February 5, 1917: Immigration Act of 1917 Passed

Sunday, February 5, AD 2017

slide_18

Some issues are perennial in American history.  A century ago Congress overwhelmingly passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Wilson’s veto.  It established an Asiatic Barred Zone from which new immigrants were excluded.  Chinese were already excluded under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  Japanese immigration was limited under the Gentleman’s Agreement of  1907.  The law required immigrants over 16 to be literate either in English or their native language.  Among the categories of immigrants banned were”alcoholics”, “anarchists”, “contract laborers”, “criminals and convicts”, “epileptics”, “feebleminded persons”, “idiots”, “illiterates”, “imbeciles”, “insane persons”, “paupers”, “persons afflicted with contagious disease”, “persons being mentally or physically defective”, “persons with constitutional psychopathic inferiority”, “political radicals”, “polygamists”, “prostitutes” and “vagrants”.

Continue reading...

2 Responses to February 5, 1917: Immigration Act of 1917 Passed

  • I’m not a lawyer. Of course, the lying media didn’t report it. What Article in the Constitution? What chapter/verse of what US law did the so-called judge cite to place the bogus stay?

  • Holy Macro Safire! It would appear that the Immigration Act of 1965, which was quietly signed into law by LBJ, another lousy president, completely reverses things, so that eveeryone from alcoholics to vagrants on the above list now have priority to enter America.

Leave a Reply

Of Walls and Glass Houses

Friday, February 19, AD 2016

vatican-city-map

And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.

Pope Francis, in response to a question about the immigration policy espoused by Donald Trump.

In light of the Pope’s above comments, perhaps US immigration policy needs to be reformed.  Maybe we should emulate the immigration policy of the Vatican State, which, presumably, must be Christian, even though it is a very strict immigration policy?

 

 

Under the new legal regimen, citizenship can be acquired by law (ex iure) or by administrative decision. Ex iure citizenship is granted to only three classes of persons: (a) the Cardinals resident in the Vatican City State or in Rome; (b) the Holy See’s diplomats; and (c) the persons who reside in Vatican City State by reason of their office or service. This last class includes the members of the Swiss Guard.

Pursuant to Law n. CXXXI, the acquisition of citizenship by administrative decision can only be requested in three situations: (a) by residents of the Vatican City State when they are authorized by reason of their office or service; (b) by the persons who have obtained papal authorization to reside in the State, independently of any other conditions; and (c) by the spouses and children of current citizens, who are also residents, of the Vatican City State.

Due to the special nature of the Vatican City State, the traditional factors utilized to acquire citizenship (ius sanguinis, ius loci, or ius soli) are not applicable and are not found in its regulations. In lieu of them, the Vatican City State has opted for other factors that are more appropriate for its structure and political organization.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Of Walls and Glass Houses

  • Sometimes I wish the Holy Father would spend the rest of his pontificate on silent retreat.

  • Pope Francis – typical Latin American politician

  • The outer wall of Rome is the Aurelian Wall.

    This is the wall that was breached by General Raffaele Cardona’s artillary at the Porta Pia on 20 September 1870 and the Bersaglieri entered through the breach.

    It was a century later, on 20 September 1970, that Bl Paul Vi became the first pope to send a reresentative ( Cardinal Angelo Dell’Acqua, Vicar of Rome) to the annual celebration of the Unification of Italy, held there annually outside the Bersaglieri Regimental Museum that marks the breach.

  • Donald, while this indiscretion of the Pope seems to be another inappropriate remark, I am more concerned on what was reportedly said by him about contraception. Might you cover that? Thanks for the consideration.

  • Eventually I will, although I am waiting on events to see what happens first. Alarm bells are ringing, and I think some of them are ringing in the upper reaches of the Vatican.

  • The Roman Pontiff knows not of what he speaks. He’s too arrogant to understand that.

Ghanîmah Comes to Rotherham

Sunday, August 31, AD 2014

 

Rotherham, a city of about 257,000 in Yorkshire, England, is a battleground in a war that has been waged for 13 centuries:
More than 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16 year period by gangs of paedophiles after police and council bosses turned a blind eye for fear of being labeled racist, a damning report has concluded.

Senior officials were responsible for “blatant” failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help.
In some cases, parents who tried to rescue their children from abusers were themselves arrested. Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.
Downing Street on Tuesday night described the failure to halt the abuse in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, as “appalling”.
Following the publication of the report, the leader of Rotherham council, Roger Stone, resigned, but no other council employees will face disciplinary proceedings after it was claimed that there was not enough evidence to take action.

There were calls for Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire (pictured above, left), to step down after it emerged that he was the councilor with responsibility for children’s services in Rotherham for part of the period covered by the report.

Details of the appalling depravity in the town and the systemic failures that allowed it to continue were laid out in a report published by Professor Alexis Jay, the former chief inspector of social work in Scotland. Victims were gang raped, while others were groomed and trafficked across northern England by groups of mainly Asian men.

When children attempted to expose the abuse, they were threatened with guns, warned that their loved ones would be raped and, in one case, doused in petrol and told they would be burnt alive.

Prof Jay wrote: “No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.

Continue reading...

27 Responses to Ghanîmah Comes to Rotherham

  • “A society that can not protect its kids is a society on its way to extinction.” And remember, right now the most popular boy’s name in England is Mohammed.

  • Yasmin Alibhai Brown (a Ugandan-born British journalist and author, who describes herself as a “leftie liberal, anti-racist, feminist, Muslim, part-Pakistani) had this to say:-
    “The perpetrators are not paedophiles in the normal sense of the word. Racial and cultural odium as much as ugly lust and power drives them to abuse. Most of them are also irreversibly misogynist. It is a lethal mix, this sexist psychopathy.
    I partly blame their families and communities. Too many Asian mothers spoil their boys, undervalue their girls, and demean their daughters-in-law. Within some British Asian circles, the West is considered degenerate and immoral. So it’s OK to take their girls and ruin them further. Some of the most fierce rows I have ever had have been with Asian women who hold these disgusting views.”
    Of the authorities, she says, “White experts and officers have for too long been reluctant to confront serious offences committed by black and Asian people. Such extreme tolerance is the result of specious morality, that credo that says investigating such crimes would encourage racism or enrage community activists and leaders, or, worse, make the professionals appear racist. So, instead of saving children who were being gang raped, drugged, assaulted, threatened and terrorised, they chose to protect rapists, abusers, traffickers and drug dealers. And themselves.”
    http://tinyurl.com/q3jlqlm

  • In a week or two, this horror will be swept under the magic (PC) carpet . . . Some Lower Slobovian, teenage blogger (with 17 readers) will insult Muhammed – paroxysm be on him!
    .
    England doesn’t have the Second Amendment. But, there are large swaths of America where the filthy animals couldn’t get away it.

  • This is the latest in a number of cases to come to light. One of them was in Oxford (what was Inspector Morse doing?) The ever-PC BBC managed to find in Rotherham an Asian woman who claimed (without evidence) that Asian girls were also being abused, so it was not a racial issue. Many of the victims were in local authority ‘care’ after family breakdown, but social services have a culture of treading on eggshells when it comes to dealing with racial minorities. These girls had no parental discipline and the professional care-mongers are incapable and unwilling to exert any control. Occasionally some minion might be held to account, but their grossly overpaid bosses usually walk away with clean hands and are promoted or transferred.

    The Welfare State in the UK has produced a massive army of incompetent and unaccountable public servants. You only have to hear them interviewed to realize that they are not very clever and speak and think in platitudes. A lot of them end up in Parliament and the culture of not accepting blame for anything goes with them. God help us.

  • The Labour Party and the Democrat Party are cut form the same cloth.

  • A crime wave was totally ignored, and soft-on-crime policies allowed vicious violent crime to destroy an urban area, because the political Left wanted to use racial politics to insure its continued position – isn’t that just standard practice in America?

  • Clay,

    Yes it is. Repub Rudy Giuliani beat incumbent Mayor (Obama prototype) David Dinkins and reversed the demise of NYC. After 20 years (Rudy: 8, Midget Mike 12) of policing, (Red Dawn) Bill DiBlazio and blood-thirsty Rev. Al will get killed a couple thousand (more than otherwise) minority, NYC youths.

  • I read the Law and Freedom Foundation’s report on Rotherham. Lots of references to “men who regularly collected [girls] from residential care homes.”

    And so, the tragedy of the commons.

    And people wonder why Catholics insist on preserving the sanctity of the family ideal toward which we can all strive: one man, one woman, caring for their children.

    An interesting subplot from the LFF report is that the Sikh community fought back, bravely, without any help from the government.

  • Pingback: Patriarch Calls for Eradication of Islamic State - BigPulpit.com
  • Political correctness has a cost in human suffering. It’s just a shame that
    only some of the people responsible will see justice. Most of the apparatchiks
    who demanded the institutionalized blindness and outright dereliction of
    duty this scandal required– well, those people will still be writing policy
    for their bureaucracies years from now.
    .
    Britain has a similar institutionalized blindness/ PC insanity when it comes
    to female genital mutilation as practiced by the nation’s “Asian” population.
    In 1985 Her Majesty’s government passed a law criminalizing FGM. In the
    30-or-so years since then, it has been estimated that 6,500 girls each year
    are at risk for FGM. It is widely known that “cutting parties” will be held
    where families will pool funds and have a ‘doctor’ flown in from the old
    country to mutilate the families’ girls. Such “cutting parties” are known to
    be most often held during school holidays, to give the girls a chance to
    heal before going back to school. Amazingly, details like this are widely
    known, and there have been numerous government studies of the practice
    as it occurs in the UK– yet in the 30 years since FGM was criminalized, it
    wasn’t until a couple of months ago that anyone has ever been
    prosecuted under the law. That’s right– as far as the police and the
    courts have been concerned, FGM has never once happened in the UK in the
    past 30 years. Not because of lack of evidence, since it’s so widely known
    how and when and where it happens– but because prosecution is
    politically inconvenient.
    .
    For thirty years the PC pharisees have insisted that a blind eye be turned to
    FGM as practiced by Her Majesty’s “Asian” subjects. It’s ironic that many if
    not most of those PC enforcers would describe themselves as ‘feminists’,
    yet they’ve perpetuated the suffering of these women all in the name of their
    ideology. Rotherham is but the tip of the iceberg– the institutionalized
    disconnect from reality demanded by the PC culture has caused untold
    suffering in Britain.

  • Penguins Fan wrote, “The Labour Party and the Democrat Party are cut form [sic] the same cloth.”
    The Labour Party lost its soul, when at Tony Blair’s behest it abandoned Clause Four of it constitution: “To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

  • Clinton

    FGM is not practised by the Asian community and is unknown on the Indian sub-continent.

    In the UK, it is most widely practiced in the large Somali community, but also by members of the Eritrean, Sudanese and Yemini communities and by some Egyptians and Iraqui Kurds.

    The Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 first created a specific offence, although, in 1976 the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland had found the indictment for the common law offence of Demembration of the Lieges of a grandmother, who had mutilated her granddaughter relevant to infer the pains of law.

    The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 covers arranging the FGM of UK citizens or permanent residents anywhere in the world. This means that prosecutors may now take a wide latitude in averring the locus – “or elsewhere to the prosecutor unknown.”

  • Mr. Paterson-Seymour, FGM is indeed practiced in the Indian sub-continent,
    certainly in Pakistan. There, especially in the southern province of Sindh, it
    is widely practiced among the various minorities who were brought to the
    region as slaves back in the 19th century. The WHO has also documented an
    increasing occurrence of FGM in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. However, you
    are absolutely correct that the vast majority of those who practice FGM in the
    UK are African in national origin.
    .
    MPS, I am sure you would know better than I whether or not the PC term “Asian”
    as used in the UK is used exclusively as a euphemism for Pakistani and Indian
    Muslims or if its use extends to Muslims in general. I am not British.
    .
    In the end, I think my point stands– it seems that the ideology of the PC class
    in Britain would have been threatened by folks speaking frankly about what was
    happening in Rotherham just as it would have been by looking into FGM as it is
    practiced in the UK. And if an untold number of women and children were to
    suffer because the PC mandarins preferred to disconnect from the reality of
    what was going on in order to keep their precious fictions, then the PC mandarins
    appear to have been fine with that.

  • Clinton

    In the UK, “Asian” is used exclusively to describe people from the Sub-Continent, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nor is it confined to Muslims; Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs are included. It is never e used to refer to the Chinese community, for example, nor people from the Arabian peninsula.

    In France, where there have been 100s of prosecutions for FGM, Muslim women’s groups have been particularly vocal in their attacks on “Multiculturalism.” Thus, Sihem Habchi, former President of « Ni Putes Ni Soumises » [Neither Sluts nor Door-mats] has demanded, “No more justifications of our oppression in the name of the right to be different and of respect toward those men who force us to bow our heads”

    She has been echoed by Muslim politicians, notably Rachida Dati, a former Minister of Justice (garde des Sceaux) in the Sarkozy government and by Fadela Amara, a former Secretary of State for Urban Policies. Nor are these lonely or isolated voices. Anyone who knows France and the French press will know that there is great concern about « communautarisme »,by which they mean ethnic and religious solidarities and allegiances that threaten to override Republican unity, whilst politicians, of the Left and Right, berate the perceived racism of “Anglo-Saxon” multiculturalism.

  • It wasn’t all racism on the part of the government. Some of the council bosses were themselves of Pakistani decent. The motives of these particular bosses may have been complex, but ultimately they were siding with their co-religious who were arguably following Quranic verses.

  • An interesting subplot from the LFF report is that the Sikh community fought back, bravely, without any help from the government.

    Well, they knew they couldn’t be accused of racism, unlike the English aborigines.

  • “the Sikh community fought back, bravely, without any help from the government.”

    The Sikhs are traditionally warriors and used to governments that are, at best, useless.

  • The Labour Party lost its soul, when at Tony Blair’s behest it abandoned Clause Four of it constitution:

    The Labour Party lost its soul when it elected to fight political battles by packing the meeting with foreigners. The Democratic Party does the same here. Peter Hitchens has offered a brief memoir of his time as a student pinko and the disposition toward immigration amongst his fellows: they wanted immigration because they did not like Britain, and more foreigners dilutes the influence of native British.

    Compare the biographies of Harry Truman and James Callaghan to those of Barack Obama and the Milliband brothers. That’s what’s happened to the Democratic Party and the Labour Party alike.

