Turkeys, Reporters and Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 22, AD 2008

Governor Palin is interviewed while turkeys meet their mortality in the background.  She pardoned one lucky turkey at the turkey farm.  This video has become a minor media sensation and I can understand why.  Most reporters do have a certain kinship with the victims.

 

Update:  We hear from the Turkey wrangler here.  My favorite quote: 

“Tomes has worked at the Triple D Turkey Farm in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska for the past nine years. He says Palin is being unfairly criticized over the video. “The only thing I can say is, ‘Don’t mess with my Governor!'””

5 Responses to Turkeys, Reporters and Thanksgiving

Mozart Te Deum

Saturday, November 22, AD 2008

Something for the weekend.  Great music appeals to our souls as well as our ears and Mozart understood that perhaps to a greater extent than all but a few composers.  Eric M. Johnson explores the role of the Arts in his conversion here.

3 Responses to Mozart Te Deum

To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

I confess I am disappointed to see one of my colleagues at American Catholic dismiss the “Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama” as only so much “fruitless and pointless rhetoric”.

In response, permit me to explain what led to my own signature of the letter in question.

Readers of Catholics in the Public Square are no doubt aware that I have emphatically disagreed with Henry and those contributors at Vox Nova who supported Barack Obama throughout the 2008 election.

At the same time, to say Catholics shouldn’t have cast their vote for Obama is not the same thing as asserting that they were prohibited from doing so. This, at least, seems to be the conclusion drawn from the USCCB document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”:

There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position [on abortion] may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

Suffice to say I was among the those who did not believe a “grave moral reason” existed that warranted voting for Obama. And if some members of Vox Nova disagreed, I’ll give them the benefit of a doubt, and trust they thought about it as long and hard as my own decision to vote for Senator McCain.

8 Responses to To Pray, To Engage, and Fight Like a Maccabee.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    I respect you more than you know. I also agree with most of your posting.

    I do want to say that if the letter emanated from an orthodox source say like Fr. Zuhlsdorf or even Mark Shea, I would not have regarded the “open letter” as fruitless and pointless.

    I want to say that the letter, because of the source that it is emanating from, is pretty much Dead On Arrival. Not that President-elect Obama would not respond positively, which I am sure you and I agree that he does, but basically that people such as Henry Karlson, Michael Deem, and their ilk have done everything possible (with some even advocating AND voting for Obama) to confuse Catholics, obfuscate the issues, and undermine the Faithful Citizenship document to the point of allowing faithful Catholics to be confused at best, disoriented at most.

    I also agree 100% with Dale Price, and I do pray often each day and for our new President-elect, that we as Catholics should engage in dialogue with our new President. But I do not believe the sincerity and genuiness of a certain group of Catholics that did the maximum possible harm to the efforts of preventing Senator Obama from being elected President of our great nation.

    Christopher, I do not doubt for one moment your sincerity and honesty or Fr. Z’s, Mark Shea’s, Deal Hudsons, and the many other orthodox Catholics that signed. You and the other orthodox Catholics did not do anything wrong, in my eyes.

    To those that misled the faithful, the following quotes from holy scripture come to mind:

    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

    — Romans 1:22-23

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    — Isaiah 5:20-24

    Again Christopher, I don’t fault you for you signing the document. I believe your sincerity to the fullest.

  • Christopher,

    I like the “fight like a Macabee” title. I heard it before from another poster on another blog. Is this a common refrain? If it is, I haven’t heard of it until recently.

    Again, I don’t discount the letter by itself, just that it came from certain Vox Nova bloggers, just seems very disingenuous to me coming from them.

    Tito

  • Christopher,

    A very reasoned and fair engagement on your part.

    Your philosophical mentors are/would be proud, I am sure!

  • Still a nice letter. Always good to keep the door open until it gets slammed shut. If I could guess and I will that our President Elect will be totally preoccupied with ecnomic stuff and being the Wizard of Oz who suddenly makes everything better. Meaning- FOCA and Fairness Doctrine and that other messy stuff may get pushed to back of the attic. Of course this could change in blink of an eye. But still fun to speculate.

  • Wonderfully written Christopher; I agree entirely.

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  • A very charitable and reasoned post. Like you, I thought that the minority of bloggers at Vox Nova who supported Obama were wrong to do so, and I never missed an opportunity make that known in many of my posts there.

  • This is a cool blogging platform. Which is it?

A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

With the election of the most anti-life president in this nations history, Christians across America will soon be facing a daunting gauntlet of attacks on the sanctity of life.  We need to now follow Jesus more than ever, embrace His teachings, practice our faith, evangelize our friends and neighbors, and pray.  Pray and strive for prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance with faith, hope, and love.

st-michael-the-archangle-by-raphaelThis is spiritual warfare on a massive scale.  We need to win the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans in order to push back against evil.  What is at stake are unknown millions of innocents that will be slaughtered for Mammon’s sake.  Not since World War II and maybe even the French Revolution has human civilization been faced with such dark forces arrayed against it.  The time for fruitless and pointless rhetoric ended on November 4th.  We now cannot stand by the wayside and negotiate the nonnegotiables with those that intend to do harm to the most vulnerable among us.  No equivocating, no complacency, and no compromise.

Pray and fast for President-elect Obama and our glorious nation.

13 Responses to A Call to Arms for God, Life, and Country

  • “We must make choices.”

    Amen!

  • Mahalo Tito for sharing! I’ve posted it on my blog and am sending it out to others.
    God bless,

  • I think it is unfair to call the open letter ‘pointless rhetoric’. Even if all it does is help people in the Catholic blogosphere focus more on FOCA, it will have done an important service. Additionally, it’s always possible that it will get picked up by a news outlet and help shape the discussion.

    I am skeptical that FOCA is a priority for the Obama administration, but if it does come up, it is very important that people call and write letters to their Congressional representatives. Raising awareness about FOCA is a good thing, and even if the open letter is not particularly successful, it is worth a small amount of effort at a chance of a larger payoff. To paraphrase Paschal, a potentially large payoff is worth a small expenditure of effort.

