Richard Dawkins: Bigot and Coward

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

Atheism

Atheist blowhard Richard Dawkins never has the least hesitation in bashing Christians and Jews, but when the subject of Islam comes up, at least when he is being interviewed by Al-Jazeerah that will blast his comments throughout the Islamic world, well that is another matter:

While you may not agree with the views of the new breed of aggressive atheists who have emerged in recent years you have to admire their courage for bravely standing up and speaking truth to power against the various religious institutions whose integrity they seek to undermine. No matter what consequences they might face, they aren’t afraid to lay out their case against religion in terms that are often harsh and sure to offend.

Here is an example from an article called Facing uncomfortable truths:

In a recent Al-Jazeerah interview, Richard Dawkins was asked his views on God. He argued that the god of “the Old Testament” is “hideous” and “a monster”, and reiterated his claim from The God Delusion that the God of the Torah is the most unpleasant character “in fiction”.

As you can see, Dawkins has no trouble attacking the Hebrew God in a most direct and uncompromising manner. No atheist wallflower he.

Asked if he thought the same of the God of the Koran, Dawkins ducked the question, saying: “Well, um, the God of the Koran I don’t know so much about.”

How can it be that the world’s most fearless atheist, celebrated for his strident opinions on the Christian and Jewish Gods, could profess to know so little about the God of the Koran? Has he not had the time? Or is Professor Dawkins simply demonstrating that most crucial trait of his species: survival instinct.

Whoops. It’s funny how these confident, cocksure prophets of atheism-who barely have time to take a breath between slamming the tenets of Christianity and Judaism-often get curiously tongue-tied and shy when the subject of Islam comes up. The idea that Dawkins doesn’t “know so much about” the God of the Koran is absurd. Of course he knows about Islam. And the same disdain and disregard that he has for Judaism and Christianity should surely apply to Islam as well.

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99 Responses to Richard Dawkins: Bigot and Coward

  • Glenn Hubbard at Instapundit, “Don’t want your religion attacked? Behead a few attackers. It doesn’t take many — most of them are cowards and poseurs, and will shut up at the least hint of risk. Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t set up this incentive system.”

  • Of course anything atheists associate with the God of the Old Testament would equally apply to the Koran, if not more so. The fact is that Islam gets a free pass while Christianity and Judaism are bashed. Islam is covered under political correctness, I guess. Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist, pointed out that Islam is so far away in people’s minds that it simply doesn’t present itself as something they feel they need to argue. Also, many people have only a very abstract sense of Islam while remaining ignorant of its implications.

  • You also have to be careful to avoid being sued in more civilized lands

    Make remarks seen as anti-Islamic in Canada and you will be before the CHRC in no time

    Feel free to be snide towards Catholics though

    Why is it though that human rights codes protect peoples’ beliefs in their imaginary invisible friends but not rational thought?

  • Hitchens was an equal-opportunity basher. He was a formidable intellect, a witty writer, and a worthy debater. He was also, shocker, relatively pro-life. About him, Bill Donahue lauded his free-thinking, unPC stances, and said “his style would at least get people to listen to him. I don’t think you can say the same for the others. They lack that panache that Christopher had.” (Hitchens comments on Mother Theresa were detestable, however). I liked listening to him and he made me think.

    I heard Dawkins out initially, because he had a sort of kindly stooped-over-geezer look about him, but quickly realized he was a mere scientist posing as a great mind; he was absolutely destroyed by Rowan Williams in their Oxford debate. He is also intellectually inconsistent, essentially making arguments along the lines of “I don’t believe in God but he wouldn’t do that if he actually existed.”

    My biggest problem is with Sam Harris; the man is an idiot. Not content to merely say that God doesn’t exist, he instead thinks one can create an entire system of morality solely using science, as not only a metric of morality but as a provider of moral first principles. His dismisses philosophy but fails to recognize that the hinge to his entire argument, the premise that existence is better than non-existence, is fundamentally non-scientific. People like him bother me the most, ridiculing those who base principles off un-provable premises but then go and do the same thing, just without mentioning that “g” word.

  • I guess my overarching problem with all of them, and most atheists in fact, is that they’re far more avid scriptural literalists than most Christians and certainly most Catholics are.

  • Perhaps Dawkins was simply a coward.

  • I think Dawkins probably really is ignorant of Islam.

    He has criticized it in the past:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/11/4/-there-s-no-god-and-islam-is-evil-speech-earns-richard-dawkins-ovation-from-islanders

    I always wanted to visit the Hebrides. I hope they’re not all Dawkinites there.

  • Yes, it seems that when atheists wish to discredit the Bible, they view it very literally. They try to make it seem as absurd as possible instead of acknowledging things like context and the real sense intended by the writer. Clarence Darrow took full advantage of that during the Scopes Trial.

  • Another issue at stake might be people’s desperate desire to maintain friendly relations with Islamic peoples. It may be a defensive tactic to avoid controversy.

    But I agree that many people simply don’t know Islam. And they really don’t know Islamic culture and society as it exists throughout much of the Middle East and northern Africa and Indonesia. They are unaware of the conflict of ideals that exists between the Islamic and Western worlds. People often travel, but how many of us spend an extended amount of time in a total Islamic society? If we did, we would realize how much of what we cherish is actually frowned upon, prohibited, or even punished oftentimes.

  • Jon,

    I have lived in the Middle East, specifically Cairo. I’ve had a similar conversation with Donald, but I think it’s a mistake to look at the Islamic world and say “they got it all wrong, and we got it all right.” Islam has definitely been hostile towards modernity, with demonstrable ill effects, but our headlong rush into the modern era has certainly bred its share of calamities.

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  • Stop playing the victim card, will you?

    Dawkins regularly criticises islam.

    Dawkins, like me, grew up with the bible, not the koran. Note that Dawkins says “merry christmas”, not “happy holidays”.

    So yes, Dawkin’s got intimate knowledge of the OT and the NT, but less so the koran.

  • Dawkins is just as critical of Islam as all of the other religions, perhaps more so. He talks a lot about the huge injustices and threats of Islam. A quick search on YouTube and you will find tons and tons of videos where Dawkins is bashing Islam.

    In this specific case, he was asked a specific question about a literary character that he doesn’t know about, and so he rightly said he doesn’t know about it.

    This article takes the quote out of context and uses it to paint a picture that just simply isn’t true.

  • “He has criticized it in the past:”

    Indeed he has in the West. Suddenly he became tongue tied when he was being interviewed by Al- Jazeerah and realized his comments would be blasted all over the Middle East.

  • “I guess my overarching problem with all of them, and most atheists in fact, is that they’re far more avid scriptural literalists than most Christians and certainly most Catholics are.”

    Bingo. We see that in the atheist trolls who come here and attempt to roll out their “proof texts” that they use against Evangelicals and are stunned to learn that Catholics have a completely different way of looking at Scripture. The bone ignorance of Catholicism is often deep and wide among most atheists I have encountered, including those who claim to be ex-Catholics.

  • “Stop playing the victim card, will you?”

    No use of the victim card here Ian. We are Catholics who refuse to be used as punching bags by bigots. Get used to us, because you are going to see much more of this type of Catholic in the years to come.

  • Dawkins, like me, grew up with the bible, not the koran. Note that Dawkins says “merry christmas”, not “happy holidays”.

    Well, you said it. Dawkins’ shtick is not philosophical or implicitly theological in character, but cultural. It is conceivable that Britain has less of a disjunction between elite opinion and popular opinion on questions religious than does the United States, but little doubt that religious observance is characteristic of only a modest minority in both sets. He applies a great deal of rhetorical force against 7% of the population; the vociferous element of that 7% is hardly trenchant. He’s a bully at heart.

    On another matter, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post recently appeared at a panel discussion and debate at one of the universities in Britain. It is on YouTube. The behavior of the patrician and intellectual audience left such a bad taste that she said she thought she would never visit Britain again. Among a certain social set, gross hostility to Jews is quite respectable in the British Isles and Dawkins comments need to be seen in that light (Morning’s Minion’s as well).

  • “Among a certain social set, gross hostility to Jews is quite respectable in the British Isles and Dawkins comments need to be seen in that light (Morning’s Minion’s as well).”

    Anti-Semitism has ever been a popular bigotry among most of England’s ruling elite, along with anti-Catholicism. Some of the most rabid anti-Churchill commentary in the Thirties in England depicted him as in bed with the Jews and an agent of the Rothschilds.

  • It’s about tearing down the West. It’s the same old self-destructive trait. So full of anger at themselves, they trash their room (institutions of the West). So full of doubt over their sins, they burn bridges and isolate (influences of the West). They’re suicidal patients writ large.

  • It’s about tearing down the West. It’s the same old self-destructive trait. So full of anger at themselves, they trash their room (institutions of the West). So full of doubt over their sins, they burn bridges and isolate (influences of the West). They’re suicidal patients writ large.

    I disagree. A hypothesis: the impulse in question is one of self-aggrandizement of one’s own subculture against various rivals – competing subcultures in one’s own time and previous generations. Anthony Esolen and George Will have made this point about phenomena in contemporary academic discourse (e.g. the impulse to debunk the works of the cohorts who fought and won the 2d World War). There is nothing truly self-lacerating about it. Elizabeth Wurtzel is self-lacerating; I do not think she qualifies as much of a cultural warrior.

  • Glenn Hubbard at Instapundit

    Glenn Harlan Reynolds is “Instapundit”.

    R. Glenn Hubbard is an economist who worked for the Bush Administration.

  • Anti-Semitism has ever been a popular bigotry among most of England’s ruling elite, along with anti-Catholicism. Some of the most rabid anti-Churchill commentary in the Thirties in England depicted him as in bed with the Jews and an agent of the Rothschilds.

    I suspect nowadays it is the chatterati and not members of aristocracy and gentry who are the source of this miasma. The Rothemeres were then. John Pilger is now.

  • AD:

    Righto!

    I was much sharper when I was drinking.

  • The chatterati in England are not infrequently drawn from the ranks of the elite Art, and those who aren’t tend to emulate elite attitudes. “Aping their betters” I believe was the expression in a more honest time when class prejudice tended to be blunt and open.

  • Clearly, Richard Dawkins is familiar with the travails of writer Salman Rushdie, a fellow Brit. Attacking “the Hebrew God” is helpful to a leftist like Dawkins because it legitimizes his attacks on Israel. As for Dawkins’ attacks on Christianity, he can take comfort in knowing he is not alone. Aided by Western media, academia and many politicians, Dawkins can rely on secular culture to continue the destruction of Christendom. What atheists like Dawkins fail to appreciate is GK Chesterton’s observation that a “man who ceases to believe in God does not believe nothing; he believes anything.” The darkness waiting to replace God will consume atheists like Dawkins along with believers, and even those who believe in Allah.

  • Afraid of attacking Muslims, not likely. I dare any Christian cleric to go on record like this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu7AQTs_y5A

  • It’s a wonder there isn’t a fatwa on him.

    Dawkins attacks ‘alien rubbish’ taught in Muslim faith schools

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2046715/Richard-Dawkins-attacks-alien-rubbish-taught-Muslim-faith-schools.html

    Dawkins: Islam is ‘one of the great evils in the world’

    http://freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/479-richard-dawkins-islam-is-one-of-the-great-evils-of-the-world.html

    Richard Dawkins destroys muslim on morality

  • And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say any of that on Al Jazeera, choosing to dissemble instead.

    And, yes, there is a Christian cleric, Father Zakaria Botros, who’s ballsier than Dawkins, saying all of that and more in Arabic. For his trouble, he has a $60 million Al Qaeda fatwa on his head.

  • I love this argument. Christianity is no worse than Islam! Why don’t you slam go Islam and leave us alone for a while?

    Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The fact that most of the Christians I talk to don’t seem to agree with these things either just makes if more infuriating.

    If Dawkins read up on Islam, would you go after him for not being an expert on Hinduism?

    Face it, Christianity is the religion whose evil affects most atheists you will come across on the internet.

    People in most Islamic countries probably can’t even read this blog. Atheists in many Islamic countries are either dead already or smart enough to shut up about it.

  • Does anyone have a link to the interview? Do you suppose if perhaps he critized Islam they may not have broadcast it? And do you think the author of this article should have done due diligence to see that Prof. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of Islam before calling him a bigot and a coward?

  • “And do you think the author of this article should have done due diligence to see that Prof. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of Islam before calling him a bigot and a coward? ”

    Due diligence was done and Dawkins is both a bigot and a coward.

  • “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.”

    Oh, I assure you that the jihadists want you dead just as much as they want us believers dead. What “immoral” parts of the Bible do you claim that Christians wish to have made into law?

  • Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The immoral parts of the Bible?

    Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible – or moral, for that matter – Christians are trying to force into law?

  • Sorry, I see Donald beat me to the punch.

    I often stand in disbelief as angry atheists loudly proclaim about us scary Christianists and our desire to implement sharia, American style. And yet time and time and time again, as I’ve documented, it’s quite the other way around as it’s Christians fighting rearguard actions to ensure that secularists don’t force their amorality down our throats.

  • Tsingi but i thought Dawkins was on a crusade for Unbelief everywhere, as a matter of principle. you’re saying no, he’s more like your run-of-the-mill ACLU member. good to know

  • Donald R. McClarey – The author didn’t even post a link to the supposed interview. Is that the way you think one should disparage people? As far as I know he made the entire thing up (just like the Bible and Koran were).

  • ” . . . The immoral parts of the Bible . . . ”

    Isaiah 5:20- Woe to those that call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light . . .

  • “As far as I know he made the entire thing up (just like the Bible and Koran were).”

    Spare me what passes for atheist wittiness. Let me know when Dawkins appears on Al-Jazeera and condemns Allah as a monster.

  • Paul Zummo says:
    Friday, March 1, 2013 A.D. at 11:55am

    Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The immoral parts of the Bible?

    Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible – or moral, for that matter – Christians are trying to force into law?

    I was going to ask the same question along with “Tsingi, by what standard do you judge something as “evil”?

  • Donald R. McClarey – Have you found the interview in question? Have you watched it? How do you know he isn’t as aggressive with Islam and he is with other religions? Or can you just take it on faith, evidence being superfluous and potentially contradictory to your opinion?

    I watched a short clip of it and heard him condemning Muslim suicide bombers while the interviewer sought to distance them from Islam.

  • I’ve watched the interview. It is linked below:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/general/2012/12/2012121791038231381.html

    Dawkins said nothing in the interview about Islam that remotely compares with his statement that God in the Old Testament is a monster. The idea that Dawkins is unfamiliar with the Koran I find fanciful, although I guess it is possible that he is as ill-informed about the Koran as he is about the Bible.

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  • How do you know it wasn’t cut? He’s certainly outspoken on Islam as well as Christanity. Several people on the web there said their questions were cut from the show as too condemning of Islam.

  • Yeah, Donald, how do you know that Dawkins didn’t launch in a 25 minute long epic monologue on the evils of Islam, punched up by a juggling clown riding on the back of a unicorn to the tune of “Have Nagila?” You can’t say that didn’t happen, now can you?

  • “How do you know it wasn’t cut?”

    I don’t. I would be surprised however if Al-Jazeera would go through the trouble of getting Dawkins and then excise comments that their audience would find most interesting, if enraging. Certainly Al-Jazeera in the past has played up to their audience alleged attacks on Islam from western sources.

  • Allah has no son to love or to love him. The Triune God of the Old and New Testament is love and loves. The Supreme Sovereign Being is existence and exsts. A god without love and mercy does not exist. After bigot and coward, it is all said.

  • Donald R. McClarey – and besides, we know Muslim fanatics can get incensed over books published in Britain, cartoons in Denmark, and videos on Youtube.

    Paul Zummo – “how do you know that Dawkins didn’t launch in a 25 minute long epic monologue on the evils of Islam, punched up by a juggling clown riding on the back of a unicorn to the tune of “Have Nagila?” You can’t say that didn’t happen, now can you?”

    I ave faith that all you said happened :->

  • “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.” –

    Michael, for more than 50 years, just about every significant political dispute over legislation attempting to constrain vice has begun with exercises of discretion by either judges or prosecutors, exercises which either explicitly or implicitly annulled duly enacted legislation. The collapse of anti-obscenity law, the end of regulation of the traffic in contraceptives, the excision of abortion as an offense in penal codes, the disappearance of the ‘morals charge’ were, with few exceptions, not the initiatives of elected officials.

    As for impositions, I would remind you that people send their children to school compelled by truancy law. The content of school curriculum will be a public issue as long as schooling is, functionally a state monopoly. Who made the schools loci for distributing contraceptives, who made them meat-and-potatoes for Howard Zinn’s publishers, and who now seeks to make them loci for public mobilizations on behalf of the bien-pensants’ special snowflakes?

  • Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

  • “I watched a short clip of it and heard him condemning Muslim suicide bombers”

    gutsy call

  • people can pay for private school? problem solved

  • Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

    Translation: when my viewpoints are shoved down your throat, it’s just good policy. You, on the other hand, are a backward theocrat who must be opposed at all costs.

    Not to mention that Michael is effectively telling the poor and disabled (e.g., those unable to take advantage of the “alternatives”) to shove off, but given that most evangelical atheists tend to be upper middle class or better, that’s unsurprising.

  • Dale Price – As opposed to you who want to inflict your religious taboos on the public system. Most religious people have no trouble with contraception, gays or remarriage. Catholics do. Who should the public system accommodate.

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

  • There are many things I dislike about public schools. but it has to do with their pedagogy rather than than my need to impose my beliefs upon them. I have found them open to religion, open to differing point of view, not pushing contraception but teaching children to be tolerant of others. Unfortunately these are many of the features some religious people gate.

  • Thank you for proving my point, Michael. Your beliefs are already accommodated, so there’s naught to be done but to ensure the backwards haters are beaten down.

    Though imposing a prohibitive tax on those who object but are too poor or otherwise unable to escape the local public school is…unegalitarian, for starters.

    Your candor is–believe it or not–genuinely appreciated. With one exception:

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

    No, that’s not correct, and you know it.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholic-schools-will-follow-ontarios-gay-straight-club-requirement/

    http://www.cp24.com/news/tories-say-they-won-t-re-open-abortion-debate-1.990010#ixzz28vYJJdfn

    Education Minister Broten’s comments are illuminating:

    Broten also said publicly-funded Catholic schools in Ontario should not be teaching students that abortion is wrong because the anti-bullying law prohibits misogyny.

    “Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she said.

    “I don’t think there is a conflict between choosing Catholic education for your children and supporting a woman’s right to choose.”

    As to not pushing contraceptives, the antics of the Toronto school district make that assertion rather dubious as well.

  • Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone. No way. Public schools need to teach children with a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds and not all can be accommodated at all times. And I like said, I do not agree with everything the public school teaches and does but I’m not as self centered to think they need to do everything my way. Apparently you are.

  • Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

    1. In the county in which I grew up, 89% of the primary and secondary enrollment was in the state schools. I grew up in a metropolitan county which had a critical mass of Catholics to build a parallel system and had had, at one time, one of the most vigorous diocesan administrations in the history of the American Church. If you were in a non-metropolitan county, you were generally out of luck. I should note that the economy of Catholic education was crucially dependent upon the vigor of the religious orders. Schools not staffed by celibate Catholic religious enrolled about 1.4% of the students in my home county. Yes, state schools are a functional monopoly.

    2. The vast majority of people have children at one time or another and thus enroll children in school at some point in their life. However, at any one time, most adults are paying taxes to cross-subsidize the extant corps of parents. There is no problem with that per se; what goes around comes around. However, these same adults are compelled to support schools who carry a pedagogy that violates their conscience. In effect, they are dhimmi paying the jizya.

    3. The problem is compounded for people who have school age children right now. They not only pay the jizya, or they are compelled to pay tuition and fees to make alternative arrangements, leave the labor force to make alternative arrangements (Advocate Price can elaborate on that, as can Mrs. Price), or contend around the dinner table with the filthy runoff of the places they send their children to school.

    4. Please recall that primary and secondary schooling is not a ‘public good’ in the sense that roads are or in the sense that the services of the police or the military are. Schools are service enterprises which can and do arise spontaneously thrive on the open market as do other service enterprises. It is just that it was deemed desirable, around about 1840, that there be a baseline of educational services produced in this country; it was later deemed desirable that there be a baseline consumed – hence truancy laws. There are civic and economic reasons for this (well or ill-considered). However, to achieve that end, state governments in this country elected to use the tool of public agency. Given the record-keeping technology and practice and the mindsets of the time, this may have been the only practical option – then, not now.

    5. Sixty years ago, you had less contention on certain social and moral questions and a great deal more local discretion in the staffing, curriculum, and disciplinary standards of local schools. They were ‘common schools’ to a much greater degree than they are today. Now, they belong to, to the occupational associations, to the unions, to NCATE and the teacher training faculties, to local politicians, and to state and local educrats who embody these stake-holders.

    6. Sorry, but various and sundry agitators in this country have just no sense of restraint or courtesy when dealing with the larger society, and the judiciary and the apparat are verrry responsive to them. Politicized homosexuals are the worst, followed by the educational wing of the industry which produces contraceptives, followed by ethnic particularists.

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

    Yeah, we heard all about it.

    http://www.cpco.on.ca/News/PrincipalConnections/PastIssues/2006-2007/Fall/A%20Precious%20Legacy%20Lost.pdf

  • “Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone.”

    Incorrect Michael as even a cursory study of the history of states where Catholicism is the dominant religion would quickly demonstrate. You have a cartoon vision of the Church and Catholics and the reality is at complete variance with your cartoon image. Even Catholics who are completely Orthodox differ quite a bit in their views. We see that every day in the comboxes. Unlike the totalitarian atheist ideologies of the last century, Catholicism has never cherished complete conformity in secular matters as either possible or even desirable. There is a reason why the Church has championed subsidiarity, because she has always understood that on most matters it is a big world out there and good people are going to differ endlessly.

  • Watching you silently backpedal away from your confident assertions is fascinating, I’ll say that.

    Um, no, I don’t expect public schools to follow a curriculum dictated by myself. I’d be happy if they were neutral–as opposed to, say, sponsoring a regular mosque service, as Toronto’s public schools did. I trust you registered your disapproval of that? Or having materials promoting group sex (again, the Toronto schools, which are just amazing. Bipolar, apparently, but amazing).

    But since you don’t object to the state dictating to Catholic schools what they can and cannot teach, I suspect this discussion is played out. If it’s only a problem when your ox is gored, then what’s the point?

  • Michael, I think someone already asked you to do this, but could you please give an account of the objective, normative system of morality, by which you are able to evaluate policies and determine whether they are “immoral” or not?

  • Donald R. McClarey -Catholics may certainly disagree on their views of many things but I said beliefs and you cannot disagree on your beliefs unless you are a cafeteria Catholic, picking what you like and discarding what you don’t. Are you a cafeteria Catholic?

  • Belief in the Real Presence? Of course. Belief in one way of organizing a government? Not at all. One of the beliefs which Catholics treasure is freedom of religion which is enshrined in DIGNITATIS HUMANAE.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

  • 1. There’s no aw that makes state schools a functional monopoly in any western jurisdiction I know of.

    2. And I disagree with spending money to support wars I don’t agree with, or to build roads I’ll never use. Can everyone opt out of what they disagree with?

    3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    4. How is education different from a military?

    5. Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

  • Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

    It’s obnoxious that you can’t argue without presuming the worst about those with whom you disagree. How do ascriptions of hateful motives in those you disagree with rationally advance your arguments?

  • 3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    Jizya is the tax traditionally leveled by Muslim states upon their non-Muslim subjects, the dhimmis. It had the effect of marginalizing those subjects and, over time, forcing their conversion to Islam to escape the onerous financial burden.

  • Dale Price – So it gone full circle. If Donald R. McClarey can call Prof Dawkins a bigot and a coward without foundation why do you decry my comment when I do no such thing. I asked the question, didn’t impose the answer.

  • St. Augustine wrote in The City of God, “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder.”

    These people don’t believe in a supreme being and so have no objective, moral authority except fear of police state retribution, or fear of Muslims beheading them if they mistreat Islam the way they do Christianity.

    Be nice to Michael. Soon we’ll be fleeing to Canada.

  • Donald R. McClarey – We were dicussing beliefs, not views. Are you a cafeteria Catholics? Do you reject the Catholic Church’s teaching on any issues?

  • I asked the question, didn’t impose the answer.

    Ah. So the following is cool by you, then. Good:

    “Michael, are you a fan of Toronto Public Schools promoting group sex to high schoolers?”

    No answer is imposed.

    Oh, and Dawkins is a scorching anti-religious bigot: anyone who compares religious education of children by their parents to child abuse can be described with no other terms.

    His comparatively-bashful performance on Al Jazeera certainly raises interesting questions about his starch. If he was misrepresented in that interview, he should be thumping the tub like he does about catechism of youngsters.

  • there were aspects of society that were more positive “back in the day,” yes, despite people’s tendency to reduce it to its flaws.

  • “Michael, I think someone already asked you to do this, but could you please give an account of the objective, normative system of morality, by which you are able to evaluate policies and determine whether they are “immoral” or not?”

    Because we both get much of our morality from the secular world around us. See the video I posted above “Richard Dawkins destroys muslim on morality”. He uised it to answer essentially the same question you asked here.

  • Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone. No way. Public schools need to teach children with a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds and not all can be accommodated at all times. And I like said, I do not agree with everything the public school teaches and does but I’m not as self centered to think they need to do everything my way. Apparently you are.

    Michael, I have a multi-part suggestion:

    1. Re-incorporate all the state schools as philanthropic enterprises. Place schools comprehending 93% of the berths under the authority of trusteeships elected in a postal ballot by locally resident alumni. Have the local sheriff as the trustee of the other 7% (basically dumping grounds for incorrigibles no one else will take).

    2. Charter about two dozen regental colleges. These colleges would be para-statal occupational associations. You would have one college for the accountants, one for statisticians and actuaries, one for retired military, one for school teachers, one for engineers, several for different fractions of the arts and sciences faculties & c. Hold postal ballots among members of each college to nominate candidates for a board of regents, say, three per college. You can have the Lt. Governor or whomever pick one of the three.

    3. Extend to the board of regents the task of composing school examinations within guidelines delineated in statutory law. You could have a basic education series with five or six paces, an academic secondary series with two paces, and a vocational series with one pace. Test all the young twice a year, wherever they are enrolled.

    4. Produce league tables for all schools in the province. The ideal metric, if you can produce it, would be a measure of semester-to-semester improvement controlling for the psychometric profile of the school. Identify the schools at the very bottom of the table (leaving aside those under the sheriff’s government) who comprehend 1.5% of the registered students. Revoke their charters and remand them to the courts for a supervised liquidation.

    5. Identify any home-schooled children scoring especially poorly. Send their parents a notice that they have to register with an incorporated school the following year or be in violation of truancy laws.

