What Evil Looks Like

Saturday, April 24, AD 2010

The Face of Evil

Pure and unadulterated evil.

Attorney Jeffrey Anderson of Saint Paul, Minnesota, has had success in winning millions of dollars[1] from homosexual pedophile abuse cases against the American Catholic Church over the years.

He has stated many times that he will not be satisfied until he sues the Vatican in federal court with Pope Benedict in tow [2].

“We’re chasing them. We’re taking bites out of their a@#,” said the lawyer. “All the roads lead to Rome. What we’re doing is getting us closer every single day.”

He may have been driven in the past in pursuit of justice for many victims of homosexual pedophiles, but what was a mission to bring justice is apparently now driven by diabolical forces to take down the Catholic Church Herself at all costs and with prejudice.

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47 Responses to What Evil Looks Like

  • I think he’s scummy lawyer but the “face of evil?” Hyperbole is neither prudent nor helpful. Who knows why he has gone on a quest against the Church? Perhaps he was hurt by a Catholic and is seeking revenge.

    Of course we should pray for him, but let’s not demonize him.

  • but the “face of evil?” Hyperbole is neither prudent nor helpful.

    Why Michael I am being prudent in calling out evil.

    Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking (CCC 1777) & (Cf. Romans 1:32)

    Your accusation of “Hyperbole” is actually imprudent of you.

  • I don’t expect you to change your mind Tito but I agree with Michael. If you read the section of the Catechism that you just quoted, it concerns judging particular choices (actions) – not judging a particular person, which I think you would have to say you are doing in this post.

    Do you not think in some ways the Church has brought this on itself? I understand a legitimate defense of the Church against calumny, but I think this is a bit extreme.

  • This man has stated without equivocation and a clear mind he wants to bring the pope to trial.

    This is ridiculous and considering his spartan and efficient work ethic he is determined without a doubt to bring this to fruition.

    I’m reading the CCC in black and white, not with your nuanced colored glasses.

    It is explaining conscious, not action. But I suppose your not interested in this considering your previous comments.

  • You can denounce someone without calling them the face of evil. Wanting to sue the Vatican out of spite is evil, but “the face of evil?” I think you give him far too much credit and appear to be overreacting.

  • Michael,

    If you want to go against the Magisterium so be it.

    I’m not going to argue against your conscious.

    That is between you and God, not I.

  • You give Mr. Anderson too much credit Tito. He has made a ton of money by suing the Church. If there was no money to make I can guarantee you he would not be around.

    Here is some background on him.

    http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2003_01_06/2003_04_16_Schimke_TrueBeliever.htm

    He is not the face of evil, nor is he a crusader for justice. He is a fellow who stumbled into an unexploited area of tort litigation and has reaped a bonanza.

    Making much more of him than that is an insult both to great sinners and true crusaders for justice.

  • Donald,

    We can agree to disagree.

  • Bringing the pope to a civil trial is hardly the worst threat leveled against the pope or the Church. Arresting him would be more serious, but really a rather pathetic desire. More serious are attempts to kill the pope, bring down the Church, deny the sacraments, etc.

  • Michael,

    I suggest you write to the Vatican your concerns about CCC 1707 and why you disagree with it.

    I doubt anyone at the Vatican is reading this post.

  • One ought to condemn evil There is absolutely nothing in the Magisterium to suggest that the way one must go about that is to by declaring them to be the faces of evil.

    The way you are denouncing this man is imprudent and diminishes true evil.

  • Michael,

    You’re arguing semantics.

    You’re being imprudent by going against the teaching of the Church with your own personal interpretation.

    We are Catholics, not Protestants.

    I suggest you write the Vatican about your concerns.

  • Tito:

    The catechism calls the choices as evil, not people. You have entered into the dualist heresy when you call someone pure evil. As St Thomas Aquinas pointed out, not even Satan is pure evil.

  • Tito, you are not following Catholicism when you engage the dualist heresy and call someone pure evil. St Thomas Aquinas makes it clear, not even Satan is pure evil. It is heresy which you engage — condemned heresy, and through a misapplication of the catechism which talks about choices, not people.

