6

Tips For Pundits.

Right you are Klavan on the Culture!  If I may add to your list of tips for pundits:

4.     Do not pontificate on subjects that you are bone ignorant of.

5.     Remember that taking a middle course on an issue is not inherently going to be the correct course.

6.     Whatever else you do, try not to bore your readers or listeners. Continue Reading

25

Information and Metaphysical Conclusions

I was struck by Kyle’s post on Friday “Abortion, Rational Decision-Making, and Informed Consent“, but it took me a while thinking it over to come to an explanation of exactly what I find wrong about it. Kyle is addressing the issue of “informed consent” laws which require a woman seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of her baby or read an explanation of fetal development at the stage of pregnancy her child is at. He is concerned, however, that such laws miss the real moral point:

Catarina Dutilh Novaes explains her worry about some new laws requiring physicians to show a woman an ultrasound of the fetus and describe its status, organs and present activity before performing an abortion. She writes: “It does not take a lot of brain power to realize that what is construed here as ‘informed decision’ is in fact yet another maneuver to prevent abortions from taking place by ‘anthropomorphizing’ the fetus” and “it is of striking cruelty to submit a woman to this additional layer of emotional charge at such a difficult moment.” She’s right, I suspect, about the underlying motivation behind the laws and the suffering their practice would impose. If the legislators and activists pushing these laws recognize the suffering they may inflict, they clearly see it as justified, weighing, as they do, the vital status of the nascent life as greater than the emotional status of the expectant mother.

There’s something to this. The information the physician is legally required to communicate by these new laws informs in a very limited way: it doesn’t provide evidence of personhood or a right to life or any such metaphysical or moral reality. The sight and description of the fetus may give the appearance of a human life worthy of respect, but, as pro-lifers note, appearance is not indicative of moral worth. An embryo doesn’t look like a human being, but that appearance doesn’t signify anything moral or metaphysical about it.

The woman, for having this information, is not in any better position to make a rational, ethical decision. It may cause her to “see” the nascent life as human, but it doesn’t offer her a rational basis for such a perception. Her consent is no more informed after seeing and hearing the physical status of the life within her, and so these new “informed consent” laws don’t achieve what they are supposedly designed to do.

There are places conducive to informing people about the nascent life’s stages of development and about what exactly, scientifically speaking, abortion does to that life. A high school health class, for example. There, the scientific information about the unborn life and abortion can be more thoroughly considered, and once fully understood, serve in other settings as a reference point for metaphysical and moral considerations. Consent to abortion should be informed, but the information these new laws require to be communicated does not on its own result in informed consent or provide an additional basis for a rational, ethical decision. Why? Because, by itself, appearance is not ethically relevant and can also be misleading.

Now on the basic point, I agree with Kyle: appearance is not moral worth. A person is not worthy of human dignity simply because someone looks at him or her and sees similarity. To say that would be to suggest the converse: that when someone looks at another and sees simply “other” he is justified in not treating that person with human dignity. For instance, one could imagine (though I think it is the far less likely option) a situation in which a woman is leaning against abortion because she thinks that the child inside her will look “just like a baby”, she sees a fuzzy ultrasound of something that still looks like a tadpole on an umbilical cord, and she thinks, “Oh, that’s all? It must not be a baby yet. I’ll abort.”  Clearly, in this case, the information would have led to the wrong conclusion.  An appearance of similarity or dissimilarity does not a person make.

At the same time, the suggestion that informed consent laws are a bad idea just rubs me the wrong way, not just from a pragmatic point of view but from a moral one, and when I have this kind of conflict between instinct and reason, I tend to poke at the issue until I come up with a reason why it is that the apparently reasonable explanation seems wrong to me. Continue Reading

3

August 30, 1861: Fremont Orders Freeing of Slaves of Rebels in Missouri

John C. Fremont led a life of considerable achievement and seemed to many of his contemporaries a man of destiny.  However, in the Civil War his destiny  eluded him.  An engineering officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers, his personal charm led to his marriage in 1841 to Jesse Benton, a woman of considerable ambition and the daughter of the legendary Senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Bent.  Now politically well connected, Benton achieved fame and the title The Pathfinder, by leading settlers along with scout Kit Carson over the Oregon Trail.  In the 1830’s Fremont had taken part in various topographical mapping expeditions into the West and this served him in good stead in determining the best routes for the pioneers.  His exploits were steadily followed in the eastern papers, and Fremont became a national celebrity.  During the Mexican War, Fremont played a major role in the conquest of California, although he displayed much energy but little military skill.  After the war he served as military governor for California, and, after California was admitted to the Union, Fremont served briefly as a US Senator for the state.

Although he was of Southern birth, Fremont was an ardent foe of slavery and became the first Republican candidate for President in 1856.  Obtaining a third of the vote, and 114 electoral votes, Fremont proved that the new Republican party was a serious contender in national politics.  His electoral slogan of “Free Men!  Free Soil! Fremont!”, resounded throughout the North, Fremont winning all of the Northern states except Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana, demonstrating that if the North was unified, it could elect a President.  Fremont suffered in the election by false allegations that his father was a French aristocrat and that Fremont was a Catholic.  (Fremont’s father was a middle class Frenchman who fought for the Royalists in France and who immigrated to America.  Fremont was an Episcopalian.)  The Democrats also made hay of the fact that Fremont had been born out of wedlock, and that at the time they started their romance, his mother had been married to a man not his father.  Salacious political gossip is not an invention of the Twenty-First century.

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6

Feast Day of the Beheading of John the Baptist

August 29 is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist, the herald of Christ.  Charlton Heston, in the video clip above, gave a powerful portrayal of the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, capturing the raw courage and energy that animated John the Baptist as a result of the blazing faith he had in God.  Like Elijah, John came out of the wilderness to fearlessly proclaim the word of God, but what Elijah and the other prophets could only glimpse darkly, the coming of the Messiah, John saw with his own eyes.  The last and greatest of the prophets, John fulfilled the role of Elijah as proclaimed by the prophet Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. Continue Reading

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Dedicated to the Fighting Patriots of Goshen College

“Pacifists are the last and least excusable on the list of the  enemies of society. They preach that if you see a man flogging a woman  to death you must not hit him. I would much sooner let a leper come near  a little boy than a man who preached such a thing.”

