how to use hancom office

The Hancom Office Viewer is a program that enables a user to manually open documents like Microsoft Office and PDF, which enables the viewing of spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. We will concentrate on the best way best to utilize Hancom Viewer on Samsung Galaxy Tab S inside this report.

How To Use Hancom Office

Below are step-to-step processes for a variety of files and formats:

To Look for files

1. About the Apps Screen, tap on the Hancom Office Viewer.

2. Now, tap open so as to navigate through files.

3. Then to look for files recently found, tap the current file’s icon.

To read files

1. About the Apps Screen, tap on the Hancom Office Viewer.

2. In recent files or some other folder, then tap any file desired to see.

3. Then tap Menu and Use some of them:

On Display:

1. Find would be to hunt for text.

2. Edit to make alterations.

3. Slide show to initiate a slide series (on the very first page).

4. From the Present slide to begin on the present page.

5. Zoom would be to modify its opinion dimensions.

6. Document information is to permit the consumer to look at the facts of the document.

7. Show Presenter View really displays when attached to an external screen.

8. Printing would be really to for printing when attached to your printer.

The end would be to talk about it with other folks.

About Word Processor:

The next functions will be exactly the same: Locate Zoom, Print, Send, Edit, and Document Info. Others are:

1. Show/Hide Opinions can actually hide or show opinions on any file.

On the Spreadsheet:

The next functions will be exactly the same: Locate Zoom, Print, Send, Edit, and Document Info. Others are:

1. Ort would be to form cells with certain criteria.

2. Display formulas will be for the consumer to see formulas within cells.

3. Gridlines are shown or hide the gridlines.

4. Freeze Panes is just for storing chosen rows to be able.

5. Display All Opinions is to hide or show memos.

6. Print Area would be to choose where to publish.

On PDF:

The next functions will be exactly the same: Send, Zoom, Hide/Show Remarks and Publish. Others are:

1. The search is for searching text.

2. Properties are for seeing details of files.

3. Vertical page scrolling/Horizontal Page Scrolling/Continuous View is for altering the view style.

4. The reading view is merely for the consumer to see files just.

5. Proceed to the page would be to see a specific page.

6. Bookmarks are to allow the consumer to see any bookmarks.

To handle files, some of the following alternatives can be utilized following tapping on Hancom Office Viewer, Save and picking Folders or Documents:

1. Restart that will be to rename a folder or record.

2. Proceed is for transferring documents or folder into some other folder.

3. Duplicate is for copying files or folders.

4. Publish is for deleting files or folders.

5. Send is for sending or sharing files to other people.

These functions on all Samsung Galaxy Tab S. And after these steps readily one can utilize Hancom Viewer onto Samsung Galaxy Tab S.

how to listen to apple music offline

As a result of Apple Music, audio streaming support, we could listen to whatever we would like. However, what if you’re not connected to some Wi-Fi system, and you’re able to connect to the net through mobile data along with your mobile plan isn’t quite as large?

Listen To Apple Music Offline

There’s a wonderful choice — you may download your favorite songs and files for listening. We will share with you in the manual below: the best way to hear Apple Music offline. This is how you can download the audio for offline listening:

  • Open the Audio program
  • Locate the tune or album you would like to hear offline
  • Next, tap on the additional button (three dots) and click “Make available offline”

To look at the neighborhood music whenever you’re not on the world wide web, start the audio program and tap My audio tab and from the drop-down menu you will observe songs and records. That is such a convenient alternative you ought to take the edge off in the event that you’re planning to spend all day out in the region without Wi-Fi, or in case you’re traveling so which you could enjoy listening to your favorite tunes! Part of the delight of Apple Music is that the accessibility at this point you have into a huge library of songs. Discover new songs, dig through the archives and listen to songs that you have not heard in a few years.

You may also hear this new music without even sucking your information strategy. 1 means to do that’s to download tunes from Apple Music’s library as you’re around WiFi, then utilize those tunes to build your fantasy offline playlist. However, before you do, then just take a couple of minutes and back up your current music library. There are a lot of reasons for this however, for the sake of the conversation, the problem in hand is DRM. Without rehashing the shoulda, coulda, woulda here, simply be aware that in the event you keep your music in the cloud, then Apple can replace the cloud-stored duplicate using a URL to Apple’s copy of the identical song.

Apple’s copy will be DRM protected. This is completed, presumably, to conserve space. If 10,000 people upload a backup of Joyful, Apple only wants to keep one copy of Joyful and point everybody at the copy. Should you download a copy of Joyful, you’re going to wind up getting a DRM protected backup, even if you began with an unprotected backup, maybe you snapped out of a CD. Another reason to copy your audio library would be the newness of all Apple Music along with iCloud Music Library. This is a new application that has been stressed by countless consumers. However, well Apple evaluations that in house, there is no method to mimic the huge effect of countless exceptionally active users. Bugs will show themselves. And these bugs may affect the regional replica of your songs. Back up your audio files, save that backup for the very long haul, and in case something goes wrong.

How To Wipe Cache Partition Galaxy S8

Learning how to wipe cache Partition is essential should you have any device. It is a search that may fix issues that you’re using with your Samsung Galaxy S8. These include freezing programs, device crashing, and not able to look at website images along with also the inability to sync information.

Wipe Cache Partition Galaxy S8

Wiping cache partition over Galaxy S8 is simple and easy. This guide will provide detailed steps about the best way best to wipe cache partition over Samsung Galaxy S8.

Steps To wipe cache on Samsung Galaxy S8

1. Ensure that you switch off the device.

2. Press and hold the Volume Up key along with the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.

3. After the green Android emblem displays, launch All keys (‘Startup system update’ will reveal for approximately 30 — 60 minutes prior to revealing the Android system retrieval menu options).

4. Press down the Volume key a few times in order to emphasize”Wipe cache .”

5. Press the Power key to choose from.

6. Press down the Volume key to highlight”Yes” And press the Power key to choose.

7. Following the wipe cache partition is more complete, the “Reboot system today” is emphasized.

8. Press the Power key to restart your device.

If You Would like to clean the cache That’s impacting a specific program you then can do this separately. Please follow the instructions under:

1. Open the program drawer

2. Search for’Settings’ and tap it.

3. Beneath the’Settings’, tap Applications and Then Program supervisor.

4. Pick the program you need to clean off the cache.

5. Tap ‘Storage’.

6. Then tap ‘CLEAR DATA’ to clean its own Cache.

The Samsung Galaxy includes two distinct types of cache. The first is that the system cache and the next is that the individual cache for software stored on your own device. You may opt to clean the cache on your own software or respective programs.

Wrapping Upward

When You follow the steps the Galaxy S8 cache partition ought to be taken off. Please comment below If You’re still having problems. We’ll provide you additional directions.

subsidiarity and single payer part two

Subsidiarity and the Single Payer, Part Two: A Response to David W. Cooney

May 10, 2017

I have been honored by a response written by David W. Cooney of Practical Distributism [1] to my article, Subsidiarity and the Single Payer [2], which appeared on these pages on April 1, 2017. In his article he concludes, contrary to my position, that “Single Payer is clearly a violation of the principle of subsidiarity and Catholic Social Teaching.” [3]

Now it really seems that we are in no immediate danger of having a single-payer system enacted, the latest congressional trends appearing to move in the direction of less overall insurance protection for the American population rather than more. Still, this is an important discussion to be having. As political winds change, and as the private health insurance system demonstrates ever more conclusively its unsustainability in the ensuing years, a single-payer health system may well become a serious proposal. So it would be a good idea to decide now if Catholicism really prohibits its advocacy because of the principle of subsidiarity.