  • Thank you Zach and Henry.

    After rereading CCC 1777 I see where it says choices.

    As far as “pure” evil, I can’t vouch for that.

    I’m using semantics when I call him evil or the face of the evil.

    What he is certainly doing is evil and that is what I am calling evil, his choice in pursuing these lawsuits.

    Thanks for the brotherly corrections Zach and Henry.

  • Tito:

    You are now accusing me and are out of control. There is nothing remotely close to supporting your position in 1707 other than that man sins and can be seduced by evil. This is true of every sin. There is no personal interpretation here; quite frankly 1707 is irrelevant. What on earth am I “personally interpreting” different to the Vatican? I quote frankly am totally baffled by your position.

    Nothing there suggests that those who are trying to make money or avenge some petty slight ought to be called by Catholics using prudence & charity “the face of evil” and “what evil looks like.”

  • Michael,

    I’m going to ignore your comments from here on out on this post since you’ve gone off the deep end.

    Like I said, take it up with the Vatican.

  • Tito:

    I’m saying the same thing as Henry & Zach! How are they doing “brotherly correction” while I’m “off the deep end!”

    I do not appreciate being called a Protestant and accused of being opposed to the Vatican when there is no basis for it.

  • It’s certainly not imprudent to say that someone’s actions are evil. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily prudent to denounce a person as “the face of evil”. That doesn’t mean his actions aren’t evil.

    It doesn’t seem to me that Michael is in any way twisting or ignoring the catechism here.

    (Maybe everyone’s just spending too much time at the computer today. Personally, I’m going to go mow the lawn, since it’s “work that Americans won’t do”. 🙂 )

  • Now, let’s explore this further, Tito.

    What is your take of St. Catherine of Sienna? She took on a pope — quite strongly; would you have called her pure evil for opposing the actions of a pope? What about popes which attacked their predecessors? Is your argument that no one can offer a complaint against a pope, or that this complaint is what is wrong?

    If you think it is possible to launch a legitimate complaint against the pope, what would be necessary for it? If you do not, what do you think of St Catherine and other popes?

  • Michael,

    I’m a Neanderthal Catholic when it comes to reading “into” statements and “nuance”.

    If what you were trying to point out was the same as Zach and Henry (I’ll take your word for it), then I to thank you for your brotherly correction.

    I appreciate the feedback. Especially when I learn something new everyday.

    For the record I have a degree in Marketing and not in Theology, Philosophy, etc.

    I read it as it is. Not what I think there is or what I want to read into it.

    Thanks Michael, I do appreciate learning from my mistakes!

    Tito

  • Yeah, lots of time on the computer and my girlfriend isn’t happy about that.

    So I want to withdraw my comments that Michael is a “Protestant” and is “going against the Magisterium”.

    I say it with love!

    Thanks guys, anymore comments I will respond to later.

    Gotta go jump in the pool and get this extra energy out of my system 🙂 !

    Tito

  • Geez though it is really nice outside.

    Although in New England there are about 40,000 mayflies per square foot, which puts a damper on things.

  • He is not the face of evil, nor is he a crusader for justice. He is a fellow who stumbled into an unexploited area of tort litigation and has reaped a bonanza.

    Right. I don’t think he has much of a case on the merits, but this is the type of thing plaintiff’s lawyers do; they drum up publicity and hope for a settlement or a sympathetic judge. If the case was stronger, then he’d be perfectly justified in bringing it. As it is, he’s just acting like a scummy tort attorney trying to make some money. That’s a bad thing, but it’s not ‘pure evil’ – and it’s certainly not as evil as the actions of many priests and bishops in this scandal.

  • Jesus seemed to consider doing harm to children to be the ugliest sin. If there’s an example of pure evil in the pedophile scandal, it’s the pedophiles.

  • I am stuck in front of a computer and paper for at least the next two weeks. Darned law exams. 🙁

  • “Maybe everyone’s just spending too much time at the computer today. Personally, I’m going to go mow the lawn, since it’s “work that Americans won’t do”.”

