July 31, 2011

Fallible Thoughts on the Debt Crisis

I'm puzzled by why devout Catholics who are wont to quote Richard Rohr expect their brethren to see forced charity via government auspices as the obvious way to go. Is the issue at least not controversial? I see the force of their argument, but I also see the wisdom of conservatism.

I think the reason we're in this crisis is that America sees itself not only as Christian, but as ruggedly individualistic. And there's the rub, the lens through which everything makes sense: the large defense budget, the startling generosity of Americans when giving to charity, and the resistance to a more progressive tax code. There's a wariness of fostering a dependency or giving inefficiently (we are the land of efficiency, after all). Many rich Christians give heavily to the poor through private charities and yet will fight to the death against a small tax increase. It's the principle of it, the American loathing of waste, fraud and abuse and the Western thirst for justice, that paralyzing thought that someone, somewhere is getting a free ride. We've become "powerful" as a nation partially due to that desire for justice - it's the system of law and order that has given us advantages over, say, Mexico with its corrupt police and government - but the downside is apparent as well.

Government-sponsored welfare tends to relieve the individual of charitable effort which, you'd think, Christian liberals would be against. It's us selfish people who should be of the liberal persuastion.

On the bright side, no one is going to miss their social security checks due to the debt crisis. There would be other problems, like federal employees missing checks if the crisis isn't solved - but you can bet the old (i.e. "those who vote in droves") WILL be taken care of.


dylan said...

The person of whom you speak in the first sentence is really far too amazing and too complex a soul to be reduced to the label of "liberal Catholic who quotes Richard Rohr"! Are there liberal tendencies there? Undeniably. But there are liberal tendencies in Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop Chaput, and in certain encyclicals by Blessed John Paul II. And even the fact that she has quoted Richard Rohr, on occasion, speaks to her ability to find good wherever it may be found -- as I've found nothing I can controvert in the quotations! (It doesn't make me a fan of Rohr, whom I still believe I can safely avoid.)

But yes, your first sentence is a mite reductive.

TS said...

She is awesome, and she goes unnamed for the fact that she is amazing and it would be reductive to both name her and summarize her that way. Perhaps it's a credit to her that I'm in the process of wondering if my political beliefs are viable whatsoever!

dylan said...

Glad to see the change of phrasing!

TS said...

Indeed I changed "liberal Catholics", which is a perforative in many blog circles, to "devout Catholics" which applies in this circumstance!