The Spanish Civil War: Sadly, Still Relevant

Wednesday, August 24, AD 2011

On Sunday I received a request from a Catholic blogger for my suggestions for readings in regard to the Spanish Civil War, a subject which I have always found fascinating.  Here is my response:

The go to man on the Spanish Civil War is Stanley Payne.  He has been writing on the conflict since the Fifties.  He interviewed many of the leaders of the various factions in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.  Originally a man of the Left, I think it would be fair now to call him a conservative, but what he is above all is a first class historian.

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36 Responses to The Spanish Civil War: Sadly, Still Relevant

  • A much-touted personal account is Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia.” To me, it proved less than the touting.

    Tolerance for me not for thee.

    I used to “see red” whenever a US MSM commie propaganda outlet would cover a reunion of “Lincoln Brigade” murderers.

  • I am fascinated by the Spanish Civil War and have had a difficult time finding good books on the Subject. Warren Carroll’s the Last Crusade is excellent reading.

    I’m already scouring my nearby book stores for your recommendations, thanks Don!

  • One of the disappointments I had with There be Dragons is that it did not delve into the whys and whatfors of the SCW as much as I would have liked, and likewise not in depth as much regarding St. Josemaria. It gave a little of both, but the rather superficial treatment left you feeling somewhat robbed. It seemed the director couldn’t decide whether it was a movie about the war or about the saint, and ended up really being about neither – it seemed to use them both as props or settings to tell the story about the saint’s fictional friend. Not a bad movie if you have that understanding going in, but a bit disappointing if you don’t.

  • Where I was going with that comment – I would love to see a really good documentary on the SCW.

  • The Spanish Civil War seems to be one of those historical events that everyone is supposed to interpret the exact same way. It’s depicted as WWII on a smaller scale. I know very little about the war, but what bothers me is that I’ve only seen Franco’s side defended by extremely anti-communist Catholics. I’m wondering, is this just one of those rare moments with two bad sides (like Mubarak versus the Muslim Brotherhood)? Is it possible to view the world as a Catholic and still accept the common interpretation of the Spanish Civil War?

  • “Is it possible to view the world as a Catholic and still accept the common interpretation of the Spanish Civil War?”

    From an American perspective few of the sides in the Spanish Civil War are too appealing. On the Republican side the main factions were Communists, Socialists (who were often harder Left than the Communists) and Anarchists. There were some moderate Republicans but they were quickly pushed to the side lines. In the areas controlled by the Basque nationalists in Northern Spain the Church was not persecuted and the Basque Republicans were fervent Catholics. They were subdued by the Nationalists in 1937.

    On the Nationalist side we have Falangists, basically fascists modeled after Mussolini’s black shirts, most of the Army, monarchists, fervent Catholics, and the Carlists of Navarre who were probably the most fervent Catholics as a group in the world and who provided the Nationalists their shock troops.

    Of the factions on both sides, my favorites are the Carlists and the Basque Republicans.

    The Republicans were mostly fighting to implement a Revolution and bring to Earth a Leftist utopia, of some Communist, Socialist or Anarchist variant. They wanted to smash the Church and anyone else who stood in their way of bringing this about.

    The Nationalists were mostly fighting to crush the Left and sepratist movements like the Basques and the Catalans, and restore Spain to the glory it had known in the past. They detested democracy, as Americans understand it, as much as their Leftist adversaries.

    A fairly bad choice from an American perspective. However, one point can never be overlooked by a Catholic: on the Nationalist side of Spain Catholics worshiped freely; on the Republican side, outside of the Basque regions, the Churches were shuttered and turned into warehouses, garages, town halls, and the clergy, and faithful Catholics, murdered. I do not think that any faithful Catholic can overlook that.

  • A very concise and compact review Don, I agree wholeheartedly.

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  • Well, certainly the right side won, at least in THIS civil war, Don! 😉

  • I often wondered that there were not “Lincoln brigades” of Catholics… why apparently no organized Catholic military units went to aid the Nationalists. Perhaps for the same reason that none aided the Cristeros in Mexico, an indifference to things Hispanic in the English speaking world, which itself seems to be in part a vestige of the Black Legend. Certainly the “main-stream media” was a formidable roadblock for Catholics trying to find out the truth of what was happening in Spain and Mexico.

  • What about the Hugo Thomas one volume history?

  • Irish Catholics sent about 500 men. They saw very brief action and then were sent home by the Nationalists as being fairly useless. American Catholics sent over a fair amount of money to aid the Nationalist cause, and lobbied hard, and successfully, against any US aid to the Republic. Portugal sent about 20,000 men to fight for the Nationalists, and allowed the Nationalists use of their ports and to use their territory to transport supply. The aid that the Nationalists received from Italy and Nazi Germany is of course well known. There were also White Russian and other right wing volunteers fighting for Franco. The study linked below has a strong Republican bias, but it is one of the very few volumes I am aware of that looks at foreign volunteers for Franco:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Franco-International-Volunteers-Nationalist/dp/0826465382

    Roy Campbell was an English war correspondent who followed Franco’s armies and was sympathetic to the Nationalist cause:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Campbell_(poet)

    Outside of Mexico, almost all of the Latin American states were sympathetic to the Nationalists and extended early diplomatic recognition to the Nationalists.

  • “What about the Hugo Thomas one volume history?”

    Good but dated. We know far more from released Spanish archive records than when he initially wrote it in 1961 and even with updates it is not up to snuff with current scholarship. It still has a warm spot in my heart as it was the first book I read on the conflict.

  • Very pricy is Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War. It is worth every penny however for the serious student. The late Mr. Bolloten made an in depth study of magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other publications published in Spain during the war. You find material in his history you find nowhere else. He is especially good on the byzantine Republican factional infighting.

    http://www.amazon.com/Spanish-Civil-War-Revolution-Counterrevolution/dp/0807819069

  • Is that last one an even-handed account that you just commented on?

  • Bolloten began as a man of the Left Tito and by the end of his career the Franco regime was touting his books as a great scholarly study of the War. Bolloten was an honest man and the facts he brought to light tended to paint the Spanish Republic in a bad light. His scholarship is impeccable and he had no axes to grind.

    I would add that I would not recommend it to general readers. A fair amount of knowledge of Spain in the thirties and Spanish politics of that period is helpful before tackling Bolloten’s works.

  • Just added it to my Amazon Wish List, niiice.

  • The internet is awesome. Thanks, Don.

  • You want even-handed?

    The following is paraphrased from De la Salle Christian Brothers and Marianist sources.

    The holocaust within the Spanish Civil War has been denied far too long. Almost no one in America knows that during the 1930’s Spanish “Civil” War the “republicans” massacred of tens of thousands of Roman Catholic religious and lay people. For decades, the MSM, publishers, and the academy have sold the one-sided idea that Franco and his government (World War II neutrals) were merely fascists. The MSM, et al, egregiously deny the mass murders of Spanish Catholic religious and lay persons committed by the Soviet-led Spanish and international gangsters like Hemingway, Robeson and the so-called Abraham Lincoln brigade.

    There was a general massacre of Roman Catholic clergy and laity in the areas under communist control during the 1936 to 1939 Spanish Civil War. Four thousand Roman Catholic bishops, priests, brothers, and nuns, and tens of thousands of lay Catholic people were martyred. The Lord had called the Spanish religious community to a radical witness. When the republicans found them to be religious, they were arrested and executed. For example, the bolshevists murdered 165 of the order of Catholic school teachers, the De La Salle Christian Brothers, whose brothers have, for over 150 years, served their vocations at Manhattan College. On October 10, 1993, Pope John Paul II proclaimed “blessed”, seven Spanish Christian Brothers and three Spanish Marianists (Carlos Erana, Jesus Hita, Fidel Fuidio). The Marianists are dedicated priests and religious brothers who serve Long Island Roman Catholics at Chaminade High School and Bishop Kellenberg Memorial High School.

    About ten years prior in Mexico:

    Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. – martyred in Mexico in November 1927

    A picture is worth a thousand words. One of the things that brought the attention of the world to the anti-Catholic persecutions in Mexico was the distribution of the photographs of some of the executions.

    At ten o’clock in the morning, Father Pro was the first to be led out to execution. Carrying his small crucifix and his rosary, he walked steadily across the yard.
    As his last request, Father Miguel asked to be allowed to pray. He knelt in front of the bullet-pocked walls and fervently prayed briefly. He kissed his crucifix and stood.
    Rejecting the traditional blindfold, Miguel stretched his arms out in the form of a cross and facing the firing squad said, “May God have mercy on you. May God bless you. Lord, You know that I am innocent. With all my heart I forgive my enemies.”

    As the firing squad took aim, Father Pro spoke his last words. In a firm, clear voice, he said: “Viva Cristo Rey!” Long live Christ the King.

    I guess that was “one-sided.”

  • I do not think that any faithful Catholic can overlook that.

    One would certainly think that Don.

  • Mr. McClarey’s advice about Burnett Bolloten’s book is really commendable.

    The Spanish civil war has been a very complex event, and the author’s long and (relatively, as is inevitable) unbiased research unfolded and pondered upon lot of documents, some of which – like newspapers – rarely used (at least intelligently) in other books. Bolloten was really able to give voice to the many, conflicting parties involved in this tragedy.

    It is too convenient to write Manichean books, were the righteous persons stand unerringly on one side only. Communism has been a cancer which exploited and exacerbated very real social problems, and this civil war is no exception. So one has to understand the concrete situation, the human plight in which those events could unfold: in this even conservatives and Catholics had their sins. Real life is not easy and is always more complex than ideology or partisanship would like it to be.

    So, if it is certainly true that the left lied for a long time about what happened (and still does), it is a Christian duty to always try to understand the whole: without hiding anything and certainly without feeling ashamed for politically correct reasons, it is God who must prevail, not our faction.

    ***

    As far as Mr. McKenna’s question, I would like to add this: many, many Italians went to Spain with the sincere intent to help that Catholic country wihch they knew was being devastated. Of course, they were part of the Fascist army, sometime proudly so, then they are easily dismissed in block as mean people.

    Again, reality is different from historical hyper-generalization. Similarly, most Soviet soldiers fought animated by the love for their country and even religion, whatever the Party could say in the propaganda. So much more it was the case in Italy, where the regime’s propaganda never attained the level of brain-washing reached in the USSR.

  • There is still a tendency (largely on the Left, it has to be said) to continue to view the Spanish Civil War through the prism of 1930s ideological assumptions rather than in the context of Spanish history. In hindsight it is difficult to see how Spain could have made a peaceful and swift transition to democracy in the mid-1970s had Franco not provided her with four decades of stability. Although his regime was oppressive and stifling, it was far preferable to those the Soviets imposed in eastern Europe.

