Our Pyrrhic Victory

Tuesday, July 1, AD 2014

I want to be excited about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the blatantly illegal and unjust HHS contraception mandate. But as I said back in March, writing for Crisis:

[In the event of a Hobby Lobby win] my celebration will be muted and limited, however, because a legal victory will not address the underlying philosophical and cultural divide that brought this case before the court to begin with. Contrary to what some may believe, law is not the foundation upon which society rests; it is rather the adhesive we use to patch up broken pieces of society. The more laws, precedents, mandates, rulings and decisions we require to defend our basic interests and assert our rights, the greater indication we have of a society that is almost literally tearing itself apart.

I’m not alone in this. James C. Capretta writes in The National Review:

But even in victory, it is hard to avoid the sinking feeling that having to fight at all over this issue is something of a defeat.

That’s because the HHS mandate was always a politically contrived issue without real legitimacy…

What’s most discouraging is that millions of American voters really seemed to buy it. The absurdity of the “war on women” claim has not undermined its potency. Unfortunately, the Hobby Lobby decision, welcome and necessary as it is, ensures that the “war on women” flag will be waved incessantly in the run-up to the 2014 midterm election. The GOP will need to do a far better job this time around in framing the issue and making it clear that what the Obama administration wants is not access to contraceptives but victory in a pointless ideological crusade.

And Ross Kaminsky at The American Spectator writes:

Although the Court got it right, conservatives and libertarians alike — namely any American who understands the primacy of our Founding principles over the utilitarian approach of statists — have an uphill battle on our hands when it comes to the population overall…

Until “hearts and minds” are changed so that Court decisions such as Hobby Lobby are heralded not only as correct, but as obviously so, these small victories mean little in the longer war against a determined and patient foe.

I was fairly certain from the beginning that the Court would rule in favor of Hobby Lobby. But the reason Hobby Lobby prevailed was because the administration failed to consider the possibility of simply paying for these contraceptives itself, i.e. with our tax dollars. Though I understand that in the context of case law and precedents, there is a significant distinction between compelling direct payment/participation and simply collecting taxes, in practice it amounts to the same thing. One way or another, we will all have our pockets picked to serve the federal government’s ideological agenda.

I was prepared for the hysteria and mass psychosis of the left and the radical feminists as well. From the moment it was announced and conservatives pointed out the slam-dunk case against it, proponents of the mandate have engaged in one of the most dishonest and demented propaganda campaigns in modern history. That they would now threaten violence with impunity is not surprising either. We live in two different philosophical, moral, and semantic universes. Between them exists a chasm which rational argument cannot cross. To even engage the mindless arguments against the ruling would be beneath any of us. Ginsberg’s dissent may be worth deconstructing, but I will leave that to people with more time (besides, I think Alito and, I never thought I’d say this, Kennedy did a fine job addressing her directly in their opinions).

The enemies of the Constitution, the 1st amendment and Christianity in this country have been handed a victory even in defeat, a banner around which to rally and reinforce their collective delusions. Against this insanity, which will be used against the tottering remnants of our republic and our churches like a battering ram, sober and reasoned discourse will not stand. Our enemies are not interested in it. They do not want it, any more than the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks wanted it. They want our heads on pikes and our hearts on platters, they want to write our epitaphs in blood and erase our memory from the Earth. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the reactions for yourself.

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12 Responses to Our Pyrrhic Victory

  • “I was hoping that it would not go out of its way to find that the Obama administration had a legitimate and compelling interest in ensuring that every woman has access to birth control – an interest that ought to have absolutely nothing to do with the federal government – but it did.”

    No, the majority did not adjudicate that issue:

    “We find it unnecessary to adjudicate this issue. We will assume that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is compelling within the meaning of RFRA, and we will proceed to consider the final prong of the RFRA test, i.e., whether HHS has shown that the contraceptive mandate is “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” §2000bb–1(b)(2).”

    For purposes of determining whether the RFRA prong requiring the least restrictive means was satisfied by the contraceptive mandate, the court assumed but did not find that supplying free contraceptives was a compelling governmental interest. A very important distinction under the law.

  • “They want our heads on pikes and our hearts on platters, they want to write our epitaphs in blood and erase our memory from the Earth.”
    A metaphor only. Their reality is that they want us on psychotropic medications, and when those would have taken their toll they would say, “Those poor people, they wouldn’t want to suffer like that”, and so the merciful lethal injection would follow. They don’t hate, after all, they really do care about people.

  • The Soviets had Stalingrad before the war. They had plenty of problems after holding Stalingrad. Still, the Battle of Stalingrad was a victory for them. There are times when holding your own and making your enemy waste resources count as conditions for victory.

  • Obama won the woman vote by 11 points in 2012. What will it be in 2016?

  • “… the administration failed to consider the possibility of simply paying for these contraceptives itself, i.e. with our tax dollars.”
    This is not accurate. We already pay for contraceptives and even abortions through federal, state and local tax dollars. The current administration did not fail at this. They are now trying to force us to more directly pay for these things through insurance regulations. I work at a self insuring, big corporation. My insurance now includes some cost for these abominations.

  • It is possible to write; “Not a penny of my tax dollars is to be used to promote abortion and abortaficients” thereby freeing oneself of complicity in the evil brought about by the HHS Mandate.

  • Actually, Hobby Lobby still provides many contraceptives, including abortafacients, to its employees, so HL is being inconsistent.
    .
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/381637/hobby-lobby-actually-lavishes-contraception-coverage-its-employees-deroy-murdock

  • Contrary to what some may believe, law is not the foundation upon which society rests; it is rather the adhesive we use to patch up broken pieces of society.

    To some extent I suppose. I see law as more a reflection of society. The very fact a law could be proposed and passed mandating contraception coverage, and but for one slim vote, would survive, is a sad reflection on the state of our culture. Not to mention the very real victories of gay “marriage”.

  • “We live in two different philosophical, moral, and semantic universes.” Yes, that’s true.
    “…. reinforce their collective delusions. Against this insanity, which will be used against the tottering remnants of our republic and our churches like a battering ram,
    sober and reasoned discourse will not stand.” Probably also true, but we’ve Got to keep trying. It (rational argument) can’t be beneath us- what else can we do?

  • Anzlyne

    Language can only work within a common frame of reference. Anyone who has tried to translate from one language into another will appreciate this.

    That is what Wittgenstein meant, when he said that, if a lion could talk, we could not understand him.

    The Holy Father has pointed to this difficulty, when he said, “After all, in every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better. So human beings in time change the way they perceive themselves. It’s one thing for a man who expresses himself by carving the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace,’ yet another for Caravaggio, Chagall and yet another still for Dalí. Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning.”

    In her 1958 paper, Modern Moral Philosophy, Miss Anscombe highlighted one of our difficulties: “In present-day philosophy an explanation is required how an unjust man is a bad man, or an unjust action a bad one; to give such an explanation belongs to ethics; but it cannot even be begun until we are equipped with a sound philosophy of psychology. For the proof that an unjust man is a bad man would require a positive account of justice as a “virtue.” This part of the subject-matter of ethics, is however, completely closed to us until we have an account of what type of characteristic a virtue is – a problem, not of ethics, but of conceptual analysis – and how it relates to the actions in which it is instanced: a matter which I think Aristotle did not succeed in really making clear.” We are not much further forward than when she wrote that.

Have We Always Been This Crazy?

Monday, May 26, AD 2014

You’re on the Internet, reading a politically-themed religious blog. You’ve heard about the shooting in Santa Barbara. I almost feel as if I’d be wasting my time and insulting your intelligence by providing a link. Long story short: a rich kid went nuts because no girls would sleep with him and killed a whole bunch of people. Then everyone immediately projected their ideological loves, fears, and hatreds onto the situation and into the Interwebs in a massive deluge. Only three things get people this worked up in the Twitterverse: race, gender, and sexual preferences. This time the wheel stopped at gender.

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14 Responses to Have We Always Been This Crazy?

  • “People are dead.”

    Agreed. Death of conscience. Death of soul.

    The families that lost loved ones due to this senseless act need our prayers. At this point it’s the only help we can offer.
    The only act that makes sense.

  • Abraham Lincoln said that one person cannot own another person. Susan B. Anthony was handcuffed to the bars in her jail cell, starved and beaten for days because she had the temerity to believe that man and woman were equal in personhood. Some men beat their wives because Eve ate an apple. (not that Adam, who had the power, stopped her.)
    Why would Elliot Rodger believe that any woman would want to share friendship with a selfish monster? Women can think, too. Somebody never told Rodger to never underestimate his opponent.
    Somebody never told Rodger that there are Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt not kill.” is one of them. There is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where there is always a person with whom to speak and share and befriend. Someone never told Rodger about God, the Supreme Sovereign Being who created man in Justice and love. That someone, the atheist, is responsible for Rodger not knowing and hoping and loving. Atheism is unconstitutional, while the atheist must be tolerated. Murder is beyond toleration. Whoever removed God and the knowing, loving and serving of God from the public domain is responsible, nay guilty. Will the real murderer of body and soul please stand up.

  • Regarding the accusations of overreacting, do you deny….

    -That we (as in the world, whether in the West or elsewhere) don’t simply preach that one (whether male or female) wait for sex till marriage, but in many cases turn virginity for women into an idol, where if something violent happens to a woman, or she makes a mistake, or simply doesn’t believe as we do, she is treated like her virginity was the only/most important part of her and now she is damaged?

    -We may theologically preach waiting till marriage for all, but in all our history as a church, we failed to stamp out the cultural norms that tie manhood to sexual prowess, so that a man must “conquer” lots of women with sex to be a real man?

    -That in addition to basic, call it “jock type disregard and mistreatment of women”, there is the phenomenon of “nice guy-ism”, where nerds think that they deserve women just for not being like there oppressors, and can themselves turn into jerks or creeps (like Steve Urkel) in how they treat women?

    -That while teaching people survival skills is important, we don’t put enough effort into things like trying to make our streets so safe so that a woman wouldn’t have to fear walking alone at night (as much as that is possible)?

    -That we can get so wrapped up in telling women what they should have done differently, we let men off the hook in various ways, rather than justly saying “YOU HURT HER? WE ARE THROWING THE BOOK AT YOU!!!!!!”?

    -That if in many cases, when a woman exercises the kind of kind but firm assertiveness we consider a good quality in men, she is considered “pushy”?

    -That we may theologically not find it problematic if a woman works as a CEO while the man takes care of the kids, we STILL kinda look down on people like the ones I described?

    -That in our efforts to defend the notion of differences between men and women (I’ll grant that, aside from physical differences, my understanding is that studies have shown that on average tendencies are a real thing), we forget the importance of equality of opportunity, and letting each man or woman succeed on their own merits, regardless of whether they are like the group or not?

    -That the things we consider good qualities in men….being kind, hard-working, assertive, able to discern whether a given situation is the best time to express ones feelings, or whether said situations requires stoic resolve….are ALSO good qualities in women? And that what we are in fact describing….are simply the qualities of a good person?

    -That in our rush to condemn single moms, we forget that a MASSIVE amount of the time, the reason they single is because the men either left or that the women HAD to remove themselves from said men because they were a danger to the women and/or children?

    -That when it comes to things like “provocative clothing”, men should stop using it as an excuse and turn their eyes away?

    -And finally, that as YesAllWomen has pointed out, they know not all men or bad, BUT all women have had to learn to fear men?

  • I should point out I DONT mean all nerds….I myself consider myself a nerd. BUT as a cultural problem…I don’t deny that among my fellow nerds there can be a strong element of self-entitlement…..

  • A couple of observations.

    (obligatory) Re: the Second Amendment and concealed carry laws. The man could not have done that in Clarksville, TN where everybody (including my soldier son) is carrying a weapon. The places in KY he could have done it are Fort Campbell and Fort Knox where only the mass murderer is allowed to go about armed.

    Re: ideology and mass shootings. Why is it always that the foul felons are either Democrats or their constituents/dependents?

    Finally, “Why do we live like this, the violence and the hatred, Bernardo?” From “West Side Story.”

  • Do I deny….
    .
    “That we (as in the world, whether in the West or elsewhere)”…
    .
    I deny that you can, as you tried to do here, lump the West in with “elsewhere.” Yes, I deny that women are treated the same in the United States as they are in Saudi Arabia. I deny that Western cultures still perpetuate a cult of virginity as many Eastern cultures still do, even there are some residuals.
    .
    “We may theologically preach waiting till marriage for all, but in all our history as a church, we failed to stamp out the cultural norms that tie manhood to sexual prowess, so that a man must “conquer” lots of women with sex to be a real man?”
    .
    What you call a “cultural norm” is something I see as an expression of biology. Cultures don’t just float down from the sky into blank slates (I love Locke but I hate the tabla rasa). They emerge at least in part from our natures. You cannot stamp out human nature without stamping out humanity. The Church, and for that matter, the ancient pagans, did the best they could; they cultivated a moral and ethical ideal of self-restraint, an intellectual ideal of objectivity and reason, and sought to inculcate as many people with it as they could. To go beyond this would be totalitarian and a violation of human dignity far worse than whatever evils would supposedly be stopped (and they wouldn’t be stopped even then).
    .
    “That in addition to basic, call it “jock type disregard and mistreatment of women”, there is the phenomenon of “nice guy-ism”, where nerds think that they deserve women just for not being like there oppressors, and can themselves turn into jerks or creeps (like Steve Urkel) in how they treat women?”
    .
    I don’t deny it, but Elliot Rodger wasn’t a Steve Urkel (and to be fair, poor old Urkel only wanted to be with ONE woman and always went home when she ordered him to). Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. He didn’t even speak to women. Everything he believed about himself and women was a psychotic mental fabrication. There’s no political cure for this. A lifetime of indoctrination at a feminist reeducation camp couldn’t cure this. He would have just ended up mass murdering for a different reason. But that’s generally ok. I mean, the left worships Che Guevara because he waged a war against people the left doesn’t like.
    .
    “That while teaching people survival skills is important, we don’t put enough effort into things like trying to make our streets so safe so that a woman wouldn’t have to fear walking alone at night”
    .
    How much effort is enough? North Korean levels of control? Soviet levels? Until I know what you think is the minimum, I can’t say what I think of your idea.
    .
    “That we can get so wrapped up in telling women what they should have done differently, we let men off the hook in various ways”
    .
    There are thousands of men in jail for rape and assault. Some people let men off the hook for bad behavior, sure. And feminism is a collective enterprise devoted to letting women off the hook for theirs. Both sides of the debate are very childish. MRAs think men can do no wrong; feminists think women can do no wrong. The reality is that violence against women – or anyone – should be punished and that women – and everyone – ought to be prepared to defend themselves. To argue anything else is to deny basic elements of reality and to place yourself in the camp of ideological fanatics.
    .
    “That if in many cases, when a woman exercises the kind of kind but firm assertiveness we consider a good quality in men, she is considered “pushy”?”
    .
    That might be true, but again, I don’t know what the hell it has to do with Rodgers, whose problem wasn’t even remotely related to women being “pushy.”
    .
    “That we may theologically not find it problematic if a woman works as a CEO while the man takes care of the kids, we STILL kinda look down on people like the ones I described?”
    .
    I don’t deny that. I do think it is another expression of human nature, and not the result of a patriarchal conspiracy to brainwash everyone.
    .
    “we forget the importance of equality of opportunity, and letting each man or woman succeed on their own merits, regardless of whether they are like the group or not?”
    .
    Yes, this happens, and it sucks, and it can’t be changed. We are not infinitely malleable creatures. The society of individual liberty that we’ve tried to build, very imperfectly, is as close as we can get to a just one. A collectivist society that tries to force hiring quotas upon every business and government institution in existence is not the answer.
    .
    “That the things we consider good qualities in men….being kind, hard-working, assertive, able to discern whether a given situation is the best time to express ones feelings, or whether said situations requires stoic resolve….are ALSO good qualities in women? And that what we are in fact describing….are simply the qualities of a good person?”
    .
    I don’t deny that, but I don’t think many people think of women, as a group, as unkind or lazy.
    .
    “That in our rush to condemn single moms, we forget that a MASSIVE amount of the time, the reason they single is because the men either left or that the women HAD to remove themselves from said men because they were a danger to the women and/or children?”
    .
    I can’t fathom what this would have to do with the delusions of a psychopath. He didn’t have a problem with single moms that I could tell. In any case, I don’t condemn people for things they can’t control. But I do condemn the idea that single motherhood is “just as good” as having a mother and a father. That is simply a lie, and a damaging lie at that.
    .
    “That when it comes to things like “provocative clothing”, men should stop using it as an excuse and turn their eyes away?”
    .
    Thanks for summing up the #1 problem with feminism. No moral standards for women, impossible moral standards for men. It’s childish, spiteful, irrational and utopian. It is almost as insane as the thoughts in Rodger’s head to expect that women ought to be able to sexualize themselves without being thought of as sex objects by men. It is really the most insane thing believed by human beings in modern Western societies today. Elliot Rodgers was not driven to madness by scantly clad women, though; he was driven to madness by envy of other men.
    .
    “And finally, that as YesAllWomen has pointed out, they know not all men or bad, BUT all women have had to learn to fear men?”
    .
    Yes, I deny this. These people do not speak for all women. A woman who is confident, intellectually honest, and well-armed is not afraid of men. There were Soviet female snipers and soldiers who I am fairly certain never feared any man. All of this fear is a product of a culture of dependence and narcissism. The dependence teaches them to fear life, and the narcissism teaches them to hate anyone or anything perceived to stand in their way. The psychosis affecting radical feminists and their man-boobed allies isn’t that different than the psychosis Elliot Rodger suffered. The pathological narcissism and crippling dependence are present in both cases.
    .
    “I should point out I DONT mean all nerds….I myself consider myself a nerd. BUT as a cultural problem…I don’t deny that among my fellow nerds there can be a strong element of self-entitlement…”
    .
    I don’t deny it either. A lot of weak men do feel entitled. And it is a problem. But it isn’t the product of a patriarchal conspiracy against women. It isn’t a result of “rape culture.” And it rarely culminates in anything harmful. For every Rodger there are a thousand weak nerds who never commit any violence and whose worst offense is to occasionally make a woman feel uncomfortable. This is not some massive, evil, horrible tyranny that needs to be smashed out. It’s something that our spoiled, whiny, cry-baby culture needs to get over.

  • -That we can get so wrapped up in telling women what they should have done differently, we let men off the hook in various ways, rather than justly saying “YOU HURT HER? WE ARE THROWING THE BOOK AT YOU!!!!!!”?

    Don’t know where you came by this fancy. See Glenn Sacks on the operations of the modern DV industry and the role of the police in making the machine go.

  • MRAs think men can do no wrong;

    When did Helen Smith or Stephen Baskerville or Glenn Sacks ever state or imply this?

  • Bonchamps:

    Regarding your various points, I say:

    1. In the United States, I have seen and experienced those residuals of the cult of virginity….well, not being a lady, I suppose experienced is not the right word. But I have witnessed in various forms the leftovers of the idea that unmarried women without virginity are regarded as dirty. Is it as bad as in other parts of the world? Of course not! But it is still there. Will we literally eradicate it completely? No. But addressing it consciously and verbally can be used to reduce it. We do that with racism, and American attitudes about that have changed at lot in the past 60 years, even if racism does remain.

    2. Take “its biology/human nature and there is nothing you can do” to the extreme, and all forms of trying to educate people to be good are pointless. Perfection may be impossible, but you have to try and do as best as you can. And given while our Church did many wonderful things for women back in the day, one cannot deny the MASSIVE amount of sexism displayed by many of our great Church Fathers and others….We could have done better, could have been more forceful in our homilies, and should do better now.

    3. The other points I brought up were not all related to Rodger per se, but were also a response to what you and others have said about feminism overreacting in general.

    4. Even so, Steve was still an unbelievable jerk. He should have taken no as a no and respected it. The idea that “no means yes” or can be turned into a yes…that is a justification used by rapists. Plus, his harassment was repeated….If he and Laura worked for me, and I found out Steve kept going after Laura even when she said no, I would fire him and call the cops.

    5. Yes, Rodger was a lunatic. But there is a continuum of lunacy. One can still be deluded, and/or need medication, and know the difference between right and wrong.

    6. Obviously no thought police. But each year in the US, over 237,000 women are victims of various forms of sexual assault. Whatever we can to keep getting that number lowered, we should do. If that requires me to pay more money in taxes to have more cops on the street, so be it. Doing our best is never-ending.

    7. Patriarchal conspiracy? No one believes there literally are a group of old men sitting in a back room plotting to keep men down. BUT the idea that women who are not in the kitchen, or nurses, or teachers, are “pushy” IS a widespread one, in various forms. Again, we may not be able to eliminate it, but what a society generally considerers acceptable does change with time. In terms of general cultural attitudes, the US is very different today from 1787.

    8. A man can choose NOT to rape. If he is in a club and sees a group of women dancing together in provocative clothes, he does not have to slip up behind her and start dancing. He can ask her and respect her no if she says no. Its not an impossible standard to say that even if men get aroused, they can control their actions.

    9. The point is not that LITERALLY every single woman fears every single man in her life. But various forms of sexual harassment and condescension are so widespread, just as racist depictions of African Americans were so widespread back in the day, that they have to be on guard in our society in a way that men do not. We many not be as bad as other places, but that is no excuse to not try and do better.

    10. Finally, man-bobbed allies? You accuse the left of demonizing and dismissing Catholic points out of hand, and yet you brazenly dismiss those men who have the audacity to not dismiss feminism? I am a man. I consider myself a feminist. Do you think that gives you license to make assumptions about my character without knowing me, or those other men who dare to call out men who say “get back in the kitchen”? How do you like it when people on the left do that to Catholics?

  • I see I made a typo in point 7. I meant women.

  • “But I have witnessed in various forms the leftovers of the idea that unmarried women without virginity are regarded as dirty.”
    .
    They are, in a sense, but so are unmarried men who have lost theirs. Really it is the women who advertise themselves as sexually available who are considered dirty, and why wouldn’t they be? Is it not an appropriate way to describe someone who makes herself into a receptacle for the sexual fluids of dozens of men? It’s not without some rationality, deeply embedded in humanity’s sexual animal nature, that these considerations are made. But we also have a culture of individualism and merit, and a person does not have to be judged by his or her past choices.
    .
    “Take “its biology/human nature and there is nothing you can do” to the extreme, and all forms of trying to educate people to be good are pointless.”
    .
    Ok, and taken as it was intended, it simply means that education can only do so much. As for the idea of the Church Fathers being sexist, well, of course they were. And Catholicism as it is now is also “sexist” according to the feminist left. I don’t bemoan the toning down of the rhetoric from the days of the early Church, which was pretty outrageous at times, but the basic idea is still there; men and women are fundamentally different, they have different roles in the relationship, the family, the Church and society – and ultimately, the women are subordinate. That said, we can’t deny that modern society changes the dynamics between men and women and makes equality between them a more rational arrangement in many contexts. So I’m a supporter of first-wave feminism and the equality of men and women before the law. But that is ALL I support; second and third-wave feminism are about forcing people to think differently, they are totalitarian movements.
    .
    “Steve was still an unbelievable jerk. He should have taken no as a no and respected it. The idea that “no means yes” or can be turned into a yes…that is a justification used by rapists. Plus, his harassment was repeated….If he and Laura worked for me, and I found out Steve kept going after Laura even when she said no, I would fire him and call the cops.”
    .
    Oh please. In the real world, if a woman is continually harassed by a man she doesn’t want around, she can file a restraining order. In the show her father is a police officer. It would have been easy to bar him from their lives, but they didn’t, because they knew Urkel was harmless and sincere. And it just speaks to your own totalitarian mindset that you would take action without even SPEAKING to the parties involved, to see if the alleged victim even felt that such measures were necessary. This again is what feminism always does – strips the moral and intellectual agency away from actual women in the name of ideological enforcement and purity.
    .
    “Whatever we can to keep getting that number lowered, we should do.”
    .
    Really? Because you said “no thought police”, but that might lower the number too. We could have a 100% tax rate and have every street corner reinforced with a squadron of heavily armed soldiers and drones flying overhead at all times.
    .
    We should take whatever measures are reasonable to preserve public safety and order, without explicitly declaring that women’s safety in particular is more important than safety in general. But ultimately the price of freedom is risk, and even totalitarianism cannot eliminate risk altogether. In a free society, moreover, its not “what can “we” do”, but rather “what can I do.” I can learn to defend myself and learn basic situational awareness.
    .
    “A man can choose NOT to rape. If he is in a club and sees a group of women dancing together in provocative clothes, he does not have to slip up behind her and start dancing. He can ask her and respect her no if she says no. Its not an impossible standard to say that even if men get aroused, they can control their actions.”
    .
    This cuts both ways. A woman can choose NOT to dress like a whore and dance provocatively in front of groups of drunken strangers. Again, its men you want to make all the choices, and women whom you want to absolve of all personal responsibility. Men are expected to and demanded to become angels, while women have no expectations placed on them whatsoever. And this infantile treatment of women is what passes for “feminism”, while men who try to help women learn self-defense and situational awareness are accused of reinforcing patriarchy. It’s intellectual and moral vomit.
    .
    “We many not be as bad as other places, but that is no excuse to not try and do better.”
    .
    Fine. When its a personal choice to behave differently, I’m all for it. But I am against any political attempt to control people’s thoughts and behavior and bring them into alignment with this ideology. I’m against public smear and shame campaigns against anyone who dares deviate from the party line on these issues. According to the radical left, moreover, if you oppose abortion, you are a sexist. If you challenge the massive lie about the “wage gap”, you are a sexist. If you oppose hiring quotas for women, you are a sexist. If you think being a homemaker is a perfectly acceptable life choice, you are a sexist. It is all about accepting a narrow political agenda and shaming everyone else who doesn’t, exactly what they accuse the omnipresent and omnipotent patriarchy of doing to them.
    .
    “I am a man. I consider myself a feminist. Do you think that gives you license to make assumptions about my character without knowing me”
    .
    I didn’t say anything about you. It was a general comment, and a joke.

  • 1. In my experience, from everything to tv shows, to conversation, etc….men aren’t punished for losing their virginity before marriage nearly as much as women. I am not talking about Church doctrine, nor do I imagine you have a lot of priests giving high fives to guys who tell them that in the confessional. But in our culture…the Casanova is still kinda regarded as something of a lovable rouge.

    2. Is it wrong if, in a particular relationship, the woman makes more money than the guy? No. Is it wrong for her to be a CEO in a typically male dominated business? No. And in terms of how a couple arrives at a decision in a relationship, I have no views on who should do what….who makes the calls on what, how those calls are made, how much compromise etc….that is all up to the couple. I agree with you on equality in dignity, equality before the law, and equality of individual opportunity as individuals….while adding supremacy of each couple to decide how the dynamics of their relationship will work.

    3. Obviously I would follow typical sexual harassment investigation procedures, which include the kind of talking you described. Also, lets not be glib in saying “well she should just filing a restraining order”, as if dealing with sexual harassment was easy.

    4. Like I said above, no article of clothing (or lack thereof) is an excuse to rape. I have nothing against a man asking a woman at a club to dance.

    5. I have never seen a man who ran a marital arts/defense class that included/was for women accused of sexism. I am all for self defense and awareness. But that is not an excuse to not be proactive about making our streets safer. Its not as simple as saying “if all our women were enrolled in self-defense classes/armed the rape figures would collapse”. Help? Maybe. But we shouldn’t overstate the good it might do.

  • To follow up with point 4, Im not in favor of including discussing clothing in the context of protecting oneself from rape. Women who are not scantily clad suffer from that nightmare as well. Even if unintended, I worry it implies “you wear x, you deserve y”. Tie that discussion into a general appropriate clothing talk, one that includes what men should wear (NO PANTS ROUND THE KNEES FOR INSTANCE! :)). BUT….rape is rape and best not to imply a woman advertised for it.

  • Finally, regarding what you say about modern feminism…I have heard people trash-talking it a lot. When I look on the Third Wave feminism Wikipedia page, and see the issues they fight for (its not my first time learning about it, I am trying to make a point)….they all make sense to me. Granted I think one could be a third wave feminist who also agrees with the Church on sexual reproduction issues….but none of the other issues on that page seem illogical to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-wave_feminism

The Debate Continues: CST, Markets & Morality

Tuesday, May 13, AD 2014

Ethika Politika strikes again: at me, that is, and my recent Crisis piece defending libertarianism from the charge of heresy contra Mark Shea. This time it is not my friend Gabriel Sanchez on the attack, but Gregory J. Guest. It is really quite something to read the sort of things that people assume you believe. The point of my Crisis piece was rather straightforward, I thought: the libertarian rejection of confiscatory taxation is not some kind of heretical argument, but finds justification in Pope Leo XIII’s defense of private property as inviolable and his explicit teaching that charity – the pretext upon which some would confiscate wealth at gunpoint – is not a duty of human justice (except in extreme cases).

According to Guest, however, I am defending an “ideology of license” and thereby our “materialist culture”; that I – and he wrongly shares this view with Sanchez – “discard all “ that doesn’t align with “preconceived notions” about business, government, etc.; that, once again, contrary to much of what I’ve written I do not “afford man a social nature” and that individual contracts are everything (stock anti-libertarian canards); and this is only for starters. Of course none of it is true: the defense of private property rights against the pretense of those advocating violent confiscation has nothing at all to do with an “ideology of license” or materialism. Moreover I’m quite open to as many radical alternatives to the traditional business model as people want to suggest, provided that they can actually persuade people to participate in them instead of forcing them. I do not deny, and no one in the classical liberal tradition has ever denied, the social nature of man; it is our belief in his social nature that justifies our rejection of the modern state, as many of its activities at least imply that we are somehow unable – i.e. that it is not in our nature – to organize our affairs and take care of each other without the threat of violence hanging over our heads. Coercive violence is anti-social; peaceful cooperation, which all libertarians advocate, is practically the definition of society.

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22 Responses to The Debate Continues: CST, Markets & Morality

  • Mr. Hargrave,

    One of the newspapers in Pittsburgh is Libertarian. The Tribune Review editorial page favors abortion, homosexuality, legalized drugs and is sympathetic to atheism. It defines Libertarianism in that way, although the editor is a hypocrite in that he favors federal funding of Planned Parenthood. There have been other Libertarian columnists and editors at that newspaper and their Libertarianism can be defined the same way.

    One of the contributors to the Hot Air website, Allahpundit who considers himself to be a Libertarian, is pro gay marriage and is an atheist, silent about abortion and mildly hostile to religious belief. I think he favors legalizing marijuana.

    These Libertarians could be called small government liberals. It is what occurs to many when surfing the Internet and it could be what Mark Shea thinks when he hears the word “Libertarian”.

    I want no part of this ideology. I wanted to ask one of the Libertarian former columnists at the Trib if he liked the idea of a whorehouse next door, a crackhouse across the street and a junkyard next to his backyard.

    I am sure you do not consider yourself to be in league with this bunch, but you do use the same term – Libertarian. This term does have baggage with those who
    despise illegal drugs, abhor prostitution, are sickened by “gay marriage” and find Internet atheists to be obnoxious.

  • Well, let’s look at some the positions you’ve pointed out here, PF. Abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, hostility to religion. Sounds like your typical member of the ACLU, which was founded as a communist front group and still behaves like one today.
    .
    Libertarians are not required by logic to support abortion if they want to remain libertarians. I admire the thought of Murray Rothbard but I’d argue with him for as long as it took to convince him he was wrong on this topic. He was so darned close to advocating for a genuine natural law morality, so obviously respectful of the whole Catholic moral tradition, and yet here he did err quite seriously. But a lot has changed since the 70s when the Libertarian Party got started; we now have the Ron Paul movement and its legacy, which is openly pro-life. So this is an issue on which libertarians are split 50-50 it seems. Trust me, there are many pro-life libertarians.
    .
    I think its insane for any libertarian to be “pro gay marriage” in the sense that they believe the state ought to redefine marriage. If anything, the state should simply get out of marriage altogether. At the very least, they should agree with Rand Paul that the best course is to let each state decide. Rothbard may have been wrong on abortion but he was 100% right about the cancer of egalitarianism. He attacked radical feminism and much of what he said could be applied to the “gay rights” movement, which is totalitarian to the core.
    .
    I’m in favor of legalizing marijuana, so we’ll just disagree on that one I guess. There’s no need for the police to be involved. At this point the “War on Drugs” is just another facet of the military industrial complex, justifying massive budgets, salaries, pensions, departments, etc. It is a waste of money and it perpetuates injustices against non-violent people, often poor and minority. Same with prostitution. You can’t save people from themselves, and prison does NOT rehabilitate. It makes men into savages and savage men into demons. I’d abolish it overnight. Minor criminals can make restitution for their crimes and the murderers and rapists can simply be shot. It isn’t “humane” to keep them in a cage until they’re old men.
    .
    As for the atheism, they can stuff it. Atheists do not monopolize libertarianism and Murray Rothbard developed modern libertarianism out of the Catholic natural law tradition. I’m not saying they’re identical – he diverged from it in some pretty radical ways, but he did take it as his starting point. So any serious and educated libertarian has to acknowledge this intellectual debt and at least stop the obnoxious, historically-ignorant, know-nothing Church bashing if they want to be taken seriously.

  • The problem with papal encyclicals, especially when they delve into economic and political issues is that they tend to be long and fairly complex. They are also bound by the historical events surrounding them at the time when they are promulgated. People with axes to grind will usually pick and choose rather than reading the entire encyclical in its historical context.

    Rerum Novarum was written in 1891 at a time of huge worker unrest and when both anarchism and communism were beginning to take root. The living conditions of workers were often appalling. Pope Leo, while making a full throated defense of property, also wanted to indicate sympathy for the workers and their often legitimate complaints. In regard to paragraph 36 Pope Leo in his final sentence indicates a concern that the State not take more action than is necessary to remedy an evil: “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

    All governments at the time of Pope Leo had a fairly hands off approach to industries compared to what we see today, and the rights of workers to form unions was often denied. An unanswerable question of course is how Pope Leo would have modified Rerum Novarum if he had lived in our time.

