The Hands of Sarah Palin

My colleague Eric, a man of the Left, and someone who has my strong respect due to his pro-life commitment, has posted that Sarah Palin had a few key words written on a hand as a mnemonic device during the teaparty convention.  Much of the Left is of course in a feeding frenzy about this, betraying  the unending obsession they have with Palin.  This of course is more fun for them than concentrating on the abysmal failure of the Obama administration and that their agenda is only slightly more popular currently with most of the American public than the bubonic plague.  Palin, with the good humor that has been her characteristic response to the nuttiness from the Left, wrote on her left hand “Hi Mom” for her appearances the next day to give the Lefties something more to read.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. I’m eatin’ up with a spoon.

    1. Disbursements under the TARP program are complete.

    2. Our observable experience with fiscal priming over the last year suggests that the economists who offered the cautionary that public spending crowds out private spending and the estimate that it only begins to stimulate when unemployment rates exceed 12% were correct.

    3. Maybe Eric Brown will explain thus the utility of a 50% nominal increase in federal expenditure over a three year period of time in which one might expect the growth of nominal domestic product to be about 10%.

  2. Yes, thank God we have the “competent” and “post-partisan” guy with the “first-class temper” in the White House as opposed to having this crass philistine with ink-stained hands a whole heartbeat away from the Presidency.


  3. “Wait, she writes notes on her hand instead of having a teleprompter for every single talk? Oh NO! Wait, what if she uses note cards AND writes on her hand? Frenzy!”

    I took public speaking a number of years ago as a college course. We were told, if you’re not good at memorization, or not good with impromptu, then have note cards with major points on them. Seriously, is this different?

  4. I am utterly in disbelief that anyone of sound mind- on the Left or Right- is taking Sarah Palin seriously as a political leader. My impression of her went from hopeful when I first heard about her- to “Oh, no” after I heard her first speech. There are those individuals who could make a pretty good case for “conservative” leadership- Pat Buchanan always struck me as fairly solid even as I completely reject the very notion that faithful Catholic social doctrine understands blends neatly into liberal or conservative ideologies.

    Sarah Palin comes across to me politically as a rank opportunist, transparently so. I can’t speak to her personal life, only to what I see and hear of her in public speeches and interviews. It is true that many Leftists would necessary dislike her first and foremost because she talks the talk of pro-life, pro-traditional family. But I am not complaining over that- in fact my first strong reaction against her was that in her first big speech at the Republican convention she failed to make the pro-life issue- The Issue- or even a issue.

    The bottom-line here is that if someone on the Right believes that the only people who are completely turned off by Palin are pro-abort Lefties, think again- my wife and I are walking evidence that there are at least some pro-life, pro-family types, who just don’t get the Palin attraction- at all.

  5. Sorry, Phillip. I have not been able to stomach Vox Nova for a year now. I am sure the article was…..good…..

  6. Sarah Palin comes across to me politically as a rank opportunist, transparently so.

    Educate me, Tim. How is she opportunistic in manner or degree in ways other politicians are not.

    I am utterly in disbelief that anyone of sound mind- on the Left or Right- is taking Sarah Palin seriously as a political leader.

    The current President is Barack Obama. In the line of succession are Joseph Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Byrd, Hilary Clinton, and Timothy Geithner. Thems our leaders.

  7. Art,

    Opportunism, inexperience, inability to speak without a teleprompter, and populism are only important when it’s a Republican. Otherwise, why would Ben “Buyout” Nelson, Nancy “Family Fly” Pelosi, and President Barack “Narcissomegaloegomaniacalkleptoutopian” Obama get free passes on many of these same things?



  8. I look forward to the day when the outright hysteria that left-wing Catholic bloggers exhibit over Palin is reserved for the scandal that we face everyday having a pro-abort, anti-American, anti-Catholic, radically secular President.

  9. Eric said that he would rather vote for copy toner than vote for Sarah Palin.

    I think I’d rather drink the copy toner.

    I’m sick to death of this being reduced to a childish “left-right” issue. Please, fellow Catholics, stop abandoning reason to rigid ideological affiliations, as if “right” and “left” were your teams at the Super Bowl, and Palin was your team’s mascot.