                                                     G.K. Chesterton

I just hope the version with lyrics below will not be deemed too militaristic:

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6

The Holy War: Mac versus DOS

With the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Corporation, it seems timely to revisit a classic piece of prose from Umberto Eco.  Many have seen this, some have not.

For my own part, I have always been an Apple guy at heart.  My family’s first computer was an Apple IIGS, purchased in 1986, retailing at just under $1000.  My first personal computer was a Power Macintosh 5260 during my Freshman year at college.  (By the way, had I taken my $2000 and invested it into Apple stock rather than buying the computer, it appears that the stock  today would be valued over $100,000.)   Shamefully, I admit that I went through a three year stint on a Sony Vaio that I obtained as a gift.  To this day I still question the decision that a free PC was better than a paid-for Apple.  Nevertheless, I returned to Apple when the Vaio crashed and burned, and needless to say, Steve took me back with open arms and a big smile of forgiveness.  Yes, folks, I am a revert.

Umberto Eco wrote “The Holy War: Mac versus DOS” on September 30th, 1994, for the Italian weekly publication Espresso.  I altered his title in my post as we are seemingly past the point where the three letters D-O-S mean anything to the average consumer.  His piece, however, is brilliant, and confirms what I have always suspected.  Moreover, with the stepping down of Apple’s “pope” and the “election” of his successor, Tim Cook, the nostalgia of this article that I read years ago was fueled by its recent mention by Whispers.  (Yes, I am well aware that I am taking the analogy entirely too far.)  Enough of all that, though.  Without further delay … Umberto Eco:

The Holy War: Mac versus DOS

by Umberto Eco

Friends, Italians, countrymen, I ask that a Committee for Public Health be set up, whose task would be to censor (by violent means, if necessary) discussion of the following topics in the Italian press. Each censored topic is followed by an alternative in brackets which is just as futile, but rich with the potential for polemic. Whether Joyce is boring (whether reading Thomas Mann gives one erections). Whether Heidegger is responsible for the crisis of the Left (whether Ariosto provoked the revocation of the Edict of Nantes). Whether semiotics has blurred the difference between Walt Disney and Dante (whether De Agostini does the right thing in putting Vimercate and the Sahara in the same atlas). Whether Italy boycotted quantum physics (whether France plots against the subjunctive). Whether new technologies kill books and cinemas (whether zeppelins made bicycles redundant). Whether computers kill inspiration (whether fountain pens are Protestant).

One can continue with: whether Moses was anti-semitic; whether Leon Bloy liked Calasso; whether Rousseau was responsible for the atomic bomb; whether Homer approved of investments in Treasury stocks; whether the Sacred Heart is monarchist or republican.

I asked above whether fountain pens were Protestant. Insufficient consideration has been given to the new underground religious war which is modifying the modern world. It’s an old idea of mine, but I find that whenever I tell people about it they immediately agree with me.

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach — if not the kingdom of Heaven — the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It’s true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions: When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to.

Naturally, the Catholicism and Protestantism of the two systems have nothing to do with the cultural and religious positions of their users. One may wonder whether, as time goes by, the use of one system rather than another leads to profound inner changes. Can you use DOS and be a Vande supporter? And more: Would Celine have written using Word, WordPerfect, or Wordstar? Would Descartes have programmed in Pascal?

And machine code, which lies beneath and decides the destiny of both systems (or environments, if you prefer)? Ah, that belongs to the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic. The Jewish lobby, as always….

3

Te Deum, Triumphalism and History

Something for the weekend.  Te Deum (To God) sung by the Benedictine monks of Saint Maurice and Saint Maur.  A song sung by Catholics in moments of triumph and thanksgiving, it was probably written by Saint Nicetas in the late Fourth century or early Fifth century.

One of the swear words common since Vatican II in the Catholic Church is triumphalism.  We are to avoid it at all costs, and it is a bad, bad thing.  In a small way this makes sense.  The Church is both a divine and a human institution.  As a divine institution the Church is always victorious and triumphant as result of the Triumph of the Cross, and proceeds serenely through time and eternity.  As  a human institution the Church consists of we sinful individuals here on Earth, and meets with victories and defeats as she seeks to spread the message of Christ, often on very stony fields indeed.  To view the Church here on Earth through rose colored glasses and to assume that simply because the ultimate victory will be claimed by the Church against the Gates of Hell that all is well within the Church is to mistake the Church Triumphant for the Church Militant.

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A Hurricane Guide from Louisiana to the East Coast

Hurricane Irene is aimed at the East Coast and now maybe people in the Northeast are trying to figure out what to do about it. I figured a guide written by someone who’s lived in hurricanes might be useful .

What are the Dangers?

For all dangers, it’s worse on the east side of the “eye” because hurricanes move in a counter-clockwise direction. By the time the wind and rain hit the western side, much of the punch is gone having been used up.

Wind: This is the danger that measures the strength of hurricanes. How much damage it can do depends on what it has to work with. For homeowners, the threats are numerous. There is debris flying around, such as patio furniture, plant pots, etc. This stuff has the potential to break windows, which can lead to serious damage inside the house (b/c the rain and wind will get in).

However, the more likely damage is to roofs and trees. My guess is that roofs in your area aren’t built up to the codes they are in LA, so you’ll lose plenty of shingles (these shingles and the tacks & nails they contain will litter the roadway, so be careful driving afterwards. Likely you’ll get a flat so be prepared for that). You could have more serious damage: That would be the roof of my apartment after Hurricane Gustav. The jerk making the thumbs-up sign would be me.