    That is the problem of course when we attempt to read social justice encyclicals in the same manner as a proclamation of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Social Justice encyclicals are obviously heavily influenced by the historical context in which they were written, something that does not apply when a Pope is writing about some purely religious topic, rather than about the religious dimension of hotly contested economic and political questions. Such encyclicals can never be ignored by Catholics, but they must be read with the history of when they were written in mind, plus an examination of historical developments since the writing of the encyclical.

  • I wonder why Catholics can’t take a page out of the Mormon’s playbook and go create a state (or I guess take over one today) dedicated entirely to their principles. If CST really works and is great then the state should florish and prosper. It would probably be an even greater evangelism tool as people flock to the land for the work, and join the faith as they find themselves surrounded by the people of God bearing witness to the Truth.

    As it is, I just note with some mirth that it seems the poor of the world end up flocking to the bad ‘ole Protestant nations, often FROM the Catholic ones. Maybe this has changed by now, but it seems to me that when the poor are voting with their feet against the teachings you preach to help them, it might be time for some kind of reexamination.

    Until then the biggest rebuttal to CST strikes me as being that the loudest shouters about it, have no skin in the game it’s supposed to run.

  • “As it is, I just note with some mirth that it seems the poor of the world end up flocking to the bad ‘ole Protestant nations, often FROM the Catholic ones.”

    I don’t think that many Catholic people are flocking to Protestant nations other than the United States, in which the Catholic Church is the largest church. The pathologies in Latin America have little to do with Catholicism and a great deal to do with the embracing of bad ideas, usually condemned by the Catholic Church. The relationship of the Church and the Mexican Revolution of 1910 is a prime example of this. Juan Peron was deposed in the fifties when he decided to attack Catholic schools. The Church, at least until the present pontiff, uniformly condemned liberation theology. I might add that most American mainline Protestant Churches are far more enamored of socialism and state intervention in the economy than the Catholic Church has ever been.

  • It is really quite something to read the sort of things that people assume you believe.

    Be nice re some people if they were listening as well as talking.

  • Hmm… Don makes some good points, though I thought I read somewhere before that Spain had a lot evacuating that nation (though as always, data could be out of date). A time series might also be interesting in these nations to see how people arrive or abandon them based upon how religious the population as a whole is. I’ll admit part of my original comment is directed toward those who say there isn’t anything wrong with illegal immigration because “we’re getting just so many good Catholics”. Don you can probably guess where the logic breaks down there. 😉

    As far as Protestants, remember that it is a diverse field (which is part of why Catholicism ends up being counted as “largest”, even though nonCatholics actually outnumber them). Though there does tend to also be a flight from the statist branches (or at least the regions they rule) to the more libertarian branches. (I also note that the more libertarian Protestants are often also the most obsessed with orthodoxy – to the point some are barely distinguishable from the E.O. churches)

    Wait… Latin America… Spain… Italy… is it me or do Catholics seem to have a knack for falling to remarkably bad ideas for government? There might be an argument for Bonchamps to make there.

  • Apologies to Bonchamps, Penguins Fan et al…I was working on what I hoped was a helpful comment, and then got lost somewhere reading an encyclical to fully reference a point I was going to make, and then decided ’twas best to just sleep on it…so, my apologies that I’m not making an in-depth and what I’d hope to be insightful addition to the discussion. Instead, I get to play the proverbial bean-counter, as I intended to just go relax for a bit rather than read any more blogs and news, yet I saw this one comment by Nate:
    .

    “…which is part of why Catholicism ends up being counted as “largest”, even though nonCatholics actually outnumber them…”

    .
    According to what I’d consider an impartial source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian#Demographics), Catholics comprise approximately 56% of the Christian population (1.17 billion out of the total 2.1 billion Christians) world wide. Given that your claim about the demographic breakdown of Christians fails numerical analysis, I would hold the rest of your claims with greater scrutiny until you’ve researched them and made proper references.

  • Wait… Latin America… Spain… Italy… is it me or do Catholics seem to have a knack for falling to remarkably bad ideas for government?

    Protestants too. What we call Liberalism used to be called Progressivism, which in turn is an outgrowth of the Social Gospel Movement of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.
    .
    So I guess it is just you.

  • Also, maybe Bonchamps should have just rejected Mr. Guest’s rejection of a “narrow textualist approach” when reading his Crisis essay.

  • I would take as my starting point St Thomas Aquinas: “Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” [ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1]

    This is, in fact, self-evident. Possession is a fact; ownership is a legal concept and presupposes a legal system, however rudimentary. It would make no sense to regard Robinson Crusoe on his desert island as “owning” anything. Perhaps, Mirabeau put it best, when he said, “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens.”

    Thus, conquerors have systematically disregarded the property rights of the conquered; justifiably so, for they are extinguished with the legal system on which they rested.

  • “before that Spain had a lot evacuating that nation”

    Spanish immigration tended to be to Latin America, and to a much lesser extent France and Italy. In regard to bad government ideas, that tends to be fairly common outside of the Anglosphere, and Scandinavia since the Napoleonic wars.

  • Catholics comprise approximately 56% of the Christian population (1.17 billion out of the total 2.1 billion Christians) world wide. Given that your claim about the demographic breakdown of Christians fails numerical analysis, I would hold the rest of your claims with greater scrutiny until you’ve researched them and made proper references.

    That would be true, John BAON, if Don & I were talking worldwide but we were talking specifically about the USA. I would hold the rest of your comments with greater scrutiny until you’ve made proper efforts to follow context. 😉

    Protestants too. What we call Liberalism used to be called Progressivism, which in turn is an outgrowth of the Social Gospel Movement of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century.

    True. Though while I hold no love for progressivism, is it really comparable to some of the insanity that’s come from those other nations? Hmmm… that is the challenge. It’s rather like trying to choose between fronthand or backhand.

    In regard to bad government ideas, that tends to be fairly common outside of the Anglosphere, and Scandinavia since the Napoleonic wars.

    Fair point. Maybe we can all agree that least no Christians have come up with ideas as bad as secularists have.

    It still bears remembering, though, whenever any wants to bring up that Catholicism has some kind of inoculating effect against civic insanity. Which we’ll probably start seeing far more of given this is a voting year.

  • Though while I hold no love for progressivism, is it really comparable to some of the insanity that’s come from those other nations?

    .
    You must not be aware of the mutual admiration society of Mussolini’s Fascist Party and FDR’s New Deal brain trust. Margaret Sanger would have fit right in at the Wannsee Conference. Both Shaw and Wells lived long enough to see what the fasination with Nieztsche, which they helped to popularize in the Anglophone world, wrought on the continent.
    .
    I’d take Spain under Franco or Chile under Pinochet if I had to, petit bourgeois who just wants to be left alone to live my life and raise my kids that I am.

  • Mr. Schreiber, I would concur with you. Franco and Pinochet were no saints but they were a lot better than the people they replaced.

    Mr. Hargrave, just two comments. Marijuana legalization scares me in that from what I have read, the stuff is a lot more powerful than it was 50 years ago. Harder drugs – cocaine, heroin, LSD – who in their right mind would want to sell that legitimately? Consider product liability law. If Wal Mart were to sell cocaine, what happens when a cocaine addict ODs on the blow he bought from Wal Mart? Lawsuits galore. I have two little boys. Drugs scare the hell out of me. I have a cousin whose son was given crack at college and it screwed up his brain chemistry. He’s bipolar now.

    Prostitution is frequently controlled by organized crime. These people engage in human trafficking and enslaving women. I cannot in good conscience support legalizing it. Far from a victimless crime, it dehumanizes people. I’m not trying to save everyone from themselves – my mother’s family has had numerous alcoholics and my mom’s grandfather died in 1930 at age 48 from alcoholism – but still, prostitution is an ugly business and typically very cruel people profit from it.

    I can agree with most of the rest of what you have to say regarding the role of government in society. I have no time to read papal encyclicals, write articles or rebut the lunatic rantings of Mark Shea. I’ll stick to being a Reagan conservative.


  • That would be true, John BAON, if Don & I were talking worldwide but we were talking specifically about the USA. I would hold the rest of your comments with greater scrutiny until you’ve made proper efforts to follow context.

    I like BAON…that’s kinda catchy.
    .
    However, I’m confused…at one point you are talking about states (Utah), then you are talking about the US, and then you are talking about various nations or regions (Spain, Italy, Latin America…). And since you were specifically alleging that because of Catholics, that the :

    poor of the world end up flocking to the bad ‘ole Protestant nations, often FROM the Catholic ones.

    Whatever context you are following, it’s certainly not limited in scope to the US when you are comparing / contrasting trends in immigration/emigration involving other nations or whether a given faith produces bad political legacies. And the history of Rerum novarum was certainly an international document and not one directed solely at the youthful US.
    .
    Beyond all that…what’s the point of bringing up the demographic split of the Christians in the US in relation to the flight of the poor from Catholic nations that you assert, anyway? Maybe I’m misreading what appears to be an anti-Catholic undertone in your posts just as I misread your characterization of US Christian demographics as pertaining to the world instead. I welcome any clarification you might offer.
    .
    Regardless…I think that I tend to agree with your bottom line with some caveats, irrespective of how we may get there:

    Maybe we can all agree that least no Christians have come up with ideas as bad as secularists have.

    …I may just reduce it further: Man is fallen, whether Christian or not. Bad ideas do not discriminate (to extend on one of my favorite aphorisms apparently attributed to WC Fields), they infect everyone equally. I think the temptation to jump into saying “This group is worse than my group” is fraught with danger. I know that the moment I lump all secularists together that there’s substantively no difference between me and the common racist other than the target of my comments. So then it comes down to the need for Christian charity. And believe me…the militant atheist, as the “pinnacle” of secularism, is at the same time my greatest enemy as well as deserving of my greatest effort at charity.
    .
    Is it plausible that Christians (and as I and presumably Bonchamps, Don McClarey and others would specifically name Catholics) innately have a better handle on objective truth / natural law than secularists and therefore come up with better systems of governance? I think it’s broadly true…but I don’t think it’s a guarantee at all. Look to the Anglicans supporting contraception at Lambeth…or the Baptists who originally supported abortion in the 1970’s…or the Catholics who support the violation of immigration laws…or to the Mormons who favor laws in Utah stripping paternal rights in adoption cases. All of those violate justice in some way, and all are/were held by “non-secularists”.

  • Penguins Fan’s rationale for keeping marijuana illegal –to make sure harder drugs stay illegal– is mine as well. That’s also why I want to keep the death penalty on the books, and, albeit secondarily, partly why I want marriage to remain between one man and one woman.

    One man’s “slippery slope” is another man’s “defining deviancy down.”

    As for the market, that’s free will in action. And I wish we had more respect for both free will and free markets.

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  • The difficulty with comparing governance in Catholic and Protestant countries is that it ignores certain other historical factors.
    “Catholic countries” in Europe were, by and large, those that had formed the heartland of the Roman Empire and “Protestant countries” were, for the most part its frontier marches or outside its borders.
    It would be no easy task (although a fascinating one) to disentangle religious influences from the Imperial legacy.
    One recalls Lord Acton’s famous remark that “the Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people; and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.”

  • You must not be aware of the mutual admiration society of Mussolini’s Fascist Party and FDR’s New Deal brain trust. Margaret Sanger would have fit right in at the Wannsee Conference. Both Shaw and Wells lived long enough to see what the fasination with Nieztsche, which they helped to popularize in the Anglophone world, wrought on the continent.

    No I’m aware because I read Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. But you might want to be careful invoking individual idiocy as long as people like Pelosi, Biden, or Shea can be hung around Catholicism’s neck.

    However, I’m confused…at one point you are talking about states (Utah), then you are talking about the US, and then you are talking about various nations or regions (Spain, Italy, Latin America…). And since you were specifically alleging that because of Catholics, that the

    Whatever context you are following, it’s certainly not limited in scope to the US when you are comparing / contrasting trends in immigration/emigration involving other nations or whether a given faith produces bad political legacies. And the history of Rerum novarum was certainly an international document and not one directed solely at the youthful US.

    Look, don’t over think it. If we’re honest one of the best tools Mormons have for evangelism is, well Utah. That a hated, despised people could take a nothing patch of land in the middle of nowhere and turn it into something worthwhile. (and yes, this also applies to the Jews and Israel) That (and of course how individual lives are lived) demonstrate to people the wisdom and benefit of that religion and morals in a way far more convincing than any amount of arguments. Pop culture may make fun of Utah for being boring, but they can’t really make fun of it for being poor or wretchedly run (not like poor Don’s Illinois).

    I’m just pointing out (more to those who I know won’t read it but won’t allow dissent on their own blogs) that if Catholics are serious about evangelizing and the wisdom of their social teaching (or whatever other ideas) then go out and demonstrate it. Find a town, or choose a state and build it in accordance to your values. If the values work and are fruitful, then people will be encouraged to flock to the church. Even the secularists grasped that much and went off and tried running a completely atheist village (can’t find link at the moment, but I believe Don previously posted about it on tAC here) – and ended up proving how bankrupt atheism is as a faith when the town fell apart. In short, less the fine folks here (who all show wisdom), but those Catholics who… well like this comment on an article John C Wright wrote:

    “So-called conservatives in the United States seek to preserve and protect the ideals of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence precisely because they are worthy ideals, not because they are old”

    Worthy ideas written up by Unitarians, Deists and Protestants …

    NOT a single Catholic among the Founding Fathers.

    That is why I advocate for Neoreaction. We need a Catholic Monarchy in the U.S., perhaps starting with a Catholic Dictator.

    Anything less than a full reactionary movement to Catholic monarchy is foolhardy and repeating the same failures of the Founding Fathers (who again, were heretics and fools).

    So I say: go for it. You can’t really have royalty in the USA but find a town and have a mayor-for-life. Locate a dying town or small nation and take it over with a Catholic project. Institute the dictator and establish “distributionism” as the economics of choice. In short: Catholics put your money where your mouth is.

    But if none of it can survive… maybe it would be time to rethink some social tenants. Heck even the libertarians (who Shea is beating up with greater regularity than just about any statist) are trying to acquire some land to run things the way they want to – to put their ideas to the test and see if they can work or not. Where’s the efforts by the people mocking them to form their own ideal set up?

    Of course until Catholics build their own state (Catholic Kansas has a nice alliteration sound doesn’t it?) we don’t really have any way of comparing how a wide acceptance of their mores contrast with a wide acceptance of any other mores except in the case of nations (since even I will admit some comparisons won’t work with Vatican City). Otherwise everything is just theorizing on the level of “who would win between Superman & the Hulk” since we can all throw out claims about “how much better things would be with our ideas”.

    Say what you will, but at least one good end of the Protestant fractures is that we are all keenly aware of competing against the other branches and that we can’t rest on the glories or proofs of others. i.e. The Mormon businessman doesn’t help the Baptist entrepreneur convince investors. The Presbyterian scientist cannot brag about the intellectual framework of an Anglican pioneer.

    …I may just reduce it further: Man is fallen, whether Christian or not. Bad ideas do not discriminate (to extend on one of my favorite aphorisms apparently attributed to WC Fields), they infect everyone equally. I think the temptation to jump into saying “This group is worse than my group” is fraught with danger.

    I think it’s broadly true…but I don’t think it’s a guarantee at all. Look to the Anglicans supporting contraception at Lambeth…or the Baptists who originally supported abortion in the 1970′s…or the Catholics who support the violation of immigration laws…or to the Mormons who favor laws in Utah stripping paternal rights in adoption cases. All of those violate justice in some way, and all are/were held by “non-secularists”.

    True, but to be fair, secularists have filled out the “bingo” card on almost all of the above listed ideas. At least one benefit of a firmly held ideology and societal mores is that you have a brake preventing at least one or two bad ideas spiraling out of control.

  • Nate Winchester

    Well, we have had Catholic states aplenty.
    France, through 40 reigns of its rois très-chrétiens, from the anointing of Clovis in 495 to the Revolution of 1789.
    The Empire from Charlemagne in 800 to the abdication of Francis II in 1806
    The Republic of Venice from about 700 to 1797
    England from 597 to 1533
    I could go on and on.
    Now, different though these polities were, it should be possible to disengage what was Catholic in their political, legal, social and economic practice from what was accidental or adventitious.

  • Nate Winchester wrote:
    .
    “…“So-called conservatives in the United States seek to preserve and protect the ideals of the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence precisely because they are worthy ideals, not because they are old” Worthy ideas written up by Unitarians, Deists and Protestants … NOT a single Catholic among the Founding Fathers….”
    .
    The Founding Fathers of the United States “wrote up” many ideas regarding governance which appear to have been borrowed from the following Catholic authors, to wit, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Robert Bellarmine.

    For your consideration:
    .
    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0003.html

    And

    http://youtu.be/XZzveLNZAsY

7 Responses to Libertarianism & CST: The Debate Continues

  • My response:
    .
    Sanchez says I’ve done nothing to alter his original opinion of my views:
    .
    “everything that coheres with the libertarian worldview is in; everything which opposes it is out.”
    .
    Let me explain why it looks that way. As I have already mentioned, and as has been mentioned by other Catholic libertarians and even pro-market conservatives, there are two kinds of statements about economics; “normative” or moral statements, and descriptive or technical statements. In my reading of the Papal encyclicals, there is very little, if anything at all, in the way of normative or moral statements that I would toss out. This is because the vast majority of such statements are clearly oriented towards the ultimate ends of economic activity, which is the common good. No disagreement from me on that!
    .
    What I consider “out” are statements of a descriptive or predictive or theoretical nature that are either dubious or simply false. And there are plenty of those.
    .
    Next:
    .
    “As a matter of interpretive principles, I reject Hargrave’s narrow textualist approach which would create a tensions in the encyclical’s text and also put Leo XIII’s instruction out of continuity with post-Leonine developments of Catholic social teaching (CST). Hargrave, oddly, seems to forget that Rerum Novarum launched, not capped, the Church’s modern social magisterium.”
    .
    I don’t believe my reading of RN creates tensions in the text itself. Here Sanchez and I have what I consider to be mostly a semantic dispute that I’m not even going to address in detail here. But I do believe there are tensions between RN and later developments in CST. So what?
    .
    The whole reason we have these debates is to overcome the incessant moralism and dogmatism that the self-appointed defenders of CST often engage in. I am not arguing that all Catholics must be libertarians, but I am arguing that the goals of justice and general prosperity are best served by a market economy. In the minds of more than a few Catholics, this argument itself is heretical. In Leo XIII we have a pope who articulated and defended the first and most basic pillar of a free market economy – the individual, natural and inviolable right to the fruits of one’s labor as their property. In further discussing the relation between the individual man and the state, Leo XIII defends the idea that it is man who precedes the state (a reversal of the old Aristotelian idea), that his rights exist before the state exists, and it is the state that exists to serve man and protect his rights. He rejects the notion that the state has a duty to confiscate the surplus wealth of individuals and redistribute it to the poor (except in cases of extreme need). If all of this causes “tension”, well, one can read it all out of the encyclical, deny that it is there, magically “contextualize” it out of existence – or one can accept that there are tensions, and that this is ok. Who said there had to be 100% consistency on these points? We’re not talking about the Immaculate Conception here.
    .
    I could also go off on a long tangent about a whole host of other “tensions” in the pre and post Vatican II Magisteriums that are a heck of a lot more disturbing than this one, but Sanchez is quite familiar with those already.

    .
    Next:
    .
    Sanchez says I and others blatantly mischaracterize his views about what CST calls for. Well, I never intended to mischaracterize. His views weren’t exactly clear to me, and in some cases I was simply speaking in general terms about what people on his side of the spectrum tend to believe. I have a feeling that if we got down to details, we would probably end up agreeing on a number of issues. If he rejects mass egalitarian projects like Obamacare, onerous taxes on the wealthy, a Leviathan administrative state, etc. then I don’t see that we have many practical disagreements. The key issue for the libertarian is the use of force. As a minarchist I’m not a “pure” libertarian anarchist, but I do reject confiscatory taxation as a violation of the right to private property. I reject the idea that an entity with an absolute monopoly of violence is required to “intervene” in the economy – let alone to ensure that “labor” is somehow exalted over “capital.” Of course I am interested to see how that might be done without “heavy handed, often costly regulatory measures.” Impress me!
    .
    Next:
    .
    “I would ask Hargrave, in charity as a fellow Catholic, to drop libertarianism’s Manichaean outlook which would have all the world divided into “freedom lovers” and “statists.””
    .
    I haven’t called anyone a statist, not here, in my previous reply, or in my Crisis piece. If I did in a comment box somewhere, I apologize.

  • That picture of Leo XIII is vaguely campy. Why are you using it?

  • There are many reasons why the state may interfere with free markets, other than redistribution of wealth.

    Protectionism, whether in the form of tariffs or subsidies is often proposed on strategic grounds, to ensure security of supply in the event of conflict. For more than a century, French governments protected their iron and steel industries, subsidized agriculture for this reason. They built a vast rail network, 30,000 km of it, with branch lines serving every hamlet. Most of these could never operate at a profit; they were intended for the rapid mobilisation of reserves and it was as much part of the national defences as the frontier fortresses.

    It was Liberals and Radical Republicans, one recalls, who treated universal suffrage and universal conscription as two sides of the same coin and saw in the levée en masse the supreme expression of the republic, one and indivisible

    Adam Smith, one recalls, defended the Navigation Acts, requiring British goods to be exported in British ships on precisely these grounds: they created, in effect, a naval reserve and a ready supply of fleet auxiliaries.

    An Arch-Conservative like Bismark, ran Prussia like an armed camp; every male citizen was a soldier, actual or potential, industry was increasingly integrated into the system of national defence and the distinction between the armed forces and the “Home Front” was blurred.

    One recalls Rousseau, “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign [the People] is sole judge of what is important.”

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  • So far all wealth transfer has done is export abortion, contraception and sterilization to men and women around the world, particularly in developing countries that don’t want it. In fact, the recipients of charity must agree to sterilize, Norplant or vasectomies in order to receive food, medicine, water and mosquito nets. It disgusts me. I refuse to support government mandated wealth redistribution until the evils of abortion and contraception are abolished. Let the poor receive hard goods (such as bags of rice) through reputable suppliers only, and not the U.N. and its population councils as it is presently done. I demand that Pope Francis account for where charitable donations go, and give us a sound reason why Catholics should support wealth redistribution in the face of this great evil.

  • This is most certainly an oversimplified assertion, but libertarianism, as it is generally espoused today, is compatible neither with Catholicism nor, for that matter, with the American ethos. Liberty and order, which may superficially appear to be incompatible, must be pursued simultaneously, as neither has unqualified primacy of place in the creation and maintenance of the good society.

    Catholicism and the American ethos define order in a quite different manner, but both acknowledge that order, pursued in a predetermined, consistent and principled manner, is necessary to true liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One of the primary challenges for American Catholics is to resolve the tension between the Catholic view of order and the American view of order.

  • ” . . . but libertarianism, as it is generally espoused today, is compatible neither with Catholicism nor for that matter, with the American ethos.”
    .
    Correct. Libertarianism, as it is generally espoused today, is a corruption fomented by major party hacks and other fascists of varying hue. Libertarianism, as I knew it 30 years ago before it became a threat to the Standing Order, was so compatible with the American ethos that we had trouble even finding contrast to give it substance and definition. It was compatible with Catholicism like nitrogen is compatible with breathing. As it is generally espoused today it is not Libertarianism. To believe that it is, is to swallow the Kool-Aid and join the lockstep ranks of statist lemmings.
    .
    The corruption that Libertarianism has suffered is the same corruption that has pervaded all of American society. All of society and everything relevant to it – in short, pretty much everything – is now seen through the lens of collective politics and government. In this way, the Progressive Fascists have already won the day. This warped, Godless perspective cannot but paint its diametric opposite in anything but the ugliest of shades. The better part, then, it to shatter the lens of corruption and look straight on.
    .
    Once the corrupting interference is excised, Libertarianism is viewed from a human perspective which is the only accurate view: Morals and ethics ought to be taught by parents to their children, informed and reinforced by their chosen houses of worship without question of correctness, even in dissimilarity, among the citizens. Responsibilities ought to be solely the realm of the individual, forged by the necessity of either working in profitable mutual effort or failing. Rights ought to be propagated primarily through their mutual defense even (or especially) in disagreement in order to preserve the integrity of community and nation (“I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Try that on ANY campus of “higher learning” today.) Shortcoming in any of these three areas represents a failure, and it is incumbent upon friend and neighbor to offer fellowship, loving chastisement and opportunity for mutual benefit in its cure. These are the cornerstones of Libertarianism.
    .
    Government ought to be the warehouse in which violence in the name of order is bound, and loosed only in circumstances that render no other solution, and solely for the enforcement of contract or punishment of aggressive criminality. All other activity ought to be the domain of the individual citizen; a vigorous Catholic Church would be sine qua non for a prosperous, charitable and orderly community.
    .
    The Austrian School, and not the Keynesian, is the Libertarian economic model. How this can be called incompatible with Catholicism can only be an act of lack of information. Economics, like Salvation, is the action of individuals and cannot be successfully collectivized. The end result is multitudes in landscape, but a forest is only as healthy as its trees.
    .
    So, whatever is called Libertarianism today, it is not. Libertinism, perhaps, but that would die a quick and painful death in a truly Libertarian society; or Anarchy, maybe, but that’s a simple absence of something, and natural abhorrence to vacuum would rapidly address such inequity, and not for the better. Libertarianism is only as visible as it is nowadays because the epicenter of political thought has moved so far from what it used to be. Libertarians’ most object wish is to be unrecognizable from the mainstream in thought and action. The difference between us and other political stripes is that once upon a time, we were.
    .
    So, apologies for the rant. I’m simply tired of seeing the incorrect application of that term. Winessing the success of the Fascists in its obfuscation, to the point that good Catholic folks can’t recognize the system that would best provide for our optimal social condition, is tremendously frustrating and so I had to vent. I appreciate your kindness and time.

Touching Up The Ol’ Hermeneutic: A Reply To Gabriel Sanchez

Tuesday, May 6, AD 2014

Gabriel Sanchez, a Catholic author I know and respect, has written a critique of my – as he calls it – selective “hermeneutic” of libertarian Catholicism at Ethika Politica. Specifically he is critiquing my critique of Mark Shea’s indictment of libertarianism as heresy at Crisis magazine. It seems he at least agrees with my point that libertarianism is not heresy, but that may be where the agreement ends There are some broad points of his critique I want to address.

First there is Sanchez’s claim that my argument regarding the limits Leo places on the state with respect to taxation and charity is “strange.” The part of paragraph 22 that Sanchez says I “overlook” is irrelevant; in context, it is clear that Leo does not believe that the state has a duty to expropriate and confiscate wealth in the name of charity. I could have quoted more of that paragraph to support my point, such as “[n]o one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life, “for no one ought to live other than becomingly.”” After this, the part I did quote:

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

Maybe we live in two different semantic universes, but in mine, when someone says “no one is commanded”, “not of justice”, “not enforced by human law”, the meaning is clear: the state has no obligation to confiscate the private property of citizens and distribute it to whomever it deems worthy. Whether to give and how much to give is a matter for each individual to decide. I suppose it is arguable that the state could do these things with the consent of the people, but it is not required to do so and the libertarian argument against them would remain quite valid.

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21 Responses to Touching Up The Ol’ Hermeneutic: A Reply To Gabriel Sanchez

  • Sanchez must be an pinhead from academia. Thanks, Mr. McClarey for standing your ground. Your argument seems to be reason and logic based. The pinhead seems to be living on an alternate universe.

  • Thank you Ray, but this is Bonchamps’ post.

  • Debating or arguing Mark Shea is less productive than soaking one’s head in a can of paint.

  • I apologize. For some reason I thought Bonchamps was a nom de plume for you. Sorry.

  • I have read both articles and I must say it is one of the most polite exchanges I have read on the topic. After reading the comments between Mr Sanchez and others on the original article I am led to conclude that perhaps you and the original author are closer in agreement on the nature of state involvement then the normal confrontation between libertarians and there opponents in the Catholic world.

    “Libertarianism “exists” whenever people conduct their affairs freely without the intervention of busy-bodies, social engineers and moralists who have armed agents at their disposal to impose their will.”

    I would be curious as to how you would define a moralist.

  • “I have read both articles and I must say it is one of the most polite exchanges I have read on the topic.”
    .
    After hundreds of nasty exchanges on this topic, I’m glad I’m evolving a bit. I agree, though, it’s usually brutal.
    .
    As for moralists, I mean people who think that their moral positions override evidence, reason, logic, etc. When someone says “we must do x, regardless of the consequences”, for instance. Consequences matter. I wouldn’t argue that they’re always the most important thing, but even when they aren’t, they can’t be treated as if they don’t exist. A lot of proposals for intervention into the economy begin with a moral idea, and they overlook the hidden costs and consequences. And to me, that itself is a moral failing, it is a reckless disregard for how one’s ideas and actions affect other people.

  • St. Gregory the Great has a fair amount to say on the topic of those who give alms from what they have seized from others. Check Book 3 of Pastoral Rule, aka in your Old English literature class as the Book of Pastoral Care.

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  • Bonchamps

    I should appreciate your take on Pope Pius XI’s observations in Casti Connubii. Please excuse the rather lengthy citation:
    “120. If, however, for this purpose, private resources do not suffice, it is the duty of the public authority to supply for the insufficient forces of individual effort, particularly in a matter which is of such importance to the common weal, touching as it does the maintenance of the family and married people. If families, particularly those in which there are many children, have not suitable dwellings; if the husband cannot find employment and means of livelihood; if the necessities of life cannot be purchased except at exorbitant prices; if even the mother of the family to the great harm of the home, is compelled to go forth and seek a living by her own labour; if she, too, in the ordinary or even extraordinary labours of childbirth, is deprived of proper food, medicine, and the assistance of a skilled physician, it is patent to all to what an extent married people may lose heart, and how home life and the observance of God’s commands are rendered difficult for them; indeed it is obvious how great a peril can arise to the public security and to the welfare and very life of civil society itself when such men are reduced to that condition of desperation that, having nothing which they fear to lose, they are emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.
    121. Wherefore, those who have the care of the State and of the public good cannot neglect the needs of married people and their families, without bringing great harm upon the State and on the common welfare. Hence, in making the laws and in disposing of public funds they must do their utmost to relieve the needs of the poor, considering such a task as one of the most important of their administrative duties.”
    Surely, “the public security” and the protection of “established order” is one of the primary obligations of the state, on any view of it?

  • After reading the comments between Mr Sanchez and others on the original article I am led to conclude that perhaps you and the original author are closer in agreement on the nature of state involvement then the normal confrontation between libertarians and there opponents in the Catholic world.

    When you say, “original author” you mean Mark Shea? That’s… interesting since one his new tags for articles is:

    “Libertarianism is a Heresy for People with No Children”

    Given that and some other posts, it doesn’t seem that Shea has an issue with the role of government as a principle, but just that the people he wants are not in charge.

  • “Libertarianism is a Heresy for People with No Children”

    I am no Libertarain but I think those with no children actually want bigger government:

    http://l.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/the-life-of-julia/

  • Social Justice is giving to the needy what they need to sustain life, not to fulfill their desires. (the needy ought to desire from another only what he truly needs to sustain life or the description “needy” would be a fraud.).
    .
    The economy must be based on the virtue of charity. (giving a child a pound of candy is NOT charity. I know. I’ve done it. The child survived after a couple of days.) You give me a dress I need, (not want) and I give you the means to replace the dress for another. This is an exercise of the virtue of charity. It is also the exercise of freedom in free will and consent, absolutely necessary to contract.
    .
    For the government to strongarm its citizens to fulfill some form of giving it has devised is tyranny and extortion and plain taking without compensation; unconstitutional, according to the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment.
    .
    For the government to despise our freedom and present itself as the “just compensation” called for in the Fifth Amendment is ludicrous if it weren’t so monstrous.

  • MPS,

    The specific list of problems Pius XI lists can be addressed by free markets. Competition is what lowers the costs of everyday goods and services that people need. Meanwhile rent and price controls have the effect of causing shortages, disincentivizing investments and improvements, and causing unemployment. I would argue that “the poor” as he conceives them and “the poor” as they exist in the America of 2014 are also two very different groups. Poverty is relative, and in America it is temporary. And that’s part of the problem with Papal economics; it assumes that there is a fixed group of people who are in poverty. That might have been true 100 years ago, and it may still be true today in some countries, but it isn’t true in the US or in any other place where the balance between markets and interventionism tilts towards markets. On the other hand massive interventions have the effect of actually creating a permanently poor class of people, the closest to which we have in the US are the urban blacks who have been the recipients of the most “aid.”

  • @Nate Winchester

    No I meant the article written by Mr Gabriel Sanchez when I said original article. I did not read the article by Mark Shea.

  • Bonchamps

    No doubt, in the long run, free markets do raise living standards. However, a generation after the repeal of the Corn Laws,Disraeli famously twitted the Liberals of the Manchester School with proclaiming peace and plenty amid a starving people and a world in arms.

    In the meantime, Pius XI’s concern about public order can be genuine enough. We have only to recall the June Days of 1848, following the closure of the National Workshops. Then, the Liberals secured a victory over the Radical Republicans, but at the cost of 1,500 dead in the streets of Paris and thousands of summary executions of prisoners. The Assembly, one recalls, welcomed the surrender of the last barricade with cries of “Long Live the Republic!” What they got, inevitably, was Napoleon III.

  • @Noah M

    Ah I gotcha. When you have several layers of replies and back and forths like this, things can get confusing.

  • There can be no free market as long as the government monopolizes the money supply

    Well, someone has drunk the Austro-Kool-Aid.

  • You left off the coordinating clause Art.

    But then I’ve been known to tipple with the Austrians myself.

  • Art Deco

    Monetary theory is a closed book to me, but I once encountered it in a practical form.
    I had to draw the indictment of some men who had robbed a branch of the Clydesdale Bank and part of their haul consisted of the bank’s own banknotes. What was the value of those notes?

    On their face, they are a promise by the bank to pay the bearer on demand £x. To any other holder, they are worth £x, but what are those held by the bank worth to the bank? The bank cannot owe money to itself. My researches showed that in their balance sheet “Notes in the Banking dept” appear as a deduction from “Notes in circulation” (a liability) Stocks of unissued notes are shown at cost (the printer’s charges) under “Consumables” (an asset)

    Having asked a number of colleagues, as puzzled as myself, I resorted to “x pieces or thereby of printed paper, bearing to be banknotes of the said bank and having a face value of £y or thereby, the value of the said pieces of paper being otherwise to the prosecutor unknown, the property or in the lawful possession of the said bank.”

