I found this little gem at Front Porch Republic http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2010/01/caritas-in-the-veritable-welfare-state/

Caritas in the Veritable Welfare State



Devon, PA. The daily headlines at Catholic Culturedraw our attention to this gemof European Catholicism:

Caritas Europa, the consortium of Catholic relief and development agencices in 44 European nations, has launched a Zero Poverty campaign so that “no one is forced to live on the streets or dies prematurely because [he] cannot afford healthcare.”

Asserting that the “three traditional sources of social welfare” are the labor market, the family, and the welfare state, Caritas Europa pledged to lobby governments to “end child poverty by guaranteeing allowances for every child in Europe, regardless of the status of their parents; secure a minimum standard of social security for all; guarantee universal healthcare and strengthen the welfare state; [and] take active steps to ensure decent jobs with decent wages.”

One wishes to speak carefully here, but without letting pass a compound of willful ignorance, crude ethics, and cruder social doctrine: a compound, indeed, of the sorts of small, soft hearted errors that transform charity into social work, love of the Body of Christ into “altruism,” and a sense of personal obligation to a scheme of bureaucratic methods for getting others to pay for my sense of moral obligation.

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Maybe. For whatever reason, the bright boys always think that something is going to go on forever, just because it worked yesterday. But in the real world, the longer something has continued, the more we tend to think, “how long can this go on?”

The bright boys also brought us globalization, a sort of specialization-of-labor theory on steroids, that as much as said that if one part of the world did all the consumption, and another part did all the  production, prosperity for all would be the result.  It’s an extension of the same stupid theory that one branch of industrialism has applied domestically, with the rich consuming the fruits of the labor of the poor, and the poor getting just about enough to subsist on.

As has been said, a man standing with one foot in boiling water and the other foot in ice water is comfortable, on the average.

In presenting this article along with others in his daily Schwartzreport, editor Stephan Schwartz commented: “It is not clear to me, nor anyone else, I believe, whatever they say, that we have a clear take on China. What does seem clear to me is that it is always dangerous to fall in love with what seems obvious. In that spirit here is a contrarian view of China. Keep it in mind, I surely will.”

China: the world’s next great economic crash

Like Dubai at the beginning of last year, China is now reaching the peak of a bubble.

Click over to the article at the Christian Science Monitor site: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0121/China-the-world-s-next-great-economic-crash

A friend who lives in Germany sent me this remarkable five-minute talk given by a Canadian girl of 13 to a UN panel meeting in Rio. If you don’t watch many videos, still you should look at this.

Another friend who watched this with me said, “so maybe the children are going to do it after all,” and I said, “maybe.”


Prime Wisdom

January 22, 2010

Anything that begins with a quotation from Upton Sinclair is likely to be worth reading, and this is no exception. From Front Porch Republic: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2010/01/prime-wisdom/

Prime Wisdom


13 JANUARY 2010

Rock Island, IL

In 1923 Upton Sinclair published a book on education titled The Goose-Step. It began thus:

“Six hundred thousand young people are attending colleges and universities in America. They are the pick of our coming generation; they are the future of our country. If they are wisely and soundly taught, America will be great and happy; if they are misguided and mistaught, no power can save us.”

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Michael Ventura’s column of January 14, 2010 for the Austin (Tx) Chronicle is titled “Critical to the Success.” I have always supported the war in Afghanistan, but I must say, it doesn’t look good.

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Everybody is looking for the magic pill. Doesn’t exist, doesn’t need to. This is from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/health/12brod.html?em

Healthy Aging, With Nary a Supplement


Published: January 11, 2010

The Great Recession, so I’m told, has been great for one segment of the economy — the makers of pills and potions that offer the promise of keeping people healthy. A middle-aged woman remarked as she perused the supplement shelves in my local health food store (I was buying bulgur): “I can’t afford to get sick. I lost my job and I have no health insurance.”

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My brother sent me this obit of George Leonard from the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/us/18leonard1.html?emc=eta1). The name wasn’t familiar to me, and as I read it I was amazed to see how much we owe him.

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