Unsurprising Story

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

 

Hattip to Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report.  A nun is allegedly involved in vote fraud in Ohio:

 

A nun has been implicated by prosecutors in a troubling case of election fraud, according to local news reports.
It’s been alleged by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that Sister Marge Kloos of the Sisters of Charity mailed in an absentee ballot of Sister Rose Marie Hewitt who had reportedly passed away on October 4th of last year.
Deters sent a letter to the Board of Elections that said:

Re: Deceased Voter Rose Marie Hewitt.
Please be advised that sufficient information has been developed with respect to the above mentioned matter to determine that there is probable cause to believe that criminal activity has occurred.

Hewitt had reportedly lived with Sister Marge Kloos, the dean of arts at the College of Mount Saint Joseph. Prosecutor Joe Deters told WCPO that Kloos is being investigated as the person who sent in Hewitt’s ballot.
Sisters of Charity president Sister Joan Cook told reporters that they are cooperating with police.
Sister Marge Kloos has shown strong position on politics in the past. In fact in 2011, Sister Marge Kloos signed a letter reprimanding House Speaker John Boehner for siding with the “reckless” Tea Party. The letter read:

This is a stark choice between responsible leadership that serves the common good and narrow ideology that makes tax cuts for the wealthy our most sacred national priority. As Ohio Catholics, we urge you to reject the reckless path urged by many Tea Party leaders in Congress. Now is the time to seek a compromise that reflects the Catholic values of solidarity with the most vulnerable and prudential judgment.

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14 Responses to Unsurprising Story

  • http://mountphotos.smugmug.com/keyword/sister%20marge%20kloos#!i=1879964409&k=GXHr7jz

    You can see the earlier stages of iron gray hair. No photos of her shoes, but the smart money says sensible.

  • I share the values of economic conservatives and attended Tea Party events in Pennsylvania. I find the letter quote above to be unremarkable.

    It contains fairly moderate language of disagreement. Sending a letter to government officials is even a laudable activity. We’d be a lot better off if more Americans did.

    In and of itself, the quote doesn’t further your argument.

    I’d stick to the voter fraud. That is a despicable behavior whereas disagreeing with us is not.

  • She could sign a thousand letters for all I care G-Veg. I long ago ceased to care what nuns and sisters of heterodox orders do. The letter was cited in the story purely to indicate the political passion that might motivate her.

  • It contains fairly moderate language of disagreement.

    Moderate it may be. It is also festooned with cliches. I would expect better from a college dean (and expect that women religious would not be all that concerned with the minutiae of legislative maneuvering – leave it to the bores on Washington Week in Review, sister).

  • i’m sorry for being a grammar nazi but there’s really nothing wrong with using “Democratic” as an adjective as opposed to “Democrat”

  • Once Democrats refer to themselves as Democratics JDP you might have a point.

  • I am amused by the Democrat obsession with whether or not the word “Democratic” is used rather than “Democrat”. We routinely see Catholic Democrats get far more exercised over the fact that someone referenced their party as the “Democrat Party” than they do by the fact that their Democrat Party favors abortion on demand, same-sex “marriage”, and the overall secularization of our society.

  • lol ok so it wasn’t the best example. (not a Dem BTW)

    Jay Anderson: no that’s fine, it’s just that “Democrat Party’s” used to disparage Democrats as if there isn’t continuity between the “good” old Dems and the new ones. but Democrats have believed in a lot of the stuff they’re criticized for today for a long time — universal healthcare, Keynesian stimulus — and the stuff you mentioned is a logical consequence of pure-form egalitarian liberalism, detached from any traditional moral constraints.

    plus i don’t get the point of it? best i can tell it’s also partially used to say Democratic=/=democratic. but of course that’s what the capitals are for.

  • “plus i don’t get the point of it?”

    It annoys the devil out of partisan Democrats and it reminds us that in no sense is their party democratic.

  • well that’s what capital letters are for. besides democracy just refers to representative vote, not policy.

  • They fail on both points JDP as they amply demonstrated last year at their convention:

  • Wow, a left wing “Catholic” nun committing vote fraud. I hope she gets locked up.

  • It would appear that if God wanted sister Hewitt to vote, she would have been alive to vote. Doing the will of God is called a vocation.

  • i know i’m pedantic on this point. but for instance people refer to the People’s Republic of China without endorsing it/pretending it’s an actual people’s republic. the Democratic Party as currently constituted is a logical endpoint of liberalism detached from any traditional morality so i got no prob referring to their name regularly

So Who Exactly Is Pushing A Social Agenda?

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

The typical complaint one hears about conservatives, particularly from libertarians, is that social conservatives want to use the government to advance their agenda and force their beliefs down everyone’s throats. Normally the first issue that is brought up to defend this proposition is abortion. I find that odd because if wanting to prohibit abortion is akin to being a proponent of big government, then anyone who advocates for laws against murder is clearly also an advocate for big government. The next most commonly cited issue is gay marriage. Again, I find this odd because it is the proponents of gay marriage who want government to make a complete change to the institution of marriage in order to advance their agenda.

At any rate, libertarians and other social liberals usually run out of steam after those two big issues, though the more creative will invent issues that social conservatives supposedly support in order to defend this thesis.

What frustrates me about this is that left-wing attempts to use the government to indoctrinate society are ignored or downplayed, yet examples of left-wing attempts to influence the culture through the government are far more plentiful than conservative ones. One need only look at Mayor Nanny Bloomberg in New York – hardly a raging social conservative – to recognize that.

Want more proof? First, here’s a bill sponsored by Senate Democrats to fund comprehensive sex education.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Thursday that they’d introduced sex-education legislation limiting funding for “ineffective” abstinent-only programs.

The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools, while ensuring that federal funds are spent on “effective, age-appropriate and medically accurate” programs.

. . . The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act aims to reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and expand sex education programs at colleges and universities. The bill would also prevent federal funds from being spent on “ineffective, medically inaccurate” sex-educ

ation programs.

To translate, we’re going to spend tax money teaching kids about birth control but we’d be verbotten to teach them “medically inaccurate” information like keeping it in your pants will prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. We wouldn’t want kids being told off-the-wall ideas about not having sex before the age of 18 or – even nuttier – before marriage. No, no, no – we gotta get to these kids and make sure they know how to put a condom on a banana.

And do we really need to spend federal tax dollars on expanding sex education at colleges? Are college-aged kids that really in the dark about sex that this justifies federal intervention?

Want to know the kicker? One of the co-sponsors of this bill is Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In that case there will probably be an amendment setting aside funds teaching underage Dominican prostitutes to keep their mouths shut.

And that wasn’t the saddest news of the day. Here’s a story via Creative Minority Report:

Parents across Massachusetts are upset over new rules that would not only allow transgender students to use their restrooms of their choice – but would also punish students who refuse to affirm or support their transgender classmates.

Last week the Massachusetts Department of Education issued directives for handling transgender students – including allowing them to use the bathrooms of their choice or to play on sports teams that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

The 11-page directive also urged schools to eliminate gender-based clothing and gender-based activities – like having boys and girls line up separately to leave the classroom.

Schools will now be required to accept a student’s gender identity on face value.

“A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of her life, should be respected and treated like a girl,” the guidelines stipulate.

As long as little Johnnie feels he’s a little Joannie, no one can tell him/her otherwise.

Hey, but these rules only help liberate young transgendered people from being discriminated against. It’s not like this would impinge anyone else’s freedom, right?

Another part of the directive that troubles parents deals with students who might feel comfortable having someone of the opposite sex in their locker room or bathroom.

The state takes those students to task – noting their discomfort “is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

And any student who refuses to refer to a transgendered student by the name or sex they identify with could face punishment.

For example – a fifth grade girl might feel uncomfortable using the restroom if there is an eighth grade transgendered boy in the next stall.

Under the state guidelines, the girl would have no recourse, Beckwith said.

“And if the girl continued to complain she could be subjected to discipline for not affirming that student’s gender identity choice,” he told Fox News.

“It should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline,” the directive states.

But that’s okay, says a spokesman for the transgendered.

Gunner Scott, of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, praised the directive – and said punishing students who refuse to acknowledge a student’s gender identity is appropriate because it amounts to bullying.

That’s right. Feeling uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with someone of the opposite sex who doesn’t think he or she is a member of the opposite sex is bullying, dont’cha know? And the only way to deal with bullies is to, well, bully them. That sounds reasonable, said Dan Savage.

And yet we’ll continue to hear countless fairly tales about how young modern hipsters would vote Republican if only they’d drop their obsession with silly social issues.

Well, as long as you’ve got useful idiots like Rod Dreherwriting for ostensibly conservative publications, we’ll just keep losing the culture wars.

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102 Responses to So Who Exactly Is Pushing A Social Agenda?

  • For some reason, the link to Dreher isn’t working on my computer. What does he say?

  • Link is working now. It’s similar to the article I blogged about the other day on why conservatives are losing the debate on gay marriage.

  • Dreher is useful to Ron Unz because he can produce a certain quantum of copy on deadline. The quality is not important, and is often a daily diary of his upsets and insecurities. When he is out of ideas, he’ll tell you what he ate that day, complete with pictures.

    Did you catch the Huntsman article? If the behavior of the body of Republican primary voters disappoints you often, you should remember they can be very discerning at times.

  • It helps when those who would inform the public about a group pushing their agenda. Doesn’t warn us at all. It further assists the social engineers when the media is complicit. It’s pretty Orwellian. I’d be concerned.

  • It’s similar to the article I blogged about the other day on why conservatives are losing the debate on gay marriage.

    He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.

  • i know of a kid whose parents let him identify as a girl in middle school for a couple years (name change, hormones and everything) who’s then went back to thinking he’s a guy. certain people don’t seem to acknowledge any line between toleration and full normalization that can potentially have this kinda effect for a small minority of unsure kids.

    as far as indoctrination, i get what you’re saying but when people’ve decided they’re merely “correcting” our past on these issues this argument’s naturally kinda stacked against you. you gotta point out why you have an issue with ’em to get anywhere.

    for me it all comes down to “tolerance” arguments sort of being fake — society will favor one vision (though this doesn’t mean shunning people obviously) or another. liberals realize this, when they refer to their position as more tolerant they’re only referring to the fact that they generally don’t make distinctions between different behaviors.

  • re:amconmag, i noticed former writer Michael Brendan Dougherty (orthodox Catholic) snarking on twitter asking why people were messaging him about the Huntsman piece, saying just cuz the magazine ran it doesn’t mean they endorse it (imagine them saying this about a piece arguing in favor of a mildly interventionist foreign policy, or defending Israel on something) and finally arguing (like Dreher) in favor of Huntsman saying that because the tide’s turned, it’s better to focus on religious exemptions. i’m not sure how people expect tenable exemptions if broader society increasingly views religious teachings on the issue to be without merit, plus, simply deferring to “it’s against my religion” and not making a broader argument will just lead to more criticism about it being an irrational belief, etc.

    regardless of the different writers there, the important thing to remember about amconmag is that they are first and foremost anti-neocon, as well as anti-whatever the Republican base thinks. their stance is reactive, they do not have any guiding principles besides anti-“Empire” and anti-Israeli sentiment (which is essentially given a pass by their writers who aren’t Israeli-obsessed, who also snark with comments on how the GOP’s too nice to Israel/perpetually on the verge of launching a war with Iran if they ever come back to power)

  • Showing libertarians that the pro-life position is consistent with the non-aggression principle isn’t that difficult:

    http://libertyanddignity.wordpress.com/pro-life-libertarianism-abortion-faq/

    The gay marriage issue is a little more complex. I discuss it here:

    http://libertyanddignity.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/gay-marriage-a-libertarian-critique/

    Most self-identified libertarians I know are very receptive to the pro-life message, because most of them are at least what I would call ethically conscious, if they take the NAP seriously.

    But you’re right. There is an unreflective assumption that social conservatism must be federally imposed. I honestly think it is one of these stupid memes that people repeat because it kinda sounds right. “Well, the DEMOCRATS want to tell you what to do with your wallet and the REPUBLICANS want to tell you what to do in the bedroom, and we LIBERTARIANS don’t want to tell you what to do at all.” There’s no evidence to substantiate that anyone in the GOP or the mainstream or even most of the fringe conservative movements wants to tell anyone what to do in the bedroom, but its a nice slogan I guess.

  • If the science fiction meme of time travel ever became fact, I would shove every writer of The American Conservative into Vienna in September 1683. If that did not change their minds, I would shove them into Poland in 1918 and keep them there through 1921.

  • On the one hand, I would like stuff like the MA transgendered nonsense to be challenged all the way to SCOTUS…

    OTOH, one of two things would happen as a result:

    1) The Court might uphold it, or

    2) The Court would rule against it, but the school districts would pull a collective Andy Jackson and carry on as before…

  • i dunno that the libertarian position on marriage is stable. it makes sense that the federal govt. would want to endorse a certain vision of what marriage is, whatever that may be, as opposed to having your status change depending on what state you’re in.

    abortion is different because it’s a one-time action, and while obviously if you think it’s immoral you’ll likely want it banned, period, giving states the opportunity to decide the immorality/illegality of an action (not a status) makes more sense. however given “Roe v. Wade” it’s impossible to not fight for either the states’ rights or absolute position on the matter at the federal level, unless Congress were to strip courts of their jurisdiction in this specific area, which ain’t gonna happen.

  • and i’m aware of the “get the state out of marriage” argument where neither states nor the feds would be involved in it. just not something i agree with

  • one thing about people who won’t vote GOP based on social issues, look out for Mr. or Mrs. Democratic nominee 2016 to be Mr. or Mrs. Fiscally Conservative

    “well i was thinking about voting for Jon Huntsman, buuut…”

  • i noticed former writer Michael Brendan Dougherty (orthodox Catholic) snarking on twitter asking why people were messaging him about the Huntsman piece, saying just cuz the magazine ran it doesn’t mean they endorse it

    A certain amount of misdirection and irony is Mr. Dougherty’s trademark. He is one of a minority of contributors to the magazine who does not seem to have issues.

  • But you’re right. There is an unreflective assumption that social conservatism must be federally imposed.

    Bonchamps, the opposition planned to impose their burlesque on the country through the full Faith and Credit clause and did in fact impose abortion on demand through the judicial ukase. Not much option but some sort of cross-state response.

  • Why does it seem libertarian causes boil down to legalizing weed and gay marriage?

    What sense does that make?

    America is threatened by graver perils like national bankruptcy, socialism and statism.

    And, just how is legalizing gay marriage liberatrian? The motivation is to procure state approval, recognition and coercive enforcement, thus outlawing religious beliefs of millions. We owe perverts Christian charity because as long as they live they may come to a better “mindset.”

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

  • Showing libertarians that the pro-life position is consistent with the non-aggression principle isn’t that difficult…
    Bonchamps

    I’d like to believe you’re correct, Bonchamps. Alas, in my experience the typical libertarian who attempts to discuss abortion in the context of the non-aggression principle (NAP) will speedily claim that the baby in the womb is aggressing against the mother blah blah blah Judith Jarvis Thompson, blah, violinist, blah blah, my ears are plugged, naah naah, I’m not listening to you, naah naah, the science is settled, case closed.

    Most self-identified libertarians I know are very receptive to the pro-life message…

    I worry that you don’t know as many libertarians as I do.

    And remember, in a political movement those most committed to it set the movement’s agenda and shape how the movement is defined.

  • The smear job on Dreher doesn’t make any sense. What are you actually trying to imply? The man has repeatedly reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage, and this piece is simply a lament of society’s understanding of marriage. I’m not sure what there is to take issue with.

  • AD,

    “Not much option but some sort of cross-state response.”

    Repealing Roe sends it back to the states. That is ultimately what we would like to see.

  • Also, the slam on his “View from you table” posts is really bizarre. Usually, the pictures, sent in by readers, include descriptions of the food, the gathering, and the significance behind it. Things like family traditions and cultural customs. You know, ideas that conservatives are supposed to care about and preserve. If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.

  • ME,

    “And remember, in a political movement those most committed to it set the movement’s agenda and shape how the movement is defined.”

    Ron Paul’s campaigns have challenged the monopoly of opinion enjoyed by pro-abortionists. And Libertarians for Life have been around for some time. We also have Tom Woods, Judge Napolitano and others who oppose abortion. So it is no longer credible for anyone – either anti-libertarians or pro-choice libertarians – to insist that pro-abortionism is the default and necessary libertarian position. In fact it is absurdly easy to take apart Rothbard’s pro-abortion ethics (without viciously hating every word the man every wrote and even finding some value in it).

