The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


We have become inured to the American left's attempts to inject the multicultural agenda into the papal succession. Almost as idiotic, though, is this utterly misguided editorial by William Rees-Mogg in the London Times. [Rees-Mogg has had some excellent moments, like this insightful retrospective on Jim Callaghan.] Rees-Mogg reviews the progress of liberal (i.e., non-collective) thought from Adam Smith through Frederick Hayek, sprinkling in several gratuitous references to his own publishing firm on the way. He sums up:
Free economic competition is not a zero-sum game. Free competition creates complex mutual benefits, by what Adam Smith called “the hidden hand”. Liberalism has changed the world because it works and socialism does not. The history of liberal theory explains why that is so.
Fortunately, by the time he writes this he has forgotten all about the Pope in his eagerness to make a buck by shilling his business in the Times. But the hook on which he chooses to hang his story betrays a deep and studied ignorance.

The Church's central mission is to change the nature of man. Liberalism has changed the world because it works with that nature as it is, functioning despite omnipresent fallibility and greed. There can be no reconciling these two goals.

[Hat tip: Instapundit, who apparently approves of this appalling sophistry.]