The other danger wind causes is falling trees. Yes, trees provide nice shade which keep down energy bills in the summer, but trees in these storms are nothing but logs waiting to be pushed over. Branches over houses can get knocked off and crash into the house, if not the tree itself. If you haven’t been making sure your tree is still alive and healthy…well, now if probably too late. If you know a tree is dead and have the time to cut it down, that’s probably a good idea.

Storm Surge: This only applies to those living on the coast. How far from the coast depends on the hurricane’s strength at landfall, but this is the most powerful part of the storm. It’ll wipe out floors or entire houses depending on its size. Essentially, storm surge is the wind pushing the waters, so that it’s frequently described as a wall of water coming at you.

Flood: Although this is a bigger fear for New Orleans, you’ll still have to deal with. Chances are you just lose your carpet, but if the water sits you may have to replace the drywall in your house. That is not fun, especially if you don’t have flood insurance, which most people don’t have.

Other concerns:

When things flood, animals get displaced, so you have to watch yourself for snakes and other creatures, especially in the flood water.

Chances are you will lose power. How long depends on the damage to the area, your type of power grid, and where you are on that grid. You’ll find out that if you’re close to businesses, you’ll get power back faster. If your area has underground power, you have a good chance of keeping it but overhead wires are likely going to be blown over or knocked down by falling tree branches.

Looting: likely not an issue, but if the damage disrupts the police department (specifically by making roads impassable due to water or debris) it will happen. This is more of a concern for business owners. Fire protection is also hindered due to low water pressure and again roads.

FEMA & Insurance co. They suck. No two ways about. Judging by the handling of BP, the Obama administration is even worse than the Bush in this area. The only thing that it’s in their good hands is your money. While some insurance companies are reasonable, sometimes they’re not.

How to prepare:

Evacuate: if the government is telling you to get out, it’s probably because of the storm surge. If power could be out a while and you have small children, you might want to take a trip to grandma’s house. Bring about a week’s worth of clothes because you don’t know how long it will be before they start allowing people back into the area.

Canned food, water, batteries, flashlights, other necessaries: remember, power is likely out and cooking is not an option (gas may still be there, but gas lines could be broken so you can’t count on that). BBQ is a possibility, but not during the storm (this should be obvious. it’s not apparently).

Entertainment. You’re going to be sitting in the dark without A/C with no TV, Internet, phones, etc. You may have to talk to your family. Board & card games are the best options; books won’t work too much. If you have a laptop with a good battery, charge that up (charge up all your stuff to be honest) and use it as a DVD player. If this sounds terrible to you, you can buy a generator but they can be expensive and dangerous (every storm someone puts a generator inside and it either it catches fire or the people die from carbon monoxide poisoning).

Gas up the cars: some pumps don’t work without power, so you need to do this before the storm.

Hurricane Party: You may think I’m joking, but there’s a reason New Orleans has made this famous. You can’t do anything at this point to stop it (other than pray). Alcohol is a must, such as the hurricane drink. If you’re adventerous, you can go outside during the beginning stages of the storm and play frisbee or football. You can go instead when moving becomes difficult.

The important thing is to have a good attitude. Everyone’s in the same boat, and chances are you’ll get to meet and deal with people you don’t usually get to. New Orleans ended up a stronger city after the storm because everybody went through the pains together. Complaining does no one any good.

So those are some quicks tips from Louisiana. Glad to help y’all out. But if the next time a hurricane is pointed as us, you Yanks could refrain from questioning why New Orleans ought to be rebuilt, we’d much appreciate it. Enjoy your hurricane party!

9

Why Personhood Matters

Imagine you lost your mother, after an illness, at the hospital. In as much as any death is easy, hers is… and then it starts.

Months later, after much legal fighting, they finally give you her mortal remains– a couple of tissue samples in little boxes, kept behind the secretary’s counter for when you came in to get them for a proper burial. You’re handed the shoebox and told to sign here, here and here, be careful, those are bio waste.

Horrifying, isn’t it?

How about this:

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Archbishop Chaput and the Media

One of the most irritating aspects of life for faithful American Catholics over the past several decades has been how quiet most of our bishops have been in the face of outrageous attacks on the Church.  Too many of our bishops have acted as if they had their spines surgically removed upon consecration.  Fortunately there have always been a handful who have been willing to speak out and suffer the media attacks that then ensue, along with the ambushes of heterodox Catholics frequently eager to lend a hand to anti-Catholics in their ceaseless war against the Church.  One of the more outspoken bishops is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has never been afraid to proclaim the truth, and to do so eloquently.  He is at it again over at First Things.

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4

Three Ring Government

Well, I must say that whenever I have had involvement with government on the state or federal level, I have thought that a circus was surely running things!

The French author and philosopher Montesquieu, leaning heavily on Aristotle and the Greek historian of the Roman Republic Polybius, in his The Spirit of The Laws (1748) helped popularize the notion of a mixed government: executive, legislative and judicial, providing a safeguard to liberty.  As our history has shown, it is hard for the components to stay in balance. Continue Reading

9

Coriolanus

Though the great houses love us not, we own, to do them right,

That the great houses, all save one, have borne them well in fight.

Still Caius of Corioli, his triumphs and his wrongs,

His vengeance and his mercy, live in our camp-fire songs.

Thomas Babbington Macaulay

The above film is being released on December 2, 2011 here in the US, and I am greatly looking forward to it.  Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s plays that is not performed as regularly as other plays of the Bard, which is a shame, because it is a powerful play about love and hate.  Gnaeus Marcius is a Roman patrician who fought in Rome’s wars shortly after the expulsion from Rome of the last of the Tarquin Kings and the foundation of the Roman Republic, conventionally dated at 508 BC.  Our ancient sources in regard to his career are plentiful, including Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Livy, Appian and Plutarch.  Unfortunately these writers wrote 450-600 years after the time of Coriolanus, and early Roman history is almost impossible to distinguish myth from fact.