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  • Vox Nova invites the devil into their midst and then sends it a note asking the devil to not act devilish.

    The first act was foolish, the second is absurd. The letter is pointless when ‘point’ is understood to mean that which is directed to a final end. Because the letter has virtually no more chance of success as would a letter to the devil himself.

  • John Henry,

    I respect where you’re coming from and I understand why you feel the way you do. I am certainly one for constructive dialogue, but when the open letter comes from one that openly cooperates in disparaging and hindering the efforts of those wanting to end abortion, then I find it disingenuous at best.

    Christopher Blosser,

    Fr. Z may have signed it, but it is my opinion, not Fr. Z’s, that this open letter will help. But I want to reiterate that I do respect your feelings and thoughts on why the letter is important. Had it come from any other source, it would have had a different meaning to me and many others out there.

    But since it has eminated from a known anti-life blog such as Vox Nova (and yes, they are anti-life, when some bloggers openly endorse to vote for the most anti-life president in U.S. history), then it pretty much lost most, if not all, moral credibility.

    I don’t disparage those like Fr. Z, Deal, and yourself for signing it, but I do think it highly disingenous from the likes of Henry Karlson, Policraticus, and Michael Iafrate.

    Tito

  • skeptical that FOCA is a priority? Obama has just recently appointed Ellen Moran (no pun intended) director of communications at the White House. She is exec director of ‘EMILY’s List’, a group that supports and promotes female candidates that are pro-abortion.

    the guy voted that a baby may be left to die when surviving an abortion attempt (in case you forgot). O is a monster

    Christ promised the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church. He never made such a promise to America.

    i hope i’m wrong but i think the prophesies of Akita, Japan 1973 may be coming true soon on American soil.

    i’ve made my choice – getting out of here. ay mate!

    it didn’t have to be this way but America has made her choice.

  • Superb to point this out about Ms. Moran. Much like the Department of Chicken Protection appointing Mr. Fox as Chief Security Guard. More like Moran is good Dem soldier getting sweet job and preoccupied with White House briefings, official statements, and babysitting Helen Thomas. As for splitting the scene…..come on….stay where the action is, Ed…….

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  • Dude get over yourself, he’s not anti – life he’s pro- choice. there is a large difference. its just that you guys are so caught up in your own beliefs, you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.

  • Razz,

    I’m not sure what you were trying to explain, but this is a free country and we Christians have fundamental rights in the constitution that allows us to practice our faith and exercise those rights.

    ‘Being caught up in our own beliefs’, I’m not sure what you were trying to express, but try again. Do you mean we aren’t allowed to express our opinion?

  • “you don’t consider the rights and beliefs f your neighbors.”

    Ah but that is the problem. Unborn children are our neighbors, our most weak and vulnerable neighbors, and it is unjust to allow them to be put to death.

15 Responses to The War on Joe the Plumber-the Report

  • I agree with your anger Jonolan but I deleted your comment. Talk of “gunning down” the officials involved goes way, way over the line.

  • If you say so, Donald; it’s your blog.

  • How infidels may be punished for daring to challenge the Most High and Mighty President Elect. Of course the main bureaucrat responsible donated a couple grand or so to the campaign. Would write It Will Have A Chilling Effect and Beware The Fairness Doctrine and so forth. I have very little faith in anyone involved in the business of politics- as Scripture warns put not your trust in princes. But I sense the Obamaites will fall over themselves to implement their many and varied and often conflicting agendas. From Fairness Doctrine to FOCA to whatever, they may well wind up with a losing batting average. Consider the Dems’ panic at the thought of a 2010 meltdown. While sending up Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to Homeland Security. In past life, she was legal counsel in 1991 for St. Anita Hill, Virgin And Martyr. I would expect her confirmation hearing to be jolly fun, particularly if she faces my senior Senator, the Hon. Arlen Specter. AKA Chief Inquistitor for St. Anita. As for our Joe, he will walk away with much coin following the mandatory lawsuits against these officials. A special guest star at GOP fundraisers. Nothing succeeds like excess.

  • Maybe you should offer Plumber Joe’s (along with You Betcha Sarah’s) book through American Catholic…

    They all seem to go hand in hand…

  • Funny how I did not see a similar concern from you over the Bush Administration’s outing of Valerie Plame…

  • Funny how I did not see a similar concern from you over the Bush Administration’s outing of Valerie Plame…

    I don’t know why I am bothering to respond to this troll, but A) This blog didn’t exist in 2005, and B) the Bush administration did not “out” Valerie Plame, but of course knowing that would require getting one’s news from something other than the Daily Show and CNN.

  • My recollection is that, indeed, American Catholic was silent about the Plame affair. Additionally, we failed to condemn Watergate, opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Joe McCarthy ;-).

  • Btw, I don’t think Mr. DeFrancisis is a troll (despite occasional similarities).

  • Oh, so he just plays a troll on the internet?

  • The Plame case is still an existing civil suit.

  • The person who revealed the non-secret secret that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent and used her position to have her husband Joe Wilson investigate Iraqi attempts to purchase yellow cake in Niger was Richard Armitage, right hand man of Obama endorser Colin Powell. The Plame civil suit was dismissed in federal court on july 19, 2007 and the dismissal was upheld on appeal on August 12, 2008.

  • Let us also remember – well, learn if the Leftists have that capacity – that there is no direct equivalence between outing a CIA operative and illegally using government resources in order to harm a private citizen who embarrassed a political candidate. Both are wrong, but they’re not equivalent crimes against America.

  • Well said Jonolan, especially when the fact that the CIA operative was a CIA operative was an open “secret” in Washington is taken into account. Joe Wilson, her garrulous husband, certainly went out of his way to tell reporters that his wife worked for the CIA when he was shopping around his take on his role in the Niger yellowcake investigation:

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/when-and-why-joseph-c-wilson-iv-outed-valerie-plame

  • Tito,

    Thanks for this bit. Can’t wait to see an update on the news tonight.

