A Suggestion for Israel

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

Over at Human Events, Ben Shapiro has an article about how Israel will lose the conflict in Gaza again.  His initial premise states that we keep seeing an essentially endless cycle repeated: Hamas strikes Israel, Israel retaliates, the world comes down hard on Israel, Israel retreats and gives Hamas another chance to strike Israel. Elsewhere, the debate about how justified Israel is in its current cycle of retaliations continues heatedly and almost unanimously denounces Israel’s actions.

As a personal opinion, I believe that Hamas, despite claims to the contrary, is directly responsible for its strikes into Israel.  I believe that Hamas deliberately hides behind civilian shields in order to protect themselves from retaliation and to milk the public for sympathy when Israeli attacks kill those civilian shields.  I believe that Hamas is single-mindedly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and that Israel is justified in trying to defend herself against Hamas’ attacks.

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11 Responses to A Suggestion for Israel

  • Interesting take

  • It isn’t about money or economic development Ryan. It is all about the fact that the vast majority of arabs in Gaza and the West Bank are ashamed that they were beaten militarily by Jews and that Jews rule in arab lands. The Israelis and the rest of the world could provide a terrestrial paradise for the Arabs, and it would not diminish one iota the desire of almost all Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank to drive the Israelis into the sea. The US and the West have sent tens of billions of dollars to the arabs in Gaza and the West Bank in the form of humanitarian aid, monetary grants, development funds, etc. It has made no difference at all.

  • A very well-written and thought out point, and it makes a lot of sense.
    However, I just don’t know that it would appeal to a country that has to “sit still and take it,” so to speak, while at the same time providing aid to the perceived enemy. No doubt while Israel would attempt to pour money and resources and good will into Gaza, Hamas would still be attacking.

    I know this is an imperfect analogy, but if Mexico were firing into Texas, do you think the American public would accept a similar course of action?

  • Ryan,

    One must understand hatred and recognize the fallen nature of man. Many Palestinians hate Jews, not because of any wrong the Jews have committed against them, but because they are taught that by their religion, by their parents and by LIBERALS.

    Bribing them with goodies will do nothing but allow them to use all of their other means to build up and attack Israel again. Besides, Iran already pours massive amounts of money into the Gaza and we know what they spend it on.

    The only reasonable course of action in the interest of Israel, the innocent Palestinians and peace in the Middle East is for Israel to complete the destruction of Hamas and deny Iran it’s satellite regime.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • This past Friday, the Hamas television show Pioneers of Tomorrow (a child-indoctrination version of “Sesame Street”) depicted the bunny Assoud dying in a Gaza hospital after an Israeli attack. Assaud the Jew-eating Bunny was introduced to Gazan children in February 2008:

    The Pioneers of Tomorrow children’s series produced by Palestinian group Hamas and made famous by a Mickey Mouse-looking character declaring jihad on Israel and the US, introduced Assud the Bunny.Assud – who said in his first episode that he would “get rid of the Jews, Allah willing, and… will eat them up” – replaced his brother, Nahoul the Bee, according to the translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute.

    […]

    In an interview with the program’s host, a young girl purportedly named Saraa Barhoum, Assud talked about becoming martyrdom.

    “We are all martyrdom-seekers, are we not, Saraa?” Assud said on the show.

    Saraa said: “Of course we are. We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our homeland. We will sacrifice our souls and everything we own for the homeland.”

    Assoud will join Farfour, Hamas’ copycat version of Mickey Mouse, in Paradise. (
    Farfour was “martyred” by an Israeli on May 11, 2007).

    Yes, I wish I was joking.

    I’d bet you can plumb the channels of Israeli television and wouldn’t be able to find an equivalent of Hamas’ television show — not even in the town of Sderot, subject to over 3,000 rocket attacks this year alone.

    Ravishing Gazans with economic luxuries won’t change their minds — not while infants are raised from birth in this kind of hatred.

  • Even if one did this, how would one get the truth to the Palestinian people. Many, (most), Palestinians are illiterate. Who’s to say the aide comes in and Hamas tells the people that it was their work?

    As you point out, in this conflict propaganda is important and perhaps decisive. It could also be so in the scenario you propose.

  • Just to clear the record, I am well aware of the militant hatred that a vast swath of Muslims, not just in the Gaza, have for Israel. I am well aware that that hatred is difficult, bordering on impossible, to sway. I also understand the vast propaganda campaign going on (thanks Chris for the heads-up on the despicable TV show) to keep the regular populace both ignorant and seething. I also don’t believe you can ask a nation to sit quietly and accept thousands of rockets being fired across the border, especially when the self-appointed authorities not only will not do anything to help that nation, but also blatantly cheers the aggressors on.

    I would cheer on military aggression against Hamas (and now Hezbollah) except for one thing: Israel isn’t going to wage a campaign for victory. And if there is no reasonable expectation of success (and I suppose we could argue that there could be, I would disagree from recent trend lines), then the war cannot be just.

    But I disagree with Donald and others who claim that making the Gaza an economic paradise won’t change anything. Citing the billions that have been poured into Gaza won’t sway my opinion on this, either, because those billions obviously have been redirected to, oh, rockets and whatnot, not to fixing Gaza. Frankly, I think if Israelis are willing (and this either cold of me to say, or just insane, take your pick) to risk their lives to come into Gaza and build schools and power plants and waste management systems and power lines and so on, and hire on many Gazans to aid the construction, then at least Israelis will be visibly helping the Gazan communities. That has a chance of swaying your average Muslim. So I guess talking about spending money on Gaza isn’t the key, but spending money wisely and effectively is the key.

    How to actually make sure that Israeli contractors can flood Gaza and start a massive reconstruction campaign, I have no idea. Which is probably why no one has ever tried to implement it. Indeed, the death toll could be just as high on both sides with my idea.

    But I’m willing to believe that even years of indoctrinated hatred can be swayed with a consistent display of charity.

    I know this is an imperfect analogy, but if Mexico were firing into Texas, do you think the American public would accept a similar course of action?

    Let me answer your question with a question. Who did we just elect president this past Nov 4?

  • Ryan,

    I think a deeper analysis would find that the Israeli counter-offensive into Gaza is clearly just, perhaps material for a new thread.

    What you’re suggesting is akin to the US activity in Iraq and Afghanistan… the problem is that such nation-building requires security to be effective. Kind of a chicken-egg situation. Military defeat of Gaza is a necessary precursor to rebuilding it, regardless of who sponsors the rebuilding.

