Nazism and Communism

Tuesday, May 2, AD 2017

It is not Germany that will turn Bolshevist but Bolshevism that will become a sort of National Socialism. Besides, there is more that binds us to Bolshevism than separates us from it…. I have always made allowance for this circumstance, and given orders that former Communists are to be admitted to the party at once. The petit bourgeois Social-Democrat and the trade union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will.

Adolph Hitler

 

 

Dennis Prager examines why Communism is not as hated as Nazism.  The answer really is quite simple:   the West is infested with people in influential places who regard Communism as basically a mistaken ideology for people who have their hearts in the right place.   They view the goals of Communism as laudable even if their methods were mistaken.  Marx is regarded as a serious philosopher rather than a bad economist whose writings were seized upon by disgruntled intellectuals to justify seizing power and using police state methods to keep themselves in power.  Nazism is regarded as an abomination and its adherents banished to the fringes of society.  Marxists hold academic seats throughout the Western world.  The Pope has literally said that some of his best friends were Communists.  Can anyone imagine that he would dream about saying the same thing of Nazis, even though there were more than a few Nazis and Nazi sympathizers in the Argentina of his youth and young adulthood?

Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that racism is considered akin to original sin in the contemporary world, while hating people for economic reasons is considered noble.  Until we recognize that such hate is two sides of the same ugly coin, the world will continue to risk repeating the errors of the last century in this one.

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9 Responses to Nazism and Communism

  • Since the French Revolution there have been people convinced that they can create paradise on earth, given enough money and power.
    Marx’s writings are that of a lunatic. They have led to the death of more innocent people than any other natural or man made catastrophe. Yet Marxism, despite being’s failure, marches on. The allure of making oneself God is a powerful one.

    Honest thinking people will see Marxism for what it is and reject it in its entirety. We do not have enough honest thinking people. The current Pontiff had the reasoning ability of a three year old. He reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where the six year old kid has omnipotent power and destroys whoever angers him. I have read the Black Book of Communism. There is no movie or book that is more horrifying. When man rejects God, man becomes like the boys in Lord of the Flies.

  • John Golding’s Lord of the Flies translates to Beelzebub. nough said.

  • President Reagan said something like, “A communist is a person that reads Marx and Lenin. An anti-communist is a person who understands Marx and Lenin.”

    John Maynard Keynes (not that it matters) had contempt for Marx’s economics.

    Sadly, both Bolshevism and Nazism were not simultaneously destroyed. We see them flagrant on college campuses and in anti-American street demonstrations.

    From the end of the Soviet U. civil war to 1941, the Bolsheviks killed as many of their own people as did the Nazis in the invasions.

  • A red statue of Martin Luther as gift is making more sense now.

  • Everyone goes through phases where he thinks that there could be a more equitable distribution of goods, or more equitable ownership rules. Not everyone goes through phases where they think the world would be better off without Jews. I hate both communism and Nazism, but I can’t get upset that people hate Nazism more. I probably hate Nazism more.

  • I agree with Indiana Jones, “Nazis. I hate these guys!”

    BTW, many people over 50 may know of the Nazi horrors, but I’ve found that many young people, especially under 30 have no idea of history much less what happened in the 1930s and 1940s. We / they will be doomed to repeat it.

  • Pingback: Canon212 Update: Francis Didn’t Excommunicate You, Faithful Christian. He Just Said the Holy Spirit Won’t Enter Your Rotten Heart – The Stumbling Block
  • “Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that racism is considered akin to original sin in the contemporary world, while hating people for economic reasons is considered noble. Until we recognize that such hate is two sides of the same ugly coin, the world will continue to risk repeating the errors of the last century in this one. Agree.

  • “Not everyone goes through phases where they think the world would be better off without Jews.”

    Pinky, Stalin did right before he died. Earlier he tried to get rid of Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Ukrainians, Tartars, Chechens, etc etc etc. What was the difference? Only a lack of a full commitment to Final Solutions.

The Ten Commandments

Thursday, April 13, AD 2017

All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

Abraham Lincoln, September 7, 1864

 

 

 

 

Holy Week and Passover coincide this year.  Dennis Prager in the above video imagines what a paradise the world would be if everyone obeyed the Ten Commandments.  Religion is not some extra element in Western Civilization, but at its very core.  Take it away and what is left is an alien and self-destructive force, not long for this world and with no hope of the next.

 

 

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11 Responses to The Ten Commandments

  • How can we possibly know that they are True? Have you seen the tablets? I haven’t. And they didn’t have a tape recorder either. So who knows?

  • If we limit our knowledge of history to what we have seen with our own eyes than we have a May Fly view of existence. The Ten Commandments form the center of the Law of the Old Testament. That they are also True, i.e. good, can be determined by human reason alone, especially when pondering deviations from the Ten Commandments.

    (JFK is parodying the abominable statement of the new Superior General of the Jesuits, linked below:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/michael-w-chapman/jesuit-leader-no-one-recorded-jesus-words-marriage-its-nuanced-never-black)

  • The Dolores Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Anne Catherine Emmerick is the vision upon which Mel Gibson based his film The Passion of The Christ. It is available in audio book. “Love God with thy whole heart, mind and strength and thy neighbor as thyself” is the whole law and the prophets.
    Everywhere in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, the Ten Commandments are expounded, again and again.

  • that is: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It needed repeating.

  • “I AM WHO I AM” “TELL THEM: “I AM” SENDS YOU.”

  • Many, including some Catholics, have removed commandments and replaced it with Suggestions. False mercy and a disbelief in Hell have corralled many into honoring false God’s, ie LBGT as a normal acceptable forms of lifestyle to the point of discrimination laws muting the consciences of God fearing business owners. Abortion as Rights.
    Sodomy, pedophelia, pornography… God’s of today to name just a few.
    If we don’t come back to the basics, the Ten Commandments, we will suffer the fire from above..No deluge this time..but a fire that will rain down on much of humanity.