In Subsidiarity and the Single Payer I conclude that subsidiarity allows for a single-payer system. Mr. Cooney, in his article entitled Subsidiarity vs. Single Payer, reaches the opposite conclusion. We might get some distance toward deciding who’s right about this by subjecting Mr. Cooney’s objections to some scrutiny.

Mr. Cooney opens by setting forth what he perceives as the critical positions I must demonstrate if I am to make my case:

“His argument seems to depend on two points which I think are incorrect. The first is that the question of subsidiarity ‘does not turn on jurisdiction, but on competence. Subsidiarity is not federalism.’ The second is the fact that some health care services are very expensive, and the fact that health insurers in the United States lack the power to contain those costs, means that the highest level of government has the right and responsibility, according to the principles of subsidiarity, to step in to assist paying for all health care services. This response is an explanation of why I believe he is wrong on both points.”

He is right that I hold that subsidiarity does not turn on jurisdiction, but on competence, and that subsidiarity is not federalism. I hold that because it is true, as is evidenced by the classic statement of the principle by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno:

“When we speak of the reform of institutions, the State comes chiefly to mind, not as if universal well-being were to be expected from its activity, but because things have come to such a pass through the evil of what we have termed ‘individualism’ that, following upon the overthrow and near extinction of that rich social life which was once highly developed through associations of various kinds, there remain virtually only individuals and the State. This is to the great harm of the State itself; for, with a structure of social governance lost, and with the taking over of all the burdens which the wrecked associations once bore. [sic] the State has been overwhelmed and crushed by almost infinite tasks and duties.

“As history abundantly proves, it is true that on account of changed conditions many things which were done by small associations in former times cannot be done now save by large associations. Still, that most weighty principle, which cannot be set aside or changed, remains fixed and unshaken in social philosophy: Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.

“The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance, which would otherwise dissipate its efforts greatly. Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands. Therefore, those in power should be sure that the more perfectly a graduated order is kept among the various associations, in observance of the principle of ‘subsidiary function,’ the stronger social authority and effectiveness will be [sic] the happier and more prosperous the condition of the State.” (Secs. 78-80) [4]

Three points can be derived. The first is that the subsidiarity principle is nowhere articulated to set standards for the relations between governments in a federal system. The principle’s focus is, rather on the relationship between the State and “subordinate groups,” that is, groups that are part of the private sector.

The second point is that the lines between what ought to be done by larger versus smaller associations, or vice versa, are not fixed, but due to “changed conditions many things which were done by small associations in former times cannot be done now save by large associations.” Historical circumstances play a role in determining whether a large or a small association should perform any given function.

The third point is that whether a function should be handled by the State or the private sector, a large association or a smaller one does indeed turn on competence. As Pope Pius XI articulated the principle of subsidiarity, “it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.” (Emphasis added.) The evil is in assigning to the higher association what the lesser organization can do, not what it cannot. Mr. Cooney isn’t certain if I mean “ability” here, so let me assure him that I do. But willingness to perform would also be included. Simply because a lesser organization is able to perform a function does not foreclose a higher association from doing so if the lesser organization refuses to act.

I sense that he feels that I am overthrowing the natural order of things by this pragmatic approach to determining what functions should be performed by whom. I, on the other hand, cannot fathom what sense there is in a doctrine that would hold that an association that cannot perform a function very well should still be made to do so, just in order to prevent the higher order association from doing it, as if such a happening would be an evil in itself. Fortunately, there is nothing about the subsidiarity principle that would compel me to adopt such an impetus to absurd outcomes.

But Mr. Cooney invokes the family to show that competence for subsidiarity purposes should not be understood in the ability sense, but in the sense that certain entities have certain roles given to them by nature, and those roles ought not to be usurped on that ground alone. He says this:

“Subsidiarity is based on human nature and the natural and moral laws. This is what determines who has the natural role for given responsibilities, and those who have a role have a natural jurisdiction, which we could also call competence, to fulfill it. Following the principles of subsidiarity, we understand that the higher orders of society have the function and responsibility to provide assistance (subsidium) to the lower orders when needed. This is why the state has no right to usurp a parent’s role in educating children, but does have the right to assist (but not to compel) parents with the education of their children. The Church teaches that ‘it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.’ One can use subsidiarity to determine what roles are proper to the different levels of society. In other words, competence in the sense sense [sic] of Catholic Social Teaching is not incompatible with jurisdiction, and we can discuss jurisdiction and authority without resorting to, or resulting in, federalism.”

Of course, the family is a natural, organic entity, with functions originating not in conscious human political arrangements, but in nature. As Pope Leo XIII put it in Rerum Novarum, “inasmuch as the domestic household is antecedent, as well in idea as in fact, to the gathering of men into a community, the family must necessarily have rights and duties which are prior to those of the community, and founded more immediately in nature.” (Sec. 13) [5] The family precedes the State, and we should not allow the State to enter into the life of the family and supplant the parental role.

Except there are times when we allow the State to do exactly that. If the children in a family are being severely abused in some manner, the State intervenes when it is discovered, and this often results in the termination of parental rights. This is certainly not the ideal outcome for a family, but it is sometimes a necessary one. And when parental rights are terminated, pending adoption by a willing family, the children are under the guardianship of the State. And, during that time, the parental role is indeed taken over by the State.

Now if this is the case with an association that God has created, how much more those associations that derive from human ingenuity? God made the family. But if the family does not function in the manner that it is supposed to do, the State may legitimately intervene for the safety of the family members. Human beings constructed the federal system of the United States. That system, as worthy as it is, is not more sacrosanct than the family. If the State can intervene and reassign functions when the family does not perform in accordance with God’s assignments, it certainly may do so when political and private sector entities devised by human ingenuity fail to function in a manner conducive to human flourishing.

Therefore, Mr. Cooney does not accomplish what he hopes by introducing the family into the discussion. The family certainly has a set of natural, God given functions. But that doesn’t spare it from State intrusion, even to the point of usurping the parental role when circumstances require it. States of the United States and local governments cannot claim the same natural underpinnings as the family.  Contrary to Mr. Cooney’s claim, then, one must indeed resort to federalism in order to claim that healthcare should be a state or local matter rather than a federal one. And federalism is not a part of Catholic doctrine. The United States could reconfigure itself into a single government, and so long as that government did not unwarrantably intrude into the family or private associations, the principle of subsidiarity would not be violated.

Competence may not be incompatible with jurisdiction, as Mr. Cooney points out. But the subsidiarity principle is not a question of jurisdiction, but of competence.