    God Bless,

    Matt

  • Are you still defending the state terrorism of Israel?!!
    Israel kills Palestinians in their homes, in the fields and in mosques. It kills whole families as well as children with their mothers. Arab countries can – if they want – withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative. But they lost the will; therefore, the Israeli war machine keeps on killing Palestinians.
    The Israeli government, gathering the remaining Nazis around the world, is trying to squeeze the last useful drop from the Bush Administration before it departs. Once again, if Arab countries want, they can pressure the US Administration in many available ways. However, they do not. The reason is that they have lost that same will.
    The Palestinians are responsible, before Arabs, for this tragic situation in Gaza Strip. The division weakened them further; the policy of Hamas killed more than 500 Palestinians in nine ominous days.
    Yet I started with our responsibility, so people would not say I am denying it. In the ongoing crime, Israel appears as a Nazi, military, expansionist nation that has no right to exist in the Middle East.
    Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak are terrorists. She is a terrorist born to two terrorist members of the Argon gang, which imported terrorism to Palestine and the Middle East. She worked in the Mossad to complete her family’s terrorism heritage. Now she is saying that all Israel wants is for Hamas to stop firing rockets. This is also the excuse of Barak, who practiced terrorism as a soldier and is still practicing it as a minister. Both of them say that war on Gaza has nothing to do with next month’s elections. This means that it definitely has something to do with it.
    Then you have the biggest liar in Israel or any other place: “President” Shimon Peres; I heard him say that Israel had the most powerful weapon in the world…Justice.
    Israel is a Nazi state that has no right to exist. The Christian West sought to establish it as a means to repent of its crime at our expense. There was never a Smaller or Greater Israel. The history of the Torah is fiction and not history. The same goes for Peres justice.
    George Bush, who promised a Palestinian State by the end of 2008 and lied or failed, is a full accessory in Israel’s murder. His administration killed a million Muslims in eight years; therefore, it is not hard for him to support the killing of 500 – or even 1000 – Palestinians. He accuses Hamas of terrorism. Yet, with his help, Israel is the terrorist nation. He also said that Hamas did not want the interest of Palestinians. Who wants it then? He or his VP Dick Cheney?
    On a rare occasion, I heard Cheney say the truth. He proclaimed that Israel did not ask for permission from the US Administration to attack Gaza. Why would it ask for permission when the whole administration is under its control and shares its war on Arabs and Muslims? But Cheney, leader of the war gang, cannot stay honest for long: he went on to say that Israel, a UN member state, was attacked by a terrorist organization. The opposite is true. Israel is a terrorist nation that has no right to join any international organization, while Hamas is a national liberation movement. What is also true is that Cheney is a wanted war criminal.
    I would like to add Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy. They both support a cease-fire, but the British PM eventually supports the US administration. As to the French President, he says one thing and does another. On the eve of the attack on Gaza, Israel was offered EU membership, one which is better than that of the original six countries that started the EEC in Rome. Israel was given all privileges without any financial or any other responsibility towards the EU. Even though the Czech Republic was deliberately held responsible, France was the country that spearheaded the campaign. Sarkozy hands it the EU Presidency then comes to us for mediation.
    After this tour of Israeli terrorism, with US-EU connivance, I go back to the Palestinian and Arab responsibility. We are so weak that we cannot win a military confrontation, not even a media confrontation. Israel has been killing, occupying and destroying for four decades, yet it managed to focus on Hamas rockets, blacking out the Nazi occupation, Hamas’ raison d’être. What does Israel expect after a long occupation? To be welcomed by Palestinians with roses and wedding rice?
    Many Israelis, including Livni, evoke the Transfer (Palestinian displacement). In return, we demand a transfer that would send the Israelis back to the countries they came from. Only original Arab Jews, who were in the lands before the establishment of Israel, would remain.
    What I am trying to say is that extremism breeds extremism. If we see a Palestinian extremism and refusal, it is because the other party’s extremism has undermined the moderates among Palestinians, Arabs and others. It made a peace seeker like me call for the withdrawal of the Arab initiative.

Another Day, Another Kmiec 180

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

Apparently Doug Kmiec’s change of heart last year was not limited to topics pro-life. As noted at the Volokh Conspiracy, he also reversed his position on the recent Heller decision, which overturned the DC handgun ban, in a span of about five months.

In February, Prof. Kmiec joined an amicus brief to the Court which argued “the [Second] Amendment secures to individuals a personal right to keep and bear arms and that the decision below correctly interpreted and applied the Amendment in this case.” When the Court affirmed the lower court decision overturning the ban as the amicus brief he joined suggested, Kmiec took to the pages of Slate to criticize the decision, arguing that the Heller majority misconstrued the Second Amendment, and their ruling had no basis in “Constitutional text, history, and precedent”. Here is Kmiec’s explanation for the switch as provided to the popular Volokh Conspiracy legal blog:

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4 Responses to Another Day, Another Kmiec 180

Hmmm

Wednesday, January 7, AD 2009

 obama-richardson

A bit more to the Richardson removal from consideration as Commerce Secretary than I first thought.  Apparently the Obama campaign got $30,000.00 from David Rubin, the man at the center of the Richardson pay for play investigation.  This would explain why, combined with the Blagojevich indictment, that Richardson was thrown under the bus so quickly.  Since Obama raised over 600 million in the Presidential campaign, one can imagine all the seedy characters who tossed substantial funds into the pot, no doubt solely because they believed in “hope and change”.  Bet that Team Obama is matching with a microscope their fund raising records against those of each nominee now.

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One Response to Hmmm

  • Or not. Richardson might have been among the most blatant possible offenders. Getting more concerned about other appointments. Like Leon Panetta at CIA. Might be as qualified for the job as Mrs. Schlossberg for the U.S. Senate. Which is to say not really. Showing the relative shallowness and naive perspective of Team Obama beginning with the top Hope And Change Guy. At first easy to rely on recycled Clintonoids. Or keeping Robert Gates at Defense. Now onto the jobs that require grownups. Or people who aren’t career political hacks.

Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2009

obama-campaign-bus

This is the initial post in what I expect to be a long running series here at American Catholic:  members of the Obama administration who resign in disgrace.  First up:  Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, nominee for Commerce Secretary, who announced on Sunday that he was withdrawing his name from nomination.

Why was he doing this?  Because he is enmeshed in a pay to play scandal.  Did this suddenly blow up?  Naah, this scandal has been brewing since 2004.  Why was he nominated?  Simple incompetence on the part of Team Obama, or did they not think it would matter until the Blagojevich indictment in Illinois?  Probably mostly the latter.  Expect more of this.  More than a few of Obama’s nominees, most notably Senator Clinton, have plenty of skeletons hanging in their closets.

