Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

[UpdateRealCatholicTV is back online!]

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are my observations and opinions on the Catholic Church in the Internet:

1. A RealCatholicTV (RCTV) representative is reporting that they have been experiencing technical difficulties and should be up and running by Tuesday evening at the latest.

The RCTV Facebook page reports that they could be up as early as this evening!

2. Last nights Sunday Night Live on EWTN had Father Benedict Groeschel interviewing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and I have to say that the good archbishop is very impressive.

He has a strong presence and speaks well with authority.  Outside of dodging a question on female altar servers, he looks to be the leading archbishop and the unofficial primate of the United States of America for the foreseeable future.

His Excellency posited that the severe drop in receiving the Sacrament of Penance may have contributed to the vocational crisis since 1968.  Most of the interview though was on the recent increase in vocations though.

Another theory that His Excellency suggested was the loss of grandmothers within the home.  He truly believes that grandmothers have a significant impact in passing on the faith which leads to vocations to the priesthood.  But with more and more families sending their dear grandmothers to retirement “homes”, the family is losing a great advocate for vocations to the priesthood.

Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.

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16 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 9-13-2010

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  • Tito:

    You and I have disagreed on this before, but I think Fr. Longenecker’s point is that modernism is concerned with choosing between products, whereas our response to the Mass ought to be receptivity (not judgment). I’ve blogged on this topic before:

    There’s a fine line between parish-shopping and seeking out Masses that are truly reverent, one that Orthodox Catholics frustrated with liturgical abuses (and I include myself in this category) have trouble dealing with. In the end, it reinforces the need for a truly “catholic” church-one where the liturgy is universal and the laity ought not be put between their home parish and a reverent parish.

  • Sunday Night Live last night was a rerun from earlier this summer. Personally, I couldn’t bear to watch it again. I have a different opinion about “His Excellency.” You will recall that he asked the sod parish in N.Y. not to march in the sod parade under the parish banner. They ignored him and once again advertised their perversions under the name of the parish. “His Excellency” shows up at the parish to celebrate some sort of milestone, and as the various sod groups are presented to him, none of which are COURAGE, “His Excellency” nods and smiles in his good ole boy routine. Not a word about not participating in the parade. That wouldn’t be PC. “His Excellency” has no backbone. I would love to see what Jesus would have said in the same circumstance. And in the same program, the archbishop dares to laugh at those who call for authentic Catholicism rather than the watered-down, spineless version that’s currently being fed in far too many parishes.

  • Yeah, but what about those “Idaho Vandals” I so recently heard about? 🙂

  • Dale,

    They’re licking their wounds.



    I have not met any serious Catholics that were “parish shopping”, but were looking for a reverent Mass in addition to actually being a Catholic parish and not a worldly “community”.

  • Cory,

    I’ve heard some other stories, but I’m praying he becomes more like Cardinal Spellman than another Cardinal “please like me” O’Malley.

  • “Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.”

    As much as it appears the Archbishop is such a well educated, bright and humble servant of his flock regardless of what he may be wearing over the next five years underneath it all I suspect he will still have on his “politically correct” T-shirt.

  • The more I learn about about Archbishop Dolan, the more tarnished he seems to be.

    He’ll get the red hat, but because it’s New York City, not because of his spine.

  • Parish-shopping too often betrays a consumerist mentality: “what can you do for me?” I wish my fellow orthodox would think more about the potential they have to make a positive impact, by their suffering through a mediocre liturgy if nothing else.

    Re: Dolan, I still don’t see what good blog comments criticizing bishops accomplishes. As I’ve said before, spend the time & energy in prayer for them instead.

  • Chris Burgwald,

    We need to take care of our soul first before we can take care of others.

    That’s why I advocate switching from a liturgical-dancing parish (after all efforts have been shot down) to a real parish.

    I’m all for cutting off the oxygen to a body that refuses to practice the faith.

    They shall be known for their fruits!

  • Tito,

    I’m certainly sympathetic to the desire to bail on liturgical-dancing… our liturgical abuses up here are certainly insignificant next to them.

    But, just to devil’s advocate… how is your soul imperiled by liturgical dance? If the sacraments are valid and there’s no actual heresy, why not gut it out for the sake of the clueless guy next to you who might need your example? Why not be the leaven in the bread? You might be it for those people, after all.

  • You make a good point.

    But what if you have children. You do your best to educate them and don’t want poor influences, especially when it comes in the form of a disobedient/dissident priest who should be a role model and not someone to avoid because he is just plain bad.

    Another thing to consider is if the priest refuses to improve and the bishop refuses to do anything about it, what do you do?

    I decided, because of my character and personality, to switch.

    Rather than soldier on and begin a blogging campaign I switched.

    My soul has reaped the benefits of reverent Mass, an enriching parish life, and many graces that I am still unaware of.

    I’m sure many, many other switchers understand me better than those that haven’t had to deal with a bad parish.

    I highly recommend it.

    Let that parish whither on the vine, especially if that parish priest (and bishop) refuse to do anything about it.

    I want to get into Heaven at the highest possible level. Why endanger it with dissident priests and parishioners who could care less (or even acknowledge) the existence of Heaven.

    I recently attended a seminar on penance at my old parish and this priest who is suppose to be a future star of the Church (he’s on his way to being a bishop) was advocating that penance isn’t that important and getting it twice a year was sufficient. He even pooh-poohed my comments of going almost weekly.

    As soon as I started explaining the many benefits of penance he did his best tap-dancing routine in backtracking on his comments.

    I was disappointed, but relieved knowing that I won’t have to worry about this at my parish once my children (if I’m blessed with them) start getting active in parish life.

    Yes the sacraments are still valid and your soul is better for it for suffering.

    But God does want us to avoid suffering if possible. And if not, embrace the suffering.

    Why put yourself in this position in the first place?

    Believe me, if I didn’t have a choice, I would have raised HELL at my parish and my name would be a curse word around the chancery by now.

    Do I want that?


    //On a side note I made a promise to myself that if I ever attended a Mass where there was liturgical dancing, I would strip down to my underwear and dance along with them just to show how much of a mockery they were making the Mass out to be.

  • I hope you post that video on YouTube. 🙂

    It’s certainly a matter of prudence, Tito. My point is to emphasize that sometimes we are placed in difficult situations because of what we have to offer, i.e. because *we* can bear fruit for others instead of focusing exclusively on the fruit we want to harvest.

  • Chris B.,

    Yes, if I were put in that position, I would do my best to be charitable.

    I would get involved, form an orthodox group of families, and begin transforming the parish with the priest (and/or bishop) kicking screaming.

    As for the YouTube video, I would post it! Only to prove that these shenanigans must stop.


  • I also do not have a great opinon of NY Archbishop Dolan. He kept interrupting Fr. Groeshel in mid-sentence;
    never answered significant questions straight forward;
    and has no business being involved in NY zoning and politics that do not involve the Catholic Church – – since the Cordoba zoning does not involve Saving Souls and Fundamental rights of Man in accordance with the Gospel. (CCC 2245-2246)

    The Archbishop does not understand the Muslim culture, and the symbolic meaning of Cordoba. This is not his area of competance.

    Newt Gingrich wrote:
    “The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over,” Gingrich wrote. “The proposed ‘Cordoba House’ overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3,000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.”

    The Archbishop needs to clean up his own NY Diocese including Xavior Parish which still has gay information on its web site not in accord with the Church.

  • I should have added that the Archbishop likes to hear himself talk, and be seen about town.

    He needs to be exposed in the public for his public actions, so that he will NOT become a Cardinal in line to become a Pope.

Political Advice From Rudyard Kipling

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

I have always been a great fan of the poetry of Kipling.  It is fun to recite and often has a fair amount of wisdom.  Too often Kipling is simply written off as a pro-imperialist poet and relegated to the past along with the British Empire.  He was certainly a loyal Brit and an advocate of the Empire, but there was much more to him than that.  Refusing honor after honor, including being poet laureate of Great Britain, he always retained his independence to give loving criticism to his country.  For example, in 1897 at the time of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, he wrote the poem Recessional which envisioned a time when Great Britain would have lost its Empire and its power:

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Kipling realized that power was never an end itself and that Great Britain would be judged by God and History not by how much power it amassed, but by what the British did with their power.

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5 Responses to Political Advice From Rudyard Kipling

  • My favorite Kipling is the poem that reads:

    When you’re lying on the Afghan plains
    And the women and children come to pick at your remains
    Roll to your gun and blow out your brains
    And go to your God like a soldier

    Clearly reflecting Britain’s futile efforts in Afghanistan – similar to our own, and the futility of war in general.

  • Actually Awakaman the Brits succeeded in turning Afghanistan into a client state after the Second Anglo-Afghanistan war in 1880, a relationship that endured, except for a brief period of fighting in the Third Anglo-Afghanistan War in 1919, until the Brits left India in 1947. The Afghanistan border with India, now Pakistan, has never been so peaceful before or since. As to the futility of war, that might make a nice bumper sticker, although I prefer “Arms Are For Hugging”!, but it is really historical nonsense. There have been futile wars, the Soccer War between El Salvador and Guatemala in 1969 is a prime example, wars that have brought about decisive victories for one side, our Civil War, wars that have laid the framework of a lengthy period of peace, the defeat of Napoleon I for example, wars that have ended in the annihilation of one side, the Third Punic War, and an endless additional variety of wars. Wars come in all shapes and sizes and to decry the futility of war is to simply ignore the data available to us from the historical record.

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  • One wishes more bishops, too, took this sense of responsibility to heart.

  • Awakaman,

    The poem is actually not quite as delicate as you remember it. It’s called “The Young British Soldier,”
    and the last stanza reads:

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    Go, go, go like a soldier,
    So-oldier ~of~ the Queen!

The Jesus The Professional Left Chose To Ignore

Monday, September 13, AD 2010

Jesus Christ has always been an enigma to those on the left. Some liberal idealists embraced Him; many others on the radical left did not. Some on the radical left actually attacked Jesus by either saying He didn’t exist (a rather strange way of dealing with someone) or claiming he was demented. However, after World War II a rather cunning adaptation of Jesus was embraced by the Professional Left.  The solution thought up by the Professional Left was as simple as it was devious; simply say Jesus was one of them.

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17 Responses to The Jesus The Professional Left Chose To Ignore

The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The F-Bomb Vermin of the Apocalypse

Sunday, September 12, AD 2010

The  third in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.

We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose.  I like to refer to these as  The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity.  Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post.  We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin and here the Pierced Vermin.  The third of the Hamsters is the F-Bomb Vermin.

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27 Responses to The Modern World is Going to Hell: A Continuing Series: The F-Bomb Vermin of the Apocalypse

  • And now there is the almost universal employment of “d****e-bag” on ‘blogs, even on purportedly Catholic ones.

  • When I hear the F-bomb burst from the lips of a beautiful young lady I only see black stains on her soul. From a young man I see dark times in his life.

  • I don’t think this should be listed among the minor vermin. It debases us more than we realize.

  • I’d agree with you Pinky except that most of the people who engage in frequent swearing truly are clueless as to its harmfulness. I regard this as a sign of debasement in modern life and not a cause of the underlying debasement.

  • Pinky & Don.

    It’s cyclical. The F bomb has become so commonplace b/c the sexual act to which it refers has become vulgar rather than sacred, yet the use of the F bomb to refer to that act further trivializes and moves our understand of the sexual act farther from its sacred nature.

  • I think the biggest problem you have is that people using such words are considered “cool”. Therefore, cinema and singers use such words, which reinforces the trend.

    You’d be surprised at how little Germans swear compared to Anglo-Saxons. Not because they don’t know how to do it, but because there is a social sanction associalted with that in most situations.

    I think another reason is the way people DRESS. You’ll find it stupid but I think that a lot people tend to speak better when they are better dressed. To be dressed properly often gives them a sense of their own dignity, and they tend to want to live up to that. People going around in shorts and flip flops as if they were in their own garten will tend not to pay any attention to social conventions in other areas as well. The age of ubiquitous jeans, unkempt hair and the like was also the age where swearing became common usage.


  • “The age of ubiquitous jeans, unkempt hair and the like was also the age where swearing became common usage.”
    The slobbification of America.

  • On Joan of Arc: A common French term of endearment for English soldiers in her day was “les goddams,” for their frequent–ubiquitous–use of that term.

    My father was a career soldier with extensive combat experience in World War II, and he was more than liberal in the use of that phrase (but it was not tolerated among us children: apparently like smoking and drinking, for adults only, and then only for men). I never heard him use the f-word. He would not have used it around women or children, and I doubt he used it among his cronies. I don’t think many educated people of his generation would have (and that is why the Nixon tapes were so shocking).

    Coarse language by beautiful young ladies is depressing and off-putting, but may not indicate stains on their soul. Custom is very powerful, and the customs of recent times have not been helpful in reinforcing our innate sense of propriety.

  • Stan-
    Could you rephrase that to be clearer? The it reads right now seems to say that a cursing woman is sinful, and a cursing man is sinned against…. It could also be read as a lovely poetic way of saying “they have been hurt, stained, torn, battered, afflicted by a life that has not done them as it should.” (Yay, English; so many shades of meaning.)

    Can’t argue against this stance; I would suggest that a large part of why cursing is more common is because folks are ruder, making for more heartache and pain on emotional/mental levels, and there are fewer ways to defuse it. (This is also my theory behind “road rage.”)

  • Thank you Foxfier, I was trying to be brief.

    First off, male or female the use of this word does show a lack of respect for others and very much a lack of a Christian attitude. The F-bomb is neither loving nor kind. That is where an otherwise lovely looking young lady becomes stained to me. I would not have dated such when younger or appreciate my son from dating one with such language now.

    As far as a dark future for the men, most of them that I have meet who use this language in public are already racking up arrests, convictions and jail time.

    Have I ever used language like this, well maybe. When my head was almost taken off by a sheet of plywood dropped from the roof, or my 700 pound motorcycle was laying on me supported only by a folded up foot, even then it was said in a whispering scream. But never in conversation private or public since I found Christ.

