Intolerant Jackwagons!

Tuesday, August 28, AD 2012

I know that the Marine Corps will be here forever; this administration won’t.

Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey

One of my favorite character actors is R. Lee Ermey.  A gunnery sergeant and drill instructor in the Marine Corps, he was honorably discharged from the Corps in 1972 as a result of injuries he sustained in two tours in Vietnam.   Since that time he has built an acting career, playing off his DI personae and his flair for comedy.  Recently he was a spokesman for Geico, but was fired for giving vent to his views about the current administration during a Toys for Tots program in Chicago last year.

After being asked about his GEICO commercial wherein he played a psychiatrist calling his patient a “jackwagon,” Ermey said, “GEICO fired me because I had, I wasn’t too kind about speaking with the, about the administration, so the present administration. So they fired me.”

“So they fired you because of political reasons?” asked the TMZ representative.

“Yeah,” Ermey answered. “If you’re a conservative in this town, you better watch out.”

Here is the program and a transcript of what he said.

I got to tell you, folks, we’re having a big problem this year. The economy really sucks. Now I hate to point fingers at anybody, but the present administration probably has a lot to do with that. And the way I see it, they’re not going to quit doing it until they bring this country to its knees. So I think we should all rise up, and we should stop this administration from what they’re doing, because they’re destroying this country. They’re driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And I’m sick and damn tired of it, and I know you are too. But I know the Marine Corps is going to be here forever – this administration won’t. Semper Fi. God bless you all.

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6 Responses to Intolerant Jackwagons!

The New York Times and the Hive Mind

Monday, August 27, AD 2012

8 Responses to The New York Times and the Hive Mind

  • The man possesses a minuscule grasp of the obvious.

    The so-called media is in the tank for the destructive liberal agenda and the leader of the choom gang.

  • This reminds me of panel that featured the PBS director and the head honcho of HBO among others. At one point they talked about the failure of Air America, the leftist version of right-wing radio. The HBO guy remarked that it failed because there was already left-wing media that was completely free: PBS and NPR. The PBS director promptly bleated out: “But we aren’t biased!” and the HBO director just said, “Yeah, keep telling yourself that.”

  • I am sure that in the hive mind of the New York Slimes, they consider themselves to be objective. Walter Duranty (no famine in Ukraine in the 1930s) and Herbert Mathews (late 1950s Fidel Castro apologist) are more than enough evidence that the Slimes has been biased for decades.

  • “… I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so…”

    ————————
    -What planet is this boy on?

  • Don’t sell this story short. It’s a big deal. For a critique of the Times’ bias to be printed by the Times, that’s unusual. It also can become a point of reference for anyone arguing about media bias in general. But most importantly, I think the description of the dynamis of establishment bias was perfect. This article spells out exactly how it happens and exactly why it remains undiagnosable to those who do it. Good for Brisbane.

  • Well, duh! Sorry for the silly response, but the media in general have their causes and pet issues. Whichever side one falls on,politically, may drive whether they cease to view the media outlet or think its unbiased..that’s read, my bias is unbiased.

  • Ms. Abramson doth protest too much. The New York Times has endorsed the Democratic nominee for President 13 straight times. This November it will be 14.
    In 2006, the New York Times endorsed every single Democratic candidate for Congress in the tri-state area; no Republicans. That’s not “keeping the paper straight”.
    Abe Rosenthal did indeed, despite his progressive leanings, have some form of journalistic inegrity – so much that some thought he might have personally favored Ronald Reagan (maybe he just liked peace and prosperity). But nobody confuses A.M. Rosenthal with his late father. The paper – especially it’s opinion page – is becoming a predictible yawn that echoes what its base wants to hear. To those seeking actual intellectual enlightenment, look elsewhere. The Washington Post, while still a bit left of center, does a far better job of reflecting a range of public opinion.

  • It’s been thus since the 1920’s. the NYT motto is “All the news that’s fit to print with a pinkish tint.”

7 Responses to High Flight

  • I remember hearing that spoken many times with a video of an F-104 (?) jet at the end of the programming day before the channel went off. It was strange when it disappeared. I wonder whether the last line did the video in due to modern ‘life values’ or whether it was 24 hour programming. It seemed like hearing a lullaby.

  • What eloquence for a 19 year old author! And an appropriate post, considering the circumstances.

  • That was my fave poem in high school.

  • Great writing for a 19 y/o WW2 pilot. It would have been good to have say – a P51 Mustang in the clip, but I would assume that Armstrong flew F 104 s in his days at NASA.

    Had never heard the poem before.

    I recall in 1969, having been married only the year before, sitting on the front step of a little old cottage Sandy and I were renting across the road from the ocean beach at Mt. Maunganui, on a lovely clear night, listening to the sound of a gentle surf breaking on the beach, looking up at the moon and being in awe, that men were walking around up there.
    An unforgettable experience, and, in this field of endeavour, mankind has done nothing as great since.

  • And of course, it was to this poem that Ronald Reagan alluded in his tribute to the Challenger astronauts who had “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

  • USAF Song: ” . . . Into The Wild Blue Yonder.”

    ” . . . We’ll live in fame,
    Or, go down in flames.
    No one can beat the US Air Force.”

The Party of Death in Convention Assembled

Sunday, August 26, AD 2012

 

 

Playing up the War on Women meme and the Todd Akin gaffe, the Democrats are going to be celebrating their most sacred rite right at their Convention in September:

Democrats said that they will feature Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parent Action Fund, Nancy Keenan, president of the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student whose plea for federal birth control funding drew the ire–and a subsequent apology–from Rush Limbaugh.

What’s more, the Democrats are expanding their list of women ready to assail the GOP on women’s issue, adding Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and actress Eva Longoria to the list that already includes Sen. John Kerry and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

This goes hand in hand with their rejection of Cardinal Dolan’s offer to pray at the Democrat convention.  Dolan is giving the benediction at the Republican convention this week, so in an effort at even-handedness, he offered to do so for the Democrats.  This offer was rejected out of hand.  Why?  It would have been smart politics for the Democrats to have the Cardinal pray for them, perhaps the visuals marginally helping them with Catholic voters.  Yet they turned up their nose.  I can think of three reasons for the rejection:

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37 Responses to The Party of Death in Convention Assembled

  • The Party of Slavery.
    The Party of Death.

    My, how times have changed!

    🙁

  • The parallels between our pro-life fight Paul and the fight against slavery are indeed strong. This from a speech by Lincoln in New Haven, Connecticut on March 6, 1860:

    “But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party — where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? [Laughter.] You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong! [Continued laughter and applause.]”

    http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/haven.htm

  • I hope that even women who favor legal abortion see this for what it is – shameless pandering. Silly me, I once thought that the whole point of feminism was to assert that women were to be recognized as equals and not simply as sex objects. What does this obsessive focus on BC and abortion do but reduce women to their sex organs? “Women’s health” has come to mean abortion and birth control and breast cancer, as if those are the only reasons women need medical treatment and the only thing we have on our minds. Forget the economy, jobs, foreign policy, runaway government spending – no, we just sit around contemplating our reproductive organs all day long. We’re apparently too dumb to be interested in any other issue. Who are the sexists here?

  • Well said, Donna V., well said!

  • Donna, I couldn’t have said it better! I’ve long had the same thoughts that the early feminists were real women and mothers. They wanted to be able to vote, they wanted to be treated as equals. It’s insane what it has come to mean nowadays.

  • This is a risky move by the Dems. Many independents do not buy into this phony war on women. Class warfare is a much better strategy for the Dems — dishonest to be sure, but more likely to be effective with middle and working class independents. The right to contraception meme, and placing Planned Parenthood front and center, will not play well with many undecided voters. Its only upside is turning out the base.

  • “I fled, and cry’d out, DEATH!
    Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh’d
    From all her caves, and back resounded, DEATH!”
    Line 787, Book II, Paradise Lost

    “So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
    Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost.
    Evil, be thou my good.”
    Lines 108-110; Book IV.

    “So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
    The tyrant’s plea, excused his devilish deeds.”
    Lines 393-394. Book IV.

    “Necessity is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves”, William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Speech on the India Bill, November, 1783.

  • Its only upside is turning out the base.

    I suspect they’re having doubts that they can even solidify and motivate their base to turn out, Mike. First things first and all that.

  • RL,
    I suspect that is true and not a good sign for them. Either party that makes efforts to appeal to its base risks alienating independents. For Romney, that means stick to economic issues. Obama’s best version of that is class warfare. Many working class Dems are not fans of PP, etc., and placing this issue front and center is risky. I suspect that in the echo chamber that is Obama’s campaign, they think most women are sympathetic to Sandra Fluke, when the truth is most never heard of her and most don’t think government should be in the contraception business or promoting abortion.

  • Remember that Sandra Fluke’s demand was specifically not for government to provide her birth control. Rather, it was a demand that government force Georgetown to provide her birth control, and that was her motivation for going to Georgetown in the first place.

    Any time Sandra Fluke makes her way back to the limelight, this should be highlighted.

  • If you have some spare time, you ought to check out some of the pro-slavery tracts from that period. For instance, we often here from pro-abortionists, “If you are so opposed to abortion, how come you are not adopting unwanted children?” There was pro-slavery tract making exactly the same argument to the effect of, “if you are so opposed to slavery, why won’t you pay fair-market value for them and free them yourselves?”

  • Scott W.
    Somewhat Ironically, if the federal government had done just that it would have been an incredible bargain compared to the human and financial costs of the Civil War. Of course, such a scenario would be great fodder for alternative historians (perhaps Don has already pondered it).

  • Lincoln, Mike, when he made statements in favor of compensated emancipation during the War made the same argument. Unfortunately, neither Confederate slave holders or slave holders in the border states were interested.

    “And if, with less money, or money more easily paid, we can preserve the benefits of the Union by this means, than we can by the war alone, is it not also economical to do it? Let us consider it then. Let us ascertain the sum we have expended in the war since compensated emancipation was proposed last March, and consider whether, if that measure had been promptly accepted, by even some of the slave States, the same sum would not have done more to close the war, than has been otherwise done. If so the measure would save money, and, in that view, would be a prudent and economical measure. Certainly it is not so easy to pay something as it is to pay nothing; but it is easier to pay a large sum than it is to pay a larger one.”

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=lincoln;cc=lincoln;view=text;idno=lincoln5;rgn=div1;node=lincoln5%3A1126

  • Thanks, Don. I had not realized that. But I’m not surprised. The South’s investment in slavery was more than just financial. It was cultural and entangled with its own sense of self-determination. The War was probably a tragic necessity.

  • Mike Petrik

    The British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 combined a system of indentures labour for former slaves and substantial compensation. It met with no resistance and also demonstrated that there was no economic case for slavery: the cost of sugar production actually fell after emancipation. The wages of a free labourer and the cost of a slave’s subsistence was the same and a slave represented capital sunk in a wasting asset.

    Likewise, there was no resistance to the abolition of serfdom in Russia in 1861

    I have always thought that slavery in the South was supported, not only by slave-owners, but by the majority of those who were not, as a police measure, not an economic one. It was about controlling the black population. The “Jim Crow” laws, enacted after 1876 bear this out.

  • “If you have some spare time, you ought to check out some of the pro-slavery tracts from that period.”

    What I find interesting is how pro-slavery opinion “hardened” in stages between 1776 and 1860 in a manner not unlike the “hardening” of pro-abortion opinion from, say, 1920 up to the present. From what I understand (this is just a very basic outline), at the time of the Declaration, even Southerners admitted that slavery was not a good thing — it was a necessary evil that, hopefully, could be abolished someday, and in the meantime could be limited with measures such as the abolition of foreign slave trade.

    Then along came the cotton gin and the rise of the cotton industry in the South, which increased demand for slaves. (You could say that the cotton gin, by jump-starting the cotton industry, did for slavery what the Pill, by jump-starting the sexual revolution, did for abortion — counterintuitively, it increased demand for the very thing one would think it would replace.) Consequently, intra-state and inter-state slave trade also became more lucrative, and growing slave populations in the older slave states “had” to go somewhere.

    Hence the ballistic reaction of Southern Congressmen when in 1819, a Northern Congressman proposed a rather mild scheme of gradual emancipation for slaves as a condition for admission of the Missouri Territory as a state (no present slaves would be freed, but any slave children born after statehood would be freed on their 25th birthday). The ensuing debate, which included not so subtle threats of secession and war by representatives of Southern states, was the first real indication that the South had shifted from “Slavery is a bad thing and we’ll get rid of it eventually” to “Slavery is NOT going away and you Northerners had better find a way to live with it.”

    The way that was found to “live with” slavery was, of course, the famous Missouri Compromise setting a geographic boundary between slave and free territory. After that, slavery kind of went on the back burner as a national issue until the mid-1840s, when the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War presented the prospect of a vast expansion of territory potentially open to slavery.

    By this time, Southern opinion had hardened even more and they were now insisting upon expansion of slavery or else. The result: the so-called Compromise of 1850, which included, among other measures, a stricter Fugitive Slave Law compelling residents of free states to cooperate in the return of escaped slaves to their owners. Now, the pro-slavery side had moved beyond a “just leave us alone” stance to insisting that slave ownership couldn’t be merely tolerated, it was an absolute “right” that the federal government should protect.

    Finally, there was the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision, which basically turned slave ownership into a “right” that could not be geographically limited except, perhaps, by popular vote. Now slave owners, for all practical purposes, had the right to own slaves anywhere and at any time — just as today’s Planned Parenthood, et al. fight for the right to abort babies at any time and for any reason.

  • One difference is that abortion was legally murder until 1973 when the Supremes conjured a Constitutional right to “privacy.”

  • T Shaw,
    That is a bit of an exaggeration. First, the legality of abortion was a state question, and state laws varied — including several where if was legal on demand. Further the trend favored liberalization. Second, in states where if was criminalized, it was not classified as murder, and penalties were not comparable.

    http://www.aul.org/2010/04/why-the-states-did-not-prosecute-women-for-abortion-before-roe-v-wade/

  • Mike Petrik

    Under Scottish practice, abortionists were, invariably, charged, at common law, with using an instrument or administering a poison or other noxious substance, with intent to procure a miscarriage.

    In this way, prosecutors did not have to prove that the child was alive at the time of the offence, or, even, that the woman was pregnant; it was enough that the abortionist thought she was, or even, might be.

    Given the rule, “Testis unus, testis nullus” [one witness is no witness] prosecutors usually had to rely on the evidence of two women who had undergone abortions (such witnesses to a course of criminal conduct being regarded as mutually corroborative). Now, a witness’s precognition cannot be used against them and, once they testify as a socius criminis, they are immune from prosecution anyway.

    As a matter of practice, therefore, the prosecution of the woman would usually face insuperable obstacles.

  • The fact is that the liberals already have their photo opportunity with Cardinal Dolan at the Al Smith Dinner and they can use that night and its images to portray singularity with the Catholic Church, which they know luke-warm Catholics will eat up in their effort to find an excuse to vote for and defend Obama or other liberal agendas. They don’t need another moment of Cardinal Dolan’s time, he has already been very generous to offer a moment for the liberal media to feed on. it’s a good thing that Cardinal Dolan isn’t being welcome at the DNC, he should not be giving blessings to a party that has used the HHS Mandate to make Catholics in this country question their values and morals, and will also be using pro-abortion as its major platform for the DNC. The Catholic Church should not be seen anywhere near an event that upholds this murderous ideology.

  • T. Shaw says:
    “One difference is that abortion was legally murder until 1973 when the Supremes conjured a Constitutional right to “privacy.””

    I did not know that there was not a right to privacy enjoyed by all people. If the Supreme Court was affirming the “right to privacy”, then it must have affirmed the “right to privacy “ enjoyed by all people. If the Supreme Court was rewriting the unalienable “right to privacy” endowed by “their Creator”, then the court corrupted true freedom.
    How did the Court go from the “right to privacy” enjoyed by all people to the “right to privacy” for the woman’s body for the perpetration of abortion, and paid for by all men, women, and children including those unborn of our constitutional posterity?

  • Mike Petric, Michael Paterson-Seymour:

    How does the termination of a human being’s existence become less of a crime only because legal authorities do not have the wherewithall to prosecute?

    If human rights came from the government, the government can tax you for taking human rights away.

  • “We shall go before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.” Thomas Meagher, late B/G, Commander Irish Brigade, March 1862 to May 1863.

  • Don, I can see where you’re going with this. You’re calling for reparations for the descendants of slave-owners, right? That sounds like political gold!

  • Mary, many sins are not crimes, and in some cases that is precisely for prudential reasons such as unenforecability. While Christendom long treated abortion as a sin and a crime, the offense was not really considered a variant of murder and penalties were almost always directed toward the abortionists rather than the mothers. The word “right” has an uneasy relationship with Catholic tradition, but governments will always secure rights imperfectly, and necessarily so. This is not to suggest that abortion is not a serious sin that should be criminalized (it is and should), but current human circumstances, or perhaps the human condition itself, makes it very difficult, and probably unwise or even unjust, to criminalize it as murder.

  • Mike Petric “the offense was not really considered a variant of murder and penalties were almost always directed toward the abortionists rather than the mothers.”

    The abortionist is precisely the individual who must be held accountable. The abortionist’s crime is more than scraping the human soul, God’s will from the womb. The abortionist’s crime is not aiding and assisting in the mother’s, another human being’s, time of need.

  • The sin is in the abrogation of God’s Will by killing the unborn baby, i.e., God’s creation.

  • Pinky says:
    Don, I can see where you’re going with this. You’re calling for reparations for the descendants of slave-owners, right? That sounds like political gold!

    After the Civil War, every freed slave was offered one mule and forty acres of land to support himself. Some accepted the offer. Others went west. There was a movement to make reparations to the descendants of slaves by counting each black persons’ vote as two votes. Not fair, nor is it conducive to good government. Many people did not own slaves. Immigrant people may even have been slaves. How can it be fair to tax a person who has not owned slaves because he has become an American citizen? If Lincoln had not offered a settlement of forty acres and a mule to every slave, a settlement would be necessary.

  • As Nicholas P. pointed out above, the progressive liberal Catholics have their nod of sanction from the Al Smith dinner. It would be a bit hard to take for the Cardinal to say a benediction after hours of speeches dedicated to the killing of the unborn. I assume he offered since his offer was accepted for the Republican convention. He appears to be trying to be meticulous in not being cast as backing either party.

  • The 40 acres and a mule offer was never official US policy, but was the substance of a single ad hoc order by General Sherman (Special Field Order N0. 15) intended to apply to Blacks who were in the proximity of his army as it marched through Georgia. Sherman even set aside South Carolina’s Sea Islands for this purpose, and that acreage was quickly absorbed by the intended beneficiaries. But the idea that freed slaves were more generally given this option is mistaken.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_acres_and_a_mule

  • Mary – I was kidding.

  • Pinky- For the record, I’m all in favor of reparations. Anybody who is a descendant of a slave must make reparations TO the US for having had the privilege of being born here as a result. Lord knows where they would have been otherwise.

  • ry de Voe wrote, “How does the termination of a human being’s existence become less of a crime only because legal authorities do not have the wherewithall to prosecute?”

    It doesn’t. I was merely pointing out the limits of enforcement.

    In the same way, in France, the maximum penalty for procuring an abortion was 5 years imprisonment. Had it been more than 5 years, the accused would have been entitled to a jury trial and juries notoriously refused to convict a « faiseuse d’anges » [angel maker] as the French call village abortionists. Even so, every village had one; everyone knew it; no one talked about it; the police regarded it as “women’s business.” It was only when a woman died that the Parquet, like Captain Renault, in Casablanca, professed themselves “shocked, shocked, to discover” that such things went on and M. le curé would preach an edifying sermon on the following Sunday.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:
    Statutes against abortion were wiped away by Roe v. Wade. These statutes were for the edification of all people to know that the government valued the newly begotten human being. And even though they may have been unenforceable, the statutes defined the culture.

    When my mom got pregnant with my sister, the local midwife asked: “Do you want it?”. After my sister was born and mom got me, the local midwife again asked: “Do you want it?” I was able to write: “Here I am. Mom chose me.” This midwife was the richest woman in the county.

    Still, Michael, the statutes define our culture and our culture of life has been expunged from our neighborhood, stolen from our senses and evicted from our consciences, as has the reality of the human being’s immortal soul. Let us at least have the statutes to point to when the day of wrath comes upon us. Thank you, too, for your fine reply to my post.

    Mike Petrik:

    “The 40 acres and a mule offer was never official US policy, but was the substance of a single ad hoc order by General Sherman (Special Field Order N0. 15) intended to apply to Blacks who were in the proximity of his army as it marched through Georgia. Sherman even set aside South Carolina’s Sea Islands for this purpose, and that acreage was quickly absorbed by the intended beneficiaries. But the idea that freed slaves were more generally given this option is mistaken.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/40_acres_and_a_mule

    Thank you for this, Mike Petric. My ignorance is showing. And who would have thought it would be Sherman? But thinking, at the time, our country had open space that could be squatted on as in the Homestead Act (which is still viable, see indwellers ) and became yours after seven years. Being a free man and a citizen, the former slave could own property and vote, and as Paul D. writes. It is pretty good to be a U.S. citizen.
    As an aside, Clinton wrote an Executive Order making all free lands and waterways the purview of the chief executve. Squatter’s rights be damned, but these rights do exist in the laws.

    Pinky says:
    Mary – I was kidding.
    Pinky: I was laughing.

  • Mike Petrik, So sorry I misspelled your name.

    If Cardinal Dolan gives the benediction reaffirming the unborn, begotten human being’s right to life, he may not escape with his life. Mother Teresa did at the Prayer Breakfast with the Clintons and at the Noble Peace Prize. Did anyone notice Obama skipped the Prayer Breakfast. too dangerous for a communist.
    Cardinal Dolan is quite capable of affirming man’s unalienable right to life and his freedom of conscience.

    Congress passed the Affordable Healthcare Act handing over its authentic authority to speak for the people in government. Congress does not have the power to trade away representative government’s checks and balances. The Affordable Healthcare Act is legislative nonsense. The HHS mandate is totalitarianism. Congress cannot legislate nonsense.