    6. Finance the whole shebang with vouchers issued by the state education ministry. A voucher would be issued to a custodial parent for each child between the ages of 5 and 18. The parent would register their young at the town clerk’s office and turn the voucher over to the school authorities each semester. The school principal would forward these to the state treasury for redemption. Should the parent wish to home school or make some other sort of alternative arrangement, the voucher can be turned into the town clerk who will rebate a portion of the parents’ direct tax payments up to a dollar value maximum. What is key is that the young appear twice a year for their examinations, proctored by the board of regents.

    7. Incorporated schools participating in the voucher program, whether quondam state schools, Catholic schools, sundry private academies, or those with provisional accreditations, will operate under a regulatory regime, with the corporation and staff bound to respect local land use regulations, health and safety regulations (notably fire and building codes), the penal code, elements of commercial law which prohibit collusive pricing and deceptive solicitation and advertising; and elements of labor law which prescribe wage and hour standards and provide for civil penalties for specified abuses inflicted on employees. As philanthropies, they will have to deposit their financial statements with the Secretary of State and face legal limits on the permissible compensation of their officers. They will face limits on nepotism in hiring and contracting; they will be compelled to bank all retained income in an audited endowment; they will face civil and criminal penalties for crimes analogous to commercial bribery and extortion should they attempt that; they will be prohibited from charging tuition and fees (though not from soliciting donations). Otherwise, leave them alone to set their hiring standards, compose their curriculum, and set their disciplinary standards. If they do an exceptionally poor job, the results of regents’ examinations will compel their closure.

    8. Each youngster, on reaching the age of 18, will have a book of certificates with one for each examination successfully completed. The content of that book will influence what sort of tertiary education he seeks out and qualifies for; tertiary education will be strictly fee-for-service, not subsidized, and lightly regulated.

    Complete parental choice with quality control measures. Why not? Well…

    I guarantee you, a mass of vested interests would loathe most every element of such a system, and you would also have blowhards like the late Robert Hughes kvetching about the state giving so much as a dime to parochial schools.

  • “Donald R. McClarey – We were dicussing beliefs, not views. Are you a cafeteria Catholics? Do you reject the Catholic Church’s teaching on any issues?”

    Depends upon what you mean by teaching. Non-Catholics tend to have an erroneous view of what is dogma in the Catholic Church and what is not. Here are two links where we had vigorous disagreement among Orthodox Catholics:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/07/24/father-wison-miscamble-defends-bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/

    http://the-american-catholic.com/tag/bomfog/

    You will almost always find more diversity of beliefs and opinions in a gathering of Orthodox Catholics than you will among the faculty of almost all universities, although admittedly that is a low bar.

  • 2. And I disagree with spending money to support wars I don’t agree with, or to build roads I’ll never use. Can everyone opt out of what they disagree with?

    As indicated above. Both the military and the road network are what economists call ‘public goods’. They only come into being with the erection of government. This is not the case with schools, which can and do thrive on the open market. By the way, the Selective Service System in this country regularly provided dispensations from military service for Mennonites and various others.

    3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    Among other things.

    4. How is education different from a military?

    The salient difference is noted above. Among other things, military service is inherently stereotypes. Schooling is not.

    Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

    This is completely non sequitur and faintly malicious. However, if you are at all curious:

    1. Anti-micegenation laws were a comparatively recent innovation (all post-bellum, I believe. Mr. McClarey will know) and not universal. I am from New York, where they were not in force. They were not of much importance because there was almost no interest on either side of the color bar in contracting marriages across it. (By the way, black women in the United States generally disapprove of cross-racial amatory affiliations).

    2. Consensual sodomy was a class b misdemeanor where I grew up (similar to other sex offenses, like patronizing a prostitute). Petty misdemeanors seldom result in jail time in New York (and I believe that was true 60 years ago as well), but municipal judges do have that option. The maximal sentence would be 90 days. Bar in very odd circumstances, you had to be collared going down on someone in a public place to be hauled in for consensual sodomy.

    3. Segregated schools systems were problematic primarily where blacks were thin on the ground and assembling a small corps of black students for a segregated school imposed various sorts of costs on that population; they could also be problematic when they were short-changed on funding. Caste regulations do incorporate insult into public life. However, as has been known for 40-odd years, beginning with James Coleman’s research published in 1966, they were not particularly problematic in any injuries to the intellectual development of black pupils, at least as regards the post-war period when a certain meliorist strain was abroad among Southern politicians (e.g. James Byrnes) reflected in educational administration. A great deal of injury was done after 1955 in attempts to engineer integrated schools (as distinct from desegregated schools). You have to compare the reality of before and after, not a caricature of the before next to aspirations for the after.

    My mother and father grew up in a world which had much to recommend it and much that is no longer present. That standards and practices of that world produced better-reared people. As Peter Hitchens says, we chose the wrong future.

  • “Anti-micegenation laws were a comparatively recent innovation (all post-bellum, I believe. Mr. McClarey will know) and not universal.”
    About 30 states had anti-miscegeny laws at one time. Democrats tended to push for them and Republicans to oppose them. By the time of Loving v. Virginia which struck down anti-miscegency laws, about 16 states had them, all former slave holding states, and, except for Delaware, almost totally controlled by Democrats. One of the groups supporting the challenge to the anti-miscegeny laws in 1967 was the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the predecessor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Read up, Michael. The “same-sex marriage is ou generations interracial marriage” argument is made by emotional children.

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/05/1324/

  • I still think that apart from revelation, there is no convincing argument to be made against it. The reason we oppose homosexuality is because it is a matter of creation. We hold that a triune God created humanity and that through his plan we move toward a telos. Apart from the scriptural narrative, it sounds highly unreasonable to condemn alternative lifestyles.

  • We can cite the biological makeup of people and the medical complications which arise from the behavior, but without a creational framework I’m not sure it would make much sense.

  • I agree Jon. Natural law itself is not sufficient. It needs God to move it from a description of what is to a guide of what we ought to do.

  • Jon: “Apart from the scriptural narrative, it sounds highly unreasonable to condemn alternative lifestyles.”
    The homosexual agenda is militating for equality in marriage. Once the laws are readjusted, not one homosexual in an alternate lifestyle will do what married people do. Is this not fraud, saying one thing and doing another? Once the homosexual does the heterosexual thing, he can no longer call himself homosexual, now, can he or she?
    If God has indeed allowed homosexuality, God has promised you to Himself as celibate. Or does the idea of virginity disturb you? and why would that be?

  • Mary, you misunderstood what I said. I’m saying we can’t argue against homosexuality on the grounds of a ‘nature’ people do not acknowledge. We must simply argue against it on scriptural grounds. Our argument begins with creation and it’s rooted in the entire scriptural narrative.

  • It is true we can argue against homosexuality on the basis of biology and medical reports, but how far will we get? Without a creational context, people will simply argue something like this: If homosexuals wish to do something different and its consensual, who are we to judge? Isn’t that the reply we usually get? So I maintain we argue on scriptural grounds, and not on the grounds of ‘nature’ as we understand it.

  • And if homosexual marriage is legalized, the man and man or woman and woman will remain homosexuals. They will still be called homosexuals because they’re homosexual, even if marriage of homoseuxals is legal. The terminology wiil remain. I also agree it does not imply monogomy. They may be polygomous as many married heterosexual couples are today. They may be far more so.

  • “4. How is education different from a military?

    The salient difference is noted above. Among other things, military service is inherently stereotypes. Schooling is not.”

    The infant children, not having reached the age of emancipation and informed consent, become a captive audience in any school. Some jurisdictions of the Ninth Circut Court in California have said that once the child crosses the threshhold of the school, parents no longer have any jurisdiction over what and how their legally minor children are taught. State Kidnapping. Unlawful imprisonment. Criminal indoctrination. If the child passes away while at the school, will the state then be liable for manslaughter or homicide?

    The atheist denies our Creator and then demands endowed unalienable civil rights from the state, from the people, to dictate to the people and to indoctrinate the peoples’ children in the means to use laws against the people, to use endowed unalienable rights against God.

    Only truth has freedom of speech. Atheism is not free to tell our minor children that there is no Creator, and that our Creator is not the endower of all unalienable rights. The rest is nasty totalitarianism.

  • “Mary, you misunderstood what I said. I’m saying we can’t argue against homosexuality on the grounds of a ‘nature’ people do not acknowledge. We must simply argue against it on scriptural grounds. Our argument begins with creation and it’s rooted in the entire scriptural narrative.”

    Jon. I am arguing that homosexual practice is unlawful. The state can make laws against obesity before they can make laws against homosexuality. It is the act of free will to engage in homosexual behavior that violates nature and man’s human nature and the community. It is an insult to God to abuse nature and the human body. For the homosexual person to say that he is driven to be addicted to lust and to violate his body is a LIE, for there is grace that is sufficient. To enshrine the vice of homosexual behavior and the assault and battery that it is to oneself and to another, in law, is uncivilized, worse than barbarian. For the state to enshrine “gay-marriage” into law is for the state to deny the homosexual citizen’s endowed, unalienable rights and his sovereign personhood. The homosexual practitioner redefines the human being when he denies his human soul. For the state to redefine the human being as having no soul is nasty totalitarianism.
    Persons with same-sex attraction are called homosexual. Persons practicing homosexual behavior are called sodomites.

  • “They may be polygomous as many married heterosexual couples are today”

    think you mean polyamorous, and “many” is a stretch (obviously some people cheat but it’s still seen as a failing, contrast with prominent male same-sex marriage advocates saying agreed-upon cheating should be accepted as a part of the relationship)

  • “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me… If Dawkins read up on Islam, would you go after him for not being an expert on Hinduism?”

    Translation: Dawkins and I find it easier to convert Western Christians to Western Narcissism, Materialism and Secular Liberalism than convert Muslims or Hindus to our religion. I know better how to confuse, sow division, introduce strife, promote sin and encourage vice in Christians than I do members of cultures I’m less familiar with.

  • Mary, I really don’t understand why you always insist upon “reading” Catholicism into the the American political ethos, as if it is the embodiment of Catholic political thought and was originally conceived and articulated with Catholicism in mind. It isn’t and it wasn’t.

  • Michael,

    Dawkins proves my point. Atheism can never provide an objective, normative moral framework. Under atheism, morality is simply an individual’s opinion, or the consensus of the community. It is not something that exists independent of whether people are conscious of it and it can never actually tell someone why they “ought” to do something, save some utilitarian schema of incentives and consequences. When arguing about morality, atheist invariably end up talking in circles, because they have no sound first principles with which to work from.

    Dawkins did not destroy the Muslim’s question. He didn’t even engage it. Materialist atheists like Dawkins, Harris, etc will continue to base their “systems of morality” on unspoken and unprovable assumptions, like that existence is to be preferred over non-existence. Prove it Dawkins! As the Muslim audience member correctly alludes to in his question, this is highly ironic, as it constitutes the type of “leap of faith” that Dawkins and his ilk so vehemently assault.

    Dawkins may be a brilliant biologist but he is also an awful, awful, awful failure of a philosopher (seriously, did you see him get DESTROYED by Rowan Williams? It was embarrassing and painful to watch). He is also intellectually inconsistent, and therefore a hypocrite.

    Your boy, Richard, has categorically failed to provide what I asked for. Can you do any better, Michael?

  • To Atheist; “Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency…” Mic.7:18

    This was part of my morning prayer, from a Lenten reflection booklet. I have been listening to this thread then this passage this am.
    Enough name calling. Question is who is like Our God?

  • Michael,
    Catholic Clerics (most anyway) operate in Persona Christi ( person in Christ) . It is highly common to get the point across in a manner that is foreign. to most of the world.

    God Bless

  • Jeanne Marie: Catholic priests and only Catholic priests operate in “persona Christi” only when they consecrate the Sacred Species using Jesus Christ’s words at Mass and when they give absolution to sins in the Sacrament of Penance. It is almost like power of attorney to operate in Christ’s stead. The rest of the time, the Catholic priest operates as “alter Christ”, another Christ, through his ordination and his vocation. As lay persons, the laity operate as the prieshood of the laity, unordained, and only throught the ordained priesthood and through the Catholic Church.

  • “as if it is the embodiment of Catholic political thought and was originally conceived and articulated with Catholicism in mind. It isn’t and it wasn’t.”
    JL:
    It is and it was.
    “The Declaration of Independence states that: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Therefore, “We” as a nation hold that all men have a Creator. We petition Divine Providence and seek to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” from the Preamble to our Constitution. Only the articles and amendments to our Constitution may be changed by 2/3 of the states ratifying the change.
    It constantly amazes me that some atheists will thumbs down our founding principles and then demand their civil rights.
    God created freedom and Catholic political thought expresses this freedom explicitly.

  • Dawkins a Bigot and Coward. I would also throw in “Moron” with it. Dawkins, like his late friend Hitchins, always made sure they are infront of a cheering audience. They are both smart asses who appealed to the knuckle head college crowd. But these fools could be shut down in a debate with a knowledgeable person.

  • “Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible”

    I’ve heard atheists state that the Ten Commandments are offensive.
    So, “thou shall not steal” and “thou shall not kill” are offensive?

    Ok neighbor, I’ll keep my doors locked with the likes of you around.

  • JL:
    Practicing homosexuals cannot and will not consummate their sexual relations in their flesh, why should practicing homosexuals demand consummation of their fallacy in the law and in the culture, to be taught as an alternate lifestyle to minor children in public school or in any way be accorded a good for the people?

  • Mary, was that an actual question?

    And I’ll await your evidence that the Founders were all devout Catholics, inspired more so by Aquinas and Augustine than Locke and Spinoza.

  • The assumption on the part of non-Christians is that homosexuality is harmless. That it does nothing to the fabric of society. That people who complain about it are merely bigoted. A lot of false information exists. But I often think that if we cited medical findings on the matter, we would have a better argument to make in the public forum. These days people think in terms of pragmatism. They want to know what works and what doesn’t. Not what’s right and wrong. So if we cite evidence that homosexuality is dangerous to individual’s and the public’s health, we might have something relevant to say. Otherwise, our argument is rooted in the scriptural story of how God created the world and what he wishes to do with it, and we need faith to believe in that.

Book Review: Return To Order

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

Return to Order

Title: Return To Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society

Author: John Horvat II

Publisher: York Press

Publication Date: January 2013

For my first TAC book review, I will be looking at a book that is being seriously promoted by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), Return To Order (RTO) by John Horvat II. I was somewhat familiar with the perspective of TFP prior to reading the book, having attended one of their conferences and read some of their basic literature. Horvat acknowledges his indebtedness to Dr. Plínio Corrêa de Oliveira, TFPs founder and primary theoretician who developed a historical narrative of the rise and fall of Christendom in the grand style I have always enjoyed and appreciated. Whereas Oliveira’s work, or at least what I have read of it, was broadly focused, Horvat’s analysis is specifically focused on the United States.

The premise of  Part I of RTO is that the cultural and economic crisis of the United States is rooted in a spiritual disorder that the author identifies as “frenetic intemperance”, a willful and energetic disregard for limitation and restraint in virtually all areas of life. Unlike many cultural and economic critics, Horvat does not blame “capitalism” for the development and proliferation of this spiritual disorder. Indeed, Part II of the book asserts that the technological progress and prosperity that capitalism has bestowed upon civilization could have been – and should have been – pursued within the cultural context of Christendom. There is no necessary connection between material progress and spiritual decay.

Horvat is firm in his rejection of socialism as a solution to cultural and economic disorder. Though he puts forward an idealistic view of the (capital S) State that I don’t think will ever be recovered, he does distinguish this ideal from the really-existing state, which is managed and staffed by people who loathe the remnants of Christendom and work ceaselessly to purge them from the society they are building.

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21 Responses to Book Review: Return To Order

  • Thanks Bonchamps! Sounds like a fascinating read. Does he cite or do you feel he is in the same vein of thought as someone like Alasdair MacIntyre?

  • He does cite MacIntyre. But since I haven’t read MacIntyre and only know of his ideas through second-hand sources, I can’t say whether or not he is in the same vein of thought. It seems like it. They both see the importance of a shared culture, a cultural/moral consensus. But I’ll leave it to others to point out whether or not there is significant agreement.

  • Thanks. This looks like a book I’ll add to the list. Your point about sectarian strife is well-taken, but I can’t help think there are compelling arguments to be made for alternatives to liberalism, especially from a Catholic perspective. I just started reading Marc Guerra’s “Christians as Political Animals: Taking the Measure of Modernity and Modern Democracy” and I am interested to see what types of conclusions he draws. Additionally, have you read any James V. Schall? He appears to be the preeminent American Catholic political philosopher of the last century. Definitely hoping to get my hands on his primer, “Roman Catholic Political Philosopher.”

  • “There is also a critique of “self-interest”, and a desire that it should be replaced with virtue. But there is always a paradox involved here; is it not in one’s self-interest to be virtuous? Of course it is. It is one’s long-term, ultimate self-interest. So, for that matter, is going to heaven; even Christ exhorts in terms of individual rewards and punishments.”

    I agree with you here, and I think is what you meant, in a way, when you said capitalism could be perfectly compatible with distributism. And I agree– put it must rest upon the proper philosophical foundation, and I’m not sure we have that. There is a difference between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of Happiness, is there not?

  • Horvat acknowledges his indebtedness to Dr. Plínio Corrêa de Oliveira

    If he can make any sense at all of Revolution and Counter-Revolution, he is a great deal smarter than I will ever be. Paul Zummo, can you comment?

    Just an aside, Sandra Miesel has in the past issued very severe warnings about Tradition, Family, and Property (“a Rad-Trad cult”). I think I would be very cautious about having any dealings with them.

  • I don’t see what the inner-workings of TFP have to do with the validity of the book.

  • I’ve seen TFP defending marriage and praying public Rosaries in the face of incredible hostility. I admire that sort of courage. That said, I’m not a joiner. Not anymore.

  • Dr. Correa was the founder of TFP. The organization and the literature are part of the same nexus

    I do not doubt they defend many good things. Just saying. Sandra Miesel appears to have retired for the most part, but she was always a knowledgeable and authoritative observer of the Catholic scene. I would not disregard her opinion.

  • There are also some excellent proposals. In his analysis of medieval currency, Horvat essentially proposes what Austrian economists such as F.A. Hayek proposed, a system of competing local currencies that would maintain economic harmony and balance. I think this is a remarkable idea

    The currency is not a problem.

  • I think we have to realize something. More important than any political goals is the kind of people we are right now. While all kinds of models exist, they are only as good as the population. In order for any political arrangement to work successfully, people need to be mature and virtuous. This goes for varieties of capitalism, socialism, distributism, and so on.

    It was right for the author to point out that spiritual decay precedes economic, political and all other problems. If the soul of a people is gone, anything we do is mere patchwork. Oswald Spengler, who was not Christian as far as we know, recognized the patterns that ensue once the cultural/religious phase is through. Government is left with the task of management or how to maintain order. He seemed to think, therefore, that the future belongs to socialism. Perhaps they didn’t really lose in 1989-91. While Toynbee and others have held out the possibility of revival through religion, Spengler’s prophecied second-religiousness is as decadent as the oriental cults of Rome’s decline.

  • “In order for any political arrangement to work successfully, people need to be mature and virtuous.”

    Except for political arrangements that take into account, during their construction, that people are often not virtuous. That is precisely what Madison was up to in Federalist 51.

    This is where I part ways with a number of Catholic political idealists. I don’t have a problem with this. I consider myself a realist when it comes to behavior, not an idealist. I begin with how things are, not how they should be.

  • Yes, the realist way says we all, leaders and people, are self-interested and prone to corruption. Therefore contstruct a system with checks on everyone. Limit citizens and government, I suppose?

  • This is good stuff.

    Bonchamps, and I ask this not derisively at all, but what do you think of Madison’s/Burke’s/Tocqueville’s apparent desire for something like an aristocracy, or a virtuous ruling class? It certainly sounds idealist in nature, but I think there are huge problems with a meritocracy and what Tocquville called “the absence of heroic deeds from public life.” If one earned everything they have on an allegedly equal playing field, then what obligation do they have to help out those less fortunate?

    Also, with regards to idealism, I don’t think it’s the case that distributionists, etc believe that all men are always virtuous, they simply believe that society/govt should be conceived in a way so as to encourage the virtues to flourish. As you correctly identified, it needs a MacIntyrian “moral consensus.” I know you recognize the benefits of pluralism, and I don’t contest that they don’t exist, but I’ll repeat it again: there is a difference between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of Happiness, and the latter seems much more conducive to promoting a society where virtuous living is celebrated and sought.

  • With democracy comes an automatic leveling in things. I think C. S. Lewis decried that. It’s a price you pay for the absence of an aristocracy. Everything has a tendency to assume banality, whether its education, the arts, entertainment, literacy, or whatever.

  • Jon,

    More or less. Separation of powers, checks and balances, etc.

    JL,

    Horvat discusses the need for a self-sacrificing elite in RTO. Even Ludwig von Mises noted the importance of such an elite.

    I’m not sure the manner in which one earns wealth has anything to do with one’s obligation to use it charitably. The fact of the matter, though, is that by using their wealth as capital, the bourgeois elite do help the less fortunate by providing jobs and products for mass consumption at ever-lower prices.

    I will also be the first to acknowledge that the same elite is often in favor of protectionist and interventionist measures to secure their economic position. This is why a laissez-faire policy is best. Far from hurting the poor, it checks the ambitions of the economic elite, who have to compete with fresh and innovative entrepreneurship (prospective elites, you might say) to remain viable. In this economic battle, the consumer of poor and average means is the real winner. Let ambition check ambition, as Madison argued.

    “Also, with regards to idealism, I don’t think it’s the case that distributionists, etc believe that all men are always virtuous, they simply believe that society/govt should be conceived in a way so as to encourage the virtues to flourish.”

    I understand this. I know they don’t think that men are always virtuous. The idealism has more to do with the notion that this condition can be changed. I don’t believe it can.

    “As you correctly identified, it needs a MacIntyrian “moral consensus.””

    If I wanted to write a 5,000 word review of RTO as opposed to a 1200+ word review, I could have critiqued the idea that a moral consensus ever produced a society of solidly virtuous people. What the moral consensus provided were virtues that were commonly acknowledged and striven for, not necessarily lived and practiced. That situation is superior to the one we have now, undoubtedly, but there is a risk of romanticizing and idealizing the past as well as the present.

    I think the best we can hope for are pockets of virtue and sanity, most of which will be temporary.

  • I do not know who Sandra Miesel is. However, if you want to know what the American TFP, you should check their website at http://www.tfp.org/. We need to learn what the Catholic worldview is and how to implement it. I’m fairly well convinced that the idea of the US are not to be adopted as the Catholic World view. The First Amendment leads to one of two conclusions. First, all religious beliefs are of equal value. In other words, the founders founded the US on the principals of the religion of free masonry or naturalism. Second, the US rejects the social reign of Christ. I’m of the opinion that secularism is the unofficial official religion of the US.

  • Vincent,

    With regard to this:

    “The First Amendment leads to one of two conclusions. First, all religious beliefs are of equal value. In other words, the founders founded the US on the principals of the religion of free masonry or naturalism. Second, the US rejects the social reign of Christ. I’m of the opinion that secularism is the unofficial official religion of the US.”

    I disagree with the first point. The 1st amendment does not imply that all religious beliefs are of equal value. It doesn’t require anyone to believe it either. The purpose of the 1st amendment is to prevent the establishment of a state religion along the lines of the Church of England. Such national churches are antithetical to Catholicism, wherein religious jurisdiction lies with the pope alone.

    The founders could have gone the route of officially persecuting Catholicism based upon the common Anglo assumption that Catholic loyalty to the Papacy would undermine the state. They refrained form this – I believe – because they correctly understood that pledging obedience to a religious authority higher than the state was not a vice, but a virtue.

    Many of the founders themselves may have believed that one religion is as good as another, or at least, one Christian denomination. But ultimately they were seeking to avoid the kind of sectarian strife that had ripped apart a mostly Protestant Britain in the 17th century.

    Finally on this point, the 1st amendment does NOT prohibit the individual states from establishing churches! It only prohibits the federal government. At this point we would never be able to have a state church, but they existed into the 1830s.

    As for the second point, yes. I agree. Americans reject the social reign of Christ.

  • “Finally on this point, the 1st amendment does NOT prohibit the individual states from establishing churches! It only prohibits the federal government. At this point we would never be able to have a state church, but they existed into the 1830s.”

    Yes, Connecticut was a confessional state until that point, the last to go. Bonchamps, do you know if there’s any legal precedent that would currently prevent a state from confessing a state religion?

  • JL,

    I think the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment may prevent it. I say “may” because I don’t know for certain. State recognition of a church does not necessarily mean that all other churches/confessions are outlawed or persecuted.

    As a rule, Catholics must strive for a confessional state when and where they can. I do not agree with Dignitatis Humane’s proclamation of religious liberty as a “human right.” (if it is, the Church was ignorant of and suppressing a “human right” for nearly 2000 years – a scandalous and absurd proposition, in my view)

    I agree with Pope Leo XIII’s pragmatic view that what cannot be changed must be tolerated. The 1st amendment is fine, because the FEDERAL government doesn’t need to be religious. But in a majority Catholic state, Catholics would have the obligation to establish a confessional regime (one operating on republican principles per the Constitution, which guarantees a republican form of government to the states).

    It was precisely because of this requirement that John Courtney Murray wrote Dignitatis Humane. He acknowledged it as a problem and DH was his solution. I feel no obligation to agree with him.

  • “Even Ludwig von Mises noted the importance of such an elite.”
    But how does von Mises envision such an institution remaining publicly viable? In a liberal society, it seems like it needs structural support.

    “I’m not sure the manner in which one earns wealth has anything to do with one’s obligation to use it charitably.”

    Not just wealth, but power, influence, etc. I know there is a tendency to idealize the past (just as other people have a tendency to vilify it, for similar reasons), but perhaps arbitrariness of membership in the nobility and aristocracy was a positive. In other words, it wasn’t something you earned by your own effort, but something you were born into, inheriting the roles and obligations that went along with it. (obviously negatives here, not denying that) If there’s a down-side to meritocracy, it’s that it can justify social Darwinism: since everyone has a chance to pull themselves up, the strong will and the weak won’t. The problem is that equality of opportunity doesn’t really exist. Yes, everyone has to play by the rules, but people are given clear advantages based on birth and family. But because we’re so convinced we’ve “earned” everything solely through our own labors, it’s easy to look at others and say “they could fix their situation if they just tried harder!” So yes, I agree with you that one’s charitable obligation exists no matter how they obtained their status, but I also think a meritocracy has a tendency to render inequalities as just, and therefore decrease the perception that one ought to do anything to alleviate the misfortune of another.

