Putting Their Mouths Where Their Money Could Be

Tuesday, December 27, AD 2011

So much for the “patriotic millionaires” trotted out by the Democrats calling for higher taxes.  The dirty little secret of course is that the truly mega rich have elaborate tax planning to avoid paying one thin dime more than they have to in regard to taxes.  An increase in rates would have little impact on them.  If they were truly patriotic they would be calling for some variant of a flat tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters.  The poster child for this call by the very wealthy for higher taxes is Warren Buffet.  Gee Warren, maybe you could start by having your company pay the billion the Feds say it owes.

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4 Responses to Putting Their Mouths Where Their Money Could Be

  • I wonder if any others ask with me whether this topic is suitable for a CNS blog. The believer has a legitimate, necessary we can add, interest in how each person or group pays a just, fair and unselfish share of contributing to the common good in taxes and charitable contributions and establishing Foundations to promote charity and the arts and sciences. But is it our role to decide which, by whom and how much. Or do we vote for and lobby for a common set of Christian Humanist values and do end-runs to head off the greedy pigs at the Global Village trough?

  • When the Church went “all in” for the welfare state, it ceded to the state its moral claim on my “charity.” Seems it’s the excuse for ignoring many evils the government works.

    Patriotic millionaires? How many, like Pat Tillman, enlisted in the Rangers or infantry after their country was attacked?

  • they would be calling for some variant of a flat tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters.

    Would it be any less patriotic to have a progressive tax on all income with the elimination of all tax shelters?

  • Perhaps Kurt, although I suspect the “patriotic millionaires” would be appalled by either suggestion. The only millionaire I suspect who ever actually wanted to pay more in taxes was the fictional Jed Clampett.

What He Said

Tuesday, August 2, AD 2011

Go read Jonah Goldberg’s NRO post on the disgusting media hypocrisy when it comes to cries of civility.  Like Jonah, I do tire of playing the media blame game, but today the media’s double standard was in full glare.  Gabby Giffords has made a remarkable recovery and is back in Congress, and the morning news show focused on this story.  That’s wonderful.  And of course they completely ignored the fact that Joe Biden called tea partiers terrorists (or nodded along when the terminology was applied), and also failed to discuss the columns written by guys like Tom Friedman and Joe Necera that also use the language of jihad and terrorism to describe the tea party.

But think about this for a second. The Giffords shooting sent the media elite in this country into a bout of St. Vitus’ dance that would have warranted an army of exorcists in previous ages. Sarah Palin’s Facebook map was an evil totem that forced some guy to go on a shooting spree. The New York Times, The Washington Post, all three broadcast networks, particularly NBC whose senior foreign affairs correspondent — Andrea Mitchell — devotes, by my rough reckoning, ten times as much air time to whining about Sarah Palin as she does about anything having to do with foreign affairs, flooded the zone with “Have you no shame finger wagging.” A memo went forth demanding that everyone at MSNBC get their dresses over their heads about the evil “tone” from the right. Media Matters went into overdrive working the interns 24/7 to “prove” that Republicans deliberately foment violence with their evil targets on their evil congressional maps.

. . .

So flashforward to this week. Tom Friedman — who knows a bit about Hezbollah — calls the tea partiers the “Hezbollah faction” of the GOP bent on taking the country on a “suicide mission.” All over the place, conservative Republicans are “hostage takers” and “terrorists,” “terrorists” and “traitors.” They want to “end life as we know it on this planet,” says Nancy Pelosi. They are betraying the founders, too. Chris Matthews all but signs up for the “Make an Ass of Yourself” contest at the State Fair.  Joe Nocera writes today that “the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests.” Lord knows what Krugman and Olbermann have said.

Then last night. on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the Vice President of the United States calls the Republican Party a bunch of terrorists.

No one cares. I hate the “if this were Bush” game so we’re in luck. Instead imagine if this wasDick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they’re called) a “bunch of terrorists” on the day Giffords returned to the Congress. Would the mainstream media notice or care? Would Meet the Press debate whether this raises “troubling questions” about the White House’s sensitivity? Would Andrea Mitchell find some way to blame Sarah Palin for Dick Cheney’s viciousness? Would Keith Olberman explode like a mouse subjected to the Ramone’s music in “Rock and Roll High School?”  Something inside me hidden away shouts “Hell yes they would!”

The Today Show even had Debbie Wasserman Schultz on this morning for five minutes talking about Giffords. No one thought to ask her what she thought of Biden’s comments? It’s not like she’s the Democratic Party’s national spokesperson or anything. Oh, wait. She is!

I have to give a hearty “AMEN” to Jonah’s concluding sentences.

Well, go to Hell. All of you.

I find all of this particularly laughable considering that I spent time in the eye doctor’s office this morning straining to read Rolling Stone with my contacts out.  I’m not sure what was rougher on the eyes – the drops they put in them or reading that trash.  At any rate, there was a rather long feature story on, what else, but the evils of Fox News.  Yes, that bastion of journalistic integrity, Rolling Stone, is calling Fox News a propaganda arm of the GOP.  It was your typical hysterical screed about Fox’s bias, made all the more ironic considering the author’s failure to note the 2×4 stuck in his eye.

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2 Responses to What He Said

  • A hearty Amen to “go to hell”? Rather, a hearty Amen to, “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.” I will take our Blessed Mother’s prayer over Goldberg’s curses, myself.