  • You might also look at the treatment of Iain Duncan Smith and Sarah Palin in the newspapers. In this country, the public discourse is ostentatiously snobbish in ways you could not imagine in 1975.

  • Supposedly, the department head who looked the other way during this disaster is the same individual who stripped a local couple of their franchise to have foster children and removed the children in their care because that couple were UKIP supporters.

    You cannot reduce the influence and discretion of social workers too much.

  • I think the brave, honorable Sikhs stood by the English during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny when the East India Company’s mercenary Hindu (new cartridges oiled with beef fat) and Muslim (greased with pork fat),savages based on a butcher’s list of excuses (same same as al Qaeda and ISIS fling about) similarly exhibited their courage toward English women and children.
    .

    Some contemporary Hindu Indians try to deny any good work the Brits may have accomplished, e.g., suppressing thousands of Ma Cali cult murderers and keeping at bay savage Pathans and bestial Russians.
    .

    “Wha’ saw the 42nd . . . “

  • T Shaw

    You are right.

    During the Mutiny, the Sikhs of the garrison at Lucknow remained faithful and the city was relieved by the 93rd Highlanders and the 4th Punjab Infantry. Hope Grant’s cavalry division also included the 2nd and 5th Punjab cavalry and Wale’s Sikh Horse and Campbell’s brigade included the 1st Sikh cavalry, all Sikh regiments.

    It was at this time that the Punjab infantry adopted the pibroch of the Highlanders and their regimental lament is still the heart-rendingly beautiful “flowers of the Forest.”
    http://tinyurl.com/kc5ayh9

  • Violating the sexual integrity of innocent minor children calls to heaven for rectitude. When Allah learns what crimes his followers are committing, Allah will reject them and their deeds.
    Religion is acknowledging the truth and goodness Who is God; loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. Calling our neighbor “infidel” and claiming to know how he loves and thinks, claiming to live his life in his body for him and usurping power of attorney from him is not the way of religion or of Allah.
    .
    Peace at any price is a fancy way of saying cowardice. Throwing our innocent children to Molloch has no decent word to express the supreme idiocy of allowing crime to save oneself. This is nothing but stupidity. Britain has lost its mind and is no long Great.
    .
    n a couple of months this will get blamed on the Catholic Church just like the burning of Rome by Nero and the 800 bodies who never were.
    .
    The American Catholic goes a long way to informing the people of the truth of the matter. Viva Freedom of the press.

  • I suppose these misguided misfits would say regarding Ghanimah and FMG, “It is our custom”. To which the proper reply would be that of the Nineteenth Century British Officer regarding the practice in India of Suttee. To wit, if you erect a pyre to burn a man’s widow at his funeral, I will erect a gallows and hang you. For that is our custom.

  • William P. Walsh: “I suppose these misguided misfits would say regarding Ghanimah and FMG, “It is our custom”. To which the proper reply would be that of the Nineteenth Century British Officer regarding the practice in India of Suttee. To wit, if you erect a pyre to burn a man’s widow at his funeral, I will erect a gallows and hang you. For that is our custom.”
    .
    bears repeating

  • Pingback: A Tale of Conquest? | The American Catholic

Lip Service

Sunday, July 20, AD 2014

imagesHIKUEXM6

 

 

Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, who presided over the canonization funeral mass of Ted Kennedy, read about it here, continues to disappoint.  Boston Catholic Insider gives us the details:

 

 

Cardinal Sean O’Malley appeared with liberal Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday to voice support for Patrick’s proposal to house illegal immigrants and offer Catholic social service assistance for illegals, while the Cardinal said nothing all week about a heinous law advancing in the Mass legislature to penalize those who try to prevent women from aborting their children. In our opinion, the Cardinal is yet more clearly showing his stripes as being a tool of the liberal Democratic pro-abortion establishment, and a hypocrite when it comes to protection of life.

On June 27,  Cardinal O’Malley came out in support of the Supreme Court decision that unanimously struck down the previous Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law as unconstitutional. Never had Cardinal O’Malley been seen praying in front of an abortion clinic, but still, his statement was welcome and appreciated when he said that pro-life Americans who “peacefully pray for and offer alternatives to pregnant women approaching abortion clinics” have the same constitutional protections as anyone else  “This discriminatory law barred these citizens from gathering on nearby public sidewalks, while exempting ‘clinic escorts’ trained to expedite women into (abortion clinics),” he said. “Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans’ freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court’s decision to overturn the law.”

That was June 27.  Then this week, the Mass Legislature introduced legislation that is far worse for pro-lifers than the previous law struck down by the Supreme Court. Details of the legislation are posted here by MassResistance:

  1. Creates a new “buffer zone.” The bill creates a 25-foot buffer zone substantially similar to the one which the US Supreme Court recently struck down.
  2. Has a “Dispersal” clause. The bill allows police to define any two or more people standing near an abortion clinic as a “gathering.” Any law enforcement official may arbitrarily decide that this “gathering” is in some way impeding access, and may order them to “disperse” and to stay outside of the buffer zone for at least eight hours. This can be done with no legal hearing or due process, threatening them with unusually severe penalties of arrest, prosecution, criminal fines, and jail time for not complying. In addition, a court can later impose civil fines, large punitive damages, attorney’s fees and “expert witness fees”. [First time who “impede a person’s access to or departure from a reproductive health care facility with the intent to interfere with that person’s ability to provide, support the provision of or obtain services at the reproductive health care facility” face a fine of $1,000 or six months in jail]
  3. Harsher punishments for one group over another. The bill places unusually high punishments for anyone threatening, intimidating, assaulting, blocking, or otherwise impeding people entering or leaving abortion clinics. But these high punishments do not apply to people entering or leaving the clinics (or anyone else) who are perpetrators of assaults of intimidation against pro-life advocates.

A hearing was held on Wednesday, and the measure quickly passed the Mass Senate. What did Cardinal O’Malley say or do about this publicly? Nothing. On short notice, Mass Citizens for Life had erected billboards and asked people to call legislators and to attend and speak at the hearing. Other organizations including FRC and MassResistance rallied pro-lifers.  What did O’Malley, the Mass Catholic Conference and Massachusetts bishops do? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. The last legislative alert sent out by the do-nothing MCC was six months ago. It is truly pathetic.  It is clear that the Cardinal’s rhetoric of June 27 was empty, and Cardinal O’Malley simply does not care about this issue–or whether pro-lifers wanting to help prevent women from taking the lives of their unborn children are fine, arrested or jailed.

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Lip Service

  • He is hard to understand. He made strong pro life statements at time of commencement speech by Ireland’s lady prime minister because of her pro abort stand. Do you think the inconsistency could be that he and his staff are not on the same page? Maybe he doesn’t get good information .

  • Too many – perhaps a majority – of Roman Catholic clerics are reflexively liberal. This is because the appeal of social justice, the common good and peace at any price from the hand of the government is simply too appealing to them. Somehow they think however erroneously that with just a few more dollars and cents from the public treasury, we can usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Perhaps it is there that they think they will themselves have the power which they ever so secretly covet. After all, being in the lime light with a governor – any governor – enhances the appearance of a Bishop in this world and that becomes very attractive.
    .
    When some years ago I live in a beach town in North Carolina, I attended a parish whose orthodox priest was relocated to the Diocesan center in Raleigh, and replaced with a decidedly lackluster one who lacked passion and (I do not know how to describe it) theological vigor or insight or wisdom. I knew more about Scripture than he, and I am a mere layman. In any event, to get back to my story, there was a program for us in Respect Life to care for pregnant women so that they could bear their children in safety and security. Some obviously were non-Christian and I suggested that we must present the Gospel to them in a way consistent with their station in life (not of course preaching hell fire and brimstone, but conversion, repentance and forgiveness). This priest opposed that, saying we must do nothing to offend their religious (or agnostic or atheistic) sensibilities. I was so very disappointed. Would St Paul have done that? This priest was more interested in conciliation and not offending. This is the kind of person Cardinal O’Malley is, and it disgusts me.

  • Isaiah 29:13-14

    13 And the Lord said:
    “Because this people draw near with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
    and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote;
    14 therefore, behold, I will again
    do marvelous things with this people,
    wonderful and marvelous;
    and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
    and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hid.”

  • O’Malley himself may be out of town. The Holy See have him on this and that commission and advisory board. The man’s also elderly and has had over 22 years a series of disagreeable postings compelled to clean up someone else’s mess; he may just be burned out. However, there should be someone in the chancery monitoring this sort of thing. (The cdl.’s participation in the Kennedy funeral was a failure of witness to say the least).

Chicago Refugees

Sunday, July 13, AD 2014

 

 

During World War II American soldiers from Illinois, when they mentioned they were from the Sucker State to a foreigner, would usually have the person making tommy gun shooting motions in response, since the only thing they knew about Illinois was that it had Chicago in it, and the only thing they knew about the city of broad shoulders and narrow brains was Al Capone.  Chicago and crime have gone together like the Cubs and losing for a very long time indeed.   Father Z notes that this long time association is becoming very troublesome indeed:

 

I saw this astonishing and yet not at all surprising piece by Rich Lowry.

But will anything useful be done about this?  Who wants to bet?

Chicago suffering social meltdown

For most of the country, July Fourth weekend means hot dogs, fireworks and relaxing time with family. In certain neighborhoods in Chicago, it means something very different. For the second year running, Chicago saw a spate of violence over the long holiday weekend that would generate headlines if it happened in Kabul.

“It’s Groundhog Day here in Chicago” is how Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy put it. This year, the tally of shame was more than 80 people shot and 14 killed. Last year, a slightly longer July Fourth weekend — the holiday fell on a Thursday — saw 75 people shot and 12 fatalities.

The astonishing numbers underline how Chicago, despite recent progress on crime, is still a byword for gunplay and urban chaos. It is a city where life, at least among young men living in the most dangerous neighborhoods, is cheap.

Chicago’s killings can’t readily be interpreted through a racial prism, so they don’t provoke gales of outrage from the nation’s opinion-makers. Only very rarely do they become national causes, as in the heartbreaking case of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot to death shortly after performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last year.

Chicago saw its homicides soar from roughly 430 in 2011 to more than 500 in 2012, before it got them back down below 2011 levels last year, thanks to more aggressive policing. They are running slightly lower again this year, although they are still higher than in New York City, even though Chicago is a third of the size.

Why is Chicago the nation’s murder capital? [BTW… Honduras, where Card. Rodriguez Maradiaga is prelate, is apparently the murder capital of the world.] Its officials always want [pointlessly] to talk about gun laws, and Superintendent McCarthy complained about their laxity after the latest shootings. This is bizarre, since Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and has been slapped down in the courts for trampling on the Second Amendment in its zeal to make it all but impossible to own guns. Chicago is a running illustration of the cliche that if you ban guns, only criminals will own them. [Exactly.]

Gun laws are beside the point. The tony Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park could have the same laws as gun-friendly Vermont and it would still be extremely safe. What Chicago is suffering from is not a random citywide phenomenon, but a specific, highly concentrated one.

Overall, according to Chicago magazine, the rate of nonfatal gunshot injury in Chicago was 46.5 per 100,000 from 2006 to 2012. But it was only 1.62 per 100,000 for whites. For blacks, it was 112.83 per 100,000. For black males, 239.77, and for black males aged 18-34, 599.65, or “a staggering one in 200.

A study by sociologist Andrew Papachristos shows that the shootings overwhelmingly occur among a small network of criminal offenders.

Chicago is grappling with the profound social breakdown of certain neighborhoods, where the two-parent family has been obliterated and where, too often, young men consider lawlessness the norm. It is here, as Heather Mac Donald of City Journal writes, that gang members define themselves not by “family, or academic accomplishments or interests, but ruthless fealty to small, otherwise indistinguishable, pieces of territory.”

Continue reading...

21 Responses to Chicago Refugees

  • “…gang members define themselves not by “family, or academic accomplishments or interests, but ruthless fealty to small, otherwise indistinguishable, pieces of territory.”
    .
    Wow. Now there’s food for thought

  • Gun control always works for the criminals. Thus do the Democrats advocate gun control. They are no different than their Stalinist and Maoist forbearers.

  • This c

  • Gangs are made up of people who are not very bright. Very violent but not very bright. The Mafia was infinitely smarter.

  • Sorry about the error on earlier post. I often find after I have submitted a post that auto correct and/or human error in using my phone results in mistakes.

    My comment was that this post contains information, re: black on black violence and violence occuring mostly among a specific subset of the population who are gang members/drug lords over given areas of the city territory–that is backed up by my experiences teaching in the inner city schools.

  • PF said: “Gangs are made up of people who are not very bright. Very violent but not very bright. The Mafia was infinitely smarter.”

    Gangs in our areas are made up mostly of single minority males under the age of 25 who are very street smart and who have often not graduated from high school. They are not concerned about being smart. They want to have respect on the street and quick easy cash. They do not expect to live to be 30.

    Comparing these inner city gangs of today with the Mafia is like comparing apples and oranges.

  • “Gangs are made up of people who are not very bright”

    It has become almost a cliché of social science that criminals have a significantly lower IQ that the average. It is certainly true that convicts do; whether these are a representative sample of criminals in general is not obvious.

    A similar study of the lower ranks of the detective police, largely drawn from the same social milieu, might be revealing.

    Cities as different as Glasgow and Paris have pretty well succeeded in quarantining the criminal classes in public housing schemes on the city outskirts; one think of Drumchaple and Easterhouse, Clichy-sous-Bois and La Courneuve.

    The fact that the Glaswegian underclass is almost wholly indigenous seems to make little difference. One has the same feral underclass, with inter-generational unemployment and breeding like lice.

  • MPS said: “It has become almost a cliché of social science that criminals have a significantly lower IQ that the average. It is certainly true that convicts do; whether these are a representative sample of criminals in general is not obvious.”

    1. The criminals who are caught & repeat their crimes,because getting caught does not alter their behavior, at a very high rate (as the recidivism rate is very high) would of necessity not be very bright. Lol

    2. A very large percentage of our prison populations here in the US have been raised in a home without their biological father–which correlates to a high percentage of the criminals not graduating from high school, etc.

    3. There is also correlation between prison populations and those individuals with cognitive disabilities/mental illness. The correlation is particularly high when the incarcerated population under consideration consists of juveniles.

  • A similar study of the lower ranks of the detective police, largely drawn from the same social milieu, might be revealing.

    No it wouldn’t.