    Our Lady, Queen of Peace, save souls from the fires of Hell.

  • Unlike posted speed limits, which are merely recommendations, The Ten Commandment are mandatory, true, and vital.

    I saw on Facebook the latest detritus (“:Opinion is not truth.” Plato) from the head dastard at the so-called “Society of Jesus.” Those people never fail to disappoint.

  • The 10 Commandments, contrary as they are to the concupiscence of the eyes, flesh and the pride of life, are now being questioned indirectly by Pope Francis and directly by his spokesman Fr. Abascal, the new superior of the Jesuits. Can anyone have imagined this: that we are being invited to disbelieve the teaching of God by the Pope himself? I guess aside from praying for these people we should be thankful that we realize what is happening and inform others as this blog does so well.

  • “we are being invited to disbelieve the teaching of God by the Pope ” I hear you Michael Dowd and the confusion caused by what is happening in the Church, from top to bottom, hurts me almost physically.
    When we travel we meet so many Catholics so effusive of the goodness of the pope that we are left speechless.

  • Oddly enough, I was marveling about how the very nature of our culture is dependent on Christian/Jewish morals… even the need to write it that way is odd but based on love of other, since like Mr. Prager pointed out on his radio show yesterday, the big argument between us is that we think the Messiah has come, and he does not. (I didn’t catch why it had come up, just that little snippet.)

    It’s not going to fall, although it can get weaker or stronger; it is not a fast way, but it WORKS. Wonderfully made. 😀

  • It would have been 15 commandments if Moses hadn’t been such a klutz

Dennis Prager: For Trump

Wednesday, September 7, AD 2016

 

The political world was shocked yesterday when CNN ran a poll showing Trump running two points ahead.  I was not.  Faithful readers of this blog know that I have long predicted a Trump victory.  I have long also stated that I will not be voting for Trump because I view him as basically a liberal Democrat wearing a Republican disguise.  I  confess that I have toyed over the past few weeks with changing my mind and supporting Trump due to how dangerous a threat to the Republic Hillary Clinton is.  However, Trump has always managed to say or do something bizarre that has confirmed me in my anti-Trump sentiments.  I desperately want to see Clinton beaten on election day, and I know that the only way to accomplish that is by Trump being elected President.  That is my quandry:  he is a man of little character, completely unfitted for the office.  Clinton is more unfit for the office and is a thorough going scoundrel, yet I cannot bring myself to support Trump.

Dennis Prager, who was vehemently anti-Trump in the primaries, at National Review Online makes the best case possible for a reluctant vote for Trump:

I cannot speak for all conservatives who are voting for Trump, but I can speak for many in making this assertion:

We have the same principles as the Never Trumpers — especially those of us who strongly opposed nominating Trump; that’s why we opposed him, after all. So almost everything that prevents Never Trumpers from voting for Trump also troubled us about the candidate. (I should note that some are less troubled today.)

So where do we differ?

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29 Responses to Dennis Prager: For Trump

  • I’m in full agreement with your assessment of Trump and in most agreement of Prager’s. My largest reservation about a Trumpr presidency is what becomes of the Republican Party when they have Democrat as their fully charged leader? But then I remember how liberal this party has effectively operated over the last 12+years and I think it’s time to have a party revolution and what better way than to give it a liberal leader…
    In any course, there is no good choice, so I’m left with the final thought of the lesser of two evils, of which choice is very clear. Most 20th and 21st century presidents have had had greatly flawed characters. Wilson was a progressive racists, most DEM’s have had affairs while in office, Johnson was as unethical as Nixon, the Bush’s were less flawed but we’re corporatist, and the memory is too fresh with the the last three DEM’s to need to mention. Reagan stands out uniquely as a man with high moral,standards and great character.
    In that light Trump’s flawed character isn’t so bad, and he could eleven prove to be better than most ( albeit far from Reagan).

  • Good metaphor, Donald as Chemotherapy.
    The cancer hasn’t infected all of America, thank God, and even though using Chemo. is a sickening proposition, it is a measure that might save the what the founding fathers birthed.

    In Michigan we will fight the cancer.

    Never Hillary.
    Never.
    Let our actions prove St. Teresa of Calcutta correct; There will not be a woman president because she was already aborted.

    Storm Heaven with prayers….. please!

  • The latest type of cancer to infect the populous; http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/06/admin-proposed-rule-prohibiting-states-from-defunding-planned-parenthood/

    We must take tough measures to eradicate the above camp, who is spreading this cancer.
    Enough is enough!

    End the disease. It’s killing us.

  • http://time.com/4475634/trans-man-pregnancy-evan/

    This is the face of an America that didn’t stop to ask itself if it should do it, just because they could do it. This is the face of a society that embraces disordered behavior and disregards the consequences… trampling if you will, over the word of God. This is the face of defiance.

    Cancer is too kind a word.

  • An absolutely fantastic article at the Claremont Review: The Flight 93 Election. There are too many quotable sections to list, but here’s a sample:
    .
    Yes, Trump is worse than imperfect. So what? We can lament until we choke the lack of a great statesman to address the fundamental issues of our time—or, more importantly, to connect them. Since Pat Buchanan’s three failures, occasionally a candidate arose who saw one piece: Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration. Yet, among recent political figures—great statesmen, dangerous demagogues, and mewling gnats alike—only Trump-the-alleged-buffoon not merely saw all three and their essential connectivity, but was able to win on them. The alleged buffoon is thus more prudent—more practically wise—than all of our wise-and-good who so bitterly oppose him. This should embarrass them. That their failures instead embolden them is only further proof of their foolishness and hubris.

  • That mass of tripe helped confirm my instincts in not supporting Trump! Better than Hillary he is, and that is the absolute best that can be said of him.

