The Lure of Authoritarianism

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

61 Responses to The Lure of Authoritarianism

  • That’s a very poor measure. China is starting from a lower base. Even if it does everything right, the U.S. will have a higher standard of living for a while.

  • “There seems an odd attraction towards Chinese-style authoritarianism among certain more technocratic/elitist segments of the left-leaning political elite.”

    An excellent post as usual Darwin but I disagree that it is odd. Most Leftists since the time of the Russian Revolution have had an attraction towards totalitarian regimes of the Left. Orwell was very much the exception to this rule. China, although it has strayed in many ways from the days of Mao and his little red book which thrilled so many contemporary Leftists in the days of their youth in the Sixties, still is officially a Communist regime and antagonistic usually to the policies of the US, and thus something to be mentioned in praiseworthy terms by the herd of independent minds on the Left, another typical example being linked below.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/feb/06/china-useconomicgrowth

  • (it is, after all, rather easy to dislike the US for a number of reasons — we are, as the saying goes, over-paid, over-sexed, and over here)

    The phrase was supposedly common in Britain during the Second World War. The trouble with this thesis is that the overwhelming majority of American soldiers and sailors billeted overseas are in one of seven countries where reside about 5% of the world’s population (Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Japan, Germany, and Britain). I do not think social contact with the American military explains much of the generic hostility to the United States you find abroad.

    Orwell was very much the exception to this rule.

    Prof. Paul Hollander has said this was true among the subset of chatterati who went on guided tours of communist countries (“for every Andre Gide there were ten G.B. Shaw’s”). In fairness to our leftoid intelligentsia, there has always been a vigorous and at times modal strain which had no time for this sort of thing (Reinhold Neibuhr, Irving Howe, Michael Walzer, and Robert Leiken being examples).

  • “In fairness to our leftoid intelligentsia, there has always been a vigorous and at times modal strain which had no time for this sort of thing (Reinhold Neibuhr, Irving Howe, Michael Walzer, and Robert Leiken being examples).”

    Quite right, although they usually were regarded as heretics by a fair amount of the Left.

  • Art Deco,

    I was perhaps being too clever by half in using the “overpaid, oversexed, and over here” phase, but to clarify: My intent was not at all to convey it was contact with members of the US military which turned people off the US, but rather that:

    1) We are the richest country in the world (and thus its easy for people to claim we’re spoiled, out of touch, greedy, etc. (thus overpaid)

    2) Our popular culture (which is widely exported) is fairly degraded from the point of view of many traditional cultures. (thus oversexed)

    3) Our cultural, financial and political influence per pervasive throughout the world. (thus over here)

    Restrained Radical,

    It seems to me that people general emigrate to a country based on the degree of opportunity they believe they’ll experience there. It would seem pretty clear then, that people see more opportunity in the US than in China. I suppose one could claim that the rapidity of change in China suggests that at some point in the future there will be more opportunity for people there than in the US — but I don’t think you’d actually find many people who believe that.

  • Discussions of net immigration are of passing interest. What is most unsettling in all of this is the admiration of authoritarianism. Although the American Left has always flirted with authoritarianism, and I have no objective historical measure of it, my personal sense is that there’s a growing impatience with democratic processes, a growing desire to use executive and judicial powers to force unpopular or controversial policies, and a growing feeling that we can no longer abide politics as usual.

    I’m not sure why I have this personal opinion, except for perhaps the kinds of stories linked to by Darwin. Even a casual reading of news headlines today gives one the impression that there’s a sense of urgency to the progressive agenda like never before. The previous president was such a bogeyman in the Left’s imagination, they believed that the only way to counter his “disastrous” administration was to have a strong executive of their own. And whatever faults Bush had — one might argue he was at the vanguard of the “strong executive” model — there’s no comparison to the breakneck speed with which the Left wants to take that ball and run with it.

  • Friedman’s Lincoln Steffens-ish cheerleading for China is well past embarrassing.

    Otherwise bright people have the strangest blind spots.

  • Our current cultural elites go on pilgrimages to Cuba and Venezuela. It’s the same thing.

  • Its perhaps human to believe that what you know is perfectly right and it must be implemented. This seems to be more a problem of the left than of the right though both are possessed of it. of course one can say that it is in the nature of the left to want to change society into their “progressive” vision (of course not realizing their progress may be over the edge of a cliff) as opposed to the right which seeks to be skeptical of change.

    It doesn’t help that this country handed those on the left the means to enact a radical agenda (the most liberal president in history, a fillibuster proof Senate and a solid House majority with an ultra-liberal Speaker.) It doesn’t help that most Americans were not informed enough to vote against this.

    One can then understand the impatience of the left when members of Congress didn’t toe the line and enact all of the ultra liberal agenda. The answer then begins to reject the democratic process.

  • Of course all of this in the context of some who believe the “right” to pump breast milk in a special room is a right to life issue.

  • Phillip:

    Weeeelllll…

    While I find the overall illogic of the argument risible (a few sops in a bill that vastly expands abortion funding and access does not make it palatable), I think a good case can be made that provisions which make pregnancy and motherhood more reconcilable with work are in and of themselves pro-life.

  • Though it is quuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiitttttteeeeeeee a stretch to say that mandating a separate, private room for pumping breast milk vs. using a the current, private bathroom for pumping breast milk is a major pro-life move and a major advance for pregnancy and motherhood. Sorry, it really isn’t.

  • And thus the silliness of much current thought on social justice.

  • Maybe some will consider this to label me some sort of knuckle dragger, but I’m not clear how cementing the normality of women going back to full time, in-office work while their children are still nursing age if necessarily a pro-life victory.

    Which is not to say that no women should be working outside the home shortly after giving birth, but it would seem that from a point of view of upholding the natural family, situations that involve putting a child under 12 months in daycare are less than ideal. Not everyone can pull off being a single income family, and perhaps some don’t want to, but I don’t see that pumping breast milk in one’s cube or in the bathroom or in some other private place is a major anti-life problem. And I do see the increasing societal pressure that all mothers should work full time, and do so outside the home starting at most 2-3 months after birth, as being a serious negative from a pro-family point of view.

  • I’m sympathetic to the argument that another mandate from our increasingly intrusive current government is onerous.

    But forcing the mother into the crapper presents its own problems. As my wife (who used a breast pump in the toilet back when she was in the wage-earning workforce) pointed out: “Who else has to prepare their meals in the bathroom?”

  • Even beyond that, there is the silliness of saying that it is a “pro-life” issue. This while the real probability that abortions will be paid for and probably increased as a result is ignored. But heck, we get special breast pump rooms in the workplace.

  • Sure, Darwin, it’s a problem. Ideally, Mom would be able to stay home. That’s what *we’ve* been able to do, all thanks to God.

    But that doesn’t work for everyone, and there are good (as well as not good) reasons for the mom to work. Starting with an absent dad, and going from there.

    I’m not saying it’s ideal, nor should I be construed as regarding it as a pro-life victory for the ages. But we have to meet people where they are, and any reasonable incentive supporting, or removal of stigma from, motherhood in the workplace should be welcome and seen as pro-life.

  • Actually it really isn’t much of a pro-life victory. Not at all. Such thinking belongs in the crapper.

  • Phillip, I said that at the outset. I said it’s an abortion funder. It’s not to be celebrated. In fact, from the perspective of the blog poster in question, it’s as ludicrous as a pro-Iraq War blogger calling the War pro-life because of the reconstruction funds given to Iraqs.

    Bracketing all of that, as I expressly did from the outset, I think those provisions which support pregnancy and motherhood are helpful from a pro-life perspective. Not that any can counterbalance the great evils stemming therefrom, but helpful.

  • Again, pointing out that I do not believe it is a pro-life issue. It is really morally neutral. Some may be in favor. Less bacteria in a separate room (perhaps if it is kept very clean. Though of course there are about as many bacteria in a nursery room as a bathroom and women pump there.) But some may see it as not much of an issue at all from a pro-life perspective. That it really isn’t pro-lefe. And it really isn’t.

  • May you and yours have a blessed Triduum, Phillip.

  • And to yours also as we disagree on this small, prudential point.

  • I guess it’s something that goes both ways. Within the modern context, it is a slight concession towards parenthood, and in that context thus good. On the other hand, it strikes me as upholding a modern, individualized lifestyle over a traditional one, and in that sense strikes me as a negative.

    One thing that sometimes strikes me when progressive pro-lifers list these kind of things as pro-life victories is that things like subsidized child care, extra working-mom mandatory concessions, etc. end up increasing the marginal cost of being a more traditional family. Essentially, I as a single income end up making less (both because of taxes and because my company devotes more money to offering benefits I have no use for rather than to wages) in order to subsidize people who due to their two-income households make twice what I do in order to support fewer kids. (These same people, around the office, often express wonder as to how one could possibly afford to have four kids rather than their own one or two — despite the fact their household incomes are twice mine.)

    So there’s a sense in which pushing these benefits too hard (as, for example, with the amount of subsidized childcare, leave, etc. in Western Europe) makes it even harder to break with the system and have a more traditional family structure instead.

    On the other hand, moves which reduce the “my world will end if I carry this pregnancy to term” factor are clearly a good thing from the pro-life point of view.

  • Phillip:

    Agreed. And I wanted to remind myself that I was speaking with a Catholic brother in Christ. It wasn’t one of those passive-aggressive “I’ll pray for you” digs-drenched-in-piety.

  • Darwin:

    Good points, all. Recognition of “unintended consequences” doesn’t pop up often enough in evaluating these sorts of things.

  • Thanks Dale. I have been brusque and apologize if offense was taken. I will say that I tire of those (not saying you) that will take minor provisions (that often in fact are prudential judgments) and ignore massive support for intrinsic evils. Part of the problem I think with the USCCB Faithful Citizenship document. Seen some use that document to say that so and so is pro-abortion, but is in favor of increased food stamp funding and gun control so he is pro-life on two out of three issues – vote for him.

  • Well, Darwin, there is a considerable degree of antagonism to the United States in Western Europe, which approaches or exceeds us in its level of affluence and in the prevalence of bastardy, among other metrics of cultural degradation. One might also note that the bulge bracket banks in Britain and Spain are actually larger and more inclined toward international business than their American counterparts.

    Maybe the characters at Vox Nova

  • Well, nowhere did I say the breast pump law was a “major pro-life victory.” But it is certainly a pro-life victory. How strange that some ostensibly “pro-life” Catholics can’t see that. Perhaps they are out-of-touch with actual parenthood? Good to see that not everyone in this thread is so dismissive of a pretty significant and praiseworthy bit of progress.

  • DarwinCatholic, there’s greater economic opportunity in the US because of the higher standard of living. Compare the earnings of a restaurant employee in China to one in the US and you’ll see why they come here. There are large immigrant populations in Singapore and Dubai, very authoritarian countries with very high standards of living. Authoritarianism is usually opposed to economic development but there are plenty of exceptions (China today, Pinochet’s Chile, Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan, pre-1990’s South Korea).

    There’s also the lure of excellent higher education. An internationally respected university takes many decades, perhaps centuries, to build so the US is safe in that department for a while.

    Ethnic diversity also helps. Pretty much any citizen of the world can move to the US and find an ethnic enclave to live in, making the move much easier.

  • Good to see you here Michael. Actually as Darwin points out and as Dale agrees, there may be unintended consequences to this “pro-life” measure that wind up being anti-life. That as opposed to the actual,intrinsically anti-life reality of the health care bill.

  • Perhaps they are out-of-touch with actual parenthood?

    Hmmm. That’s an interesting theory, Michael. Maybe you could flesh it out a bit. You’ve been a parent for how long, Michael? You have how many children? You have spent how many years, as a parent, working in offices consisting of 50 employees or more and understanding the financial and personal pressures that apply to single and double income families respectively?

    To help ground our discussion, I can provide the following answers to the above questions:

    Eight years. Five. Six years (during my first two years of parenthood I was working for a company with only ~30 employees.)

    Doubltess your longer years being a parent, larger number of children, and more extensive workplace experience as a parent gives you a deeper and broader understanding of all this. Surely you wouldn’t simply be praising this as a “significant and praiseworthy bit of progress” simply because it’s a progressive point-score and you enjoy tweeking the noses of people who actually vote against abortion and support more traditional family structures…

  • Now Darwin, you know our betters know more about parenting and business even though they are not parents and have never been in business. Even as our betters know more about minorities even though they are white Europeans while we are Hispanics.

  • As for authoritarianism being a leftist philosophy, I mentioned above, Pinochet’s Chile, Chiang Kai-shek’s Taiwan, and pre-1990’s South Korea. Add Batista’s Cuba. On civil liberties, Bush was very authoritarian for a US president.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    Agreed that there can be fairly rapid economic growth for a while even under an authoritarian regime, but for Friedman and Meyerson’s concerns to pan it, it seems to me that one would have to argue that the combination of authoritarianism and development seem in such examples is in danger of being a more attractive model to the peoples of the world than the US model. And I’m not seeing why one would think that to be the case.

    Certainly, authoritarian and developing rapidly may be more attractive than authoritarian and povety-stricken (thus making China more attractive than North Korea) but I fail to see the danger that Meyerson in particular is concerned about that developing nations will look at the US and China and conclude, “Wow, we really better have a technocratic dictatorship rather than a democratic republic.”

    That’s the sense in which I think that immigration direction of the US relative to China is indicative. Given the choice, people voting with their feet seem to clearly prefer the US over China.

  • I don’t think anyone was actually dismissive of the provision; in fact, I thought Darwin gave a very balanced view of the matter. (Rarely are matters of public policy win-win situations, anyway. There’s always a cost to every benefit.)

    All of this is beside the point of the article. Even the point about immigration patterns is a side issue. What’s more at issue is our willingness to circumvent the political process and flirt with authoritarianism.

  • This is certainly a wide-ranging thread. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

    I agree, j. christian, that this is a disturbing trend — one more pronounced on the left in that they have many more things that they positively want to do, while conservatives are currently mostly engaged in resisting change. On a number of issues (perhaps most notably environmentalism) there seems to be a waning patience with actually persuading the public to support “the right thing” and an increasing frustration that technocrats cannot simply impose new regulations and structures without consulting the troublesome electorate and their representatives.

  • But it is certainly a pro-life victory. How strange that some ostensibly “pro-life” Catholics can’t see that. Perhaps they are out-of-touch with actual parenthood? Good to see that not everyone in this thread is so dismissive of a pretty significant and praiseworthy bit of progress.

    I don’t really think so, even though I think the existence of a comfortable place for a woman to pump is a good thing – but it’s more of a plain ol’ decency thing. Then again, having six kids, two of whom have special needs, I’m out of touch. Oh, and one of those special needs kids was born with a cleft palate and therefore couldn’t suck. My wife pumped exclusively for over a year – we even had to rent a medical grade pump that was so heavy and awkward that it brought on excessive scrutiny from airline security.

    Yeah, out of touch…

  • Technocrats grow impatient because they “know” what is best for us. They have the knowledge that we don’t have even if they haven’t the experience. Thus someone who is not a parent or business person can know what is good for parents and business. Why someone who is a white European can know what racial programs are good for ethnic minorities even if those minorities disagree.

  • While I see the breast-pumping rooms as something beneficial to working mothers, I still can’t help but see it as an oddity.

  • It seems the briefly aired Firefly series was rather prophetic. The (Sino-American) Alliance exercising galactic totalitarianism in the name of peace, efficiency and happiness. Could it be the Tea Party are the Browncoats?

    The elite financiers and their academic lackeys have always sought to merge the USA with a Communist regime to use capitalism to fund a global totalitarian oligarchy. Used to be think tanks (foundations) were preparing us to merge with the USSR. However, Reagan, Thatcher and Blessed John Paul II put a stop to the attraction for that horror. So now they are working on merging us with China. China is the future model of world government and many people are willing to make a deal with the Devil so they can have the comfort of security (slavery) rather than living in fear of failure (freedom).

    Ai ya women wanle!

  • Darwin, your tactics and “arguments” (bullying) are boring.

  • bullying = pointing out when someone claims authority/experience he lacks

    Well, we aim to please. 😉

  • Darwin, you might be interested in a post I wrote today for Rock and Theology on children. Pay close attention to the seventh paragraph.

  • Let me chime in here as a full-time working mother who pumped milk for over a year for my daughter and plan to do it again for my forthcoming baby (I think MrsDarwin and I are due about a week apart).

    My family is a little unusual because my husband stays home with our children while I work. This decision was not made because of an unexpected unemployment situation but something we deliberately chose. We felt strongly about not sending the children to daycare and having a stranger raise them. One of us was going to stay home and, since the economic potential in my field is much greater than his, we decided it would be my husband. Over time, I think we have made the right decision, but, in these child-bearing years, it can be very hard.

    Now, in a lot of ways, we get the worst of both worlds. We live far out from the city and I have a long commute because we cannot afford to live near the city on one income. Pricing of many things seems dependent on two incomes and the assumption that everyone has a paying job. So I am not in favor of anything that reinforces the “necessity” of a dual income household and that it is proper to outsource the raising of one’s children.

    On the other hand, there is very little corporate support for working mothers beyond pats on the head. I get zero paid maternity leave. All the time I take off of work for childbirth comes from my accumulated sick and vacation time. What that means in reality is that our family just doesn’t go on vacation beyond a handful of days around major holidays to visit nearby family. Taking a week off to go to Florida (or go visit family across the country) is just not feasible. I am relatively healthy and don’t get sick that often, but am fearful of ever getting put on pregnancy bedrest. We can’t afford unpaid leave because I am our only income. And I know that I am lucky in that I actually get sick and vacation time to bank and can actually take time off after childbirth. So it would be nice if working mothers had more concrete support.

    Now the law in my state (Tennessee) already required employers to offer a private, non-bathroom area to pump. So while it is nice thought that federal law now requires everyone to be decent to pumping mothers, I’m not sure it is that great of a pro-life victory. If even pro-business, low tax, redstate Tennessee has this law, it must not be that controversial and could be passed state by state respecting our federal system.

  • bullying = pointing out when someone claims authority/experience he lacks

    This is a great line to remember the next time you pontificate about, say, liberation theology.

  • Or the next time you give an opinion on breast pumping, I suppose. If you want to claim you have more experience at breast pumping than I do, go right ahead.

  • Michael,

    Perhaps you should rely on Jenny’s experience noted above.

  • Michael,

    The reason I called you on your “Perhaps they are out-of-touch with actual parenthood?” line is because you were using it on people some of whom you knew very well to have much more experience being working parents than you do. If I’m out of touch with actual parenthood, then you clearly don’t have standing to even possess an opinion on the matter. Next time I suggest to you in a condescending fashion that you are perhaps out of touch with actual liberation theology, or suggest to a mother that she is out of touch with actual breast pumping, I strongly encourage you to parrot the line back to me. I’ll deserve it.

    As it happens, I read your Rock & Theology post even before you linked to it here (it was a slow day, so I read it when you linked to it at Vox Nova) and I did indeed crack an amused smile at that seventh paragaph, since it seemed like such a classic example of choosing to characterize others rather than understand them. I’ll see about leaving a comment there with more detail, if you’d like.

  • “I did indeed crack an amused smile at that seventh paragraph, since it seemed like such a classic example of choosing to characterize others rather than understand them.”

    ..Sort of like treating people as objects rather than subjects, wouldn’t you agree? That passage was pure argument by assertion. He might’ve just as easily claimed that parents in big families don’t love their children — it would be just as factually correct, and just as devoid of substance.

  • Jenny,

    Fair points. You’ve definitely taken the harder road, and I have a lot of respect for you and your husband on that.

    Certainly, the extra burden to large companies in having a room somewhere which can be used for nursing mothings is not large — I wouldn’t consider it to have nearly the kind of blowback for those of us (like you and me) who are slogging through the single-income lifestyle that mandating company-paid or taxpayer-subsidized childcare would.

    The concern about being forced to subsidize the two-income lifestyle does, I guess, spring to mind for me since the very large company I work for does provide a fair number of benefits clearly designed to help out the two-incomes-two-kids-in-daycare set. And on various teams I’ve been on over the years, it often seems like as someone who doesn’t have to rush out right at 5pm in order to pick the kid up from daycare on “my day to pick the baby up”, I would often get extra tasks dumped on my by my two-income-household co-workers at the end of the day. The combination of working later so they can rush out to daycare on time (and thus getting home later to my own wife and kids), while hearing them talk about how they can’t imagine affording a “large family” like mine, gets to rankle a bit. (Though clearly, excess cynicism isn’t the right response.)

  • (Though clearly, excess cynicism isn’t the right response.)

    Ah, but sometimes it can be a satisfying one. Rather like when I am dealing with a client who is on bankruptcy number three and who is complaining to me about a bank which, for some unfathomable reason, does not wish to extend a loan to him.

  • I also find Jenny’s insight good. She is struggling but still finds that a breast-feeding room is not a “pro-life” issue. Rather, as others have pointed out, it is a decent issue for a mother’s sake where appropriate.

  • Perhaps you should rely on Jenny’s experience noted above.

    My wife’s experience is key for me, as well as women in my family.

    If I’m out of touch with actual parenthood, then you clearly don’t have standing to even possess an opinion on the matter.

    Um, I didn’t say you were out of touch with parenthood.

    He might’ve just as easily claimed that parents in big families don’t love their children — it would be just as factually correct, and just as devoid of substance.

    Why? It’s a completely different, unrelated claim than the claim that I made.

  • So what are your wife’s experiences on breast feeding in the workplace?

  • Phillip,

    I didn’t say the breast pump rooms were *not* pro-life. It is just that they are more in the “children deserve the best nutrition that can be given” vein of pro-life, as opposed to the “it should be illegal for your mother to kill you” vein. But I don’t think it is a grand victory or a significant gain for the pro-life position. If Tennessee has laws protecting public nursing, extended (albeit unpaid) maternity leave, and pumping at work, these issues must not be that great of a battle and could be passed in all the states.

    Darwin,

    My company doesn’t really offer benefits that only apply to dual-income households beyond the flex account for daycare, but I view that as more a federal issue than a company one. And amazingly none of my coworkers have kids in day care, so getting work dumped on me is not really a problem.

    What does set my teeth on edge is the federal tax credit for daycare. I find the provision to be anti-family and discriminatory against one income, two parent households. While it is true that the direct cost of our “day care” was zero dollars, the actual cost of this free service was an entire year’s salary.

    If we, as a society, have decided to subsidize the cost of daycare, then every child’s family should have the cost subsidized, not just the families that have decided to outsource the job. The best way to do this is to increase the child tax credit and abolish the day care credit.

  • Agreed on the federal daycare tax credit.

    Actually, it comes into play far less frequently that some of the child care related programs and policies at my company, but the thing which perhaps galls the most is a policy which was adopted after a PR snafu a few years back that in any layoff, if both spouses work for the company they will never lay both off, even if both would otherwise have been targeted, because they don’t want to wipe a family’s entire income.

    Of course, for those of us who already are our family’s only source of income, no such promises…

  • Actually Jenny then we disagree. I think there is an abuse of language to claim that such an issue is pro-life. Sure there is a charity to allow women a private room to breast feed. But is this a fundamental issue of justice? Is justice violated in a basic sense if a woman has to breast pump in a bathroom? Is it really? Not at all. And the trivialization of what is pro-life is part of the problem with such arguments.

  • While a private pumping room may be a charity for the woman, I *do* believe it is an issue of justice for the baby.