  • Great info, Don, I look forward to delving into some of the contemporary histories you mention. Hugh Thomas was really my one and only source about this, and of course, Dr. Carroll under whom I studied, and who was a great proponent of the Carlists.

  • Dr. Carroll Tom wrote a passionate book in The Last Crusade which I enjoyed but it was basically derivate of other books. His tome is a useful corrective to most works on the Spanish Civil War due to their Leftist bias. Hugh Thomas managed a considerable feat of scholarship in 1961 with his volume, especially for one so young and in a field that was not his major subject of study. More amazing is that his account is almost completely neutral, not something you commonly find in books on this conflict.

  • Yikes, T Shaw, I don’t think anyone’s calling for equal respect for martyrs and their killers. But the war was fought between fascists and communists, or more accurately between one side which included and was supported by fascists and one side which included and was supported by communists. As Don describes it, there were faithful Catholics on both sides. There’s got to be some hesitation in portraying either side as the heroes.

  • Hi folks,

    Wonderful comments about a fascinating and tragic historical event. It is truly shocking seeing how hate-filled and bigoted the anti-catholics are in today’s Spain. However, secular Spain is pretty much going over the cliff so a lot of their anger is probably because they know they’ve lost the war.

    Concerning SCW books – don’t write off Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia! Orwell was far too complex and individualistic a man to be a straightforward pinko. He hated what he saw of Moscow’s manipulation of the Republican side and was very clear that there would have been a dictatorship whoever won. His book gives a superb personal, “you’re here too” account a part of the conflict.

  • After all these years ones grows very tired of this updated Black Legend of Spain and as is so often the case in these discussions the usual cliche seems to be that “both sides” committed atrocities and that there were no “good guys”. No, both sides did not commit atrocities. Only one side did, the leftist one. If you wish to maintain the fiction that Franco’s defending his country against these monsters by shooting back at them constitues “atrocities”, well, there is nothing I can say.

    Some are saying the Spanish Civil War was “complex”, which is a word used, I presume, to avoid really seeking out the truth and coming to a sensible conclusion. No, there is nothing complex about that war. It was the attempt by the Socialist/Communist forces to utterly stamp out the last vestiges of Catholicism in the land and as a revenge carried out by International Finance against a nation that was not dancing to their tune. And we Americans, both publicly in Hollywood and privately in the secret halls of government, were huge supporters of that Catholic extermination so sought after by the Left.

    It would seem that now, in the era of Zapatero and a frightened and weakened Chuch, that the Left has the last laugh because they are accomplishing just about everything they wanted in the ’30s. The modernist madness of Vatican II and creepy prelates like the unspeakable Casaroli paved the way for the Zapateros of this world. Sad…but there it is.

    Since we’re all recommending books about that terrible conflict allow me to suggest that we seek out and read the life and works of the Scotsman Hamish Fraser, a Communist fighter in that very civil war who ultimately converted and became one of the greatest Catholic journalists of the last century. It was my signal honor to know him and to learn from him what really happened there.

    And as for Gen Franco? God bless the memory of that great man who at least, if nothing else, bought some time and some peace for his beloved Spain.

  • I like you Dan.

    I agree with you, “both sides committing atrocities” is incorrect.

    Thank you for your book suggestion!

  • “No, both sides did not commit atrocities. Only one side did, the leftist one.”

    Completely untrue. A typical example of a Nationalist massacre:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Badajoz

    There have been few firmer Catholics than the French author George Bernanos. He goes into great detail in regard to Nationalist massacres he witnessed while staying on Majorca during the Spanish Civil War in his A Diary of My Times:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_grands_cimeti%C3%A8res_sous_la_lune

    Historical facts are historical facts no matter what our ideological predilections might be.

  • The late David Eccles was the English representative of one of the Spanish railways at the time. He read of Guernica; as it was within his jurisdiction he asked one of the engineers what was to be done to repair the damage. “Nothing” was the reply. “There was not much damage”.

    It seems that an English reporter in a nearby town had nothing to report. Then he heard of the bombing [some German bombers getting rid of their bombs?] and made up a report of horrendous massacres and damages. “It was written by George Steer, whose familiarity with Basque traditions, passionate support of the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War, and outrage over the bombing may have led him to exaggerate some details, and to emphasize that Guernica was far behind the battle lines and not a military objective”.

    Having been told of this, I tried to do some little research on the subject. The eyewitnesses later interviewed [some two decades later] were across the Pyrenees, and of the Republican persuasion. The earliest book I found was Rudolf Arnheim’s 1973 book, based on the later accounts of eye-witnesses.

  • The Republicans exaggerated the damage to Guernica for propaganda purposes. The Nationalists said that there had been no bombing and the damage was caused by retreating Republican troops. Both of these positions were meretricious. There had been heavy bombing of the town and there was nothing wrong about that. The town had not been declared an open city, there were Basque troops in it in an active theatre of war, and therefore the bombing was completely legitimate.

  • Gironella who fought for the Nationalists during the War, wrote about both the red terror and the white terror in his trilogy: The Cypresses Believe in God; One Million Dead; and Peace After War. These books were published in Spain under Franco. No one could deny, with a straight face at least, that both sides had committed atrocities during the War, even at that time in Franco’s Spain. Leftist historians attempt to maximize the Nationalist atrocities and minimize, or ignore, the Republican atrocities. That is both a sin against history and the truth, and those who are appalled at Republican atrocities, as I am, should not ignore the massacres and atrocities of those fighting against the Republicans.

  • Americans who want to understand Spain and the Spanish Civil War should take to heart this preface that Gironella wrote in the American edition of The Cypresses Believe in God in 1954:

    “Author’s Note for the American Edition

    Spain is an unknown country. Experience proves that it is hard to view my country impartially. Even writers of high order succumb to the temptation to adulterate the truth, to treat our customs and our psychology as though everything about them were of a piece, of a single color. Legends and labels pile up: black Spain, inquisitorial Spain, beautiful Spain, tragic Spain, folkloric Spain, unhappy Spain, a projection of Africa into the map of Europe.

    I defend the complexity of Spain. If this book attempts to demonstrate anything it is this: that there are in this land thousands of possible ways of life. Through a Spanish family of the middle class–the Alvears–and the day-by-day living of a provincial capital–Gerona–I have tried to capture the everyday traits, the mentality, the inner ambiance of my compatriots in all their pettiness and all their grandeur. In Spain the reaction to this novel has been that it is “implacable”. Nothing could satisfy me more.

    This book spans a period of five years, five years in the private and public life of the nation: those which preceded the last civil war, which speeded its inevitable coming. The explosion of that war, its scope, and its significance are described in minute detail.

    A single warning to the American reader: Spain is a peculiar country and its institutions therefore take on unique coloration. Certain constants of the Spanish temperament operate under any circumstance. A Spanish Freemason is not an international Freemason. A Spanish Communist is not even an orthodox Communist. In every instance what is characteristic is a tendency toward the instinctive, toward the individualistic, and toward the anarchic. Spaniards follow men better than they follow ideas, which are judged not by their content, but by the men who embody them. This accounts for the inclemency of personal relationships, the small respect for laws; this, too, is what causes our periodic civil wars.

    To bear all this in mind is important in understanding this book. When the narrative deals with a priest, a policeman, a Socialist, a bootblack, it is essential to remember that it is dealing with a Spanish priest, a Spanish policeman, a Spanish Socialist, a Spanish bootblack, not with generic types. This warning is doubly necessary with reference to Freemasonry, Communism, and Catholicism, the interpretation of which will undoubtedly clash with the American reader’s concept of these doctrines.

    The book’s protagonist–Ignacio Alvear–is a type of young man who abounds in present-day Spain.

    Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    August 1954

    José Maria Gironella”

  • Just to follow up on Donald’s recommendation: You really can’t do better than to read Gironella’s trilogy. Thus far I’ve read the first two, and I want to read the third. They are truly brilliant, and they give you the more immediate sense of the war, and the way that sin begets sin. The sinned against, if they are not killed, often themselves become the sinners. Righteous anger begets unrighteous revenge.

    You don’t for a moment forget what side Gironella fought on, and yet he loves Spain so much he can’t help but make you understand and love even the people who would have shot at him.

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  • I was flipping around the radio dial last night and I ran across Michael Savage (who I wouldn’t normally listen to). He was discussing the Spanish Civil War. Odd coincidence.

Sacred and Holy?

Sunday, September 5, AD 2010

And they cried with a loud voice, saying:  How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Apocalypse 6:10

If you listen closely you can hear the attendants (which include the mayor of our fine city of Houston Anise Parker) at this “dedication” commenting on their newly “sacred and holy” ground. They are speaking of the largest abortuary in the United States.

If we are moving toward, or already in, a post-Christian civilization then should we be surprised that those who promote and support abortion and other anti-life policies impart a religious sheen on their actions?  After all, human sacrifice was present in almost all pagan religions to some extent with the Aztec sacrifices being among the most infamous.  These people are willing and proud worshipers of Baal and, unless we pray, fast and offer Masses in reparation for these sins, we will only allow this evil to grow and ever more innocents slaughtered at the altar of “Choice”.

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5 Responses to Sacred and Holy?

  • Walter,

    Thanks for posting this.

    It’s a crying shame that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston has the largest abortuary in their backyard.

    I’d like to know if there was a Catholic priest present at the ceremony and what is his name. I only say this because the attendees were reading from a pamphlet that said “holy and sacred ground”. Sounds very Catholic to me.

    That and Carol Alvarado, a Catholic state representative is shown prominently in this video. She is also (or was) on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas (Houston).

  • Yeah thanks for posting this.. I get sick listening to that mayor and state rep – notably misguided by a passion that can’t see the truth… Please people from Houston vote them out…

  • “holy and sacred ground” sounds very Catholic to me”

    It could just as easily be Episcopalian, since a lot of their liturgy “sounds Catholic” too (in some cases, more Catholic than the current Novus Ordo).

  • McClarey posted some homilies by Cardinal Newman this past Lent that addressed the neo pagan-atheism that will plague our times.

    It seems we may be experiencing that right now. Secularization of society, practical atheism, and a president with an ideological bent toward socialism, liberation theology, collective salvation and Mohammadism (he may not be a Muslim, but he is certainly sympatico).

    Add that to Human child sacrifice (abortion), use of magic potions (drug and alcohol abuse), sexual rites (cohabitation, pedophilia, pornography, sodomy, homosexualism, ‘gay marriage’, incest, polyamorous unions, etc.) and a generally hedonistic culture.

