The Inconsistency of the Left and Required Virginia Ultrasounds

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012

Okay, to be fair, I think this goes both way in American politics.  I’ve always said that everyone is a fiscal conservative until it is “their cause” that gets defunded, and everyone is a fiscal liberal until it is “their tax rate” that gets increased.

Nevertheless, some things ooze such inconsistency that it is almost laughable.  As many are aware, the Virginia state legislature recent passed a bill that requires a woman to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion.  As you can imagine, the pro-abortion constituency is out in full force over such a perceived “injustice.”  Now, call me crazy, but it seems that such a requirement should at least implicitly be considered under “informed consent.”  And besides, if those on the pro-abortion side are so sure that the fetus growing inside the womb is really just a mass of tissue, then there should be nothing to worry about, right?  Let us not be fooled here – the objection to the ultrasound has nothing to do with the requirement itself – it has much more to do with the fear that this just may actually convince more women that the baby growing inside them actually is a life.

At any rate, an article appeared on by Dahlia Lithwick last Thursday that would have had me falling off the couch in hysterics had it not been meant to be actually taken seriously.  It was a great example of how the line between laughter and tears is often fine indeed when reading liberal commentaries.

The first laughable/cry-able moment came when the author implied … no wait, she flat out said it … that such a requirement constitutes an act of rape:

[This] means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure … the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Okay, now let’s first note that no-one is forcing any woman to have such an ultra sound; the law merely provides such an action as a pre-requisite for the abortion procedure.  Any woman could alway opt not to have the abortion, and consequently be spare the “violation” of the ultrasound.  The logic here is intellectually dishonest at best, and manipulative at worst.  Under the same logic, we could object to any medical pre-requisite.  Besides, and I am happy to be correct on this, in the event that the individual decides to proceed with the abortion, is not penetration inevitable?  In fact, one could argue that the ultrasound is not a separate procedure but rather the first step in the abortion.

The argument continued,

Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial.

So here we have it … the left refuses to admit that the recent HHS mandate is a violation of conscience for individual business owners and religious organizations, they often even want to eliminate a Catholic hospital’s right to refuse abortion services based on conscientious objections, but now all of a sudden conscience should be a part of the conversation.

Lithwick goes on,

Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the [body] of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.

Another inconsistency: the Virginia law is a clear overreach of government by requiring an individual to pay to a procedure to which they conscientiously object, yet the ability of the Catholic Church to opt out of paying for practices that they find morally incompatible with its faith is just plain silly.  Am I understanding this right?


You can shame and violate women, while couching it in the language of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s gift that keeps on giving—his opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart. That opinion upheld Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban on the grounds that (although there was no real evidence to support this assumption) some women who have abortions will suffer “severe depression” and “regrets” if they aren’t made to understand the implications of what they have done.

And at the end of the article,

Abortion is still legal in America. Physically invading a woman’s body against her will still isn’t. Let’s not casually pass laws that upend both principles in the name of helping women make better choices.

So, as is commonly stated, nationally legalized abortion is the “law of the land,” so while it is okay for you to personally object to the practice, please don’t try to push that belief on others.  However, even thought the same Court has made the ability of the States to prevent partial-birth abortion the “law of the land” … well, in that case they were just plain wrong.

So which is it, my dear leftist friends?  Is conscientious objection important or isn’t it?  Should individuals be required to pay for procedures they find objectionable or shouldn’t they?  Does the “law of the land” matter or doesn’t it?  It seems to me that the answer depends greatly on the ideology at hand, which in this case is the perceived “right” to abortion on demand.  In other words, we must accept a priori the right to abortion, and then we use any and all arguments available to defend that decision, even if it means speaking out of both side of the mouth at times.

Now, in fairness, it could be asked whether the political right is being just as inconsistent in all three arguments.  Whether this is true or not I leave up to political commentators.  For my own part, I submit that the Catholic position has no such inconsistencies, and here is why.  First, we don’t ground our positions in the law of the land or conscience seen as an unfettered freedom to relieve one’s self from any and all acts.  Rather, we ground our positions in natural law and conscience seen as the freedom to pursue truth and goodness.  Forcing a doctor to perform an abortion is a clear violation of his or her right to act in a way consistent with a belief system.  The act itself is the violation – the Catholic finds the act objectively immoral.  It is not that a Catholic doctor wants to perform abortions in some cases and not in others, it is that he or she never wants to perform them. In requiring an ultrasound for a woman seeking abortions, what act is being found objectively immoral?  Correct me if I am wrong, but an ultrasound, whether external or internal, is a perfectly acceptable medical procedure by both the left and the right.

Second, from a Catholic position, the natural law it the governing principle, not the “law of the land.”  Natural law, inscribed on everyone’s heart, deeply suggests that the taking of a life is intrinsically immoral.  Science has shown over and over again that the “mass of tissue” in the womb of a mother is a life.  Even rudimentary philosophy says that it is a human life.  But returning to the matter of conscience, if we understand that freedom of conscience does not give an individual the right to abstain from any and all acts (for instance, it does not give and individual the ability to refrain from stopping a violent crime taking place before him), then we can see that freedom of conscience does have limits.  The question for the left is: in what do you ground the limits of freedom of conscience?  For Catholics, the answer is clear: natural law.  Therefore, it is a violation of conscience to require the taking of this life.  Yet in supporting the required ultrasound, rather than seeing it as violating conscience, we understand in the greater context of the right to life.

Third, if freedom of conscience is at the service of pursuing truth, then how does giving the doctor and patient more information violate this process?  In other words, if a doctor has the “right” to eliminate the ultrasound from this procedure, the same logic could be used to dismiss all informed consent laws form the books.

Finally, it is always amusing to hear the left decry government regulation in cases such as this.  Somehow the government not only has the right, but the duty, to regulate Wall Street and the Health Care industry in a way that destroys any rational notion of subsidiarity and was never envisioned by the founding fathers, yet when it comes to a required ultrasound before an abortion … well, clearly that is a government overreach.

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16 Responses to The Inconsistency of the Left and Required Virginia Ultrasounds

  • So let’s see if I understand this. The godless liberal left says that a woman’s body must not be violated for an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, but her body may be so violated for that abortion. The left says a doctor may not be required to violate his conscience to perform said ultrasound, but he may be required to violate his conscience to perform said abortion.

    These people have go to be stopped.

  • Wait – an ultrasound is transvaginal? I thought they were extra-uteral…

  • I have always thought that rape in the legal sense was the passing of the human seed and forcing the woman to bear the man’s child without her informed consent. Invasion of privacy is all the rest. A woman seeking an abortion has already consented to the invasion of privacy as you have said. Thank you, Jake Tawney, for the visible window into the hearts of the right and the left.

  • I have had many ultrasounds – none of them was invasive. Everything takes place outside the woman’s body. I don’t know what Ms. Lithwick is talking about, but I don’t think it’s an ultrasound!

  • Correct Meli! I was there for my wife’s ultra sounds when she was carrying our twins and our little girl, and that was the case with her. Apparently there are transvaginal ultrasounds, but they are uncommon.

  • There are two kinds of ultrasounds, and most pregnant couples experience the external kind. From my limited understanding, however, if the baby is too small and they are concerned about finding a heart beat, doctors will perform an internal ultrasound. I am, however, not an expert on this, so I cannot make claims to the original article about whether or not an internal one would be required under the Virginia State law. Maybe someone with a medical background can weigh in here.

  • I also thought that penetrating a woman’s body and not passing the human seed was legally called assault and battery. What is important here is that no person can consent to a crime. NO PERSON CAN CONSENT TO A CRIME without becoming a criminal, whether it is assault and battery on himself or another person. Crime is against the law. The monstrosity going on in homosexual public displays in San Francisco are a horrendous example. A woman’s right to choose cannot include assault and battery on herself. Assault and battery on oneself in not a constitutionally protected freedom.

  • Everything is “rape!” to a doctrinaire feminist ideologue. (I’ve read their books.)

  • I’m watching the end of an episode of “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet HD. Next up is a documentary on the Obama presidency, “Rattlesnake Republic.”

    All that is edifying compared to liberal tripe bombarding us 24/7.

  • Thanks for the warning about next up show. I’m shutting everything off now before the laugh goes.

  • I’m not a medical expert, but transvaginal ultrasound is generally done in the first trimester while the baby is quite small. I’ve had them with all my children to find the heartbeat and establish dates. The doctor likes them because the earlier you can measure the baby, the more accurate the pregnancy dates are. As the pregnancy continues, genetics play a larger role in the size of the baby. I did not have them for any particular reason and I knew my dates exactly, so I get the impression that they are standard procedure in these parts.

  • The blatant misrepresentation of facts in this article is abhorrent. Does Jake Tawney not remember the 9th commandment?! “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

    I am as much against abortions and would hope that we are all working to reduce/eliminate them, but the “facts” offered up in this article are no better than propoganda.

    First, “Okay, now let’s first note that no-one is forcing any woman to have such an ultra sound; the law merely provides such an action as a pre-requisite for the abortion procedure. Any woman could alway opt not to have the abortion, and consequently be spare the “violation” of the ultrasound. The logic here is intellectually dishonest at best, and manipulative at worst. Under the same logic, we could object to any medical pre-requisite. Besides, and I am happy to be correct on this, in the event that the individual decides to proceed with the abortion, is not penetration inevitable? In fact, one could argue that the ultrasound is not a separate procedure but rather the first step in the abortion.”

    FACTS: Abortion does not make penetration inevitable … in fact, many abortions are performed via the abortion pill, in which there is no penetration. One could not “argue” that this was the first step in a medical procedure, unless one was a doctor. And as far as I understand, the Virginia legislature is not! Further, just because penetration might be inevitable, does not all of a sudden make sanctioned rape acceptable. Shall we then go a step further and say that if a woman is going to have an abortion, it is no longer a crime to rape her, because, after all, “penetration is inevitable” … THIS IS ABSURD!

    Next: “Another inconsistency: the Virginia law is a clear overreach of government by requiring an individual to pay to a procedure to which they conscientiously object, yet the ability of the Catholic Church to opt out of paying for practices that they find morally incompatible with its faith is just plain silly. Am I understanding this right?”

    FACTS: You are not understanding this right; the Catholic Church has never been mandated with paying for practices they find morally incompatible. However, they must provide health insurance to their employees, just like anyone else. They do not have to pay for that insurance (and when has providing insurance ever meant that they employer is paying for medical procedures? that is a plainly absurd jump in logic).

    “It is not that a Catholic doctor wants to perform abortions in some cases and not in others, it is that he or she never wants to perform them.”

    FACTS: There is no Catholic doctor anywhere who has ever been forced into performing an abortion. EVER. It is absolutely absurd to suggest that somehow our government is forcing doctors to do medical procedures they don’t want (I guess unless you are Virginia lawmakers). It is no business of anyone other than doctors and the medical industry to dictate which procedures they do and do not do.

    ” Therefore, it is a violation of conscience to require the taking of this life.”

    FACTS: There is absolutely no requirement anywhere, ever, suggested by anyone, that abortion should be required. In fact, that kind of thing happens in China, and will not happen here. To get people fired up by suggesting this is true is an agregious sin, the likes of which would have you banned from some churches. For SHAME!

  • I trust Jake’s “propaganda” far more than I do Sarah’s “facts.” This is going to be a doozy of an election. Lines are drawn. Foaming at the mouth commences.

  • I sometimes wonder if these things are worth responding to, but then I always have trouble stopping myself.

    If you read correctly, I admitted that I was “happy to be corrected” on the inevitability on penetration in an abortion. I remain so, and if it true that most early term abortions are done by pill, then I stand corrected as I said I would. Regarding the insistence that this act constitutes rape, I can only ask that you re-read the original argument. No woman under the Virginia law is forced to have an ultrasound – only a woman who wants to go through with an abortion. It is now a medical pre-requisite for the abortion procedure. Medicine has all sorts of prerequisites for all sorts of procedures. What people seem to be upset about in this case is that it is not a doctor, but the legislature requiring it. Now, one could argue that the legislature does not have the medical expertise to make this call. But with all due respect, a medical profession that advocates for the right to kill a child has, at least in my mind, lost the right to make the call itself. And rest assured, in this particular case, we are dealing specifically with doctors who do in fact support such killing. To say that they have more of a right to make the call on a required procedure is like saying that a dishonest cheat has more or a right to make a call on business decisions just because he has a business background. Quite the contrary – he actually has less of a right to do so.

    Regarding FACT (2), you are highly mistaken. Under the HHS rule, Catholic employers are required to pay for contraception. First, a Catholic employer who is not a hospital or university does not fall anywhere in the “rule.” Thus, he/she must under penalty of law provide insurance that covers contraception. How is that not being required to purchase something that violates his/her conscience? Yet even for those religious organizations (churches, hospitals, etc.) that do fall under the “accommodation”, it is merely a shell game. They are still being required to purchase insurance plans, and the insurers are required to place coverage to contraception in there somehow. Unless you think that the insurance companies will simply eat this cost pro bono, it will in fact be the Catholic organizations that eventually foot the bill. But while we’re on this, why has it all of a sudden become normal to assume that everyone has the “right” to have an employer that provides medical coverage? What if an employer wants to substantially raise the salaries of his employees and then them decided for themselves if they want to purchase coverage? Where in the constitution does it say that people have a right to have their employer pay for medical insurance?

    Regarding Facts (3) and (4), and the SHAME that was leveled against me, take note that I never insinuated that this is currently a requirement. However, to not see that the left is pushing for this is simply not to be informed. There have been numerous suggestions by Democratic politicians and leftist writers that a hospital should be required to provide abortion services, and that doctors should not be able to refuse these services to individuals. I never said that this was a current requirement, but if we are not careful and if we tread lightly through issues like the HHS mandate, I assure you that we will find ourselves there sooner rather than later.

  • I’ll echo Jenny, there are ultrasounds that are done with penetration– as she said, to establish fetal age or similar reasons. I had a c-section, and the doctor I went to first thought I was an idiot who couldn’t count*, so I had to have one for Duchess. I get the impression they’re very common in areas with high rates of lawsuits against doctors.

    After the first trimester, though, it’s much easier and cheaper to use the external one– heck, from memory both of my girls’ hearts were easily audible with the handheld thing they use during the monthly checkups.

    *(I didn’t go in for medical attention until I was three months along, although I knew to the day when Duchess was implanted– thus, he thought I was only one month along; in his defense, he serves mostly Catholic women, yet in 25 years had never heard of someone having a religious objection to being sterilized.)

    There is no Catholic doctor anywhere who has ever been forced into performing an abortion. EVER.

    The proper response to this claim is not allowed in this arena; I will steal Baxter Black’s, instead, and say: bull feces.
    Anyone that is irrational enough to make an expansive claim like this, in a world where the Chinese One Child policy exists, is too ignorant to warrant much of a response.
    As for your “nobody, anywhere wants to require abortion” statement…. Just a few winters back, there was a hospital that claimed to be Catholic yet performed an abortion, and there was a landslide of support for forcing the hospitals to allow them; I can remember various state-level requirements being considered for any hospital that offers maternity to also offer murder of the same children. Rather famously, a Nun went before the legislature (New York?) and informed them that, should such a law be passed, the hospital would be gone.

    In my own state, they’re cooking up a bill that will require that I pay for abortion coverage (for myself and my daughters, since they can be on our insurance until they’re past peak fertility) if we want maternity coverage.

    Oh, but that is somehow OK– forced to pay for it, but don’t worry, you won’t be forced to use it. (Unless you happen to be a gal that’s been declared mentally ill, and a judge orders it and it doesn’t make national news.)

    Kinda odd, Sarah Kline, how you focus on abortion rather than going into forced sterilization. Maybe you do enough about the history to know it went on into the 80s, and are avoiding a losing fight….

Massacio: Holy Trinity

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012

A stunningly good meditation on Massacio’s Holy Trinity (1425) in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, by  art historian Jack Flam:



The perspective in this painting is sufficiently accurate to be convincing, but purposely inexact enough to make space for the supernatural. This is strikingly evident in the representation of God the Father, who stands on the narrow ledge attached to the back wall of the barrel-vaulted space, which would appear to be about nine feet deep. Yet at the same time, He is also present at the front of this same vaulted space, supporting the body of his Son on the cross. This discrepancy in perspective allows God to be in more than one place at a time—a supernatural phenomenon made all the more remarkable by the painting’s apparent realism.


Among other things, this great fresco, painted on the wall of a Dominican church, is a stunning affirmation of the great Dominican theologian St. Thomas Aquinas’s assertion that to be “everywhere primarily and absolutely is proper to God.” What better place could there be to state this with such subtlety than in a representation of the Holy Trinity, whose paradoxical consubstantiality—distinct, yet of one being—is a central mystery of Christian faith.

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3 Responses to Massacio: Holy Trinity

  • Thanks for this, Don. A beautiful thing to contemplate after a grim week. The WSJ actually is pretty good when it comes to the arts. I’ve always liked reading Terry Teachout’s theater and music reviews.

    Something else that made me smile this morning: turning on the TV and seeing my old Archbishop being installed as a Cardinal. God bless Cardinal Dolan! We Milwaukeans miss his warmth and joyfulness but the Lord had bigger plans for him. He is a great asset to our Church.

  • So amazing and beautiful. Faith and reason understood so well by an artist in his 20’s to do this in ~28 days. (& described so well for us)
    Religious art was and is valuable for teaching people in countless ways. Our young need the advantage it brings to their faith, unlike the prevalent ‘cartoons’ presented to them.

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Demography, Contraception and Fiscal Melt Down

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012


 It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.

George Washington


Mark Steyn at National Review Online, notes that the fiscal lunacy of the Obama administration and the HHS Mandate are linked:


As for us doom-mongers, at the House Budget Committee on Thursday, Chairman Paul Ryan produced another chart, this time from the Congressional Budget Office, with an even steeper straight line showing debt rising to 900 percent of GDP and rocketing off the graph circa 2075. America’s treasury secretary, Timmy Geithner the TurboTax Kid, thought the chart would have been even more hilarious if they’d run the numbers into the next millennium: “You could have taken it out to 3000 or to 4000” he chortled, to supportive titters from his aides. Has total societal collapse ever been such a non-stop laugh riot?

Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.”

The U.S. economy shuts down in 2027? Had you heard about that? It’s like the ultimate Presidents’ Day sale: Everything must go — literally! At such a moment, it may seem odd to find the political class embroiled in a bitter argument about the Obama administration’s determination to force Catholic institutions (and, indeed, my company and your company, if you’re foolish enough still to be in business in the United States) to provide free prophylactics to their employees. The received wisdom among media cynics is that Obama has engaged in an ingenious bit of misdirection by seizing on a pop-culture caricature of Republicans and inviting them to live up to it: Those uptight squares with the hang-ups about fornication have decided to force you to lead the same cheerless sex lives as them. I notice that in their coverage NPR and the evening news shows generally refer to the controversy as being about “contraception,” discreetly avoiding mention of sterilization and pharmacological abortion, as if the GOP have finally jumped the shark in order to prevent you jumping anything at all.

