Joe Carter’s column this week argues that opinion polls make us dumb—but not simply because they’re often inaccurate. Instead, it’s that opinion polls themselves can seem to instruct the public on how to form opinions:
If you are told that the president’s approval rating is 95 percent, then you are more likely also to approve of the job he is doing. Likewise, if his rating is low, then your opinion is also likely to be low. If you take a view contrary to the poll’s suggested opinion, then you will be the one put on the defensive—even if your opinion is based on a weighing of relevant facts and evidence.
George Weigel’s On the Square essay this week sets the record straight for a number of Catholic theologians who sent a missive to House Speaker John Boehner, arguing he was out of communion with established Catholic teaching on caring for the poor. It seems that some theological liberals are tired of seeing only liberal politicians chastised for their divided loyalties, but their reaction only created more confusion on the Church’s social teaching:
The Church’s concern for the poor does not imply a “preferential option” for Big Government. The social doctrine teaches that the problem of poverty is best addressed by empowerment: enabling poor people to enter the circle of productivity and exchange in society.