  • “When my head was almost taken off by a sheet of plywood dropped from the roof, or my 700 pound motorcycle was laying on me supported only by a folded up foot, even then it was said in a whispering scream”

    Stan, I sympathize. During my first kidney stone a few years ago, if I had the presence of mind, I might have let lose with a few choice epithets. As it was, I writhed on the floor and whimpered with the pain, when I wasn’t making my painfully slow way to the bathroom to vomit up the shrimp gumbo that I had just before the kidney stone decided to makes its agonizing presence felt. I think God makes allowances for the weakness of the flesh at such times. 🙂

  • The F-bomb has been a pretty common expletive down here for as long as I can remember. I must agree though, that in the late 50’s when I was a teenager, and lad-about-town in that great decade, the 60’s, mainly used only by men including myself too lazy to select a more appropriate adjective, or as an encouragement for someone to leave your presence hurriedly. 😉
    In those days it was unusual to hear it coming from a woman. Nowadays it is commonplace. Then, one did not use that language in front of a woman – nowadays, it is a part of everyday casual conversation.
    I call it “building site language” (being a builder) where I still sometimes resort to the expletive, but that is usually where it stays.
    I do think that as with many things in society, it has been used so much that society in general has become desensitised to the shock effect, so it has become part of everyday language.

  • My other excuse is that I spent 11 years of my life in Australia. 🙂

  • I actually blame the Dutch for this blight on the English language 😉
    The Dutch and the English have always had a close relationship – why even a dutchman, William of Orange was king of England in the 17th century.
    As you may guess, this is a lead in to a rather humorous anecdote.
    In 1990 after I returned from Australia, I was doing a job with my wife’s cousin for a dutchman, Jack van Dungen (I think was his name) who had emigrated to NZ in the 1950’s. He had a brother, Joss who still lived in Holland, but visited every few years. Now Jack, who lived on a farm had built a pig pen and was starting to breed his own pigs. In Dutch, the word for a breeder is a – yes, you guessed it, – a “f**ker”.
    Joss had arrived from Holland late the previous night, and as we were all sitting down to morning tea, Joss who had just risen shortly before,came out from his room, greeted us, and looked out the window and saw the pig pen. Joss did not speak English too well, so he combined Dutch words with his English words. He said, ” Ah Yack, (dutch pronounce “J” as “Y”) I see you have become a pig f****er.”
    You can imagine our huge mirth – poor Joss did not really understand what the hilarity was about until Jack explained it to him.
    Over the past hundred and fifty years, we have had a lot of Dutch migration to NZ. After all, the country’s first european discoverer was a dutchman, Abel Tasman. So the dutch word “to breed” became a common word in the local English language.

    Well, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  • I am always willing Don to blame as many ills of the world as I can on the Dutch. 🙂

  • While talking to a Catholic Chaplain who traveled to all of the FOBs in the South, he lamented to me that many of the soldiers have lost the ability to use adjectives and adverbs thanks to the F-bomb.

    What have we become?

  • Don the Kiwi,
    I’m visualizing the scene as featuring copious amounts of expectorated tea! Translation fiascoes always tickle me!

  • My dog, who, if possible, gets out even less than I do, appeared quite shocked by the cheerfully crass language flying between two college-aged canoeists passing close to the dock recently; he was too occupied with cocking his head back and forth, listening in astonishment, even to bark. I assume it was the tone and volume of the banter rather than the words, but it looked funny nonetheless.
    The kids (male and female; one shies away from “gentleman” and “lady” in such a situation) were entirely jolly in their loud, brash, crude, and very public discourtesy.
    Since I err in curbing my own tongue when injured or infuriated, but not so much when blithesome, or out canoeing, I was unsure whether to be offended, disapproving, or amused.
    An angry outburst may be far more unpleasant to hear, but casual cursing like this is actually harder to sympathize with, due to its utter meaninglessness.

  • Everything I’ve ever studied on demonology and deliverance confirms that the use of curse words–which really do curse the person, place or thing–is almost always the way that demonic infestations begin.

    Fr. Amorth said he dealt with a whole family–two boys were outright possessed, and all the family were experiencing some level of extraordinary demonic influence/attack–and the root cause was the grandfather. In his senility, he hardly ever said anything but “G– D—” because that’s the habit he built up in his life.

  • I don’t think the particular words matter. In England, f— is a casual word, but c— is the Most Profane Word (not that c— is trivial in the US). As common as f— has become in the US, it’s still our Most Profane Word. We may be seeing a transition toward it being a weak word, but for the time being, people use it frequently *because* they can’t think of a worse word.

    That’s the distinction I’m trying to make: it’s not that people who use it are immune to the power of the word; they’re unfamiliar with the idea of propriety.

  • I too watch reruns of the Welk show on TV. Another show that brings up wishes of long ago days are the Andy William Christmas shows. Innocence, family and faith joined in music and fun. The first time I used the f bomb my year older sister laughed at me. It was so ridiculous coming out of my 13 year old mouth. That cured me for a long, long time. The people who talk that way are clowns.

  • The fifth comment, made by Michael Denton has stuck in my mind.
    The F- word is of course, just a word, with a certain meaning……or is it?
    If we use the word “copulation” it has a certain context in biology, but with essentially the same meaning. Likewise, the word “fornication” which used to be often heard from the pulpit as a serious sin, but sadly nowadays is not – but we still read it in the scriptures.
    “Sexual intercourse” again, conveys the same meaning, but in the context of medical or educational areas.
    In all these situations, if the F- word simply had the same meaning, would it be acceptable as a substitute? Is it only because the word is socially unacceptable that it is not substituted? Definitely not.
    This is how I used to rationalise my occasional – in my younger day, casual – use of the word.

    I agree with you Michael. The commonplace use of the word has debased the act to which it refers, which should be held as sacred. So I want to thank you, and you too Don, for reminding me, and I’m sure some others, how the use of a word, irrespective of its innocent beginning, can be desensitising and trivialising and contribute to the debasement of our language, culture, and souls.

  • “The fifth comment, made by Michael Denton has stuck in my mind.”

    Likewise — good observation.

  • I have felt this way for years…! even as a college pagan back in the ’80s. Though there were things I (unfortunately) said or did, I felt there were zones of propriety. I never discussed certain things in front of women or children, for ex. Now that I’m an ex-pagan I only feel more strongly. I am unhappy that profanity and vulgarity worked its way into literature in the mid-20th c. and later into movies and finally TV. The fact that we had masterpieces of literature and drama for centuries without it shows just unecessary it is. Bad language/behavior was always there, but on the fringes. It was kept at bay.

  • When JFK was elected president one of his aides reportedly said, “this administration will do for sex what the last one (Ike’s) did for golf.”

    Had Blago ever realized his ambition of becoming president (shudder), his administration probably would have done the same thing for the F-bomb.

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26 Responses to Chris Christie Explains the Fiscal Facts of Life to a Teacher

  • Rock star, in the best sense.

  • Impressive performance, and that’s coming from a liberal dem and in general supporter of U.S. union movement, or what’s left of it. Times are tough, though, and the gov makes some good points about shared sacrifice. I think that’s all part of solidarity, forever.

  • I love Christie, too. While I watched it, I thanked my lucky stars I was never cross-examined by the man. 🙂

    However, isn’t it a sad commentary on today’s political scene that we conservatives are so impressed and thrilled by a Republican who actually talks like a Republican is supposed to talk? It shows just how accustomed we have become to PC and double-talk. Being blunt and displaying common sense seems revolutionary.

  • I continue to be impressed by him. The key is that he actually has command of the facts, not just opinions, theory or emotions. You can’t have a serious debate if people are just throwing around slogans that play to your base. I really like the way he called out the teacher for failing to give him the appropriate respect in the beginning.

  • And hey, I didn’t spot a teleprompter. A pol who can command the stage without one – is that even possible? 😉

  • Yeah, and did you hear that his buddy Mike Castle is (notwithstanding his recent ACU rating of 28%, a lifetime NARAL rating of 100%, and his vote last year in favor of cap & tax) a “conservative”?

    The Governor says he wants to do for NJ government what Castle has done for Delaware? That’s a joke, right?

    Straight talk? Or B.S.?

    I’ve been a big Christie fan, but he lost a lot of my respect with his farcical glowing endorsement of Castle’s alleged “small-government” and “anti-regulatory” (did I mention he voted in favor of cap & tax?) credentials.

  • “I was told that I was destroying public education in New Jersey to ask teachers to make that contribution — 1 1/2 percent of salary”

    Since when is that too much to ask for both employee AND dependent coverage? As an employee of the State of Illinois I pay about 7.5 percent of my gross salary for HMO/PPO employee and dependent coverage. I know a lot of people would kill to have health insurance that cost them that little, and if my cost went up one-half or one percent every year I still wouldn’t complain. Yet the NJ teachers union admits they would want to kill this guy over 1.5 percent. Yikes.

  • That’s fine, as long as they put a freeze on the amount of unpaid hours teachers have to work grading papers, doing planning in the summer, etc., plus the hours and money wasted on useless “continuing education.”

  • Try pay 40% that Hawaii teachers pay. New Jersey teachers; you are dang lucky.

  • GodSGadfly:

    Lets see public schoolteachers make on average $70,000 per year (a guess)get two weeks off at Christmas (i’m sorry that would be the Winter Solstice break) two weeks for Spring break and 3 months off in the summer. Wow that is grueling.

  • Very impressive.

  • That’s fine, as long as they put a freeze on the amount of unpaid hours teachers have to work grading papers

    Where are schoolteachers hourly workers?

  • It is disingenuous to pretend that teachers don’t work hard. Despite their hours, their work load is immense.

    That said, teachers’ unions stink. Obscene amounts of their union dues go to political causes that have only tenuous links to education. In many states, they make it almost impossible to fire teachers. And the way most if not all unions these days, but especially unions for public employees, expect raises and benefits when the people paying their salaries are lucky to even have a job disgusts me.

    Some people I know from New Jersey consider Christie to be a terrible governor who is ruining their schools. But when I ask them where the money is supposed to come from for the school expenses they want, they have no answer.

  • But when I ask them where the money is supposed to come from for the school expenses they want, they have no answer.

    The answers are: raise taxes, cut compensation, reduce expenditure on supplies, or reduce the size of the workforce through attrition and dismissal. I suppose you could add ‘transfer funds from other components of the state budget’, but those other offices have people working in them as well (who may or may not have an answer).

    I would assume New Jersey is the same as New York: the completion of an MEd. degree is necessary for retention of one’s position. Evidently completion of that course of study does not require one to be able to think straight.

  • “Get off”? Did you pay attention to what I said? Obviously, Art Deco and AfghaniStan don’t know any teachers.

    How many jobs require you to get an advanced degree and then still constantly take college or graduate courses–normally at your own expense–just to maintain a license? And then continuing education courses on top of that?

    And you think the hours you put into planning can be made up for in the future, but, no. There’s a new textbook every 2 years, or you move to a different school, or get a whole new subject.

    The teachers who get recognized for their “excellence” are, by and large, the ones who work 16 hours a day.

    And what does being hourly have to do with anything? Federal law says FT is 40 hours a week, and anything else is overtime. At least at the college level, they presume our planning and grading hours into it.

    Look at what a teacher makes per year versus a comparable college graduate. Yes, I know they make a lot more in Union states like PA, NY or NJ than they do in VA or SC, but a person with a bachelor’s degree should be making at least about $60K starting.

    Heck, an RN with just an Associate’s can make $60K starting.

    Plus the stress. And these days, the fact that there’s no enforcement of discipline. Republicans complain about budgets, but I don’t see them rushing to fire the useless administrators and district and state bureaucrats who collect six-digit salaries for sitting on their rear ends doing nothing: because they’re people who hated the classroom to begin with, got bigger degrees and got out, then got promoted on Peter Principle when they proved to be horrible school principals.

    My wife spent 2 years working for an absolutely sadistic anti-Catholic lesbian Episcopalian sociopath who can’t even write an e-mail but gets to be a principal because she’s from an old money Charleston family and friends with Gov. Sanford.

    *That’s* where the real education reform needs to come, but the politicians of neither party will actually do it because cronyism is so important to them.

    So, on top of the ridiculous demands that are made of a teacher’s time (let’s not even get started on lunch duty, yard duty, required extracurricular activities, etc.), most teachers have to work other jobs just to make ends meet. When I was a teenager, my father taught FT high school, taught college courses in the evenings, and played the organ for 6 Masses a week. Much of that just went to paying my medical bills.

    And he was proud to do it: but a little appreciation and respect meant far more to him than income, and every time he hear schoolteachers getting lambasted as a class, particularly from his fellow Catholics, it broke his heart.

  • Do you know how much a teacher with a Master’s degree makes? About the equivalent of 3 years of pay steps. So another $30K in tuition down the drain that will never be paid off by the salary that comes with it, without taking one of those aforementioned district jobs that go to people with the right friends.

    And these days, while useless assistant superintendents are keeping their jobs, educational specialists are the ones who get cut in the budget cutsl. This means that people with M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees and experience in higher-level jobs are looking for work as regular classroom teachers, making it harder for those who “just” have bachelor degrees to even get jobs.

    So back up to the time and money it costs to get a Master’s while working (or while being unemployed and trying to support a family), just to have a chance at getting a job your $60,000 bachelor’s degree was supposed to get you to begin with.

    Then get a bottom-of-the barrel job at the worst rural or inner-city school, having a bunch of kids threaten your life all day, call you “honkey” and “cracker” and “white trash” and “redneck.” My wife had students, when she was pregnant, say, “I’d like to roll her down the stairs and kill her baby.” She has had students threaten to kill her, take swings at her, etc., often with no reprisals from the school.

    Meanwhile, I’m making about $15 an hour on average as a college adjunct instructor, having to pay some guy $75 to spend 10 minutes sticking a rubber ring back on my air conditioner.

    Those are the “facts of life” for the average teacher.

  • How many jobs require you to get an advanced degree and then still constantly take college or graduate courses–normally at your own expense–just to maintain a license? And then continuing education courses on top of that?

    Sounds a lot like many facets of the engineering world.

  • GG,

    Coming from a family of teachers, let’s get real here. Preparation is part of the job. It’s not something you should get paid extra for. Teaching involves more then stepping into class with a grin on your face. So if the hours of preparation make the job hours closer to 9-5 during the school year, you’re STILL getting paid 55-75K+ in nj to work 180 days a year. Office employees in the private sector who (GASP) sometimes have to take work home too, work the same hours for 50 weeks a year and pay into their health insurance don’t make much more than that.

    As for continuing education requirements, in NJ at least there is no requirement to get a masters degree. I know many tenured teachers who don’t have one, though many do choose to pursue one (usually through night classes) to get the pay raise that comes with it.