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36

The Spanish Civil War: Sadly, Still Relevant

On Sunday I received a request from a Catholic blogger for my suggestions for readings in regard to the Spanish Civil War, a subject which I have always found fascinating.  Here is my response:

The go to man on the Spanish Civil War is Stanley Payne.  He has been writing on the conflict since the Fifties.  He interviewed many of the leaders of the various factions in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.  Originally a man of the Left, I think it would be fair now to call him a conservative, but what he is above all is a first class historian.

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Ron Paul and the Civil War

Congressman Ron Paul (R. Pluto) is running for President again, and I assume his views on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln haven’t altered since this interview which took place in 2007.  I will leave to other venues debates as to Ron Paul and his stance on current issues.  I would merely note that in regard to the Civil War he appears to be singularly ill-informed.  According to Mr. Paul the entire Civil War could have been avoided with a plan for compensated emancipation.  Now if only Abraham Lincoln had thought of that!  Wait, he did! Continue Reading

2

Cross & Eagle Award for Most Improved Blog

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) will be recognizing another legend and this particular blogger is in the field of apologetics.

This defensor fidei travels the country evangelizing both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, educating in the Catholic faith, and defending the eternal Truths.

In my estimation, he probably created his blog with minimal thought, not knowing what a tremendous tool it could be to evangelize.

Imagine not having to travel to another parish hall or hotel to do another presentation in person.  Not that he has stopped doing this, it’s that he can now reach a wider audience.

Unfortunately his blog wasn’t one of the best out there.

This all changed recently.

He changed the layout, improved the graphics by leaps and bounds, and made it much more interactive.  Yes, he improved the look of his blog overall.

Who is this mustachioed Catholic?

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Most Improved Blog in the Catholic Blogosphere to. . .

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3

The Sally Field’s Argument For Obama

There are times when I read a blog and slap my forehead and think to myself that I really wish I had written that.  I had one such forehead slapping moment when I read this gem at Creative Minority Report by Matthew Archbold:

Hey, some are saying, Obama’s sagging job approval numbers don’t mean anything because his personal favorables are doing fine.
Hot Airhas this quote from the National Journal but as Ed Morrissey says, they’re far from the only one pushing this meme.

President Obama, whose job-approval ratings are mired well south of 50 percent, has an important factor breaking his way as he seeks another term: Americans still overwhelmingly like the guy.

So we’re supposed to ignore his job approval numbers and focus on whether people like him as a person.

Hmmm. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the exact opposite was true. Remember around the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment all the media would talk about was that while his personal approval numbers were in the tank, HIS JOB PERFORMANCE NUMBERS WERE SKY HIGH!!!! AND THAT’S WHAT REALLY MATTERS!!!

ABC News had this to say:

You can’t trust him, he’s got weak morals and ethics — and he’s done a heck of a good job… Despite his prevaricating, his sexual misadventures and his impeachment by Congress, a remarkable 65 percent of Americans approve of the way Clinton has done his job —

Even on the weekend of his impeachment trial, CBS News reported:

Throughout most of this year, more than six in ten adults have approved of the way the President has handled his job. Approval has occasionally risen even higher, as the public rallies to Bill Clinton in times of crisis.

So…long story short. Under Bill Clinton all that mattered was job approval numbers but now under Obama all that matters is personal favorability. Continue Reading

8

I’m Not the One Feeling Embarrassed Right Now

John Yoo has written a post on the Corner titled “Qaddafi’s Fall Should Embarrass GOP Isolationists” that is equivalent in style to a drunken Eagles fan at Giants New Meadowlands Stadium doing a celebratory victory dance after an Eli Manning pick six has given the Eagles a 7-6 lead two minutes into the second quarter.  Sure you have something to celebrate, but you might want to take a look at the clock and also mind your surroundings.

The stunning collapse of the Libyan regime today should be counted as a half-victory for President Obama, a rebuke to the GOP’s new isolationist wing in the House, and a testament to the responsible leadership of such Senate Republicans as Jon Kyl and Mitch McConnell.

One should understand that by isolationist Yoo means anyone who has ever opposed US military intervention at anytime, anywhere.  Presumably included in this list are people who supported military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, a list that includes most House and Senate Republicans, the editorial staffs of most conservative publications, and a majority of conservative voters.  Alas we balked at a poorly thought out intervention in Libya, one which involved no clear ally or American interest, and which also involved a Chief Executive blithely ignoring that pesky little thing called Congress.

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Our Catholic Veep in Action

Oh Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.  God love ya.

But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China.  You have no safety net.  Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family.  The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people.  Not sustainable.

That’s right.  The Vice President of the United States of America, a good old Catholic, was speaking in China and couldn’t bring himself to criticize China’s one child policy.  No, he went so far as to say that he understands the policy.   This comes a mere few moments after he had expended some hot air about human rights.

 I recognize that many of you in this auditorium see our advocacy of human rights as at best an intrusion, and at worst an assault on your sovereignty.  I want to tell you directly that this is not our intention.  Yes, for Americans there is a significant moral component to our advocacy.  And we observed where we have failed, as well.  But it is who our people are.

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Cross & Eagle Award for Most Prolific Blogger

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) will be honoring a true legend in Catholic Blogosphere history.

To qualify even for consideration you need not only be talented in writing and knowledgeable about our Catholic faith, you need to write often.  That is the kicker.

Many a Catholic blogger has stopped blogging due to an increase in the family unit, new job, blogging fatigue, carpal tunnel affliction, and even death.  And that’s just a short list.

This particular blogger didn’t allow a growing family nor inclement weather stop him.  Not even a beard that has gotten out of control has slowed down this convert.

Being a warrior for Christ, he is horizontally integrated in various forms of media battling heresy and anti-Catholicism in it’s many forms as well as educating the faithful and non-Catholic in our rich and long Catholic Tradition.

Even when his template was no longer supported or his antiquated version of blogger, he stayed the course, WordPress be damned!

Don’t know who this character of the Wild, Wild Web is?

