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Today we do problem solving. In today’s post we jump around a bit and use a smorgasbord of different sources, yet with the same…. common denominator that is the source of the respective problems. Let’s refer to this single common denominator as the BASE ELEMENT.

Before we get to that BASE ELEMENT, we need a starting point.

For the purpose of today’s post, we will jump off with the post from the OnePeterFive blog pertaining to the new and improved… and expanded… “Petrine Office”. The money quote from the post titled Abp. Gänswein: Pope Benedict Part of an “Enlarged” Papal Ministry? (see here) is as follows: (with emphasis and added emphasis)

Neither can I seem to quite wrap my mind around these peculiar observations of Archbishop Gänswein, (Ed. Note: “From the election of his successor, Pope Francis—on 13 March 2013—there are not then two Popes, but de facto an enlarged ministry with an active and a contemplative member”). who has the unprecedented distinction of working closely with two living popes. Nonetheless, I find them quite noteworthy, and, most likely, historic. When future generations of Catholics look back on this absolutely unique moment in the Church’s two-thousand year history, they will no doubt do so with an attention to what answers were gleaned from precisely these questions.

This quite “peculiar” and simultaneously contradictory to previous statements of Benedict XVI which were highlighted in the post, brought about a most interesting reaction from another very good Catholic blog, What’s up with Francischurch? and it’s proprietor Hilary White. (see here) Here is the pertinent passage:

Yeah, two popes, and a Catholic leadership that really thinks it’s Just Fine that we just get to make shit up now. There is no more pretense at all that we’re in anything like continuity with the previous 2000+ years of Catholic history. Yay!! So THAT’s what this whole “New Springtime” thingy is about.

If the above statements came from Francis, I don’t think anyone would have even cared. He has conditioned us to his daily “musings”. The reason that these statements caused a stir in the Catholic blogosphere is that they emanated from the “grown-ups” in the conciliar church, i.e. the Ratzingerians.

So to borrow a phrase from Hilary- So what’s up?

And naturally, “what’s up?” is neo-modernism. To be more precise, “What’s up?” is THE BASE ELEMENT. And that BASE ELEMENT goes by the name of TRUTH. To be more precise, if we wanted to define the “what’s up?”, we would be defining OBJECTIVE TRUTH.

Which takes us to… surprise, surprise, the John Lamont post titled Attacks on Thomism essay which appeared at the Rorate Caeli blog on the first of January in 2015, and I have given it the honor of its own page at the top of the Deus Ex Machina blog under the heading of “Why Thomism”. (see here) Now this post I must admit, has found itself etched in indelible ink in the crevasses of my conscious. But I digress…

Here is how Mr Lamont would explain the “peculiar” and simultaneously contradictory” statement of Archbishop Ganswein:

The neomodernists made essential appeal to contemporary thought, which they presented as establishing the truth of their position and as demanding its adoption.


Garrigou-Lagrange pointed out that the ideas of neomodernism were in no way new. In philosophy, they were based on philosophical understandings of thought that had emerged from Kant and Hume, and more remotely from nominalism. Indeed, they shared essential features with the ancient skeptics and sophists; that is why Aristotle’s positions on realism and the law of non-contradiction, which were drawn upon by Garrigou-Lagrange in his discussion, are directly relevant to the neomodernist position.

In other words, the neomodernist concept of what constitutes “t”ruth is specious.

It is a non-argument, as Garrigou-Lagrange would have pointed out if he were alive today. Furthermore, Garrigou-Lagrange would have pointed out that:

Neomodernism is of course self-refuting, as noted above, because its assertion about the limitations of human thought is itself a universal claim of the very sort whose truth it rules out.

Garrigou-Lagrange would then go on to say that:

The protean character of their position was also a key to their success. The idea that doctrine should be adapted to the thought of the day does not specify what adaptations should be made. This enabled neomodernists to be all things to all men, tailoring their appeal to the particular desires of any audience.