  • Curious. Does anyone know if the education requirements for teachers are the result of government led requirements or something that was instituted by the union(s)?

  • GodsGadfly,

    If you be a salaried employee, you are not on the clock and complaining about uncompensated overtime is incoherent.

    Nurses earn good salaries because of the dynamics of supply and demand in that particular zone of the labor market. The salary differential between nurses and schoolteachers is one reason (among many others) to choose nursing over schoolteaching as a career. Of course, that is not the only factor that goes into career choice.

    The salaries of nurses are enhanced by licensing requirements and by public subsidies to the consumption of medical services. Both of these factors, however, operate in spades in the market for the services of schoolteachers. Because in excess of 90% of the primary and secondary teachers in the United States are employed by public agencies, the salaries of teachers are essentially an administered price. I do not know about where you live, but where I live teachers commonly retire at 55. In comparing compensation across occupations, you do need to take account of the enhanced retirement benefits public sector employees commonly enjoy.

    My sympathies with regard to your wife’s rancid working conditions, but the appropriate policy response to that has aught to do with teacher salaries, capital budgets, or supply budgets and not a whole lot to do with staffing levels.

  • Interesting. Like most debates, the governor and the teacher he is responding to are in need of a fact checker for their comments. Yes, the economy is tough for everyone right now. Teachers, I being one of them here in NJ, have the unique experience of working 10 months out of the year. Our salaries reflect the fact that we do not work in the summer months. I left the private sector over 10 years ago and just this year I am making what I made when I left private industry in 2000. However, I took the pay cut and made the jump to do something that I love and that I enjoy. When my colleagues in the private sector received thousands of dollars each year in raises and bonuses when the economy was booming, I did not begrudge their successes or feel that I was entitled to more. After all, I am a public employee and am paid to serve the taxpayers. When they were making larger salaries, teachers did not ask for large increases (my salary increase this year – without a pay freeze – was $800). Now that the economy is in the tank and private industry is feeling the burden and not making huge raises and bonuses, my salary and benefits are being called into question.

    I am also concerned by the tone and demeanor of the governor. As a teacher, I would never speak to a parent of a student or a member of the community in the manner the governor addresses this teacher. I am an employee of the town and am paid to serve the community in which I teach. Whether I disagree with someone’s opinion or not, I show respect for their ideas and contributions, unlike our governor.

    I am a proud teacher. I enjoy working with children and teach them every day to settle their differences respecting others and taking others’ feelings into consideration. Perhaps Gov. Christie and the higher ups in the NJEA should remember this in their debates.

  • “Whether I disagree with someone’s opinion or not, I show respect for their ideas and contributions, unlike our governor.”

    The Governor was responding to the childish antics of his teacher interlocutor.

  • When they were making larger salaries, teachers did not ask for large increases

    Cash wages for hourly employees have tended quite close to changes in prices for several decades now. Net improvements in living standards have been expressed in more generous medical benefits.

  • CT,

    You missed my point. I’m replying to those idiots who think teachers have some cushy job and don’t do “real work.” I know preparation is part of the job–I’m not saying teachers should be paid more; I’m saying teachers should be appreciated more. I’m saying that, when you put the amount of work, and the licensing requirements, etc., up against the job requirements, teachers get paid a very low salary compared to other college-educated professionals. Again, I really wish conservatives would get out of the Limbaugh-false-dichotomy mindset and stop assuming that anyone who is not an orthodox Republican must be an orthodox Democrat.

    I never said there was a “requirement” to get a Master’s–and you’re talking about long-time teachers.

    I’m talking about new teachers coming into the job market, who have to compete for base line teaching jobs, in our current economy, with people with graduate degrees. And I don’t know about NJ, but in VA and SC, teachers have to take so many graduate courses every few years in order to get their licences renewed, which gets me to . . .

  • Art Deco,

    Did you even read what I said or the contexts??

    When I talked about my wife’s evil former boss, I was talking not about salaries but about the money wasted on incompetent bureaucrats, who are hired solely for political reasons, and who get into administration because they were incompetent administrators . Having a father who taught high school for 30 years, and was a college administrator for 10 years after that, and a wife who’s a teacher, and being a college teacher myself, I know full well that most people at the upper echelons of education at the state level are where they are because
    a) they’re in the right political party
    b) they’re related to the banks that give out all the student loans.

    These idiots soak up millions of dollars in money just to sit on their butts and make other people’s lives miserable. They have no useful purpose other than getting campaign dollars for politicians. If schools were operated on a subsidiarist model, and there were no higher level of education than the local school board, we would save billions in education budgets throughout the state.

    Everything you said about nurses, with the possible exception of supply and demand, applies to teachers. And again you totally miss my point:
    teachers make a lot less than people with college degrees are supposed to make, period.

    Students get June, July and maybe August off; not teachers. Teachers have 20-30 more work days a year than students are in school, so that envy of the anti-teacher crowd for “three months off” is nonsense.

    And, for the third time, my point is that those “months off” usually get taken up having to take graduate courses or conferences or continuing ed to keep up licensure, or else work a summer job to compensate, or both.

    My point is not “Oh, poor teachers who don’t make enough money!” My point is stop ragging on them like you’re a bunch of eighth graders.

    My point is to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.

    My point is that, cutting or freezing salaries is one thing, but it is usually accompanied by *increases* in the work load. If teachers didn’t have to do all that after hours and summer stuff, then they’d be more free to work other jobs.


9-11 Conspiracy Theories Are Ludicrous

Friday, September 10, AD 2010

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  The true humor of course is that a cottage industry has arisen claiming that 9-11 was an inside job.  No belief, no matter how farcical, will fail to have fools and knaves to rally about it.  A useful resource to answer some of the whacked out contentions of the 9-11 Truther Movement is the Debunking the 9-11 Myths at Popular Mechanics.  Another first rate source is the Journal of Debunking 9-11 Conspiracy Theories.

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25 Responses to 9-11 Conspiracy Theories Are Ludicrous

  • I volunteer to give a gratis kickboxing lesson to anyone that ascribes to such lunacy.

    The truth is the mortal remains of 1,100 persons that tragically expired that inauspicious day were never found or returned for burial to the widows and orphans.

  • My opinions of the “truthers” are best left unsaid on a Catholic website.

  • I did find that Popular Mechanics book extremely helpful both for understanding the claims by the truthers as well as the mistakes they’re making.

    Considering the outrage by the left that people think Obama is a Muslim or doesn’t have a birth certificate, it’s amazing that this kind of nonsense it tolerated, as I’d rather Americans think the President was lying about his religion rather than the President has coordinated an attack on his own people.

  • The fact that Popular Mechanics is a co-conspirator in supressing the truth is hardly surprising given that it is owned by privately held and therefore notoriously secretive Hearst Communications. But for The Onion to betray its normally exceptional journalistic principles by promoting this transparent parody is very disappointing. It seems that no one outside of Hollywood has the courage to speak truth to power anymore.

  • Since you can’t really argue with crazy people, the best defense may be humor. When he hears people voice these types of bizarre theories, a friend of mine in a very serious tone chimes in, “Yeah you know Fort Sumter was in an inside job as well.” Sometimes people actually go along with his charade and then they really feel stupid when he tells them the truth.

    I told him the next time to add some more historical events to his routine. For example tell them that the the Archduke was never shot and WWI never really happened. Perhaps tell them that the Archduke lives on an island where he has since married Ameila Earhart and is entertained nightly by the sounds of Elvis and Jim Morrison performing in the hotel’s lounge.

  • We know that 9-11 was a conspiracy. Al Qa’eeda conspired to destroy, what they consider the symbol of Western imperialism – money, wealth and trade, as in the World Trade Center. Of course, that is only the secondary target, the primary target has and always will be the heart of Christendom, Our Holy Church.

    Were elements in our government and other power centers involved? I don’t know, but I suspect that it is probably likely. To be clear, the truthers miss the point when they decide to attack Bush and the ‘Right’ in general, because that makes a mockery of the likely collusion. It is neither part of the false Left-Right paradigm, nor American and it isn’t even part of our governing structure. What is far more likely is the embedding of moles, spies, collaborators and other hidden elements that seek to destroy what is left of Western Civilization.

    Look at the Ft. Hood shooter, he was an officer in our Army and yet, he is a Moslem terrorist. We are all concerned about Mexican anchor babies used to facilitate illegal immigrants getting work and welfare here, yet what goes relatively unnoticed is Moselm anchor babies that can blend in to our American culture and yet harbor ill will and are likely to strike in the future.

    Communists, who now subvert us by openly ‘serving’ in our government have been there all along, only they were hiding. Conspiracies are real, beginning in the Garden and resulting in the Fall. To ignore that is to be out of touch with reality. Of course, the secret nature of conspiracies is that facts are hard to find and even when known the context is difficult to discern.

    Did the Al Qu’eeda terrorists receive support from elements in our country and from elements within our government? Probably. Does that mean that this is part of some government conspiracy? I doubt it. But we have to recall that some will use government power for their own ends, others for ideological ends and yet others will infiltrate in order to destroy because they work with our enemies. It is quite possible. Was George Bush the mastermind? Of course not. It is unlikely that conspirators can achieve that high and public an office. Unlikely, but it may have been achieved in 2008. Nevertheless, Obama is a pawn of his own ideology and the behind the scene machinations of those with evil intentions.

    There is no question that we have been weakened in the eyes of Moselm terrorists and the Islamic heresy, the Communists and just about every enemy, foreign and domestic, since this man has taken office.

    We have to remember that poor leadership and even foreign attack, especially Moslem and Communist, is punishment for sin. Unless you are deluded into thinking our culture is heading in the right moral direction, then you cannot ignore the fact that these things happen because we are unfaithful.

  • I have long suspected Mike that Popular Mechanics is in league with the Illuminati, although the Onion did surprise me. I assumed that the Onion was owned by the cattle mutilating subsection of the Elvis-was-an-alien-cult and they are strong believers that 9-11 was an inside job.

  • I was speaking (no, really!) with a liberal who believes in UFO’s and Big Foots, not in God.

    I told him if while deer hunting in the Adirondacks, I saw a Big Foot, I’d shoot the son-of-a-gun.

    He begged me not to. He said, “That would (tick) off the aliens.”


  • I hear that the world is actually controlled by someone in a bunker in rural Illinois, a Catholic (who else?) who occasionally communicates with his minions via coded essays about Abraham Lincoln.

  • My problem with both conspiracy theories and accepted “our government is great” jingoism is the same, and partially put into words for me by someone on Facebook the other day:
    1. Original Sin
    2. Most people are too lazy or incompetent for conspiracies (or government) to work properly.

    That said, I don’t believe it was an “inside job” in the sense of the “Truthers”, but I *do* believe that our government has a long history of allowing events to happen when it wants to go to war to justify being the “heroes”: Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, and Tonkin Bay all were to some degree known about, and the 9/11 Commission found that the government did have information that could have helped prevent 9/11.

    As for whom the terrorists were attacking, they didn’t attack the US for being the “heart of Christianity” or for being Catholic. They attacked the US for being imperialistic and for spreading filth around the world through Hollywood.

  • “They attacked the US for being imperialistic and for spreading filth around the world through Hollywood.”

    Complete and total rubbish. Some of the 9-11 perps slept with prostitutes in the days leading up to them murdering 3000 innocent Americans. Pornography of a particulary perverse nature has been a part of Arab culture for centuries as well as wide spread pederasty. As for imperialism, if that means that we will not allow them to annihilate Israel or murder every Christian and Westerner in the Middle East, guilty as charged.

    The Jihadists actually murdered 3000 innocent Americans for the same reason they have murdered Spanish, English, French, etc and countless Muslims: Power. The Jihadists are involved in a long term war to seize power throughout the Islamic world. Attacking the US placed Bin Laden and his gang of merry cut throats at the top of this movement. Attacking all nations in the West helps give the jihadis street creds among the inhabitants of the Islamic world who wish to see their countries ruled by these thugs.

  • “I hear that the world is actually controlled by someone in a bunker in rural Illinois, a Catholic (who else?) who occasionally communicates with his minions via coded essays about Abraham Lincoln.”

    Please J. Christian, I do not want to have to send my squad of papal albino squirrel assassins to silence you!

  • talking to you is like talking to a goat.

    THAT was funny.

    I was almost expecting him to say:

    talking to you is like talking to a dining room table.

  • Very good, “they are den of jackals…” lol. Here’s my latest amateur Onionesque offering.

  • He said, “That would (tick) off the aliens.”

    Your friend is protecting you. He knows they gave ray-guns to the bigfoots, err, bigfeet.

  • I hear that the world is actually controlled by someone in a bunker in rural Illinois, a Catholic (who else?) who occasionally communicates with his minions via coded essays about Abraham Lincoln.

    Hey, if you broke the code, you would know that that last essay about secession actually revealed who was really on the grassy knoll in Dallas. I never would have guessed it -not in a zillion years.

    And now I know, but I’m not telling. 😉

  • Ah, but who is pulling the strings of this world controller? (“Yes, dear, I’ll get off the computer soon and do the dishes and take out the trash.”) 😉

  • Fools, it’s Dick Cheney. He’s the one pulling the strings.

    Who is the one that created Hurricane Katrina and made it hit New Orleans?

    Dick Cheney that’s who.

  • “”Look, there’s Joel,” visitor Lance Mattson told reporters, pointing to a wall listing the names of the several thousand Jews who received advanced warning not to go into work on 9/11. “It’s just so moving to think—hey, why are you asking so many questions, anyway? Who sent you here?”

    “Oh my God, this is all part of it, isn’t it?” Mattson added. “I should have known! This whole place is just another conspiracy to placate those brave enough to speak the truth.”

    Mattson then excused himself and rushed past a series of bronze bas-reliefs charting the connections between the Carlyle Group, Donald Rumsfeld, and the bin Laden family.

    At press time, no members of the Trilateral Commission, New World Order, or the committee in charge of constructing the 9/11 memorial at the Ground Zero site in Lower Manhattan were available for comment.”

    The Onion outdid itself on that one Paul!

  • I’m a traditionalist, so of course I believe the Stonecutters are the ultimate source of Earthly power and evil.

  • The hypocrisy of Christians has been the basic complaint of Muslims from day 1, when Mohammed infamously challenged the Christian priests to walk through fire to prove their faith–a challenge which St. Francis offered to accept, winning him the Sultan’s personal medal and an escort for his pilgrimage through the Holy Land.