Of course, the fact that subsidiarity isn’t federalism doesn’t excuse giving the federal government any function at all. As Mr. Cooney points out,

“Just because a condition is common across the country does not make it the responsibility of the federal government. If the assistance can be rendered community by community by more local social institutions or governments, then the federal government would be violating the principle of subsidiarity if it took over the role of rendering that assistance. The federal government could only justify stepping in where those more local institutions didn’t already exist or lacked the resources to address the issue. ‘In light of the principle of subsidiarity, however, this institutional substitution must not continue any longer than is absolutely necessary, since justification for such intervention is found only in the exceptional nature of the situation.’ In other words, part of that assistance would be to help establish the more local institution and help it to arrange acquiring the necessary resources on its own so that the assistance being given will become unnecessary. In addition, the principle of subsidiarity means that the federal government cannot step in where the more local institutions exist and have the ability to deal with the issue at the local level.”

Now Mr. Cooney keeps importing federalist ideas into the subsidiarity principle, speaking as he does of local governments. As I’ve mentioned, subsidiarity does not require countries to have a federal system. Still we should address whether state or local governments can operate a single-payer system as well as the federal government. This is because of the fact that federal, state, and local governments quite arguably stand in a relation to each other of greater to lesser associations, apart from questions of federalism.

The question at hand, then, is whether a lesser or lower association can operate a single-payer system as well as the federal government. To answer that question we really should first understand what a single-payer system is.

“A single payer refers to a system in which one entity (usually the government) pays all the medical bills for a specific population. And usually (though, again, not always) that entity sets the prices for medical procedures.

“A single-payer system is not the same thing as socialized medicine. In a truly socialized medicine system, the government not only pays the bills but also owns the health care facilities and employs the professionals who work there.

“The Veterans Health Administration is an example of a socialized health system run by the government. The VA owns the hospitals and clinics and pays the doctors, nurses and other health providers.

“Medicare, on the other hand, is a single-payer system in which the federal government pays the bills for those who qualify, but hospitals and other providers remain private.” [6]

The single payer, then, performs two basic functions: (1) funding of healthcare, and (2) negotiating the cost of healthcare. Let’s consider if any organizations within the United States, governmental or otherwise, can perform these functions as well as the federal government.

When it comes to funding, nobody does it better than the federal government. Mr. Cooney says that we should change things so that state or local governments could better afford it. Of course, if the state or local governments funded the healthcare system it would still be government funding. But the federal government has an advantage over even local and state governments: it can issue its own fiat currency.

Now, certainly, all due caution is necessary in issuing fiat currency. We don’t want to go the way of the Weimar Republic, and create uncontrollable inflation. But a fiat currency has this advantage: the money supply can grow in relation to the economic activity of the nation, i.e., it can grow according the nation’s actual wealth. For this reason, there is more flexibility in the federal government to allow for an unbalanced budget. Even if more taxes went to state and local governments, those governments would not be able to duplicate that ability.

But it is the very fact that a single payer program has to be paid for with taxes that makes the federal government the proper residence for the single payer. If states operated their own single payer systems, then it would behoove them to operate them as inexpensively as possible, so that they would be able to collect less in the way of taxes. Lower tax rates are one way that states try to lure businesses to locate within their borders. So the states would be in competition with one another to offer the medical care that was least expensive to the state, which would very likely have an unfortunate impact on the quality of care. However much the subsidiarity principle applies to intergovernmental relations in a federal system, it certainly does not require that the system deliver lesser quality care just so the system can be run locally.

Another problem that would arise with states or localities running a single-payer system would be the unequal means that would be at their disposal. There are rich and poor states; there are rich and poor counties. Obviously, the kind of healthcare that states or localities will be able to fund will vary according to wealth, leaving poorer areas at a disadvantage. But the whole idea of having a single payer system in the first place is to help those with smaller incomes. The rich can afford healthcare on their own. We can break the nation up into states, counties, townships, and, eventually, individuals. The smaller the units we use, the more the purpose of single-payer, which is to give people access to healthcare they otherwise could not afford, is defeated.

Here it might be argued that the federal government could perform its proper subsidiary role by taking money from rich localities to help out poor ones. But that would be a required answer only if there was something inherent in the nature of a state or locality that makes either of them the proper place to handle healthcare on a governmental level. Not everything should be handled locally. Few would argue that national defense should be left to the states, for example. It is insufficient to simply assert that localities or states are the proper places to administer governmental healthcare systems without explaining why that should be so. It’s not as if they are like families, with natural, God-given features. It did not come down from Mt. Sinai that national defense should be handled by the federal government and healthcare by the state or local. What is of that status is the principle that higher associations should not usurp what lower associations can do. And if the subsidiary principle has any application at all to intergovernmental relations in a federal system, then, for states or localities to be the proper places for the administration of a single-payer system, it must be the case that they can do it as well as the federal government. But they surely cannot, as has been shown.

So to demand that the states or localities fund the system, with the federal government keeping watch over the inevitable inequalities, is more in the nature of adding epicycles to the system than keeping to the principle of subsidiarity. And while violating Occam’s razor may not be a sin, it is prudent to avoid it.

What has been said about the ability of governmental entities and their abilities in being funding sources applies with more force to private organizations which do not have the power to tax. It is healthy to wince at the use of government force, but it is not something to be wholly avoided, “for he beareth not the sword in vain.” (Romans 13:4) The ability to compel payment into the system makes the State a more reliable funding source than any private organization that must rely on voluntary donations.

When it comes to the function of negotiating the cost of healthcare, the case for the federal government becomes overwhelming. Medical costs have been rising faster than the rate of inflation for years. [7] It is apparent that the medical insurance industry is too weak a negotiator to keep provider costs down. What the single-payer system can do is require all providers to negotiate with, essentially, one customer, creating a monopsony. This will have a downward pressure on prices as surely as a monopoly medical provider would create an upward pressure.

To accomplish this, there must be one negotiator for the entire country. We already know that the many private health insurers are unable to keep prices down. It is doubtful that fifty or more governmental entities negotiating separately would be able to do as well as one negotiator for the entire country. It would not be as difficult for a provider to leave a state if it didn’t like what it was being offered then for it to leave the country. It is beyond reasonable doubt that a single negotiator for the entire country would be more effective than a number of them. And that function would best be served by either the federal government, or by a corporation federally created for the purpose.

Funding and negotiation are the only two things necessary for a single-payer system to operate. Much regulation and control could be left at the state level, such as the licensing of physicians, or the chartering of hospitals. Localities could erect hospitals or other healthcare centers. Private entities could do the same. It cannot be emphasized too much that single-payer health coverage is not socialized medicine. Not one health provider need be a federal employee under a single-payer system, and not one hospital need be a federal institution. The only functions that would be federal would be in the two areas where the federal government, or an entity created by the federal government, would have abilities decidedly superior to what could be produced at the state level, locally, or privately.

But Mr. Cooney suggests that we could avoid this tragedy if we decided to change the way medical services were paid for. His suggestion is this:

“Our current model of providing and paying for health care is not the only possible one. To take just one example, subscription based medical providers have proven to make general and preventive care very affordable for the average family. For poor families who cannot afford the subscription, the costs are low enough that religious and other more local organizations or government can render the assistance of paying for their subscriptions. If we implemented this type of system as a standard, medical insurance would only be needed for emergencies and long term conditions and for particularly expensive procedures. This would lower the overall costs of insurance making it more affordable for families and making local institutions more capable of assisting those who cannot afford insurance. Subscription based medical services is only one of many ways that the means of acquiring health care services and lowering their costs could be addressed.”