Top Ten Catholic Bestsellers for November 2008

Friday, November 21, AD 2008

One of the major resources that I used to educate myself on my Christian faith were reading books.  I am a book-hound.  I have a stack of books that I haven’t even begun to read yet that are all on Catholicism.  Whether if they are about saints, history, mysticism, philosophy, or our Holy Bible, I am just enamored with almost anything Catholic in book form.  Right now I’m reading several books (not all at the same time).  Render Unto Caesar by Archbishop Chaput, St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, and Father, Forgive Me, for I Am Frustrated by Fr. Pacwa just to name a few.

I am always hunting for books at my favorite Catholic bookstore here in Houston, Veritas, or Half Price Books.  Yes, I even browse the books at Barnes & Noble and Borders.  And if that’s not enough, I go online to Amazon.com.  I have always enjoyed reading books and this love of reading helped me a lot in learning as much as I could about Christianity.  Having to hold a book in my hand and read it rather than going online to learn more about Catholicism, it is difficult to explain but it just can’t be beat. 

So in order to share my love of reading to you all, I’ve decided to post Amazon’s* Top Ten Bestsellers for Catholic books.  I find Amazon’s to be more concise than other providers.  Enjoy!:

One Response to Top Ten Catholic Bestsellers for November 2008

  • Great resources. I’ll have to see if we can add some of these titles to our Book Club list. I’ve only read number 4 and 9 myself, though I did read Arroyo’s first biography of Mother Angelica. Jesus of Nazareth was great, but I was a little disappointed in Return of the Prodigal Son.

10 Responses to The Personality Type of a Blog

7 Responses to Blood and Guts Obama?

  • I fail to see how anyone who listened to what Obama said in debates, interviews, and speeches or who read his website could arrive at the conclusion that he is anti-war. He wants to increase America’s military presence and power in the world!

  • Kyle,
    If he said he wanted to shrink the military and retreat from the world, he never would have been elected. In other words, he lied. His anti-war supporters know this.

  • By the way, the picture accompanying this post is hilarious. Every once in a while I get a fleeting thought that Obama may turn out to be a laughing stock. He is utterly humorless, self-important, and very proud of himself. A previous post regarding American materialism was informative, but I believe that American mockery is an even more potent force.

  • So here’s your Hope and Change, dear liberals. Try Hilary- you used to love her but that love ran cold. Now she might be the face of American foreign policy. Not totally opposed to waterboarding, voted for the Iraqi adventure. In a way, her utter amorality may work well in an increasingly tense world. Not necessarily somebody that say, Crazy Hugo will want to see across a bargaining table. Not to mention the other Clinton Alumni Association members likely to assume positions of importance. Like Eric Holder at Justice. Tom Daschle at HHS. Greg Craig- likely new White House Counsel. Everything old is new again. The 90s are suddenly hip once more. C’mon, libs. Get with the program.

  • daledog,

    What, then, really are the foreign policy views of President-Elect Obama? And how do we know these are his views?

  • Oh, just wait. He’ll bomb the crap out of anything he has a mind to and you won’t hear a thing from Pelosi or Reid. Remember when Clinton set up that nice deal between Serbia and Albania – if Albania didn’t sign the treaty it was OK, but if Serbia didn’t sign it was curtains. No one blinked, though I remember thnking, “Wow, that seems rather unfair.” Then he killed all sorts of people and my squishy liberal friends pretended it wasn’t happening.

  • Kyle,
    He does not know his views. How can we? This man has not worked a day in his life. Soon he will be working 24 hrs. a day. The bulk of his legislative record is one of the most cowardly in modern times (voting ‘present’, etc.)Political expediency will be his political philosophy.

Newly Discovered Screwtape Letter!

Thursday, November 20, AD 2008

What follows here is the first of a new batch of letters written by that infamous demon, Screwtape, who was immortalized in a collection put together by the late C.S. Lewis.

. . .

My Dear Wormwood,

When last I had written you, I had assumed that you had everything well in hand with your patient, and so I am dismayed to find this hastily scribbled note of panic. All seems lost, you say. Your patient has turned away from all the pleasures that sexual iniquity can provide and has dedicated himself to a chaste life, and thus has made himself nigh unassailable to our devices. I must say that I am disappointed, Wormwood, not that any mismanagement on your part has led to this setback (though we will discuss that in due time), but that you are so quick to cry defeat. The Enemy ever persists in granting his graces to these featherless bipeds, so you must remember that our work is never done as long as the patient lives.

One Response to Newly Discovered Screwtape Letter!

  • I eagerly look forward to the next newly discovered Screwtape letter courtesy of the Infernal Post Office. I understand there may be some letters also from the hitherto silent Wormword, but since the efficiency of the postal service of the nether regions is somewhat akin to that of some terrestrial postal services it may take a while before the musings of the hapless Wormwood may finally come to light.

3 Responses to Geekier Than Thou

Sexual Selection and Modern Dating

Wednesday, November 19, AD 2008

The other day my beautiful wife emailed me a link to this City Journal article entitled “Love in the Time of Darwinism” by Kay S. Hymowitz about the selective pressures which the modern dating environment places on the mating pool. It seems the same author had written another article earlier this year entitled “Child-Man in the Promised Land” about the phenomenon of single men in their twenties and even thirties who, rather than shouldering the “grown up” interests of their forefathers a generation or two before, linger in an extended adolescence of playing video games, watching cartoons and gross-out comedies, and seeking only uncommitted sex rather than marriage on the dating scene. In response to this first article, the author had received numerous emails from young men informing her that the reason that they behaved that way was essentially that the actions of the women on the dating scene left them little other choice. Hymowitz sums up their reaction this way:

Their argument, in effect, was that the SYM [single young male] is putting off traditional markers of adulthood—one wife, two kids, three bathrooms—not because he’s immature but because he’s angry. He’s angry because he thinks that young women are dishonest, self-involved, slutty, manipulative, shallow, controlling, and gold-digging. He’s angry because he thinks that the culture disses all things male. He’s angry because he thinks that marriage these days is a raw deal for men.

And so this article is basically an investigation into how accurate this complaint is.

16 Responses to Sexual Selection and Modern Dating

  • I can only say that this article describes perfectly the dating/hookup culture of my junior high, high school, college (at a Catholic college), and grad school years.

