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Published: Friday, May 9 2014 7:46 a.m. MDT

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LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

‘Pope demands 'legitimate redistribution' of wealth’

On Friday, he urged the U.N. to promote development goals that attack the root causes of poverty and hunger, protect the environment and ensure "dignified" labor for all.

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GOD Bless the Pope!

Amen, and Amen!

Cletus from Coalville
Coalville, UT

According to this kind of dangerous reasoning, government should have stepped in and redistributed the Little Red Hen's bread to the farm animals who had none, irregardless of the farm animals refusal to help produce the bread in the first place.

Or perhaps the Pope forgot the biblical lesson of the 10 virgins – the one where the foolish demanded the wise virgin redistribute her oil "because our lamps are going out."

Voluntary Christian charity is noble, but deliberate government action behind the power of the state designed to redistribute the wealth of free people is a dangerous form of despotism that violates the very fundamental tenets of liberty.

Be careful what you wish for and to whom you consciously, with full awareness and intention, make a pact with in order to get something you feel you are entitled to have simply because someone has more than you think they deserve.

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

Give a person a fish, you feed them for a day, teach a person to fish you feed them for a lifetime. Food stamps are daily fish, and is government redistribution of wealth. There is no future in continual giving to the needy if the needy are of sound mind and body and able to do their own fishing. THAT, is what every religious leader and politician SHOULD be teaching the people who they have influence with.

KDave
Moab, UT

No need to waste time in school. Just lay back and wait for that Govt. check.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Cletus from Coalville – “According to this kind of dangerous reasoning…”

If the world was a direct reflection of the analogies you offer – and we can find many more in the over simplified model of neoclassical economics and in the novels of Ayn Rand – then you would be correct in your conclusion.

Since the world is often not constituted this way – and since he was speaking to the World (the U.N.) in his remarks so we too need to look at the entire world – your conclusion are at best only half the story.

The other half involves entrenched inequalities of opportunity rendering social mobility all but impossible in much of the world, not to mention the plutocrats, oligarchs and dictators who have filled the vaults of Swiss banks with the stolen wealth of their countries.

Is there a parable in the Bible about a virgin who engaged in every unethical practice under the sun to obtain all the oil? Perhaps we would need to grasp both of these lessons to see the world as it truly is.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

I like what Mormon prophet Benson said about socialism. He said it is Satan's counterfeit system and contrary to the gospel of Jesus Chris.

I'm not even LDS, but I stand with Mormon Prophet Benson, who according to the LDS religion, was speaking for God during his time as prophet.

majmajor
Layton, UT

Look at the history of the "poor" and compare it with the U.N.'s own definition, there are less poor people than ever before. Look at Bill Gates' Foundation website, this year's letter provides an excellent overview of the improvements to the life of the "world's poor."

The argument, "the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer," sounds good, but it is a lie, and doesn't help solve anything especially in the United States.

To get a realistic view of the problem, and find out what needs to be done, one needs to look at the comparison of the current living conditions of the "poor" and with those societies in the past. Using this rational, the poor are doing better than ever. Is there is more work to do, and can we do better? Yes.

To truly help the poor, we need to look at what is helping the poor over the long-term (economic growth, jobs, clean water...), and put our future efforts into those areas.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

The Pope is doing his duty and advancing the teachings of Jesus, who is of course a Liberal.

Rush Limbaugh must be apoplectic about this latest round of "Marxist" rhetoric coming from the Pope. Of course ol' Rush, after taking a drubbing for his last slander of the Pope, won't dwell on the Pope's latest commonsensical comments.

It's a pity isn't it, that so many self-described Christians disagree with the Pope?

But it's not a surprise, is it?

"He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork"

Cletus from Coalville
Coalville, UT

@GaryO

Nowhere in the Bible will you find Jesus teaching that the Christian responsibility for charity should be surrendered to the government--it's an individual responsibility.

But it's not a surprise that the liberal penchant for powerful government control will misrepresent biblical teachings, is it?

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Cletus –

Nowhere in the Bible will you find Jesus teaching that the responsibility for charity should NOT be shared by government.

If you don’t like it, take it up with the Pope . . . And Jesus.

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

@Tyler D

I respectfully disagree...the appropriate role of a Constitutional Republic is to protect the people from "the plutocrats, oligarchs and dictators who have filled the vaults of Swiss banks with the stolen wealth of their countries."

The identification of capitalism as the responsible villain is a red herring and detracts from the relevant and underlying reasons behind the existence of poverty and inequality. Anti-trust laws, consumer protection, and regulation of unethical practices, unscrupulous conduct, and how business corporations are organized is a proper role of government and can provide an appropriate check on the ostensible weaknesses of capitalism.

But state violation of property rights and redistributing the property of a certain segment of the population under the guise of social justice is not the answer to inequality and violates the fundamental principles of liberty in a free society.

As Thomas Paine explained, "rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another." And government should not be in the business of inventing, granting or dismissing the rights of one population at the expense of another.