Of course, whether religious or other local organizations or governments could chip in would depend upon the cost of the subscriptions. Prices can range from $1,200.00 to $20,000.00 per year. [8] Whether they would chip in even if they could would depend upon their own priorities. No one can guarantee that their contributions would be sufficient. One thing is for certain, and that is that the medical providers will require a profit, and so the costs of participation in the plan will have to be higher than the value of the total services rendered to the plan participants. And since the elderly and sick would use more of the plan than others, the young and healthy, who would be sharing in those costs if they joined the plan, would be incentivized to avoid participation and pay for their healthcare as need arose. Moreover, as Mr. Cooney himself points out, the subscription wouldn’t cover everything. One would still need insurance to cover catastrophic care, which would create even more people who couldn’t afford a total health package, and the need for even more of the private philanthropy that Mr. Cooney hopes for. But, as the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus informs us, private philanthropy is not always to be counted on.

With a single-payer system, on the other hand, the poor wouldn’t have to rely on the rich being in a beneficent mood. They could know that whatever their medical needs were, it would be taken care of. People would pay for it according to their means, and there would be no discrimination based on what those means were. Society as a whole would benefit, because the single payer, which would also be the single negotiator, would keep medical costs down better than would be the case under any other arrangement.

Yes, there are plans other than single-payer that could be operated on a local, state, or private level. Some already are. But none of them guarantee universal coverage the way single-payer does. Mr. Cooney’s best subsidiarity based argument would be to show that some local plan would actually work better than a single-payer system, because that’s what the principle of subsidiarity is about: what can be done on a lower level as well as a higher level should be done on the lower level. But the principle does not require us to accept something not as good simply because it operates under the auspices of a lower association.

Now what this means, of course, is that the argument about whether to adopt a single-payer system has to be based on the merits of single-payer versus other options. It is inadmissible to simply raise the issue of subsidiarity, and argue on the incorrect basis that subsidiarity is a jurisdictional question rather than one of competence. If single-payer is the best health system for human flourishing, there is nothing in Catholic social teaching that forbids it. The law was made for humanity, not humanity for the law.

Jack Quirk

a just war doctrine reminder regarding

A Just War Doctrine Reminder Regarding Syria

April 7, 2017

The U.S. military “launched dozens of cruise missile strikes against an airbase controlled by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces” on Thursday, “in response to the chemical attack on Tuesday in a rebel-held area.” [1] As of this writing, it is unclear whether there will be further military action.

Now there are different opinions extant on who is responsible for the chemical attack that gave rise to this U.S. response, many of them out of proportion to the access to actual intelligence information available to the proponents. And while the use of chemical weaponry on the part of Bashar al-Assad seems like an astonishingly irrational act of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at this point in the Syrian civil war, we do ourselves a disservice if we use that incongruity to avoid seeking the proper application of Catholic teaching to the situation at hand with the assumption that the U.S. position on what took place is the correct one. The question is, simply put: if the Syrian regime attacked its own citizens with chemical weapons, is a military response on the part of the United States justifiable under the Catholic just war doctrine?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the just war doctrine this way:

“All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

“However, ‘as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.’

“The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

“- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

“- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

“- there must be serious prospects of success;

“- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

“These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the ‘just war’ doctrine.

“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” (Secs. 2308-2309) [2]

The underlying premise of the just war doctrine is that nations must be allowed the right of self-defense. But that is because there is no “no international authority with the necessary competence and power.” It follows that the United Nations should be utilized to the extent possible. The UN may well prove unable by itself to have any serious preventive effect, but it ought to be looked to as a first resort if time and circumstances permit. In this case, the United States has acted unilaterally, and does not appear to have sought even so much as UN Security Council authorization.

Moreover, the teaching is that “governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense,” not that they may utilize military force every time they are outraged. As horrific as the outcome of the chemical attack in Syria was, there is simply no question here of the United States acting in self-defense. The U.S. is not threatened by Syria.

Now since the premise of the just war doctrine is that a nation is entitled to defend itself, the four “strict conditions” that are listed for purposes of assessing just war compliance must be analyzed in that light. Self-defense is a presumed requirement in order to pass muster under each condition.

What’s more, each of the four conditions must be satisfied at “one and the same time….” Satisfying even three of the four is insufficient.

The first of the four conditions is that “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain….” The “nation” here, refers to the nation that is defending itself. The Assad regime is certainly inflicting serious damage on its own country, whether it is using chemical weapons or not. But it is not inflicting any damage on the United States.

This doesn’t mean that the U.S. or any country has to wait until it is invaded before it may legitimately engage in military action. The required damage inflicted by the aggressor may also be brought to bear on the community of nations. This means that the U.S. would not be required to ignore its treaty obligations if a NATO country was attacked simply because no shot was fired across its own border. But Syria is engaged in a civil war. This is not a case of Syria invading any country other than its own. The “community of nations” is not being threatened due to any action by the Syrian government. The just war analysis of the U.S. military action fails as to the first condition.

Now the fact that the U.S. action is not in self-defense, and fails the test of the first just war condition, is sufficient to remove the possibility that it is justified under the just war doctrine. This is important, because it is arguable that the action potentially passes the test under the other three conditions. There was already an understanding in place that Syria had rid itself of its chemical weapons, so other means of putting an end to Syria’s use of chemical weapons have proven ineffective. There was every reason to think that the limited military action would be successful, and, as of this writing, it appears that it was. Moreover, if there is no further military action by the United States, it cannot be said that attacking an airbase is a disproportionate response to the use of chemical weapons on civilians, to include children. But all four conditions must be met. And all four conditions have not been met.

Now it will be pointed out that the moral legitimacy of such military actions belongs “to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” That’s true, and that is why the sailors aboard the ships that fired the Tomahawk missiles are not chargeable with sin. Military personnel have a right to anticipate that they have received just orders (though this goes only to the decision to go to war itself, not the commission of atrocities in the course of war, such as torture, for which those who participate on all levels are morally chargeable). But this doesn’t mean that the decisions of political leaders to go to war are immune from all moral assessment. On the contrary, since the decision belongs to them, they are precisely the ones who are accountable.

Does this mean that the United States should stand idly by while atrocities are committed in view of the whole world? Not at all. But we must not think of ourselves as idle if we are not engaged in military action.

First and foremost, perhaps the level of atrocity that gave rise to this military action might bring home to us the dire circumstances confronted by people in Syria. And that, hopefully, will inspire us to elevate compassion over fear when it comes to the admission of Syrian refugees.

Secondly, we might also consider reviewing what involvement we have had in the Syrian tragedy to date. In 2011, U.S. president Barack Obama declared the policy that Bashar al-Assad, the legitimate president of Syria, must step down from power, a manifestation of the conceit with which our halls of government have been plagued for some time, but not the sort of thing we have a right to demand. [3] And given U.S. belligerency against Iraq, where regime change was the stated goal, and even more recent U.S. and NATO military action against Libya [4], it is not hard to imagine how the call for Syrian regime change was received by the Syrian government. Moreover, it is to be wondered to what extent our intransigence on that point forestalled any peaceful settlement. At the same time, the U.S. froze Syrian assets and imposed sanctions. [5]

In 2012, the CIA began involving itself in the distribution of arms to Syrian rebels. [6] While this did not amount to the U.S. directly supplying lethal aid to rebel forces, it did involve “helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government,” including such weapons as “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons.” That same year, the Syrian Support Group, a U.S. group supporting the Free Syrian Army, received authority from the United States Treasury Department “to provide logistical and financial support to the armed Syrian resistance.” [7] Finally, after the Obama administration had determined that the Syrian government had “deployed chemical weapons against opposition groups, crossing what President Obama had called a ‘red line,’” the U.S. started to “provide direct military aid to the Syrian opposition groups for the first time.” [8] In 2015, documents were “released by the US government’s Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website” providing “an indication of the types and numbers of Eastern European weapons and ammunition the United States” was “providing to Syrian rebel groups as part of a programme that” continued “despite the widely respected ceasefire in that country.” [9] All of this against a country that had not attacked the United States or threatened it in any way.

