Martino Resigns from Notre Dame Board

Wednesday, June 8, AD 2011

For those of you who have been following the controversy of the appointment of Emily’s List booster Roxanne Martino to the Notre Dame Board  (background here and here), this is some welcome news.

Roxanne Martino has resigned from the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees, effective immediately, in the wake of reports criticizing donations she has made to organizations that characterize themselves as pro-choice.

“In the best interests of the University, I regretfully have decided to step down from the Notre Dame Board of Trustees,” Martino said. “I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame. I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn’t allow me to be effective.”

“Ms. Martino has served Notre Dame in many ways over the years and is highly regarded as someone who is absolutely dedicated in every way to the Catholic mission of this University,” said Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She has lived her life and faith in an exemplary way, including the counsel and support she has provided to Notre Dame, many other Catholic institutions and Thresholds, an organization that provides programs for thousands of people with severe mental illness.”

Note the weasel words here.  She doesn’t apologize for donating to an overtly pro-abortion organization – oh no, she resigns because the controversy is too much.

Whatever.  At least she’s out.  But the fact that she was even appointed says all you need to know about the current state of this “Catholic” university.

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10 Responses to Martino Resigns from Notre Dame Board

  • Here is the line that Notre Dame was taking a few days ago:

    “Now Father Jenkins has chimed in, sending some concerned alumni an email from “the Office of the President” that is almost word for word the same as Notebaert’s. One forwarded to me reads as follows:

    “Ms. Martino (along with her husband, Rocco) is a Notre Dame graduate, and she is fully supportive of Church teaching on the sanctity of life.”
    “She has through the years contributed to organizations that provide a wide range of important services and support to women. She did not realize, however, that several of these organizations also take a pro-choice position. This is not her personal position, and she will now review all of her contributions to ensure that she does not again inadvertently support these kinds of activities in the future.””

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/notre-dame-and-emilys-list/

    I assume they thought their alums were blithering fools and would buy any lie they tell. “Yeah she contributed to Emily’s List but she didn’t know it supports pro-aborts.” What unmitigated mendacity! Emily’s List exists for only one reason: to elect female pro-aborts to Congress as they state on their website.

    http://emilyslist.org/splash/signup/splash01/

    I will concede one point to Jenkins and his crew. With them in charge of Notre Dame any orthodox pro-life Catholic who gives one thin dime to Notre Dame probably is gullible enough to believe anything they tell them.

  • For those of you on Facebook who wish to keep abreast of the happenings at Notre Dame, this group may be of interest to you: “Pro-Life Alumni, Students, & Friends of the University of Notre Dame” http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_160896863974103

  • ” . . . I remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission” . . . the Democrat, liberal scheme.

    BARF

  • It is not at all surprising that those who support child-killing, disguised as pro-choice, will use distortions and lies to hide their dirty deeds. Their father is satan, the father of lies. Catholics must continue to work together to get these weeds out of Catholic institutions.

  • Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) should have hired Fr. Jenkins to explain that he really didn’t know what he was doing and that he will now review all of his on-line practices to ensure that he does not inadvertantly engage in these activities in the future.

  • The most grating thing about this was the smoke blowing by Jenkins and the ND administration. She sluiced cash to a group whose purposes she did not understand. Seriously?

    If true (the likelihood of which defies the best stochastic analysis), then she has no business being the trustee of her own checkbook, let alone a university. That explanation suggests she should be the subject of a conservatorship petition instead.

    Score one for the critical mass of rich alumni who cleared their throats on this one.

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  • If true (the likelihood of which defies the best stochastic analysis), then she has no business being the trustee of her own checkbook, let alone a university. That explanation suggests she should be the subject of a conservatorship petition instead.

    Amen

  • Fr. Jenkins might be a Holy Cross priest but his explanations are Jesuital.

  • If this woman was not outed for having pro-abortion beliefs, how would we know? Shame on Notre Dame University for promoting personnels into their offices while not doing a thorough background check on their principles and their beliefs that are not in line with the teachings of the Church.

    Ms. Martino, you are unapologetic for your sinful ways against the sanctity and dignity of the human life. I hope you see your confessor and repent for your evil ways. You are NOT fit to be called a Roman Catholic if you do not follow the teachings of the Successor of Saint Peter, and if you are not in line with the teachings of our Holy Mother Church.

Interview On the Radio Today at 5pm Eastern

Wednesday, June 8, AD 2011

I will be interviewed on the radio today at 5pm (Eastern) on the In His Sign Network radio station.  They are a lay Catholic radio apostolate located in Rosemont, PA.  They broadcast daily live from 5 to 6pm (Eastern) WTMR-800 AM and on the Internet at www.inhissign.com.

The interview will be about The American Catholic and the other Catholic websites that I operate as well as my work on the National Catholic Register.

This is my first interview and it is an already humbling experience.  Pray for me that I won’t make a fool of myself!

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3 Responses to Interview On the Radio Today at 5pm Eastern

Recessional

Wednesday, June 8, AD 2011

The fifth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here and here.

Kipling is often denounced as a thoughtless imperialist.  That is a remarkable charge to make against the author of the poem Recessional.

More than once Kipling was offered honors from the British government, including the post of Poet Laureate of Great Britain, all of which he steadfastly refused.  On the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 he composed one of his most powerful poems, Recessional, which perhaps helps explain why he never took up the post of Poet Laureate for the nation he so deeply loved.

God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

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!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Amen.

The poem opens with no patriotic effusion or praise of the Queen, but with a stark prayer to the God of our Fathers that Britain not forget something.  What?

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19 Responses to Recessional

  • Thank you!

    Reminds of my son’s commissioning as 2Lt, US Army Reserve, at Fordham University Chapel a few of years ago.

    The President Father made a fine speech and another seasoned Jesuit academic professor read this poem, “Recessional (A Victorian Ode)”, to the newly minted shave-tails and assembled family and friends.

    You are correct about looking beyond Kipling’s stereotype. He also penned “Mother o’ Mine”, and

    From ‘Epitaphs of the War 1914 – 1918’

    A SON
    My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew
    What it was, and it might serve me in a time when jests are few.

    AN ONLY SON
    I have slain none except my Mother.
    She (Blessing her slayer) died of grief for me.

    Kipling’s only son, John, was killed in the war with 2 Batt., Irish Guards. Kipling had pulled strings to obtain for the 17-year-old a billet as subaltern despite his weak eyesight.

    Back on point, here is one of my faves, a chapter heading in one of Kipling’s novels, “The Taking of Luntingpen.”

    So we loosed a bloomin’ volley,
    An’ we made the beggars cut,
    An’ when our pouch was emptied out.
    We used the bloomin’ butt,
    Ho! My!
    Don’t yer come anigh,
    When Tommy is a playin’ with the baynit an’ the butt.

    Pray for Victory.

  • My, my, Don…props for Kipling, who wrote one good poem, and trashing Thoreau all in one week. What’s next? Da Vinci was a 2nd rate thinker? : )

  • Thoreau, Joe, was not fit to clean Kipling’s pith helmet. If comparisons are always invidious, comparing Thoreau to Kipling is devastating for Thoreau.

  • Agree with Don. Just because most of Kipling’s poetry remains obscure to the broad public, does not mean he wrote just one good poem. The same is true of most poets, including for instance Frost and Kilmer who each only wrote only one poem known by anyone except for a tiny percentage of people however well-educated.

    Da Vinci differs from either Kipling or Thoreau in that he is neither under-rated (Kipling) or over-rated (Thoreau), but quite properly commonly regarded as a genius of the highest rank.

  • OK, Don, I’ll give a little. As a poet and story teller, Kipling was pretty to very good. And, who can forget these final lines:

    You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
    Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
    By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

  • Big of you Joe. That is one of my favorite poems of Kipling and indicates that rather than a simple Imperialist, Kipling was a fairly complicated poet and his poems often have several shades of meaning. For example:

    “An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire.”
    An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide,
    ‘E was white, clear white, inside
    When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire!”

    Is this a simple racist compliment, or is it a satire on the whole concept of race in judging a man rather than by judging a man by what he does? I rarely read anything written by Kipling without mulling over some passage like that.

  • Well noted Joe. I sometimes think there are as many interpretations of a Kipling piece as there are readers.

  • Some pithy Kipling quotes:

    God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.

    If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.

    A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.

    An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.

    If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. The world will be yours and everything in it, what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.

    Down to Gehenna, or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone.

    Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/rudyard_kipling.html#ixzz1Oi9d0EMg

  • “Down to Gehenna, or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone.”

    I was fond of that saying as a young unmarried man. After 29 years of marriage and 3 kids I might still agree with the Gehenna part! 🙂

    I also enjoyed this quote as a young man and I still do:

    “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the two shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth.”

  • Kipling is a very complex figure, despite the efforts to reduce him to a jingo. Fortunately, his works tend to burn their way into the brain despite the best efforts of his despisers.

    He was also right chuffed about having two towns in Michigan named for him, too:

    http://www.kiplinghouse.com/kipling.html

  • “Wise is the child who knows his sire,
    The ancient proverb ran,
    But wiser far the man who knows,
    Where and when his offspring grows,
    For who the mischief, would suppose
    I’ve sons in Michigan???

    Yet I am saved from midnight ills,
    That warp the soul of man,
    They do not make me walk the floor,
    Nor hammer at the Doctors door;
    They dear in wheat and iron ore.
    My Sons in Michigan.

    O, Tourist in the Pullman Car
    (By Cooks or Raymond’s Plan)
    Forgive a parent’s partial view;
    But maybe you have children too-
    So let me introduce to you
    My Sons in Michigan.”

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Although probably overrated and definitely overquoted, this remains my favorite Kipling poem:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  • Semper Verde

    It’s as if Kipling knew me.

    “Single men in barracks don’t grow into plaster saints.”

    From “The Man Who Would Be King.”

    This Contract between me and you pursuing witnesseth in the name of God —Amen and so forth.

    (One) That me and you will settle this matter together; i.e. to be Kings of Kafiristan.

    (Two) That you and me will not, while this matter is being settled, look at any Liquor, nor any Woman black, white, or brown, so as to get mixed up with one or the other harmful.

    (Three) That we conduct ourselves with dignity and Discretion, and if one of us gets into trouble the other will stay by him.

    Signed by you and me this day.

    Peachey Taliaferro Carnehan.

    Daniel Dravot.

    Both Gentlemen at Large.