  • No worries at all, Mary.
    FWIW I doubt Cardinal Dolan will disappoint.

  • Mary de Voe

    I agree that laws can serve for edification and affirming moral values. I would simply add that sometimes a less than ideal measure of enforcement is better than none at all.

    For example, drunkenness is a bad thing, but we only prosecute drunkenness in a public place. Lying is wrong, but we only prosecute the more harmful forms – Falsehood, fraud and wilful imposition, or perjury and so on. We sometimes give immunity to thieves, so they can testify against a resetter.

    A great Catholic jurist, Portalis – he had suffered for the Faith during the French Revolution and was one of the people who drafted the Code Napoléon, said, “Christianity, which speaks only to the conscience, guides by grace the little number of the elect to salvation; the law restrains by force the unruly passions of wicked men, in the interests of public order/public policy [l’ordre public]”

Neil Armstrong: Requiescat in Pace

Saturday, August 25, AD 2012

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

Statement of the Armstrong Family

 

 

The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died today at 82.  He served as a naval fighter pilot in Korea, flying 78 combat missions.  A test pilot after the war, his feats in that field were legendary, combining strong engineering ability, cold courage and preternatural flight skills.  He was accepted into the astronaut program in 1962.  On July 20, 1969, in the middle of the night in Central Illinois, he set foot on the moon.  My father and I, like most of the country, were riveted to the television screen as we watched a turning point in the history of humanity.  He intended to say, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  It came out:  “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Godspeed Mr. Armstrong on the journey you have just embarked upon.

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8 Responses to Neil Armstrong: Requiescat in Pace

Latter Day Leftist Secessionist

Saturday, August 25, AD 2012

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Faith that I have named him Defender of the Faith, has an unforgettable look at a book written by splenetic Leftist, Chuck Thompson, who wishes that the South would secede:

It may interest you to know that a significant number of those Americans who think that Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox was a devastating tragedy, maybe even most of them, reside north of the Mason-Dixon Line and probably have never been to, have no ancestors from and have no interest in visiting that large area south of it.

If a leftist Yankee travel writer named Chuck Thompson, author of Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, ever put together a list of the worst American presidents, George W. Bush would probably come in second behind Abraham Lincoln.  In the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim reviews the book:

On the first page, the author wonders why the American electoral system must be “held hostage by a coalition of bought-and-paid-for political swamp scum from the most uneducated, morbidly obese, racist, morally indigent, xenophobic, socially stunted, and generally ass-backwards part of the country.” You expect him to let up, to turn the argument around, to look at the other side of question. But he never does. For more than 300 pages, Mr. Thompson travels through the South observing customs, outlooks and people and subjecting them to an unremitting stream of denunciations.

The American South is certainly not above criticism or satire.  And many writers from other parts of the country or the world have visited the South and written useful and interesting books about their experiences.  Thompson, on the other hand, made up his mind beforehand and went looking for what he thought he needed to see.

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53 Responses to Latter Day Leftist Secessionist

  • I used to read CW books. I recall one by a pair of university (a southern U., I don’t remember which) academics who worked up two hypotheses. One, most Confederates were Scotch-Irish, and two, their psyche favored the offensive. The authors went on to prove that the tactical offensive was more costly in casualties and the South could not afford to lose the numbers of men.

    Anyhow, hoard your Confederate money, boys! The South shall rise again.

  • Yeah, that book was written by Grady McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson. The title was Attack and Die. Out of the hundreds of books I have read on the Civil War, it still holds pride of place as being the stupidest.

    http://www.amazon.com/Attack-Die-Military-Southern-Heritage/dp/0817302298

  • “… the region’s overrated college football teams …”

    When it comes to “overrated college football teams”, I’m sorry, but you can’t do much worse than the Yankee teams that make up the Big 10. Consistently overrated, and consistently underperforming against teams in other conferences, especially against teams from the South. And I say that as a Big 10 fan.

    And Mr. Thompson is just as off in the rest of his assessment of the South and of where the real problem lies.

    But here’s where Mr. Thompson will, ultimately, prove to be correct in the long run: his conclusion that one part of the country is better off without the other, he just gets it backward.

    I am sadly and reluctantly coming to the point where I believe the South (and other parts of “red state” America) would be MUCH better off without the blue states and the cultural crap they shove down our throats. I am becoming more and more convinced that we do live in two separate countries, and things like the whol Chik-fil-A brouhaha drive that home. Folks in the South (and other red states) see that kind of stuff and they hear the “Chicago values” nonsense and say to themselves “Those people live in a completely different world than we do.”

    I’m sort of at the point of concluding there will be no winners and losers in the “Culture War”, just a parting of the ways. It may not be in my children’s lifetimes, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen in my grandchildren’s lifetimes.

  • At Gettysburg and in response to the question “what right did the South think they had to break up the United States,” a tour guide stated that secession has a long legal history and that it was proper to see the American Revolution as a secession, no more lawful or right than the secesson that started the Civil War.

    Do you share this view Don? (The “rightness” of the cause interests me)

  • Absolutely not. The American Revolution was a revolution as Mr. Jefferson noted in the Declaration of Independence:

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

    That is the right to revolution against an oppressive government.

    Secession is the assertion that under the United States Constitution there existed a right for a state to unilaterally withdraw from the Union. I agree with Robert E. Lee that no such right exists:

    “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people; and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none.”

  • General Lee’s statement is surprising. How does one get from that to leading a secessionist army!?

    He must have been a pretty conflicted leader if he simultaneously thought the secession unlawful and wrong and yet had to lead a people into battle who believed their cause honorable and right. There is a missing piece of the puzzle here.

    I appreciate your patience with the questions. I gather you are a bit of a “Civil War buff” (that Seinfeld episode aside) and I’m sure it would tax any historian’s patience to have to give enough background on line for others to understand their point. Perhaps I can persuade you to, instead, recommend a book that explores Lee’s seeming contradiction. (Winter is coming and the TV increasingly irritates me.)

  • If I were so disposed, I could do what Chuck Thompson did…in a matter of speaking. However, I would go after the hard-core “blue” areas (how ironic is it that the semi-communist areas are referred to as “blue”) and show the sheer political and cultural stupidity that infests them. I would not have to go far. Albany, Philadelphia, New Jersey, the entrenched Democrat control of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Detroit, Chicago, Madison, Wisconsin…..

    Thompson’s drivel remind me of Bill Maher.

  • “General Lee’s statement is surprising. How does one get from that to leading a secessionist army!?”

    Lee also had no use for slavery. It all came down to one word: Virginia. When Virginia went with the Confederacy Lee went with her. Outside of God and his family, Virginia was the only thing that Lee loved more than the United States of America.

  • Penguins Fan, You lump together very different cities in your critique. As a fellos Pennsylvanian, I take exception to putting Philadelphia and Detroit in the same category. Besides, there is a lot more going on in former manufacturing centers than government is the cause of – at least not local government alone.

    Maybe you can be more specific?

  • Don, I suppose it is hard to get a sense of state loyalties back then. I’m a Pennsylvanian and immensely proud of where I come from. However, where does my provincial loyalty lie in the list of loyalties?

    At an intellectual level, I suppose it would go God, country, family, state, then the Eagles. (This year is our year. Really!) But the intellectual response doesn’t tell us much about how a person would react to the actual choice if forced to make it.

    If Pennsylvania outlawed government support for sports teams, would I follow the Eagles to another state? Probably not… Well, maybe South Carolina, Louisiana, or Arizona… If they did it in February or something. More to the point, would I abandon the United States or take up arms against her if she became tyrannical, if she, for example, set aside the First Amendment and outlawed the practice of our faith? I like to think that I would not.

    Perhaps this approximates Lee’s torment?

  • In Lee’s day most Americans lived their entire lives in their home states, with only brief forays outside of it, unless they moved West. Lee was unusual in that he had seen quite a bit of America during his military service. State loyalties were much more pronounced than they are now, and in the South since 1820 there had been an emphasis upon the rights of states against a Union that was perceived as threatening the Southern states.

  • “Would I abandon the United States or take up arms against her if she… set aside the First Amendment and outlawed the practice of our faith?”

    It depends. Our own ancestors “abandoned” other countries because they became too oppressive and tyrannical, or simply because they offered less hope of economic advancement. I can think of several religious orders with a substantial presence in Central Illinois that were founded in Germany or France in the 19th century and came here to get away from anti-clerical governments that hampered their ministries. Another order arrived in the late 1940s from Slovakia after the Communists took over. If they could emigrate when things got bad (and they didn’t have to get Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia-type bad), then I see no reason why individual Catholics in America would not be justified in doing the same.

    If it got to the point where Catholicism was explicitly outlawed and churches shut down, or even to the point where Catholics still had “freedom of worship” but it became impossible for a practicing Catholic to make a living, obtain an education or other essential services, or care for their family without compromising their faith, then I’d want to bail out of here as soon as I could. (Of course, where to go and how to get the money/resources to emigrate would be another story)

    A more likely scenario, I think, could be that even if egregiously anti-Catholic or anti-Christian laws were passed at the national level, they would not be enforced equally in every state. You might have Catholics “emigrating” from hardcore blue states where Church ministries have been forced to cease and anyone who doesn’t endorse abortion or gay marriage is driven out of public life, to red states where that is not the case. In fact, I am beginning to think I may have to do just that someday, given the direction Illinois is heading. Unless, of course, everything south of I-80 secedes and becomes a brand new “red” state, which is yet another story.

  • Don, I suppose it is hard to get a sense of state loyalties back then.

    Well, England is about 50 and 1/3k sq miles in size– you’ve got to get clear down through Louisiana in size before you hit a state smaller than that. (Mississippi.) Scotland is about 30.4k sq miles, or between South Carolina and West Virginia in size. Northern Ireland is only bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island.

    I don’t think I need to explain to anyone here that the Scots very much had their own loyalties.
    So maybe it’s more a matter of down-sizing our idea of “the state” to a state level, and figuring that loyalty to the entire group is kinda like loyalty to, oh, NATO?

    More to the point, would I abandon the United States or take up arms against her if she became tyrannical, if she, for example, set aside the First Amendment and outlawed the practice of our faith?

    If America wasn’t America anymore, I also think I wouldn’t abandon her– I’d fight to fix her.
    Over on Ricochet, someone brought up the notion of “Who would you vote for, if the options were Hitler and Stalin”? The idea was justifying a third party vote, but they totally ignore what real Americans would do in that case– revolt. If things are so broken that we have two of the biggest mass murderers of the last century as the two main options, the system need rebooting.

  • “If America wasn’t America anymore, I also think I wouldn’t abandon her– I’d fight to fix her.”

    Indeed. This country was born in armed strife and has been fought for ever since. I would not have this country go down without a fight.

  • As Foxfier points out, our states are bigger in size than many countries, and many of them have economies comparable to entire nations. Strange Maps has an interesting map in which each U.S. state is tagged with the flag of a country with the same population, and another in which each state is matched with a country of the same Gross Domestic Product:

    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/388-us-states-as-countries-of-equal-population

    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/131-us-states-renamed-for-countries-with-similar-gdps

    The GDP map, for example, shows that (as of 2007) California and France have about the same GDP, as do Illinois and Mexico; Texas and Canada; New York and Brazil; and Ohio and Australia.

    Also, even though the feds have taken over or dictated a lot of things, states can still do pretty much everything an independent country can other than declare war, sign treaties and print money. Most of the laws that govern everyday life — traffic laws, business licensing, criminal codes, etc. — are state level laws. So in many ways, states are still equivalent to mini-nations.

  • And here’s another site which compares nations to the size of U.S. states:

    http://www.insidervlv.com/landmass.html

    According to this site, Cuba is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; Greece is slightly smaller than Alabama; Israel is slightly smaller than New Jersey; the UK is slightly smaller than Oregon; and Mexico is only three times bigger than Texas.

  • Oooh, thank you Elaine! I had to poke around for half an hour of watching-the-kids internet to find the data I used– this is MUCH better!

  • “Folks in the South (and other red states) see that kind of stuff and they hear the ‘Chicago values’ nonsense and say to themselves ‘Those people live in a completely different world than we do.'”

    Yep. Born and raised in the South from a very southern family. It takes me 8 generations back to find one relative from somewhere outside the South (and that person was from Scotland). That’s one ancestor from one great-grandparent. I can’t even find relatives outside the South or the US from any other grandparent. So I’m VERY Southern. I just don’t understand a lot of what comes out of the NE corridor and the West Coast. It’s like they live on a different planet.

    And look, the South did some bad things. I’m not a revisionist so I know things have not always been fantastic here for minorities. But I’m 32 years old and I have spent my entire life around minorities. I have never lived in a neighborhood or went to a school that did not have a substantial minority presence, and I have never been anything other than middle class. It blew my mind the first time I ventured up North. I have step-family in Ohio and when we visited I literally did not see any black people where they lived. It was bizarre. When I said something about it, my aunt said they all lived in the city and that the suburbs were where the white folks fled to back during desegregation and that it just always kind of stayed that way. Now, I don’t claim to know whether that’s the case in the whole of the North, especially outside of the big cities. But I can say that I’ve visited almost all of the major metropolitan areas in the NE and it was a pretty identical experience.

    So it’s kind of baffling to me when people claim the South is still this horrible, segregated, racist place. I know there are still racists here, but that’s mainly because people are sinners and you’re going to find that kind of thing (hopefully limited) anywhere you go. It just is not a huge part of the culture here anymore and has not been for as long as I can remember.

  • I grew up in Chicago and now live in Atlanta. Met and know many more bigots in Chicago.

  • Mandy,

    I grew up in a small town in Ohio. There were zero blacks there. Many rural areas in Northern states have few, if any, black people. The same applies for most suburbs of Northern cities.

    G-veg….your city and metro area is very different from mine. As you know, Philadelphia is a large Northeastern corridor city, and there are more people in the Philly suburbs in the counties that surround Philadelphia than in the city itself. Ed Rendell ran for Governor on a platform of having cleaned up Philadelphia – to a point – and the Philly ‘burbs supported him as well. The level of corruption – that I have heard about – from Philly has amazed me. Fumo, Perzel, Ed $pendell’s shenanigans as Governor.

    Southeastern Pennsylvania – Philly and the surrounding counties – have no coal mining, no oil, no shale gas, unlike the rest of Pennsylvania, and SEPA is much more like the other cities of the Eastern Seaboard. Pittsburgh is more like a Midwestern city. 300 miles, mostly of hills and mountains, are still a huge cultural divide.

    Allegheny County usually would vote for Hitler, Stalin or Satan if they were running as Democrats. Allegheny County residents, by and large, still vote as if it were the 1930s and FDR was on the ticket.

    My point is that once-great cities have been laid low by Democrat incompetence and malfeasance – and I am tired of their influence on elections.

    Oh, one more thing, G-Veg….the Eagles will not win the Super Bowl. The Steelers of the ’70s have more players in the Hall of Fame than the Eagles do in their history (I had to get in that dig).

  • And look, the South did some bad things. I’m not a revisionist so I know things have not always been fantastic here for minorities. But I’m 32 years old and I have spent my entire life around minorities. I have never lived in a neighborhood or went to a school that did not have a substantial minority presence, and I have never been anything other than middle class. It blew my mind the first time I ventured up North.

    My Godfather was a Basque, who lost his father in the last Indian raid in Cali.
    He never did understand why mom (daughter of two Kansas kids who met in Oregon) was so horrified about him asking “who’s the marker?” when a black guy walked into the local diner. (A “marker” is a black sheep put in a group of sheep; I think it was one to every hundred, but wouldn’t doubt that different bands did different metrics. Roughly, one black sheep= Xhundred white sheep.)

    He knew that there weren’t any black folks in the valley right then, but there were both types of Basque, Italian, Indian, Scots, a scattering of Spanish and English– those were what would probably be classed as “white” as much as anything– and there had been black cowboys and (more respectable– IE, call a them a “cowboy” and that’s fighting words) ranch hands for most of his life.
    It was no more a big deal than asking “who’s the carrot?” would be if a redhead had walked in. (None of those in the valley, either, from memory.)

    Mom had grown up in a situation where she was slapped and scolded for trying to touch a black lady’s arm in a “Lady’s Club” in a large town. (She was very small, and fascinated by someone who was darker than any tan she’d ever seen.)

    My personal exposure to the “race” thing was in high school, where there were two folks who “looked black.” One was a brilliant girl who was my favorite teachers’ favorite student (because she ragged him WITHOUT END, and did it well) and the other was a one-man crime wave, and the sort that breaks into places that have been closed for years to raid the cash register.
    They were siblings. She identified as “My dad was from the Caribbean,” and he identified as “YOU HATE ME BECAUSE I’M BLACK!”

    My second experience with “race” was bringing in all my (takes after the Scot side) sunburn aids because LCPL Winter found out that even black guys who’d grown up in Miami could get sunburnt if they hadn’t had sun on their backs for nearly two years, then fell asleep on a Florida beach. (Poor SOB.)

    I, funky sort of idealist that I am, think that folks are most likely to segregate based on philosophy.
    Thing is, bloodline is really important for philosophy, at least the bloodline you play up.
    Thus, a “black” lady who looks the same as a “Hispanic” lady or just a random lady (Hello, Ms. Jennifer Lopez) will fit in with whatever group she chooses, and the overall effect will back up that philosophy.

    Sure, you’ll have outliers that don’t even kind of fit the standard– but they’ll just be exceptions, like the “obviously black” couple in a “white” community.

    This theory might be biased because I grew up, as I said, in a valley with a lot of Basque– the lady who best exemplifies that is one I’d challenge anyone to class beyond “dried up nasty old harpy with the most nasty old poodle you ever met.” (A real poodle, not a toy.) Bias admission: she’s one of those folks who looks for old ladies that are going to die soon and are neglected by their families, and gets them to give her “gifts.” She tried it on my grandmother, who threw her out on her ear.
    The lady in question has vaguely tanned skin, dark hair (dyed, I think, but matches when she was young), hazel-dark eyes, local accent. Some sort of relative to my godfather, but I think it was via his granddaughter… the blonde, freckled, blue-hazel eyed girl in my grade.

    I guess my point is that a lot of the “segregation” we see is based on what folks expect to see. If someone is “too white” and gets attention from the wrong folks, they leave. If folks move into an area and don’t attract attention, they’re not comment-worthy– if they do get law type attention in relation to established racial problems, folks suddenly notice how they look like the folks who drew that attention.

    Sucks crazy hard, but there it is.

    For heaven’s sake, my mom grew up knowing as common knowledge that Indians in their area had a lot of Black blood, based largely on the whole “Buffalo soldier” thing; if you met someone who was clearly angelic, and there wasn’t a thing about man-and-wife-are-one-flesh, why would you not try to get some angelic blood in your tribe? (“Angelic” is as close as I can come to conveying what a “totem” is– it’s power, and good.)

  • “Absolutely not. The American Revolution was a revolution as Mr. Jefferson noted in the Declaration of Independence”

    I disagree with Don. I see the American “Revolution” as a “War of Independence”. For all their talk of the “rights of Englishmen”, the American colonists, after almost 200 years of virtual self rule, had come to see themselves primarily as “Americans”, rather than British subjects.

    And, if the cause is just, secession is entirely justified, at least if you believe in the concept of self determination (which I do, wholeheartedly). There was no just cause for secession in 1861, but that doesn’t mean there can never be just cause for secession.

    Still, even without a just cause, had I lived in those days, I am fairly certain I would have made the same decision as Lee made. When it comes to state vs. national loyalty, I feel MUCH more loyalty toward the local than I do to the remote. I am far more loyal to the states I consider my “home states” – Texas and Virginia – than I am to our Nation. If there ever were another sectional split, I have no doubts that my loyalties would go first with Texas, then with Virginia. (I may feel that way some day about my current state, Ohio, but I haven’t quite acquired the loyalty for the Buckeye State that I feel in my heart and in my gut toward the Lone Star State and the Old Dominion.)

  • To no surprise to either of us in this area, Jay, we will have to largely agree to disagree in this area. The Revolution was a revolution. It not only cast of the British monarchy, but established an entirely new basis for governmental power as Mr. Jefferson so eloquently set forth in the Declaration. Judging from their writings the Founding Fathers understood this, that they were bringing something new into existence on this planet. That is why on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782 they put the motto: Novus Ordo Seclorum (a new order for the ages) Nothing is more revolutionary in the history of Man in secular terms than what was proclaimed by the Founding Fathers. So it was in 1776 and so it remains today.

    As for secession, it is not to be confused with Mr. Jefferson’s right of revolution in the Declaration. No mechanism for secession being set forth in the Constitution, the only way it could be done except by revolution would be legislation in Congress, or, more properly I think, a Constitutional amendment. In both cases it would then have approval of a majority of the country presumably.

  • I suppose then, like Lee (“Secession is nothing but revolution.”), I see the distinction between secession and “revolution” as semantics. Self-determination is what we’re really talking about. Once one group of people, for just cause, no longer wishes to be attached to or governed by another set of people, they have the right to break away under the natural right of self-determination.

    Once those people decide they no longer wish to bound by the Constitution, and have just cause for making that determination to no longer be bound, the fact that the Constitution is silent on the matter of secession seems to me to be wholly irrelevant.

    As for whether the Revolutionary War was more of a “revolution” or a “war of independence”, yes, we will just have to agree to disagree. Althought the Founders were influenced by the English and Scottish Enlightenments (which, by the way, had also firmly taken hold in Great Britain, and British subjects were the free-est people in all the world), my reading of the conflict, at least by July 1776 was that they were primarily motivated by a desire for independence and to rule their own affairs (see, e.g., John Adams). That’s not to say that Enlightenment ideals didn’t flower their speech and writing as justification for that desire for independence, nor indeed that they weren’t also heavily influenced by said Enlightenment. But let’s not forget that it was a rather conservative transformation as far as “revolutions” go. In fact, as late as the early 19th century, there was still quite a bit of debate between Republicans under Jefferson and Federalists under Adams and Hamilton as to whether the Revolution had gone far enough (but for the wisdom of one man – George Washington, we might very well have replaced one king with another).