Here is only a sample of the many publications he writes for online:

Crisis Magazine, National Catholic Register, Catholic Exchange, Inside Catholic, and a whole lot more.

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Most Prolific Blogger in the Catholic Blogosphere to. . .

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1

VirtuousPla.net, The Social Network for Young Adult Catholics

I’d like to announce a new Catholic website targeted for Young Adults:

VirtuousPla.net will be providing Catholic perspectives on every topic that matters to young adults–life, religion, relationships, and fun.

We have gathered 30 of some of the brightest young adult Catholics in the world that are already providing insightful articles ranging from current events to poetry.

Please click on the pic above or click here to see what it’s all about!

 

8

Cross & Eagle Award for Most Catholic Non-Catholic Blog

The continuing Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) is breaking new ground by honoring a non-Catholic blog today.

No, no, no, I will no longer entertain any submissions for the National Catholic ReporterThe Tablet, U.S. Catholic,  or America Magazine for this award.  This is a serious category and I will not tolerate such ornery suggestions.

Where were we, ah yes. . . there are a few notable exceptions to our separated brothers and sisters in Christ in the Protestant Blogosphere.

VirtueOnline, Mere Comments, and yes Get Religion come to mind.

But the winner of this rapidly-becoming prestigious award does more than be almost Catholic, he actually defends Catholic Church teaching when under assault from the world.  That cannot be said for some aforementioned “Catholic” blogs.

As much as this particular blogger reads like a solid orthodox Catholic blog, he is resistant to put his swim-trunks on to jump the Tiber.  Yet he is able to show to the world, more so than his state’s motto, that timeless Truths always lead back to the Church that Jesus established with Saint Peter as its Rock.

His wit is quick and his humor dry and to the point, he certainly reflects his proud patrimony he inherited from Canterbury.

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Most Catholic Non-Catholic Blog in the Catholic Blogosphere to. . .

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18

Obama Ready for Killer Rabbit Moment

Columnist John Kass, the only good reason to ever read the Chicago Tribune, speculates that Obama is ready for his “Killer Rabbit” moment.

Anyone who thinks Obama is safe from a rabbit attack has forgotten what happened to President Jimmy Carter In 1979. Carter was attacked by a swimming rabbit, and the subsequent “Killer Rabbit” stories helped destroy his presidency. It led to the election of Republican Ronald Reagan in a landslide and an unprecedented economic revival.

There are eerie similarities. Like Obama, Carter was at that point where he was constantly viewed as weak and ineffectual. His fellow Democrats had lost patience with him. Liberal writers who once fawned on him had turned against him.

And like Obama, Carter foolishly left the White House for a “vacation.” Carter went home to Georgia for some fishing. Once his canoe hit the water of a pond, a terrible thing happened. A rabbit swam near with anger in its eyes. Continue Reading

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What Voris Ought to Learn

The Catholic News Agency reported a few days that Michael Voris and his RealCatholicTV operation were facing some issues. First, it appears that the organization has failed to maintain its nonprofit status despite possibly promising such status to potential donors. Second, it appears that his right hand man Simon Rafe has written some questionable sexual-themed fiction, which Rafe has since taken down and apologized for.

Several bloggers, most notably Mark Shea and the Anchoress, have stated that this is a non-issue. To some extent they’re right. I don’t blame Voris for being confused by the myriad regulations surrounding the maintenance of non-profit status and having a friend who sins simply you have a friend.

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6

The First Lord’s Song

Something for the weekend.  The First Lord’s Song from Gilbert& Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, a satirical look at how political hacks filled important positions they were completely unsuited for.  With around 40% of Congresscritters members of the legal profession, and I believe some eight cabinet level officers, the song remains topical.

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15

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  I guess some public schools must not be quite clear on the First Amendment.  Jerry Buell is a 22 year veteran social studies teacher at Mount Dora high school in Florida, and he was teacher of the year for his school district in 2010.  However, after offending the gods of political correctness, he will not be in the classroom when school begins this year.  On July 25, 2011 he posted these comments on his Facebook page:

“I’m watching the news, eating dinner when the story about New York okaying same-sex unions came on and I almost threw up.  And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?”

“By the way, if one doesn’t like the most recently posted opinion based on biblical principles and God’s laws, then go ahead and unfriend me. I’ll miss you like I miss my kidney stone from 1994. And I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one.”

The school district suspended Buell because they are afraid that a homosexual student might be frightened or intimated by him.  Go here to see a video report of this farce.

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8

Who You Calling Racist, Racist?

By now roughly 20 times more people have seen the clip below than when it originally aired on the Keith Olbermann Show.  Yes, Keith Olbermann has a show again.  It runs on a channel called Current TV.  It’s basically a cable access channel gone national.  Keith had political philosopher Janeane Garofalo on his show to discuss the Tea Party movement, and she uttered these sage remarks about Herman Cain.

For those of you who don’t feel like watching the clip, here’s a transcript of the relevant portion.

Garofalo also said successful businessman Herman Cain is either being paid to run or is suffering from Stockholm syndrome because he is a “person of color” running as a Republican in the party’s presidential primary.

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5

Over There

When I was 12 or so, my father picked up a newly released album of World War One music entitled, after the most famous American song of the war, Over There. It is now long out of print (though still occasionally available used). As is sometimes the case with highly singable songs one heard as a youth, several of these songs had been on my mind lately, and so when the breakdown of the dishwasher the other night set everyone to washing and drying dishes, I put it on and we sang along to the oddly cheerful songs inspired by one of the world’s darker interludes.

“Over There”, written in 1917 by George M. Cohan (I didn’t like the historical versions I found on YouTube as much, so I made my own with the Feinstein rendition of the song.)


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3

Gunga Din

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

Kipling is usually regarded, and often dismissed, as the poet laureate of British Imperialism.  A close examination of his poetry and stories reveals a good deal more complexity than that.  A prime example of this is Kipling’s poem Gunga Din, written in 1892:

You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was “Din! Din! Din!
You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

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Last Call to Vote in GOP Presidential Poll for Catholics

The American Catholic (TAC) GOP Poll will be accepting votes until tonight, so if you haven’t voted, now is the time.