    It also conforms with my first decade of life in the workforce. While I was married and settling down, I was surrounded by coworkers a decade older than myself for whom life revolved around puerile humor, the quest for physical gratification, and ever more exotic diversions from the essential emptiness of existence.

    I realize that anecdotal evidence isn’t dispositive. But my observations for the last 15-20 years are accurately summarized in this article.

  • This culture is not a subculture, but the norm as far as I have ever seen it for those in their 20’s and 30’s. As a 29 year old male, this is the sort of thing that I am bombarded with on TV, in ads, in magazines and more importantly at the workplace and in the classrooms.

    Even for those who seemingly reject it and get married, unless they understand the evil of it, they will still live it out as far as they are able in their conversations and probably their fantasies.

    You make a lot of good points about the problems with this approach and I completely agree with you except to say that the roots of the problem are deep. If you doubt this I would challenge you to page through any issue of Maxim Magazine or Cosmopolitan.

    The traditional understanding of men and women, their roles, and how they should interact is completely forgotten and young men and women have to rediscover it. This can only be done with great effort because of the scars we all have, and the poison we are being fed.

  • It seems to me there are two different things going on here. For some men, this type of activity is a transitional phase that lasts anywhere from their mid 20’s to their late 30’s. Others, however, simply give up on the idea of marriage altogether (Hymowitz cites a study indicating 22% of those interviewed show a strong aversion to marriage). If observation of class-mates and siblings is any guide, there is a lot of chaos in terms of dating expectations, and people develop different strategies to manage it.

    I had a conversation with a 40 year-old co-worker several years ago who assured me that ‘when he did get married, it would last,’ although that was not going to anytime soon. I thought, but did not say, that the vow ‘until death do you part’ would probably keep getting easier to keep with every passing year. In any case, I think the article inevitably over-dramatizes the situation, but touches on some important aspects of the current dating culture.

  • Good post, Darwin.

    As you noted, it’s hardly Darwinian–the drive remains but the effect frequently falls short of reproductive success. Not much of a survival strategy, is it?

    I often wonder what happened –while young adult promiscuity was common enough during my salad days, I think that ol’ Darwinian bonding impulse still had a strong pull on the culture–including (if to a lesser degree) the male of the species. Most of the gals (and many of the guys) I knew then didn’t bedhop purely as a form of recreation; if they weren’t all practicing continence until marriage there was at least the recognition of sex as bond and engaging in it triflingly wasn’t thought of very highly.

    While “women don’t know what they want, so we act like animals” is a sorry excuse, I think there is a grain of truth to it. Young people today have as a group been underexposed to self-restraint and fidelity and overexposed (at increasingly young ages) to sex divorced from its moral or emotional aspects and to sex as a means of exploiting others (and the girls, having more maturity and emotional control, can be as much or more the offenders in that regard.) In other words, my generation and the one just previous have done a poor job of setting the example (high divorce rates, serial “monogamy,”) and pop culture promotes the tomcat lifestyle as normal. I’ve encountered young teens who whiled away their idle time with Mom’s porn video collection or the soaps or whatever filth was on HBO while parents were off chasing their latest flame–with that background, we can hardly expect a healthy and holistic view of sexuality.

    As a feminist, I’m troubled by the view (not merely a perception of my own as I’ve read plenty of remarks made by young women that confirm it) that equates immodesty, promiscuity, and consequence-free sex with female power. All this time I thought the struggle was for fair pay, respectful treatment, equality before the law, and educational access: to be more than sex objects. Then along come these kids who never had to do without those claiming the right to be nothing more than sex objects in the name of liberation. It’s a concept that can only harm them as persons and will ultimately undo any good that feminism has ever done.

  • The summary of this essay is- There Are No Rules. I want what’s mine. Whatever Mine may be on any given evening. Remember, many of those in the Hook Up Culture are children of divorce. Used to having Weekends With Daddy, if that much. Or horrible screaming fights leading to protracted divorce cases. Seven years ago, I was in a Chinese restaurant with mutual acquaintances. Each person had multiple personal stories about divorce, abandonment, disjointed families with multiple half-siblings. To which I went- gulp. Mom and Dad married happily for 45 years until Dad shed this mortal veil. Three younger sisters who married three terrific guys- actually four, but poor Tom succumbed to effects of Agent Orange while serving in ‘Nam. Six terrific nieces and nephews. Oh that’s right I lived in a comfortable Catholic bubble until time for the humongous urban circus that was Temple University in the mid 70s. Boy was I fortunate. Boy was I the oddball in the bunch.

  • This analysis described my college experience perfectly.

    I was too timid to date, not sure what was expected of me at all. It’s not just the men though, but the women too. My wife pursued a relationship with me because she knew what my values were and that there wouldn’t be expectations of sexual activity.

    If young adults with family values are the majority, they are indeed a silent majority. Most of them are shying away from relationships and dating because the loud, promiscuous, substance abusing crowd causes so much confusion. The “good” kids have a lot of friends but rarely date.

    Sadly, my brother (23) has fallen into the video games and garage bands cess pool. I’m not blaming women entirely, but I think that the behavior described in this article is definitely a contributing factor.

  • I’m 29, so I certainly saw the hookup culture at some of the colleges I looked at, and heard about it from friends who went the secular college route.

    With the exception of some of the middle-aged salesmen who frequented parties at the Playboy Mansion at the company I worked for in LA, I haven’t run into it so much in the working world. Among people my own age it seems like I’d mostly run into:

    a) Women who had been living with the same guy for some time and couldn’t seem to understand why he had no interest in getting married. (Or on the flip side, guys living with their girlfriends who claimed to be perplexed as to why their girlfriends were so obsessed with marriage.)

    b) Nice guys who were unmarried and complained they could never find any sane single women.

    c) Young married professionals who were waiting till their mid thirties to have those one or two kids — or who insisted that they were so overwhelmed taking care of their dogs they couldn’t imagine having kids.

    d) Other people with what I think of as “normal” married lives with several kids — who invariably turn out to be very involved in their churches, often Evangelical but sometimes Catholic.