    “If I wanted to write a 5,000 word review of RTO as opposed to a 1200+ word review, I could have critiqued the idea that a moral consensus ever produced a society of solidly virtuous people. What the moral consensus provided were virtues that were commonly acknowledged and striven for, not necessarily lived and practiced. That situation is superior to the one we have now, undoubtedly, but there is a risk of romanticizing and idealizing the past as well as the present.
    I think the best we can hope for are pockets of virtue and sanity, most of which will be temporary.”

    I respect your position immensely. You recognize the shortcomings of our present arrangement, but also call for prudent and realistic action within the system as it is. I am, however, just a bit more optimistic that a better concept of society (not an ideal one, just a better one) is attainable. MacIntyre seems to suggest that it will only come about in the ashes of the current one, a scenario we shouldn’t hope for, but one in which we should be ready to act if it comes. Til then, I’ll concern myself with these “pockets of virtue and sanity” you mention. As I said before, I do think the American model, with a proper federalist interpretation, could allow for a state to be a sort of mini-republic that is conducive to this end…so I remain hopefully that everything won’t have to be blown up to achieve something a little less transient than temporary pockets. But it looks pretty bleak as of now…

  • I haven’t read Murray, but through the secondary sources that mention him, it seems he was a little too eager to accommodate the liberal project as not merely tolerable, but the very embodiment of Catholic political thought. Sounds like Orestes Brownson, who I also need to, but haven’t read.

Pro-Life Democrats?

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report explains to us why the concept of “pro-life” Democrats is almost entirely a sick joke:

Here’s what it seems happened. When the bill limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks hit the Arkansas legislature last week, pro-life Republicans and pro-life Democrats joined together to vote for it. Nice, right? But it seems now that the only reason the pro-life Dems voted for it was because they knew that the “pro-life” Democratic Governor Mike Beebe was going to veto it.

Because what happened now was that moments after the veto was announced the pro-life Republicans sought to mount a vote to override the veto. You might remember that last week the bill got 80 votes. But yesterday when the vote hit the House floor, all but two of the “pro-life” Dems walked out so they didn’t have to cast a vote. That’s right. They left empty chairs in their place. These legislators are profiles in cowardice.

Their empty chairs are the perfect symbol of pro-life Democrats. When push comes to shove, the overwhelming majority of pro-life Dems are Dems first and foremost.

Two Democrats showed an enormous amount of courage by voting for the override – John Catlett and Jody Dickinson. They deserve our praise and admiration for standing up to their government and the party for the unborn.

Now, the bill moves on to the Senate where I’m certain pro-life Dems will be fleeing out the windows of the legislature to avoid a vote. Pray that some stand up for the unborn.

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61 Responses to Pro-Life Democrats?

  • “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Allegedly “pro-life” Democrats, just as with “Catholic” Democrats, are ALWAYS Democrats first and foremost. As I noted the other day, they will get FAR more exercised over someone calling their party the “Democrat Party” than they will ever get over the fact that the Democrat Party is head over heels in love with abortion on demand.

  • Contemplating Beebe…

    Remember Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, Ivy League Democrat turned Republican? He was all for restrictions on abortion, it was just that the legislature could never seem to pass a bill with just the right provisions and more in sorrow than in anger he had to veto them all.

    Justice was done when he ran for re-election. He placed third to rogue Edwin Edwards and David Duke in a nonpartisan primary. Edwards won the run-off big with a great slogan, “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important”.

  • What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life…or are politically incapable of being pro-life? Some clarification please.

    Also, the Lincoln quote doesn’t really apply here…it seems like it’d be a better indictment of people who call themselves “personally pro-life, but…”, not Democrats who actually do consistently vote pro-life.

  • “What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life”

    Bingo. With pro-lifers like the vast majority of “pro-life” elected Democrats, who needs pro-aborts?

    “Also, the Lincoln quote doesn’t really apply here”

    Rubbish. Lincoln was speaking about Democrats who claimed to oppose slavery and then refused to take any action against it which is precisely what happened in Arkansas.

  • JL doing some expert hair-splitting here

  • What exactly is being argued here? That “pro-life” Democrats aren’t actually pro-life…or are politically incapable of being pro-life? Some clarification please. –

    I think if there is not a critical mass in a legislative body (and there may still be in the Pennsylvania and Rhode Island legislatures), nearly all of them cave push comes to shove. William Lipinski was the odd exception in Congress.

    With regard to opinion mongers, I suspect if you did a content analysis of Commonweal and other venues you would discover telltale signs that the contributors would prefer to be discussing anything but the non-negotiable issues and are addled by contempt for those vulgar enough to emphasize them. I do not think that described Peter Steinfels, ca. 1983, but liberal Catholics have lost a lot of juice since then.

  • Some of them do not bob and weave, though. Before he was silenced by a head injury at the end of 2008, Andrew Greeley had a great deal to say about topical political questions (and was shoveling cash into B.O.’s presidential campaign per the Federal Election Commission).

  • JDP, pardon me if I’m not comfortable with blanket statements that actually fly in the face of real-life instances. I agree that the Dems are by and large sickly beholden to abortion, but there are definitely instances of principled pro-lifers who are also democrats. Rather than vilify them, I say we encourage them and hope they can impart some sort of internal reform in their own party. Doubtful, I know, but better than berating them as “not really pro-life,” as if you’d rather have an actual non pro-life candidate running for office.

  • “Rubbish. Lincoln was speaking about Democrats who claimed to oppose slavery and then refused to take any action against it which is precisely what happened in Arkansas.”

    I agree that it does seem to resonate with this particular case in Arkansas, but not Democrat pro-lifers across the board.

  • pardon me if I’m not comfortable with blanket statements that actually fly in the face of real-life instances.

    In a country with 308 million people in it, there are always examples of anything. Also, most people do not do a whole lot of pondering of matters religious or political and do not feel the need to harmonize what appears rather discordant.

    I think there was a self-identified Democrat (and aspirant office holder) who used to post here, but he was unusual. The Vox Nova crew used to chime in here more often, and a couple of them seemed more or less sincere though one of the two was given to evasions now and again. It would be better if certain ends could be pursued through either party, and they could in 1970, but we have not lived in that world in a while.

    Robert Casey was born in 1932, William Lipinski in 1936, David Carlin in 1938, John La Falce in 1939. See a pattern?

  • Yes, a vowel constitutes the second letter of each man’s first name.

    ; )

  • “Rather than vilify them”

    take it up with the Democratic Party

  • apparatus i mean.

    you seem very willing to keep these people the benefit of the doubt, when if the GOP does something symbolically/for political purposes exclusively i’m sure you’d be all over that

  • I commend authentically pro-life Democrats because there is an immense amount of pressure on them to conform to their national party’s whims. In this way, one can be fairly certain that Democrats who vote consistently pro-life do so out of principle and personal conviction (I don’t think abortion is generally much of a constituent-salient issue, at least in most state-wide elections). On the other hand, I think it’s fairly certain that some (SOME) Republicans pay lip-service to the pro-life cause for political reasons (curry party favor), rather than personal beliefs.

    Donald’s right to call into question the actions of the Arkansas state reps, but I don’t understand why we would want to attack pro-life Democrats in general. I would much rather have two pro-life options on the ballot.

  • “but I don’t understand why we would want to attack pro-life Democrats in general”

    They have a history of being lukewarm at best and backstabbing cowards at worst. All too often “pro-life Democrat” simply means “not-rabidly-pro-abortion-Democrat.” The bar isn’t set very high.

  • It may be that we even need to pull back from too close an association with the Republican party. The fact is that their bar isn’t set very high these days either. I don’t think either party aims at Christian-informed decisions. But we exhalt the party that happens to temporarily share a couple of our positions.

  • Couldn’t agree more Jon. Unfortunately, third party politics are essentially impossible in the American system for structural reasons. I think the reality is that we have to be pragmatic. Just as we are called to be in but not of this world, I think we should also be in a party (essentially the only way to get anything done politically) but not of them (always true to comprehensive Catholicism, and hopefully shaping the parties we belong to). This is why I would encourage us to support authentically pro-life Democrats, especially Catholic ones. They’re a dying breed, for sure, but there’s a reason for that, and I’d say it has a lot to do with the partisan tribalism of too many American Catholics. Honestly, there is nothing more paradoxical and challenging than being a politically-engaged and impactful American Catholic.

  • Well, JL, I think your’re right. We must avoid complete identification with the parties and the political tribalism that plagues the country now.

    As for myself, I’m too catholic to be Catholic. So for me, the most comprehensive way is to read scripture in light of tradition and reason, recognizing scripture as my final authority. I believe in drawing on all traditions with a lower-case t for the best they have to offer.

  • given that there is exactly 0% chance of appointing anti-“Roe” justices under a Democratic administration/Democratic Senate (and despite justifiable concerns about how serious some in the GOP are, they have appointed such justices, albeit not with a 100% success rate) someone claiming they’re pro-life and voting Dem nationally doesn’t make a ton of sense unless the issue isn’t particularly high-priority for them. the party made its choice on this a long time ago, the “tribalism” is just a function of how charged issues like this are.

  • i said national cuz i assume there may still exist certain states with Dem reps who actually are more conservative on this than the national party. even then though, when you notice a pattern like this…fool me once etc.

  • Look, I’m not in love with the GOP myself. The McCain-Graham wing of the Senate is repugnant and loathsome to me, with its interventionism abroad and disregard for civil liberties at home. The RNC is also staffed by some of the most politically incompetent fools I have ever encountered in all the political history I have ever read.

    But the party has actually been solid on life issues. About as much as could be done, short of repealing Roe, was done under G.W. Bush. The party had a good pro-life track record during those years. We can inveigh that more wasn’t done, but we do have a democratic-republic that is controlled by a two-party system. There are limits to what either party can do.

    There’s simply no comparing the GOP and the Dems on this issue.

  • Pardon my ignorance, but who ARE these “pro-life Democrats”? Which of them voted against Obama Care?

  • McCain-Graham wing of the Senate is repugnant and loathsome to me, with its interventionism abroad and disregard for civil liberties at home.

    You need to dial it back.

    The RNC is also staffed by some of the most politically incompetent fools I have ever encountered in all the political history I have ever read.

    A number of years ago, Grover Norquist was asked why Gray Davis, an uninspiring old hack, had managed to get himself the Democratic nomination for Governor of California over a demonstrably capable businessman who had financed an extensive advertising campaign. His response was banal but worth considering, “politics is harder than it looks”. There are people in this world (Daniel Larison comes to mind) who are quite verbose and insistent in telling politicians how to do their jobs (while never themselves having been anywhere near the matrix in which these politicians work). Politicians make bad policy all the time, and often for indefensible reasons, but even well-intentioned are invariably maneuvering in a madcap environment.

  • liberal Catholics – pro-life democrats- libertarian Catholics ? ? ?

    Pro life democrats belong to a party whose officlal party stance is anti life.
    The cognitive dissonance is deafening

  • All right I shouldn’t have thrown libertarian Catholics in there. It veers off the course of this thread… and it depends how libertarian they are. But you get the picture.

  • Names, please – pro-life democrats????? And shame on the bishops who are too cowardly to publicly ex-communicate so-called Catholics legislators who vote for abortion “rights”, and bills that finance Planned Parenthood, and abortion abroad.

  • Even if the pro-life democrats are truly pro-lifers with a steel spine, they are the exception, not the rule. The Democrat party is the party of death. Look at their positions: pro-abortion, pro-infanticide, pro-suicide, pro-euthanasia, pro-narcotics, pro-homosexual unions (death of souls) and on and on.

    You can criticize the Democrats on these issues and not be rah-rah Republican. The GOP has its own score card. While not perfect, it is light years better than the Dems.

  • AD,

    “You need to dial it back.”

    You can expect me to dial it up.

  • “All right I shouldn’t have thrown libertarian Catholics in there.”

    I don’t even know that many self-identified libertarian Catholics. What I do know is that our high-profile representatives – Tom Woods, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Jeffery Tucker, to name three that come to mind – are all traditional pro-life Catholics. You can add me to that list if you like.

  • I think Lew Rockwell is a Catholic too. Not positive though.

  • “Names, please — pro-life democrats???”

    Congressman William Lipinski of IL-3 voted against Obamacare in its final form and specifically cited abortion as his reason for doing so. I believe he was the only Catholic Democrat in Congress to do so. Last I heard he was being considered to replace Doug Kmiec as ambassdor to the Vatican (probably a convienient way of “kicking him upstairs” and filling his seat with a more pliable pro-abort, but we shall see).

  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is a good one.

  • Doug Kmiec was ambassador to Malta. No way was he ever going to get the gig at the Vatican. Miguel H. Díaz is the Ambassador to the Holy See.

  • “Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is a good one.”

    we’ll see once there’s an actual related vote

  • Oops, Jay, I really messed that one up. First of all the guy in question is DANIEL Lipinski — William Lipinski is his father who also held the same seat in Congress — and he is in line to replace Miguel Diaz, not Kmiec. (I knew Kmiec was ambassador to some really tiny almost 100% Catholic country over in the Mediterranean, though) 🙂

  • Pro-Life is not simply limited to opposition to abortion. Of course, that is a primary stance. But the Church supports Life from “conception to natural death.” Where are pro-life conservatives in ensuring that the poor and sick have access to life-saving medicine and treatment?

    Where are the pro-life conservatives protecting the Earth (aka, God’s Creation) from wanton ecological destruction? How about when corporations blow off the tops of mountains and pollute streams/rivers with toxic sludge? Human life in those areas become threatened, not enhanced. Pollution is not pro-life.
    ———-

    Site well worth a read:

    Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Conservation Center

    http://conservation.catholic.org/

    Long before today’s environmental movement,
    the Bible and Tradition of the Catholic Church taught us to be
    stewards of God’s creation with love and wisdom.

  • But the Church supports Life from “conception to natural death.” Where are pro-life conservatives in ensuring that the poor and sick have access to life-saving medicine and treatment?

    All right Ben, what precisely are you doing? Have you started a small business and provided jobs to anyone so that they earn a decent living and have access to health insurance? Have you supported politicians who promote policies aimed at expanding the entrepreneurial class, or do you instead vote for politicians who make lofty claims about providing more welfare benefits? There is a mistaken assumption on the part of left-wing Catholics that social justice is an impersonal government entity handing out taxpayer dollars. THAT isn’t a Catholic position, and I’m tired of people such as yourselves claiming the high moral ground, because the policies people like you support are precisely the policies that keep people beholden to the state, and mired in poverty. Just feeling bad about the poor isn’t actually demonstrating a truly Catholic ethic. No wonder your state is a laughing stock.

    Pollution is not pro-life.

    Mindless sloganeering is not informative.

  • Paul,

    Thanks for saving me the time of responding to Ben (and doing it better than I would have.)

  • “The poor will always be with you.” In St. John’s Gospel Judas complained that the expensive perfume the woman used to anoint Jesus could have been sold and the money used to help the poor. The quote was Jesus’ response to the complant.

    In addition to being pro-life (anti-death penalty, anti-waterboarding, for aerial drone assassination), democrats are “all-in” with the preferential option for the poor.

    In fact, democrats are so strongly preferential for the poor, Federal policies, programs, regulations, and taxes daily are adding thousands to the poverty-stricken category. Since 2009, 75 Americans went on food stamps for each new job created.

    And, their cure for global warming/save Erda: higher fuel prices, higher food prices, more desperately poor people.

  • “Have you supported politicians who promote policies aimed at expanding the entrepreneurial class, or do you instead vote for politicians who make lofty claims about providing more welfare benefits?”

    Some politicians who claim to be doing the former have no qualms about “providing more welfare benefits” of a sort to big businesses in the form of tax breaks and other targeted economic incentives. While these incentives may be well intentioned to “save jobs”, when it gets to the point that large businesses routinely demand these concessions to the tune of millions and threaten to close or move when they don’t get them, then I would say it becomes a “preferential option for the rich, powerful, and well connected” that leaves the small or medium-size business, which doesn’t have the clout to lobby for these tax breaks, holding the bag. If you really want to expand the entrepreneurial class, I suggest lower taxes or other incentives for EVERYONE, not just big business.

  • “Where are the pro-life conservatives protecting the Earth (aka, God’s Creation) from wanton ecological destruction?”

    If far-left economic and social policy were the key to environmental preservation, China and the former Soviet bloc nations would be, or have been, among the cleanest places on Earth. Instead, they are riddled with pollution that dwarfs even the bad old days of the Cuyahoga River catching fire.

  • You’ll get no disagreement from me there, Elaine. Big government and big business usually walk hand-in-hand.

  • when people shift the pro-life topic to a broad definition, what they’re usually saying is they aren’t actually pro-life.

    i like to define things technically, and “pro-life” _does not_ refer to anything outside of abortion obviously. that’s what the term’s used for. these sorts of obfuscations are like when libertarians try to turn “small government” against conservatives and argue for their insane minarchist definition of society. now we could talk about what the Catholic position is/should be on other things but that’s a different topic.

  • JDP,

    Donnelly served 6 years in the House before his election to the Senate. He has a pretty solid pro-life track record:

    http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/34212/joe-donnelly-sr/2/abortion-issues#.UTVBmTCsiSo

    “when people shift the pro-life topic to a broad definition, what they’re usually saying is they aren’t actually pro-life.”

    Come again?

  • “Donnelly served 6 years in the House before his election to the Senate. He has a pretty solid pro-life track record:”

    Actually he pounded Joe Mansour for thinking that it is terrible to kill a child who is luckless enough to be conceived in rape.

    “I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance,” said Donnelly. “The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen—ever. What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.”

    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/politics/donnelly-speaks-out-on-mourdock-rape-comment

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/31/ind-dem-donnelly-walks-careful-line-on-abortion/

    We will see how he votes in the Senate.

  • Actually, Donald, what he did is what any other politician would do: capitalize when a political opponent makes a (well-intentioned, but) boneheaded gaffe.

    Donnelly’s exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother are disappointing, but he’s no different in that regard than the majority of Republicans.

    And I have no idea who Joe Mansour is.

  • JL, when someone’s first response to a conversation on this subject is to talk about how pollution, the death penalty, etc. etc. mean select pro-lifers aren’t “really pro-life,” that’s a sign to me that don’t view abortion as a particularly high-priority issue. sure that’s not true for everyone but it’s a common tactic for people who don’t agree with pro-lifers in the first place. furthermore questions of just war, putting criminals to death, enviro. policy, and so on are obviously of a different nature than abortion

    maybe framing things as anti-abortion vs. pro-abortion would make this easier so people don’t play semantic games.

  • JDP,

    I agree with everything you just said in the 8:30 PM comment, but that’s not the same as someone NOT being pro-life.

  • God knows how Richard Mourdock became Joe Mansour in my mind. I think Donnelly leaping on the issue, especially considering the fact that Donnelly has played up throughout his political career that he is a faithful Catholic, betokens a man who will sell out the pro-life cause, and that will make him a typical “pro-life” Democrat. He voted for Obamacare so I expect next to nothing from him in regard to abortion. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised but I doubt it.

  • JDP, exactly. Pro-life is far more than one issue, so it is important to specify what aspect of the matter one is referencing.

    If the GOP was consistently pro-life, which it is not, then it would have a better shot in American elections.

  • “Pro-life is far more than one issue”

    Give me a break. Over a million innocents slain a year and you want to mix up the fight against abortion with your pet green issues!

  • Catholic Answers recently hired an apologist who is really good in explaining the pro-life position. His name is Trent Horn, and I think the best pro-life apologist I’ve heard. The issue of the scope of the pro-life movement was raised during a 2 hour radio show on 1/28/2013. Very much worth a listen.

    http://www.catholic.com/profiles/trent-horn

    The short version is the mission of the pro-life movement is narrow, to secure the right to life for all human beings. Holding the movement accountable for other issues makes as much sense as holding the fireman accountable for finding a home for those whose home has burned down. While these acts outside the primary mission are charitable and worthwhile, they are not the focus of the pro-life movement.

  • “If the GOP was consistently pro-life, which it is not, then it would have a better shot in American elections.”

    some of the things you mentioned as “not pro-life” have more support than the pro-life position. the death penalty for example. so no.

    cool talking points though

  • ok you didn’t mention the death penalty, you mentioned…enviro. regulation and healthcare. which i assume means the GOP must support the exact EPA approach Obama does and support Obamacare as well or it is not “really” pro-life. k.

  • I am torn on the death penalty, though Pope Benedict even called for its global repeal: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-end-the-death-penalty/

    I know that if some criminal broke into my home, seeking to bring harm to my family, it would be shoot first, and then ask question afterwards. I am no leftist by any standard.

  • It’s not even that the GOP should “follow” Obama. It would be outstanding for the Republican Party to its historic, traditional pro-environment stance. Republicans were the first “green party” in a sense. ConservAmerica (formerly Republicans for Environmental Protection) has been working diligently since 1995 to

    To quote the late, great Russell Kirk, ““Nothing is more conservative than conservation.” Heck, both words share the same root. It is very disappointing how conservatives ceded to the Left what was a traditional, bedrock conservative principle.

  • The natural world and its inhabitants, first and foremost, belong to almighty God. The Bible is absolutely clear in various passages, but I will highlight my favorite. Psalms 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” Yes, we are granted “dominion” over the planet, but that does not mean “desecration” or “destruction.” I was asked by my parents to watch our home while they went on trips. DId I go and knock down walls and break the windows?

    To go one step further, St. Paul explains that Nature/Creation is evidence FOR God. Romans 1:19-20 – since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    Destruction of Nature is destruction of God’s Creation. They are inseparable. Humans have to stop acting as if we are superior to God and that we stand outside the Web of Life. We are intimately connected to it all. If you think yourself outside of Nature, then hold your breath and plug your nose and don’t inhale Oxygen.

    God bless.

  • oh snap he referenced Russell Kirk

    game over

  • “Destruction of Nature is destruction of God’s Creation.”

    The problem of the left, the green police, is they confuse consumption with destruction. Human consumption, other than their own of course, is a boil on earth and must be lanced.

    It’s not that they believe they can save earth. They are looking for a pet crisis for which they can justify their authoritarian control and profligate spending.

    The idea the GOP does care about conservation is silly. Review the many green initiatives started under GWB’s watch. Many of the green projects taking place under Obama’s had already begun under GWB’s. No. The GOP has no interest in America’s children drinking poisoned water or hiking on deforested national parks. Stereotype tripe.

Can (Should) the Pope Influence the Election?

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

 

This is a topic that I have been pondering ever since Pope Benedict announced his resignation.  The media, being ever so wise, has insisted that the Holy Father refrain from doing anything that could remotely be considered as giving a particular candidate the papal nod.  It strike me, though, that this deserves a great deal more consideration.  It is not entirely obvious to me that it would be “wrong” for the current Holy Father to attempt to influence the election.  In order to understand this, though, it is helpful to make several distinctions.

First, Church law is quite clear that the Pope has the power to determine how his successor is elected.  Virtually every pontiff in recent memory has modified the process to greater or lesser degrees.  Universi Dominici gregis (John Paul II) reinforces the age old teaching in no uncertain terms: “It is in fact an indisputable principle that the Roman Pontiff has the right to define and adapt to changing times the manner of designating the person called to assume the Petrine succession in the Roman See. This regards, first of all, the body entrusted with providing for the election of the Roman Pontiff.”  In other words, the Pope can set rules even to the extent of who gets to cast a vote.  That being said, the role currently belongs (and has belonged for quite some time) to the College of Cardinals: “Confirming therefore the norm of the current Code of Canon Law (cf. Canon 349), which reflects the millennial practice of the Church, I once more affirm that the College of electors of the Supreme Pontiff is composed solely of the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church” (UDG).  Yet this doesn’t change the fact that it is always subject to change.  Regarding the conclave itself, John Paul II reiterated that it not of itself necessary: “[T]heologians and canonists of all times agree that this institution is not of its nature necessary for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff” (UDG).  He then confirms his desire to see it continue: “I confirm by this Constitution that the Conclave is to continue in its essential structure.”  So once more we see that the conclave is something that could be changed or even eliminated if any sitting pontiff so desired.

The fact is simple: the Pope can lawfully determine who is to vote for his successor and he can lawfully determine the manner in which such an election is to take place.  While I am no canon lawyer, it seems within the bounds of the Petrine Office (with appropriate modifications of canon and special law) that the Holy Father could even do something absurd, perhaps saying: “I hereby declare that the election of the Holy Father in the case of a vacant See be entrusted to Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Canizares.  They alone, by majority vote, will determine the successor of St. Peter.”  Of course, such a specific naming would be imprudent, for if the individuals named were to pass away before the vacancy and the special law were not modified, the Church would find herself in a real pickle.  But it does demonstrate the the Holy Father is given a great amount of latitude in influencing who will succeed him.

It is not even clear whether an election proper is necessary for valid succession.  It seems that the Pope in theory could simply name his successor (again with the proper changes in canon and special law, all within his powers as a reigning pontiff).

Of course, I am not suggesting that these sorts of thing would be prudent by any means.  Numerous problems could arise from such specifics, both practical and political.  But it does make the point that the Holy Father most certainly has the right to influence an election.

Next, we should note that even under current law, the Holy Father does influence the election.  For instance, John Paul II changed the “80 years old” cutoff date from the time of the conclave to the time of vacancy.  This means that there is at least one cardinal (Cardinal Kasper) who will participate in the conclave and yet would not have under the rules of Paul VI.  When the make up of the body of electors is changed, the election has been influenced.  Pope Benedict reinstated the long tradition of a necessary two-thirds vote to decide a runoff election in the case of serious deadlock, whereas under John Paul II’s rule a simple majority would have been sufficient.  This most certainly can influence the election, and if it indeed progresses to the point of a runoff, it likely will influence the election.

Let us also not forget the obvious point that the voters are appointed by the Pope himself.  Benedict has already appointed over half of the cardinal electors, and every cardinal elector has been appointed by either Benedict XVI or John Paul II.  In the appointing of the college, the Pope clearly influences the election.

Finally, though perhaps more subtlety, there is the fact that Pope Benedict has resigned office, and in doing so he has necessarily placed the election of the next pontiff during a time when the former pontiff is still alive.  It is naive to think that this will not enter the minds of the cardinals.  Pope Benedict will influence this election and will do so without having to speak a word to anyone.

So the answer to “does the Pope influence the next papal election” is emphatically “yes.”

Of course the media, and others who are terrified of a new pope who is in continuity with the current Holy Father, recognizes these influences.  Some have even accused the pope of deliberately trying the extend his pontificate in the act of resigning.  Outside of the obvious influences, the claim is, “Once the rules are set and the players are named, the Pope should simply stay out of it.”  People would throw an absolute fit if the Pope were to say, “I really think y’all [can you say y’all with a German accent?] should look at that Burke guy, or maybe the cardinal from Sri Lanka.”  I can hear it now, “How could he!  This is so irresponsible.  The decision should be left with the cardinals, and the pope-emeritus should not try to meddle with it.”  And yet I don’t think it is that simple.

