Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Real Issue


Inevitably, when discussing capitalism versus socialism versus the Just Third Way, somebody will shift the basis from what is the right and just thing to do, to what is the most expedient or that gets them what they want, regardless of the cost to others.

Take, for example, this comment we got in response to some statements regarding the moral superiority of the Just Third Way to either capitalism or socialism.  It is something of a non sequitur, but that’s par for the course in these discussions:
Niccoló Machiavelli: the end justifies the means.
I think the expansion of ownership of capital IS a good idea. Again, the point I am making is about the failure of political factions in this country to communicate adequately about their ideas, and listen to their opponents ideas, leaving us with a half understanding of our adversaries' political camps. For the people I talk to, capitalism means a society based around money. In your language, it is the worship of Moloch. For the people I talk to, socialism means a society based around people. It is highly semantic. I am making a more abstract point here which I think you are missing. I am not advocating for socialism but a shared understanding of social issues which will lead us into a future of greater freedom, justice and community. Those are the true goals of our society, as I see it, and I think you would agree. Any economic system is just a means to achieve those goals.
Right off the bat we saw one of the chief problems with both the capitalists and the socialists.  That is the fixed belief that the end justifies the means.
Both capitalists and socialists are obsessed with this.  An adherent of the Just Third Way will say something along the lines of how the natural law principles of the Just Third Way make justice more likely.  Almost immediately comes the reaction, which differs only in the name of whoever is reacting:
·      The Capitalist: “Can you name another system besides capitalism that has lifted more people out of poverty?  Socialism doesn’t.  More people have been killed in socialist countries than anywhere else.”
·      The Socialist: “Can you name another system besides socialism that cares about people?  Capitalism doesn’t.  More people have died of starvation and neglect in capitalist countries than anywhere else.”
Do you see the problem here?  For both the capitalist and the socialist, the issue of whether their respective systems are in accordance with justice is completely irrelevant.  All that matters are the results; the end justifies the means.
Henri de Saint-Simon
Are the claims of the capitalists and socialists correct?  That was not the issue.  Get bogged down in trying to prove that their claims are factual, and you will never settle anything.  All you will end up doing is trading insults and then blows.
The real issue is whether people and their institutions are God-centered, or people-centered.  Capitalism (as the term was invented by the socialist Louis Blanc in 1850) means a system that is centered on a private sector financial √©lite. Socialism as described by Henri Saint-Simon in Le Nouveau Christiantisme in 1825 is centered on the abstraction of the collective
The Just Third Way, as is clear from the CESJ Core Values, is personalist and centered on God.  It thereby tries to respect the human person as a being made by God.
Any system, whether capitalist or socialist, that fails to respect the rights of every single human being to life, liberty, and private property, along with the means of obtaining, securing, and enjoying the same, is contrary to natural law and thus to the Just Third Way. You may not violate a single person’s rights even to gain the greatest good.
And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?  Not whether abstract millions have starved or profited, but whether you are starving or profiting.  Why should your rights be violated to placate an abstraction?
#30#