  • For sheer rollicking power, neatly disguising the shivving of summertime patriotism, you can’t beat “Tommy”:

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
    But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

  • Every time I see someone reading the NY Times or listen to Obama nonsense, I think of this from “If” above.

    “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,”

    The following has been rattling around my brain since 11 Sep 2001.

    “The Earth gave up its dead that day,
    Into our camp he came,
    And said his say and went his way,
    And left our hearts aflame.

    “Keep tally – on the gun-butt score,
    The vengeance we must take,
    When God shall bring full reckoning,
    For our dead comrades’ sake!”

  • “For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!”

  • Kipling wrote an immediately affecting poem after his son’s death: It breaks one’s heart from the first line.


    “Have you news of my boy Jack?”
    Not this tide.
    “When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Has any one else had word of him?”
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind —
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Individualism vs. Inheritance

Tuesday, June 7, AD 2011

Libertarian blogger Megan McArdle is in a contrarian mood, so she makes the case for a 100% estate tax as a nod to good ideas with a leftist slant:

Luckily, I have a bit of contrarianism that I’ve wanted to air, and a series of Kevin Drum posts on using estates to pay for Medicare that has inspired me to make (drumroll please) . . . the case for the 100% estate tax.

No, really, I’m serious. After all, why should kids be allowed to inherit? I know, you are about to say something along the lines of “I worked hard so that my kids could . . . ” That is a noble emotion. But at the point at which this question becomes relevant, you will be dead. And dead people don’t have rights. They don’t own property. They don’t get to make decisions.

This is one of those ideas which combines a leftist desire for leveling of economic and social classes with a strongly individualist line of thinking: Sure, your parents saved up a lot of assets, but what does that have to do with you?

In a world in which each person is a social atom, the idea of money or property being handed down through families is necessarily repulsive. If you didn’t earn it, why should you have it? Perhaps this is why this particular leftist idea has a certain appeal to McArdle’s libertarian sensibilities.

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31 Responses to Individualism vs. Inheritance

  • And dead people don’t have rights.

    Egads. In times like this it is worth quoting Edmund Burke.

    Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure—but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, callico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primaeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place. This law is not subject to the will of those, who by an obligation above them, and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will to that law. The municipal corporations of that universal kingdom are not morally at liberty at their pleasure, and on their speculations of a contingent improvement, wholly to separate and tear asunder the bands of their subordinate community, and to dissolve it into an unsocial, uncivil, unconnected chaos of elementary principles. It is the first and supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chosen but chooses, a necessity paramount to deliberation, that admits no discussion, and demands no evidence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy. This necessity is not exception to the rule; because this necessity itself is a part too of that moral and physical disposition of things to which man must be obedient by consent or force; but if that which is only submission to necessity should be made the object of choice, the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow.

    On second thought, maybe this belongs on the thread immediately below. 😉

  • Hold up, that’s not “removing inheritance,” that’s “everything belongs to the government, unless you buy it, and then it reverts on death.”

    Strangers, smangers, that’s trying to set whoever gets to collect the death tax AS the family.

    Impulsive initial reaction: this is the kind of BS that someone who has no real idea what’s involved in a long term enterprise like farming or ranching comes up with, and takes things like “people won’t kill you to get the harvest, or to sell the tools for scrap metal” for granted.

  • A case can be made for an estate tax, but not a confiscatory one such as this. It is imprudent to encourage families to blow resources on silly distractions rather than husband them for cross-generational family security. This rather stupid idea is not new and is usually grounded in a sense that it is unfair for some people to have unearned advantages over others. And it is unfair. Some people are born swift, others slow-footed; some smart, others dim-witted; some attractive, others ugly; and some to parents who are prudent and hardworking; and others to parents who are lazy spendthrifts. Parental investment in their progeny is socially beneficial; one would think that is obvious, but the obvious so often escapes ideologues.

  • What both you and McArdle lack is empirical evidence. Granted, McArdle admits this which is why she’s skeptical of her own proposal. Intuitively, it makes sense to me that a 100% inheritance tax would be disastrous but I could be wrong. It could be that inheritance, is more often than not, a windfall for heirs, rather than a socially valuable institution. It may be that a 50% tax on inheritances to a non-spouse over $1 million excluding family businesses wouldn’t erode kinship relations.

  • It may be that a 50% tax on inheritances to a non-spouse over $1 million excluding family businesses wouldn’t erode kinship relations.

    It may be, but to be clear: The case being made was for an absolute, 100% estate tax on any amount of inheritance at all by non-spouses, with the possibility of a fairly restrictive exception for family businesses on the condition that they’re not sold within five years.

  • We do have evidence:
    look at those societies that tried to remove the ability for people to profit and pass it on to their kids. Basically, any place where you were put to work on the government’s land. How well did that turn out?
    Compare to most of human history, where you work it, you own it, and you can pass it on….

  • There must be a Laffer Curve for estate taxes and an estate tax would probably shift the Laffer Curve for income taxes as well. They may cancel each other out to a large degree. McArdle shouldn’t considered this.

  • I meant McArdle should’ve considered this.

  • Ms. McArdle really ain’t libertarian (does not believe in private property) and she ain’t so smart (a rational economic operator will ensure the government gets exactly zero when he die).

  • And, it’s time to emigrate to Iceland.

  • T. Shaw is correct. While it may not always be possible to dispose of 100% of assets before death, few estates would have much left to tax. The naivety of folks like McArdle is stunning really.

  • The naivety of folks like McArdle is stunning really.

    I think the idea of financing public expenditure through such a tax was Kevin Drum’s. I think Megan McArdle’s idea was to compel people to distribute their assets before death and levy income taxes on the beneficiares at the time of receipt (erasing the distinction between income taxes and gift taxes).

    About a generation ago, Michael Kinsley offered this observation of advocates of unadulterated meritocracy:

    “people who are smart, but don’t have much money, think that social practices should work to benefit people who are smart (but don’t have much money)”.

  • “Saving is even more problematic. Kevin doesn’t think that many people would spend down their estates to avoid his Medicare tax, but I think he’s grossly underestimating the chances… I think people will make very different decisions about spending, saving, and gifting if they know that there’s no hope of leaving anything to the kids. And our economy is already far too heavily biased towards consumption.”

    That’s McArdle pointing out some of the problems with the proposal. Too often those who accuse others of naivete don’t realize that they’re the naive ones.

  • To be fair, I don’t think that McArdle is being massively naive, I think she’s mostly enjoying playing with a “dangerous idea” which she thinks has at least some merit. (And I’ll concede that her consideration of the possible problems is extensive enough to almost make up for the progressivism of the idea itself.)

    The key thing that caused me to write a post about it was the comment about the desireability of society being based on stranger interactions rather than kinship interactions, which strikes me as nearly exactly opposite — though it fits well with a strongly individualist perspective. (And McArdle is, after all, a native New Yorker, almost completely secular, an MBA and a writer for the Atlantic — which in some ways makes the degree of conservatism and libertarian principles that she does have the more impressive.)

  • What’s the difference between kinship affinity and tribalism?

  • What’s the difference between kinship affinity and tribalism?

    Generally, the emotional appeal someone is trying to make.

    Kinship affinity usually means “people love their families.”

    Tribalism, on the other hand, goes from “those outside of the tribe aren’t human” through “the tribe is generally better,” with heavy emotional weight on the first end.

  • What if I draw the circle of my family to include my entire ethnicity? That’s kinship affinity yet I think many would condemn it. By denouncing multiculturalism, don’t critics aim to destroy kinship relations? Sure, they may want people to develop a new kinship with fellow countrymen rather than actual kinsmen in the ethnic sense but it’s destroying kinship relations nonetheless.

  • Culture isn’t kinship or family. Culture is a way of life that is sometimes transmitted via families.
    There are many reasons to denounce multiculturalism, but “to try to destroy kinship ties” is not one I’ve ever heard folks give. (Quite the opposite.)

    Are you trying to argue that we should not love our families, RR?

    And why do you go from family, a pretty broad but obvious group, to the rather shaky “ethnicity” angle?
    (Ethnicity being a very loose group that may or may not involve blood relations to a reasonable extent– a prime example being the President, who is “black,” but whose mother was “white;” we can agree that mother and child is a pretty solid family association, yes?)

    There’s a reason that Jesus used family metaphors a lot— it’s a basic, powerful and good force in human mental makeup.

  • When we talk about multiculturalism, we’re talking about ethnic enclaves, no?

    If you want to be super-technical, “family” can be “shaky” too. You can adopt a child. What about in-laws?

    Ethnicity is more or less concrete.

    I’m saying that if we want to retain kinship bonds, we should keep the family bonds AND the ethnic bonds that critics of multiculturalism protest. Unless you have an argument against ethnic bonds that doesn’t contradict the idea that we should keep bonds where they exist.

  • When we talk about multiculturalism, we’re talking about ethnic enclaves, no?

    I generally have no desire to talk about multiculturalism, in part because it is nebulous– it means whatever the person using it wants it to mean for their purpose.

    If you want to be super-technical, “family” can be “shaky” too. You can adopt a child. What about in-laws?

    That’s not “super-technical.” Adoption means bringing someone into your family. In laws are part of one’s extended family, as is clear from the full phrase for their positions– “father in law,” “mother in law,” etc.

    I’m saying that if we want to retain kinship bonds, we should keep the family bonds AND the ethnic bonds that critics of multiculturalism protest.

    You’re free to say so, and to argue for it.
    You’ll just have to do a better job of it than trying to argue-by-declaration that “ethnicity” is the same as family, and you’d have to actually support the idea that not wanting to destroy family bonds is related directly and inseparably to culture.
    You’d also have to argue persuasively that “ethnicity” is inseparably tied to culture.

  • Incidentally, there’s a very simple natural law argument for protecting family bonds. I doubt a similar one can be made for going along with one’s culture just because it is the culture, or for defining one by a national/cultural social group.

  • Ethnicity isn’t the same as family and there’s no need for it to be. First, I’m saying that ethnic bonds exist. I don’t think that’s debatable. Second, if we want to protect social bonds, we should preserve ethnic bonds. I’m open to opposing arguments.

  • What if I draw the circle of my family to include my entire ethnicity? That’s kinship affinity yet I think many would condemn it. By denouncing multiculturalism, don’t critics aim to destroy kinship relations? Sure, they may want people to develop a new kinship with fellow countrymen rather than actual kinsmen in the ethnic sense but it’s destroying kinship relations nonetheless.