It may well be that the Democrats succeed in establishing this narrative. But anyone who falls for it is a sap. In fact, these two issues — the Obama condoms-for-clunkers giveaway and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 900 percent by 2075 — are not unconnected. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren — i.e., an upside-down family tree. As I wrote in this space a few weeks ago, “If 100 geezers run up a bazillion dollars’ worth of debt, is it likely that 42 youngsters will ever be able to pay it off?” Most analysts know the answer to that question: Greece is demographically insolvent. So it’s looking to Germany to continue bankrolling its First World lifestyle.

But the Germans are also demographically exhausted: They have the highest proportion of childless women in Europe. One in three fräulein have checked out of the motherhood business entirely. A nation that did without having kids of its own is in no mood to maintain Greece as the ingrate slacker who never moves out of the house. As the European debt crisis staggers on, these two countries loathe each other ever more nakedly: The Greek president brings up his war record against the German bullies, and Athenian commentators warn of the new Fourth Reich. The Germans, for their part, would rather cut the Greeks loose. In a post-prosperity West, social solidarity — i.e., socioeconomic fictions such as “Europe” — are the first to disappear.

The United States faces a mildly less daunting arithmetic. Nevertheless, the Baby Boomers did not have enough children to maintain mid-20th-century social programs. As a result, the children they did have will end their lives in a poorer, uglier, sicker, more divided, and more violent society. How to avert this fate? In 2009 Nancy Pelosi called for free contraceptives as a form of economic stimulus. Ten thousand Americans retire every day, and leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Nancy has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.

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23 Responses to Demography, Contraception and Fiscal Melt Down

  • Obama — our Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning

  • You do know that our total debt as a percent of GDP fell from the end of WW2 until 1980 when our tax policy (not our spending) took a dramatic change. The percentage has since risen except for the 90’s when our tax policy briefly took a minor reversal from their current direction. The direction of the deficit and then the debt changed abruptly again as the tax policy changed in 2001. I know there are going to be many comments claiming it was all about spending, but that is not what the data shows. The relationships between tax policy and the point when the graphs of the current balance and the total debt change direction are clearly related to tax policy. The recent massive debt does have a spending component in that the severe recession we entered in 2008 did cause an increase in spending, but the larger effect was a decrease in tax collections due to the recession.

    I do disagree with the HSS ruling, but if we are going to show charts of rising debt, then we should lay the blame where if belongs. It belongs on our unwillingness to pay for the things we want. We were promised (both nationally and at the state level) that if we cut taxes we would see prosperity and increased . The lowest federal tax rate since WW2 at the federal level has brought massive deficits and the worst 10 years of employment since WW2. A 15 year recorded of increasing tax cuts in Michigan (coupled with the fall of the American auto industry) have devastated our state. At the very least we should stop seeing the claims that tax cuts will improve our economy and increase government revenues as a result since the evidence is to the contrary.

  • Justice and peace!

    Obama’s policies are destroying the evil, unjust private sector.

    It’s working.

    Pharaoh’s economic reports hide the huge decline in number of Americans with jobs.

    Mark Steyn: Obama, Romney and Santorum are talking about sex while the nation goes broke. Each day, 10,000 Americans retire but “leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Obama has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.”

    America can’t employ more people.

    In 30 years, there will not be enough taxpayers to pay for the entitlement masses, $100,000,000,000,000.00 present value of cash flow due. Taxes won’t cover interest on the national debt.

    Then, grandpa will be left out in the cold.

    Justice and peace!

  • “The lowest federal tax rate since WW2 at the federal level has brought massive deficits and the worst 10 years of employment since WW2.”

    Complete hogwash Paul. No possible jacking up of the tax rates can possibly pay for our completely out of control entitlement spending, which is apparently insatiable. Your argument would have a tinge of merit if the European welfare states, paying higher taxe rates than we do, were not also on the same quick path to national bankruptcy.

  • And for those who might still labor under the illusion that congress and this admin-
    istration are in any way serious about this situation, please reflect on the fact that it
    has been almost three years since the federal government has had a budget.

  • No possible jacking up of the tax rates can possibly pay for our completely out of control entitlement spending, which is apparently insatiable.

    Federal spending is currently about 24% of domestic product. There is a mess of junk in the federal budget that ought to be excised, but that is a policy choice. We could certainly levy the taxes necessary to pay for it.

  • ‘The Obama administration is the perfect avatar for the all consumed in self mentality produced by a contraceptive culture that can see no further than the brief span of time this globe is occupied by those who currently inhabit it.’ Yup.

    George Washington’s quote ends with their choice – to stamp misery on ages yet unborn.

    Laughing at religion and conscience like silly jokers, talking about sex enough to train the needy national psyche away from their sleight of hand, and accommodating no one but their handlers with money.

    ‘ and leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Nancy has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.’ As she said on the video, something like uh – more bang for the buck – er – that’s what the economists say.

  • The United States faces a mildly less daunting arithmetic. Nevertheless, the Baby Boomers did not have enough children to maintain mid-20th-century social programs.

    For the record, postwar birth cohorts have varied between 2.9 million and 4.3 million, with no secular trend in size. Our total fertility rate has been at replacement level or above for that entire time bar a brief run of years in the late 1970s. Escalating burdens of caring for the elderly have been a function of improved life expectancy, a problem which can be finessed by having the retirement age on an appropriate escalator.

  • To pay for entitlements Art would require doubling tax rates. Not only is that politically inconceivable, the impact on our economy can be imagined.

  • Since the late Fifties Art, the rate of fertility has declined from 3.8 children per woman to 2.06 today. 2.10 is considered to be the replacement rate, and since 2000 we have been at that for only one year: 2008.

  • Given the Pelosi pic, I think a better title for the post should have been– “Demography, Comtaception, and Facial Meltdown.”. After all, the Pelosi facelifts are taxpayer supported.

  • Don, please tell me what I said that is hogwash. The federal tax revenues are the lowest as a percentage of GDP since WW2. The 10 years of employment since 2001 (when the income tax rates were cut followed by tax cuts on capital gains and dividends) are the worst since WW2. I could give you numerous links including the federal government’s budget page. Also, do you deny that our budget was in surplus before the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003?

    As for entitlements, the problem continues to be Medicare, yet every proposal to fix the problem by doing what has been successful in every other country is rejected in this one.
    As compared to the European welfare states please the chart below. The data is sorted by the larges Debt as a percentage of GDP by country. Of the welfare states in Europe that have economies comparable to the US, you could only rank Italy as having a higher debt burden than the US. And only the UK has come anywhere close to the US in the increase of debt from 2000 to 2010 (I included the 2009 numbers to demonstrate that this did not all occur under President Obama). The problem in Europe is that they decide to include countries like Greece in the Euro zone and Germany absorbed East Germany. These actions are close to the US agreeing to a common currency with Mexico, this might help Mexico but would be a significant burden.

    National debt as a percentage of GDP
    2009 2009-2000 2010 2010-2000
    Japan 197 66 220 89
    Italy 109 2 119 12
    United States 67 22 94.36 49.36
    Germany 73 14 83.96 24.96
    Canada 65 -6 83.95 12.95
    France 80 21 82.33 23.33
    United Kingdom 59 17 75.5 33.5
    India* 66 -4 71.84 1.84
    Brazil* 66 -2 66.84 -1.16
    Spain 56 -7 60.12 -2.88
    China* 32 9 3 3.83 10.83
    South Korea 31 18 33.44 20.44
    Russia* 5 -14 11.75 -7.25

    Sorry to be so long winded in a com box, but I felt the need to respond.

  • Sorry, I spent 20 minutes trying to format the chart and then the columns still did not line up.

  • The pig’s not getting any cleaner Paul. A more pertinent list is that of the total national debt as a percentage of the country’s annual gross domestic product. Go to the link below to view the list.

    The numbers for most of the European nations are especially shocking when consideration is given that they spend next to nothing on defense as compared to the US.

    The idea that the solution to this problem is to raise taxes is simply wrong. The only solution is to radically slash government spending and such a solution will come, probably after the financial crash the West is inevitably headed for.

  • Integrity I wish Obama had some.

  • Don, Still you said my original post was hogwash and make the claim that the answer is not raising taxes. Although I agree the answer is not just raising taxes. Anyone who would claim that the federal government (or any other institution) could not improve it’s efficiency would be silly. However, you have yet to answer what part of The current take of the federal government being the lowest since WW2 or the decade of job performance since the taxes were dropped were “hogwash.” Plus you avoid commenting of the fact that we had a surplus before taxes were cut in the early 2000’s.

  • We did not have a surplus under Clinton Paul. We had the bubble, a Republican Congress and blue smoke and mirrors with social security funds.

    If the Bush tax cuts were completely repealed, we could expect to have around 200 billion a year in additional taxes. The deficit for this year is estimated to be 1.327 trillion dollars. Increasing taxes isn’t even a bandage on the underlying problem of run away entitlement spending.

  • Yes Don, unfortunately when the social security taxes were doubled in the 1980’s President Reagan insisted that SS funds were counted in the deficit calculations. And that did allow the issue that the article points out. It is also true that President Clinton had the advantage of the computer industry expansion and dot com bubble to the income side. But Pres. Clinton does deserve credit for stopping his party from spending the money and he stopped the Republican party from issuing tax cuts instead of responsibly reducing our deficit during good times. If you don’t believe this draw a graph of the current balance of the federal government from 1980 through 2010. It has a point of inflection at two points. In 1993 it changes from constantly going more negative to going less negative. In 2001 it changes from constantly going less negative to going more negative. The curvature did not change when congress changed from Democratic to Republican in 1995, nor did it change when the congress went back again in 2008. It changed when President Clinton gained control of the budget process and it changed again President Bush gained control of the process. There is a lot President Clinton did I do not agree with, and some things I find abhorrent, but if the data does not show you that he was responsible for the improving current balance of the federal budget during the 1990’s than you are choosing not to look.

    By the way, you still have not pointed which of my original comments are “hogwash.” Since this is a nice way of saying I am lying, I wish you would at least attempt to support the claim in some way.

  • To pay for entitlements Art would require doubling tax rates. Not only is that politically inconceivable, the impact on our economy can be imagined.

    Heritage is an advocacy group. They are not necessarily going to be terribly explicit about it that when they speak of the federal income tax they are not discussing the whole menu of federal or state taxes. The federal income tax comprehends about half of all federal tax collections and about a quarter of all tax collections.

    As we speak, the ratio of federal tax collections to domestic product is 0.149. I believe that is lower than it has been at any time in the last 50-odd years. However, there was a revolution in state and local expenditures during the years running from about 1965 to 1975, so total tax collections are not so low, but not abnormal in context.

    Currently, federal expenditures amount to about 24% of domestic product, just a wee bit higher than they were in 1984. (Federal tax collections as a share of domestic product are lower than they were, so public sector borrowing is at this time 9% of domestic product rather than 6% of domestic product). All things being equal, the relative size of the public sector (beyond a certain baseline) is inversely related to measures of economic dynamism. There is a cost to be paid in static utility and in economic vibrancy each time you expand the public sector’s take and that cost has to be taken into account in assessing any proposed program.

    Now, how are we financing this expenditure? We are financing it through a mix of taxation and public sector borrowing. One might expect that it does diminish utility to finance an activity from coerced contributions (taxation) rather than voluntary contributions (borrowing). Keep in mind that the diminution of utility would be some fraction of 9% of domestic product, perhaps expressed in anemic growth rates experienced as the tax increase is imposed (recall that the money is not being invested, but parked in Treasury issues). That is not what you want, but it is not economically devastating either).

    If you wish to make an argument against a particular manifestation of public expenditure, make that argument; there’s plenty to choose from. If you wish to argue that there are perverse incentives encoded into entitlement programs, make that argument. If you wish to make an argument that optimal public expenditure is of a particular dimension, make that argument. What you really ought not to do is contend that it would be economically devastating to maintain a public sector of a given relative size when we have in fact done so for 35 years or more (and other countries have maintained larger such sectors for longer periods).

  • The idea that the solution to this problem is to raise taxes is simply wrong. The only solution is to radically slash government spending and such a solution will come, probably after the financial crash the West is inevitably headed for.

    I think it might benefit you if you have the time to review the Appendix to the Budget of the U.S. Government and the analytical tables (not the executive summaries, which can be misleading). There are clunky pdfs available online. Review it with two notions in mind.

    1. You cannot welsh on debt service;

    2. The elderly and disabled have very limited capacity to adjust to reduced economic circumstances; diminution of benefits to these sectors (that would be Social Security, Medicare, and that portion of Medicaid which finances nursing homes) has to be undertaken quite gradually and is not going to net you much over the course of the next several years.

  • And I would suggest Art that you contemplate the deficits for the last five years and consider this truism: “Something that can’t go on forever will not go on forever.” National public debt is currently at 99% of GDP. Our capacity to finance the government by conjuring money out of thin air is coming to an end and probably sooner rather than later due to an increasing realization that we can never pay off this amount of debt, at least not with a currency that has anything close to its present value. Slow motion debt repudiation, hyper inflation, currency devaluation, whatever it is called, it is eventually going to occur with severe damage to our economy.

  • I am perfectly aware of the problem. However, cessation of public sector borrowing requires:

    1. More revenue; and

    2. Less spending.

    My complaint about your posts on this matter is a deficit of specificity as regards the latter and your insistence that the former cannot occur. There’s quite a mass of bilge in the federal budget. There are roughly 55 independent agencies you could shut down with little damage to the public interest; two cabinet departments that could be shut down with like consequences; a third department which could have its budget cut by >90% with like consequences; and another that could use a 22% cut. The thing is, you pump out the bilge and you still have problems.

    A. Reducing the bloat derived from the structural defects in entitlement programs takes time;

    B. Removing excess spending in legitimate programs requires intensive attention to granular details or requires you make an arbitrary cut and tell the agency chiefs to figure out the details.

    C. Some sorts of cuts will induce or exacerbate fiscal crises in state and local government. Liquidated programs are properly partially replaced with formulaic revenue sharing.

  • Medusa, the Gorgon, is Nancy Pelosi. Medusa had snakes for hair. Nancy Pelosi has snakes (lies) for hair. The sight of Medusa turned men to stone. Nancy Pelosi turns men to stone. Nancy Pelosi gives her son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread and a snake when he asks for an egg. As a public servant, all citizens are constituents of Nancy Pelosi. We, the people, are her public, her national community. Yet, Nancy Pelosi consistently gives us, her constituents, a stone, when we ask for a loaf of bread, and a snake when we ask for an egg. If untruth, or perjury in the public court of law is permissible, then, Nancy Pelosi has handed us, her constituents, a stone when we ask for a loaf of bread and a snake when we ask for an egg.
    In Greek mythology, Perseus slew the vile Medusa by viewing her in the mirror of his shield for if he had looked at Medusa straight away, he would have been turned to stone. Medusa had snakes for hair, the sight of which turned men to stone. Perseus, son of the Greek king of gods, Zeus, separated Medusa’s ugly snake-generating head from her body with his sword. Separating Nancy Pelosi from her snake-generating lies with our vote in November will free us, her constituents, from turning into stone.
    St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. It is time to drive the snakes out of the United States Congress.

Henry and Lucretia Clay and Their Eleven Children

Sunday, February 19, AD 2012

When studying history it is easy to forget just how different the past is from our own times.  The people we encounter in history are children of their times, just as we are children of ours, and the impact of that fact should never be forgotten by anyone seeking to understand a period of history.

Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, one of the towering figures of the first half of the nineteenth century, and his wife Lucretia provide a simple example.  They had eleven children.  In a time when families with more than three children are a rarity, that alone is a fact that separates them from most of us, but it is the fate of those children that points out another major difference.  At the time of his death, Henry Clay had outlived all of his six daughters and one of his five sons. Of the six girls, two died in infancy, two as children and two as young women.  One son, Henry Clay, Jr, predeceased his father, dying at the battle of Buena Vista in 1847.  By the time that Lucretia Clay died, she had outlived another son, who died a few months before her in 1864.

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3 Responses to Henry and Lucretia Clay and Their Eleven Children

  • Papal trivia. Pope John XXIII was from a 13 child family. Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI….all from three child families.

  • ‘Such familiarity with death was a constant feature of life until the advent of modern medicine in the last century, and is a factor that separates us from life as it was lived by almost all the generations that came before ours.’

    Death was a serious, sorrowful side of life, and maybe why there was more human capacity for joy, as well as faith and reason. People knew their children and siblings and parents before lives ended. My mother’s parents lived next to the Connecticut River, lost two boys to it in the 1920’s/30’s and waked them in their parlor (where I sometimes slept and tried to get used to those stories in the dark). Meaning to agree that this generation is modernized to the point of not ever experiencing their ‘choices’ as a death in the family so there is not a universal sense of loss of love in what is a sterile medical procedure. The mentality of the present culture of death is as cold as death in regard to fullness of life.


Religious Liberty: A Council Ahead of Its Time?

Saturday, February 18, AD 2012

So much of the discussion in the public square of late concerns religious liberty.  Not to obscure the other issues involved in the recent HHS rule and its subsequent “accommodation”, for assuredly there is also the issues of natural law, the right to life, and others.  However, it is curious that the issue on the front line for Catholics and non-Catholics alike has been religious liberty.  I say “curious” not to express disapproval; quite the opposite, for I myself think this is the crux of the issue.  I say “curious” because it has caused me to reflect on the Church’s teaching on religious liberty, particularly those of the Second Vatican Council.

In discussions with various groups that are not in full communion with the Church (okay, let’s not beat around the bush – we mean SSPX here), no issue has caused more angst than that of religious liberty and Vatican II (except perhaps the validity of the Novus Ordo).  Now, there is a certain amount of irony to this, because the “conservative” apologists are now clinging (rightfully) to religious liberty in order to combat the rhetoric and actions of the Obama administration, but the “really conservative conservative Catholics” (e.g., SSPX) find themselves in a bit of a pickle.  For it is this teaching of Vatican II that they have rejected publicly.  (See my footnote below for an apology and explanation of my meaningless labels.*)  Yet we have seen in the last month just what happens when religious liberty is not protected.

With that, let’s have a look at what Vatican II said.  The document in question is Dignitatis humanae (“The Dignity of the Human Person”), and paragraph 1 begins,

A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the consciousness of contemporary man, and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty. The demand is likewise made that constitutional limits should be set to the powers of government, in order that there may be no encroachment on the rightful freedom of the person and of associations. This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society … On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it … Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society.