    The big problem for our culture in the modern US, though, is that all media outlets seems totally focused around the have-sex-with-anyone-you-date-for-more-than-five-minutes culture, and the commonly portrayed alternative is the family made up of a smart alec wife, a overweight and stupid husband, two bratty kids and some interfering in-laws. Regardless of how frequent these two alternatives are, the fact that they’re portrayed as normal by all our cultural outlets has got to be causing a lot of damage to people who are not already getting a strong positive example through some other means.

  • Two statements. The first is that I have seen quite a bit of the happy-go-lucky sex culture myself, both here at college, and when I worked a summer at construction. By no means did a majority look for rampant promiscuity, but a visible minority had no problem discussing girls they picked up one night, only to discard them the next day.

    The second is in reply to one of the concluding statements:

    I don’t see how it could be sustainable. It’s a culture which one can only bring new people into the world by leaving, and as such it seems like something that would naturally burn itself out fairly quickly.

    The answer here, I think, is virus. By themselves, viruses cannot reproduce, but once they latch onto a host and convert a particular cell into a factory, they can make many more of themselves (which in turn cannot reproduce without invading some other host).

    Whenever I think that that the culture of promiscuity is going to die out after a couple more generations, I remember the virus thing. The promiscuity culture waits for the non-promiscuous to reproduce, and then it infects some of the offspring, thus guaranteeing its propagation through yet another generation, and another, and another.

    Now, how to make a vaccine…

  • Eh. I say it sounds like immature young men enjoying every minute of their freedom and conveniently blaming women for their “confusion”. I dated my wife for 5 years (because we met in high school and I didn’t want to be married until I had a degree and a job.) If I hadn’t met her until we were 25, it would have taken me all of three months to propose. That’s not to say there wouldn’t have been other women to date and discern. But when a confident young Catholic knows what he’s looking for, and uses a little common sense and knows where to look for it (NOT at a bar), it should be pretty easy to discover pretty quickly whether she would be a good wife. Shacking up for two years because you’re “just not sure” is total BS.

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  • will ultimately undo any good that feminism has ever done.

    that horse left the barn long ago with abortion and free love.

  • I can tell you from first hand experience that the culture is definitely real and exists for pretty much all singles in their twenties that have not already entered into a long term relationship. You say that the culture is unsustainable because it’s a culture which one can only bring new people into the world by leaving. First of all, it is not a true anthropological “culture” of persons so your existential math is not applicable to it. The culture of “Children” is also not capable of creating new members but the population of children has not declined now has it? The culture is really more a sub-culture. I believe your real question is whether or not this is a lasting sub-culture for it’s individual members and whether or not this sub-culture will go extinct due to darwinian forces because so many of it’s members have a low reproductive rate. Answer #1: no. Members of this subculture will leave it eventually because they lack sexual currency. Answer #2: maybe. Some parts of this subculture will very slowly go extinct because of it’s low reproductive rate but other parts of it have a higher than replacement rate reproductive rate due to the prevalence of single mothers.

    Also, let me say that I disagree with the author in his contention that men are becoming a sort of overgrown adolescent as a form of protest to the wrongs committed to them by women. I do not find that this is the case. I come from a conservative background and had many 1950’s style ideas about dating in my head when I was younger. I have found that being a more responsible, mature, and committal man to women makes oneself extremely unattractive to them. The reason men have become grown adolescents is because that is what women have come to expect and desire. More mature men are considered boring and “lame” by the modern single girl/woman. A man that follows old school dating protocol seems like a prehistoric relic and a completely socially inept person to the modern woman. Also, the women themselves do NOT want to commit until they are damn well ready. And when such a time comes, she will try to turn one of her immature male peers into a more steadfast person. If she succeeds, she will be glad but also secretly disappointed that she was able to cow her man. The adaptation of men to this modern reality is darwinian in the sense that it is something that has evolved randomly in order to gain more success. And also, there’s actually less sex going on than you would think. Hookups happen but since neither party is committed, there are long time spans between hookups. Serial monogamers probably have more sex but fewer partners.

  • “The culture of “Children” is also not capable of creating new members but the population of children has not declined now has it?”

    Actually it has as many industrialized nations are now below replacement rates in the number of births.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/150160

  • Also, let me point something out to those of you that haven’t already heard about it in the news.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-06-02-japan-women-usat_x.htm

    http://www.halfsigma.com/2009/07/herbivore-men-in-japan.html

    Japanese bithrates and plunging and relations between young men and young women are disintegrating. What’s happening there is a more extreme version of what’s happening here.

    I think that a lot of what’s happening is due several factors:
    Less social pressure to get marry.
    It’s easier to financially survive on your own with the rising GDP/capita of the modern world.
    Men are less attractive to women.

    The last one is interesting and exemplified in Japan. I would say that there are very few men that the average japanese women finds attractive and the reason has nothing to do with looks. Japanese men are too nice and unagressive for even the polite and unagressive japanese girls.

    The truth is, women do not like equality when it comes their mate choices. They want men who have higher social positions and are more personally socially powerful than themselves. I believe that the liberation of women was a good thing for moral reasons but women have failed to pay their due and adjust their preferences in men now that they are much more the equal of men.

  • One of my co-workers is a 27 year old evangelical Christian. She went to college on both an athletic and an academic scholarship. She also happens to be extremely pretty. And yet, she sits at home most Saturday nights.

    She told me quite a while ago that she wants to be a virgin when she marries. That accounts for the solo Saturday nights. She has many first dates (some with men who claim to be Christians), but somehow they never call again. Of course, not all first dates work out. (Actually, I could write the book about horrible first dates). I doubt her moral values (which would have been expected 50 years ago) are helping her popularity in the dating scene circa 2009.

    I admire her steadfastness. I hope she soon meets a young man who admires and values her beliefs instead of thinking “Why should I waste money on a chick who won’t put out?”

  • I’ve read a lot of articles and blog posts and it seems the issue is an imbalance between the number of eligible men and eligible women.

    Note: the following is mainly applicable if there is an absence of traditional norms.

