Subsidiarity and the Social Doctrine

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]." Margaret Thatcher

“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.” G. K. Chesterton

Subsidiarity in the Gospels

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Morality of Self-Interest

“Nations fail, Augustine argued, because peoples fail, and peoples fail because they love the wrong things. America’s exceptional history as the only nation in the world with two centuries of political continuity stem from its people’s love for individual rights, which they hold to be inalienable because they are granted by a power that no human agency dare oppose. Americans selected themselves out from among the nations of the world to enter into the political covenant that is the American constitutional state. It succeeded because it is “a country with the soul of a church,” as G.K. Chesterton observed. Individualism founded on God-given rights has triumphed over the alternative---the collectivist premise for the state in its various manifestations: Rousseau’s “will of the people,” for example, or Marx’s proletarian dictatorship, or the blood-and-soil nationalism that led Europe and Japan into the world wars of the twentieth century. The only form of collectivism still embraced by a large part of the world’s population is integralist Islam, which dominates most Muslim-majority countries.”

“What we might call “Augustinian realism” is this premise, borne out in the world around us. To the extent that other nations share the American love for the sanctity of the individual, they are likely to succeed. To the extent they reject it, they are likely to fail. Our actions in the world can proceed from American interest---precisely because American interest consists of allying with success and containing failure.”

“Consider the winning policy of the Reagan administration during the Cold War, which overcame the most prominent collectivist alternative to American democracy. America did not set out to persuade the Soviet Union to emulate us. We set out to ruin it, and ruin it we did. After Russia repudiated Communism we proposed to assist its reconstruction. In other words, American interest consists of allying with success and containing failure.”

David P. Goldman is senior editor of FIRST THINGS.

“It is observable, that though many have disregarded life, and contemned liberty, yet there are few men who do not agree that property is a valuable acquisition, which ought to be held sacred…The Utopian schemes of leveling, and a community of goods, are as visionary and impracticable, as those which vest all property in the Crown, are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional. Now, what property can the colonists be conceived to have, if their money may be granted wary by others, without their consent?”

Samuel Adams on behalf of the Mass.. House of Reps. to the colony’s agent in London, 1768.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My idea for a Catholic/Christian “Tea Party” flag. It’s a spin-off of the Don’t Tread On Me, rattlesnake, Gadsden U.S. Revolutionary War flag. While I believe the Gadsden flag already has a religious foundation---I’m looking for something more direct.

John 3:14, Jesus says,
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

The bronze serpent which Moses set up on a pole was established by God to cure those who had been bitten by the poisonous serpents in the desert. Jesus compares this with his crucifixion, to show the value and promise of faith that leads to salvation.

The Israelites had fallen away again in their desert journey, their unfaithfulness results into misfortune again, this time by being bit by fiery snakes. Repentance and viewing faithfully the bronze snake held on a staff was the cure. Numbers 21:4-9

My depiction of a rattle snake on a cross represents the end of Moses’ staff which he held up. And just like then people of today have lost faith and trust in God. They complain about their living conditions and personal comfort. Then they actually complained they had it better as Egyptian slaves. Unbelievably people today complain in the United States, the richest nation on Earth ever, that they could have it better in a socialist form on government---slaves to the state.

Modern day medical emblem

Gadsden flag history:
The rattlesnake was the favorite animal emblem of the Americans even before the Revolution. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette carried a bitter article protesting the British practice of sending convicts to America. The author suggested that the colonists return the favor by shipping "a cargo of rattlesnakes, which could be distributed in St. James Park, Spring Garden, and other places of pleasure, and particularly in the noblemen's gardens." Three years later the same paper printed the picture of a snake as a commentary on the Albany Congress. To remind the delegates of the danger of disunity, the serpent was shown cut to pieces. Each segment is marked with the name of a colony, and the motto "Join or Die" below. Other newspapers took up the snake theme.
By 1774 the segments of the snake had grown together, and the motto had been changed to read: "United Now Alive and Free Firm on this Basis Liberty Shall Stand and Thus Supported Ever Bless Our Land Till Time Becomes Eternity"
Other authors felt the rattlesnake was a good example of America's virtues. They argued that it is unique to America; individually its rattles produce no sound, but united they can be heard by all; and while it does not attack unless provoked, it is deadly to step upon one.

In December 1775, "An American Guesser" anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal. This anonymous writer, having "nothing to do with public affairs" and "in order to divert an idle hour," speculated on why a rattlesnake might be chosen as a symbol for America. First, it occurred to him that "the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America." The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance."
Furthermore, "She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."
Finally, "I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers. ...
"'Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living."
Many scholars now agree that this "American Guesser" was Benjamin Franklin.