Vice-Presidents of the United States

Thursday, February 23, AD 2012

Ah, the occupants of an office which is only of importance upon the death of someone!  Many of the men who have occupied the office have left some pungent quotes about it.  Here are a few:

John Adams, first Vice-President:   “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth Vice-President:  “I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than vice president.”

Thomas Marshall, twenty-eighth Vice-President:  “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected vice president of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again”.

Charles Dawes, thirtieth Vice-President:  “This is a hell of a job. I can only do two things: one is to sit up here and listen to you birds talk….The other is to look at newspapers every morning to see how the president’s health is.”

John Nance Garner, thirty-second Vice-President:  “The vice-presidency is not worth a warm bucket of spit.”  (Cactus Jack probably used another term instead of “spit”, but this is a family blog.)

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13 Responses to Vice-Presidents of the United States

  • Hate to be a nitnoid, but Henry Wallace was the 33rd Veep.

  • I always appreciate factual corrections Dale. Truman of course was the thirty-third president as well as being the thirty-fourth vice-president, and that threw me apparently I suppose. Additionally, there are fewer US vice-presidents more deserving of historical oblivion than Henry Wallace! The nation dodged a bullet in that FDR’s health held out just long enough to make certain that the Stalin sympathizing Wallace was back in private life by the time that FDR was wheeled off the stage. To be fair, shortly before Stalin died, Wallace did publicly recant his previous positive misconceptions about the Soviet Union, even writing a book about how wrong he had been, and reversed wheels politically, endorsing the re-election of Eisenhower in 1956.

  • This also serves as a useful reminder that for all the attention we pay the Veep selection, the guy who gets the nod will be slightly less relevant than the head of HUD.

  • Yes and no, Paul. Four of the nine quoted above became presidents, three of them in the most unfortunate way. It’s a reminder why the best teams pay a fortune to the backup quarterback that they hope never takes a snap.

  • it is indeed rather a peculiarity of the Vice Presidency that the only regular constitutional action for which the Vice President is absolutely essential is opening the envelopes for Electoral College votes.

  • Doesn’t the VP enjoy equally irrelevant status as President Pro Tem of the Senate unless he casts a tie-breaking vote?

    That might actually have impact sometimes. Algore cast the tie-breaking vote to tax elderly Social Security benefits who earn as little as $22,000 per year in 1993.

  • WK — he’s actually the President of the Senate; the President Pro Tem is the guy who does the honors when the VP’s not there. In actual fact, neither has to do much — standard Senate practice is for the President Pro Tem to delegate the position to junior Senators so that they’ll get practice with the rules and procedures, and the only explicit constitutional power is the tie-breaking one. There have been VP’s who actually did a lot in the position — a lot of Senate procedure was developed under the influence of the early VP’s — and some important ties broken; but you’re certainly right that it’s mostly irrelevant — the Senate can perform almost all its business without him. (It’s also useful in that it makes it easier for the Office of the President to have an influence on legislation, though.)

    There have also been Vice Presidents who never attended a Cabinet meeting (that’s at the President’s discretion; the VP has no more a guaranteed right to attend than the First Lady). I always find it fascinating: it’s a government position whose only major function is to assist at making things run smoothly — organizing the Senate, serving as a back-up, making sure Electoral College certificates are in order, etc.

  • Of course – my High School civics slipped for a bit. It is an interesting position, as long as you don’t actually call it yours.

  • PZ: one irrelevant head of HUD, namely Andrew Cuomo, helped wreck the US economy.

    The duties of VP are to inquire daily as to the president’s health and to attend state funerals. They “robo-sign” electoral certificates.

  • A little over a week ago, I took a rather unusual step for a vice-president – I said something.” – Spiro T Agnew.

    As I recall, Spiro T……WHO?? 😉 had quite a bit to say.

    The quote of his that really sticks in my mind was when he called the peace movement emblem an “Encircled crow’s foot.”

  • An even more useless office, most (but not all) of the time, is the state-level counterpart of the Veep, the lieutenant governor or “lite guv”. Some states don’t even bother having one; they simply designate the secretary of state or some other official as the first in line of succession if something should happen to their governor. In the early 1980s one of Illinois’ lite guvs quit the job, claiming that he had (literally) nothing to do. (His boss was not in imminent danger of death, disability or indictment at the time either.)

  • Fun! My favorites were Agnew and Lyndon Johnson.

Some In Mainstream Media In Full Anti-Catholic Meltdown Mode

Thursday, February 23, AD 2012

Some in the mainstream media are so angry about the existence of faithful Catholics that they can’t help themselves in becoming unhinged. I will reference the main points, but suffice to say that I could write a book on the subject. These latest quotes have caused me to scramble to get information to my editor so as to include at least some of this in my upcoming book; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism, a follow up to my first book.  For starters it seems some in mainstream media are so ignorant of religion that even though 90% of Americans belong to some form of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, which all believe that evil is manifested through a figure known as Satan, the media still finds it in their power to mock anyone who thinks evil exists. Some in the media seemed to take glee in pouncing on Catholic and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. He was called a kook, a nut, deranged, a mullah and an ayatollah, not by nameless posters on leftwing blogs but named writers in serious newspapers.

Leading the charge was that maven of militant secularism and angry people everywhere Maureen Dowd. Here are some of the spoiled nuggets from her dung heap. She calls Santorum a “mullah” who wants to take, “women back to the caves.” She goes on to deride anyone who actually believes in the teachings of the Catholicism that she once practiced.

Never one to miss a chance at apostasy and heresy; Chris Matthews entered the fray with both of his tingling legs.   Matthews claimed the reason the Catholic Church is growing is because homophobic converts are coming into the Church. It would appear that Mr. Matthews is off his meds. Has anyone ever informed mister leg tingler that groups like Courage; the Apostolate run by those who are same sex attracted, is a rapidly growing organization with men and women from all walks of life? They feel the comfort and assurance of living in God’s chaste plan for their lives. The New York Times of all papers did a favorable story on Eve Tushnet, a popular Catholic writer who has ties to the group. She is a successful woman and an Ivy League grad. Are these militant secularists going to claim that she is homophobic?

David Gergen and Donna Brazile (who is Catholic) didn’t take any pot shots at Catholics per see but did point out that liberal feminist organizations didn’t seem smitten with any of the GOP candidates, because they kept talking about religious liberty instead of the rights of birth control? David Gergen even said it with a straight face, which should really frost Rush Limbaugh who has dubbed the Washington establishmentarian; David Rodham Gergen. As much as they refer to the New York Times, they somehow missed Ross Douthat’s op-ed piece on the growth of Natural Family Planning and the number of women who help teach this non birth control view of family planning across the country and world.

The coup de grace of hate came from David Waldman who writes for a number of publications. This little nugget would make the Know Nothing Party of the 1840s smile. I would rather not give him the pleasure of repeating such delusional hatred; if you want to read his screed click here.   UPDATE In a Lisa Miller Washington Post article just out; Ms. Miller not only mocks Catholics but calls bishops “zealots” three times in her article.

If the Catholic Church is so irrelevant why would the likes of Dowd, Matthews and Waldman froth at the mouth at her beliefs? The simple answer is the Catholic Church is growing while their favorite liberal religious bodies are not only dying on the vine, but shriveling in a complete statistical freefall. Catholics and Evangelicals continue to increase in numbers which drive these mouthpieces of militant secularism nuts.

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22 Responses to Some In Mainstream Media In Full Anti-Catholic Meltdown Mode

  • “22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” St. Luke

    Love them with Christian charity. Instruct them. Admonish them. Counsel them. For as long as they live, and we pray and set good examples through good works and prayer, they may come to a better “mind.”

    They are infallibly ignorant. We will annoy them!

  • I think this might be more ignorance of the culpable variety. Though their consciences are so scarred by their support for abortion and their reduction of Catholic social teaching to the perverse “social justice” variety that their culpability is likely lessened.

    Though culpable they remain. Their souls are at risk and we should weep for them.

    Fast and pray.

  • Iam one of the faithful but I also am becoming a Militant Catholic tired of the Bidens Pelosi,, Sebilius, Mathews,Kerry, and any other that publicly denounces the teachings of our faith.Heres a thought find another Religion one moe to your liking if you dont like the churches teachings LEAVE by the way why are they not EXCOMMUNICATED!

  • No, no, no, you’re not going to get me this time, Dave! I’ve fallen for the “link to a Maureen Dowd column” virus before. One click, and it fills your computer screen with gibberish.

  • Phillip,

    I think you are correct.

    They may be like the seeds that fell among thorn bushes. They hear the Gospel, but love of power, riches and/or the state chokes the Word. They do not bear fruit. Also, they may like be weeds the enemy sowed among wheat. (Matthew 13: 18 – 30; Mark 4: 13 – 20; Luke 8: 11 – 15)

    Their appropriate Bishops need to ex-communicate such persons out of charity to try to save their souls.

    I looked it up. Ex-communication is a reproach more than a punishment. The rite concludes with, “We exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church.” The priest: Closes the book. Rings a bell – symbolizes the toll of death. Extinguishes the candle – symbolizes the removal from the sight of God.

    OTOH, interdict is a punishment.

    They need prayers. Sadly, I have many more needful of prayers.

    Pinky, I stopped following links after having to replace a lap top and a flat-screen TV.

  • Ann Coulter’s latest column, entitled “What’s Their Problem With Romney?”, disparages the other candidates including the “crusading Catholic who can’t seem to move the conversation past contraception”.

  • “mainstream media” (sic)

    The DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media – does not reflect mainstream thought. Referring to the DLEMM as “mainstream” is inaccurate and a mistake. Liberals are not mainstream.

  • Here’ a bit from Nancy Pelosi talking about how the Church should not complain about the mandate as there has been no enforcement by the Church of the ban on contraception. There is a logic to her heresy. Let this awaken the bishops from their long slumber.

  • May I add my voice: I too am tired of Catholic bashing! I heard that some time ago in Canada there was a porn shop that neighbors objected to. Many of them put religious medals inside the cracks of the brick walls, and after some time the building burnt down by no apparent reason. My tought would be to send green scapulers and/or miraculous medals to all who hate the Catholic Faith with praying on our part to change their ways. I have done something simular to that in leaving such materials on job sites. May our Great Nation be filled with coversions to our Great Faith…..

  • Grandpa Dave, I like your ideas. Also Dave Hartline, great post! You are always so on target.

  • T. Shaw,
    “22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” St. Luke
    “…and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” I believe Jesus bent down and wrote the name of the Pharisees trying to stone Magdalene. A person’s name is the BEST thing and the WORST thing anybody can say about a person. Congress tried to “BORK” Clarence Thomas. Obamacare. It may be that Obamacare is the best thing anybody can say about Obama’s presidency and that Obama’s constitutency has to go to hell because of the way Obama practices the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It has occurred to me that the reason that the Media oppresses the Catholic Church with such vitriol, slander and lies, is simply because the administration, our culture, Obama and Pelosi and the like, have done and are doing nothing good to speak of. “infallible ignorance” is not an oxymoron, but the path of Obama’s adminstration. The picture of Dorian Gray is hanging in the White House, and the Emporer’s New Clothes are being advertized in the Media.

  • My friends prayer is most needed after reading other sites (and the comments left) who linked to this story. Those sites are hardly in our corner and though they mock us, if you read between the lines the anger is really vented at God Himself. Why you might ask? Sadly, arrogance, vanity, and pride makes some think they know better than God. We must never back down from them, but we must also never stop praying for them!

  • Dave, you are bang-on, as always.

    But this awkward fact remains — many Catholics and other Christians voted for the present administration, despite their then-obvious hatred of the faith, of this nation, and of civilized discourse. Why, why, why?

  • “many Catholics and other Christians voted for the present administration, despite their then-obvious hatred of the faith, of this nation, and of civilized discourse. Why, why, why?”

    Well, in 2008 the current administration-to-be’s “obvious” hatred of all things good may have been obvious to committed Catholics, evangelicals, and conservatives who frequent blogs like this and make it a point to judge all candidates by their record on moral issues. However, it was NOT so obvious to people outside of our traditional/conservative circles who had to rely upon the mainstream media for most of what they knew. We cannot assume that what is obvious to us is obvious to everyone else.

    That said, I think THIS time around the situation is much more obvious to everyone. When EVERY single U.S. bishop speaks out against the HHS mandate and a long procession of noted evangelical Protestants joins the effort, it’s pretty hard to ignore that. Plus there is an actual record of what Obama has done as an executive (rather than a legislator) to point to.

    I will concede that it MIGHT have been possible for a sincere (but not conservative) Catholic who wasn’t involved in the pro-life movement to persuade themselves in 2008 that voting for Obama (with McCain as the alternative) wouldn’t be so bad. I DO NOT think they have that excuse this time around.

  • Mack thanks for the kind words, and yes too many of the faithful voted and are still smitten with the Left’s agenda. It is as old as time itself, the belief that you can outsmart God and common sense and somehow everything will turn out just fine. It kinda reminds of two drunks at a party upset that anyone thinks they are drunk. By their strong and slurring protestations they think they can prove their sobriety. However, everyone knows the truth. Sadly, we have a lot of drunks at the party right now. However, the dawn is fast approaching and so is the hangover!

  • Elaine, just saw your post. Good point!

  • If something similar to the Q’ran burning fiasco aand concomitant murders of four US service members had occurred in 2004, it would have been 24/7 MSM shrieking “Bush must go!”

    In 2012, it’s crickets . . .

  • I see by the comments here that mutual masturbation is not considered a sin among the faithful.

  • You know I find this rather fascinating that we have so many non believers who read this site. It reminds me of all those converted atheists and agnostics who said there was a strange pull that kept them coming to religious sites. Unbeknownst to them, it was their conscience which they had tried to erase but God kept bringing up. I believe it was Mark Shea who said something to the effect that; if these atheists thought we believed in nothing why would they care? They don’t make fun of pagans worshipping Thor or Isis; yet they have to mock us with little juvenile comments that they learned in 8th grade. Very telling.

  • It is hard to spell atheist Dave without l-o-s-e-r. Most atheists are very angry people and troll atheists tend to be among the angriest of a very bitter group. A truly pathetic way to live.

13 Responses to Religious Kook Talks About Evil Existing in the World

  • Thanks, Paul Z.! I can’t watch the video at work, but I will tonight. I was, however, able to share it on Goggle Blogger and Facebook by using my i-Pad and personal wireless hot spot. There have been a whole series of excellent posts coming out of TAC from you, Foxfire, Donald, Jake and others over the past month or so. I have to write very little at my own blog. Keep it up. You’re irritating the liberals! 😉

  • Thanks Paul. Doing my best.

    By the way, the link at Right Scoop has a shorter version of this video in case you don’t want to watch the entire speech.

  • That was almost 20 years ago. People in the West still believed in evil, and even Satan.

  • I’m sure it was said/written a thousand times before I heard it in a horridly violent movie. Something to the effect that Satan’s greatest coup was to convince mankind he does not exist.

    I desire moral courage.

    Think of the crown of sharp thorns that was forced down on Our Lord’s sacred head and the patience with which He endured the pain for our sins.

  • Wasn’t that C.S. Lewis in Skrewtape Letters?

  • What crazed right wing zealot prayed this prayer during one our wars? (No fair using google!)

    “And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

    With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.”

  • Don: I’m guessing it was right wing nutcase FDR.

    I watched what is probably the last (thank you, Lord!) GOP debate tonight and do you know what? I think 3 out of 4 of the men on that stage are capable of beating Obama (sorry, Paul fans). Mitt sounded much better than usual, but Santorum and Gingrich had good moments too, although they both have had better nights.

    I will vote in good conscience for whoever the nominee is. (Once upon a time the Wisconsin primary actually meant something. ) Heck, after the HHS directive, I actually think I could even vote for Paul, if it came to that. (It won’t.) Why? Because Paul’s foreign policy views are no crazier than Obama’s, and his take on fiscal issues is far more sensible. At least Paul (or Rick, Mitt or Newt) wouldn’t persecute my Church. ABO!

  • BTW, on a secular site, the Santorum haters were wondering why Newt and Rick didn’t have ashes on their foreheads. Don’t know about Newt, but apparently Santorum went to Mass this morning and, well, first of all, it’s ash, not paint or magic marker. Secondly, both men had to have makeup applied for TV and I assume any remaining ash was removed by the makeup artist, which I don’t think is any big deal. The haters said “removed by the makeup artist? Are they now trying to hide the fact they’re Catholics?” To me, what would have been much worse is having the ash wiped off, the makeup applied, and the ash then REAPPLIED. That would have struck me as terrible, phoney pandering.

    Of course, had either man appeared with an ash cross on his forehead, there would have been plenty of snide remarks and jokes about that. You just can’t win with the bigots.

  • “Don: I’m guessing it was right wing nutcase FDR”

    Correct Donna! It was from his D-Day radio broadcast.

  • OK, last night I watched the debate and commented here afterwards. I did not look about on the Net to see what people were saying about it until this morning. I have been less of a Santorum fan than many, but I thought he did OK last night, although it wasn’t his best. I’m a bit baffled by all the people who are proclaiming that Mitt outshone everyone else and Rick was terrible. I simply didn’t see that, although I thought Romney did well. I was happy to see them all firing at Obama, instead of directing all the heavy artillery at each other.

    My political instincts must be way off-kilter, I guess.

  • It was an interesting debate last night Donna, especially since it highlighted the Weathervane, Doctor Delusional Alliance. Romney and Paul and their wives are close friends, Paul has said he would be honored to be Romney’s veep, although I doubt if Romney would be so foolish, and last night Paul was Romney’s pitbull against Santorum. CNN helped this strategy by having Santorum sandwiched between Paul and Romney. Additionally the Mittbots stacked the debate audience. The Arizona Republican party helped fill the hall and they are in the Romney tank, and La Mesa where the debate was held has, I believe, the second highest Mormon population in the US.

  • No tv for Lent, so gee darn I missed all the excitement. The twitter consensus was the Santorum didn’t do well, though it doesn’t sound like anything significant took place. The unholy alliance of Paul and Romney for really much of this campaign has been a sight to behold.


