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Political Philosophy in the News

This article is a review on a news story and its relations to political philosophy and government polices. The news story is These Are The Countries Letting Down Syrian Refugees, while referring to the textbook an Introduction to Philosophy and Theology within Catholic Liberal Education, on chapter 34 Catholic Social Teaching: An Introductory Approach, by Steven Lovell Jones. In answering question 1 on page 310, in relation to public policy discussions on the refugee crisis:

How do the unchanging principals of the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity, solidarity and the common good balance each other? Would these principals influence your interpretation and participation in a contemporary public policy discussion such as government policy towards refugees or concern over a changing environment?   

Source: (Brook et al., 2014).

Firstly, the news article mentions that larger gross national product (GNP) countries should give a larger contribution towards refugee aid to equal the amount given by smaller GNP countries. The article continues to say that Oxfam reports the levels of aid to be ‘insufficient’, as measured from their statistics. The author sees an issue that is current, however the thinking is clouded to the assumption that these bad statistics should follow with good intended actions, however only see what they would like to see and don’t always achieve the results in reality. The assumption that each country should pay its ‘fair share’, just like paying your ‘fair share’ in taxes. Leads a need to referring to basic economics, as it is an economic matter, any tax taken from one part of society to give to another can be said to be favouring one group at the expense of another group.

However, in the case of charitable aid to the ongoing crisis in Syria there are many ethical arguments and accepted moral practices that would disagree to wealth transfer to be a form of coercion on the government level. Though, it is not just about morality, it is in human nature to care and to give to others when in need and to promote life revealed in the Gospel. To recognise the good in people represented in their actions along with God’s love for all in order to fulfil God’s gift of life. “[The common good] is concerned with human flourishing but these conditions for all cannot be met without solidarity, subsidiarity and respect for the dignity of the human person.” (Brook et al., 2014) That is, encouraged within Catholic Social Teaching (CST) engagement in the process of seeing, judging, and acting in response.

To protect those affected there must be subsidiarity that prevents poor judgement that leads to irresponsible actions, and to consider the many studies conducted on the unseen effects from foreign aid. Even though, foreign aid is not the same as the refugee crisis, it is a good example for considering the secondary effects on aids negative impact on the wider economy and businesses. Additionally, the article singles out those countries that don’t contribute their fair share are hiding behind the level of military involvement that they contribute to helping the country. As any unnecessary war is a misdirection of resources that could have otherwise provided for factors of productions that produce goods and services that satisfy the consumers’ needs best. Bringing together people to promote peace and solidarity through creation. “CST holds a Trinitarian notion of love and a reciprocal relationship between a love of God and of God’s love for us combined with a love which desires the ‘other’ in him or herself and in his or her diversity.” (Brook et al., 2014) With a shared ability to communicate the love of God no matter what individual backgrounds come together to participate in the free market. “This dynamic of love reveals the perfect art of a freedom shared by one who experiences absolute freedom.” (Brook et al., 2014) A love of freedom often results in a love for others and a common respect for everyone’s freedoms.

Another important issue is the resettlement of the refugees, now in a free market there would be open borders that would had have otherwise allowed for free accesses between countries borders. Ultimately, reducing any future refugee crisis or unnecessary struggles, costs, and paperwork regarding emigration. While, these refugees should be allowed the liberty move to places of work and move to areas where there is more political stability and freedoms. “In becoming viator one exhibits and nurtures an attitude of openness and acceptance and, importantly, develops the art of welcoming, of being grounded in a state of welcoming.” (Brook et al., 2014) This quote resonates with the view of an open borders policy, though was intended to represent the ability for one to accept oneself and one’s God.

The textbook makes a transition to the presence of God in these situations, and to recognise that God is the one who suffers, motivating one to right any injustices. However, people may have been discouraged from their believe in God, in such a situation as personal or human suffering, one could question whether there is a God in such situations. One may not have to replace the view of a human suffering for a view of God suffering to understand right and wrong. For others the believe in Christ as a true representation of self toward God’s love, and through CST self-empty amid times of poverty or suffering to provide a sense of meaning, as God is their way of life.

Reference List

Brook, A., Younis, A. R., Anderson, R., Simkovic, D., Kohler-Ryan, R., Dennis, R., … Lovell-Jones, S. (2014). Introduction to Philosophy and Theology within Catholic Liberal Education. Australia: McGraw Hill.

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Copyright © 2016 Zoë-Marie Beesley

 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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