“If you aren’t a conservative by the time you are 40, you don’t have a brain”

My friend The Motley Monk has an interesting insight (me emphases and comments:

Most people surely have heard the aphorism, "If you aren’t a liberal when you are 20, you don’t have a heart….but if you aren’t a conservative by the time you are 40, you don’t have a brain."

My father stated that aphorism to me when I spearheaded the local McGovern campaign effort in 1976, much to my father’s chagrin. [Perhaps '72?  It will not surprise many of the readers here that a very young WDTPRS helped the Nixon campaign.]

The Motley Monk is beginning to wonder if this aphorism will continue to describe the state of nature.  With the federal government increasingly extending its reach into the lives of most Americans since the 1960s, dependency upon government "largesse"—Medicare, Medicaid, and other social spending programs—will likely create a larger class of citizens 30+ years of age who won’t possess the capital that normally would stimulate thought about capital and its preservation.

Will social and political conservatives end up going the way of dinosaurs via social and political evolution?

Perhaps…unless conservatives are able to re-direct their focus away from simply describing the virtues of building capital and more toward the real loss of capital today’s young people will experience as the government takes more and more control over the lives of citizens (through confiscatory taxes imposed upon things like gasoline, electricity, gas, medical care, etc.) and the concomitant loss of freedom to earn and to save (or spend) as one pleases.

In The Motley Monk’s opinion, Americans have become all too unthinking about their loss of liberty which, in turn, will cause a loss of capital. In this matter, The Motley Monk agrees with Beck and Napolitano (not Janet but Judge).

The Motley Monk also has a combox.  Use it too.

Release the Kraken.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back. Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to “If you aren’t a conservative by the time you are 40, you don’t have a brain”

  1. Lisa Graas says:

    Father Z, I would not have imagined that you are old enough to have helped the Nixon campaign……….but I believe you.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    I’m assuming the Monk meant to say 1972…

  3. Desertfalcon says:

    It is not solely the loss of liberty that concerns me, it is the overtly destructive nature of this expansion of government since 1964, of the common good. It is not simply a morally neutral creeping socialism, but an active effort by the forces of this huge national bureaucracy to destroy the family and subvert the moral law. I vote Republican, but frankly, they are often as much a party to this as the Democrats. The older I get the more I realise that it it isn’t in the traditional American definitions of conservative/liberal that the answer will lie, but in the truth of the teachings that are exemplified by Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno and Centesimus Annus. Hasten the day!

  4. Paulus Magnus says:

    Confiscatory gasoline taxes that haven’t been raised in almost twenty years and are extraordinarily low even if they were adjusted for inflation? Gimme a break. Capital isn’t being taken away by the government, it’s being taken away by the capitalists in the financial industry and so forth. Sure taxes will go up somewhat to help pay for health care, on the other hand, most people and companies are finding health care as it is increasingly unaffordable, and the result is a net gain in capital for them to have the taxation replace the premiums which rise at several multiples of inflation.

    “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

  5. EXCHIEF says:

    I don’t think the creation of capital, or decreasing opportunities to do so, is the issue that most U S citizens view as important. Certainly there are some who are concerned that their ability to amass wealth is being jeopardized but most people are far more concerned about other issues.

    Increasing government intrusion into multiple aspects of our lives is a concern. Government forcing individuals and institutions (such as religious based medical providers) to do things contrary to their ethics/beliefs is a major concern. Promotion of the momosexual agenda, neglecting the security of our border, providing condoms to first graders, liberalizing abortion laws, expansion of embryonic stem cell use, etc etc are major concerns.

    My major concern relates to the lack of self discipline, personal responsibility, and diminishing resolve to defend this country against its enemies (both foreign and domestic). The notion that individuals are merely puppets and that big brother government will take care of everything is appaling. Big government will take care of everything all right but the cost will be reducing individuals to mere slaves to a terranical leadership.

  6. TJerome says:

    unfortunately our system is collapsing under its own weight right now. Look no further than the public employee pension debacle where most of these pensioners receive pensions far in excess of those received by folks in the private sector. From my own observation of people in their 20s, although many are socially liberal, they have a far greater independence of spirit and are more entreprenuerial than the older generation. They don’t expect to be with the same employer for life and really don’t want to depend on, nor want, an intrusive, oversized, government. I think they will rescue the US from its present malaise.

  7. xgenerationcatholic says:

    I never voted for any liberal candidate, not when I was 20, and not at any time. I don’t know if I had any influence on the government, but my life is the better for it. I challenge the notion that I never had a heart. Has anyone read – I think it’s called Makers and Takers by Peter Schweizer? Conservatives give more than liberals, while liberals tend to assume they are more giving because they support government programs.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Where I live, I am surrounded by “socialist farmers”, many of whom are in their seventies and eighties and voted for POTUS. Once, farmers in the Midwest, especially in Missouri and Iowa, were conservative. Now, because of the nature of farm subsidies, many are lefties.

    My generation, and I am beginning to think I am not that much older than some here, are split on being conservative and socialist. Those is my family who are younger, Gen X, all vote socialist. Those younger, the Millenials, tend to vote more conservative, but voted in POTUS, first in Iowa and then, nationally. I think the adage no longer applies as there are fewer patterns in voting.