First, in the secular world this happens all the time.  Sitting presidents and former presidents often endorse replacement candidates, both in primaries and general elections.  (How I wish President Obama would have endorsed a replacement candidate.)  It is such a normal part of politics that one never hears cries of “tampering” or “meddling,” even from within the political parties during the primaries.  In fact, the media waits with baited breath to hear who a particular political figure will endorse.

Why is it different for the Pope?  Why would it be so tragic if Benedict were to endorse a particular cardinal?  It certainly wouldn’t invalidate the election.  While he is pope, he certainly has the right to direct the future of the Church, and as we have seen he has the explicit right to decide how the next pope is named.  The media’s notion that the pope has no right to influence the next pontificate is both a double standard that they don’t apply to any other election and, quite frankly, is an absurd misunderstanding of the role of the sitting pontiff.  Of course the pope has the “right” to do so.  In fact, it is an explicit right granted to him by Church law.  (By the way, I have a feeling that if the Pope were to endorse a Cardinal Mahony or a Cardinal Danneels, the American media would miraculously lose their objection to meddling and applaud the pope for his courage.  The media objects to the pope’s influence only because they know what that influence means.)

But shouldn’t the election of the Pope be the result of listening to the Holy Spirit?  The answer is emphatically “yes,” but it also requires an understanding of how the Holy Spirit works.  More often than not, the Spirit works through the thoughts and actions of men.  This is why it is no contradiction to say that the Holy Spirit works through the conclave process even though it involves fallible men casting votes.  (Let us not forget, however, that the Spirit can only work if the cardinals themselves are open.  This is precisely why we pray for the cardinals.  There is a guarantee that the Holy Spirit will speak, but there is no guarantee that the Cardinals will listen.)  Who is to say that the Spirit, who is quite capable of working through a body of electors, is not also capable of working through a current pontiff?  Perhaps the Spirit wants to work through a current pope specifically endorsing a candidate, or dare I say it, even naming a candidate and getting rid of the entire conclave process.  As absurd as it sounds, this is exactly why “it is in fact an indisputable principle that the Roman Pontiff has the right to define and adapt to changing times the manner of designating the person called to assume the Petrine succession in the Roman See.”

Thus far this has been a theoretical question.  In theory the pope can influence, even directly, the election of his successor, and it is unjust to claim that it would be “wrong” for him to do so.  It is an entirely different question as to whether or not it would be prudent for this pope, Benedict XVI, at this particular point in history, to explicitly tap the next pontiff.  I fully recognize that a papal election is something altogether different that a national political election.  The irony, though, is that the media seems to not grasp this difference, except when it is convenient.  That being said, if only because of the massive media fall out the would follow, it is probably not a good idea to make such an explicit endorsement.  We would be dealing with claims of election fraud (erroneous claims, but claims nonetheless) for the entire next pontificate.  Further, I am one that believes in organic growth in all things Catholic, and a sudden change from conclave to something resembling specific influence would be a rupture in the history of papal elections.  We are already dealing with the historical anomaly of a papal resignation.  Keeping all else in continuity in the past is most certainly the prudent course of action.  If the Holy Spirit is to guide the Church is making such radical changes to the papal election process, it will be slowly and deliberately.
Can the pope influence the election?  Yes: he is specifically granted this power in church law.  Does he influence the next election?  Yes: he names the cardinal electors and sets the rules by which the next pope is elected.  Will this specific pope influence the election once he is no longer pope?  No.  Should he influence the election explicitly?  Probably not, but this is an answer that deserves the above enormous qualification.
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10 Responses to Can (Should) the Pope Influence the Election?

  • I agree with this thoughtful post. There is nothing ipso facto “wrong” about BXI adding his voice to the voices that will inevitably be heard throughout the process. But the practical risks associated with doing so probably render such involvement imprudent. I’m confident BXI appreciates this and intends to acquit himself accordingly.

  • In our own way we can all influence the decision. Pick a cardinal and pray for him, not that he is elected, only that he is open to the will of the Holy Spirit and recognizes it.
    My choice is Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogotá, Colombia. only because I happened to notice that he shares a date of birth with my wife.
    Alternately go to http://www.adoptacardinal.org. You will join 125,000 others at this point and just about 50,000 who have done so in the last 24 hours – give or take a bit.

  • Does a pope necessarily retain his status as a cardinal? That is, if he retired before his 80th birthday, would he have a vote at the conclave? Or if Benedict had suspended the 80-years rule, would he as Cardinal Ratzinger been a participant in the conclave?

  • No, the pope ceases to be a cardinal when he accepts the papacy. The last legitimate pope to abdicate, Gregory XII, did so after legitimately summoning the Council of Constance in 1415 (it had originally been called by the anti-pope John XXIII, so its earlier sessions were declared null and void). The Council then established the former pope as Cardinal Bishop of Porto and Santa Ruffina, and he would have been eligible to vote in the conclave which elected his successor; however, he died two months before Martin V was elected in November 1417.

  • Benedict resigned because he understood the scope of the challenge before the Church and the dangers that are coming…he understood he could not hope to deal effectively with that challenge…i believe he resigned in part to be able to influence the selection…that will be part of his eternal legacy.

  • “They have Moses and the prophets.” What Pope Benedict is choosing to do is his vocation.

  • Sorry, I am about reading the post. Will comment later. but since Pope John Paul II hand picked Joseph Ratzinger as his successor and the college of cardinals confirmed his choice, it appears Pope Benedict has already made known his choice, for he would not leave his Church in disarray.

  • Mary,

    I am not sure how much we should make about previous pontiffs hand picking their successors. There is no doubt that Ratzinger was close to JPII, and it is more than likely that if JPII had a “pick” it may have been him. And yet the cardinals are the ones that end up making the decision. The reason Ratzinger was elected seems much more because of the esteem for him held by the college. His addresses during the funeral and the pre-conclave Mass, together with how he handled the convening of the college (he was the Dean) with both authority and confidence is said to have impressed the cardinals greatly. This is a much more likely explanation that him being a JPII pick.

    It is not clear at all that BXVI has made a “choice,” and still less clear is it that the cardinals will listen to him.

    Of course, all of this is not really the point of the original post, which instead was to suggest that the media and others are simply unfair and wrong for suggesting that the pope “should not” try to influence the election.

    Peace,

    Jake

  • Peace to you Jake Tawney:

    If all you say is true about Pope Benedict XVI, and I believe that it is true, the College of Cardinals will have Pope Benedict’s opinion. The Holy Spirit has a way of making Himself known.
    Beautiful writing.

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Resignation Questions

Thursday, February 28, AD 2013

 

Pope Benedict will  resign his office today.  I wish him all the best.  I can only imagine the burden he lays down now.  Actually I can’t.  Being the Vicar of Christ and having the responsibility of shepherding His Church?  Only the men who have have filled the shoes of the Fisherman can have any comprehension of what must be the crushing weight of that office.  I hope he enjoys his well earned rest.  What are the practical long term consequences of his decision?

1.  What does the old Pope think? The new Pope will have to deal with something none of his predecessors had to deal with:  an aggressive world wide media incessantly trying to ask Benedict how his successor is doing.  I am confident that Benedict will remain mum, but that will not stop rumors from constantly arising as to whether he is pleased or displeased with the actions of his successor.  If this resignation starts a trend in popes resigning, then this may be something new for future popes to have to wrestle with.

2.  Will Benedict write his memoirs?  I doubt it, but it is a possibility.  Popes commenting on their own papacy in retrospect is something new under the sun.

3.  New ammo for the sedevacantists?  Opposition to the new Pope, and opposition there will doubtless be, on the fringes may argue that he is not really Pope because the resignation was invalid.  Since popes have resigned before I do not find this argument logical, but I am certain this will be made.

4.  Push for a papal mandatory retirement age?  There is already a mandatory retirement age of 70 for priests and 75 for bishops and archbishops.  I always have thought this was an unwise act on the part of Paul VI and I fear that there may be a push for such a mandatory retirement age for popes.

5.  Psst, did you hear the Pope is going to resign?  The Vatican has always been a rumor mill and now we will have a new one.  Whenever a Pope sneezes the rumors are going to fly.

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4 Responses to Resignation Questions

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  • We may be religious or not, we may agree or disagree with Pope Benedict’s views, but I believe we have to admire a decision that places the good of the Catholic Church above his personal prestige.

  • To the first question: I think the kind of man who would step down willingly from the papacy wouldn’t ever undercut his successor. Maybe if there is a mandatory retirement age, though, a less humble former pope wouldn’t be so well-behaved.

    To the second question: Again, this being Benedict, I can’t see it happening. I wonder, though: would he be tempted to write as a theologian, which is his true passion? That could actually cause some problems. Not real problems, but I could see some people getting confused about the relative weight to put on a former pope’s writings. I think he’s old, and retiring for a reason, but I imagine that he could write letters and such.

    Two other thoughts I’ve had lately. One, I’m surprised that Benedict didn’t stay through the canonization of John Paul. Personally, I don’t like the idea of rushed canonizations, but it does surprise me that Benedict wouldn’t see that through to the end. Second, the Pius X’ers. I keep thinking about Don Corleone, who set up peace between the families with the full knowledge that his son would kill all the family’s enemies when he took over. That’s grim, I know. But I get the feeling that Benedict did all he could to reunite them with the institutional Church, and his successor will not feel a need for greater acts of patience.

  • Pope Benedict XVI did what is in the best interest of the Church. It is going to be a bumpy ride for the Lavender Mafia.

Sally Quinn, Short Skirts and the Church of Rome

Wednesday, February 27, AD 2013

Sally Quinn at the Washington Post has a column in which she calls for those darn Catholics to cease to be Catholic basically, and begins it all when she recalls the humiliation she felt during her salad days, presumably sometime after dinosaurs ruled the earth, when she was turned away from the Vatican because her skirt was too short.  Unfortunately for her, her column attracted the attention of Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith:

Yeah, here’s the thing.  We Protestants obviously don’t have a dog in this hunt, as they say, but lots of us would really appreciate it if you mackeral snappers would pick the damned pace up and elect a new pope yesterday.  Then we wouldn’t have to have read about how Sally Quinn visited the Vatican right around the time that William Howard Taft, AKA ”Fatso,” was US President:

The first time I visited the Vatican as an adult I was in my 20s.  I was so excited. My boyfriend and I dressed up as if it were Easter Sunday. He wore a coat and tie. I wore a long sleeved black dress with pearls and little ballet flats. We were turned away. It seems my skirt was a half inch too short. I was crushed. I felt ashamed and humiliated. I certainly had not set out to offend anyone, much less God.

Two things, Sal.  They’re called “travel guides” and just about everybody publishes them.  So ignorance of the law and all that.  And if I’m wearing a Motörhead T-shirt and I haven’t shaved or bathed in three days, give or take, I don’t have anything to complain about if Vatican border guards tell me, “Not so much, no.”  Quinnsie, on the other hand, went back to the Vatican some time during the Coolidge Administration.

The last time I visited was five years ago, after the child sexual abuse scandal. Not long before, I had spent a weekend at Williamsburg, and I remember thinking that perhaps one day the Vatican would be like that same historic village. There would be actors dressed as priests and nuns and one actor playing the pope in flowing robes waving from the balcony, remembering an institution as it once existed.

And anybody with a brain would be Episcopalian by now.  A few days later, Sally’s little “On Faith” thing ran some advice to the Roman Catholic Church from a Jewish atheist.

[A whole lot of stupid-ass liberal bumper stickers omitted.]

So, Rome?  We’re going to need you to hurry things along, all right?  Really.

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23 Responses to Sally Quinn, Short Skirts and the Church of Rome

  • Off-topic, but for you, Don–50+ unpublished Kipling poems found by American scholar:

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/02/27/more-than-50-unpublished-rudyard-kipling-poems-discovered-by-u-s-scholar/

  • Thank you Dale, that makes my day. This indicates the shocking lack of serious scholarly attention to Kipling’s work since his death.

  • That Quinn article is a nearly-perfect match to the Choose Your Pope parody bit from a couple of days ago.

    I just have to give it more attention than it deserves:

    “Every priest who is known to be guilty should be routed out, excommunicated and jailed. Every priest, bishop and cardinal who had any knowledge of these heinous crimes and protected abusers should be excommunicated and prosecuted in the courts.”

    OK, nice idea. But why excommunicated? And how does one go about finding every priest “known to be guilty”? What kind of a standard is that? What does “any knowledge” mean? Suspicions? Confessions? How do you propose to implement this plan?

    “Some 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholics have used birth control even though it is considered a sin by the church. The same percentage of Catholic women have abortions as non-Catholic women.”

    Quinn uses that as proof that the Church needs to change. Why? Why not have every person who’s used birth control or had an abortion routed out and excommunicated? Every priest, bishop, and cardinal who’s known about one as well? Because Quinn doesn’t want people excommunicated for breaking the law, or breaking the Church’s moral code. She wants them excommunicated for breaking her moral code. And where the Church’s moral code doesn’t match hers, she wants the Church to reform.

    “The official explanation is that he has become too frail to perform his duties. I think there is more to it than that. I think that he either doesn’t want to or can’t deal with all that has gone rotten around him.”

    Oh, well, stop the presses. Sally Quinn thinks something different from the official explanation, and we should give Quinn’s thought greater weight than the official explanation because…?

  • The “skirt” incident reveals that the Vatican was unlike the World.

    In the World, men wouldn’t talk with her if she were not showing enough skin.

  • I don’t know if I should post this here or in the Hans Hunt letter thread, but here goes. Hunt put down a recent arrival who wanted to de-Wyoming Wyoming, her new state of residence. Paul Zummo made this comment:”If you are fleeing one area of the country because another area offers dramatically more opportunities, how obtuse do you have to be to vote for the policies that made you need to leave where you are coming from?” This is the exact same thing that’s happening in this column. Quinn wants to show a bit of leg at the Vatican, and she wants abortion and contraception to be acceptable to the Church. But she doesn’t want men to act the way they do in the face of sexual temptation. Sexual revolution for me, but not for thee.

    She didn’t set out to offend anyone, but she did offend people by breaking society’s standards, and she won’t accept responsibility for it. Now the dress length seems trivial. As trivial as the first straw on top of the camel’s broken back.

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  • Someone smart once said (paraphrasing) that the problem of sin is not so much the sin itself, but the arrogance of wanting the cosmic order to bend to the individual will by approving of the sin.

  • Yes, J Christian, exactly.
    There seems to be no shortage of folks who desire to conform their conscience to their actions rather than vice versa. Their logic seems to be:
    I’m a good person.
    I want to do X.
    Therefoere, X is a perfectly good thing to do.
    Those of us who try fecklessly to conform our actions to our conscience are relegated to hypocrite status.

  • Sally Quinn is beyond silly, and the Post is no better than Pravda. That said, I have to tell you that every time a Catholic male blogger or columnist makes snide comments about a woman’s age or appearance, he makes it just about impossible for women like me to keep making a case for the Church to our liberal, secular friends. I could make the most impassioned and reasoned argument defending the Church as the one and ONLY institution that values and protects the dignity of women, and then my listener would read something like this, or some screed about “aging hippie nuns” from Father Z, and we’re back to square one…”will the Church’s war on women never end?”

    Can’t you make a case for Sally Quinn as flat-out ridiculous based only on what she has said and written? If you can’t, then you’re not as good a writer as I though you were.

    This stuff makes me tired. Sigh.

  • Quinn was the one who brought up skirts Claire and her long ago youth. Her former appearance is the only reason why she is writing anything that is published in The Washington Post to be inflicted upon a hapless public. I call ’em like I see ’em.

  • Well, I don’t mind that you brought up skirts…I can see that you weren’t criticizing the length of her skirt. I guess I need to go find her article and read it…based only on what you have posted here, I don’t see where Quinn herself is making reference to her age. I do see where you’ve reprinted lots of snotty allusions to Quinn’s youth in the Coolidge era. Har har.

    The thing is that I’m just tired of Catholic male bloggers (even the ones I really like) jumping on every opportunity to mock wrongheaded women who happen to be unattractive or, God forbid, old. I don’t get why it’s not OK for women to be old. I want to be old myself eventually. I mean, I believe in eternal life, but I’m in no hurry. More importantly, I’m tired of the laziness in this kind of writing. Liberal nuns who want to “move beyond Jesus” (where? to Hell?) need to be criticized for their heresy, not for their wrinkles and grey hair. Pro-abortion women (the handful of them who show up at the March for Life) should be criticized for condoning child slaughter, not for their Birkenstocks and frumpy outfits.

  • “based only on what you have posted here, I don’t see where Quinn herself is making reference to her age.”
    The incident with the skirt occurred in her twenties and struck me as a remarkably petty note to start off a column slamming the Church.

    Criticisms of individuals in my writing are never gratuitous but always done for a point. I view Sally Quinn as perhaps the most vacuous writer published on a regular basis by The Washington Post, and that is saying something, and her personal history explains why she holds this position. Her youthful use of her sex appeal made her career and that is relevant when readers are wondering how such a dope got such a powerful podium to preach to us Catholics.

  • Claire, it looks like it was Johnson who brought up the age thing. (I almost wrote “brought up the skirt”, which is a completely different concept!)

  • Pinky–right, I agree, only Mr. McClarey did reprint it AND added the “presumably sometime after dinosaurs roamed the earth” just to drive it home.

    Mr. McClarey–see, I get that Quinn mentioned her age, but she was talking about her age at the time of the skirt incident. So we all know that she was in her twenties when that happened. What she doesn’t seem to say is exactly how long ago her twenties were. A reader who didn’t know anything about Quinn wouldn’t necessarily know if her twenties took place during the 1990s, the 1930s, or anytime in between. We get that she’s old (gross!) from the super-funny jokes about Taft and Coolidge. It’s fine, though…it’s your blog, so whatever. Maybe you don’t notice that conservative and Catholic male bloggers tend to take potshots at women for perceived lack of attractiveness. Liberal bloggers are far worse, of course, but I expect better from Catholics.

  • “Maybe you don’t notice that conservative and Catholic male bloggers tend to take potshots at women for perceived lack of attractiveness.”

    Some do. I don’t.

  • Right on, Claire! The older and less attractive I become, the less I like this type of comment. Too bad its true that there seem to be so many unattractive Lib women, of all ages. BEING Lib makes them unattractive to any thinking person.

  • A religious woman was the Door Keeper once for St Peter’s Basilica to replace the males, and quit because of abuse she took. forget the year that experiment began and ended quickly.
    . I was amazed at the total lack of respect in the USA before I was injured and could not attend Mass in church, to see so many women coming to church and some men. who were more properly dressed for golf or a BBQ than for communion; while black men and women whom I saw when I went to their church as part of my Consultant for the after school federal programme for that church-neighbourhood were dressed for a presidential visit. Same for the Hispanic Mass goers at our all-Spanish Masses.
    White trashily dressed to fulfil an obligation, most left early after communion. The length of the homily made no difference to their time-pieces. I asked the pastor one day to do his bit with bulletin announcements before Mass and he rejected the idea- within a month or so he did when he saw the nearly empty church at the end of communion. A deeper problem than a dress code.

  • coming from my silly simple little farm girl background, and a long line of old German Lutherans, I must say the length of her skirt was indeed reason to find fault with all the “rules” back in the day. I wish she could live in that lifestyle for awhile. skirt must touch floor when kneeling. No makeup, no pants, no dancing, no card playing, no drinking (lol) god forbid, if you got caught shaving your legs before you were 16, and the only thing we looked forward to was a “funeral” Lutheran of course. Ms Quinn grow up. I know one thing we worked hard, we were respectful, our minds were clean and we took responsibility for our own actions. I thought it was the most horrible lifestyle. I wish we had a little of that back now.

  • I was in Rome a few years back for the ordination of my brother to the Diaconate. I was surprised that St. Peter’s is the only one of the major Basilica’s where they enforce any sort of dress code and even there from what I can see, a half an inch is not going to going to keep anyone out.

  • I just looked at the clock. We don’t have a pope. Weird.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    I’m sure you don’t. I have a tendency to overanalyze and to overreact, sometimes without much charity. I hope I didn’t offend you. I still think this happens pretty frequently but I’ve never seen any evidence of it on your blog, so I should not have assumed that you were trying to be mean in this case.

  • In Independent (Fundamentalist) Baptist churches, women often wear very long skirts practically down to the floor, but it’s not a dress code. It’s merely a part of the subculture. They tend to use very long skirts made with jean material. Weirdly, they can often be accompanied by sneakers.

CS Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debating Christ

Wednesday, February 27, AD 2013

I look forward to seeing this play Freud’s Last Session when I have an opportunity:

Toward the end of the play Freud’s Last Session, a fictional conversation about the meaning of human life between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis concludes,“How mad, to think we could untangle the world’s greatest mystery in one hour.”Freud responds, “The only thing more mad is to not think of it at all.” The combined sense of the limits to human knowledge and the unavoidability of the big questions is one of the many impressive features of this dramatic production, the remote origins of which are in a popular class of Dr. Armand Nicholi, professor of psychiatry in the Harvard Medical School. Nicholi penned a book, The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, which the playwright Mark St. Germain turned into an off-Broadway play, now in its second year in New York and just beginning a run in Chicago. 

I had a chance recently to see the successful New York production, directed by Tyler Marchant and starring George Morfogen as Freud and Jim Stanek as Lewis. The play is not perfect; some of the dialogue is wooden, the result of the attempt to squeeze elements from the major works of the two authors into their conversation. Nicholi does a better job of this in his book, largely because he is free from the dialogue form. But the theatrical revival of the dialogue is what stands out in this production. In this case, the theater is an arena for the contest of ideas. There is a healthy reminder that philosophy itself has taken on various dramatic and literary forms; indeed, philosophy as a theater of debate hearkens back to the very founding of philosophy in the Platonic dialogue. Something of that original sense of philosophy as a live debate between interlocutors whose views and lives are at stake is operative in Freud’s Last Session.

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Tell Us What You Really Think Hans

Tuesday, February 26, AD 2013

Hans Hunt

 

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  The Reverend Audette Fulbright, newly appointed Unitarian-Universalist ministress in Cheyenne Wyoming decided to write a letter to Hans Hunt, State Representative:

Dear Representative,

I hope you are taking care of yourself during this busy session. I know it is a challenging, compressed time.

I am writing to express my grave concern about House Bill 105. Ample evidence has shown that schools and guns do not mix, and in particular, guns in the hands of amateurs/non-professionals is extremely dangerous, especially in any highly-charged situation. to expose our children to greater risk in their schools by encouraging more guns on campuses is something that we cannot allow.

My husband and I moved to Wyoming not too long ago. We believed it was a good place to raise children. With the recent and reactive expansion of gun laws and the profoundly serious dangers of fracking, we find we are seriously reconsidering our decision, which is wrenching to all of us. However, the safety of our family must come first. We are waiting to see what the legislature does this session. I know of other new-to-Wyoming families in similar contemplation. Your choices matter. It would be sad to see an exodus of educated, childrearing age adults from Wyoming as a result of poor lawmaking.

sincerely,

Rev. Audette Fulbright

Hunt’s response minced no words:

Rev. Fulbright,

I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. I don’t expect a “mass exodus” from our state just because we’re standing up for our rights. As to your comments on fracking, I would point out that you’re basing your statement on “dangers” that have not been scientifically founded or proved as of yet.

It offends me to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as yourself move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking. We are, and will continue to be, a state which stands a head above the rest in terms of economic security. Our ability to do that is, in large part, to our “live and let live” mentality when it comes to allowing economic development, and limiting government oversight. So, to conclude, if you’re so worried about what our legislature is working on, then go back home.

Sincerely,

Hans Hunt

Representative Hans Hunt

House District 02

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55 Responses to Tell Us What You Really Think Hans

  • That’s gonna leave a mark.

  • I think this fellow could benefit from an editor.

  • I think he could benefit from a megaphone Art.

  • Oh my gosh. That totally made my morning. Wow. He responded exactly with what I was thinking as I was reading her childish comments. Good grief. Not only the arrogance but what is she, stupid? Did she and her husband not look into the “political atmosphere” of the great state of Wyoming before they decided to move there? Laughable. Go home! Bravo, Mr. Hunt.

  • Redactions in brackets. Replacements not in bold.

    Rev. Fulbright,

    [I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave]. We, [sic.] who have been here a very long time (I am [proudly] 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. I don’t expect a “mass exodus” from our state just because we’re standing up for our [rights] right to bear arms. As to your comments on fracking, I would [point out that you’re basing your statement on “dangers” that have not been scientifically founded or proved as of yet.] suggest that we base policy on what we know keeping in mind that of which we are ignorant, not base it on transient or fashionable anxieties.

    [It offends me to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as yourself move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking]. You did move her voluntarily and I see you do notice that Wyoming has its distinct character. We are, and will continue to be, a state which stands a head above the rest in terms of economic security. Our ability to do that is, in large part, to our “live and let live” mentality when it comes to allowing economic development, and limiting government oversight. If our ways are not to your liking, there are other places in this world. For us, there is no place we would rather be.

  • I prefer the original Art. It reflects the white heat in which it was obviously composed. One of the besetting sins of our day is mealy mouthed noises from our legislators. It is refreshing to find one who obviously said what was precisely on his mind.

  • I like the original much better too. It says it all.

  • “Tell Us What You Really Think Hans” made my day, he does, he does, Donald McClarey.
    “It offends me to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as yourself move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking.” Hans Hunt reminded Rev. Audette Fulbright that she is “trying to get away from where they came from” and defeated her cultural bullying. Hans Hunt’s tie is red and white and his shirt is blue, flag blue. The last time I saw such fire in a person’s eyes, was in a young Christopher Henry Smith, (R, NJ).

  • Art Deco: As a state representative, Hans Hunt must, really must, use the plural pronoun “WE”, as in “We, the people”. Representative Hans Hunt includes himself in the pride “of our independent heritage”, not in the pride of my being 4th generation. (I am [proudly] 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. Give the man his due Art Deco and be glad.

  • These blue-state exiles (yes, Virginia will be blue by 2024) really miss the point, don’t they? They move from a place that doesn’t work, and still insist on replicating the conditions they fled.

    The upside of nobody moving to Michigan is that we’ve been spared that phenomenon.

  • 1. I am pleased he said precisely what was on his mind.

    2. He can say precisely what is on his mind about the public issues in question without any reference to her (other than she brought them up).

    3. There was a measure of effrontery incorporated into the woman’s missive. The effrontery need not be addressed in a crudely explicit manner, but rather delineated as follows: a. we like it here, b. you came here of your own volition, c. there are other places in this world that will not chafe you in the way about which you complain. “By all means, Leave” is inelegant.