  • Bonchamps,

    I think AD was referring to gay marriage and the use of the full faith and credit clause to inevitably force states that do not recognize same sex marriage to recognize same sex unions from states that do.

  • Ah. That’s what he meant by “burlesque.”

    Well, the point basically remains. I wouldn’t view a refusal to recognize gay marriage at the federal level to be an example of imposing morality at the federal level. Whether it is a state or the federal government refusing such recognition, it has nothing to do with the regulation of individual, personal behavior. There are no sodomy police, nor is anyone calling for them – but to hear some libertarians and leftists discuss the issue, they sound as if this is exactly what is being proposed.

  • “If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.”

    Pathetic actually sums up Dreher’s frequent changes in religion and ideology. His preoccupation with food seems to be one of the few constants in his career. A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    Classic Jonah Goldberg takedown of Dreher in his insipid “Crunchy Con” incarnation.

    http://old.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200603020807.asp

  • JL: i don’t think anyone’s saying that a blog has to be all politics, all the time. however, since “crunchy cons” Dreher has tried to extrapolate his personal tastes & preferences into a unique form of conservatism in a way that i think is really silly, especially since, let’s call them the “greedy cons,” i’m sure have their own things they enjoy doing & don’t think amassing wealth is the sum of all human existence like he claimed they do.

    “Things like family traditions and cultural customs. You know, ideas that conservatives are supposed to care about and preserve.”

    well sure. the problem is that this can get vague to the point that trying to attach any political label to it is reading too much into things in my view. for instance i come from a family that’s almost all Democrats and you’d think of as upstanding, good people. does this have much to do with the “Burkean conservatism” defined by amconmag? not really, and personally i try to avoid imputing politics to every little aspect of life.

    on the pro-life thing, i don’t doubt that libertarians can have that view (although i never understood Paul’s stock “get the federal government out of it” response when the issue’s been unavoidably federalized since 1973, at least as far as the courts go) however given the amount of emphasis that libertarianism puts against the state and on personal autonomy it’s unsurprising that the liberal and libertarian position would converge for a lot of people

  • I wonder how long before boys start declaring they “feel” like they’re women just to get into the girls’ locker rooms… 😉

  • If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.

    “Unsubtantiated”? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    JL, Mr. McClarey, among others, has experience directly tangling with Dreher and others have observed him for some years. Persistent features of what he has to say are as follows:

    1. An almost compulsive need to display himself.
    2. Great anxiety about his appearance and juxtaposition to others.

    The content of what he says is incidental. It’s all in the stances.

    A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    He is 46, he has three kids, his wife has a spotty job history, and his employment at The American Conservative (a publication with a paid circulation less than a tenth of the one he resigned from a decade ago) would appear to be the result of a career crash. He may not have too many alternatives.

  • “Pathetic actually sums up Dreher’s frequent changes in religion and ideology. His preoccupation with food seems to be one of the few constants in his career. A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.”

    Ahh yes. This trope. If only we all had life figured out before we turned 11, like you Donald. Blokes like Chesterton are incapable of opining with any credibility!

  • lotta strawmanning goin’ on

  • “”“Unsubtantiated”? I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

    It means that if someone’s making a claim, I’d like to see some sort of justification for it.

    “JL, Mr. McClarey, among others, has experience directly tangling with Dreher and others have observed him for some years. Persistent features of what he has to say are as follows:

    1. An almost compulsive need to display himself.
    2. Great anxiety about his appearance and juxtaposition to others.””

    OK, well pardon me if you stating these “facts” doesn’t amount to substantive evidence in my eyes. If these two have tangled, I’d love to see the primary source for myself and form my own opinion.

    “The content of what he says is incidental. It’s all in the stances.

    A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    He is 46, he has three kids, his wife has a spotty job history, and his employment at The American Conservative (a publication with a paid circulation less than a tenth of the one he resigned from a decade ago) would appear to be the result of a career crash. He may not have too many alternatives.”

    Ha, thanks for the conspiracy theory Art. Clearly it’s an impossibility that he could actually have convictions that GASP! aren’t identical to ones he had 10 years ago.

    Now let’s get back to bashing “The View From Your Table!” Take this iteration, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/view-from-your-table-170/, where Rod, an alleged “conservative,” has the balls to say this!!! :

    “That, my dears, is a vasilopita, or, St. Basil’s Cake. Today, on the Old Calendar, is the Feast of St. Basil. Inside the cake is baked a coin, in honor of a tradition that says St. Basil wanted to distribute money to the poor, but to allow them to retain their dignity. So he baked gold coins into cakes he distributed to them. Today, people put a single coin into the batter. The the tradition is that the first slice is for Jesus Christ, the second for his Holy Mother, and the third for St. Basil. And then on you go, through each member of the family. Whoever gets the piece with the coin in it is said to be blessed throughout the year.

    St. Basil got the coin in our house tonight, but Nora (see right) got that piece. She holds the coin in her hand. This was the first year we had such a cake. It was completely delicious.”

    Clearly talking about Orthodox customs has no value to conservatives at all. He’s obviously desperate for content! Instead he should devote a blog post to a Russian folk song.

  • Chesterton and Dreher, please! Chesterton was a Catholic in belief long before he converted, and when he converted he stayed converted. He remained remarkably consistent in his political and economic beliefs throughout his career. A better example of Dreher’s career is actually that of Gary Wills, although Rod mercifully does not have the rancor of Wills for people believing what he used to believe.

  • JL i have been familiar with Dreher for a while now. it’s not inaccurate to say he conflates his own personal lifestyle a lot with what he thinks conservatism should be. it’s not the same as offering certain critiques of modern conservatism.

    as far as the post you mentioned…cool? like i mentioned above these things might be interesting for some but i do not view them in political terms. i’m averse to affixing liberalism or conservatism to what are basic human experiences

  • The conversion from Methodist to Catholic to Orthodox is far less radical than that of an agnostic steeped in the occult ending up in the RC. I’m not attempting to make the claim that Dreher is somehow on GKC’s caliber. I’m saying your dismissal of a man’s opinions and beliefs because they’re not the same as they were 10 years ago is petulant.

  • “well sure. the problem is that this can get vague to the point that trying to attach any political label to it is reading too much into things in my view. for instance i come from a family that’s almost all Democrats and you’d think of as upstanding, good people. does this have much to do with the “Burkean conservatism” defined by amconmag? not really, and personally i try to avoid imputing politics to every little aspect of life.”

    I think I get what you’re saying, but I don’t really follow. So Value A is inclusive to both Group 1 and Group 2. Therefore Group 1 is forbidden from talking about it?

  • I’m glad I don’t have an opinion-maker in this fight.

    I read Taki’s 🙂

  • “JL i have been familiar with Dreher for a while now. it’s not inaccurate to say he conflates his own personal lifestyle a lot with what he thinks conservatism should be. it’s not the same as offering certain critiques of modern conservatism.”

    So his actions in life are actually informed by his convictions? Ok…I’m really failing to see the harm in any of this.

    “as far as the post you mentioned…cool? like i mentioned above these things might be interesting for some but i do not view them in political terms. i’m averse to affixing liberalism or conservatism to what are basic human experiences”

    I’m not sure Dreher views them in “political terms” either, whatever that means. The entire idea of Burkean/Kirkean liberalism is that its non-ideologocial, and is simply the articulation of what was generally accepted as true about life and society before liberalism sprang up, but never before needed to be summed up in some grandiose political programme.

  • There are no sodomy police, nor is anyone calling for them – but to hear some libertarians and leftists discuss the issue, they sound as if this is exactly what is being proposed.

    Because such tactics work in changing the conversation. If you’ve had any dealings with young turks on twitter and other social media you realize that they don’t have any ability to cogently put forward an argument in defense of same sex marriage. What they can do is offer jeremiads about “hate” and “bigotry.” It’s a beautiful tactic, really, because it plays on people’s emotions.

  • They seem to be under the impression that opposition to “gay marriage” is tantamount to a legal prohibition on personal behavior. This is the great lie I am trying to defeat.

  • no i’m saying there is a line between a particular lifestyle you live and taking it to be some unique form of political philosophy. you don’t typically see eccentric liberals who maybe don’t quite fit in with some of their peers try to invent a new subset of liberalism based on this for example.

    also the “political” comment was in response to you, you’re the guy who said that people here were being mean to the guy by supposedly refusing to acknowledge the relevance of these things to traditional conservatism, and then pulled the all-purpose ill-defined “Burkean/Kirkian” card to make my point on AmCon for me

  • “They seem to be under the impression that opposition to “gay marriage” is tantamount to a legal prohibition on personal behavior”

    no one thinks this. people like those mentioned above are just playing on the fact that opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to homosexuality are related, though not always, and their view that you shouldn’t be allowed to make a distinction between traditional and SSM

  • If minor childen must be in school by law, then the public schools must accomodate their needs for modesty and privacy until they are adults. This would outlaw strangers talking to the minor children about sexual intimacy, soul raping through indoctrination and kidnapping by the state. Every civil right in the Constitution by its nature has sanction against the violation of its freedom. Atheism is sanctioned by freedom of Religion. Perjury is sanctioned by free speech. Social engineering is sanctioned by peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly is freedom not only to petition government for redress but for persons, especially minor children, to be secure in their virginity and innocence, as they are created, because innocence and virginIty are the bone and sinew of JUSTICE.

  • Ha, thanks for the conspiracy theory Art.

    JL, that term does not mean what you think it means, either. (For one thing, ‘conspiracy’ implies common action with some other individual).

    To make it more explicit for your understanding: Dreher’s career has been producing commentary. That is what he does. He has been variously a film critic, columnist, editorial writer, and now a a daily blogger. He has lived in six different cities and been employed by seven different publications, but admits to no history as a reporter (a trade not in the best of straits as we speak) Retooling at his age is difficult and his last attempt (an editorial position with the Templeton Foundation) came a cropper. Even if he makes a buffoon out of himself, his options to do something other than topical commentary are constricted.

    OK, well pardon me if you stating these “facts” doesn’t amount to substantive evidence in my eyes. If these two have tangled, I’d love to see the primary source for myself and form my own opinion.

    JL, just to recall the history of this exchange, Dr. Zummo referred to Mr. Dreher as a ‘useful idiot’. That’s an insult. It is not something one substantiates or fails to substantiate. My remarks are as follows: He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.. There are two parts to that. One is readily verifiable if you assemble a bibliography of his writings. It is not that difficult for you to rummage through the archives of The American Conservative or Beliefnet or find Maggie Gallagher’s replies to Dreher in various fora if you are at all curious as to how often he returns to this theme. My second sentence is what is known colloquially as a ‘joke’. That is not something you substantiate either.

    That Dreher has an atypical impulse to publicize his opinions and impressions is one he admits to himself. It was his explanation for resigning from the Templeton Foundation, which had insisted as a condition of employment he discontinue his Beliefnet column.

    As for my understanding of the common threads in Dreher’s writing, well, that is a matter of opinion as well. We could assemble his stray topical commentary over the years, his articles and columns, and in particular look at aspects of form, which, in Dreher’s case is important (emotionalism is standard fare). There was a period during which Rod Dreher was all over Catholic discussion fora and anyone who perused it got to be familiar with him. For Dreher, the personal really is the political (and the religious). Honestly, though, this is a blog posting, not a master’s thesis, and the man’s a rank and file pundit, not Karl Barth. (And I have wasted too many pixels on this already).

  • “JL, that term does not mean what you think it means, either. (For one thing, ‘conspiracy’ implies common action with some other individual).”

    Well clearly his wife and kids are in on it. But you’ve nabbed em, Art!

    Again, nothing you imply about Dreher’s convictions or lack thereof amounts to anything more than overwrought, contrived conjecture, “reading” your own nefarious motives into another man’s actions. Apologies for taking the man at his word.

    “JL, just to recall the history of this exchange, Dr. Zummo referred to Mr. Dreher as a ‘useful idiot’. That’s an insult. It is not something one substantiates or fails to substantiate. My remarks are as follows: He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.. There are two parts to that. One is readily verifiable if you assemble a bibliography of his writings. It is not that difficult for you to rummage through the archives of The American Conservative or Beliefnet or find Maggie Gallagher’s replies to Dreher in various fora if you are at all curious as to how often he returns to this theme. My second sentence is what is known colloquially as a ‘joke’. That is not something you substantiate either.”

    Actually Art, opinions can and should be substantiated if their issuer wants them to be perceived as anything more than a string of baseless syllables. Calling someone a “useful idiot” without much explanation, save a link to an article which seemed anything but idiotic, isn’t just insulting, it’s flippant and wrongheaded. As is implying that someone resorts to showing pictures of food when they run out of ideas.

    “, which, in Dreher’s case is important (emotionalism is standard fare).”
    Depends on what you mean by “emotionalism,” but probably another unsubstantiated claim.

    “For Dreher, the personal really is the political (and the religious).”
    Good, I hope it’d be.

  • “no i’m saying there is a line between a particular lifestyle you live and taking it to be some unique form of political philosophy. you don’t typically see eccentric liberals who maybe don’t quite fit in with some of their peers try to invent a new subset of liberalism based on this for example.

    also the “political” comment was in response to you, you’re the guy who said that people here were being mean to the guy by supposedly refusing to acknowledge the relevance of these things to traditional conservatism, and then pulled the all-purpose ill-defined “Burkean/Kirkian” card to make my point on AmCon for me”

    I don’t think it’s a “unique form of political philosophy,” I just think alleged conservatives should be less derisive of a nice feature that celebrates tradition, family, and culture.

    I think Dreher’s brand of conservatism differs substantially from other forms. He might generally vote GOP, but there’s nothing wrong with distinguishing his approach to politics from the approach of others who happen to vote for the same candidates as him, but for different reasons. The more specificity the better.

  • “I just think alleged conservatives should be less derisive of a nice feature that celebrates tradition, family, and culture.”

    if someone’s not allowed to mock a post about kale, the terrorists truly have won

    me myself i eat conservative food, take conservative walks and drink conservative beers on a regular basis

  • in seriousness i get that people would have certain issues with the modern-day GOP, certain Team Red conservative commentators, i get it. and i appreciate that there’s an interest in other, less partisan arguments with a different focus. i just don’t find AmCon to be a useful alternative for reasons Art has outlined before

  • Art Deco has outlined

  • Donald, I agree Chesterton was a Catholic before he converted. I also think he retained a personlity that was quintessentially Protestant throughout his life. That was his paradox.

  • There are many words that I would use to describe Chesterton in his adult years, and a “Protestant personality”, whatever the devil that is, would not be among them. On my father’s side all my relatives are Protestant and I have never noted any difference in personality between them and me attributable to our difference of religion.

  • Does the government have the authentic authority to take your tax money and force your daughter to go to potty with a male child to validate his feminine side? Let his mother and father valid his sex. Your daughter owes him/her nothing. NOTHING.

  • Donald, I’m drawing on biographical information I’ve come across on him. He was quintessentially Protestant, though Roman in doctrine.

  • In what way was he Protestant in personality Jon? Be specific.

  • Well, Donald, that’s the great paradox of this man. He was an Englishman, an eccentric (he messed with a ouji board during his occult phase), a sort of freethinker, very hung up on liberty, an Anglican for many years, and what drove this otherwise Protestant figure to Rome was the decay that had already begun to set in in highchurch Anglicanism by his time.

  • I see nothing specifically Protestant about any of that Jon. Chesterton was a Catholic in belief long before his formal conversion in 1922. For example in 1911 in his poem Lepanto he wrote:
    The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,—

    If anything I would say that Chesterton as an adult had a naturally Catholic way in which he viewed the world.

  • Yes, Donald. I’m trying to say something different. His formation was high church Anglicanism. Not Roman, but as close as you could get. This was what moulded him. He then became disgusted and went over to Rome. But he was quintessentially Protestant, even if his beginnings were in high chruch Anglicanism. The fact is that he didn’t start in Rome. That’s my point. He’s a Protestant character.

  • What many people don’t realize is that Anglicanism is a hybrid. Canterbury is a cross between Rome and Geneva, and some are totally on one side or the other. They remain completely Protestant in character, though their doctrine can be pretty Roman.