    We, orthodox Catholics, are nothing more than a remnant in a culture that is more pagan and evil than pre-Christian Rome.

    Time for the saints to rise up.

  • I noticed that the woman in red was clearly embarrassed and did not want to pronounce the word “abortion”.

    They perfectly well know what they are doing and desperately try to delude themselves into thinking that they are not murdering anyone.

    M

American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

The American Bar Association will be considering supporting same-sex marriage at their next meeting in San Francisco.

It urges state, territorial and tribal governments to eliminate laws restricting marriage between same-sex partners.

Supporters say the adoption of the measure would build on past ABA policies supporting protections for gay couples and their families. The House of Delegates in 2004 approved a recommendation opposing efforts to enact federal legislation preventing states from allowing same-sex marriage. “Everyone who worked on it is hopeful,” said Michele Kahn, a partner at Kahn & Goldberg who chairs a New York State Bar committee on gay rights. The State Bar in June 2009 came out in support of same-sex marriage, dropping its support of civil unions or domestic partnerships as alternative measures.

Kahn said so far no formal opposition has come forward against the measure.

What I find amazing is that there is no formal opposition.

I know a lot of pro-life and practicing Christian lawyers, how can this be?

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17 Responses to American Bar Association Considering to Support Same Sex Marriage

  • There are a lot of pro-life doctors, too, yet the AMA and the ACOG are officially pro-abortion. There are pro-life teachers, but nobody would ever know that if the NEA were the only voice of that profession.

    It’s not about what the average professional wants. It’s about who is in power.

  • There may well be formal opposition to this within the legal profession, but it may not be widely known.

  • You’d be surprised by how many pro-lifers are for gay marriage, especially among the young. I think polls bear that out. I’d suspect that there are more among lawyers. Today, even pro-choice lawyers will concede that Roe v. Wade was a weak decision. The legal case for gay marriage may be stronger. The government interest in preventing abortion is stronger than in banning gay marriage. If you separate procreation from marriage as we have done in the US, there’s little reason to ban gay marriage.

  • Lawyers aren’t required to be members of the ABA to practice. So I oppose this kind of stuff the ABA does by simply not joining it.

  • I’m a member of the ABA but haven’t a clue how to express “organized opposition.”

    The ABA isn’t like the K of C. There aren’t any local monthly meetings in which policy is discussed. Instead, you are regularly invited to events like meet-and-greats or seminars – all useful to an aspiring lawyer but not a venue for expressing discontent with ABA support of particular political or social issues.

    In other words, her statement seems to me to be a misrepresentation since it presumes that there is a venue for such discussion – that ABA members are asked whether they support same sex marriage policies or not. This simply isn’t so.

  • The ABA is a completely voluntary association. About 29% of all American attorneys are members. I have never belonged simply because the ABA, like most professional associations in this country, has long been dominated by leftist activist members.

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/03/obama-brings-aba-back-inside-judicial-nominations-process.html

    http://volokh.com/posts/1237317675.shtml

    A good alternative for conservative attorneys is the Federalist Society.

    http://www.fed-soc.org/aboutus/

  • I agree with Don. The sort of lawyers who are strongly pro-life and opposed to same-sex marriage aren’t the sort of lawyers who would involve themselves in the ABA.

  • I quit the ABA years ago. It has a terrific Tax Section that is very valuable to tax lawyers, but I could not stomach the lefty politics. Most tax attorneys lean conservative and ignore the liberal politics of the ABA. I just couldn’t take it. Unfortunately I do not believe that the Federalist Society has a tax section.

  • Many of us left when it adopted a pro-abortion position in the early 90s. I had the privilege of resigning twice. My firm inadvertently re-enrolled us the year after I first resigned. I got the chance to write a second letter of protest and resignation.

  • A very similar thing happened to me, ctd.

  • I don’t disagree with the analysis of the ABA’s policy stances. Indeed, there are few law schools that are not as far Left. However, there is a caveat that need be stated: new lawyers cannot afford to paint targets on themselves by publicly stating their politics.

    The Bush Administration was not the first to use the internet to vet CVs and resumes and will not be the last. The present administration – in all of its departments down to the lowest level that hires attorneys – looks for the writings and affiliations of applicants to determine whether the prospective attorney has the right “temperment” to be hired. This is true for non-profit and for-profit corporations as well. Certainly the law firms are doing the same.

    Unless new attorneys wish to go right into their own practice – a choice that few can afford to make – newly minted lawyers should, in general, not donate money to campaigns, join organizations that betray their political leanings (e.g. like the Federalist Society or the St. Thomas Moore Law Society), or become active in local politics. They SHOULD join their local bar association, if nothing else than for the contact opportunities and in order to get notification of Continuing Legal Education opportunities. The ABA also provides these opportunities and the new lawyer ignores it at their own peril.

    Some would say that this position suggests a lack of conviction. Such a view is short-sighted.

    In order to have conservative judges, justices, prosecutors, and the like, there must first be lawyers that can find a job after passing the bar. Rashly putting one’s politics out there is foolish. I would even go so far as to say that first year law students should be advised by thier administrations to take down their social networking sites and adopt a pseudonym when commenting anywhere on the net.

    Such is the world we live in.

  • Well since i am only a pre-baby lawyer i can’t say too much about the ABA. I haven’t joined the organization and my only dealings are with Model Rules. I agree with G-Veg. I am weary of the internet and posting my views until i figure out the job plan. I don’t want to burn bridges before I get into the practice.

  • I don’t know how to respond to B-Veg’s rather sober assesment as a general matter, but I will say that at my law firm (which has decidely more Dems than Repubs), we hire plenty of lawyers with STM Federalist Soc memberships on their resumes. Thankfully, very few of my lib partners are intolerant of conservatives and vice versa. We disagree plenty, but are seldom disagreeable about our differences. I have a hunch that this is true at many other large law firms, but can’t really for sure.

  • Very sorry for my clumsy typo, G-Veg.

  • I think G-Veg outlines one of several possible approaches new lawyers can take. It really depends on the individual. As far as I know, my friends in both the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society listed those affiliations on their resumes. I listed STM, but not FedSoc or (for obvious reasons) ACS. None of my classmates relayed any horror stories or uncomfortable conversations in the interview process as a result of listing those affiliations; although a fellow summer clerk said he had once been treated to a lengthy lecture by a left-leaning partner who saw FedSoc on his resume (and a swiftly sent rejection letter).

    With regard to blogging and social networking, I think prospective new lawyers would be well-advised to make sure they monitor their Facebook pages, and comment under a pseudonym or handle of some type while blogging(although that may just be because I occasionally wish I could take back something I wrote, and wouldn’t want a prospective employer evaluating me based on that). Blogging and social networking are somewhat informal, and carry greater risks than a simple listing of membership on a resume.

  • I wish that “liberals” would actually be liberals and live up to the standards of their “coexist” bumper stickers. Aren’t they opposed to marginalization? Here we have the ABA marginalizing some lawyers; there we have the University of Illinois outright dismissing a professor. I just read a story in the local rag about eHarmony moving its corporate HQ out of Pasadena; the local hopenchangers are absoulutely giddy to be rid of that “homophobic” company.

    Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the love, man??

  • I never have joined the ABA although they keep calling me every couple years to sign up. Why would I pay $$ to a group that supports abortion and now, apparently, gay marriage?

    I just politely tell them I cannot join because of their pro-abort position. I guess I will now be able to add anti-marriage as well the next time they call.

    Not being a member of the ABA hasn’t hurt my career at all. You are better off (at least as a litigator) joining groups like your local bar associations.

Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

Tuesday, February 16, AD 2010

Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin respond to the vile Family Guy attack on Trig, her son with Down’s Syndrome:

People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, “when is enough, enough?”:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. – Bristol Palin”

– Sarah Palin

Perhaps it is partially because I have an autistic son, but words literally fail me to adequately describe people evil enough to mock a handicapped child because they differ with the mother of the child politically.

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79 Responses to Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

  • Family Guy is commonly about as tasteless as the imagination permits, exceeded in this only by South Park. It is an indication of how corrupted the media have grown in a modest time frame.

    Amy Carter was overexposed but given only the mildest ribbing by the likes of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players and Chelsea Clinton was left in peace (bar for being called a ‘dog’ by Rush Limbaugh). I think one of Geraldine Ferraro’s children is named ‘John’; do you recall the other two?

  • It is quite amazing that people who allegedly have their full faculties and imaginative creativity will act like the effin’ retards they ascribe people with actual special needs as being.

    The fact is people with mental retardation, autism and other impairments are more enjoyable, joyful and pleasant to be around than any of these monkeys who like to throw mean words around without considering the feelings of those who have impairments and the loved ones who care for them

    If you ask me, that is pretty effin’ retarded, especially when the goal is to attack a defenseless child simply because his mother makes you feel uncomfortable and intimidated.

    Do you think that the fact that we consider children a burden and a punishment for recreational sex or a simple ‘choice’ to kill has anything to do with considering anyone with special needs as a burden on society and fair game for ridicule?

    Sick.

  • One of the things Palin has unquestionably achieved (to her sorrow) is giving the hard left a chance to show the entire country how utterly despicable and hateful the “caring” party can be.

  • Southpark usually has a nuanced and valid point to make, even if it is one we disagree with. It has had pro-life episodes, and many shows about the humanity and dignity of disabled people.

    I simply can’t put that show in the same class as Family Guy, which is nothing but one-sided propaganda.

    In addition to being intrinsically evil, making fun of a down-syndrome child is mind-bogglingly irrational and stupid if your goal is to somehow oppose Sarah Palin.

    In the end this is the same show that depicted Jesus as a pedophile, God as a selfish womanizer, and all Christians as mindless, book-burning, hate-filled bigots. It’s the kind of stuff I might have thought up as an angst-ridden teenage atheist in rebellion against the Church. I’m glad I grew up, and I’m sad others are still stuck there.

    And you know what MacFarlane’s defense always is? And its the same one used by all of these guys: either we can make fun of everything, or we can make fun of nothing. Everything is sacred or nothing is sacred. And somehow our first amendment embodies this idea. Of course this is irrational, illogical, and childish.

  • When a culture makes everything profane, nothing is sacred.

  • I seem to recall that Joan Rivers was interviewed in 1983 or thereabouts and said her aim was to be “the meanest bitch in America”. Asked if any topic was off limits, she said, “deformed children…and religion I’m very careful with…”. Well, that was then.

  • I deleted your comment restrainedradical. No one in this thread will be allowed to speak in defense of this vile assault on human decency. All such comments will be deleted.