    This is a pretty wide ranging set of points, depending on what your definitions are, but I’ll shoot for major points.

    If you mean “ethnicity” in the sense that it’s usually used in the US, such that it’s basically interchangeable with “race”, then to say it’s a form of kinship or family is a really stretch. According to such definitions I’m half “white” and half “hispanic” which would mean that if ethnicity is family I have some 250 million people in the US alone who are “family”, despite the fact that at a genetic level many of them are not much more closely related to me than those who are of other ethnicities. Ethnicity in this sense is so insanely wide a category that it would put Irish, Italians, Turks, Icelanders and Russians all in one group.

    It’s also such a large group that I don’t see how one could possibly do anything with the extent of bettering it. It’s conceivable that I would, having done well for myself, seek to to improve the future of my family (not just direct but extended), my parish, my neighborhood or my parish. It’s inconceivable that I would realistically expect to do anything at all to benefit “whites” or “hispanics” as a group. The most I could conceivably do is treat people who don’t fall in either one of these groups worse than people who do, on the theory that strangers who look less like me are more “other” than those do look more like me. Treating people badly for no very good reason is generally frowned upon, and this is why racism is not socially approved of.

    Indeed, I’d argue that ideas of “race” or “ethnicity” have mostly only come into play in mass societies in which people have tried to come up with a way to divide large, anonymous groups into groups which could be treated more and less like kin — and in the modern world people have at times sought to push ideas of national or racial ethnicity in order to achieve nationalistic loyalty to entities too large for people to have any feel for the whole of them. (For example, in the 1800s there was a just emphasis put on being “Italian” over being from one of the many regions of Italy, specifically in order to serve the needs of those who were seeking to unity Italy into a single political entity.)

    I think that ideas of family (again, in the extended sense — but not extended so far that you’re talking about people you don’t know) can serve as a real source of social cohesian, order, and mutual support in a way that ethnicity or nationality can’t. Family consists of a group of people who actually know, interact with, and rely on each other. Ethnicity does not.

  • Now to add, if you’re talking about ethnicity in a strictly cultural sense, I would agree that maintaining culture can add to social cohesion, in the sense that having things in common increases social cohesion.

  • — but not extended so far that you’re talking about people you don’t know)

    I have an interest in my 2d cousins I do not have in others, even though I am acquainted with only a scatter of them.

  • In the real world, blood, land, and culture are intertwined. On ethnicity as a culture, we agree.

    The most I could conceivably do is treat people who don’t fall in either one of these groups worse than people who do, on the theory that strangers who look less like me are more “other” than those do look more like me. Treating people badly for no very good reason is generally frowned upon, and this is why racism is not socially approved of.

    What about preferring people from your hometown or alma mater? There’s an important difference in intent between doing harm and giving preference.

  • What about preferring people from your hometown or alma mater? There’s an important difference in intent between doing harm and giving preference.

    And within reason, I don’t have a problem with giving preference on these kind of things, so long as that preference isn’t so strong that it turns into actively marginalizing everyone else.

  • Ethnicity isn’t the same as family and there’s no need for it to be.

    Good, we agree on that.

    First, I’m saying that ethnic bonds exist. I don’t think that’s debatable.

    Depending on how “ethnic” is defined, I may or may not agree. I don’t have bonds to even folks who are from the same county as my great-grandfather from Scotland, bonds with folks in the valleys I grew up in are based on “do I know you? Do I like you?” and the notion of “Navy” as an ethnicity is kind of silly. (Although it would be a cool story idea… do mil service, become a “Vet” as one’s ethnicity….)

    Second, if we want to protect social bonds, we should preserve ethnic bonds. I’m open to opposing arguments.

    Not all social bonds are automatically worth protecting– I know that family bonds are, and that’s what we were originally discussing. Without very good reason, I’d oppose trying to break down social bonds simply because it’s silly to try to destroy something for no good reason, especially when it involves other folks’ lives. Much better to try to build up new ones.

  • You all might want to read Eric Frank Russel’s SFshort story “And Then There Were None” for its weirdly libertarian approach to property & inheritance.

  • The USA is careening toward national bankruptcy. Tax increases and/or entitlement/transfer payment cuts will be insufficient to avoid economic collapse.

    Sustained (measured in years and decades), 5%+ private sector economic growth is the best hope.

    The USA has not achieved such rapid economic growth since the Nineteenth Century.

    What do we need to do to achieve strong, sustained private sector growth?

    Hint.1: Obama and think progress aren’t into it.

    Hint.2: What has changed since the 1800’s?

You May Be a Neo-Confederate If:

Tuesday, June 7, AD 2011

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of Neo-Confederates.  These are individuals who are still fighting the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy.  They are to be distinguished from those who honor the Confederates who fought an uphill gallant struggle for a cause they believed right.  Here follow helpful tips on discerning who the Neo-Confederates are.  If you believe most of these you are probably a Neo-Confederate:

1.  You deny that the Civil War was caused by slavery in the face of statements by virtually all the civilian leaders of the secession movement and the Confederacy at the beginning of the War that secession was undertaken to protect slavery.

2.  You claim that the Union was fighting because Northerners were greedy for tariffs on the South,  thereby showing  ignorance that at the time of the secession movement of 1860-61 tariffs were at a historic low for the Nineteenth Century, and that tariffs were a relative non-issue North and South.

3.  Your favorite Civil War “historian” is Thomas Dilorenzo.

4.   The first thing that comes into your mind when you hear “Abraham Lincoln” is “dictator”.

5.   You are absolutely certain that the Constitution grants an explicit right to secede if it is held up to a light and has lemon juice smeared over it.

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50 Responses to You May Be a Neo-Confederate If:

  • Now wait a minute! Abe Lincoln acted dictatorially.

    I must be a neo-confederate.

    Or perhaps a neo-federalist….

    One of the two.

  • “5. You are absolutely certain that the Constitution grants an explicit right to secede if it is held up to a light and has lemon juice smeared over it.”

    That’s clearly false. To truly see that right you have to look at the Constitution at midnight under a full moon.

  • Ah, so secession is kind of like abortion that way; it’s only there in the right light with the right chemicals, but even then, only on magic days.

  • “That’s clearly false. To truly see that right you have to look at the Constitution at midnight under a full moon.”

    I appreciate the correction Phillip. 🙂

  • Interesting that a Yankee is telling southerners who are and aren’t neo-Confederates.

    😉

  • Clearly, meeting none of these qualifications, I am not a neo-Confederate. However, I do believe that it is imperative that Texas should secede from the Union in the 21st century, in order to protect its own prosperity and to escape from unjust federal mandates such as Roe v. Wade.

    And yes, I’m making arrangements now to move back there.

  • Yes, Phillip – moon letters indeed.

    I tried getting the secret out of the Supreme Court using the word “Mellon”, but I am clearly no friend of separation.

  • Well, part of the issue entwined with slavery was the right of states to a certain degree of self-determination. Slavery was the horrible poster-boy for that issue.

  • In fact, Scalia would be a neo-confederate on abortion – whether or not he agrees with its morality on a personal level, from a constitutional perspective his position is that each state should decide the legality of it.

  • from a constitutional perspective his position is that each state should decide the legality of it.

    That was Abraham Lincoln’s position as well with regards to slavery. I don’t think Lincoln was a neo-Confederate. Or to put it a little more accurately, he didn’t believe that the federal government could interfere with the institution in states where it already existed.

  • Whew, guess I pass the test and am NOT a “neo-Confederate.”
    1) Slavery was the “but for” cause of the War, i.e., without that issue to force the matter, secession and state’s rights would not have been in and of themselves cause for war. But it’s also not as simple as “slavery caused the war” or “the war was about slavery.” Virginia did not fight to defend slavery, in fact had voted against secession, only fighting when lincoln made clear his intention to compel other states to invade the deep south, a crusade Virginia had no desire to cooperate in.

    2) The Yankees did not invade because of tariffs, but the economic inequities between north and south certainly did not increase understanding and good will between the sections.

    3) No, Douglas Southall Freeman reigns supreme.

    4) No, “tragic,” “misguided,” “cynical” (re: slavery/ emancipation), “heedless of the constitution” (invading states, suspension of habeas corpus, suppression of democratic assemblies in MD and KY, etc), “racist,” but not a “dictator.” He still had to deal with the black Republicans within his party and Democrat opponents without.

    5) There is no express “right to secede” in the constitution. But there is no express mention of a thousand other rights the states retain under the constitution, which is simply a declaration of the express powers of the federal government, not a treatise on the retained powers of the states. No one who understands the constitution looks to it for a grant of rights to the states, when its entire purpose was to delimit federal power. So the absence of a “right of secession” in the constitution is meaningless.

    6) Lincoln was no Marxist. Not every tyrant is a Marxist.

    7) True, Lincoln favored comensated emancipation and shipping blacks off to Africa. I wish the slave holders had agreed to free their slaves, but I can’t agree with Lincoln that an entire race of people should be forcibly banished from America. But free them or not, Lincoln had no constitutional authority to free a single slave by force of arms.

    8) Calhoun, excepting the issue of slavery, had no worse views on the state of blacks in this country than Lincoln or the vast majority of white Northerners. So yes, he was I suppose slightly more evil than the evil Northerners who held blacks equally in contempt.

    9) Not the fault of Abe, but certainly Lincoln was the first president to assert on a massive scale Federal authority utterly out of bounds with the express authority granted by the constitution. His breezy disregard for the constitution when it got in the way was surely a roadmap for subsequent do-gooders who also trashed the constitution for some perceived “greater good.” The post-war amendments, the creation of West Virginia, and reconstruction itself, are good examples of how Lincoln’s contempt for the constitution survived his assasination.

    10) It’s the same type of history that others use to turn the Civil War into an anti-slavery crusade by virtuous northerners against uniformly racist and slave-embracing southerners. I don’t think the South has a corner on the abuse of history market. After all, Lincoln is the one with a holiday and a shrine in D.C.

    Anyway, I’m relieved I’ve escaped the infamous badge of “neo-Confederate.” I could hardly imagine a worse fate.

    6)

  • Lincoln favored comensated emancipation and shipping blacks off to Africa.

    This was true up until around the mid-point of his presidency. After meeting regularly with black leaders, especially Frederick Douglass, he changed his mind. In fact the last speech he ever gave was about Louisiana’s reconstruction efforts and his hopes that blacks would achieve full, equal rights. That comment angered one of the audience members – some guy named Booth.