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5 Responses to Under the Bus-A Continuing Series

  • Change? No. Business as usual? Yes.

  • Under The Bus indeed. Joining Rev. Wright, Fr. Pfleger, other undesirables. I sense the fine hand of our Secretary of State Designate in this affair. Icing somebody who threw her under the bus early in favor of the now President Elect. Speaks not only to the unwillingness of Obama’s aides to examine these dealings- just like the SEC to Madoff- but also the MSM’s refusal to report anything icky or nasty about a prominent Dem. Until it’s too late. Until John Edwards’ honey sings to the National Enquirer. Until Princess Caroline clutters interviews with ‘you knows’ and puffery. Of course we await the fun and frolic- a few hours from this writing- of the appointed successor to the Apostle of Hope and Change- another man of color- denied his Senate seat by Dingy Harry Reid. Would not have had this much fun if Johnny Mac squeaked out a win. Let the show roll on.

  • You have placed your finger on a weakness of the Democrats now that they are in power Gerard. Negative press coverage is painful for the party on the receiving end, but it can expose weaknesses and problem areas to be addressed. The slavish coverage that Obama in particular, and the Democrat party in general, receives from most of the media does not give them an early warning system for something that could long term be a major problem for them. If the puff coverage wanes it probably would be good news for the Democrats, but I expect the media to be carrying water for Obama unless and until some disaster of Biblical proportions ensues.

  • I heard Richardson was only nominated with the expectation he’d turn it down, thus making it look like they were reaching out to him and Hispanics, without having to have him in the Administration.

  • it’s interesting how Blagojevich seems so unaffected by all the chaos swirling around him; it’s as if he feels right at home…

Obama taps pro-life Catholic for DNC Chair? — Guess again.

Tuesday, January 6, AD 2009

“A Pro-Life DNC Chair!”, crows an apparently elated Michael Sean Winters in America, at the news that President-elect Obama has tapped the Virginian governor for DNC chair:

I never thought I would live to see the day. If anyone had any doubts about Barack Obama’s willingness to listen to pro-life Democrats, his selection of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee should settle those doubts. Obama means business.

Perhaps, perhaps not.

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2 Responses to Obama taps pro-life Catholic for DNC Chair? — Guess again.

  • What Kaine said can be seen here. Indeed, in his own words, he is not in favor of overturning Roe, and should not be counted as a pro-life Catholic.

  • Here is a politician who straddles the fence like the rest. What he supports has not stopped nor will it stop the killingof the unborn til Roe vs, Wade is gone. Its like claiming to be a little being a “little bit” pregnant.

Predictions for 2009

Monday, January 5, AD 2009

One of the ways pundits often get their kicks this time of year is by writing up lists of predictions for what will occur during the coming year. Seeing no reason why our contributors here shouldn’t have the chance to get in on the fun as well, I’ve invited everyone to add their own section of predictions in this post. Others should feel free to discuss or make their own predictions in the comments.

DarwinCatholic (Brendan)
1. The recession will continue through much of 2009, with unemployment reaching a high in the 2nd or 3rd quarter — possibly around 10%. Most of that number will be made up of workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors, and also workers with less than five years full time work experience.

2. Attempts by Republicans to label this the Obama Recession will be frustrated by President Obama mainly using traditionally Republican remedies from the last ten years including: tax cuts, stimulus payouts, tax credits, and free trade. (Those liberal pundits not disgusted with this will explain they’ve always been in favor of these when they’re done responsibly.)

3. Governor Blagojevich will resign or be removed from office.

4. The federal budget deficit will be larger than in 2008.

5. Israel’s offensive against Hamas will peter out and be declared a qualified success — but no one will be really pleased with the result.

6. Gas will not hit $2.50/gal (currently $1.40/gal in central Texas) during 2009.

7. FOCA will not pass, but the Obama administration will do as much as possible without hitting that level of visibility to return favors to the pro-abortion movement.

8. Pope Benedict XVI, turning 82 in April, will continue to seem in better health than when he became pope four years before.

9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.

10. Russia will continue to put political pressure on the former Soviet republics, but will not launch an attack on the scale of the Georgia invasion in 2009.

11. GM and Chrysler will receive enough “emergency” assistance from the Federal Goverment to keep going, but they will not succeed in turning themselves around and will lose market share to foreign car makers in 2009.

12. Principled progressives will be disappointed to find that in regards to foreign policy, the real divide in American politics is between the party in power and the party out of power, not the Republicans and Democrats.

Donald R. McClarey

1.  Bailout mania will continue, with the federal government adding 1.5-2 trillion dollars to the national debt in 2009.

2.  Two cabinet members in the new administration will resign in 2009.  (Make that one cabinet member.  I was counting Bill Richardson in my total and he withdrew as Commerce Secretary today because of an ongoing corruption investigation against him.)

3.  After he is forced out through impeachment and conviction, Blagojevich will spill his guts to Fitzgerald in a desperate attempt to forestall a criminal indictment of his wife and to gain sentencing leniency for himself.

4.  As a result of Blagojevich singing, Fitzgerald will open a series of new investigations on numerous Illinois politicians.

5.  Inflation will begin to take off by the end of 2009.

6.  Israel will attack the nuclear installations of Iran in 2009, causing a spike in oil prices and a wave of terrorist attacks around the globe.

7.  Card check, the number one political goal of Union bosses, will not receive a vote in Congress in 2009.

8.   Obama’s popularity rating will be around 40% by the end of 2009.

9.   A moratorium on residential mortgage foreclosures will be implemented by the Federal government in 2009 for 90-180 days, with the main result being an increasing reluctance of most financial institutions to write new residential mortgage loans except for borrowers with good incomes and pristine credit histories.

10.  The Clintons will become a rallying point for Democrats disenchanted with the new administration in 2009.

11.  There will be a major terrorist strike in the continental US.

12.  McClarey will be wrong on some of his predictions.

Tito Edwards

1)  Pope Benedict will appoint a strong orthodox cleric to Westminster such as Abbot Hugh Gilbert of Scotland or Englishman Fr. Tim Finigan. My personal favorite, besides the two aforementioned, is George Cardinal Pell of Australia who will be appointed as a change agent. With nearly 2/3rd’s of bishops and priests reaching retirement age the opportunity to transform the Church of England and Wales from a regressing congregation infested by unfaithful liberals to a vibrant church invigorated with practicing Catholics.