    It’s just too hard for me to accept the notion that the American Revolution was a “revolution” in the truest sense of the word, as opposed to a war for independence. I can’t help but read Amercan independence in light of other wars for independence fought against the English, such as those in Scotland and Ireland. The social order (see, e.g., English Common Law as the basis of the legal systems in those nations) really didn’t change all that much (when weighed against revolutions in France, Italy, Russia, etc.)

  • This liberal loon (I just insulted a bird) is expressing the fascist busy-bodies’ execrable disgust with the uses many Americans make of their freedoms, their franchise, and their property.

    Here is a modest proposal. Blue, bankrupt states should be expelled from the Union. They can be territories. Erstwhile state governments would be closed and the felons imprisoned. All contracts would be dissolved and debts and liabilities repudiated: bankruptcy is federal law. President Romney would appoint territorial governors to operate vital governmental functions: police, fire. The failed states’ congressional delegations would be expelled.

    When citizens of the territory write a constitution with sufficient safeguards to convince Congress that bankruptcy will never happen again, it could then rejoin the Union.

  • The English Civil War and the so-called “Glorious Revolution” are more aptly title “revolutions”, at least in my view of things, than is the American Revolution. (Note that the 4th of July is “Independence Day”, not “Revoultion Day” or “Enlightenment Day” or “New World Order Day”.)

  • The English Civil Wars Jay ended with the Merry Monarch on the Throne. The so-called Glorious Revolution I have a hard time taking seriously. The real diminution of monarchical power occurred after the death of William, an able soldier and king, and was a consequence of the fact that Queen Anne was a featherhead and the Hanoverians were all blockheads.

  • Yes, but during the years of the so-called “Commonwealth”, it most definitely had the effect of “Revolution”, and, indeed, led to a real revolution in the way the monarchy was viewed (at least ultimately).

  • The main effect of Cromwell and his cronies Jay, the rule of the Major Generals, was to give England an abhorence of standing armies. They attempted to pull off a revolution, but it had nothing to do with freedom, turned out to be abortive, and ended with the status quo ante. If the Stuarts had been wiser, I think the English Civil Wars would have less significance in English history than the Wars of the Roses which caused a change of dynasties.

  • “If the Stuarts had been wiser, …”

    The Stuarts were replaced because of their “Romish sympathies”. The only “wisdom” they might have embraced in order to hold on to the Crown would have been the wisdom of men, which is foolishness to God.

  • ***PET PEEVE***

    Semantics: the actual meaning of a word.
    Not how it’s sometimes used, not what it might imply, but the actual meaning.

  • Foxfier, I’m not sure my intent was to use it differently than that. Perhaps if I had said “a debate over semantics”? Maybe that makes a difference, maybe not.

  • Jay and Don,

    In sum, I think Jefferson understood revolution to be a natural right under certain circumstances pursuant to Divine law, whereas Jeff Davis et al viewed secession as a legal right by election or choice pursuant to positive law (i.e., the Constitution). Regardless of the merits of these views, the distinction cannot be dismissed as simply one of semantics.

  • Jay-
    I very much understand using a word with different meanings, I just get royally steamed when folks talk dismissively of “semantics.”

    Over at ricochet I recently argued about the meaning of “why”- “that is how it objectively is when you look at it” vs “Because x, Y and Z.” (example 2+2=4. objectively true, but what makes it so?)

  • Mike,

    I’m not advocating Davis’ positive law view of secession. I’m advocating a view of self-determination as a natural right, whether achieved via revolution, secession, or under whatever circumstances it might be achieved, so long as their is just cause for upsetting the present legal order.

  • Foxfier,

    I wasn’t trying to be dismissive of semantics, but rather pointing out that in the context of the natural right of self-determination, perhaps the distinction that was being made between “revolution” and “secession” was not dispositive. Don had made the distinction, but then followed up with a quote from Lee in which Lee dismisses the distinction. My point, as I just indicated to Mike, is that I’m not sure that the distinction is all that meaningful when what I’m really talking about is the natural right to self-determination.

    I apologize if my lazy shorthand got you steamed.

    😉

  • “The Stuarts were replaced because of their “Romish sympathies”.”

    No, James was pretty much a blockhead no matter his religion. He was as dumb as his brother Charles was clever. That his Catholicism was hated by most of his subjects is a fact. However, that was insufficient to lose him his throne. His ineptitude accomplished that feat.

  • Understood, Jay, thanks. It appears that we all may be in agreement regarding the lack of any secession right under positive law. But I agree that natural law trumps positive law in these matters, and if the South had a natural right to secede, then I expect Don (and I) would agree that its efforts amounted to a revolution consistent with the Jeffersonian understanding, albeit a failed one. My assumption is that Don would hold that the conditions predicate for the assertion of the right (i.e., the just cause to which you allude) were not present, and I would agree with Don on that. You apparently disagree, a disagreement I’m confident we won’t resolve via this blog thread. 🙂

  • No, I actually agree that there was no just cause for secession in 1861, as I noted above.

  • Sorry for not reading thoroughly, Jay. My apologies.

  • Jay-
    I honestly can’t say with impressive-enough-to-compare-here where I stand on “revolution” vs “secession”; I just know that semantics are HUGELY important.
    It’s like someone yelling “Bah, you crazy lady, you think that words have some sort of meaning!” when folks do the old shucks-and-shoo about “semantics.”

  • Penguin Fan, One of the great things about being a Pennsylvanian is that looking East or West, you see great sports. I would prefer Philadelphia but I’ll take another Steelers win over, well, just about anyone else. This may well be our year. Any given Sunday my Western friend, any given Sunday.

    As to the propensity to corruption ans mismanagement, I wonder if we aren’t seeing the effects of single-party politics, not the result of a sort of collective failure on the part of all Democrats. What I mean is that competition is necessary in American politics. A party left to its own devices is easily led astray, corrupted by extremism from within and predators from outside. Competition makes us clarify our positions, adhere to principles, and serve our constituents.

    I think we may see Democrats running cities into the ground because they have no reasonable competition. Paul is in a batter place to say but I seem to recall this argument as underpinning the 1980s’ movements to expand cities to encompass their suburbs.

  • Oh, come now – Aaron Rodgers and Co. are going to win the SP. Wisconsin’s on quite a roll this year, in case you hadn’t noticed 🙂

    Gee, what will this south-hating bigot – bless his heart – say when Packer Land and (here’s hoping) other northern states turn red in November? I note the GOP ticket has 2 candidates who do not exactly speak with southern drawls. And what about the Mountain West and Great Plains? Although Colorado has, unfortunately, made a leftward turn (a Colorado friend bemoans the influx of Californians who have fled the Golden State but continue to vote for exactly the same sort of policies that are driving California off the cliff), Arizona, Montana, Idaho and the Dakotas are expected to remain red. Not to mention the “red areas” of blue states. Much of California is pretty red, but they are outvoted by LA and SF. Same goes for IL, and it looks like it’s happening in VA, because the bureaucrats in the DC ‘burbs are overriding the votes of downstaters.

    The divide isn’t as neat as it was in 1861 (and even then, it wasn’t all that neat, because of the border states and the Copperheads in the North). The breakdown isn’t North and South, it’s urban vs. rural and suburban.

  • Please don’t call it “Packer Land.” The Packers are the least endearing thing about New England.

    Besides I’m betting Rhode Island will sweep football, hockey, and baseball.

  • I hate the I-Pad!!! I accidentally hit Return. I was going to go on with a Patriots in Wisconsi reference and other “clever” stuff but te moment is lost. It probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.

    Don, save me. Please delete both before I make a bigger fool of myself 🙂

  • Aaron Rodgers and Co. are going to win the SP. Wisconsin’s on quite a roll this year, in case you hadn’t noticed

    Well, that is unless they have to play the Giants in the playoffs again.

  • No, the least endearing thing about Wisconsin is Dane County, the Berkeley of the Midwest.

    Paul, the memory of that wretched, infernal playoff game, after such a spectacular season, induces severe pyschological anguish and trauma in all cheeseheads. Charity demands that we do not speak of it. Half on the state probably had to go on Prozac the day after.

  • P.S. Paul, it’s bad enough that I spent baseball season in agony, repeatedly watching the now-dismal Brew Crew bullpen find new and creative ways to blow leads in the 8th and 9th innings. I need some glimmer of hope on the horizon – and so I set my sights on football season.
    🙂

  • Donna V, you should know that a spectacular regular season in the NFL guarantees a playoff spot…and nothing more than that. The 1998 15-1 Vikings, the 2004 15-1 Steelers, the 2007 16-0 Patriots….

    As for baseball, I put up with 20 years of lousy Pirates teams….

    Back to the topic….Chuck Thompson is a bigot. The left wing frequently accuses those they disagree with of the sin that they, the left wing, are as guilty of as sin. What a shame that he has the same name as the late Baltimore Colts and Baltimore Orioles broadcaster. Tolerance, scream those who are the most intolerant.

    I, for one, would not give up on Virginia being conservative. The DC suburbs have their leftists, but the rest of the state isn’t nearly as so…..well, go there and figure it out.

  • Grady McWhiney

    That’s his real name, you didn’t make that up?

  • Yep cmatt that is his real name! It sounds like the name of a character from Little Abner doesn’t it!

  • A point of clarification, from a liberal: Chuck Thompson is a libertarian. We don’t want him either, thanks.

3 Responses to North Dixie

  • One derogative version that I have heard starts:

    Look away down South to the land of cotton;
    My feet stink, but yours are rotten.

  • In the Tennessee Ernie Ford version at 1:40, he sings swear upon your country’s “altar”. What does that mean?

  • The lyrics containing this are:

    Swear upon your country’s altar
    Never to submit or falter–
    To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!
    Till the spoilers are defeated,
    Till the Lord’s work is completed!
    To arms! To arms! To arms, in Dixie!

    A common phrase at the time was “to offer myself on the altar of my country”, meaning a soldier would risk his life for his country. It has a quasi-religious connation sound, but that was not probably the intent of whoever penned the lyrics to the Confederate war song variant of Dixie. Additionally. literate people tended to read a good deal more classical history at that time than we do today, and it may be a reference to an act like Hamilcar Barca, who, after Carthage lost the First Punic War, had his son Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general of the Second Punic War, swear upon an altar ever lasting enmity to Rome. If this was the allusion, it was an unfortunate one for the Confederacy, since Carthage lost the Second Punic War.

“Don, There’s A Nut On The Phone.”

Friday, August 24, AD 2012

 

I was working at my desk in the law mines Wednesday afternoon, when I heard one of my secretaries say loudly “Mr. McClarey never speaks to anyone who will not give their name!” followed by a phone being slammed down.  I sauntered into her office to see what was up.  She told me that some bitter old harpy was yelling and talking a mile a minute, demanding to speak to me and ranting about who was paying for The American Catholic, that Biden was a better Catholic than Paul Ryan, and spewing various insults aimed at conservatives.  When she wouldn’t give her name my secretary hung up on her per our standard operating procedures.  I learned long ago that if someone will not leave their name that is almost a certain sign of someone with a few screws loose, and I simply do not have the time to waste dealing with such phone calls.  My other secretary heard us and said that she had received a similar call a few minutes ago and after letting the woman vent for five minutes hung up on her after she repeatedly ignored requests to give my secretary her name.  At this time the caller called back and we put her through to voice mail.  The person began her diatribe by denouncing me as a coward, this from someone who would not give her name.  I deleted her call at this point since she was obviously merely going to repeat the tiresome rant that my secretaries had already described to me.

If she had merely given her name I would have been happy to talk to her and tell her who is paying for The American Catholic.  Fifty percent of our revenue comes from the Vatican.  I was in the midst of fingering my monthly pot of Vatican gold when she called.  This of course is in addition to the squad of albino squirrel assassins that I received from the Vatican when I helped form The American Catholic four years ago this October.  The remainder of our funds comes from the Koch Brothers.  They usually pay us in blood diamonds, although I would note that the shipment last month seemed to be of a lesser quality than they customarily send.  As a result, I am happy to report that each contributor to The American Catholic is rich, rich beyond your wildest dreams of avarice!  (Don laughs evilly:  Ha! Ha, Ha, Ha!  Chortle, snort!)

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30 Responses to “Don, There’s A Nut On The Phone.”

  • It wasn’t me.

    Hey, Shaggy’s “It wasn’t me.” was a popular tune some years ago. It ought to be Obama’s theme song.

  • Argh. Annoying. Well, no point feeding real life trolls, so I’m glad your work group handled things so smoothly. (And there’s nothing like an allegedly progressive liberal for being sexist and stalkerish, so I assume this could be a hazard for guys also.)

  • That’s right up there with people who want me to defend them against $2,000 in back child support payments, but look shocked when I tell them it will cost $700 – $1000….

  • Yep, or who are astonished that no work will be done until the retainer is received!

  • You should have got a recording of the rant and put it on YouTube.

  • Then the lady would sue him for violation of A/C privilege….

  • Don, that’s hilarious. And I agree with Scott that you should have kept the recording and shared it with all of us via Youtube.

    But what I find interesting about this is that it once again confirms something about the left of which we are all already acutely aware: if you want to know what they’re up to, just pay attention to what they are accusing you of.

    The reason she wants to know who’s bankrolling TAC is because the Catholic left is being financed by George Soros to undermine the authority of the Bishops and the teachings of the Church in furtherance of electing secular leftists. I suppose this lady’s (and I use the term charitably) assumption is that Catholic conservatives must be as sadly pathetic as she and the rest of her cohort are in needing to be bought and paid for by dark, outside (and non-Catholic) forces who have an agenda.

  • Speaking of nuts . . .

    FYI there was just a shooting in the street at the ESB. At about 9AM I was in at an ATM and I heard gunfire.

    I missed walking by the scene by about five minutes.

    The NYPD shot the shooter (I think he’s dead). It seemed six or seven people were down.

    I survived 9/11 and . . . This time

  • The remainder of our funds comes from the Koch Brothers. They usually pay us in blood diamonds, although I would note that the shipment last month seemed to be of a lesser quality than they customarily send.

    Wait a second, you’ve been getting diamonds? Tito sent me a gift certificate to TGI Fridays. Methinks there is a rather uneven distribution around here.

    1. How pathetic does a life have to be when someone, outraged over a blog, decides to work herself into a rage and call a complete stranger to vent?

    Even more pathetic would be someone who sends a passive aggressive email to a blogger’s employer in an effort to get said blogger in trouble.

    Hypothetically speaking of course.

  • “Fifty percent of our revenue comes from the Vatican. I was in the midst of fingering my monthly pot of Vatican gold when she called.”

    You have clearly omitted the recent payments from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. WHAT ELSE are YOU HIDING!!!!

  • I’d be mortified to meet someone in real life that I’ve corresponded with online. I’m old-school, which means that my paranoia is at a higher level than my aggression. I’d never use my real name online, and I’d NEVER think of calling someone I argued with in a reply thread.

    Greg Gutfeld on the NSFW Fox show “Red Eye” enumerated the reasons that that Chick-Fil-A drive-through You-Tuber represented all the worst things about our culture. Among the reasons were the self-righteousness and the sense of self-importance. I think that anyone who calls a blogger at work must have those in spades. And it’s like the dog chasing the car – what would the caller do if she caught you? Does she think that her rebuke is going to change your mind? Does she think anything other than that her sense of injustice gives her a carte blanche? Scary.

    And don’t even get me started about these young kids today with their Facebook updates. “Katrina is walking home after stopping at the ATM.” But that’s another rant.

  • God is abundantly providing for TAC, that I can say with confidence.

    This is a labor of love for all of us, at least for Don and I (though I think the other contributors would say the same).

    Great post Don!

  • Paul,

    Since the cat is out of the bag, I sent Elaine a gorgeous mink coat, made from extra-virgin baby minks.

    Darwin received a gift certificate to Chick-fil-A, for the record.

  • I’d be mortified to meet someone in real life that I’ve corresponded with online.

    Well, I’ve met several people I’ve corresponded with online, and never had a bad experience. A couple of these individuals I would consider to be very good friends. But I do understand the paranoia, and there is something a bit risky with using your real name.

  • Vatican gold?

    Blood diamonds?

    You guys have been holding out on the rest of us. I want my cut!

  • “Biden was a better Catholic than Paul Ryan.”

    Translation: “Biden is more likely to make sure the government gives me money than Paul Ryan.”

  • Incidentally, the solid gold baby toys really need to stop– the little one is teething, and it’s so annoying to get the tooth marks out. Perhaps a switch to white gold? It goes better with my decorating theme, anyways.

    Seriously, though– just re-emphasizes my desire to stay Foxfier!

  • Fifty percent of our revenue comes from the Vatican. I was in the midst of fingering my monthly pot of Vatican gold when she called. “

    So that’s where my Peter’s Pence collection goes.

    Let’s see. Don McLarey and TAC – Dwight, illinois.
    The home of cronyism and corruption – Chicago, Illinois.

    Maybe it’s time for me to move counties. 😉

  • That is, countries

  • Imagine how I feel Don. I’ve lived all my life in Illinois and never once benefited from cronyism or corruption!

  • “The reason she wants to know who’s bankrolling TAC is because the Catholic left is being financed by George Soros to undermine the authority of the Bishops and the teachings of the Church in furtherance of electing secular leftists. I suppose this lady’s (and I use the term charitably) assumption is that Catholic conservatives must be as sadly pathetic as she and the rest of her cohort are in needing to be bought and paid for by dark, outside (and non-Catholic) forces who have an agenda.”

    Quite right Jay. The Left has more projection going on than a thousand movie theaters.

  • “Incidentally, the solid gold baby toys really need to stop– the little one is teething, and it’s so annoying to get the tooth marks out. Perhaps a switch to white gold? It goes better with my decorating theme, anyways.”

    Definitely try the white gold Foxfier, although I would recommend leaving off the the diamond encrustments!

  • Don’t worry Don, we stick with smooth-tumbled simiprecious stones– you can get the ones that are small enough not to be a choking hazard, but still large enough to be lovely, much more easily. Plus, the colors are delightful, and WHEN one of the girls eats them, no tummy troubles.

  • “Since the cat is out of the bag, I sent Elaine a gorgeous mink coat, made from extra-virgin baby minks.”

    Must have gotten lost in the mail then, eh Tito? Hope it was insured 🙂

    “Let’s see. Don McLarey and TAC – Dwight, illinois.
    The home of cronyism and corruption – Chicago, Illinois.”

    And the home of albino squirrels = Olney, Illinois.

  • Any sasquatch sighting thereabouts?

    They are clandestine.

    I’ve heard (a friend of a second cousin) that the Vatican uses big foots (or is it big feet?) to surreptitiously deliver Mac’s gold shipments.

  • Apologies Don.
    It was a thoughtless comment, and a joke in poor taste.
    Mea culpa.
    I guess it would be like me being accused of voting for Helen Clatk 🙁

  • Not at all Don, I enjoyed the humor!

  • Donald, about 6 months ago a troll on the WSJ website became so enraged by my observations on the Walker recall and the behavior of the Madison moonbats and union bullies that he/she googled my name (the WSJ requires subscribers to use their full names when commenting, although that doesn’t seem to stop the many leftist trolls there – most of whom do not subscribe, from posting with obviously fake names). The troll then began posting my address and workplace and asking me how my employers and neighbors would like it if they knew they had a *gasp* conservative in their midst.

    Well, my neighbors (who I do not know – I live in the city) already have an inkling of my political beliefs, since I had a “I Stand With Scott Walker” sign in my living room window and somehow the lynch mob did not show up at my doorstep. And if our HR Department received an irate call complaining about comments I made off company time, I never heard about it. Still, I admit to feeling slightly nervous about some deranged person taking the trouble to look up my personal information. Then I got angry – and even more determined to speak my mind. This is still America, not North Korea and like you, I refuse to defer to people who want to bully the rest of us into submission.

  • “Then I got angry – and even more determined to speak my mind. This is still America, not North Korea and like you, I refuse to defer to people who want to bully the rest of us into submission.”

    Bravo Donna! Men like my ancestor Major Andrew McClary, New Hampshire militia, did not die at Bunker Hill and thousands of other American battlefields so that we would cower before these cretins!

In Defense of Mother Russia

Friday, August 24, AD 2012

I haven’t heard much about the ongoing dispute between the Russian government and the Western media over the fate of the faux “punk rock band” ***** Riot in the American Catholic media. But this is a dispute in which I believe we ought to take sides as Catholics.

[No, I will not give the vulgar hate group the sociopathic pleasure of having yet another Christian publication use their name]

Three members of the vulgar hate group were arrested following their desecration of Moscow’s largest Orthodox cathedral. They have now been sentenced to two-year prison terms, with the six months spent at trial counting as time served.

My position on this incident is pretty clear. I stand 110% with the Russian government, the Orthodox Church, and the tens of millions of Russian Orthodox who have condemned the vulgar hate group – and I believe all Catholics in all countries ought to do likewise.

Not simply because this appears to me to be a deliberate ploy encouraged and promoted by anti-Russian elements in Europe and the United States; not simply because in all of the Western countries hypocritically condemning Russia these same actions could be and likely would be regarded as hate crimes according to their own established laws; not simply because the right to free speech does not, never has, and God willing, never will mean the right to invade any space one chooses and defecate on the floor; not simply because I respect the religious sensibilities of the Russian people; not even because I am fairly certain that being on the opposite side of whatever cause the degenerate celebritariat is championing is almost always the best and wisest choice – ???. Not just for those reasons.

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59 Responses to In Defense of Mother Russia

  • Here in Scotland, it is the offence of Profanity to disturb worship. The essence of the offence is the disturbance and annoyance of the minister and congregation, and the interruption of their devotions.

    A building enjoys no special protection and it is not an aggravation of a breach of the peace or of mobbing and rioting that it is committed in a place used for worship.

    This seems to me a proper distinction.

    Of course, any wilful damage to the fabric or plenishments of the building is the crime of malicious mischief.

  • You summed it up well, Bonchamps: “The sad thing is that I believe that much of this anti-Christian hatred – and I am now speaking generally and globally – is motivated merely by the fact that vulgar, hateful people cannot tolerate the existence of other people who, even though they are as oppressed by sin as everyone else, aspire to be something more than mindless animals who do nothing but hump one another and follow the latest idiotic trends. Sloshing about in a sewer filled with their own spiritual feces, they must pull everyone else down into it, and erase any suggestion that it might be possible to escape. That is the only way it can be enjoyed.”