  9. Bob says:

    Those of us who do recognize the danger and vote to constrain it are all too often overruled by some liberal federal judge or bypassed by all levels of government through constitutionally illegal legislation. We followed the rules; lived conservatively, bought only what we could afford and paid our bills on time only to have the government take our savings and meager pensions to reward those, including the government itself, who squandered and took excessive risks.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    A note on conservative and liberal regarding charity. We have just been through 10 months of poverty as two of us lost jobs in December. Although we belong to a very wealthy parish (several millionaires), this parish which is in the black even with a school, we received no help from the parish or from Catholic Charities (which is bankrupt here). I was constantly told to check out the federal plans, of which there were none for housing in our area, as that plan went bankrupt as well,as too many people are on the plans. We now have many debts because of ten months on no income and no housing plans, etc.

    Most people in my parish of 900 families voted for POTUS. The idea that the government will take care of people, which I find odious, has taken over from common charity at the local level, hence the bankruptcy of Catholic Charities. In the Davenport Diocese, Catholic Charities closed their doors many years ago,as no one was giving. The area is highly liberal in politics. This is also true in other areas around here, on the Missouri/Iowa border, as my immediate family has been active politically and has seen the change from conservative to liberal. Catholics are only 20% of the county and in this city, slightly less. Although there are strong pro-life groups, the majority of Catholics vote dem.-socialist.

  11. Clinton says:

    Supertradmum, I believe it was de Tocqueville who said that this republic would endure until our government discovered that it could
    bribe the citizenry with public funds.

    EXCHIEF, it’s been a joy of mine to see two sets of dear friends I’ve known since their teens change their views 180 degrees in the years
    since they’ve married, had children, and built up their own businesses. Nothing instills the importance of self discipline, personal
    responsibility and resolve to defend this country from it’s enemies like having a tangible stake. I suspect that is why public policies
    seem to be increasingly inimical both to marriage and to independent decisionmaking by families regarding childrearing and directing
    capital.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    “Those of us who do recognize the danger and vote to constrain it are all too often overruled by some liberal federal judge…”

    I voted for the first (and only) time in my life and that is exactly what happened. I should never have betrayed my monarchist principles!

  13. Elizabeth D says:

    Gas should definitely be taxed more than it is. Easy for me to say since I don’t drive nor want to, but taxing gas and the resulting pressure to live lifestyles of reduced private car use, would have quite a lot of benefits. That is just objective. Also, the petroleum resources are truly finite and approaching depletion sooner rather than later. This is a more precious resource than the market reflects. In hindsight all will understand this acutely.

    I’m 32 and on Social Security disability. I don’t think it is ideal (I think in some eras there might have been greater openness to my acceptance into religious community life, which I don’t mean in order to be taken care of, but I cannot support myself with secular work) but I am grateful for this and try every day to make good use of my life even if not very materially productive. I also embrace the Christian ideal of poverty (spiritual and material poverty, though not destitution, as a positive value) even though it is foolishness to the world. The beatitude of poverty need not guide secular economic policy. Capital wealth enables the economic machine to run. But, a happy Christian poverty and generosity is so needed to give light to a society where overconsumption, hoarding and selfishness is the norm.

  14. Elizabeth D says:

    By the way, I pray daily during the intercessions of Evening prayer for my benefactors the American workers and taxpayers who enable the Social Security safety net to function, and their family members who have died.

  15. wchoag says:

    Will social and political conservatives end up going the way of dinosaurs via social and political evolution?

    I am 40 and one of only a half dozen persons in my 150+ social circle who are on the Right. Most are HARDCORE leftists! Unless things change at the personal level, everyone had better get accustomed to the Obamanation. In 20 years time these will be “the good old days”.

  16. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Geoffrey:

    I’m glad to know there are other monarchists still fighting for the truth.

    When I first read the posting, I wasn’t sure if “capital” meant money or cultural capital. I’m still not sure. Certainly, taxes play a role in enabling our government to destroy cultural capital, which then makes us more dependent on the very government which has destroyed our ability to think for ourselves and value our cultural patrimony.

    When we see the character of Ebeneezer Scrouge, many people think he’s a crotchety “conservative” misanthrope. If we look carefully, however, he advocates that the poor should die, and reduce the surplus population; he advocates the use of prisons and other helpful government agencies; he comes to care more for money than the people who used to influence his life. Surely these are all attributes of socialist misanthropes, not true conservatives!

  17. In the midst of a depression, even hinting that taxes should be higher is… what’s the word? Irresponsible? Reprehensible? Seriously underthought? Wishing for your Social Security support to collapse even faster, because of less workers being employed and thus able to support it, is downright “lack of survival instinct”. Economics is hard to understand, but it’s not that hard. One reason the Great Depression went on so long is that taxes (to pay for the New Deal) were so high for most people that they couldn’t really make money, increase their hiring, or do much to help their neighbors.

    If you want to encourage voluntary mortification or just plain common sense, that’s one thing. But don’t politick for another Great Depression in the name of other people’s (alleged) bad habits.

