39 Responses to Assertion without Evidence

  • Dr. Charles Kenny says:

    I don’t know what Lisa Graas said, but are there any major thinkers, pundits or experts who have expressed silly reservations like the ones you describe?

    Charlie

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Well, it depends on how you define “major.” Truthfully, this is probably not a major concern outside of the Catholic blogosphere, and even then only a certain subset of it. In fact, that’s part of why I find the claim that he’s being disingenuous about his feelings with regard to Rand to be a little perplexing. Of all the things a politician is going to lie about, why this? Somehow I don’t think Paul Ryan is so concerned with how a subset of a subset of a subset of the population feels about Ayn Rand that he would feel the need to change his tune.

  • Dr. Charles Kenny says:

    Some people like to be naysayers. There is not a single politician in the country who is as smart and as good on economic and social issues and no slouch on national security.
    I don’t know anyone who represents a cause or a base who is criticizing this pick.

    Check out this piece from Viguerie’s newsletter:

    Social Conservative Leaders Laud Paul Ryan’s Pro-Life Record
    By CHQ Staff | 8/13/12

    Paul Ryan’s 100% right-to-life voting record and his strong and principled opposition to the abortion drug and contraception mandates in President Obama’s health care law are encouraging signs for social conservatives that with Ryan on the ticket a Romney/Ryan administration will be strongly pro-life and pro-family.

    Pro-lifersMarjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told LifeNews that, “By selecting Congressman Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Governor Romney demonstrates his commitment to protecting American women and unborn children. A longtime pro-life advocate and a strong fiscal conservative, Congressman Ryan has insisted that there can be no ‘truce’ when it comes to advancing the rights of the unborn and achieving fiscal responsibility. He has a pristine pro-life voting record and will be an asset to Governor Romney’s campaign.”

    The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins released a statement praising Ryan saying, “As a member of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, he has been a defender of religious expression in the public square. Paul Ryan has spoken out strongly against President Obama’s abortion drug and contraception mandates as an affront to religious liberty. He has articulately described how the President’s government takeover of health care has pushed aside our First Amendment right of religious freedom.”

    Gary Bauer, chairman of Campaign for Working Families praised the choice of Ryan saying, “I congratulate Paul Ryan and look forward to the policy debates. This is a selection that sends a strong, clear, unambiguous message of a conservative vision for America, from ending the explosive growth of government, reducing the explosive growth of the debt and instead committing to the explosive growth of the American economy. This shows the kind of talented and experienced team Governor Mitt Romney will put together that will work for American exceptionalism.

    Americans United for Life Action President Charmaine Yoest called Ryan’s selection “a bold choice of an unambiguous defender of the need for a pro-life vision for America.”

    Ryan has a 100% pro-life voting record on all roll call votes scored by National Right to Life throughout his entire career in the U.S. House of Representatives. Since being sworn-in in 1999 he supported the pro-life position on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and most recently the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, among others.

    As a principled supporter of pro-life legislation Congressman Paul has co-sponsored numerous pro-life bills, including the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA), the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the Protect Life Act.

    Senator Rick Santorum, the strongly pro-life candidate Romney drove from the primaries, summed-up the impact of Paul Ryan’s addition to the Republican ticket saying, “In addition to Congressman Ryan’s stellar fiscal conservative positions, he is indeed a full-spectrum conservative. He is solidly pro-life, pro-family, and will be an advocate for our military and our national-security priorities.”

  • Tess S. says:

    Thank you sooooo very much Dr.Charles Kenny! The choice of Paul Ryan for VP brings a much needed ray of Hope!!!! There are many people who recognize the great peril this nation is facing, and they have responded with prayer and fasting. Blog posts are all well and good, but when I read the silliness of the above, I feel fear. Now is the time for all people of good will who love this country to UNITE. Let go of the ego already…what is the objective?…four more years of Obama. Look around. Pay attention to the voices which advocate for more and more government. Who are we serving? Please read Pope Benedict XVI Encyclical “Charity in Truth,” as well as Pope John Paul’s teaching on authentic solidarity and justice.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour says:

    Perhaps, we should recall the words of a great 20th century Thomist, “Integral political science . . . is superior in kind to philosophy; to be truly complete it must have a reference to the domain of theology, and it is precisely as a theologian that St. Thomas wrote De regimine principum . . . the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being. . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account” (The Things that are not Caesar’s, p. 128, Jacques Maritain).

    As another Catholic philosopher of the same period, Maurice Blondel, explains, “Material things become the support of economic phenomena; economic facts, even those that appear to relate to entirely physical needs, are already pregnant with moral and social relationships. One cannot legitimately and with impunity enclose oneself in any one order; there is action from the top down and from the bottom up” (Catholicisme Social et Monophorisme).

