terça-feira, 13 de julho de 2004


Unpublished Memo to the Volker Fund, by Murray N. Rothbard, Dated: May 1960

Documento de 16 páginas, fica aqui o seu início.

"There is, first of all, no official and specific “Catholic position” on capitalism.

There are enormous differences among Catholics on political and economic questions: and Catholics can be found who are left-wing anarchists, socialists, middle-of-the-roaders, fascists, and ardent free-enterprisers and individualists. Even on such strict dogmatic matters as the immorality of birth control, Catholics, agreeing on that, differ as to whether birth control should or should not be illegal.

There had, however, been a kind of “central tendency” or drift, particularly in Europe, where the Church is apt to intervene more directly in political questions than it does here.

Papal pronouncements on social questions are generally highly vague and take on a consciously eclectic hue - understandable in the light of the Church’s aim to speak for every member of the flock of varying political and social tendencies. The effect, however, has been to move into a “middle-of-the-road” position. It is no accident that, generally in Europe the specifically “Catholic” parties are the eclectic, compromising parties of the “Center.”

The kind of position which says that both extremes - of individualism or capitalism, and of socia1ism are wrong, that both the individual good and the common good should be considered, that the State should be active for the common good, and yet not go beyond a limited sphere - all these homilies, seemingly innocuous and all-inclusive, permit a very wide interpretation of specifics, and therefore great diversity among Catholics although they do give rise to a middle-of-the-road tendency.

(The inner contradictions and fuzziness of Catholic thought can be seen in handling political issues; thus, a priest, when queried about Catholic Presidents of the U.S., how much they are subject to Catholic rule, etc., will say, in the same interview, that

(a) all Catholics are subject to the same Church law, but that
(b) public officials can get special exemptions by virtue of their office -


(a) that God must come before the State, but
(b) nothing that an American President could possibly do under the Constitution could
possibly call down official Catholic censure
. And so on.)

Dr. Diamant, in describing European Catholic reaction to the Industrial Revolution, puts the situation as follows:

Just as Catholics in dealing with the modern state had attempted to steer a middle course between the unacceptable extremes of political individualism and totalitarianism, so in Readings on Ethics and Capitalism: Part I Catholicism: Memo by MNR (1960)dealing with the ‘social question,’ they spoke about a two-front war against Adam Smith and Karl Marx, against laissez-faire and socialism. Because they differed on the nature of the ‘middle course,’ they held a variety of views on the social question,ranging from those of ‘Catholic liberals to Catholic (religious) socialists and corporativists

(Alfred Diamant, Austrian Catholics and the First Republic, Democracy, Capitalism, and the Social Order, l9l8-1934 (Princeton University Press, 1960), p. 15).

Most of the specifically “Catholic” social thought has been Continental European, which, in a way has been unfortunate, since European Catholicism has been much more anticapitalist than Catholicism in the U.S. The Papal Encyclicals, which we will turn to first, have been strongly influenced by the European “Social” Catholicism and its various movements. In the United States, Catholics think politically and economically, much like other Americans, and they range in the spectrum from the extreme-right wing Brooklyn Tablet to the highly New Dealish Commonweal, and even to the left-wing anarchist Catholic Worker.

The central tendency, however, especially among parish priests and rankand-file, is often quite conservative and pro-capitalist. As for the Papal encylicals, it must also be remembered that Catholics are not required to take them for gospel; only the Pope speaking “ex cathedra” on matters of high religious dogma - which of course is a rare event must be obeyed implicitly.

The two famous “social” Encyclicals of modern times are Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novaru(1891), and Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (1931). (For convenient full texts, see Father Gerald C. Treacy, S.J., ed., Five Great Encyclicals (New York: The Paulist Press, 1939).)

I have read these two works carefully, and according to my reading, there is a great deal of difference between the two. Rerum Novarum while, to some extent middle-of-the-road and with a pro-labor bias, is fundamentally libertarian and pro-capitalist. Quadragesimo Anno,on the other hand, is virulently anti-capitalistic(...)"

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