Randians on the Right

Speaking as a former Rick Perry supporter, I promise you that not all of us are petulant brats.  I cannot speak for others, unfortunately.

Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise.  This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics.  So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.

The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected.  What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum.  What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Ace is displeased:

Glad we’ve gotten all the Big Things squared away so we can now focus laser-like on the sin and moral emptiness of people having sex while avoiding pregnancy.

So he begins with a strawman.  Because Santorum has stated that he would use the bully pulpit to speak out against contraception, it means that Santorum is unconcerned with economic matters.  Evidently Ace has inserted wax in his ears anytime Santorum has talked because he’s spoken in great detail about our financial predicament.  What’s upsetting to Ace and others of his mindset is that Santorum understands that there are other items of importance.  Santorum has articulated one of the fundamental aspects of conservative political thought: the nexus between social and economic issues.  He understands that you can’t discuss one without discussing the other.  This is something that is beyond the grasp of the libertarian-minded.

Ace continues:

And if you say “gee he’s just talking about this stuff:” Um, if a plumber starts talking about the bad rap iron pipes have gotten over the years, and how they’re really pretty safe, I assume he’s open to the idea of using iron pipes in my house.

He is a plumber, speaking about what he considers to be his area of expertise.

So when a presidential candidate starts talking about the importance of the president taking the lead on the evils of birth control, yes, I assume he believes this to be within the proper functions of the executive.

Yeah, this might be one of the worst analogies I’ve ever heard.  Santorum was talking about talking about (not a typo) birth control.  At no point did he discuss legislating on this issue, but Ace believes he has some gift of foresight and therefore knows what Santorum believes more than Santorum himself does.

Ace then contorts a comment from Santorum about these being important public policy issues into an implication, again, that Santorum wants to abolish contraception.  But Ace focuses too narrowly on birth control, ignoring the broader context of what Santorum is getting at.  It is a bit fanciful to jump from one thing (these being important policy issues) to another (a wish to prohibit access to birth control).  This is all part of a wider discussion about public policy, but in no way indicates that Santorum actually wants to prohibit access to birth control.  In fact, he has said quite the opposite.  In several interviews and in debates he has clearly stated that while he believes states do have the right to make laws restricting access to birth control, he would not personally favor such laws.  When confronted with these quotes from Santorum, Ace ignores them, insisting that somehow he just knows better than Santorum what the latter is thinking.

Ace continued his assault on Santorum in the comments, huffily responding to Santorum defenders (including yours truly) that we really want to just use the machinery of government to legislate morality according to our whims.  Yet Ace himself admits to being okay with the majority decision in Griswold vs. Connecticut.  Here is his defense of his defense of Griswold:

I think everyone is missing a basic point of conservative governance: At what point did we agree to empower the state to such a degree?

People talk out of both sides of their mouths. They talk up “limited government” but check the details, and they don’t really support limited government, but empowered government, immodest government, overweening government.

People seem to like restricting liberties so long as it’s not a liberty they themselves approve of.

So in order to preserve liberty we have to empower the federal government to restrict states rights.  Even though there is no reasonable constitutional argument that justifies the Court’s decision to strike down Connecticut’s birth control laws, the decision was okay because . . . well, because birth control is some sacred right or something.  So we have to restrict the liberty of the states and their citizens to make laws as they see fit, and we should be able to do this through the power of the federal government.  Furthermore, Ace us willing to embrace an outcome-based jurisprudence where personal policy preference, and not the text of the Constitution, dictates how the Court should decide.

But Ace, and not Santorum, is the true conservative.

There are a couple of things at play here.  First of all, as I’ve said before, there is a strong Randian strain on the right.  Libertarian-leaning conservatives view Rand as a prophetess, admiring her strong defense of economic liberty while ignoring, or actually celebrating her moral nihilism.  Younger individuals on the right are especially drawn to this.  This is  a profound division that exists on the right, and is in some ways a divide between single, childless conservatives and those who have families.  I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.