Cardinal Newman on Lent

Wednesday, February 22, AD 2012


Is it not, I say, quite a common case for men and for women to neglect religion in their best days? They have been baptized, they have been taught their duty, they have been taught to pray, they know their Creed, their conscience has been enlightened, they have opportunity to come to Church. This is their birthright, the privileges of their birth of water and of the Spirit; but they sell it, as Esau did. They are tempted by Satan with some bribe of this world, and they give up their birthright in exchange for what is sure to perish, and to make them perish with it. Esau was tempted by the mess of pottage which he saw in Jacob’s hands. Satan arrested the eyes of his lust, and he gazed on the pottage, as Eve gazed on the fruit of the tree of knowledge  of good and evil. Adam and Eve sold their birthright for the fruit of a tree—that was their bargain. Esau sold his for a mess of lentils—that was his. And men now-a-days often sell theirs, not indeed for any thing so simple as fruit or herbs, but for some evil gain or other, which at the time they think worth purchasing at any price; perhaps for the enjoyment of some particular sin, or more commonly for the indulgence of general carelessness and spiritual sloth, because they do not like a strict life, and have no heart for God’s service. And thus they are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God.

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8 Responses to Cardinal Newman on Lent

  • Amen.

    I desire true repentance for my sins. I think of Our Lord in the Garden if Gethsemani suffering a bitter agony for my sins.

  • I recommend them to look on all pain and sorrow which comes on them as a punishment for what they once were; and to take it patiently on that account, nay, joyfully, as giving them a hope that God is punishing them here instead of hereafter.

    Is he saying with certainty all bad things which happen to us is punishment for sin? It sounds very deuteronomistic, the idea of “Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad.” That’s early Old Testament philosophy.

    Some bad events can be punishment for sin or a wake up call to turn away from sin. But, all of them? Hmm… Job had a lot of bad things happen to him, but he was a good, faithful man.

  • Donald McClarey, it amazes me how you find good and timely words.

    ” These are thoughts, I need hardly say, especially suited to this season. ”
    ” Now it is that, God being your helper, you are to attempt to throw off from you the heavy burden of past transgression, to reconcile yourselves to Him who has once already imparted to you His atoning merits, and you have profaned them. ”

    ” Depend upon it, they will wail over them in the next world, if they wail not here. Which is better, to utter a bitter cry now or then?—then, when the blessing of eternal life is refused them by the just Judge at the last day, or now, in order that they may gain it? Let us be wise enough to have our agony in this world, not in the next. If we humble ourselves now, God will pardon us then. We cannot escape punishment, here or hereafter; we must take our choice, whether to suffer and mourn a little now, or much then. ”

    ” This is their birthright, the privileges of their birth of water and of the Spirit; but they sell it, as Esau did. They are tempted by Satan with some bribe of this world, and they give up their birthright in exchange for what is sure to perish, and to make them perish with it. Esau was tempted by the mess of pottage which he saw in Jacob’s hands. Satan arrested the eyes of his lust, and he gazed on the pottage, as Eve gazed on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve sold their birthright for the fruit of a tree—that was their bargain. Esau sold his for a mess of lentils—that was his. And men now-a-days often sell theirs, not indeed for any thing so simple as fruit or herbs, but for some evil gain or other, which at the time they think worth purchasing at any price; perhaps for the enjoyment of some particular sin, or more commonly for the indulgence of general carelessness and spiritual sloth, because they do not like a strict life, and have no heart for God’s service. And thus they are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God. ”

    God being our Helper … wailing and agony now or then? … being profane persons with no heart for God’s service and despising His gift … let’s hope to be among the chosen

    T. Shaw, also thinking about that night in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked them to watch while he prayed but they fell asleep. Fearful of how easy it is to doze off, and how important it is to try not to for 38 days left, then for the next eight months, and then always like it’s a matter of life and death. We can balance it with Easter – sort of like the mystery of faith words in the Memorial Acclamation, so God is our helper.

    ” And be sure of this: that if He has any love for you, if He sees aught of good in your soul, He will afflict you, if you will not afflict yourselves. He will not let you escape. He has ten thousand ways of purging those whom He has chosen, “

  • the church teaches that all temporal suffering is the result of sin, but not necessarily the sin of the sufferer. this is the philosophy not only of the old but also of the new testament.

  • @PM, you’re right. Donald picked very relevant and wise words.

    @Edward, Is all temporal suffering punishment? As I understand, all temporal punishment is temporal suffering, but not all temporal suffering is temporal punishment.

  • Why split hairs? Accept temporal suffering as a gift of purification. Thank God in all things and especially the sufferings that befall us because they can burnish the dross of sin.

  • It’s an important distinction into the understanding of suffering and sin. If I twist my ankle leaving a confessional, is that because I sinned as I left? Is a baby suffering from a birth complication suffering because of sin? I think we’re getting close to the gospel of karma, which I don’t subscribe to.

    One can become over attentive to sin and suffering to the point of asking at every challenge, “What did I do to deserve this?”

Alternate Georges

Wednesday, February 22, AD 2012

On the birthday of the Father of Our Country it is proper to take a moment and reflect that in all likelihood the United States of America would not exist today but for the leadership shown by George Washington during the Revolution.  The poets Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet explored long ago some of the many different paths the life of Washington might have taken which would have altered our history so profoundly.  We call Washington the Father of Our Country not to honor him, but as a simple statement of fact.

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Sin is Poison

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

even when you didn’t do it.


A few minutes ago, I was dancing around with my two year old Princess, and the baby Duchess got herself into a corner again– she can’t turn or go in reverse, yet.  Princess, of course, wanted me to dance with her, so I said: “Princess, I can only handle one baby at a time!”


As soon as the words left my mouth, I thought of “selective reduction,” and the kids that won’t ever have a chance to play with mine.  I’ve never done anything like that, but it still poisoned my mood.  A silly, small example, but it’s interesting how having words to hold a concept can help you identify it, even when it’s tiny.

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4 Responses to Sin is Poison

  • Foxfier, you have good heart for your little girls. Wish I could say don’t worry, it’ll be OK, but this world is messy enough to bring on sadness right in the middle of good fun. Understanding and identifying the poison can’t hurt you, unless it comes out of your heart. I thought of Wed., 2/8 Gospel as maybe fitting this moment of yours. “Hear me , all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters on from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” from Mark 7:14-

  • Thank you, PM– the older I get, the more I appreciate why my folks wouldn’t talk about some things with us unless we started the conversation. (It turned out alright. Come to think of it, they seem to have followed the philosophy of your quote– if it was something they saw possibly sprouting from us, they started a conversation; if it wasn’t, they didn’t introduce it.)

  • PM: I was thinking about exactly that last night walking to the RR station.

    At moments when evil seems to be taking over, a short prayer may help.

    “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy Mercy.”

  • “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy Mercy.”

    Does anyone else read that and hear it in Mother Angelica’s voice?
    Hm; Mother Angelica’s TV and radio outreach– two bright spots, especially since they expanded on to the internet, and there are all the lovely blogs to help people find truth and hope. (Hopefully the Truth, as well.)

It is Time to Get Rid of Most Campaign Finance Laws

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

One of the big items today is news that the Romney campaign is bleeding cash.  Considering his all out assault first on Newt Gingrich, and now Rick Santorum, this comes as no surprise.  Yet while Romney spends more in a day than Santorum spent through most of the campaign thus far (only a slight exaggeration, I think), Santorum continues continues to poll ahead of Romney nationally and is neck-and-neck in Romney’s home state.  Of course Romney still has plenty in reserve thanks largely to his Super PAC.  Even Newt Gingrich’s fledgling campaign is still alive thanks to the generosity of one supporter funding a pro-Newt Super PAC.

These Super PACs have come under fire.  They are the indirect result of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, a law which itself amended the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), a law meant to restrict the amount of money that individuals could donate to individual candidates.  FECA created a two-tiered structure that basically divided federal contributions into two categories: hard money and soft money.  Professional sports fans probably recognize the terms as related to soft and hard caps, and it’s really the same concept. Under FECA individuals could only contribute $1,000 to a candidate per election cycle.  Yet there were no restrictions placed on “soft money,” meaning contributions to party committees.  This was the original end-run around campaign finance law.  Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), or McCain-Feingold, individual contribution maxes to candidates were raised, but soft money contributions were phased out.  This, in turn, gave rise to other organizations, mainly 527s, which were able to raise unlimited amounts of money to air issue advocacy ads against candidates.  These various organizations are not technically affiliated with any candidate, and it is a violation of campaign finance law for candidates to collaborate in any way with these groups.

So is it time for another set of reforms?  Indeed it is.  And the reform is simple: repeal all these ridiculous (and arguably unconstitutional) provisions, and allow individuals to contribute whatever amount of money they want directly to candidates.

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The Effrontery of Rick Santorum

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012



Rich Lowery has a post at National Review Online which explains why Rick Santorum drives the Mainstream Media crazy:

Santorum is a standing affront to the sensibilities and assumptions of the media and political elite. That elite is constantly writing the obituary for social conservatism, which is supposed to wither away and leave a polite, undisturbed consensus in favor of social liberalism. Santorum not only defends beliefs that are looked down upon as dated and unrealistic; he does it with a passionate sincerity that opens him to mockery and attack.

If Santorum had the social views of a Barbara Boxer, he would be hailed in all the glossy magazines as a political virtuoso. He has fought a front-runner with all the advantages to a jump ball in Michigan. His aides can’t provide advance texts of his speeches because he always extemporizes and speaks from a few notes. He is indefatigable, willing to lose on behalf of what he believes and committed to trying to convince others of his positions.

In the wake of his surprise showing in the Iowa caucuses, news coverage focused on Santorum arguing about gay marriage with college kids at his New Hampshire events. It was taken as a sign of his monomania. Yet he genuinely — if naïvely — wanted to convince them. If the cauldron of a presidential campaign is not the best place for Socratic exchanges on hot-button issues, Santorum was trying to do more than repeat sound bites back at youthful questioners.

Although his critics will never credit him for it, Santorum’s social conservatism brings with it an unstinting devotion to human dignity, a touchstone for the former senator. The latest position for which he’s taking incoming is his opposition to a government mandate for insurance coverage of prenatal testing often used to identify handicapped babies who are subsequently aborted. For his detractors, his respect for the disabled is trumped by his unforgivable opposition to abortion.

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16 Responses to The Effrontery of Rick Santorum

  • Another great post, Donald, that I just had to share. Thank you!

  • Thank you Paul for spreading the message about Santorum. I am beginning to think that something spectacular is happening in regard to this man and his initially quixotic quest for the Presidency, and we are in on the ground floor.

  • We’re going to find out if America is capable of electing a man who not only knows the difference between right and wrong, but is willing to act upon that knowledge. I, too, never thought that Santorum had a chance…now, he clearly does. We’ll see what happens.

  • Rick annoys liberals?


    One more reason to back Rick.

  • ” I think that what really disturbs the press is the raw courage of Santorum in that he does not quiver in fear that his views may prove unpopular. He is holding to them no matter what. That simply is not how the political game is played! Judging from the polls, maybe, just maybe, political courage, honesty and forthrightness will prove a winner this year. ”

    He is refreshing and I hope he can stay strong because he ‘s so in for it by the bullies’ soundbites on TV. Was thinking about media effects (not to mention societal) on people after I read Foxfier’s “Sin is Poison” because the tv was on also.

    Last night, after the news, I didn’t get to the remote before I heard Jay Leno going on about him and Satan jokes – really mean spiritedly. Same type last week with Letterman monologues and insinuations on daytime talk. On and on. These are the mainstream voices that mainstream voters/parents hear daily and it occurred to me that, all this finger pointing and bullying for laughs and money is what kids see as making their parents laugh. In recent time, anti-bullying laws were passed for school behavior and social networking due to a tragedy in a town near where I live. Huge news topic. Kids were brought to court, but this election year noise has our leaders and press applauding one another for slamming others. Schizo politics.

    Bill Maher was a guest on Craig Ferguson, who entertains without political affiliation. The guest was dying to get going on RS, NG, and MR, but couldn’t draw complicity out. More refreshing moments than most. Anyway, there has to be a correlation between the phenomenon of bullying kids (and the mentality in many other stations in life) and the effects of behavior in the political, sports, and entertainment arenas. I like b & w TV shows and movies for relaxing.

    Mentality of liberals acting offended after their own offending becomes offensive to some people. They aren’t happy unless there’s an underdog. Moral relativism and the culture of death – not fun or healthy. Hope he survives.

  • This happens to be the same Rick Santorum who says contraception harms wmoen (and he’s right it does) but sees fit to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for it under Title X. Why aren’t social conservatives, especially Catholic socons, even challenging him on this?

  • Update: Santorum said when challenged on that issue by Ron Paul (even Ron Paul does something right every now and then), he now says that he simply voted for a larger appropriations bill that included Title X and that he always opposed Title X. He also says that he proposed Title XX for abstinence ed to counteract Title X. If that’s true, that’s acceptable. However, I think Ron Paul is right about the giovernment shouldn’t be invovled in either in terms of funding. But I think Santorum’s position as stated is certainly valid given the circumstances. I agreed with Ron Paul twice in one paragraph. I think I’m gonna get sick.

    However, Santorum is now defending his endorsement of Specter due to the SCOTUS issue whereas he says elsewhere as cited by CMR that “inretrospect, it was a mistake”. Mitt missed a golden opportunity to embarass the hell out of Santorum.

  • This is the first time I’ve heard Santorum and I must say he has the gift of compressing his argument effectively into the time allotted. He would make an effective debater against Obama if he manages to stymie that man’s outpouring of gas.

  • I admire his courage and his ability to have a dialog about the issues, not just preach them. He happens to live what he believes as well. He has my vote.

  • PS: anyone know who he will be selecting as his VP?

  • Sen. Santorum is a shining light of courage and core beliefs near and dear to the heart of this traditional Roman Catholic. If he receives the nomination, the general election will be a true guage of just how far the culture of death, contraception, co-habitation and general hedonism have gained a foothold…or as I often fear, gained control of our nation. We have now two generations that have been taught the “normality” of homosexuality, the acceptance of abortion (for the sake of convenience) and a host of other sinful behaviors. I wonder if the Genie is not only out of the bottle but is now the dominant force, listen to the voices of “pro-choice” Catholics or other internal reformers that reject the teachings and magisterial authority of the Church and…..dispair.

  • Thank you for your excellent analysis of Santorum’s challenge to a liberal bias. I heard a woman (in a panel of citizens) say that considering his “pious attitude” and his constant talk of his “religion,” his vote for Title X which included Planned Parenthood support showed how insincere he was. I was several issues with her statement, but the point I want to make is that the values he espouses were more the norm among mainstream Americans not too very long ago. It shows how successful the liberal bias toward gays and abortion has been through the media and through entertainment of all kinds. Family values have been corrupted and now are a matter of apology and/or criticism. What is gratifying to me is that without all the money, the glitz, and the mealy-mouth attempt to keep from offending, he has succeeded to such a degree. I know that ultimately the victory is God’s, and I don’t presume to know his timing (now or years from now), but I wonder if I am seeing the power of God at work in opening hearts to his message. Let’s keep praying for God’s will in His way and His time.

  • Sir, so far as possible I hear Mass each day and I go to my knees and tell these beads each night. If that offends you, then I pray God may spare me the indignity of representing you in Parliament. Belloc. Donald McClarey, thank you for this.

  • It might be really interesting to get the whole perspective after the last debate. Mark Levins radio show on 2/23/2012 revealed alot that none of the other media picked up on, including the idea of the Paul/Romney tag team. Think about it. Does Paul EVER question Romney about anything? No, he bashed all the conservatives, Bachman, Gingrich, Cain, Perry, & now Santorum. Why does he have all of these negative ads in Michigan against SANTORUM when he’s not even campaigning there? Realy, check it out!

The Unmanly Bitterness of the Manosphere

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

[cross posted from the DarwinCatholic blog]

Sin has the tendency to inspire sin. The abused becomes the abuser, the person who believes himself oppressed begins to take on all the least likeable characteristics of his oppressor.

This has always been struck me with particular force when I’ve stumbled across the writings of the “manosphere”, a region of the internets in which men wail about how in the post-feminist age women are all money hungry cheaters with inflated senses of entitlement.  The solution to this is, allegedly, to use to the rules of “game” to dominate women by proving the practitioners to be “alpha males”. A highly technical process with all rigor of a pseudoscience behind it (perhaps some enterprising gamester can introduce the taking women’s head measurements into the process) practitioners council each other on how to deliver “negs” (negative compliments) which will cut women down to size by informing them of their SMV (sexual market value).  Then once the women feels like she needs to pursue since she isn’t being pursued, she melts when given “kino escalation” (he touches her).

You get the idea. I always get the sense of a couple rather mangy looking lions hanging around outside the pride talking about how they’re really more alpha than the lion who actually has all the mates and cubs. For all the acronyms and specialized terminology, you can tell that these boys’ manes are more than half weave.

As with most wrongheaded worldviews, there are some insights buried in there. The Sex-in-the-City feminist manifesto “from now on, we’re going to have sex like men” (which in feminist speak apparently means without thought or commitment) is most certainly something which has managed to make a lot of women (and men) unhappy — potentially for life. Once having correctly diagnosed this as seriously messed up, however, the manosphere solution appears to be that men should retaliate by turning into a bunch of whiny Carrie Bradshaws themselves. A group of guys supposedly outraged by the fact that many modern women demand special treatment and aren’t interested in marriage spend their time whining about how mean girls are and generally advocating an approach to dealing with women that seems guaranteed to make them singularly unattractive marriage material.

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57 Responses to The Unmanly Bitterness of the Manosphere

  • There is a neligent Catholic Magisterium piece to this mess that gets absolutely no coverage whatsoever from the Catholic press: the disappearance of the topic, wives obeying husbands. Try to find the topic even, in either Vatican II or in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you do, I need those new focus lenses…ala Lenin…because I find it in neither document despite a lot of Vatican II being about obeying clergy with Lumen Gentium 22 saying that whoever hears a Bishop, hears Christ (who knew Christ would stop talking about wifely obedience after Casti Connubii in 1930 and start calling the death penalty “cruel” in the 90’s despite His own Rom.13:4.)
    Yes you laugh but the Holy Spirit inspired a New Testament mandate about wifely obedience 6 times in the New Testament: I Cor. 11:3/ Eph.5:22/ Col.3:18/ I Tim 2:11-12/ Titus 2:5/ I Peter 3:1. Fr. Mitch Pacwa in a recent essay at NCRegister began the anti contraception tradition with the
    Didache. Heck….wifely obedience and the death penalty actually get explicit Holy Spirit coverage in the New Testament and no priest is writing about them at all.
    Dropping the dp issue though and appropo this thread, here is Casti Connubii supporting the 6 wifely obedience passages of the Holy Spirit which fortunately are in the Mass readings now and
    then and apparently no where else:
    Casti C. 1930
    section 74:
    ” The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected…”

    Judging by the Catholic press, contraception alone caused the divorce rate and the Magisterium ignoring promoting something the Holy Spirit explicitly said 6 times did not. Are there abusive bossy men that give headship a bad name? Yes. Are they 100% of Catholic men? No.