  • The problem with calling the group in question a “hate group” is that, despite the name, they do not hate Christianity. As I understand it what they’re protesting is the perversion of the Russian Orthodox Church by the Russian government. Disagree with their methods, and even disagree with their point of view about the Church hierarchy, but this isn’t a Madonna situation where they were being needlessly provocative in an effort to harass Christians. They’re calling attention to something which is legitimately troubling. John O’Sullivan has more details about them here and here.

  • The jerks have a point. There’s something wrong in Russia, and the Orthodox Church is happily cooperating with it.

    There was a case in Chicago in 2008 where a group of protesters disrupted a mass being said by the Cardinal. They received probation, community service, and a $2600 fine (to pay for cleaning the fake blood out of the carpet). That seems appropriate.

  • No, Paul. I will not sign on to what seems to me to be a morally and spiritually blind bandwagon assault on the Russian state. In a world in which millions of Christians live under direct Islamic oppression and are increasingly marginalized in the secular West, Russia stands out as a beacon of hope for afflicted Christians.

    In my view, and in the view of millions of believers, this group’s act was OBJECTIVELY hateful. It had the effect of rallying the average Russian around this supposedly dangerous regime. Even if you’re right and they don’t hate Christianity – frankly I find it impossible to reconcile their actions with any sort of love for it – they have violated Christianity. All theological and historical disputes with the Orthodox aside (and we can’t just forget those either), they willingly and knowingly defiled a sacred space. In my view, this is a hateful act. Maybe their subjective rage is channeled at Putin, but their objective victim is Christianity.

    And it is far from their first anti-social act. Other members of this group have engaged in public orgies, for heaven’s sake. A Ukrainian sympathizer also cut down a cross memorializing the victims of Stalin’s genocidal campaign. Their very name is an affront to any sort of public Christian morality.

    Nope, I’m not on the anti-Russia bandwagon, and not going to get on it any time soon just because they don’t like the neoconservative foreign policy (yeah yeah “neoconservatism doesn’t exist”, whatever) of remaking the Middle East, which has included the ousting of secular regimes relatively friendly to the millions of Christians in the region and their replacement with Islamic fanatics who murder and oppress them. I actually have family in that part of the world.

    No, what I see here is a government under assault from a gaggle of Western anti-Christs who are enraged at the existence of a country whose leadership isn’t afraid to openly profess a traditional form of Christianity. I absolutely will not side with them or the filth they seek to defend.

  • Pinky,

    “There was a case in Chicago in 2008 where a group of protesters disrupted a mass being said by the Cardinal. They received probation, community service, and a $2600 fine (to pay for cleaning the fake blood out of the carpet). That seems appropriate.”

    There was a time when they would have been publicly disemboweled. If they did this in a mosque in the Middle East, they would have been torn to pieces. If they did it in a mosque in Europe, they would probably go to jail for longer than two years.

    I think 18 months behind bars is comparatively light. Maybe it will cause them to think long and hard about the seriousness of defiling a sacred space and disrupting social order. If this was some kind of first-time offense by a group of silly teenagers, I would agree with you. But this is a group of anti-social provocateurs that have repeatedly engaged in public acts of blasphemy and obscenity. They are finally getting their just deserts.

  • With all due respect, I believe that Bonchamps’ responses to Paul Z. and Pinky are correct. I agree.

  • “Since its formation in presumably 2008 Voina has staged in public a succession of extreme actions described as performance art. These have included the painting of a male phallus on a St. Petersburg Bridge, the staging of a public orgy at the Timiryazev Museum in Moscow involving nudity and (apparently) full penetrative sex (Tolokonnikova was a participant though heavily pregnant), the throwing of live cats at the staff of a McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow, the overturning of police cars apparently on one occasion with a policeman inside, the firebombing of property with petrol bombs, the staged hanging of an immigrant and a homosexual in a supermarket, the projection of a skull and crossbones onto the building housing the Russian government, the spilling of large live cockroaches onto the stomach of a pregnant member of the group (Tolokonnikova again) and the theft of a frozen chicken from a supermarket, which was stuffed up the vagina of one of the women members (apparently Maria Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova apparently was also present).”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/118287.html

    No civilized nation should be forced to tolerate this. They ought to all be institutionalized, truth be told.

  • this isn’t a Madonna situation where they were being needlessly provocative in an effort to harass Christians.

    In Madonna’s situation, it is nothing but a marketing strategy to prolong her already far too long public career.

    I am with Bonchamps on this one. At least the Russians seem to take Christianity seriously.

  • n a world in which millions of Christians live under direct Islamic oppression and are increasingly marginalized in the secular West, Russia stands out as a beacon of hope for afflicted Christians.

    Russia is essentially a state run by organized criminals, headed by a pseudo-authoritarian regime. It continues to flex its muscles over its former satellite countries.

    All theological and historical disputes with the Orthodox aside (and we can’t just forget those either), they willingly and knowingly defiled a sacred space. In my view, this is a hateful act.

    I don’t disagree with that, nor do I disagree that their act is otherwise repugnant. I am merely contending that their motivation is distinct from cowards like Madonna and others who employ shock for the sake of shock.

    Nope, I’m not on the anti-Russia bandwagon, and not going to get on it any time soon just because they don’t like the neoconservative foreign policy

    A complete non sequiter.

    No, what I see here is a government under assault from a gaggle of Western anti-Christs who are enraged at the existence of a country whose leadership isn’t afraid to openly profess a traditional form of Christianity.

    I think you are blinded to what Putin and the Russian leadership is about. They are about as “Christian” as the current American ruling regime.

  • Paul,

    We’re not going to see eye to eye on this. You subscribe to one narrative about Russia, and I find the truth better represented in a different set of facts and perspectives.

    Even if Putin in his heart was a cold, dark atheist, his public support for the Orthodox Church means something and has a significance apart form whatever he and his lieutenants actually believe.

    Oh, and what I said was absolutely not a “non sequiter.” That is exactly why many in the West oppose Russia. I don’t give a damn if it “flexes its muscles over its former satellite countries.” For a country that developed the Monroe Doctrine and has been actively trying to preserve global hegemony to be miffed by that is beyond hysterical.

  • Bon, you seem to be ascribing bad motives to those who disagree with you. Personally, I’ve seen no information on which to build a positive narrative about Russia. All indications are that any kind of dissent is silenced by the government. I can’t get that worked up in support of this punk band doing some terrible things, but if the reaction to it is emblematic of a regression toward totalitarianism, then it’s definitely to be criticized.

  • Pinky,

    What “bad motives”? I don’t attribute any bad motives to you or Paul. If you mean the Western media establishment and the neocons, yes, guilty as charged, I think their motives are bad and their pontificating on the evils of Russia to be among the most hilariously hypocritical things I have seen in my life.

    It is simply false that “any kind of dissent is silenced by the government” – anti-government protests involving tens of thousands of people have taken place in Russia with no more or less police concern than that which you will see at the RNC and DNC conventions this year.

    The reaction to this band is also most emphatically not a “regression towards totalitarianism” either. The laws under which these disgusting criminals were prosecuted are similar to laws that exist on the books in every Western country – laws that would be quickly invoked and enforced if a politically-protected group was the target of a similar outrage.

    Maybe you haven’t seen any positive information about Russia because you haven’t even consider the possibility that it might exist. It does.

  • What these people did violated the rights of Russian Christians and the Russian Orthodox Church. They deserve to be punished, and I would call for the same punishment if it were done to a Catholic Church here.

    In fact, some imitators HAVE done this sort of thing in Catholic Churches in Europe, and are now facing similar sentences!

    Is the Catholic Church in Germany and the German government “regressing towards totalitarianism”? To ask such an absurd question is to answer it.

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/24/13454525-copycat-pussy-riot-protesters-could-face-3-year-sentence-in-germany?lite

  • Don’t you people get it? This is about Christian rights. Forget your views about Putin and the Russian government. The movement, the people supporting the vulgar hate group are doing so because they want to encourage MORE obscene violations of Christian holy places. They want to take away our rights to have our own sacred, protected times and places.

    This is a time to stand in solidarity with, if not the Russian state, at least your fellow Christians!

  • I worry about my fellow Christians in Russia. I see a far greater threat to their future from Putin than from that band. Their actions, while offensive and ridiculous, were dwarfed by ongoing anti-government rallies alleging electoral fraud and widespread political corruption.

  • Well Pinky,

    I completely disagree with you. In fact I find your statement to be quite at odds with demonstrable fact and reality. Putin has restored the Orthodox Church to prominence and importance in the nation.

    You really need to take a good, long look at the international forces arrayed against the Russian government and the Orthodox Church – what they believe, what they stand for, what they want to accomplish, what they have accomplished in the West. I will without hesitation and with a measure of pride take the side of the Russian establishment over the morally and spiritually degenerate Western establishments any day of the week. What a government publicly endorses and promotes is as important as what it “really does”; what our governments promote are impiety and anti-Christian prejudice, and what the Russian government promotes is piety and respect for established Christian institutions (without, to my knowledge, violating anyone’s individual rights to religious liberty). I don’t care if they get something politically out of it. It has effects that are only good, that are in fact the greatest good for a society.

    Every country, even the United States, has been rocked by allegations of massive electoral fraud and political corruption. We had one president who was impeached recently, another who ascended to the White House in spite of losing the popular vote (which was extremely close), and an administration that is almost certainly complicit in sending illegal guns to Mexico for the purpose of creating a pretext to crackdown on the 2nd amendment. Frankly I see nothing taking place in Russia that is any more alarming than what I see in any other country, certainly nothing worthy of special, explicit hostility.

  • I’d also still like to know if the German Catholic Church and government are displaying signs of totalitarianism and repression in the charges they have brought up against the copycat sympathy protesters, linked in my previous post.

  • Bonchamps, with respect, your entire argument in defense of Russia seems to be based on the idea that all the other western countries are gripped in the throes of secularism. While this might be true to a certain extent, that fact does nothing to exculpate Russia from the charges that its administration or government are corrupt. I think anyone who has studied Russia from afar could tell you that many aspects of Russian life, at least in the political sense, are not much improved since the days of the USSR.

    I don’t care if they get something politically out of it. It has effects that are only good, that are in fact the greatest good for a society.

    This is fairly naive and horrifying. Naive in the sense that you seem to take Putin’s “piety” at face value. Putin is acting not to solidify the Church and sanctify his people, but rather cynically to ensure that the Church has his back. It’s horrifying because you’re essentially saying that cynical piety is all right because it keeps the people in line.

    Frankly I see nothing taking place in Russia that is any more alarming than what I see in any other country, certainly nothing worthy of special, explicit hostility.

    When political opponents here are murdered or almost murdered with the regularity they are in Russia, then I might be more inclined to agree with you.

  • Paul,

    I stand by what I said, and naturally, I reject your spin on it.

    I am absolutely not saying that it is ok to lie about piety to “keep people in line.” I do believe that the government probably considers all of the costs and benefits of its policy decisions (as all governments do), and that there is really nothing wrong with benefit from mutual interests, even if both parties have different reasons for having that interest. Government-promoted piety is positively good, regardless of why it is done. The “why” will matter as far as their individual souls are concerned, but those who benefit from living in an explicitly Christian culture will also benefit. There is nothing “horrifying about this.”

    I take Putin’s belief that the public restoration of Orthodoxy as a defining aspect of Russian culture and politics is good for Russia as a nation at face value. His personal piety is a different story.

    Since we obviously don’t agree on these issues, we should probably both move on before this gets as ugly as I fear it can get.

  • The German case is quite different. There, the protesters disturbed public worship. Every state in Europe guarantees freedom of worship and such actions are rightly criminal.

    That is a very different matter to staging a protest in a building sometimes used for worship, but when no service was in progress.

  • I don’t think it is “very different.” It is somewhat different, but these are differences of degree and not kind. I’m not positive but I believe there were people in the cathedral at the time trying to pray.

  • I mean, what the hell would be the point of a protest if there were no people around to see it?

  • The Russian Orthodox Church has valid Holy Orders and valid Sacraments, though it is not in union with Rome. Even Rome recognizes the validity of Eastern Orthodox Churches, of which the Russian one is an autonomous, autocephalus member. As such, isn’t there a Tabernacle in the Church where the Pussy Riot was staged, and doesn’t that Tabernacle contain the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Blessed Lord and Savior? Don’t Eastern Orthodox do it the same way? Orthodox Anglicans do. So the actions of the Pussy Rioters are even more reprehensible.

    Get out of thinking that the Roman jurisdiction is the only Catholic one. It demonstrably is not, and Rome’s recognition of the validity of Eastern Orthodox Holy Orders and Sacraments is a case in point. BTW, even the Pope had kind words to say about the recent meeting between Patriarch Cyril of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Archbishop of Poland.

  • While this doesn’t relate to the merits of the case (I’m in agreement with Pinky and Paul Zummo on them), for informational purposes:

    “As such, isn’t there a Tabernacle in the Church where the Pussy Riot was staged, and doesn’t that Tabernacle contain the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Blessed Lord and Savior? ”

    The Russian Orthodox do not reserve the sacrament in a tabernacle, because the bread and wine are combined and served out of a single chalice (the intinctioned cube of Eucharist is dropped into the communicant’s open mouth by the priest using a a golden spoon).

    Actually, I’ve had some Russian Orthodox folks online (which, as we all know from Catholic combox wars can be a weird sample) tell me that they consider the Catholic practice of reserving the sacrament in the tabernacle and most especially the Catholic practice of Eucharistic adoration, to be idolatrous. “It misses the point that the Eucharist is food” was the way it was put to me.

    While it in no way excuses the behavior of the punk band, there is, honestly, reason to be concerned about the Russian Orthodox Church and its place in modern Russia. Keep in mind, despite the official atheism of the Soviet regime, there were strong and disturbing ties between the ROC and the communist regime. These ties have continued in Putin’s Russia, where not only are a lot of ex-KGB types running the government, but Patriarch Kirill himself has been strongly implicated as having been a long term KGB informant and collaborator.

  • Thank you for the clarification, Darwin.

  • “I’m in agreement with Pinky and Paul Zummo on them”

    I’m not the least surprised about that.

    “there is, honestly, reason to be concerned about the Russian Orthodox Church and its place in modern Russia”

    I’m more concerned about the place of the Church in the West and under Islamic rule. I don’t see why it is any of our concern at all what happens in Russia, which is not persecuting Christians, which is not threatening any of our legitimate interests, and which has a government that has the overwhelming support of the people.

  • One might care because they like to threaten Catholic Poland at times, or because although the Orthodox are not officially persecuted by the state, the Orthodox have consistently used the state to harass Catholics in Russia — going so far as to effectively kick Catholic clergy out of Russia by revoking their visas.

    One might also consider it problematic for a Christian church to explicitly align itself with an oppressive and at times murderous regime. That can seem helpful at times (especially when the other options seem fairly barbaric — though that’s not the case with Russia) but in the long run being too cozy with nasty people never seems to work out very well.

  • “One might care because they like to threaten Catholic Poland at times”

    Oh please. When did the post-Soviet Russian government threaten Poland? Other than, perhaps, in response to NATO’s belligerent insistence upon a missile shield (why do we have a divine right to that again?)’

    “or because although the Orthodox are not officially persecuted by the state, the Orthodox have consistently used the state to harass Catholics in Russia”

    Ok. That’s a legitimate problem and it should be addressed. I’ll grant that one, no question. But it is hardly a matter that warrants Russophobia, or joining in the obscene chorus of celebrities, government officials and media personalities condemning Russia on the grounds that these hideous criminals were simply “expressing themselves.”

    “One might also consider it problematic for a Christian church to explicitly align itself with an oppressive and at times murderous regime. ”

    You really need to take off the nationalist blinders. This country has only been free of racial apartheid for a generation, has supported murderous regimes around the world for geopolitical gains, and has killed millions in “wars of choice.” I’m not saying that all of these acts were totally unjustifiable, but together they constitute the thinnest of glass houses from which no stone ought to be cast.

    The bottom line is that the forces arrayed against Russia in this case are enemies of Christianity. In this case, Catholics ought to stand in solidarity with the Russian Orthodox against the onslaught of hypocritical condemnation coming from people like Obama, Madonna, the rest of the vapid Western media-government complex.

  • You really need to take off the nationalist blinders. This country has only been free of racial apartheid for a generation, has supported murderous regimes around the world for geopolitical gains, and has killed millions in “wars of choice.” I’m not saying that all of these acts were totally unjustifiable, but together they constitute the thinnest of glass houses from which no stone ought to be cast.

    If the Catholic Church (or any other) was as totally subservient to the US government and US national interests as the Russian Orthodox Church is to Russia’s, I would consider that very, very problematic as well.

    And that’s despite the fact I think it’s clear that the US is a much safer and better power to have controlling the international scene than the Russians. I’m about as comfortable with Putin’s Russia as I am with what China has developed into. It’s not an “evil empire”, and Putin is certainly no Stalin, but that’s praising with faint damns.

    Am I joining the chorus of people decrying Russia’s action? Not at the moment. The band does basically sound like hooligans to me (even if they’re hooligans on the right side when it comes to Putin) and if you’re going to stage a protest such as theirs in Putin’s Russia, you can’t be surprised to land in prison for a couple years. So my reaction to the celebrity fuss is basically, “What, this is what it took to make you notice the repressive regime in Russia?”

    But I do not think that Putin’s regime is good for Russia, and I don’t think it’s remotely a benevolent force in the world.

  • Darwin,

    Suffice to say, I disagree with you across the board. I’m particularly disturbed by the fact that you are more concerned with getting in shots at “Putin’s Russia” than you are the the sanctity of holy places and the rights and sensibilities of fellow Christians. I believe your priorities are completely wrong, and I’ll leave it at that.

  • While I think that what they did was bad — I think that Putin’s attempt (successful, thus far) to coopt the Russian Orthodox Church to support his own corrupt and violent ends is more blasphemous than anything that these bozo protesters have done.

  • Well, let me put it this way. In the future, I’ll make another big foreign policy post with special emphasis on Russia/Putin and we can hash it all out then. I’m neither willing or able to do it now, though.

  • It is perhaps worth recalling that the Kram Khrista Spasitela was built by the blood-spattered tyrant, Tsar Alexander to commemorate the defeat of Napoléon. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was commissioned and first performed at its dedication.

    It is a monument to the victory of despotism and ignorance over freedom and enlightenment and to the defeat of that Grande Armée, whom Hilaire Belloc hailed:

    “You who put down the mighty from their seat
    Who strove to fill the hungry with good things
    Who turned the rich man empty to the street
    And trailed your scabbards in the halls of kings…”

    It could be truly said of Moscow, as was written of Jerusalem, “If you had known the time of your deliverance…” Alas! its priests, too, then as now, had “no king but Caesar.”

  • I mean seriously, anyone who praises Napoleon while denouncing another ruler as “blood-spattered” is brain-damaged. And the suggestion that Napoleon’s army was bringing “enlightenment” and “freedom” is just as arrogant, deluded, and disgusting as the illusions of people who think they can bomb and mass murder the Muslim world into democracy.

    From now on, leave your sanctimonious comments and pedantic lectures on someone else’s posts. They aren’t welcome here.

  • Against the bigoted, ignorant, Russophobic filth penned by Belloc (whom I’ve never cared for) and praised by MPS, I offer a passage from the Marquis de Custine’s multi-volume work “The Empire of the Czar”, written in 1843:

    “Moscow is everywhere picturesque. The sky, without being clear, has a silvery brightness: the models of every species of architecture are heaped together without order or plan; no structures are perfect, nonetheless, the whole strikes, not with admiration, but with astonishment. The inequalities of the surface multiply the points of view. The magic glories of multitudes of cupolas sparkle in the air. Innumerable gilded steeples, in form like minarets, Oriental pavilions, and Indian domes, transport you to Delhi; donjon keeps and turrets bring you back to Europe in the times of the crusades; the sentinel, mounted on the top of his watch tower, reminds you of the muezzin inviting the faithful to prayer; while, to complete the confusion of ideas, the cross, which glitters in every direction, commanding the people to prostrate themselves before the Word, seems as though fallen from heaven amid an assembly of Asiatic nations, to point out to them the narrow way of salvation. It was doubtless before this poetical picture that Madame de Stael exclaimed – Moscow is the Rome of the North!”

  • Well, de Custine went to Russia looking for arguments against democratic governments which he opposed. He liked the Russians but was appalled at the autocracy he found. Many of his quotations are absolutely damning, and could apply to Putin’s regime today:

    “I don’t reproach the Russians for being what they are; what I blame them for is their desire to appear to be what we [Europeans] are…. They are much less interested in being civilized than in making us believe them so… They would be quite content to be in effect more awful and barbaric than they actually are, if only others could thereby be made to believe them better and more civilized.”

    “Russia is a nation of mutes; some magician has changed sixty million men into automatons.”

    I heartily recommend his Letters From Russia which gives a nice overview of what he saw in Russia.

    http://www.oxonianreview.org/wp/the-marquis-de-custine-and-the-question-of-russian-history/

  • I don’t have a problem with the Russian government’s prosecution per se. But two years in prison seems wildly excessive.

  • Donald,

    I don’t particularly care for autocracy, or for the head of the state to be the head of the church – these are aspects of Russia I can do without.

    But a nation that produced Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakriev, Borodin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, Prokofiev, and many lesser known but equally talented artists and musicians is not a nation of mutes and automatons. The Russian 19th century produced some of the most enduring and amazing artwork I’ve ever known.

  • I don’t have a problem with the Russian government’s prosecution per se. But two years in prison seems wildly excessive.

    These broads are serial public nuisances, so something more severe than parole after 20 days might be expected.

  • “The Russian 19th century produced some of the most enduring and amazing artwork I’ve ever known.”

    I have long been a student of not only Russian history but also its culture. I even took three semesters of Russian language as an undergrad, to the detriment of my gpa, alas. There is much to admire in Russian culture. As to Russian government, I am afraid that an all too accurate assessment was given by a Russian nobleman after the murder of Paul I in 1801: “Despotism tempered by assassination, that is our Magna Carta.” A good book on Russian culture is James Billington’s The Icon and the Axe.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Icon-Axe-Interpretive-History/dp/0394708466

  • Art Deco,

    They’ve already been in jail for six months. I don’t think you can call that getting off easy.

