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As I said last time, I rather like the look of the ‘turbo-Catholic’ candidate Rick Santorum: but about the NHS he is simply deranged

Orthodox American Catholics seem to think that doctrinaire neo-liberalism is the logical consequence of faith: they’re just wrong

By on Monday, 9 January 2012

Rick Santorum claims that the NHS has 'devastated' Britain (Photo: AP)

Rick Santorum claims that the NHS has 'devastated' Britain (Photo: AP)

Before the American primary season proceeds much further, I need fairly soon to say something more about Rick Santorum. I would normally leave it for a week or two before returning to a subject like this, but we can’t be sure that Mr Santorum will necessarily still be around as a subject for comment by then. A blog like this one is either topical or it’s dead, and everyone seems unanimous in saying that though Santorum is doing well now, he will disappear from the radar at some point, possibly quite soon, since everyone knows that he couldn’t actually win against Obama even were he to be nominated.

I need to add something to my previous remarks from a perspective which not only those on the left in Britain but also most British conservatives – who would, if they had votes in American elections, be more likely to vote Republican than Democrat – probably share. Even those in the UK more temperamentally likely to lean to the American right than the American left would nevertheless have some doubts about most Republican candidates, and certainly about Santorum. I too have my doubts about Santorum, despite the fact that, as Conrad Black put it in this week’s Spectator, he is an “estimable turbo-Catholic”. This is, incidentally, something I would also say about many conservative American Catholics, like George Weigel, who really do seem to believe that orthodox Catholicism inevitably involves hardline economic neo-liberalism, even a full-on neocon stance, a view which seems to me not entirely orthodox (Mr Weigels’s hero, JPII, certainly thought so).

Nowhere is this doctrinaire neoconnery more evident than over the British National Health service, about which (like most American conservatives) Santorum has views which most English conservatives know, however critical they may be of the way in which the NHS is actually conducted, are not only ill-informed but almost deranged.

Santorum actually believes, it seems, that the NHS has “devastated” the UK and that its economic effect was partly responsible for the collapse of the British Empire (actually, the process of dismantling the Empire began in 1947 with the independence of India; the NHS was founded only in 1948 – but let that pass). Asked about this alleged economic devastation, Santorum said that Margaret Thatcher was on record as saying (where, I would like to know? I suspect that this supposed obiter dictum is a neocon urban myth) that if only she hadn’t had the NHS around her neck, she would have been able to do for Britain what Reagan did for America. Santorum seems unaware that it is fairly clear to most people here (whether you are pro- or anti-Thatcher) that her achievements were in fact considerably more radical within the British political system than Reagan’s within the American.

And if Santorum really thinks that British spending on the NHS “devastated” the British economy (incidentally, what does he think his hero George Bush did to the American economy? ), what must American health expenditure have done? The US spends 7.4 per cent of GDP on public healthcare (to which very few are entitled). We spend 7.2 per cent of GDP on the NHS for a system to which everyone in the population has an absolute right, and which most of those (I am one) who actually have any real experience of it, consider pretty effective.

Of course we are all aware that improvements need to be made. The bureaucracy is getting worse, not better. The Oxford hospital system has just installed a new fully computerised appointments system. I have to visit the (admirable) diabetic foot clinic at the Churchill hospital every two weeks. I now keep on getting letters from a computer situated in the John Radcliffe hospital, some miles away. The appointments it gives me are simply crazy. I have just had two letters: the first one gave me an appointment three weeks away: too long. The second I received on Friday, just after I had returned from the Churchill after an appointment which had taken place at 9.30 that morning. The letter was delivered at 12.30pm: it told me that I had an appointment that same day at 12.00pm.

I asked the clinic what I should do about these mad letters: just ignore them, they said; carry on making appointments here, when you come in. We expect the system to collapse; in the meantime, it’s a nuisance we just have to put up with. So, overall, the NHS as a system is still a work in progress. It’s reformable; and bit by bit it will be reformed. And the care (despite the exceptions we all know about) is mostly beyond praise.

