Presidential campaigns inflate expectations that power wielded from government’s pinnacle will invigorate the nation. Thus campaigns demonstrate that creationists threaten the creative ferment that produces social improvement. Not religious creationists, who are mistaken but inconsequential. It is secular creationists whose social costs are steep.
“Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society’s spontaneous experimental order. Such governments imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation. Like religious creationists gazing upon biological complexity, secular theists assume that social complexity requires an intentional design imposed from on high by wise designers, a.k.a. them.
If you believe, as progressives do, that human nature is not fixed, and hence is not a basis for understanding natural rights. And if you believe, as progressives do, that human beings are soft wax who receive their shape from the society that government shapes. And if you believe, as progressives do, that people receive their rights from the shaping government. And if you believe, as progressives do, that people are the sum of the social promptings they experience. Then it will seem sensible for government, including a university’s administration, to guarantee not freedom of speech but freedom from speech. From, that is, speech that might prompt its hearers to develop ideas inimical to progress, and that might violate the universal entitlement to perpetual serenity.
Bill O’Reilly v. George Will in a battle of wits is akin to a theological debate between Mark Shea and Saint Thomas Aquinas. Will is very full of himself and personifies the phrase “arrogant stuffed shirt” but he does a public service by stating the obvious truth that O’Reilly is the most foolish type of fool: one who thinks he a sage. O’Reilly’s “Killing” books, written I assume by his co-author Martin Dugard, are the worst type of junk history: factually weak, shabbily researched, pedestrian, at best, writing, zero historical context and always, always a conspiratorial slant. They are fit only to serve as kindling.
Dugard sought research advice from former representative Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), who served in Reagan’s White House counsel’s office. Cox put Dugard in touch with former California governor Pete Wilson and several Reagan historians. Wilson and Cox warned that historians’ criticisms could hurt the book’s reception. Then O’Reilly charged on Fox News that Wilson and Cox somehow threatened him, adding gratuitously and falsely that Cox, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, “presided over the mortgage debacle that collapsed the economy in 2007,” an explanation of the autumn 2008 collapse that is simply weird.
Cox put the book’s publisher in touch with Annelise Anderson, who, with her late husband, Marty, a longtime Reagan adviser, has authored and edited serious books about Reagan. She was offered $5,000 and given just one week to evaluate the manuscript. Having read it, she declined compensation, saying mildly, “I don’t think this manuscript is ready for publication.”
The book’s perfunctory pieties about Reagan’s greatness are inundated by its flood of regurgitated slanders about his supposed lassitude and manipulability. This book is nonsensical history and execrable citizenship, and should come with a warning: “Caution — you are about to enter a no-facts zone.”
The EU has a flag no one salutes, an anthem no one sings, a president no one can name, a parliament whose powers subtract from those of national legislatures, a bureaucracy no one admires or controls, and rules of fiscal rectitude that no member is penalized for ignoring. It does, however, have in Greece a member whose difficulties are wonderfully didactic.
It cannot be said too often: There cannot be too many socialist smashups. The best of these punish reckless creditors whose lending enables socialists to live, for a while, off other people’s money. The world, which owes much to ancient Athens’s legacy, including the idea of democracy, is indebted to today’s Athens for the reminder that reality does not respect a democracy’s delusions.
Reality always wins out in the end.
Msgr. Pope drops some knowledge on this Feast Day.
The actual event of the Assumption is not described in Scripture. However, there are “assumptions” recorded in the Scriptures and the concept is thus biblical.
It happened to Enoch in the Old Testament The Book of Genesis records: Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Gen. 5:24). Hebrews 11: 5 elaborates: By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.
It also happened to Elijah as he walked with Elisha: And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven….And he was seen no more. (2 Kings 2:11 ).
Some say Moses too was taken up since his grave is not known. As we read in yesterday’s first reading at Mass: He was buried in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is (Dt. 34:6). The text of course does not say his body was taken up and if it was, it occurred after death and burial. Jude 1:9 hints at the fact when is says, But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses….. (Jude 1:9) Some further credibility is lent to the view of him being assumed by the fact that he appears alongside Elijah in the Transfiguration account. Some of the Church Fathers held this view and there is also a Jewish work from the 6th Century AD entitled The Assumption of Moses that represents the tradition of his assumption. But in the end the Assumption of Moses only a view held by some and it not officially held by the Church.
More at the link.
