TCS Daily


Cafeteria Catholicism and the Minimum Wage

By Stephen Bainbridge - January 19, 2007 12:00 AM

When liberal Catholic politicians support abortion rights, conservatives are quick to accuse them of being cafeteria Catholics. When conservative Catholic politicians oppose increasing the minimum wage, liberals are quick to hurl the same accusation.

The metaphor is an apt one. Many Catholics stroll past the array of teachings offered by the Church, choosing to obey those that appeal to them personally and rejecting those that do not. Unfortunately for cafeteria Catholics, however, the Church makes clear that the cafeteria approach is not an authentic form of Catholicism. To the contrary, the faithful "have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church." (Catechism ¶ 2037.)

At the same time, however, the Church encourages lay initiative "especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life." (Catechism ¶ 2037.) Clearly, there areas that the Church leaves to the prudential judgment of the faithful.

How do we distinguish between those areas in which faithful Catholics may properly disagree with pronouncements by the Pope or a bishop and those as to which faithful Catholics must give their assent even if their personal judgment is to the contrary?

We begin with the Magisterium or the teachings of the Church. Catholic doctrine divides Church teaching into two basic categories. The sacred Magisterium encompasses the infallible teachings of the Church as pronounced by the Pope acting ex cathedra or by the Pope and Bishops acting together in an Ecumenical Council. "When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine 'for belief as being divinely revealed,' and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions 'must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.'" (Catechism ¶ 891) Contrary to what many non-Catholics believe, there are relatively few infallible teachings. Indeed, much of the sacred Magisterium is captured in the Nicene Creed. Another well-known example is the promulgation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

The vast bulk of Church teaching does not rise to the level of the sacred Magisterium. Instead, it consists of the ordinary Magisterium:

Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. (Catechism ¶ 892.)

The distinction between "obedience of faith" and "religious assent" is an obscure one, which I think we can safely leave to the professional theologians. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) teaches that religious assent requires we acknowledge the teachings "with reverence" and "sincerely" adhere thereto.

The difficulty is that Church documents frequently fail to specify whether the teaching in question is to be regarded as part of the sacred Magisterium or the ordinary Magisterium, or something as to which faithful Catholics may properly exercise prudential judgment. There is an old saying in the Church: "When it is not necessary for the Bishop to speak, it is necessary that the Bishop not speak." Unfortunately, the hierarchy honors that wise advice mostly in the breach.

Consider, for example, the recent controversy over the execution of Saddam Hussein. Before Saddam's execution, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, opined that it is not morally licit for anyone, "even the state," to kill another person. Is this Magisterial teaching? Arguably not.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, in pertinent part, that:

The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.

"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'" (Catechism ¶ 2267.)

A fair interpretation of that teaching, especially when it is read against Pope John Paul II's writings on the death penalty, is that the Catholic Church as a matter of ordinary magisterial teaching strongly disfavors the death penalty. Specifically, as a matter of ordinary magisterial teaching, the Church commands that the death penalty not be used if imprisonment (or other punishments) adequately protect society against the wrongdoer. Faithful Catholics should give this teaching religious assent.

Notice, however, that the Catechism does not ban the death penalty per se. Instead, it leaves open room for the exercise of prudential judgment with respect to the question of whether, in a particular case, "bloodless means" will not be "sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons." Cardinal Renato's pronouncements on Saddam's execution reflect his own prudential judgment, but they need not be regarded as Magisterial teachings to which the faithful are obliged to give religious assent. Instead, faithful Catholics may exercise their own prudential judgment on that issue.

The hierarchy could help the faithful by doing a better job of categorizing specific pronouncements. In the meanwhile, faithful Catholics must exercise discernment in attempting to determine whether a specific pronouncement by Church leaders is something to which they must give assent or something as to which the faithful laity may exercise prudential judgment.

A case in point is provided by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Domestic Policy Committee, who recent pronounced that the Bishops have "supported the minimum wage since its inception as a just means to protect the human rights and dignity of workers" and, accordingly, that the Bishops have renewed their "support for an increase in the minimum wage." As such, he called on Congress to raise the minimum wage.

Is support for a minimum wage part of the ordinary Magisterium to which faithful Catholics must give religious assent, even if they believe it is bad economic or social policy? Is Bishops' support for an increase in the minimum wage something that requires religious assent? I'll address those questions in next week's column.

