Secular Right | Reality & Reason



Free Markets, No Thanks

Barbara WardBarbara Ward (1914-81), a former foreign editor of the Economist and much more besides, plays an important part in Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global Warming, a new book that is, among other things, a fascinating intellectual and political history of the evolution of the climate change movement.

Ward believed in a form of mid-century command-and-control that was reinforced by her take on the Christian ethic (she was a fairly devout Roman Catholic). This passage in Darwall’s book caught my attention:

She lobbied the Second Vatican Council on Third World Development. In 1967, Pope Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace, with Ward as one of its members. The encyclical, Populorum Progressio, ‘The Development of the Peoples’, with its criticism of ‘unbridled liberalism’, its call for ‘concerted planning’ and the creation of a ‘World Fund’ are all evidence of Ward’s imprint.


Interesting to see that the Vatican was moaning on about ‘unbridled liberalism’ at a time when it existed, well, nowhere. It’s a handy reminder that Benedict XVI’s disingenuous attacks on ‘financial capitalism’ and similar-sounding comments from the likable sort-of-Peronist who has succeeded him, represent just the latest manifestations of a long strand in Roman Catholic thinking.

· · · ·


  • Mark English · June 24, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Until, say, the middle of the 20th century there was – arguably – an identifiably Roman Catholic tradition of social thought (largely conservative, maybe corporatist, with elements of elitism and authoritarianism).

    But it seems to me that that tradition has now been replaced by other, less distinctive options – on the one hand, religious liberalism linked to social democratic and progressive ideas, and, on the other, (and especially in the US and Africa) a kind of evangelical conservatism with only tenuous links to the old orthodoxy.

    Not sure where Barbara Ward fits into this. Progressive, certainly. Her authoritarian tendencies were probably helped along by the traditional Catholic background. And her progressive activism may have owed something to her Quaker father.

  • cynthia curran · June 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I main problem is we have too many flaky Evangelicals on our side, the Rick Perry’s that thing is all due to having low business taxes. Perry’s state collects a lot thru property tax and sometimes the aveage Joe gets hit with a higher tax bill than other states like Arizona, this is what a person from Phoneix told me. And Krugman on the left is right a lot of Texas’s growth is due to its housing costing less than other states in the region but recently Houston, Austin and Dallas have seen in some parts of their metro areas big spikes. Also, their has been a big demand for oil another factor in Texas’s favor and Texas didn’t go thru the housing bubble. Texas is also too Hispanic one reason for the bad stats on poverty.



Theme Design by