    Economy means “household”. A good economy is productive of goods and wealth; it means that children don’t starve or freeze to death. A bad economy means they do. It’s as simple as that.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In ‘The Story of the Trapp Family Singers’(ch. 13), Maria Trapp tells how, in 1938, after the invasion and annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, their son Rupert, who graduated from med school two days before the invasion, got an ‘invitation’ to come to Vienna and take “a responsible position in one of the big hospitals”. His response? “Of course, I can’t accept. The only question is how to word it politely enough. They’ll be quite offended. I’d have to consent to all kinds of treatments and manipulations which I am not allowed to as a Catholic – and as a man.”

    They escaped (not without all sorts of bureacratic difficulties) to America. Now, throughout the English-speaking world, legislation to effect compulsorily the sorts of things Dr. Rupert von Trapp was determined to avoid has come, or is coming, into place.

    More than 20 years ago, I heard an English (Labour) M.P. asserting with respect to medical conscience clauses, that conscience had the right to do what the law prescribed. That hour is coming, and now is.

    Will the ‘benevolent state’ take care of all the people for whom it has – or will have – made employment in good conscience impossible?

    It probably depends on what one means by ‘take care’.

  19. wmeyer says:

    What is killing our country is that the (perhaps vast) majority of voters have no clue about basic economics. The President and Congress depend on this ignorance, using it always to their advantage. We are moving not so much to socialism as to a soft tyranny in which our rights are slowly and systematically stripped from us.

    As to matters of faith, I wonder how long it may be before all sorts of Christian speech in the public square are banned as hate speech.

    Remember, too, that our obligation to charity is a personal one, not fulfilled when the government takes money from us to give to others.

  20. Martial Artist says:

    @wmeyer,

    The lack of knowledge of basic economics, while certainly true, is IMHO not the largest problem. Rather, it seems to me that a large majority of our fellow citizens are fundamentally unreflective, i.e., unthinking, about much of anything beyond their own hectic daily lives. They seem not to have, or at least not to invest, time in thinking logically and reflectively about moral, sociological, political, or economic issues facing our community, state or nation. I sometimes wonder how much of this is due to the (poor) quality of what has passed for education, particularly in the liberal arts and humanities in our nation for the past generation or more. Although my college curriculum majoring in science included coursework in economics, world history and literature, I didn’t really learn as much from that as from reading outside of class and since graduation. For reference, I am almost 65 now, so the limited real education which I experienced dates to the ’60s and ’70s.

    I don’t disagree that understanding economics is important, I just think the ignorance and/or indifference applies to a much broader scope of knowledge than is encompassed by “the dismal science.”

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  21. asophist says:

    I am a social conservative, yet, I see nothing wrong with a wealthy society instituting Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and what-have-you, as long as they are well-regulated and used to help those who need it. What’s sacred or moral about dog-eat-dog capitalism? Beyond the freedom to attend Mass and live as Catholics, this “Economic Freedom” people talk about has no moral dimension that I can ascertain.

  22. Martial Artist says:

    @asophist,

    If you truly see nothing moral about the “free market,” you need to educate yourself about the conditions required to have a truly free market. A good place to start would be with the Austrian economist F. A. Hayek, particularly The Road to Serfdom and/or The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism.

    Although those are a good starting point, you might still not “get” the connection to the “moral dimension” without reading his The Constitution of Liberty. Nevertheless, they will give you some insight into what is fundamentally wrong, both morally and practicallly, with the social welfare state and any other form of planned economy.

    What you call “dog-eat-dog capitalism” is most definitely not a true free market—”dog-eat-dog capitalism” lacks critical elements of both the Rule of Law and strong property rights.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  23. Raymond says:

    As a naturalized-US citizen, I often think that Americans are too “respectful” and “obedient” of their judges and the social-engineering laws that they make. I understand that in the US the “rule of law” is quite sacred. But, c’mon! Sometimes a dose of civil disobedience is necessary. The example of MLK,Jr. and the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s is right there. We who number in the millions don’t have to simply “accept” what a single judge or court rules. After all, if enough politicians, civil servants, and police officers refuse to implement a court ruling, there’s nothing the black robes can do.

    “(SC Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”–Pres. Andrew Jackson

    @asophist: I agree with you. That is why most Catholics supported the Democrats from 1933 (FDR) until around 1968 (JFK/LBJ). When the radical secularists, feminists, and gay rights activists took over the Democratic Party’s platform in the early 70′s, this Dem-Catholic coalition collapsed. You still see this partnership in places like Bavaria, Germany, where the local CSU (Christian Social Union) has dominated local politics since the end of WWII. Sadly, however, the rapidly encroaching forces of secularism has weakened this as well.

  24. LawrenceK says:

    Regarding Motley Monk’s aphorism: It actually originated as a monarchist statement!

    François Guizot (1787-1874) stated the original version: “Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”

    (In European terminology, a “republican” is someone who wanted the monarchy disestablished. If you want a constitutional monarchy you can call yourself a monarchist and a democrat, but you can never be a monarchist and a republican: that would be an oxymoron.)

    A century later, Georges Clemenceau invented a revised version (often incorrectly attributed to Churchill): “Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head.”

