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Dorothy Day against Social Security

Discussion in 'OBOB General Politics Forum' started by Michie, May 2, 2012.

  1. Michie

    Michie Manipulation Resistance Team Supporter

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    We’ve grown depressingly accustomed to hearing our bishops speak of Social Security as something akin to a sacrament, despite the ever-worsening pattern of dependency that it has fostered, after only a couple of generations, on an ever-less solvent state. How refreshing, then, to read this:


    Continued- http://otritt.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/dorothy-day-against-social-security/
     
  2. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    Need I remind you all (and Ms. Day) that people collecting Social Security have contributed into the system their entire lives? My hubby, who's 64, has paid the maximum SS tax every single year since he was 18, except perhaps the years when he was in the Army.

    That is quite a bit of money over 46 years of work. Social Security is not an "entitlement." It is a system to which we have contributed--all of us.

    And there is a simple solution to the Social Security deficit: Give undocumented workers a pathway to citizenship. The larger families they have will be a bonus for the system in the future. Their social security taxes will sustain the system now.

    Paul Ryan and Dorothy Day are about as dissimilar as Mao Tse Tung and Ayn Rand.
     
  3. FreedomUniversity

    FreedomUniversity Newbie

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    Nice post Michie. We have to remember as Christians that we are not to be using law and government to rob and steal from people and in no way supporting this. In God's eyes we are to have our own voluntary savings accounts. If money was taken from us by force for "social security" we should not support it by saying “Were Paying for It, So We Might as Well Get Our Share!” We should turn the other cheek if someone has stolen from us, stand with good charachter and refuse the handout. Otherwise the door opens for more socialistic programs since people are already supporting it. Socialism is completely contrary to God's peaceful social order. Socialism turns God's gift of law and government into legalized theft, where everyone begins to use law and government to rob, violate and steal from everyone else.

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Below is a good piece from Leonard Read:[/FONT]


    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This is how many otherwise responsible citizens rationalize their own line-up at the Federal trough. Farmers see businessmen getting their tariffs. Businessmen observe subsidies to farmers. Labor leaders eye them both for copying. Angelenos see the Gothamites getting Federal aid, and Miamians read about Federal handouts to Seattleites. Such logrolling of special interests grows, and “how to get ours” becomes the “economic” talk of the nation. That a naughty feeling often attends this weak excuse is understandable.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]For obvious reasons, this bromide evokes no sense of guilt in socialists — those who would communize society; Federal handouts fit perfectly into their design of substituting government control for personal responsibility. The feelings of remorse are confined to individuals who think of themselves as conservative or libertarian. Unable clearly to diagnose their inconsistency, they at least suspect themselves of being Janus-faced.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]To bring this political picture into focus, let’s substitute one man for the majority, and a few for the millions, otherwise sticking to an accurate matching in structure. A man— call him Robin Hood— aspires to the role of God. He observes that the people in his shire come out unequally when freely exchanging the things they grow, the stock they raise, the items they make. Some fare a lot better than others. It never occurs to this Caesar of the countryside that dullness, laziness, indolence — as against ingenuity, initiative, industry— play a hand in these discrepancies. He sees only the inequalities and, in egotistical disdain, only his system for erasing them.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]So, bow in hand, our self-appointed hero takes the produce from all unto himself. He’ll dole it out as he sees the need. “Social justice” of his variety will be served![/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The socialists in the shire — those who believe in the communalization of the product of all by coercion — may well be expected to hail this man and his tools of force.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]But, what are we to think of those who have a libertarian bent, of those who pay lip service to the free society, and then go on to assert, “We’re paying for it, so we might as well get our share”? What sincerity or depth can be ascribed to their lip service? Do not actions speak louder than words? By their actions, are they not, most effectively, giving support to the socialistic design? Endorsing the welfare state? Upholding Caesarism?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Frederic Bastiat, more than a century ago, referred quite accurately to the above behavior as legal plunder, and explained in simple terms how to identify it:[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]“See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]No individual with libertarian pretensions can, in good conscience, advocate legal plunder. What, then, should be his position? He has only one way to turn. Bastiat, the libertarian teacher, was again helpful: “Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.”[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Today, in the U.S.A., such law is not the isolated exception. It is already “a system.” This system of plunder derives much of its support from individuals who do not subscribe to socialism but who say, “We’re paying for it, so we might as well get our share.”[/FONT]
     
  4. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    The problem with your post is that our country is about the least socialistic of any industrialized country in the world. "Socialism" is a buzzword used by manipulative conservative cynics in this country to try to drive fear into the hearts of the people they've duped into voting for them.
     
