Saturday, June 20, 2015

It seems we have gone from sophisticated, highly literate Popes to one with the politics of a Vassar Womyn's Studies major.

In his incomprehension of economics, his contempt for wealth creation and his idiotic enviro-faith Pope Francis is the perfect Pontiff for our benighted secular clerisy.

Pope Francis frames his argument in favor of a heavy-handed environmentalism around the idea that climate change hurts the poor the most. Yet he seems to have little notion of what has helped the world’s poor more than anything: namely, the march of markets and technology, which has lifted billions out of destitution. Instead, Francis rails against those who “doggedly uphold the myth of progress,” the “modern myth of unlimited material progress,” and the “myths of modernity,” including “unlimited progress.” Yet after levying these warnings against progress, the pope calls for a bigger effort to develop sources of renewable energy. Exactly how will this be accomplished, except through giant advances in technology?

Too much of the encyclical reads like a list of green gremlins cooked up by the most ardent environmentalists. Francis finds reason not to like genetically modified foods because, he claims, wherever they’re employed, “productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners” and small farms disappear due to “an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products.” This claim ignores the good that genetically engineered food does in boosting production and helping to feed people around the world.

The pope also decries the way humans are depleting the world’s natural resources. Under this heading, he includes a lack of fresh drinking water in some areas. He claims that water suitable for drinking “is a basic and universal human right.” But in much of the underdeveloped world, human overuse isn’t responsible for the scarcity of drinking water; rather, lack of technology to discover, pump, and purify water is the issue. Bringing clean water to Africa’s poor, for instance, has nothing to do with Americans or other wealthy peoples using too much of their own water. Instead, the solution lies in transferring the tools we have developed for ourselves—technologies that have drastically reduced disease and dehydration—to the poor.

The most dispiriting thing about the encyclical, however, is the relentlessly bleak vision of the world this pope proffers. He at times sounds like a survivalist warning that time is running out—and not because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Francis talks of impending, large-scale natural disasters, the breakdown of social life on the planet, and warns, “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.” His critique ignores so much—the extension of democracy and rise of the middle class in the Third World, the decrease in wars, the eradication of deadly diseases, and even the decline in pollution in places, thanks to technological innovations like cleaner engines and fuels.

The pope’s assuming of the apocalyptic tone of the environmentalist is, in the end, ironic. It is the Church’s gospel that offers us the true Apocalypse, which is a hopeful revelation of God’s coming and cause for joy among the good. Laudato Si, by contrast, is perhaps the least hopeful, most joyless document to come out of the Vatican in my lifetime.

What a disaster for poor people to have such a shallow and trendy man in that most august of offices. Better not to have one than to have this benighted clown.

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