  • “The hypocrisy of Christians has been the basic complaint of Muslims from day”

    No, the main complaint of Muslims against Christians from day one is that we are polytheists because of our belief in the trinity and because we worship Christ as God.

    Sura 4.171 “O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.”

  • The main thing I notice about these theories is that they seem so unnecessary, and distract people from the real problems. Things we know, with no conspiracies necessary: our government gave and continues to give large amounts of money and influence to Saudi Arabia, which fosters these terrorist groups and from which most of the 9/11 terrorists came; our government’s immigration policies allowed people who all but had ‘terrorist’ written on their foreheads to infiltrate the country using sneaky tactics like writing ‘Hotel’ on their Visa application; and our government’s main reaction to the attack was to start body-searching Irish grandmas and telling people they couldn’t take shampoo on airplanes.

    Isn’t that condemnation enough? Do we really have to come up with elaborate “Bush planned it” theories to be convinced that the powers that be are corrupt and too caught up in political correctness and their own quest for power, and that they should all be run out of town? I sure don’t.

  • “Things don’t happen; things are made to happen.” –JFK

TAC College Football Rankings: Week 1

Thursday, September 9, AD 2010

Idaho Vandals QB & NFL Prospect Nathan Enderle

So we’re trying a new feature here at TAC. Since we noticed we have a lot of college football fans, we thought it might be fun to start our own rankings system. This way, we have an excuse to talk college football every week in a Catholic setting. B/c we thought of it this week, this ranking is coming out on Thursday but the others should be coming out on Mondays.

Here’s how it’ll work. People will send in their rankings and I’ll assign points to them (25 for 1st, 24 for 2nd, etc.) and then average out the points and rank the teams according to that. Then I will take that score along with the computer models and…just kidding. No computer models.

My hope is that it’ll build and we’ll get more people involved (and if you want to submit rankings, let me know-you don’t have to write for TAC). At the end of the year, we may even do a special bowl pick-em thing if it seems popular enough.

Rankings follow after the jump ?

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37 Responses to TAC College Football Rankings: Week 1

  • Thanks for ranking them Michael!


  • Ok, Tito. Why on earth is Idaho #8? Why do you have them so high?

  • Idaho has a four year starter in NFL prospect QB Nathan Enderle returning and putting in a fantastic performance against FCS power North Dakota.

    1,000-yard rusher Deonte Jackson is back for his senior season.

    2 starting WR’s return as well.

    7 of the top 8 DL’s return in a loaded WAC with Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada.

    The entire LB corps returns to make the Defense one of the most feared in college football (and their back-ups return as well).

    Ditto the Secondary.

    We’ll see what happens in Lincoln this weekend when they face #6 Nebraska.

  • I agree with your take on VA Tech. Boise State was shrewd in scheduling the Hokies for their first game. VA Tech lost a disproportionate number of starters, especially on defense, whereas Boise State returned almost all their starters. VA Tech is likely to improve more than Boise State through the season.

  • You know I was kind of tempted to get a little ridiculous in my rankings – like putting the entire Big East in top 25 or something. After seeing Tito’s rankings, I kind of wish I had.

  • Mike:

    Yeah, the first game is always really tough to judge b/c some teams need it more than others i.e. need to work out the kinks & sloppiness. Both Boise & VT had their moments in that game. I still think VT will contend for the ACC crown.


    Please don’t. You are going to hurt my soul.


    Not a bad case, though 8 is really high. We’ll see what happens when you #8 meets your #1 this weekend. Maybe you’ll have me eating crow.

  • Paul,

    There’s always next week, but by then the Big-East will reveal themselves to be the usual charlatans that they are.

  • Okay, MAYBE Tito has a good argument for Idaho’s inclusion in the top 25. But at #8?

  • Very interesting Michael, you put some serious work into this project. For what it is worth, I might have to throw my prognosticating helmet into the ring. While Tito may have a West Coast bias, I have a Midwestern bias, skewing toward the Big Ten and MAC. Though I believe Jay has some loyalties to the Big 12 and ACC, he might be sympathetic to the Midwest.

    As for the poll, it looks pretty sound though I would put Ohio State over Boise St. You might want to check out the Central Michigan vs Temple game tonight, the winner could be a sleeper in the Top 25. I would also put Notre Dame in the Also Receiving Votes. I think they will manhandle Michigan this week. Though, I don’t like recent developments at Our Lady’s campus, they still have a more orthodox minded student body than any of the other major Catholic campuses. In addition, there probably hasn’t been a more faith filled Catholic coach than Gerry Faust, even if things didn’t go his way. He promptly went to the Grotto every day, as he promised Our Lady, if he got the job.

    BTW, what in the world is wrong with Joe Montana bad mouthing Rudy during the Dan Patrick Show? Let the guy have some glory. How embarrassing for Joe that some former teammates had to politely scold him for his comments.

    Finally, Tito I think the Idaho Vandals should employ you as their marketing director, that’s some pretty astute commentary on your part!

  • Dave:

    Well if Paul’s got a Big East bias and I’ve got my SEC bias, we’ll have everyone except the MWC represented!

    Also, Notre Dame did receive votes. Notre Dame was in Jay, Mine, and Paul’s top 25 but not Tito’s (or maybe very low on Tito, not sure). Since Notre Dame was pretty low on all our ballots, it fell out.

    What happened with the Joe Montana deal? I hadn’t heard about that.

  • Jay, Michael, Paul, et al.,

    And just a reminder, in our Catholic Writer’s College Football Poll Idaho is ranked #22.


  • Actually, they’re 21st since they’re tied with Penn State.


  • Michael, Jay, & Dave,

    I had Notre Dame in at #25.

    I penalize their faculty and administration for being worldly, but you’re right about the student body.

    From what I’m aware of they are one of the most deeply devote campuses in the country outside of Thomas Aquinas College and Franciscan University-Steubenville.

    For the record, Idaho was #9 on my ballot, not #8.

  • Dave is correct that my loyalties do lie in the Midwest – I prefer Big 10 football (and have from childhood) even over my alma mater conferences, the SWC (now the Big 12 minus 2) and the ACC.

    In addition, I will give Idaho props for their awesome mascot name.

    Van High School (Van, TX)
    Fighting Van Vandals

  • Jay,

    The very same Vandals that terrorized Christian North Africa?


  • The very same Vandals that kicked @$$ and took names throughout East Texas, baby.


  • Yeaaah!

    It’s FOOTBALL season baby!

    That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

  • Michael, the Joe Montana thing rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it was because Rudy was nice enough to be interviewed for my book twice (along with other Notre Dame connected personalities like Lou Holtz, Dick Vitale and Gerry Faust.) He didn’t know me from Adam and yet he helped me out. He has been on the road for years giving hope to people and making a nice living for his family. (A great combination by the way, someone who is an idealist and a Capitalist all at the same time.)

    Why Joe Montana tries to ruin it for the guy is beyond me. As I stated fortunately after the Dan Patrick interview, a couple members of the 1975 squad defended Rudy and scolded Joe saying 95% of the movie was correct. Montana was only a freshman on the team, let Rudy have his fun and allow him to inspire people. Joe could take some lessons from Rudy’s exhuberance, because as a commentator Joe was terrible. Sorry if I got off topic everyone, thanks for allowing me to vent.

  • Just another reason for me to hate Joe Montana (the so-called “The Catch”, of course, taking the highest position of prominence in my hierarchy of hatred).”

  • Awww, Jay, don’t tell me you’re a cowgirls fan?

  • Dave:

    No problem. I wasn’t familiar with what Joe had said about Rudy, but I take he indicated that the movie was not accurate?


    No, you had Idaho at 8. I double-checked. Next week, I hope to actually figure out how to do a screenshot of the excel sheet and post it to so we can see where everyone was.

    And Jay is a cowgirls fan, which is sad, since God has clearly designated his team in New Orleans and Jay refused to believe (which reminds me-anyone up for a Pro football rankings next week?)

  • Michael,

    I double-checked and you’re right.

    In my WORD document where I made my picks I must have updated it after I sent it.

    Now I know how John Kerry feels, like a complete idiot.

  • I’m not into pro football power rankings, so I’ll just stick with the college game.

    I grew up in northeast Texas in the days of God’s (and His blessed mother’s) quarterback, Roger Staubach. Anyone NOT a Cowboys fan under those circumstances has no soul.

  • Jay,

    Those were there good ole days of Tex Schram.

    Luis Zendejas said in a motivational seminar where I used to work at Wal-Mart that the difference between playing for then-new head coach Jimmy Johnson and Tom Landry (he played for both) was that you would take your family to a BBQ hosted by Landry, but you would go to the strip clubs with Johnson.

  • I’d be up for pro-football rankings.

    Speaking of which – go Drew Brees and Bobby Meachem (both on my fantasy team)!

  • Yes, this is my favorite time of the sporting year (the best actual time period being rivalry week of mid November through the bowl season into early January.) Though I do like March Madness as well.

    As for nicknames, I am sucker for the politically incorrect names. At my high school (Marion Catholic in Ohio) we were the Fighting Irish. I am an Ohio University alum, and we are a member of the Mid American conference. At one time there were the Redskins (Miami of Ohio) the Hurons (Eastern Michigan) and the Chippewas (Central Michigan.) Now only the Chippewas remain. However, some alums from Eastern Michigan and Miami still travel with banners that read “Forever Hurons” and “Forever Redskins.” It was my understanding that the Huron tribe actually liked the name, but the liberal university board thought it would be offensive. Nothing like telling people that they should be offended!

    When I was in school, we had an old school Irish priest who also served as chaplain at the local correctional institute. He was always on the football sidelines exhorting the team and the crowd. One year we played a school about an hour away, where few Catholics lived. We were told some years later that the coach of the team placed a bounty on the priest. The priest was never touched because the opposing players were smart enough to know there would have been a war. During my high school years, that same priest once said that he was surprised to learn that players of German extraction had exceeded in numbers players of Irish and Italian extraction, “Maybe we should call ourselves the Fighting Germans? Well on second thought that might not go over well.” I think it was the only time he second guessed himself!

  • Dave,

    My first job out of college was as an Assistant to the Marketing Director at the University of Arizona Athletic Department. I did a lot of work in the college football industry after that so I can spin a tale or two to sell a ticket!

    Helps if the program is a winner.

    I’m also a MAC fan since I had to work with them when I was a Las Vegas Bowl rep many moons ago when their champions would meet the WAC champions.

  • Tito, ah the Las Vegas Bowl. At Ohio U, we never had a winning season in my undergrad years. For years after, fellow alums and yours truly would think of the Las Vegas Bowl as most school’s alums think of the BCS Bowl Series. We never made it! However, I did attend the MAC Championship Game and the Little Ceasar’s Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl) last December. Ah Detrot in December, there’s nothing like hearing gunfire as the detour signs to I-75 were mysteriosuly nowhere to be found, and you find yourself are driving through blocks of abandoned buildings. I don’t think my wife as recovered yet! Somehow, the Las Vegas Bowl of old would have sounded more inviting, though no less dangerous.

  • Yes, Ohio University.

    Back when I was more interested in sports/athletics than in God I remember Ohio U. having the best Masters in Sports Management degree in the country.

    Besides that, it is a fine and excellent university!

    The MAC is known as the cradle of college football coaches. Where all the greats start out and move on to BCS-caliber programs.

  • There is now an Idaho Vandal on my post. I guess I shall have to ensure that pictures from the LSU games make more frequent appearances.

  • Michael, just wanted to ‘improve’ the look of your post.

    It’s your post so I don’t mind if you take it down.


  • No, it’s fine. I think it’s kinda of funny.

    That said, if you suddenly see that one of your comments now proclaims the glory of LSU football and your profound love for the purple and gold, you’ll understand why. 😉

  • LOL.

    It’s a one week wonder. Idaho will probably lose to the Cornhuskers, but hopefully not so badly so my ranking looks good!

  • Tito, thanks for the compliment concerning my alma mater, Ohio University. Yes the MAC has had some great coaches. Miami of Ohio (our hated rival) is where Sid Gilman, Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Ara Paraseghian, Randy Walker etc got their start.

  • Can’t wait to see week’s 2 rankings beh-bee!

  • Pingback: TAC College Rankings: Week 2 « The American Catholic

Well, Duh!

Thursday, September 9, AD 2010

Fidel Castro, the soon to be late dictator of Cuba, proclaims what most Cubans have known since he took over Cuba two years after my birth.  Journalist Jeffery Goldberg of the Atlantic asked him if the Cuban economic model was something he believes should be exported.  The failed baseball player said that the Cuban economic model didn’t even work for Cubans.  Go here to read the story.

The “Cuban economic model” as far as I can tell basically consisted of reducing most of the population to the status of state slaves to support the nomenklatura of the Cuban Communist party.  The system only “worked” because huge subsidies from the Soviet Union propped it up.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the elimination of the subsidies, the Cuban economy went into freefall as detailed here

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3 Responses to Well, Duh!


Thursday, September 9, AD 2010

(Content advisory to the above video.  A few of the Rules of Acquisition are off-color.  You know what the Ferengi are like.)

We have been having a debate recently on The American Catholic between Austrians and Distributists.  As a devotee of free enterprise with as little government intervention as possible, I have found some wisdom in the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition as set forth in one of my favorite fictional realms:  Star Trek.  Many of the Rules of Acquisition of course are merely for entertainment purposes and would lead to immoral results, if not bankruptcy or prison, if attempted in reality.  However,  after a quarter century of running my own business, I believe these rules are insightful:

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2 Responses to Ferengi-nomics

  • Wow! They managed to get all 285 in during that video. Someone must have the book, as they never referenced all 285 on DS9. Setting them to Pachelbel’s Canon in D is a nice touch.

  • I didn’t watch the whole first video, but it skipped 5, 14, and 15, at least. I don’t think there’s any such thing as a complete canonical list.

    That second video is a classic bit. One of the great things about DS9 was its willingness to show the cloying, soft-tyranny side of the Federation.