  5. FreedomUniversity

    FreedomUniversity Newbie

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    That's like saying if someone is getting beaten twice a week instead of 6 days a week, he shouldn't complain since he's being beaten the least. We as Christians should be working to remove every last ounce of socialism, as Socialism turns the law into legalized theft, and is completely contrary to God.

    God says in the 10th commandment do not covet anything that is your neighbors which is a commandment against all socialism. ALL political programs are in violation of this command when the program steals from 1 class of people to give to another class.
     
  6. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    When a vulture capitalist buys a company, loads it up with debt (using the proceeds of the "loan" to repeat the procedure with another company), sells it off piecemeal to other companies at a profit, and causes hundreds or thousands to lose their jobs, that vulture capitalist has "stolen" their livelihood, their self-respect, their independence.

    When capitalists close factories in the US, stealing the livelihood of their employees, and open up overseas hiring children and exploiting them for pennies a day, they steal the youth of those children.

    When companies violate environmental safety, or fail to get simple equipment that could save catastrophes (as BP did in the Gulf) they steal our waters, our air, our health. They steal the livelihoods of fisherman and hotel owners who depend on those waters.

    When banks red line areas in the inner cities, they steal the dream of home ownership away from honest, hardworking people. They steal the value of the real estate from people who have invested in and improved their homes.

    When Romney takes money earned (however unethically) in the US and invests it in banks abroad, he steals tax revenue from the government and he steals the ability of those banks to make loans to American businesses and homeowners with that money.

    The current American business landscape is so replete with examples of man's inhumanity to man (as it has been throughout history, of course) that I am surprised you have time to worry about what government is rightfully trying to do to remediate those problems.
     
  7. FreedomUniversity

    FreedomUniversity Newbie

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    I'm not sure where this idea comes from that those in the civil government are somehow of a different nature than other men, and are loving, want the best for us and trying to "rightfully remediate these problems". Their just as corrupt if not worse than the above examples you gave. The state has been the most violent institute in all of mans history. Over 200 million people slaughtered at the hands of the state in the 20th century alone, during peace time, in the century where socialism was at its peak. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton

    Through legislation like the community reinvestment act, politicians forced the banks to give home loans to people they would normally not give loans to, because of bad credit, causing massive defaults which contributed to the economic collapse. Corporations make deals with politicians all the time, and use the law to create giant monopolies and corrupt the market. The capitalism taught 100 years ago by people like Adam Smith advocated the free market, free from government intervention and special deals made with politicians. I don't mean to come across as being rude, just simply debating.
     
  8. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    These are the causes of the financial crisis:

    FactCheck.org : Who Caused the Economic Crisis?

    And yes, politics is not perfect, but in a democratic republic they more closely represent the will and priorities of the people, whereas business prioritizes profit above all else.

    Unfortunately, ill-advised Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United allow business to 'buy' and corrupt politicians and elections.
     
  9. KatherineS

    KatherineS New Member

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    The CRA only requires that banks that takes millions and millions in deposits from particular communities must reinvest a small portion of those funds back in the same communities. It does not require them to lower their lending qualifications.
     
  10. FreedomUniversity

    FreedomUniversity Newbie

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    I agree with you. I had stated the community reinvestment act had simply contributed to the financial crisis but not the main cause. I know the federal reserve is an abomination to God and is at the heart of the economic collapse.

    This is why God never promotes or teaches Deomocracy. Democracy is a man-made invention that man seems to think God hasn't caught up to yet. Democracy, as Thomas Jefferson stated, is simply "mob rule". As I'm sure you know, the majority are usually wrong in history and choose evil. The majority chose Hitler, the majority wanted Jesus and the prophets dead, the majority wanted to go back to slavery in Egypt. God has already given us the instructions for a peaceful social order and every area of life for that matter. God has a standard of authority for the civil government, the church, business, family, education and so on.

    The rare times in history that a society has followed this pattern to any degree saw great freedom and prosperity (like early America to a degree, Switzerland at one time, ancient Israel before they rejected God as their king and wanted to be like the other nations and set up worldly kings as 1st Sam 8 records). We are supposed to be "dead to the world's ways", "renewing our minds" as scripture says and always question what the majority is doing. Revelation speaks of Satan deceiving the whole world.