    Brother, if anything can be condemned rightly, it is not the sinners Christ came to save:

    “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

  • “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

    True enough. Unfortunately those principalities and powers are showing their influence among those in the media and political parties who abuse those who demonstrate a legitimate political difference from them.

A Matter of Perspective

Friday, January 14, AD 2011

So what right-wing columnist said this:

All this fuss about civility . . . is an attempt to bully critics into unilaterally disarming – into being demure and respectful to the president.

Actually, it was Paul Krugman, quoted in a Stephen Miller article titled “Anger Mismanagement,” published in the Wall Street Journal on March 19, 2004.

Hey, at least this can be one time where I totally agree with Paul Krugman.  Oddly enough, apparently I am in fuller accord with Paul Krugman than . . . Paul Krugman.

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12 Responses to A Matter of Perspective

  • “… apparently I am in fuller accord with Paul Krugman than . . . Paul Krugman.”

    It wouldn’t be the first time, and no doubt won’t be the last. Every time that guy says or writes something it blatantly contradicts something he said or wrote 3 years ago. He’s a partisan fraud.

  • The entire relevant quote:

    All this fuss about civility, then, is an attempt to bully critics into unilaterally disarming — into being demure and respectful of the president, even while his campaign chairman declares that the 2004 election will be a choice ”between victory in Iraq and insecurity in America.”

    And even aside from the double standard, how important is civility? I’m all for good manners, but this isn’t a dinner party. The opposing sides in our national debate are far apart on fundamental issues, from fiscal and environmental policies to national security and civil liberties. It’s the duty of pundits and politicians to make those differences clear, not to play them down for fear that someone will be offended.

    Paul Krugman, The Uncivil War, NY Times, Nov. 25, 2003.

  • The fuller quote is even better – and I don’t mean that sarcastically. I wonder if Krugman even remembers writing that – or was that before his wife started writing his op-eds?

  • “It’s the duty of pundits and politicians to make those differences clear, not to play them down for fear that someone will be offended.”

    Well good thing the left will stop demonizing Palin and others for remarks that are only intended to make those differences clear.

  • or was that before his wife started writing his op-eds?

    If you compare the product of his first decade or so writing for general audiences with that of his second decade, you would have to conclude that the change in authorship occurred somewhere around 2000 or 2001.

  • Krugman’s wife/ghost writer, Robin Wells, sounds like a real piece of work:

    “On the rare occasion when they disagree about something, she will be the one urging him to be more outraged or recalcitrant. She pushed him to denounce the filibuster. She wanted him to be more stubborn in holding out for the public option in the health-care bill.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/03/01/100301fa_fact_macfarquhar

    Here is her advice to Obama in 2009:

    “In the end, for better or for worse, whether he likes it or not, Obama is joined in a battle against the forces of anger, hate and grievance. A choice not to engage them on a moral level is an abdication. They will not go away, and they will stalk him the rest of his presidency unless he faces them and conquers them. President Obama, you need to go down into your soul and find those keys.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-wells/what-obama-needs-to-learn_b_254714.html

    Translation: You just don’t hate those wingnuts enough!

    Married to a bitter left-wing shrew. For the first time in my life I actually feel sympathy for Krugman!

  • That’s right on the money. It’s really been frustrating to watch conservatives (even Pat Buchanan) giving Obama credit for doing exactly what Krugman says here. It’s all about the timeline:

    * Crazy guy in Arizona shoots some people.
    * Left-wing politicians and media have a field day, slandering everyone on the right for basically putting the gun in his hand and the idea in his head, hoping for a repeat of the political advantage they got from doing the same thing after the OK City bombings, only this time they’re even nastier about it.
    * Their leader sits quietly by the sidelines.
    * After a few days, word starts to get out that the guy actually had none of the conservative connections that were reported, and may have been fairly left-wing if anything, but was mostly just nuts.
    * Some die-hards like the New York Times keep pushing the party line, but you can see it starting to crack, and a backlash is building against the outrageousness of the lies and slander.
    * The leader of the culprits now comes out and gives a “let’s all rise above this speech,” where he implies that we all need to settle down and stop placing blame.

    Well, if we were all placing blame, that’d be fair, but it was only his own people who were doing that, and he didn’t have a problem with it until it wasn’t working very well anymore. That’s not statesmanship; that’s quitting while you’re ahead.

  • That article is disconcerting for what it recounts, but it appears to be true that his wife’s influence has been decisive. I would think a 47 year old man employed as a professor in social research would have acquired a fairly stable worldview, not to mention some sense of the frailty of others and himself. I guess not.

  • Mac, Maybe her father owns a liquor store, or she has a bass boat . . . Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

  • It would have to be either a very big bass boat or a huge liquor store indeed T. Shaw.

  • [SIGH]

    I feel his pain.

    She’ll be in a real snit when she sees this. Quinnipiac poll: About 15% of Americans believe that heated rhetoric had anything to do with the shootings Saturday by an addled brained leftish pothead that killed a GOP Federal Justice and five innocent people in Tucson.

This was my heart, my choice and my health

Thursday, February 25, AD 2010

In this post I mentioned that the Premier of Newfoundland, Danny Williams, came to the US for heart surgery.  As the video above indicates, Williams is also an ardent support of Canadian Government Health Care, at least for everyone but himself.

Williams is unrepentant for not standing in line with other Canadians awaiting heart treatment.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Williams said he went to Miami to have a “minimally invasive” surgery for an ailment first detected nearly a year ago, based on the advice of his doctors.