    4. It is contextually redundant for him to say “I’ll be blunt”, insufficiently precise to say “rights” (the dame was making a complaint on two issues), and undignified to say “It offends me”. Also, the 2d person (“you”) should be used sparingly. Own your own views and dole out your aggression in small doses.

  • “2. He can say precisely what is on his mind about the public issues in question without any reference to her (other than she brought them up). ”

    Why? She is not some disembodied ghost bringing up random political positions but a newcomer to his state with an obvious blue state ax to grind. This is a big issue for the mountain West and I think it constitutes the most interesting part of both letters.

    3. ““By all means, Leave” is inelegant.”

    Agreed, one of the reasons that I like it. “Scram back to whatever Blue State hell hole spawned you.” would have been taking things too far.

    (Actually she is a mixed up Southerner, and a living parody:

    http://revaudettefulbright.com/audette-danielle-fulbright-fulson-autobiographical-essay/)

  • Art Deco: You may be an editor, I am not, but I do know that when an issue is open to the court it becomes public domain and fair game. “(other than she brought them up)”. No, precisely because she brought them up and in precisely in the same manner, the issue may be addressed. Audette Fulbright, (I do not call her Rev., because she is far from that title.) Addressed the state’s representative as though he were a lackey, a water boy to do her bidding, without respect…because she is a Rev., an office Audette Fulbright obviously entered for the power to push agendas on people, to push people around. What Hans Hunt threw at Fulbright was the ammunition the woman threw at him in like manner. Was she respectful, courteous, elegant? Do not be suckered in by sweet talk, Art Deco, the woman would eat your civil rights up like a cannibal eating another human being. Hans Hunt called her “pompous” and I agree.

    “Own your own views and dole out your aggression in small doses.” Me thinks, Art Deco, that Ms. Fulbright does not own her own views. Ms. Fulbright’s views are the indoctrination of…place your name for enslavement here. The aggression being doled out to Ms. Fulbright was of her own making and probably the only language Ms. Fulbright understands.

    “By all means, Leave” is inelegant.” What Hans Hunt actually said was: “If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave.”
    Make no mistake, Art Deco, this is about FREEDOM.

  • That settles it.

    I will emigrate to Wyoming.

  • Mr. Hunt’s version would’ve been my first draft, the one I wrote when I was still seething. Then, after some reflection, I would’ve written a more elegant version of the response, politely dripping with sarcasm and thinly-veiled contempt for my correspondent, exposing her as egotistical, shallow, and naive for moving to a new place with a political and cultural orientation so vastly incongruent to her own and expecting it to suddenly conform to her worldview. Which would’ve stung her all the worse for having been less a sledgehammer and more of a scalpel that cut her where she’s most vulnerable – her sense of pride and superiority.

    As it is, her pride and sense of superiority remain intact, as Mr. Hunt’s letter no doubt merely exposes him as a provincial yokel in the mind of “Reverend” Fulbright.

  • “As it is, her pride and sense of superiority remain intact,”

    I think that would have been the case Jay no matter what was written. Some ignorance truly is invincible and judging from her scribblings on he website, I’d say the good Rev’s cluelessness is definitely in that category.

  • I mean, this letter would’ve been MUCH more fun to read – at least for me – if it was more Mark Steyn and less Mark Levin.

  • Apparently she e-mailed this to all the members of the Wyoming legislature. She should appreciate that she got a personal response to this type of spam.

  • Remember: only the police can be trusted with guns.

    LAPD renegades sold guns to anybody. Then, they threatened the person that exposed the plot. Reported at Instapundit.

    Last August, two NYPD professionals wounded nine innocent bystanders outside the Empire State Building.

  • Why? She is not some disembodied ghost bringing up random political positions but a newcomer to his state with an obvious blue state ax to grind.

    The issue is the issue, whether she raises it or someone else does. As a rule, I would think we would regard attacking the person with some reserve.

    Where you address her conduct is in the pushy and obtuse aspect of her complaint.

    He is fairly discourteous to her and I think he could have been clear and precise while not being insulting; as a public official, it is his obligation. Cops carry billy clubs; they do not use them indiscriminately.

  • “Cops carry billy clubs; they do not use them indiscriminately.”

    I can tell Art that you haven’t been in Chicago lately.

  • “As a rule, I would think we would regard attacking the person with some reserve.”

    He didn’t attack her Art, but rather accurately described her desire to transform Wyoming after having just arrived there.

  • I agree with Art. And I agree with Donald. AT THE SAME TIME.

    And I’ve long considered Wyoming to be a bastion of sanity. Who knows, maybe in 50 years there will be a bunch of Catholics holed up there, trying to withstand the forces of progress and modernity that are pushing in all around us.

  • “Who knows, maybe in 50 years there will be a bunch of Catholics holed up there, trying to withstand the forces of progress and modernity that are pushing in all around us.”

    A good start:

    http://www.wyomingcatholiccollege.com/

  • @Phillip

    Love that place. Thaddeus K teaches there too…all the right ingredients for a confessional state…

  • Someone purporting to be Thaddeus Kozinski occasionally posts the most vitriolic denunciations of Israel in Catholic fora & other places. I have been hoping some rude crank has appropriated his handle. Would not wish on Wyoming Catholic College someone with those sort of issues.

  • Donald, not really sure what exactly in that link makes him a “nut.”

  • I wrote an email to Rep. Hunt, thanking him for speaking truth to pompous
    jackassery and wishing him a long and influential career in politics.

    May his tribe increase.

  • I was driving around in Austin, Texas yesterday when I saw a car brimming with various leftist slogans on their bumper, including one that said “Progress: Make Austin Blue.” Considering that this is Austin, it is probably one of the few areas of the state where a native would express such ideas. What struck me, though, is that the only thing that would turn Austin blue is an infusion of Yankees seeking work, escaping increasingly decaying areas of the country.

    If you are fleeing one area of the country because another area offers dramatically more opportunities, how obtuse do you have to be to vote for the policies that made you need to leave where you are coming from?

  • Unitarian Universalists are often very liberal politically. They’ve nothing left to believe in so they adopt a political platform and it’s usaully pretty leftist. They seek change through legislation. They try to eradicate ills through government. I’ve found that to be the agenda of the UCC as well.

  • Wish I could vote for this guy! We need folks like him in New York.

  • “From the First Amendment’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” to Ike’s Eisenhower’s “This country and its institutions make no sense unless they’re founded on religion–and I don’t care which one” to George W. Bush’s “The ideal of America is the hope of all mankind. That hope still lights the way. And the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it”—it’s all the same Masonic gospel. G.K. Chesterton was right: “America is a nation with the soul of a church.” And, with its cohort, Zionist Israel, it has established countless mission churches in Europe and throughout the world. It is now attempting to gouge out the eyes of the Muslims in the Middle East, whose collective sight is already quite dim. The “darkness of Islamism,” to use the words of Pius XI, is about to get much darker, and as we attempt to blind our “enemies,” we become all the blinder—the full eclipse of the West looks to be imminent.”

  • Donald, it’s interesting that Chesterton said that. The literary critic Harold Bloom wrote a book entitled the American Religion which holds that as its thesis, further arguing that it’s gnostic.

  • I am fairly sure your quotation is the authentic Dr. Kozinski. The others I recall seeing may not have been. I would not call him a nut, just someone lost in intellectual labyrinths of his own construction.

  • I wish he was in Colorado!! I feel the same about the influx of liberals into Colorado-they have really screwed up my home state.

  • Are there any examples of conservative migrants turning a formerly “blue” or “purple” state, or region of a state, “red”? One would think that they would be just as likely if not more likely to flee oppressive nanny-state liberalism for a friendlier cultural/political climate. Maybe they will have to move back into the Rust Belt cities and states the middle-class and wealthy liberals left behind?

  • Actually Elaine that is what happened in the South with the advent of air conditioning. Many Republicans moved down there and helped transform it. We see Michigan getting redder slowly, largely due to the implosion of Detroit. Missouri and West Virginia are getting redder. Demographics and migration are complex forces and the nation is in flux.

  • The South has certainly become less Democrat, but I don’t know that it’s become more conservative. I always thought that the shift toward the GOP in the South was more due to the people who already lived there deciding that they were leaving the Democratic Party because (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan) it left them.

    Michigan and post-Katrina Louisiana are also becoming less Democrat due to people leaving, and not more Republican/conservative due to people moving in, at least not at this time. I would also suspect that West Virginia and perhaps Kentucky are getting “redder” due to the decline of the (highly unionized) coal industry.

    As for the Show Me State I’m not sure what caused its sharp right turn of late; could disgruntled downstate Sucker Staters defecting to the west side of the St. Louis metro area have something to do with it? Or is it, again, a case of liberals all leaving for what they percieve to be greener pastures while conservatives stay put?

  • “I always thought that the shift toward the GOP in the South was more due to the people who already lived there deciding that they were leaving the Democratic Party because (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan) it left them.”

    That is incorrect. You can see it in the Congressional districts that first flipped to the Republicans and which tended to be the ones with lots of Northern migration.
    “All right, now, what happened? Well, the Dixiecrats disappeared. Why did they disappear? So then we moved backward. They disappeared because of the rise of the Republican Party in the South. Sooner or later, conservatives, instead of being Dixiecrats, became Republicans. Now why did they become Republicans? Well, because a sufficient number of people who were Republicans moved to the South from the North. And the question is, why did they move South? This Dixiecrat phenomenon is 100 years old.

    That is, the phenomenon that put the Dixiecrats in their positions of power?

    Yes, it’s 100 years old. From the Civil War and the Reconstruction, onward. So why did that finally break down? Why do Republicans suddenly appear down there? And the answer is, they migrated down there. Why did they migrate down there? Well, basically, a fair number of them had spent winters down there, but with the introduction in the early 1950s of residential air-conditioning, people began to stay down there. It was interesting to me that the first safe Republican seat in the South, outside of the ones up in the Appalachian Mountains — there are only four or five of those — but the first safe Republican seat under the new dispensation was St. Petersburg, Florida, which was a winter resort, and it happened in 1954. And then Dallas, Texas.

    That was Bruce Alger’s seat.

    Bruce Alger. That’s right, you’re a Texan, so you remember those things. But anyway, that seemed to be it. Now, how did I verify this? Well, there is some demographic material, which seems to show this, and, also, of course, I went around and talked to some Southern Republican congressman. They told me some wonderful stories about how they had become Republican, or their parents had become Republican. And it was all about Northerners moving down and making it possible.”

    http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people2/Polsby/polsby-con4.html

    Southern Democrats tended to be conservative on Defense and foreign policy but just as liberal as Northern Democrats on economic issues. The New Deal was just as popular among Southern Democrats as it was among Northern Democrats. Recall that Senator Huey Long of Louisiana attacked Roosevelt from the left on economic issues.

    I suspect that in Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan and Lousiana we are beginning to see the Roe effect, a factor that I think will loom larger in our politics as the years pass. Democrat leaning voters are doing a poorer job of reproducing themselves than Republican leaning voters. Crashing demographics in Mexico indicate that long term that source of new Democrat voters will be closed off. Leftists liked to say in the Sixities that the personal was political. Close. The culture is political and always has been.

  • I just hope she doesn’t come back here. We have enough Yankees moving here wondering why we can’t be more like New Jersey or wherever, and voting Democrat.

  • I can speak from experience that the more conservative parts of the South (excluding, say, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida) have indeed become even more conservative. My home state of Texas is FAR more conservative now than it already was when I was growing up. Part of the reason is that when the Democrats were in charge, there was still a populist New Deal tendency among even the most conservative of the Democrats. It’s been only about 20 years since Texas became solidly Republican, and it has clearly become more conservative over that 2 decade stretch.

    (That will likely change in the intermediate future as more and more outsiders from north and south of Texas’ borders relocate there.)

  • Oh my feeling exactly! As a matter of fact I have voiced these same sentiments to many of the city slickers who have moved in around our farm, and now want US to change farm practices after oh, 70 years! Good God they all want to live in the COUNTRY. If you don’t like it move back to wherever it is you came from. As a citizen of both Colorado and Wi I need and use and want my gun available for many things! Why would anyone move to Wyoming and want them to give up their guns. I bet she moved to Wyoming so she wouldn’t have to pay high taxes. Probably got nothing to do with “raising the children”. So far we are winning the battle and have put the whole dang thing in a family conservation trust. It can NEVER be developed so it will be farmed for at least the next 50 years or so and then it can be a retreat center and animal refuge for ultra conservative bleeding heart liberals. We aren’t a show place farm. We are a working farm so they’re stuck with us FOREVER! We also have a small gun range to practise. Everytime the sheriff comes out on a call about something being done here, he smiles and says, “I have to investigate these calls have a great day and keep up the good work. We need you people”. (Farmers)

  • “I have to investigate these calls have a great day and keep up the good work. We need you people”.
    How the liberals use our laws against us.

  • Paul – “If you are fleeing one area of the country because another area offers dramatically more opportunities, how obtuse do you have to be to vote for the policies that made you need to leave where you are coming from?”

    Simple. People don’t recognize the effect of their policy recommendations. If they recognized it, they’d have changed their positions before they moved, when the consequences of their policies started to take their toll. The obvious analogy is the person who moves to a rural area to get away from all the chaos of the city. Then they want free sewer and water service, a main highway a couple of miles away, and shops within walking distance.

  • They sure know how to frack in Wyoming whether the target is busting rocks to release natural gas or cracking the skulls of red-heading liberals.

  • Sigh! Don’t you hate politicians who are afraid to give their honest opinions? What a coward!

  • Hunt for President 2028!

  • Art Deco – in the world of logic, one of the tactics to counter being overcome is to attack the credibility of the attacker as you did the WORDS of Rep Hunt.

    AD, life is not all sugar and PC life style living. I recommend you go overseas and live for a year or so on you own them come back here and find fault with being able to defend your person and property. People in this country do not think like the rest of the world, I assure you.

    I do not live in WY but am very seriously considering relocating there. Do you live in WY?

  • Three points of interest — to me anyway: first, if Unitarianism is a legitimate faith-based concept of ANY kind, then I’m a Chinese jet pilot. I attended such a “church” as a child, and don’t remember Jesus, or even God, being mentioned even once in the three or four years I was there. Secondly and far more importantly, I applaud Rep Hunt’s tenacity, candor and conviction in his reply to the — uh, whatever she actually is — and I wouldn’t have changed a single word. And thirdly, Liberals in media, and anywhere else for that matter, have NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER taking issue with the treatment that their disciples receive from Conservative officials; the abuse Liberals routinely dish out is far worse, far meaner-spirited and far more malicious. I guess what I’m trying to say here is … kindly shut up and move back to wherever it was you came from.

  • I do not live in WY but am very seriously considering relocating there. Do you live in WY?

    1. No I do not live in Wyoming.

    2. My point was that Mr. Hunt could be more precise and polite in getting his substantive points across, and that as a public official he has an obligation not to be unnecessarily rude to his constituents. The same applies to anyone in the civil service as well. That is a contention about manners, even if people wish to be obtuse and obnoxious and regard it as a contention about public policy or the status of certain individuals.

    3. As for the rest of your remarks, I cannot be bothered.

  • AD you are doing the same thing with a different coating. Rude – now we are down to interpretation. I thought his response was direct – hardly rude – but especially not a delicately crafted response. He got the job done in a few words. A true gift today. Finally i do not consider my self such – who made you the judge?

  • Point of information.

    We (us old boys) attended the annual Sportsmen’s Expo in Rockland County, NY, today.

    We met the host the new lodge for our annual Canada Bass Fishing Expedition. He lamented how (in the five prior expo’s, too) everybody there was just looking, but no one seemed to buying.

    A Delaware River fishing guide we know similarly lamented. In fact, nearly all his clients cancelled after Sandy, last Fall.

    Only booth selling was the NRA’s. The new membership applicants were lined up all afternoon paying new membership fees. NRA membership will soon hit 5,000,000. I was a “Life Memeber” for a decade or two. Last year, I upgradeded to “Endowment Member.”

    How rude!

Rembert Weakland and the Lavender Mafia

Tuesday, February 26, AD 2013

Rembert Weakland

There are much musings in Catholic circles currently about the existence of a “Lavender Mafia” and that perhaps the resignation of the Pope is tied in with a report to the Pope by three cardinals of blackmail and corruption of homosexual clergy high in Vatican circles.  Who can tell if this is true, since the Vatican has issued non-denial denials denouncing the story while carefully not dealing with the substance of it.

However, that there is a Lavender Mafia within the Church, homosexual clerics who promote and protect each other, none should question.  Exhibit A for the Lavender Mafia is Rembert Weakland.

Former Archbishop of Milwaukee, he was heterodox and orthodox Catholics often wondered how he had risen so far in the hierarchy.  It came out after he had resigned that he used 450,000 of Church money to pay off his male lover who revealed the story to the press anyway years later.

http://www.seattlecatholic.com/article_20020607_Archbishop_Weaklands_Legacy.html

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38 Responses to Rembert Weakland and the Lavender Mafia

  • Wolf in shepherd’s clothing. Pope John Paul II effectively dealt with homosexual behavior in his writing: THEOLOGY OF THE BODY, and LOVE AND RESPONSIBILITY. Pope John Paul II also dealt with child abuse by instructing the bishops whom he had called to Rome that one crime and the priest is OUT, not only because the priest excommunicates himself, but because the Church laicizes him.

    In the 1960’s, with Love-ins and communes, priests were misled by the heretics teaching in Catholic Universities, not much has changed. Before Richard McBrien, there was Charles Curran. This could be laid in his lap. Priests were telling penitents in the confessional that whatever they did to one another in bed was permitted by the Sacrament of Matrimony. Sodomy OK Condoms OK Coitus Interruptus OK.

    I often wonder, if Bathsheba had said “NO” to King David, in the manner of Susanah, Judith and Queen Esther, if David would have had her put to death or exiled. Make no mistake, the child conceived in adultery died before he was a year old. King Solomon was David and Bathsheba’s second child. The first born belonged to God, a child of an adulteress and a murderer.

    The biggest lie is that this lifestyle has no effect on our soul. This is the biggest lie the devil can tell, that death is life. I was told by a woman that her husband uses contraception, not she. The whole concept of two becoming one was destroyed even before being gay became fashionable.

    It would seem that men committed to God would remain celibate and virgin even as Jesus Christ, Himself, was celibate and virgin. These people live a lie, destroy themselves and scandalize others to destroy themselves. With the likes of this coming, Our Lord gives us His Divine Mercy Chaplet.

  • Mary said: “The whole concept of two becoming one was destroyed even before being gay became fashionable.”

    ^This. The real root of the “marriage crisis” is that “traditional marriage” ceased to be traditional over half a century ago. If marriage is just about two people who love each other, then on what grounds can people opposed to same-sex marriage really make a compelling case?

  • “If marriage is just about two people who love each other,”

    For the same reason that people can argue against calling something football when it is played with a basketball. Words mean things even if all the fools think otherwise. Easy divorce is a scandal and a disaster. Calling “marriage” couples joined in a same sex peversion is a catastrophe since it destroys any meaning of the word.

  • “For the same reason that people can argue against calling something football when it is played with a basketball.”

    ^This.

    A dog still has only 4 legs, even if someone decides to call its tail a “leg”.

  • The word’s meaning has been diluted considerably over the past several decades. Marriage is a covenant, even if our society views it as a contract. But the fact that society DOES, in fact, consider marriage to be a contract based on mutual “love” that can be terminated when the requisite feeling dissipates, has and does have a profoundly negative effect on the resonance of arguments for traditional marriage. What’s happening isn’t some aberration, it’s the product of a historical development. Obviously calling the coupling of two members of the same sex a “marriage” is horrendously flawed, but we were put on this path long ago. Once clearing the “covenant” hurdle, the “1 man, 1 woman” bar doesn’t seem so high an obstacle to surmount.

  • The situation seems different here. They seem to think the behavior is OK because it doesn’t involved infidelity to a spouse. Some are under the impression that it dosn’t constitute fornication since it’s with the same sex. This has been the problem for years despite clear teaching on the matter. It’s a hierarchical problem.

  • JL, the real problem comes in the definition. Marriage is, and from what I can tell has always been, the union of two people. This is the name we give that unique relationship that is similar to friendship, but on the deepest level possible. No problem so far, right? But being totally united involves more than intellect, spirit, and emotion. It involves a real and true physical uniting that, unfortunately, is precluded in same-sex ‘sex’ and can only be found in actual sexual intercourse. No theology or philosophy needed here. Just basic biology. Sure some people will try to say that it is the same, but c’mon … we need to approach things realistically. Living in fantasy worlds doesn’t help anyone to solve real world problems.

  • I think we need to reiterate that homosexuality really is sinful. It’s really against the whole thrust of scripture. Then, we need to talk about the medical complications which arise from homosexual activity, and no one is discussing that right now on our side of the debate. Finally, we need to remind the church and the world, because humanity forgets God and his ways, that we’re heterosexually designed. As obvious as that last point seems, people forget it.

  • Out of the above-mentioned points, I think the one relating ot medical complications is most important. It’s something no one is discussing, yet it’s the one point that people have to listen to. We’re in the modern west and we’re suppose to be enlightened, right? That means listening to sciene and medicine and learning how to improve, right? Isn’t that what progress is all about? Well then, we need to bring medical research into the debate. We need to start quoting doctors and medical reports. After all, if science or medicine says something, we’re not supposed to argue it as good enlightened citizens for progress, right?

  • Yes Mark, I agree, the problem is with the definition. Namely, as I’ve iterated already, that marriage became considered a “contract between a man and a woman” instead of a “covenant between a man, a woman, and God.” That’s the first and most fundamental shift in the definition of traditional marriage, and it’s been all downhill from there. As Dreher would say, we have nothing left to conserve. The idea of marriage as a covenant long ago exited mainstream American thought. So with the decline of the prevailing belief that marriage had something to do with a divinely instituted sacrament and the complimentary natures (not just bodies, but natures) of the sexes, you know, the theological and philosophical stuff you dismiss out of hand, marriage became a simple issue of biology and consent. Disconnected from more holistic understandings of human nature, our society considers biology to be arbitrary and unconsented to and, therefore, an insufficient reason to deny someone equal access to certain legal rights and statuses. So yah Mark, it is a problem of definition.

    Your fixation with biology and only biology is to your detriment. That’s because biology is a system of how the world is, not how it ought to be. Devoid of philosophy or theology, it can’t tell us anything about how to live our lives. If you want the case and point example of that, look up Sam Dawkins and his literally pathetic, amateur attempts at deriving a comprehensive system of morality from biology. Your decision to give up the philosophical high-ground and rely solely on biology is doomed to failure, as the vaccum you leave is quickly filled up with a philosophy of extreme equality, which now serves as the chief normative informant of how we interpret the findings of biology.

    Look around Mark. No one who isn’t already opposed to SSM is buying your argument, and I mean no one. That’s because it’s a bad one. Simply repeating “1 man, 1 women” ad naseum will never accomplish anything if you can’t articulate WHY it ought to be “1 man, 1 women.” Who cares about definitions. Definitions can change, do change, and have been changed. So the new definition of “marriage” won’t be the same as the old one, but can you articulate why that’s actually a bad thing? Here’s a hint: you’ll need philosophy, not a paper napkin ala Santorum. Get yourself a copy of “Why Marriage?”

  • Sam Harris* …. big difference, Harris is far more of an idiot.

  • “Who cares about definitions.”

    Only people who can think rather than emote apparently. The buzz word “Marriage Equality” of the proponents of changing the definition of marriage gives the game away. Let us take something that has never been called marriage in history, sexual attachments between same sex individuals, and call that “marriage”. Next we’ll call polygamy “marriage” and that movement is already gaining steam. Then what about incestuous relationships? Why not call anything “marriage” if that is what the participants in the relationship call it? We have already had sad oddballs attempting to “marry” themselves. This whole battle has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with nomalizing the late twentieth century concept that morality has no place in sex and the institution that stands in the way is marriage. This is all an attempt to destroy the very concept of marriage and some of the more honest proponents of homosexual “marriage” actually admit as such.

    Pope Benedict got to the heart of all of this in his address to the Roman Curia last year:

    “The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.”

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=649535&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=thottupuramfr

  • Simple logic: “Go multiply and fill the earth” “May your children be as olive plants around your table”. Two women or two men cannot fulfill those commands. There would be no us, nor any world right now if God would have wanted that lifestyle for His people. The more we condone this behavior the less people we will have. Hmm, 55 mil killed in womb, God knows how many living in homosexual lifestyles. To think that we have had for so long this kind of leadership within our Holy Mother Church(even if we have known about it) leads me to believe we are in for many more years of unbearble pain caused by devils who have been allowed to plant their evil to destroy Her. I go to Church for the Sacraments. I no longer participate in any of the hundreds upon hundreds of extra “ministries”. Can you imagine had we educated in the truths of faith we may have had enough conscience enlightement to not have killed all those unborn, children growing up knowing what the Bible teaches about the 6th commandment, and why the real Church is being persecuted in such an unrelenting manner. If you’re leaders don’t believe these teachings and are so busy covering up all their nasty little habits it’s impossible to form a conscience for the common person. Thus the mess we’re in.

  • Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). “On becoming a person” a religious book featured in Catholic School was the work of Carl Rogers and later repudiated by him, simply because the human being, as a sovereign person is created by God. Rogers misrepresented and misidentified the developing personality as the sovereign personhood endowed into the newly created human being’s soul.
    The Declaration on Human Rights of the United Nation carries this heresy further by stating that human rights are endowed by the community, by the state. Atheism imposed on the human soul on a global stage.
    The human being is composed of human body and immortal, rational soul. The informed consent of the free will is an act of the human being’s immortal soul.
    Friendship is a gift from God. Love is from God. Marriage is a covenant that is witnessed by the free will and sovereign personhood of the human being’s immortal soul to Love one another. If the one partner does not love the other partner enough to want more of each other, then it is not love, it is exploitation.
    Homosexual behavior is physical assault and battery and spiritual exploitation. It is this physical assault and battery in sodomy and in lesbianism that is a concern of the secular authorities. No crime can be legalized or tolerated. In a culture based on innocence and virginity, homosexual behavior and the half truth of love by practicing homosexuals is physical and spiritual domination by evil forces that can be and must be exorcized.

  • “Only people who can think rather than emote apparently.”

    Exactly, so not most of the population or the people that will decide the legality of this issue. More effort needs to go into describing WHY marriage is and should be defined and legally enshrined as “1 man, 1 woman,” because “that’s the way it’s always been” carries no currency anymore.

  • ..”Carries no currency anymore.”
    Just when you think you’ve heard it all.

    Romans 1:24 is where I do my banking JL.
    “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.”