  • Clowns.

    The feminism that says “Women who do work equal to men should be paid equal to men,” is not feminism. That’s simple common dignity. Rephrased, “A job is worth its pay and a job well done is worth more.” That idea can be observed without regard to sex or sexuality. There’s nothing in there that hinges on genetic or biological construct.

    The feminism that says “We’re going to act like the worst and most irresponsible men out there do, to show we’re equal,” is feminism because it casts a distinctly sexual pallor over the actions.

    Simply put, men can’t get pregnant. The consequences of libertine and rakish behavior have always been less inescapable, outside of STDs, for men. Where there are no social consequences, a man who behaves in a sexually irresponsible manner has little to risk compared to women. All but two major STDs are curable and (although it might sound a little oxymoronic) a little discretion mixed in with the license can go far in avoiding even that.

    On the other hand, women, being the crucibles of life, have much to risk in behaving irresponsibly. They not only can become pregnant, but the string of subsequent events that follows is a lifetime of changes. Somewhere between abortion and decades of motherhood, the effects of pregnancy due to irresponsible sexual behavior impact women in ways that are orders of magnitude greater than men. This doesn’t even touch on the comparitive emotional damage suffered, or not, by each sex.

    Thus, the feminism that, by the sweep of a political hand, seeks to wipe those consequences away does infinitely greater damage to women that it does to men. The effects will still happen. Pretending they won’t, or worse, killing them off, does not make them go away, and destroying the cooperative, mutually assisting self-perpetuating bonds of Christian and moral marriage only exacerbate the effects.

    If you’ve ever read David Horowitz’ “Destructive Generation,” you know that the Progressive Left does not seek simple sexual equality, but the destruction of a moral, self-governing and God-fearing society in favor of a godless, social-fascist State ruled by an elite bureaucratic nobility, namely them. They know that in order to facilitate this, generations of moral and ethical erosion must occur, so that children raised in more “open-minded” times will have a more and more shallow foundation against which to gauge their moral depth, until such self-restraint and ability to act righteously disappear.

    The fact that such a thing as a “manospere” even exists represents the end product of years of such destruction. It is the recursive of the first corruption, completing the circle of shame and bringing those men down to the levels of those women who first abdicated their places of dignity and substance. As a Catholic man still striving to act Scripturally and with both humility and grace, I can heartily and risibly condemn The Manosphere to the garbage heap where it belongs.

  • to clarify: Women become wives with informed consent, full knowledge. Men become husbands with full consent. Spiritual maturity is required for full consent. Love, sacrifce and forbearance are required for the offices of husband and wife and these graces are readily available from our Creator. The mob mentality, the fury of the Harpees, the stampeding herd comes about when women and wives are conflated, when men and husbands are confused. When the gender of women and the office to wife is not understood and appreciated, literally, there is hell to pay. When being made a man and giving consent to becoming a husband is lost, so is the rational, immortal soul of the man lost. Becoming a mother and a father and a family is predicated on accepting the office, the duty, the vocation. Medical science has determined that the cells of a baby inutero seep into the mother’s body and with the baby’s cells come the father ‘s genes. Two literally become one. And when a parent passes into eternity, people mourn because a part of us dies, literally. Fascinating

  • There is a neligent Catholic Magisterium piece to this mess that gets absolutely no coverage whatsoever from the Catholic press: the disappearance of the topic, wives obeying husbands.

    Disappear? That comes up every couple of years, almost as often as the wearing-pants topic. Lucky you to have avoided it thus far.

    Generally goes with someone quoting bits of Ephesians 5 as saying women must do everything men want (either in support of the notion, or as a strawman to attack), someone responds by pointing out that husbands are called to be Christ-like, someone else points out that it’s the same theme of Christ and the Church as his Bride, and usually the first person throws a fit, calls them names, doesn’t change their mind and leaves. Here’s a pretty standard exchange.


    Yeah, they are just angry, bitter, full of spite– it’s sad. I know there’s other ways to respond, as Mr. Wright mused. It’s possible to feel pain and not seek to destroy in response.

    Of course, it’s a lot less “sad” when it’s my little sister who’s being “played”– then we go into psycho zone for a bit, and it’s sad when she’s not being abused. (Word chosen specifically; the tactics sound rather similar. Psychological damage until you get what you want. Yeah, real manly….)

  • The only real man I know is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

    Desire the love of humility. Think of the humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the Angel Gabriel greeted her with these words, “Hail, full of grace.”

  • Foxfier,
    Yes, it comes up on the internet. I was speaking of the magisterium preaching it….not the internet debating it. Hell….though also largely unpreached (another source of the divorce rate truth be known)… hell at least get’s into documents even if rarely into homilies.

  • Bill-
    So… basically, you don’t hear about it much? Heaven knows that it’s a common complaint– always salad, never meat and potatoes, but local priests not talking much about something is (redundancy alert!) a very localized issue. I do know that higher levels have said something on the matter, even if it does often seem like they’re more worried about being political….
    Here’s some of the higher-level stuff, just search for Ephesians 5 in the following links/documents: (includes a bunch from JPII) (episode 11)

    It is generally rolled into teachings on the theology of the body.

  • Foxfier,
    I read your first five links. They prove my point. Wifely submission is not in the first five links in the sense that the pastorals mean it with their abscence of Ephesian’s mutual submission. Normally in marriage a couple mutually submits in what might be called everyday matters. Ephesians which you pointed me towards as the link word so to speak was the only passage that contained that everyday tyoe of mutual submission and the only passage John Paul II would cite verbatim in discussing the issue while he alluded to the other epistle sources only, both in TOB and in “Dignity of Women”. He hinted that they were of the old way of the OT but the OT didn’t spell out “wives obey your husbands” as explicitly as the passages in the NT which John Paul would not cite verbatim.
    I can assume by now your final three links tell a similar story. Men in general like Ephesians’ “mutual subjection” clause because it does not require them to endure the loneliness of sometimes leading with a grimace on their wife’s face or worse in matters wherein a stalemate has been reached and someone must make a decision.
    John Paul believed rightly that Catholics would not know verbatim passages he was leaving out from the Bible. So when he talked about the death penalty in Evangelium Vitae with a view to de facto overturning it…he leaves out of the reader’s view Gen.9:6 and Rom.13:4 which suport it and talks rather about God excusing Cain from execution as the only really deep thing to worry
    about on the topic. Likewise on wifely obedience, he liked it about as much as he liked the Biblical death penalties, so he did the same hide from view routine on those epistle passages
    which simply say “wives obey your husbands”. This is not as shocking as it sounds when you realize that John Paul was no Aquinas. For Aquinas, every mandate in the Bible is from God as the Bible recounts that it is. Read section 40 of Evangelium Vitae where John Paul ascribes the biblical death penalties as really coming from an unrefined Jewish culture and where he sees the sermon on the mount as perfect refinement. It’s a catchy idea unless you know your Bible and know that the refined God of the mount actually proceeds thru an angel of death to kill Herod Antippas in Acts 12 and leave his body to be eaten by worms…and places Romans 13:4 in the Bible after the sermon on the mount. Likewise after Cain,the same God sends a death penalty to Gentiles and Jews for murder when that God knows He is about to establish the first government through Nimrod. The Cain exemption taught against private executions at least until governments could make rules for the a engers of blood.

    Your links then are very John Paul II…..only Ephesians counts….not the other NT passages on wifely obedience. Only Cain counts on execution….not Rom.13:4 or Gen.9:6. Follow that selective hermeneutic….and you’ll be at odds with Dei Verbum, Vat.II which said “both testaments with all their parts have God as their author.”

  • Bill Bannon-
    I can’t do anything about your dislike of how John Paul II taught on the subject; your complaint was that they didn’t mention it, not that you didn’t like how they mentioned it.

  • Foxfier
    You are doing this topic on the fly with google. Mentioning mutual submission is not mentioning wifely submission. Men love mutual submission. It saves them from lonely moments.
    Wifely obedience especially in serious stalemates gives them lonely moments.

  • No, Bill, I am not “doing this topic” at all; I was responding to your claim that the Catholic Magisterium had not touched on it. You claimed that they were silent, I showed they were not, you objected that it didn’t say what you wanted.

    I have no intent on “doing this topic” about your dislike of how the topic is covered because I don’t find it all that relevant to Darwin’s point on how bitter the “Manosphere” is; were the Magisterium actually silent on the topic, it would be a rather eye-opening point. As they are not, I don’t feel like arguing the merits of focusing on a single phrase vs the larger context, dragging the comments even further off topic, especially not with someone who went through several articles saying how the husband is to take the role of CHRIST means they never have to be a lonely leader.

  • I once checked out Roissy’s blog and fled after a couple of minutes. I was ensnared by a a “Roissy” when I was young and the memories can still sting. And I am sure he would be delighted to know that – that is, if he is the same man he was 25 years ago. If he is, he is to be pitied.

  • No, I’ve said mutual submission as the exclusive comment on couple interpersonal jurisdiction saves a husband from the lonliness. “Wives be subject to your husbands” are the epistle passages that can lead to the loneliness of Christ.

  • Bill,

    I Tim 2:11-12 doesn’t even address the question of wives obeying husbands, it deals with how women should behave at church.

    Titus 2:5 is more about public comportment and family order and does not specifically talk about obedience.

    I Peter 3:1 is dealing with how women whose husbands aren’t Christian or aren’t obedient Christians should serve as examples to their husbands through their actions rather than nagging.

    So three of your quotes don’t even say what you’re looking for.

    Now, of the other three: I don’t see what the conflict is that you’re trying to set up between the one that says “submit yourselves to one another”, the one that says “wives obey your husbands, husbands love your wives” and the one that just says “wives, obey your husbands”. The fact that one says just “wives, obey” doesn’t means that husband and wife shouldn’t mutually submit to one another. I think you’re setting up an opposition here that needn’t exist. If any couple is doing a good job of fulfilling two of these, the third is going to follow naturally.

    I’m also a bit unclear how the whole thing relates to divorce. I’m not exactly picturing a situation in which a wife is all set to walk out on her husband, but the husband says, “I order you not to leave, and 1 Cor 11:3 says you have to obey me like you obey God,” and suddenly the wife decides not to leave. If the wife is already following the description of marriage that we get from the bible, she won’t be leaving in the first place. And if she is ready to ignore the direct command of Christ that once God has made husband and wife one, they shall never be separated by man’s law, I don’t see how priests preaching on the “obey” passages more often will stop her. These things are all tied together. If anything, emphasizing obedience alone separately from the full Catholic understanding of marriage is probably going to be more a turn of than an encouragement in our modern culture, because too few people have a good understanding of Christian leadership and Christian obedience, and most people have a very good understanding of bossiness and selfishness.

  • Darwin,
    You write: ” I Tim 2:11-12 doesn’t even address the question of wives obeying husbands, it deals with how women should behave at church.”

    Could you give me your version of that passage….even include what you think is context if a footnote led you to see verse 11 as still in a physical Church.

  • Darwin,
    You write also: “Titus 2:5 is more about public comportment and family order and does not specifically talk about obedience.”

    There also what are your actual words in your version?

  • “husbands love your wives” comes before “wives obey your husbands,” and it makes all the difference in the world.

  • I would rather be loved than obeyed any day! I might cite Timothy and Titus however the next time my wife asks me to take out the trash. (Don thinks about that.) No, I don’t think so! 🙂

  • Spoken like a man of experience and wisdom, Don. 🙂


    1 Tim 2: 8-12

    It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. Similarly, [too,] women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds. A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet.

    That sounds to me like it’s all continuing with the discussion of how things should be conducted in church.

    Titus 2: 1-5

    As for yourself, you must say what is consistent with sound doctrine, namely,a that older men should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.

    Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited

    I don’t think you’d want to hang any claims about how marriage must be structured on these two, they’re pretty clearly about comportment (in church in the first and generally in the second) rather than about the command structure of a marriage. The first three quotes are the ones you want to hang your hat on, not the last three. (After all, take stuff like these as defining how marriage must be lived out and you’d also end up having to take Philemon as endorsing slavery.)

  • Darwin,
    I’m going to let readers judge the passages between you and I as to their not being about wives obeying their husbands….. “under complete control” and “under the control of their husbands” are, within all that context, still about wifely submission which is what I said in the first post…true of I Peter also in the word “subordinate”.
    Both exist….mutual submission and wifely submission. The former feels the nicest. Under especially duress, the latter can become the most apposite one, given human nature. It…the latter… is not preached in either Vat.II nor the C.C.C. Adios. I’m done. Let the readers each decide.

  • No wonder you didn’t care for my thumbnail sketch of the usual course of discussion….

    You may enjoy Wintery Knight’s place; he’s generally willing to play with most anyone and digress infinitely. Seem to remember he’s had similar discussions several times, as well.

  • I am not sure why you elected to write about this topic without discussing the characteristics of family law as it is administered in this country and without discussing the assumptions encoded in the commentary of a certain breed of social conservative. Figures such as Helen Smith or Glenn Sacks are most certainly not promoters of Roissy’s bilge.

  • Art,

    I elected to write the post because the Dalrock post I linked to massively teed me off, indeed, everything I saw on his site teed me off. And because I happen to know and like Betty Duffy and I pretty much saw red watching manosphere-bots call her a c**t in the Patheos comboxes for a couple days.

    I’m not familiar with Helen Smith or Glenn Sacks writing. If they don’t have to do with this “game” idiocy and the whole war between the sexes ideology that I’m addressing here, then they’re not what I’m talking about.

  • What boundary are you drawing around ‘manosphere’? Here is a critique of some writing of Kay Hymowitz

    Nothing in the piece refers to promoting strategies for manipulating women.

  • Art-
    I’m not exactly into that scene, but “manosphere” seems to be roughly equivalent to “radical feminist”, in the opposite direction; heck, I wouldn’t even count Whiskey’s Place as part of it, although some of the commenters come from that area.

    There’s a world of difference between identifying a problem and hammering away at it, and deciding that the solution is to copy those you see as the source of the problem.

  • Sigh. I’m dismayed by DarwinCatholic’s demonstration of the unmanly bitterness of the Catholic blogosphere.

  • I think that BOTH sexes often forget these days that “leadership” or “authority” means a lot more than just being able to order other people around and make them do what YOU want. It means proving yourself trustworthy, and being willing to sacrifice for their good and for their protection as well. My favorite saying on this whole issue is from C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves, in which he states that “the sternest feminist need not grudge (men) the crown offered to them in either the Pagan or Christian mystery; for the one is of paper and the other of thorns.”

  • Remembering my AF officer training of many years ago, leadership is like love. The love is not only for the troops you lead. It’s also for accomplishing the mission.

    There are two components of leadership: authority and responsibility. Authority may be delegated. Responsibility cannot be delegated. It stays with the leader.

    Finally, for the Christian family the mission is to know God, love God and serve God so we, all together, may be happy with Him in Heaven.

  • Another critique of Kay Hymowitz.

    Neither of these critiques is congruent with a Catholic conception of family life, and one contains crank ideas of its own. They are a useful point of departure in assessing aspects of the contemporary kultersmog.

  • Don: Another word: When Eve brought the forbidden fruit to Adam, had Adam said: “NO EVE, this is forbidden fruit, you and I will do the will of God”, even if Eve had eaten the fruit, Adam, as head of the family in his love for Eve would have saved the whole human race. I know of a man who used to beat and batter his wife because his wife was the daughter of Eve, and as such, his wife had caused all of mankind’s fallen nature. When neighbor’s tried to stop the beatings, the man threatened to beat up the neighbors, too. Notice, that Eve brought the forbidden fruit to her husband, Adam. Adam had the final say in his family. The word husband means good shepherd. And when you take the trash out, bless it.

  • Don: You have to be asked to take out the trash?

  • The unmanly bitterness of the manosphere: When the Pharisees tried to stone Mary Magdalene, where was the man? both were to be put to death. The rest is censored but if you really want to hear it, ask.

  • Mary –

    I get weary of the use of the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery to show how we are too hard on women and not hard enough on men. Where was the man? Who knows? Maybe he had already been stoned to death, or maybe not.

    There is more than one way to guess concerning details about which the Scripture is silent. Is it not just as likely that the Pharisees neglected the man also caught in the act because they surmised that the woman caught in adultery, being a woman, would tug at Jesus’ heartstrings, thus more definitely cornering him, when they also surmised that bringing the man into the matter might evoke less natural sympathy, i.e.-let him take his stoning like a man!

  • It’s true that the Pharisees were not in the least concerned with actual justice in the matter, only in trapping Our Lord. It seems very reasonable to me that they used the woman, and not the man, not because they were particularly hateful to women, but because they saw that the possibility of stoning a woman would likely be more effective in trapping Jesus than stoning a man. If they thought asking of Jesus whether the man also caught in adultery should be stoned would be more effective in trapping him, it seems likely they would have used the man instead of the woman.

  • All that to say that it is not necessary to read misogyny into the Pharisees treatment of the woman caught in adultery. Though I haven’t gotten into it here, I also think it is shortsighted to read misogyny into the writings of Dalrock.

  • Crucify Him, Crucify Him. The bloodlust of the Pharisees was not slaked by the bloody Jesus. If the man, Mary Magdalene’s consort, had been killed, the Pharisees wanted more, and more. The bloodbeast of the Pharisees, of Planned Parenthood is never slaked. uncensored

  • Art,

    I wrote about Hymowitz myself a while back:

    My wife critiqued her more recently:

    Basically: I think she’s wrong in portraying most men as slackers — though I find the apologists for slackerdom also unimpressive. I don’t think that disagreeing with the sort of bitter, 30-something, why-doesn’t-the-world-work-the-way-I-want-it-to female writers who sometimes writes cover article for The Atlantic makes you a creature of the manosphere, however. It just makes you a member of the reality based community.

  • I don’t think that disagreeing with the sort of bitter, 30-something, why-doesn’t-the-world-work-the-way-I-want-it-to female writers who sometimes writes cover article for The Atlantic makes you a creature of the manosphere

    Kay Hymowitz is 63, and has been married for quite some time. I think ‘bitter’ is a strange adjective for her writing. ‘Insulting’ and ‘condescending’ would be more properly descriptive.

