Neither Truth Nor Charity, Part 2: Globalization and the Pope’s Discontents

by Mario Rizzo  

Throughout Pope Benedict XVI’s enclyclical (“Caritas in Veritate”) he stresses that scientific knowledge is not enough when trying to determine appropriate government policies or even individual actions. This is quite true.  

He fails, however, to appreciate in many specific instances and arguments the importance of the fact that that moral or ethical knowledge is also insufficient to determine appropriate government policy or individual actions. He pays lip service to this idea (Sec. 9, 30) but it rarely constrains him in practice, as we shall see. 

Now consider a specific issue.  

The pope is worried about the effect of globalization on the traditional welfare state. (Sec. 25) Continue reading

Man: The Political Animal?

by Gene Callahan

I recently saw a prominent anarchist saying, in effect: “Look, we can all go wrong — after all, one of the greatest thinkers in history called man ‘the political animal.'”

This statement, I think, exhibits a common misunderstanding of what Aristotle meant here. Man is a political animal, the Philosopher held, because he is the one animal that tries to order his social arrangements according to his sense of, and rational arguments about, the justice of those arrangements. Thus the anarchist, in debating the justice of the State, is illustrating, and not disputing, Aristotle’s point.

It is, in fact, Hobbes’s position that the anarchist should dispute — if man is not naturally a political animal, then justice is just a creation imposed on the natural human exogenously, and there really is no arguing against the justice of the Leviathan — there simply is no justice in the absence of whatever it defines as just!’

Judicial Empathy

by Roger Koppl

Thomas Sowell and others have criticized Ombama’s call for “empathy” from the bench.  Criticizing the Sotomayor nomination, he says, “ ‘Empathy’ for particular groups can be reconciled with ‘equal justice under law’– the motto over the entrance to the Supreme Court– only with smooth words. But not in reality.” 

I have my doubts about Sotomayor.  For example, I fear she may too readily defer to law enforcement.  (See here and here.)  I think the quoted remark of Sowell is mistaken, however.  Empathy is a friend to justice.  Continue reading