    Does anyone have any better idea?

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Shea & I: A Follow-Up

Saturday, May 3, AD 2014

The-Pope-and-the-Inquisitor

I have a new piece up at Crisis regarding libertarianism and heresy inspired by a post on Mark Shea’s blog. Since I post there under my actual name, and since the reasons I had for writing under a pen name have largely vanished, I suppose my pen name is no longer needed here, though I will keep it because the Marquis de Bonchamps is still my hero. Anyway, I wanted to post some additional thoughts here for those interested, and since there are (as of 5/3, 11 am Pacific Time) 320 comments between my article and Shea’s reply, there might be a few. So here they are:

1) I didn’t choose the name of the piece – or the picture (above). Shea and I am sure others know that writers don’t often get this privilege when they submit something for publication. It’s not that I wholly object to the title and I like the painting, but I might have chosen something else. It wasn’t my intention to provoke the man.

2) Speaking of which, I haven’t followed Shea’s writings enough to know whether or not he deserves the almost unprecedented levels of animosity directed at him through the com-boxes. I’ve found some of his writing to be agreeable in the past and I have nothing personal against him. It was his claim, not his character, I was seeking to critique. I don’t approve of or condone the savaging of the man on a personal level.

3) Shea, through the com-boxes in his reply (though oddly not in the actual reply), thinks my argument is “silly” because if libertarianism is heretical, it can’t possibly be worth anything (thus rendering my probing questions in the opening of the piece superfluous). And yet in his original post (the second link above), he makes a practical argument against libertarianism and I am still not sure if it is the reason why he thinks it is heretical or if it is just some unrelated tangent. If libertarianism is heresy – end of story, end of debate – why proceed to make a rather half-hearted point against it, in this case, that it is somehow “utopian”? Or is that the reason he thinks it is heretical? He didn’t make that clear, hence the questions I pose in the piece. I also make clear that since I believe that a) libertarian arguments against confiscatory taxation are rooted in true and morally good principles and b) the Church does not reject what is true or good that c) it is very likely that at least what I call libertarianism is not “heretical.” I thought that was rather obvious.

One last thing: another publication will be posting a reply to my piece on Tuesday. I won’t give anymore details for now, but I expect a lively exchange to result.

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24 Responses to Shea & I: A Follow-Up

  • I predict at least 100 comments before midnight! Mark’s strong point has never been political analysis. His calling Libertarianism heretical is rather like me giving an opinion on Bulgarian basket weaving.

  • Where there is truth we should magnify it whether it be from a democrat, republican, or a libertarian. Not shout heresy!
    And I do realize your definition of libertarianism is not necessarily equal to that of the political party.
    Even communists espouse solidarity while ignoring human dignity, common good, and subsidiarity.

  • Mr. Hargrave, you do have a curious attraction to Libertarianism, personally I associate with Tea Party fiscal conservatism while rejecting the Ayn Rand wing of this group. Since there is no Catholic Party how are we to associate ourselves politically?
    I say we have two choices, do what St John Paul II said, or be like JFK.

    Evangelium Vitae
    90. The Church well knows that it is difficult to mount an effective legal defence of life in pluralistic democracies, because of the presence of strong cultural currents with differing outlooks. At the same time, certain that moral truth cannot fail to make its presence deeply felt in every conscience, the Church encourages political leaders, starting with those who are Christians, not to give in, but to make those choices which, taking into account what is realistically attainable, will lead to the re- establishment of a just order in the defence and promotion of the value of life.

    JFK renounced his faith in his 1960 political speech, “Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.”
    Verses john Paul’s Evangelium Vitae
    90. . But no one can ever renounce this responsibility, especially when he or she has a legislative or decision-making mandate, which calls that person to answer to God, to his or her own conscience and to the whole of society for choices which may be contrary to the common good

  • Best Wishes, Bonchamps.

  • Mr. Hargrove, if I may and respectfully of your many comtributoins, you are far too talented and able to be wasting your time responding to the nonsense and invective spewed from the pen of Mark Shea. But for your link to your Crisis article I would not have otherwise ever read that to which you felt necessitated a response. Mr. Shea, to be kind, is not worthy of the credibility of your effort. Lend him not any platform.

  • Carl,

    I think that the basic premises of libertarianism are compatible with CST. I don’t think CST demands a regime of confiscatory taxation, and in fact such a regime in conflict with the labor theory of property shared by Locke and Pope Leo XIII. The Church thrived in the supposedly bad old days of laissez-faire capitalism in the United States, it grew by leaps and bounds because the rights of individuals to associate and practice their religion were respected.

    I’m not an anarchist, and I don’t think libertarianism mandates anarchism. I find anarchist arguments to make a certain amount of sense but I do believe CST is incompatible with a categorical and absolute rejection of the state. These are prudential matters, in other words.

    I would diverge sharply from the Rothbard wing of libertarianism on the question of abortion, but his critique of egalitarianism is one that the Church can and should appreciate. We ought to have a common anti-egalitarian front, since radical egalitarianism is the menace of our time, threatening private property and the Church alike.

  • I second Cthemfly’s request.

    The ratio of heat to light, emanating from and around Mr.Shea, means nothing good can come of it.

  • I don’t know… Shea’s ego is growing almost out of control and he could use a good thumping.

    At the very least, as much as he puts himself on the “front” of Catholic evangelism then replies like yours are needed otherwise many will assume they have no place in the Church because of Shea’s words and turn away.

  • Cthemfly25,

    I appreciate the kind words. My piece really isn’t about Shea – its about everyone who shares his view, and there are more than a few who do. I think the general charge that libertarianism – without qualification – is “heresy” deserves a response, regardless of who makes it.

    Like I said, I don’t follow Shea closely enough to really vibe with all of the really negative things people say about the man. I just happened upon his brief blog post in my daily reading and thought it made a point that deserved critique.

  • Joe, while I admire you for manning up to answer Mark Shea, IMO, it’s a waste of time to respond to him. His mind is already made up, he doesn’t want to be confused with the facts. His theme song ought to be the song sang by Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers, “I’m Against It!”

  • Shea vs. Joe is the intellectual equivalent of the Washington Generals vs. the Harlem Globetrotters. I’ve had many disagreements with Joe over the years, but at least he clearly demonstrates that he has done his homework and always puts forward strong, well-articulated arguments. For Mark freaking Shea of all people to call his article “silly” is not as much laughable as sad. Frankly I feel embarrassed for Shea when he delves into political theory, because the man is simply out of his depth.

    I know that Joe’s main focus is not on Shea, so I look forward to future pieces where hopefully someone with a little bit more ability to articulate nuance thoughts can rebut him, and then we can all sit back and bask in the glow of spirited, healthy debate. Sadly Mark Shea is not the man for such a task.

  • Government can’t solve income inequality, but it surely can fix it.

  • Bonchamps wrote “the labor theory of property shared by Locke and Pope Leo XIII…”

    I find it hard to credit that Leo XIII shared the property theory of Locke. It would be difficult to reconcile with the teaching of the Catholic Church that If certain landed estates impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.“

    Historically, the theory of property embraced by every canonist and moral theologian has been that of the Civil Law of Justinian, which defines the origin of property very well. “By the law of nations, those things which we take from an enemy become ours at once.” [ea quae ex hostibus capimus iure gentium statim nostra fiunt – [Lib 2 tit 1] In other words, the land was acquired by the arms of the legions and every acre of it belonged to the senate and the Roman people or their assignees.

    Locke’ s labour theory of property is plainly nonsense, for it would make the acquisitions of a wife, a slave, a son in power, or (in later times) a vassal theirs, rather than belonging to the paterfamilias, or the superior. It is based on a failure to distinguish use and possession (which are physical facts) from ownership, which is a legal right. As the great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), reminds us, “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians. The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods, granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.”

    You can see this principle everywhere enunciated in the French Revolution. Take Mirabeau (a moderate) “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens” So, too, Robespierre (not a moderate) “In defining liberty, the first of man’s needs, the most sacred of his natural rights, we have said, quite correctly, that its limit is to be found in the rights of others. Why have you not applied this principle to property, which is a social institution, as if natural laws were less inviolable than human conventions?”

  • “I find it hard to credit that Leo XIII shared the property theory of Locke.”
    .
    Then you have some homework to do. Read paragraph 27 of the Second Treatise. Read paragraph 9 of Rerum Novarum. It’s almost plagiarism. And it affirms the individual, inviolable and natural right to the fruits of one’s labor as their property.
    .
    “It would be difficult to reconcile with…”
    .
    If you really want to square the circle, I’ll put it this way: I have a suspicion that the “teaching” to which you refer about landed estates was written with places such as Latin America in mind, in which a hereditary aristocracy swallowed up large areas of land and claimed it as their own regardless of what they did with it. Locke’s homesteading principle is not a theory of land acquisition, though – it is a labor theory of property. It is labor that makes property. So how could labor be, to use the terms from the “teaching” you so often reference, “impede general prosperity”, be “extensive”, be “unused or poorly used”, “bring hardship”, etc? Rerum Novarum doesn’t just quote Locke on the LTP, after all; it also makes use of his paean to the benefits of labor, which takes the sort of unused land that you are talking about and makes into something beneficial for everyone. One might even argue that the “teaching” to which you refer could be reconciled with Locke’s condition that one can only acquire property insofar as they leave enough for others. If one takes land and uses it productively, they necessarily serves others and improves society; if one takes land and simply fences it off without cultivating it, they aren’t improving anyone’s life and it isn’t clear that Locke would consider such an act to be a natural/moral acquisition of property. So I don’t see a real conflict here.
    .
    “In other words, the land was acquired by the arms of the legions and every acre of it belonged to the senate and the Roman people or their assignees.”
    .
    So this is your answer? Let’s get rid of that whole idea of acquiring labor peacefully through hard work, which benefits everyone else as well – let’s bring back might makes right as the foundation of ownership. This isn’t “the law of nations.” It is the law of the jungle. And this is supposed to be morally superior to peaceful economic competition? Locke did the world a favor and so did Pope Leo XIII when he baptized the labor theory of property.
    .
    “Locke’ s labour theory of property is plainly nonsense, for it would make the acquisitions of a wife, a slave, a son in power, or (in later times) a vassal theirs, rather than belonging to the paterfamilias, or the superior.”
    .
    Actually I find that Locke’s assumption in the ST is that it is male heads of households who will be doing the labor, and that the labor performed by servants employed by them, belongs to them. I see no contradiction here; its the basis of the modern economy. What the worker earns through labor is a wage; what they create belongs to the employer to sell.
    .
    In any case, the whole idea of social “superiors” with an absolute claim over inferiors is gone – and rightfully so. I’m not a radical social egalitarian, but I do believe in equality of individuals before the law, and that includes the right to work, acquire property, and enter into contracts independently and autonomously.
    .
    “As the great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), reminds us…”
    .
    Might makes right, all morals are relative, there is no law of nature. Got it.
    .
    As for Robespierre, did he come up with that before or after, or sometime during his violent persecution of Catholics and other enemies of the state? At this point I don’t care if Europe wants to ignore the natural moral foundations of property. You want to follow Robespierre, fine, have at it. But stop insisting that this is the official teaching of the Church. It isn’t. I’ve proven that it isn’t.

  • I have a suspicion that the “teaching” to which you refer about landed estates was written with places such as Latin America in mind, in which a hereditary aristocracy swallowed up large areas of land and claimed it as their own regardless of what they did with it.

    If I am not mistaken, the order of nobility was to be found in Latin America after 1822 only in Brazil, and was formally discontinued there in 1889. There has definitely been a class of latifundiaries in Latin America, but they are a class in society, not an order of society. Land tenure, security of tenure, seizure of common lands, &c. have all been issues throughout Latin American history to the present day, of course.

  • if libertarianism is heretical, it can’t possibly be worth anything

    Is there an actual theological basis for this notion? Last time I checked, even pagan religions were recognized to have worthy things in them.

  • Bonchamps

    Like Rollin, St Thomas is quite explicit that ownership belongs to positive law: ““Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1 That is the reason that conquest destroys all titles, for it removes the legal system on which they rest.

    Rollin also refers to the gleaning laws (Lev 19:9-10, Lev 23:22 and Deut 24:19-21) as examples of how rights of ownership can be modified by positive law, for these precepts formed part of the civil law of the Jewish commonwealth.

  • Bonchamps asks, “So how could labor be, to use the terms from the “teaching” you so often reference, “impede general prosperity”, be “extensive”, be “unused or poorly used”, “bring hardship”, etc?”

    A shooting estate that could be used for pasture, open grazing that is suitable for arable cultivation, agricultural use that prevented exploration and extraction of minerals, agricultural land suitable for building development could all be examples.

    Of course, it would depend on the development plan the public authorities wished to pursue, for we know that “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity.” (Populorum Progressio 33)

  • “That is the reason that conquest destroys all titles, for it removes the legal system on which they rest.”
    .
    No conquest destroys the right of any individual man to the fruits of his labor. There is no moral basis upon which non-combatants can be expropriated by the marauding soldiers of an invading army. So I have no idea what it is you are trying to prove here.
    .
    “as examples of how rights of ownership can be modified by positive law”
    .
    I really think you are seriously and tragically conflating a whole host of issues here. The labor theory of property, i.e., the explicit teaching of the Catholic Church, holds that labor gives a man exclusive right to a portion of the Earth and that no one is justified in violating that right. It never says that human laws can have no say in the various mundane details of day-to-day matters arising from conflicts between property owners or what have you. There is still room for your precious positive law to operate. The point is that there is a natural law as well with respect to private property, and you absolutely cannot deny it.
    .
    You’ve sure done your best to evade it, though.
    .
    “Of course, it would depend on the development plan the public authorities wished to pursue”
    .
    What WOULDN’T come under the purview of your centralized “development plan”? How many centrally-planned economies have to expropriate their capitalists, lower the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people, commit unspeakable atrocities against them and finally collapse into a rubbish heap before you and Francis stop insisting on directing human behavior with “development plans”?

  • How many centrally-planned economies have to expropriate their capitalists, lower the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people, commit unspeakable atrocities against them and finally collapse into a rubbish heap before you and Francis stop insisting on directing human behavior with “development plans”?

    Oh, oh I know the answer!

    “Until it works!”

  • Genesis 4: 17-19: “Cursed be the ground because of you; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, since out of it you were taken; for dust you are and unto dust you shall return.”
    .
    Our Creator gave the land to man so that man could work out his redemption. To take the man’s land would prevent the man from working out his redemption as prescribed by God. Man would be brought to the brink of hell without hope of salvation. Until the day man returns to dust, it is his property, the land which God handed to Adam to toil and sweat over to redeem himself.
    “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”. Taking a man’s land is a violation of man freedom to respond to God’s word, in thought, word and deed. Peaceable assembly cannot be violated.
    .
    He, who violates God’s word is possessed by the devil.

  • Best comment above:

    “Government can’t solve income inequality, but it surely can fix it.”

    Many another would have expended 500 words to say it.

    Brevity is tne soul of satire.

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  • Bonchamps asks, “What WOULDN’T come under the purview of your centralized “development plan”? “

    That is why Pope Paul VI insists that “they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.” (Populorum Progressio ibid) That is an important safeguard, but does not undermine the fundamental obligation of the public authorities to oversee development.

    Again, in his Letter to the 52nd Social Week at Brest, in L’homme et la révolution urbaine, Lyon: Chronique sociale (1965), 8-9, Pope Paul VI wrote, “as the Fathers of the Church and other eminent theologians tell us, the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good.” When “private gain and basic community needs conflict with one another,” it is for the public authorities “to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement of individual citizens and social groups.”
    No one is suggesting that there is not a balance to be struck.

An Illiberal Catholic Assault on Hobby Lobby

Monday, April 14, AD 2014

Note: once again, this is a guest post by Stephen Herreid, not Bonchamps.

“Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” – President Barack Obama

“…America was never well-founded, so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.” – Patrick Deneen

Faced with the historic government overreach that is the HHS mandate, it ought to be easier than ever for Christians to know who their enemies are. One would hope that in this desperate time conservatives and Christians would unite against the enemies of the Church, and defend the religious liberty that has already been half-robbed from us. Unlike in many other countries, where Christians are already third class citizens and some are killed and violated by the thousands, America is the home of a long-standing Constitutional Republic, a Rule of Law tradition that explicitly protects and honors our religious liberty. The army of the Left is united in its effort to topple that grand tradition and the Church that it protects. Appallingly, the army of the Right is not so united in their defense.

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26 Responses to An Illiberal Catholic Assault on Hobby Lobby

  • Deneen’s argument is appalling. Hobby Lobby goes out of its way to incorporate its Christian values into its daily operations. It has put everything on the line to challenge this mandate. And I would love to see this smug academic lecture people with limited budgets about shopping at over-priced mom-and-pop stores instead of affordable chain stores. These people don’t care about “the common good”, they care about an ideological vision that would inevitably harm the common good in order to be realized.

  • It is a pretty vicious attack and tragically misguided. Hobby Lobby bucks the dehumanizing trend by (1) staying closed on Sunday, and (2) paying a living wage at hire and (3) offering health coverage to all employees.

    Sadly, Deneen has made his ideological demand for the perfect a savage enemy of the good. What is he trying to achieve with such an essay?

  • Deneen is trying to make himself the ideological leader of a “third force” in American politics, to agglomerate to himself the discontent and frustration of Catholics who have failed to make any real impact in national policy. Instead of trying to remedy that futility, he is trying to make it a badge of honor, an implicit condemnation of the American constitutional system.

    Check out Deneen’s self-congratulatory manifesto for Catholic separatism:
    http://www.irishrover.net/?p=5221

    To which I would answer: How well is the Church doing by its own standards? Sex abuse, instant annulments, 95% of Catholics rejecting Humanae Vitae…. Why should anyone look to US for leadership?

  • Scratch a liberal and you find a fascist every time.

  • What is the function of intellectuals, bar to tells us things are not as ordinary people see them? Do you ever get the impression that Dr. Deneen’s writings are a series of onanistic exercises?

  • Patrick Deneen doesn’t approve of what many of us do with our freedom, he doesn’t trust what the citizens of Bedford Falls will do in Bailey Park and he doesn’t much Like Hobby Lobby and its customers. That’s OK. He’s free to be that way.

    (Deneen uses liberalism to mean something close to what the American Founders meant by liberty.)

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/a-catholic…/

    “…liberalism is not a “shell” philosophy that allows a thousand flowers to bloom. Rather, liberalism is constituted by a substantive set of philosophical commitments that are deeply contrary to the basic beliefs of Catholicism… ”

    Is Deneen saying a good life won’t happen under liberalism? Is he saying that If people have too much freedom they will do bad things (I agree) and they shouldn’t have the freedom that allows them to do bad things (I disagree)? Does he want to make virtue mandatory? I think he does think that it’s bad that people are free to choose for themselves what he would not choose for them.

    In a 2012 review of IT”S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Deneen suggests that Bailey Park is a bad thing in much the same way that he thinks that Hobby Lobby and WalMart are bad things. People shouldn’t choose them and (maybe?) shouldn’t be allowed to choose them.

    http://www.firstthings.com/…/12/its-a-destructive-life

    “By contrast, Bailey Park has no trees, no sidewalks, no porches, but instead wide streets and large yards with garages. Compared to Bedford Falls, the development is pedestrian-hostile, and its daily rhythm will feel devoid of human presence, with the automobile instead displacing the ambulating passerbys. The residents of this modern development are presumably hidden behind the doors of their houses, or, if outside, relaxing in back patios. One doubts that anyone will live in these houses for four generations, much less one. The absence of informal human interaction in Bailey Park stands in gross contrast to the vibrancy of Bedford Falls.”

    Here is my favorite comment from the review.(Read the whole review and the comments.)

    “Chesterton Fan • a year ago
    Community is not a matter of proximity or housing development fashions. Farmers live in isolation, but come into town to meet up with neighbors that live 5 miles away. They meet up at church, at a cafe, at a sporting event etc. Meanwhile, in New York City, a person can live 5 years in an apartment and not interact with a single person on their floor who has also lived there more than 5 years. Same goes for suburban neighbors. Some suburban neighborhoods are close knit. Kids play with each other, and parents take turns hosting. Others are just collections of families that happen to live near each other. While I love mom and pop places, one can evidence community in a Starbucks that has regulars who come to meet and share joys and sorrows. With good leadership, a chain store can foster community among employees that expresses itself in good service to customers. Industrialization was transformed, not by abandoning the technological improvements and going back to cottage industry, but by way of cultural transformation. Houses now have family rooms and game rooms that can function in much the same way as the porch used to. After all, even with a porch, a neighbor still either needed to be invited to come up for a glass of lemonade or a beer or have some kind of connection whereby he felt free to stop by. As Chesterton so often made clear, academics often miss the forest for analyzing the individual trees.”

    Fortunately, Patrick Deneen does not rule the world.I’m glad.

  • I don’t know if this question’s been raised or not, but what is it exactly that Deneen is lobbying for, a nation that’s more Catholic, or more illiberal?

  • Fred Siegel, in his 2013 book about the modern roots of American liberalism, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism has Undermined the Middle Class,” notes:

    “Liberalism is anti-business and anti-democratic. It despises the small town business ethic which drove too much of American life. In its place was a heroic model populated by elite experts, writers and social scientists who fundamentally distrust the public and place great confidence in the “leading role” of the state, to borrow the Marxist term. The scorn and fear generated among liberals by the Tea Party movement illustrates the basic contempt that liberals hold for the common man and the American middle class.”

  • From the sounds of it, Dineen seems to be the sort that writes for the Remnant. The hold everything but traditional Catholicism in contempt. Religious freedom? Their response is that the only suitable state is a Catholic confessional state ruled by a Catholic monarch. Kinda like Europe was centuries ago. How did that turn out?

    Their views on economics are as bad as the current Catholic hierarchy. From what this bunch wants, it sounds like a combination of mercantilism and distributism.

    Sorry but the genie is out of the bottle. It is not possible to return to the Middle Ages.

    The American Conservative is a journal that is influenced by Pat Buchanan. I do not know how Buchanan has credibility with anyone. He has spent his adult life in Washington, DC, a place detached from reality if there ever was.

    The world is as it is. What can we do to make it better for our succeeding generations? One of the things we can do is to ignore Pat Buchanan and his followers.

  • Leave Pat Buchanan out of this, please. I was at the first meeting which organized The American Conservative, and have had close contact with its editors for most of its run. Buchanan NEVER exercised any editorial functions; he simply lent his mailing list and his name. The magazine has gone very far left in recent years, and is now virtually indistinguishable from the Distributist Review. Its money man, Wick Allison, endorsed Obama in BOTH elections. It should rename itself more candidly.

  • Pat Buchanan has credibility with me. But then, I agree with his non-interventionist foreign policy, while PF has a personal anti-Russian axe to grind.

  • My problem with non-interventionism is that, historically speaking, its loudest proponents aren’t opposed to interventionism per se, just Amerian intervention.
    .
    Just a passing observation. I’m not trying to derail the thread any further.
    .
    I have no idea where Deneen is coming from. But then, I don’t understand why more Catholics don’t understand that the Democrat party left them a long time ago. On the other hand though, Penguins Fan has a point about confessional politics in European history.

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  • Penguins Fan and Ernst Schreiber

    I sometimes wonder whether American (and British) Catholics are as aware as they should be of the dangers of a sort of “political Catholicism,” like that that bedevilled France from1870 to 1959 and that reached its zenith in Action Française and the Catholic atheism of Charles Maurras; this was “civic religion” with a vengeance.

    Nor is the danger only on the Right; Le Sillon’s attempt to align Catholic Action with the labour movement was equally dangerous and was also roundly condemned by the Holy See in Notre Charge Apostolique, which could be read with profit by some (politically) progressive Anglophone Catholics, as well as more recent condemnations of Liberation Theology.

    The danger arises whenever loyalty to a political movement is seen as, not merely compatible with, but demanded, by the Faith itself. It also manifests itself in a denial of the legitimacy of any political authority that refuses to accede to its demands.

    The spiritual mission of the Church in France was gravely hampered, during the first 70 years of that period, by the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic, which neatly matched the anti-clericalism of the bouffeurs de curé. Leo XIII had exhorted Catholic to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved, only to be accused by the Catholic press of “kissing the feet of their executioners.” In 1940, alas, too many Catholics rallied, not to the Republic, but to Vichy. After the Liberation most of the leaders of the Catholic parties were in jail, a few were shot and the rest fled abroad. It was De Gaulle and the Fifth Republic that began to heal the divisions.

    The state of the Church in France today owes much to this bitter legacy of turning faith into faction

  • The sad truth is that ultimately we’ve done not much better in a modern “democracy” which has been declaring false aherence to Christianity for so long it is finally giving up that charade to betray the religious foundations most Americans (cumulatively counting from the beginnings of the nation) understoodf as essential to the survival and later, the explosion of success which both marked the United States as an economic and military superpower and within which were contained the seeds of its destruction.

    I have no more belief in the efficacy of a Catholic confessional state than I do in what passess for democracy today, if for no other reason that the world has turned inward in self-aggrandisement and self-worship. Nobody would tolerate the return of monarchy – Catholic or otherwise. Overall, however, I can’t see where modern democracy has any worse a track record than European Catholic monarchies decried by PF.

    How did that turn out? Not much worse than what we’re headed for now. There were many solid devout Catholic monarchs interspersed with heathen-minded tyrants. We have a pseudo-Christian fascist in the White House, and the next election will give us eight years of the first woman president unless something unforeseen occurs.

    By the end of that time institutional fascism will be thoroughly cemented in place throughout our political, governmental, and military infrastructures. Likewise, in all the other social and cultural institutions which the Left nearly owns now in toto. Our much vaunted democratic republic barely exists today.

    This character Deneen would only deliver us into this hell all the sooner. However, he’s a zero who ultimately will receive benefits and position only as it is pleasing to his masters who will despise even his watered-down form of faux-Catholicism. RINOs engage in the same wasted energy in their continuing betrayal of America through their never fulfilled yearning for love and approaval from liberals and their media sycophants.

    Since Obama stole the 2012 election (this is the first time I’ve EVER seriously believed an American presidential election has been hijacked), I no longer believe the battlefield is ANYTHING but spiritual. We have lost the political, social,and cultural battles. Even the military is lost to anti-Christian, lesbian-loving, Wiccans or at least atheists.

    Persistent prayer and lots of it is the first and last line of defense and offense. Yes, by all, means let’s expose fraudulent Catholics like Patrick Deenen who are no better than quislings, but let’s not think that a focus on such responses are anything more than satisfying gestures which won’t do anything to win this struggle against the forces of evil arrayed against the last best hope for man – the Roman Catholic Church.

  • If the state humbly acknowledges its existence brought about by the sovereignty of its citizens with respect, the shenanigans brought about by closed door conspiracy would not have taken place.
    .
    Penguins Fan : “Their response is that the only suitable state is a Catholic confessional state ruled by a Catholic monarch. Kinda like Europe was centuries ago. How did that turn out?”
    .
    Had the Catholic confessional state stayed Catholic, with virtue and charity, Europe would have turned out alright. St Joan of Arc set them straight. When Catholic principles were abandoned the countries fell.
    .
    Blessed John Cardinal Henry Newman said speaking of separation of church and state:
    “It in no way depends upon the caprice of the Pope, or upon his good pleasure, to make such and such a doctrine, the object of a dogmatic definition. He is tied up and limited to the divine revelation, and to the truths which that revelation contains. He is tied up and limited by the Creeds, already in existence, and by the preceding definitions of the Church. He is tied up and limited by the divine law, and by the constitution of the Church. Lastly, he is tied up and limited by that doctrine, divinely revealed, which affirms that alongside religious society there is civil society, that alongside the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy there is the power of temporal Magistrates, invested in their own domain with a full sovereignty, and to whom we owe in conscience obedience and respect in all things morally permitted, and belonging to the domain of civil society.”
    .
    And again, Thomas Jefferson said in his Danbury letter:
    “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

    What is it that Hobby Lobby is guilty of? Denying the state transgression into its own conscience? Concerning a mandate that was not given by the people, not voted on by Congress but inserted in the ACA after Congress made the bill into law. The HHS Mandate was unconstitutionally imposed on a free people without their informed consent.
    Hobby Lobby is hauled before magistrates to defend its right to be a free enterprise or at least assent to just laws imposed. Unjust laws, not at all.
    .
    This is about patriotism, about constituting our United States as a free nation. Only a nation conceived in liberty can form the virtue of patriotism. People are not stupid. When a citizen cannot love his country, his conscience and his country need to be reassessed. This is about the government imposing totalitarianism to serve one faction of the public opinion. The HHS Mandate is not equal Justice for all, especially for the innocent souls conceived and obliterated by abortaficients. Every citizen, from atheist to Catholic, must insure that the sovereign citizen must be free to constitute his nation in peaceable assembly. or in Penguin’s words: “How will that turn out?”

  • Phil Steinacker: “We have a pseudo-Christian fascist in the White House, and the next election will give us eight years of the first woman president unless something unforeseen occurs.”
    .
    Let us pray that the next president is more than a mouth and face for demonic activity. Even the devil is being disgusted with this nation’s human sacrifice and violations of the civil rights of man, whom our Created created in freedom. Human sacrifice is unconstitutional. As worship of the devil, abortion cannot be imposed.

  • “whom our Creator, created in freedom” I’m sorry.

  • Americans used to have- at least I grew up with – a real confidence in America. At the same time the “ascendance”of Catholicism seemed (again- to me) to be a natural progression of Truth and Justice.
    Now Americans and Catholics alike have lost their self confidence. Lift up your heads!
    Orestes Brownso his reflections on the publication of the Syllabus of Pius IX: “The civil power is bound to obey the law of God, and forfeits its authority in going contrary to it. We shall not suffer those who refuse to believe the infallibility of the Pope, [only] to assert the infallibility of Caesar or the state.”
    First thing for Patrick Deneen and for all of us is to remember who we are.
    .

  • Anzlyne: “First thing for Patrick Deneen and for all of us is to remember who we are.”
    .
    My constant prayer.

  • Bonchamps can worship at the feet of Washingtonian blowhard Buchanan.

    Bonchamps accused me of having a personal anti-Russian ax to grind. To clarify it, I expressed concern for Catholics in areas taken over by Putin and linked to a news story highlighting incidents where Russian military units harrassed Ukrainian Catholics. I do not and have no advocated the US government getting involved.

    Now, it is true that i have an ax to grind. I presume that most people who post here have heard of the terrible attack at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA, a Pittsburgh suburb. 19 high school students were injured, four critically. One nearly died last week.

    An incident that made the Drudge Report and the Washington (Com)Post, but was curiously ignored by the local Pittsburgh media, surfaced this week. A 15 year old special needs student in South Fayette High School (the school district I pay a fortune for in property taxes -and everyone else here, too) was continuously bullied by other kids. This 15 year old recorded the actions of the other kids bullying him. when faced with the evidence, school administrators told him to erase the evidence and reported him to the local police, who accused him of violating a Pennsylvania anti-wiretapping law. This 15 year old was cited for disorderly conduct, was chewed out by the local magistrate, and paid a $25 fine plus court costs.

    Due to the Franklin Regional incident, this story has grown legs and is now all over the Internet , although the local socialist rag, the Post Gazette, which now charges for online content, had no coverage that I could locate. I put up with bullies in Catholic grade school and a crummy Northeast Ohio public school district and I have no patience for this BS from overpaid school bureaucrats. I am showing up at the next school board meeting, which i anticipate to be overflowing with irate parents.

    Net time you wantto tell the world that I have an ax to grind, Bonchaps, ask me first. Otherwise, do the Internet version of shut up and don’t purport to talk for me again.

  • Mary, my point is that there are some hard core Traditionalists who believe in their hear of hearts that the only legitimate state is a Catholic confessional state with a Catholic monarch. Europe had these but no more. Kings, queens and emperors are no more immune from the human condition than prime ministers, presidents and elected legislatures. Our system of government, if people cared enough, provides us with the ability to get rid of incompetent or criminal politicians. Instead we have a political party – the Democrats – who resemble organized crime, and another, the Republicans, who are either too timid to speak up or just want to go along.

    Could the English Catholics who rebelled against Henry Tudor get rid of him? They tried but could not. Charles V, who debated Luther, invaded the Vatican.
    Charles V’ great grandfather, King Henry of Spain, was a weak man and easily manipulated. There was a King Phillip of France who pressured the Pope to suppress the Knights Templar because he wanted their money.

    I’m going to sign off of here – at least for posting – for a few days. Senora Penguins Fan has a 45th birthday coming up. She is in her ninth week of pregnancy. This is her fifth pregnancy – we have two terrific little boys and we lost two babies due to miscarriage. We are expecting guests for Easter and the house needs “redd up”. I have spent too much time here arguing and being annoyed by a Paulbot. My school district has me angrier than a hornet’s nest. All in all, not a great Holy Week.

    Please remember the Catholics in this world who live under repression or terror (Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, occupied Ukraine) and be grateful that this hasn’t happened to us – yet.

  • Thank you, Penguins Fan. Prayers for a safe delivery of one of our constitutional posterity and thanks too for him. Happy Easter.

  • The magazine has gone very far left in recent years, and is now virtually indistinguishable from the Distributist Review. Its money man, Wick Allison, endorsed Obama in BOTH elections. It should rename itself more candidly.


    Left? You’re assuming they have a recognizable perspective.
    The whole point of the publication is to provide a display window for the self-aggrandizing idiosyncracies of its editors and staff, including each one’s frequent and repetitive references to their superiority to ‘movement conservatives’. Truth-in-labeling kills the joke.

