Leftism as a Religion

Friday, November 30, AD 2012

Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,

2 Timothy 3:2

 

Dennis Praeger has a brilliant post up at National Review Online in which he describes leftism as a subsitute religion:

Within mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism, the same dominance of leftist values exists. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — not to mention the Notre Dame faculty — largely holds the same social and economic views as the Democratic party and the New York Times editorial page, though it differs with the Left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion, and religious-freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception. As for mainstream Protestant denominations, they, too, are largely indistinguishable from leftism. Proof? Ask a liberal Protestant minister to name one important area in which he and leftism differ. Ask a liberal Reform or Conservative rabbi the same question. Their silence will be telling.

 

The truth is that the Left has been far more successful in converting Jews and Christians to leftism than Christianity and Judaism have been in influencing leftists to convert to Christianity or Judaism.

Finally, leftism has even attained considerable success at undoing the central American values of Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum, supplanting liberty with egalitarianism, a God-based society with secularism, and E Pluribus Unum with multiculturalism. (I make this case at length in Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.)

This triumph of the 20th century’s most dynamic religion — leftism — is why, even in the midst of an ongoing recession, the leftist candidate may win. As I wrote in my last column, it’s not just the economy, stupid.

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14 Responses to Leftism as a Religion

  • “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops…differs with the Left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion, and religious-freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception.”

    Though, unfortunately, not all in the USCCB. Having been in a diaconate program in the past, I dealt with a number who don’t disagree with the left on these matters.

  • In Europe, the New Right have their own diagnosis. For them, liberalism “represents a secularization of ideas and perspectives borrowed from Christian metaphysics, which spread into secular life following a rejection of any transcendent dimension. Actually, one finds in Christianity the seeds of the great mutations that gave birth to the secular ideologies of the first post-revolutionary era. Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity. Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts. Reduced to an opinion among others, today Christianity has unwittingly become the victim of the movement it started. In the history of the West, it became the religion of the way out of religion.” [Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier]

    In positing nationalism against universalism, the organic, corporate state against individualism, hierarchy against egalitarianism and social order against economic growth, they regard Christianity as part of the problem, rather than the solution.

    Of course, their picture of Christianity is a caricature, but too many modern Christians lend credence to it.

  • Romans 1:25: “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.”

  • All one needed to do was consider the environmentalist movement for about five seconds to realize it just swipes the Christian narrative of Guilt and Redemption and repackages it with human-centered stupidity.

  • On top of all that, the religion of leftism has made significant inroads into other religious circles, especially Catholic circles. Just look at the statements of our bishops on issues dealing with poverty, immigration, war and peace. and capitail punishment. They are not only leftist, but reflexively leftist.

  • Who can dispute Dennis Praeger?. Take for example the Roman Catholic church. What can be said encouraging about a religion where 75 percent who say they are Catholic no longer believe in the Real Presence, the preeminent doctrine of faith. Consider the serious scandal they have caused by helping elect a president at the farthest left position in the political spectrum. They have become apostate and are in danger of losing salvation by endorsing abortion and other abominations. they are American traitors that have sold out our Christian nation to paganism.

    A PAGAN NATION?

    Has it finally come to an ignominious end?
    Must liberty and religious freedom we now rescind?
    Our Founding Fathers must now be assuredly aghast,
    if they knew their City on a Hill is now in the past.

    America was a definitive faith exercise.
    The United States is now decidedly otherwise.
    Compromise between good and evil can never prevail.
    Without the God our nation trusted, life is no avail.

    The Declaration of Independence we could once trust.
    Life, liberty, and happiness have been overcome with lust.
    Seeds of democracy’s destruction have now germinated.
    Every phase of government has been permeated.

    The American dream is now only a socialist scheme.
    It has then become a nightmare we can only blaspheme.
    American traitors committed a scandalous sin.
    They should never be allowed to enjoy freedom again.

    We must resurrect revolution to save us once more.
    Tyranny is something we have always known to deplore.
    God help return religious freedom to our native shore.
    So we can ask You to bless America evermore.

    Bob Rowland
    X1/XII/MMXII

  • religion- “blest be the ties that bind our hearts in Christian love” A big difference between the phantasm religion of the secularist, environmentalist , feminists–the ones who are not basically Judeo Christian– is the Love part. All the political, environmental, social concerns of the left could be Christian, could be based on LOVE but they are not.
    God is LOVE the parallel religion on the left is not about LOVE , but about self. Not to be holier than thou, we have to recognize that we are all tempted to SELF and try and trust with the aid of grace to overcome our selfishness…

    MPS said “Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. ” Conversion to Truth, to Love (which unites, does not divide.
    Rue the “unexpected consequences” of selfish thinking put in religious /philosophical terms … protestantism and what we today call the “left” is ancient really

  • Romans 1:28-32

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

  • [Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier] In positing nationalism against universalism, the organic, corporate state against individualism, hierarchy against egalitarianism and social order against economic growth, they regard Christianity as part of the problem, rather than the solution.

    OK. Does M. de Benoist have any analogue among either working politicians or academics? The fellow you descrobe appears to occupy the same position vis-a-vis French public life that Thomas Woods does vis a vis American public life: a writer who engages a circle of hobbyists.

  • I don’t believe leftism is a religion to its adherents, or else they would do a
    better job of following its supposed tenets. I think we can all agree that leftists
    give lip service to a love of ‘tolerance’ but have little tolerance for views that
    disagree with their own. ‘Respect for diversity’ does not seem to include respect
    for anything they deem politically incorrect.

    And what about their self-proclaimed concern for the poor? Several years ago,
    Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse, came out with the study Who Really
    Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism
    . In it,
    he noted that liberal-identifying families averaged 6% more in annual income
    than conservatives, but the conservative-identifying families donated 30% more
    to charity. Conservatives also reported donating more time and gave more
    blood.

    Comparing the tax returns of our politicians seems to bear this out. When
    running for president in 2008, Obama released his returns for 2000-2006, and
    they showed that he and Michelle donated about 1% of their income to charity
    each year. The McCains gave 18% in ’06, and Mitt Romney’s latest tax return
    released showed his family giving close to 30%, I believe. Vice President Cheney
    was caricatured as a heartless bastard by the left, but in 2006 he and his wife
    gave 3/4 of their annual income– about $7 million to medical research and
    to a a charity for low-income high school students in the DC area. The Bidens,
    on the other hand, gave about 2% of their income.

    If leftism isn’t a religion to its adherents, then what is it? I think it’s a sports
    team. The lefties identify with their guys, chant their slogans, rough up the
    opposing fans– but at the end of the day, rooting for their team isn’t going to
    affect how they live their lives.

  • New Right arguments and positions are influential in the Front National in France, the Freedom Party in Austria and Vlaams Belang in Belgium. It shares links with other groups, like Forza Nuova in Italy and Neue Rechte in Germany. Some of their positions can be found in the mainstream Right (UMP) in France

    Its views on the historic link between Christianity and Liberalism have also been taken up on the Left by people like Slavoj Zizek and Eric Hazan.

    In Europe, Benoist’s influence (although not his policies) has been compared to that of Paul Weyrich in the United States.

  • The late Mr. Weyrich ran a fundraising and training operation. He published little and published nothing in the realm of social theory or intellectual history. Are you sure you have not confused him with Paul Gottfried (who is influential only in a narrow circle and an unpleasant sort to boot)?

  • I was thinking more of Benoist’s way of buliding up networks of people, including intellectuals and donors.

    Another feature he shares with Weyrich is his linking in to religious groups, in Benoist’s case Rosicrucians, Anthroposohists, Neo-pagans, occultists like Thomas Karlsson and Massimo Scaligero &c He is an admirer of Julius Evola.

  • I must say i enjoyed your web site. Our mothers and fathers originate from Parts of asia, but I was created here in The us. This can be the best region in the world. I’m hoping we ensure that is stays free. I have saved your site to return.

The Fiscal Cliff, Taxes, Math and the End of the Road

Friday, November 30, AD 2012

 

The above video by Bill Whittle from 2011 illustrates how deep in the hole we are when it comes to annual deficits.  The idea of the Obama administration that the Bush tax cuts must expire for “the rich” earning over 250K (In Chicago that would be a cop and his schoolteacher wife.) has everything to do with politics and almost nothing to do with deficit reduction.  Here is why.

If you abolished all of the Bush tax cuts for “the rich” earning over 250K a year, and assuming they did not come up with ways to legally avoid the additional tax by deferring income,  the Treasury, further making the rash assumption that increasing taxes does not have any negative impact on the economy, would receive about 70 billion dollars in additional taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  This year our deficit is approximately 1.1 trillion dollars.  If we eliminate the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, the increase in taxes would be about 370 billion, according to the CBO, assuming, rashly, that increasing taxes on the middle class would not have a negative impact on the economy and swell the ranks of people qualifying for “freebies” from Uncle Sucker.

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9 Responses to The Fiscal Cliff, Taxes, Math and the End of the Road

  • Maybe it’s time to make “fiscal cliff diving” an Olympic sport….

  • Elaine, Medals of paper, tin foil, and CD’s of sounds of insane laughter from politicians/government spenders with a back beat of their footfalls running for cover as ill-gotten gains jingle in their pockets thinking they won the game.

  • With the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) media 24/7 fabricating facts it is impossible to guide popular opinion or to make known the truth.

  • The problem is too many people want to believe that 1+1=1,000,000,000. Either we need a populace with better knowledge of arithmetic, or we ride the delusion to its inevitable conclusion.

  • Pingback: SATURDAY GOD & CAESAR EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • Wow!! What an anti-Catholic sentiment. What a shame that many so-called Catholic web-sites like this one have become a champion of the greedy and corrupt. The republican econoimc platform is precisely what Thomas More called in “Utopia” a “a conspracy of the rich”. Church doctrine has alays suported left-leaning economic theory. Including such great Popes as Pius XI, John XXIII and John Paul II. We have consistently suported labor rights and government assistance in bringing about economic equality. You seem to support the same type of wealthy, elite, fascist government that got Oscar Romero murdered in San Salvador. How dare you call youreslf Catholic.

  • Ah Stephen, your comment should be preserved in amber to represent the mind set of leftist Catholics at the dawn of the second decade of the twenty-first century! Of course you wasted not a moment in dealing with the substance of the post which is that the tax increases asked for by the President I am confident you voted for will do absolutely nothing to solve our basic budget problem of attempting to spend money that we do not have. Screeching insults against those who do not share your political ideoplogy will do nothing to alter reality, although I am confident you will attempt to continue to do so.

  • I think Gerald L. Campbell has a spam generator.

  • I call them hard-working, diligent, responsible. Stephen calls them “greedy and corrupt.”

    I can’t go on.

    Stephen is exempli gratia for my comment of 1130 hours, 30 November:,

    “With the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) media 24/7 fabricating facts it is impossible to guide popular opinion or to make known the truth.” Add to the “lying, liberal” media, the brain-washing, so-called public schools and higher education systems.

    Again, in November 2008, they prove they are not racists. On November 6 and again on December 7, Stephen proves he is an imbecile.

Least Surprising Stats of the Day

Thursday, November 29, AD 2012

After their abysmal recent performance in the Presidential election I don’t know how much credence to give a Gallup poll, but these findings have the ring of truth.  53% of the Dems have a positive view of the term “Socialism” and 75% of Dems have a positive view of the Federal government.  Under Obama is there much difference in practice?  The Democrats are on a rapid path to morphing into a European style socialist party.

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6 Responses to Least Surprising Stats of the Day

  • In that age demographic, it’s good news that it’s not higher. That means less than half (if just barely) of the “brainless youth” of America believe in Socialism. I wonder how that would compare with our generation 30-35 years ago. As well, it would be interesting to see how steeply that percentage drops off once the demographic strides solidly into the age bracket of taxpayers and parents – things that are happening later in life.

  • This is no surprise. We are becoming what the USSR once was.

  • Socialism is a dull and illogical economic theory that always has been a disaster wherever it was imposed. N.B. “IMPOSED.”

    Socialism may be summarized in three words: “Plunder the Prosperous!”

    This is our “vail of tears.” The Gospels teach us that the Kingdom is not in, or of, the here and now; and that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom. Obama is trying to save souls??

    With one or two interruptions, e.g., 8 years of President Reagan; Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Clinton, and now Obama (accelerating the destruction of the evil, unjust private sector) have steadily decimated the ranks of the producers.

  • “Obama is trying to save souls??”

    I don’t know about that. I’ve always thought he was a materialist of the Marxist variety.

    No, the ones I fear are trying to do this are our fellow Christians who in one way or another have sought the elimination of inequality and the perfection of society through a false sense of social justice. They are the ones seeking a Kingdom of God on Earth.

    They won’t get it.

  • Doubtless they will get the reverse. When Man sets out to create Heaven on Earth he tends to devise a fair copy of the lowest eternal abode.

  • The rapid path is over, we are already there.

Kipling’s Commentary on the Age of Obama

Thursday, November 29, AD 2012

The seventeenth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here and  here.   Throughout his life Kipling was ever the foe of cant, especially when the cant was dressed up as the latest new thing.  In 1919 he aimed his poetic skills at various latest new things in the modern world that Kipling realized were very old bad ideas dressed up with jargon and sold to the gullible.  His poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings reads like a current commentary on our predicament, and more is the pity.

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,

I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:

But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,

So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

 

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,

But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come

That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

 

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;

They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;

So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

 

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.

But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

 

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)

Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

 

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;  

But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,  

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true

That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four

And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

 

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,  

And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

 

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,  

 The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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10 Responses to Kipling’s Commentary on the Age of Obama

  • Awesome . I wish we could read it to Congress

  • I cannot help but think of good men like George Bush and Mitt Romney and the lying, liberal (I repeat myself again) media when I read these lines from “If.”

    “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, ”

    Kipling takes “wisdom” from Proverbs.

    “For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear. For a servant when he reigneth, and a fool when he is filled with meat; for an odious woman when she is married, and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” — PROV. XXX. 21-22-23.

    “Three things make earth unquiet
    And four she cannot brook
    The godly Agur counted them
    And put them in a book —
    Those Four Tremendous Curses
    With which mankind is cursed;
    But a Servant when He Reigneth
    Old Agur entered first.

    “An Handmaid that is Mistress
    We need not call upon.
    A Fool when he is full of Meat
    Will fall asleep anon.
    An Odious Woman Married
    May bear a babe and mend;
    But a Servant when He Reigneth
    Is Confusion to the end.

    “His feet are swift to tumult,
    His hands are slow to toil,
    His ears are deaf to reason,
    His lips are loud in broil.
    He knows no use for power
    Except to show his might.
    He gives no heed to judgment
    Unless it prove him right.

    “Because he served a master
    Before his Kingship came,
    And hid in all disaster
    Behind his master’s name,
    So, when his Folly opens
    The unnecessary hells,
    A Servant when He Reigneth
    Throws the blame on some one else.

    “His vows are lightly spoken,
    His faith is hard to bind,
    His trust is easy broken,
    He fears his fellow-kind.
    The nearest mob will move him
    To break the pledge he gave —
    Oh, a Servant when he Reigneth
    Is more than ever slave!”

  • Donald McClarey I know this is not an open thread but reading this (and with the awareness of Coptic Catholics under death sentence for their part in the movie that Obama/ Clinton made famous, building on the work of some mullahs) puts me in mind of something else I have read and I wonder if you would be interested in it.
    http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/05/four-pillars-of-socialist-revival-and.html

  • Can we Turn the Tide?

    Our nation is really losing ground.
    Moral values are now seldom found.
    Life is held in such low estate,
    murder is unborn children’s fate

    Our leaders pander to greed and lust.
    God is no longer the one they trust.
    With them in charge of public discourse,
    religion is allowed no recourse.

    Genocide being proposed as a right,
    is an abomination in God’s sight.
    The family is under assail.
    It must be protected without fail.

    Free speech is a vanishing right.
    Protest must be kept out of sight.
    We are governed by a dictator’s hand.
    Liberty is silenced throughout out land.

    The future now rests in our care.
    No way can they silence prayer.
    If everyone will do their share,
    we can depend on God to repair.

    Thank you so much for reminding us of the poetic artistry of Rudyard Kipling.

  • “puts me in mind of something else I have read and I wonder if you would be interested in it.
    http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/05/four-pillars-of-socialist-revival-and.html

    Obama comes out of the left of the Democrat party and is a fairly typical specimen. What we are seeing happen to the Democrat party during his Presidency is fairly interesting however, with it going ever further to the left. The Blue Dogs were largely wiped out in 2010 and there are few moderate Democrats left in Congress. While the Democrats now control with an overwhelming predominance blue states like California and Illinois, they have become less competitive in other many states where the GOP controls both the legislature and the state house. I expect this trend to be reflected in the 2014 election with the Republicans strengthening their control in the Red States and the Democrats doing so in the Blue States, with fierce battles being waged in purple states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

    The Democrats in the most recent election won and have convinced themselves that they can always win nationally by running to the left especially on social issues.

    As a result of all of the foregoing, I anticipate the Democrats morphing into a European style socialist party with election contests becoming increasingly bitter as the parties follow their divergent paths farther from each other.

  • I hope you are right that they will trend further from each other. Some of the discussions I hear from some Republicans now seem to favor becoming more like each other, being for what Democrats are for.

