Recently I have been engaged in an ongoing email dialogue with my cousin, Steve.  I consider myself a progressive and he would consider himself a libertarian.  With his permission, I am posting some of the conversations that we have had, because I think it exemplifies the kinds of dialogue across ideological divides that we are aiming for here at “Catholic Moral Theology.”  The conversations are not always polished, but in the spirit of presenting our back and forth in a casual style, I have not edited anything.  I hope you find it as enjoyable and enlightening as we have…

The first is an excerpt that Steve sent me from his own blog on his company’s webpage:

Steve: “It’s a fundamental principal of economics that if one person knows far more than another about a job and will work for much less, that first person will be awarded the job. Currently, relatively few American high school students are taking such subjects as both physics and calculus. However, according to Bob Compton (producer of the DVD ‘2 Million Minutes’), there are in China and India about 50 million high school students who are taking four years of each of the following: biology, chemistry and physics, with the senior year integrating all three subjects. Moreover, they take four years each of algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, with the subjects integrated every year!  Other nations are serious about education and we are not. At least one high school in China with 10,000 students begins at 6 A.M. with calisthenics, and students don’t leave until 10 P.M. This is while American youth seem more interested in playing video games.” –

Here is my response:

Tom: “Thanks for this.  Are you quoting someone else, or is this something you wrote?  This desire for placing a high value on education seems to me to be at odds with the movement these days to slash funding for schools at just about every level (federal, state, and local), in order to balance the budget.  This is one reason why I react against the cookie-cutter policy of cutting spending and cutting taxes as a panacea solution to every problem (and at the risk of offending you, but being totally honest, this is what the libertarian approach seems to me to do).  I’m all about balancing the budget (and I pray that congress doesn’t vote to raise the debt-ceiling today – though I fear they will), but not at the expense of necessary public services like education.

This is probably more than you were looking for in sending this to me, but in the spirit of continuing our conversation…”


So as not to overload the blog with our back and forth, I will wait and post more in the following days.  Stay tuned!