Thus far former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is still leading with 23% (up 1 point since Wednesday) of the vote followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry with 17% (down 2 points since Wednesday) of the vote.

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9

Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Longest Post Title

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) will venture again into the unique today.

In the Catholic Blogosphere there are many authors that can make their point in a paragraph or two.  There are others that can write a 2,000 word essay in driving their point.  Still there are others that, like today’s cinema movie trailers, like to make their point not in their post, but in the title of their post!

This particular blogger makes a habit of writing his essay in the post title.  He, yes there’s no way around that, demonstrates that you can pack a powerful SEO punch by loading up on the post title.

He’s on the other side of the pond, but remember we are Catholics first before we are Americans or British or other.

Lately though he has been blogging on the Rupert Murdoch scandal in Britain.  He normally reports on all things Catholic and Anglican.

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Longest Post Title in the Catholic Blogosphere to . . .

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164

Non-Human People

(First time posting, so hopefully I don’t mess up the formatting too much; that would be a bit much after folks were kind enough to invite me to post!)

Time for a bit of Catholic applied to geekery! (Not to be confused with straight up Catholic Geekery, which is more the Holy Father’s area– does anyone doubt that he dearly loves thinking about, playing with and elaborating on Catholic theology? You just don’t end up writing THREE books on the life of Jesus without the love, intellectual interest and deep enjoyment of a geek for his geekdom.)

There’s something about Catholics and blogs that always ends up going into the old question of what makes a man– or, more correctly, a person. “Man” in this context would be a human, and there are several examples of people that aren’t humans– like most of the Trinity. Sadly, the topic usually comes up in terms of abortion; even the utterly simple-science-based reasoning that all humans are human and should be treated thus will bring out the attacks. (Amusingly, the line of attack is usually that someone is trying to force their religious beliefs on others, rather than an attempt to explain why a demonstrably human life is objectively different from, say, an adult human. The “bioethicist” Singer is famous for being open about valuing life in a utilitarian manner, but there aren’t many who will support that angle.[thank God]) Continue Reading

2

Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Best Author Pseudonym

The Cross & Eagle Awards (C&EA) aren’t your run-of-the-mill awards with standard categories and predictable results.  Not that all C&EA’s will be off-beat, but that some names, or pseudonym in this instance, in the Catholic Blogosphere are just so unforgettable, they need a category to themselves.

This next winner is just that, pretty unforgettable, genuine, and unique.

This 15th Century Hussite romantic is the Master of Ceremonies for his parish as well as the liturgy editor of a crusading blog, that frankly has stopped blogging (but only recently).  Nonetheless, his name deserves recognition because I can’t imagine anyone else ever making up this pseudonym.

His attention to detail may well explain his love of protocol in all things liturgical.

So without further delay:

I am happy to present the 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for the Best Pseudonym in the Catholic Blogosphere to. . .

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24

Waiting for Superman

Well, when Michelle Bachmann promises something she really shoots for the moon.

At a town hall meeting in Greenville, S.C., today, Michele Bachmann said if she became president gas prices would fall dramatically.

“Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 per gallon again. That will happen,” Bachmann said, according to The Hill.

There’s no word on whether she added that that the rise of the oceans would begin to slow as well.

Certainly there are things that the federal government could do to help cut gas prices.  Lowering gasoline taxes, opening up more areas for drilling and cutting back on regulations might put a dent on gas prices, but these measures would only go so far.  Oil is a global commodity.  Or, to quote from one of the snarky commenters at NRO, what is she going to, make the Chinese stop consuming oil?

Daniel Foster also helps put her comments into perspective.

The only policies I can think of that would surely accomplish the $2.00 a gallon target are:

1) The seizure by force and nationalized exploitation of a large proportion of the world’s oil supply.

2) The massive federal subsidization of fuel costs.

3) The fomenting of a second global recession as bad as or worse than the last one, complete with negative global GDP growth.

Gas prices could fall below $2 per gallon were Bachmann to get elected, but it would not principally be due to policy measures of the government.

This sort of political messiahnism is an annoying trend in our politics, but it’s doubly depressing coming from a conservative.  It’s one thing for a leftist like Barack Obama to promise the sun, the moon, and the stars, but one would not expect such unrealistic promises from someone touting themselves to be a limited government conservative.

Unfortunately this lack of perspective on the office of the presidency and the powers within that office runs both ways.   Continue Reading

7

Universal Salvation and Probability

Every so often, another Catholic encourages me to “dare to hope that all are saved”. After all, it is not a matter of doctrine that any specific person is damned. We know that God’s mercy is great, and given God’s mercy and our beliefs about the bliss of heaven and the torment which is hell, it seems reasonable that any soul would choose to embrace God over separating himself permanently from Him.

For me, this idea seems to fall down, however, when applied to the whole of humanity. In a sense, it’s a lot like the issue of the probability of sinlessness which I wrote about briefly a while ago: Given that we have free will, it would seem that in any given situation we could choose to do the right thing — though obviously we in many cases feel a strong urge not to or don’t even have a clear understanding of what the right thing is. However paradoxically, while in every individual choice it would seem that we could choose not to sin, it seems like an impossibility that any one person would in fact make the right choice in every single circumstance, thus living a life entirely without sin (except for original sin.)

Similarly, it seems to me that while there’s clearly a chance that any given person, no matter how sinful, will repent before death, embrace God’s forgiveness, and be saved, I simply can’t imagine it as possible that every single person in the history of humanity would do so. We see people so very frequently, in ordinary life, actively choose to do thing which they know will make them unhappy out of anger, pride or even just habit — I just don’t find it persuasive that no one would ever have chosen to utterly refuse union with God and insist that he would “rather rule in hell and serve in heaven.”

So I do not hope that all will be saved — I stick to hoping that each person will be saved.

