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Friday, June 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Memorial of Ss. Marcellinus and Peter

No, no, not Al Gore's dog and pony show. Frankly, I'm disinclined to see it because, first it's Al Gore and, second I read the first book--and didn't buy the plot then--but without having seen it yet, I'll refrain from commenting on it, for now. For those looking for something on the topic, I point you to one of the more measured responses by someone who largely accepts the story's premise (for as long as the link is live, anyway).

No, I'm referring to Thomas Sowell's series this week exposing the facts that undercut some elements of what he categorizes as the "liberal vision:"
1. Rather than marking the beginning of many "progressive" trends in American society, the 1960s reversed many beneficial trends that had been going on for years without the "help" of Great Society programs, policies, and ideologies.

2. In the last 25 years, the number of people earning the minimum wage declined from 7.8 million to just over 2 million, while both the total population and the minimum wage have been rising, but the world over has evidenced that the consequence of minimum wage laws is to create unemployment.

3. Tax cuts for the so-called rich have a long track record of creating economic activity that results in rising national incomes and rising employment.

4. Innate biological, cultural, and behavioral differences creating group "disparities" cannot often be eliminated by governmental policy solutions.
What is striking, beyond the obvious point that the vision of modern statism is not (and not really interested in being) connected to reality--after all that is part and parcel of the dictatorship of relativism--is that a Catholic principle is again aligned with natural law: Subsidiarity works.

This is why it can be frustrating when an archbishop advocates higher taxes, or when a politician, like Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) in the June issue of Crisis, is proud of acting in the name of his Catholic conscience to "protect families" by pushing for federal legislation "to make school buses safer for kids; to reform our drunk driving laws; to increase seat belt use; and to put safety information on vehicle sticker prices."

It's not that the objects of these are not well intentioned, nor things that should not be done, but, at some point, don't we have to put into action part of what the Church, including Pope Benedict, has outlined for us?:
We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

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