    MPS, do you think perhaps industrial psychologists have not addressed the question of what sort of psychometric scores are associated with what sort of employment? That aside, police officers in this country of all stripes have to pass civil service examinations. They’ve been gutted for reasons of political patronage many places, but people still fail them. “Detectives”, lower-rank or no, have to pass promotional examinations. (IIRC from articles I’ve read, a half-standard-deviation below the median is lower bound for a cop and a standard deviation above the median is lower-bound for a physician).

  • I did have the advantage in my life of working with low IQ people who taught me a lot about the potential for good OR evil in all of us. Though I worked in a state/ county government agency, I also have been blessed by working a bit with L’Arche. The deep spirituality and unadulterated goodness of some of the people I met!
    .
    As far as the gang violence goes, I was struck by the territoriality! I though when I first read it, of the beautiful song from the movie Exodus- “this land is mine, God gave this land to me!”
    Of course people can move away, but then who would they be?! Their identity is tied up there.
    We take our identity from God our Father and He has given us the whole world!
    We also need the affirmation of belonging to a group… So he gives us each other and we have to work it out from there.
    When Mary appeared in Wisconsin to Adele Brice, she called on her to do her mission here – in this “wild” place. Adele had planned earlier in her life to be a missionary- when Mary called her on it , she began walking the wooded area to teach the catechism. Could that happen in gang territory ?

  • By the way, MPS, police officers are not drawn from the same milieux as gang members in this country, but from the homes of skilled tradesmen and common-and-garden bourgeois who very seldom are found in slums. (Dale Price’s brother is a federal police officer, IIRC. If I’m not mistaken, he has a sidearm, in case you’re tempted to try smuggling single malt scotch through Sault Ste. Marie).

  • Art Deco wrote, “police officers are not drawn from the same milieux as gang members in this country, but from the homes of skilled tradesmen and common-and-garden bourgeois who very seldom are found in slums.”

    In this country, there has long been a policy to target disadvantaged areas for recruitment. It is seen as central to the concept of “community policing,” where officers are drawn from the areas they police and have strong local and family ties there. It is seen as essential to the notion of “policing by consent,” based on management and negotiation, rather than conflict and confrontation.

    The old practice of external recruitment for senor ranks, largely from the military, has long been abandoned, although there have been some tentative moves to encourage and fast-track university graduates into leadership and administrative posts.

    “If I’m not mistaken, he has a sidearm”

    The thought of arming our police force, as at present constituted, would appal, not only the public, but their own senior officers.

  • “By the way, MPS, police officers are not drawn from the same milieux as gang members in this country, but from the homes of skilled tradesmen and common-and-garden bourgeois who very seldom are found in slums.”

    That doesn’t keep them from being criminals frequently–just the same. If their intelligence is higher, it must be their morals that are corrupt.

    When I was a teenager, the FBI came into our home town & “encouraged” our chief of police to resign in order to avoid an unveatigation.

    Then when I was in college in another town, a police officer involved in a crime ring allowed his fellow police officer to be shot–& then made sure his fellow officer was good & dead before he let anyone know about the shooting.

    Then when I started to work after college (3rd town) the sheriff had to be threatened with a state police investigation in order to take 2 of my female students (11& 13 years old) out of their home where their DEA informant father was using his daughters to service the men who were purchasing drugs at their home.

    Then my next job out of college led me to a county in which the sheriff was chargers with drug money laundering.

    Currently, the town in which I live has a local officer charged with rape–yes during his official duties.

    I currently live in a county where the county prosecutor not only used cocaine but also was convicted of running a drug ring. Currently our newly ex-sheriff is facing multiple felony accounts re: his actions in office–along with some of his staff–and was forced to resign around Christmas because he had to be arrested for public drunkenness & resisting arrest by a city police officer.

    Then their was the recent unpleasantness of the officers transporting drugs across the state based out of West Memphis.

    One might understand such things if these law officers had lower intelligence.

  • Barbara Gordon

    Criminals come from all sorts of backgrounds, of course.

    I recall a dispute over a will and one middle-aged lady – very county, twin-set and pearls – was being examined by her own counsel. He knew her credibility would be challenged and that the other side had done their homework, so he tried to lessen its impact by asking, in smooth, level tones:
    “And, it’s right, isn’t it that you have one, and only one, criminal conviction and that was for murder and it was a long time ago?” The witness assented.

    The Lord Ordinary, who was taking a note of the evidence, actually broke the nib off his fountain pen.

  • Criminals come from all sorts of backgrounds, of course.

    If you pay attention to British detective serials you know most murderers are provincial late-middle aged bourgeois (except for the one’s Jane Tennyson is after).

  • I have been following the adventures of Endeavor Morse and I had no idea that Oxford Dons were so addicted to murder! Of course, as an American officer during World War II told Inspector Foyle in an episode of Foyle’s War, he had heard that the English were murdering each other all the time, but he never thought he would become involved in one! (If only real life murders were as intriguing as fictional ones. Alas, those that I have been involved in, purely in my professional capacity of course, have tended to be simple to solve, overwhelmingly sad, and the murderers not at all interesting.)

  • I was involved in one rather intriguing murder trial, a spin-off of the Glasgow Ice-Cream wars. Arthur “Fat Boy” Thomas, the son of Mr Arthur Thomson, a well-known entrepreneur was shot three times outside the family home (The Ponderosa) and suspicion fell on one of Mr Thomson’s former enforcers, Paul Ferris, who was now operating on his own.

    On the day of “Fat Boy’s funeral, and after the procession had passed it, police discovered a car containing the bodies of two associates of Paul Ferris, Robert Glover and Joe Hanlon. They had been shot in the posterior and in the back of the head. The officer in charge of the “Fat Boy” murder enquiry confirmed to reporters that they were treating the deaths as suspicious.

    In the fullness of time Paul Ferris was charged with the murder. Some 300 witnesses were called, but what gave the trial an unusual degree of interest was that a number of the Crown witnesses were given “Tipperary Alibis” by the defence. In other words, the defence called witnesses to prove those Crown witnesses had not been where they claimed to be. After 54 days, the jury found the charge not proven. He now has interests in the cab and private hire trade in Edinburgh.

  • I have been following the adventures of Endeavor Morse and I had no idea that Oxford Dons were so addicted to murder!

    Only after 1986. Back in 1963 when Morse started with the Oxford police, it was pretty much townies.

    Most recent discovery was a department store manager inadvertantly kills his wife then goes off on a serial killing spree making use of imported panty host to strangle three adulterous women he hardly knew from a cord of wood, stabbing a stock clerk in his establishment to death when said clerk caught him nicking the panty hose, and then caught in the act of trying to dispatch one of his staff with the panty hose (she was long separated from her husband and dating). After that, an old flame of Morse’s supervisor commits suicide a propos of nothing in particular. (Yes, they need better writers).

  • MPS said: I recall a dispute over a will and one middle-aged lady – very county, twin-set and pearls – was being examined by her own counsel. He knew her credibility would be challenged and that the other side had done their homework, so he tried to lessen its impact by asking, in smooth, level tones:
    “And, it’s right, isn’t it that you have one, and only one, criminal conviction and that was for murder and it was a long time ago?” The witness assented.

    The Lord Ordinary, who was taking a note of the evidence, actually broke the nib off his fountain”

    Bbbbaaaahhhhhaaaaa!!!! 😀

  • Art Deco wrote, “Yes, they need better writers.
    But Barrington Pheloung’s score makes up for everything

  • ” After that, an old flame of Morse’s supervisor commits suicide a propos of nothing in particular. ”

    Thought maybe it’s the ‘modern’ way of ascribing ‘humanity’ to a character. Thursday is such a just, intelligent man (with a remarkable voice). The woman he used to know turned his head momentarily so, of course by modern standards, her death would be the only way for him to remain totally loyal to his marriage and, as well, give the viewers a touch of something to emote ‘sympathy’.

    The Dons seem to be in the target of ‘Endeavor’ with the revelations of traits that are emphasized.

Bad Faith Arguments and Immigration

Tuesday, July 2, AD 2013

NB – this was originally posted at the Catholic Stand.

——————————————————————–

I would like to use this space to talk with you about an issue of the utmost moral importance. It’s an issue where no clear-thinking, righteous Catholic could possibly differ in judgment. Yes, it’s time that Catholics united and stood up for legislation that outlaws the use of incandescent light bulbs. Not only would such legislation help protect our environment, but it is actually mandated in the Bible. Are you not familiar with Mathew 25:35?

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

If you’re wondering what this Scripture passage has to do with banning incandescent light bulbs, well, it’s as applicable to this issue as it is to the Senate’s attempts to pass an immigration reform bill. Yet  our Vice President has cited this passage to shame  Christians into supporting immigration reform.

You’ll pardon me for failing to see how this biblical injunction means that I must support a bill that allows those who have entered the country illegally to jump ahead of those who desire legal passage into this country.

Unfortunately it has become something of a game to misappropriate bible verses in order to justify either legislation or, in some circles, to actually defend behavior or attitudes that contradict most other Bible passages. How often have you read a blog post criticizing, say, Nancy Pelosi for defending abortion rights, only to see someone in the comments to said post utilize the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone?” non-argument? It’s not enough to just cite the passage, you actually have to demonstrate how the passage you’re citing actually links to the position you’re taking. Sure, not every Bible verse will literally match up and you do need to interpret according to the proper context, but there should be at least a reasonable nexus between the Scripture quotation and your position on a semi-related issue.

What’s also infuriating about Biden’s sudden adherence to biblical literalism is that he glosses over, say 1 Corinthians 6:9 when it comes to same-sex marriage, and that pesky 6th Commandment when it comes to abortion. Yet strained references to unrelated Bible passages are perfectly acceptable according to ole Joe when it’s a piece of legislation his boss and his party are really desperate to pass.

If only Joe Biden were the only Catholic stretching logic in order to justify Senate action. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, authored this letter encouraging support for the Senate’s bill. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with the Bishops supporting immigration reform, it’s just that the arguments deployed in defense of the bill are, well, indefensible, starting with this:

Each day in our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system. Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings die in the desert.

This is a very unfortunate choice of words. Note the use of the passive voice: families are separated, migrant workers are exploited. What this passage does is essentially deny any agency in the migrant worker. In fact, the wording actually dehumanizes the worker in a certain sense because it takes away any moral culpability on his part. Those who have chosen to immigrate to the United States – legally or illegally – have largely not done so against their will (I will not discuss here those who have been forced to leave the country against their will thanks to our lack of effective border security). If families are separated, then that responsibility adheres to the individual or individuals who have knowingly entered the country illegally.

There is more:

We can continue on our current path, which employs an immigration system that does not serve the rule of law or the cause of human rights, or we can create a system which honors both principles.

I have admitted that the current immigration system could use improving, but this is complete hyperbole. Even if one grants – as I do – that the current system is overly restrictive, how does it not serve the rule of law? Is the system unjust? No. Moreover, Archbishop Gomez fails to recognize where the rule of law is not being respected. It’s the person who has entered the country illegally who has flouted the rule of law. If the system is broken, then perhaps we should point the fingers at those who have broken it by overrunning it.

We can maintain a system that fosters illegal behavior and undermines the law, or fashion one that provides incentives for legal behavior and is based upon fairness and opportunity.

Again, in trying to defend the migrant worker the good Archbishop is effectively dehumanizing him by suggesting that the person just has no other recourse than to break the law. Furthermore, the very bill that Archbishop Gomez and his fellow American Bishops are promoting creates dis-incentives for legal behavior. Those who are already here illegally will not be punished other than in the most minimal way, and most of the supposed restrictions being placed on them can easily be disregarded. In essence, they will have an opportunity to gain legal status ahead of those who have played by the rules. Where is the fairness in that? Where is the respect for the rule of law in that?

I am growing tired of those who misuse Scripture and who offer empty platitudes in an attempt to convince Catholics they are morally obligated to support certain public policies. Of course Jesus’s words and teaching should always be at the forefront of our minds as we’re formulating political opinions. What I find offensive are efforts to appropriate those teachings and infer a certain pre-determined end.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Bad Faith Arguments and Immigration

  • I’ll just repeat here what I said in the combox at Catholic Stand:

    I’ve been waiting for someone in the mainstream Catholic blogosphere to say something like this. Unfortunately, Archbishop Gomez and yes Vice President Biden, are speaking for the vast majority of U.S. Bishops on this issue. In fact, they have even included this issue alongside of opposing the HHS Mandate in their Fortnight for Freedom statement. If this is not defining religious liberty down, what is?

    Although I vehemently oppose the Gang of Eight’s bill, I would object to them coming out against it just as much as I oppose what they are doing now. On issues like this capital punishment, and other issues where a Catholic can licitly take divergent views, the bishops’ responsibilities are to state the binding moral principles and hold all side accountable to those principles. Beyond that, they are to remain neutral. This is all the more crucial in the times we now find ourselves.

  • “LOVE!!”

    Yes, but LOVE!!! (I put an extra exclamation point in there for a little extra effect) is not merely an emotion. True love must be done in truth. That includes the possibility that actually loving a person may mean doing something that they find painful – including having them act justly (according to the law.)

    Archbishop Gomez was ordained a priest for the Prelature of Opus Dei. St. Josemaria Escriva was adamant that it was the domain of the laity to order society. Priests were to teach but not to form particular programs. He was so in love with this aspect of the role of the laity that he said “When priests speak about politics, they are wrong.” Archbishop Gomez proves these words.

  • It always amazes me when people, especially those with great responsibility, condone stealing (which is, IMO, what illegal immigration is). This is an excellent article because it clearly spells out how people get around their culpability by changing their sentences to the passive voice. Is there a link to the article on Catholic Stand?

  • I’ve added a link to the Catholic Stand at the top of the post.

  • It has long been troubling to me that the Catholic Church has taken the stand of segregating Latino immigrants from the parishioners. At least, that’s what is done in the Diocese of Nashville.
    Years ago, I protested that “segregation” was outlawed in the 60’s.
    Here, there are separate “Spanish” Masses. Said in Spanish. There are other “separate” activities.
    While I appreciate the compassion of wanting to communicate to these immigrants in their native language, the practice is, in fact, holding them back. It is effectively denying them opportunity in America. The international language of business is “English.” English is taught all around the world, but, here, the Church if failing our Hispanic brethern by not encouraging them to attend our already established Masses. What safer and more loving environment could initiate them in American culture?
    When I was in Miami years ago, my daughter and I attended a fully Spanish Mass and enjoyed the experience. Even though, during the homily, she nudged me and said, “Bet you’re getting alot out of this homily!” Though, I do not speak Spanish, I picked up on words and gestures enough to capture the essence.
    We need to help Hispanics embrace English. It is disingenous of the Church to suggest that it is “wrong” for a fence to be built along the border when the bishop(s)demand that the parishes provide “separate, but equal” facilities and Masses for the immigrants. If they are in America, there should be no fences.
    At the same time, citizenship must be earned. And it must be legal.