  • Wow. Thank you Donald. Timely indeed.
    As I finished the last stanza an infamous sign came to mind; “Arbeit Macht Frei.”
    Work sets you free.
    Something for those new residents of Auschwitz to ponder.
    Again thanks for this “soul food” from Kipling.

  • “Some of the discussions I hear from some Republicans now seem to favor becoming more like each other, being for what Democrats are for.”

    Parties that have suffered an electoral defeat, especially an unexpected one, often make those type of noises in the aftermath of defeat. I expect nothing to come of it, as is usually the case. The Republican party is a conservative party and draws its strength from conservative voters. That will not change. As the economy slips back into recession next year, and Obama begins the popularity plummet that I anticipate for him as a result, the GOP will regain their nerve and begin looking towards 2014. The party of two term Presidents often get shellacked in the third election cycle of their term, think Bush in 2006, and I suspect that Obama will be looking at a reprise in 2014 of 2010 on a lesser scale.

  • Like Chesterton, Kipling has a sound and prophetic ring, like some others from that era. Its sad that our education institutions has been infected with this rabid socialism, entitlement mentality, and human rights that aren’t, and will take much to reverse. Cataclysims have that effect.

  • The breakdown of our educational system Don has destroyed our memories throughout the Western World of most of what came before circa 1965. A similiar process has been at work within the Church with similar dire consequences.

Steven Crowder and Bad Arguments for Pot Decriminalization

Wednesday, November 28, AD 2012

Via the Right Scoop comes this video from Steven Crowder, exposing some of the more ridiculous argument from those who support the decriminalization (or legalization) or marijuana:

Please note that Crowder does not address the constitutional issue surrounding federal marijuana prohibition. In fact he goes out of his way to emphasize that there are legitimate arguments to be made that this is not an issue that justifies federal intervention. But as the video highlights, none of the people he interviewed brought up the constitutional argument. Instead, his interviewees relied on tropes that are untrue. He also makes a point about prohibition that I have often made: namely, that the 18th Amendment prohibited the use of a substance that was already legal and widely used by most Americans. Marijuana legalization would make available a previously criminalized substance used by a minority of Americans.

Like Crowder, I believe that the constitutional arguments against federal marijuana prohibition are, at a minimum, compelling. But if you are going to take up the cause of decriminalization, at least make better arguments than these people.

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114 Responses to Steven Crowder and Bad Arguments for Pot Decriminalization

  • Ok. Well, seeing as how I’ve been discussing this on my own latest post, I may as well move the discussion here.

    There are many arguments against marijuana prohibition. What I find fallacious is the idea that all of these arguments are merely “tropes.” What these kids are expressing, I believe, is based on their own personal and seemingly extensive experience with the drug itself. You can say it isn’t scientifically accurate, but that’s not quite the same as saying that it has no connection to reality.

    When you have teenagers admitting they are regular users of the drug who obviously aren’t psychotic, it isn’t so easy to sell the argument that marijuana always and necessarily causes some sort of permanent damage. I smoked it myself in high school and so did virtually my entire peer group. Very few psychotics in that group. Most of us used it casually and lightly at parties; some were dedicated potheads who probably weren’t too brilliant to begin with.

    Ultimately I reject the idea of a nanny state. Let’s say marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. My personal experience doesn’t bear this out (having witnessed and been involved in dozens of violent situations due to alcohol and never one related to pot), but I’ll accept the statistical findings. It still isn’t as dangerous as crack or meth, not even close. It might cause a person to have certain problems but when people compare marijuana to alcohol, they’re thinking of the danger posed to society, which in most people’s experience is about equal. So I don’t believe there is any moral imperative to outlaw the drug. Using coercion to force people to make the right choices is a violation of human dignity.

    That said, I also believe in localism. If cities, counties and states want to control a substance, I don’t object. In this pluralistic federal republic we ought to be able to find alternatives if we don’t like the way things work in one area.

    Finally, I object to the use of my tax dollars for prosecuting people who are doing what I believe they ought to have a right to do. Even if people don’t end up in prison for marijuana use, their lives can be disrupted in all sorts of ways by the state. In keeping with theme of my post, organic, natural society imposes penalties on irresponsible drug users as well – drug tests by current and potential employers have deterred far more people from smoking pot that I have I known than Puritanical arguments against intoxication. I do believe that “freedom works”, and that a free society can still impose costs and risks upon such behavior that are probably far more fair and effective than the intrusive nanny state.

  • Spicoli, you might discipline yourself by composing a piece of commentary which does not make use of the first person singular.

  • Oh, that means a lot coming from the most pedantic and pompous blowhard to ever grace these comboxes.

  • Children, behave yourselves or I am turning this car around.

  • . He also makes a point about prohibition that I have often made: namely, that the 18th Amendment prohibited the use of a substance that was already legal and widely used by most Americans. Marijuana legalization would make available a previously criminalized substance used by a minority of Americans.

    It’s worse than that– one is a plant used by a small number of folks, the other is a substance that can be made on accident with most food stuffs, has been used in all but a few known cultures and has been seriously proposed as a reason that civilization exists.

    Totally. Not. Similar.

  • Why does the number of people even matter?

    I don’t care if only 10 people want to smoke pot. The question still remains, should they be persecuted by the state for doing so?

  • Foxfier, marijuana was legal and used by many, many societies for many, many reasons and in many, many ways for 12,000 years under the name of hemp or cannabis. It was only made criminal, and began being commonly called marijuana, in 1937 and the criminalization was done by a conspiracy between Anslinger, Hearst and DuPont, for the reason of greed, to demonize it to congress and the American people. Marijuana “is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man, and safer than most common vegetables” – DEA Judge Young, 1988. People really should do ALL the research before discussing this subject.

  • Plus, they can tax the hell out of weed.

    “Prohibition” likely is worse than the scourge it is meant to end.

    The US may as well devolve into the “Land of the Lotus-Eaters.” See The Odyssey.

    Youths might as well “turn on and tune out.” Once Obama’s completed the confiscations and/or destruction of the evil, unjust private sector, there will be nothing for you.

  • Pretty weak tea. Let’s take a few of the arguments made in the video one at a time and see how they hold up.

    Hypocrisy – “some people support legalizing cannabis, but want to ban big gulps!” I suppose that’s true, but the problem with most of these left vs. right hypocrisy charges is that they can be turned around on the accuser. The “conservatives” who think that, e.g., a mere tax on soda would be an outrageous example of the “nanny-state” run amok, but who have no problem with the complete criminal prohibition of cannabis are also hypocrites. You either believe in liberty or you don’t.

    Cannabis vs. alcohol – sorry, but you’re way off on this one. Cannabis is not just safer than alcohol. It’s much, MUCH safer, and by every objective metric. Alcohol is toxic. People can and do die from alcohol overdose every year. And because alcohol has a large number of dangerous drug interactions, it also plays a role in many fatal poly-drug overdoses. Cannabis is non-toxic. It is incapable of causing a fatal overdose. Alcohol is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. It turns out that drinking poison isn’t good for you. Cannabis use is not associated with increased mortality. Alcohol is addictive. In fact, you can be so addicted to alcohol that you can literally die FROM WITHDRAWAL. Cannabis is not physically addictive in any meaningful sense. If you want to talk about “psychological addiction,” be my guest (of course, that’s also possible with alcohol… or sex, or shopping, or video games, or a thousand other things that humans find pleasurable), but let’s at least acknowledge that there’s no cannabis equivalent to delirium tremens. Alcohol, as a disinhibitor, is a MASSIVE contributor to violence. It’s involved in something like HALF of all violent crimes and 70% of domestic abuse cases. (Stop and think about those numbers for a second.) Cannabis has never been linked to violence. If anything, it DECREASES the risk of violence by pacifying the user. While they can be overstated, there’s a reason we have the stereotypes of the “belligerent drunk” versus the “mellow stoner.” I know which one I prefer to be around.

    Few people go to jail for marijuana possession (they’re in jail for “distribution”) – Let’s assume that’s true. Who cares? It’s sort of like arguing that “we hardly ever burn witches at the stake” in an attempt to justify a law against witchcraft. The fact that ANYONE is in jail for marijuana possession is an outrage. And the argument that many people are actually in jail for “distribution” (as opposed to possession) doesn’t do much for me. Locking someone in a government cage for the “crime” of growing a plant or engaging in a mutually-beneficial exchange for its sale is equally barbaric.

    Legalizing pot won’t reduce crime (because criminals will find another way to make money) – Sorry, but this is economically illiterate. It’s pretty simple. Cannabis prohibition empowers and enriches criminal thugs by giving them a monopoly on a lucrative market. And black markets are inherently violent because of things like unenforceable contracts, large cash transactions, the inability to use the courts or the police to challenge intimidation, etc. Prohibition fuels violence because it IS violence. It’s the policy of sending men with guns to arrest and incarcerate the sellers of (certain) drugs and their customers. That will ALWAYS produce reactive violence.

    Marijuana and drugged driving – Again, cannabis is not alcohol. Alcohol is a massively-impairing disinhibitor that promotes risk-taking behavior. Cannabis is a mildly-impairing euphoriant. Drunk drivers tend to underestimate their impairment level and frequently drive FASTER than they would when sober. People who consume cannabis are much more likely to overestimate their impairment level and either refuse to drive or compensate adequately for their impairment by driving more slowly and cautiously. Drunk driving is a huge source of traffic fatalities. “Stoned driving” simply isn’t. And alcohol and cannabis are SUBSTITUTES. States that legalized medical marijuana saw a 9% decline in traffic fatalities compared to non-mmj states, a result that appeared to be largely attributable to a decline in drunk driving deaths. In any event, the whole drugged driving argument is a red herring. It’s illegal to drive while impaired, and cannabis relegalization won’t change that.

    The conservative case for reform – Finally, if you don’t like the arguments that “the left” uses on this issue, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. There are plenty of “conservative” arguments that work just fine. Conservatives are supposed to believe in principles like limited government, individual liberty, respect for the 10th amendment, and opposition to the nanny-state. And conservatives are supposed to want to to end hugely-expensive government programs with a proven track record of failure. It’s pretty hard to square any of those with support for the war on (some) drugs. At the end of the day, the question is not whether cannabis is “harmless.” (Very few things in this world are.) The question is not even whether the benefits of cannabis outweigh its risks. The question is who decides in a free society: adult citizens for themselves or politicians and bureaucrats for all of us.

  • Nice work Roger. Especially on the last paragraph.

  • Almost all stoners I have encountered, heavy, routine users of marijuana, are guilty of the same offense Papillon was guilty of:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGpMLIayQEo

    I would cheerfully beat the tar out of anyone who attempted to have my kids get involved with this tribute to human stupidity.

  • Besides, anything which inspired those hideous Cheech and Chong movies should be banned as a matter of public mental health!

  • There are already multiple stringent restrictions placed upon tobacco and alcohol; I see no reason why a combination of those restrictions could not be placed upon pot. No smoking in public places, no sale or distribution to minors, no driving under the influence, and tax it to the skies. But if you smoke it in your own home, on your own time, with your own friends, that’s no one’s business but yours.

  • Which I’ve NEVER done, by the way, and wouldn’t start doing even if pot were legal. But in light of the fact that Illinois state law already hugely restricts smoking the still perfectly legal substance of tobacco, it seems to me the same restrictions could easily be applied to marijuana.

  • “and tax it to the skies.”

    One of the illusions of proponents of marijuana legalization Elaine is that it would eliminate the illegal sale of it. “Taxing it to the skies” would ensure that the illegal sale of it would continue to flourish. As to driving under the influence, I found this study to be significant:

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/02/09/smoke-and-mirrors-driving-while-on-marijuana-doubles-ones-chances-of-a-serious-car-crash/

    Many DUI offenders I have represented were also smoking marijuana. Most did not get caught for the marijuana because consent is normally withheld for the blood test.

  • Donald: Ok, so you found a study which suggested that marijuana DOUBLES your risk of a serious car crash? How about a little context? Let’s assume the study’s findings are accurate. That’s comparable to the risk increase you get from driving 5 mph over the speed limit. (So the penalties for both should be similar, no?) Also, driving with a BAC of 0.08 (right at the legal limit) increases your crash-risk 11-fold. And driving while texting evidently makes a crash 23 times more likely. (Take the Oprah pledge!) Again, a recent study showed that the passage of a medical marijuana law was associated with a 9% DECLINE in traffic fatalities.

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-11/todays-study-debate-medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-traffic-fatalities

    And again, no one is suggesting that it should be legal to drive while dangerously impaired by ANY drug. That is a completely separate issue.

  • Fast and Furious. $70B a year to the Mexi Cartels. 800,000 people a year in jails around the country. Inner city crime. Gangs. And I can still have a pound of weed on my front porch by day’s end with one phone call. Yep. Sure works for me!

    How many drive-by shootings have there been lately over bootleg hooch?

  • “One of the illusions of proponents of marijuana legalization Elaine is that it would eliminate the illegal sale of it. ‘Taxing it to the skies’ would ensure that the illegal sale of it would continue to flourish.”

    Well, sure if you set the tax rate high enough, I imagine that it EVENTUALLY becomes the functional equivalent of prohibition. But that rate has to be pretty darn high to get there. Right now many states have astronomically high taxes on cigarettes. But we don’t see rival cigarette cartels engaging in shoot-outs over turf. Is there a “grey market” for untaxed cigarettes? Yes, but it’s only a very small FRACTION of the much larger market. (And legal sales continue to generate a tremendous amount of tax revenue.) And the problems associated with that grey market are much, much smaller than the problems associated with the black market for illicit drugs. Similarly, do we still have moonshiners? I guess (if you can believe everything you see on the Discovery Channel). But what share of the alcohol market do you think they control? Now compare the current situation to the one we saw during alcohol prohibition.

  • “And again, no one is suggesting that it should be legal to drive while dangerously impaired by ANY drug. That is a completely separate issue.”

    If that is the case, then that would indicate that if marijuana is eventually decriminalized throughout the country then it would have to be regulated. What sort of regulations would you be in favor of? The same that apply to alcohol? The same that apply to prescription drugs? What impact would this have on the continuance of a black market in marijuana following decriminalization?

    In regard to driving and marijuana we really don’t know how many automobile accidents it causes each year in this country, because it is so rarely tested for, unlike alcohol where if there is the slightest odor, out comes the breathalyzer.

    “Is there a “grey market” for untaxed cigarettes?”

    Actually there is a thriving illegal trade of cigarettes from low tax states to high tax states. This is also comparing apples to rock salt. We have a very large legal apparatus to sell cigarettes. No such apparatus exists for marijuana. I suspect that few large companies would wish to get involved in the cannabis trade and bear the social stigma, along with the law suits, that would doubtless be aimed at a company that would wish to provide legal marijuana, especially since marijuana is probably a carcinogen like tobacco. The “sin taxes” on marijuana would likely be far higher than the “sin taxes” on cigarettes as a result.

  • Ok let’s tax prostitution and legalize that too! It’s all about the money with some of you legalizers. Freedom ! Liberty ! Get real ! I was a drug case prosecutor for 17 years. 90% of the cases I had involved defendants who began using pot before selling it or using or selling hard stuff. Oh I know…you can find someone who smokes on the weekend and say, “Why not let the guy smoke?” The answer, like in many aspects of life, is that when you BALANCE out the good and bad, legalizing pot and and now say to the kid or young adult who has NOT used, “Oh we were wrong, go ahead!,” you in effect say, “It’s ok.GO AHEAD.” Oh ..and stop with the “we will regulate it and keep it from kids !” Never works. Pot users get probation here, with some community service. Sellers, young and first timers get drug court. Take away the risk of punishment and you encourage it ! I don’t want my kids to walk to the grocery store and see “Joe’s Pot Shop” next to the Kroger’s Grocery store, or see adds for it on TV or billboards. If you could promise me the dopers would stay in their own home and never get out, and never cause family problems, wrecks, their own physical problems, get fired because of drug use, never go to the hospital and make me pay for their drug treatment…sure let ’em smoke themselves to death. But that doesn’t happen. And by the way…fellow “Catholics,” It is a sin to use drugs !! So,read this about the effects of pot. And hiow can you say what you do when it is now shown that kids are in rehab more for pot than booz ! Read something and fight this crazy legalization crap.
    http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/PressReleases.aspx?articleid=358&zoneid=61
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/early-marijuana-use-linked-to-to-i-q-loss/

  • When we regulate something we do NOT automatically condone it’s use; the regulations concerning alcohol and tobacco are there to protect us from the vast increase in criminality that would otherwise exist if these substances were prohibited.

    A regulated and licensed distribution network for all mind altering substances would put responsible adult supervision in between children and premature access to drug distribution outlets (illegal street dealers). Regulated and licensed distribution would reflect and respect society’s values, thus preventing children obtaining easy access to these dangerous substances. What we need is legalized regulation. What we have now, due to prohibition, is a non-regulated black market to which everybody has access and where all the profits go to organized crime and terrorists.

    If you support prohibition then you support bank-rolling criminals and terrorists. There’s simply no other logical way of looking at it.

  • “Almost all stoners I have encountered, heavy, routine users of marijuana, are guilty of the same offense Papillon was guilty of.”