Lincoln on Secession

Wednesday, September 8, AD 2010

Lincoln, in his war address to Congress on July 4, 1861, made his views regarding secession clear and, I believe, is his longest treatment of the topic.   It has always struck me as interesting that Lincoln thought it necessary to clearly distinguish between secession and rebellion, and took up so much time in an address to Congress to do so.  Lincoln always understood that the war of ideas was just as important as the war on the battlefield, something some of our Presidents have failed to understand to their cost. A good summary by Mackubin Thomas Owens of how Lincoln’s position on secession had a long heritage among American statesmen prior to the Civil War may be read here.  My own views on secession are set forth in the comments  here.  Lincoln on secession:

“It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called “secession” or “rebellion.” The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. They know their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in and reverence for the history and Government of their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is, that any State of the Union may, consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully, withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.

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25 Responses to Lincoln on Secession

  • Ah, yes.

    Lincoln was wrong in this case.

    But what an orator!

  • His ends may have been noble, yet the means were dastardly.

    Bush said that we have to abandon the free-market to save the market.

    Lincoln said we have the destroy the Constitution to save the Union.

    I will grant that Lincoln was far more well spoken than Bush; however, well executed oration does not forgive the error.

    The only thing in this country worse than a Republican president is a Democrat. Either way these parties pose the gravest threat to the Union.

  • Lincoln said we have the destroy the Constitution to save the Union.

    I tend to think that the states who seceded from the Union unjustly were more at fault for “destroying the Constitution,” but we’ll agree to disagree there.

  • Lincoln was head of the general government, which is a creature of the States. The creature has no rights save those given by the creators. The States, being the creators of the general government, have an inherent right to negate their creation when it grows into a monster.

    That being said, secession is a final resort, not only that it should be last to be exercised, but it is final as it ends the compact. I think the war could have been avoided, I think the South could have employed other means for redress, I think Lincoln could have sought a peaceful resolution. Both sides failed.

    We are still paying for that failure today.

  • The States, being the creators of the general government, have an inherent right to negate their creation when it grows into a monster.

    Seven southern states seceded before Lincoln was inaugurated. I suppose the leaders of the secessionist movement all had special glasses which permitted them to look into the future and see how the government under the United States would function under Abraham Lincoln. I want those glasses.

  • I have an extra pair. I’ll sell ’em to you. 😉

  • Sweet! That will totally help me with my fantasy team.

  • Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,– most sacred right–a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the teritory as they inhabit.
    Abraham Lincoln, January 12, 1848, in his speech on The War with Mexico. “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,” Volume 1, Edited by Roy P. Basler, Rutgers University Presss, New Brunswich, New Jersey, 1953, pages 431-42.

  • Wait, T.G. are you suggesting that Republicans campaign on conservative principles and then govern as statists?

    That’s preposterous, I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  • Paul, the glasses are very rare, so the question we have to ask is should we let the market set the price (sovereign individuals making free valuations) or should we consult with the government (random bureaucrats making arbitrary valuations and taking their vig)?

    I think Lincoln would be for the market decision so long as it did not contradict his will. You know we are free to make any decision we want, so long as it is the right one according to our masters.

  • “His ends may have been noble, yet the means were dastardly.

    Bush said that we have to abandon the free-market to save the market.

    Lincoln said we have the destroy the Constitution to save the Union.”

    No AK, his means, war, was chosen by the Confederates when they attempted, through force, to win by bulllets what they failed to win at the ballot box in 1860.

    “Either way these parties pose the gravest threat to the Union.”

    Rubbish AK. The two party sytem has served this nation well since the days of the Federalists and the Republicans. They have usually been broad enough to give voice to a broad spectrum of public sentiment in the country and normally avoid the paralysis that often afflicts multi-party systems. Political parties are a necessary evil of any democracy and ours have been less evil than most other party systems in the world.

    “The States, being the creators of the general government, have an inherent right to negate their creation when it grows into a monster.”

    The States didn’t create the country, the people of the country did. Hence the term “We The People” in the preamble to the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence created the Union by an act of the Second Continental Congress and not of the individual states. The Articles of Confederation declared that the Union created by the Declaration was perpetual. The Union was never some temporary alliance that the states could withdraw from whenever they pleased, but rather a new nation.

  • “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable,– most sacred right–a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government, may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of the teritory as they inhabit.”

    Lincoln was a firm believer in the right of revolution as set forth by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Indepence. He referred to it often in his political career. He believed that in order for the right to be exercised, it needed to meet the requirements set forth by Mr. Jefferson:

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

    Nothing confronting the South after the election of 1860 justified them revolting under the right of revolution set forth by Mr. Jefferson and believed in by Mr. Lincoln.

    Here is a link to the entire speech of Lincoln that the quotation about the right of revolution was taken from:

  • Don,

    I fear that we will have this discussion every time the subject of the War for Southern Independence comes up or related issues like state’s rights. I must admit, when I have the time, I rather enjoy it. Most Yankees can’t engage in this argument without quarreling. You sire, are a gentleman.

    In the realm of man governing himself, we will never have a perfect system, but some are better than others.

    Our system, the best ever conceived, is not a democracy. We are a republic and utilize the democratic process, but that does not make us a majority rule, which always devolves into mob rule, which means he who controls the mob rules. Democracy always leads to tyranny, even when the tyrant’s ends are noble.

    Fort Sumter is in South Carolina. The general assembly of South Carolina seceded from the Union and requested the occupying federal forces depart from SC’s sovereign territory. Naturally, the feds did not comply because the totalitarian impulse of men in power is to assume everything they see belongs to them. The Confederate defense forces fired over the heads of the feds in order to let them know that the request for departure was not negotiable and absolute. How many US soldiers were killed at Fort Sumter?

    The war started when the Union troops invaded the sovereign territory of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am looking out my window right now, on Centreville Ridge, in the direction where less than a holler away, the Yankees came to picnic and watch the little skirmish that would end the hostilities.

    That did not happen and the Army of Northern Virginia sent the Army of the Potomac running back across the river like little girls. Less than a mile from here stands a statue of Gen. Stonewall Jackson right where he stood like a wall and the South rallied behind the Virginian. The war was started by the USA, not the CSA. The war was an unfortunate, and in my opinion unnecessary, consequence of the encroaching federal oppression and disregard for true sovereignty.

    I did not state that the alleged two-party system is necessarily the problem. I did state that the Democrats and the Republicans are the problem. The debate in this country is supposed to be between libertarians (classic liberals) and conservatives (traditionalists grounded in Judeo-Christian morality, which is necessarily Catholic even when not recognized as such). Instead we have one party – collectivists, that go by many names: progressives, democrats, socialists, etc. Some are Democrat-socialists/corporatists and others are Republican-corporatists/socialists. One seeks to manage me with foreign adventurism and allowing me to keep some of my money by giving me the gift of ‘tax-cuts’ for ‘socially’ responsible behavior, the other seeks to manage me by forcing me to behave in a ‘socially’ responsible manner by taking more of my money through more taxes, oh and yes, they also want foreign conflicts just for ‘socially’ responsible reasons. Both seek to rob us of our material wealth through inflation (deflation) and rob us of our freedom of religion by forcing us to be secular. Neither option is appealing; however, the Republicans have a chance at redeeming themselves by leaving the party to authentic conservatives. This is going to happen and all that will be left to see is how long it shall remain a conservative party this time – I fear this is the last chance.

    Me thinks that thou art missing the point. If this country was created democratically then there would be no need for a Continental Congress, we would have just everyone of We The People vote. By electing representatives from their own state, each sovereign person delegates some of their God-given sovereignty to their state representatives. Those delegates then attend the national convention and create laws, the laws govern the people. We are not to be governed by each other, we are to be governed by the laws that our delegates enact. Those laws enacted a compact with the approval and ratification of the sovereign parties – the 13 states and commonwealths that sent the delegates, elected by the people. Therefore the general government is a creature of the states and can only operate within the enumerated powers at the pleasure of the co-equal parties to the compact. In other words a republic.

    On this point, no American should disagree. We can disagree as to when nullification is wise and when secession is the only option left. If we respect the former, then the latter will never need be used. I am not sure if you are merely prejudiced to the argument because you are from the North, which I understand, because my love for my Southern culture may cloud some of my views, I pray not. Or, if you picked up some bad habits in law school – not exactly bastions of liberty. Either way, please keep in mind that all 13 colonies seceded from England and New England states were some of the first to address their option to secede from the newly formed Union.

    I also don’t think that any state should withdraw whenever they please for slight reasons. The Union is expected to be perpetual so long as God wills it; But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, …

  • Naturally, the feds did not comply because the totalitarian impulse of men in power is to assume everything they see belongs to them.

    It is a totalitarian impulse to continue to occupy territory that still legally belongs to you?

    The Confederate defense forces fired over the heads of the feds in order to let them know that the request for departure was not negotiable and absolute. How many US soldiers were killed at Fort Sumter?

    Oh gee, why did Anderson even surrender? He should have just had them over for cake and cookies after so gentle a “warning.”

    The war was started by the USA, not the CSA.

    The first shots of the war were fired, as we just discussed, by confederate troops. The semantical argument, though, is rather pointless. If the CSA was engaged in treason (as deemed by the Union) rather than rebellion, it would seem that the only proper response of the government would be to engage in military action to stop said treason lest other states get the message that the government will do nothing to stop these types of actions.

    The war was an unfortunate, and in my opinion unnecessary, consequence of the encroaching federal oppression and disregard for true sovereignty.

    You keep saying this, but again, you have not demonstrated here – or frankly at any other time – how this is so. I have asked this before, and I’ll ask it again: can you please identify the long train of abuses that justified the secession of the southern states? I’m not talking about what happened ex-post facto. What were the actions taken by the federal government that took place before the winter of 1860-61 that justified secession?

    As for the entire debate about whether or not the government created by the Constitution was federal or national in nature, you can see my post on Federalist 39 which I am putting up right about . . . now. Here it is. Madison himself points out that it is a mixture of both. The constitutional compact itself is national in nature because the people at large had to give their consent, but they did through state ratifying conventions – indicating the federal nature of the compact.

    Either way, please keep in mind that all 13 colonies seceded from England and New England states were some of the first to address their option to secede from the newly formed Union.

    And indeed there were whispers of secession throughout New England at various points during the reign of various Republican (the Jeffersonian Rs) administrations. They were wrong, too.

    I also don’t think that any state should withdraw whenever they please for slight reasons.

    You see, we’re actually in complete agreement. Unless of course you think losing an election constitutes a long train of abuses.

  • The Confederates fired over the heads of the defenders of Fort Sumter? Where on Earth did you hear that fable AK?

    From Confederate Military History, Volume 5, Chapter 1:

    “For thirty-four hours they assaulted Sumter with an unceasing bombardment, before its gallant defenders consented to give it up, and not then until the condition of the fort made it impossible to continue the defense. Port Moultrie alone fired 2,490 shot and shell. Gen. S. W. Crawford, in his accurate and admirable book, previously quoted, thus describes the condition of Sumter when Anderson agreed to its surrender:

    “It was a scene of ruin and destruction. The quarters and barracks were in ruins. The main gates and the planking of the windows on the gorge were gone;the magazines closed and surrounded by smouldering flames and burning ashes; the provisions exhausted; much of the engineering work destroyed; and with only four barrels of powder available. The command had yielded to the inevitable. The effect of the direct shot had been to indent the walls, where the marks could be counted by hundreds, while the shells, well directed, had crushed the quarters, and, in connection with hot shot, setting them on fire, had destroyed the barracks and quarters down to the gun casemates, while the enfilading fire had prevented the service of the barbette guns, some of them comprising the most important battery in the work. The breaching fire from the columbiads and the rifle gun at Cummings point upon the right gorge ‘angle, had progressed sensibly and must have eventually succeeded if continued, but as yet no guns had been disabled or injured at that point. The effect of the fire upon the parapet was pronounced. The gorge, the right face and flank as well as the left face, were all taken in reverse, and a destructive fire maintained until the end, while the gun carriages on the barbette of the gorge were destroyed in the fire of the blazing quarters.” ”

  • Don,

    How many Union KIAs?


    The reasons are numerous, the states expressed them in the Declarations of Causes of Secession and the Ordinances of Secession. They are chiefly violation of foundational principles and economic warfare. Now, before we go on, I want to be clear that I am not in favor of slavery in any way shape or form, save for slavery to Jesus. I am also aware that slavery is the common state for humankind and liberty the exception. We hold ourselves to higher ideals and many respected men of the mid 19th century were against slavery and in favor of the Union so long as the Constitution and the Republic it established were not violated.

    My Commonwealth voted against secession by a rather wide margin until Lincoln chose to invade the South to preserve the Union. It was the Northern invasion that provoked the people of Virginia and Gen. Lee.

    The mercantilist interests of the North and the use of of an unfair tariff that damaged the economies of most states, especially the Southern agrarian economies, were far more gross than the encroachments of England against the colonies.

    There were, are and always will be forces that seek to use the force of government to dominate rather than regulate, as in make regular. These are the men who attempted over and over again to establish a central bank in this country, even before the creation of the republic. This lust for domination came to light with the alien and sedition acts prompting Virginia and Kentucky to nullify those laws.

    Furthermore, as a Virginian, I take the ratification of the Constitution to be exactly as the commonwealth understood it when it was undertaken:

    “AN ORDINANCE to repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United State of America by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution

    The people of Virginia in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slave-holding States:

    Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain, That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in convention on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying and adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

    And they do further declare, That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.

    This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day, when ratified by a majority of the voter of the people of this State cast at a poll to be taken thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule hereafter to be enacted.

    Adopted by the convention of Virginia April 17,1861

    Ratified by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451 on 23 May 1861

    I think that is pretty clear. If Virginia ratified the Constitutional compact while retaining the right to withdraw since the compact is a creature of delegated rites and powers, then why are we suddenly unable to do such thing merely because we exercise it?

    Now I am not advocating secession, but I am all for nullification, if the lawsuits our fine Catholic AG is bringing against the federal government are not given a proper hearing. Which is a difficulty thing to do in federal court, therefore, an appeal to the true arbiters of the Constitution may be needed – that is the states and commonwealths that created it and entered into it.

  • One Union soldier died due to an exploding cannon AK at the surrender ceremony AK. However, it was not for lack of trying by the Confederates as the article I cited above establishes.

    In regard to the Virginia Ordinance of Secession, how was the Federal government injuring the people of Virginia prior to the Civil War? How was it that a substantial portion of the people of Virginia so disagreed with secession that they broke away and formed the state of West Virginia during the war? Was the state of Virginia justified, as it did during the war, in calling West Virginians traitors in their attempt to break away from Virginia?

