Americans make up around four percent of the world population and yet they control over 25 percent of the world’s wealth. What if we were to simply redistribute our wealth to the most needy people on the planet—wouldn’t that end global poverty almost overnight?

“The answer unfortunately is no,” says philosopher Matt Zwolinski. “Sharing one’s wealth with those who have less is admirable and it often helps to relieve immediate suffering. But just sharing existing wealth we’ll never be enough to lift billions of people out of poverty in a sustainable way. To understand why we need to look at history.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, August 21, 2015
By

American Churches and the Iran Nuclear Deal
Mark Tooley, The Weekly Standard

Most church groups and prominent religious voices speaking to the Iran nuclear deal are supportive. Most notable among them is the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood: New Proof of Collusion
Patrick Reilly and Justin Petrisek , Crisis Magazine

As corporations and governments face increasing pressure to cut ties with scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood, let’s not forget the obvious: Catholic colleges ought to do the same.

Kidnapping and Sex Slavery: Covering ISIS’ Religious Justification for Rape
Erika Allen, New York Times

Rukmini Callimachi has told the stories of those held as prisoners of the Islamic State before. This week, her front-page article detailed the kidnapping, enslaving and ISIS-sanctioned rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority.

Walmart and other US companies are starting to feel the full effect of minimum wage increases
Shelly Banjo, Quarz

Just months after giving raises to half a million US workers, Walmart says its profits have taken a major hit.

chickfilaIf you want to sell chicken sandwiches as the Denver Airport you need to check your First Amendment rights at the gate.

That seems to be the message sent by the Denver City Council to Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain that is seeking to open a store at the Denver International Airport. The Council is considering turning away the popular franchise because the company promotes a Christian ethic in their business dealings. This offends the Council who is worried about how it will affect LGBT rights.

No one is really concerned that Chick-fil-A will flout the city’s nondiscrimination laws and refuse to hire or serve the LGBT community. Chick-fil-A has never in the past discriminated against gays or lesbians and is certainly unlikely to start doing so now. So what is the council’s concern? That Chick-fil-A executives may express their religious beliefs or that the company may use their profits in ways the council member’s find inappropriate:
(more…)

amazon-workersLiberal and conservative, right and left, red state and blue state—there are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to divide political and economic lines. But one of the most helpful ways of understanding such differences is recognizing the divide between advocates of proximate justice and absolute justice.

Several years ago Steven Garber wrote an essay in which he explained the concept of “proximate justice”:

Proximate justice realizes that something is better than nothing. It allows us to make peace with some justice, some mercy, all the while realizing that it will only be in the new heaven and new earth that we find all our longings finally fulfilled, that we will see all of God’s demands finally met. It is only then and there we will see all of the conditions for human flourishing finally in place, socially, economically, and politically.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from proximate justice is absolute justice, the idea that we should never settle for “some” justice but must always seek, as a matter of duty, the maximal amount of justice.

The primary appeal of absolute justice is its purity. Why align with compromisers and those who are satisfied with “good enough” when you can fight for full justice? Being satisfied with proximate justice sounds more like an excuse to do less rather than a principled position.

The primary appeal of proximate justice is its realism. Since absolute justice is not attainable this side of the new heaven and new earth, settling for less is the best we can ever expect. When absolute justice is our standard we can even end up allowing injustice to continue and flourish.

Those in the absolute justice camp accuse the other side of being cynical, insensitive, and willing to compromise with evil, while advocates of proximate justice claim their ideological rivals are utopian, self-centered, and likely to do as much harm as good.

A more thorough examination of each side will have to wait for another day and another article. (As you can probably tell, though, I’m firmly on the side of proximate justice.) I only mention the two views because I want to show how the idea of proximate and absolute justice relates to employment and can help us understand the recent kerfuffle over the working conditions at Amazon.
(more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, August 20, 2015
By

Pope Francis Takes Stance on Climate Change: “For the care of Creation”
David, Clapway

The encyclical states that the introduction of new technology as a way to combat global warming has proved to be ineffective overall. Instead, Pope Francis claims that the challenge of combating climate change isn’t about finding the right technology to do the job, but about accepting full responsibility for the environment’s poor shape, and taking the right steps to start actively helping to fix it. According to the Pope, climate change is something that all of us are equally responsible for, and is a fight that we are all morally obligated to participate in.

Pope Francis’ Climate Change Epiphany: A revolutionary partnership between the Roman Catholic Church and science
Lois Parshley, Popular Science

Atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, says the Pope’s message might prove more effective than 30 years of scientists’ efforts to communicate the urgency of climate change.