  • Now that we’ve covered the “neo-Cons”, we’ll need to come up with a term for Yankees who ONLY want to talk about slavery and who focus on whether the Constitution explicitly allows for secession (as if it would even matter anyway, since secession is a natural right based on self-determination) in their ex post facto justifications for making war on people who just didn’t want to be associated with them anymore.

    And small wonder the South wanted to disassociate themselves, if the Yankees of that time were in any way as insufferable as their modern-day descendants who keep lording their superiority over Southerners in these Civil War threads.

    😉

  • who focus on whether the Constitution explicitly allows for secession

    It’s not whether the Constitution specifically allows secession. Sure there are things that the Constitution does not specifically state but which can be reasonably inferred. It’s a matter of deciding whether states have the right to disassociate from the Union for other than light and transient causes, and it’s hard to see the constitutional justification for the Confederate states to have seceded from the Union before Lincoln had taken office.

    At any rate, I’ll just defer to James Madison on the question. He knew a thing or two about the Constitution.

  • “Neo-Yanks?”

    Nah, there’s nothing new about Yankee obnoxiousness and moralizing sanctimony.

    😉

  • Again, Paul, the question is not whether secession was legally justified – from the standpoint of the jilted, secession is NEVER legal, whereas from the stanpoint of those doing the jilting the legality is a non-sequitur, since they no longer recognize the legal authority of the jilted in the first place. It wasn’t strictly “legal” for the colonies to break away from Great Britain, and the leaders of that insurrection would have been hanged had the venture turned out differently.

    Instead, the question is one of moral justification. Was the South morally justified in seceding? I think the clear answer is a resounding NO. Then the question becomes was the North morally justified in making war on the population of the Southern states for some Manifest Destiny view of the U.S. as one and undivided in perpetuity.

    Here is where the REAL disagreement resides. From my standpoint, the answer is a clear and resounding NO, as well (just because the South was morally wrong doesn’t make the North morally right in invading their states and killing them). But I can understand why Yankees might have a different (although clearly wrong 😉 ) perspective.

  • But if the answer to the first question is “no,” then what is the remedy? If states – morally justified or no – declare secession and the federal government lets the state or states walk without lifting a finger, then the federal government is essentially giving the green light for the states to secede at will.

    Nah, there’s nothing new about Yankee obnoxiousness and moralizing sanctimony.

    You got a point there.

  • Memo to self: Don McClarey likes throwing bottles of nitroglycerin to see what will happen.

  • History is a narrative of the “crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind”, Gibbon. And, it’s a record of relentless devolutions from republic to centralized, collectivist, command-and-control misery.

    Secession previously was contemplated on at least two, maybe three, occasions by Massachussets and other Northrn states. Too bad MA didn’t.

    The Embargo Act of 1807 was seen as a threat to the MA economy (so with the prohibition of slavery: a total threat to the South’s cotton/tobacco economy). Did anyone have a plan on how, or with what, to replace the South’s economy? Same same today with obamonomics – how will he replace the evil, unjust private sector after he’s killed it?

    The War of 1812 and the Hartford Convention. Conventioneers cited the over-representation of Southern whites in Congress. The South saw developing overwhelming northern legislative power and control over the Executive after Lincoln (with 42% of the vote) seized control over federal power.

    And, abolitionist/secessionist nutjob W. L. Garrison: “Henceforth, the watchword of every uncompromising abolitionist, of every friend of God and liberty, must be, both in a religious and political sense—‘NO UNION WITH SLAVEHOLDERS’”

    Your black-robed masters unilaterally decided secession is unconstitutional. That despite the fact that “sovereign states” did voluntarily form and did comprise the Union.

    Did black leaders oppose returning to Africa?

  • “Memo to self: Don McClarey likes throwing bottles of nitroglycerin to see what will happen.”

    Only when I am in an especially festive mood Dale which I am today. My June vacation begins on Friday at 5:00 PM. The Pride of Nations strategic computer game was released today. (I think I will use it to craft a scenario of The Late Unpleasantness.) My son is home for the summer after completing his freshman year at the U of I. God is in His Heaven and all is right in my world. On such occasions of peace and joy I deeply prize a bit of combox mayhem. 🙂

  • “But if the answer to the first question is “no,” then what is the remedy?”

    I’m not sure there is a remedy. Let’s liken it to a divorce. Is a wife justified in walking away from her husband after years of marriage for no other reason than that she wants to feel liberated and engage in casual sex with others? NO. But that doesn’t mean the husband is justified in bursting into her apartment, breaking her stuff, beating her up, and dragging her back home either.

  • T.Shaw:

    Contrary to myth the Hartford Convention did not endorse secession. At the time it was suspected that might have been the hidden motivation of the participants, and the very idea of secession was reviled as treason in the ensuing furor over the convention. Opinion in the South was especially vociferous in reviling the participants of the Hartford Convention as being traitors.

    William Lloyd Garrison indeed denounced the Constitution as a Covenant With Death and called for the Free states leaving the Union. Needless to say Garrison did not support Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

    No “black robed masters” decided that secession was unconstitutional. That question was decided by the Union Army and Navy winning the Civil War. As to whether the Constitution allowed for secession, I will defer to Robert E. Lee:

    “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people; and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none.”

    “Did black leaders oppose returning to Africa?”

    Overwhelmingly, which is one reason Lincoln dropped his colonization idea, which was going to be voluntary in nature in any case.

  • The problem, Jay, is that there really is no such thing as a federal government under that scenario. It is a constitutional nullity.

    All analogies creak, but I don’t know that marriage works. At a minimum, I think your analogy would describe the situation better if the woman in question not only quit the marriage, but expected to keep the house, the children and the car while all along expecting the husband to smile meekly and sign whatever her attorney puts in front of him.

    No, he isn’t authorized to slap her around, but there would be legal consequences even so, and he’d fight her like hell, figuratively. And be just to do so.

  • Garrison was an outlier, to be sure. He was John Brown without the violence. I’m sure he (Garrison) was a charismatic and decent man in person, but he comes across on the dry pages of history as a grim fanatic. Frederick Douglass, who was a Garrison protege’ at the beginning of his abolitionist career, broke with him on the “No Union With Slaveholders” plank. Douglass was convinced that the Constitution was a reformable document which could be supportive of liberty for all. Garrison was flabbergasted and their relationship soured.

    As an aside, there are limits to understanding people through history. It’s worth keeping in mind that even a voluminously documented person can not be fully known through even his correspondence and actions. Their interactions with others–including audiences–are important facets which are hard for the most thorough and eloquent of historians to fully capture. Reading excertps of McClellan’s correspondence and dispatches, I kept thinking “What a passive-aggressive carping little twink.” But the mention of his name instantly rallied the Army of the Potomac after the disaster of Second Manassas. He had a personal–and real–charisma that electrified in person, a facet which did NOT come out during his whiny woe-is-me correspondence.

  • “… if the woman in question not only quit the marriage, but expected to keep the house, the children and the car while all along expecting the husband to smile meekly and sign whatever her attorney puts in front of him.”

    Happens all the time. And he still wouldn’t be justified in bursting into her apartment, breaking her stuff, beating her up, and dragging her back home.

    “… there really is no such thing as a federal government under that scenario.”

    When one group wants to sever that bond and acts on it, then, in fact, there is no longer a federal government, at least not for those who no longer wish to be a part of it. I’m not arguing for the legality (which is irrelevant) or morality (it was not morally justified) of Southern secession. I’m just saying that, in fact, it happened, and I’m arguing that violence on the scale of 600,000 dead was not morally justified to force people to stay a part of something of which they no longer wished to be a part.

  • “He had a personal–and real–charisma that electrified in person, a facet which did NOT come out during his whiny woe-is-me correspondence.”

    The same could be said of George Washington, in fact.

  • Happens all the time. And he still wouldn’t be justified in bursting into her apartment, breaking her stuff, beating her up, and dragging her back home.

    Except that I conceded that. You are arguing that there is no recourse whatsoever–which is manifestly not the case in a divorce. Having witnessed some war-to-the-knife divorces in my time, there are ways to fight. Not to save the marriage, but to preserve interests–in children and property.

    Your analogy says the federal authorities can’t assert itself in any manner whatsoever. Not even if the wife is beating the kids.

  • “Not even if the wife is beating the kids.

    Ah, but the wife beating the kids wasn’t the justification for the husband’s actions. It was the sanctity of the union.

  • Here’s all I’m saying: sometimes there is no moral recourse to preserving a union when one of the parties no longer wishes to be united.

    When it comes to secession, the only recourse for the party wishing to preserve the status quo ex ante is, when diplomacy fails, war. But, as with all wars, to be moral, it must meet just war standards. The stated Manifest Destiny justification of preserving the Union as one and undivided in perpetuity just doesn’t cut it for me. Not when the result was 600,000 dead and large swaths of the country laid waste (especially in Virginia, which only seceded after Northern agression forced her hand). Which is why Northern apologists ALWAYS bring slavery into the mix, as if they can bootstrap the 13th Amendment (the Emancipation Proclamation was legally quite limited) into an ex post facto justification for invading and killing people who no longer wished to be associated with them.

    Now, given that war is almost inevitable when one secedes, I believe it was also manifest upon the seceding states to meet just war standards in justifying their decision to withdraw. Clearly, they did not. Which is why neo-Confederate apologists ALWAYS ignore slavery as the root cause behind secession and try to focus attention on alleged grievances against the North that were actually quite minor, if not virtually nonexistent.

  • Hmmm, reasons as slim, perhaps, as the colonists had against the English…

    Not seeing the inherent right of an ex ante sovereign state to withdraw from the union among those powers *expressly* ceded to the federal government, I hold that secession is in fact lawful, whatever its wisdom in this or that case might be.

    That Lincoln slaughtered 600,000 to overcome that premise does not make it incorrect, only impracticable.

  • That Lincoln slaughtered 600,000 to overcome that premise does not make it incorrect, only impracticable.

    Somehow I suspect that Confederate troops did have ammunition.

  • an ex post facto justification for invading and killing people who no longer wished to be associated with them.

    Keeping in mind, of course, that about a third of those resident in the South were not in any degree participants in civic life and that sentiment for secession was not unanimous among those who were.

  • Actually I think I would assess the blame of the deaths in the war, approximately 260,000 Confederate and 340,000 Union, on those secessionists who attempted to destroy the Union due to the fact that they lost one election, and, in reaction to a purely phantom threat to their Peculiar Institution, embarked on as mad a piece of folly as can be seen in the annals of American history. One would have thought that the warlike reaction of two Southern Presidents, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, to earlier threats of secession would have convinced them where secession would inevitably lead.