  • Penguins Fan: “Bonchamps accused me of having a personal anti-Russian ax to grind. To clarify it, I expressed concern for Catholics in areas taken over by Putin and linked to a news story highlighting incidents where Russian military units harrassed Ukrainian Catholics. I do not and have no advocated the US government getting involved. ”
    .
    My parents’ families reside in north eastern Poland, on the Russian border. My father’s family was started by Tartar rape of my mother’s family in 1595. Being somewhat Polish I recommend that Bonchamps’ observation be taken as a great if not wonderful compliment, and I take it as such. Half of my dad’s family went to the concentration camps. Then, there was the Katim Forest blamed on Hitler. My dad’s brother went to the seminary to become a Catholic priest. He was harassed until he had a nervous breakdown from which he has not recovered. When my dad visited Poland several years ago, he was arrested and placed on house arrest. Money is usually extorted for release. Another man promised money for release, when the man got home to America he found Russian agents IN his house for the money.
    .
    Bonchamps has a lot to learn.

Conservatives & The Eich Affair

Wednesday, April 9, AD 2014

Joseph Shaw over at LMS Chairman has posted a four part-critique of the conservative response to the Eich affair (and related incidents) titled “Why Conservatives Are Wrong.” Whereas Jeffery Tucker attacked conservative libertarians from the left, complaining about their “brutalism” in their assertion of their rights to live according to traditional and natural values, Shaw attacks from the right, following the general outline of the illiberal critique of the foundations of American political thought. A serious critique deserves a serious response, which is what I hope to provide here from a classical liberal perspective.

At the outset it is worth highlighting that Shaw, myself, and I imagine many of us on both sides of the “America is good/America sucks” divide share many common concerns and basic moral values. This is not a battle between left-wing “liberal” Catholics and orthodox “conservative” Catholics; it is a strategic and perhaps philosophical dispute between two groups that share a set of values and commitments to authentic Church doctrine and the natural moral law. Our most important point of agreement is that neither of us are “progressives”; we do not view history as a linear ascent to some utopian future in which fallen man has been redeemed by his own self-righteous awakening. We, political traditionalists and classical liberals both, ground ourselves in “self-evident truths” that do not change with the direction of the winds and in our belief in the superiority of reason to the irrational and fickle demands of the mob.

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7 Responses to Conservatives & The Eich Affair

  • The contradiction at the heart of liberalism lies in its simultaneous assertion of popular sovereignty and universal human rights. In the brief interlude between the absolutist state of the Ancien Régime and modern social democracies, this was achieved by the separation of the public sphere of state activity and the private sphere of civil society. The state provided a legally codified order within which social customs, economic competition, religious beliefs, and so on, could be pursued without interference.

    But, when the social consensus on which the distinction rested breaks down, liberalism has no way of defining or defending the boundaries of this sphere; everything becomes potentially political.

    As a matter of history, the first challenge to the consensus of the bourgeois parliamentary parties came from socialism, which denied the autonomy of the economic sphere. The Conservatives had never accepted it: they hankered for the dirigisme of the Ancien Régime.

    Rousseau saw this very well. “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.” His solution is well known: “In order then that the social compact may not be an empty formula, it tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre]”

  • One way you can look at these disputes is as a competition over ‘positional goods’, which competition is generally zero-sum. So, you have the competition between the word-merchant sector and the business sectors (which re-capitulates the competition between the socially adept and the rest on the playground), the disdain of the haut bourgeois for everyone else, conflicts between blacks and everyone else, conflicts between men and women, conflicts between sexual deviants and the remainder, conflicts between immigrants and the remainder. It does not map very well to questions of liberty and tolerance because the goal is not to be free of anything but to place oneself and one’s fellows in a superordinate position. (With regard to the issue at hand, one might also note the prevalence of homosexuals in the theatre; it’s a social segment which hankers after applause).

    Consider that in a society where freedom of contract and freedom to publish within a state of tolerable public order, recognition is not distributed at random. The position of a landed gentry will gradually erode, the position of the clergy and the military will be circumstantially contingent, no special recognition will be accorded salaried employees public or private, and wage earning populations are definitely subordinate and generally poor. Also, the influence of dynastic fealty on the political order will gradually erode in favor of lateral bonds between participants in society. The word merchant element is proportionately smaller and less autonomous.

    Note also, that family relations are the principal means by which people are indemnified against the vicissitudes of life, most particularly so in societies with small public sectors. However, family relations remain vigorous only when law and custom stress durability, legitimacy, and stereotyped responsibilities. Domestic division of labor and coping with the inevitable friction of domestic life suits some people better than others.

    When you ask what is congruent with a system of natural liberty (equal liberty and careers-open-to-talents) you see that recognition will tend to flow to people with certain talents and virtues: a talent for competition and leadership qualities. Not every free society will precisely replicate the United States of 1928, but the distribution of recognition would certainly be very different than what it is today, where the capacity to manipulate people in various setting (through verbiage, through symbolism, through mind games) is the order of the day.

  • “The contradiction at the heart of liberalism lies in its simultaneous assertion of popular sovereignty and universal human rights.”

    Liberalism does not necessarily advocate popular sovereignty. As a Jeffersonian, however, I can defend the marriage of liberalism and popular sovereignty by way of freedom of association and political pluralism. The essential right becomes the freedom to leave a popular sovereign territory with values one does not share and relocate elsewhere.

  • Art Deco wrote, “recognition will tend to flow to people with certain talents and virtues: a talent for competition and leadership qualities…”
    Under popular government in antiquity, the most honourable, as well as the most lucrative professions, were those of the statesman, the soldier and the jurist.

  • I agree with the fact that what we are witnessing is not longer just progressive liberalism per se but outright Communism at the very worst or Socialism in the best. Either way it is un American. Even the well known Andrew Sullivan said he thought this was a mistake on the part of Mozilla because somebody was fired simply for an action he took on Prop 8. I am sorry but we no longer live in the Land of the Free. Instead we are starting to become like another police state were people are losing their civil and religious and constitutional rights due to some kind of Special Interests group. BTW Political Correctness is not the proper term being used it was and still is CULTURAL COMMUNISM. PC sounds harmless enough

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  • They were jealous and used Eich’s donation as an excuse to pirate Mozilla

5 Responses to Is There A “Right” to Birth Control?

  • Q: “Is there a ‘right’ to birth control?”

    A: “I dunno. Is continence a ‘right’ or a ‘duty’?”

  • No. But I don’t think anyone has a right to sex. We were commanded to multiply and fill the earth. That implies to me more of a duty.

  • As I commented over at Crisis, “The word “right” is used in a number of different senses and much confusion results from failing to distinguish them. There are, for example “claim-rights,” such as the right to payment of a debt, which can be enforced against some specific person and presuppose a correlative obligation. Then there are rights in the sense of mere liberties – I have a right to watch my neighbour dig his garden and he has a right to grow a hedge to prevent me. This means no more than that I am committing no wrong by doing so.

    My right to walk down the road is a mere liberty, but any attempt to prevent me will probably give rise to a claim-right, a right to a reparation in damages for assault, for example.

    For the sake of completeness, we also talk of rights, in the sense of powers, such as the right to leave someone a legacy, which creates in him a claim-right against my estate to receive it. Then, there are rights in the sense of immunities – a thief can deprive me of possession of my goods, but not of my right of ownership, which becomes a claim-right against the possessor.

    I have a right to buy bread, if I can find a willing seller; this is a mere liberty. Having purchased it, I have a claim-right against the seller, if he fails to deliver it. The two are, nevertheless, quite distinct meanings of the word.”

    Often we encounter arguments ringing the changes on these different senses; equivocation, in its literal sense.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: Thank you for your understanding of the concept of “Rights”. With you permission I am saving it for myself to remember later. Thank you again.
    .
    Some people may believe that there is a God-given right to abuse oneself and another person by not loving them perfectly and further by violating one’s vow and opportunity to sacrifice for one another and their promise to cherish one another.
    .
    Birth control, not used, transforms into tenderness and affection, charity in the intimacy of sexual expression, a special gift, unique and timeless, personal and universal, if universal may be used to describe eternal love.
    Birth control, not used, becomes respect and appreciation. Birth control, not used, is life-giving to the non-users.
    .
    While there may even be the freedom to exercise a “right” to birth control, since that “right” to birth control is not inscribed in any of our founding principles, it may be that the “right” to birth control may be sough other than in the USA or from American citizens.
    .
    If the “right” to birth control is found in the Constitution, birth control including abortion will become the Law of the Land and will imposed and dictated to the last person.
    Penumbras and emanations are for séances, not the Supreme Court. Conjuring is for witches not Justices.

  • Mary De Voe, Thank you for : “Penumbras and emanations are for séances, not the Supreme Court. Conjuring is for witches not Justices.” What a wonderful opportunity to photo-shop a group portrait of the SCOTUS. The black robes can stay with pointy hats, a boiling kettle and a few black cats added. 🙂

Economic & Semantic Ignorance: It Rolls Downhill

Wednesday, March 26, AD 2014

 

Acton’s Power Blog covered yet another piece on Pope Francis’ salvo against the free market today in the run-up to his meeting with President Obama, and the theme is quite familiar: “Pope Francis is not an economist or technocrat laying out policy…”

It seems as though this is now a magic incantation by which anything and everything a person says about economics becomes acceptable and perhaps even praiseworthy. I could be grateful for the fact that there is a subtle implication here: if an actual economist were to say the things about free markets that Francis said, he wouldn’t have much credibility left as an economist.

The plain truth here is that whether or not a person is an economist has nothing to do with the actual nature of the statements they make. Let’s take a look at what Francis himself said in a follow-up interview to Evangelii Guadium:

I wasn’t speaking from a technical point of view, what I was trying to do was to give a picture of what is going on. The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor. This was the only reference to a specific theory. I was not, I repeat, speaking from a technical point of view…

With all due respect, these are testable claims about empirical reality. “But what happens instead, is…” Yes, that is an empirical statement. An attempt to “give a picture of what is going on” is an attempt to explain reality. There’s no way out of it: these are “technical” statements, their lack of details or any evidence of systematic economic training notwithstanding. (I’m familiar with the translation controversies too – none of them help his case) Moreover, they are simply false. The world’s poor have benefited immensely from the globalization and liberalization of economies; according to the World Bank, in spite of a 59% increase in population in the developing world, the number of people living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 per day) has fallen from 50% to 21% in the last 30 years.

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17 Responses to Economic & Semantic Ignorance: It Rolls Downhill

  • I take comfort in the fact that the Vatican could not run an economy more worsely than it runs its bank.

    The following likely does not apply to the Pope, but to his American adulators.

    “Before WWI, America had private monopolies controlled by the dreaded ‘Robber Barons.’ Since WWII, monopolies have been controlled by bureaucrats in Washington.

    Fred Siegel, in his 2013 book about the modern roots of American liberalism, “The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism has Undermined the Middle Class,” notes:
    “[L]iberalism began as a fervent reaction to wartime Wilsonian Progressivism, and it took its current cultural shape in the 1920s well before the Great Depression came crashing down on the country. It was the seminal 1920s that the strong strain of snobbery, so pervasive among today’s gentry liberals, first defined the then nascent ideology of liberalism.

    “Liberalism is anti-business and anti-democratic. It despises the small town business ethic which drove too much of American life. In its place was a heroic model populated by elite experts, writers and social scientists who fundamentally distrust the public and place great confidence in the ‘leading role’ of the state, to borrow the Marxist term. The scorn and fear generated among liberals by the Tea Party movement illustrates the basic contempt that liberals hold for the common man and the American middle class.”

  • [I]f an actual economist were to say the things about free markets that Francis said, he wouldn’t have much credibility left as an economist.

    But he would have his very own column in the New York Times!

  • As Rush Limbaugh has said, the reason poor countries are poor is not capitalism but not enough capitalism.
     
    That makes the score Rush 2, Pope 0

  • Here is another article: the world is getting a bit better, or at least trying to. Not sure what the goings on in the Ukraine will ultimately hold.

    http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/19490

  • “satisfying other people’s needs and wants.” Social Justice is satisfying other people’s needs to survive and it is a virtue. Social Justice is giving to the poor what is theirs in Justice. Satisfying other peoples’ wants is not social Justice. It is a free will gift. Money taken by taxes for satisfying other peoples’ wants in not charity. Involuntary “charity” or “social Justice” is taxation without representation and extortion.

  • Oh, I forgot: Demanding involuntary charity or social injustice is a violation of peaceable assembly and it is the dissemination of ignorance.

  • Our pope’s experience of capitalism is in Argentina, not in America. (loose quote from Paul Ryan)

  • “It seems as though this is now a magic incantation by which anything and everything a person says about economics becomes acceptable and perhaps even praiseworthy.”

    – perfect.

  • Pope Francis has no excuse for being this ignorant about economics. There’s a book written by a famous South American economist that explain why capitalism works in some places and doesn’t work in others. “The Mystery Of Capital” by Hernando De Soto has been in print for years, and he’s very well known in South America. It’s incomprehensible that the Holy Father doesn’t know about this book. If he does know about it, I believe he chooses to ignore it.

    Another book I’ll mention that will give some valuable insights into Pope Francis’s life and career is “Francis A Pope For Our Time The Definite Biography” by Luis Rosales and Daniel Olivera. These men are Argentine nationals and have followed Francis’s career for many years. These guy love Francis, so this book is basically a love letter to him. But this “letter” reveals a lot about the man who became Pope. One of the things they mention is rather disturbing to me. That thing is the influence that Peronism and Communism had on the Pope while he was growing up. Shockingly enough, a communist by the name of Esther Ballestrino de Careaga was a great influence on Jorge Bergoglio from the time he was sixteen. He had a friendship with her that lasted until her death in 1972. This friendship, along with the Peronism, is probably the reason why his ideas on economics are so faulty.

    Another good source for information on our current Pope is http://romancatholicworld.wordpress.com/ Most of the information on Jorge Bergoglio career and life has been in Italian or Spanish. The lady who runs this site is a Cuban named de Stuart, and she translates many articles and parts of articles about Francis into English. I’d advise the readers of TAC to go to and bookmark this site, because we can only understand the man who became our pope by seeing him in the soil he sprouted from, grew up in , and became a man in.

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  • “Economic & Semantic Ignorance: It Rolls Downhill”

    This is a new twist for me. I always was taught and observed that s*#t, mostly floated!

  • I wish I am something erudite and profound to say. Sadly I do not, and even more sadly I am very disappointed in Pope Francis. He is the Vicar of Christ on Earth, and there is a reason that the Holy Spirit had him ascend the Seat of St. Peter. But he knows little to nothing about economics and worse, he is unaware of his own ignorance in these matters.

    🙁

  • Stephen E Dalton on Thursday, March 27, A.D. 2014 at 7:31am Pope Francis has no excuse for being this ignorant about economics.

    I must agree Stephen. I would add to the Holy Father’s reading list Centesimus Annus. To speak ‘technically’ under the prudential rubric carries with it an obligation to speak in an informed manner….or the humility to speak not at all.

  • Paul, just to be clear — there is no Catholic teaching that suggests that papal selections or elections are divinely inspired. The Church is protected against an infallible teaching that is erroneous, no more. We’ve had some incredibly bad popes — the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it.

    cthemfly25, I agree completely. CA’s counsel should have wider currency. Most Americans feel free to speak passionately and freely, unencumbered by information, facts, or reflection.

  • Upon reading my last post I fear I should clarify — my comment to cthemfly25 was completely unrelated to my comment to Paul.

  • The Holy Father is a product of his enviornment. Argentina has almost always been a turbulent country, politically and economically. Argentina has a population larger than Canada and had the world’s seventh largest economy in the year 1900, less than a century after becoming independent of Spain.

    Apparently Cardinal Bergoglio did little travel – or none – outside his home diocese and thus has little exposure to other parts of the world. Wojtyla and Ratzinger traveled a lot before becoming cardinals.

    Other than his words, the most troubling part of the current papacy is the resurgence of the “catholic” radicals. The next most troubling is the treatment and words directed at traditional Catholics, including the FFI.

    The Church hierarchy has historically shown a fragile grasp at economic thought. As earlier put, the Vatican Bank is often proof that a 7 year old with a lemonade stand in July could run a business better than the Curia.

  • “It is an intolerable abuse, and to be abolished at all cost, for mothers on account of the father’s low wage to be forced to engage in gainful occupations outside the home to the neglect of their proper cares and duties, especially the training of children.” Pope Pius XI Quadragesimo Anno

The Real Brutalism: A Critique of Jeffrey Tucker

Thursday, March 20, AD 2014

If you haven’t heard, the libertarian Catholic Jeffrey Tucker has launched a salvo against libertarians he classifies as “brutalist.” What does he mean by this? In his words:

In the libertarian world, however, brutalism is rooted in the pure theory of the rights of individuals to live their values whatever they may be. The core truth is there and indisputable, but the application is made raw to push a point. Thus do the brutalists assert the right to be racist, the right to be a misogynist, the right to hate Jews or foreigners, the right to ignore civil standards of social engagement, the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude…

This, in contrast to the libertarian “humanitarians” among whom Tucker counts himself, who believe that:

Liberty allows peaceful human cooperation. It inspires the creative service of others. It keeps violence at bay. It allows for capital formation and prosperity. It protects human rights of all against invasion. It allows human associations of all sorts to flourish on their own terms. It socializes people with rewards toward getting along rather than tearing each other apart, and leads to a world in which people are valued as ends in themselves rather than fodder in the central plan.

It would be difficult to deny that there are libertarians who enjoy crudeness its own sake. But it appears that Tucker doesn’t really know what he wants. How can one favor the flourishing of “human associations of all sorts” and then complain about the ones that aren’t sufficiently polite? Take this muddle of contradictions from the same piece:

So let’s say you have a town that is taken over by a fundamentalist sect that excludes all peoples not of the faith, forces women into burka-like clothing, imposes a theocratic legal code, and ostracizes gays and lesbians. You might say that everyone is there voluntarily, but, even so, there is no liberalism present in this social arrangement at all. The brutalists will be on the front lines to defend such a microtyranny on grounds of decentralization, rights of property, and the right to discriminate and exclude—completely dismissing the larger picture here that, after all, people’s core aspirations to live a full and free life are being denied on a daily basis.

Is this town not a “sort” of “human association” that is operating “on its own terms”?

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100 Responses to The Real Brutalism: A Critique of Jeffrey Tucker

  • Tucker evidently does not see boorishness in siccing lawyers on people.

    I think you or he have conflated libertarian concerns (which encompass property rights and freedom of contract for private parties), with decentralist concers (which encompass local discretion over the legal regime).


    A municipal government is a public authority and people have an investment in their property which functionally limits their discretion in exercising their freedom of association. One can conceive of people who bought property in a locus under one set of circumstances facing dramatically altered circumstances due to novel municipal ordinances. There was a rural township in Oregon which faced this problem in 1982 when the established municipal council was ejected from office in favor of delegates of a con man who called himself “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh”. What mechanisms can their be and should there be to partition or disincorporate such a municipality? Can a property holder have claims against the authorities (as Richard Epstein has argued re the effect of planning and zoning on property values) derived from the effects of municipal ordinances (e.g. burkas required) on the resale value of his property?

    Conventionally, the regulatory authority of municipal government has been circumscribed, has generally operated in the realm of nuisance abatement, and has been limited to fines for penalties. To what extent are these conventions correct?

  • Tucker’s remarks about a “fundamentalist sect reminds one of the traditional suspicion and hostility of classical liberalism towards corporations of any kind: churches, guilds, universities, orders of chivalry and the rest.

    Witness the French National Assembly’s famous declaration of August 18, 1792: “A State that is truly free ought not to suffer within its bosom any corporation, not even such as, being dedicated to public instruction, have merited well of the country.” As with the corporations, so also with the communes, the towns and villages. Village property—there was a great deal of village property in France—was exposed to the dilemma: it belongs to the State, or else it belongs to the now existing villagers. So too of voluntary associations of all kinds.

    The only type of association that aroused no suspicion was the trading partnership or company. F W Maitland has noted the paradox that the liberal state, “saw no harm in the selfish people who wanted dividends, while it had an intense dread of the comparatively unselfish people who would combine with some religious, charitable, literary, scientific, artistic purpose in view” and subjected them to a strict regime of licensing and surveillance, when it did not suppress them altogether.

    As Lord Acton explains, “It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own.”

    Thus, Le Chapelier, in proposing his law of 14 July 1792 abolishing guilds, said “The guild no longer exists in the state. There exist only the particular interests of each individual and the general interest. No one is permitted to encourage an intermediate interest that separates citizens from the common interest through a corporate spirit”

    That is the authentic voice of liberalism; “no intermediary body can stand between the individual –armed with his natural rights – and the nation –the guarantor of those natural rights.”

  • “For example, consider the overt ”brutalism” of gay pride parades, in which nude men strut past young girls dragged to the event by their morally-stunted parents. Do we not have a right to protect our children from this Satantic filth? Do we not have a right to be outraged at this obscene transgression of natural moral law and all standards of social decency? Should we not expect a professing Catholic to enthusiastically join us in this condemnation instead of implying that it is we who are in the wrong? ”
    .
    Precisely because our minor children and our yet to be brought into mankind, our constitutional posterity, are created in perfect moral and legal innocence and virginity is the citizen obligated “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, our (constitutional) posterity. This is from the Preamble to our constitution which spells out the state’s obligation, responsibilities and duties to the communities of its citizens who have constituted the government; people who look to the government to maintain their values, human rights and founding principles. Enjoying liberty may only be accomplished by defending, respecting and founding freedom for each and every person who is citizen.
    .
    It appears that Jeffrey Tucker has forgotten our constitution, our founding fathers and our founding principles. Tucker’s writing is inciting to riot, disturbing the peace, violating modesty, slandering every good citizen and impugning the virtue of Justice. Peace keeping officers with armed force may be required to quell the insurrection of such undisguised double standard; hypocrisy.
    .
    Jeffery Tucker may be free to say these things but Tucker is not free to escape the consequences; reaping the whirlwind.

  • He shoulda thought of that sooner.

  • “No one is permitted to encourage an intermediate interest that separates citizens from the common interest through a corporate spirit””
    .
    Why does he assume an intermediate interest would separate citizens from the common interest through corporate spirit when it is precisely these guilds, churches, confraternities and corporate interests that grow, or are established to and ought to grow the common good.
    .
    “That is the authentic voice of liberalism; “no intermediary body can stand between the individual –armed with his natural rights – and the nation –the guarantor of those natural rights.”
    .
    Are we to be denied free association in a church or guild? If the intermediary body is the church, then this is atheism imposed, total disintegration of liberty. Denial of reason.

  • Those four people in the above picture are not free to trample upon the purpose of the church, or upon the First Amendment by preventing freedom of worship in thought, word and deed, a person’s response to Faith and his relationship with our Creator. These people are prohibited from “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They are not free to intrude into the parishioner’s need for privacy, inject their secularism and otherwise cause a disturbance. Appropriating another person’s time and attention without their informed consent is stealing.The openness of the church is for open persons. The welcome of the church is for people who welcome. Halloween, rather picket night is for individuals who destroy others’ peace of mind.

  • Those four women aren’t free –period.

    he noted dryly

  • “Those four women aren’t free –period. he noted dryly”
    .
    One is a kumquat head, one is a grape, one is a gooseberry and the last is a blueberry. All executioners of a fruit salad.

  • Too much of modern libertarianism is fixated on economics, and to the extent it draws its attention away from economics, examines social questions through a (very incoherent) prism of “consent.” Associational freedom is acknowledged, but outside of business transactions, it is viewed like zoo patrons goggling at a particularly strange specimen or exhibit.

    In short, they have a stunted notion of civil society. Too few have any idea of the importance of mediating institutions (especially churches, but also the classic civic and charitable organizations) and the restraints imposed by such institutions. Consequently, they’re left with a rather atomized understanding of liberty. Tucker has a better understanding than most, but he has his blind spots, as here. “Liberty” without the right to be disagreeable, even in big associations, is something right out of Orwell.

  • “That is the authentic voice of liberalism; “no intermediary body can stand between the individual –armed with his natural rights – and the nation –the guarantor of those natural rights.”

    This is not the authentic voice of liberalism – it is the voice of Jacobinism. The Anglo-American classical liberal tradition has always recognized the vital social role of family, church and community.

    Of course you were referring to guilds and trade unions, which are fine when they are limited to collective bargaining on behalf of voluntary participants but which SHOULD be dismantled when they attempt to irrationally restrict trade and labor for the sake of a narrow and privileged class of laborers. An economy that serves the poor cannot tolerate a regime of special privileges for workers or businesses.

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  • Too much of modern libertarianism is fixated on economics,

    And the drug laws.

  • “Of course you were referring to guilds and trade unions,”

    Actually, I was thinking of neither. I was thinking more along the lines of Kiwanas, Jaycees, KofC, the American Legion, the Boy Scouts (at least before the zeitgeist completes their destruction). Even Elks and Moose organizations, Shriners, etc.

    All of which are more or less exclusive, but are also more or less civically-minded and active. They also seem to be fading some, which says a lot about the atomization of society.

  • I was thinking more along the lines of Kiwanas, Jaycees, KofC, the American Legion, the Boy Scouts (at least before the zeitgeist completes their destruction). Even Elks and Moose organizations, Shriners, etc.

    To some extent, I think it’s temporal variation in tastes. However, I have been told by old timers that you began to see the decay fifty-odd years ago with the advance of home-entertainment. He was telling me a story (this in 1988) of encountering a contemporary he’d known for some time who was collecting a Democratic Party petition around the corner from him. The man complained “will you look at this, they’ve got me doing this [at my age]”. The people who showed up for committee meetings skewed old, and there were not many. He offered a guess that monthly attendance of county committeemen (in a city with 240,000 residents) did not make it out of two digits.

    Not too many years later, a shirt-tail relation was telling me someone was trying to get him to join the Kiwanis Club before the actuarial tables chewed that chapter to pieces (he was 28 at the time; the recruiter was an elderly neighbor). The local Rotary tried to recruit me in 1995; I did not own my own business and it was rather embarrassing sitting their eating their food and listening to the retiree who ran it read jokes out of the International’s magazine. Real bad jokes. I begged off. I think Rotary, Lions, and Kiwanis might be less injured by these processes if they had a more distinct institutional mission and some bond that maintained esprit de corps (partially frayed by co-ed membership). It seems to me that the volunteer fire company and volunteer ambulance corps in my area were healthy.

  • “…it appears that Tucker doesn’t really know what he wants. How can one favor the flourishing of ‘human associations of all sorts’ and then complain about the ones that aren’t sufficiently polite?”

    I’m afraid that you are missing the point, Mr. Bonchamps.

    Brutalism isn’t about being impolite. It’s about relishing one’s right to be impolite.

    Conversely, Libertarian Humanism isn’t about being polite all of the time: it’s about striving to minimize social discord to the full extent possible.

    The Brutalist embraces bigotry and revels in the right to expound his bigotry.

    The Humanist seeks social discourse and an ethic that abandons bigotry.

    http://www.libertysetsquare.com/libertarian-brutalists/

  • Dale,
    .
    I was replying to MPS. I should have made that clear. I agree with your initial post.

  • I want to know what you and Tucker consider “bigotry”, first of all; secondly Tucker states that “humanitarians” want to see “human associations of all sorts” flourishing. That ought to be revised, at least, since there are clearly some associations you’d rather see dead.

  • To them, what’s impressive about liberty is that it allows people to assert their individual preferences,

    People do that in markets.

    ==
    to form homogeneous tribes,

    Few associations of any size are completely homogeneous. However, where there are boundary conditions, the tribe in question will homgeneously display those conditions.
    ==
    to work out their biases in action,

    We all have biases, which are manifest in what we patronize and with whom we spend time. A generation ago, Wm. F. Buckley offered he was outraged at the insistence that he justify every inclination. Leon Wieseltier replied that if he were a true intellectual he would give rational reasons for everything. Of course, Wieseltier could never adhere to such a standard (and did not have an editor willing to tell him to not be a pompous hypocrite in print).
    ==
    to ostracize people based on “politically incorrect” standards,

    If you have standards, some people do not meet them. Your implicitly criticizing the standard without saying what it is and how you critique it.
    ==
    to hate to their heart’s content so long as no violence is used as a means,

    Yeah, Stormfront has wide appeal among soi-disant ‘libertarians’
    ==
    to shout down people based on their demographics or political opinions,

    Since when is the ‘heckler’s veto’ a cause of soi-disant ‘libertarians’?
    ==
    to be openly racist

    What is the boundary of that? You do realize that it’s the contention of partisan Democrats that Republican politicians are ‘racist’ when they breathe in and out (because their breathing creates ‘dog whistles’)?
    ==
    and sexist,

    And you do realize that the term is so elastic as to be meaningless? And that it would certainly be applied to any Catholic who asserts the complementarity of man and woman? Someone’s going to be excluded. Why me?
    ==
    to exclude and isolate and be generally malcontented with modernity,

    Because it’s been such a great trip I could not possibly be discontented with it?
    ==
    and to reject civil standards of values and etiquette in favor of antisocial norms.

    Did it occur to you that self-appointed guardians of ‘civility’ often offer ‘standards’ which are shambolic?

    ==

    You chaps have just not worked this out.

  • Bigot:

    a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

    – Merriam-Webster

    The term “unfairly” is key. In the bigot’s case, the hate or refusal to accept a person or group does not follow logically from rationally sound premises.

    When you have consenting adults engaging in voluntary behavior, not obstructing or infringing on other people’s rights to do the same, and not destroying others’ property or endangering the lives of others, they are in accord with the Non Aggression Axiom.

    The bigot will nonetheless condemn the respective consensual and voluntary behavior, based upon premises that are not derived objectively and rationally, but subjectively, e.g. a religious text or demagogue proclaims the behavior to be immoral, and so it is so.

    The Libertarian Brutalist will expound their bigotry but, distinct from the non-Libertarian Brutalist, also assert their natural right to do based upon how any attempt to curtail their freedom to be bigoted is an infringement of the Non Aggression Axiom.

    So, the main thing that makes Libertarian Brutalism unappealing is not the bigotry per se, but the appeal to the Principle of Non Aggression with the aim of going after those operating according to the Principle of Non Aggression.

    This is inherently contradictory. Thus, it undermines the objectivity and rationalism of libertarian philosophy and projects an image of selective-rationality and subjectivity. This just gives ammunition to the enemies of individual liberty, and reinforces the perceived “validity” of collectivist, illiberal paradigms.

  • A question we must all ask ourselves:

    When you have determined that you hate something, why do you hate it?

    Is the hate based on objective analysis of the problem, and a conclusion that the respective persons/behavior is destructive to Liberty? Or is it based on a subjective opinion?

    Liberalism, in the classical sense, stemming from the Enlightenment seeks to construct a system of ethics and social organization based upon objective axioms, formed from reason and evidence.

    Illiberalism, by contrast, utilizes emotion, appeal to authority, might over right, and fiat dictates.

    To defend illiberal conclusions and modes of conduct by utilizing the classical liberal scheme of natural rights theory is self-defeating and leads to….what?

  • I just took image of the top image:

    What does Pussy Riot have to do with any of this???

  • “Tucker states that “humanitarians” want to see “human associations of all sorts” flourishing. That ought to be revised, at least, since there are clearly some associations you’d rather see dead.”

    News to me. Tell me, exactly, what associations I’d want to ‘see dead.’

  • Whew. I can read Mr Tucker and easily get his point even if he is not perfect in his way of saying it.
    There must be just as wide a range of libertarians within their own framework as there are of any other classifications on the socio political continuum.
    Disclosure: I get Chant Cafe in my daily mail and may not be so angry as Mr Bonchamps because I already like what I read of Jeffrey Tucker.

  • “What does Pussy Riot have to do with any of this???”

    People who screw frozen chickens in public are the real brutalists. That’s kinda the point of the whole thing. Sorry you didn’t get that.

  • “The term “unfairly” is key. In the bigot’s case, the hate or refusal to accept a person or group does not follow logically from rationally sound premises.”

    The whole reason we need to use the language of rights and invoke rights to begin with is because there are ALWAYS going to be different understandings of what is logical, rational, etc. even IF – as I believe – that there is, objectively, a true position. If we know our position is true and our enemies equally believe it to be false, and no argument can persuade them otherwise, then we can ONLY appeal to rights as we defend ourselves in the court of law and public opinion. If you don’t get this, you’ve missed the entire point of classical liberalism altogether.

  • “The whole reason we need to use the language of rights and invoke rights to begin with is because there are ALWAYS going to be different understandings of what is logical, rational, etc. even IF – as I believe – that there is, objectively, a true position.”
    —-
    Of course there will always be people who reject reason and evidence: that’s what allows for the Brutalism. The above quote of yours doesn’t speak to the main issue raised by Tucker. The issue is not whether people will always be logically consistent, it is that we should pursue consistency in our philosophy; that is what defines the Libertarian Humanist. The Libertarian Brutalist is one who is logically inconsistent with the philosophy.
    —-
    Someone who acknowledges the Non Aggression Axiom, and then uses it to demonstrate the soundness of Freedom of Association is logically consistent.

    If that same person then fails to recognize that something like say, being atheist, is also permitted under the Non Aggression Axiom, then they are being logically inconsistent.

    Further, if they go on to say that they wish to establish their society on the principles of Liberty and of Non Aggression, but with the proviso that atheism should not be allowed in this society, then they are also being logically inconsistent.
    ——-
    “If we know our position is true and our enemies equally believe it to be false, and no argument can persuade them otherwise, then we can ONLY appeal to rights as we defend ourselves in the court of law and public opinion. If you don’t get this, you’ve missed the entire point of classical liberalism altogether.”</b"

    —–
    Well the entire idea with classical liberalism was that human beings could discover objective truth.

    Just because an enemy of the truth chooses to claim that no such thing exists, that doesn't make it so, it just means those of us who embrace liberalism have to strive that much harder to make the positions unassailable, hence the Humanism.
    ——
    For example, people in the Liberty camp are going to maintain that property rights are self evident and objectively valid, based on the first self evident truth that we exist, and we are self owners of our bodies. From there you get the Lockean property rights, which I am sure you are familiar with.

    Now, a Marxist may come along and claim that private property is merely an "invention" or "institution."
    ——
    Based on the Marxist's assertion, do we then just scrap the whole idea of the self evident, objective validity of self ownership? No, we demonstrate to him how he is being logically inconsistent. We might do this via something like Hans Hoppe's Argumentation Ethic.

