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The Federalist’s take on the Pope, climate change

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(This begins and ends the formal religion news coverage for the day. Maybe the new atheists went to relationship counselling?)

Closing off our religion coverage for the day, from Maureen Malarkey at The Federalist:

A Short List of What’s Wrong with ‘Laudato Si’

There is nothing to admire in its assault on market economies, technological progress, and—worse—on rationality itself. Bergolio, whom we know now as Pope Francis, is a limited man. His grasp of economics is straitjacketed by the Peronist culture in which he was raised. “Laudato Si” descends to garish, left-wing boilerplate. The pope is neither a public intellectual, theologian, nor a man of science. Yet he impersonates all three.

At least he wasn’t lauding Darwinism, mindless evolution, the mind/free will as mere illusion, morality as an illusion created by natural selection, and/or the multiverse? FOr all or several, he could maybe get the Templeton Prize.

The good news is that eventually, honest climate data is evidence anyone can see. Each really bad winter, here where I live, makes a few more people wonder about this latest acrockalypse.

Also, some stats are fairly easy to grasp. For example, the rise in insurance losses worldwide could in fact be related to rising prosperity, not necessarily more disasters. Possibly, more people own more insurable stuff. It’s easier to buy insurance for a plasma TV than for an owner-built mud hut.  And at some point, a market develops for common sense reasoning about such questions.

Now, re Peronism: I remember a political science major explaining to me decades ago that what Canadians understood by a market economy was a free economy. Many South American countries suffered under economies dominated by the rich, violent friends of El Presidente. Unfortunately, the South Americans thought that when we said they needed a market economy, that we meant more of those people.

We actually meant fewer of them. We thought, as the farmer sang, “The best thing about hogs is a gettin’ RID of them … ” And, surveying the current scene, I sometimes think, based on faithful Canadian Catholics’ complaints about Francis, that this sort of cultural misunderstanding has grown and spread to many areas.

The encyclical tells us much about the man who delivers it. Straightaway, it certifies the depth and span of this pope’s megalomania. A breathtaking strut into absolutism, it is addressed not simply to Catholics but, like the “Communist Manifesto,” to the whole world. Tout le monde.

The document is steeped in Third Worldism. The imagined plight of the planet is the work of a rapacious West. Ignoring the role of corruption, mismanagement, and counter-productive ideology in failed or deteriorating states, it gives a ruinous pass to Third World oligarchs and despots. The White Man’s Burden now rises to the ozone layer.

If only. The reality is that, generally, well-off people care about the environment. Desperately poor people cannot afford to.

Simply raising more people out of poverty creates a demand for wilderness parks, beltlines, zoning laws, shoreline rules, and workable endangered species legislation, as we have discovered in Canada.

Indeed, it all sometimes backfires on us. Urban twits and layabouts care too much, and saddle us, at times, with foolish policies; lucky if not disastrous ones.

Mullarkey also notes, inter alia:

While Christians in the birthplaces of Christianity are crucified and beheaded for their faith, young girls are kidnapped and sold for the price of a pack of cigarettes, our encyclical whines: “In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.”

Resurgent Islam and the spread of Sharia are the church’s enemies, not oil, coal, and gas. None are poorer than those who live, despised, in the path of ISIS. Where, then, is the encyclical calling for the conversion of Islam away from its murderous climate of hatred? Instead, the Vicar of Christ calls all the world—intending primarily the West—to “ecological conversion.” More.

That’s the trouble when people try to be experts about the things they were not asked to be experts in. They are attacked in those areas but useless in their core areas.

See also: Science writer Matt Ridley is concerned about climate change wars

I hope the following vid is false but have little doubt that it represents what is happening. It is hardly convenient for people in high places who were looking for an easier cause to act on ((O’Leary for News)):


18 Replies to “The Federalist’s take on the Pope, climate change

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Are you seriously saying you take this sub-Coulter rant seriously Denyse? The name is somewhat off-putting, admittedly.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I don’t really understand the connection between ID, neo-liberal economics and anti-ecology thinking, although I do respect and appreciate the linkage of ID and Calvinism — so maybe that’s the answer to my question. But anyway …

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    This is getting ridiculous.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Axel at 1, it’s not that I “take [it] seriously.” Rather, I am concerned that people can plausibly say these things about the Pope.

