Posted by Tony Listi on March 12, 2008
Please listen to http://www.acton.org/daily/nowatacton_200709051337.php
1. The Piety Fallacy: Good intentions are all that matter. Piety is no substitute for technique. Good intentions are no substitute for good consequences. God holds us accountable for our intentions, but public policy should help people regardless of the nature of intentions. God asks us to love him with all our mind too, so he holds us responsible for the manifest consequences of our actions (something apprehended by the mind). (e.g. rent control, child labor)
2. The Freeze Frame Fallacy: Assuming certain trends or demographics will always stay the same. A single point in time and place is not representative of all reality. Things change. Life is not static. (e.g. population growth)
3. The Artsy Myth: Confusing aesthetics and economics; attributing ugliness or harshness to the free market. Such aesthetic judgments may be true, but such judgments should not be made in isolation, cut-off from economic realities. But poverty is not pretty either. Beauty is expensive; don’t punish the poor just so you have something nice to look at or feel good about something. Heed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physical needs come before aesthetics. (e.g. corporations like Wal-Mart)
4. Zero-Sum Game Myth: If I become rich, doesn’t that make someone else poor? The wealth of the First World causes the poverty of the Third World. Economics is not like chess, checkers, sports, or war. The free market (and free trade) is a win-win game overall, not a win-lose game, though not everyone ends up on top. Our GDP goes up over time and correlates to free trade. The pie is not static; it grows.
We are created in the image and likeness of God. God is a creator and so are we! We are his co-creators, and so there is nothing evil about business or production. Rather business people imitate the creative nature of God in providing goods and services.
Bill Gates of all people should know how wealth is created and yet even he doesn’t get it. Rather than making the Third World productive, he would prefer to make the Third World dependent and thus permanently vulnerable to poverty.
Is all this talk about income inequality merely a reflection of the entrenched materialism in our culture that in turn fosters envy and jealousy of others success and wealth? Most likely. One can reduce envy by making everyone poor (a possibility) but not by making everyone rich (impossible).
People who are taxed the highest give the least to charity. Conservatives give more to charity too (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/index.html). Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is hard to suffer with the poor using someone else’s money.
What is the moral relevancy of a person who becomes wealthy through free exchange? None.
Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Poverty | Tagged: Bill Gates, Christianity, compassion, economic myths that christians believe, Economics, envy, fallacies, jealousy, myths christians believe about wealth and poverty, Poverty, wealth | 2 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on February 8, 2008
Texas A&M University is truly unique among this country’s universities, especially among public universities. While every college student or alum has some affection for its alma mater, especially surrounding its sports teams, A&M creates a community and a spirit that is not dependent on sports or even rivals, though those elements are certainly not neglected.
No government controls and regulates the Aggie Spirit (a useful, benevolent imitation of the Holy Spirit). This spirit of service and charity is a tradition, a heritage that has been successfully passed on to each incoming freshmen class. There is an institution in place to teach and inculcate this spirit into the newcomers: Fish Camp. And if one didn’t go to Fish Camp, it is hard not to receive the spirit by cultural osmosis from those who have. The Aggie Spirit is a heritage with a noble purpose.
Aggies more than anyone should know the power of local communities or private voluntary associations to take care of their own with the addition of a little leadership and courage. This phenomenon plays out all the time within Aggieland, within the student body and its myriad of voluntary organizations. Whether it is serving the local community at Big Event, or other community service groups on campus, or raising awareness and educating the student body on a variety of political issues like MSC SCONA and Wiley, Aggies know the power of freely given service and charity.
Student organizations, unlike government agencies and bureaucracies, do not tax former students and threaten them with audits and coercion. Student organizations do not threaten their members with fines or jail time. Rather, students respect what belongs to another Aggie (no matter how wealthy they are) but ask graciously for his or her generosity. Students appeal to the common spirit that binds all Aggies together and fellow Aggies respond in turn.
Consequently, it puzzles me when my fellow Aggies exercise their political privileges in favor of more federal government taxation, regulation, and intervention, which stifles service and charity. Government, as it is now, stifles leadership; indeed, it stifles everything that the Aggie Spirit represents and embodies. Why do so many Aggies abandon their heritage, their very spirit at the ballot box? Why do so many Aggies substitute collectivism for community?
Posted in Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Texas A&M, Written by Me | Tagged: A&M, Aggie, Aggie Spirit, Aggies, charity, collectivism, community, Poverty, Texas A&M, Texas A&M University | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on January 25, 2008
This is a video of an excellent lecture by Thomas E. Woods.
No Catholic (or Protestant for that matter) should be ashamed of whole-heartedly advocating free market capitalism and limited government. Conservatism and perhaps even libertarianism to some extent are eminently compatible with Christianity.
Posted in American Culture, American History, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Foreign Aid, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Science and Religion | Tagged: capitalism, Catholicism, encyclical, Foreign Aid, Leo XIII, morality, pope, Poverty, Rerum Novarum | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on January 4, 2008
Rev. Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute, takes on Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel during a Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing in 1995.
Posted in Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty | Tagged: acton institute, Catholicism, charity, Poverty, welfare | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on January 4, 2008
Solutions to poverty – it starts with you. It is not the government’s responsibility to help people, its my responsibility. Its your responsibility. The solution to poverty starts with you. This is a counter-solution to the One Campaign, created by the Acton Institute.
Posted in Africa, Government and Politics, Poverty | Tagged: acton institute, love well, Poverty, solutions to poverty | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on December 5, 2007
The claim that workers would benefit if retail businesses larger than 95,000 square feet within Spokane, Washington, city limits paid wages anywhere from 135 percent to 165 percent of the state minimum wage is ill-founded, says Carl Gipson, director of the Center for Small Business at the Washington Policy Center.
According to Gibson:
- Most of the benefits of a living wage would go towards households that are not below the federal poverty line.
- Living wage ordinances force the least skilled workers out of the labor market.
- Economic evidence from other states shows there would be a net job loss within Spokane’s retail workforce.
- Basing wages upon an employee’s need could drastically escalate labor costs.
“The idea of a ‘living wage’ is not a new idea, but our research shows it is a bad idea,” said Carl Gipson, study author and director for small business at Washington Policy Center. ”Proponents are attempting to impose price controls on labor in an effort to alleviate poverty. It is a noble idea but one that is proven not to work. In fact, price controls will hurt those the regulation is intended to help.”
Source: “Mandated Living Wages: A Short-Sighted Effort to Help the Working Poor,” Washington Policy Center, December 3, 2007.
For more on Minimum Wage:
Posted in Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Poverty | Tagged: living wage, minimum wage, poor, Poverty, unemployment, working poor | Leave a Comment »