  • In my misspent past as a teen, youth, young adult and sadly full grown man I would have found this funny. In fact, I used to like the show as well as other prurient interests. Then I was assaulted by God and only by His Grace I came to my senses and returned to the Church of my Baptism.

    Making that decision meant that I was all in. Of course, I only think I am all in because everyday I am reminded of how not-at-all-in I really am. Yet, I know that morality is not in me it comes from God alone. Adhering to His standards renders this and other things I would have found entertaining and funny in my past as sick and twisted.

    I certainly am not ‘politically correct’ and I don’t think we need to allow coercion, government or social, to limit artistic expression. Yet, I think that social standards, based on ‘mere Christian’ morals must be infused into our culture.

    This ‘joke’ was not funny because it maligns children with inherent limitations and not because it attacks Sarah Palin. She’s a big girl and can take care of herself and she chose public life. I think that children with mental retardation, physical disabilities, Down Syndrome, etc. have a greater opportunity for sanctification than fools that find this kind of crap funny.

    I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.

  • The sad thing is that Family Guy is capable of being hysterically funny without being radically offensive.

  • Sadly, I read restrained radical’s comment before it was deleted. It’s an appalling enigma to me how the left is so adamantly against torture, but at the same time can applaud a wicked and evil cartoon which could be considered one of the most deadly of weapons, the most harmful poison. Society must be nourished with good, not evil, and evil is being preached to an immense audience. Evil such as this corrupts and kills souls. But then, the principles of God’s kingdom and the principles of the world are vastly different. That cartoon caused unnecessary pain to the Palins and countless others. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, a perfect time to contemplate Jesus’ crowning with thorns. Mother Teresa said that mental illness is Jesus’ crown of thorns. Although children with downs’ syndrome are certainly not mentally ill, I think we could extend the meditation to include the parents of these children who suffer greatly with mockery, taunts and insults directed toward their beloved children.

  • restrainedradical is a valued commenter here at American Catholic. This thread however is not one where our usual free-wheeling debate format applies. I feel quite strongly about this and no comments defending the Family Guy spit in the face of decency will be allowed. If handicapped kids can be mocked as entertainment or political attack, then we truly are a culture that is sick unto death.

  • Surprisingly (at least to me), The Anchoress is defending “Family Guy” and criticizing Palin for speaking out:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/02/16/family-guy-goaded-palin-into-a-mistake/

    I responded somewhat negatively in her comboxes.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

  • “I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.”

    American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity. To me, the realization of how we were wrong in the past explains why reconciliation is the greatest of the sacraments.*
    Bill

    * Unless my wife is reading and then my answer is marriage is the greatest sacrament.

  • I’m missing something. I get “former governor of Alaska” is referencing Sarah Palin, but how does Trig fit into this? I don’t get it. I second the call for an explanation.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    The Huffington post author here is clear as to what Seth MacFarlane intended.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/15/family-guy-trig-palin-vid_n_462522.html

  • Jay, the Anchoress is simply clueless on this. The insult was directly aimed at Trig as you pointed out. That the Anchoress can’t see this astounds me.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

    I think MacFarlane was trying to cover his ass by recasting Todd Palin as ‘an accountant’ and Trig as female.

  • I had deleted this comment but on second thought I am going to post it. It came from someone, now banned from this blog, calling himself FascistHater. His name is apt, but not in the way he intended. It is a monument to the type of hatred that motivates people to attack those they disagree with by attacking their kids. Such hatred ultimately consumes those who revel in it.

    “What a bunch of “knee jerk assholes” you all are. Did any of you watch this entire show? The girl with downs syndrome is treated as a self assured young women who is the superior of the “normal” Chris Griffin. I’m certain if he had made inappropriate suggestions involving a Lufta she would have shoved it up his ass. If only Palin’s “Normal” slut daughter was as self assured and bright as this cartoon character.

    By the way Don sorry about your son but maybe someone with genes as defective as yours shouldn’t be reproducing. Hey . . . if my comments going to be deleted might as well make it good.”

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    Okay, but how is that an attack on Trig?

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

  • Don, I caught that comment last night but refrained from commenting because I knew it would be deleted. Obviously the person is quite filled with hate and apparently a proud fascist too (they often go hand in hand dontcha know), but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by. I was inclined to think it was the typical leftist type of drive by because I only know of a handful truly hatefilled semi-regulars but their names are well known and they seem to have no shame about associating their name with their venom. However, I got to thinking that this person probably knows more about you than can be ascertained from the post. Nevermind, I’m fairly sure who it is. Sad.

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

    I grant that it was a reference to Palin/Trig. That much is obvious. What I don’t get is what is insulting about it. The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me, and even if she did, Trig isn’t a teenage girl, so it’s not like these attributes would be ascribed to him.

    I agree this isn’t rocket science, why is what makes the unwillingness/inability of people to say what was insulting about the clip somewhat mysterious.

  • I think I may have watched family guy once, maybe twice. Never thought it funny or entertaining – mostly just stupid. No reason to ever watch it.

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people. I guess we’ll see how this plays out and how many other people fail to see what I think is an obvious attack on a child with Downs Syndrome simply to vent political hatred.

  • FWIW, I could see the, “Well, this isn’t all that offensive,” point were this more or less in isolation. However, given that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

  • “but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by.”

    Deliberately didn’t attempt to Rick. The person involved wasn’t worth that much effort on my part. Whoever it was I feel pity more than anything else. Living with that level of hate must be like wearing an emotional hair shirt.

  • The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me

    She rebukes him for not helping her to her seat and then rebukes him for not asking about her person. You wouldn’t mind?

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people.

    I’m asking why you thought it was insulting. Saying, “well I and a lot of other people thought it was insulting” doesn’t answer that question.

  • It’s pretty incoherent, which is describes the MacFarlane’s humor in general. Throw everything against the wall and hope to elicit a response.

    South Park actually had a dead-on hilarious parody of the Family Guy writing style during the notorious censored Muhammad episode, depicting FG as being written by manatees who nudge random balls labelled with pop culture references into a mixing machine, thus leading to the attempted gags.

    After having watched the clip, it sure looks like a manatee job. I agree that it’s offensive, and a secondary shot at Trig, but I think it’s more of an attack on Sarah Palin than her son, projecting the latter’s handicaps on to the former. I say “secondary” because the depiction of the impaired character as an obnoxious, attention-mongering glasses-wearing diva is a direct attack on the former Governor herself.

  • [G]iven that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

    I can understand this as a psychological explanation, but if past attacks make people conclude that any reference to Palin is per se insulting then I think they are overreacting.

  • BA, I’ll try this one last time with you and I’ll put it in personal terms. My son is autistic. He is a constant joy to me and to his mother. He is unable to carry on a normal conversation, although he can answer yes and no questions. His autism may have caused retardation although with autism this is difficult to say. He can read although how much he retains is often a mystery for us and his teachers. His autism gives him all sorts of behavioral quirks so that he will never be able to live independently or work outside of a sheltered workshop. Things that other people can do without thinking, he, sadly, will not be able to do. Compared to most people his life will be hard, something thus far he has coped with magnificently.

    If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me. That you fail to understand why I would be livid, and why the Palins are livid, I find baffling.

  • If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me.

    This begs the question of how it was an attack, which is what I was asking. If I comedy show attacked my family I would be livid too. But I don’t see how the above clip constitutes an attack.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself. Kids of politicians used to be off-limits. Now it is open season on disabled kids of politicians. I guess common deceny is a thing of the past.

  • BA,

    I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period. I’ve watched the Family Guy before and found certain bits extremely funny…even some of the very offensive ones, but this one wasn’t funny and is quite transparent and unnecessary. It’s clear that it was framed with Sarah Palin in mind, which in itself isn’t a problem, but that the cudgel is Down Syndrome because of her son is rather distasteful.

  • Exactly, Don. It wasn’t that Family Guy necessarily depicted the disabled person in a negative light. It was the fact that the show’s creator felt the need to draw the connection between the disabled person depicted and a 2-year-old disabled person actually in existence.

    It would have been objectionable to use ANY of a politician’s kids to make a dig at that politician; to use a politician’s 2-year-old disabled child to do so makes it all the worse.

  • DarwinCatholic:

    Absolutely. And not only has the Left revealed how vicious the “compassionate” can be, they have managed to show that their socialist policies aren’t really motivated by compassion for the poor and downtrodden after all, as they like to pretend. If that was really their motivation, they wouldn’t behave this way.

    Which brings us to the question. If the Left’s socialist policies aren’t driven by compassion, then what’s their real motivation? The answer, I think, is a combination of a desire for control over others, and the worship of the state which they have divinized in their minds.

  • Let’s make it clear, if Rush does it, it is wrong. If Family Guy does it, it is wrong. There. Left and right — are both of them lacking compassion because of Rush or Family Guy? I think many on both sides are; but many are not. Don’t do guilt by association; Family Guy isn’t like Rush, though — one of the big differences is Family Guy is a rude, crude, nasty show and a “comedy” with its axe to grind but yet — it isn’t gearing itself as a piece of political opinion to help energize politics. Rush and Beck and people like them — are. But that doesn’t make Family Guy good. It’s a show which makes Beavis and Butthead look intelligent.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself.

    Defend himself from what? All of your comments make sense only on the assumption that the Family Guy clip above constitutes an attack on Trig. What I’m asking is, how is it an attack?

  • I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period.

    Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

  • I watch family guy – it’s very left, it’s very offensive, and occasionally it’s very funny, but that’s hit or miss. I’m generally irritated by the hyper-sensitive jump to offense behavior of people a la the recent hoopla over Rahm Emanuel’s comment which was clearly not directed at or referring to mentally handicapped people (incidentally, the much smarter and funnier South Park recently had a good show about about just this thing except instead of “retarded” it looked a homosexual slur that has now been adopted to mean something else in the culture, but I digress). However, I can understand how this could be hurtful b/c it’s definitely targeted at Palin and her son (the former to a bigger extent than the latter I think). I sort of see what blackadder is saying in that it doesn’t seem like an attack against the DS girl, but rahter that DS was used to tie her to Palin. I think the point is that whether he intended to mock DS itself (or Trig himself), the writer clearly used the real life handicap of one of Palin’s children to mock her. And I do think that crosses a line.

  • BA

    I agree it might be difficult to see, but the girl is not Sarah Palin. The girl represents Sarah’s children morphed into one. It is a girl and apparently has Down’s Syndrome. And it is being used to goad Sarah Palin — mock both her daughter’s dating choices as well as Trig. I can see where it is coming from, and I can see why this is not respectable at all (just like attacks on Chelsea were not respectable). If the girl were Sarah and she was shown careless with her children, that would be one thing; but taking it out on her children for their mother, no, not good.

