In his new encyclical, and in his “Angelus prayer” made this midday in the Vatican, Pope Francis has made 3 arrogant claims that are plain wrong. He has specifically been wrong (as usual) on economics, geopolitics, and defense issues (including defense budgets). True to his form, he continues to advance his far-left ideology and to dress is in the form of religious teaching.
Specifically, the Pope claims that :
- Free market capitalism has failed and the coronavirus crisis supposedly proves this.
- The right to own private property is “secondary” and subordinate to helping needy people (the poor).
- War is never justified and neither is maintaining a military; all defense budgets should be turned towards feeding hungry people.
On all counts, the Pope is dead wrong, as usual, and has shown abysmal ignorance of these issues (which I’ve been studying since high school). Here, we’ll correct the record on each count. So, let’s look at the Pope’s claims, one by one:
Fact : Free market capitalism is by far the most successful economic system in world history. It is, in fact, the only system under which countries prosper.
Free market capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system. Under it, the Western world has prospered and become very wealthy, Eastern Europe and China have developed from abject poverty to a medium level of wealth, and now, India is also catching up with the West (and China).
The system that Pope Francis advocates – socialism – has proven itself to be an undisputable disaster; to say it has been a failure would be a vast understatement. It has spawned nothing but poverty, want, despair, and tyranny in EVERY country in which it has been tried : the former Soviet bloc, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and more recently, Venezuela, which is so abjectly poor now that it’s mired in a civil war.
And, of course, socialist policies have prevented most other Latin American countries – including the Pope’s native Argentina – from developing.
With the brief 4-year interlude of Mauricio Macri (2015-19), Argentina has been run by Peronists or other statists since the last Junta (which then-Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, fervently supported) fell from power. No wonder why the country has been an economic basket case.
If you want to know what the world would look like according to Pope Francis, look no further than Venezuela.
By contrast, look at the country whose free market system Pope Francis hates the most: the United States. Under Donald Trump, until the Wuhan virus (Covid-19) arrived, the US had full employment (with record low unemployment rates for women, youth, and minorities) and rapid economic growth, greatly outpacing Europe and Japan. For more details, see here.
Similarly, here in Europe, free market societies such as Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, and Estonia have greatly outcompeted statist countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Greece (as well as all statist countries around the world).
In these countries, economic growth, employment rates, GDP per capita, and most importantly, real purchasing power per habitant are considerably higher than in other European countries (and comparable to those of the US).
Some people will say that all this wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals; that free market capitalism inevitably leads to huge inequalities.
In fact, in socialist countries such as Venezuela and Argentina, wealth inequality is much greater than in capitalist or even semi-statist European countries.
By contrast, the free-market United Kingdom is at 32.4, Estonia is at 32.9, Ireland is at 33.9, and ultraliberal Switzerland is at 28.7 !
By the way, other than the UK, these countries have managed the coronavirus epidemic (and the resulting economic problems) very well. They certainly need no lessons from Pope Francis or anyone else.
Claim: The right to own private property is “secondary” and subordinate to helping needy people (the poor).
Fact: Private property is not “subordinate” to the goal of helping the needy. It is supreme.
NO ONE has any right to take away my property (or yours) for any purpose or reason whatsoever, and certainly not in the name of “helping” other people – which is ALMOST ALWAYS an excuse used by politicians to redistribute wealth to certain social groups whose votes they depend on.
There is no middle ground here. Either your private property is sacred and inviolable, or it can be taken away from you by politicians and self-proclaimed do-gooders under the pretext of “helping the needy”.
And once that line is crossed, there’s no limit to how much they can take from you, and under what pretext. And you can be sure as hell they won’t consult you.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure all of you want to help poor people. So do I. But when you let politicians confiscate private property, and your hard-earned money, in the name of “fighting poverty” and “helping the needy”, you won’t be deciding where that money goes. Politicians will.
And they will inevitably redirect that money towards their electorate, NOT the truly needy.
I’ve worked hard to earn EVERYTHING I have. NOBODY has the right to take that away from me. (And if you want to try, you’ll only pry it from my cold, dead hands. I’m serious.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against helping other people. But each of us has, first of all, an obligation to provide for ourselves and our families, BEFORE helping others.
And while helping others, we must not take upon ourselves a burden that we cannot carry and that rightly belongs to them, like the donkey did in the parable of the donkey and the ox.
Claim : War is never justified and neither is maintaining a military; all defense budgets should be turned towards feeding hungry people.
The Pope should tell this to Vladimir Putin, China’s Communist ruler Xi Jinping, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, and Islamic terrorists of all stripes! Funny… Somehow I don’t see these thugs disarming in the foreseeable future, even if we do.
Fact: It would be suicidal to disarm and not have a properly financed, manned, trained, and equipped military.
Why? Because potential aggressors and evildoers have always existed, and always will. In the past, it has been Kaiser Wilhelm, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union, among others. Now it is Islamic terrorists, and potentially, Putin’s Russia and Communist China.
To disarm in the face of these (or any other) thugs would be pure suicide. Yet, this is precisely what Pope Francis suggests.
Militaries have always existed and always will, and no wishful thinking or sanctimonious sermons will change that.
I’ve spent the last 12 years warning about these threats and even writing a book about them. Apparently, Pope Francis doesn’t give a damn about these facts.
Every country in history which has chosen to disarm unilaterally has committed suicide.
And every country in history which, for whatever reason, was unable to provide for its defense has either fallen prey to an aggressor or been forced to accept the protection (and thus the supremacy) of a more powerful protector.
This is the case for dozens of countries around the world today, which have no choice but to remain vassals to the US, because they need its military umbrella.
Meanwhile, Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are threats to many but protectors to nobody.
The ultimate irony is that Pope Francis himself lives in perfect security ONLY because the Vatican and Italy enjoy US military protection.
Conclusion: Pope Francis has shown abysmal ignorance
There you have it. All of the Pope’s major claims, made earlier today and in his encyclical, are biting dust. He has been wrong on EVERY major political issue on which he has spoken.
No, Pope Francis, free market capitalism has not failed; statism has. No, the West should never disarm; it would be suicidal to do so. No, wars are not inherently unjust. And it’s certainly not up to YOU to decide what is moral and what isn’t.