“This was my heart, my choice and my health,” Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.

“I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics.”

Some people might say that Williams is a hypocrite.  If he is a hypocrite he is not alone.  Members of Congress, in all their votes on Obamacare, have made certain they will keep their current health care and not be subjected to it.  Members of Congress who vote for Obamacare are thereby implicitly saying:  “Obamacare, it’s good enough for the peasants.”

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11 Responses to This was my heart, my choice and my health

  • Dennis Broyles made the wry remark that the only way to abolish differentials in service is to abolish money. I think what differentiates the Democratic Caucus from their opponents is that the latter accept service differentials which result from social stratification which result from impersonal processes like the market. The latter wish to replace this with service differentials driven largely by politically-determined criteria, i.e. by people like themselves.

  • I think this “above it all” attitude is indicative of the prevailing mindset of most government “servants” today. Capitalism for me – socialism for thee.

    Art is on to something there. The money flows in our “capitalist” economy largely flow one way – UP. Those at the top then get to decide how “we’re” going to fix things.

    http://tinyurl.com/ylbla49

    A perfect case in point is the famous (or should I say notorious) hedge fund short seller Jim Chanos or George Soros who make a living (more like a killing) off bets that companies, countries will fail then say “we” have to fix this financial system. That’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire brigade. The politicians are largely little more than sock puppets for these oligarchs.

  • You want congressmen to receive ObamaCare subsidies? Don’t you think they’re already getting enough?

  • I want Congress Critters restrainedradical who supported a single payer system to have to live under such a system with no option for medical treatment from a free market system when they do not wish to stand in line with the common herd.

  • A single payer system hasn’t been proposed. You also don’t seem to understand why he chose treatment here and not in Canada. It had nothing to do with standing in line.

  • Actaully MZ that is what the man you voted for said he was in favor of during the campaign. A lot of very gullible people believed him. In Congress the liberals in the Democrat party pushed for a single payer system, but lacked the votes to pass it.

    Williams claimed the heart surgery was not available in Canada:

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100202/national/nl_premier_surgery

    He lied.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/williamss-heart-surgery-choice-was-based-on-ignorance/article1480937/

    His real reason is that the Newfoundland Health Care System is in crisis.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nlvotes2007/story/2007/09/27/hospital-williams.html

    Risk his precious hide on Newfoundland government medicine? Not on your life!

  • Deleted your last comment MZ. Go be snarky elsewhere.

  • Please change the name of your blog to “An American Catholic”.

    You should not use “The American Catholic” unless your posts reflect the actual position of the Church. Yours do not.

    There is at least one false statement in your commentary, but I ascribe that to a failure to read carefully. He said the particular surgery he wanted was not available in his province, not in Canada.

    He consulted a graduate of a Newfoundland med school practicing in New Jersey, who sent him all the way to Florida for the surgery. Now the doctor in New Jersey is a renowned cardiac surgeon, so why did he send the premier to Florida? Could it be because the particular technique the premier wanted was uncommon, and the Florida surgeon did a lot of it?

    He could have gotten the normal operation in his own province, or from his consultant in New Jersey, but he wanted a more complicated procedure that left a much smaller and less obvious scar.

    Would your insurance pay for that? I doubt mine would, and I have very good insurance.

    IOW, a very rich man got what he wanted. And I’ll bet he got a discounted price. If you wanted that same surgery you might have to pay more. After all, he had bargaining leverage, do you?

    In Canada, if you need that condition, a leaking valve, treated, you get it treated, just not the way he did. In they US, if you need that condition treated, you get it treated, if you can pay for it. Otherwise, die vermin!

    And in the US you will most likely get the treatment preferred in Canada, not the one you can buy in Florida. Unless you can pay for it yourself, that is.

    The Catholic church is big on social justice, and universal health care. If you are not you can claim the perspective of a Catholic, but not “The” Catholic perspective.

  • You confuse socialism with social justice, just as you confuse government medicine with universal health care. Danny Williams came to the US because he preferred the treatment available to him here to what he could receive for “free”, forgetting the taxes paid for it, in Canada. He had that option because he is rich. Other Canadians not as wealthy are beginning to flock to private clinics which are on the rise in Canada.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/30/canada-sees-boom-private-health-care-business/

  • “In they US, if you need that condition treated, you get it treated, if you can pay for it. Otherwise, die vermin!”

    That is a lie. Everyone in the US receives treatment regardless of ability to pay. Most of the poor are covered by Medicaid. Those who are not still receive treatment.

And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

Thursday, January 29, AD 2009

So there’s a new You-Tube video  spreading around meant to be the final word in exposing the hypocrisy of anti-abortion advocates. In what many seem to believe is highly telling, an interviewer asks a group of demonstrating pro-lifers that, should abortion be declared illegal, if they would punish women who had abortions. Apparently the confused looks, murmured “I don’t know, I don’t think they should be punished,” and the otherwise general indication that they hadn’t thought much on the issue, somehow shows that pro-lifers do not believe that abortion is murder, or even the taking of human life. There is a huge amount of self-congratulatory straining of shoulders, clapping themselves on the back for having discovered this one-shot knockdown argument.

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33 Responses to And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

  • Ryan,

    a good discussion.

    Third, to some extent this heinous act, while there is plenty of evidence that it does harm society in general, is a matter between the person who has procured an abortion and God.