    I am certainly no leftist, and I think Palin is less fit than Mayor McCheese for public office. I don’t abandon my ability to think, reason, and form independent evaluations because I adopt one set of values and reject another. Yet that’s what it sounds like some of you want.

    “Accept Palin’s validity as a political figure or you’re a stupid leftist!”

    I reject Palin for the same reasons I would reject a return of George W. Bush, or for that matter, another round of Obama. It isn’t even about her ignorance anymore. It’s about her willing devotion to continuing policies that would further expand the police-state and the military-industrial complex in the name of defeating terrorism – a lie, spending us into bankruptcy, increasing federal power at the expense of local power, and pursuing an insane foreign policy of adventurism and brinkmanship.

    She would be like an Obama for conservatives – promise a million things that sounded great, then deliver none of them as she implements the real agenda of the people who usher her into power, like Bush Jr., like Obama. Every candidate promises a “new era” in politics, and because suckers are born every minute, there are always enough people around to believe them.

    I think its sad that Palin has hijacked the tea-party movement, which was at one time as opposed to big-government Republican neo-conservatism as it was to big government Democrat neo-liberalism. Now it has been reduced to an appendage of the “warfare” side of the “warfare-welfare” state.

  10. It also frightens me to death that some of you are unable or unwilling to look into Palin’s past and look at the means and ways in which she rose to small-time power – cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, smear campaigns, intimidation – it’s as if she were nurtured on Machiavelli instead of milk as a baby.

    This woman is even more ambitious than Obama, more intoxicated by power. And yet some of you will wail and cheer because she is on “your side”, she’s on “your team”, just like Obama was for so many now regretful, mournful liberals and leftists.

    It’s not worth it.

  11. cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, smear campaigns, intimidation – it’s as if she were nurtured on Machiavelli instead of milk as a baby.

    You are welcome to discuss it, with references, rather than merely assert it.

  12. Couldn’t disagree with you more Joe. Palin is on my side on the issues that matter to me especially the issue of abortion. As to her position regarding national defense, it coincides with mine. Those who do not believe we are in a life and death struggle with people who would not hesitate at nuking an American city once they have the capability are living in La La Land. As to your comments about cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, smear campaigns and intimidation, do you have anything to back up these allegations, or were you merely venting your spleen?

  13. I agree with AD. I get suspicious when a critic strings together a series of vague and somewhat synonymous nouns to describe someone. Looks like smear to me.

  14. Joe- Your projections on how a hypothetical Palin Presidency would be a failure are self-defeating. In the first respect because there is no moral equivalency between an avowed supporter of infanticide and a mother of a Downs child. On the second account because this only serves to reinforce the idea that this is most definitely a left-right issue. No one could possibly equate a Palin to an Obama without ignoring the secular radicalism that Obama represents…in other words, without having an ideological blindspot. You don’t have to be a Palin fan to see that.

  15. Yes, circle the wagons.

    I’m not going to write a Palin expose here, at least not now. What I refer to is common knowledge about her history – either look it up, as you did with Obama in order to scrutinize him, or conclude that it doesn’t matter.

    As long as we can agree that one doesn’t have to be some radical leftist to want nothing to do with Palin, that’s fine.

  16. Eric said that he would rather vote for copy toner than vote for Sarah Palin.

    I think I’d rather drink the copy toner.

    I want to go on record as saying that I’d rather vote for Sarah Palin than drink copy toner.

  17. I look forward to your eventual expose of Palin Joe, since I am rather familiar with her career and I can think of very little in it to warrant the colorful charges you have made. However, as I always tell adversaries in litigation, I am always open to new evidence.

  18. “I want to go on record as saying that I’d rather vote for Sarah Palin than drink copy toner.”

    I want to go on the record as saying I would rather Joe drank copy toner than I vote for Palin.

  19. Yes, circle the wagons.

    I haven’t any granular knowledge of Alaska politics, Joe. I tend to think if her political enemies had any serious dirt on her they would not have been reduced to filing ethics charges which made an issue of the logos on her clothing and her husband’s clothing, or to filing ethics charges pseudonymously (with the name of a character on East Enders).