    That is work this American would not do if I wasn’t so cheap! I despise mowing, an activity no doubt that is mandatory in portions of Hell! I have it done by a service at the office, but I and my eldest son do the home lawn. Fortunately it is raining here so I can put it off until tomorrow!

  • Michael, I still can feel the joy that exploded within my soul when I finished my last final at law school and realized that whatever else awaited me in life I was done with finals! (Of course then there is the bar exam but anyone who can cram can pass that.)

  • Don:

    After the birth of my child, that is the next great true joy I will experience. Alas, that it comes in 2 more years.

  • The face of evil?

    I look in the mirror, and pray.

  • I heard this guy being interviewed on the radio the other day. The way he spoke didn’t impress me- he sounded like a second degree lawyer attempting to gain notoriety/publicity.
    The weather continus to be unseasonally beautiful here in my part of the world – but very little rain over the past couple of months, so the farmers are whingeing – some ares in the North Isalnd and eastern coast in the South Island have been declared drought stricken.
    As for mowing lawns, that’s a job my wife does – she claims I’m too lazy to do it, but I know she loves it for the exercise.
    (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it) 🙂

  • It’s rainy here; a good day for a thorough spring cleaning. I’ve been bopping over the computer in between bouts of scrubbing and dusting. Just put the vaccuum cleaner away, there’s a big pot of spring vegetable soup on the stove and whole wheat bread in the oven and the place smells heavenly. I wish I could all invite you over for soup and homemade bread. You could eat off the floor, although it would be rather tricky with soup. 🙂

    Michael, good luck with your exams.

  • Henry Karlson accusing others of heresy … now THAT’S hilarious!

  • “As for mowing lawns, that’s a job my wife does – she claims I’m too lazy to do it, but I know she loves it for the exercise.”

    Don, I was unable to convince my kids that lawn mowing was fun, although I gave it a good try! As for my wife, she is firmly convinced that mowing the lawn is my job, curse the luck!

    “I heard this guy being interviewed on the radio the other day. The way he spoke didn’t impress me- he sounded like a second degree lawyer attempting to gain notoriety/publicity.”

    That is basically my opinion also.

  • Henry,

    Nice try.

    Comparing Catherine of Siena to this monster is an insult to humanity.

    Down the rabbit hole you go.

  • T. Shaw,

    Straw man.

    Although I know where you’re coming from, it is prudent to call evil evil.

  • Yeah, catching up after a dip in the pool.

    It’s about 80 degrees here near downtown Houston and not a bit humid (yet).

    Simply beautiful!

  • Jay – er, if you are going to make such a vague statement, at least actually define the heresies you are implying I follow. Otherwise, you would do well to see your confessor. I actually pointed out the heresy involved, and where one can look to see it is indeed rejected.

  • Not sure who ‘Jay Chambesr’ is – don’t think I’ve seen that commenter before. Either it’s someone using a different handle to hide their identity (which is just lame), or it’s someone who has strong opinions about Henry who has never before expressed them here. In either case, they shouldn’t throw around accusations of ‘heresy’ without some explanation.

    Of course, fwiw I think Henry’s rather tone deaf reading of the ‘pure evil’ line above – which is a colloquialism for a very bad person rather than a theological statement – is off too, but at least Henry set forth his reasoning.

  • I would definitely have to agree – mowing the lawn is a man’s job. My husband is bitterly disappointed that my son is off to college in August!

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  • Hmmmm.

    Looks like Kiwi chicks are cut from the same mould as kiwi blokes – mowing lawns is a breeze.

    But I’m real glad the chicks have the babies 😉

  • May I make a statement? Guess what,we are ALL going to die naked and penniless,put into the ground,embalming last aprox.four years,so the worms eventually get to us all.It’s facing God that we need to worry about,the mercy is here on earth,there’s only justice on judgement day.So this fool attorney cannot relly hurt anybody but himself.

  • I hope you are wrong, Sue. My salvation strategy is heavily dependent on mercy.