  • “… I hold that secession is in fact lawful …”

    And my argument is that lawfulness is irrelevant. Even if the Constitution were to expressly state “Thou shalt not secede”, what is to stop a successful secession from taking place? In that instance, once one party decides they no longer wish to be bound by the law that makes the secession unlawful, and they back that up with a successful secession, whether the secession was “legal” or “illegal” has no bearing on the fact that a new and separate nation, in fact, exists.

    In other words, there is no such thing as a “legal” or “illegal” secession; only a successful or unsuccessful one.

  • Art of course raises a good point. 100K of white troops in regiments raised in Confederate States fought for the Union and some 180k black troops, most of them raised in the Confederate States, also fought for the Union. A larger point is that the proper way for the secession movement to have proceeded would have been to bring the issue of dissolving the Union before Congress where representatives of the entire nation could decide. However, that was not what the secessionists wanted. The past history of secession fever in this country is that it tended to burn out upon reflection and compromise, as it did when the Compromise of 1850 was hammered together. Secession could only succeed if it took place rapidly and in a crisis atmosphere.

  • At a minimum, I think your analogy would describe the situation better if the woman in question not only quit the marriage, but expected to keep the house, the children and the car while all along expecting the husband to smile meekly and sign whatever her attorney puts in front of him.

    That is a description of the modal divorce plaintiff.

  • “Keeping in mind, of course, that about a third of those resident in the South were not in any degree participants in civic life and that sentiment for secession was not unanimous among those who were.”

    Keep that in mind all you want, but I don’t see how that changes the point I was making, although it is a rather nifty way to once again bootstrap the slavery issue as part of the justification for making war against the populations of the Southern states. In fact, the comment is completely irrelevant to the point I was making. The fact that the minority viewpoint in those states didn’t carry the day didn’t make those holding that viewpoint any less dead or their property any less destroyed as a result of war being made against their homelands.

  • Don, again, it’s completely irrelevant to the point I made that Art was purportedly addressing.

    I do find it ironic, however, that you appeal to majority rule in one comment, and then dismiss it in the very next. Unless, that is, majority rules in national elections, but not state ones.

  • And, once again, Don, I do not believe secession was morally justified in this instance. The Southern states were wrong from a moral standpoint to secede without justification.

    The only point of disagreement between myself and others commenting here is whether the actions taken to force the seceding populations back into the Union were morally justified. I do not believe they were.

    Sometimes there is no moral remedy, and you just say “To hell with them” and shake the dust from your sandals and move one.

  • Jay Anderson, these are your words:

    When one group wants to sever that bond and acts on it, then, in fact, there is no longer a federal government, at least not for those who no longer wish to be a part of it.

    It is not irrelevant to point out that most people living in South Carolina and Mississippi had interests not being considered in wishing exercise.

  • Jay Anderson, these are your words:

    When one group wants to sever that bond and acts on it, then, in fact, there is no longer a federal government, at least not for those who no longer wish to be a part of it.

    It is not irrelevant to point out that most people living in South Carolina and Mississippi had interests not being considered in this wishing exercise.

  • Whether we like it or not, historically, it is irrelevant. The majority of those who had the franchise and were able to legally exercise that right, decided they no longer wished to be bound by the bonds that united the country. ONCE AGAIN, I’m saying that they had no moral justification for doing so, but the fact is that they did it. They had the political power in their states to do so – power legally obtained – and they exercised that power in order to secede. I disagree with what they did, but they did it.

    By referring to those who had, whether we like it or not, no political power to affect that outcome, any way you slice it, you are once again trying to bootstrap the post-Civil War amendments as an ex post facto justification for making war against the Southern populations.

  • “I do find it ironic, however, that you appeal to majority rule in one comment, and then dismiss it in the very next. Unless, that is, majority rules in national elections, but not state ones.”

    That goes perhaps to one of the great issues of the Civil War Jay. I see the United States of America as one country, not a confederacy of independent states. Breaking up the Union was not a matter for majorities in one state, or several states, but for the people of the Union to decide as a whole. On a practical basis I do not see how you can have a country like the US if portions can simply break off whenever they feel like it. If secession had succeeded in the 1860s, I doubt seriously that it would have been a “remedy” reached for only once in either the Union or the Confederacy. The fact that the Confederates left out any mention of a right of secession in their own Constitution, but indicated rather that a “permanent federal government” was being formed, demonstrates that they understood the risk of future secession movements within the Confederacy. The delegates from South Carolina, who else, proposed that a right to secede be inserted in the Constitution at the Confederate constitutional convention, but only they voted for it.

  • you are once again trying to bootstrap the post-Civil War amendments as an ex post facto justification for making war against the Southern populations.

    No, I am not.

    Mr. McClarey raises a point on political geography that needs to be re-iterated. So long as we have a working political society truly bound by law, salient units within that society cannot have full discretion over the applicability of that law, which is to say the cannot unilaterally abrogate that law in favor of a code of their own design. There is inherent tension between freedom and community. Advocates of a right of secession have one of two challenges:

    1. Constructing a normative theory that offers a tolerably persuasive answer as to which unit of society should have free rein to secede from a larger political configuration; or

    2. Constructing an argument that the positive law in effect in 1860 conceded free rein to a particular conventionally and historically defined unit (and still does).

    For an example of the result of liberality in the practice secession, one might look at the evolution of the German states during the late medieval and early modern periods. Liechtenstein is an agreeable museum piece.

  • A question.

    Yes the constitution nowhere discusses secession.

    But in 1860-61 several states did succeed. A few years later they were required to reapply for admission to the union.

    The constitution requires the permission af a sate to have another state created out of it. In 1863 West Virginia was created out of Virginia. Does the Commonwealth of Virginia recognize acts of the pro union rump Virginia legislature that OK’d it?

    The constitution requires a two thirds of the states to ratify an amendment. I gather that the 13th and 14th amendments would have been considered passed even if the southern states did not apply for readmission and approve them as a condition for readmission.

    Not being a lawyer I defer to the excelent legal minds gathered here, but could one not say there is a working precedent for secession.

  • “But in 1860-61 several states did secede.”

    They attempted to secede. Under Lincoln’s theory they were never out of the Union.

    “A few years later they were required to reapply for admission to the union.”

    After the murder of Lincoln and after Andrew Johnson came within one vote in the Senate of being removed from the Senate. One of the many tragedies caused by John Wilkes Booth.

    ” In 1863 West Virginia was created out of Virginia. Does the Commonwealth of Virginia recognize acts of the pro union rump Virginia legislature that OK’d it?”

    I don’t know. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the constitutionality of the creation of West Virginia in the fascinating case of Virginia v. West Virginia in 1870:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17678181839429381566&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    “The constitution requires a two thirds of the states to ratify an amendment. I gather that the 13th and 14th amendments would have been considered passed even if the southern states did not apply for readmission and approve them as a condition for readmission.”

    I have never heard that. In any case neither of the amendments were deemed part of the Constitution until ratified by two-thirds of the states.

  • Jay, the thing is that “the kids” are a part of the Constitutional marriage analogy. It’s not just the relationship between the States and the Federal authority, there’s also the matter of the rights inherent in “the People.” The People have rights no State can trample upon. Thus, at a minimum, Southern Unionists and their rights as members of the People, are definitely part of the equation.

    It’s an unholy mess, but that’s something I think we can agree is undisputed.

  • That is a description of the modal divorce plaintiff.

    Heh–yeah, a lot to that. I remember a divorce where the parties heatedly squabbled over trimmers that had been used to groom the nose hairs of one of the couple.

    My late criminal law professor said he’d much rather have a murderer as a client than the party to a divorce. The former had a more developed sense of mercy.

One Response to The Martians are Coming! The Martians are Coming!

  • You’re touched, Donald, truly touched!

    😉

    PS, Can we send the liberal Demokrat Catholic politicians to those two sites on Mars? I am sure Pelosi, Biden and Cuomo would look just fine in the tin foil shield caps!

Welcome Home

Monday, June 6, AD 2011

It looks like we’re going to be gaining a new Church in the Archdiocese of Washington.

After a period of deep discernment, the rector and parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg, Maryland have decided to seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a new structure approved by Pope Benedict XVI called an ordinariate. Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.

The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington.

“We welcome the St. Luke community warmly into our family of faith. The proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We also recognize the openness of the community to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their faith journey.”

Now if only some of those gorgeous cathedrals in the UK can take this step . . .

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4 Responses to Welcome Home

  • In your face Latimer and Ridley! 🙂

    Actually if the Anglicans and the Episcopalians were still producing bishops with the faith, misguided as I think it was, and courage of those two men who went to the stake under Queen Mary, they wouldn’t have people scrambling to get out.

  • Paul;

    Cathedrals?? How about the wayward souls coming home to the one true faith?!! Souls are more important than any building will ever be.

  • CL,

    I agree that souls are of the utmost importance (as I know Paul does as well). Nonetheless, I have to concur with Paul in saying “Give us back our churches!”

  • God willing, pray this becomes an epidemic. Christian Unity has never been more urgently needed for the survival of our faith than today as our every moral value is being questioned by a society in decay or over turned by governance which has set itself above and in conflict with God’s eternal law.

Optics

Monday, June 6, AD 2011

Mitt Romney is far from being one of my favorite presidential hopefuls, but I agree with Jim Geraghty that this Newsweek cover, portraying Romney as a dancing lunatic, is fairly appalling.  Geraghty says that the article itself is very fair, but that doesn’t matter.   Roughly 99% of the people who see this cover will never read the article.  For better or worse – and almost certainly worse – our politics are dominated by optics.  The story is secondary to the substantive issues.

One of my grad school professors, Mark Rozell (now at George Mason) liked to talk about an evening news report done on Ronald Reagan’s economic policies during the 1984 campaign.  I don’t recall which network it was,  but the report just decimated Reagan on the economy.  It was a voice-over piece, and most of the images were of Reagan in various settings, mostly in places like Yellowstone or other grand settings.  After the network aired the report, the head of the news division was contacted by a member of Reagan’s staff, and was thanked for the report.  Why was this network being thanked for a hit piece?  The images.  The text of the story didn’t matter.  What would stick in viewer’s minds were the images, and these were images of the president in majestic settings, showing off the trappings of power.  Many viewers would tune out the content of the story and instead focus on images that were greatly favorable to Reagan.