  • The line goes that once you explain a joke, it’s not funny. This joke wasn’t funny in the first place, so far as I can tell, but we seem to be struggling with a situation where an insult isn’t insulting once you explain it. I’ll give it a shot, though.

    The gag here (to the extent that there is one) appears to be that Chris goes out on a date with a somewhat bitchy and demanding girl who speaks in a “retard” voice. When he asks about her family, she explains that her mother is the governor of Alaska. I guess one could see this either as a “boy, they all seem to be retards in Palin’s family, don’t they” joke or as “oh, Down Syndome, heh heh, Palin, heh heh” joke. Either way, it seems to get what little steam it has from associating mental disabilities and disagreeableness with Palin.

    Now, I suppose one could say, “Why is it offensive to associate Down Syndome or retardation generally with Palin’s family? She has a child with Down Syndrome, but there’s nothing shameful in that.” This would be true in a limitted sense, but it ignores the fact that in the instance in question it’s clearly being treated as something which is humorous or derisive, not just a “Oh, by the way, did you hear a child of the former Alaskan governor has Down Syndrome?” This is where the fact that Palin has been routinely mocked by the left for having a child with Down Syndrome would come into play.

    I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas. Now clearly, there’s nothing wrong with being black, so one could question how this was an insult, but the obvious answer would be that the show was attempting to make “Obama’s kids are black” an insult, and thus serving as both racist and anti-Obama.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indicated by the way that she speaks.

    Thanks for the explanations. But as I watched the clip, my impressions were that reference to the former Alaskan governor was nothing more than a non sequitur. I saw the date as merely having a speech impediment, nothing more. Downs Syndrome never came to mind, because the character’s demeanor was very different to that of people with DS that I have encountered.

  • I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas.

    That would be offensive. But unless I’m misinformed, there isn’t a stereotype that people with Downs Syndrome are bitchy and demanding.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities, and assumed that eating watermelons and “Black English” would be the equivalent stereotype in regards to race.

  • Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that carries with it various physical characteristics that are easily identifiable even to the average observer. It’s pretty clear (to me anyway) that the intention was to illustrate the character as having Down Syndrome.

    Still, regardless of how ill conceived or executed the scene was, it’s clearly intended to be a dig on Palin which in itself isn’t a problem. Using Down Syndrome to do it would be tasteless in itself, but it’s certainly no coincidence that that means was employed because she has a DS child.

  • employed ugh

    [Fixed it for you Rick. 😉 – Tito]

  • Maybe I’m slow to catch on…

    The physical attributes I get. However, animation is a poor medium to convey that. Upon re-listening, I see your point about the speech, Rick. However, my initial impression was that of a woman with a lisp combined with an Elmer Fudd-ian style of pronunciation. DS never came to mind.

    Oh well, I guess I shall retreat back into my bubble where most pop culture influences do not dare enter.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities

    I’m not sure having speech problems is a stereotype about people with Downs as it is a reality. I mean, the actress who plays the girl has Downs Syndrome. That’s her real voice.

  • Let me also make a side point. Both from watching the clip and from reading about it in general, a theme of the episode seems to be that people with Downs Syndrome aren’t all that different from the rest of us. We live in a world where 90% of couples who are told there child has Downs abort, perhaps in part because they have an exaggerated image of the problems associated with Downs. The message of the show, in other words, is one that people desperately need to hear, and particularly for the FG viewer demographic I’m not sure if there would have been a more effective way of getting that message across.

  • Thanks Tito. I’d type this in huge letters if WP would let me. 😉

    BA, so yes, the speech issue is a reality. And based on what you just wrote, the voice actress has DS. Her character claimed to be the child of a former Alaska governor. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to assume that whole gag is about Sarah Palin due to her having a DS child. Yeah, it’s not like they were attacking Trig directly, but it is reflective of a rather nasty attitude. I mean, with all the things someone could use to rib Palin like her botched interviews, writing on her hand, leftist stereotypes of conservatives as dumb hicks, it takes a pretty vicious mind to use their child’s birth defect in an attempt to score a point and/or laugh.

  • Rick,

    Again, I’m not denying that the reference was to Palin. That’s obvious. I just don’t see what’s insulting about it, either to Trig or to Palin.

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people eluded Seth MacFarlane who manfully responded to the controversy by sending out his publicist with this statement:

    “The Times asked “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane for an interview regarding the matter. But he opted to send a statement via his publicist: “From its inception, ‘Family Guy’ has used biting satire as the foundation of its humor. The show is an “equal-opportunity offender.””

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

  • Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

    Just a cobbled together guess, based only on the clip and the one previous bit of venom directed at Palin (Stewie in an SS uniform wearing a “McCain/Palin” button). I bow to anyone who watched the whole thing for context. For my part, it would not have occurred to me in a million years that I would be carefully parsing FG episodes for narrative context. 🙂

    After all, the show peaked with the Benjamin Disraeli sight gag…

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people…

    It’s not that I think mocking Trig is good for handicapped people; it’s that I don’t see how the show was mocking Trig.

    My comment about the effects of the show generally was, as I said, a side point. As I understand it, many of the people here who think the show was offensive only have a problem with the reference to Palin, not to the show’s treatment of Downs Syndrome generally (certainly your comments have focused in this direction). So whether you agree that the show could serve a useful purpose in demystifying Downs is separate from whether you think the reference to Palin was out of line (and visa versa).

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

    I’m not really seeing this. The girl in the clip doesn’t look like Bristol Palin, Chris neither looks nor acts like Levi Johnson, etc. The only reason I can see for saying that she must be Bristol is that as a teenage girl she obviously can’t be Trig.

  • A link to Seth MacFarlane’s campaign contributions:

    http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Seth_MacFarlane.php

    Then we have his comments about the election when he was stumping for Obama:

    Then we have the McCain-Palin are Nazis scene from the Family Guy.

    MacFarlane is a bitter partisan of the Left. That is his right. When he decides to give vent to his hatred by mocking a disabled child of someone he hates, that should go way over the line for any civilized person.

  • Anchoress did not say Palin should not have spoken out. She said she should have done so differently, in a way that would have turned the tables on Family Guy.

  • I speak as a big-time critic of Sarah Palin as a potential political leader- I don’t see any valid point in targeting her as a parent of a child with a disability- she’s a human being- not one of us would find it acceptable for someone to take us on as public bloggers and start picking on our kids- especially our youngest most vulnerable children.

    Joe has pointed out that it is perhaps possible to include the disabled in a joke line that isn’t just picking on someone, but makes some larger relevant point about some issue related to being disabled. But clearly, making sly reference to a politician’s disabled child is cruel and unusual- and unless that part of the Left wing is ok with their alter-ego part of the Right wing, perhaps targeting Obama through sly put-downs of persons meant to bring to mind his daughters- then I would say the more reasonable folks should be able to bring public shame to this type of “humor”. With public shame in the offing, most commercial artists will learn that there is no pay-off for continuing such a trend. Public shaming has a role to play- it can be a check on out-of-bounds expression without having to resort to some kind of direct censorship.

  • I agree with Tim.

    If the tables were turned and a Family Guy clip had Mr. Seth McFarlane mocking President Obama’s precious little daughters using derogatory black stereotypes all hell would break loose in the form of constant media attacks in characterizing conservative Americans as hateful bigots.

    My two-cents worth.

  • A couple months back there was an episode of 30 Rock where one of the characters tried to infiltrate Obama’s “inner circle” by befriending one of his daughters. There were scenes of him talking on the phone with the daughter, etc. in which he adopted a valley girl voice and basically talked like a stereotypical schoolgirl. I don’t recall much of a fuss about this at the time, presumably because while the show quite clearly was referencing the Obama family there was nothing insulting about what was being said about them (one could argue that it was insulting to imply that Obama’s daughters act like little girls, but then they are little girls).

  • BA,

    So acting like a little girl is equivalent to a derogatory black stereotype?

    😉

  • Interesting counter example, BA.

    As per previous discussion, though, I assume that if the 30 Rock character had used a heavily “Black English” voice rather than a schoolgirl voice, people would have seen that as more offensive — because although some black people do indeed talk that way (though not the Obamas) it’s seen as connected to a negative stereotype about black people.

    I think the reason people are taking offense in this case is that although it’s true that people with Down Syndrome do have speech impediments, the social perception of those speech impediments is pretty uniformly negative.

    By which I guess I mean, it seems to me that simply making “hey, did you hear Palin’s kid has Down Syndrome” references (at least in a comedy show, especially one that emphasizes sharp political satire) will end up coming off as derogatory all on its own.

  • I don’t know Blackadder. I guess there are different thresholds or considerations people take into account on things. For example, I have a son who is developmentally delayed. He’s not classified as autistic though he has some similar symptoms. In fact, it sounds like he is not much unlike Don’s boy in functionality and prospects for his future. I didn’t take offense Obama’s Special Olympics joke a few months ago, yet many others did. I didn’t view it as a dig on special needs kids nor indicative of an underlying disrespect or contempt for them. I viewed it as a bit of self-deprecating humor on behalf of Obama and have used the same type on myself (still do in fact).

    In this case, it’s more a matter that I can see how many could be offended because there is nothing really humorous in it though it was an attempt to use a DS as a pretext of slamming a political opponent or at best forcing in a political jab where it has no business. I guess I’m looking at it more from where something like this must have come from. Unfortunately I think there are a number of hate filled people like that Hateful Fascist guy who insulted Don. It’s one thing to have such a hard heart and express it, it’s another to use or tear down innocent or powerless people to vent that hatred. It’s certainly not something in our Christian understanding of the dignity of the person that there is any room for, but it strikes me as the type of thing that just about anybody of good will would avoid. Nay, that it’s not even something they would conceive of. I guess I’m just offended that people think that way and act upon it.

  • Rick,

    I have to admit that President Obama’s joke was self-deprecating.

    The GOP and conservatives were politically opportunistic in bashing him and were not justified in their anger.

    In contrast, I believe Mr. Seth Mcfarlane was deliberately being nasty in this clip. Unfortunately I do watch FG from time to time (rabbit ears television) and I can say that Mr. Mcfarlane is a bitter left-winger who takes every opportunity he can to disparage the GOP and conservatives. Although he “claims” to be an equal opportunity offender, the balance is skewed grossly in disparaging conservatives than liberals by a 10-to-1 margin.