The other difficulty is that Ace is attributing to Santorum and other social conservatives the motivation of the left.  We’ve witnessed the politicization of everything under the sun.  Leftists have no problem using the machinery of the state to advance their morality.  So Ace naturally assumes that when Santorum discusses social issues, he is signaling his desire to “legislate morality.”  Ignore for a second the banality of the term itself.  What this demonstrates is the transformation of how we think about politics.  We are almost incapable of thinking outside of the legislative realm, so when somebody in the political arena extrapolates on what he believes are the most important issues of the day, we all assume that he is discussing his policy preferences.  But not all that is political is necessarily related to policy.  This is a distinction that has been lost due to 80-plus years of Progressive dominance.

Ultimately, what’s fracturing the conservative movement is the insistence that we can somehow segregare social and economic conservatism.  Let’s take a look at an abbreviated version of Russel Kirk’s six tenants of conservatism:

  1. “Belief in the transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience.”
  2. “Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.”
  3. “Conviction that civilized society requires orders and classes, as against the notion of a ‘classless society.’”
  4. “Persuasion that freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all.”
  5. “Custom, convention, and old prescription are checks both upon man’s anarchic impulse and upon the innovator’s lust for power.”
  6. “Recognition that change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress.”

You see anything in there about tax rates?  That’s not to say that economic issues are secondary. The fourth tenant in particular has an economic tinge to it.  And of course we are not absolutely bound to Kirk’s tenants as though he handed down a magisterial document.  That being said, this gets to the hearts of what conservatism has been about since the time of Burke.  Convention, tradition, aversion to hasty change: these are the hallmarks of conservatism.  At the heart of conservatism is respect for social conventions.  This does not imply a slavish devotion to things of the past, but rather a thoughtful respect for tradition.  By and large conservatives have been fighting a rearguard action to defend against attacks by the left on traditional morality.  Others on the right who mock these efforts are betraying what it means to be a conservative, and at the same time endangering the very liberties they purport to value so dearly.  Because the last time I checked it wasn’t some wild-eyed so-con trying to destroy the first amendment in order to force insurance companies to dispense birth control for “free.”

33 Responses to Randians on the Right

  • I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.

    THIS.

    I’ve mentioned before– maybe not here, I’m not sure– but hard-line libertarianism seems to be ideology of choice for those who would be anarchists, but they like getting paid for their work.

    More sympathetically, it’s a lot easier to “win” with libertarianism– there are a few core beliefs, you don’t compromise on anything, and there’s not a lot of history to hold against it. It’s like “conservatism redesigned to use the liberal playbook.”

    Amusingly, I recently had a conversation with my husband that boiled down to him pointing out that people our age aren’t usually going to accept an obligation of the sort moral conservatism involves.

  • (You would not BELIEVE how much re-writing I put into those three paragraphs, and I’m still not quite satisfied. Five bucks says that someone shows up and decides to take offense, rather than trying to understand the point. I don’t think anyone would take the bet on your post, that’s a sucker’s bet.)

  • Paul:

    One major problem from a purely political perspective:

    One wants the GOP nominee to be able to rally the relevant camps within the GOP “big tent.”

    One of those is the libertarian-leaning portion, which at last look was about 15% of those who typically vote Republican.

    Now, the GOP-leaning libertarians are pro-life libertarians, largely. The Bill Mahr (or however that clod’s name is spelled) kind of “libertarians” define libertarianism so as to make it identical to libertinism, and all all going to vote for Obama in the end because they care only for sexual libertinism and not a whit for the liberty of the unborn or the infirm or for free markets.

    So it isn’t Santorum’s pro-life credentials that will turn off the libertarian-leaning portion of the GOP. Indeed, being pro-life is a requirement of libertarianism, if one is well-informed enough to know that a fetal human is a human.

    But Santorum has twice now stated his opposition to libertarians and libertarianism by saying they (and I quote) “believe in having no government.”

