Piero Tozzi

Paul Ryan and the Children of Keynes

Piero Tozzi
By Piero Tozzi

Note: This article first appeared at The Bell Towers.

September 25, 2012 (TheBellTowers) - Mitt Romney’s nomination of Catholic congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate has generated criticism from certain members of the “Catholic Left,” who accuse Ryan of being a ”cafeteria Catholic” – a charge more typically levied by the orthodox against those who deviate from church teaching on issues of sexual morality – by ostensibly ignoring the poor.

For his part, Ryan, the architect of the GOP’s budgetary “Ryan Plan,” has engaged Cardinal Timothy Dolan in his role as head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, explaining why his budget proposals were consistent with Church social doctrine, with the Cardinal extending the reciprocal courtesy of a thoughtful reply.

This sets up a Left/Right division over which faction bears more authentic allegiance to “Catholic Social Teaching,” or doctrine on social justice issues such as poverty and the right ordering of relations between man, mediating institutions and the State.

Conventional thinking gives Ryan and his party the advantage when it comes to “subsidiarity” – the principle that political and economic decisions are best made at the level closest to those affected by them rather than by a top-down centralized bureaucracy – while crediting the Democrats for their commitment to “solidarity” – acting on behalf of the most poor and marginalized out of an assumed authentic altruism.

Such conventional thinking is only half right, however, for Ryan – at least when not in junior Randian mode – has the better argument not only with respect to subsidiarity, but solidarity as well.

For solidarity cannot be thought of solely in horizontal terms, arms outstretched to the poor who dwell among us – though it certainly does (and should) include that.  It is also vertical, extending into the future and touching the welfare of our children and grandchildren and generations yet to be conceived.

That social justice mandates a “preferential option for the poor” is beyond cavil, but does our vision of the vulnerable extend beyond the here and now to include those yet visible?  A true notion of solidarity must be multi-layered, and not flat.

What happens to the poor when the public fisc empties?  What is the effect of deficit spending counted in the trillions upon our children and their children? What does Standard & Poor’s credit downgrade auger? What about inflationary monetary policy, currency devaluation, and the ineluctable march toward a single-payer health care system?  What do events in Greece portend?

One must ask of politicians who count on the continued innumeracy of a citizenry baffled by numbers larger than twenty – the point at which one runs out of fingers and toes – whether it is all “sustainable,” to borrow a cant phrase.

John Maynard Keynes – whose “pump priming” economic theories, more than six decades after his death, animate the Obama administration’s stimulus policy, as does the “fatal conceit” of a command economy characterized by socialized medicine– was once asked whether such policies were sustainable in the long run.  Keynes’ famous reply: “In the long run, we are all dead.”

To which the proper rejoinder would be: “But our children and grandchildren won’t be!”

The beggaring of generations yet to be begotten was not an apparent concern of JMK, whose indifference might be attributable in part to sexual proclivities not ordered to the propagation of the species.

Which raises the connection between economic and moral profligacy…

Social issues are profoundly economic, and vice versa; the surest way to ensure that the next generation of citizens be well-integrated and productive is to strengthen the family unit headed by a biological father and a biological mother – see the social science research of Pat Fagan, David Blankenhorn and many others on this point – while the surest way to encourage social dysfunction and economic dependency is to undermine the nuclear family.

Yet when confronted by the cost of a health care plan to be borne by future generations, the default solution offered by President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is to embrace sterility, pushing birth control to eliminate future generations of government dependents. One might also point out that such a reductionist calculus overlooks the fact that such future citizens, were they allowed to come into existence, might also be productive taxpayers as well.  Why the default assumption that they must be tax-consuming wards of the Welfare State?

Catholics who must by moral necessity be concerned with true social justice, balancing the harmonic interplay between subsidiarity and solidarity, should question where authentic allegiance to the common good leads.  Is ObamaCare designed to extend health care to those who lack it? Is the push to increase food stamp rolls designed to alleviate hunger? Is the move toward eliminating workfare requirements at the state level an attempt to promote the dignity of those who receive government assistance by removing stigma?  Or is the aim to foster a culture of Julia-like serfdom while voicing the rhetoric of compassion (and sternly rebuking “greed”), cynically calibrating things to create a dependency caste of 51% that can give one a perpetual governing majority, while squeezing the productive minority?

Members of the modern day Party of Obama are Keynes’ spiritual heirs in ways that the Party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt never fully were: not only are they economic profligates clamoring for an economic policy which threatens to crush future generations under mountain of debt, but they are also moral libertines who, like Keynes with his sexual dalliances, willingly embrace an anti-Culture of sterility, ne’er thinking of the morrow, for when it comes we shall all be dead.  Carpe diem, indeed.

Thus the hootenanny in Charlotte gave us Sandra Fluke and Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards touting mandated funding of contraception by churches and citizens who conscientiously object, and a call for the funneling of billions to Big Abortion.

Abortion, of course, is the starkest violation of intergenerational solidarity, Medea and Agave ripping asunder the mother-child bond.  But so too is every act of contraception, every act of sodomy, a betrayal of future generations.  And, when the top of the inverse pyramid becomes too heavy, due to the children who were never born not being there to help sustain the burden of caring for their elders, the temptation to euthanize – another act of intergenerational violence – arises.  What are the implications of the rationing of health care advocated by Ezekiel Emanuel in his 2009 Lancet article? What are the implications of a party platform that is built upon a right to contraception, abortion and “gay marriage,” coupled with massive government debt?

One cannot build, nor sustain, a culture upon such foundations.

As with Ozymandias, it is the “fatal conceit” of theorists of liberal autonomy to think that civilization with all its contemporary trappings – the iPhones, the “carbon neutral” childless vacations, home delivery of the Financial Times – will remain the same fifty years hence.

Yet they persist in their folly, and label it a virtue.  A number of years ago The Daily Mail ran an article, in which a young woman who worked for an “environmental charity,” related her rationale for aborting her only child and then undergoing sterilization:

Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet. . . . I didn’t like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world. . . . [We] have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children. . . . Every year, we also take a nice holiday — we’ve just come back from South Africa. We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint and combating over-population.

The mystery writer P.D. James once wrote a dystopian novel entitled Children of Men – the title echoes Psalm 90:3 – where the world was struck by a baffling plague of sterility, and the remnant generations noted the dwindling of humanity each year since the birth of the last Omega cohort, a progression toward the Darkness.

The Children of Keynes, who have chosen their sterility and celebrate it, shout “Forward!”

“Forward,” one asks, “toward what?”

Piero A. Tozzi is Senior Legal Counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, where he practices international human rights law.  His areas of responsibility include Latin America, the Caribbean and the United Nations.  He also serves as Senior Fellow with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website, www.babycaust.de, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” Katholisch.de editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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