  • Don, Fort Sumter was a customs post. It was no longer property of the general government of the Union because the Union was legally and effectively dissolved in the sovereign and independent state of South Carolina. No Southern troops engaged in any hostilities until Lincoln sent munitions and supplies to the customs post – clearly, either to bait the Southerners in a typical false flag operation as a pretext for war, or in anticipation of opening fire on the Southerners. Either way, the first act of aggression was Lincoln’s.

    The people of Virginia and the whole South were covering a disproportionate amount of the federal taxes and the threat of secession, which should have let the North know that we were serious, did not lower the disproportionate tax. Instead it prompted the mercantilist interests to yell, ‘preserve the Union”, which meant, don’t let our tax revenue be taken away by a bunch of redneck farmers.

    Northerners were not concerned about African slavery, save for a small band of terrorists. Northerners were far more concerned about the increasing quantity of those pesky Papist immigrants.

    Additionally, Lincoln and the Republican party in general, and this is pretty much true to this day, save for brief moments of clarity (Goldwater, Reagan, Paul, TEA Parties), desire three things:

    Import/export tariffs
    Corporate welfare for their mercantilist/corporatist friends
    Central banking and paper money backed by nothing

    Those three vile things are incompatible with a republican form of government and since the Commonwealth of Virginia is mostly responsible for the Union created by the Constitution because it was based on the Virginia plan, drafted by Virginians, the convention was presided over by a Virginian who became the first president of the Union and Virginia’s ratification debates and ratification vote were absolutely necessary for the Union – we sort of know what we are talking about.

    Nevertheless, Virginia has a history of prudence and nullification was preferred to secession until such time as Lincoln began arresting people like the mayor of Baltimore, calling troops up without Congressional approval, suspending Constitutional provisions illegally and even against the declarations of the Supreme Court and then demanding to invade the sovereign territory of Virginia in order to force the South back into the Union. This is additionally evidenced by the fact that he ceased to refer to these United States as a Union and began referring to us a Nation, betraying his intent.

    West Virginia was not a substantial portion of our population and the secession of western Virginia was highly irregular and agitated by the Yankees in order to reduce Virginia’s sovereign territory – a punishment for not providing troops for Lincoln’s invasion force, most notably, Gen. Robert E. Lee. As for the Unionists that had more loyalty to the General Government than their home, they should have moved to Pennsylvania. This was just an evil plan, that included giving the entire Delmarva to Delaware and large swaths of our territory to Maryland (basically the entire Piedmont and Tidewater, leaving the vital Shenandoah Valley effectively landlocked and taking the capital of the Confederacy too) which had already been forced to remain in the Union through questionable methods.

    The vertical check on government power is more necessary than the horizontal, trinitarian division. Without state’s rights, the principle of subsidiarity has no chance of being applied. It seems that the sentiments of Virginia have spread across the entire country outside NYC and San Francisco today. Right is right and people can only be pushed so far – our Constitution gives voice to those with grievances, yet, tyrants can always ignore the will of the people, the rights of the states and the Constitution. Eventually that comes at their own peril – the beautiful flag of my Commonwealth says it best: Sic Semper Tyranus.

  • “Don, Fort Sumter was a customs post. It was no longer property of the general government of the Union because the Union was legally and effectively dissolved in the sovereign and independent state of South Carolina.”

    Fort Sumter was federal property. It did not belong to South Carolina but rather to the Union. The attempt of South Carolina to secede was neither legal, what court handed down that decision?, or effective as the outcome of the Civil War proved. The attack on Fort Sumter was a demonstration of just how fatally Confederates misunderstood the depth of love of the Union in the North and that the North would fight a long and grueling war to preserve the United States.

    “No Southern troops engaged in any hostilities until Lincoln sent munitions and supplies to the customs post – clearly, either to bait the Southerners in a typical false flag operation as a pretext for war, or in anticipation of opening fire on the Southerners. Either way, the first act of aggression was Lincoln’s.”

    Rubbish. The policy of the Lincoln Administration to hold forts in Confederate territory was clear. The Lincoln administration, in order to avoid violence, kept the South Carolina government appraised of attempts to resupply Fort Sumter. The Confederates would have been wise to simply allow the resupply since the Fort was no military threat to South Carolina. However, wisdom was something sorely lacking in the South at the start of the Civil War as Rhett Butler mordantly observed at the beginning of Gone With the Wind.

    “The people of Virginia and the whole South were covering a disproportionate amount of the federal taxes”

    Rubbish. The Tariff Act of 1857 was highly favorable to the South.

    “Northerners were not concerned about African slavery, save for a small band of terrorists.”

    The vast majority of abolitionists were not terrorists AK, but people with the curious belief that people should not be held as slaves because of their race. Most Northerners were not abolitionists, but a majority of Northerners were opposed to slavery, as the unpopularity of the Fugitive Slave Act in the North demonstrates.
    “Northerners were far more concerned about the increasing quantity of those pesky Papist immigrants.”

    The Know Nothing Party was a spent political force by the Civil War AK, due in no small part to efforts by men like Abraham Lincoln who fought against prejudice against Catholics just as he fought against the enslavement of blacks. Catholic immigrants, mainly Irish, were a mainstay of the Union armies that defeated the Confederacy.

  • “Additionally, Lincoln and the Republican party in general, and this is pretty much true to this day, save for brief moments of clarity (Goldwater, Reagan, Paul, TEA Parties), desire three things:

    Import/export tariffs
    Corporate welfare for their mercantilist/corporatist friends
    Central banking and paper money backed by nothing”

    The Republican Party in Lincoln’s time supported protective tariffs. The Republican Party has been pro-free trade since World War II.

    Corporate Welfare did not exist in Lincoln’s time due to miniscule government spending outside of spending on the war. Both parties have been afflicted since the New Deal with spending like drunken sailors.

    Both the USA and the CSA issued paper money during the Civil War. The difference was that the greenbacks retained their value and the Confederate currency was worthless long before the Confederacy lost the war. The Union managed its finances with consummate skill and the Confederacy managed its finances with consummate folly.

  • “Those three vile things are incompatible with a republican form of government”

    That entire paragraph is all balderdash AK. The Civil War was all about slavery and the leaders of the Confederacy stated this in no uncertain terms at the time. Latter-day Neo-Confederates try to ignore this fact, but a fact it remains all the same.

    “West Virginia was not a substantial portion of our population and the secession of western Virginia was highly irregular”

    What a hoot! The attempted secession of Virginia from the Union was not a “highly irregular” event? Secession was decisively voted down in the portion of Virginia that became West Virginia. They wished to remain a part of the Union and they got their wish courtesy of the Union Army that protected them from Confederates who wished to punish them as “traitors”. If the South had won the Civil War AK, I have absolutely no doubt that what West Virginia did would have been replicated many times when any portion of the CSA became disgruntled. Allow secession to succeed once, and it would become a common remedy in times of national stress.

    “Without state’s rights, the principle of subsidiarity has no chance of being applied”

    States have a valuable and essential role in the United States. Destroying the Union is no part of that role.

  • Don,

    I love these discussions we have every time you post something about Lincoln and/or the War for Southern Independence.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t the time to respond to your posts right now and probably not until long after this thread is forgotten. Somehow, I doubt that you will refrain from posting something relevant to this topic in the future and I doubt that I will be able to resist responding from an Upper South perspective.

    I have to say that it isn’t likely that either one of us will change our positions. But, I do learn something every time you challenge me to defend the Southland. I have a great deal of respect for you and I am not a blind neo-Confederate. Please keep in mind that I am Levantine and wasn’t even born here in my home, but my blood has been transfused with good old Southern pride.

    The historical discussion is fun, I somehow doubt too many are all that interested in it. What is relevant is the fact that since the war, actually building in the antebellum period, states’ rights have been eroding and at an accelerated pace. Keep in mind that African slavery was not supported by many in the South, including Robert E. Lee. As a Catholic I abhor slavery and my defense of the South is in no way shape or form a defense of slavery. Additionally, the events that led to the war and the way the occupation was handled afterward are very relevant to us today.

    I also want you to know that I am pro-Union; however, I must add that the Union is only viable if it is a Constitutional Republic and the states’ have practical power to check the encroachments of the general government, and the general government checks the encroachment of the states vis. its enumerated powers.

    I believe that many of the problems we are experiencing today would not exist had we an authentic respect for states’ rights, especially nullification. I also suspect that we may see that debate sooner than later. Our fine Catholic AG is challenging the nationalists in the general government as we speak. May God bless him and his efforts.

    Federal courts are not the ultimate arbiter of whether or not something is legal, they have an inherent conflict of interest. The parties to the compact are the ultimate arbiters of the law, except where it is specifically enumerated to the general government. Of course, you are an attorney and I am merely a layman, so I present my humble opinion in that light and feel comfortable having this discussion with you and not too many other attorneys simply because I know you are a soldier of Christ before you are a lawyer.

    Thanks again for the post and the opportunity. I’m sure we’ll pick it up again.

  • Good jousting with you AK. It is always fun. In regard to Robert E. Lee, as you know, he is one of the Americans I hold in highest esteem, and I have noted his abhorrence of slavery and secession.

    Debating the Civil War and the great issues it raises is something that Americans will be doing from now until Doomsday. For me, the great lesson to be learned from that terrible national calamity is that we are one people: Union soldier, Confederate soldier, black slave.

    That is why when I read Civil War history, I am as apt to read studies of the Confederacy as I am of the Union. When I read the history of the Confederacy, I am reading the history of my countrymen, just as much as I am when reading the history of the Union during the War. I feel the same way when I am reading about the slaves in bondage. For me my feelings about the Civil War can be summed up in the phrase E Pluribus Unum.

  • Don,

    You are a gentleman and a scholar. Until next time my friend, Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

  • Lincoln claimed to read minds. The 13 original colonies declared themselves independent States…but clearly they didn’t MEAN it.

    He makes an excellent point about debts and about land purchased from Spain, etc. Both sides of that war were very faulty but still I wonder why no one thinks that some kind of treaty couldn’t have been made.


Wednesday, September 8, AD 2010

The Episcopal Church?

Cardinal’s Mahony or O’Malley’s Archdioceses?

If you guessed any of these you’re pretty darn close!

(Hat Tip:  Creative Minority Report)

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3 Responses to Progressive-Church.Com

48 Responses to Thomas Woods and His Critics, The Austrian vs. Distributist Debate Among Catholics

  • Good post, David. Off-topic, but are you in CL?

  • Great post – I agree this discussion is fascinating. IT it is very much improved by the frank admission and acceptance of the principle of the autonomy of the temporal order, and the civility of the contributors to the discussion. I hope to see more posts like this here.

  • I hate this post. I don’t like things that remind me of how poorly read I am. 😉

    In seriousness, thank you very much for writing this; I think it will give people like me a basis for understanding this debate. Now if only you could out enough time to go with the many links!

  • Great roundup. Thanks.

    Let us generalize about right-liberals and libertarians of various stripes (I might be described as paleo-libertarian, but the concept still seems to me to be in development, and I dislike all liberalism):

    Insofar as they are fine with a determinism of the “free market” economic conduct, they are wrong:
    by this I mean a view that the market is incompatible with ethics. “Efficiency” is NEVER to be valued above morality. The “market” has NO “inner logic.”

    Thus a good society is built upon the morality of its people, and culture is more important than politics and the construction of economic structures.

    Market-Determinism, it might be called, is anti-human, just as collectivism is anti-human (Ayn Rand was right about the Soviet Union and wrong about herself).

    Markets come from society. They are social institutions, flowing from law and custom. A market mechanism punishes inefficiency – great. But morality and family (and from family, tribe, and from tribe, nation, if a nation is not to have large-scale internal conflict) must be the foundational basis of organizing influence upon a polis.

  • Chris,


  • I have one issue with this debate – it seems too narrowly framed. Although I admire distributism, I don’t really regard myself as one. It’s a little narrow in its focus. And the Austrians are a little kooky and fringe. The real argument is between Catholics who support the postwar experiment in Christian democracy (which, as the pope says, is very close to social democracy in its economic aspects), and the resurgent laissez-faire liberalism that held sway long before Hayek started worrying about welfare states and dictators.

  • I’m curious about something and would like to it throw something out here. I am not very well read on economics, but I’m under the impression there are no major true laissez-faire capitalist voices out there. My impression is that most everyone acknowledges a role of the government in the economy, and that the debate is really one of degree and type of involvement. Is that a fair assessment?

  • resurgent laissez-faire liberalism

    The Libertarian Party is good for 0.7% of the national vote. Dr. Paul won about 5 1/2% of the Republican primary and caucus ballots two years ago; Alan Keyes once did about as well.

  • MM,

    If you really want to talk about real, current alternatives in the current political and economic landscape, I’m not clear that Christian Democracy or even Social Democracy are much on the table either.

    If I were to venture a guess though, I think that the appeal of Distributism for many Catholic readers/writers is that:

    a) It is a specifically Catholic phenomenon, which Social Democracy is not and Christian Democracy only partly is and

    b) For many Catholics, I think that the European example of Christian Democracy and Social Democracy in the post-war years is seen as tainted by what seems to have followed naturally from it: a breakdown of the communal in favor of the individual, and a relationship between individual and state replacing other more subsidiary relationships.

    Distributism, in it more communitarian forms, appeals to those who might be more receptive to ideas of Christian Democracy if they hadn’t seen how it worked out in reality. In that Distributism has (or can have) communitarian elements, yet lacks the centralizing and statist impulses of Christian Democracy, its fans hope that it would fair better.

  • Regarding a supposedly resurgent laissez-faire liberalism….since when exactly? Maybe in the time of McKinley and Taft, but certainly not since the first large-scale American centralizations, which began with Wilson (who could make W. Bush look like the head of the ACLU) and continued with the New Deal and the Great Society and continues right on up to the corporatist spirit and value transferrence of….well, today’s Republicans and Democrats (although, hey, maybe the big banks and companies and major foundations and Wall Street crowds will give a lot less to leftist parties and causes this year, given the economy – typically they fill up those coffers).

    The real argument is, increasinly, between our elites (government, media, big business, big public sector labor unions, ethnic activists, those that transfer instead of create value) and the folks really getting hammered – small business owners, family farms, manufacturers, ect (ie people that make our economy hum and don’t want to think too much about politics as they raise their families). Douthat hinted at this yesterday:

  • My impression is that most everyone acknowledges a role of the government in the economy, and that the debate is really one of degree and type of involvement. Is that a fair assessment?