  • “Mathew 25:35?

    “‘For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in . . . ‘”

    Kumbaya!

    The error in contemporary “social justice” teaching is essential. And, Joe Biden is an imbecile.

    The “Final Judgment” teaching is only presented in Matthew.

    However, Matthew, Mark, and Luke quote Jesus teaching specifically who qualifies as His followers, His brothers and His sisters.

    The only ones that will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who do what “my Father wants them to do.” (Mattew 7:21; Luke 13:25-27)

    Jesus teaches that certainly whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of His followers will receive a reward. (Matt. 10:42; Mark 9:41)

    Jesus says that his brothers and sisters are whomever does what God the Father wants them to do. (Matt. 12:48-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21)

    Ergo, illegal invaders are not doing what God wants them to do and are not Christ’s brothers, followers or sisters, least of or otherwise.

    Mickey Kaus: “Shorter, Rubio aide: ‘There’s a reason unemployed Americans are unemployed. They aren’t star performers.’ Screw ‘em. We’re bringing in workers from abroad! This is what opponents of the Gang of 8 have been arguing is the philosophy behind its proposed giant increase in the immigrant work force. Good to have confirmation.”

    Misplaced sentimentality/mercy and willful ignorance. Tolerance of criminality leads to more crime; tolerance of terrorism leads to more terrorism; efforts to appear defenseless lead to assault.

    One does not stop rapes by making rape legal.

  • Miss Sheila,

    Our Lord and Master communes with His people by offering Himself in the Eucharist, not to make them more American. Mass isn’t about sovereignty, it is about communing with God as one people, spread over many lands and speaking many tongues, but one people all the same.

    Where there are enough Spanish speaking members of the congregation to warrant Mass said in Spanish, it should be said in Spanish, or even English, if a Pastor finds that many English speaking people in his Miami parish 🙂

  • Nowhere in that letter does the bishop specify how the current regime in immigration law inhibits the Church’s corporal works of mercy.

    I am sorry, it is just seems another example of a mush-head who’s a parasite off the order which has to be provided by rougher characters to whose efforts he grants no credit. Or perhaps it is an example of a bourgeois cosmopolitan who does not care much about the interests of people who live here. Leapfrogging loyalties, and all.

    In parish life, it is very seldom that you encounter a priest who offers insistent teaching through a full cycle of sermons derived from the readings of each Sunday of the liturgical year. Here we have the hierarchical variant of it whereby effort and voice is frittered away in favor of a lot of chaff about ancillary matters. We do live in a decadent age.

Borders are for Fascists

Monday, June 13, AD 2011

I don’t know Klavan on the culture.  If only fascists support the Arizona law, there seems to be a lot of fascism going around since eight states are currently copying the Arizona law, even which that law is still enjoined by a Federal district judge.  Illegal immigration is down about eight percent in recent years however, due mainly to the truly lousy economy.  Obamanomics, it is good for something after all!

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Borders are for Fascists

Mickey Kaus: Democrat With a Difference

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Mickey Kaus, blogger and writer, is running against Barbara Boxer in the Senate primary in California.  I have read with enjoyment his KausFiles for years.  Alas, Mr. Kaus is not pro-life.  If he were, I could imagine myself possibly voting for him.  He is taking on some of the major shibboleths of his party.  Here are a few examples:

Unions:

“Yet the answer of most union leaders to the failure of 1950s unionism has been more 1950s unionism. This isn’t how we’re going to get prosperity back. But it’s the official Democratic Party dogma. No dissent allowed.

Government unions are even more problematic (and as private sector unions have failed in the marketplace, government unions are increasingly dominant). If there are limits on what private unions can demand — when they win too much, as we’ve seen, their employers tend to disappear — there is no such limit on what government unions can demand. They just have to get the politicians to raise your taxes to pay for it, and by funding the Democratic machine they acquire just the politicians they need.

Continue reading...

One Response to Mickey Kaus: Democrat With a Difference

4 Responses to British Survey on Foreigners In the United Kingdom

Speculating on Gomez

Tuesday, April 6, AD 2010

First of all, I need to introduce myself: my name is Michael Denton and I’m from what Tito calls the People’s Republic of Cajunland and what I call paradise: South Louisiana. As for my qualifications: well, like most other bloggers, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. If that’s a problem for you…well, then you probably don’t need to be reading blogs.

Anyway, today we heard the anticipated news that Los Angeles will soon see Cardinal Mahoney replaced with San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez. To read all about it, I suggest you head over to Rocco Palmo‘s site, as he is one of the few bloggers who actually does know what he’s talking about. In sum, Abp. Gomez is from the “conservative” order of Opus Dei and could be very different from his predecessor, who built a monstrous cathedral (not in a good way) and is known for hosting a Conference that annually provides Youtube clips for Catholics wishing to show others just how bad liturgical abuse can be. I don’t know if that’s very interesting though. While the liturgical element is certainly important, as the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender, I think we knew beforehand that Benedict was going install a replacement very different from Mahoney in liturgical views.

More important is how they’re similar.

Continue reading...

36 Responses to Speculating on Gomez

  • Just a note. Opus Dei is not a Religious order. Its a Personal Prelature with the priest being incardinated in it.

  • A second note. The Church does recognize the right of the state to regulate immigration. Gomez recognizes this and sees that there must be some penalty for violating immigration laws (though he does not recommend deportation.)

  • Yes, I think a critical distinction needs to be made between those who advocate “open boarders” and those who simply believe in treating immigrants with dignity and respect.

    I really hope that Gomez puts an end to liturgical abuse, to sacrilege, to ceremonies that are more pagan than Christian, as well.

  • Welcome soon to be second year law student! Your first year of legal hell is almost up!

  • I look forward, with very guarded hope, to Archbishop Gomez’s ascension to the throne of Mahoneyland, er, I mean, the Archdiocese of L.A. I had occasion to write him some time ago regarding a concern I had with actions and attitudes here in the Diocese of “All Borders are heinous injustices.”

    That said, I think we do the Catechism (where the full foundation of Church teaching is to be found) serious disservice when we reduce it word-searching. “See, see here! It says immigrant!”

    A nation or people may be called to account for how outsiders within their borders are treated. I think we sometimes take that notion and run straight to the place from which we so often hear Card. Mahoney and others villify the nation for our “inhumane” treatment of Latino (and that’s all anyone really cares about here) immigrants.

    If you want to see migrants (brought to the country legally, often by the government, to work in the “jobs our citizens won’t do” category, go to Saudi Arabia and see how they treat the Filipinos and other island (and some Asian) “third country nationals.” They are normally corraled in living areas near where they work and transported to/from their work areas with little or no ceremony. If they venture into Saudi cities on their free time, they do so with virtually no expectation of good treatment by any authorities. Any rights or dignity thewy might be afforded will be owing only to their demonstrated adherance to Islamic “faith.”

    Unless it truly is unacceptable to have and enforce borders (and if so, I missed that article in the Catechism), we need to accept that the licitness of borders and the control thereof has something to say about the illicitness of those who make of themselves a commodity, by placing themselves in the shadows of the society against whom they trespass. (The trespass of those who hire them does nothing to eliminate the alien’s trespass against the society as a whole.)

    We Catholics seem satisfied with absurd notions that we (the USA) are responsible for the family situations of those who make themselves prisoners or fugitives in our land. To say so is to say that laws against and prison sentences for murder are unjust because of the family separation they impose.

  • I cannot imagine any Archbishop who is given the archdiocese of L.A.who will not work from what is organic. I do believe we are going to experience new wine. I read an article which stated Gomez like past Bishops of American Catholic immigrants also has a main concern to teach authentic Catholicism to the Hispanics. This is not unusual if you look at the Irish and Italian immigrants and their needs in past centuries. I read where he gave a talk on taking the Word of God out to the world and a Hispanic women approach him and said she would start a bible study. What a novel idea a Bishop through preaching converted a person from old ways to the new way.
    I was on the L.A. Times blog and boy the secular world is upset that attention is being given to Hispanics, our culture does need to be re-evangelized.

  • The pro-amnesty position of Cdl Mahony is NOT the “Church’s teaching” on immigration.

  • While I think one can make an open borders argument based on Catholic teaching, I didn’t make the argument nor did Benedict (perhaps Mahoney did; it wouldn’t surprise me). Without getting too deep into Church teaching on immigration (which would merit more research on my part & another post), my understanding is that the bishops’ problems with current US immigration policy is twofold

    1) That the US is unfairly limiting immigration. The US can support more immigration and take them in legally but is refusing to do so. While this can be interpreted as “open borders” it doesn’t have to be; only that the borders should be more wide open.

    2) That the US is committing an injustice by treating illegal immigrants like sub-human beings-allowing below minimum wage, denying health care, making citizenship difficult, etc. I think the current condition that the immigrant finds himself is the greater concern of the bishops as it shows a lack of respect for the dignity of the human person, which does not stop once once sets foot over the arbitrary imaginary line we call the US/Mexican border.

    Now, I don’t know nearly enough to say what the solution is, especially with the rightful balancing of a country’s need to secure its border and enforce its laws, other than deportation is not the answer (for ethical & financial reasons). But I don’t think it’s unfair to at a minimum point out that illegal immigrants are facing injustice and more effort should be spent finding solutions rather than on nativist rhetoric.

  • illegal immigrants are facing injustice

    They broke the law to enter the country. Naturally that doesn’t remotely justify treating them inhumanely (though I would strongly suggest that the actual treatment of illegal immigrants in this country is far from inhumane), but let’s not lose sight of what the real issue is, nor should we engage in baseless rhetoric about “nativist rhetoric” when those opposed to amnesty have far loftier and reasonable justifications for their position.

  • ” … the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender …”

    Hardly. The archbishop is a JPII man, and rather autocratic to boot.

    Spelling, spelling, spelling … sheesh.

  • I think if one argues that illegal immigrants should have their status legalized with the simple penalty of community service, then one in effect has open borders. Its a get out of jail card with no real penalty.

    I also think that if one considers it sub-human treatment to deny citizenship for one illegally here then there is no point in discussion. Emotion wins.

  • In my parish, St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, NY, the first major pedophile scandal materialized in the early nineties. The priest in question, “Father Ed” had been molesting boys in their early teens. To say that the parishioners were traumatized by this would be an understatement. They were devastated. Then something wondrous happened….

    Father Ed was eventually replaced by Father Trevor Nichols. Father Trevor had been an Anglican in merrie old England when he converted to Catholicism. On becoming a Catholic was transferred to Saint John’s – WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO DAUGHTERS! A married priest! WITH TWO KIDS!

    You want to hear the punch line? Our little parish did not implode. The sun did not fall from the sky. Huge cracks did not appear in the earth’s surface. In fact, it was nice having them. They were – and are to this day – deeply beloved by the people of St. John’s.

    Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church. Having Father Trevor, his wife Marian and their two lovely daughters in our midst certainly transformed the people of St. John’s.

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan

  • “Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church.”

    It certainly has done wonders for the Episcopal Church, assuming that the term wonder encompasses extinction.

  • Tom Degan,

    What does your proposal for disobeying Church discipline have to do with Archbishop Gomez moving to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

  • Todd,

    How many bishops are there at this point who weren’t selected by John Paul II? If that constitutes a disproof of being a “Spirit of Vatican II” type in your mind, then it’s already extinct. Whatever one wants to call Mahony, it must be admitted that he represents a type of diocesan leadership that conservative Catholics will be very glad to see go, in regards to liturgy, dealing with the scandals, politics, vocations, religious education, and a host of other issues. And whatever his other faults, progressive Catholics have often found themselves in his corner — as when he squared off against Mother Angelica. Of course, he’s not the darling that Archbishop Weakland was… But we know how that one worked out in the end.

    Tom,

    It’s certainly a good thing that your parish got a faithful new priest — and there are some very good priests who are converts from Anglicanism, some of whom are married. (Father Longnecker springs to mind.) However, one cannot really see that it was only because he was married that he proved to be a good priest for your parish. There are, of course, a great many celibate priests (some of them also converts from Anglicanism) who also do not molest teenage boys. The vast, vast majority, in fact. That yours happened to be married does not mean that the Church needs to change its general discipline in the Western Church.

  • Darwin, I don’t see things with an enemy-of-my-enemy mindset.

    Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years. If you pressed me, I could probably name about a half-dozen things I dislike about the man’s legacy.

    My preference in bishops (a qualified hero) would be guys like Ken Untener and Michael Kenny, both of whom I’ve met and heard speak, not only for what they had to say, but more: how they lived their lives as bishops in witness to the gospel. But it’s probably little surprise I’m more of a sell-the-mansion, reach-out-to-the-poor kind of guy anyway.

    This liberal is happy that his kind of autocrat is leaving. I know Archbishop Gomez even less than I know the cardinal. He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat. If so, good for LA. If not, I’ll probably be happy when he retires, too.

    Interesting that you should mention vocations, because two of the Right’s favorite punching bags over the years, Mahony and Trautmann, are both doing pretty well when it comes to clergy. Far from the bottom of the heap, as it were.

  • “So while conservatives rejoice at the sufferings the liberals must endure at the loss of their liturgical dancers, it would be wise to remember that Benedict wants some change from the right as well.”

    True. But I do think it is problematic that define support for immigration reform as just on the left and opposition to it just on the right. That does not seem to mirtor the actual poltial reality

  • The world not being a polarity, people are certainly not required to like those who are more on their end than not — but it can’t really be denied that much of Mahony’s influence especially in the last 15 years of his episcopacy has been much more towards the progressive side of the Catholic spectrum than otherwise.

    Also, franky, I’m perplexed as to how you can say that Mahony has been doing well as regards vocations. My native diocese (Los Angeles) has more than ten times as many Catholics as my adopted one (Austin) but a similar number of ordinations and seminarians. Plus, the most of vocations LA does manage are “imports” — that is, come to the diocese as seminarians but didn’t live there prior to entering seminary.

    That said, having met Cardinal Mahony on several occasions and heard him speak, I can assure you that he is in person a very nice guy. You would probably like him if you actually met him.

  • Todd,

    “St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years”

    And I suppose you never went around provoking people with your comments. No, you just tell the truth, and people get so mad that they have to stalk you. That it?

