Thursday, July 09, 2009


The fallacy continues:
While American conservatives, including most Catholics in their ranks, see capitalism in an almost entirely positive light, Benedict -- following a long tradition of church teaching -- is more skeptical of a system rooted in materialist values. In that sense, he is to the left of his American flock.
As I explained at length, capitalism is not a "system rooted in materialist values." It's a way of trading work and things so that you can eat and enjoy pleasure. If physical pleasure is all you have, then that's your problem, not capitalism's.

In fact, this just bothers the hell right out of me. Is Marxism any less "rooted in materialist values" than capitalism? Spoiler alert: Marx was a materialist. He believed that only material things existed, so of course his ideology would have been rooted in materialist values, because he was trying to root his ideology in things that he thought were real.

I suppose I'm cheating a little, because "materialist" is ambiguous. But in this context, what the author said doesn't make any sense no matter what definition is intended. Think of it this way - are Catholics materialists in that they believe that only matter exists? Are they hedonists? Clearly not. So where are the materialist American Catholics supposedly worshipping at the altar of Adam Smith?

Folks, I went to a second-tier law school and a fourth-tier college. I slept through more classes than most people have attended. I should not be dealing philosophical beatdowns this effectively. Someone crack a damned book.


At 11:32 AM, July 10, 2009 , Blogger Joshua said...

It's important to separate out the actual content of the papers from the idiotic hyperbole of the commentators.

Ratzinger first made these points in 1985, and there is nothing actually controversial in what he said then (or now):

It's pretty much common sense


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