  • Four more years of desecration?
    https://goo.gl/images/kYQHys

    Can you imagine what Hillary will shine on the once honorable White House?

  • Haha. Well, I’m happy to let history vindicate the article’s perspective.

  • Buchananites and History are not on speaking terms.

  • Thus spake the right-liberal.

  • Thus speaks someone who knows that Buchanan has no more understanding of history than a pig does about penance. Anyone who thinks I am a right-liberal hasn’t been paying attention to what I have been writing here for the past eight years.

  • Since Pat Buchanan’s three failures, occasionally a candidate arose who saw one piece: Dick Gephardt on trade, Ron Paul on war, Tom Tancredo on immigration.

    The problem with trade agreements has been delineated by Jagdish Baghwati: they’re not about trade anymore; they’re four-digit-page-count lallapaloozas chock-a-block with special interest carve-outs. Buchanan was all about a 15% tariff on imports, which is cargo-cult economics and cargo-cult public finance. Gephardt had some satisfactory points that all the trade agreements seemed to leave extreme protection in place guarding the South Korean market (among others), but that was laden with speeches where he showed up at work-sites promising to save specific jobs (i.e. a special-interest carve-out).

    Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy are that if events are inconvenient to your world-view, concoct fanciful alternative histories.

    We do need to put that wall up, erect a dedicated interior immigration police that does nothing but enforce immigration law conjoined to special magistrate’s courts and special jails.

  • Anyone who thinks I am a right-liberal hasn’t been paying attention to what I have been writing here for the past eight years.

    The smart money says if your name were Donald Margolin he’d have called you a neocon.

  • No offense, but this really seems to be a generational divide. Boomers and Silents tend to be firmly entrenched in the Overton Window of today’s political system, in which the differences between “liberals” and “conservatives” are seen as a vast ideological gulf, rather than the narrow (and ever-narrowing) brook that they actually are.
    .
    But “conservatism” just is right-liberalism. (Note, e.g., how many conservatives are fond of calling themselves “classical liberals” in a bid to recover “true” liberalism from its left wing.) Liberalism is the anthrocratic state religion of the Western world, and no mainstream Western political party that I’m aware of rejects liberalism in any fundamental sense. Even Marine Le Pen’s Front National and other European nationalist parties pay lip service to many liberal shibboleths in order to have a place at the table.
    .
    Liberalism, in the broadest sense, must be rejected tout court, meaning pretty much every political and social innovation that traces its lineage back to the Enlightenment. To do this, we need a true dissident right, one that’s truly illiberal and just as importantly, cheerfully immune to the liberal boo-words that turn conservatives into quivering heaps of jelly.

  • Prager’s always been wobbly and prone to falling in line.

  • One little thing that bugs me about “Never Trump” is that it is a little like an unfinished sentence. Akin to saying to a person, “God bless!” with out saying a direct object in that sentence. Just God bless…. whomever whatever however I guess.

  • Never trump? Then what?

  • “Liberalism, in the broadest sense, must be rejected tout court, meaning pretty much every political and social innovation that traces its lineage back to the Enlightenment.”

    Baby and bath water. With that broad definition a term like liberalism becomes meaningless, especially since much of what is called liberalism merely built on prior movements in Western thought. The Enlightenment was, like most moments in history, a mixed bag, and I would say that we should keep the good and reject the evil, always remembering these maxims from Burke:

    “Circumstances (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing colour, and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.”

    “A man full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it, but a good patriot and a true politician always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.”

  • If anybody is looking for a well, more nuanced view of liberalism and conservatism than what Murray is offering, I should be back into the swing of things at the Cranky Conservative on my American Project series. I’m about to get into Locke and the Framers. Others of course are free to look to those scions of wisdom on the alt right for their guidance on these issues.

  • Seems it comes down to this – Hildebeast is the devil we know, Trump may be the devil we don’t. Between certain disaster and the likelihood of it, I suppose it stands to reason one would pick likelihood over certainty.

    Regardless, the GOP is toast if Trump loses, and maybe even if he wins. If he loses, the Trumpsters will blame the nevertumpers (not without reason) and the GOP can kiss a significant portion of its already thin base good-bye.

  • Nuance to the rescue! After all, it’s worked stunningly well for conservatives in the past. Why just remember the smashing victories won by Nuance in … umm. Er…
    .
    c matt,
    .
    Conservative stalwarts still imagine they can push the Reset button after a Trump loss and go back to foisting the same old McRomnush sad-sack losers onto the voting public every four years, desperately pandering to various soi-disant “natural conservatives”, and ceding ever more ground to the leftist juggernaut. And if Trump loses, they may indeed get their wish. But it won’t win them any more elections. The demographic tide is already running strongly against the GOP, and the combined effect of four more years of open borders with the desertion of a large chunk of their base will end them as a significant political force. Either way, they’re done.

  • ” Either way, they’re done.”

    Of course this overlooks the fact that nationally the Republican party hasn’t been stronger since the President’s last name was Coolidge. It also overlooks the fact that the best recruiters for the Republican Party have usually been Democrat presidents.

    As for Trump, he will win and I do admit that one aspect of his victory that gladdens my heart is to see the reaction of his erst while supporters when he betrays them. He is already doing so on immigration, although Trumpophiles do their best not to notice. Trump is riding a wave of justified anger to the White House, and once he is there he will govern as the consummate insider that he is. Better than Clinton? Of course, but that is a very low bar and Trump just barely clambers over it.

  • Mr. McClarey: For a refutation of liberalism that is not alt-right (a movement that tends to retain various liberal errors), I recommend ZippyCatholic.

    One can throw out liberalism while still admiring what is best in America and the founders. I am a patriot and am immensely proud that my ancestor fought in the Continental Army even if I suspect that the Revolution was unjust. Likewise I can appreciate the noble sentiments in the Declaration of Independence even though I think it’s talk of “consent of the governed” and such is fundamentally incoherent.