Just one last killer fact about the dubious American healthcare system (to which the Obama reforms will in practice make little difference). According to a reputable study published in the American Journal of Medicine, 61% of bankruptcies in the US are caused by the costs of healthcare. I repeat: 61 per cent: it is simply insane. And these people have the infernal gall to equate our system with Soviet Communism (which incidentally had no public healthcare system at all). The abstract of the study is as follows:

BACKGROUND: Our 2001 study in 5 states found that medical problems contributed to at least 46.2% of all bankruptcies. Since then, health costs and the numbers of un- and underinsured have increased, and bankruptcy laws have tightened.

METHODS: We surveyed a random national sample of 2,314 bankruptcy filers in 2007, abstracted their court records, and interviewed 1,032 of them. We designated bankruptcies as “medical” based on debtors’ stated reasons for filing, income loss due to illness, and the magnitude of their medical debts.

RESULTS: Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors, the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001.

CONCLUSIONS: Illness and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of US bankruptcies.

I have personal reasons to feel strongly about the NHS. It’s quite simple: due to complications deriving from the fact that I am a type two diabetic, I need an appointment with specialist podiatrists every two weeks, and I am on six different kinds of medication. These keep my condition under control but they would be beyond my means. In America I would by now be bankrupt, very ill or dead. Sorry Mr Santorum: you’re just wrong about the NHS. Your system is more expensive than ours and it just doesn’t work for a large proportion of the US population. If I were an American, I might well still vote for you (my ideal American candidate probably doesn’t exist). But the more I look at the American political system, the more profoundly grateful I am to be a British subject.

Post-script

This has nothing to do with US politics, but with a piece I wrote a week or two ago about the CTS edition of the new missal. I have a correction, made necessary by the fact that I was writing before I had had chance to get really familiar with this splendid volume. I wrote that “It would have been nice to have some of the old prayers of preparation and thanksgiving printed at the beginning and end of the missal; but one can simply carry on doing what one has always done, one doesn’t need to be spoon-fed.” Well, these prayers (exactly the ones I was thinking about; St Thomas, St Ambrose, St Clement etc) are indeed given, in both English and Latin, not at the beginning and end of the missal itself, but before (p508) and after (p673) the order of Mass. More logical, really, though not quite so easy to find. Sorry about that: still, it gives me another opportunity to encourage you to go and get your copy if you haven’t already.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry don’t make me laugh! You believe American’s are the most informed about the rest of the world. Most American’s don’t even have a passport, and the news makes constant geographical mistakes.

    I recent study showed that people that watched Fox News actually knew LESS about world current affairs than those who did not watch ANY news! Nothing wrong with a diverse media – as long as it has some controls not to mislead its audiences – as clearly Fox News audiences were.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see that the so-called Catholic response to hard facts is evasion.

    There is absolutely no reason to be ruled in politics by the Pope (the Papacy used to send Papal armies – *very like* St. Peter !).  The Papacy betrays its function when it tries to exert temporal power over independent nations. How is saying that remotely objectionable ? This is perfectly compatible with accepting what it says in matters which fall within its competence, sauych as matters of moral principle. But it has no more right to make prudential judgements for other nations than it has to require the laws of physics should be sumitted to its will. You are are arguing for a fungus-like Leviathan of a Church which perverts & debases its faith by seizing at a political power to which it has no right; I’m arguing for a Christian Church which practices what it preaches about the mission of the laity and the Divine origin of political power. Expecting the Papacy to follow its own teaching is not anti-Catholic. 

    Try reading Dante’s “De Monarchia” – he was as worried by Papal lust for political dominion over the nations, with the worldliness this breeds, as I am. And he was a Catholic whose memory has been honoured by several Popes.

    Perhaps we can get back on topic.

  • Yddid

    Let people keep more of the money they earn? But the American system is MORE expensive, not less. And as for Europe being deranged, it’s not just Europe that has socialised health care, its practically every developed nation in the world except the US. But of course, it must be the rest of us who have got it wrong, never America…

  • David Lindsay

    In 2008, on the same day as Barack Obama received their Electoral College votes, California and Florida voted to re-affirm traditional marriage. Missouri and Ohio voted not to liberalise gambling. Colorado voted to end legal discrimination against white men. From coast to coast, the people who voted for Obama were the mainstays of, especially, the black and Catholic churches. Obama supporters included Bob Casey, Ben Nelson, Jim Webb, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bart Stupak and others of like mind. Obama supporters included Jim Jones, Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Christopher Buckley, the conservative Catholic constitutional scholar Douglas Kmiec, and Donnie McClurkin, the ex-gay gospel singer whose presence on the Obama team infuriated the Clinton camp. And Obama supporters included the recently deceased Squire Lance, Saul Alinsky’s chosen successor and a stalwart of Opus Dei.
     