Categories:

127 Comments

Peter, John and power
The Lord built his church on Peter, but at a cost, for Peter's faith derived its primary impetus from his volcanic emotions, which sometimes crowded out the power of the Holy Spirit to work through his faith. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times out of a fear his faith could not overcome, Jesus called into doubt three times the uncertain source of Peter's faith, his volcanic emotional nature, wisely offsetting it with severe responsibilities as if to weigh it down and subdue it with care.

Contrast Peter's nature with John's, whose faith derived its primary impetus from reason, and through reason, love. Of all the Gospels, John's best captures the philosophical and spiritual aspects of Jesus' message because John listened to his Lord with both his mind and heart.

Now, when it appears to me that the source of a particular catholic doctrine derives its primary impetus from emotion rather than reason, I know that its origin in revelation is uncertain, for that bumptious source of faith does not lend itself well to listening for the Holy Spirit's voice.

So it is with the Bishops' doctrinal decrees on the minimum wage law, which sound reason dictates will probably do nothing more than award benefits to some at the cost of others if it cannot alter the underlying causes of low wages found in nature and human nature. And of course it can't, as is true of all laws. Apparently, then, the Bishops primary impetus for issuing their decree was founded in the emotional thrill of supporting a feel-good law concealing the capacity to do greater harm than good.

This brings us to whether the office of the issuer of doctrines provides believers a reliable authentication of their source. I argue no, for the Lord built his church on Peter.

This is why I'm not a Catholic, for Catholics have much work to do sorting out their doctrines concerning the sources and utility of power.

Church & Politics … a bad idea
If the Catholic Church is going to get back into politics, I’ll have to boycott Catholic candidates. I found it particularly obnoxious when church officials speak out on the actions of non-Catholics.

Perhaps we can meet on common ground in the cafeteria. ;)

Huh?
Just Catholics? Or are there other ecclesial communities that "have much work to do sorting out their doctrines concerning the sources and utility of power."


What then are you?

Politics with no religion, the WORST idea.
Yes, by all means lets remove church (of any flavor)influence and criticism from politics.

Why have churchmen criticize the state? All it does is remove the administrative efficiency of the state, when we know that it should be above criticism and allowed to operate freely. We all knowe that the "free exercise" portion of freedom of religion contained in the consitution was just a typo and freedom of religion is freedom FROM religion.

We all know that by virtue of election, coronation or appointment, our political leaders have conferred upon them infinite beneficence, wisdom and sobriety.

If we need some moral consciences, we know the truly important and informed voices reside in important and informed celebrities like Bono and Natalie the Dixie Chick, left wing economists like Paul Krugman and enlightened academic luminaries from coast to coast like Ward Churchill.

There's just no need for Churches to get involved in politics. Then we can have a nice secular state such as Nazi Germany or any communist country, its not like the state actually makes mistakes or becomes insular or corrupt. Think of how much faster the government would have operated to abolish Jim Crow if that Reverend King had just gone about his proper business of confining himself to making pronouncements that affected only his flock. Who exactly was this Baptist minister to attempt to affect a political process that affected non-Baptists. After all, a whole bunch of white Presbyterians and Methodists had to give up their seat for those (black) Baptists who wouldn't just accept their proper place in society.

Oh, thats right Jason only has a problem with one church. Like a good little state educated drone, he prattles on like Hugo Black, for whom a stint on SCOTUS involved little more than swapping a white robe for a black one.


Kind of a rant super
but the point, if I get it right, is a good one. Leadership (espeically political leadership) without religious guidance always goes astray.

Yep, A rant Guilty as Charged.
I kind of intended it to be a rant. I was hoping there was so humor in the hyperbolic snarling sarcasm to make a point.

Most of the posters on TCS with a free market bent tend to be extremely heterodoxical on "conventional wisdom" and favor free and open exchange. THe post I responded to contained a little modern liberal/leftist/secularist koolaid, in that it spouts unmitigated acceptance of a popular leftist shibboleth thats life would be better if we just "imagined there's no heaven".

Jason's implicit fear of some sort of Catholic thearchy smacks of prejudice and is factually and historically incorrect. Catholicism was the one religion where official "de jure" discrimination was considered fine (various states had restrictions on land ownership and other activities by Catholics)and the only state approaching religious hegemony or thearchy by a single group is Utah, which is dominated by LDS congregants.

While I disagree mightily with LDS doctrines, I think I'd rather be in Utah than the Godless confines of Berkley or Amherst.

Think of where the great intrusions from government come from. I'll make the case the more ridgidly secularist the state is- say California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, the more likely you are to get socialist outcomes. Hence Massachusetts and California are beachfronts for socialized medicine and California is now planning on banning corporal punishment. Mass and NJ both have used courts to supercede centuries old understanding of marriage. Don't see that kind of intrusion in say the "bible belt", do we, where people regularly ask WWJD?