The United States is of sufficient power to be a credible mediator of peace, if only we could muster the will to do so and maintain neutrality among warring forces that do not threaten us. And one suspects it would be a much more effective way of doing something about the tragedy in Syria then firing Tomahawk missiles.

Jack Quirk

subsidiarity and single payer

Subsidiarity and the Single Payer

April 1, 2017

One criticism of going to a single-payer healthcare system is that it would violate the principle of subsidiarity. Now from the standpoint of Catholic social teaching that is a devastating critique if it is true, since subsidiarity is an essential aspect of the Church’s social doctrine. We cannot simply ignore it. So it is worthwhile to look at both the principle of subsidiarity and the single-payer concept to determine if the two are really in conflict.

The word “subsidiarity” comes from the Latin subsidium, meaning help, support, or relief. [1] It has a military connotation, referring to reinforcement, or reserve troops. [2] Applied to economic, political, and social questions, it means that the State is to step in where needed, and not otherwise. Pope Pius XI explained the term this way in Quadragesimo anno:

“As history abundantly proves, it is true that on account of changed conditions many things which were done by small associations in former times cannot be done now save by large associations. Still, that most weighty principle, which cannot be set aside or changed, remains fixed and unshaken in social philosophy: Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.

“The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance, which would otherwise dissipate its efforts greatly. Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands. Therefore, those in power should be sure that the more perfectly a graduated order is kept among the various associations, in observance of the principle of ‘subsidiary function,’ the stronger social authority and effectiveness will be the happier and more prosperous the condition of the State.” (secs. 79-80) [3]

Now what this tells us is that to the extent that private organizations or persons can deal with the problem of healthcare being unaffordable to a great mass of people, they should do so. And the government should not do anything that those private organizations or persons can handle on their own. But it does not follow that the government should not act where private organizations or persons cannot handle a problem on their own. The question does not turn on jurisdiction, but on competence. Subsidiarity is not federalism.

Moreover, the principle of subsidiarity does not require the government to take a hands-off approach even if private organizations or persons can deal with the issue of healthcare in the main. On the contrary, it should stand ready to perform a subsidiary function (from which the principle of subsidiarity derives its name). As the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church explains,

On the basis of this principle, all societies of a superior order must adopt attitudes of help (‘subsidium’) — therefore of support, promotion, development — with respect to lower-order societies. In this way, intermediate social entities can properly perform the functions that fall to them without being required to hand them over unjustly to other social entities of a higher level, by which they would end up being absorbed and substituted, in the end seeing themselves denied their dignity and essential place.

“Subsidiarity, understood in the positive sense as economic, institutional or juridical assistance offered to lesser social entities, entails a corresponding series of negative implications that require the State to refrain from anything that would de facto restrict the existential space of the smaller essential cells of society. Their initiative, freedom and responsibility must not be supplanted.” (sec. 186) [4]

So as private organizations and persons go about the business of ensuring that everybody receives needed medical care, the principle of subsidiarity calls upon the government to provide all necessary support. Of course, when it comes to something as expensive as healthcare, a critical aspect of that support is going to be funding.

Now the dictionary definition of single-payer is “a system in which health-care providers are paid for their services by the government rather than by private insurers.” [5] More broadly, “single payer refers to a system in which one entity (usually the government) pays all the medical bills for a specific population. And usually (though, again, not always) that entity sets the prices for medical procedures.” [6] But it is to be cautioned that a “single-payer system is not the same thing as socialized medicine. In a truly socialized medicine system, the government not only pays the bills but also owns the health care facilities and employs the professionals who work there.” But a single-payer system can operate without a single medical provider being a government entity or government employee.

So the question becomes whether there is anything about a single-payer system that requires the government to overreach its proper role according to the principle of subsidiarity. It has already been pointed out that funding is going to be a necessary subsidiary role for government, and this is going to be true to some extent under any system. Even now, the federal government provides funding for healthcare for a good many people: the poor and disabled through Medicaid, the elderly through Medicare, and veterans through the Veteran’s Health Administration. And it provides subsidies for many people to purchase health coverage through exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. Single-payer would actually streamline and simplify the U.S. healthcare system as it now stands insofar as it involves the federal government.

Another feature that a single-payer system could provide would be the negotiating power to contain medical costs. Currently, health insurers in the United States lack the bargaining power to do that, which, at least in part, explains why medical costs are so high in the U.S.

Beyond funding the healthcare that people receive, and setting the prices for healthcare, there wouldn’t be much else that a single-payer would be required to do. But it is demonstrable that government can do these things better than anything or anyone else. Things that the government probably wouldn’t do as well, such as determining the course of treatment for individual patients, deciding what medicines are best able to treat certain diseases, making decisions about whether surgery is required in any given situation, deciding what doctor people should consult, or whether a specialist should be called in, don’t need to be part of government decision making at all.

And, truth to be told, it is difficult to see how such decisions need to be made by government at any level, even state or local government. As has been pointed out, subsidiarity shouldn’t be confused with federalism, and decisions of that kind made by state or local governments would involve no less of an unwarranted intrusion. Yes, the principle of subsidiarity can be said to prefer the local wherever possible, but, in truth, the most local place for medical decisions to be made is between doctor and patient. It is in that relationship where the human need sought to be serviced can be best assessed.

The principle of subsidiarity cannot legitimately be used to argue against a single-payer healthcare system. There is nothing about single-payer that calls for government, at any level, to reach beyond its unique competence, or engage in actions that could be better carried out by private individuals or entities. Those who argue against it will need to avail themselves of something outside of Catholic social teaching for support.

Jack Quirk

the best and worst of benedict option

The Best and the Worst of the Benedict Option: Reflections from Clear Creek

It’s hard to oppose the Benedict Option at a folk dance.

Listening to a live band, watching contra and square dancing in the Oklahoma springtime, it’s easy to believe that the Benedict Option — at least a form of it — is both achievable and desirable. Teenagers played football or Frisbee as luminaries like Rod Dreher and Ralph C. Wood discussed what an orthodox Christian “strategic retreat” from the world might look like. As they spoke, I sometimes felt I was seeing it in action around me.

The Idea of a Village Conference (the so-called Benedict Option Conference) was held May 21 near Clear Creek Abbey in Cherokee Country, Oklahoma. It showed what community life could be at its best.

Let me give an example. There is a small graveyard on the grounds where the conference was held, gated with what looked like a Byzantine iconostasis without the icons.

I commented how lovely it is to an old friend, herself a villager in the small Catholic community that has sprung up around the abbey. She proceeded to tell me how the graveyard came about.