    Obama has signed healthcare into law after having promised not to do so if there were any provision for federally funded abortion, which there is not; would that there were a public option or a single-payer system alongside that ban, so as to make abortion practically impossible, but one thing at a time. The Hyde Amendment, banning federal funding of abortion, was proposed by a very conservative Republican, but it was passed by a Democratic Congress, signed into law by Jimmy Carter, and subject to an annual renewal which it has never been denied no matter how large the Democratic majority in either House. Likewise, both of George McGovern’s running mates were pro-life Catholics, in stark contrast to the record of his party’s supposed “centrists”.
     
    Nor is there coverage for illegal immigrants, still less the amnesty being promoted by Senate Republicans. Traditional marriage is Obama’s own stated view. He has kicked the Freedom of Choice Act into the long grass, and instead endorsed Casey’s Pregnant Women Support Act as well as concentrating on the Employee Free Choice Act supported by pro-life stalwarts such as Stupak and Marcy Kaptur. Kaptur declined to endorse either him or Hillary Clinton because neither was offering enough to the victims of the “free” trade agreements that she and Stupak are now prominent in seeking to repeal.
     
    In November 2011, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear was re-elected by a margin of 20 points. In Kentucky. Meanwhile, in Iowa, the Democrats won a special election to retain control of the State Senate. In New Jersey, the land of Chris Christie, they increased their majority in the State Assembly and retained control of the Senate. Voters in the key swing state of Ohio rejected by 61 per cent to 39 a proposal drastically to reduce the collective bargaining rights of public employees. And in Mississippi, the constitutional recognition of personhood from conception, while opposed by the outgoing Republican Governor, was supported not only by the Republican nominee to succeed him, but also by the Democrat, who is black.
     
    So, joining the Rust Belt Catholics, the Southern Democrats are on the way back. Only this time, they come in both colours. The Democratic Party is winning back its old Northern base of “white ethnic” Catholics to add to the blacks whom it picked up as they moved North and as Johnson backed Civil Rights, all the while slowly but steadily re-conquering the South on a biracial basis not far short of miraculous.
     
    Consolidation beckons, by means of reaching out to the successors of Eisenhower, who ended the Korean War, took an even-handed approach to Israel and the Palestinians, declined to intervene in Indochina, denounced the military-industrial complex, and advocated nuclear power as “atoms for peace” 10 years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings: civil nuclear power as the ultimate beating of swords in ploughshares. In 1960, John F Kennedy branded Eisenhower and Nixon as soft on the Soviets. But then, in 1954, Eisenhower had written to his brother, Edgar N Eisenhower, that, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things … Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
     
    Consolidation beckons, by means of reaching out to the successors of Nixon, who suspended the draft, pursued détente with China, and ended the Vietnam War in union with Ford, an old stalwart of the America First Committee who went on to sign the Helsinki Accords. Nixon believed in wage and price control as surely as in the Clean Air Act and in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, as surely as in the War on Cancer and in the War on Drugs, as surely as in Title IX (banning sex discrimination in federally funded education) and in the desegregation of schools in the Deep South, and as surely as that the United States should launch no war over the Soviet Union’s treatment of its Zionist dissidents.
     
    Consolidation beckons, by means of reaching out to the successors of Reagan, who withdrew from Lebanon in 1983, and who initiated nuclear arms reduction in Europe. The successors of James Baker, who called on Israel to “lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel” in order to “foreswear annexation, stop settlement activity”, and who negotiated the voluntary disposal of all nuclear weapons by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The successors of the Republicans who opposed the global trigger-happiness of the Clinton Administration. The successors of George W Bush, who removed American troops from Saudi Arabia after 11th September 2011, thus ensuring that there has been no further attack on American soil.
     
    The defeat of David Miliband by Ed Miliband may be compared to the defeat of Hillary Clinton by Barack Obama. A new and better party can now be created. Or, rather, restored. But that is another story.