    Between high school and the 30s, there are more eligible women than men, with 80% of women in the market and 20% of men in the market. This 20% of men are known as the “alpha males” and women direct all of their attention to attracting these men. The other 80% of guys can play video games since they don’t have any value in the dating market and would lose even if they tried.

    The general tendency is a polygamy if these alpha men play the field and monogamy if these alpha men settle down.

Cutting the Leg Off a Stool?

Wednesday, November 19, AD 2008

The Republican Party is often described as a three-legged stool consisting of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and foreign policy hawks. I had recently been encouraged by the moderate nature of some of Obama’s early appointments (e.g. retaining Joe Lieberman as Chair of Homeland Security, appointing Clinton for Secretary of State, talk of retaining Gates as Secretary of Defense). My thought was that these moves indicated a moderate streak in President-elect Obama that might translate into opposition to radical measures like the Freedom of Choice Act. Ross Douthat, in a characteristically smart
post, has caused me to reconsider, highlighting the dangers of Obama-the-foreign-policy-centrist for social conservatives:

6 Responses to Cutting the Leg Off a Stool?

  • I’ve been a Republican since the age of 7 in 1964. If the Republican party is a three legged stool, social conservatives make up two of the three legs. Without social conservatives the Republican party would have slightly more electoral success than the Libertarian party.

    However the whole concept of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and foreign policy hawks ignores the fact that many Republicans are all three: I certainly am for example. Reagan was a great leader for the Republican party because he embodied what most conservatives believe: less government, traditional values and strong defense. RINOS always capture press attention, but they are at their weakest in the party now than at any time I can recall.

    As for Obama, he may start out tough in foreign policy, probably too tough, but after the first disaster or two I think he will will come under increasing pressure from the Left to concentrate on domestic policy, slash defense spending, “come home america”, and will then refuse to confront our adversaries if he can kick the can down the road beyond his term. As with all Presidents in foreign policy he will not be a completely free actor, but if left alone I think he will be content to pursue the agenda of the Left here at home.

    The consideration of Clinton for Secretary of State might play into a retreat strategy abroad. Neutralize the biggest threat to him inside of his own party, and then make sure she has as little to do as possible.

  • “I’ve been a Republican since the age of 7 in 1964. ”

    Vote early, vote often, vote young, in Illinois, I guess ;-).

    “However the whole concept of fiscal conservatives, social conservatives and foreign policy hawks ignores the fact that many Republicans are all three: I certainly am for example.”

    I agree. It seems to me, though, that a lot of social conservatives automatically gravitate towards the other two legs without much reflection. For instance, K. Lopez over at NR when she said ‘McCain wasn’t with us on torture,’ which was pretty shocking – ‘who’s us?’ And there are significant tensions between SoCons and libertarians. At the same time, it seems to me that foreign policy hawks and libertarians who dislike social conservatives have a disproportionate role in political punditry vis-a-vis their actual influence in terms of votes.

  • “that foreign policy hawks and libertarians who dislike social conservatives have a disproportionate role in political punditry vis-a-vis their actual influence in terms of votes.”

    I certainly agree with that. They are chiefs with no braves. Actually if they were honest with themselves they would acknowledge it. In any mass gathering of Republicans it is always easy to see where the passion and the numbers are. The reaction of the GOP convention to Palin’s speech demonstrated once again where the heart of the Republican party resides.

  • I’m with Donald on being all three. I know we’re talking about the Republican Party and not conservatism more generally, but I would also argue that you can’t really be a conservative in any meaningful sense without being socially conservative. Now, there can be disagreements about specific policies, but generally speaking, without the anchor of culture, family, and transcendent moral values, there’s nothing there. I would also add that anti-statist fiscal policy is also a must, but secondary, and there is wider room for specific policy disagreements. And I think foreign policy provides the greatest space for disagreement, because the term “muscular” foreign policy can mean a lot of different things.

    This is all a long way of saying that conservatism without social conservatism is not conservatism.

  • By the way, this is the first time I noticed that the timestamp on the comments contains “A.D” after the year. Nice touch.

  • Acvtually, AD should be written previous to the year. It can’t be written so quickly though: November 20th in the Year of Our Lord 2008, or November 20th anno Domini 2008, or November 20th A.D. 2008

10 Responses to Kulturkampf Time

  • I think Fr. Neuhaus is occasionally more provocative than he needs to be (see, e.g., ‘The End of Democracy’ in 1996), and I think this may be one of those cases. Obama promised to sign FOCA at one point during his campaign, but I do not think he wants to, nor do the House Democrats in red states. HIs point about Catholics needing to be against the culture in many respects is true, but it has been true for a long time.

  • JH- Padre Neuhaus is spot on. A bumpy ride is coming for orthodox Catholics, fundamentalist/evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, etc. by bunch of folks who hate what they stand for and want to enforce Big Gummint as state religion. Particularly on Life Issues. Padre says very little that we on most of this site and many others have chatted about since November 4. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Padre sees the weather map- and the storm clouds on the way.

  • We shall see John Henry. Personally, if anything I think Father Neuhaus is too optimistic about the forthcoming Obama administration. There was a bizarre cult-like atmosphere to his campaign and I believe there will be a bizarre cult-like atmosphere to his administration. I hope I am mistaken.

  • “I hope I am mistaken.”

    Me too. Just to clarify, I am skeptical that FOCA would pass, but I agree with the broader point that it is harder for pro-life Catholics to make inroads on the culture when the President and both Houses of Congress are hostile to the pro-life position. This was a point that I tried to make frequently over at Vox Nova; one does not bring the culture in closer alignment with Catholic Social Teaching by voting for people committed to marginalizing pro-life voices. To be fair, no candidate is perfect, but some (like Obama) are worse than others.

  • While I agree with JH regarding how Obama might currently have lukewarm feelings toward signing FOCA immediately (even though he has stated otherwise), I think Donald is right here concerning the Obamists. The bizarre cult-like followers of Obama-ism will undoubtedly push very heavily for FOCA and similar legislation regarding abortion, and I’m afraid that the Obama administration will cave-in.