    Could one have plausibly said such things about JPII or B-16?

    Of course many people disagreed with them and hated them. But one had the sense that they were doing what they should have been doing.

    Stuff that a lot of people didn’t like, to be sure, but what they should have been doing. Francis seems off message in a way that his predecessors were not.

    Silver Asiatic at 2, I don’t think there is a connection between “ID, neo-liberal economics [?*] and anti-ecology thinking.” It is more like an analogy.

    What fascinates many of us about the climate change debate is the way it is so subsumed by high politics that evidence ceases to matter, compared to striking moral and/or philosophical poses.

    That is so LIKE the stuff we deal with every day, it resembles reality TV about our friends and neighbours. We shouldn’t watch and obsess so much but then another episode is aired and we get glued … 😉

    Well, back to the ID beat.

    * As it happens, my own country (Canada) is held to be considerably more socialist than the United States (and I only object to some of it). Though I personally suspect that, where a judgement of that sort is made, a lot depends on what one chooses to count.

  5. 5
    daveS says:

    Certainly the plausible things in this article do not include “this pope’s megalomania”.

  6. 6
    Mapou says:


    At least he wasn’t lauding Darwinism, mindless evolution, the mind/free will as mere illusion, morality as an illusion created by natural selection, and/or the multiverse? FOr all or several, he could maybe get the Templeton Prize.

    Here’s another assault on common sense in the same genre. Evolutionists now believe that perception is tuned for fitness, not for truth. IOW, don’t believe your lying eyes. Don’t believe these guys either because they are obviously evolved to lie:

    Current models of visual perception typically assume that human vision estimates true properties of physical objects, properties that exist even if unperceived. However, recent studies of perceptual evolution, using evolutionary games and genetic algorithms, reveal that natural selection often drives true perceptions to extinction when they compete with perceptions tuned to fitness rather than truth: Perception guides adaptive behavior; it does not estimate a preexisting physical truth.

    Source: Frontiers in Psychology: Objects of Consciousness

    In other words, your ancestors survived because their perceptual systems evolve to lie to them and not telling them what’s really out there.

    It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    It gets worse, much worse:

    Moreover, shifting from evolutionary biology to quantum physics, there is reason to disbelieve in preexisting physical truths: Certain interpretations of quantum theory deny that dynamical properties of physical objects have definite values when unobserved. In some of these interpretations the observer is fundamental, and wave functions are compendia of subjective probabilities, not preexisting elements of physical reality. These two considerations, from evolutionary biology and quantum physics, suggest that current models of object perception require fundamental reformulation.

    Source: Frontiers in Psychology: Objects of Consciousness

    Both our brains and quantum physics are conspiring to hide the truth from us. It’s depressing.

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks for your reply, News.

    Could one have plausibly said such things about JPII or B-16?

    Of course many people disagreed with them and hated them. But one had the sense that they were doing what they should have been doing.

    Yes, people adhering to various belief systems hated the previous popes. Benedict XVI called for some economic reforms as well as oversight by the U.N. – he was also concerned about climate change. At the same time people ridiculed him as being a Nazi.

    Francis seems off message in a way that his predecessors were not.

    In my own personal faith journey I’ve found it very dangerous (and spiritually damaging) to set myself as judge of the Holy See (which I had a habit of doing quite often). Our loyalties and subjective judgements may not be correct in God’s eyes. But that’s just me. Again, I don’t see UD as the right forum for criticizing the Pope in any case.

    What fascinates many of us about the climate change debate is the way it is so subsumed by high politics that evidence ceases to matter, compared to striking moral and/or philosophical poses.

    Locally, this February set the record for the coldest month in our history and this June set a record for most rainfall. The current drought in California is also the worst in recorded history. I tend to see that as evidence of climate change. But I don’t see the fact that global issues are subsumed by politics (as they always have been) as having any relevance to the ID proposal. I guess as a scientific debate it could be somewhat relevant, but as you suggest, ID is not anti-ecology or necessarily a position of denial of climate change or global warming. That issue has nothing to do with ID.