    Are people who smoke pot all day, every day “wasting their lives”? Maybe. Are alcoholics who get drunk and stay drunk wasting theirs? I think so. But while “wasting your life” might be a “crime” in the philosophical sense, it’s not one the state has any business punishing you for. The most important word in the phrase “wasting your life” isn’t the first one. It’s the second. And if your goal is to prevent people from “wasting their lives,” locking them in a government cage seems like an odd way to go about it.

  • “Ok let’s tax prostitution and legalize that too!”

    Er…. well yeah, prostitution SHOULD be legal in a free society. I’m less crazy about the taxation.

  • “especially since marijuana is probably a carcinogen like tobacco.”

    Donald, I’d love to chat more, but I’ve got to run to work in a minute. But no, that is absolutely not correct. Cannabis is not a carcinogen. In fact, there’s much better evidence that it has anti-cancer properties. Cannabis smoke, on the other hand (like all smoke) DOES contain carcinogens, but shockingly even smoked cannabis doesn’t appear to increase your risk of cancer. (Google “Tashkin study.”) The largest study ever done showed that cannabis smokers had a somewhat LOWER risk of cancer than their non-smoking peers (although this suggestion of a protective effect wasn’t statistically significant). The tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increase in cancer risk. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend “Marijuana is Safer.” Heck, just download the free kindle sample and read that. Have a great day!

  • Like most things marijuana related the question of whether it is a carinogen is subject to debate. I think that the weight of the evidence is that it is a carcinogen:

    http://lungcancer.about.com/od/causesoflungcance1/f/marijuana.htm

  • “Are people who smoke pot all day, every day “wasting their lives”? Maybe. Are alcoholics who get drunk and stay drunk wasting theirs? I think so.”

    Alcohol has wreaked and continues to wreak havoc in our society. I don’t see why we should allow marijuana an opportunity to do the same. As for “locking people in cages” it is a colorful image, but I have been practicing law for 30 years in Central Illinois and I have rarely seen people suffer more severe penalties for cannabis use than I see people suffer for underage drinking. The only person I can recall being sent to prison for cannabis was a fellow who was attempting to transport a truckload of marijuana through the state and had the misfortune to get involved in an automobile collision in Livingston County where I reside. Heavy cannabis users who I have represented have been in cases where they were facing charges for selling other drugs including heroin and meth. Of the drug addicts I have represented I can’t recall any who didn’t use pot in addition to their other drugs of choice.

  • Prostitution is a grave evil that harms all concerned. It should be criminalized to the extent the law can be prudently enforced. Libertarianism is grounded in the myth that the consequences of actions can be quarantined within obvious borders. That is simply not the nature of the human condition, and the Church recognizes that.

  • What is forgotten in this discussion was pointed out by Charles Murray some years ago: drug prohibition was instituted in 1914 at a time when the discipline of the labor market was a good deal more vigorous than is the case today. The alternatives to working were state poorhouses of the sort where Annie Sullivan lived, reliance on family, train yards, and skid row. Also, families had more authority over their members than is the case today. In other words, their were structural constraints on dissipation that have been removed. Even in that environment, the legislators of the day thought the detritus of a free market in all sorts of intoxicants was too much to bear.

  • People who imbibe do not typically do so to a point of intoxication. With street drugs, intoxication is the whole point.

  • Smoking is not required to gain the benefits of cannabis, whether for medicinal need or just for enjoyment. Any potential health hazards due to smoking are not the hazards of cannabis, but of smoking.??

    Vaporization is proven safe,  less expensive, and preferred by patients over smoking by a margin of 7:1 in peer reviewed research published in 2007.
    ?http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=149:vaporization-as-a-qsmokelessq-cannabis-delivery-system&catid=41:research-studies&Itemid=135

  • Dr. Donald Tashkin spent a few decades doing research to prove that cannabis causes lung cancer with the blessing of the ONDCP and NIDA. It almost made me feel sorry for him when he conceded that there is no “positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html

    After presenting these unwanted results the prohibitionist parasites threw him under the bus. But it didn’t stop them from using his previous research to try to get people to infer that cannabis causes lung cancer.

  • “Like most things marijuana related the question of whether it is a carinogen is subject to debate. I think that the weight of the evidence is that it is a carcinogen:

    http://lungcancer.about.com/od/causesoflungcance1/f/marijuana.htm

    The weight of the evidence? You haven’t even met your burden of production. 😉 Your own source deals with SMOKED cannabis and concludes (in the face of conflicting evidence) that it “probably” increases your risk of cancer, but that this risk “most likely pales” in comparison to the one posed by smoked tobacco. But smoking isn’t required to gain the benefits of cannabis. It can be vaporized or made into edibles or tinctures. You take it as a given that smoked cannabis’ association with cancer should be controversial. It’s actually quite surprising. We KNOW that cannabis smoke (again, like all smoke) contains carcinogens, and yet AT BEST (and despite lots of government money spent searching) we have conflicting evidence, some studies showing a modest decrease in risk and others showing a modest increase for certain populations.

  • ” Alcohol has wreaked and continues to wreak havoc in our society. I don’t see why we should allow marijuana an opportunity to do the same.”

    Yes, alcohol use creates tremendous problems for a non-trivial minority of its users. I don’t think that’s a sufficient justification to take away EVERYONE’S rights, but I can still (sort of) understand how the supporters of alcohol prohibition achieved the super-majority required to pass an amendment to the constitution. I can DEFINITELY understand how the opponents of prohibition achieved the super-majority required to repeal that same amendment in a little less than 14 years. Alcohol prohibition didn’t eliminate the problems associated with alcohol. It amplified them and created an entire new class of prohibition-related problems: empowering organized crime, fueling gang violence, undermining respect for the law, promoting official corruption, diverting scarce law enforcement resources away from solving real crimes, sowing distrust between communities and police, etc. We see the same thing today with drugs-other-than-alcohol prohibition. And don’t forget that alcohol and cannabis are substitutes. To the extent that cannabis prohibition is successful at deterring use, one of the results is likely increased use of infinitely more dangerous booze.

  • Mr Mc Clarey is correct

    I have known, when I was a defense attorney, (after prosecuting for 17 years)many persons who have stopped drug use, sale, whatever because of the deterrant of further punishment and the offer and use of rehab plus a bunch of community service and a fine. There are plenty of folks who dont use drugs because it is illegal and they also know it is terrible for their health, eithe rafter arrest or prior to it. Old pot heads who just bonged for the fun of it (like another poster– I bet) can’t see past their brownies to make a cogent argument. There are plenty who make the same arguments as some here about coke or meth. They handle it fine and say we should tax it, “regulate it,” and legalize (many say) all drugs. The bottom line is that, ON BALANCE, more harm would be done in legalizing pot or any other drug.Roger can’t be a Catholic …can he?….he suports legalizing prostitution (as he said earlier.) How does Our Lord feel about the idea of the society placing a stamp of approval on sinful activity??

  • “If that is the case, then that would indicate that if marijuana is eventually decriminalized throughout the country then it would have to be regulated. What sort of regulations would you be in favor of? The same that apply to alcohol? The same that apply to prescription drugs? What impact would this have on the continuance of a black market in marijuana following decriminalization?”

    This right here demonstrates just how anti-big government libertarians really are, which is they are not. Anyone who has even a cursory understanding how government has become bigger in this country should be able to see that decriminalizing pot would invite a bigger, more intrusive government.

  • Previous poster—-
    “Alcohol prohibition didn’t eliminate the problems associated with alcohol. ” Well. duh ! Alcohol legalization has produced many more physical ,societal and mental problems than were present when there was Prohibition. Legalization = more use= more problems !!The legalization will mean many MORE problems than exists now. That’s the point !!
    Alcohol was much more acceptable prior to Prohibition and part of society than pot is now…not even close.

  • ” How does Our Lord feel about the idea of the society placing a stamp of approval on sinful activity??”

    You’d have to ask Him. But just because we don’t use the violence of the state in an attempt to prohibit a particular activity, that doesn’t mean we personally endorse it. Any suggestion to the contrary is creepily totalitarian. I wouldn’t think legal policy re: prostitution (as opposed to moral teaching) would be a matter for the church. That seems more like Ceasar’s territory, no?

  • “There are plenty of folks who dont use drugs because it is illegal ”

    Who are these folks? They aren’t teenagers or young adults, I can tell you that. I have never known a single person who really wanted to smoke pot, and would smoke pot if it were legal, but refuses not to simply because it is “against the law.” Without exception the people I know who believe that marijuana ought to be illegal don’t smoke it and wouldn’t smoke it if it were legal.

    In any case, it really saddens me that the main issues are never addressed. Are we really justified in using taxpayer money to fund coercive violence against what is, in the vast majority of cases, a socially harmless activity? The answer in my book will always be “no”.

    And as for this notion that legal approval of sinful activity amounts to a moral endorsement, it is completely alien to Catholicism. The Church has always taught that it may be necessary or prudent to permit certain evils in order to avoid even greater evils. Doctors of the Church have held that prostitution might be legalized if it would prevent greater evils.

    I’m not even convinced that moderate use of marijuana is “evil”, and certainly not therapeutic use. It wasn’t against the law until the 1930s, for heaven’s sake. We’re not talking about some perennial principle of Western civilization here.

    Don said,

    “Alcohol has wreaked and continues to wreak havoc in our society. I don’t see why we should allow marijuana an opportunity to do the same.”

    People are allowed to drink alcohol without having the police and the courts screw up their lives, provided they do so responsibly. I don’t see why adults with full cognitive faculties shouldn’t be allowed to exercise their free will in this matter, to be punished only when their habits cause them to violate another person’s rights.

  • “Alcohol was much more acceptable prior to Prohibition and part of society than pot is now…not even close.”

    This is a non-argument. It offends me that it is even made. Abortion is a huge part of our society now, 1.5 million babies murdered every year. That certainly hasn’t changed our attitude about its legalization!

  • The “conservatives” who think that, e.g., a mere tax on soda would be an outrageous example of the “nanny-state” run amok, but who have no problem with the complete criminal prohibition of cannabis are also hypocrites.

    Or, possibly, they have the brains to figure out that there’s a difference between foods containing sugar and a mind altering substance.

    But by all means, continue with the false accusations! I’m sure it will work on someone that doesn’t already agree with you.

    Is there a “grey market” for untaxed cigarettes?

    If you don’t know enough about the situation to know there is a black market for smuggled tobacco– when I was a young adult, the biggest drug bust by value was made in Washington… it was black market tobacco.
    If you’ve ever been near an Indian reservation, you should have also noticed how many people go there to buy their cigs without taxes, too. (and hope not to get caught on the way back)

    Seeing as I’m familiar with how people get into jail on “possession,” I don’t have a lot of respect for the supposed outrage of people being in jail for it.
    My car was broken into by a crime ring. They stole all papers so that they could also steal my ID, took the radio and everything of value they could find…including my left front tire. They were caught when one of the criminals felt cheated on his cut of their drug dealing business and called the police to complain. They were caught red handed with thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods, proof of ID theft, a large amount of pot and a very nice detective returned my tire. (one criminal had been missing a rim before, and the detective matched the actual rubber to my other three)
    A year or so later, I got a letter that they’d been given suspended community service for possession. Imagine what it would take to actually be sent to jail for the plea bargained charge of possession!

    Pot is definitely not the same as alcohol– not only is it usually pretty obvious who has smoked pot recently but not who has had a few drinks, I notice that those folks I know who used more than once or twice become utterly, bat-crud irrational about the subject at the drop of a hat. We’re talking along the lines of how evangelical atheists act when someone says “bless you!” after a sneeze.

    But it is useless to try to discuss it rationally, because all unwanted evidence will be ignored. It just doesn’t matter. Show that it’s associated with a huge jump in mental issues? You just hate pot, and freedom, and people get pissy if they’re drinking, and really you’re worse than these other people…. *eyeroll*

    Huge waste of time.

  • It offends me that it is even made. Abortion is a huge part of our society now, 1.5 million babies murdered every year. That certainly hasn’t changed our attitude about its legalization!

    ….

    You are comparing outlawing a drug to chopping up small babies, and you’re the one that feels offended.

    Thank you so much for giving an illustration of how this always devolves into one side being unable to make the most basic of distinctions between very, very different things.

  • Foxfier:

    You dianosed a widespread epidemic affecting the entire political spectrum: its sufferers use evidence/facts the way drunks use lampposts – for support not illumination.

  • Alcohol prohibition didn’t eliminate the problems associated with alcohol. It amplified them and created an entire new class of prohibition-related problems: empowering organized crime, fueling gang violence, undermining respect for the law, promoting official corruption, diverting scarce law enforcement resources away from solving real crimes, sowing distrust between communities and police, etc. We see the same thing today with drugs-other-than-alcohol prohibition.

    Spicoli, you would be hard put to find one category of crime of any importance more prevalent now than in 1980. The Sicilianate mob is moribund. If you take an interest in corruption, why not delve into why an investment bank would have hired Rahm Emmanuel a dozen years ago, given that his previous employment in the private sector consisted of cutting meat for Arby’s? Cops stealing from the property clerk’s stash is penny ante.

  • You dianosed a widespread epidemic affecting the entire political spectrum

    I really, really hate that formatting of a response. It’s generally a fancy way of saying “everybody is guilty of it, so it doesn’t matter.”

    I know you were probably just setting up for the lovely old quote about drunks and lampposts, but getting very tired of it.

  • Paul,

    At the risk of sounding pedantic, there is an inaccuracy in your post when you say that “the 18th Amendment prohibited the use of a substance that was already legal and widely used by most Americans.” The 18th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol, but it did not prohibit either its possession or consumption.

    Personally I am inclined to support legalization of all drugs, for more or less the reasons given by William F Buckley. But I understand that is probably a nonstarter, whereas marijuana legalization is not. At the very least, it seems like this is an issue that should be decided by the states rather than having a federal policy.

  • Personally I am inclined to support legalization of all drugs,

    Are you inclined to support comprehensively dismantling the welfare state?

  • Are you inclined to support comprehensively dismantling the welfare state?

    Pretty much, though I don’t expect that will be happening any time soon either.

  • Fox,

    I’m not going to let this go. You said,

    “You are comparing outlawing a drug to chopping up small babies, and you’re the one that feels offended.”

    No. That is NOT what I am doing. I am rejecting argumentum ad populum. I am rejecting the absurd notion that the prohibition of alcohol was wrong because it was a substance enjoyed by and approved of the majority of Americans, while prohibiting marijuana is ok because only a minority enjoys it (far more people than you think are probably causal pot smokers, but whatever).

    Abortion is the clearest example of why the majority isn’t always right. Even people who claim to be pro-life, in the majority, approve of some abortions. So I am not comparing the ACTS, but rather pointing out that majority approval is morally irrelevant, and that what people who make this argument are supporting is, in my view, the tyranny of the majority.

  • I will add: I don’t see comprehensively dismantling the welfare state as being a prerequisite to drug legalization. For one thing, the costs of feeding and housing non-violent drug offenders are enormous. For another, experience in other countries suggests that you can deal with the harms of drug abuse just as well by treating it as a public health matter as by treating it as a criminal matter (and at a lower cost both to the state and to society generally).

  • I’m not going to let this go

    Nor am I.
    YOU are the one who said, basically, “oh yeah? Well, abortion kills thousands every year, but I don’t support it being legal!”

    Thus drawing a comparison between an inherent evil, like chopping up babies and… banning pot.

    If you wanted to say it was a logical fallacy, you could, with arguments to support that claim.

    Instead, you committed a false analogy, and one which used dead babies.

    That you can’t see why this is a really bad thing does not help your side of the argument, nor does the way you seem to have missed that the argument you claim to be refuting was in relation to why alcohol isn’t pot. Shortly, even if they were functionally identical— a really, really big “if”– the effects of “prohibition” are not similar.

  • Oh, side note:
    far more people than you think are probably causal pot smokers

    Gee, appeal to popularity? Thought you didn’t like that– and you couple it with mind-reading, too!
    You’d be surprised how obvious it is to those who are not, especially when this topic comes up.

    ************************

    For one thing, the costs of feeding and housing non-violent drug offenders are enormous.

    Ever try figuring the costs they impose by being “nonviolent drug offenders”? Had a former drug dealer in one of my Navy shops; he thought it was hilarious how his “customers” would steal anything that wasn’t nailed down, from Christmas presents to jewelry from anyone foolish enough to allow them in the house. He claimed to feel a little bad about getting food stamps, though, especially if he knew they had little kids. Ditto when they’d bring in the kids’ birthday presents. Watched his “baby-mamma” very closely to make sure she wasn’t selling the things he bought his son, or sharing them with his son’s half-siblings. (Wasn’t formally charged with anything, so he had “no record” when he signed up for the Navy. Yay, plea-bargains. Another guy in the shop had used most every drug under the sun…and it was pretty obvious.)

    Then again, the druggies and dealers who broke into my car weren’t violent either, were they?
    Just cost me several hundred (I had insurance, so it didn’t go into a thousand or more) dollars I didn’t have, and stole my identity, along with that of who knows how many others. Put my car out of service until I could get a new wheel.
    Nobody was harmed, though!

  • Fox,

    I didn’t say that, I didn’t use a false analogy, and my point has nothing to do with “the effects.” Let’s try this again.

