Dismissing everything as “liberalism”?

Entender as coisas direito dá trabalho. E o que é pior: tem que saber inglês para isso. E pior ainda, tem que ler os livros “do contra”, ó horror dos horrores!

Claro, muitos livros “do contra” acabam se revelando os mais sensatos. Mas não sem que gastemos muitos neurônios no processo.

Regrettably, it is often the case that those who are most vocal in their opposition to Austrian economics and most insistent on its incompatibility with Catholicism who turn out to know the least about it. Not long ago, for example, John Sharpe, the head of a publishing house dedicated to books on Catholic social teaching, described “[t]his infatuation with Austrian economics” as “a strange phenomenon among Catholics.” It is practically certain that at the time he made that remark he had read essentially nothing by Mises or Rothbard. Yet he felt qualified to conclude:

“Many of the critics of Distributism repeatedly cite the words of Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, and others of the Austrian school in defense of their position. . . . The Austrian economists were liberals, plain and simple, following on the heels of the French Physiocrats and the liberal English Political Economists. They opposed socialism not because it violates the natural law as taught by true philosophy and confirmed by Revelation, but because it is less efficiently productive of material wealth than the free market.”
No one who had ever read anything by Mises, or especially by Rothbard, could have made such a remark. We find here no acquaintance with the basic ideas of the Austrian School of economics, let alone the distinction between the Austrian and Chicago schools (the latter of which does indeed place great emphasis on economic “efficiency”). St. Thomas Aquinas went out of his way to understand his opponents’ arguments in order better to refute them. He demonstrated this kind of charity even when dealing with the arguments of outright heretics. Surely we have a right to expect that our fellow Catholics, before launching such attacks, likewise acquaint themselves with the matter at hand.
Mises did, of course, point out the inefficiencies of socialism, though why this should render him suspect is far from clear: even Aristotle implied the inefficiency of socialism when he spoke about the extra care with which we treat property that is our own. Economists’ preoccupation with “economic efficiency” is routinely cited as evidence of their moral perversity—do they not know that there is more to life than mere efficiency? But surely efficiency is a value. It is simply the avoidance of waste. Any conception of man’s stewardship of the things of the earth must inevitably involve a concern for the avoidance of waste. As historian Ralph Raico has noted, it is a good thing that the capitalists of the eighteenth century were every bit as committed to costcutting and efficiency as their modern-day critics claim they were, since in a society as poor as theirs any waste came at the expense of the well-being of the great mass of the population.
Moreover, Mises’ economic argument against socialism went far beyond the mere question of efficiency as that term is popularly understood. His intellectual demolition of socialism constituted a work of such genius that one can scarcely imagine grounds on which an intelligent Catholic could simply dismiss it as a product of “liberalism” unworthy of his attention.

Fonte: Thomas E. Woods, The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy.


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