    Contrary to the prevalent economic liberalism and sociological positivism, they recognized that a self-contained socio-economic order is an abstraction that falsifies the actual supernatural destiny of the concrete person.

    It is from this perspective that Ayan Rand’s philosophy must be judged; one cannot argue that her political and economic views can, somehow, be detached from her religious and philosophical deficiencies.

  • Jordan says:

    Paul Zummo (per his article): Does it really matter if Paul Ryan doesn’t ape Catholic theology students word for word if the end product is something is properly within Church teaching on economic matters?

    I agree with Zummo that Paul Ryan need not quote Aquinas or any Catholic theologian to make a substantively or even authentically Catholic economic argument. Ryan’s economic arguments, as found both in his budget and in his personal economic philosophy, are still in development. It’s important for all voters from both sides of the aisle to realize that the Ryan the Republican veep nominee and Ryan the possible veep-elect now face (and might eventually face) different realities based on a wide variety of variables. It’s quite possible that Ryan might grow towards a less atomistic view of individual economic relationships towards a preferential option for the poor, or the opposite. Improbability still admits possibility, however remote.

    I disagree partially, however, with Zummo’s assessment of Lisa Graas’s observation on class warfare. Zummo states that “[t]his doesn’t really sound like Ryan is blaming the poor at all.” [my addition in brackets] Indeed, Graas per Zummo’s quotations does not provide direct evidence that Ryan’s deficit reduction plan causes class warfare. Still, Graas’s statement points indirectly towards an undeniable aspect of Aquinas on distributism: class distinctions do matter. Question 61, art. 2, objection 3 and its corresponding reply rely on class distinctions to fine-tune distribution versus commutation. If, as Aquinas asserts in the reply to objection 3, distribution relies on class as a description and not an individual attribute, then drastically cutting Medicaid funding is “class warfare” so far as one aggregate group (those who depend on Medicaid, often poor persons) suffer deprivation for the benefit of the “wealthy” (the “ordinary rich” as well as those whose income is mostly dividends). Per Aquinas, this is different than a “poor person” who wrongs as “wealthy person”, as in this case the circumstances of individuals and not classes influence the morality of an action.

    One difficulty in applying Aquinan social moral theology to modern day circumstance is the reality of our postindustrial society. Nevertheless, the reality that persons act as moral groups as well as moral individuals also implies that the structure of state itself can influence moral behavior. The pitting of one class against another is itself still quite morally problematic per Aquinas.

  • Lisa Graas says:

    Let’s make this more simple. My question is for everyone who has thus far commented, but anyone else may answer, yes or no. Do you believe that assistance is “due” to the poor simply because they are poor and with no conditions attached to the assistance? I am not referring to whether it is through government or not. Just a simple question. Do you believe that assistance is “due” to the poor simply because they are poor?

  • Bonchamps says:

    Poverty is relative. Who gets to decide how poor is poor enough? Materialists who don’t believe life is worth living if it isn’t physically comfortable? Christians, who know that there is more to life than material comfort?

    These questions are far more complex than you seem to appreciate. Like a lot of leftist ideologues, you puff yourself up on abstract ideology, failing to clearly define terms and account for cost limitations. No, all that matters is that your claim “sounds” moral, so moral that it doesn’t have to account for any real-world circumstances at all.

    This is precisely why Christian morality mostly focuses on the responsibilities of the individual. The individual can sacrifice himself for an ideal. He knows the costs and can decide that they are worth paying for his ideals. But individuals like you, who presume to dictate what other people ought to sacrifice for the sake of your ideals, can’t possibly know what the consequences of your policies will be, and whether they will do more harm than good.

    If someone meets a reasonable criteria for poverty, they are due to assistance from the community. If the argument is that this necessarily comes in the form of federal welfare bureaucracies, and that any opposition to these is opposition to Catholic teaching, I call you a charlatan and a fraud – or a fool who is completely out of his or her depth.

    I’m not saying you were ever that specific, Lisa. So lets see your hand. What concrete, specific forms of “assistance” do you believe are due to the poor? How do you define poverty? Who counts as poor? Who is responsible for providing this assistance? What level of government?

  • James says:

    I don’t know much about this Lisa Graas, but since reading this, I have looked a bit further at the net, and found that she seems to freely bash Republicans. Is she a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage, pro-socialist Democrat voting Catholic? I seriously ask this question.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    No, James, she is a pro-life Catholic. She is independent minded, and as such often disagrees with the Republican party, particularly on economic matters. Often I agree with her criticisms of the GOP, though in this case I think her particular argument is without merit.