    This is a problem. It is basic ignorance of libertarianism.

    Libertarians don’t believe in no government. Libertarians believe in government’s use of violence or the threat thereof — which is to say, all government’s activity — to be limited to those areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified. And Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons. Libertarians believe that policies directly involved with such violations offer clear and sufficient justification for violence or the threat thereof; policies indirectly or tenuously involved with such violations offer only tenuous justification for government action; and policies not even tenuously involved with such violations offer no justification for violence at all and therefore no justification for government activity.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    And it’s a view which resonates well with Catholic teaching in at least some ways. It recognizes that violence (whether done by an individual, or the armies of a nation-state, or by the police) is always something requiring extraordinary justification — like the requirements of a Just War. (It is morally nonsensical to have a very high threshold of justification for holding prisoner another nation’s soldiers captured at war, but a very low threshold of justification for arresting a man captured in peacetime activity.)

    I don’t think Santorum knows that this is the libertarian view. At least, his public pronouncements show no recognition of the existence of pro-life libertarians (not a majority, but a large minority). He shows no recognition of the distinction between libertarian and libertine. He shows no understanding of what libertarians think.

    And he shows no recognition of the notion that maybe something being a morally wrong thing is not, by itself, sufficient justification for outlawing it. Since outlawing it requires empowering government to use violence (to lock up those who do the morally wrong thing, and to shoot them if they try to escape), it must not merely be morally wrong, it must be morally wrong and of a character for which forcible opposition is fitting.

    Generally, that means a moral wrong which is, itself, forcible. Rape may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Theft may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Fraud may be opposed by force; it is forcible (for to make someone, through trickery, do what they otherwise would not have done is to wield intellectual force over them). Violation of legitimate contract is fraud and is therefore forcible.

    Libertarians support strong government to oppose all these kinds of evils. Santorum’s comments suggest he’s unaware of this.

    So I fear that 15% of the GOP electorate, if Santorum is the nominee, will be turned off and possibly turned away for no better reason than that Santorum is ignorant about them, and consequently believes statists’ popular libel against them.

    And libertarians (and libertarian-leaning conservatives) consequently begin to believe Santorum is a statist, who hopes not only to outlaw abortion (which he should) and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which he should) but also sales of condoms…all while caring not a whit about crony capitalism and corporate welfare. They begin to suspect that Santorum is fine with government using its compulsory power to pick winners, as long as they’re supporters of conservative causes.

    I don’t think a GOP nominee can win the general election, if he shows utter disregard for that whole arm of the Reagan coalition. (An increasingly larger and more youthful segment, please note.)

    So that’s a political problem. A very solvable one, I think, if the man would just show himself aware of libertarian concerns and sensitive to the moral limits of government activity, instead of just repeating ignorant misunderstandings about libertarians.

  • They need to understand that Obama must be stopped.

    That probably means nominating a GOP candidate that constantly emphasizes jobs, jobs; is not 100% of the time pounding for legalizing weed, ending all “entangling alliances”, and abolishing the Fed. Not that that is bad. But, those are not the main threats to our liberty and our way of life.

    The ones I know are really nice people. And, the Fed certainly needs to be pushed back to being the clearing house and lender of last resort for banks.

    If he gets another term, Obama pack the supreme court and repeal the Second Amendment, etc. Health care will permanently retard economic growth: you will look back on full-employment as a dream of your youth.

    If the libertarians are turned off by the GOP, Obama will get four more years to finish us off.

  • If the media can paint Santorum as a guy who wants to take away everyone’s pills and condoms, not only libertarians but many, many Protestant social conservatives (who make up the majority of socons in this country) will stay at home or vote against him. Do you think a married Baptist in Alabama who uses the Pill and sees nothing wrong with that is going to read Human Vitae or the Theology of the Body and come around to the Church’s position on BC? Heck, while I don’t believe the Guttmacher figures stating 97% of Catholics use artifical BC, let’s be honest – many, many of them do. Outside of the Tridentine Masses, I don’t see a lot of families with more than 3 kids.