One of the villagers had acquired an iconostasis in California, brought it to Oklahoma and stored it in his garage (as one does). Sometime later, another villager felled an oak tree, sat down in a chair to rest — and died.

The men of the village hewed that same oak tree into a coffin while the boys dug a grave themselves. The people put a fence around the area and gated it with the iconostasis.

My friend said that in her eighty-plus years, it was her “first real funeral.”

The speakers at the Idea of a Village Conference spoke eloquently of personal sacrifice and reliance on one’s immediate neighbors. But nothing was as moving as hearing the story of that graveyard.

Author: Raecoli

If the Benedict Option—or any strategic retreat—is to have any meaning, it’s seen in this graveyard. The Clear Creek villagers saw no need to professionalize the burial of the dead, or indeed any work of mercy. Their obligation as Christians was to perform this work of mercy, so they did.

But there’s a problem. Retreat can lead to isolation, and I saw that on display as well. Nearly everyone in attendance at the conference was white and middle to upper-middle class (a fact highlighted in an audience question). As much as Benedict Optioners want to avoid forming bourgeois enclaves, it’s easy to see them forming by default.

More damningly, it appeared that the Clear Creek villagers have limited interaction with non-Catholic locals.

The morning after the conference, I stopped at the Clear Creek Trading Post, a wonderful gas station / grocery store / diner where the coffee is still 25 cents. Just put a quarter in the cup and help yourself.

I asked the clerk what she knew about the monastery. She knew that out-of-towners often stopped to ask for directions, but she had no idea that Catholics had moved to rural Oklahoma to live near it.

This surprised me because the Clear Creek village has become world famous. Six years ago I went to a party at a farm near the monastery. It was attended by the husband of an Australian state legislator, a Tea Party candidate for Congress, and the son of Saddam Hussein’s head gardener. (It was the most fun I’d had in years before or since.)

But the local grocery store clerk doesn’t know the village exists.

This tension between community and isolation permeated the Idea of a Village Conference.

First: A Definition

Dreher has been accused — often unfairly — of failing to provide a succinct definition of what the Benedict Option involves. At the conference, he put that accusation to rest. He described the Benedict Option as communities within the Church (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) who make use of these eight points drawn from the Rule of St. Benedict:

  1. Order
  2. Prayer
  3. Work
  4. Asceticism
  5. Stability
  6. Community
  7. Hospitality
  8. Balance

Dreher spoke movingly about each of these points. If a recording of his talk is made available, I commend at least that portion to the reader. As he talked, I repeatedly found myself thinking: Yes. This is what I want for myself, my family, my parish, and my whole community.

At the same time, these principles raise a question: How are they different from just being a good Christian, building strong communities where God has placed us?

Put differently, is there anything about these principles that Dorothy Day wasn’t doing in the 1930s? If not, is there something more to the Benedict Option?

What appears to set the Benedict Option apart from, say, the Catholic Worker movement or just building strong parishes is the emphasis on withdrawal. If that’s the case, withdrawal may be the seed that ultimately destroys the Benedict Option.

Acknowledging the Problem

One comforting aspect of the conference was that neither speakers nor attendees wanted to go this direction. Speakers were repeatedly questioned on how to avoid — in the words of one audience questioner — becoming a cult.

The term “cult” was not picked lightly. Some Protestants in attendance were themselves survivors of abusive, fundamentalist churches who — like proponents of the Benedict Option — wanted to retreat from a hostile culture.

Additionally, Dreher noted a potential racial issue. He mentioned that African American Christians have responded poorly to the Benedict Option because it seems like a redux of white flight.

In other words, Dreher recognizes the fraught nature of their “strategic retreat.”

But he clings to the concept. It’s not clear why.

Often Dreher and others cite the hostile environment orthodox Christians face. We cannot speak publicly in favor of Christian marriage or against a Gnostic gender theory without being accused of bigotry. We cannot criticize greed or militarism without having our patriotism questioned.

It is difficult to raise our children to listen to the liturgy of the Church instead of the liturgy of the world (Dreher’s term).

These are facts, and I would be mad to question them.

But given these facts, the single worst thing we can do is withdraw to protect ourselves or our children from this culture.

Why We Shouldn’t Withdraw

If our culture has declared us enemies, we have an obligation to love those enemies and to teach our children to do the same.

We will not do that if we withdraw or retreat so that our enemies are “away over there.” We can pity or condescend to those who are far away. But we can only love who are near.

When we isolate ourselves and our children from our cultural enemies, they turn into boogeymen.

How often we see this in secular circles! We have all seen secular liberal folks blithely assume the Westboro Baptist Church is representative of orthodox Christians. That’s likely because these acquaintances spend little or no time engaging with orthodox Christians.

We are no different. Straw manning is not a secular or liberal problem. It’s a human problem.

If we withdraw, we are poorly positioned examine our own consciences. Many of the problems and indeed insanities of our post-Christian age originate in abuses and sins committed by orthodox Christians.

If I withdraw from my cultural enemy, how can I know the ways they have felt — legitimately or not — harmed by the Church? If I am not around people ideologically or religiously different from me, how can I beg forgiveness for my sins against them?

If all Dreher means by the Benedict Option is to encourage Christian communities to pray better, to fast more, to build better parishes, then I’m all for it. I certainly was moved seeing it in action at Clear Creek. I want to take personal responsibility for the works of mercy like burying the dead. I want my children to see these works in action.

But it’s impossible to do that and withdraw from the broader society. Otherwise we will raise a generation of outwardly Christian kids who don’t know (or are afraid of) the grocer.

It’s possible that I have misunderstood Dreher. He has been burned by the Right but is more afraid of the Left. I have been burned by the Left but am more afraid of the Right. Maybe he means something altogether different by withdrawal or retreat and I can’t see what because of our different backgrounds.

But the tenor of the questions at the Idea of a Village Conference makes me think it’s not simply a matter of misunderstanding.

The Benedict Option has a beautiful vision for Christians to live their faith joyfully in a world that will likely continue to mistrust us. But if it is to have any future, it must abandon the language of withdrawal.

Chesterton said the Gospel commands us to love our neighbors and our enemies because they are generally the same people. We therefore shouldn’t handpick our neighbors — and many don’t have that luxury.

One way of living the Gospel in a post-Christian age will include applying Dreher’s eight principles where we are now: in our lousy neighborhoods, our lukewarm parishes, our antagonistic family members, or whatever we’re dealing with. The love of Christ urges us to engage — not retreat from — those who would see us as enemies.

Charles D. Beard

Charles D. Beard is a Catholic Worker and deacon candidate in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He lives about an hour from Clear Creek Abbey and loves going there. He talks a good game about loving his neighbors but can’t remember half their names. 

the best and worst of benedict option

The Best and the Worst of the Benedict Option: Reflections from Clear Creek

It’s hard to oppose the Benedict Option at a folk dance.

Listening to a live band, watching contra and square dancing in the Oklahoma springtime, it’s easy to believe that the Benedict Option — at least a form of it — is both achievable and desirable. Teenagers played football or Frisbee as luminaries like Rod Dreher and Ralph C. Wood discussed what an orthodox Christian “strategic retreat” from the world might look like. As they spoke, I sometimes felt I was seeing it in action around me.

