Lessons from Honduras

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 16-11-2009


While reading this article in the Wall Street Journal this morning, it struck me that we have some lessons we should learn ourselves.

This is not to suggest an endorsement of the status quo. Cardinal Rodríguez has plenty of criticism for a system that has left so many Hondurans mired in poverty while a small number live extravagantly. He denounces the lack of equality under the law which has damaged economic mobility. “In Latin America, when you have money, you can buy justice.” Such corruption is what led to “the implosion” of political parties in Venezuela,” he says. “And in the vacuum there was this messiah, Chávez, who came. This is the danger in all our nations.”

Yet the cardinal also recognizes progress since the birth of the constitutional democracy in 1982. “Now the army is respected, because they have dedicated themselves to the constitutional role of defending the law and the borders.” The trouble, he says, is that with the advent of democracy, “the political parties took politics as an industry for enrichment. We need to change that.”

Cardinal Rodríguez sees the rule of law as an important link to development. “The key is to assure justice,” he says, “because if you don’t have legal security, you are not going to invest. Investment is very important. With investments there are more jobs for our people.”

Speaking of investors, the cardinal says, “of course they are not all saints,” and human rights must be protected. “But what should we do without those jobs?” he asks. Then he adds, “Maquilas [assembly plants] are especially important for women, because their jobs have been a source of dignity. When they earn their own money they are no longer slaves to the macho man in their lives, who often is not even their husband.”

Honduras will hold a presidential election on Nov. 29, and many hope Mr. Zelaya will soon be a bad memory. Yet the struggle for liberty, and the social justice that comes from equality under the law, will continue. Cardinal Rodríguez says he hopes the political class has learned a lesson. Amen to that.

via Mary O’Grady: The Cardinal and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

Cardinal Rodríguez mentions that because of corruption in Venezula, the populace turned to “this messiah, Chavez”. Hmm, sounds familar. Because Americans were fed up with government manipulation by Wall Street and the excesses of bad monetary and fiscal policy, we fell for the very demagogic but vague messiah, Barack Obama. Americans, in wanting to corruption removed from Washington, turned to a corrupt politician to do it. Sadly, Obama is turning out to be the most corrupt. He’s in bed with Wall Street and the Fed.

The Cardinal then goes on to explain that investors aren’t angels, but they are the ones who create the opportunities for the rest of society to participate in the economy. This participation is what brings dignity, not the government.

Social justice is usually code for socialism, but I love how the Cardinal turns it, “the social justice that comes from equality under the law”. He is right, social justice comes from equality under the law. It does not come from government coercion of one group to the benefit of another. The very act of coercion is the destroyer of “social justice”.  Good call Cardinal, and Amen to that. Let’s just hope Americans wake up and realize that the government is not our messiah, and that we should not be looking to the government to impose “social justice”.

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