    No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    I think in justice, one must give abortion the weight in law that it is due, and under the conditions that apply to homicide in general. The justice system has a means of considering the degree of free will attached to the killing of another human being under particular circumstances, and provides manslaughter when it is diminished. To specifically define in the law that for a mother to kill her unborn child as less serious a crime than a man killing a guard while robbing a bank is not just.

    Obviously, there would need to be intermediate measures to eliminate access to abortion and educate the populace before it could be charged criminally.

  • I’d be interested in reading anything the Church might officially say about this (???). Absent that, I’m sure there are some articles out there by Catholic thinkers on what just abortion laws would look like (???).

    (My wife and I were just talking about this last night, how Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” has deluded people into believing that the pro-life cause wants a world in which every miscarriage is investigated by secret police or some such nonsense.)

  • No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    Of course, I realized that the statement I made sounds very soft, and I tried to qualify exactly what I meant. Let me try again to explain what I meant there.

    With abortion between a person and God, I don’t mean exclusively, because obviously abortion has severe societal impact. I mean that ultimately, all justice will be meted out, and everyone will receive their due. Some people who have abortion will sincerely repent, spend their time in purgatory, and eventually come out cleansed of their sins. Others will not repent, but due to ignorance of important details, they will spend their time in purgatory and come out cleansed. Others may persist in placing their lifestyle above God, reject God, and be lost forever. In the end, we will all reap what we have sown. To that extent, worrying much over the worldly punishments we would exact on people who have abortions is secondary to trying to outlaw abortion. Furthermore, the problem has legal ramifications that would be better served by a team of legal (and hopefully faithful Catholic) advisers who can try to make the system as a just as possible in light of the crime. Finally, trying to state on the spot what punishments should be exacted runs the risk of being vindictive and retributive in nature, rather than corrective and just. Thus, given the complications, the nuances, and everything else, it is simpler at the moment to say, “I know eventually everything will be squared away at the final judgment, and then it will be between a person and God, regardless of what happens legally.” It may seem like a cop-out, but I personally take it as an acknowledgment that the answers are neither simple nor adequately addressed by a lay person on the streets.

    I do believe a discussion of what abortions laws should look like is important, and that maybe we could take some time to look at them here. My view is in my post, but what do others think? Do you agree that a doctor giving the abortion is more culpable (or at least deserves a harsher sentence) than the woman receiving the abortion? Do we need to worry about the claims that every miscarriage would be investigated?

  • Ryan,

    I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree. I would propose that, ultimately, abortion should be defined as homicide, the justice system would sort out whether the subject’s actions and state of mind merit charge and conviction under manslaughter or murder. Obviously, if I was involved in a case I would orient towards the former for mothers, and the latter for the purveyors, but not necessarily in every case.

    I would agree that in the general case the doctors deserve a harsher sentence.

    I don’t think we need to worry all that much about miscarriage’s being investigated, any more than they already are. Doctors or others who discover evidence of intentional miscarriage would have the same obligation to report such to the authorities as I would assume they do for any other case of wrongful death. It certainly would not be the place of police to seek out these cases without any sort of complaint. This will certainly happen though, and law enforcement should probably focus efforts on the sources of the drugs rather than the recipients.

  • I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree.

    Well, obviously (tongue-in-cheek) if you disagree with me, you misunderstood what I said! Heh…

    How exactly, then, do you disagree? We seem to be in lockstep with that abortion should be defined as homicide, with some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion. My statements in regard to abortion being between the woman and God were not to exclude any legal ramifications, but to explain why some people haven’t given the punishment issue much thought, and why some are justified in not concentrating on the issue. It was also an attempt to show why this pro-abortionists aren’t justified in using the lack of a definite answer as indication that pro-lifers don’t really believe abortion is murder.

  • Ryan,

    some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion

    I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

  • I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

    Not knowing the exact statues, I might hesitate, but in general, yes, I’m lockstep with you here, as well.

  • Ryan,

    I’m lockstep with you here, as well.</i<

    I must have misstated my position then… heheh

  • Now if I can only convince American Catholic blogger Ryan Harkins to put up a pic for his ID. Maybe the flag of Wyoming?

  • Concerning the Video, a couple of points you did not make. First, when I am out on the lines with my sign, and someone approaches me, I get slightly nerved up, or stressed – not a lot, just a bit. There is always the possibility that person is going to start ranting at me or something. That stress response is increased for most people when someone is holding a camera on them. The stress is increased even more when they ask you a tough question, and they are obviously trying to get you to say something they can use. Second, most people, even those on the lines, are not practiced speakers adept at articulating ‘hot button’ topics on the fly. You can tell clearly several of the interviewees are just hoping the camera people will go away.

    It is more of a cheap shot that you make it out to be.

    Beyond that nit picking, great post. It is true we need to talk more in the pro-life community about what criminalizing abortion would really look like.

    Also, if abortion were criminalized, imagine what would happen. How would the opposition react? Not just politically. Statutes and penalties should also include dealing with people who run conspiracies (organized crime) to provide abortions.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Paul @GNW_Paul

  • Thanks for the input, Paul! I admit, I did gloss over the majority of the impact of being confronted by someone with a camera just looking to get a few snippits of dialogue that they can use. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Ryan,

    University of Wyoming Cowboys!

    Nice pic.