    In the face of inconsistency in logic, and of subjectivity in ethics, we as libertarians strive to make our own arguments ever more logically consistent and objectively irrefutable with evidence, we don’t just give up and say “well, I guess some people don’t acknowledge objective truth, and they use subjective fiat, so we will start being subjective as well.”

  • “People who screw frozen chickens in public are the real brutalists. That’s kinda the point of the whole thing. Sorry you didn’t get that.”
    —–
    I wasn’t aware that Pussy riot was screwing chickens in public. To my knowledge, they were singing some harsh lyrics that condemned the Putin regime, nothing more.
    ——
    Even if they were screwing frozen chickens, this might be off putting to some people, but the problem is not with the action, it’s with the space where the action is taking place.
    ——
    Since they were in a “public” space (open square and national heritage church, i.e. public property), this means that no one passerby or group of passersby have the legal right to tell them to stop what they are doing, unless of course a “public law” is passed.

    —–

    The solution to stopping behaviors being performed in public that people do not wish to see is to privatize property, and to get rid of the artificial distinction between public and private law. Also, to adopt actual Law, as opposed to Legislation.

  • “The truth here, and it is almost unbelievable that Tucker misses it, is that his description of brutalism applies a thousand times more to the libertine left than it does to the traditionalist right. Gay pride parades, “slut walks“, tampon earrings, kiss-ins, public fornication with frozen poultry – the list could go on indefinitely – this is anti-social behavior, this is the ignoring of “civic standards of public engagement”, this is the exercise of “the right to be uncivilized, to be rude and crude” in the name of personal liberty.

    I would agree with you completely that most all of that behavior is rude and crude.
    ——
    Where I have to disagree with you is in your argument that this somehow refutes Tucker.

    ——
    Tucker never said those types of things are what we want to promote. He never said that you have to like them, and he never said that you don’t have the right to be left alone.

    —–
    What he did articulate was that we shouldn’t be forming “homogeneous tribes” and citing Freedom of Association with the ulterior motive of expounding hate on others who are not doing anything to us.

    In a lot ways, you are going after a strawman with this article.
    ——-
    Tucker’s piece isn’t about telling you what you must and must not approve of as social norms; it’s about reminding us that we should strive for logically consistent ethics and that we should use Liberty to allow us to act to our highest aspirations, not our base impulses. In that sense, I think he would agree with you that something like a public orgy or whatever is socially disruptive and profane.

    ——-
    To me, the idea of Libertarian Humanism is basically the Golden Rule: do unto others, Love thy Neighbor, and so forth.
    —–
    Saying “go forth and sin no more” is a lot different than saying “we need to kill the fuckers.”

  • Jack wrote, “the first self evident truth that we exist, and we are self owners of our bodies.”

    Is self-ownership of our bodies really self-evident?

    Dominus membrorum suorum nemo videtur: No one is to be regarded as the owner of his own limbs, says Ulpian in D.9.2.13. pr.

    To the Roman jurists and the later Civilians, the notion that the body of a free man could be owned seemed absurd, for only things in commerce can be owned. There is the further problem that the relationship between the individual and his body is rather one of identity than control.

    Modern civil codes reflect this. Thus, the French Civil Code provides in Article 16 “The human body, its elements and its products may not form the subject of a patrimonial right,” and “Agreements that have the effect of bestowing a patrimonial value to the human body, its elements or products are void”

  • The people in the picture above are in a church. The church is the only place they can, but ought not do that. In our Preamble to our Constitution the purpose is written: “to secure the Blessings of Liberty”, the “Blessings of Liberty” are one concept, not “Blessings” and “Liberty” but the “Blessings of Liberty”. Is there a difference of desecration of a church from the right or from the left?

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Thus, the French Civil Code provides in Article 16 “The human body, its elements and its products may not form the subject of a patrimonial right,” and “Agreements that have the effect of bestowing a patrimonial value to the human body, its elements or products are void”
    .
    Abraham Lincoln: “One person cannot own another person.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “Thus, the French Civil Code provides in Article 16 “The human body, its elements and its products may not form the subject of a patrimonial right,” and “Agreements that have the effect of bestowing a patrimonial value to the human body, its elements or products are void” .
    .
    Compare that with Roe v. Wade.

  • The Libertarian Brutalist is one who is logically inconsistent with the philosophy.

    You keep evading the problem. “Libertarian brutalist” is not a term that defines a coherent concept.

  • Since they were in a “public” space (open square and national heritage church, i.e. public property), this means that no one passerby or group of passersby have the legal right to tell them to stop what they are doing, unless of course a “public law” is passed.

    The land tenure regime really makes scarcely a whit if difference, most particularly in loci with a long history of state seizure of property.

  • “The solution to stopping behaviors being performed in public that people do not wish to see is to privatize property, and to get rid of the artificial distinction between public and private law.”

    Another solution is to arrest and prosecute the offenders for a breach of the peace. Insulting language, accompanied by protracted annoyance is a breach of the peace. Again, in one old case, where a person repeatedly and wilfully left a church in a noisy manner during service, thereby annoying and disturbing the minister and congregation, a verdict finding him guilty of breach of the peace, but negativing malice, was sustained.

  • Somebody help me out here. Jack and Bonchamps have me confused. Which one is Michael Novak and which one is Pat Buchanan?
    .
    And does anybody have an exit strategy in the event that the brutes suck us into a quagmire?

  • Ernst Schreiber,

    I would suggest a ‘surge’ of engagement.

  • I am SO Pat Buchanan. I only disagree with him on free trade. I’m for it; he isn’t.

  • Jack,
    I do not claim that my utter disappointment with Tucker’s priorities refutes his arguments. His contradictions do that.

  • More for Jack:

    “Someone who acknowledges the Non Aggression Axiom, and then uses it to demonstrate the soundness of Freedom of Association is logically consistent. If that same person then fails to recognize that something like say, being atheist, is also permitted under the Non Aggression Axiom, then they are being logically inconsistent. Further, if they go on to say that they wish to establish their society on the principles of Liberty and of Non Aggression, but with the proviso that atheism should not be allowed in this society, then they are also being logically inconsistent.”

    The problem with this whole statement is that not even Tucker claims to be addressing people who inconsistent in this way. His fundamentalism example clearly establishes that the people are in this community VOL-UN-TAR-IL-Y. It means they are free to enter and exit of their own free will, and to submit to the rules of the community once they have FREELY chosen to enter it. This has to be the third time I’ve pointed this out to you. Read the paragraph again. I quoted it in this very blog post! Tucker is attacking voluntary societies. He is acknowledging their right to exist but deriding them for existing, and making it rather clear – to me anyway – that he wouldn’t do anything to help them continue existing.
    .
    “Well the entire idea with classical liberalism was that human beings could discover objective truth.”
    .
    No. You’re completely wrong. That idea had existed for centuries before classical liberalism, the pagan philosophers and Christian scholastics all believed in objective truth. Read Thomas Aquinas sometime. Classical liberalism challenges the idea that objective truths, beyond a few basic axioms required for a peaceful society, can ever be dictated by the state, precisely BECAUSE people who are convinced that they have the truth will justify anything and everything they do to those who they cannot convince. Classical liberalism is about asserting the individual’s right to dissent; individuals also have the right to associate, to from communities, to establish laws and norms of conduct. As long as people are FREE TO LEAVE a community, it does NOT violate the NAP. Tucker’s hypothetical fundamentalist town, he says in his own words, IS a voluntary community. It’s just one that he doesn’t want to defend beyond a cursory mentioning of natural rights, one that he would clearly only defend with reluctance. Only we “brutalists” will be on “the front line” of defense. Read it again. Read it until you get it.

  • “The problem with this whole statement is that not even Tucker claims to be addressing people who inconsistent in this way. His fundamentalism example clearly establishes that the people are in this community VOL-UN-TAR-IL-Y. It means they are free to enter and exit of their own free will, and to submit to the rules of the community once they have FREELY chosen to enter it. This has to be the third time I’ve pointed this out to you.”

    I’m well aware of this. Have you seen how many times I have used the term Freedom of Association in the posts?
    ——–
    “Tucker is attacking voluntary societies. He is acknowledging their right to exist but deriding them for existing…”
    —–
    No, that is just simply not correct. He is deriding those societies which exist based upon principles of intolerance. He is not saying that they do not have the right to be intolerant: he is bemoaning that they are intolerant to begin with. It really is that simple. The Humanist is the one who wishes to abandon the intolerance that is based upon logically inconsistent “proofs,” and/or appeals to emotion, and the Brutalist is one who embraces, relishes and perpetuates this type of intolerance.
    ——
    “No. You’re completely wrong. That idea had existed for centuries before classical liberalism, the pagan philosophers and Christian scholastics all believed in objective truth. Read Thomas Aquinas sometime.”
    ——–
    Where did I say that Classical Liberalism was the origin point for objective philosophy? I merely said that that was the ideal behind Classical Liberalism, not that they created the ideal. You are going after more strawmen.
    ——-
    “As long as people are FREE TO LEAVE a community, it does NOT violate the NAP. Tucker’s hypothetical fundamentalist town, he says in his own words, IS a voluntary community. It’s just one that he doesn’t want to defend beyond a cursory mentioning of natural rights, one that he would clearly only defend with reluctance. Only we “brutalists” will be on “the front line” of defense.</b"
    ——–
    Of course this doesn't violate NAP; who said otherwise? Again, I will say that all Tucker is doing is saying that just because you have the right to be intolerant of certain behaviors doesn't follow logically from any proof that these behaviors are themselves contrary to individual Liberty. Again, let me be clear:
    Tucker is simply bemoaning the existence of intolerance based upon logically inconsistent application of the philosophy of individual Liberty, which he describes as Brutalism.
    ——-
    To put it another way, the whole thesis of Tucker’s essay is: Why do you value individual Liberty? Is it because it gives you and your group the ability to hate, accost and be inconsistently intolerant to your hearts’ content; or is it because you see in Liberty the possibility of everyone’s opportunity for peaceful and civil development to be enlarged? If the former, you are a “Brutalist.” If the later, you are a “Humanist.”

  • Art Deco:

    “The Libertarian Brutalist is one who is logically inconsistent with the philosophy.


    You keep evading the problem. “Libertarian brutalist” is not a term that defines a coherent concept.”

    The sentence of mine that you just quoted did define the concept. So let me get this straight…you post a quote of mine where I am defining the concept, then right beneath it tell me the quote is invalidated because no one has defined the concept.
    ——-
    If this is the type of reasoning you guys employ, I think I have done all the work I can do here.
    ——
    In the end, I don’t need to convince you, and you don’t need to convince me. I think both sides have said pretty much everything that can be said, and we are starting to go in circles. We just have to wait for others to come by and read the articles, read the comments, and then see what they decide makes the most sense. So, may the best arguments win.

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    “The people in the picture above are in a church. The church is the only place they can, but ought not do that. In our Preamble to our Constitution the purpose is written: “to secure the Blessings of Liberty”, the “Blessings of Liberty” are one concept, not “Blessings” and “Liberty” but the “Blessings of Liberty”. Is there a difference of desecration of a church from the right or from the left?”

    The reason the Pussy Riot incident is troublesome, legally speaking, is because that church was not just any old Orthodox church.
    ——
    It was in a public square and listed as the Russian equivalent of a “national heritage site.” It was totally open to the public: people routinely stream through there and take pictures. They also routinely set up music or play instruments.
    —–
    Pussy Riot got into hot water with the authorities not because they played music at the site, which other groups had done, but because of the nature of their music.

  • Micahel Patterson-Seymour:
    —-
    “Is self-ownership of our bodies really self-evident?”
    —-
    If you do not own your own body, then who does? If you are not privy to your own thoughts, then who is?
    ——
    Like I said, I am growing weary of this blog. It’s one thing to debate the points of Tucker’s essay, or to work together for explanation of nuances. But it is getting a little ludicrous around here now.

  • Jack,
    .
    No one is asking you to stay. You seem to have a hard time with voluntarism. If you don’t like posting here, leave.
    .
    “I’m well aware of this.”
    .
    No, I don’t think you are. You keep insisting that these communities are “logically inconsistent” because they violate the NAP. A voluntary community does NOT violate the NAP. If a voluntary community says “we do not allow atheists here”, it is not a violation of the NAP because no one has to stay there.
    .
    “He is not saying that they do not have the right to be intolerant”
    .
    You have some serious reading comprehension problems. I JUST said, and said a million times, that Tucker acknowledges their right to exist as they like. You even quoted me saying it! What’s wrong with you?
    .
    “Where did I say that Classical Liberalism was the origin point for objective philosophy?”
    .
    You said it was the main idea behind classical liberalism. It isn’t. If it were, then classical liberalism would not exist as a distinct philosophy. Classical liberalism SHARES a belief in objective reality with Christianity. It’s main idea, it’s main contribution, or at least one of them, is that objective reality should not be dictated by the state, but rather left to individuals and communities to discover and proclaim on their own.
    .
    Of course this doesn’t violate NAP; who said otherwise?
    .
    You, repeatedly.
    .
    This is you: “If that same person then fails to recognize that something like say, being atheist, is also permitted under the Non Aggression Axiom, then they are being logically inconsistent.”
    .
    A voluntary community, by DEFINITION, recognizes that atheism is permitted under the NAP, because it recognizes that anyone is free to leave their community and be an atheist somewhere else. So when you set up these strawmen communities that supposedly don’t recognize the NAP, you’re not even talking about the kind of community that Tucker was criticizing. All that is required for a community to acknowledge the NAP is voluntary exit. That’s it. They don’t have to allow or permit anything else.

  • I am SO Pat Buchanan. I only disagree with him on free trade. I’m for it; he isn’t.

    So you’re position then is let the brutes be as brutal to each other as they want, so long as they aren’t brutal to us, correct?

    And does that make Jack Michael Novak?

  • If you do not own your own body, then who does?

    I’m not a lawyer, Jack, so the term I’m looking for doesn’t come immediately to mind, but I think the point was that we don’t own ourselves free and clear, so to speak. Meaning that we can’t do whatever we want, however much we want, with/to our bodies whenever the fancy takes us.

    My wife has claims on me* My children have claims on me. My parents and siblings have claims on me.

    *In Antipodosis Bishop Luitprand of Cremona has a great anecdote illustrating this point: Some feudal magnate or another has won a battle and intends to castrate the survivors prior to selling them into slavery. One fortunate captive’s wife show up on the scene to tell the magnate he doesn’t have the right to castrate her husband because his testicles belong to her. She means it literally rather than in the metaphorical sense we’ve come to associate with the “the ol’ ball-n-chain” –to substitute one euphemism for another.

  • Bonchamps:

    —–
    “A voluntary community, by DEFINITION, recognizes that atheism is permitted under the NAP, because it recognizes that anyone is free to leave their community and be an atheist somewhere else.”
    —–
    Of course. But the question is why not tolerate the atheist in the community? Where does the intolerance come from?

  • Schreiber:
    —–
    “So you’re position then is let the brutes be as brutal to each other as they want, so long as they aren’t brutal to us, correct?

    And does that make Jack Michael Novak?”
    —-
    I think it just makes you someone that shoehorns every viewpoint into that of two individuals. What’s that about?

  • Bonchamps:
    —-
    “No one is asking you to stay. You seem to have a hard time with voluntarism. If you don’t like posting here, leave.”
    ——–
    It’s not that I don’t like posting, it’s that I have a hard time keeping my patience when people deliberately obfuscate, or come up with inane rhetoricals like: ‘But are we really in control of our own bodies?’ I get the impression that few people on this blog are actually interested in expanding their thinking about this issue.
    ———-
    Oh well. Maybe I’ll write Tucker’s thoughts in a book, bury it in the sand and 650 years later everyone will not only say he was right, but if you don’t agree with my testament, then you are going to burn for it. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

  • Bonchamps:
    —-
    “You keep insisting that these communities are “logically inconsistent” because they violate the NAP. A voluntary community does NOT violate the NAP. If a voluntary community says “we do not allow atheists here”, it is not a violation of the NAP because no one has to stay there.”
    —–

    I totally agree. As does Tucker. What he and I are saying is that intolerance of atheists can’t be based on any logical proof that cites the NAP, because just being an atheist does not, in fact, violate the NAP. The intolerance would have to be based on something else, subjectively derived: like, “my minister said atheists are of the devil, so I don’t talk to them.”
    ——–
    It’s the rationale behind the exclusion I’m concerned with, not the exclusion itself. Is the rationale of the intolerance logically consistent with Liberalism or not? That question is irrespective of if the right to exclude is consistent with Liberalism (which it is, as you keep highlighting).
    —–
    “You said it [objective knowledge] was the main idea behind classical liberalism. It isn’t. If it were, then classical liberalism would not exist as a distinct philosophy. Classical liberalism SHARES a belief in objective reality with Christianity. It’s main idea, it’s main contribution, or at least one of them, is that objective reality should not be dictated by the state, but rather left to individuals and communities to discover and proclaim on their own.”
    —–
    Ok, two things. First, the reason the classical liberals were concerned with any state authority dictating what did and did not constitute knowledge was because this replaced objective knowledge, or the subjective views of the populace, with the subjective dictate of the ruler. Hence Liberty of Conscience, Freedom of Association and all that. So we should be in agreement here.
    —-
    Second, Christianity is not an exponent of “objective reality.” It’s a system of *faith*. People choose to put their faith into a revelation made to them through the scriptures of a testament. This is not objective, self-evidence. It’s subjective choice. You choose to be a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Hindu or none of them. No one can logically prove to you that Mohammed’s revelation is reality, or that Jesus walked on water. You take these things on faith.
    ——-
    I feel that Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, Part One does a better job than I’ll ever be able to do in expounding on this. So I’ll stop there.

  • Bonchamps:
    ——
    “Classical liberalism SHARES a belief in objective reality with Christianity.”
    —–

    What about Genesis? If Christians are after objective knowledge, why is the Fall of Man about disobeying a directive from a higher entity and ‘eating of the fruit of knowledge’? Why were Man and Woman in grace when they followed orders and were ignorant, and then fell into sin when they sought knowledge?
    ——-

  • What’s that about?

    Thank you for asking Jack. It’s about trying to understand what you two are arguing over by way of using the neo-con vs. paleo-con arguments on the Iraq war as an analogy. Because it seems to me that you’re both deep in the weeds over who the “real” libertarians are. Or who the real brutalists are. It’s all very subjective.

  • I’m willing to come at it from the other end, too. For example:

    Resolved, that Captain James T. Kirk is the paragon of the ideal of a humanitarian libertarianism.

    I’ll leave it to you two to decide who’s arguing in the affirmative and who’s arguing in the negative.

  • “Second, Christianity is not an exponent of “objective reality.””

    Yes. It. Is. Catholic Christianity is, for certain. Again, familiarize yourself with Thomas Aquinas. It is a central tenant of Christian philosophy that there is an objective reality independent of the human mind, and that this reality can be understood through the use of reason.

  • It seems to me that any American community which has gay pride parades also have laws against public nudity, so to me, if people are not arrested and made to answer to that statute, it is the authorities who have failed society. I think it is the police bowing to the majority at the parade, while the true majority (not in attendance) are not being served as is their right. Also, I’m pretty sure Jeff Tucker has never advocated public nudity in any circumstances! His sense of style, if nothing else, would preclude it!

  • If Christians are after objective knowledge, why is the Fall of Man about disobeying a directive from a higher entity and ‘eating of the fruit of knowledge’? Why were Man and Woman in grace when they followed orders and were ignorant, and then fell into sin when they sought knowledge?

    Umm that might have something to do with the fact that the objective knowledge they sought in eating the fruit was the objective knowledge of good and evil.

    To say nothing of the fact that did so as to be as gods.

  • Ed,
    .
    “Also, I’m pretty sure Jeff Tucker has never advocated public nudity in any circumstances!”
    .
    I’m pretty sure I never said he did. I just think that those who do march around nude are better representatives of “brutalism” than the traditionalists and reactionaries that Tucker maligned repeatedly in his piece.

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “A voluntary community, by DEFINITION, recognizes that atheism is permitted under the NAP, because it recognizes that anyone is free to leave their community and be an atheist somewhere else.”
    —–
    Of course. But the question is why not tolerate the atheist in the community? Where does the intolerance come from?

    .
    Because the atheist is a brute?

  • Schreiber:

    —-
    “Because the atheist is a brute?”

    —–
    How?

  • Schreiber:
    ——
    “Umm that might have something to do with the fact that the objective knowledge they sought in eating the fruit was the objective knowledge of good and evil.

    To say nothing of the fact that did so as to be as gods.”

    This doesn’t address my question.

    You still have failed to show how Original Sin consisting in disobeying a directive, out of yearning for knowledge, and the partaking of knowledge, somehow demonstrates fidelity to a search for objective knowledge.
    ———
    The bottom line is that Genesis demonstrates the primacy of subjectivism in the scripture: a subjective dictate to not eat of the fruit of knowledge that is subjectively determined to be good or evil by a party aside from the one seeking the knowledge.

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “Yes. It. Is. Catholic Christianity is, for certain. Again, familiarize yourself with Thomas Aquinas. It is a central tenant of Christian philosophy that there is an objective reality independent of the human mind, and that this reality can be understood through the use of reason.”

    ———
    Do you honestly think I haven’t read Acquinas? It’s because I have that I make the argument that I do.
    ——
    Christianity is not Acquinas. Acquinas is Acquinas.
    —–
    When you go into a Roman church, you aren’t being asked to take sacrament on Acquinas or his words. So you still haven’t addressed my original point concerning faith vs. objective knowledge:
    ——
    Christianity is not an exponent of “objective reality.” It’s a system of *faith*. People choose to put their faith into a revelation made to them through the scriptures of a testament. This is not objective, self-evidence. It’s subjective choice. You choose to be a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Hindu or none of them. No one can logically prove to you that Mohammed’s revelation is reality, or that Jesus walked on water. You take these things on faith.

  • Jack, you’ve spun your wheels to the tune of 3,600 words.

  • Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    .
    “the right of the people…to peaceably to assemble…”
    .
    “Free association” is not, I repeat, is not peaceable assembly. The peoples’ constitutional right to peaceable assembly does not allow indecent behavior or nakedness or any behavior that would distress an innocent child who has not reached the age of reason expected at seven years and informed consent at the age of emancipation, when the person is capable of caring for himself and defending himself against the brutality and rapaciousness enjoyed and the scandal given by law breakers.
    .

    The Church in the photo above was subsumed into the state as a museum. The church can never be made into public property because as a church, the church is public property. The church belongs to the parishioners and is held in trust for all future generations…held in trust for all future generations, our constitutional posterity. So, it is: In God We Trust.
    .
    God is our objective truth.
    .
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” …from the Declaration of Independence.
    .
    Only an infinite God, The Supreme Sovereign Being can and does endow unalienable rights. Rights that never end are unalienable because they are rights that belong to an infinite God, bestowed on an immortal human soul by “our Creator.” These unalienable human rights are endowed into man’s immortal soul for all eternity. The person’s sovereignty, personhood, identity; the person’s being, once brought into existence, exists forever, for eternity.
    .
    “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
    .
    “Rights that the state gives the state can take away”…Thomas Jefferson
    .
    The state is finite, constituted by “the consent of the governed”. Any rights the state may endow are finite even if they are the most just and most generous. The rights the state gives are finite. They will end. “…deriving the just powers…” not unjust powers, not tyranny, nor totalitarianism, nor communism, nor fascism, nor brutalism, nor license outside of morality, decency or truth.
    .
    The human being is composed of human body and rational, immortal human soul. The atheist, embracing atheism, denies “our Creator”, denies our rational, immortal human soul, and the truth about our unalienable human rights endowed by God. What is secular and human is of God. Without God there is only what the atheist chooses to relinquish to another person who is a citizen.
    .
    Atheism is unconstitutional for the reason of denying constitutional rights to all men.
    .
    Freedom of Religion must remain absolute for the time when the atheist must change his mind and accept God, for the time when the atheist has a relationship with God in the sacrifice of praise and worship in speech, press and peaceable assembly.
    .
    These are America’s founding principles in Truth and Justice. If anyone wishes to deny these, our founding principles to another person, that individual forfeits his own civil rights.
    .
    The human being is an individual substance of a rational nature, of the species Homo Sapiens. Existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. All persons are created in moral and legal innocence and virginity. It is the duty of the state “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our (constitutional) posterity”, to protect and provide for the innocent and deliver JUSTICE.

  • “Jesus walked on water”.Matthew, Mark, Luke and John gave first hand testimony to the life and works of Jesus Christ and all of the books written cannot hold this testimony.

  • How is the atheist a brute? When the aetheist doesn’t reciprocate the tolerance he demands, instead prefering to insist that the rest of the community tolerate his intolerance for their beliefs,* he’s acting brutishly, is he not?
    .
    *do I really need to list any of the examples everybody ought already know?

  • And you’re right, I misunderstood your question about Genesis. Thanks for expounding. But I fail to see how your objective knowledge/faith-based subjective knowledge distinction is determinative of anything.
    .
    After all, saying a truth is self-evident is just another way of saying everybody should have the same faith in it that you do; whether that self evident truth is that all men are created equal, or that if I should step out of a window on the 20th floor I’ll fall at an accelerating velocity of 32ft per second per second until I reach terminal velocity*.
    .
    *whatever that is –memory of high school physics fails.

  • Jack referred to “inane rhetoricals like: ‘But are we really in control of our own bodies?’”

    Nevertheless, the principle that we do not is embedded in the legal system that governs most of Europe, Central and South America and that has been adopted in cultures as diverse as South Africa, Turkey and Japan.

    I find it difficult airily to dismiss two thousand years of civilised jurisprudence and its underlying ethical principles as “inane rhetoric.”

    Do you really support the proposition that the law should recognise and enforce contracts for the sale and purchase of human gametes, children conceived under contract with a view to their abandonment by their mother or kidneys for transplantation? That creditors should be able to seize and sell a debtor’s remains to the anatomists in satisfaction of a debt? That potential conscripts may mutilate themselves to evade military service? In short, that concepts of ownership applicable to articles of commerce can be applied to free persons?

  • Bonchamps wrote, “people who are convinced that they have the truth will justify anything and everything they do to those who they cannot convince.”

    Jacques Maritain refuted this fallacy, which he rightly declared a barbarous and erroneous assumption: “If it were true that whoever knows or claims to know truth or justice cannot admit the possibility of a view different from his own, and is bound to impose his true view on other people by violence, the rational animal would be the most dangerous of beasts. In reality it is through rational means, that is, through persuasion, not through coercion, that the rational animal is bound by his very nature to try to induce his fellow man to share in what it knows or claims to know as true or just. And the metaphysician, because he trusts human reason; and the believer, because he trusts divine grace, and knows that “a forced faith is a hypocrisy hateful to God and man”, as Cardinal Manning put it, do not use holy war to make their “eternal truth” accessible to other people, they appeal to the inner freedom of other people by offering them either their demonstrations or the testimony of their love. And we do not call upon the people to decide because we are aware of our ignorance of what is the good, but because we know this truth, and this good, that the people have a right to self-government.”

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    “Atheism is unconstitutional for the reason of denying constitutional rights to all men.”
    ——
    That would be valid for a an atheist who seeks to impose atheism by force upon others, or presumes to tell others that they cannot be theists. But for the atheist that adheres to the NAP, it is not valid. The atheist in accord with NAP is not violating anyone’s rights.
    —-
    “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • Ernest Schreiber:

    “And you’re right, I misunderstood your question about Genesis. Thanks for expounding. But I fail to see how your objective knowledge/faith-based subjective knowledge distinction is determinative of anything.”
    —–
    You’re very welcome. Thanks for staying civil about this.
    ——
    I am not attempting to be determinative about anything. I was replying to Bonchamps assertion that Christian philosophy is in alignment with the philosophy of objective truth.
    —–
    All I am highlighting is that ANY system of faith, Christian or otherwise, is just that, “a system of FAITH.” Whenever faith is arrived at through the testaments of others, then, as Paine put it, you are essentially putting your faith in hearsay. This is subjective by definition. I am not determining to say anymore or less than that about it. I am just asking people like Bonchamps to not confuse subjective beliefs with objective knowledge.

  • Ernest Schreiber:
    —-
    “How is the atheist a brute? When the aetheist doesn’t reciprocate the tolerance he demands, instead prefering to insist that the rest of the community tolerate his intolerance for their beliefs,* he’s acting brutishly, is he not?”
    ——
    Well, if the atheist attempts to force other people to give up their theism, or he is intolerant of theists, I am in complete agreement with you.
    —-
    But, I am talking about an atheist who is not intolerant. I am asking: why not extend tolerance to an atheist who is himself tolerant?

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    “God is our objective truth.”

    I personally agree with you. I feel that the evidence is sufficient to prove as irrefutable that there is a higher power, Supreme Being, First Cause or whatever you want to call it behind the origins of the universe. I also believe that insofar as this entity lays behind time before time, matter before matter, i.e. beyond the realm of knowledge into the unknowable realm of pre-Big Bang, then it would be correct to call this entity our Creator or the Architect of all that is.
    —–
    All I am concerned about is trying to build a society here on earth where our fellow men and women do not abuse or shun those who choose to not recognize such a Creator, or to do so in their own way, which may lay at odds with our own divergent interpretations. Tolerance must surely be in accord with the laws of the universe, and of the Creator.

  • Art Deco:
    —-
    “Jack, you’ve spun your wheels to the tune of 3,600 words.”
    —–
    I am sad you see it that way. I feel that I’ve profited from interacting with the people on this thread. They have required me to see issues from other vantage points, and I have tried to do the same.
    ——

  • “The atheist in accord with NAP is not violating anyone’s rights.”
    .
    Faith is a gift from God. Religion is man’s response to the gift from God. The atheist rejects the gift of faith from God; the atheist rejects God; and God’s gift of man’s immortal soul. In doing so the atheist rejects every man’s immortal soul.
    .
    —- “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” – Thomas Jefferson
    .
    It does violate the minor child’s uninformed conscience to be told by the very existence of the atheist that he has no immortal soul, no unalienable human rights, no God given love and adoption by God as a child of God.
    .
    What is more brutal than not being prayed for by people who choose to not pray for one?
    Thomas Jefferson lived in a culture of freedom. With the ACLU, atheism has become the cultural norm.

  • Jack: You agree with everybody as long as your atheist is more equal then the rest of the atheists. Sorry Jack, the atheist is not better or above any other sovereign person created by our Creator, simply by virtue of his choice of atheism.

  • “Do you honestly think I haven’t read Acquinas?”
    .
    Since you can’t even seem to spell “Aquinas”, yeah, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what you’re talking about here.
    .
    “No one can logically prove to you that Mohammed’s revelation is reality, or that Jesus walked on water.”
    .
    That doesn’t mean that Christianity rejects objective reality. It asks to have faith that certain things which cannot be proven empirically are in fact true – objectively true, not just subjectively true. Everything we believe to be true is a choice, even if it meets standards of proof you consider reliable. No one has to do anything. We are all free. But Christianity holds that there is a reality that exists independent of the human mind – objective reality. That is a fact.

    Your argument is completely wrong. Just about everything you’ve argued, stated, written, claimed, etc. has been completely wrong.

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “Since you can’t even seem to spell “Aquinas”, yeah, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what you’re talking about here.”
    —-

    If a slip of the keyboard is all you’ve got on my argument, I am sorry, I think that means you lose by default.
    ——
    If I said your argument was inane, or inaine….does it really matter?

  • Mary de Voe:
    —–
    “Sorry Jack, the atheist is not better or above any other sovereign person created by our Creator, simply by virtue of his choice of atheism.”
    —–
    How on earth did you get that out of my argument?

  • Mary de Voe:
    —–
    “It does violate the minor child’s uninformed conscience to be told by the very existence of the atheist that he has no immortal soul, no unalienable human rights, no God given love and adoption by God as a child of God.”
    ——
    Yes. That is why I asked why the atheist who is in accord with the NAP cannot be tolerated. I am not talking about an atheist who is busting into people’s houses sermonizing.
    —–
    In the same way, hopefully the theists won’t go door to door shoving their faith in other people’s faces.

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “But Christianity holds that there is a reality that exists independent of the human mind – objective reality. That is a fact.”
    —-
    Holding that there is an objective reality is a fact for everyone who is not schizophrenic. So this doesn’t establish anything.
    —–
    Objective Philosophy and Objective Truth are different from accepting objective reality.
    —–
    I can hold that there is an objective reality, and even say I know the objective truth…but if that truth is *arrived at subjectively*, then I am ascribed to subjective truth, not objective.
    ——-
    If a sandwich is sitting on a plate on a table, you and I are both going to recognize that the plate, table and sandwich exists. We are both going to say that we live in an objective reality. Lets assume that neither of us has eaten of the sandwich yet, and cannot see from where we stand what lays between the bread.
    ——
    If you say that the sandwhich is baloney and cheese, because your friend told you yesterday that the sandwich you will find on you table the next day is going to be baloney and cheese, because it came to him in a dream he had had the night before, then you go on to tell me: “I know what’s in it: baloney and cheese.” You are imparting subjective knowledge to me.

    —–
    If I say, “that’s subjective, lets taste it,” I’m after the objective truth of the matter. If I eat of it, and find it’s actually PB&J, we are going to have a disconnect.

  • Bonchamps”
    —-
    “Since you can’t even seem to spell “Aquinas”, yeah, I’m pretty sure you don’t know what you’re talking about here.”
    —–
    As an aside on this, you would know if you had looked at various texts that uniformity wasn’t exactly the order of the day in the middle ages. There is a lot of difference between Germano-Latin and Frankish-Latin, for example. Sometimes the same author would spell a term three different ways in one book, e.g. Ceasare Cesare and Ceasar.
    ——

  • “a slip of the keyboard”
    .
    You did it three times. It just undermines your credibility, that’s all.
    .
    “Holding that there is an objective reality is a fact for everyone who is not schizophrenic.”
    .
    Well, again, you’re wrong. It isn’t a given in philosophy that there is a mind-independent reality, or that it is knowable through the use of reason. These are distinct positions that Christianity takes up, especially in the Middle Ages. It forms the philosophical foundation for the scientific revolution.