It seems to me that the USSCB could use this paragraph as it mantra for the battle against the HHS mandate.  But let’s continue … from the next paragraph:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.  This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.

Now this is where SSPX starts to get nervous.  They would claim that no-one has the “right” to adhere to falsehood, and the Second Vatican Council implies otherwise.  As for the first part of the claim, I agree.  I made the point in a previous post that nobody has the “right” to contraception, not just from a constitutional standpoint but also from the perspective of natural law.  However, with regards to “what Vatican II really said,” I read over this section at least three times, as well as the rest of Dignitatis humanae, and I simply cannot see how it implies that people have the right to adhere to falsehood, theological or otherwise.  It does say that religious freedom is essential for man’s search for truth, and that political coercion flies in the face of this necessary freedom, and that “the right to this immunity [from coercion] continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded.”  Yet nowhere do I see that people have the “right” to adhere to falsehood.

At any rate, I meant not for this post to become an occasion for dialog about the SSPX-Vatican disagreements.  I meant only to point out that the Vatican II “Declaration on Religious Freedom” may turn out to be a very useful document for those of the conservative political persuasion in the current climate, and that there is a certain amount of irony, because it was one of the documents of the Council that was most hailed by the “progressives” in the Church.

Certainly the declaration was written within the context of 1965, the year in which Paul VI promulgated it: a time when the world was still very concerned about the oppressive regimes of Communism and Nazism.  Yet I can’t help but think that (surprise, surprise) the Holy Spirit knew what he was doing, for we may well find in our own era the need for Dignitatis humanae.  The battle currently is in the medical field: the fundamental right to religious liberty being trumped by a fabricated “right” to obtain contraception and abortion services free of charge.  However, the battle lying just around the corner will inevitably involve the issue of homosexuality – here we will see a parallel conflict, but it will be the fundamental right to freedom of speech, either in religious or secular circles, being trumped by a fabricated “right” to live one’s life without criticism.  Consider all that is in front of us together with that which is to come, it warrants asking: was Vatican II a council ahead of its time?


*  I am at loss for labels here (as if this weren’t obvious in my use of “really conservative conservative Catholics.”  I inherently reject using the word “traditionalist” because all Catholic should be traditionalist – our faith is a faith of tradition, built on an original deposit that unfolds slowly overtime.  Yet “conservative” is a political term more than a religious term.  At the same time, politics and religious, while distinguished in concept, are not entirely separate.  (There is a reason why politically conservative people also tend to prefer more “traditional” liturgies.)  I hope that the point is not lost here … it seems obvious to me that the SSPC is a sort of “ultra conservative” group, clinging to a tradition that does not allow for any sort of unfolding, organic or otherwise, but rather is frozen in time (arbitrarily chosen as the middle of the 1900’s).  Then again, I write with a certain amount of trust that I am among friends who will understand the irony which I attempt to disclose, that, despite a lack of appropriate labels, the most “conservative” Catholics (so “conservative” that they have left the Church), are now in need of the one of the very doctrines they reject from Vatican II (the teaching on religious liberty) in order to be “conservative” in our current political battle.

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23 Responses to Religious Liberty: A Council Ahead of Its Time?

  • Very perceptive, Jake: “…despite a lack of appropriate labels, the most ‘conservative’ Catholics (so ‘conservative’ that they have left the Church), are now in need of the one of the very doctrines they reject from Vatican II (the teaching on religious liberty) in order to be ‘conservative’ in our current political battle.”

  • Before atheism drove the Person of God from the public forum, “the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, so help me God” was an oath taken on the Holy Scripture in a court of law. So, too, was “and may almighty God have mercy on your immortal (rational) soul” heard in a court of law. Without acknowledgment of the Person of God, no person has any religious freedom because no person is free to exercise his faith if the Giver of faith is forbidden in the public square. When the TRUTH is outlawed, JUSTICE is outlawed. The newly conceived rational soul is the standard of JUSTICE, who is being aborted. That is to say, TRUTH, JUSTICE AND INNOCENCE, virtues of our constitutional posterity are discarded, without recourse to God, the giver of freedom and the Creator of the immortal, rational soul, leaving mankind at the mercy of the devil.

  • The problem with our documents is that they are our documents and, so, are unpersuasive to those not already adherents.

    Many Catholics have no sense of hierarchy of Truth and are therefore incapable of cataloging the sources of wisdom they encounter. The don’t know what the Constitution says and have turned the word “unconstitutional” into a sort of shorthand for the concept of “unfair.” Scripture is, for them, the specific words of Christ in the NT; to be interpreted, of course, as a merely humanistic affirmation of popular nicities. They haven’t read Augustine, know next to nothing of Classical thought or culture, can’t render Roman numerals into their Arabic equivalents, and don’t know what a bishop is, much less how he fits into the life of the Church.

    Against that backdrop, any use of Church documents by the bishops will affect only isolated discussions like ours.

    Unless and until we undo fifty years of modernist educational experimentation, we are “preaching to the choir.”

  • ‘Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society.’

    ‘No one owns the Church!’ Pollyanna said that (the movie was just on).

    Her town was dominated tyrannically by her aunt who disapproved the idea of building a new orphanage. Some few wanted to to fund one with a town bazaar. The rest didn’t want to rock the boat with any show of support. A discussion ensued about how to change stubborn minds. At first also reluctant, the Pastor was able to do so with a Sunday morning sermon. You’ve got to know that the bazaar was a success, that aunt Polly relented, and the town became a friendly place.

  • Jake, your title’s off: Ahead of Its Time, not Ahead of It’s Time.

    And it isn’t SSPX saying ‘error has no rights,’ but the popes up to the Council. If you do not have those sources, and the rest of the encyclicals, you could go here for the chapter and verse, quite concise and easy to read:

  • Janet, thanks for the catch – I fixed it. Regarding the post itself, I didn’t imply that error does have rights, and I specifically said that SSPX is correct (along with previous Popes) in asserting that one does not have the right to cling to error. Where I disagree with SSPX is in their assertion that Vatican II implies otherwise. I simply don’t see the contradiction in HD that they point to.

  • I am neither an SSPX supporter nor versed in the relations of the SSPX to the Church, but in the interest of precision, as I understand it the SSPX is not sedevacantist (unlike some other groups). Sedevacantism asserts that there is no Pope currently. I believe (someone correct me if I’m wrong) the SSPX acknowledges the papacy of Benedict XVI, but they reject the prerogative of the past few popes to do many of the things they have done.

  • Michael,

    I entirely agree, and I have changed my reference. I simple typed too hastily. Thank you immensely for the correction. You are correct that they are not sede vacante. They are also not even excommunicated thanks to Pope Benedict.

    I apologize for any confusion, and humble retract the original reference.

    – Jake

  • Michael Baruzzini: Tongue in cheek and don’t kill the messenger: This is why some of the Popes’ messages are called Papal Bulls.

  • “However, the battle lying just around the corner will inevitably involve the issue of homosexuality – here we will see a parallel conflict, but it will be the fundamental right to freedom of speech, either in religious or secular circles, being trumped by a fabricated “right” to live one’s life without criticism.” Thank you for this wonderful expose. In homosexual practice, one participant denies all the above mentioned freedoms to his partner by denying the partners immortal and rational soul and the partners freedom to seek truth. Each to the other refuses freedom of religion and the obligation to help the other know God. Wives are also called ‘helpmates ‘ in Genesis. ‘Helpmates” help not hinder man’s ascent to God. How does the lusting to satisfy one’s lust, love the other?

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

    “We have buried the putrid corpse of Catholicism.” President Obama 2014

  • Pingback: SUNDAY MID-DAY EXTRA |
  • This article is quite strange. All I have seen written against HHS is religious liberty, religious liberty, religious liberty. I am not associated in any way with the SSPX – I am in good standing with my diocese. You don’t need to be with the SSPX to see that religious liberty is a dead-end in this argument. Traditionalists are quite right to be avoiding arguments about religious liberty here – frankly I can’t see any reason to be using it. American Catholics are building themselves into a fortress, and traditionalists or ‘really conservative Catholics’ are looking by, shaking our heads in dismay. Arguments should be based on philosophy and natural law. Whether V2 teaches that is beside the point – we are in a concrete situation that needs to be dealt with. I have written this article on the matter:

  • You have the complete right to choose between the adherence to the parameters of either progressivism or the Magisterium; so, why is there an objection to others enjoying that same freedom of choice?

  • “so, why is there an objection to others enjoying that same freedom of choice?”

    Precisely Narob! So I assume that you are adamantly opposed to the Obama administration attempting to compel Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage for their employees?

  • If Narob’s comment was addressed to me:

    Please read the blog post I linked. The objection is that the religious liberty argument is that, not only is it in a dubious position in the Magisterium, but it is also a dead-end fortress thing, and will cause more problems in the future. We cannot ask for conscience clauses for ourselves with things that are intrinsically evil. If we say it’s intrinsically evil but we’re happy for everyone else to do it, how can we be taken seriously about abortion etc? This is a matter of prudence.

  • T. Shaw says:
    Saturday, February 18, 2012 A.D. at 9:41pm
    “We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.” Mussolini, 1937

    “We have buried the putrid corpse of Catholicism.” President Obama 2014

    “We have buried the putrid corpse of Constitution.” President Obama 2012

  • Johannes,

    I am unclear of why you think this is not an issue of religious liberty. I have admitted in the past that it is not ONLY an issue of religious liberty, but an issue of religious liberty it certainly is.

    There is a really question about faith in a pluralistic world at stake here, one that I admit I don’t have a great answer to. The question, oversimplified, is this: at what point as Catholics do we think that something we see as immoral should be made illegal. I *think* that most will agree that abortion is serious enough that it should be illegal; after all, we would all (hopefully) agree that murder is serious enough to be made illegal. The question of contraception is a curious one. Of course, those who would, like myself, criminalize abortion, would also criminalize contraception that involves abortifacients, but the more interesting question is about contraception that doesn’t. Should, as Catholics, we support and call for laws that make condoms illegal? What about missing Mass on Sunday? What about divorce? These things are not that clear to me.

    What is clear, however, is that the government should not force me as a practicing Catholic to participate in any of of the above activities, not should I be compelled to pay for other to do so, and the defense of this position is nothing if not religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

    You are correct in asserting that these issues are primarily issues of natural law, a point I have made repeatedly before. Yet that doesn’t mean that they are not also issues of religious liberty.

    Now, I will agree that the way to change hearts is through arguments of natural law – but they way to win this political battle is through the defense of religious liberty.

    Besides, is not the ability to not be coerced in matters religious also a matter of natural law itself?

  • Gun control is not about guns. It is about control.

    This HHS mandate crisis is not about birth. It is about control.

    This crisis is not about religious liberty. This is about liberty denied.

    What would a political scientist call a state which dictates the terms for its drones’ (as in apiaries, not Obama unmanned assassination machines: that’s next!) ) health insurance?

    And, apiary drones don’t procreate, either.

  • “is not the ability to not be coerced in matters religious also a matter of natural law itself?”

    Well according to St Thomas Aquinas and all of the Popes until the 1960s… no. Co-ercion of the baptised in matters religious – be it through physical, fiscal or other means – has always been understood as a prerogative of the Church.

    This is a matter of religious liberty as defined by the constitution, but that concept is not our friend and we should be avoiding it.

  • We are not talking here about the intervention of the Church in order to convert her people. heretical or otherwise. We are talking about government intrusion and coercion. There is, it seems to me, a clear difference. Perhaps my statement should have clarified that: “is not the ability to not be coerced by a government in matters religious also a matter of natural law?”

  • I don’t know that the topic is so difficult as folk are making it.

    Distinguish first between “natural right” and political right”:

    A “natural right” is something morally positive or neutral under God’s Moral Law. That which one has a “natural right” to do is that which God won’t, under any circumstances, send you to hell for doing.

    But “political rights” is a larger set of actions, including some things which are not “natural rights” on account of them being morally wrong:

    There are some things which are wrong, but which do not merit (either because of their non-forcible character, or their low degree of wrongness) anyone pointing a gun at you to deter, halt, or punish you doing them. Gossip and using bad language and voluntarily having sexual relations while wearing a condom fall in this category.

    While it is true that these are moral evils, no other human being has a natural right to point a gun at you to prohibit you doing them (or punish you for having already done so). Other human beings don’t have that natural right, because doing so would be an outrage against God’s Moral Law, which strictly prohibits one’s use of force against other human beings to very limited circumstances (typically defending the innocent against some wrongful forcible attack).

    Since no human being has a natural right to use force against you over condoms or gossip, no human being may delegate the duty of using force against you (over condoms or gossip) to an employee or proxy or representative. (You can’t delegate authority you don’t even have.)

    Since the government of the United States of America is, in its own words, self-defined as an organization which derives its just authority from “We The People” by an act of delegation (see Amendment X), we know that the government of the United States is in fact a bunch of employees, representatives, and proxies for “We The People.”

    And “We The People” equals the sum of a lot of individuals, none of whom, under God’s Moral Law, have just authority to point a gun at you for using a condom. (It’s not that it’s wrong; it’s just that it’s not the kind of wrong for which God approves the use of force.)

    Since “We The People” are individually not authorized to use force against you for condoms, gossip, et cetera, neither are “We The People” collectively. (One doesn’t gain a new kind of authority by merely assembling together a large group of persons who all lack that authority.)

    If “We The People” aren’t authorized to use force against you on those matters, neither are our employees, the government.

    Therefore, while it’s still immoral to do those things, those things fall in a category of immoral things which no man may justly prevent you from doing by force.

    Therefore they are “political rights” even though they are not “natural rights.”

    What, then, about “error?”

    Well, the odd thing about that is that the Catholic faith has long had a tradition of assuming that God does not damn a person for what that person had no way of knowing was wrong. (Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.”)

    So, there’s some reason to suspect that error is, in God’s eyes, sometimes a “natural right” in the sense that He doesn’t count you guilty of sin for merely being invincibly ignorant.

    If error might possibly be a “natural right,” who can doubt that it’s certainly a “political right?” I do not think that “political rights” is an overlapping set with “natural rights”; rather, I think that the entire set of “natural rights” is contained within the set of “political rights” and that “political rights” equals “natural rights” unioned with the set of all moral wrongs which the government lacks just authority to oppose through force.

    So, if I am right about this, the government has no just authority to prosecute Mormons for believing that the Book of Mormon is inerrant, or to prosecute Jehovah’s Witnesses for believing Jesus and Michael are the same being, or to prosecute Wiccans for taking their teen-years collection of Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks a mite more seriously than Gary Gygax intended.

    And if I’m wrong about this, then I presume the SSPX will prosecute me for it, whenever they eventually rise to power. (I’m not holding my breath.)

  • It comes down to three words: “et in publice.” While DH rightly stated that “that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs,” and further that “nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately…” the Council added the words “or in public.”

    This was the radical change: the notion that there is a natural right to be free from restrictions on the public dissemination of error, including proselytization and use of the media.

    You can’t square a circle. The Church perenially taught that states have an obligation to acknowledge the one true Faith, and that this entails the prerogative to curtail the attempts of individuals or groups to lead the populace away from that Faith. That this doctrine is ignored or impractical in the modern world does not mean it is no longer a doctrine.

    Now comes V2 with the claim that these people and groups have a natural right to be free from such restrictions on their publication of error and attempts to proselytize believers.

    Of course, the Church always admitted the principle that maintaing public order and peace might suggest or even require (as in the US) that such pluralism be permitted. Permitted, not promoted, as the Council does, as a human right.

    With respect to the current crisis about the HHS mandate, it has no relation to DH whatever, but is rightly viewed as an attempt of one administration to usurp the clear mandates of the federal constitution regarding 1) free exercize of religion; and 2) the doctrine of enumerated powers, which prevents the federal government from attempting such a comprehensive re-ordering of contracts between employers and employees.

The Goldilocks Conservative

Friday, February 17, AD 2012

Rick Santorum has come under fire from right-wing critics for being not conservative enough on fiscal and economic issues, while simultaneously being too conservative on social issues.  In my mind, he’s just right.

On the matter of fiscal policy Santorum has been portrayed as some kind of big government statist.  As a Senator he did cast votes for raising the debt ceiling, for Medicare Part 2, No Child Left Behind, and other big spending programs.  He’s admitted erring on a couple of these votes.  Overall, though, Santorum’s record as judged by free market policy institutes is fairly solid.  The Weekly Standard ran a piece on the National Taxpayer Union’s grading of Santorum, and he compares very favorably to most of his colleagues.  

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35 Responses to The Goldilocks Conservative

  • “Of course the Democratic spin machine will demagogue Santorum to death,”

    They will attempt to, but I am beginning to doubt that will be effective. Some politicians grow in stature after a time in the political wilderness after a defeat, and I think that is what happened to Santorum after his defeat in 2006. He has thought hard about the issues, has well-articulated positions and is unafraid to speak his mind and defend what he believes. As he said recently, voters may not agree with all that he believes, but they will never doubt that he believes what he says he believes. If I were an Obama political flack, I would much prefer to go up against Romney. A politician of conviction can be hard to beat, once people begin to listen to him and begin to realize that he is truly seeking the common good, even if they do not completely agree with him.

  • Wow, never heard the term populist described the way you describe it. But according to that definition I am definitly a populist. I guess that describes why I never felt comfortable with the the socially liberal, economic conservatism the republican party seems to be heading.

    Santorum is now my guy, I was a naysayer but he won over. Originally being from Pa I know how much he is disliked by “independents” in Pa. I still have some serious doubts about the general election and his ability to get the independent vote. But he has shown he will fight for it, and he won’t shy away from the great moral issues of our time. He has my vote.

  • They need to demagogue-to-death any GOP nominee.

    Until there is nothing left for them to steal, they must distract us from the fact that the entire population is going to the poor house.

    I’m an independent (small i).

    The only potential candidates for whom I will not vote are the useless POSes currently destroying our country and our way of life, i.e., the ones with (D) behind their names.

  • Of course, for me, Santorum’s position on social issues is a huge plus. My concerns with him are in the foreign policy area. No question that he is better than Obama, but is he good enough to pull the lever for standing on his own merit? That is my current dilemma, and will keep an open mind.

  • Thank you, Mr. Zummo! It’s refreshing to see a look at Santorum that’s not attempting to paint him as crazy or creepy.

  • “personal moral judgments are not those that are going to be reflected in public law, nor should they all the time. Not everything that is immoral in this country should be illegal or should be within the governance of the federal or state government, or any government.

    Santorum must be brushing up on St. Thomas Aquinas. Here is a quote from the Summa about “whether it belongs to human law to repress all vices”:

    “… law is framed as a rule or measure of human acts … laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition … law should be “possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country.

    Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained…”

    Santorum is showing some pretty good theological grounds for his position.