  • Tito,

    Thanks. As per request, I have delivered. Of course, while the bucking bronco is one of UW’s great symbols, it was also on the back of the Wyoming state quarter. (And NOTHING else!!!! We could have put in Devil’s Tower behind it, but noooooo….) So I figured it would symbolize well both my Wyomingness and my University of Wyomingness, the former being important because I might just graduate one of these semesters… (Thinking December…)

  • Ryan,

    I love the Avatar also. Big Sky territory is my land, but Wyoming is just fine with me.

    @GNW_Paul

  • Paul in the GNW,

    Your next to get an avatar.

    Maybe some rain drops or Mark Shea in purple?

  • I tried, lets see if it shows up know?

  • Paul,

    If it doesn’t show up, it’s not a big deal.

    Email me if you have any questions and I’d be happy to guide you through the process.

  • Paul,

    Forgive me if you have done this already.

    Go to this link: http://wordpress.com/signup/

    Sign up and follow the directions there. You don’t need to create a blog to create a username. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see what I mean.

    Good luck!

  • Ryan,
    Historically in the U. S. women who underwent illegal abortions were not punished. Prior to the 19th century incomplete understanding of human embryology combined with the difficulty of proving intent in an early abortion meant that there was little effort made to prosecute anyone connected.

    The first generation of feminists–the suffragists of the 19th century–opposed abortion to a woman. This was only partly because of the risks the procedure held for women; they–perhaps more than most men outside the medical profession–quickly realized the implications of the scientific advances in human development. The Revolution, the feminist paper launched by Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, often decried abortion in the strongest terms and refused to sell advertising to purveyors of “patent medicines” (many of which were abortifacients.)

    Anthony, Stanton, and their sisters-in-arms called for punishment for those who performed abortions, but not for women. Their reasoning was simple. They recognized that, while there were women who aborted out of selfishness, most did so out of desperation and for reasons that stemmed from the inherent inequality of women in the society of the day. Women were, in a sense, co-victims with their murdered babies even when they survived the abortion.

    I think there is a case for continuing this policy were abortion to be outlawed again:

    1. While legalizing something does not make it right, it does create the public perception that it is. Likewise, outlawing something creates the perception that it is wrong. Thus there are good reasons for outlawing heinous acts apart from the opportunity for prosecution of the perpetrators.
    2. Our legal system allows for compassion in the case of crimes committed under duress. (Moreover, the ethics upon which the system is founded call for compassion in such cases.)
    3. Even today, women who resort to abortion frequently do so because they feel they have “no other choice.” Abandonment or compulsion by the baby’s father or other family members is still not unusual, and societal pressures still lead many women against their consciences. Abortionists are not as a rule coerced into the trade.
    4. Women procuring an abortion may or may not have full understanding that they are taking a human life; abortionists do, or should as they are usually medical professionals.
    5. Women who have abortions do not profit financially from them (there are nonlethal alternatives to the costs of birth and childrearing) and may suffer physical or emotional harm; abortionists generally profit handsomely.

    There. Now when somebody sticks a camera in your face, you have some ammunition.

  • Cminor,

    while it’s likely that a transitory period could be considered, it would be unjust to treat abortion so much less serious a crime than murder. What about women that kill born infants because of stress and pressure? Do they not largely meet those conditions? Now, every case is different and there is a degree of lattitude permitted to prosecutors, judges, and juries with regard to charges being laid, and sentencing, and that is the place to determine any mitigating circumstances, no differently than any other murder.

  • Now I’ll try that Avatar again.

    Cminor, I agree that the abortionists should be treated more severely under the law than the women, but women who seek out abortions should be judge in court – their circumstances can be considered then.

    Paul

  • NO, one more time

  • For lack of time to write more extensively: I agree with CMinor.

  • Matt and Paul,
    I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby. Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.


  • I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Agreed. Wrong time and place for sucha discussion.

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    Absolutely, I am all for incremental approaches that make slow and steady progress. Even a law which bans abortion except in the case rape/incest/life of mother would be a massive step forward and would also serve to help develop the culture of life.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    Very true, as I acknowledged earlier, a transitory period would be necessary.

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby.

    Here is where we depart company. I agree we shouldn’t single out the woman, and I’ve never said we should. Only that all the pertinent parties should charges to the extent of their participation, and degree of culpability. Let the legal system figure out the details on any particular case.

    Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.

    What does the severity of the charge have to do with the degree of overcrowding? Or are you suggesting no charges at all?

  • Oh, I’m all for going after abortionists. Beyond that, no, I’m not for going after women; my intent was to suggest that if we did, it would be only fair to go after anyone who by action or inaction led the defendant to abort. Hence my remark about the “crowded courtrooms.” Somewhere in there was intended to be the suggestion that I think making a case stick at this point would be difficult given cultural factors. Sorry, it was late.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

  • I’m not for going after women

    Could we apply this exemption to early infanticide? Or is it only for women who kill their babies in the womb that no criminal penalty applies? We must apply the law evenly, that is why justice wears a blindfold.

    action or inaction led the defendant to abort.

    Wow, that’s a giant leap of jurisprudence. There is no legal system in the world which would consider that standard to make a person an accomplice to a crime. If I don’t give money to a beggar, do I go to jail with him when he robs me, or someone else? Good grief.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

    If a person is coerced into commiting a crime then there is either a diminished or eliminated culpability, the law provides for that and is within the power of prosecutors, judges and juries to respond accordingly. Why should there be a special case for women who murder their unborn children?

