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Travis Rowley: Political Consequence

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Conservatives were presented with a challenge several weeks ago when Pope Francis seemingly denounced capitalism within his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). Just as certain as conservatives taking argumentative advantage whenever a reliable leftist criticizes a leg of left-wing ideology, progressives were sure to attempt to augment their credibility when this assumed figure of the political Right decided to adopt the language of the Left.

The sense of urgency from conservatives bordered on panic. There was much damage control to be done, including a column dedicated to the Pope’s errors by this writer.

In a wake of criticism, it was refreshing to hear Pope Francis clarify his remarks. “Marxist ideology is wrong,” Francis told the world during an interview that would still leave it unclear as to whether or not the current Bishop of Rome was a true friend of free marketeers. After all, he would add, “The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefiting the poor. But what happens instead is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger; nothing ever comes out for the poor.”

Oy vey.

It hardly mattered just how clear and concise Francis decided to be. The neo-Marxists had already seized upon his seeming disregard for the political gamesmanship that occurs within the world’s most important national economy. America’s media establishment began to exalt the man who heads the institution that remains the leading voice against two of the Left’s moral crusades – abortion and gay marriage. This curious phenomenon culminated with Time Magazine naming Pope Francis “Person of the Year.”

President Obama – the figurehead of America’s socialist party – recently invoked Evangelii Gaudium, presenting the Pope as an ally in his quest to spread the wealth around. “After several years of high-profile clashes with U.S. bishops, Obama is seizing the chance to highlight common ground with the bishop of Rome,” the LA Times has reported. “Obama now sees the Pope as an ally,” Breitbart.com tells its readers in an article titled “Obama Channeling Pope Francis to Sell Wealth Redistribution.”

A longstanding goal of the “welfare rights movement” and other radical leftists of the 1960s is a guaranteed income for every American. Several weeks ago Krystal Ball, the co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” regurgitated this radical urge by arguing for a “mincome” – a “monthly minimum income” for “every non-incarcerated adult citizen.” According to Ball, “poverty is eliminated” with the implementation of such a measure.

More to the point of this column, Ball would remind everyone of the sentiments of Pope Francis while also attempting to quiet her conservative critics by informing them that a prominent “libertarian” had – in a way – endorsed the “mincome” as well. “Now, I know what you’re thinking,” Ball said, “this is some crazy left-wing utopian idea that only Marxists like Krystal Ball and Pope Francis could possibly support…[But] the mincome has also found support on the right” – citing Matthew Freeney of Reason Magazine who has suggested giving the poor “cash” in the past.

In a somewhat confusing use of the English language, another member of the political party attempting to force the Catholic Church to pay for abortifacients and birth control invoked Pope Francis while attempting to sell the product of big-government and wealth redistribution. Several weeks ago Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas – D) argued that the federal government should provide unemployment benefits to “working men and women.” She implored the other members of Congress: “We can’t be only about our self in this holiday season, particularly as we recognize that the Pope being made man of the year has spoken to the world eloquently about this whole issue of the vulnerable.”

While everyone is trying to figure out whether Pope Francis agrees with the tenets of socialism or not, and considering the possibility that he just might have higher concerns than America’s 2014 elections, the Democratic Party – the party with an expanding secular and atheist base; the party that voted to remove God from its platform at their 2012 national convention; the party known for its hostility toward the Church – are busy aligning his words with their cause.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.

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Offering collective bargaining privileges to Rhode Island’s public employees was always an imprudent idea. And they should be rescinded immediately.

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Jonathan Bainsworth

Yes, Mr. Rowley. The atheists are coming to take your religion away.....run away, run away.

Jeremy Soninjer

Jonathan, can you dispute one thing Rowley wrote up there? Or are you just going to use cheap sarcasm to pretend as if you can?

All anyone can assume from your comment is that you are incapable of finding any errors within this article, and it is eating you up inside. Rowley just tooled on you.

Jonathan Bainsworth

All atheists and any other rational thinking individuals want is a society that respects everyone's right to worship or not worship anyone or anything they want while keeping the public square a neutral religious free zone. Christians want the same for every point of view but their own since they continue to believe Christianity is superior to other belief systems. This is implied in Mr. Rowley's right wing propaganda piece.

Jeremy Soninjer

Bainsworth, what are you even talking about? This article is about the Pope's remarks regarding capitalism, and how Democrats are using those remarks for political purposes; how the party of anti-Catholic views are using the Pope's words against the Church's beliefs and interests.

Why are you talking about Christians and their secret plot to ignore the 1st Amendment and establish some sort of oppressive theocracy in the US? This is "implied" in Rowley's article?

bill bentley

So, if I criticize Capitalism then I'm a Marxist? Is this the point of the article? This overly simplistic logic is disturbing.

Sammy Arizona

The liberal Pope Francis shrugged off the "Marxist" label that the undisputed leader of the American conservative movement and the de-facto chairman of the GOP Rush Limbaugh and many other loony conservative rubes attached to him, because he said economic growth doesn't always help the poor. In a new interview with a Italian newspaper , Francis said that "Marxist ideology is wrong" but added that he has "known many Marxists who were good persons, and that's why I don't feel offended" by the label
The conservative liars in South America universally referred to him as a "poverty pimp" when he was a Cardinal and he just ignored those wing-nuts

Chris O.