    The problem with pumping in the bathroom is not necessarily that it is a bathroom. It is that the bathroom is a public place. Breast pumping requires a loud machine, an electrical outlet, partially disrobing, attaching two largish suction pumps to a private area of the body and relaxing enough to let the milk flow. Next time you are in a public bathroom at work (or wherever), take notice of the electrical outlets. They probably are not in the stalls, so the pumping would have to be out in the open. Imagine standing in this vulnerable position next to that outlet while your boss, your coworkers, and who knows who else comes in and out of that bathroom.

    Most women will not endure that type of humiliation three or four times a day for however long the child needs breastmilk. They will simply choose to formula feed and some children will pay with their lives. The pro-life angle of the policy is that it allows women better opportunities to feed their children the best possible nutrition and may save lives. http://apnews.excite.com/article/20100405/D9EST98G0.html

    Now all that being said, I do agree that the language can be (and often is) co-opted to justify all manner of minor pro-life policies while allowing the one major pro-life issue to go unchecked. Do these minor victories redeem a monstrous bill? No. And I do agree that it is a trivialization to label a bill “pro-life” because it federally mandates private pumping rooms, but allows funding for abortion.

  • I guess we will still disagree. A benefit perhaps. But an issue of fundamental justice no.

This is Unconscionable.

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

From the Anchoress:

MSNBC ran a headline on their website:

“Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far.”

NBC has apologized (the linked story had absolutely nothing to do with the headline, or with the pope, for that matter).

Really? Will heads roll, too? They should, but I doubt they will.

Continue reading...

24 Responses to This is Unconscionable.

  • I find it hard to believe that this was inadvertent. I suspect that it was simply an example of Catholic bashing bigotry so fashionable these days in certain circles and that was engaged in by whoever put together the headline.

  • Completely agreed, Donald… no way it was just an accident.

  • I think it’s easy to believe it’s inadvertent. It’s possible a different headline involving the Pope was considered, then they went with this headline but forgot to change out “Pope.” Or the Pope was on the writer’s mind, not the priest.

    Whoever writes those headlines probably does at least 5-10 a day. He’s going to screw up, and this is one of those times.

  • Anyone reading MSNBC the last few weeks knows this was no accident. There is no news organization around more virulently anti-Catholic than MSNBC.

  • Utterly appalling & completely unacceptable! That’s not by accident!

  • Any decent organization has checks and balances. I would be seriously shocked if headlines don’t have to be signed off on by at least 2-3 people before being published on the MSNBC site. (Though as in all such systems, some people may approve without reading or thinking.)

    We have better controls than this on the processes I deal with at my company despite the fact we have individual people publishing hundreds of changes per week.

    So while I could perhaps believe that the original mistake was some sort of mental slip, letting it through was gross negligence possibly compounded by actual anti-catholicism.

    I mean, seriously, you don’t imagine that MSNBC would “accidentally” run a headline saying “Obama Admits Accepting Bribes, Promises Not To Run Again” because some totally unrelated black Democratic politician had made such an admission, would you? This seems like a similar scope mistake.

  • Its clearly their idea of fun, let an obvious slander against the Pope pass and then come up with a proforma apology.

  • A few years back, MSNBC made a somewhat similar gaffe during an interview with Niger Innis, a spokesman for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). They posted a graphic on the screen in which Niger’s first name was spelled with two “g”s. The mistake was quickly spotted, MSNBC apologized, and Innis didn’t make a big deal of it.

    Years ago I wrote a lengthy feature story about a man who had been a ham radio operator for more than 50 years. A few days later, he called to thank me for the story, which he said was wonderful except for one little thing… I had called him George Flanagan instead of Glenn Flanagan (his real name). He was very kind and respectful about it and not upset however.

    Recently I started doing occasional theater reviews for the local newspaper. In my first draft of one such review I referred to an actor whose real name was “Sean Michael Butler” as “Sean Michael WINTERS”…. because I had the name of Michael Sean Winters of America magazine on the brain at the time.

    My point is that gaffes like this CAN happen purely by accident — I know because I’ve committed them myself. So I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the “pope” headline was deliberate. The biased and slanted content of the stories themselves, however, is another matter completely.

  • Cancel your newspapers and cancel your cable TV – the only way to fight back. We do want to fight back don’t we? Be careful how you spend your money.

  • MSNBC: Unfair and unbalanced

  • I agree Marc, but I’d spread that to include the execrable Faux News and Crappy News Network as well. Journalism is a joke today.

  • They think they have the last laugh, lol, no problem, God has his way of dealing with ‘no good’ evil people like msnbc, watch just watch!

  • Do the Catholic-haters,aka MSNBC/NYT, ever reflect on why they are allowed to print lies in English, rather than in Arabic or Turkish? They would learn how the Catholics and the Pope saved the bacon of their European ancestors by the Battle of Tours; the Battle of Vienna; and the naval Battle of Lepanto. For dessert: How Saint Clare stopped the advance of the Huns.
    By the way DarwinCatholic, “anti-catholicism” should be
    “anti-Catholicism” as other religions and adjectives that
    modify them enjoy. One does not see: muslim, lutheran, amish, methodist, baptist, and forty thousand others.

  • Elaine Krewer listed three typos as examples of “gaffes”. MSNBC’s headline would be one serious typo. The headline is deliberate and she knows it; otherwise, MSNBC would have
    issued a hasty apology.

  • Nemo, my whole point is that I DO NOT KNOW that the headline was deliberate, and MSNBC DID issue a hasty apology (the same day it happened).

    Things like this do happen, and Kevin Jones’ explanation makes sense to me. The examples I cited from my own experience were NOT “typos”, i.e. totally accidental misspellings, but lapses of judgement on my part — I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the real name of the person in question. Something similar COULD have happened with regard to the “pope” headline.

    My point is, let’s direct our outrage where it belongs — to the content and reporting of these stories, and not against some copy editor or headline writer, or whatever the equivalent title is in TV news, who might have slipped up.

  • If said copy editor, headline writer, etc. did slip up and make an honest mistake, but gets fired to placate outraged Catholics while the reporters and assignment editors acting engaging in obviously biased reporting are allowed to stay and keep drawing their six- or seven-figure salaries, I don’t think that would be at all fair or just.

  • Cheer up! Based on how things are heading, in 5 years the NYT will no longer exist in print form. Can they survive and make money as a web-only newspaper? Maybe … maybe not. So how do you think it hits these folks to see that their beloved cage liner will not outlast the Catholic Church?

  • Perhaps, it was a mistake. Most likely, not a mistake. It gives me the willies that our Holy Father is being attacked so viciously, especially during Holy Week, and so soon after Obama signed the worthless Executive Order prohibiting federal funding of abortions, that I think we are all aware of the possibility of a decree being issued to Catholics, more subtle than the below, but nevertheless a decree:

    “More and more the people must be separated from the churches and their organs the pastors . . . Just as the deleterious influences of astrologers, seers and other fakers are eliminated and suppressed by the State, so must the possibility of church influence also be totally removed . . . Not until this has happened, does the state leadership have influence on the individual citizens. Not until then are the people and Reich secure in their existence for all time. “

    Martin Bormann, Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, June 1941.

  • Moe, are you suggesting that this is part of a conspiracy to separate us from Christ and ruin this country? Do you really think there are people who want to remove God and replace Him with the god-state?

  • AK,
    Of course, I detect your facetiousness, but, yep, it has become meaningless to appeal to any higher law, God’s law, above the commands of the State. The Church is the State’s strongest opposition, ideologically speaking, and the media is the State’s strongest ally and is dutifully doing its job in attempting to destroy the Church, as evidenced by the latest round of attacks.

    Furthermore, there is no room for the Cross because suffering must be eliminated, at the expense of the weakest. And because the Cross has been eliminated, there will be no Simons, only the State. Pretty sterile stuff. The Paschal Mystery has been replaced with cute bunnies, chocolates, and baskets. Everything is feel-good fluff and Greek columns. Just take a look at the 70-year-old sexy-looking botoxed Lying Worthless Political Hack, who, as Elaine so recently succinctly put it, never saw an infanticide that she didn’t like.

  • If anyone is STILL watching MSNBC, I hope they will stop…

  • MSNBC purports to be a credible news agency. If this was a flub, then head(s) should roll given the enormity of the mistake. If it was intentional, as most of the comments indicate, then it is totally in-excusable. Either way MSNBC loses its credibility and is probably the reason why no one has been taking them seriously for a very long time and they are in the tank. So one can only say about this ridiculous headline ..consider the source!!! and be about your business.

  • Elaine: Yes dear,but that’s why they have proof-readers!! Or have they been down-sized?? at MSNBC!
    along with truth and sense of fair-play?

  • +Easter Blessings!
    It could have very easily been a mistake, most of what happens at MSNBC is a mistake!

Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

Pertinent to recent discussions of Stupak and the role of the USCCB in advancing the health care bill, Edward Feser offers his reflections on Bart Stupak, the USCCB and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity:

… before the health care bill vote, the USCCB urged Congress either to alter the bill to prevent federal funding of abortion or to vote the bill down. (The USCCB also objected to the bill’s failure to extend coverage to illegal immigrants.) But the letter in which this request was made also emphasized that “for decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care,” that “the Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity,” and that it is only “with deep regret” that the bishops must oppose passage of the bill “unless these fundamental flaws are remedied” (emphasis added).

Needless to say, the impression these words leave the reader with – whether the bishops intended this or not – is that, were abortion (and coverage of illegal immigrants) not at issue, the moral teaching of the Catholic Church would require the passage of the health care bill in question, or something like it. In fact the teaching of the Church requires no such thing. Indeed, I would argue (see below) that while the Church’s teaching does not rule out in principle a significant federal role in providing health care, a bill like the one that has just passed would be very hard to justify in light of Catholic doctrine, even aside from the abortion question. Nevertheless, as I say, the bishops’ language would surely leave the average reader with the opposite impression. And as the bishops themselves remind us, they have “supported universal health care” for “decades,” in statements that also would leave the unwary average reader with the impression that Catholic moral teaching strictly requires as a matter of justice the passage some sort of federal health care legislation. On the day Obama signed the bill into law, Cardinal Francis George, a bishop with a reputation for orthodoxy, urged vigilance on the matter of abortion while declaring that “we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.”

Read the rest!

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9 Responses to Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

  • I thought I was a voice in the wilderness. Very well written. Much better than I–a simpleton could have written.

    I often wonder, when I pray for my Bishop, Do I ask God to give me the strength to be obedient or do I pray, “Lord save me from my Bishop when he basically flaunts his own personal views as Catholic teaching.”

  • “The government must also see to the provision of insurance facilities, to obviate any likelihood of a citizen’s being unable to maintain a decent standard of living in the event of some misfortune, or greatly increased family responsibilities.” Pacem in Terris 64.

    Federal health care reform ensuring universal coverage was necessary. I too am disappointed with the implementation but I’m still not convinced it necessarily violates subsidiarity (though I personally believe it does in some relatively minor ways).

    The “overreach” may be justified as consumer protection measures which prevent anticipated problems. Few people would consider government health inspections a violation of subsidiarity. It would be possible to write a law that allows individuals to personally inspect sausage factories but that’s impractical. Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    I think maybe a good test of whether something violates subsidiarity is whether it actually harms communities of a lower order. Like I said, I believe ObamaCare does though in relatively minor ways.

    A second question is whether minor infractions against subsidiarity render the entire bill immoral. For example, I think the cap on HSA contributions is too low. It actually harms those who use HSA’s. Would that alone warrant opposition to an otherwise good (for sake of argument) bill?

  • Likewise, some of the supposedly overreaching regulations of ObamaCare restrain individual choice but for a good reason: government is better positioned to make those choices.

    That *could* possibly be the case, but I would argue that a government that considers abortion to be health care, a right, and a HC cost savings measure is patently disqualified to make those choices. Ditto for considering the intentional killing of the disabled as a “family matter”.

  • I wouldn’t consider the government disqualified to make decisions on all matters just because it makes the wrong decision on one matter. Besides, except for when voters want to kill non-voters (abortion and euthanasia), government has a bias in favor of providing more, not less. I find it odd that those who claim the government loves spending too much money also believe the government would like to kill grandma to save money.

  • A wrong decision is one thing, a wrong decision(s) on fundamental matters are another. When most people talk about the government loving to spend money, I think they’re referring to spending as a means of acquiring power and building dependencies to maintain power, coupled with the typical inefficiency and bureaucracies that accompany it.

    As far as killing people or allowing people to be killed to save money. Why not? It gives them power over lives, and as you pointed out, we’re talking about non-voters. Pelosi said abortion coverage would be a cost savings to Obamacare, and I just saw this:

    http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2010/03/krugman-death-panels-will-save-money.html

  • There’s nothing odd about it. Few claim that the government likes to spend money arbitrarily. It spends too much on things it shouldn’t and not enough on things it should, because of its distorted and often perverse hierarchy of values.

  • The thing is that Pelosi and Krugman and the rest of these guys are right. Like I brought up in my column, if you make healthcare the responsibility of the government, then you make a thousand other things the responsibility of the government as well.

  • Interesting that Cardinal George is applauding the expansion of health care to all but the unborn.

    But that’s what happens when you put your Democratic Party loyalties before your faith.

  • The precedent is very bad, very bad.

Service Economy

Tuesday, March 30, AD 2010

One often hears polemics against the fact that our country is now dominated by the “service economy”. It is one of those phrases that gives a strong impression, yet is oddly difficult to pin down.

If I may be indulged in an open-ended post:

1) How would you define the “service economy”? (with examples)

2) Is the service economy new, or merely expanded/changed, versus what you would consider a more traditional time? (Whether that is 100 years ago or 500 years ago.)

3) Is it a problem that the service economy is so large, and if so why?

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14 Responses to Service Economy

  • To me, “Service Economy”, or “Service Industry” is as opposed to manufacturing””. 60 Years ago, when manufacturing was a large part of the over all U.S. economy. Before the world economy became so powerful, driving American manufacturing to foreign countries, where wages were lower, in order to meet the price competition, the highest wages were in the manufacturing sector. In search of profits, the American economy turned to other industries. One of the industries that offered increasing personal and corporate income is the financial industries. In my mind,this was a tragedy. The finance industry produces profit through the use of the savings of other people. This can go on only so long, until all the available savings have been totally consumed by the financial industry. I liken it to the Biblical “Money Changers”, and lawyers. Neither of these actually “create” anything but wealth for the bankers, investment advisers, sales staff, stock brokers, and government administrators (bureaucrats). Other than that, there are many true “service”industries; such as janitorial, yard maintenance and repair work. These service industries include those tasks that the everyday worker once performed for himself, and have always been traditionally low-paying. While 60 or more years ago, there were true “custodial”workers, whose jobs were not so much to create goods, but to conserve what we had already created.

  • “This can go on only so long, until all the available savings have been totally consumed by the financial industry.”

    Because there’s a finite amount of savings? Well, then manufacturing can go on only until all the money available for consumption is used up.

    “Neither of these actually “create” anything but wealth for the bankers, investment advisers, sales staff, stock brokers, and government administrators (bureaucrats).”

    And investors like anyone saving for retirement. It also provides capital for companies like Ford. Commodity futures allow farmers to manage risk. The benefits are countless. But who cares? It’s much easier and fun to demonize the bankers.

  • My understanding is that “service jobs” is just a kind of catch all category for employment that doesn’t fall into the manufacturing or agricultural sectors. Doctors, plumbers, teachers, accountants, actors, waiters, salesmen, etc. Lumping all these types of jobs together made sense when most jobs were in manufacturing and/or agriculture, but I think it makes less sense today. I suspect that a lot of hostility to the idea of a “service economy” comes from the fact that when you say service jobs most people think of the guy who mans the drive-through at McDonald’s, and obviously a country where most everyone does that isn’t going to work out very well. There is also, I think, a sort of atavistic temptation to think that a lot of service jobs are somehow unreal or valueless because there isn’t some tangible material object that is produced in the process.

    As the above comments suggest, I don’t see having a large service sector as being a problem.

  • 1) Service economy is the delivery of intangible benefits or tangible goods. This would be in contrast to the manufacture of goods or agricultural work. These are different facets of man cooperating with that which God has given us and all are designed to benefit mankind and primarily for the sanctification of those involved in the labor, whether it be service, manufacturing or farming/ranching.

    2)Service has always been around, but it used to be more closely associated with agriculture and then manufacture. Now it has grown, primarily due to the fact that information has become one of the primary commodities of a modern economies.

    3)The service economy’s growth is testimony to the advancement of man’s economic activity. This has a very practical function; however, the economy has to be ordered toward benefiting God’s children for His glory. Clearly we are lacking in this area as we have progressed toward utilitarianism with little to no regard for God’s primary role in our economic activity. Homo Economicus is a myth – we are integrated creatures (body/soul) and our end is supernatural – our economic activity must be ordered toward our supernatural end (Heaven with God); rather than merely our comfort here and now.

    The chief tool, other than man’s labor mixed with God’s creation for economic development is the invention of money. Money can be a commodity, yet it is the utility of money in service of economic exchange that gives it value. So service has been part of our economic development from the moment we got beyond bartering. As for financial services being nothing more than a parasite on the economy, I disagree with Paul. Authentic financial services are essential. I do agree that the financial services, in their present form, are severely twisted, but that is symptomatic of perversion by the cartelization of that aspect of the economy under the banking authorities. The chief culprit being the private banking cartel whose arm in the USA is the Orwellian Federal Reserve System.

    All banking is subject to this monopoly. All firms on Wall Street are bank holding companies under the same umbrella. The next and final target are the insurance companies. The first salvo in that hostile takeover is the so-called health care reform (law) – the next will be the so-called financial re-regulation that we can expect to pass concurrently with amnesty for illegal aliens (the Demoncrats buying 17-25 million votes to secure their oligarchy).

    Insurance companies, when mutually owned or when they are fraternal organizations like the Knights of Columbus, are an invaluable benefit for the economic development of mankind. They are proficient at risk management, which helps create stability and reduce uncertainty allowing entrepreneurs to take risks and innovate and develop. Life insurance companies are especially helpful for creating financial stability for all actors in an economy, most notably the bedrock of civilization and economy – the traditional family.

    So, while most of the financial services are perversions of what the true purpose is, it is erroneous to paint this important aspect of economic development as parasitic. We just need to allow the authentic financial services to operate for the benefit of all without coercive interference from cartels, cabals, monopolies and duopolies of the elite, transnational financiers and banking interests. It is well beyond time to end the Fed and return nearly all regulation to the state level – where it is most efficient, most consumer friendly, conducive to business activity and beneficial to society at large.

    As for the Money Changers reference, that applies to usurers and that is exactly what the Fed is. Jesus was angry with them because they defiled His Father’s House, the Temple. They continue to defile His Father’s House. Profit is a necessary feedback to measure the effectiveness of entrepreneurs out-competing each other to best serve their customers. What we have to do is return our culture to good morality and re-Christianize our country. By ordering our economic activity toward God, we will help with inviting God to sanctify us through our work. Interest charged to compensate for the opportunity cost for allowing others access to capital reserves is legitimate in order to direct capital to where it can provide the most good. The proper function of regulation, with respect for subsidiarity, is to curtail man’s disordered appetites. This is a delicate endeavor as libido domonandi will tempt those with the power to use it to advance their own interests. For example, when bureaucrats award non-compete, no-bid contracts to their buddies instead of the most efficient and effective producers. Conversely, a local community preventing the manufacture and distribution of pornography or narcotics is the legitimate use of regulatory authority.

    A danger in the growth of our service economy is that we are too reliant on unskilled, low-skilled and poorly educated laborers. One may think that this is what crowded out the manufacturing economy; however, that is incorrect. What has crowded out the manufacturing economy is a poorly run, intentionally bad, dumbed down government monopoly known as ‘public education’. In conjunction with managed trade agreements with the Orwellian name of ‘free trade’ and excessive taxation and regulation, which stifles innovation – we are left vulnerable to all sorts of dangers, not the least of which is national defense. If we cannot make our own war materiel than we will be overrun by foreign competitors in a hostile takeover known as conquest. The barbarians will not be able to resist the temptation to cross the Tiber and sack Rome.

    Economic prosperity is a byproduct of the pursuit of sanctity through work – that work can be agrarian, industrial, service, religious, child rearing, home keeping or any number of activities – yet, they become a complex tapestry when naturally woven together by the Invisible Hand of Divine Providence. When God is the director of the economy it will best serve man in a spirit of Charity. When the economy is directed by men, with no reference to God, it will eventually and always lead to ruin.

    The distorted growth of our service economy is a result of men and their lust for power, worshiping the total return of idols with no reference to God.

    An authentic service economy will allow each and every actor in the economy to serve all the others in a spirit of Love. For even the Son of God came to serve and not be served.

    Sorry for running so long, it is past midnight, I can’t sleep, Mass is in six hours and my brain is squirming in my skull. I take no credit for any of the above that make sense and I apologize for all of it that seems like nonsense.

    Enjoy.

  • is just a kind of catch all category for employment that doesn’t fall into the manufacturing or agricultural sectors.

    Agriculture, manufacturing, construction, or mining.

    I doubt the change in the country’s productive mix is much of a problem bar that there are transition costs for localities and regions (as Mr. Price will attest). The alacrity of adjustment is a function in part of public policy. I think you might also argue that reasons of state mandate physical access to certain raw materials and productive capacity.

  • Economists sometimes talk about primary, secondary, and tertiary industries. Primary industries deal directly with raw materials: agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining, utilities. Secondary industries use those materials. Generally that means manufacturing and construction. Tertiary industries are services: trade, transportation, finance, education, health care, et cetera.

    When people complain about the US becoming a service economy, they need to remember that half of that is education and health care. We’re the world leaders in those fields. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate how dominant we are in higher education. We’re huge in software, entertainment, and finance.

    I have no concern about our becoming a service economy. We’re the fourth largest producer of food, and we’ve got a lot of natural resources to fall back on if we ever need to.

  • Much much late….

    “Service” to differentiate from “goods” industry.
    If it makes something, it’s a “goods” industry; if it involves doing something (even if that is “moving goods” or “teaching a skill”) then it’s a service industry.

    Expanded or changed, definitely. Unlikely to be new, since I can’t think of any business that is really new– internet is information, teaching isn’t new, moving stuff isn’t new….

    Yes, it is a problem. Service requires demand for the service, and while it can be fudged for a little while, it doesn’t respond very well on a human level to changes in demand. I’m not sure WHY, it’s just what I’ve observed– for example, every shop I was in when I was in the Navy was undermanned, because demand for our service wasn’t steady. This was a Navy-wide problem for our job, when the opposite wasn’t true. (I believe it caused at least one helo-crash that killed some two dozen folks because someone incorrectly checked some gear.)

  • Service Economy:
    From all the other comments I have read, it sure seems to me that; 1) In the beginning of any economy, there must be industrial production. Without industrial production from raw materials, all the “Service Industry” can “service” is itself. 2) some people think servicing non-productive assets, like shares of stock or other ways of manipulating money someone in an industrial capacity has earned (and saved or invested) has become too much the “service Industry” of the U.S. If nobody is willing to get their hands dirty as a laborer, we will shrivel up. Even engineers who automate manufacturing are merely supporting industry. Even in industries where most every stage is automated, there is still the production of something tangible. “Money Changing” and lawyering are about the same in regard to the creation of real wealth as far as I am concerned. They both work in the same “temple”, taking their “cut” off the labor of honest workers.
    Credit default swaps are one of the most highly paid trading ventures I can think of. Million dollar bonuses go to those who shuffle other people’s money.

  • World leaders in higher education and healthcare? You need to check some rankings, because we are neither. We might spend the most on healthcare, but our coverage is no better than countries that spend much less.

