You just knew this was coming the moment Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as a form of tyranny, his critique of the idolatry of money, that someone from Fox News would step up to challenge that heretical notion (heretical to them anyway). Stuart Varney of Fox Business News stepped up to the plate for the obligatory chest-thumping defense of capitalism, although at least he kept his remarks brief and without animus towards a Pope he called "a wonderful man". Stuart Varney's impersonation of Kent Brockman was, as usual, bang on.
STUART VARNEY: Capitalism, in my opinion, is a liberator. The free choice of millions of people is the essence of freedom. In my opinion, society benefits most when people are free to pursue their own self-interest. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. When individuals are free, we collectively are better off in every way, financially and spiritually.”
“I go to church to save my soul. It’s got nothing to do with my vote. Pope Francis has linked the two. He has offered direct criticism of a specific political system. He has characterized negatively that system. I think he wants to influence my politics.”
One wonders what will happen though if Pope Francis goes beyond his remarks thus far, although passages such as this one in his Evangelii Gadium, or Joy of the Gospel, will continue to ruffle feathers.
In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.