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A Second Victimization

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote another New York Times editorial condemning the Church. It’s not worth reading; it’s the same stuff about the Vatican is not the Church, but the real Church are the ones helping the needy (i.e. the ones doing what Kristof likes-except for obviously Mother Teresa b/c she didn’t like contraception) and the Church needs to expand its ideas on women and contraception in order to avoid the sex abuse crisis. For example

That story comes to mind as the Vatican wrestles with the consequences of a patriarchal premodern mind-set: scandal, cover-up and the clumsiest self-defense since Watergate. That’s what happens with old boys’ clubs

That’s not interesting. We’ve heard it before. What is interesting is his blog. He himself comments on the article.

One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them. Likewise, ordination of women is no guarantee of popular support: mainline Christian denominations have been ordaining women, and still losing ground to more conservative Evangelical denominations.

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9 Responses to A Second Victimization

  • Too bad he never met a Catholic who could’ve converted him.

  • Just a slight correction: Kristoff is actually an outspoken opponent of abortion, which actually makes the junk he peddled in his column all the more disappointing.

  • I don’t see what’s so objectionable about the portion you quoted. He didn’t say any of the stuff you attribute to him unless you decide to read only every other word of every other sentence.

  • restrainedradical:

    What’s objectionable is that he knows that he wants to see happen will do very little to actually make children safer-yet continues to connect it to the sex abuse scandal and admits it by saying that he knows that women can be abusers as well.

  • He admits no such thing. You inferred it, improperly. Women can be abusers and the presence of women can make children safer.

  • What is objectionable is that he wants the church to okay gravely immoral contraception and that the Church is an institution founded by men.

    My experience outside of the church ie public school system and many different Protestant denominations is that the presence of women do not make men more moral. Admitting women to ministry in Protestent cirles leads quickly to heresy.

  • restrainedradical:

    I’m pretty sure you didn’t read the column but just the quoted portion (or every other word of the quoted portion…not sure which you took the time to read). This is what he said:

    “That old boys’ club in the Vatican became as self-absorbed as other old boys’ clubs, like Lehman Brothers, with similar results. And that is the reason the Vatican is floundering today.”

    Now compare

    “One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them.”

    So we went from “Boys club is the reason” to “I’m puzzling whether it would make much of a difference.” It is proper to infer that he is admitting that the thesis advancing by his column is not true; that at the very best his thesis would be “Admitting women would help decrease the liklihood of this problem.” That’s a big difference to admit/acknowledge.

    So he’s already admitted that he doesn’t believe in the thesis he advanced, that he failed to mention in his column that women are also abusers and he failed to admit that admitting women had not helped make other denominations relevant (which is not what the column suggests).

    He then puts in the throw-away paragraph. He makes 3 assertions: it would attract more priests (which is not relevant to the crisis), that for mystical reasons women would magically produce democracy and transparency, and that women could change the Church’s teaching on contraception. it is not till the very last two words of the paragraph that he remembers what the column is about and adds “and child abuse,” suggesting that women are more against child abuse then men (which also is given no support).

    He’s not looking to child abuse. All of the goods he discusses are irrelevant or marginally connected to the issue. Combined with the doubts and stats he admitted in the first paragraph I quote, the inference is proper. He knows his connection isn’t strong but he wants to promote contraception & women priests so he does so anyway, taking advantage of the emotional reaction to child abuse in a way that he ought to apologize for.

  • Working on the issue-spotting, I see, Michael. ;-).

    The instrumentalization of abuse victims to serve as Exhibit A in the argument why the public schools, excuse me, Catholic Church needs to be radically redesigned in the author’s image, is one of the more unsavory aspects of the coverage of the scandals. I think this is an error often made in good faith; people are not that good at sorting out the differences in their sincerely held beliefs. Nevertheless, the fallacy on display is often:

    1)Abuse is bad,
    2)I think these Church teachings are bad,
    3)The correlation of bad things happening in an institution with bad teachings implies causation (regardless of what the evidence shows)

    And, of course, a similar thing happens to defenders of the Church, where the syllogism often runs:

    1) The Church is good;
    2) The liberal media is bad;
    3) Ergo, the bad liberal media is wrong when it says bad things about the good Church.