    That is so LIKE the stuff we deal with every day, it resembles reality TV about our friends and neighbours. We shouldn’t watch and obsess so much but then another episode is aired and we get glued … ????

    Understandably – I do the same thing. But it’s important to try to sort out the higher quality issues, which I think you do quite consistently and admirably.

    So, I should remember to say ‘thank you’ for all of that work every day here.

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    News #4

    Denyse, I see it as the Tridentine Church having been off message and that woman’s rant highlighting how necessary it is for Francesco to be NOTICEABLY off-message. (I use capitals for want of font-modification knowledge). Apparently, Benedict fully endorses that, but what is more to the point, it is in line with the teaching of the Prince of the Apostle’s, the foundational Rock of the Church, established by Christ, although there are till other areas that need a though cleansing.

    Western captalism is not Christian, but pagan. The US actually reinstalled the Mafia in Italy, springing Lucky Luciano from his long prison sentence to take charge of affairs in Sicily, after Mussolini had suppressed them (Only room for one thug in this here town, pardner.’

    Just as an example of the depths to which this condoning/alliance with paganism led the Church, how long would we have had to wait for the See of Peter to rid itself of its long-standing mafia connections without Francis’ courage to make radical reforms?

    It may seem unremarkable to us Catholics, but to the rest of the world, it seems virtually unbelievable. Hilaire Belloc put it in a nutshell: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

    Things have improved mightily since Vatican II, though inevitably the liberal counterparts of the Tridentine Bitter-Enders have done their darnedest to pull the Church into the Abyss in the other direction. Fortunately, like Belloc, we can all be confident that God is in charge at all times, and these even seem to be the end times – so more reason for hope.

  10. 10
    News says:

    Thanks all for a stimulating, somewhat off-topic, discussion! I haven’t had as much fun since I tried to explain why Canada tends to feature less violent crime than the United States.

    Couple of notes:

    – Silver Asiatic at 8: The people who claimed B-16 was a Nazi were merely revealing that they hadn’t a clue, so they never landed a good one. My understanding is that German children were automatically enrolled in Nazi youth groups while the Third Reich was in power. B’s parents went to considerable efforts to keep him from participating, without revealing information that might have resulted in his seizure by the Reich. If that’s all they’ve got on the guy, he must have a pretty clean record.

    – Axel, all fair enough, but talking about the problems created by papal statements – received variously in various places due to differing actual conditions – has got to be a legitimate right of Catholics. Many Canadians are frustrated by “Third World First!” politics, papal or otherwise. It appears to baptize evils we ourselves banished by decree and by mode of living. And also baptizes modes of politics that free peoples instinctively despise.

    For example, the politics of rich vs. poor entirely leaves out of account the critical question: How do we create wealth?

    Once wealth is created, distributing it is a lesser problem. Put in old-fashioned terms: First, we must bring down a few buffalo; then we decide who should have what portion of the meat to dry/salt.

    Beware the person whose constant focus is the less daunting part. Chances are, he is a politician, not a hunter.

    He won’t create wealth, but he wants a big say in distributing it, to the increase of his personal power without notable achievements in creating wealth.

    Such politicians afflict many nations today. To the extent those nations vote for his forty-car motorcade and lax approach to constitutional issues, they will get more of him and less of prosperity. (Except for a clever, possibly amoral, few.)

    Faithful Catholics in prosperous countries often sense this, and are disquieted by the apparent adoption of glam followed by SLAM!! = More violence, misery, and a self-righteous sense of grievance; less honest recognition, reform, and prosperity.

    The fact that many people feel vindicated by the rhetoric does NOT make it a correct direction or desirable social choice.

    Finally, tolerance of mafias is a *public moral choice.* The most useful question is, why are they less a feature in, say, Norway than in Sicily?

    The subject is important, so honest answers are the only ones worth pursuing. But they will not likely be pursued, because the mafia does not exist by itself. It exists because a society had made the public moral choice to tolerate it, and wants to be seen as pitiable victims instead. Freedom was never won that way.

    Note: The prime minister of Canada has a 2-car motorcade. Most working-age citizens could afford to buy and drive a car.

    Indeed, his country could buy and sell many many grievance-monger nations, most of whose citizens could not afford to buy and drive a car.