  • David Lindsay

    It had existed for 20 years by then. Abortion is not integral to the NHS, which existed for a generation without it. Socialised medicine and the tight control, sometimes an outright ban, of abortion coexist routinely on the Continent, under the direct influence of Catholic Social Teaching. Whereas America has abortion all the way up to partial birth.

  • Rob W

    It matters not in the end which system is more expensive–because none of them are affordable! Money is borrowed constantly to fund these unsustainable programs. Debt increases and the next generations are saddled with a burden that they will not be able to overcome. 

  • David Lindsay

    It is no wonder that the neoconservative wars have been and are most enthusiastically promoted by media moguls who, far from being conservative figures, are somehow all and yet none of Australian, American and British, or somehow all and yet none of Canadian, American and British. Those media have been the prime movers in turning first New Labour, and then also its imitators who have taken over the Conservative Party, into what most of Britain’s supposedly conservative newspapers have long been: more loyal to the United States and to the State of Israel than to the United Kingdom, a position as unconservative and as far removed from Labourism as it is possible to imagine, and without parallel in any comparable country, if in any country at all.

  • Timothy J. Anderson

    If you Brits actually had to pay for your own defense instead of having we Americans on your soil, you wouldn’t be able to afford your welfare state. the same can be said for the current EU economic crisis. We can’t afford to bail Europe out forever, so sorry, but we’re broke…

  • Yddid

    Socialised healthcare and legalised abortion have nothing to do with each other – as evidenced by the fact that there are countries with socialised health care where abortion is illegal, and other countries like America where there isn’t the same kind of socialised health care yet you still kill millions of babies

  • Yddid

    American bases here are for your own interests not ours. We’re kind enough to let you stay. I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that the US is bailing out the eurozone either… maybe you should watch less faux news. If your country is broke, perhaps it could save some money by having a healthcare system like ours, which costs half the money yours does yet gives us a higher life expectancy.

  • MAT

    Do yourself a favor and google ‘Obamacare and abortion funding’. You’ve been duped like so many progressive Catholics whose politics trumps their faith. Chicago has a long history of political corruption connected with very dubious Catholic politics. This president, borne of the most corrupt political machine in the country, also has ties to progressive Catholic politics that started in Chicago. Research CCHD’s and ACORN’s Alinsky roots which are directly tied to Obama and his group of counterfeit Catholics. Or, go on believing that the most pro-abortion president in the history of America is pure as the driven snow, and is somehow all about protecting life and caring about the downtrodden, just short of Mother Teresa. 

  • David Lindsay

    The most notable Chicago Catholic, as such, to have endorsed Obama was Squire Lance, of blessed memory. Saul Alinsky’s preferred successor, and a stalwart of Opus Dei.

    There is no abortion funding under Obamacare (links to drivelling Far Right websites would not disprove that fact), GOP activists alleging otherwise have found themselves in court, and in reality it gives America something approaching what is taken for granted in any developed country with a significant political movement founded on or influenced by Catholic Social Teaching, as evidenced by their abortion laws, which are nowhere near as liberal as America’s.

    The days of tricking or bullying Catholics into voting for corporate shills or the Amen Corner of the people who have almost driven Christianity out of the Holy Land, on the off-chance that one day they might do the tiniest thing to limit abortion (which they have never done yet, in 40 years), are over.

  • David Lindsay

    Most European states are not the “Caesar” that the American Republic is. They are in themselves expressions of Christianity, and the move towards things like socialised medicine was intimately bound up with that fundamental identity. The law is widely flouted, but in Britain, far from banning Christian prayers and religious instruction in schools, we actually require them by law. Not by coincidence do similar provisions exist across socialised Europe, and in somewhere like Germany they are far more rigorously observed. We were not founded by Deists whose theological position was exemplified by The Jefferson Bible, from which the eponymous author expunged all reference to Christ’s Divinity, Resurrection and miracles.
     
    The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, “of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary”, was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, was ratified unanimously, and specified that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”, an inconceivable statement on the part of most European countries even now. Although he attended Episcopalian services with his wife, George Washington did not receive Communion. However, the actual phrase “the separation of Church and State” does not occur in the Constitution. Rather, the First Amendment’s reference to religion was designed to stop Congress, full of Deists as it was, from suppressing the Established Churches of several states, although they all disestablished them of their own volition later on precisely because they had fallen so completely under the Founding Fathers’ influence.
     