Cafeteria Catholics => Protestants
What seems to take religous professionals years to digest and tomes to document is very straight forward to me.

Martin Luther summed it up in "Christian Liberty".

Just as faith cannot be forced, 'good works' that are forced are evil and rejected by God.

God wants us to lead by example and not coerce others.

Forced good works (welfare, minimum wage, etc.) are ultimately worse than no good works.

worse for whom?
>Forced good works (welfare, minimum wage, etc.) are ultimately worse than no good works.

Why? Because religious extremists believe this? Why not judge each one on its own merit, improving what needs improvement, eliminating what doesn't work? Why refer to a blanket slogan instead of just looking at reality?

Really!! Here's a ticket to Riyadh!
You'd be much happier there, it seems.

Instead of nasty, relativist, unclerical Berkeley (that's how its spelled, named after the Anglican Bishop of Cloyne) wouldn't you prefer Wahabist Saudi Arabia, where the clerics are in charge, and nobody has to reach any of their own conclusions about anything. Is that what you think we need here, just asking WWJD instead of WWMD?

If not, why not?

for everyone
just look at the last 50 years.

heck, just look at you
...

You'd be happier there
Not that you'd ever confine your response to what's written. Nobody's proposing theocracy, but the right of people to use religion to inform their judgment and for religious organizations to make pronouncements on matters of public policy. All kinds of tax-exempt NGO's take public policy positions, and if you can't hear from churches, then I don't want to hear from Sierra, Greenpeace, MADD, NARAL, the Physican's Committee or anybody else.

Actually, its the left that wishes to impose its views on the rest, because liberalism is the church of the perfectible man and you'll perfect yourself or face stiff punishment from the state clerisy. You'll get a lot more understanding from a Christian cleric than you will from an IRS agent, thats for sure.

Any of your innumerable comments on economics are an indication that you are dogmatically faithful to the Gospel of Marx, you believe in the unfillfilled (or more precisely, unfulfillable) promises of socialism and your supplications to the lord government show a boundless faith. Why you and BobJones, Roybean et al, could even be called a virtual church, given as it is you all single from the same songbook and think your actually engaging in some "evangelism" here.

Frankly, I see no difference between living in the kingdom of Saud or Moscow circa 1975 or Maoist China or Nazi Germany- you can wax indignant about Ayatollahs and Imams, but you've shown to get what you want (income redistribution, socialized medicine), you'll bow to any commissar, any department. You like your autarchy secular, but still oppressive and unaccountable (at least when it taxes somebody else to give you freebies). Interesting that the viciously leftist anti-semites of Europe find such kinship with "religion of perpetual indignation".

As for my crap typing. I can't type worth a damn, so there.


I can't disagree at all
It would be nice to see the return of some sense and sensibility to these liberal enclaves of lunacy. I don't expect it soon though.

Just thinking about the direction that is taking us kind of sucks the life out of probable future developments, don't it?

Why not stop foaming at the mouth and get down to actual cases?
I mean, where's this coming from?

>, but the right of people to use religion to inform their judgment and for religious organizations to make pronouncements on matters of public policy.

And nobody's taking this away. If someone wants to oppose abortion, their opposition isn't delegitimized because it has a religous base.

>All kinds of tax-exempt NGO's take public policy positions, and if you can't hear from churches, then I don't want to hear from Sierra, Greenpeace, MADD, NARAL, the Physican's Committee or anybody else.

Sure. And these organizations have the same restrictions from supporting candidates in elections as churches. Some organizations, like the ACLU, for example, is not tax exempt.

>Actually, its the left that wishes to impose its views on the rest, because liberalism is the church of the perfectible man and you'll perfect yourself or face stiff punishment from the state clerisy.

You mean, if you break the law you'll go to jail? I don't disagree, but I don't particularly think it's just liberals who think this.

>You'll get a lot more understanding from a Christian cleric than you will from an IRS agent, thats for sure.

Donations to the church are tax exempt. Churches don't pay property tax. Is the idea that (say) Christians should be exampt from taxes and/or laws? If not, what's the point here.

>Any of your innumerable comments on economics are an indication that you are dogmatically faithful to the Gospel of Marx, you believe in the unfillfilled (or more precisely, unfulfillable) promises of socialism and your supplications to the lord government show a boundless faith.

Pleasse stop mischaracterizing my beliefs. All I've said is that government can effectively solve some problems. This makes me about as Marxist as Teddy Roosevelt, or Abe Lincoln.