    We don’t want to do that; we will only try to help. But we can’t help until ice cold water facts replace dishonest, self-serving “Third World” rhetoric. And forty-car motorcades are regarded as evidence of criminality.

  11. 11
    harry says:

    Axel @9

    … we can all be confident that God is in charge at all times, and these even seem to be the end times – so more reason for hope.

    My amateur opinion: We are either in the end times or a great chastisement is drawing near. One or the other. God’s great love for us won’t allow Him to just let things go on as they are. His chastisements are filled with His love, just as a Father might spank his little son for riding his tricycle in the street. The child might not realize it at the time, but his father’s chastisement was filled with love for him. His father’s love for Him demanded the chastisement. So it is with humanity in our times. Love demands that we be chastised.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    The “end times” ended almost 2000 years ago.

  13. 13
    Axel says:

    It’s no use trying to use your Sat-Nav thinggy for chronological purposes, esteemed Mung, unless it’s about a road trip.

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    Very true, Harry. I think it’s likely to involve, a chastisement, but I’m inclined to anticipate a ‘dream’ future.

    Don’t put yourself down, Harry. We’re all amateurs when you get down to it. We perform roles given to us, just as long a God thinks fit. None are our own,

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    It is not anti-social, Denyse, to strive for the poorest to have a roof over their head, food in their mouths and adequate clothing.

    The poor do not want wealth. That is why they are poor. They think they do, of course, but if they did, they would acquire it. ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart is.’ So the poor are in the literal sense of the word, ‘harmless’, the meaning of ‘innocent’.

    The corollary of that is, of course, that the heroes of our Brave New World, our ‘techno’ society, the billionaire entrepreneurs are the key malefactors, and have set the rules for those you deem to be the more general wealth generators.

    Well, in the normal sense of the term, that may be so, but Adam Smith recognised that merchants were endemic rogues, and would, today, have them tagged. He said they couldn’t even get together for a cup of coffee without conspiring to act against the public good, usually by raising prices. Smith actually thought taxes on income should been paid according to the individual’s means, which would possibly mean even eminent and highly-qualified technocrats and other professionals such as your good self, would pay even less, perhaps a good bit less in the way of taxation than you do now; while the public would pay none.

    Were this the case, we would not be on the cusp of a global economic tsunami, caused by nothing other than the polarisation of wealth resulting from the fathomless greed of the Haves, most notably of course by the billionaire pied-pipers. Neo-liberal psycho, Milton Friedman was quite up front about it, saying that the only moral responsiblity of the CEO was to maximize shareholders’ profits.

    This is the antithesis of Christianity. We are returning to the kind of crypto-fascism throughout the West, that favoured Mussolini and Hitler and their thugs in the twenties, and could have prevented WWII a late as 1938, but chose not to, because the Nazis were good for the stock-market.

    Some of our Tory leaders in Thatcher’s Government, who had been Nazi ‘groupies’ and cheer-leaders in the twenties, spoke of the working man as ‘the enemy within’, and to this day, the Tories speak of the unions as the nation’s enemies. As if they weren’t the larger part OF the nation.

    Incidentally, In 1951, $45,000,000 of Krupp’s property was restored to him and several companies placed back under his control. He was also given back the 70 pieces of art that had been stolen from him. He had employed slave labourers from the concentration camps, although it was just exchanging one concentration camp for another. They were starved and beaten in the same way. Indeed, it was Krupp who had suggested ‘extermination through labour’, using the selected concentration-camp victims as slave labour.

    The Scandinavian countries, of course, are for the most part Protestant, so for the most part, do not share in the extraordinary guilt of the Catholic Church in being the state religion of most of the tyrannies in the Christian world.

    In the US, Catholicism is especially ‘red in tooth and claw’, and it’s no coincidence that some of the most right-wing Republicans are Catholics. Moreover, previous popes have admitted that the Church, itself, helped to create the mafia; nor do I think it’s dumb chance that Italy has the reputation of being the most corrupt country in Europe. A Dawkins kind of dumb (bad) luck, maybe… intelligent design from the dark side.