  25. wmeyer says:

    @Keith Töpfer,

    I will declare, not merely admit, that most voters are unthinking in the exercise of the franchise. I would assert that the root cause is traceable to the changes to public education initiated by John Dewey; when you cease teaching any sort of reasoning, it can hardly be surprising that the result is an unreasoning electorate.

    I contend that economics is primary because the standard platform of most politicians is based on offering something for nothing. And were the voters more knowledgeable of this science — no more dismal than physics, which equally inviolable — they might be less easily persuaded by the panderers.

    If I could, I would hand out copies of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics at voter registration desks. I fear that any more complex writings would be beyond most of them.

  26. wmeyer says:

    @LawrenceK,

    I did not know Guizot deserved credit for the aphorism; I had always heard it attributed to Churchill.

  27. robtbrown says:

    Confiscatory gasoline taxes that haven’t been raised in almost twenty years and are extraordinarily low even if they were adjusted for inflation?

    Why should they be raised?

    Gimme a break. Capital isn’t being taken away by the government, it’s being taken away by the capitalists in the financial industry and so forth.

    Milton Friedman said that one reason he was against big govt is that commerce will take it over sooner or later.

    Sure taxes will go up somewhat to help pay for health care, on the other hand, most people and companies are finding health care as it is increasingly unaffordable, and the result is a net gain in capital for them to have the taxation replace the premiums which rise at several multiples of inflation.
    Comment by Paulus Magnus

    I favor a public option for those whose adjusted income makes it impossible to purchase Health Insurance.

    On the other hand, for some reason you seem to think that the govt can wave a magic wand to solve the problem of increasing health care costs.

    There are two prime reasons for the increasing cost of health insurance.

    1. Insurance works by spreading liability–premiums are a reflection of the size of the insured group filing claims compared to the size of the insured group not filing them. Thus low premiums happen when the first group is fairly small compared to the second group.

    For some years the large generation (healthy baby boomers) was footing the bill for a comparatively smaller generation (older, sicker. Now that is changing: the baby boomers are moving into the older, sicker group, but the younger, healthier group is fairly small. Consider what happens when the younger, healthy group outnumbers the older, sick group 3 to 1–fairly low premiums. When that is inverted, with the sick group outnumbering the healthy group 3 to 1, premiums increase 6 fold. A monthly premium of $50 would turn into $300.

    2. Technology has produced many, many new diagnostic and treatment procedures. Their use increases medical costs. Further, medical advancement has meant that the size of the less healthy group has increased because it has been kept alive.

  28. TJerome says:

    robtbrown, if people were willing to accept healthcare as it was in 1960s, costs would plummet. But we won’t. And probably shouldn’t. Also, government bureacracy and red tape, lards on a lot of cost just like it does with schools and everything government touches.

  29. robtbrown says:

    robtbrown, if people were willing to accept healthcare as it was in 1960s, costs would plummet.
    Comment by TJerome

    Yes, but they wouldn’t have 1960′s prices because of the demographic changes I noted.

  30. Elizabeth D says:

    “In the midst of a depression, even hinting that taxes should be higher is… what’s the word? Irresponsible? Reprehensible? Seriously underthought?”

    I have always held the view that gas should be priced and/or taxed higher, and I do not cease expressing this opinion simply because the economy is in a slump. It is not my opinion that gas should be taxed only or especially in time of depression, but rather at all times. It’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly within our lifetimes that the supplies of petroleum will start tapering off. What then? The economy is really going to slump then, even moreso if oil is still so much a source of the wealth of our economy, and if we aren’t ready to switch to other energy sources. That has the potential to be a way worse hurt.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    robtbrown,

    Our little family cannot afford health insurance. I lived in Canada and England and suffered under very bad, anti-conditions, knowing my tax money was going for abortions and botox. I am heartily against a public option. What should happen is what happened in the Old Days, when doctors and hospitals took less money from the poor. We had a doctor who did not charge us, and a hospital which was a Catholic non-for-profit, which had an endowment for the poor. There are still some like that in some rural areas.

    The public option could be private options handled locally. Big government is always, always bad for the republic, as it erodes rights and duties.

  32. Supertradmum says:

    sorry, anti-life, not anti-conditions

  33. Supertradmum says:

    Without clogging up the com-box, for example: there is a local doctor who, out of his own pocket, supports a weekly pregnancy clinic for un-wed mums. He takes one day off a a lucrative business and does this for charity. Of course, he is Catholic and used his own money to set it up.

    This should be the model, not a public option.

  34. Traductora says:

    Supertradmom,

    I think we need to go back to a system where the Church handles all its own charitable activities, ranging from short-term assistance to people with temporary difficulties to long term care for people abandoned by their families to basic medical care for people who would otherwise soon be “euthanized” by our current government.

    One of the truly sad things is that virtually all of the religious orders abandoned their works after Vatican II snd Catholic social activities then became mainly a matter of putting people in touch with government programs (and I actually heard a local Catholic Charities person tell this to a volunteer recently).

    One of the things that absolutely makes me upchuck (well, nearly) at mass is the stupid intecessory prayers, which in my diocese are nothing but prayers for more government assistance. We need to take another look at Catholic charitable activities and perhaps go back to the very early model, remembering that the government is not our friend and we need to help each other.