2)  Extremist Hindu groups will continue unabated attacking Christians, raping nuns, and burning down Churches, monasteries, seminaries, schools, and hospitals in eastern India and the mainstream media will deliberately ignore the violence against Christians because it doesn’t fit their perception of Christians being the aggressors.

3)  Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of What Does The Prayer Really Say? Will dominate the Catholic blog awards again by sweeping 90% or more of the categories.

4)  The State of California will go bankrupt unless President Obama bails them out with a $500 billion loan. Meanwhile businesses will continue to flee the Golden State as the legislature levy’s more ‘green’ regulations and other forms of taxes to fund social engineering projects and more bureaucracy.

5)  Secularists in America and Europe will have egg on their face when their ‘model Muslim democracy’, Turkey, continues to repress the Greek Orthodox Christians, refuse to acknowledge their role in the Armenian Genocide, and continue marginalizing the Kurds. The European Union will be hard pressed to reexamine their initial overtures towards inviting Turkey into their group as Turkey begins to resemble more and more a Middle-Eastern failed state.

6)  Three major conversion stories will occur when Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, and Tom Cruise will shock Americans with their jump in the Tiber.

7)  Christians in the United States will face greater pressures to succumb to worldly devices and probably even the beginnings of persecutions to the one true Church.  In the wake of the increased hostility to Christian ideals and values, many conversions, reversions, and the deepening of the faith will explode the further we retreat from our nations Christian heritage and patrimony.

8)  The Boston Celtics will win their second consecutive N.B.A. title with a six game romp of the L.A. Lakers (again).

9)  The Philadelphia Eagles will deliver a Super Bowl victory to the city of brotherly love in 2009.

John Henry

1. Many readers will stop reading the predictions before this point, and skip to the comments.

2. Obama will have the opportunity to appoint at least one, and possibly more, Supreme Court justices. Pro-lifers will not be pleased with the appointments. Doug Kmiec will praise them effusively.

3. The economy will not begin to rebound until after 2009. Unemployment will reach 10%.

4. Obama’s popularity will remain high; the New York Times and the Washington Post will continue conducting hard-hitting investigations of Obama and his appointments (consisting entirely of polite phone calls to designated spokesmen). Many Americans will not be able to correctly identify the name of the Vice President.

5. There will be countless Op-Eds (on the front page and in the opinion section) about Obama’s valiant struggles to rescue America from ‘the Bush recession’.

6. Card check will not pass.

7. FOCA will not pass.

8. Congress and President Obama will decide to force Americans to pay for the production of cars they choose not to buy. These payments will not improve the long-term prospects of the U.S. automobile industry.

9. Long-suffering Washington Redskins fans will continue to suffer. Long-suffering Wizards fans….well, this is getting depressing, let’s get back to the economy.

10. Oil prices will rebound, but not approach the highs of the summer of 2008.

11. Pope Benedict XVI will finally release the new encyclical. What Brendan said.

12. The Catholic Church will continue proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will continue to bless His Church. Grace will be freely available in the Sacraments.

Ryan Harkins

Archaeology: A new artifact will be found in Jerusalem which will ‘challenge the whole Christian world and undermine current paradigms’. This artifact, actually found in the hands of a man who bought it from a second-hand antique store, which in turn had carefully kept the artifact on the shelf for the past 86 years, will not show that Jesus had brothers, or that there was a previous conception of a Messiah who will die and rise again, but will make the startling revelation that Jesus was a Jew.

Biology: Using adult stem cells, scientists will discover startling new cures for cancer in lab rats. However, this research is undermined by the discovery that embryonic stem cells can cause cancer in lab rats, which in turn is undermined by a more efficient method of abortion.

Chemistry: A seminal paper will be published detailing a cost-effective means of converting coal into gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. Shortly after, the publication is pulled from the journal and Secret Service agents appear at the home of the author.

Economics: Despite the naysaying of pundits who have their own plans to salvage the economy, the economy shows a distinct recovery by October. Unemployment remains at 6.5%, though, and 3% of every paycheck goes into paying unemployment benefits. CEOs contemplate firing themselves to collect unemployment.

Journalism: MSNBC restaffs with an even more liberal crew. FOX responds with an even more conservative crew. Ann Coulter writes another book that everyone denounces as “goes too far”. The New York Times retracts three articles by March due to faulty journalism.

Law: A new legal precedent is discovered permitting the wiretapping of American citizens, if there is reasonable suspicion of hate speech involved. Laws are passed in 12 states making it illegal to carry any material which refers to homosexuality as an abomination. A new version of the Bible, called the Revised Newsom’s Version, is distributed.

Liberal Arts: Majors have an even more difficult time finding employment.

Mathematics: A new prime number, exactly 22 times larger than the previously known largest prime, is discovered. The Riemann Hypothesis remains unsolved, but an addition 32 people learn what the Riemann Hypothesis is.

Philosophy: Philosophers realize that, absent any unproved foundational point of reasoning, nothing whatsoever can be known. However, out of pride, they keep silent on this revelation, and the public is left in the dark for another 2000 years.

Physics: Particle acceleration at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility produces black holes that, sadly, devour the oft-searched for Higgs Boson before it can be observed. The rest of the earth is unaffected.

Religion: A new prophecy predicts the end of the world late in 2009. This is later revised to 2090, citing dyslexia, and further to 2900 due to poor math. A new sect of Christianity, called the Neopaulist Reductionists, becomes the fastest growing Church on the planet at 1200%. The Catholic Church makes a measly showing at 1.72%.

Sociology: New studies show that extramarital affairs strengthen marriages. Divorce rates jump to 65%.

Theology: The Catholic Church reiterates all its doctrinal teachings of the past 2000 years. The world reacts as though it is the first time it has heard any of this. Terrorists threaten the Pope. The Catholic Church in the United States is accused, alternately, of being the bearer of hate-speech and the promulgator of weeny liberalism.

Zoology: 15 species of insects, found only Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, go extinct. At first global warming is blamed, but eventually the true story comes out that this was a secret job conducted by Dick Cheney, with the express permission of George W. Bush. 23 new species of insects are discovered in Brazil.

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11 Responses to Predictions for 2009

  • So if no one comments on John Henry’s predictions, does it validate the first one?

    Can anyone predict whether the Pope will publish the second installment of Jesus of Nazareth? It’s currently the June selection for my Church’s book club.

  • “1. Many readers will stop reading the predictions before this point, and skip to the comments.”

    Got through most of Donald’s predictions before skipping ahead to the comments. Only by accident caught sight of John Henry’s prediction and had a good laugh.

