LETTERS News Weekly
, February 16, 2013
Lucy Sullivan on “utopia”
Reading through the extract from Dr Lucy Sullivan’s new book, False Promises (News Weekly, December 22, 2012), made me wonder whether the ABC could be induced to revisit the debates of the last five decades on the utopia that would come about if only we adopted the left-wing agenda.
Well I remember the pro-abortion women’s mantra of “every child a wanted child” and their loud assertions that when we had abortion on demand there would not be any more unwanted children because the ones allowed to be born would all be wanted. Why then are so many children living on the streets, I wonder?
No-fault divorce would supposedly spread happiness all around because couples could so easily move on from all those unhappy marriages. Why then are so many fathers unwillingly separated from their children?
Professor Paul Ehrlich could be asked to offer an explanation of why the Indian people didn’t all die of starvation as he predicted.
Perhaps these people could be found and asked to explain that, after all this time, just when is their promised utopia going to begin?
Economics and ethics
I see only confusion in John Young’s dictum that “basic economic laws” are a part of ethics. (“Is economics a part of ethics?”, News Weekly, December 8, 2012).
“Basic economic laws” are value-free because they consider cause and effect relationships that, if true, are scientific, and economic analysis simply explains these causes and effects.
The “price system” for any good or service is based on supply and demand under competitive conditions. People may introduce their own obstacles to these laws such as monopoly, fraud and force — this is what encompasses right and wrong — ethics, which is all actions and omissions under personal control, which man wills in relation to an end he sees. (See New Catholic Encyclopedia).
The idea of describing usury as “an ethical issue [and] at the same time an economic question” is indisputable. All economic issues will have ethical issues which are the domain of individuals and the morality of right or wrong action by individuals.
Quoted alongside John Young’s article was German economist William Röpke who, in his 1957 book A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market, wrote: “The ultimate moral support of the market economy lies outside the market. Market and competition are far from generating their moral prerequisites autonomously.”
Pope Benedict XVI expresses this theme more clearly: “Society does not have to protect itself from the market, as if the development of the latter were ipso facto to entail the death of authentically human relations.… Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility” (Caritas et Veritate, Benedict XVI, 2009, #36).
Thus, how economics is taught by people — the proposed application of these scientific laws by individuals and groups within society (economic doctrine) — encompasses values which may be good or evil — hence the condemnation of socialism and communism.
In his Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concerns), 1987, #42, Bl Pope John Paul II reiterates: “Likewise, in this concern for the poor, one must not overlook that special form of poverty which consists in being deprived of fundamental human rights, in particular the right to religious freedom and also the right to freedom of economic initiative.”
Thus the principle of subsidiarity, stressed by the Popes, protects the right that each individual has to act with freedom in the social and economic sphere and confirms that personal initiative receives its value from the person and the common good. This confirms the meaning of the work of the entrepreneur.
The Late Scholastics discovered and explained the laws of supply and demand, the cause of inflation, the operation of foreign exchange rates, and the subjective nature of economic value. For these reasons Joseph Schumpeter applauded them as the first real economists.
Free enterprise has been hideously distorted by government intervention and by the welfare state.
According to American economist Dr Mark W. Hendrickson, US President Warren Harding, upon taking office in 1921, “inherited an economy that was reeling from dislocations caused by World War I. In a few months, wholesale prices collapsed by more than 40 per cent. Production plunged over 20 per cent. Unemployment zoomed from under 3 per cent to over 11 per cent. 1920-21 saw the most rapid, severe economic downturn our country has ever experienced.”
Dr Hendrickson points out that President Harding’s response was “to restrain government and let the free market make the necessary adjustments. He didn’t ‘do nothing’, as President Obama implied when touting his ‘stimulus’ plan; rather, he cut taxes and slashed federal spending 10-20 per cent per year.
“Prices were allowed to fall, supply and demand readjusted, and by 1922 the depression was over. During the next few years, unemployment dove (sic.) while production soared 60 per cent. Harding presided over one of the greatest economic success stories in American history” (Mark W. Hendrickson, “We could use a man like Warren Harding again”, Center for Vision & Values, Grove City College, Pennsylvania, August 12, 2009).
More intervention cannot solve previous interventions over many decades which have distorted free enterprise — hence the world “economic chaos” to which John Young refers. Such developments are the rotten fruit of many decades of failed government policies, aligned with individual or corporate greed — the result of Original Sin, and often of malformation.
Peter D. Howard,
Tom Uren and Mao Zedong
Tom Uren does not deserve the Order of Australia he received on Australia Day, January 26.
On September 14, 1976, along with Malcolm Fraser, Gough Whitlam, Bill Hayden, Arthur Gietzelt, Mick Young and Doug Anthony, Uren took part in the disgusting condolence motion moved in federal parliament by then Prime Minister Fraser on the death of communist dictator and mass-murderer Mao Zedong.
In his revolting speech, recorded forever unfortunately for him in Hansard, Uren described mass-murderer Mao as “a great leader, a brilliant revolutionary thinker, a great military strategist, patriot… but above all a man of the people”.
He went on to say, “By the people of China Mao was not only respected he was loved.” Uren praised Mao’s role in unleashing the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. He said, “In the Cultural Revolution he alerted the Chinese revolution and all social revolutions to the dangers of the re-emergence of the ruling cliques or classes.”
According the recent scholarly study by Dr Frank Dikotter of the University of Hong Kong, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, Mao’s misrule of China resulted in the deaths of 45 million people.
A person who extols such a tyrant therefore is in no way deserving of any honour from a democratic and free country like Australia.