Monday, August 22, 2011

New Hungarian Constitution: Good News from a Former Workers' Paradise

I hadn't heard about Hungary's new constitution until today. It's been a hectic year for me: and that's another topic.

My wife left Human Life International's FrontLine (Summer 2011) open to an article about the disturbing outbreak of common sense in Hungary.

Disturbing, that is, for folks who really want to believe in 'advanced,' modern, 'intelligent' plans for perfect societies. What happened to the Soviet Union in 1991 was bad enough - now Hungary, Poland, and other former satellites of the worker's paradise are trying to turn their societies around - and may succeed.

'It Looked So Good on Paper'

It's a dark day for idealists.

The Catholic Church doesn't, as far as I can tell, have anything against folks having ideals. In fact, much of our faith is a matter of working toward "the idea of something that is perfect; something that one hopes to attain." (Princeton's WordNet)

What sets us apart, I think, is the Catholic Church's insistence that a government has to actually work. Looking good on paper isn't good enough.

We're taught that whether we have a king, a president, or a council of elders, or something else, is up to us. But whatever system we use, it must acknowledge and accept natural law. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1881-1885, 1898, 1901, 1919, 2213, for starters) (And: "Is the Church For Capitalism? Yes: and No" (March 13, 2010))

Bottom line, as I see it: Any system of government we've got deals with human beings. If the system is designed by folks who believe that human beings won't act like human beings under their rule - we'll have trouble.

Hungary's New Constitution

Here's part of what Human Life International had to say about what the Hungarian government's done, back in May:
"The New Hungarian Constitution"
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, Spirit & Life weekly e-column of Human Life International (May 16, 2011)

"There has been a great deal of discussion about Hungary's 'Easter Constitution;' so nicknamed not only because it passed with a grand majority on this past Easter Monday, April 25th, but also because it may represent a resurrection of values that many thought had all but disappeared from the laws of Europe.

"We have to understand the importance of this document, and why so many in Europe are in a panic over its passage. It is a surprising step in a very good direction, representing another step in what many believe is a long and uneven journey back to Hungary's, and Europe's, roots. Clearly, however, it marks a departure from the secular liberal ideology that, like a heavy leaden cape, seems to be darkening and weighing down so much of the contemporary world...."
The "Easter Constitution" is a huge step backward for folks who'd like marriage to be defined as 'having sex when, where, and with whatever I want.'

It's also a radical step backward for those who think people are "potential" persons until they meet certain requirements:
"...The most important innovations of this constitution, however, are found in Article 2, which establishes that 'the life of the foetus shall be protected from the moment of conception.' This document in the following article III n. 3 also expressly prohibits eugenic practices, as well as the use of the human body or its parts for financial gain and human cloning...."
(Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula)
That ban on human cloning is a good idea, I think: not because Catholics are against science and technology; but because we're taught that people deserve respect. 'God doesn't make junk,' and all that.

Take stem cell research, for example: counter-intuitive as it might seems the Vatican backs stem cell research. The sort that doesn't including killing people to get at their cells. (April 28, 2010)

Hungary: A Shrinking Country

The "Easter Constitution" may help Hungary turn around a disastrously low birthrate: an average of 1.4 children born by each woman. That's not even close to being enough to keep Hungary's population stable.

Their population growth rate is around -0.17% - - - minus point one seven percent. The country's population is about 9,900,000 and shrinking.1.

HLI's Summer 2011 issue of FrontLines reported that Hungary's population dropped below 10,000,000 last year. For folks using a base-10 numbering system, in context that's a scary number.

Good News

I'm very happy for folks living in Hungary. From the looks of it, their country seems to have a chance of turning around from the 20th century's weird social experiments.

I mean to say: I've read of oppressive rulers trying to keep subject populations in line by killing their babies. (Exodus 1:16) Establishment types killing their own babies is an 'advanced' idea that didn't catch on until the century we recently survived.

Or maybe someone did get the bright idea of 'improving quality of life' by reducing their population. Archaeologists occasionally uncover ruins of some forgotten civilization.

And that's yet another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:
News and views:
Background:
1 2011 estimates. Source: "Hungary, CIA World Factbook (last updated August 16, 2011)

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Yay for Hungary!

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

I see your "Yay," and raise by a "whoopie."

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.