  • I’ve FG a fair number of times myself. I don’t particularly care one way or another about the politics. If something is funny, it’s funny. My uneasiness with the shows I have seen are some of the religious things. Unfortunately I have a higher tolerance for religious jokes than I ought, but FG can still manage to offend me in that regard. However, I find great humor in many of the gags whether they be G rated or R rated. The funniest gag I’ve seen on the show was quite R rated, but was right up my alley from a setup/punchline point of view (the scene with the blow-up dolls).

  • I don’t mind the unbalanced attacks as well. I like to laugh and whatever does it for me makes me happy.

    But you have to admit, FG is definitely not on the family viewing list. In fact if I were blessed with children I would stop viewing FG for the sake of the children not catching me watching such filth.

  • Largebill: “American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity.”

    I don’t know if I am mature, but I am certainly more mature than I was when I was caught up in the Spirit of the World. It is easy, tempting, alluring and seductive to go with the flow of the present darkness because when you are in it, it doesn’t seem dark. In fact, it seems fun, light and quite right.

    It isn’t. FG could be funny at times; however, when it disparages the defenseless it crosses the line. That doesn’t mean that people with physical and mental limitations cannot be funny or even made fun of in a lighthearted way, but this was clearly mean-spirited.

  • AK

    I think a good example where there is a lighthearted way this was done, and yet misunderstood, was Tropic Thunder. The whole point was to ridicule the way some people with disabilities are used by Hollywood for the sake of self-glorification instead of any real concern for them. But many people felt disturbed by its representation, not understanding the point.

  • HK,

    Tropic Thunder!

    That is a funny movie, enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • HK,

    I did not enjoy the movie as much as Tito, but it had some good parts. I think those actors have so much talent (acting talent, they seem vapid in everything else) that more could have been done.

    Nevertheless, the scene you reference is funny and I agree, it is not offensive because the object of ridicule is not people with mental retardation or other handicaps.

    Stiller does not seem like the kind of guy who would cater to low humor as pertains to people with special needs. Mary’s brother in Something About Mary, which was funny and extremely inappropriate was not disparaged even though he was made fun of. Stiller’s character comes to his defense. Additionally, Dillon’s character refers to people with special needs when he is lying to Mary about how much he likes working with them as ‘retards’, but he is clearly portrayed as a man with very low moral character.

    We cannot be offended at the slightest mention or inappropriate view about sensitive things without referring to the context. I have noticed that many of us, me included, oft times have a knee-jerk defensive reaction when the Church is portrayed in most media. Sometimes it can be done well, I think Doubt was well done and not offensive, Bill Mahr is another matter all together.

    Humor, even off-color humor, can still be funny without being mean.

  • It will come out shortly that Palin used a couple of babies for publicity, and that Trig is NOT her son. I got this info from several non biased observers of the Internet.

    While I have no comment about Palin not getting an abortion (she certainly considered one), I also do not think she has told the truth about the delivery of her baby. I truly do not think the baby she calls Trig is HER baby. Maybe it is her daughter’s, maybe not. The fact is, we do not know for sure what is real and what is not.

  • Michael,

    It is HER baby. The problem is that she was inseminated by a space alien from Zorcon. The delivery was kept secret because it was performed on a Rian spaceship in the Torary Sector. This is what is real. I got it from non-biased sources. It really is.

  • Phillip,

    I’m afraid your ‘sources’ were a bit confused; insemination implies pregnancy and Palin was not pregnant. Trig was transported from the Zorconites via a Rian spaceship (you’re right about their involvement – too many sources have confirmed it at this point), and given to Palin during her flight back to Alaska from Texas. I am still combing through ‘Going Rogue’ for hints about why she was chosen, though.

  • John Henry,

    They’re Zorconians not “Zorconites.” How can I trust you if you can’t even get that right.

  • Pingback: Family Guy Actor Sides With Palin « The American Catholic

Global One Child Per Family Policy

Thursday, December 10, AD 2009

Diane Francis, a columnist with the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper, has a column here calling for a global one child policy.

A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world’s other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity’s soaring reproduction rate.

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.

The intelligence behind this is the following:

-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world’s population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.

-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world’s forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.

-Doing nothing, by contrast, will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.

Although I think this proposal of Ms. Francis is both evil and insane, I do give her props for saying out loud what many environmental hysterics only hint at:  Man is the problem.  Eliminate as many humans as possible and the environment can by saved to be enjoyed by the anointed few like Ms. Francis.

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49 Responses to Global One Child Per Family Policy

  • Oh dear, where to start?

    Perhaps with the good news? I already have two kids and I’m hoping for more. In other words, my descendants will have more influence than those of Francis and the like-minded.

    Now the insanity.

    Why even allow one child? Some poster told me that two wasn’t an arbitrary number in a combox at the end of this post, because two is necessary for population replacement:
    http://vox-nova.com/2009/08/07/preliminary-ramblings-on-population-and-the-environment/
    But of course two is arbitrary, unless the goal is perfect replication of today’s population, and I’m not sure on who is pushing for that.
    Further to the point, allowing one child is also arbitrary. If you really want to stop human influence on the environment, allowing one child is non-sense.

    Another option make much more sense if Francis is really serious:
    The vast majority of people should have no children and select families should have several. There is nothing more inefficient, ecologically, than raising a single child. Families with several children use far less resources per child.

    You know what, that wouldn’t be fair. How about this? No one can have babies and raise them. The government can calculate how many people we’re going to need to keep this thing running (we’re going to need organ transplants you know, and nurses to care for us in our old age), clone them and raise them in huge, efficient, camps. Problem solved.

  • In the worldview of these maniacs, human beings are a virus, a disease, and need to be reduced or eliminated so that Mother Earth can heal.

    This is why the global warming issue is really starting to bother me. Regardless of whether or not it is a serious problem, it is clear that some of the same forces that support this population reduction ideology are also behind terrorizing us all into accepting that we must completely reorder the world economy to reduce CO2 emissions.

    I’ve already seen articles about how babies are bad for the environment from the stand point of “carbon foot prints” – every child makes global warming worse, apparently.

  • I take a small amount of comfort in the fact that even the commenters there think she’s loony.

  • Joe, not being a scientist it is difficult for me to have a truly informed view on global warming. That said, being human I’m prone to bias and I admit I’m biased toward skepticism precisely because the folks who are the most passionate alarmists seem almost uniformly to hold some variant of comical view you describe. They see the earth as a god-like living organism that is infected with the virus known as humanity, which virus would be largely benign but for capitalism and religion, which render it deadly and malignant. The treatment requires (i) marginalizing organized religion, (ii) reducing the virus count, and (iii) replacing free markets with government planning and control. And if we don’t start treatment immediately, we’re all gonna die.

    Somehow I just don’t think so.

  • But today’s lunacy is tomorrow’s policy, at least at the rate we are going.

    Our descendants may have more influence, but who is influencing our descendants? With academia and the media (both journalistic and entertainment, to the extent there is a differrence) overwhelmingly tilted towards Mz. Francis and her ilk, the odds do not look good.

  • I have a more simple solution: if everyone who was truly alarmed about AGW would just personally stop emitting CO2 for about thirty minutes, think how much progress we would make! I think Al Gore should lead by example here.

  • One child per family will end up being a statistical result only. See, if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough. This will help insure that kiddies end up in wealthier families that can afford to give them the high standard of living they deserve. Some kooks have already thought of this — count on it — but are waiting until society is “enlightened” enough to be receptive to it.

  • Not well thought out, to say the least.

    The idea of human beings as a plague or infestation is not unknown in science fiction. But the notion that nine billion people on the planet is unsustainable is also fiction.

    Which isn’t to say that politics doesn’t muck up the distribution of food and other resources. That’s plenty hard stuff to work on right there.

  • Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!! Have one 13-month old and twins on the way at the end of January. Guess we’d better keep going before the Earth Worshippers have their way!!!

  • P.S. what kills me is that these anti-human dirtbags will be whining and moaning when they grow old and grey and realize there aren’t enough tax-payers to support them in their old age! Then they’ll probably think twice about, “There are too many people!”

  • Congrats Coffee Catholic! As the father of twins, there is nothing like them to add zest to a house!

  • I’d be inclined to take her seriously if I were into gaia worship. But alas I’m not, so… meh.

  • if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough.

    They thought of that already.

  • To be clear: I would never morally condone what I am about to say. Yet what strikes me as odd is that the people who call for mass population reduction because of “overpopulation” don’t…I don’t know…sacrifice themselves. There’s this group called the Voluntary Human Extinction movement and conveniently its originators have yet to voluntarily remove themselves while advocating others to do so.

  • Well, to be fair, I think you’re supposed to get yourself sterilized before signing up as a member of the voluntary extinction group. Apparently, wiping out humanity is important enough one should not have children (with the comfortable side effect that one can spend all one’s time and money on oneself and not have to support any dependants) but not actually urgent enough that one should hurry things along by actually hurting yourself.

  • I’m curious at the justification of these iniatives b/c it would avoid wars over scarce resources. Aren’t wars, from a perspective that doesn’t really value human life, just as if not a more effective means of population control? The bloodier the war, the more the population is in check.

    I just wish these kinds of proponents would be consistent with their logic, so that they could see for themselves how irrational it truly is.

  • Eric, they don’t off themselves because they’re the wise and enlightened ones. Gaia needs them to inform other people that they’re unnecessary wastes of space.

    “There’s just enough of me and way too much of you.”

  • As was basically said by another commenter, “Today’s insanity is tomorrow’s public policy.”

    China will increasingly be seen as setting the standard for all to follow. Soon every nation will be encouraged to fall in line and push for population control.

    Think it can’t happen here? Take a gander at the emissions goals to be reached in this country by 2050. They’re nothing but hogwash UNLESS efforts to “go green” are coupled with formal population control policies.

    Those policies won’t be limited to abortion. Citing “quality of life” issues we can expect a fevered push for euthanasia of the less than desirable in our society.

    It’ll be almost inevitable unless a complete turnaround is effected in the present cultural mindset.

  • This author is a day late and more than a few dollars short when it comes to the Chinese policy. I believe China has of late decided to ease up on the one-child policy in certain areas of the country because of the disastrous social problems it has caused, including but not limited to:

    1. An extreme gender imbalance (men greatly outnumber women);
    2. The disappearance of extended families (if everyone is an only child, that eliminates not only siblings but aunts, uncles, and cousins, and forces one young or middle-aged adult to be responsible for the care of both parents and all four grandparents);
    3. The “little emperor” syndrome of spoiled children and teens who grow up never having to share anything;
    4. The social instability that is likely to result from large numbers of young men being unable to marry and spending their lives as “lone wolves”.