>Why you and BobJones, Roybean et al, could even be called a virtual church, given as it is you all single from the same songbook and think your actually engaging in some "evangelism" here.

Gosh, it must be so terribly hard for you to hear ideas you disagree with. Maybe it would be easier if you just shut your eyes and ignored these terrifying posts.

> You like your autarchy secular, but still oppressive and unaccountable

I think you mean autocracy, and I don't like autocracy in any form, religous or sectarian.

>(at least when it taxes somebody else to give you freebies).

I pay my taxes, a substantial sum. Yes, I expect others to as well. I suggest you get used to paying them.

Mark's having a really hard time
it just keeps getting harder and harder for him, even though the rest of the country is doing pretty well, even after 6 years of incompetent clown government.

Brilliant post!
Such insight. Such mastery of the issue! Such depth of knowledge. Able to type "..." and not make a single mistake. We are not worthy.

"You must donate blood every 8 weeks"
What's wrong with that statement?

Or these:

"You will volunteer 8 hours per week of your time to community service."

"You must donate 10% of your salary to charity."

All I want to do is make you a better person.

Yeah, Robert?...
You are not a Bible-thumping Catholic? After all the sanctimonious, self-indulgent, high minded, Jesus saves arguments you have employed to prop up otherwise hollow positions...

Now, Superheater is reliable. We don't agree a lot and he calls me names...but he is sincere, works very hard and he is reasonable.

Robert. Too much the lawyer. More work and less with the flourishes of natural talent.

What's wrong is you have no authority to order this
But government does have the authority to levy taxes. You don't like some of the things taxes pay for? Sorry. Vote the rascals out.

Our debt is to rational secular ethics of
If you’re assuming that I think morality and government don’t mix, you couldn’t be more wrong. Ethics is important but religion isn't needed for ethics. Aristotle wrote the 1st treatise on ethics and it was based on natural considerations (not revelation.) Fortunately Aquinas championed Aristotle’s ethical ideas (see book two of the Summa). As for being anti-Catholic, let me say I respect the Church’s role as sponsor of the 12-13th century Renaissance in which Classical learning help reform the Church’s teachings. This was the Church's greatest days.

One of the greatest influences on Western politics was Cicero. It was his exposition on natural law and natural rights that influence Aquinas and the founding fathers. Cicero’s treatise on ethics, On Duty, was read by every educated man in colonial times, in Latin. Locke, (who continued the natural rights tradition) and the Ancients were important for our founding. Washington was said to model his life on the great Roman Stoic statesman Cato (the younger.)

In addition, the current Pope acknowledges the Church’s debt to Hellenic philosophy.

The modern leftist has rejected the great tradition of natural law and with it the core ethical teachings of our Greco-Roman heritage. But the Catholic Church hasn’t helped. During the last 100 years the major catholic nations have failed to withstand the tide of totalitarianism and dictatorship. Italy, Spain, and most of the major nations of Latin America have all had dictators at times. In comparison I give you the example of the nations of the Anglo-sphere: the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. They’ve all been able to maintain a liberal order and they were key in militarily withstanding totalitarianism.

If you wish to leave religion out of it and join me in a philosophical discussion, let’s meet in the cafeteria. Drinks on me. But if you must follow your leader, a discussion would be a sham.

Jason Pappas
http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/

Government orders
So when government forces business owners to pay higher wages, or to take money from 'the rich' to buy off the 'poor', one arguement used to justify this is a religious one.

God commanded us to help the poor.

He did, but He did not command us to take wealth from one and give it to another. He commanded us as INDIVIDUALS to give.


So any government who uses a religious aguement to justify welfare is wrong.

Religion and government
In MA, without the influence of religion, it is doubtful the commonwealth would have been created or prospered.

Harvard was startd as a religious college.

The religion of New England in the 1600s provided the discipline for people to work hard for God, for the common wealth and themselves.

A business class taken at Weber State in Ogden, UT opened my eyes to the benefits of free makets and free enterprise. (I don't know if the professor was LDS.)

God is required to keep men humble.

Where's this coming from? This from the guy who punctuates discussions with "Blow Me"?
You.

Foaming at the mouth? This injunction is coming from the individual who punctuated a discussion with "Blow me"?

Thanks for validating my point that the left has a creed. You'll notice that I you complained, in a feudian slip, that your "beliefs" (not principles) were mischaracterized. Sorry Eric but anybody who reads you knows what your polical persuasion is, even if you don't.

No, I mean autarchy-there's a difference.

