2 Responses to Just In Case…

Let’s Discuss! – Ron Paul & Foreign Policy

Thursday, May 3, AD 2012

There are certain topics that tend to come up a lot here at TAC, and foreign policy is one of them. Often times the discussion breaks out on a comment thread of a post that has nothing to do with foreign policy whatsoever, and so those of us who want to continue the discussion either choose not to, or are politely advised by the moderators here to stay on-topic. This happens with a few other topics as well. So every now and again, I think it would be fun to do a post that addresses one of these topics so we can “have it out” without any hindrances or encumbrances. They’ll be called “Let’s Discuss!” and they’ll cover different topics that come up in the comment threads that don’t get finished. Hopefully they will be of interest to new readers as well.

I’d like to discuss these things charitably too, and I’ll do my best to start out on that foot. I’ll also do my best not to respond in kind if the first response is “you’re a moron who supports a lunatic and should be banned from participating in politics or having children.”

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106 Responses to Let’s Discuss! – Ron Paul & Foreign Policy

  • As a Catholic you make a very pragmatic secular arguement and don’t seem to recognize values as a legitimate reason for deciding foreign policy. But note that this is the reason religious conservatives, often closet evangelical Zionists, are the real pigs in the audience behind the boos you mention. They never seem to have heard the sermon on the mount or Jesus’s rebuke of Peter “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” Instead they seek some very ugly revenge on hapless third world people whose pseudo-religious revenge motive is much like these Zionists.

  • Look, I don’t know if there is a charitable way of saying this. But anyone who equates the US going into Pakistan to kill bin Laden without Pakistan’s foreknowledge (consider that given bin Laden being housed just a few miles from a Pakistani military academy and that they probably would have tipped him off that we were coming) with Chinese agents killing a Chinese dissident on our soil and that a nuked up Iran doesn’t pose a threat has zero credibility on foreign policy. Anyone who would trust Ron Paul on foreign is either ignorant or as nuts as he is. End of discussion close the book!!!

  • Jihadis attacked the NYC WTC and the Pentagon because of something the US did to . . .

    The Japs attacked Pearl Harbor because of something isolationist US did or would not sell to . . .

    Hitler declared war on the US because . . .

    Are you and Paul saying we need to stop doing (our idea of) good in the world or advancing (our idea of) US national interests because evil men will resist us?

    Maybe America should adopt the Swiss model: strict neutrality but armed to the teeth to protect from invasion. The US never was that way, you know. The Monroe Doctrine comes to mind. And, Manifest Destiny was not isolationist, it was expansionist.

    Why do they hate us?

    Maybe for the same reasons the Devil hates God.

    You are not anti-american. You seem to be isolationist. America was isolationist before WWI and up to WWII. Maybe the US should have ignored Pearl Harbor (obviously we did something to merit it) sat it out and watched the trial by combat of whether Britain and USSR could prevail against Nazi Germany and japan. And, maybe Tojo and Hitler would have left the US alone after they defeated the rest of the World . . .

    Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, Muhammad and his successors for 1,100 years, Ghengis Khan, et al only conquered those nations that irritated them . . . NOT!

  • The poster above me is unfortunately misinformed. Which coincidentally is the core reason we are in the trouble we are in today. A misinformed public. Nothing can be more dangerous then a misinformed public that refuses to discuss issues, and states “End of discussion close the book!!!” without giving thought to other possibilities of a given situation. It’s mindlessness at best.

    The difficulty in getting the truth out, is getting people to accept or even “hear” something that is contrary to their opinion. The ability to self analyze honestly, and actually change your belief is a hard thing to do, and almost feels as though you are betraying yourself. I personally have gone through it, it is very difficult. It’s nothing short of a train wreck when the beliefs you’ve held for so long come crashing together with conflicting idea’s.

    With that said I hope some reading this will open their mind’s a little bit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw7bcuonFjs

    .

  • Greg,

    I don’t think it’s “nuts” to point out that actions that may – depending on how they are perceived – violate another nation’s sovereignty are unwise. I do agree that the analogy was not a good one.

    As for Iran, I made my view on that known in the actual post, if you care to read it.

  • Bob D,

    “As a Catholic you make a very pragmatic secular arguement and don’t seem to recognize values as a legitimate reason for deciding foreign policy. ”

    Well, I do apply just war criteria to our wars too – but I don’t think we can all agree on how that criteria is best applied.

  • Shaw,

    I’d say I am non-interventionist, not isolationist. I like free trade and diplomacy, and even military intervention when I think it is really necessary/justified.

    “Are you and Paul saying we need to stop doing (our idea of) good in the world or advancing (our idea of) US national interests because evil men will resist us?”

    I think it is in our interests to stop trying to impose “our idea of good” on people who manifestly do not accept it.

  • Well, Bonchamps, if Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq and was making bellicose gestures toward Iran, the whole “deterrence” argument might, I say, might have some legs. But since Hussein is not only no longer in power, but no longer alive and Iran faces no real threat from its neighbors or anyone else, this is a non-sequiter at best. However, Iran poses a grave threat to Israel and has explicitly stated such. Iran is also the puppetier of many Islamic terrorist groups that pose a serious threat to us. A nuclear armed Iran makes that threat even worse.

    Saying a regime like Iran given its intentions can have a nuke is just plain nuts.

  • ” this is a non-sequiter at best”

    No it isn’t. It isn’t irrational for a country to consider relatively recent history when making policy decisions about defense.

    “However, Iran poses a grave threat to Israel and has explicitly stated such.”

    Iran knows that if it attacked Israel with a nuclear weapon, it would be destroyed.

    As for “explicit statements”, what are you talking about? The mistranslated quote? Please read the link I provided on that. If this is what you’re basing your policy views on, then you have a faulty foundation. That’s why I’m concerned about this issue. I think there are a lot of false assumptions out there.

    ” Iran is also the puppetier of many Islamic terrorist groups that pose a serious threat to us.”

    To us or Israel? The main group Iran sponsors, as far as I know, is Hezbollah. And Hezbollah doesn’t give a damn about the United States.

    “Saying a regime like Iran given its intentions can have a nuke is just plain nuts.”

    I think your assumption about its intentions are somewhat flawed.

  • It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11. It was the evil will of Mohamed Atta and his comrades that made it happen. As you say actions have consequences, but inaction and ignorance perhaps even more so. No one up till then had seriously entertained the possibility that fellow human beings would slam planeloads full of screaming children into skyscrapers. Ron Paul could have found less tasteless things to say. The US as a benign superpower has far flung responsibilities. It maintains a large force in S Korea, whose sole purpose is to prevent a surprise attack by the North. Suppose some of Kim’s suicide agents manage to fly a plane into the BOA tower, would Ron Paul maintain that it was somehow the responsibility of the US? Would his apologists claim that he was making a tautological statement? The US in general does not overstay its welcome. When the Philippines requested that the US vacate Subic Bay, she did so without hesitation. They are now asking her back in the face of the rising power of China but that is another story.

    Whether the Iranian nutjob claimed that Israel should be wiped off of the map, or merely that he wished to see the end of Israel is a meaningless distraction from the very real danger posed by the madman. He is a Basanj, one of those cruel fanatics who rounded up young children to run through Iraqi minefields during the Iran-Iraq war. A true believer in the return of the Mahdi. There is little doubt that given the opportunity, he will use the most terrible weapons against Israel, not for anything that they had done but to raise his profile in the Muslim world. For it is an unfortunate fact of life today, that the easiest way for the Shias to claim that they are better Muslims than the Sunnis is to work for the destruction of Israel.

  • Iran’s position is far from enviable. Internally, it has declining oil reserves; it has witnessed a catastrophic decline in its birth-rate, leading to a rapidly ageing population. Externally, it faces the possibility of a radical Sunni government taking power in Syria and it has a long-running dispute with Russia and Azerbaijan over the Caspian oil-fields (and about a quarter of its population, concentrated in the North, are ethnic Azeris)

    Obviously, the best way out of its difficulties is to destabilise the Saudi monarchy, as a prelude to annexing, or installing a puppet regime in the Shite area of Saudi Arabia, which just happens to include some of that country’s richest oil reserves. In this, it could expect support from the Shite majority in Iraq. Like France in 1914, it may well see demographics as a spur to prompt action, as its available population of military age is declining rapidly.

    Does this represent a threat to the United States? It is difficult to see how – What could be better than conflict and instability amongst the enemies of Israel?

  • “It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11.”

    No, that statement itself really makes no sense. By saying that this country is partially responsible for what happens to it, it doesn’t morally justify what actually happened. It’s simply an acknowledgement of reality.

    ” It was the evil will of Mohamed Atta and his comrades that made it happen.”

    Life is not a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Is their methods, their motives, or both you are calling evil here?

    ” No one up till then had seriously entertained the possibility that fellow human beings would slam planeloads full of screaming children into skyscrapers.”

    Are you kidding? This is naivety of the highest order. We live in a world in which governments have murdered tens of millions of their own people and people from countries they were ruthlessly invading and occupying, all within the last 100 years. We live in a world in which there is terrorism, nuclear weapons, ethnic cleansing, biological weapons, racial and religious divisions, naked and savage ideological hatred, a world that has known war for has long as humanity has been present within it. We live in a country with a government that has dropped tens of thousands of tonnes of explosive ordinance on dozens of nations around the globe, that has overthrown governments, that has had people assassinated (and I’m not even saying that it was NEVER justified – sometimes it was!).

    We live in a world like this, and the idea that some men would hijack planes and fly them into buildings astounds you?

    Really?

    I mean, we fought a country that used airplanes as missiles as a routine part of their military tactics in WWII. The kamikazie has been around for sometime.

    “Ron Paul could have found less tasteless things to say. ”

    It’s not about taste. It’s about understanding the world we live in.

    “The US as a benign superpower has far flung responsibilities. ”

    The US is on the verge of bankruptcy. It is time for other people to take responsibility. It is time for Japan, for instance, to start paying its own defense tab. It is time for Europe to let go of the welfare state and start paying its own defense tab. There can still be a free flow of information and technology with our allies but they need to become militarily self-sufficient.

    “Suppose some of Kim’s suicide agents manage to fly a plane into the BOA tower, would Ron Paul maintain that it was somehow the responsibility of the US?”

    I don’t know why you’d think that.

    “There is little doubt that given the opportunity, he will use the most terrible weapons against Israel, not for anything that they had done but to raise his profile in the Muslim world. ”

    Then he’d be destroyed himself. And he knows that. If the argument is that he doesn’t care about being destroyed, I see no evidence of that. Only some rather hysterical fear-mongering.

  • “Our freedom is so infringed upon by our own politicians and government regulations in the name of security, or fighting terrorism, or social justice, or environmental justice, or regulatory fairness, or redistribution of wealth, or Presidential prerogative, or healthcare as a human right, it almost seems that we have nothing more to fear from radical-Islamo-fascist terrorists. If we are no longer free, they have no reason to hate us. The job they set out to do with the 9/11 attacks seems to have been a success. Our freedom is diminishing so we need not fear them.”

  • Another cogent argument:

    “It’s the perfect self-perpetuating cycle: (1) They hate us and want to attack us because we’re over there; therefore, (2) we have to stay and proliferate ourselves because they hate us and want to attack us; (3) our staying and proliferating ourselves makes them hate us and want to attack us more; therefore, (4) we can never leave, because of how much they hate us and want to attack us. ”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/05/15/afghanistan_45/

  • Ron Paul has some good things to offer on foreign policy but his supporting arguments are not often the best. It is not a matter of indifference whether or not Iran develops nuclear weapons. However they are a signatory to the international Non-Proliferation Treaty, and have not been shown to be in violation of it. That agreement does allow nuclear activities for peaceful purposes, including limited enrichment. So far no one has shown that they are in violation, by producing nuclear weapons. It would also be far better if the US was pushing for a nuclear weapons free zone in the entire middle east which would include Israel.

  • Ron Paul has some good ideas but anyone who wants to legalize any drugs is foolish. You really ready to have “Joe’s Pot Shop” opened next to the local movie theater?? and how’s keeping legal booze away from teens working out?? Read this
    http://drugfreecalifornia.org/marijuana

  • I will say one thing in Bonchamps’ defense: if we made ourselves energy independent (e.g., via nuclear energy and the hydrogen or liquid fuels generated therefrom), then we could tell the Arab and Persian fanatics to go drown in their mineral slime and get the heck out of lands of Islamic fascism.

    As for Iran having nuclear weapons, perhaps our response ought to be: use them and we’ll smash you into the neolithic age. I think it’s inevitable that the mad mullahs will get such weapons. A missile defense shield (that Obama wants to surrender to the Russians) and an overwhelmingly greater number of nuclear weapons (that Obama wants to reduce by 80%) is sufficient to keep Iran in its place.

    That said, I don’t like Ron Paul especially for his foreign policy, and I do think we should continue to support Israel (I am unabashedly pro-Zionist and I am sure all the right thinking Catholics will now declare me a heretic; oh well). But I will give the devil his due, as it were.

  • Very brave of you, sir. I admire your courage, and stand in general agreement, minus only the few individual takes that we all claim and are not relevant enough to recount here.

    Ironically, the other blog I frequent most often, http://libertarianchristians.com, has this as the opening paragraph in their first post today:

    “All libertarians seek the path of non-violence. Even those with anarchist leanings will concede the possibility that the State has a legitimate, albeit minor, role in society (we usually call them miniarchists). But Christian libertarians have a clearer path to follow: the Way of Peace. Not optional. It is, in fact, absolutely essential. If our kingdom is led by the Prince of Peace, how ought we to propose conflict resolution in a society where institutionalized violence is acceptable? I hope to write about this in a future article, but the Way of Christ as demonstrated in and by the Scriptures is a commitment to living and espousing an alternative way of imagining life as we know it—specifically in contrast to the empires of this world.”

    Now, before the Hawks get all fluffed up and bellicose, let it be said that no single blog – even this one, believe it or not – is Gospel. That’s found only one place, and the best commentary on it is The Catechism. That doesn’t mean we can’t glean truth form other places.

    So, as the cited paragrah asks, if we are to stand upon The Rock and claim Christ as our Savior and King, then where, exactly, do we draw the line between behaving as He wants us to, and denying Him and acting out according to our temporal fears?

    It’s one thing to turn the other cheek when needed (which means standing up to the bully and daring him to strike you as an equal instead of back-handed as a superior,) and there comes very soon a time to go into the temple and upset the money-changers.

    But “Pray for those who despise you” has no asterisk. The Swiss model can work militarily. It would be much more effective to be a valuable business partner to anybody who wishes than a threat to anybody who doesn’t. If Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea want to continue down their Socialist roads, so what? They can’t touch us. When they see their neighbors benefitting tremendously more from being our friend and business partner, that tune will change.

    Remember, we’re Americans. We invented or perfected almost everything the world uses today. We provided the model for the elimination of serfdom and subject monarchy in the civilized world. When we’re at our best, we rule and don’t have to lift a single finger in anger to do it. Just because some blustering fools have had the reins of power at times ion our history doesn’t mean they were right.

    So, for just once, don’t be afraid. Deciding to at least consider a way other than bombing the [expletive] out of those who we “think” might be enemies doesn’t make you weak, or gay, or crazy. There is gentleness in strength and strength in gentleness. The Strongest Man Who Ever Lived proves that. Vicious rebuttals demonstrate fear and doubt. Throw them away, and at least consider.

  • But there were also boos. And the boos came, and always come, when Paul suggests that American foreign policy was responsible (at least in part, if not directly) for the 9/11 attacks. I’ll probably be booed myself for writing that not only do I agree with Ron Paul on this point, but I find it absolutely amazing that people take such offense to it. To me it looks like mass-denial combined with a sort of self-insulating narcissism.

    No, it is not. Al Qaeda is an international criminal organization which persues objectives as a function of its own esoteric pathology. It has no legitimacy as a political actor and there is no causal connection between the acts of any occidental power and the act of incinerating the employees of Cantor-FitzGerald except the fancy on the part of OBL &c. that they were entitled to injure the objects of their resentment. Your remarks here are a perfect distillation of the unwarrented self-confidence of Dr. Paul and his bots in their assessment of both the dynamics of international politics and the obligations nations owe eachother.

    His (Austrian) explanation of the crisis was the only one that a) made sense, b) corresponded to reality, and c) proposed an actual solution (as opposed to throwing another few trillion at it).

    It corresponds to no reality. Maintining a gold standard or currency board in lieu of fiat currency and discretionary monetary policy does not prevent asset bubbles (we had a jim dandy one in equities in the latter 1920s); nominal housing prices in salient markets (the Case-Shiller 10 city set) began to unmoor themselves from nominal incomes not in 2002 (when the Federal Reserve acted to radically lower the Federal Funds rate) but in 1997; and real estate bubbles appeared not just in the United States but in China, Britain, Ireland, and Spain – that is in the realm of four different currencies.

  • Unlike the neocons, militarists and other saber rattlers that dominate the GOP, Paul’s foreign policy views are traceable to Thomas Jefferson, who, in his first inaugural address, sounded the theme: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

    This was buttressed by George Washington’s farewell address in which he said, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

    How far the U.S. has strayed from two sturdy pillars that should define America vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

    Criticized as an “isolationist” and worse — Don McClarey thinks Paul is from Pluto — Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate and indeed one of the few politicians who support only “just wars” — those strictly fought to defend our country. Contrast this with Newt, Mitt, Rick, Obama, Clinton (pick any president since Grover Cleveland) who are constantly playing top world cop, interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

    To his credit, Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “military industrial complex” as he was leaving office — advice that has fallen on deaf ears. The reason, of course, there are many who benefit from war: the monarchs, dictators, and “statesmen” who enjoy wallowing in “imperial glory,” as Alexander Hamilton described it. One needed drag out the old shibboleths of Bush/Cheney and others who enriched themselves through defense contracts; nor trot out the academics and “journalists” who operate a pro-war propaganda machine for the state in return for notoriety, position, and money; and the state in general.

    “Perpetual war for perpetual peace” is the mantra that must be song to stay in tune with the choruses sung for the past several decades. In ancient Sparta, debates were decided by who shouted the loudest. Dissenting voices belong to Paul and other non-interventionalists such as Pat Buchanan have been drowned out by the war drum beaters — the “chicken hawks” who never served but gladly send American sons and daughters to spill their blood for the sake of industry and profit.

    It was this mindset that led to the needless Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War I, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, ad nauseum. If William Kristol, Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, or any other political hack urging the invasion of Iran, Syria, North Korea had their way, “perpetual war” will win out.

    The Libertarians don’t have all the answers — no one does — but short of outright anarchy, the government that governs least governs best. Paul is largely ignored by the mass media but many critical thinking Americans find his foreign policy views, which include cutting all foreign aid and closing most overseas military bases, sensible and economically justifiable. The hundreds of billions that would be saved could be put to far better use — saving lives instead of taking them..

  • It makes no sense to claim that the US was even partly responsibly for 9/11.

    You may be confusing responsibility (in a legal/moral sense) with causality. For example, a woman who gets mugged in front of an ATM at 10:00PM in a deserted, isolated location is not, in a legal/moral sense, responsible for the attack. The perpetrator is 100% responsible. However, anyone with an ounce of common sense would have to agree she did contribute to the situation by placing herself in a vulnerable position, even if she had every right to do so. It does not excuse the perpetrator, but it does enlighten us about a course of action to take to reduce similar occurrences in the future.

    It is often said that we are shaped by the choices we make, and I agree. I would even go further – the choices we make also have a non-negligible effect on the shape of others. It is just common sense. To say we are not “responsible” for 9/11 is one thing; but to blindly believe our actions in the middle east had absolutely no impact in causing 9/11 is, well, naive at best. Like an alcoholic who denies he has a drinking problem, if we continue to deny that our actions have consequences, it is not too difficult to see where that will lead.

  • The Ahmadinejad mistranslation argument runs into the rather difficult brick wall of the fact that the *official* translations use eliminationist rhetoric. There’s no credible way to get past that.

    Juan Cole is beyond laughable in his argumentation. He is, after all, a man who finds complete moral equivalence between American evangelicals and Wahhabi imams. He is, to be blunt, a glib half-wit who gleefully nurses at the ample teats of the poisonous Edward Said. [Yes, I know the latter is dead, but his pernicious legacy lives on.]

    All that said, Ahmadinejad’s eliminationism does not warrant military action.

  • but to blindly believe our actions in the middle east had absolutely no impact in causing 9/11 is, well, naive at best.

    No it ain’t, because the adversaries actions are not in service to any kind of object a non-lunatic would persue. Dan Rather could not with an exercise of prudence evade Mr. What-is-the-frequency.

  • But there were also boos. And the boos came, and always come, when Paul suggests that American foreign policy was responsible (at least in part, if not directly) for the 9/11 attacks. I’ll probably be booed myself for writing that not only do I agree with Ron Paul on this point, but I find it absolutely amazing that people take such offense to it. To me it looks like mass-denial combined with a sort of self-insulating narcissism. “How dare you say that we could ever do anything to make anyone dislike us!”

    The reason that Ron Paul gets vilified so much for this line of argument is that because he tends to then go on and argue that we ought to disengage from the Middle East and from a variety of other international activities, people take him (rightly, I think) to be saying that the US to some degree “deserved” the 9-11 attacks as a retaliation for its actions abroad.

    Imagine a white police officer gets killed by black gang members while he’s making a routine traffic stop in a majority black neighborhood. A police commission studies the matter and issues a report saying that the killing “was in apparent retaliation for the recent shooting of a gang member who resisted arrest” and provides guidelines for how to conduct traffic stops in such areas more carefully in the future. The New Black Panthers issue a statement that the cop was killed because of the injustice inflicted on the black community by white police, and demands that police stay out of black neighborhoods in future.

    I imagine that you would react differently to these two statements, even though both in a sense say that the actions of the police officer killed and of police more generally were a cause of the killing. I think most people see Ron Paul’s statements relating to 9-11 as more like the New Black Panther example than the police commission example.

    On a few specific issues:

    – Ron Paul seems to basically object to the idea of the US acting as a monopolar global hegemon. He argues that being the primary world power is too expensive and too unpopular with the rest of the world. I’d agree it’s not great, but we need to consider the alternatives. Having two world powers in competition (the US and USSR) was more expensive, and more violent, with many smaller countries trapped in between as the two major powers sought to bring them into their spheres, and proxy wars being fought at the borders between the two spheres. The other alternative we have, is having a truly multi-polar world with more than two Great Powers. This was the situation in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, and it was comparatively speaking even more expensive in blood and money than the bi-polar world was. Then Russia, Germany, France, Japan and the US all were clearly great powers, and Italy and (in the Great War) Austria-Hungary and Turkey were marginally so, it was far harder to keep one or more powers from growing sufficiently to threaten the others, and the wars during that period were pretty cataclysmic. Now, we could also envision a world in which there is a single Great Power, but it’s not the US. But we need to realistically think about who that would be at this point. Right now, the most obvious successor power would be China. Does Ron Paul really think that a world in which China plays the international role that the US currently does would be a better one? Worse yet, there are other potential powers out there that are close enough in power to China that we’d be more like back in a multi-polar balance of powers. How good does a world that Russia, China, India, Turkey, Israel and Iran are all competing to influence sound? Especially when you’re got some other regimes with no chance of being global powers but that are unstable enough and military enough to ignite conflicts involving them (Pakistan, North Korea, etc.)

    – On Iran and nuclear weapons: I think it’s arguable that having “gone nuclear” Iran would not choose to nuke Israel for roughly the reasons you outline. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that allowing them to have nukes is harmless. Iran is doubtless looking to the example of North Korea, a far more dysfunctional regime that would doubtless have fallen by now if they didn’t have the threat of their nuclear weapons to hold over their neighbors. Because they’re a threat to those around them (not really the US directly, but certainly China, South Korea and Japan) powers that would otherwise encourage the quiet fall of the oppressive government there (to the undoubted benefit of the people and the region) quietly prop it up, in order to avoid the danger of “something happening” as the regime totters. Iran is not in as dire straights as North Korea, but they would certainly like to have the “deterrence” of a nuclear threat against their neighbors to make other major powers keep their hands off them (and quietly discourage their internal dissenters) while they seek to destabilize third tier countries around them in an effort to compete with Turkey for regional influence.

  • I’m with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I know basically nothing about foreign policy. Unlike them I will cease and desist.

    However, Dale Price @ 9:47am.

    ” . . . glib half-wit . . . ”

    I love it!

  • It strikes me that, when it comes to foreign policy, the United States government is remarkably bad at public relations. Let me offer a simple example.

    I live in Scotland and in August 2002, following the US (and UK’s) increased air activity over Iraq, I saw a demonstration in Glasgow, addressed by Tommy Sheridan of the Socialist Workers’ Party, where hundreds of protestors were carrying banners, reading “No War for Oil.” A secondary motive, suggested from the platform, was to give US and British troops experience in the techniques of urban warfare, for future internal repression.

    Everyone I spoke to in Scotland, during that summer and autumn – farmers, farriers, vets, shepherds, gamekeepers, lawyers, clergy, students and bar-room pundits – believed oil to be the motive for a war that they were convinced had already been decided upon. There were differences of opinion as to whether Iraq really did have WMDs, heated discussions, as to whether the war was, nevertheless, justified, but no one questioned that the principle motive was oil.

    Later that year, in October and just before the US Senate debated the Joint Resolution on the Use of Force, I was in Paris and talked to a number of friends, including some senior civil servants and a former minister in the Jospin government. They were all of the opinion that oil was the motive and everything else a mere smoke-screen; for that reason, they were sure the Levin and Durbin amendments would be lost (as, of course, they were). At the opposite end of the political spectrum, so to speak, I heard the now auxiliary bishop of Paris, Mgr Eric de Moulins-Beaufort (son of the General) imply as much from the pulpit of the Madeleine. I sensed that opposition to the war, which everyone regarded as inevitable, was stronger in France than in the UK. That is a different matter; but all were agreed that the motive for the war was oil.

    I do not claim to know what the true objective was. It may well be that different groups within the government supported the war to advance different objectives. What I do know is that this was a public relations disaster of the first order.

  • So many good comments!

    Chris C.,

    ” It would also be far better if the US was pushing for a nuclear weapons free zone in the entire middle east which would include Israel.”

    That will never happen. I don’t see why it should, either. Nations have the sovereign right to defend themselves.

    David Cartin,

    I certainly want most drugs decriminalized. I’m all for prosecuting people who make dangerous synthetic drugs like meth in large quantities. People who have a few pot plants are a different story.

    I don’t like drugs. I don’t even drink that often. But the idea that a person needs to be in jail over most of this stuff is not only morally repugnant to me – seeing as how it totally ruins people’s lives for years and years – but it is also inefficient from a fiscal and social standpoint as well.

    The U.S. imprisons more people than CHINA, for goodness sake. We have too many laws, too many cops, too many courts, too many prisons.

    Paul P,

    It depends on WHY you support Israel.

    If you believe we have to support Israel as a precursor to the return of Christ, if you reject “replacement” theology and the Church as the New Israel as do the evangelicals, well, then I’d say that we have a serious theological dispute.

    If you just think it is wise foreign policy, that’s something different.

    Darwin,

    “I imagine that you would react differently to these two statements, even though both in a sense say that the actions of the police officer killed and of police more generally were a cause of the killing. I think most people see Ron Paul’s statements relating to 9-11 as more like the New Black Panther example than the police commission example.”

    I think his tone in 2008 was more like the police commissioner, and more like the BP this time around, due to frustration. There are people like Rudy Guliani, who, either out of personal idiocy or for the sake of pandering, will bellow “traitor” even at the police commissioner tone. So that provokes a less sensitive reaction the next time around.

    I’d say some American policy decisions were flat out immoral and that at the very least the people responsible for them should have been fired. I mean, let’s get real for a moment: if a Chinese or Russian aircraft bombed your city and killed your entire family, you would think that they deserved retaliation. That they said they did it for your freedom or some other benign goal wouldn’t matter, would it?

    Does this mean America “deserved” to be attacked? Did anyone America attack deserve it? If the answer is “no, yes”, I don’t see how you justify that. Nor could the answer possibly be “yes, no” – I reject that as well. I think the reality is far more complex and nuanced than that. The American government deserves to be held responsible for its actions. The American people, on the other hand, don’t deserve to be the targets of terrorism. That’s a pretty important distinction.

    “Does Ron Paul really think that a world in which China plays the international role that the US currently does would be a better one?”

