Judge Napolitano on the Pope’s Economics

Mises Institute Distinguished Scholar Judge Napolitano today examines the current Pope’s economics:

Traditional Catholic social teaching imposes on all of us a moral obligation to become our brothers’ keepers. But this is a personal moral obligation, enforced by conscience and Church teaching and the fires of Hell — not by the coercive powers of the government. Charity comes from the heart. It consists of freely giving away one’s wealth. It is impossible to be charitable with someone else’s money. That’s theft, not charity.

If you give until it hurts, freely and out of love, and seek nothing temporal in return, you have built up treasure in Heaven. But if the government takes from you and redistributes your wealth to those whom the government has decided to benefit — rich and poor alike — what merit is there in that for you? If you give a poor person a fish to eat, in a day, he’ll be hungry. If you show him how to catch fish and teach him how to acquire the tools needed to do so, he can become self-sufficient and perhaps one day rich enough to help others. If the government takes money from you to buy the person a fish, half of the money will be wasted.

The Pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth. Pope Francis must know this. He must also know that when Europe was in turmoil in 1931, his predecessor Pius XI wrote in one of his encyclicals: “(N)o one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist.”

Read the whole thing. 

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