  • Well said, JH. I think the odds of FOCA passing are better than 50%. However, there are many other means of assaulting life here and abroad that Obama can and will mostly act upon. Oddly enough I’m beginning to think that the assault on life is going to look different than it did pre-election. I’m thinking more along the lines of using a time of crisis to institute radical policies that directed against natural and constitutional liberties – all under the guise of the “common good”. Predicting anything certain is beyond me, I think he is a genuine socialist radical underneath his empty platitudes and crafted image (yes, I’m cynical about him), however, the reality of the office and of politics could serve to temper anything he would have chosen to do. On the other hand, there’s plenty of harm he could accomplish due to the despair of the population, the willing propaganda tool of the MSM, and utterly uncritical thinking of his supporters. We’ve seen these factors before…

  • It’s only going to be a battle if the Church will take part, otherwise, it’ll once again be rolling over for the Democrats.

    If it’s really to be a culture war, a lot of old dogs are going to have to learn some new tricks. Among these will have to be emphasizing the Church’s teaching on life issues, in season and out.

    It was wonderful seeing so many bishops emphasizing this issue these past few months, but they should have been doing so the past four years, if they wanted to prevent a pro-abort victory this year.

  • Unless the lameduck Congress manages to pass FOCA in the next 2 months (not likely), FOCA will probably not be Pres-elect Obama’s first blow in the kulturkampf.

    We should also focus on the very real possibility that Obama will reverse standing executive orders that ban federal funds for 1) ESCR that uses new cell lines, and 2) for foreign orgs. that perform abortions or provide counseling on abortion.

  • Paul,

    I am not disagreeing with you, but they shouldn’t have done it 4 years ago… they should have been doing it for the last 30 years!

    Can you imagine if our bishops were protesting at abortion clinics… I’m not talking about 1 or 2 bishops, but 100s of them in their dioceses….constantly… as if it was a civil rights movement for life?… across our country. This election would not have happened… this culture would not be in the shape it is in.. and this reckless idea of this seamless garment garbage would not be known.

  • I would not be surprised to see him sign FOCA into law fairly quickly as an attempt to quell the rising dissatisfaction of the radical leftist faction that supported him. Then…on to the courts…

5 Responses to Friend of the Unborn

11 Responses to CNN Wolf Blitzer's "Diatribe" of Cardinal Stafford

  • I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  • Since my sensitive eyes do not partake of cable teevee honkers, I

  • …..missed the Blitzer misrepresentation. And I go so what no institution gets worse media coverage than Holy Mama Church. Comes with the requisite Obama worship. My advice to all those who are aggrieved by the Blitzer blitz- satellite. radio. My XM has many and varied music channels. Just added great new ones from new parent company Sirius. My own favorite- brace yourselves…… The Grateful Dead Channel. 24/7 music from a band whose leader- Jerry Garcia of blessed memory- clearly deserves rank in the pantheon of Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, Motown geniuses, Gamble/Huff here in Philly. Two hours of their music = supreme bliss. There will be enough sturm und drang in next few years. A blast of the Dead and life gets better. Oh- also has the superfine Catholic Channel, too. Father Dave is a hoot. Learn about your faith. Better than griping about MSM.

  • Since my sensitive eyes do not partake of cable teevee honkers…

    Actually there’s a channel that accommodates those of us with sensitive eyes and common sensibility. Perhaps you could tune into Fox News especially between 1:00 and 3:00 PM. Martha McCallum is so soothing to eyes that she could inform you that the world will come to an end in two hours and you’d be happy. Then again, maybe that’s just me…

  • It’s not just that Wolf occasionally veers from good stabdards oif journalists. He is actually a bad journalist. He doesn’t even know how to ask questions that can reasonably be answered, and virtually all his questions are begging for a specific, channeled response. This is actually true all around and really has been for some time.

    Perhaps it has always been this way.

    “The inadequate and biased transmission of news, and the profitable dissemination of nonsense, barred the general public from any intelligent or concerted participation in politics, and made democracy impossible.”

    – Will Durant, on newspapers of the 17th century, in The Age of Reason Begins

  • How significant were the Obama-related remarks in the cardinal’s speech? It seems to me like he dedicated a few minutes to current events, compared to the fifty minutes dedicated to general theological concerns. Did the CUA newspaper and the rest of the press seize on the political aspects?

  • Gerard,

    I share your sympathies about television in general. I don’t have cable but I picked up this tidbit of information from Matthew Balan of NB. I’ve stopped watching tv in general with the exception of two comedies to be named later.

  • Tito- my sensitive eyes largely confine themselves to pigskin stuff. Cannot wait for upcoming SEC championship scrum between Florida and Alabama. Major heavyweight bout, 4 rounds or TKO. Winner sure to play Big 12 South winner in BCS Game- TexTech, Oklahoma or Texas. Serious fun. But you you may ask but G.E. you’re Pennsylvanian why antipathy for Penn State? Simple. Am proud alum of Temple University, major urban institution. Penn State is 500 miles from nowhere. Nit Lions regularly pound my Owls, including 45-3 beatdown this past October in Happy Valley. Thanks to Iowa Hawkeyes for 24-23 field goal win over Nits. Insures- a. Hawkeye Coach Kirk Ferentz keeps job; b. We get SEC Winner vs. Big 12 South Winner, with Heisman Trophy Winner at QB (Harrell of TexTech? McCoy of Texas? Oklahoma’s Bradford?) Let PSU partisans point their Winnebegos to lovely Pasadena and Rose Bowl against worthy Pac 10 foe- probably Oregon State with Coolest Name In Sports- freshman pheenom Jaquizz Rodgers. Will Beaver fans offer novenas to St. Jaquizz?

  • I’m partial to OU, brothers coach of my alma mater Arizona. So I’m hoping for an OU run to the national title game.

    Other than that, I read Catholic material via the hardcover variety and digital.

  • “We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.

    “In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men’s own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fulfillment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church.”

    John XXIII

  • Terry- does that mean that God wants a Florida-Texas Tech shootout in the BCS championship game?

How To Argue About Roe

Tuesday, November 18, AD 2008

One of the most common complaints directed at pro-lifers is that they are trying to overturn a Supreme Court decision that is popular with the American public. In one respect, this is a fair point. Roughly sixty percent of the country, when asked, says that they would not support overturning Roe. At the same time, roughly 2/3 of people say they would prefer the type of ‘stricter limits’ on abortion that are barred by Roe and Casey.