  • Nicholas, not only are his points on good theological grounds, but also on simple logical grounds, which I think speaks to more people ultimately. He seems to know the boundaries of the office and he seems to be articulating them well. While I don’t like the fact that he has and will vote to fund contraception from a Federal level, as I don’t believe that anybody truly needs free contraception, and I would hope that he would make a push to make sure that no Title X funding goes to abortion providers, his reasoning is sound and I think will resonate with a great number of voters. Let’s just hope he is successful in communicating his position. That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

  • That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

    And I’ll hope my cats start pooping Gold Double Eagles.

    We have about an equal chance of seeing our hopes fulfilled.

  • Reagan received some of the worst press imaginable in 1980. He spoke over the heads of the media to the American people. Santorum will have to do the same. The difference is that Santorum will have a host of new media available to help him get his message out. Santorum of course is no Reagan, but in 1980 the popular perception of Reagan outside of conservative true believers like me, was that Reagan was a senile, washed up Grade B actor, with crazy right wing views, way out of the mainstream. This perception continued until Reagan devastated Carter in their one and only debate a few days before the election. Reagan was vastly misjudged and underestimated and the same is true this year of Santorum. If played properly, such a misperception can give a candidate an advantage as people begin to realize that what the media has told them about the candidate simply is not true. Santorum would do well to remember Reagan’s ending in that debate:

  • I think there is a mistake in thinking that Gingrich is for a ‘mandate’ like Romney and Obama. First, everything government does is a mandate, so it is a stupid thing to take offense to, unless you are an anarchist. Newt is in favor of ensuring that those that can qualify for and afford medical insurance get some; rather than wait until they need it and go to the ER and stick the rest of us with the bill. They will either raise prices at the hospital or raise taxes through government programs. Libertarians will disagree, but they are wrong. What we need is the availability of inexpensive critical illness and/or hospital insurance, which the market (without government mandates of coverage) will provide at low rates. Young healthy people can pay cash at the physicians office, its the hospital that costs so much. They need to cover this so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Additionally, the whole sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi is a canard, please drop it. There are much better things to disagree with Newt about. WTO, GATT, China’s MFN status, etc.

    I’ve also heard Rick back-peddle away from strong family and anti-contraceptive stances. He has said he stresses the family ONLY because it is good economically. I don’t think he actually thinks that, perhaps it is political pandering, but he did say it. He has also said that contraceptives are fine and that it is a personal choice not to use them. That sounds pretty libertarian and again, I don’t think he believes that.

    He is also a little thin-skinned and gets a little pissy when challenged. Facing Obama that will not be good (ironic because Obama is even more thin-skinned.) I know this from personal experience. I challenged him on the fact that he and his fellow Republicans were far from conservative in the compassionate Bush years. I like Rick and I think he is good and faithful man; however, his flaws (like the rest of us) are a problem – the rest of us aren’t running for president though.

    Newt is also a faithful Catholic and as a re-vert/convert myself, I can tell you we tend to be very, very passionate because we came to the Church later in life. That is not to say that those blessed to be raised in the faith are not passionate – so don’t get your panties in a bunch.

    Newt has the skills and the stature to get things done. Conservative things. Things to repair the damage. You are going to have a president who has to work with a not-so-conservative Republican establishment in the House and (probably) a Democratic Senate. Newt can do that, I am not so sure Rick can. Furthermore, Newt can attract libertarians where Santorum probably cannot because of Newt’s developing stance against the Fed and his gold commission. If this is about delegates, and I suspect it will be, Newt can gain Paul’s.

    Nevertheless, I think Rick can be a good president, certainly better than the other three options (worst to least bad: Obama, Romney, Paul.) But, given where we are, Newt is still a better option and he is smart enough to come back again.

  • Obumbler and his minions have nothing to run on except to attack the opposing candidate. They have nothing, NOTHING to run on regarding Obumbler’s record. Obumbler is an extremist left wing hack and is surrounded by the same. if empty headed “independents” are put off by some of Santorum’s social views, which have no chance of being enacted into Federal law or as a Constitutional amendment, then they are as guilty of ruining this country as the political Left.

    I know what would be pure political gold. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a former daily communicant at St. Mary of Mercy in downtown Pittsburgh – I know this because I saw him at nearly every 7:30 AM Mass – supported Obumbler in 2008 and was rewarded by being appointed Ambassador to Ireland. I know not what Mr. Rooney thinks of Obumbler now, but Mr. Rooney would be required by protocol to submit his resignation to a President-elect Rick Santorum – who would certainly ask Mr. Rooney what he found so attractive about Obumbler.

    So many people seem to think of Santorum as a right wing social extremist and a big spender – just check Red State, who blames Santorum for Rick Perry’s demise as a candidate. Obumbler is the social extremist, not Santorum. Oh, and Rick Perry’s demise was due to Rick Perry. Perry jumped in far too late, debated terribly and allowed Michele Bachmann to beat him up over Gardasil. Erick Erickson would do well to remember that.

  • “Are you better off then you were four years ago?”A question all persons ought to answer before voting.

  • Santorum’s problems have nothing to do with policy matters on balance. As a unabashed conservative I just don’t want him selling my brand. He has courageously taken up the fight but there’s nothing in him which inspires confidence.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Paul.

    Clarification, please:

    You say there are conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and populists?

    And you define and distinguish between them…how, exactly?

    I ask because your definition of “populists” seems to match neither the strict definition of the name nor the behavior of any group distinct from “social conservatives.”

    And then you call them the flip-side of libertarians, saying that “they are socially conservative but economically more liberal.” This presumably means that libertarians are socially liberal but economically more conservative.

    But that’s rather confused, if that’s how you describe libertarians.

    Pro-life libertarians, who’re about 35% of the whole libertarian lot and constitute a solid majority of the libertarians in my home state of Georgia, are typically quite socially conservative if you’re talking about how their personal behavior aligns with traditional morality. The only way in which you can call them “socially liberal” is that, except for abortion, they do not believe in using the coercive power of the state to make everyone obey their traditional mores. (Abortion is the exception, of course, because it involves an assault on an individual’s rights, which, libertarians believe, is exactly what state compulsion is intended to prevent.)

    But is that really “socially liberal?” I don’t see how it can be, because “socially liberal” is also used to describe the statists behind the HHS mandate…and they are using compulsion to make everyone behave as they think they should by forcing everyone to pay for contraceptives. A libertarian would never do that. So how can they both be described as “socially liberal?”

    The fact that libertarians don’t use compulsion in most matters related to sexual mores does not in mean they’re “socially liberal.” Rick Santorum says he doesn’t want to outlaw condoms and wouldn’t lock up homosexuals for homosexual acts; does that make him a libertarian? Does it make him a social liberal?

    I think that if you’re going to break down the American electorate, the only sensible way is to ask them, of any given question affecting human behavior,

    (a.) How ought people to behave in this area of life?

    (b.) Are you willing to exert state compulsion to make them behave that way? Or only try to persuade them to adopt your view voluntarily?

    The “how ought people to behave” answer can either be in accord with Catholic teaching or not.

    The “compulsion” answer will be (at the extremes) either totalitarian or libertarian.

    So a Catholic monarch of the Middle Ages or Byzantine Emperor would presumably have been fairly totalitarian in imposing a Christian moral code, but it would have been a Christian moral code.

    Mao imposed a non-Christian code, but was totalitarian in doing so.

    A Christian libertarian holds a Christian code of behavior, including marital one-man-one-woman fidelity and almsgiving to the needy. He tries to persuade his neighbors to do likewise. But he doesn’t compel them.

    A non-Christian hedonist libertarian holds a non-Christian code of behavior, including smoking pot and spending his money only on himself. He probably doesn’t give a frog’s fat fanny what his neighbors do. But he doesn’t compel them to do as he does.

    A left-liberal progressive holds a Christian view on almsgiving, but an anti-Christian view on sexual matters, and he’s also a statist: He believes in compelling almsgiving via the welfare state, and he believes in compelling contraceptive-buying through the HHS. He is, in a word, an authoritarian on his way to becoming totalitarian.

    I imagine there are also folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold Christian views about sex. These folks would outlaw condoms but desire a free-market. There may be such folks, but none of them are running for office.

    Likewise there may be folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold anti-Christian views about sex. These folks support the HHS rule changes but are free marketers. I don’t see many of those, either.

    My point in all this is: Libertarianism is NOT defined by a particular view either of sexual morality or economic morality. Those are add-on modules which you must supply yourself. Libertarianism does not claim to have a complete moral compass built in.

    All that Libertarianism says is this: It is immoral for you (or government on your behalf) to use force to compel your neighbor to behave as you wish, unless the compulsion is being used to deter, halt, or punish a violation of the rights of an innocent person (which is to say: a wrongful imposition of force or fraud on that innocent person).

    Libertarianism, then, is (and only claims to be) about a tenth of a philosophy. It supplies the answer to one particular question: When may I pull a gun on my neighbor to make him behave as I wish? If you answer this question as libertarians do, you’re a libertarian. How you answer all the other moral questions determines whether you’re a Catholic libertarian or some other kind.

    Narrowly, on the matter of contraception, Rick Santorum does indeed appear to be a libertarian: He doesn’t believe in using state compulsion either to force people to buy contraceptives, or to force them not to. He’s a Catholic libertarian (on that issue), so he personally opposes them buying contraceptives, but since he won’t use state compulsion to prohibit it, he’s still libertarian on that issue.

    Whether he’s libertarian on any other issue depends on when he does or does not propose force to ensure compliance with his views on that issue.

    Is Rick Santorum a libertarian on abortion? That’s the trickiest one, because libertarians are divided. Pro-life libertarians say Santorum is libertarian on abortion, because he believes in prohibiting an assault on human life, which is one of the things libertarians agree the government is supposed to do. (Libertarians are not anarchists.) They say pro-choice libertarians are hypocritical and have lapsed into anarchism on the topic of abortion.

    Paul, I realize this really wasn’t the main point of your piece, which I liked overall.

    But we Americans on the right are typically believers in limited government, which is why we so often take a libertarian stance on any given topic.

    So, we really ought not misuse the term libertarian. We ought to define it correctly. This will help us keep as many libertarians on board the anti-Obama bandwagon as possible, which is a good thing strategically. And, more importantly, it’ll mean we’re accurate and truthful in how we reason together.

  • BTW, my last note was in reply to Paul Zummo, not Paul D.

    Sorry for any confusion!

  • Zummo, this is what is going to happen to Santorum (and I apologize to Don McC who is not a sports fan):

    Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game (or, what is more to my preference, a Red Birds vs. Brew Crew game – I am trying not to be provincial though.) Imagine all the umpires coming out in Red Sox caps and cheering every time the Sox score a run. Imagine every single hit of the Sox being called safe, even caught fly balls. And every single hit the Yankees hit is called foul. A Yankees runner steals home 3 full seconds before the ball reaches the catcher- but it’s an out, according to the umps.

    Gee, I’m getting angry just IMAGINING such a game. Apply this to the *ha* MSM “rules” governing the behavior of GOP candidates- and you’ll appreciate what Santorum is up against.

  • R.C. : a couple of things. First off, as I said above, this four-pronged layout was admittedly simplistic. I was trying to categorize the ideological breakdown of the nation in a very broad manner.

    As for the libertarian-conservative thing, I might be putting up another post this week that clarifies the distinction. Long story short, conservatives who believe in limited government are not necessarily animated by the same principles as libertarians. Hopefully I will have time to expand on that later on.

  • As for the media backlash against Santorum, as Donald mentioned, there are new media outlets that will provide Santorum (or any GOP candidate) more favorable coverage than existed in the time of Reagan. Of course the counter to that is that there are also an abundance of left-leaning new media that will work in concert with MSM outlets.

  • True Paul, but we have the added advantage, contra the claim of the “reality based community”, that this year reality will have a distinct conservative bias. Many apolitical people I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”. The days when Walter Cronkite could say “Well, that’s the way it is.” and be believed by most Americans seems as far away as the First Punic War.

    In regard to leftist new media outlets, somehow the phrase Vox Nova came to mind, I am confident that conservative new media will more than hold their own.

  • Paul, good luck clarifying “the libertarian-conservative thing.” Modern usage of the terminology complicates things and the American perspective complicates things even more.

    My experience with libertarians is that many of them are deeply idiosyncratic and will defy any attempt to clarify their “ideology.” For many, it ends up being more personal preference than ideologically consistent. Conservatives understand that freedom is limited by human nature, traditionally taking their guidance from a faith-based understanding of human nature, i.e., virtues vs. sins. The Garden of Eden is the quintessential basis of this limitation. God gave us free will; but not free reign.

    Of course, within the American context, the limitation of freedom must be done within constitutional limits. Libertarians mistakenly believe that our Founders were libertarians. They were not. The Founders were conservatives, but uniquely so for their time, who believed in limiting the authority and power of government, especially at the national level, but devising a system of constitutional (written) self-government in which a virtuous people limit their own freedom within those constitutional guidelines.

    As for the Romney-Santorum thing, I am increasingly of the opinion that, given Republicans deeply self-destructive behavior of late, that neither candidate can beat Obama this fall. Santorum, if he is the nominee, and after the media is done with him, will win fewer electoral votes that McCain did in 2008. As bad as the Obama presidency has been, and by our inability to get our act together, we are handing him re-election on a silver platter.

  • “Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game…”

    Or worse yet, imagine going to a Cubs-Cards game at Wrigley where the Cubs have a 10 run lead going into the 6th or 7th inning and they STILL find a way to lose…. that’s what I fear the election may end up being like.

  • I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”.

    Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. Our most salient problems are prospective (given the wretched state of public finances in most occidental countries and the undercapitalization of European banks) or they are chronic conditions not much influenced by the business cycle (crony capitalism, crony philanthropy, ill-structured welfare programs, &c.).

  • Thanks American Knight for your commentary. The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared. Newt is a visionary who can accomplish the ” rebuilding of America.” All forward thinkers are marginalized in their day precisely because they are ahead of their time. Why do people laugh because he envisions America to take the leadership role in space? China and Russia want to own the moon! What kind of world will this be if China and Russia are the global authority and power? We need a forward thinking president who identifies faith in God to be central to leadership. As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament” and he was the first to identify religious liberty as a core issue. Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception. This, to me, reveals his lack of authenticity. Genuine faith informs decisions- it does not leave it on the doorstep!

  • The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared.

    Who fears Newt? I’ve personally defended him from some of the more scurrilous attacks against him. He is not my current favorite pick for the nomination, but he’s certainly preferable to Romney and Paul.

    As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament”

    Do you really want to go there? Do you suppose that the once-married, father of seven has a less concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage than Newt? Really?

    Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception.

    Again, you’re really going to go with Newt Gingrich over Rick Santorum on the issue of contraception?

    As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

  • Paul Z: As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

    Paul, it is probably safe to say that people of good will like both Newt and Rick; however, I see many people of faith overlooking some of Rick’s problems (whether real or merely rhetorical). I tended to think he is more ‘conservative’ than Newt, but I am beginning to think he is not as politically confident, which renders him less likely to stand against the Obama machine. As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love. I think that makes him more appealing and therefore more electable.

    As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to, we must also remember that God prefers to use imperfect instruments. We know that sinners who are aware of their fall are more likely to see the good and humbly accept their role. We live in cynical times and a candidate with previous falls that he has overcome can be more attractive.

    The real difference is in the potential effectiveness. Newt has a strong record here. He has the skill-set to not only articulate conservative principles in a pithy and down-to-earth manner, but he is also willing to break with Republican dogma and express his convictions. He was the first to come out in defense of religion and the Church and he applies the doctrine in a practical manner that appeals to non-Catholics. I think we can do well with either Rick or Newt, but it seems that from a practical perspective, Newt can get more done and sooner. Rick can continue to grow and may very well be the one to sustain the turn-around that Newt can bring.

    We need different men at different times. Often, the visionary who starts a new enterprise is not well suited to continue the work after start-up and rapid growth. I think this may be the same for us now. We need big, radical and effective change and Newt is more capable of that than Rick. There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.

  • “Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. ”

    The Illinois unemployment rate is 9.8% Art. I did more bankruptcies last year than any single year in my career, and the pace is picking up. For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

  • “There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.”

    Newt can’t even mop the floor with Romney, and I say that as someone who has written several favorable posts on Newt. As always, Newt’s greatest enemy is himself, as he illustrated in this campaign.

  • As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love.

    I remember tales of liberals who said they could happily vote for John McCain. Who did they really vote for when push came to shove? Barack Obama. They will do the same this year. A great example of this was a left-leaning friend of mine who claimed all year in 2008 that she would vote for McCain over Obama. In the end she of course voted for Obama. Why? It came down to Vice Presidents. Since neither McCain or Obama would likely survive their term (McCain would die of old age and Obama would get assassinated), then she had to choose Biden over Palin.

    Never discount the mental contortions people will go to in order to justify voting behavior.

    I’m not a fan of discussing electability, but there’s no getting around the fact that Gingrich is enormously unpopular with the electorate. Santorum, on the other hand, appeals to voters in swing states like Michigan and Ohio. We can never know exactly how things will play out, but I think Santorum would have a slight advantage here.

    There’s also the matter of debates. I think Newt is horribly overrated. I’ve been saying since the beginning, before I had determined my order of preference among the candidates, that Santorum was much better substantively than Gingrich. Gingrich is all show and drama, and I’m not sure that will play in a general election debate. Besides, if presidential elections were actually decided by debates, well, our election results in recent times would have likely been different.

    Otherwise, I’m not going to argue too much about Gingrich. I think that some of his more “out there” tendencies of thought will be restrained by a Republican. I even agree that his moon colony idea is not a deal breaker. He would most likely make a fine president, and I could live with him if he got elected. But I prefer Rick, for reasons already stated.

  • I think this discussion says a great deal. It is easy to idealize a candidate before they run and then act disappointed in the options. The fact is we have two really good choices and I suspect that most of us would be happy with Rick or Newt. I give a nod to Newt, you give a nod to Rick, but none of us are that invested one way or the other and not because of lukewarmness or mediocre candidates, but because both are strong.

    I think Newt has done very well in the debates. I agree that he was derailed by Romney in Florida because I don’t think Newt was expecting Obamaesque lies out of a ‘colleague’, peer, or whatever. Do debates make a president? No. But, it certainly will play when Obama and the Rep nom go head to head. Romney loses, Paul has a minority appeal (fervent as it is), Santorum will look angry and combative – Newt will reveal Obama for the hollow fool that he is.

    As for show, well, this is a celebrity obsessed and fickle culture, so that has some play; however, Newt backs it up with substance and he has delivered in the past. Additionally, his ouster was orchestrated by Republicans who could not handle the necessary negotiation with Clinton and the RINOs who did not want to be restrained. Look what the compassionate conservatism that is Republican policy after Newt was discharged has cost – sickening.