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “You did it three times. It just undermines your credibility, that’s all.”
    —-
    It’s called misspelling: it happens, especially in English. Like I said, depending on where you are getting your Latin from, you are going to see various spellings, particularly with proper nouns. How’s “Aquino” work for you? But again, the only one who is undermining their credibility is you: if that is what you have to resort to, i.e. spelling errors, to demonstrate that someone’s argument is not consistent, then you might as well forget about it.
    ——-
    The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, http://www.deism.com/images/theageofreason1794.pdf

  • Bonchamps:
    —–
    “Well, again, you’re wrong. It isn’t a given in philosophy that there is a mind-independent reality, or that it is knowable through the use of reason. These are distinct positions that Christianity takes up, especially in the Middle Ages. It forms the philosophical foundation for the scientific revolution.”
    ——
    “Christianity” can’t “take up” any questions: because it is an inanimate ideology. *Christians* can philosophize, “Christianity” cannot do it. Christianity is not personified.
    —-
    Unless, you are now telling me that any time a professed Christian wrote or spoke, then “Christianity” was also writing or speaking. If that is what you mean, have you adopted collectivism now as well? I can’t believe I am even having to explain this, honestly.
    ——-
    “It forms the philosophical foundation for the scientific revolution.”
    ——-
    It was a significant portion of the cultural fabric at the time; a part of the social condition within which science reemerged from the Dark Age. So what? I could say that Islam was the ‘philosophical foundation for the scientific revolution’ of Eurasia (and actually, Muslim scholars were engaging in scientific inquiry and advanced mathematics long before anyone in Christendom): this statement contributes nothing, it refutes nothing, it advances nothing.
    —–
    Having said that, please explain to me how men were threatened with execution for splitting light in a prism, and suggesting that rainbows were formed from the refraction of light. How did this type of environment come about? Does putting a man to death for demonstrating how rainbows form part of the “foundation” that allowed for objective knowledge?
    ——
    And so long as we are talking of St. Aquino, what about his consultation of Aristotle? The thing that set Tomas Equinos apart was his use of the Aristotilean method. Aristotileanism is not Christian, seeing as how it predates the religion by about 350 years.

  • A man is endowed with sovereign personhood by the Supreme Sovereign Being at the creation of his rational, immortal human soul and the conception of his human body. Atheism denies the Supreme Sovereign Being and man’s sovereign personhood. God is three Persons in the Blessed Trinity. Man’s existence is proof of God’s existence. The atheist bears witness to a lie. The atheist is tolerated. The atheist’s lie is prosecuted.
    .
    Pornography is a lie about the human being. The pornographer is tolerated. The pornographer’s lie is prosecuted.
    .
    Abortion is a lie about the existence of man’s rational, immortal human soul and his sovereign personhood. Abortion must be prosecuted.
    .
    Every lie must be prosecuted. Only the truth has freedom.

  • Mary de Voe:
    ——
    “A man is endowed with sovereign personhood by the Supreme Sovereign Being at the creation of his rational, immortal human soul and the conception of his human body.”
    ——
    Couldn’t agree more. The idea with liberalism, Libertarian “Humanism” or whatever you wish to call it is to use that rational part of the soul you speak of to its’ fullest.
    ——-
    “The atheist is tolerated. The atheist’s lie is prosecuted.”
    ——–
    So long as by “prosectued” you mean within the realm of discourse, non-violent persuasion, even condmenation, that’s all well and good. No problem with the NAP. But running the athiest out of town on a rail is something else. The Humanist simply asks that we observe the same codes of treatment we would wish on ourselves. I.e., I don’t want atheists running me out of the community on a rail, so I am not about to do it to them. Likewise, if I live in a fundamentalist community, and I am a fundamentalist, but my son decides he is going to be an atheist, I would hope that the Community Leaders aren’t going to tell both of us that he has to leave. So long as he remains civil and observes the laws of the community, why should he not be tolerated, and be allowed to habitate there?
    ——

  • “Couldn’t agree more. The idea with liberalism, Libertarian “Humanism” or whatever you wish to call it is to use that rational part of the soul you speak of to its’ fullest.”
    .
    Sorry Jack. Rejecting our Creator, our unalienable rights, our freedom of peaceable association is not using our rational soul to the fullest. It is contrary to reason.
    .
    “But running the athiest out of town on a rail is something else.”
    .
    Sorry Jack. The nation has the power to exile any person who causes a call to treason or riot or denies another person his civil rights. The state has a right to ostracize any person who calls to treason or rejects another person’s God-given unalienable civil rights, for in denying another person his unalienable civil rights, he forfeits his own. See Article One, Section Three of the Constitution. for Bills of Attainder.

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    “Sorry Jack. Rejecting our Creator, our unalienable rights, our freedom of peaceable association is not using our rational soul to the fullest. It is contrary to reason.”
    —–
    Yes. I agree with you. As I’ve said before, the evidence is overwhelming for the existence of a Supreme Being. I think the atheist is guilty of an intellectual hubris and indeed, as you highlight, NOT taking reason to its full conclusions when we examine the nature of the universe. All I’m saying is I’m not going to run the atheist out of town for that. He/she has the liberty to have an atheist mindset, even if they have to deny reason to get there. To reference Jefferson again, the atheist ‘neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg’ by being an atheist. Therefore, I’m going to advocate for tolerance and say he/she should be allowed to stay in the community, even if I think they are off base. Of course, if the atheist starts accosting me, or getting his friends together and saying the theists need to be exiled, then that is another matter.
    ——-
    “Sorry Jack. The nation has the power to exile any person who causes a call to treason or riot or denies another person his civil rights. The state has a right to ostracize any person who calls to treason or rejects another person’s God-given unalienable civil rights.”
    —–
    Well both examples deal in the idea of the collective as the fundamental, not the individual. Personally, I’m an anarchist. I would like to see property rights protected by private firms that people voluntarily contract with. The problem with both the State and the “nation” is that you are born into both as a matter of circumstance. If I am born into a area of the world that practices strict Wahabi Islam, I don’t want to be subjected to their “power to exile” me. Same thing with a nation of atheists, Mormons, Baptists or whatever.
    —–
    Now, as for inalienable rights, the State aggresses against these same rights it claims to protect: right to property, to fruits of your labor, right to refuse service, etc. etc.
    ——
    The U.S. constitutional republic has done a comparatively better job of safeguarding our rights than other States, but I think we could do even better within the context of a Private Law Society aka Free Society. I.e., private firms for defense of life and property, combined with private arbitration firms that utilize a system of polycentric law to settle disputes.
    —–
    Thanks for the constructive dialogue.

  • Jack: You did not address our constitutional posterity and the duty of the state to deliver truth and Justice

  • Mary, I thought I acknowledged our ‘constitutional posterity’ when I wrote how “The U.S. constitutional republic has done a comparatively better job of safeguarding our rights than other States.”
    ——-
    “You did not address…the duty of the state to deliver truth and Justice.”
    ——-
    Well, as a Libertarian, I cannot assent to the idea that any state/government can deliver truth and justice. Human beings can seek the Truth and discover the laws that will approach Justice, but no group of humans should be invested with the power to claim they and they alone will deliver Truth and Justice. That includes a constitutional republic.
    ——–
    Justice is to be arrived at through those who are held to be objective and wise in judgement in light of Law. Truth is for everyone to seek, and the ‘deliverance’ of such to be via the realm of peaceful discourse.
    —–
    But giving authority to a corporate entity like the State to presume what is Justice and Truth is very dangerous. This is a dangerous power that no society has ever been able to cede to anybody without suffering for it in the end. This is because once the State has such power, it does not allow anyone to question, much less challenge it, and the State makes its’ decisions binding on everyone.

  • George Washington’s constitutional posterity are being aborted at 4,200 per day and the taxpayer is paying for their murder.
    .
    “Justice is to be arrived at through those who are held to be objective and wise in judgement in light of Law. ”
    .
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Fransisco Suarez from Aquinas.

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    “George Washington’s constitutional posterity are being aborted at 4,200 per day and the taxpayer is paying for their murder.”
    —–
    yes…that’s why I said: “The U.S. constitutional republic has done a comparatively better job of safeguarding our rights than other States, but I think we could do even better within the context of a Private Law Society aka Free Society.”
    ——-
    “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Fransisco Suarez from Aquinas.”
    ——
    Yes. The foundation for natural law. Was this supposed to run in opposition to something I had said? I think, once again, we are in agreement, even if you do not realize it.

  • What makes you think I ever left 😉

  • “within the context of a Private Law Society aka Free Society.”
    Lenin promised his followers, useful idiots as they were, FREEDOM, that is, before he laughed them out of his office. Free association is not peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly is implemented in the service and sacrifice of praise to God.
    .
    “”Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Fransisco Suarez from Aquinas.” —— Yes. The foundation for natural law. Was this supposed to run in opposition to something I had said? I think, once again, we are in agreement, even if you do not realize it.”

    .
    What I do not realize is an acknowledgement of the human being’s immortal soul as the creation of God and an acknowledgement of The Supreme Sovereign Being. Worshiping natural law instead of natural law’s Creator leaves me with a very hollow ringing in my being.

  • Mary de Voe:
    ——
    “What I do not realize is an acknowledgement of the human being’s immortal soul as the creation of God and an acknowledgement of The Supreme Sovereign Being. Worshiping natural law instead of natural law’s Creator leaves me with a very hollow ringing in my being.”
    ——
    If people actually respected natural law, then the worship of the Creator would never be in jeoporady. It shouldn’t be an either-or scenario.
    —–
    On that note, I am not sure if anyone actually “worships” natural law. Insofar as natural law is not personified, how would anyone worship it? And again, a zealous, fervent respect and observance for natural rights is not going to in any way endanger theism; rather it ensures that true theism can exist and flourish.

  • Mary de Voe:
    —-
    ” Free association is not peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly is implemented in the service and sacrifice of praise to God.”
    ——
    I don’t understand what you mean by this: it could be taken to at least 4 different conclusions.

  • Jack: “On that note, I am not sure if anyone actually “worships” natural law. Insofar as natural law is not personified, how would anyone worship it? And again, a zealous, fervent respect and observance for natural rights is not going to in any way endanger theism; rather it ensures that true theism can exist and flourish.”
    .
    You have confused natural law with natural rights. Natural law is what it is. Natural rights are endowed by our Creator to the sovereign person’s immortal, human soul by virtue of his being in existence as a human being.
    .
    You, Jack, exist. Your existence as a human being is proof that God exists.
    .
    “” Free association is not peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly is implemented in the service and sacrifice of praise to God.”
    .
    The First Amendment is freedom of religion, man’s sacrifice of praise to almighty God which is expressed in thought, (conscience), word (speech) and deed (Press and peaceable assembly) invoking Divine Providence on our nation. (as opposed to mob mentality, inciting to riot, spreading ignorance, perjury, slander, fomenting rebellion, desecration of God and man and property, heresy, their name is legion.)

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Rand Paul: Frontrunner

Monday, March 17, AD 2014

After winning two CPAC polls and a spat with Ted Cruz in recent days, it is arguable that Rand Paul is the current GOP front-runner for the 2016 presidential election. Of course it is absurdly early to really make the call, but many of us have been expecting this trajectory since Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010. Some of us, myself included, have welcomed it.

On the non-negotiable issues for Catholics who even bother to vote in accordance with the natural moral law, Rand Paul is solid. He is 100% pro-life, supports the 10th amendment right of states to determine their own marriage laws, and has declared school choice “the civil rights issue of our day.” (Remember, the right of parents to educate their children as they see fit is a non-negotiable.)

On economics, he has proposed the establishment of free-enterprise zones for cities such as Detroit that have been devastated by decades of bureaucratic mismanagement, union thuggery and bloated government. The “social justice” crowd will never accept human freedom as a means by which the common good can be served, but the rest of us are under no obligation to ignore empirical reality. It is the creation of wealth that lifts masses of people out of poverty, and it is the unleashing of creative human potential from the pretensions of would-be social engineers and demagogues that allows the most wealth to be created and shared.

My only problem with Rand Paul is foreign policy. I imagine that some of my respected co-bloggers also have this problem, though for a much different reason than myself; they may see him as too much like his father, while I am disappointed that he is not overtly enough like him. Yes, I am a Ron Paul non-interventionist (I can’t stop you from calling me an “isolationist” in spite of my preference for free trade, the free flow of information and cultural exchange, but you should know that I’ll think you a moron if you do).

I was proud of Paul, and for the first time, much of the GOP, when it rejected Obama’s ambition to attack the Syrian government and send aid to Al-Qaeda (to switch our enemy from Eastasia to Eurasia). Since the Ukrainan crisis, Paul has been doing his best to straddle the fence and appease the interventionist hardliners as well as the loyal support base his father built up and which he needs to win his campaign for him. I am encouraged, however, that in spite of the obligatory denunciations of Putin that all US  politicians must offer, Paul has spoken of the dire need to protect the world’s persecuted Christians. As Putin has also often spoken of this need, perhaps this could form the basis of peace and cooperation between our nations. Nothing in my view is more dangerous, tragic, stupid and unnecessary than the antagonism currently brewing between the West and Russia over Ukraine – a situation that was deliberately inflamed by Western support and encouragement for the Ukrainian opposition.  Rand Paul will only have my support if he can prove himself to be above this irrational nonsense.

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23 Responses to Rand Paul: Frontrunner

  • The younger Dr. Paul will have by 2017 one term as a legislator under his belt after twenty-odd years as a small practice professional. That is not adequate preparation for an executive position as demanding as the Presidency. Same problem with Sen. Cruz, the latest belle of the ball. Goes double for Sen. Rubio, whose not as sharp as Cruz or Paul and lies brazenly.

  • I like Paul. His biggest campaign liability will be that he appears to have very thin skin.

  • Bonchamps,

    Blaming the West for the Ukrainian opposition to Yanukovich is ridiculous. Yanukovich was a criminal and a crook and Putin’s semi-puppet.

    I know something about this part of the world and Russia is not a nation to be trusted. Lest you think that I advocate sending the US Army into Ukraine to drive out Russia, I don’t. The nearly senile McCain can keep that view to himself.

    Russia has been a bully to its neighbors to the West – the Baltic States, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland, to name a few – for centuries. Putin has taken the measure of Obumbler and like Brezhnev found Carter, Putin has found a weakling and an idiot who will do nothing to stop Putin’s plans for empire.

    Oh, sure, it has nothing to do with us in the US. Right. Soviet assistance propped up Castro and he is still in power. Wait until Putin threatens Western Ukraine and tries to merge Belarus into Russia proper. Then the Bear sits at the doorstep of Poland once again. Poland has been a good ally to the US, but to isolationists, it’s the same old story. F’em, right? Not our problem, right?

    Ron Paul, from what I read of him, often blamed the Middle East problems on Israel. Israel isn’t blameless, but I blame Muslims for Middle East problems.

  • Speaking of Rand Paul….this nation elected an imbecile who can’t speak without a teleprompter. It’s all about packaging. The fire hydrant across the street from my house would be an improvement as President over the current occupant of the White House.

  • PF,
    .
    A few points.
    .
    1. I did not blame the West for the existence of an opposition in Ukraine. I blamed it for supporting that opposition in order to deliberately antagonize Russia.
    .
    2. I do not care if “Russia has been a bully.” All large nations, including our own, have spheres of influence. America has the Monroe Doctrine; only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem.
    .
    3. The USSR aided Castro because both were communist, and because the US had missiles pointed at it in Turkey. Again, disgusting, obscene hypocrisy to say its ok for us to have missile bases a few miles away from Russia but the end of the world if they want to have some near us. These days, as a traditional Catholic and natural law moralist, Putin and I have far, far more in common than John McCain and I, or the godless tyrants who embrace homosexualism and radical feminism in our government and in the EU. The ideological board has changed. Putin is publicly proclaiming and defending traditional natural law morality and speaking up on behalf of persecuted Christians – our leaders in the West are destroying traditional morality, ignoring the persecution of Christians by communists and Muslims, and actually engaging in low-level persecution themselves. Solidarity with persecuted Christians and defense of natural law morality is a thousand times more important to me than defending a bunch of jacked-up neo-fascists on Russia’s border.

  • That he has a considered opinion on foreign policy at all puts him shoulders above the present inhabitant of the White House.

  • only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem

    Thanks for sharing.

  • I do not care if “Russia has been a bully.” All large nations, including our own, have spheres of influence. America has the Monroe Doctrine; only the worst, most despicable sort of hypocrite could defend that while denouncing Russia’s interaction with her neighbors. It isn’t our problem.

    So our problem doesn’t start at either the Donitz or the Dniester. Where then does it start? At the Vistula? The Oder? the Elbe? the Rhine?

  • Nice moral equivalency, by the way.

    The USSR aided Castro because both were communist, and because the US had missiles pointed at it in Turkey. Again, disgusting, obscene hypocrisy to say its ok for us to have missile bases a few miles away from Russia but the end of the world if they want to have some near us.

    As if the missles in Turkey and the missles in Cuba represented the same thing.

  • “It is the creation of wealth that lifts masses of people out of poverty, and it is the unleashing of creative human potential from the pretensions of would-be social engineers and demagogues that allows the most wealth to be created and shared.” Well said.

  • So, what happened to all the comments?

  • Changeover to Disqus. I’m not sure if the old comments will be transported here or not.

  • Disqus then not disqus . . . is it a part of Obamacare?

  • I don’t think it’s accurate to see Putin as at all interested in protecting Christians from persecution except when it suits his purposes. The Ukrainian Catholics I know (as opposed to the Orthodox) are deeply worried about what Russian domination of Crimea and Ukraine could mean, and it would seem with good reason:

    http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/03/15/ukrainian_greek_catholic_priest_abducted_in_crimea/en1-781855

  • “So, what happened to all the comments?”
    .
    The comments are in your e-mail.

  • A reasonable foreign policy would prioritize our national interests and seek to secure those in a just manner. Unfortunately, we have become a nation having a split-personality, one part sane and one part insane. The current President and his party do not appear to prioritize our best interests. They seem to fancy themselves internationalists, rather than patriots. Putin and Russia, at the least seem to have Russia’s interests in mind, whether they seek the same justly is another matter and remains to be seen. Now finally to Rand Paul. I would vote for him in a primary held today.

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  • As if the missles in Turkey and the missles in Cuba represented the same thing.

    They did. For cryin’ out loud, grow up. The American and NATO strategic planning was built around nuclear annihilation, and the suggestion to commit genocide without provocation came up on multiple occasions. Thanks be to God that never happened, but it was planned for, it was prepared for, it was seriously considered, and note that the US has always refused to rule out a first strike option.

    Don’t bother telling me I’m “unpatriotic” for saying this, either — all that would prove is that you have no idea what the word “patriotic” means.

  • They did. For cryin’ out loud, grow up.

    For crying out loud, stop being an obtuse and condescending ass.

    American policy-makers did not, in a world of nuclear weapons, get to choose the matrix in which they lived and worked.

  • Howard: “and note that the US has always refused to rule out a first strike option”. If I carry a pistol for self-defense, I do not put a notice on the holster saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll never shoot first”. Patriotism is the love that leads one to defend, love, and support one’s country. A self-declared “citizen of the world”, such as Obama, would not appear to be so inclined. Someone said, it is impossible to be simultaneously an internationalist and a patriot, and that is what I have in mind. Let us remain cordial. This is a venue, primarily of the household of the faith. “Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith”.

  • For myself, I would argue that our nuclear missles, and even our refusal to rule out nuclear first-strike, were inteneded to thwart Soviet expansion, hence defensive in nature. Their missles were intended to enable it, hence offensive in nature. To my mind, not the same thing at all.

    On the subject of Rand Paul, Senator’s make lousy candidates, and worse Presidents.

    There’s a reason why we only elect one about every other generation.

  • To suggest that the fact that US and USSR were both prepared to use nuclear weapons somehow made them the same is like arguing that since both sides in World War II bombed cities, they were morally the same.

    The USSR was using its nuclear weapons to protect the existence of its totalitarian police state and the satellite nations it kept in line only via their own police states and the constant threat of military invasion if they didn’t toe the party line.

    Anyone who thinks the US was a totalitarian police state is, quite bluntly, an idiot. And not even a useful one.

  • I liked Ron Paul’s views on things economic and hated them on foreign policy.
    Putin is attempting to resurrect the tsarist Russian Empire in some form and knows that Obumbler is as weak as Carter and much more disinterested.

    Putin claims to want to defend Christians. Well, certain Russian Orthodox consider themselves and themsevles alone to be Christians and others are heretics. Don’t believe me…ask a Ukrainian Catholic who knows what happened in 1946. The NKVD – predecessor to the KGB – arrested Ukrainian Catholic clergy and sent them off to rot in the gulags. The NKVD took their churches and gave them to the ROC – or destroyed them. The official Soviet position was that the UGCC never existed.

    On a Catholic view alone…anyone who supports turning a blind eye to Putin is nuts.

Illiberal Catholicism: A Sharp Critique

Tuesday, March 11, AD 2014

[Please note: I, Bonchamps, am not the author of this piece. This is a guest post authored by Stephen Herreid that I believe is worth your time as it takes up a topic that has been of great interest to me as of late. Please address your comments to him.]

I’ve written elsewhere of Patrick Deneen’s coming-out as a “radical Catholic.” In his article “A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching,” Deneen issues a clarion call for other radicals to join in his contempt for the “deeply flawed” American project. Deneen essentially makes an argument that conservative Catholics ought to see themselves as having more in common with the coercive left than with the Catholic struggle for religious freedom in America. Why? Because his brand of Catholicism is anti-American and anti-liberty first, Christian and pro-life second.

Following the publication of Deneen’s article at the American Conservative, the pro-American Catholic scholar Peter Lawler was quick to call out Deneen as “repulsively lacking in gratitude” toward an America which has treated Catholics so well. “His article should have been published in The Anti-American Conservative,” he quipped. Indeed, I wonder how we can include Deneen’s anti-American agenda among us while maintaining the moral objectives of Catholicism in America.

Deneen is the most respectable representative of a movement among Catholic “conservatives” that has been justly called illiberal Catholicism, a recently cobbled-together Frankenstein monster whose sewn-up pieces include reactionary European thought and modern American leftism. Those who adhere to this movement differ on many points, but what holds them together is their hostility to religious liberty, the market economy, American Protestants, conservative activism, the Republican party, and the pro-life movement as currently constituted. At a moment when the Church is in very real danger of losing her liberty, when Catholic institutions only retain what fragile protection they have through legal appeals to American ideals of liberty, Deneen’s camp has decided to lend their rhetorical aid to the left’s attack on those ideals. Yes, the current administration is attacking the foundational American principles and laws that protect the Church from persecution. But “America was never well-founded” anyway, writes Deneen, “so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.” Sure, the federal government is robbing us of our religious liberty precisely by way of an unconstitutional attack on the economic liberty of Christian employers. But after all, Deneen believes that Catholics should be “deeply critical” of the free market. It is fair to ask: What on earth does he hope to achieve?

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51 Responses to Illiberal Catholicism: A Sharp Critique

  • Deneen believes that Catholics should be “deeply critical” of the free market.

    Hard to be critical, deeply or otherwise, about something you have little to no experience of, isn’t it?

  • Nice hit piece. You even liberally apply what Leo Strauss called the “reductio ad Hitlerum”.

  • Not bad, at least not until the final paragraph. The analogy with Republican France really doesn’t fit, as our republic hasn’t suffered that sort of shattering catastrophe–or rather, two of them: the bloodbath of 1914-18 and a lightning defeat at the hands of a foe that was inferior in many ways. That, and the Third Republic was fundamentally illiberal itself in several respects.

    That said, there is something…off about the critics. What they are assuming is that the American system has inexorably led to the current disintegrating tendencies of 21st century Republic. If “Locke Leads To Secular Leftism” isn’t an example of post hoc reasoning, nothing is.

    A more direct attack is to turn the reasoning back on them–namely, that there must be something within Catholicism itself that leads to the current nightmare, given that there are no Catholic countries that have stood against the tide.

    It is true that there are incompatibilities between full-bore Catholicism and American public life, and troubling-to-nightmarish developments within the body politic which augur for more incompatibilities. But to argue that the system itself is the cause–misbegotten from the beginning–is an argument that proves too much, given the general decay of Catholic standing in former Catholic strongholds across the world.

  • Leon Blum was the prime minister of France, not the president. He was in office for scarcely a year during the period running from 1933 to 1940. French ministries between 1870 and 1959 were generally short in duration (not quite a year on average).

  • Let me add that I think there are excellent grounds for valid critique of the free market, or at least market capitalism as it is currently practiced in America. In a time where the Chamber of Commerce battles ferociously against conscience rights in the market and work places, there is something seriously amiss. I won’t be socially-conservative cannon fodder for business interests, thank you very much, and neither should any other serious Catholic.

  • Also, there were some serious Catholics in the various Petain ministries (e.g. Joseph Barthelemy), but Petain himself was a discreet roue (in contrast to de Gaulle). Pierre Laval, the prime minister for most of those years, came out of the subculture in which the Grand-Orient lodges and the old Radical Party found their home. Pierre Peucheu, the interior minister bagged and executed in the Maghreb, was a secular figure as well, drawn from the steel industry’s trade association.

  • Dale,

    I have to endorse your two comments whole-heartedly — in particular you’ve hit the nail on the head with this:

    A more direct attack is to turn the reasoning back on them–namely, that there must be something within Catholicism itself that leads to the current nightmare, given that there are no Catholic countries that have stood against the tide. It is true that there are incompatibilities between full-bore Catholicism and American public life, and troubling-to-nightmarish developments within the body politic which augur for more incompatibilities. But to argue that the system itself is the cause–misbegotten from the beginning–is an argument that proves too much, given the general decay of Catholic standing in former Catholic strongholds across the world.

    I see this same tendency in the illiberal Catholic attacks on the Enlightenment, tout court. As if the developments in modern medicine and the alleviation of hunger in the West should be grouped together with pornography and abortion and everything must be condemned or your thinking is off. It just doesn’t make sense.

  • My father enrolled his businesses in the National Federation of Independent Business and did some lobbying at his state capital for a business association founded by the owner of a local muffler and brake shop. They adhered to this view: the Chamber of Commerce and the Employers’ Council cared nothing about small business. They did not comment on the National Association of Manufacturers, but the same deal presumably held there. That was about 35 years ago.

    One thing is that compliance costs do not really hit large enterprises with the severity that they do small enterprises. The other is that the executive corps of large enterprises (and law firms) seems drawn from a haut bourgeois subculture with certain dispositions that even a business case does not trump. You look at the condition of higher education (studded with such people among their trustees) and you realize that donor pressure is what’s got to be behind many of the odd things that the core of the Republican Party does (and such things as the Boy Scouts cave in) and you realize these people are not your friends.

  • There’s nothing wrong with a critique of the “Enlightenment”. The trouble is their assumptions about the importance of the explicit cogitations of particular people at particular times in shaping political developments, assumption shared by others. Shuffling through Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence may instruct us on understandings and usages common at the time (which may inform our understanding of the text of laws enacted between 1763 and 1826), but it does not answer questions about the evolution of social relations or about the optimal adaptation of political forms to social relations.

  • “America was never well-founded” anyway, writes Deneen, “so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.”

    Sounds kind of like a Catholic/pro-life version of William Lloyd Garrison, the radical abolitionist of the 19th century who refused to vote or participate in politics, discouraged his followers from doing so, and once publicly burned a copy of the Constitution at a Fourth of July gathering, calling it “a covenant with death and an agreement with hell”.

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  • Yes, I can see now that making a historically, philosophically, theologically, and magisterially informed critique of the Enlightenment or Zionism or Americanism or neo-conservatism or capitalism (all of these culminating in the wonderful, gratitude-inducing phenomena of indiscriminate drone murders, persecution of whistle blowers, aggressive wars leading to millions of innocent deaths, incessant support of and creation of terrorists, including neo-nazis, to overthrow those regimes that dare to resist their being looted by central bankers, IMF, World Bank, and being colonized militarily by Nato and the USA, banker bailouts and the looting of the middle class, a nascent police state–with the president of the U.S. permitted to detain any citizen at will indefinitely without a trial–NDAA), means, in truth, that one is a secret nazi sympathizer that desires to be one of the top rulers of the fascist, catholic police state we illiberal Catholics are helping to create through such “illiberal” articles.

    I never would have seen all this without the author’s magnificent rhetorical alchemy! Zmirak, eat your heart out!

  • “This is not the first time that petulant Catholics have seized upon the weakness of their country, and wrenched fragments of Catholic social teaching out of context, to serve their private resentments and their corrosive will to power.”

    Both illiberal and liberal Catholics do this.

    One should be a Catholic Christian – period.

    “My Kingdom is not of this world….”

  • Garrison was in favor of secession from the South prior to the Civil War. How that could have helped the slaves is beyond me, but the histrionic Garrison’s strong suit was never logic.

  • Thaddeus,

    Do you have a good, historical source that clearly ties the Enlightenment philosophers with the Founding Fathers’ deliberations on the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution?

  • Philip. Yes I do it’s a book by Christopher Ferrara called Liberty: The God that Failed. It’s a magisterial historical account of the Enlightenment influence on the founding fathers.

  • Ferrara is an ignorant crank. If you are reading him you are wasting both your time and your mind. When Tom Woods, himself an extremist crank, calls someone an extremist crank, you know that you have entered cloud cuckoo land:

    http://www.tomwoods.com/on-chris-ferrara/

  • More rhetorical alchemy! If you say Christopher ferrara is an ignorant crank then he must be!

  • People who disagree with my assessment should read Ferrara’s unintentionally hilarious tome. If they have any grasp of American history, as opposed to the conspiracy mongering favored by Ferrara, they will appreciate the book as a monument to the ability of some people to view an eagle and then spend several hundred pages explaining why it is actually a vulture.

  • Yes and make sure you look at the back cover blurbs and see what kind of ignorant cranks praise the book.

  • It could be endorsed by the Archangel Gabriel and it would remain a farrago of ahistorical nonsense of epic proportions. As a humor book it does have merit. His view of the Revolution as a masonic conspiracy is enough to inspire me to a rousing rendition of the stone cutter song:

  • Ferrara makes Thomas DiLorenzo look like an actual scholar by way of comparison. Those who can’t even distinguish between different elements of the Enlightenment should not be taken as any sort of legitimate authority.

  • As usual, I’m with PWPrimavera, above

    We are “poor banished children of Eve mourning and weeping in this vail of tears. Our true homes are in Heaven. And, we need to prayerfully live out our lives loving and serving God and our neighbors. I can little affect whatever the powers that be do in DC or Albany. I can do what I can to to help my brothers and sisters.

    The Commandment says to honor your father and mother. That includes the government.

    That being said: everyone is entitled to their opinions. Plato said, “Opinion is not truth.” Older/wiser men with whom I associated when I was young and active would say, “Opinions are likes anuses (translated from the Anglo-Saxon). Everybody’s got one.”

    I suggest we take opinion and speculation with a ton of salt. And, try to avoid imposing 21st century ideologies into the psyches of 18th century geniuses who (inspired by the Holy Spirit) gave us our independence and a republic, which was subverted by evil dwarves over the centuries.

  • “inspired by the Holy Spirit”…well said, T. Shaw

  • I’ve never figured out whether the chap who writes these Ezra-Pound-on-mushrooms comments is the professor at Wyoming Catholic College or is someone appropriating his handle. I’ve seen them at Crisis, The Distributist Review, and Front Porch Republic. Some of them were removed at the request of someone identifying himself as “Thaddeus Kozinski”. Needless to say, “the Enlightenment”, “Zionism”, “Americanism”, “capitalism” is a motley collection of idea sets and not one one can imagine a sophisticated student of intellectual history throwing in the kitchen sink together (along with references to bits of military technology, the International Monetary Fund, &c).

    I’ve found some of Ferrara’s published work engaging and well argued, though there are informed people (e.g. Kevin Miller) who dislike it (without details offered). He and Woods were collaborators and presumably friends, so the falling out between the two of them is regrettable. Woods has for a number of years found an institutional home at the von Mises Institute, which trafficks in fringe social research.

    ==

  • Once again I find myself forced to agree with Art Deco regarding Kozinski’s comment:

    “Yes, I can see now that making a historically, philosophically, theologically, and magisterially informed critique of the Enlightenment or Zionism or Americanism or neo-conservatism or capitalism…”

    Please. As the resident Jeffersonian/classical liberal crank, I can tell you right now that I’ve made plenty of critiques of the Enlightenment and that I reject Zionism and neo-conservatism. Since no one knows what “Americianism” is, it hardly helps to say that I reject that too, but I do (I mean the actual Americanism that Pope Leo XIII actually condemned, not American political thought, which he held in high regard).

    I’ll admit that I think “magisterial” criticism of capitalism is often way off target. So what.

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  • Thank God you wrote this – it needs to be said. Informed orthodox Catholics are more open to the temptation of authoritarianism than most. As we become more frustrated at our lack of progress and marginalization, so the Franco option gets pushed with elevating levels of seriousness.
    That Thomas Pink article in particular really creeped me out – Pink’s very careful to use euphemistic language to make his repellent conclusions go down easier. ‘The Church has the right to use a measure of physical coercion in her pastoral mission’ sounds relatively harmless. ‘The Church can lock you up if you do something it doesn’t like or hurt you until you stop’ would be too on the nose.

  • Christopher Ferrara….New Jersey lawyer and gasbag.

    Ferrara had a long running battle with the now-retired Bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese , Joseph Adamec (this diocese is east of Pittsburgh). Adamec was insistent on forbidding the Latin Mass in his diocese and Ferrara attended the Latin Mass when he was in Pittsburgh.

    Ferrara writes for The Remnant. Occasionally I picked it up after Sunday Mass. The Remnant is filled with sour, bitter, angry writers. It is depressing to read, so I usually don’t bother with it anymore. The last article I read had an author who was proud of trashing the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving.

    Each issue, there was Ferrara, having some screed bashing Vatican II, the new Mass, etc. Boring, dull and old, but I guess that stuff has a market. I read Rorate Coeli, too and while informative, they are another bunch of gloom and doomers.

    I surmise Ferrara belongs to this rad-Trad cabal who has nothing better to think of that establishing a Catholic confessional state with a Catholic monarch. Every other form of government is/was illicit.

    Europe was run by Catholic monarchs once. How did that turn out?