    I agree that Ace willfully ignored evidence which shows Santorum is not going to ban BC; however, remember that just last week he wrote a great critique of the HHS directive. And I believe the man is pro-life as well. He’s way overreacting here, but I wouldn’t call him a heartless Randian.

    We are falling right into the trap being set for us by leftists, who want to turn the discussion away from the violation of religious freedom and make it into a debate about “ooooh, my, scary, weird Santorum wants to take your birth control pills away! The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!” That keeps the focus off of Obama’s dismal economic record.

  • Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons.

    And yet the arch-typical figurehead, Ron Paul, disagrees with this when he wants to push actually killing the most innocent people possible down to a state level. About the only libertarians I know who have a sizable minority of pro-lifers are the Catholic ones; even my husband went from being a Republican leaning Libertarian to a libertarian leaning Republican before he was pro-life for non-tactical reasons.

    I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.

    Donna V-
    so we fight the lies the media puts out. What else would we do? We know they’re going to lie like a rug, and it looks like there are libertarian conservatives who will gladly help them spread the false claim that Santorum is coming for your Pill.

    The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!

    *lightbulb* Hey, isn’t that an angle they used against JFK?
    Can someone who actually remembers back then maybe cook up some sort of a response based on that?

  • “I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.”

    Yep. What you said, Foxfier.

  • Ron Paul is a fair-weather libertarian apparently. When asked about the imaginary “right to privacy” created in the Griswold case and brought to fruition in Roe v. Wade, all Paul could weakly say is that there IS a right to privacy, referring to the Fourth Amendment, which of course, specifically refers to the right against illegal search and seizure.

    Now, for such a staunch “constitutionalist” I find this very ironic.

  • I agree with Donna. The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate. Saying that he only wishes to use the bully pulpit to speak out about the dangers of contraception is not, repeat not, going to reassure voters on this score. That’s not to say that Santorum is wrong on the issue. He’s not. But it’s still a view held by only a small minority of Americans. My hope is that Santorum understands this and that the comment Ace quoted was/will be an isolated lapse. Otherwise we could be in real trouble.

  • What Blackadder said. The administration is rocked back on its heels with the HHS mandate–focus on that as the social issue. Otherwise, stick with fighting on the economy and this administration’s cluelessness on it.

  • Santorum merely responds when asked about it that he supports Catholic teaching against contraception. He then notes that he has voted for government funding of contraception under TItle 10 and would not favor legislation seeking to ban contraception. The video below is from 2006:

  • Once again I will let noted Christian so-con Jeff Goldstein dismantle Ace’s arguments (language warning).

    Oh, and I see that Ace and his co-bloggers are doubling down today. Hell hath no fury like a blogger whose favorite candidate was scorned.

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

  • Of course you can Greg. I accept the teachings of the Church on divorce. That doesn’t mean if I were a legislator that I must lead a futile effort to ban divorce or strip funding from courts that hear divorce cases. I do appreciate the bleak humor of Santorum taking fire for being too hard and too soft on contraceptives. The simple truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that contraceptives could be banned in this country at the present time, and that any candidate suggesting such would be committing political seppuku.

  • Mac, that would be a good politician.

    Santorum doesn’t have a chance.

    Obama can point to $1.81 gasoline prices the day before he took over and tout today’s $3.50 (earliest date gas hit that level)! It’ll probably be $5 a gallon by Summer. Yeah, that ought to him re-elected.

    Santorum doesn’t have a prayer.

    Obama can sing about improving unemployment rates when tent cities are rapidly expanding. That’ll get Obama re-elected.

    Hey, if they live in tents they don’t count.

    Walter Russell Mead: WH flubs BC compromise: “First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.”

    Briliant!

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

    If the line item is in an appropriations bill that funds the entire foreign aid apparat, it does create rather a dilemma for the legislator (unless he favors dismantling the foreign aid apparat).

