The province of Alberta votes tomorrow, and, while not unduly influencing the democratic process – for do we not influence to some extent, even by prayer? – here are some thoughts.
The choice in Canada, not just in Alberta, is a stark one: Between a free citizenry, who make their own choices and govern their lives by their own virtue, and a citizenry enslaved in a socialist tyranny. Pius XI taught that no one could be at the same time a socialist and a Christian – we may add that no one can be at the same time a socialist and sane.
Socialism may be defined as any system in which the state absorbs more of life – and that also means the economy – than it should. Near full-blown socialism existed in Soviet Russia under Stalin, where the state was everything, and everything the state. We’re not quite that bad – yet – here in Canada, but things are moving quickly in that direction.
The Church teaches that most of society should be left up to private associations, especially the most perfect society, the family. The state’s place should be minimal, and only insofar as necessary, as Saint John XXIII puts it in his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra, individual freedom is key and essential:
But however extensive and far-reaching the influence of the State on the economy may be, it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family. Hence every economic system must permit and facilitate the free development of productive activity.
Moreover, as history itself testifies with ever-increasing clarity, there can be no such thing as a well-ordered and prosperous society unless individual citizens and the State co-operate in the economy. Both sides must work together in harmony, and their respective efforts must be proportioned to the needs of the common good in the prevailing circumstances and conditions of human life.
Experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.
Where, on the other hand, the good offices of the State are lacking or deficient, incurable disorder ensues: in particular, the unscrupulous exploitation of the weak by the strong. For men of this stamp are always in evidence, and, like cockle among the wheat, thrive in every land. (55 – 58)
John Paul II thirty years later warned against the rise of the ‘welfare state’, with the government absorbing most of the economy in his own Centesimus Annus, from 1991.
In recent years the range of such (state) intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of state, the so-called “Welfare State.” This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands, by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the “Social Assistance State.” Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good (48)
We may deduce from plain reason that if the state, say, ‘owns’ all of health care, education and media, then they also ‘own’ our bodies, our minds, and the flow of information, and may do with them as they please – as the insanity of the past few years have demonstrated.
We may add to that no Catholic or right-thinking person can support intrinsically disordered policies on abortion, euthanasia, disordered sexuality, and now transgenderism and ideological mutilation, especially of children.
No political party, nor candidate, is perfect, but some are far less perfect than others. Politics is the art of the possible, and often choosing the lesser evil and the least harm.
Make the right choice, Alberta. Make the wrong one, and those wildfires may soon be the least of your worries.