  35. Blissmeister86 says:

    “I am a social conservative, yet, I see nothing wrong with a wealthy society instituting Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and what-have-you, as long as they are well-regulated and used to help those who need it. What’s sacred or moral about dog-eat-dog capitalism? Beyond the freedom to attend Mass and live as Catholics, this “Economic Freedom” people talk about has no moral dimension that I can ascertain.”

    Asophist, I agree with you, and doesn’t Rerum Novarum condemn both capitalism and socialism as heresies? Now, I’m socially conservative, and because social issues are more important to me than economic ones, I vote GOP, but if there’s a DFL or Democratic candidate who is socially conservative and fiscally moderate, like Congressman Collin Peterson or former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr, then I would vote for that candidate. There used to be a strongly Catholic, pro-life element to the Democratic party, at least in the eastern and midwestern states, whereas the Republican party was dominated by socially liberal big business libertarians like Gerald Ford, the Rockefeller family, Richard Nixon, Ed Brooke, and Barry Goldwater.
    I’m a Reagan Democrat, though I was born in 1986, and I vote for the GOP in spite of their economic stances.
    G.K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc thought that Catholics need not settle for capitalism or socialism, but that the economy needed to be centered around families and not individuals (which capitalism promotes) or governments (which socialism promotes).
    Chesterton and Belloc stated that both capitalism and socialism end up with society being ruled by an aristocracy (big business in the case of capitalism, big government in the case of socialism).
    Cardinal George said it best, I think, when he stated that we should not seek to be liberal or seek to be conservative, but seek to be Catholic. Neither the Democratic nor Republican party platform perfectly conforms with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
    In fact, when I’m voting, I end up choosing between an atheistic, morally relativistic secular humanist, or a trigger-happy, Americanist Evangelical.
    In the end I end up voting for the Republican candidate due to the candidate’s pro-life and pro-traditional marriage stances, but I wish there was a socially conservative, fiscally moderate Catholic candidate like the late former Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania that I could support. Until then, I’ll continue to hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils come election day.

  36. Bryan says:

    @robtbrown

    To your point #1: let us not forget the official law of the land, which sanctions (and, passive-aggressively supports) the destruction of human life.

    How? From a purely economic sense…when all these give-aways from the New Deal and Great Society and what have you were imposed on us, the actuarial tables that were used predicted a certain population growth pattern and numbers of contributors to the system accounted for a certain population that would be able to sustain it.

    They’re off by about 50 million. Now, granted, not all of them would be producers, but, when talking about spreading the risk, you have to account for the fact that there is some gap in the assumptions that were made to justify the system and what the actuality is at the present time.

    That’s close to 18% of the population which was supposed to be generating income into SS, income taxes, etc., which doesn’t exist.

    Consider that the number of fewer consumers, workers, automobiles, houses, loaves of bread, hot dogs, bottles of shampoo, as well as people building things (rather than flipping hamburgers for people using wifi to check their outstanding customer support phone calls..) for other citizens to consume…and it becomes a vicious cycle.

    Of course medical insurance is an issue. For the plain fact that, there just aren’t as many people to spread the risk around on as were projected when these ponzi schemes were invented.

    So the answer is to confiscate everything from everyone? Social policy (providing for the unrestricted murder of babies, let’s say) does have, down the road, economic effects. I realize this may seem as reductio ad absurdam…but…on some level it does make some sense.

  37. Supertradmom: I hear you; the Catholic farmers around here are Obabma-crazy…just because their parents/grandparents were Democrats. It’s just nutz.
    The whole insurance thing is way outta control; I am NOT for socialized medicine…I come from a medical family (dad a Medical Dr; mom an R.N.)…but our premiums are just obscene and I, if I didn’t know better, would get onto “the wagon train” of socialized medicine with this ‘high-way robbery’ (for three of us we’re paying over $2,220.00 a month!…because I’m a priest, and have to be on the “diocesan plan” it pumps it up to this…my premium is over $1000.00, because of the age of most of our priests, anyway).
    The terms “conservative”, “Liberal,” and “progressive” don’t mean anything anymore.
    In terms of economic politics, maybe; social and moral politics, nope.
    That just makes me sick at heart.
    From anecdotal experience, I know that insurance companies are living “high on the hog”…it just makes me wanna puke at the waste and exorbitance that we have to somehow “absorb” in our premiums.
    We’re gonna end up as “recipients of the state”, I’m afraid, if we cannot find a more reasonable means to pay for insurance; we’re able to meet our monthly bills otherwise; but this medical insurance is just killing us.
    I can’t image what other religious communities must have to go through. The one difference is that we live off of alms and what we can earn on our own; which is a pittance…we’re not “apostolic”; we’re contemplative.
    And it’s not a pretty picture.

  38. And, to be fair and give honor where honor is due:
    a public hospital and a Catholic hospital gave our community “charity” in bills that insurance did not pay…completely. God bless them and keep them.
    It was almost beyond my sense of justice and humility to apply for this; but I did it (grinding teeth all the while!)…the generosity and kindness shown by these institutions to this poor (and I mean poor!) little community are great reminders of God’s Providential care and love for us.
    Praise Him!