    Throw people on each side reasoning in this manner, and truth quickly becomes a casualty. I think your post is perceptive insofar as it captures the mask slipping a bit as Kristof questions the assertions he has casually made in arguing for his preferred reforms. At the same time, I am not sure this is morally blameworthy as much as it is a mental blindspot. People really aren’t that good at thinking rationally; at least not for long and not on that many topics. I usually use MSNBC and Fox News as my primary examples of that, which, for some reason, some people find only half-persuasive.

  • It might be more persuasive if you used CBS, NBC, ABC, NY Times, WAPO, CNN and MSNBC as opposed to Fox. 😉

If You Repeat a Lie a Thousand Times…

Friday, April 9, AD 2010

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis has defended Pope Benedict in his column in the archdiocesan weekly newspaper.

In reporting on the column, the Associated Press closed their story with this:

Critics of the church’s handling of abuse cases are citing Benedict’s tenure as head of the Vatican office charged with disciplining clergy. The office halted a mid-1990s investigation into a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 deaf boys.

Dear Associated Press: the CDF did not stop the investigation. If you’d actually do some journalism you’d know that.

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5 Responses to If You Repeat a Lie a Thousand Times…

  • The communists succeeded in branding His Holiness Pius XII as a virtual agent of Hitler because of his alleged silence in the face of Nazi atrocities. The facts suggest otherwise, but they have been buried over time, and the mud sticks. Now, secularists (and others, including some in the Church herself) are trying to do the same to His Holiness Benedict XVI with regard to the priest sex scandal. The facts tend to exonerate him, but I fear the mud will stick. It will take a persistent and forceful defense if there is to be any hope for his legacy.

  • So, did you try to contact MPR to address their error?

  • I tried to contact the AP, but there’s no writer in that or other bylines, so I have little idea who to reach. And given that it’s been picked up elsewhere, merely trying to communicate with MPR seemed pointless.

  • You ask,

    “If they [AP] can botch this story this poorly, how can I trust their reporting on other issues?”

    So far as I can see, you can’t.

    All you can do is trace the facts about any given story that AP presents in a broad-brush kind of way, compare those to the facts presented from other sources, find the commonalities, then go seeking criticism from bloggers who specialize in the relevant topics to get a sense of which commonly-reported facts are open to debate or alternative interpretation, and which are thought by the bloggers to be missing.

    Rinse, repeat, for several days.

    Then you ruminate, allowing that picture simmer and stew until you come to some kind of conclusions about what actually happened.

    That’s how one “checks the news” these days. AP is just mono-sourced data. If you want information, even minimalist “satisficing” (let alone detailed knowledge) will require individual collation of data from multiple inputs.

    The darkly amusing thing to ponder is this: Were the MSM always this bad, and we just didn’t have enough sources of alternative opinion to know about it? Or has the failure of intellectual and moral standards brought us gradually to this point from some earlier state of being in which media organs were moderately trustworthy?

  • “Were the MSM always this bad, and we just didn’t have enough sources of alternative opinion to know about it? Or has the failure of intellectual and moral standards brought us gradually to this point from some earlier state of being in which media organs were moderately trustworthy?”

    Bad reporting there has ever been, and the access of the internet to multiple sources displays such reporting in bold relief. However, I doubt if there has been a time before when the ink stained wretches were so ideologically committed in one direction and so uncaring about their professionalism.

This is Unconscionable.

Wednesday, March 31, AD 2010

From the Anchoress:

MSNBC ran a headline on their website:

“Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far.”

NBC has apologized (the linked story had absolutely nothing to do with the headline, or with the pope, for that matter).

Really? Will heads roll, too? They should, but I doubt they will.

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24 Responses to This is Unconscionable.

  • I find it hard to believe that this was inadvertent. I suspect that it was simply an example of Catholic bashing bigotry so fashionable these days in certain circles and that was engaged in by whoever put together the headline.

  • Completely agreed, Donald… no way it was just an accident.

  • I think it’s easy to believe it’s inadvertent. It’s possible a different headline involving the Pope was considered, then they went with this headline but forgot to change out “Pope.” Or the Pope was on the writer’s mind, not the priest.