  • jh:

    Well, I think the right has deeper problems than the left on the issue. I don’t think you’re going to get much traction on a “Make them speak English” platform in a Democratic room while you’ll get some in a GOP room.

    That said, as the healthcare debate showed both sides have the concerns of the immigrant as very low priority so you’re right to point out that both have significant problems on this issue.

  • “He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat.”

    When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

  • MD,

    Don’t conflate politics with Catholicism.

    I volunteer and help the homeless and serve food to the hungry, but I am not a Democrat.

    Just sayin’!

    😉

  • MD,

    Actually you ask most first generation immigrants and they want their children to learn English. Only so far you can get in a culture if you don’t speak the dominant language. Can’t carry bilingual education to the college level.

    Its compassionate liberals that will keep immigrants down by keeping them in a linguistic ghetto.

  • When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

    You’re so right. Fascism makes for a better, tighter, more unified, ecclesiology.

  • “Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years.”

    Stalked? Todd, you are the one who keeps showing up here in the comboxes.

  • Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here. Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.

    You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    That said, you’ve left alone my comments on Cardinal Mahony, so I’ll take that as evidence you mostly align with me in disliking the man, and perhaps even for not totally different reasons. On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.

  • You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    When you claim to be a “Catholic” and yet vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, I have to bring that up so people understand that you’re just a Catholic-In-Name-Only.

    Hence innocent Catholic’s won’t be strayed from their faith because of your lies, innuendo’s, and false interpretations of Catholicism.

    We aim to evangelize Catholics here at TAC and will disallow you from misleading them.

  • Todd has become increasingly angry and bitter in the last couple years (and seems to take undue opportunity to needle conservative Catholics), and I think it shows very poor judgement (including moral judgement) to think that Obama was worthy of a vote in the last election, but I don’t think that it is correct or appropriate to label Todd a “Catholic-in-name-only” for that reason.

  • “Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here.”

    When anyone posts in one of my threads Todd I will normally respond eventually, although time constraints and laziness on my part sometimes prevent me from doing so. Additionally if someone else in the thread has made the point I was going to make I normally don’t bother.

    “Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.”

    Not really, but a bit of hyperbole goes with commenting in comboxes. Usually I won’t post in other threads unless I have a strong interest in the topic or my name comes up.

    “On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.”

    Feel free to stalk…I mean visit here, as much as you wish. I agree with you on little, although we share a similar distaste of Cardinal Mahoney, but you conduct yourself within the bounds of blog decorum and I have no problem with your visits whatever our sparring, something we of course have been doing since the Welborn Open Book days. (How swiftly time passes!)

  • I agree with Darwin that I would not call Todd a Catholic In Name Only. Beyond a distaste for attempting to judge the sincerity of someone else’s religious committment, I do not think it accurate in his case. I might call him, because of his vote, a Pro-lifer In Name Only, but I do not know if Todd claims to be part of the pro-life movement.

  • How can a Catholic who know’s his faith vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history?

  • Darwin and Don,

    Words matter and I believe that you two are correct. After sleeping on it I should not have labeled Todd as a “Catholic-In-Name-Only”.

    A much more precise label would have been more accurate, but not charitable to say the least.

    I won’t refer to him this way again.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • DRM,
    How exactly is it that one becomes a pro-lifer in name only without meriting at the same moment the appellation “Catholic in Name Only?”

    Pro-abortion baptised Christians come in only one flavor, regardless of the “denomination” they choose to attend services in; protestant.

  • Actually Kevin some of the most fervent pro-lifers I know are protestants. I have a personal distaste for passing on the religious committment of others, and I do not like going beyond what I think the evidence shows me.

  • Kevin:

    I think you mean that once you dissent from the Church’s teachings you cease to be Catholic and become a Protestant.

    That said, I think Donald was right to point out that the way you wrote it could be interpreted very negatively by our Protestant brethren who do a lot for the service of life.

Coming to America

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

new-york-ellis-island1221413744
The US is a nation of immigrants, and as such, many of us grew up with stories of how our ancestors came here. In what I hope can be a friendly, Friday-afternoon atmosphere, the purpose of this thread is to allow people to tell stories about how and when their ancestors came to the US.

I can trace back three stories, some sketchier than others:

Irish Story
famine My paternal grandmother’s family all Irish stock from County Cork, who’d left during the Great Famine in the 1840s and settled in Iowa. Several men out of the next generation served the Union in the Civil War, and two generations after that, twin brothers Clare and Clarence, both priests, served as chaplains for US soldiers in the Great War. One of their sisters served as a nurse in the war as well.

Continue reading...

20 Responses to Coming to America

  • I actually don’t know much about my family history back before a couple of generations. We were Irish settlers in Oklahoma but we were protestants, which was unusual. My great-gandfather was a professional gambler, and almost got killed a couple of times on account of a card game gone bad.

  • I was wondering – do you know why your Irish ancestors went to Iowa? I have Irish ancestors who went to Ohio and then settled in southeast Iowa (where I live). I am curious as to why they went to Iowa. Thanks!

  • Syrian and Irish/Welsh here!

  • I was wondering – do you know why your Irish ancestors went to Iowa?

    No idea, I’m afraid. Though I gather that the town they lived in was pretty heavily Irish Catholic, so it may just have been looking for a familiar culture.

  • Hehe, the shortest one I have is my dad’s mom’s family.

    Great-Grandfather Ivie’s family got kicked off the land they’d been working as far back as records go because sheep were worth more, so they scraped up a few hundred dollars and he and his oldest brother, plus a friend named John, came to the USA– through San Fran, I believe. (Had to have $100 in your hand to walk through the gate for immigration.)

    They worked hard, got enough money to bring the rest of the family over and buy a lot of sheep. (although apparently they did walk down the fence and pass the money back through a few times to get everyone through. ;^p)

    Ivie married a very socially conscious lady, ended up owning a large chunk of Modoc county CA, and funded an “Indian School” while raising three lovely girls, all of whom went to college. (My grandma did so at 16– and MAN did that piss off my feminist history professor when I brought it up.) When Ivie died, he gave the majority of his land to the state, because he thought it was very important that EVERYONE have some ownership of land, and that was the only way he knew. (If you’ve been to the Smithsonian and seen the meteor that’s about hip-tall and is out for folks to touch, from Modoc County, that’s from one of the areas he donated– one of his sheep watchers found it)

    The friend John also got rich, then sold his share of the sheep business to the family and went back to Scotland– he wanted to own a pub. That would’ve been about the turn of the century, since it was before my grandma’s sisters were born.

    About 1990, a guy in a suit comes and knocks on my Grandma’s door and introduces himself– it’s John from Scotland, who had heard his dad’s stories all his life, had (of course) managed his money well, and wanted to meet the closest thing his dad had to family. ^.^ Awesome dude, too.

  • I love to hear these stories. Yours and mine have a few similarities. I am part Irish/Scottish on my Dad’s side and I now live in Silver City, NM – – where part of your family started! My family came over in the early 1900’s and settled in the New York area. –Linda@silvercity-realestate.com

  • On my father’s side, we’re all from dear old Ireland, Charlestown, County Mayo. My great grandfather left in black 47, a year after the town was started. When I was visiting Charlestown two years ago, the church had a cornerstone from the previous church embedded in the wall, one that my great grandfather would have seen before he left.
    He went to Indianapolis and became a vegetable farmer, later buying a boarding house in town. My grandfather came to Oregon, living about two blocks from the business I bought back in the ’80s. He started working as a grocery clerk and then became a bookkeeper for a lumber company. Eventually, he rose to president of the company. My father and his brother both became lawyers. Their sister married well, but died of cancer in the ’50s.
    I actually know more of my mother’s family, where I can trace ancestry back to the 1600’s. While most of her family is also Irish, she had a Dutch great grandmother and an Alsatian great-great grandmother, who met her Irish great-great grandfather while they were both on the boat coming to America. They settled in Latrobe PA and raised an enormous family Irish Catholic family, which also produced a similar sized family in the next generation. My great grandfather came to Portland to run the Union Pacific Railroad in the northwest, in the days when the Union Pacific was fighting the Northern Pacific for control of transportation in the west. We’ve been here ever since. It’s a bit unusual, though, that both my mother’s family and my father’s were Irish Catholic Republicans, an unusual combination, especially in the days of the Great Depression. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a State Senator and he would never say the words “Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

  • The furthest relative I can trace is on my father’s side: John Crouch Sr. His son Jesse built a cabin which stood on family property in east Tennessee until about 1990, when it was restored. I can remember visiting my great-grandfather on the property, where, in his retirement, he grew tobacco. The property remains in the family to this day. Between Jesse and myself, there were a number of Baptist preachers. I wonder what they would say to my Catholicism . . . .

  • I’m fairly certain my mother’s side has been Maronite Catholic for as long as there have been Maronite Catholics in Lebanon. My great-grandparents came here in the 1910s.

    On my father’s side, I know there was an officer in the Civil War who fought for the Union, even though he was from Texas. I’ve always been proud of that fact 🙂

    I always found it fascinating that there is a historical possibility my Anglo and Lebanese ancestors could have met through the Crusades.

  • Joe:

    On my father’s side, I know there was an officer in the Civil War who fought for the Union, even though he was from Texas. I’ve always been proud of that fact.”

    And well you should! 😉

    More seriously, there’s a great book about the large number of southern whites (as opposed to the obviously huge number of freed slaves and freedmen) who fought for the Union, “Lincoln’s Loyalists.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Lincolns-Loyalists-Union-Soldiers-Confederacy/dp/0195084659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1250350330&sr=8-1

    The surprising fact: Every seceding state except South Carolina raised at least one regiment that fought for the Union, Tennessee raising the most. In fact, one entire Tennessee cavalry regiment–to a man–went over to the Union during one of the early skirmishes in the war.

    I imagine that was rather disconcerting for the Confederate commander.

  • Oh, and on topic: My father’s side: hardscrabble English from Kent and south Welsh stock. Before Grandma Price passed, one of her sisters said they had second cousins still living in the vicinity of Canterbury. Not that they’d loan me money, so that’s that.

    Mom’s side has the same English/Welsh mix, along with Dane/Scot on her father’s side and Bavarian on her mother’s. The furthest anyone’s traced back is also on my mom’s side, to 17th Century Bavaria, a Protestant named Johann Garr eager to emigrate. It’s through Mom’s side we also claim descent from Daniel Boone through one of his daughters, though that’s a little murkier and might be Kentucky braggadocio.

    My kids have even more diversity, catching Irishness, and more direct Scottish and German (Alsatian) links.

    How we got “here” is always fascinating to ponder. Reminds me of the old Norman Rockwell “family tree” picture.

  • “The US is a nation of immigrants…”

    And of natives, though we treat them badly.

  • I don’t have much information on my mother’s side of the family — Vanderbilt, Dutch-Reformed, but no relation to the distinguished family. Both of my grandparents were Protestant missionaries: the Vanderbilts to Japan; the Blossers to China, then Japan when expelled by the Communists. (Grandma Vanderbilt’s father, Cornelius Kuipers, also served as a pastor to the Zuni Indians).
    My father took time to trace back the Blosser family line. Swiss-German Mennonites who can boast a number of ministers and at least 3 “bishops”. A compilation of our history was made here. We can trace our family back to Peter Blosser (Blaser, Bläser, Blasser — “a Mennonite family name found in Switzerland as early as 1710”); immigrated to America in 1739.

    Peter’s son, Peter Jr., was married at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He moved to Virginia in 1776 and had a difficult time making a living, on account of having to hide, avoiding service in the military due to his religious convictions.

    We are descendants of his son, Jonas Blosser (1791-?). It was reported that Jonas “once got a laceration over a foot-long in his thigh and sat down and sewed it up himself”, and that a son, Abraham, was something of a speed demon in his horse-draw buggy, taking off at a furious gallop after church.

    Our particular line settled in Harrison, VA, then Concord, Tennessee and finally in Iowa in 1906. Many of them were farmers — one died gored by a bull; another drowned in a pond. Miracle that we’re still here. =)

    My grandfather’s maternal grandmother, Catherine (“Kate”) Shank 1855-1932 (A7), was born extremely prematurely and was so small that “a half dollar was large enough to hide her face,” “a kernel of corn would cover her hand,” she would have fit “in a quart cup and covered with a hand,” she “was fed with a medicine dropper, and was carried about on a pillow wrapped in a blanket until she was six months old,” and was kept warm “in the kitchen by the oven”; “but in spite of her smallness at birth she lived to have fifteen children”, and outlived her first husband by 28 years.

    My father was the first Catholic of the Blosser family that I know of — followed by myself and two of my brothers.

  • Interesting bit of Civil War (or preferred Southern equivalent) history, Joe and Dale.

    Though I can’t cite all the facts of the matter, I’m told my paternal grandfather’s family had a genu-wine Confederate deserter who was hanged for his dereliction.

    He was a small farmer who decided his field and family needed tending more than the looming disaster that was the Noble Cause.

    D neglected to mention it above, but it is rumored that he had an ancestor who actually was hanged for horse thieving! (I’ll keep him anyway.)

  • On my father’s side the family has been here since before the Revolution, except for the Cherokees who have been here since humans first came to this country. My mother’s side is pure Irish with her grandfather emigrating to Canada in the nineteenth century steerage class. He was a tough old bird who regarded both kneelers and pews as Protestant innovations. As a very old man he would take my mom to Mass and stand throughout the Mass in the back of the Church except when he was kneeling on the stone floor.

  • Gabriel Austin-

    My Indian ancestors were immigrants, too.

    Earlier waves, but still immigrants.

    There’s a great deal of interesting research out there about the various waves of immigration that passed through, usually detectable by folks being killed by weapons different from what they had. -.- Sometimes humans suck.

  • In the early 1900s my paternal grandfather emigrated from Syria as a teenager, alone, to an upstate NY community fairly well-stocked with Christian Syrians and Lebanese. About all I know of his pre-American life was that he had a white horse. Here, he worked as a sandblaster and janitor. My paternal grandmother was also Syrian, adopted, family unknown. Her work ethic, respect for education, and adoring zeal ensured that all four daughters (!) and of course my dad went to college. They all worked to pay for each other’s tuition. I have a photograph of my dad as a boy, surrounded by sharecroppers with huge bottles of beer.
    On my mother’s side, there is a combination of a whiff of French (Canadian & Catholic), some German (Lutheran), some Isle of Man, and two big helpings of Scots. One member of the family put together a thorough genealogy, now lost, tracing us back to William the Conqueror through the Argyll Campbells. Still have the paperwork for the discharge from the Union Army of a Campbell forebear, but beyond that, no clue as to how early we entered into American history.
    Curious tales from the maternal side of the family include a young female relative pushed off a bridge in the dead of night by the mob because she “knew too much” (the murderers left the Boston terrier she was walking tied to the railing, unharmed), and another female relative who went west during a Gold Rush and shot a mountain lion who tried to attack her while she was hanging out laundry.
    Like Joe Hargraves, I wonder sometimes if my ancestors crossed paths during the Crusades. My father is certain his family has been Christian since St. Paul arrived to convert them.