    Once a person or a Nation is hooked on sin our/ it’s values are turned upside down. “Evil becomes our most urgent good, our deepest longing; “good” stands as an evil because it threatens to keep us/society from satisfying our illicit desires.” Dr. S Hahn The Lambs Supper.

    You, JL, may take your counterfeit currencies and cash them in at your local LGBT bank.
    As for my family, our house is built on Rock.
    Our long term investment strategy is JC the King.
    Good Luck jl.

  • I apologize to you JL.
    This idea that Marriage needs a new definition to normalize, accept or honor the members of society that foster attractions that are unnatural do not sit well with me.
    Marriage is sacramental.
    To pretend that God has changed and endorses sinful behavior because its popular in culture is absurd. His word is Life.
    We wish all to have Life and more abundantly. This is only truly possible by putting on His yoke and trusting in His Word.
    To change the definition of one of His Sacred and beautiful gifts is playing God.
    St. Michael asks; “Who is like unto God?”
    When we say Change! Change for I am like God then prepare for the consequences.
    Peace JL.

  • It must be remembered and acknowledged that if, or when, the Supreme Court redefines marriage as between same sex individuals, it will have sanctioned perjury as free speech. When perjury becomes lawful, the Supreme Court will have made itself obsolete. Fake husbands, fake wives, fake justices, fake money…fake

  • With The Pope Against Homoheresy by F Dariusz OKO, Phd. Either on LifeNews or LifeSite News.

  • JL,

    Thank you for your response. However, if we want to discuss such topics such as marriage or land ownership or whatever, we do need to have some definitions that we can work from. So I put forth a very simple definition of marriage (A union of two human beings – with the understanding of the full meaning of ‘union’). Would you please give us a definition that you would like to work from? Please remember that it must describe a unique relationship between humans.

  • Phillip,

    I have no idea what you’re talking about or what your response has to do with anything I have written. I acquiesce to all of the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality, etc. I am against gay marriage.

    I’m also against the promotion of losing arguments that don’t work. My point is that the simplistic obsession with clinging to “the definition” of marriage as the centerpiece of a campaign against gay marriage will fail within the current socio-political context of America. You can throw all the Bible verses you want at people, all the poor analogies using napkins, they will amount to nothing in a pluralistic, secular society that runs on liberalism. (as is evidenced by the fact that every single constitutional amendment to enshrine “1 man, 1 woman” as the legal standard for marriage failed in every state where it was on the ballot).

    The mindset of modern Americans is that marriage involves two things: love and consent. Not an openness to life, not a covenant with God, etc. Yes, until recently marriage was exclusive to 1 man and 1 woman, but as other intrinsic qualities of traditional marriage have been discarded to leave nothing but love/consent left as the only standards, many people consider it “unfair” to not open marriage up to homosexuals. The biological requirements of the institution are thought to be nothing more than historical prejudices that are no longer relevant. Homosexuals are capable of being in relationships that are characterized by romance and consent, and, therefore, many would argue, why shouldn’t they get married?

    You can continue to scream at the top of your voice “BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT 1 MAN, 1 WOMAN,” but unless you can explain WHY that distinction matters, no one will listen. An articulation of what traditional marriage is, why it is good, and why the government should be involved with it in the first place is the approach that has only hope of working (and it probably won’t in the long haul). Start here for that: http://www.heritage.org/events/2013/01/what-is-marriage

  • Mark,

    See the Heritage video above for my definition. You say marriage is “A union of two human beings – with the understanding of the full meaning of ‘union’” What is this proper understanding of union and why is it important and why should anyone care about it? Not trying to be a jerk, I just want you to articulate these important qualifiers.

  • JL

    I think you mean philip and not Phillip. We’re two different people.

  • Plato, “Opinion is not truth.”

    Who is advancing a social agenda? The gay privileges mafia is pushing (“homo” as in same/homogeneous) homo- marriage,

    The end-game is to procure state approval, recognition and police/coercive enforcement; enventually outlawing the religious (faith and morals) beliefs of millions.

    We owe fallen persons charity because as long as they live they may come to a better “mindset.” Charity requires us to help them to come to that better “mind-set.”

    In a free state, we wouldn’t be forced to alter our religious beliefs.

    3 . . .2 . . . 1 – You can’t use the word “homo.” “We own the rules and vocabulary of the debate.”

  • JL,

    “What is this proper understanding of union and why is it important and why should anyone care about it?”

    Great question. If marriage is a union, what type of union is it? Is it the fullest, most complete union of two humans beings that is possible? Or is it just another partial union. Please understand me, partial unions are wonderful. They fill our lives with great relationships. Every relationship that humans enter into has some level of union involved, be it intellectual, or emotional, or spiritual, or physical. Most have relationships involve two or more of these aspects of our personhood. But only one relationship will be able to include all four aspects of our life (oh see, now you’re getting me all philosophical!)

    A ‘hooking up’ relationship may certainly include a true physical union but if there is no commitment to exclusivity or permanence, than its not the fullest union possible. A same-sex relationship may certainly include exclusivity and permanence, but since it cannot include true physical union, it is not the fullest union possible. That’s why the definition is so important and why it is so important that we examine the meanings of the words. Marriage is only one specific type of relationship. If we call a same-sex relationship ‘marriage’ then what are we to call the total union of a woman and a man since it is so obviously different?

    Now watch out, I’m going to get theological now. Specifically, Theology of the Body theo-logic.

    Desire union is one of those things that define us as human. We are made in the image and likeness of a Triune God, after all. Union is part of our pedigree. So if we desire to have the fullest union possible, and we speak a language with our bodies that seems to suggest this union (i.e. ‘sex’), but then we actually withhold from our partner that deepest possible union, what are we truly doing? In the words of John Paull II, we are using them, turning them into an object. In other words, we de-humanize them. We objectify them. We deny their human dignity.

    That is what is at stake in this conversation And It’s something that not many people are talking about. But we need to talk about it.

  • “…historic prejudice that are no longer revenant.”

    Bologna JL.

    It is pure Bologna to assume that their lifestyle choice can alter Truth.
    If you or any doubter of Truth wish for an example of cultural significance relating to societal change that “seems fair” look no further than 1973 and R v W.

    What is not can not be no matter how eloquently you present it.

    Marriage is not up for redefinition.

    Commonsense is.
    Thank you for making my last point.

  • JL,

    By the way, thanks for the link to the talk. I don’t have time right now, but I’m looking forward to watching it. It looks excellent!

  • T. Shaw
    Plato, “Opinion is not truth.” Opinion may be truth, but two witnesses establish a judicial fact, therefore, opinion cannot be taken as truth until it is tested. The Da Vinci Code was predicated on the opinion of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, an opinion unsubstantiated by another person’s testimony.
    When “two become one” is more than biblical, it is biological. It is the newly begotten sovereign person who testifies as a second testimony to the Marriage of his parents. The new child is evidence of a consummated marriage and is so recognized in a court of law. God is love and the new child gives witness to God as love. Imperfect man cannot bring forth perfection. God brings forth perfection in another human being, virgin and innocent.
    The Supreme Court is not authorized to redefine the human being as having no soul as it has done in prayer ban and is about to do in homosexual “marriage”, because this violates The Declaration of Independence and our Creator endowed unalienable rights. The Court cannot redefine matrimony as anything other than “two becoming one in another human person to evidence to the consummated marriage”. Even the Catholic Church grants annulments to marriages that have not been consummated, consummation being the criterion for the definition of Marriage. Evidence needs to have two witnesses before it can be submitted and allowed into the Court. Homosexual “marriage” can never have the evidence of another human being as testimony to consummation.
    The Supreme Court must interpret the Constitution as written unless 2/3 of the states amend the Constitution giving the Supreme Court the authentic authority to redefine the human being as having no Creator, no immortal soul, no sovereign personhood, no unalienable rights, and now, homosexual unions as capable of bringing forth evidence of consummation.
    The atheist repudiates our Creator and then demands endowed unalienable rights. The militant homosexual repudiates our Creator and then demands endowed unalienable rights. The Supreme Court repudiates our founding principles and under the guise of interpreting the Constitution, redefines our Creator, the citizens, and their role in delivering Justice. It is the duty of the government to protect and secure virginity and innocence.
    I apologize for the length of this.
    Mary De Voe

  • Jeanne Rohl:
    Thank you for the link. I did read it. Our Lady at Fatima told the children that the devil will be given free reign in the last half of the century but that the devil will be conquered and chained by TRUTH.
    I am grieved that Our Lady’s Son’s church must suffer so to indicate where the sickness is and how to cure it. God gave man the power to name creation and with this power all evil may be driven out. Pope Benedict XVI advised exorcism to clean the filth from Holy Mother Church. It is time to exorcise the great liar, murderer from hell.

  • Mary De Voe-
    Well said.
    JL asked me; “what am I talking about..”
    Truth is the core. It resides there. It is the second person of the Holy Trinity.
    You have done a beautiful job in this thread,
    and I am learning.
    Thank you.

  • Dear lower-case “P” phillip,

    What you have clearly demonstrated throughout this thread is that you are unable to comprehend what I am saying and/or incapable of articulating a response that actually engages my argument.

    You continue to mischaracterize me as some sort of gay marriage advocate. Stop.

    What I have simply sought to do is to highlight how marriage is currently perceived in our culture and how, with this knowledge in mind, we might go about effectively arguing for traditional marriage. You seem genuinely incapable of understanding this, and think anyone who bothers to try to understand where other people are coming from must endorse those views.

    You appear to be more concerned with being self-righteously correct than with actually effectively addressing this issue in a way that will have any resonance in society. Perhaps you wish gay marriage to become widely acceptable, so as to increase your own sense of self-worth and superiority.

  • JL-
    Thank you.
    I just finished reviewing the link you provided.
    Taking notes.
    Thanks. I’m understanding your point that we must become educated in proposing solid reasons why any change in definition of marriage will have negative impacts on society.

    I was not digesting your arguments as I should of, but quick to “Yell” and for that another apology.
    Now that I’m at home I have the availability to take time and listen to your points, and what your trying to accomplish.
    The panel has helped me to understand THE definition of marriage in a larger context.
    There’s still hope for me.
    Peace.

  • phillip,

    No worries. I could’ve done better to make those distinctions.

  • JL-
    The exchange rate
    on my currency just
    increased. 🙂

  • “philip”
    Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” “I testify to myself and my Father testifies to me.” Two witnesses to the TRUTH, Who is Jesus Christ, in The Triune God, in witness to the TRUTH.

    In the other perspective, looking at homosexual behavior as “marriage” from the point of crime and punishment:
    When a woman is penetrated against her will and without her consent, it is assault and battery. Only when the male seed is imposed upon the woman without her welcome, is it rape. There is no rape unless the male seed has been imposed against the consent of the woman, a violation of the marital act, a violation of the human race. In homosexual behavior, the marital act is violated by every homosexual act. Rape is not possible. Only assault and battery, there not being a woman for the man and a man for the woman, only assault and battery exists in the homosexual act. A crime cannot be legalized. Assault and battery cannot be legalized even when consent is given, since a person must be uninformed to consent to crime. From the laws, even the stones cry out.

  • When Paul wrote to the Romans he understood his listeners had a sense of ‘nature’ created by God. Absent revelation, I’m not sure humanity understands ‘nature’ and what’s therefore natural, which is why I’ve always considered natural law undependable. Absent a biological argument, we really don’t have a leg to stand on. Neither do they. Any argument we present against homosexuality is framed, as Christians, within creation. It’s a matter of creation for us. Normative sexuality can involve procreation but need not. What it must involve at the very least is one man plus one woman for life.

  • Thank you Mary.
    TAC is a great aid to help defend our Church and Family. (Family – neighbors)
    I am humbled at the table of thought, and tonight feel that you and many other participants can help me understand the perspectives and rational of important challenges facing us today.
    To you long time participants of this site, please realize that your input and years of study are helping “neophyte’s” like me.
    Todays lesson for me is to slow down, not jump in to discussion while on break at work, and most importantly respect others.
    God bless all of you & please God protect thy Holy Church.

  • Philip: Do not hesitate to jump into discussion while on break at work. I find that rereading my writing after others have read it and critiqued it is very helpful to complete my understanding, very much like Lectio Divina, meditating on the concept and letting it grow of its own accord. “…and most importantly respect others.” Respect God, others and yourself in this order. It makes for joy.
    Thank you, Philip for your wishes. May God’s blessings return a hundredfold, packed down spilling over, on you and yours.

Coolidge on the Declaration

Tuesday, February 26, AD 2013

We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872, the only President to be born on the Fourth of July.  It is therefore fitting that he gave one of the more eloquent speeches ever given on the Declaration.  This was on the 150th anniverary of the Declaration on July 5, 1926.  Coolidge was one of the last presidents to write his own speeches, so this is pure Coolidge.  In reviewing this very thoughtful speech I can see why this nation became great and why we are going through a spirtual depression now to match our economic depression.  Time, past time, to end both.  Here is the text of Coolidge’s speech:

We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. The coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it the more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the fourth day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgement of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

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2 Responses to Coolidge on the Declaration

68 Responses to Can the Free Market Adequately Care for the Poor? — Rev. Robert Sirico and Mr. Michael Sean Winters

  • Well…the machine I’m no can’t play videos, but I’d argue with the phrasing of the question. It’s too flexible.

    If by “adequately care for the poor,” they mean anything along the lines of “raise everyone out of poverty”– obviously not, the poor you shall always have. (Arguably because “poor” tends to be defined in “bottom portion of whatever,” rather than absolute terms.)

    If they mean, rather, “is the free market the most effective way for people to help the poor,” or possibly “is the free market the best way for people to help the poor,” or “is the free market the best way for THE GOVERNMENT to help the poor… wildly different questions.

  • I can’t sit through a two-hour video. I watched the opening statements and its the same old debate. I trust Fr. Sirico more than adequately defended markets and addressed some of the wild fallacies and inaccuracies in Winter’s opening remarks.

    I’ll be posting a great deal on this topic myself as I review a few books in the coming weeks that deal with these questions.

  • As for the question of the night, the answer is no. Markets don’t care for the poor – they eradicate poverty as a permanent and widespread social condition.

    In those pockets of society that, for one reason or another, do not benefit from economic growth, the Church and other private organizations are more than sufficient to care for the poor.

  • Large amounts of actual, historical experience proves that collectivist, comand and control, centrally planned political/economic schemes have always magnified mankind’s miseries, and made slaves of the victims.

  • I do not have the patience to sit through the video either. I cannot see that the question is fruitful. Markets are merely the best practice for allocating goods and services and factors of production given a particular distribution of income, provided you are able to police property rights and ensure a wide distribution of salient information about choices available to parties in the market. When all is well, its workings tend toward pareto efficiency, not caring for anyone. Like any tool, it is useful for some purposes and not others. The thing is, that markets are not omnicompetant does not justify any of the tar babies (commercial and industrial cartels, public housing, rent control, open-ended doles for working aged women, compensatory education boondoggles, ever escalating subsidies for medical care and higher education, ever escalating subsidies for groceries and rent and utilities, job-training cum public employment boondoggles, patronage distribution to the non-profit blob) cooked up by elements within the Democratic Party since 1933, one of which MSW puts some effort into defending here.

  • Fr. Sirico is my pastor. Love his homilies. Good good man.

  • T. Shaw says:
    “Large amounts of actual, historical experience proves that collectivist, comand and control, centrally planned political/economic schemes have always magnified mankind’s miseries, and made slaves of the victims.”

    And on the global scale, governments take care of governments. Only the missionaries make sure that the poor are cared for.

  • A significant point made in the debate by Fr. Sirico, and denied by Mr. Winters, is that the free market is morally neutral. The market consists of the choices made by billions of people, using God’s precious gift, free will. While the choices may be either good or bad, the gift itself is good, and the market only records what choices are made.

    On the other hand, government interference in the market under the pretense of helping the poor, is anything but neutral. The social pathologies noted by Fr. Sirico are one of the obvious bad results. The taxation, often without constitutional authority, which makes the interference possible, may be properly viewed as theft. Acceptance of tax funds by Catholic Charities and welfare organizations run by many bishops, viewed in this manner as stolen
    funds, is a seriously ignored scandal in the Church.

    Mr. Winters can deny whatever he wishes, but he cannot change the fact that government involvement is on the wrong side of the moral argument. His blinders on this issue undercut all of his arguments. Cheers to Fr. Sirico!

  • The taxation, often without constitutional authority, which makes the interference possible, may be properly viewed as theft.

    The tax law as composed makes for wretched policy. It is, however, in accord with constitutional provisions.

  • I am afraid I must quibble here. Taxes can be unconstitutional if they are used to fund activities which are outside of congressional authority. I believe food stamps, Medicaid, and aid to dependent children, to name but a few programs nominally intended to help the poor, fall into this category.

    To Catholics, they violate the principle of subsidiarity as well, but they are first of all unconstitutional.

  • No. The tax collections are constitutional. There is explicit constitutional warrant for every kind of tax levied by the federal government with the possible exception of gift and estate taxes, which are contextually unimportant accounting as they do for < 1% of federal revenues. The uses to which taxes are put do not alter the character of tax collections.

    You can certainly make a valid argument that erecting and providing for a program of food subsidies is not a power delegated to Congress. I think Robert Bork has written that that sort of contention would not be adjudicated in your favor due to the principle of stare decisis. Whether or not it would violate a principle of subsidiarity is a murkier matter.

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  • Can the free market adequately care for the poor?

    Pray that it can for what is the alternative but the slave market and we know that has failed each time it has been tried.

  • AD: I think JD’s comment is two-fold.

    One, the government is not empowered to tax we the people and then spend the money on porgrams that are not listed in the Constitutional.

    Two, the government should not coercively tax some and give the money to others. Government programs, projects, and works should benefit every citizen, not take from producers and give to democrat voters.

    The Corporal Works of Mercy are done with your personal time and treasure, not with other people’s money.

  • One, the government is not empowered to tax we the people and then spend the money on porgrams that are not listed in the Constitutional.

    No, the government is empowered to tax; the power to tax is delegated and is not contingent on anything but legislative discretion. The government is also empowered to borrow.

    The spending programs are not invariably in accordance with the delegations listed in Article I (although the point is largely moot now, see Bork). That does not affect the government’s power to tax, just what use it makes of its tax money.

    If I followed the logic of what the two of you are saying, a taxypayer would have a cause of action and could demand a rebate ordered by a federal district judge. Not only would that make the process of appropriation and payments a hopeless mess, it would remove from the legislature the discretion to redeploy the idled funds to some activity within its constitutional warrant. In addition, the standing federal debt would have to be partitioned into portions contracted in support of ‘constitutional’ activities and ‘un-constitutional’ activities, and federal bond-holders given a haircut. That’s going to work real well.

  • AD is correct. The taxing power and spending power are distinct. The only limitation on the taxing power is the apportionment requirement for direct taxes. Congress may spend money consonant with its other powers including the combination of the commerce and necessary and proper clauses. These clauses have been interpreted to give Congress wide latitude on what it spends and regulates. While it is probably true that the Framers never envisioned or intended such latitude, they left us a Constitution with words that are difficult to interpret more narrowly in any principled way. Liberals have a habit of inventing individual rights that are nowhere in the Constitution simply because the think they should be and conservatives have a habit of inventing limits on federal powers that are nowhere in the Constitution simply because they think they should be. As a conservative I have the same temptation, but my knowledge of law and history prevents me from succumbing.

  • I will bow to superior knowledge on the part of AD about how the taxing
    power has been interpreted in the past. However, my point is that it
    should not be that way. There is no point to having authorized powers
    in the Constitution if Congress can ignore them, and then use the
    taxing power to do what it wants. I seriously doubt that the founding
    fathers intended this to occur.

    I appreciate the comment from TS about how the corporal works of mercy
    should be performed.

  • Since only the free market can create captial and capital is what you need to have to support the poor – through taxes, government programs and private charity – it is the sine qua non for assistance to others. Destroy the free market, do harm to the poor.

    Let’s remember that no government has ever created capital; it consumes capital and because power and politics motivates government, it works against the needs of the poor who have no power (unless they are being manipulated for votes through government handouts).

    Confiscating private capital with the intention of re-distributing it, simply destroys the very capital the poor rely upon.

  • The Free Market can’t adequately take care of itself, much less “the poor”. I think the most significant economic event of the past century is Alan Greenspan admitting on television to the House of Representatives that everything he’d thought true for 40 years was false; that Economists Have no Clothes.

    A “Free Market” along the lines Fr. Sirico defends soon becomes un-free — a slave economy. The proof is all around us. There must be limits; a trading economy that serves its purpose must needs be un-free on the definitions of the Free Marketeers. There must be limits on the scale, scope, and geographical reach of any business. There are some contracts that simply must be out of bounds — illegal. This preserves liberty. What Free Marketeers want is license. Every Pope for about 140 years has said it. Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton screamed it. The proof is all around us: economic liberalism is a failure in that it fails to support human dignity.

  • Education is what is needed to support the poor. Intelligence is handed down from generation to generation. If a parent does not have the “know how” to teach their children how to manage money, choices and abstaining from choices they cannot afford, then the children will not learn it, even from others. It might be possible for a child to learn these aspects later in life but doubtful.
    “Giving a person a fish will feed them for a meal. Giving the person a fishing pole will feed them forever!”

  • Deacon Ed Peitler, you are very correct, thank you. One point that should be added is that critics of the free market are very aware that free market activities CAN (not will) allow for acts that are in some way corrupt. Most such acts need not and should rise to the level of that requiring government intervention, rather they are at the level requiring properly formed moral consciences for persons engaged in such activities. Further, replace free market entities with the government (either de jure or de facto through intrusive regulation) and now the government becomes embroiled in these activities. Who then has a higher power to keep the corruption out of the government? Elected democratic oversight will not be enough.

  • Phyllis Poole, unfortunately in the modern Western world the poor are poor largely due to disabilities, either absolute (such as severe physical and mental illness) or relative (inability to deal with the increasing complexity of modern life, including the growing regulatory structure). Most poor people will not be able to fill out the forms for healthcare that the ACA Act requires of them, for example. You can teach someone to fish, but what if they cannot remember where they left their pole? That is the fundamental problem we now face. Free markets cannot meet the needs of such people, nor can government unless it grows to monsterous size.

  • Tom Leigh, I’m sorry, but you are making stram man arguments. No one today seriously argues in favor of totally free markets. Everyone is aware of the extreme situations you cite and so we all agree that government is necessary to aviod them. The issues are that all government actions impose a cost, and such costs can ultimately rob from those who need them. Impose a luxury tax on yachts, and boatbuilders get laid off. Demand that stockbrokers be denied their bonuses in hard economic times, and government loses millions in income tax revenue (it happened in NY a few years ago: one brokerage bowed to public pressure and cancelled the “exorbiant” bonuses, and the govenor announced that the state lost $80 million in taxes that could have been used for the poor). Economic fetters must be the absolute minimum necessary.

    Here is more proof: the international trade liberalization of the last few decades has lifted more people out of poverty (mainly in India and China) that in all of the rest of human history. Yes, it came at a cost: some in the West lost their employment in this new competition, including me. Should I have protected my wealth by denying these people a chance to escape poverty? NO! God willing I will do OK, and so will these people.

  • The Free Market can’t adequately take care of itself, much less “the poor”. I think the most significant economic event of the past century is Alan Greenspan admitting on television to the House of Representatives that everything he’d thought true for 40 years was false

    I think if you review his remarks, he was referring to his understanding of mechanisms at work in financial markets and the utility of regulatory regimes surrounding them, not ‘everything he’d thought true”.

    that Economists Have no Clothes.

    The article you link to is by an economist at George Mason, now deceased, referring to some deficiencies in theoretical economic modeling. He was not arguing that economics as a discipline is nonsense.

    A “Free Market” along the lines Fr. Sirico defends soon becomes un-free — a slave economy. The proof is all around us. There must be limits; a trading economy that serves its purpose must needs be un-free on the definitions of the Free Marketeers. There must be limits on the scale, scope, and geographical reach of any business. There are some contracts that simply must be out of bounds — illegal. This preserves liberty. What Free Marketeers want is license. Every Pope for about 140 years has said it. Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton screamed it. The proof is all around us: economic liberalism is a failure in that it fails to support human dignity.

    None of this makes the least bit of sense.

  • James Davies, your position on government programs to help the poor and the U.S. constitutional order are correct. The Federal government as designed should not be running these programs. They should be run and financed by the states.

    However, it is obvious that such programs often require some consistancy and coordination across state lines. Arguably, interstate compacts should have been set up so that these programs would be properly administered by the states. Such arrangements would have prevented some of the worst decisions in Washington (such as raiding the social security trust fund for Vietnam War expenses). This gets me back to a point I make to Deacon Ed: if the states mismanage an interstate program the Federal government can step in and force them to end the mismanagement, but if the Feds mismanage them who then steps in? Consider this and we see that Federalist ideals and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity are in accord.

  • Mr. Davis, I agree. While there is no guarantee that those generating the capital -either through entrepreurship or their own labor (yes, they DID build that) – can be counted on to discharge their moral and civic responsibilities toward their neighbor, the fact of the matter is that government is too obese to carry out this responsibility and their interest is in power, not in altruism. Government is no more a guarantee of possessing moral accountability than the producers of capital. The difference lies, therefore, in that one group is generating the capital and the other is not. We all know that if you do not generate the capital, you will necessarily be a poor steward of others’ resources.

  • Tom Leith,

    “The Free Market can’t adequately take care of itself, much less “the poor”.”

    Of course it can. There. One flat assertion for another.

    “I think the most significant economic event of the past century is Alan Greenspan admitting on television to the House of Representatives that everything he’d thought true for 40 years was false; that Economists Have no Clothes.”

    There’s quite an assumption here about economists and free markets. You seem to be under the impression that a) economists are responsible for the state of the economy and b) economists are partisans of laissez-faire markets. Both assumptions are false. The economists have been tied up with Keyensianism and monetarism for the last 100 years. These are not free-market ideologies, but rather interventionist ideologies. Mainstream economists and the Chicago school indeed have no clothes. Try the Austrian school, though. They’re still very well clothed in my opinion.

    “A “Free Market” along the lines Fr. Sirico defends soon becomes un-free — a slave economy. The proof is all around us.”

    The fallacies are all around you, perhaps. Free markets don’t make themselves un-free; interventionist policies do. There’s no proof whatsoever to substantiate your claims, though I understand why you think there is.

    “There must be limits; a trading economy that serves its purpose must needs be un-free on the definitions of the Free Marketeers. There must be limits on the scale, scope, and geographical reach of any business.”

    There will always be limits, determined by free competition. We don’t need bureaucrats who will never have enough information to make suboptimal and even disastrous decisions.

    “There are some contracts that simply must be out of bounds — illegal. This preserves liberty. What Free Marketeers want is license.”