    You and others basically argued that marijuana prohibition was not similar to alcohol prohibition because a majority of Americans used it – in fact, you claimed it may even be the foundation of civilization.

    My argument is that whether or not the majority approves of something is never a sufficient reason to persecute a minority, as is clearly evidence by the example of abortion on demand. Abortion is supported, to varying extents and degrees, by the majority of American citizens. Only a minority want it banned in all cases. Does this have any bearing on whether or not abortion ought to be legal? No, it doesn’t. It wouldn’t matter if one person was against it and everyone else was doing it, just like it doesn’t matter if one person wants to smoke pot and no one else personally approves of it. It’s completely irrelevant to whether or not a person should be persecuted by the state.

    So, I really have no idea what you are talking about when you say I am “drawing a comparison” between the act of smoking pot and the act of killing a baby. I’m not.

  • “Gee, appeal to popularity? Thought you didn’t like that– and you couple it with mind-reading, too!”

    It was an aside. Get over yourself.

  • You and others basically argued that marijuana prohibition was not similar to alcohol prohibition because a majority of Americans used it

    That’s not exactly the argument I am making (I can’t speak for other commenters as it is now far too late for me to go back and read carefully through all the comments now that I have a moment of free time). It’s not a populist argument, but rather a key point to keep in mind when considering the different effects of the prohibitions. When we passed the 18th amendment, we curtailed (okay, not prohibited) the use of something already widely legally in use, whereas we are currently prohibiting something that has not been legal and is not widely used. So the effects of ending that prohibition would probably be somewhat different.

    It’s not a definitive argument in favor of continued marijuana prohibition, but it is merely something to think about as we proceed.

  • For one thing, the costs of feeding and housing non-violent drug offenders are enormous.

    1. Nonviolent? How many of them are comprehensively averse to robbery and assault? That aside..

    2. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a budget of about $6.9 bn. The Department of Justice attributes about $3.5 bn to the warehousing of those jailed on drug charges. About 30% of those jailed on drug charges are housed in federal penitentiaries. The gross cost of warehousing drug dealers and such would appear to be around about $12 bn.

    3. The net cost of housing these goons would be the gross cost less the cost of housing them on other charges derived from any crimes they might commit absent the drug trade (e.g. robbery, numbers-running, loan-sharking, and the other sorts of activity favored by the seedy and unscrupulous).

    4. Medicaid spending by state and federal authorities clocks in there at around $470 bn.

    5. Do not forget to calculate the cost of disability benefits for people who ruin their health snorting cocaine. It’s amazing what you can fit up your nose.

  • Look, Fox, you’re a regular commenter here, and I don’t want to burn bridges over something like this. My comparison offended you. Fine. We aren’t going to agree, so I’m going to drop it. I apologize for the snark. I don’t apologize for my contrast, because I think it was perfectly accurate. I’m done. Merry Christmas.

  • “It’s not a definitive argument in favor of continued marijuana prohibition, but it is merely something to think about as we proceed.”

    Well, that’s fine, when so stipulated.

  • “Do not forget to calculate the cost of disability benefits for people who ruin their health snorting cocaine. It’s amazing what you can fit up your nose.”

    I have represented a drug addict on various charges by court appointment since 2009. Both she and her drug addict spouse are on disability. Their only disability I am aware of is their addiction to drugs.

  • For another, experience in other countries suggests that you can deal with the harms of drug abuse just as well by treating it as a public health matter as by treating it as a criminal matter (and at a lower cost both to the state and to society generally).

    Which other countries? Do not say Britain. The joys of the ‘British system’ for handling heroin addiction were debunked by James Q. Wilson a generation ago.

  • It was an aside. Get over yourself.

    After you.

    I didn’t say that, I didn’t use a false analogy, and my point has nothing to do with “the effects.”

    You might want to read what I wrote again; the second half there makes it very clear you didn’t get the point.

    My argument is that whether or not the majority approves of something is never a sufficient reason to persecute a minority, as is clearly evidence by the example of abortion on demand.

    Which assumes that the minority that recognizes unborn humans as persons is the same as the minority that smokes pot.

    That is an utterly disgusting notion, as well as being false. It is a false analogy. Opposing an inherent evil is not the same as wanting to get high.

    And you’re still missing that the supposed “non-argument” was about the effect from prohibition, not the morality of it.

    Go on killing the strawmen, though. You seem to be having fun, at least when you’re not getting huffy and offended when someone supposedly uses an argument in the same format that you, yourself, then actually use.

  • Look, Fox, you’re a regular commenter here, and I don’t want to burn bridges over something like this.

    Fellow contributor, actually, although I’ve been pretty busy with the babies and haven’t been posting even at my own blog, beyond sharing links.

    I’m done. Merry Christmas.

    Fine. Merry Christmas.

  • Art,

    I was thinking more of Portugal.

  • Please read the work of Caitlin Hughes on the Portuguese approach. About what you could say was that policy adjustments did not make things worse. If you have an a priori objection to prohibition, that is motivating. If you do not, not so much.

    The very modest observable declines after 2001 in some metrics of drug use in Portugal were no more than you might anticipate from cycles in collective taste and less pronounced than you saw in this country in the years running from 1979 to 1992 (when enhanced prohibition was the order of the day).

    By the way, there is really no such thing as a ‘public health’ approach to addressing drug abuse. Physicians and allied trades only address the detritus of drug abuse and epidemiologists only describe it by making analogies. Drug abuse is a problem of human misbehavior. You either set standards, coerce, and rely on the subject so informed to redirect his will, or you hire people to inveigle and manipulate him. Not surprisingly, people who inveigle and manipulate for a salary or for fees tend to favor the latter approach.

  • ‘Which assumes that the minority that recognizes unborn humans as persons is the same as the minority that smokes pot.”

    It assumes no such thing. That’s all.

  • “Or, possibly, they have the brains to figure out that there’s a difference between foods containing sugar and a mind altering substance.

    But by all means, continue with the false accusations! I’m sure it will work on someone that doesn’t already agree with you.”

    Well, SOMETHING sure seems to be working. 🙂

    http://assets.blog.norml.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Legalization-Gallup-2011.jpg

    What were the margins’ on CO and WA’s legalization votes? 55-45? It’s over friend. I understand that you might want to “stand athwart history, yelling STOP,” as suggested by conservative (and good Catholic) William F. Buckley, Jr. But the time to do that was in the early 1900’s when the idiocy of cannabis prohibition was first foisted on us. Another great William F. Buckley quote: “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.”

  • What were the margins’ on CO and WA’s legalization votes? 55-45? It’s over friend.

    Over where, Spicoli?

  • “Over where, Spicoli?”

    Everywhere. The prohibitionists have lost the debate and they are hemorrhaging supporters as more and more people recognize which way the wind is blowing. Take a look at that graph I linked to (national Gallup poll on support for cannabis legalization by year) and tell me if you notice anything about the trendline. And support gets stronger the younger the demographic. In fact, the only age group that continues to support cannabis prohibition in any kind of meaningful way is the 65+ crowd. It’s over. Or at least it soon will be. Colorado and Washington were the first states to relegalize. They won’t be the last.

    BTW, I still haven’t seen that movie, but it’s on my list. 😉 Have a blessed day!

  • Over where, Spicoli?

    Macho Grande.

    As for Roger’s response, I’ve tweaked it a bit.

    The pro-traditional marriage people have lost the debate and they are hemorrhaging supporters as more and more people recognize which way the wind is blowing. Take a look at that graph I linked to (national Gallup poll on support for gay marriage legalization by year) and tell me if you notice anything about the trendline. And support gets stronger the younger the demographic. In fact, the only age group that continues to support traditional marriage in any kind of meaningful way is the 65+ crowd. It’s over. Or at least it soon will be. Maryland and Minnesota and Maine and Washington were the first states where people voted for gay marriage. They won’t be the last.

    Vox Populi certainly is not Vox Dei.

  • “Vox Populi certainly is not Vox Dei.”

    Certainly not. But I wasn’t aware that God had staked out a position on the use of state violence against people for the “crime” of possessing one of His plants (unless you count Genesis 1:29). BTW, excellent “Airplane” reference!

  • What were the margins’ on CO and WA’s legalization votes? 55-45? It’s over friend.

    Your side got plus ten in vote fraud central and you want to offer it as proof of a landslide starting? On a topic that the trustfund babies want to happen? You do realize we only just got rid of state liquor stores, right? Every silly thing that comes along, Washington tries, takes damage and then eventually might grudgingly stop.

    People naturally assume most people agree with them, and that more are doing the same thing they are than actually do so. Legalization will have the one upside that the problems will become more obvious, and less blamable on “prohibition.” (Though I’m sure that people will manage.)

  • But I wasn’t aware that God had staked out a position on the use of state violence against people for the “crime” of possessing one of His plant

    I believe it starts with “render unto Caesar….” Unless you’re going to try to prove that God’s law requires getting high?

  • “Human law,” says St Thomas, “cannot exact perfect virtue from man, for such virtue belongs to few and cannot be found in so great a number of people as human law has to direct.” [ST 2-2.69.2.1.]

    Again, human laws “leave certain things unpunished on account of the condition of those who are imperfect, and who would be deprived of many advantages, if all sins were strictly forbidden and punishments appointed for them.” [Quaestiones disputatae de malo 13.4.6]

    Where to draw the line is a matter of the prudential judgment of the legislator.

  • Art says: Please read the work of Caitlin Hughes on the Portuguese approach. About what you could say was that policy adjustments did not make things worse. If you have an a priori objection to prohibition, that is motivating.

    I think Art means “other objections” when he says “an a priori objection.” If so, then we are in agreement.

  • “Your side got plus ten in vote fraud central and you want to offer it as proof of a landslide starting?”

    Come on, friend. I think you realize how weak a response that is. Do you REALLY believe that these victories were attributable to voter fraud? The results tracked the pre-election polling pretty well. And you’re NOT impressed by a 10-point margin of victory on an issue that polled nationally at 35 percent or so as recently as 2005? Talk about moving the goalposts!

  • I think you realize how weak a response that is.

    No, not really; the weakness is in the original claim that it’s refuting.
    Seeing as I had to contact the county clerk several times to try to get them to stop sending ballots to my folks’ house, and the only thing that finally stopped it was when I legally changed my name, I think you simply don’t understand how common vote fraud is here– especially if someone is going to college in-state, or has a second house.

    And you’re NOT impressed by a 10-point margin of victory on an issue that polled nationally at 35 percent or so as recently as 2005? Talk about moving the goalposts!

    1) Washington is not the nation. “We’re weird” would be an understatement; think Cali, but less desert and not quite as far gone.
    2) if it’s that volatile, you should really avoid using polls on the subject as some sort of magic symbol of rightness.

    *****************

    Where to draw the line is a matter of the prudential judgment of the legislator.

    Bingo.

    If it’s the law and the law isn’t inherently wrong, then God says it can be enforced.

  • You’ve named two states, Spicoli. You’re going to have to do better.

  • I think Art means “other objections” when he says “an a priori objection.”

    Nope.

  • I’m not sure “volatile” is the right word for what we’re seeing in the opinion polls. That sort of implies that support is moving up AND down. That’s not what I see when I look at that Gallup graph.

  • Art,

    In that case you might want to look up the definition of a priori.

  • Roger- I can do nothing about what you believe from seeing someone’s graph of a poll question, nor do I care what you think a word that means prone to quick change “sort of” implies.

  • Foxfier: Also, I didn’t cite to polls as some “magical symbol of rightness.” I cited to them in response to your suggestion that my arguments (and by extension, those of other reform advocates) weren’t “working.” I think the evidence clearly shows that they are. (Obviously, the credit that I personally deserve is infinitesimal.) But you’re correct, the popular opinion isn’t always the right one. Having said that, I don’t think polls are COMPLETELY irrelevant to the ultimate question. There’s a line in Kipling’s classic poem “If”: “if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too.” I’d ask yourself if you’re making sufficient allowance for the rapidly-growing number of Americans who doubt your thinking on this issue.

  • I cited to them in response to your suggestion that my arguments (and by extension, those of other reform advocates) weren’t “working.”

    You mean where I told you that false accusations– calling people hypocrites for making a rational distinction between sugar and pot— don’t change minds?

  • “If it’s the law and the law isn’t inherently wrong, then God says it can be enforced.”

    But that doesn’t say that you, as a Christian, must SUPPORT all of “Ceasar’s laws” (or oppose all changes to those laws). We’re not talking about whatever moral objection to cannabis you might have. We’re really talking about the appropriate use of coercive force, i.e., violence.

  • “No, that’s different” is always the response of the hypocrite. And yes, I firmly believe that pointing out the inconsistency of conservatives who claim to support limited government, individual liberty, federalism, etc. IS effective. Heck, it worked on me. I used to be a straight-Republican-ticket-voting “conservative” before becoming a libertarian. Recognizing the chasm between Republican rhetoric and their actual stances on issues like the drug war was a big part of that shift. Anyways, gotta get back to work. God bless!

  • “No, that’s different” is always the response of the hypocrite.

    No, it’s the reasoned response of someone who isn’t ensnared by dogmatic ideology, and who cannot think outside of the realm of theory. Political ideologies are important in providing thoughtful parameters in thinking about political issues, and I am not one to discount them. The problem with libertarians is the absolutism inherent in the ideology, where “liberty” becomes nothing more than a buzzword to allow individuals to cease thinking outside of abstract theory.

  • In that case you might want to look up the definition of a priori.

    Don’t need to.

  • No, it’s the reasoned response of someone who isn’t ensnared by dogmatic ideology, and who cannot think outside of the realm of theory.

    More precisely, the theory addles people in its reductionism and is not nearly as omnicompetant as they think. See Marxism, psychoanalysis, sociobiology, in addition to libertarianism. This can be true not merely with social theory but with contrived dispositions. Read samples of Gloria Steinem’s writing before and after 1971 and see how an engaging magazine journalist ruined her mind.

  • “The problem with libertarians is the absolutism inherent in the ideology, where “liberty” becomes nothing more than a buzzword to allow individuals to cease thinking outside of abstract theory.”

    That’s the problem with all ideologies. But libertarianism does a valuable service by forcing people justify their advocacy for the use of organized coercive violence in the furtherance of their OWN ideologies. In the case of marijuana use and trade, I don’t think that justification has been provided.

  • I had a conversation with a gentleman who worked in the parish district attorney’s office. (Parish = Louisiana county) The issue at that time was the impact of the legalization of gambling in surrounding parishes. Did it reduce crime as proponents said or increase it? Without hesitation, he said the workload in the office doubled.

    The number of illegal gambling rings decreased, but many other crimes increased: fraud, theft, embezzlement, etc. All of the increase was some how linked to the legalization of gambling, crime committed to feed a population of new addicts.

    So while it’s true the costs in prosecuting illegal gambling went down, law enforcement and prosecution costs went way up. The same is and would be true of legalization of narcotics. Not just monetary costs but costs in lives, biologically and socially.

    Crowder is spot on and so are his facts. Even a humor magazine gets it… (I think some will like #2.)
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-pro-marijuana-arguments-that-arent-helping/

  • Roger_Murdock says:
    Friday, November 30, 2012 A.D. at 11:46am (Edit)
    “If it’s the law and the law isn’t inherently wrong, then God says it can be enforced.”

    But that doesn’t say that you, as a Christian, must SUPPORT all of “Ceasar’s laws” (or oppose all changes to those laws). We’re not talking about whatever moral objection to cannabis you might have. We’re really talking about the appropriate use of coercive force, i.e., violence.

    You tried to imply God did not have a position on enforcing laws. I pointed out that He does have one on laws which are not inherently immoral.
    Please do not try to change the subject. You keep doing that, and it’s just annoying.

  • But libertarianism does a valuable service by forcing people justify their advocacy for the use of organized coercive violence in the furtherance of their OWN ideologies

    Because, you know, it would never occur to someone to dispute a proposed regulatory ordinance without consulting Murray Rothbard’s corpus of writings.

  • “You tried to imply God did not have a position on enforcing laws. I pointed out that He does have one on laws which are not inherently immoral.”

    Sorry, if that’s how you interpreted it, but that wasn’t how I intended it. Do you disagree with my (hopefully-clarified) position about what your Christian faith requires? And BTW, I’d argue that cannabis prohibition IS inherently immoral. Again, prohibition is enforced through violence. And when it comes to violence, I take sort of a “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”-type of stance.

  • “No, it’s the reasoned response of someone who isn’t ensnared by dogmatic ideology, and who cannot think outside of the realm of theory.”

    Well, in fairness, it’s the response of both. Whether or not there are in fact important differences between the two situations is what determines if the hypocrisy charge is justified. And in the case of cannabis vs. sugar, I’ll admit that there ARE some differences that one might arguably use to justify differential legal treatment. Sugar is much, MUCH more dangerous. Many more people die each year as a result of excess sugar consumption than as a result of excess cannabis use. Sugar is a huge culprit in causing our current obesity crisis. Interesting side note: recent research suggests that cannabis can help regulate weight and REDUCE the risk of obesity.

