The Mists of Political Economy

“Of course it’s complicated,” continued Arthur, “but when you come to look into it it comes out clear enough. It is one of the instances of the omnipotence of capital. Parliament can do such a thing, not because it has any creative power of its own, but because it has the command of unlimited capital.” Mr. Wharton looked at him, sighing inwardly as he reflected that unrequited love should have brought a clear-headed young barrister into mists so thick and labyrinths so mazy as these. (Trollope, The Prime Minister)

MacCaulay on Copyright

The advantages arising from a system of copyright are obvious. It is desirable that we should have a supply of good books: we cannot have such a supply unless men of letters are liberally remunerated […] And there are only two ways in which they can be remunerated. One of those ways is patronage; the other is copyright. […]
The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers. The tax is an exceedingly bad one; it is a tax on one of the most innocent and most salutary of human pleasures; and never let us forget, that a tax on innocent pleasures is a premium on vicious pleasures. I admit, however, the necessity of giving a bounty to genius and learning. In order to give such a bounty, I willingly submit even to this severe and burdensome tax. Nay, I am ready to increase the tax, if it can be shown that by so doing I should proportionally increase the bounty. My complaint is, that my honorable and learned friend doubles, triples, quadruples, the tax, and makes scarcely and perceptible addition to the bounty. (Thomas Babbington MacCaulay)

Gregory on Envy and the Communicability of the Divine Good

But why do we say so much about envy if we do not also suggest how to get rid of it? It is indeed hard for people not to envy someone who has what they want to acquire. Concerning any material good that is acquired, the more it is divided among many owners, the less of it does any single person have. And that is why the mind of the one who wants it suffers so much from spite: one person who has what that one wants has either bought up the whole supply or has made it scarcer. The one, therefore, who wishes to be rid of the plague of spite for good must fall in love with that inheritance that is not used up by the number of coheirs. It is one for all and all for each one. The more abundant it is, the greater the multitude of those who receive it. (Moralia 5.XLVI.86)

Augustine on Sin as Preference for the Private Good

Thus when the will, which is an intermediate good, holds fast to the unchangeable good as something common rather than private – like the truth, which we have discussed at length without saying anything adequate – a person grasps the happy life. and the happy life, i.e. the attachment of the mind holding fast to the unchangeable good, is the proper and fundamental good for a human being. It also includes all the virtues, which no one can use for evil. although the virtues are great and fundamental goods in human beings, we thoroughly understand that they are proper to each person, not that they are common. Truth and wisdom, however, are common to all, and people become wise and happy by holding fast to them. of course, one person does not become happy by the happiness of another. even if you emulate another in order to be happy, you seek to become happy by means of what you saw made the other person happy, namely through the unchangeable and common truth. Nor does anyone become prudent by another person’s prudence, or is made courageous by another’s courage, or moderate by another’s moderateness, or just by another’s justice. Instead, you conform your mind to those unchangeable rules and beacons of the virtues, which live uncorruptibly in the truth itself and in the wisdom that is common, to which the person furnished with virtues whom you put forward as a model for your emulation has conformed and directed his mind.

Therefore, when the will adheres to the common and unchangeable good, it achieves the great and fundamental goods of a human being, despite being an intermediate good. But the will sins when it is turned away from the unchangeable and common good, towards its private good, or towards something external, or towards something lower. The will is turned to its private good when it wants to be in its own power; it is turned to something external when it is eager to know the personal affairs of other people, or anything that is not its business; it is turned to something lower when it takes delight in bodily pleasures. And thus someone who is made proud or curious or lascivious is captured by another life that, in comparison to the higher life, is death. (De libero arbitrio 2.19.52., trans. Peter King)

Erudition of the Pre-Google Age

Her great work had come out,—the “Criminal Queens,”—and had been very widely reviewed[…] [O]ne of Mr. Alf’s most sharp-nailed subordinates had been set upon her book, and had pulled it to pieces with almost rabid malignity. One would have thought that so slight a thing could hardly have been worthy of such protracted attention. Error after error was laid bare with merciless prolixity. No doubt the writer of the article must have had all history at his finger-ends, as in pointing out the various mistakes made he always spoke of the historical facts which had been misquoted, misdated, or misrepresented, as being familiar in all their bearings to every schoolboy of twelve years old. The writer of the criticism never suggested the idea that he himself, having been fully provided with books of reference, and having learned the art of finding in them what he wanted at a moment’s notice, had, as he went on with his work, checked off the blunders without any more permanent knowledge of his own than a housekeeper has of coals when she counts so many sacks into the coal-cellar. He spoke of the parentage of one wicked ancient lady, and the dates of the frailties of another, with an assurance intended to show that an exact knowledge of all these details abided with him always. He must have been a man of vast and varied erudition, and his name was Jones. (Trollope,  The Way We Live Now)