  • I wish to add that I regret if I come off as a provocatuer who throws a bomb and runs off. My views are a bit more nuanced when fully presented but I dislike combox dissertations.

  • Check out Mahound’s Paradise on this being ‘The Flight 93 Election’. “Basic idea: A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances . . . ”

    http://mahoundsparadise.blogspot.com/2016/09/charge-cockpit.html

  • If I weren’t so intellectually shallow, I might quit thinking contemporary social problems are self-injurious responses to technological and demographic shifts and realize that it’s been the failure to follow the wise counsels of Joseph de Maistre and Benedict XIV.

  • gladdens my heart is to see the reaction of his erst while supporters when he betrays them.

    It does not gladden my heart that wage earners in West Virginia may find themselves taken.

    Trump is riding a wave of justified anger to the White House,

    He’s riding that wave because Scott Walker listened to his donors. The other Wisconsin pol in a position of prominence is Mr. Ryan, who fancies random people should have a franchise to settle in this country whenever they care to because free markets.

  • Better than Clinton? Of course, but that is a very low bar and Trump just barely clambers over it.

    At or under the bar, vs. barely over it. The choice is clear.

  • I am in no way ignoring the fact that Jesus’ Gospel is about the eternal (render unto God) not so much about the temporal. After numerous readings of all the Gospels and The Acts, and much prayerful contemplation, I have concluded that if He needed to choose between Hillary, Gary Johnson, who-is-the-Green candidate, and Trump, Jesus would vote for President Trump.

    Hillary would inflict massive damage to both the common good (annually more millions of abortions) and to today’s primal, non-negotiable Catholic Teaching: life. All that so-called social justice flack is distraction to assuage the faux consciences of those whose true religion is progressivism not Catholicism. .

5 Responses to The Speech Every High School Principal Should Give

The Ten Commandments and Freedom

Thursday, June 11, AD 2015

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:  35-40

 

Dennis Prager, the founder of the Prager University series of videos, notes that the structure of the Ten Commandments follows what Jesus taught:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

You shall not kill.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

The Ten Commandments begins with our duties to God and ends with our duties to our fellow men. 

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One Response to The Ten Commandments and Freedom

Rational Evil

Wednesday, October 30, AD 2013

Dennis Prager , in this episode of his Prager University series of videos, takes on an ever popular heresy:  evil is irrational.  This heresy is popular for any number of reasons but doubtless it all boils down to the belief, completely unfounded in human experience, that reasonable people will agree on what is good and what is evil.  The experience of the last half century in the West should have knocked that bit of foolishness into a cocked hat.  Agreement on good and evil in practice is largely a matter of convention.   If the social norms of a people come under challenge, we quickly see apparently reasonable people disagreeing on such fundamental questions as whether an unborn child has a right to life, or whether sex outside of marriage is evil. 

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13 Responses to Rational Evil

  • I sometimes fancy that Natural Law thinking has done real harm to Christian witness and provided a cover for civic religion.
    The Neo-Thomists had developed a theory of Natural Law, based on Suarez’s interpretation, or rather, travesty of St Thomas. They had talked of a “natural order,” governed by Natural Law, consisting of truths accessible to unaided human reason, as something that can be kept separate from the supernatural truths revealed in the Gospel. This “two-tier” account of nature and grace was based on this view that the addition of “grace” was something super-added to a human nature that was already complete and sufficient in itself and apart from any intrinsic human need
    In the memorable exchange in 1910, in Blondel’s publication, L’Annales de philosophie chrétienne, between Maurras’s Jesuit defender, Descoqs and the Oratorian Lucien Laberthonnière, Descoqs, a follower of Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas had allowed the political sphere a wide degree of political autonomy and he was prepared to detach “political society” from “religious society.” Laberthonnière had retaliated by accusing Descoqs of being influenced by “a false theological notion of some state of pure nature and therefore imagined the state could be self-sufficient in the sense that it could be properly independent of any specifically Christian sense of justice.”
    So far as I know, this exchange has never appeared in English, which is astonishing, as it was what united such disparate thinkers as Blondel, Maréchal, the Dominicans, Chenu and Congar and the Jesuits, Lubac and Daniélou. It was a fundamental moment for the Nouvelle Théologie, much as Keble’s Assize Sermon had been for the Oxford Movement.
    Thus, Maurice Blondel, insisted that we must never forget “that one cannot think or act anywhere as if we do not all have a supernatural destiny. Because, since it concerns the human being such as he is, in concreto, in his living and total reality, not in a simple state of hypothetical nature, nothing is truly complete (boucle), even in the sheerly natural order”
    Jacques Maritain, too, declared that “the knowledge of human actions and of the good conduct of the human State in particular can exist as an integral science, as a complete body of doctrine, only if related to the ultimate end of the human being . . . the rule of conduct governing individual and social life cannot therefore leave the supernatural order out of account” and “Man is not in a state of pure nature, he is fallen and redeemed. Consequently, ethics, in the widest sense of the word, that is, in so far as it bears on all practical matters of human action, politics and economics, practical psychology, collective psychology, sociology, as well as individual morality,—ethics in so far as it takes man in his concrete state, in his existential being, is not a purely philosophic discipline. Of itself it has to do with theology”

  • Preamble
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    In the 52 words of the Preamble to the US Constitution, the Law of the Land lies the reason and purpose of the United States of America which cannot be corrupted, not changed because the Preamble addresses the human rights of : “We, the people of the United States of America”, past, present and future generations. The human rights of all people, the human species, conceived as sovereign persons, innocent and virgin, perfect, until visited by the sins of corruption and concupiscence of their fathers.
    Had Adam, the first human being, told Eve, his wife, that “NO” I am not eating the apple”, Eve’s corruption would have been annihilated, as a husband has rule over his wife’s vows, oaths and indiscretions. The human race might have come into being, as each individual might come into being under Adam’s correct, politically correct and perfect obedience to “their Creator” for the common good.
    Correctness is necessary for the common good. Correctness is spelled out in The Preamble. “ in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” Our posterity are all future generations yet to be born known only to God in God’s infinite wisdom. “ and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our posterity” brought forward from all past generations, our posterity are guaranteed the “Blessings of Liberty”
    “do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” “do ordain”, that is to make into law and establish this law throughout the land.