    There is an element of context that you are neglecting. The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, an agency of the right, is employing a lapsed English teacher to produce this sort of literature. Critics of her preliminary publications remarked that her research seemed bereft of interviews with any living and breathing young men, contenting itself with perusing laddie magazines.

    though I find the apologists for slackerdom also unimpressive.

    Whatever they aspire to not, the marketplace in which these young men live and work is what it is, and is populated with the women whose varied dispositions have the distribution of their own time, not the distribution which was common among my mother’s contemporaries. They also face the legal and formal institutions of today, not those my parents faced when they married in 1952.

  • They also face the legal and formal institutions of today, not those my parents faced when they married in 1952.

    They also tend to have been taught (by males and females) that if a girl doesn’t jump into bed with them inside the first week or two, she doesn’t like him or she’s using him. Even if their dates are dutch. Small wonder that there’s bitterness, frustration and confusion… still doesn’t excuse the “manosphere” manipulators.

  • … still doesn’t excuse the “manosphere” manipulators.

    I do not seek to excuse lounge lizards &c. I am defending ordinary young men against the likes of Hymowitz, et al.

  • buckyinky,
    For myself I have always thought that Mary Magdalene was lusting for Jesus Christ. The Pharisees knew Jesus’ teaching about lust in the heart being adultery. The Pharisees followed Jesus to entrap Him in His own teaching and you are right about Magdalene only being a convenient tool. Mary Magdalene was a soul whom Jesus had come to rescue. Perhaps Jesus was the Man in the passage of the woman taken in adultery. But does it really matter? The Pharisees were so blinded by their hatred for Jesus also, when God called Adam to account, Adam blamed God and Eve, ‘THE WOMAN YOU PUT HERE WITH ME. SHE GAVE ME THE APPLE”. Adam started the unmanly bitterness of the manosphere.

  • Mary (and buckyinky),

    Okay, the biblical speculation is getting not only way far away from the topic of the post, but way far away from the bible itself. Let’s let that one rest, okay?

  • Adam comes across as a whiner.

    He knew it was forbidden. He could have said, “No.” to Eve. Perhaps Adam ate of the apple in order to be with Eve and to share her life in exile from the Garden.

    Jesus is True God and true man. He is like us in all things except sin. He was not the other man in that passage.

  • Art,

    Kay Hymowitz is 63, and has been married for quite some time. I think ‘bitter’ is a strange adjective for her writing. ‘Insulting’ and ‘condescending’ would be more properly descriptive.

    You’re way ahead of me — I didn’t know her age or occupation, and I guess I was pigeonholing her writing with this sort of thing which I read much more recently:

    There is an element of context that you are neglecting. The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, an agency of the right, is employing a lapsed English teacher to produce this sort of literature.

    There does seem to be a market on the right for overwrought accounts of how badly men are doing in this day and age, whether through laziness or having been “effeminized” by the educational establishment and culture — usually so that people can then demand that men be men like they used to be.

    Being moderately old fashioned, I can sort of see the appeal, but it seems like what’s normally churned out to support this desire is really badly researched pop sociology and psychology which really has no value other than making those who like it feel good.

  • I’m sympathetic to Bill Bannon’s complaint:

    There is a negligent Catholic Magisterium piece to this mess that gets absolutely no coverage whatsoever from the Catholic press: the disappearance of the topic, wives obeying husbands. Try to find the topic…

    The problem is more general than Mr. Bannon describes here and it has not just trickled down, it has drenched and soaked the episcopacy, ministerial priesthood, and lay apostolates and apologists. EWTN is a near-constant source of examples from homilists at mass to apologists taking phone calls. One of their more common offenses against men and marriage is their habit of, when introducing the topic of failing marriages, only drawing from three possibilities: accusing the husband of having an adulterous affair, accusing the husband of wife-beating, or accusing the husband of a pornography addiction.

    Addressing Mr. Bannon’s more specific complaint, I’ll quote from Msgr. James Murphy who as associate publisher of the Catholic Herald magazine, editorialized in the November/December 2011 issue:

    Marriages fail becasue too many people entering them are more concerned about their own selfish ends than the good of the children. … We might not use the language of demographer (Andrew) Cherin on the facts of sociology, but we do use the language of the Apostle Paul on the facts of self-sacrifice: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.”

    Msgr. Murphy quotes nothing else of St. Paul’s but he does quote President Barack Obama (!) in one of that feminist president’s characteristic man- and father-bashing moments.

    Let your ears and eyes be opened, folks, and you’ll begin to notice the frequency of occurrences of man-scolding and condescending ‘advice’ in the Catholic sphere. Notice also whether the bad behavior of women is given equal time for disparagement in equally strong terms – I for one am not encountering that.

  • This fellow “dalrock” has some trenchant remarks on family courts, &c.

  • Being moderately old fashioned, I can sort of see the appeal, but it seems like what’s normally churned out to support this desire is really badly researched pop sociology and psychology which really has no value other than making those who like it feel good.

    Some people are only happy when they’re upset?
    *shrug* Folks try to make stories so stuff makes sense, and they tend to be superficial; if they’re not the same generation, the tend to choose obvious markers that don’t actually connect with their targets (video game playing adults, for an example near and dear to my heart).

    What we know is that:
    men say they can’t find decent women, (“they’re all users”)
    women say they can’t find decent men, (“they’re all feckless”)
    unusually, the marriage stats back up this issue.

    Additionally, there are women who enjoy using their sex and sexuality as a weapon to feel powerful or get vengeance, (“It’s our turn now!)
    and there are men (the original topic up top) who are doing the same. (“We’re just doing what they do!”)

    It’s a cliche, but I think the current round of problems goes to about the 60s– bear with my inexperienced point of view, here, please, even if you’ve heard the song so often you’re sure you could sing along.
    About that time, the pop culture changed the sexual “shopping” market; girls were told they could be just like the guys. Turns out, guys don’t especially want to be tied to a copy, they want a complement.
    At the same time, guys were told that they were supposed to be “sensitive” and “enlightened”– which somehow always ended up meaning more like a really wimpy city girl, from what I can see. Turns out, girls don’t especially want to be tied to a copy, either.
    Also about the same time, the popular sport becomes attacking “hypocrites”– that is, folks who don’t come out and announce every urge or unpleasantry they feel, rather than trying to keep up appearances. Doesn’t do so much for marriages. Doesn’t do much for dating, for that matter.
    I’m not sure how it works in, but I suspect a sort of coarsening of public discourse, too– just not quite the same way that most folks mean when they say that. I mean that the whole counter-culture get-in-their-face picking fights thing seems to have become more popular then, although I only know for sure that it’s really popular since about the early 90s in colleges and such. A large part of its efficaciousness depends on those you oppose either being polite or not wanting to fight, and passion is so important it must be faked if it’s not really felt. Unrestrained passion is kinda famously not a great thing.

    Couple of generations of people being people but not having a whole lot of good examples to follow, and guys have a sort of idea of what they want from a woman they marry, but it’s idealized and pretty kabuki-ish. Women have a sort of idea of what they want to marry, but it’s either self-contradictory, incredibly short sighted or, again, kabuki-ish. When they do get in a relationship, it sucks compared to the ideal both because real life isn’t perfect and they haven’t been taught how to deal with smaller conflicts; later on, they get in relationships and can’t recognize that the big conflicts are different.
    There’s also the tear-your-hair-out problem of all the nice folks one knows always dating the same sort of person and having the exact same problems. And they never get it.
    Someone comes up with a solution, tell me.

    You can’t expect men and women to be like the “use to” be– assuming that anybody could agree on what that means– because we don’t have the same starting point. You can’t build the same house on totally different ground, it’ll go to bits; you can take stuff from the old house and adapt it for the new ground, though, if you can make a firm foundation.
    Pretty clearly, eye-for-an-eye (or responses that predate that restraint) against an entire sex is a bad idea if your goal is to fix anything, rather than a sort of anarchist style “I’ll get mine” type thing.

    About the biggest thing I’d suggest is that folks try to date the person they’re actually dating, instead of “all women” this and “all men” that.

    This song sums up the “good guy” lament pretty well:

  • Exit: Virtues leading to trust, self-knowledge, and love for God and family.
    Enter: Values, self-satisfaction, and the game of mating (not for life).

  • I had a young wannabe man say to me: “God would not have created lust, if He did not want us to use it”. Blaming God is against the Second Commandment.

  • The “manosphere”must be populated by a bunch with the mentality of a three year old. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna. Instead of getting a toy, which is usually what a three year old wants, the “manosphere” types want sex. Their views on the personhood of a woman are formed by the rot of popular culture and they view women as objects. If there is one big difference, a child is much more likely to care about his toy than a manosphere type is to care about his potential “conquest”.

  • The “manosphere”must be populated by a bunch with the mentality of a three year old.

    How do you derive that judgment from ‘dalrock’s’ critique of family courts?

  • I did not read what “dalrock” wrote.

  • Was that in H. G. Wells’ book The Time Machine?

    God’s first commandment in Genesis is “Be fruitful and multiply.”

    The invention of artificial BC runs against this first commandment, as does sodomy.

    God commands it a number of times. Procreation is the reason God created males’ strong sex drives, which He did not intend as solely recreational.

    Bottom line: in 2012 real men are nearing extinction.

  • How do you derive that judgment from ‘dalrock’s’ critique of family courts?

    I think one could pretty easily derive Penguin Fan’s impression from some of the characters who seem to inhabit dalrock’s site. For instance, the forth comment down on the post I liked to closes:

    Don’t commit, don’t cohabitate, and stay independent. That is what men need to do today. Use them for sex when required, and that’s all.

    I wouldn’t surprise me at all to know that family courts do all sorts of unfair things (indeed, it would kind of surprise me if they didn’t, as they have assigned themselves the task of negotiating settlements to problems there may well not be any “fair” solution to) but the crew over there look about as capable of giving a balanced picture of the real situation as Hamas does of providing an even-handed analysis of who wronged who most in Gaza.

  • I think one could pretty easily derive Penguin Fan’s impression

    Stop it the both of you. The term ‘manosphere’ is amorphous enough that it is rather ill-advised to offer a general evaluation, much less one as intemperate as that of ‘penguin fan’.

  • Manosphere:
    Search Results
    Web definitions
    The loose collection of blogs, message boards, and other sites run by and/or read by MRAs, MGTOW, and assorted friendly Pick-up Artists. The primary source of material for this blog.

    Google definition.

    Google search…doesn’t really have much that I can copy and paste, when you get past the stuff that’s about the manosphere, because I’m not going to get us that kind of traffic. Fantasies about illegal means of getting the goal of “game,” talking about “game,” lots and lots of focus on sex.

    Just because SOME of those who self-identify as the “manosphere” SOMETIMES have good stuff doesn’t mean that we should leap to defend them in general, any more than pro-life atheists means that suddenly all the rest of the atheist stuff is to be defended. The point seems to be getting laid, with some general hedonism thrown in to support that lifestyle.

Rate that President! : Part II

Tuesday, February 21, AD 2012

The second part of my rating of US Presidents.  The first part may be viewed here.

24.  John F. Kennedy-From a moral standpoint perhaps the worst man ever to sit in the White House, the recent revelations of his teenage White House intern mistress during that time period helping to cement that status.  Kennedy was a strong advocate of the space race and set the country the goal of landing a man on the moon which the nation met in 1969.  He presided over a prosperous economy, helped along with a reduction in marginal rates which he pushed through.  In foreign policy he presided over the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and our widening involvement in South Vietnam, lending support to the coup that toppled Diem. He will always be best known for the Cuban Missile Crisis which he successfully navigated, but it was a very close shave for the world.  On civil rights, he gave much lip service to it, but it would be his successor who would push through the key civil rights legislation.  The second most over-rated president in our nation’s history.

25.  James Garfield-A Union Civil War general with a superb combat record, Garfield was also a canny politician with seven terms under his belt in the House.  During the brief four months he held the office before his assassination, he staked out positions in favor of civil service reform, the hot domestic issue of the day, and reform of the post office.   He refinanced a substantial portion of the national debt at a lower interest rate, saving the nation millions in interest payments.  An ardent advocate of civil rights for blacks, he sponsored a bill to provide for universal federal education to combat the fact that in many Southern states no provision was made to educate blacks.  It failed in Congress after Garfield’s death.  He appointed many blacks to federal office, and began to reverse President Rutherford’s policy of conciliation white Southerners at the expense of blacks.  Garfield began the policy of modernizing the Navy carried forward by President Arthur.

26.  John Tyler-Known as “His Accidency” by his critics after he took over when President Harrison died just after thirty days in office, Harrison set the mold for Vice-Presidents who assumed the office.  It was by no means clear that he would be called President and that he would have the full powers of the President or be considered to be simply conducting a caretaker “regency” until the next election for President.  Harrison had none of that.  He insisted on being called President and was quite clear in his own mind that he had all of the powers of an elected President.  Aside from this setting of precedent, the most signficant event in his presidency was the annexation of Texas at the very end of his term.  Tyler was a former Democrat and he acted like a Democrat as president, vetoing almost the entire Whig agenda, including vetoing a proposed national bank twice.  The Whigs in the House, for the first time in the nation’s history, began impeachment proceedings.  Tyler probably would have been impeached if the Whigs had not lost their majority in the 1842 election in the House.  Tyler died in 1862, shortly after his election as a representative to the Confederate Congress.  Stunningly, he still has two living grandsons.

27.  Herbert Hoover-Hoover rose from poverty to become a self-made millionaire as a mining engineer.  He was a noted philanthropist, organizing relief efforts in Europe throughout World War I, saving tens of millions of lives.  His administration was dominated by the Great Depression.  To combat the Depression Hoover initiated policies that set the precedent for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  Like the New Deal, Hoover’s policies were largely unsuccessful in combating the Depression.  Out of office, Hoover became an outspoken critic of the New Deal which he regarded as socialism by another name.  Hoover lived on until 1964, staying active in various causes, and being called upon by all his successors as president for advice and to conduct special missions for them.  The only exception was Roosevelt, who shared with Hoover a cordial enmity.

28.  Gerald Ford-Our only president never to be elected either president or vice president, Ford was left to pick up the pieces after Nixon resigned in disgrace.  Pardoning Nixon was probably the right thing to do to avoid the nation having to go through several more years of the Watergate melodrama, and Ford took immense grief for doing so.  In foreign affairs his hands were tied by a Democrat leftist dominated Congress that came to power in the election of 1974, and 1975 witnessed the fall of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to the Communists, and set the stage for Soviet adventurism in Africa and Afghanistan.  Domestically, the country went through a short but sharp recession in 1974 largely caused by the Arab oil embargo.  Inflation was still a great problem, but the economy had vastly improved by 1976 and Ford probably would have beaten Carter but for Ford making a verbal mistep in one of their debates, claiming that Poland was not under Soviet domination, and stubbornly refusing to correct himself for several days.  He died in 2006 at 93, making him the longest lived president, beating Reagan for that distinction by 45 days.

29. Millard Fillmore-Fillmore took over as the last Whig president following the death of Zachary Taylor.  He helped push through the Compromise of 1850 which delayed the Civil War for decade, and after you have mentioned that you have largely accounted for any historical importance of the Fillmore administration, other than the opening of Japan by Commodore Perry which occurred under President Pierce but which Fillmore initiated.  In retirement Fillmore turned down an honorary degree from Oxford, saying that he was unworthy of it, and noting that it was written in Latin and that a man should never accept a degree that he was unable to read.

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43 Responses to Rate that President! : Part II

  • I have Carter = 42 and Obama 43. Neither idiot could carry Buchanan’s dirty laundry.

    The liberals at “Public Policy Polling” asked “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of” each president by name?

    The results: Pharaoh worse than Dubya: who up to this poll was worse than Hitler.

    The poll has 45% favorable for Bush 43, while 46% are unfavorable = net unfavorable -1.

    Obama now 46% favorable and 49% unfavorable = higher net unfavorable -3.

    Another four years of Obama and we are ruined.

  • The worst president of your lifetime? I’m glad you are hopeful that you won’t live to see another Obama.

  • In the fall Whimsy, I think we will give him a beating that he, his party and the country will long remember.

  • I still would hold off rating W and Clinton as they are still of too recent a vintage to judge objectively, but otherwise I think this is spot on. I think Pierce may have even been worse than Buchanan considering that he was completely feckless and was the first president to have his vetoes regularly overridden by Congress. Still, it’s astounding that the worst presidents in history are all clustered around the greatest.

  • I posted this at Almost Chosen People before I saw this part of the ranking:

    “I just hope that you don’t rank poor Warren Harding last or near last. The guy gets a bum rap. My son is currently doing his project for our school’s Ohio Fair on WGH (he drew the name out of a hat).

    “At first, I was bummed about his getting a man whose name has become synonymous with scandal. But the more we have studied Harding, the more we have come to realize that he has been unfairly maligned by history. The guy was beloved by the American people during his presidency. And the scandals, which only came to light after his death, were not perpetrated by him or on his behalf. I suppose he’s responsible for appointing shady people, but he should also receive a great deal more credit than he gets for actually returning the country to some semblance of “normalcy” after the fairly turbulent decade that preceded his term.”

    I’m thankful to see that you agree.

  • Just signing in for updated comments.

  • “In the fall Whimsey, I think we will give (Obama) a beating that he, his party and the
    country will long remember”. Oh Mr. McClarey, from your mouth to God’s ears…

  • “it’s astounding that the worst presidents in history are all clustered around the greatest”

    That makes sense. Difficult circumstances give top-notch people the opportunity to shine. Lincoln’s and Reagan’s greatest achievements consisted in undoing the damage caused by their predecessors.

    Two things struck me when reading these articles. First, just how morally bankrupt the three presidents elected in the 1960’s were. I usually think of “the sixties” as beginning in 1968, and being the result of baby-boomers’ excesses, but the country had some pretty bad problems from the beginning of the decade. Secondly, just how important the choice of the VP is. Too often the vice-president is chosen out of electoral calculation, a practice that offends me no matter which party does it.

    I should stop there and not get into an argument with a historian about history, but I’ve got to ask: was TR really so amazing? I’ve never been able to square his great reputation with what I see as modest accomplishments.

