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Some historical perspective on what four of the last five previous popes had to say about socialism over the last 50 years (emphasis added)……
1. Pope John XXIII (1958-1963)
Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production; it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.
~Radio message to the Katholikentag of Vienna, September 14, 1952 in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Vol. XIV, p. 314
2. Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)
Too often Christians attracted by socialism tend to idealize it in terms which, apart from anything else, are very general: a will for justice, solidarity and equality. They refuse to recognize the limitations of the historical socialist movements, which remain conditioned by the ideologies from which they originated.
~Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens, May 14, 1971, n. 31
3. Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)
The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call “his own,” and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.
Encyclical Centesimus Annus − On the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, May 1, 1991, n. 12
4. Pope Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013)
The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. The Church is one of those living forces.
~Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI
Understanding America’s ridiculously large $17.4 trillion economy by comparing US metro areas to entire countries
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The table above helps to put America’s ridiculously large $17.4 trillion economy (GDP in 2014) into perspective by comparing America’s largest 20 metro economies in 2014 (based on data released today by the BEA) to the economies of entire countries with similar GDPs in 2014 (IMF data here via Wikipedia).
For example, the larger New York metro area produced almost 8% more economic output last year ($1.55 trillion) than the entire country of Australia ($1.44 trillion) and New York would be the 12th largest economy in the world as a separate nation; the LA metro area produced about the same amount of economic output ($867 billion) in 2014 as the entire country of the Netherlands ($866 billion) and LA would be the 17th largest economy in the world as a separate country; Chicago’s economy ($610 billion) is 6% larger than Nigeria’s ($574 billion) and it would be the 21st largest national economy in the world, etc.
MP: This comparison provides another demonstration of how ridiculously large America’s $17.4 trillion economy really is by showing that the economies of America’s largest metropolitan areas are equivalent in economic size to the GDP of entire countries. In fact, 17 of America’s largest metro economies as separate nations would rank in the top 50 largest economies in the world and all 20 countries above would rank in the world’s 60 largest economies. It’s a demonstration that “free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity” because it was largely free markets and capitalism that propelled the nation from being a minor British colony into an economic superpower and the world’s largest economy, with dozens of metro areas that produce the same amount of economic output as entire countries.
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We hear all the time about “rising income inequality” in America (there are more than 200,000 Google search results for that term), about “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer,” the “stagnant or disappearing middle class,” all of recent income gains going to the rich,” the lack of income mobility and other narratives of pessimism. And yet, nobody seems to have shared those negative narratives with the Census Bureau, which released new data today on “Income and Poverty in the US: 2014,” because some of those data tell a much different story:
1. The top chart above shows the shares of total income earned by the top 20%, top 5% and bottom 20% of US households from 1993 to 2014 (from Table A-2). In 1993, 48.9% of total income went to the top quintile of US households, and 21 years later in 2014, the share of income going to the top 20% has increased to only 51.2%. Likewise, in 1993 the share of total income going to the top 5% of US households was 21.0%, and that share had increased to only 21.9% last year. Interestingly, the 21.9% share of income earned by the top 5% last year was lower than the share that group earned in 8 of the last 15 years. Over the last two decades, the income share of the top 20% (top 5%) has been remarkably stable at about 49-51% (21-22%) and there has been no statistical evidence of “rising income inequality” according to this measure.
2. The bottom chart above shows the annual Gini index of income inequality (a statistical measure of income dispersion that quantifies income inequality on a range from 0.0 for complete equality to 1.0 for complete inequality) for US households from 1993 to 2014 (also from Table A-2). Like the first two measures above, the Gini index measure of income dispersion reveals that there has been no significant trend of “rising income inequality” for US household incomes in recent decades. The Gini index in 1993 was 0.454 and last year it was 0.480, a slight decrease from 0.482 in 2013, and this statistical measure of income inequality has shown remarkable stability for the last several decades in a narrow range between 0.46 and 0.48.
MP: Whether we look at Census Bureau data on the share of total income going to the top fifth and top 5% of American households, or Census data on Gini coefficients for US household income, there is very little statistical support for the commonly held view by the public, academia, and the mainstream media that income inequality has been rising in recent years or decades. A more accurate description of income inequality over the last several decades in the US would be to say that it has been remarkably stable for more than two decades starting about 1993.
And yet, in a December 2013 speech, President Obama described rising income inequality as the “defining challenge of our time” and promised that for the rest of his presidency, he and his administration would focus all of their efforts to stop the increase in income inequality. But why are we even having a national debate about solutions to the “non-problem” of rising income inequality that doesn’t even exist according to several standard Census Bureau measures? Maybe it’s another example of what H.L. Mencken called an “imaginary hobgoblin”:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
Academic psychologists value diversity, but now find that liberal psychology professors outnumber conservatives 14:1
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According to a recent survey, liberal academic psychologists outnumber conservatives by a ratio of about 14-to-1 suggesting that more than 93% of psychology professors at America’s colleges self-identify as liberal and only 7% as conservative.