    He does not only lay out a big picture that is conservative, American, faithful and probably populist; but he tells us HOW he is going to get it done, which I suspect is something professional campaign managers detest. The simple fact is that America is headed toward severe decline unless big changes back toward our principles happen and happen now. I am hopeful that we will come out better for it. The Roman Republic’s battles between the populares and optimates preceded a period of Republican stability long before the rise and fall of the Empire.

    I think we can agree that Romney is useless, Paul, although he has some merits, is ideologically a libertarian materialist (doomed to eventual failure) and Obama is extremely dangerous (incompetent as he is). Gingrich/Santorum works for me, and I accept Santorum/Gingrich. I suspect that is the case for most of us.

  • For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

    Even in the most prosperous times, there are depressed areas.

  • As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to,

    I seem to recall his lieutanant William Paxon, who had been in politics his entire adult life, said he was motivated to seek a career change due to listening to Dr. Gingrich yapping about himself one evening. Mr. Paxon did not actually use the term ‘narcissist’, to be sure…

  • No question that Newt has an issue with pride (hubris) and being enamored with his own prowess. Then, again, which of us in a position of leadership with natural competence doesn’t have to struggle with that? I was most certainly a self-centered egoist until God knocked me down a few (hundred) notches. I came back to the Church of my infancy.

    Newt has grown into the Catholic Church. Rarely does one choose to become Catholic, especially later in life because it is easy or satisfies your ego. What other Church demands such a total submission? Far easier for an egoist to remain comfortably Protestant.

    It is easy to confuse confidence with pride. I see a man who has been humbled and matured. Does he still have egoist tendencies? Probably. Grace builds upon nature. Newt’s temperament has not changed; however, it seems that his character has and to what does he attribute the change? The Holy Eucharist.

  • It is overly simplistic to make the inference that the number of children one has renders a concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage. Santorum correctly identifies a core problem affecting America’s society today- the destruction of the family. Contraception destroys confidence in God because it says that we do not trust God to design our families. Contraception has the potential to destroy human life that is just beginning in the womb. Santorum, in supporting federally funded contraception, is sanctioning its use.
    The funding of contraception services by people of faith is the way that the HHS mandate is attacking religious liberty. It is by no coincidence that contraception services is the instrument chosen to destroy religious liberty. John Paul II wrote in his Encylical “The Gospel of Life,” “Here though we shall concentrate particular attention on another category of attacks, affecting life in its earliest and its final stages, attacks which present new characteristics with respect to the past and which raise questions of extraordinary seriousness. It is not only that in generalized opinion these attacks tend no longer to be considered as ‘crimes’; paradoxically they assume the nature of ‘rights’, to the point that the State is called upon to give them legal recognition and to make them available through the free services of health-care personnel. Such attacks strike human life at the time of its greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of self-defence. Even more serious is the fact that, most often, those attacks are carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family-the family which by its nature is called to be the ‘sanctuary of life’.”
    This is the very crossroads we find ourselves in today with this current HHS mandate… the legislation of reproductive rights. Most all other Christian faiths have embraced the contraception mentality. The rejection of “Humane Vitae” by prelates in the American Church is the issue that is rearing its ugly head. It is not an issue to relegate to the back. In my opinion, it needs to be front and center for the survival of this country. Finally, we export the contraception mentality to poor nations by attaching contraception services as a requirement for them to receive essential assistance such as food and medicine.

  • God knows, you can’t please everyone. Go, Rick!

    I am with him on defending the family. But for you, Paul Z, I’ll let it ride.

    God bless.

  • I dunno.

    It seems an Iowa poll has Obama beating Newt Gingrich 51 to 37. However, pharaoh loses to the others, including Ron Paul.

    I’m shocked.

    Where is the corn belt gratitude for keeping ethanol in 10% of all US gasoline and running up the prices of farmland into the stratosphere?

6 Responses to Librarian: The Perfect Job For a Retired DI

  • God Bless The Marines.

  • My kids’ Catholic high school has a real-life Conan the Librarian working in its library.

    He is about six-foot-four and wide as a barn door: all muscle. He competes and generally wins caber toss competitions at Scottish games. He trained one son in caber. He was nationally ranked in discus and helps with weight training and coaching the weight men on the tracks teams. He coached all three of my sons.

    His heart is a big as his shoulders. He was an airborne ranger in the US Army, too.

  • I’m a big fan of Gunny Ermey.

    Lock ‘N’ Load is must viewing. My kids are fascinated by the development of the technology. And even more so by the big explosions in slo-mo.

  • Notice the ring tone and ending tune is Ted Nugent. Not a surprise when you think of it. I’m sure it was loyalty free too. 🙂

  • Easy, now! A great many Catholic Keyboard Commandos resent their angry denunciations about some government miscreancy being responded to with a very easy question: “Did you vote?” You can cube and square that hissy-fittiness when the screed is about a school and the question is “But did you vote in your last school board election?”

    Many people, I fear, will applaud Gunny’s plea — um, direct order — to register but won’t actually show up and do so.

Gerry Connolly: Former Seminarian-Democrat Congressman-Anti-Catholic Bigot

Friday, February 17, AD 2012

Hattip to Chris Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal.  Johnson is a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith. 

Gerry Connolly, (D.VA.), graduated from Maryknoll Preparatory Seminary in Illinois in 1971.  Rather than becoming a priest, he, fortunately for the Church, became involved in politics.  In 2008 he was elected to the House.  In 2010 he was re-elected by fewer than a thousand votes.  (Better luck to the unfortunate constituents of Mr. Connolly this year.)  Although he purportedly is a Catholic, he has routinely engaged in Catholic bashing as a political tool.  In his race for the House in 2008 he played the anti-Catholic card against his Republican opponent:

House minority leader John Boehner is urging Democratic leaders to stop a vicious anti-Catholic smear campaign against Republican congressional candidate Keith Fimian, who is challenging Democrat Gerry Connolly for a rare open seat in Virginia’s 11th District. All 157 Catholics currently serving in the House, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, should join their 25 Catholic colleagues in the Senate to denounce this vile attempt to denigrate their fitness for office.

Postcards mailed to voters on behalf of Connolly by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) portray the Fairfax County businessman as anti-women because he sits on the board of Legatus, a group of traditional Catholic CEOs founded by Domino’s Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan and endorsed by the late Pope John Paul II. Catholic League president Bill Donohue condemned the scurrilous ads as blatant “Catholic bashing” and demanded that Connolly publicly denounce them. Instead, the Democrat repeated the smears on TV.

It goes without saying of course that the CINO (Catholic in Name Only) Connolly is a complete pro-abort and a big supporter of Planned Parenthood.  Connolly can always be relied upon as a tame Catholic to defend the Obama administration from critics pointing out obvious anti-Catholic bias.

Thus it was no surprise that Connolly, at yesterday’s hearing on the HHS Mandate, belittled the witnesses who appeared to protest the infringement of the Mandate on religious liberty:

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7 Responses to Gerry Connolly: Former Seminarian-Democrat Congressman-Anti-Catholic Bigot

  • I noticed quite a while ago that the most venomously hateful anti-Catholics are those raised Catholic. The Jews have the phenomenon of the “self-hating Jew” but I don’t know that we can speak of “self-hating Catholics,” since the Catholic anti-Catholics seem to have very high opinions of themselves. (Unlike us, they “see though” the Church.) Really, I’ve heard one-time Catholics go off on tirades that make Jack Chick sound like Little Mary Sunshine. Unfortunately, because the bigots were raised Catholic, outsiders can get the idea that they know what they are talking about.

  • Why are Obama and Connolly talking about contraception, ending the health care scourge that are children, “why I hate Catholics”, etc.?

    Because they don’t want you to notice America is going bankrupt until there’s nothing left for them to steal.

  • I know the following is Godwin’s, but I can’t resist:

    “But he was a seminarian!”

    “So was Stalin.”

  • “…we were denied, on this side of the aisle, any witness who might have a differing point of view. And I think that’s shameful.”
    Did he stomp his foot too? What a whiner.

  • If Obamacare could heal the sick and raise the dead, participation must still be freely chosen to acknowledge the free will of the individual person to say: “THANK YOU, NO” Persons whose free will is not acknowedged are enslaved. Slaves are not citizens and do not vote. Remember to vote against your slave master.

  • ‘ to testify about your rights being trampled on — an overstatement if there ever was one — while you’re on a panel, and your participation on the panel makes you complicit in of course the trampling of freedom, because we were denied, on this side of the aisle, any witness who might have a differing point of view. And I think that’s shameful.” ‘

    Just like a trained attack dog. And they had to listen to what he thinks, not call him on what he’s doing to bring them there. Bailouts were the first order of business back when, causing spin enough to get minds too dizzy to watch where the cash waves crashed. Now, passions for the 1st Amendment problem will leave little left for the rest of coming Constitutional and financial trouble. God help those who try to stem the tide by ‘depriving’ anyone. Exec Branch has cried foul over any opposition creating stalemates to build its reputation for getting things done. They call the legislative branch do nothings. Now they scorn Religion on the front burner, while doing what with mammon.

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Yeah, I Feel So Much Safer Now

Friday, February 17, AD 2012

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  The United States Army has a long and proud history of defending this country, often engaged in combat in the most deadly situations imaginable against very tough adversaries.   I was proud in my misspent youth to wear Army green for a few years.  Today the Army finds itself facing severe financial cuts from the Obama administration, troop strength is at its lowest ebb since the Fifties, and it is entirely possible that a war with Iran might occur anytime this year.  Not to worry!  The Army has time for this:

The Army is ordering its hardened combat veterans to wear fake breasts and empathy bellies so they can better understand how pregnant soldiers feel during physical training.

This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.

Army enlisted leaders all over the world are being ordered to take the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training Exercise Leaders Course, or PPPT, according to U.S. Army Medical Activity Japan health promotion educator Jana York.

Nothing I could possibly say is half so apropos as what was said by Hilaire Belloc long ago:

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5 Responses to Yeah, I Feel So Much Safer Now

HHS Mandate: Good Politics for Those Who Oppose It

Thursday, February 16, AD 2012

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  Sarah Steelman is running in the Missouri primary to get the Senate nomination against the incumbent Senator, Claire McCaskill (D.Mo).  I believe this is the first campaign commercial that attacks a Democrat on the HHS Mandate.  I trust that it is the first of many.  There is a political price to pay for anti-religious in general, and anti-Catholic in particular, bigotry, and any Democrat who stands behind Obama and the HHS Mandate must be made to pay that price.

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9 Responses to HHS Mandate: Good Politics for Those Who Oppose It

  • Former Governor Tommy Thompson has been running an anti Obama & Tammy Baldwin ad in Wisconsin for a few weeks now based on HHS mandate

  • Good news Catholic Lawyer! I hadn’t seen it below the Cheddar Curtain.

  • Another beautiful conservative woman telling it like it is. Have you ever noticed there are no beautiful liberal women?

  • Great news indeed. It’s enough to make me consider defecting to the West (of the Mississippi) just to vote for her…

    This should serve as a timely reminder that the POTUS race isn’t the only one to pay attention to this year. I believe there are enough vulnerable incumbent Dems in the Senate (of which McCaskill is one) and enough open seats (from Dems retiring) that the Senate could flip to GOP control. This will, if Obama should be reelected, provide a much-needed restraint on his leftist excesses, particularly with regard to Cabinet and SCOTUS appointments.

    Also, everyone should double check their Congressional races because many districts have been redrawn from the 2010 census. I recently received a new voter registration card indicating that I have “moved” from a safe Republican district into a more competitive district with primary races in both parties. I’m sure the same thing has happened to others.

  • On a related note, one of my favorite bishops, Archbishop Chaput, has released a statement on this issue. He’s not pleased. His statement might be worthy of its own American Catholic entry.

    But the HHS mandate, including its latest variant, is belligerent, unnecessary, and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief. Any such mandate would make it morally compromising for us to provide health-care benefits to the staffs of our public-service ministries. Moreover, we cannot afford to be fooled – yet again – – by evasive and misleading allusions to the administration’s alleged “flexibility” on such issues. The HHS mandate needs to be rescinded.

    Critics may characterize my words here as partisan or political. These are my personal views, and of course people are free to disagree. But it is this administration – not Catholic ministries, or institutions, or bishops – that chose the timing and nature of the fight. The onus is entirely on the White House, which also has the power to remove the issue from public conflict. Catholics should not be misled into accepting feeble compromises on issues of principle. The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn – now.

    Read it here…

  • CatholicLawyer: I haven’t seen the ad either and I’m in Milwaukee. Good to know, though!

  • It has been running on 1130 WISN; not on TV/Cable

  • I hope this ad makes my yellow-dog Democrat siblings in MO squirm. Beautiful woman, beautiful message. This is a good comparison to why Catholics should never use SSA and Marriage in the same sentence. When we do it gives clout to the perverted idea of men/men and women/women. Do not give them any ground. Do not use their language. Words have power. It is a religious rights issue. It can be called nothing else.

Chart Of The Day: Whose Wages Are Stagnating?

Thursday, February 16, AD 2012

I’d been fooling around with Census data a bit over the last week. Here’s an interesting chart using Census Table P-36. Full-Time, Year-Round All Workers by Median Income and Sex: 1955 to 2010

Median income for full-time working men first hit 50,000 (in inflation adjusted 2010 dollars) in 1973, and it has been essentially flat ever since (breaking 50k for the second time in 2010.) However, the median income of full-time working women has gone up 35% since 1973. The percentage of full time workers who are women has also increased gradually throughout that time, from 30% in 1973 to 43% in 2010. (In absolute numbers, obviously both the number of male and female full time workers has increased significantly during the same period.)

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8 Responses to Chart Of The Day: Whose Wages Are Stagnating?

  • Interesting how Mens’ real wages, which in cold hard fact are the historical standard since women have just that recently begun to enjoy improvement in pay across the board, have not changed since Nixon dislodged the dollar from that pesky Gold Standard. Yet, there’s tremendous growth when compared to the stable, productive 1950s. Fiat Money!

    I would venture to guess that Womens’ wages will plateau eventually.

  • Revision: Tremendous growth UNTIL THAT POINT when compared to the 1950s. Sorry.

  • Does the push for women’s equality in the workforce act as a cap on male productivity and wages?

    An office of highly productive men must work extra hard to promote women, lest it be sued for discrimination. So why should the men work as hard, if they’ll be less likely to get promoted anyway?

    While sometimes it’s just bitterness to claim that less qualified women are promoted over more qualified men, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is indeed the case in many companies.

  • Forgive all injuries.

    I agree with Kevin.

    I’ve been in the big corporate world since before affirmative action.

    In the old days, managers’ annual HR performance “ratings” had to contain a statement to the effect that “so-and-so actively supports the EEO program and treats all personnel fairly and equally.”

    Now, it’s the opposite. Corporations are required to discriminate (in employment, promotion) to ensure equal outcomes (“disparate treatment”/”effects tests rule” – accomplishments, education, experience, knowledge, skills be damned) for protected classes.

    In bank lending, they imposed Equal Credit Opportunity Act, CRA, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, etc., and it’s all, “The bank doesn’t make enough affordable housing loans or loans to protected classes in “red-lined” areas! The government forces the highly-regulated to advance more loans and to hell with repayment capacity or any other credit decision factor.”

    Back to employment. HR needs to report its numbers. In promotions, that means minimally qualified protected class members are promoted over more highly accomplished white males. That leads to resource misallocations and inefficiencies, as Kevin indicates.

  • Kevin J,

    If anything, I think the more accurate way to look at it is that because white males had such a big advantage to start with, once employment became more of an strict matter of supply and demand rather than preferences, white men found themselves overvalued compared to other people capable of doing similar amounts of work.

    Even that is massively over simplified, though. A lot of what has shifted during the last 40 years is who is doing what kind of work, who has what kind of education, and how much various kinds of work are worth. For instance, women now make up a majority of college graduates, which definitely was not the case 40 years ago. Also, you have traditionally male industries like construction and manufacturing struggling, while more traditionally female industries like health care and education are doing relatively well.

    While it’s true that if there is an office somewhere in which men honestly don’t think they’ll get promoted because of preferences, those men probably won’t work as hard, I can’t say that I’ve ever run into such an office.

  • Another way to look at the wages is to consider them in the light of family breakdown. Married men tend to be the most productive, and with the decline in marriage that will manifest in lower male productivity and wages. Men paying alimony to ex-wives they now dislike or despise may have less incentive to earn.

    As for whether women are being promoted or hired in place of equal or more capable men, there are lots of incentives to do so.

    Many big companies have special women’s groups for networking purposes that aren’t available to men (and seem to be heavily feminist). Many government contracts have quotas for women-owned business and businesses with X percentage of women in management positions. If women aren’t men’s equals for a given position, then these structures are promoting less effective employees. If women are equal to men for a given position, then these structures give them the upper hand in the competition for jobs.

    I’m sure these pressures depend on the industry, too. An editor with a major local newspaper told me of the sinking feeling he gets when his hiring team heads to a diversity job fair knowing that he has to hire someone just on the basis of diversity. I wager feminist groups are more interested in news media, academia, government or law firms than IT or engineering fields.

  • Here’s an example of how feminist policies pressure companies to hire women:

    Carrollwood hydrant project delayed by lack of women on crews

    So you have a company that could save $16,000 for a city contract and is racially diverse enough to meet other standards, but doesn’t have enough women skilled laborers.

    The contract will likely go to someone with better feminist recruitment policies, costing men their jobs, costing cities more money, and strengthening feminist economic and cultural power (which in the American context relies upon, and promotes, contraception and abortion).

  • I agree that the idea of turning down a construction contracting company because they don’t have “enough” female workers is deeply silly (and I tend to be against racial or sex quotas in virtually all circumstances) — but color me skeptical that this sort of situation is responsible for much of the graph that I posted.

    First off, one of the things to keep in mind is that a graph like this shows aggregate data. It doesn’t mean that individual men do not get raises. Typically, a worker starts out making less and increases his income throughout most of his life. What this is looking at is: If you take the average all all workers (those in early career, mid career and late career, and spread across growing industries and dying industries) and you adjust for inflation, male wages have been fairly stagnant for the last 40 years while female wages have increased 35%.

    Now if one considers a couple basic facts, I think the logic of how something like this works will seem fairly obvious.

    1) Up until a gradual change stretching from the 50s through the 70s, married women were expected to stay home or at most work part time, not as many women went to college as men, women were often paid less even for doing the same work, and many careers were considered closed to women.

    2) During the 70s through the 90s, these trends pretty much all reversed: Women are expected to work full time even after marriage, women started going to college at the same rate as men (now more women graduate from college than men), women are generally paid the same for the same work, few to no careers are considered off limits for women.

    3) While, on average, certain abilities are stronger in one sex or the other (men tend to be stronger, women tend to be more empathetic, etc.) neither sex is massively more able than the other.