  • but our coverage is no better than countries that spend much less.

    How ya figure?

  • Simple. We operate the health industry as for-profit. There are many, many other reasons, but the simplest reason for why we pay more is that for-profit companies will want profits.

    (As opposed to non-profit corporations & state run service)

  • Plus, those pesky old, sick or disabled folks just insist on BUYING health care, rather than being “allowed to die” (if they wish it or not) by the Liverpool Pathway.

    Then theirs our insane insistence on legally defining a “live birth” as any baby that breaths or shows other signs of life after delivery, rather than calling premies that don’t make it “miscarriages.”

The Myth of Tolerance by Our Intellectual Superiors

Tuesday, March 30, AD 2010

With the vilification that the political left has done to the right, we Catholics also suffer from the same abuse.  Take point in fact that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh demonized Pro-Life Catholics by regurgitating uncorroborated reports of racism against ObamaCare proponents and attributed them to Pro-Life Catholics with her blog entry.

Such blatant disregard for facts in order to advance your personal agenda has become the norm in the mainstream media as well.  The Media Research Center has provided the following synopsis to clarify this point:

Update I (4:12pm CST): Prominent Republican Gets Actual Death Threat, NYT Suddenly Drops Concern Over Threatening.  To read the entire story by Clay Waters of NewsBusters click here.

Update II (4:21pm CST): A video was tracked down showing Representative John Lewis of Georgia, whom Sister Mary Ann Walsh referenced in her blog post showing absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any racial epithets being thrown around.  Again, the uncorroborated evidence that Sister Mary Ann Walsh referenced is a fabricated lie and she willfully used this to smear Pro-Lifers in her less than charitable blog posting.

The video is here:

Update III (6:26pm CST): Representative John Lewis of Georgia, the very man who lied that there were racist remarks yelled at him at the Tea Party protests is known to be very hyperbolic himself.  Jeff Poor of NewsBusters recounts the time back in 1995 how Representaive Lewis defamed Republicans by painting them as ‘Nazis‘.

Representative Lewis has shown himself to be nothing more than a political hack that lashes out when he doesn’t get his way.

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30 Responses to The Myth of Tolerance by Our Intellectual Superiors

  • Take point in fact that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh demonized Pro-Life Catholics by regurgitating uncorroborated reports of racism against ObamaCare proponents and attributed them to Pro-Life Catholics with her blog entry.

    –How is the “regurgitating uncorrobarated reports”? She says that “Anonymous messages are being left on voicemails – I even got one from a nun, for goodness sake.”

  • Jim,

    She connected the alleged racism at the Tea Party protests to Pro-Life Catholics and went into the whole melodrama of Rep. Lewis experiencing the same verbal abuse during the civil rights era.

  • Here’s what she wrote in the first four paragraphs, Tito. She doesn’t even mention “Pro-Life Catholics” anywhere in her post. Yes, she is referring to opponents of the legislation, but surely there are people out there who opposed the legislation for other reasons. Am I missing something?

    The heat in the aftermath of passage of health care reform reveals the depth of feeling among those for and against the landmark bill that affects all Americans. Such heat, however, cannot justify the verbal and physical violence that has ensued.

    If we needed health care because of the crisis affecting the sick, especially the weakest among us, we need even more a move toward civility, if not for our own betterment then at least for the betterment of our children.

    Politics has become a kind of blood sport. News junkies over the weekend heard reports of crowds shouting racist remarks and individuals spitting at African American lawmakers, including John Lewis, who suffered violence years ago when he marched for Civil Rights. Surely he – and all of us – has a right to expect that that chapter of despicable, racist violence long over.

    We’ve seen reports of homes and offices of lawmakers vandalized and heard of death threats. Anonymous messages are being left on voicemails – I even got one from a nun, for goodness sake. If that isn’t proof that we’ve gone astray I don’t know what is.

  • Jim,

    Yes, she is referring to opponents of the legislation [ie, Pro-Life Catholics], but surely there are people out there who opposed the legislation for other reasons. Am I missing something?

    Yes there are other people who oppose health care for other reasons, but the number one issue was abortion, which in even in the end the USCCB came down against ObamaCare because of this issue.

    The heat you are referring to is the anger out there that ObamaCare passed without the people’s consent nor with any bipartisanship.

    Though it is exactly the racism that Sister Walsh is referring to, which there is no proof hence the ‘uncorroborated’ remark, which she paints Pro-Life Catholics with.

  • She refers to “reports”. She does not say that those things happened. And go to other websites. Many–probably most–of the people who oppose ObamaCare do so because of things not connected to abortion.

    I, for one, am still not convinced that ObamaCare does fund abortion–except for allowing for the possibility of abortion at Indian reservations and community health care centers, which are minor matters in my view. Can you or Don prove that Obama does fund abortions beyond those?

  • Jim,

    I don’t doubt that such voicemails are occurring, what I am pointing out is the example that Sister Walsh specifically uses to drive her point of demonizing pro-life Catholics by painting them with the same brush as a ‘racists’.

    As to your point about abortion being paid for by ObamaCare, that is for another thread, not this one which you are hijacking.

    I will delete anymore of your comments that do not deal with Sister Walsh’s demonizing of Pro-Life Catholics.

  • And Tito, I sincerely doubt that what she did technically qualifies as “demonizing” anyone by mentioning “reports”. I also sincerely doubt that the majority of the opposition was because of the abortion issue, if you read some of the polls. Please link to a poll which shows that the majority of the opposition was because of that issue.

    I’ll wait for you and Don to start a post on the issue of what ObamaCare does and doesn’t cover.

  • I find it HI-larious that these establishment liberals, Catholic or secular, are now eminently concerned with the disposition of the protesters.

    Oh how far we have fallen from the teach-ins, smoke-outs, and campus occupations of the 1960s. Then it was all legitimate, it was all just, it was the young people making their voices heard.

    This sister is not the first left-leaning Catholic I have heard denouncing the internet as a medium of communication, invoking “anonymity”, and obviously desiring a return to the more easily controlled, less free, and less accountable print media.

    Wherever freedom thrives in communication as opposed to government control, conservative points of view also thrive – the vast majority of them NOT steeped in “racism”, but in firm if not always charitable rejections of the leftist agenda.

    Of course, these people believe it is more uncharitable to call them names than it is to force people to buy private health insurance at gun point.

  • Jim,

    People opposed this bill for many different reasons. But the majority of Catholic opposition was primarily about abortion and the vast majority of heat any Catholic supporters of the health care bill are taking is b/c of their unwillingness to put life first. I’m disturbed by your statement that you believe a billion taxpayer dollars (for starters) being funnelled into CHC’s w/out any Hyde Amendment protections is a “minor” issue. The vast majority of Americans, pro-choice and pro-life alike, do not believe taxpayers should be subsidizing or funding abortion in any way. This is a dramatic increase right now and it sets up a restriction free tool for federally funded abortions in the future. That is not a minor change in federal policy. Catholics who deny this or treat it as a non-issue need to seriously revisit the teachings of the Church on the primacy of protecting human life. It’s not something that can be put aside let alone hindered in accomplishing something else you happen to like.

    I’m sorry – I know this is further getting off topic. Feel free to delete.

  • That was the most selective reading and least charitable interpretation of Sister Mary Ann’s post possible.

  • Of course the good Sister’s claim that some members of Congress may have been spit on may also be an uncharitable claim.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/28/congressman-spit-on-by-te_n_516300.html

  • RR,

    As your “selective” reading into Church teaching that forces others against their free will to pay for health insurance.

  • Jim,

    If she was sincere she wouldn’t haven’t chosen the uncorroborated racist reports for her straw man.

  • Yeah, I heard Sister Mary Ann smokes ganja in the sacristy before Mass. I heard it. I heard it I did.

  • As Catholics, real Catholics and not liberals playing catholics, we are not to engage in gossip and hearsay. On those grounds alone, she’s off.

    As for the ‘racism’, I was there and I didn’t see anyone spit, attack or yell any racist slurs. Although one Senior Citizen did call Barney Frank a gay commie – however, I don’t know why anyone would denounce that – it is true and Barney appears to be proud of it.

    The pro-Constitution anti THIS health care reform bill group outside the Capitol on that dark day was multi-ethnic and included black Americans. In fact one black man running for Congress led all of us in prayer and the funding of baby killing was the overwhelming objection along with fiscal soundness, because we can’t afford this mess. KILL THE BILL was chanted and so was BABY KILLERS during the meeting of the rules (or lack thereof) committee.

    For her to address racism with no evidence and spread it as truth, even if it is merely implied, is unCatholic, wrong and typical of all of those poor, misguided people who are progressives before they are Catholic. Before you go yelling that the rest of us are conservative before we are Catholic – be aware that those are the same things. To be Catholic is to be conservative in the strictest sense and that does not mean Right Wing or Republican. It means one who sticks to the old ways of right reason, natural law and morality and our ancient Faith.

    To be a progressive Catholic is to insist that revelation did not end with the death of the last Apostle and that the Church needs to get more hip instead of sticking to what Christ taught us 2,000 years ago and still teaches those of us who ask Him and not some excommunicated religious or government bureaucrat.

    The Sister may be well-intentioned, she may be confused, she may be working for Satan – either way – she’s wrong.

  • Oh for crying out loud. Just last week pro-lifers were praising Sr. Mary Ann Walsh to the skies for her succinct explanation of how Obamacare funds abortion and why this was not acceptable. She stepped up to the plate at precisely the moment when other “nuns” were trying to sow confusion.

    Now all of a sudden, she’s a tool of Satan because she repeated second hand reports from “news junkies”?

    It’s one thing to be “intolerant” of blatantly pro-abortion “Catholics” like the Lying Worthless Political Hack, who never met an abortion she didn’t like, or of the “nuns” who went out of their way to defy the bishops on the very question of abortion funding. But please, give Sr. Mary Ann SOME credit for calling out the real “tools of Satan” who were hard at work last week.

  • Elaine,

    I only stated she is demonizing Pro-Lifers, not that she is a tool of Satan.

    I’m sure Satan would disagree with you here.

  • I used that hyperbole in a series of descriptions and I stated that I don’t know which one (implying, ‘if any’) apply to her, but that no matter the outcome of her disposition – she is wrong – no racism occurred, no evidence of racism has been presented, taken as a whole Tea Party supporters are not racist. She was engaged in either gossip or hearsay – neither sin befits a Catholic, clergy, lay or religious.

    I am not casting stones, I am merely stating that on this issue she is wrong. My post was also directed at progressive Catholics who may or may not have posted in this thread, who desire to disparage Catholics of a more conservative stripe like St. Paul or Pope Benedict XVI.

    I also never said ‘tool’ – I said ‘working for’ – which is probably true of all us at one time or another, on one issue or another, in one aspect or another – thank God for the Sacrament of Penance.

  • Elaine,

    I think the biggest problem with Sister Mary Ann is that she passes on things that have been “heard” as fact. It seems these things are false. As such she is passing on what are in essence lies. Sister Mary Ann was brave in pointing out the flaws of the nuns sowing confusion about health care. Now she is sowing confusion.

    Its okay to critque her.

  • I read Sr. Walsh’s post and was so crushed by it that I responded back with 2 comments. So far, she has not posted them yet. My guess is she is selective in posting comments from readers.

    It is a shame that USCCB treats us like children who don’t know how to read legislative language or who do not understand inferred language or double speak.

    Plus, the claims she made about racism are unsubstantiated. One can only assume she came to that end by watching MSNBC or CNN. These two channels have been pushing that story. Yet, nobody mentions that Rep. Jackson and his father, Rev. Jackson had a video camera and were recording every step along the way. There were also TV crews all over recording the historic event. Where–pray tell, is the evidence of somebody being spat on or being denigrated in any other way?

    We are being forced into buying a “good” or a “commodity” that we don’t want and an insensible group of people are saying that we should focus on civility. Was the process of the administration and their congress civil in any respect?

    Good minded Catholics fell into that trap in 2008 because they thought it would be a nice thing to vote Obama into office because he held such promise and we just couldn’t possibly rule him out because a fringe group says he’s Socialist. Let’s be civil and give the man a chance. Well, here we are 2 years later and our Bishops are applauding the bill silently and hoping that the language that includes abortion can be taken out. Really? Tell that to the very people who’ve been risking their jobs and livelihood to fight against Roe V Wade for almost 40 years.

    The problem with the subsidiarity ideal is not that it has been tried & found wanting but that it has not yet been tried.

  • oh..and there was a black gentleman who was left hospitalized after an attack by SEIU thugs who were bused in to a townhall meeting. Nobody covered that…Sr. Walsh didn’t write a blog post on that…but yet, it was recorded on video and is floating around on youtube!

  • I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that *SOME* opponents of the health care bill / tea party folks have dabbled in racism. Yesterday I was invited to join a Facebook group opposing Obamacare, and their photo section included:

    An image of the president in front of the White House with a comment, “Hey, who’s the monkey on our porch?”

    A photoshopped image of the presidential limo with huge rims added.

    A sign reading “Welcome to Kenya, Birthplace of Barack Hussein Obama.”

    If this kind of crap is online, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has also cropped up at Tea Party rallies.

  • JohnH,

    So you have evidence of any racial epithets throw Representative John Lewis’ way during the ObamaCare vote?

    Or you’re just “sharing”.

  • But was the Congressman spit on?

  • I didn’t see anyone spit at him, but to be fair, it is difficult to tell by the grainy video.

  • True enough. Hard to tell but does not look like it.

    Also some on the racism of the Obama Administration:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_obama_administrations_ramp.html

  • Tito: I’m just saying that based on my own experience with some of the extreme elements on the fringes of the anti-Obamacare movement, accusations of racist epithets do not seem unlikely.

    And, BTW, I am not trying to say that only the right-wing can get ugly at political rallies. I have personally been spat on and physically assaulted at a pro-life march before, and it wasn’t by Tea Partiers.

  • How is welcoming people to Kenya racist? Maybe he was born in Kenya. His ancestors on his father’s side do come from Kenya. Being from Kenya may be a fact, it my be incorrect, it may just merely be conjecture – but pointing it out isn’t racist. The president is half African, that is a fact – nothing racist about pointing out that his father was in fact an African, just as his mother was in fact a white American. Where’s the racism?

    The monkey on the porch statement could be racist; however, it could just as easily be a reference to Darwinism. Don’t Progressives, like the president, assert that human beings are just talking monkeys. I think they are wrong, but who am I to judge.

    Again, to be clear, sure there are racists in American and they are all idiots. Most belong on the left side of the equation, even when they are allegedly from the right. The simple fact is that liberals/progressives/fascists/collectivists are inherently racist because they seek to divide people into groups. Traditionalists/conservatives prefer to see everyone as a unique, unrepeatable individual and we Christians are called to respect the dignity of each of God’s children because each one is infinitely valuable in His eyes.

    Furthermore, being against Obama because he is half-black is utterly stupid – he should be despised because he is all red – Commie red – that is an ideology and being against it and those who practice and promote Communism, is not racist – it is just prudent.

    I saw and met no racists, no spitting and heard no racial slurs. Could that have occurred? Sure it could have. But to bring it up, as conjecture or fact, with absolutely no evidence or indication of it, is simply a smear tactic right out of Alinsky’s playbook (you know the one he dedicated to the first revolutionary – Lucifer).

  • The monkey on the porch statement could be racist; however, it could just as easily be a reference to Darwinism. Don’t Progressives, like the president, assert that human beings are just talking monkeys. I think they are wrong, but who am I to judge.

    Wow. You’ve either got to be joking or willfully obtuse.

  • JohnH,

    Perhaps sarcasm doesn’t translate well on the Internet. I was merely trying to point out the ridiculous mindset of Progressives Darwinists and for that matter racists too.

Christianity and the Miraculous

Monday, March 29, AD 2010

Today, Palm Sunday, and throughout the rest of Holy Week, we devote ourselves to the central mysteries of our faith as Christians: Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The Last Supper, which instituted for us the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The suffering and death of Christ on the cross. His resurrection on the third day.

These miracles are the very center of our faith. As Saint Paul said, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain. Or to paraphrase Flannery O’Connor’s use of rather more modern parlance, “If it isn’t true, to hell with it.”

This central miracle, Christ’s death and resurrection, is the miracle which gives our faith meaning and sets it radically apart from the “he was a good man killed by the authorities for standing up for the poor” substitute which some propose. For if Christ was not God, if He did not rise from the dead, if He did not offer to us eternal salvation, then “he was a good man” is no half-way-there substitute. The resurrection is a miracle so unlikely, so scandalous that we must either embrace it wholly or reject Christianity with scorn. The events of Holy Week are not something we can accept half-way, and by accepting them we accept something which goes utterly and completely beyond the natural and predictable world. A miracle.

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5 Responses to Christianity and the Miraculous

  • A very provocative post Darwin.

    So in the spirit of constructive engagement you say you loathe anything as approaching the miraculous as well as biblical literalism.

    Many Catholics, including Father Benedict Groeschel as well as myself don’t believe in coincidences, but in God’s hand in all things.

    How do you explain that Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves with your eisegesis?

    I’ll admit if I misread your posting.

  • I think you may have misread me a bit, Tito. My argument was that while in everyday life I tend not to assume a miraculous explanation for something which could just as well be chance or coincidence (for instance, happening to find a missing set of keys moments after pausing to pray to St. Anthony) I think it’s entirely inappropriate to treat the miracles in the Gospels this way.

    Finding a set of keys is something which happens all the time without the need for miraculous help. Feeding 10,000 people, on the other hand, is not something that “just happens”. Nor is the incarnation of Christ something that “just happens”. Indeed, if we accept that Christ was God, and we accept the Gospels as what they claim to be (an account of Christ’s work on Earth) we have already accepted that the Gospels are about the most incredibly miraculous events possible.

    What I am questioning here is: Why is it that some people accept Christ’s divinity and resurrection, yet then turn around and toss out half the gospels with “oh, well, the feeding of the 10,000 probably wasn’t a real miracle, it’s just a fable for sharing” or “Lazarus probably wasn’t really dead, he was just unconscious” or “Jesus didn’t really walk on water, that’s just mythological language”. This miracles are small potatoes if we accept Christ, and if we accept Christ it seems entirely reasonable to believe the incredible and miraculous things would happen around Him.

    I don’t understand the urge to accept Christ, but then reject (seemingly at random) some of His miracles — as if it is rational to accept Christ but irrational to accept that he really rose from the dead or that he really fed large crowds or walked on water.

  • Thanks Darwin.

    Don’t use me as a barometer to how well your columns are written. I’m better at history than theology comprehension.

  • Well, and given that I wrote it between 11pm and 1am… There’s probably blame to share.

  • Biblical context works best for me. The Gospels are set up as books of testimony, so already I have to go in thinking: this happened, or at least that something major occurred.

    Secondy, there are places in the texts where Jesus is specifically said to be speaking in metaphor. If the author is going to go to that length then why not do us the favor and tell us that his miracles are just literary metaphors?

    While I’m open to the notion that events or ideas could possibly be attributed to Jesus in order to emphasize a theological or historical point, Im no less inclined to take the Gospels at there word.

    After all, these miracles aren’t just abnormal for us, they were abnormal in Jesus’ time; which was not lacking in supply of sceptics either.

Can Catholics Abstain From ObamaCare

Thursday, March 25, AD 2010

I came across this American Thinker article on the exclusion of Amish and Muslims from ObamaCare:

The Senate health care bill just signed contains some exemptions to the “pay-or-play” mandate requiring purchase of Obamacare-approved health insurance or payment of a penalty fine. As Fox News has pointed out, for instance, the Amish are excused from the mandate:

So while most Americans would be required to sign up with insurance companies or government insurance plans, the church would serve as something of an informal insurance plan for the Amish.

Law experts say that kind of exemption withstands scrutiny.

“Here the statute is going to say that people who are conscientiously opposed to paying for health insurance don’t have to do it where the conscientious objection arises from religion,” said Mark Tushnet a Harvard law professor. “And that’s perfectly constitutional.”

Apparently, this exemption will apply similarly to believers in Islam, which considers health insurance – and, for that matter, any form of risk insurance – to be haraam (forbidden).

Steve Gilbert of Sweetness & Light calls our attention to the probability that Muslims will also be expempt. According to a March 23 publication on an authoritative Islamic Web site managed by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, various fatwas (religious decrees) absolutely forbid Muslim participation in any sort of health care or other risk insurance:

Health insurance is haraam like other types of commercial insurance, because it is based on ambiguity, gambling and riba (usury). This is what is stated in fatwas by the senior scholars.

In Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (15/277) there is a quotation of a statement of the Council of Senior Scholars concerning the prohibition on insurance and why it is haraam:

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (15/251):

Firstly: Commercial insurance of all types is haraam because it involves ambiguity, riba, uncertainty, gambling and consuming people’s wealth unlawfully, and other shar’i

Secondly: It is not permissible for the Muslim to get involved with insurance companies by working in administration or otherwise, because working in them comes under the heading of cooperating in sin and transgression, and Allaah forbids that as He says: “but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is Severe in punishment”

[al-Maa’idah 5:2]. End quote.

reservations.
And Allaah knows best.

So, it turns out that observant Muslims are not only strictly forbidden from buying any health insurance under the ObamaCare mandate, but may also not even work for any company that provides such insurance or any other form of commercial insurance.

(…)

Being an observant Catholic I don’t have to participate because it goes against my faith to kill unborn innocent children?

The 5th, 7th, and 10th Commandments and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) forbids me from participating.

5th Commandment & CCC 2268-2269: You shall not kill. (ObamaCare kills unborn babies)[1]

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23 Responses to Can Catholics Abstain From ObamaCare

  • The bill requires that at least one plan on the exchange not cover abortion, so I don’t think this is an issue.

  • The Church also teaches about double effect and remote material cooperation with evil. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to pay taxes for nukes because Jesus said, Give to Caesar what is Caesars. Perhaps there is some common ground in the making here! 🙂

  • I’m willing to allow an out on my tax filings for both nukes and ObamaCare.

    Is this possible in the U.S.?

  • Abstain from it Tito? I want to kill it!

  • I’m with Donald.

    Though being proactive and searching for many possible alternatives to further mitigate ObamaCare is what I’m after as well.

  • Does your insurance at work cover abortion or contraception? If so, should you opt out and pay for a private plan that excludes these?

  • JohnH,

    I plan to once I get a permanent full time job.

    Contract work at the moment.

  • Good on you, Tito.

  • I’d be a little leery of saying Muslims are forbidden to participate on the basis of Sheik Sumduud’s website, or even a fatwa. Fatwas are pretty easy to come by, actually, and have about as much force as the individual Muslim wants to accord it. To use a (very, very) rough analogy, they are like a trial court’s ruling, binding to varying extents on the parties involved, but lacking precedential force.

    More to the point, Muslims have worked out ways to get around prohibitions like this before (e.g., murabaha, which manages to do a fine job of mimicking interest via a client paying a financial institution an agreed upon marked-up price for a commodity).

  • Eliminating “nukes” in paying one’s taxes: would this include nuclear power plants? Labs which study detection of atomic weapons? etc etc

  • Catholics should get involved in a campaign to sign pro-lifers (and others) up with plans that don’t cover abortion. Hopefully, abortion coverage will die from lack of demand.

  • RR, that is really an excellent suggestion, and I can imagine it’s also one that would be quite easy for us to do as individuals, as well as collectively. Even for my moderately pro-choice friends (esp. the males), I think they would probably agree to purchase insurance that excludes abortion coverage.

    This seems worthy of really looking into and organizing as a pro-life goal.