  • Harding Inaugural:
    “We must face the grim necessity, with full knowledge that the task is to be solved, and we must proceed with a full realization that no statute enacted by man can repeal the inexorable laws of nature. Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little. We contemplate the immediate task of putting our public household in order. We need a rigid and yet sane economy, combined with fiscal justice, and it must be attended by individual prudence and thrift, which are so essential to this trying hour and reassuring for the future. . . .

    Justice prudence and thrift– can ideas like that become politically correct again?
    help yourself to Thomas Woods article at First Principles, and a much quicker read from National Review

  • I would have George W. Bush a little higher.

  • Thanks for those Harding links, Anzlyne. They’ll make outstanding resources for my son’s presentation.

  • Barack Obama is the worst President ever. Look at our economy. Look at our national debt. Look at our budget deficits. Look at our unemployment. Look at our military and our standing around the world.

    Look at his arrogance. Look at his policies. Look at the people who he has surrounded himself with. Look at his supporters.

    57 states, his Muslim faith, Austrians speak Austrian, ad infinitum.

    James Buchanan and Jimmy Carter were not underwritten by the disgusting George Soros.

  • Peggy Noonan once said that an accurate popular assessment of JFK will not be made until the last baby boomers who vividly remember his assassination are dead. Until then, he will always reliably (and ridiculously) end up being named in polls as one of the 5 top presidents. I am not old enough to remember JFK (I clearly remember RFK’s assassination), and so I have always been startled by the hold the myth of Camelot retains on the minds of people just a few years older than me. You can not criticize JFK in the presence of my conservative Republican brother-in-law, who is from a large Irish American family. He has plenty of negative things to say about Teddy, but (I think) admitting that JFK really wasn’t the great man many took him for amounts to an emotional betrayal of a childhood idol. No matter what sort of slime comes out about JFK, people can’t bear to give up the tattered romance of Camelot.

    And, Don, you left out one of the worst things Kennedy did: permitting public employees to unionize, which even FDR believed unneccessary and against the common good. We are discovering nowadays what a ruinous mistake that was.

  • I forgot about that one Donna! In regard to Kennedy part of the warm regard that he was held in after his death was the fact that he was assassinated at a young age, and therefore an emotional sense of loss for the entire nation. I was 6 at the time and I remember the wall to wall tv coverage which was unprecedented and the great sense of national mourning. Another part of course was Catholic pride that one of us made it to the Presidency. Among our family pictures hung in our house when I was growing up, was one of the Pope and one of JFK. After his death many Catholics in this country gave him martyr status. Another factor was that he was an authentic war hero. Finally, college educated journalists on the GI bill were coming to the fore in the media, and tended to be partisan Democrats. Kennedy’s many sins were concealed and he was given usually complimentary coverage. I agree with you that a balanced assessment of Kennedy will not occur until the boomers have shuffled off this coil. (Alas, I will be among them!)

  • “Barack Obama is the worst President ever.”

    Get thee behind me PF! Do not tempt me!

  • “I would have George W. Bush a little higher.”

    As the years roll by Jasper he might. It is difficult giving an assessment of a president this close in, and without the advantage of historical perspective.

  • “I should stop there and not get into an argument with a historian about history, but I’ve got to ask: was TR really so amazing? I’ve never been able to square his great reputation with what I see as modest accomplishments.”

    Pinky, I could list TR’s accomplishments, but I do not think that gets to the heart of the matter. Most presidents are smaller than their great office. A precious few, Washington and Lincoln for example, loom larger than the office. TR was in this class. The phrase bully-pulpit came about to describe how TR used the presidency as a giant mega-phone to get his views across to the American people and persuade them. He had a deep patriotism and a belief in the greatness of this country that resonated with the country. Some presidents debase us and some enoble us, and none were better at enobling us than TR. He understood that life is a grand adventure. Sometimes it is a hard adventure and sometimes a joyous adventure, but always an adventure. TR imparted this sense of wonder and grandeur to many of his contemporaries. As one of his worst enemies once said about him, “Someone would have to hate him a lot, not to like him a little!” This quotation from him is key to understanding him and why he is in the very forefront of our presidents:

    “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

  • “I just hope that you don’t rank poor Warren Harding last or near last. The guy gets a bum rap. My son is currently doing his project for our school’s Ohio Fair on WGH (he drew the name out of a hat).”

    There was much that was great in Harding, Jay. Here is a little anecdote. In the 1920 campaign the Democrats started a whispering campaign that Harding was a mulatto. This was a time of virulent bitter racism. When Harding was asked one would have expected him to bitterly deny it. Instead he merely shrugged his shoulders and said that he had no idea if one of his ancestors had jumped over the wood pile. (Successfully passed for white.) That took considerable political courage, in that he did not kow tow to the race baiting tactics of the Democrats.

    Another anecdote. In one of the scandals that beset his administration he got his hands on one of the perpetrators, called him a dirty rat, and shook him like a terrier. Like Grant Harding was personally honest, but like Grant he was too easily taken in by corrupt politicians. Harding was unlucky in that he died before he could before he could completely clean up his administration, but he had made a good start before his death.

    The historical scholarship on Harding is weak, and the need for a full blown scholarly study of this presidency is great.

  • “I still would hold off rating W and Clinton as they are still of too recent a vintage to judge objectively, but otherwise I think this is spot on. ”

    Ratings of most presidents, as with most historical figures, should have stamped on them PROVISIONAL until we are at least a century out.

  • I think the first part of your rankings are right on…however, I think more time will be necessary to properly place the Presidents of the last 50 years in proper perspective. Just as some have mentioned, Kennedy is way over valued by many. I think the same could be said for Reagan (and certainly Bush I). I think Clinton will actually move up a bit. And as far as Bush II, I think quite honestly that he will fall down to the bottom to reside where Obama seems to be now. The saddest thing about Obama is that while he has been everything we, on the right, feared he would be. He has truthfully done none of the good things I hoped he would accomplish. All of the worst things about Bush, he has maintained (Gitmo, torture, the escalation of the attack on our rights started with the Patriot Act, multiple wars, etc.) Given an opportunity to truly do something for the poor and those in need — he extending from Bush — has championed big bailouts to industry and Wall Street, while championing a health care bill that solves none of the problems of health care and actually provides less than the system he tried to undo. Bush II and Obama will go down as the worst Presidents in our time. Together.

  • Instead he merely shrugged his shoulders and said that he had no idea if one of his ancestors had jumped over the wood pile. (Successfully passed for white.)

    I don’t think that’s an accurate explanation of the expression. I’ve never heard that expression before, but I’m sure it’s a cleaned-up version of “having a nigger in the woodpile”, which refers to having a fling with a black person.

  • The precise phrase used by Harding was apparently “jumped the fence”.

  • Warren Harding was pretty good on matters of race; I like to think he was a pretty fair man… smart enough to turn his back on the League of Nations.
    among other issues he had to deal with Wobblies, the growing socialist movement,… he did pardon the dying Eugene Debs —
    He remained a person of calm and peace. I will say he was too loyal to his friends though!

  • Also, some of the greatest/highest rated presidents didn’t appear all that great when they were elected or took office. Lincoln was just a one-term congressman and failed Senate candidate, whom abolitionists regarded as too soft on slavery and Southerners regarded as dangerously radical. Truman was merely a “machine” politician and onetime haberdasher whom nearly everyone thought would be trounced by the much slicker Thomas Dewey. And Reagan, of course, was “only” a has-been actor.

  • “In regard to Kennedy part of the warm regard that he was held in after his death was the fact that he was assassinated at a young age, and therefore an emotional sense of loss for the entire nation.”

    I do not remember the JFK assassination as I was still 2 months away from being born at the time, but I do recall my mom telling me that she cried quite a lot during those four days even though she was a staunch Republican and did not vote for him. I presume this “warm regard” for JFK passed down to the other Kennedys, and was magnified further by RFK’s tragic death. That is probably the biggest reason why Ted Kennedy got a “pass” throughout his life with regard to his womanizing, other bad habits and his extreme leftism. Also, because JFK died before Vietnam, urban rioting and social unrest really got out of control it’s easy for people to assume or fantasize that those things would never have happened had he lived and been reelected.

  • well I was 12 when he was elected– we loved him at my house– it was also around that time that I became something of a Catholic apologist– if you weren’t around in those days you might not be so aware of the really strong fears of a Catholic president– depending on where you lived I am sure. but I knew intelligent well educated people who talked about a Catholic takeover– even thinking Catholics were arming and keeping their magazine of arms in parish halls and church basements. In recent years I heard a famous evangelical admit watching the people file past the coffin in the rotunda, fully expecting the corpse of the ‘anti Christ” to somehow sit up in the casket
    this link shows you a JFK press conference– interesting because I think we all get a little anachronistic sometimes– and interesting because I think it is probably the first time BIRTH CONTROL was the subject of a question during a presidential press conference!

  • looks like I am busy defending two presidents I think you have underrated!
    This interview with Walter Cronkite is wide ranging and informative– interesting about the economy and the job situation. I liked the civility.
    And the depth of thinking of those days– it wasn’t such a bumper sticker world.

  • In 2012, I think JFK would be far too conservative for the GOP. He would make liberals’ head explode. I believe his fiscal policy included tax cuts and emphasis on private sector job creation: 180-degrees opposite today’s Dems. Tax cuts . . .

  • In my opinion, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt should rank lower. During the Philippine-American War, hundreds of thousands of Filipino civilians and soldiers died, if only for the crime of wanting to be independent.

  • Theodore Roosevelt was the man that brought the war to an end and established the first elected legislature in the history of the Philippines. The idea that the Philippines would have remained independent if the US had withdrawn is fanciful. They would quickly have found themselves a colony of Japan. Of course the idea that any local group would have been recogized as the government by all Filipinos at the time is also fanciful.

  • The conflict had many of the marks of an unjust war. American diplomats informally and clandestinely promised the Filipinos that if they rebelled against Spain, they would help the Philippines become independent. Unsurprisingly, American foreign policy had ulterior motives all along. When the Filipinos realized that a fast one had been pulled on them, they did what they did.

    And let’s not forget that the American military used concentration camps on the Filipinos.

  • Also, the Germans were very interested in obtaining the Philippines, even as Dewey was trying to enforce a blockade of Manila Bay. Certainly, if the islands would not have remained in American hands, it would have ended up as a possession of an imperial power.

  • Well, then, the conquerors who end up owning the Philippines by force of arms will have blood on their hands, and they will be the wrongdoers.

    Why don’t you start a post – Was the Philippine-American War an unjust war?

  • An interesting question Nathan.

    Additional interesting questions:

    Was the US unjust in depriving Spain of the Philippines as a colony?

    What was the overall impact of American institutions imported to the Philippines?

    The record of the US as a colonial power in the Philippines?
    How would the Philippines have fared as a Japanese colony?

    Self government extended to the Philippines, beginning with the elected legislature in 1907, through Commonwealth status in 1935 and full independence in 1945: too slow, too fast or just right?

    Why did the Filipinos and the Americans fight so fiercely against the Japanese invaders in 1941-1945?

    Should the Philippines have been kept as a unitary state or would it have been fairer to have portions, notably Mindanao, as an indepedent state?

    What does it say about the Filipino colonial experience that a popular way of describing it in the Philippines is four centuries in a convent and forty years in Hollywood?

  • I think a fair assessment of the American involvement in the Philippines is at the link below:

  • Some quick assessments:

    “What was the overall impact of American institutions imported to the Philippines?” The obvious answer is that the Philippines was pulled into the English-speaking world, which opened some doors culturally and economically. The non-obvious answer is that Filipino Catholicism became better connected to the people (an unintended consequence, perhaps). A grievance Filipino Catholics had against Spain was they wanted more Filipino priests to minister to them. When the Americans took over, they (slowly) allowed more Filipino priests to serve.

    “How would the Philippines have fared as a Japanese colony?” It depends on how the colonizers gain control. In 1941, the Japanese arrived as invaders, ensuring that the Filipinos would view them with enmity. Generally, it is better to acquire colonies non-violently than violently.

    “Why did the Filipinos and the Americans fight so fiercely against the Japanese invaders in 1941-1945?” I think Filipinos would have a simple answer – because their homeland was invaded! As for Americans, it was the right thing to do, and they really did not expect any mercy from the Japanese if they surrendered.

  • Actually Nathan the united fierce resistance by Filipinos and Americans to the Japanese was unusual. Throughout Asia the Japanese posed as liberators, come to free their Asian brothers from their white overlords. Most native populations intially collaborated with the Japanese and put up no fight against the Japanese, later learning to their sorrow that the Japanese came as new masters and not as brothers. Such was not the case in the Philippines with resistance never ending until liberation in 1945, and with Americans joining in the valiant guerilla war waged by the Filipinos against the Japanese.

  • Well, you have to remember that by 1941, the Americans had already promised to grant independence to the Philippines, and that promise was backed by the Tydings-McDuffie Law. When the Japanese invaded in 1941, Filipinos trusted the Americans more than the Japanese. Also, you have to consider the cultural factor. Culturally, Filipinos as a Christian and English-speaking people would have felt more affinity to America (and the broader Western world) than to the Japanese. The Philippines is geographically in Asia, but in many cultural aspects it belongs more to the West.

    I will also add that many Americans stationed in the Philippines grew fond of their adopted country, among them being General Douglas MacArthur.

  • In fact, General MacArthur is remembered more fondly over there than in his native country.

  • Quite right Nathan. I think over the years many Americans in the Philippines grew to think of that country as home, and many Filipinos grew fond of aspects of American culture and society. The relationship between the two countries got off to the rockiest of starts, but by the time of the Japanese invasion it had developed into a fruitful partnership. A quarter of a million Americans live in the Philippines and there are 3.4 million Filipino Americans.

  • Say hello to one of those 3.4 million, and a descendant of one of those guerillas for good measure.

  • I suspected as much Nathan! Bravo! Two of my uncles participated in the liberation of the Philippines. They came back enchanted by the country and the people and their stories awakened in their nephew an interest in the history of that faraway land.

  • I didn’t see Woodrow Wilson or FDR on this list, which means they must be in the top 23. This list loses all credibility immediately.

There Is No Right to Privacy in the Constitution

Monday, February 20, AD 2012

In other words, Santorum is right and his hardcore libertarian opponents are wrong.

Rick Santorum has stated that he believes that there is no right to privacy in the Constitution.  Therefore, Supreme Court decisions such as Griswold v. Connecticut (striking down Connecticut’s anti-contraception statutes) and Lawrence v. Texas (striking down Texas’s anti-homosexual sodomy laws) were wrong.

Mitt Romney artfully dodged this question at a recent debate, so Santorum’s coming under fire for stating what should be taken as a given among so-called conservative constitutionalists.  As indicated in prior posts, Santorum does not suggest that he would personally favor such laws; in fact he has expressly stated that he would not vote for laws that banned contraception or sodomy.

Santorum’s main fault, evidently, is that he is expressing an originalist understanding of the constitution.  Both of the decisions referenced above were gross miscarriages of constitutional justice.  No matter what you think of the laws in questions, Supreme Court Justices are supposed to decide cases based on the constitution, not their personal policy preferences.   In both cases, the majority opinion was based on policy, though justified with a thin veneer of constitutional justification.

In the case of Griswold, Justice William O. Douglas wrote the famous majority opinion in which he stated that though there is no right to privacy expressly stated in the constitution, it is found in “penumbras” and “emanations” found in other constitutional rights.  Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence, relying heavily on the concept of substantive due process, a legal concept that has enabled the Court to completely trample on states’ rights.  In other words, the Court struck down state laws that ran afoul of no direct constitutional prohibition.  The writers of these majority decisions had to contort the plain meaning of the document in order to justify a decision they had already reached without reference to the constitutional text.

Both of these cases sparked notable dissenting opinions.  Potter Stewart in Griswold and Clarence Thomas in Lawrence said much the same thing: the law under consideration is uncommonly silly, and if i were a legislator in this particular state I would vote against such a law.  But my job as a jurist is to determine whether the law is constitutional or not, and neither Stewart or Thomas considered the law in either case to run afoul of the constitution.  The sentiment expressed by both Stewart and Thomas should inform any intellectually honest jurist.

Justice Arthur Goldberg offered a concurring opinion in Griswold that some conservatives have found to be more compelling, citing the Ninth Amendment as justification for striking down the Connecticut statute.  The problem with this rationale is that the ninth amendment ought to be read in conjunction with the tenth.  The Bill of Rights in general were meant to be restrictions placed upon the federal government.  The ninth and tenth amendments exists because the framers of the Bill of Rights fretted that the Bill of Rights would be read to imply that only the rights contained therein were protected.  in fact many of the opponents of the Bill of Rights opposed creating such a list precisely because they believed that a specific enumeration of rights would imply that rights not listed were not protected. So the ninth amendment assures us that the first eight amendments are not an exhaustive list of protections.  But again, this has to be read in light of the purpose of restricting the power of the federal government.  It is not a broad grant of individual rights, but an assurance that the federal government could not augment its reach beyond certain delineated fields. If anything, the ninth amendment should be used as a cudgel against the Court and the federal government in general in their attempts to restrict states rights.

Therefore I find it odd that those who claim to be averse to a centralized, big brother government are content with said government being able to strike down state laws for no other than the laws in question are of questionable value.  It suggests to me that those who cry “Nanny Statist!” with regards to Rick Santorum ought to look in the mirror.

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11 Responses to There Is No Right to Privacy in the Constitution

  • Hear, hear!

    No area of ConLaw is more messed up than those dealing with human sexuality. Whatever else can be said of the Church’s teaching, at least it is cohesive.

    Scalia ripped the “reasoning” in Lawrence precisely because Kennedy sought to dodge the logical extensions of the Court’s meddling. The Court isn’t alone of course in its refusal to drive logic out to its conclusion. We see the same lack of insight or honest acceptance of responsibility for consequences in Obamacare’s creation of an enforcable right to contraceptive drugs.

  • Griswold is part of the school of constitutional jurisprudence known as “making it up as we go along”. The idea that the Constitution prevents a state from banning contraceptives, or French envelopes as the Founding Fathers would have referred to the only contraceptives they were aware of, would have struck them as a poor attempt at an off color joke.

