Monthly Archives: August 2009

"Objectivism"

Over at CrankyCon, Paul Zummo offers a brief review of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged:

The atheism is only a small part of the issue with objectivism. Galt (and thus Rand’s) objection to the concept of original sin is naive, but even absent this aspect of objectivism, it remains a dehumanizing and abhorrent moral philosophy. Rand detests totalitarianism, it is true, but other writers have written better and less repugnant works in defense of capitalism and against totalitarianism. If libertarians and conservatives wish to seek out inspirational works on the topic, they are better off with the likes of George Orwell, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Sowell, Wilhelm Roepke, F.A. Hayek and countless others.

The fundamental problem is that Rand is as naive about human nature as the socialist utopians. After all, a utopian is a utopian, whether they are Marxian or Randian utopians. Therefore the rejection of the concept of original sin is something of a problem because it blinds Rand to the idea that human beings cannot simply shut off their passionate desires. If totalitarians are blind to the reality that human nature cannot be perfected, Rand is blind to the fact that the altruistic tendencies of humans cannot similarly be wiped out. Believe it or not, we are social beings (Aristotle and Aquinas being right), and it is simply unrealistic – and Rand is supposed to be about reason and realism – to expect humans to simply ignore these aspects of their personality.

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Oops!

three stooges

Ah the glories of government medicine!  1200 veterans were recently informed by the VA that they had Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

 

Former Air Force Reservist Gale Reid received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Department that told her she had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she immediately put herself through a battery of painful, expensive tests. Five days later, the VA said its “diagnosis” was a mistake.

The Montgomery, Ala., resident was among at least 1,200 veterans who received a letter about disability benefits for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, even though they hadn’t been diagnosed with the illness, according to the National Gulf War Resource Center. Veterans were initially suspicious of the letters, but still went through the agony not knowing exactly whether they had the fatal disease, which typically kills people within five years.

At least 2,500 letters informing veterans of disability benefits for ALS were sent out, and of those, some 1,200 were a mistake, according to the National Gulf War Resource Center. The wrongly sent letters were supposed to inform veterans of an undiagnosed neurological disorder, according to the Gulf War veterans group, which provides information, support and referrals about illnesses to veterans.

No one knows for sure exactly how many letters were mailed to veterans treated at VA hospitals and how many were a mistake. VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts didn’t return telephone messages or an e-mail Monday.

Read the whole story here.  The last line in the story says it all for what we all have in store for us in the unlikely event that ObamaCare ever becomes a reality.

 

Ad Orientem

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Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa is a champion of Ad Orientem.  Here you can read his thoughts on the subject.  The National Catholic Reporter wrote a piece on the subject which Father Z has put through his patented fisk machine and which may be read here.  I of course am all in favor of Ad Orientem.  Priests should render the sacrifice of the Mass at altars when possible and not at the Protestant-lite communion tables that have come into vogue since Vatican II, in a well-intentioned but completely wrong-headed attempt for greater involvement by the laity in the Mass.  Quotes from Pope Benedict regarding Ad Orientem are here at the wonderful blog New Liturgical Movement, which I had not read until researching this post.  What do you think?

Res et Explicatio for AD 8-25-2009

Salvete AC readers!Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulet

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in Catholicism:

1. An interesting find of Biblical proportions has been announced.  Silver amulets predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by 400 years was found with Biblical inscriptions, the Book of Numbers 6:24-26:

24 The LORD bless you and keep you:
25
The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:
26
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Written in Hebrew script, the pure silver amulets were discovered in the ancient tomb complex of Jerusalem’s Ketef Hinnom.  Archaeologist Gabriel Barkay wrote the discovery in the Biblical Archeology Review.

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Don't Negotiate, They're Crazy!

I made the mistake of following a link to a Frank Rich column this morning — an activity liable to cause lowed IQ, severe irritation, or in extreme cases, the gnawing off of one’s own arm. In an effort to channel possible side effects into a vaguely positive outlet, I hope that readers will forgive me if I revisit a topic that I already touched on once before: the increasing attempts by Democratic partisans to insist that the only people who could possibly oppose their agenda are evil, racist, gun-toting, potentially-violent freaks.

abc_rifle_protestor_090821_mnLike many of Rich’s pieces, this one is wandering and somewhat inarticulate. However, the basic thread is that the right as a whole is made up of violent extremists who should not be a part of the current health care debate in congress. In support of this, he points to the handful of 2nd Amendment activists who have been showing up at Townhall Meetings and other public venues in states that allows the open carry of firearms and exercising that selfsame right. This, he argues, proves that they are just like Timothy McVeigh (after all, one of them quoted Thomas Jefferson, who was also quoted by McVeigh), and to cap it all off some Republicans opposed counter-terrorism bills proposed in the wake of the OKC bombing. Got all that?