It’s human nature to focus on imagery, and so I don’t necessarily fault those who ignore the broader context of such stories.  That being said, I’m sure Newsweek didn’t choose this particular photo by accident.

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8 Responses to Optics

  • The one good thing is that it was Newsweek, which is dropping below Utne Reader in subscription levels and news impact.

  • But, yeah, that’s pretty ridiculous. I’d be curious to see the last time NW put a Democratic presidential candidate in a ludicrous picture.

  • Yeah, that photo wasn’t chosen. It was shopped. It’s pretty obvious they cut and pasted Romney’s head onto the body in that ridiculous pose. I’m not what I would call a Romney fan, but what they’ve done in that picture is appalling.

  • Dale: true, although that kind of bolsters my point. No one reads the thing anymore, but plenty will see the pic while in line at the grocery store.

    Mandy, I believe it is a photo shop, and in fact it’s using a publicity shot from the Book of Mormon musical (or at least someone suggested that in the comments to Geraghty’s post).

  • It is in fact from “The Book of Mormon” musical.

  • The one good thing is that it was Newsweek, which is dropping below Utne Reader in subscription levels and news impact.

    The Utne Reader is the most engaging of leftoid publications. It is a pity it has not exceeded Newsweek in circulation.

  • Yea, all of the liberal media will be doing their best to discredit Republican candidates. Mitt should take the Palin approach and just ignore them and not go on their outlets.

    abc, nbc, cbs, cnn, msnbs, pbs, nytimes, nw, washington post

  • oh, btw, In Massachusetts, when the state tried to force Catholic Charaties to allow homosexual partners in their adoption program, Cardinal O’Malley objected and held a press conference. Who was standing next to the Cardinal at the press conference? Catholics Ted Kennedy and John Kerry? No, it was Mitt Romney.

Henry David Thoreau: A Rant

Monday, June 6, AD 2011

I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau has always struck me as one of the most buffoonish and over-rated characters in American history. His aunt paying his taxes for him so his great tax protest over the Mexican War lasted all of one night, his accidental setting of a fire that consumed 300 acres of Walden woodlands, Thoreau contracting the tuberculosis that would kill him as a result of a middle of the night excursion to count tree rings and the pacifist Thoreau writing a pamphlet in which he claimed that John Brown, a murderer, embezzler, cattle thief and congenital liar, was humane are only a few of the many episodes in his life that are worthy of a great satirical novel. 

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10 Responses to Henry David Thoreau: A Rant

  • Nicely said.

    HDT is a pretty good writer about nature, and is certainly quotable (I esp. like his bit about Paris fashions), but when he attempts poetry he lapses into a bizarre and obscure formalism. An amusing man, and, yes, highly overrated, but that’s not his fault.

  • Edward Abbey, my favorite naturalist writer (his ‘Desert Solitaire’ is a masterpiece), sneeringly called Thoreau the “poet-spinster” and raked him pretty good.

    But Abbey, in one of his essays written while on a river trip, wound up saying this: “The deeper our United States sinks into industrialism, urbanism, militarism–with the rest of the world doing its best to emulate America–the more poignant, strong, and appealing becomes Thoreau’s demand for the right of every man, every woman, every child, every dog, every tree, every snail darter, every lousewort, every living thing, to live its own life in its own way at its own pace in its own square mile of home. Or in its own stretch of the river.”

    For my part, there is much wisdom to be found in Walden and Civil Disobedience and on balance I’d still rate him as one of the great thinkers. On his death bed he was asked if he had made peace with God and he answered: “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”

    To read more on Abbey’s view of Thoreau click on the following link (better yet pick up his essay book; a great read)

    http://downandout.wordpress.com/2007/02/06/literature-abbey-on-thoreau/

  • “I did not know we had ever quarreled.”

    He made that typical Thoreau glib-comment-substitute-for-wisdom to an inquiry from his aunt Louisa, the same aunt who bailed him out of jail during his great one night anti-Mexican War protest. She had bailed Thoreau out of several scrapes during his life as a feckless grown child, and she was attempting to do it one last time.

  • Don, uncharacteristic of you to come out of the chute in a new week by dumping on an American icon. Get up on the wrong side this morning or lose a case? : )

  • Actually Joe I am in a very good mood this morning as I start my June vacation on Friday this week at 5:00 PM. In regard to Thoreau, any day is a good day to bash him as far as I am concerned! 🙂

  • Well, Don, when you’re out in the woods or wherever enjoying nature, try to give ol’ Henry some kind thoughts and hug a tree for him.

  • the right of every man, every woman, every child, every dog, every tree, every snail darter, every lousewort, every living thing, to live its own life in its own way at its own pace in its own square mile of home. Or in its own stretch of the river.”

    Nonsense which perhaps explains how the late Mr. Abbey burned through four marriages (or was it five?).

  • Art, what do his marriages have to do with anything Abbey wrote or his brilliance as a writer? He was a complex conflicted man and what you consider “nonsense” I and many others find quite profound when taken in context. Suggest you read Desert Solitaire or his essay about nature and tell me he was a man lacking a good soul.

  • Life is lived socially, and properly so. There is an inherent conflict between freedom and community. One generally assumes one’s thoughts have some effect on one’s acts. That Edward Abbey was intent (apparently) to ‘live his own life in his own way’ appears to have been rather incongruent with creating and maintaining a zone of well-being for those entrusted to his care.

    Suggest you read Desert Solitaire or his essay about nature and tell me he was a man lacking a good soul.

    Sorry, nature writing bores me blank. What James Wolcott said, “I prefer to be in town, where the people are”.

Twin Lives, One Love

Sunday, June 5, AD 2011

 

Julian and Adrian Riester were identical twins.  They came into this world 92 years ago, on March 27, 1919.  Their advent probably surprised their parents after a run of five daughters!  They attended Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.  They attempted to join the military during World War II, but were turned away due to poor eyesight.  They became Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name province in New York.

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8 Responses to Twin Lives, One Love

  • I love twins! God bless these two. Thank you for an amazing story. An identical twin asked me about how many souls the embryo had before it twinned and I said I didn’t know. We can’t know those things really, but I told her that I imagine identical twins understand the Holy Trinity and consubstantiality in a way the rest of us cannot.

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  • Thank you Stacy! My wife and I were childless for eight years before our twin boys came out of the blue, followed by their sister two and a half years later. Twins for me as a result will always be associated with overwhelming joy.

  • I have a twin.

    One observation: I was never alone. There was always the other me. Now, I think I am more concerned about my wife and children and everyone I encounter than if I hadn’t had a twin.

    Another observation: he’s about as far left as I am a right-wing nut. Go figure.

  • I was born a twin, but my twin, Diane, died 13 hours after we were born. We were born 2 months early. It was touch-and-go with me for a long time, as I weighed 2 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. A physician recently told me it was a miracle I survived, given the state of neonatal care in the 1950’s.

    I love my living siblings and am very close to my older sister, but always longed for my twin, especially when I felt lonely. When I was a small child I became confused about the notion of guardian angels and imagined that Diane was my guardian angel. I pictured this little kid who looked exactly like me with the addition of wings and a halo ( I knew I certainly had no halo!) following me around. It was comforting.

    After both my parents died, I had a very vivid dream one night. I forget most dreams within a few minutes of waking up, but this one has stayed with me for over 20 years. I walked into the living room of the house I grew up in and my parents were sitting there. There was someone standing at the window with her back turned to me. My parents said, “Donna, here’s someone we’d like you to meet.”

    But, of course, we had met already.

  • “After both my parents died, I had a very vivid dream one night. I forget most dreams within a few minutes of waking up, but this one has stayed with me for over 20 years. I walked into the living room of the house I grew up in and my parents were sitting there. There was someone standing at the window with her back turned to me. My parents said, “Donna, here’s someone we’d like you to meet.”

    But, of course, we had met already.”

    One of the joys of the life to come Donna: being reunited with loved ones we knew in this life, and those who have loved us from their vantage point in Heaven. How little of the vast sea of love God has created for us are we aware of in this vale of tears!

  • Some years ago the diocesan paper I worked for had a story about a local couple who had discovered, several months into the woman’s pregnancy, that the baby had a genetic disorder that was incurable and would inevitably cause her (the baby) to die either before birth or shortly afterward. They were, of course, advised by their doctors to abort but refused. Instead the couple scheduled a c-section close to term, and had a priest standing by to baptise (and confirm) the baby immediately after birth. The baby died about 90 minutes after she was born. Tragically, the same thing happened to their next baby (a boy) also. On their third try, however, they had twin girls who were perfectly healthy. I thought then and still think that was one of the most beautiful stories of faithfulness rewarded that I have ever seen.

  • I’m an identical twin. Unlike T. Shaw, we’re in perfect agreement about politics, and like Donna V., we were born about 2 months premature and didn’t weigh much more than she did. Our parents had us baptized on the day of our birth because they weren’t sure we’d survive. I spent the first two weeks after birth and my brother spent the first six weeks in incubators, but we’ve both managed to survive for nearly a half-century now.

That Stupid Palin, Getting Her History Right

Saturday, June 4, AD 2011

I guess there’s a new kerfuffle related to Sarah Palin.  This video was linked at NRO “without comment” by Andrew Stiles.  It’s more evidence that she’s some kind of historical illiterate, or something, as she supposedly claims that Paul Revere rode to warn the Brits.

Admittedly Palin’s wording is incredibly garbled and she did not give a very articulate response.  Here’s the thing: her comments are completely accurate.  Here’s a letter written by Paul Revere himself:

“I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms.”

Again, though spoken in mangled English, Palin’s comments are pretty much right on the money.  Revere was in fact warning the British, but more as a way of bragging.

But hey, it’s so much easier to call Sarah Palin an idiot than bother with facts.

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31 Responses to That Stupid Palin, Getting Her History Right

  • Yes, obviously that’s what Palin was talking about when she said that Paul Revere was warning the British with his “warning shots and bells.”

  • “The American Catholic is an online community of Christians,”

    Really, with the personal attacks against a fellow American you sound like a muslim group.

    This site just proves anyone can put up a website.

  • Ed, you might actually want to read the post before commenting next time.

  • Governor Palin also is so stupid that she doesn’t know that there are 57 states, that today in London it’s June 4, 2008 Greenwich Mean Time, or that ripping apart the evil, unjust private economic sector will resolve all America’s problems.

    Let us begin. Compare what Obama has done to the US economy with what Governor Palin did for Alaska’s free and prosperous citizens.