  39. Elizabeth D says:

    Traductora, the Pope speaks positively, for instance in “Caritas in Veritate”, of government social assistance/welfare programs (he also emphasizes the principle of subsidiarity, and the elimination of waste, in the implementation of this), obviously not to the exclusion of other avenues of helping the needy. But, it seems like the legitimacy of government aid to the poor is established in Catholic social doctrine.

    I am all in favor of Catholic initiatives to help those in need. I am both a member and benficiary of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. For those it serves, SVDP is able to fill, with a human touch, real, acute needs. But, it is normally a financially modest amount of help, compared with how much help someone can get via government programs if they qualify.

  40. MWindsor says:

    In 20 years time these will be “the good old days”.

    I’d say that, in 20 years time, odds are quite good that “The Eyes of Texas” will be my national anthem.

  41. Blissmeister86 says:

    Chris Ferrara, who wrote a book slamming EWTN that I don’t agree with, apparently wrote a book exposing the effect of libertarianism (both economic and social), on politics and on Catholics.
    Here’s a link to an article with a synopsis of the book, and I tend to agree with much of what is stated in the article.
    http://catholicism.org/the-church-vs-economic-liberalism-ferrara-nails-it.html
    I disagree with socialism, but I think that the economics espoused by the Republicans is equally as bad. There’s a lot of greed in our economy and the fact that CEOs are billionaires while their average workers are struggling to make ends met is nauseating. Our economic system should be centered on the family, not on the government or on the individual or on the business.
    Businesses used to pay their workers a wage that supported the worker and his family, so that the mom and the children would be provided for. That’s gone now, and a person my age (I’m in my 20s), of the milennial generation, is expected to go through 20 different job changes in his lifetime, because businesses don’t care about their workers anymore and don’t pay them a wage that supports a family. I know that’s not true of all businesses, but it’s a rare business that’s informed by Catholic social teachings these days.

  42. Supertradmum says:

    nazarethpriest,

    ditto to all you said. I wrote to you on your website and left my e-mail address. Thanks for being Such a Good Priest, as is our Father Z, who must have been in kindergarten when he helped Nixon. How precocious.

  43. wmeyer says:

    At core, inviting or empowering the government to take control of how we may live our lives is at best a slippery slope (where can a line be drawn) and at worst, the end of our liberty. It is manifestly not, according to our Constitution, the right or responsibility of the Federal government to do even a fraction of what it now does. On the other hand, it is within the rights of states to undertake such programs, according to the will of its residents.

    Price controls, mandated and/or government run health control, gasoline taxes, excise taxes, death taxes… all these are contrary to personal liberty, and contrary to the founding principles of our country.

  44. asophist says:

    Blissmeister86,

    You hit the nail on the head.

  45. Geoffrey says:

    “I disagree with socialism, but I think that the economics espoused by the Republicans is equally as bad.”

    One of many examples why neither political party in the USA represents Catholic teaching 100%.

  46. shane says:

    Blissmeister86, very well said. I’m broadly in the 1950s Christian Democrat camp. The aggiornamento of Vatican II spelt the death knell for societies dedicated to disseminating the social doctrine of the Church. Catholics ceased to agitate for a particularly Catholic society.

  47. What I learned in Catholic Social Ethics by Prof. Robert Kennedy (God bless him now and always!)…just made me go ape!
    The teachings of the Church, from Pope Leo XIII to our present day, give us a most startling “look” at what “should be” and “what is”;
    for one thing, the concept and practice of a “living wage” in order to allow the father of a family to provide for his family, in order to allow his wife (if that is, in fact the situation) to remain at home and provide for “home making”, being present to the children (without daycare?);
    conservatism in this country is nothing like what Catholic teaching on the social issues really says;
    we have to do what we can with what we have;
    but to align the Republican Party with the Catholic Church is absolutely wrong, wrong, wrongt!

  48. Supertradmom: Looking forward to being in touch.
    And, as what I know from this blog, Fr. Z. is only a few months older than I am…so 1972 would make us both around 13 years old…old enough to be “trouble”:<)!

  49. robtbrown says:

    Bryan,

    I definitely agree that abortion, etc., has produced the smaller generation. In fact, when Erlich’s “The Population Bomb” became such a big seller, there were demographers warning about the future economic impact of the smaller families.

    Religious Orders are having a similar problem. Lots of older religious but few younger ones to support them.

  50. robtbrown says:

    I have always held the view that gas should be priced and/or taxed higher, and I do not cease expressing this opinion simply because the economy is in a slump. It is not my opinion that gas should be taxed only or especially in time of depression, but rather at all times. It’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly within our lifetimes that the supplies of petroleum will start tapering off. What then? The economy is really going to slump then, even moreso if oil is still so much a source of the wealth of our economy, and if we aren’t ready to switch to other energy sources. That has the potential to be a way worse hurt.
    Comment by Elizabeth D

    I agree that we need a transition away from gasoline, but the way to do it is with comprehensive tax credits. Raise taxes on gasoline, and the price of food, and for that matter, almost everything, also increases.

  51. robtbrown says:

    Might I also mention the last energy bill, with its push toward ethanol?

    It caused the price of corn to increase, which meant that the price of chicken and beef also increased.

  52. joecct77 says:

    Father

    You had a misprint in your last line. It should have been “Release the Kagan!”