  • I also enjoy reading Justice Black’s dissent in Griswold. A good excerpt:

    My Brother GOLDBERG has adopted the recent discovery that the Ninth Amendment as well as the Due Process Clause can be used by this Court as authority to strike down all state legislation which this Court thinks violates “fundamental principles of liberty and justice,” or is contrary to the “traditions and [collective] conscience of our people.” He also states, without proof satisfactory to me, that, in making decisions on this basis, judges will not consider “their personal and private notions.” One may ask how they can avoid considering them. Our Court certainly has no machinery with which to take a Gallup Poll. And the scientific miracles of this age have not yet produced a gadget which the Court can use to determine what traditions are rooted in the “[collective] conscience of our people.” Moreover, one would certainly have to look far beyond the language of the Ninth Amendment to find that the Framers vested in this Court any such awesome veto powers over lawmaking, either by the States or by the Congress. Nor does anything in the history of the Amendment offer any support for such a shocking doctrine. The whole history of the adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights points the other way, and the very material quoted by my Brother GOLDBERG shows that the Ninth Amendment was intended to protect against the idea that, “by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power” to the Federal Government, “those rights which were not singled out were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government [the United States], and were consequently insecure.” That Amendment was passed not to broaden the powers of this Court or any other department of “the General Government,” but, as every student of history knows, to assure the people that the Constitution in all its provisions was intended to limit the Federal Government to the powers granted expressly or by necessary implication. If any broad, unlimited power to hold laws unconstitutional because they offend what this Court conceives to be the “[collective] conscience of our people” is vested in this Court by the Ninth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, or any other provision of the Constitution, it was not given by the Framers, but rather has been bestowed on the Court by the Court. This fact is perhaps responsible for the peculiar phenomenon that, for a period of a century and a half, no serious suggestion was ever made that the Ninth Amendment, enacted to protect state powers against federal invasion, could be used as a weapon of federal power to prevent state legislatures from passing laws they consider appropriate to govern local affairs. Use of any such broad, unbounded judicial authority would make of this Court’s members a day-to-day constitutional convention.

  • Thanks Jonathan. That really gets to the heart of the matter. It’s kind of sad that most of the great opinions written in Supreme Court history were dissents.

    BTW, I went and edited the post some. Perhaps for Lent I’ll strive to give up making egregious typos.

  • Welcome, Paul!

    Glad to put my conlaw teaching moments to work for a good cause.

    Also, I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the various photos which you, I, and Donald use as our “avatars”.

  • Also, Paul – I may have forgotten to mention it. I got my J.D. from CUA in 2005.

  • I wasn’t aware of that. I knew many people in the previous two classes. I probably spent more time inside the law school than in my own department.

  • Paul,

    If you were involved with the Catholic groups at all, then we probably ran in some of the same circles of people.

  • I graduated from Duke Law in 1983 and was taught Con Law by the truly great Wm. Van Alstyne. While very much a pro choice liberal, he expressed disdain for Roe and discomfort with Griswold. Back then there were more honest liberals. Jonathan an Paul, I suspect you would have aced his course — not easy to do. He was (and still is) a masterful and entertaining teacher. He would have made a terrific Supreme Court Justice, but alas he was known by Republicans as a liberal Dem and by Dems as a honest constitutional scholar. Not a chance.

  • Mike,

    Thank you for the compliment, though my own constitutional law score unfortunately belies any deeper analytic ability in the region.

    It seems to me that at lease some among an older generation, perhaps those with memories of the wars, was at least vaguely (if not acutely) aware of the problems of government exceeding constitutionally defined limits. They also seemed able to separate approval of outcome from reasoning used to get there, and (as Justice Black seemed to say) refused to engaged in “good feeling” as a justification.


  • I did not study law at all in college, so my legal acumen is somewhere between my ability to speak Chinese (non-existant) and my ability to play basketball (laughable.)

    So, to the learned members of the impropmtu panel here assembled, I would pose the following question, which has bothered me for some time:

    Is it at all noticable that an overmuch amount of the secular/humanist/progressive/leftist effort at diluting Constitutional substance is in the areas having to do with sex and/or marriage? Between the current administration’s HHS “mandate,” Roe v Wade, the cases mentioned above in the OP and an assortment of other notable instances, sex seems to be the favorite weapon swung by the Godless fascists.

    The reasons I note this are A) it’s also the main topic of much of the Gospels, Paul’s letters and Scriptural treatises on righteous behavior – singled out for reasons well-known but too many and deep to go into here, and B) because it seems to escape the grasps of much of the high-level legal community.

    Those who attack our republican system of civic self-government with limited Federal oversight use sex as the main assault vehicle in undermining the very origin of rights as informed by the Constitution; granted by God. They attack faith in God by appealing to fleshly desires; by saying “it’s OK, times have changed, be free!” they render obedience to God moot, and then God Himself becomes little more than an archaic cartoon charcter. With that degeneration, the philosophical ability to withstand the humanist/totalitarian onslaught becomes at best arguable and at worst meaningless.

    It’s deliberate, generational and caustic. I just wonder why there’s never been any broad-brushed recognition of this avenue of attack. But, then again, I’m not a lawyer.

Goerge Weigel: The Betrayal of Religious Freedom by Liberal Catholics

Monday, February 20, AD 2012


George Weigel has a post on National Review Online regarding the betrayal by some liberal Catholics of religious freedom in regard to the HHS Mandate:

Thus “liberal Catholics” who refuse to grasp the threats to religious freedom posed by the Obama administration on so many fronts — the HHS mandate, the EEOC’s recently rejected attempt to strip the “ministerial exemption” from employment law, the State Department’s dumbing-down of religious freedom to a mere “freedom of worship” — are betraying the best of their own heritage. And some are doing it in a particularly nasty way, trying to recruit the memory of John Courtney Murray as an ally in their attempts to cover for the Obama administration’s turning its de facto secularist bias into de jure policy, regulations, and mandates. More than 50 years ago, Murray warned of the dangers deracinated secularism posed to the American democratic experiment: a warning that seems quite prescient in the light of the Leviathan-like politics of this administration, aided and abetted by baptized secularists who insist that they are “liberal Catholics.” I daresay Murray, who did not suffer fools gladly, would not be amused by those who now try to use his work to shore up their own hollow arguments on behalf of the establishment of secularism.

The HHS-mandate battle is bringing to the surface of our public life many problems that were long hidden: the real and present danger to civil society of certain forms of Enlightenment thinking; the determination of the promoters of the sexual revolution to use state coercion to impose their agenda on society; the failure of the Catholic Church to educate the faithful in its own social doctrine; the reluctance of the U.S. bishops’ conference to forcefully apply that social doctrine — especially its principle of subsidiarity — during the Obamacare debate. To that list can now be added one more sad reality, long suspected but now unmistakably clear: the utter incoherence of 21st-century liberal Catholicism, revealed by its failure to defend its own intellectual patrimony: the truth of religious freedom as the first of human rights. That liberal Catholics have done so in order to play court chaplain to overweening and harshly secularist state power compounds that tragedy, with deep historical irony.

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5 Responses to Goerge Weigel: The Betrayal of Religious Freedom by Liberal Catholics

  • The response of liberal (small ‘c’) catholics, “We have no King but Caesar” (Jn 19:16).

  • Excellent Marc,

    I think they would declare, “We have no religion but socialism.”

    Judas hanged himself.

    Hanging is too good for them.

  • If you have the stomach, check out the commenters at HuffPo and Daily Kos on any subject pertaining to Catholicism (or Christianity as a whole, for that matter). The Catholic Left managed the feat of overlooking and ignoring the demented, raging hatred the secular Left has for all Western religions for many years, although doing so is akin to eating a popsicle while sitting next to a wasp’s nest and imaging that you will be left alone because you’re not poking the nest with a stick. Just being there is going to get you stung. I would commend them for being charitable (if naive), but I noticed quite a while ago that that leftist Catholics never display the same charity to conservative Catholics that they to toward Obama, Pelosi, Hugo Chavez and any other tyrant who uses the term “social justice.” Those 2 magic words absolve all sins, it seems.

  • Sadly, I recently talked to someone I knew in high school– their mom was the “Sunday school” teacher. (folks who’ve heard me complain about my education in the faith know she was…well intentioned, and that’s the biggest praise I can offer)

    Basically: they love the idea of forcing someone else to buy their free-sex supplies, and can’t see how there’s any issue with it. Anything that gets trampled in the rush wasn’t worth saving, anyways.

    There’s a reason I don’t socialize with my generation all that much, and haven’t since I was forced to share a room with them for hours a day.

  • The polestar of liberal American Catholicism is opposition to Humanae Vitae. Full stop.

    They’d sacrifice social justice on that altar in a heartbeat.

Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

Monday, February 20, AD 2012


Ashley Samelson McGuire of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty noted the use of the term “Freedom of Worship” rather than the usual “Freedom of Religion” by Obama back in 2010 in several speeches:

Freedom of worship” first appeared in a high profile speech in Obama’s remarks at the memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting last November, a few months after his Cairo speech. Speaking to the crowd gathered to commemorate the victims, President Obama said, “We’re a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses.” Given the religious tension that marked the tragic incident, it was not an insignificant event at which to unveil a new way of referring to our First Freedom.

Shortly after his remarks at Ft. Hood, President Obama left for his trip to Asia, where he repeatedly referred to “freedom of worship,” and not once to “freedom of religion.”

Not long after his return, “freedom of worship” appeared in two prominent speeches delivered by Secretary Clinton. In her address to Georgetown University outlining the Obama Administration’s human rights agenda she used “freedom of worship” three times, “freedom of religion,” not once. About a month later, in an address to Senators on internet freedom at the Newseum, the phrase popped up in her lingo once again.

To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling.
The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves—yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.


Those who would limit religious practice to the cathedral and the home are the very same people who would strip the public square of any religious presence. They are working to tear down roadside memorial crosses built to commemorate fallen state troopers in Utah, to strip “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and they recently stopped a protester from entering an art gallery because she wore a pro-life pin.

The effort to squash religion into the private sphere is on the rise around the world. And it’s not just confined to totalitarian regimes like Saudi Arabia. In France, students at public schools cannot wear headscarves, yarmulkes, or large crucifixes. The European Court of Human Rights has banned crucifixes from the walls of Italian schools. In Indonesia, the Constitutional Court is reviewing a law that criminalizes speech considered “blasphemous” to other faiths. Efforts to trim religion into something that fits neatly in one’s pocket is the work of dictators, not democratic leaders. So why then have our leaders taken a rhetorical scalpel to the concept of religious freedom?

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9 Responses to Father Barron Explains What the Obama Administration Means by “Freedom of Worship”

  • Going back to the founding principles of The Declaration of independence, we read that all men are created equal and endowed by our CREATOR. By causing a vacuum in the religious expression of Faith, Obama pretends to become our savior. Obama pretends to become our savior on two fronts 1) by imposing himself as a remedy to fill a need for God for his constitutents, while Obama has employed his power to render God incommunicato and ostracized. a giant fraud 2) by imposing himself as the only interpretation of our founding principles, The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Both must be ratified by two-thirds of the states for any change to be lawful. Obama violates his constituency by denying their conscience rights and free will. Obama violates the First Amendment by refusing to permit his constitutents freedom to exercise their conscience and free will. “One person cannot own another person” A. Lincoln. It is called slavery. Obama has created hell on earth and he calls it change. but there is hope. I will vote for Santorum in the next election.

  • If Obama wins, then the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are gone. Expect to see Bishops and Priests imprisoned for refusing to support HHS, and Catholic laity fired from their jobs on the pretext of being terrorists because they are pro-life. Just watch TV and see how pro-life people are routinely referred to as terrorists. This is all a part of the programming done by the main stream media for Obama.

  • Paul
    The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution must be taught in our public schools, every day and in every class.

  • I think the switch to “freedom of worship” and the Obama’s other anti-religious attitudes may be partly because of its pro-homosexuality attitude. The Obama administration is committed to advancing homosexuality worldwide and does not want religious objections to get in the way. Since some objections are based on religion, and allowing “freedom of religion” could hinder the administration’s homosexual goals, “freedom of religion” must be curtailed.

  • My goodness, I have to invest in a company that makes fainting couches. In a world full of real problems the ones that people invent are awfully stupid. You people seriously need to get a grip on reality.

  • Reserve one of your fainting couches for yourself come election night Gus. I suspect you are going to need it.

  • Homosexual filth, murder of the unborn and contraception are very real problems and until these are dealt with, we can expect all the other problems of society to continue to become greater and greater until society itself collapses. This November we have a chance to help in stopping that sad decline. Unfortunately, too many people want social justice and the common good without personal righteousness and holiness. That’s not how God made the universe to work.

  • The most effective solution to the real problems ruining America is to vote out Obama and all dems.

    Remember in November.

  • 12:42: That statement about problems and reality works two ways.

3 Responses to February 20, 1962: God Speed John Glenn

A “leaven at work” in the world of politics?

Monday, February 20, AD 2012

The Associated Press has published a list identifying several of the ways Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s absolutist principles render him completely unacceptable to the majority of American voters as a potential President of the United States.


According to the Associated Press report, just how unacceptable is Santorum?

Birth control: Santorum says he wouldn’t take away the pill or condoms, but believes the 50 states should be free to ban them if they want.  He also argues that the Supreme Court erred when it ruled in 1965 that married Americans have a right to privacy that includes the use of contraceptives. If that’s not bad enough, Santorum told the Christian blog “Caffeinated Thoughts” that as President he would warn the nation about “the dangers of contraception” and the permissive culture it encourages.

Thought it couldn’t get worse?

Santorum told “CBS This Morning” that he wants to promote abstinence “as a healthier alternative” to birth control.

Working women: Santorum believes that parents in two-income families aren’t doing what’s best for the kids.  He has written:

For some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home.

Santorum believes the ideal of a family where both parents work in order to accrue greater material benefits was created by “radical feminists” who are “convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.”

Women in combat: Santorum is against women in combat, especially closer to the front.  Santorum also says the differences in physical abilities between men and women aren’t being taken into account.  And, get this: Fighting men will be distracted by their “natural instinct” to protect women, Santorum believes.

Homosexuals in the military:  As President, Santorum will reinstate the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy.  Lifting the ban was social engineering, he believes, and “sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.” He added:  “Keep it to yourself whether you’re a heterosexual or a homosexual.”

Abortion: Santorum favors amending the Constitution to ban abortion.  Believing that human life begins at conception, he also believes that doctors who perform abortions should be charged as criminals.  Santorum likens women who have abortions to 19th-century slaveholders and has written that “unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave.”  Previously, Santorum supported allowing abortions in cases of rape or incest, but now says “no” to those exceptions.


Obviously, Rick Santorum’s stands on these social issues are so far out of the mainstream, the Associated Press suggests, that he’s absolutely and completely unacceptable as a candidate for President.  The Associated Press writes:

Most Americans don’t share Rick Santorum’s absolutist take on abortion. He’s out of step on women in combat. He questions the values of the two-thirds of mothers who work. He’s even troubled by something as commonplace as birth control — for married couples.

The problem with this particular analysis is that Rick Santorum is generating serious interest on the part of Republican primary voters.  Polls indicate that he may beat Mitt Romney in his home state of Michigan.

In light of these facts, it may be that the Associated Press’ editors thought that it’s time to run some articles scrutinizing Santorum’s “negative” record on social issues.  And, why not use polls to “prove” that the candidate is way outside even the Republican mainstream!

Think The Motley Monk crazy?

Read the Associated Press comment:

And if he becomes the GOP nominee, some of his ideas would probably be surprising, even puzzling, to general election voters.

Suprising?  Puzzling?


How about “countercultural,” “principled,” and rooted in the faith of the Catholic Church?

Might it be that Rick Santorum’s candidacy is one envisioned by Vatican II in the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and is just the tonic needed for a culture many of whose members have been charmed by the false promises of  secularism, materialism, and consumerism?

The Council wrote:

In the Church there is a diversity of ministry but a oneness of mission. Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in His name and power. But the laity likewise share in the priestly, prophetic, and royal office of Christ and therefore have their own share in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world.

They exercise the apostolate in fact by their activity directed to the evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ. (#2c-d)



To read the Associated Press report, click on the following link:

To read the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:


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35 Responses to A “leaven at work” in the world of politics?

  • I admit the working women comment troubles me. The point I would make is that not all families do this just because they want to. Sometimes they are financially strapped and have no choice.

    Also, however, is the issue of choice. When I have asked questions like “what if a woman wants to be a CEO” and “What if a woman wants to serve on the front lines in combat” I have sometimes heard the argument that just because a person wants something doesn’t mean they should get it. The problem I have with this idea is that we as a society would say, for example, a son doesn’t have to choose the career his father had. He can make his own path. We do take choice into account on such matters. Why shouldn’t women be accorded that?

    Finally, I would point out the Catholic Church has not expressly banned such things. In fact, in the Middle Ages women in Catholic England were allowed to manage storefronts, and great Saints like Joan of Arc lead men in battle. We even have a couple of saintly Catholic queens who have been military and political rulers in their own right. I just don’t see the contradiction.

    I don’t say any of this out of hatred for Mr. Santorum. Rather than hate him, I feel curiosity about where his campaign will go. However, when I hear comments like this about women I get concerned.

  • I am afraid AP may be correct.

    Obama needs his trillion-dollar propaganda apparatus to rant 24/7 about sex while America’s going broke.

    Santorum will not be elected if he allows the “conversation” to be diverted from pharaoh’s assaults on all liberty and the horrid economic ruin which Obama has unleashed.

    Rick’s response to all detractions should be: “There you go again!” He needs to keep responding with how bad Obama is doing and how he will save our country and our way of life.

    Re: The “majority of the electorate”:

    What percentage of the electorate are women who, if economic necessity (high food/fuel prices, high rents, high local taxes, low wages) did not require it, would rather spend their days with their children? In other words, how much of the electorate think their children are burdens?

    What percentage of the women electorate wishes to have the opportunity to be a combat casualty?

    What percentage of the electorate is both gay and wants to be a combat casualty?


  • It is interesting that suggesting that most two income families would be better served by one person staying home is interpreted as being about women, not about being about children.

    Many families long to make that choice and it need not be the mother who stays home.

    In only one household I know, have the parents made the choice of the father staying home. Their house is great because the projects don’t linger like they do at my house. (Imagine beginning an household project and working on it every day until it was done!)

  • I don’t think Rick has the discipline to keep from being soundbitten to death. Even if just one question in twenty, or five minutes out of an hour, is devoted to a social issue, that’s all Obama’s Media Auxiliary (see, e.g., the oily crapweasel Charlie Rose) is going to highlight. Even though it’s abundantly clear that the President is quite the hard-left culture warrior himself.

    Yes, social issues can be a winner, but only as part of an overall package of concerns. He needs to swing the economic populist hammer and the his proxies fight the culture war. He has to frame the narrative, starting now. He’s too easily distracted and led down the primrose path.