    If we accept these three points, it seems fairly obvious that over the last the number of Americans competing for many jobs has gone up 30-40% as more women have come into the workforce. When supply goes way up, you would expect that the price would not increase as rapidly. So with the percentage of Americans working going way up, and women having an equal chance on most jobs, you’d expect the average income of female workers to go up much more rapidly for quite some time, while you’d expect the average income of men to stagnate for a while.

    Think of it this way: 40 years ago, the pool of applicants for the best jobs was heavily male. Now it’s much more 50/50. Even if we assume no preferences and that women win no more than 50% of these jobs, the result is that the percentage of these jobs held down by men will go down. So while among workers over 55, most of the highest paying jobs might be held by men, for workers around 30 the split might be much more 50/50.

    Even given just that set of factors, you’d expect to see a patter such as what we’ve seen for about the length of a full career after we reached a point of fairly equal opportunity: Say, for about 30-40 years starting in the late 70s or early 80s.

    However, wider economic changes are probably throwing things off even more, since in point of fact there are different aptitudes and preferences for men and women, and those differences have tended to make certain fields more male or more female. Given that construction and manufacturing both tend to be heavily male, and that they’ve both been struggling a huge amount over the last while, this probably depresses the male average even more than we’d expect otherwise.

    Again, I don’t support quotas, and I think that examples like what you point out are pretty appalling. But I just don’t think that’s what’s driving the trend. And although I’ve run into the ineffective affirmative action hire from time to time, I’ve at least as often (if not more often) run into the ineffective male employee who everyone keeps transferring around because no one can get rid of him, or the ineffective but highly decorative female employee that some male manager hired over more qualified candidates because he likes to look at her during meetings. All of these types are frustrating to have to deal with, but I don’t really think any of them are so big a trend as to be driving our economic statistics or shaping our society.

Time to be Tested!

Thursday, February 16, AD 2012

Go here to take an online civics test put out by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and please report your results in the comboxes.  I missed one question and got a score of 96.7%  ( I missed the last question because I got in a hurry to complete it and didn’t read the possible answers carefully.)  My wife took the test and also got a 96.7%.  The average score of 2508 Americans taking the tests was 49% and for college educators 55%.  I found these numbers shocking as I thought the test was fairly simple.  I am sure you will all do much better than the averages!

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65 Responses to Time to be Tested!

  • Hew doggies! Got me a hunnert percent! Musta got me sum edjumacayshun back yonder a-ways, yep.

    Seriously, though, it would be interesting to see what the breakdown is between Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

  • 93.04%

    And I are a nucular engineer!

    Not a liberal Democrat civics professor.

  • You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

    Incorrect Answers

    Question: Which of the following fiscal policy combinations has the federal government most often followed to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
    Your Answer: increasing both taxes and spending
    Correct Answer: decreasing taxes and increasing spending

    I think I got this one right. The question doesn’t ask which policy works best, rather which policy did they most often follow. Other than J.F.K and Reagan, and perhaps, but not really, W. Bush (43), they raise taxes, inflation and spending. I am not accepting a reduction in the employee’s FICA tax, as a tax cut, nor, is NOT raising taxes a tax-cut.

    If anyone cannot get at least 80% on that, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote and probably not tie their own shoelaces.

  • I missed only two questions (93.04%) and I are a gubmint bureaucrat!

  • Bravo! You are all doing TAC proud! Keep it up!

  • This Republican got 100%. AK makes a fair observation, but I would think that a reduction in FICA tax is a tax cut from the perspective of fiscal policy.

  • 30 out of 33 correctly — 90.91 %. Oh, well.

    I noticed in the intro that college educators scored an average 55%. I suspect it was all the questions on capitalism and free markets that brought their scores down.

  • 100%.

    I suspect they got an eccentric sample of college teachers.

  • Bah. Missed the last one.

    I am a lawyer AND a college professor. Go figure.

  • Revision: I’d like to see the breakdown between Public School and Catholic School graduates.

    Pretty cruel, I’m thinking.

  • Missed two.

  • 93%

    As for college educators only scoring 55% I’ll bet that those in the hard sciences, math, and engineering depts far outperformed those in the humanities/liberal arts.

  • That public / private breakdown would be interesting. I was publicly educated through college, and then a private (tier 2/3, depending on year) law school.

  • I also only missed the last one.

  • 100%

    Though there was one where I benefited from reading the comments first: I am not sure which method of stimulating the economy can be described as most often tried — though I’d say that the answer they have as correct is the one that could get the most economics agreeing with it.

  • 89%. Hey, someone has to be honest!

  • “89%. Hey, someone has to be honest!”

    Okay, I’ll come clean. I got 100% but I didn’t want others to feel bad.

  • Thanks, Phillip. That made me laugh.

  • I’ll be the dunce and admit to 84.89, though one of those was the question that American Knight notes:

    Question: Which of the following fiscal policy combinations has the federal government most often followed to stimulate economic activity when the economy is in a severe recession?
    Your Answer: increasing both taxes and spending
    Correct Answer: decreasing taxes and increasing spending

    I got it wrong for the same reason he did: the phrasing isn’t “which is the most effective policy” but “which is most often followed”, and I chose “increasing both” because I thought was most often followed.

  • Missed 2 for 93.94%. I admit I had to guess on a couple of the history related questions.

  • Wow… I got 87.88% and I’m really politically and historically illterate. It’s sad to think the average person is less knowledgable than I am.

  • Mike,

    You have a point about fiscal policy, but that ignores the fact that a reduction of a temporary and uncertain sort of only a third of the employees portion does not stimulate much at all. As an employer, I still pay the full ride on my end, so my out-of-pocket is exactly the same, no savings, no raises, no new hires. Additionally, although LBJ brought the SS trust into the general budget, we are intentionally underfunding it as those making demands on it are increasing at the highest rates ever.

    So essentially, the employees are de-funding their own benefit and we are increasing deficit, debt and trust. This can hardly be considered sound fiscal policy.

    I find it interesting that everyone is scoring well above 80% and we are parsing the words of the questions and answers to seek more accuracy; rather, than because we don’t understand. Naturally, this site is not a fair sample; however, it tells you something: Americans are intellectually lazy and don’t care; Catholics are aware that we are deficient. Just because we score well on this little test that an eight-grader should pass, doesn’t mean we are doing much about it – we always have work to do.

  • The test is unfair to recent public school pupils. Some of the answers would not raise self-esteem.

    Also, unfair to liberals. Most of the correct answers are not affected by whining.

    I’m about the second dummest guy I know. I think I was in school before they started teaching what to think, not how to think.

    Score 90.91

  • Score: 90.91%

    The quiz looked familiar. I believe I have taken it before. In fact, I missed the SCOTUS/Roosevelt/New Deal question… again.

  • 32 out of 33. The idea that college educators scored 55% on average is frightening.

  • Mrs. Darwin is no longer the Dunce. I got 81.82 %. But I have an excuse! I’m only in the first few weeks of my High-School Government class.

  • I’m not surprised by the 55% for college profs.

    As a penance, I read econ profs’ sites. I am constistently shocked and bewildered at the other-worldly nonsense they and commenters fling about.

    It’s like troops of apes throwing feces at each other.

    Also, Alan Blinder and Paul Krugman are PU econ profs. That tells me more about the university than it does about Blinder/Kruggist.

  • “But I have an excuse! I’m only in the first few weeks of my High-School Government class.”

    In that case Quid I’d say that’s a not bad score!

  • I missed 3. I’m shocked that the average “professor” would get much more than that wrong. I’m no American History buff but I have basic test taking strategies that led me to the right answer most of the time.

  • Wayne,

    Don’t be shocked. Professors, even those in political science, are not as familiar as you think with the language of the Constitution and with American history. And even though test taking strategies might help, they would not if one “knew” that the language of “wall of separation” appeared in the Constitution.

  • True Jonathan. As the great Will Rogers said: “It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so”

  • Donald,

    Socrates might have had something along those lines as well….great minds and all that.

  • Donald,

    Are you sure that was Rogers? I’ve seen it attributed to Mark Twain (S.L.C) and Josh Billings. Its driving me crazy, because it is right on.

    I’ve seen it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

  • AK, according to the quote verifier Mark Twain stole it!

    “It AIN’T so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.” In various forms this popular observation gets attributed most often to Mark Twain, as well as to his fellow humorists Artemus Ward, Kin Hubbard, and Will Rogers. Others to whom it’s been credited include inventor Charles Kettering, pianist Eubie Blake, and–by Al Gore–baseball player Yogi Berra. Twain did once observe, “It isn’t so astonishing the things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren’t so,” but biographer Albert Bigelow Paine said he was paraphrasing a remark by humorist Josh Billings. (In Following the Equator Twain also wrote, “Yet it was the schoolboy who said, ‘Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.'”) Billings, whose real name was Henry Wheeler Shaw, repeated this theme often in different forms. On one occasion Billings wrote, “I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.” A handbill for one of his lectures included the line “It iz better to kno less than to kno so much that ain’t so.” Across this handbill Billings wrote longhand, “You’d better not kno so much than know so many things that ain’t so.” Apparently the humorist considered this his signature “affurism.”

    Humorists always steal from each other. Milton Berle once said that he and Bishop Sheen, who was broadcast at the same time as Berle’s show was, had something in common: they both used old material!

  • People always wonder how I can keep so many useless facts in my head and blurt them out dogmatically, but I ain’t no lawyer and you amaze me. So, I suppose I know how they feel – of course, your facts are usually not so useless as mine. 😉

    Rogers it is, I prefer him to Twain anyway. Thanks.

    BTW-I’m surprised no one attributed this quiz to the Masons – it does have 33 questions – exactly. Kind of suspicious huh? ;O

  • 28%. I thought that Abraham Lincoln was one of our enemies in World War II.

  • 100%. Advantages of being a freshman in college. And since I finished all of my English/social science courses in high school (I’m a biomedical engineering major), I’ll probably have forgotten half of it by this time next year.

  • Dear American Knight. Albert Einstein could not tie his own shoelaces, and he had to be taught how to eat an ice cream cone. But his life was spent in wonder about creation. My score was 81.? something, knowing very little about the Federal Reserve or the economy. I would not have posted my ignorance for the world to see, however, you asked. It was a fun test and I enjoyed it.

  • disappointed– 30 out of 33 –missed the new deal, the slavery vs the state’s rights and the last one abut taxes — I should have known those first two–

  • Mary, come to think of it, I just checked my closet and none of my shoes have laces. Hmmm? Plus I’m lactose-intolerant, so not much for ice-cream either. However, I have no idea what calculus is and my experience with physics is having gotten a D in high school and I read a book about the proof for God by Fr. Spitzer (the metaphysics I got, the math, well not so much.) 🙂

    As for the Federal Reserve all you need to know is it is a private bank, its owners are secretive and they control all of the money in the world. Despite what any self-righteous economist will tell you, it is an evil scheme built by the descendents (I mean that in spirit not genealogy) of the money-lenders whom Jesus chastised in the temple. It has to go, but please don’t vote for Ron Paul to get rid of it, well, unless you were planning on voting for (dim)Mitt Romney. 😉

  • I got 76.76 – and I’m just a simple humble kiwi carpenter.

    Does this score qualify me as an American ? 😉

    What got me were the questions specific to US policy etc. – tried to “logic” it out, but fluffed a few.
    Actually, had the opportunity to move to the US back in 1978 as a specialist roofing contractor, to an NZ company that had a product that became very popular there, based in Anaheim CA. I would have probably gone to San Diego, because there was a contractor there who was lookng for a contract supervisor – US$200 per day, plus a vehicle; that was excellent money back then. The trouble was getting all the paper work through to qualify, and being a lazybum when it comes to paperwork, I opted to move to Australia – in those days there was free passage between NZ and Oz and I had Aussie cousins in Wollongon NSW, so moved there instead. Actually, within a few months was earning AU$200 per day – so was quite happy about that.
    Went to the US in 2002 – to Bellingham WA. and stayed with people from the Bellingham Yacht Club, for a sailing regatta. Spent most of the time sailing on Bellingham Bay, cruising the Juan de Fuca straits, drinking beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club, or visiting various scenic spots, then indulging in great food evenings, or drinknig beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club.. Great trip. Oh, and BTW did I mention that I spent a bit of time drinking beer (and a little rum) at the yacht club? 🙂

  • “Does this score qualify me as an American ?”

    You’re always an honorary American on this blog Don! (I am bucking for honorary Kiwi status with my annual Anzac Day posts!)

  • “I’ll probably have forgotten half of it by this time next year.”

    Sad to say Jason, but about all I can recall of college some 33 years on are the girls I dated! (I have more vivid memories of law school, but I attempt to repress those.)

  • “I’m bucking for honorary Kiwi status with my annual ANZAC day posts”

    No wurries Don, I’ll have a chat to the Prime Minister 🙂

    Actually, you could probably go for for honorary Aussie status too – but you’ll have to learn to cuss a lot more! 😉

    But it would be a good idea to come visit us some time, to make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for. 🙂
    BTW, you can take that as an invitation.

  • Another perfect score to throw on the pile. Of course, I have the advantage of being in the middle of high school Government at the moment.

  • 73%

    I have some studying to do !

  • “Of course, I have the advantage of being in the middle of high school Government at the moment.”

    Good work MT! I remember High School, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and gas was 39 cents a gallon!

  • 93.94% – 32/34

    I missed the last one, even though I took my time on purpose because of Donald’s problem. However, the other one I missed (about levees & defense), I missed because I jumped on an answer without even considering the others. Dumb mistake.

    Oh well.

    What caught my attention about the results wasn’t the college educators’ scores; it was our public officials scores.

    “This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected.

    When looking at individual questions, public officials scored lower on 29 of the 33 (!) questions than than average citizens.

  • First, a history review/excuse: @ public hs, civics was given only for generals or vocationals, ancient or US history for people w/ 2 foreign langs. Last, with fingers stiffly typing, 69.7, and I still can’t roll R’s or think w/ TV on.

  • 84.something — one miss for going too fast (no excuse), one I’d argue with, and two slap-my-forehead-for-ignorance. I’m a part-time adjunct faculty nobody at a two-year college; do I rate a promotion now?

  • 32 out of 33; it is astounding that the average person tested couldn’t get at least 70% of the questions right…

  • Drat. Missed 2.

    You answered 31 out of 33 correctly — 93.94 %

  • I got 30 out 33 right. Not bad for a non-college educated retired Navy man. Can’t wait for my son to take this tonight (17 years old…knows everything just ask him lol) Smart kid though just don’t any of you tell him I said that

  • 2 wrong. I share the reservations of another commentor about that question on fiscal policy in a recession. Their correct answer should have been to the question, “what policy is BEST?” because I don’t think decreases in both taxes and spending is what is most frequently done. Not in the last seven decades, anyway.

    Just a homemaker who finished a degree in education (!) got married and had seven kids. So, not too bad considering my college background.

  • 87.88% and I are in business. I was told in skrewl to have high esteem so I still think I’m great and that my perspectives on reality are totally new and unique as long as I work on good things like saving the planet.

  • 84.??%. It should have been closer to 90%, but I the buttons are a bit sensitive (at least using my computer) and one question I KNOW i answered right but it was marked as wrong. Another one, the one about the Dam levees and public goods–I must not have read that properly. I am pretty sure most of what I’ve learned about civics I learned outside of school. (I’ve been out of school 20 years now.) I don’t think much of this was covered in school or college.

  • You answered 33 out of 33 correctly — 100.00 %

    I’m curious to see how talk radio listeners compare to the college professors.

98% of Catholic Women Use Birth Control

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

– or so they say. “They” being random folks online, who seem to have picked it up from Huffington Post, or maybe Daily Kos.

To be fair, the original claim was that 98% of women (footnote in small type: at risk for unintended pregnancy) contracept, and came from the  Guttmacher Institute; if you don’t know who they are, they’re probably the source for 90% of the crazy-on-the-face-of-it sex related claims you’ve seen online, usually after a couple of rounds of rephrasing and from-memory citation.

Here’s the short form of how they got it:

So the study tells us only that 98% of women of child-bearing age who want to have sex without having babies use some form of birth control. That qualifies as a sort of “d’uh” moment.

He’s got the long form, with details, at the link; it’s VERY long form, and I don’t want to copy all of it–  TheOFloinn opens with an introductory course on statistics.

That said, honors for pointing it out first, digging into the statistics and being a reporter who actually did reporting goes to Mollie at Ricochet:

“So I guess we could say that among women aged 15-44 who had sex in the last three months but aren’t pregnant, post-partum or trying to get pregnant, 87% of women who identify as Catholic used contraception. It’s worth pondering just who is left out of this 87%, other than, you know, everyone who doesn’t use contraception. Great stat, team journalist! I mean, the study was designed to find only women who would be most likely to use contraception. And it did.

Notable in the comments is someone making the argument that the Church’s current stance against the birth control, sterilization and abortion causing drug mandate is the same as arguing for laws preventing business on Sunday.  Seems to me that a better comparison would be fighting a law that requires all businesses to be open on Sunday.

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20 Responses to 98% of Catholic Women Use Birth Control

  • A better study would be on the number of women who attend Mass weekly and who are married – what percentage of them use artificial contraception? I’ll bet that the number would still be dismayingly high, but nowhere near even the 87% of the referenced study. The bottom line for us Catholics is a clear need to educate Catholics up to Church teaching on the matter of birth control. The bottom line for the use of such statistics to justify forcing Catholics to pay for birth control is – are you kidding me? I’ll bet that even 90% of Catholics who think is ok to use birth control are not in favor of paying for someone else’s.

    But, still, the main thing of this has still not risen to the surface – the determination on the left to make it a commonly held belief that pregnancy is a disease which needs to be prevented with birth control and treated with abortion. That is where we really need to have the fight – they are trying to make the normal course of human life appear to be a horrendous aberration to be fought against. There may be worse lies from the enemy, but not too many of them…

  • While the claim isn’t supported by the study, we really have no reason to believe a wider study would deviant significantly. The study pool consisted of roughly 50% of the female population. The dispute is over the ideal study pool, which for argument’s sake, can be 100% of the female population. My guess is that at most we are looking at doubling the error band. Is anyone’s argument changed if 80% of Catholic women have ever used contraception and 90% of the general population?

    Needless to say there have been some pretty outrageous claims in reply to the study.
    1. There is a significant pool of women who are not trying to prevent pregnancy at any point in their fertile years.
    2. There is a significant pool of celibates.
    3. People who don’t go Church every Sunday are so dominating the statistics that a study of true Catholics would show a minuscule number who had used birth control. (Say that there are only 30% true Catholics. That would put the floor of contraception use at over 55%.)