    What contracts? If you mean contracts that violate basic natural rights, I agree. If you mean contracts that result in something that you just don’t like personally, you have no grounds to object.

    “Every Pope for about 140 years has said it. Hilaire Belloc and GK Chesterton screamed it. The proof is all around us: economic liberalism is a failure in that it fails to support human dignity.”

    Economic liberalism has fed and cured more people than any system in human history. If the existence of poverty is a failure, the entire human race and all of its civilizations were miserable failures for most of their existence until economic liberalism came along and virtually eliminated it in several societies and is on the way to doing so in others.

  • Bonchamps, that was Tom Leith who posted that, not me. I am in agreement with your post.

  • The economists have been tied up with Keyensianism and monetarism for the last 100 years. These are not free-market ideologies, but rather interventionist ideologies. Mainstream economists and the Chicago school indeed have no clothes. Try the Austrian school, though. They’re still very well clothed in my opinion.

    1. I wouldn’t drink the Austrian Kool-Aid. If you rummage through the papers of the prominent Austrians, you see they do very little empirical research.

    2. You are not distinguishing between microeconomic and macroeconomic policy when you categorize economists as ‘free market’ or ‘interventionist’, nor between the various elements of macroeconomic policy, nor between economists’ preferences about the social order and their assessment of economic behavior. The net effect is that you are classifying as ‘free market’ only economists associated with the von Mises Institute. That is fallacious and misleading.

  • Tom Davis,

    My sincere apologies.

  • AD,

    1. I don’t drink Kool-Aid. I study and contemplate. And I don’t see a lack of empirical research as a strike against them, since they explain why they don’t emphasize it theoretically. I am in agreement with their approach.

    2. “You are not distinguishing between microeconomic and macroeconomic policy when you categorize economists as ‘free market’ or ‘interventionist’”

    It is only your opinion that these are relevant distinctions. I hold a different opinion. Do your policy proposals infringe upon private property rights? If the answer is no, you are a free market economist. If the answer is yes, you aren’t. The free market is nothing but a social state in which individual property rights are recognized and respected culturally and protected institutionally. To whatever extent these conditions are met at any particular time or place, there is a free market.

    “The net effect is that you are classifying as ‘free market’ only economists associated with the von Mises Institute. That is fallacious and misleading.”

    I don’t rule out the existence of non-Austrian free market economists. Your net effect is the only fallacy here.

    No Fast Times references this time? Don’t let me down with your next reply. Its been far too long since someone compared me to Sean Penn.

  • If we don’t come up with some cool rules ourselves, we’ll be bogus too.

  • > No one today seriously argues in favor of totally free markets.

    Sure they do.

    Every time some regulation on scale, scope, reach, mere transparency, allowable contracts, environmental impacts or literally anything else is proposed, the howls go up across the land “ButButBut!! That’s interference with the Free Market!”

    What does this mean? I say it means that the howlers think The Totally Free Market is normative — that any regulation on it is evil. A necessary evil perhaps, but evil all the same. And that, friends, is a real howler.

    There is one exception I know of: when economic liberals want to outlaw one particular kind of contract and call it “Right to Work”, that’s just hunky-dory. A better name is “Right to Divide and Conquer”.

    > Do your policy proposals infringe upon private property rights? If the answer
    > is no, you are a free market economist. If the answer is yes, you aren’t. The
    > free market is nothing but a social state in which individual property rights are
    > recognized and respected culturally and protected institutionally. To whatever
    > extent these conditions are met at any particular time or place, there is a free
    > market.

    A classic and all-too-typical example of question-begging. You see, Mr. Bonchamps assumes that “Private Property Rights” are absolute by nature and then defines “Market Freedom” in terms of what he just assumed. For him, there is no connection between government and morality, and so the only political consideration is whether or not absolute rights in and to property are “respected”.

    Maybe Mr. Bonchamps is not a Catholic, I don’t know. But I presume most readers here are. I quite understand the attraction a Catholic might feel towards this way of thinking about social organization, but it is completely irreconcilable with the Gospel, and indeed with the whole Western Tradition.

  • Every time some regulation on scale, scope, reach, mere transparency, allowable contracts, environmental impacts or literally anything else is proposed, the howls go up across the land “ButButBut!! That’s interference with the Free Market!”

    How does it follow that opposing certain regulatory efforts translates into being a free market purist?

    A better name is “Right to Divide and Conquer”.

    This makes no logical sense. Conservatives are the ones arguing for workers to have the freedom to not join a union shop if one chooses not to.

    A classic and all-too-typical example of question-begging.

    Considering the strawmen you’ve erected I would steer clear from accusing others of committing logical fallacies.

    I quite understand the attraction a Catholic might feel towards this way of thinking about social organization, but it is completely irreconcilable with the Gospel,

    Yes, yes, we have been informed of our supposed heresy on economic matters before. It doesn’t make it any truer the more it is repeated.

  • Every time some regulation on scale, scope, reach, mere transparency, allowable contracts, environmental impacts or literally anything else is proposed, the howls go up across the land “ButButBut!! That’s interference with the Free Market!”

    If the regulation promotes rent-seeking or inhibits considered decisions, of course they do.

    I have a suggestion less complicated to formulate and enforce. ‘Ere we enact legislation to strangle enterprises so they remain of appropriate size, why not a character limit on the length of the Code of Federal Regulations and its state counterparts like the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations? Add a line, delete a line. It might just promote Strunkian concision if nothing else.

  • Every time some regulation on scale, scope, reach, mere transparency, allowable contracts, environmental impacts or literally anything else is proposed, the howls go up across the land “ButButBut!! That’s interference with the Free Market!”

    What does this mean? I say it means that the howlers think The Totally Free Market is normative

    Does not follow. It’s far more likely that they believe a free market is a good that shouldn’t be interefered with without a really good reason.
    As a general principles go, “don’t make rules unless there is a reason that outweighs the cost” is an important one.

    There is one exception I know of: when economic liberals want to outlaw one particular kind of contract and call it “Right to Work”, that’s just hunky-dory.

    False. Right to work does not outlaw unions, it outlaws unions being able to force people to join.
    It makes the contract voluntary.
    That so many union supporters dislike that speaks volumes about what value they believe membership brings….

  • AD,

    Touchy touchy? That’s it? Come on. I know you have more in you than that.

  • Tom Leith,

    “Every time some regulation on scale, scope, reach, mere transparency, allowable contracts, environmental impacts or literally anything else is proposed, the howls go up across the land “ButButBut!! That’s interference with the Free Market!”

    What does this mean? I say it means that the howlers think The Totally Free Market is normative — that any regulation on it is evil. A necessary evil perhaps, but evil all the same. And that, friends, is a real howler.”

    I don’t howl. Usually. I offer reasons for the things I believe. Regulations often cause more harm than good, and have the opposite effect than what was intended. This is because there are almost always too many variables to measure and control for, and because people involved in voluntary transactions are in a better position to know their interests than government bureaucrats.

    Opposing regulation, however, is not the same as opposing the rule of law. A laissez-faire economy is not anarchy. It depends upon a body of law that upholds individual natural rights, punishing and prohibiting the use of force and fraud.

    ” You see, Mr. Bonchamps assumes that “Private Property Rights” are absolute by nature”

    I don’t know what you mean by “absolute.” But I do know that Pope Leo XIII considered them inviolable. Please read Rerum Novarum, paragraph 9.

    “and then defines “Market Freedom” in terms of what he just assumed”

    Yes, I do use the understanding of individual natural property rights outlined by Pope Leo XIII. Based on that understanding, I further develop the definition of a free market. What is wrong with this process, exactly? If you reject Leo’s definition of private property rights, please offer an alternative one. Otherwise, I’m not sure what your objection really is here.

    ” For him, there is no connection between government and morality”

    False. I certainly believe it is immoral to violate a person’s natural rights, and that governments exist to protect natural rights.

    “and so the only political consideration is whether or not absolute rights in and to property are “respected”.”

    That is a moral issue.

    “Maybe Mr. Bonchamps is not a Catholic, I don’t know.”

    Not only am I a Catholic, I’m one of those rad-trads you hear about whom wild horses couldn’t drag to a Novus Ordo if there is a Latin Mass within a hundred miles. Maybe even then, depending on how sacrilegious the options are.

    All of my opinions are based upon the political philosophy of Pope Leo XIII, who was amicable to the best strands of classical liberal thought (while rightly condemning its excesses, as I also do).

    ” but it is completely irreconcilable with the Gospel, and indeed with the whole Western Tradition.”

    Classical liberal economics arises out of the Western thought and is as much a part of it as anything else.

    As for the Gospel, there is no incompatibility at all. Jesus did not call for a welfare state or a regulatory regime. A society in which everyone followed the Gospels would not need such things, it ought to go without saying, so it seems absurd to propose that they are called for by the Gospels. Even a society that doesn’t shouldn’t have them, since the violate natural rights and limit human potential.

  • > Conservatives are the ones arguing for workers to have the freedom
    > to not join a union shop if one chooses not to.

    It would make sense, Mr. Zummo, if you had the fact of the matter straight. Nobody was ever forced to join a Union or a Union Shop, and certainly not “forced” in a way that Libertarians would consider unjust. Nevertheless, Political Conservatives in many States have made Union Shops illegal, in the name of “freedom” and “rights”, of course, and “Jobs! Jobs!! JOBS!!!” – at least that’s the public reason. It boggles the mind that American Conservatives would make it illegal for a business owner to have an exclusive contract with a corporate supplier of mere inputs to a production process, but there it is.

    > How does it follow that opposing certain regulatory efforts
    > translates into being a free market purist?

    It isn’t the fact of opposition to this or that, it is the grounds of the opposition that gives away the objector’s underlying assumptions about the Common Good, or (as Lord Acton put it) “the highest political end”.

  • It would make sense, Mr. Zummo, if you had the fact of the matter straight. Nobody was ever forced to join a Union or a Union Shop, and certainly not “forced” in a way that Libertarians would consider unjust.

    You are flatly incorrect.

    My husband, my mother (when she taught), all of my uncles who are not retired, my nurse aunt… all are required to be members of a union.

    If you are required to give them money and to use their services, you are forced to be a member; I am aware of the misleading claim that someone is “not a member” because they, in theory, they are entitled to a refund of dues that would have gone to political actives.

  • Well, Mr. Rad Trad Bonchamps, the political philosophy of Pope Leo XIII, upon whom all your opinions are based, says quite explicitly that the role of government extends far beyond suppressing force and fraud. If we’re doing the Protestant Proof-text thing, I’ll point you to 45 & 46 and hope you will contrast Leo’s meaning with what a Libertarian means when he uses very similar words.

    There is more to being a Rad Trad than praying in Latin. Look also further back into the tradition, indeed to the 12th & 13th centuries especially. Look at the traditional condemnation of usury, even when agreed to by the parties involved. And look especially at the confiscation of monastic property, enclosure of common lands in England and Scotland, and and at the way these lands were used before that. Then look at the violent suppression of the Guilds, which was finally completed about the time of the French Revolution. I don’t claim there was no sin during the Middle Ages, but the ideals of the Middle Ages point to a Catholic understanding of property and mutual duties of men under a bond of charity. What would all this kind of understanding look like today?

    Read Catholic interpreters of Leo — Chesterton, Belloc, Penty, McNabb, Dorthy Day and Peter Maurin, every pope after Leo (I’m expecting great things on this from Francis), the list goes on. As much as I hate recommending anything from Remnant Press, read Christopher Ferrara’s book-length reply to Thomas Woods. This is all good stuff and comes from the heart of the tradition. A Catholic Rad Trad could become truly rad — an American Political Conservative who reads integrally will retch. I hope you read integrally and don’t retch.

  • No, Ms. Foxfier, they weren’t required to be members of a union, at least not on grounds a Libertarian would regard as “coerced”. If they wanted to work in a company that had an exclusive labor contract with a union, then a condition of employment was participation in the union. In a way, the company has outsourced some of its HR functions to the union — the union is an extension of the company in some ways. But as nobody forced them to work there, nobody forced them to join a union.

    I don’t know whether you’re a Catholic, but if you are you may be interested to learn Pope Leo XIII considered union membership something of a duty for workingmen. It is true he had in mind something more like a Guild (many of today’s construction unions operate something like Guilds) than like (say) the UAW, but a union is what its members make it and any union can make itself more Guild-like when its members learn the value to themselves of doing so.

  • Tom L,

    ” the political philosophy of Pope Leo XIII, upon whom all your opinions are based, says quite explicitly that the role of government extends far beyond suppressing force and fraud”

    It isn’t explicit about that at all. It is explicit about freedom. Let’s examine the text (unless that’s too Protestant for you)

    “Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages”

    Free. Freely. That is explicit. Yes, I know what it says next. Continuing:

    “nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner”

    This is a relative standard that varies from time to time and place to place. It is clear that this is not something that can be arbitrarily determined by the state. Whatever you decide is sufficient today may be insufficient tomorrow. Moreover, arbitrarily tampering with wages can and often does lead to unemployment. Is it a satisfactory outcome if raising wage rates leads to unemployment? What do you tell the workers who had to be let go so that the rest could obtain a higher wage? What do you tell their families?

    All actions have consequences, and every economic intervention has a cost. This is not the equivalent of handing out candy, and you aren’t simply inconveniencing the evil capitalist, but other workers and consumers as well.

    “If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.”

    I don’t disagree with this. Paying someone less than what they need to live is exploitative. This does not happen in a truly free market, for reasons I will be happy to explain in detail if you like.

    As for paragraph 46, I have no problem with it whatsoever. Leo makes it clear that this is private initiative which the state might support. Given what he sets down about the inviolability of private property, this cannot include expropriating legitimate property owners and redistributing property. It clearly means that individual workers should save – they should practice frugality and good behavior so that THEY THEMSELVES can become capitalists. There is nothing here about the state imposing a Distributist regime.

    “And look especially at the confiscation of monastic property, enclosure of common lands in England and Scotland, and and at the way these lands were used before that. ”

    This has nothing to do with free markets. That was theft, plain and simple.

    “Then look at the violent suppression of the Guilds, which was finally completed about the time of the French Revolution.”

    The guilds, like the modern unions, rely upon the use of force to restrict the flow of labor and keep wages artificially high. Do you ever stop to think of the effect that this has on poor consumers, who have to pay higher prices for basic necessities? To promote policies that benefit skilled workers at the expense of poor consumers is not to promote the common good or the interests of the poor. I accept that such policies were adopted with a sincere desire to do both, but the objective reality, apart from good intentions, is that more poor people suffer from higher prices than they ever have from lower wages.

    “I don’t claim there was no sin during the Middle Ages,

    You’d be insane if you did.

    ” but the ideals of the Middle Ages point to a Catholic understanding of property and mutual duties of men under a bond of charity. What would all this kind of understanding look like today?”

    It would be great. I have nothing against the ideals of the Middle Ages, if they are implemented voluntarily by people who really care about them. If you try to impose them, however, you will court disaster, meet legitimate and justified resistance, and lose all credibility with the very people you intend to help.

    “Read Catholic interpreters of Leo — Chesterton, Belloc, Penty, McNabb, Dorthy Day and Peter Maurin, every pope after Leo (I’m expecting great things on this from Francis), the list goes on. ”

    I am a Catholic interpreter of Leo. And I have read them. I disagree with them. I believe their understanding of free market capitalism is flawed and fallacious, and I can demonstrate this via reasoned argument. Unfortunately most people are only interested in self-righteous bluster and condemnations.

    “As much as I hate recommending anything from Remnant Press, read Christopher Ferrara’s book-length reply to Thomas Woods.”

    I’ve got it on my bookshelf. Needless to say, I believe it is a deeply flawed work.

    “A Catholic Rad Trad could become truly rad — an American Political Conservative who reads integrally will retch. I hope you read integrally and don’t retch.”

    Cute. I consider myself a paleolibertarian, though. Probably worse from your point of view.

    I’m happy to debate facts and logic and discuss these issues amicably. Unfortunately, you seem to be of the sort of temperament which presumes bad will on the part of those who disagree with you. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong by a substantive, fact-based, well-reasoned rebuttal to the points I have raised here.

  • Mr. Zummo,

    You can call me Dr. Zummo.

    I don’t know whether you’re a Catholic,

    Your propensity to question the Catholicity of everyone who disagrees with you is rather tiring.

    In a way, the company has outsourced some of its HR functions to the union — the union is an extension of the company in some ways. But as nobody forced them to work there, nobody forced them to join a union.

    Get it Foxfier – you’re not really forced to join a Union, you’re just forced to join a union if you want to work. That’s just absolutely fantastic logic.

  • Tom Leith

    As regards the dissolution of the guilds during the French Revolution, Had the Le Chapelier Law of 14 June 1791 been seen as a way of protecting the rich against the poor, or the propertied against the property-less, it would have met with strenuous opposition by one of the Assembly’s defenders of the poor. But the law was passed without opposition because it seemed evidence to the entire National Assembly that the reconstitution of corporations in any form was a fundamental threat to the nation and its free constitution. The law made it clear that no intermediary body could stand between the individual – now armed with his natural rights – and the nation – now the guarantor of those same natural rights.

    As Le Chapelier himself put it, “The guild no longer exists in the state. There exist only the particular interests of each individual and the general interest. No one is permitted to encourage an intermediate interest that separates citizens from the common interest through a corporate spirit.”

    In addition, the Allarde Decree of 17 March 1791 had already provided that “every individual can freely engage in any trade or carry on any occupation, business activity or craft of their own choosing,” subject only to police regulation.

  • 1. Any regulatory scheme incorporates compliance costs. If the costs have a threshhold value or they can be finessed with the aid of sophisticated legal counsel, the regulatory scheme will cause more injury to smaller enterprises than larger.

    2. You want the regulation to contain collusion among producers, contain the despoilation of common property resources, contain the imposition of costs on third parties, to promote transparency and contain exploitation derived from asymmetric information between contracting parties, to contain exploitation derived from the differences in the effective freedom of action of the several contracting parties, and to contain the injuries done principals by agents with divergent interests. The point here, if done correctly, is to attempt to shape actual social conditions in a way such that economic decisions are made in a matrix that better approaches the ideal typical free market. Of course, the devil’s in the details.

    3. One can also impose regulation to embody certain social norms. (The penal code would be an example). Habituated violations of these norms is also injurious to economic development; not many people wish to do business in Detroit. There is a sociological as well as an economic dimension to commerce and labor, and satisficing as well as optimizing decisions. (I think you do see this in the labor market as regards customary working hours and leave times and also in the disinclination which appeared in the 1920s to ever cut anyone’s nominal compensation).

    4. Trade and industrial unions in our time are as often as not associations of public employees organized to extract resources from taxpayers (with the connivance of sociopathic politicians like George Pataki or Marion Barry). The fat broad who runs the Chicago teachers union is the exemplary contemporary union boss. Others organize state-regulated natural monopolies (e.g. gas and electric companies). Still others organize capital intensive industries vulnerable to strikes; if you seek their monument, look at General Motors: a vast welfare agency (> 900,000 legatee beneficiaries) with a loss-making commercial subsidiary (< 100,000 workers). Still others are run by gangsters (the longshoremens' union, and, until fairly recently, the building trades unions). What you seldom see are mutual aid associations battling industry standards which incorporate godawful working conditions – what the Teamsters and the Mineworkers were about 90 years ago.

    5. The financial sector is a special case, inasmuch as the effects of ill-considered decisions do not tend to be contained to a discrete set of contracting parties and their dependents.

  • To Tom Davis and Deacon Ed

    I sense you recognize the danger in expecting politicians at any level to be responsible for charity. They can never be trusted to care about anyone’s interests except their own. The state level is no better than the federal, only nearer to the recipients of charity. We should not give any government
    officials an excuse to interfere in charity, as it is none of their business.

    Coordination across state lines is not necessary. The individuals are different, and have unique needs that are best handled by church members in parishes. This is precisely what subsidiarity requires.

    To the rest of you concerning “regulation”.

    We have gone much to far down this road. We should know by now that
    government regulators are not omniscient. Their decisions are no better than the mass of free people making their own choices, and often worse since their motives are suspect. I always trust my neighbors to make better decisions for themselves than bureaucrats do.

    I think all of us need to re-read Pope Leo’s encyclical. It clearly indicates that human freedom is the norm. It is mandatory reading for all in government and the news media.

  • James Davies, there are 1.8 million people resident in nursing homes. That aside, there are the clientele of state and county welfare departments in various sorts of custodial arrangements: asylums, day programs, orphanages, foster care, group homes, supervised apartment buildings, halfway houses, &c. I am not sure of the collective census of these programs, but I think it might be in the range of 1 million. In addition, you have around 45 million youngsters registered in the public schools. Then you have your local public defenders’ office, responsible for the bulk of the man-hours the legal profession in any area devotes to the task of representing accused criminals. Did I mention that a third of the country’s medical expenses are met by public purchase? One could attempt in short order to replace this edifice with voluntary philanthropy. The transition costs would make for interesting times for us all.

  • Yes, I agree the transition would not be easy. We did not abandon our freedom to government agencies overnight, and we cannot recover it quickly either. Christianity took many centuries to impact the pagan world too, but it did succeed.

    It would be a significant change in direction if our society recognized that government is not the answer to these problems, and the news media got on board as well. The free market always does a better job. We have an opportunity to go in that direction, since the welfare state has become so unwieldly it is starting to collapse of its own weight.

  • I have no illusion that the return to a market driven structure in our society will be a conscious, concerted effort on the part of ‘rational man.’ For the most part, ‘rational man’ has disappeared from the scene. Rather, his place has been taken by ’emotional man’ – those who make economic, social, moral and poltical decisions based on ‘how they feel.’ It is the only plausible explanation for how our country could elect as president an incompetent.

    No, the transition away from government-regulated life will be because it collapsed from its own weight and inefficiencies. Man was created by God with freedom as his natural birthright. It is the only possible means by which love can be exchanged between persons i.e. in the context of freedom. Government and large bureacracries intrude on man’s freedom and hence will disintegrate because they are ‘unnatural states.’

    “Rational man’ will then find ways to allow market forces to work because the market allows man maximum opportunity to express himself freely – in soial and economic terms – but never outside of the natural moral law. That is why we are hearing more and more in civic discussion about the importance of freedom and why, too, we need to not shy away from promoting what we know is natural moral law as well.

  • Tom Leith –
    You are wrong– to a level which is dangerously close to dishonest. If I hold someone under water, I cannot say that I did not force them to breath it and drown because they could have simply not breathed. You falsely imply that the company had a choice in the matter of employing the union, and you keep making claims that are not only unsupported but actually directly counter to easily noticed facts. Most obvious is the continued claim about what Libertarians can’t say, in the face of at the very least one on this very post who not only can but does say.

    I’m sure that your tactics work wonderfully face to face, but they’re just rather sad when force of personality isn’t a factor to overcome what you actually say.

    I would suggest that someone so fond of questioning the Catholicism of others for disagreeing with himself should do a bit of soul searching, though I’m fully aware that’s unlikely to happen. Everything’s a hammer to the guy fixated on a nail.

  • Trade and industrial unions in our time are as often as not associations of public employees organized to extract resources from taxpayers

    Most of the folks I listed were exactly that.

    Not to try to make an argument from sympathy, but my husband didn’t have a lot of choice about taking his DoD civilian job; I suppose he could have decided to let our family go hungry and depend on gov’t programs and the charity of family, but it’s as much a “choice” as the infamous company store that is trotted out as justification for forced unions.

  • No, the transition away from government-regulated life will be because it collapsed from its own weight and inefficiencies.

    Deacon Ed., I believe near on the closest the occidental world has come to a political economy of laissez-faire in the modern period was in the British Isles between the repeal of the Corn Laws and the first tentative steps toward constructing social insurance programs in the Edwardian period (that would be from about 1846 to about 1909). I think you still had in Britain an edifice of statutory corporation law, bankruptcy law, commercial law, banking law, insurance law, labor law, admiralty law, and patent and copyright law; commercial and civil codes; and the common law in contracts, estates and trusts, and torts. You are not going to get away from a ‘government-regulated society’ unless you live some place like the frontier west, ca. 1875 (which is to say in circumstances where there is little in the way of government or society).

  • Yes, I agree the transition would not be easy. We did not abandon our freedom to government agencies overnight, and we cannot recover it quickly either. Christianity took many centuries to impact the pagan world too, but it did succeed.

    Why not work out in your own head the steps one might take to get from here to there, figuring costs and benefits and what not.

  • “Get it Foxfier – you’re not really forced to join a Union, you’re just forced to join a union if you want to work”

    what’s the issue with one company in a field using union labor and another one not

  • Foxfier, I do not think collective bargaining is a sustainable institution without mandatory dues and membership or mandatory agency fees. The process by which the union is voted in has to be clean and transparent and reversible at some later date. The difficulty you get is that the public sector unionism effectively delegates discretion properly housed in the legislature to a negotiating process and that the transactions can be rendered less than arms length by the political activities of the public-sector unions. As a rule, Democratic pols are their bitches, and few Republican pols challenge them. Another difficulty you get is unions like the UAW which loot the companies they organize for the benefit of those of their members who get to keep their jobs or benefits. I think company unions have a different incentive structure, but they have been prohibited by federal law since 1935. If we limited collective bargaining rights to all-encompassing company unions in the private sector only and did away with allowing federal regulators to gerrymander the bargaining unit, we would be better off.

  • JDP-
    Depending on the field, it may not be legally allowed. In those places it is allowed, the unions work very, very hard to get them unionized– the grocery worker’s union (can’t remember the actual name) paid protesters to stand around the local WinCo for over a year, because that company is employee owned and thus not union. Once a company is unionized, it’s not going to be un-unionized.

    Tellingly, when I asked the ladies at the checkout counter at WinCo what they thought of the protests, they got really heated about how they’d chosen WinCo because the union had screwed them over so badly.

    More to the point, the companies don’t get to choose if they are going to use a union– a small number of people can decide that they will form a union, then every employee of that company is forced to be a member.

    The theoretical perfect “right to work” situation would be that any people who work for a company who wish to form a union would be able to join, and those who did not wish to use the union to make their deals would not be bound by them. Union as a bargaining group, rather than a monopoly on labor. (The employers would be free to choose if they would wish to only hire union or not.)

    The “non-union members” that I mentioned who are theoretically entitled to a refund are still forced to use the contract that the unions make, even if both the employee and employer do not want that contract.

    As it is, forced unionization is a monopoly on labor.

    Oh, if someone wonders why I keep calling a theoretical right– here are a couple of posts about someone trying to get that right respected.

  • Foxfier, I do not think collective bargaining is a sustainable institution without mandatory dues and membership or mandatory agency fees.

    I agree that people would not voluntarily hire unions to do the job they are currently doing unless they had no other option.

    That a monopoly can’t survive unless people are forced to both provide for it and buy it is also not an argument I’d support for keeping it.