    “Researchers analyzed data from two large national surveys of the American population, which together included some 52,000 participants. In the first survey, they found that 22% of those who did not smoke marijuana were obese, compared with just 14% of the regular marijuana smokers. The second survey found that 25% of nonsmokers were obese, compared with 17% of regular cannabis users.”

    http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/08/marijuana-slims-pot-smoking-linked-to-lower-body-weight/#ixzz2Do0nR57A

    Sugar is also far more addictive (and I’m speaking from personal experience on this one). I’ve abstained from cannabis for months at a time without difficulty. I tried the “Paleo Diet” a few years ago. Let’s just say that those were the longest 36 hours of my life. 🙂

    In addition, human beings have been consuming cannabis for thousands of years for medical, spiritual, and recreational purposes. In contrast, refined sugar has only been a part of the human diet for the past 200 years or so. The forms (and the quantities) in which humans are consuming sugar today are unprecedented.

    But having said all that, I’m still inclined to allow people to exercise sovereignty over their own bodies and minds. More to the point, I’m NOT inclined to use the violence of the state in an attempt to substitute my judgment for theirs.

  • Again, prohibition is enforced through violence. And when it comes to violence, I take sort of a “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”-type of stance.

    This is non-sensical. Are we to legislate only on matters where nobody engages in the behavior being legislated?

    Sugar is much, MUCH more dangerous.

    Well now you’re getting to the heart of the matter. Indeed food in general has much more adverse health effects when consumed in gluttonous proportions. Excess use of alcohol, sugar and other foodstuffs is bad for one’s health. However, the simple use of marijuana and other narcotics is intended to produce altered states of mind. There is no purpose to these drugs other than to get the user high. Sugar is a necessary element of a human diet. So you’re going to have to do better than that.

  • “The problem with libertarians is the absolutism inherent in the ideology, where ‘liberty’ becomes nothing more than a buzzword to allow individuals to cease thinking outside of abstract theory.”

    I think Bonchamps gave an excellent response to this charge, but I just wanted to add a few things from my personal perspective as a libertarian. First, I’m much less motivated by the abstract “buzzword” of “liberty” than I am by the all-too-concrete phenomenon of violence. Are there dogmatic libertarians? Sure, but (as Bonchamps pointed out) that’s true of any ideology. For me, libertarianism is less a “complete theory of everything” than it is a general framework for beginning inquiry on political issues. It’s essentially just a reminder that the state operates through violence. Thus, the question is not whether we should “allow” a particular activity. It’s whether we should use the coercive force of the state in an attempt to forbid it. I think that threshold should be set pretty high. I don’t think the possession of a non-toxic plant that happens to be capable of use as a mild euphoriant comes ANYWHERE CLOSE to meeting it.

  • “This is non-sensical.”

    Tell that to Jesus. 🙂 But seriously, read my more recent post.

  • Tell that to Jesus

    Ah yes, because Jesus preached anarcho-libertarianism. Snippy retort, but ultimately far of the mark.

    First, I’m much less motivated by the abstract “buzzword” of “liberty” than I am by the all-too-concrete phenomenon of violence.

    Yes, you’ve said this a few dozen times, but none of what you have written has indicated that you understand how your philosophy is supposed to achieve this aim. In fact the danger of an extreme form of libertarianism is that lacks even a minimal amount of coercive laws will in fact descend into violence.

  • And BTW, I’d argue that cannabis prohibition IS inherently immoral. Again, prohibition is enforced through violence. And when it comes to violence,

    You have conflated violence with force. Any regulatory ordinance makes use, ultimately, of force. We are not commanded to political anarchism.

    For me, libertarianism is less a “complete theory of everything” than it is a general framework for beginning inquiry on political issues.

    Well, for me it’s cheese doodles and Shaun Cassidy records. Political terminology does not describe if it is applied haphazardly and idiosyncratically. Sorry, but libertarian discourses a set of theories of everything in the realm of social relations. The Reason Foundation, the Foundation for Economic Education, the von Mises Institute, and the Ayn Rand Institute as well as the purveyors of ‘law and economics’ and ‘economics of the family’ have different theories, but they do traffic in the notion that these are comprehensively descriptive of everything social theory considers.

  • Roger_Murdock-
    you say you can argue things, but you mostly assert them– with a notable lack of accuracy, as Art most recently pointed out in your conflation of violence with gov’t force.
    When challenged, you either offer nonsense such as that corrected by Paul, claim that God is on your side (without support, in spite of being corrected about the Church’s teachings on enforcing laws) or try to change the subject– usually either by calling people names, or shooting off in a different direction. When none of those work, you ignore the points– such as your ignorance of the black market for untaxed tobacco.

  • “You have conflated violence with force.”

    I see a distinction without a difference. If a man with a badge and a gun tells you you’re under arrest, and you respond with “no, thank you,” what follows is violence.

    “Any regulatory ordinance makes use, ultimately, of force.”

    Exactly. And that’s why I believe we should be so cautious before passing laws.

    “Political terminology does not describe if it is applied haphazardly and idiosyncratically. Sorry, but libertarian discourses a set of theories of everything in the realm of social relations. “

    Before I was too dogmatic. Now I’m not dogmatic enough. 🙂

    “When challenged, you either offer nonsense such as that corrected by Paul, claim that God is on your side (without support, in spite of being corrected about the Church’s teachings on enforcing laws) or try to change the subject– usually either by calling people names, or shooting off in a different direction.”

    I don’t think I called anyone any names. Are you referring to the charge of hypocrisy against conservatives who support cannabis prohibition but oppose the “nanny-state” vis-a-vis things like soda taxes? If so, I’m sorry if I offended. I truly didn’t (and don’t) intend any animosity. But I probably should have stuck to “ideologically consistent” since “hypocrite” is a pretty loaded term. I was CALLED “Spicoli” a few times by Art, but I’m assuming he uses that as a term of endearment. I actually make a conscious point to be courteous in my comments. Just because I’m challenging your argument or position, that doesn’t mean I’m attacking YOU. And just because we might disagree on this issue (or any other), that doesn’t make you my enemy. And even if it did, I’d still be called by Christ to love you!

    “When none of those work, you ignore the points– such as your ignorance of the black market for untaxed tobacco.”

    Sorry, I’m really not trying to deliberately ignore anything, but it’s hard to respond to everything. (We’ve covered a lot of topics.) I actually thought I’d addressed the issue of “black markets for untaxed tobacco.” (I used the term “grey market” to refer to illegal sales of an otherwise-legal product.) Here’s the relevant quote:

    “Right now many states have astronomically high taxes on cigarettes. But we don’t see rival cigarette cartels engaging in shoot-outs over turf. Is there a ‘grey market’ for untaxed cigarettes? Yes, but it’s only a very small FRACTION of the much larger market. (And legal sales continue to generate a tremendous amount of tax revenue.) And the problems associated with that grey market are much, much smaller than the problems associated with the black market for illicit drugs.”

    What part of that specifically do you object to?

  • “Ah yes, because Jesus preached anarcho-libertarianism. Snippy retort, but ultimately far of the mark.”

    Jesus preached love, peace, and forgiveness. And while I WAS being a little snippy 🙂 I’m not convinced the story of the adulterous woman is COMPLETELY off the mark.

    8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
    8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
    8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
    8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
    8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
    8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
    8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

  • And that’s why I believe we should be so cautious before passing laws

    Right, because it’s not like there’d be any violence and coercion WITHOUT laws that compel people to do stuff.

  • “We are not commanded to political anarchism.”

    No one argued that we were. There is a difference between libertarianism and anarchism. One recognizes the legitimacy of a limited government to protect natural rights that would otherwise be insecure – the other does not. I don’t believe that drug prohibition has anything to do with securing natural rights, and in fact violates them. On the other hand, natural law and the free market are more than sufficient to punish people who abuse drugs.

    But go ahead and call me “Spicoli” again, because references to 80’s movies continue to make you look so darned cool and relevant.

  • I’m curious if our fellow libertarian theoreticians have any practical, real world experience with drug addicts. As someone else earlier in this thread pointed out about liberalization of gambling laws, the effects are not salutary. Similarly, talk to people who work at drug treatment centers and similar social service organizations that deal with drug users (not just addicts). Or have a career police officer father like I do. You’ll find that they almost universally oppose more liberal drug laws. Surprisingly, they do see marijuana as a gateway drug. Their testimony contradicts all the “studies” that say otherwise. They see it happen in real life, they’re not living it out on a blog.

    I don’t see how this type of “limited government” is in any sense securing natural rights. If anything, it degrades them.

  • No one argued that we were.

    Oh yes he did.

  • I see a distinction without a difference.

    Sorry, this is a Catholic blog, where the distinction is recognized.

  • because references to 80?s movies continue to make you look so darned cool and relevant.

    Being cool and relevant is not my stock in trade now and was not in 1982. Calling a spade a spade is (from time to time).

  • I’m not convinced the story of the adulterous woman is COMPLETELY off the mark.

    I am.

    Or at least as it pertains to this topic, because it really has absolutely no relevance to this discussion.

  • J. Christian,

    “I’m curious if our fellow libertarian theoreticians have any practical, real world experience with drug addicts.”

    I do.

    “As someone else earlier in this thread pointed out about liberalization of gambling laws, the effects are not salutary.”

    This is not as important to me as a person’s rights and dignity, which includes the freedom to make bad choices so long as the rights of others are not violated.

    Ultimately, however, as I have said many times, I don’t mind local governments doing whatever they like on this issue, as long as people are free to choose localities to live in.

    “Similarly, talk to people who work at drug treatment centers and similar social service organizations that deal with drug users (not just addicts).”

    What they have to say isn’t going to change my opinion about natural rights, and it isn’t going to make me forget that I’ve known dozens of casual pot smokers who have done nothing to warrant state intervention in their lives.

    I accept that marijuana can be and often is dangerous. Unlike other hard narcotics like crack or meth, it can also be consumed in moderation and for medical use.

    “Or have a career police officer father like I do. You’ll find that they almost universally oppose more liberal drug laws.”

    Of course. Every law we do away with is one less reason for an intrusive police presence in our lives.

    “Surprisingly, they do see marijuana as a gateway drug. Their testimony contradicts all the “studies” that say otherwise. They see it happen in real life, they’re not living it out on a blog.”

    I’ve seen, again, many people in “real life” casually use marijuana and not use other drugs. I’ve also seen and been involved in many drunken brawls. When people get violent because of liquor, we punish the violent act. I’ve never known people high on pot to engage in the sort of reckless, anti-social, violent behavior I’ve seen drunks engage in. They mostly just relax and enjoy themselves. Personally I can’t stand the stuff, because I’m already depressive.

    “I don’t see how this type of “limited government” is in any sense securing natural rights. If anything, it degrades them.”

    Then you don’t understand natural rights or dignity, I’m afraid. It is a greater harm to a person’s dignity to choose the right thing for them than for them to choose the wrong thing on their own.

  • “Calling a spade a spade is (from time to time).”

    You think you’re accurate in calling me “Spicoli”?

    I never even watched that stupid movie. And I don’t smoke pot. I’m addicted to stimulants, not depressants.

  • I was referring to the social workers, not just the police, Bonchamps. They don’t have an interest in an intrusive police presence. Neither did my father, for that matter.

    You sound young. I used to sound the way you do when I was younger. You’ll grow up someday.

  • What patronizing nonsense. My age begins with a 3. God help me if I ever become a busybody interfering with other people’s legitimately private business.

  • I mean seriously, if getting older means becoming more willing to force people to do what I think they ought to be doing, someone should just put a bullet in me right now.

  • Okay, this thread has reached the end of its useful life.

Klavan, Smith and Friedman On Crony Capitalism

Wednesday, November 28, AD 2012

Ah the next four years are going to be so enjoyable.  When it comes to crony capitalism Adam Smith said it well:

“The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order [that is, ‘those who live by profit’], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

Milton Friedman was eloquent on the subject of government supporting private enterprises:

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2 Responses to Klavan, Smith and Friedman On Crony Capitalism

  • This adminstration will serve as an example for generations to come of the havoc that can be wreaked on an economy through government folly.

    Just to point out the principal promoters of crony capitalism (Barack Obama, James Johnson, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, Steven Chu, and Timothy Geithner) include not one civil servant. The legal profession, academe, the PR biz, and that weird netherworld where everything seems to run on connections produced this crew.

  • Oh, cannot forget Barney Frank (who has not had a normal job since 1968) and his boi, Herb Moses.

On Farmers and Subsidies

Tuesday, November 27, AD 2012

I recently had the pleasure of observing a panel discussion of several areas farmers.  It was part of a county leadership program, and this particular event was designed to give the “class” some background on the agriculture industry in the area.  The discussion and subsequent tours were nothing short of fascinating.  (If you have a chance to look up “precision farming” involving GPS, it is a real marvel of technology.)

At one point, someone in the audience asked what the panel members thought of government farm subsidies.  I don’t know what was more interesting: the answer or the fact that each of the seven panelists responded immediately with both unanimity and laughter.  Once the initial reaction subsided, one of the farmers explained it in a single sentence, “Subsidies only subsidize those who don’t pay taxes.”  For my own part, I was intrigued, so I couldn’t help but ask what the farmer meant by this.  Another panel member offered a a more detailed explanation.

Suppose that we can farm a product for $200 an acre.  When the product is new, prices may fluctuate.  Eventually, however, after this farmer and that farmer starts to charge less in order to be competitive, the price stabilizes for, let’s say, $300.  In other words, farmers don’t drop below this price because they can’t drop below this price and still make a living.  We need $100 an acre just to support our family and earn a respectable income.  Looking at our modest $100 profit, the government kindly decides that us hard working farmers deserve more, so they institute a $50 subsidy.  It sounds good at first.  We get $100 profit for each acre plus the $50 hand-out from Uncle Sam.  We have more income, yes?  Here’s the problem.  It only takes one farmer to think, “I don’t need to sell my crops for $300 an acre.  I was doing just fine on a $100 profit.  If I charge $275 an acre, I can undercut the competition and still earn $125 an acre ($75 “pure” profit plus the $50 subsidy), which is more than I was getting before.”  You can see where it goes from here.  The new competitive price becomes $275 per acre … until the process repeats.  Eventually, the market kicks in and the farmers end up selling their crop for $250 an acre.  They won’t drop below this, of course, because at this level they are making, with the government subsidy, the minimum $100-per-acre profit ($50 pure profit plus the $50 subsidy) needed to support the family.

Now, while the subsidy had a net change of $0 on the farmer’s well being, it was not entirely neutral.  It did produce a product that is now on the market for $50 less than it was otherwise.  (Before the subsidy, the crop went to market at $300/acre, and afterwards it went for $250/acre.)  The consumer benefits from this subsidy, correct?  Well, says the farmer, not all consumers benefit.  The $50 per acre came from somewhere, because, contrary to popular belief, the government cannot simply create money out of nowhere.  (These were his words, not mine.)  In the end, it comes from the tax payers.  Thus, if you are someone who pays federal income tax, then you essentially break even in this deal.  The only people that actually benefit in the end are those who don’t pay any federal income tax.  Thus, in the words of the first gentleman, “Subsidies only subsidize those who don’t pay taxes.”

Admittedly, the economics is probably a bit more complicated than this.  For one thing, those who pay federal taxes are not all in the same tax bracket, so a pro-rating of sorts would probably be appropriate to figure out who comes out ahead.  Second, the farmers’ “minimum price for supporting a family” is not the only economic force at work in this equation.  There is also the amount of crop produced in a given year, the maximum price people are willing to pay for an individual product, etc.  On the other hand, we should figure in the bureaucratic overhead involve in collecting and processing the taxes needed for the subsidy, a figure that is often notoriously high for the federal government.  Nevertheless, the farmers have a point: subsidies are often not all they are cracked up to be, and the best way to handle market forces is to simply let the market work.  The free market will work on its own to drop the price of commodities, but it will do so through innovation rather than compulsory subsidies.  Attempts at interference rarely make a difference – at best they offer a compelling illusion.  (Unfortunately, it is often compelling enough to win votes.)

The follow up question from the audience was predictable: if subsidies make not difference, then why do you take them?  “Ah,” says the concise farmer, “It only takes one to accept them, and then we all have to.”  In other words, once individual farmers accept a subsidy, they can then produce the product at a much lower price than those who are not accepting them, effectively putting the second group, those that want to earn their money honestly, out of business.  Ain’t government grand?

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8 Responses to On Farmers and Subsidies

  • Does anyonne in the Obama Administration underatand this logic? Rhetorical question. We all know the answer. NO!

  • This assumes that the object of farm subsidies is economic, rather than strategic.

    A policy of self-sufficiency in foodstuffs will usually be pursued through a combination of farm subsidies and protective tariffs.

    Many European countries pursued this policy in the aftermath of WWII, the UK among them.

  • Thank you for a very clear explanation.

  • Bonus: I know that there are grant type subsidies for hobby farms– the trust fund babies in my home valley get them all the time. Some of them even work hard on their play farms!

    So good farm land is taken out of use from market demanded directions and instead put to “I got a grant for it” directions.

  • Foxfier

    Losses on “hobby farms” can also be off-set against other income for tax purposes. In the UK, the tax authorities tried to address this by taxing “self-supply.” Can you imagine the complexities involved in checking, valuing and auditing that? They also go down the route of arguing that it is not a “business,” i.e. not carried on “with a view to profit.”

    In the EU, grants can also be obtained for set-aside land – Land taken out of production, something that was introduced to deal with the “wine lake,” the “butter mountain” and other consequences of the Common Agricultural Policy.