  • Jon, unless you actually define with some specificity you mean when you “character,” I don’t think anyone will know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • “if someone’s not allowed to mock a post about kale, the terrorists truly have won”

    Not at all what I said. Mock away, but it probably reveals that they have a personal ax to grind instead of a legitimate criticism of someone’s political views.

  • “The fact is that he didn’t start in Rome. That’s my point. He’s a Protestant character.”

    Until you define what a “Protestant character” is Jon, there is no way that the accuracy of that statement can be judged.

  • “What many people don’t realize is that Anglicanism is a hybrid.”
    Bastard child might be a better way to put it. Henry VIII and Elizabeth were basically religious conservatives and wanted all the traditional smells and bells with them being pope. As a result the Anglican prelates of their time, most of them Protestants in belief, had to walk a tightrope and many of the 39 Anglican articles could either be interpreted in a “Catholic” or Protestant sense if one closed one’s eyes to the obvious implications of all of them taken as a whole. The Protestant interpretation won the day over time, with occasional “Catholic” reactions, most notably the Oxford Movement that Newman helped head. As for Chesterton Anglicanism was actually the faith of his wife. He converted to it from Unitarianism but was never really satisfied by it. Here is what he has wrote in 1911:

    “I think I have known intimately by now all the best kinds of Anglicanism, and I find them only a pale imitation”

    Out of respect for the sensibilities of his wife he delayed his conversion to 1922. She converted in 1926.

  • Mock away, but it probably reveals that they have a personal ax to grind instead of a legitimate criticism of someone’s political views.

    What personal axe, JL? Rod Dreher would not know me from a cord of wood. We’ve exchanged two sentences online in 11 years.

  • I suppose all of us who are converts carry something of our protestant “baggage” with us, but that doesn’t necessarily make our “character” protestant.

    The essence of protestantism is a prediliction for picking and choosing what they prefer to believe and a take-my-ball-and-go-home (or switch churches) mentality when things don’t go their way. Sadly, there are converts that continue to exhibit this trait. Chesterton, however, was decidedly NOT among those types.

    I will leave it to others to decide for themselves whether they believe anyone else discussed in this thread might seem to fit the bill.

  • “What personal axe, JL? Rod Dreher would not know me from a cord of wood. We’ve exchanged two sentences online in 11 years.”

    Well you apparently know plenty about him. I really don’t understand the bashing of “View From Your Table.” As I’ve already detailed how its content and purpose should resonate with and be celebrated by conservatives, I’m forced to conclude that your dismissal of it can only be chalked up to an ignorance of what it is or animosity towards its originator.

    By the way, here’s a kick-ass Dreher post from today: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/wapo-error-has-no-rights/

    Perhaps nothing earth-shattering, but it’s little things like this that make me wonder if we’ve crossed the Rubicon and it’s just time to get out of Dodge.

  • It is the Catholic Church Who defines and interprets scripture for the Catholic Faith and uses tradition and the Magisterium. The Protestant faith has sola scriptura and does not use tradition or a single Pontiff, unless one considers Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Church of England. I do not know and cannot say how the Church of England defines its tenets.

  • Well you apparently know plenty about him.

    He is a public figure and says plenty about himself.

  • Donald, I think Chesterton was a Protestant character insofar as he thought independently, was pretty eccentric, and very libertarian. He didn’t fit the mold of many pre-Vatican II Catholics, many of whom are alive now and are not Berean-like (they would not go home to search the Scriptures to see if what they are told by authority is correct, but will take authority at face value as if following authority were virtuous in itself–why did fascism appear in Italy and Spain?). Of course Chesterton was Roman Catholic in doctrine.

    As for the Reformation in England, it began politically. I know Henry VIII was a jerk. Everyone does. And I think Mary took after him–they were both incredibly pigheaded. I find Elizabeth I to be an absolute delight. A real gentlewoman. I read the collected works and can discern that she was Protestant in doctrine. The doctrine that made its way to the Anglican church was Lutheran under Edward, and when it was safe enough for the refugees to return, Calvinist. The Articles are pretty Calvinistic, though they haven’t always been taken very seriously, for better or worse.

  • What many people don’t realize is that there are basically three Anglican types: the Evangelical who is like a Baptist, the broad churchman in the middle who is not at either extreme, and the Anglo-Catholic who is not Roman. Many people become confused because they’re unaware of this. The diocese of Sydney, for example, is so reformed you would swear you were worshiping in a Baptist or Presbyterian church. Now there is a segment that’s very liberal and undefined in doctrine, but that allows just about anything. So the Anglican communion and the Episcopal Church in America, especially, are very diverse internally. Some of these people feel Roman Catholic and may wind up there. Others many wind up in a low church. Still others may continue to stay, either upset or upsetting others. It’s a complicated situation.

  • Jay, you are correct to a degree. When many diverse Protestant chruches exist, people can switch when they becvome dissapointed. But the feeling is that it’s better to have diversity than uniformity. Everything has its pros and cons, but at the end of the day one wishes to held captive to Scripure and God, and the church insofar as it adheres to that. Every chruch has its quarrels and its bigwigs and its showoffs, some of whom are sometimes the leaders. One simply has to learn tolerance and excersise charity.

  • Part of the problem with getting anything across to “Libertarians” is that it’s the go-to self-label for folks who want to be special snowflakes and grant their own views Super Special Rational Powers unlike any other political view. Even if they’re “libertarians” who vote Dem or Socialist consistently or want licenses for people to be allowed to reproduce, they’ll take the name. (Examples from real life– humans! What more is there to say?)

    Generally, when you do make the case for abortion being illegitimate because it’s killing another, they just get angry.
    I’ve had one anarcho-capitalist type Libertarian stop talking to me because when he threw a fit about gov’t being able to use deadly force, I pointed out that his “no killing humans” stance was rather weak because he is pro abortion.

    While straight Libertarian philosophy should be very obviously pro-life, libertarian has a strong tendency to be used when libertine would be more accurate, famous statements not withstanding.
    They just want to be the ones deciding who is person enough to have their rights respected.

    Gets darkly funny when you run into the strain of Libertarian that holds nobody has the right to say someone else isn’t part of this or that group….

  • “Donald, I think Chesterton was a Protestant character insofar as he thought independently, was pretty eccentric, and very libertarian”

    All of which fit many Catholics both pre and post Vatican II. Chesterton would have fit in well with most of the Irish nationalists of his day if he had been born one of the Great Gaels he wrote about:
    “For the great Gaels of Ireland / Are the men that God made mad, / For all their wars are merry, / And all their songs are sad.”

    “I to be an absolute delight.”

    She was an absolute bundle of laugh for my Irish Catholic ancestors.

    “I read the collected works and can discern that she was Protestant in doctrine.”

    In regard to religion Elizabeth viewed herself as trodding a middle path between those she condemned as Romanists, ie those who possessed the True Faith and died for it under Bloody Bess, and radical Protestants. This from a speech in 1583:

    “One matter touches me so near as I may not overskip; religion is the ground on which all other matters ought to take root, and being corrupted may mar all the tree; and that there be some fault finders with the order of the clergy, which so may make a slander to myself and the Church whose overruler God hath made me, whose negligence cannot be excused if any schisms or errors heretical were suffered.

    Thus much I must say that some faults and negligence may grow and be, as in all other great charges it happeneth; and what vocation without? All which if you, my Lords of the clergy, do not amend, I mean to depose you. Look ye therefore well to your charges.

    I am supposed to have many studies but most philosophical. I must yield this to be true, that I suppose few that be no professors have read more. And I need not tell you that I am so simple that I understand not, nor so forgetful that I remember not. And yet amidst so many volumes I hope God’s book hath not been my seldomest lectures; in which we find that which by reason, for my part, we ought to believe–that seeing so great wickedness and griefs in the world in which we live but as wayfaring pilgrims, we must suppose that God would never have made us but for a better place and of more comfort than we find here. I know no creature that breatheth whose life standeth hourly in more peril for it than mine own; who entered not into my state without sight of manifold dangers of life and crown, as one that had the mightiest and the greatest to wrestle with. Then it followeth that I regarded it so much as I left myself behind my care. And so you see that you wrong me too much if any such there be as doubt my coldness in that behalf. For if I were not persuaded that mine were the true way of God’s will, God forbid I should live to prescribe it to you. Take you heed lest Ecclesiastes say not too true; they that fear the hoary frost the snow shall fall upon them.

    I see many overbold with God Almighty making too many subtle scannings of His blessed will, as lawyers do with human testaments. The presumption is so great, as I may not suffer it. Yet mind I not hereby to animate Romanists (which what adversaries they be to mine estate is sufficiently well known) nor tolerate newfangledness. I mean to guide them both by God’s holy true rule. In both parts be perils. And of the latter I must pronounce them dangerous to a kingly rule: to have every man according to his own censure, to make a doom of a validity and privity of his Prince’s government with a common veil and cover of God’s word, whose followers must not be judged, but by private men’s exposition. God defend you from such a ruler that so evil will guide you. Now I conclude that your love and care neither is nor shall be bestowed upon a careless Prince, but such as for your good will passeth as little for this world as who careth least. With thanks for your free subsidy, a manifest show of the abundance of your good wills, the which I assure you, but to be employed to your weal, I could be better pleased to return than receive.”

  • “While straight Libertarian philosophy should be very obviously pro-life, libertarian has a strong tendency to be used when libertine would be more accurate, famous statements not withstanding.
    They just want to be the ones deciding who is person enough to have their rights respected.”

    Bingo. They usually have a very cramped idea of when “rights” impact those luckless enough to be in their way. Abortion is the classic example.

  • Very good, Donald. Thank you. Celtic territories were never far from Protestantism even while Roman. So I agree with what you said about Chesterton. Celtic pockets have been linked with mroe independent thought in religion.

  • My Irish Catholic ancestors wished they were very far indeed from Protestantism Jon, especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.

  • COncerning Elizabeth I, I’m not sure what’s comic. I never found her funny or amusing. Thanks for the quote. Yes, it was a settlement for the crown and the growing nation that worked. She didn’t like those who preach long and get very detailed and who stress the regulative principle of worship. The settlement was at stake, and this comes through in your quote. In many other places throughout her writings she seems authentically Protestant in doctrine, sentiment, and temperament. We already knwo the settlement accounted for some of it. It cannot account for everything she wrote. She always spoke as one who had to give an account to a higher one, as one who knew she was placed upon the throne and dependent upon the one who placed her there. As one who knew she shoulod shepherd her people affectionately and humbly. She knew she was there for a task and that it was pivotal. Her father was obviously a jerk and her half sister wasn’t too swift either.

  • “As one who knew she shoulod shepherd her people affectionately and humbly.”
    Yes, many of my English Catholic brothers and sisters felt her affectionate regard at Tyburn.

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/02/312-english-catholic-martyrs-and-heroic.html

  • Yes, Donald, there is the Irish crisis with the Englisha dn Scots settlers, or rather those who were dumped there. I know that. But celtic religion has always been of a different variety and alien to the Roman structure. Witness Rowan Williams, who recently resigned but who was arguably the most eccentric cleric and a Welshman! Very interesting fellow and a real genious.

  • “But celtic religion has always been of a different variety and alien to the Roman structure.”

    Not really. Once communication was firmly established between Rome and Ireland, the Irish began their long career as the loyalest sons and daughters of the Church. Would that the present generation in Ireland had not foresaken that old allegiance.

  • Yes, more research needs to be done on Celtic Christianity, not in the popular sense of advocating wishy washy spirituality, but of establishin its unique character and links with independent and reformed thinking throughout Europe. There’s a connection.

  • Well it was from the grassroots, Patrick and all. In Britain it was superimposed more or less. But Ireland was a far trip from Rome and I think it can be established that the Celtic areas though not necessaritly Ireland were to some degree more prone to local spirituality.

  • Well it was from the grassroots, Patrick and all. In Britain it was superimposed more or less. I think it can be established that the Celtic areas though not necessaritly Ireland were to some degree more prone to local spirituality.

  • Apparently, Freud did not say, regarding the Irish, “This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.”

    But, likely it’s correct.

  • Jon, your argument essentially boils down to something like “Anyone who doesn’t live in Rome is Protestant in character.” I really don’t get it.

  • No, there’s research to suggest a connection exists between celtic pockets and a break away from Rome. I haven’t looked into it so I can’t specify. While Elizabeth wasn’t perfect, her half sister Mary was no bargain either. She earned a dark reputation for killing people who didn’t acquiese when she steered the realm back to Rome. Then she wanted children but couldn’t get pregnant so she psychosomatically expanded her stomach, and she kept herself surrounded by ‘little people’ at court.

  • She earned a dark reputation for killing people who didn’t acquiese when she steered the realm back to Rome. Then she wanted children but couldn’t get pregnant so she psychosomatically expanded her stomach, and she kept herself surrounded by ‘little people’ at court.

    I haven’t been monitoring this thread too closely because I’ve been travelling, but how on Earth did we go from a post about cultural issues to a discussion of Mary, Queen of Scots, and what she may or may not have believed or done?

    That said, yeah, Jon’s definition of “Protestant” attitudes is . . . something.

  • Jon, the Catholic Church is decidedly culturally-relativistic. Incorporation of local customs and traditions, insofar as they do not violate theological precepts and moral standards, are more or less par for the course.

  • NO, not Mary Queen of Scots, but Mary who reigned immediately prior to Elizabeth I. Someone mentioned Elizabeth I wasn’t perfect, so I pointed out a few of Mary’s imperfections.

  • JL, I agree. That’s the way it should be, though wherever the gospel is preached and many lives are changed, some cultural patterns change. Some practices change. I thinhk of the peace and truce of God in the MIddle Ages. Barbarism yields to civility.

  • NO, not Mary Queen of Scots, but Mary who reigned immediately prior to Elizabeth I.

    Kinda missing the point, Jon.

  • especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.

    You got something against my family?

  • If I did Art I’d have to go to war against myself since on my father’s side I am pretty sure they were reprepresented among those Calvinist “settlers”.

  • I did a little research and what I found out was that the Irish church was more in touch with earlier, eastern christianity and rather disconnected from Rome. The Irish church sent out missionaries to the continent. Those places turned out to be fertile soil during the Reformation. So it was areas reached by the Irish church that gave a ready welcome to Protestant theology. It makes sense.

  • Complete and total rubbish Jon. This missionary effort occurred almost a millenium before the Reformation and the Irish missionaries established monasteries which were anathema to Luther and his ilk. These monasteries were pillars of the Catholic Church, centers of learning, during what has been erroneously called the Dark Ages. The Stowe Missal, a sacrementary in Ireland written in 750, has prayers for the Pope as part of the Mass. You are sadly mistaken in your attempt to depict the earliest Irish Catholics as proto-Protestants.

  • The Irish saved civilization.

    During the Middle Ages, newly converted Irish Christians embraced monasticism as a sort of martyrdom. These holy ascetics preserved ancient books and spread it back to western Europe.

    If they were not faithful to the Gospel, the Irish had a huge beef with the Pope that effectively ceded Eire to the Norman conquerors. The Irish stayed in a clan/tribal system. They did not go through a feudal economic/political era.

    That being said, the Irish can be very “hard cases.”

    And, Freud did not say, “The Irish are the only people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” Although, that does not alter the reality of the condition.

  • Yes, it seems there has always been a disconnect between Rome and Ireland, if not in thought then at least in practice.

  • I agree the Dark Ages were not ‘dark’. The renaissance was not as much of a revival as we have thought.

  • Yes, the Irish, who suffered conquest, persecution, death, and disenfranchisment in their own country for daring to practice the Roman Catholic faith, and who kept that faith alive in secret Masses in bogs and on hillsides, and who put candles in the windows of their homes to let priests know it was safe to come in to say Mass, and who, if discovered doing those activities were liable unto death, were REALLY “protestants” who, if shown the error of their ways, would have gladly accepted the “reforms” of the “Church of Ireland” (i.e. the Church of England) or the Calvinism of the Scottish transplants.

    Yes, those Irish were so “disconnected” from Rome that, up until very recently, they were among the most faithful Roman Catholics in all of Europe.

  • Art Deco says:
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 A.D. at 5:47pm
    especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.
    You got something against my family?
    Donald R. McClarey says:
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 A.D. at 5:50pm
    If I did Art I’d have to go to war against myself since on my father’s side I am pretty sure they were reprepresented among those Calvinist “settlers”.

    Good grief, y’all are BOTH my relatives?