Noting this disconnect, Peter Suderman recently suggested that pro-lifers should focus on framing Roe as a barrier to compromise on abortion.

3 Responses to How To Argue About Roe

  • This coming right after “How Obama Got Elected” keeps a particular theme going. People hear names, have a vague idea (if that) of what the names mean, and know very little about any content. People think of Roe v Wade as maybe a victory in the matter of civil rights, as oppose to fervent protection of abortion. Phrasing the issue properly has always been a political matter. Consider the election: Obama continually phrased the issue of a McCain presidency as four more years of Bush, four more years of “failed” economic policies. Or consider Prop 8 in California. You can phrase that as either “protecting the sanctity of marriage” or as “a fundamentalist Christian attempt to deny civil rights to United States citizens.” Which message takes hold will influence people, regardless of the actual content of the candidate or bill.

    It reminds me of the petition spread around to ban “dihydrogen monoxide” because of all the adverse affects it has. Because it was phrased as petition to fight against a grave danger, people signed onto it without any consideration of what the petition was actually about–banning water.

    Ah, our sound-bite culture. Please don’t make an issue last for more than thirty-seconds, because that’s all the thought we can put into it.

  • You make a good point Ryan. Our culture being what it is, I think we need to try and make a more forceful 30 second sound-bite. For a long time, we have emphasized the humanity of fetuses (which is the central point to emphasize). However, ideally I think we would have a two-part argument: 1) Abortion is wrong, 2) Our current abortion laws are a barrier to compromise. The second point is hard for pro-lifers to say because, honestly, this is a human rights issue so compromises are unsatisfactory.

    That said, if we are going to move the opinion poll numbers (and thus politicians) against Roe, we need to emphasize more the extreme nature of Roe, rather than being too easily written off as extremists ourselves. I think this is a difficult balance to strike in practice, though.

15 Responses to How Obama Got Elected

  • Scary, yes, but I’d like to see a similar poll to learn what McCain supporters knew about McCain. I honestly think that most people, regardless of who they support, are well informed. That might be a bias, but it comes from a general apathy I’ve seen from people around me. There’s a few ideals they cling to, a few slogan’s they’ve heard, and that’s it.

  • Shock jock Howard Stern has Obama supporters interviewed and attributes McCain positions to Obama in the interviews.

    http://justgetthere.us/blog/archives/Howard-Stern-Interviews-Clueless-Obama-Supporters.html

  • Reminds me of the interviews in which voters said they strongly supported Obama’s choice of Sarah Palin as VP, and thought that Obama was right to be pro-life.

  • Oh. Yeah, what Donald said. 🙂

  • I think the video is amusing/depressing, but the title of the post over-sells it. Sure, the media was in the tank for Obama; 70% of the public acknowledged it in a survey, but he probably still would have won given Bush’s unpopularity and the financial crisis.

  • I honestly think that most people, regardless of who they support, are well informed.

    Sadly, no.

  • I would like to agree with John Henry, but such surveys as typified by Zogby’s do give me pause. Are we reaching a point in this country where education is so poor and ignorance so deep that our election of president is based almost entirely on charisma, especially when a favored candidate is protected by a media which has, in effect, sworn fealty to him? I recall another vignette from this election where a fellow wanted to vote for the pro-life anti-abortion candidate, but lacked knowledge as to the positions of Obama and McCain on the issue. In the face of such jaw-dropping invincible ignorance I am moved both to laughter and tears.

  • Remember boys and girls- the vast majority of our fellow Amurricans are not politics junkies as we. Perfectly content to watch football/shop at supermarket/raise younguns without benefit of political knowledge. Or will reply in matters of controversy Oh They’re All The Same. Consider how the Political Elite has pushed themselves ever further between selves and Most Amurricans. They and their MSM Acolytes. Dismayed by the sight of well-dressed businesspersons trekking to Capitol Hill, tin cups in hand. But hey they may ask if my kid wants to open up a lemonade stand I might given them pitcher pieces of wood and lemonade mix and he’s on his own. And that’s true. But The Elite must feed its own. Not sure when the cycle will end. But some of peeps really are doofuses, to be honest.

  • I honestly think that most people, regardless of who they support, are well informed.

    Sadly, no.

    Dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang. My unfortunate tendency to leave out “not” when I write trips me up yet again. I mean to say that most are NOT well-informed. Thanks for calling me on that, blackadderiv.

  • Though the conservative in me would like to imagine that “it’s not the way it used to be” — do you think think is much different from how things were thirty or fifty or a hundred years ago?

    Did people actually have a clear idea of JFK’s abilities and policies, or did he win on charisma?

    Did FDR’s overwhelming majorities actually have a decent idea of how good a job he was doing, or was it image first?

    Heck, even going back to when the voter base was much smaller and presidential voting was less direct: Was Jackson’s victory (the first truly populist campaign in the US) really based on his positions and abilities, or on enthusiasm and “hype”?

    Maybe it’s some of each: modern elections have become even more shallow, but our republican has never been as thoughtful and informed as one might like. Or perhaps it’s ways been like this, just in different ways in different eras.

  • Good points Darwin, although the Lincoln-Douglas debates would be a good argument to the contrary. Flash and charisma are advantages in any era, but I do think our time period, as a result of technology and less attention to public affairs by a growing portion of the public, is especially prone to electoral victories by personality rather than electoral victories by positions.

  • Pingback: Roe As A Barrier to Compromise « The American Catholic: Politics and Culture from a Catholic perspective
  • Speaking of Obama’s election, I just confirmed this evening that I’m attending the inauguration on January 20th.

  • “Was Jackson’s victory (the first truly populist campaign in the US) really based on his positions and abilities, or on enthusiasm and ‘hype’?”

    You’re doubtless correct, Darwin, but don’t forget that his poor suffering wife Rachel got the Sarah Palin treatment squared from the other side. Or maybe I should say that Palin got the 20th-century version of the Rachel Jackson treatment?