Monday, November 10, 2008

I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints

Catholic leaders met in Baltimore, not to discuss their affinity for young boys, but rather to discuss their hope that the Obama administration will legislatively support the Catholic brand of morality. This is a classic example of a special interest group trying to take advantage of the rest of us to please themselves.

I personally do not care what Catholics believe in or worship. That is none of my business, and it is their right to believe in the tooth fairy if they so choose. Many Catholics operate charities, schools, shelters and other charitable organizations. This is all very admirable, and it shows that they are willing to practice what they preach.

However, when Catholics or any other religious group tries to legislate the choices that real people who actually exist can make on the basis of what some old man in the sky says, that is where I draw the line. They are not practicing what they preach, they are legislating what they preach.

On Tuesday, the bishops are expected to once again take up the issue of Catholics in public life. George urged Catholic officials to consider church teaching when setting policy.

"We respect and love you, and we pray that the Catholic faith will shape your decisions so that our communion may be full," George said.

But he also warned that it would "betray the Lord Jesus Christ" if those in public life try to "impose their own agenda on the church."

Catholic leaders -- who run hospitals, adoption agencies and other charities nationwide -- are deeply concerned that any changes in state and federal law not interfere with policies in Catholic agencies that reflect church theology.
God, save me from your followers.


The Mangy Squirrel said...

Awesome!! This was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. Thanks buddy!!!

Dinosaur Mom said...

Thank you for exposing this shocking practice of religious leaders attempting to influence public behavior through the democratic process. Let's hope that other religious groups like evangelicals or mormons don't try it. Good thing none of those groups thought of this during the recent elections!

Freemarket said...

DM- do think that it is a failure or a success of democracy that special interests groups can work the system to legislate their religion? Freedom means that no one can impose their agenda on the church, and the church cannot impose their agenda on anyone else. Sorry if freedom offends you.

Dinosaur Mom said...

I think lobbying by everyone on anything is evidence of a robust democratic discourse. It also happens to be an attempt by minorities of people with strong opinions to affect the agenda of said discourse.

So seriously, you're saying that the pernicious mackrel snappers are alone among special interest groups in attempting to influence which laws get created or how they're enforced on the general population?

Freemarket said...

DM- be a little courteous and read what I actually wrote and not what you think someone who blindly hates religion would have wrote. I never said that any one special interest group was alone in influencing policy.

Dinosaur Mom said...

Never mind. I'll go back to wasting your tax dollars and writing about reptiles. I think maybe someone set the switch on "humorless" for me today.

Anonymous said...

FM snaps at everyone. It's not personal, he's just grumpy. It's like he's either old before his time, or very bright; hard to say which.

Maybe this will clarify the distinction:

FM: What do you think about selling government owned infrastructure to private companies?

Freemarket said...

Anon- I am definitely just old before my time.

To answer your question, yes, I do think that gummint infrastructure should be sold to private individuals. It used to be an attempt to show absurdity in free market ideology by suggesting that a promoter of free markets wanted to sell the schools, sell the streets or sell national defense to private entities. I don’t think such a concept is absurd at all. Schools could be provided very easily by private entities, streets with a higher degree of difficulty, and national defense with a still higher degree of difficulty than streets. Ultimately, I believe that everyone should pay for what they use themselves or rely on private charity. Many people support a system of government to overcome the obvious problems of under production of public goods or externalities that a free market may create. However, it is clear to me that government creates its own problems of externalities and inefficiencies that outweigh any good that may come from government force.

Anonymous said...

That response is positively lyrical. Would be so relaxed and happy to buy in.

But Capitalism run amok is no better than our current socialist creep (I use that term loosely).

Private companies operate for profit, and sometimes that includes tires that explode while driving, merchandise for children made with lead, food harvested so quickly it contains that e-disease, not ebola – what’s the other one?

Therefore, when the powerful finance component of the private enterprise gets wind of the cost cutting opportunity on materials, proper materials to build a bridge will be changed to lower quality. And on and on.

FreeMarket said...

You are correct that private companies operate for a profit, but their profit-seeking nature serves the purpose of aligning the interest of the private company with the interest of the potential customer. Customers will not support an entity that is trying to screw them. In other words, I don’t think that your suggestion that private companies are generally attempting to exploit us all is valid.

Take your example of tires that explode while driving. A few years ago Firestone got into trouble for this with respect to certain tires that were on Ford Explorers. What did Firestone do in response? The initiated an expensive recall in which the faulty batch of tires were replaced for free, and to the extent that any lives were lost, I am sure that Firestone paid very heavy penalties to the victims. Not only is that, but the real value of Firestone (like all companies with a good brand name) resides their good name and reputation, which was dragged through the mud for a year or so. Do you think that it was profitable for Firestone to make faulty tires? On the contrary, they had every incentive to avoid this type of disaster.

One of my first posts on this blog was critical of the FDA. Everyone’s favorite example of the FDA doing good is their delay in approving Thalidomide. There is no question that this delay saved lives. However, when the FDA delays the approval of lifesaving drugs, that costs lives as people die while waiting for the drug approval. You can take a picture of a Thalidomide baby and put it on the front page of the newspaper, but you can’t take a picture of someone who dies waiting for a lifesaving drug to be approved. Nor can you take a picture of people suffering the effects of diseases in which medical marijuana may help them. And so on. Again, Thalidomide was highly unprofitable for the manufacturer.

The bottom line in all this is that the self interest of politicians is no nobler that the self interest of private companies.

PZGURU said...

This is the paradox of government. If all religion is "factored out" of government action or policies, then the government is in essence peddling agnosticism and those who practice religion (of whatever persuasion) will cry foul. If the government allows religious influence into its policies or actions, then the agnostics will cry foul.

It's a perfect mexican stand-off. In the end, all sides will be dissatisfied.

BTW - "Mangy Squirrel" has to be the funniest nom de plume on this blog, or just about any blog for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Firestone got in trouble for the SAME thing 25 years prior.

Profit translates to lower cost even if it means lower quality.

Everything profitized is in the short term.

Catholic by Choice, not by Command said...

I get the distinct impression that poor Freemarket was wronged by the tooth fairy, devastated when the curtain was drawn back on Santa, and was kicked in the shin by a smurf.

Catholics, Protestants, Athiests, Muslims et al should all be weary of lobbying government support of a particular theological belief. In God we Trust in only on currency as Christianity is the prevalant religion in this country. Should Muslims lobby to change it to Allah, much of the constituency would be up in arms- Christians, Jews, and Athiests alike.

Be wary of mixing church and state. Christians only like it because they are the majority. For now.

FreeMarket said...

CBCNBC- don't be silly. That smurf was not tall enough to kick me in the shin. They live in mushrooms, for pete's sake.

Anon 4:52- you are confusing safety with low quality. A Casio watch is lower quality that a Tag Heuer, but no less safe. Furthermore, reaping short term profits that create long term losses is exactly what the government does. Future taxpayers are stuck paying for a lot of the crap the government has done for present taxpayers. Social security, which we pay over 10% of our incomes to, will not be around for those under 40. That's a bitch.