    Explains so much….

  • “Good grief, y’all are BOTH my relatives? ”

    ..and then there was that Scot who came to Poland and married one of my ancestors.

  • The “explains so much” statement stands. *grin*

  • “Explains so much….”

    Yep. My Irish and Scottish ancestors were the most peace loving people in the world and they would gladly have gone to war against anyone who said otherwise. 🙂

Resignation Rumors

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

Well this was inevitable.  When something that hasn’t happened for almost six centuries happens, there are going to be rumors about why it is happening:

VATICAN CITY – With just days to go before Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the Vatican is battling rumours that his decision was triggered by an explosive report on intrigue in its hallowed corridors of power.

The secret report compiled by a committee of three cardinals for the pope’s eyes only was the result of a broad inquiry into leaks of secret Vatican papers last year — a scandal known as “Vatileaks”.

The cardinals questioned dozens of Vatican officials and presented the pope with their final report in December 2012, just before Benedict pardoned his former butler Paolo Gabriele who had been jailed for leaking the papal memos.

The Panorama news weekly and the Repubblica daily said on Thursday that the cardinals’ report contained allegations of corruption and of blackmail attempts against gay Vatican clergymen, as well as favouritism based on gay relationships.

The Vatican has declined to comment on these two reports, with spokesman Federico Lombardi saying they were “conjectures, fictions and opinions.”

In an interview with El Pais, one of the investigating cardinals, Julian Herranz, said the scandal was “a bubble” that had been “inflated”.

“There will be black sheep, I am not saying there are not, like in all families,” he said, adding that the investigators had “spoken to people, seen what works and what does not, lights and shadows”.

Speaking to Italy’s Radio 24, Herranz said the idea that “Vatileaks” might have influenced the pope’s decision was one “hypothesis” among many others.

“These are decisions that are taken personally in the deep of one’s conscience and they must be profoundly respected,” the 82-year-old said.

At his final public mass last week, Benedict himself condemned “religious hypocrisy” and urged an end to “individualism and rivalry”.

“The face of the Church… is at times disfigured. I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the Church,” he said, without elaborating.

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24 Responses to Resignation Rumors

  • I sat through the child protection seminar three years ago and left confused by two things: how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse and how can it be that the highest ranking members of our clergy were not utterly enraged by the stories they heard.

    I have read snipets of the referenced allegations for several years due to translations of Italian news outlets – outlets consumed with interest in scandal, particularly secular and Vatican political scandal. Allegations of homosexual impropriety at the Vatican are legion.

    The elephant in the room is that homosexuality appears to be more prevalent than we want to acknowledge and enough of our clergy are acting on their impulses to bring scandal to the Church on an ongoing basis. Benedict forcefully affirmed the Church’s position early in his Papacy. We will likely never know if he would have gone farther or if the push-back from the hierachy was too much for him to have purged their ranks of the actively homosexual priests.

  • “how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse”

    The efforts to make such an argument, in defiance of all the facts of the abuse, were both striking and ridiculous.

  • I sat through the child protection seminar three years ago and left confused by two things: how can the Archdiocese straight faced say that there is no homosexual connection to the abuse and how can it be that the highest ranking members of our clergy were not utterly enraged by the stories they heard.

    They say it because they are listening to members of the helping professions, in part out of lack of self-confidence and in part because their lawyers tell them to do so. As for the helping professions, denying the pathologies and personal responsibility of the homosexual population is part of their professional ideology. It is a postulate.

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex. Fair enough… But, within that class, surely there are sub-classes of those attracted exclusively to young boys, exclusively to young girls, and indiscriminately deviant?

    The other problem I had was that the presentation used only the most eggregious abuse as examples, the ones that left me, as a parent, wondering “and the parents let this go on for how long?” The Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia suggests that a large percentage of the coerced sex was from male clergy to post-pubescant boys, 16 to 19 years old or so.

    Surely the man who finds young men or women attractive is in a different, albeit deviant too, place than one who is attracted to young children?

    It is surprising to me that the Church treats homosexuality within the churchas nearly taboo and that makes me wonder if these recurring stories are not true.

  • Marie Carre’s AA-1025 book about the communists infiltration of the Catholic Church; fodder or fact?

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex

    There are biologists who specialize in taxonomy; some are ‘lumpers’ and some are ‘splitters’.

    There is a specialist in sexual behavior named Bailey (sociologist or psychologist at Northwestern, IIRC) who was raked over the coals by ‘activists’ about 10 years ago for publishing a monograph which argued that transexualism is a surface manifestation of one of two sorts of deviance: it can express intense homosexuality or an odd sort of sexual fetishism. This thesis got some people’s noses out of joint.

    A librarian of my acquaintance had this to say: “all schemes of classification are ultimately arbitrary. The point is, ‘can you learn them’?”. This may not be altogether true, but should the purveyors of psychotherapy and ‘counseling’ really be accorded such trust that one does not notice that their taxonomies are verrrrry conveeeenient.

  • The Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia suggests that a large percentage of the coerced sex was from male clergy to post-pubescant boys, 16 to 19 years old or so.

    The Grand Jury apparently fancies that the Catholic clergy have a median age of about 32 and are recruited exclusively from the ranks of military officers and athletic coaches.

  • The OT and NT both acknowledge that bestiality and male homosexuality exist in the human condition. The medical community sees a distinction between same-gender attraction (homosexuality, from homos, Greek, not homo-Latin so it is genderless). And attraction to infants and pre-pubescent males and same for females AND post-pubescent males and females. Media and bishops alike and at times Vatican offiicials bandied about the word “homosexuality” to apply to all without distinction. The US bishops have a Charter that presumes that even one allegation made, proven or confessed decadaes ago demands the canonical death penalty for clergy. The sociological evidence and Court cases are slowly revealing the high incidence of abuse by males, and females, single and married against each gender of all ages. The media-legal mud and revelations from Church and State officials are slowly showing that University professors, medical personnel and teachers as well as all varieties of Protestant and Jewish clergy and also guilty of power-abuse of all age groups from grade school through University and adults in the various medical and other professional care, are a large part of the actual story. Most abuse is incest and abuse within the family. Is it not time then to lay off old and false unproven allegations and past deeds of hierarchy and clergy and deal with the whole culture and Church and make a sharp distinction between very sick men and women and boundary violations by clergy who were coming to emotional maturity after a sheltered all male formation and education- hot-house versus the wind and rain of the outside world.

  • Besides AA-1025 has anyone read Bella Dodd’s interviews and the number of young men of communist persuasion who were sent to the seminaries to subvert the faith? Her book School of Darkness is still available. All this was planned out by the Grand Masonic Lodge in Rome, read the Alta Vendita–which one of our past popes had printed had his own expense so lay people would be warned.

  • It would be comforting to be a conspiracy theorist and believe that the problems within the Church were caused by Masons and Communists. Alas, this is so much crank wackery, and our problems are basically a result of too many of both the clergy and the laity turning their backs on traditional Catholicism in favor of Catholicism Lite, a Catholicism stripped of its beauty and empty at its core.

  • I’m sorry LoneThinker, I am not following you. Could you state the same thing more simply?

  • “….comforting to be a conspiracy theorists…”

    There’s nothing comforting about the warfare going on, nor the means by which the enemy will use to win souls. On the two hundredth anniversary of the Masons a young seminarian studying in Rome was witness to the celebrations of professed destroyers of Catholic Church. St. Maximilian Kolbe noticed the hatred of the Masons as they waved their banners of Lucifer crushing the head of St. Michael.
    This is a warfare of the possession of souls by Christ through grace or by the prince of this world through sin.
    To easily dispute the notion of conspiracy and name it “crank wackery” is akin to saying that spies never existed in WWII. You are correct in the obvious, that Catholic Lite is the choice of many, however to rule out subversion of our Holy Church by any means possible is unbecoming of your great intellect.

  • Nope Philip it is simple rubbish today. The problems that currently beset the Church are not caused by evil conspiracies of, cue the foreboding music, Masons, Communists, Liberals et al. Would that it would be so easy to set all aright by merely defeating a small, albeit influential, cabal! At bottom our problems are caused by too many people within the Church behaving as if they did not believe what the Church teaches is actually true. That is what is at the core of all of our problems: the abuse crisis, the fact that the Mass is celebrated today throughout this country with all the awe, splendor and majesty of a tupperware party, the fact that Catholics routinely vote for pro-aborts, etc. The crisis of the Church is not external but internal, and it is a simple failure of belief.

  • Unfortunately your probably correct.
    We have met the enemy, and it is us.
    Peace Donald.

  • Donald: “the fact that the Mass is celebrated today throughout this country with all the awe, splendor and majesty of a tupperware party,”
    You have said it.

  • As I understood the argument, attraction to children is a distinct class of sexuality, distinguishable from homosexual and heterosexual sex.

    Pedophilia is often used to include ephebophilia– under-aged, but have gone through at least part of the sexual change. (depending on what source you’re looking at, too)

    Probably a lot more common than little-kid pedophilia, and much more likely to get a “pass” or be actively defended.

    From memory, most of the sex abuse in the US was homosexual and aimed at post-pubescent boys.

    Very vulnerable targets, especially for abuse by experienced predators. (That’s why “under aged” isn’t tied to “has started puberty.”)

  • “From memory, most of the sex abuse in the US was homosexual and aimed at post-pubescent boys.”

    Correct. That it is often overlooked is no accident as the Marxists used to say.

  • All of which begs the question: Why doesn’t the Church acknowledge the homosexual connection to the abuse? The first step in healing a patient should be diagnosis.

  • I think Rembert Weakland about sums it up. Former Archbishop of Milwaukee he was heterodox and orthodox Catholics often wondered how he had risen so far in the heirarchy. 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

    Needless to say Weakland has never paid back a dime of the hush money. This thief sits today on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. He is living evidence of the truth that there is clearly a “lavender Mafia” at work within the Church that promotes its members and protects them. The next Pope will have his work cut out for him if he decides to attack this evil head on.

  • Even afterward, Margaret Steinfels said she thought Weakland a ‘good bishop.’

    I suspect

    1. The problems with sexual corruption in the Church are only weakly related to the degree of heterodoxy in a given diocese. One problem with making that assessment is that when you look at a given accused priest, you often find that the bishop in office while he was in formation, the bishop who ordained him, the bishop in charge when the supposed offense took place, and the bishop who processed the complaint against him were four different individuals. That aside, some dioceses have had an alternating series of conservative and liberal bishops. An accused priest in Rochester may have been ordained by Bishop Kearney, supposed to have molested a youth during Bishop Hogan’s tenure, and faced an accusation under Bishop Clark.

    2. The Holy See lacks the manpower to police the Church in aught but a haphazard and episodic way. The Holy See needs to ensure that there are appropriate procedures incorporated into canon law and to be meticulous in its selection of bishops. There will be occasions where a general visitation of a country’s seminaries is in order. However, the leg work has to be done by local ordinaries, or it is not done.

    3. And, of course, what the diocesan bishop can do is often prophylactic. One wretched bit of business has been the accusation against sitting bishops that they are ‘covering-up’ and ‘not protecting kids’ when the complaints they were receiving were filed 15 years after the fact; a bishop cannot protect a 29 year old man against something which happened when he was 14 (when the bishop in question was an administrator at some suburban parish the next diocese over).

  • For what’s it worth; Goodbye good men, by Michael S. Rose asks the questions “what happened?”
    He interviewed over 150 people, priests and laymen in the Catholic Church.
    To sum it up, Liberal attack from the inside.
    Under attack is status quo for Our Holy Church.

  • Rose’s book was subject to some persuasive criticism at the time of its publication on the part of Fr. Robert Johansen and Brian St. Paul, among others. Rose and Dale Vree were fairly neuralgic about it. (The burden of the complaint was that while the problem described was real, some of the specifics were bum raps and much of the narrative was dated, referring to situations no longer current). I think we error if we see it as enemies burrowing away (although that happens) and avoid thinking about problems in the evolution of institutional culture. Why, during the period running from about 1925 to 1985, were an escalating contingent of men with latent (and subsequently uncontrolled) sexual dysfunctions ordained; why did the bulk of the ongoing problem abruptly evaporate around about 1990; what lies behind the irresponsible behavior of a selection of bishops (keeping in mind that addressing the problem well was impossible even for the most capable and conscientious bishops), among them McCormack, Sheehan, Matthiessen, Grahmann, Tshoeppe, Law, &c. ? I am not sure a satisfying and credible answer has been tendered; certainly some of the self-appointed gurus (Andrew Greeley, Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Leon Podles) were not offering any.

  • Art Deco-
    Why?
    Good questions.
    Indifference?!
    Is it possible that many just looked the other way?
    Is it from years of orchestrated planning…yes Donald add the foreboding music here…, however it does make one wonder if the checks and balances we’re washed over on purpose, or deliberate.
    We are left with many questions.

  • …not or. ( and deliberate! )
    Please excuse my haste.

Kalinka

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

Something for the weekend.  Kalinka, perhaps the best known Russian song.  It was written in 1860 by Iran Larionov.  It quickly achieved a popularity of epic proportions and has been sung with endless variant lyrics among Russians from that day to this.  Here are the original lyrics:

Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!

 Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!

  Ah, under the pine, the green one,

 Lay me down to sleep,

 Rock-a-bye, baby, rock-a-bye, baby,

 Lay me down to sleep.

 

Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!

 Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!

  Ah, little pine, little green one,

 Don’t rustle above me,

 Rock-a-bye, baby, rock-a-bye, baby,

 Don’t rustle above me.

  Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!

 Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!

  Ah, you beauty, pretty maiden,

 Take a fancy to me,

 Rock-a-bye, baby, rock-a-bye, baby,

 Take a fancy to me.   Little snowberry, snowberry, snowberry of mine!

 Little raspberry in the garden, my little raspberry!

Here is a variant from the movie Taras Bulba (1962) where cossacks in the seventeenth century are anachronistically singing Kalinka as a drinking song:

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Happy 281st Birthday General!

Friday, February 22, AD 2013

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

George Washington

This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, an eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on.

Abraham Lincoln

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One Response to Happy 281st Birthday General!

  • I will forgive Lincoln his hyperbole. I live 25 miles away from Sulgrave, where Washington’s ancestors came from. His name will always be remembered by those who love liberty, whatever their nationality.

An Irony in the Conclave

Friday, February 22, AD 2013

In 2005 the media did a fabulous job of putting forward liberal candidates to replace Pope John Paul II.  In fairness, they had a mixed slate of candidates that spanned the theological and political spectrum’s.  In doing so, they gave an exaggerated picture of a mixed college of cardinals.  On the far left was a cardinal from Belgium named Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  Cardinal Danneels was appointed a cardinal in 1983 by Pope John Paul II.  In the course of his career, the cardinal has urged a decentralized church that relies more on consultation with the world’s bishops.  He has promoted a more flexible approach to pastoral and doctrinal problems, suggesting a rethinking of issues ranging from the shortage of priests to the status of divorced and remarried Catholics, as well as the Church’s way of evangelizing, ecumenism, collegiality, the possibility of ordaining married men, world peace, ecological responsibility, and the relationship between rich and poor countries.  He once said that the Church must take its proper place in society “with its witness, its message and its commitment to the poor.  Everything else is decorative.”

He did, however, have an ironic prediction which turned out to be accurate in its content though inaccurate in its subject. Cardinal Danneels was among the first to say that he believed Pope John Paul II would resign for the good of the church if he were unable to bear the burdens of the papacy.  As we know, no such resignation occurred, at least for Pope John Paul II.