  20. Isn’t there a choice besides Palin, copy toner, and Obama? I understand some people argue that because Palin is pro-life, they’d have to pick her over Obama. I don’t understand why they want her to be the Republican nominee. Besides the fact that she has huge negatives (almost half the country has negative perceptions of her, and that can’t be because they don’t know anything about her), I don’t see how she can be argued to be among the more competent or intelligent Republican candidates.

  21. Tim and Joe, you both have literally spoke my mind.

    Don — While I am a Democrat, I can hardly be judged to be ignoring the “abysmal failure” of the Obama Adminstration, on the contrary. I didn’t even vote for this failure-of-a-president.

  22. Just FYI: toner is a powder, not a liquid. Perhaps the brave volunteers could try snorting it rather than drinking it?

    Call me crazy, but my theory is that either:

    a) Palin will prove to be more substantial than generally considered or

    b) She won’t be winning the GOP primary even if she runs.

    I’m pretty happy leaving things to that process.

  23. Tim Shipe writes Tuesday, February 9, 2010 A.D. at 8:13 am
    “My wife and I are walking evidence that there are at least some pro-life, pro-family types, who just don’t get the Palin attraction- at all”.

    You seem to need to spend a little time in that large area between the coasts.

  24. Joe Hargrave writes Tuesday, February 9, 2010 A.D. at 11:13 am
    “It also frightens me to death that some of you are unable or unwilling to look into Palin’s past and look at the means and ways in which she rose to small-time power – cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, smear campaigns, intimidation – it’s as if she were nurtured on Machiavelli instead of milk as a baby”.

    Sounds like FDR, JFK, LBJ, et hoc genus omne.

  25. Joe fires off a string of generic assaults on the intelligence and character of Sarah Palin, then he whines about those unimpressed by his less than stellar takedown of “circling the wagons.” Yawn. Wake me up when any of these guys has something substantive to say.

  26. Jonathan,

    Can you sing this word to the Mary Poppins song?


    It’s almost as cheeky as Sara’s “Hi Mom” on her hand.

    I didn’t know if she could take the heat from those that wanted to destroy her. She has gained some points in my book for this 😉

  27. Paul,

    I didn’t even really say anything about her intelligence. But there you go, assuming that I did. I’ve even said a number of times that I actually don’t think she’s stupid at all. Ignorant, yes. Unfit to lead, yes. But not because she is stupid. At least, that’s not MY reason, even if it is for some others.

    This is just a sad thing to watch. It’s sad because all of you – Paul, Don, Art, Gabriel, and others – are men whose intelligence and knowledge I respect. I think you’re all being hoodwinked by Palin.

    You may not see it now, and I hope she is never in a position to prove me right.

    One last thing, for Don:

    Engaged we may be in a struggle with Islamic jihadists, but that will NEVER serve as an excuse for aggression against other countries or for the loss of civil liberties at home.

    I am sure we will disagree on the extent to which those phenomenon have taken place, but lets say in theory that you recognized the wars abroad and expansion of police powers at home for what they were – my sincere hope is that you would not agree with those who would trade constitutional rights for a phony sham of “security.”

  28. I fail to see any acts of agression against any other countries Joe, or any diminution of our civil liberties. This war actually is fairly unusual in the non-impact on our civil liberties. Many American wars, the Revolution, the Civil War, both World Wars, to a much more limited extent Vietnam, did involve substantial restrictions on civil liberties for the extent of the conflict. Of course holding enemy combatants for the duration of a conflict is standard practice in all wars and has nothing to do with our civil liberties.

    In regard to being hoodwinked by Palin, I believe I have an accurate assessment of her. In any case, if she ultimately becomes President and disappoints me in some areas, that will be no different from any other politician I have supported in my lifetime including Reagan. For me politics is always a matter of comparisons among alternatives. As of now I believe Palin is the best pick for a 2012 run for the GOP if she chooses to enter the race. My opinion could alter if someone abler appears during the primary contests.