    I don’t think he thinks in terms of whether it will be better or worse. At any rate, if we keep becoming more like China in terms of a socialist police-state, and they keep becoming more like us in terms of crony capitalism and military exapnsionism, it won’t matter anyway. Is there really some great clash of values going on here?

    I mean, we have more people in prison than China does. China has forced abortions but we still murder of a million and a half unborn babies every year. There’s as much a culture of death here as there is there. When I look at the proliferation of laws and police, when I look at how the government in this country arrogates to itself greater and greater rights and powers, when I look at how many disputes that used to be settled by the parties themselves are now being settled by gendarmes with tasers, when I look at a whole society becoming dependent and incapable of resolving any issue without recourse to threats and coercion, I have a hard time seeing our inherent superiority to China.

    The only way we could speak with moral authority on the world stage again is to get our house in order. I think we do need to turn inward for a generation. I also think there are a number of serious direct threats that have been completely neglected, like the destabilization of Mexico and the ascendancy of violent, death-worshiping drug cartels into de fact sovereign states. Domestically, I think the unions, Chicano separatist groups, and communist activist groups are actively working for the destabilization of the United States. There’s also our massive, massive financial crisis that can only be addressed if the institutional power of the unions and the political sway of the major banks is finally broken.

    “How good does a world that Russia, China, India, Turkey, Israel and Iran are all competing to influence sound? ”

    Does it matter? It’s going to happen whether we want it to or not. There’s no magic formula that will keep the U.S. a solvent superpower forever. If we stop pretending there is NOW, we might be able to withdraw and regroup with our dignity and security in-tact. We may not dominate the world, but at least we’ll be able to defend our lives, liberty and property – and maybe one day play a significant role again. If we keep living in denial, though, we will be utterly destroyed, not from without, but from within.

  • “If you believe we have to support Israel as a precursor to the return of Christ, if you reject ‘replacement’ theology and the Church as the New Israel as do the evangelicals, well, then I’d say that we have a serious theological dispute.”

    No. Jesus is going to return to Earth on that great white horse of Revelation 19 regardless of what the United States does regarding Israel. Nevertheless, God has not reneged on any of His promises to ethnic Israel, to be differentiated from the New Israel. Those who bless His people will be blessed and those who curse them will be cursed. I simply don’t see the Catholic (the New Israel) superseding any of God’s promises to the ethnic Israel. Notice I never said that ethnic Israel gets into Heaven outside of Jesus. That’s false theology. But St. Paul does say in Romans 11 that all Israel will be saved, and that includes ethnic Israel – which means they have to come to Christ.

    “If you just think it is wise foreign policy, that’s something different.”

    Again, I wish we would tell the Arabs and Persians to go drown in their oil, and get the heck out, and warn all of them that we won’t tolerate any of them invading Israel – leave Israel the heck alone.

    BTW, yes, we did go into the Middle East to stablize oil supplies. Europe’s umbilical cord is siphoning off mineral slime in the Middle East, and ours in Canada. If Europe can’t get Middle East oil, then that leaves only Canadian oil (or Russian natural gas and that’s one umblilical Europe doesn’t want to use again). The best solution as I have always said is the nuclear one – getting hydrogen from the thermo-catalytic decomposition of water via nuclear heat, or using the Fischer-Tropsch process to make liquid fuels from coal via nuclear heat. We have got plenty of spent nuclear fuel to use in fast neutron reactors for at least a 100 years or more; we don’t even have to mine any thorium or uranium right away!

    But we didn’t do that, so here we are stuck in neutral with an oil needle sticking in our national veins while we suck in the fumes of methane (otherwise known as natural gas).

  • This thread reaffirms what I have come to see as an undeniable fact of life: you would have better luck pulling teeth with tweezers than reasoning with a Ron Paul supporter.

    But I gotta hand it to Congressman Paul. He may never pull over 15% in any given primary, but they are the most devoted 15% in all of teh electorate. How he gets some people to so uncritically drink his Kool Aid is nothing short of amazing.

    In that spirit, I would like to dedicate this song to all you Ron Paul supporters out there:

  • Everyone I spoke to in Scotland, during that summer and autumn – farmers, farriers, vets, shepherds, gamekeepers, lawyers, clergy, students and bar-room pundits – believed oil to be the motive for a war that they were convinced had already been decided upon. There were differences of opinion as to whether Iraq really did have WMDs, heated discussions, as to whether the war was, nevertheless, justified, but no one questioned that the principle motive was oil.Later that year, in October and just before the US Senate debated the Joint Resolution on the Use of Force, I was in Paris and talked to a number of friends, including some senior civil servants and a former minister in the Jospin government. They were all of the opinion that oil was the motive and everything else a mere smoke-screen

    Well, you might have pointed out to them that the value of fuels consumed by households or by industry amounts to around 6% of gross domestic product; that Iraq has had between 5% and 8% of the world’s proven reserves over the last 20-odd years; and that Iraq would surely have been willing to sell us the oil. If we were to posit that a military occupation would allow us a 60% discount over what the spot price would have been had Iraq simply been permitted to resume exports, we would have been looking forward to a bon bon worth about $36 bn per year (in today’s prices). Last time I checked, the U.S. Government was allocating $130 bn to ‘overseas contingency operations’. The fact you got shot this bilge by a senior civil servant in the French government and one of M. Jospin’s ministers strongly suggests it was not just common-and-garden public ignorance driving this meme. Did you ask any of them what happened to Kuwait’s oil after 1991? There is as much or more oil in Kuwait as their has been in Iraq, and the frictional cost of stealing it would have been a great deal lower than was the case in Iraq after 2002.

  • Greg,

    I think your characterization of Ron Paul supporters on the basis of OUR exchange is completely uncharitable and unfair.

    I don’t believe I have said anything at all to indicate that I am not willing to listen to reason.

    If you’ve set up your own opinions as the standard for what is reasonable, though, then of course you’re going to think everyone else is nuts.

    I always give reasons for what I believe, and I always engage the reasons others give. Your disagreement with my reasoning doesn’t mean I haven’t reasoned or can’t be reasoned with. We just disagree.

  • Bonchamps:

    Anyone who tries to defend some of the most irresponsible and dangerous foreign policiy of Ron Paul cannot be reasonable on this issue. You have defended the right of a regime that has been at war with both Israel and the US for the last 30+ years either through its proxies (Hezbollah who have fired thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and attacked the MArine barracks in Lebanon, Khobar Towers) or directly (Gen Patreuas confrimed during his congressional testimony that Quds force attacke US troops in Iraq as well as provided IEDs to name a few instances) to posses nuclear weapons. The grave danger that would pose to us as well as Israel is incalcuable.

    The arguments you have put forth are ridiculous on its face. For someone of your intelligence to put forth such arguments is an insult to people’s intelligence.

    My characterization, while blunt, is rather mild comparatively speaking.

  • And there you have it, Bonchamps, “irresponsible” and “dangerous” foreign policy rather than the “reasoned” approach of making more war. Yes, let us continue bombing, killing and maiming. After all, Greg has decided who the good guys and bad guys are and it’s only a matter of choosing sides. Good try, Bonnie, for starting a debate, which had the predictable results. I hope Paul runs as a third-party candidate and siphons off enough Romney votes to keep him from winning. If not it will be a contest between dumb and dumber.

  • Before I continue to read others’ responses and, perhaps, respond, I’ll ask just one question: does Ron Paul’s position come closer to the Just War theory or does yours?

  • All this clears up a lot of stuff.

    Only remaining question I have: Do libertarians also believe that Israel and the United States of America must totally disarm so that Iran, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, etc. will stop attacking them?

  • With regard to US Foreign policy, I know that America (USA) has flirted with the concept of isolationism, as it was prior to WWI, ever since their involvement in WWII because of the cost financially, and in human life, that the US has suffered.
    This idea, however, has not been supported thankfully, by the US administrations since that time, even though some have called for it. I think that, at times, there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.
    However, I think it would be a disaster if the USA decided to withdraw into its own introspective shell and gave the finger to the rest of the world – “sort your own s**t out, we’ve got our own problems”. History is witness – Rule Britannica is long over; Rule Americana is, or has not been as intrusive as its predecessor, despite the screams of liberals, progressives and socialists, and the unfortunate bogging down of involvement in countries of different cultures. Some of the fights have not been well chosen, but fights that nevertheless had to be engaged.
    The previous other dominant powers are now gone – imploding by their own self destruction through liberalism and loss of founding principles and moral force. The United States of America is the remaining Bastion of Freedom, and having held its hand up in the past to put itself in that position, cannot abrogate the responsibity now that it has claimed that turf, and the only remaining forces are those that would destroy what we all, as free nations, hold dear.
    I’m now getting old – but if needs be, “in extremis”, I would still drag out my trusty old .303, clean it down, and use it for the protection of that Freedom which is precious to us, because we still see those that do not have what we have, and the dark forces that enslave them, and would also enslave us.

  • Art Deco

    I was simply interested in taking soundings. My point is that if these are the views of ENArchs & SciencesPO graduates, with the ability to shape policy, not to mention a Catholic bishop, then the US government has a communications failure on its hands. The former minister is my French law agent’s wife and they are Jewish, as are about half the people I spoke to, mostly friends of theirs. If the US government cannot convince them, it cannot convince anyone.

    This was a particularly egregious case, but another example is the way in which, certainly in Scotland and France, the two countries I know best, the Palestinians, and the Arab masses more generally, have come to symbolise the poor and the oppressed of the earth, with the USA, Israel and the West cast in the rôle of the oppressors, standing for capitalism, imperialism, globalisation, indeed the whole economic order. That, right or wrong, is the perception and, notably, amongst Catholics.

  • there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.

    Be precise. What do you mean by ‘support’? Just what was it that did not ‘work’?

  • My point is that if these are the views of ENArchs & SciencesPO graduates, with the ability to shape policy, not to mention a Catholic bishop, then the US government has a communications failure on its hands. The former minister is my French law agent’s wife and they are Jewish, as are about half the people I spoke to, mostly friends of theirs. If the US government cannot convince them, it cannot convince anyone.

    If we cannot convince anyone, what is the point of public relations? You are recommending improved public relations, no?

    FWIW, I do not give a rat’s ass for the good opinion of the French chatterati and if their British counterparts approved of American policy, I would wonder what we were doing wrong. I would not want my government to be concerned with this in the least unless these social elements could and would (acting through their countries’ officialdom) obstruct our just and prudent efforts.

  • the Palestinians, and the Arab masses more generally, have come to symbolise the poor and the oppressed of the earth, with the USA, Israel and the West cast in the rôle of the oppressors

    I do not think you can fix stupid or that you can fix malicious.

  • I’ve never really had the impression Ron Paul was an isolationist in any way, shape or form. Certainly ones definition of “isolationist” comes into play, especially when there is a false narrative to promote. Can dialogue and trade be considered isolationist? Or is it the case only when a nation decides not to have a military presence and bases throughout the world. Funny, that, to me, is the description of empire. Anyone who doesn’t see the US as an empire is seriously lacking in discernment; no offense to any globalists out there.

    Bonchamps did an excellent job of accurately portraying what amounts to a common-sense approach to international conflict. As to his point about there being blowback associated with foreign policy, as factual as this is, it takes into account only one aspect of the agenda currently in place. I’ll not go into detail except to say many Americans put patriotism ahead of truth and simply will refuse to accept that the US government is controlled by a cabal of criminal elite determined to not only destroy our domestic tranquility, but to drive world events so as to bring about a one world government. Or as George H.W. Bush said, “A New World Order.”

    The writing’s on the wall but many lack discernmnent and are therefore fearful of 7th century-minded neanderthals who couldn’t harm a gnat if it weren’t for the funding, training and arming by the West. First we supported the Taliban but low and behold, they are now a menace. Al Qaeda was allied with our very own CIA and yet somehow escaped scrutiny to the point of that tragic day. And yet, once again, we have been allied with them to topple Qaddafi, a man George W. Bush removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism because he was cooperating with the west. Unfortunately for him, he decided his oil was meant for his people and was not to be controlled by BP or Exxon-Mobile.

    It’s long past time to reevaluate the policy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This is not 1914 or 1939. By retracting our forces of empire we can modernize our force projection assets to meet any potential threat both near and far.

    (As a side note, as we discuss foreign policy, has anyone else noticed how drones and cameras are going up everywhere? How our freedoms are being stripped away and the US of A is becoming(?) a police state with the radical dimunition of our rights? I’m still waiting to see if anyone can explain to me how my rights being violated will prevent a suicide bomber from blowing himself up at our local mall.) Insane and asinine.

  • I think your characterization of Ron Paul supporters on the basis of OUR exchange is completely uncharitable and unfair.

    I can think of many adjectives to characterize palaeo and libertarian discourse on foreign affairs. “Charitable” and “fair” would seldom be applied to the latter and almost never to the former.

  • First we supported the Taliban but low and behold, they are now a menace.

    Actually, we provided supplies to a concatenation of groups in insurrection against the (imposed) Communist government in Afghanistan. The Taliban were not among them because the Taliban were not yet formed.

  • BTW, yes, we did go into the Middle East to stablize oil supplies. Europe’s umbilical cord is siphoning off mineral slime in the Middle East, and ours in Canada. If Europe can’t get Middle East oil, then that leaves only Canadian oil (or Russian natural gas and that’s one umblilical Europe doesn’t want to use again).

    Petroleum is fungible. Supply interruptions induce price flux which causes economic injury to consumers of petroleum, no matter what are their current arrangements for supply.

  • I don’t know anyone under the age of 60 who doesn’t believe that the “War on Drugs” has been a massive moral and fiscal failure, no matter what their views are on other issues.

    You need to get out more.

  • Greg Mockeridge says:
    Thursday, May 3, 2012 A.D. at 9:55pm
    Look, I don’t know if there is a charitable way of saying this. But anyone who equates the US going into Pakistan to kill bin Laden without Pakistan’s foreknowledge (consider that given bin Laden being housed just a few miles from a Pakistani military academy and that they probably would have tipped him off that we were coming) with Chinese agents killing a Chinese dissident on our soil and that a nuked up Iran doesn’t pose a threat has zero credibility on foreign policy. Anyone who would trust Ron Paul on foreign is either ignorant or as nuts as he is. End of discussion close the book!!!

    Really? Says who? Don’t tell me you actually believe anything the narcissistic pathological liar in the White House says do you? Usama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan? Prove it. Oh, wait. You can’t because the street punk thug from Chicago sent a hit team in to kill someone then, like the Chicago mafioso he is, sent him “swimmin’ wit da fishes”. I guess you could ask Seal Team Red (aka Six) but… oh, that’s right. They died in a helicopter crash.

    Anyone who would trust Obama, or any Marxist, on foreign policy is either ignorant or as nuts as he is.

  • Usama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan? Prove it.

    Waal, OBL might wish to make the U.S. Government look foolish by releasing another of his videorants complete with references to the day’s papers. If he were not six feet under.

  • Greg,

    “Anyone who tries to defend some of the most irresponsible and dangerous foreign policiy of Ron Paul cannot be reasonable on this issue.”

    I don’t know how you define reasonable. I think of it as being able to give coherent reasons for the positions you take, based upon facts and logic, as well as an openness to changing one’s position on the basis of new information. I think I’ve been reasonable by that standard. Again, I don’t know what yours is.

    “You have defended the right of a regime that has been at war with both Israel and the US for the last 30+ years”

    Let me stop you right there. Who drew first blood? Who overthrew whose government and installed a puppet regime whose secret police tortured people for 30 years? Iran never declare war with the U.S. – Britain and later the U.S. waged war against Iran for all sorts of geostrategic reasons.

    If you’re painting a picture in which this nation just started randomly assaulting us one day, then you’re operating without historical knowledge or context. And that makes your assumptions and arguments flawed.

    “either through its proxies (Hezbollah who have fired thousands of rockets into Israeli cities and attacked the MArine barracks in Lebanon, Khobar Towers) or directly (Gen Patreuas confrimed during his congressional testimony that Quds force attacke US troops in Iraq as well as provided IEDs to name a few instances) to posses nuclear weapons. The grave danger that would pose to us as well as Israel is incalcuable.”

    Hezbollah is only interested in creating an Islamic state in Lebanon and waging war with Israel – how it is a threat to “us” is beyond me. We don’t HAVE to be involved in anyone’s affairs over there; we can’t insert ourselves into a situation and then complain that we are being threatened.

    Now I grant that Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, it is in fact the only organization I know of that has scored a military victory (of sorts) over the Israeli military. It is also a threat to my distant Lebanese Maronite relatives. Believe me, my sympathies are with the Phalange!

    But I don’t see why the defense of Israel must be our top priority. They can take care of themselves. They have 300 nukes. They have our military technology. Enough is enough. And I say the same about Japan & S. Korea, about Western Europe vis a vis Russia, about Taiwan, and any number of additional theaters of potential conflict.

    It is just beyond all doubt in my mind that absolutely no one in the Islamic world would give two rats behinds about the U.S. if it had no presence in the Middle East. I reject fully and totally this silly Hollywood-like narrative about the “forces of darkness” trying to take over this country in particular. I believe that there are PEOPLE over there, not cartoon characters like Cobra Commander.

    Finally you talk about Iran attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. I mean, you’re just not getting it. If we weren’t over there, they wouldn’t be attacking us at all. And I don’t think that war was necessary or justified in the first place. So yeah, of course I believe that if we keep antagonizing and encircling Iran, having sanctions placed on it, denouncing it before the entire world, yeah, at that point there are reactions and they can be a “threat.” If I punched you in the face repeatedly, I’d worry about the threat you posed to me when I stopped punching you in the face. This is hardly an argument worth considering.

  • Bobchamps:

    Before, 9/11, Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world. With 9/11, al Qaeda was able to do it in one fell swoop. If Hezbollah is no threat to us than why did they attack the Marine barracks and the Khobar Towers?

    Before you start into the “we drew first blood” nonsense, get acquiainted with the facts regarding the Mosseda situation.

    I at least appreciate you making my point for me regarding the lengths Ron Paul supporters will go to in defending him.

  • Don the Kiwi,

    “With regard to US Foreign policy, I know that America (USA) has flirted with the concept of isolationism, as it was prior to WWI, ever since their involvement in WWII because of the cost financially, and in human life, that the US has suffered.”

    Well, at least you acknowledge that. It’s not something insane Ron Paul zombies dreamed up four years ago, but a tendency in American political thought going back to the founding fathers of this nation.

    “This idea, however, has not been supported thankfully, by the US administrations since that time, even though some have called for it. I think that, at times, there is a degree of US foreign policy that has not worked, either for the US, or for the countries where that policy was introduced – witness, the support of the generals in Argentina, and the support of Pinochet in Chile.”

    How ironic. Overthrowing Allende and supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support. What Pinochet did for Chile was astounding, and what Allende was going to do to Chile would have been a crime against humanity.

    “However, I think it would be a disaster if the USA decided to withdraw into its own introspective shell and gave the finger to the rest of the world – “sort your own s**t out, we’ve got our own problems”.”

    That’s a bit more vulgar than I put it in my post 🙂

    “History is witness – Rule Britannica is long over; Rule Americana is, or has not been as intrusive as its predecessor, despite the screams of liberals, progressives and socialists, and the unfortunate bogging down of involvement in countries of different cultures. Some of the fights have not been well chosen, but fights that nevertheless had to be engaged.”

    If it wasn’t intrusive, we wouldn’t have so many enemies. It only seems less intrusive because the primarily weapons of occupation today are economic, not martial.

    “The previous other dominant powers are now gone – imploding by their own self destruction through liberalism and loss of founding principles and moral force. The United States of America is the remaining Bastion of Freedom,”

    I actually agree with this. I agree that we may be the last bastion of freedom in the world, though we are getting more and more of a police state with every passing month, day, year. I believe that we have to withdraw the global empire (and that’s what it bloody well is) if we want to preserve that freedom.

    “and having held its hand up in the past to put itself in that position, cannot abrogate the responsibity now that it has claimed that turf, and the only remaining forces are those that would destroy what we all, as free nations, hold dear.”

    I disagree. I really disagree with this cartoonish view of the rest of the world. You know what poses a threat to freedom? Moral decay. The Muslims are doing to Europe through immigration what the Ottoman Empire couldn’t accomplish in a thousand years of military campaigns. They’re doing it because they’re filling a vacuum created by the sinful sickness of European societies, where they aren’t breeding or praying.

    All of the military technology in the world won’t save a society that has lost its moral bearings, its will to exist, that is weighed down by guilt and self-hatred.

    “I’m now getting old – but if needs be, “in extremis”, I would still drag out my trusty old .303, clean it down, and use it for the protection of that Freedom which is precious to us, because we still see those that do not have what we have, and the dark forces that enslave them, and would also enslave us.”

    Well, sure, I’d do that too – but I don’t ever expect to be looking down the sights at a Muslim. It will be people who look like us, who share many of the values and assumptions we do, who once went to the same schools and places of work as us – it will be a civil war. That is what is coming to this country.

  • Greg,

    “Before, 9/11, Hezbollah killed more Americans than any other terrorist group in the world. With 9/11, al Qaeda was able to do it in one fell swoop. If Hezbollah is no threat to us than why did they attack the Marine barracks and the Khobar Towers?”

    To get us out of their country?

    By “threat to us”, what do you mean exactly? Any place we go and establish a military presence will create “threats.”

    But Hezbollah has no interest in actually attacking the United States itself. It will attack anyone who interferes with its regional goals, as will any other political/military organization. Jewish terrorist groups targeted British buildings and officials in order to establish independence for Israel. They didn’t do it out of any special hatred for Britain; they did it because they wanted their own country. Hezbollah acts for the same reasons. It’s not about us – only a narcissist thinks that.

    “Before you start into the “we drew first blood” nonsense, get acquiainted with the facts regarding the Mosseda situation.”

    Why don’t you acquaint us with them?

    “I at least appreciate you making my point for me regarding the lengths Ron Paul supporters will go to in defending him.”

    What lengths? What are you talking about?

    I held my views on foreign policy LONG before I became a Ron Paul supporter too, btw. I am not interested in “defending” Ron Paul. I happen to share his views on foreign policy and I am defending those views, not a man.

  • Ron Paul is preferable to both Obama and Romney.

    That not an endorsement. It is a recognition of the abjectly horrid the state of affairs afflicting our nation. Paul is preferable solely because he would lessen the damage the government inflicts.

    Any alternative (from isolation to “exterminate all the brutes”) foreign policy would be better than the one pursued by the idiots running the country for the past 20 ears.

    Greg,

    You’re wasting your eyesight and time.

    Your 5:45pm, 4 May summation covers it.

  • Let me stop you right there. Who drew first blood? Who overthrew whose government and installed a puppet regime whose secret police tortured people for 30 years? Iran never declare war with the U.S. – Britain and later the U.S. waged war against Iran for all sorts of geostrategic reasons.

    No one overthrew any government. The United States Government, acting through the CIA’s clandestine services, put its thumb on the scales in a political dogfight between the Shah of Iran and the Prime Minister of Iran. Neither was a more legitimate actor than the other. The Shah of Iran was not the superintendent of a puppet regime. He was a common and garden near eastern autocrat neither more nor less abusive than the median in that part of the world (and likely more benign than the mullahcracy during its first 18 years or so).

    Neither Britain nor the United States have ‘waged war’ on Iran, either for ‘all sorts of geostrategic reasons’ or for shits-n-giggles.

  • Hezbollah is only interested in creating an Islamic state in Lebanon and waging war with Israel – how it is a threat to “us” is beyond me.

    Depends on how you understand the objects of an Islamic state.

  • But I don’t see why the defense of Israel must be our top priority.

    And who demonstrated or declared it our ‘top priority’?

  • It is just beyond all doubt in my mind that absolutely no one in the Islamic world would give two rats behinds about the U.S. if it had no presence in the Middle East.

    Except that various and sundry parties were truculently antagonistic when, in fact, we did have no presence in the Near East. No part of the Near East, North Africa, or Central Asia has ever been a dependency of the United States and other than a garrison in Turkey near the Soviet border we had no troops stationed there from 1946 to 1990, bar two brief and invited forays in metropolitan Beirut.

  • Overthrowing Allende and supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support.

    Allende was overthrown by the Chilean military, not by the United States Government. Henry Kissinger has consistently denied all allegations that Gen. Pinochet and his colleagues were acting in cahoots with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Church Committee found no evidence that the CIA was the author of the Chilean coup, and Edmund Muskie stated in a civil deposition that he came across no evidence during his term as Secretary of State that our intelligence services were participating parties therein.

  • If it wasn’t intrusive, we wouldn’t have so many enemies. It only seems less intrusive because the primarily weapons of occupation today are economic, not martial.

    We are not so intrusive. Again, prior to 2002, the largest concentrations of American troops abroad have been in Germany, Japan, and (formerly) the Philippines. Without a doubt these countries have a domestic chatterati antagonistic to the United States, but then so does Manhattan. None have had a political stance that was hostile at any time in the post-War period.

  • I held my views on foreign policy LONG before I became a Ron Paul supporter too, btw

    Those views are in part a function of there being gaps in your ignorance.

  • Yes Art. The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.

    Try condensing all your replies into one post in the future.

  • As for this,

    “You need to get out more.”

    I get out plenty. And for the record, even if everyone under the age of 60 did agree with you on that issue, I’d still disagree. It is morally indefensible and fiscally absurd to imprison people for lengthy periods of time for non-violent drug offenses.

  • You guys have totally confused me. The reactor kinetics equations are so much simpler!

  • Yes Art. The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.

    That’s not remotely what Art said. What he said is that the conventional, received wisdom isn’t necessarily so. If he erred in fact, point it out.

  • “supporting Pinochet is one of the foreign policy moves this country made that I really support. What Pinochet did for Chile was astounding, and what Allende was going to do to Chile would have been a crime against humanity.
    What Allende was doing in Chile was the establishment of a communist system – it had initial success, but with a couple of years it was crippling the country. However, when Pinochet took over, initially with the support of the populace and the Church, he instituted a reign of terror against his political enemies, and then against the people who gave dissent to what he was doing. Literally thousands of people disappeared overnight. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans were exiled, or left the country, and then not allowed to return.
    The Church then withdrew their support for his regime. It is no surprise that he was charged with crimes against humanity. I fail to see how his regime could be considered a success story – maybe economically, but certainly not in human terms. He was a butcher.And this is why it did not “work” for the US – their complicity with Pinochet caused a lot of international sideways glances.

  • It isn’t easy to root out communism. I’m willing to cut Pinochet some slack. He cut out a pretty specific cancer and allowed a great deal of freedom in most other areas. It’s not like he was Kim Jong Il.

  • “That’s not remotely what Art said. What he said is that the conventional, received wisdom isn’t necessarily so. If he erred in fact, point it out.”

    Yes, of course, not remotely. Everyone who complains about the U.S. is just part of some grumbling “chatterati”, and no point can go unanswered by a wave of barely-relevant minutiae.

    I’m not going to respond to what I see as a series of irrelevant quips to isolated comments taken somewhat out of context. Art is quite the dashing rhetorical fencer when he’s taking on a strawman.

  • I’m not going to respond to what I see as a series of irrelevant quips to isolated comments taken somewhat out of context. Art is quite the dashing rhetorical fencer when he’s taking on a strawman.

    I am actually a fat middle-aged man, not dashing at all. My uncle used to fence; I’ve not touched a sword in my life.

    Your factual errors and those of allied posters are not ancillary.

    1. Friction is a normal part of social relations, including whole nations.

    2. The characteristics of politics among nations in a regional state system will be changed in some way by the removal of an exterior hegemon. ‘Changed’ is not synonymous with ‘improved’ either for the parties involved or for the hegemon. A subsidiary point to this is that the consequence of a withdrawal of force by the hegemon is not a state of tranquility in the regional system. It may be if there is an extant equilibrium between the salient actors. It may, however, mean that force is merely exercised by different parties.

    3. Great powers have a range of policy dilemmas derived from the force they can bring to bear; small powers do not have these dilemmas.

    4. Any country may be vulnerable to a false national narrative, not just Israel or the United States.

    5. Grievances may be just or unjust; they may cause practical problems or they may not; they may be ameliorable or they may be not. With regard to this last, I would offer Thomas Sowell’s counsel: recrimination is a modal response of societies which have suffered reversals of fortune. That recrimination can be expressed in political cliches or it can be expressed in elaborate discourses about social life.

