean liner.  It takes a long time to make a turn but once it gets going it is hard to stop.    

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:59:41 PM PST

    •  Thanks for the article YellerDog! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      One of the easiest ways to think about this in my mind is, who would I rather have: Pope Benedict or Pope Francis?

      Francis seems an order of magnitude better and is doing significant work to transform the church as that article describes.

      He is also one of the few people in major seats of power who is taking up the Occupy argument. This is nothing short of amazing.

      Because of his willingness to do this he is also emboldening (if that's a word) more people here in the U.S. to speak out about economic inequality.

      These are the things that encourage me and I can't agree more that the Catholic church is the world's largest ocean liner.  Nice analogy!

    •  I agree that I'd much rather have Pope Francis (0+ / 0-)

      than Pope Benedict, and I appreciate that he has spoken about poverty and inequality, however, his being so blind to the full humanity of women is a sticking point that I, and many like me, can't get past. It is hard to hear him being appreciated and praised when there are many others who don't have the same pulpit or press coverage, who believe and speak out about inequality of wealth AND inequality of women as equally heinous crimes against humanity.  If you were female, your gut might protest too. The idea that males should detemine women's fate is just too hard to swallow, even if it comes with some nice words about other kinds of oppression. He's just carrying on a tradition that has neglected the full humanity of women for centuries, and it makes him far less credible as a conscious human being. But I wouldn't expect anything different from the head of the Catholic Church, unfortunately.

      You said "What you will see is a world wide church dedicated to equality. " And to that I completely disagree. The church is most likely not ever going to come around to seeing the need or desirability of having women considered equals. Their god is male.

      So while I am not willing to completely dismiss his words about inequality, I am aware that he is not on MY side caring about MY equality. He probably believes that I can trust some man somewhere to look out for me rather than believing I am perfectly capable of looking out for myself if I had the same  access to respect and opportunity and economic power as men.

  •  Fantastic read (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    Thanks

  •  I'm STILL pissed the media accepted "values voter" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, VirginiaJeff

    as an adulatory label for right-wingers.   Hatin' on queers and baby-killers ain't my idea of values.  Compassion, justice, and equality, THOSE are some values, and the very best kind.  

    Well-argued diary.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 03:29:46 PM PST

  •  "The Pope Is Powerful".. Really? (0+ / 0-)

    if the Pope is so powerful, when is he going to clean up the child predator/child rapist problem in his organization??

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 03:54:26 PM PST

  •  Excellent. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akadjian

    This is why the princes of the world fear him. the grand ideas of Pope Francis resonate globally. His words ring true and they are accessible. What could be more clear than his glass metaphor?

    I still believe that his position as pope gives him the role he needs to effect change. He was a frontrunner last time and they picked Benedict instead because they were afraid of Francis. He can do what he does because he is now pope.

    I am astonished at the speed of the changes in the Church as moribund and ancient as it is. As the Pope, he has unlimited authority and he is using it. So far, he has kicked the Mafia out of the Vatican bank, downgraded career-seeking clergy, and called for a conference about families.  

    I laugh when I see the world leaders hesitating to approach the photo opportunity of meeting this pope. While it could be good for their re-elections, a meeting could go terribly wrong.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:49:38 PM PST

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