  • “Catholics should get involved in a campaign to sign pro-lifers (and others) up with plans that don’t cover abortion. Hopefully, abortion coverage will die from lack of demand.”

    Considering the number of abortions we have in this country I think that hope is both futile and farfetched.

  • Pingback: Health Care Exemptions? « A Voice into the Void
  • The concern I have is that in order to get a general religious exemption from Obamacare for Catholics, wouldn’t we have to prove that abstaining from absolutely all participation in abortion, no matter how remote, was an integral and non-negotiable part of Church teaching, and that ALL Catholics were bound under pain of mortal sin or excommunication to abide by it (like the teaching against participating directly in abortion itself)?

    However, that is not true — remote material cooperation such as would occur in the case of paying taxes under Obamacare or participating in an insurance program that covered abortion is permitted for sufficient reasons, for example, if it would be extremely difficult or impossible to find another insurance plan. A Catholic CAN refuse to participate in such a plan on moral grounds, but he or she is not necessarily obligated to take such action.

    As for Muslims, I have heard that many Muslims do not believe in borrowing money and so they pay cash for everything, but how on earth do so many of them manage to run businesses (shops, etc.) without insurance? What happens if the shop burns down, or a pipe freezes, etc.? How do they legally drive cars if they can’t have car insurance? If Muslims really are forbidden to have insurance, it must be a teaching many Muslims either don’t know about or ignore, kind of like Catholic teaching against contraception.

  • Donald, I don’t think it’s futile or far-fetched to think plans that cover abortion can become unpopular, not just among pro-lifers but anyone who doesn’t think they need abortion coverage.

  • Ooops, my first sentence should have read “wouldn’t we have to prove that abstaining from all COOPERATION in abortion, no matter how remote…”

  • restrainedradical, don’t get me wrong. If people wish to persuade others not to get insurance that covers abortion, I am all for it. However, considering the sheer number of abortions, I don’t think this strategy will have much of an impact in reducing the total number of abortions. However, I would be delighted if I were proven to be in error.

  • So the Stupak Amendment wouldn’t have had much of an impact on the number of abortions? Maybe.

  • I don’t know how many abortions the Stupak amendment would have stopped. I know it would have stopped any of my tax money paying for abortions which is extremely important to me. Too bad Stupak folded like the weasel he apparently is.

  • Donald-
    I was really hoping the pro-life dems would actually come through.

    When I heard the news say they agreed to vote for it in exchange for Obama signing something that “clarified” federal funding of abortion… sounds like a setup for a bad, bad literal genie moment.

  • I have long had hopes for the pro-life Democrat movement Foxfier. More fool me. A handful of pro-life Dems stuck to their guns, but most proved that their pro-life stance was, at best, conditional to the needs of their party. These remarks are of course only aimed at pro-life Dem Congress Critters and not at rank and file pro-life Dems.

  • Are believers in Christian Science exempt?

4 Responses to Spike in New Jobs Creation

U.S. Catholic Bishops' statement on the Health Care Bill: "Profoundly flawed"

Tuesday, March 23, AD 2010

USCCB Statement on the recently-passed health care legislation (March 23, 2010):

For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for reform of our health care system so that all may have access to the care that recognizes and affirms their human dignity. Christian discipleship means, “working to ensure that all people have access to what makes them fully human and fosters their human dignity” (United States Catechism for Adults, page 454). Included among those elements is the provision of necessary and appropriate health care.

For too long, this question has gone unaddressed in our country. Often, while many had access to excellent medical treatment, millions of others including expectant mothers, struggling families or those with serious medical or physical problems were left unable to afford the care they needed. As Catholic bishops, we have expressed our support for efforts to address this national and societal shortcoming. We have spoken for the poorest and most defenseless among us. Many elements of the health care reform measure signed into law by the President address these concerns and so help to fulfill the duty that we have to each other for the common good. We are bishops, and therefore pastors and teachers. In that role, we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.

Nevertheless, for whatever good this law achieves or intends, we as Catholic bishops have opposed its passage because there is compelling evidence that it would expand the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion. The statute appropriates billions of dollars in new funding without explicitly prohibiting the use of these funds for abortion, and it provides federal subsidies for health plans covering elective abortions. Its failure to preserve the legal status quo that has regulated the government’s relation to abortion, as did the original bill adopted by the House of Representatives last November, could undermine what has been the law of our land for decades and threatens the consensus of the majority of Americans: that federal funds not be used for abortions or plans that cover abortions. Stranger still, the statute forces all those who choose federally subsidized plans that cover abortion to pay for other peoples’ abortions with their own funds. If this new law is intended to prevent people from being complicit in the abortions of others, it is at war with itself.

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7 Responses to U.S. Catholic Bishops' statement on the Health Care Bill: "Profoundly flawed"

  • “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” — John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 48

  • “. Subsidiarity is first and foremost a form of assistance to the human person via the autonomy of intermediate bodies. Such assistance is offered when individuals or groups are unable to accomplish something on their own, and it is always designed to achieve their emancipation, because it fosters freedom and participation through assumption of responsibility. Subsidiarity respects personal dignity by recognizing in the person a subject who is always capable of giving something to others. By considering reciprocity as the heart of what it is to be a human being, subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state.” — Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

  • “In order for the principle of subsidiarity to be put into practice there is a corresponding need for: respect and effective promotion of the human person and the family; ever greater appreciation of associations and intermediate organizations in their fundamental choices and in those that cannot be delegated to or exercised by others; the encouragement of private initiative so that every social entity remains at the service of the common good, each with its own distinctive characteristics; the presence of pluralism in society and due representation of its vital components; safeguarding human rights and the rights of minorities; bringing about bureaucratic and administrative decentralization” – CSDC, 187

    “As an instrument of the State, public administration at any level — national, regional, community — is oriented towards the service of citizens: “Being at the service of its citizens, the State is the steward of the people’s resources, which it must administer with a view to the common good”.[844] Excessive bureaucratization is contrary to this vision and arises when “institutions become complex in their organization and pretend to manage every area at hand. In the end they lose their effectiveness as a result of an impersonal functionalism, an overgrown bureaucracy, unjust private interests and an all-too-easy and generalized disengagement from a sense of duty” CDSC 412

    Where we ought to be looking, as opposed to the federal government and its bureaucracy:

    ” Meaningful testimonies and examples of self-organization can be found in the numerous initiatives, business and social, characterized by forms of participation, cooperation and self-management that manifest the joining of energies in solidarity. These are offered to the market as a multifaceted sector of work activity whose mark of distinction is the special attention given to the relational components of the goods produced and of the services rendered in many areas: instruction, health care, basic social services and culture. The initiatives of this so-called “third sector” represent an ever more important opportunity for the development of labour and the economy.” CSDC 293

  • In other words, I profoundly disagree with the idea that abortion is the only problem with this otherwise supposedly fine and upstanding bill.

  • For the record, I’m right there with you Joe. Funding for abortion is a crucial issue but not the sole evil in this bill.

  • Looks like Mr. Stupak’s defense may be to go on the offense against the Bishops. I’m not familiar with the source, but it appears he is charging the Bishops with hypocrisy and trying to use the abortion issue as a ploy to bring down health care reform. What alternate universe is this guy from?

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/03/23/stupak-says-catholic-bishops-pro-life-groups-tried-to-use-abortion-to-defeat-health-bill/

  • He is either delusional or a liar. I suspect the latter.

Far Better Than Nothing

Tuesday, March 23, AD 2010

While pro-lifers, conservatives, and conservative pro-lifers all have different reasons for not being very pleased with Stupak and his fellow pro-life Democrats at the moment, because of their caving in to the Senate Bill abortion language and Obama’s vaporware executive order, I think it’s worth keeping in mind that if all Democrats were of the Obama/Pelosi persuasion in regards to abortion, we would undoubtedly have a “health care reform” bill which provided complete subsidies for abortion on demand for poor women, if not all women. The Senate language is not nearly as good as Stupak’s, and even with Stupak’s language included I think that the bill would have been deeply irresponsible for financial reasons. But let’s face it, the Democrats have a solid majority in the House and had until Brown’s election a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Without some Democrats breaking ranks with their party’s hard core pro-abortion platform, there would have been no way for the pro-life movement to keep the most extreme support for abortion possible out of the bill.

And while Stupak’s last minute flake-out is disappointing from a pro-life perspective (if he’d stuck to his guns, I would have happily donated to his re-election fund, simple because I admire steadfastness to pro-life principle, even in someone I disagree with on other issues) let’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language. So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.

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24 Responses to Far Better Than Nothing

  • I never confused Stupak with a conservative. I did confuse Stupak with a pro-lifer. My mistake. I also confused him with a truthful man. Once again my mistake. The fact that his cave in led to ObamaCare becoming a law I regard as a national disaster. That Stupak revealed himself as a man of no principle I regard as a tragedy. He was a hero to pro-lifers everywhere and he revealed himself at the end to be anything but.

  • Darwin, I applaud your charitable attitude and posting, and I agree with it, for the most part, even from the depths of my disappointment. What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening. I genuinely believe that he lost it temporarily, on an emotional and psychological level, when he declared that the Democrats were the pro-life party protecting life from unborn till death. That speech was so contrary to reality in its claims that I can’t imagine he’ll look on that speech in the future with anything but deep shame and guilt.

  • “What really makes it unpalatable for me to be charitable to Stupak was the disgusting slap in the face that was his House floor speech during the motion to recommit on Sunday evening.”

    Ditto, Kevin. What a disgraceful display that was. He was doing a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over freshly-opened wounds. It was despicable.

  • I wrote a (small) check to Stupak’s Republican challenger, Dan Benishek, on Sunday night. Benishek is a UP surgeon who seems a decent man – a pro-life conservative, the son of a miner. But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.

    Speaking of horse’s patoots, our elected reps are now debating this:

    Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.

  • I wish the other side in this debate could come up with statements as thoughtful and charitable as this one. The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed–for many reasons, some better than others. Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing. It’s interesting too to see what he thinks government should NOT be doing: in that under-the-radar vote on the war in Afghanistan a few days ago, Stupak voted against the war.

  • “But I confess, on Sunday night I would have mailed a check to Mr. Ed if he was running against Stupak. Better a talking horse than the horse’s patoots that populate Congress now.”

    Brilliant Donna!

  • How badly were we gamed by this man? (And I say “we” because I too was under the impression that Stupak was a man of integrity, although I was against the healthcare bill for other reasons besides abortion.)

    “Stupak Defends District’s Planned Parenthood Clinics”

    PICKET: Then how come you didn’t vote for Pence’s amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood back in 2009?

    STUPAK: I don’t think I ever voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does not do abortions…in my district. Planned Parenthood has a number of clinics in my district that provide health care for my people. Therefore, these clinics do quite well in my district, and I’m all for health care and extending it to everybody–access to health care, so that’s just another way. Also on Planned Parenthood , when they do it, there is a segregation of funds that go with it. It’s usually about four hundred million they tried to de-fund on Planned Parenthood. Maybe this time, I’ll look at it again if Pence brings it up. Maybe I’ll vote differently this time, but you’re right I did vote against it.

    Stupak also says, in practically the same breath:

    I’ve done all I could as one member to protect the sanctity of life

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/watercooler/2010/mar/23/stupak-defends-districts-planned-parenthood/

  • You know what, I’m sick of these defenses of Backstabbing Bart.

    Ron, I’m not going off on you personally – I like a lot of your comments on issues – but you’ve raised a couple of points here that I’ve seen OTHER people I typically like and respect bring up in Stupid’s defense as well.

    “The honest truth is that most people who supported the Stupak language really did not want to see this bill passed”

    I suppose it could be the case that there are people who were in denial about the whole thing. But most people I know who supported the Stupak language did so for one or both of these reasons:

    1) If Obamacare was determined to become law, AT LEAST the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment would stay in place. Stupak’s precious EO offers no such guarantees, and his speech during the debate following the vote was delusional.

    2) If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill. That’s why I supported it. And I see no reason to be ashamed of it. There’s nothing wrong with that motive.

    “Stupak always made it clear that he did want it to pass because he sees universal government-controlled health care as an example of what government should be doing.”

    But he also told us all that he wouldn’t vote for a bill that allowed public funding of abortion. And yet he did. So either he’s monumentally stupid for putting enough faith in this EO nonsense to change his vote – and we have a right to be angry with him for that alone – or he knew full well that this EO promise was weak, but it gave him just enough so that he could vote yes, to take the pressure off, to not be hated by everyone in his own party, or whatever.

    Stupak portrayed himself as a leader, as a fighter, as a man of principle. At the last hour he caved for a handful of magic beans that offers no guarantee of the things that he was so intransigent about for all these months.

    Stupidity or weakness, take your pick, either way, he deserves our contempt.

  • “Shouldn’t Obamacare provide Viagra for sex offenders. After all people who’ve “paid their debt to society” shouldn’t continue to be punished by using health care as a weapon. Believe it or not the issue is being debated in the Senate, because unless sex offenders are specifically excluded, they’ll get Viagra too.”

    Donna,

    I understand the Parliamentary tactic they are playing, but I have to wonder why Viagra or any similar prescription drug is covered by a health plan. Why would the cost of a recreational drug be paid by a health care plan. If Viagra isn’t a recreational drug nothing is. This thought struck me as odd a few years ago when I heard on CNBC (IIRC) that GM was the single largest purchaser of Viagra because of their retiree health care plan. What??? Up until that moment I naively believed people spent their own money on crap like that.

    That is the sad punch line to this horrendous health care “reform” bill. Some people actually believe it will not exceed the cost estimates without considering how much health care can be consumed once it is “free.” How many people will sign up for Viagra or a hundred other medical treatments that they would not if personally paying for it themselves.

  • Largebill: exactly. But that’s government and the entitlement mentality for you. Contrary to leftist belief, no conservative I know argues that the present system needs no reforming or that uninsured people should be left to die in the street.

    But this changes everything and drags the government into everything touching on healthcare issues. It’s one thing to help pay for people who, say, have lost coverage because they were laid off and have serious health conditions. But paying for somebody’s Viagra? Someone who sees Viagra as an entitlement? They’ve got to be joking – except they’re not.

    (Not to mention the disgust I feel at having to foot the bill for somebody’s abortion…)

  • I think you guys are getting a little off track here. I’m no fan of this bill, and I get the idea that’s setting you off about the Viagra, but I think it’s wrong headed. I’m sure some people use Viagra to enable themselves to do things they shouldn’t be doing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a drug that should be covered by insurance. We’re Catholics, not Puritans or Stoics. As Catholics we view intimacy between spouses as a great good, even a necessary condition for their marriage and their souls. If someone’s plumbing stops working, that is a medical issue, and thankfully something has been developed that can help people get around the condition. There’s absolutely no reason to object to the use of such medicine or that it would be covered by medical insurance.

    Oh, and lest you think this says something about my condition – my plumbing still works fine, thank you. 😉 Still, nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future to any of us, and a drug like can help marriages stay strong and that keeps families together, and even saves souls.

  • If the Stupak language was a part of the bill this time around, at least 40 rabidly pro-abortion Democrats in the House would have voted no, killing the bill.

    I’m not sure this is plausible. After all, the original House bill passed despite having the Stupak language in it.

  • “[L]et’s also be honest about this: Those of us who retain a belief in fiscal responsibility and oppose statism would have been disappointed in the health care bill passing even with Stupak’s language.”

    Huh? I’m shocked.

    So what does it matter if we’d all be disappointed anyway? Is that the sum of it?

    Evidently the intrinsically evil nature of abortion escapes you. Please let me clarify. Children born into a bankrupt dictatorship (worst case scenarios, both, for fiscal responsibility and statism) are still born. They have the chance to live and breathe and giggle and laugh and clap their hands.

    Children killed by an state funded abortion don’t enjoy any of that. They’re dead before they could draw their first breath of air, before they could look upon their mother and father, before they could so much as eat and sigh and sleep.

    I would much, much, much rather I lived in a country that financially impoverished itself with a crazy healthcare bill (i.e. giving viagra to criminals) than one that morally bankrupted itself by using my taxes to kill babies.

    Further — you write ‘So while I admired his apparent steadfastness to pro-life principle, I like many other conservatives also appreciated that fact that his principle (had he stuck to it) would have resulted in the bill not passing. We can hardly be surprised that he didn’t share such a hope.’

    ‘[H]ope?’ Yeah, right. Sorry, but you have to swallow a whole lot to not recognize that he held out so as to sell his vote more dearly. That or he just doesn’t comprehend the nature of abortion, the nature of evil.

    Please let me translate your equivalence into practical terms — well, the bill is just going to pass anyway (i.e. they’ll kill the babies anyway), so I might as well vote for it (participate in an intrinsically evil act) (and condemn my soul to hell for all of eternity).

    Do you see what you’ve written? Do you understand my perspective?

  • BA,

    It is what they pledged to do after the first time it passed.

    http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/letter-from-house-dems-pledging-to-vote-against-bill-with-stupak/

    And they were threatening to do it all the way up until the day of the vote.

    http://www.valuesvoternews.com/2010/03/stupak-deal-fails-as-pro-choice.html

    I don’t know why they settled for it the first time around, but evidently they changed their minds.

    I read reports of some pro-abort female House Dems breaking down into tears after the first vote because of Stupak.

  • Joe,

    They settled for it the first time around because they very openly expected that after the Senate passed its version, that provision would be stripped out of the final bill in conference.

    Brown taking Kennedy’s Senate seat derailed those plans.

  • Joe,

    Talk is cheap. Stupak was also pledging to vote against the bill if he didn’t get his way until the day before the vote.

  • Joe,

    But here’s the thing, while many of us who opposed the bill in its entirity (while also wanting to have it be as anti-abortion as possible if we had to swallow the bitter bill at all) Stupak clearly thought the bill itself was a good thing so long as it didn’t fund abortion.

    I’m guessing that this massively pissed Stupak off, and was one of his prime motivating factors in that bitter floor speech.

    I disagree with him and think he’s wrong in seeing those of us on the conservative side of the pro-life movement as the bad guys in this. But I can see why he was becoming increasingly angry with his position — feeling like he was being used by people who opposed the bill regardless.

  • I think you’re right Darwin. I also think part of the problem is that we thought Stupak was standing for something more than what he was standing for. We thought he was for this bill other than the abortion issue – and not without reason – by his own words we had it that as much as he wanted HCR passed, abortion was a non-starter and the Senate bill didn’t pass the test, plus the Senate bill was bad legislation and the means by which it came was unacceptible.

    He generated a lot of goodwill from pro-lifers from most political persuasions and they admired his principled stand. In hindsight, we discovered he was indeed fighting to get abortion provisions out of the legislation, but it wasn’t that important to him where he wouldn’t still vote for it. Many of his supporters feel betrayed by him and he feels betrayed by his supporters. It’s actually quite understandable. I think he’s wrong to have done a 180 the Senate bill, or to think the EO satisfies any concerns, or to think that abortion shouldn’t be a deal breaker for Obamacare, but his equation is different. Aside from those understandable differences, his speech at the time of the vote and subsequent comments take it to a different level. A level where it’s difficult to respect him in spite of those differences and reveal a rather bitter partisan bordering on the delusional.

  • Stupak led the most successful pro-life insurgency within the Democratic Party in recent memory. Nobody expected his amendment to pass with the support it did, and pro-choice organizations reacted with horror that a new front was opening within their stronghold.

    His amendment was dead in the Senate though. His insurgency failed.

    A man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    But he extracted a concession from the President, which can help hold Obamacare accountable. He also helped his party by allowing Pelosi to give vulnerable Democrats the chance to vote “no.” (She likely had enough votes in reserve, but because of the pro-life Dems she didn’t have to use them.)

    Here’s some comments from the end of Stupak’s Sunday press conference that have been under-reported:

    “…the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    In my view, Stupak cut his losses while raising the profile of pro-life Democrats and getting Obama to commit to something. He can be held accountable too.

    The speed with which many pro-lifers turned on him is disturbing to me. If there were more Democrats like him, he would have won. But he lost, and so he tried to lose in a manner most advantageous to his cause and to his career. I think he deserves gratitude for that failed attempt, and criticism of him has gone overboard. The Senate and those who excluded the Stupak Amendment from the Senate bill bear far more blame, as do the Catholic groups whose misinformation sapped his coalition’s strength at a critical time.

    If the GOP’s incompetence and the Hispanicization of America have barred Republicans from Congressional majorities for the foreseeable future, Stupak & co. are the best hope for the pro-life cause in Congress. Don’t punish a man who stood up for months against his party leadership and activists. Punish the leadership and the activists, so that that man won’t have to surrender again in the future.

  • BA,

    Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with. They had to please their own first, and then try to rope in Stupak. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did, because of the weakness of one man.

    Darwin,

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn about his feelings. This bill will fund abortion, and I maintain that he was either a fool or a coward for accepting the empty promises of an EO from Obama, the most pro-abortion president in American history.

  • Though to be fair, all this really does is reduce Stupak to the level of an average politician, whereas before, we had reason to believe he was at least trying to be a decent human being.

  • Evidently the House leadership and the White House assigned a higher value to that cheap talk than you do – it’s the main reason why they cooked up this EO nonsense to begin with.

    They cooked up the EO nonsense to get Stupak’s vote, not the votes of pro-choicers, who they already had.

  • There were 23 Democrats who voted for the Stupak Amendment and voted against the Senate “reconciliation” bill on Sunday. 23, out of 253. 9%.

    175 out of 177 Republicans voted for the Stupak Amendment and against the reconciliation bill. That’s 99%.

    Remember those percentages the next time someone tells you that the GOP isn’t really pro-life, that Scott Brown and Rudy Giuliani prove that the Republicans are secretly pro-abortion, that the Democratic Party is moderate on life issues, that there’s really no difference between the parties at all.

  • BA,

    The EO was all they had left to offer Stupak once they satisfied the pro-choicers.

    Though I don’t have the link saved (darn it), Pelosi was going to allow another vote on the Stupak amendment until the radical pro-choice Dems threatened to vote no if it passed – which, like the first time around, it would have. This was in the news. I remember reading it and thinking that it would be great.

    But after the radical pro-abort Dems renewed their threat, Pelosi et. al. had to deny Stupak another vote. But they still needed his vote on the bill – hence the EO. Garbage!

Health Care Predictions

Tuesday, March 23, AD 2010

In the debate over the now-passed health care reform bill, a great number of statistics were brought out as to why the US desperately needed a bill like this: Numbers of bankruptcies supposedly caused by high medical costs and lack of insurance.  Numbers of people who supposedly died each year because of lacking health insurance.  Infant mortality rates, etc.  With the bill now passed, Megan McArdle is curious to see those who supported it make some firm commitments as to what the results will be over the next five years:

1) Ezra Klein is confidently predicting that it will save hundreds of thousands of lives.
2) Nick Kristoff expects miraculous improvement in our national life expectancy.
3) Michael Moore thinks this will stop people from getting thrown out of their homes in a Medical bankruptcy.
4) At least one of you must be willing to claim massive improvements in infant mortality, after you’ve cited those statistics to me over and over.

These sorts of things should all be pretty easy to measure, and McArdle goes on to make her won eight predictions in regards to the effectiveness of the bill:

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7 Responses to Health Care Predictions

  • On a slightly tangential note, the prediction going into the 2008 election among Catholics and other Christians supporting Obama that the abortion rate would drop under his administration (based on data from during the Clinton administration) is turning out to be wrong so far. From a January 2010 article:

    “The pregnancy rate among 15-to-19-year-olds increased 3 percent between 2005 and 2006 — the first jump since 1990, according to an analysis of the most recent data collected by the federal government and the nation’s leading reproductive-health think tank.”

    and

    “The abortion rate also inched up for the first time in more than a decade — rising 1 percent — intensifying concern across the ideological spectrum.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012503957.html

    I think this was clearly a case of wishful thinking and makes me not optimistic about comparable predictions related to health care legislation.