Bill, I'm not seeing where the writer says "if you criticize capitalism, then you're a Marxist." That's just a straw man that allowed you to call the writer "overly simplistic."

I actually don't think this article says anything too controversial. All it points out is that the Pope made some anti-capitalist remarks that socialists/neo-Marxists/Democrats are taking political advantage of. The writer even admits at the beginning that conservatives would have done the same thing.

Michael Trenn

The thing that is being missed is that this Pope has not changed one single Church policy. All he has done is speak in a more kindly manner about the things that his Church still condemns. As such, this Pope is a master showman and marketer. If I still belonged, I would rather have a straight shooter like Bishop Tobin, than someone who pleases the ear, but does nothing new. Maybe the libs would be nicer to us on the right if we just talked nicely to them.

Redd Ratt

If the pope wants to help the poor he should sell some art. He's another fraud.

Rich B

@ Jeremy - One false statement that Rowley asserts as truth is that "Obama is the figurehead of America's socialist party." This is not only factually incorrect, despite what all the conservatives will assert, Obama is a middle-of-the-road liberal who continues to frustrate the most progressive, left-leaning of the Democrats. Many of his actions represent the antithesis of socialism.

Obama has continuously supported private industry, often saving businesses from bankruptcy. He authorized $80 billion to loan to General Motors and Chrysler to keep them out of bankruptcy. These two companies benefited directly from Obama's actions. A socialist would have nationalized the automobile industry, putting its ownership into public hands.

Assisting private companies is not socialism. It is the antithesis of socialism. But what about Obamacare? It requires all citizens to have health insurance. It does not nationalize healthcare. It does provide subsidies to private insurance companies. Under the law, the health care industry received 31 million new customers. Most importantly, the legislation does not eliminate the partial anti-trust exemption, allowing healthcare organizations to monopolize through consolidation.

A socialist would have introduced legislation to nationalize healthcare, effectively eliminating the nation's private health insurance market. Americans would lose the option of purchasing health insurance on the private market, and Medicare would be extended to all. All citizens would have full dental and medical insurance provided to them by the federal government. This would eliminate the concern regarding the potential for younger Americans to pay the penalty instead of signing up for insurance.

Art West


Interesting perspective.

But, perhaps Obama's socialism is cloaked and incremental out of necessity. As the saying goes, you won't cook a live frog by putting him directly in a boiling pot of water because he'll jump right out, but put him in more comfortable water and turn up the heat a little at a time, and dinner is served soon enough.

The auto bailout ensured the UAW its jobs at current rates; while bankruptcy would have ensured contract renegotiation at lower wages and benefits for sure. It was more like a union bailout.

As for Obamacare, centralized government forcing its citizens to buy a product is miles away from free-market capitalism. And thinking of the easily cooked frog, some people reasonably think that an Obamacare failure is the set-up for nationalized, government-run healthcare.

Michael Byrnes

Rich B.

You may be correct for talking Rowely to task for saying that "Obama is the figurehead of America's socialist party." However, it is much more difficult to argue that Obama is a middle-of-the-road liberal. The evidence you present is weak at best and at the worst it contradicts your assertion that Obama is a middle-of-the-road liberal. You present a most curious caricature of capitalism.

The bailout of the auto industry was hardly a bailout of private industry, but rather it was a bailout of the unions. This action might be properly labeled as crony capitalism. Bankruptcy and subsequent restructuring would have been a capitalist solution. Instead, Obama interfered with market forces in a way that was much closer to fascism than capitalism and just a few steps from being a socialist solution. Government support of private industry in the manner of Obama’s bailout is not capitalism.

Your healthcare example of Obamacare is also a condition that is much closer to socialism than capitalism. The essence of capitalism is a free market with voluntary contracts between two sides for mutual benefit. Once government coercion is involved it is no longer a free market. Obamacare does not nationalize healthcare, but there is little question that Obama favors a single payer system which is government control of healthcare. Whatever you wish to call a single payer system it is not capitalism. While the ultimate goal for Obama is a single payer system it is politically a bridge too far at this point in time. American’s have lost the ability to purchase health insurance in the private market as insurance must be purchased through a government exchange. The individual mandate and the coming employee mandate are hallmarks of socialism and the antithesis of capitalism

bill bentley

Chris O.: thanks for clarifying the point to this article. Jeez.

And what is all this BS about free markets? There hasn't been a free market since 1776. What a load.

Michael Byrnes


Just figured out the world is imperfect? There was never a free market before 1776 either, nor will there be in the future. Not sure why 1776 has anything at all to do with free markets.

bill bentley

1776 is the year Adam Smith published the Wealth of Nations.

G Godot

The irony of this dust up is the morally bankrupt leftys using the words of the POPE, the head of a church they DESPISE to bash, for example, Mr. Langone, one of the founders of Home Depot-- a man born to modest circumstance who has given over One Hundred Fifty Million of his OWN money to charity. It the eyes of the LEFT, he is the devil, because he is not a democrat. Meanwhile, Joe Biden, one of the bigger public frauds, gives HOW MUCH? The left, it appears, will sleep with anyone to sell their brand of soap.

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