  • We really have no reason to think it wouldn’t, either: the study sample was specifically selected out of a larger pool of data in order to find probable contraception users, because the point was to look at whether religion affects the kind of contraception that probable contraception users use (for Catholics it doesn’t ). Likewise, determining the number of Catholic women who “are not trying to prevent pregnancy at any point in their fertile years” is neither useful (since such a description would include NFP and both converts and cradle Catholics who have stopped because of Church teaching) nor feasible short of a significant longitudinal study. (The data in question here only took a snapshot of a point in time; the pool of data from which the study drew its sample had thirty percent of Catholic women who had never been married also having never had sex at all, an obvious contributor to that number being the fact that this included teenage girls.) There’s nothing in this that tells us much about the Catholic female population at large; thinking otherwise is either mere speculation or statistical fallacy.

  • I wonder how and where they found women to participate in this study. I have to say that if I were approached by the Alan Guttmacher Institute to participate in a study like this, I’d probably tell them to take a hike because I want nothing to do with promoting their agenda. Therefore, I would not be represented in the sample. The mere fact that it’s a poll about birth control being conducted by a pro-abortion group would probably cause a certain number of observant Catholic women to exclude themselves from the sample right off the bat.

  • Use of NFP is included in the report. It is somewhere around 0.7% if memory serves.

  • MZ,

    It showed 2% of Catholic women who are sexually active but trying to avoid getting pregnant as using NFP. (Confusingly, it also showed 11% of Catholic women who are sexually active but trying to avoid getting pregnant as using “no method” so go figure out that one.)

    Unhelpfully, it doesn’t slice those numbers by either frequency of mass attendance (overall it shows only 30% of Catholic women going to mass weekly) of whether or not they are married (it states generally, though doesn’t document the numbers, that sexual activity is significantly lower among unmarried women who attend services weekly or who say that religion is “very important” to them).

  • Are we supposed to be surprised that a high percentage of ill-catechized women don’t follow Church teaching that is opposed to the zeitgeist? Color me shocked.

    Which, of course, is totally irrelevant to the morality of the issue, and even more irrelevant to whether the Church (or anyone) should be forced against their conscience to buy it for others. Want the pill? Buy it yourself.

  • MZ-
    They specifically removed all the groups that would be likely to not be using; including them would definitely cause the results to be different! How different, we can’t know.

    Elaine Krewer-
    That was my response…. Part of why I liked TheOflynn’s post.

    not everyone knows what the heck “natural family planning” is; before I started reading blogs, I didn’t. I know that when I told my OBGYN that we use NFP, he wrote down “none.” Depending on their theology, women might say that they’re not trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy because they’re open to life.

    C Matt– yeah, there are some, and yeah, it’s not relevant, but when has that been a reason let a lie stand?

  • My parish pastor said it best, “First, the Catholic Church must convince Catholics that birth control and abortion are morally wrong before it can hope to convince the rest of America to stop practicing and supporting them”.

  • How is he doing on convincing the Catholics in his parish Don? I disagree with him, because frankly I think most of the rest of America is easier to convince, at least on the issue of abortion. The most notorious pro-aborts tend to be elected in states with the highest Catholic population, unfortunately. (The top five Catholic states are Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California, with a grand total of one pro-life Senator.) Exclude those states, and Roe v. Wade would be history. All too many Catholics in this country are willing to throw out the teachings of the Church in regard to abortion and contraception, with their Catholicism being reduced to Christmas and Easter Mass and a tribal allegiance to always vote for the Democrat.

  • I’m a liberal, pro-life Catholic who has used birth control in the past, as recommended by my doctor for MEDICAL issues, not to prevent pregnancy. Although some of your posts and subsequent comments are interesting and insightful, there is a lot of misinformation and hypocricy that is very disturbing to me, esp coming from Catholics.

    First, I think it’s wrong to assume that being “on the left” or “liberal” is any less Catholic than conservatives when a lot of us liberals are indeed pro-life, in EVERY sense of the word, not just for abortion. How many of you conservatives voted FOR a political candidate who supported the war in Iraq, even though the Catholic Church was completely against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who supports the death penalty, even though the Catholic Church is against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who is against any sort of “universal health care” even though the Pope has specifically called for it? How many of you are in favor of a healthcare system controlled by insurance companies, the kind of companies that exist solely for profit by taking as much from someone and giving as little in return?

    Just to clear the record on health care, I’m Canadian living in the US with my American husband. Please STOP buying into the blatant lies and overblown stories about Canadian health care. It’s NOT gov’t run, it’s gov’t funded and privately delivered. The gov’t has ZERO say in people’s health care, they do NOT “choose” doctors for people. They merely foot the bill, similar to medicare. Canadians are not all dying on waitlists (survival rates for diseases are all comparable, some higher and some lower, than the US rates). Canadians are NOT all lining up at the US border for treatment. Less than 1% come to the US specifically for treatment, and it’s often covered by their Cdn plan. It’s also due more specialized doctors in the US, not a refusal of Cdn gov’t to pay – no different than Americans traveling to other states for specialized care. Besides, how many Americans travel to Canada or other countries for health care? A LOT more than Fox News will tell you. Bottom line is that Canada’s system is NOT perfect, but it’s much better, much more humane, and much more in line with Catholic teachings – than the current US system. And 85-95% of Canadians, Catholics, included would seek improvements but NEVER trade it for the insanely expensive, horribly discriminating, US system that pays CEOs up to $125 million a year while millions of Americans either can’t or struggle to afford basic care. What works in Canada might not work in the US, but the US system is ANTI-Catholic, no doubt about it. But enough of my health care rant… although I believe that educating Americans on the TRUTH and BENEFITS of universal health care is one fo the reasons God brought me to the USA!

    One more thing, how many of you complain non-stop about “free-loaders” and “welfare queens” even though a lot of WORKING poor need public assistance just to get and the Pope has called for strong social safety nets (incl. welfare) because it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Catholic Church and private charities to care for all of the truly poor, sick and needy in this country – a collective body with a collective interest is the ONLY way to do it. Even if you drastically cut taxes, there is no way church and charity can provide a consistent, broad-based safety net for all who need it. I know even a democratically-elected gov’t can sometimes be over-reaching and fiscially irresponsible, but if you want to see what it’s like to live in a society with no social safety nets and a gov’t that caters only to the wealthy elite, then please spend time volunteering in Africa. You’ll be very happy to live in a country that has a minimum poverty level, even if some of those people are poor b/c they’re stupid and lazy. Please stop blaming the gov’t for everything and look to the greed of your fellow human as the root of most evils.

    As for the BC issue at hand, this is for insurance companies with Catholic affiliated institutions to OFFER BC as part of their compensation/benefits package. Nobody is being forced to use BC if they don’t agree with it, it’s about equal and affordable access to it for non-Catholic (and obviously some Catholic) employees. Do you think a Jehovah Witness employer should be able to refuse to allow insurance companies to offer his/her employees coverage for a blood transfusion? And what about the people who work for Catholic hospitals who get their paycheck and then go drink, gamble, cheat on their spouse? Does that mean the Catholic Church is supporting their behaviour? No. It’s a lot more complex than many of you conservatives want to make it out to be. I respect and understand the Bishop’s concerns, but I’m so disgusted by the politicians and people “on the right” who use this as a political tool to bash those of us “on the left” like we are all baby-killing freaks or lazy free-loaders.

  • How many of you conservatives voted FOR a political candidate who supported the war in Iraq, even though the Catholic Church was completely against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who supports the death penalty, even though the Catholic Church is against it? How many of you voted FOR a candidate who is against any sort of “universal health care” even though the Pope has specifically called for it?

    You are evidently as familiar with the teachings of the Church as Nancy Pelosi, meaning not much at all. In each of the cases you’ve just mentioned, you are completely off about what the Church teaches or what one is supposed to believe as a Catholic. I would recommend reading, in particular, the Catechism of the Catholic Church if you believe that Church teaching prohibits the death penalty – and I say that as someone who does not support the death penalty.

    Nobody is being forced to use BC if they don’t agree with it,

    Nice strawman, but completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    it’s about equal and affordable access to it for non-Catholic (and obviously some Catholic) employees

    These employees are not forced to work for Catholic employees. As for the “affordable” thing, I’ll once again refer to Jeff Goldstein.

    “you shouldn’t make contraceptives an issue because 99% of all women in the US have used them. Which is why we need to make sure contraceptives are “free,” because otherwise, how in the world can we expect the 99% of women who’ve used them to get them and avoid a women’s health crisis?

    Oh, wait —”

    and what about the people who work for Catholic hospitals who get their paycheck and then go drink, gamble, cheat on their spouse?

    You’ve never taken a logic course, have you?

  • I also note this about Stacy’s logic. Some Bishops oppose the death penalty or the Iraq War = moral imperative for Catholics to oppose these things. ALL Bishops oppose HHS Mandate = just ignore them.

  • Stacey is a pro-life liberal?

    How much pro-life?

    When she voted for the most extreme abortion candidate oi the planet, Obama, Stacey voted for abortion.

  • Pro-life liberals,

    Obama did not immediately end all (Afghanistan and Iraq) the wars on January 20, 2009. In fact, he started a few new ones.

    Obama did not close Gitmo or free those whose human dignity was stolen by Bush: worse than Hitler. It’s still operating.

    He stopped water-boarding three mass murderers who are no worse for the wear and replaced it with unmanned, aerial drone assassinations of hundreds.

    And, Obama made things so much better for the common good like, like, like 6,000,000 fewer jobs and $3.51 gasoline compared to $1.84 on the day before he took over. Not a problem they can’t afford the $1.84, either.

    I don’t think hope and change is working.

  • “When she voted for the most extreme abortion candidate on the planet”

    Stacey identified herself as a Canadian married to an American. If she is not a U.S. citizen, she could not have voted for Obama or any other U.S. officeholder. She could not have voted for “the most extreme abortion candidate on the planet” unless he or she is Canadian, and maybe not even then.

  • Thanks, Elaine!

    I hope that doesn’t foul up my Canadian immigration application.

  • I hope that doesn’t foul up my Canadian immigration application.
    T. Shaw

    Just don’t refer to “the President of Canada” in any interviews. (Video here.)

  • Paul Zummo-
    Thanks. Just got back from far too much exposure to Seattle drivers, wasn’t looking forward to the the same old basic explanation….

Rombo: He Gets to Win This Time?

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

Santorum has some savvy ad people in his campaign if this ad is any indication.   Having the buttoned down Romney in a Rambo spoof is hilarious and will stick in the minds of viewers.  It also hits on Romney’s one trick pony campaign:  ceaselessly go negative because his flip-flops over the years make it impossible to portray himself, with a straight face, as a candidate with convictions about anything except that he should be president.  Bravo Santorum campaign!

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4 Responses to Rombo: He Gets to Win This Time?

Not Everyone Has To Get Married (Or Go Into The Religious Life)

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

Mary at the blog Young and Catholic has a good post up responding to a reader question about Church teaching on contraception versus NFP. Her handling of the NFP issue is great, but I was struck by the framing of her reader’s question, because it struck me as getting at a common impression one can get from being around conservative Catholic circles. Her reader writes:

I’m an 18 year old female college student, and I have just gotten back in touch with Catholicism…

…I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting back into my faith, but there is something that REALLY continues to rub me wrong. I’ve prayed and prayed about it, but I am not getting any answer. I’ve researched it, but just hear the same things over and over and it just doesn’t sit right with me, and that is the issue of contraception. I’ve read humanae vitae, I’ve researched “natural family planning”, and it all still leaves me completely unsatisfied still. I see where the Church is coming from on this issue, however, I feel that God has called me to do something else with my future besides staying at home with my “loving” husband and having a billion children…And then I went to the church and asked my female minister about it. The gist was this: If you have the financial capability, happiness, and wealth, your job is basically to be popping out children.

This just honestly does not sit right with me…Some women love being mothers, and being a mother is certainly an honorable duty, but I don’t think I’m cut out for it. I’m very ambitious and have goals of working for the Department of Defense, not sacrificing all my happiness because the Church says I should.

She goes on to ask about why the Church teaches against artificial birth control, and as I say, Mary’s answer is great. However, I think the other thing worth touching on is the impression people sometimes get that from a Catholic point of view you should either be in the religious life or else you should be married and having lots of kids.

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22 Responses to Not Everyone Has To Get Married (Or Go Into The Religious Life)

  • DC, I could be wrong on this, do think it’s a default assumption that the married life and the religious life are the two dominant vocations. They are the two which are reinforced through sacrament or consecration, and they both provide communal life which is a natural human desire.

    Some may be called to the single life, hermitage, or an early martyrdom. Some may be called to live as if single following a divorce, and some may have same-sex attraction to such an extent that it prevents them from living the married or religious life. Some – actually, everyone – will struggle to find the right fit for themselves. But the working assumption for the average person should be that their earthly mission is best pursued as a married person or religious.

    If I’m wrong on this, I welcome the correction.

  • I realize this young lady won’t like hearing it- and that the gentle response was absolutely correct in not over stating this- but I noticed that her question was a lot about how *she* feels and what *she* wants and *her* happiness and not really about God. God wants us to be happy, but that doesn’t always work out the way we think it should. There are a lot of times where our happiness has to be in the Lord alone and we just have to persevere and endure the rest of life. I know that’s counter cultural, but even if we’re eventually called to do or be something that isn’t what we wanted for ourselves- like being a parent or a celibate single, etc- then we should still be joyful in that life because God loves us and we should be living our lives for Him and not ourselves.

    This is such a common problem and it’s something I wish it were addressed more often when this stuff comes up. There comes a time when we all must choose God and often times that means giving up some or all of our own desires.

  • Well said, Mandy.

  • To me, the takeaway is this young woman’s impression that her greatest responsibility is reproduction. I think this is indicative of the fertility cult mentality that grabs many evangelical Catholics. Father Angelo Geiger has written about this in the context of the Christopher West phenomena.

    We’ve turned from teaching authentic Church teachings about the proper order of values, including placing sexual activity within marriage and the complete unity of procreativity and unity in sexual relations, to a mentality where sexual relations (and even reproduction) are the epicenter of one’s spiritual existence.

  • Pinky,

    DC, I could be wrong on this, do think it’s a default assumption that the married life and the religious life are the two dominant vocations. They are the two which are reinforced through sacrament or consecration, and they both provide communal life which is a natural human desire.

    Certainly, if you either take religious vows or marriage vows, you’re in for the duration, whereas if you’ve decided to remain a single lay person for personal or career reasons, you could always change your mind later. So I suppose one could see those as the most settled vocations.

    And given the choice, most people who aren’t vowed to do otherwise would rather have the companionship of marriage than not — so I don’t think it’s a big surprise that as our society has grown more affluent few people who abide by the Church’s teaching that sexuality belongs only in marriage are going to choose to remain single laity permanently.

    But I don’t think that means that people must choose to follow one of the two.

  • jvc,

    I do not think that there is a “fertility cult mentality” among “evangelical Catholics” — though for the reasons that I pointed out people do end up spending a lot of effort on defending the decisions to get married young and/or to have many children, so I can certainly see how one might get that impression.

  • Pope Pius XI in Casti connubii (December 31, 1930) and Pope Paul VI in Humanae vitae (July 25, 1968) both address the sanctity of marriage and the family, with special emphasis on the principal threat against them in modern times: artificial birth control.

    “Be fruitful and multiply” appears six times in Genesis. In the first case, God blesses living creatures allowing and requiring them to procreate His creation.

    The second time (Genesis 1: 28), the Lord issues the order to mankind. After the flood, God repeats His blessing on animals (8: 17) and twice upon mankind (9: 1 and 9: 7).

    God chooses Jacob for His last such blessing: “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins” (Genesis 35: 11).

  • @jvc,

    I think it’s more a clash of a traditional mentality and the more common cultural mindset where children and family are seen as a burden instead of a blessing. For someone steeped in the popular culture, I’m sure the idea that marriage isn’t just about love and sex is intended for both pleasure AND procreation is quite a bit of culture shock. I can’t honestly tell you the last time I saw a positive image of family life portrayed in the popular culture. Marriages are all about the elaborate weddings- what happens afterwards is almost universally portrayed in the most negative light possible- and children are treated as if they were accessories- like a meat handbag- or, if they’re inconvenient at the moment they’re portrayed as a punishment. When we do see people in a family seeing, the focus is almost always on how hard it is and how people are tied down (“the old ball and chain” mentality). There’s never any attention given to how, despite the hardships- which are a part of ANY lifestyle, not just the family kind- marriage and family can be extremely fulfilling and, if you’re doing it right, it should make you into a much better, less selfish, more self-giving person.

  • I remember a line from my pre-cana that I think applies. “Your vocation should help you live for others and God and not only for yourself.” Having children and being married make living only for yourself very very difficult. The same is true of religious life. Living as a lay single person, there are many temptations to selfishness, especially if you are financially successful. However, it’s not impossible, and it may very well be the best life for many people. I know someone who isn’t even Christian who lives this life beautifully without even knowing it.

    I also seem to know many married couples now in their mid to late thirties who are deciding not to have children. I really find it very hard to be charitable to these people and their reasons. I think these couples assume they will be young and healthy forever. Even if they are financially stable into their elder years, it’s got to be a lonely life to be elderly and childless. Many of these people don’t have siblings with children. So no nieces and nephews no grandkids. I keep picturing my children as the only young adults living on a street with block after block of elderly people who can’t shovel their snowy drives. Or who need a ride to the grocery store. Or who are just plane lonely because they’ve lost a spouce. We need the next generation, and you can’t just opt out of contributing to it without expecting some consequences.

  • I cannot understand people who profess to have found God or found a new religion or returned to Catholicism be stuck in the mire of ” I want sex-when i want it how I want it and that is it”. Going just to the basic commandments-the sixth commandment
    You shall not commit adultery-speaks to the fact that sex is a union between husband and wife.
    Truth be told the majority want to be ” Buffet line” Christians-only putting on their plates that which appeals to the pleasures of the body, yet disregarding that which strengthens the soul.
    If you call yourself Christian, ask yourself “where is Christ in your action”?????

  • “I feel that God has called me to do something else with my future besides staying at home with my “loving” husband and having a billion children…And then I went to the church and asked my female minister about it. The gist was this: If you have the financial capability, happiness, and wealth, your job is basically to be popping out children>” There are three clues to this dilemma: 1) The word “loving” husband. 2) having a billion children and 3)female minister. There are truly loving men who become husbands in the truest sense of the word. “Having a billion children” is the giveaway. God promised Abraham that for his faithfulness, his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, literally in the billions. God’s promise to Abraham is as true today as it was in the time of Abraham. Faithfulness to God will bring billions of children, spiritual children, for spiritual motherhood, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Spiritual fatherhood, as St. Jose Maria Escriva in Opus Dei, Pope Benedict XVI. There are so many saints who are spiritual fathers and mothers, Saint Nicholas as Santa Claus, the children’s saint. St.Joan of Arc, patroness of France, and Jesus Christ’s mother Mary, to whom Jesus gives all of us. It would be advisable to seek more, not less, spiritual guidance than that of the female minister, who thinks “popping out children” without appreciation for WHO they are and their dignity, leaves much to be desired. ASK and ask and ask. Someone once said to me that if I was old enough (to marry) I would not be asking. Ask anyway. Seek out the saints in heaven for their advice and do not forget your guardian angel. You’ll be just fine. You are one of God’s billions upon billions of children.