  • Spamb

    Two things. Obama’s first year will include effects from the Bush legacy. Indeed, it is several years of effects based upon the wars Bush got us into and the financial crisis he inherited.

    Second, and more importantly, those stats are about 2005-6. Under Bush.

  • Henry, you’re right on both counts. I need to slow down.

  • First, that there will be a change in life styles is not a given. Acturialy the figures are guesses and until there is more data on changes figures are not credible as cost reductions are not in enacted bill. Insurance of every kind since its inception has been based on risk. Auto,H/O,Life,Workers Comp., Health, etc. State governments enacted no fault auto, mandatory auto, assigned risks pools, uninsured coverage.Life Ins added suicide clause and along with Health pre existing contract exclusion like wars, etc. H/O have left areas where natural disasters occur like costal regions. Ins Co have pools of their own for many risks to limit the losses. One thing is sure when health cos have to take all risks regardless of healtth or preexisting illnesses they know they are going to pay ( NOT A RISK BUT A SURE THING ) if you think their actuaries will not figure a cost and spread it to the healthy with an increase in health premiums you are living in a dream world. Mandatory auto has not elimninated uninsured drivers nor will this bill prevent healthy people who will still refuse health ins. and the joke of the IRS fining people when there will be no civil enforcement or interest on the so called fines , is about as ricdiculous as a bill can get. Flood Insurance did not solves flood losses, and all insurance polices have exclsuions, including WC, plus and which policies takes preference over another. The bill will not admittedly solve Medicare’s certain insolvency either. As to abortion, there is another certainy, it will continue unabated and perhaps increase. We tried the big fiaso of banning booze in he 20’s..people will do what people want to do and their actions can not be legislated til morals and culture is changed, but government never seem to realize this fact as our forefathers did..you know inalienable rights..created equal..

  • It’s interesting how quickly people back down when it comes to making actual testable predictions about what will happen.

  • Here’s my prediction: Jay Cost is correct.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horseraceblog/2010/03/obamacare_is_politically_vulne.html

    Our entitlement crunch is going to get very, very, very nasty – and in short order.

  • I agree that Jay Cost has nailed it.
    I suspect the Dems next step will be a VAT. Conservatives don’t like it since it is a largely hidden tax funds large government. Libs don’t like it because it is regressive (or at least not progressive). Libs will come to terms with it once they realize it can fund their huge programs, and conservatives will accept it as better than 50%+ marginal income tax rates. We will look a lot like Western Europe, which is what the Dems want. We will trade social and economic mobility for greater economic security. Not the end of the world, but sad nonetheless. I disagree with those who claim that such a system violates the Catholic principle of subsidiarity; I think this is pretty much all prudential. But I do wish the folks who are so attracted to Western Europe would just go and live there instead of trying to change the US.

7 Responses to Dark comedy

  • Inspired! Stupak in one stroke turned himself from a political hero into the most pathetic figure in politics today.

  • I can’t believe that I actually had to spend hours of my time one day on this very blog having to defend myself from one of your co-bloggers for saying that, if I lived in Michigan, I’d be unlikely to vote for Stupak for Governor for economic reasons. Despite expressing my deep admiration for Stupak and his defense of the unborn, and noting that under different economic circumstances I’d vote for him in a heartbeat, my argument at the time was that he’s a union shill and that sort of politician is exactly what’s currently wrong with the horrible economies of Michigan and Ohio.

    Now, to justify my reasons, all I have to do is merely point to this video, which exposes him as not only the typical Democrat who will always cave to the leadership when it comes to abortion, but as being particularly duplicitous and shameless, as well.

  • Now, to justify my reasons, all I have to do is merely point to this video, which exposes him as not only the typical Democrat who will always cave to the leadership when it comes to abortion, but as being particularly duplicitous and shameless, as well.

    Amen. How the man could say those things is beyond belief. He took all that sh*t from his own party because he was trying to defend life, then when he sold out he said it was his party that defended life all along? WTF? Truth is condemning the man.

  • I mean, let’s spell out exactly what Stupak did here in this speech. Stupak (which I learned yesterday is “KAPUTS” spelled backward) engaged in THE smear that is ALWAYS used against pro-lifers: that we don’t care about the mothers and that we only care about the babies up until they are born.

    What kind of “pro-lifer” engages in that sort of rhetoric? Doesn’t he know how hurtful it is for the pro-lifers who stood with him in favor of the Stupak Amendment to hear THOSE WORDS from someone who is allegedly one of our own? If he’s spent any REAL time in the pro-life movement, he MUST know the power and the sting of the words he used, so I can only guess that it was a calculated move to do maximum damage to the pro-life cause and to completely dispirit pro-lifers themselves.

    Think about this: How does Bart Stupak look Chris Smith in the eye the next day after saying what he said on the House floor?

  • I can’t believe that I actually had to spend hours of my time one day on this very blog having to defend myself from one of your co-bloggers for saying that, if I lived in Michigan, I’d be unlikely to vote for Stupak for Governor for economic reasons.

    That conversation was conducted based on the (widely shared) premise that Stupak was risking his career to defend the unborn. That premise turned out to be false; he was obviously dishonest in trashing those who supported the amendment he drafted, and in claiming that the Executive order meant anything. I still think that if such a Democratic politician existed, they should receive special consideration from pro-lifers, given that developing a healthy pro-life faction in the Democratic party would be an enormous pro-life victory. You may disagree, but I don’t see why after we know Stupak is dishonest, it affects that argument one way or the other.

  • But that’s the point. The ONLY reason it was even an issue was because we THOUGHT this guy was solid on the pro-life front.

    Otherwise, I wouldn’t have felt the need to go into so much detail explaining myself.

Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a determined effort for universal health coverage, without abortion, in the run-up to the vote on ObamaCare.  In the end, due to the abortion language in this bill, they condemned it in its entirety.

Now I believe that our bishops had the best intentions of wanting universal health coverage, but this violates the principle of subsidiarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which said that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function.

Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans, with an overwhelming 93% saying they are satisfied with their coverage.

And those that are uninsured, can get readily available treatment for a serious illness.  Including illegal aliens.

So why the bishops haste and aggressive posturing in pushing for something everybody already has and are satisfied with?

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89 Responses to Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

  • Tito,

    I think you’re absolutely right.

  • I have yet to find a bishop that can explain why they have been pushing for universal health coverage for these many years.

  • I really have to take issue with this. The FACT is that there are people who cannot afford adequate health care.

  • Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans

    I think the number is more like 68% (you’re forgetting the people covered under government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) In terms of funding it’s more like 50/50 government/nongovernment.

  • RR,

    There will always be people that cannot afford adequate health care.

    It also depends on what you mean by adequate.

    Pope Leo XIII states, “preferential option for the poor”, in Rerum Novarum, but doesn’t say “universal” option for the poor.

    Besides, the poor are covered under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act(EMTALA) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act(COBRA).

    The EMTALA states that It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment..

  • BA,

    It depends on what statistics you are looking at.

    The 93% I am quoting shows studies “that most Americans are overwhelmingly happy with their own health care”.

  • Neither did Pope Leo XIII say “preferential option for some of the poor.”

    The poor aren’t “covered.” They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?

    I was planning on writing about this very topic over the weekend. Hopefully, I can get to it tonight. Bottom line is I think you’re wrong and the bishops are right.

  • Why does a massive government takeover of health care have to be the only way to help the poor?

    There were other measures proposed that would have helped lower the cost of health care, which is abysmally high in the US – allowing people to buy insurance across state lines would have been a start.

    And, I have no problem if individual states want to go the Massachusetts way.

    But this federal monster could end up bankrupting dozens of states, causing the loss of millions of more jobs, and further crippling the country with massive debt. How does any of that help the poor? It hurts them.

  • “They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?”

    There’s no Catholic mandate to create a socialist utopia in which poverty becomes impossible. Sorry.

  • RR,

    Option does not mean absolutely necessary.

    You can’t change the meaning of the word option.

    I was quoting Pope Leo XIII.

    You are making stuff up, like many liberals do. So stop reading into Rerum Novarum what isn’t there, ie, forcing people to pay. This violates the Principle of Subsidiarity, not to mention you can’t force people against their will.

    Maybe you would learn this concept if you lived in the old Soviet Union.

    Over there you’ll learn really fast.

  • Absofreakinlutely right it violates the principle of subsidiarity. If only the USCCB would start talking about this aspect of the matter. But to expect them to do that is wishful thinking I know.

  • Long time reader, first time commenter.

    All EMTALA does is prevent emergency departments from refusing treatment to patients who cannot pay, and keeps EDs from transferring them to other institutions (AKA “dumping”)on the basis of their ability to pay. It does not preclude them from billing the patient for services rendered, which can be considerable. It also does not cover the cost of any prescriptions given as a result of the ED visit, nor does it have anything to do with maintenance care, which can help prevent the need for ED care in the first place.

    I’m not saying I am a proponent of the bill passed yeaterday, nor am I commenting on whether or not the bill passed violates subsidiarity. But EMTALA does not provide for anything more than immedate, acute care- it does not address most of the health care needs of people without insurance.

  • Because subsidiarity does not deny the need for solidarity nor that there are needs for structures to deal with needs which are not met at the local level, this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity. The fact that on the local level, the needs are not met, are not being met, and being left to as they are, people are dying, this demonstrates the need for action beyond the local level. And having an overarching structure also does not deny the local access: indeed, the bill is about _getting insurance_ and making sure insurance _doesn’t act like a ponzi scheme_. Oh well.

  • This post conveys a flawed understanding of subsidiarity. Worse, it violates the principle that all Catholic teaching, including social teaching, must be read as a whole. Subsidiarity does not exist without solidarity, preferential option for the poor, etc.

    Secondly, the post misrepresents the facts. Subsidiarity and solidarity obligate the higher level to step in when the lower order cannot provide. There is plenty of evidence that that situation exists. Also, there is, in some respects, more subsidiarity in the health care bill in that it provides more choices in payers than the present system. In some states, there is no competition in the insurance market and only large, dehumanizing insurers exists – which is itself contrary to the principle of subsidiarity.

  • For Catholic supporters of this bill, make your argument. I do not question your motives. But neither should those, such as myself, that hoped this bill would go down in flames have their motives questioned.

    I admire and adhere to (from the abstract plain of my disicpline, public affairs/political philosophy) the Catholic notion of subsidiarity. This bill is a violation, in my view, of both that of solidarity. I don’t particularly care to argue this point, but the Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking is much better: private catastrophic insurance for young and old, some public subsidies but no government control, and finally a more controlled spending curve.

    Our entitlements are about to eat us alive (and yes that includes Wilsonian adventures). Our “culture wars” are about to get a lot worse (“why should I subsidize that sort of lifestyle”?)

    This bill deserved to fail. Now we live with consequences. I hope that its supporters in the Catholic blogosphere respond charitably, and keep their moral preening and motive questioning in check.

  • It’s disingenuous to claim that needs were not being met at the local level when options that might have addressed local problems were never given a chance.

    This was nothing but a power grab, plain and simple.

    The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity? They’ll make their voices heard in the months to come, that’s to be sure, as this bill is nullified by state legislatures and voters, or possibly overturned by the courts.

  • Henry K & Charles,

    this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity.

    Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    Typical liberal strategies.

  • Tito, as others have pointed out, we aren’t making anything up. You are simply misunderstanding the principle of subsidiarity.

    jonathonjones, I would love to have seen what you call the “Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking.” But some here are arguing that even that would violate subsidiarity. They mistakenly believe that any federal meddling is unCatholic.

  • Ever More Out-of-Balance

    The correct balance between subsidiarity and solidarity would, of course, fall somewhere in the middle between “every man for himself” and “universal nationally-regulated health insurance system.” And prudential concerns would indicate the need for incremental adjustments.

    But Democrats opted to start from scratch and envision a plan which would transform the existing system into their ideal vision. That was unattainable, so they instead moved as sharply in the direction of that centralized, uniform, and mandatory system as they could possibly go given the political climate.

    Thus we have moved from somewhere in the middle between the extremes, to a spot hugely in the direction of one extreme. It requires only a cursory examination to realize that we’ve both neglected prudence and moved farther away from the balance-point between subsidiarity and solidarity than we started out.

    That’s reason enough to pray for repeal.

    Upheaval In Pursuit Of The Anointed Vision

    But if Democrats, in typical progressive fashion, decided to throw caution to the winds and envision their ideal system, how I do wish they’d have envisioned something compatible with not only the narrow “social justice” concerns of the Church, but more broadly with reality in general as the Church, pillar and bulwark of truth, recognizes it.

    For just as she is not ignorant of science, and so does not ask for impossible physics and medicine merely because social justice champions are prone to wishful thinking; so too she is not ignorant of the frictions which make human social systems imperfect, and so she does not ask for impossible economics and bass-ackward systems of incentives when social justice champions put more stress on the noble motives of their “reforms” than the outcomes likely to occur.

    Thomas Sowell correctly dissects this progressive habit of mind in his classic The Vision Of The Annointed. The plans Obama and Company originally pursued showed all the usual hubris of this group; the plan enacted was less so only because it wasn’t all they originally wanted.

    If they couldn’t resist the unwise urge for grandiosity, why oh why couldn’t it have been something wisely designed around the correct priorities and the need for helpful, rather than perverse, incentives?

    The Right Kind of Incentives

    In envisioning a health care system, we should always have had in mind the system of incentives we wished to create.

    First and foremost, human dignity obligates us to incentivize whatever self-provision the bulk of responsible adults can manage: Thus the Medical Savings Account should be the chief electronic wallet from which health care is purchased. This also puts the major emphasis where subsidiarity suggests it should go, at the individual level.

    Second, we want to get the most out of the pricing system generated by the free market: Thus medical care should be purchased directly by the consumer, directly from the provider, without middlemen (governments, HMOs) serving as pre-paid arbitrageurs who both distort prices by preventing consumer decisions from being transmitted as price-signals.

    Third, we want to provide an escape valve for those who encounter surprise catastrophic health care costs for which it was impossible that they could adequately save, even over a lifetime. Thus catastrophic care insurance — not pre-pay, but “if it happens” insurance — should be a part of the plan. The threshold for “catastrophic,” however, should be sufficiently high as to disincentivize risk-taking lifestyles from promiscuous sex to drunk driving to chain-smoking to radical obesity: It is a feature, not a bug, when a health care system makes such behaviors progressively impoverishing.

    Fourth, we want the poor to have assistance in building up their Health Savings. Vouchers and government-matching inversely proportional to income should keep them saving into their accounts and thus building up a “rainy day” fund.

    Fifth, we want children to be assisted outright. Health care costs for children could be reimbursed by the government at very high percentage rates for very young children, gradually tapering down to 0% by the time the child turns eighteen. Here, incentives are a lesser matter because children are not responsible for paying their own way.

    Sixth, we want voluntary almsgiving at the individual, community, state, and national levels to be incentivized, not displaced (as is usually the case in welfare state systems). A system which reports health care needs similar to the “Modest Needs” website could serve this function.

    The Right Balance of Subsidiarity and Solidarity

    In addition to envisioning the right kinds of incentives, we should also have had a vision in mind for how a system which recognized the complimentary (not always competing) claims of subsidiarity and solidarity would look.

    It’s primary mode of provision would be based on private purchase; its secondary mode of provision would be based on voluntary charity; its tertiary mode of provision would be through government compulsion via taxation.

    Its primary decision-making and governance would be on the level of individuals as they made purchase choices in the health care market; secondary on the level of communities, tertiary on the level of states, and last of all on the federal level.

    Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

    That’s what we ought to have gone for, once we decided to do something grandiose.

    Instead, we have this dog’s breakfast — or will have, for as long as it takes to shove it back inside the dog, God willing.

  • RR,

    You’ve made no points yet you use Henry’s and Charle’s infantile attacks on me as a “reason”.

    Don’t be a slacker and do your own thinking for once instead of getting your marching orders from the Democratic Party.

  • R.C.,

    Well thought out points on balancing solidarity and subsidiarity.

    Sadly Henry K. and Charles weren’t arguing that, they were only mudslinging to smear me. Not debate the substance.

  • Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    You are the one who attacked the poster with the typical liberal comment. Because I pointed out the problem of your use of subsidiarity. In ecclesiology, it would mean the Pope shouldn’t be able do anything with any canon laws, if one followed your lead.

  • Now you’re offended for being a liberal?

    😉

  • Federal “meddling” may or may not violate subsidiarity – I won’t say that it does in every single case.

    But we also have a Constitution. Why don’t we just get rid of that, so that Obama can single-handedly legislate us into a utopia. And we can print another 50 trillion dollars without any economic consequences to pay for it. Or we can shift all of the burden onto the states, almost all of which are facing severe budget crises. Or we can beg the Chinese and Japanese to keep buying our securities. The US is the greatest debtor nation in the world, but hey, lets not let that stop us from establishing programs with a price tag only a little short of the entire GDP.

    Catholic social teaching isn’t magic, and the Papacy has never insisted on this Fantasia style of government, where the executive waves a magic wand and creates resources ex nihilo for unlimited consumption. To suggest that solidarity or subsidiarity are bankruptcy pacts, or that they allow any politician at any time to ride roughshod over the laws of a particular nation, is a falsification of Catholic social thought, as immoral as it is absurd.

  • I agree with Joe that there is a role for the Federal government, with respect to Restrained Radical, Henry K., and Charles, but like Mr. Hargrave says, not in every single case.

    Where is the line drawn?

  • I have always said, Tito, I am not a liberal. It is wrong to claim I am. It is also an ad homimen.

  • You still don’t know what an ad hominem is. It isn’t a synonym for insult. If Tito were to argue, “because (I think) you are a liberal, your argument is wrong”, THAT would be an ad hominem.

    Identifying an argument one doesn’t like with a label one doesn’t like isn’t the same as rejecting an argument simply because of a label attached to the person making it. I’ll let Tito decide which one of these he’s doing.

  • Henry K.,

    Must have escaped me when you said it in the past.

    I won’t do it again buddy.

    And I was being cute, not nasty.

    (Thanks Joe)

  • The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity?

    They were. Nobody was stopping them. That’s why Massachusetts was able to do it. Without this federal bill, a handful of other states would’ve followed suit. But too many states would not have. The federal government had to step in.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion of the issues here. I agree with jonathan, Henry, Charles, and RC. We are all saying that the federal government CAN bypass the state and impose health care reform. Tito believes that violates subsidiarity.

  • RR,

    When you say bypass, are speaking in the context of a Catholic or as a U.S. citizen.

    As a Catholic the federal government can step in, if local governments and/or non-governmental organizations are unable to fill that gap.

    And only if it is done in solidarity (since that wasn’t my argument, but I’m throwing it in there to avoid getting this thread hijacked

    From the perspective of a U.S. citizen, I’m all for representative republic, but not at the expense of the minorities, ie, such as the minority party in congress, the GOP. But that’s for another thread, not this thread.

  • Joe

    I very much know what an ad homimen is. You are right, it is not to insult. But it is to use some aspect of the person making the message (claiming they are liberal) to dismiss their argument. He didn’t respond to the argument. He just said “liberals” as if that answered it all. Classical ad homimen. But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.

  • Henry,

    It wasn’t an ad hominem.

    Though it’s quite telling that you take it as such.

  • “But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.”

    By your standards, THAT’S an ad hominem. Run along now, you’ve failed to make any impression or change anyone’s mind for the 50th time here.

  • As a Scalian, I think the bill is unconstitutional, as is the federal partial birth abortion ban. But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds. I’m speaking as a Catholic.

    Most of us here seem to believe that the federal government could impose some form of universal health care without violating subsidiarity, even though we may disagree with this particular bill.

  • RR,

    We agree in theory.

    I think most, if not all of us here, agree with your statement.

    What’s a “Scalian”?

    As in Antonin Scalia and skepticism in the 6th Amendment?

    As for…

    But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds.

    We aren’t Ba’al worshipers if that is your point.

  • The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

    You are free to think that “Obamacare” violates the principle of subsidiarity. That is a matter of debate. But this definition of subsidiarity is simply incorrect. Subsidiarity means the handling of affairs at the lowest appropriate level. Consider, for example, why putting “national defense” at the level of city government might be a problem. Something tells me that you would not be in favor of that. I point this out as someone who definitely agrees with the impulse to keep things as local as possible.

  • I used “Scalian” as an admittedly imprecise shorthand for a Meaning Originalist (as opposed to an Intent Originalist).

    I think there are too many Americans who think man should serve the Constitution, not the other way around.

  • Tito,

    “Universal” is not a synonym for “socialized” or “federally managed.” There is no contradiction between a goal of universal health coverage and a goal of subsidiarity.

    R.C.’s description is one approach to universal health care. It’s probably not the only one, but it does show that subsidiarity and solidarity work together to promote the common (which can be taken to mean “universal” among other things) good.

    I would only add that subsidiarity is not simply The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government, as you put it. Subsidiarity is the ordering of appropriate functions to appropriate aspects of society. For example, some decisions appear to affect only an individual, but are best made by a family.

  • To clarify, the health care bill may indeed violate subsidiarity, but it does not do so simply because it seeks universal availability of health care. (I don’t know the details of the bill well enough to critique it on that basis; but most federal legislation seems to violate subsidiarity in at least minor ways.)

    Nor are the bishops hypocrites for seeking universal access to health care. That’s all.

  • Most of the time, I find that those who say that the principle of subsidiarity is not violated by the recent health care bill have simply defined the object as “universal health care.” Therefore, since no state can provide universal health care for the United States, or even for all the poor in the United States, subsidiarity is not violated by federal action.

    However, aside from my guess as to how the proponents of such a massive bill excuse its existence, there are the following points from Rerum to consider:

    “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

    This indicates that reform of the costliness plus programs to remedy the state of the poor who cannot otherwise afford it are to be desired here. The “Obamacare” bill then violates subsidiarity insofar as it goes beyond these measures. And indeed, though in a different context, we find in RN the statement, “But every precaution should be taken not to violate the rights of individuals and not to impose unreasonable regulations under pretense of public benefit.”

    But, then, I think it is also worthwhile to turn to Quadragesimo Anno, which states that although “[w]hen we speak of the reform of institutions, the State comes chiefly to mind,” still:

    “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.”

    Mutual health organizations, currently heavily regulated, could do such things, and indeed have been proposed. Under this legislation, they are absorbed. Moreover, “Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands.” Necessity did not demand that the government replace the present system with something much different – it likely demanded reform of the present system and care of the most poor – which was clearly violated.

    Turning also to Mater et Magistra, we see that although “[t]he present advance in scientific knowledge and productive technology clearly puts it within the power of the public authority to a much greater degree than ever before to reduce imbalances which may exist between different branches of the economy,” still and yet, “it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family.”

    I do not think that “Obamacare” leaves the latter to the man. I think it, in fact, does far more than is necessary, and eradicates part of the primary responsibility of the man. Part of the problem of this is that “experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.”

    And indeed, the importance and role of the state is reiterated as reinforcing groups and associations, not in replacing them: “As these mutual ties binding the men of our age one to the other grow and develop, governments will the more easily achieve a right order the more they succeed in striking a balance between the autonomous and active collaboration of individuals and groups, and the timely coordination and encouragement by the State of these private undertakings.”