  • Attempts to defend Palin’s gaffes are often more embarrassing than the gaffes themselves. It’s like if people responded to Obama’s misstatement about having visited 57 states by arguing that there really were 58 states.

  • I am by no means an apologist for Palin and I think that she clearly misspoke here. That being the case, what she said is in fact accurate, and the mis-reporting of what she said is wrong.

  • I also get a kick out of the interaction of Palin haters and Palinistas. The former don’t want to hear any counter-factual evidence that their opinions of the lady might be off, the latter can’t abide even a hint of criticism. She’s not my first choice for President, but a part of me would enjoy the endless entertainment that one or two terms of President Palin would provide on all fronts.

  • “Attempts to defend Palin’s gaffes are often more embarrassing than the gaffes themselves. It’s like if people responded to Obama’s misstatement about having visited 57 states by arguing that there really were 58 states.”

    One rarely hears about Obama’s gaffes except in organs of conservative opinion either in the old or the new media. Palin has been savaged more than any politician I can think of in my lifetime, with much of the criticism being lodged against her being intensely personal and intensely deranged. (Yes, Andrew Sullivan, I am looking at you.) What this latest tempest in a Boston teapot truly reveals is that most of the critics addressing this verbal mistep of hers have a rather shakier grasp of American history than she does.

  • Oh, and to avoid some historical errors painful to behold being written by Palin bashers in this thread, I would note the following:

    1. After Revere reached Lexington the Church bells began to ring. That is how the militia were summoned in colonial days. That is how the militia were summoned throughout Massachusetts on that fateful early morning of April 19. Where bells weren’t available artillery shots were used and where that wasn’t available muskets shots were used to call in the militia,

    2. The British were marching to seize the magazine at Concord and take the powder there.

    There, now you will not reveal yourself to be as ignorant as some of the Palin critics on the net who are oblivious to these facts.

  • Paul,

    Palin says the Revere “warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells, and making sure as he rode through town to send those warning shots and bells.”

    Does Revere’s letter say that he rang any bells to warn the British? No.

    Does Revere’s letter say that he fired any warning shots to warn the British? No.

    Does Revere’s letter say that he rode through town to warn the British? No.

    If you read Revere’s letter (not just the one paragraph excerpt) what you find is that Revere did ring bells, ride through town, and fire warning shots, but that he did all of these things not to warn the British, but to warn the Americans about the British. The letter also recounts how, after doing all this, he is spotted by some British officers, how he tries to evade them (as he had previously evaded British horsemen while warning the countryside) but is captured, and the tells them that he had warned the Americans.

    Just so I’m clear here, when Palin refers to Revere warning the British by making warning shots and ringing bells, you think that she meant to refer to the fact that Revere told the British what he had done after being captured? And that, despite the fact that Revere’s statement to the British involved him neither ringing any bells, nor firing any shots, nor riding through town, you think her statement is “completely accurate”?

  • More basic historical knowledge for Palin bashers:

    “Dawes initially appeared to have escaped his pursuers, but was thrown from his horse and captured. Paul Revere was taken prisoner and during his interrogation deliberately provided greatly inflated numbers of militiamen awaiting the British at Concord.

    During the ride back to Lexington, Revere and his captors heard shots fire and church bells ring throughout the area — events that gave some credence to Revere’s report of colonial preparations. Fearing for their safety, the British released Revere, but took the precaution of giving him a tired horse to slow his return to Lexington.”

    http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1261.html

    Don’t thank me. I consider it my bounden Christian duty to instruct the historically ignorant.

  • “Just so I’m clear here, when Palin refers to Revere warning the British by making warning shots and ringing bells, you think that she meant to refer to the fact that Revere told the British what he had done after being captured?”

    No BA, her statement clearly indicates that she was referring to Revere’s ride as a challenge to the British and the bells ringing and the warning shots as a result of that ride. She was inarticulate about it, as most politicians tend to be when they make off the cuff remarks, but that was the clear sense of what she said. The facts of Revere’s ride indicate that her remarks were closer to describing what actually happened than the over the top reaction of her critics would indicate.

  • I should add that I don’t think Palin’s error here is a big deal. Anyone who does a lot of extemporaneous speaking is going to make similar flubs from time to time. The problem comes when people try to defend her by pretending that they aren’t flubs.

  • At least she know how many states the US has or which army liberated Auschwhiz. I believe Sarah would be even able tell someone which hand one salutes the flag with and be willing to salute the flag.
    The MSM has dealt the woman misery ever since she was selected to run for vice president. It is shameful the way American media conducts it self and the blatant bias they exhibit. The give Obama a pass on any and all of his actions. Obama’s ego is so big he cannot admit most of his ideas are at best socialistic and doomed to wreak havoc on the United States, yet the press will not report on it.

  • Here’s the solution both for Palin-haters and Obama-worshipping imbeciles.

    Set up a 50 question multiple choice test on history, and fiscal and monetary policies. Palin’s people make up Obama’s test. Obama’s villains compile Governor Palin’s test.

    We’ll learn who is the idiot.

    Or, they could both make fools of themselves on “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

    Here’s the big difference! Palin is making a fool of herself on TV opinion shows. Obama’s mistakes . . .

  • Admittedly Palin’s wording is incredibly garbled and she did not give a very articulate response.

    How dare you! According to Don, Palin is the greatest political talent since Reagan (that’s not hyperbole on my part). I quote, “Charisma is a much overused term, but no other will do for describing the impact of Palin on the television screen. This is a God-given gift that no amount of practice can give, and God was very generous indeed in the portion that He gave this daughter of Eve.”

    That was a serious post by Don shortly before the 2008 election. To which Tito replied, seriously, “She certainly has confidence, intuition, brains, and an excellent grasp of the issues.”

    Now, I’ve defended Palin from liberals in the past. I think she’s attacked more viciously than any other politician. She seems like a good manager. On the issues, I’m probably in agreement with her more than with Obama. And in this case, it wasn’t the content that I cringed at. It was her poor attempt at expressing it. She can’t speak intelligently about a topic she’s not comfortable with and the topics she’s not comfortable with are history, science, literature, economics, and foreign policy.

  • No BA, her statement clearly indicates that she was referring to Revere’s ride as a challenge to the British

    Tell that to Paul. He seems to think Palin meant that Revere was warning the British, and that she was right!

  • A staple knock on Reagan from the Left his entire political career was that he was a blithering idiot. Clark Clifford after Reagan’s election in 80 referred to Reagan as an amiable dunce. (RR, if you don’t know who Clark Clifford was just google his name.) Liberals often took great joy in the fact that Reagan frequently made mistakes of fact in his stories, and not infrequently mangled history, sometimes quoting something he had seen in a movie and citing it as a historical event. None of that made any difference because Reagan had preternatural political skills and leadership ability in spades, and because he was challenging Jimmy Carter, the most inept president in our nation’s history not named James Buchanan or Barack Obama. I think Palin has the same qualities in the first two areas. Like Reagan, and like most politicians, Palin mangles facts when she speaks off the cuff. As in the case of Reagan, the mainstream media labor mightily to transform mistatement molehills of Palin into mountains of error, because, as also was the case with Reagan, they heartily detest her and the Harley she rode in on.

  • Tell that to Paul. He seems to think Palin meant that Revere was warning the British, and that she was right!

    What Paul actually said.

    Revere was in fact warning the British, but more as a way of bragging.

    Neither Palin nor myself said that Paul Revere made his ride to warn the British. I related the story as actually told by Revere. He encountered the British sentinels, and then told them what was going down.

    The problem comes when people try to defend her by pretending that they aren’t flubs.

    Wow I actually said – more than once – that she mangled the English language and spoke inarticulately. Again, you are the complete opposite end of the Palinistas. Just as they can broker absolutely no criticism of anything she speaks, people of your ilk cannot tolerate any mild defense of her. It’s kind of sad, really. But I guess such is the life of an anonymous coward lobbing verbal hand grenades without bothering to form opinions for yourself.

  • Neither Palin nor myself said that Paul Revere made his ride to warn the British.

    Palin said Revere “warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells.”

    You said her remarks were “completely accurate.”

    Have I misquoted either you or Palin here?

  • I think it is painfully obvious listening to Palin that she is not saying that Paul Revere set out on his ride to warn the British. As she said in her – once again for you too slow to understand – badly garbled soundbite, once confronted with British troops Revere warned them, but not in a manner of alarm but in a sense of bragging about what was being done .

    Seriously, are you so dense that you can’t comprehend the difference? This was obvious the first time I heard the soundbite.

  • I think it is painfully obvious listening to Palin that she is not saying that Paul Revere set out on his ride to warn the British.

    That’s what she said. You can argue that that’s not what she meant, and as I said above I don’t think this is really a big deal. She got confused, which happens to the best of them. I don’t have a problem with people defending Sarah Palin (I’ve done it myself from time to time). What I object to are the claims that what she said was accurate.

    As she said in her – once again for you too slow to understand – badly garbled soundbite, once confronted with British troops Revere warned them, but not in a manner of alarm but in a sense of bragging about what was being done.

    Seriously, are you so dense that you can’t comprehend the difference? This was obvious the first time I heard the soundbite.

    The first time you heard the soundbite your reaction was that she was referring to what Revere said to the British after he was captured?

    There’s no reference to Revere being captured, for example, and all the things she does mention (ringing bells, firing warning shots, etc.) are things Revere did to warn people about the British. To say that she meant to refer to what Revere said after he was captured is simply not plausible (though I’m happy for each person to judge for himself).

    Btw, saying that Palin spoke inarticulately or that what she said was garbled is not the same as saying that what she said was inaccurate. Your statement was that what she said was completely accurate. You can resort to name calling, but it won’t change the fact that this isn’t true.

  • That’s what she said.

    No. It isn’t. She didn’t say that Paul Revere set out to warn the British.

    The first time you heard the soundbite your reaction was that she was referring to what Revere said to the British after he was captured?

    Exchanges like this make we weep. No, my first instinctual reaction was not that she was referring to this specific exchange (although, upon learning of where she had been and the tour she had taken I think that perhaps she was referring to this). As soon as I heard this soundbite it seemed glaringly obvious that she was not asserting – as the anchor suggested -that Paul Revere set out to warn the British. That’s the only point I’m really making. The assertion that Sarah Palin completely jumbled her history and thought that the Paul Revere rode out to warn British soldiers seemed patently false upon first hearing.