The Idea of a Village Conference (the so-called Benedict Option Conference) was held May 21 near Clear Creek Abbey in Cherokee Country, Oklahoma. It showed what community life could be at its best.

Let me give an example. There is a small graveyard on the grounds where the conference was held, gated with what looked like a Byzantine iconostasis without the icons.

I commented how lovely it is to an old friend, herself a villager in the small Catholic community that has sprung up around the abbey. She proceeded to tell me how the graveyard came about.

One of the villagers had acquired an iconostasis in California, brought it to Oklahoma and stored it in his garage (as one does). Sometime later, another villager felled an oak tree, sat down in a chair to rest — and died.

The men of the village hewed that same oak tree into a coffin while the boys dug a grave themselves. The people put a fence around the area and gated it with the iconostasis.

My friend said that in her eighty-plus years, it was her “first real funeral.”

The speakers at the Idea of a Village Conference spoke eloquently of personal sacrifice and reliance on one’s immediate neighbors. But nothing was as moving as hearing the story of that graveyard.

Author: Raecoli

If the Benedict Option—or any strategic retreat—is to have any meaning, it’s seen in this graveyard. The Clear Creek villagers saw no need to professionalize the burial of the dead, or indeed any work of mercy. Their obligation as Christians was to perform this work of mercy, so they did.

But there’s a problem. Retreat can lead to isolation, and I saw that on display as well. Nearly everyone in attendance at the conference was white and middle to upper-middle class (a fact highlighted in an audience question). As much as Benedict Optioners want to avoid forming bourgeois enclaves, it’s easy to see them forming by default.

More damningly, it appeared that the Clear Creek villagers have limited interaction with non-Catholic locals.

The morning after the conference, I stopped at the Clear Creek Trading Post, a wonderful gas station / grocery store / diner where the coffee is still 25 cents. Just put a quarter in the cup and help yourself.

I asked the clerk what she knew about the monastery. She knew that out-of-towners often stopped to ask for directions, but she had no idea that Catholics had moved to rural Oklahoma to live near it.

This surprised me because the Clear Creek village has become world famous. Six years ago I went to a party at a farm near the monastery. It was attended by the husband of an Australian state legislator, a Tea Party candidate for Congress, and the son of Saddam Hussein’s head gardener. (It was the most fun I’d had in years before or since.)

But the local grocery store clerk doesn’t know the village exists.

This tension between community and isolation permeated the Idea of a Village Conference.

First: A Definition

Dreher has been accused — often unfairly — of failing to provide a succinct definition of what the Benedict Option involves. At the conference, he put that accusation to rest. He described the Benedict Option as communities within the Church (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) who make use of these eight points drawn from the Rule of St. Benedict:

  1. Order
  2. Prayer
  3. Work
  4. Asceticism
  5. Stability
  6. Community
  7. Hospitality
  8. Balance

Dreher spoke movingly about each of these points. If a recording of his talk is made available, I commend at least that portion to the reader. As he talked, I repeatedly found myself thinking: Yes. This is what I want for myself, my family, my parish, and my whole community.

At the same time, these principles raise a question: How are they different from just being a good Christian, building strong communities where God has placed us?

Put differently, is there anything about these principles that Dorothy Day wasn’t doing in the 1930s? If not, is there something more to the Benedict Option?

What appears to set the Benedict Option apart from, say, the Catholic Worker movement or just building strong parishes is the emphasis on withdrawal. If that’s the case, withdrawal may be the seed that ultimately destroys the Benedict Option.

Acknowledging the Problem

One comforting aspect of the conference was that neither speakers nor attendees wanted to go this direction. Speakers were repeatedly questioned on how to avoid — in the words of one audience questioner — becoming a cult.

The term “cult” was not picked lightly. Some Protestants in attendance were themselves survivors of abusive, fundamentalist churches who — like proponents of the Benedict Option — wanted to retreat from a hostile culture.

Additionally, Dreher noted a potential racial issue. He mentioned that African American Christians have responded poorly to the Benedict Option because it seems like a redux of white flight.

In other words, Dreher recognizes the fraught nature of their “strategic retreat.”

But he clings to the concept. It’s not clear why.

Often Dreher and others cite the hostile environment orthodox Christians face. We cannot speak publicly in favor of Christian marriage or against a Gnostic gender theory without being accused of bigotry. We cannot criticize greed or militarism without having our patriotism questioned.

It is difficult to raise our children to listen to the liturgy of the Church instead of the liturgy of the world (Dreher’s term).

These are facts, and I would be mad to question them.

But given these facts, the single worst thing we can do is withdraw to protect ourselves or our children from this culture.

Why We Shouldn’t Withdraw

If our culture has declared us enemies, we have an obligation to love those enemies and to teach our children to do the same.

We will not do that if we withdraw or retreat so that our enemies are “away over there.” We can pity or condescend to those who are far away. But we can only love who are near.

When we isolate ourselves and our children from our cultural enemies, they turn into boogeymen.

How often we see this in secular circles! We have all seen secular liberal folks blithely assume the Westboro Baptist Church is representative of orthodox Christians. That’s likely because these acquaintances spend little or no time engaging with orthodox Christians.

We are no different. Straw manning is not a secular or liberal problem. It’s a human problem.

If we withdraw, we are poorly positioned examine our own consciences. Many of the problems and indeed insanities of our post-Christian age originate in abuses and sins committed by orthodox Christians.

If I withdraw from my cultural enemy, how can I know the ways they have felt — legitimately or not — harmed by the Church? If I am not around people ideologically or religiously different from me, how can I beg forgiveness for my sins against them?

If all Dreher means by the Benedict Option is to encourage Christian communities to pray better, to fast more, to build better parishes, then I’m all for it. I certainly was moved seeing it in action at Clear Creek. I want to take personal responsibility for the works of mercy like burying the dead. I want my children to see these works in action.

But it’s impossible to do that and withdraw from the broader society. Otherwise we will raise a generation of outwardly Christian kids who don’t know (or are afraid of) the grocer.

It’s possible that I have misunderstood Dreher. He has been burned by the Right but is more afraid of the Left. I have been burned by the Left but am more afraid of the Right. Maybe he means something altogether different by withdrawal or retreat and I can’t see what because of our different backgrounds.

But the tenor of the questions at the Idea of a Village Conference makes me think it’s not simply a matter of misunderstanding.

The Benedict Option has a beautiful vision for Christians to live their faith joyfully in a world that will likely continue to mistrust us. But if it is to have any future, it must abandon the language of withdrawal.

Chesterton said the Gospel commands us to love our neighbors and our enemies because they are generally the same people. We therefore shouldn’t handpick our neighbors — and many don’t have that luxury.

One way of living the Gospel in a post-Christian age will include applying Dreher’s eight principles where we are now: in our lousy neighborhoods, our lukewarm parishes, our antagonistic family members, or whatever we’re dealing with. The love of Christ urges us to engage — not retreat from — those who would see us as enemies.

Charles D. Beard

Charles D. Beard is a Catholic Worker and deacon candidate in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He lives about an hour from Clear Creek Abbey and loves going there. He talks a good game about loving his neighbors but can’t remember half their names. 

a few words on usury_28

A Few Words on Usury

November 28, 2015

It’s difficult to think of an economic activity more ubiquitous under capitalism than the charging of interest on loans meant for consumption. Modern commercial banking, including those banks in which most of us (myself included) have savings accounts, depends fully on the lending of money at interest, and has done so ever since the first silver-smithies of the Renaissance city-states of northern Italy and Flanders began printing their own bank-notes. We live in an age and a society where credit card debt and payday lenders are systematic and ubiquitous. And yet the sin of usury finds a round condemnation in a broad unanimity of Church Fathers both East and West.