    Whoever writes those headlines probably does at least 5-10 a day. He’s going to screw up, and this is one of those times.

  • Anyone reading MSNBC the last few weeks knows this was no accident. There is no news organization around more virulently anti-Catholic than MSNBC.

  • Utterly appalling & completely unacceptable! That’s not by accident!

  • Any decent organization has checks and balances. I would be seriously shocked if headlines don’t have to be signed off on by at least 2-3 people before being published on the MSNBC site. (Though as in all such systems, some people may approve without reading or thinking.)

    We have better controls than this on the processes I deal with at my company despite the fact we have individual people publishing hundreds of changes per week.

    So while I could perhaps believe that the original mistake was some sort of mental slip, letting it through was gross negligence possibly compounded by actual anti-catholicism.

    I mean, seriously, you don’t imagine that MSNBC would “accidentally” run a headline saying “Obama Admits Accepting Bribes, Promises Not To Run Again” because some totally unrelated black Democratic politician had made such an admission, would you? This seems like a similar scope mistake.

  • Its clearly their idea of fun, let an obvious slander against the Pope pass and then come up with a proforma apology.

  • A few years back, MSNBC made a somewhat similar gaffe during an interview with Niger Innis, a spokesman for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). They posted a graphic on the screen in which Niger’s first name was spelled with two “g”s. The mistake was quickly spotted, MSNBC apologized, and Innis didn’t make a big deal of it.

    Years ago I wrote a lengthy feature story about a man who had been a ham radio operator for more than 50 years. A few days later, he called to thank me for the story, which he said was wonderful except for one little thing… I had called him George Flanagan instead of Glenn Flanagan (his real name). He was very kind and respectful about it and not upset however.

    Recently I started doing occasional theater reviews for the local newspaper. In my first draft of one such review I referred to an actor whose real name was “Sean Michael Butler” as “Sean Michael WINTERS”…. because I had the name of Michael Sean Winters of America magazine on the brain at the time.

    My point is that gaffes like this CAN happen purely by accident — I know because I’ve committed them myself. So I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the “pope” headline was deliberate. The biased and slanted content of the stories themselves, however, is another matter completely.

  • Cancel your newspapers and cancel your cable TV – the only way to fight back. We do want to fight back don’t we? Be careful how you spend your money.

  • MSNBC: Unfair and unbalanced

  • I agree Marc, but I’d spread that to include the execrable Faux News and Crappy News Network as well. Journalism is a joke today.

  • They think they have the last laugh, lol, no problem, God has his way of dealing with ‘no good’ evil people like msnbc, watch just watch!

  • Do the Catholic-haters,aka MSNBC/NYT, ever reflect on why they are allowed to print lies in English, rather than in Arabic or Turkish? They would learn how the Catholics and the Pope saved the bacon of their European ancestors by the Battle of Tours; the Battle of Vienna; and the naval Battle of Lepanto. For dessert: How Saint Clare stopped the advance of the Huns.
    By the way DarwinCatholic, “anti-catholicism” should be
    “anti-Catholicism” as other religions and adjectives that
    modify them enjoy. One does not see: muslim, lutheran, amish, methodist, baptist, and forty thousand others.

  • Elaine Krewer listed three typos as examples of “gaffes”. MSNBC’s headline would be one serious typo. The headline is deliberate and she knows it; otherwise, MSNBC would have
    issued a hasty apology.

  • Nemo, my whole point is that I DO NOT KNOW that the headline was deliberate, and MSNBC DID issue a hasty apology (the same day it happened).

    Things like this do happen, and Kevin Jones’ explanation makes sense to me. The examples I cited from my own experience were NOT “typos”, i.e. totally accidental misspellings, but lapses of judgement on my part — I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the real name of the person in question. Something similar COULD have happened with regard to the “pope” headline.

    My point is, let’s direct our outrage where it belongs — to the content and reporting of these stories, and not against some copy editor or headline writer, or whatever the equivalent title is in TV news, who might have slipped up.