    In many other places in Magister, the Pope discusses the dangers and the need of safeguards against the concentration of power in too few people. Those who see in Obamacare a great good for many people will also find support in that encyclical (as in others), but if they do not find a heavy warning and desire for temperance of state power (which does not exist in Obamacare), then they do not read carefully.

    Finally, turning to Centesimus Annus, we again find the same idea of subsidiarity as a limitation on state power:

    “The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both directly and indirectly. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and sources of wealth. Directly and according to the principle of solidarity, by defending the weakest, by placing certain limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions, and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the unemployed worker.”

    The phrase “necessary minimum support for the unemployed worked” aligns very nicely with the idea of a minimum provision bill combined with a careful reform of existing institutions. It does not align with Obamacare.

    And again:

    “Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

    And in fact, “One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    Obamacare may indeed appear to assist, or even actually assist, with some overarching goals of Catholic social justice. But it is well to remember that the Church is concerned not only with ends, but with means, and with motivations. Making common cause with those who would uphold this sort of legisation as supportable in a Catholic sense would be as dangerous as allying with those who would deny any state actor any role at all in regulation of health care.

  • Michael I,

    You’ve finally made a post around here that I don’t find objectionable in the slightest.

    If I had champagne on hand, I’d drink a toast.

  • 10th amendment period.

  • I think someone misunderstood me, if they interpreted my words to mean that I think this Federal bill, or even one which implemented my perfect plan purely through Federal authority, would be Constitutional.

    The Tenth Amendment clearly states the relevant principles:

    1. The Federal government has just authority only because it is a group of employees hired by (a.) the states, to exercise partially a specific subset of state authority (which the states only have because it was delegated to them by the people); and, (b.) the people, to exercise partially a specific subset of the just authority of individuals (which the people only have because it is delegated to them by God, or to say the same thing another way, because it is intrinsic to their God-given dignity as human beings);

    2. Any authority not delegated to the Federal government by its employers (the states and the people), it does not have;

    3. The Constitution is a sort of employment contract or job description for the Federal government, inasmuch as it is the sole vehicle for specifying the particular enumerated powers delegated to the Federal government by the states and/or the people.

    I’m more prone to verbosity than the Founding Fathers, so their text sums up the above quite succinctly: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    Now as a matter of fact, the Federal government has no just authority to enact this health insurance bill. I can say this with utter confidence, because the relevant authority was never delegated to them. In fact, in many (perhaps most? I haven’t read enough of their constitutions to say) states, the relevant authority does not even reside in the states, from a textual standpoint. And there’s some question whether, as a matter of Natural Law, parts of the relevant authority resides in individuals at all.

    If individuals lack the relevant authority, they cannot delegate it to their employees, the states; even if they have the authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it unless they actually did so by mutual consent in their adopted constitutions; if the states and the people happen to have the relevant authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it to the federal government unless they actually did so by mutual consent in the Constitution adopted and ratified by the several states; and the relevant authority is, in absolute fact, not listed. It is not among the enumerated powers of the Federal government.

    And this all goes without saying for anyone who has studied the text and the opinions of the Founding Fathers about the meaning of what they wrote. Someone who argues that a national health insurance bill of this type, adopted through procedures of this type, fell within the intended authority granted to Congress by the Constitution as the framers intended, is utterly ignorant of the topic. It is a ridiculous anachronism easily refuted by all commentary on the Constitution, from the Federalist papers to the personal correspondence of the Founding Fathers. It is like saying that, when the Apostle John referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” in his gospel, he intended to convey that he and Our Lord were gay lovers. It is jackassery of the first degree.

    BUT…

    The plain fact is that from the court-packing scheme of FDR onward, where the path of Supreme Court jurisprudence was, through outright extortion, ripped away from anything approaching respect for the text, our Constitutional jurisprudence is chock-full of first-degree jackassery.

    It is also plain fact that Congress doesn’t much give a frog’s fat fanny any more whether they have just authority under the Constitution or not to do, well, much of anything. Since the Senators became directly elected by the people, the state legislatures lost their voice in national governance and the states no longer have any obvious voice by which to prevent federal usurpation of their powers.

    And the people? They watch American Idol, or Jerry Springer, or whatever; it’s hard to keep up.

    So it is in the context of our execrable situation, which is unlikely to change soon, that I am willing to countenance Federal legislation which I hope will be helpful, even though I believe it utterly unconstitutional and would gladly see the constitutional (and subsidiarist) balance restored in the U.S. if it could be.

    I could stick to my principles and say nothing but “Hell, no” to any bill which I thought unconstitutional according to Framer’s Intent; and I would do just that were I in Congress. But as a voter, I know that this message, once uttered, is drowned almost instantaneously in the far louder debate about the merits of the bill, legality be damned.

    And so I wrote the post above, dealing with the lack of merit of the bill, and envisioning what would be the attributes of a truly meritorious bill, if one were ever to be introduced…and if it were wise to jump to a radically revamped system in one fell swoop, which it absolutely isn’t…and if the Federal government had just authority to enact it all by it’s lonesome, which I think it doesn’t and shouldn’t.

    I hope that clarifies my position.

  • To Michael Iafrate (and Joe Hargrave):

    You can count me in with Joe, Michael, about agreeing with what you said in defining subsidiarity. It was precisely correct: an apple of gold in a silver setting.

    So, champagne all around. (Since it’s not like we’re likely to have anything else to celebrate in the near future…!)

  • Bookmarking this page for Jonathan’s comment. It raises a question about when it’s acceptable to support an imperfect bill. Is overreach a nonnegotiable evil? What if ObamaCare also outlawed abortion (ignore the constitutionality for argument’s sake)?

  • R.C. nice post. All except the BUT.

    I posted, “10th amendment, period.”

    Compromise, despite how far we may have fallen is unacceptable.

    When you commit a venial sin do you have an excuse to commit a mortal sin, or an obligation to resist the downward pull and repent?

    If we are to truly live the Catholic faith, we are to be uncompromising. The 10th amendment is right and just and despite the fact that it has been trodden under foot, it it still law.

  • RC,

    It clarifies it, I suppose, but I don’t understand the point.

    We can say “hell no” — we can try and nullify this thing. Legal challenges are already being issued, invoking the interstate commerce clause.

    Here’s the issue for me, at least with regard to this discussion: the Constitution is the law of the land in the US. Now I happen to think that the Constitution, faithfully interpreted, is a subsidiarist document.

    But lets say this healthcare bill was truly subsidiarist – I don’t think it is but for the sake of argument. In that case I still don’t think we have any moral obligation to support it, as some left Catholics appear to be insisting.

    As I said before – fidelity to subsidiarity was never intended by the Papacy to be a bankruptcy pact. I am not going to argue that deficit spending is always and inherently immoral; but I do believe it can become so given the circumstances and the consequences.

    In these circumstances and with the likely economic consequences, not only do I think opposing this bill is NOT immoral or somehow out of step with Catholic teaching; I think promoting it with the full knowledge that it will cost nearly 1 trillion dollars that we don’t have, after Obama bailed out Wall Street, passed a stimulus bill that has failed to create jobs, and expanded the American empire – and with the knowledge that it will place a crushing financial burden on states that are teetering on the edge of fiscal meltdown – could very well be morally questionable.

    There is no mandate in CST to spend money you don’t have, whether you are an individual or a government. You can’t ram the concept of “solidarity” as an abstract ideal down the throat of a real society and body politic that can’t digest it.

    I do believe in solidarity. But I believe in real local solutions – distributism, worker and community ownership of businesses, common good banking, and other means of raising capital to fund the projects and programs that will embody our values as Christians and Catholics.

    This federal program is a nightmare. In my opinion, as a student of Catholic social teaching and the many Papal encyclicals on these questions, I say no Catholic is obliged to support it.

  • Deficit spending of money borrowed from one single entity that makes the money out of thin air at usurious rates is always and everywhere immoral, wrong, stupid and dangerous.

    I agree that no Catholic is obliged to support this debacle; however, we are obligated to oppose it. I am not condemning any one’s soul because some people are ignorant – ignorance may reduce murder to man slaughter, but an innocent is still dead and you did it – I know you didn’t mean to, but they are still dead and you are still guilty, only slightly less so.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    I am still paying bills, still have poor credit, and am now a janitor working full time, but forced to live with my in-laws and forgo health care for my young son and wife.

    God will judge this nation, I promise you.

  • No doubt Nate, and I think He will find immense good as well as bad. Sounds like you are a bit sour about your present situation. The remedy is in your hands as it is with all able bodied people with no mental handicap. As the father of an autistic young man who will never have the opportunity to make his way in the world unaided, assistance his mother and I happily give him, I have limited patience for people who have sound minds and bodies and then gripe about lack of opportunity. Opportunities for honest employment and advancement are endless in this society for those willing to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

  • Nate,

    I’m not exactly driving around in a Cadillac myself.

    Like I said before: if we didn’t have trillion dollar banker bailouts, failed stimulus packages, and imperial wars, it would be different.

    In fact, I think it would be cheaper for the government to simply pay the tab of anyone with a treatable life-threatening illness than it would be for this monstrosity.

    There is no doubt that we live in a broken society worthy of judgment and possibly condemnation. The federal takeover of healthcare is not going to change that – that, I can promise you.

  • This is the boldest claim to this end on the conundrum with our Catholic principle of Subsidiarity and the USCCB supporting the bill save for the absence of the abortion language.

    If this bill had passed with the Stupak Language, it still would have done a lot of damage to the dignity and sanctity of life.

    People wrongly say that Rerum Novarum does not address Health Care, but it does!

    An excerpt-parenthesis are mine:

    “To cure this evil (of injustice), the Socialists, exciting the envy of the poor toward the rich, contend that it is necessary to do away with private possession of goods (my paycheck and yours) and in its place to make the goods of individuals (through redistribution of monies) common to all, and that the men who preside over a municipality or who direct the entire State should act as administrators of these goods. They hold that, by such a transfer of private goods from private individuals to the community, they can cure the present evil through dividing wealth and benefits equally among the citizens. But their program is so unsuited for terminating the conflict that it actually injures the workers themselves. Moreover, it is highly unjust, because it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion.”

  • RN doesn’t condemn taxation. Some people have to think through their condemnations more thoroughly.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t such a person be eligible for Medicaid already?

  • RN absolutely DOES condemn what Leo called excessive taxation. Summarizing his list of the positive benefits of worker ownership of productive property, Leo concludes:

    “These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

    Now what constitutes “excessive” or “more than [what] is fair” might be open for debate, but Phillipus’ quote is not limited to taxation.

    It has to do with the FUNCTION of government as well.

    “it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion”

    Sounds like an accurate description of Obamacare to me.

  • Not entirely OT, from Chicago Breaking News:

    While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

    Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

    The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

    But of course, nothing like this could ever happen under the Obama healthcare plan. These liberal pols, who care so much about the poor, would never use their power and influence to jump ahead on government waiting lists for transplants or expensive treatment. Only heartless conservatives would do such things…

  • Well, I don’t condemn taxation; government has legitimate functions that must be funded. How the tax burden should be shared is mostly a question of prudence, though certainly it would be immoral to tax families at the expense of true necessities. I disagree with the proposition that CST somehow endorses low taxes and small government any more than it endorses high taxes and large government. I prefer the former for all manner of prudential reasons, including some grounded in my own life experiences; but many smart good Catholics prefer the latter. It is very difficult to secure confident truths about public policy options because it is so hard to sort out why people do what they do.

    The UCCB is wrong to weigh in in support of this health care bill because it is beyond its charism, which is to speak out against intrinsically immoral things, such as government funding of abortion. They would be wrong to oppose it as well.

    Reminds me of the time the managing partner of my law firm wrote an op-ed piece in favor of gay marriage. He is free to do this of course, but many of us took great umbrage at his being introduced as our managing partner. That office carries with it no special wisdom on the issue, and he should have been more careful to avoid any suggestion that he was speaking on behalf of our firm or that his opinion somehow carries greater weight because of the office we gave him.

  • Donna, isn’t that news report just filthy Chicago political corruption all over? News flash for everyone who doesn’t live in Illinois: this is exactly the political atmosphere in which Obama learned the trade of a politician. Chicago politics have been a sewer forever, as accurately portrayed in this clip from the Untouchables.

    Ness was brought in because Chicago law enforcement was just as corrupt as portrayed in the film.

  • Mike,

    I think the extent to which our Constitution does not conflict with CST is the extent to which we ought to follow it.

    I’m not bringing this up because I think you claimed it, but throwing it out there as relevant to the topic:

    I’ve never seen a Papal document insisting that Americans scrap their Constitution and replace it with the Compendium of the social teaching, or a European-style welfare state. In fact, JP II condemned welfare bureaucracies in Centesimus Annus.

    “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (48)

    I think this is precisely why so many people opposed Obamacare, and why Catholics are well within the boundaries of CST if they oppose it.

  • Joe, I agree completely on all counts. Surprisingly (perhaps) I do not at all take issue with those Catholics who support ObamaCare (assuming the abortion issue has been satisfactorily addressed — its own issue of course). I give Catholics a wide berth. That said, I do believe it is arrogant for the bishops to weigh in (as bishops) on something they really don’t know any more than you, me or any other AC commentator.

  • Yeah, I agree Mike… its not “unCatholic” necessarily to support it, though I would remind everyone of those warnings about the welfare state from JP II.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the Catholics who DO support it are insisting that you’re basically an anti-Christ who hates poor people if you don’t support it.

    On a final note, I don’t mind the bishops “weighing in”, in theory: in practice, they only listen to left-leaning researchers. I never hear them talk about fiscal responsibility. Why is that out of the realm of moral teaching? Why is it OK to propose and enact grandiose schemes that could bankrupt a society?

    On a related note:

    People who think this is “consequentialism” are – to put it mildly – incredibly naive (or dishonestly abusing rhetoric, as some people who drop in here from time to time enjoy doing). It is perfectly legitimate and I would argue morally obligatory to consider the consequences of ANY action or policy.

    “Consequentialism” is only when one proposes doing evil to achieve a good end – not taking into account the great evils that could occur from the pursuit of good intentions.

  • Again, Joe, agreed. I pay no mind to those who claim that a Catholic must support ObamaCare for the simple reason that the assertion is stupid and I’m far too busy to deal with such nonsense. I also agree that it is possible for bishops to exercise a prudential opinion as bishops but only if the prudential component is not subject to reasonable debate (one can at least argue that the Iraq War satisfied this standard — though such an argument is not air tight). ObamaCare does not come close. Hence, my accusation of arrogance.

  • Joe:

    Well, of course I want the bill nullified, in the court system or by nearly any other means short of violence.

    You say you don’t understand the point of my second post. I think, from your reaction and “American Knight’s” reaction, that I used the wrong word when I said I would “countenance” a bill despite being opposed to it because it was unconstitutional. A better phrasing would have been to say that, while I would still vote against it and work for its defeat, I was willing to debate its merits, measured against the standards of Catholic teaching, apart from the question of constitutionality.

    Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles. (And, as I indicated, I fear the mere fact of something being unconstitutional often doesn’t prevent it being enacted these days.)

    With Obamacare, obviously the abortion thing made it not a good fit with Catholic principles. But I thought there were other things, as well, which made it not a good fit. It seemed to me that when a correct balance of subsidiarity and solidarity was taken into account, the result would be nothing like this bill.

    So I laid out what I thought were the relevant guidelines for a bill which would follow Catholic principles and showed how Obamacare didn’t fit. In the process of doing so, I gave a hypothetical example of an approach which would match Catholic principles far more closely.

    That was all in my first post.

    Sometime thereafter, RestrainedRadical came in and, referring to my hypothetical example, said that I thought federal programs like this were constitutional.

    Since that wasn’t what I meant at all, I wrote my second post to make it clear that I didn’t. The sole purpose of my hypothetical example was to show by comparison how much more Catholic (and generally wise) a bill could be, compared to the Obamacare bill. I would not want even my hypothetical example to be implemented by the kind of federal overreach used for the Obamacare bill.

    I hope that helps make sense of what I was saying.

    On another, but related, topic: Joe, can you help me out on something?

    In discussing the government-provided health insurance issue in another forum, I recently had occasion to quote St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3, the “if a man refuses to work, he ought not eat” bit.

    I took St. Paul to mean, reasonably enough I think, that Christians are under no moral obligation to subsidize a moocher who is entirely able to pay his own way but chooses to remain dependent on others despite having no disability or hardship to prevent him from gainful employment. I did not apply the verse to folk who’re in need through no fault of their own.

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    I don’t mean to talk behind the fellow’s back; and indeed if he sees this note and chooses to reply, that’s fine.

    But I thought that you, Joe, could perhaps give me insight into this point-of-view. To me it seemed pretty wacky but I’m trying not to dismiss the possibility that there’s some logic to it. Any ideas?

  • RC,

    “Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles.”

    Same here. I should have read your first post more carefully.

    Now, as for your questions:

    “Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher?”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    This passage is easy, however to misinterpret, if it is meant to apply to public policy. The CCC, 2427, states:

    “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

    So there is your passage, right there in the Catechism. Work is a duty. However, I would add the following considerations:

    Jesus does say that we are to give freely to all who ask (Matthew 5:42). In my view, this means the following: if a person on the street asks for money, we don’t make a federal case out of it, we don’t attempt to do an impromptu background check and grill them with a bunch of questions, and we don’t assume that they’ll spend the money on booze or drugs if they say they’re using it for food or gas.

    I’ve parted with the money in my wallet with a suspicion that the money might not be used well, but without knowing for certain, I erred on the side of charity. I believe this is what we are called to do as Christians.

    However, if we are talking about a situation in which a known liar and moocher asks for money or something else, then I believe we are fully within our rights to deny them, or, if we can, place conditions on our assistance. We will help them, in other words, on the condition that they make a serious effort to improve their position, to the best of their ability.

    In none of these scenarios do we find prescription for public policy. The Gospels are very thin on political theory, probably for a good reason: virtue is only meaningful if it is the result of a free choice. Jesus says “render unto Caesar”, and Paul says to obey the lawful authorities. The Apostles say to obey them only insofar as they do not conflict with God’s laws.

    Of course, Caesar Obama is not authorized by the Constitution to force us to buy health insurance, or to plunder the treasury to finance universal health care, so in resisting Obamacare we aren’t violating any Christian teaching that I know of.

    “Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?”

    Absolutely not. The encyclicals do not contradict the Catechism. When they speak of economic issues, the presuppose a desire to work for a living on the part of the poor, as well as various problems that prevent full employment.

    The Church teaches that societies are obligated to find ways to provide employment for all. But the obligation to actually do the work rests upon us as individuals.

    John Paul II condemned the “Social Assistance State”, which at its absolute worst subsidizes idleness and laziness. So I would say Catholics have no grounds for insisting that the state do any such thing.

  • Donald and Joe – I don’t have much of a position on this health care debate. In the face of reality, it all seems like smoke.

  • This so-called health care reform bill and the Bishop’s position on the bill praising the increase access for the poor has caused me to research the Church’s positon on Social Justice. I wasn’t aware what a leftest organization that the US Catholic Bishops are.

    Social Justice is in many ways is a less offensive word for Socialism / Marxism.

    Subsidiarity is lost in current Catholic teachings.

    It is not charity when one is forced by the threat of imprisonment to pay for anothers’s health care through taxes.

    I use to feel good about charity to the Church. I’m less inclined to support the Bishop’s from this point forward.

  • Dan,

    That makes two of us.

    I’m less inclined to support the bishops in anything they push in “our” name.

  • We are obligated to be obedient to our bishops – they are the successors of the Apostles. Of course, that obligation is limited to their authority as Apostles – primarily in matters of faith and morals.

    The Bishops financial charity is not an obligation. I strongly suggest that we do it; however, I have been struggling with this all through Lent. Not because of the bishop – I actually have an excellent, faithful son of the Church, pro-life, loving shepherd as my bishop. I assisted at a Mass he celebrated yesterday and had a chance to speak to his excellency during dinner after. He is a wonderful and loving man and a good bishop. He also told me his schedule is already booked for two years. It is not easy being a bishop, especially these days when administration and litigation takes up so much of his time.

    The Enemy is using our twisted culture to force our bishops to be so busy with ancillary things that they are fatigued when it comes to their apostolic mission. We must pray for them.

    The problem with the bishops’ financial charity is that it is administered by bureaucrats and they are overwhelmingly leftists and barely qualify as Catholic, if at all.

    I fear that my money ends up being used to support the enemies of the Church. I am strongly considering directing those funds to our seminary in the name of my pastor and my bishop, rather than to the diocese. This is a difficult choice. Prayer is helping, but I am such a sinner that I haven’t been inspired one way or the other yet. It is so much easier to make decisions as a secularist – they all lead to hell so it doesn’t really matter.

    I am also considering what to do about being a Knight of Columbus, since I just found out that Bart Stupak is too!

    Pray much my friends our government is quickly working to become the enemy of the Church. We must be prepared, like St. Thomas More, I am my country’s servant, but God’s first.

    Pray also for the poor Catholics who chose to seek (not achieve) good ends by the means of the enemy. Socialism, big government, collectivism are never compatible with our beliefs. We may have to live under tyranny, but we cannot cooperate with it. I know I will be chided for equating tyranny with this so-called health care reform bill – but the facts are the facts – this bill is merely one step toward total government (perhaps global) and marginalization of the Church and then out right persecution. It has happened before, it can happen again. Of course, Judgment could come any time before it happens too.

    Engage all the mental gymnastics you want – this law is not only illicit because it does not subordinate itself to the law of the land – the Constitution, but it also opposes our beliefs while couching itself in the tenets of our faith. The devil is smarter than we are. Don’t be fooled by him – we are children of God and heirs of His Kingdom.

  • Dan, then why don’t you take Glenn Beck’s advice and join another church since you’re obviously taking your cues from him?

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    R.C. – In our conversation I said nothing about having an obligation “to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher.” Those were not the terms of the discussion at all. In fact that way of framing it is so incredibly vague that it’s unhelpful. We were talking specifically about health care. When it comes to health care, the church insists that health care is a human right. Yes, “moochers,” even known “moochers,” deserve health care. Whether or not you should flip a quarter to a person you “know” to be a “moocher” is probably up for debate. Sorry, but health care is not. People that you, based on republican assumptions, deem to be the “undeserving poor” still possess basic human rights whether you like it or not.

  • Michael is correct – the right to life includes the right to adequate care of their health. This is true regardless of what human being we are talking about. Jesus demonstrated that when he healed the ear of the sinner who came to arrest him.

  • Don’t forget about the 10th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal.

    By taking money away from people against their will is not Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘But whom do I treat unjustly,’ you say, ‘by keeping what is my own?’ Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From what did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

  • Henry, individuals and households do manage to produce salable goods and services. We are not all just drawing from some endowment left to us.

  • Oh, and when you say you have a ‘need’, you have an implicit purpose in mind.

  • Tito, my friend,

    I believe “thou shalt not steal” is the 7th commandment… 8th if you read a heretic Bible 🙂

    Nate, my other friend,

    The right to health care does not = the right to federally subsidized health care. I agree that the government has a duty to take some action to make health care accessible – it could do so in any number of ways short of this monstrous and unconstitutional power grab.

    I maintain that Catholics are well within the bounds of Church teaching in rejecting Obamacare, and reitirate John Paul II’s and the Compendium’s condemnation of the expansion of bloated welfare bureaucracies, Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of excessive and unfair taxation, the principle of subsidiarity, AND the fact that CST does NOT require us to dismantle the rule of law in this country – which is the Constitution – in pursuit of utopian ideals we cannot afford.

