Samuel Gregg At It Again

by Michael Sean Winters

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In Legatus magazine, the Acton Institute's Samuel Gregg is at it again, trying to baptism his Tea Party vision of social justice. True enough that the vocation of a businessperson can lead to wonderful things. But, he gives away his agenda with this sentence: "Though we rarely think about it this way, deregulation is often a concrete way to promote the option for the poor. " Yes, indeed, we do rarely think about it that way because most regulations are undertaken on behalf of the common good in the face of the indifference or the inability of the moneyed interest to achieve the goal the regulation is designed meet. No coal plant has a financial incentive to avoid polluting the air, if its competitors fail to do the same. No chemical company has an incentive to avoid polluting a nearby stream, if its competitors do not abide by the same norm. No factory has a financial incentive to promote worker safety if its competitors do not do the same, or to provide better benefits to its workers, or a living wage, or generous leave policies so workers can spend time with a newborn child or ailing parent. Only government regulation can achieve those social goods the market cannot realize on its own. But Gregg thinks the market can work any and all types of magic. If you want an example of what Pope Francis denounced as the idolatry of money, here it is. The scary thing is that some people listen to Mr. Gregg and think his views acceptable interpretations of Catholic social teaching. He is trying to undermine that teaching, not develop it, and only a fool would fail to see that.   

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