    6. Much of the libertarian and palaeo discussion of international politics seems to be an exercise in deductive reasoning or a manifestation of the amour propre of its promoters. One fancies we can have an agreeable world of technological innovation and commercial relations through which intelligent post-national individuals such as himself can travel at their discretion; the other fancies we can reconstruct a state of the world as it was before a succession of fools and frauds demolished it in pursuit of their asinine schemes, around about 1865 or 1917 or 1929 or 1933 or 1941. This sounds like caricatures, but I haven’t the talent to have conjured Bryan Caplan or Joseph Sobran out of my imagination; they actually exist.

    7. An aspect of the above is that consequential problems in international relations just have to be the result of the mucking about of knaves and fools you can hypothetically influence, which is to say knaves and fools in Washington and Tel Aviv. No consistent conception of human behavior, even one with ample qualifications to take account of the human particular, is necessary. Any antecedent nonsense out of the mouths of political antagonists will do, even if it is historical fiction or engages in advocacy for the most bizarre political effrontery (Joseph Sobran’s commentary titled ‘Bin Laden’s Modest Goals’ is a fine example of this).

  • Art,

    I just can’t take this level of bombasticity seriously. There’s intelligent discourse and there’s verbose grandstanding.

    You can consider it a win, I suppose – I’m just not going to engage it. I feel as if I am being talked at, not to, and I don’t really care to respond. If there’s some central thesis here you really think I ought to accept because it is in my best interests and the best interests of the country, boil it down to one simple paragraph and share it with me. Otherwise good luck and God Bless.

  • People of principle supported a man of principle – Ross Perot – running on a 3rd party ticket in 1992. William Jefferson “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton won that election and the next.

    People of principle today support a man of principle – Ron Paul – who could end up running on a 3rd party ticket in 2012. Barack Hussein “I am not a commie” Obama will then steal the election.

    Nice going, people of principle. Nice going.

  • One problem I have with him is that he takes up the attitude that it is ok for people to smoke pot even though it deadens them and makes it hard for people to be self critical.

  • One problem is that almost all if not all of the presidential candidates actually like the idea of being president and so easily get tempted into being tyrannical. Another problem is that popular culture is so bad and non-judgemental that so many people do not bother looking peoples philosophies or what they actually believe and as Paul pointed out so many candidates are liars and don’t have integrity.

  • Valentin,

    Ron Paul does not necessarily think it is “ok” for people to smoke pot.

    He just believes you shouldn’t be arrested, fined, or imprisoned for it, and I agree. Pot is at BEST as if not less dangerous to individuals and society as alcohol; pure politics, and outdated politics at that, keeps it illegal and ruins tens of thousands of lives by getting them tied up with our “criminal justice” bureaucracy.

  • So why is it OK to decriminalize pot and not cocaine or heroin?

    Trust me – an addict doesn’t know the difference.

  • As I understand it, Ron Paul’s position is such that the Federal Government shouldn’t be involved in the drug war. Rather, he believes it is an issue for the individual states to tackle since he has a very narrow view of what the Constitution allows. And really, that’s the thrust behind most of his positions.

  • Paul P,

    I’m not opposed to decriminalizing possession of amounts clearly intended for personal use.

    On the other side of the coin, however, I am for ruthlessly prosecuting and even engaging with our military the drug cartels in Mexico. I would love it if we could bring the troops home from the Middle East and Central Asia and put them right on the border where they belong.

  • I just can’t take this level of bombasticity seriously. There’s intelligent discourse and there’s verbose grandstanding.

    Pointing out the factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies isn’t grandstanding, it’s argumentation. You can’t accuse Art of deploying strawmen when you were the only person in that exchange to engage in strawmen argumentation (The U.S. does no wrong. All grievances against it are illegitimate. Gotcha.) Perhaps the reason you go upset with Art isn’t because he is arguing in bad faith, but because you have no rebuttal.

  • “I’m not opposed to decriminalizing possession of amounts clearly intended for personal use.”

    Crack cocaine? Heroin? Crystal Methamphetamine?

    The drug addicts everywhere thank you for supporting the continuation of their imprisonment in the chains of addiction.

    Ah, principle, and Ron Paul, a man of principle at that!

  • Paul Z,

    When one walks away from a tedious man, one runs the risk of creating the perception that one has “no rebuttal.”

    Of course I could provide a rebuttal. I’ve decided it is more trouble than it is worth, and that Art is the sort of person I don’t care to engage in further discussion with.

    If you want to think I am a liar, making up excuses because I’ve been put down by his devastating argumentation, go ahead. It’s no skin off my back.

  • Paul P,

    Do you think being thrown into prison, with a possibility of being gang raped and made a sex slave, helps rehabilitate people?

    Bureaucracies don’t cure addiction. Prisons, however, make monsters out of men.

  • Bonchamps,

    I thank God I didn’t end up in prison. And I met many a man outside prison who became monster due to addiction. Indeed, no prison is required.

    But I wonder exactly how decriminalization helps rehabilitation. I will, however, tell you what does help: a strong 12 step mentor (otherwise known as a sponsor), an even stronger priest who takes no BS in or out of the Confessional, and the never-ending threat of imprisonment, insanity or death.

    You want to take one of those last three away.

    BTW, did you know that 90+% of all prisoners were using and abusing when they committed the actual crime – rape, murder, theft, etc. – which landed them in jail? I didn’t know that until my mentor made me visit the State Penitentiary in Fishkill, NY on an “out-going meeting.” He had the full approval of my priest.

    Oh yeah, I know. I can’t talk about this at a public forum. But I am grateful my mentor was an a__h____. There’s nothing like the sound of the gate for a meeting room jail cell slamming shut on you and 18 hard core prisoners, and you have to open with the Serenity Prayer. It is a wonderful experience and I recommend it for everyone – alcoholic dope fiend or not – who calls himself Christian.

    Don’t want to go to prison? Then don’t use drugs. Duh!

  • Paul P,

    “did you know that 90+% of all prisoners were using and abusing when they committed the actual crime – rape, murder, theft, etc. – which landed them in jail?”

    I didn’t know that and I’m not sure it is true. But even if it is, what % of causal drug users commit rape, murder and theft? I don’t think it is 90%. And so they don’t need to be in jail at all.

    “You want to take one of those last three away.”

    I do. First of all, I believe it is wrong to deprive a person of their freedom and basically ruin their life – which is what being run through the system does to most people no matter how long they are in it – because they had a bad habit, an addiction. This is a moral and spiritual problem. I’m not saying “do nothing”, but I am saying that being put in the same facility for years and years as hardened murderers and rapists is not the answer.

    Secondly, I don’t want to pay for it. I don’t want a dime of my money or society’s collective resources going to this. State budgets are tight too – they’d save a lot of money by not involving themselves so intimately in people’s lives. I don’t want a department of “corrections.” I’ll defend my life and property, and I’d like the police to focus on attacking the organized centers of criminal activity.

    If a person becomes a drug addict, they will suffer enough without the state putting its boot on them as well. They will lose their jobs, their friends, their families.

  • I didn’t know there was such a thing as the casual user of heroin, crack cocaine or crystal meth.

    Anyone here a casual user? Ron Paul’s principles say we must make way for such people.

  • Ron Paul’s principles say we must make way for such people.

    This is not true. Ron Paul’s view of the Constitution (with narrowly defined functions etc…) leads him to believe that drug usage is not a FEDERAL issue. Rather, it should be a state issue (under the 10th Amendment). Saying that Ron Paul believes drugs should be legalized is a misstatement of his position.

    Ron Paul is unique in his approach to the issues, which I believe leads to all sorts of misunderstandings of his positions. He’s a bit eccentric for my tastes, but I see value in his candidacy in that we tend to talk about issues that are often taken for granted.

  • What Big Tex writes in correcting me about Ron Paul’s approach is demonstrably not Bonchamps approach who apparently wants to decriminalize casual use of heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth. But maybe I misunderstand Bonchamps. And perhaps in not having seen casual users of heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth, I have led a sheltered life.

    😉

  • Ron Paul is opposed to the “War on Drugs” and is opposed to locking people up for drug possession. It isn’t a misstatement at all to say that his position is that most if not all drugs ought to at least be decriminalized.

    Though in principle, I suppose, he would not object to the states doing what they wanted on these issues.

    From one of the debates last year:

    “Q: Are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty?

    A: Yes, in essence, if we leave it to the states. For over 100 years, they WERE legal. You’re implying if we legalize heroin tomorrow, everyone’s gonna use heroin.

    How many people here are going to use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody! “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws!””

    So we see both approaches here. I think a lot of states would choose to have these things be illegal. Some might not. I think if Ron Paul were personally responsible for the laws in his own state, he’d decriminalize drug possession.

    Paul P,

    Ok, some drugs I suppose you don’t use “casually”, like the ones you listed. Others you can that just aren’t addictive, like pot or mushrooms. I still don’t see the sense or justice in locking people up with violent criminals for their possession and shall we say, personal use.

  • Another excerpt, from one of his books:

    “In Texas, it’s common knowledge that the current wars on the Mexico-Texas border are, to a large extent, about drugs. Ironically, the two strongest groups that want to maintain the status quo of prohibition are the drug dealers and Christian conservative –two groups with opposite motivations but who share a common interest in keeping the drug war going. The cost to pursue the drug war in the past 40 years runs into hundreds of billions. The social cost, including the loss of civil liberties, is incalculable. Crime relating to the drug laws far surpasses the crime related to the 15 years of alcohol prohibition. I expect that someday the country will wake up and suddenly decide, as we did in 1933, that prohibition to improve personal behavior is lost cause, and the second repeal of prohibition will occur. This is more likely now than ever before because of the growing perception that the federal government is inept and more Americans are becoming aware of the senselessness of the war on drugs.”

  • Ironically, I’d like a REAL “War on Drugs” that involved our military engaging with the narco-terrorist cartels that have established de facto sovereignty in what we still call “Mexico.” What we call the “War on Drugs” in this country is mostly a war on the people, on addicts, the poor, the sick. It is a war on basic liberties, a massive justification for intrusion into people’s lives.

    Do you think you separate the “criminal justice” bureaucracy from the welfare bureaucracy? Once someone is arrested and processed, they’re part of the ubiquitous “system.” They’re blacklisted from employment and their lives are monitored; they become defacto wards of the state. More laws = more crimes = more opportunities to get people ensnared in the bureaucratic belly of the beast for the rest of their lives.

  • “I still don’t see the sense or justice in locking people up with violent criminals for their possession and shall we say, personal use.”

    Crack mothers, crystal meth fathers, heroin addicts, etc., abusing their children are NOT violent criminals?

    Huh?

    Thank God I never fathered any children when I was using and abusing. I know darn well what I deserved for my “personal use.”

    Oh, I forgot. I’m not supposed to admit that.

  • Paul,

    Stop for a second. You added “abusing their children.” I never said that.

    Obviously if you abuse your children, you should go to jail.

    And I don’t care what you admit. There’s no “not supposed tos” with me. I believe in the 1st amendment.

  • You got principle Bonchamps. Violent drug addict users may see decriminalization of their addiction, but by goodness, you Ron Paulites got principle. Good for you.

    Thank God he hasn’t a chance in hades of being elected.

    Sadly, the other two alternatives are equally unpalatable.

    I’m sitting this election out. Let the country implode. Maybe that way we can get the feces down the sewer all the more quickly and start over fresh. Sadly, too much blood will be ( and is being ) shed.

  • Paul,

    I’m not for decriminalizing violence. Not everyone who is hooked on drugs is or becomes violent. It’s an error to assume they do, and a really bad fallacy to keep arguing as if I am actually advocating not prosecuting VIOLENT drug offenders.

  • Hey, you can win the argument if you want to. I realize Ron Paulites have this need – it’s almost addictive!

    😉

    An old man who spends most of his time campaigning for an office he can’t get (does he do anything to actually represent his congressional district?)’ appealing to the wide eyes youngsters with cries of decriminalizing illegal drugs, and about to run on a 3rd party ticket, handing the election to Obama. Oh yeah. You win.

  • Paul,

    I’m not trying to win an argument. I’m trying to clarify my actual beliefs vis a vis your rash assumptions.

  • If I were obsessed with winning arguments, I would have wasted valuable minutes of my life replying to Art Deco’s pompous monologues above.

  • Paul,

    Bankrupt local governments will be unable to enforce the hated weed laws.

    The Fed (End the Fed!) will implode. Barter will be big-time.

    The US, as we know it, will no longer exist. They won’t be able to nose around in other countries’ dirt.

    Oh yeah, they win.

  • Yes yes, anarchy for the USA. You got us pegged.

  • Art Deco’s monologues were not pompous. Perhaps disagreeable to you, but not pompous. I didn’t agree with everything Art wrote, but your response of disagreement is typically Ron Pauline. I understand that. It is typical. 🙁

    No, I don’t have the answers to the country’s problems, but I do know that electing Ron Paul isn’t a solution ( nor sadly is Romney or Obama ).

  • Well, we define pompous differently then.

    I replied civilly and fully to Greg and Don the Kiwi, with whom I also disagree. Guess I forgot in those multiple instances my Paulbot programming, and then it randomly kicked back in when I saw Art’s posts. Yeah. That’s the explanation.

    It couldn’t be that I just find Art’s posts to be almost comically unreadable.

  • You know I got you “pegged.”

    A short while ago, you promised to take a sabbatical.

    I thought (dangerous!), “Good! Maybe he’ll come back when he doesn’t know everything, anymore.”

  • I only said I was going to be gone for the weekend, and I was.

    And there will never be a time I don’t know everything about everything 🙂

  • Do you have the winner in today’s third race at Santa Anita Racetrack?

    Cheers!

  • I have only one mild disagreement with Joe Green’s otherwise excellent post.

    America’s entry into WWI was a consequence of Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare against neutral shipping, which posed a real risk to US commerce. This makes it a just war (and, arguably, a necessary war) by any standards

  • MP-S: Maybe you know the answer to this question.

    Did the British Imperial Navy allow passage through its blockade of Germany to US (food or munitions) shipping? It appears that neutral America could and would only ship arms and food to Britain and France. Not that there was anything wrong with that unless you happened to be a malnourished German civilian.

  • T Shaw

    No belligerent allows neutral shipping to breach its blockades. Similarly, belligerents have the right to stop and search neutral vessels for contraband of war, destined to a belligerent. If so, the ship and cargo can be taken into a prize court for adjudication and possible condemnation, not simply sunk.

    Only Germany claimed the right to torpedo neutral ships on the high seas – not running any German blockade (for there was none). No neutral is obliged to respect a mere “paper blockade” (See the Declaration of Paris 1856) and the United States and other neutral powers had no intention of doing so.

4 Responses to Blessed Are They

  • The same attitude led to the murders of 100,000,000 during the 20th century.

  • “Every homosexual, lesbian, came into being through the action of one mother and one father.” MD. CATHOLIC

  • Admitted homosexual practitioner, Judge Vaughn Walker, with conflict of interest and vested interests overturned the will of the people in Proposition 8 in California. His Honor dishonored his parents, mother and father, who brought him into the world. That frenzied “God is dead” person needs a straight jacket. God made all things and keeps them in existence and that guy has more existence than he needs. God is in heaven waiting for him. Thanks be to God for these people who take up truth’s cause.

  • How appropriate that the background music is The Marines’ Hymn.

    May Saint Michael watch over TFP in their efforts in defending the truth and confronting evil.

    Semper fidelis to God, Country and Corps!

Deconstructing the “Bible Endorses Slavery” Meme

Monday, April 30, AD 2012

One of the more fashionable responses to any Christian’s objection to the legalization of “gay marriage”, or for that matter, any objection to anything blatantly immoral in modern society, is to immediately announce that since the Bible (allegedly) endorses slavery, anything it has to say on any moral issue is completely irrelevant.

I suppose the argument goes something like this for most people in their heads: “so your Bible says that (insert the sin you want to justify here) is immoral, eh? Well let me tell YOU something:

The Bible says slavery is moral. (Premise 1)

Slavery, as we all (allegedly) know is immoral. (Premise 2)

Therefore the Bible endorses something that is immoral. (Premise 3)

Therefore, the Bible is not a legitimate source of moral arguments. (Conclusion)”

Have I got that right? I think I do. So let’s deconstruct these premises and demonstrate why this ever-so popular argument is really just another lazy, uncritical, decontextualized, factually-deficient and hypocritical canard.

Continue reading...

70 Responses to Deconstructing the “Bible Endorses Slavery” Meme

  • Slavery in the Roman Empire was a mixed bag. House slaves were often almost treated like members of the family. Slaves in the mines endured living death. Manumission was not rare, and neither were slave revolts, the most famous being that led by Spartacus in 73BC-71BC. I am sure that many slaves would have agreed with the sentiment expressed in the movie Spartacus that death was the only freedom that a slave knew:

  • The interesting thing about slavery in the Roman Empire was that after the conversion of the Empire to Christ, slavery, after a few centuries, was on its way out. Likewise, eventually with serfdom in Western Europe, and afterwards with negro slavery. The Christian West was the only civilization which, over time, abolished slavery several times, a universal institution around the globe. In the absence of Christianity, I have no doubt that slavery would still be universal. Additionally, where Christianity weakens we will see a return to slavery, as happened in the Communist states, with their millions of Gulag state slaves, and with the state slaves in the concentration camps of the Third Reich.

  • I would not say that slavery is recognized as a “legitimate social institution” but rather that it is acknowledged as a social reality of the time.

  • Not only was chattel slavery condemned by the Church, it is also condemned in the OT and NT under “man-stealing”.

  • As with so many ideas in the Bible, in the Greek, variations or levels of concepts had different words. The English “love,” for instance, has the four Greek concepts of eros (physical, romantic,) storge (familial, parental,) philia (brotherly, fraternal,) and agapas (spiritual, unconditional.) Perhaps it is this way for different types of servitude. Any chance there would be further elucidation on this subject, just to be able to smear the idiots a little more abrasively?

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  • Well WK, I only know modern Hebrew, but the word for slave is closer to worker. There is a second word for slave which is often translated as servant, though, but I am not sure which is used in the Bible. Either way, though, chattel slavery is not implied by either.

  • I differ. God gave chattel slavery to the Jews; and Pope Nicholas V gave it to the Portuguese in 1455 in Romanus Pontifex inter alia …mid fourth large paragraph.
    God was right; Pope Nicholas and three successive Popes were not.
    Documentation:
    Leviticus Chapter 25…God gives chattel slavery to the Jews in a nomadic culture…
    44 “Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations. 45 You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as chattels, 
    46 and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen..”

     Here is Pope Nicholas V giving Portugal the right to enslave in 1455 in Romanus Pontifex which Pope Paul III tried to overcome in the quote under it in a 1537 bull:

    Pope Nicholas V:
    ” — We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”

    Pope Paul III trying to undo the above in Sublimus Dei:
    ” We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ.”

    Portugal in the long run obeyed the bad one because it contained this caveat to ward off future Popes:
    ” And if anyone, by whatever authority, shall, wittingly or unwittingly, attempt anything inconsistent with these orders we decree that his act shall be null and void.”

    The bad one by the way also had the written affirmation of three subsequent Popes. Because Pope Leo XIII and another 19th century Pope wrote short histories of the Church and slavery that left out Pope Nicholas V and his endorsers (3 Popes), many many Catholics suppose unbroken papal opposition to slavery.

  • Bill,

    I acknowledge the kind of slavery approved by Pope Nicholas V in my posts, and make a clear distinction between it and chattel slavery.

    Perhaps you didn’t catch that part.

    ” The context is also important; in one Papal bull endorsing this kind of slavery, the context of unending war with Islamic pirates, who captured and enslaved thousands of innocent Christians year after year, is ever-present. The taking of Saracen prisoners of war as slaves was more of a retaliatory war effort than an official social institution. I simply will not condemn it as inherently evil, even if I wouldn’t endorse it today for a thousand different reasons.”

    You can’t just lump every type of slavery into one category.

  • Bonchamps
    But Paul III is addressing the mistakes of the Pope you are defending by context. But you’re dealing with a Pope Nicholas V who was dealing not just with Saracens but three categories to include: ” all Saracens AND PAGANS whatsoever, and OTHER ENEMIES OF CHRIST.”. All the Americas were pagan and in the Americas these permissions were soon used in line with that wording by the Pope. Later Pope Alexander VI was to give Spain the exact same permissions as the Americas were just discovered. One of his mistresses was the sister of Pope Paul III who reformed his own life and opposed this whole late 15th century group of Popes who, like Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam a century and a half before them, saw the Popes as having both spiritual
    and physical power over all the earth. ” The Church That Can and Cannot Change” by Federal Judge, John Noonan Jr. goes into this period in great detail but also shows that contemporaneous with the 8 or so Papal bulls against slavery, there was both in the decretals and in University theologians exceptions. The one as to born to a slave mother means slavery for the child can be seen in the supplement to the Summa online where Aquinas gives the decretal ( canon law) cites: Supplement, question 52, art.4
    ” wherefore children follow the mother in freedom and BONDAGE; whereas in matters pertaining to dignity as proceeding from a thing’s form, they follow the father, for instance in honors, franchise, inheritance and so forth. The canons are in agreement with this (cap. Liberi, 32, qu. iv, in gloss.: cap. Inducens, De natis ex libero ventre) as also the law of Moses (Exodus 21).

  • Shalom.

    You should also link to the church documents/encyclicals on that topic.

  • I do not know Bill. It seems to me that in giving only King Alfonso the Great this power, and giving him this power before the discovery of the Americas, Pope Nicholas’ intention is pretty clearly limited to Iberia. It sounds like the legal language which covers all possible eventualities. Alexander VI, correct me if I am wrong, forbade slavery of the converted indigenous people of the Americas, and saw slavery as a punishment for failure to convert.
    This forced conversion strikes us as pretty perverse, but given that the aliens in the ancient Levant and the Medieval New World were into large scale child sacrifice, might this practice be more amenable to our modern condemnation of slavery, which even now allows for it as a punishment in our own Thirteenth Amendment?

  • Ike
    Again the fact that Pope Paul III took exception and he lived in that context too, argues against context as excuse. If one is against child sacrifice, then end it by war….don’t enslave in order to withdraw silver from Pitosi for a century as Spain did in Peru. Pope Nicholas V may have dreamed about Iberia converting others as primary but in fact, Brazil and Peru right now til this day lead the world in the number of uncontacted tribes.

  • I am not sure that Paul III is objecting to Nicholas V so much as clarifying the statement in a post-Columbian world. Nicholas and Paul were writing in different contexts since one writes during the Reconquista and before the discovery of the Americas (and as you might expect, his statements concern the Reconquista and not the Americas – which he did not know existed) and the other writes after the Reconquista and after the discovery of the Americas (and as you might expect, his statements have the opposite concerns). And I am not saying that the practice or the reasoning behind the allowance of slavery was something other than wrong; I am just wondering if given all the evidence one can judge the papacy so harshly.

  • or say that this constitutes an allowance of chattel slavery which has no regard toward defending some legitimate good – even if done in a bad way.

  • Bill Bannon,

    It is clear to me that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were at no time ever considered “the enemies of Christ”, even if they were technically pagans. This is made absolutely evident by the very first bull condemning the expropriation and enslavement of natives, Sicut Dudum, written in 1435.

    You’re hung up on what appears to me to be an incredibly thin argument, a nit-picky technicality that really doesn’t convey the truth of the situation in the least degree.

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  • Bonchamps
    You began by implying the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery. I gave Leviticus to the effect that it and God does. Why did He? Because there were in those nomadic or near nomadic times no prisons for three groups: criminals, captured enemies, and debtors. Therefore two violent groups were farmed out into slavery. God gave it as a solution to an overflow that was dangerous in two of those cases. That’s why the Old Testament allows violence toward fools because you as a small farmer or herder might have a robber as a slave and thus you were part warden in a culture without prisons. Suddenly these types of violent passages make sense:

    Pro 10:13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding.
    Pro 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
    Exd 21:27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.

    If you have a robber as a slave and you constantly find him dozing off, you just might blt him in the mouth.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    On Romanus Pontifex, you want to believe it had little effect and was a blip in the history.
    Unforetunately it proved to have the most power of the bulls with Portugal who became a principal slaver and the last Euro nation out of the slave trade. Romanus Pontifex was gold to the Portuguese who harried three other Popes into reconfirming it in writing: Pope Calixtus III in 1456; Sixtus IV in 1481; and as late as 1514, Pope Leo X. Pope Paul III writes just 23 years after Leo. The other bulls against slavery appear here and there precisely because traditionally Catholic countries were recurringly involved in slavery. The later Popes weren’t writing for the British. They were writing
    against the impetus caused by another Pope…Nicholas V whose permissions for Portugal were
    repeated by Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia Pope, in one of his Inter Caetera for his native Spain…the same ” privileges, favors, liberties, immunities, exemptions and indults..” ( Noonan,
    page 65 of mentioned book).

    The Old Testament slavery was dealing with a surfeit of violent men in a culture without large prisons. That’s not the situation of Portugal who caused African tribes to capture each other in war in order to barter for goods with Portugal. Africans were far from innocent in this. The Catholic universities allowed that capture in a just war was a good exception that allowed slavery. Portugal had Catholic chapels in its African trading ports. She presumed slaves were captured in just wars but really by having permanent slave trading posts, she caused the wars in part because it became an industry…profitable to the Africans who won those tribal wars.

  • Ike
    Read Romanus Pontifex or you will create a history. It refers to a reality far away from Iberia.
    Quotes from within it:

    “The Roman pontiff, successor of the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom and vicar of Jesus Christ, contemplating with a father’s mind all the several climes of the world and the characteristics of all the nations dwelling in them and seeking and desiring the salvation of all”

    shortly after: “vanquish them and their kingdoms and habitations, though situated in the remotest
    parts unknown to us”

    “strengthened, however, always by the royal authority, he has not ceased for twenty-five years past to send almost yearly an army of the peoples of the said kingdoms with the greatest labor, danger, and expense, in very swift ships called caravels, to explore the sea and coast lands toward the south and the Antarctic pole.”

    ” Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said
    kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by
    the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will
    be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

    That’s all quotes of Pope Nicholas V talking in Romanus Pontifex. In short, the Reconquista is maybe a small part of RP…exploration southward is the main topic.

  • Bill,

    “You began by implying the Bible doesn’t endorse slavery.”

    I acknowledge very clearly that the Old Testament permits slavery. I do question the extent of the relevant contextual and historical knowledge of the know-nothing bigots who attack Scripture to further their own demonically perverse political agendas.

    “On Romanus Pontifex, you want to believe it had little effect and was a blip in the history.”

    No, I simply want to acknowledge that it is NOT referring to indigenous peoples, nor could it be, since there are Papal bulls in which the expropriation and enslavement of indigenous peoples is clearly outlawed and forbidden, such as the one I mentioned in my previous comment. You’re conflating two very distinct issues.

    “She presumed slaves were captured in just wars but really by having permanent slave trading posts, she caused the wars in part because it became an industry…profitable to the Africans who won those tribal wars.”

    This sounds like a lot of speculation to me.

  • I have to go give a final exam. I’ll be back later today to talk about Romanus Pontifex, which I believe you are misreading and misusing.

  • Bonchamps,
    You write: ” No I simply want to ackowledge that it (Romanus Pontifex) is not referring to indigenous people.”

    What the hell would you call Africans in 1455?

    Romanus Pontifex: ” Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

  • Pope Nicholas V’s apparent endorsement of slavery is easy to reconcile.
    The Muslims were persecuting Christians every where they could and enslaving them, or force converting them or executing them for not conforming in an unjust war of conquest and assimilation. They were beyond war criminals and the west was well within its just right to kill them and repel them as a just response. In these times it was the practice to execute wounded soldiers captured or if coming from wealthy families to ransom them back for booty or to enslave them for perpetual work until they perished. Nicholas was authorizing under a just war doctrine a more generally merciful condition of life long imprisonment as slaves rather than just and rightful execution for committing war crimes against the Christian Nation. That’s really merciful considering that these were deserving of execution as this particular enemy was unrelenting and radically opposed to Christianity and sworn to kill Christians at every opportunity. To even imprison such individuals was a risk since an escape could put more innocent lives at risk. This is why society still justly executes some prisoners – because some individuals are so violent and hardened to evil that they will not hesitate to kill again if given the opportunity to escape incarceration. There were no elaborate and well constructed frontier prisons in the day and it was a considerable risk to even take prisoners – not to mention the cost of guarding and feeding etc. So in this context even taking prisoners and putting them to the punishment of slavery for their crimes is VERY just – especially for the harshness of this period of time. Also, the pope’s letter was not a universal teaching for all places – only a limited area of conflict.