  • Zoology: 15 species of insects, found only Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, go extinct. At first global warming is blamed, but eventually the true story comes out that this was a secret job conducted by Dick Cheney, with the express permission of George W. Bush. 23 new species of insects are discovered in the Brazil.

    What’s that? Cheney is supporting extraordinary rendition of insect species to Brazil? Oh the humanity!

    Just had to show that I’d read all the way down…

  • Heh. Thanks Darwin. I don’t know if anyone else will get a chuckle out of my predictions (they were kinda-sorta tongue-in-cheek, but oh so close to the way the world works…), but I enjoyed making them. I don’t think a single one of mine will come true, though.

    John Henry, though, made the most important prediction of all, though, and most important because we know for certain it will happen:

    12. The Catholic Church will continue proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will continue to bless His Church. Grace will be freely available in the Sacraments.

    Thank you, John. In our oh-so-clever bitterness, let us never forget, and never forget to be humbled by, this wonderful gift God has given us, through Jesus Christ His Son, Our Lord.

  • 1. Deadline for first wave of MSM stories in shock and sadness that the Apostle of Hope And Change is not who he promised: March 31.

    2. Deadline that Gov. Blagojevich is forced from his job, whether or not federal charges warrant that activity: February 15.

    3. First announcement that an NBA or NHL team is unable to make payroll due to financial problems by its corporate supporters: March 15.

    4. Winner of the BCS Bowl- Florida by 2 TDs. Tim Tebow chosen to save the Detroit Lions. Our prayers go with him.

    5. New York Yankees sell out 130 to 150 games, home or away. Bronx Boppers provide hot wire to slumping sales in burgs like Kansas City or Arlington, TX. A legitimate bad guy team makes the turnstiles spin, as in wrassling. Oh- CC Sabathia will win no more than 12 games, will cave under the pressure particular to this team in this town.

    6. Cardinal Mahony bows out at Archbishop of L.A. Our man Archbishop Chaput finally gets one of the largest sees in the nation, continues his role as the Go-To Cleric. With red hat to follow.

    7. Significant economic upturn by Memorial Day. In spite of oil prices back in triple digits due to one or more Middle East conflicts.

    8. Texas will win 2010 BCS Bowl over USC. Colt McCoy snags Heisman before triumphant departure for the pros.

    9. Jay Leno fails miserably as NBC’s prime time hope through nightly 10 P.M. program.

    10. 2 to 3 newspapers in major markets will shut down presses by August 31. Could come from large companies in trouble such as Gannett, Tribune Co.- oh, they’re all in trouble.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    4. …numerous Illinois politicians.

    From your list to God’s ears. Please let Daley be caught up in this.

  • Gerard,

    I like number six (6).

  • Agree. And I hope that in 2009 all the US bishops take a page from Chaput’s book.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers will win their 6th Super Bowl.

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Epiphany, a Feast for the Gentiles

Sunday, January 4, AD 2009

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C + M + B
09

For those of us who are gentile Christians, the feast of the Epiphany holds a special meaning, as it recalls that Christ was done homage as a king by Magi from the East at the time of his birth. Though Matthew’s gospel provides few details, the Magi are traditionally recalled as three, with the names Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

The traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th, but since our bishops have seen fit to put the feast on the nearest Sunday, I hope that no one will take it amiss if I wish everyone a happy Epiphany today.

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One Response to Epiphany, a Feast for the Gentiles

The Mass-What is Optional and What Is Not

Sunday, January 4, AD 2009

the-mass

Hattips to Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons and Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say.  They brought to my attention the comments of Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to his parishioners at Holy Rosary Church after the Monsignor dropped the Sign of Peace at the Mass.  I find the Monsignor’s comments heartening, as I suspect will other Catholics in this country who have wondered “What next!” as they have sat through the numerous changes foisted upon the Mass over the past four decades.  Here are the comments with Father Z’s “color commentary” in red.

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3 Responses to The Mass-What is Optional and What Is Not

  • I don’t think the Sign Of Peace is really that meaningful. We have all these differences, dislikes, & hates, etc; then we brake the progression of the Mass to do a “How de do!” to people we’d rather have nothing to do with. Then we go back to our same thought processes & ignoring the folks we shook hands with, hugged, or waved hello to as if nothing happened. It’s so phoney and bogus that it’s disgusting!

  • The Pope has mention moving the “sign of peace” to before the offertory which I think would be much more respectful of the Eucharist and the awesome mystery we are about to partake and fulfill Jesus’ words better: “If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5:23-24).

  • The problem is that the current practice has masked the truly important and theologically meaningful location of the offering of Christ’s Peace during the Matt. Better to preserve the TRADITIONAL practice of the kiss of peace where it is, and save handshakes, hugs and high fives for coffee time after Mass.

One Response to Amazing Grace

Eternal Father

Saturday, January 3, AD 2009

Something for the weekend.  I have always loved the hymn Eternal Father, Strong to SaveDozens of additional verses have been added over the years to this hymn.  The hymn has always brought home strongly to me how utterly dependent we are at all times on God’s power and love to sustain us.  My late father-in-law, John Stringer, served 18 years in the Navy as a petty officer from 1941-1959, most of it on sea duty.  I am eternally grateful that he got back safely from each of his voyages.  In regard to the video I would note that when a US naval vessel arrives back home, the first sailors off the ship, no matter what their rank, are the new fathers.

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Catholics, The 2nd Amendment, & Subsidiarity

Friday, January 2, AD 2009

Ryan Harkins took an initial look at how Catholics should look at the question of whether there is a natural right to own guns in a post last week. The basic thrust of Ryan’s argument, and I ask him to correct me if I misstate this, was to examine the question of whether the benefits of private gun ownership outweighed the potential social evils. This is, in a sense, an obvious way to look at the question. If one is trying to determine the rightness of allowing people to own something potentially destructive, it would seem natural to take a “do the benefits outweigh the dangers?” approach.