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One Response to An Irony in the Conclave

King Kirby, Captain America and American History

Friday, February 22, AD 2013

A guest post by commenter Fabio Paolo Barbieri on one of the legendary comic book artists, Jack “King” Kirby, his greatest comic book creation, Captain America, and Kirby’s trip through American history with the Captain:

With Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles we at last reach a masterpiece within the meaning of the act.  The Marvel Treasury Edition format in which it was published, though suffering from the same bad production values as the regular titles, tried for a more upmarket and collectable air: instead of slim pamphlets with floppy covers, padded out with cheapo ads, they had 80 large pages, no ads, and more durable hard(ish) covers. On the whole, it was an unhappy compromise without future, but Kirby, who had seen formats and production values decline throughout his career, grasped the opportunity of more elaborate work than the regular format allowed.  (Artists of Kirby’s generation are often heard commenting on the quality of paper and colouring available to today’s cartoonists, even when they don’t read the stories; bad printing had been such a fundamental reality to their period that improved paper stock and technology are the one thing that stands out when they see a new comic.)
Captain-America-Bicen-01fc
That is not to say that it is flawless everywhere; few details of title, packaging and secondary material could be worse.  That anyone could come up with such a title as Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles would be incredible had it not happened; its clanging, flat verbosity belongs more to the kitsch of 1876 than of 1976 – “Doctor Helzheimer’s Anti-Gas Pills”.  The pin-ups that pad out the awkwardly-sized story (77 pages), with Captain America in various pseudo-historical costumes, are positively infantile, the front cover is dull and the back one ridiculous.  Nothing shows more absurdly the dichotomy between Kirby’s mature, thoughtful, even philosophical genius and the bad habits of a lifetime at the lowest end of commercial publishing coming on top of a lower-end education; the nemesis, you might say, of uneducated self-made genius.  The Kirby who did this sort of thing was the Kirby who filled otherwise good covers with verbose and boastful blurbs, who defaced the English language with “you matted masterpiece of murderous malignancy!” and the like, who cared nothing for precision and good taste – in short, the man whose lack of education lingered in his system all his life. Kirby went into his work with less inherited “baggage” than any other cartoonist, and was correspondingly radical and revolutionary, but he also had little share in common taste and standards.

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2 Responses to King Kirby, Captain America and American History

  • Man, I just never know what to expect when I click on The American Catholic. I suspect I might appreciate this entry a bit more than most. I’m 61 years old and have been reading/collecting comics since I was about 10. I am very familiar with Jack Kirby’s work and have the Bicentennial edition discussed at length here. This is a very detailed analysis; the kind I am usually reading on comic sites. Here this was a pleasant surprise.

    Most readers of this site are probably familiar with Captain America from the recent movies, his own and the Avengers. Most of Marvel Comics movies exude an obvious conservative tone, which I believe has resulted in their success.

  • “Man, I just never know what to expect when I click on The American Catholic”

    Precisely our intention George!

The Mask Drops

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

.

All we have of freedom, all we use or know—

This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—

Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing

Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

Till our fathers ‘stablished, after bloody years,

How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom—not at little cost

Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue

 

 

Give an A to Sarah Conly for boldly proclaiming what many of our liberal elites believe but are too wise to state openly:

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10 Responses to The Mask Drops

  • aren’t conservatism and liberalism both visions of society that don’t place personal liberty as the end all? (Russell Kirk wrote a good denunciation of libertarianism on this point) the difference is that conservatism is more concerned with a central morality people should follow, where liberalism places emphasis on general “self-fulfillment” but then thinks it can have the government pick up the pieces from any downsides

    a good example is that very occasionally you’ll get liberals to admit that family breakdown is an issue, however they’re so concerned about “turning back the clock” that they always propose economic solutions for it, on the assumption that wherever we’re at now must represent Progress and we shouldn’t be judgmental

  • Conservatives usually put God at the end of all. American conservatism has normally followed the Founding Fathers in their innate distrust of government, and the concern for the threat to liberty it always poses. Contemporary liberals, almost all of them, have rejected this precious inheritance root and branch and believe that all the wonderful things, in their eyes, that government can do, more than makes up for limitations on liberty.

  • I just heard this quote on the radio today, from Monroe’s First Inaugural Address:

    Had the people of the United States been educated in different principles, had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career or been blessed with the same success? While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found.

  • @ Pinky

    And Adams said the Constitution was only for a moral and just people. If not, it would yield to “avarice, ambition, lust, and licentiousness.” Tocqueville also observed the moderating role religion played on the inherent emphasis on individualism within the liberal political ethos. He noted that the American people were “better than their philosophy.” The problem is, and I think Patrick Deneen does a good job of illustrating just why, liberal (the Enlightenment kind) political philosophy eventually neuters religion as nothing more than a private decision, eviscerating it and its restraining influence from the public square. We see the fruits of such a development, two centuries in the making, before our very eyes.

  • Amazon’s reviews are composed of a self-selected crew who bought the book and so are commonly quite laudatory. This particular book received eight reviews. Five were negative, two were ironic, and one was penned by this fellow here.

    http://mitchellfreedman.blogspot.com/

    My favorite line from the reviews was this one:

    … like dropping almost **** $100 **** on her book. Presumably the reader os the book live in a world where that’s a “smart” choice.

  • Bob Zubrin quoted at Instapundit, “The use of fictitious necessity to rationalize human oppression is not new.”

    Camus, “The common good is the alibi of all tyrants.”

    “She can’t run her own life, I’ll be damned if she’ll run mine.” I don’t remember the rock/R&B musician.

    Ms. Conley is walking, talking evidence that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.

  • “that Ayn Rand is always right about everything.”

    I think Ayn Rand was just as dictatorial T.Shaw as Ms. Conley could ever hope to be, judging from the bitter memoirs of some of her former cultists. Rand was a poor philosopher who made a name for herself by combining her jejune paean to selfishness in pot boilers with plenty of sex at a time when such novels were still considered “shocking” and “cutting edge”.

    Whittaker Chambers had Rand’s number long ago:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2705853/posts

  • Bill Buckley’s obit on Rand:

    “Ayn Rand, RIP
    New York, March 10, 1982

    Rand is dead. So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn. The great public crisis in Ayn Rand’s career came, in my judgment, when Whittaker Chambers took her on—in December of 1957, when her book Atlas Shrugged best-seller list, lecturers were beginning to teach something called Randism, and students started using such terms as “mysticism of the mind” (religion), and “mysticism of the muscle” (statism). Whittaker Chambers, whose authority with American conservatives was as high as that of any man then living, wrote in NATIONAL REVIEW, after a lengthy analysis of the essential aridity of Miss Rand’s philosophy, “Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.”

    I had met Miss Rand three years before that review was published. Her very first words to me (I do not exaggerate) were: “You ahrr too intelligent to believe in Gott.” The critic Wilfrid Sheed once remarked, when I told him the story, “Well, that certainly is an icebreaker.” It was; and we conversed, and did so for two or three years. I used to send her postcards in liturgical Latin: but levity with Miss Rand was not an effective weapon. And when I published Whittaker Chambers’ review, her resentment was so comprehensive that she regularly inquired of all hosts or toastmasters whether she was being invited to a function at which I was also scheduled to appear, because if that was the case, either she would not come; or, if so, only after I had left; or before I arrived. I fear that I put the lady through a great deal of choreographical pain.

    Miss Rand’s most memorable personal claim (if you don’t count the one about her being the next greatest philosopher after Aristotle) was that since formulating her philosophy of “objectivism,” she had never experienced any emotion for which she could not fully account. And then one day, a dozen years ago, she was at a small dinner, the host of which was Henry Hazlitt, the libertarian economist, the other guest being Ludwig von Mises, the grand master of the Austrian school of anti-statist economics. Miss Rand was going on about something or other, at which point Mises told her to be quiet, that she was being very foolish. The lady who could account for all her emotions at that point burst out into tears, and complained: “You are treating me like a poor ignorant little Jewish girl!” Mr. Hazlitt, attempting to bring serenity to his table, leaned over and said, “There there, Ayn, that isn’t at all what Ludwig was suggesting.” But this attempt at conciliation was ruined when Mises jumped up and said: “That iss eggsactly what you ahrr!” Since both participants were Jewish, this was not a racist slur. This story was mortal to her reputation as the lady of total self-control.

    THERE WERE other unpleasantnesses of professional interest, such as her alienation from her principal apostle, Nathaniel Branden—who was so ungallant as to suggest, in retaliation against her charge that he was trying to swindle her, that the breakup was the result of his rejection of an, er, amatory advance by Miss Rand. Oh goodness, it got ugly.

    There were a few who, like Chambers, caught on early. Atlas Shrugged was published back before the law of the Obligatory Sex Scene was passed by both Houses of Congress and all fifty state legislatures, so that the volume was considered rather risque, in its day. Russell Kirk, challenged to account for Miss Rand’s success if indeed she was merely an exiguous philosophic figure, replied, “Oh, they read her books for the fornicating bits.” Unkind. And only partly true.

    The Fountainhead, read in a certain way, is a profound assertion of the integrity of art. What did Miss Rand in was her anxiety to theologize her beliefs. She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that—but no, she had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest is good and noble. She risked, in fact, giving to capitalism that bad name that its enemies have done so well in giving it; and that is a pity. Miss Rand was a talented woman, devoted to her ideals. She came as a refugee from Communism to this country as a young woman, and carved out a substantial career. May she rest in peace, and may she experience the demystification of her mind possessed.”

  • Mac,

    I apologize.

Papal Picks

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

Several people have been asking who I would like to see elected once Pope Benedict steps down.  This is always a delicate question, for numerous reasons.  First, it is quite clear that I do not, nor should I, get a vote.  Whatever opinions I hold are simply that: my  opinions and hopes.  Second, should someone “off my list” be elected, I would not want people to think that I “disapprove.”  Just like everyone else, I have various qualities that I would like to see in the new pope, but I also will pledge my undying fidelity and unceasing prayers to whoever occupies the Chair of St. Peter.  Third, if the last several elections have taught us anything it is that old adage rings true: “He who walks into a conclave a pope comes out a cardinal.”  In other words, these things are notoriously difficult to predict.

Nevertheless, because I am human and because I get all geeked out about these things, it should come as no surprise that I have “a list.”  Before we get to it, however, it is worth giving you (1) the criteria the media seems to be using for choosing contenders, (2) my sense of the criteria that the cardinals will actually use, and (3) the criteria I am using.

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18 Responses to Papal Picks

  • Is it wrong to pray for the following (in no particular order):

    1. Reverence. Someone whose masses, public and private, are reverent, traditional and do not attract attention to the celebrant. Latin, whether novus ordo or tridentine, and ad orientam. Plain chant and polyphany.

    2. A circle of quiet. A traditionalist priest of my acquaintance says this, “the pope shouldn’t say too much”. There is a large body of teaching of which people need to be reminded. Innovative teaching and practice (e.g. the ‘Luminous Mysteries’) not so much.

    3. Stillness. As Christopher Ferrara says, “not a mobilist guru, but firmly rooted on the chair of Peter”. You do not need to travel everywhere, and for a production like World Youth Day, you need to ensure that the consecrated hosts are carefully protected.

    4. A sense that personnel is policy. Do you have an architecture in place that produces faithful bishops who produce vocations, or do you get Howard Hubbard over and over again?

    5. No sinecures. What does the Vatican diplomatic service do other than spin its wheels? How does the Church benefit from Cdl. Martino running off at the mouth? What is the purpose of agitating on behalf of international agencies whose activities are of doubtful utility?

    6. No oecumenism. Have quiet discussions with schismatic bodies with valid holy orders but redepoly the manpower invested in this to more productive work. Local congregations can co-operate with protestant bodies on practical tasks without theological discussion or the involvement of the brass.

    7. No scandal. Please no one whose judgment on a disciplinary matters can be seriously questioned, and no one whose personal holiness can be questioned.

    8. Aplomb. John Paul I was reportedly seen weeping in the Vatican gardens during his month in office. The ability to delegate authority and check on it is most valued. ‘Tough-minded’ used to mean someone who did not mind making difficult choices. It is a quality that seems generally lacking in clerics.

    9. Rhetoric. Must encyclicals always be prolix and soporific?

    10. Remember your sergeants. The bishops who put the kibosh on female acolytes were made to look silly when we were all abruptly informed that it ‘enriched’ the liturgy, or some such.

  • Every Pope since John XXIII has added his stone to the edification of ecumenical and interreligious relations. Unity among Christians and understanding and respect between faiths is the main condition for peace. I hope the next Pope continues the work of his predecessor.

  • One minor correction: The Pope celebrated Mass facing the altar in the Sistine Chapel…but I’m really a fan of Cardinal Ranjith for the Liturgical movement of Pope Benedict XVI

  • As Fr Zuhlsdorf constantly reminds us, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World”.

    There are no front-runners as in 1939, 1963 and 2005. At the same time there is no conservative/liberal polarization in the College which led to the election of compromise candidates in 1978.

    I think it is inconceivable that Benedict would have resigned without having a pretty good idea of who his successor will be.

  • Thank you for sharing to us your opinion. I just hope that the one who will be elected to replace Pope Benedict XVI will be able to lead the church and his people the best way he can. Thanks for sharing this and may God bless you. 🙂

  • Joe,

    The phrase I used is equivalent to your. I said that the Pope celebrated Mass facing “with the people.” This is correct. He did not celebrate it “facing the people” but rather in the same direction as the people. I often like to use the phrase “with the people” because it dismisses the silly notion that the priest “turns his back on the people.” This was never the case. In an ad orientem posture, the priest and the people face the Lord together, like a pilgrim people headed towards Christ, led by his representative, the priest.

    I am sorry if it caused confusion, and perhaps I should have clarified it. But I stand by the phrase, and I still think it useful for those who still view the orientation as the priest turning his back on the people.

    Thanks for reading!

    – Jake

  • Every Pope since John XXIII has added his stone to the edification of ecumenical and interreligious relations. Unity among Christians and understanding and respect between faiths is the main condition for peace. I hope the next Pope continues the work of his predecessor.

    I would refer you to Ferrara and to articles in The Latin Mass on the problems with oecumenism and the confusing and corrosive effect it has had. Local congregations co-operating on common projects (e.g. food banks) is not a problem. Things which confound people as to the importance of the Church and the sacraments are not fine. I am not sure you can say it has made a discernable difference in amending the sorry trajectory of occidental Anglicanism and Lutheranism. As for inter-religious dialogue, what’s the point? Let local bishops and the Latter-Day Saints co-operate with regard to common problems. What is the need to involve the Holy See except as an inspector?

  • I am praying for Cardinal Burke. I have known and worked with him over the years on various diocesan projects and find him to be extraordinary in his abilities as priest, Bishop and Cardinal. We need a true defender of the faith. We need an American Pope! He will not fear making the decisions that need(must) be made to educate Catholics once again. To confront the devisive issues facing our beleagured Church and all those who seek to destroy Her. He has great inner vision, empathy and sympathy for the poor as well as the ability to manage. He comes from a lowly background of the family farm which has kept him grounded and humble. Please God, let this Holy man be the Pope our Church needs so badly in these times if assult.

  • If Burke is elected, expect a mass exodus of liberals. I can see some bishops retiring early. And I shall party for at least a week.

  • “I think it is inconceivable that Benedict would have resigned without having a pretty good idea of who his successor will be.”

    Really? Maybe I’m projecting or something, but I wouldn’t think that he made his decision with any thought to his successor. It’s like I’ve heard some people talking about Benedict remaining the power behind the scenes – if he were interested in power, he could remain in the Chair of Peter. The way I figure it, every pope knows that the cardinals could be choosing a new pope next week. Benedict’s in an unusual position in that he knows they will, but it’s something that he must have had in mind every time he elevates cardinals.

  • When elected, Benedict knew that his papacy would not be a long one. The most he could do was to set the tone, start the ball rolling as it were, and leave it to his successors to complete the work. It is clear that he thinks the Council needs to be reinterpreted – he has said so recently – but as someone who was intimately involved with it as a peritus, he could not himself do it, even if he had the strength (apart from anything else, his own views have changed over the last half-century). To be still around when his successor is chosen is a further guarantee that his programme will be continued.

  • Nolan (second comment) – from your mouth to God’s ear!!

    When Pope John Paul II died, the first name that entered my heart was Joseph Ratzinger. When I heard of Pope Benedict’s resignation, the name that came immediately was Raymond Burke. I pray this wasn’t wishful thinking. As the people of Poland were given a Polish Pope to help them rise up and push back against communism, maybe God will give the American faithful an American Pope to help us push back against the “culture of death” that is being exported all over the world. Consequently, the counter-revolution must begin with us.

  • I would love to see Cardinal Burke elected or Cardinal Chaput both would be great.

  • Carmen,

    Alas, Chaput is not a cardinal I’m afraid. Of couse, strictly speaking he “could” be elected, but the cardinals have not selected outside of the electorate in centuries. Rigali is a cardinal, though, while we’re naming quality Americans.

    Pax,

    Jake

  • I was at the London Oratory on St Philip’s Day last year when Cardinal Burke celebrated Solemn Mass and preached. Inspiring.

  • Raymond Cardinal Burke. Excellent choice.