    There is a way that seems right to man, a way that leads to destruction.
    -Proverbs 14:12

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

    And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD... - Revelation 12:9
     
  11. JimR-OCDS

    JimR-OCDS God Cannot Be Grasped, Except Through Love

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    Dorothy Day didn't speak about the Social Security Program set up by FDR, but was addressing the Communist Socialistic groups that she opposed, which were becoming popular during her time.

    I'm sure the article is misquoting Dorothy Day.


    Jim
     
  12. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    Thanks for doing that research, Jim.
     
  13. einhverfr

    einhverfr Newbie

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    I don't think that's quite correct. Day, in context, was arguing against:

    1) Social Security, or universal federal pensions generally

    2) A general argument against the idea that the Holy Mother State will save us from ourselves.

    At the same time, I think Day would be very uncomfortable with many of the current attempts to privatize social security. Her view was that voluntary poverty was noble, that social security turns people into wards, or even slaves, of the state. She also was not very soft on for profit businesses in the article either.

    Whether you are left or right, I think the actual article she wrote in its entirety is worth reading. Given her following of the Distributist teachings of Catholic thinkers (including in some ways some popes) I don't think there is any doubt that she saw business and government as twin evils in this area.

    Read her full article at Catholic Worker Movement - DorothyDay

    But there are many reasons for conscientious people to be opposed to social security, or at least seek to free younger generations from this inhumane system. Social security is a cultural theft backed by a regressive tax. It steals the sense of continuity of family and tradition from the children that they would have had by growing up around their grandparents, and it steals from the elderly the support and companionship of younger family members as they are now encouraged to just get out of the way, go somewhere else, and let the younger generations live their lives. In discussing this issue it cannot be denied that it would be entirely immoral to deprive those whose children are grown the support of the system they have paid into, but it would be wrong to say that for that reason alone that we must maintain such a corrupt system for perpetuity.

    (As a footnote, I don't really consider myself Christian, but I joined these forums because I am a big fan of the Catholic distributist thinkers and this seemed like a good opportunity to defend what they actually said.)
     
    MKJ likes this.
  14. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    Employers pay half of Social Security taxes collected--given how easy it is to relocate a factory to a country where nine year-olds toil for pennies an hour, how likely do you think it is that employers would pony up that 6.45% a year for their employees' retirement if not compelled to legally?

    Social Security also covers young families when a parent dies or becomes disabled.

    Families are smaller today. It is more difficult for an only child--or one brother and one sister--to assume economic responsibility for their retired parents--and if you think that turning Medicare into a voucher program would make it any easier for that brother and sister, think again.

    Most people I know struggle valiantly to help their parents and adult children when they are called upon to do so. I even know some seventy year-olds who try their best to help their ninety year-old parents (yes, people live longer nowadays.)

    My retired sister helped my Dad, who died in his mid-nineties last year (we all tried to help, too).

    That's why they call us boomers "the sandwich generation." We have boomerang kids who come home to live when times are tough--sometimes following divorce, with their own kids in tow.

    I have friends raising their grandchildren because their children are troubled and unable to care for them adequately.

    I grew up in a household with my grandparents. Self-employed people didn't pay in to the Social Security system initially, and my grandparents didn't have any benefits--all they had was my parents. There were seven of us sharing one bathroom. It was crowded. In 1966 the government started giving elders who didn't have Social Security a little benefit--$45 a month. My grandmother was so happy. Even though she was a big physical support to my parents (who both worked full time so that they could afford to support my grandparents and us) she felt very ashamed of not having any income of her own and being so dependent. That $45 gave her a little bit of independence, and she was happy.

    Do you think Dorothy Day would have thought it was good for my mother not to be a SAHM so that she could support her parents who didn't have Social Security? I don't. When my parents were retired, they were so happy to be able to spend lots of time with their grandchildren. My mother was especially happy, because she had never been able to spend very much time with us since she worked FT in NYC so she could afford to take care of her elderly parents.

    I think she missed a lot.
     
  15. JimR-OCDS

    JimR-OCDS God Cannot Be Grasped, Except Through Love

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    Well if it was true she was against Social Security, she was wrong. She had a communistic mind set in that the community should live for the common good. This was during the depression when many intellectuals were advocating communism, in it's purest form, without realizing the consequences of a system, when not every lives according to the ideology. She, probably had a great misunderstanding of what SS was going to be, being it was just being formulated by FDR.

