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Hubris, Not Humility

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

You describe Pope Francis as “humble” (“A Humble Pope, Challenging the World,” Sept. 19).  I disagree; the Pope is a gusher of hubris.

A truly humble person does not pronounce dispositively upon matters about which he knows nothing – and Francis, who is forever pronouncing dispositively upon economic matters, knows nothing of economics.  A truly humble person does not presume that entire societies should be remade through the use of force to conform to the details of his ethical fancies – especially when many of the details of those fancies are highly controversial.  A truly humble person does not jet ostentatiously around the globe to advocate the forcible imposition of policies that would deny economic freedom to billions of people – especially when a great deal of economic scholarship and history (including the history of Francis’s own native continent) warn that such a denial of freedom will impoverish the masses.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

I trust that catholic friends and readers will understand that my criticisms of Pope Francis are not meant to be criticisms of, or insults aimed at, their religion.  My criticisms are of Pope Francis the man who, using the enormous visibility of his office as Bishop of Rome, calls for calamitous economic policies.  The fact that Pope Francis apparently is unaware of the theory and history that reveal his policies to be calamitous does not excuse his endorsement of these policies.  Nor is such an excuse supplied either by the modesty of his living quarters or the fact that he washes strangers’ feet.  In fact, Pope Francis is extravagantly hubristic when he insists that economies be forcibly restructured to fit his idea of what good economies should look like.


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