The question can be summed up like this: Have you seriously considered the possibility of a web of conspiracy behind our visible government that directs many of the financial dealings that give rise to big government and our economic crisis?
To answer the question, I would point out that the Return to Order does indeed speak briefly of this conspiracy by referring to the thesis of Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira who affirms that there is a Revolution that has long been active in all fields in Western civilization and which I apply to economy. I point out in the book that this thesis of a Revolution finds support from many historians and Leo XIII.
While the existence of such a conspiracy is acknowledged, I suppose the real question is not about this brief reference but why Return to Order does not spend a lot of time exposing those involved and denouncing their financial dealings? Why was this not a central focus?
As one who has studied modern economy since 1986, I started researching and could not help but find a vast amount of material on all the wheelings-and-dealings of prominent figures that have done much to destroy free markets and lead us to our economic crisis. The temptation was to denounce all these figures and the whole economic system in one fell swoop.
However, as I studied I saw that this would not work. The whole system was not at fault. I saw a huge sector governed by free market principles, which consists of the normal operation of millions of vibrant companies—small, large, and huge—that engage in healthy competition and amply supply goods and services to the nation. There was really nothing here to criticize since this led to normal business activities that promoted prosperity.
But as I studied, I started to see a second more unrestrained current that had a constant destabilizing effect on an economy. This current represented not so much a group of people but a psychological, cultural and moral phenomenon inside economy varying in intensity and scope. And what’s more, I started to find all sorts of economists and other authors that saw and commented on this current. And I thought to myself: This is where the problem is. Understand this phenomenon and you will understand the economic crisis.
Everyone talked about this problem but no one would give it a name. And so, there is a term coined in the book that describes this problem; it is called frenetic intemperance.
Frenetic intemperance is a reckless and restless spirit inside certain sectors of modern economy that leads us to throw off legitimate restraints, and gratify all desires. It creates an economy that is frenzied and out of balance. It creates a culture of instant gratification.
It was then that I perceived that denouncing a complex web of persons, institutions and events over a long period of time would involve volumes and would only tell us how the system went wrong. Denouncing frenetic intemperance tells why it went wrong.
And so I decided to focus on why our economic crisis happened rather than how it happened. That is the strategy found in Return to Order. I try to go straight to the cause since we then have the elements to understand the crisis and do something about it.
In other words, it is much more important to find out what enables these financial machinations to happen than to detail the actual dealings themselves. The fact is that conspiracies don’t just happen. They usually channel some kind of bad tendency or trend inside society and guide it to their goals. If this bad tendency does not exist, they cannot carry out their designs. By denouncing frenetic intemperance, we could so to speak deprive the car of its gasoline.
I do not deny the need or importance of those authors that do show how the economy went wrong and name those responsible. These studies definitely have their role. However, if we denounce the figures that orchestrated our economic crisis without ridding ourselves of the frenetic intemperance that generated it, we cannot prevent another crisis and similar figures from reoccurring. We must address the central issue.
Thus, Return to Order goes straight to the source. In face of frenetic intemperance, it proposes an organic Christian society with a corresponding temperance. It describes those institutions of family, community and faith that normally serve to temper the disordered passions that fuel frenetic intemperance and destroy free markets.