  • One of the female attorneys in our office, who is quite liberal, often remarks that she would rather be a stay at home mom. Go figure.

    Yes, materialism is a problem. But I think, sadly, the AP is right about the mainstream American views on most of these issues. It may be hard to come up with sound bites that explain the connection between Rick’s social views and prosperity as a nation, but I suggest his team come up with some.

    As for the career choice of women, I do not have a problem with it as long as it is truly based upon merit and ability, and not just a quota thing.

    I also tend to disagree with him on the cause/intent behind the two income family (but not the resultant harm). Feminism may have something to do with, but feminism is just being used as the tool. The state wants to destroy the basic family unit (particularly the middle class one), and by increasing the cost of living beyond the means of a single wage earner, it has effectively done so. With the parents gone most the day and burnt out when they get home, the state (including its megaproduced culture) gets the kids dang near 24/7. This way the state has no competition for the minds and morals of its citizens. The Church is also in the crosshairs, as we have seen.

  • He kind of looks like a younger Tom Hanks. Maybe that will confuse some of the liberal voters and he will pick up some.

  • The phrase “be in the world but not of the world” comes to mind for Catholics who wish to remain faithful yet engaged. Santorum has yet to figure out how to do this on a Presidential scale.

    His stand is courageous but he is not electable. He is not someone any conservative Catholic voter should be serious in considering as he not shown the crucial ability to market conservatism to the great unwashed. The Alan Keyes syndrome is on full display.

  • The thing is Paul, I would rather vote for someone who is, well, authentic… I don’t trust my ability to figure who the general electorate will vote for. I recognize an authentic Christian when I see one though.

    Santorum probably won’t make it to the General Election but he has my vote in the April Primary.

  • Paul D:

    Well, the Keyes comparison is ridiculous. Santorum won four elections in Pennsylvania as a socon, which counts for something.

    Keyes never won squat.

  • Santorum earned $923,000 in 2010 and he does the selfish two earner routine on couples saving for their kids’ colleges…. as though they are saving to buy his Audi? Bring back Newt with the moon colony….it’s starting to look sane.

  • I want the strongest possible Republican to run against Obama in the fall and that is one of the reasons I am backing Santorum. Romney has shown himself to be overall a lacklustre campaigner in the primaries and I believe in the general election he would be just as lifeless. In trial heats against Obama, Santorum tends to run just as well against Obama as does Romney, which is remarkable considering how much money Romney has, how little Santorum has, and the predictable bad press Santorum has been getting from Obama’s unpaid press agents in the mainstream media. I also suspect that we are now seeing Obama at his top in the polls. Gas prices are expected to hit $5.00 in the Summer, and that could be optimistic if we are faced, as I think we may well be, with a war with Iran. I believe this election is quite winnable for any Republican and particularly Santorum with his blue collar Reagan Democrat appeal.

  • “won four elections in Pennsylvania”

    His first run for Congress he beat a seven term Democrat in a 2-1 Democrat district. In his second run, after redistricting, he won in a 3-1 Democrat district with 61% of the vote. People look at his election defeat in 2006, but his other campaigns, and his performance in the primaries, indicate that Santorum is a formidable campaigner who has a record of winning Democrats to his side.

  • What Dale Price said. I’ve warmed up to Santorum lately, as I’ve reviewed his record and have seen that he is more fiscally conservative than I thought he was and more fiscally conservative than Mitt. But if he’s the nominee, the treatment he’ll receive from the MSM will make their treatment of Palin look gentle in comparison. The SNL skits write themselves. We will hear 24/7 about how medieval Rick wants all women barefoot and pregnant and chained to the stove – and not only independents but some Republicans will buy it. I am disgusted with my own gender sometimes – how easily many women are played for fools by the MSM and organizations like PP.

    You have to hand it to the Dems – they don’t know how to govern, but they sure do know how to run, with help from their media friends. Distraction, diversion, the Big Lie: Goebbels would be proud of them.

    And then I look over at Mitt and see Flipper is praising the trees of Michigan – and I just want to start crying. I find myself actually hoping for $5 a gallon gas this summer, which would hurt me and the rest of America – and then I feel unpatriotic.

    However, if things get bad and the GOP candidate pulls ahead of Obama in the polls in the fall, well, I expect the Dems will have their own version of the Reichstag Fire in October. I don’t put anything past them.

  • Prudence dictates submitting the strongest conservative candidate to the coliseum in hopes that he survives the gladiatorial onslaught. One of the qualities of a battle hardened conservative, especially true for a sincere catholic, is the ability to express a worldview steeped in conservative philosophy/theology that is easily palatable for consumption.

    Santorum for all his conservative bona fides hasn’t demonstrated an ability to effectively communicate his deep seated, perfectly sound beliefs. One theory would be that these were not on the table in his state elections (eg, during which one of his four election wins did he last discuss contraception vis a vis the Culture of Death). The distinct impression is that these issues were glossed over and he is only now giving voice to them for the first time in any significant way. On the national stage there has been scant evidence that he can successfully navigate these issues without appearing as an out of touch preachy puritan, a la Alan Keyes.

  • I suffered through Alan Keyes’ miserable campaign for the US Senate in Illinois in 2004 when he handed Obama a Senate seat losing 70-30. Santorum has absolutely nothing in common with that joke.

  • In the latest Rasmussen tracking poll Obama beats Romney by four and Santorum by three. Time for Romney to bow out and make way for a more electable candidate!

  • Don, Santorum has a huge problem with women voters – not only in 2006, but also in 2000, when it was white male voters who dragged him across the finish line. While single women always overwhelmingly vote Dem (I am very aware of being an anomoly), if you can get enough married suburban women to vote for you (as Dubya did), you can win. I honestly don’t see Santorum overcoming that, especially when he keeps right on feeding the MSM soundbites which will be used against him.

    As Glenn Reynolds – no socon – has noted, “Ladies, you’re being played.” Yes, they are, but unfortunately, I think the Dems’ play will be successful. That’s not saying much for my fellow women, but what I want to be true and what actually is are 2 different things. I remember how confident I felt in early 2008 that Americans would never elect anybody as far to the left as Obama – and here we are.

  • Santorum won in 2000 Donna by 52%-46%. That is landslide territory in a Presidential contest. That was the same election that Bush was losing Pennsylvania with 46.43% of the vote. Santorum’s vote among white women was 52%-47%.

  • “In fact, only once in polling since July 2011 has Santorum performed better in a polling matchup against the president”

    Not exactly a vote of confidence. Every trend starts somewhere but nothing to hang one’s hat on.

    Is there any better evidence in how he is campaigning today that suggests he is a worthy spokesman for conservatism?

  • You mean besides the fact that he is now the front runner to be the Republican presidential nominee, and that he has done so on a shoestring budget?

  • Don, in 2000, Santorum won 48 percent of of the votes of women as a whole.

    In 2006, Casey won 61 percent of the female vote.

    Believe me, Don, I dearly hope I am wrong and you are right. But I think the Dems have set a trap and Santorum has walked right into it.

  • Considering Donna that Santorum got 41% of the vote in total in 2006, his drop off in the female vote in that race from the male vote would seem to be minimal.

    That same year Lynn Swann, the Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, got a whole 39% of the vote. 2006 was a bad year for Republicans in Pennsylvania.

  • That is definitely moving in the right direction. As someone who is interested in his success that’s welcome. The analysis though is more on electability in the general election and in that capacity is where he will have the most difficulty.

    As a rule of thumb the more conservative one is the more deft one has to be at communicating. Santorum is thankfully more conservative than Romney but unfortunately less deft. His conservatism is writing checks his mouth can’t cash.

  • Then again, I hope otherwise.

  • The main stream media will do everything in its power to destroy Santorum, and if by some miracle he wins, they will never let up villifying, condemning and ridiculing him. He will be mercilessly persecuted. But Obama is given a free pass.

  • “I suffered through Alan Keyes’ miserable campaign for the US Senate in Illinois in 2004 when he handed Obama a Senate seat losing 70-30. Santorum has absolutely nothing in common with that joke.”

    At the point Keyes jumped in, Obama basically had that race wrapped up anyway. Keyes certainly helped Obama with the terrible campaign he waged as well as being an obvious carpetbagger. Keyes was also stupid enough to allow himself to be the GOP’s sacrificial lamb and allow them to get rid of him once and for all.

  • Great as he is on social issues, I still have some concerns with his foreign policy positions.

  • Political leavening appears to be working.

    The liberals at “Public Policy Polling” asked “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of” each president by name?

    The results: Pharaoh worse than Dubya: who up to this poll was worse than Hitler.

    The poll has 45% favorable for Bush 43, while 46% are unfavorable = net unfavorable -1.

    Obama now 46% favorable and 49% unfavorable = higher unfavorable net -3.

    Another four years of Obama and we are ruined.

  • “Keyes certainly helped Obama with the terrible campaign he waged as well as being an obvious carpetbagger.”

    I still voted for him Greg, but by the end of it I cringed to see him. He was obviously just on a vanity trip and had no intention to attempt to mount a serious effort.

  • The lame stream media response makes me keenly aware that as Catholics, we are now considered strangers in their “land”. What is considered bad soundbite material for a candidate contains what largely should be perfectly main stream. Perhaps I’m nostalgic or the world whirled by during my spiritual slumber….but I wonder who is more “out there”—a man who is shamelessly and authentically Catholic, or a man who attended a hate spewing “church” for twenty years as an Alinsky apostle, a man who would allow abortion survivors to be starved to death, a man who has no regard for any Faith save for his faith in statism. If the American ideal is to be trashed and replaced, let’s have the fight now and not in the tortured incrementalism envisioned by the establishmentarians at the Republican Party.

  • My sister in law who has an MBA from Harvard is now saying she wants to be a stay at home mom.

    Rick Santorem would make an excellent President. The man has principles.

  • oh my. did you all see Franklin Graham on Morning Joe!!?? please watch
    Need to leaven society. surrounded by wild dogs. Psalm 22:6-9

  • Jasper
    Is she going to do paid business work from home in the process as the children study or sleep. Will she be in the wsj for making great consultancy fees from home while home teaching? Full disclosure.

  • The social issues can be comfortably couched in the larger economic framework by simply staying on the message:

    “Removing the onerous burden of Government from the backs of the American people will allow them to make the decisions they wish to make, using the principles they wish to use. A minority of radicals will attempt to sway those decisions, but Americans are too smart, and too principled in the majority, to heed that failed sirens’ song. We know what works and what doesn’t, and when we are no longer being crushed under the suffocating weight of bloated bureacracy, constrictive regulations and confiscatory taxes, we will be able to return to the sane and balanced way of life that previous generations knew.

    “Only in the long run will the distractions of the Godless left fade into obscurity, but once their economic failures are exposed the rest of their web of lies will also be. Then, as we regain strength, my job will be to see that the basic framework of American Liberty, as structured in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, will be protected and that eventually the ideas and actions that made us great once before will make us great again.”

    Use that as the underlying principle and it’ll work when compared to the venom being hissed by the curent administration.

    As long as all social issues can be melded into the principles that Americans will be able to use once economic prosperity is restored, the message will fly. He just has to stay on task and not let the serpent’s tongue distract him.

    BTW, I’m a Libertarian and previous Ron Paul supporter. But, above that, I am Catholic and Mr. Santorum has my support. Once we slay the wolves that are presently at our door we can start to argue about what kind of restoration we’ll have. In the meantime, though, we have to gird our loins and work together. There may not be a 2016 election if the Obammunists stay in.

    Last aside – look for MASSIVE voter fraud in the usual Democratic strongholds in November. They are at the cusp of seizing power once and for all, and nothing is off limits. It’s a Leninist tenet that “The ends justify the means.”

Rate That President! : Part I

Monday, February 20, AD 2012

Time for my annual rant about Presidents’ Day.  I see no reason why great Presidents like Washington and Lincoln should share a date with miserable failures like James Buchanan and Jimmy Carter.  Technically the federal holiday is still George Washington’s birthday, although that makes absolutely no sense as the holiday has to fall between February 15-21, and thus can never occur on February 22, Washington’s birthday.  A popular sport for Americans has always been rating their Presidents.  All such ratings are of course subjective and mine is no exception.  I weigh the good and the ill that a particular president did and that determines his place in my ranking.  Feel free to note your disagreements in the comboxes.  Here is Part I of my list from best to worst:

1.  George Washington-The Father of our Country is the standard by which all presidents should measure themselves.  Victory in the American Revolution would have been impossible without his leadership.  At the Constitutional Convention, his quiet leadership was a steadying force for the often quarrelsome and contentious drafters.  His presence ensured that the constitution drafted would be taken seriously by the States.  As President he established endless precedents for his successors to follow, dealt successfully with the huge national debt left from the Revolution, and knit the Union together.  None of his successors come close to him except for Lincoln.

2.  Abraham Lincoln-In just a little over four years he fought and won our Civil War, ended slavery and preserved our Union.  His speeches are masterpieces of the English language.  The great tragedy for our nation is that he was slain before he could attempt to guide the nation through Reconstruction.  Washington and Lincoln are in a class by themselves.

3.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt-I believe that his policies during the New Deal were truly voodoo economics and that much of what he did was wrongheaded and retarded recovery and economic growth.  However, only a fool could deny that his raising of American morale through the New Deal was anything less than brilliant.  As a war president he was wise enough to let the generals and admirals fight the war, and, in general, he chose them wisely.  He is largely responsible for the creation of modern America, a fact that will earn him both boos and plaudits.

4.  Theodore Roosevelt-With the first Roosevelt to occupy the oval office, America strode onto the world stage.  From building the Panama Canal, resolving the Russo-Japanese War to the sailing of the Great White Fleet around the globe, Roosevelt set the framework for the American Century.

5.  James K. Polk-He settled the Oregon dispute with Great Britain and successfully waged the Mexican War which added vast territories to our country.  Few presidents have accomplished as much in two terms as Polk did in one.  He also had the good grace to die shortly after he left office, a policy some other former presidents would have been wise to emulate.

6.  Ronald Reagan-The successor to one of our worst presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan restored American prosperity and morale.  His policies initiated an economic boom which, with minor lapses, endured for almost a quarter of a century.  He masterfully brought the Cold War to a successful conclusion with an American victory.  The best president of my lifetime.

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24 Responses to Rate That President! : Part I

  • 1. George Washington – “First in war; first in peace; first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
    2. Abraham Lincoln – Made the GOP. Caused the Civil War. Won the Civil War.
    3. James Madison – The Constitution, the War of 1812, The Star Spangled Banner.
    4. Ronald Reagan – Destroyed the evil empire; put 25 year speed bump on the road to serfdom.
    5. James Polk – Mexican War and expansion. Mexico can have CA and NM back. We were on the wrong side in 1917.
    43. Carter. His stupidity led to the deaths of millions of Iranians and Iraqis and around others around the World.
    44. Barack Hussein Obama. I was going to put 689 because I cannot imagine a worse villain in the Oval Office; but there may be nothing left of America.

  • Very, very happy to see Arthur so high on your list; people always overlook him, but I’ve always considered him one of the great successes, who did what a president should do: kept things organized, pushed for reforms that really did improve things, tried to do what was right, and respected the limits of the office. It’s not as flashy a form of greatness as that of the obvious candidates, but it’s the kind of greatness we should all be rooting for. (Much the same can be said for Cleveland, too, of course.)

  • Happy President’s Day!

    Q: Who are your favorite 43 US presidents?
    A: Anyone but Obama.

  • i looked through your list in vain for Warren Harding. I think he was better than he is generally thought to be. Plus his mother has the foresight to give him the second name of Gamaliel which you know is a reference to a very wise rabbi! Also, he advocated a “return to normalcy” rather than a lot of government intervention.

  • He will be in part II tomorrow Anzlyne.

  • I know I’m jumping the gun here, but I still think that James Buchanan belongs at the bottom of the list, though Obama is closing the gap more quickly than I thought he would.

  • Although my respect as a two-time, non-consecutive Executive rates him very highly, I hadn’t thought of putting Grover Cleveland so high as you did. I’ll need to do some close reading about him.

    I like Zachary Taylor, as he’s Louisiana’s lone presidential office holder.

    And, a request: Thomas Sowell (whom I respect) has recently written a series of opinion pieces that lump T.R. and Wilson together as one, under the category of “Progressives Who’ve Ruined This Country”. I was wondering if you’d consider writing a series teasing out their similarities and differences.

  • “He also had the good grace to die shortly after he left office…

    I can’t wait to see how you rate those who’ve had the poor form to die shortly after taking office. (Harrison, Garfield)

    Will they “Not Rated”? Will they be rated higher than Carter or Obama for at least doing no harm?

  • I am not sure it is the best system to rate on one scale men who presided when the functions and expectations of the central government were so different.

  • “I know I’m jumping the gun here, but I still think that James Buchanan belongs at the bottom of the list, though Obama is closing the gap more quickly than I thought he would.”

    You read my mind Ellen!

  • “I can’t wait to see how you rate those who’ve had the poor form to die shortly after taking office. (Harrison, Garfield)”

    I had fun rating both of them Nicholas.

  • “I am not sure it is the best system to rate on one scale men who presided when the functions and expectations of the central government were so different.”

    Their are numerous criteria that could be used Art, but I think an overall rating still has some utility. Of course the order chosen for the presidents says just as much about the person making the ratings as it does about the about the presidents being rated.

  • Since I think FDR’s policies actually served to extend and worsen the Depression. I would rank him lower than you do. He was a great war president however. I’m not sure exactly where I’d place him, but I’d give Reagan the 3 slot.

  • If I had gone with my heart Donna, Reagan would have been number three! It is difficult rating near contemporary presidents since we lack the historical perspective that time gives. I would not be surprised to see Reagan rise on Presidential rating lists as the years roll by.

  • “I like Zachary Taylor, as he’s Louisiana’s lone presidential office holder.”

    And he may not be the last, if Bobby Jindal should ever run for POTUS 🙂

  • Elaine,

    As it just so happens, I think he’s planning for a 2016 run, should Obama win. He’s built up a pretty good war chest for the last gubernatorial election; but, he didn’t have to spend, as the Democrats didn’t really put up a fight.

    Plus, he’s pushing an agenda to burnish his “get tough” conservative credentials. (I’m not very happy with all of them.)

    I even think that he’d be willing to sign on as a VP candidate on a losing ticket to gain some national recognition.