  • I like reading all you good faithful Catholics! What a joy!
    Of Course Cardinal Burke! I think he is a holy man like B16, and strong mentally and strong in his purpose of serving and loving God.

    Yes -the importance of the liturgy cannot be overstated.

    ” a mass exodus of liberals.” -it would be a great clarification if that happened and they made it formal or official instead of being half-in/half-out as they are now.

    Cardinal Burke gave me the nicest smile one day when we passed on the hillside path at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse.

    I think B16 is very comfortable with Holy Spirit handling succession to Peter–

America Meets Dale

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

 

 

As long time readers of this blog know I have long been an admirer of the work of Dale Price at his blog Dyspeptic Mutterings, and I frequently go there to steal borrow blog ideas.  Dale turned his attention recently to the editorial at America, the Jesuit heterodox rag, which called for the repeal of the Second Amendement:

That their grief may not be compounded.

At long last, the editors of America endorse a constitutional buttress to the culture of life.

 

Supporting the Human Life Amendment? Surely you jest. Politics is strictly about the art of the possible when it comes to abortion.

 

No, no–one must be realistic about such things.

 

Instead, we need to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The reason: something must be done so that urban, left-leaning Jesuits can feel better about themselves:

 

The disturbing feeling that we have failed to do everything in our power to remove the material cause of their deaths, however, will no longer compound our grief.

 

For some reason, there are exceptions:

 

This does not require an absolute ban on firearms. In the post-repeal world that we envision, some people will possess guns: hunters and sportsmen, law enforcement officers, the military, those who require firearms for morally reasonable purposes.

 

As an aside, please, please, I beg you: stop pretending you give a rat’s fanny about hunting. Deep down, we know you hate it, but somehow you feel compelled to offer insincere boilerplate respect. You can stop now. Besides, hunting firearms are more devastating than ones that make you queasy. Just flop your cards on the table and admit you don’t approve of any significant private ownership of firearms. Dialogue requires openness, don’t you know?

 

Anyway, there’s a yawning logical inconsistency here: why should an off-duty approved firearm owner be allowed to keep it when he is off the clock? At the end of the day, such individuals should turn them in to a secure area until they punch back in. Even soldiers aren’t toting weapons around all the time outside of combat zones. As the editors note, original sin (!) ensures bad things will happen, and cops are quite capable of misusing firearms, as we have been recently reminded. Thus, in Americaworld, there is no reason for anyone to own a firearm off duty.

 

Go after violent media? Nah. That’s Legion of Decency, Catholic-ghetto stuff. Shudder.

 

Revisit our oft-idiotic drug war? Piffle. Nope. What it boils down to is that nobody at America owns a firearm or likes anyone who owns one. In policymaking, this is known as the It’s Time We All Start Making Sacrifices, Starting With You, Of Course! maneuver.

 

Did it ever occur to them to, you know, actually talk to an actual gun owner before promulgating this un-papal bull? Apparently not. Dialogue’s only for people the Catholic left respect, I guess. Nope–it’s time to tear an Amendment out of the Constitution and unchain Caesar to kick doors in to remove unapproved firearms from our midst. If you like the drug war, you’ll plotz over the gun war.

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16 Responses to America Meets Dale

  • There are many good points to your post. I’d like to concentrate on the parallel to the War on Drugs.

    Reagan appointed a “drug czar” – a weird choice of titles for the man who brought down the Soviet Union. Odder still is that our nation engineered Prohibition, Round Two while taking no stock of what went wrong in Round I.

    General prohibitions of activities that a large portion of society WANTS to engage in is almost always a failure. It sets up a dangerous game in which criminals capitalize on the black market profits, the general population winks at the illegality, enforcement costs skyrocket, and corruption expands.

    The War on Drugs is a failure. A War on Guns will also fail. And each time, we cede more power to the federal government.

    The Roman Republic was dead before Ceasar crossed the Rubican. Are we more astute?

  • Actually there are a good many drugs that I wish to continue to have illegal due to their deadly impact on society, so Dale and I differ in degree on that. However his analogy to the war on drugs to a hypothetical war on firearms is instructive. Attempts to enforce the drug laws have met with considerable resistance and that is with the overwhelming number of Americans supporting most anti-drug laws with the possible exception of cannabis. We have over 300,000,000 guns in private possession in this country. Most of those people who own guns correctly believe that their guns are an essential part of their liberty. Attempts by the government to take those weapons away would lead to civil unrest at best, full blown rebellion at worst. The Jesuits at America, as usual, have no idea what type of can of worms they are opening up.

  • “One can only imagine what other liberties the editors at America are willing to have the rest of us dispense with.”
    To respond to your rhetorical question: The unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, reemphasized in the Ninth Amendment, the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, our destiny, our constitutional posterity, the acknowledgement of the Person of God, the acknowledgement of the human being as body and soul, the rational immortal human soul without whom there is no human life; America stamps out the acknowledgement of the human being’s human soul wherein are endowed all unalienable human rights. As America disengages man’s human call to sovereignty in body and in sovereign personhood, the reality of the existence of God in the human soul, America disavows the sanctity and dignity of the human being, starting with the created individual at America. Dyspeptic indeed.

  • Thank you, Don–you are far, far too kind.

    I don’t know that we are all that far apart on drugs, either. I agree with you on the harder drugs, but we’ve been so schizo on MJ for so long that I think legalizing it (and treating it exactly like we treat cigarettes, right down to taxing, regulating the contents and stigmatizing it–e.g., drunk driving laws) makes more sense.

  • I would not go so far as decriminalizing cannabis, but I would treat it as a finable petty offense. I do not think that legalization would be the apocalypse, but I do not think that it would bring the benefits that the libertarians contend.

  • The War on Drugs is a failure.

    Eleanor Clift screeching “we are losing the war on drugs” makes for a more entertaining tableau.

    It makes about as much sense as saying ‘we are losing the war on burglary’. Crime rates ebb and flow and most categories of crime are only spottily detected and punished. Bank robbery has long been an exception, homicide is an exception, and, with the advent of state data banks with convict’s DNA in them, rape may be an exception.

  • Is your point Art Deco that “the War on Drugs” is a meaningless phrase? I’m probably with you if you are.

    Thing is, I didn’t introduce the phrase. I’m just using the language our governments have used for about three decades to cover the myriad of anti-drug efforts.

    As for their failure, it is, admittedly a mixed bag.

    The percenntage of the population that regularly use “hard” drugs has leveled off in many areas and even declined nationally. The homicide and incarceration rates are remarkably high among black and Hispanic communities and the number of people with felony drug convictions is disturbing. Collateral damage in urban communities is frighteningly common and the trafficking is a serious and growing problem.

    The short of it is that the War on Drugs shows no signs of slowing because the demand remains strong deapite severe consequences to public safety and health and individual freedom. In this regard, the War on Drugs has a similarity to Prohibition. So too, the amount of currency flowing from the lawful to the underground economy through the drug trade is significant and there is ample evidence to show that that money is finding its way to remote sectors of violent crime and upheaval. Again, there is a parallel to Prohibition. The wink and nod of society that would elect three presidents in a row who admit to using illegal drugs while jailing kids who carry marijuana from one state to a party in another is sick and twisted. Again, there is a parallel to Prohibition.

    We can. Go on and on…

    Don says he would keep many drugs illegal and I certainly don’t think that legalizing drugs will be benefit society the way we are assured it will. However, I think the War on Drugs and Prohibition demonstrate that law has very real limitations in its ability to curb bad behavior. Where a significant protion of society does not share the view that a behavior is wrong, government can only enforce the majority’s will through brutality and will almost assuredly fail.

    If the minority who think our government can’t become tyrannical and, so, there is no need for the power to resist tyranny or the minority who think guns are just plain bad and shouldn’t be possessed y anyone get there way, we will see an increasingly draconian police presence to enforce these new gun laws. This will replay the pattern evident from Prohibition and the War on Drugs.

    We have to learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it.

  • No it does not go on and on.

    1. The use of cannabis among adolescents is not what it was when I was in high school.
    2. Heroin use is a fraction of what it was forty years ago.
    3. You hardly hear anything about LSD anymore
    4. The Sicilianate mob is being done in by the actuarial tables. That was not the case during prohibition.
    5. For about 20% of those in prison, the top count was a drug charge. Drug charges are not the main driver of incarceration rates among blacks and mestizos.

    Vice crimes are derived from the general pathology of the human condition. So are property crimes. So are violent crimes. It is not an acute problem or a progressively worsening one.

  • It is good but surprising to hear that we are winning the War on Drugs. The media depictions tell a different story.

    When I hear that 10,000 Mexicans are missing and presumed dead from kidnapping crimes, while police officers’ heads are found on the border, mayors assassinated, and ordinary citizens are gunned down daily during turf wars, I tend to accept the allegation that drugs are at the heart of the problem. Sophisticated caves under the border, semi-submersible vessals, and regular seizures at US Ports of Entry make it sound like trafficking is big, sophisticated business. Narco-terroism threat reports from successive administrations, stories about trans-national gangs like MS 13, and regular collateral damage shootings in our cities reinforce the apparently mistaken impression that drug use is high, if not as high, as before and that governments at all levels are having an hell of a time dealing with the drug problem.

    It is good to hear that this is merely alarmism, that the War on Drugs has been worth the loss of liberty that it entails, that we are rolling back the forces of evil and that, one day, a generation will pass through our schools with few users.

  • That was flippant and unseemly. I am sorry and offer no excuses.

    If I understand you rightly to be saying that the common view that pur efforts to limit the use of drugs and to discourage the drug trade have failed is wrong, I owe you the courtesy to revisit the subject with research.

    Again, I apologize for responding like a jerk.

  • Elevated homicide rates are fairly unremarkable and pervasive in Latin America. The one exception to that rule is Chile.

  • “Elevated homicide rates are fairly unremarkable and pervasive in Latin America. ”

    Most estimates put the number of deaths in Mexico related to drug violence at 60,000 since 2006. This is not a fairly unremarkable statistic. Mexico was ranked 32nd in the Economist’s 2011 Quality of Life Rankings, drug violence and all. Although perhaps there isn’t a direct causation between quality of life and homicides, I see little reason to assume that homicide rates in Mexico would be anywhere near where they are if not for drug violence.

  • JL, homicide rates in Latin America are typically between 13 and 25 per 100,000. Mexico’s fluctuate some but stay in that range, and are similar to Brazil’s. Even Costa Rica has a homicide rate of 10 per 100,000. That’s state and society in Latin America.

  • Art, I don’t think it’s helpful to simply say “that’s state and society in Latin America,” as if Latinos are more inherently violent and homicidal. Clearly there are factors in play, and perhaps some of them stem from cultural/social variables that are unique to Latin America, but we still need to attempt to identify these causative factors and how they contribute to relatively high homicide rates.

  • JL, there is immense variation in Latin America and the Caribbean as to homicide rates. Currently, they range from 3 per 100,000 (Chile) to 90 per 100,000 (Honduras). However, the median settles between 13 and 25 per 100,000. There are a great many vectors that go into that and temporal variation as to the force of each vector. By way of example, political violence is no longer a major contributor. Over the period running from 1948 to 1992, you had a mean of about 12,000 deaths each year from factional violence, insurrection, terrorism, &c. Now it is in the range of 500 deaths a year. Latin America has its abiding problems, among them malintegrated and dysfunctional labor markets, rent-seeking mercantilism, incompetence and corruption in the civil service, a messy property registry, and high crime rates. Blaming gringos snorting coke is a fine way to distract politicians and public from taking practical measures to improve the quality of life.

  • Art,

    I really don’t understand why one can’t acknowledge that both deep structural/societal factors AND narco-violence play a substantial role in Mexico’s high homicide rates. The spike in murders since Calderon took office is simply undeniable.

    http://blog.diegovalle.net/2011/12/homicides-in-mexico-2010.html

Blackbeard

Thursday, February 21, AD 2013

There was Teach, the bloody pirate, with his black beard curling on his breast.

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. This is the seventh in a series giving brief biographies of these men. Go here to read the biography of Simon Girty, here to read the “biography” of the Reverend John Smeet,  here to read the biography of Major Walter Butler, here to read the biography of Thomas Morton here to read the biography of King Philip, and here to read the biography of Governor Thomas Dale.  Our final member of the jury of the damned is Edward Teach, better known to history as Blackbeard.

It is odd that Blackbeard is almost the only pirate from the colorful Age of Piracy in the Sixteenth-Eighteenth centuries that most members of the general public could name, because he had a very short career, only two years, and was much less successful than many pirates, for example Henry Morgan, who achieved a knighthood and the office of Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Teach was probably born in Bristol, England in 1680.  He may have served as a privateer in Queen Anne’s War.  In 1716 the pirate Benjamin Hornigold placed Teach in command of a sloop, and together the duo committed numerous acts of piracy.  In 1717 Teach captured a French merchant ship, renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge and armed her with 40 guns, a formidable armament for a pirate ship.  His fame began to spread.  His nickname, Blackbeard, came from the long black beard he wore.  Teach adopted a fearsome personae in order to overawe the crews of the ships that he captured.  He lit fuses dangling from beneath his cap to enhance his image as a completely ruthless pirate.

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6 Responses to Blackbeard

Rape and Kung Fu

Wednesday, February 20, AD 2013

The hits just keep on coming regarding guns and rape courtesy of Democrats in the Colorado legislature.  Democrat Representative Paul Rosenthal opines in the above video that women do not need guns to protect themselves from rape;  citing mace, taser, the buddy system and judo as gun substitutes.  Rosenthal apparently is so afraid of pistol packing mamas that any other alternative is preferable.  Gun “control” has always had a touch of the irrational about it, as the focus is placed on an inanimate object instead of the people who wield it either for good or for ill.  To keep guns out of the hands of the general public, gun “control” advocates are quite willing to see people go without the single most effective response to a violent confrontation.  If this isn’t a restriction on the individual liberty that most Americans prize, no restriction on liberty, in principle, can be opposed.  This is government treating citizens like children who cannot be trusted to make their own decisions for their own good.

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19 Responses to Rape and Kung Fu

  • As a native Coloradoan I am dismayed by the idiots who are in the legislature (thanks Boulder and Denver). Thirty-five years ago my family’s life was threatened by a criminal who had been in the employ of a relative. The Colorado AG told my mother how to legally kill this person should she come to our home. Yes, it involved a gun.

    Twenty years ago, when I was in a law enforcement academy, I was paired with a man who was much larger than I. The point of the pairing was to prove a point to the class- the only way I would survive an assault by this man would be to shoot him. Maybe if these imbeciles actually had a grounding in reality they wouldn’t make assinine statements such as these.

  • “Maybe if these imbeciles actually had a grounding in reality they wouldn’t make assinine statements such as these.”

    Perhaps Cynthia although some ignorance is indeed invincible.

  • This idiocy deserves to be at least as widely trumpeted as the “legitimate rape” comments from the election season. But it’s a Democrat making an ass of himself, so of course it won’t be.

  • Not from lack of effort on my part Darwin! Mainstream outlets in Denver are begrudingly picking it up.

  • A woman need not resort to tasering in the absence of a suitable firearm. A pike is a formidable weapon that can keep the assailant at a suitably far distance to ensure the safety of the pikewoman. In the event of a ban on high capacity magazines, the pike can be thrust as many times as needed to take out the scumbag. The only real issue is how to fit it into a purse.

  • I fought off an attacker. “Be quiet or I will blow your brains out”. I gave him both elbows and broke free and began to scream. The attacker ran away. I later read in the newspaper that he had found another victim. This one needed to be shot.

  • Mary, how terrifying! I’m glad you came out of it okay.

  • The most commonly reported category of rape is so-called date-rape, and in England and Wales it is estimated that a hundred false accusations are made annually. The alleged victim is granted anonymity; not so the accused, who is ‘named and shamed’ even if the case never gets to court (and usually it doesn’t). If it does, the jury has to decide whom to believe, since the requirement for corrobarative evidence in cases of sexual assault was dropped twenty years ago (although it is still required in Scotland). If women are allowed to shoot someone on the grounds that he was attempting rape, it gives them carte blanche to dispose of a husband or boyfriend and then claim “I said no, but he wouldn’t listen”.
    Cynthia makes a good point about law enforcement. A male officer, confronted by an unarmed and aggressive drunk, would be able to restrain him and effect an arrest. A female officer would have to shoot him.