    “Violation of the Preamble to the Law of the Land, our United States Constitution is violation of “We, the people”, past generations, the now generation and all future generations. The Law is alive and living in time and in eternity, now and forever.
    The dictates of being human are inscribed in the Preamble.
    If the Liberal Left does not like it, they can go live somewhere else. Being inhuman and overriding another sovereign person’s human rights is demonic. Evil is practiced by the demonic.

  • “Descoqs, a follower of Suarez’s interpretation of St Thomas…” “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.” Francisco Suarez

  • But Suarez overlooked St Thomas, where he says, ““even though by his nature man is inclined to his ultimate end, he cannot reach it by nature but only by grace, and this owing to the loftiness of that end.” [In Boethius de Trinitate, q. 6, a. 4 ad 5.] for he says, “the happiness of any rational creature whatsoever consists in seeing God by his essence” [In IV Sent, d. 49, q. 2, a. 7:]

    Again, St Thomas says, ““The nature that can attain perfect good, although it needs help from without in order to attain it, is of more noble condition than a nature which cannot attain perfect good, but attains some imperfect good, although it need no help from without in order to attain it.” [ST I-II, q. 5, a. 5 ad 2] and he quotes Aristotle as saying “that which we are able to do through friends we can in a certain way do on our own.”

    This is also the teaching of St Augustine, when he says, in the first line of the Confessions, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

  • To the extent I’m following your reasoning Michael (if I’m following your reasoning because I’m not at all familiar with the debate you describe), I’d say that, at least as far as the good ol’ U. S. of A is concerned, our prevailing schools of social thought are predominantly structural and post-structural, i.e. social rather than moral, so I don’t see where natural law fits in to our present debates, except perhaps by its absence.

  • Excellent post. None are more evil than the quintessentially rational liberal who in defying self as god condemns unborn babies to death because it is the reasonable thing to do.

  • Ernst Schreiber
    Descoqs had urged Catholic support for Charles Maurras and his ultra-nationalist political party, Action Française because Maurras, though an atheist, who did not recognize the supernatural constitution of the Church, nevertheless had great esteem for the Catholic Church, along with the monarchy, as “the rampart of order” and assigned her a privileged position in his new order.
    Descoqs argued that Catholics could collaborate with positivists like Maurras, because “these latter have very just, though incomplete and ‘deficient’ ideas on several points: order, authority, [and] tradition.” (In other words, they were neo-fascists.) He maintained the natural order has “its proper value and relative independence” and insisted on maintaining the “essential distinction…between purely political and economic questions and moral and religious questions.” Laberthonnière, Blondel and their supporters insisted otherwise; for them, the two were inseparable. That was the crux of the quarrel.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour,
    You are certainly correct on the misreading/misinterpretation of Saint Thomas first by Suarez, then by the Neo-Thomists writing after the call by Pope Leo XIII for a return to Thomas as a perennial philosophical/theological system. I will not get into the specifics of the late 19th century French Political questions.

    Thomas was building his system fundamentally on Augustine, the Doctor of Grace. Thomas however enhanced the place of creation/nature, while Augustine had done so with grace. While Thomas emphasized the distinction of grace and nature ( in much the same way as Chalcedon emphasized the two natures of Christ) he never radically separated them, as did Suarez and the later Neo-Thomists ( actually creating a ‘Nestorian-like’ theology of nature and grace). Thomas held to the profound and fundamental unity of nature and grace given by Augustine (analogously giving us the unity of the Person of Christ of the Council of Ephesus). Thomas saw grace perfecting (or building on) nature. This axiom does not only give us the distinction of nature and grace, but reveals that nature is perfected, most fully itself when graced. As Saiint Irenaeus would write (in 187 AD) “The Glory of God is man fully alive and man fully alive sees the Face of God”. This is a far cry from the almost accidental relationship between nature and grace in Suarez et al.

    It is in this light that we need to see Thomas’ teaching on Natural Law. Thomas believed that the Eternal Law in the mind of God is revealed first in Natural Law then completed or perfected by Divine Law (revealed in both Old and New Testament). As nature is ‘perfected’ by grace, according to Thomas, so natural law is ‘perfected’ by Divine Law. This is fully revealed when we realize that what the New Testament reveals is the Law of the Spirit (grace) with Christ Himself as our new Norm.

    To return to the actual point of the above article, especially quoting Jihn Adams, then this dynamic, completing, fulfilling, perfecting relationship of grace to nature, reveals just how fundamental moral and religious people are to the commonweal.

  • Great post. Made me think of th evil of the Reign of Terror, dedicated as it was to Reason.

  • “Made me think of the evil of the Reign of Terror, dedicated as it was to Reason.”

    To eat of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the REASONABLE thing to do:

    Genesis 3:6

    So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [the lust of the flesh],
    that it was pleasant to the eyes [the lust of the eyes],
    and a tree desirable to make one wise [the pride of life],
    she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

    But Jesus did NOT do the logical, REASONABLE thing in Luke 4:1-13 and Matthew 4:1-11.

    He did NOT turn the stones into bread [the lust of the flesh].
    He did NOT bow down to worship Satan at the sight of all the kingdoms of the world [the lust of the eyes]
    He being empowered as God did NOT dash Himself down from a great height [the pride of life]

    Reason unbridled by religious charity always leads to the dominance of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It is unreasonable to humble one’s self. But to do otherwise is to forsake eternal life in Heaven for Esau’s REASONABLE bowl of porridge.

