The Pope and His Love of Perpetual Poverty

Pope Francis’ recent warning about the evils of libertarianism is full of the usual ignorant misrepresentations (selfish, antisocial, etc.). In it, he warns of the dangers of individualism and freedom. He worries, “[Libertarian individualism] minimizes the common good, that is the idea of ‘living well’ or the ‘good life’ in the communitarian framework.”

Let’s talk about that communitarian framework for a moment. I am neither surprised nor disturbed by the Pope’s commitment to the collective. Organized religion, by its very nature, is collectivist. Human beings need communities. We need family, friends, neighbors, etc. And religion does a great job of both nurturing and fortifying those important communities. Churches are better at this than secular or government busybodies.

Why? Because a church is chosen. Government, on the other hand, is forced. Collectivism can be beautiful right up until the moment it is mandated. When it is mandated, it loses its true purpose. It becomes a force for decay and, yes, even evil. The good power in collectivism is derived from the fact that it is freely chosen by the individual. A community is only as strong as its individuals are free. Religious collectivism works because it is voluntary. Government collectivism fails because it is forced.

One good way to think of the separation of church and state is that collectivism is the territory of the church and individualism is the territory of the government. In the Constitution, all the enumerated rights are individual rights.

The Pope doesn’t seem to understand this. He thinks that because collectivism works well in churches, it must then be good policy for states. He ignores history, which has repeatedly demonstrated the folly of this point of view. If he insists on ignoring history, then let him look to today’s Venezuela. The socialist policies he applauds don’t just stagnate economies, they harm people. Mandated collectivism harms individuals.

So, yes, when it comes to the policies of state, we libertarians focus on the individual. And those of us who are Christians––including Catholics––look to Christ as an example of that focus.

One last thing: The Pope likes to disparage capitalism. I would remind him that in the past thirty years, free market capitalism has been primarily responsible for the cutting in half of extreme poverty in the world. That is the greatest accomplishment in human history. No church or state has even come close to that kind of poverty relief. Only freedom. Only free individuals.

Dear Francis, when Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, it wasn’t a mandate.

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John Kerry: Radical Air Conditioning on the Rise

Speaking in Vienna to a group of bureaucrats with a collective carbon footprint so large you could sell burro rides into its vast depths, Secretary of State John Kerry warned of the rise of radical air conditioning:

As we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism, It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we–you–are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself. The use of hydrofluorocarbons is unfortunately growing. Already, the HFCs use in refrigerators, air conditioners, and other items are emitting an entire gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent pollution into the atmosphere annually.

Kerry went on to say that the use of air conditioners and refrigerators has been on the rise throughout the world for the past three decades. And it turns out he’s right. As free markets have paved the way for fossil-fuel-based cheap energy in developing countries, the people of those countries have been able to escape harsh weather and preserve their food longer. This has led to a rise in overall health. It has also made the quotidian survival burden lighter, allowing many to focus on business and education, which has led to innovation––innovation which has led to a cleaner environment and still cheaper energy.

It’s a vicious cycle, and it must be stopped.

Here in the US, the major concern is over radical air conditioning sleeper cells. Just last year in Garryowen, Montana, a local baseball coach and his wife found themselves in an intense firefight after catching their air conditioner in the act of beheading a journalist.

Many concerned citizens are signing this petition, in the hope that Secretary Kerry will lead the way by ridding the State Department of all air conditioning units.

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Beyoncé Rocks Met Gala in Dress Made from the Skins of 101 Pimply White Kids

All eyes were on Beyoncé during this year’s Met Gala as she rocked a Ty Hunter dress made from the skins of 101 pimply white kids.

“When the idea came to me, my first question was where are we going to get the skin,” said Hunter. “Since Beyoncé is a good friend of the President and the First Lady, I knew it would be a little controversial to use American kids. Luckily, my contacts in London introduced me to two cockney thugs named Jasper and Horace. Apparently the smokey streets of old London are full of little urchins and chimney sweeps begging for farthings.”

Planned Parenthood to Celebrate Passover by Killing Firstborn Sons

Planned Parenthood announced today that they will go forward with their plans to celebrate the final evening of Passover by killing the firstborn sons of any who fail to mark their doorposts with lamb’s blood.

“We encourage all to go ahead and mark their doors,” said Deputy Mark Clifton, of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. “While we’re not positive that the threat is real, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Authorities say to keep your first born sons close as Planned Parenthood could strike at any moment. “If you’re not with your child and you hear a “crushing-the-specimen”–like sound, it might be too late,” said Clifton.

Though federally qualified health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood 20 – 1, and many of those, unlike Planned Parenthood, are free of charge, it is believed that Planned Parenthood continues to wield power over Hebrews and Gentiles alike because of name recognition.

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said that their plans have been taken totally out of context by pro-life zealots, and that this evening’s killing spree will only represent 3% of their Passover celebration.

Shalom.