Your the one that blew the cork. I'm not stopping you from posting-if your posting here, you are huffing and puffing but not "blowing" anbody's house down.


No Subject
I saw nothing that denied the adoption of SOME Hellenistic principles by Aquinas. However, the ancient Greeks clearly had a few things we should also reject-since they disappeared-but that has nothing to do with your original post.

I did however see that you consider the Church or perhaps all churches as children that should be seen and not heard.

As for your assertion that the US/UK/Canada, et al have resisted dictatorship, true enough, not one of them has had a Franco. They do however have a creeping burdensome administrative apparatus (the judiciary and executive bureacracies) that exists in the shadows and is hardly representative government. See how many US tax bills start with "the secretary shall prescribe regulations". Before you dismiss the existence of unaccountable power in the anglosphere read Charles Adams book "For Good and Evil.." and see how Supreme Court justices, specifically Abe Fortas received audit notices after visiting dissent on the IRS.

Sorry, beyond the fact that religion is an interest of mine, I don't consider it an old coat to be discarded because it doesn't meet with the new neighbors approval. Christ was very clear that he wasn't looking for the tepid or timid.

Lemming can't even tell
That relativism and radical utilitarianism are hallmarks of leftist philosphy, as is the justification of means with ends, so he'll go on believing he's perfectly centrist and recoiling in unbridled idignation when he's categorized as a statist, leftist, secularist. Of course, we all know his discomfort is just a rhetorical cudgel.

To bad he won't apply some of this charity to oh, say the Bush Administration-but then again, its so much easier to just chant "bush sucks", "bush lied"....when Bush is pretty much a moderate leftist and expanded a whole bunch of the left's pet projects. (as if the left will ever want anything but "more")

By the way a good many people believe compelled charity is counterproductive-Milton Friedman was no religious extremist. Others notice "compassion fatigue".

Of course to Eric, "religious extremist" is repetition.

Funny how "a man can have no greater love than to give his life for a friend" is now "a man can have no greater love than to use government exact heavy tolls from one neighbor for the benefit of another".

Actually
That isn't just hyperbole.. community service is now part of many kids education requirements.

Our high schoolers get the same "sentence" as petty criminals.

No wonder there's such confusion.

I call 'em as I see them.
I don't call people names, unless its an accurate summarization. Lemual for example, will follow any leftist clap-trap off a cliff, ergo he IS a lemming.

I don't work hard at this, though.

All men need an outlet for their martial urges. I was fortunate to have been saved from the requisite skills needed for pugilism, so I battle with words.

We've all got the same problems on approach
I'm a Free Methodist but attend a non-denominational church. Many in my congregation and all others have the same conceptual problem with power: What's its source, and given that source, what's it good for? The source of your power exerts a determinative influence on your deeds, for it determines the rules and underlying assumptions you draw on to make decisions.

I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. Full of the Holy Spirit and swept up in spiritual ecstasy, King David utters prophecies no one understands until they actually happen. Swept up in what looks like spiritual ecstasy, Reverend Slick heals people who refuse to stay healed, instead suffering instantaneous relapses the moment they stuff their cash into Reverend Slick's offering bag.

What's the source of King David's power, and what's it good for? What's the source of Slick's power, and what's it good for? And for that matter, what were the sources of the American Bishops' power when they (1) proclaimed the minimum wage raise good church doctrine and so (2) gave the minimum wage raise the church's blessing? Were their sources of power closer to King David's or Reverend Slick's? To me it's obvious they were hopped up on some of Reverend Slick's go-juice.

The reason I'm not a Catholic is not only my deeply held suspicion of power, but also my preference for John's style of following Christ over Peter's, even though Peter's style is the best way to spread the Gospel. Because let me tell you, I deeply admire the Catholic Church and considered joining it many times. But what stopped me each time was the realization that the Catholic Church was more concerned with my heart than my head. I need a different approach.

Cheers.

Absolutes and Labels
"You are not a Bible-thumping Catholic? After all the sanctimonious, self-indulgent, high minded, Jesus saves arguments you have employed to prop up otherwise hollow positions... "

Your notion of my character and statements derives from popular rules you've blindly accepted and apply to the world rather than what you could have honestly gleaned from reading my statements and thinking about them, forest. And these rules are? (1) There are no such things as immutable moral principles existing outside of man's social context and discoverable via human reason; therefore (2) anyone who believes in such immutable moral principles is a fabulist, and worse, a tyrannical absolutist who wishes to impose his mind and will on all men. Of course, in this lot you must also lump Aristotle, Confucius, Jesus, and indeed the best part of human civilization's heritage and label them absolutists and tyrants. But that's no problem for you, is it forest? The irony is that your beliefs and conduct betray you as every bit the absolutist, as well.

