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Friday, April 29, 2005

Last Pope Post

Must write about something else, must write about something else . . . Did you know he likes cats, REALLY likes cats, and recommends saying the rosary in bed if you can't get to sleep? See, we've got so much in common!

Ahem.

Flat rate taxation. Discuss. Apparently the Baltic states all have it, and one of the Sl's (ovakia or ovenia). Good idea?

A girn. Is it not rather patronising for an American institution apparently having as its goal the inculcation of citizenly values in the morally-deprived post-communist societies, to call itself the Educational Initiative for Eastern Europe?

Some blurb.

"EICEE’s goal is to foster and strengthen free, just and democratic societies in the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. To this end, EICEE supports the ongoing efforts of the peoples and nations of Central and Eastern Europe to promote liberty and civil society by cooperating with various local educational projects in these regions."

It's amazing. All you need to do is read that blurb and immediately you know that this is another one of the efforts to spread the Good News of a particular American Way. A litte poking around the site soon yields fruit.

This May, Dr. Russell Hittinger will return to the Neuwaldegg Institute to lead a conference entitled "Four Great Philosophers of Law". Participants will be drawn from graduate departments of law, philosophy and political science from most Central and Eastern European countries.Professor Hittinger, who earned his Ph.D. at St. Louis University, is an Academic Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., where he was a research scholar from 1991 to 1996." And who is this place's major religion contributor? Ah yes, Michael Novak.

This is just one example. I check almost every conference I see advertised that is explicitly "Catholic Social Teaching" in content, or that appears to be designed to attract the politically-Catholic punter without actually saying so, and everything in between. They almost without exception have this kind of background.
The problem with these evangelising neo-con pro-free-market people is their sneakiness. I accept that there is a good case to be made in favour of some form of freeish market as the best way of ensuring material well-being for everyone all round the world. (Not that I am convinced that it is - I have a lot of reading to do.) But you cannot go around giving presentations of the social teaching of the church which suggest that the Magisterium is Maggie's real name.