I’d like to take a slightly different approach, looking at both the actual text of the second amendment and Catholic Social Teaching. The second amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The libertarian approach to this is to assert that an armed citizenry is required in order to provide a counter-weight to the power of the government. However, I’m not convinced that the thinking behind the second amendment was a merely a balancing of powers in this sense. Rather, it seems to me that to a great extent the US Constitution is written with the point of view that people possess certain natural rights and duties, and that from these spring rights and duties of the government. My understanding is that one of the major controversies in regards to the second amendment (one spoken to fairly definitely in last June’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision) has been whether it secures a right of state militias to have weapons, or a right of individuals to have weapons. While in effect my opinion on the matter lies closer to the individual right side, it seems to me that there is an important distinction which has been increasingly lost in our modern mass society:

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26 Responses to Catholics, The 2nd Amendment, & Subsidiarity

  • If one looks at Catholic social teaching (e.g. the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church), I can find nothing which directly supports the absolute right to own small arms. As far as I can see, all the places where such weapons are mentioned, it is heavily emphasized that (e.g.) “Appropriate measures are needed to control the production, sale, importation and exportation of small arms and light weapons”. This would support a conclusion that the ownership of such weapons is always a prudential matter, and thus not an absolute right.

  • Paul,

    Point taken.

    And I tried to be clear that there is, to my knowledge, no specific Catholic treatment of how the natural right to self defense (which the Church does recognize specifically in the Catechism, 2263-2265) plays out in regards to the question of whether one thus has a right to the means to self defense. Similarly, I am not aware of any statement in Church documents (as opposed to the speculations of individual theologians) as to whether the duty to defend the common good and societal order springs from the rights and duties of the individual, or is a prerogative of “just authority” but never the people.

    However the passages such as you cite are invariably about the containment of various political ills associated with the arms trade and societal disruption, and I’m not clear that one can conclude from the existence of these passages (and silence on the above mentioned matters) that the Church thus teaches that the individual does _not_ have a right to the means to exercise his natural right to self defense.

  • I assume that “criminal record” comes with an “etc.” for other reasonable restrictions, e.g. mental illness, the existence of certain kinds of injunctions, etc.

    Sometime soon I have to ask your opinion on the catechetical series I’m using with Offspring #1, and some interesting assertions it makes regarding Church teaching on labor issues.

  • I assume that “criminal record” comes with an “etc.” for other reasonable restrictions, e.g. mental illness, the existence of certain kinds of injunctions, etc.

    Most definitely.

    Sometime soon I have to ask your opinion on the catechetical series I’m using with Offspring #1, and some interesting assertions it makes regarding Church teaching on labor issues.

    Some have claimed that when I discuss unions I should have my sanity license revoked, but I shall endeavor to behave myself. 🙂

  • I think that when most discussions of the second amendment get off track is dealing with the term “militia”. The founders would not have accepted a standing army (which would probably include the national guard as a part thereof) as dangerous to freedom.

  • Is there a right to self-defense that might be lethal? Yes: the Catechism certainly supports that (#2263-2264). But that is not the question at issue — but rather: Is there an absolute right to own a particular weapon that may be used in self-defense? We both see no teaching directly on the issue. In which case, we then have to look for indirectly related statements, to see what bearing they might have on the question.

    In the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, #511, it says: “Appropriate measures are needed to control the production, sale, importation and exportation of small arms and light weapons, armaments that facilitate many outbreaks of violence to occur. The sale and trafficking of such weapons constitute a serious threat to peace: these arms kill and are used for the most part in internal and regional conflicts; their ready availability increases both the risk of new conflicts and the intensity of those already underway.”

    It is very hard to read that and avoid concluding that, in the appropriate circumstances, a state might legitimately decide to ban the production or sale of small-arms, on the grounds that it would make an existing situation worse. If that conclusion is accepted, then, following on, it would seem that there could be no absolute right to own such a controlled weapon.

  • I would tend to agree with Paul and Ryan that this is a question of proportionality rather than a ‘right’ to firearms as a means of self-defense. There are significant limitations, for example, to individual property rights (e.g. taxes). A restriction on firearms in some contexts could similarly be a reasonable limitation on the right to self-defense.

    That said, I think a good argument can be made that there are proportionate reasons in the U.S. (as well as Constitutional support) for allowing citizens to own firearms.

    As an aside, I thought you were skeptical of additional Catholic ‘rights talk’ DC. Are certain commentators references to your ‘love’ of guns valid? 😉

  • Paul,

    We’re in agreement as to the legitimacy of self defense (and I assume to self defense being a natural right) which might some times be lethal.

    Is there an absolute right to own a particular weapon that may be used in self-defense?

    Actually, I would say: No.

    Come to that, the 2nd Amendment (which is what I’m trying to defend from a Catholic point of view here) actually doesn’t specify any particular weapon either — and I don’t dispute (though perhaps some of the founders would have) the Supreme Court finding that some kinds of weapons (all fully automatic firearms, for instance) can quite legitimately be banned.

    What I do think one can defend from a Catholic point of view is the claim (which would seem to be essentially a 2nd Amendment one) that since one does have a natural right to self defense and to defend and maintain order in one’s immediate community, that stemming from this would be a right to possess those weapons that might legitimately achieve those aims.

    Given that those are aims of limited scope, I would also see strong reason to restrict individual ownership of weapons that go beyond those needs. (After which I’d proceed to argue that given the wide availability of guns in modern American society, it would not be realistic to claim that a total ban on personal ownership of guns would be compatible with allowing people the tools for defense of themselves and their immediate communities.)

    Now, I take your point on the Compendium of Social Doctrine, however given that it p511 comes right between p510 which discusses the need to get rid of landmines (which significantly it goes on to call “a type of small arm that is inhumanly insidious”) and p512 where it strongly condemns the practice of recruiting child soldiers, I guess my big questions would be: Are the “small arms and light weapons” the sort of non-full-auto rifles, pistols and shot guns which are currently legal in the US? And, are we talking here about private citizens owning guns, or are we talking about local strongmen buying crates of AK-47s to hand out to their gangs of boy soldiers?

    Given that the second half of p511 says:
    The position of States that apply severe controls on the international transfer of heavy arms while they never, or only very rarely, restrict the sale and trafficking of small arms and light weapons is an unacceptable contradiction. It is indispensable and urgent that Governments adopt appropriate measures to control the production, stockpiling, sale and trafficking of such arms [1076] in order to stop their growing proliferation, in large part among groups of combatants that are not part of the military forces of a State.

    I guess I’d take it to be a pretty straightforward denunciation of countries making a policy of allowing unrestricted sales of everything from AK-47s to land mines and rocket launchers to trouble-makers in the third world. It doesn’t really strike me as addressing the question of whether households have a natural right to be able to own those weapons which, under the current technological and social conditions, would be sufficient to defend the household and its neighbors from harm.

  • John Henry,

    As an aside, I thought you were skeptical of additional Catholic ‘rights talk’ DC. Are certain commentators references to your ‘love’ of guns valid?