  • “If women are allowed to shoot someone on the grounds that he was attempting rape, it gives them carte blanche to dispose of a husband or boyfriend and then claim “I said no, but he wouldn’t listen”.”

    Not in this country. The battered woman defense sometimes works in this country but frequently it does not. In America people are allowed to use deadly force to prevent an assault in most states, but the burden is upon the defendant to establish that an assault was about to occur.

  • “In America people are allowed to use deadly force to prevent an assault in most states, but the burden is on the defendant to establish that an assault was about to occur”. I can’t see how this would work in the case of date-rape where there are no witnesses and the putative assailant is already dead. How serious does the threatened assault have to be to justify the use of lethal force? Common assault does not usually result in grievous bodily harm, and an unwanted hand on a knee is technically sexual assault. Is there a concept of proportionate response?

    Between 1995 and 2010 thirty-three people were shot dead by British police officers, and some of victims turned out to be unarmed. This has aroused public concern, as in only two cases were the officers responsible identified, and police evidence afterwards is suspect. It would be interesting to know what the statistics are for the US, but there seem to be no official ones in the public domain.

  • “I can’t see how this would work in the case of date-rape where there are no witnesses and the putative assailant is already dead.”

    Easily actually. Were there threats before hand witnessed by other people? Did the dead person have a history of violence? Does the victim have evidence of having been physically assaulted? Was a report promptly made of the death? What comments did the dead person make via social media to the victim prior to being shot. (People who commit crimes, or who intend to commit crimes, often leave a trail a mile wide these days on Facebook, twitter, etc, to the distress of their hard working defense attorneys. Criminals are usually not rocket scientists.)

  • Alphatron Shinyskullus:
    I know your prayers are heard retroactively, since God is omnipresent, outside of time. Thank you, keep praying. God is in charge.
    on being attacked:
    He was the devil’s zombie. There was no soul, only a terrifying nothingness, the likes of which I have never seen. After I broke loose, I spun around and saw the concrete sidewalk under his shoes through his eyes. It is an ever-present terror to me. If this is hell, I do not want to go there.

  • Cynthia, these people are not imbeciles at all. They are Stalinists. They know that they cannot implement their Communist style dictatorship while Americans are armed, so they will first disarm the people. They are just using crime as an excuse. Funny how these mass shootings are done mainly by registered Democrats, yet the Dems are the ones who want to change the government and take the guns.

  • Don, date-rape isn’t usually about violence, it’s about non-consensual sex. A lot of young women nowadays, even in ‘respectable’ jobs, are sexually promiscuous, even predatory. There was a case not long ago of a woman barrister who met a man at a party, went to bed with him, and reported him for rape the next morning on the grounds that she had been too drunk to give her consent. I personally know someone who was maliciously accused; it was six months before the Crown Prosecution Service decided it wouldn’t stand up in court – his life was ruined and she got off scot-free. It’s hardly surprising that only six percent of reported rapes result in a conviction.

    James, you are as subject to the dictatorship of relativism and political correctness as the rest of us, guns or no guns. The only other western country with a large number of military-style weapons kept in peoples’ homes is of course Switzerland, where all able-bodied males of military age are required to be in the militia (women can volunteer). Homicides involving service weapons were running at about 300 a year (in a population of 7.6 million) so in 2007 it was decided that although weapons were still kept at home, ammunition would be kept in secure depots.

    I respect the arguments of the NRA regarding the right to bear arms, but freedom often comes at a cost. The Germans, alone in Europe, claim the right to drive as fast as they want on the Autobahnen, and are prepared to pay the price in higher traffic casualties.

  • As a Coloradoan for most of the year at the cabin I am a pistol packin “mamma”. I have never shot at anything but targets nor do I want to. However there are wolves(which I love) and snakes which I don’t love, and any number of varmints inhabiting the hills around me. Even though I am secluded out there you never know who might wander in. I also am a(very old) Girl Scout and my motto is “Be prepared” Even here on the Wisconsin farm you never know when you might have to calm a bull down. All these liberated women and progressive worms have no idea what it takes to “Defend” oneself. They give us so little credit! (And sometimes there’s that skunk in the chickn coop.)

  • “Don, date-rape isn’t usually about violence, it’s about non-consensual sex”

    Which is the epitome of violence.

    “It’s hardly surprising that only six percent of reported rapes result in a conviction.”

    Which indicates that the system, one hopes, is doing a good job separting the wheat from the chaff.

    “I respect the arguments of the NRA regarding the right to bear arms, but freedom often comes at a cost.”

    There is always a cost to freedom John, and it is always worth paying.

  • “How serious does the threatened assault have to be to justify the use of lethal force? Common assault does not usually result in grievous bodily harm, and an unwanted hand on a knee is technically sexual assault. Is there a concept of proportionate response?”

    Yes there is such a concept. The use of deadly force in defense requires justification that one’s life is being threatened with deadly force. If someone is in your home against your wishes and you kill them I doubt there is a jury in America that would convict them (certainly not in my state anyway), but if you kill someone because they put their hand on your knee you’re probably doing time unless you can convince a jury of why that hand on your knee represented a threat to your life. Like was said earlier in the discussion, gun control advocacy in America is all about Government treating citizens as children. We own weapons for self defense, it’s a right granted to us by God, and insured in our Governing documents that Government shall not infringe upon that right. That’s not ever going to change. If you abuse the right, you pay the price, like so many other crimes. Other than that, Molon Labe.

  • Peculiar that they are targeting women specifically with this proposed legislation (and aren’t the non-lethal options of mace and tasers also forbidden on campus? No mention of any defensive weapons in the university’s list of suggestions, other than, uh, certain fluids). The only guns-for-self-defense incidents I can vaguely recall being close to all involved women: a great-great aunt shooting dead a mountain lion who approached while she was hanging laundry; the neighbor lady coldly informing the men taking her back door off its hinges that she had a loaded .22 rifle ready; and me as a ninth-grader, discouraging an increasingly predatory high-school stalker with a demilitarized and nonfunctioning FN Herstal.
    But then I also remember my mother’s cousin, who was thrown off a bridge because she ‘knew too much.’ She didn’t have a gun. She had a Boston terrier. Not an adequate substitute. My guess is, pepper spray, call boxes, and projectile-vomiting-on-demand would not have helped her either.

  • I used to buy into the mentality that non-lethal means were generally sufficient. I figured we could grab the kids and escape if need be. Mind you, I fired expert with the M-16, and knew how to handle a weapon. Then when we had five kids, a police chase ended up in our front yard. The guy was cornered in vehicle. The officer got out, and the guy gunned it and rammed the police car. I heard the chase coming and when they came down our street I had all of the kids get into the farthest bedroom with my wife. I seriously thought he was going to try to get in the house until he rammed the police car. If that had happened, I had no idea if I would be up against an armed assailant to defend my family. You can’t carry five kids with two adults over a backyard fence to get away. That just doesn’t work. He hit a few other cars and ran over the lawns of other houses getting away until he finally ended up trapped in a cul-de-sac and was tasered. Then a guy got murdered with a cinder block by some meth head who didn’t even live in our town, just for being there, and this was only a few blocks away. And Sureno gang graffiti began to appear near rental properties. So I realized the whole non-lethal thing might be lethal for me, and I became a gun owner. I began with a Mosin Nagant rifle, because that was what I could afford. It has a nice bayonet on the end too. I have since acquired better firearms, including an AK, an SKS, and a .45 compact auto. I have a duty to protect my family, and I need the means at my disposal to do so. A drugged out 250 pound man will kill a person who doesn’t have a firearm. That’s just all there is to it, and it happened near my house.

    We moved to what we thought would be a safer neighborhood after a couple of incidents which demonstrated the police cannot be relied upon to protect you. At a previous residence a man was shooting a handgun at people a block away, and it took the police 45 minutes to get there. Also about a block away from that earlier residence, a guy who did not live in that city picked a random daycare provider, barged in and took a child, and led the police on a chase that ended in a crash on the interstate. Luckily, the little girl he took was uninjured.

    While our public servants might wish to protect us, as a practical matter they cannot. In the face of that reality, it is unjust to remove our means of defending ourselves effectively.

Klavan on Pope Benedict

Wednesday, February 20, AD 2013

Andrew Klavan, the mystery writer and humorist I have often quoted on this blog, is a big fan of the Pope:

Pope Benedict, as I’ve said before, is the Last European, by which I mean the last great man and mind who fully comprehends the beautiful but now dying culture that produced him.  It’s appalling to me–though not surprising–that the only thing the mainstream media ever covers about him is how often he apologizes for the abuses of some priests or how politically incorrect his view of gay people is or whatever.  I have now read a good selection of his writings and when the work of Foucault and Derridas and de Man and the rest of that benighted lot has toddled off to the obscurity it so dearly deserves, Benedict’s writings will stand.  They may be the final flares of genius to fly up from the continent he loves before darkness closes over it.

I’m not a Catholic.  My views on authority and sexual morality are too individualistic.  But when I see the level of thought coming out of Anglicanism  – especially the low and despicable crypto anti-semitism in the cowardly guise of anti-Zionism – and then read the grace-filled, spirit-inspired work of Big Ben, well, I’m embarrassed.

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

B-16′s greatness doesn’t lie in his papacy. Or that is, if it does, I wouldn’t know. It’s his writing, his theology, his thought that elevate him in my mind. When I was but a youngish dude, pounding my way through the great works, it seemed to me that the wisdom of many of the great German thinkers of the 18th and 19th centuries had been thrown aside for no good reason. Kant and Hegel had philosophically rescued the essence of Christianity for the scientific age, and had been ultimately left behind by mainstream thinkers not because they were wrong, but because they were just sort of out of keeping with the atheistic spirit of the day.

As Nietzsche understood, that God-is-dead zeitgeist would perforce lead to moral relativism. And so it has. But Ratzinger, shrugging off the zeitgeist like the cheap suit it is, humbly went on tilling the Kantian and Hegelian fields, making his way back not just to the essentials of Christianity but to the sacred person of Christ himself.

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6 Responses to Klavan on Pope Benedict

  • Interesting. A while back, a European author wrote a book entitled “The Cathedral and the Cube” where he spoke about European decline. I find the many types of European expression wanting, myself.

  • That was actually an American writer, George Weigel.

  • It is common nowadays to refer to the “Catholic turn” in French philosophy, i.e., the way in which the most original and prominent thinkers of contemporary France seem to function within Catholic horizons: the philosophers Rémy Brague, Chantal Delsol, René Girard, Pierre Manent and Jean-Luc Marion, together with writers like Max Gallo, Jean D’Ormesson, Jean Raspail, Denis Tillinac and, Michel Tournier.

    They are continuing the tradition of Maurice Blondel, Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain and of Claudel, Mauriac and Péguy in the last century.

    Perhaps, we shall see theologians like Bouyer, Danielou, Chenu, Congar, de Lubac and Maréchal.

  • The trouble is, if European culture doesn’t survive, and I agree that there are worrying developments, what are we left with? The New World reflects back that culture, its beams somewhat dimmed by having to cross the Atlantic, and I would argue that in the 20th century the contribution of the United States was a negative one, flooding the market with a commercially driven counter-culture based on film and ‘popular’ music which is not only antithetical to the ideals of ‘high’ culture but undermines it by denying its existence.

  • Michael PS:

    Many of the names you mention are familiar to me, but I thought Ives Congar was sanctioned by the Holy See.

  • Mary D Voe

    He was rehabilitated and went on to be a peritus at Vatican II and a member of several important committees.

    To remove any lingering damage to his reputation, in 1994, in Congar’s 90th year, Pope John Paul created him a Cardinal.

Return the Flags

Tuesday, February 19, AD 2013

‘But they’re wearing blue, grandpa. They are yankees.’

‘No son. They’re Americans.’

Rough Riders (1998)

The video above matter of factly displays the flag of the 28th Virginia captured by the 1st Minnesota on July 3, 1863 during the repulse of Picket’s Charge.    The 1st Minnesota of course had its moment of glory when it delayed a Confederate attack with a charge that left 82% of the regiment dead and wounded, buying time with their blood for Union reinforcements to hold the line against the advancing Confederates, and likely saved the Union Army from defeat at Gettysburg.

One can understand the significance of the captured flag for the people of Minnesota.  Of course the flag also has significance to the state of Virginia, and a conflict has been simmering for years over the refusal of Minnesota to return the flag to Virginia:

Minnesota returned fire Wednesday when a Senate committee voted to ignore a request from the state of Virginia and keep a controversial Civil War battle flag.

The flag, which features the stars and bars of the Confederate emblem, was captured by the Minnesota 1st Volunteer Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The 28th Virginia Infantry regiment, a re-enactment group based in the Roanoke, Va., area, has tried for years to regain possession of the flag.

Members say Minnesota is obligated to return the flag under a 1905 congressional resolution that says flags captured in battles should be returned to their originating states.

In 1998, then-Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III rebuffed a request from the 28th Virginia Infantry regiment, saying the law applied only to flags already in the War Department’s possession. He also ruled that the group had no legal standing to request the flag.

Minnesota refused to return the flag.

Last year, Virginia’s Legislature and governor signed off on a resolution urging the Minnesota Historical Society to ‘‘facilitate’’ the flag’s return to Virginia.

The Historical Society again refused.

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16 Responses to Return the Flags

  • It would be a nice gesture, but I wouldn’t count on it. Too much of temptation to lord their superiority and triumphalism over the South.

    Not all of your Yankee brethren are gentlemen like you, Don.

    😉

  • I actually find this showdown to be refreshing, if only for the reason that it means that states still matter.

  • Cool.

    VA does not have a valid claim.

    However, if I were Minnesota I would not taunt VA with “Come and take it.”

    Given the numbskulls they keep electing, I doubt if many contemporary Minnesotans could carry the laundry of their courageous Forebrears.

  • Case in point.

    Ah, well. Enjoy your gun confiscations and unrestricted abortions-on-demand and same-sex “marriages” up there in Yankee town. The South, meanwhile, will continue to do alright for itself, with or without the flag.

  • That should say “Yankee land”, not “Yankee town”. l certainly didn’t mean to limit my “taunt” to those living within any particular urban locale.

  • “Enjoy your gun confiscations and unrestricted abortions on demand and same sex ‘marriage’ up there in Yankee land.”

    I don’t think ALL “Yankee”, i.e. Union, states are like that. Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota are pretty darn conservative and didn’t SoDak come about as close as any state has to passing abortion laws that directly challenge Roe? At one point, I believe, NOW or some similar organization was advocating a boycott of South Dakota tourism over the issue. Also, it would appear that Wisconsin and Michigan have to some extent “seen the light” and taken a sharp right turn in recent years — WI finally passed concealed carry a couple of years ago, leaving IL as the lone state with no provisions whatsoever for it — though it remains to be seen whether it lasts.

  • Suffice it to say, NONE of the Southern states are like that.

  • Jay, don’t you now live in Ohio, the state that sent the third largest number of troops to fight for the Union?

  • While I may live in Ohio, my heart is in Dixie. I am a Texan and a Virginian. I merely reside in Ohio, and I forgive them for sending that many soldiers to invade my home.

    😉

    As to my comment above to which Elaine was responding, it has generally applicability to “Yankee land”, but I was specifically thinking about the state of New York when I wrote it.

  • Suffice it to say, NONE of the Southern states are like that.

    Sad to say, I worry that Virginia, despite who holds office as of this writing, is on the precipice.

  • And why is Virginia on the precipice? Because of NORTHERN Virginia. Full of … Yankees.

    😉

  • I think most of Ohio thinks of the themselves as “Southern”.

  • Sorry we made you free all your slaves. Next time, fight harder.

  • Yep. All you Yankees got is lording your superiority over the South about something that happened 150 years ago. Good luck with that while being enveloped by rampant secularism.

  • Next time, fight harder.
    Can’t be done.
    Never in history has there been better.
    (Eh, sure it’s up for argument, but that’s my best response to your gag line.)

  • “Never in history has there been better.”

    Certainly in American history. The Confederates kept fighting until virtually every city and most towns were occupied by the Union. They kept fighting until half past midnight for their cause. General Grant had this to say:

    “What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.”

Better to be Raped Than to be Armed

Monday, February 18, AD 2013

At least that is what Joe Salazar, a Democrat State Representative in Colorado, apparently believes:

 

“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.”