  • Joe,

    You are correct.

    I had two commandments in mind, but only one came out.

    The 10th is Though Shalt Not Covet.

    Darn N.A.B. Bible. I need to stop reading USCCB propaganda.

    😉

  • Who are the greedy. Those who are not satisfied with what suffices for their own needs. Who are the robbers? Those who take for themselves what rightfully belong to everyone. And you, are you not greedy? Are you not a robber? The things you received in trust as stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? IS not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward man as you might have aided, and did not

  • The redistribution of wealth can never be condoned by breaking 1/5th of the Commandments.

  • Therefore let us use our goods sparingly, as belong to others, so that they may become our own. How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend them beyond our needs, and do not spend them for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor. If you are affluent, but spend more than you need, you will give an account of the funds which were entrusted to you.

  • Henry, get to the big “reveal” already.

  • Henry is quoting St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church. I suppose he’s putting chunks up slowly hoping that someone will protest against something so that he can then pounce with an “Aha!”

  • John:

    Yeah, I knew he was quoting someone, and engaged in some kind of point-scoring exercise. I had just reached my “Monty Python chorus” moment: “GET ON WITH IT!”

  • Tito is right again.

    St. Basil is absolutely right to condemn selfish people as robbers and thieves. We should give freely and generously – freely being the operative word.

    What exactly does St. Basil have to say about the role of the state? Oh wait… nothing. At least that I know of. If he did say something, I would be interested in seeing it.

    In any case, we have the political philosophy of the Catholic Church to guide us. And what it says is clear.

  • Listen and groan, all of you who overlook your suffering brethren, or rather, Christ’s brethren, and do not give the poor a share of your abundant food, shelter, clothing and care as appropriate, nor offer your surplus to meet their need.

  • ::wonders if sanctimonious lecturing ever changed anyone’s mind on anything, ever::

  • I dunno, Joe. Maybe you could go post “Liber Gomorrhianus” by St. Peter Damien in its entirety in the gay marriage thread over at Vox Nova and see how long it stays.

  • Health care is certainly a right when the means to provide it are available to a degree – there are circumstances that render it untenable some are natural, we don’t know how to cure cancer, a cure for HIV-AIDS is also elusive. Others are our responsibility. Saddling physicians with so much regulation, litigation and insurance costs not to mention the ridiculous cost of their education is dwindling the numbers of physicians we have. Additionally you cannot secure a right for everyone by destroying the means and the capacity to provide that same to anyone.

    Does Jesus want us to take care of the sick? Of course, to the best of our capacity; however, His primary task is for us to pray for the health of their souls and not simply their bodies. The healing miracles Jesus performed where visible signs of his healing message – primarily healing our souls. Furthermore, most of the sick need comfort more than they need medical treatment. Some of us have chronic illnesses, it sucks, but that is just another cross to bear – frankly, I’d rather bear the cross of diabetes than vanity by seeking to be the one who forces others to ‘charitable’. Judas always comes to mind – he always championed the plight of the poor, while he was pilfering the purse.

    I won’t judge anyone’s interior intentions, not my place, but all y’all who are constantly whining about the poor are usually liars and self-seeking vain, prideful ones at that. Charity must be love, it cannot be force, government cannot love. Government does have a responsibility to ensure that the natural free market, the charitable intent of her citizens and the settlement of disputes are not hampered so as to provide access to medical care, when it is possible. Medical care, for acute physical ailments – not health care per se.

    Health care is broader than medical care it includes food, shelter, exercise, education, etc. government cannot provide that, the only ones that come close to even promising that are socialist at best and totalitarian ultimately. As Catholics, we cannot support that kind of a state.

    Furthermore, what kind of contortion do you have to do in order to categorize killing babies and elderly, giving sexual stimulants to perverts, sex changes to poor twisted souls, etc. as health care and then consider that a right according to CST? Y’all who propose and support this twisted logic should get on your knees and thank God for His Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance.

    Again, I will make the bold statement that Catholics not only cannot support this ‘law’, we must oppose it. It is anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-American. We are commanded to be pro-life, pro-Christ and patriotic.

  • In a free society many people do not understand the differnece between a human right a a human need.

    Health care and food are essential to life and are human needs. But needs do not give one a right to property of others. If I’m hungry I do not have the right to steal from you.

    Charity is when you freely give to someone in need. Non-voluntary redistribution of wealth is not charity, but theivery.

    I’ve encounter the moocher that Micheal talked about and have given him money for food. The moocher turned around and told me he was buying beer with the money I gave.

    I’ve not stopped giving to street people, but now walk the person to the nearest store and buy a sandwich. Sometimes the person looses interst and this weeds out people looking for beer.

    I’m afraid this health care reform bill with it’s affordablity credits will discourgage people from doing what they can do for themselves. With a big goverment program there is no opportunity to weed out the moochers and give to the people with true needs. Moochers will multiply without close managment of resources. If the resources are not mananged correctly there will not be enough for those with true needs. This health care bill will certainly provide more beer for the moochers.

    In a society that is not free, there are no human rights, and plenty of unmet human needs. If we continue down the road to socialism, our rights like freedom of speech and religion will be in jeopordy.

  • Dan,

    Freedom of religion will not be curtailed in the USA. All will be free to practice all manner of religion, well, except those pesky Catholics with all that doctrine and dogma – we can’t have that.

    I refrain from giving money to beggars because I will not enable them in doing harm to themselves, but I will always buy them food and drink (not alcohol) or even a blanket or a jacket. I know they can turn around and sell it for drugs, but I can only exercise the prudence that is possible with the charity that is required.

    Social welfare programs invite a self-perpetuating bureaucracy and like any other system it needs clients. Helping poor people improve their situation will render them no longer poor and so you’ve lost a client. It is far better to waste wealth to increase the quantity of poor. Notice how many more poor people (if you can truly call the poor in America poor compared to the poor elsewhere) since the Great Society.

    Is it really justice to incentivize and perpetuate the less fortunate in a state of dependency while increasing the numbers of those who are dependent?

    I don’t think that is quite what Christ or Holy Mother Church means.

    I think He taught something about not giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish.

    Me thinks leftists of all stripes confuse true Charity (Love) with mere sentimentalism.

What We Know Now

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

As it so happened, I was in Washington DC on that National Mall as congress was voting on the mess which is our “health care reform” bill. I hadn’t been to our capitol city before, and it was a simply beautiful afternoon — one on which it was hard to believe that our elected representatives were bringing us one large step closer to a major budgetary crisis point, and Representative Stupak was busy selling out the principles everyone had imagined to be as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar for a rather paltry executive order which may (or may not) come after the fact. (Call me a cynic, but I could well imagine the EO never coming. Though in a sense, why not issue it: It would have no effect and could be repealed at any time. Still, there would be a great deal of justice and truth in Obama using the old Microsoft line, “Your mistake was in trusting us.”)

Still, though sun, green grass, and stone monuments are fresh in my mind, and the largest looming problems in my mind revolve around children wailing that they need a bathroom right now while traveling on the metro (let’s just say that didn’t end well) I don’t want to seem as if I’m discounting the importance of what we’ve just seen. And there seem to be some fairly clear conclusions we can draw:

1) Stupak had no desire to be to abortion what Joe Lieberman chose to be to foreign policy. Lieberman was hounded out of his party and continues to hold office only because of people who disagree with him on nearly every other issue admired his principled stands on Iraq, Israel, etc. If Stupak had brought down the Health Care Reform bill in defense of the unborn, he would have received similar treatment from his own party to what Lieberman has received, and he clearly didn’t want to be that person. Instead, having talking himself into a corner he really didn’t want to be in, he seized upon a fig leaf when it was offered and did what he’d clearly wanted to do all along:

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21 Responses to What We Know Now

  • Thanks for your thoughts on this Darwin. Though I will say this: I am not so sure Stupak’s principles failed today as much as his intelligence. What was he thinking, putting the status of abortion in the health care program in the hands of Obama?

    He was willing to go to war just to keep the Hyde language in the bill, but now he caves and gives the president what amounts to carte blanche? What idiocy. What foolishness! It’s irrational behavior.

    The rabidly pro-abortion Dems who threatened to block the passage of any bill that denied public coverage of abortion are clearly confident that this EO would have little to no effect. Pro-life Republicans also clarified how EOs really work during the debate running up to the vote.

    I will be writing soon on the prospects of nullification.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Anyway, surprising indeed.

  • It is rare for a political party to walk off a political cliff in lockstep, but that is precisely what the vast majority of Democrats did in the House last night. Most of them I assume have no idea of the political whirlwind they sowed last night.

  • Donald,
    I hope you are right, but if ‘pro-life’ Dems have not figured out their party by now is there any chance that they ever will?

    Party affiliation first and foremost!!!

  • What do you guys think of Bill McCollum, et al and their posturing to kill this in the courts? Do you think they have a shot? I mean, large parts of this monstrosity strike me as blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m no lawyer.

  • restrainedradical,

    Given that the text of the Senate bill, with its more liberal abortion language, predates Brown, I’m unclear how it is the result of his election. Are you theorizing that if the Democrats still had a 60 seat majority in the Senate they would have been more willing to accept Stupak’s language even though they’d initially refused.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

  • Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

    Oh yes, pro-lifers were the victims in all this. Aren’t they always? I can’t say I didn’t warn you, not like you were listening anyway. Pro-lifers got more out of this than they deserved politically. It’s time for the pro-life movement to stand up, and admit they are facing the adult consequences for their adult choices. Of course that would mean actually holding leaders accountable and not continually giving them a pass. For all the complaining about McClarey’s favorite representative, he’s probably the only reason you have the half loaf you have.

  • Victims? Not particularly, that I can see. We lost lost a battle but won some side engagements along the way, and while it could have been a lot better, we certainly did better than if we’d simply sat around on our hands. (BTW what’s with all this 2nd and 3rd person?)

    That said, we did lose, and in directly because of a loss of either wisdom or principle on the part of one of the main players. In that sense, it’s hardly surprised to see him blamed.

    The point about battered wife syndrome is more that it hardly makes sense to argue that we somehow would have got even more concessions if we hadn’t pushed for anything at all. The Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point, and they run congress, so clearly, if pro-lifers had not tried very hard to get pro-life restrictions forced into the bill, the folks who think that killing the unborn is a form of health care would have had their way in its entirety. If there’s a lesson in all this, it’s that the “let’s shut up and be good patsies for the Dems because they’re only ones who care about people” crew would never have got any pro-life concessions at all if they’d been left to their own (lack of) way.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    I’d considered this possibility too, but ultimately I don’t think it works. The language to be included in the Conference bill had already been worked out prior to Brown’s election, and it wasn’t the Stupak language (that’s what the whole Cornhusker Kickback thing was all about). If Brown hadn’t been elected we would have ended up with the same result w/r/t abortion.

  • MZ, rr fancies we are responsible for this mess because we did not play the angles in some complicated way, e.g. being frightfully clever and casting a ballot for Martha Coakley. Now, I am not impressed with such a thesis or the bloke who offers it, but then I am just an ass who doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything.

    not like you were listening anyway.

    You got me there. I do not pay you much mind, for reasons you should be able to discern.

  • DarwinCatholic, I disagree with you assertion that “the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point…”

    I’m a 30-year-old pro-life Catholic and spent the last decade voting Republican solely on the abortion issue. But I’m done with that. The Democrats of 2010 are a far cry from the party that silenced Bob Casey 18 years ago. Case in point: as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause from his caucus. Imagine that, 250 Dems cheering a pro-lifer as he champions the pro-life provisions of a piece of Democratic legislation.

    Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

  • What a ludicrous thing to say Mr. Kelley. The Democrat party is the most pro-abortion that it has ever been. Stupak sold out the pro-life cause for a meaningless Executive Order that is unenforceable. That is why he was getting cheers from the overwhelming pro-abort Democrat caucus. Vote Democrat if you wish, but do not delude yourself that you will be voting pro-life when you do.

  • Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

    Put that bong down, and crash.

  • Donald:
    I didn’t say I was vetoing Democrat, just said I’m done with the Republicans.

    Art Deco:
    Huh?

  • oops. “voting”

  • Chuckling at Art Deco.

    If the Dems weren’t overwhelmingly pro-abortion, there wouldn’t have been any provisions in this bill for abortion from the beginning. Only a handful of Democrats in the house held out for an abortion exclusion. “Pro-life” senators were bought off with promises of pork. The leadership maintained that the bill will still allow funding of abortion and consider that a cost saving measure. Even going as far as to call this a “life-affirming” bill.

    We know to some Catholics abortion isn’t a big deal to begin with, and to most of them the end justifies the means. But the Church’s teaching on life, abortion, and justice resonates with and informs some of our consciences.

  • I don’t blame those who voted for Brown. I wouldn’t have voted for Coakley. But I did think the celebration was premature.

  • RR,

    Yes, the celebration was premature.

    Let’s see if the Democrats can control both houses of congress come the November elections.

  • ” as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause”

    Whereas just days before, he was greeted with vicious hate. For everyone from the liberal bloggers to the House Dems to suddenly love Stupak says one thing, and one thing only to me: that he agreed to a deal that will do absolutely nothing for the pro-life cause, because any bill that would, would have been shot down by the pro-abort Dems.

    The viciousness with which he then attacked pro-life Republicans during the following vote was like a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over open wounds. And all they were trying to do was get HIS language in the bill – his reason for berating them was that he had the utmost confidence in Obama’s EO.

    What a chump. What an irrational, foolish man.

  • We also know that the people begging and praying for the congressional critters to obey God and the Constitution aren’t being heard by most, both those in the Capitol and anyone outside of the four block radius.

    According to the reporting there were a 1000 ‘Tea Partiers’ and hundreds of Catholics for Health Reform making their cases.

    The sad fact is there is no such thing as a Catholic who is in favor of this ‘health care reform’. I know you misguided lefties are going break your keyboards responding, but the fact is you are wrong. You may have won this battle, but you are still wrong. Engage whatever mental gymnastics you want, you can’t contort the Catholic faith into making this OK.

    I spoke to these poor fools when I was on the hill the past two days and nights. At one point there was some confusion over the boundaries of the pro-Constitution group and the anti-life group and I ended up on the anti-life group side. I admit that after the confusion was cleared up I stayed there because I wanted the cameras to know that we are not all nuts, in favor of collectivism and that there is NO SUCH THING AS A PRO-ABORTION Christian. The camera men told me to, ‘get out of my face, I’ll film whatever I want’. I was told by Capitol police not to cause a commotion and I told them that I was just correcting a lie. The cops were very cool, they did there job well with a few minor exceptions who were chastised.

    One poor woman holding one of the professionally fabricated signs that were given to them by Demon Pelosi ‘catholics’ told me that I wasn’t allowed to be there. I responded that Catholics aren’t allowed to be for killing babies. I was met with silence. No matter how much we sin, that conscience is always there, as misguided and disfigured as it is – even Judas could have repented.

    The interesting thing was that after the ‘staged’ pro-abortion promoters were scheduled to leave – the pro-life, pro-Constitutionalists stayed and prayed and chanted and prayed. Sure I found the Our Father a little long, you know with the Novus Ordo doxology tagged on to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but that was OK. We sang the national anthem and said the pledge of alliegence and emphasized REPUBLIC and UNDER GOD! (tangent: funny how Bible-only Chrhstians pray the Lord’s prayer differently that it says in the Bible). Some of the younger fools came to our rally carrying their professional signs and acted like fools – some of us fell for it and engaged, sadly, I wish I had recalled that Jesus didn’t say one word to Herod – but I caved into temptation and engaged.

    I am not sure that all of the ‘Catholics for Health Reform’ were actually Catholic or just very, very poorly catechized Catholics, but they are certainly wrong and misguided. They behaved like ignorant fools. It is sad that each subsequent generation since the 60s is devolving into barbarism. Having attended Mass in DC, I also noticed that the Washington DC diocese is not nearly as conservative and traditional as the western part of the Arlington diocese just across the river. That may have something to do with it – lefties and unorthodox, even downright heretics are in our Church and to be silent is to allow the Devil to sweep souls away.

    Oh – as for those racial slurs – I saw none of that – it hasn’t been proven and none of the thousands that I met behaved that way. Not to mention I met many black Americans that were with the alleged perpetrators. There were also many agent provocateurs among us to malign patriotic Americans – don’t fall for the lies. As for Barney Frank being called a fag**t, I didn’t see any of that either, despite the fact that he is a proud Sodomite. We did call him a treasonous traitor – another term that is accurate for that man.

    There were thousands standing up for life, for America and for freedom to worship and honor God. If you can’t be there in person you must pray and fast with those on the front line. This isn’t a joke. This is how a society succumbs to Jacobins, Leninists and Brownshirts. It is so sad that so many have been mentally conditioned into believing that it can’t happen here and that it isn’t happening.

    Of course, this bill is not ushering in collectivism tomorrow – we’ve been working on that for 100 years and the Enemy bides his time. The damage from this will be slow enough for most to not notice it and that will fool many into thinking their conscience is OK with it and then one day they’ll look back and wonder when it happened – when did we become Communist slaves? Or, worse, actually be happy about it and embrace it.

    Thanks for coming to DC – perhaps we bumped into each other. 🙂

November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Last November during a town hall meeting near the Upper Peninsula Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an alleged “pro-lifeDemocrat that recently voted for government funding of abortion, made it clear that he was never going to vote “No” on ObamaCare.

Biretta tip to Sydney Carton and Alicia Colon.

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30 Responses to November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

  • From the Weekly Standard:

    The GOP is now offering its motion to recommit: the Stupak-Pitts amendment which passed the House 240 to 194 in November to ban abortion-funding. If it passes, the bill will have to go back to the Senate for approval, which means at least 25 Democrats will flip-flop on their previous vote on Stupak.

    Stupak is now urging fellow members to vote it down.

    Update: The Stupak amendment fails 199 to 232.

  • “The American Catholic”? Really? So you are American first, and Catholic second? Or what?

  • Yeah, and as Roman Catholic, I’m Roman first and Catholic second. Yeesh.

    You guys should have named this blog The Catholics Who Live in the United States of of America, Don’t Really Hate it, and Aren’t Self-loathing. Not that some would appreciate it, but you’d be denying them juvenile semantic plays.

  • I’m pretty sure I heard about this at the time. Wasn’t it excused by some pro-life leaders (or maybe his spokesman) as a necessary profession of open-mindedness?

    In his defense, a man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    I am disappointed that so little came out of the Stupak fight. He fought and lost but wouldn’t commit political suicide over it.

    How can pro-lifers limit the damage and strengthen a bipartisan pro-life coalition for the future? If Stupak had real help in the Senate, for instance, he would have had less need to compromise.

    (Juvenile semanticism should often be deleted to stop tangents. Don’t feed the pedants.)

  • I think I remember reading that Stupak is Catholic.

    That being said, and given the smart-mouth remarks previously posted, I would guess that Stupak’s label would best be a “Democrat Catholic” in regards to his way of voting. Political Party man first, God’s second.

  • No one has worked harder than Mr. Stupak to protect the unborn throughout this whole process. No one… not one Republican, not any bishop. I love the Church. I am 100% Catholic, by God’s grace. I am particularly concerned with the plight of the unborn. I think that Mr. Stupak is very sincere and his conscience is clean before God. He and his fellow pro-life democrats have been the voice of reason in this debate. Both pro-abortion Dems and anti-health care reform Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Neither group has taken account of the poor and downtrodden

  • Patrick,

    If he was sincere, he would’ve voted “no” on the final bill.

  • It puzzles me that he held out for so long to only give in to a worthless piece of paper. Not to be all conspiratorial, but my feelings are that this was done intentionally by the Democratic leadership in order to buy themselves more time. They did not have the support of those on the far left (i.e. Kucinich) who wanted a strong public option and/or a single payer system. So, in order to garner the support of the severe leftists, they made it sound as if there were pro-life democrats who were holding out.

    The thing is: there is no such thing as a pro-life democrat.

  • When given the chance to support his own amendment, Representative Bart Stupak described it as “cynical”.

  • Mr. Stupak straddled two logs, upholding the great tradition of political BS in this cgreat country. He milked the pro-life folks and it is concievable that he was not sorry he lost the vote there. His vote on the Medical reform bill no longer mattered. He was free to abstain in accord with his professed “conscience” or again vote negative on the Reform Bill. To vote for the Bill truly stinks since it allows him to straddle both sides of the debate which in turn allows him to advance his own personal poliltical agenda from the pro-life folks was well as from the abortion folks. A true Solomonic/Satanic choice. He didn’t save the baby, so he cut the baby in half!

  • FYI: Cheboyan is in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Oh yeah, Stupak sucks.

  • Another politician that bears all the traits to be in the Congress of the USA. 1. Liar 2. Cheat 3. favors genocide(abortion). If the Government were serious about health they could make it free for every American (legal) and stop giving away our tax dollars to themselves and foreign countries that are against every thing that we stand for. YOU DO THE MATH……

  • Will,

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I’m not a Michigander, but it sure is close to U.P.

  • The question I have is this. Did Richard Doerflinger who led the last minute rush to include the Stupak amendment in the House bill know about this, did Nat’l Right to Life know about this. Where has this been. Why are we just know getting it!!!!!!

  • If the Bishops knew about this and if Nat’l Right to life knew about this at the time the Stupak amendment was put in the House bill, then our own Bishops and our own Right to Life groups have betrayed us!!!!!

  • To Patrick:
    Charity for the poor and downtrodden is a good thing. But only if it’s FREE WILL VOLUNTARY! The entire governmental welfare system is corrupt as it is never moral to forcibly take from one person, even if the intent is to give to another person for a “good” intention. The original theft negates any possible “good.” Taxes should only go to things that have equal possible use for everyone, i.e. police, fire protection, infrastructure, etc., never to force anyone to give even one dime to another for nothing in return. Theft by “majority rule” is still theft. All government forced wealth transfer is immoral, period, whether for “health care” or anything else.

  • Stupak went through months of hell from pro-abortion advocates, gets a concession from a politician like Obama, and now he gets this vituperation from people who were singing his praises days before?

    He lost in the Senate and had no good options, supporting his party gave him an opening to fight another day. Pelosi already had votes in reserve, but Stupak just helped out his threatened fellow Democrats who were allowed to vote no. That’s how you advance in a party.

    Stupak has pledged to go back and fix things if it is necessary:

    During the press conference announcing his last hour support for the bill, Stupak said: “the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    If he really were only a craven opportunist, he would have abandoned his pro-life fight long ago. His situation is ugly, and the EO is almost useless, but he got more done than if he had just followed the party leadership.

    His months of fighting was a show of loyalty to the pro-life cause. Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    No. He caved and settled for a useless fig leaf to hide his abject surrender. He deserves all the scorn he is reaping. I regret every positive word I wrote about Stupak. In the final analysis making his peace with his party was more important to him than the pro-life cause.

  • @ Jim S.

    “The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.”

    (Words given by Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate.)

    If you ask around I believe you will find that your consideration of paying taxes as theft and thus a moral evil incapable of bearing any good to be very isolated and unacceptable to 99% of people(including Christ Himself see: Mt 22:17-23)

    You mentioned charity, but reduced it to government run almsgiving. Upon further reflection I hope you find that charity is much more dynamic than you propose (see 1 Cor 13 for example).

    As Catholic followers of Christ we should look to HIM and not to figures like Rush Limbaugh for answers. Christ is our model. See how he had compassion on the multitudes and fed them (Mt.15:32), taught them (Mk. 6:34)and yes, healed them of their infirmities (Mt 14:14; 20:34; 1:41; etc… He gave His very life for us and has asked us to do the same (Mt 16:24).