    My whole point is related to the ultimate situation in which abortion is not readily available on the open market. Where any abortions which take place will be obvious to the participants to be murder, if they proceed then they ought to be charged. Obviously, as long as abortion is legal, or appears legal it isn’t just to target those who reasonably believe they are not comitting a crime.

A Coalition For Me, But Not For Thee

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

Morning’s Minion over at Vox Nova, recently argued that the pro-life movement should disentangle itself from the Republican party. I think a fairly good argument can be made for this position, although I don’t find it entirely convincing. As anyone familiar with the blogosphere is aware, however, the fact that a good argument can be made for a position does not mean that a good argument currently is being made. Here’s the post:

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28 Responses to A Coalition For Me, But Not For Thee

  • “I must confess that (in certain moods) it occurs to me that the animating force for this particular argument from some quarters may have more to do with concern for the Democratic party than the pro-life movement.”

    Moods is the right word here.

  • The man who spouts opposition to the minimum wage and advocates unrestricted assault weapons possessions has always seemed the best poster boy for the pro-life movement.

    Such a credible spokesperson for the sanctity of life in all its stages.

  • Frankly, as I’ve commented before, the only reason that the minimum wage currently seems insufficient is because we Americans believe that everyone has to own their own home, live away from their families, and subsist without any local support. You’d be amazed what a couple of families sharing a single house can accomplish on minimum wage or even less. It is hard, yes, but it is livable. The Catholic Church calls for a livable wage, not a luxurious one.

    As for guns, it is the epitome of folly to believe that a gun automatically equates with an assault weapon. But I suppose it depends on what you see. When you live in the big city, surrounded by gangstas popping caps in some cracker cop, I’m sure you can’t see guns as anything but murder tools. But when you live in wide open spaces (with bears), and you gun hunting regularly for food (in bear country), a gun is not just handy tool, but a necessity.

    Perhaps, Mark, you’d care to make more that slogan-like comments, maybe provide us with a little meat as to why you would oppose gun rights? Perhaps you’d care to break things down across different gun categories, examine demographics, and point to where, either in the Bible or the Catechism, or some papal encyclical, that states that guns should be forbidden?

  • “You’d be amazed what a couple of families sharing a single house can accomplish on minimum wage or even less. It is hard, yes, but it is livable.”

    This is so preposterous that it doesn’t even deserve a further response.

  • Living simply has its rewards. To many people have fallen for the lie that they have a right to a ‘tv’, an ‘suv’, and starbucks coffee at every corner. We here in America don’t know how good we have it. We live not above our means, but waaay above our means. An unsustainable lifestyle.

    We are seeing the repurcusions of this with the collapse of the Big 3 automakers among many other failures.

  • After the Democrats have been in control of Washington for a few years, I think a great many Americans will be lucky to be earning the minimum wage. The Bush administration has done a poor job obviously in its economic policy, but every bad job-destroying idea possible is just waiting to be enacted by the Democrats. The American people are about to learn a very costly lesson in what happens when the people in charge of Washington really believe they can legislate prosperity by government fiat through more regulation and control over private enterprise. A moderate recession is about to be made much worse.

  • It is so easy to extol the virtues of frugal living by others, as we communicate via our $1000 computers, is it not?

  • Mark, why does it not deserve a response? You do realize, don’t you, that many illegal immigrants that come to the states do exactly what I just mentioned? That fact that there are people who do that makes my statement far from absurd. We Americans would be better off if we weren’t so consumed with such pride that we’d rather have the government mandate high wages so we can earn a “respectable” living instead of banding together to help each other out.

    On a different note, obviously it did deserve a response, because you responded to it. Frankly, Mark, I’d really like to get an actual conversation going instead of trying to deal with endless non-starters. Please, instead of simply trying to shut conversation down, why not take a few minutes and give a reasonable response as to why it is absurd to suggest several families live together to help ends meet?

  • Mark,

    I got my computer at half that price after hunting for the cheapest PC I could find all day. Plus, I need it for work. I saved up for it after holding on to my five year old Toshiba until it was incapable of accomplishing the work I do on it.

    Simple living is one of the treasures I discovered these past few years. I hope the American people won’t have to learn the hard way as I had, but with the Dems in power, like Donald said, they will suffer greatly.

  • It would be such a nice change to have rational discourse with Mark and his friends, but when every argument reduces to “guns are evil, business is evil, money is evil,” there really isn’t much left to say.

    Seriously, are you guys Catholics or animists?

  • Ryan – How many other families have you welcomed into your home?

    Tito – Glad to hear that living simply is something you value. It’s something we seem to have in common. Probably the result of fantastic catechesis, eh?

  • Still trying to unravel MM’s logic. First he notes that Pro-Life Movement hooking up with NRA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce is negative. Then go Obama go who has promised to sign FOCA quick fast and in a hurry. Being slightly befuddled I go wha… This intellectual stretching by Catholic Obamaites makes my own noggin hurt. Don’t plan to think about it further. Things to do, life to lead. Let MM live in DreamWorld. I prefer Reality.

  • Catholic social teaching puts forth as an ideal, just wage that one person’s earning which could support a family, it’s healthy leisure, and a savings for possible unforeseeable difficulties.

    But we have Catholic commentators here saying a lowering of the minimum wage in America, way below CST’s proposal, would be somehow beneficial.

    Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    The ignorance about one’s faith is astounding with those who fashion themselves as lay spokespersons for the Catholic faith.

  • Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    For one, you’re assuming that all minimum wage earners are heads of households. The data don’t bear this out. Is it not reasonable to assume that there should be a wage lower than this ideal, just wage proposed by CST which is in effect a “bridge” to higher wages? Can’t people who are low-skilled for a period of time (recent immigrants, students, etc.) earn a wage that is not supporting a family, etc.? Presumably they’re acquiring skills and experience that will enable them to earn a higher wage later. You can argue no, that there is no reason for a bridge wage for lower-skilled workers, but then be prepared for the consequences of all that unemployment.

    The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with a reasonable minimum wage. It seems reasonable to say that there is a lower limit below which society will not allow workers to work, even voluntarily, because it is scarcely worth their labor. The problem is accurately determining what that minimum should be. It seems that a lot of people interpret it a little too expansively, though, not taking into consideration these other factors. They also don’t seem to take into consideration the fact that a minimum wage set too high would do tremendous injustice and violence to the poor… not exactly a cornerstone of CST, right?

  • On MM’s argument: The reason why it makes sense, to a great extent, for the pro-life movement to ally itself with other conservative causes such as gun rights advocates and business advocates is in order to broaden the number of people who will actively vote pro-life. The idea being: If a business advocate is faced with two candidates who are both considered “pro business” by the Chamber of Commerce, but one of whom is pro-life and the other pro-choice, the business advocate will vote for the pro-lifer out of conservative solidarity and a general idea that that pro-life position makes that candidate “one of us”.

    I suppose the question would be: Is this successful? Does alliance with the “conservative movement” widen the number of people who are open to the pro-life message and who vote pro-life? My impression is that it does — in that I’ve seen a number of essentially secular conservative commentators become increasingly open to the pro-life message over the years.

    However, there is an opposite reaction, I am sure, among many progressives, who will be tempted to reflexively disagree with pro-life views because only “those conservatives” support that kind of thing.

    On Mark’s points:

    I’m not sure if anyone writing here necessarily wants to see the minimum wage abolished — and except in certain straw men I don’t believe that the Chamber of Commerce or any other major conservative organization MM could point to (except maybe some very libertarian ones) advocates that either.

    However, I for one don’t think that raising the minimum wage is very helpful to the poor in the long run, and I’m generally not in favor of raisting it.

    And I don’t think that your claim about CST requiring the US minimum wage, and indeed raising the US minimum wage, holds water when thought about calmly. Here’s why:

    The US is currently the richest country in the world. If you make the US minimum wage, you are far better off than most people in most places in the world. (Not that living minimum wage is great — but that living elsewhere in the world is really lousy.)

    I’d generally be against raising it even further because I’m more in favor of allowing increased immigration, including that of low-skill/no-skill workers, from countries with much lower wages. When we raise the minimum wage, we lower the demand for low-skill labor by increasing productivity, and in order to keep unemployment low, we’re heavily incented to keep low-skilled workers out.

    So I’d generally be much more in favor of keeping the minimum wage low and allowing low-skilled workers (for whom the US minimum would be a vast improvement) in rather than jacking up the minimum wage and leaving the rest of the world to take care of itself.

  • it occurs to me that the animating force for this particular argument from some quarters may have more to do with concern for the Democratic party than the pro-life movement.

    Obviously you’re right. The evidence that MM cares about the pro-life movement (which he never mentions except to ridicule) is zero. The evidence that his number one priority is electing Democrats is abundant; judging from what he writes about, he rarely thinks about anything else. His advice to the pro-life movement here — to join with him in taking a back seat to the “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries” crowd — is clearly an example of the fox advising the hens that they’d be better off sleeping outside.

  • And again, to repeat a point made on Vox Nova but that MM could never even attempt to answer, MM and his ilk have absolutely no standing to complain that pro-lifers are sullying themselves by being part of the Republican political coalition, given that they have proven that they are willing to shill for the Democratic political coalition (which most certainly includes some elements that are actively hostile to Catholic teaching).

    Of course, if MM and his ilk had led the way in abandoning the existing political coalitions in America and forming an independent party that would (by their lights) be consistent with Catholic teaching across the board, that would have been a different matter. But they didn’t do anything of the sort.

  • Mark, I understand the specifications of support of family, healthy leisure, and some savings. I don’t think I’ve seen an exact dollar amount, or a percentage, or any figure that states exactly what that is. And perhaps you should consider healthy leisure. Is leisure anything you have to pay for, it can it simply be the statement that a man shouldn’t have to work 20 hours a day to scrape together a living? If it is something you pay for from your wages, how much money do you need for that? Are we talking plasma TV, or a deck of cards? What is astounding is not ignorance of what various papal encyclicals have said, but the belief that somehow leisure has to be defined as a bunch of activities that all cost a fair amount of money, or that leisure cannot be attained even at minimum wage.

    It kind of goes back to prejudices we have of what leisure is, what it is about, and living frugally.

    Perhaps you’d care to state what CST explicitly states for the minimum wage, perhaps in exact dollar amounts? Hmmm… I think exact dollar amounts don’t actually come into the picture, do they? It comes down to understanding what is reasonable for supporting a family, without working oneself to death, and still having a little left over. There’s a lot of ways to accomplish that other than raising the minimum wage (and I, for one, cannot see how raising the minimum wage helps matters when every time we’ve done so, it has hurt job growth), and a lot of it comes down to lowering leisure expectations.