    Since 1776 predates 1789, the American Republic is not a product of the Revolution, but nevertheless sits under a radically orthodox theological critique, most obviously by reference to pre-Revolutionary traditions of Catholic and Protestant republican thought, on the Catholic side perhaps Venetian, on the Protestant side perhaps Dutch, and on both sides perhaps at cantonal level in Switzerland, where it is possible that such thought might hold sway even now. There simply were Protestant Dutch Republics before the Revolution. There simply was a Catholic Venetian Republic before the Revolution. There simply were, and there simply are, Protestant and Catholics cantons in Switzerland, predating the Revolution. The literature must be there, for those who can read the languages sufficiently well. Furthermore, there is no shortage of Americans whose ancestors came from the Netherlands or from Italy, and there may well be many who assume from their surnames that their bloodline is German or Italian (or possibly French) when in fact it is Swiss. It is time for a few of them to go looking for these things, with a view to applying them as the radically orthodox theological critique of that pre-Revolutionary creation, the American Republic. But that is what it would have to be: a very radical critique indeed.

  • Mark T.

    You stick with those immaculate Chicago Catholics who just so happen to advance your political agenda. I’ll stick with those backward, ignorant ones in Rome whose agenda is entirely different.

  • theroadmaster

    Since when is the Pope exercising his prudential judgement on matters which pertain to the dignity of human life, even when his words impinge on the internal policies of certain countries, interfering with the politics of that nation.  The pope is exercising no earthly claim to the government of any country outside the jurisdiction of Vatican city.  Methinks that your view of the papacy has not advanced from a medievalist, stereotyped one.

  • David Lindsay

    Meaning whom? You clearly don’t know anything about Bavaria, for a start. Anywhere with a major political movement based on or influenced by Catholic Social Teaching always has universal socialised medicine, most places with such a system have tighter abortion laws than America (frequently including all-out prohibition), the only notable exception is here in the most Americanised country in Europe (although not even we have on paper the absolute free-for-all that you have), and even here, as everywhere else with such a system, we have proportionally far, far fewer abortions than in America. Those are just the facts.

    Of course countries with this and other well-developed aspects of the Welfare State and wider social democracy, in the British sense of the term, have fewer abortions. That is why the Church actively promotes such measures. It stands to reason. And it is borne out empirically. I am just waiting for you to say that economics is none of the Church’s business. That is your only get out clause, but it more or less places those who hold it in a sort of schism, as much cafeteria Catholics as those who hold that sex is none of the Church’s business.

  • theroadmaster

    Rick Santorum  is a very credible Presidential candidate for voters who are looking for someone who is very solidly pro-life and is generally in tune with the non-negotiable standpoints on certain issues that the Catholic Church and other Faith groups have adopted.  But there is flexibility when it comes to matters of foreign policy and domestic socio-economic affairs.  Santorum looks to be from the Libertarian,socially-conservative, fiscally-constrained School of Economic thought.  In his rush to pillory the British NHS, I think that he should spare some thoughts for those who may require government intervention by way of a “safety net” to prevent them from falling through the cracks in the system when it comes to ensuring appropriate and effective health treatment for them and their family. This is the bare minimum that we should should expect of a society which portrays itself as civilized.  This does not mean that we should leave a national health system to the whims of governments who want to impose bureaucratic controls and unfocused, spendthrift spending which costs billions and inevitably creates a large black-hole in a country’s finances.  There must be an element of choice where those who want to make the best use of their financial resources want to invest in the best type of health insurance and healthcare for themselves and their families.  Papal Encyclicals and Catholic social teaching in general have wisely laid down the guidelines based on biblical principles as to how a society should function in respect to treating men and women in respect to their dignity across a wide spectrum of it’s activities, without recommending any particular political or socio-economic system.

  • Mark T.

    No cafeteria Catholic here. Economics most certainly is part of the Church’s business, starting in the ‘modern’ era with Leo XIII. Do you recognize a difference between universal health care and socialized health care? I mentioned Paul Ryan’s universal plan that eliminates a government takeover in an earlier reply. No abortion provisions there. Arguing that the present abortion insanity in America would somehow be made more sane by socializing health care is nonsensical.