  • Three of my four grandparents came from Mexico during the early twentieth century. My fourth (maternal grandmother) was from San Antonio. Her family there from the days when Texas belonged to Spain. She used to say, “Yo no soy Mexicana, yo soy Texana.”

  • Suz,

    It might be. I was reading just the other day that 1-2% of Lebanese Christians have Western European genes, speculated to have been passed down by Crusaders.

    Moreover, my great-grandfather (from Lebanon) and great-uncle had light brown hair. As far as I know my family lived in the mountains of Lebanon since the days of the Phonecians. I could have some of that Crusader blood.

    And there’s even a possibility that this Crusader ancestor was also an ancestor on my father’s side, a common point in two family trees a world apart.

  • DarwinCatholic: Thank you.

Tortured Credibility

Friday, May 22, AD 2009

It has become an oft repeated trope of Catholics who are on the left or the self-consciously-unclassifiable portions of the American political spectrum that the pro-life movement has suffered a catastrophic loss of credibility because of its association with the Republican Party, and thence with the Iraq War and the use of torture on Al Qaeda detainees. Until the pro-life movement distances itself from the Republican Party and all of the pro-life leadership who have defended the Iraq War and/or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on detainees, the argument goes, the pro-life movement will have no moral authority and will be the laughing stock of enlightened Catholics everywhere.

Regardless of what one thinks about the Iraq War and torture (myself, I continue to support the former but oppose the latter) I’m not sure that this claim works very well. Further, I think that those who make it often fail to recognize the extent to which it cuts both ways.

Continue reading...

42 Responses to Tortured Credibility

  • I don’t think being “pro-life” will lose credibility because the position is True, but “pro-lifers” who associate with other violations against human dignity might.

    Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    The decision was not only an act of aggression, it was unconstitutional and a strategic blunder. It put us on the road to bankruptcy and rather than secure our safety I believe it to be contributing to an environment for further violent conflict. The truth is, almost a decade out from 9/11 and we were given Saddam Hussein on a platter instead of Osama bin Laden.

    The fact of this occurring under a Republican administration is rather irrelevant. If party actually mattered the war funds would have been taken away by the Democratic congress at any time after 2006. Now, half a year into Obama’s tenure and the line on withdraw is “give us three years”.

    The fact that this messy war has tainted other Republican “values” is not surprising. Look at everyone suddenly crying out that capitalism has failed!

    I would expect that if Obama does not end the war in a satisfactory way by the next election, or if there is a new conflict in Pakistan or Africa… leftist values too will begin to be dragged down. Voters will become sick of everything he says, just like Bush. The anti-war left would likely be as deflated and the pro-life right.

    If you ask me its the insanity of tribalism at work. If you take the “us vs. them” two party system and combine it with the general ignorance… well what do you expect? And besides, its not as if people on the genuine left and the genuine right really make it into power, is it?

    The war was never about securing the American people. It was however, about securing the American federal government; it dominance and control. Thats something both center-left and center-right can agree on. Ironically, they are losing both bit by bit, British-style.

    To this day I believe that the path to regain power is within Republican hands: all they have to do is repudiate the war. Maybe change their name, too. 🙂

    As far as the pro-Life movement is concerned… I do indeed think it is in their best interest to grow beyond the party. I think they have to if they are looking to build majorities that can withstand the back-and-forth of American politics.

    Most libertarians seem to be pro-choice, which is mind-boggling. There’s room there to grow a little bit.

    Pro-lifers do not need a majority of Democrats on their side. Just enough to make the larger party think twice when it comes to abortion legislation. They have to consider which piper they are going to pay. If abortion were more often argued in terms of the civil rights movement, perhaps left-leaning politicians could be persuaded.

    I guess, Darwin, my broader point is – none of it matters. Its tit-for-tat politics and none of the influential players are interested in moral consistency, just majority-building. By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    Or, perhaps I made no sense, even to myself.

  • Personally, I do not understand how a thoughtful Catholic can support the Iraq War. I’ve yet to really hear air tight moral justifications for it, and if memory serves the entire run up to the invasion reeked of jumping the gun while post 9/11 emotions still ran high. Not exactly conditions for sober decision-making.

    Well, I think I can at least claim to have been sober, in that I’d supported forcibly removing Hussein from power ever since 1991. I considered it profoundly immoral for Bush Sr. to have called on the people of Iraq to rise up against their dictator, with the implicit promise that the US would support them, and then leave them to die in the hundreds of thousands instead. I would have supported an invasion at any time since then, and I considered it to be justified, given that Iraq had never satisfactorily obeyed the 1991 cease fire anyway. If Clinton had been willing to get rid of Hussein at any point during his term, I would have supported that.

    I do think that the WMD justification was poor at best. Yes, there was a general belief (even among Iraq’s military) that they had chemical weapons. But they were not a great threat to us. However, given that I’d been in support of deposing Hussein for over ten years already, I didn’t consider the punitive justification a major obstacle to what seemed long overdue already.

    But, I can certainly understand why other Catholics would believe differently.

    By defending the Republican alignment of values or that the pro-life movement is perfectly at home where it is, you’re playing into the hands of pollsters and politicians.

    I don’t know that I’m so much defending the status who as pointing out that it’s hardly surprising to anyone. There are parts of the GOP platform that I absolutely disagree with (I’d support open borders) but I don’t think anyone does himself any favor by getting all worked up over where the current alignments are. It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. All are known to be highly partisan agendas with established bases of support, and pretending that’s news to anyone does not strike me as doing one credit. Even if one would appreciate realignment.

  • “It’s ludicrous to claim that the pro-life movement has lost credibility as a result of being associated with the GOP in a way that immigration reform and opposition to the death penalty haven’t as a result of being associated with the Democrats. ”

    I suppose it would depend on how you see credibility. The movement is philosophically credible by being moral and constitutionally correct. But politically I can see how some would say they’ve lost credibility in terms of their ability to win elections, win court cases and influence legislation. If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues. Only the thick-headed would exclusively equate political success to intellectual legitimacy.

  • Anthony,

    If a movement is going to cast its lot with one party, then its goals are inevitably tied to the success or failure of unrelated issues

    the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?

    The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

  • The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.

    This is due to american historical amnesia, of course.

  • Rather a reaction to the coming Obama Crash. Unless there is a major terrorist attack, and I wouldn’t rule that out, the economy will be the overriding issue in 2010 and 2012 and the signs are not good currently for Obamanomics.

  • Michael I,

    what Donald said. But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well. Their disatisfaction was almost entirely due to the poor state of affairs until it was rectified by the surge which President Bush (R) ordered at the recommendation of General Petreus (R?), and the urging of Senator McCain (R), and the majority of the Republican party. The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over, or that Obama snapped defeat from the jaws of victory, very unlikely since he kept on the Robert Gates(R) to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.

    Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.”

    I think the point is not whether or not the choices, in the short-term, of what seemed best for the survival of the movement is correct. After Roe v. Wade, the Democrats became increasingly dominated by pro-choice politicians, supported by the abortion-minded groups, etc. The GOP was very welcoming.

    I think the point of the criticism (right or wrong) is that possibly unforeseen affects are what we’re experiencing now.

    I think he is saying that the pro-life movement by making itself dependent solely on the success of a single party has made its own success contingent on that party. If positions predominantly accepted by that party are, largely down-the-list, against one’s best judgments of what better achieves justice then despite their pro-life convictions, some will feel disenfranchised and/or uncomfortable or even alienated by the rest of pro-lifers, some, not all, of which give a blind stamp of approval to the platform because of the party’s stance on life issues.

    And because this issue has divided itself across party lines, it appears to be a partisan issue when it really should not be.

    I posted a link from a story in the Human Life Review a while back talking about trouble pro-life Democratic candidates had in receiving funds, despite their records, from pro-life groups; other problems included Republican candidates being endorsed over pro-life Democrats with untainted abortion records — though, as far as I know, this hasn’t happened so much on the federal, rather than, state level. It’s why people — rightly or wrongly — say that some pro-life groups might as well be Republican PACs.

    Another problematic case is the fact that pro-life Democrats are so “diaspora” and not collectively organized at the local levels that it makes it rather difficult, even for principled, pro-life Democrats to actually launch a campaign. They don’t have the resources, even for those who are unequivocally pro-life. Some settle and work in the trenches for pro-life groups or other justice causes. Others simply — and I imagine this happened during the Reagan years — became Republicans.

    As a result, it is very very difficult for the pro-life movement to enter the realm of the Left because fellow pro-lifers are suspicious, perhaps with valid reason, to suspect “double talk” or false pro-life credentials.

    However, this very reality, I think makes the pro-life movement a house divided against itself while the pro-choice movements is moving in lock-step and that’s the source of their temporal victories.

    Now, I’m sure no one is saying that a one-party pro-life party is the way to go to. Some are hesitant, I’m sure for valid reasons, that it is difficult, or even counter-productive, to support self-described “pro-life Democrats.” Perhaps they’re right.

    However, here are my criticisms — some valid, perhaps some not. Everyone will have to judge for themselves.

    When Reagan was the president, the pro-life movement gained quite a bit of ground. Yet, the Clinton Administration quickly turned the direction of abortion and bioethical policies the other way. The Bush Administration was eight years of undoing the damage done by the Clinton Administration and restoring and adding new pro-life policies. Now we’re in another reversal.

    This tit-for-tat can keep going, or the other party can be infiltrated from within. There has not been much ground on this made, necessarily, but the organization Republicans for Choice (http://www.republicansforchoice.com/) are all but invisible. After the election, I’ve read a many articles and seen many people claiming that it was the “values-sector” of the party driving out moderates with their alleged extremism and litmus tests. I’m not making their argument; I am simply stating their assertions. The GOP, as seen, has no problem recruiting pro-choice Republicans to run for office (more than likely in liberal districts) to win office. I suppose the thinking is that it’s better to have someone with you 90% of the time then 0%.

    This reality tried to manifest itself in the 2008 GOP presidential primaries. The pro-life movement responded forcefully — not for the best candidate in my view — but responded nonetheless. Yet, I cannot help but wonder: what if?

    What would happen if the GOP with its new RNC Chair, Mr. Steele, so committed to “inclusion” and diversity and non-application of litmus tests went in a different direction? What if, God forbid, at some point, the pro-life movement split between viable candidates and all pro-choice and socially moderate Republicans concerned with fiscal conservatism, not cultural values, line up behind a single, less-than-pro-life candidate?

    I think that’s the bind. What is a pro-life person to do in this situation? Surely, a hypothetical, cynical GOP strategist might ask: would they really go to the other party? If this did occur: what would you do? Some I imagine would put a protest vote and not vote at all. Others would vote for the GOP, take what they can, and work to change the case next time. But it would surely be a source of division and debate: a house divided against itself. It seems that if voting is a moral obligation, then, one can’t simply sit at home and let good pro-life Republicans lose their seats and more pro-choice seats be taken in Congress by the Democratic party. What about pro-life Governors? What about the Presidency? The latter of two who appoint judges (depending on the State) and can realistically set a judicial seat in the pro-choice camp for perhaps a generation. Right now, that’s the scare with Obama’s SC nominee coming. Surely it would be better — and on this no one disagrees — that power can exchange between the parties and there would be little concern over nominee’s abortion positions.

    It seems that the success of the pro-life movement rises and falls with the GOP. I think it’s problematic.

    I don’t think it’s nonsense per se to envision Republican strategists, pure pragmatists, to realize that abortion is a potent electoral tool and not so much a human rights issue. This isn’t to say that there are several candid and sincere pro-life Republicans serving in public office.

    In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    This goes back to the question of pro-life Democrats. I think many Democrats who are pro-life cannot garner the resources or support to make it to office. The Democratic party won’t fund pro-life candidates, but rather would search for pro-choice candidates — anyone — to run in opposition to such candidates in primaries. That’s the key. A pro-life Democrat might do fine in a general elections against a Republican. In recent decades, they usually win. But rather it is the Democratic primary is an incredible challenge because of a lack of resources to compete against their fellow party-members who are singling them out surely over abortion. The GOP doesn’t hesitate to fund it’s pro-choice candidates: primaries are fair game. Let the voters decide.

    The list of pro-life Democrats who had high political ambitions who realized this reality is growing. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, and many more were all at one point pro-life.

    Now certainly there change of conviction is morally incorrect and a reflection of poor character and courage. Many of such candidates do so for political expediency; others remain “pro-life,” but compromise their position and “moderate themselves” to win some base votes that they otherwise cannot win office without. Some later become explicitly pro-choice; others try to uphold the pro-life facade. Surely, the cooperation in evil doesn’t justify such actions. However, I think the fact that this occurs reflects a support that is not there, not just for cowards who will compromise, but for those who genuinely will seek office and never win it because they aren’t willing to sell out their principles.

    Yet, it just makes me wonder, if a pro-life Democrat launched an exploratory committee to seek the presidency and actually made it onto the ballot for the Democratic primary, how many pro-life groups or pro-life Americans, might actually extend help in resources for such a candidate to survive the assaults of NARAL, Emily’s List, and Planned Parenthood which is without a doubt the most organized, financed political movement in the U.S.? I’m skeptical of the number of people who would cross over from the GOP and cast their vote to ensure the pro-life candidate wins. I’m sure they have their reasons for it as well.

    I’m not sure anything I’ve said is valid or just my jumbled, ramblings.

    Perhaps, my most controversial thought is this…

    I won’t say it is a double standard.

    I just will say I dislike the reality. It seems that to be authentically a pro-life Democrat you must support Republican candidates, even with the most strident conviction that these candidates will not work fervently, or even with passion, to curtail the horror of abortion — but are rather giving you lip service. Right or wrong, I believe this to be the case. Yet, if you vote for or support pro-life Democratic candidates, some, again, not all, will see this as a moral compromise and support for “pseudo-pro-life” candidates. To such candidates, much scrutiny is given; but this same critical eye is not extended to the pro-life politicians in the GOP; it seems to me, perhaps, I’m wrong, they get quite a bypass. Nor do such individuals see any sort of necessity in helping such candidates win and defeat pro-choice candidates in a party direly in need of pro-life presence.