  • That quoted farmer is out standing in his field.

    He seemingly forgot whatever he learned in Ag Econ 101. Commodities prices are set by supply and demand at the grain elevator. Farmers were early users of futures contracts.

    Anyhow, they don’t only sell themselves for government subsidies.

    Iowa, et al mainly are red states.

    Obama bought farmers in January 2012 by ending corn ethanol subsidies while covertly (the lying liberal media didn’t say a word) increasing Federal ethanol per gallon gasoline requirements. Same same effect as a subsidy.

    Howze that working you? Stealth (it ain’t in CPI) food price inflation.

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Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

Tuesday, November 27, AD 2012

We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.   

 Hilaire Belloc

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14 Responses to Cult of Personality? What Cult of Personality?

  • Acts 12:21-23 – 21 And upon a set day Herod arrayed himself in royal apparel, and sat on the throne, and made an oration unto them. 22 And the people shouted, saying, The voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

  • 2nd Peter 17-20 These people are waterless springs and mists driven by a gale; for them the gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, talking empty bombast, they seduce with licentious desires of the flesh those who have barely escaped from people who live in error. They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of corruption, for a person is a slave of whatever overcomes him.

  • In 2008, many voted to prove they aren’t racists.

    In 2012, many were given the opportunity to prove they aren’t idiots.

    All of us will suffer.

  • T. Shaw wrote, “In 2008, many voted to prove they aren’t racists. In 2012, many were given the opportunity to prove they aren’t idiots. All of us will suffer.”

    Those whoe voted specifically to get the first “black” man in as President are by defiinition racist because they voted on the basis of race. As such, they were idiots in 2008 and continue to be idiots in 2012. But yes, all of us will suffer.

  • PWP: Truth.

    Sadly, the ones to whom you refer could have been other than witless, prejudiced ideologues. They were “disenabled” by programs designed to “help” them, e.g., public school indoctrination.

    It’s not their fault!

  • “In 2008, many voted to prove they aren’t racists.

    In 2012, many were given the opportunity to prove they aren’t idiots.

    All of us will suffer.”

    Can I quote you? I love that.

  • T. Shaw has apparently upstaged Hilaire Belloc, my favorite historian, with a truism of his own. My compliments.

  • Once again, LIving Colour. Betcha they didn’t they’d be prophesying the first black U.S. President when they recorded this song 25 years ago. But unwitting prophesies are often the most prophetic.

  • Bible VersionsRSVPsalmsPsalm 2
    Psalm 2 (Revised Standard Version)

    1 Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling 12 kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

  • It was said of Napoléon III that he deceived Europe twice: once, when convinced them he was an idiot and a second time, when convinced them he was a statesman.

  • Napoleon III was the living embodiment of one of the few things Marx got right:

    “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
    Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.”

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm

  • That Obama has a cult following tells us more about imbecilic cultists than it does about Obama, the witless and prejudiced drone.

  • Donald R Mcclarey

    I always liked Marx’x description of him: “As a fatalist, he lives in the conviction that there are certain higher powers which man, and the soldier in particular, cannot withstand. Among these powers he counts, first and foremost, cigars and champagne, cold poultry and garlic sausage. “

Edwin M. Stanton and Temporary Insanity

Tuesday, November 27, AD 2012

 

 

Edwin M. Stanton could be a pill.  Irritable, sarcastic and often completely unreasonable, no doubt many of the Union Generals who had to deal with him often thought that they were dealing with a very mad man.  Mad in an emotional sense Stanton often was, anger often seeming to be the prime emotion he displayed throughout his career, at least after the death of his beloved first wife in 1844 which had a souring impact on his disposition.  However, he was also a very able man, and that compensated for his complete lack of tact in dealing with virtually everyone he came into contact with.  Prior to becoming Secretary of War he had been one of the ablest attorneys in the country.  Doubtless his most famous, or rather infamous case, was in the defense of future Union general Daniel Sickles.

Sickles in 1859 was a Democrat Congressman from New York, already notorious for having been censured for bringing a prostitute into the New York General Assembly chamber.  Leaving his pregnant wife at home, on a trip to England he had introduced the same prostitute, Fanny White, to Queen Victoria under an alias, the surname of which was that of a political opponent in New York.  Sickles obviously viewed his vow of marital fidelity with complete contempt.  However he did not view the vow of fidelity given to him by his wife Teresa in the same light.  When he found out on February 26, 1859 that his long-suffering wife was carrying on an affair with the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Philip Barton Key II, the son of Francis Scott Key, the composer of the Star Spangled Banner, he murdered Key the next day in Lafayette Park across from the White House, shooting him through the heart.  Sickles immediately surrendered to the Attorney General who lived just a few blocks away.

His trial was one of the most sensational in American history.  Public opinion was almost totally on his side, painting Sickles as an outraged husband defending his wife Teresa from a villain who had seduced her.  Sickles engaged a stellar defense team which included Stanton.  The defense team had a problem.  No matter what the public thought as to his motivation, Sickles was manifestly guilty.  Stanton hit upon the idea of raising the novel defense of temporary insanity which had never before been successful in the United States.  This was a true stroke of legal genius.  It allowed the defense to put on endless lurid testimony as to the affair and, in effect, have the dead man tried rather than Sickles.  In his closing argument Stanton portrayed the ever adulterous Sickles as a defender of marriage:

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15 Responses to Edwin M. Stanton and Temporary Insanity

  • And, some believe, he masterminded the plot to assassinate President Lincoln, Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward, which, under of the laws of the day, would have left Stanton as president.

  • Some believe that Paul, without a shred of evidence to support the claim. The line of succession was according to the 1792 act and the successor would have been the President pro tempore of the Senate, followed by the Speaker of the House. This was not changed until the presidential succession act of 1886 which took out the President pro temporare of the Senate and the Speaker of the House with cabinent officers from the date of the creation of the office. First in line was the Secretary of State and then the Secretary of the Treasury and then the Secretary of War. The 1792 act also required that a special election for President be held in December of the year in which someone other than the President or Vice President held the office of President, or, if there were less than two months until December, December of the following year.

    The current act governing succession is the 1947 act:

    1) If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is neither a President nor Vice President to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, upon his resignation as Speaker and as Representative in Congress, act as President.

    (2) The same rule shall apply in the case of the death, resignation, removal from office, or inability of an individual acting as President under this subsection. (b) If, at the time when under subsection (a) of this section a Speaker is to begin the discharge of the powers and duties of the office of President, there is no Speaker, or the Speaker fails to qualify as Acting President, then the President pro tempore of the Senate shall, upon his resignation as President pro tempore and as Senator, act as President. (c) An individual acting as President under subsection (a) or subsection (b) of this section shall continue to act until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, except that –
    (1) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the failure of both the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect to qualify, then he shall act only until a President or Vice President qualifies; and

    (2) if his discharge of the powers and duties of the office is founded in whole or in part on the inability of the President or Vice President, then he shall act only until the removal of the disability of one of such individuals. (d) (1) If, by reason of death, resignation, removal from office, inability, or failure to qualify, there is no President pro tempore to act as President under subsection (b) of this section, then the officer of the United States who is highest on the following list, and who is not under disability to discharge the powers and duties of the office of President shall act as President: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security. (2) An individual acting as President under this subsection shall continue so to do until the expiration of the then current Presidential term, but not after a qualified and prior-entitled individual is able to act, except that the removal of the disability of an individual higher on the list contained in paragraph (1) of this subsection or the ability to qualify on the part of an individual higher on such list shall not terminate his service.

  • Donald, I’ve always been told that at that time, the succession went: President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War.

    Do you have a link handy where I could research that?

    Of course today, as you’ve outlined, the Speaker of the House and then the President pro tempore of the Senate are in line before the Secretary of State.

    (I suspect most people don’t know who the President pro tempore of the Senate is; I had to look it up: It’s Senator Daniel Inouye.)

  • Hmm, Wikipedia seems quite clear in that I am simply wrong. I guess it’s not only science that changes as you get older, but history, too.

  • Presidential succession law Paul is fairly arcane and I only know it as a result of the Stanton conspiracy theory. I read a book exploding the theory years ago and it went into great detail on the Presidential Succession Act of 1792.

  • No Good Deed Ever Goes Unpunished Department:

    Character counts.

    If Sickles had been hanged, the events of 2 July 1863 may have occurred less tragically for the Union Third Corps (rendered hors d’combat through his insubordination) and the First Minnesota, which likely would have been spared of its famous “suicide charge.”

    Anyhow, what’s one murder compared with killing an army corps of men?

    Ergo, I will refrain from repeating Shakespeare’s line on lawyers . . .

  • History. So much to learn of practical value, so much of cultural significance, and then there are ripping yarns that’d make anyone smile.

  • Is Temporary insanity anything like invincible ignorance

  • Birds of a Feather Department:

    Similarly, Thaddeus Stevensmounted a successful insanity defense of a farmhand who used scythe to behead of a fellow worker.

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  • Hey – Any lawyerly or scholarly reaction to the Delling v Idaho case? It looks like the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Idaho’s lack of an insanity plea. The dissenters have written an opinion, but the majority doesn’t do that in a case that they refuse to hear. It’d be interesting to hear both sides of the issue.

  • As a general rule Pinky I am in favor of the states having a broad latitude in regard to their judicial systems. Idaho forces prosecutors to prove that someone knew what they were doing, but they do not have to prove that they knew what they were doing was wrong. That is a fairly traditional view of insanity in criminal prosecutions. It certainly eliminates the type of farcial result as typified in the Sickles case. I can see how it might end up doing injustice to a Defendant who knows that he is killing A, but is convinced, due to insanity, that A is a demon in human form. However too broad an allowance of an insanity plea and we have a killer claiming diminished capacity due to depression which manifested itself in a slovenly appearance and the imbibing of junk food.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_defense

    (On weekends I have a built in diminished capacity defense!)

  • On the Constitutional matter, I can see how the Supreme Court might not find the authority to step in. On the matter of abuse, well, thanks to this article, I know that it’s been a problem since day one, and I’m not surprised that every possible loophole has been used over the years to escape justice. How do you read the morality of it, though?

  • Morality and legal procedure Pinky are a tricky mix. The reason for that is that any legal system needs hard and fast rules, otherwise it becomes completely arbitrary, totally dependent upon the whims of judges and juries. It is very hard, read impossible, to craft rules that will do justice in every situation. Often times rules that are implemented to end a manifest abuse of the system, end up producing abuses of their own. Personally I think it is immoral to convict someone who truly was insane at the time of the crime. Additionally I think it is immoral to acquit someone who was obviously not insane, and is attempting to slide through on legal trickery. Such broad statements I am afraid are of little help when trying to craft fair rules of procedure, especially in an area where fakery is so often relied upon as it is in cases raising insanity as a defense.

  • Understood. And I’m not trying to pick a fight here. I just struggle with this question. As Catholics, we should try to make our society as just as possible.

    The twist on it, for me, is the question of capital punishment. I think that the proper Catholic understanding is that capital punishment should be avoided except in cases where the society has no recourse. To me, that would mean situations where it’s not feasible to secure a person. We have supermax facilities to protect the guards and fellow prisoners from the worst of the worst, but Belize may not have something comparable. And there are people who are so dangerous that society doesn’t have a right to expose guards or fellow prisoners to them. If that’s the standard for capital punishment, I can accept it – BUT – how can that standard not be applied to the criminally insane? Haven’t I just set up terms that would require societies to kill those with serious mental illness? I’ve argued myself into a position I don’t find comfortable.

    I’ve been trying to reconcile my instinct and Western history with my understanding of Church teaching, and I know I’m not there yet.

The Forgotten Men & Women of America

Monday, November 26, AD 2012


In 1883, William Graham Sumner published an essay titled “The Forgotten Man” (originally titled “On the Case of a Certain Man Who Is Never Thought Of” – not quite as catchy) which is as relevant today as it was when it was written. The essay is a great exposition of the laissez-faire understanding and approach to social problems and articulates what I believe many on the libertarian right and within the Tea Party believe today. From a Catholic point of view, there is much I find agreeable within it, though there are certain tangents, unnecessary to the main argument, that I would take issue with.

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14 Responses to The Forgotten Men & Women of America

  • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – CS Lewis

  • Bureaucracies, militaries, etc. are unproductive but necessary to varying extents.

    No, the civil service and the military perform useful services. They are not, however, services that emerge from market transactions, hence the resort to public agency.

  • Useful does not = productive. Unproductive does not = useless.

  • ” . . . the civil service and the military perform useful services.”

    Truth. The military destroys things and kills people in order to prevent such evils from being inflicted on the citizenry. It does not (since they stopped issuing letters of marque) produce wealth, goods, or servicers. It takes assets, economic resources, wealth from the producers. Similarly, the civil service/bureaucrats do not produce but take from the productive sectors.

    And, above the two are politicians that deal in coersion and fraud; and have devolved into latter-day Gracchi trading bread and circuses for votes.

    Some thoughts:

    This rewards bad behavior.

    See Zerohedge, PA has issued a study showing how a family of four on various welfare entitlements has higher disposable income than the similar family that grosses $69,000 a year.

    There is no such a thing as a free lunch; or something for nothing. Someone pays for it.

    It’s always other people’s money.

    Nations reach breaking points when producers/taxpayers become outnumbered by dependents/tax takers.

    Symptoms of national disaster include the tax-taking segments growing more rapidly than the wealth-producing sectors, they call it “The evil, unjust private sector.” In 2011, the US national debt grew by more than did the evil, unjust private sector GDP, and that is just one part of the increases in government taking.

    Voting for abortionists, sodomists, and class hate-mongers (they promise to take more from somebody else that you hate whom they charge isn’t paying his “fair share”) to feed the Obama-voting moron bloc is not one of the Corporal Works of Mercy.

    Let’s have some fun. List the public utils produced by various bureaucracies.

    I’ll start with the EPA: higher prices for elecricity, gasoline, home heating oil; and shortages to boot.

    Feel free to jump in.

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  • Seeing as salty truth-tellers of old are the elixir of choice in these parts, I offer, for your edification, from 1872…

    http://archive.org/details/publicschooleduc00ml

    Michael Muller, while a favourite of some (what are now thought to be) fringe Catholic groups, has in his other works great insights into prayer and the faith. Well worth a read, IMHO. Deeply rooted in the 32nd Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori.

  • “Vice is its own curse. If we let nature alone, she cures vice by the most frightful penalties.”

    He ignores the penalties inflicted on the innocent bystanders. No man is an island. No action happens in a vacuum. Every vice has a societal cost. The idea of victimless crime is non-reality.

    You read Sumner’s quote and see an affirmation of natural law. I see a justification of natural selection, which wouldn’t be surprising since such thought was rising to the forefront of academic thought in his time.

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  • Darren O.,

    I’m familiar with Michael Muller. He’s the theological equivalent of 90-proof alcohol – drink it only if you’re sure you can handle it.

    Kyle,

    Some things labeled “victimless crimes” really do have victims. Others really are harmless. Marijuana does not post a greater risk to society than alcohol; both should be prohibited or both should be legalized. In my opinion, both should be legal, not one person ought to ever be molested by the state for possessing or indulging in them. We can and should still punish crimes resulting from intoxication, but not everyone, not even the majority, will abuse these substances to the point that they pose an actual threat to someone else (to the point where the police need to become involved, that is).

    Sumner’s point and mine is that you cannot save people from themselves, and that what motivates the majority of intervention by the state is not so much a concern for society as a self-righteous delusion that enlightened elites will save the lower classes from themselves and elevate them. I reject this fantasy on moral and practical grounds.

  • “Marijuana does not post a greater risk to society than alcohol; both should be prohibited or both should be legalized.”

    There is a point when risks becomes too costly for society. While alcohol comes with its costs, introducing another intoxicant into the market will simply increase the harm incurred. And while the one indulging won’t be prosecuted in a legalize all vices society, everyone else would be punished in some form.

    This is the problem I have with the Ron Paul crowd and its obsession with legalizing narcotics. It is their belief in the license to participate in vices as the ultimate example of real freedom. Their freedom is embracing the worst habits of us and not the free exercise of what makes us a great citizen, community and country.

    “Sumner’s point and mine is that you cannot save people from themselves”

    It’s true the decision to do good or bad ultimately lies with the individual. However, law can have a positive effect in deterring one to do harm to him or herself. Absent the law, the tempted individual sees license to partake of legal activity without a true understanding of serious, even dire, consequences.

    You acknowledge there is a risk to legalization, but your interpretation of Sumner’s point makes risk evaluation pointless. For no matter the risk, you can’t save people from themselves. The result is a society where there are no personal limits. All narcotics are legalized, and no societal costs until harm to another party is done. That’s a difficult argument to make to a mother crying over a child killed by a school bus driver who showed up to work hung over from a crack high.

  • Kyle,

    I question whether or not the costs of prosecuting people for marijuana are greater than the alleged harm that these people cause society. It is a grave thing to take away a person’s freedom, or to otherwise interfere in their life, and it is all done at the expense of the taxpayer (i.e. forgotten man). Is it justifiable to cause real and lasting harm to moderate drug users? Because that is what happens when the state arrests, prosecutes, fines, monitors and ultimately imprisons a man. It is harm to a real individual, who may have dependents, who may be a worker paying taxes, who may have any number of social roles.

