Elise Hilton (Acton PowerBlog).
Writing at PovertyCure Ismael Hernandez offers five principles to alleviate poverty:
Freedom is simple; slavery entangles your life in myriad of manacles. Comprehensive systems of care kill the light of freedom and incentivize permanence in the condition of poverty. They see the things we give or the services we render as the end of a program to meet the “unmet needs” of the poor. It is a trap. Simple programs focus on one aspect of individual or social life to show the way and see what the person receives as instrumental to the communication of a value and the offering of incentives toward action.
Yes, successful programs attempt to target a real need; practicality implies usefulness and usefulness attracts people. Some who defend freedom or want to insist on the truths of faith are often out there, afar from the realities of the poor. They do not dare to touch the poor themselves! They write these wonderful books that the already-convinced read, the books goes into a shelf and the ideas die right there. They often are detached from the lives of the poor so they cannot acquire the needed information to actually help people. Practicality is only correctly perceived in closeness and encounter.
The communication of a value or the creation of an incentive toward action must become the end of every effective poverty-alleviation project. Programs of great meaning avoid looking at the poor as helpless victims and passive recipients of magnanimity. The meaning of a program must be informed by your anthropology, that is, by what you think of the persons you aim to assist. Once you see a person as the protagonist of the story of his or her own life, instead of as scenery in the drama of your good intentions, you are going somewhere. Remember, the end of a program is the value it communicates.
The term has a similar root as the principle of subsidiarity but it means “of secondary importance.” A subsidiary furnishes aid or support but never becomes of the essence for the completion of a task; others control it and in this case it ought to be the poor themselves. Even better, every individual person controls it as it pertains to him or herself. The temptation to control, what theologian Michael Novak has called the totalistic impulse, is there every time your organization grows so much that you begin to take yourself too seriously. No one else but you can do the task so you need a chapter of your organization everywhere. Comprehensive systems thrive in bureaucratic ways that end up stifling initiative. There is no life there because the poor themselves become subsidiary to the system. Ironically, many programs are invested in poverty because poverty brings the money in; thus rendering the poor subsidiary to their efforts.
Because your program is simple, it is something that others can adapt to the realities of their local communities. As with scientific studies, if we cannot replicate a program and get similar results, then this suggests error, leading to potentially detrimental questions about the reliability of the program. However, some take it as a testament of their own importance, which leads to comprehensiveness and the temptation to create top-down approaches.
Read the rest here.
Eric Metaxas has an interesting commentary of the resurgence of Christianity in Eastern Europe. He writes that
…the turn toward Christianity in Central and Eastern Europe is born of an acknowledgment that something vital is missing from people’s lives. People who were force-fed atheism have a hard-earned appreciation of how empty life can be when God is automatically excluded from the equation.
He’s mindful that there are political implications to all this, but dismisses, rightly I think, the idea that this is merely a political phenomenon. As he writes while
…Russia, “more monasteries and parishes are reopened, growing numbers of Russians profess belief in God, and more young Russians are choosing a religious vocation.” Vladimir Putin may be taking advantage of Russians’ hunger for God, but he didn’t create that hunger. Seventy-four years of state-sponsored atheism, and the wreck it left in its wake, did that all by itself.
Read the rest here Faith Rising in East, Setting in West?
To read the article about current events in the former communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe by Filip Mazurczak’s in First Things, go here.
This from Fr Oliver Herbel…
My fellow Orthodox, let’s be honest here. With regard to Orthodox-Catholic relations the humility struggles are primarily on our side. They are evidenced in internet chatter, in parish dining halls, amongst our seminarians, publicly displayed in sermons by our clergy, and (indirectly, if nothing else) advertised for the world to see in official statements. We Orthodox sure like to talk about the virtues, the Desert Fathers, etc., but when it comes to ecumenical relations, humility too often goes out the window. I, for one, think it’s time to close that window. The sectarian draft has a real chill to it.
See more at: Red River Orthodox.
We often hear that a problem with young people today is that we are irresponsible. We don’t have a sense of duty. We don’t have a sense of order. We’re immature. I think that the problem is actually the opposite.
I think that we are pathologically terrified of risk and I think that we have this enslavement to our own ideas of respectability, our own ideas of our life plan, our commitments, our existing duties such that something as radically changing as a new life doesn’t fit in with those existing duties. To accept that life would be the irresponsible choice, and that’s the framework from which a lot of people are operating. They see themselves as accepting consequences, as responsible. They have a semblance of a moral framework and we can’t ignore that just because it’s completely the opposite of our own. And this isn’t just about whether or not you accept a child. I think that we are so enslaved to a plan, and a routine, and a vision of our lives, we can’t embrace the unsettledness, openness, flexibility, and folly it takes to have an actually pro-life culture in every instance.
Tristyn Bloom, “Beyond the Pro-Life Pep Rally: Where Do We Go From Here?” Read the rest here.
If “science” means “indubitable,” then there is no science in science. If it means “very persuasive,” then much clear and honest thinking is scientific.
Deirdre McCloskey (1985/1998), The Rhetoric of Economics, p. 72.
h/t: Cafe Hayek