    Pro-life Democrats can never achieve leaders seats on committees and roles of leadership if they aren’t greater in number to be a force not to be thrown around.

    So, at the end of the day, pro-life Democrats seem to have a responsibility to ensure that Republican candidates beat pro-choice Democrats; yet, the issue of pushing their party in a more pro-life direction, seems to be an issue that is sort of “their problem” — and I cannot see how this current reality doesn’t lend itself to helping the Republican party politically. It maintains its hold on a crucial voting bloc.

    So, not so surprisingly, I agree, at least, in part with critics that the pro-life movement in some respects behaves like a Republican PAC.

    As it so happens, two parties that are pro-life forces competition, competition produces results. It seems then that pro-life Democrats are a potent tool for pro-life success. Even from 2000 to 2006, not a piece of pro-life legislation could pass through Congress without the remaining pro-life Democrats to neutralize and overcome pro-choice Republican votes.

  • But also, the American people realize that right or wrong the Iraq invasion was a bipartisan decision that most of the people agreed with as well.

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

  • “the movement has no choice but to cast it’s lot with one party since the other party is diametrically opposed to it’s principles and has rejected it outright.

    You’re not proposing some ridiculous third-party option, are you?”

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    There has to also be a way that makes the pro-life cause and Democratic political interests better partners. Recall that after 2004, some Democrats began to wonder aloud (perhaps not seriously, but still) of becoming more friendly to the pro-life side of things. I had hoped the “Blue Dog” Democrats might be a moderating force, but not so it seems..

    Though, a third party would always be welcome in my view, however unlikely. It will never happen until enough disillusioned but still caring individuals decided to organize and work to breakdown election rules.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    And in the not-to-distant future they will see that Obama is carrying on that proud tradition, just in a lefty, Oprah-y way with nice posters and logos. Whether they have the courage to see past it remains to be seen.

    “The suggestion that some sort of post facto repudiation of the Iraq war will make even the slightest difference in the next election is living in the past, open your eyes and look forward. Whatever the key issue of 2010 and 2012, it will not be Iraq 2003-2008.”

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Don’t get me wrong… the Democrats are guilty of all that too!

    “Donald is exactly right, the issue of 2010 and 2012 will not be Iraq 2003-2008. If I had to predict, sadly, it will be economic malaise, inflation, crushing federal deficits, massive tax increases, and quite possibly devastating terrorist attacks or other security issues (Russia, Iran, North Korea, take your pick).”

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008”, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Will inflation be the issue? Of course, thanks to the billions spent, borrowed or created at the start of Bush’s term and exponentially increased under Obama.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

  • Anthony, I agree. Despite my own previous assumptions, I’m not so sure I’ll be crossing over and helping the GOP in 2010; maybe not in 2012.

    I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.

  • “I might have a straight down the line Pope Benedict XVI ballot.”

    My mind is being tragically torn into a million pieces that the very thought of Pope Benedict XVI, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome… and POTUS!

    Thomas Jefferson would be very, VERY disappointed!

  • If you say you won’t support pro-life Republicans in 2010 or 2012 for office against pro-abortion Democrats… what’s the logical conclusion?

    If you say you don’t want the Republicans back in power any time soon, and you’re not insane enough to think that somehow a magical third party will take sweep the congress in 2010 and the presidency in 2012, then the only conclusion is you prefer the RADICALLY pro-abortion Democrats.

    If you don’t see the strategy of supporting the Republican party straight ticket, then vote your conscience on each legitimate candidate on his own merits. That’s the ONLY moral option.

  • I said I’d write in candidates.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Not true, and also irrelevant.

    Of course it’s true, 70% of the population supported the invasion, and both parties with a very few exceptions.

    Relevence? It’s relevent to the point of what will happen in 2010/2012.

    Anthony,

    No, I’m proposing that we patiently persuade… a lost art in the United States.

    I agree, we should patiently pursuade the luke-warm to be on fire for pro-life, and for the pro-abortion to be pro-life or at least luke-warm. THis applies to either party of course. Franly though, you can have a much greater influence on Republican platforms that you like or don’t like than you will on dropping abortion from the Democrat platform. THere is just a lot more tolerence for dissenting views in the Republican party.

    “The main thing people will think about with regard to Iraq will be that it was won by the Republicans before Obama took over”

    I don’t agree. I think people will see it as an expensive mess (fiscally and morally) by Republicans that had to be cleaned up with more expenses by Republicans.

    I don’t think most people really have as short a memory as you do about the invasion (bipartisan and popular support), if their memory is short they’ll probably only remember that we won (unless Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, and that they’ll REALLY remember. Expensive? In 2003-2008 terms perhaps, but it is so small compared to Obama’s spending sprees it will not really factor on the decision.

    You’re joking right? If they don’t repudiate it then why would those of us who can remember past last week believe them ever again? I used to be fairly Republican 8 years ago. I’ll never vote for either major party again unless there is fundamental changes in attitude. I don’t care how naive or idealistic it is. We’re Catholic, for pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be better than this.

    Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue. 40 million murdered innocents and counting… no comparison.

    The Republicans either lied, were incompetent or made bad judgement. All are good reasons to be kept from power as long as possible. “The Surge” no matter how militarily successful is irrelevant to the underlying issues that got us into the situation in the first place. If “winning” in Iraq looks the same as our perpetual “victories” in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Germany, etc. then… no thanks.

    Shame on you.

    The Iraq war is not over, so it is not “2003-2008?, its “2003-present”. Its Obama’s War now, just like Afghanistan and his little games in Pakistan.

    That’s my point, Iraq war, initiated under popular support, waged by the Republicans (poorly at times, but later brilliantly and successfully) from 2003-2008. The wrap-up is Obama’s to screw-up, it will not help him if he lets the job be finished properly, but it will devastate him if he screws it up.

    I agree that economic issues are going to be the issue. But gee, I wonder what contributed to this mess… perhaps our ludicrously expensive foreign policy based on principled values like bribery or blowing things up.

    Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.

    If a “security issue” (real, imagined or just for fun) does come up, you can bet that they’ll sell it as beneficial to our economic woes. Which is like saying WWII ended the Great Depression (it didn’t). Or perhaps they’ll say that this war (presuming its Iran) will be cheaper because the troops are already there! The cannons can be adjusted just a few degrees further east!

    I must say… if there is another “devastating” terrorist attack and the U.S. goes into another post-9/11 funk of spending and shooting…I’m not certain the “Republic” can survive in anyway thats worth describing as free.

    are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.

  • Eric Brown,

    I said I’d write in candidates.

    let me get this straight. You consider your objections to the Republican platform to be on such a morally equal level to abortion, even when balanced against the alternative’s incredibly immoral policies… that you would vote AGAINST a viable and authentically pro-life candidate in your congressional district, or for president?

    Think about your position here, it’s untennable. If there is a viable and authentically pro-life candidate you have a moral obligation to support him. In the case of two less than authentically pro-life candidates the Church leaves your conscience to measure the best course, but not when one of them is authentically pro-life.

  • Well, I voted for quite a few Republicans in 2008 and not without a lot of hesitation.

    However, the problem is, that I don’t take at face value that the GOP and Republicans are “authentically” pro-life. Better on abortion than Democrats by far, but not per se…

    And I am not sure if it is a Catholic moral obligation to vote straight ticket Republican.

    I might have reservations to cooperate in the scheme, but I’m not opposed to doing it.

    Read my earlier post.

  • “Actually you may not be aware but there are bigger things at stake than a popularly supported invasion in 2003, the Church is pretty clear on this, abortion is a much more serious issue.”

    Killing is killing. Maybe you’re capable of making value distinctions between innocent, unborn children and innocent Iraqi lives (unless you’re convinced none are innocent), but I’m not.

    The “bigger picture” you refer to is only a numbers game. But the result is the same: death, unintended consequences and damage to human dignity.

    “Shame on you.”

    I’m going to explain myself rather than take that personally. This is the internet after all.

    Our intervention in Japan and Germany is not over. We’re still there, in one capacity or another. And we shouldn’t be, regardless of whether the Germans or the Japanese wish us to be. Here it is 60 years after a terrible and bloody war and American treasure is still being sent abroad to places in which the native peoples are more than capable of taking responsibility for themselves.

    Oh yeah, and dropping two atomic bombs? Morally reprehensible. Nothing to be proud of about that. I can’t imagine Christ doing anything other than weeping.

    So sorry, I’m not going to take The History Channel view of American “victory”.

    “Have you actually looked at military spending as % of federal spending or GDP? It’s tiny. Other “foreign policy” spending is money that’s been wasted for decades, nothing new here, I’d drop most of it immediately.”

    Its a trillion dollar war now, Matt. Plus untold losses on the Iraqi side and an incalculable amount lost in terms of productivity. Who cares about percentages at that point?

    If that money had to be spent, it would have been better but towards meeting our burdensome domestic obligations. The bills are adding up…

    By other “foreign policy” spending… do you mean wasted things like… diplomats?! Linguists?! Negotiators?! You know, the guys that try to resolve problems without killing someone. 🙂

    I’ll give you one thing, if you’d get us out of the U.N. I’d back you up. Thats some prime property here in Manhattan I’d love to see sold off.

    “are you a pacifist? I’m wondering, because you seem to make no distinction between just and unjust wars, ie. real = just, imagined, or just for fun = unjust.”

    I don’t consider myself a pacifist. I do however, believe that the threshold for a just war is extremely high and rarely reached. Additionally, in cases where it is justly reached rarely is it justly executed. I have the same attitude towards the death penalty.

    The American Revolution and The Southern War for Independence to my mind were justified. (I also want to include The Texas Revolution, but my memory is a bit faded on it) Our involvement in WWII was justified, but I think we should have no delusions about the politics that lead up to our entering the war. I also believe portions of how WWII was executed were unjust.

    The Spanish-American War, WWI (a special shout-out here), the Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War I and II etc. are unjust wars in my view.

    The current war in Afghanistan should have been formally declared after 9-11, with victory clearly defined. My opinion has been that it should have been declared specifically against Al-Qaeda, since they did the same to us in the late 90s. War against the state of Afghanistan should only have been declared if they chose to continue material support to Al-Qaeda.

  • I think the issue is less guilt by association than it is the fact that association can draw you into defending things that really shouldn’t be defended. Over the past month, for example, folks at EWTN, First Things, Inside Catholic and the American Life League have defended the use of torture (or enhanced interrogation, or whatever they’re calling it these days). They didn’t have to do that, and I suspect that if the sides had been reversed (with Dems largely supporting these methods and Repubs opposed) that they wouldn’t have done so. But there’s something about politics that makes people feel that they need to “defend their team” regardless of the system.

    To some extent this may be inherent in the nature of politics (if it weren’t for this political ‘team spirit’ I doubt you could get very many people to participate in the political process or even vote). And it certainly applies on the left as well as on the right. But the danger is real.

  • Blackadder is correct.

  • In the last 40 years, there have been only 2 Democratic appointments to the Supreme Court. Reagan chose two nominees that ended up being pro-choice and so did Bush I. Seven of the nine Justices since Roe have been made by Republicans and the pro-life movement has not garnered the votes needed by the court in order to get a 5-4 majority.

    In the interests of precision it should be that George Bush – pere made just two appointments to the Court, one of which worked out badly. Please also note that Republican presidents have had to maneuver eight of their last 12 court appointments past a legislature controlled by the political opposition. This reality has been salient with regard to the tenure of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. One might also note the list of registered Democrats who have sat on the Court since 1969 (one of which was nominated by Gen. Eisenhower):

    1. William O. Douglas
    2. William J. Brennan, Jr.
    3. Byron White
    4. Thurgood Marshall
    5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    6. Steven Breyer

    Not one of them had to run an obstacle course erected by a Republican Senate. Only one of these (White) ever showed much resistance to enactment by judicial ukase of whatever the prevailing ethos was in Georgetown (and it is doubtful that Mr. Justice White’s most controversial acts of refusal would have been regarded as remarkable either in the legal professoriate or among politicians at the time he was appointed in 1962). Seven of the twelve Republican appointments have been failures, in part because of negligence (Gerald Ford’s and George Bush-pere’s), incompetence (that of Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, and John Dean), and in part because (it is reasonable to surmise) of successful deception by the candidate in question (Sandra Day O’Connor).

    What is a more interesting question is why Mr. Brown would have more than a laconic interest in the competition between the two parties with regard to any other nexus of issues. Both parties are promoters of some version of the mixed economy. The Democratic Party is a reliable ally (the Republicans merely acquiescent) in the promotion of the designs of the social work industry, the organized appetite of academia, the teacher’s colleges, and the public employee unions. Certain subcultures within the population appear to be tribal Democrats). Why should these distinctions excite Mr. Brown’s loyalty?

  • Anthony, I think a lot of it depends on whose ox is being gored. Being partly of Cuban ancestry, I would take issue with your statement that the Spanish American war was unjustified–or at least, that element within it that consisted of Cuban citizens fighting to rout their foreign rulers. And while my Southern creds are impeccable, I confess that I remain deeply divided about the legitimacy of the Wah of Nawthun Agression–particularly the nasty little bit of Confederate adventuring in Charleston Harbor that set off the whole powder keg.

    I am glad to see, however, that you have no false illusions about WWII. Though there is no doubt in my mind that it was justified, I have often reflected recently that the brutality inflicted by all sides–Allies included–in that conflict, makes the sturm und drang about the Iraq War seem doubly ridiculous.

  • Art,

    Then it seems then that more careful vetting would be something GOP presidents should work on and pro-life advocates should strongly affirm that they desire anti-Roe judges and won’t settle for compromises.

    Even in the 1980s, the Democratic party was markedly pro-choice, but there were still a few pro-life Democratic votes in the Senate and I don’t think it was filibuster proof. I’d have to look into that; I’m not so sure if compromise and “moderate” candidates was so necessary.

    Agreed, however, that O’Connor was successful. I must say that I’ve been disappointed with the most recent women firsts — Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, to be particular. They were all pro-choice…so sad.

    On another note —

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform. And I feel that I simply wouldn’t fit in with the GOP. I practically diverge away on every issue.