  • Bonchamps,
    Sicut Dudum of 1435 by Pope Eugene IV which you say prohibits enslaving indigenous people us actually about about and against enslaving baptized natives and those seeking baptism. Read it closely. Here is its ending warning:
    ” We will that like sentence of excommunication be incurred by one and all who attempt to capture, sell, or subject to slavery, baptized residents of the Canary Islands, or those who are freely seeking Baptism, from which excommunication cannot be absolved except as was stated above.”
    A year later the same Pope gave Portugal the right of conquest over infidel Islands of the Canaries ( ibid, Noonan, page 243).

  • Jesus Christ, Who came to set men free in Truth, did indeed. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is a free man, no matter what anybody says. The Bible is the story of Jesus Christ’s coming, His salvation of man, and His second coming. FREEEDOM is from God. FREE WILL is from God. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Those who are bought and sold and called slaves are free men, even death cannot change truth.

  • InvictusLux,
    You have to ignore the text of Romanus Pontifex to get to the Muslim only theme as I’ve already shown and as Romanus Pontifex shows. See e.g. my 6:23 AM post to Ike.

  • Bill Bannon,

    There is absolutely no logical connection between the two very separate statements in Romanus Pontifex.

    This: “We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery”

    Is not in any contextual way related to this:

    “Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms.”

    The first statement is a decree; the second statement is simply a statement of fact. There’s no sanction there for the enslavement of these people. As for the statement that follows:

    ” A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ.”

    Still not a decree, simply the expression of a hope. Nowhere does it say “go out and capture blacks for the purpose of converting them to Christianity.”

    Then of course there is Paul III, whom you already mentioned:

    ” We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.”

    Note the “may be said” – there’s never any admission that this is what Nicholas V was actually teaching. At no point did the Church say, “yes, we used to allow the enslavement of any and all indigenous peoples who didn’t believe in Christ but now we are putting a stop to it.” At BEST, Church teaching on the matter had not been clearly settled. If you look at the debates between some of the priests in the 16th century on the indigenous peoples, you can see that this wasn’t a settled matter. So as she always does, once the controversy reached a certain point and absolute clarity was required, the Church spoke. Paul III did not “correct” Eugene IV or Nicholas V, then – he ruled on a matter that had never been ruled on before.

  • I’ll grant your point, though, about the bull Sicut Dudum.

  • Bonchamps
    None of this is Church teaching. It’s Papal choices and prudential judgements which are based on papal beliefs that are not in the realm of teaching even though they are beliefs. Even teaching of a formal nature can be incorrect as when John Paul II called slavery an “intrinsic evil”
    in section 80 of ” Splendor of the Truth”. Levitcus 25:44-46 suffices to correct him. God gave chattel slavery and God never gave an intrinsic evil like incest to the Jews. Both he and Benedict have immoderate feelings about things that God commanded and they sidestep them by the use of critico-historical hermeneutics…John Paul in sect. 40 of Evangelium Vitae and Benedict in section 42 of Verbum Domini.
    In any event, neutral readers here have enough bric a brac from both of us to sort through. Two days of slavery is enough for me. I need now 🙂 to pray for the Knicks…that Lebron…King James…and D. Wade do not murder them again and this time up here in Madison Square
    Garden. Dare I watch.

  • Bill,

    I don’t believe the Church has ever sanctioned an “intrinsic evil.” That’s all I’m going to say on that topic. My point about the textual context of that bull stands. There’s no evidence that the Church ever permitted or endorsed chattel slavery.

  • In a similar way, it’s worth pointing out that the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution does not forbid everything that might be called slavery.

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

  • I am greatly impressed by the scholarly comments of Bonchamps and Bannon. However, the original question seemed to be whether the Bible approves of slavery and, perhaps for some, does God approve of slavery. The precepts of the Torah are the works of men and reflect the institutions of the time and ancient near Eastern practices as in the code of Hammurabi. They in no way are the decrees of God or necessarily even approved by God. The interesting question debated by Bonchamps and Bannon is did the Church officially approve of slavery. Some today would consider such papal decrees as reflections of the ordinary Magisterium of the pope and quasi-infallible moral teachings. What was the authority or the Magisterium of the mentioned Papal Bulls? There seems to be here a real conflict in moral teaching.

  • It is not the difference between ancient and modern forms of slavery that is the point of defense against this meme. The Chosen people adopted a radically different approach to slavery than all of the surrounding cultures of the time, because they understood that all men are made in God’s image and they had been slaves in Egypt. Hence they freed ther indentured servants every jubilee year and were not allowed to mistreat fellow human being’s.

    Reading through the old testament to the new, clearly shows that understanding deepening with God’s revelation until you have Paul declaring that a runaway slave is his master’s brother in Christ.

    In order to treat men like property you have to turn away from all of the lessons God so patiently and lovingly teaches throughout the span of the bible.

    Atheists like Savage don’t bother to look at or understand the whole picture. They are only interested in negating the passages that apply to their sin so as to find acceptance by turning ignorant people away from the source of goodness with out of context quotes and misrepresentation.

  • The precepts of the Torah are the works of men and reflect the institutions of the time and ancient near Eastern practices as in the code of Hammurabi. They in no way are the decrees of God or necessarily even approved by God.

    That would be the heresy of Marcionism — a very popular idea these days.

  • Howard:

    You claim that Flamen is insinuating that the God of the Jews is not the same as the God of the New Testament. I can’t claim to know what he means, but I don’t believe that this is a necessary conclusion of what he says. He may simply mean that we do not need to believe that God actually said what some particular Old Testament scripture said that God said, and that we may safely believe that the passages on slavery are examples of the children of Israel assuming the divine authorship of their laws regardless of the truth of this authorship. Similarly, we may believe that the creation account does not relay the actual “words and actions” of God but rather a mythological account of the origins and nature of the universe, or that the biblical histories may sometimes put commands into the mouth of God (such as the command to kill children) which are not actually commands of God. You may still disagree with this, of course, but it is a very different claim than what you are interpreting it to mean.

  • The video of Michael Savage is a picture of a lost soul enslaved to homosexual behavior. To balance the wretchedness of his face against the validity of his words is a chasm that may not be breeched. Michael Savage’s soul speaks unmitigated enslavement while his words hurl vitriol at the Word of God, God, and the children of God, for his free will choice. That, he (Michael Savage) has chosen badly is no one to blame. He refuses to accept his free will and his wretched choice. Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.

  • Scotty

    I have deleted the previous exchange because I do not want this devolving any further. Naturally I feel that your accusations were sufficiently “mucky” to justify muck of my own. I want to stop this now. I think you have horribly misunderstood my intentions with this piece, and I don’t want to debate further your interpretation of my interpretation of someone else’s interpretation of Scripture.

    You can see this as me squelching an ever-so-fascinating exchange and storm off, or you can stick around and perhaps we can have a real discussion.

    To get to the real point: no, I don’t think you can categorically say that every kind of slavery is inherently and always wrong.

    There are some things that are always wrong, and some kinds of slavery would fall into that category.

    There are other things that are matters of prudential judgment, and other kinds of slavery would fall into that category.

    That is my position. If you want to wave your arms and shout “see, he thinks slavery is ok!”, go ahead. I do think certain forms of slavery are morally permissible, though I would not advocate them or participate them myself.

  • @Scotty Ellis

    Back up your words with documentation. The actual scope of how we may interpret Scriptures is not without bound.

  • Oh, and if the God of the Old Testament was just an example of Near Eastern fairy tales, then either He is different from the God of the New Testament (i.e., Marcionism), or the God of the New Testament is also a fairy tale, which could be almost any flavor of unbelief whatsoever, but cannot be Christianity.

  • “The video of Michael Savage is a picture of a lost soul enslaved to homosexual behavior.”

    Um, I take it you meant DAN Savage. If Michael Savage, the talk show host, is “enslaved to homosexual behavior” then Rush Limbaugh is a Communist, Michael Moore is anorexic, and I’m George Washington.

    Michael Savage was fired from his brief stint at MSNBC in 2003 for telling a caller who identified himself as gay: “So you’re one of those sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig; how’s that?” (He also endeared himself to me, and probably to Don and others with autistic children, in 2009 by claiming that 99 percent of autistic children are merely spoiled brats who haven’t been disciplined enough.)

  • “He also endeared himself to me, and probably to Don and others with autistic children, in 2009 by claiming that 99 percent of autistic children are merely spoiled brats who haven’t been disciplined enough.”

    Indeed Elaine. The man specializes in ignorance and bile, also the trademarks of Dan Savage. In my more intemperate moments I might wish that Michael and Dan Savage were marooned together on a very tiny desert island with one very sharp knife between them.

  • Almost makes me wonder if Dan Savage isn’t Michael Savage’s evil twin, or is it the other way around? 🙂

    Getting back to our topic…

    Seems to me that the Church steered more or less a middle ground between those who demanded immediate emancipation and abolition of slavery at any cost (including war) and those who insisted that the right to own slaves included the absolute right to treat them as mere objects, and not as human beings created in the image of God.

    There were Catholic slave owners in America before the Civil War, although they were a pretty small minority of overall slaveholders. I don’t know of any instance in which a Catholic slave owner was excommunicated or otherwise barred from the sacraments until they freed their slaves.

  • Scotty Ellis,

    I’m not going to publish your last comment, because I don’t want what became a personal dispute between the two of us to dominate this discussion.

    If you do want to have substantive discussion, you can respond to my post above about the morality of different kinds of slavery.

  • You can also offer your account of how anything can be “wrong” on the basis of atheistic materialism.

  • Flamen,

    “The interesting question debated by Bonchamps and Bannon is did the Church officially approve of slavery. Some today would consider such papal decrees as reflections of the ordinary Magisterium of the pope and quasi-infallible moral teachings. What was the authority or the Magisterium of the mentioned Papal Bulls? There seems to be here a real conflict in moral teaching.”

    Yes, the Church officially approved of certain types of slavery as far as I can tell. But it never approved of chattel slavery, and Bill Bannon’s attempts to use the mere appearance of the word “pagan” in Pope Nicholas V’s bull as proof that the Church did endorse chattel slavery is simply wrong.

    As for the level of authority, there is a difference between the ordinary Magisterium and the ordinary and universal Magisterium. The latter is infallible. The former isn’t. A bull addressed only to one one nation does not rise to the level of infallibility, as an encyclical letter to the universal Church does. That is why Paul III’s bull is of far greater importance than Nicholas V’s.

  • Bonchamps
    You’re misrepresenting me. What affirms chattel slavery in Romanus Pontifex is not the word “pagan” but the combination of actions of taking the possessions and reducing them to perpetual slavery…” and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”. But chattel slavery can be good where it is a necessity (Leviticus 25… no or insufficient prison space) but a bad thing when it is not necessary ( making war likely due to trading goods for persons captured in war).
    Drunkeness is a related example. Condemned repeatedly in the Bible and ordinarily a mortal sin, it can however be the due act of virtue when the person is deeply troubled wherein Scripture
    requires the very thing it ordinarily condemns: Proverbs 31:6 ” Give strong drink to anyone who is perishing,and wine to the embittered;7 When they drink, they will forget their misery,
    and think no more of their troubles.”
    Amongst the uncontacted tribes of the Amazon wherein also there are no prisons, it right now may be the due act that they have slavery of criminals as in Leviticus 25 rather than having execution for simple theft and fraud e.g.
    When you go past my previous quote of RP a bit, you see the stealing involved:

    ” to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit –“. That became through the later reconfirmers of RP the tragedy of Latin America.
    The conquistador families ended up with the best land and huge tracts of it setting the stage for
    the rich poor divide that breeds crime and makes all Latin American countries less street safe than Shinto Japan.
    I’m going to try and leave again.

  • Bill,

    You said in your last post:

    “What affirms chattel slavery in Romanus Pontifex is not the word “pagan” but the combination of actions of taking the possessions and reducing them to perpetual slavery…” and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”

    This is what you said before, though:

    “But you’re dealing with a Pope Nicholas V who was dealing not just with Saracens but three categories to include: ” all Saracens AND PAGANS whatsoever, and OTHER ENEMIES OF CHRIST.”. All the Americas were pagan and in the Americas these permissions were soon used in line with that wording by the Pope.”

    So you were building your case on that word, and I don’t think it is accurate at all.

  • Bonchamps
    No….I was responding by those capitalizations to the concept that RP was only about Saracens which you gave immediately above my capitals post.. RP was about all distant humans as Portugal traveled south along the African coast. Eventually Brazil would have black slaves bought by Portugal, most of whom brought African animism with them but some of whom in Bahia were Yoruba who were Muslim.
    The capitalizations of the three groups is about the breath of RP that goes well past Saracens.
    Chattel slavery is separate and inferred by “perpetual” which is used in Leviticus in conjunction with that word…no rights henceforth is connoted by the stealing of their goods which happened in dramatic fashion in Peru with the endless taking of silver by Spain from Pitosi which became according to Niall Fergusson in the “Ascent of Money”….40% of Spain’s national budget which went into European wars.

  • The worst kind of slavery is sin!

  • Bill,

    I still don’t “pagans” = carte blanche enslavement of whomever you find in your explorations. If people got that impression, that’s one thing; the document doesn’t actually say that.

  • Bonchamps
    Well who else would you find besides RP’s 3: “Saracens” “pagans” “other enemies of Christ”…given that the Council of Florence a little earlier in that century said in the bull by Eugene IV that everyone outside the Catholic Church proper was damned even if they shed blood for Christ or gave alms if they did not enter the visible Catholic fold before death. Forget “pagan”. The really broad category was “other enemies of Christ” in that century.
    Think of the Council of Florence or at least Eugene IV’s bull therein as the anti ecumenical movement par excellence. He would have found looking for the good in Zen…a work of Satan.
    Had Eugene IV seen John Paul II kiss the Koran…oy…oy.

  • Bill,

    Given the political nature and context of the bull, as well as the phrase “other enemies” – implying that it is referring only to those pagans who can properly be classified as enemies of Christ – I think your interpretation is wrong. There are some pagans who are actively hostile to Christianity (indeed, Muslims were thought of as pagans by medieval Christians), and others who aren’t. What happened in the 16th century was that a debate ensued about the ontological status of indigenous peoples – were they human beings as well? They’d never been seen before. Some said no. The Papacy ruled that not only were they human beings, but that they had the same natural rights as everyone else and could not be enslaved.

    So I grant that there was confusion. I can even grant that Nicholas V may have been misinterpreted to justify the slave trade. But what I can’t grant is that his document actually establishes or endorses the slave trade, or that the Church ever held the position that it was morally acceptable to go into uncharted territory and enslave people for profit.

    I don’t know what the Council of Florence has to do with this debate. That is describing the spiritual reality, it has nothing to do with temporal matters. I am very familiar with Cantate Domino, which is dogmatic and infallible by the way.

  • Bonchamps
    You have a paradigm you are protecting. Hence the circle we are going in. It’s endless. Romanus Pontifex and its 3 reconfirmations for 42 years until 1514 and the Borgia Pope repeating their privileges for Spain were exactly what happened in Latin America and Africa…slavery and theft (or despoiling in the ruler’s view.) That breaks your paradigm of Church history as pristine. Pope Paul III tried to overcome those Popes and lost. Look at his text…it is an exact reproof of RP…exact….but it breaks your paradigm to admit it. He actually first had a caveat of excommunication for persons who enslaved new natives but withdrew it. Find out why in your reading someday. Ask when you find the answer, why he and other Popes didn’t interdict Portugal and Spain over the slavery and theft permitted them by RP. One Pope tried it on Venice and they laughed at him.

    History is not like a Thomas Kinkaid painting….turns out Kinkaid wasn’t like a Kinkaid painting.
    I’m gone now really. In ten minutes Lebron murders the Knicks. It’s a train wreck I must watch.

  • Bill,

    I quoted the text above, and I don’t think it is an “exact reproof.” There’s no evidence that he is even acknowledging, let alone reproving or repealing, anything that his predecessors said. Surely he is not referring to Nicholas V as “the enemy of the human race”, whose views he is exposing and rejecting in this bull!

    You’re mentioning a lot of things that you aren’t providing any evidence for. “Find out someday?” How about you support your claims now?

  • Bonchamps,

    Sublimus Dei text from your ” enemy of the human race” way down to the separate tone of correcting the Popes in question…keep in mind his sister was the mistress of the Borgia Pope…he did not have your problem of seeing Popes immune to satan:

    ” The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God’s word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

    We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.”

    Note the distance from your enemy passage to “whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary”…and hardly the same tone. Popes in those days fought each other. Pope Julius II had to flee for his life from a previous Pope, Alexander VI until the latter passed away. Paul III’s sister was Alexander VI’s mistress. Your seeing their reality as though it were your time. It was a very different time.

  • The Bible has countless passages endorsing slavery and telling slaves to be loyal to their masters.

    I was expecting a decent argument against this actually using the Bible, but you danced around this and ignored the Bible entirely. A church can teach whatever it wants, but what’s in the Bible is in the Bible, and the Bible is full of endorsements for humans as property.

  • @Thom,
    Actually… not. “full”? not. “endorsements”? not. “countless”? not.

    Since when is telling slaves to be loyal to their masters an endorsement of slavery?
    That’s like saying telling folks to be responsible citizens is an endorsement of [insert your favorite government over-step, whether rendition, militarism, corruption, etc].

    But speaking of what’s (actually) in the Bible… have you read any of it? In context?

    Are you aware of the book of Philemon (of which someone wrote elsewhere:

    In the time of the Roman Empire, runaway slaves could be tracked down and returned to their masters, who then had the ‘right’ to execute them; certainly a runaway slave would have been a fugitive for the rest of his life. Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus makes sense in that light – by returning him to Philemon, Onesimus would no longer be a hunted man, and he would be welcomed back into Philemon’s household as a brother in Christ. So far from endorsing slavery, Paul was being realistic about Roman laws and their implications.

    )?

    Are you aware of the seminal Gal 3:28:

    There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    Are you aware that long before the enlightenment, the vast majority of anti-slavery writing (of which there was considerable) was Christian?

    Are you aware that the basis of American abolition was also Christian?

  • @Thom,
    One last thing: there is not a respectable scholar on the planet who imagines that “humans as property” fairly represents the Biblical instantiation of slavery. The difference between “indentured servitude” and “chattel” is not inconsiderable — even if both have been historically labelled “slavery”.

  • Doug

    Leviticus Chapter 25…God gives chattel slavery to the Jews in a nomadic culture…
    44 ”Slaves, male and female, you may indeed possess, provided you buy them from among the neighboring nations. 45 You may also buy them from among the aliens who reside with you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. Such slaves you may own as chattels, 
    46 and leave to your sons as their hereditary property, making them perpetual slaves. But you shall not lord it harshly over any of the Israelites, your kinsmen..”

    Slavery in primitive cultures where there are no large prisons for criminals and war captures and deep debtors…makes sense and so God gave chattel slavery for that context. Modern slavery was wrong because as in Portugal’s slave trading stations vis a vis Africa, capturing people in war in order to sell them to Portugal became the purpose of tribal wars not a result of
    just war but the purpose of unjust wars.

  • @bill bannon,
    …as long as you don’t pretend that the Biblical provision for chattel constitutes support for

    the Bible is full of endorsements for humans as property

    …and as long as you don’t pretend that chattel represents the normative form of slavery in the Bible, I’m won’t disagree.

  • No….as time went on and prisons did exist, the legitimate reason for chattel slavery diminished.
    But in ancient times without prisons the alternative was to execute every criminal and all those captured in war. Leviticus’ chattel slavery was part of a system that saved lives in that context then and there.

  • In the book of Sirac it says that if you have a slave you should treat him like a brother. The word slave came about towards the end of the Roman empire when most slaves were Slavic slaves who were servants because they were captured during war and the word slave is actually just a racial slur of Slav.

  • God did not want his chosen people to be slaves, but he did not mind if they enslaved others?

    Exodus 3:7

    “The Lord said, “I have seen my people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering. ”

    Exodus 6:5

    “Also, I have heard the groans of the Israelites. The Egyptians are keeping them as slaves. But I have remembered my covenant. ”

    When Moses saved the Israelites from Egypt, God set forth the rules “his” people should follow in their new settlement

    ~ God shares these laws right after God his Ten Commandments

    Exodus 21:20-21

    “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”

    Beating a slave is ok, as long as they do not die, because they are your property!

    I am trying to learn about Christianity by securing the Bible in my mind as the ultimate authority of truth, but it is so hard. I am sorry, you can justify anything.

    I believe in a higher power and I know there are some good truths in the Bible, but I believe this book was compiled by men.

  • “I am trying to learn about Christianity by securing the Bible in my mind as the ultimate authority of truth, but it is so hard. ”

    Ah. Well, it is a good thing you are really trying to learn about the faith, and not just saying that as a sort of sarcastic way of dismissing a religion and a book you know almost nothing about on the basis of an isolated quotation translated into modern vernacular.

    My Douay-Rhemis Bible renders Ex. 21:20-21 much differently. The word “property” is nowhere to be found in reference to a human being. Just a few verses later, which I am sure, in your diligent study of Scripture on your journey to a greater knowledge of Christianity, you are already familiar with, Exodus 21 states:

    “[26] If any man strike the eye of his manservant or maidservant, and leave them but one eye, he shall let them go free for the eye which he put out. [27] Also if he strike out a tooth of his manservant or maidservant, he shall in like manner make them free.”

    So if they actually did beat their slaves and cause them serious injury, by the law of God, that slave would have to be set free. Clearly we are looking at a situation in which slavery is an acknowledged reality (the entire world practiced slavery), but not one in which people are treated like animals. As I said in my post, the laws of God make humane even a situation like slavery when it is unavoidable. Masters have duties to their servants no less than servants do to their masters.

    And if slaves were really considered just “property”, how do you explain Deuteronomy 23:15-16?

    “Thou shalt not deliver to his master the servant that is fled to thee. “He shall dwell with thee ill the place that shall please him, and shall rest, in one of thy cities: give him no trouble.”

    So, a slave who escapes is considered free. Finally:

    I return to the point I made in my original post. What is your criteria, your standard, for judging and condemning the Bible? Your personal preferences?

  • Yes, Elaine Krewer, I mean Dan Savage. Thanks for the catch.

  • Elaine: Worse than that, I believe that the post was for the Dan Savage video. Can’t explain dumb.

  • Andy
    God did not want his chosen people to be slaves, but he did not mind if they enslaved others?

    Exodus 3:7

    “The Lord said, “I have seen my people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering. ”

    Exodus 6:5

    “Also, I have heard the groans of the Israelites. The Egyptians are keeping them as slaves. But I have remembered my covenant. ”
    Only the Chosen People cried out to the true God, therefore, only the Chosen People were heard by the true God.

  • I greatly appreciate the Christian Churches and followers for their service to God, which ultimately leads to a better humanity. All of the devout Christians I know are good people and our world is better having them in our world. I believe the Bible has really good stories, parables and lessons that are valuable to everyone.

    I am sorry if my language is strong, please read this in a light a manner, even though my writing may seem heavy at times.

    I question the Authority of the Bible, especially when followers of any religion judge and condemn others through claims of Divine Authority based on “God’s” word. For example, gay marriage, slavery and women’s rights. It just bothers me when people validate their opinions from the Bible, because it is “God’s” words. Did God write the Bible? Did Jesus write any of the books?

    Some religious folks say we get our morals from the Bible and without God we would be lawless. Was it a decree by God that we should abstain from enslaving or fellow humans? Was it a decree by God, that we should give women the right to vote? I believe it was noble men that knew it was right.

    Let me ask you this…

    What if one of your friends tells you, they met God at the park. They even describe some of the miracles he performed. Also telling you all of the noble parables and lessons they have learned. They even explain some of the laws you should now follow. Some of them you agree with some of them you don’t. Well, wouldn’t it be blasphemy to go against God’s words. You may also, not really know where you will go when you die and you are scared because you do not want to go to hell.

    Would you believe them? Or would you question their sincerity and ask to see God for yourself? Then they tell you, “you just have to believe and if you don’t believe you are going against God’s will.” In the time when many of our world religions were founded the people on earth, our ancestors were struggling to provide food and shelter. These holy books comforted our ancestors and helped them make sense of their environments.

    However, what about all of the other religions that were enslaved and conquered because they did not follow the one true God. What about all of the wide array of forms Christianity that did not make the final cut, therefore they were persecuted and prevented from following their form of Christianity, like the Gnostics, Marcionites, Ebionites and many of the early sects. The Dead Sea scrolls were hidden to protect them from the deadly ‘authority’ of the ruling Christian denomination.

    You may have known your friend at the park, but do you know anyone who wrote parts of the Bible? What makes the Bible any holier than any other book? Why is it that people from India follow Hinduism and people from the Middle East follow Muhammad?

    The Bible was used on both sides of the Civil War, and that was 1830 years after Christ came to earth. With all of the different sects and denominations of Christianity it seems all facets are up for discussion. I am saying the Bible might not be the word of God, based on some of the inconsistencies that can be attributed to archaic men.

    Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abolish it. He was so enraged with the money changers, yet he did nothing about the enslavement of humanity. It is a sin to own someone else. The slaves/servants were getting paid nothing and their labor was very valuable to the master. Slavery was avoidable.

    Let’s say, God intended for us to go through slavery and suppress women’s rights.

    Are those God’s words? Or just some rulers who wanted to justify the slavery, so they could line their pockets with their handwork? What about Eve the temptress causing all other women to be subjugated to ruling men. Were these laws from men who wanted to assert control? Immediately when the Bible was formed it was the ultimate authority and any other religions were destroyed. How did our form of the Christian Bible come to be? Why did it take 300 years to get a final cut of the Bible? What was left out? What was added? Who gave those leaders Divine Authority?

    Bonchamps as you said

    Your Douay-Rhemis Bible changes property for money. I am not really sure what your Bible means by money, but I can see how property, money and capital are interchangeable.

    You said: “So, a slave who escapes is considered free. Finally: ”

    The slaves were only free if they agreed to leave. What if they had formed a family?

    Exodus 21: 4 – 6
    “If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.”

    ” But if the servant declares, ” I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free, then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

    Slave goes free, but they would have to leave their family behind?

    That is nice of a master to give his slave a wife, but was it just to make more slaves? Did the slave raise his family and grow attached to it? That is cruel to offer freedom to the man only, and force him to leave his family behind.

    Or he can stay and get branded with a dehumanizing slave earring, to mark his slavery?

    How humiliating would that be to know you are someone’s property and you and your family are supposed to obey them as you would the Lord for your entire life.

    The Bible does relay an attitude to be an obedient slave,

    Ephesians 6:5
    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”

    I would think a righteous God would be appalled by one man being a slave to another. Especially because he is giving him the respect he would to God. Doesn’t the Bible say not to have any idols besides the one and only Lord.

    Respect your masters and fear them? Fear of what? Fear does not seem like a friendly form of slavery, but I was not there and neither were you.

    In Deuteronomy, it explains how profitable slaves were even if you were to set them free.

    Deuteronomy 15: 18

    “Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because their service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”

    No wonder slave trading was so lucrative, not only did the slaves get nothing, but the owners were able to double their profits off of the free labor. I have great respect for the Source of our world and the universe, but I do not believe the Totality of God is in one book and especially one that displays the ruling class of men.

    It is appalling to think that babies are born sinners and they deserve to burn in hell and the only way for their salvation is to worship the Lord. Part of me thinks portions of Christianity are trading one form of slavery for another. It just bothers me when I hear Christians say, “well the Bible says this, what you are doing is wrong.” It is kinda like one of those ink blots, you see what you want to see. I could be wrong and everything in the Bible could be the word of God.

    Sorry for my rant. Maybe I am spending too much of my energy on this, but it bothers me when people pick and choose parts of the Bible. I know you can attain Godly wisdom through reading the Bible, I just question its Divine Authority.

  • wow sorry for the long post

For Your Weekend

Friday, April 27, AD 2012

I have a long weekend and very busy next-week ahead of me, so I won’t be here posting and commenting for a few days. Until then, enjoy this music! Amadeus is one of my favorite films, and Mozart one of my favorite composers. Here is the full finale of the opera that had “too many notes.”

Have a wonderful weekend TAC!

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One Response to For Your Weekend

33 Responses to Paul Ryan: A Catholic Champion For Liberty?

  • I am surprised that I agree with you. But I would completely oppose Ron Paul about whom you wrote, “Nor can I possibly count my political support for Ron Paul as support for the GOP…” He’s delusional and anti-semitic. And the GOP is infinitely preferrable to the Demokratik Party of Marxism, Atheism, Homosexuality and Abortion. True, God’s kingdom isn’t of this world and the GOP isn’t the party of God, but the Demokratik Party is the party of satan.