  29. It’s sad because all of you – Paul, Don, Art, Gabriel, and others – are men whose intelligence and knowledge I respect.

    Joe, then I must ask with all due sincerity – shouldn’t you re-consider your assumptions about Palin?

  30. To clarify – if all these people whose opinion you respect (and the feeling is mutual with the exception of this one issue) differs from your own, is it just to conclude that they’re all being duped rather than perhaps that your own opinion is misguided? Just something to consider – we could be the ones out to lunch.

  31. Conservative politicians seem to have the amazing ability to be both Machiavellian and dumber than sticks of gum – at the same time. It astounds me, since in real life, I have certainly met people who are not bright and (unfortunately)I also have run into a few Machiavellian schemers who still give me the chills when I think of them. But they weren’t the same people. In fact, to be Machiavellian you really have to be pretty sharp.

    Yet, somehow Reagan managed the feat of being both stupid and calculatingly evil. To say nothing of Dubya, who was at once the Prince of Evil and a complete dunderhead in the eyes of his opponents. And now Palin has been revealed as not only a bimbo, but an evil one as well. To Andrew Sullivan, she’s our own homegrown Evita Peron.

    There is no contradiction in the leftist mind, because if you disagree with their political philosophy, you must be either stupid or evil. If you are smart and good, you are a leftist, say the leftists. Palin survived being labeled stupid, so let’s haul out “evil” and see if that sticks. The problem is that many Americans of genuine goodwill have accepted the left’s characterization of her.

  32. Don,

    “I fail to see any acts of agression against any other countries Joe, or any diminution of our civil liberties.”

    I figured you would. We will, I suppose, disagree over what constitutes an act of aggression. As for civil liberties, we just had a new “cyber security” bill passed in the House that allows the president (Obama) to shut down the internet to combat “cyber terrorism.” I doubt it will fail in the senate.

    Why should we assume that this power will always be used for good? Of course this is only the latest example.

    We’ve had examples of violations of Posse Comitatus in Pittsburgh recently as well.


    I mean, these are only two examples that come to mind of a creeping police state – I could dig up thousands of links if I had the time or inclination. I just read the news every day. And every day it seems, in the name of keeping us “safe”, government is asserting authority or control over some new area of life, declaring new institutions, organizations – what is this new “Council of Governors” established by Obama? And why should anyone, let alone children, submit to naked body scans at the airport? Why should they be forced to take vaccines they don’t want to take? Or pay “carbon taxes” on the basis of the biggest scientific fraud in history? It’s not just about the war, though that is part of it.

    I think a lot of conservatives can see that Obama is doing his best to expand the police state – what they won’t acknowledge is that he is simply continuing what Bush started. And when Obama leaves, and Palin or some other neo-conservative continues HIS policies, then they will go back to justifying them.


    “is it just to conclude that they’re all being duped”

    Is it “just”? I don’t know. But it’s what I think, based on what I’ve discerned for myself about Palin.


    It might be too much to ask for, but I sure hope I’m not included in this “leftist mind.” I don’t think Palin is dumb.

    Let me say it again, for effect.


  33. Diminution of civil liberties in war time Joe is a fascinating topic. During World War I people were sent to prison for sedition, speaking out against the government. During World War II, as I noted in my Go For Broke post, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were interned. During the Civil War, martial law was freely used, papers supressed, men held for long periods without charges, a Democrat Congressman exiled to the Confederacy, etc. During the Revolution Tories enjoyed no freedom of speech, were expelled from their homes in many areas and their property confiscated. The British of course, usually with the eager assistance of Tories, engaged in similar activies in areas they controlled. Compared to such enormities as these, what concerns you does not loom large to me. I am not saying you are wrong to be concerned, just that from a historical standpoint what you have cited is pretty small potatoes.

  34. Joe,
    As you know, I’ve come to agree with some of your criticisms of Palin, but I do wonder *which* movement she’s co-opting–the Tea Partyers or the neocons. After all, it was the neocons who initially rejected her.
    At this point, I agree that you’re either absolutely right or not, if that makes sense. Palin’s whole mystique, besides living the pro-life message, is her “rogue” image, the claim that she’s an outsider, and I still believe she is. Of course, as you noted on Facebook, the fact that she may not be a member of the Dominant Class doesn’t prevent her from being her own evil.