    So when you say that the “harm incurred” would be increased, I see that it would be decreased.

    “It is their belief in the license to participate in vices as the ultimate example of real freedom.”

    That’s really just not true. I think Ron Paul and many of us supporters would be the first to acknowledge that those who sin, are slaves to sin, that those who are addicts are not really free. This isn’t about suggesting the best means to personal freedom, but rather defining the role and the limitations of the state and the rights of the individual. We believe people ought to be free to make bad choices, though I honestly don’t see the substantial difference between having a drink (which we all regard as morally neutral, not being Puritans) and smoking a joint.

    It is also about, again, the forgotten man – the taxpayer, who has to cough up the dough to finance the criminal justice system that prosecutes all of these people for their own good. I don’t want my tax dollars spent on this. America was fine when marijuana wasn’t a controlled substance, and it will be fine again when these absurd laws are finally scrapped.

    “However, law can have a positive effect in deterring one to do harm to him or herself. ”

    Whenever you use the word “law”, I see “coercion”, because that is what we are really talking about, and in my view the use of force against a person requires a much greater justification than “they have a bad habit we need to stop for their own good.” And I have to tell you, from personal experience, that I’ve known maybe one, two at the most people who were afraid to smoke marijuana because it was “against the law.” It is a non-factor for most normal human beings. Many more people I knew refused to smoke because of drug tests or even lie detector tests that current or potential employers might subject them to.

    Believe it or not, freedom does work. Because freedom includes the rights of employers not to have potheads for employees, especially when people want to join the police or firefighters or military. This idea of the coercive state as our nanny, telling us what is best for us, though, is a degradation of human dignity. We have enough people throwing away their dignity all on their own, and we don’t need the state adding to it.

    “Absent the law, the tempted individual sees license to partake of legal activity without a true understanding of serious, even dire, consequences.”

    What I just said really proves this false. People lose their jobs, their friends, their money, their homes due to drug addiction. These are punishment enough, and they are all imposed by organic social institutions, not the artificial Leviathan. On the other hand, people who use drugs and can retain all of these things have demonstrated that they have a handle on it, and it is stupid and vindictive to punish them for it.

    “That’s a difficult argument to make to a mother crying over a child killed by a school bus driver who showed up to work hung over from a crack high.”

    She should be mad at the school for not screening their employees. Do you really think a crackhead cares that crack is against the law? To even become a crackhead you would have already have to have broken dozens of laws. Crackheads should be removed from the streets and put in rehabilitation facilities (not prisons where they can be gang-raped by unchecked prison gangs), not because they violated some absurd Puritanical rule against intoxicants, but because they do pose a threat.

    But a casual pot smoker is not a crackhead, and less of a danger than an alcoholic.

  • Hi Bonchamps. Had to step away and get some things done. Back to the discussion…

    You and I agree there are reasonable limits on freedoms. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can yell fire in a theater. Right to bear arms doesn’t mean you can possess a nuclear missile in your backyard. The debate is where to draw the line.

    You mentioned the costs to enforce the drug laws as a justification to cease the prohibition. It is my belief that the rightness or wrongness of a law is never based on its enforceability or its costs.

    If we, as a society, decide sex trafficking is wrong and should be illegal, does it matter the cost to enforce it? At what budgetary line does a harmful activity became non-harmful? Is sex trafficking bad when enforcement is $1 million but licit when enforcement costs $1 million + $1?

    How much has been spent on stopping and prosecuting murder? By the legalize narcotics standards, we should cease those laws. They are simply ineffective and too costly. Murderers will murder anyway. Or, is it possible the very existence of the law provides a beneficial deterrence to would be murders?

    You say the drug user’s addiction is punishment enough. If you have known, worked with, lived with, been the victim of, etc. an addict, you know that person is not the only one punished. Those people are the real forgotten men, the trail of victims the addict leaves behind. Those who have to live with the costs incurred by an addict’s habit. Don’t forget those forgotten men.

    In regards to Ron Paul supporters, I know very well how they think and what issues are important to them. The Paulistas rally around narcotic legalization as the ultimate example of freedom. Yet, finding such fervor about the rights of the unborn and religious freedom is virtually silent. They claim to be freedom fighters, but their motivations are really selfish. “Let me smoke my pot. Erase my debts you evil big banks.”

    I could go on and on about the problems of Paulistas. I have 2 in the family and have seen endless postings by them and their friends. You are the sanest one I’ve ever met, probably the only sane one.

  • “You mentioned the costs to enforce the drug laws as a justification to cease the prohibition. It is my belief that the rightness or wrongness of a law is never based on its enforceability or its costs.”

    Well, I don’t share that belief. I think it is morally wrong to not consider the practicality or the costs, because if they are worse than the problem that the policy claims to address, you are imposing unfair and unnecessary burdens on people. Costs matter, especially when you are proposing to confiscate people’s private property to pay them. There is rightness and wrongness to consider every step along the way. When you say you don’t care about costs, you’re basically saying that you don’t care about the consequences of your actions. How is that anything other than sociopathic?

    “If we, as a society, decide sex trafficking is wrong and should be illegal, does it matter the cost to enforce it? ”

    Yes, it does matter. It absolutely matters. There is a hierarchy of needs and priorities. I don’t know exactly where sex trafficking falls on that hierarchy, but I’m pretty sure that there are things higher than it that need to be addressed before that issue can be addressed.

    “How much has been spent on stopping and prosecuting murder? By the legalize narcotics standards, we should cease those laws. They are simply ineffective and too costly. Murderers will murder anyway. Or, is it possible the very existence of the law provides a beneficial deterrence to would be murders?”

    The state exists to protect natural rights. Laws against murder reflect the fact that we have a natural right to life that no man is justified in violating. Laws against marijuana, on the other hand, prevent people from engaging in behavior that AT BEST might theoretically cause someone else harm. At worst they are proposed to save people form themselves, which is a violation of human dignity and free will.

    The law does not exist to “instruct.” It does not exist to make us better people. That is the role of religion, of society, of our families. The law exists to protect our rights against would-be violators. That’s all.

    “You say the drug user’s addiction is punishment enough. If you have known, worked with, lived with, been the victim of, etc. an addict, you know that person is not the only one punished. Those people are the real forgotten men, the trail of victims the addict leaves behind. Those who have to live with the costs incurred by an addict’s habit. Don’t forget those forgotten men.”

    First of all, I have.

    Secondly, the state doesn’t exist to help those people. That is what families, churches, and local organizations are for. The state shouldn’t have a thing to do with what ought to be a private matter.

    “I know very well how they think and what issues are important to them. The Paulistas rally around narcotic legalization as the ultimate example of freedom.”

    Well, this is at stereotype. I am a Ron Paul supporter, and I don’t believe that. Neither does Judge Napolitano, Tom Woods, Chuck Baldwin or any number of conservative religious Ron Paul supporters.

    “You are the sanest one I’ve ever met, probably the only sane one.”

    Check out the guys I mentioned.

  • Again, and with reference to Blackadder’s contention, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has a budget of $6.9 bn, of which the Department of Justice attributes $3.5 bn to the cost of incarcerating people for whom the top count was a drug charge. Federal prisoners account for about 11% of the nation’s inmates, but a much higher share of those incarcerated for street drugs (~30%). The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has a budget of $2.4 bn. Overall, around 20% of the sum of costs for law enforcement at all levels of government is attributable to the gross costs of enforcing the drug laws. Not 10% of all public expenditure is lavished on police, courts, and prisons. About 2% of all public expenditure can be fairly attributable to drug enforcement.

    (While we are at it, libertarians, around 15% of all public expenditure is allocated to the military, and somewhat under 30% of all soldiers are billeted abroad, so “the empire” accounts for just north of 4% of public expenditure).

Catholic hospitals (and politicians?) being put “on notice”…

Monday, November 26, AD 2012

 

With the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) having been called to task by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it may not be long before organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals will be called to task by the Pontifical Council for Health Care (PCHC).

Why?

According to one member of the PCHC, Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, it’s to preserve the identity of Catholic hospitals.  In many nations across the globe, this identity is being threatened as decisions at the local level are being made—using the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity—that undermine Church teaching.

St. Joseph’s Hospital
operating in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona

 

The first step will be taken when PCHC releases its updated Charter for Health Care Workers on June 16, 2013, the “Dignity of Life Day” during the Year of Faith, following CDF review and approval.  It’s that review and approval that should be neither overlooked nor underestimated.

The current Charter’s directives are divided into three categories: procreation, life, and death.  The revised Charter is said to discuss Church teaching as it concerns bioethics, healthcare coverage, and “orphan drugs” (providing affordable pharmaceutical treatments even though the market for the drugs is too small to make research, production, and distribution economically viable or profitable).

More importantly, the updated Charter will include a fourth section, “the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”

It’s this fourth category—the second step—that organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals and some professionals working in them will find challenging.  While the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity advocate that decisions be made and action taken at the lowest possible level, a Catholic News Agency article is reporting that some employees at Catholic hospitals have taken that definition to mean that providing abortafacients, sterilizations, and abortions is permissible as is genetic experimentation and embryo selection for eugenics.

But, don’t miss what’s also in the document by focusing solely upon how some employees of Catholic hospitals across the globe are undermining their institution’s identity.

Why?

The updated Charter is said also to include CDF notes and instructions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, published in 2003.  This document states that while Catholics are free to choose among political parties and strategies for promoting the common good, they cannot claim that freedom allows them to support abortion, euthanasia, or other attacks on human life.

Could it possibly be that CDF is going to use PCHC to fire a first salvo at  certain Catholic politicians?

If so, the inclusion of those  CDF notes and instructions is putting those Catholic politicians on notice that they no longer will be able to promote their support of  anti-life policies by claiming that the Church’s principles of solidarity and subsidiarity support their policy positions.

 

 

 

To read the articles, click on the following links:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204785.htm

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-to-address-abortions-in-catholic-hospitals/

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5 Responses to Catholic hospitals (and politicians?) being put “on notice”…

  • None too soon. Many Catholic hospitals are attempting to head the way of Catholic Universities. Unfortunately the one I work for has a Catholic Bioethicist that has found a way to justify just about anything though in the most original manner I have ever encountered. He says do what you want to and go to Confession after. Seriously, that is what he’s said.

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  • Phillip – I feel your pain, I worked at a “Catholic” institution and still cannot believe the BS I heard. I am also baffled how any institution pays someone to be a “Bioethicist ” that lacks any ethics! My kid at 17 was a exceptional at spinning logic (sometimes convincingly) to create any outcome he desired — how is an ethicist without any ethical foundation any different? Better to pay 17 year-olds!

  • Mia, so true. If one shops around in the decadent theology departments of
    our American Catholic universities one can find a theologian or an ‘ethicist’
    willing to spin for just about anything you could wish.

    The Catholic hospital in my city has an interesting run-around going: the
    city ‘owns’ one floor of the building, so it is deemed to be a separate facility.
    Want your tubes tied? Just hop on the elevator and voila! when you
    step out you’re still under the same roof but no longer in the “Catholic” part
    of the building.

  • Moral theologians of that stripe are nothing new.

    Perhaps, the most notorious (and voluminous) was the Jesuit theologian, Escobar. Not only were his opinions excoriated by Pascal in the Provincial Letters, but he was lampooned by the best poets of the age, Molière, Boileau and La Fontaine, A century later, his “cases of conscience” were still provoking the derision of Diderot and Voltaire.

    He was only the best-known of his school, which included Sanchez, Filliucci and Diana. Most were Jesuits and have given the word, “Jesuitical” to the language. Some of their choicest opinions may be found in the 65 propositions condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1679 in propositiones laxorum moralistarum.

    Alas! We have the casuists, but where are the satirists?

I, Pencil

Monday, November 26, AD 2012

The socialists, quasi-socialists and plain old economic illiterates currently at the head of our country could learn a lot by watching the above video of I Pencil and reading the 1958 essay I, Pencil by Leonard E Reed.  Go here to read it.  The complexities of markets can never be commanded by governments, merely distorted or destroyed.  During the hard times that lie ahead in the next four years, remember the pencil!

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7 Responses to I, Pencil

Beneath Contempt

Monday, November 26, AD 2012

 

 

Democrats have been stealing elections for a very long time, but lately they have been working a new angle:  exploiting the mentally handicapped for votes.  David Horowitz relates what he learned at a Thanksgiving dinner:

But even knowing this, I was not prepared for a conversation I had at Thanksgiving dinner today with my brother-in-law, Henry, who has lived most of his life in a home for the mentally disabled, and though now in his forties has the intelligence level of a six-year-old.

“Obama saved me,” he said to me out of the blue.

“What do you mean?”

“I voted for him for president and now he’s saving me.”

I was taken aback by these words, since Henry had no idea who Obama was, or what a president might be, and would be unable to fill out a registration form let alone get to the polling place by himself. So I asked him how he knew that and how he had registered and cast his vote. In halting, impeded speech he told me that the people who take care of him at the home filled out “the papers” to register him to vote, told him how Obama cared for him, even taught him the Obama chants, and then took him to the polling place to vote. They did the same for all of the mentally disabled patients in their care, approximately sixty in all.

This is so appalling in its contempt for the voting process, which is the very foundation of our democracy, and in its cynical exploitation of my brother-in-law and the other patients in the home, many of whose mental capacities are even more limited than his that I am at a loss for words to express it. I hope poll-watching groups like “True the Vote” will comb the rolls of residents at other homes for the mentally disabled, and attempt to stop this particular abuse. I hope that people who care about our country will make electoral fraud a focus of their political efforts, and work to protect the integrity of the voting process.

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22 Responses to Beneath Contempt

  • The looters and tyrants need to experience the righteous antipathy of millions of producers and taxpayers.

  • There are a mess of dubious characters in the helping professions.

  • The National Association of Scholars published a report a few years back on how social workers are educated; in a word: scandalously. Now take a look at this from Washington University in St. Louis, which has a purportedly highly rated program:

    http://gwbweb.wustl.edu/Admissions/MSWProgram/Pages/CurriculumandCourseOverview.aspx

    Examining their course lists, can you figure what these dames are being trained to do that would not and could not be covered in programs in public administration or clinical psychology?

    One project the starboard side might get cracking on on the state level is euthanizing this ideologized pseudo-profession.

  • “The National Association of Scholars published a report a few years back on how social workers are educated; in a word: scandalously.”

    Agreed! I have written about this:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/07/29/intolerance-in-the-name-of-tolerance/

    One of the main problems with academia is that too many areas of study on too many campuses are basically leftist politics with a patina of academic gibberish.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy here) Art, our daughter is applying for admission to college, and has been indicating that long-term, she’d like to become a school counselor. (No comment on whether we think that’s the best career option for her.) Don & I insisted that she had to think shorter-term as well, and pick an undergrad major which would make her employable, so she’s going with elementary education.
    Anyway, the Children, Youth & Families concentration in that Wash U MSW program description you linked to sounds an awful lot like the M.S. programs in educational psychology and developmental psychology I looked up when investigating what additional coursework our daughter would need after teacher certification to qualify as a school counselor. The main difference I can spot is that the MSW program sounds “squishier” and more advocacy/policy/agenda-oriented, even in the direct practice tracks that I looked at. It looks like the MSW program at Wash U wants to turn out social workers who not only have a certain set of skills, but also all fit a certain ideological mold.

  • Mr Horowitz of all people should know the Left’s playbook – what you pro-lifers want to deny votes to the mentally different? The chance to reach for significance, for revenge. What would Jesus say? And a whole swathe of Christians will then fold as a pack of cards.

  • Mrs. McClarey:

    A good reason to major in education is that trade associations, teacher training faculty, and unions have buffaloed state legislatures into making it a requirement for employment in the public schools. Critics of these programs (e.g. Thomas Sowell) say their value-added is undetectable.

    I do hope your daughter has

    1. mastered algebra;

    2. writes grammatical English;

    3. knows the basics of American history, geography, and civics;

    4. selects a school of education which has as its focus courses in practical teaching strategies and not in promoting rancid social ideology (Stanford University and LeMoyne College have been the focus of scandals in this regard, as has NCATE, the accrediting association for teacher-training programs).

    5. selects a decent 2d major and/or is very careful in her selection of courses to fulfill distribution requirements; courses in accounting, statistics, insurance foreign languages, economics, and mathematics are good; art history might be, if it stops at 1918; philosophy might be; social sciences should be avoided unless they are grounded in quantitative methods (or are studying work by Gabriel Almond, Dankwart Rustow, et al).

    6. If you can work in a business major, perhaps a five-year plan is worth it.

    7. Every family should have an engineer. Tell your son or one of your nephews to get cracking.

    Now I will stop being overbearing (which is the moderator’s job in any case).

  • Mr Horowitz of all people should know the Left’s playbook – what you pro-lifers want to deny votes to the mentally different? The chance to reach for significance, for revenge. What would Jesus say? And a whole swathe of Christians will then fold as a pack of cards.

    Martinis for breakfast is a bad habit.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again) Art, we’ve been trying to talk her into a business-oriented major (f.ex. Computer Information Systems or Accounting), but she hasn’t bitten yet. There are a couple of small Midwestern colleges where our daughter’s test scores & class rank make her overqualified compared to their average freshmen (with decent U.S. News & World Report rankings, and decent results in their Net Price Calculators) where she has a shot at good merit scholarships, and has already been accepted; hopefully they aren’t as P.C.-nuts as larger schools. I’ll be driving her to their merit scholarship interviews myself, so I’ll be able to get an in-person feel for what those colleges are like.