    We had a similar controversy here in New York many years ago when the question arose as to whether the Right-to-Life Party (now defunct) should refuse to endorse legislators who had voted in favor of passing the state budget. New York was the odd state that had retained Medicaid funding of abortions.

  • The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate.

    Depends on who he is running against, and what the ambient circumstances are.

  • tom: The right to privacy extends to the womb. Nature’s God does not allow invasion of privacy of the unborn in the womb. Any attempt to abort the unborn is a violation of privacy in its truest sense. A murdered victim, whose body is concealed in a closet, warrants search to be rescued from the crime/crimnal without the proscribed legal warrant, because the person is dead but not annihilated. Any evidence collected from such a search without a legal warrant, revealing a murdered victim to be set free, rescued, is evidence admissible in a court of law through the sovereign personhood of the victim. Searches to find jewelry, art or anything that is not a person is illegal.

  • Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning. You see, the Church allows civil divorce. Look it up in Catechism if you don’t believe me. Not the same with contraception. I was not talking about leading an effort to criminalize contraception, but voting IN FAVOR of forcing taxpayers (many of whom are Catholics) to pick up the tab for people’s contraceptive use. This is really not much difference in substance with what the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

  • P.S. In fact, diocesan tribunals require that petioners present a civil divorce decree before they will even begin to process requests for decree of nullity.

  • wE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION BAN. We are talking about the funding of contraception. On some level people using “the pill” know that it is wrong. It seems to me that they want to blame Santorum for their addiction to the pill. If they are honest, and Santorum removes funding for BC, they need to feel relief. It would not hurt if they realized that Obama’s math is different from their arithmetic. Funding for BC involves ten for Obama and one for the taxpayer. In this way, they could buy eleven times the BC for the cost of one from Obama. SANTORUM DOES NOT WANT TO BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THEIR EMBOLISM.

  • Yeah, Ace has gone nuts on Santorum again today. I think I’ll be avoiding the HQ for a while. He did a lot of needlessly destroying of non-Perry candidates before he dropped out (I supported Perry to the bitter end. Sigh.) and now that he’s on the Romney bandwagon it’s death to the “unelectable” non-Romney’s. These threads are getting pretty vicious, too. And I’m seeing a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-general Christianity sentiment being expressed over there right now. Very disturbing.

  • “Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning.”

    Complete and total rubbish Greg, and betokens a fundamental lack of understanding of the Church on your part in regard to divorce. The catechism provisions demonstrate that:

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    As recently as 2002 Pope John Paul II was stating that attorneys should refuse to undertake divorce cases:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/29/world/john-paul-says-catholic-bar-must-refuse-divorce-cases.html

    http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264xh.htm

    Your criticisms of Santorum would be equally applicable to all Catholic legislators who refuse to strip funding from courts handling divorces.

  • Mandy, I agree, Ace has come a little unglued. What’s striking is that on top of the ideological differences he is motivated by this fear that Santorum can’t win (funny, since not that long ago he was arguing against Romney’s inevitability). The thing about that: Santorum’s social conservatism is in line with the majority on most things. His personal feelings about contraception are another thing, and that’s why the Dems are pivoting hard on contraception.

    I don’t normally agree much with Dick Morris, but he’s right about the Dems ceding the ground on an issue like abortion where they are increasingly out of touch with where most people are headed, and are focusing on an issue where the public would seem to be in line with their beliefs. That’s what is disappointing about what Ace is doing. He is actually conceding leftist talking points and giving them more ammo. Because if this is a debate about religious liberty, Santorum is with a majority of the people.

  • Don, because civil divorce does not invalidate sacramental marriage, a civil dorce is morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    “2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Sacramental marriage is indissoulable whereas non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved, hence the Pauline privilege. Strictly civil marriages do not carry sacramental weight.