    But I *do* believe her views are essentially libertarian. She endorsed Ron Paul in the early 2008 primary; she was also a Buchanan supporter before that. She has raised eyebrows by endorsing Rand Paul in KY. I really think she’s essentially a libertarian pretending to be a neocon, not a neocon pretending to be a libertarian.

    When I first heard of Obama in 2004, I knew he’d be president in 2008. I knew he was totally an instrument of the Machine. Palin didn’t give that impression at first, but, increasingly, she does.

    Three governors fought the made-up bailout money: Jindal, Palin and Sanford. Jindal caved. Palin was forced to resign. Sanford had his adultery outed.

    If Palin had any real scandals, they’d have forced her to cave in or they’d have come up with something the way they did against Sanford.

    If her resignation was sincere, she did it for her children. If she runs for president in 2012, I will not vote for her, because her resignatoin speech was thus insincere. She needs to wait till her kids are a little older if and when she runs for office again.

    As for palmgate, my understanding is the *less* notes you need for a speech, the better. When I delivered my master’s thesis, I never went beyond the table of contents. I still needed some kind of prompt to remember my material, but I didn’t have to look at the text itself, which really impressed my committee.

    Whether the notes were lecture points or “core principles,” she probably just needed the prompt.

  35. Palin as a libertarian?

    Her enthusiasm for war with Iran, or war in general, and her endorsement of Rick Perry in Texas instead of the actual libertarian candidate Debra Medina, throws some cold water on that idea.

    Maybe the Palin of early 2008, who was chummy with Alaskan secessionists and apparently supportive of Ron Paul would have understood and agreed with the anti-war position of the Pauls and all of their supporters.

    The Palin of 2010 is beating the neo-con war drum.


    She wants Obama to declare war on Iran? This is probably another example of her extreme carelessness with words – especially since, as we all know, this country doesn’t declare war anymore, and hasn’t since WWII. But she obviously wants Obama to pursue an aggressive policy with respect to Iran.

    Agree with that or disagree with it, but don’t pretend that Ron Paul libertarians would have anything to do with this madness.

  36. She endorsed Ron Paul in the early 2008 primary; she was also a Buchanan supporter before that.

    There were some media reports to this effect in the weeks after McCain announced Palin as his running-mate, but they turned out to be incorrect.

  37. The business/function of the US Government is more than a grand marionette ‘show’ run by ‘others’ with a ‘cheer-leader’ at the helm. It seems to me as neither ‘LEFT’ nor ‘RIGHT’ that Ms. Palin’s function was and has always been a ‘rah-rah’ girl, under her husband’s tutelage in AK and the ‘paucity’ of notes she had detailed on her hand; not much substance between the ears–not enough to ‘lead’ anyway, when the going gets tough…she gets gone.

  38. No, Joe, I don’t include you in with the “left.” But plenty of sensible nonleftists seem to accept the left’s valuation of Palin. Look, I don’t think Palin should be president either. I like her in her present gadfly role, because she is a. making points that need to be made and that the GOP has forgotten, and b. because she drives the left absolutely nuts. The delicious part of this is that if they had not attacked her and her family so viciously and personally and kept on with the attacks after the 2008 election, she would have probably disappeared from the national scene. Sure, Cinnamon, she’s a dolt, controlled by her husband. You just keep right on telling yourself that.

  39. Just like Reagan, Sarah has an incredible ability to piss-off intellectuals on the so-called right and the left. It is fun to watch them squirm.

    This is testimony to her popularity, which is far greater than any of you give her credit for. Debate her all you want. She is the most powerful force in politics right now and she isn’t in office nor running for it.

    The progressive establishment on both sides of the false political spectrum is frightened. Sarah will be a focal point in all the coming elections for quite some time, whether she runs or not.