Obama to Test Ideas Behind Leftist Gun Policies on Animals: Declares Florida Coastline a Shark-Free Zone

The Obama administration announced Friday that it will move forward with plans to test ideas behind leftist gun policies on animals. To that end, the president signed an executive order making the entire Florida coastline a “shark free zone.”

“We don’t usually advocate for testing on animals,” the president said, “but I can’t spend my entire presidency waiting for congress to act. Not only will this make Florida beaches safer, it will also make all shark attacks illegal.”

Relieved Florida residents immediately headed to the beach.

“It’s amazing to me that we’re just now doing this,” said Jennifer Blankhead. “It makes me sick to think of the many innocent people who have been needlessly torn from their surfboards. It’s a new day for Florida swimmers.”

Right wing critics who lack common sense and are clearly paid off by special interest groups expressed doubt about the measure.

“Sharks don’t decide against an attack because of ‘shark free zones’ or anti-shark-attack laws,” said Jack Thorne, stupidly and callously.

Australian officials spent the weekend wondering why they didn’t think of this first.

 

America’s Best and Brightest Exercise Their First Amendment Rights by Protesting Against Free Speech

Controversy visited the campus of Michigan State University recently, when it was announced that conservative columnist George Will had been invited to give a commencement address.

When advocacy group UltraViolet caught wind of the invitation, they started a petition which has already been signed by thousands of champions of free expression.

A statement from the group reads in part:

We are outraged that a university of all places would subject young people to something approaching a marketplace of ideas. Who will be there to comfort them when their precious and delicate world views are challenged?

According to Bloomberg, one of the brighter protesters, Emily Kollaritsch, made her point loud and clear when she said, “We refuse to be silent. We’re going to have our voices heard.” She then put a piece of tape over her mouth and protested in silence. Without her voice.

Another protester, when confronted with the irony that she was exercising her first amendment rights to deprive George Will of his, paused for a moment of deep contemplation. She then put her fingers into her ears, wagged her head, and yelled repeatedly, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I can’t hear you.”

But MSU students aren’t the only enlightened undergraduates in the country. Take these sages for example. They strategized a brilliant plan to shout down a speaker who, among other things, planned to talk about the importance of protest. Or these promising scholars who felt a sculpture opposing racism was just too racist.

Relax, America. Your future is in good hands.

Rioters and Looters Express Profound Sense of Serenity and Accomplishment While Watching Their Neighborhood Burn

Rioters and looters in Ferguson, Missouri expressed a profound sense of serenity as they watched their neighborhood burn this past week.

“It’s difficult to describe. These things in my head: they’re not thoughts, per se,” said Jacob Bailey. “They’re more what Beckett called ‘profounds of mind.'”

Others nodded in agreement as they tried to articulate what can only be described as the ineffable.

Peter Winston, the philosophical alpha of the group, describe his experience with a subtle panache: “I held signs with the protesters for a while, but that lead to a kind of existential dread––a deeply pressing ennui. So I decided instead to destroy a café owned and operated by a family of Filipino immigrants. When I kicked in that window and watched the old lady run screaming to the back of the store, that’s when I knew I’d struck at the heart of institutional racism. And that’s when the euphoria kicked in.”

“Indeed,” agreed Michael Baird. “I mean––and these guys will rib me for days for the way I bring Aristotle into everything––but there isn’t a better, more cathartic check to capitalism than brushing shards of safety glass off of the new HD TV you just stole from an already struggling appliance store.”

When asked how the rioting and looting related to the shooting of Michael Brown, Baird continued: “This free smart phone is my hand reaching into the ether and bringing back a piece of Michael Brown. This stolen camera is my unstoppable Übermensch facing the militarized police. These complex problems can only be solved with theft, vandalism, and violence.”

Jason Carter put it like this: “What better way to express your ownership of something than to destroy it? When we throw that Molotov cocktail, we’re saying these burning streets belong to us; these ruined businesses belong to us; these destroyed livelihoods belong to us; this depressed economy belongs to us. You must have rubble before you can have Derrida digging through your rubble.”

“Well, there certainly is something post-structural about it,” joked Winston, sending his compatriots into brontosonic belly laughter.

“Seriously though, it’s as if we’ve reverse engineered the essential gestalt of the community,” said Bailey. “I’ve come to call it neo-neroism.”

RELATED STORY: Bloomberg Calls for Gun Confiscations to Make Streets Safer for Looters.

1980s Say They Are More Than Happy To Offer President Obama Foreign Policy Advice

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 1980s called the oval office this week to “see if President Obama was interested in some foreign policy.”

The call came as a surprise, since it was only a few months ago that, according to the President, the 1980s called Mitt Romney asking for their foreign policy to be returned. But the zipper-clad decade denies the call to Romney.

“We never made such a call. We just see what Romney saw long before anyone in the Obama administration. Putin can’t be trusted, even now, after the election, when the President has more ‘flexibility.’ I mean, we get it. We’ve been there. We just want to help.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney only evaded questions by saying the President generally doesn’t comment on brutal irony.