  • Although it seems clear that Vladimir Putin is up to no good in co-opting the Orthodox church to his grandiose plans, nonetheless these punks have deliberately chosen to insult the memory of millions of victims of Communism by cavorting at the restored Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which was destroyed at the orders of the monster Stalin.

  • >Oh please. When did the post-Soviet Russian government threaten Poland? Other than, perhaps, in response to NATO’s belligerent insistence upon a missile shield (why do we have a divine right to that again?)’

    Um … how does a missile *shield* signify belligerence? All it does is prevent missiles from destroying a country. Yes, I know, Russia thinks it’ll just protect us from nuclear retaliation if we attack them. But to you seriously think any president (real or potential) – Bush, Obama, Romney, Ryan or another realistic candidate – wants to incinerate innocent Russians in an aggressive nuclear strike?

    Poland’s desire to be defended from Russia is understandable, given the recent East European history – Russia dominating Poland in the 18th century, the Partitions at the end of said epoch, the Russian occupation of central Poland in the 19th century (and the brutal repression of any and all Polish rebellions during that time), the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1920-21 or so, and of course Stalin’s betrayal of the Warsaw rebels and subsequent establishment of a Communist puppet state in that land after World War II. And that’s not even counting the rivalry between Moscow and Poland for Eastern Europe in the centuries before Peter the Great.

    Even if we forget Poland (since, given history, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kremlin thought trying to dominate/occupy/control that country is too much trouble than it’s worth) , there’s still the ex-Soviet republics, which Putin’s Russia is trying hard to dominate. Just think about the 2002 hacking of Estonia, Russia’s interference with the 2004-2005 Ukranian elections (Putin was on the losing side of the Orange Revolution), and the 2008 invasion of Georgia, among other things. Want to know why Alexander Lukashenko is still dictator of Belarus. Because he and Putin are BFFs.

    Honestly, I find it quite ironic that such a devoted opponent of US imperialism (real or otherwise) seems to be just find and dandy with Russia’s very real imperialism in eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.

  • They’ve already been in jail for six months. I don’t think you can call that getting off easy.

    Did I even imply it was?

    These women are attention whores. They thrive off challenging authority with paying trivial prices for it. Give them small (but escalating) jail terms for each instance of vandalism, disorderly conduct, disruption of a religious service (a class A misdemeanor in New York, btw), criminal trespass, and resisting arrest. Eventually, though, it is not unjust to point the cannon at the cat. They ought to do themselves and everyone else a favor and get normal jobs.

    As for Russia, it is a foreign irritant, not a peril. As for the Russian political order, regrets but the attempt at democratic institutions was contemporary with an economic catastrophe. One ought to hope for a recovery in fertility, successful improvements in the effectiveness and reliability of police and courts, and a regulatory regime that does not ratify or promote rent-seeking before one hopes for a restoration of competitive elections. (Even so, Putin’s regime is likely the most liberal-democratic in the civic realm of any outside the periods running from 1905 to 1918 and 1988 to 1999).

  • >As for Russia, it is a foreign irritant, not a peril.
    Tell that to the people of Eastern Europe…

  • The basis of the the ABM Treaty is that in the realm of ballistic missiles so called defensive weapons tend to destabilise existing deterrents. If the Russians had wanted to use their missiles against the Poles, the propitious time was in 1989; that era is long gone now. The Poles should not rely on bear baiters in the Pentagon for support, but instead come to a regional understanding with the other Europeans including the Russians.

  • Tommy,

    To answer your questions…

    “Um … how does a missile *shield* signify belligerence? All it does is prevent missiles from destroying a country. Yes, I know, Russia thinks it’ll just protect us from nuclear retaliation if we attack them. But to you seriously think any president (real or potential) – Bush, Obama, Romney, Ryan or another realistic candidate – wants to incinerate innocent Russians in an aggressive nuclear strike?”

    Do I think that any of these people want to attack Russia unprovoked? No. Well, maybe John McCain… but this is besides the point. To deprive Russia of first-strike capability can only be interpreted as hostile. Do you seriously expect Russia to just assume the permanent good intentions of the West? You speak of “recent history” going all the way back to the 18th century. Russia only needs to go back as far as Operation Barbarossa to justify the maintaining of a sphere of influence and nuclear first-strike capabilities.

    It is unreasonable to demand of others what you would find unreasonable if demanded of you. You would not rest on the assumption of Russia’s permanent benevolence, and so it is absurd and almost dehumanizing to expect them to do likewise.

    “Poland’s desire to be defended from Russia is understandable, given the recent East European history”

    Poland really has nothing to do with this. It was brought up by Darwin as an example of Russia’s offenses against another Christian nation – as if no two other Christian nations have gone to war, as if all three Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox nations haven’t engaged in regrettable belligerence and war with one another.

    A NATO missile shield isn’t about protecting Poland from a nuclear strike, for heaven’s sake. It is about limiting Russia’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

    “there’s still the ex-Soviet republics, which Putin’s Russia is trying hard to dominate.”

    Oh really? There’s no other power using its own international spy agency to ferment political upheaval and regional opposition to Moscow in these republics? There’s no power whose actions are obviously aimed at the complete encirclement of Russia?

    Russia would be insane not to oppose the West. The color revolutions are CIA-engineered shams.

    “Honestly, I find it quite ironic that such a devoted opponent of US imperialism (real or otherwise) seems to be just find and dandy with Russia’s very real imperialism in eastern Europe and the Caucasus region.”

    I am not opposed to imperialism as an abstract category. I don’t have an abstract, moral problem with say, the Monroe Doctrine. But – and I will elaborate on these issues much more when I eventually do a big foreign policy post (maybe after the elections) – I do believe that

    a) Russia is completely right in identifying Western actions in the ex-Soviet republics as encirclement, and this is fundamentally hostile
    b) Russia is completely justified as a nation in opposing Western attempts to encircle it
    c) Russia, in supporting the secular dictatorships of the “Islamic” region of the world (North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, etc.) is objectively supporting the Christians who live relatively unmolested under these regimes, while recent US support for Islamic fanatics in Lybia, Egypt and now Syria is – among other things – a direct threat to tens of millions of Christians around the world.

  • Russia is repressive. Nice to see you’re sadistically enjoying P**y Riot’s suffering (clearly, you find femininity&female organs scary) When Russia passed its antigay laws… the first man arrested wasn’t gay, but a straight married man. Russia has been against free speech for years. Read about Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

    You’re defending oppression&censorship. P**y Riot isn’t sociopathic;they were battling the sociopathic Vladimir Putin.

    How to sweet someone who revels in the censorship and oppression of others. You’re just like Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. You HATE women and freedom.

  • Susan, the pu$$y rioters defiled a Christian Church. If their intent was to protest against Putin, then they should have carried their protest to a govt bldg, NOT a Christian Church.

    Having pro-sodomy filth laws isn’t fre speech. It’s promotion of godless sexual idolatry and iniquity. The gays who won’t repent belong back in the closet where they belong, and Christianity belongs front and center in the public square.

    As for the first man arrested who was straight, if he was promoting homosexual filth, then his arrest, regardless of his sexual orientation, was right and correct. There are only human rights, and the filth of these sexually promiscuous creatures does not qualify as a human right. Indeed, for this kind of filth God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • How to sweet someone who revels in the censorship and oppression of others. You’re just like Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor. You HATE women and freedom.

    If that’s the way you want to put it, sister, go ahead. Betwixt and between hating women and freedom I have little time for vulgar professional adolescents who deface public property and disrupt other peoples’ common activities.

  • I will leave the judgement on Putin’s Russia to historians who will doubtless have better access to the information needed to make that judgment than any of us is likely to get.

    What is clear is that this band willfully defiled a church. In any country, rights are not absolute, but need to be balanced against other rights. If they had been sent to jail for two years for making their “protest” in Red Square, I would be supporting their right to free speech (even if I very definitely disagree with much of what they are saying). They do not however, have a right to enter a church or other non-governmental or non-publically owned space in order to make that protest.

    Personally, I get the impression that they wanted to be arrested; they got what they wanted and I am not going to loose too much sleep over it.

  • Susan,

    The most frightening thing about your kind is your complete inability an unwillingness to recognize the rights and freedoms of others. In your sick, twisted, limited world view, religious worshipers have no rights and freedom. If you decide you want to stomp into our churches and menstruate on the floor, you believe you should have that right, and that we have an obligation to sit there and like it.

    Well, let me tell you something sister. Under the laws of civilized nations, you don’t have this right, not in Russia, not in the U.S., not anywhere. If you think preventing and punishing such vile, hateful acts is “censorship”, then you are sick in the head and you belong in a mental institution. In a just society, a rational society, you would have already been committed.

  • May God bless Bonchamps, Maryland Bill and Art Deco.

  • God Bless all of us. Just because people disagree with Bonchamps about the nature of the Russian government, that doesn’t make them the enemy (and even if they were, we still should ask God to bless them).

    I do have reservations about Putin’s government, a lot of them. But I know I don’t know enough to be sure one way or the other. I also know that to a certain extent, whether Putin is a saint or a sinner, it doesn’t change the wrongness of what this “band” did in a Church.

  • Susan, I disagree with Bonchamps about this, but I wouldn’t accuse him of hating women or freedom. Attacking someone’s motivations is bad form. And also, just because Putin is a sociopath, that doesn’t mean his oppnents aren’t.

  • The Russian Orthodox do not reserve the sacrament in a tabernacle, because the bread and wine are combined and served out of a single chalice (the intinctioned cube of Eucharist is dropped into the communicant’s open mouth by the priest using a a golden spoon).

    Darwin, you are wrong. We do in fact keep the reserved Sacrament in a tabernacle on the Holy Table at all times, for Presanctified Liturgies during Lent and for the communion of the sick at all times of the year. Just because we don’t have a practice of Eucharistic Adoration outside of a liturgical context doesn’t mean that the Altar does not at all times have the Holy Gifts placed on it.

Solidarity and the Welfare State

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

An interesting look at Paul Ryan by Father Barron based upon the twin poles of Catholic social teaching:  subsidiarity and solidarity.  It is easy to see how the welfare state, consolidating ever more power in the central government, is destructive of subsidiarity.  What is often overlooked however, is how destructive the welfare state tends to be also of solidarity.

1.  A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them.  We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash.  Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

2.  A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy.  Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

3.  As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

4.  By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

5.  Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women.  The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

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15 Responses to Solidarity and the Welfare State

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  • It is remarkable how rapidly the main social functions of the family have been transferred to the state. Until 1745, here in Scotland, north of Stirling, justice, production and consumption, education, health were almost entirely the responsibility of the family, especially the extended family, the sept or clan. In the Lowlands, the burghs were, effectively, petty republics, governed by the incorporations or guilds and, in the countryside, the laird and his barony court and the minister and elders in the kirk-session, were the effective government. A very good example of subsidiarity and solidarity working together.

  • Nicely done. I would just add a few thoughts.

    The danger for us as critics, I believe, is to so dislike the welfare state that we disconnect from the principle of solidarity altogether. While I am extremely reluctant to count government mandated redistributionism as any kind of charity and question its virtues in many ways, I do think in solidarity we must recognize our “sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone”. So your question as to what replaces the welfare state must be fully answered, I think, before it can be replaced.

    JD
    http://www.traditium.com

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  • Here’s a charitable man.

    From Politifact.com/Tampa Bay Times which just fact-checked it.

    “In July 1996, the 14-year-old daughter of Robert Gay, a partner at Bain Capital, had disappeared,” the story reads. “She had attended a rave party in New York City and gotten high on ecstasy. Three days later, her distraught father had no idea where she was. Romney took immediate action. He closed down the entire firm and asked all 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to help find Gay’s daughter. Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott and hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with the NYPD, and went through his Rolodex and called everyone Bain did business with in New York and asked them to help find his friend’s missing daughter. Romney’s accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper put up posters on street poles, while cashiers at a pharmacy owned by Bain put fliers in the bag of every shopper. Romney and the other Bain employees scoured every part of New York and talked with everyone they could – prostitutes, drug addicts – anyone.

    “That day, their hunt made the evening news, which featured photos of the girl and the Bain employees searching for her. As a result, a teenage boy phoned in, asked if there was a reward, and then hung up abruptly. The NYPD traced the call to a home in New Jersey, where they found the girl in the basement, shivering and experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a massive ecstasy dose. Doctors later said the girl might not have survived another day. Romney’s former partner credits Mitt Romney with saving his daughter’s life, saying, ‘It was the most amazing thing, and I’ll never forget this to the day I die.’”

    That is my Romney reverse detraction for today.

  • You are giving Romney too much credit, T. Shaw. It was of little consequence for Romney to make this easy gesture. First, he is rich so it doesn’t count. Second, the closure of his firm was hardly a sacrifice since the government that built it no doubt continued to run it. Finally, the real hero was government in the form of the NYPD, which plainly would have found the girl eventually.

  • 1. A welfare state by its nature needs government employees, and lots of them. We are seeing in our time how the interests of these employees and the populations they purportedly serve often clash. Think, for example, teachers unions and school choice.

    The public housing authority, the child protective apparat, the ‘family services apparat’, state asylums and sanitoriums, and the public schools require a great deal of manpower. Insurance, voucher, and cash transfer programs, not so much.

    2. A welfare state, once it reaches a large enough size, becomes a crushing burden on the economy. Paradoxically, the welfare state which is meant to alleviate poverty, ends by increasing it.

    More precisely, increases economic sclerosis. France has a particularly serious case.

    3. As governmental power and scope grows through a welfare state, elections tend to become much more important to ever larger segments of the population, as society increasingly divides between those who receive benefits and those who pay the taxes to provide the benefits.

    Yes, but what often divides these two classes is a position in the life-cycle. I suspect you would find occupational factors, cultural factors, and social-psychological factors more important in influencing voting behavior.

    4. By increasing dependence upon government, the welfare state lessens the initiative among a great many people to not only improve their own lot through their efforts, but also the lot of their families.

    True, but a great deal of the problem is not common provision per se but poorly structured incentives incorporated into the existing programs.

    5. Welfare states tend to become substitute husbands for low-income women and substitute fathers for the children born to single low-income women. The impact upon illegitimacy rates is as obvious as it is destructive of the family, the basic building block of solidarity in any society.

    True of AFDC and like problems. The thing is, AFDC turned out to have a permissive influence on this sort of behavior. It was not much of a motor of it and the reduction in the size of welfare rolls has not been accompanied by improvements in family maintenance.

    6. Welfare benefits tend to foster a sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to tolerate any diminution of such benefits for the common good, even when a country is careening toward bankruptcy.

    There is a good deal of truth to that with regard to benefits for the elderly. The trouble is, the elderly are the least able to adjust to changes in economic circumstances. You do not really see much in the way of mobilization of the non-elderly poor. The resistance you’re seeing comes from the delivery apparat and from the brokering politicians.

    7. Welfare states tend to involve ever-increasing domination of society by those who write the rules that govern the welfare state and administer it. Rather than societies governed by debate and compromise, government diktat becomes the order of the day.

    Aaron Wildavsky would have disagreed with you. He said the hallmark of contemporary political society was bureaucracy without authority.

    It increasingly seems Congress is incapable of accomplishing anything at all.

    8. Welfare states, because of their scope and power, inevitably threaten basic human freedoms. The HHS mandate, devised by President Obama for a cheap political advantage this election year, is a prime example.

    More precisely, they are one vector among many that acts to diminish independence of mind and self-confident discretion on the part of both the man in the street and local politicians.

    9. Welfare states dull the desire of people to engage in charitable activities, and take ever greater sums from the populations they exist upon, depleting the funds available for charity.

    This is true to a point, but often welfare bureaucracies and private charity are addressing somewhat different sets of problems. One is not a substitute for the other.

    10. Solidarity is possible only in societies which view their people as adults, capable of working together for the common good. Welfare states tend to view populations as clients who must be led into paths that the controllers of the welfare states deem desirable.

    True.

    One of the great questions of this century will be what comes after the welfare states, which are manifestly dying. The beginning of an answer would be to consider what contributes in a society to true solidarity and what does not.

  • MP: Thanks.

    St. Melanie (my wife) thinks I had a bad day. On the contrary, it was a good day. I didn’t get shot when, within a minute of when I was and a hundred yards of me, 10 were less lucky. You don’t hear the one that hits you.

    Even better, I learned that it’s a blessing to vote for the 100% pro-abortion incumbent prez and VP candidates because Romney’s so-called Catholic running mate is objectively evil: he’s only 98% pro-life.

  • Sending up a prayer for your deliverance T.Shaw and for those who were not so fortunate.

  • Thank you, Mac.

    Recalls that we do not know the hour or day.

    The Blessed Virgin Mary and my sainted mother in Heaven, obviously, have prayed and interceded for me these many years.

    Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it know that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you O virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To You I come. Before You I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate despise not my petitions but in Your Mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

  • It is reasonable to oppose Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc. because they are used by those who embrace socialistic government control of the economy.

    Social Security (retirement) has been a systematic looting of alleged “retirement benefits” by the federal government. There is no respect for private property and the level at which the secular leaning government that is involved is too high, and prone to corruption. Retention by the individual of ownership of the funds, if we are to require a set aside of funds would be allowing the individual retain his money for himself and his family for their benefit and for their use in the society, including supporting and helping the poor.

    Other programs, such as unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. as currently used are designed not to help the recipients, but to enslave in a cynic manner for retention of power. In addition, as we see in the current administration, whether it be the “freedom to worship,” denial of Catholic agencies to provide adoption services (to this children not murdered by abortion), denial of Catholic agencies to assist victims of the international slave trade because they won’t provide or promote intrinsic evils and the HHS mandates, the exercise of the state of solidarity by the provision of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is designed, implicitly, to marginalize the role of Faith in the society. The Church, and other believers, need to say that the so-called “welfare” state has failed and that even if the faith-communities provisions of unemployment, food stamps, disability, etc. is lacking, it is much better in the long run for both the physical and spiritual needs of those members of the Body of Christ that are in need. Unfortunately this is an all or nothing proposition because the once the politicians get a nose under the tent, they are an 800 lb. bully. In the area of solidarity services, you cannot be a little pregnant with State. (Additionally, it is likely that the absence of the Leviathan, would allow for greater marketplace rewards that could be used to either employ others or help the truly needy.)

    The absence of government in the provision of these services, in this digital age, would be a blessing because it would require those members of the Church, who support the coercive solidarity of the state to stand and be counted and support the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not the State. Supporting the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) is not a matter of charitable deductions; it is a central obligation of the Faithful to support the mission of the Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) and not for the benefit of a tax return.

    Given the history of failures of the socialist-based policies of the so-called Progressives through the New Deal, the Great Society to the present, I think the most cogent moral position is that for a country the size and complexity of ours that the coercive solidarity of the state has been a failure and should be rejected and abandoned.

    A closing note, by way of a simple and simplistic example of the failure of the coercive solidarity of the state; the “Head Start” program has since its inception cost the taxpayers of the USA approximately $160 billion dollars (or 1% of the current national debt) and it has never demonstrated any measurable long-term beneficial effect on the society or to those to which is was directed, yet the socialist left refuses to accept this and demands more money to “make it work.” The principal here is power and its retention, and not the provision of any benefit to which is was directed and that is why this, and so much else of the coercive solidarity is in conflict with the Church’s teaching of subsidiarity.

    N.B. The portion of the national debt relating Head Start is for one failed program, imagine if all of the failed programs were eliminated and what the national debt would be? What amount of private capital and income could in the society and from which faithful Catholics could, in the true and faithful spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity could be directed, effectively by Church (and its schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) to those needy and less fortunate in our society.

    Pray for me as I pray for you.

  • There is another reason to oppose many (most? all?) government “social welfare” programs (and many other things as well, like art endowments, etc) If Oskari Juurikkala is correct in his analysis of Social Security and fertility rates, then Social Security is one of the last things the Church and other pro-lifers want to have around. (Making Kids Worthless, found at http://mises.org/daily/2451)

    I have also read that public education is also correlated with fewer children (and homeschooling correlated with having more), but I don’t have much information on that. That information came to me from “There’s No Place Like Work” by Brian Robertson.

  • Yesterday a young woman who had had a minor accident came into the office some two months after the accident, claiming that she needed disability as she had lost her job and still had pain from the accident. Her exam was normal. A refusal to give her disability provoked a hostile sarcastic remark. Last week a male and female “significant other” couple wanted disability for her severe muscle pain. Her exam was normal. Refusal to give disability was followed by the couple’s disapointed exit with the female partner abandoning her slouched painful gait in favor of a brisk walk. A man paid by the state to administer insulin to his somewhat developmentally delayed wife failed to do so and still recieved payments. His excuse? “we were moving to a new apartment”. I could go on and on. What will become of our nation when the receptees of largesse from the state outnumber taxpayers? Sol Olinski knows.

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Father John Ireland and the Fifth Minnesota

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

 

 

One of the titans of the Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century in the United States was Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Future blog posts will cover his career as Archbishop.  This blog post is focused on his service during the Civil War.  Ordained a priest only a year, Father John Ireland at 24 in 1862 received permission of his bishop to join the Fifth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.  He joined the regiment immediately after the battle of Shiloh.

At the battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862 the Fifth Minnesota saved the day for the Union with a charge that stopped a Confederate breakthrough of the Union lines.  Running short on ammunition, the troops received additional cartridges from Chaplain Ireland who ran down the line dispensing ammunition.  When the fighting was over, the soldiers noted that their chaplain tirelessly tended the wounded and administered the Last Rites to soldiers whose wounds were beyond human aid.

The troops were very fond of their young priest and built him a portable altar from saplings.  His sermons were popular with the men, being direct, blunt and brief.  He was noted for his sunny disposition, quick wit  and his courage.  He was also an enthusiastic chess player, and would take on all comers in the evenings in camp.