    Go cry your pretty, little intellectual brain to sleep. Americans are overwhelmingly more honest, down-to-earth and straightforward than any complex poll, editorializing journalist or political hack can ever understand.

    Most of America gets Sarah. If you don’t it indicates an out-of-touch view. That is not a personal insult, it is an objective observation. Examine yourself as to why she sends you into fits and spasms. I don’t mean you have to agree with her, but why get so violently upset?

  40. Look my friends- I was raised in Ohio so I’m not a coastal limo liberal, and I did not take my impression of Palin from the liberal msm, and I brought up that my first impression of her from reading about her was positive- both my wife and I were encouraged by reports that she was pro-life, had a downs-syndrome child she was proud of and all of that. My buzz kill was her opening speech at the convention- my wife and I were totally aghast- she didn’t get around to using the bully pulpit to preach pro-life values, she came across to us as someone very petty, very divisive, a champion of American warfare- hiding behind the dubious notion that this is what being a patriot is all about. I’m sorry to say that beyond this her whole approach to pro-life is one that is popular in conservative circles- but not in my house- the idea that one can go around and say that you have to respect the original intent of the Constitution framers and thus exclude the unborn from all the current Amendment- and so Palin et al can go into friendly pro-life audiences and claim to be 100% pro-life, and then go in front of a mixed crowd on national tv and say- well these are my personal beliefs, but really this is all about overturning R v.Wade and turning this debate back to every state. It is the conservative attempt to sound sophisticated and ‘progressive’. Meanwhile in the conduct of war pretty much anything goes- geneva conventions become quaint.

    Palin wastes her time in the bully pulpit, she spins a ‘hate national government’ message which I don’t find supportive in the official Catholic social teachings where the whole business of governance is in providing assurances for the universal common good- meanwhile the ‘onservative’ notion that while government is inherently untrustworthy, multinational corporations are the ones doing good for everyone- even though their whole purpose in existing is to merely provide increasing profits for the investors in said corporation- if one were to look for an institution that has more probability in being a force for good- I would go with representative government, not to take over the roles of businesses, but to find the proper regulations and oversight that are always needed in our fallen universe. So- no I don’t buy into the Hate Government pitch to get angry taxpayers to buy into another agenda which is designed to allow non-democratic corporate power to wield decisive power over all levels of governance. I am suspicious of all forms of power, I don’t buy into the Left or Right thesis that only government or only corporations or only trade unions are to be feared- all have their weaknesses because of the human dimension- but we need to go back and look at the founding purposes of each such institution and try to locate references back to official Catholic social teaching documents. On that basis we may find some common ground- otherwise we Catholics will remain as lost as Fox news commentators vs. CNBC- those guys will never find any common point or shared vision.

  41. The shorter version Tim is that you are a Democrat and you do not support the Republican policies that Palin proposes. I find that quite understandable. I would hope that you understand why I, being a Republican, do support her policies. I do not agree with your characterization of those policies but I can understand that is how a Democrat would view those policies. Honest policy disagreement is always a good reason to oppose any politician. That is why I would never support Obama for any public office.

  42. I am not a Republican because that party has been hijacked by the socialist progressives of the Rockefeller/Bush I/McCain ilk. Thank God I am not a Democrat because that party jumped the shark with the Great Society and their anti-life/anti religious agenda. So why do I like Sarah?

    Because she speaks to plain Americans in easy to understand language. For you intellectual elites that language is simple American English. What the elite and their fellow travelers consider unintellectual is just common sense (natural law) principles in bold primary colors. For those of you confused and mired in pastels she will not make any sense – ever.

    Is she going to be an office holder or a king maker? It doesn’t matter. The days of the false left-right dichotomy and the Hegelian dialectic are coming to an end – at least for a little while, like a couple of hundred years.

    As for Church teaching being in favor of big national government, hmm? That is a tough one Shipe. How do you square massive centralization of power, wealth, command and control with the principle of subsidiarity? Also, why is it that most Democrats receive more contributions from large corporations than most Republicans if Republicans are the corporate party? Wall Street bankrolled Obama and seems to really, really like him still. Remember the corporatist Mussolini was a leftist and the ultimate blend of politics and corporations was in Germany under the leadership of the National Socialists. How exactly is the Left against corporations?