    But, of course, this is all off-topic. Maybe Donald (or Paul) can start a post on the 2016 race sometime soon. 🙂

  • OT, but since you’re around, Nicholas – a few years back, I read an interesting article about how Mardi Gras is celebrated in the small towns in Cajun Country. According to the article, Cajun country Mardi Gras is more of a family affair and does not have much resemblance to the licentious goings on on Bourbon St. I recall the article said that in some communities there are songs and foods and traditions which can be traced back to medieval France. I found the article quite interesting and since I take it (judging from your last name) that you’re a “real” Cajun, I’m curious if you can let us know about a festival which is, after all, rooted in Catholicism, although you would never guess that looking at the zoo in New Orleans!

  • Some complaints:

    1. FDR was a failure as a war President. Winning the war was never in doubt – American military might was sufficient, un-aided, to beat both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. That we had the USSR and Britain as allies just hastened the inevitable. It is, indeed, true that FDR left the fighting to the generals and admirals – which is always complete folly on the part of a political leader, war being far too serious a business to be left in the hands of generals. While FDR awoke, a bit late, to Stalin’s pretensions, he never fully grasped that his whole view of the post-war world (a world which was supposed to be dominated by the US, Stalin’s Russia, Great Britain and Chiang’s China) was cockeyed from the start. The lack of a rational vision for where we were going in the war led to the nearly sterile results of the war – and the resultant half-century of Cold War and on-again/off-again hot wars in various places.

    2. Wilson was also a failure as a war leader. For crying out loud, he mid-wifed the breakup of the Hapsburg Empire on the basis of some Czechs who managed to gain his ear! All he did with that policy was ensure a weak, divided central Europe ripe first for Hitlerian and then Stalinist conquest. Additionally, his insistence at the end that the Kaiser’s regime be overthrown (rather than, say, merely calling for his abdication in favor of one of his younger sons) ensured that Germany would be unstable and ripe for dictatorship. His whole policy demonstrates what happens when a man who thinks he knows gets to be in charge.

    3. Truman does get some credit for having the courage to go ahead with the atomic bomb, but overall his foreign and defense policies were all wrong. He let Stalin get away with it in the Berlin Airlift; he demonstrated to Stalin that even under extreme provocation, we wouldn’t go to war with the USSR. The result was the Korean War – which he then blew completely by the mere expedient of assuring Mao that we wouldn’t allow Chiang to raid or invade the Chinese mainland…thus freeing up a million Chinese soldiers to attack us in Korea.

    4. Ike – entirely blew it over the Suez crisis. Here was a breach of international law by a gangster regime and instead of backing those who were rising in defense of international law, we backed the gangsters! This was just one of our earliest efforts to get some foreign son-of-a-bitch to be “our son-of-a-bitch”. How has that worked out for us over the decades? Never, never, never allow someone to get away with doing something he shouldn’t – you do that, and you’re besmirched and also morally weakened when ever you try, at later times, to uphold international law.

    The rest of the analysis I pretty much agree with.

  • ” While FDR awoke, a bit late, to Stalin’s pretensions, he never fully grasped that his whole view of the post-war world (a world which was supposed to be dominated by the US, Stalin’s Russia, Great Britain and Chiang’s China) was cockeyed from the start. The lack of a rational vision for where we were going in the war led to the nearly sterile results of the war – and the resultant half-century of Cold War and on-again/off-again hot wars in various places.”

    No, that is wrong. The Soviets, and aid to the Soviets, were essential to the defeat of Nazi Germany. The Red Army as a result seized Eastern Europe. There was absolutely nothing that FDR could have done to alter this, except by planning for an immediate start to World War III after World War II, which only Patton advocated after the conclusion of the War. The Cold War was inevitable given the nature of Stalin’s regime, and the presence of native Communist parties in Third World countries.

    “. Wilson was also a failure as a war leader. For crying out loud, he mid-wifed the breakup of the Hapsburg Empire on the basis of some Czechs who managed to gain his ear! All he did with that policy was ensure a weak, divided central Europe ripe first for Hitlerian and then Stalinist conquest. Additionally, his insistence at the end that the Kaiser’s regime be overthrown (rather than, say, merely calling for his abdication in favor of one of his younger sons) ensured that Germany would be unstable and ripe for dictatorship. His whole policy demonstrates what happens when a man who thinks he knows gets to be in charge.”

    There was no way that “The Prison of Nations” was going to survive the War, as German officers indicated when they noted throughout the War that Germany was “shackled to a corpse!” If the Allied powers had wished to preserve Austria-Hungary they would have had to provide armies to put down the national regimes that were already in power in that dead empire. The Allies were not going to expend any blood to attempt to revive that coprse.

    By the time the Kaiser abdicated, Germany was in the first throes of a socialist revolution. His own High Command told him that the Army would no longer fight to preserve the throne. The Hohenzollern monarchy was gone, and there was no bringing it back, with or without Wilson.

    “but overall his foreign and defense policies were all wrong. He let Stalin get away with it in the Berlin Airlift; he demonstrated to Stalin that even under extreme provocation, we wouldn’t go to war with the USSR. The result was the Korean War – which he then blew completely by the mere expedient of assuring Mao that we wouldn’t allow Chiang to raid or invade the Chinese mainland…thus freeing up a million Chinese soldiers to attack us in Korea”

    If Truman had decided to fight World War III with Stalin, our forces would, in all likelihood, have been chased out of continental Europe by a much stronger Red Army. After 1948 we no longer had a monopoly on nuclear weapons. If one’s goal was to stop Soviet Expansion and to avoid World War III, Truman got it just right.

    ” Ike – entirely blew it over the Suez crisis. Here was a breach of international law by a gangster regime and instead of backing those who were rising in defense of international law, we backed the gangsters! ”

    No, Ike realized that neither the Brits nor the French long term had the will to hold the Suez Canal, and he was correct on that score. The Israelis had the will to be sure, but they would have been unwilling to do so by themselves. Ike decided, quite rationally, that if the Suez Canal was to be held long term it would require US troops to do so and the Canal simply wasn’t worth it to the US in exchange for antagonizing the entire Arab world.

  • Donna V,

    I’ll quickly say that as recently as 20 years ago there was still an easy way to find a family-friendly “country” Mardi Gras. But, even back then the culture had already turned to the prevailing vulgarity throughout the general culture.

    Today, there are some family-friendly celebrations around, but one will have to travel to get there. Mardi Gras celebrations are, today, mostly bacchanalia, separated from any consideration of the upcoming Lenten season. (Such was the theme of the homily this weekend.)

    If an etranger wants to celebrate the real, local, country Mardi Gras, stay away from New Orleans; and contact a local Knights of Columbus chapter to ask where a good one is.

  • Now – instead of listing “favorite” presidents in order of personal historical perspective, I wonder what a list would look like if the criterion was “Presdients who embodied Scriptural values and best heeded Christ’s words.”

    Obama would still be 689th, but the rest could be interesting.

  • Donald,

    Nasser has unilaterally violated the various and long-standing international agreements regarding the Suez Canal – if treaties are to be of any use, at all, then it cannot be permitted that one contracting party can unilaterally alter the agreement. Nasser’s duty – supposing he wasn’t the gangster he was – would have required him to enter in to negotiations with all interested parties…and he probably would have got control of the Canal in such open and equal negotiations. He did wrong and he was justly being hammered for it – and then Ike stepped in and saved his bacon, thus ensuring the ’67 and ’73 Arab-Israeli wars; Nasser (and all those like him) was taught that he can do whatever he wanted.

    The USSR did not obtain an atomic weapon until 1949 and did not obtain the ability to seriously threaten the United States with nuclear attack until at least a decade after that. In 1948 the USSR was still a burned-over wasteland; Russia had lost about 8.5 military-aged males 1941-45 and, at most, they had a military manpower reserve in 1941 of 15 million…at best, if they mobilized everyone they could in 1945, they still would have been outnumbered 2 to 1 by a fully mobilized United States. Stalin knew this – it is why he didn’t attack West Berlin but blockaded it…he wanted to see if Truman would fight. He found out – as long as America is not directly attacked, you can do what you like; including using proxies to attack American allies. The Korean War was born in Berlin in 1948. And then Truman doubled down on dumb by essentially giving permission to Mao to move his best troops from the Taiwan Straights to Korea.

    There was no reason for the Hapsburg Empire to break up – do you really think that the Slovenes and Croats were hankering to switch from Hapsburg to Serbian rule? That the Slovaks really wanted to be ruled over by Czechs? That Ruthenians wanted to be ruled by Poles? They might not have entirely loved the Hapsburg monarchy, but it at least protected them from predatory neighbors. The reason the Hapsburg Empire dissolved is because it lost a war to people who hated dynasties. The pat answer of today is that the Hapsburg Empire was breaking up, anyways – I ask, on what evidence? Where was the internal subversion? Where were the armed, internal opponents of the Hapsburg regime? Why until the very end did the Hapsburg army remain true to its oath? Most of it wasn’t German, after all…and yet it stood and fought in the most titanic struggle to that point in history and only dissolved when it became clear that the price of peace with the Allies was the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire…only then did it break up in to its component nationalities as they sought to at least defend their own people as best they could. It was a terrible catastrophe that the Hapsburgs were swept in to the ash heap of history…it first just allowed petty tyrants to run rampant (the reason the Croats went for Hitler and fought against the Serbs was because they had had two decades of Serb oppression between the wars, for instance) and then one after another of major tyrants to take over. If Wilson had had the least knowledge of history, he would have know that the duty of a statesman was to preserve the Hapsburg empire…liberalize it, to be sure; make it more of a federal system, of course…but keep it in being even if it meant assisting the Hapsburg authorities in doing so.

    I maintain that Germany and Japan could be beaten single-handed by the United States. For instance, the United States produced 88,000 tanks and self-propelled guns; the Germans 67,000, Japan 2,500. Artillery USA 257,000, Germany 159,000, Japan 13,000. Trucks, USA 2.4 million, Germany 346,000, Japan 166,000. Aircraft, USA 325,000, Germany 119,000, Japan 76,000. On and on it goes, and the United States, alone, had more military-aged manpower than Germany and Japan combined. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been a long, hard fight…but at the end of the day it was sheer impertinence on the part of Germany and Japan to go to war with the United States. Furthermore, those in the know in the US government also knew, for certain, that the war could not be lost by the United States – the Japanese were actually a bit shocked to learn after the war that we never for a moment entertained the thought of a negotiated peace. We knew we’d win; there was never the least doubt of it. Given this – and given that the addition of the USSR and Britain on our side just made our power more overwhelming – the whole purpose of the war was to set up a post-war system which ensured against renewed war and ensured American predominance as the one nation which could be counted on to not seek self aggrandizement. So, what did we do? Insist upon a too-early dissolution of the British Empire and partner up with Stalin’s hideous regime and Chiang’s failing regime. Brilliant.

  • “He did wrong and he was justly being hammered for it – and then Ike stepped in and saved his bacon, thus ensuring the ’67 and ’73 Arab-Israeli wars; Nasser (and all those like him) was taught that he can do whatever he wanted”

    I have absolutely no doubt that if Ike had intervened the US troops would have quickly found themselves in a futile guerilla war that would have accomplished nothing. The Brits and the French were not in it for the long term and it served no interest for the US to fight a useless war for them on this point.

    “at best, if they mobilized everyone they could in 1945, they still would have been outnumbered 2 to 1 by a fully mobilized United States.”

    Untrue Mark. In World War II when we were as fully mobilized as we have ever been in our modern history, the ground forces of the Red Army always vastly outnumbered ours. Of course the forces we had in Europe in 1948 were vastly outnumbered by the Red Army historically and would have been routed quite quickly. This discussion has an air of political unreality. The American people simply were not willing to fight World War II if it could be avoided, which, thank God, it was.

    “There was no reason for the Hapsburg Empire to break up –”

    Nationalist tensions bedeviled the dual monarchy from 1848 forward. By the end of the World War I the subject minorities were in open revolt and the Allies were simply not going to use military force so that the Emperor in Austria could keep his job.

    “Why until the very end did the Hapsburg army remain true to its oath?”

    Acutally it remained true to its oath by routinely being beaten by the Russians. Outside of certain elite units the peformance of most of the Austro-Hungarian Army was truly pathetic, except when they were fighting the Italians who were even more pathetic. The Germans had to continually strengthen fronts held by Austrian forces with their own troops, which aroused a great deal of resentment among the German office corp.

    “So, what did we do? Insist upon a too-early dissolution of the British Empire and partner up with Stalin’s hideous regime and Chiang’s failing regime. Brilliant.”

    The Soviets held down two-thirds of the Wehrmacht Mark and ultimately defeated that two-thirds. I can imagine how many several hundred thousand more Americans, if not millions, would have died, but for the war waged by the Soviets. Of course we gave lend lease to the Soviets so they could defeat the Wehrmacht. We would have been fools not to. In regard to Chiang and the Nationalists, they held down about two million Japanese troops. Our aid to the Chinese was peanuts to accomplish this, especially since until we had the bomb we assumed that we would have to invade the Home Islands and take them in an immensely bloody invasion. In regard to the British Empire dissolving that was the decision of the Brits. They were bankrupt after World War II they were bankrupt and had no more money for imperial games. After Labor came to power in 1945 it was obvious that the days of the Empire were numbered. Churchill and the Tories came back into office in 1951 and the dissolution of the Empire continued under them. It was not the US that dissolved the British Empire, but rather economic reality.

  • Donald,

    Air of unreality? Perhaps; but I have pondered over these issues for quite a long time. Perhaps getting it wrong – but there is still no answer to the fact that in World War Two we, alone, massively out-produced Germany and Japan combined. Material isn’t all there is to war, of course, but it stands to reason that the side with the larger population and the greater productive capacity will eventually defeat the side with the smaller population and productive capacity. I’m not saying that the aid provided by the USSR and Britain was unimportant, just that it wasn’t necessary to ultimate victory, and this could clearly be seen (and was, indeed, seen – by no less a person than Winston Churchill) right from the moment the first bomb dropped on Pearl Harbor. Given this indisputable fact (that victory was inevitable), the shape of the post-war world should have governed all actions…including as to whether or not we should have gone in for a close alliance with the Stalinist regime (which did, in the event, attempt to betray us by making a separate peace with Hitler in 1943…only to be thwarted in this attempt by the unwillingness of Hitler to surrender any conquered territory).

    There has always been a great lack of foresight in American foreign and military policy. Lincoln had it; Reagan, too. Most American Presidents have not had it; neither have most American military leaders (only MacArthur really had it). There has been bravery and competence, but only in narrowly limited ways. No grand vision – no attempt to devise a strategic plan for the long term security of American interests. Of course, such a thing may not be possible given the nature of American government and politics…but that doesn’t excuse, in my view, those who volunteer to become our leaders. If someone seeks the office of the Presidency, it is his job to know precisely where we need to go and how to get there…Wilson, FDR and Truman failed in this regard. And the blood price for their lack of vision was high – and looks to go higher, still.

In The Birth Control Controversy; The Mocking of Conservative Religious Women By Militant Secularists Will Soon Backfire

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012

We have all seen the supposed polls indicating that 99% of Catholic women use birth control. However, has anyone ever bothered to look at who conducted the poll? It was the Guttmacher Institute; the driving force behind abortion and other leftist social movements.  Finally someone in the Mainstream Media (The Washington Post) has weeks after the fact realized the untruthful nature behind this canard. This is just one of many red herrings thrown at religious conservatives to discredit and mock them. It seems some in mainstream media are making it their mission to ask former Pennsylvania Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum every question imaginable with regard to birth control. Whatever happens to Santorum in the primary race, it does seem as if the Hand of Providence is helping bring up the topic of birth control and the faithful alternative of Natural Family Planning.

While there is some dispute between Catholics and some Evangelicals on birth control; there are signs that many Evangelicals are seeing what Catholics and some Orthodox Jews have long believed about birth control. In my previous book and forthcoming book; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholicism, I cite quotes from Chuck Colson and R Albert Mohler, two towering figures in the Evangelical world. They have genuine affection for Pope Paul VI’s 1968 prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae which cemented the Catholic view on birth control in the modern birth control pill era. If you want to really rile up a militant secularist you might mention that it wasn’t until 1930 that the first religious group (the Anglican Church) even approved of birth control. The Progressive Teddy Roosevelt said the idea of birth control was “ridiculous” and even liberal hero Dr Sigmund Freud said the whole concept was “narcissistic.”

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) the late women’s rights activist, who used birth control back before any religious group approved of it, spoke out forcefully against abortion and birth control once she converted to Catholicism later in life. She told men and women that in using birth control they were becoming engaged in a culture that was disconnecting them from God’s plans, along with not using their bodies in accordance with the Holy Spirit. Though her women’s rights and libertarian economic views remained, she became a social conservative, who lashed out at Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, something you aren’t likely to hear or read in the mainstream media.

Families that adhere to the clinically proven facts of Natural Family Planning are treated as if they are some sort of religious nuts. Militant secularists in the corridors of power (Legislative and Fourth Estate) have even thrown out their favorite term “sexually repressed.” Now this term is so widely repeated in our popular culture, perhaps we should examine where it came from. Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) of the infamous Marxist “Frankfurt School” came up with the term. Marcuse left pre-World War II Germany and taught at Columbia. Marcuse believed in free love and surmised that the more narcissistic society was with regard to sexual relations, the better the world would become. Before his death, he claimed his prized student was 1960s militant radical Angela Davis. Marcuse was way out in left field in his day and yet the militant secularists in our pop culture have made him seem as mainstream as Dr. Phil. When societies turn away from religion they embrace the crazies like Marcuse; sadly something has to fill the vacuum and it is usually the ideas which come from the half baked among us that do so.

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3 Responses to In The Birth Control Controversy; The Mocking of Conservative Religious Women By Militant Secularists Will Soon Backfire

  • Your last paragraph is a good prayer for Lent – I won’t limit it to women though.
    Having read the Left in Tatters from 1/25/10 link, I saw that Fr. George Rutler commented; and think you would enjoy his 2/19/12 column on the Church of Our Savior site.

  • PM, thanks for bringing Father Rutler’s column to my attention. As usual, he gives us something to ponder, pray over and act upon. Initially a year or so ago when I wrote the article to which I linked and he commented, I had no idea that he read this site. I contacted him to thank him and he thanked me. It was all so very humbling. He told me that a friend suggested he read my article. He went on to say that we all have a part to play in building up the Faith. In retrospect we should all do more to thank God for giving us those like Father Rutler.