The TAC Editors

“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


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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Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

I’m going to follow up my post on Live Action and Lila Rose with a more general post on lying, because it sparked quite a heated debate. At the outset I want to say that I don’t condemn people outright who believe it is morally acceptable to use deception to expose evil, but I do believe that they are wrong. Moreover, I believe that the ferocity of some people in defense of this position is completely unwarranted and unreasonable; there have been notable Catholic saints and thinkers on both sides of this question throughout history, and so it hardly seems right or fair to violently denounce a fellow Catholic for taking up one position or the other.

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Lila Rose Revisited

Some time ago I wrote a post expressing some of my reservations about the activities of Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action. In light of their most recent undercover sting operation, it is a good time to revisit some of the objections and debates that came up earlier.  Initially I believed that Live Action’s activities were morally questionable in some cases, and definitely wrong in others.

I have to say that I stand by this assessment today, for several reasons I will state below.

First I want to make clear that I am 100% pro-life; I make no exceptions for rape, incest, or “to save the life of the mother”, for it is never permissible to kill an innocent human being to save another human being. At the legislative level I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, in which case many pre-Roe abortion bans would immediately regain their full force in many states.

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