Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Vatican Assimilates Marx

(((Marx turns out to have been pretty important, even from the point of view of Catholicism, which has traditionally not been so warm -- leaving aside, of course, a wing of the Society of Jesus.)))

I see that the Vatican has extended its recantation of past hostilities from Darwin to that other bete noir of contemporary piety, Karl Marx, the (grand)father of "godless" communism. Said The Times,
L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said yesterday that Marx’s early critiques of capitalism had highlighted the “social alienation” felt by the “large part of humanity” that remained excluded, even now, from economic and political decision-making.

Georg Sans, a German-born professor of the history of contemporary philosophy at the pontifical Gregorian University, wrote in an article that Marx’s work remained especially relevant today as mankind was seeking “a new harmony” between its needs and the natural environment. He also said that Marx’s theories may help to explain the enduring issue of income inequality within capitalist societies.

“We have to ask ourselves, with Marx, whether the forms of alienation of which he spoke have their origin in the capitalist system,” Professor Sans wrote. “If money as such does not multiply on its own, how are we to explain the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few?”

With Darwin, Galileo, and Oscar Wilde now in the fold, what's an atheist to do? Is there nothing that is incompatible with Catholicism? Maybe this is like the parable of the rich man's banquet . . . they're out in the streets dragging in the scientists and atheists and social delinquents. That'll do.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Mandating and Incentivizing Health Care

(((The logic of mandates and penalties in health insurance; it's really hilarious to be lectured on how the penalties actually have to mean something by industry representatives with actuaries who probably do those very calculations for every move these companies make.)))

Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative on Morning Edition this morning sounding all sternly maternal, pointing out that a mandate has to be a mandate, and if there's no penalty for not buying into the health care system, people will find it much more reasonable to pay some small fine than to pay what it takes to buy insurance.

Wait, you're saying small fines for breaking the laws, not abiding by guidelines, missing certain kinds of targets, and so on, those fines can be worth paying when you stand to pay less overall -- or even, let's say, make lots more money -- by going ahead and doing what you're not supposed to do?

Shocking. It's as if the private sector has thought about this before. And, well, it's like they've all become . . . socialists! Obama wins!