Indeed, rather than attacking my positions with arguments of substance, you make a spectacle of yourself by hobbling around on the crutches the consensus your rules currently provide, slapping trite and meaningless labels on my statements. A pitiful display, forest, and one a man of your intelligence needn't stoop to given the obvious remedy of abandoning your flawed and mindless rules and approaching your beliefs and others' from different angles.

I know you've got it in you to break the chains of fashionable and popular dogma that are holding you back, forest, and I warmly invite you to do so.


I respond to personal insults in kind. In this case, I was speaking to the issue. Try it.
I gave a detailed response to each of your whines. Instead of dealing with what I said, you respond with a personal attack, as is characteristic.

Regarding "autarchy" - yes, there's a difference between autocracy and autardhy. "Autocracy" has an app[lication in context. "autarchy," economic independence as a national policy, is competely meaningless in a complaint about dictatorship.

>anybody who reads you knows what your polical persuasion is, even if you don't.

Except it's not Marxist, except in your warped imagination's search for a label to avoid dealing with the issue.s

But, since you can't talk to the issues, let me cordially invite you to blow me.

All kinds of arguments are used for all kinds of bills
I haven't used that argument to justify the minimum wage. Who has? If someone has, by all means give them, not me, your complaint. As far as a "government who uses a religous argument" --- are you talking about Franco Spain? YOu're not talking about the United States.

How shocking!!!
Having miscreants do community service instead of being whipped or incarcerated. What a travesty!! How evil!!!

So you know the truth and we don't. We are not worthy.
Is there somne reason why it's impossible for Supe to get down to specifics???

>That relativism and radical utilitarianism are hallmarks of leftist philosphy, as is the justification of means with ends, so he'll go on believing he's perfectly centrist and recoiling in unbridled idignation when he's categorized as a statist, leftist, secularist. Of course, we all know his discomfort is just a rhetorical cudgel.

This abstract labeling is utterly disconnected from any context or example or practice, with the idea that if I'm in favor of (say) raising the minumum wage, I must be defending Stalin and an apologist for Hitler, Sorry, no.

Regarding the Bush administration: it's incompetent. This is a matter now of historical fact, seen in Katrina and the unneccessary Iraq invasion, quite apart from ideology, attested to by millions and millions of my fellow citizens. Stupe thinks they know what they're doing?? I beg to disagree.

>Bush is pretty much a moderate leftist

And the sky is green and the sun rises in the north.

For the rest; you don't like taxes aimed at relieving misery? Vote the bums out/

"there are relatively few infallible teachings"
I was surprised to read the referenced quote. I know that there are not many "ex-cathedra" infallible teachings, but the author readily admits that the Pope acting in concert with the Bishops in an ecumenical council is also infallible. Surely, a great deal of our faith has been codified in ecumenical councils, and thus a substantial portion has been rendered infallibly.

Focus: Cafeteria Catholicism and the Minimum Wage
""Jesus has a preferential option for the poor," said the Rev. Neil Harrison of Loveland, policy chair for Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Colorado. "God has a preferential option for the poor. Anyone who makes a minimum wage income is well below poverty. For people of faith to be called to action is just part of our identity.""

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_4478073

The world does not revolve around you.

So the Reverend Harrison has religious reasons for minimum wage
And I have secular ones. I'm not saying Rev. Harrison doesn't have a right to express his opinion. I'm not calling him a religious fanatic.

Where's the problem here?? Let everyone give their arguments, and let's sort it out. Just because someone believes something for religious reasons doesn't make the something wrong, Someone calls the Reverend a lunchroom Lutheran for his view (don't know why), but it won't be me. Do you think he is?

And me agreeing with the Reverend about the minimum wage doesn't make me either a Lutheran or a Marxist or anything other than someone who thinks a minimum wage law will do some good.

Why not debate the merits of the law? Labeling like this is just a red herring argument to avoid the real issues.

Keep your day job, word-warrior.
This is really a little sad:

>I was fortunate to have been saved from the requisite skills needed for pugilism, so I battle with words.

Telling other people they have to listen not because you have made an argument but because you say you are an expert is not the mark of the ace word-warrior. Nor is namecalling and applying broad inaccurate labels ("Marxist") instead of examining individual cases.

>I don't work hard at this, though

Sure you don't.
Keep your day job, word warrior. Your a legend in your own mind.