    I’d say so. These days even anarchists acknowledge a role for government.

  • Chris,

    Thanks for this excellent overview!

    Many of you know that I am intimately involved in this dispute. I was a contributor to the Distributist Review, and was unceremoniously dumped when I began to take more libertarian positions.

    Indeed I have been characterized as a “Distributarian” for my attempt to reconcile the two positions (and I thank you for including my old article, my first attempt at that).

    I have been fascinated with the work of Hayek and Ropke, and I have come to believe ever-more strongly in the positive goodness of economic liberty. I think my evolution is quite similar to David Jones’, in that it is impossible for me not to acknowledge what the Austrians get right.

    Those who want to learn more about my perspective are also invited to read:

  • Blackadder,

    Yes I am in CL. Drop me an email if you desire.

  • The Distributists err when they claim the Austrians are a bunch of heretics. In Catholic Social Doctrine there is the principle of the “Autonomy of the Temporal Order”. The Church does not mandate we embrace a specific economic (or political) model. The Church has been critical of both Socialism and Capitalism in the past, but also recognizes that we live in a global economy today. The prudential application of moral principles can be applied in both a Distributist and Capitalist economic model.

    Actually, the charge is that the Austrians deny that the Church has any sort of teaching role in economic matters (and the concomitant claim that economics is completely separate from ethics). The Church does not mandate any particular order for all polities, but it does provide general principles.

  • (and *affirm* the concomitant claim that economics is completely separate from ethics).

  • Let me also say that I agree with Johnathan Jones about the importance of culture. We cannot have Locke without Burke. We cannot have freedom without values. We cannot have liberty without Christ!

    But having said all that, I believe many of the critics of economic liberalism undermine the free-will that is inherent in human nature, that is a property of the souls God gave us. It is free-will that bestows a dignity upon man above all of the animals; it is free-will that makes us moral beings. To undermine free-will by attempting to micromanage the economy is to degrade humanity, in my opinion. There should certainly be a framework, but within it, there should be as much freedom as possible.

    I think we are voluntary collectivists by nature. So I reject involuntary collectivism as well as voluntary individualism. And I think Christianity is ultimately voluntary collectivism, and what we ought to be working towards.

  • Excellent. Thanks for taking the time to put all that together – I hope to get through it all someday.

    I think a great point made, that deserves to be mentioned again, is that the issue is morality, virtue and character.

    Austrians maybe right about the market (I happen to agree); however, men are not angels. Although the market is the preferred method for ferreting out problems, it fails without Church (conscience) and government (fair broker). The problems we face are that we do not have a church in this country, we have churches and although there is really only One Church in truth, we are not there yet. We also have to deal with the fact that centralized statist power necessarily attracts men of low character and questionable morality, if any. Therefore, the government is not a fair broker.

    The government and the corporatists look out for each other at the expense of everyone else. This is what caused Jesus to flip tables in the Temple.

    We need to have this debate; however, in order for it to be something more than an academic and theoretical one, we need to restore the US Constitution, apply subsidiarity (federalism) and restore the moral order – first within ourselves, our Church, our communities and then elect men of character as our representatives. Then this discussion can have practical results.

    In the current corporatist-statist paradigm neither Austrian theory, nor Distributism have any place. We are given the option of Socialism leading to Communism leading to an evil oligarchy and reducing us to serfs (slaves), or Capitalism leading to corporate usurers being in control leading to an oligarchy and reducing us to employees (slaves). The result is the same either way.

    Me thinks the majority of people given the latter two choices, would prefer either of the former choices as an economic system for this country.

  • In meaning that culture is more important than politics, and that the family is the very foundation of a good society, it should also be noted that the strands of activist statism and liberalism (because even right-liberalism is an invitation to statism, as “freedom” is isolating and people become open to state-sponsored communion, and so I use liberalism to mean “equal freedom”, as enforced equality is left-liberalism) invite hubris. Protection against this is the genius of Madison in Federalist 10, writing that a dim view of human nature is most reasonable for the conduct of public affairs. “The good life of man” he traced to the Greeks, who asked not what kind of society can we mold but how can we mold ouselves to a concept of the good. Such (proper!) questions are why literary insight matters so much to governmental organization – as governmental organization should be concerned with following the good order of souls, which will always gravitate towards communion (hopefully in the Eucharist), no matter their stated desires (and so I agree about humans being “voluntary collectivists).”

  • Actually, the charge is that the Austrians deny that the Church has any sort of teaching role in economic matters (and the concomitant claim that economics is completely separate from ethics).

    The Austrian position is more limited than this. Here, for example, is Woods:

    My position, therefore, in no way involves the claim that the sciences per se, including economics, are exempt from moral evaluation. They are, however, exempt from technical critiques on the part of the Church, since churchmen may speak only as individuals on such questions and not for the Church as a whole. Thus if a certain medicine could be produced only by ripping the hearts out of living human beings, the Church should condemn such a thing, no matter how many doctors were in favor of producing the medicine. But if two kinds of medicines are suggested to treat a particular ailment, and no moral objection can be raised to either one, then in such an area the Church must defer to those who are schooled in that specialized science.

    The confusion arises, I think, from the fact that Catholics often make moral claims which presuppose certain factual assumptions. These assumptions can seem so obvious that a person doesn’t even realize they are there. It just seems like straight morality. So when an Austrian denies the conclusion and says it goes beyond the Church’s competence, it sounds like he is denying a moral teaching.

  • Blackadder: Do the Austrians claim that economics is purely descriptive? If so, then on what basis do they make normative claims?

    Medicine or pharmaceuticals is a product of art subordinate to biology — it’s not exactly a good analogy since all human transactions are moral in nature and cannot be studied in abstraction of their morality. One cannot say that these are just our observations about how operate work in the “marketplace” and they are morally neutral. If economics were just like physics or biology, one could claim the Church has no competence to criticize. But it’s not.

  • “We cannot have Locke without Burke.”

    That’s a good argument for getting rid of Burke.

  • Joe H. Says, “We cannot have Locke without Burke.”

    Why would we want Locke at all?

  • In America, we’re stuck with Locke, and I don’t think he was all bad.

  • @ John C.M.


    …Locke, Stocke, and Two Smoking Barrels!

    (Couldn’t resist)

  • It’s not longer a matter of will, intention, rationality, etc.? We’re just stuck with him?

  • Well, I think Locke is a part of the American political tradition via the founding fathers and particularly Jefferson.

    So no, I don’t think you can just will the legacy of Locke’s ideas out of the American political consciousness.

  • Locke’s influence on the Founding is overrated. Locke was but one of many writers that were quoted and cited in the literature of the time, but if you look at the philosophy of the men who truly formed our republic – Madison, Hamilton, Adams, etc – he was not a formative influence in any meaningful way.

  • And how did we even get onto this discussion in the first place? We make some funny detours around here.

  • David & BA,

    CL as in Communion and Liberation?

  • One thing that strikes me as peculiar about the point of origin of this discussion is your identification of ‘Austrian’ economics as the counterpoint to certain trends in Catholic social thought. ‘Austrian’ economics is an odd and controversial set of conceptions and not accepted by aught but a small minority of macroeconomists with an affinity for libertarian notions of justice.

  • jonathanjones02 & DarwinCatholic – All brilliant comments and observations. I agree with them, I think.

    Joe – Blosser referred me over to your blog. Wow, great stuff. You and I will be talking I am sure. I will definitely read the links you provided above. I am especially interested in learning more about Ropke’s thought. If memory serves me correctly ISI publishes some of his works or at least book(s) about his thought. At this moment I am reading the foundational texts of Distributism. I also what to read the newer books of Distributism that the Distributist Review Press is putting out. I also desire to read more Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, & Karl Polanyi. Maybe I can find time for Ropke as well. You might find this article of interest.

    PB – I agree with you.

    American Knight – Brilliant comments as well. I would slightly differ with you on that it is possible to find small ways to live the Distributist lifestyle in our time. Refer to the works and thought of Wendell Berry, Eric Brende, Rod Dreher, Caleb Stegall, etc. The work and thought of John Médaille and Richard Aleman are especially helpful in this regard. Refer to the Aleman’s recent talk at the Chesterton conference. I am not sure it’s available yet though.

    Maybe he will be kind enough to provide the text of the talk to us. Refer to his podcast interview though on Uncommon Sense #17.

    John Médaille – As a 2001 IRPS grad (last class under Bushman) from UD I salute you. Thank you for all your years of work advocating Distributist thought. What you and others have done with the Distributist Review is simply beautiful. I am really excited about where DR is going.

    WJ, John & Joe – I prefer Burke over Locke… I wonder what Russell Kirk has to say about Locke? I would also remind folks of Masonic influence on Locke’s thought. Blosser is now beating his head on the table. hehe

    Tito – yes CL means Communion and Liberation in my case.

  • What concerns me about the Austrians or anarcho capitalists, especially Rothbard’s and even Lew Rockwell’s thought as far as I have read or heard them, is this… They never it seems to me distinguish between the local, state and federal governments. All government is bad, all the time. This is simply not reasonable. This is not in line with Catholic Social Ethics either. Things should be handled at the lowest level possible (subsidiarity) – individual, family, neighborhood, parish, community, state, nation, etc. Government is not evil though, which is the presupposition of the Austrians. I reject that. Government is necessary for the common good in a fallen world.

  • In addition to the above link that I provided here are some others. Here are just some of the historic conversations I have had with Blosser and others on the influence Masonic thought on our Founding Fathers refer below.

    Locke and others are talked about in the comments of this last link.

    One could argue the liberalism (classical?) that they Austrians argue for is related to this topic as well.

  • As an attempt to gently guide us back to the topic of the main post. If you had to put me in a box politically I would state I am a traditional conservative, or to use Rod Dreher’s term – a crunchy conservative. Refer to his book, Crunch Cons. Libertarianism for me is like a shoe one size too small. I am very attracted to it at times, but the shoe just doesn’t fit. I like what the Austrians have to say about the monetary policy (i.e. fiat currency & the Federal Reserve), but I can’t swallow their promotion of anarchy, either in the economic or political spheres. I agree with the comments above about the importance of morality and values. A government can enact moral and just laws. A government can regulate the market for the common good. I would just argue this needs to be done at the lowest level possible. I share the same concerns of many above about collectivism.

  • I hear you David. I think matters would be helped if we considered that there is a difference between:

    1) “government” and “the state”, and

    2) “the state” and “the State”

    Re. 1, I think it is arguable that “the state” – the modern state as we know it – is a relatively recent invention. It is a permanent set of coercive institutions operated by professional bureaucrats. Governments, I think, are the sum of administrative institutions. At least that’s how some people would draw the distinction. There are anarchists who say they are “anti-state” but not “anti-government”, and that’s how they do it (crudely, roughly). Personally, I don’t see how you have a government without at least a minimal state – the “minarchist” position.

    I’m closer to minarchism these days, but I do see a positive role for government in providing benefits and incentives to inherently good and socially beneficial activity. Really I’d just like to go back to city-states, in my fantasy land 🙂 Catholic city-states… like medieval Venice… I think those accord much better with CST than say, the reign of the Sun King.

    Re. 2, here much confusion arises, especially among Catholics. I think when the pre-councilar popes, especially Leo XIII, are speaking of “the State” with a capital S, they are speaking about something somewhat different than say, our federal bureaucracy. When I read Aristotle’s Politics, for instance, it seems rather clear to me that in many places in which “State” appears, we might use the word “society” or even “civil society” – as a sphere distinct from coercive authority. And I see a similarity in Leo’s encyclicals. It could mean both, it could mean either.

    So “State” capital S seems to suggest a great deal more, and at the same time, a great deal less from the coercive power.

    I could be wrong I suppose. But if I’m right, then it puts some of the social teaching in a new light.

  • Joe – I am curious to get your judgment of Carlson’s article on Karl Polanyi when you get a free moment.

  • David,

    I have the tab open. That means it will be read today 🙂

    It looks fascinating, and so yes I will comment!

  • David,

    I read the article. Polanyi’s arguments are very familiar to me, and indeed I used to share many of them. At the root I still share them, but I think many of the individual ideas are based in a selective and incomplete historical narrative.

    “Laissez-faire” is a slippery term. But the argument that production for exchange isn’t “natural”, i.e. Aristotle’s argument, is just not obviously true. It makes sense in Aristotle’s world, but then, so did slavery and the total subjugation of women. At the same time, Aristotle recognized the implications of technological progress in a very poetic and perhaps unintentional way when he wrote in Book I of the Politics, justifying the reduction of a man to an instrument of production:

    “For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus, which, says the poet,

    of their own accord entered the assembly of the Gods;

    if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves.”

    Arguably our modern technology has brought us far closer to this fantastic ideal than Aristotle could have ever imagined. So those who use Aristotle to try and justify reactionary economic arrangements today would do well to realize that Aristotle was something of a technological determinist himself.

    Next, the idea that there was this marvelous social order on the eve of the 19th century that laissez-faire broke apart forcibly is only partially true. These processes had been taking place for centuries, and it is arguable that it began with the massive labor shortages caused by the Black Death.

    It also ignores the rise of commercial capitalism in the Middle Ages, and particularly in the Italian city-states, in which there were limited-liability contracts, profitable lending (some would call it usury), and other financial instruments to encourage economic growth. The maritime trading empires of Venice and Genoa especially were built on the “unnatural” form of wealth-getting.

    Alongside commerce and trade existed the Church, whose morality was the foundation upon which all was built. Leo XIII recognized this as a great example of the Church’s positive contribution to civilization in Libertas:

    ” Neither does the Church condemn those who, if it can be done without violation of justice, wish to make their country independent of any foreign or despotic power. Nor does she blame those who wish to assign to the State the power of self-government, and to its citizens the greatest possible measure of prosperity. The Church has always most faithfully fostered civil liberty, and this was seen especially in Italy, in the municipal prosperity, and wealth, and glory which were obtained at a time when the salutary power of the Church has spread, without opposition, to all parts of the State.” (46)

    Here, btw, is another example of Leo’s use of the word “State” meaning something different than our use of the word “state”. Clearly here “State” means more than the coercive power and its bureaucratic appendages.

