Economist Thomas Sowell's latest column at WND designates a new leader of the political left in Pope Francis, who is bringing his brand of social politics before Congress this week to the delight of Democrats on Capitol Hill.
"Pope Francis is part of a larger trend of the rise of the political left among Catholic intellectuals," Sowell writes. "He is, in a sense, the culmination of that trend."
Sowell argues that the leftist ideals of this Pope have slowly been absorbed into certain teachings within Catholicism for some time, with some leaders admitting to picking ideologies out of the secular Enlightenment era and passing them off as gospel. He cites Archbishop Rembert Weakland, one of the contributors to the "Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy" from the 1980s, who said of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops publication, "I think we should be up front and say that really we took this from the Enlightenment era."
"To base social or moral principles on the philosophy of the 18th century Enlightenment and then call the result 'Catholic teachings' suggests something like bait-and-switch advertising," Sowell states.
Furthermore, as Pope Francis wages a war against poverty and blames some (read, capitalists) for not doing enough for the poor, Sowell reminds that thousands of years of human history proves again and again that civilizations begin in poverty, they don't end up in poverty. He explains:
It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things – none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.
But the Pope, Sowell argues, has a hard time seeing the geographic, demographic, and cultural differences which dictate levels of poverty around the world. Also, he fails to see that in today's "poverty," there is air conditioning, motorized transportation, electricity, multiple TVs with hundreds of channels -- essentially a slap in the face to anyone who experienced actual poverty.
Sowell ends with the difference the free market makes in the lives of people versus the socialist ideologies of the left:
A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.
Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.