    The American Conservative is run by Pat Buchanan, isn’t it? Buchanan is a first class crank. He is a lifelong inside-the-Capital Beltway-Washington blowhard.

    Fr. Z has pointed it out many times. Traditional Catholics are often their own worst enemies.

    I look forward to Sunday Mass and I leave happy. Too bad there are too many radtrads who don’t see it that way.

  • I like to think that I am reasonably up to date on current trends, but this thread has made me aware of several people who were beyond my horizon. Well well, I have some catching up to do. Thanks to all!

  • If you want a non-nebulous definition of Americanism, here it is by example, right from this combox:

    “And, try to avoid imposing 21st century ideologies into the psyches of 18th century geniuses who (inspired by the Holy Spirit) gave us our independence and a republic, which was subverted by evil dwarves over the centuries.”

    Yes, the Constitution and Declaration are inerrant documents, for they are the result of Divine Inspiration, just like the Bible! And the “church” that these documents produced, namely the original American Republic, (Protestant ecclesiology secularized and politicized here–we need to get back to the early church of the apostles! Not the evil, hierarchical and sacramental Church of the evil dwarf popes!), is the fount of all goodness and grace and peace for it’s members and the world it seeks to redeem, just like the Catholic Church! Anyone who questions this is rejecting the Holy Spirit. Here’s my response to this idolatry:

    http://ethikapolitika.org/2012/11/16/guard-yourself-from-idols-2/

  • I’ll go with Pope Leo XIII’s definition. Much safer. Can’t go wrong with “Lumen in Coelo.”

    I find Orestes Brownson to be a tonic in this bit of intra-Catholic trench warfare. A dogged Catholic, he loved his Church and nation, including the Constitution of the latter, calling it “providential” (without being God-breathed). He also had no illusions about the flaws within the American system or the American people.

    It would be nice if this dispute could turn into something productive, instead of the Catholic equivalent of baboons flinging s–t at each other.

    Nah–let the anathemas fly. Close up, they almost seem important.

  • I agree, Dale.

  • Bl John Henry Newman wrote (in response to Mr Gladstone, no less), “But I have more to say on this subject, perhaps too much, when I go on, as I now do, to contemplate the Christian Church, when persecution was exchanged for establishment, and her enemies became her children. As she resisted and defied her persecutors, so she ruled her convert people. And surely this was but natural, and will startle those only to whom the subject is new. If the Church is independent of the State, so far as she is a messenger from God, therefore, should the State, with its high officials and its subject masses, come into her communion, it is plain that they must at once change hostility into submission. There was no middle term; either they must deny her claim to divinity or humble themselves before it,—that is, as far as the domain of religion extends, and that domain is a wide one. They could not place God and man on one level.”

    Why some people consider Newman a liberal, when he was a high Tory to the backbone, has always puzzled me.

  • I agree about Orestes Brownson. His view of America is very reasonable. Recall that he says that the American system can only really work if the vast majority of citizens are Catholics.

  • In a time where the Chamber of Commerce battles ferociously against conscience rights in the market and work places, there is something seriously amiss.–Dale Price

     
    There is an alternative to the free market, Dale. It’s the slave market. What you intuit as “something seriously amiss” is a misguided public’s desire for the unearned (a.k.a. greed). The public, who in the America rule the Republic through the representatives they choose to elect, insists on no conscience rights for businesses. (Can you say “common carrier”?) To achieve that end, eventually the public insists all conscience rights must be swept away. Doubt me? Ask the florist, the baker, and the cake decorator–subversives all! And the public wills that they be punished for their thought crimes.

    Start America’s third Great Awakening. Begin where you are. Nudge your neighbors to attend weekly worship services and return to the One True God. Become a lamp for the Light you wish to see.

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  • Some nasty character wrote this about me, above:

    <<>>

    Tell me more about this, as I seem to have forgotten that I once lived in Pittsburgh where I battled with its Bishop over the Latin Mass. I am gravely concerned that I have forgotten an entire chapter in my life, as it could indicate the need for a neurological workup.

    As for the other negative commenters regarding my book, none of them seems to have read it as they all attribute to me positions I do not take, and one of them accuses me of failing to distinguish between strands of the Enlightenment when that very distinction is the basis of the entire work.

    As for the role of Freemasonry in the American Revolution, I would refer you to that “ignorant crank” Gordon Wood, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his ignorant study of the Revolution: “It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of Masonry for the American Revolution… Freemasonry was a surrogate religion for an Enlightenment suspicious of traditional Christianity. It offered ritual, mystery and congregativeness without the enthusiasm and sectarian bigotry of organized religion….”

    Since you folks seem not to bother reading the books you comment on, I will not provide you with the page cite to Wood, in the hope that you will actually read at least one book under discussion here.

    What Wood observes is the essence of what I really say about Freemasonry and its relation to the age of democratic revolution. I do not argue that the American Revolution was a Masonic conspiracy as such. Actually reading the book would help one to understand this.

    I think “gasbag” more aptly describes the bloviating potshot artists on this site, who haven’t written a damn thing that anybody would even bother reviewing.

    And his real name is indeed Thaddeus Kozinski, by the way, whose own study of the philosophical issues of political modernity has been widely acclaimed. See, The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Can’t Solve It.

    Don’t bother answering me if you expect a reply. I only stumbled across this hotbed of nastiness in search of something else.

  • “Don’t bother answering me if you expect a reply.”

    I would no more expect that than I would actual scholarship from you regarding the American Revolution. Tell me where Gordon Woods, for example, supports your ludicrous claim that the Founding Fathers were almost all deists and masons. Stick to venomous polemics and bluster because you have no idea of the actual history of this country.

  • “Thaddeus Kozinski”, your example of “Americanism” was authored by one “T. Shaw”. I think Mr. Shaw works either as an accountant or loan officer. He makes it his hobby to jerk everyone’s chain, including yours.

    And his real name is indeed Thaddeus Kozinski, by the way, whose own study of the philosophical issues of political modernity has been widely acclaimed.

    Again, I understand there is a professor at Wyoming Catholic College by that name whose done some scholarly publication. There is also someone who uses that name in fora like this who offers strange and venomous non sequiturs. (He has a particular issue with Israel for some reason, to take one example).

  • Since you folks seem not to bother reading the books you comment on,

    I actually have read the book to which I referred, if anyone cares.

    I think “gasbag” more aptly describes the bloviating potshot artists on this site, who haven’t written a damn thing that anybody would even bother reviewing.

    Ah, but do you know who is behind these pseudonyms?

  • I only stumbled across this hotbed of nastiness in search of something else.

    While I appreciate you looking for my great diet and barbecue tips, this is the site you are looking for.
    http://bbqdiet.blogspot.com/

    Now I promise I’ll try to be better about updating the blog, but I’ve been real busy. But I ain’t gonna be posting that stuff here, so please stop looking.

  • “While I appreciate you looking for my great diet and barbecue tips, this is the site you are looking for.
    http://bbqdiet.blogspot.com/

    Thank you Paul! I am buried in bankruptcy petitions today and that gave me a much needed laugh!

  • I am dense, obviously you were looking for something a little more serious about the founding of our fair republic. Clearly you would prefer picking up my doctoral dissertation, available at this site, although I gotta say I don’t recall getting any royalties from them.

    At any rate, please do enjoy, and I’d be glad to read your scholarly, peer reviewed research on the founding. Quid pro quo and all that.

  • “Clearly you would prefer picking up my doctoral dissertation, available at this site…”

    Damn that thing is expensive.

  • Art Deco:

    I too have seen the comments by so-called “Thaddeus Kozinski,” but I find nothing wrong with them at all, and I find the two “Thaddeus Kozinskis” perfectly reconcilable. Is Zionism a real ideology? Is it a good one? Is the government of state of Israel responsible for illegal and immoral behavior? Are there serious flaws in the American Founding the bad fruits of which we are now reaping? These are legitimate questions, it seems to me, and it is even legitimate to make a strong judgment on them (vitriolic?–I see nothing “vitriolic” in any of Dr. Kozinski’s comments), and I can see one making a reasonable judgment against both American and Israeli foreign policy and its neoconservatism ideology from a Catholic and natural-law perspective. For you to assume that such judgments are immoral to make, or even insane, that is, that one should never criticize the state of Israel or Zionism or the American founding, says more about your unreasonable prejudices than anything about “Thaddeus Kozinski.”

  • I have no clue how you distinguish between real ideologies and fictitious ones.

    That aside…

    Ethnic affinities are quite unremarkable features of human life and not properly subject to criticism for being there (though particular expressions of those affinities may be subject to criticism). I would say that to the fellow who posts under the handle “DarwinCatholic”, who seems to fancy there is something dirty about national states per se. He’s an equal opportunity cosmopolitan, however.

    Not so Israel’s detractors, who seem to take particular umbrage at Jewish particularism. There are some unusual features of Israel’s political predicament, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary about the severity of Israel’s activities in its neighborhood given that predicament. Israel can only make some incremental adjustments to its situation. What Conor Cruise O’Brien said a generation ago still applies: there are no solutions, merely security. Israel’s detractors very seldom have the sort of granular knowledge which would allow them to offer incremental adjustments which improve conditions for one party without injuring them unduly for the other. It does not stop them from hurling the most venomous and ignorant anathemas.

    So, here you have a country of modest dimensions, passably successful in constructing a productive economy, independent and technically sophisticated, possessed of a vital public life, suffering from the ailments of contemporary life but less so than many other affluent countries. It has problems, but Belgium is of similar dimensions and has worse problems. What’s to obsess about?

    I tend toward the school that the explicit cogitations of politicians and patricians are a fairly weak vector in determining the character and utility of institutions, most particularly two hundred odd years down the road, so I suspect the Thaddeus Kozinski of Wyoming Catholic College (and Patrick Deneen, while we are at it) is investing a great deal of effort attempting to master something which may matter but is overwhelmed by other factors.

  • I too have seen the comments by so-called “Thaddeus Kozinski,” but I find nothing wrong with them at all, and I find the two “Thaddeus Kozinskis” perfectly reconcilable.

    Perhaps it’s because you are the one posting under his name. You may want to familiarize yourself with this concept known as an “IP Address.” Now since you have decided to play cute, you can say goodbye to this blog.

  • His Holiness Leo XIII was VERY critical of “free market” capitalism. It isn’t actually a free market. Companies have banded together to form oligopolies, forcing out any new competition and fixing prices on goods ranging from internet access to soap. You don’t have to be deeply ctical to realize that the promises of capitalism have no been delivered.

2 Responses to Executive Death Spiral vs. State’s Rights

  • “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.” From Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury, Connecticut Baptist Church.
    .
    Thomas Jefferson placed his “wall of separation of church and state” after “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,”…the First Amendment.
    .
    “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience”.
    .
    “…the supreme will of the nation was recorded “in behalf of the rights of conscience”. This criminalizes the HHS Mandate.
    .
    “I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    .
    The freedom to be American, “his social duties” and the freedom to be Catholic, “his natural right(s)” are not “in opposition”.

  • Many people wrongly assume that “state’s rights” were nothing more than a code word or cover for Southern attempts to preserve slavery (in the 19th century) and racial segregation (in the 20th century). However, “state’s rights” cut both ways in the antebellum era — for example, several Northern states passed personal liberty laws protecting escaped slaves from being recaptured, in direct defiance of the federal Fugitive Slave Act.

    One area in which states are currently exercising their rights in opposition to or defiance of the federal government is marijuana legalization; 20 states now allow its medical use and 2 (Colorado and Washington) have completely legalized it, despite the fact that it’s still illegal at the federal level. However, the feds just recently relaxed restrictions that prevented banks from handling marijuana-related monetary transactions (a restriction that had created huge and potentially dangerous problems for state-legalized dispensaries and cultivation centers). So states can say “no” to Uncle Sam and live to tell about it, even today.

A False Anthropological Dichotomy

Monday, March 10, AD 2014

Not long ago I examined an article by Patrick J. Deneen concerning the intellectual divide between American Catholics. If you will recall, Deenen divides American Catholics into a pro-America/liberal camp and an anti-America/illiberal or “radical” camp. At the heart of this divide, so they say (I will challenge this below) is an alleged conflict of “anthropologies”; it appears to be common currency on the illiberal side of the debate. Liberals – and to be clear, we’re talking about classical liberals for the most part – supposedly hold to an anthropological view that is self-centered and individualistic. Worse yet, in this view, human beings are allegedly driven primarily by fear and greed (when they aren’t gratifying their basest urges). All of this contemporary classical liberals are alleged to hold as demonstrated irrevocably by the laws of microeconomics and the sophisticated and often indecipherable mathematical models of neoclassical economists. Dig a bit deeper and the whole rotten anti-Christian edifice can be traced back to John Locke, whose “possessive individualism” birthed the demon-spawns of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson and gave us the American commercial republic.

The reality, of course, is quite different. The fundamental value of classical liberalism is not “individualism”, but liberty. But the nature of liberty is such that only individuals can exercise it, for the human race is not a hive mind; each human being possesses his or her own intellect and will and is, barring some defect, responsible for the decisions they make. Metaphysical libertarianism, which is the position that human beings have free will, is a foundational assumption of Christianity (and indeed of any ethical system that presupposes human beings can make moral choices). It is also the foundational moral and methodological assumption of classical liberal sociology, political theory and economics. People are free by nature, and cannot be studied as if they were not free. And because we are free by nature, we are gravely harmed if we are unnecessarily restricted in our liberty by other men, including and especially governments.

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28 Responses to A False Anthropological Dichotomy

  • For some reason I cannot share this on Facebook . . . no button.

  • “But the nature of liberty is such that only individuals can exercise it…”

    That is just what Lord Acton denied. Of the liberal parliamentary democracy of his own day, he argues that “It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command.” Thus, “Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

    In the temporal sphere, too, the Tudor despotism was made possible by the destruction of the old territorial nobility in the Wars of the Roses; Henry VIII could send More and Fisher to the scaffold. Charles V could not send John of Saxony or the Margrave of Hesse or the burghers of the Free Cities to the scaffold. Their “conditional obedience” was secured by “a limited command,” the authority they exercised in their own domains and in the loyalty of their dependants. A state that can neither protect nor punish cannot oppress.

  • This is the reason so-called social sciences are not sciences.

    In a real science, the hypothesis is defined. Experiments and/or tests are run to prove or disprove the hypothesis. If the tests fail, scientists recognize it. They don’t resort to hysterics.

    Quoted at Cafe Hayek: From page 168 of the 5th edition (1966) of Karl Popper’s 1945 study, “The Open Society and Its Enemies”:

    “Aestheticism and radicalism must lead us to jettison reason, and to replace it by a desperate hope for political miracles. This irrational attitude which springs from intoxication with dreams of a beautiful world is what I call Romanticism. It may seek its heavenly city in the past or in the future; it may preach ‘back to nature’ or ‘forward to a world of love and beauty’; but its appeal is always to our emotions rather than to reason. Even with the best intentions of making heaven on earth it only succeeds in making it a hell – that hell which man alone prepares for his fellow-men.”

    Liberals/progressives substitute emotions for data, facts, meaning, truth. They have no decency and will viciously attack you. The lying dung beetles lack the smallest iota of moral or intellectual authority. Just tell it to them. Then, ask, “What evidence do you have?” “Compared to what?” And ask ”How much will it cost? They find it all highly traumatic.

    Central planning by credentialed geniuses who know better than we the people.

    Collectivists

    Command economy

    Group think

    Hive mentality

    The Borg

    Resistance is futile!

  • We did not invent the Federal Reserve System, which is directly responsible for the reckless behavior of the large banks and corporations.

    [rolls eyes]

    All of the talk about “false anthropology” is really a smokescreen for an alternative economic system that, when taken to its logical implications, is authoritarian, irrational and undesirable.

    Shuffling through his bibliography, I will wager that Deneen’s mind shuffles through verbiage derived from intellectual history and philosophy and ‘social theory’ and the man would not know an ‘alternative economic system’ from tiddlywinks. A great deal of this sort of talk (on the part of practitioners august and scruffy) seems to default either to efforts to distinguish the speaker from people he fancies vulgar or to distinguish the speaker from agents (e.g. insurance companies) he has elected to scapegoat.

  • Bonchamps,

    While I am broadly sympathetic to your position, I don’t think you are being fair or treating Dennen’s concerns carefully. For example, you say:

    “Classical liberals on the other hand do not desire to let people alone out of sheer indifference, but rather because it is in our view, and in the light of free will, an affront to human dignity to force someone to become something that they don’t wish to be no matter how good it might be for them objectively. Persuasion is as far as we are willing to go, and only for so long as we will be heard. As a slightly secondary matter, force rarely works in the manner intended. People do not fall into line like so many rows of virtuous toy soldiers; instead they turn to black markets run by criminal elements or simply leave for greener, freer pastures.”

    The problem with this is that there are certain goods and services that are not ethically and morally neutral — it is positively evil for society to allow pornography and prostitution (to use two classic examples) to flourish because providing these good and services are evil acts in and of themselves. Yes, I know I’m now bringing in the dreaded “anti-capitalist deontology” — but as Catholics we have to — we cannot do evil so that good may come of it, period. We must oppose evil whenever and wherever we find it. So the State should never be ‘neutral’ about the selling of certain goods and services and therefore some market regulation will always be necessary.

    I think pointing to liberty as a guide can be helpful, but the Church’s notion of the common good is probably better — this makes our work more difficult because we are then left with case by case prudential decisions and for some communities it might serve the common good to ban Walmart (e.g. a place that wants to retain a certain ‘small-town character’ including little shops that can’t compete with a big Walmart), in others it will only limit consumer options and economic growth and people value those goods more than the small-town character. But ignoring the common good for individual liberty is not always wise and doesn’t always give us a government that knows how to govern well.

  • The problem with this is that there are certain goods and services that are not ethically and morally neutral — it is positively evil for society to allow pornography and prostitution

    So, Deneen is arguing with the Libertarian Party and the Reason Foundation. What’s that got to do with the rest of us?

  • Jeffrey S.,

    No one told St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas that legal prostitution was a positive evil that cannot be done for some greater good. Both men advocated exactly that, for exactly that reason.

    “We must oppose evil whenever and wherever we find it.”

    If by “we” you mean us, as individuals, choosing to oppose evil with virtue, yes, I agree. If by “we” you mean the state, then you are arguing for totalitarian government, because men are fallen and evil is everywhere. I prefer the classical approach, which ironically enough developed in the pre-capitalist world. Men will always seek out illicit sex, and there is nothing we can do about it.

    “But ignoring the common good for individual liberty is not always wise and doesn’t always give us a government that knows how to govern well.”

    We can govern ourselves, by and large, because we are free beings with the use of reason. I’m not an anarchist, but I would shrink government down to Grover Norquist levels.

  • here’s a reminder: Pope John Paull II on the US Constitution and Freedom

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/09/17/pope-john-paull-ii-on-the-us-constitution-and-freedom/

    freedom gives us the opportunity to do good–

  • Pingback: Catholicism Growing in Heart of Muslim World - BigPulpit.com
  • Thank you, Anzlyne: “freedom gives us the opportunity to do good–”
    .
    Need I say more?

  • The notion that Conservatives have been traditionally hostile to state interference is not borne out by history, as Tocqueville notes in his speech of 12 September 1848 to the National Assembly: “And finally, gentlemen, liberty. There is one thing which strikes me above all. It is that the Ancien Régime, which doubtless differed in many respects from that system of government which the socialists call for (and we must realize this) was, in its political philosophy, far less distant from socialism than we had believed. It is far closer to that system than we. The The notion that Conservatives have been traditionally hostile to state interference is not borne out by history, as Tocqueville notes in his speech of 12 September 1848 to the National Assembly: “And finally, gentlemen, liberty. There is one thing which strikes me above all. It is that the Ancien Régime, which doubtless differed in many respects from that system of government which the socialists call for (and we must realize this) was, in its political philosophy, far less distant from socialism than we had believed. It is far closer to that system than we. The Ancien Régime, in fact, held that wisdom lay only in the State and that the citizens were weak and feeble beings who must forever be guided by the hand, for fear they harm themselves. It held that it was necessary to obstruct, thwart, restrain individual freedom, that to secure an abundance of material goods it was imperative to regiment industry and impede free competition. The Ancien Régime believed, on this point, exactly as the socialists of today do. It was the French Revolution which denied this.”
    In France, in Austria, In Russia, in Prussia, in Spain, the “Throne and Altar” Conservatives were all notably dirigiste in their economic views.

  • MPS,

    1. Concision is a virtue.

    2. Early modern economic regulations in France were what they were. What precise bearing does that have on latter-day conflicts over political economy in the United States?

  • The notion that Conservatives have been traditionally hostile to state interference is not borne out by history[.]
    That would be why Bonchamps used the term “classical liberal.”

  • Bonchamps,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments. While it might seem the height of folly to disagree with two of the finest minds in all of Western thought, with all due respect, Saints Augustine and Aquinas are just wrong about legal prostitution. Utilitarian ethics are always going to lead you to hell (e.g. abortion — “but the woman isn’t ready to have a baby at 18 and her life will be so much better if she can just abort”). But putting that argument aside, I notice you ignored my comment about pornography, which is a tendency of defenders of “liberty”, tout court. Obviously, even in wild and crazy free-market America it is possible to envision state regulations that govern restrictions on the market that support a more virtuous culture (think back on the 50s).

    Perhaps, like “Art Deco” you would support certain state regulations of the market. As I said before, I’m actually sympathetic to small, limited government of the Grover Norquist style — I just think that philosophically we need to be careful when we defend small, limited government using the concept of “liberty”. The older American (Puritan) tradition was “ordered liberty”, which had the sense that liberty always entailed social responsibilities (and limits) because “man is not an island” and we are part of families and communities and owe duties to each. This is all part and parcel of Catholic social thought, so I’m sure you agree — just as the idea of subsidiarity (I think) can support a robust federalism and limited, small government in the U.S.

  • “What precise bearing does that have on latter-day conflicts over political economy in the United States?”

    Conservatives, starting with Plautus in 195 BC have always recognised the maxim, “Homo homini lupus” – Man is a wolf to his fellow man. The mass of the people may, indeed, be “weak and feeble beings,” but some few are not and they will form packs to prey on the rest.

    As Turgot saw, “If the supreme power is needlessly limited, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress. Its supremacy will bear no check.” Moreover, “Men who seek only the general good must wound every distinct and separate interest of class,” so no effective government can be the creature of the many. “The problem is to enlighten the ruler, not to restrain him; and one man is more easily enlightened than many.”

    I fancy “Illiberal Catholics,” like their Continental Throne & Altar counterparts, recognise this.

  • Jeffrey S. wrote, “Saints Augustine and Aquinas are just wrong about legal prostitution”
    They may have been wrong on the particular issue, but they recognised an important distinction.
    Similarly, Portalis, one of the commissioners that drew up the Code Napoléon and a Catholic, who had suffered for his faith during the Revolution says, “Christianity, which speaks only to the conscience, guides by grace the little number of the elect to salvation; the law restrains by force the unruly passions of wicked men, in the interests of l’ordre public [public order/public policy]” By way of illustration, he points out that Christianity forbids divorce, whilst the Mosaic law (which was the civil law of the Jewish commonwealth) permitted it.
    Likewise, the new Penal Code, proposed by Louis Michel le Peletier, Marquis de Saint-Fargeau (promulgated September 26 – October 6, 1791) abolished, without a debate, the crimes of blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft [le blasphème, la sodomie et la sorcellerie] along with other “offences against religion.” They had a good precedent in the Roman jurisprudence: “deorum injuriae diis curae” – Injuries against the gods are the gods’ concern.

  • “The problem is to enlighten the ruler, not to restrain him; and one man is more easily enlightened than many.”
    I fancy “Illiberal Catholics,” like their Continental Throne & Altar counterparts, recognise this.

    Can any earthly prince be so enlightened as to command and control the market?

  • Ernst Schreiber asks, “Can any earthly prince be so enlightened as to command and control the market?”

    No, but he can intervene in it, as he deems appropriate.

  • ” [H]e can intervene in it, as he deems appropriate.”

    That’s the rub now, is it not? Deeming when it’s appropriate to intervene, and when it’s best to stay hands-off?

    And I’m not speaking about easy distinctions, like prostitution, I mean hard ones, like minimum wage laws.

  • Conservatives, starting with Plautus in 195 BC have always recognised the maxim,

    You’re already off the rails here.

    Perhaps, like “Art Deco” you would support certain state regulations of the market.

    I do not think you can carry on economic activity more sophisticated than what you see at a farmers’ market without a body of corporation law, debtor and creditor law, commercial law, and contract law. You need to delineate property ownership and adjudicate disputes concerning ownership and tenure, hence a body of estate law, real property law, and personal property law. Any society needs answers to the question of the degree to which and the circumstances under which a magistrate can coerce a person; answers to those questions inform both the penal code and labor law.

  • Jeffrey,
    .
    “with all due respect, Saints Augustine and Aquinas are just wrong about legal prostitution.”
    .
    I’m not one of these rad-trads who thinks that Aquinas is infallible. I do think that their view on the matter demonstrates that we are not morally obliged to outlaw every immoral act. I think their view was realistic and rational. Look at the way it played out historically; prostitution was more or less legal in certain medieval cities but confined to designated areas of town. I don’t mind the interference of local zoning laws for the sake of public order. Families and children have rights too.
    .
    “Utilitarian ethics are always going to lead you to hell (e.g. abortion — “but the woman isn’t ready to have a baby at 18 and her life will be so much better if she can just abort”).”
    .
    I don’t advocate utilitarian ethics. I think utilitarian considerations have an important place in moral calculations, though. In the case of abortion, we are dealing with the fundamental natural right to life. Utilitarian considerations should not enter the picture; rights are fundamental, personal utility is not. Utility is something properly considered within the broad parameters of fundamental rights, not something that ought to override them.
    .
    “But putting that argument aside, I notice you ignored my comment about pornography, which is a tendency of defenders of “liberty”, tout court. Obviously, even in wild and crazy free-market America it is possible to envision state regulations that govern restrictions on the market that support a more virtuous culture (think back on the 50s).”
    .
    Even our amoral Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutionally acceptable to censor hardcore pornography. It’s an issue I would be happy to leave to the 10th amendment, just like prostitution, and advocate for its ban within my state. The problem we face now is the Internet. It’s barely worth discussing; there is next to nothing we can do about it. You can get all of the magazines off the store shelves, you can close down strip clubs, adult shops and disreputable theaters, but there’s a massive world of filth and degeneracy just a few clicks away. This means we have to confront vice the old fashioned way – by converting people.
    .
    “Perhaps, like “Art Deco” you would support certain state regulations of the market.”
    .
    I do agree with his last post. Corporate law, contract law, etc. are all necessary, there have to be ways to settle disputes, etc. I don’t really consider these “regulations”, though. They don’t impose burdens on the free market for the sake of some do-gooder’s subjective idea of what is best for other people; they help the market function.
    .
    “As I said before, I’m actually sympathetic to small, limited government of the Grover Norquist style — I just think that philosophically we need to be careful when we defend small, limited government using the concept of “liberty”. The older American (Puritan) tradition was “ordered liberty”, which had the sense that liberty always entailed social responsibilities (and limits) because “man is not an island” and we are part of families and communities and owe duties to each. This is all part and parcel of Catholic social thought, so I’m sure you agree — just as the idea of subsidiarity (I think) can support a robust federalism and limited, small government in the U.S.”
    .
    Sure, nothing disagreeable there. I just don’t believe that people can be saved from themselves, or that it is moral to even attempt such a thing.

  • Any society needs answers to the question of the degree to which and the circumstances under which a magistrate can coerce a person; answers to those questions inform both the penal code and labor law.

    Quite right — which is why invoking “liberty” to settle such questions isn’t good enough. We need to look to other sources of wisdom, including Catholic morality/social teaching and/or the natural moral law to help us guide decisions about how best to serve the common good. We must weigh competing claims on the body politic (personal property rights versus other moral goods, like defending the weak or protecting public morals). As I’ve said before (this makes three times), I often think many of these goals can be achieved via local, private civic institutions and when the government needs to step in I prefer local, smaller units of government as outlined in our original Constitution. I’m a State’s rights, 10th Amendment guy who generally favors small government — but again, the question is always how we defend these institutions.

  • They don’t impose burdens on the free market for the sake of some do-gooder’s subjective idea of what is best for other people; they help the market function.

    I will let the lawyers’ here offer their piece. I suspect you can find moral and ethical notions incorporated within commercial law, bankruptcy law, and contract law.

  • I agree that prostitution should be illegal, but do regard the decision as requiring a prudential analysis even though prostitution is intrinsically evil always. It is folly to place in the hands of the state the putative ideal that all evils should be criminalized. The evil accomplished by any attempted execution of such a principle would be appalling. Indeed, this is the only rational defense of the pro-choice position — that the wrong of abortion is compounded by state intrusions upon personal privacy — a view that simply cannot withstand honest scrutiny. That said, I am of the view that all laws are essentially prudential in nature, meaning that it requires judgment and discernment to determine which evils should be criminalized and implicate state enforcement. Some are easy calls, such as abortion and other murders; others are more difficult such as pornography; and still others are easy for different reasons, such as remarriage after divorce. Of course, laws reflect culture and vice versa, and sometimes laws can be prescriptive for a culture rather than just describing its embedded norms. Presumably the healthier the culture the greater its ability enact and enforce laws in complete alignment with natural law, but we will always be assessing degrees given man’s fallen nature. I do think prostitution should be illegal, but that does not mean Aquinas and Augustine were wrong. Much depends on the era and its culture, and that even includes enforcement ability and tactics. Those who advocate a system of laws that is coextensive with morality, as opposed to being simply informed by morality, will lead us to a Hell on earth.

  • AD,

    I’m not suggesting that business law is devoid of ethics. A system that protects against force and fraud is an ethical system. A system designed to save people from themselves at the expense of others – what Sumner decried as A and B taking from C to give to X – claims to be ethical but is really a tyranny.

  • “Utility is something properly considered within the broad parameters of fundamental rights, not something that ought to override them.”

    Well said.

    “The problem we face now is the Internet. It’s barely worth discussing; there is next to nothing we can do about it.”

    I’m going to agree to disagree. Technology provides problems and solutions. Take filtering software — seems reasonable to install in public places like libraries. But libraries object because of ‘First Amendment’ worries. Nonsense — public morality should take precedence.

    “It is folly to place in the hands of the state the putative ideal that all evils should be criminalized.” [this was Mike’s comment]

    I agree — I suspect that ultimately I only disagree with Bonchamps (and maybe others on this comment thread) over the use of some rhetoric and over some prudential considerations about where to draw the line over state action. Unlike Bonchamps, I do believe that at times the state can help people “save them from themselves”, or at least make it easier for parents and communities to create an environment in which the human person can flourish. I’m basically talking about a return to the public morality of the 1950s — not the Middle-Ages.

  • “Likewise, the new Penal Code, proposed by Louis Michel le Peletier, Marquis de Saint-Fargeau (promulgated September 26 – October 6, 1791) abolished, without a debate, the crimes of blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft [le blasphème, la sodomie et la sorcellerie] along with other “offences against religion.” They had a good precedent in the Roman jurisprudence: “deorum injuriae diis curae” – Injuries against the gods are the gods’ concern.” Injuries against the gods are the gods’ concern.”
    .
    “Injuries against the gods are scandals and seduction of infant, un-emancipated and minor citizens, and contrary to the general welfare and the common good; public policy. If the children learn to blaspheme God, what will they do to their parents? If the children learn to cast evil spells or deny the human soul through sodomy, how will they come to recognize their immortal soul? How will they come to see beauty and know the truth when all they have seen is ugly? How will they come to realize their innocence and Justice after it has been erased from their memory? It is contrary to human nature and human rights.
    .
    Is that why there are so many zombie films on TV?

  • Art Deco wrote, “I will let the lawyers’ here offer their piece. I suspect you can find moral and ethical notions incorporated within commercial law, bankruptcy law, and contract law…”

    Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere, says Ulpian in the Digest { Dig.1.1.10.1 Ulpianus 1 reg] – These are the precepts of the law: to live uprightly, not to harm another, to give to each his own.

    Contract law is replete with the notion of good faith and there are remedies aplenty for fraud, accident, mistake and breach of confidence. Bankruptcy is all about a fair sharing of limited resources between creditors and, in Europe at least, protection of the vulnerable, by giving priority for arrears of wages.

    The law of delict is based on the obligation of the wrongdoer to make reparation. Property law, too, often has to adjudicate between the owner deprived of possession by some rogue and the bona fide possessor.

Tolerance and Graciousness in the Gay Marriage Debate

Thursday, March 6, AD 2014

A blogger named Dennis Sanders has written about the recent controversy in Arizona from the perspective of a gay man (“married” and “a man of the cloth”, he says). There are two main ideas in his piece, one that is the centerpiece and another that is peripheral but also important. The centerpiece is that “marriage equality” advocates (I will call them same-sex marriage, or SSM advocates) ought to recognize that the refusal of orthodox Christians to participate in gay weddings is not necessarily or even often attributable to hatred and bigotry. Though SSM advocates may not understand or condone the religious and philosophical arguments we put forward, it would be better for society if people on both sides could stop assuming the absolute worst of one another. The peripheral argument is that this proposed change of tone and behavior on the part of gay marriage activists is necessary if they are to be gracious winners in the culture war. It is Sanders’ belief, shared by many on his side of the argument, that they have won this war even if we on the other side have not surrendered yet. His language is civil and conciliatory, though one still cannot help but feel that the main point here is “let the babies have their bottles.”

As far as the first argument goes, I am all for it. Though I am sure that Mr. Sanders would be deeply offended or perhaps just annoyed at my refusal to recognize his relationship with another man as a marriage, I have always been a proponent of true and authentic tolerance. Sanders quotes another writer on tolerance, and both he and this writer agree with me: tolerance is only possible in relation to something or someone we dislike. I dislike the “marriage equality” movement immensely, not simply because of some passages from the Bible, but because of its concentrated philosophical and political attack on the natural law foundations of Western civilization. Its incessant self-comparison to black civil rights struggles is as fallacious as it is nauseating; its core assumptions, taken to their fullest implications, are anarchistic and nihilistic. It is precisely because the vast majority of ordinary people rarely take their stated beliefs to their logical conclusions that I am able and willing to tolerate most of those beliefs. I believe we can have a pluralistic society, governed by the 10th amendment of the US Constitution, in which different people in different polities can establish different laws and customs by which they live. Furthermore, they can and should peacefully co-exist within the same American nation. Such was, I believe, the vision of our founding fathers.