    Btw, saying that Palin spoke inarticulately or that what she said was garbled is not the same as saying that what she said was inaccurate.

    Because what she said wasn’t inaccurate. If she had gotten her history wrong I’d be the first to admit it. But what she said was correct. That she knows more about history than you is not really a sign of her ignorance.

  • It seems they (the W, the despicable party, and state-run press) believe insulting Sarah Palin’s historical acuity will somehow assuage the sufferings of 150,000,000 hopeless Americans.

  • In light of the original post, this incident reminds me of Dan Quayle and the potatoe incident.

  • I think she clearly mispoke and meant ‘warning that the bristish were coming’.

    But hey, let Marsha Shea and the girls at Vox Nova have their fun.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy: ) This is a followup story to the original incident, reporting on Palin’s appearance on Fox News Sunday in which she was questioned by host Chris Wallace about the Paul Revere remarks:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/44/post/palin-i-didnt-mess-up-about-paul-revere/2011/06/05/AGL71aJH_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

  • Per Cathy’s link, Palin says of Revere that “[p]art of his ride was to warn the British.”

    Glad we cleared that up.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjJgcDaOlbQ

    She certainly knows her American history far better than most of her critics who have simply beclowned themselves in this latest chapter in their unending Palin obsession.

  • Here’s another column from Hot Air on the story, again buttressing the point that Palin essentially got it right, as a Boston U History professor attests to.

    They link to this Andrew Malcolm. It’s a good rundown of other “gaffes” that weren’t gaffes or didn’t happen (Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet, GHWB didn’t mis-identify a checkout scanner).

    Then again, we live in a country where people think that Sarah Palin actually said “I can see Russia from my house.”

  • Unthink progressives are deathly afraid of Governor Palin’s policies. As always, they show their “true colors” with hatred, insults, and fabrications.

    See today’s Instapundit: Experts back Governor Palin on Paul Revere. Here’s the money quote, “A lot of the criticism is unfair and made by people who are themselves ignorant of history.”

    “Any fool can criticize and complain.” And, most debased, dilatory, indolent, languid, miserable, supine, witless morons do.

We Shall Never Surrender

Saturday, June 4, AD 2011

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old. “

Seventy-one years ago today, on June 4, 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallied Great Britain to the coming Battle of Britain with his “We Shall Never Surrender” speech.  In the face of an overwhelming  defeat in France, Churchill gave no thought of peace with Hitler, but rather called his people to a hard uphill fight against evil.  It is simple to call a nation to take an easy, expedient, at least for the short term, path.  It is difficult to call a nation to a path filled with danger, and with the issue of the struggle quite in doubt, in order to defeat a great evil.  Any politician can do the former;  only a statesman can do the latter.  Here is the text of the speech:

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One Response to We Shall Never Surrender

2 Responses to Triumphal March

James Arness, Requiescat in Pace

Saturday, June 4, AD 2011

 

For all of my childhood, James Arness, and the show he starred in, Gunsmoke, were a constant presence.  The television show, a sequel to the radio show of the same name, came on the air in 1955 and ran for 20 years.  I was born in 57 and graduated from high school in 75.  Each week my family would watch the show, even the reruns.  We  had a slight personal connection to the show, my grandfather, a shoemaker, making a pair of boots for James Arness to wear in his role of Matt Dillon. 

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One Response to James Arness, Requiescat in Pace

  • This made me feel old all of a sudden. I remember watching James Arness’ Gunsmoke and Festas. I can’t seem to recall when that was really. Because of TV today I seldom watch television. Recently I discovered the RTV programs that in fact come from earlier times. I’m finding it hard to spend time with TV except for the so-called news today. When I want to relax I turn to the RTV TV programs, “A-Team” and “Night Rider” (so far); that fall in my “end of day” time.
    Thanks for this information. It set me to thinking how terribly fast the time gets away from us. I believe that because of his moral bent, Matt Dillon has a place in heaven.

Fifth Circuit Overrules Judge’s Anti-Prayer Ruling

Friday, June 3, AD 2011

This is an update to the story Don blogged about earlier.  The Fifth Circuit has now overruled Judge Biery’s decision.

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday afternoon that students may pray and mention God at Saturday night’s graduation at a high school in a San Antonio suburb, overturning a district judge’s ruling.

“Texas will continue to fight for the rights of all those who wish to pray in our state,” Governor Rick Perry said in a statement commending the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

. . . The appeals court ruled that the order restrained the free speech rights of the students, who “are in fact not school-sponsored.” The court also noted that the school had already changed the name of the name of the invocation and benediction.

A rare judicial victory for common sense.

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5 Responses to Fifth Circuit Overrules Judge’s Anti-Prayer Ruling

Increasing Inequality and Winner-Take-All Economics

Friday, June 3, AD 2011

One of the mildly worrying economic trends of the last thirty years has been the increasing gap between rich and poor in the US. Many policy analysts conclude that this is the clear result of not following whatever policies they advocate, and thus demand quick action. However, as a recent OECD study shows, most countries have seen increases in inequality since 1980:

Given that countries as varied as Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Finland have all seen increases in inequality of similar or greater scale (though not to the same absolute level, since they started lower) to that of the US over the last 30 years, it seems hard to imagine that it is simply a matter of US tax or social safety net policy which is the cause of the trend.

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2 Responses to Increasing Inequality and Winner-Take-All Economics

  • Very few people are successful entrepreneurs in export industries, so one might posit that that phenomenon would influence a observation of the most affluent 2% or so or the wealthiest 2% or so having an improved position vis-a-vis the remainder, but not any observed improvement in the relative position of salaried workers (bar the corporate elite) over wage-earners.

    Couple of alternative hypotheses:

    1. Assortive mating. About a third of the labor force in 1957 was female. One might suppose that married women working in 1957 were intensely concentrated among impecunious wage-earning families and doing a good deal of shift work. The relationship between social stratum and women’s working hours now has cross-cutting influences and is not straightforward, with a great many married women in professional- managerial posts where you saw only a few spinsters 50-odd years ago.

    2. Common mindsets arriving accross a range of countries, leading to similar policy shifts (as regards income tax rates, &c.).

  • Very few people are successful entrepreneurs in export industries, so one might posit that that phenomenon would influence a observation of the most affluent 2% or so or the wealthiest 2% or so having an improved position vis-a-vis the remainder, but not any observed improvement in the relative position of salaried workers (bar the corporate elite) over wage-earners.

    Maybe I’m over-extrapolating from personal experience, but it seemed to me that a lesser degree of the same effect might well apply to the whole top 20-30%.

    So, for instance, since hitting a decent salary level and leaving hourly work behind, I spent a number of years working at a consumer electronics company which sourced it’s parts and eventually whole products overseas, and sold in multiple countries, though my segment of the company only sold to North America. I’d tend to assume that resulted in the company as a whole being more profitable, and probably helped drive my salary up in a way that would not have happened without the global supply chain and the IT which allowed me to do analysis or set prices on large numbers of products for the whole continent (and take advantage of the higher price elasticity made possible by the communications medium of the web.)

    Or my current job deals with US sales only — but modern technology allows my role to deal with price optimization for over a thousand stores across hundreds of products, something which software simply didn’t exist fore 30+ years ago.

    So while I and salaried workers who do the type of work that I do for large companies may not be “winners” who take all, scale, global supply chains and technology do certainly make our work very productive compared to what it might have been 30, much less 60, years ago.

    That said, I see a fair amount of explanatory power in your two points as well, particularly 2.

One of Our Black Robed Masters at Work

Friday, June 3, AD 2011

Fred Biery, a Bill Clinton appointee, is a Federal District Judge down in Texas.  In order to satisfy two village atheist parents of a student who contend that their 18 year old “child” will be irreparably damaged if any prayer escapes any lips during his high school commencement ceremony, Biery has banned all prayer at the high school commencement of the Medina Valley Independent School District on Saturday.  This includes the Judge censoring the speech of the valedictorian of the graduating class, Angela Hildebrand, a Catholic, who wished to say a prayer in her speech.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the school district is in the process of appealing the ruling, and his office has agreed to file a brief in their support.

“Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.

“These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,’” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”

Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

The Texas attorney general called the ruling unconstitutional and a blatant attack from those who do not believe in God — “attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever.”

“This is the challenge we are dealing with here,” he said. “(It’s) an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things atheist and agnostic.”

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9 Responses to One of Our Black Robed Masters at Work

  • Outside of maybe a blow to their little egos, I’m curious as to what “irreparable harm” the atheists think they will come to if someone prays. Will their heads explode? Are they afraid of being smitten? Maybe the roof caving in on them? Breaking out in hives?

  • Presumably Mandy the irreparable harm is exposure to a point of view they don’t agree with, something the educational process of course normally does as a matter of course.

  • Like Scalia, I think commencement prayers that are part of the official agenda are not offensive to the establishment clause, but I acknowledge that a contrary position is not unreasonable. But a restriction against a voluntary invocation by a valedictorian is indefensible.

  • Wouldn’t it be grand if the students, en masse and led by the Valedictorian, prayed the Our Father? Loudly, reverently.

  • There is nothing new under the Sun.

    Reminds of English attempts to do away with irish Irishness.

    An old ditty:

    Oh, Paddy, dear, an’ did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?
    The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground!
    No more St. Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his colour can’t be seen,
    For there’s a cruel law agin’ the Wearin’ o’ the green.
    ~Author Unknown

    Living, breathing zombie constitution . . .

    “We have buried the putrid corpse of Liberty.” Mussolini, 1937.

  • “Wouldn’t it be grand if the students, en masse and led by the Valedictorian, prayed the Our Father? Loudly, reverently.”

    That is precisely what is needed G-Veg. Let the judge then do his worst. I doubt if even he would think that he could lock up parents and students who are not parties to the suit for contempt, but with this judge I would not make any bets. If he were foolish enough to do that, I can imagine that the outcry would be immense.

  • “A Living Document”.

    We have the same idiocy over here.
    Back around 2001 our then Attorney General, an ex-communist member of our then Labour government, Margaret Wilson, proclaimed the “Treaty of Waitangi” – the treaty between the British crown, white settlers and the Maori chiefs of NZ – a “Living Document”.

    So what happened?
    Radical maori started claiming the radio and TV air waves, all oil and mineral rescources, fishing rights to our 200 mile territorial limit – all sorts of crazy things that never existed back in 1840 when the treaty was signed.
    I think it would be a reasonable thing to re-introduce firing squads to resolve this sort of treasonous behaviour. (well – almost)

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