And Garrigou-Lagrange would conclude by making to following observation:

The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement. Neomodernism, however, on a religious (Ed. note: and economic) level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

Which brings us to the LEX ARMATICUS (see here), a mechanism which allows us to draw an analogy from nominally non-related situations playing themselves out in different areas of human activity, which have also drawn their “philosophical understandings of thought that had emerged from Kant and Hume”, and are also beginning to be mentioned on Catholic blogs (see here and here). One of these analogous situations to the present predicament within the conciliar church is what is happening in the country of Venezuela.

The reason why I mention the situation in Venezuela is that the neo-modernist BASE ELEMENT at work is what economists would term Keynesian or socialist, as opposed to the fully modernist’s “communism”. And just like with the neo-modernists in the conciliar church, this underlying neo-modernist BASE ELEMENT is creating this ensuing economic crisis describe in the post below. Just as in the case of neo-modernism in the conciliar church, Keynes’ essential appeal [are] to contemporary thought, which they presented as establishing the truth of their position and as demanding its adoption. 

As proof, I supply the above video.

BTW, 10 years later and Greece is still not fixed.

Concluding, and drawing on the Lamont description of the conciliar church, the way the neo-modernist economic policies are playing themselves out in Venezuela can be described as:

Neomodernism, (…) on a religious [economic] level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical [governmental] structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world.

And just to illustrate the “dieing away” process, I am republishing the below post (see here)…



Clinton Adviser, Nobel Prize Winning Economist Endorsed Venezuelan Socialism

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Venezuela is in a state of complete crisis. The country has been forced to face the horrors of hyperinflation, food shortages, and devastating depression. In spite of having the world’s largest oil reserves, the country has had to resort to rationing electricity. A horrifying article by the New York Times depicts the state of Venezuelan hospitals, with children dying by the day due to a lack of medicine and basic supplies.  

This is the terrifying reality of socialism, the inevitable consequence of the economic policies of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro.  Since 1999, the two socialist administrations championed price controls, nationalization of industries, and wealth redistribution.

While it is not surprising to see these policies supported by Marxist politicians, what is deeply troubling is the amount of support the Venezuelan model has received from prominent economists over the years. During a visit in 2007, Joseph Stiglitz, who received the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, praised what he called “positive policies” of the Chavez administration:  

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have had success in bringing health and education to the people in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas. … It is not only important to have sustainable growth, but to ensure the best distribution of economic growth, for the benefit of all citizens.

What should alarm Americans is that Stiglitz, who has been described as an “influential advisor to Hillary Clinton,” appears determined to bring similar policies here.

Last year, as chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute, Stiglitz called for “rewriting the rules of the American economy” in a crusade against income inequality. His policy recommendations include higher taxes, more “smarter” regulation, and having the Federal Reserve focus more on unemployment than keeping inflation low — a call for an even more activist Fed than we’ve had since 2008.

It is ironic that Stiglitz has chosen to brand his policy recommendations as some new innovative concept for the country, when it is simply doubling down on the interventionist policies that the nation has suffered from for over 100 years.

Unfortunately, hearing such drivel come from a Nobel Prize winner isn’t surprising. Karl-Friedrich Israel has recently noted how the Nobel Prize has a history of being used as an endorsement of central planning. Socialist governments have long been able to count on American economists to serve as apologists for their schemes. In the 1960s, Paul Samuelson’s widely read economics textbook infamously described the socialist economy of the Soviet Union as growing faster than America’s.

This explains how Bernie Sanders has been able to receive the endorsement of 170 self-proclaimed “economists and financial experts” during his campaign.

Ludwig von Mises once wrote, “No one can escape the influence of a prevailing ideology.” The images coming from Venezuela should serve as a potent reminder of how dangerous the ideas of men like Joseph Stiglitz are.

Statism and economic interventionism must be rejected, in order for humanity to thrive.