    1st John 2:15-17

    15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

  • I am not sure how to express this, but here it goes:
    There is some excellent argument offered at this site that when I have the time to read I am glad of it. However, it comes across as a closed discussion among a few individuals trying to prove this or that to the other one with a few listeners, like me, listening in. That’s fine if this is the purpose of The American Catholic. However, my first impression was that The American Catholic was intended to permeate the general American Catholic population, welcoming discussion, encouraging thought and dare I say, nourishing conversion while presenting Truth. Granted it would be a slow process and the general Catholic population is woefully ignorant of our faith, but it seems to me that is where we have to go and “elevate.”
    I have not often replied, but I have on a few occasions and only once did one person reply. Following the thread of several discussions it suggests to me the usual pattern is engagement of those few persons known in a sort of intellectual parry. Again, fine if that is your purpose and for the few, informative and interesting. But with no disrespect intended, in fact only admiration, I still yearn to discover a vehicle for reaching, inviting, enticing, engaging a broader population. Perhaps I am very mistaken and you have a large and growing participants. If so, I gladly stand corrected of my ignorant impressions.

  • We have far more readers than those who are actively involved in the comboxes. Our daily hits vary from a usual 4,500 up to a high of 12,000. Our hard core of commenters is usually about fifty individuals with the individuals changing somewhat over time. A highly popular post will usually have comments from people outside of the core. I am always interested in comments from people who do not regularly comment, because new insights are always welcome. (Unless they are crazy of course. 🙂 )

  • Kevin,

    Perhaps I have been one of those to whom you refer. I am sorry if I have come across as just wanting to carry on a conversation with just a few. That is not my intention

    I suggest you jump in. If it seems I have not really responded to your point. Point it out to me. Faith filled, reasoned questions and discussions are what we try to attain here

God and Suffering

Tuesday, October 15, AD 2013

 

As superb look at suffering by Dr. Peter Kreeft, courtesy of Prager University.  I agree with his division of suffering into what Man causes through our actions, wars are a classic example, and suffering caused by nature, the type of suffering caused by the seizure that took the life of my son Larry on May 19, 2013.  He is also correct that when we cry out against such suffering inflicted by nature we are appealing to a standard that presupposes a God, since nature cares not a whit about human suffering or the lack thereof.  It is only by belief in God that the scales of what occurs to us in this brief life are ever balanced.  To us death is often regarded as the greatest of evils.  To God physical death is merely our gateway to Him.  CS Lewis captured this perfectly in Letter 28 of his Screwtape Letters:

They, of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda. I know it seems strange that your chief aim at the moment should be the very same thing for which the patient’s lover and his mother are praying – namely his bodily safety. But so it is; you should be guarding him like the apple of your eye. If he dies now, you lose him. If he survives the war, there is always hope. The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for your ally. The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it – all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is “finding his place in it”, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.

The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unravelling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth. While they are young we find them always shooting off at a tangent. Even if we contrive to keep them ignorant of explicit religion, the incalculable winds of fantasy and music and poetry – the mere face of a girl, the song of a bird, or the sight of a horizon – are always blowing our whole structure away. They will not apply themselves steadily to worldly advancement, prudent connections, and the policy of safety first. So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or “science” or psychology, or what not. Real worldliness is a work of time – assisted, of course, by pride, for we teach them to describe the creeping death as good sense or Maturity or Experience. Experience, in the peculiar sense we teach them to give it, is, by the bye, a most useful word. A great human philosopher nearly let our secret out when he said that where Virtue is concerned “Experience is the mother of illusion”; but thanks to a change in Fashion, and also, of course, to the Historical Point of View, we have largely rendered his book innocuous.

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10 Responses to God and Suffering

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  • I’ve heard a number of Professor Kreeft’s talks and my wife and I got to meet him once…he is a very gracious man. He also did an adult Catechesis series, Luke E Hart, which is on the Knights of Columbus website in both PDF and audio book. It’s a good 30-part series for any Catholic raised in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond as well as anyone interested in a summary of the Catholic faith.

    On a related note, I find it intriguing that some of the best modern Catholic apologists weren’t cradle Catholics (Kreeft was Calvinist)…and Lewis, though he disappointed Tolkien by not swimming the Tiber, was an atheist before he joined the Church of England. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain is a pretty good work related to the topics of suffering as well. The audiobook is strangely appropriate for mowing a yard or working in a garden…

  • Sorry for your son, Donald. My prayers for you and your family.

  • Thank you Pedro. I believe my son is now enjoying the Beatific Vision and that is a great consolation.

  • For over 8 years, every day has been filled with some level of pain because both knees are affected with degenerative arthritis. I can barely make it around with a cane. I could moan and say why me? But I accept it as a blessing because it gives me a tremendous chance to emulate the suffering of Our Lord and offer it to help the poor souls in Purgatory atone. Advil helps blunt the pain but never completely removes it. I pray to God only for perseverance. I am confident that those I help are helping to sustain me. I am 86, and when I leave this world, I don’t believe I will leave it alone. That also sustains me, and I don’t think I will lose my joyful sense of humor until the day after.

  • “I am 86, and when I leave this world, I don’t believe I will leave it alone.”

    Right you are Robert!

  • So often, it seems to me, angelic children, like Larry, run ahead to enjoy the Beatific Vision, leaving their families in deep grief. Perhaps the suffering that families endure over the loss of a beloved child is refining, purgatorial, and is God’s way of preparing the bereaved for reunion with that beloved child to enjoy the Beatific Vision together for all eternity. Dostoyevsky wrote, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer is God.”

    May God and His Holy Angels surround you and your family with kindness and comfort.

  • Thank you Ginny! That is precisely the way I like to look at it. Larry was always running ahead of the family when we were going to some favored destination, and now I look upon him as a Heavenly Advance Guard for the rest of my family.

