Monday, July 16, 2012

"A New Order of Economic Productivity, Socially Responsible and Human in Scale"

Last week I posted about the first half of "Caritas in Veritate," 41. Over-simplifying it, the basic idea is that " enterprise involves a wide range of values, becoming wider all the time...."

Government, Values, and a New Order

The second half starts by saying pretty much the same thing about government:
"...Political authority also involves a wide range of values, which must not be overlooked in the process of constructing a new order of economic productivity, socially responsible and human in scale...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 41)
A few sentences later, this caught my eye:
"...Both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 41)
Looks like I'm not the only person who's very nearly lost patience with national governments. Particularly the one that's allegedly running my homeland, America. I think there's still hope, though: which is why I plan to vote in the November election: vote carefully.

There Must be a Better Way

Looking at 'business as usual' in politics and government, and wanting something better, isn't new. Tennyson's "Parliament of man ... Federation of the world," and Lennon's "Imagine there's no countries," both express a hope that change can bring improvement. (March 12, 2011)

My guess is that we're going in the direction of Tennyson's vision - very slowly. The idea of no government at all can be attractive - particularly in an election year. But I checked, and my guess was right: we need governments. (March 12, 2011)

That doesn't mean that I like the status quo. What we've got now, economically and politically, isn't working: not nearly well enough. We're overdue for change.

Change Happens

Like the fellow said:
"Nothing endures but change."
(Heraclitus, 540 BC - 480 BC)
Change happens. Whether it's change for the better or not: that's up to us.

Change: Local, Global, and Everything Between

Benedict XVI has ideas about what we should do, in terms of government. Remember: Pope Benedict XVI isn't an American; the Catholic Church is literally καθολικός, universal; "Caritas in Veritate" was written for everybody, not just politically-active Americans during the early 21st century.

Here's a sort of outline summary of Benedict XVI's ideas:
  • We must
    • Cultivate business activity
      • Different forms
      • Globally
    • Promote
      • "A dispersed political authority"
        • That is effective on different levels
  • Governments
    • Will probably
      • Expand their roles
      • Start being competent again
    • Must guarantee
      • A system of
        • Public order
        • Effective imprisonment
      • Respect for human rights
      • Truly democratic institutions

Many Cultures, Many Ways to Govern

"Truly Democratic institutions?!" What, everybody has to become an American??!

"...The State does not need to have identical characteristics everywhere: the support aimed at strengthening weak constitutional systems can easily be accompanied by the development of other political players, of a cultural, social, territorial or religious nature, alongside the State. The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalization. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy."
("Caritas in Veritate," 41) [emphasis mine]
"Articulated?" My guess is that in this case, "articulated" means "unite by forming a joint or joints" or "consisting of segments held together with joints:" in which case it'd be a sort of metaphor. (July 9, 2012)

Governments: No 'One Size Fits All'

I'm an American, so I'm used to the 'constitution-based federal republic with a strong democratic tradition' that I've grown up with. ("United States," CIA World Factbook (last updated July 2, 2012)) I even think the system we have can work better than it has recently.

But I certainly don't think that every country should have a bicameral legislature, copying my native land's system in detail. I'm also an quite certain that America is much more than the lot we've got in congress and on the Federal payroll: and that's almost another topic.

I think there is no 'one size fits all' system of government. I've opined about forms of government and assumptions before, in this and other blogs. This post is fairly typical:

Democracy, Catholic Style

I think this excerpt from the Catechism gives a pretty good idea of what "democracy" means in a Catholic context:
"If authority belongs to the order established by God, 'the choice of the political regime and the appointment of rulers are left to the free decision of the citizens.'20

"The diversity of political regimes is morally acceptable, provided they serve the legitimate good of the communities that adopt them. Regimes whose nature is contrary to the natural law, to the public order, and to the fundamental rights of persons cannot achieve the common good of the nations on which they have been imposed."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1901)
That's nowhere near saying that any sort of government is okay. An acceptable government, using the guidelines of Catechism, 1901, would:
  • Be freely chosen by the citizens
  • Serve the legitimate good of those who adopt it
  • Observe natural law
  • Maintain
    • Public order
    • Fundamental rights of persons
Those last two points aren't, or shouldn't be, in conflict. I think it is possible to maintain public order without killing people who don't agree with a nation's leaders. Sadly, that's not an exaggeration of public policy in some places:

"New Order:" Sounds Scary?

I skipped over some material in "Caritas in Veritate," 41: not because it's unimportant, but because I wanted to discuss the 'new order' Benedict XVI wrote about.

Maybe the words "new order" are scarey: particularly coming from the leader of the oldest international organization on the planet. I don't see it that way: but I'm Catholic. Besides, the political and economic order the world has now is so blatantly imperfect: I have to think that we can do better than this.
More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

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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.