June 27, 2013

Another Excerpt

Interesting thoughts below taken from National Review's Kevin Williamson in his book The End is Near:

Familiar fraternal organizations such as the Masons, the Elks Lodge, and the Odd Fellows, together with smaller groups and organizations specific to particular ethnic and immigrant populations, included an astonishing number of Americans in the first half of the twentieth century: About one in three Americans over the age of twenty-one belonged to such groups; that number, however, understates their prevalence, since many of those members were the heads of households whose wives and children were covered by the social insurance policies they offered.

The U.S. Catholic bishops informally (and sometimes quasi-formally) lobbied for the passage of the PPACA—and then complained bitterly when the same Leviathan they’d gotten into bed with decided to force Catholic institutions to buy insurance paying for services they object to on moral grounds, such as abortifacient drugs. Imagine how much better things would have gone if instead of lobbying the government for a coercive, one-size-fits-all solution to the very real health-care problems facing the United States, the Catholic Church had gotten into the mutual-aid insurance business itself. If the 150,000 employees of Coca-Cola are a big enough buying bloc to negotiate a great deal for themselves, how much better could the 77 million Catholics in the United States have done—especially with a nonprofit provider made up of the beneficiaries themselves? If such a thing were organized at the diocesan or parish level, it would replicate many of the social benefits associated with the old fraternal model of self-insurance.

... if somebody could remind His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan that millions of Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, and Italian-Americans, almost exclusively Catholic, used to within living memory take care of themselves and their neighbors—being their brothers’ keepers, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, providing for orphans and widows, the whole enchilada—without any help from the political powers (which is to say, without rendering too much unto Caesar), and maybe introduce him to Kickstarter, he might not have to worry too much about Washington telling him that he has to pay for mifepristone on Monday after sermonizing against it on Sunday.

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While the Church is hardly an NGO (as Pope Francis reminds us), it does seem like Catholics had more of a "can do" spirit back in the 19th century. We faced prejudice then and instead of trying to change the public schools and demand fairness within them, we built our own school system.

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