    Ad Multos Annos

  53. Elizabeth D says:

    I don’t eat meat, it wastes great amounts of grain that could go to feed people, and the environmental burdens are heavy which also harms people (disproportionately harms the poor), as well as causing unnecessary suffering (especially factory farming, condemned by Ratzinger) and death to animals which the Catechism says is contray to human dignity! Abstinence from meat is also a great tradition of Christian asceticism, today neglected even by religious orders who have abandoned their former practices wholesale, eating meat is clearly allowable to Christians and sometimes socially prudent especially in context of apostolate, but hardly obligatory (by substituting Himself for the Paschal lamb, one could even say Jesus did away with any absolute religious obligation to eat meat). In some environments there’s no other way to get adequate nutrition, but in developed societies one can obtain a healthy meatless diet with ease.

  54. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    Gas should definitely be taxed more than it is. Easy for me to say since I don’t drive nor want to, but taxing gas and the resulting pressure to live lifestyles of reduced private car use, would have quite a lot of benefits.
    Comment by Elizabeth D — 26 August 2010 @ 11:27 am

    The burden of higher gas taxes and gas prices falls very heavily on rural people, who have to drive for miles to perform errands that are well within walking distance in the city.

  55. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    Consider what happens when the younger, healthy group outnumbers the older, sick group 3 to 1—fairly low premiums. When that is inverted, with the sick group outnumbering the healthy group 3 to 1, premiums increase 6 fold.
    Comment by robtbrown — 26 August 2010 @ 1:12 pm

    Actually, they increase (3/1)/(1/3) = 9-fold.

  56. ElizabethD: For someone who regularly abstains from flesh meat, I can only say: from my perspective, as the one who does the grocery shopping, non-meat items are absolutely insanely expensive; organic stuff is just “off the beam”…thank the Lord for the farmer’s market and our own gardens…but that is only for three months or so; we put up what we can, but to be a vegetarian costs mucho bucks…and that hardly seems to be “evangelical poverty” at times, to me (I struggle with this often).
    Yes, I buy bulk and do what I can; I think I’m somewhat of a “shopper”; but in the winter, fresh vegetables and fruits are just astronomically expensive; it’s a no-win situation, as far as I’m concerned (do we eat healthy or economically ?…which means bad health, which mean medical expenses…I’m pre-diabetic; there are food allergies within the community (the non-gluten stuff is just outrageous in price), yadayadayada…
    We do what we can; we do without if we have to; that’s the bottom line.
    FOr the life of me, in this country, I cannot understand why food is so expensive; especially the good stuff…yeah, I know about shipping costs, etc.
    But why is processed crappolla less expensive than the makings of a good salad, fresh vegetables and fruits? It’s just nutz.

  57. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    From anecdotal experience, I know that insurance companies are living “high on the hog”…it just makes me wanna puke at the waste and exorbitance that we have to somehow “absorb” in our premiums.
    We’re gonna end up as “recipients of the state”, I’m afraid, if we cannot find a more reasonable means to pay for insurance;
    Comment by nazareth priest — 26 August 2010 @ 1:52 pm

    I remember driving past the headquarters of a large health insurance company northwest of Chicago, which was about the size of a Greek city-state, and realizing that it was all paid for out of the excess of what patients pay in premiums over what their care actually cost.

    What’s needed is more freedom, not less, for providers to compete in finding ways to deliver health care, not merely or necessarily health insurance. Medical savings accounts were a good start. Allowing people to buy insurance across state lines and to reimport medications would help too. But that’s just a start.

  58. IL Catholic says:

    Hieronymus Illinensis

    Not quite, insurance companies (esp. ones in a competitive market) get a big chunk of their income from investments. Of course health insurance isn’t a competitive market, *sigh

    Elizabeth D
    There’s no need to impose a gas tax to force us to develop alternative energy sources. The Supply part of Supply & Demand does that. :)

  59. IL Catholic says:

    Oh, and apparently I don’t have a heart! Oddly enough, I’ve never had any problems with rust.

  60. DHippolito says:

    “If you aren’t a conservative by the time you are 40, you don’t have a brain”

    So much for 90 percent of the USCCB, if not a substancial percentage of the Curia.

  61. bookworm says:

    This saying, like many others, may be true in a very general sense but I don’t know that it’s true in EVERY instance or for every issue. I am over 40 and while I have become more conservative on some issues, I’ve moved more to the left on others. I’ve always been very conservative about abortion, that hasn’t changed at all. I’ve moved more to the right on some economic issues — for example, I’m less inclined than I used to be to think that the rich should automatically be income or investment taxed at a higher rate than the poor (because after all, it is the rich people who create the jobs that enable the poor to stop being poor.) I’m very leery of imposing high gas taxes to encourage alternative fuel use because those can really hurt people who live in rural areas and small towns where public transportation is not available.