    This brings me to the last critique I would make of Polanyi: his belief that the artificial, bureaucratic interventions of the welfare-regulatory regime somehow “restored balance” to a social order upset by laissez-faire. I can see how at the time these institutions and interventions were seen as necessary; I believe a century of historical experience has shown that they make the problem worse. The state cannot replace local, organic, spontaneous institutions created through a shared culture and values. Instead it becomes something like a powerful magnet that, through sheer force, draws all of the atomized individuals to it in an undifferentiated mass.

    And the labor unions have proven to be a reactionary force as well. I think they actually prevent the Distributist goal of widespread ownership by bolstering illusions in wage labor. Nisbet mentions “unions and cooperatives” as if they are part and parcel of the same process; I say that the latter will really only begin to thrive as the former finally disappear. I see them as rival visions for improving the lot of the common man.

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  • the Daily Bell
    Let’s Talk About Natural Rights by Dr. Tibor Machan

    When various skeptics question the soundness of the American political system, one of their targets is the idea of human nature. After all, the founders took their political philosophy mainly from John Locke who thought human nature does exist and, based on what we know of it and a few other evident matters, we can reach the conclusion that all human beings have certain rights. This is what is meant by holding that there are natural rights and that they are pre-legal, not a creation of government…

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  • “It’s not an either/or solution, it’s a both/and solution. Test everything, hold fast to what is good in both camps.”

    I have been saying this very thing for a couple of years. Both “camps” seem to me to be excessively doctrinal (and academic) in their writings and debates; so much so that I felt the need to withdraw and take a “time out” to digest it all.

    It’s hard enough for non-academics to absorb this stuff without the the exchange of missiles between the two sides.

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Xenophobia, Patriphobia and the Ground Zero Mosque

Tuesday, September 7, AD 2010

The Ground Zero Mosque Debate has been interesting.  The vast majority of Americans oppose it, while about a third of Americans support the building of the mosque.  This issue has been debated quite a bit on this blog, and my opposition to the mosque is set forth in my post Cynical Brilliance which may be read here.  The debate has raged around the internet, much of it merely repeating the same points ad nauseum.  One of the more original contributions is that of Professor Carson Holloway at Public Discourse:

Liberal patriphobia also arises in part from liberals’ sensitivity to the historical traumas that have been inflicted on the human race through a disordered love of one’s own. In the European experience, Nazism and Fascism stand as sobering reminders of the enormous criminality that has been done in the name of a perverted patriotism. In America, the historical crime of slavery was initiated and defended on the basis of whites’ definition of Africans as alien and other, and hence as not possessed of any rights that demanded respect. Liberals are correct to be mindful of such injustices, sensitive to their causes, and alert to avoiding their recurrence. They err, however, in laying the blame for such crimes entirely at the feet of the love of one’s own as such. The real culprit is the excess of the love of one’s own, not to say an insanely inflated version of it. As St. Augustine remarked, the abuse of a thing does not take away its use; and it would be no less foolish to abandon the love of one’s own because of the excesses of nationalism than it would be to abandon erotic love because of crimes of jealousy.

Although well-intentioned in its origins, liberal patriphobia should be rejected as incoherent and morally dangerous. It is incoherent because it is what C.S. Lewis called, in The Abolition of Man, a mere moral innovation—that is, a novel teaching that rejects important portions of the moral tradition of the human race on which it is nevertheless silently parasitic. This was, in fact, Lewis’s criticism of Nazism. It wrenched from traditional morality the universally accepted principle that a man must love and serve his country, while at the same time it abandoned the equally venerable claim that justice requires that we respect the rights of all men, even those of foreign nationality. Modern liberalism simply reverses this error, denying that a man may especially cherish his countrymen while groundlessly insisting that he love the whole human race. In fact, modern liberalism learned its love for humanity from a traditional morality that also taught a heightened love for one’s own. If one principle is to be rejected, then both are groundless. If one is to be retained, then both have authority.

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As The September 11 Anniversary Nears, A Review Of Al Qaeda's Little Reported-On War Against The Catholic Church

Tuesday, September 7, AD 2010

While most of the world mourns the nearly three thousand who were brutally murdered by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, many assume all of Al Qaeda attacks stem from a warped political motive. Most may not be aware that since the day of its inception many of Al Qaeda’s targets have involved the Catholic Church and her holy sites.

Less than one year before the September 11, 2001 attacks Al Qaeda was planning a spectacular Christmas attack at the large and historic Strasbourg Cathedral in France. While this attack was foiled, an attack on the Catholic cathedral in Jakarta, Indonesia was not thwarted, resulting in the deaths of several churchgoers and those on a nearby street.

Yet, five years before this brazen plan, an even more sinister plan was nearly carried out by the chief planner of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheik Muhammad, which he coordinated to coincide with the visit of Pope John Paul II to Manila for World Youth Day in January of 1995. The plan called for the pontiff to be killed along with countless of the faithful who was planning to see him in Manila that day. Incidentally, some speculate that the crowd that came to see the Polish pontiff that day was nearly the same size that came to see his funeral some ten years later. Some speculate it may have been the largest religious gathering at one place in our known history, some five to seven million strong.

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21 Responses to As The September 11 Anniversary Nears, A Review Of Al Qaeda's Little Reported-On War Against The Catholic Church

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  • Excellent article, Dave!!

    While I was aware of some of what you stated, your post gave me both further and great insight into Al Qaeda’s war against the Catholic Church. I will be passing this along. God Bless.

  • Good paper. Keep up your good work.
    We are, and have always been, in a “moral and
    religious” war. That war is between those that
    believe in (faith in) the God of the Bible that
    gave us individual UNalienable rights of life
    and liberty vrs. those that believe in arbitrary man made collective INalienable privilages.
    Read more on the link below. Begin with the
    article on the “paper” menu and then review the

  • Thanks for putting this out for everyone to know.

  • I can’t thank you enough for this post. My husband and I will spend Saturday at a seminar on spiritual warfare by Fr. Corapi. You make the case for warfare very real. God Bless you in your work.

  • Thanks for this article. You are very brave to voice out facts that most Catholics could only whisper. God bless.

  • Sorry David, dig deeper in your research please..Al Quaeda was founded by, trained by, and still bankrolled by the CIA…The CIA is in cahoots with the Mossad and the English CIA…they are a tool of the conspirators that are out for total control of the world…at the highest levels they worship satan and are out for the total destruction of Christian Civilization..they may win but only for a short time…lets start telling the truth about world events…thanks…Rob Epperly/Author.Sons of Thunder.

  • Step one: turn off your TV
    Step two: meditate on the Gospel daily.
    Step three: stay out of debt…zero credit cards..
    Step four: simplify, live within your means..give away your possesions to the poor.
    Step five: (should be step one) reconciliation and holy communion.
    Step six: holy reading.
    STep seven: pray that all Christians unite against this juggernaut anti-christ we call illuminati. Unite all Christians against satan..

  • St. Michel the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou o prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, throw into hell satan and all evil spirits that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls, amen.

  • David, please submit this to Columbia magazine. I have shared it with my immediate fellow Knights of Columbus. Note: Operation Bojinka was hatched in Manila in 1996, the same year that the training camp at Salman Pak Iraq opened. reporter Jayna Davis recorded Terry Nichols wife saying how he had visited persons in Manila at that time.

  • “Sorry David, dig deeper in your research please..Al Quaeda was founded by, trained by, and still bankrolled by the CIA…The CIA is in cahoots with the Mossad and the English CIA…they are a tool of the conspirators that are out for total control of the world…at the highest levels they worship satan and are out for the total destruction of Christian Civilization..they may win but only for a short time…lets start telling the truth about world events…thanks…Rob Epperly/Author.Sons of Thunder.”

    Your tinfoil hat needs loosening Robert.

  • i might go with trained by and bankrolled by, but not founded by, the CIA isn’t 1600 years old….

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  • Thanks for the kind words everyone. As for those who spew nutty conspiracy theories; unless we suffer from mental illness, we will be held accountable for the crazy things we say.

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  • The Crusades were small defensive actions fought by amateurish Christian soldiers who truly felt they were answering the call of God. They were hardly in it for the gold and the girls that so many ridiculous movies and research articles have asserted.

    True. Eleventh-century Europeans making war “for the gold and the girls” accompanied William the Conquerer in 1066. He led his armies west, away from the Holy Land.

  • “Your tinfoil hat needs loosening Robert.”

    I’ll say. You know, I always wonder at these people who think the Mossad – an admittedly crack team working for a country the size of a potato chip – run the world. For one thing, the number of the Jews on the entire planet is something like 14 million. That doesn’t even amount to a Chinese statistical rounding error. The Mossad is a teensy tiny fraction of a teensy tiny fraction. When gentiles whisper about “the Jews” or “the Mossad” what they are actually saying is that a miniscule fraction of Jews are so incredibly smart they are able to control all the dumb gentiles in the world. It just shows how contemptuous characters like David are of the goys – he thinks we’re so stupid the brilliant Jews can easily dupe us.

    My boss is Jewish. She’s a nice lady but I wouldn’t call her an Einstein. Nor do I think all us goyim are as dense as David obviously thinks we are.

    David, if you think all Jews, or all Israelis, are so incredibly intelligent that they can run the world with the mass of gentiles remaining dumber than sticks of gum, all I can say is “Speak for yourself, dude.”

  • Also, it seems to me that if the Israelis control PR, someone is obviously sleeping on the job, judging from the barrage of criticism the Israelis are subjected to. These world-class geniuses somehow can’t keep a lid on the Guardian, BCC, CNN or MSNBC and yet we’re supposed to think they control governments – yeah, sure.

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Obama To Announce New Business Tax Cuts

Monday, September 6, AD 2010

President Obama will propose several new tax cuts and incentives for businesses on Wednesday, September 8th, including one which is billed as having a decidedly right-leaning flavor:

President Barack Obama, in one of his most dramatic gestures to business, will propose that companies be allowed to write off 100% of their new investment in plant and equipment through 2011, a plan that White House economists say would cut business taxes by nearly $200 billion over two years.

The proposal, to be laid out Wednesday in a speech in Cleveland, tops a raft of announcements, from a proposed expansion of the research and experimentation tax credit to $50 billion in additional spending on roads, railways and runways. But unlike those two ideas, both familiar from Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, the investment incentive would embrace a long-held wish by conservative economists that had never won support from either Republican or Democratic administrations.

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4 Responses to Obama To Announce New Business Tax Cuts

  • It would encourage businesses to invest more than they otherwise would have. The big problem with Cash for Clunker was that most of the money went to people who were going to buy cars anyway. Likewise, most of the business tax break will go to businesses that will have made those investments anyway.

  • The answer to your last questions strikes me as dependent on whether companies have been putting off replacement of critical equipment en masse or not.

    The long timetable is helpful because it makes it possible for companies to decide now to replace in six months or a year. In this respect it is different from the idiocy of the “Cash for Clunkers.” It may also be different in that manufacturers with an ongoing relationship to their equipment suppliers are in a better place to avoid the price gouging of the car program. (E.g. I was interested in a truck at a dealership up the street and was watching it for a couple of months. Come Cash for Clunkers, the price went up more than $3,000. I have heard the same from other people – that the incentive was eaten up by price increases.)

    In general, I am a whole lot more supportive of this idea than its companion bill – $50 billion in new investments. I am more supportive of that – because there is at least an offer of value (infrastructure) for money rather than just tossing money into the wind like the President’s past plans.

    Perhaps the President is coming to his senses on economic policy.

  • I am not so sure I would support this idea. Is this a carrot to conservatives to support other programs in the bill they would otherwise reject? Or, is this a favor to a select voting group?

    Additions to plant and equipment require planning. Would this actually encourage the purchase? Businesses would still need to fund the cost of the purchase.

    Without the accelerated depreciation of 100% in the first year, the business would deduct the cost over several years. So, the deduction is not exactly lost without President Obama’s proposal.

    Finally, it is similar to Cash for Clunkers. Businesses would receive a tax savings up front and pay more in taxes later with the lost depreciation. (The amount they would pay later could be at a higher tax rate per the expiration of Bush’s tax cuts for partnerships, S-Corps, and sole proprietorships.) They do receive a benefit from the time-use of money. However, without permanent business tax breaks, this will result in a slow down once the benefit expires.

    Is this a carrot or is it a political tool to make this administration look good due to a spurt of growth that is set to expire? Congress should look at a more permanent solution.

  • I found this comment from Veronique de Rugy the other day to be interesting. This ‘graph in particular struck me:

    “He rightly assumes that lowering the cost of employment helps firms keep their current employees or hire new ones. He wrongly assumes, however, that tax credits are a good way to reduce these costs. I asked a small business owner during a recent radio show to explain to me why the tax credit wouldn’t work, and he confirmed my intuition. This tax credit is useful only if you have a tax liability, which you likely don’t have when business is slow.”

Genius, Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, September 6, AD 2010

That is a word that many music entertainers use to describe “Weird Al” Yankovic.

All of the songs that Weird Al parodies he gets approval for.  In fact after the Coolio controversy about his “Amish Paradise” music video he now makes sure he speaks with the music entertainer directly before he proceeds in the production of any new venture.

Weird Al also parodies music styles, ie, pastiche, in addition to pop music hits.

In another cult classic which is a rare original from Weird Al, he pokes fun at the pop music group Devo and their brand of music which is New Wave.

Shortly after the song was released, Weird Al received a letter from the lead singer of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, congratulating him on writing “the perfect Devo song”.  He has also said that the song is “beautiful … and I hate him for it, basically.”

An apocryphal story has been recounted where the lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, said after viewing the video for “Dare To Be Stupid” that Weird Al is a “genius”!

Dare To Be Stupid is the title song of the same album, and in my personal opinion his best album ever.


[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

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Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Stone

Monday, September 6, AD 2010

On Labor Day it is good to recall Saint Joseph the Worker.  When God decided to partake in our humanity, He could have had anyone for His foster father, and He chose a humble carpenter, a man who worked with his hands.  Why?

The Bible gives us no indication that Saint Joseph was intelligent, brave or resourceful.  He may have been all these things, but the Bible does not tell us.  We know that he was of the House of David, but judging from all indications in the Bible he lived in humble circumstances.  What made Joseph stand out to God other than the fact of his heritage?

Kindness I think, simple human kindness.  This was graphically demonstrated at the very beginning when Saint Joseph first is mentioned in the Gospel of Saint Matthew 1:18 and 19:

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.

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4 Responses to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Stone