The “Cash for Clunkers” program, by taking thousands upon thousands of perfectly good autos off the road, needlessly denied them to people who could benefit from their use. It was hugely wasteful. Reading this, of course, I thought immediately of St. Benedict. What would he say about that? One way to know is to turn to The Rule. In Chapter 32, he writes:
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the MonasteryBenedict is pretty clear on how monastery property is to be treated, they should be “looked after . . . to be collected again.” He also says, “if anyone treats the monastery’s property in a slovenly or careless way, let him be corrected, if he fails to amend, let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.”
For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbot appoint brothers
on whose manner of life and character he can rely;
and let him, as he shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbot shall keep a list of these articles,
so that as the brothers succeed one another in their assignments
he may know what he gives and what he receives back.
If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let him be corrected.
If he fails to amend,
let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
Destroying useful tools, and as much as I hate to say it, an automobile is a tool, deserves correction, even punishment. What does it say about us, as a society, that we condone such wanton waste?