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One cannot reach truth by
untruthfulness. Truthful conduct
alone can reach Truth.
The Republican, Vice President Candidate Ryan, and the Democratic, President Obama, are using St. Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century theologian to justify positions. President Obama uses St. Thomas Aquinas, it is reported, to justify personally approving each name put on the ‘kill list’ he maintains for the military at the White House. Ryan, it is said, uses Thomas Aquinas to justify his social justice positions.
Actually a lot of people use St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine, a 4th century bishop, to justify war. Actually St. Thomas Aquinas starts off his ‘just war theory’ with statement “all wars are unlawful…and sinful.” He then goes on to justify the conditions for a ‘just war’ in his time. However, people forget that what he meant by ‘war’ in the 13th century is a far cry from war in our times. There were no assault weapons, no machine guns, in fact, no guns at all used in wars at that time. There were no missiles, Apache helicopters, bombers or even bombs in the wars of the 13th century. Soldiers had swords or bow and arrows and most fighting was person to person. There were no airplanes and certain no “Killer Drones, remote controlled, unmanned airplanes designed to kill all those at the target indiscriminately. Many years ago a friend of mine, at the time a philosophy teacher at Marquette University, stood up at meeting with talk about a ‘just war’ and the planned invasion of Iraq and said that whole idea had been blown up once and for all with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Candidate Paul Ryan uses St. Thomas Aquinas to justify his social justice positions which means for him no government interference for the common good. How silly! The social justice of St. Thomas Aquinas was based was “based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution.”
After Paul Ryan’s speech at the National Republican Convention was ‘fact checked’ and found to be mostly untrue a republican campaign leaders supposedly said “we are not going to allow our campaign to be dictated by fact checkers.”
If you read carefully St. Thomas Aquinas teachings on war and understand what war meant in his times and if you read his statements on what we call “social justice” you will find that St. Thomas is being used by politicians on the right or left. The struggle to seek the truth was a trademark of St. Thomas Aquinas as it is of other great leaders of our times, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
Nowadays politicians seem to think that by just name dropping, like St. Thomas Aquinas, is enough? However no name dropping can substitute for the struggle for the truth.