    This citation you provide proves my point. Now, iunless you can provide something that says the same for contraception, I’ll save you trouble because you can’t, then your shilling for Santorum on this has absolutely no basis. Whereas my calling him out does.

    As to JPII’s urging attorneys to refuse to take divroce cases, notice the qualifer “should’ as opposed to “must”. THat’s the operative word there.

    Really Don, if you are gonaa accuse me of misunderstanding Church teaching on anything, please at least take the time to learn the difference between prudential judgments and doctrinal imperatives.

  • You still miss the point Greg. The Church is against adamantly against divorce. It reluctantly allows participation in it where it is the only way to protect other rights as listed in 2383.

    John Paul’s Discourse to the Roman Rota of January 28, 2002 which I linked to indicates that clearly in this passage:

    “Among the initiatives should be those that aim at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order (cf. ibid., n. 17). Resolute opposition to any legal or administrative measures that introduce divorce or that equate de facto unions — including those between homosexuals — with marriage must be accompanied by a pro-active attitude, acting through juridical provisions that tend to improve the social recognition of true marriage in the framework of legal orders that unfortunately admit divorce.”

    In regard to contraceptives actually the Church has allowed their use in very limited circumstances in regard to disease.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/europe/22pope.html

    As in the case of divorce, use is permitted where it is not undertaken to reach a forbidden end: divorce or contraception, but for other purposes, custody of children or to stop the spread of disease.

  • Paul Z.,

    What kills me is that he’s doing the same purity nonsense he’s accused others of. If you don’t agree with his brand of conservatism you’re a dirty statist. His comments to you were pretty out there and he went off on the poster Y-not as well; he gave her both barrels for supposedly trying to force him to convert to Catholicism. It was bizarre.

    The thing is, even though he wrote a really good piece about the contraceptive mandate the other day, I think his disdain for whoever is not currently his candidate- in this case the target is Santorum- is so palpable right now that he’s going way over the top in his attacks implying things that were never actually said. And in the comments section- and apparently on twitter- today he even went down the Karen-Santorum-is-creepy route, using her personal past to bash the both of them, which has been off limits as far as Mrs. Obama goes over there. Because, racism. So yeah, I think it’s got a lot to do with him being angry that Perry never took and now his next candidate of choice is faltering as well. It’s a gigantic temper tantrum. On a blog.

  • No, contraception is NOT allowed even for the purposes of stopping the spread of disease. This is something both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made clear. In fact, when B16 made the statement regarding condoms in an interview with Peter Seewald that got spun as him giving his approval under those circumstances, he prefaces those remarks with saying that it is not morally permissible. Only that it might signal something positive regarding the INTENTIONS of those who take such a position. Don, you really need to do your homework on these issues.

  • Here is what Benedict XVI actually says. From page 119 of Light of the World:

    Question from Peter Seewald:

    “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed to in principle to the use of condoms?”

    Answer from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or thast case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    And since condoms are the only form of contraception that even have the prospect of preventing disease, the idea that contraceptives, the idea that contraceptives are a morally permissible means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases even as deadly as AIDS, is not consistent with Church teaching.

    Now, Don please find a more reliable source than the NY Slimes if you are going to try and argue with me on matters of Catholic morality. Okay?

  • Actually Greg the story quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a link to the note in which the Congregation explained the Pope’s remark:

    “This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that “also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.” The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

    On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Flee from fornication” (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

    In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute “the real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS and also that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality” in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom “with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.” This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

    Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/note-of-the-congregation-for-the-doctrine-of-the-faith-on-the-popes-condom

  • Don,

    None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.

  • This is the week to save ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the proclamations of the Executive Branch.

  • “None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.”

    Reading comprehension Greg is obviously not your strong point in this debate. The prostitute in the Pope’s example clearly was not engaging in an intrinsically evil act by using the condom to prevent disease. That much is clear from this passage in the note:

    “Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    None of that would have made any sense at all if the prostitute’s use of the condom to prevent disease was intrinsically evil.

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