Michael Sean Winters: Francis’ critique of libertarianism echoes the Gospels

(NCR Online) Stephanie Slade is an editor at the libertarian magazine Reason. At its aptly named “Hit & Run” blog, she has posted a criticism of Pope Francis’ speech at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences last Friday, April 28. The magazine also ran a podcast featuring Slade and other Reason editors discussing the talk. I note in passing, and in confusion, that Slade was recently named a contributor at America magazine.

It is more than a little rich to read Slade repeating her accusation that the pope’s “ignorance of basic economics has led him to a bad conclusion about which public policies are best able to reduce the crushing yoke of poverty in the world.” It goes without saying that the Holy Father is not an economist, but he has seen firsthand the ill effects of the economic policies Slade celebrates. They are not hard to find in Argentina or, for that matter, in Washington, D.C.

Slade further offers this diagnosis: “The problem is not so much that he’s speaking to issues that go beyond the scope of his office; the problem is his speaking to matters on which he is ill-informed. In this case, his statements betray a shallowness in his understanding of the philosophy he’s impugning. If he took the time to really engage with our ideas, he might be surprised by what he learned.”

Of course, a basic familiarity with this pope’s writings and speeches would alert you to the fact that his understanding of philosophy is not shallow at all, but that his disgust at ideology is pronounced. [More]

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