    Romney 2012, NOT Obama. That’s our choice, like it or not.

  • The complexity of the tax code is the result of several things, one of them of course attempts at social engineering – at least in the sense of rewarding those actions the drafter sees as positive, and punishing that seen as negative. But another big driver of the complexity is the attempt to “work around” the tax code. The code will tax a transaction X, so taxpayers (at least those who can afford advisors), structure the transaction as Y. The IRS picks up on this and gets the code changed to now address Y. Then the taxpayers start to use Z, and so on.

    How much of the second complicating factor can be eliminated by “simplifying” the code is difficult to gauge. Regardless, my hat’s off to Ryan if he is truly sincere about incorporating CST into the fed budget. Even if he is not particularly successful, at least he is taking it into account and making the effort.

  • I suppose when the entire world is crazy, the one sane man would appear delusional.

  • c matt is correct about the Code, but the other driver of complexity is fairness. Fairness and simplicity are often not in alignment. After all, the simplest tax would be a head tax, but few people would consider that fair. There are other drivers of course, such as the desire to hide true tax incidence by taxing business entities which pass on these costs through some unknowable combination of reduced earnings/dividends, higher prices, or reduced wages, all accomplished somewhat organically and randomly. Trust me there are lots of others having to do with accounting complexity and division of tax bases among jurisdictions, etc. Any CPA (or even accounting major) knows that accounting rules and theory are not simple and can be subject to debate and uncertainty; it stands to reason that taxes will be at least as difficult.

  • “I suppose when the entire world is crazy, the one sane man would appear delusional.”

    Anti-semitic, conspiracy theorist Ron Paul is still delusion by any sane standard.

  • That’s a great Ryan quote. I’m sure I’ll use it when the old charge of objectivism resurfaces.

  • It could be just me, but Ryan sounds like he’d be a great running mate for a presidential candidate with no fiscal/business experience.

  • Truly pathetic turnout of protestors against Paul Ryan during his speech at Georgetown:

    http://twitchy.com/2012/04/26/protest-outside-of-paul-ryans-speech-at-georgetown-univ-lacks-actual-protesters/

    The Left just can’t turn out the numbers anymore for their street theater, even at a liberal university like Georgetown.

  • Mr. McClarey: Failing to “man the barricades”, er, get protesters to show up for a demonstration, is one result of over-dependence on slackers. See Instapundit

  • You know you are living in strange times when a politician does more to explain Catholic social teaching in a year than the bishops have done in over four decades.

    Like I said before, among the many things I like about Paul Ryan, his clear understanding of the importance of taking the Catholic social justice mantle away from the left and his efforts to do just that is far and away the thing I lke the most.

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  • Paul P.,

    Your comments about Ron Paul are the most delusional thing here.

    Charges of “anti-Semitism” are the last refuge of political scoundrels.

    This is what I think of 99% of the pathetic whining about “anti-Semitism”:

    http://youtu.be/TYZBKqemQrU

  • That said, I bloody well know that the options are Mitt vs. Barack. And I’ll probably vote for Mitt, only because of Obama’s assault on the Church – otherwise I was going to stay home or vote Constitution Party.

    What Ron Paul has accomplished is setting the stage for Rand Paul in 2016.

  • Bonchamps,

    We’ll agree to disagree.

  • Oh yes, we most certainly will.

  • Paul,

    If you think I haven’t already heard about and rejected this nonsense, you’re denser than I thought.

    Ron Paul isn’t a racist or an anti-Semite. I will not “wash my hands of him.” I’ve seen the charges against him and I’ve already decided “not guilty”, so you are completely and totally wasting your time with this garbage.

  • Wow! Believe what you want. I am done with this thread. No more reading what you say.

  • Fine with me! You have a nice day.

  • Ron Paul, nuttier than a fruitcake.

    http://hoystory.com/?p=7411

  • I will say that anyone, as Ron Paul did, who equates the U.S. going into Pakistan without their permission to kill bin Laden (never mind the fact there is good evidence that he was being harbored by the Pakistani government and would have been tipped off by them) with agents of the Chinese government doing the same to kill a Chinese dissident or that a nuclear armed Iran poses no threat has no business running for office of any kind.

  • I don’t want to debate foreign policy or Ron Paul here.

    I’ll post about both in the future and we can discuss them then.

  • On page 3 of The Catholic Herald, Superior Diocese, the headline reads, “Ryan budget proposal worries bishops”.

  • “You know you are living in strange times when a politician does more to explain Catholic social teaching in a year than the bishops have done in over four decades.”

    “On page 3 of The Catholic Herald, Superior Diocese, the headline reads, ‘Ryan budget proposal worries bishops’.”

    I would suggest the latter has something to do with the former. I might also suggest that the latter is due to a rather selective reading of CST by most bishops and the former, at a minimum, a lack of desire to teach the fullness of CST.

  • What he says seems pretty solid but why is he on the Democratic party?

  • Here is a budget indicator which ought to really worry Bishops.

    The US economy (GDP) last QTR grew by $142.4 billion. The US public debt grew $359.1 billion.

    This illustrates the fact that takers are taking 2.5x faster than makers are making.

    “The poor will always be with you.” Soon, we all will be poor.

  • “The US economy (GDP) last QTR grew by $142.4 billion. The US public debt grew $359.1 billion. ”

    One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist or a nuclear engineer to understand simple arithmetic. Thus will the Gospel of Social Justice die under the burgeoning and inexorable weight of its own illogic. Sadly, too many innocent victims will be (and are being) taken along for the ride.

  • I have unapproved several comments because Bonchamps will not be around to respond, and since several of these comments are critical of him, I believe it only fair that he deal with them as he sees fits.

    The American Catholic is a group blog. Each of us deal with comments in our threads as we deem best. I would note also that we each determine the topic of our posts and normally we do our best to keep the comments on topic. This thread was about Paul Ryan, and not Ron Paul, and I believe Bonchamps made it clear that he did not want to debate the merits or demerits of Ron Paul in this thread. That declaration of his should be respected by commenters on this thread. Let us also avoid personal attacks. That is not what this blog is for. Bonchamps is a talented writer and an original thinker and he has much to contribute to the blog. So everyone take a deep breath. I will be around this weekend and if any of our commenters wish to cross swords with anyone my threads are always available! 🙂

  • “On page 3 of The Catholic Herald, Superior Diocese, the headline reads, ‘Ryan budget proposal worries bishops’.”

    I am still hoping (against hope itself perhaps) that what Ryan is doing will force the bishops to actually address the issue of subsidiarity and its importance in a proper understanding of CST. If they had taken the opportunity during the Obamacare debate as well as at other times in the past to do that, we probably wouldn’t have had this HHS mandate problem to deal with. It seems they have thus far chosen to stick with being ideologues as oppsed to pastors and teachers on this issue and others like it.

  • The left often crows about “income disparity”, although income disparity is not, in and of itself, a problem. After all, if I am satisfied and reasonably comfortable with the my income, why should I care about the disparity between mine and some super rich guy?

    But there is a real disparity problem. And that is what we spend on these so-called entitlement programs and what actually goes to the recepient. I would like to see people like Ryan point these things out in a way that the common person can understand. I suspect if people knew how bad this particular problem is, they would clamour for something that would make Ryan’s budget like modest by comparison in terms of cuts in actual spending.

    To be sure, the next Reagan does not seem to be on the conservative horizon. But you don’t have to be Reagan to do many of the things Reagan did. One of which was the clear persistent pedagogical appraoch he took in making his case to the American public.

    In any event, I am optimistic about what Ryan is doing and that there is more where that coame from.

  • I simply cannot get ENOUGH of our bishops wondrous proclamations about politicos such as Paul Ryan and Arizona’s state legislators for example. Arizona’s resolute need to control its deluge of illegal immigrants prompted Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to the cheers of other such Catholic pro illegal immigration advocates, to comment that Arizona immigration law is, essentially, akin to Nazism. The bishops’ who responded to Ryan’s budget proposal are as equally misguided, and they illustrate a manifest tunnel vision blindness to the practicalities of real governance. What they, and the organizations they foster, have themselves deemed necessary to do in light of Catholic America’s fiscal and moral crises of the last three decades, and to some degree by virtue of their own ineptitude; lock church doors or close the church altogether, close hospitals, schools, convents, seminaries, and adoption agencies is nothing that they would ever seemingly permit government similarly do. As one who has tried to avidly defend our beautiful Church against the onslaught of accusations from this secular, all the more atheistic society of ours, I in general find that the bishops make it ever so difficult to succeed at it.

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Obama’s Ideological Brinkmanship

Monday, April 23, AD 2012

We knew it would come to this, but we weren’t sure until when until the Obama administration announced the contraception mandate; even then, we weren’t sure when exactly it would be explicitly spelled out by the leadership of the Church. I am referring to the U.S. bishop’s recent statement declaring, among other things, the following:

It is a sobering thing to contemplate our government enacting an unjust law. An unjust law cannot be obeyed. In the face of an unjust law, an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them. No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith.

It is essential to understand the distinction between conscientious objection and an unjust law. Conscientious objection permits some relief to those who object to a just law for reasons of conscience—conscription being the most well-known example. An unjust law is “no law at all.” It cannot be obeyed, and therefore one does not seek relief from it, but rather its repeal. (Emphasis added)

In making this statement, the bishops have echoed Pope Leo XIII’s statement in his encyclical Libertas: “But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God.”

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28 Responses to Obama’s Ideological Brinkmanship

  • Thank you, Bonchamps! Shared on Facebook!

  • I believe it was Edmund Burke who said, “An unjust law is the worst form of tyranny.”

  • Too many Catholics have embraced a false notion of the relationship between religion and politics. Basing themselves on Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas, they have talked of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel. “Under such circumstances, the supernatural is no longer properly speaking another order, something unprecedented, overwhelming and transfiguring” (Henri de Lubac)

    It was this that led Laberthonnière, a hundred years ago now, to accuse the Neo-Thomists of his day of ““a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.”

    It led his friend and contemporary, Maurice Blondel, to insist that we must never forget “that one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny. Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order”

    Jacques Maritain, too, declared that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being. . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account”

    Unless we insist, in Blondel’s words, that we can “find only in the spirit of the gospel the supreme and decisive guarantee of justice and of the moral conditions of peace, stability, and social prosperity,” we shall inevitable acquiesce in practice in the Liberal privatisation of religion.

  • Well, that’s all very interesting.

    How is it related to what I wrote?

    Not being sarcastic here; I’d really like to know.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “a natural order” is inscribed in our Declaration of Independence: “the laws of nature and nature’s God”. To change our founding principles ratified 236 years ago, requires a change by two-thirds of the states agreeing to the change. It IS that simple. Joseph Suarez based on Saint Thomas Aquinas (saints are in heaven with God), Suarez says: “Human existence (from God) is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights” Human existence begins when two become one flesh and our Creator gives the child a sovereign personhood endowed with unalienable rights to life. Obamacare is one rung in the ladder of one world government under one world bank instead of under God, disallowing the soul of man, because the soul of man cries out to God to be heard and the soul of man will be heard. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Gorbachev, Putin, they can wait, there are many waitng in the shadows for the one world shadow government under the world bank to step center stage. They show the face of Dr. Jekyl. If they showed the face of Mr. Hyde, who would vote for them, or trust them. In God we trust, “our Creator”

  • “I was deeply disappointed with the bishop’s support for Obamacare, and I still reject the wholly prudential argument that a national healthcare scheme is required to secure some sort of “human right” for people in this country. I especially reject the notion that a militantly secular regime such as Obama’s could ever be entrusted to secure such a right. One can only hope that the lesson was learned, and that it is not too late.”

    Unfortunately I don’t think they will. Many are still bound by the current, disordered sense of social justice. It was this disordered sense of justice that brought about support for Obama’s health care reform.

  • Hilaire Belloc summed it up very well, when he said that “Catholic life is not normal to a society unless Catholic morals and doctrine be supreme therein. Unless the morals of the Faith appear fully in the laws of that society, unless it be the established and authoritative religion of that society, the Church is ill at ease… She proposes to take in men’s minds even more than the place taken by patriotism; to influence the whole of society, not a part of it, and to influence it even more thoroughly than a common language. Where She is confronted by any agency inimical to Her claim, though that agency be not directly hostile, She cannot but oppose it.”

    It is the failure to keep this truth before our minds and the acceptance of a compromise that proposed a government founded on merely natural principles and, guided by human reason, pursuing merely natural ends that has brought us to this pass.

    As for “Nature and Nature’s God,” Pascal warned us, “All those who seek God apart from Christ, and who go no further than nature, either find no light to satisfy them or come to devise a means of knowing and serving God without a mediator, thus falling into either atheism or deism, two things almost equally abhorrent to Christianity… They imagine that it simply consists in worshipping God considered to be great and mighty and eternal, which is properly speaking deism, almost as remote from the Christian religion as atheism.” This is the God of the Phiosophes, not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  • Phillip: “I was deeply disappointed with the bishop’s support for Obamacare, and I still reject the wholly prudential argument that a national healthcare scheme is required to secure some sort of “human right” for people in this country. ” Healthcare is CHARITY, a voluntary virtue. One of man’s responses to the gift of Faith from God. CHARITY comes under the FREEDOM OF RELIGION First Amendment Freedom.
    Michael Paterson-Seymour: The Declaration of Independence is our founding principle to which all people must adhere or change with two-thirds of the states ratifying. This is Important because the atheists are telling us to go find two-thirds of the states to reratify the laws already in place such as the right to LIFE and that all men are created EQUAL. Founded on “Divine Providence” our country continues its being through virtue. Virtue is America’s lifeline. What Pascal said is happening right now, without Christ. Let me continue this. I am late for Mass.

  • Mary,

    The Declaration of Independence has NO legal standing whatsoever. Wile I agree that it contains the founding principles of the nation, and that this makes it in many respects as important if not MORE important than the Constitution, it is not itself law. It is not subject to any vote.

  • Michael,

    “It is the failure to keep this truth before our minds and the acceptance of a compromise that proposed a government founded on merely natural principles and, guided by human reason, pursuing merely natural ends that has brought us to this pass.”

    What failure? It was never done to begin with. This country was founded by Freemasons.

    “We” really had no role in this. It is the society that was given to us. And so to some extent we have to operate within its framework.

  • Beauchamps

    “What failure? It was never done to begin with. This country was founded by Freemasons.

    “We” really had no role in this. It is the society that was given to us. And so to some extent we have to operate within its framework.”

    It is one thing to accept the inevitable and to operate with the institutions one has, as Leo XIII exhorted French Catholics to do, when he called on them 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. It is another to treat the state’s rejection of “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” as Dignitatis Humanae puts it as somehow good or desirable in itself, as so many Catholics have done, and not only those on the Left.

  • “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”: Caesar belongs to God. Constituted through the sovereign personhood and unalienable rights of each and every created equal, endowed citizen, government is under God, born of the free will endowed by our Creator, Divine Justice, authentic authority, and humble service. Government does not create life, nor personhood, nor man. Government gives citizenship. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, is perfect Charity. Jesus Christ as man loves. Jesus Christ as God is LOVE. The virtue of CHARITY as all virtues and vices is practiced through the consent and free will of the person. The virtue of charity is voluntary, that is, practiced through the free will and consent of man. Levying taxes to effect the virtue of charity without the free will and consent of the tax payers is extortion. The will of God expressed through the voice of the people is the duty of government. Obamacare, in the practice of the vices of abortion, contraception and euthanasia, violates the will of God, our Creator. Obamacare, in levying taxes without the will and consent of the people is extortion. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us and Christ took His life up again. In Christ, man has eternal life. Embraced, Jesus Christ is FREEDOM.
    In 2013, in Maryland, gay marriage becomes law. Who told governor O’Malley to deny the rational, immortal souls of the participants, of his constituents and of God? It was not God Who told O’Malley. God said: “Thou shall not lay with a man as with a woman” (biblical note to follow) God has become HATE SPEECH. For the common good? for our own good? REALLY? Government of the people, for the people and by the people has perished from the face of the earth.

  • Bonchamps: The Declaration of Independence was ratified by every state before the War for Independence. That makes the Declaration of Independence law. The Declaration of Indpendence was never nulled and void, or abrogated or unratified. In fact, the U.S. Constitution begins by saying: “in the twelveth year of our Independence…” sure sounds to me like the Founding Fathers built our country, our freedom and our independence on the Declaration of Independence as the absolute minimum. Please show me where our Independence as inscribed in our Declaration of Indpendence is proscribed and do not go with unjust law.

  • Bonchamps: Every man woman and child, there were three generations who fought for independence, who fought and died, died in vain, for a founding principle that no longer exists? The Declaration of Independence gave birth to America, July 4th 1776. The Statue of Liberty holds that Declaration in her left hand. The U.S. Constitution defines the government, not the nation. There would be no United States of America nation if the Declaration were not ratified (ratification is a vote by the people). July 4th is our nation, the United States of America’s birthday, unrepealed and unrepentant. The Declaration of Independence is our people. The U.S. Constitution is our government. Where were you when Obama, as sitting president, and on video, no less than three times, recited the Declaration of Independence omitting “our Creator”, as the endower of our omitted and neglected “unalienable rights” Oh, yes, The Declaration of Independence is very much alive and well, except in Obama’s regime.

  • WK Aiken: Headache. “WE”, the people and “WE” hold these truths to be self evident are the same “WE”. Government by the people prevails over government by the government. Put the Declaration of Independence on the ballot since Bonchamps thinks that it is not a law.

  • Mary,

    You are causing me a headache too.

    You’re entitled to your own opinion. You aren’t entitled to your own facts. The Declaration of Independence is very important philosophically. I think it should inform the laws of the nation. But it is not a legal document and it has no legal standing. That’s not my opinion, that’s not my preference, its just a fact.

    Stop arguing with me as if I am saying the Declaration is bad or something. Stop arguing like a nutjob. I love the Declaration of Independence. I think it is one of the most important documents in history. But I also recognize facts, truth, reality, etc. You should too.

  • ” It is another to treat the state’s rejection of “traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” as Dignitatis Humanae puts it as somehow good or desirable in itself, as so many Catholics have done, and not only those on the Left.”

    Who did this? I guess that’s where I’m confused. Are you saying I did this?

    Personally, I think Dignitatis Humanae implies that the Church once engaged in systematic violations of “human rights”. There were Church councils that called for all Christian princes to suppress public Islamic worship on the sole grounds that it was offensive to God (not to preserve public order or anything like that).

    One of the reasons I am a “traditionalist” (I really dislike that term, btw) is that I don’t believe that yesterday’s moral “rights” can become today’s intrinsic wrongs, nor do I believe that new human rights can come into existence because popular opinion on various topics has changed.

    So you get no argument from me on this point. Leo XIII’s position in Libertas was more than sufficient – there was no need for DH. None at all. We tolerate certain evils for the sake of the public good. This is how we talk about and address the modern world, which imposes evil on us. But we don’t call good evil, or evil good.

  • Bonchamps

    “There were Church councils that called for all Christian princes to suppress public Islamic worship on the sole grounds that it was offensive to God (not to preserve public order or anything like that).”

    Dignitatis excludes coercion in matters of religion by the civil power, “dummodo iustus ordo publicus servetur” [Provided the just demands of public order are observed]

    “Public order” is a technical term in the Civilian or Roman Law tradition and is much wider than “keeping the peace” ; its nearest English equivalent is “public policy,” or “in the public interest.” Thus, the provision in the Code Civil on Respect for the Human Body, which declares (inter alia) that the human body, its parts and products cannot be the object of ownership – “Les dispositions du présent chapitre sont d’ordre public,” literally “The dispositions of the present chapter pertain to public order” appears in the official English translation (on the Legifrance website) as, “These provisions are mandatory.”

    National security, public safety, the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime and the protection of health or morals all fall within the concept of “ordo publicus” and are regularly so described in legislation.

  • Michael…

    “Dignitatis excludes coercion in matters of religion by the civil power”

    I think that was my whole point. The Church used to insist upon just that kind of coercion. And I don’t have a problem with it. It wasn’t a sin that we had to atone for. It wasn’t a mistake that had to be corrected. It was a policy that simply no longer needed to be applied.

    As for the rest… ok? I mean, is there a point in there somewhere? That’s related to anything I said? Are we having a discussion or are you just talking with yourself?

    I’m seriously asking.

  • Without the Declaration of Independence there would be no “Law of the Land”. There is no either, or, but both. Clarification: The Declaration of Independence is our founding principle without which no one can be or become a citizen. The atheist says there is no God. God is existence. The atheist would annihilate himself if that were true, but the atheist needs God to annihilate himself.
    Jurisdiction over the newly begotten sovereign soul in the womb belongs to our founding principle: The Declaration of Independence. Jurisdiction over sovereign souls who are given birth belongs to the United States Constitution as the Law of the Land. The U.S. Constitution as the Law of the Land has no jurisdiction over the newly begotten soul in the womb, neither through abortion nor taxation, except to enforce our founding principles: that all men are created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. The right to privacy inheres in the Declaration of Independence, all or nothing at all. This is borne out in foreign individuals who come to America as diplomats, have diplomatic immunity, therefore, cannot be tried under the Law of the Land. Foreign criminals too, must be sent back. Only for laying in wait and killing a man (capital one premeditated homicide) must a man be put to death. Being unwanted is not a crime for execution, especially after being invited by the parents. (We are not Vlad the Impaler.) These persons must be treated with all courtesy through good will and good will is expected of them but they are not citizens. When the sovereign person enters the world through birth the United States acknowledges him with citizenship and he must keep the Law of the Land, according the our founding principle: The Declaration of Independence. Without The Declaration of Independence, our Constitution becomes whatever anybody says it is, subjective interpretation without any sovereign authority, except that which comes from the interpreter. The sovereign person in the womb who is about to be aborted is denied and cannot constitute our sovereign nation. It is the will of our Creator that any and all persons be created. The Declaration of Independence establishes our nation and the Law of the Land, that is why The Declaration of Independence is called our founding principle. Perhaps it is time to try the Declaration of Independence in court under the Law of the Land.

  • Bonchamps says:
    The Declaration of Independence has NO legal standing whatsoever. Wile I agree that it contains the founding principles of the nation, and that this makes it in many respects as important if not MORE important than the Constitution, it is not itself law. It is not subject to any vote.
    Bonchamps: I beg to differ with you and your interpretation of our founding principles.
    The Declaration of Independence, “We, hold these truths to be self-evident” defines a sovereign person as created equal and endowed with unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, an individual member of the species, Homo Sapiens, and as belonging to humanity as a human being composed of human body and metaphysical, rational, immortal soul. The Declaration of Independence secures the individual human being’s place among the nations of the world. The Declaration of Independence ought to be the marching orders for the United Nations. Alas and alack it is not.
    The Constitution for the United States of America defines the American citizen’s rights and privileges under the Supreme Law of the Land. These rights are inscribed in the Preamble: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Aborting our constitutional Posterity is not in the Law of the Land. Redefining the human person as having no soul to legalize abortion, or same sex union, or chattel of the state, is impossible and counter to constitutional law. Redefining the existence of God and the Supreme Sovereign Being as a servant of the people is neither constitutional nor predicated on Justice and independence. Disenfranchising the parishioners of the Catholic church of their right to engage in ministry, according to their rational conscience removes the path for any and all people, especially atheists to find a way into religion, (an individual’s personal and free will response to the gift of Faith from God), and the exercise of rational thought as expression of the rational soul and the freedom of suffrage, the vote. “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” There is no separation of the freedom of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. It is only when peoples start redefining the reality of our Creator and His persons, that men and government lose their meaning. As an aside: When in Roe v. Wade the woman wanted to kill her child, the child became a ward of the court, a ward of the court, the court allowed to be killed.

  • Mary,

    ” I beg to differ with you and your interpretation of our founding principles.”

    I have no different interpretation of our founding principles. This is why your comments are just disturbing to me. I am simply saying that the Declaration of Independence is not a legally-binding document. Show me the court case in which it has ever been invoked as such.

    The most important parts of the Declaration are summarized in the Bill of Rights. The protection of life, liberty and property is in the 5th amendment. The protection of our political rights in the 1st amendment. The protection of our legitimate privacy is in the 4th amendment (not the 9th amendment, as the Blackmum court fantasized). The right of people to determine their own destiny apart from a controlling centralized government is found in the 10th amendment.

    But the plain fact is that the Constitution is not a prefect document. That’s why I like anti-Federalists such as Robert Yeats. It was well understood by him and others that the Constitution may well provide us with a tyranny instead of freedom. And absolutely no one thought that the mere existence of the Declaration of Independence provided any sort of institutional guarantee that this wouldn’t happen. It has certainly INSPIRED people to challenge unjust laws, but it has never been cited in any court case I know of as a legal justification for overturning them. Show me where it has been.

  • And again, I am aware that its principles have often been cited. But never as “the letter of the law” – more like the “spirit.” And I would agree: the Declaration is like the soul to the body of the Constitution. But they aren’t identical in form or function.

    And bodies decay.

  • and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.

  • “…and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.”

    I don’t think the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence for that matter were written “for” God. But certainly their foundation and basis is God.

  • Paul W. Primavera: The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were framed for the PERSON. Jesus Christ is both a human and a Divine PERSON. Pope John Paul II said that when one person’s rights are denied, all persons’ rights are denied. The Person of Jesus Christ is a citizen of the world, the Sovereign King. The Person of Jesus Christ is denied acknowledgement in the public square. This is contrary to all men being created equal. Christ in His human nature is a man with equal civil rights. As you know Jesus, in His human nature, life was taken from Him, His liberty was denied to Him, and of course He is being even now, forbidden to pursue His Happiness. This happens when Jesus’ name is forbidden in public. The Person of Jesus Christ had to be banned before God’s children could be murdered in the womb. It is the sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being who’s soul is being torn from his body in abortion. We are all one in the mystical Body of Christ. If some in public office do not respect the PERSON of Jesus Christ, how can they respect any of us or themselves? The PERSON is WHO we are at our core. THE PERSON IS IMMUTABLE. The PERSON is a PERSON, is a PERSON ALWAYS.(from the work of Rev. James Lentini) The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are ratified for the PERSON, by the PERSON and through the PERSON. Thank you Paul W. Primavera for corresponding. I am learning the Ave Maria in Greek. WOW. I have tried Bonchamps patience, brother McClarey’s kindness and very much enjoy your friendship. One Hail Mary
    Av? Mar?a, gr?ti? pl?na,
    Dominus t?cum.
    Benedicta t? in mulieribus,
    et benedictus fr?ctus ventris tu?, I?sus.
    S?ncta Mar?a, M?ter De?,
    ?r? pr? n?b?s pecc?t?ribus,
    nunc et in h?r? mortis nostrae.
    ?m?n.
    Hail Mary, full of grace,
    the Lord is with thee;
    blessed art thou amongst women,
    and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    pray for us sinners,
    now and at the hour of our death.
    Amen.
    And for good measure, the ancient Greek version as well (which reads a little differently) (hope the Greek letters come out OK):
    ??????? ???????, ?????, ???????????? ?????,
    ? ?????? ???? ???. ?????????? ?? ?? ???????,
    ??? ??????????? ? ?????? ??? ??????? ???,
    ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ????? ????.

  • Paul W Primavera says:
    “…and in a very small voice, I say that the Person of God is the Person for Whom the Constitution was written.”

    “I don’t think the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence for that matter were written “for” God. But certainly their foundation and basis is God.”
    The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were written for “THE PERSON OF GOD”, and “with” God, July 4th in the year of Our Lord, 1776.
    One nation under God means that the judges of the Supreme Court for the United States of America recognize and acknowledge that they are the personification of almighty God’s absolute and merciful Justice when they are called upon to be JUSTICE. The executive executes the Supreme Law of the Land UNDER GOD through the JUSTICES, the personification of God’s Justice, and the souls of his constituents. The Congress of all men speaks the will of the people. Only TRUTH will be spoken, only TRUTH will be heard or the Congress of all men will have betrayed the nation and committed perjury in the Court. This is possible, practical and privileged through the rational, immortal soul of each and every person, to be represented; his constituency to be acknowledged and to be accorded the endowed unalienable rights of the children of God, by the children of men.
    The atheist, secular humanist, heretic, fallen away from God repudiates his own human soul as having perfection in almighty God, and renders unto Caesar imperfection and more imperfection, denying the newly conceived (constitutional) posterity, created in original innocence, virginity and perfect charity, the only person deserving endowed, unalienable rights, the truth about their sovereign personhood, their constituency in establishing one nation UNDER GOD, and their adoption into the family of God.