    One of my favorite past times is to go to some lefty, elite coffee house (preferable one based in Seattle) and loudly yell, “Sarah Palin!” with a smile on my face and watch the progressives have seizures. Try it some time – it is a hoot. 🙂

  43. Sarah Palin is a Libertarian with Neocon views on foreign policy in the Middle East. Her Neocon foreign policy views are largely shaped by her religious views regarding the Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture.

  44. “Her Neocon foreign policy views are largely shaped by her religious views regarding the Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture.”

    Wrong. Feel free to try again.

  45. Sarah is a libertarian as Ronald Reagan as in small l. Libertarian economic and property principles are completely congruent with authentic conservative Republicans. Most of the rest of the libertine Libertarian ideology is incompatible with traditional views of Christian people, yes, even our separated Protestant brethren heretics as they are.

    As for Neocon – I am not sure that is Sarah or if that was McCain campaign influence. She hasn’t sounded like a Neocon except about support of the modern nation-state of Israel but then again blind support of Zionists isn’t limited to Neocons.

  46. Sarah is an attractive woman with charisma and energy – the reason I think many like her. But, she is not seasoned enough to be President of the U.S. Her zeal for conservative values such as being pro-life and pro-family, should be put to use supporting a virtuous candidate who has potential of defeating the Democrats.

  47. My beef with those so-called political leaders who seem to feed on the hatred of government- particularly national governments- the idea that national forms of governance are inherently evil or always wrong when it comes to regulating things like the economy- that seems completely off from the totality of the CST- subsidiarity does not imply that some things must be handled at national and even international levels of political authority.

    I believe that Sarah Palin is one of those politicians who is going too far with her criticisms of government when there is a lot of blame to spread around- government-yes, but also the greed that propels the corporate world, the corruption of labor union reps, and the lack personal initiative of most citizens for taking up their own civic responsibilities- all of these targets are fair game- both the decidedly left and right among us are only selecting out one or the other, and this is why I believe we keep catapulting back and forth between two big failing parties and the limited, inconsistent ideologies that they are using as their intellectual foundations. All I ask is that Catholics use the complete social doctrine of the Church as their primary intellectual foundation- and then see where we all might meet up- and I don’t think it will be at obama or palin’s camps.

  48. Agree that there is a false dichotomy between left and right and that each may choose things that are closer to their own intellectual hearts. The problem is that people do have intellectual premises that can lead to quite different conclusions even given the principles of CST. This is even a principle of CST as it does not necessarily imply that we “might meet up.” In fact CST clearly states that people of good faith may come to completely different solutions to the same problems. Yes, let’s agree on the principles. But let’s not say that this agreement will lead to the same conclusions.

  49. Tim this country was founded by men who had a healthy distrust of government. Considering how close we are to national bankruptcy as a result of hare-brained mismanagement and overspending by government, I’d say the Founding Fathers were justified in their admonitions against large and expensive governments.

  50. Well- my plan is to take as many pieces of the official social doctrine – as found in such things as the most current encyclicals, the Compendium of Social Doctrine and at times Scripture and the Catechism, and just put it out there- be it an explicit principle being defined as such, or suggested applications for one or more of the principles. The fact is that there is plenty of solid food in these documents which we are compelled as faithful Catholics to at minimum take into our consciences to be well-formed- even if one concludes that the application of a formal principle of social teaching which is found in an authoritative source is to be rejected, and replaced with some other viewpoint or expert source.

    The fact cannot be avoided that what the Magisterium puts down on the record in official documents concerning the temporal order cannot be simply ignored, or bypassed in one;s Catholic conscience formation. The teachings in the encyclicals and the Compendium must be received with “religious assent”, now it’s not clear to my understanding exactly how we are to interpret this type of assent, and if it applies to the writings contained in authoritative sources which are not just explicit definitions of formal moral principles, but may also apply to the elaborations and suggestions offered by the Popes and Holy See as found in these authoritative sources. By “religious assent” I am thinking that that would imply that one could disagree with the Church’s thinking in one;s private conscience, but to publicly reject this official Church expression one would need to tred very lightly and perhaps need to explain how they are going against the tide of the official Church’s view- like for example in taking a position on the role of political authority in general that certainly goes against the general lines given us in the relevant sections of the Compendium, or to say that government is not in the business of working to ensure the common good of society, or that the only good global economy is a completely unregulated one- these kind of positions would not be found to be connecting to the general treatment of such subjects in formal Church documents relating to the social order.