    Michael, I fail to see how my “failure” to invite families into my apartment has anything to do with the discussion. My wife and I live quite comfortably on $1500 a month from our graduate stipends. We’re fortunate enough to have an opportunity to live above total squalor. But if we had to live off of $800 a month (roughly minimum wage with only one of us working), it would be fiscally prudent to find a place we could share with others so that we can make ends meet. Moreover, it would be a bit more prudent to pick up a second job part time. 60 hours a week still leaves time for leisure, and being responsible by teaming up with someone else (who is probably in just as dire straights) leaves a little money left over in case of emergency.

    So, are we worried that there must be some amount of hypocrisy involved when I say “poor families can band together to help each other out”, but haven’t banded together with some poor family myself? Or have we, instead, lost focus on the point that there are more options available than raising the minimum wage (and depriving even more people of jobs), but that we fail to notice them because of issues of pride?

    Frankly, I like the idea of, say, three or families (friends that know each other well enough so there aren’t issues of abuse) living together, with work hours staggered so that someone is always home for the kids or in case of emergency, and enough parents pooling together to keep the place well maintained. I’d be willing to try it with some of my friends. I’d be a little more cautious when it comes to strangers, because of particular issues.

  • Anyway, MM isn’t making these arguments seriously. By criticizing 1) pro-lifers, 2) Rove, 3) Delay, or any conservative who is out of power and irrelevant, he’s just trying to do anything to avoid talking about Obama’s initial priorities on assuming office.

  • And MM’s lashing out at me (on VN) is a sign that deep down he feels some shame for the way he’s behaving. For heaven’s sake, if I had recommended voting for McCain on the specific grounds that McCain was the better anti-war candidate, and if McCain had announced (right now) that his first plan on taking office was to attack Iran, I hope I’d have the honesty and decency to say, “As a McCain supporter, I’m deeply disappointed and hope that McCain backs down from such a bad decision.”

  • About leisure: Scroll down to the section of this BLS report on leisure activity in the U.S. Some interesting data points there.

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf

  • “Moods is the right word here.”

    Touche. However, unless I am mistaken, hypocrisy is also the right word.

    “The man who spouts opposition to the minimum wage and advocates unrestricted assault weapons possessions has always seemed the best poster boy for the pro-life movement.”

    Well, this raises questions about the common good and proportionality which the other commentators have ably addressed. Is it better for there to be less jobs paying a higher wage, or more jobs paying a lower wage? That, I think, is a complex question without a clear right or wrong answer. Similarly, ‘unrestricted assault weapons possession’ could be very bad depending on what the weapons were used for, but it hardly seems to threaten the common good in the same way as abortion.

    I can understand a principled position (e.g. Policraticus, Henry), holding that voting for either party involves unacceptable compromises. I can even understand (but disagree) with the idea that the Democrats are the lesser of two evils. What I find untenable is MM’s position that Republican pro-lifers must separate from their party because it has unacceptable coalition members, while he remains a card-carrying (or, less charitably, water-carrying) Democrat. IMO, the type of hypocritical partisanship on display in MM’s post is (or should be) embarrassing.

  • Well said. I’d be more impressed with MM’s gag-reflex post (because that’s essentially what it was–NRA bad, Chamber of Commerce bad) if he had something to offer on making the Democrats a more hospitable environment for pro-lifers. Yes, the GOP had Abramoff. And the Dems have George Tiller, lovingly tongue-bathed by Obama surrogate Kathleen Sebelius. Say what you will, but at least Abramoff’s in jail.

  • “Catholic social teaching puts forth as an ideal, just wage that one person’s earning which could support a family, it’s healthy leisure, and a savings for possible unforeseeable difficulties.

    But we have Catholic commentators here saying a lowering of the minimum wage in America, way below CST’s proposal, would be somehow beneficial.

    Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    The ignorance about one’s faith is astounding with those who fashion themselves as lay spokespersons for the Catholic faith.”

    Mark is absolutely right on this count. As an ideal, we should indeed strive to provide everyone with the opportunity for a life of leisure. Such a lifestyle fosters the kind of contemplation that is vital to both a renewal of civilization and the attainment of individual salvation.

    Having read the Church’s compendium on social doctrine, I too have concerns that associating with organizations such as the NRA, which in all honesty support a few things inconsistent with unabridged Christianity.

    In my personal experience, I have seen a lot of passive-aggressiveness and even flat-out bitterness and rage among both Democrats and Republicans.

    I suspect the reality is that all these warring ideologies we keep hearing from don’t really have the simple solutions to our problems they’re always claiming to have.

    Everybody knows the wheels are coming off the buggy, so to speak, but nobody honestly has the slightest idea why. Sure, some people say it is because we turned away from God. Very well then, why did we turn away, how do we turn back, and how do we prevent our children from making the same mistakes?

  • -It is so easy to extol the virtues of frugal living by others, as we communicate via our $1000 computers, is it not?-

    Please. Even my dirt-poor in-laws in Honduras have a computer. (And it’s better than mine, which kind of pisses me off…)

  • …which kind of ticks me off…

    Remember to sanitize your comments my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

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  • Re Mark DeFrancisis’ remark on co-family living:
    You do realize that multiple generations of a family sharing a house is commonplace throughout much of the world? It can be an extremely practical arrangement not only for fiscal reasons but because there is almost always someone at home (often grandparents) to mind the children if both parents work. I grew up in a multi-gen household, and was half raised by my grandparents.

    For the record, my computer’s a Dell that retailed, if memory serves, at about $300 for the works. Not all Americans are spendthrifts.