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15 Responses to Tolerance and Graciousness in the Gay Marriage Debate

  • I agree with every word in your essay, Bonchamps. Now, if we can only prevent the Supreme Court from rewriting natural law, our constitutional posterity will be spared much harm.

  • I agree with you in the long view Bonchamps. Those today treating believing Christians as pariahs will face the children, and grandchildren of those people, with ever waning ranks as ours wax. Philosophies at war with reproduction are doomed to be ephemeral.

  • I do not see the Russian government ever kowtowing to the homosexualist movement. Russia has a long distrust of the West – with some good reason, seeing how often Russia has been attacked through its history – Napoleon, World War I, and Hitler are just three of these events. Homosexualism is seen as a Western threat against Mother Russia and its Orthodox Church.

    I don’t see Hinduism and homosexualism ever getting along. Radical Hindus often attach Indian Catholics. They won’t put up with homosexuals demanding marriage.

    Islam will NEVER officially tolerate homosexualism. The stronger the movement grows in the West, the angrier the Muslim on the street will become, riled up by Muslim clergy who hate the US to begin with.

    The West seems to be hell bent on destroying itself. It will be the Church, the Remnant, that picks up the pieces and starts over again – just what happened when the Roman Empire collapsed.

  • So his idea is that they should recognize that we are not haters, and that they should be gracious winners.

    The law of nature says that eventually the tide will go out. People can only deny the truth for so long. I think people long for, reach for, aspire to Goodness and Truth and Beauty even if as individuals and communally we take long circuitous routes. Because I love some of those SSAttracted people I hope that when the tide goes out on them that we will truly be gracious.

  • I don’t think Hindus or Muslims or Russians or anybody else is immune to the type of emotional manipulation and thoroughly integrated and institutionalized propaganda we have been soaked in since the time of Kinsey if not before. Read “After the Ball..”

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  • What’s tragic about this is that 58% of RC’s support gay marriage. Check this article out –WHY DO A MAJORITY OF CATHOLICS THINK GOD IS WRONG ABOUT MARRIAGE?

    http://www.catholicvote.org/why-do-a-majority-of-catholics-think-god-is-wrong-about-marriage/

  • “[A]nd no, it is not in Leviticus – those passages, as I have often argued to the point of exasperation, should never be used by proponents of traditional marriage”

    Bravo, Bonchamps!

    I have always contended that it was a dreadful mistake to conflate arguments over the morality of sodomy with the analysis of the legal and social rôle of marriage.

    The enormous opposition to SSM in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France can be accounted for by this exclusive focus. There, the Code of 1804 contains no formal definition of marriage, but jurists have always found a functional definition in the provision that “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” which mirrors the doctrine of the Roman jurist, Paulus, “pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” [Marriage points out the father] (Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1). In other words, marriage establishes the juridical bond between fathers and their children and ensures, as far as possible, that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide.

    There, for opponents of SSM, the important moral question has been the defence of the ethical principle, enshrined in the law of France, that a child cannot be the subject or source of a transaction. They can see that every jurisdiction that has introduced same-sex marriage has also permitted human gametes to be treated as articles of commerce or tolerated a market in babies, bespoke or prêt-à-porter, through surrogate gestation, assisted reproduction and joint adoption by same-sex couples. I would add that those Americans who have viewed with equanimity the development of this form of human trafficking by opposite-sex couples have cut the ground for a principled opposition to SSM from under their feet. Instead, they have allowed their opposition to appear both sectarian and homophobic.

  • Well said Bonchamps! I, too, am exasperated when I hear people fall back on back on “the bible says so.” Natural law arguments are accessible to every mind. Even the obstinately closed minded people don’t find good reasoning against natural law, so they are forced to dismiss what they know to be obvious. The obvious fact that man and woman, for example, are designed for each other.
    It is also irritates me when somebody says they believe it because they are Catholic. No, we believe what is true and Catholics are called to pursue truth aided by natural law. The radio host, SH, frequently makes statements that weaken the clarity of our case for the truth.

  • Kevin: “the clarity of our case for the truth”
    .
    The truth of SSM is that no man can become a wife and no woman can become a husband by wanting to. The reality of SSM is that “We, the people”, who are all created equal, and therefore, ought to be treated equal and equal treatment is only possible in the truth, are being subjected to falsehood, perjury in a court of law, and being forced by the law to discriminate against the truth and allow the social lie that same sex orientation, an act of God and creation, legitimatizes and allows the free will act of sodomy and or masturbation and other self abuse. Sodomy is assault and battery of another person. One cannot consent to commit crime and remain in the truth. Sodomy is a crime, an assault and battery of the human body, and a violation of the truth of another person’s immortal soul.
    .
    The truth of another person’s immortal soul is our truth, as truth belongs to all people, for all time.

  • Penguins Fan
    I do not see the Russian government ever kowtowing to the homosexualist movement.

    Russia is desperate for more people– especially young ones. Quoth a good doctor, Russia needs Russians.

    Similar mindset, different point of the process.

  • The problem with natural law arguments is that, as far as I know, they can’t really be argued. They are presented, and the person hearing them accepts them to the extent of his capacity. They can remind people of what they already know, or make them realize what they intuitively know, but they can’t touch those who dismiss them either out of lack of understanding or obstinance.

  • There’s an excellent First Things article out there that you should read, Bonchamps, if you have not done so already – http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/03/against-heterosexuality

  • Thank you Jonathon for that article.

  • Very welcome, Anzlyne – I think it makes some excellent points.

AZ “Anti-Gay” Bill Vetoed

Wednesday, February 26, AD 2014

As I expected, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has vetoed SB 1062. Though it has been described in the media as a bill that establishes a “right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers”, this is quite false. The aim of the bill was to provide the same protections currently afforded to religious institutions under state law to  “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church,” “estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity” and to allow religious defense to be used as a defense in lawsuits by the same entities.

In itself, the bill is harmless. It makes no reference to homosexuals, even though the outrageously unjust decision of Elane Photography v. Willock, which may be heard by the Supreme Court at some point in the reasonably near future, was the impetus behind it. In context, however, the bill was quite unnecessary and I believe will ultimately end up causing more harm than good.

In the first place, Elane v. Willock took place in New Mexico, wherein homosexuals are a “protected class” under NM state law. No such protections exist in AZ; ergo, no legislation along these lines was really needed at this time. The actual threat to religious liberty, at least from the vindictive sort of activism that has brought photographers and bakers to court, was non-existent. The summary and background written by proponents of the bill made Elane one of its core concerns without recognizing that NMs distinctive protections for homosexuals were responsible for the legal conflict in that state (as an aside, I do not believe Elane Photography refused service simply because Willock was gay).

Because the bill wasn’t really necessary and a tangible threat in the form of an actual lawsuit against a Christian business owner was not in play, it was easy to see it as an irrationally spiteful measure (as I would see the actions of Vanessa Willock against Elane Photography, by the way). Now it is one thing to have to put up with the left-wing media’s triumphalism when we have a moral duty to make a stand, as Elane Photography and other businesses have; it is another thing to have to witness the spectacle of melodrama from the homosexual political movement and its straight allies as Brewer announced her decision. The passage, veto, and failure of SB 1062 gave aid to our enemies who would trample our religious liberties into dust, and did harm to our own cause. I do not blame Brewer for this. I blame imprudence on the part our well-meaning friends in Arizona. As the governor herself put it:

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.

We must only fight battles that need fighting. Preemptive strikes didn’t work out too well for George W. Bush and they aren’t going to work out well for the social conservative movement. Right now this country is split – roughly half of it agrees with our basic proposition that the right to free exercise of religion and conscience outweighs a gay couple’s right to have any business they like participate in their gay weddings. If we push for unnecessary legislation against vague or non-existent threats and hand PR victories to the enemies of liberty, that balance could shift against us in short order.

The moral high ground never belongs to perceived aggressors. Only those who strike back in legitimate self-defense can strike with overwhelming force and the moral support of the people. If this lesson is not absorbed, then our cause will never prevail.

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123 Responses to AZ “Anti-Gay” Bill Vetoed

  • I respectfully disagree. It is the veto that sends the wrong message. I don’t think the people of Arizona acting through their legislature has to wait until the situation becomes critical to take proactive measures. This law would have sent a signal to state courts that protection of religious freedom was of paramount concern and that any infringement must be in the interest of a compelling state interest only. They can see in Arizona as we all can elsewhere that advocates of same-sex practices will stop at nothing to advance their agenda. State boundaries mean nothing to those pursuing legitimacy of the “gay” lifestyle at the expense of people of faith. There is no placating such a mindset and there are no lengths that activists will go to harass those who get in their way. The question is will they have the coercive power of the state to back them up. The veto of this bill suggests that in the future in Arizona, they will.

  • Chris,

    I get your objection. I think we are on the defensive, though. I could have told you from day one of the bill’s final draft that Jan Brewer was going to veto it, and for exactly the reasons she said. Her reaction was all but inevitable. I do not think that this means that the totalitarian fanatics will have their way in AZ. I believe Gov. Brewer is an ally – she is pro-life and pro-family. I think she had good reasons for the veto.

    Put the blame with the imprudence behind the bill. Somewhere between “there is no threat” and “its too late” is the sweet spot in which it is safe to take defensive measures. The AZ legislature acted too soon and with an ultimately flawed argument about the implications of New Mexico. Of course the fanatics don’t care about state laws, but they don’t have absolute power. They were able to win in NM – for now, at least – because of NM law. They could not win in AZ – for now, at least – because of AZ law. What AZ social conservatives should focus on is preventing NM-style “protections” from becoming law, if and when those are proposed.

    We have to play it twice as smart and three times as safe because most of the national news media is against us and is looking for ANY reason to paint us as vile bigots destined for the ash heap of history. We are on the defensive and that changes everything about how we play this game.

  • Leading up to her veto, do you believe any of the arguments that AZ was going to suffer financial blow-back if she would of allowed the bill to become law?

    Anyone?

    I found that argument absurd.

  • From the AP.
    The national Hispanic Bar Asso. canceled its convention plans in AZ for 2015.

    I just came across this on associated press. It wasn’t absurd afterall.

    It’s sad that businesses that refuse to serve this lifestyle are going to be dragged into court on discrimination complaints. Because this hasn’t happened yet in AZ was a large factor in her decision to veto? I’m slow. Just catching up. Coffee soon.

  • The gay gestapo, again, wins.

    Next, they’ll sue a parish for refusing to perform Nuptial Rites for a show, sodomy regularization.

    A paltry, few (older religious) black Civil Rights leaders expressed outrage at the false comparison of this fake issue to Solid Democrat south Jim Crow/segregation – it’s a Democrat Party thing.

    In America, Catholics no longer have any right.

  • “A paltry, few (older religious) black Civil Rights leaders expressed outrage at the false comparison of this fake issue to Solid Democrat south Jim Crow/segregation – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/02/26/az-anti-gay-bill-vetoed/#comments

    And they are right to do so. There is no way that the discrimination of most ‘protected’ groups in America today can be compared to that of slaves and their descendants.

    But such is the heritage of the civil rights movement. That movement created two things that are not healthy in our body politic. The first is a template that can be followed by anyone who can claim some victimization from invidious discrimination, no matter how paltry (instead of the more reasonable view that the discrimination against blacks was unique and so the template should not have been reused). The second is an addiction to righteous emotions that requires the civil rights movement to never end.

  • (as an aside, I do not believe Elane Photography refused service simply because Willock was gay).” The repugnance of the gay militant agenda is enough to make gentle people avoid it. Its nasty demands covertly assume innocent homosexuals’ lives and smear the virtue of chastity as evil and against their so called license to unnatural marriage and freedom to sodomize each other…(then us).

  • TomD.
    “The first is the template that can be followed by anyone who can claim some victimization from insidious discrimination…”

    Except the unborn.

    What a world.

  • I have mixed feelings about the AZ bill. A few weeks ago I basically supported such an idea. Today I am not so sure. Please permit me to lay out my reasoning.

    It is obvious that homosexuals are using the power of the state to redefine marriage to their advantage (though it has been pointed out that the main advantage of gay marriage is gay divorce).

    It is obvious that other radicals are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless.

    It is obvious that orthodox Christianity (Catholic, Eastern, and Protestant) considers marriage to be a ‘mystery’ or ‘sacrament’ that cannot be redefined in the manner that is now underway. Please note that I understand that some but not all Protestants are orthodox in their views on marriage.

    So what is happening today, from a Christian viewpoint, is that the secular state is usurping to itself the power to define a sacrament. Arguably the state did this centuries ago when it began to issue marriage licenses and to prohibit clergy from officiating at marriages without a license. This legal power to redefine marriage have lain dormant until now, and the changes in Western societal mores are now driving the state to use this power.

    If the state redefines marriage away from the Christian definition, and if the power of the state and of powerful non-state institutions such as the media are used to defend and propagandize the redefinition of marriage, then Christianity is to some degree being discriminated against, and persecuted. The state is telling Christians that their churches are wrong in a major question of faith and morals. Religious liberty is being undermined.

    The only way out of this insipid persecution is to either return to the original civil definition of marriage, or for the state to get out of the marriage business entirely. The state could stop issuing marriage licenses, and issue only civil union licenses. Marriage thus becomes a purely religious institution. The Church defines marriage for me, and if you don’t like it you can go start your own church and have your own definition of marriage. I’m staying put.

    Think about it. This is precisely what we do regarding the Eucharist. Different churches have different definitions about the Body of Christ. The analogy of the current situation would be that, say, the state has decided that the Lutheran definition is the correct one because it is more inclusive and non-discriminatory, and so the law will recognize it over the non-Lutheran definitions.

    Today Christians who own businesses that serve the public do not discriminate against Lutherans or non-Lutherans. Today’s Christians do not even discriminate against heterosexual adulterers in their businesses. Is homosexuality really that different? Yes, today homosexuals are in the forefront of the de-Christianization of our society, but others (such as divorcees and unmarried contraception users) were in the forefront before them. I personally think that this is the real reason why the AZ bill was supported.

    So, is the fight against gay marriage wrong for us to fight? No, it isn’t. But I would argue that the fight should not be against gay marriage per se, but rather against the state’s support of it. I think we need to say that our Church is important, and it’s teachings on family and sexuality are important, and that we therefore have to right to put our wagon train into a circle and demand the right to not change no matter how the anti-Christians deride us as “haters”. We must demand the right to not have the state cram the redefinition of marriage down our throats and to imply that it agrees with anti-Christians that we are “haters”. Since we have the right to resist all this, we have the right to oppose being forced to give business services to support this state redefinition of marriage.

    In the final analysis, we cannot mount such a fight if we cannot be this particular about our reasons. We cannot use the legal power of the state to keep our society ‘good’ (think of the lack of ‘good’ in an improperly consecrated Eucharist), but our opponents need to see that they can’t use the state in a similar manner. At least over our dead bodies. Your thoughts?

  • I don’t like giving in to bullies, but I don’t think the bill was a good idea– it placed requirements along the lines of “prove it” on folks refusing service.

  • Philip, you are exactly right. The unborn and the profoundly mentally challenged cannot “claim” victim status or anything else without aid from another person. The great god Autonomy recognizes them not.

  • The devil is a liar. When a person says: “I Will, til death do us part”, gives informed consent freely without impediment and then changes his mind, recants his informed consent, his “I WILL, ’til death do us part”, he becomes a liar, a minion of the devil. A liar, a minion of the devil, cannot be trusted in a court of law, not in a church or a court of law without repenting his sin, his crime, his untruth.
    .
    The truth is defended by the Catholic church and must be defended by the court of Justice. If an impediment exists, such as faulty consent, an annulment is given, saying that no marriage, no sacrament was brought to bear. Divorce says that a marriage, a sacrament exists, and that the Church or the state has the power to eradicate a sacrament or a contract made of a man’s free will.
    .
    This is plainly a lie and son of a devil, any and every devil whose name is legion.

  • Mary, you want courts of law to recognize the existence of the devil? Why bother, they already recognize the existence of lawyers. (Sorry Don. Sorry Dad)

  • 🙂 funny….but to easy a target Dave.

  • I know the-devil-and-lawyers is a trope, Philip, but I couldn’t help myself.

  • It’s funny until we need one!

  • We all need to think like lawyers. Jesus did command us to be “as wise as serpents” after all, even as he called on us to also maintain our innocence.

  • “Mary, you want courts of law to recognize the existence of the devil? Why bother, they already recognize the existence of lawyers. (Sorry Don. Sorry Dad)”

    “In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.”

    Grant Gilmore

  • TomD

    Here in Scotland, until 1940, the state did not regulate marriage. Marriage required —no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. Mere consent of parties, deliberately given, was alone sufficient to constitute a marriage without a moment’s delay without any consent of parents or guardians or any notice to them; add to which that a mere promise of marriage, followed by consummation, or a living together as man and wife, without either formal consent or promise, amounted also to a marriage, being deemed by operation of law to involve presumptions of consent.

    As late as the 1980s, actions for declarator of marriage were a commonplace, often brought 40 or 50 years after the alleged event, usually when the man (it was mostly the man) had died. Widows and children, threatened with disinheritance often enough bought off claims that were little more than blackmail.

    The reasons brought forward for changing the law were obvious:

    1) As regards the rights and interests of the parties themselves, it is obvious that, in order to constitute marriage, the matrimonial consent should be given in a manner which secures previous deliberation, and that, whatever formalities the law may require in the mode of expressing consent, it should be so expressed that neither party can, at the time, entertain a doubt as to the validity of the engagement into which they solemnly enter.
    2) As regards consequences affecting others the matrimonial consent should be given in a manner and accompanied with evidence easily accessible; so that the rights and interests of others may not be exposed to the imminent hazard which arises from any uncertainty with regard to the effects of previous latent subsisting engagements, whether arising from the fraud of one of the contracting parties, or from causes of a less culpable nature, in consequence of uncertainty attending the legal effects of previous conduct.
    3) As regards the rights and interests of future generations, it is of the utmost importance that questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by rendering the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.

    I consider these reasons for state regulation unanswerable

  • Michael Paterson:

    I’m not so sure that your points are unanswerable. Point #3 in particular would be moot in a society that cares not a whit for future generations, and shows its intent by contracepting and aborting them out of existence. And all of your points to one degree or another have been only weakly supported by modern ‘government regulation’ – the decay of the traditional family being the chief proof. If this is what marriage is for then government has largely failed.

    But my main (halfhearted) point still stands: all of the positive things you argue for can be gained via civil unions. My argument is that we rename the civil institution of marriage to something else, and let government work toward its just goals through that something else. In the meantime we Christians get to have the marriage we want to have, and no one holding secular power can say we are wrong. Once government leaves the marriage arena the debate over the nature of marriage becomes a theological debate only.

  • TomD-
    when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?

    Incidentally, please stop slandering an entire culture based on the loud idiots. Yes, too many people sin sexually. That is no reason to dynamite the support for those who aren’t, or are trying not to.

  • Foxfier: “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?”

    I assume this group is one of those, as I put it above, are “radicals [who] are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless”? Yes, you put your finger on the weak spot in this argument, which is why I am “halfhearted” about it: break the connection with Christian marriage, and the state will come to support ANY combination of legal relationships and will try and call it ‘marriage’. But, they are already doing this. I am making an argument similar to a damage control party who counterfloods a sinking ship: break the connection, and we just might save marriage, though only for us Christians. Haven’t you noticed that the ship is already sinking?

    Slander is a rather strong word. Who did I slander and how? Slander requires untruthfulness. Where was I untruthful?

  • I assume this group is one of those, as I put it above, are “radicals [who] are waiting in the wings to add further redefinitions of marriage (poly-whatever) that will make marriage almost meaningless”?

    No.

    They try to remove all religion from the public sphere.

    Haven’t you noticed that the ship is already sinking?

    1) No, it is not. It’s damaged, but not sinking. Even the “50% of marriages end in divorce” statistic is false.

    Your solution is to look at the USS Cole, with a huge hole in the side, and decide the solution is to blow a hole in the other side, and then declare that those who say stop doing damage are fools who will kill us all because all is lost.

  • Foxfier wrote: “Your solution is to look at the USS Cole, with a huge hole in the side, and decide the solution is to blow a hole in the other side, and then declare that those who say stop doing damage are fools who will kill us all because all is lost.”

    A ship the size of the USS Cole lacks transverse bulkheads, so they do flood all the way to the other side when holed, but on larger naval ships that is almost precisely what damage control teams do, though they don’t actually blow a hole. I brought up the analogy because of your “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them” comment. It occurred to me that years ago the Imperial Japanese Navy strove to flood U.S. Navy ships, and U.S. Navy damage control strove to flood them, and so the uninitiated would think that the IJN and USN goals were the same. They both flooded the same ships, right? Therefore, it does not logically follow that an idea of mine is suspect because a spiritual enemy of ours advocates it. My reason is not their reason, and I think I was clear on that.

    BTW, a fun digression: naval architects will tell you that the first priority in designing a ship is “that it does not sink”. A no-brainer, right? The second priority is “that if it sinks the people can get off it”. Paramount to this second priority it to avoid designs that could cause a ship to turn turtle. The U.S. Navy refused to allow transverse bulkheads in cruisers, and felt vindicated after a few Royal Navy cruisers turned turtle in WW2. Better to flood a ship all the way across than to lose a crew.

  • Oh, one more thing. The “ship” I hade in mind for sinking is not the Church, that is in fact growing around the world. It is our Western society that is sinking – remember that current German birth rates will lead to the extinction of Germans by 2500 AD, and the Western elites who think this is a good thing to emulate have their countries on the same path, only slower. I don’t think it need sink, damage control is still possible, and it ought to be saved. But it is slowly sinking.

  • They both flooded the same ships, right? Therefore, it does not logically follow that an idea of mine is suspect because a spiritual enemy of ours advocates it. My reason is not their reason, and I think I was clear on that.

    It does not matter what your reason was, when your result is the same.

    Major difference being, ie, when those who flood both sides are there is still a ship, while when you blow out the other side the wounded ship sinks.

  • Your original point was on “society”.

    Which, amazingly enough, I am a member of– and which has not even hit a 50% failure rate, let alone an “abandon all hope” type failure rate.

    I frankly do not give a fig what assumptions based on people doing the same blessed thing they’re doing right now for five hundred years would result in, because past evidence holds that PEOPLE DON’T KEEP DOING THE SAME THING FOR FIVE HUNDRED YEARS.

  • “In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” Grant Gilmore .
    Jesus descended into hell. The laws of hell refused Him entrance. Jesus took the patriarchs and ascended into heaven.
    .
    “when your solution involves the same goals as the Freedom From Religion foundation, perhaps you should re-examine them?”
    .
    The Freedom From Religion Foundation can say nothing to me or to the courts or to the state.
    Atheists are tolerated. Atheism is unconstitutional. The First Amendment: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” is freedom of religion to me in the public square.
    .
    God gives us this: genius
    .
    “The Civil Rights Acts that banned discrimination on the basis of race by private vendors were unusual legislative acts based on an unusual situation: state governments that mandated such discrimination by private businesses. It took government action to break down such government mandated discrimination. Absent such government mandated discrimination, I think most Americans, if they truly ponder it, would be all in favor of businesses discriminating in some cases. For example, I assume few people are against restaurants discriminating against nudists by mandating clothes. I imagine few Americans would feel comfortable telling a black owned barbecue restaurant that they must cater a Klan rally. A Jewish run deli really should not be required to provide take out for the group calling for divestiture from Israel. I am not going to represent the owner of an abortion clinic under any circumstances. In theory Americans might be against private discrimination in commerce, but when it comes down to actual cases, I suspect that almost all Americans are not non-discrimination absolutists. When businesses discriminate they of course run the risk of losing customers, but freedom of the consumer goes along with freedom for the vendor.”

    – See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/02/27/private-discrimination-is-as-american-as-apple-pie/#sthash.6tZ6zQzl.dpuf
    .
    Laws that the government makes and that are or that become unjust, the government must unmake. Otherwise, government used to engineer its citizens through corrupt laws is government without law.
    .
    Capitalism, like social Justice, is about giving to persons what they truly need as opposed to what they want.
    .
    Do gays need unnatural marriage? Or cakes for their counterfeit vows? Does the gay agenda need to arrogate the office of husband or wife and militate against virtue? Does gay addiction lead to happiness?

  • Foxfier, past evidence shows that people often DO do the same thing for five hundred years. And you know what? Even if they don’t the damage is often irreversible. Europe is dying, the birthrate implosion is real and will not change unless there is Divine intervention. America is not dying but there are those here who want us to be like Europe. If you are going to argue these facts are wrong then I’m simply going to give up on you.

  • Thanks Mary for reminding me that I have to read that “apple pie” article. I’ve been away for much of the day.

    When I took my business law courses the first thing I was told was that “law creates discrimination”, and the section you quote shows that very well. This fact is why civil right law is based on outlawing “invidious” discrimination – in effect civil rights law discriminates among different discriminations: a few are bad, but most are good.

  • Tom D.
    .
    Lying in a court of law is still called perjury. The child is evidence of the marital act between a man and a woman. It is no small reason why abortion is prevalent. The courts may uphold the marriage vow as a legal contract between two persons.

  • “3) As regards the rights and interests of future generations, it is of the utmost importance that questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by rendering the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.”
    .
    Somewhere I learned that any child born into a marriage, although he may be illegitimately begotten, is a child who is legally a member of that family.
    .
    “I consider these reasons for state regulation unanswerable”
    .
    If you mean, Michael Paterson-Seymour, that the state has nothing to say about the matter, except to uphold the law, you are correct.

  • TomD

    A great Scottish judge. Lord Meadowbank famously declared (Gordon v Pye (1814)) that private pacts “cannot impede or embarrass the steady uniform course of the jus publicum, which, with regard to the rights and obligations of individuals affected by the three great domestic relations, enacts them from motives of political expediency and public morality and nowise confers them as private benefits resulting from agreements concerning meum et tuum, which are capable of being modified and renounced at pleasure. Accordingly, the case of Campbell of Carrick in rejecting the competency of any personal objection to bar a pursuer of declarator of marriage establishes by the highest authority the incompetency and inefficiency of any obligations, not sanctioned by the common law, to operate on matrimonial rights.”

    Speaking of foreign marriages, he said, “Matrimonial rights and obligations, on the contrary, so far as juris gentium, admit of no modification by the will of parties and foreign courts are therefore nowise called upon to inquire after that will or after any municipal law to which it may correspond. They are bound to look to their own law and it is with all deference thought to be in a particular degree contrary to principle to make that law bend to the dictates of a foreign law in the administration of that department of internal jurisprudence, which operates directly on public morals and domestic manners… This category of law does not affect the contracting individuals only, but the public and that in various ways; and the consequences would prove not a little inconvenient, embarrassing and probably even inextricable, if the personal capacities of individuals, as of majors or minors, the competency to contract marriages and infringe matrimonial obligations, the rights of domestic authority and service and the like were to be qualified and regulated by foreign laws and customs, with which the mass of the population must be utterly unacquainted.”

    This applies with equal force to the notion that every sect might establish its own laws governing these matters.

  • Tom D.

    Apology owed. I mis-quoted you.
    Unintentional. Invidious! “insidious” was used. Excuse me.

    Mary DeVoe.

    “Freedom of the customer goes along with freedom of the vendor.”
    It makes sense.
    So the Gay mafia is feeling the power swing that’s been propelling their agenda, so they are riding the wave and complaining in a court of law whenever they feel insulted?
    This is honestly more of a offensive move on their part then defending themselves aginist discrimination.
    It’s part of the war on Christian values.

  • Have there been any cases of devout Catholic vendors being sued for refusing to cater/photograph/host, etc. the wedding or reception of a couple who had been divorced (without obtaining a decree of nullity) from their previous spouses, or who were otherwise marrying outside the Church? According to Catholic teaching, those unions are also not true marriages and Catholics must not endorse or cooperate in them. The usual pastoral counsel for individuals in these cases is either 1) decline to attend or participate in the wedding or reception and don’t send gifts because that would be cooperating in a sinful act, or 2) attend in order to keep family peace but make clear ahead of time that you believe their action to be morally wrong.

    That said, I’ve never personally heard of a Catholic photographer, caterer, etc. asserting or being told that he/she has a moral obligation to refuse service should he/she discover that the couple in question are Catholics marrying outside the Church. Nor have I ever been told that a Catholic court clerk has a moral obligation not to sign off on marriage licenses for couples remarrying after divorce or Catholic couples not marrying in the Church (provided, of course, that they KNOW the couple is in this situation — which is one significant difference, a same-sex couple is always obvious while a male-female couple attempting a marriage not sanctioned by the Church isn’t.)

    I bring this question up for two reasons: first, to discover whether there have indeed been any such cases that I just don’t know about, and second, to make the point that if Catholic vendors, etc., have not previously shown any moral qualms about serving opposite-sex wedding ceremonies that, according to their beliefs, were illicit, might that not be undermining their present argument that they have a grave moral obligation to refuse same-sex couples? And if that’s the case, does this mean that for consistency, maybe Catholic vendors need to also start being more selective about which “traditional” opposite-sex couples they serve? Or maybe just not do weddings at all except as a personal favor to people they know and trust? For example, if a baker normally just sold regular baked goods and didn’t advertise to the public that they had any means for doing wedding catering.

  • Elaine.
    You ask good questions.
    A baker having to be worried about being sued if they decide to protect their conscience. Weird times.
    Here’s one; From Vision to America this morning. The girl scouts named their NYC “Girl Experience Officer” as Krista Kokjohn-Poehler. An openly gay/lesbian who has a partner, and now holds this interesting title in the organization.

    Girl experience officer. Watch your cookies. As for our family…no thanks.

  • Elaine,

    None of the high-profile cases thus far have involved Catholics, to my knowledge. We are well represented when it comes to the HHS mandate but not when it comes to the individual business issue.

    It could be because more Catholics (self-identified, at any rate) defy Church teaching on both issues than evangelical Protestants do on the gay wedding issue.

  • Hi Elaine! You wrote “…second, to make the point that if Catholic vendors, etc., have not previously shown any moral qualms about serving opposite-sex wedding ceremonies that, according to their beliefs, were illicit, might that not be undermining their present argument that they have a grave moral obligation to refuse same-sex couples?”

    That is very much the point that I making in a more backhanded way, although I mostly cited the Eucharist as the affected sacrament. I think this is a very valid point. And why did it happen? Because people see the possibility of conflict between standing up for church teaching and charity. They did years ago, of course, but charity didn’t win out as often as it does today. Oh, and I am deliberately using today’s definition of charity, since the very valid concept of “false charity” have very little traction anymore.

    So, if Christian business owners serve illicit heterosexual ceremonies, can they logically still reject homosexual ceremonies? Up until now they have, and they have justified it on natural law arguments, which tell us that homosexuality IS different. Natural law has, not coincidentally, come under attack. The ABA, for example, has done its best to remove natural law as a philosophical underpinning of constitutional law, which is why courts so rarely cite the Declaration of Independence anymore. Many people today still basically follow in natural law for judgment on the morality (or lack thereof) of homosexual acts, but thanks to pro-homosexual propaganda have trouble using it in discriminating circumstances.

  • Foxfier, past evidence shows that people often DO do the same thing for five hundred years

    Where?

    Where is your past evidence that it is reasonable to expect Germany to be depopulated in 500 years due to the birth rate not changing at all in that time?

  • Philip: “Mary DeVoe. “Freedom of the customer goes along with freedom of the vendor.”
    This common sense comes from Donald McClarey.

  • Elaine

    It could be that Catholic moral theologians have often taken a generous view on when “remote material co-operation” is permitted, with a suitable “direction of intention.”

    The 17th century Casuists were very lenient. Thus, Étienne Bauny SJ says, “Let confessors observe that they cannot absolve servants who perform base errands, if they consent to the sins of their masters; but the reverse holds true, if they have done the thing merely from a regard to their temporal emolument.” He instances carrying letters and presents to the ladies their master wishes to seduce.

    Similar considerations apply to tradesmen. So, according to Vincenzo Filliucci SJ, a locksmith may sell picklocks and skeleton keys to a thief, for use in his general business as a housebreaker; he is not complicit in the sins the thief subsequently resolves to commit with them. It is otherwise, if the locksmith copies the keys of a particular house that he knows the thief is planning to break into. In that case, he is art and part of the particular theft.

    I am sure the theologians could have relieved the scruples of florists and bakers.

  • Mary DeVoe
    and
    Donald McClarey.

    Thanks. I didn’t realize it was Donald’s comment.

  • Foxlier, many people, including Germans, allowed their societies to be anti-Semitic in one form or another for more than 500 years. Islam as practiced by many has been a destructive societal force for far more than 500 years. I could name others. So I can conclude that it is possible for the modern Western pseudo-utopia to provide for the next 500 years the contraception and abortion and television and vacations that will basically eliminate their populations.

    BTW, you have a bad habit of misrepresenting my statements. I did not maintain that Germany will be depopulated, and even by inference depopulation is not the most reasonable conclusion. Germans will not disappear by dwindling to four, then two, then one. They will disappear because they will intermarry with their more numerous replacements.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: I agree with Lord Meadowbank on civil marriage. I don’t think his view is really counter to mine, which is that an ahistorical Lord Meadowbank cannot use Scottish law to tell the Church what the nature of Christian marriage is, and that the Church has every right to resist the ahistorical Lord Meadowbank’s attempts to better it in moral and sacramental theology.

    I really liked your post on the Casuists. There is so much to history.

  • You said:
    It is our Western society that is sinking – remember that current German birth rates will lead to the extinction of Germans by 2500 AD, and the Western elites who think this is a good thing to emulate have their countries on the same path, only slower.

    This is not on par with “being anti-Sematic, in one form or another” nor is it on par with “being Islamic.”

    You also then accuse me of misrepresenting you because:
    I did not maintain that Germany will be depopulated, and even by inference depopulation is not the most reasonable conclusion.

    So you believe the Germans will be extinct based on extrapolating current birth rates if they