    Other points overlooked by the global population control pushers:

    1. The main reason world population doubled in the last 50 years was NOT because birth rates went up, but because death rates went down due to sanitation, vaccinations, and improved medical care. As demographer Steven Mosher puts it, “People didn’t start breeding like rabbits — they STOPPED dying like flies.”

    2. The so-called “replacement level” fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is merely a statistical average for developed countries in which the vast majority of children can expect to live to adulthood. In less developed countries where infant and child mortality is higher, a “replacement level” birth rate would have to be higher. A couple in Haiti or Bangladesh, for example, might have to have 5 or 6 children in order to insure that at least 2 of them survive to adulthood.

    3. To maintain a replacement level of 2.1 or 2.0 children per woman, some couples will have to have larger families in order to compensate for those who have only one child or none at all (often through no choice or fault of their own).

    4. One does NOT raise the standard of living in a less developed country by forcibly lowering the birth rate. Rather, the birth rate will drop “naturally” as standards of living rise and education and employment opportunities open up for women, which prompts them to postpone marriage and childbearing. To try to bring the birth rate down first is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.

    5. Many countries, most notably Japan, Russia, and most of Western Europe, are facing an imminent UNDER population problem because their birthrates have been well below replacement level for decades. Some governments have tried, with varying degrees of success, to encourage childbearing through “baby bonuses”.

    6. Many experts such as Mosher believe world population will peak at 8 to 9 million later this century and then begin to decline on its own, purely from the demographic “momentum” of birth rates that are currently in decline over most of the world. Mosher states categorically that world population will NEVER double again since birth rates are dropping and life expectancies are not increasing nearly as fast as they were earlier this century (in some areas such as Russia and sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy is actually dropping due to AIDS and other factors).

  • Oops, I meant to say that world population would peak at 8 to 9 BILLION.

  • Bravo Elaine, informative and succinct, always a potent combination!

  • “Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!!”

    Don’t forget adoption. Over 120,000 kids available today. You don’t need to give birth to expand your family, and adopted kids benefit from having a ready family!

  • Well said, Elaine. This brings to mind something I found on here at one point before. I’m sure the Doomslayer is twitching out there…

  • Nice touch Elaine,
    One addition to the disappearance of the extended family: not only do some kids grow up as ‘little emperors,’ but most kids grow up never having seen parenting in action. Most of us learned something about parenting from watching our parents with our youngest siblings, or our oldest siblings with our nieces and nephews, or our aunts and uncles with our younger cousins. All of that is eliminated when extended families disappear. To learn everything you know about parenting by observing only how your parents worked with you can be a serious disadvantage.

  • When so-called “science” comes with a set of talking points and a ready-made statist political agenda, one would be an irrational fool NOT to be skeptical of the so-called “science”.

  • Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.

    Here’s the real question: Can 9 billion people sustain the level of consumption of resources currently enjoyed in the U.S.?

  • Brian,

    To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?

  • “Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”

    This is my post Brian and I posted it as an extreme example of an all too common anti-human mindset among extreme environmentalists.

    I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.

  • The notion of an imminent and disastrous worldwide population explosion requiring strict limitations on childbearing is — literally — as outdated as leisure suits, disco, and the notion of an imminent and disastrous new Ice Age (which was all the rage among climate scientists in the 70s). Birthrates have been falling rapidly all over the world — in less developed countries as well — for the past 20 to 30 years.

    The “unsustainable” 9 billion population Ms. Francis says will occur by 2050 if we “do nothing” is, according to Steven Mosher and many others, EXACTLY the point at which global population will peak and then begin to drop if we “do nothing” to change current birth rates.

  • From what I’m aware of the earth can easily sustain 9 billion and even 18 billion people without batting an eye.

    We are nowhere near reaching capacity on this blue planet, so any, ANY environmentalist or eugenicist that wants to control population control is battier than the climate change crowd.

  • World population is expected to rise until 2050 and then level off. It has fallen in India as living standards rise. The real problem we are facing is not the prospect of 9 billion people who all live like Americans, but that all Western countries (with the exception of the US) are reproducing at below replacement levels. Europe as a whole is at 1.38, Canada is at 1.48, Russia and Spain are in the demographic “death spiral” – 1.1, or half replacement rate. And,…,the same people who are most concerned about “overpopulation” tend to be the same people who like cradle to grave social programs. How, exactly, will that work when you have far more graves than cradles?

    What about the Third World, you ask? Well, as was discovered with crop yields 40 years ago, our technological capacity outstrips our growth rate by a significant margin. But, gee, once again, the greenies fret about “frankenfood” – which has done a lot more to feed Africans than Bob Geldof has.

  • “I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.”

    It seems that we can do both because it is not a question of either/ or. Restoring the environment helps humanity, because humanity is part of, and depends on, the environment. Surely there is nothing extreme or “new agey” about that. Even those who highlight species and ecosystem loss tend to do so from the perspective that this would be a bad thing for humanity.

    What may seem to be beneficial for the development of humanity might indeed have unintended side effects that actually increase poverty and depersonalization. Remember that the Church was wary of industrial progress in the 19th century, not because it was anti- human, but because it had a broader view of what constituted progress.

  • Certain church leaders were wary of industrialization and they were wrong. Broader prosperity and increased life expectancy were great goods. The past in certain eras has many advantages over the present, but for the great mass of humanity life truly was, in Hobbes’ phrase, “nasty, brutish and short” compared to ours, until the great transformation wrought by the Industrial Revolution.

  • Don,

    I want to respectfully disagree with your assessment here. I do not believe the Papacy was wrong to be wary of the Industrial Revolution – there were often terrible abuses of workers and their rights, and the whole revolution was only made possible after a few centuries of political revolution against the Church, the confiscation of her property and the ruination of her ability to care for the poor.

    The Church did not and does not totally reject industrialization. All of the Popes recognized the potential benefits, but they insisted that the system of industrial capitalism be reformed and modified to respect the rights and dignity of the workers. They were not wrong to note it as a problem, and they were not wrong to demand that society address it.

    As Pius XI wrote, industrialization could have taken a better path that did not involve usurping the Church, displacing the peasantry, and abusing the workers. Thanks to the intervention of the Church, among other groups, many of the worst excesses have been remedied – but I think it is wrong to assume that they would have been without that intervention.

  • I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population. I think industrialization had very little to do with attacks on the Church and everything to do with human inventiveness combined with economic and political freedom. It was a process that was building for centuries and I only regret that the process wasn’t quicker. I would have died at 5 without penicillin. My father would never have walked but for advances in surgery a few decades before his birth. My mother would have been denied 12 years of her life but for the cancer treatments available in 1972. My wife and my twins would have died but for safe c-sections. We take for granted advances that our ancestors would have viewed as miracles and I am very grateful for them.

  • “To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?”

    Trust? I tend to avoid reading with a hermeneutic of suspicion, unless I have a very good reason to do so. I just don’t have enough evidence that there is some massive conspiracy in the scientific world to over exaggerate the science on the large impact we have on the environment. In much of the scientific literature that I read, even from writers who have different politics than myself, I find very little “hard” science that cannot be interpreted in a Catholic light. To give a broad example, I see a confirmation of the Church’s critique of the modern industrial world in our recent discoveries concerning human induced climate change.

  • Another factor overlooked by population controllers: one of the most effective methods of spacing births practiced throughout human history has been the “ecological” breastfeeding of infants and toddlers for the first 2-3 years of their lives, a practice which is difficult for many modern women to adopt for various reasons.

    Historic studies of birth records going back to the Renaissance, and of certain ethnic and cultural groups such as the Amish and Hutterites, show that on average, a woman who married in her early 20s, breastfed all her children on demand as long as necessary, and practiced no other form of birth control would give birth to about 6 to 8 children in her lifetime, with the last birth occurring around age 40. Now, back when average life expectancy was in the mid-40s and nearly every family lost several children to disease, famine, etc. this was pretty close to a “replacement level” of fertility.

    When bottlefeeding became the preferred “scientific” and “sanitary” method of infant nourishment in the early to mid 20th century — and was heavily promoted in Third World countries — the result was that many women began getting pregnant every year, instead of every 2 to 3 years, and birth rates did begin to exceed replacement levels. In ancient and medieval times, women who gave birth to extremely large families of 15, 20 or more children, spaced only a year apart (sometimes less), tended to be noble or wealthy women with the means to hire wet nurses.

    The decline of breastfeeding and the resultant closer spacing of births probably fed a popular belief that without effective artificial contraception, women would be “doomed” to constant pregnancies and childbirths with little or no time to recover between them. Meanwhile, the discoveries that made natural family planning possible (e.g. the timing and signs of ovulation) didn’t occur until the late 1920s and it took several decades for doctors, etc. to get with the program (and some still haven’t).

  • “I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population.”

    But here’s the thing: most environmentalists, in my estimation, are not Luddites. Just as the Popes were critical of the narrow and exploitative way industrialization was carried out, and not of industrialization itself, so are most environmentalists critical of where certain industries are at today, considering what we know about climate change.

  • Brian,

    I think you’re setting up a false dichotomy. It isn’t “either trust what scientists say completely” or “scientists are involved in a massive conspiracy” – though I do believe the leaked e-mails are evidence of corruption on the part of some scientists, evidence that they are doing exactly that – exaggerating.

    What I mean is, what is it that causes you to trust what some scientists say and disregard what others say? Is it really as simple as the majority overrules the minority? Is it not true that in the history of science a minority that has gone against the prevailing wisdom has turned out to be correct in the long run? How are you so certain that isn’t the case now?

    I don’t believe the consensus really exists. The more digging I do, the more scientists, including real bona fide climate scientists, who say Co2 is not a deadly pollutant, but is actually good for the atmosphere, that temperatures are rising but at the same rate since before industrialization – a planetary recovery from the mini Ice age.

    We have two camps of scientists, both consisting of professionals with letters after their names, saying very different things. We also have a pretty deep political agenda accompanying the AGW scientists, though of course everyone accuses the skeptics of being hired by “big oil” – conspiracy theory for conspiracy theory.

    There IS evidence of collusion to hide unfavorable evidence, the destruction of data, even concerns that information might be accessed through the Freedom of Information Act. To me that sounds like evidence. Regardless, I believe that what is happening is that a correlation is being presented to us as a cause in order to push an agenda that would otherwise be extremely unpopular.

    Don,

    I don’t disagree that those are all wonderful things. My only concern is for an uncritical approach to industrialization that accepts all of its negative and sometimes evil consequences as collateral damage. I’ll say again that I do not believe the Church opposed industrialization, but she was highly critical of it and sought to put it on the right path. I think that was the right thing to do.

  • Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.

    People who believe global warming is a serious crisis are so fanatically intolerant of skeptics that no serious public debate has been allowed to take place. A theory that is secure, is sound, is supported by evidence, HAS NO NEED TO FEAR DEBATE. The excuse that the problem is too urgent for discussion is the rational of tyrants and oppressors.

    Because the vast majority of us are not scientists, it is all the more reason we ought to have access to both camps, to the “alarmists” and the “skeptics” or “deniers”. I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand. And if they say that they are above this, that they don’t have to do it, that we should trust them even without debate, well, how can a reasonable person accept that?

    What I see happening is very ugly, very troubling. I don’t care if the world is going to blow up in a year, before we agree to massive carbon taxes and a reordering of whole economies, to major political and cultural changes, we need to have a much more open debate than we have had thus far. The smearing of the skeptics is what makes me more skeptical than anything else. Copenhagen should have been a debate, the UN should allow debate, these scientists should be debating before the entire world for a week, a month, for at least as much time as we spend on murder trials and kidnapping fiascos and the Tiger Woods scandal.

    It all reinforces the sense that an agenda is being pushed on us. I don’t like it, and I will remain skeptical.

  • Joe,

    I don’t think consensus means majority, or that climate science is somehow split between camps of skeptics and proponents of human induced climate change. There are a wide range of ideas that attempt to explain data. There are many open questions, and of course everything is open to question. The peer review process, or, to put it differently, the scrutiny all theories face over time by other scientists, is how I would distinguish between good science and bad science. By good science, I wouldn’t say completely reliable, just more reliable than ideas that haven’t withstood or faced the same process. And while our understanding of climate change is always developing, and there are alot of differences over the particulars, there do seem to be some basic ideas that have withstood the test of time, namely, that rising CO2 in the atmosphere has contributed to global warming and that the reduction of CO2 emissions will have an effect on future temperature rises.

    Keep in mind that the stolen emails are, in fact, private emails that have been selected out of their original context. I’m not sure its appropriate to judge the content given how they were unethically and selectively required.

    With that said, I think there is something to the call for more open peer- reviewed journal process, which had already begun in certain quarters, although it also had its drawbacks.

    As to the “hockey stick” controversy, let me just say that there is a big difference between the controversy and what skeptics have made of the controversy, which reveals the difference between science and ideology. Check independent temp. data from boreholes, stalagmites, glaciers that together confirm an unprecedented rise in in recent decades.

  • “Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.”

    I would say that if anything is ugly, it is the politics or ideology creeping into the science. A good example is the dispute between Michael Mann and Stephen McIntyre over the now infamous “hockey stick graph”. The dispute was over technical aspects of methodology, not over the credibility of any theories of climate change. But since it was made into a dispute over climate change, it has become politicized.

  • Joe,

    You want to have a public “debate”, and that’s exactly what I’d like to avoid – although I guess it’s too late for that. You see we didn’t have a debate before we signed the Montreal Protocol. Most people didn’t know it happened. Nations just went ahead and took the recommendation of sound science and regulated the heck out of CFCs. Most current research has shown that if nations hadn’t acted a decisively back then, we’d be in trouble today. It was a non- partisan issue back then and it should be that way today.

  • “I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand.”

    That’s like reading an introduction to Catholicism that starts with areas of disagreement with Protestants. Better, in my view, to read a good book that gives a comprehensive overview of how climate science has developed. Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers is a good start. Then hold up the arguments of the skeptics and see if they “debunk” human induced global warming.

  • Brian,

    I respectfully disagree. What the UN and major governments are proposing are drastic changes to our society, and these are not to be undertaken lightly. A debate is wholly appropriate on such major matters in a democratic society.

    As for the rest, I am not convinced that Co2 being a dangerous, toxic pollutant as recently declared by the EPA has or will “stand the test of time.” I am not convinced that the skeptic’s argument about the rate of change remaining constant before and after the Industrial Revolution has been sufficiently engaged or debunked. If they are right, we are about to make a major mistake.

  • I wonder why no one has brought up the fact that Diane Francis has TWO CHILDREN!

  • Well thank you Rocky for bringing it up. What she proposes is obviously meant for people not as enlightened as she is, rather like Gore preaching about carbon foot prints as he jets around the world and maintains a huge mansion. Now there is a word for that type of behavior and it begins with an H. The word of course is hilarious!

  • For more information about the death of the Hockey stick graph, consult Steve McIntyre’s blog(climate audit). This graph has been thoroughly discredited and, anyway, most IPCC scientist agree that the purported AGW theory does not rise or fall on it.

A Persecuted Church?

Saturday, November 8, AD 2008

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A very liberal friend in California challenged my support of Proposition 8 and homosexual “marriage” by stating that the faithful would still be able to “discriminate” against them in churches. Well, beside the utter ridiculousness of her statement, it looks to me like she was wrong. Los Angeles saw a massive gathering in front of the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. From what I saw in the video tape, there were folks trying to scale the gates surrounding the building. Now from World Net Daily comes proof that the most militant of homosexual rights activists are calling for violence against Christians and destruction of our places of worship. One person quoted in the article stated:

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13 Responses to A Persecuted Church?

  • This reminds me of something….

    Get ready… this is coming…

    If we want to save our country and our Western heritage, we need to start taking a stand… and encourage each other to take stands. We need to preach the Gospel in season and out of season. We need not Be Afraid.

    This is our calling.

  • This is also a fear that I have, and it’s why it’s so baffling that Catholics are voting for their own marginalization. I think these centrist Catholics in mostly red states who voted Obama aren’t aware of the kind of intolerance the Left routinely preaches.

  • My lovely alma mater here in the blue state of California recently ran a story in the school paper about student protests following the passage of Prop. 8. Just to give you a flavor of the kind of thinking behind the protesters, here’s a sample comment to the story (my emphasis added):

    It has been speculated that proposition 8 won because of remarks made by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, to the effect of “We’re going to allow homosexuals to marry whether you like it or not!” After these remarks, made at a time when the measure was losing in the polls, the support for proposition 8 skyrocketed, and the trend was reversed.

    Why? Because of the Culture War. For those of you not versed in this perverse evangelical undertaking, I encourage you to read about it.

    Words such as Newsom’s frighten and infuriate these dolts, and, quick to anger and prone to exaggeration, they lash out. By protesting the results of this election, we are giving them more fodder. And you know what? If we keep doing this, they’re going to keep winning. Our side isn’t good at demagoguery. It’s not our forte. It’s like trying to run a dirty campaign against a Republican–if you stoop to their level, you will lose.

    Tuesday’s decision greatly upset me. But it made me realize something. When it comes down to it, we’re fighting against the Catholic church, AM Talk Radio, and the Evangelical Superpower, manifested in the Moral Majority. We’re not going to win against these organizations, because they have more funding, their members and adherents are more pliable. Not to mention, as far as they’re concerned, it’s our word against God’s. How the hell are we supposed to beat God?

    (snip)

    By democratic process, proposition 8 passed. But the people who voted yes on 8 did so because their church told them to, and the church is disappearing from our weekly lives, as reason takes over. The era of the Moral Majority is fading on its own.

    We must respond to the vitriol of the pundits with reasoned argument–they simply don’t know how to take it. Ask them to leave their Bible and home and talk to them about the real issues involved, from a legal point of view. They won’t know how to take it.

    The way to fight the hydra of brainwashing churches is through reason. It is their weak point, after all.

  • There is certainly reason for concern. We may be headed toward some dark days.

    But let’s never forget that the darker the days, the greater the abundance of Grace. Things looked pretty bad on a Friday afternoon 2,000 years ago, too.

    I’d expected a lot of saints from the coming generations.

  • “The way to fight the hydra of brainwashing churches is through reason. It is their weak point, after all.”

    Tell that to Saint Thomas Aquinas. I wonder if this person has ever heard of him let alone read any of his works? Pretensions of intellectual snobbery are often held by those who have precious little in that area to be snobbish about.

  • Donald,

    That’s precisely why I sigh when I think about all the lost opportunities during my “education” at this university.

  • Steve,

    I too believe in Sunday… but I believe it might be a very long Friday and Saturday…. so the saints might be martyrs.

    And I pray that some will come from my seed.

  • What’s so twisted about this outcry of Prop 8 passing is that homosexuals are not being persecuted.

    They are still free to stick their wee-wee wherever they want and live in whoever’s house.

    This is ridiculous.

    They still have their rights. The state (thankfully) just voted they believe marriage is defined as man and woman…woopy-do. This kind of fuss in the video is ridiculous and we need to remember to keep it simple in debate – no one is losing any rights!

    CA just simply stated that marriage is defined as man and woman. This does not restrict homosexuals as free individuals to engage in this or that activity. Marriage, even from a biological standpoint, is between man and woman. To say otherwise is a lie.

    Nobody is getting persecuted…except the minds of those that persecute themselves with “victimhood”.

  • Let me clarify the last sentence – nobody is being persecuted because of Prop 8…

    Now let’s just hope nut-cases like these in the video don’t hurt Christians, Mormons, or whoever else they might target as an enemy just because they believe the definition of marriage is between man and a woman.

  • But Prop 8 supporters- just wait until next Supreme Court vacancy. Stevens is closer to 90 than 80. Ginsberg is no spring capon. Health problems may befall others. Allow your Messiah to find one successful candidate who will pull Anthony Kennedy in his direction rather than that for those horrible Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas people. No problem.

  • I’ve talked with several of my friends in California, many of whom are Catholic and oppose prop8. For the life of me, I can’t convince many of them about natural law and why it is in the public interest to have laws that protect natural law. Every reason and argument in opposition to prop8 is emotionally driven. And the equating of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage is the most absurd argument of all.

    There are already three challenges to prop 8 in the form of lawsuits that are submitted before the CA supreme court. I half expect the court to overturn prop8 using the same argument it used to overturn prop 22.

  • “Allow your Messiah to find one successful candidate who will pull Anthony Kennedy in his direction rather than that for those horrible Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas people. No problem.”

    My understanding is that the Court is quite happy to leave this issue to the states. After the prolonged and continuing backlash to Roe, I expect the Court will be reluctant over-rule the states on this issue unless and/or until there is broader public support for gay marriage. Additionally, Kennedy generally adopts a type of opinion-poll approach to deciding controversial cases; for example, in Casey he upheld Roe because it was supported by most of the country, but he voted to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban.

  • So i’m thrilled that Prop 8 has been challenged. I am not gay. However I am good friends with those who are. I simply do not understand just what the big deal is all about gay people having the exact same privileges we have now.