Rethinking the solution for poverty: Pope Francis’ prescriptions could perpetuate disease and premature death
Paul Driessen, The Washington Times

Thankfully, human life expectancy and societal wealth has surged dramatically over the past two centuries. None of this would have been possible without the capitalism, scientific method and fossil fuels that at U.N., Environmental Protection Agency, Big Green and Vatican policymakers now want to toss into history’s dustbin.

(more…)

walker-severed-head22

Whether they’re old enough to believe in the EcoGospel, or Gaia, or man-made climate change or not, children are the latest weapon pressed into service by the eco-warriors. First, it was co-opting Pope Francis and Laudato Si, and now it’s kids. Will they stop at nothing?

The Wisconsin Daily Independent reported this past Monday that a group calling itself Citizens Preserving the Penokee Hills Heritage Park is promoting its environmental agenda with a painting of a young Native American girl wearing traditional garb holding a bloody blade in one hand and the severed head of Gov. Scott Walker in the other. Nice.

According to the mission statement, the purpose of their group is to provide an avenue for the distribution of research, education, and information pertaining to preserving the Penokee Hills as a national heritage park in Northwestern Wisconsin….
(more…)

trade21Many conservatives exhibit a peculiar tendency to be pro-liberty when it comes to business, trade, and wages, but protectionist when it comes to the economic effects of immigration.

It’s an odd disconnect, and yet, as we’ve begun to see with figures like Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, one side is bound to eventually give way. They’ll gush about the glories of competition, but the second immigration gets brought up, they seem to defer to labor-union talking points from ages past.

When pressed on this in a recent podcast, immigration protectionist Mark Krikorian argued that the difference is that immigrants are people not products, and thus they make things a bit more problematic. It’s more complicated and disruptive, he argues, when you’re dealing with actual people who have diverse and ever-shifting dreams. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 20, 2015
By

In the US, many expect the pope to discuss the ‘shameful plague’ of trafficking
Tom Tracy, Catholic News Service

Pope Francis has called human trafficking “a crime against humanity” and “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.”

There’s A New Way To Measure Global Freedom
Daniel Huizinga , Opportunity Lives

Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “He who seeks freedom for anything but freedom’s self is made to be a slave.” Tocqueville’s observation about the French Revolution sets the tone for the Human Freedom Index (HFI), a new report that offers a comprehensive measure of freedom around the world with country-by-country comparisons.

How Can We Keep Aid Workers Safe?
Larissa Fast, Political Violence @ a Glance

Today is World Humanitarian Day, a day to remember humanitarian aid workers around the world, particularly those who have lost their lives. The day marks the anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 and wounded a further 160 people.

What prices does the government like?
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

So according to the government, whether a company’s prices are “too low,” “too high,” or “too close to its competitors’ prices,” those prices could be determined to be both unfair and illegal?

drinkable-book[Note: See this introduction post for an explanation of gleaner technology.]

Lack of clean drinking water is one of the greatest public health problems on the planet. Around the world there are 750 million people—approximately one in nine—who lack access to safe water, and millions will die each year from a water related disease.

But a new “drinkable book” may soon provide an inexpensive way for the poor to get potable water. While getting her PhD in chemistry, Theresa Dankovich invented both a bactericidal silver nanoparticle paper, pAge, and an environmental-friendly method to produce the silver nanoparticles, using cheap and benign chemicals and processing.

The pages contain silver nanoparticles, which are lethal for bacteria. Only very small quantities of silver are required due to the use of nanoparticles, which have a highly toxic effect specific towards microorganisms at low concentrations. At the low levels of silver used in the papers, a very small amount of silver is released into the drinking water, which meets the EPA and WHO recommendations.

Dankovich has used the pAge for paper in The Drinkable Book™, a collaboration with WATERisLIFE. Printed on the pages are instructions for using the paper and for preventing water from becoming contaminated.
(more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
By

Islamic leaders urge climate action in declaration
Soli Salgado, National Catholic Reporter

The declaration affirmed that “our responsibility as Muslims is to act according to the example of the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him)” who cared for all living things, established protected areas for plants and wildlife, lived frugally, recycled his possessions by repairing or giving them away, and “took delight in the created world.”

The poor are ‘victims of climate change,’ says Myanmar’s cardinal
Catholic World News

Preaching at a Mass that preceded a climate-change seminar sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon called for action to counter climate change. “Evil is marching with glee, destroying human families, destroying God’s gift of nature,” he preached.

Cardinal Turkson: ecological crisis is the ‘gravest and most intractable of all’
Catholic World News

In a message of solidarity to the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, which took place on August 17 and 18 in Istanbul, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that “it is clear that we are living at a particularly turbulent and decisive moment in world history.”

(more…)