A couple things strike me about the unreasonableness of this line of thinking. Continue reading

Rifqa, Islam, and the Mainstream Media

Rifqa BaryYou may have heard by now of the case of Rifqa Bary who fled her Ohio home to Florida to escape her father’s grasp.  The reason being is that she converted to Christianity and her family are extremist Muslims.  Meaning that she will be put to death for being a kafir, or apostasizing from Islam.  This is in line with most mainstream Islamic jurisprudence (see the Koran verses such as 2:217 and 4:89) that calls for the death of a convert away from Islam.

Andrew Bostom of the American Thinker wrote an excellent piece concerning Rifqa Bary:

Rifqa Bary faces death for her apostasy from Islam, while the media ignores the solid religious and institutional grounding for the practice.

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John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic

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John Wayne died on June 11, 1979.  Like many Americans at the time I felt as if a personal friend had died.  Growing up, Wayne was a part of my childhood both on TV and at the local theater.  Remarkably, more than three decades after his demise, he still routinely appears among the top ten favorite actors in polls.  For three and a half decades he dominated American film screens and became the archetypal Western hero.  Frequently savaged by film critics in his life, something which bothered him little, his appearance as a Centurion in the film The Greatest Story Ever Told, the video clip which begins this post, was a special target,  Wayne’s work has endured the test of time.  A staunch conservative, Wayne upheld a love of country when such love was popular and when it was unpopular.  Eventually he became a symbol of America, recognizable around the globe.  What is less known about Wayne is his religion, and, at the end, his conversion to Catholicism. Continue reading

Res et Explicatio for AD 8-24-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in Catholicism:

1. The Reform of the Reform project continues as the Congregation for Divine Worship recommended the following:

  • Voted almost unanimously in favor of a greater sacrality of the [Latin] rite.
  • The recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship.
  • The recovery of the Latin language in the celebration.
  • The remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentation’s, and inappropriate creativity.

In addition they declared the reaffirmation of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.

Pope Benedict XVI continues in correcting the abuses and misinterpretations of Vatican II with these rectifications and tweaks.

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Yeah, But Who's The Senior Partner?

Obama and God

 

On August 19, Obama told a group of rabbis on a teleconference to support ObamaCare that “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.”  The always indispensable Iowahawk reveals here that Obama was speaking literally.  I guess this is in line with the joke, at least I hope it is a joke, going around the country.  What is the difference between God and Obama?  God doesn’t think He’s Obama. 

Remember that 7 trillion deficit? Make that 9 trillion.

Obama Ink

As Obama goes on vacation, the Administration saw fit late Friday afternoon to release the news that the projected deficit was going up over the next ten years from 7 trillion to 9 trillion.  No doubt the Congressional Budget Office will have even more dire numbers, as the administration has consistently put the best face on the increasingly dire deficit numbers.  As I have constantly warned on this blog, our economy is about to hit a debt wall that will lead to a horrendous economy for years to come.  Fiscal lunacy, simple fiscal lunacy.  Some of my prior posts on the process by which we are careening towards national bankruptcy are below. Continue reading

Liberty and Happiness

A strong belief in free will is an essential component of happiness. We are free to choose good or evil; true happiness consists in choosing what is good. It follows that belief in determinism cannot produce true happiness. It is important that we work, as Catholics and other people of good will, to remind people of the true way to happiness, and to steer people away from thinking that they are helpless with respect to their state of soul.

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Educational Egalitarianism

Darwin Catholic’s post about the educational system and the possible benefits of promoting a myth of equality got me thinking about the essential differences between liberals and at least the kind of conservative I think I am becoming.

That is, a kind of conservative that is opposed to excessively concentrated wealth in private hands, for the following reasons: 1) it can easily lead to concentrated political power that is less accountable, 2) in the midst of poverty – even if one wishes to argue that it is not a cause of poverty – it inspires class envy and hatred, 3) it has the potential to be terribly and sinfully wasted on frivolities instead of charity and/or social investment.

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