    And please stop the debate-stopping (or debate-degrading) terms like “driveling Far Right” or “GOP activists” in connection with Orthodox Catholicism. Defending Saul Alinsky (and Obama) says just about all one needs to know about your Catholicism. If nothing else, we’ve established the battle being fought not just in overly-dominant politics but within the Church herself. 

  • David Lindsay

    Santorum’s economic and foreign policy views are well beyond the limit of acceptability by reference to the Church’s Teaching. In any case, he has crashed and burned in New Hampshire. The prophet and apostle of socialised medicine will be the nominee. It is no coincidence that he introduced it, Mormon though he is, in a state full of Catholics.
     
    Like Santorum, Perry clearly believes that the sanctity of life begins at conception but ends at birth. However, Perry is in other ways an interesting example of the public, civic Christianity that the First Amendment was written to protect in the states against the Deists at the centre. I wonder if he would ever say that himself?

  • David Lindsay

    Funny how the only people who ever read the Church’s Teaching like that are either right-wing Americans or a very strange species of Briton, Canadian or Australian who wishes that he were. There is a reason why there has never been an American Pope, you know. “Protestants who go to Mass”, and all that. No wonder the BBC thinks that Santorum is an Evangelical. Not that Evangelicals are like him anywhere else, either. They were major players in successive uses of government power against the economic casuses of social evils.

    The American Church is riven between “conservatives” who accept the Church’s Teaching on bioethical and sexual matters while pretending not to know that the economic and foreign policies that they excoriate are in fact the Church’s Teaching on justice and peace, and “liberals” who accept the Church’s Teaching on justice and peace while excoriating that on most bioethical and most or all sexual matters.
     
    Neither is any more orthodox than the other, and both echo the Americanist heresy. Since there are no new heresies, that was a manifestation of the same error that has presented itself at Byzantium in the eleventh century, in England in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, in France and the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, in German-speaking Europe and the Hapsburg lands in the eighteenth century, and among the Croats of Croatia and of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the 1990s onwards.
     
    The influence of each of these can still be felt, while there were and are several further examples. Both sides of neo-Americanism belong in that category.

  • Ryan

    Well, that’s just plain wrong.  Check the math.  Defense spending and even the money spent on the wars is a drop in the bucket compared to the debt due to social spending.  Time to get off the anti-Bush bias, though obiously Dr. Oddie and the BBC can’t seem to manage it.

  • Ioannes Patricius

    The NHS funds abortions, contraception, sex-changes, IVF, etc.
    The NHS is not free, it’s paid for by the taxpayer.We are paying for abortions and so on out of the money we earn – go figure!

    This is aside from the fact that most of us Brits just don’t understand the American healthcare system that is vastly superior to ours.

  • Ryan

    Let me guess, was that a BBC viewer study?  And that esteemed news outlet never misleads its audiences does it?

  • Mark T.

    I’ve said that I am both a social and economic Catholic, much in the same vein as Chesterton.  I’ll leave things here, from Quadragesimo Anno, sections 118 – 126, titled “Socialism Conceives Society and Social Character of Man Foreign to Christian Truth.” Paragraph 120: ‘Catholic and Socialist Are Opposing Terms:’  “…’Religious Socialism,’ ‘Christian Socialism’ are expressions implying a contradiction in terms. No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist.”

    Pius XI’s definition of Socialism is the same as Chesterton’s which is the same as mine.

    God bless us both.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t jump to conclusions. It was actually a university study. Another University study from the University of Mayland found that watchers of Fox News were more likely to believe false information about politics.