  • If said copy editor, headline writer, etc. did slip up and make an honest mistake, but gets fired to placate outraged Catholics while the reporters and assignment editors acting engaging in obviously biased reporting are allowed to stay and keep drawing their six- or seven-figure salaries, I don’t think that would be at all fair or just.

  • Cheer up! Based on how things are heading, in 5 years the NYT will no longer exist in print form. Can they survive and make money as a web-only newspaper? Maybe … maybe not. So how do you think it hits these folks to see that their beloved cage liner will not outlast the Catholic Church?

  • Perhaps, it was a mistake. Most likely, not a mistake. It gives me the willies that our Holy Father is being attacked so viciously, especially during Holy Week, and so soon after Obama signed the worthless Executive Order prohibiting federal funding of abortions, that I think we are all aware of the possibility of a decree being issued to Catholics, more subtle than the below, but nevertheless a decree:

    “More and more the people must be separated from the churches and their organs the pastors . . . Just as the deleterious influences of astrologers, seers and other fakers are eliminated and suppressed by the State, so must the possibility of church influence also be totally removed . . . Not until this has happened, does the state leadership have influence on the individual citizens. Not until then are the people and Reich secure in their existence for all time. “

    Martin Bormann, Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, June 1941.

  • Moe, are you suggesting that this is part of a conspiracy to separate us from Christ and ruin this country? Do you really think there are people who want to remove God and replace Him with the god-state?

  • AK,
    Of course, I detect your facetiousness, but, yep, it has become meaningless to appeal to any higher law, God’s law, above the commands of the State. The Church is the State’s strongest opposition, ideologically speaking, and the media is the State’s strongest ally and is dutifully doing its job in attempting to destroy the Church, as evidenced by the latest round of attacks.

    Furthermore, there is no room for the Cross because suffering must be eliminated, at the expense of the weakest. And because the Cross has been eliminated, there will be no Simons, only the State. Pretty sterile stuff. The Paschal Mystery has been replaced with cute bunnies, chocolates, and baskets. Everything is feel-good fluff and Greek columns. Just take a look at the 70-year-old sexy-looking botoxed Lying Worthless Political Hack, who, as Elaine so recently succinctly put it, never saw an infanticide that she didn’t like.

  • If anyone is STILL watching MSNBC, I hope they will stop…

  • MSNBC purports to be a credible news agency. If this was a flub, then head(s) should roll given the enormity of the mistake. If it was intentional, as most of the comments indicate, then it is totally in-excusable. Either way MSNBC loses its credibility and is probably the reason why no one has been taking them seriously for a very long time and they are in the tank. So one can only say about this ridiculous headline ..consider the source!!! and be about your business.

  • Elaine: Yes dear,but that’s why they have proof-readers!! Or have they been down-sized?? at MSNBC!
    along with truth and sense of fair-play?

  • +Easter Blessings!
    It could have very easily been a mistake, most of what happens at MSNBC is a mistake!

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.

Res et Explicatio for AD 11-9-2009

Monday, November 9, AD 2009

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

reagan pope john paul ii

1. Today is the twenty year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin WallPope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher all played pivotal roles in bringing down Communism and discredited all socialistic and atheistic systems the world over.  Pope John Paul II played the most important role of the three, providing the moral backbone that is needed when confronting these manifestations of evil.

Newt Gingrich, Callista Gingrich, and Vince Haley wrote a timely article concerning this important anniversary titled The Victory of the Cross: How spiritual renewal helped bring down the Berlin Wall.  For this article click here.

2. Dave Hartline has already posted three articles here with us.  His latest is titled, Following the 2009 Election Results which Way is the Tide Turning toward Truth or Relativism?

For the article click here.

For all of Dave Hartline’s articles on The American Catholic click here.

3. Catholic Culture has changed their look again.  Unlike the last time I mentioned their new look, I have to say it is a major improvement.  It’s much easier to find Diogenes of Off the Record (under Commentary).  Blue has replaced what I think was the color pink as it’s primary color and the fonts are much stronger.

For the Catholic Culture link click here.

For Diogenes, which is under Commentary, click here.

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