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Benedict XVI, Tocqueville, and Freedom

In his excellent Weekly Standard article, Joseph Bottum argued that while John Paul II's encyclical "Centessimus Annus" gave three cheers for democracy and two for capitalism, the new Pontiff, coming from the German social democratic tradition which has always tried to "split the difference" between Marxism and capitalism, would only give one cheer for capitalism.

With some of the other major crises this pope will have to deal with, it may be a while before we get a substantive treatment on the role of the state in the management of the economy. He may be content to comment upon the writings of his predecessor. In the meantime, the Acton Institute's Alejandro Chafuen has penned an interesting article noting the influence of Alexis de Tocqueville on the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. It may be two cheers for capitalism (lived within the context of a robust civil society) after all.


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