  • Yddid

    Nice try pretending to be British

  • Kevin

    I am prompted to post the following quote from James Bartholomew’s “Welfare State We’re In” (2004) not to debate the quality of the NHS, but to defend Rick Santorum against the charge of being “simply deranged”:

    “For many years, every assertion that something was going wrong with the NHS was countered by someone else replying that they – or a relative – had been treated very well…. But then, starting in the 1990s, international comparisons began to be made. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund looked at one of the best measures of a medical service – how long patients survive after being diagnosed with various kinds of cancer. One of the cancers they looked at was cancer of the oesophagus…. [They found that somebody] in Britain had only 60% of the chance of survival of someone in America…. A similar story can be told for nearly all the cancers…. In another survey of colon cancer, the British survival rate was shown to be 36 per cent compared with an American survival rate of 60 per cent. Professor Colin Pritchard of Southampton said that even black people in the USA – … less likely than whites to have medical insurance – had a better survival rate than people depending on the NHS” (pp.109-110).

  • Vet4RonPaul

    I am a Catholic, Jesuit-educated military veteran and live in PA and I would never vote for Santorum because he is a chickenhawk warmonger.  How could the Catholic church want a warmonger for president?  He is out to start unjust wars and keep them going until there is nothing left.  You can’t be pro-life and also pro-war at the same time.  Only Dr. Ron Paul is pro-peace, pro-life, pro-freedom and anti-bailouts.

  • Yddid

    Check the latest WHO figures, Britain is only very slightly behind America on cancer survival rates currently, and is ahead in many other conditions such as heart disease, and we have a higher overall life expectancy. Also, if I was an American, I would be ashamed that survival rates in other countries are compared to “even black people in the USA”. At least we live in a country where your race doesn’t effect your medical care.

  • Tomcarty

    This  has got to be a wind-up.
    What’s surprising and worrying is that the English right  (and  blairite Labour people ) get so excited by neoconnrey and will follow trends so slavishly (the preparation for war with Iran being the latest wheeze coming from that direction) yet are viscerally anti-EU, an organisation of which we are  a major member among many, preferable surely to the cringing poodledom of our political and military association with the USA.
    Also, the EC was the political project of outstanding Catholic Christian Democrat statesmen and  was implemented against the European Left, social democrat, socialist and communist.

  • Tomcarty

    Yes.And while we are clarifying that, let’s note that the bias of EWTN on healthcare damages its credibility as a Catholic channel broadcasting to the world (along with the national flag in churches and prayers for the military).

  • Tomcarty

    Individual experiences don’t tell us much either way but for the record our GP provides same-day appointments and my non-urgent prostate condition was operated on three weeks after diagnosis by a specialist. If funding directly out of taxation cannot be continued then it will have to be supplemented by a state insurance system of the sort which operates in many other European countries.
    American seventeenth-century attitudes to the state just seem bizarre to nearly all people of every shade of political opinion  in Western Europe.

  • Anonymous

    The flag in churches is – regrettably IMO – something also seen in the UK.

    ISTM that EWTN would be stronger if it represented a greater spread of Catholicism – at least at present, it would be easy to infer that only one strand of Catholicism is “kosher”; there are progressive & traditionalist & “other” types of Catholicism in the CC it does not represent. For a broadcaster that is so widely-received in the Church, a purely US type of conservative Catholicism is not adequate, not fully catholic. Maybe it will grow and become able to be more fully catholic & Catholic.

  • Tomcarty

    “The flag in churches is – regrettably IMO – something also seen in the UK.”  

    Not in Catholic churches, surely? The only time I’ve seen the union flag in church is when it’s carried by scouts and guides on Remembrance Sunday: even then, makes me  feel uneasy. We have All Soul’s day to remember the deadin church.” For a broadcaster that is so widely-received in the Church, a purely US type of conservative Catholicism is not adequate, ” It’s mostly simply a lack of awareness of other ways in other parts of the world and a dominant evangelical Protestant culture which has markedly influenced Catholic America.Let’s hope we can get to know each other better.

  • Tomcarty

    Socialism meant something different at that time. Old-fashioned Marx-inspired socialism (at least in its rhetoric) was anti-clerical and as a result the church tended to ally itself with the right
    . In the UK most Catholics have voted Labour for class (as mostly immigrants they were the poorest of the poor)and ethnic reasons (the Tories were opposed to Irish Home rule and connived at unconstitutional attempts to subvert it).There is also real idealism in the catholic community which sits ill with the selfish individualism of Thatcherism (and with which Chesterton would have strongly disagreed also).The problem with Labour was and is Blairism’s slavish following of US policy and relaxed attitude to the cess-pool that is the City of London.We need a Christian democratic socialist party!.