  • Pope John Paul II (and Job) taught:

    “Suffering – as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris – […] Christ does not explain in some abstract way the reasons for sufferings, but says first of all: “Follow me”, Come, with your suffering share in this work of salvation of the world, which is realized through my suffering, by means of my Cross” (n 26). …

    “Suffering is transformed when we experience in ourselves the closeness and solidarity of the living God: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last…I shall see God my savior” (Job 19:25-26). With this assurance comes inner peace, and from this a spiritual joy, quiet and deep, springing from the “gospel of suffering” which understands the grandeur and dignity of human beings who suffer with a generous spirit and offer their pain “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1). This is why those who suffer are no burden to others, but with their suffering contribute to the salvation of all.”

The Left and Morality

Tuesday, July 30, AD 2013

 

 

Dennis Prager has an intriguing post about the interaction among liberals of morality as a laundry list of public political positions combined with wretched personal behavior:

I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors’ offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.

My sense was that the radicals’ commitment to “humanity,” to “peace,” and to “love” gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison — or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: “Look at what a moral man I am after all.” And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the “waitress sandwich” he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative.

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21 Responses to The Left and Morality

  • I fear that there’s a strain of libertarianism that wants the same license, for the same reason. It hasn’t entered the political sphere yet – actually, I was going to say that, but how did Packwood hang on for so long? And wasn’t Schwarzenegger given a pass for a lot of things? Not that they were ideologically libertarian, but they were socially liberal and perceived as fiscally more conservative.

  • Religion and its moral guidelines, Ten in number plus a Book, give those, who progress from cheating, lying, and stealing during school years to supporting death of innocents and degradation of human life, an excuse to find fault with and scoff at others trying to follow what is good, not bad.

  • Pinky, that’s not libertarian. That’s libertine, and it’s the common thread they have with liberals. It’s why you haven’t seen it in ideological fom yet – it’s a personal trait. True libertarians know that liberty depends upon a moral, educated population that zealously guards its heritage. The left has little use for any of those.

  • “but how did Packwood hang on for so long?”

    Packwood was a pro-abort and got the same pass that Kennedy did until the very end of his career. Packwood had sponsored a bill in the Senate to legalize abortion two years prior to Roe. He was a pro-abort pioneer. By the time the scandals broke that ended his career the Democrat party was well on its way to becoming the party of abortion and Packwood was no longer needed by the pro-aborts.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/29/magazine/the-trials-of-bob-packwood.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort. Once Maria got fed up with him it was time for Arnold to go and not to come back.

  • Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort.

    Arnold did, however, invest a lot of political capital backing a parental consent ballot initiative that, unfortunately, failed rather miserably. After that, he basically hid under his desk for the remainder of his time in office.

  • The only moral liberal I ever saw was dead.

  • Remember Arthur C. Brooks’ Syracuse University study from back in ’07? He
    compared the charitable giving of conservatives and liberals. While self-
    described liberal households reported an average of 6% more in annual income,
    the self-described conservative households claimed 30% more in charitable
    giving in their tax returns.

    The tax returns of some of our liberal elites are less than edifying. In the entire
    10 years combined before he became Vice President, Joe Biden and his wife
    gave a total of $3,690. To put that in perspective, that’s about 1/10th of the
    average charitable contributions of families in their tax bracket.

    In 1995, John Kerry– probably the richest man in the Senate today– reported
    $0 in charitable contributions. In ’93, he gave $175. In ’93 I was a broke
    college student and I still managed to give more than that!

    A comparison of the reported charitable contributions of the Obamas v. George
    W. Bush is also interesting. The Bushes have consistently reported charitable
    contributions of about 10%+ of their annual income. In the years 2000-2008,
    the Obamas averaged about 3.5%, on a combined annual income that was
    about 2 to 3 times more than Bush’s. In the years since becoming president,
    Obama has beefed up his contributions to slightly less than 6% of his annual
    reported income.

  • Ach. Just recalled that John Kerry is now our Secretary of State. Still, he’s
    a piker.

  • I think a better description of Packwood would be ‘capitol hill careerist’, and was known for warm relations with the folks from Gucci gulch. The sad business was, by the close of his time in Congress he had ruined his marriage (telling his wife he wanted a divorce on the birthday of one of his children), had only faint ties to people in Oregon (his voting address was a trailer on his uncle’s property, which I suppose improves on Richard Lugar’s voting address), and went into the lobbying business after leaving the Senate just ahead of the heave-ho posse.

  • Hegel, who is usually tediously wrong, has rare flashes of pure genius, and none better than his description of the Politics of Virtue:

    “Virtue is here a simple abstract principle and distinguishes the citizens into two classes only—those who are favourably disposed and those who are not. But disposition can only be recognized and judged of by disposition. Suspicion therefore is in the ascendant; but virtue, as soon as it becomes liable to suspicion, is already condemned . . . . Robespierre set up the principle of virtue as supreme, and it may be said that with this man virtue was an earnest matter. Virtue and Terror are the order of the day; for Subjective Virtue, whose sway is based on disposition only, brings with it the most fearful tyranny. It exercises its power without legal formalities, and the punishment it inflicts is equally simple—Death.”

    Thus, Robespierre, in a speech that reads like self-parody, “One wants [on veut] to make you fear abuses of power, of the national power you have exercised…One wants to make us fear that the people will fall victim to the Committees … One fears that the prisoners are being oppressed… I say that anyone who trembles at this moment is guilty; for innocence never fears public scrutiny.”

    What guarantee does the man of virtue, the republican citizen, have that he is really acting for the public good? What are the guarantees against self-delusion and hypocrisy? The only standard that the man of virtue can provide of his own moral goodness turned out ultimately to be his own self-certainty or sincerity.