    Well, the specific examples I am concerned about in regards to “rights talk” pertain to claiming rights to be given something (a right to health care, a right to housing, a right to education, a right to a living wage) rather than a right to be able to possess something if you have the means to acquire it.

    I certainly would not say that a “right to bear arms” means that the state is obligated to give you a gun — simply that it may mean, if guns are the only culturally and technologically reasonable means by which you can defend yourself and your neighbors, that you should not be restricted from owning a gun if you choose to go out and take steps to acquire one.

    More generally,

    I recognize that I’m pushing a point here and trying to make an argument that may in the end not hold up. I’m going ahead and defending it strenuously in order to see how well the argument works (and try to make sure that I’ve presented my thinking thoroughly) but I recognize that this certainly is not “what the Church teaches”. At best, I’m hoping that it looks like a fairly reasonable conclusion based on what the Church teaches.

    So while I’ll continue to defend and clarify in an attempt to see how well this argument works, please understand that I’m not trying to simply assert, “The Catholic Church says you have the right to bear arms,” but simply to see if one can successfully make an argument for the personal right to bear arms within a Catholic context.

  • Startling how DC outright confesses his embrace of the rights to consume and possess, if one has the means, right as he rejects to the rights to be nourished educated, housed and paid equitably…

  • Mark,

    If you read my post a while back about “rights talk”, which is what I’m referencing there, I argued that the “right to housing” is not a natural right in the sense that if one is simply left to oneself and does nothing to create one’s own housing, one does not have any housing. The right to free speech, on the other hand, is a natural right in that one is fully capable of speaking until someone comes in and takes that right away from you.

    I am, of course, strongly in favor of people being free to obtain education, housing, and pay — but I don’t think it’s proper to describe something as a “right” which someone else has to come and give to you. That is properly described as a duty. As in: We have duty to provide shelter to the homeless, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, pay the worker, educate the ignorant, etc.

    To call those things rights, in my opinion, ignores the fact that they need to come from other people. They are not things that we naturally possess until someone else comes and takes them away from us.

    I’m not clear if you’re really unclear as to the argument, or you just enjoy a chance to characterize those you disagree with, regardless of whether your characterization bears any resemblance to the truth.

  • DarwinCatholic,

    While “small arms and light weapons” has no precisely agreed-on international definition, “small arms” would generally be reckoned to include revolvers, rifles, and AK-47s; and “light weapons” would be something like grenade launchers or two-person machine-guns.

    You say: “stemming from this [right to self-defense] would be a right to possess those weapons that might legitimately achieve those aims”. I think if that were changed to “… that would legitimately achieve those aims”, it would be defensible from a Catholic point of view.

    For example, suppose in a particular country, two different large groups were close to being in violent conflict. It could, depending on the exact circumstances, be legitimate (along the lines of what the Compendium indicates) for a state to ban the private possession of small arms and light weapons, until the reasons for the conflict were eliminated. Though each individual could say “This weapon is for my personal defense”, the cumulative effect of everyone in both groups claiming that, and acting on it, could tip things over into open conflict, or cause any subsequent conflict to be much worse. The individual’s benefits in possessing small arms have to be balanced against the needs of society (since, after all, each individual is also a a member of society, and is affected by and benefits from it).

    Opinions as to what the 2nd amendment means obviously differ quite widely. I think that if it were taken in some sense like: “Provided it benefits society, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, that would be consistent both with the Compendium, and with much of how the law has tended to be interpreted (though not by all!).

  • This is a statement by the American Bishops who make clear that people of good will are free to contradict them on the means to the end, but not the ends.

    http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/criminal/handguns.shtml

  • Eric,

    The ends in this case being?

  • Eric,

    Where do they say that people of good will are not free to disagree with them?

  • For example, suppose in a particular country, two different large groups were close to being in violent conflict. It could, depending on the exact circumstances, be legitimate (along the lines of what the Compendium indicates) for a state to ban the private possession of small arms and light weapons, until the reasons for the conflict were eliminated. Though each individual could say “This weapon is for my personal defense”, the cumulative effect of everyone in both groups claiming that, and acting on it, could tip things over into open conflict, or cause any subsequent conflict to be much worse. The individual’s benefits in possessing small arms have to be balanced against the needs of society (since, after all, each individual is also a a member of society, and is affected by and benefits from it).

    I would certainly see the compendium as saying that in such a situation both the local government and outside governments should work to keep military hardware from being poured into the country. Pouring crates of AKs and RPGs into a third world country with a failing government will certainly not do anything to help the common good.

    I’m more skeptical that it would necessarily be a good idea for the local government to ban gun ownership and confiscate the guns that private households already own. The question would be: who in such a situation is likely to use the power to confiscate weapons from private citizens for the common good rather than simply to confiscate weapons from everyone but their own faction?

    From what I’ve read about conflicts in places like Uganda and Somalia, the problem is not that many individual citizens are armed to the teeth and ready to burst into civil war, but rather that the general population is almost completely unarmed while local strongmen have crates of weapons which they pass out to their followers. This makes it far easier for local strongmen to inflict terror on the population, because the population is unable to exercise any form of self defense against them.

    So, I would certainly agree with the Compendiums prescription that when there is great civil unrest in an area shipping in weapons is an additional source of trouble. I also could theoretically see a situation in which an area was sufficiently unarmed or disarmed that it was not necessary for people to own firearms in order to legitimately exercise self defense and control of their own communities — but my concern with suggestions of a confiscatory ban on all guns or whole classes of guns (like the 70s era statement supporting a hand gun ban out of the USCCB) is that when done in the context of rising violence this merely serves to prevent ordinary citizens from defending themselves while leaving the elements of chaos (who aren’t following the law anyway) fully armed.

  • That said, Paul’s interpretation strikes me as being more in keeping with precedent than mine. There were, to my recollection, a whole series of papal statements in the high middle ages attempting to ban specific weapons (notably the crossbow) and ban fighting on certain days of the week and such. To my knowledge, not of this was particularly successful, but it is the approach with history to it.

    To get a Catholic understanding of a right to bear arms one has to assume a new development along the lines of the right to own ones property and own the fruits of one’s labor — which was itself in contradiction to a long history of statements which tacitly accepted the peasant system.

  • -he rejects to the rights to be nourished educated, housed and paid equitably…-

    This sounds like a right to be infantilized.

    I would rather be poor and free, as I am now.

  • Actually, the Constitution was not originally meant to interfere in any of our lives. The document was written to protect states from federal interference. The 2nd amendment meant, when written, that the feds would not be allowed to disarm or disband any state militia.

