Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Objection Rebutted

2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.186 The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. the appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
2403 The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. the universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
2404 "In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself."187 The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
2405 Goods of production - material or immaterial - such as land, factories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.
2406 Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.188

A rather damning indictment against libertarianism, isn't it? Hardly.

To be clear, I am Catholic, and I believe everything taught by the Catholic Church that falls within Her competency. Proper understanding of this passage is key.
"Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good." Well sure political authority does. So does private authority. Remember, authority ≠ power.
If a man is threatening me with a gun, I have the authority and the right to take that gun, even if it belongs to him. So too does government. That is legitimate regulation of the use of private property.
Good cheese is clearly a basic human right.
We believe in the universal destination of goods. Man has the right to have his basic needs met. In return he has the obligation to, inasmuch as he is able, earn those basic needs. If, due to circumstances beyond his control, he cannot earn those needs, he still possesses the right to them, however if he willfully rejects the possibility of earning those needs, so too does he forfeit his rights to them.
All men, and therefore government as well, have the authority to regulate the right to private goods in this manner.
What may never be approved of is aggression or violence against those who infringe upon nobody's rights. The State commits this violence when it dictates that you must help fund abortions, or that you must fund contraceptives, or that you must fund projects of questionable economic benefit (such as social security, federal health departments, and state-run education). Not only does this not contribute to the common good, it actively infringes upon it, both through the policies being funded themselves, and the inherent violence used to secure the necessary funds.
Sir, we noticed that you forgot to pay your income taxes this year.

I'll add as a sidenote, that #2405 above is hardly even worth framing in a market libertarian perspective. The only way to benefit the greatest number is through the workings of the market. The State has no right to arrogate themselves to this 'duty', and even if it did, we have seen time and again how spectacularly it fails.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, this is completely brilliant. I am loving reading your thoughts! I hope you get a lot more readers soon because I think this is stuff people should be reading. *high five*