Those findings above (and illustrated in the Venn diagram above) motivated this academic paper “Political diversity will improve social psychological science” by a team of six researchers (mostly psychologists with one sociologist) from a variety of institutions including New York University, Rutgers and Wharton. Here’s the abstract below and here’s some commentary from one of the authors and a “Cliffs Notes” version of the paper:
Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity – particularly diversity of viewpoints – for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving. But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. This article reviews the available evidence and finds support for four claims: (1) Academic psychology once had considerable political diversity, but has lost nearly all of it in the last 50 years. (2) This lack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mis-characterize liberals and conservatives alike. (3) Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking. (4) The under-representation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination. We close with recommendations for increasing political diversity in social psychology.
HT: Warren Smith
Flashback: Sen. Sanders’ 2011 ‘war on Chinese bobbleheads’ in Smithsonian gift shops – what about Chinese pandas?
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Reason’s Nick Gillespie reminisced this week (“Bernie Sanders’ Protectionism & Nativist Economics is Neither New Nor Smart“) about how back in 2011, Sen Bernie Sanders declared war on Chinese bobbleheads that were being sold at Smithsonian Institution museum gift shops in Washington, D.C.
“In the gift shops,” Sanders said, “we should not be selling statues of the founding fathers of this country that were made in China.” At the time, the Smithsonian was selling items both made in America and in China. The foreign items cost almost half as much, partly because they were labor costs were lower and the quality more iffy. But thanks to Sanders’ intervention and economic jingoism, the Smithsonian agreed to sell more American stuff. At higher prices, naturally. Who exactly is that good for? The customers who buy less stuff? The domestic manufacturers who move less merchandise? The shop staff whose hours are cut due to slumping sales?
You can watch Reason.tv’s “Bernie Sanders’ War on Chinese Bobbleheads!” below:
In a CD blog post in 2011, I wrote the following about Sen. Sanders’ war on Chinese bobbleheads:
Last month Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) summoned the Smithsonian Museum’s top officials into his office and demanded they start selling more “Made in the USA” products in Smithsonian museum gift shops. According to ABC News:
After the meeting with Sanders, Smithsonian officials said they would sell more American-made souvenirs and promised to devote one gift shop to American-made products. Sanders said, “It’s a start.”
However, for some in Congress, it’s not good enough. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the top Democrat on the committee that oversees the Smithsonian, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require the Smithsonian to sell only American-made goods.
MP: Suppose in a momentary lapse into protectionist nitwitery we were to take Rep. Rahall’s American-made only legislation for the Smithsonian gift shops seriously. If so, why stop there? Why not then legislate that all of the displays, contents, artwork, artifacts, and animals at every of the 20 Smithsonian properties be “made in the USA” as well. And require that all food served at Smithsonian Museum restaurants and cafeterias be “American made” only. In other words, why restrict the “made in the USA” policy to just the gift shop and not the entire museum?
For example, the Smithsonian’s African Art Museum features only “traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa” and would have to be closed for being un-American. It violates the “made in the USA” policy. Likewise for the Freer Gallery of Art, which houses one of the “premier collections of Asian art.” Un-American. The contents of the National Museum of Natural History would have to go through some serious culling of un-American exhibits that include a stuffed African elephant and exhibits of other African wildlife, exhibits on Egypt, an exhibit on Chinese orchids, etc. Serious violations of the “made in the USA” policy.
And the Smithsonian’s National Zoo probably has a higher concentration of foreign animals than any of the Smithsonian museum gift shops have foreign-made Americana. So we’d have to start by getting rid of the beloved Chinese pandas (pictured above), which should be considered as great a threat to Americans as Chinese-made snow domes, baseball caps, and statues of Obama in the Zoo gift shop. After all, we have brown bears and black bears that are real “American” bears and why shouldn’t those be displayed instead of the Chinese pandas? And then we would replace all of the other foreign animals with patriotic American animals and make it a real NATIONAL Zoo. Right now it’s not a “national” zoo at all, it would be more accurate to call it the Smithsonian INTERNATIONAL Zoo, and that’s un-American and unpatriotic.
Finally, the restaurants at Smithsonian museums should be forced to serve only food “made in America” – none of that un-American coffee grown in Colombia or foreign bananas from Costa Rica.
Obviously, if that all seems like nonsensical asininity, it is. But then so is Bernie Sanders’ “War on Chinese Bobbleheads.”