  • PJ O’Rourke summed up the Kennedys with devastating accuracy:

    “Old Joseph P Kennedy was a liar and a greedy thief, an ignoramus, adulterer, vile anti-Semite, coward and pompous ass. His wife Rose was a frigid martinet, unashamed to suckle at the teat of shabby lucre, awash in pietism and tartuffery, filled with the letter of Catholicism and empty of its spirit. They raised their nine whelps in an atmosphere of brutal pride and stupid competition. When the hapless Rosemary turned out to be retarded they had her lobotomized and parked her with the nuns. The remaining eight turned out to be foolhardy, arrogant, unprincipled, and wholly lacking in sense of consequences. This last trait caused Joe Jr and Kathleen to die in airplane crashes and allowed Jack to get his PT boat T-boned by a Japanese destroyer. (A tale of heroism was manufactured from that incident. The family wasn’t so lucky with Teddy’s Chappaquiddick skin-diving efforts three decades later).

    The Kennedys, however, continued to wax. Elections, individuals and press adulation were purchased. One family member rose , briefly, to great political power and almost unlimited sexual excess. Some others nearly achieved the same results. Two were shot but under the most romantic circumstances and not, as might have been hoped, after due process of law.”

  • O’Rourke is generally engaging and insightful. In the interests of precision:

    1. Retrospective assessments of Rosemary Kennedy indicate her demonstrated skills in arithmetic were consistent with someone of subpar intelligence, not mental defect. Joseph Kennedy submitted her to the quackish care of Dr. Walter Freeman’s novel psychosurgery because of her erratic and temperamental behavior.

    2. As far as I am aware, no one in the Shriver clan (other than son-in-law Ahnold) has been implicated in any scandals. Patricia Lawford separated herself from her disspated husband in 1966, but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything notably gross. Jean Smith’s son is repellant (and her late husband supposedly a flunky), but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything either.

    3. About half of Robert Kennedy’s children have been scandalous, and one each of the Lawford, Smith, and Ted Kennedy broods. That would be 8 out of the 28 grandchildren have been the source of considerable embarrassment. Sad to say, that might be about average for families in this country.

  • I do not know whether Bobbie and Jack (a high-level US civilain official gave the OK) approved murders of the Diem brothers in Saigon. We know both met similar demises.

    And that propaganda regarding PT 109 . . . The worst calamity a naval officer can incur is to lose his ship: even in glorious action. Jack got his scow run over . . . Providentially, the Scotch went down with the boat . . .

  • I’m inclined to cut anyone slack in matters of psychiatry (and quackery) that took place a while ago. It’s an emerging field. Surgery 100 years ago, talking therapy 30 years ago, massive doses of chemicals today…I wonder how embarrassed by our current approach people will be in 50 years? (Of course, as Catholics, we understand the moral dimension of behaviour in a way that the secular field of psychiatry can’t, but that’s just an aside.)

  • The heydey of pscyhosurgery was during the period between 1935 and 1955, not a century ago. It was unusual after the introduction of psychotropics in 1955 and I think may have disappeared entirely by about 1980. Walter Freeman completed his residency around about 1924 and he was a working psychiatrist for about a decade before he developed the lobotomy. There was not much in the way of controlled studies at that time and medical journals were filled with case reports (a phenomenon which aided the dissemination of largely useless talk therapies as well). By some accounts, professional courtesy at the time prevented one physician or surgeon from criticizing another bar behind closed doors, so Freeman was not receiving the resistance he should have. I am not sure why he was not chewed to pieces by personal injury lawyers.

  • Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth, namely that he and Kopechne had left the party intending to park up and have sex, but on being spotted by an off-duty policeman he had panicked and told her to drive back alone, the only explanation that seems remotely plausible. He would not have had to perjure himself and two others, would not have faced criminal charges (which could have included manslaughter), and would have saved himself a lot of money in bribes and legal fees (not that money was in short supply). I hope he was able to make a full confession before he died.

  • “Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth”

    He would still have had to have explained why he did not report the accident until the next morning. The reason he did not, I assume, is because he was worried about the impact on his career. That mattered far, far more than Kopechne’s life. Afterwards he would tell Chappaquiddick jokes:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/ted-kennedy-loved-to-hear-and-tell-chappaquiddick-jokes-audio

    Ted Kennedy wasn’t worthy to be spat upon.

  • The position of Mary Jo Kopechne’s body in the car makes it unlikely she would have been in the passenger seat. The diver (who took only ten minutes to retrieve the body) also said she died from suffocation, not drowning as she found an air bubble which kept her alive for up to four hours. Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.

    Kennedy’s lawyers managed to get the inquest held in camera and (astoundingly) there was no autopsy.

  • “Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.”

    Which makes absolutely no sense. It would have been better then for him to simply tell what happened. People were going, and did, to suspect an affair no matter what happened. His making up a story about trying to rescue her and then mysteriously not telling the authorities about it until morning makes absolutely no sense unless that part of the story was true. It would make him look worse than he was if your theory was correct to make up his driving off the bridge and what followed.

    There was an attempt to exhume Kopechne’s body for examination but her parents successfully opposed the request.

  • On tax statement charity claims– just because something isn’t claimed doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t think it’s PROBABLE that all these politicians are hiding their charity, but it’s possible. I’m rather glad that our income is low enough we take the default deduction….

  • Don, it all comes back to O’Rourke’s point about the Kennedys being “wholly lacking in sense of consequences”. Once you start constructing an edifice of lies, you’ve got to stick with it, even if coming clean might be less damaging. The argument that “it’s so implausible, it must be true” can be made to work in your favour. The fact that Mary Jo left her purse and room keys behind would lead any reasonable person to infer that she intended to return to the party after having had sex with Teddy in the Oldsmobile. With the Kennedys it would only have lasted five minutes at most.

    Bill Clinton would have nonchalantly admitted to it and taken the consequences, but the moral climate in 1969 was different.