7

TAC Presidential GOP Poll So Far

The American Catholic (TAC) GOP Poll is still accepting votes until this Friday evening.

Thus far former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is leading with 22% of the vote followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry with 19% of the vote.

Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul follows with 13% of the vote with undecideds rounding the top four at 11%.

Top tier candidates Michele Bachmann is way back with 2% of the vote with Mitt Romney at 5% of the total vote.

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6

August 17, 1861: Birth of the Army of the Potomac

On August 17, 1861 the Union military departments of the Shenandoah, Washington, and Northeastern Virginia were merged, and  the Army of the Potomac formed, the hard luck Army that experienced defeat after defeat until its great victory at Gettysburg, endured the meat grinder Overland Campaign of 1864 , carried out the siege of Petersburg of 1864-65 and ultimately triumphed with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomatox.  Stephen Vincent Benet  in his epic poem John Brown’s Body  pays tribute to the Army: Continue Reading

8

Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Award for Most Beautiful Blog

When it comes to blogging, fortunately or unfortunately, how a blog looks plays an important role in attracting readers.  Yes, substantively written blogs do retain readers, but if you want to shoot fish in a barrel, you need a spiffy looking blog to fill up that barrel full of fish.

There are many well made and creative blogs out there, but striking the balance between color, pics, font, and layout is very tricky.  There are a few out there that do well in this department, though there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The 2011 Cross & Eagle Award for Most Beautiful Blog is none other than . . .

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48

The Wisdom of Deepak

Evidently Deepak Chopra has gone from writing insipid self-help schlock to becoming a political pundit.  He isn’t much better in his second career, but he is good for a laugh.

Chopra’s argument is that the President is doing the right thing by being a mature adult, rising above the partisan fray, refusing to engage in verbal warfare with the right.  No, seriously, he really believes this. Continue Reading

5

Garrow’s Law

As faithful readers of this blog know, for my sins no doubt, I am an attorney.  Not having quite enough of the Law during my working hours, I am always on the lookout for good entertainment about lawyers and the law.  One of the best I have encountered in many a moon is a BBC series called Garrow’s Law.  This is a heavily fictionalized account of the trials, I know I should have resisted that, and tribulations of William Garrow, an Old Bailey, the chief criminal court of London, barrister, who on raw legal talent rose from nothing to become Solicitor General of England and Wales, Attorney General for England and Wales, a Judge, and a Privy Counselor.  He originated the phrase presumption of innocence, and first came to notice as a trail blazing defense counsel in regard to the rules of evidence, such as the rule against hearsay. Continue Reading

5

The 2011 Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Awards

I am starting new tradition here at The American Catholic (TAC) and that is the Cross & Eagle Catholic Blogging Awards.  The Cross & Eagle Awards will showcase what I believe to be the best in the Catholic Blogosphere.  Ranging from serious to funny I’ll be posting a different post each day celebrating the best in the Catholic Blogosphere.

To begin tomorrow, Tuesday late-morning, I will announce the first winner in the category of Most Beautiful Blog.  The blog that has a great layout, contrasting colors, cool looking pics, and a lot more.

There are several categories from Best Blogging Name to Most Popular Blog to Biggest Breakout Blog.  The categories are numerous and creative in order to exemplify the rich diversity of the Catholic Blogosphere.

12

GOP Presidential Poll for August

The American Catholic (TAC) has been running a periodic poll of the GOP presidential field. So naturally following the Iowa Straw Poll we have this months poll for our TAC readers.  We have included candidates that have declared their candidacy as well as other speculative* candidates. As the primaries arrive the field of candidates should narrow down a bit.

Tim Pawlenty has dropped out, but Rick Perry has “officially” entered the race.  A newcomer to our poll is Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan.  Tim Pawlenty garnered 13 votes in our last TAC poll, we’ll see where Pawlenty’s supporters will go to next.  Rick Santorum won the last TAC poll.

You can view the results of our last poll here.

Update:  My apologies, I have added Michele Bachmann.

* For example even though Chris Christie has denied he is interested in running, he still will be in Iowa for an inexplicable reason. Until then, he will be showing in the poll until we don’t see his name on the actual roll.

25

Truth About The Riots In England

We live in a low and dishonest age.  Political considerations cause almost all politicians and vast sections of populations to refuse to make fairly obvious statements of fact about the time in which we live.  I therefore take notice when someone decides to break this taboo.  Max Hastings, a British historian, we see a sample of him at work in the above video, shatters one great taboo by honestly describing the process by which modern Western society all too effectively produces amoral barbarians within its midst.  He begins:

If you live a normal life of absolute futility, which we can assume most of this week’s rioters do, excitement of any kind is welcome. The people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.

Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

 They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.
They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.
They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.
Their behaviour on the streets resembled that of the polar bear which attacked a Norwegian tourist camp last week. They were doing what came naturally and, unlike the bear, no one even shot them for it.

A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.

The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist. Continue Reading

53

Bye Bye Pawlently

Tim Pawlenty is the first casualty of the Republican primary contest for President, with his announcement today of his dropping out.  I am not too surprised.  His only hope as a candidate was to win the Iowa caucuses.  His attacks against the frontrunner in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in the debate last week proved completely ineffective.  His loss in the Saturday Aimes, Iowa straw poll, coming in a distant third after Bachmann and Ron Paul (R. Pluto), demonstrated that his hopes in Iowa were minimal. Continue Reading

5

Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

Thy blessedness was not death, nor was dying thy perfection, nor, again, did thy departure hence help thee to security. Thou art the beginning, middle, and end of all goods transcending mind, for thy Son in His conception and divine dwelling in thee is made our sure and true security. Thus thy words were true: from the moment of His conception, not from thy death, thou didst say all generations should call thee blessed. It was thou who didst break the force of death, paying its penalty, and making it gracious. Hence, when thy holy and sinless body was taken to the tomb, the choirs of angels bore it, and were all around, leaving nothing undone for the honour of our Lord’s Mother, whilst apostles and all the assembly of the Church burst into prophetic song, saying: “We shall be filled with the good things of Thy house, holy is Thy temple, wonderful in justice.” And again: “The Most High has sanctified His tabernacle. The mountain of God is a fertile mountain, the mountain in which it pleased God to dwell.” The apostolic band lifting the true ark of the Lord God on their shoulders, as the priests of old the typical ark, and placing thy body in the tomb, made it, as if another Jordan, the way to the true land of the gospel, the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of all the faithful, God being its Lord and architect.