So says Holy Father Basil the Great: ‘Tell me, do you seek money and means from a poor man? If he had been able to make you richer, why would he have sought at your doors? Coming for assistance, he found hostility. When searching around for antidotes, he came upon poisons. It was your duty to relieve the destitution of the man, but you, seeing to drain the desert dry, increased his need… And just as farmers pray for rains for the increase of their crops, so you also ask for poverty and want among men in order that your money may be productive to you. Do you not know that you are making an addition to your sin greater than the increase to your wealth, which you are planning from the interest?’

And so says his brother, Holy Father Gregory of Nyssa: ‘Do not live with feigned charity nor be a murderous physician with the pretense to heal for a profit; if you do this, a person trusting in your skill can suffer great harm. Money lending has no value and is rapacious. It is unfamiliar with such trades as agriculture and commerce… Money lending wants everything to be wild and begets whatever has been untilled… Usury’s home is a threshing-floor upon which the fortunes of the oppressed are winnowed and where it considers everything as its own. It prays for afflictions and misfortunes in order to destroy such persons. Money lending despises people contented with their possessions and treats them as enemies because they do not provide money. It watches courts of law to find distress in persons who demand payment and follows tax collectors who are a nest of vultures in battle array prepared for war. Money lending carries a purse and dangles bait as a wild beast to those in distress in order to ensnare them in their need. Daily it counts gain and cannot be satisfied. It is vexed by gold hidden in a person’s home because it remains idle and unprofitable. Usury imitates farmers who immediately plant crops; it takes and gives money without gain while transferring it from one hand to another.’

Holy Father Gregory the Theologian, in full agreement with his friends the brothers Basil and Gregory, holds that the usurer ‘is gathering where he has not sowed and reaping where he has not strawed; farming, not the land, but the necessity of the needy.’

Archbishop Saint John Chrysostom preaches against usury with his wonted vigour: ‘Nothing, nothing is baser than the usury of this world, nothing more cruel. Why, other persons’ calamities are such a man’s traffic; he makes himself gain of the distress of another, and demands wages for kindness, as though he were afraid to seem merciful, and under the cloak of kindness he digs the pitfall deeper, by the act of help galling a man’s poverty, and in the act of stretching out the hand thrusting him down, and when receiving him as in harbour, involving him in shipwreck, as on a rock, or shoal, or reef.’

And again: ‘Of what favour canst thou be worthy? of what justification? who in thy sowing of the earth, gladly pourest forth all, and in lending to men at usury sparest nothing; but in feeding thy Lord through His poor art cruel and inhuman?’

Note that again and again in the homilies and writings of the Eastern Fathers we can see at work an agrarian analogy with money, and one at that all the more striking, because the analogy serves to contrast the two. Ss. Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazanzius and John Chrysostom all understand perfectly well the wickedness of treating money like seed corn, and they all use the analogy of farming (which they naturally consider an honourable occupation) to highlight the contradistinction. ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’, or so the old saw goes—but often the hawkers of such platitudes wield them as weapons against the poor and indebted, as a way of upbraiding their laziness, profligacy or other presumed moral flaws.

When used today, the platitude of course ignores that the monetary system that we live with treats money as though it grows on trees. Commercial banks literally increase the money supply by lending at interest; money created in this way exists as a bookkeeping entry, listing the loan as an asset of the bank which lent it. Moneylending, as S. Gregory of Nyssa very aptly observed, ‘has a reed for a plough, papyrus for a field and black ink for seed’. Now, calling to mind my brief earlier treatments of wealth and money in the Church Fathers, who insisted that wealth should be intrinsically tied to work, a distinction has to be made between two different kinds of loans. It is not necessarily usurious, for example, to contribute a loan to an industrial firm, to a small business, to a farm or to some other productive project which can be reasonably expected to pay back over time, and do so by making, raising or providing things which are useful to human flourishing.

What the Eastern Fathers are condemning here in their treatment of usury, are loans which maldistribute wealth by making the acquisition of money the aim of its own lending. Using loans to prey upon the basic living and consumption needs of the debtor—food, clothing, shelter, education—these things justly fall under S. Gregory of Nazanzius’s damning description of ‘farming the necessity of the needy’. The money so produced, as the Church Fathers clearly realised, does not grow on trees—it grows on the desperation and insecurity of the poor. Payday lending easily falls into this category, as does most credit card debt, particularly in the wake of deregulation. But usury is not restricted only to these kinds of small-scale individual lenders, and any examination of usury has to take into account the pressures of necessity on poor people to appear as though they consume at a standard they can’t actually afford, just to secure the necessities of living. S. Basil in his exegetical homily on Psalm 14, counsels the poor to constrain their own spending and remain free, without becoming entangled in debt, even to ‘persevere in terrible situations’, but he also makes clear that he only so advises them ‘because of [rich men’s] inhumanity’. As the popular essayist Barbara Ehrenreich writes,

‘If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.’

But payday lenders and credit card companies are only the most obvious end of the problem in its modern manifestation. It is the logic of commercial consumer lending itself, of collateral and credit scores, that precipitates a desperate environment into which the poor are unceremoniously cast, such that more cut-throat forms of usury can prey upon them. In fact, S. Basil bears forth this logic explicitly as one of the reasons for condemning usury in his homily: ‘the avaricious person, seeing a man bent down before his knees as a suppliant, practising all humility, and uttering every manner of petition, does not pity one who is suffering misfortune… rigid and harsh he stands, yielding to no entreaties, touched by no tears, persevering in his refusal. But, when he who is seeking the loan makes mention of interest and names his securities, then, pulling down his eyebrows, he smiles… fawning upon and enticing the wretched man with such words, he binds him with contracts.’

Because it ought to be regarded as a medium of exchange, and not as a commodity with its own ‘intrinsic value’, money cannot rightly have such a self-reflexive teleological orientation. If money is used in a usurious way, it becomes, in S. Basil’s words (echoing Aristotle), an ‘unnatural animal’. It involves using the debtor’s labour and the debtor’s need to consume for mere survival—in other words, the debtor’s very flesh—for the sole satisfaction of the creditor’s lust for wealth, in a way which precludes the debtor from participating fully in his own pro- and co-creative work, what Fr. Sergei Bulgakov would perhaps controversially call his own sophic genius. A monetary system informed by Patristic ethics would do its best, on behalf of all those who make their livings through wage labour, to structurally discourage usury.

Matthew Franklin Cooper

Matthew F. Cooper is an AmeriCorps alumnus, ESL teacher and policy analyst currently based in Rhode Island, where he makes up about a third of the bass section in the choir of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Pawtucket. He has done some policy writing for PlaNet Finance China, as well as for the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council; the opinions he rather haphazardly scribbles elsewhere are very much his own, however. He is a contributing editor at the Solidarity Hall thinkerspace, and maintains a blog at The Heavy Anglo-Orthodox, where he meanders about theology, geopolitics, economics, and heavy metal.