Before battles he would hear the confessions of huge numbers of soldiers, with some Protestant soldiers often asking for admission to the Church.  He was always ready to pray with any soldiers no matter their religion, and give them what comfort he could in reminding them that God was ever at their side during their time of peril.  On one occasion he went to the side of an officer who had been shot and was bleeding to death and had asked for a chaplain.   the Archbishop recalled the scene decades after the War.   ‘Speak to me,’ he said, ‘of Jesus.’ He had been baptized — there was no time to talk of Church. I talked of the Savior, and of sorrow for sin. The memory of that scene has never been effaced from my mind. I have not doubted the salvation of that soul.”

Father Ireland was mustered out of service in March of 1863 due to ill-health, but he never forgot his time in the Union Army.  He was ever active in the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization,   and would write about his experiences as a combat chaplain.  Unlike most Catholics of his day, he was a firm Republican, the friend of Republican presidents including McKinley and Roosevelt, and never forgot why the Civil War had to be fought, as this statement by him regarding the rights of blacks indicates:

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10 Responses to Father John Ireland and the Fifth Minnesota

  • Thanks for this post. Attended the same College where one of our professors upheld his memory for us. His last quote is as you said so relevant. It also echoes the views of the Founders, a civil-non-sectarian virtuous patriotism, with out being denominational. They of course would throw a fit if they were faced with today’s acceptance of abortion and same gender unions, including equating them to “marriage,” which are so accepted by today’s “Christian” leaders in State, Court and some Church bodies

  • It should be noted that this bishop’s name is still mentioned with some rancour in Greek Catholic circles. He being the cause for the largest mass conversion to Orthodoxy in hundreds of years (from Wikipedia):

    In 1891, Ireland refused to accept the credentials of Greek-Catholic priest Alexis Toth, citing the decree that married priests of the Eastern Catholic Churches were not permitted to function in the Catholic Church in the United States, despite Toth being a widower. Ireland then forbade Toth to minister to his own parishioners, despite the fact that Toth had jurisdiction from his own Bishop, and did not depend on Ireland. Ireland was also involved in efforts to expel all Eastern Catholic clergy from the United States of America. Forced into an impasse, Toth went on to lead thousands of Greek-Catholics to leave the Catholic Church to join the Russian Orthodox Church. Because of this, Archbishop Ireland is sometimes referred to, ironically, as “The Father of the Orthodox Church in America.” Marvin R. O’Connell, author of a biography on Ireland, summarizes the situation by stating that “if Ireland’s advocacy of the blacks displayed him at his best, his belligerence toward the Greek Catholics showed him at his bull-headed worst.”

  • Joseph: You’re correct about the Greek Catholic problem. And Archbishop flirted with Modernism. But this article is on the Fifth Minnesota. “This blog post is focused on his service during the Civil War.”

  • I believe that Archbishop Ireland’s treatment of Fr. Toth is fair game for discussion, his service in the Civil War notwithstanding.

    Pittsburgh, where I live, is the home of the Byzantine Ruthenain Archeparchy. The Rusyns have suffered through two schisms in the USA. First, there was the lousy treatment of Fr. Toth that led to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of America. Second, the Latin bishops of the USA petitioned the Holy See to ban married clergy in the Eastern Churches in the USA in the 1920s, which was approved. A second schism occurred, and the American Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Diocese (based in Johnstown, PA was established.

    I was unaware of Archbishop Ireland’s service in the Civil War, and I found Mr. McClarey’s post to be informative. I was aware of Archbishop Ireland’s role in the construction of the magnificent cathedral in St. Paul. However, having worked for several years volunteering with the Sisters of St. Basil at Mount St. Macrina in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, I learned firsthand that Archbishop Ireland’s words and deeds regarding the Byzantine Church caused a great deal of harm.

  • Why do you believe that your issue is important in response to a post about Father Ireland in the Civil War? What if I decided that you can’t post because the Greeks are virtually bankrupt today? That would be just as valid as your change of the subject, wouldn’t it?

  • I would ask that comments regarding Archbishop Ireland and the Uniates (Eastern Catholics) be left for future posts. I will have several more posts on this remarkable man in the months to come. I find him fascinating, and I will treat his career in full, including the controversies raised in this thread. For now please focus on his role as a chaplain in the Civil War and his thoughts regarding patriotism.

  • During my research for an upcoming book tentatively titled “Pro Deo Pro Patria::The Life and Death of a Catholic Military School,” I learned that one of the few remaining Catholic military schools St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota is an archdiocesan school founded by Bishop Ireland.

  • I deleted your comment Seraphim. The controveries you alluded to in your comment will be dealt with in a future post, but for now I must insist that my wishes be respected in this thread.

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Hope and Change Shattered

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

Trailer of an anti-Obama documentary The Hope and the Change detailing why 40 Obama voters from 2008 are not voting for him in 2012.  The Romney campaign has been running ads like his featuring former disillusioned Obama voters.  Obama ran in 2008 with the type of hype that I have never seen before in an American political campaign.  More than a few of his acolytes viewed him literally as a messianic figure.  The hopes he raised in many of his followers could never have been met by any president.

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2 Responses to Hope and Change Shattered

  • Our national deficit can only be described as “PREDATORY”. The Affordable Healthcare Act can only be described as “PREDATORY” The HHS mandate can only be described as “PREDATORY”and confiscatory. Abortion, same sex marriage, and the infliction of atheism as a religion can only be described as “PREDATORY”

    It is a fact of economics that when 70% of a nation’s economy is owned by outside interests, a nation can no longer call itself sovereign. At 70% indebtedness, a nation is no longer sovereign. The United State’s economy is now at 50% indebtedness and rising. The United States cannot expect the largess and generosity of outside interests. The United States is held in trust for our constitutional posterity. 54 million taxpayers, our constitutional posterity, have been aborted. Our economic policies have become confiscatory and predatory.

    The Affordable Healthcare Act paying for abortificients, sterilizations, contraception, sex change operations, transhumanism, cosmetic surgery, implants of hair, breast and penile, and cutting over 780 billion from Medicare is predatory. Healthcare ought to be life-saving and curative, not political. The HHS mandate was added AFTER Congress passed the ACA, making the ACA a broken contract with people, and the HHS mandate an Executive Order. The Supreme Court judges all Executive Orders for Justice. Obama can take all private property in Executive Order 13575, Rural Councils because Obama says so. Obama can take all church property in the HHS mandate because Obama says so.

    In the HHS mandate, Obama redefines the human being as having no conscience and no rational human soul. Obama has said that defining when the human person‘s life begins is above his pay grade. Obama has redefined “the poor” as having no conscience, no rational soul and as not being human persons, as he says, this is above his pay-grade.

    Atheists have unalienable civil rights, but only as endowed by God, “their Creator”. God has unalienable civil rights as a Person as “their Creator”. Atheism litigating over God’s unalienable civil rights as a Person is Un-American and predatory.

  • “A political whirlwind is forming and 2012 promises to be the type of defeat of an incumbent president at least on the scale of Reagan’s victory over Carter in 1980. You have read it here first.”

    I pray you are right, Donald. God bless you for your optimism.

Has Ryan “Softened” His Pro-Life Views?

Thursday, August 23, AD 2012

Brace yourself for the latest meme to hit the politosphere: the word is now that Paul Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Ryan has long opposed abortion in all cases save in a few cases where he believes it may be necessary to save the life of the mother. This means that he has opposed abortion in the case of rape. But in this post-Akin political environment, so the narrative goes, Ryan, in the interests of being a team player, is renouncing his opposition to rape exceptions.

What set this off? First there was the statement made by various Romney campaign spokespeople in the aftermath of Akin’s blunder:

“Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”

Then there were Ryan’s responses to some reporters who were pressing him on the abortion/rape issue, and focusing particularly on some legislation he previously supported which made distinctions between different types of rape. Ryan said to the reporters:

“I’m proud of my record. Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”

One the basis of one or both of these statements, major news outlets and some in the Catholic blogosphere are claiming that Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Or, to put it in Mark Shea’s words, Ryan has “partly renounce[d]” his position. In response to a comment I made on Mark’s blog, he elaborated further:

 I just don’t see how anybody can regard movement from “It is always gravely evil to deliberately kill innocent human life” to “I am opposed to the murder of innocent, unborn children except in cases my boss tells me not to be opposed,” or, “unless I feel it jeopardizes my chances of becoming VP” and maintain that Ryan is not compromising.

It is quite obvious to me that Paul Ryan has not said or done a thing to warrant the attribution of such cynical and selfish motives to him – though I do believe he, like most pro-life politicians and even people such as myself, is willing to compromise on a few points to make significant gains, a point I will elaborate on below. In any case, Mr. Shea goes too far. Because I often find his commentary to be fair-minded (even when I disagree), I am surprised at this rather unjustifiable attack on Ryan’s character but also willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. So I will offer my take on these comments and Mark can reply if he feels it’s worth his time.

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81 Responses to Has Ryan “Softened” His Pro-Life Views?

  • I’m sorry, Mary De Voe, but enough is enough. I deleted your comment because it is radically off-topic. You have a blog. I suggest you post that information there, and post here comments that are relevant to the issue at hand. Nothing personal.

  • “because it’s a good step in the right direction”

    It would be a giant leap in the right direction. Like Lincon in his fight against slavery, Ryan is willing to support legislative measures that hem it in and restrict it while never losing sight of the goal.

    “But I will say that the general premise that “both parties are evil” is leading some people not only to sniff out nothing but evil, but to also see evil where it doesn’t exist.”

    Precisely.

  • “Politics is the art of the possible” and “politics involves compromise.” The compromise that Paul Ryan suggests does not violate his strong pro-life stand in principle. The choice the GOP has is to do what is the most- morally accepted public viewpoint right now, OR lose out to Obama’s absolute support for abortion to the point of infanticide, aka partial birth- recall his own actions as Illinois State Senator when he voted against funds for babies who survived abortion. The US Electorate needs further education on the absolute right to life of all babies, and hear the stories of all survivors of rape and incest. The Government is not Jesus’ Body, the Church. Extreme idealists do not make the best politicians The ideal for all issues is still to be achieved- Isaiah’s Lion is still chewing on the Lamb and the cash for plow-shares is being dumped on unwinnable wars.

  • Thank you, Bonchamps. It would be fruitful if certain Ryan critics actually examined the entirety of his comments rather than selected portions. It’s quite clear what Ryan meant, and that his personal opinion had not changed.

  • Ryan may well not have played the “step in the right direction” angle before, but then he hasn’t been a vice presidential candidate before. His comments this week can be read to be in line with Evangelium Vitae’s “an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done.” (They can also accommodate a power-over-principle reading, but that butts up against his right to a good name.)

    Personally, I think this week’s lesson is not that Ryan is a power-over-principle politician, but that we need to evaluate candidates in an “art of the possible” light, not in a “speech to a friendly audience” light. If we’re not supposed to think less of a politician because he can’t fully effect his policies, we should nevertheless account for what he can’t effect in judging him as a candidate.

  • “I often find his commentary to be fair-minded (even when I disagree), I am surprised at this rather unjustifiable attack on Ryan’s character but also willing to grant the benefit of the doubt.”

    You’re being charitable to Mark here, which is a benefit of the doubt that he rarely gives to the targets of his diatribes. The truth is that this sort of thing has become Mark’s stock in trade over the years. I’m completely disgusted by Mark’s calumny of Ryan, and I’m not even supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket (as anyone who has even slightly paid attention to anything I’ve written in the last 5 years knows that I will NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES vote for Mitt Romney).

    Mark, as is his schtick, will of course deny that he calumniated anyone, and will instead claim that he was merely pointing out “blah, blah, blah.” Which, of course, is total BS. Here is what Mark said: that Paul Ryan “partly renounced his pro-life convictions” and “Ryan now opposes the murder of innocent human beings [only] where it is convenient to Romney”. Mark is stating these things as fact – that Ryan has renounced his belief that there should be no rape exception to outlawing abortion. Apart from a press release from Romney HQ that merely reaffirms that their formerly pro-abort presidential candidate is, indeed, still at least somewhat pro-abort, Mark has absolutely NOTHING – ZERO -ZILCH – NADA – to back up his assertion that Paul Ryan has “partly renounced his pro-life convictions”.

    Which makes Mark’s statement a lie. He has painted Ryan is a false light for no other purpose than to brandish his own “see-I-told-you-so-pox-on-both-your-houses” bona fides. And I say that as a card-carrying member of the “pox-on-both-your-houses” club. Now, Mark will point to the press release mentioned above, and will highlight “Ryan” where the release mentions the “Romney/Ryan” ticket” and will say “SEE!!!! Ryan now supports murdering babies where it’s convenient to Romney.” Problem is that absolutely no words ever actually uttered by Paul Ryan, and no actions ever taken by Paul Ryan, could EVER lead any rational-thinking sentient human being to form the conclusion that Ryan has “partly renounced his pro-life convictions” or thinks it’s okay to murder children conceived in rape if it means electing Romney.

    So, I ask again: what solid proof – from Paul Ryan – does Mark have to back up his words? None. And what “proof” he does allude to doesn’t pass the basic smell test that our Church has provided us:

    2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

    2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

    Has Mark done this where Ryan is concerned? Has he, with sufficient proof, given the benefit of the most favorable interpretation in concluding that Paul Ryan (who has otherwise shown throughout his political career that he takes his pro-life beliefs seriously) has “partly renounced his pro-life convictions” and “now opposes the murder of innocent human beings [only] where it is convenient to Romney”?

    I submit not.

  • I’m missing something. Is Ryan the typical Three Exceptions Republican that we’ve endured for decades, or is he two?

  • Scott, my best answer would be to “Google it” and read his position for yourself. I don’t say “Google it” dismissively, but rather as a way of saying don’t listen to what someone else claims Ryan’s position to be, but do yourself the favor of searching out his views for yourself.

    That said, my understanding is that Ryan is a “One-Exception” Republican, in that he believes in a very narrow exception where the life of the mother is threatened by carrying a pregnancy to term. Again, though, don’t take my word for it, as I’m sure you can find something more definitive if you look for it.

    But that press release from Romney HQ is NOT the place where you or anyone else will find Ryan’s position. The funny thing is that my take-away from reading that statement was “Yep, that’s the Romney I know so well and for whom I will NEVER vote.” I certainly didn’t take the views of the top of the ticket as reflective of the views of the bottom of the ticket. Mark’s take-away, on the other hand, appears to be “Aha! Another opportunity to tarnish the pro-life credentials of yet another prominent RepubliCath pro-lifer and to put another nail in the coffin of the RepubliCath pro-life myth!” But Mark could accomplish the aim of questioning undying pro-life fealty to the Republican Party by pointing to Romney himself. There’s no need to try to drag Ryan down by claiming he is someone who is “pro-life” only when it’s convenient.

  • Bonchamps: I am good with that. “If Romney-Ryan really is unacceptable on life issues, then it is unacceptable, period.” bears repeating

  • Jay, I respect and understand your view of Romney, even if I disagree with it. We are in complete agreement on Ryan and Shea.

  • I’m confused here. I was under the impression that Mr. Shea supported Ron Paul. Now that may be a misremembering on my part. But if it is not then it is worth pointing out that Ron Paul’s position on abortion is a tenth amendment one in that Roe should ve overturned and the issue should be returned to the states to decide as they will. Which would definitively *not* be a no exceptions abortion position.

    Again, I may be misremembering, but I could almost swear I remember a column of his not too far back laying out why a Catholic could support Ron Paul in good conscience. If that is incorrect then the point is obviously moot.

  • Fantastic thread, I’ve got to say. The Evangelium Vitae quotation couldn’t be more on-point. And the Catechism passage, well, that’s applicable pretty much everywhere.

  • I think the reason for the anger directed against Ryan has to do with the continued distrust of Romney. According to the narrative, Romney couldn’t be trusted on conservative principles, so his VP had to be perfect. He chose Ryan, who is perceived as having unassailable credentials. So Ryan was supposed to keep Romney honest. The abortion exception statements shattered the narrative. Now, it’s seen as Romney contaminating Ryan, or Ryan not being strong enough to stand up to Romney.

    Of course, all of these narratives are fiction. They’re our interpretations, and we demand that all the characters wear white hats or black hats. We ascribe mystical powers to a VP nominee, or ridiculously claim that Romney can’t be trusted on abortion, or just as ridiculously claim that Romney can be trusted on abortion. It’s more complicated than that.

  • I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.

    I really don’t see how that can be interpreted as giving up his principles. Legalization of abortion did not come as a single step – it started with severing the link between intercourse and procreation through acceptance of contraception (first morally at Lambeth, and then legally through Griswold). Roe v. Wade was the culmination of many steps. Ryan is just doing it in the opposite direction, and the most realistic way it will happen – step by step. This is similar to claiming that a coach doesn’t really want to ever score a touchdown because he called for a 5 yard slant for a first down at his own 20 yard line rather than throwing a deep route hail Mary (sorry, it’s football season).

  • It could still be a “no exceptions” position.

    Ron Paul’s position is a technical legal one – he is not saying that abortion should be legal, he is saying that as a Constitutional law matter, it is a decision for the states. If he were a STATE congressman he would feel 100% comfortable voting for a STATE law banning abortion. Whether he is right on the Con law matter is a different issue, but one that RCs can legitimately disagree about (it is, incidentally, the same position Scalia holds and has held for many years). So his issue is not whether abortion should be banned, but through what legal mechanism.

  • “I’m completely disgusted by Mark’s calumny of Ryan…”

    I agree. I believe Mark is deeply engaged in calumny – an intrinsic evil.

  • Yes, but that obviously leaves the door open to states choosing to go the full-on abortion-into-the-ninth-month way, too. I understand the premise of the tenth amendment solution (and I supported Thompson last time around whose view was similar, so this isn’t necessarily a criticism of Ron Paul) and am not necessarily condemning it. Claiming that Paul himself may be 100% against abortions with no exceptions personally and might vote for an outright ban if he were a state legislator is fine. But I’m not going to pretend that states like, say California or New York aren’t going to have an abortion free-for-all if we send it back to the states. He may vote against it, but he is fine with other states voting for it. And as a matter of pure Constitutional law, an amendment to protect the lives of the unborn is perfectly in line with Constitutional procedures outlined in the document as well.

    My point is that it seems to me to be a bit disingenuous to freak out over Paul Ryan’s percieved shift in position if you support someone who is OK with letting states decide its a-ok for folks to abort all they want.

  • The irony here is that Mark’s preferred candidate, Ron Paul, also favors a rape exception to laws against abortion.

  • Wow. So Mr. Well-Informed Practicing Catholic isn’t aware that St. David of Wales was the product of a rape?

    Denouncing Akin’s views is not the same as saying that the life of a child conceived through violent rape is less valuable than that of a child conceived through loving intimacy. He can reject Akin without rejecting the immorality of abortion.

    I hope Ryan thinks this over–it is very disappointing.

  • Good post, Bonchamps. One would think that the words of the self-appointed piety / purity police of the Catholic Blogger Magisterium that seems to have arisen in this day and age of the internet should carry more weight than those of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him (many of whom have actually come out with kind words to say about Ryan’s Catholic witness).

    Paul Ryan is a good Catholic witness. What kind of witness is Mark Shea’s calumny (a term someone else used above, not me)?

  • Icefalcon,

    I think what’s disappointing is your complete inability to understand that Ryan hasn’t rejected the immorality of abortion.

    Everyone Else,

    I think Ron Paul’s view on abortion is perfectly acceptable. We aren’t morally obliged to be federal supremacists. Few elected officials have spoken as eloquently about the natural right to life – and even written a book about it – as Dr. Paul has. He does so as one of the leading representatives of libertarianism as well, a movement that has historically not been too friendly to the right to life of the unborn. I’d say he’s probably done more for the pro-life cause through his argumentation than some “no exceptions, only a federal solution is possible” politicians have done with their votes.

  • Actually, what you are accusing Mark of is properly rash judgment rather than calumny.

  • I think icefalcon’s comment touches on the downside of the “step in the right direction” approach taken by a VP candidate. There is a conflict between making one’s personal opposition known and the inherent deference to the presidential candidate’s position. A “personally opposed, but not in charge” argument is a dis-integrated witness to the truth. It may be justified under the circumstances, but it is not without its bad effects.

  • I’ll just say “ditto” to Donald’s 4:22AM (really?!?!?!) comment.

  • ” A “personally opposed, but not in charge” argument is a dis-integrated witness to the truth.”

    But Ryan explained WHY, and his explanation still gave witness to the truth. When you say someone’s views are a “step in the right direction”, you do a service to both that person as well as those who have already taken those steps. It was just about the best thing he could have said in the circumstances he was in and I can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with it.

  • What’s disappointing is that people continue to ascribe to Ryan – out of either maliciousness or ignorance – views that belong to his running mate.

    Surprise, surprise, a presidential nominee who once ran to Ted Kennedy’s left on abortion is … SHOCKER!!! … soft on abortion. The vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, by all indications, is not similarly soft on abortion (absent more proof than what has been offered thus far), but believes that Romney’s views are a move closer to the ideal than are Obama’s (and the current law of the land under Roe and Casey).

    WOW! Time to “think this over”. I wouldn’t vote for Romney under any circumstances, but nevertheless believe he’s closer to me on the issue than what the current law allows. In that sense, yes, even a ban on abortion with exceptions is better than what we currently have.

  • “But Ryan explained WHY, and his explanation still gave witness to the truth.”

    The fact that an explanation was required establishes that his witness to the truth as a VP candidate is not as clear as his witness to the truth as a member of the House.

    Here’s a simple test: Can Ryan the VP candidate unconditionally endorse Ryan the House Member’s Sanctity of Human Life Act?

  • Actually, what you are accusing Mark of is properly rash judgment rather than calumny.”

    The object is no less harmed by the accusation if the speaker is being “rash” vs. being intentional. At some point, “rashness” becomes reckless disregard for the truth.

    But, for the sake of charity, I’ll consider amending my assessment of Mark’s statements from being calumny to instead being rashness that exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth. Honestly, however, I don’t think that particular spin puts him in much better stead.

  • “…I’ll consider amending my assessment of Mark’s statements from being calumny to instead being rashness that exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth. Honestly, however, I don’t think that particular spin puts him in much better stead.”

