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Response to: New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference: Securing the Common Good: Whakamaua te tikanga pai o te katoa

This response is going to be in stages, citing the first few words of each paragraph, with some sort of summary at the end. Whakamaua te tikanga ...: a wilful reading, based on, would involve holding a grudge about right ways of liking many people. The more we strive ...: yes, that's fair enough, but the word 'need' is doing a lot of work. Election times ...: the horse-race model in the media is calling for non-debate. If 'hold to account' means dis-elect, then that can feed into this model. In our society ...: anyone who lobbies neither inside nor outside a political party is stuck with choosing from pre-existing parties and people. Our Catholic faith ...: this appears to advocate lobbying, but does not specify whether it should be inside or outside. For us ...: the words the responsibilities of some vulnerable groups seem not to be clearly bound. I think that the Catholic Church is in the middle of coping with liberalism (which was interested in rights and their enforcement) and Ghandi (who was interested in responsibilities), in ways which contradict the (soft-peddled) claim that its moral content does not change over time. However, ...: this paragraph exists only as a concession to political powerlessness. To confirm this, remember that benefit law is being changed, to increase the coupling between benefit systems and pregnancy; it would be logical to change abortion and infanticide laws, to be more coupled to the benefit system; in that case, could the Church continue to not endorse any particular political party, and if not, would its position be effective? Politics is not ...: this paragraph is tied to the misconception that people vote on interest, rather than on identity. Human life ...: this needs to be read in the context of Freakanomics on Roe vs Wade, and the relationship between abortion and the availability of contraception. I would reject any claim that the issues are trivial. An inter-dependent ...: I guess I'm thinking of Mazlow's hierarchy of needs, and thinking that there are two ways of killing dependent people: one with inability to help, and one with overt political choice; the first is being changed by technology, and getting out of the second needs most people to be basically secure, which is going to be difficult for a while. Reconciliation, ...: I believe that reconciliation is often possible, but not always. At least one person is afraid to continue a conversation with me about the Occupy Wellington justice problem, and we will probably not be reconciled about it. I had an interesting conversation with Moana Jackson at the end of term two, which you should ask me about. Solidarity ...: who's 'we', white man? Please confirm that many Maori want more Asian immigration, for example.

Stewardship: I'm not sure that social capital is a thing that can be held in trust; it can be eroded now, and the erosion will colour the future; I'm not sure that it can be eroded in the future without eroding it in the present, in quite the way that could be foreseen, for example, with a mineral resource and the early stages of setting up a mine. Common good: see my response to The more we strive ... above. Participation ...: I suspect that 'we' means something slightly different, the two times that it is used in this paragraph.

One of the things that's going on politically, in the western world, is that the baby boomers are holding a significant share of the wealth, and aging out of the workforce. That causes hard problems about: shares of resources roles in society ability to provide care I do not see that this pamphlet addresses those hard issues. I also do not see that it addresses very much the hard issues around peak oil, climate change and fractional-reserve banking. Yes, I am your local cynic.