    St John asks: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1Jn. 3:17)

    True charity, a real love of our brothers, is the priviledge and the gift given by God to us. Social Darwinist, ultra-conservative “Christians” may very well find themselves in the same predicament as the rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day, oblivious of the righteous man Lazarus sitting outside his door. (Lk 16:19-31).

  • I missed the part in the Gospels Patrick where Christ decreed that it was the duty of Caesar to take care of the poor. Statist attempted solutions of taking care of the poor have an abysmal track record. Christians have a duty to care for the poor personally. I do not think we have a duty to have the State confiscate funds from taxpayers under the pretext of caring for the poor.

  • Duh. The Catholic faithful haave suffered enough while the Church goes chasing after socialis progressive ideals. I suggest you read the history of Marx, Lennin and Saul Alinsky

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    I think Stupak deserves our forgiveness and prayers, but not our loyalty. My prayers go out to both Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak for I think both of them have consciences and are suffering and perhaps even condemning themselves more than we are condemning them. They are both casualties, and Lord only knows of all the other casualties due to the tactics used by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al. The problem therein lies within me as my heart tells me that there is unconscionable evil abounding in Washington in the form of Obama and Pelosi, those who will continue exploiting others for their own selfish ends, yes, even the perhaps noble motions of Stupak. Once Stupak examined his very ignoble acquiescence of yesterday followed by drinking and partying, one would hope his disillusionment set in about the deal he had just struck. Pelosi and Obama, however, seem to be stuck in perpetual happiness with themselves, totally. We are told to pray for their conversion, but would it do any good? As C.S. Lewis said, “should they be confirmed forever in their present happiness, should they continue for all eternity to be perfectly convinced that the laugh is on their side?” I detected no mocking tone or cavalier attitude in Stupak’s interview today, but perhaps confusion. It is not his intent, nor Ben Nelson’s, to eliminate undesirable elements of society. But what is the intent of our most pro-abort President ever, who would deny medical care to a still-alive aborted fetus, and the 100-percent NARAL rated Pelosi, who voted against the ban on partial birth abortion? I cannot fathom the evil that lurks in their hearts and souls.

  • Read the reply list and you will soon recognize the problem. We are much closer to Anarchy than we are to Socialism. Stupak is playing his own game (anarchy) just like all other congressmen do. Read some history about other empires and how they failed. You need not be a scholar to figure it out. The United States and the Catholic Church needs to step back and look at the one thing that creates good and rejects evil. It is called UNITY. Remember the Trinity?

  • The cynicism is overwhelming. We won’t even allow a matter of days to play out before we cast our stones at Mr. Stupak, who has probably spent the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing in the midst of this complex and relatively poor political system. I am amazed that we already feel the authority to judge not only his actions, but his culpability. Time will tell what the fruit of his labors will be, and may we pray that those fruits will be the preservation of many lives; yet, no amount of time will ever reveal to us the inner thoughts or intentions of a man’s heart.

  • Thank you TM for a mature reply.

  • To Patrick,

    It is not the place of the government to take money from its people to freely give to another group of people and we as citizens should not accept this. This precept is not Christian nor Catholic for it breaks the 10th commandment. We are called as Christians to give to the poor and downtrodden. We are not called as Christians to have money taken from us and given to someone else because the government deamed it something good. Charity comes from people not from governments. Our welfare, medicare, etc systems are in a mess and do nothing but hold people down in poverty. Welfare is to help people until they get on their feet not to sustain them their entire lifes even though they have the ability to work. This is evil not good.

  • TM: Since we know that in November 2009 Stupak indicated that he NEVER intended to vote no on Obamacare, where do you get the idea that he has spent “the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing?” Your defense of him is clearly negated by what the man said himself, right in front of a camera.

    He used the unborn as pawns in a political game designed to fool gullible pro-lifers and place himself in the spotlight. Now that’s what I call cynicism.

  • Be careful–Stupak will lie about other things as well. The key word is FOOL and we are that FOOL…

  • My only intent in posting this is to edify those who may not know. Bart, Jr., Stupak’s youngest son, committed suicide approximately ten years ago. I don’t know whether this tragic event played any role in Stupak’s initial heroic stance on abortion and his subsequent shameless cave-in, but, in any event, he and his family certainly deserve our prayers.

Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

Sunday, March 21, AD 2010
    US Catholic Bishops: Executive Order Deal A Non-Starter:

    We’ve consulted with legal experts on the specific idea of resolving the abortion funding problems in the Senate bill through executive order. We know Members have been looking into this in good faith, in the hope of limiting the damage done by abortion provisions in the bill. We believe, however, that it would not be fair to withhold what our conclusion was, as it may help members in assessing the options before them:

    “One proposal to address the serious problem in the Senate health care bill on abortion funding, specifically the direct appropriating of new funds that bypass the Hyde amendment, is to have the President issue an executive order against using these funds for abortion. Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year. The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence. Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation.”

    Richard Doerflinger
    U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • In deal with Stupak, White House announces executive order on abortion (Washington Post):

    Resolving an impasse with anti-abortion Democrats over the health-care reform legislation, President Obama announced Sunday that he will be issuing an executive order after the bill is passed “that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion,” according to a statement from the White House.

    “I’m pleased to announce we have an agreement,” Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said at a news conference announcing the deal.

  • “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat” – Kathryn Jean Lopez (National Review).

Further analysis of the text of the order:

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56 Responses to Stupak Deal with Obama, The End of the Pro Life Democrat?

  • Lopez is correct.

  • Stupak is either an idiot which I doubt or completely mendacious which I suspect is closer to the case. In any event, he has destroyed his credibility as a pro-lifer.

  • It’s all so tragic I can only laugh.

    Something big in this country is on the horizon, and its not going to be good for anyone with a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to their name. There is a horrendous reality that this country will be drastically and negatively different by 2020.

  • What a disappointment he turned out to be. I really admired his courage and conviction.

    That he would trade away his convictions for this handful of magic beans is really just depressing.

    Time to get started on nullification.

  • The Susan B. Anthony List on this fake deal:

    “An executive order on abortion funding would do nothing to fix the problems presented by the current health care reform legislation that the House is considering today. The very idea is a slap in the face to the pro-life movement and should be offensive to all pro-life Members of Congress. An executive order can be rescinded at any time at the President’s whim. The courts could and have a history of trumping executive orders.

    “If this was a sincere attempt to meet pro-life concerns then you would hear the cry of pro-choice Members and groups. Rather Rep. Diana Degette, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus told The Huffington Post on Saturday that ‘If there was an executive order saying they weren’t going to use federal funds in the bill to pay for abortions that would be fine with me, because we’ve stipulated to that even though we don’t like it, That’s the compromise we came to way back in July.’

    “In the end, no pro-life Member of Congress could, in good conscience, play politics with the lives of hundreds of unborn children. If they do, there will be a quick downhill slide to defeat on Election Day.”

  • Linda Goldthorpe is Stupak’s likely opponent in the Fall. Assuming she wins the primary I’ll be sending her a hundred bucks.

    http://www.lindaforcongress.com/issues/right-to-life

  • I agree with Donald, the concept/idea of a pro-life Democrat is gone. Finished.

    Stupak got his bag of silver.

  • Tito,
    Just figuring that out now, huh?

  • Stupak said the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7. If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.

  • Daledog,

    Someone as dense as I am figure things out eventually.

    I am still much a like a child, I believe a man’s word at face value.

    I’d make a terrible politician.

  • RR,

    For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

    –Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:26

  • “If that’s the case, this is the best deal pro-lifers could’ve gotten.”

    Nothing is rarely a good deal for the recipient restrainedradical and the is what Stupak got. An Executive Order cannot contradict a law passed by Congress. If Stupak believes that he got anything from this charade other than the lasting enmity of the vast majority of all pro-lifers, than he is an utter fool, which I doubt.

  • To be fair — elected officials are hardly ever as strident, passionate, and committed to any issue as are those fighting in the trenches. That said, there is very few members of Congress who are as pro-life as non-elected pro-life Americans. Given the fact that someone fails to live up to their own principles and standards, that is a moral failing, but that hardly negates the validity of their political philosophy.

    In fact, for the number of pro-life Democrats in this country and the two I’ve talked to in the last hour troubled by the latest news hardly means in my view that being a pro-life Democrat is now an oxymoron. If it is, then I am an oxymoron and I am a counter-cultural warrior — to hell with the status quo.

  • K-Lo says:
    “I think we’re witnessing Bart Stupak write the obit for the concept of the “pro-life Democrat”

    There seems to be a never-ending shortage of dopey Catholics who will fall for the next pro-life democrat. Republicans are icky and mean, you see.

  • Seriously, there are still pro-life Democrats voting against the legislation and are not convinced of the current strategy that Stupak and a few other Democrats have co-signed themselves onto.

    I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

  • Christopher, let us look at the discussion on executive decisions a bit:

    Unfortunately, this proposal does not begin to address the problem, which arises from decades of federal appellate rulings that apply the principles of Roe v. Wade to federal health legislation. According to these rulings, such health legislation creates a statutory requirement for abortion funding, unless Congress clearly forbids such funding. That is why the Hyde amendment was needed in 1976, to stop Medicaid from funding 300,000 abortions a year.

    So, let’s see, Hyde was seen as good enough in a previous time, when the question of “Hyde could be over-ruled and rejected in the future” remained. In other words, we see here an argument can be built upon acceptance of Hyde itself — it has been used to justify all kinds of things under Bush’s rule, for example. Hyde was protecting everything, so Bush’s budgets didn’t get such a serious questioning — even when he gave an increase of funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. So, it seems that Hyde was good enough for many of the voices now speaking out against it’s application now. Seems clear that something is wrong here.

    Now, let us look further. We will begin to see it is an issue of advice given to the bishops. There is no charism given to bishops in selecting the best advisers nor any given to the advisers as to what is best (look to the child abuse scandal for proof of this). The fact that we are being told they reject such a move is from advisers indicates the kind of authority by which this decision is made: it is one which is open to debate and question and disagreement. Hence we read:

    The statutory mandate construed by the courts would override any executive order or regulation. This is the unanimous view of our legal advisors and of the experts we have consulted on abortion jurisprudence.

    So it is not a top-down proof that executive decisions are not appropriate. Indeed, without giving full details about who all these advisers are and what they all have said and why they said what they said, we are going on a very low level of teaching authority based upon an interpretation of matters outside of competence of bishops.

    —-

    “When the hierarchy is faced by a conflict of opinions in the church, it does not always succeed in achieving a perfectly adequate response. Broadly speaking, two kinds of mistake are possible – excessive permissiveness and excessive rigidity. It is hard to know which of the two errors has done more harm.”

    “We must recognize, therefore, that there can be such a thing in the church as mutable or reformable teaching. The element of mutability comes from the fact that such teaching seeks to mediate between the abiding truth of the gospel and the socio-cultural situation at a given time and place.”

    “Did Vatican II teach the legitimacy of dissent from non-infallible teaching? It did so implicitly by its action, we may say, but not explicitly by its words. The theological commission responsible for paragraph 25 of the Constitution of the Church refused to make any statement, one way or the other, about dissent.”

    “A step beyond the council was taken by the German bishops in a pastoral letter of September 22, 1967, which has been quoted on several occasions by Karl Rahner. This letter recognized that in its effort to apply the gospel to the changing situations of life, the church is obliged to give instructions that have a certain provisionality about them. These instructions, though binding to a certain degree, are subject to error. According to the bishops, dissent may be legitimate provided that three conditions are observed. (1) One must have striven seriously to attach positive value to the teaching in question and to appropriate it personally. (2) One must seriously ponder whether one has the theological expertise to disagree responsibly with ecclesiastical authority. (3) One must examine one’s conscience for possible conceit, presumptuousness, or selfishness. Similar principles for conscientious dissent had already been laid down by John Henry Newman in the splendid chapter on Conscience in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1874).”

    “There is always a temptation for church authorities to try to use their power to stamp out dissent. The effort is rarely successful, because dissent simply seeks another forum, where it may become even more virulent. To the extent that the suppression is successful, it may also do harm. It inhibits good theology from performing its critical task, and it is detrimental to the atmosphere of freedom in the church. The acceptance of true doctrine should not be a matter of blind conformity, as though truth could be imposed by decree. The church, as a society that respects the freedom of the human conscience, must avoid procedures that savor of intellectual tyranny.

    Where dissent is kept within the bounds I have indicated, it is not fatal to the church as a community of faith and witness. If it does occur, it will be limited, reluctant, and respectful.”

    Avery Dulles http://www.vatican2voice.org/8conscience/dulles.htm

  • K-Lo talking about being pro-life: hilarious.

  • Karlson taking about being pro-life: barf worthy.

  • If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.

  • “If the bill had enough votes without the Stupak 7, the executive order saves pro-lifers some face.”

    Appearing to be an utter fool restrainedradical saves no any face. By definition any one trusting in this exectutive order from the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history is an utter fool.

  • Seems to me that if the bill had enough votes w/out the Stupak 7, then no executive order would have been proffered.

  • I think they deserve to not catch the heat.

    They can catch the heat for what they did not do to repair the financial system while they were needlessly chuffering about medical insurance and what they did do to make our public finances resemble those of Greece.

  • I wonder if the U.S. bishops should be held partially responsible for the passage of this bill? They did lobby VERY hard to get it to this point, not knowing if they would get the wording they wanted.

  • Tito,
    They ought to be held responsible. These fools have been playing footsie with liberal politics for much too long. One day is too long as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that their plate is full with their own problems.

  • No Tito, the bishops lobbied for something to address the medical needs of those who can ill afford proper care. That is a legitimate concern and there are many ways to work toward it. The problem is that what the current congress and president offers as a solution. A solution that many believe will cause more harm than good, plus has all the unpleasantness of what that party stands for like considering the killing of the unborn to be health care. It’s not really within the competence of the bishops to speak to whether any given policy is unworkable or will bust the nation economically, but they’re well within their competence to discuss the morality of certain policies – to define what they are lobbying for when they say appropriate health care for all (they’re including the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm).

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

  • Oh stop hiding behind the poor.

    This monstrous bill will ensure that many thousands of poor children would would have otherwise been born because their mother’s can’t afford abortions will now be sliced and diced in the womb. It’s poor children that suffer the most from government funded abortion.

  • Restrained,
    How silly. You care about the poor, huh? Give more. Work extra hours so that you can give more. Encourage others to give more. No need to lobby Caesar. Gifts from Caesar always have strings attached. Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

  • I think the bishops should be held somewhat responsible.

    Let’s see if they work equally as hard to get this “law” revoked.

    I doubt that resolve will be as diligent.

  • Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period. You maybe can be a Republican. It’s bets however to be a member of the Constitution Part because their platform is closest to the teaching of Holy Mother Church though they won’t be USCCB approved because they don’t believe in all this social justice, common good nonsense and free health care for illegal immigrants. Personal responsibility goes with person liberty and that’s a lesson lost on most Catholics for the past 50 years. Pelosi, Biden, Leahy and all the rest of the Catholic apostates will continue to receive Holy Communion and nothing the USCCB says or does means a damn.

    Every single liberal politician has got to be publicly excommunicated and the false gospel of social justice and peace at any price has got to be jettisoned. Until that happens, the Church in America is a worthless collection of dirty old gay men at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 playing at religion.

  • You guys simply don’t like the truth. Moderate away. God will have to sweep the liberals aside in His wrath. That’s the only way you’ll learn. The only way.

  • The Executive Order is already null and void:

    1. As an executive order, it is secondary in power to any law of the land as interpreted by the courts — unless the legislative and judicial branches have just ceded its power to the executive, and we are in a dictatorship.

    2. As an executive order, it is binding only on the activity of the executive branch, not on the private providers who would provide abortions.

    3. Roe v. Wade obliges any legislation offering medical benefits to cover abortion unless some section in that legislation, such as the Hyde amendment, specifically excludes abortion. This legislation lacks the Hyde exclusion; therefore, this legislation falls under the Roe requirement. The Executive Order, even if it were not null and void, is written not to match the Hyde Amendment language, but rather to match the Senate legislation language which, as we all know, falls short of Hyde.

    As such, the order offers no prevention of federally funded abortion even if it bore any authority.

    4. And of course, Obama will deep-six the executive order whenever he might find it convenient. If somehow it is not a nullity, he will do so: He has never claimed to be pro-life. And if it is not a nullity, he will not need to vacate it, for it will have accomplished its intended goal without costing him the support of NARAL.

    Of course, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, none of this would be a problem.

    But we all know, don’t we, that it’s foolish for pro-lifers to harp so much on the need to overturn that decision.

    It’s counterproductive. It uses up resources that could be more profitably spent courting centrist Democrats and exploring our common ground.

    We know that, this late in the day, it is no longer time for concern about Supreme Court justices and the presidents who select them; it is time to focus on new tactics involving engagement with pro-life Democrats.

    That’s the lesson we learned, back during the 2008 election cycle.

    Everyone remember that?

    Let’s also keep in mind another lesson we learned that year: “Signing statements” are a tyrannical overreach of executive power in which George W. Bush altered the meaning of Congressional legislation at signing, a risky proposition and bad precedent which clearly indicated the need to switch parties in the White House for awhile, lest the occupant of the People’s House start to think his authority trumped that of the legislative branch.

    Must remember that. That was one of those timeless truths for the ages.

    I’ll lay aside my trowel, now: Whatever Babylonian tower we’re building in this country is already in danger of collapse from the sheer weight of the irony.

  • Good post R.C.

    We do need to overturn Roe and we do need to reject signing statements. If I didn’t understand it before, I sure as heck understand it now.

    I think the next step is nullification at the state level.

  • “Here’s the bottom line: you can’t be Democrat and a legitimate orthodox Catholic – period.”

    I beg to differ.

  • We need you in Congress, Eric. =)

  • Paul,

    You will only be moderated if your comment violates our rules for comments.

  • Do you feel better about yourself when you can force others to give more?

    Yes.

  • Yes, lobbying for the poor should not go unpunished.

    Yeah, the poor will do real well after a sovereign default.

  • He never planned on fighting. Rep. Bart Stupak speaking in Cheboygan, MI

  • The bishops must take a large amount of blame for this monstrous piece of legislation for several reasons:

    1. Failure to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians and force them to choose between their pro-abortion positions and their desire to receive the sacraments. (This has been going on for four decades)

    2. The Bishops’ push for “universal health care.”

    The big question is: why did the bishops stay on board with this legislation as long as they did?

    The only answer that makes sense is that the bishops favor socialism… big government programs as solutions to their “social justice” aims.

    If this means invasive government intrusion into our lives, so be it. If it means massive tax increases, so be it. If it means wealth redistribution, so be it.

    When it was obvious to many of us that the bill was unacceptable on so many fronts, one could only wonder why the bishops continued to push for it so hard, as long as they got their three concessions (abortion, conscience, immigrants).

    I am saddened, disgusted, and disheartened by the bishops’ push for socialized medicine. How can I have respect for them? Happily, my faith is firmly in Jesus Christ, no matter what the American church’s hierarchy says or does.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Indeed. Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.” If a majority of people in this country think in those terms, democracy is doomed. But I don’t think they do (thank God) and I don’t believe we are doomed yet. There will be a reckoning in November. Those of us who attended tea parties, called our Congressmen, and donated to those who opposed this monstrosity of a bill are not going away and we will not forget the open contempt the Democratic Party has shown toward us. I have sometimes voted Democrat in local elections – never again.

  • Obama has now done something I didn’t think would ever be possible: make me more ashamed to be an Illinois resident than Governor Hairdo ever did. (Speaking of The Hair, did Trump fire him from “Celebrity Apprentice” yet?) If it hadn’t been for our crooked Chicago machine and pathetic, desperate joke of a GOP organization, he might never have been elected Senator and none of this would have happened.

  • Well, Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves. In a bizarre way that puts him in a better place than the G.O.P. who are still somehow convinced that their thefts are not as terrible because they simply love America more, or some nonsense.

    For anyone who is appalled at what is happening right now: Don’t worry. Economics will win. We should just pray that people aren’t hurt when that terrible day comes.

  • Donald: Stupak’s likely GOP opponent in the November is a conservative pro-life physician named Dan Benishek. His Facebook page is growing by the minute.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=share&gid=287806148754

    His site has an address. I never heard of the man until about 20 minutes ago. I’m writing him a check tonight.

    As for Stupak, well, he got his 30 pieces of silver:

    “U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.”

    Betraying your conscience for Wales is one thing, but for three airports in the UP? Now there’s a cheap date.

  • Democrats for Death is more apropos.

    It’s “Game On” for me and the bishops.

    The USCCB is in for some heavy fire coming my way.

    The deaths of many innocent unborn children will be on their hands.

  • Tito, why would you want to pit yourself against the vicars of Christ? It doesn’t seem like a terribly wise idea. Besides, they did not vote for this legislation, nor did they support it. They were one of the few voices saying it was unacceptable, and reminding people that while trying to ensure everyone gets medical care whether they can afford it or not is a a good, that it can’t come at the expense of the most vulnerable.

    The behavior of Catholics who put the Democratic agenda above concerns for life is upsetting, but that wasn’t the bishops – the bishops took a pounding from them!

  • RL,

    I agree with what you are saying.

    Though too many times is seems that the USCCB is just another wing of the Democratic Party rather than vicars of Christ.

    With Democratic Pro-Abort operatives infesting the USCCB along with atheists that endorse anti-Catholic films, and our donations going to abortion facilities and gay marriage advocates (do I need to continue?, there’s more…)

  • I’m not blind to some of the dysfunction within the organization. But let’s be clear, those issues are usually caused by the bureaucrats within. Yeah, some aspects of the USCCB need to be looked at and overhauled, but the bishops themselves got involved in this one – and in real time – and offered solid and informed guidance, holding principles of justice and moderation above their own desires to see some sort of reform. We can and should be very proud of the prophetic witness they gave throughout this process. This ain’t the 1975 NCCB anymore!

  • RL & CB,

    Unlike abortion, we can disagree with our bishops on universal health care.

    They are violating the principle of subsidiarity.

    If they would be this adamant about ending abortion in America, I could agree with their aggressive nature towards universal health coverage, but they don’t.

    The USCCB is not the magisterium, not a teaching authority, and are an invention by Democratic leaning bishops.

    It needs to be absolved. If not, then completely overhauled.

    Until that happens, I will expose them for what they are, a wing of the Democratic party and participants in promoting the Culture of Death.

  • Ever hear of the phrase “throw out the baby with the bathwater”?

  • The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    – Saint John Chrysostom.

    CB,

    In all seriousness I know what you’re getting at so an overhaul is reasonable since my idea of eliminating the USCCB won’t fly… yet.

  • Pingback: November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare « The American Catholic
  • Restrained,
    I fear people like you.

    Restrained reveals his/her petty little totalitarian heart, mistaking the desire to rule and coerce others for “compassion.”

    Mr. R. Radical was merely telling the truth: he does not believe in the commandment “thou shalt not steal,” because that is exactly what forcing others to be virtuous inevitably involves.

    I don’t think God disapproves of taxation.

Civilization V Coming Fall 2010

Saturday, March 20, AD 2010

Sid Meier’s Civilization V is finally going to be released this Fall of 2010.  This famous turn-based conquer the world strategy PC game has gotten me hooked ever since I first encountered it in college.  In fact, it is the only game I play.

Civilization V is the sequel to Civilization IV, but like its predecessors, it will probably stand alone on its own.

What’s new in this edition?

Five things that I can share with you are:

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