Presidential powers have been expanding almost exponentially for about a century. We have seemingly reached a point where the President can act without Congressional authority for any reason at all. George Will captures why Obama’s administration has been especially pernicious.
Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”
He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”
Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Wheredoes the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.
This inspires Will to compare Obama with Nixon.
In a 1977 interview with Richard Nixon, David Frost asked: “Would you say that there are certain situations . . . where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation . . . and do something illegal?”
Nixon: “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”
Frost: “By definition.”
Nixon: “Exactly, exactly.”
Nixon’s claim, although constitutionally grotesque, was less so than the claim implicit in Obama’s actions regarding the ACA. Nixon’s claim was confined to matters of national security or (he said to Frost) “a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude.” Obama’s audacity is more spacious; it encompasses a right to disregard any portion of any law pertaining to any subject at any time when the political “environment” is difficult.
You just sometimes have to wonder if people inside the government are capable of rational thought.
Well at least the UN is on the case.
The UN Security Council is calling on both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise “maximum restraint” and end the violence spreading across the country, which has claimed more than 600 lives.
Council members called for national reconciliation, expressed regret at the loss of life and sent sympathy to the victims.
Up next: a very strongly worded letter.
Leave it to Major League Baseball to come to its senses regarding replay, and then ruin this moment of clarity by aping the NFL’s absurd challenge system.
I heartily endorse this recipe. Store bought bacon will just never suffice again.
As the father of an autistic son, who, with his brother and sister, is the light of the lives of myself and my wife, the struggle for the right to life of the unborn is a personal battle. The contempt shown for innocent human life by abortion is magnified when the fact that a child in the womb is less than perfect is introduced into the mix. People like my son, who lights up any room when he smiles, who is as agile and nimble as a cat in her prime, and who likes to cook with the microwave, would be regarded by those who prize abortion as prime candidates for elimination if their condition could be detected in the womb. George Will has a moving column about his son Jon who has just turned 40.
Jon was born just 19 years after James Watson and Francis Crick published their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA, discoveries that would enhance understanding of the structure of Jon, whose every cell is imprinted with Down syndrome. Jon was born just as prenatal genetic testing, which can detect Down syndrome, was becoming common. And Jon was born eight months before Roe v. Wade inaugurated this era of the casual destruction of pre-born babies.
This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.
Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it. Continue reading
George Will on ABC’s This Week last Sunday made three points in regard to the HHS Mandate “compromise” that are undeniably true:
As Paul Ryan said to you, this is an accounting gimmick that they’ve done that in no way ends the complicity of Catholic institutions and individuals in delivering services they consider morally abhorrent.
Second. You asked the question, ‘How did this come about?’ George, this is what liberalism looks like. This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.
Third. The Catholic Bishops, it serves them right. They’re the ones who were really hot for Obamacare, with a few exceptions. But they were all in favor of this. And this is what it looks like when the government decides it’s going to make your healthcare choices for you. Continue reading
On This Week on ABC last Sunday, George Will gave a concise, and devastating, explanation of what modern liberalism in this country is all about:
This is not about women’s health. This is about providing 300,000 abortions a year. Planned Parenthood cleverly cast this saying, ‘We are in the mammogram business.’ They’re not in the mammogram business — they are in the referral of mammograms. This showed two extraordinary things, George. First, the American left cares about ending wars and they care about poverty and they care about the environment, but they really care about — when they’re not perfunctory — is when you touch abortions. And historians will marvel that American liberalism in the first part of the 21st century is defined as defense of abortion.
Second, all these people describing themselves as pro-choice said it is illegitimate to choose not to be involved in abortion. And a much more important decision politically that was taken this week was the Obama administration saying that Catholic institutions have no choice — and this was applauded by pro-choice people — have no choice but to provide contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization. Continue reading
George Will has a first-rate column about Rick Santorum:
He can, of course, be tenaciously serious. On Sept. 26, 1996, the Senate was debating whether to ban partial-birth abortion, the procedure whereby the baby to be killed is almost delivered, feet first, until only a few inches of its skull remain in the birth canal, and then the skull is punctured, emptied and collapsed. Santorum asked two pro-choice senators opposed to the ban, Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), this: Suppose the baby slips out of the birth canal before it can be killed. Should killing it even then be a permissible choice? Neither senator would say no.
On Oct. 20, 1999, during another such debate, Santorum had a colloquy with pro-choice Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):
Santorum: “You agree that, once the child is born, separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed. Do you agree with that?”
Boxer: “I think that when you bring your baby home .?.?. .” Continue reading