    Perhaps Mark Shea would do well to focus on the girth of problems in his own life instead of the lack of girth of problems in Paul Ryan’s life.

    Can’t that be said of all of us?

  • Tom K.,

    “Can Ryan the VP candidate unconditionally endorse Ryan the House Member’s Sanctity of Human Life Act?”

    I don’t see why not. I don’t see anything in his statements indicating that he could not or would not. I don’t honestly believe for a moment that Romney has demanded from Ryan total agreement on the “hard cases” or prohibited him from speaking on or endorsing legislation that would outlaw all abortions. Such suggestions – and Mark did suggest as much – are really outrageous.

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  • ” Such suggestions – and Mark did suggest as much – are really outrageous.”

    For my part, I don’t find it at all outrageous to suggest that a vice presidential candidate, to say nothing of a vice president, will not publicly work for the passage of legislation which the presidential candidate, to say nothing of the president, opposes. (Such, at least, were the circumstances I was trying to invoke by mentioning the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which on my reading entails legal prohibition of abortion in all cases.)

  • Tom K.,

    The suggestion was that Ryan was either a cynical power-seeker or a feckless coward. You’re rephrasing what was said in very neutral terms. We aren’t talking about what “a VP candidate” does in theory – we’re talking about what some people, like Mark Shea, are saying about one man, Paul Ryan.

  • “But, for the sake of charity, I’ll consider amending my assessment of Mark’s statements from being calumny to instead being rashness that exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth.”

    And part of my re-assessing whether it’s “calumny” vs. “rashness that exhibits a reckless disregard for the truth” hinges on whether Mark persists in his claims, without further proof to back them up, that Ryan has “partly renounced his pro-life convictions” or that “Ryan now opposes the murder of innocent human beings [only] where it is convenient to Romney”.

    So far, at least in response to commenters at his post, Mark appears to be doubling down on his claims. In my book, that doesn’t lead one to easily dismiss it as “rashness”.

  • So far, at least in response to commenters at his post, Mark appears to be doubling down on his claims.

    Well, of course.
    If you don’t have a tolerance for that, and for a “pox on both houses” approach, don’t read him. Or do, and realize you’re going to be annoyed. *shrug*

  • “It’s a good start” is a statement that would clearly indicate, in a polite way, that more needed to be done; “step in the right direction” is just a rephrasing.

  • Foxfier,

    As I stated above, I am a card-carrying member of the “pox-on-both-your-houses” club. I’m voting for the Constitution Party’s candidate, Virgil Good, who has a 100% pro-life without exceptions stance. Even if Goode weren’t on the ballot, I’d still NEVER vote for Mitt Romney.

    But being a member of the “pox-on-both-your-houses” club doesn’t excuse either “calumny” or “rashness exhibiting a total disregard for the truth”. And the only reason I read and commented on Mark’s post on the subject was because someone brought it to my attention. Otherwise, I don’t read him (or any other blog these days apart from this one and Creative Minority Report).

  • In fact, I don’t read or write on my own blog much anymore (although I did post yesterday -for the first time in 2 months – to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the death of Irish soldier, statesman, and hero, Michael Collins).

  • Jay-
    I would class you as a “they’re both wrong” sort, rather than “they’re equally wrong” sort. One is respectable, the other is cheap grace.

    I <3 CMR, too. ^.^

  • @Bonchamps,

    My comments weren’t meant to be a criticism or condemnation of Ron Paul’s views on how to handle the abortion issue legally (as I said before, I supported Fred Thompson last time around and his views on the subject were similar). Like I said at the end of my last post, I just find it disingenuous that Mr. Shea, who I believe supports Ron Paul- whose own position would legally allow states to permit all abortions if they so choose- is upset about Ryan’s perceived shift in position.

    I’ve always really enjoyed reading Mr. Shea’s work on the faith, but it seems to me that when he gets into applying those principles in the political arena he goes off the rails into hysterical territory.

  • In all fairness, the question as to whether the decision regarding abortion’s legality does or should rest with the states is quite different than the question of whether abortion should ever be legal and if so under what circumstances. The notion that the answers are yes and no respectively is quite logically coherent. That said, the inferential liberties that Shea takes with Ryan’s statements and positions are not logically coherent, but just emotional rants.

    My own considered view is that absent a constitutional amendment, the abortion decision does rest with states. Indeed, one can make a case that some of the same animations that justified the post-Civil War civil rights amendments also apply to the unborn and the protections they need, in which case a constitutional amendment may well be the most sensible answer — even if politically implausible.

  • I would class you as a “they’re both wrong” sort, rather than “they’re equally wrong” sort. One is respectable, the other is cheap grace.

    Yeah, that would be my take as well. One group recognizes that there are legitimate differences between parties and ideologies, the other wallows in a sort of self-righteous loathing of everything.

  • “4:22AM (really?!?!?!)”

    Yep! I normally turn in at 10 PM and rise at 4:00 AM. I find the early morning hours to be very productive.

  • *cry* I use to love early mornings, got up at 5 all through high school, one of the few folks that was well rested even though I NEED at least 8 hours of sleep. Then I had children that agree with their father– 10PM is just STARTING on “bed time.”

  • Oh I never felt more helpless in my life Foxfier than at a 3:00 AM feeding with my twin baby boys with both of them howling! Until my wife and I broke up the week between us with me taking Friday, Saturday and Sunday and her taking the remainder of the week, she was staying at home at the time, we were complete zombies for the first few weeks after our twins were born!

  • Far too many words have been spilled on this topic.

    A president who is partially pro-life is a step on the right direction from where we are today. That we are even discussing this says more about the likes of Mark Shea than it does about Paul Ryan.

  • The Catholics I know agrees with Romney’s position on abortion when it comes to rape. I consider Romney to be a moderate conservative & Ryan more conservative but not an extremist. Anyway, I like these 2 men as they are both very decent.

  • In November, you get to display your Catholic “bona fides.”

    Cast your vote for the 88% pro-life team or for the 0% pro-life regime.

  • Bona fide Catholics understand that “88% pro-life” is a political euphemism for an objectively evil position.

  • Hey, Tom,

    Is that why bona fide catholics feel they can liciltly advance the 100% abortion agenda?

    I just walked by a couple pf persons that abruptly went to see St. Peter.

    They now know that you will not be getting into Heaven if you shoot people on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, or if you vote democrat.

  • Hey, T.,

    Inventing religious doctrines does not solidify your Catholic bona fides.

  • Tom- You have a number of excellent blog posts over the years on the principle of double effect. Why are you are belaboring this non-issue?

  • K: I’m the worst sinner you ever met. I have no Catholic bona fides.

    I did not invent Church teaching. If you die in a state of mortal sin . . . Voting democrat is voing for abortion which is a mortal sin.

    I was referring to two dead and nine woounded outside my place of employment the Empire State Building in NYC. I was on the street 100 yards away when it happened. I’m only a little shaken. Sadly, I’ve seen more sudden death.

  • That is an excellent question, Paul D. Tom, you know full well that voting for the Romney ticket is not remotely objectively evil, so why are you implying otherwise?

    Of course voting for the Obama ticket is not objectively evil either, even if the prudential calculus necessary to justify it is pretty doggone tricky.

  • I’m not familiar with the principel of double effect. I know the principle of double-tap.

    One of my co-workers was entering a taxi and saw the NYPD kill the shooter. “Driver, JFK Airport, and step on it!”

  • Shaw,

    Voting Democrat is NOT necessarily a mortal sin. It’s really reckless to say such things.

  • And Tom, so in 1860 you would have encouraged Catholics to not vote for Lincoln since his position on slavery was constrained by pragmatic politics and imperfect? So America gets Stephen Douglas and a couple extra decades of men, women and children in chains, all in exchange for your phony principle?

  • MP: Apparently, K believes that stealing (government without justice is mass brigandage) other people’s money to give it to the democrat voting base (coincidentally including UAW, NEA, PLO, Wall Street bankers, green boondoggles like Solndra, etc.) is plenary indulgence. It wipes away about 5,000,000 mortal sins advanced by the democrat agenda. Because Matt. 25: The Final Judgment: “I was hungry and you voted for Obama . . .”

  • I don’t consider it a non-issue to use political euphemisms to represent what is evil as what is good.

  • “step in the right direction”

    Ok. so ‘splain to me how this is different from Benedict XVI’s statement that use of a condom by an HIV positive person is a “step in the right direction” brouhaha? In that case, it did not mean the Pope was backing off on the intrinsic immorality of artificial contraception, but rather that it showed the person was at least starting to recognize that consideration of others was more important than his own personal gratification, and hopefully someday that same person would arrive at the fullness of truth on sexual morality. IIRC, Mark defended the statement pretty much along those lines (and I would agree with him).

    How is Ryan’s statement different wrt hoping the country finally arrives at the fullness of truth on abortion?

  • Mitt Romney’s position on abortion is objectively evil. If pointing out that fact constitutes encouraging Catholics not to vote for him, blame the party that nominated him, not me.

    And if people think pointing out that fact is implying that voting for Romney is objectively evil, blame the parish that catechized them.

  • T. Shaw: “Cast your vote for the 88% pro-life team or for the 0% pro-life regime.”

    Tom K: “Bona fide Catholics understand that “88% pro-life” is a political euphemism for an objectively evil position ……. I don’t consider it a non-issue to use political euphemisms to represent what is evil as what is good.”

    Tom, do you seriously consider your response a fair or honest characterization of Mr. Shaw’s comment? In other words, was Mr. Shaw saying that 88% was perfect or simply better? You do realize that the bishops have repeatedly stated that supporting measures that are less than 100% pro-life can be morally acceptable if they are the best practical option for advancing the pro-life cause, do you not?

  • If I also recall, the letter sent out by B XVI last election dealing with what legislators could and couldn’t do wrt objectively evil legislation seems relevant here. The letter said something to the effect that a legislator whose pro-life position is well known, could vote for a law that while not removing an evil entirely, limits or restricts the evil from the current norm. It would seem said legislator could morally vote for a law restricting abortion to rape or life of mom, given the current status, so long as it is clear it is intended as a step, not the end game.

    How is Ryan’s position different from that? And how is voting for Romney, given his exceptions and the current state of law on abortion, substantively different from a legislator voting for such a law in the situation above? Or am I not recalling the letter correctly?

  • I like Tom better when he’s not being ornery. I also refuse to believe that he doesn’t know he’s being ornery.

  • I like Tom better when he’s not being ornery. I also refuse to believe that he doesn’t know he’s being ornery.

    Ditto.

    But we have grown accustomed to talking about things like “88% pro-life” as though they were good things.

    “88% pro-life” is not a good thing. It is a gravely evil thing.

    “88% pro-life” is, as I said, a political euphemism. It means “not pro-life.”

    Here’s my proposal: If politically conservative Catholics spent more time talking about why “88% pro-life” is a gravely evil thing, and less time talking about why people can vote for candidates who are not pro-life, there would be more pro-life candidates to vote for.

  • I’ll drink to that proposal and offer one of my own:

    If the bishops would spend less time talking about being Catholic and more time ex-communicating there would be more pro-life candidates and less scandal.

  • “88% pro-life” is a gravely evil thing, and less time talking about why people can vote for candidates who are not pro-life, there would be more pro-life candidates to vote for.”

    Doubtful. The abolitionists proved completely politically ineffective. It took the election of an anti-slavery Abraham Lincoln, who was regarded with disdain and opposition by quite a few abolitionists, to set in motion the events that led to the end of slavery. I find that historical memory instructive in regard to candidates and abortion. Currently pro-life legislation is being passed around the country in legislatures that are now dominated by Republicans, most of whom are pro-life, but a majority of whom also support rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions. Should we turn our back on this good work because the elected officals are not one hundred percent against abortion?

    If the goal is to restrict abortion and ultimately end it, not wanting to vote for anyone other than someone who is 100 percent against abortion, my position, is completely counter productive. If a candidate is for rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions, and will work to ban all other abortions, then he is clearly preferable to someone who is one hundred percent pro-abortion. After we reach the goal of banning all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, then we can work to close those exceptions.

    If the goal is merely to vent in com boxes and concede the political struggle to the pro-aborts by effectively leaving the political arena, then a pure pro-life strategy is appealling.

  • “88% pro-life” is a gravely evil thing, and less time talking about why people can vote for candidates who are not pro-life, there would be more pro-life candidates to vote for.”

    I’m not so sure that Tom is wrong on this, I can see how this type of conversation might produce more candidates who would appeal to our rather small echo chamber. This would not advance the ball, of course, any more than voting for Radical Republican abolotionists rather than Lincoln would have advanced the ball on slavery, but I suppose it might make a voter *feel* pure, holy, righteous and all that.

  • To not vote for someone who can further the culture of Life is akin to say: Let’s not ever vote for a Christian! Let’s only vote for Catholics because we know it’s the one true church founded by Our Lord himself!

  • “I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”

    I’m willing to hold my breath, give the benefit of the doubt, and take the wait-and-see approach. After all, he has to get into office first, and with all the hatred (mis)directed towards Catholics in our world today, and the number of Catholics who vote for Obama and the pro-choice stance, getting into office would be much more difficult if he came right out arguing against Romney full frontal on this issue. This issue has been and will continue to be an on-going one; one that will not be immediately and tactically resolved even if he were to go into office with a 100% pro-life position. I feel IT IS a good step in the right direction – it’s a MOVEMENT in a direction that is closer to being 100% pro-life than not. If he were to get into office, then we can only pray (and as always make our voices heard) that he takes that step further until there is NO death to the unborn innocents – EVER. We should stand in unity to continue to work on this issue realizing that it’s a long-term war — not a short-term battle. Right now, I’m choosing not to be so quick to judge or join in on the ugliness of politics…and pray.

  • ” If a candidate is for rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions, and will work to ban all other abortions, then he is clearly preferable to someone who is one hundred percent pro-abortion. After we reach the goal of banning all abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, then we can work to close those exceptions.

    If the goal is merely to vent in com boxes and concede the political struggle to the pro-aborts by effectively leaving the political arena, then a pure pro-life strategy is appealing.” Exactly how a Catholic must vote. Sometimes the choices are difficult and you have to ask; who is MORE pro life or MORE pro abortion. It’s the reality we deal with and we have to do the best we can. Clearly we must defeat Obama and if that means voting when we really don’t feel we have any choice-then we’d better vote. Otherwise it’s just a vote for Obama anyway. You may as well fill out the ballot with BHO’s name on it.

    The REAL problem is candidates are afraid to stand up and be totally pro life-from conception to natural death and don’t realize you cannot start making exceptions.
    They think if they go that far they will not get elected. The truth is they may not and no candidate who is PRO LIFE and can’t win does us any good. What we need to do is finally stand up to those that are pro abortion,steal the narrative away from them and elect someone who is truly pro life in spite of them. We can have the discussion later on why there are no exceptions to deliberately murdering an innocent.

  • One of the most irritating aspects of the left is that they judge programs, not by outcomes, but by how good and morally superior it makes them feel. By any objective standards, LBJ’s War on Poverty is a failure, which has degraded the lives of millions trapped in the inner cities and dependent on government checks. But hey, those policies make white libs feel “compassionate” so let’s continue them.

    It’s disheartening to see people on our side engage in the same sort of thing. The bottom line is this: babies are left to die on tables every day, they get their brains sucked out, abortions are available right up to the delivery date – and our president and his party are completely OK with that. If he is elected in November, he will name SP Justices who are also OK with that. The entire pro-life cause will be set back for decades. However, the pro lifers who sit this one out will be able to congratuate themselves on their moral purity – nevermind the actual results or political reality.

  • “It’s disheartening to see people on our side engage in the same sort of thing.”

    Bulverism like this — and Mike’s “it might make a voter *feel* pure, holy, righteous and all that” — demonstrates only the poverty of thought on the part of the bulverist.

    It’s all the more shameful in that Catholics show themselves unable to conceive of a reason to point out evil other than to feel morally superior.

  • Tom K,
    A sane person understands that going from 100% abortions legal to 5% is a good thing even if 5% abortions legal is a bad thing. So a sane man battles to see this good thing happen and resents being opposed by the man who opposes the good thing happening because a bad thing remains. The latter man is either a fool or evil.

  • What is the ‘bul’ part with ‘verism’ ? Is it a superior way to cut at the verism of Catholic reason? My B student dictionary mentions ‘bull’ session.
    If bull prefixes truth or realism, then it must mean that an “l” is dropped.
    So, that last sentence sounds like you are maybe looking for cites from Scripture or the Catechism in the pointing out of evil.

  • I believe it’s because of people like Mark Shea that we wound up with the most pro-abortion president in history and I truly feel he will be judged accordingly, just as anyone who supports abortion rights candidates over pro-life candidates. Ryan had to be carefull how he answered that question because it was a trap type question to tie him to Aikin which would give the dem’s and media enough ammo to likley re-elect Obama. Romney pledged to Jay Sekuluv who stated on EWTN radio that he will appoint judges to the court that respect life from conception to natural death and now with a real Catholic on the ticket you can bet he will……

  • “What is the ‘bul’ part with ‘verism’ ?”

    It was devised by CS Lewis:

    “You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third — “Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”

  • I agree with all Robert that writes, especially on how some self-anointed have employed the perfect to ruin the good. It’s comes really close to “detraction.”

    The Obama-worshiping shills that populate the so-called media’s have two jobs. Ambush GOP candidates and lob “softballs” at liberals.

    Typical question to Obama, “Do you like fried onions on your cheeseburger?”.

    Typical question to Romney, “When did you stop beating your wife?”.

    Here’s one I would ask Obama, “Do you prefer fried or roasted canine?”

  • Thank you for the explanation, Don – I should have looked it up in the web search area.
    Never would have guessed the word was another gift from CS Lewis. It really does define the way governments have gone from keeping outward order to ruling to roost of its people.
    Maybe E. Bulver’s mother was one of the makers of 1960’s ‘feminism’, when fifty years later, some in government want to be sure that public schools provide birth control for age 12 more than teaching them how to think. And on to results in ‘fashion’, greed, and bad manners.
    Oh, relieved that T. Shaw didn’t get bulverised at the ATM wall on Friday AM.

Deroy Murdock Wants the GOP to Engage in Five Minutes of Hate Against Akin

Wednesday, August 22, AD 2012

Sometimes I can get heated in my writing. I recognize that I am not always the most temperate of bloggers. But if I ever write anything as hysterically removed from reality as this Corner posting by Deroy Murdock, please have me forcibly removed from the internet.

Murdock starts out semi-sensibly, expressing his disgust over Akin’s comments and stating that he should have dropped out of his Senate race. Fair enough, that’s how I felt about the matter. Then he delves into apocalyptic nonsense.

This will be an utter catastrophe for the GOP — from St. Louis to San Diego to Seattle to Sarasota to Seabrook.

Any American who does not know Akin’s name already is about to hear it non-stop, thanks to Democrats who cannot believe the beautifully wrapped gift that Akin just handed them. Rather than engage the buoyant Paul Ryan and the re-energized Mitt Romney or explain to seniors why President Obama swiped $716 billion from Medicare to finance Obamacare, Democrats will have a much more startling theme to pound home until November: Republicans are soft on rape.

Yeah. It is true that Akin has likely prevented the Republicans from picking up a Senate seat, but Murdock is just as likely highly exaggerating the ramifications of his comments for the rest of the party. Yes, Akin provides some fresh meat for a Democrat party, but really, they aren’t really saying anything new about the woman-hating GOP. Meanwhile, the economy remains a shambles, and the American public is only so willing to permit distractions to make them forget that fact. So I think that Akin’s comments, while insanely idiotic, will not have a far-reaching impact beyond his own race.

Around the clock, Democratic candidates, spokesmen, commercials, and the party’s foot soldiers in the news media will labor sedulously to transform the party of Lincoln and Reagan into the party of Akin. By Election Day, Akin will be more famous, ubiquitous, and inescapable than Kim Kardashian. His twisted comments on rape will be played again and again, with spooky music, scary edits, and every instrument in the campaign consultant’s tool box applied to amplify this message.

By November 6, the only woman who will vote for Mitt Romney will be Ann Romney — maybe.

Uh huh. The GOP will be able to replay Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment on the same repeated loop (and actually slightly more often considering the GOP money advantage). Which of these two ploys will resonate more deeply with voters this election cycle?

With women (and many men) terrified by the Party of Rape, Republican candidates and causes will fall like autumn leaves, after which some will blow away, and others will gather in piles and fester.

Sure. Moreover, failed Republican candidates will grieve for months over the shocking loss. Bereft of comfort, they will spiral out of control, dying desolate and alone, clutching nothing but an empty bottle that was their only means of warmth on the cold streets in which they dwelled. Their widows and orphans will wallow in misery. Even with Obamacare fully implemented and strengthened by the McCaskill amendment barring all private insurance, making the federal government the sole provide of healthcare, the GOP widows will be abandoned by a vengeful government. Eventually they will be killed – as will we all – by the machines that rise to power after President Biden accidentally flips the wrong switch on the day they are to be activated in our war with Canada.

Does Akin want to be the man whom history will recall as guaranteeing McCaskill’s reelection, possibly keeping the U.S. Senate in the hands of hardened liberal Democrat, Harry Reid?

Does Akin hope to be known in perpetuity as the cause of Barack Obama’s reelection, notwithstanding the multifarious merits of the Romney-Ryan ticket?

Does Akin want to lie on his deathbed and exhale his last breath while trying vainly to forget that he made it impossible to repeal Obamacare, reverse the rampant damage of the Obama years, and turn America from the path to decline?

Does Akin want to wake up in the fiery depths of hell, Satan welcoming him to an eternal torment?

Does Akin want to spend his hellish eternity watching re-runs of What’s Happening while listening to the soulful tunes of Kenny G?

Does Akin want to open the portal that allows all of the demons of hell to march triumphantly upon heaven, thus causing all of eternity to be erased in an instant?

Well if Akin doesn’t want to end all of existence, then there’s no choice but to unleash the hounds of parliamentary procedure.

On its opening evening in Tampa, the Republican National Convention should vote on prime-time television to denounce Akin, reject his wretched comments, disassociate the party from him, and pledge that no GOP resources will be deployed to support his campaign. Each delegation should express itself on this matter through a roll call of the states. The decision should be overwhelming, if not unanimous, against Akin.