    The fact is that I am American, yes, but I am Catholic first. As Scott Hahn has stated, “the best gift we can give to America is our Catholic faith”. Nationalism and ideologies of every stripe serve to confuse many, but if one sticks to Mother Church closely, in her many authoritative teachings, and doesn’t take a minimalist approach, I think there will be a lot more common ground to be shared by Catholics who are free of ideological shackles.

  51. Tim, I do not think there is anything in the teaching of the Catholic Church that in anyway mandates big government or big government solutions. In the 19th Century the Church was hostile to Liberalism and virtually all manifestations of the modern world as typified by Pio Nono’s Syllabus of Errors. In the early 20th Century the Church was quite hostile to socialism of any sort. Since World War II the Church has had several popes more or less comfortable with a social welfare state. None of these passing political predilections of individual pontiffs have much more long term significance for the Church than the condemnation of Magna Carta by the pope of that time. People are always tempted to have the Church baptize their political beliefs, but other than abortion and a very few other issues, the Church, long term, has usually left Catholics free to determine their own political courses.

  52. I am a Catholic first and an American also. This does not dilute my identity as a Catholic as being a husband and father does not also.

    Yes religious assent to moral principles. Principles that also recognize the value of the free market, the right to private property and the impairing effects on personal development by welfare states.

    But there are also in the social encyclicals matters of prudential judgment. Several encyclicals note that what they present also admits of prudential judgment. The key is to discern the moral principles from prudential judgments.

    The ideological shackles can be quite broad and hard to discern at times. They include those who don’t think they have any.

  53. “but other than abortion and a very few other issues, the Church, long term, has usually left Catholics free to determine their own political courses.”

    Free to make sound prudential judgments within the constraints of certain moral parameters and obligations we have to others — how one accounts for that in their judgments is what we’ll debate about, but it really is non-negotiable in principle. You don’t develop a theory that totally ignores subsidiarity and pretend the Church said “its okay” because it’s not abortion. You don’t make a prudential judgment that is contrary to preferential option for the poor because it’s not abortion. I hope I’m preaching to the choir.

  54. When it comes to politics Eric, even a cursory study of the history of the Church will find various political views held on a great many issues by the leaders of the Church at various times. A few examples. The Church today stands four square for religious freedom. Throughout most of her history the Church did not support religious freedom. The Church today is friendly to democracy. Until circa 1930, the Church was extremely skeptical of democracy. Today the popes are content with the Vatican State. Throughout most of the history of the Church the struggle to hang on to the Papal States was one of the chief political issues for the Church. The Church today supports equality. In past times the Church lent support to aristocratic systems of government. My point is that when we see the Church veering with the times on political issues over the history of the Church, this might imply that the positions taken on those issues have more to do with the political attitudes of the men at the head of the Church than they do with the teachings of Christ. The morality preached by the Church has been quite consistant overall since the time of Christ. Implementing this morality in political action through the Church has often been shifting and frequently contradictory over time.

  55. Don raises many valid points.

    This article really changed my thinking on the application of CST.


    Zmirak makes points that I could simply no longer ignore or try to counter. That is why I can call myself a libertarian-distributist – because these two ideas working together are the best chance we have of implementing CST at the local level, which is the only level we will ever be able to implement it on in America.

  56. Eric,

    I suspect you are preaching to the choir. In fact I suspect, given my age, I’ve been in the choir longer than you.

  57. In political terms, Palin lost me when she supported Rick Perry: an arrogant frat boy whose in the pocket of companies like Merck, supported the pro-choice Guiliani (remember that?!) and has had way too much time in office

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