  • I do not know why I was assuming elementary school. If she aims to be a high school teacher, she would need to be subject trained (whether the board of regents requires it or not). Of course, you could persuade her she wants to teach vocational business classes.

    I suspect with accounting there is enough temp work around that she might be able to get out of painting houses in the summer time.

  • Don’t write off an entire career path because of a bad trend among teachers. If you feel called to a particular career, and it’s something that’s marketable and you have an aptitude for, don’t let a few lousy professors push you around. I got a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics – definitely not a hard science – and didn’t get brainwashed along the way.

    First off, the average teacher doesn’t do a lot of work. He assigns texts and homework, and blathers in front of the class for a set period of time. The student regurgitates all over a midterm and a final, and maybe has to write a paper. The paper can be unorthodox as anything, but if it’s about one of the foundational texts or theories in the field, the teacher will usually accept it – and every field has some decent thought within it. Even if the teacher doesn’t like the student (and you’d have to be pretty obnoxious to get noticed in a classroom of 500 kids), with grade inflation being what it is, the student might get a B- instead of an A. Big deal. The student will still end up graduating with a 3.2 GPA.

    You might be able to find a school that has a reputation for not contaminating the students, although each teacher is different, and in a lot of cases it’s the TA who’s doing the teaching. But once you get out of the classroom, there will be a wide range of thinkers in the field. And most employers don’t care about a particular person’s ideology as long as they don’t make anyone’s life difficult and fill out the paperwork correctly. So don’t fret over a particular major.

    Actually, if I could offer one piece of advice to beginning college students, it’d be to take a minor as well as a major.

  • Pinky,

    As a student or professors my wife and I have been associated with six colleges/universities (a large state school, a large Catholic University and four small liberal arts schools). The experience you describe (professor who does little work, TAs grading, large classes, etc.) only really exist at research universities. At small colleges, professors teach 4-6 lectures per school year, do most of the grading, and, in many cases, even teach science labs. At those schools it is really difficult to ‘hide’ from the professors. My wife is currently a tenure track professor in biology at a college in the Northwest and she knows every student in the ‘large’ lecture of sixty – the largest lecture of any class at the school.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again) The 2 colleges which have already accepted our daughter for admission are both tiny, as colleges go ( <1,500 students each) so, if she attended one of them, the profs would certainly get to know her. On the other hand, the other schools she's waiting to hear back from on admission decisions range from 2,000-35,000 students each, so there's certainly a chance she'd end up at a "Mega-U".
    As to majors/minors, our daughter is definitely interested in at least a minor in addition to a major. The way she's changed her mind each year during high school on what she'd like to major in, though, she may well change her mind again by the time she has to officially declare a major. It had better be something which will make her employable with just a BA/BS, though!

  • I got a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics – definitely not a hard science – and didn’t get brainwashed along the way.

    Economics is not sociology. It is a social science in actuality, not in aspiration. I think the same deal applies in demography, but undergraduate courses in demography are rare. One might hope a future generation will return American history, anthropology, sociology, and social psychology to a state where practicing them is not functionally dependent upon signing on to a Marxist, feminist, or multi-culti catechism.

    By the way, I did most of my undergraduate study at research universities. There was a minor kerfuffle at the engineering school at one place when students were assigned a TA who spoke only some odd dialect of Chinese. Otherwise, I do not recall much trouble with professors sloughing off. TAs graded exercises in large survey courses with scores of students enrolled, but the faculty did all their own lectures and relied on TAs only for end-of-the-week discussion sessions which amounted to about 25% of class time. Professors did the whole shebang for seminars and lecture courses of ordinary enrollment. I’ve a family member on the faculty of George Mason, a large research university. He usually teaches a 2-2 schedule because he commonly has important administrative responsibilities in addition to bringing in masses of grant money and having published several dozen papers in recent decades. He puts his all into his teaching as well, and would have been overqualified at the small college I attended (which makes a point of being a redoubt of ‘scholar/teachers’).

  • It had better be something which will make her employable with just a BA/BS, though!

    I hope that little college has an accounting department.

  • Maybe Pravda (Russian for “truth”) needs to update its Obama re-election coverage.

    Quoted:

    ‘Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society . . . .”

    Truth.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again)
    “I hope that little college has an accounting department.”
    Both of them do, Art, and they both emphasize internship opportunities – especially the one that’s outside our own state, and approx. a 1/2-hour drive away from a major Midwestern city.

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  • Don, to get back to the topic of using the mentally handicapped as vote generating tools for the democrats. I too have an autistic son who will likely end up in a group home when my husband and I are no longer physically up to caring for him. I have also worked as a county caseworker for intellectually disabled individuals who live in group homes. As a caseworker I was required to ask each individual on my caseload every year whether they wished to register to vote. If yes, I was required to see that they got registered. If they said no, I had to have them sign a paper stating their disinterest in registering, and turn these in to my supervisor who would presumably turn a record in to the state. As you say, there is no competency criteria. So long as the individual nods or gives some other sign that means yes, he can register to vote. He can sign with an X or other mark if he can not write his name, as long as there is a witness.
    In theory this law protects an individual who has a mild degree of mental retardation but functions with a fair degree of independence. Some of these individuals hold jobs, follow the news on tv and yes, have as much a right and ability to cast a vote as any “normal” person with a high school degree and the same susceptibility to persuasion by the media, by relatives, etc.
    In practice, the abuses mentioned in the post are widespread. I live in a conservative rural county, and so my impression is that mentally disabled individuals from groups homes are as likely to be persuaded by caregivers to vote republican as democrat. But yes, it’s a terrible situation. It would be a rare poll watcher who could get up the nerve to be seen as “supressing” the vote of a disabled person.
    If your autistic son does not advance beyond a child’s intellectual capacity by adulthood, I recommend that you obtain legal guardianship when he turns 18. Guardianship does not accrue to you automatically just because you are the parent. Your son is considered a legally competent person once he turns 18 no matter how severely handicapped. If you do not get yourself named as guardian, there is nothing to stop a caregiver from manipulating him into voting for whomever the caregiver determines is the best candidate for “disabilities rights”
    At least this is the case here in Pennsylvania, and I suspect it is the same elsewhere.

  • “If your autistic son does not advance beyond a child’s intellectual capacity by adulthood, I recommend that you obtain legal guardianship when he turns 18. Guardianship does not accrue to you automatically just because you are the parent. Your son is considered a legally competent person once he turns 18 no matter how severely handicapped. If you do not get yourself named as guardian, there is nothing to stop a caregiver from manipulating him into voting for whomever the caregiver determines is the best candidate for “disabilities rights”
    At least this is the case here in Pennsylvania, and I suspect it is the same elsewhere.”

    I had my wife, myself and my autistic son’s twin brother appointed by the court as guardians shortly after his 18th birthday. After my wife and I are gone, the plan is for him to live with his brother who is planning to join me in my law firm after he graduates from law school. From what I have seen of state institutions and group homes I will do whatever it takes to make certain, as far as I am able, that my autistic son will always live with family.

  • (Don’s wife Cathy again) “If your autistic son does not advance beyond a child’s intellectual capacity by adulthood, I recommend that you obtain legal guardianship when he turns 18.”
    That’s just what we did, Daria. In fact, we just had to file our first 3-year report on the guardianship, and we’ll all be appearing at a hearing on that report during Christmas break (when our son’s twin & co-guardian will be home from college).

  • One other thing you did not ask for:

    Your daughter should lay off any vocational discipline with high rates of innovation until her children are of such an age that she expects not to be departing the labor force until retirement. A lady IT tech of my acquaintance once lamented that things she had learned just three years earlier were now useless. You cannot come and go with IT.

Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

Sunday, November 25, AD 2012

From Annum Sacrum:

3. This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegiance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ. For He who is the Only-begotten Son of God the Father, having the same substance with Him and being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance (Hebrews i., 3) necessarily has everything in common with the Father, and therefore sovereign power over all things. This is why the Son of God thus speaks of Himself through the Prophet: “But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain. . . The Lord said to me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm, ii.). By these words He declares that He has power from God over the whole Church, which is signified by Mount Sion, and also over the rest of the world to its uttermost ends. On what foundation this sovereign power rests is made sufficiently plain by the words, “Thou art My Son.” For by the very fact that He is the Son of the King of all, He is also the heir of all His Father’s power: hence the words-“I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance,” which are similar to those used by Paul the Apostle, “whom he bath appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews i., 2).

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4 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

  • Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the final Sunday before Advent…according to the calendar used by the Novus Ordo. Christ the King was observed in October according to the Tridentine Mass.

    Despite my sinfulness, or perhaps because of it, I have long been drawn to the Latin Mass. I experience no piano playing – as if in a hotel lounge – during the Latin Mass. At any rate, the calendar for the Mass of Paul VI and the TLM should be made uniform. The Latin Mass and the Byzantine Catholic church measure time according to the Sundays after Pentecost. Ordinary time sounds so dull.

  • Hey, Penguins you must be very young. This 74-year old Crandle Catholic was weaned and nurtured with the Latin High Mass solemnly celebrated with the accompaniment of the Church Organ’s Melodies of the Gregorian Mass. The most revered Hymn I remember is the Te Deum and Die Sirae of the Funeral Holy Mass – no longer played or remembered. The Easter Hymns were truly Spirit-filled. Yet, I have no quarrel with the Vatican II Holy Mass except where they distorted the Ancient Catholic Prayers of the Holy Mass and especially the Prayer of the Consecration where Jesus said that His Blood will be poured out “for many” and NOT FOR ALL. Providentially, that has been restored by the New Lectionary. But I suffer silently the noisy Casino-like Modern Music of Guitars, Drums and all manner of noise-making instruments. We are, after all – in the Catholic Church, before the King of Kings – in the Tabernacle, and on the Altar after Consecration, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Some mode of decorum is certainly needed here and more quiet Prayers and listening to Him. Instead, we have people acting as if they are on the Dance Floor. But hey, let God be the judge of what and how He wants to be worshipped!!!!!!

  • Notice to moderators: I am about to begin some thread drift.

    Hi, Mary,

    I have reached a point where I can not tolerate silliness at Mass any more. The Novus Ordo is fine with me when I go to Daily Mass. Sundays are another story. The priest does not need five or six women to climb up the altar steps and receive chalices to give Communion. Marty Haugen gives me nausea. The aforementioned piano player at my parish does not know when to quit. Don’t get me started on my mother’s parish.

    The liturgical calendar for the Novus Ordo scrapped many observances found in the TLM calendar. If, as Pope Benedict says, that there is one Mass and two forms of it then they should be on the same calendar.

    End thread drift.

    Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, but not this world. If He were King of this world, then all would be His subjects. Christ wants people to choose Him but does not chase after those who do not, because their deeds and words are the seeds they sow and they will reap the fruits of their labors.

  • Penguins, just offer all these frustrations to Jesus, especially when you go for Adoration before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Believe me, He will use them to pardon the punishment of some forgotten soul in Purgatory who has no one to pray for them. And not only those about our Holy Mass – but all frustrations, , especially when you do not deserve it. Emulate Him by accepting the unacceptables with humility and offer them all to Him. That is what He taught Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, His Secretary of Message of Divine Mercy. And I have taught myself – not without much resistance from my puny ego – to emulate what He teaches as an Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, where He has called me to serve Him in my twilight years.

The Father of Our Country and the Almighty

Sunday, November 25, AD 2012

Today is the feast day of Christ the King in the Catholic Liturgical Calendar, signaling the ending of the Church year.  On this date my thoughts turn to April 30, 1789 when President George Washington commenced the government of the United States under its new Constitution with the first inaugural address.  Below is the address.  Pay special attention to the second paragraph where Washington acknowledges the role of God in bringing about the American Republic and his final paragraph where he states that America depends upon God’s cotinued blessing: so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

AMONG the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years—a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.

 

 

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.

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2 Responses to The Father of Our Country and the Almighty

Black Friday and Worse Than Murder, Inc

Saturday, November 24, AD 2012

 

Hattip to Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain.  Worse Than Murder, Inc., a/k/a Planned Parenthood, decided to offer a discount on their blood money services on the day after Thanksgiving in two of their affiliates in South Florida:

A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in southern Florida is offering a black Friday discount — including $10 off a visit to the abortion center today.   Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast offered the special, saying, “Visit our West Palm Beach or Kendall Health Center for special after Thanksgiving savings on Friday, November 23rd.”

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek noticed the Black Friday discount and responded, “Planned Parenthood brings new meaning to the term, “Black Friday,” doesn’t it?”   This is the same abortion business where the chair of the national Democratic party headlined a small rally last year.

 

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was named by pro-abortion President Barack Obama recently to take over as the head of the Democratic Party. At the time of her appointment to the position, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards praised Wasserman Schultz as a “heroine” for her extensive abortion advocacy. The appointment made it clear Obama would not run from his lengthy pro-abortion record.

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6 Responses to Black Friday and Worse Than Murder, Inc

  • You’re right: they’re worse than Murder, Inc. That’s because MI was “small potatoes.”

    In fact, they’re worse than Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin combined.

    No doubt they’ll hold a “door-buster” event on Christmas Eve.

  • If this were merely a story from The Onion, it would almost be funny since it represents an over the top convergence of everything that is the complete opposite of the true Thanksgiving and Christmas spirits — unbridled consumerism and destroying unborn children. Unfortunately, it fits what C.S. Lewis described in “The Four Loves” as “a sure mark of evil: only by being terrible does it avoid being comic.”

  • Disgusting. If I say anything beyond this, I will be taking the Lord’s name in vain.

  • They have denied the truth of what human life is, and the meaning of human sexuality. Because they have lied, they must continue to lie, and those lies compound upon each other. And so in honor of “Thanksgiving” they offer discounts for actions that make a mockery out of the concept of thankfulness. They are not thankful for the gift of human life. They hide the nature of what they do, which is ripping babies out of the womb, by marketing techniques which distract from that reality. Note the cheerful colors, and the reference to “savings”, as if it’s a wonderful service to be had at a bargain. It’s presented as a great value, and at a lower price, when in fact it destroys a priceless value. In fact, the entire advertisement is a lie that decorates a horrible reality in pretty colors and attractive words. This is what Planned Parenthood does. It comes from the Devil.

    John 8:43-45: “Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot bear to hear my word. You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.”

    Right now we are fighting their presence in our public schools where I live. Planned Parenthood is presenting themselves as a community service organization dedicated to helping children succeed. We’ve encountered a lack of truthfulness at every turn, consistent with the denial of truth that is at the heart of Planned Parenthood’s mission.

  • Thank you, briana and Alphatron Shinyskullus. My response to your all is from yesterday’s Gospel Reading as I mourn and continue to pray unceasingly for your beloved country.

    “”Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
    If my kingdom did belong to this world,
    my attendants would be fighting
    to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
    But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
    So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
    Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
    For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
    to testify to the truth.
    Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.””

    And, yes, John 8:43-45 describes your Rulers very, very well.

  • Mary @42,

    Amen!

    Pray.

To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

Saturday, November 24, AD 2012

 

 

 

Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

Isaiah 40:15

Something for the weekend.  To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King.  Written in 1941 by Father Martin B. Hellriegel, a German-American pastor in Saint Louis, as a direct response to the pretensions of the Third Reich and to remind people who actually reigns eternally.  We Americans have traditionally understood that God is in charge:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Abraham Lincoln ringingly set forth what this section of the Declaration means:  “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.”

Nothing could be further from the nightmarish ideas that fueled the Third Reich, and Father Martin B. Hellriegel in his magnificent hymn conveys this majestic conception of God and of humanity under God.

 

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7 Responses to To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King

  • “Thy reign extend, O King benign,
    To ev’ry land and nation,
    For in Thy kingdom, Lord divine,
    Alone we find salvation.”
    This part really spoke to me. Gorgeous 🙂

  • We have always loved this song and sing it with heart! It is good to know its author and his thinking behind it. Thank you!
    It is a song that acknowledges the truth. He is in charge- a comforting song of trust. Not only is He King, He gives us constantly the great gift of His Church which also begs our love and sacrifice.

  • Our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. He will come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead.

    And, Christ’s will subdue all His enemies. And, they will be placed under His feet.

    We need to pray for Christ’s enemies, those most in need of His mercy. If they don’t repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, and by good works glorify God, the Father Almighty, thoriugh Our Lord, Jesus, they will be Christ’s foot stools; and spend eternity in disgrace and unquenchable fire.

    We have no president but Christ.

  • I am proud to say that my maternal grandfather, Henry Brinksmeyer, was the organist at Holy Cross parish in St. Louis when Monsignor Hellriegel was the pastor.
    My mother still has a photo of Monsignor Hellriegel that he gave to my grandparents.

  • An oldie I can NEVER hear to much. I sing it quietly, sometimes, as I walk through the halls of the Federal Building where I work. My singing and smile
    is noticed. It is sung far too infrequently at Mass in my hometown.

    I have another version of it on my PC for inspiration. It always lifts my spirits
    when I have the opportunity to join with others singing it.

    Good call!

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