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Sunday, November 7, 2010

More on What I Believe

I have no finished solution, no absolutes for fixing societies problems, because I believe that man cannot do anything good without dependency on God.  But I do have views are similar to what Dorothy Day actually believed and experiences like her's.
Dorothy, before she converted to the Catholic faith,  wrote for leftist and communist publications and thought that Marx had the answer.  While she was closer to an agnostic than an atheist, she definitely did not look to God for guidance.  After her conversion she stated categorically to a communist friend that she believed in all the church taught.

She believed, as Aquinas taught, that there was a role for property in protecting people, a role for the State and a role for non-state actors.  She followed in her own fashion, G.K. Chesterton.   Chesterton sought a economic system of greater equality through the distribution to economic power.  More Capitalist not less he said, where more people would own or share in owning small enterprises.  The state was needed to protect this more than run socialist enterprises.  But Dorothy believed in more community, that we were trying to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Dorothy believed in ideals of Marx, but did not believe in the class struggle after her conversion.  Nor did she believe in the all owning state.

I have no objections to government ownership of enterprises when they can do more to protect and help people, like utilities, railroads and municipal bus systems. and I like Washington's State owned liquor stores because the state ownership reduces drinking, provides the employees a good wage and puts money into  the state coffers with little or no corruption.  I also believe in the emergency management  or ownership of industries by the government --like the brief share of ownership the government had in GM, which it has already sold.  It helped get GM going again for the consumer and the worker.
I most of all, though, like the producer and consumer cooperatives, credit unions, union owned businesses and similar organizations.  These stay independent of large government and the big corporations and directly serve ordinary people.  I would like to see a large percentage of the economy involved in these.

I also think as a nation we need to restore our badly frayed social safety net.  We are for instance raising retirement age, which forces more people into the labor market. At the same time pension funds and other non-government retirement programs are falling apart across the country.  Fewer employers are matching the 401 K retirements they established to replace defined benefit pensions. Welfare recipients have a fixed number of years on welfare now, regardless of the economy and unemployment.  Educational opportunities for young Americans are diminishing.  Food banks are overtax, while food stamps are less than they used to be.  More and more of the disabled are facing rejection when they apply for SSI.  These and other parts of the safety net need to be looked strengthened.

I also think as a nation we have let our infrastructure fall apart, our manufacturing base leave the country, our leadership in education and technology slide.  The government, our intellectuals and our technological elites together with our business and labor leaders need to join together for the good our the country to fix these problems.

Further I think the disintegration of the labor movement is harmful to the people of the country.  Our labor movement, while sometimes engaged in harsh battles or sometimes under less than honest leadership, the general purpose of the labor movement is the welfare of it's members and all the workers of the country.  The labor movement gave us the weekend and the 8 hour day and a rising standard of living.

Let me make clear here that I am not arguing a heavily ideological program.  These are ways of moving towards the concern for the poor a nation and a people are supposed to have, according to the Old Testament prophets.  But  am not pushing the program of one party or another  or moving away from pragmatic compromise and dialog.  . Most of all, as I said in my first blog, America needs to find her soul by looking in the eyes of the poor.  Practical and immediate concern as a matter of social justice and love is what I am most concerned with.

I also think that as a nation we have committed to much of our resources to war and global domination, rather than internal development and global cooperation. We are still the wealthiest nation in the world, one of the largest and most populated nations, a great nations with many natural resources, and technological advantages. We need to utilize those advantages wisely and compassionately.

At the end of the day, nothing we do on this earth, for the earth, is as important as our spiritual lives.  God is the kindest employer.  His benefits and payment or greater than any we can every receive from any capitalist or socialist employer or even by our own hands.  His is the way of justice, mercy and love.  It is against his love that we must measure our social actions and to his love that we must always return. Work as though everything depended on us, but pray as though everything depends on God, because ultimately it does.

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