What Conservative Catholics Should Keep Doing

Saturday, April 21, AD 2012

My last post got a lot of traffic, along with generous heapings of love and hate. The love is always appreciated. As for the hate, when it doesn’t amuse me with its enraged ignorance, it makes me sad with its malicious presumption.

How anyone could come away from my post thinking that I believe conservative Catholics should “shut up” about public affronts to Christ is beyond me. Maybe I didn’t make clear that I think we should have a public prayer campaign for the conversion of people like Jon Stewart. Maybe some of you don’t understand how much such a gesture would rial up the left, far more so than some hysterical campaign for a public apology. But tunnel-vision is funny that way.

So, in order to avoid any confusion…

By all means, please keep pointing out and denouncing public attacks on the faith.

That is what I intend to do here on this blog, and what we are all called to do.

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11 Responses to What Conservative Catholics Should Keep Doing

  • Islam or any other false religion is fair game for criticism and by extension mockery. The Angelic Doctor had a few choice words on the topic:
    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2012/aquinas-on-islam.html

  • I don’t know how you leap from criticism, which is legitimate, to mockery.

    Maybe I agree with you in principle, that it isn’t “wrong.” I certainly don’t think it is wise or prudent given today’s circumstances. The threat posed by secularism in this country is greater – far, far greater – than the threat posed by Islam. I don’t see what we gain from it. I can only see it hurting us.

    And please, mind you, that I am speaking of mockery. Criticism of Islam is entirely legitimate and I have no problem with that. I do not believe in bending and bowing to avoid offending them. But I do think there is a BIG difference between criticism and mockery, and that mockery is totally unnecessary and irrational at this point.

  • Bonchamps: “Forgive me, as well, if I would like our public response to be mature and dignified, and not reeking of schoolyard tit-for-tat.”
    The National Endowment for the Arts gave millions upon millions of Catholic tax dollars to individuals who put a crucifix in a bucket of piss and called it “PISS CHRIST” , told people that Jesus was having homosexual relations with His Apostles, scandalized anyone who was unlucky enough to see the play “CORPUS CHRISTI”, ants on the Body of the crucified Christ, the life sized statue of Jesus crucified in chocolate with visitors invited to eat from the cross, dung on the image of our Blessed Mother, as “natural’ and “fecundity”, Vagina Monologues, and Jon Stewart. Then there was the silly things, a naked girl covered her body in chocolate syrup and bean sprouts and called herself covered in sperm because she says she always wanted to do that, and with our money? I mean what does a bottle of chocolate syrup cost and a bag of bean sprouts? She wanted the attention her outrageous behavior bought at our expense. Bonchamps: it is guerrilla warfare, ambush and hide. These people are monsters doing monstrous things, and Catholic tax dollars are funding this. So, If I do not buy Kraft anymore, the sponsor does not fund Jon Stewart and he has no pay check. Bonchamps: When was the last time you saw a prayerful gathering in the media? Never, unless the participants were being arrested. How would I know when and who to boycott and for what? St. Clare with the Blessed Sacrament faced down the invading Saracens and to a man they fell down and fled. I have begged and pleaded for the Blessed Sacrament in procession in public, now, before it is too late as Obama has taken all public places to himself.

  • More important than cowardice as reason for consistent media disinterest in criticizing Islam is the fact that Holy Mother the Church is far more dangerous to their (liberal) agenda.

    To paraphrase the smartest Yankee philosopher: “It ain’t mockery if it’s true.”

    Howdy, Joe!

  • Mary De Voe,

    I just don’t understand how anything you said relates to anything I said.

  • To see how serious the threat of Islam is, I recommend Pat Buchanan’s books, Day of Reckoning and Suicide of a Superpower.

  • The point stands. Islam’s losses are not our gains, at least not in the context of this media-mockery dispute.

  • My strategy is to point out that Jon Stewart gets beaten in the ratings by reruns of Friends and Family Guy. The kind of person who’s impressed by Jon Stewart typically hates to be on the declining end of a trend that’s become passe.

    I agree with Bonchamps for the most part on this subject, although I think there’s nothing wrong with differing opinions on tactics. I can convey dismissive uber-coolness better than sincere piety (I don’t know why, but it’s true), so I can go after Stewart for being predictable and pathetic. To each his own.

    I think Bonchamps is a little off about the Conservative Catholic response to Islam, though. The chiding that he mentions isn’t directed at Islam; it’s directed at the media. The South Park guys did more than anyone to expose the sad state of the media. Did they insult Islam? No, although the reaction of some Islamists to the non-insult was also illuminating. But the people who looked the worst in that affair were Comedy Central.

  • “The chiding that he mentions isn’t directed at Islam; it’s directed at the media”

    It still amazes me how people can say this. It’s like saying “in order to shoot at the guy standing behind you, I’m going to unload a full magazine into your body.”

    There’s a difference between simply pointing out that the media won’t mock Islam, which is true, and actually demanding that it do so, or taunting it to do so, lest it be considered “hypocritical”, which in my view is neither wise nor moral. Again, I see dishonorable Alinskyism at work in such tactics. Maybe I’m a medievalist pining for the lost days of chivalry, but I don’t want to win any battles at the expense of our honor.

    I’m not saying its inherently sinful, but I do think it lowers us in dignity to such an extent that I would question what makes “my side” so much better than “their side.” I reject the school of morality I found when I read Trotsky’s “Their Morals and Ours”, which basically states that what (in his context) Bolshevik revolutionaries do is right if it is for the sake of the communist revolution while the same acts committed by someone else for a different and presumably less worthy goal would be wrong. Which isn’t, again, to say that context doesn’t matter either – some things CAN be more or less moral depending on the circumstances. Here I think it is a clear case of doing intentional harm to an innocent bystander in order to go for the jugular. It smells rotten, it smells un-Christlike, and so I reject it.

    I really have no special love for Islam myself. I think the Crusades were justified and that Islam is about as false a religion as they come. But even King Richard had respect for Saladin.

    And as for South Park, they insult everything. Like many in our generation, anything is justifiable as long as you call it “comedy.” They insult all religions on a regular basis. And one can, I suppose, admire their consistency. But the point wasn’t really about them: it was about Donohue’s reaction to their really disgusting and unrepeatable mockery of the Church. I distinctly recall him calling the creators of South Park “cowards” because (in his mistaken view) they wouldn’t mock Islam. He was taunting them, goading them to do it.

  • Bonchamps – I agree with the principles you’ve stated. I don’t support Alinskyite tactics, and I don’t want to see “my side” resort to them. We disagree on whether our side *has* resorted to them. I haven’t seen any evidence of it. I don’t think you can call Pamela Geller a voice of conservative Catholicism, seeing as she’s Jewish and runs the Atlas Shrugs website. I think it’s fair to note the media’s reactions to her and South Park’s stunts, but I wouldn’t want to see Catholics get caught up in a call to insult Islam the way Christianity has been insulted over the years.

  • ” I don’t think you can call Pamela Geller a voice of conservative Catholicism”

    I don’t. A voice of conservatism, though, and one that conservative Catholics may well listen to.

    Donohue, obviously, is a different story.

Two Things Conservative Catholics Should Stop Doing

Thursday, April 19, AD 2012

Has the title of this blog post got your attention? Good. Many of this blog’s regular readers and com-boxers could be classified as conservative Catholic, myself included (though I do my best to elude fixed categories). So I hope you will take this to heart, and maybe even take the debate outside the confines of this blog if you feel so moved.

I like Bill Donohue. I sympathize with him and his organization, The Catholic League. I share many of their sentiments, including outrage and disgust, whenever the media decides to take another whack at Christianity. So I certainly don’t critique Donohue or the CL from the left. Nor is my critique limited to Donohue and CL, but could extend to any number of Catholic and Protestant organizations as well.

With that said, here are two things that I wish they would all stop doing, and they are closely related.

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70 Responses to Two Things Conservative Catholics Should Stop Doing

  • I do not agree with every word of this, but your basic points are dead on. Thank you for saying this on this blog, of all places.

  • The most common sense I have read in a long time. Jon Stewart is violating our freedom of religion, our civil rights to be secure in the exercise of our Faith from God. Until the freedom of religion has been successfully removed by two thirds of the states ratifying the change from our founding principles, Jon Stewart must publicly respect our freedom and our Faith. To not do so disturbs my peace.
    The Freedom from Religion group must show cause that it has legal standing in a court of law after they have gotten two thirds of the states to ratify a change in our founding principles removing the free exercise of religion. Our founding principles acknowledge “our Creator’s” endowed, unalienable rights, “the laws of nature and nature’s God”, “Divine Providence”, “Sacred Honor” in The Declaration of Independence and “the blessings of Liberty” in a person’s free exercise of “religion.“ Nowhere, do I read a “freedom from religion” that may be constitutionally imposed upon the nation without having this change ratified by two thirds of the states.

  • I am so happy said something about fake apologies– because that’s what they are.

    But I don’t think pointing out inconsistencies is unhelpful. Some people do paint themselves as courageous, yet they won’t criticize Islam for fearing of being terrorized. It’s not about insisting that people mock ALL religions, it’s pointing out that taking potshots at Christianity is intellectually lazy and cowardly. And it’s not about feminism either. If you’re going to preach certain values to the rest of society, then you’d better abide by them, otherwise you’re showing what your *real* values are.

  • Not only should we not demand fake apologies, we should not give them either. This is a trap conservatives in general fall into. Does anyone think Rush was sincere when he apologized to Sandra Fluke? I can think worse and more accurate labels to put on a woman who wants others to pay for her promiscuity or that of other women. Especially an institution that regards contraception as intrinsically evil.

    I think the Catholic League needs a media other than Bill Donahue. God bless him he means well. But comes off as a crank and a whiner. To the anti-Catholic media he is the gift that keeps on giving. He helps reinforce the misconception that being a traditional Catholic is be an angry, humorless prude.

  • Greg Mockeridge: Dr. Donohue gets the job done by publicizing and informing what needs to be done, especially the boycots that have brought great results. Prayers work. Speak softly and carry a big stick. William Donohue is our “big stick”. Dr. Donohue levels the playing field. In our culture, being an angry, humorless prude is all we got.

  • I agree with point #1.

    I don’t agree fully with point #2, because I haven’t interpreted the comparisons with Islam in the same way that you have. When I hear someone make the point, “hey, you wouldn’t see the NY Times run an ad like that that criticized Islam, would you?,” I usually interpret that to mean that we would rightly expect them not to criticize Islam in that way, so they shouldn’t criticize the Catholic Church in that way either.

    In other words, my understanding is that such commenters (generally) are not saying, “hey, let’s make hateful remarks about all religions equally!” Instead I think they are saying, “hey, let’s stop making hateful remarks about the Catholic Church, just as we rightly refrain from making hateful remarks about other religious groups.”

  • I can’t believe this. Jon Stewart just showed absolute pornography for a laugh– ridiculing women and the nativity all at once– Pornography. The victim is the woman! ..the incognito woman– no head shown because she might as well have a sack over her head right– just the body– open to the mocking world. And the response to the issue is whether or not Donohue’s protest is done in the best possible way.
    Gosh– what about what Stewart did?
    Stewart was mocking Fox news and Christianity, too bad– he was mocking the dignity of women and men– our bodies- the Image of God! but our concern is not about the woman used or the porn– just whether or not this is an insult to Christianity because of desecrating the Nativity scene! This woman is desecrated!
    and whatl we talk about is how Donohue handles it? Donohue speaks up in the face of the cool guy…. and all we can do is say Donohue comes across as crabby?
    let’s stand up against the porn in this terrible act and what the casual acceptance of porn does to women– and after we do that, I think sending a nice private suggestion to Donohue could be helpful– if we want to be helpful and not just talk about his efforts and how we would do it better…that is, if we did do it.

    In the meantime the news programs are talking about how body parts of dead Afghans have been insulted… What about the respect for the body parts of a living breathing ensouled person. Not news.

  • Paul H,

    You should research the NY Times anti-Catholic ad and Pamela Geller’s response to it. She drafted an equally hateful anti-Muslim ad that many wanted to see in the Times. The whole idea was to try to catch them in a double-standard.

  • Anzlyne,

    I don’t know how many times I have to say that I share Donohue’s (and your) outrage and disgust.

    What I disagree with are the tactics of calling for apologies and insisting that other religions get mocked as the Church gets mocked.

    As for doing things as opposed to talking about them, well, this is a blog. And I did suggest we do something. Pray for Jon Stewart.

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  • When people say “they wouldn’t say that about Islam, would they?”, they mean that, “They wouldn’t say that about Islam because someone of that religion might take violent action against them and most of the left wing Christian haters are cowardly punks who are afraid to actually have to face real repercussions for their words”. It can also be said that, “They wouldn’t say that about Islam because in their eyes, only Christianity, and most specifically Catholicism, is wrong and evil.”

    At least, that is what I mean when I said that. I don’t say it anymore because it really goes without saying these days. Oh, a left wing idiot insulted my religion and all that I hold sacred? Yawn…

  • I was a fallen away Catholic and have recently returned to my faith. I was absorbed into the current pagan culture like many others. I know exactly why I have returned. Through the intercession of prayers from countless faithful. I do not doubt for one moment the power of prayer. I intend to pray for Mr Stewart and others that are lost and keep the words that Christ said deep in my heart. “Father forgive them..for they know not what they do.”

  • I agree in general with your post. Personally, I am not a fan of Mr. Donohue even if we see things OUTSIDE the Church in a similar light.

  • I agree with your first point about stopping forcing people to make fake apologies. The second point I disagree with. Pamela Geller only produced the same exact ad for Islam to see whether or not the New York Times would publish the ad. They didn’t. She pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal NY Times. They are so willing to offend Catholicism and Traditional Christianity but are unwilling to offend Muslims because they are afraid that offending them may spur uprisings by Muslims. The New York Times exemplified their hate for the Catholic Church whereas Pamela wasn’t testing them for purposes of hate but rather to make a valid point. Therein lies the difference between the NY Times and Pamela Geller.

  • Are you equating Bill Bill Donohue with Al Sharpton? Good grief. That blows your whole analogy. Sharpton has no logical moral basis for his demands while Donohue does. Sharpton’s outrage is feigned, phoney and manipulative; Donohue’s is authentic and grounded in reality. Did you skip logic class in Catholic school?

  • Does Jon Stweart believe in God? I don’t know, but to say he doesn’t without being sure is not right. Are we sure he doesn’t? I disagree with his awful blasphemy.

  • Although I am not a fervent Catholic, blowing hot and cold at times, I say the best defense is a good offense, which the Anti-Defamation League shows can be effective in blunting anti-Semitism. The ADL rolls out the top guns whenever Jews are attacked, individually or collectively.

    I’m with Donohue and others who go for the jugular rather than turning the other cheek. As for praying for the heathens, I don’t think that will workers. Millions of prayers were sent up for saving the soul of virulent atheist Christopher Hitchens and he was unrepentent to the bitter end.

  • Jon Stewart must publicly respect our freedom

    Well, if you are saying he has a Constitutional duty to do so, no, he does not. The Government has a Constitutional duty to respect our freedom, but last I checked, Jon Stewart was not the government (thank God!).

    He certainly has a moral duty to do so. And perhaps, since TV transmittals are regulated by the FCC, he may have some quasi-legal duty to so (depending on FCC regs), but strictly speaking, not a Constitutional one.

  • the title of the post is about things conservatives should stop doing….conservatives should stop taking down their own men, doing the work of the opposition, acting as a circular firing squad…when donahue makes a foray into the culture war– he is on our team– our team members and their methods are not perfect–but let’s not lose sight of the End

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

    Matthew 5:43-48

  • “You should research the NY Times anti-Catholic ad and Pamela Geller’s response to it. She drafted an equally hateful anti-Muslim ad that many wanted to see in the Times. The whole idea was to try to catch them in a double-standard.”

    I am aware of that. Still, I interpreted that as a publicity stunt to make the point that the NYT would not run the anti-Muslim ad, therefore they should not have run the anti-Catholic ad either. And in general, when I hear comments of this type, I usually interpret them in the way that I mentioned, as “stop bashing Catholics” rather than “since you’re bashing Catholics, please bash Muslims too.” I respect that you may see it differently, and I’m not saying that my interpretation is necessarily correct in every case.

  • I don’t think that anyone is calling for the mockery of Islam. They’re just trying to embarrass the mockers of Christianity. It serves a purpose, exposing the hypocrisy. But there’s a difference between exposing hypocrisy and winning the argument.

    It’s tough. Yesterday I just had another internet exchange with someone who doesn’t believe there’s a left-wing bias in the mainstream media. You have to keep pounding away relentlessly in order to persuade people. So I’m glad that Donohue does most of what he does. But I don’t pay attention to him, because he’s so predictable. And I don’t know if he is really convincing anyone.

    It reminds me of that old rule of English jurisprudence, that one should defend one’s client to the extent that he’s in the right. Very different from the American approach. In a similar way, I’d like to see the culture warriors only react to affronts as much as each one merits, rather than getting pig-biting mad at everything.

    Of course (and I realize that this is a digression), the Jon Stewarts of the world live off the attention, and increase their offensiveness steadily in order to guarantee that they solicit outrage. So if you do moderate your outrage, they’ll ratchet things up even more. I don’t know if there’s a way out of the cycle. Maybe the best thing is if guys like Donohue exist, but we don’t let them run the show. Otherwise you end up in the Sarah Palin predicament where you don’t have anything to talk about other than the lack of respect you get.

  • Fantastic points! I have the same reaction you do when I hear those responses. This is exactly what Christ promised for us; we should be rejoicing to be thought worthy of being persecuted for the sake of Jesus’ name (cf. Acts 5:41).

  • Finally some common sense here. As best as I can tell Mr. Donohue is a committee of one and his vicious and biting demeanor usually turn me off and I wish that someone would stop him from using the word “Catholic” in the name of his league.
    Race, religion and press bating tactics are not helpful and merely reduce “Catholics” to the level of ur detractors. Too many times we seem to be living up to the negative stereotypes instaed of elevating the conversation and doing so in the true spirit of the Gospel and our Tradition.

  • If the media or a particular personage is being hypocritical, I am inclined to inform for the purpose of fraternal correction. A good work of mercy, no?

  • Very good, but I would only add that a response could be in order, but it would be of the form “Can you not be a gentleman and have a reasoned and civilized discussion? Do you really want to live in a society where everyone shouts epithets past each other instead of communicating?”.

    After 9/11, Muslims in general became the target of every cheap shot. I can find no end of attacks from the cafeteria Catholics of the right. It’s ok to assassinate American citizens if they are Muslims, ok to torture them, kill a lot of muslim women and children with drone missile strikes, deny habeas corpus or lawyers, surveillance without warrants, imprison them for speech (called “material support of terrorism”). I pray there is no anti-abortion violence since RIGHT NOW the sitting president can declare any pro-lifer or supporter a terrorist and treat them like we are treating anyone swept up while going after Al Queda (including the innocents). Perhaps the Vatican will be put on the “axis of evil” list. The HHS mandate would look like a very minor violation then.

    You cannot do any good by doing evil, even if it is the same evil you have suffered, or even deflecting one evil to others. Evil multiplies enough when merely ignored.

  • I completely agree with point one, and basically agree with point two though I understand the objections of some of the commenters. As they say, pointing out the double standard isn’t meant to goad the media into attacks on Islam, but is meant to indicate that the media would never attack Islam in the way that feels free to do with Christianity and Judaism. That said, it’s a bit tiring to see that argument trotted out every single time.

    There is also something be said about going on the offensive. The late Andrew Breitbart was an admirer of Saul Alinsky – no, not his radical politics, but his methods. Even though Donohue goes overboard at times, we do need someone to shine a spotlight on the anti-Catholic stupidity that exists. So while I might personally roll my eyes at faux outrage, it’s not without certain benefits.

  • It is most dangerous for one individual to have an office that gives the impression that he speaks in the name of our holy mother church regardless of his intentions.

    Civil defense groups like ‘Tradition,Family,Property’ or ‘AmericaNeedsFatima’ are aptly named after their particular movements and do not seek to represent our church as a whole. Even if one feels the needed to have the term catholic in your organization’s name, one can follow the example of ‘Catholics called to witness’ or even ‘The Catholic American’ who are clearly labelled so as to not misrepresent THE church.

    One must think that creating an organization that was purposefully named to assume a position of misrepresentation is most precariously inviting the sinful ways of pride into the fold, which in turn can lead into scandal. The Protestant league was a most influential political force in the annals of history and should hardly serve as an inspiration into the naming of a moral organization.

    My fellow youth, who naively eat up Jon Stewart and the likes are also prone into assuming that ‘The Catholic Leage’ is a Church Body. What if one were to hear ‘The Baptist Leage’ or ‘The Mormon League’ and not now much about their faiths?

    I must say that the name of that particular organization is playing with fire.

    CCC:2464 “The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others.”

  • Ikilope says:
    Friday, April 20, 2012 A.D. at 10:39am
    Finally some common sense here. As best as I can tell Mr. Donohue is a committee of one and his vicious and biting demeanor usually turn me off and I wish that someone would stop him from using the word “Catholic” in the name of his league.
    ==========================================
    As luck would have it, Mr. Donohue just sent out an email addressing this item (quote follows):

    “O’Donnell says the Catholic League “has absolutely no official affiliation” with the Church, and that it is run by a “fraudulent operator.” Really? While we are independent, maybe O’Donnell can explain why the Catholic League is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and has the support of many bishops. To show how clueless the man is, he then interviewed Sister Jeannine Gramick and an official from Dignity. Last year, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, representing the bishops, said that Gramick’s New Ways Ministry group was not authorized “to identify itself as a Catholic organization.” Similarly, Dignity has long been rejected as a Catholic entity. And we’re the fraud? O’Donnell is out of his league.”

    I really enjoy reading CL press releases.

  • Before I read this I guessed that one of two would be simply “stop gossiping”… but article is well written. Good job 🙂

  • c matt: If Jon Stewart is a citizen, then Jon Stewart has a constitutional obligation to behave as such, by keeping all our constitutional freedoms intact and active.

  • Jesus took a whip made of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. St. Joan of Arc made a couple of individuals unhappy too. Let us hope and pray that it becomes unnecessary, but let us be ready all the same. Who needs to have insult and indecency in our cluture influencing the very lives and souls of our constitutional posterity.

  • I wrote to Father Virgil Blum, the founder of the Catholic League, Yes, I am that old. The League was founded to parallel The Anti Defamation League. I am in total agreement. Our culture is sinking into the pit of Sodom and Gomorrah and those going into the pit are trying to take us ALL with them. The very fact that an insincere apology must be wrung out of Stewart, puts all on notice, that Stewart and all are not going to get away with the soul murder of our innocents, the desecration of our holy reminders, and the tramling upon our sensibilites until we can no longer afford to have virtues among us. Viva Christo Rey

  • I think that the people who accuse writers of mocking Islam are missing the point. Nobody who takes Christianity seriously wants to see Islam mocked. Wasn’t the ad submitted to the NY Times actually satirical and meant to provoke the NY Times to admit that it was wrong to mock the religious faith of a significant minority of citizens, and move everybody else to conclude that it is wrong to mock Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and evangelical Christianity too?

  • There are a few things I find distasteful in this– “whining like feminists” “there is a whiny quality”* and the general idea that we should get used to unfair treatment. The post recommends that instead of boycotting such anti Catholic behavior and such enterprises, we should pray for the conversion of our enemies. Well yes. It would be better to do both…to fight back with prayers And with action. Fight back… we are in an actual battle.

    * ”whiny” is often applied to children and to women — and tends to deny people in an “under” position the right to speak their grievance

  • Well, this piece had the intended effect, I must say. I’m glad to see that there is a vigorous debate going on. Replies all around!

    Laura:
    Glad to hear it! And welcome back to the Faith 🙂

    Teresa:
    Geller’s purposes aren’t really the issue here. The piece she drafted was OBJECTIVELY hateful. I believe, as well, that she is Jewish – which means she may have a different axe to grind with Muslims altogether.

    Ge0ffrey:
    Am I equating Donohue and Sharpton? They’re not exact equivalents but their methods do strike me as similar. It doesn’t matter what they are “grounded in” as far as their methods are concerned. And I don’t like those methods.

    Didn’t take logic class in Catholic school. I took it at university, and I did pass. I think you should thank me, moreover, for giving you something to gripe about.

    Brjeromeleo:

    If Stewart believes in our God, THE God, then his behavior would be beyond irrational. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (hopefully not the END of all wisdom, though). I always assumed he was another lapsed secular Jew.

    Joe Green:

    What horrid comments.

    “I’m with Donohue and others who go for the jugular rather than turning the other cheek”

    Yes, forget about that pansy Jesus Christ. Let’s emulate Scarface and Tony Soprano. I’m not advocating that nothing be done, but there is actually a great deal of wisdom in turning the other cheek. It isn’t about pacifism; it is about allowing your enemy to lose the moral highground and expose himself as the aggressor. Donohue ends up accomplishing the opposite.

    We will never be the secularists at their own game. They want this world and its glories and delights and will do anything to have them. We have limits imposed upon us, and for good reason. We don’t have to win this world. What good would it do us to win the world, and lose our souls? Don’t answer me – answer He who first asked that question.
    “As for praying for the heathens, I don’t think that will work”

    Right. God just can’t get the job done. Better rely on our own efforts. Because that always just turns out wonderfully.

    Anzlyne,

    “conservatives should stop taking down their own men, doing the work of the opposition, acting as a circular firing squad… when donahue makes a foray into the culture war– he is on our team”

    I am always, always, always going to be critical of the people on “our side” and “our team.” If that bothers you, just skip my future posts. Without self-criticism, we will be destroyed through hubris. Self-criticism makes us stronger. And it’s just a mark of immaturity when one can’t see it.

    Paul H,

    Like I said above, I think Geller has her own axe to grind with Muslims and was actually taking advantage of the assault on the Church to push her own radical anti-Islamic agenda.

    Pinky,

    I just don’t understand how people can say that they don’t think anyone is calling for the mockery of Islam, as you did. It is clearly what is being called for. Whether or not the people calling for it actually expect it to be done is besides the point. Suppose it actually were done? Suppose the media wasn’t actually afraid of Islamic retaliation? What then?

    TaraJ & Ikilope:

    I appreciate your comments. But I do want to be clear that I share Donohue’s outrage and disgust. I just disagree with his methodology.

    Paul Z:

    We cannot take advice on how to operate from the likes of Saul Alinsky. Again, its that whole win the world and lose your soul thing. That’s what happens when you become Machiavelli/Lenin/Gramsci/Alinsky (Alinsky was simply rehashing what he’d found in these sources). And I’d repeat my question to Pinky to you: what if the media took the challenge?

    Buckeye Pastor:

    Same question to you as well.

    Anzlyne (again):

    I say distasteful things. Another thing you ought to get used to. I am an offensive person. But it isn’t a sin to offend people. It is often a sin of ommission to go out of your way not to.

    I can’t deny anyone the right to do anything with my words. But I call ’em like I see ’em.

  • Bonchamps, the church could use a Tony Soprano or two and attack dogs like Donohue. I would never imply Jesus was a “pansy” — your word — but “turning the other cheek” is often used as an excuse by Christians to never oppose evil. You forget how mad he got in the temple at the money changers. Read Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything.

    You ought to view/listen to some of the old Bishop Sheen broadcasts where he vehemently assailed Communism and other evils and all those who represent it. You don’t win fights by retreating. Robert E. Lee found that out when he tried to move his Army of Virginia south only to be surrounded by Grant and company.

    Further back in history, the Church did not tuck tail when the hordes of heathen Muslims poured north and threatened to overtake Europe. The Crusaders prevailed or otherwise you’d be facing Mecca by now.

    Fight the good fight, Bonchamps. Illegitimi non carborundum

  • Yes, Joe, there is a time for everything, and wisdom consists of knowing what to do at what time.

    A public insult is not cause for a Crusade. If you don’t turn the other cheek for an insult, then what would you ever turn it for?

    The Crusades were launched at the behest of the Greek emperor, after centuries of Islamic aggression and the recent destruction of hundreds of Christian churches. They were an appropriate and proportionate response to a grave threat. No one defends the Crusades more fervently than I do.

