Volume 2, Part 6

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The Communist policy of "redistribution of wealth" differs significantly in results from the Catholic moral principal of "just distribution of resources."


"There are ... two incentives to work: the need to live and the desire to improve the conditions of life. Experience has proven that the majority of men can be sufficiently motivated to work only by the first of these incentives. The second is effective only with a small minority. Well, the charitable institution indiscriminately open to all those in need, or a law that gives all the poor a right to public aid, whatever the origin of their poverty, weakens or destroys the first stimulant and leaves only the second intact. The English peasant, like the Spanish peasant, if he does not feel the deep desire to better the position into which he has been born, and to raise himself out of his misery (a feeble desire which is easily crushed in the majority of men)—the peasant of both countries, I maintain, has no interest in working, or, if he works, has no interest in saving. He therefore remains idle or thoughtlessly squanders the fruits of his labors ... Any measure that establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives it an administrative form thereby creates an idle and lazy class, living at the expense of the industrial and working class. This, at least, is its inevitable consequence if not the immediate result. It reproduced all the vices of the monastic system, minus the high ideals of morality and religion that often went along with it. Such a law is a bad seed planted in the legal structure. Circumstances ... can prevent the seed from developing rapidly, but they cannot destroy it, and if the present generation escapes its influence, it will devour the well-being of generations to come. (Alexis de Tocqueville, Memoir on Pauperism)"

Deacon Joseph B. Gorini, Mechanicsburg PA <///><  [First Published October 2, 2011]

Category: Volume 2

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