  • “The theoretical perfect “right to work” situation would be that any people who work for a company who wish to form a union would be able to join, and those who did not wish to use the union to make their deals would not be bound by them”

    don’t you get the problem in this situation though of some people benefiting from any successful collective bargaining without paying any dues. maybe i’m misreading you

  • “Everything’s a hammer to the guy fixated on a nail.”

    Good way to sum up Chris Ferrara and his nauseating book too.

  • don’t you get the problem in this situation though of some people benefiting from any successful collective bargaining without paying any dues.

    How do I benefit if that group over there makes a contract for their own members, to which I am not party? If an employer wants to only hire from a single group of negotiators, that would be fair enough.

    Look at Hostess. The folks who may have exercised their right to not pay for the political actions of the union were still charged for the “benefit” of the union demanding a deal that put everyone out of work, even though there were many people who wanted to make a deal and keep the company going.

    If a bargaining group offers benefits to membership that are worth the cost– including “I just don’t want to bother with all this stuff, YOU set up the contract!”, which is not to be sniffed at– then people will join.

    To drag Catholicism into it, I believe there’s a parable about people complaining to the boss about someone being hired on different terms than themselves?

  • More to the point, the companies don’t get to choose if they are going to use a union– a small number of people can decide that they will form a union, then every employee of that company is forced to be a member.

    Not what happened at my work site. Enough people signed cards to force an election. There was some back and forth between the personnel office, the union and the National Labor Relations Board and it was decided by the last (quite ironically) that the bargaining unit would not include the people who initiated the union drive. The remaining set voted in the union in a perfectly forthright way, and it was a union that represented other slices of the workforce there. What happened was that after a mess of negotiation the bargaining unit ended up with the same benefits package the personnel office offered as a matter of course to company employees. The one thing that changed was that annual evaluations were eliminated, merit pay was eliminated, and future wage increases were to be negotiated rather than subject to system-wide policy. The folks who voted in the union were real embarrassed by it all.

    It was all perfectly democratic and a big waste of time and effort.

    I think if there is a value in unions it is to set up some systematized lines of communication between wage earners and management and come to some sort of mutual understanding about working conditions and some of the specs on fringes. Of course, if management does not care to listen (and where I worked, wage earners were cosseted in some respects but not taken seriously), it does not do much good. The personnel office was never a problem and had , regularized procedures for hearing from people, but of the four vice presidents in charge of that section of the company over the years, I think only one gave much thought to people not of the professional-managerial stratum and the institutional politics swirling around them. The last chap was particularly disgusting. One wretched manager had her multi-year contract renewed in spite of all the people waving red flags in front of his face and his predecessors face about her incompetence (as well as the outflow of skilled people getting away from her). Not his problem. The union does not help with that type of thing.

  • The problem you get with grocery stores is that they have quite slim signature profit margins. I cannot figure how the United Food and Commercial Workers thrive in an environment where no one can mark up their costs that much. The airline unions have survived in that environment, but they covered most of the industry and were established within it when airline travel was still a federally supervised cartel. Cannot figure about grocery stores.

  • The free market cannot adequately care for the poor because it is neither designed nor equipped for that. But we know the church from its inception made it their business to remember the poor. Diaconal caritas drew many people in the direction of the church and lent it great credibility.

  • Art-
    I would guess the answer lies in answering the question of why they’re willing to spend so much money to hire protesters

  • “The free market cannot adequately care for the poor because it is neither designed nor equipped for that. But we know the church from its inception made it their business to remember the poor. Diaconal caritas drew many people in the direction of the church and lent it great credibility.”

    While it is true that the free markert wasn’t designed specifically to care for the poor as such, the wealth created by it make resources more widely availible to the diaconal caritas’ to do just that. Furthermore, caring for the poor must include ways to lift these people out of poverty. And the free market is by far been proven the best, imperfect though it may be, economic system to do that.

  • Mr. Mockeridge,

    You are absolutely, 100% correct.

    The government cannot give to poor people unless it has taken from producers.

    This government could not increase poor people’s wealth. It decreased nearly everybody’s (except guys like Warren Buffett, Jon Corzine, Jamie Dimond, Al Gore) wealth.

    The government has been hindering the free market at least since 1913.

    Since late 2008, the government bailed out large, Wall Street banks, GM and Chrysler; the Fed printed about $2 trillion and flooded it into the economy (well Wall Street . . .); the Federal government spent $5 trillion more than it should have.

    And yet, the median household income has declined, in real terms, almost 8% from 2000; 47,000,000 Americans need food stamps to eat; the propaganda unemployment rate is 7.7%; millions of fewer Americans are in the job market; about 8,000,000 more Americans are on disability pensions; etc.

    While Main Street languishes, the Dow daily hits historic, all-time record highs.

February 25, 1863: National Bank Act

Monday, February 25, AD 2013

Greenback

Originally called the National Legal Currency Act, the National Bank Act was signed into law on February 25, 1863.  The Act created National Banks that could issue notes printed by the United States Treasury that would serve as currency, the famous Greenbacks.  Precisely one year before the Congress had authorized the treasury to issue paper currency in an amount not to exceed 150 million dollars.  Although the move to a fiat currency not backed in gold was widely unpopular around the country, the nickname of the notes, Greenbacks, coming from people complaining that the notes were backed only by the green ink used to print the backs of the notes, when the economic house did not fall in from the issuance of the Greenbacks in 1862, Congress placed no limits on the issuance of the currency in February of 1863.

The Union financed its war effort 88% through taxation and war bonds, with the Greenbacks taking up the slack.  Five hundred million in Greenbacks were issued during the War and caused an unpleasant, though manageable, inflation of 180% during the War.  This contrasted with the Confederacy that could finance only 46% of its war effort with taxes and bonds.  The inflation caused by the issuance of Confederate currency, popularly known as Greybacks, was an astonishing 9000% during the War.  The experience of the Union and Confederacy indicates that a fiat currency is always dependent on the innate strength of the economy of the nation issuing it, along with the question mark that always existed as to whether the Confederacy would win its independence.  The experience of the Confederacy with its currency was strikingly similar to that of the United States with the Continental currency during the American Revolution, which became so worthless that it ceased to circulate as money in May 1781.  Ironically both Continental and Confederate currency are precious today as a result of collectors.

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3 Responses to February 25, 1863: National Bank Act

  • Donald McClarey: This is the finest understanding of the Fifth Amendmen that I have ever read. I am very excited. And of course, I cannot attach footnotes so you do not have to post this, but it does give people the option of bargaining with the government for what they need and ought to have.\
    There was a case before the Supreme Court where the contract had been made before the silver money was retracted by the government about the time of J.F. Kennedy, 1962. The land had been taken as eminent domain. The man only agreed to the taking if he would be indemnified in $10,000 silver dollars, worth ten times as much as paper. The Supreme Court found against the man, and he had no choice but to accept the paper greenbacks. The all out takings by the Environmental Protection Agency for wetlands and green acres began and has not abated. And these were for public use, but government has tried to evict citizens from public lands and waterways. See INDWELLERS who won the right to stay on public land. I believe it was the Pacific Justice Institute with Brad Daccus who won for them.
    There was one case, of Tumulty’s bar in New Brunswick, NJ, where Tumulty refused the $50,000.00 and told the state, which wanted to extend Route 18, a just cause for all, that he wanted a move to George Street, all set up, and now he has a gold mine. He did have to fight for it though. The state moves SLOWLY.
    A woman in Edison, NJ, woke one morning to read on the front page of the newspaper that her house and property had been sold out from under her by the township. She cried. Being ever the citizen, I wrote her and told her not to take their money but to sign off only when the state has provded the same kind of house and property elsewhere, tax free for the rest of her life. Fair is fair. To watch the government swallow its citizens’ civil rights…is like watching monstro swallow Gepetto. Then there was Vera Coking in Atlantic City. Donald Trump wanted her house for a parking lot and he offered her $35,000.00 for it. She refused and the city went about condemning her house for Trump. Dana Berliner of the Institute for Justice took her case and won it in court and Vera Coking was remunerated for the true value of her property, several times more than the offering at condemnation.
    But most of all I appreciate your grasp of our civil rights. Thank you and God bless.

  • Greenbacks were redeemable for US Treasury debt securities.

    Greenbacks made the first statement: legal-tender notes which referred to the text on the back, which began, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” This made the currency a valid form of payment on par with gold and silver. It made the United States note a fiat currency — meaning its value was established by law alone and wasn’t based on some other unit of value, such as gold, silver or land.

    I think it’s important to note that the National Bank Act did not establish a central bank.

    In 1863, the US had had two central banks. The First Bank of the United States was established in 1791 to handle Revolutionary War debt and attempt to control money. It closed in 1811.

    The Second Bank of the United States was chartered for 20 years in 1816 to deal with War of 1812 debts and control currency. It was famously shuttered by Andrew Jackson in 1837.

    The US again esatblished a central bank in 1913 when the Federal Reserve System was established. The greenback caused 180% inflation during the CW. It later became redeemable in gold. Since 1913, the dollar has lost 98% of its value to inflation, the cruelest tax. I imagine that’s one reason libertarian lunatics loathe the Fed.

    The long term, until 1913, trend in US monetary history was generally deflationary wherein workers’ real wages rose. Inflation is the cruelest tax.

  • In the UK, the Bank Act of 1844 requiring Bank of England notes to be backed by gold had little effect, because it contained no provision requiring demand deposits to be backed by anything at all.

    Even in 1844, the currency had become what Walter Bagehot called “the small change of commerce,” with bank deposits exceeding the whole currency, notes and coin together, by about ten to one and “near money,” in the form of bills of exchange, cheques and promissory notes being the main medium of exchange, in terms of value.

6 Responses to Choose Your Pope!

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  • No man can follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ perfectly, except through the Holy Spirit, in Persona Christi, and the ordination and consecration of the Sacraments of Christ’s Catholic Church. When I see the words Sede Vacante, I see the devil’s advocate.

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  • In less than three minutes, that video pretty much says it all.

  • Almost-complete transcript for those who (like myself) couldn’t make out what the strangeless affectless chirpy female was saying:

    A recent college graduate, Kelly earned a BA in Advanced Feng-Shui Marketing. A self-described way-devoted super-Catholic, Kelly has attended mass almost seven times: therefore, making her opinions on the theological direction of the Catholic Church entirely valid and perfectly worthy of public attention.

    “Question #1: Since I have absolutely no interest in knowing the scriptural and historical reasons for the male only priesthood, and since my Religious Worldviews in the Feminist Paradigm professor told me that, like, five of the apostles were totally women, I think the Catholic Church is finally ready for women priests. You guys agree, right?

    Oulette: “No.”
    Turkson: “No.”
    Scola: “No.”

    Kelly: “Whatever.”

    “Question #2: Like most devout Catholic women who don’t go to Mass and don’t believe anything the Church says, I use birth control because babies are a lot of work and my boyfriend and I totally need to re-tile our master bathroom. That’s cool with you guys, right?”

    Oulette: “No.”
    Turkson: “No.”
    Scola: “No.”

    Kelly: “You guys are lame.”

    “Question #3: I like the aesthetics of the Catholic Church but don’t like its theology. I support no-fault divorce, abortion rights, gay marriage, gender-neutral language, and think that it’s mean to criticize Islam. I couldn’t be more of a liberal episcopalian if Katherine Jefferts-Schori formed me from the dust from the ground, and yet I still inexplicably identify myself as a Catholic.”

    Cardinal Ouellet: “Is there a question coming any time soon?”

    Kelly: “Unless you want to be elected bishop of mysogyny, don’t interrupt me! My question is this: even though my utter indifference towards the church [Episcopal] that perfectly represents my theology clearly reveals that there’s no way that I’ll ever come back to the Catholic faith, you guys will still cast aside your vows to be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church unto death, and reject 2000 years of tradition in a pathetic attempt to woo me, right?

    Oulette: “No.”
    Turkson: “No.”
    Scola: “No.”

    [Dialog too hard ot make out despite repeated tries. The gal’s vocal pitch is out of my auditory range. Sorry.]

    “Question #4: My favourite TV show is “Glee”…

    Cardinal Ouellet: “Oh, sweet mercy, no!”
    Cardinal Turkson: “Stop!”
    Cardinal Scola: “Please shut your mouth before the Angel of Death destroys us all!”

  • very good and original.

    Roland

Justice Hathorne

Monday, February 25, AD 2013

He pointed his finger once more, and a tall man, soberly clad in Puritan garb, with the burning gaze of the fanatic, stalked into the room and took his judge’s place.

“Justice Hathorne is a jurist of experience,” said the stranger. “He presided at certain witch trials once held in Salem. There were others who repented of the business later, but not he.”

“Repent of such notable wonders and undertakings?” said the stern old justice. “Nay, hang them–hang them all!” And he muttered to himself in a way that struck ice into the soul of Jabez Stone.

Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster

In his short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, Benet has Satan conjure up the damned souls of 12 villains from American history to serve as a jury in the case of Satan v. Jabez Stone. Only seven of these entities are named, and we have examined the lives of each of them including the “life” I made up for the fictional the Reverend John Smeet.

The judge who presided over the case was Justice John Hathorne.  Born in August of 1641, Hathorne was a merchant of Salem, Massachusetts.  Hathorne prospered as a merchant with trading ventures to England and the West Indies.  He owned land around Salem and in Maine.  With economic power he combined political power, being Justice of the Peace in Essex County, and a member of the legislative upper chamber which combined the roles of legislature and high court.  In 1692 Hathorne was one of the men who questioned the accusers and accused and was in favor of bringing the accused to trial.  He was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts as one of the judges of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer that heard the trials.  Hathorne always voted to convict.

Subsequent to the trials he saw service in the militia in King William’s War, taking part in 1696 in the siege of Fort Nashawaak in what became New Brunswick in Canada and rising to the rank of Colonel. He was eventually appointed to the Superior Court.  He died on May 10, 1717.

Following the Salem witch trials, there was a wave of revulsion at the verdicts.  Few doubted at that time that witches did exist, but many attacked the fairness of the trials, especially the concept of “spectral evidence” which allowed the accusers to testify as to what demons purportedly told them about the accused.  Many people found this admission of supernatural hearsay to be not only fundamentally unfair but preposterous and feared that the accusers had been simply settling old family feuds with the accused.

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Armchair Pontiffs Come Out of the Woodwork

Sunday, February 24, AD 2013

Perhaps because it happens in sports, entertainment and politics, we knew it was bound to happen with pontificates. However, judging the accomplishments of holy leaders is a little different than judging whether a coach should have used a 4-3 defense, a President has the right tax policy, or a film director allows too little or too much dialogue.

Our friends in the mainstream media, especially those of the unabashed liberal persuasion (they seem less bashful in using that term these days) have certainly not backed away from critiquing Pope Benedict XVBI’s pontificate. However, even our friends on the political and theological right have taken their shots at the Holy Father as well.

Watching Morning Joe on MSNBC can certainly cause an orthodox minded Catholic to contemplate pulling their hair out. A recent episode in which Mika Brzezinski and Mike Barnicle, two northeast liberal Catholics, critique the current Holy Father’s pontificate and implore the upcoming conclave to change the direction of the Church by listening to the criticism of militant secularists seemed more than a little ridiculous. The Reverend Al Sharpton chimed in to tell the audience that African cardinals certainly don’t represent his views on the world (Thank God.)

The whole episode should have been a Saturday Night Live skit, but sadly they meant every word of it. The Western Left shouts from the rooftops about diversity, but when it comes right at them via the Third World, well then it really isn’t diverse. The Left preaches change but would never change their views to reflect reality, i.e. the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (among others) insisting Washington doesn’t have a spending problem. All too often they unwittingly enjoy relishing in the Dictatorship of Relativism (coined by Pope Benedict XVI.) By doing so they unknowingly echo the words of Pontius Pilate, who said, “What is truth?”

In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I note that the infamous American Bishop Shelby Spong dismissed his fellow African-Anglican clergy’s views on social teachings because they were in his words, “only one generation removed from Animism and their brand of Christianity was superstitious.” In rebuttal to Bishop Spong, the late Catholic priest, Father Richard John Neuhaus noted that there were a higher percentage of African-Catholic Cardinals with PhD’s than were those from Western Europe or North America.

Sadly, even some of our friends on the theological and political right have taken the opportunity to pile on what they view as the mistake prone pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. One of the more interesting critiques came from Joseph (Jody) Bottum, the former Editor of First Things. On a personal note, I owe a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Bottum who referenced a very early article of mine in one of his First Things article. Actually the positive reaction that stemmed from it helped convince me to right my first book. However, some of Mr. Bottum’s assertions in this Weekly Standard article on the pontificate of Benedict XVI should not go unanswered.

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12 Responses to Armchair Pontiffs Come Out of the Woodwork

  • I judge Pope Benedict XVI’s term to be a success. Poep Benedict issued the motu propio Summorum Pontificum, which grants priests in the Latin Church the unfettered right to celebrate the Mass according to the Missal of 1962. Many in the church hated this, but too bad for them, as they are the one who must enjoy liturgical dancing, etc.

    The other great success is the Anglican Ordinariate. The number of Anglicans who come into the Catholic church may never be a huge amount, but the fact that this was accomplished was a success.

    I care not what the American media says, any of it, about Pope Benedict. The American media is infested with fools.

  • Let the dead bury the dead. That’s all I have to say about MSNBC.

  • Ha! I think the dead are the only ratings demographic that MSNBC would win!

  • Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, called to be Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was always with Pope John Paul II and John Paul II with him. I remember the day when it was announced by Pope Benedict XVI, that the Latin Mass had never been banned by Vatican II, that Latin, kneelers, altar rails and kneeling to receive Holy Eucharist had never been banned. Pope Benedict XVI wanted the kiss of Peace to be made before Consecration of the Mass, so that the consecrated hands of the priest would not be profaned by shaking hands of the laity. Some priests do not keep their index and thumb fingers solely for the Holy Eucharist as they have promised to do and go about shaking hands of parishioners as though their parishioners are not in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, WHO is on the altar after Consecration.
    Pope Benedict XVI brought the translation of the Liturgy to refect more accurately the Holy Trinity, the Persons of God.
    Pope Benedict XVI ‘s Ash Wednesday homily characterizes the devil as constantly trying “to exploit God”. The Pope advocated for more exorcisms, especially in the West. He brought ecumenism that had run rampant and roughshod over the church into confomity with orthodoxy, without heresy.
    A good exorcism would force the devil to return Gary Wills soul.

  • Jay Leno said things are so bad over at MSLSD that last week they laid off 300 Obama spokespersons.

  • If all these armchair pontiffs think they know so much, then why is it that
    they were all caught flat-footed by the Holy Father’s announcement? Now,
    if one of these self-appointed ‘experts’ could demonstrate that they’d thought
    his resignation was a possibility, then I’d be willing to give my attention to
    whatever else he/she had to say.

    I understand that most of these folks get paid to publish their expert opinions,
    but in this matter their musings should be issued with a disclaimer, something
    like “this is only idle speculation– actually, your guess is as good as mine”.

  • Now I am no fan of Jody Bottum. In fact, I thought his being hired as editor at First Things was a huge mistake on the part of the late Fr. Neuhaus. I don’t agree with everything he says in his Weekly Standard article, but he does make some valid points.

    What I find most refreshing about his article is that is a departure from the shill fest quasi canonization we have seen from the rest of the orthodox Catholic ivory tower regarding the pope’s decision to resign.

    Mr Hartline asks for evidence that the next pontiff will be looking over his shoulder while Bendedict is still alive. Don’t you think it is rather self-evident that he will at least be tempted to do so? To be sure, the former pontiff will do everything in his power to prevent that, but, again, it will remain a natural temptation to say the least. It is at least reasonable to question the wisdom of the pope’s decision to resign. Even Benedict XVI himself seems to imply this when he, in his annoucement recognized the seriousness of this decision.

    Did Pope Benedict make the right decision? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. What effect will this have on the Church in the long and short term? Again, it remains to be seen. I think it is premature at this point to say one way or the other.

    Now as far as whether or not Joseph Ratzinger’s pontificate has been a failure or success. In my mind, it has been something of a mixed bag, as I guess any pontificate has been. In the positive, I think he has, as pontiff, done well to remain, for the most part, silent on matters outside the Church’s competence like whether or not penal systems are adequate enough to protect society without recourse to the death penalty as one example. This is a marked improvement over the previous pontificate, which I believe created much confusion regarding this issue. I think he has done much to disabuse the rock star image that has been attributed to the papacy during the pontificate of the more charismatic John Paul II. In the negative, he appears to have failed miserably to bring much needed reform to the Roman Curia. In his pre-papal days, Ratzinger was rather critical of the over bureaucratization of the Vatican, but yet created a whole new bureaucracy with erecting the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, even though there already exists a whole Congregation for Evangelization. As important as I think the New Evagelization is, creating a whole new bureaucracy not only not helps such an effort, but in fact probably hinders it.

    While one can certainly take issue with Bottum’s assessment, it is by no means over the top.

  • I find it interesting that the secular media wants the next pope, and therefore the Church, to model itself after the secular media’s ideals. They just don’t get it that it’s Christ we should be looking at. We do not conform our lives to the secular world. Rather, we need to conform our lives to Christ, through the Church. Ignore those people. They’re looking in the wrong direction. They truly have nothing to say to us.

  • Instant assessments of any pontificates tend to be worthless. Case in point Pius IX. Any assessment of his pontificate immediately after his death would have emphasized the loss of the Papal States and the animosity between the Church and the new Italian state. As the decades have piled up, both of those have become increasingly insignificant in judging the lasting impact of Pio Nono’s pontificate while Vatican I looms ever larger, along with his pioneering attempts to form a direct link using modern technology between the laity and the Pope. Perspective is needed when assessing any papacy, and the most important element in forming that perspective is the element of time.

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  • I found Bottum’s article stupefying. It relied quite heavily on unsourced assessments of the Pope’s daily routine, unsourced assessments about the social dynamics of the Vatican apparat, held the Pope responsible for the obtuse and malicious character of elements of the media, and added a comment about the Institute for Religious Works, as if Bottum knew banking from bingo. Andrew Greeley used to put this sort of tripe into his columns. It is conceivable that George Weigel is acquainted with enough people employed at the Vatican to produce an assessment of this nature, not Bottum (now resident in South Dakota after the board of the Institute on Religion and Public Life handed him his walking papers).

  • The next Pontiff will stand tall on the shoulders of Pope Benedict XVI, the Servant of the Servants of God. I believe that this is one title Pope Benedict XVI will keep and epitomize ever more.

POW Servant of God

Sunday, February 24, AD 2013

kapaun

In the midst of a World War, Emil Kapaun was born in peaceful Pilsen, Kansas on August 20, 1916.  His parents were Czech immigrants and virtually everyone in the area spoke Czech.  From an early age Emil knew that he wanted to be a priest and would play mass with his younger brother.  Graduating from Conception Abbey seminary college in Conception Missouri in 1936,  Emil attended Kendrick Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, and was ordained a priest of the diocese of Wichita in June 1940.  Father Kapaun returned to his home parish Saint John Nepomucene in Pilsen as an assistant to Father Sklenar who, together with his Bishop, had paid the cost of his attendance at the seminary.  During these years Father Kapaun was also an auxiliary chaplain at Herington Air Base.  After the retirement of Father Sklenar in December 1943, Father Kapaun became pastor of his boyhood parish.  Receiving permission from his Bishop, Father Kapaun joined the army as a chaplain in July 1944.

Chaplain Kapaun’s intial assignment was as chaplain at Camp Wheeler in Georgia.  In April 1945 he was sent to the C-B-I (China-Burma-India) theater of operations.  While in the C-B-I he traveled over 2000 miles by jeep to say mass for the troops in the forward areas.  Arriving in India he served as a chaplain for the troops on the Ledo road from Ledo, India to Lashio, Burma.   Chaplain Kapaun became friends with the Catholic missionaries, priests and nuns from Italy, at Lashio.  Taking up a collection for the missions from American troops, who responded generously, Father Kapaun also prevailed upon American combat engineers to construct a building in Lashio to be used as a school and a church.  Here is a picture of Father Kapaun, viewer’s right, along with his trusty jeep, while he was in the C-B-I.

father-kapuan-c-b-i

Promoted to Captain, he remained in the C-B-I until May of 1946 and was mustered out of the Army in July 1946.  With the approval of his Bishop, Father Kapuan enrolled at Catholic University in Washington on the G.I. Bill, and obtained a Master’s degree in education in February 1948.  In April his Bishop appointed him pastor in Timken, Kansas in April 1948.  Believing that he was called to be a chaplain for the troops, and with the consent of his Bishop, Father Kapaun rejoined the army as a chaplain in September 1948.

Serving as a chaplain at Fort Bliss, Father Kapaun was ordered to Japan in 1950.  Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, he was assigned to a front line combat unit, the 3rd battalion, 8th cavalry regiment, 1rst Cavalry Division.

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POW Servant of God To Receive Medal of Honor

Sunday, February 24, AD 2013

 

On April 11, 2012 Father Emil Kapaun, the POW Servant of God, will receive posthumously this nation’s highest decoration for heroism, the Medal of Honor:

The Pentagon is expected to invite several of Kapaun’s fellow former prisoners of war to attend the ceremony. They survived horrific conditions in the prison camp after they were captured in the first battles against the Chinese Army in late 1950, shortly after China entered the Korean War.

All of these soldiers, now in their mid- or upper 80s, have lobbied for more than 60 years to persuade the Army to award Kapaun the Medal of Honor.

They also have lobbied the Roman Catholic Church to elevate him to sainthood. The Vatican recently completed an extensive investigation and is considering the matter.

Soldiers like Mike Dowe, William Funchess, Robert Wood, Robert McGreevy and Herb Miller, most of them Protestants, have spent decades writing letters or giving interviews describing repeated acts of bravery by Kapaun. They said he repeatedly ran through machine gun fire, dragging wounded soldiers to safety during the first months of the war.

They said his most courageous acts followed in a prisoner of war camp, where Kapaun died in May 1951. They said he saved hundreds of soldiers’ lives using faith and the skills honed on his family’s farm near Pilsen.

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4 Responses to POW Servant of God To Receive Medal of Honor

  • I am very pleased that Father Kapaun is finally going to receive the Medal of Honor. Reading his story never fails to bring tears to my eyes. He was a great man, a fine soldier, a faithful priest. We are very proud here in Kansas.

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  • What is perhaps more shameful for our American military (see “bureaucracy,” and “government”) is that the toughest group in the world to be admitted to, the recognized saints of the Church, seems to be more easily given than the Medal of Honor.

  • “I never liked being called the ‘most decorated’ soldier. There were so many guys who should have gotten medals and never did–
    guys who were killed.”

    Audie Murphy