    I mean, do you even try to think things out, or are you always stuck in this either/or mental prison? I believe in denouncing evil. I believe in the use of force when it is justifiable. You can’t compare some late-night comedian’s sick humor to the existential threats posed by Islam and communism.

    You have zeal enough to fight, but you lack the wisdom to know when to draw your sword and when to put it up.

  • There’s a reason, too, why the Marquis de Bonchamps is my inspiration. He resisted the murderous atheistic regime of the French Republic without compromising his Christian dignity. He refused to allow his soldiers to commit atrocities in war, and insisted on mercy for captured and defeated enemies. But this didn’t diminish his military leadership in the slightest. So you CAN effectively resist evil without becoming evil.

  • This post reminded me of Michael Brendan Dougherty’s recent rant against the Catholic League:

    http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/9485?in=48:38&out=54:01

    It was primarily in response to the Catholic League’s constructive and charitable comments on twitter after Hilary Rosen’s recent mis-step:

    Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.

    Stay classy, “Catholic” League!

  • Bonchamps, despite your ad hominem attack, I will reply without an equal measure malice or insult. Yes, I think critically and am not locked into a “mental prison,” as you assert, but rather believe in exercising my brain rather than repeating historical, or should I say, hysterical bromides that fail to refute my points.

    It is a good thing that strong-spined Christians who resist evil by speaking out are in the vast majority rather than passive-aggressives such as yourself who would be trampled by the pagans. Read Acts sometime and see how Peter, Paul and the other brave apostles stood up to the tyrants rather than cave. When does one draw one’s sword? When one is about to be cut to ribbons.

  • Joe,

    Like 99% of people who use the term, you’ve completely missed the mark on what “ad hominem” means. I didn’t use ad hominem, and I didn’t “attack” you either. Talk about hysterical.

    I think your assessment of the situation is way off and completely lacking in wisdom. If you disagree, fine. It’s nothing for two members of Christ’s Church to hate one another over. You’re taking this all way too personally.

    I’m really, truly sorry that you don’t see how it is possible to have a strong spine and retain your moral dignity as well. It makes me sad, not angry. That’s all.

  • Also, deriding someone as “passive-aggressive” who would willingly be “trampled by pagans” isn’t exactly a lack of malice. And it’s completely false and absurd, too. There are other ways to resist and to fight. Your inability to comprehend them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It’s just really dishonest and uncharitable for you to continuously paint me as some sort of weak-willed pacifist because I don’t see the wisdom or prudence of a particular method. That’s why I think you are in a mental prison. Or is it really just malice?

  • Bonchamps, let’s agree to bury the hatchet — but not in each other. If nothing else, you’ve provoked comments, pro and con, and led a spirited debate. I bear you no malice, my brother.

  • Ok, sounds good to me. Have a great weekend! Let’s throw in a prayer or two at Mass for one another.

  • 45 comments!
    I’m surprised Mr. Donohue has not commented by this time. Or, has he been banned here?

  • While Dr. Donohue is called the Bulldog, I have followed him since he took office at Catholic League. Dr. Donohue has always and forever been a gentleman. A first asking for rectification of the problem, then seeking reconcilitation, accepting apologies and the like. When met with stonewalling, Dr.Donohue goes into the street with a bullhorn. “Can you hear me, now?” with bullhorn, barfbag, and boycott. Dr. Donhue can turn his other ceek, but as President of Catholic League, Dr. Donohue may not turn our other cheek.

  • wow I disagreed with you, in an agreeable way, and you have just invited me not to participate in discussion of your posts anymore.

    I am not sure who or what you are referring to here:
    “Self-criticism makes us stronger. And it’s just a mark of immaturity when one can’t see it. “
    I do not say that there should be no constructive criticism– I did say it would be helpful to offer it directly to the person criticized.

    (again):
    then you suggested I should get used to the fact that you say distasteful things and that you are an offensive person. I think you are not, as a person, offensive. I simply pointed out my own reaction (and why) to calling people whiny.

  • ” you have just invited me not to participate in discussion of your posts anymore.”

    I did no such thing. This is melodramatic. Moreover, there was little “agreeable” about your initial objections. You accused me of taking down our own side, forming a circular firing squad, you all but suggested I was some sort of traitor to the faith.

    You think you can say things like that and expect me to find you “agreeable”?

    As for offering criticism to the person criticized, a) I made it clear that my criticism was NOT exclusively about Donohue, b) named other people in the same article specifically and c) Donohue is a public figure who opens himself up to public criticism.

    I must say I am disheartened and even a little ashamed of those commenters who can ONLY see some sort of treachery in my post.

    What a bunch of crybabies.

  • “Greg Mockeridge: Dr. Donohue gets the job done by publicizing and informing what needs to be done, especially the boycots that have brought great results. Prayers work. Speak softly and carry a big stick. William Donohue is our “big stick”. Dr. Donohue levels the playing field. In our culture, being an angry, humorless prude is all we got.”

    Mary, i do not deny that Dr. Donahue has done great work as head of the Catholic League. For instance, their work against some of the calumnious attacks against Pope Pius XII, the most unsung hero of the WWII period as well as setting the record straight on complex Motara affair during the pontificate of Blessed Pope Pius IX can be attributed to his dogged and splendid leadership. But as a media face, he often comes off as a bore who is way too easily rattled. His opponents are often all too successful in getting the reaction from him they want. When the enemies of the Church say things with the purpose of getting us upset, we would do well not to give them the satisfaction of getting in a twist.

    As far as boycotts are concerned, I have never thought them to be all that practical.

  • “The League was founded to parallel The Anti Defamation League.”

    I see… well surely the Jewish folks who started their initiative were wise enough to place in their name a fitting description of their raison de etre. It is by good reason they didn’t name it “The Jewish League”.

    Perhaps, the sitting president of the “Catholic League” can embrace a more fitting name, such as; “The Catholic Defenders League” or something to that extent? He would get more support that way no?

  • You’re wrong. What Jon Stewart did used to be called blasphemy. He simply hides it under the cloak of ‘comedy.’ By insisting that ‘conservative’ Catholics shut up about this,you’re applying the standards of this culture of death to the Church. Basta!

  • Ultimately, Catholic conservatives must desist from beheading and blowing to smithereens people they don’t like.

  • T. Shaw remarks, “Ultimately, Catholic conservatives must desist from beheading and blowing to smithereens people they don’t like.”

    Exactly. Fighting fire with gasoline is generally a poor strategy.

  • John Henry, Thank you for bringing up Bill Donohoe’s latest outrageous attack on adoptive mothers (and ad hominem attack on lesbians) on Twitter. He is a bulldog that most non-Catholics mistakenly link to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which just adds more fuel to the fire of anti-Catholicism in the mainstream media. If there were ever a need for an apology, it is in the case of this Twitter post. While I agree with the idea that, in most cases, public apologies are rarely anything but attention seeking stunts, Donohoe owes all adoptive parents an apology for this callous remark.

  • GTB,

    I NEVER said that anyone should “shut up” about this.

    Do you have reading comprehension problems, or are you just a liar?

  • Does anybody with a job, or a DVR, or eyes watch Jonathan Liebowitz anymore? Doesn’t his show have like 65% of the viewing audience of “Swamp People” on the History Channel? The only time I hear anybody talk about the Daily Show anymore is when he does something really gross and someone else in the media whom people still watch mentions him; you’re giving him the attention he wants! He’s like a baby. Come on; for someone supposed to be so counter-cultural and edgy (I don’t care what these Christo-fascist people think!), isn’t it strange that he’s afraid to use his real name?

  • I couldn’t disagree with you more. Insisting on an apology is really a way of insisting that they take ownership of thoughtless words. “Whining” about double standards is crucial to making clear how illogical and politically partisan, the press in particular and liberals in general, are. Calling it whining is a silly description meant to cast a negative perception on it without seriously evaluating it. I suppose the Bishops are whining about the HHS mandate.

  • Right.

    Because a late-night comedian’s joke is on the exact same level as a federal assault on religious liberty.

    Yes. You’ve convinced me with your kind, charitable tone that you are right and I am wrong.

    Seriously though.

    Whining about double-standards is what the left does for reasons I described. Dealing with them in a dignified manner is what a Christian ought to do. If you want to roll around in the sh – er, mud, with our enemies, fine. Don’t look to me for a towel to wipe yourself off when you’re done.

  • Bonchamps: Most people are unaware about HHS madate and what it means to our religious freedom, most unfortunately, probably because these people are tuned into Jon Stewart. It is groveling in the mud. St. Paul said: “Soldiers be satisfied with your pay.” Sometimes going down with the enemy is the only way to take the enemy down. Not that you are wrong, but some people are different.

  • Whilst I appreciate the Catholic League’s defense of the church, the problem that I have with Bill Donahue is that he seems to choose targets that are of high-profile and will make the biggest noise (Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Viacom, the Empire State Building) while turning his back on other, less valuable, occurrences of anti-Catholic bias. I have been complaining to him about the website fark(dot)com for over 5 years for its aggregate re-publication of new stories about the Catholic Church with mocking headlines, and allowing anti-Catholic commentary to made on these stories, Never once has the League taken actions. Yet every time I have pointed out anti-Muslin or anti-Jewish commentary at that website, to defense groups of those faiths, they have sprung into action and the comments have been taken down. It seems as if Bill Donahue only does whatever will promote him rather than promote the Catholic Church.

  • Mathilde:
    “John Henry, Thank you for bringing up Bill Donohoe’s latest outrageous attack on adoptive mothers (and ad hominem attack on lesbians) on Twitter.” Did not Hilary Rosen, a lesbian, career woman attack Ann Romney first for being a stay at home mom?
    The Christian symbol of the Nativity Scene used by Jon Stewart between the legs of a naked woman belongs to Christians to reverence. Piracy. Stewart ought to be prosecuted for intellectual property theft.
    Bonchamps: My first thought was: Why does not Bonchamps go to work with Dr. Donohue at the Catholic League to change matters?
    Greg Mockeridge: The bar one block away from our Catholic grade school began naked pole dancing. Our pastor called a boycott. It worked.

  • Well from one point I can see that Mr. Donahue is trying to stand up for the faith since it is now not “Kosher” or may I say Politically Correct to say anything against Muslims or Gays or Women and He is just trying to say “well if we are not suppose to attack these entities then we should also be respectful of Catholics and Christians”!
    On the other hand when we look at the life of Christ, we do not see him standing up against those who attacked him nor for any of the disciples….in fact he warned them that they would be hated and stoned and loose their lives! Jesus DID however correct his own disciple when he cut off the ear of the roman guard, and Jesus also came against the Jewish Leaders and those selling products for the temple worship.
    Maybe we should look at what Christ DID get angry at and then also how quiet he was when he was being attacked and offended.

  • Mary De Voe: So, because Hilary Rosen attacks Ann Romney, it is the proper CHRISTIAN response to: a) Call her out for being a lesbian; b) Criticize her for being an adoptive mother? That is extremely illogical and absolutely un-Christlike. Why don’t you go have a little chat with your pastor and get your head set back on straight? He seems like the only one in your little “CHRISTO REY” world of yours that seems to be thinking with a clear head.

  • Ms. Rosen succeeded in getting too many to emote over her slanders and to be distracted from the immense failures and corruption of the obama regime.

    Mathilda, thanks for popping by!

    Dr. D first needs to be charitable.

    a) That would be “proper” if it were done with charity. See: Ms. Rosen likely won’t be going to Heaven if she/he continues her/his sinful lifestyle and persists in serving evil, liberal (but I repeat myself again) causes. FYI: The Spiritual Works of Mercy include: Admonish the sinner. Instruct the ignorant.

    b) See a). Likely her/his adoptive children also will have slim chance at salvation.

    And, thanks for the “Christo (sic) Rey” reference. The bolshevists murdered tens of thousands (including over 3,000 religious: bishops, priests, brothers, nuns) of Christians in the Spanish Civil War and in Mexican, not to mention the USSR and German National SOCIALISTS. Many martyrs cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” as their liberal murderers killed them for being Christians much like Mr. and Mrs. Romney.

  • T. Shaw:

    Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum.

  • O.k. let’s just roll over and let any of these groups do whatever they want to us. Now you can make the turn the other cheek arugment, but Catholics need to Buck up and defend their faith. Asking for an Apology or “whiney” behavior shows that the secularist are doing something offensive and people need to know that the stuff they are doing is garabage. If no one does anything then nothing will be done and they will just roll right over us. I am sorry but your commentary sounds a bit “whiney” complicit.

  • Yes. That’s exactly what I said. Roll over. Let them do whatever they want. You’ve bravely ousted a traitor to the Faith. Feel good about yourself? Enough to go away? Like, forever? And not come back?

  • M: Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem.

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Talking About “Gay Marriage”

Monday, April 16, AD 2012

I’ve been told by more than a few people who support “gay marriage” that my take on it is somewhat unique. Given that I am virulently opposed to “gay marriage”, this is no small victory. It may be my absolute lack of fear when it comes to self-criticism (which may spill over into self-loathing if I am not careful), my willingness to unload heaps of criticism on those with whom I agree (lovingly of course), and/or my high level of intolerance for self-congratulatory nonsense that is responsible. I don’t really know. But I will tell you what I think about “gay marriage”, a phrase I will never utter or write sans-scare quotes, and you can decide.

First and foremost, I’ll acknowledge that a lot of criticism of “gay marriage” just misses the mark. Just the other day I witnessed a college-age conservative Catholic attempting to argue to a mob of atheists, some gay, some straight, that homosexuality was not a valid expression of human love. Woven in were concepts from modern Catholic teaching on the theology of the body and things of this nature. Setting aside the validity of such arguments, I have to say that attempting to argue that what someone experiences as “love” is not really love is going to be a pretty tough sell. I can’t imagine it working at all, especially coming from a stranger. Arguments that homosexuality will naturally lead to the acceptance of pedophilia or bestiality don’t tend to go over well either.

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40 Responses to Talking About “Gay Marriage”

  • Good luck finding someone that will argue in good faith.

    I’ve yet to find a single person who won’t go straight to the “then why should whites and blacks marry?” card– apparently, they think there’s as much difference between someone with dark skin and one with light as between two biological sexes.

    Who’s the racist, again?

  • Fox,

    They don’t really think that. It’s just intellectual laziness.

    And I have found some people willing to have an honest debate about the issues. Or at least somewhat honest.

  • Then I wish– for the umpty-bazillionth time– that I were around less lazy people.

    It’s a sad thing when the most intelligent person of my generation that I know can’t tell the difference between “saying everyone needs college” and “we shouldn’t have everyone go to grade school.”

  • GOP President Lincoln said something to the effect of, “You can call that tail a leg. But, that dog still has only four legs.”

    It makes little sense to argue with moral bankrupts and imbeciles that equate “love” with sodomy.

    Possibly, the problem’s root is in the 1960’s birth control defeat. That moral disaster separated the sex act from its biological purpose: procreation. Now, it’s all recreation.

    The world is ruled by fornicators.

    People of Faith are in the world, not of this world.

    The moral moron will lisp, “But, they’re in love (sniffle).” That’s not love. That’s lust . . . and perverted lust.

  • “In discussing the question, he used to liken the case to that of the boy who, when asked how many legs his calf would have if he called its tail a leg, replied, ” Five,” to which the prompt response was made that calling the tail a leg would not make it a leg.”

  • I agree that arguing that someone doesn’t love someone else is not productive. For one thing, it’s not true. We are all called to love one another. There is nothing wrong with someone loving a member of the same sex, but one should not act on that love in a sexual way. I know some very devoted same sex couples who love each other very much. That doesn’t make their sexual relationship right, but the whole relationship is not based on “perverted lust.”

  • I agree completely with your first point, that gay marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of societal breakdown. Non-Christians, and even gay churchgoers, make the point that gays can’t break down marriage. It’s already been broken, by a Christian’s own standards, through co-habitation instead of marriage, divorce, and porn, as you said, and though you did not explicitly mention the contraception mindset, I think it’s worth adding. The logic of concentrating on gay marriage seems like a malicious persecution separated from the larger reality of general disorder concerning love and marriage. Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.

    And they’re not making a tu quoque kind of fallacy, either. “Well, you Christians are messed up too, so you can’t talk to gays about their issues.” It seems to me that “they” have highlighted a real structural flaw — one we really must continue to answer and be responsible for.

  • The more you discuss something that is either ludicrous or lacks any validity the more you give it credence. You are playing into the hands of those who want you to take the notion of same-sex “marriage” seriously.

  • All good and substantial points, especially the “symptom, not cause” situation.

    But, Bonchamps, how does the moral Libertarian approach enforcement of laws against same-sex cohabitation or union? If, in fact, a marriage in its moral sense cannot exist between members of the same sex (which is both Scripturally aand doctrinally proven,) then there can be no law broken with respect to those who would pretend to, but could not actually, enact such a relationship. Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies? I doubt any attempt at that would pass muster, nor would it be effective to any degree should it actually become law.

    As well, short of Thought Police viewscreens, how does one know the details of the relationship between two very good friends who have been “roomies” or co-domesticants for years, but remain inscrutable and respectable in public? No outward indications of their relationship are given – private lives are nobody else’s business – so who can tell if they are lovers, friends or even relatives? In decades past, unmarried women had such arrangements quite commonly. Such distinctions would be necessary for laws to be enforced properly, but how could that information be gathered without violating the Constitution?

    Finally, is the Constitution of the US, or of any state, the place to “define” marriage? Constitutions are supposed to be the enumerations and definitions of, and limitations on, particular governments. It seems incongruous that a definition of marriage would go there. Even Roe v Wade did not produce a Constitutional amendment – it’s codified law.

    The estate of marriage has already been defined in a much higher text of authority. To quote Max Lucado: “God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” What God has ordained let no man put asunder, to borrow a phrase.

    If anything, trying to “define” marriage in a Constitution opens the door for government to theoretically define marriage, and with the direction governments are going these days, that’s not too attractive an option.

    So, IMHO, the whole thing is a trap – by getting conservatives to argue over this small symptom, the larger cause grows unabated. Such are the works of The Enemy, The Deceiver, The Prince of Lies. The sooner we see the truth behind these works the sooner we can stem that tide.

  • And I tried to undo the italics but they must be on a higher operational level.

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  • Mr. Green,

    BINGO!!!

    You are the voice of reason.

    There is one valid response to all liberal asininistries: “There you go again.”

    Gibbon: “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

    Somehow, I am on some moron’s Moron.org email list. Can you imagine?

  • Joe Green: Here in Maryland if voters do not take back their prerogative, same- sex marriage becomes law in January 2013. 150,000 signatures on a petition must be got to put the issue on the referendum in November. A tsunami of ignorance and filth has inundated our children’s minds and hearts and all. Gays can do what they want and go to hell, I cannot stop them but, VIRGINITY IS THE ONLY REASON TO SURRENDER VIRGINITY, one’s own virginity AND another person’s virginity, the holy innocence of the virgin child about to be procreated. If somebody does not love you enough to want more of you, it is not love. Lust, a vice, cannot be codified, no more than stealing, lying or ass ault. Same -sex behavior is assault and battery. A person cannot consent to a crime of any magnitude or inanity. A person who seeks homosexual relations has lost his rational soul and mind and cannot give consent. The mob mentality is encouraged by our present regime because while rational man is engaging the lower beasts in vice, our sovereignty is being abrogated. The hope of a virgin is the only rational equality demanded.

  • Doggone it, I double-checked that closed italics tag. Sorry. For good measure I’ll add another:

  • Having several members of our immediate family exposing their “gay” lifestyle recently and having several of my college age grandchildren (Catholic educated) completely reinforcing their decisions I found myself in that “love the sinner hate the sin” mentality. I find many of the arguments in this article to be right on and as I told the kids, “if God would have wanted this type of lifestyle there would not have been nor will there be any future. Beyond the relavant behavior of the homosexual act, which well I don’t know just gags me, I don’t know what else to say! They also know that it is not just homosexual behavior that is not ok. There is a reason for the 6th commandment, which entails co habitating, adultery and the myriad of other “sins of the flesh”. They ultimately, unless forgiven and brought back into the good graces of the Church are no less sinful. I know I was brought up a stodgy or cradle Catholic, but those awful sisters(whom I loved) seemed to be able to instill in me these values and although I also have not been perfect in my life, I sure knew right from wrong and where to go when I strayed. The Sacraments were “liberally” available to all of us. Now not so much.

  • While I am in agreement with you, I’d like to bring up a ‘devil’s advocate’ question.

    >Even those who would point to the prospect of gay couples >adopting children (which is a terrible idea, by the way) can’t >argue with the fact that such unions cannot produce new >life. They can do absolutely nothing to restore the birth rate >to replacement levels.
    Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts. They merely need to purchase the requisite biological material – something many heterosexual couples do as well.
    Plus, technology marches on. I believe that lab mice with female fathers were produced several years ago. If this gets to people , there will be girls with two female genetic parents – and the process, unlike sperm donation, will produce only female offspring.

    I think it would be a disaster, but it is plausible.

  • What is UP with the formatting here? Admins? Anyway, replies all around.

    Laura,

    “Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.”

    Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.

    WK,

    “Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies?”

    No. People can have whatever funny little ceremonies they like and call themselves whatever they like. But that’s not what they want. They can already do that. They want to force all levels of government, and eventually all social institutions and all individuals, to recognize their unions as legitimate and EQUAL to heterosexual marriages. A big part of this equality is in the name. They know the power of language, and so ought we to know, that by refusing to call their unions “marriages” we maintain an important psychological and social advantage.

    So I’m really not so concerned with fighting for a Constitutional amendment as much as I am fighting for our 1st and 10th amendment rights to call a spade a spade and act accordingly, respectively.

    Jeanne,

    If they’re college-age, I wouldn’t worry too much. It could be a trendy phase. Yes I know the typical gay activist will be shocked and offended by such a suggestion, but I’ve read enough stories of people who “discover” that they’re gay in college only to have it turn out to be a phase or a fad. Its another attempt to forge a unique identity for some people, just like others will become radical communists, feminists, or whatever.

    Donna,

    Hence my last paragraph. They have to have faith that technology will overrule nature before nature overrules their egalitarian vision of society. It is a race I don’t think they are going to win, for several reasons.

    In the meantime, though, yes, they can live out this abominable science-horror fantasy of a world in which there is reproduction without males and females mating.

  • I also have to add, for Mr. Green and Mr. Shaw:

    Maybe you live in a different world than I do. Or maybe your brains operate differently than mine does.

    I live in a world in which radical gay activists have successfully influenced the media, the schools, the courts, and even some of the major religious institutions of this country that their political agenda is good, wise, and fair. This influence has had major repercussions, including the legalization of “gay marriage” in some U.S. states and many Western nations, the classification of traditional religious views on homosexuality as “hate speech” (this in Canada), and the indoctrination of children as young as 5 into acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle with books such as “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

    You two are bent over with your posteriors in the air and your heads in the sand. Contemplate the implications of that image before you respond.

  • Argh! Narrow page!

  • Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts.

    But that’s the point – it is such a small amount as to be insignificant, and therefore does not warrant state recognition vis-a-vis marriage. Same goes for reproductive technologies – at this point, it is prohibitively expensive to rely on it to support continuation of the populace. True, this opens up the “perhaps one day” argument, but today is not that day. And it does not address the issue of the ideal – study after study shows the best form of family for raising children is one mom, one dad for life families. Statistical outliers (which exist, of course) are not a rational basis for setting general public policy – that would be as insane as designing seating on public transportation to accomodate only those in the smallest one percentile of stature.

  • Laura-
    no idea why it was so stubborn; you did put in the italics thing, you just transposed the / and the ‘i’; just fixed that.

  • C Matt-
    the example that pops to my mind is quibbling about the birth rate from women cheating on their husbands with someone that’s more fertile. Or maybe the birthrate of military wives with deployed husbands.

    That said, lesbian couples don’t add to the birth rate– a lesbian might, and two lesbians that are in a pairing might, but it’s not a function of the two being one.

  • (“equality” has no foundation in nature) That phrase jumped out at me and made me think!
    Yes–I wonder if we were able to go back to live in some very primitive first-generation-of-society type community– seeing the world and each other for the first time collectively– in that first original city individual individuals, forming families and learning about life, I guess homosexuals would be ignored; not necessarily protected, or elevated…..because that is not what most people are drawn to. Homosexuals would be outside the mainstream- and being not contagious, not procreative– would remain a small sidebar of society– not a problem for these original libertarians! 🙂 You do your thing and I will do mine.
    But bring Christianity into the picture and people start caring about what is going on in another person’s life because they love that person!.. and want the best for them. Even if they are in a brothel on the other side of town.
    People, developing a social awareness, begin to understand that they are in fact their brother’s keeper; that society does in fact mean -and depend upon- a kind of linkage between individuals. As Christians now our little society is brought, by a sense of, Love and Responsibility, to care about the souls of other people– not just their temporal welfare– in fact, to love those sinners… in this life for the next!
    But it is not all altruism….this community of folks now also understand now that sin is not good for the individual, and thus not good for society… not good for all of us…and cannot be shrugged off or ignored.
    Now this proto society develops a “State”– and the new State takes the office of protecting these loving individual individuals from harm and promoting their general welfare.. the State is generally reflective of society and all is Good.
    Change goes on– somehow the libertines are not safely in the brothel across town, but are in the school system and the governing boards of various institutions, stopping Christians from teaching Christianity…even from having Christian hospitals. The libertines begin to have a negative influence on this little society… tolerating sin to a certain extent seems to have gotten out of hand! Being libertarians, the people of the community are busy protecting their privacy, their personal rights; perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, thank you.
    …and all the others, over there in the brothel, sick with the result of their sin.. well, it was their own fault.. The children and families are wandering unkempt– because who is going to kempt them? The society has sunk back– to pre-Christian, like the original society…. before they knew about Love.

  • Bonchamps: “Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.” God has given you a well trained tongue. God speed.

  • I see what a lot of flaws I have in my little parable.
    I was trying to say I don’t think we can go back to a time when homosexuals are marginalized and ignored; we can’t ignore them now but must reach out actually evangelizing in words and deeds. We must keep trying to become more Christian, not less, both as individuals and as a society.
    We must protect the Christian society that has developed in the 2000 years and realize that we are a Body, a Communion… above and beyond a political community.

  • Under pressure from militant homosexuals and adult/child (without informed sexual consent to give) activists, The North American Man Boy Love Association, the American Psychiatric Association removed the diagnosis of “arrested development” from homosexuality and classified homosexuality as “normal”. All people go through a same sex attraction at puberty and some get hung up in arrested development. Marriage is a covenant between two souls, a male soul and a female soul, as God created them in Genesis, body and soul, when God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils and brought Eve to Adam, the first marriage covenant. The equality homosexual activists are seeking is our very souls.

  • “”gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.” Our Creator endows man’s unalienable rights. Man has an unalienable right to Truth. For atheists and gay rights activists to try to overturn our Creator endowed unalienable right to TRUTH is contempt of court. Redefining our founding principles without two thirds of the states ratifying the change is treason. The “symptom” is caused by the despair planted when Paul Erlick’s Population Bomb and Thomas Malthus declared the populaton would all come to an end and it will unless people begin to trust in the Divine Providence of God inscribed in our Declaration of Independence.

  • I have not been placed on “moderation” for too long.

    You cannot reason with a rat that thinks 2 + 2 = 5.

    We outnumber the scum about 27 to one.

    Whenever you need to keep your head down, you maintain your arse in a similarly low profile.

    I did my part.

    I raised three real men. One is an captain airborne ranger on active service. One shortly will become a proud father. The third’s long-term girl friend is a blond beauty. She could be in the movies.

    You know what is teen code for lame-ass? Try “gay.”

    As in gay marriage is so gay!

    No, I am not equipped to deal with stupid.

  • While I agree with Bonchamps that many of the arguments put forth by Catholics based on the “theology of the body” can be a very tough sell. One of the reasons is, I have say, is that many of those who talk about the theology of the body don’t understand it much better than those whom they are trying to inform. And their interlocutors sense it, despite their own ignorance of the subject.

    However, I find the arguments put forth by Bonchamps, as valid and correct as they are, will have an equally tough road to hoe with the secularist crowd. These people like their porn. They like their sex without consequences (although they find out the hard way that that’s a cruel illusion.). So, I think exposing the falsity of same sex marriage cuts a little too close to home in that it sheds an unwanted light on the futility of their own lifestyle .

    Foxfier touches upon an important point about getting these people to argue in good faith. The most cleverly crafted arguments are not gonna get anywhere with someone who is not willing to argue in good faith. How do we help that process along? Of course, I cannot come up with anything like a complete answer. After all, if the Almighty Himself chooses to render himself powerless against man’s free will, we aren’t gonna fare any better in that realm either.

    But I think there a few things that are helpful. First thing is that if we are able, to try and strike up a natural friendship with some of these people. We can often fall into the trap of treating people more like potential converts than human beings, thus objectifying them in a sense. Friendship can help facilitate that. Another thing is to understand evangelization (which is what we doing here in a sense) has as much to do with listening as it does with speaking. Getting a sense of what makes people think a certain way is indispensable in getting them to take your position seriously.

    As far as the whole self-fulfillment and purpose of marriage thing goes, it is important to point out that while self-fulfillment is not the primary purpose of marriage, it is the primary MOTIVATION for marriage, even amongst seriously religious people. And everyone understands at some level that giving oneself to something or someone bigger than themselves is the key to real self-fulfillment.

    I have more to say but I am pressed for time.

  • ‘My first is a disarming tactic: we must acknowledge that “gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.’

    Well, it is both. I often use an analogy from the financial world — they have this great phrase, “throwing good money after bad money.” That’s precisely what it is.

  • I also think it is important to point out that the homosexual ( I refuse to use the word gay because the original meaning of the word really has nothing to do with sexual orientation) agenda is not controlled primarily by the homosexuals themselves. It is actually controlled by the heterosexual left. This is particularly the case in the political arena. Sure, there are militiant homosexuals in this movement that exert a great deal of intimidation, but they are puppets more than they are puppetiers.

    The basic driving force in almost all left wing ideology, be it in the political or social arena, is the acquisition of power for its own sake. And to acquire power as a thing in and of itself they create and/or prey upon as many victims as possible. And the victim mentality shapes the homosexual mindset in a very powerful way. Just ask any psychotherapist who works in the field of treating the disorder of same sex attraction(aka reparative therapy).

    And yes, I do believe that those who suffer from same sex attraction, whether they act on it or not, are indeed victims, but not in the sense many of them or those who defend that lifestyle believe and want you to believe. When one studies the psychologiocal causes that give rise to same sex attraction, one sees that these people have been victimized in several different and complex ways. Same sex attraction is a sexual and gender identity disorder. There are few forms of victimization more devastating than this. And the power drivers of the left seize upon this. They do so under the guise of compassion. Of course, it is not compassionate to leave victim in victim state or allow them to create other victims. But this is an important dynamic to understand.

  • This was brilliant! Enjoyed your writing VERY much Bonchamps…will frequent here.

  • It is interesting to note that the argument that led France’s highest courts to reject the equality argument for same-sex marriage.

    The Code Civil [the Code Napoléon of 1804] contains no definition of marriage, but Article 312 « L’enfant conçu ou né pendant le mariage a pour père le mari.» [The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father] has been treated as a functional definition by jurists, including the three most authoritative commentators on the Code Civil, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925) and Gaudemet (1908-2001), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Code Civil; this led to the introduction of PACS [civil unions] for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

    One of the greatest modern commentators on the Code Civil (Jean Carbonnier (1908-2003)) famously remarked, “The heart of marriage is not the couple, but the presumption of paternity.”

    In 2006, this interpretation received a ringing endorsement from the French Senate, who declared “The presumption of paternity of the husband rests on the obligation of fidelity between spouses and reflects the commitment made by the husband during the celebration of marriage, to raise the couple’s children. The report presenting the order to the President of the Republic rightly points out that ” it is, in the words of Dean Carbonnier, the ‘heart of marriage,’ and cannot be questioned without losing for this institution its meaning and value.””

    Not surprisingly, given that background, the courts held that “Clearly, same-sex couples whom nature had not made potentially fertile were consequently not concerned by the institution of marriage. This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous” For them, the purpose of mandatory civil marriage is the determination of the civil status of children.

    It is significant that, in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France, no one has suggested that these views are the result of religious convictions or an attempt to import them into the interpretation of the Code.

  • You might well wish to consider the following argument of the eminent French Jurist, A. Mirkovic. Himself a supporter of SSM, he puts his opponents’ case very fairly and succinctly and his own arguments in defence of the opposing position are astonishingly weak. As a citizen, Prof. Merkovic is free to advance his own views; as one of the greatest living French jurists, he would never stoop to misrepresenting his opponents’ arguments.

    “Even today, in 2011, in commenting on the decision 2010-92 QPC, [the decision of the highest French courts rejecting SSM] some authors consider that the marriage is based on human reproduction. “In regard to marriage, persons of different sex, and persons of the same sex are not in the same situation because marriage includes the perspective of procreation. With regard to procreation, either natural or imitated in the case of adoption, the first may indeed procreate (or make as if they had procreated), while the latter cannot. If some male-female couples do not breed, it is for reasons peculiar to them, subjective (advanced age, pathological infertility, choice not to have children); same-sex couples cannot procreate together due to objective incapacity. The difference in situation justifies the difference in treatment, namely access to marriage. (…). The legislature must therefore reaffirm the specificity of the marriage, not only among other life-styles for couples, but as the foundational institution of the family.” This is only the confirmation of the doctrine of the 1990s. But we are now in 2011. This should not in any case prejudice the options open and the legitimization of same-sex marriage.”

  • Your article was great except for the line where you say that you aren’t concerned about what someone does in the bedroom or the brothel at the edge of town. ALL SIN affects each and everyone of us and as we know from Holy Scripture, ALL OF OUR SINS will be broad-casted to the whole world. My marriage was a truly GAY and joyful one, as my wife (born a woman, will die as a woman and myself, born as a man and will shortly die as a man), did not shack up before our marriage (we were what this world foolishly looks down upon us: VIRGINS), without any regrets whatsoever. Those that are against God and His Nature, are not, nor will they ever be truly gay, until they repent. I have seen some pictures lately of their ‘parades’ with signs calling themselves what they truly are: queers/fags; not my words, but, there own. +JMJ+

  • My concern is for a number of gay Christian friends who are incredibly angry at the conservative church. They argue that marriage is a civil service, and therefore is a civil right. And they don’t buy my view that marriage is not a civil service, but a sacrament instituted by Christ, and calling it anything else redefines and cheapens the relationship Christ has with his Church – the Bride of Christ – for which he died. So much anger out there.

  • Jim Cosgrove

    That is why I favour the European system of mandatory civil marriage, under which people have to go through a civil marriage, before any religious ceremony they may choose to have.

    This has not favoured the campaign for SSM in France, where the courts have held (1) Mandatory civil marriage, makes the institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation, enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation.

  • I had the distinct unpleasant experience of tuning in to a two-hour presentation by filmmaker Michael Moore, who was introduced by Marxist economist UMass professor Stephen Wolff in glowing terms, in which two minutes into the program Moore said that “54 percent of the American people in a poll think that gay marriage ought to be the law of the land.” If true, then I am happy to be in the minority. Although Moore’s topic was supposed to be about the Occupy movement, I turned off the TV right after his reported the poll result. He did not cite a source, by the way. I’m thinking the poll might have been taken on the streets of San Francisco. Can anybody verify the 54% figure?

  • Joe, the poll may have been an online five-college campus opus from the area in which the professor earns his income. Verification? Source? Wording? Leaves in the wind.
    The thing to worry about, in my estimation, is how occupy is morphing into flash robs … then, what next during this grassroots campaign of change by the campaigner par excellence.

    Last week, I sketched two cases known from personal experience in which ‘talking’ about boiled down to availing the other of legal benefits and material concerns. Also, much misery, little love and so on. The comment deleted due to some touch on the keypad – maybe because I mentioned that my mother and one’s elderly aunt at a yankee restaurant on a mother’s day were treated to witnessing their hand holding before dinner without any knowledge of the situation. Averting eyes was the main dish and no such events since that year. The other case was about two little girls from IVF who, gone now in a ragged split, cried more than any children I have encountered. Unholy alliances and trails of sadness. I agree that ‘behind closed doors’ outweighs ‘legislating for material reasons’ which kills the essence of innocence. Talking? Nah.

Paul Ryan & Subsidiarity

Thursday, April 12, AD 2012

Ever since Congressman Paul Ryan announced his budget plan, claiming that it was inspired by his understanding of Catholic social teaching (CST) in general and subsidiarity in particular, old debates about the meaning of CST have flared up once again. Michael Sean Winters of NCR blasted Ryan’s conception of “subsidiarity”; then Stephen White of Catholic Vote critiqued some of Winter’s own oversimplifications. Since everyone and their aunt in the Catholic blogosphere will weigh in on this at some point, I’ll get it over with and throw in my two-cents now.

First: I do believe that some of Ryan’s statements are oversimplifications. For instance, he claimed that subsidiarity and federalism were more or less synonyms for one another. They are not. Stephen White pointed out that these concepts are complimentary, however, and they are.

Secondly: Winters, and he is not alone in this, repeats Vatican statements about “access” to health care as if they were an exact equivalent with Obamacare or other types of government-run healthcare schemes. As White pointed out, Winters presents his leftist policy preferences as non-negotiable points of CST.

Third: I think the entire framework of this discussion needs a serious overhaul.

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27 Responses to Paul Ryan & Subsidiarity

  • Very good, you added to excellent White’ piece.

  • As well, Rights being naturally endowed unto us by God, their exercise cannot entail any kind of need to obtain the service or labor of others, except in their mutual defense. If Health Care (or housing, or food, or any other lefty favorite) is a natural right, then this entails the enslavement of those who provide it, as rights cannot be purchased, but only exercised.

    How this quiet little piece of logic goes unshouted by the establishment GOP is, or at least used to be, beyond me.

  • generally I agree with you, but here ( in your “on one level” paragraph) something sticks:
    to me “precedes” the State does not just mean preceding in time, but precedes in another way– a ranking — now that we are technologically capable, for instance, of feeding and hydrating T Schiavo, charity calls us to that–
    we are not called to live like we are BC era,; I think we are called to work with what we have.. natural law does not take us back to some primitive state-but applies here and now with what “wherewithal” we have… that’s why “precedes” does not necessarily mean “precedes in time”
    once again I am more than willing to be corrected as needed!
    I think you are saying extraordinary measures are not a human right — like heart transplant etc–

  • Anzlyne,
    I suspect that you and WK are not in agreement. WK is making the fairly time-honored case in favor of the proposition that rights are negative rather than positive. Libertarians point out, quite correctly, that the trouble with affirmative or positive rights is that they logically require the functional enslavement of others. This position has never been accepted by the Church, and in fact has been pretty directly criticized. That said, my sense is that the Church’s view and that of libertarians in this limited respect are not necessarily contradictory insomuch as libertarians are criticizing affirmative “rights” that are enforceable by government whereas the Church is affirming the importance of such rights vis-a-vis society, and government and society are not synonymous. More specifically, the Church is saying that society must be ordered in a way so that its members rights to basic needs are satisfied; liberarians do not oppose that as such, as long as the term right does not mean a legal right that can be enforced against others via government coercion. The Church does not oppose the latter, but does not require it either.
    All that said, I like the fact that Ryan seems to take his Catholicity seriously. I worry that he also takes Ayn Rand seriously, and while Rand had her insights her “philosophy” is ultimately not remotely compatable with Roman Catholicism.

  • All good points here. Consider that Mortimer Adler in his book “10 Philosophical Mistakes” makes the point that a human right to something doesn’t mean that a person must have that thing provided by either the government or his neighbors if he can’t get it for himself. It means that no one, whether government or anyone else can morally PREVENT the person from fulfilling that right. Often fulfilling that right is based on good fortune and circumstance. We see that in the right to bear arms. The government or anyone else doesn’t have the resposnsible to buy you a gun if you can’t afford one.

  • I think I am not in opposition to WK Aiken’s post– I do think that our rights precede the state, that they are not “posited” by the state… they are negative in that they are not imposed but are natural– I apologize that I wasn’t very clear who I was responding to– it was Bonchamps paragraph:

    ” On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” Rerum Novarum establishes that the natural rights that belong to each individual precede the state; this
    categorically excludes something as specific and dependent upon a high level of technological development as a lifetime of health services. Such goods and services can only be “accessed” to the extent that a technologically advanced society can produce them, and this capability in turn depends upon on a level of economic freedom that cannot be attained with purchasing mandates, excessive tax burdens, and bureaucratic control.’

    And I do agree with Bonchamps about all of this generally –at the end of the paragraph
    I agree we have to recognize that economic ability/ freedom to act which describes the level of burden to provide access to advanced health care. I agree that none of this burden (brother’s keeper) can be coerced by the state, but is social construct of individuals within families/ communities.
    my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..
    so I say we do have the rights and mutual responsibilities and some of those responsibilities depend upon our “wherewithal” what we can and should do here and now is different than what would have been morally required back then or over there : )

    once people didn’t know how to read, but an education I think is a basic human right– provided first and foremost by the parents

  • I think I am not in opposition to WK Aiken’s post– I do think that our rights precede the state, that they are not “posited” by the state… they are negative in that they are not imposed but are natural– I apologize that I wasn’t very clear who I was responding to– it was Bonchamps paragraph:

    ” On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” Rerum Novarum establishes that the natural rights that belong to each individual precede the state; this
    categorically excludes something as specific and dependent upon a high level of technological development as a lifetime of health services. Such goods and services can only be “accessed” to the extent that a technologically advanced society can produce them, and this capability in turn depends upon on a level of economic freedom that cannot be attained with purchasing mandates, excessive tax burdens, and bureaucratic control.’

    And I do agree with Bonchamps about all of this generally –at the end of the paragraph
    I agree we have to recognize that economic ability/ freedom to act which describes the level of burden to provide access to advanced health care. I agree that none of this burden (brother’s keeper) can be coerced by the state, but is social construct of individuals within families/ communities.
    my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..
    so I say we do have the rights and mutual responsibilities and some of those responsibilities depend upon our “wherewithal” what we can and should do here and now is different than what would have been morally required back then or over there : )

    once people didn’t know how to read, but an education I think is a basic human right– provided first and foremost by the parents

  • Throughout 2009 during the purported “health care debate”, the version of CST as has been corrupted by modernity, legal positivism (as nicely mentioned by MP), liberation theology, etc., was manifest in ways not herebefore many Catholics had known with the exception of the flick in time CHD scandal. I can leave to others the root causes of that corruption but the domestic policy people at the USCCB and many bishops contributed greatly to the present day impoverished notions of what constitutes CST. I haven’t done this in a while as it’s simply too depressing but over the years one could witness first hand how the USCCB gave the Democratic Party platform its “theological” approval as it promoted higher taxes, cap and trade, mortgage bailouts, the Fannie/Freddi debacle, and many other statist oriented laws. Subsidiarity gets nothing but lip service. Free enterprise receives nothing but disdain.

    I like what George Weigal said in a lecture, From Centesimus Annus to Deus Caritas Est, The Free and Virtuous Society of the 21st Century, about subsidiarity and federalism:
    “The principle of susidiarity teaches us that decision-making in society should be left at the lowest possible level (i.e., the level closest to those most effected by the decision), commensurate with the common good. American ‘federalism’ is one empirical example of the principle of subsidiarity at work in actual political life. Articulated under the lengthening shadow of the totalitarian project in the first third of the twentieth century, the principle of subsidiarity remains today as a counter-statist principle in Catholic social thinking. It directs us to look first to private sector solutions, or to a private sector/public sector mix of solutions, rather than to the state, in dealing with urgent social issues such as education, health care, and social welfare.”

    As I’ve stated before, our constitutional federalism offers us the template for the reality of subsidiarity, which we should cherish.

    Finally as to any “worry” that Paul Ryan takes Rand’s “philosophy” seriously, I find that not being helpful to the discussion inasmuch that it is a random perjorative. Ryan, like many of us, have read Rand and particularly Atlas Shrugged. I would hope most college students do read it. Rand, as Ryan read it and as most of us have, provides keen insight into the simple understanding that economics, at its heart, is a behavioral ‘science.’ Where Ryan and any Catholic reading Rand depart radically from her is with her depressing notions of glorifying human depravity, egoism, selfishness and objectiveism…..but then that is the flip side of the coin known as freedom….the same coin which gives us the choice to obey Him, to live out authentic Charity and not the faux charity of government coercion, confiscation, dependency, etc. And when you really think about Rand’s depressing view of human nature, it’s not much different than the ideological ingredient found in socialism, or statism.

  • Paul Ryan speaks the truth regarding destructive, massive government spending and sky-rocketing debt that will enslave your children.

    The truth damages Obama’s narrative.

    Paul Ryan must be destroyed.

    Left-wing gangsters cloaking themselves in their version of CST politicize the Gospels to smooth the way for socialist serfdom.

  • Anzlyne,

    Thanks for the comments. By “precedes”, I actually think that Rerum Novarum – other natural rights doctrines too, in fact – really means “morally precedes.” It is a way of stating that man’s rights are not derived from the state, they do not depend upon the state, and the state can’t have some obligation to actually provide things for people; the state is instituted for a very specific purpose, which is to safeguard natural rights.

    “my only question to Bonchamps was about our social burdens/responsibilities in his words since “roughly a century ago” — it sounds like our rights are defined a bit by the technical ability to intervene..”

    That’s now how I would have it. I don’t think our rights should depend on technology. I don’t think new technologies that make the mass production of goods and services possible can create new rights to those goods and services. If something was not recognized as an entitlement 1000 years ago mainly because of reasons of scarcity, it can’t be recognized as an entitlement today, because we still have scarcity – just less of it. It is still impossible for everyone to get everything they want.

    The main reason people are agitated and clamoring for egalitarian “social justice” is precisely because the system they despise, capitalism, has made so many people so much better off that the presence of a marginalized underclass really sticks out like a sore thumb. But even this underclass, at least in the Western world, lives better than much of the rest of the world today and most of humanity throughout history. So there is a lot of impatience.

    More people die each year in auto accidents in this country than die from a want of health insurance. I would say that there’s just as little we can efficiently and justly do at the federal/bureaucratic level to prevent all auto accidents as there is all deaths related to a lack of health insurance. The amazing thing is that this rules out nothing for people whose imaginations can possibly operate outside of federal bureaucracies. But you’d have to be uninterested in controlling and plundering your neighbor for that, and I guess that’s too much to ask from fallen man.

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  • Hi Bonchamps
    so we agree on what “precedes” means– that it is a moral ranking so to speak –
    your reference to our rights as related to time ( last century) and the development of technology threw me. I think you said that the ability to offer these things only for less than a century means we cannot see the application of technology as something that could be coerced by the state– ok
    I have no probem understanding negative or natural rights given by God preceding the state– but our real choices change a bit because we
    live now

  • Anzlyne,

    My point is to warn against the illusion that things have changed so much that we can declare specific goods and services “rights”, as if they existed in super-abundance and only some sort of irrational prejudice was preventing an unlimited supply to meet an unlimited demand.

  • Yes. Good point. Thank you. Also BPS point is well taken.

  • First among the many things I like about Paul Ryan is that he sees the need to take the CST narrative away from the left (which unfortunately includes the USCCB when it comes to issues like this) and proceeds to do just that.

  • If it’s Socialist to have Social Security, Medicare, and Medicade, than count me as a Socialist! What we need now is Socialized Healthcare. Healthcare for PROFIT no longer works! 50% of the population can no longer afford Healthcare! And 50% of the Country lives at or below the POVERTY LINE! Remember, the early Christians were Socialists! They held everything in Common! Don’t tell me that there is no money for these programs-that is pure BS! Stop giving BILLIONS of dollars away every year as “Foreign Aid”! Stop trying to police the world and cut back on the more than 1000 military bases we have around the world! Tax the RICH! Vote Democratic! Let Obama lead-not the Rich Republicans!

  • The notion of subsidiarity has captivated my attention for years, and I’m hoping that this concept soaks in to the public mind. As stated by others here, subsidiarity can be applied more broadly than rule-making. Specifically, charity needs to happen in person to person contact rather than through the organs of the State. State-run charity, welfare, had the promise to be more efficient than churches operating through disorganized but well-meaning individuals, but the state operates as would a machine between the donor and recipient. Without contact between the donor (taxpayer) and recipient (poor) there is no sense of charity and thankfulness, but only their opposites. A machine cannot convey love.

    In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the first two passers-by likely wished that someone else would help.

  • Richard,

    Use your inside voice.

    The “poverty line” is an arbitrary line. To be at the American “poverty line” today is to be wealthier than at least half of the people in the world, if not many more than that.

    I do agree that we should stop policing the world and slash the military budget significantly. But that money ought to be returned to the taxpayer, not siphoned into an inefficient bureaucratic monstrosity.

    I also think it is pretty absurd to cite such concerns and then scream about voting for Obama and the Democrats. Obama went into Lybia and is threatening Syria and Iran. And in case you’ve forgotten, Bill Clinton went into the Balkans, twice, and LBJ gave us the Vietnam War. If you want to go even further back, it was FDR who got us into WWII and Wilson who got us into WWI. I’ll leave aside the value judgments of these military adventures. The point is that Democrats get us into more wars than Republicans do, because they have always been more idealistic and willing to believe that ideas can be spread and imposed by force. It is nothing but an extension of their socialistic philosophy, which imposes ideas by force domestically. Republican war-idealism is a new thing (hence why we call those who promote it NEOconservatives).

    Obama is a warmonger. And unlike Bush, his war in Lybia had no Congressional approval.

  • Richard you are a thinking person and I invite you to read about the “Light to the Nations” Pope Leo XVII. That would be a good start.

  • Anzlyne,

    You mean Pope Leo XIII, right?

  • hahaha
    sorry sometimes I type too fast! ha– I do mean Thirteenth! and I see that I also wrote light to the nations! Lumen gentium! what a goofy post– I meant Light in the Heavens! ( remember St. malachy called him that)– Thanks Bonchamps

  • CAPS ON!!! EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! NO ARGUMENT!!!!

  • yes I know very well he didn’t write that– I was just saying that in my gooofy post I meant to write” Light in the Heavens” but my brain slipped to that other familiar phrase– which is the title (taken from the first sentence) of the Dogmatic Constitution–

  • I really don’t follow the argument that a service that has become highly technical cannot be a right.

    Whether we have a right to healthcare, or to access to healthcare, depends on the fundamental nature of the service (that is, the removal of suffering and the preservation of life), not the cost or sophistication of the technology. People are not to be left to die on the street, because they have a right to life. If, for example, someone passes out in my house, it is my obligation to apply CPR. This is my level of knowledge. CPR was unknown in prior generations, but I have the knowledge, and I am duty bound to apply it. If someone was shot on the battlefield during the Civil War, there was an obligation to perform an amputation or apply a tourniquet.

    It seems to me you are saying that, if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die. This seems so ludicrous that I can’t imagine that is your position.

  • “I really don’t follow the argument that a service that has become highly technical cannot be a right.”

    I don’t know why you would try, since that isn’t my argument at all. My argument is that something that hasn’t been a “basic human right” throughout most of human history cannot possibly be a basic human right today because it suddenly looks like we might have the wealth and resources for everyone to have it (we don’t). Scarcity isn’t an “injustice”; its just a natural condition that all of the ideological temper-tantrums in the world can’t make go away.

    “Whether we have a right to healthcare, or to access to healthcare, depends on the fundamental nature of the service (that is, the removal of suffering and the preservation of life), not the cost or sophistication of the technology. ”

    My point is that you can declare whatever you want a “right”; if reality prevents it from being produced and distributed for all who might need it, then such declarations are not only meaningless, but potentially harmful to society.

    ” If, for example, someone passes out in my house, it is my obligation to apply CPR.”

    That’s not “healthcare.” That’s charity. And it isn’t your legal obligation to apply CPR, but the advocates of universal healthcare want to force us all to pay into a healthcare system to satisfy their social ideals.

    “This is my level of knowledge. CPR was unknown in prior generations, but I have the knowledge, and I am duty bound to apply it. If someone was shot on the battlefield during the Civil War, there was an obligation to perform an amputation or apply a tourniquet.”

    Yeah, I don’t know what this has to do with anything. I mean, if in your battlefield there are more injured people then there are tourinquets, no one is going to say it is a situation of profound injustice that some people will simply bleed to death. The reality of scarcity was understood by all. There isn’t always enough to go around. If and when there is enough, then YES, of course charity obliges us to provide what we can for those who need. My argument is against those who think they can overcome the realities of scarcity with government edicts and philosophical pronouncements of new rights.

    “It seems to me you are saying that, if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die. This seems so ludicrous that I can’t imagine that is your position.”

    I certainly never said that. If you think I said that, maybe you could copy and paste what I said that gave you such an impression.

  • You in fact said:

    “On one level, something that has only been available for roughly a century or so cannot possibly be a “basic human right.” ”

    Now, you pretend you didn’t say any such thing, and that you were only talking about “scarcity.” It’s quite plain where I got the idea that I considered your argument to be based on modern technology – because there is no other way to intepret the sentence quoted above. So much for intellectual honesty.

  • I can see why your comments are put on moderation. It doesn’t occur to you that there might be a miscommunication here: you jump right to the uncharitable accusation of dishonesty.

    This is how you cast my position: “if someone is ill, they are entitled to whatever care one could naturally give them without technology – bed rest, dressing a wound, etc., but otherwise it is moral to let them die.”

    First, I never said anyone was entitled to anything. No one has ever been entitled to any of these things. People have had individual moral obligations to provide what they can, when they can, for those in need.

    Secondly, what I said has only been available for a century or so has been cradle-to-grave healthcare. This is what is demanded by those who classify “healthcare” as such as a “basic human right”, and who believe that this “right” obliges governments to provide it.

    And yet this thing they demand as a right, has only been available for about 100 years. So how can it be something that people have always been entitled to? No one in the past insisted that cradle-to-grave healthcare was a “basic human right” because it would have been impossible to provide it for every single person. Such a thing couldn’t even be imagined. No one said, “we live under a regime of injustice because we can’t snap our fingers and make the resources to provide everyone with this basic human right appear before us.” It was just a fact of life. There was no “right” to that which couldn’t exist.

    My argument is that it still doesn’t exist today. It just so happens that our level of technological advancement has made it so that SOME people, and in fact, a significant majority of people, can afford it, while others cannot. And this strikes people as unfair. And so they imagine that what some people have, everyone ought to have in order for fairness to be achieved. And they then insist that the government has an obligation to make it fair. And they clothe these presumptions in the language of “rights” in order to strike a chord in our hearts.

    You accuse me of saying that it is MORAL to “let people die.” I am not proposing that it is some positive act of morality to say to a person, “we’re not going to give you what you need because you can’t afford it.” But I would say that you can’t classify a situation of scarcity itself as a state of injustice or immorality, because that is simply the way the world is. Nor can you overcome such a state by saying that the thing which cannot be made available to all is a “basic human right” that governments MUST make available to all.

Introducing…

Wednesday, April 11, AD 2012

Hello everyone!

I am happy to be blogging at The American Catholic, which I have always known to be one of the most significant blogs covering the intersection of politics and the Faith. To have a public space in which Catholics are not expected to apologize for being Americans or espousing American values is more important today than perhaps it has ever been. And it is my belief that the values that have defined America are not incompatible with the truths of the Catholic faith, but are in many respects extensions of them.

So let me tell you about myself and what you can expect from me.

By education and profession, I am a political theorist. I greatly enjoy exploring Catholic Social Teaching, particularly the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII. I don’t have much to say about theological or liturgical disputes, though I will let it be known that I frequent the Latin Mass.

I espouse political views that can be classifed as “paleo”, whether they are paleo-conservative or paleo-libertarian (depending on the issue). My political influences are John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, Pope Leo XIII, the Austrian school of economics, Pat Buchanan, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Thomas Woods Jr., and of course, Ron Paul, the man who converted me to the paleo-political diet in the first place.

I am not the least bit ashamed of Catholic history. I do not apologize for the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, or any of the other “black legends” that were spread by the lying enemies of the Church. I do not believe that the history of the Church has been one of terrible crimes against humanity for which she must atone. On the contrary, I am an unahsamed cultural elitist. I believe Western Christian culture is the best thing to ever happen to humanity, providing us with the most magnificent technology, art, architecture, and moral values known on the planet, and that none of it would have been possible without the guidance of the Catholic Church.

I don’t bow to political correctness, and that includes the right-wing version alongside the more familiar left-wing version. Chances are I will offend you at some point if I haven’t already. At the same time, there is no position I take that I am not willing to defend with arguments, and there are many issues I would be willing to change my mind on.

Again, its a pleasure to be here!

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