    On the other hand, I’m more liberal than I used to be on topics like the need for public transportation (because I had to rely on it for a time when my car went to the junkyard and I could not afford to buy another) and illegal immigration (I see nothing wrong with a partial “amnesty” being granted to those already here for a significant period of time, who have broken no other laws, provided that stricter border controls are imposed first and existing laws enforced). I also see nothing wrong with making SOME taxes, like sales taxes, broader based (applying to services as well as goods). I don’t see what’s so horrible about, for instance, raising a sales tax 1/4 of 1 percent to help pay for some essential service like public transportation. How is paying, say, an extra 25 cents on a $100 purchase going to break anyone? A SMALL tax that everyone pays is better than a large tax applied to only a small group of people, since those few people will go out of their way to avoid paying it if at all possible.

    I’ve also completely lost whatever liking I had for a lot of the conservative pundits like Limbaugh and Hannity. In the early ’90s I used to listen to Rush a lot and liked him but now I cannot stand to listen to him for more than 5 minutes at most. The constant self-promotion and laughing at things that aren’t funny grates on my nerves much more than it used to.

    Another exception to the “if you’re not conservative by the time you’re 40 rule”, I believe, are hardcore Objectivists who think Ayn Rand’s philosophy is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Most of them seem to be young, single people. My husband was a big Ayn Rand fan in his late teens and early 20s, before he met me — he sure isn’t anymore. Objectivist philosophy is great for young, healthy people with no responsibilities to anyone else (hence their tendency to insist that there is no such thing as “common good”, that all taxation is theft, etc.) However, all that “every person for themselves” talk wears thin once you get married, have children, get old or sick, have family members who are disabled, etc.

  62. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Elizabeth D has said that “in developed societies one can obtain a healthy meatless diet with ease.”

    At the risk of sounding pedantic, if you want to try this completely without animal proteins – as a ‘vegan’ – make sure you inform yourself properly about ‘complementary’ proteins: what combinations of foods are possible and advisable at every meal to get what is necessary.

  63. robtbrown says:

    Actually, they increase (3/1)/(1/3) = 9-fold.
    Comment by Hieronymus Illinensis

    Right. I stand corrected.

  64. robtbrown says:

    ElizabethD,

    The Catechism does not say that killing animals is contrary to human dignity. It says that needlessly killing them is contrary to it. Further, the use of animals for food and clothing is legitimate.

    If you want to abstain from meat, fine, but don’t try to squeeze the Catechism into your own preference.

  65. Elizabeth D says:

    NazarethPriest wrote:
    “non-meat items are absolutely insanely expensive; organic stuff is just “off the beam””

    I don’t find it difficult to eat a healthful meatless diet on about $30 a week and can do so for $20 or less a week if needed. It would be very expensive if you eat a lot of specialty vegetarian items or insist on organic foods, but I don’t, precisely because it’s beyond my means. The point about living in a developed society is that a wide range of types of food are available affordably year-round, including all sorts of beans, nuts, all sorts of whole grains and grain products, vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs, (for those who eat these things; I do) etc (and this is easily a complete diet without necessity of meat). I eat a little sea food occasionally, mostly on a Sunday or Solemnity. So many seafoods are being harvested unsustainably or farmed in environmentally detrimental ways that I am judicious about this too and regard them very much as luxury foods.

    Robtbrown, that’s what I said, the Catechism affirms that it’s contrary to human dignity to cause unnecessary suffering and death to animals (I didn’t repeat the word “unnecessary” but it was present in the sentence). It’s unnecessary for me to eat meat, therefore it seems a good and dignified choice to abstain. I do not say anything against those who do otherwise.

  66. Martial Artist says:

    @wmeyer,

    In re your comment at 12:25: Your citation of Sowell prompts me to withdraw my gentle demurrer, which would also have been the case had you cited Hayek, von Mises or Walter Williams. I had thought you might be using economics in the very limited sense that the general populace uses the term. I am greatly cheered that you meant it in its broader sense, i.e., that to which its Greek cognate, ?????????, refers.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  67. Martial Artist says:

    Sorry. The “?????????” should have read οικονομια.

  68. Supertradmum says:

    We had to be vegetarians for years because of a serious illness of one of my babies. I had to learn all the amino acid combinations to make proteins. It was a very expensive deal. We did not feel particularly virtuous, but when we left England and Canada and came back to the Midwest, we began to eat meat again. Midwesterners think one is a communist or hippy if one does not eat meat. Reminds me of the great scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding-”You don’t eat meat? That’s ok. I make you lamb.”

    The joy of being a lay Catholic or a secular priest is that there are no dietary rules except on fast and abstinence days, although I think I could live on cheese and nice bread with good wine for the rest of my life.

  69. robtbrown says:

    Robtbrown, that’s what I said, the Catechism affirms that it’s contrary to human dignity to cause unnecessary suffering and death to animals (I didn’t repeat the word “unnecessary” but it was present in the sentence). It’s unnecessary for me to eat meat, therefore it seems a good and dignified choice to abstain. I do not say anything against those who do otherwise.
    Comment by Elizabeth D

    You made the jump from unnecessary suffering and death of animals to people eating meat. Because of land shortage in Europe, beef is seldom raised in US grazing circumstances but rather in very close, factory-style situations.

    As I said, if you want to abstain from meat, that is fine.

  70. robtbrown says:

    BTW, some years ago when I was a runner, I was all but a vegetarian. I lived at salad bars.

  71. ron.d says:

    Well, since nobody else posted a picture of it, I guess I will: