The TAC Editors

Transforming Culture through Politics?

David Jones discusses the possibilities for the Republican Party in the next Presidential elections. What will happen if they embrace Libertarianism? Who will be the last one standing?

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The presidential election cycle has begun! Did it ever end? I follow politics much in the same way that many folks follow professional wrestling, Dancing with the Stars or the Jersey Shore reality show. I admit that I view it as a form of entertainment — the superficiality of main-stream politics and punditry leads me to this mentality often times. Look no farther than Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O’Reilly. In reality though it’s much more than just solely a form of entertainment. Elected officials send our sons and daughters off to war, some of whom return in caskets. As Catholics we need to approach politics in a serious way. Christ calls us to transform culture, not to be swallowed up by it… TO READ MORE CLICK BELOW.

Il Sussidiario or Catholic Online

Interfaith Dialog with Muslims

I was really struck by the seriousness and beauty of the earlier post that Christopher Blosser wrote regarding Islam. Coincidentally or providentially it directly related to conversations on this topic that I have been having at the college where I teach.

Too often (here at this website and elsewhere too be sure) we reduce our conversations regarding Islam to that of promoting misunderstanding and fear against Muslims. To promote the standard conservative punditry rhetoric against Muslims is doing a great disservice to our fellow Catholics, to our fellow Americans, and to our fellow man. We can do better. We must do better. As well-formed Catholics we can lead this discussion here in America (and abroad) against those who preach hatred, violence, or misunderstandings against Muslims. The questions we need to ask are these two – How is the current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, showing us the way that we should dialog with Muslims and why he is doing this?

The problem(s) of modernity is not a “clash of civilization” against Muslims. It the struggle against what Henri de Lubac referred to as “Atheistic Humanism”. It is a clash against though who deny the supernatural… Those who deny the existence of God. Muslims are not our enemy is this battle against relativism, secular materialism, consumerism, hedonism, sexual licentiousness, etc.

We do not live in Middle Ages, as much as I would love to be there with many of you. We live in 2011. We need to recognize reality now for what it is and where we find ourselves.

I would encourage folks to engage the thought of Miroslav Volf, Robert Louis Wilken and Peter Kreeft on our topic. Recently Miroslav Volf has been interviewed about his new book on Islam. These interviews are very much worth checking out. Refer to it below.

A Voice across the Great Chasm: An Interview with Miroslav Volf

Meet Miroslav Volf, whose ‘Allah’ is a path to peace

Also don’t miss out on Robert Louis Wilken’s award winning FT article if you haven’t read it yet.

FIRST THINGS – Christianity Face to Face with Islam by Robert Louis Wilken

In my previous post below (Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?) I linked to Peter Kreeft’s work on this topic.

Related Posts:

Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus on Islam and Reform

Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?

What is the meaning of existence?

The Ground Zero Mosque And Religious Freedom (4 Parts)

St. Patrick and Rick Santorum

???Deacon Keith Fournier (Catholic Online)

???St. Patrck calls us to live in the Heart of the Church for the Sake of the World …The day when the whole world becomes Irish is a time for reflection on what it means to be a Christian.

Rick Santorum Takes on Jihadism, Showing Moral Coherence and Political Courage – Rick Santorum is a man of courage in an age of cowardice…Santorum does not separate social and economic issues. He is comfortable in his skin and has the communications skills and intelligence required of a leader. Any candidate for the Presidency who hopes to win in 2012 must be an effective communicator. He or she will be contending with President Barack Obama, whose oratory in the last election seemed to mesmerize people. His opponent must be articulate, intelligent and unafraid.

It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good

The Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism

The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009

Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea

Neo-Conned!: Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq

Neo-Conned! Again: Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq

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Interview with C. Bradley Thompson about Leo Strauss and the Neoconservatives

The American Conservative – Everything Old Is Neo Again

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Cato Unbound – March 2011

Lead Essay
Neoconservatism Unmasked by C. Bradley Thompson.

Neoconservative intellectuals often describe themselves as having a particular mode of thinking — maybe even just a “mood.” C. Bradley Thompson argues that neoconservatism is much more than that. Its key philosophical inspiration of comes from Irving Kristol, and particularly from Kristol’s engagement with the philosopher Leo Strauss. Thompson argues that, under Straussean influence, neoconservatives champion the rule of a philosophically cunning elite over a population that will never be able to understand their intellectual masters. Instead, the populace is steered toward self-sacrifice, war, and nationalism — as well as a set of religious and moral beliefs that the elites in no way share. Such a doctrine, Thompson charges, points disturbingly toward fascism.

Response Essays
Neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, and the Foundations for Liberty by Douglas Rasmussen.
Douglas Rasmussen argues that post-Lockean natural rights theory does not entail nihilism, as Strauss seems to have feared. A further error of Straussean neoconservatism, Rasmussen argues, is that it often conflates society with the state. Although the members of a civil society may rightly desire that society’s continuance, it does not follow that the state must coerce people into being good. Statecraft is not soulcraft; governing consists of setting ground rules that leave individuals free to seek the good.

The American Roots of Neoconservatism by Patrick J. Deneen
Patrick Deneen disagrees that neoconservatism is alien to the American political tradition. In particular, founders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton envisioned politics as a realm where men of extraordinary wisdom and talent would shape the course of the new nation. The idea that commerce may corrode the morals is certainly present at the founding, as are civic virtue, self-sacrifice, and concern for the public good, the latter to be divined by wise statesmen. The neoconservative claim to Americanism is as strong, if not stronger, than Thompson’s preferred libertarian ideology.

Strauss and National Greatness by Damon Linker
Damon Linker argues that, although Thompson’s treatment of neoconservatism has considerable value, he errs in his characterization of Leo Strauss and his followers’ political theory. Strauss was an Aristotelian, Linker argues, and Aristotelian political thought is comparatively benign. Linker also argues that national greatness conservatism—a staple of today’s neoconservatives—is a 1990s addendum to the philosophy with little relation to Strauss, Irving Kristol, or the other early lights of neoconservatism.

“And unto dust you shall return”

Ash Wednesday is more than an empty ritual—it is a reminder of our mortality and frailty by Dr. John-Mark L. Miravalle

John-Mark L. Miravalle holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the pontifical faculty Regina Apostolorum in Rome, and is the author of The Drug, the Soul, and God: A Catholic Moral Perspective on Antidepressants. He is an instructor for the School of Faith and the St. Lawrence Center in Lawrence, Kansas, where he lives with his wife Jessica and their sons Pius and Cassian. This article appears in the March 2011 issue of HPR.

One shoe size too small

For the last year I have studied Libertarianism. Here are just some of the things that I learned and that I am grateful for during this time of study and emersion into Libertarian thought.

1. It helped to motivate me to get my personal investments (for eventual retirement someday) in order.
2. It gave me a better understanding of economics and classical liberalism.
3. It awoke me to many of the problems with the Fed and the fractional reserve banking system.
4. I appreciate many aspects of revisionist history which it promotes. The history we learn in our youth is far too simplistic. History and life (past & present) in general is far more complex than what many folks have told us.
5. I appreciate its position against the warfare state and Neoconservatism.
6. Many in the Libertarian movement were very kind to me. I would like to publicly thank Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell Jr., Robert P. Murphy, and probably others whose names did not come immediately to mind.

As anyone who has read my posts this last year on The American Catholic knows, I have struggled to get my mind around about what is both good and bad about Libertarianism. (Refer to my archives.) I really appreciate the feedback that many have given in the comments of my posts. Thank you my friends! Like all of you I am struggling to engage more of reality. I desire to see the truth, beauty and good in the world & cosmos.

Now here’s the other critical side of my judgment. Here is what bothers me about Libertarianism.

1. It’s an ideology – political, economic, & social/cultural. It’s an ideology though never-the-less.
2. This ideology naturally leads to an embrace of anarchy.
3. There are many aspects of this ideology which conflicts with Catholic Social Ethics and Thought.
4. For example, the presupposition which drives this ideology is that the State is evil. To be sure it can be evil, but it’s not inherently so. In a fallen world the State is good and it should promote the common good.
5. Capitalism has big problems (as does Socialism). Liberalism, either in its classical or modern forms, also has major problems.
6. Too many Libertarians get the moral issues wrong. They fail to understand the true meaning of family and marriage and the disordered nature of homosexuality. They fail to recognize the evils of abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and euthanasia. Often times they promote evil aspects of society, i.e. pornography, gambling, etc.

At the end of the day it’s a shoe size which is one size too small for me. Many aspects of these Libertarian shoes make them a beautiful pair of shoes which can be very attractive at different times and at different angles. I really tried to wear them, but in the end they caused me to have blisters.

Personally I feel much more at home following the below political/economic/cultural websites:

American Chesterton Society

Distributist Review

The Front Porch Republic

First Principles

Time Out of Joint

The American Conservative

Chronicles

The below video perfectly shows how I feel about this entire matter…

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Lenten Hiatus

I will be abstaining from Facebook, blogging, and a few other things during Lent this year, so you will not see me again until after Easter.

I hope then to resume annoying you all with my intolerant and reactionary traditionalism, my right-wing Euro-centric historiography, and my shrill assaults on leftism in all of its forms.

May you all persevere this Lent.

What is the meaning of existence?

Stephen Hand recently interviewed me at blogtalkradio.

Listen to internet radio with Stephen Hand on Blog Talk Radio

Judge it and verify what I say with your own experiences. I encourage folks to check out his archived audio interviews of Thomas Storck, John C. Medaille, E. Michael Jones, Robert Sungenis, and many other outstanding Catholic speakers and writers. Steve’s website is Time Out of Joint.

For those who desire some additional background on our discussion I would refer you to earlier post(s) of mine and others which are provided here – Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?

When Will The Moral Insanity End?

No, I’m not talking about lying this time.

I’m talking about a bill passed by the Arizona House that will ban sex or race-selective abortions. And like the other Issue I’ve been speaking out on as of late, I have previously voiced my concern and, let’s just be honest, my disgust at the whole concept of banning abortions on these morally dubious grounds. Only way back then, it was Hillary Clinton speaking on behalf of pro-abortion feminists against sex-selective abortions; now it is an Arizona Republican (Steve Montenegro) making statements such as this:

“I introduced this bill to take a stand against bigotry and prejudice.”

What!? Is he serious? I’m still trying to figure out of this is some sort of joke.

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Dr. Bernard Nathanson: Lying for the Revolution

The death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson has undoubtedly affected all of us who are dedicated to the pro-life cause. In the decades since his defection from the pro-abortion camp and his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was one of the nation’s most outspoken defenders of innocent human life. Among the many contributions to the cause for which we can thank Dr. Nathanson is his exposure of the deceptions and falsehoods employed by the pro-abortion movement – some of which he invented himself – in order to legitimize abortion in the eyes of the public and set the stage for its legalization in the 1960’s and 70’s.

And it is quite interesting, and perhaps even providential, that in remembering the life and works of Dr. Nathanson, we can consider how they affect the ongoing debate among Catholics over the use of lies and deceptions in order to undermine the pro-abortion movement and industry.

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A Response to Dr. Nadal

This issue just won’t die. In the ongoing debates among Catholics on the Internet over the methods of Live Action, a blog post titled “The Lila Enigma: Selective Outrage?” by Dr. Gerard M. Nadal is making the rounds. Since I am on the other side of the debate, I want to answer some of the claims he makes in his post on this controversy, and I invite him to comment here if he cares to respond. I will put his comments in block quotations, followed by my responses.

After beginning with a list of the serious damages done to Planned Parenthood as a direct or indirect result of the Live Action expose, Dr. Nadal writes,

This coupled with the most pro-life Congress since Roe v Wade who were ramping up to defund Planned Parenthood, and the Catholic blogosphere erupts in spasms of indignation at…

Not Planned Parenthood…

But Lila Rose.

In my view this is a disingenuous statement, especially when the title implies that this indignation is “selective”, as if those who are questioning Lila Rose are not also outraged at Planned Parenthood. It is really unfortunate that there may be left-wing groups falsely claiming to be Catholic that seize upon arguments against lying to bolster their utterly inhuman and anti-Christian agenda. Given their reprehensible positions on abortion, they have no credibility when they speak about the morality of lying.

But there are many of us, and I will gladly lump myself in with Mark Shea and others on this question, who have had nothing but contempt for Planned Parenthood and in our writings and other works have sought to oppose the efforts of the abortion industry. There is absolutely nothing “selective” about what I won’t even call “outrage” – since Lila’s methods do not “outrage” us. Quite the contrary, it is because we are consistent, or trying to be at any rate, in our application of moral principles and our observance of God’s law that we have raised objections, not “outrage”, in response to these deceptive methods.

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Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?

John L. Allen Jr. recently posted a very provocative article – A Catholic contribution in Egypt. I encourage everyone to read and judge it. It is the basis on which I make my remarks below.

A part of me says this article and this so-called “Alliance” is naive. As a combat veteran who has served in the Middle East and as someone who looks at foreign policy and international relations with a “realist” perspective I have many questions and concerns about what is now occurring in the Middle East. As a former Muslim I also bring some insights and experiences to this topic. (Refer to my posts below on Islam.)

To be sure this is not a new topic. Dr. Peter Kreeft created quite a controversy a few years back when he published his book, Ecumenical Jihad. Dr. Robert George also for many years has focused on who or what are the problem(s) with modernity.

For me though it ultimately comes down to this question. Who do you follow? Do you follow the rhetoric of fear from Newt Gingrinch, Glenn Beck or Rep. Allen West or do you follow the Holy Father? What say you? I for one choose the Holy Father. As Mnsgr. Luigi Giussani personally told me, “we must follow the Holy Father and by doing so we will save the world.”

I would refer folks to the important work of Oasis and the recent Cairo Meeting.

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My Line In The Sand

Since I have posted, twice, on the methods and actions of Live Action’s undercover sting operations, I have been confronted with the issue more and more in the Catholic publications I read and circles I frequent. I am not going to talk about the morality of lying yet again. Instead I want to talk about what I find to be an incredibly disturbing attitude among people who I normally consider good-willed and faithful Catholics. It goes something like this:

“I approve of lies if they save innocent lives. And I don’t care if it were to turn out that such lies were actually sins. I would do it anyway, and I think God would understand.”

One more extreme version of this argument was “I would gladly die a heretic“, all for the sake of maintaining their own personal position on lying.

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