  • Pinky says:

    Do you believe that assistance is “due” to the poor simply because they are poor and with no conditions attached to the assistance?

    Yes.

    Ryan may talk about individuality versus collectivism in a way that makes you nervous that he doesn’t believe in the Catholic vision, but his budget plan specifically protects – and funds – programs for the poor.

    Part of the problem is in our political rhetoric. The current battle line is between a more collectivist vision versus a more individualistic vision. So the politician has to deal with the crisis at hand. He doens’t necessarily get to pick his battles. If the primary feud was between some social programs and no social programs, I imagine that he’d be defending social programs and articulating the policy issues according to the dominant themes.

    When Reagan said that government is the problem, he wasn’t embracing an anti-Thomist vision. Based on the decisions he made, he would have been comfortable with a smaller safety net. You could take his comment about government and argue that he was calling for anarchy, though. He was addressing the political issue of the time in a way that was understandable.

    And that’s the key thing. A politician has a responsibility to make his proposed policies understandable to the people. Part of that involves sound bites and signals. I suspect that Ryan would be as happy as Santorum was to articulate his entire viewpoint, but as we saw with Santorum, that doesn’t make good copy. And as much as I like it when politicians elevate the conversation, they do have to make copy, because most people consume their politics in small portions.

    As an aside, I think that Ryan would be more successful politically if he’d balance the Stark Differences rhetoric with more Common Ground rhetoric. It’d comfort the people who, like you, are nervous about him. It would also risk alienating the tea party types who are opposed to any kind of moderation. It’s a tough path to find.

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    I’m not just one of the usual suspects; I’m Keyser Söze, baby.

    My sense of Congressman Ryan is that he genuinely believes his path to property is in line with Catholic social teaching. I’m dubious given his misunderstanding of terms such as subsidiarity and solidarity and also given the simplistic ways in which he frames the moral/political conflicts, but I don’t question his sincerity of fault his fellow Catholics for supporting him. As for Rand’s influence, Paul’s been repeatedly open about this, despite rejecting her atheism and epistemology, and while he’s no Objectivist or Randian, his rhetoric and framing of the issues make evident that, like her, he’s something of an individualist and to some extent sees the world accordingly.

  • Darren O. says:

    Kyle Cupp:
    “…and while he’s no Objectivist or Randian, his rhetoric and framing of the issues make evident that, like her, he’s something of an individualist and to some extent sees the world accordingly.”

    What is the intent of this diagnosis of yours? Is it supposed to be an indicator of future behavior? Is it supposed to identify and include/disqualify him in one group or another? Is it praise by you? Disparagement?

    It seems to me you think he doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Just asking.

  • Kyle Cupp says:

    Ryan’s individualism (which is not nearly so radical and Rand’s) doesn’t disqualify him from being VP or from being supported by Catholics, but it does seem to shape his understanding of Catholic social teaching: his definitions of subsidiarity and solidarity, while partially correct, miss the fullness of the terms as taught by the Catholic faith precisely because they’re too much informed by an individualism vs. collectivism binary. The Church envisions the human person both in terms of his being an individual and as part of a collective: it rejects both collectivism and individualism.

  • Lisa Graas says:

    I am a former crisis pregnancy counselor for the Archdiocese of Louisville. I have personally witnessed how giving charity to the poor transforms the poor. One will not know charity if one never receives it. While Republicans would argue that charity causes dependency, I would argue that true charity causes one to know what true charity is, and one cannot know true charity without knowing sacrifice for others, and one cannot know resentment and dependency if one knows sacrifice, and that joy that is in that sacrifice. That’s where Jesus is, not in making demands of the poor as if they are doing something wrong by being poor.

  • Lisa Graas says:

    Most of the young women I ministered to had been kicked out of their home by their parents or otherwise had no support from their families. Every one wanted an abortion because of despair of not knowing how to support the child. Every one had to have every need taken care of (rent, food, etc.). Every one chose life for her child. Every one got a job to support her child. All of them would be appalled by some of the comments on this Catholic blog.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Kyle, how’s that barbershop quartet?

    Matt Archbold has a post up that provides pretty good insight from someone who, like many others, was inspired to conversion by Ayn Rand but who ultimately rejected most of the foundational aspects of her philosophy.

    I read Rand at a later age than many young conservatives when they first encountered her writing, and was already familiar with the works of Hayak, Sowell, and so many others. Therefore I had little use for even the positive aspects of her work because I saw them better articulated by more well-rounded writers. But I don’t think there’s necessarily anything pernicious with having been inspired to some degree by her works, nor do I think it necessarily taints one’s overall philosophy having bitten the apple, so to speak.