  • Christ did not come among us from suffering or to give us Heaven on Earth.

    Jesus Christ came to save us from sin and by His Life, Death and Resurrection to purchase for us the rewards of eternal life.

  • This 18 yr. old, who has just returned as a practicing Catholic and says she ‘enjoys’ it, seems to be putting life into separate areas that look mutually exclusive to her. Fortunately, she may get over her anxiety if she does follow her work plan, only thing she seems sure of, and leaves the rest of her life open to God’s plan.

    Kind of worrying that she seems to be demanding an answer to her praying. She’s not the Boss and needs to learn patience. Maybe ‘vocations’ are a subject of urgency around her. If she has no ‘possible’ husband yet, then proceed with career plan until …

    Husband and family is the ideal for a young woman and that doesn’t preclude education or career. We just don’t know the end of the story. I dreamed the ideal and God’s plan was different – but I still got to care and homemake(not nurse) for family elders and friends through the years as a kind of love fulfillment as i look back. And also do some interesting work. No ideal led on to other strengths (like overcoming weakness). Not my plan, got to be His. I would tell the girl to go work at the D of D, practice her faith and give God thanks for what she has and can do for others.

  • Mandy P. and PM: Please remember that the young lady in question is 18. An 18 year old is a bit self-absorbed and lacks patience – stop the presses!! The very fact that she has returned to the Church and wants to be a good Catholic impresses me very much. At 18, I was running away from the Church as fast as I could.

    I would caution her that not feeling maternal at age 18 does not mean that will always be the case (sorry for the double negative there). I was not at all interested in motherhood at 18 or at 30, for that matter. Nor was I really that interested in marrying, although I thought I was. If I had been, I would have made an effort to date men who would have made good husbands and fathers. Instead, my common sense (what little I have) completely deserted me when it came to men. I blamed “bad luck” with men for many years, but I’ve stopped kidding myself. It was my own rotten taste for Mr. Hard to Get Alpha Male, soap opera, tears, dramatic breakups and makeups that did me in – yuck, I cringe to think of it. I laughed (ruefully) when I read “Bridget Jones’ Diary” because that silly character reminded me very much of myself, and I also had no trouble recognizing her caddish boyfriend.

    Now that I am middle-aged (and childless), well, I would like to time-travel back and kick my younger self in the rear, but I can’t undo a thing. Well, what should I do? Drown myself in Scotch and regrets? Slit my wrists? No, I can try to be a good aunt and friend and sister to the loved ones in my life and I am working on being a good Catholic, which is very difficult. I’m not sure if I would call that a “vocation” – it’s just doing the best you can with the deck of cards you have in front of you right now. Yes, sometimes, it’s lonely – but on the other hand, I am so set in my ways that I think that marrying and living with someone at this point would be very difficult to get used to. I like having people over for dinner and I like going to parties, but the second they leave or I come back to my empty place – I breathe a sigh of relief!

    That said, I think Mrs. Zummo makes a good point: I know a woman (an only child) who married her high school sweetheart (another only child) back in 1962. They did not have children. He died 2 years ago. She continues to work fulltime, despite being financially able to retire – because what else does she have to occupy her? At least I have siblings and an extended family. She does not. I felt awful for her when she said she ate a Lean Cuisine turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

  • This young woman, like many others assumes that without contraception, a normal marriage or ongoing sexual relationship will automatically equal having “a billion children.” What she does not realize is that not everyone is the Duggar family, not every woman gets pregnant at the drop of a hat, and oftentimes you do not know how fertile (or infertile) you are until you “get there.”

    The large families of the Baby Boom era were probably as much or more a result of couples marrying very young (in the 1950s, the median age of first-time brides was 20, and lots of women were getting married in their teens; I think the average first time bride is now about 27) as it was due to the unreliability of the “rhythm method” or any other birth control methods available at the time. Women have a limited number of fertile years and if you wait until age 30 or later to marry you are not likely to have “a billion children.” You may be lucky to have even one or two children if you wait that long.

  • “What she does not realize is that not everyone is the Duggar family, not every woman gets pregnant at the drop of a hat, and oftentimes you do not know how fertile (or infertile) you are until you “get there.””

    Precisely! My wife and I were married for nine years before we were blessed with our twin boys. Three years later the miracle happened again and we had our baby girl. We never used contraceptives, so assumptions based on family size can be completely off base.

    Past generations understood that fertility is a gift from God, and not a punishment.

    “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

  • “Thus, trusting in divine Providence and refining the spirit of sacrifice, married Christians glorify the Creator and strive toward fulfillment in Christ when with a generous human and Christian sense of responsibility they acquit themselves of the DUTY to procreate. Among the couples who fulfil their God-given task in this way, those merit special mention who with a gallant heart and with wise and common deliberation, undertake to bring up suitably even a relatively large family.” GAUDIUM ET SPES, Vatican II. Note how the council said that married couples have a DUTY to procreate. A woman who wants to forego having children (but also be married) to pursue a career sounds about as selfish as a man wanting to forego additional children because he is tired of changing diapers and waking up in the middle of the night. Good comments here.

  • Oh, and one last thing: this 18 year old undoubtably has glamourous notions of the workaday work, just as I did at that age. She is banking on the idea that her main satisfactions in life will come to her via your job. Well, I (unfortunately) bought into many of the bad ideas of 70’s feminism, including the media portrayals of career women. I thought I was going to be Mary Tyler Moore. I actually landed what I thought was a glamourous job as a paralegal in a DC law firm. Although it certainly had its’ interesting moments, I can promise you it was not “Ally McBeal” or “Boston Legal” or whatever the popular law firm show is at the moment. Those shows (inaccurately) portray the dramatics of the courtroom, but not the painstaking drudgery that goes into producing those motions and briefs. (For good reason: who would want to watch someone cite checking or coding documents?) An iron law of DC law firms: if you have any exciting plans for the weekend, there will certainly be a 5 p.m. Friday phone call which will ruin those plans.

    I have had jobs and bosses I liked very much and other ones I couldn’t stand. While it is a good thing to take pride in your work, I think most people get their main emotional satisfaction and meaning not out of what they do to put food on the table (unless they’re artists of some sort, or in a helping profession) but from the lasting attachments and relationships they form with other people outside of work, whether they are married or not.

    As a wise man I once knew said to me “Donna, I never heard of anybody on their deathbed saying ‘I’m really sorry I spent so much time with my family instead of at the office.”

  • “Those shows (inaccurately) portray the dramatics of the courtroom, but not the painstaking drudgery that goes into producing those motions and briefs. (For good reason: who would want to watch someone cite checking or coding documents?)”

    Tell me about it Donna! For every hour of court time I have five hours chained to my desk fighting piles of paper work that never seem to diminish! Note that in the old Perry Mason show we see a stack of Corpus Juris Secundum in the closing credits, and that is as close as Mason ever comes to doing any legal research on the show!

  • I apologize in advance. But, my wife laughed.

    First Guy (proudly): ‘My wife’s a saint!’

    Second Guy: ‘You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.’

  • To elaborate some more on my previous remarks, the birth rate among women over 40 has indeed risen considerably in recent years, and much publicity has attended celebrities and others who have had children at advanced ages (45 or even past 50). This often leads young women to assume they can or will be fertile practically forever (25-30 years does seem like a long time when you’re 18).

    However, it is my understanding that the majority of successful pregnancies in women over 40 are the result of medical interventions such as IVF or other fertility treatments, and do NOT happen “naturally.” And success is by no means guaranteed even with these interventions (some of which, of course, are also contrary to Catholic teaching just as contraception is).

  • Donald, heh, here I grew up with the impression that Perry strolled into the courtroom and just winged it, coming up with his always deadly cross-examination off the top of his head!

    Just like the ER doctors on “ER” were able to handle everything from delvering babies to calming down raving psychotics to doing brain surgery, why, it made me question why there was any need for the rest of the hospital or any other physicians;-)

Ross Douthat Explains the Weathervane’s Santorum Quandary

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012



A brilliant piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times explaining why Romney a/k/a the Weathervane, is running into so many problems in dealing with the challenged posed by Santorum:

But Santorum’s advantage is that he can get to Romney’s right and to his left at once. On the one hand, Santorum isn’t responsible for a health care bill that looks an awful lot like “Obamacare” and he doesn’t have a long list of social-issue flip-flops in his past. This makes his candidacy a plausible rallying point for the voters who previously turned Bachmann and Cain and the pre-debate Rick Perry into conservative flavors of the month.

At the same time, though, Santorum’s persona, his record and his platform all have a populist tinge that plays well in states like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where swing voters tend to be socially conservative but economically middle-of-the-road. (Hence the Michigan poll that showed him leading among independents and Democrats who plan to vote in that state’s open primary.)

This means that Santorum can play the same anti-Bain, anti-rich-guy, blue-collar card that Gingrich tried to play in New Hampshire and South Carolina – but subtly, implicitly, in ways that don’t make him sound like he belongs in Occupy Wall Street instead of the Republican primary.

So what script should Romney choose as a response? Many conservatives have urged him to rebrand himself with primary voters by embracing a more rigorously right-wing policy agenda – endorsing Paul Ryan’s budget more explicitly, outlining a more aggressively supply-side approach to tax policy or even a pure flat tax, echoing furious attacks on the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul and Gingrich, and so on.

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The Catholic Left Falls Into Line

Wednesday, February 15, AD 2012

It was inevitable that most of the Catholic Left, in any confrontation between the Church and Obama Caesar, would side with the Messiah from Chicago.  A petition making the rounds indicates how quickly this process has played out. 


Today the Obama administration announced an important regulation that will protect the conscience rights of religious organizations and ensure that all women have access to contraception without a co-payment. We applaud the White House for listening carefully to the concerns raised by religious leaders on an issue that has provoked heated and often misinformed debate. This ruling is a major victory for religious liberty and women’s health. President Obama has demonstrated that these core values do not have to be in conflict.


Specifically, this new regulation guarantees that no religiously affiliated institution will have to pay for services that violate its moral beliefs or even refer employees for this coverage. Instead, if a woman’s employer is an objecting university, hospital or other religious institution, her insurer will be required to offer her coverage at no cost. This is a sensible, common-ground solution.


In recent days, sound bites and divisive rhetoric have too often pitted the faith community against sound science and public health.The previous regulations caused an unnecessary conflict between the administration, the Catholic Church and other religious institutions. We are encouraged that the Obama administration has developed a substantive solution that addresses the concerns of the many constituencies involved. We look forward to bringing the same level of passion displayed in this debate to other pressing moral issues that face our nation.

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23 Responses to The Catholic Left Falls Into Line

  • Any people in this list who are Catholic should be publicly excommunicated.

  • These are brilliant and well-educated people but you realize that they’re not the magisterium.

  • Oh I understand that Mike. I am not at all certain that the Catholic signers of this piece of tripe understand that however.

  • These brilliant and well educated people have “been done educated into imbecility.” I realize that’s a quote from Fr. Corapi, and he sadly fell off the wagon as it were. Nevertheless, in this case, it’s correct.

  • Our first acts of civil disobedience should be protesting at the DNC in Charlotte this September.

  • They know what to think.

    They do not know how to think.

    I’m imagining Tokyo Rose propaganda broadcasts . . .

    Peace and justice!

    It’s okay to lie and cheat to advance peace and justice.

    And, to provide political support to those killing 45,000,000 unborn humans . . .

    Peace and justIce!

  • They are not educated.

    They are indoctrinated.

  • Donald, I should have said, “we realize that they’re not the magisterium.”
    Paul, that’s an oldie but a goodie.

  • T Shaw,

    I stand – er, sit – corrected.

    BTW, while I have mentioned this before, perhaps it bears repeating. I know of a very intelligent man who runs a pro-nuclear energy blog site and he is thoroughly liberal (which is oxymoronic given that liberals have fought nuclear energy tooth and nail for 40+ years). He (and most of his readers) know far more about science, engineering, and technology than I ever will. But they BELIEVE in that godless man of sin, Obama, hook, line and sinker. They look at us as hate criminals. The division between “us” and “them” couldn’t be greater. They twist around history to say what they want it to mean. They hate Israel, love Iran, and object to everything the US has done in world affairs since WW II. They openly despise the Church, and where they claim to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it isn’t holiness and righteousness that matter to them but what T. Shaw pointed out: “peace and justice” nonsense. They won’t look at the actual statistics regarding the real reasons for abortion given at Priests for Life or the USCCB web sites. They won’t even consider that life begins at conception, physical evidence be damned. The obviousness that homosexual behavior is contrary to natural law is sneered at. And these are SCIENTISTS of the highest order! I just don’t get it. I never will. How can someone be so smart – far, far smarter than many others at this blog, myself included – and be so abysmally deceived? Despair is a sin and I am sinful.


  • Great! Where do I sign? Second question, why is this pen drawing blood from my hand?

  • This ruling ….

    That says it all, doesn’t it? Presidents are not supposed to rule; kings and Caesars are.

  • I don’t doubt that these are smart folks (both the ones who signed and the one to which Paul alludes). For that reason, I find it very hard to accept that they are duped, indoctrinated, etc. What I do not find hard to accept is that they deliberately ignore these teachings because they simply want contraception/abortion (or whatever). They know; they just don’t care.

  • Now, this “when does life begin thingy” hits close to home.

    Our first grandchild is scheduled to make her debut in early July.

    Our daughter-in-law has emailed us sonogram pictures since early as God Almighty began forming in her mother’s womb our granddaughter.

    That is clearly a human on those pictures.

    Re: the sad social justice crowd. It’s not me. I know next to nothing. My education is clearly lacking. It’s St. Augustine. He dealt with such error in the early 400’s anno domini Rome.

    “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder. It is as though man’s greatest good were to have everything good, except himself.”

  • I sincerely believe there is an emotional disorder that transcends intelligence or level of education, wherein the victim has an underlying sense of insecurity, bordering on phobia, necessitating a strong political figure in which to invest. This insecurity then blinds the victim to inconsistencies or outright contradictions in his or her belief system, making the inherent synthesis imbalanced and objectively invalid.

    It may be due to lack of a strong father-figure in youth. Perhaps Dad was there, and even loving, but lacked principle and steadfastness. It may be that, as they grew and were being ‘taught,’ that there were no teachers or other intellectual figures of authority that drew out the aspects of critical thinking necessary to make rational decisions that all follow common principle in logical order.

    Regardless of cause, it is quite evident that a foundation of concept and process that produces ideas of a stripe in one area but contradictory ideas elsewhere exists. There needs to be an object within which to rationalize that inequality, so that it can be contained, and that object is then The Leader, who spins fact and fancy into a complex web of duplicitous confusion, allowing the imbalanced person the ability to simply “follow the leader” instead of confronting the intellectual contention within.

    Contradiction is a rock in the shoe of the critical mind and it will be ejected when it becomes intolerable. That such an ejection is not happening in the minds of people like the above signatories, it leads me to believe that they are in fact just stable enough to retain positions of influence, but would crumble if made to explain such inconsistencies in a logical, orderly fashion. Of course that leads to the “subjective truth” tripe that the Left falls upon when challenged, and that’s another conversation.

  • I agree that insecurity and inferiority feelings are the culprits– these are very bright capable people and as we continue to seek the way to evangelize them we need to respect their intellect and their will to do the good– teachers know demeaning a pupil doesn’t work, but building on what is good and enlarging it does–
    we need not to polarize more within our church… and cause our cause to fail– But instead find a way to haul them into the boat (barque) -highlighting contradictions while respecting their intellectual commitment to truth might be a way to do that

  • ANYONE that supports Obama does NOT support being Catholic, or even Christian.
    As I keep stating Where is the Christ in his action? You cannot claim to be Catholic if you are willing to compromise the teachings of the Church, the mandates of the Pope, or the teachings of the Bible. Murder is Murder. no matter what name you give it. Sin is sin no matter how you wish to wrap it. The devil comes in many forms. Sins provides many options. If a criminal was coming to rob you would he ask for in invitation to take your possessions? Your soul is open for the taking once you close it to the will of God!

  • Half of the list doesn’t claim to be Catholic.

    The half claiming to be Catholic here replace Teachings of the Church/objective truth with satanic opinions. That, by definition (look it up, Doogie), is heresy.

    Christ did not come among us to save us from suffering or to create Heaven on Earth.

    Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, and by His Life, Death and Resurrection to purchase for us the rewards of eternal life.

    I see a couple of them have “S.J.” in their handles. Every one on the list ought to put “S.J.” behind their name: “Society of Judas.”

    While there is time, they must repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, and through good works glorify God.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty sure none on the list will be getting into Heaven.

  • Well indoctrinated liberals perhaps but brilliant no. Brilliant is when Churchill pithily grasped the criminal folly of the Kaiser:

    “The Germans took a somber decision. Upon the western front they had from the beginning used the most terrible means of offense at their disposal. They had employed poison gas on the largest scale and had invented the ‘Flammenwerfer.’ Nevertheless, it was with a sense of awe that they turned upon Russia the most grisly of weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed train like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia.”

    Anyone who has thought about this knows that the HHS compromise is nothing but ‘plague bacillus’, even worse than the original requirement, in that it will destroy the moral integrity of the Catholic Church in the US, infecting everything she touches. This is Pharisaic at its worst – the Catholic Church does not accept birth-control and knows that abortion is murder – but is willing to look the other way as insurers, PP and Warren Buffett keep the muck off her hypocritical hands. Obama must be counting on a lot of stupid Catholics.

  • so I guess my idea about trying to evangelize the Catholic Left is right out. : /

  • Some lovely groups represented on that list: Sojourners, NETWORK, Evangelical Partnership, DJAN. These are alynsky progeny and closely working with the DP. I trust they are not receiving CCHD funding but would be curious.

  • Paul, do you remember this Prayer?,,”….I thank You, Father for hiding these things to the learned and revealing them to mere children…..”. “….The Wisdom of God is Foolishness to the World…” These Truths were given to us 2000+ ago and they sure ring true today from what I have just read in this Post.

  • Who was the first “social justice” Christian?

    In other words, who was the first follower of Christ turned his back on the salvation of souls and gave precedence to a worldly agenda?

  • Perhaps the answer to T Shaw’s question is in John 12:1-7:

    1* Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4* But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii * and given to the poor?” 6* This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7* Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”