EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 8, 2013

Column: Suddenly, liberals care about what the pope says

(Continued)

The anti-capitalists are especially excited at the pope’s smackdown of the “trickle-down” economic theory, which he contends has never brought about “greater justice and inclusiveness in the world ... (and) expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power ...”

That point deserves a substantive response from conservatives. But, again, context is important. The pope should say how “trickle-down” theory, or capitalism in general, compares with socialism in the former Soviet Union or totalitarian communism practiced in China.

Those systems did not simply exclude some people; those in power slaughtered millions.

Does the pope think putting all the economic power in the hands of governments will be much better than keeping at least some of it in those greedy private hands?

Finally, the Bible does focus on helping the poor and treating them with dignity and respect. But it never says a secular government should be the source of that help. It also says: “If any will not work, let him not eat.”

Does the pope think increasing incentives for the poor not to work is a worthy goal?

Like the left, I don’t agree with all of Pope Francis’ pronouncements. And that is the point: Nobody has to agree with everything he says. Nobody is required to be a Catholic.

But, the larger point is that the pope should also be welcome in the marketplace of ideas on economic morality or any other topic, including social issues. He should not be selectively banned from the public square.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net

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