    It may be hard to believe now, when we think the government should tell us where to live, how to live and why to live, but the constitution was not meant to do any of these things and neither was the federal government. An early Chief Justice (Jay? I’m not sure. It was in the 1820’s or 1830’s), when asked if the Bill of Rights applied to state governments, said,without hesitation, NO! I.e., a state could infringe on your right to bear arms, your free speech, etc. The Bill of Rights only restricted the federal government from doing these things because the founders did not fear their own states (since they controlled them!). The Congregationalist church was the state church in one of the New England states until the early 19th century, Bill of Rights or no.

    The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments changed all this and activist judges began to “incorporate” the rights expressed in the Bill of rights and applied them to all people.

    Really unfortunate, as our states have just been pawns ever since, and not the free, cooperating nations they were meant to be. Under the original intent of the constitution, people in each state would not have their hands tied every time they try to solve a local problem (Wouldn’t it be nice if your state, with a government you elected, could declare certain areas, infested by drugs and gangs, free from guns without the federal hassle and without trying to do the same thing everywhere? And then later reverse the decision if it seemed wise to do so? They could restrict pornography without some ACLU scum breathing down their necks. The present interpretation of the constitution makes us all slaves to out-of-touch nitwits in Washington.)

  • Thoughtful post Darwin. I think it is clear there is a natural right to proportionate self-defense.

    It is also clear that guns are a part of our reality whether we like it or not. No amount of legislation is going to change this fact. What legislation does change is who has the guns, i.e., whether the guns are in the hands of the people, the government and criminals, or alternatively, in the hands of the government and criminals alone.

    I think you’re right about the natural rights case to be made for the second amendment, but I wouldn’t discount the Founders desire to limit the power of government.

    The 2nd Amendment is part of the very fabric of our democracy. It helps underscore and substantiate the essential equality of all the citizens in our Republic. It does this by ensuring there is no substantial power gap between the rulers and the ruled.

    I think this commitment to equality, made significant by limiting the power of the government over its citizens, is very much in accord with the Catholic conception of the common good. We all stand to benefit from there being no one group of people responsible for eveyone’s defense. After all, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The Founders were wise to diffuse power rather than concentrate it.

  • Blackdadder,

    The end is the “joint effort to eliminate the criminal and deadly misuse of handguns.” We all have the same goal, but differing opinions as to how to obtain it and part of that constitutes the regulation of guns.

    Zach,

    You misread me. I said people of good will are, in fact, free to contradict the Bishops on the matter. They aren’t exercising magisterial authority.

  • I’ll add that it is evident from their words that the Bishops believe people of “good faith” can and will oppose gun control measures they collectively support. However, it is implicit (thus, I made my comment) that we are not in fact free to disagree with them on an end. No person of good will, abiding by the natural law, can disagree with the Bishops on the end goal of curbing gun violence. The means — gun control laws or no gun control laws — can be debated. The ends are non-negotiable.

  • Oh, there is no disagreement then. I thought the “end” you were thinking of may have been something like a ban on guns.

  • No person of good will, abiding by the natural law, can disagree with the Bishops on the end goal of curbing gun violence.

    This is true, but since hardly anybody does disagree with this goal, I’m not sure how significant a truth it is.

  • If we have a natural right to self defense, wouldn’t that imply that we have a natural right to effective self defense?

    What I mean by this is saying that a cat has a natural right to self defense, but I’m going to de-claw him and pull his teeth. He has a natural right to self defense, but I have effectively removed the means of the self defense.

    This is important, especially in the case of women who are generally much smaller, physically weaker and less aggressive than men. This means that a woman can’t effectively defend herself against a much bigger, stronger and more violent attacker. Those “less than lethal” methods are generally used closer up, and by that time the attacker is usually within arm’s reach.

    I heard a great quote: “A man use two methods to make me do what he wants. He can either convince me, or force me. A gun guarantees that he stick to the first method”.

  • As an old saying says:

    “God created man, Sam Colt made them equal.”

    Clearly the natural law right to defend oneself in our current milieu would allow the ownership of semi-auto hand guns and (at the least) civilian long guns. It would seem the USCCB position is contrary to this in it’s approach (but not it’s end).

    It also seems to me that the “Compendium of Social Doctrine” and the USCCB (even sometimes the Holy See itself) are sometimes stepping outside of their competence when they start to make judgments about the acceptability of specific weapon systems. As regards the proscription of “indiscriminant” use of weapons which cause mass destruction, it is the ends which are objected to, not the means. It would not necessarily be immoral to use a nuclear weapon against a nuclear missile silo. By the same token, I don’t think it’s reasonable for the hierarchy to judge that there is no legitimate use for land mine technology, if they are be deployed applying the rules of just warfare. The same goes for hand guns in legitimate self-defense, this is just out of the competence of the bishops.

    God Bless,

    Matt

8 Responses to Better Living Through Robotics?

  • (Guest comment by Cathy): PS — The janitor at our parish church uses an even larger Roomba (a commercial-grade model?) to vacuum the sanctuary after Mass.

  • While the algorithms to program up a vacuum cleaner like the Roomba aren’t too horribly complicated (tedious, I would imagine, especially if it uses some learning algorithm to help it better fit to your house), I wouldn’t get too excited about full-fledged robots in our households. Something like Rosie from the Jetsons will never really happen unless there’s a huge revolution in computers that we simply can’t imagine right now.

    Being a theoretical computer scientist, I don’t work very much the A.I. field, though my research does pull heavily from computational learning theory. But I have read enough A.I. literature to know that we’re nowhere close to building a computer that has anything close to intelligence.

    Hmm. Now I’m half-tempted to write a post on Computer Science and the Soul, talking about one of the key issues of my field and how it affects how I think about our human nature. Any takers?

  • It’s all you Ryan.

    Is that the McClarey house cat taking a ride?

  • nice article. i too just plain like the idea of delegating tasks like vacuum cleaning to a robot. i’m not sure how well it would work in my cluttered apartment, but for a spacious home i’d imagine it would be a great addition to the appliance list. also makes for a good conversion piece when you throw a cocktail party 🙂

    cheers,
    Stephen

  • “Is that the McClarey house cat taking a ride?”

    No, Tito, just an anonymous cat featured in a video on You Tube. Our cowardly dog, aptly named Baby, steered clear of the Roomba.

  • I’m surprised the cat seems to be enjoying the ride.
    Cat bumper cars, anybody?

  • I noticed that too cminor. The way the tail of the cat just drags along behind indicates that the cat is quite comfortable and probably often rides the Roomba.

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