Thy soul did not descend to Limbo, neither did thy flesh see corruption. Thy pure and spotless body was not left in the earth, but the abode of the Queen, of God’s true Mother, was fixed in the heavenly kingdom alone. O how did heaven receive her who is greater than heaven? How did she, who had received God, descend into the grave? This truly happened, and she was held by the tomb. It was not after bodily wise that she surpassed heaven. For how can a body measuring three cubits, and continually losing flesh, be compared with the dimensions of heaven ? It was rather by grace that she surpassed all height and depth, for that which is divine is incomparable. Continue Reading

91

Why the Youth are Rioting

I beg your patience over my absence, and I ask for your prayers.  In June I accepted an administrative position with a new school district.  While this is a very good opportunity in so many ways, I have never in my life found myself so overwhelmed.  I can only say this: teaching was so easy!

At any rate, while this post is not original by any means, I couldn’t help but share the content of an article I ran across today.  The liberal left often likes to pin social unrest on the ills created by the conservative right.  You know how the goes … the economy is in the pits because of right wing policies put in place by George W. Bush … because people don’t have jobs they become socially discontent … because they are socially discontent they rise up “against the man”, so to speak.  Rarely are people actually held accountable for their actions.  Instead, we live in a culture that seeks to pin people’s actions on something external to the human will, something other than sin (dare I even use the word).  Actually, this is nothing new.  It is merely a modern version of ancient Christian heresies that seek to separate the body and soul, in this case to separate the external actions from the internal person.  How often as a teacher did I hear a student explain their dishonesty with, “I know I cheated, Mr. Tawney, but I am not a cheater.  I am a good person.”  The danger in separating our actions from our persons will be catastrophic for the world.  The Christian principle of sacramentality, understood here in its most general sense, says quite the opposite: the external is a reflection of the internal, and at the same time the external forms the internal.  This is true whether we are talking about the words of consecration (which are externally symbolic of the underlying reality and are simultaneously efficacious in bringing about the internal reality) or whether we are talking about the moral act.  Friends, we are how we act, and we act how we are.  When we stand before God, we will not be able to pin our sin on the social policies of one party or another.

I have rambled enough … more than I intended.  With that, I give you the motivation behind these thoughts: an article on the London riots.

The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.

Nobody has ever dared suggest to them that they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all Britain or their community. They do not watch royal weddings or notice Test matches or take pride in being Londoners or Scousers or Brummies.

Not only do they know nothing of Britain’s past, they care nothing for its present.

They have their being only in video games and street-fights, casual drug use and crime, sometimes petty, sometimes serious.

The notions of doing a nine-to-five job, marrying and sticking with a wife and kids, taking up DIY or learning to read properly, are beyond their imaginations.

Read the rest here.

10

Saving Civilization One Word at a Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the end of the world was long ago,

And all we dwell today

As children of some second birth,

Like a strange people left on earth

After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,

When the ends of the world waxed free,

When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,

And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky

And whoso hearkened right

Could only hear the plunging

Of the nations in the night.

G.K. Chesterton

 

Something for the Weekend.  From the endlessly talented songsters at Music For History Lovers, Illuminated Manuscripts sung to the tune of Nowhere Man by the Beatles.  Monks toiling in Scriptoriums in monasteries throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and thereby rescuing some of the classic works of Antiquity is  a cliche, but a true cliche.  When the secular world of the Western Empire dissolved in chaos and ruin following the babarian invasions, it was the Church that rescued the lamp of knowledge.  Only an institution like the Church, a rock in the river of time, could century following century ensure the survival and copying of manuscripts that preserved a precious fraction of the writings of Greece and Rome.  Jerusalem rescued Athens. Continue Reading

6

Hey, You Filthy Right-Wing Bigots: Stop the Hate!

Ah, but Klavan on the Culture, Conservatives, because of their ideas, are by definition always uncivil, while Liberals are always civil, at least according to the Mainstream Media, also known as the Media fewer and fewer people pay attention to.  Ed Morrissey at Hot Air took a look at an example of this recently:

 

 

“Froma Harrop, a member of The [Providence] Journal’s editorial board and a syndicated columnist, has been named president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers. The NCEW is a 64-year-old professional organization. Its members include editorial writers, editors, broadcasters and online opinion writers. One of its new missions, the Civility Project, endeavors to improve the quality of political discourse.”–Providence Journal, April 15

Morrisey noted the above and then had this example of Harrop being civil in one of her columns:

“Make no mistake: The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States–threatening to blow up the economy if they don’t get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate. . . . Americans are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but that’s what Obama has been doing. . . . That the Republican leadership couldn’t control a small group of ignoramuses in its ranks has brought disgrace on their party. But oddly, Obama’s passivity made it hard for responsible Republicans to control their destructive children. The GOP extremists would ask Obama for his firstborn, and he’d say, ‘OK.’ So they think, why not ask for his second-born, to which he responds, ‘Let’s talk.’ ”–Froma Harrop syndicated column, Aug. 2

 

That dig apparently annoyed Harrop, who responded on her own web site yesterday.  Her explanation is, to say the least, entirely self-serving, and she twists the definition of “civility” into knots in order to explain her double standard:

I see incivility as not letting other people speak their piece. It’s not about offering strong opinions. If someone’s opinion is fact-based, then it is permissible in civil discourse.  Of course, there are matters of delicacy, and I dispensed with all sweet talk in this particular column. And I did stoop to some ad hominem remarks, I’ll admit. Continue Reading