Cletus from Coalville
Coalville, UT

Hey GaryO

By your reasoning, nowhere in the Bible will you find Jesus teaching that the responsibility for spreading the Christian gospel should NOT be shared by government.

So, if you don't like the government preaching the Christian gospel, take it up with those preachers who believe it should...And Jesus.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hi Cletus -

By your reasoning, the Bible supersedes the American Constitution as the Preeminent Law of the Land.

It does not.

However the Bible and the Constitution do agree in some aspects.

Both seek to provide for and "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Essentially, American "Conservatism" and Christianity are inherently incompatible.

"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Gosh, I'm glad I'm not a "Conservative."

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Jesus instruction to help the poor was never accomplished through forceful taking.

And its' not a surprise that conservatives donate more and also a higher percentage of their income to charity.

Go compare Mitt Romney to barack in terms of perentage of their income given to charity.

Even take away Mitt's 10% to his church, he STILL gives more to charity(as a percentage of income as well as total) compared to barack.

And then go check out Biden.

For liberals, its another "do as I say not as I do" when it comes to giving to the poor.

Cletus from Coalville
Coalville, UT

Of course the Bible does not supersede the American Constitution. My example was a tongue-in-cheek response to your reasoning that just because Jesus didn’t cover what governments should NOT do doesn’t mean he supports them doing it such as surrendering to the government the Christian responsibility for charity. I believe most people got that.

For the life of me – I'm simply unable to see where the Constitutional allows for the government to redistribute wealth and property, of which this article is about, in order to "Secure the Blessings of Liberty." Quite the contrary – the term "Liberty" itself is the very antithesis of the liberal ideal of property confiscation and wealth redistribution.

Gosh, I'm glad I'm not a "Socialist."

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Hi Cletus –

So you think Jesus is a Socialist now huh? He’s a Liberal, yes, but I’m not sure I’d call him a Socialist.

The social contract is what binds citizens and individuals. Read some Locke and Rousseau, and you will find that the Liberty gained through the Social Contract and government supersedes “natural Liberty,” the kind found in the hypothetical state of nature.

Along with the Social Contract comes obligations, and those obligations include paying taxes that go toward promoting and providing for the General Welfare.

Yes, that’s right, the GENERAL Welfare, not just the welfare of the rich or the greedy, and not just the welfare of “Conservatives” who are so ungrateful they think they owe NOTHING to the nation that makes their personal success possible.

I’m glad I could help.

SCfan
clearfield, UT

Gary O

You and others often try to claim that Jesus was a liberal. By what standard? By todays standards of liberal/conservative, it is obvious Jesus would fall into both categories on different social issues. Or am I wrong and you actually believe Jesus would be in favor of abortion, drug legalization, same sex marriage, to name a few.? Certainly Jesus would have wanted help for the poor. I'm not sure though he would have expected government to have provided all of it. And I'm pretty sure that running up a 17 trillion dollar debt would not have been a good way to run a government in his eyes.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

Before you liberals jump up and down for this, take a look at your bank account, your home, car, cell phones, and everything you have. You are in the top 10% of the world for wealth. Are you ready to give up your bank account, house, car, cell phone, and much of what you have so that your income can be redistributed to the poor living throughout the world?

Copacetic
Logan, UT

@ GaryO and other like minded:

Massive liberal redistribution of wealth by the government has been tried time and time again. It goes by the names of marxism and communism, and caused tens of millions of people to starve to death in China and Russia less than a century ago. It was a total and complete disaster, in-spite of any original good intentions (doubtful).

We need to learn from history and go forward. Capitalism is what made the USA the most powerful and rich country on earth. And because of that wealth from capitalism, tens of billions of dollars have been given to poorer countries in the form of foreign aid and has saved millions of people from starving to death. Without our current form of government (capitalism), that generosity would've never been possible.

Liberals need to think this through (obviously not their strong point) before making such temerarious government edicts. Once our government wealth is given away, which will speed up the federal budget bankruptcy Obama currently has us heading toward (at unprecedented speed), the goose that lays the golden eggs will be dead and no more current help with be forthcoming.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Weber State Graduate – “I respectfully disagree...”

I agree with much of what you say but it’s only tangentially related to the point I was making – namely, that the world is not filled with constitutional republics and even where they do exist they do not always provide the checks on capitalism (which you rightly acknowledge) necessary to ensure a society of equal opportunity.

The Pope is not an economist – he is simply looking at the global results of this myriad of capitalist-like systems and reaching conclusions informed by his religion’s founder (to help the poor).

As to the justness of wealth redistribution, in a post-industrial economy where the really large amounts of money are not made through hard work but largely through economies of scale, I don’t think it’s quite as black & white as pre-industrial thinkers (even particularly brilliant ones like Thomas Paine) make it out to be.

But I am curious what you believe is a proper way to address inequality that doesn’t involve some level of redistribution (say, in order to provide universal education)?

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