Von Balthasar and Benedict XVI on Anti-Semitism

Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lordvol 5, pp. 579-580:

In his insatiable and hateful polemic against the Old Testament, Hegel pursues the one element for which he has no use in his otherwise all-reconciling system: the sovereign and lordly elevation of God above the world, who acts, elects and rejects in complete freedom of will; and thus he has no use either for the distinctively Old Testament form of the divine glory: the Kabod. It was precisely this kind of anti-semitism which necessarily had to appear at the end of our history of the Spirit in which the elevation of God above the world—first in terms of classical antiquity and then of Christianity—is reduced step by step until it becomes a structure of implication and explication.

Pope Benedict XVI, Address in Auschwitz-Birkenau, 28 May, 2006:

The rulers of the Third Reich wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. Thus the words of the Psalm: “We are being killed, accounted as sheep for the slaughter” were fulfilled in a terrifying way. Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone – to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.

2 Peter 2:4-3:13

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned but consigned them to the lower depths of darkness where they are kept for judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, but did protect Noah, the herald of righ­teousness, with seven others, while he let loose the flood on the world of the impious; and if he doomed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes, making them an ex­ample of what is in store for the impious; and if he res­cued the righteous Lot, who was afflicted by the vicious behavior of these lawless people (for, righteous as he was and living among them, by what he saw and heard day after day he was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless behavior); then the Lord knows how to rescue the pious from their ordeal and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the Day of Judgment; especially those who follow the flesh in lust for corruption, and who despise high authority. Daring, headstrong, they do not tremble before glorious creatures, but insult them; whereas angels, who are greater in strength and power than they, do not insult them as they demand judgment against them.

But these men, like unreasoning beasts, creatures of nature bred to be caught and slaughtered, insulting what they do not understand, will be slaughtered as such beasts are slaughtered, damaged for the damage they have done. They think of happiness as the luxury of the day, they are blots and blemishes who revel in their own beguilements as they share your feasts. They have eyes that are full of adultery, insatiable in sinning, and they seduce unstable souls since their hearts are well practiced in serving their greed. Children of the curse, they left the straight road and went astray, following the course of Ba­laam the son of Beor, who longed for the wages of wickedness but was reproved for this transgression; a dumb beast spoke in a human voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.

These men are waterless springs, clouds before the whirlwind; the dark of hell is in store for them. For speaking loud in their lewdness they seduce, through the lusts of the flesh, through depravity, some who are barely escaping from the wrong way of life. They promise them freedom, being themselves the slaves of corruption; for anyone is the slave of one to whom he has lost. If they once escaped from the defilements of the world by rec­ognizing the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and then once more are involved in these and overcome, what hap­pened to them last is worse than what happened first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, having known it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was handed down to them. What has happened to them is what is in the true proverb: The dog returns to his vomit; and: The sow washed clean goes back to roll in the mud.

This, dear friends, is the second letter I have written you, to quicken the pure purpose in you by reminding you: that you should remember the words spoken of old by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and savior from your apostles. But first understand this, that in these final days mockers will come with their mockery, people who go the way of their own desires, who will say: Where is the promise of his coming? For since our fathers were laid to rest, all things remain as they have been since the original creation. But they are unaware, as they wish to be, that the skies existed from of old, and the earth formed from water and standing in the water, by the word of God; and through these waters the earth was flooded with water and perished. And by the same word the skies that are now and the earth that is now are stored away for the fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and the destruction of impious people.

Do not forget this one thing, dear friends; that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow with his prom­ise, as some think it is slowness; but he is patient with you, because he does not want any to be destroyed, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and on it the heavens will disappear with a sizzling noise, and the heavenly bodies will fall apart in flames, and the earth and the things inside it will be laid open. When all these things break up, how great is the need for you to keep to the saintly and pious life, expecting and urging on the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will fall apart in fire and the heavenly bodies melt in the flames. Then, according to his promise, let us look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness resides. (2 Peter 2:4-3:13; trans. Richmond Lattimore)

Charles De Koninck Against the Trump Defenders

Why does one not require, as a matter of principle and as an essential condition, that the leaders of society be men who are good purely and simply? How can one admit that a bad man might make a good politician? To be sure, it is not new to see subjects governed by bad men, men to whom one does nonetheless owe obedience in those things which pertain to their authority. What is new however is the manner of accepting and defending them. (On the Primacy of the Common Good, p. 69).