    Fact is, looking at what my wife and myself will be getting for SS next year when I retire, we'll be living at the poverty level.

    Jim
     
  16. AMDG

    AMDG Tenderized for Christ

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    I don't know if it was mentioned, but I want to make it clear if it wasn't that the military *pay into Social Security*.

    http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10017.pdf

    civilians are biased enough against the military, that they don't need any extra things to blame them for.
     
  17. einhverfr

    einhverfr Newbie

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    From a distributist perspective, of course you can't but the solution to that problem is to try to minimize the number of jobs, and maximize self-employment. Hilaire Belloc (one of the thinkers Day followed to a significant extent) was pretty clear on that.

    Day's point (and honestly I am somewhat ambivalent on this aspect of social security) is that it shouldn't be the role of the "holy mother state" in her words to do this but rather the role of parish and community instead. To the extent the community can take care of their own, I think that does bring us together. Keep in mind that day devoted her life to helping the poor in a very hands-on visceral way, both in her social teachings and her life's work.

    Turning Medicare into a voucher program would be a disaster and would pose the same problem I have with Obamacare, namely that it would trap people into health insurance agreements with parties they might otherwise want to choose not to do business with. You don't bring about better quality and lower cost by taking away the right of the purchaser to say no. Anyone who thinks that is a "market solution" is deeply misguided.

    I am in favor of block granting Medicare and Medicaid to the States but for distributist reasons, namely that the control really should be on the most local level possible. It's worth noting that I take hell from this from the left even though the much-vaunted Canadian "system" is actually "every province has their own system." I suppose to the Republicans the Canadians are Socialists, and to the Democrats they are States Rights' Nutzos.... But that political discourse is so vitriolic in this country is the problem and it gets in the way of solutions. Day's arguments against social security are very relevant here. Her argument is against central, government control, displacing families and communities as support structures.

    I don't have a problem with state-by-state single payer for example (essentially that's the thrust of the Canadian system) but a federal single payer system would be a financial disaster if Medicare and Medicaid are any indication. It is worth noting that our public sector spends more per capita than any other nation in the world on health care, and that's only public sector spending. If this were Canada, what we spend on Medicare and Medicaid *alone* would cover every American. Maybe we want shorter waiting lists so we can afford to pay a bit more, but that still should be a cause for reflection as to how messed up health care (including Medicare) is in this country.

    But the problem is, without a general expectation you only get the downside. You don't have the possibility of a real quid quo pro develop. People only support their parents when they are sick and injured, not when they are healthy and can contribute to raising the kids, and so forth. What we have is a system of one-way support as needed, not a system of mutual companionship and support. That's the difference.

    (snip)

    I have watched four grandparents slowly wither away in social isolation when even visits by children every week, or for several days a month, couldn't offset the isolation that came with independent retirement.

    I have also lived in a house where I was generation 3 out of 4, where 7 people were often sharing a single bathroom. I understand the crowding issues.

    However, given the choice, there is no question which is worse. I have watched my grandparents and my wife's grandmother in two very different environments. The multi-generational, bilateral support is clearly better for everyone even when it is crowded.

    What makes life worthwhile in life is other people, and contact with other people. To the extent social security robs us of that in our later years, it is an insidious theft.

    Day, in the same column, said that helping the poor become owners was an important way to elevate people out of poverty. That's not a communist mentality by any means. Her view, following that of Belloc and Chesterton, was that we should move to a more decentralized society and economy, where there are fewer big businesses, more self-employed. In this ideal the farms are small (Chesterton's slogan was "Three Acres and a Cow"), most people own their own means of production, and most people create their own jobs. You have a perfectly competitive free market, but no division between capital and labor. I don't think you can call this communism. It certainly isn't liberal capitalism either. Again the Distributists (and Day was one) defy either left or right categorizations.
     
  18. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote

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    Everything you have said convinces me that distributism works in agrarian economies and tribal economies and that its application (at least to the very extreme degree you are posing) lost all relevancy with the industrial and technological revolutions.

    Everybody self-employed? Are you crazy? That is a 7 billion person disaster in the making.

    If I have to go live in a hut without electricity to be a distributist, count me out.
     
  19. TheOtherHockeyMom

    TheOtherHockeyMom Contributor

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  20. TheOtherHockeyMom

    TheOtherHockeyMom Contributor

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