    Well, we could talk for hours I expect on these themes, but basically, I’m saying the poor, far from being feckless ‘no goods’ are our spiritual superiors, according to Christ and the scriptures, and the only justification for our exploiting our worldly analytical intelligence in pursuit of technological progress is in using it to assist their survival. Otherwise, hunter-gatherer societies are far wiser arrangements.

    It’s not even as if it were a question of equality of affluence, the poor effectively despise it. It is a question, rather, of curbing the fathomless avarice of the wicked for the public good, as well as the the more worldly-wise but less benighted, who effectively support them. This life is a preparation for the next, not a game to see who can collect the most toys.

  16. 16
    Axel says:

    I can’t speak for Scandinavian atheists, many of whom choose to pay a tax for ‘the benefit of clergy’ at their (Lutheran) wedding, and funeral, but the left’s usurpation of the British Labour Party from coal miner and Methodist lay-preacher, Keir Hardie, has been predictably disastrous; albeit after a great start, finally, made possible by the disgrace of the Tories in the lead-up to WWII, fresh in the public memory.

    The very manifestation of Communism and atheist Socialism must be one of the greatest scandals of Christianity, since they stole the Second Commandment as their primary political ‘front’, to great effect.

    Obviously, less so in Scandinavia, where there seems to be no great bitterness against their church held by disaffected, former congregants, largely I suspect due to the absence of clericalism supported by a Pharisaic legalism.

    Right-wing Catholics must ask why it is that David, a king and believed to be the main Psalmist, nurtured such a deep compassion for the poor, while they prefer to blame them for their poverty. An immemorial custom, apparently. Indeed, we know from the Psalmists and the Prophets that one day, God himself will again vindicate them, to the disgrace of their oppressors, but this time, permanently.

    How St Ambrose was elected a bishop by popular acclaim, when he hadn’t yet even been baptised, would have seen them have a fit with their leg up’. But see how sublime were his words – not a million miles from the Beatitudes:

    ‘Ambrose considered the poor not a distinct group of outsiders, but a part of the united, solidary people. Giving to the poor was not to be considered an act of generosity towards the fringes of society but as a repayment of resources that God had originally bestowed on everyone equally and that the rich had usurped.’

    Sorry, I’m still digressing. I’ll call it a day, now.

  17. 17
    anthropic says:

    Axel, one of the most common misconceptions out there is that wealthy people are greedy and poor people are not.

    If someone like my dad works 80 hours a week for decades to build a successful business, he is “greedy.” But people who wish to simply take the fruits of his effort are supposedly not greedy, because they are poor compared to him.


  18. 18
    News says:

    Come on, Axel at 15 and 16, you must know that you were writing rubbish here:

    The poor do not want wealth. That is why they are poor. They think they do, of course, but if they did, they would acquire it. ‘Where your treasure is, there your heart is.’ So the poor are in the literal sense of the word, ‘harmless’, the meaning of ‘innocent’.

    Popular, but still rubbish.

    In my experience in a society where poor people have the necessities of life: Most *chronically poor* people DO want wealth but:

    Some dropped out of school, in a society where educational attainments are a *legitimate* form of discrimination.

    Some women have children with several different men, creating a household for which no one man wishes to be, or even can be, financially responsible.

    Some are substance addicts and/or acquire a criminal record, both of which make them difficult to employ.

    Some have an indifferent attitude to work, without having the capital assets to support that lifestyle.

    Some have mental or physical problems (but they, of course, can simply be pensioned for medical reasons, so I don’t count them).

    * chronically poor: Many people arrive in Canada very poor, but do not stay that way for very long. That is because they do not follow the lifestyles of the chronically poor. University students are also technically poor but do not usually stay that way through life.

    One trick of authoritarians who claim to be able to “fix” our problems is to lump all the above groups together, as “the poor.” You know, that saintly group who have merely chosen not to be rich.

    As if.

    Most have merely chosen lifestyles that do not lead to wealth. They may have had help with their choices from family and friends and self-serving social workers “authenticating their choices,” but they were choices all the same.

    I am not going to contribute to this thread any more. Indeed, I am ending it. I have had enough of listening to poverty-extending foolishness, and can’t bear to hear people make such fools of themselves promoting it.

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