Lets let ALL religious voices be heard
If REV. Jesse Jackson can express his political views from a pulpit ALL religious leaders should be allowed the same freedom from government persecution on marriage, abortion and ANY issue religious leaders want to discuss from the pulpit.

As for minimum wage, I base my objection upon the fundamental idea of private property. People own themselves and should be able to sell their labor for whatever price they are willing to accept. Conversely, an employer who wants to hire labor should be able to hire anyone he wants at whatever price he feels the labor is worth.

If $8/hr is good, why not $100/hr?

Look back to where you jumped in creep! You personalized this
Then whine about superheater not talking to the issues. You started out not talking to the issues but telling superheater to go live in Riyadh.

Your an @ss.

Some truth her, but only some
Since you want to leave religion out of the discussion, there is no discussion.
Have fun in the cafeteria alone!

Proportionalit, reality and power structures
you say - "As for minimum wage, I base my objection upon the fundamental idea of private property. People own themselves and should be able to sell their labor for whatever price they are willing to accept. Conversely, an employer who wants to hire labor should be able to hire anyone he wants at whatever price he feels the labor is worth."

Because it doesn't work that way and never has. Lets go back in history, way back. In most labor intensive industries throughout history slavary was the only method to force people to work "economically" in many industries. Whether it was building weapons stores, pyramids or roads. Most people opted to live off the land, farming and rasing livestock or working for themselves as a carpenter or some such. This eventually did filter up to some industry, but generally only to small independent businesses; and slavary reverted to labor intensive plantation farming and menial household labor.

Now fast forward to post civil-war America. The industrial revolution changed society and, by 1900 unfair labor practices were being exposed. Unions existed in this country since it's inception and the unions grew and began demanding better pay and child labor protection. The first child labor laws were passed in 1836, but the reformation movement grew. By 1899 many states had child labor laws but there was no uniformity and the push began for unified national labor standards. Meanwhile, the U.K. instuted a minimum wage in 1902 and this movement, also largely and offshoot of the industrial revolution and fair labor advocates, gained momentum in the U.S. The two finally meshed in 1938 when the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed.

It was, and is, uniformly acknowledged that employers hold all the power on this issue, without some intervention by government. Even labor unions are severely limited without some government support. The reasons for this are many (Lowest common denominator i.e. all business pay basic laborers about the same with or without a minimum wage, more workers than jobs throughout much of history, just to name two). There is no way this will ever be a level playing field and still isn't even close. Thus, a government enforced minimum wage, is the only guarantee some workers have as to what their labor is worth. This was always intended to be a "minimum living wage". But it has not come close to keeping up with that.

Compared to the minimum wage in 1970 ($1/hr), the present minimum wage in 1970 dollars is about 50-70 cents. As a comparison, in 1997 dollars, the minimum wage in the mid 50s was about $5.50/hr. Prior to 1980, the lowest level was in the early 60s when it dipped to a comparative $5. It topped out around 1970 at just under $7. About 1980, after another increase, it was about $6.30 and has been in steady decline every since. It presently sits below $4.50 equivalance. The present proposed spending power equavalance of $7.25 is only about $6. That is certainly below historic highs and falls somewhere in the low-median.

"If $8/hr is good, why not $100/hr?"

I love this stupid proposal. You know that it is not an arbitrary number, in spite of so-called economists blather to the contrary. It is not just "set it where we want". If you don't, it is you who needs the lesson in economics.

In fact, the minimum wage, has never kept up in spending power, economic equivalance; certainly not since the post WWII era. If it did, the present minimum wage would be around $9-$10/hr. Rather than establishing a minimum wage with guaranteed inflationary increases, we still stick with one that is guaranteed to lose ground immediately after being passed. Historically, we tend to set a new minimum wage during pretty solid economic times, thus this is a perfect time to do it again.

Face it, this hike will do little. I live in a state with a third world economy (compared to California or New York) and new hires at McDonalds are making $7-$7.50 an hour and have been for a couple of years. The fact that I know this to be true and that I don't know of any business starting even high school kids at under $6.50 is evidence plenty that the minimum wage is not an ecnomic issue and won't be at $7.25. Hell, it still wouldn't be much of one at even $9.

That being said, I'm against the raise. Why? because it isn't generally necessary (business is doing a pretty good job of keeping up because of a tight labor market) and, if you want to make a real difference, $7.25 isn't going to do that. This is a purely political move by the Democrats and does little or nothing to help the working poor (95% of which are already making more than $7.25).