His name will be stricken from the records, his mere existence denied Republicans for all eternity. Any who dare even mention the name Akin – who hereafter shall be referred to as He Who Must Not Be Named – will be arrested and jailed.

Of course this still might not be enough. Todd Akin should be dragged onto the stage and sacrificed. Sandra Fluke should be invited to be the one to plunge the knife into Akin’s still-beating heart. And she should be given a lifetime supply of contraception as a final means of atonement.

Then, and only then, will this long national nightmare finally be behind us.

Until somebody else says something stupid. In other words, when Joe Biden speaks in public again.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Deroy Murdock Wants the GOP to Engage in Five Minutes of Hate Against Akin

  • You’re right, he is hysterical. Liberal friends must have been on his case about it all day. In the meantime, the government is still spending money at an insane clip, unemployment is still high and when I filled my gas tank today I had to part with $55. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the American people are stupid enough to talk about nothing but female plumbing and the comments made by a MO Senatorial candidate for the next 2 months, although the Democrats think they are. But then the Democrats think the electorate is so stupid they can’t obtain ID or birth control for themselves or manage their own healthcare. That’s why we need Democrats to do those things for us.

    I don’t see what else the GOP can do about Akin that they have not already done. Romney/Ryan did a quick pivot, denounced the comments, tried to get Akins to drop out and the GOP money spigot has been turned off. Endless groveling and apologizing is not the way to project an image of strength and adulthood. The GOP has always been bad about letting itself be put on the defensive by the donks, and so they always get caught endlessly explaining that they really don’t hate women and really don’t want to kill grandma and let people die on the side of the road.

    Enough of that. Romney and Ryan had a great week last week because they were on the offensive. That needs to continue and I think it will. And I think that if the Dems continue to pound it after that, they’ll overplay their hand – especially if Akin starts gets money from the Dems to help him continue. Remember Wellstone.

  • Oh, and anybody who believes that Akin’s remarks reflect on the entire GOP was never going to vote Republican anyway.

  • Someone should tell him that by saying such things in such ways, he makes them more likely to become real.

  • What voters really care about can be divined from a remark of Lionel Jospin’s that is widely believed to have cost him the French presidency – «l’État ne peut pas tout» – The state can’t do everything. It was the ultimate apostasy from all they had been taught to believe.

  • bravo, i sent NRO an email saying this. well mine was only one sentence but same gist.

    i may be reading too much into this but IIRC Murdock is a “The Economy Is Everything” conservatarian (correct me if i’m wrong — and obviously i am not trying to downplay its importance, just saying) and so that might explain why he thinks the GOP needs to be so forceful in denouncing this guy. obviously no one’s defending Akin but maybe he took it as there being more Akin-like Dark Age forces in the GOP, threatening to derail Romney-Ryan’s laser-like economic focus? i dunno.

    honestly when i got toward the end i thought maybe he was going for some kinda satire

  • no one except Mike Huckabee*, Morally Therapeutic Conservative extraordinaire

    “he said sorry” — ugh

  • Agreed Paul. This hysterical fellow reminds me of this incident from the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864:

    “On the second day of the fighting one Union general told him, “General Grant, this is a crisis that cannot be looked upon too seriously. I know Lee’s methods well by past experience; he will throw his whole army between us and the Rapidan, and cut us off completely from our communications.” Usually phlegmatic, Grant permitted himself a rare show of annoyance. “Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command,” he snapped, “and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.””

    Some conservatives always act as if they need a spine transplant.

  • The real answer to the question is abortion is murder. Killing your child is murder and your choice. It’s not a war against women. It is a war against children supported by everyone even the phony president and his wife, yes the demo-dummies. Look at the web-site Priests for Life and see the pictures of your choice. Or maybe you don’t want the responsibility of of your choice being shown. Akin is only supporting his view and not yours.

  • “Seriously Deroy Murdock Needs Some Xanax” — that has got to be the tag of the day!

    I can kinda sympathize, just a little, with his sentiment — the last thing the GOP needs is more “war on women” meme ammunition — but can ANYONE, seriously, think of a POTUS race that was decided by a single ill advised remark by a downballot candidate from one state? Some people point to Gerald Ford’s “there is no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe” remark as the undoing of his 1976 election bid, but that was something HE said during a nationally televised debate, not something said by a GOP Senate or Congressional candidate that hardly anyone outside that person’s home state had heard of.

  • Henry: I honestly have no idea who or what your comment is addressed to.

  • Love this post, Paul Z. Some of your paragraphs approach the satire level of “The Larry D”.

    “Moreover, failed Republican candidates will grieve for months over the shocking loss. Bereft of comfort, they will spiral out of control, dying desolate and alone, clutching nothing but an empty bottle that was their only means of warmth on the cold streets in which they dwelled. Their widows and orphans will wallow in misery. Even with Obamacare fully implemented and strengthened by the McCaskill amendment barring all private insurance, making the federal government the sole provide of healthcare, the GOP widows will be abandoned by a vengeful government. Eventually they will be killed – as will we all – by the machines that rise to power after President Biden accidentally flips the wrong switch on the day they are to be activated in our war with Canada.”

    😀

  • Murdock says “Does Akin want to be the man whom history will recall as guaranteeing McCaskill’s reelection, possibly keeping the U.S. Senate in the hands of hardened liberal Democrat, Harry Reid?”

    If he had trimmed his rant to this sentence he might have had a point and it would be bad enough as an outcome. However it wouldn’t have generated your impassioned (and hilarious) response. So we must be grateful for all of it.

  • “Does Akin want to spend his hellish eternity watching reruns of What’s Happening!!! while listening to the soulful tunes of Kenny G.?”

    Kenny G. would be mere purgatory. Spending eternity listening to Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan… now that would be hell 🙂

16 Responses to The Conquest of Poverty

  • The late great Henry Hazlitt. Now that’s a name that rarely is mentioned and when he is, his works never disappoint.

  • Obama, bless his heart, doesn’t foster equal opportunity, he forces equal outcomes. That has failed adding to poverty.

  • “The key idea here, though, is that charitable giving is not a duty of justice or a duty enforced by human law. The state has no obligation to confiscate and redistribute wealth in order to “help the poor” (assuming that this is what the aim really is).

    Nor do Catholics have an obligation to advocate for policies that would do as much, let alone castigate and anathematize other Catholics who object to the prudence and morality of such policies.”

    ‘Tolerance’ is a two way street and, when in balance, allows the higher virtue of charity to flourish.

    .”(13) But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one’s standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. “Of that which remaineth, give alms.”(14) It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity – a duty not enforced by human law. – Rerum Novarum, 22

    “This not only appears to go against what the most radical anti-Ryanites insist upon, but it really describes the way most of us already think and live anyway.”

    Charity has been a traditional function of both religious and civic groups traditionally, fostering unity and civility.

    Very few of the agitated middle-class leftists, Democrats, liberals, et. al. are living in rags because they have given the majority of their wealth to “the poor.” Something tells me that Chris Matthews, E.J. Dionne, and others on that side of the political divide are enjoying all of the perks and pleasures that an upper-middle class American lifestyle makes possible.”

    – not fostering unity and civility either.

  • You don’t conquer poverty by giving man his clothing, food, and shelter. You defeat poverty by teaching (fix failed public education) him the skills to earn them; and by removing the obstacles (class hate, demagoguery, green boondoggles, enviro-nazi hindrances to low cost energy, costly regulations, high taxes, etc.) to economic development and job growth.

    Conquer poverty
    Vote Romney/Ryan

  • Populorum Progressio is part of Catholic Social teaching, too.

    “Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this truth: “God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all.” (20)

    All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should in no way hinder it; in fact, they should actively facilitate its implementation. Redirecting these rights back to their original purpose must be regarded as an important and urgent social duty.”

    Paul VI also cites St Ambrose “”You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.”

    St Gregory, too, says, “”When we give the poor what is necessary to them, we are not so much bestowing on them what is our property as rendering to them what is their own; and it may be said to be an act of justice rather than a work of mercy.”

    On the balance between the rôle of the state and private initiative, Paul VI teaches, “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work.”

  • Created goods do indeed flow fairly to all when markets are free. Glad we agree on that one.

    But I really have to disagree with the good saints, whose statements are not authoritative, on the question of property ownership. Rerum Novarum, which is authoritative, establishes the natural, individual right to acquire private property through one’s labor – and makes a pretty clear distinction between what is one’s own, and what one must give to others. You can dance around it all you like, but it will still be there when you are done. Theologians and saints can craft lofty phrases, but popes are in the business of governing.

    As for the last statement, it is simply a fact that planned economies don’t work. These comments were made in the 60s, when planned economies still seemed viable, when the Soviet experiment was still in full swing and social democracy was established in Europe. Subsequent events have demonstrated that “the public authorities” are absolutely incompetent when it comes to economic planning.

    Since it cannot be the Church’s intention to harm the common good by prescribing disastrous economic policies, I think we can safely ignore this prescription.

  • Rerum Novarum does, indeed, establish the right to private property; Populorum Progressio says that “All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle. ”

    There is no contradiction here, simply a development of doctrine.

  • There is a contradiction between respecting private property rights and calling for a planned economy. In an economy in which private property rights are respected, private property owners make economic decisions, not government agencies.

  • “private property owners make economic decisions, not government agencies.”

    Of course, but within the constraints established by public policy; that is why Populorum Progressio insists that public authorities see to it that “private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights. ”

    Again, there is no conflict here.

  • The Popes’ assumed that man would be virtuous.

    It is not so.

    Socialists, progressives, liberals, democrats don’t care about the poor. If they did they wouldn’t have spent 80 years pushing the same old failed garbage. They care about political power.

  • Pingback: Foot Washing Disobedience Poverty Catholic Church | Big Pulpit
  • My son has autism spectrum disorder. He can speak, and he can work, but his condition requires a job coach to help him stay on task and moderate his behavior, which unaided will become self-injurious.

    Is he the “extreme need exception”? How will this be temporary? What WILL be temporary will be my life and my ability to provide for him financially and protect him from financial or personal abuse. He does not have the social capability to protect himself.

    One does not have to be a “socialist” to understand that a just society protects those that are weakest and cannot fend for themselves. I don’t expect my son’s “exception” to assume the “rule,” but it is a vast oversimplification of life that “extreme need is a temporary and relative phenomenon.

    Don’t get me wrong, America has gone too far on the path of socialism. But it is vastly unrealistic to assume that a safety net can be temporary, or that enough money can be produced by private charity or local governments, in all cases where basic human compassion (forget Christian morality, which presumably the author believes in) would require more.

  • Michael,

    I was obviously talking about the absence of a permanently impoverished caste in modern industrial societies. People with illnesses are a different story.

    I don’t think it is unrealistic at all to expect private charity, personal income, family support, and local community to help people with extreme needs. This is how the human race survived for thousands of years. The existence of the nation-state doesn’t automatically entitle you to everything that a nation-state can theoretically provide – especially when its fiscal disorders are so severe that it can barely afford to deliver what it has already promised.

  • Conquer poverty.

    Vote Romney/Ryan.

At His Execution

Wednesday, August 22, AD 2012

 

 

The twelfth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , herehere , here, here, here, here , here and here.  Kipling was not conventionally religious.  He once described himself jokingly as a pious Christian atheist.  However, many of his poems dealt with religious themes.  One of his most moving religious poems he wrote in 1932, four years before his death.

At His Execution

 

I am made all things to all men–

 Hebrew, Roman, and Greek–

 In each one’s tongue I speak,

Suiting to each my word,

That some may be drawn to the Lord!

I am made all things to all men–

 In City or Wilderness

 Praising the crafts they profess

That some may be drawn to the Lord–

By any means to my Lord!

Since I was overcome

 By that great Light and Word,

 I have forgot or forgone

The self men call their own

(Being made all things to all men)

 So that I might save some

 At such small price to the Lord,

As being all things to all men.

I was made all things to all men,

But now my course is done–

And now is my reward…

Ah, Christ, when I stand at Thy Throne

With those I have drawn to the Lord,

 Restore me my self again!

Continue reading...

6 Responses to At His Execution

  • “Judge of the Nations, spare us yet.
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!”

    “If” for his son lost in battle on being a man.

    So much wisdom, humor and sense in words that could be about today for all of us.

    Young people would benefit for life, individually and as a people, if they could use some time with him all laid out in your posts mentioned above. The three R’s plus Rudyard for four R’s.

    Those beyond young can see life unfolding in his work.

    In 2012, he’d have some ‘tweaking’ maybe – but his words ring true.

  • I hate to be a downer, but isn’t there a certain sense of fatigue or non-Christian selfishness expressed in that last line?

    A Christian would say he gave up himself to find his true self. Or he abandoned his old self to be made into a new self. Or he loses himself completely in God. Kipling’s Paul seems to be saying that he’s done his job – forgetting himself to be all things to all people – and now he just wants to go back to being his old self. “Restore”.

    I could be wrong on this. But I think that some of the other Kipling poems you’ve presented had a theme of the weary soldier just wanting to go back home, trudging through the impossible. That sounds Kipling-y to me. Kipling’s Paul sounds more like that than someone like the historical Paul who became a new creature through Jesus. There’s also the fact that by your reading the tone of the poem is unvarying, and usually that doesn’t happen. Most poems have a mood change in them or a twist in the final verse.

  • Perhaps Pinky, or perhaps it is Kipling’s way of underlining the sense of “mission accomplished” that Saint Paul had when he wrote about completing the race and a merited crown. What Christ had made Saint Paul on Earth through divine intervention, the missionary to the Gentiles, all things to all men, would no longer be necessary in Heaven. Note how Kipling uses the term reward. One of the joys of Heaven is the banishment of the strife and constant battle we find ourselves engaged in for Christ here on Earth. The distinction between the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant.

  • 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith;”

    Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” St. Paul’s Farewell to the Elders of Ephesus.

  • Kipling on point:

    “So we loosed a bloomin’ volley,
    An’ we made the beggars cut,
    An’ when our pouch was emptied out.
    We used the bloomin’ butt,
    Ho! My!
    Don’t yer come anigh,
    When Tommy is a playin’ with the baynit an’ the butt.”
    “The Taking of Lungtingpen” –Barrack Room Ballads.

17 Responses to Happily Clinging

  • After fretting about Akin all day, this put a smile on my face. The “Catholic deerhunter” should go over very well in Michigan.

    And hey, the Obama adminstration is going to send BIDEN to the GOP convention. While he is there, perhaps he’ll ask Jindal if he runs a 7-11, tell Ryan that he, Biden “has a much higher IQ,” and inform Alan West that West will be “put back in chains” by Romney.
    Who knows what will come out of Joe’s mouth next? And what in the world is the WH thinking of? I am sure Reince Pribuses’ otherwise gloomy day was lightened by that bit of information – he stated that the Dem convention might just have a surprise visitor of its’ own. Pass the popcorn!

  • That’s it? This makes him the new Bob Hope? How the mighty have fallen.

  • Ivan, you miss the point. He is not trying to be the new Bob Hope. (If you want comedy, watch the Biden videos.)

    Ryan might very well be the new Ronald Reagan.

  • Oh, the new Ronald Reagan – with one big difference.

    Liberals delighted in portraying Reagan as dumb, although Reagan was not.

    Good luck in trying to portray Ryan as dumb.

  • Donna V, that Ryan is considered an intellectual heavyweight is more a commentary on the state of US politics than his ability. The US has not had a president with intellectual heft since Richard Nixon. A votary of Ayn Rand cannot be taken seriously as a conservative intellectual if only because the case for liberty and its connection to small government have been made with far greater insight into human nature and society by men such as Burke, de Tocqueville and Hayek; the Rand fans are basically right-wing pseudo intellectuals, the prime example being Alan Greenspan.

  • Please Ivan. Nixon an intellectual heavy weight! Yeah, the man who turned a third rate political burglary into an overwhelming political crisis that drove him from office, handed the Democrats majorities in Congress in the 1974 elections that they used to facilitate the Communist conquest of Southeast Asia, and gave the nation the curse of Carter in 1976. Nixon was many things: liberal Republican, mendacious, a poor politician, creepy, a big government advocate, but an intellectual heavyweight, never!, as the turgid tomes he churned out in retirement amply demonstrated.

    As for Ryan being a votary of Rand, that simply is not true. What Ryan understands is that the US must get its financial house in order. That is not Randian, but simple common sense. Fortunately Ryan, in addition to common sense, also brings to the table an understanding of the US budget sharper than any of his contemporaries. Nixon, who believed in, and implemented, nonsense like wage and price controls, is not worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Ryan.

  • As for Bob Hope, I am certain he is looking down from Heaven and giving a thumbs up to Ryan:

  • Good post. Love that Bob hope You Tube video!

  • Seems to me you guys ought to get off your high horse re/Rand. She wrote some pretty good fiction and made a lot of sense in support of an economic system she believed in. And lets face it it can’t be much worse than the one we live with here. Economics is/was known at the “dismal science” and in pure form is amoral (as is all science), so it is a perfect fit for an atheist. There is nothing that says that after the science is done you can’t add a “variable constant” called the fudge factor, or even better call it compassion or Christian Charity. Market forces work. The amazing thing is that they work as well as they do here when we interfere every step of the way.
    There is always something to learn, no matter how despicable your source. If you don’t think so go reread “Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis. I think it paints a pretty good picture of the devil. Yes, I know it is fiction, but so are “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” – of course it’ts been 30 years since I read any of them so . . .

  • Only if puerile rubbish is pretty good. I laughed my way through Atlas Shrugged when I was eight. Even then I was able to recognize a rotten writer when I encountered one. When Gary Cooper was playing Howard Roark in the movie version of The Fountainhead he had to give one of the speeches that always littered Ayn Rand’s tracts. He said he had to memorize it, and that it was pretty difficult since parts of it seemed silly, parts crazy and parts didn’t make any sense at all. That is a pretty good summary of Ayn Rand as a writer.

  • Ivan: Ryan is a smart man. He is one of the precious few (this does not include 18,669 academic econ PhD’s; Federal Reserve System analysts, and all but two on Wall Street) that saw the massing housing bubble and tried to cut it off.

    I guess I still have a shot at being a “good” Catholic. I never read any of Rand’s stuff.

  • Mr. McCleary, I very much agree with your comments. When I was in highschool I read Rand’s fiction. I do remember thinking, “Oh that could never happen in America!” However as fictional is it was and is, some of her intellectual blithering seems to have come to and are coming to pass.

  • Oh, her criticisms of the Welfare State had some validity, but everything about the novels were simply over the top, humorless and unintentionally funny. Ayn Rand was such a humorless writer of potboilers. I honestly think that her novels sold as well as they did, because she mixed in a fair amount of sex with her turgid polemics, back at time when that was far rarer than in our smut drenched time.

  • When I went through my libertarian phase on my journey from left to right, I tried to plow through Rand and found her simply unreadable. I know there are female Rand fans out there, but I’ve never met them. The most enthusiastic Randians I met were inevitably single men in their 20’s and early 30’s, usually very bright and ambitious. The gospel of individualism and the “virtue” of selfishness appeals to certain driven young guys who are burning to make their mark on the world. (And then they marry and start families and find that two o’clock feedings and colicky babies put quite a damper on selfishness.)

    I would add that those young Randians I knew were mainly engineers, math and science guys with little interest in reading fiction in general – which is why they mistook Rand for a great writer. They hadn’t read enough really great fiction to realize how cardboard Rand’s characters are and what a bad stylist she was.

    When I heard that Ryan read Rand, I smiled, because he certainly fits the profile. I didn’t think for a moment that it meant that he was really heartless and selfish, anymore than the Rand fans I knew were heartless and selfish. On the contrary, they were nice, wonkish guys who liked to talk a tough game because they were young and callow.

    Hey, it’s enough for me that Ryan knows his math. Expecting great taste in fiction would be asking too much 😉

  • Donna V.,
    Interesting. In that young 20’s age bracket, I think it was the individualism more than any other idea that came out of the “Fountainhead” – the time when life is sort of the open road. I had been reading lists of classics, and decided to look at something more ‘modern’ during some weekend or other and, at that age, as a girl, for the romance aspect so touted around the alternative-to-classics conversations by professors. Unreal. Just reading a novel doesn’t deter furthering experience and development. A life has its ages and seasons.

    Have to wonder what novels so defined the radical left that are freaking out over this. Have to wonder how their budget looks – but they don’t have one, do they?

    Mainly, I want to say that I’m sure that Paul Ryan has read other books, and that I agree with you on his budgeting brilliance based on reality and math skill.

  • Paul Ryan was in Carnegie, just a few miles outside of Pittsburgh (the hometown of Honus Wagner and Mike Ditka, for those who are interested). it is also the charming little town where I catch the bus, but I doubt if anyone care much about that.

    Ryan knocked it out of the park. He charmed the audience with his wit and had a great grasp of the issues. Of course, the local Democrat Party dragged out their rent-a-mob with their pre-printed protest posters, along with a supremely stupid remark for Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive and typical Pittsburgh Democrat hack.

  • Hi Donald, by intellectual I had meant someone capable enough to drive arguments to the logical conclusions and possibly write their own books. Karl Marx is certainly an intellectual but a malign one, I do not necessarily hold them in high esteem. According to Wiki the wage and price controls were imposed under the extraordinary circumstance that the US was going off the Gold Standard. It would seem a prudent decision to head off a price wage spiral as the value of the US dollar comes to a new equilibrium against a basket of necessities and currencies, and lasted for all of 90 days. Pres Nixon had too many enemies for one lifetime. The Republican Yachting Club never considered this ambitious son of a poor man one of its own, and the Democrats had their knives at the ready since the HUAC hearings. Then too the Vietnam War was raging, and all too many intellectuals and politicians had a vested interest in seeing Nixon fail in South East Asia. Pres Nixon did have a plan for Vietnam, which was simplicity itself. Arm and train the South and in the meantime punish the Commies with devastating air raids for ceasefire violations. For a while the US succeeded, but the green-eyed Congress cut him off at his knees by embargoing supplies to the South, by spreading defeatism, and by tying his hands when it came to bombing the North.