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12 Responses to Better to be Raped Than to be Armed

Cutting the Papa-Bull

Monday, February 18, AD 2013

I’m off from work, so you get a whole two posts from me today. Aren’t you lucky?

Pat Archbold has written an excellent post at the National Catholic Register that counters some of the arguments we’ve heard in light of Pope Benedict’s resignation, abdication, retirement, ummm not being Pope anymore. Our own Jake Tawney touched upon some of these issues last week, but it’s worth re-emphasizing.

The Holy Spirit picks the Pope, so don’t worry. This is probably the most common bit of balderdash. I refer to this is ‘Holy Spirit as conclave Puppeteer fallacy.’

Let’s get this straight, the Holy-Spirit does not pick the Pope, 117 fallible men do. For certain, many or even most of these men will call on the Holy Spirit in fervent prayer to guide their judgement, but it is still their judgement, their fallible judgment.

To suggest that the Holy Spirit picks the Pope is an insult to the Holy Spirit born of ignorance. To put the blame for some of the horrible Popes that we have had on the Holy Spirit is to blame God for our own contrary wills. No, the Holy Spirit does not pick the Pope.

The Holy Spirit protects the Church from anything bad, so don’t worry. If you worry, you don’t trust the Holy Spirit. I call this the ‘Holy Spirit as fairy-godmother fallacy.’ If you have the temerity to express a bit of apprehension over the abdication of the Pope or for the future, the pious will pummel you as an unbeliever. While the Holy Spirit protects the Church from certain things (more on this later), the Holy Spirit does not protect the Church from calamity. To make such an argument is to be woefully ignorant of history. Ignorant of not only the whole 2,000 years of history, but ignorant of just the last 50 years of history.  Bad things happen, even to the Church.

Part B of this fallacy are those who trot out “The gates of Hell shall not prevail!!!” as their defense of this nonsense. Yes, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, but this is no guarantee that there will be not be tremendous loss of life and souls along the way. The Nazis did not prevail, but they sure did a lot of evil before they lost. This line of thinking is merely sticking your head in pious sand.

How dare you critique the Pope! He is guided by the Holy Spirit!! If you have the temerity to question the Pope’s (past, present, or even future) prudential judgment, then you are a cafeteria catholic and a moral relativist of the worst sort. I call this the ‘Pope as God or Jack Chick fallacy.’ I have seen many people comment that we have no right as Catholics to question the Pope’s prudential judgement on anything or even offer advice to a future Pope. The Holy Spirit guides the Pope, dont’cha know, so to question or advise the Pope is to question or advise the Holy Spirit. Heretic!!

In one bit of commentary I warned of the dangers of a ‘trend’ of papal abdications and advised a future pontiff to avoid it. I didn’t even critique the current Pontiff’s decision, just advised a future one. For this, I was branded a moral relativist and a heretic.

Of course, proper respect should be given to any Pope, even in prudential areas, but the Pope is not infallible in this. While I am certain that this Pope prayed and discerned over his decision to abdicate, this is no guarantee that this is the right thing to do or that it is the will of God. There are real consequences to this decision and there are real dangers too. That is not to say that the Pope is doing the wrong thing, but only that he is doing what he thinks is best. It may be, it may not be.

Pat’s previous post, referenced in his third point, was savaged some commenters because he had the brazen temerity to tell the Pope what to do, though that wasn’t exactly the message of his column.

One mistake that some Catholics make is treating every papal utterance and action as divinely inspired and thus immune from even the slightest bit of criticism or doubt. This tendency only fuels the suspicions of non-Catholics and heterodox Catholics that we treat the Pope as something like a deity. Neither Pat nor I are suggesting that we should make like Hans Kung and vigorously dissent in the most arrogant manner possible, however; we need to recognize that Popes are human beings, and though guided by the Holy Spirit, not free from error in everything they do. One reason it’s so important to remember that we have a Pope who is not personally infallible in all things is because he desperately needs our prayers, and we might be less inclined to offer up those prayers if we think he’s got this all covered. So keep those prayers coming for the Pope and for the Cardinals who will be selecting the next Pope.

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6 Responses to Cutting the Papa-Bull

  • Paul Zummo: “Pope Benedict’s resignation, abdication, retirement,” all words cross out. Pope Benedict XVI surrenders his office as Vicar of Christ on earth and Successor to Peter to another priest. I am amused as the word SUPER POPE enters my mind. No, Pope Benedict XVI will always be Pope Benedict XVI and Joseph Ratzinger will always be beloved Joseph Ratzinger, Servant of the Servants of God.

  • I’m not sure why it’s either/or: Either we treat every word of every Pope as infallible OR we criticize every word of every Pope relentlessly. In the case at hand, we have had decades of experience of the character of Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict. He has always shown himself to be a prayerful, thoughtful, devout man. If he has come to the conclusion that he is not fit for his responsibilities, I’m inclined to agree with him on the basis of what we know about him. Did he get a handwritten message from God? I rather doubt it. But can I trust that this man, with this character, made this decision as prudently, prayerfully and lovingly as he possibly could? Yes, I do.

  • One of the problems since Vatican II has been that the Church Militant has confused herself with the Church Triumphant while acting like the Church Mushy.

  • Maggie – Well put. That’s pretty much where my thinking is on this.

    For me, though, there’s another aspect of it. I’ve found that – for me – involvement in Church politics and rumors diminishes my sense of awe and humility toward the Church. I’m not accusing others of falling into the same trap, but it’s a trap that I fall into so easily that I have to believe I’m not alone in it.

  • History should teach us a measure of realism.

    I am not so much thinking of the “bad popes,” as of the average. From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators. Even Benedict XIV, a giant in that age of pygmies, is better remembered today as Prospero Lambertini, the great canon lawyer, fits this mould.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Meanwhile, we had the Church riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

    It goes without saying that none of them taught error – that is the guaranteed protection of the Holy Spirit.

  • If I were pope, I’d name myself Sixtus VI. It’s even better in Latin: Sixtus Sextus.

The Collective Ho-Hum on Benghazi

Monday, February 18, AD 2013

It’s not every day that an American Embassy is attacked and four Americans, including an Ambassador, are murdered. So after the September 11 attacks on the embassy in Benghazi, one would have thought that there would have been widespread outrage. In fact there was a widespread furor in the aftermath of the attacks. First the outrage was aimed at presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his supposedly insensitive and political comments made hours after we learned of what occurred. After the storm died down, the public turned its attention to the individual whose film insulted the Prophet Mohammed and thus instigated the attacks.

In the weeks ahead we would come to learn more details. Even after it became obvious to all that the attacks were planned weeks in advance and had absolutely nothing to do with the film (which no one seemed to even know existed until the September 11 attacks), the narrative had been set. And with the campaign in full force, the media seemed content to let the issue die lest the administration be further embarrassed.

Even with the election in the rearviewmirror, reporting on Benghazi has been sparse. A pair of Congressional hearings have shone light on the issue, but an alliance between the far left and far right have managed to damper the conversation. The first event was now former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance before the Senate, where in response to questioning from Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Clinton responded:

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?

The response was hailed by those desperate to bury the issue as a stroke of genius. Hillary Clinton had all but sewn up the 2016 presidential election with her Churchillian wit. Forget that the response was at best callous, and demonstrated a tremendous lack of curiosity from the person in charge of our State Department, not to mention that it sure as hell matters why these attacks were perpetrated. No, it was the line that ended the debate once and for all.

Well, not quite, because the issue came up again in the confirmation hearings from Obama’s choice to replace Leon Panetta at the Department of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s disastrous performance has stalled his nomination. Though anyone watching Hagel’s performance that day should have realized he isn’t qualified to run a frozen banana stand let alone the Defense Department, the “true conservatives” at the American (Paleo)Conservative ran to Hagel’s defense. Over there ideology trumps competence, and they have mounted an all out blitz on those Israel-loving neocons who oppose Hagel, I guess because those Jewish mind rays have distorted our judgment or something.

The most hysterical (in more ways than one) response came from Rod Dreher (h/t Pauli), who seems to think that the Republicans are destroying their credibility by opposing Hagel. According to Dreher and his buddy Daniel Larison, the GOP’s actions over the past couple of months ensure that all of the independents and realists are going to run in horror away from the GOP. As usual there’s no support given to support the thesis that the Republicans are alienating anyone by not behaving exactly as the folks at the American Conservative wish they would, but it makes for some entertaining reading as Rod Dreher of all people chastises Republicans for being shrill. There’s a Yiddish word for that, but I don’t want to further alienate Dreher by using it. Anyway, after referencing another article chock full of genius insights such as “Be more pro-science” as ways that Republicans can lure “independents,” Dreher shrieks:

On the Hagel matter, the Senate GOP seems nothing but obstructionist. Who gives a rat’s ass about Benghazi? Seriously, who?

Yes, that’s right, the true conservative (TM) position on a terrorist attack on an American embassy that leaves four dead is “who gives a rat’s ass?”

So after dismissing any concern over Benghazi, what’s is Rod Dreher’s next piece of trenchant analysis: a post titled “Happy Kale-Day to Me.” So Dreher can’t be bothered about a terrorist attack, but he is sure to make sure everyone knows he had a terrific birthday in which he got to eat plenty of delicious kale. That’s a true conservative ™ for you.

Well at least the true conservatives ™ can sleep well with the knowledge that they are joined by the far left in dismissing Benghazi as a subject worth worrying our little heads over. Oliver Willis, a “fellow” at Media Matters for America, spent his day writing a series of unfunny tweets mocking conservatives for trying to investigate the issue. Aside from demonstrating his complete witlessness – subject matter aside, Willis’s attempts at satire are just cringeworthy – Willis elaborated the left’s position on Benghazi. You see, only crazy conservatives could possibly have any interest in this boooooooorrrrring issue, so let’s mock them. And Dreher and the useful idiots at the American Conservative are too happy to oblige in the mockery. And then they wonder why conservatives can’t make advances in the culture or in the political sphere.

For years I’ve heard countless complaints about how conservatives aren’t serious, and how we really need to start acting like adults in the room. If burying our heads in the sand about an attack on our embassies that killed fellow Americans is “acting like an adult,” then I truly tremble in fear at where our country is headed.

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16 Responses to The Collective Ho-Hum on Benghazi

  • “Obama continued. “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.” Not so much when it comes to Benghazi!

  • i especially lol at Larison when he critiques Republicans for not realizing the roots of their defeat…and then goes on to suggest that a big reason minorities don’t vote GOP might be, you guessed it, Republican security policies since Bush. call me naive but i kinda doubt that’s the main factor. i got my own opinions on “what the GOP should do” but i don’t pretend my opinions are always popular or electorally effective.

    “The American Conservative” writes the GOP platform, it’d go: down with Israel/neocons. everything else? we can negotiate. freethinkers!

  • i think someone accurately critiqued Dreher a while ago for feeling culturally alienated from what he thinks is a too market-focused conservatism, and extrapolating his own lifestyle/biases into a pet ideology.

    the foodie stuff, for instance — what’s the point. i don’t mean if he wants to talk about it on a personal level, that’s fine. i mean that he’s talked about this as a red vs. blue thing before and i have extreme difficulty caring. then again maybe it’s all a crafty editorial scheme to win more granola-munching liberal converts to the Paleostinian cause.

  • “Who gives a rat’s ass about Benghazi? Seriously, who?”

    Only evil neo-cons and Jooos! doubtless.

  • There were 20 or so people who made it out of our Benghazi embassy– in
    spite of this administration’s inaction. Where are they? Why haven’t they
    been interviewed by the media? If they appeared at the congressional hearings,
    it never got much coverage. Seems to me the media should be fighting to
    interview these folks– instead, they appear to have been stuffed down the
    memory hole.

    Also, the patsy who made the film blamed for sparking the assault was taken
    into custody back in September, and his hearing was scheduled (rather
    conveniently for this administration) for a few days after the presidential
    election. Where is the man now? Is he just rotting in custody somewhere?
    Not much curiosity about that from our ‘journalists’, not much concern for
    his freedom of speech.

    The impression I get from our media’s handling of this event is that they
    are not merely happy to give the left the benefit of the doubt, they are in
    the tank to kill stories for this administration. Our so-called ‘journalists’
    have willingly gagged themselves, and remove those gags only to shout down
    those who won’t participate in their blackout. I’m not the sort to wear a
    tinfoil hat, but the obvious campaign of distraction and incuriosity waged
    by our news agencies is frightening.

  • I generally agree with you on substance (especially on the unseriousness of the alt-right) but I wonder if perhaps discussions of this nature ought to be in a parallel forum devoted to secular politics and the like.

  • I wonder if perhaps discussions of this nature ought to be in a parallel forum devoted to secular politics and the like.

    Don’t give Tito ideas.

    I’ll let one of the founders of the blog address the comment more substantively, but it seems the horse was out of the barn on that long, long ago.

  • We have always had a very broad brief for this blog and that includes secular politics. I think our broad range of discussions helps keep the blog interesting.

  • Mark Levin refers to the lying, liberal media as the “praetorian press.” It serves as fell guardian of the regime, the nightmare narrative, and the imperial person: Barack. The praetorian press can overtly operate because the masses either have been brainwashed or been silenced by their dependence on the regime for their sustenance.

    And so,

    “Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions–all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practiced and uniformity of views not enforced.”
    ― Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

  • FDR was a terrible president and he was re-elected three times. FDR personally went after newspapers who opposed his policies.

    The media has never been all that objective, but it is important to remember that Washington, DC is a Democrat town. When bad things happen while a Democrat occupies the White House, it’s always someone else’s fault or it’s no big deal. I used to work there. God, thank you for allowing me to escape.

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  • Oliver Willis is still around? Ace had the best takedown of that gasbag:

    “He smells of Funyuns and failure.”

  • FDR was a terrible president

    He was not.

  • I stand by my comment. I consider FDR to be a terrible President. Skilled politician, but a terrible President, nonetheless. FDR put Americans in concentration camps. FDR expanded the federal government’s power, reach, control and cost. The New Deal was a failure. FDR gave Stalin whatever Stalin wanted and blatantly ignored evidence of the NKVD in the slaughter of Poles at Katyn.

    Obama, by comparison, is a pest. Obumber has it in for the Catholic Church, but the Church has survived worse that a stuttering, propped up empty suit.

  • FDR put Americans in concentration camps.

    True. A huge swath of the political class was implicated in that, including Earl Warren, the majority on the federal Supreme Court, &c. Advising against was…J. Edgar Hoover.

    FDR expanded the federal government’s power, reach, control and cost.

    Just to point out that the ratio of federal expenditure to domestic product in 1940 was about .065, that the budget was balanced twice in the years running from 1933 to 1941, and that public sector borrowing never exceeded 3.9% of domestic product in any fiscal year.

    The New Deal was a failure.

    A failure at what? Rapid improvement in production began almost immediately upon the bank holiday and institution of changes in monetary policy in 1933, followed by the enactment of revised banking regulations. By 1942, economic output had returned to long-term trends. The residual problem, partially addressed by the WPA and other agencies but exacerbated by several other measures, was bad dysfunction in labor markets.

    FDR gave Stalin whatever Stalin wanted and blatantly ignored evidence of the NKVD in the slaughter of Poles at Katyn.

    Neither Roosevelt nor Truman were in a position to prevent the breaking of Eastern Europe. The facts on the ground pretty much dictated how matters played out.

  • With his latest posts about Conservatism and Huntsman Dreher seems to be deliberately formulating Hillary’s “What difference, at this point, does it make?” to position a very pragmatic nihilism for his own use in becoming a non-threatening go-to chameleon “conservative” anyone from TAC to the BBC to Ellen Degeneres can turn to for a well-paid throwaway media bite tidbit at the spin of a Rolodex.

    Gay marriage? “What difference, at this point, does it make?” The battle was lost in the (mumble-mumble) “culture” – shrug – thanks for the check.

    Benghazi? Foreign policy? “What difference, at this point, does it make?” The battle was lost in the (mumble-mumble) “culture” – shrug – thanks for the check.

    Christianity? “What difference, at this point, does it make?” The argument was lost in the (mumble-mumble) “culture” – shrug – thanks for the check.

    We can only retreat from it all and eat fabulous crabby snacks and homemades until we feel it’s safe to have an opinion again.

    Dreher’s become the Christian Conservative version of your girlfriend’s best male friend at the office – the chatty gay one who is so calculatingly ambivalent on everything that no sex or identity group sees him as any kind of threat.