Women earned majority of doctoral degrees in 2014 for 6th straight year, and outnumber men in grad school 136 to 100
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The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) released its annual report today on US graduate school enrollment and degrees for 2014 and here are some of the more interesting findings in this year’s report:
- For the sixth year in a row, women earned a majority of doctoral degrees awarded at US universities in 2014. Of the 73,303 doctoral degrees awarded in 2014 (Table B.25), women earned 37,927 of those degrees and 52.2% of the total, compared to 34,737 degrees awarded to men who earned 47.8% of the total (see top chart above). The 52.2% female share of doctoral degrees in 2014 was the same as in the previous two years (2012 and 2013), but slightly lower than the female share of 52.5% in 2011. Women have now earned a majority of doctoral degrees in each year since 2009. Previously, women started earning a majority of associate’s degrees for the first time in 1978, a majority of master’s degrees in 1981, and a majority of bachelor’s degrees in 1982 according to the Department of Education. Therefore, 2009 marked the year when men officially became the “second sex” in higher education by earning a minority of college degrees at all college levels from associate’s degrees up to doctoral degrees.
- By field of study, women earning doctoral degrees in 2014 outnumbered men in 7 of the 11 graduate fields tracked by the CGS (see top chart above): Arts and Humanities (51.7% female), Biology (52%, and one of the STEM fields), Education (68.9%), Health Sciences (70.8)%, Public Administration (63%), Social/Behavioral Studies (62.6%) and Other fields (51.6%). Men still earned a majority of 2014 doctoral degrees in the fields of Business (57.1% male), Engineering (76.9%), Math and Computer Science (73.9%), and Physical Sciences (65.5%).
- The middle chart above shows the gender breakdown for master’s degrees awarded in 2014 (from Table B.24) and the gender disparity in favor of females is significant – women earned 59% of all master’s degrees in 2014 (up from 58.4% in 2013), which would also mean that women earned nearly 144 master’s degrees last year for every 100 degrees earned by men. Like for doctoral degrees, women outnumbered men in the same 7 out of the 11 fields of graduate study and in some of those fields the gender disparity was huge. For example, women earned more than 405 master’s degrees in health sciences for every 100 men, and more than 300 master’s degrees in both education and public administration for every 100 men.
- The bottom chart above displays total enrollment in 2014 by gender and field for all graduate school programs in the US (certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees from Table B.13), showing that there is a significant gender gap in favor of women for students attending US graduate schools. Women represent 57.7% of all graduate students in the US, meaning that there are now 136.4 women enrolled in graduate school for every 100 men. In certain fields like Education (74.6% female), Health Sciences (77.6% female) and Public Administration (75.8%), women outnumber men by a factor of almost three or more. By field of study, women enrolled in graduate school outnumber men in the same 7 out of the 11 graduate fields of study noted above, with females being a minority share of graduate students in only Business (44.9% female), Engineering (24.2% female), Math and Computer Science (30.7% female), and Physical Sciences (36.5% female).
MP: Here’s my prediction – the facts that: a) men are underrepresented in graduate school enrollment overall (100 men were enrolled in 2014 for every 136.4 women), b) men received fewer master’s (41% of the total) and doctoral degrees (47.8% of the total) than women in 2014, and c) men were underrepresented in 7 out of 11 graduate fields of study at both the master’s and doctoral levels last year will get no attention at all from feminists, gender activists, women’s centers, the media, universities, and anybody in the higher education industry.
Additionally, there will be no calls for government studies, or increased government funding to address the significant gender disparities favoring women in graduate schools, and nobody will refer to the gender graduate school enrollment and degree gaps favoring women as a problem or a “crisis.” Further, neither President Obama nor Congress will address the gender graduate enrollment and degree gaps favoring women by invoking the Title IX gender-equity law, like they have threatened to do for the gender gap in some college math and science programs. And there won’t be any executive orders to address the significant under-representation of men in graduate schools by creating a White House Council on Boys and Men like the executive order issued by President Obama in 2009 to create the “White House Council on Women and Girls.” Finally, despite their stated commitment to “gender equity,” the hundreds of university women’s centers around the country are unlikely to show any concern about the significant gender inequities in graduate school enrollment and degrees, and universities will not be allocating funding to set up men’s centers on college campuses or providing funding for graduate scholarships for men.
Bottom Line: If there is any attention about gender differences in the CGS annual report, it will likely be about the fact that women are a minority in 4 of the 11 fields of graduate study including engineering and computer science (a gender gap which some consider to be a “national crisis”), with calls for greater awareness of female under-representation in STEM graduate fields of study and careers (except for the STEM field of biology, where women are over-represented). But don’t expect any concern about the fact that men have increasingly become the second sex in higher education. The concern about gender imbalances will remain extremely selective, and will only focus on cases when women, not men, are underrepresented and in the minority.
To conclude, let me pose a few questions, paraphrasing George Mason economist Walter E. Williams: If America’s diversity worshipers see any female under-representation as a problem and possibly even as proof of gender discrimination, what do they propose be done about female over-representation in higher education at every level and in 7 out of 11 graduate fields? After all, to be logically consistent, aren’t female over-representation and female under-representation simply different sides of gender injustice?