If you want to make a real difference with lasting value, make the minimum wage $9/hr and guarantee inflationary annual increases and make the thing perminant. That would put the minimum wage at a living wage near historic highs and keep it there.

Of course, Democrats will never do that. First off, economists and big business would scream bloody murder and the perminance would mean the Dems could not in the future show their wonderful compassion by raising the minimum wage again in the future.

The problem with the minimum wage is that business never knows when it will get hit with an increase and whether or not the increase is going to be truely problematic. This is why there are economic hiccups every time the minimum wage is increased. If the minimum was set and the incremental raises were guaranteed, business could plan into the future for the effects it will have on them. This would make low end workers' expenses a more stable line on the balance sheet.

LOL!! You really can't read can you?
Superheater didn't say he has a problem with miscreants doing community service; he has a problem with high schools requiring community service for graduation.

He notes that this makes getting an HS diploma about the same level as finishing a criminal sentence. What part of this doesn't make sense?

We say getting an education will keep people out of criminal trouble, but we make a long -practiced, low-level, common criminal sentence part of the graduation requirement.

I guess that means that graduates will at least know how to do community service, probably the best part of their education at many public schools.

Minimum wage IS a stupid proposal
"Wage rates are a market phenomenon, are the prices paid for a definite quantity of labor of a definite quality. If a man cannot sell his labor at the price he would like to get for it, he must lower the price he is asking for it or else he remains unemployed. If the government or labor unions fix wage rates at a higher point than the potential rate of the unhampered labor market and if they enforce their minimum-price decree by compulsion and coercion, a part of those who want to find jobs remain unemployed. Such institutional unemployment is the inevitable result of the methods applied by present-day self-styled progressive governments. It is the real outcome of measures falsely labeled prolabor. There is only one efficacious way toward a rise in real wage rates and an improvement of the standard of living of the wage earners: to increase the per-head quota of capital invested. This is what laissez-faire capitalism brings about to the extent that its operation is not sabotaged by government and labor unions."

http://www.econlib.org/library/Mises/msT9.html#Part%20IV,Ch.21


"Work never stopped at Raytheon while the union was on strike, Hammond said. The company brought in another group of workers from its pool of 8,000 salaried employees, and some machinists covered by the union contract agreed to stay, she said.

``We met our production schedules,'' Hammond said. ``For a time, we did better than pre-strike levels.'' "

http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/pf/story.jsp?floc=FF-APO-1333&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20070114%2F1759422288.htm&sc=1333

Never been?
Clerics are not in charge in Saudi.

Personal??? I don't think so.
Riyadh is a place that is run religiously. And suggesting that someone who is hot to get religion into government should look at real world consequences is directly on issue. He could respond to the religion in government issue.

And they can
The line is on telling people how to vote from a tax-exempt pulpit, right wing or left wing. Or, let's remove the tax exemption from religion per se, parallel to the rules for other tax exempts.

That's another issue
Merits & demerit of minimum wage is an issue in itself. Which has been discussed elsewhere. I'm not going to bring it back here.

You mean, asking high school students to get out in the world & see probleems is evil??
Or wrong, or undesirable? How?? This is just screwy,

Why not read what I say??
Your first paragraph is just a tangle of half-understood labels and abstractions. "Relativism" is a silly, hoary charge that in essence says that just because religions differ about morals no moral judgements can be made. Believe me, liberals make moral judgments too - you may not like them, but they are as universal as any else. utilitarianism - dunno about 'radical' is hadly something that has historically led to mass murder, and has little or nothing to do with the idea that 'means justify the ends," except in the same way that religious fanatics' belief that forced conversion is justified because God wills religious conformity is 'means justify the nes thinking."

Regarding the Bush administration: I an many other people have discussed and analyzed its failures. This is not hate. Again, I have no idea where the thought that Bush is a moderate leftist comes from: perhaps you can share your insight here.

The idea that compelled charity can be argued, but government programs are typically not justified as charity, but as promoting a more healthy, crime free, etc. society.

I know many religious people who are not extremists. Some are. Deal with it.

>Funny how "a man can have no greater love than to give his life for a friend" is now "a man can have no greater love than to use government exact heavy tolls from one neighbor for the benefit of another".

Who believes this?? Not me. And you having to put words I don't believe in into my mouth shows your case is bankrupt.

Good : Was not talking to you
Besides, the issue of the piece was about the Catholic Church support of minimum wage.

I have argued God himself would not force one man to pay another any salary what so ever. God would strongly urge that the exchange must be equitable, but He would not use force, like the State does.

TCS Daily Archives