  • Pinky says:

    Lisa, I don’t think that last comment was fair. No one’s singing the praises of Ayn Rand. On the points where her writing conflicts with Catholic teaching, Ryan (and Zummo and I and probably everyone else here) rejects Rand. On the points where her writing can be reconciled with Catholic teaching, Ryan recognizes its merits. And there isn’t much of it that can be reconciled – just some of her economics, which is largely cut-and-pasted from her Enlightenment betters.

  • Dr. Charles Kenny says:

    No, it is very serious.
    It is called an operational definition in science.
    In this case it is a bureaucracy that defines it in measurable terms that apply to everyone.
    The standard of living of upper middle class Americans at the turn of the century is lower than that of people whom the government calls poor today. And the standard of living of middle class Americans at the end of WWII is lower than the poverty line as defined by the government.

    Charlie

  • Mike Petrik says:

    Agree, Charlie. And my point is that such a bureaucratically created operational definition is of no practical utility when it comes to a serious and sincere discussion the meaning and application of Catholic social teaching.

  • Dale Price says:

    More singing of the praises of Ayn Rand?

    Remember, you (rightfully) don’t like the tone jvc takes with you in another thread. Saying that Paul’s comment praises Ayn Rand also coarsens the tone.

  • Micha Elyi says:

    Wow. Well, where do I begin? How about removing the word “warpath” to describe what I’m doing? http://catholicbandita.com/romneys-ryan-pick-drives-the-wedge-between-catholics-deeper/
    –Lisa Graas 9:08pm

    Ha ha. Someone who styles herself “Catholic bandita” cries over the word “warpath” being applied to her course of action. A bandita is a female thief armed with a gun; the bandolier she wears – from which the word “bandita” is derived – carries her bullets.

    Let’s make this more simple. My question is for everyone who has thus far commented, but anyone else may answer, yes or no. Do you believe that assistance is “due” to the poor simply because they are poor and with no conditions attached to the assistance?
    –Lisa Graas 5:15am

    An interesting question. Let’s see, if Lisa herself answers “yes” then she’s stuck paying for abortions on demand – no conditions meaning exactly that. So, if she wishes to be a faithful Catholic, Lisa must herself answer her own question “no” just as, presumably, Ayn Rand would.

    I have personally witnessed how giving charity to the poor transforms the poor.
    –Lisa Graas 12:29pm

    Don’t confuse ‘charity’ with ‘government handouts’. I have personally witnessed how giving government handouts to the poor destroys the poor both physically and spirtually.

    If you hear anyone arguing that “charity causes dependency”, you’re hearing someone who is making the same error of confusing ‘charity’ with ‘government handouts’ – even if they are Republicans.

    And furthermore, don’t overlook that sometimes the greatest charity is tough love. Jesus, you may recall from one of the recent daily Mass readings of the Gospel, did not repeat the miracle of the multiplication of loaves just because the crowds were expecting that. From this and other examples, we can conclude that charity includes the responsibility of sometimes saying “no”.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Thomas Aquinas talked about “distributive justice”. The difference between Distributism and distributive justice is a recognized need of the other person, the neighbor and loving the neighbor for the love of God. The “JUSTICE” part comes in when man acknowledges that God is the Creator of all creation and especially man. “Distributive justice” acknowedges God as the Creator , endower and distributor of all. Distributive Justice is the working of Divine Providence. Distributism is the working of usurpation of private property and the refusal of the acknowledgement of man as a sovereign person created by the Supreme Sovereign Being.

    When the atheist denies the existence of God, the Supreme Sovereign Being, does the atheist really exist and does the atheist really have sovereign personhood when he, the atheist rejects his sovereignty from God? A good question for Ayn
    Rand

  • Mary De Voe says:

    In addition: Distributive Justice is the practice of the virtue of CHARITY. Distributism is the practice of tyranny, communism, Marxism, totalitarianism, and utilitarianism. The practice of the virtue of Charity is voluntary. The extortion of taxes for distributism without assent and consent by the owners of the property of taxes is stealing against the Seventh Commandment.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    “[P]overty is how the government defines poverty.” “… because poverty is what I say what it is.” And who are you who is saying it is what it is? Taxes belong to the taxpayers even while being administered by the administration. It is assumed that the consent and informed consent, of the citizen is granted across the board by the election, but the item must be put on the ballot for the will of the people to make itself known to those who serve in the public sector.

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