    In regard to competition, my only point was that if the Democratic Party had a pro-life plank, the GOP couldn’t half-ass deliver on its promises or fail to give abortion the priority it deserves because pro-life advocates could find a home and place in the Democratic Party. Therefore, competition would increase and the party’s would try to out do each other — but the effect of that is real progress in stopping abortion.

    In other words, the tit-for-tat of pro-choice vs. pro-life means one Administration puts in place pro-abortion policies, another Administration rolls it back, then again, and again. Progress is very slow; if this were not the case, then progress would quicken.

    My feeling on this is that the pro-life movement because of the grave evil of legalized murder doesn’t have the luxury to make up strategy as it goes. I happen to think our current strategy is too tied up in one party. People can disagree; but I think my reasons are valid. Thanks.

  • cminor – Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    What I object to in my list of unjust wars is the element of military intervention. Its one thing to philosophically support foreigners, or offer them peaceful-oriented material support (food, medical aide, etc. – mostly for civilians). Violent intervention is a bridge too far. I’m one of those guys who think neutrality is a legitimate and respectable response to foreign wars, especially ones at great geographical distance.

    Eric –

    I’m of the personal view that if the Democrats did have a pro-life bench they would be wildly successful and almost impossible to defeat.

    Granted I’m not a Democrat and never will be. The concerns that their platform addresses I might have heart for, but their solutions more often than not have unintended or misunderstood consequences. LBJ’s Great Society, for example, was anything but. FDR’s social security has contributed ironically to making us less financially secure. These policies, sold to the American public as being in line with liberty, over time make the population dependent – and I would even say pawns or slaves – to the state.

    The Democrats are in essence the party of social and economic intervention. The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism. When politically convenient or necessary, both parties will swap philosophies.

  • Wars for political independence usually to my mind are justified. Or perhaps I just have soft spot for people who wish to be left alone and chart their own course. As I’ve argued over in the past – I believe there is great value behind the principle of secession.

    Interesting. In most ways, I think I would tend to say the exact opposite.

    Indeed, one of the American wars I have more difficulty justifying is the Revolution. And my sympathies in the Civil War are definitely with the North.

  • The Republicans are a party of moral intervention and militarism.

    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.

    Eric,

    I am a Democrat because I agree predominantly with the party’s platform.

    Wow. That’s quite a statement since many of their platform items are contrary to Catholic teaching.

    – abortion
    – contraception
    – secularism
    – limiting the rights of parents to educate their children

  • Matt,

    Last time I checked, party platforms are quite long lists.

    National security policies (which covers an array of issues), foreign policy (again an array of issues), health care, public funding of education, energy, taxes, fighting poverty through private and public sector solutions, and the list goes on.

    If you consider the whole of the platform, I agree with the vast majority of the points.

    Lastly, I don’t think anywhere in the party platform does it state we support “secularism.”

    I’m not saying that many Democrats have a wonderful understanding of the idea of separation of Church and State, but that’s flat out not in the platform.

    I didn’t say I agree with every point of the platform.

    If we had a point list and went down the party platform of each party and I had to respond ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ — the Democrats would win. Ask me to vote between candidates and probably not.

    Matt, could you really work on not being so overly aggressive and condescending as a commenter? Seriously. It’s not really in this post, but there are more charitable and engaging ways to address people.

    You could have said quoted my comment and asked:

    “Eric, could you clarify what you mean here? A few tenets of the Democratic platform contradict Catholic teaching.”

    That’s very charitable and not so assuming.

    I’m sure we’re all guilty, but we argue on this blog so much about “good” Catholics and “bad” Catholics, let’s strive to actually imitate Jesus.

  • Darwin –

    Perhaps living in Texas will influence your outlook. Certainly myself having been born and raised in Houston I experienced a subculture in America that took pride in its republican sovereignty as a historical footnote. However, Texas by and large is mostly just ‘bark and no bite’ when it comes to independence. Post-Civil War they’ve been properly beaten into submission and made to feel guilty (like the rest of the South) for ever daring to give Washington the screw.

    In the case of both The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy but merely her expulsion. If the South succeeded in gaining independence, perhaps the war would have been known as ‘The Southern Revolution’ or ‘The Second American Revolution’. Had both the above conflicts been genuine ‘civil wars’ I would think the endgame would involve usurping power in London and Washington D.C.

    Thats all I’ll say… I’m already too far off topic.

  • The American Revolution and The Civil War the ultimate goal was not destruction of the enemy

    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.

  • ****
    that’s the talking points anyway. In reality, the Republicans as a policy advocate for intervention in the cause of justice, to protect the lives and rights of the citizens. As to militarism, look again, far more military interventions under Clinton than under Bush or Reagan. Regime change in Iraq was a Democrat policy also.
    ****

    Matt,

    Maybe I’m being dimwitted, but I think you just responded to my ‘talking points’ with your own set.

    The Republican record is atrocious, especially when it comes to the litmus test of a strict reading of the Constitution and following what I can only presume are Jeffersonian principles. On matters of free speech, spending, declarations of war, states rights and social/government programs they have not lived up to their speeches. They pick and choose which rights and which liberties and which kind of justice just as much as Democrats.

    Our politicians are ‘Cafeteria Constitutionalists’ if I can paraphrase.

    Clinton might indeed have more military interventions (Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq immediately spring to mind), but the cost was no where near that of Bush II. My ‘militarism’ reference is more geared toward the current state of the party and the cultural attitudes attracted to it.

    Like I said above, those described philosophies are also quickly swapped depending on the political weather. Right now, for instance, the Republicans have become much better on a variety of issues. The problem is they have zero credibility.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.

    As for the second, I think one can argue that secession was permissible as a matter of positive law. The thing is, both the continued subjection of the slaves and the effort necessary to discontinue that involved the use of force.
    *****

    I’d love to debate all these points, but it is another topic thread. Unless we have permission to go free-for-all. 🙂

  • Anthony,

    Following the self-indulgent principle of “it’s my thread so I’ll take if off topic if I feel like it”, because this strikes me as an interesting topic:

    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good. In the case of the American Revolution, it strikes me that the injustices being imposed by the British were arguably very small compared to the evils of a drawn out war. Though the political philosophy of the American founding fathers strikes me as sufficiently far superior to that of the British empire that I an strongly tempted to say it was worth it anyway.

    In the case of the Civil War, I’m mildly sympathetic to states rights, but the stand was only being taken over states rights in order to insist on slavery. In that regard, I would happily have carried a rifle for the Union.

    Still, interesting conversation. I hope you’ll be around next week when I post my review (possibly multi part) of Empires of Trust. That should generate some interesting conversation.

    Blackadder,

    I think you’re right on tribalism. The temptation seems to have been too strong for some pro-life advocates to defend what they should not. Though at the same time — I don’t necessarily see the mistakes of those people as discrediting the movement as a whole. Or at least, it should not do so in the eyes of people who have long been used to swallowing the bitter pill of abortion support in the leaders they look up to on various “social justice” issues.

  • *****
    The ‘enemy’ in the first case was the legitimate central government.
    *****

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone argue that the British crown was illegitimate, just tyrannical. The grievance, as I remember, was basically that a.) the crown’s actions were unjust and economically destructive, and b.) there was not sufficient representation in Parliament for the American colonies to voluntarily submit if they wanted to.

    Had those matters been better negotiated I would not have seen much cause for political separation. But they weren’t, so in my view it was justifiable to expel the threat to life, liberty and property and replace it with a better suited form of governance. It was time, as they say, to ‘appeal to heaven’.

    With regard to the war between the states its messier and more complicated, but similar to the situation with Britain.

    Let me first say that slavery is as reprehensible as abortion, contrary to any conception of liberty and should be rejected at all times and by all peoples. Were I living in America circa the 1850s, 1860s I would have been anti-slavery, but at peace with Southern secession.

    I often wonder if perhaps by allowing the South to secede, in time slavery could still have been done away with; particularly if Southern states sought to rejoin the Union at a later date. That way we could avoid the half million American deaths and a century of racial and and cultural resentment that is the Civil War’s sad legacy.

    I do not believe that slavery was the exclusive issue at stake in the Civil War. Not every individual fought for the same reason. If truly the war was one of liberation and not one of radically changing our Union’s understanding simultaneously, then permitting secession followed by an invasive mission to free slaves would have made more sense. Abolishing slavery in those states that did not secede would also have been more consistent on the part of the Union. Buying slaves and freeing them would also have made more sense. But both sides dug in… there had to be more to it than the lone moral debate over slavery.

    The South, in my view had a natural and popular desire to dissolve a political arrangement; no matter how imperfect or disgusting their own house could be. (Slavery, if I recall rightly, was enshrined in the CSA Constitution).

    Also I believe there to be legitimate historical and philosophical arguments over Lincoln’s goals at the war’s outset and the role tariffs and taxation played in further aggravating the conflict. Pro-Union historians who concede certain points about Lincoln usually argue that the president grew into being ‘The Great Emancipator’ over the course of the war thus legitimizing the “it was all about slavery” view. But if that is to be allowed then it could also be allowed that for the South what began as a wrong-headed defense of slavery grew into a larger and legitimate cause for political liberty.

    Its a real historical shame that the principle of ‘state’s rights’ – or rather a deference to local government – is tainted by the stench of slavery. Perhaps its only fitting that large, federal government is duly being connected to the stink of abortion, euthanasia, war and economic foolishness.

    *****
    I guess the hang-up for me is that as a conservative (and also looking at Church just war teaching) that regional independence (or national self determination, or call it what you will) is not an absolute good.
    *****

    I’m not certain there is much to say from the Church’s perspective and I only have a few, sketchy thoughts here.

    For one, after life, liberty is a natural and necessary condition in order for mankind to pursue good. I tend to think that if liberty is abridged (either by a state or individual) it further complicates pursuing a moral good via moral means. An individual or a people placed in a desperate situation they’re likely going to react desperately I’d imagine. The slave is legitimate in his revolt against the master, just as the South had legitimacy in its desire to no longer be under Washington’s growing power.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, concerns the general attitude towards ‘the State’. Where as I see the Church as a ‘higher’ form of institution that teaches and loves (however imperfectly some times), the State is considerably lower or lowest in my estimation. Indeed, I find it positively parasitical and unproductive.

    I would note that this does not mean I am not patriotic. I love my country. I love its peoples, my family, my friends, its lands, its culture and even its intellectual traditions. I cannot transfer that love to the State, indeed I find love of state to be dangerous and inescapably competitive with the things I ought to love (my neighbor, my God, etc.).

    Were I to run for office, my platform would likely be to tie the federal government’s hands as much as possible and follow the Constitution to the letter – even when inconvenient.

  • As has been remarked, parliamentary representation in Britain prior to 1832 was quite haphazard – – rotten boroughs, pocket boroughs, dominacy of Lords over Commons, &c. The lack of assignment of representation to the colonies was an aspect of that. (To this day, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and the residuum of overseas colonies do not have such representation). Why a series of excise taxes should spark a territorial revolt is an interesting question, from a sociological standpoint. Excises on paint and paper and tea may be good or bad policy. Such does not ‘tyranny’ make.

    Lincoln’s original motivations are an historical question. My purpose was to make a rough and ready statement as to why I would conceive of the use of force in that circumstance as legitimate.

    Personally, I think the U.S. Constitution is manifestly defective and should be scrapped.

  • I did not know about the sketchy representation in Parliament. Huh… the more you know!

  • Anthony

    As to Lincoln and the Civil War

    As a Southern one hears that often the Victors write hisotry. However as to the Civil War I often find the losers(we southerners) have often wrote it or “rewrote it” with amazing success. This was whiched one of its climaxes when Woodrow Wilson was elected and suddenly that horrid film he screened became the offical line

    First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away. It seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds in Texas. That was once a Catholic NO SLAVE STATE. It is without a doubt that SOuthern Leadership wanted a slave empire. Their constant designs on Cuba and Central America a prime example. In fact a slave Manifest Destiny with desgins on California. I suspect if things had gone differently if DC had been captured and even Philly I am not so sure that areas like New Mexico and Arizona to say the least would have been given back. There was consideravle Confederate action in New Mexico for example and the COnfederate recognized a Arizona Seccesionist Govt

    As to the “growing Federal Power” if you look at the Seccession Declarations of the States SLAVERY was the issue. While a few threw in talk of light houses and the occasional tariff this was the prime concern

    Southerners had used Federal Power quite a bit. They imposed a gag rule on Slavery in Congress, the mails could be censured of anti slavery things. Also what they wanted in the end was a Federal Slave Code. That would have been the largest exapnsion of Federal Power ever. In fact it was largely on this that the SOutherners broke with the Democrat party on that fateful day in Charleston at the Democrat Convention

  • First there is no evidence that Slavery would have gone away.

    Counter-factual speculation is somewhat idle. However, it ought be noted that the abolition of slavery in the United States was appended to the abolition of hereditary subjection all over Europe and Russia over the period running from 1789 through 1864. (Admittedly, serfdom is a qualitatively different institution). Also, I believe that the abolition of slavery in Brazil was enacted just a few years after the close of the American Civil War.

  • Well, the boll weevil would have done in the cotton industry one way or another, so retaining large quantities of slave labor would have become considerably less profitable for one major export at least. Importing new slave labor would also have become increasingly difficult and unprofitable, considering that standard practice on the big plantations in immediately antebellum Georgia and the deep South was to work slaves more or less to death over several years and then replace them. Slave escapes would likely have largely emptied border states (maybe we’d have a wall down the middle of the continent!) There might still be slavery, but not to the same extent as before; likely the system would have gotten extremely draconian before finally starting to fizzle, however.

    Currently I live in a South that, all things considered, is in pretty good shape. If a war (that we started) is what it took to bring the abomination that was slavery to an earlier close and my Confederate forefathers had to lose it so that this corner of the country wouldn’t degenerate into a demagogue-ridden third world state, though they haunt me for saying it, it’s just as well.

    For the record, I got the full Southern version of history in grade school. The victors didn’t write it all.

  • BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.

  • My favorite history of the Civil War was written by Shelby Foote, and the best study of command in the Civil War, Lee’s Lieutenants, was written by Douglas Southall Freeman. When it comes to the Civil War, the Southern viewpoint has produced myriad first class histories.

  • “BTW Anthony, what other issues governed the decision to secede to anywhere near the degree of slavery? Please.”

    I never said slavery was not part of it. My view has always been that the debate over slavery poured into a lager crisis over the meaning of the Union.

    I merely reject the argument that the Civil War was exclusively over that acute issue. The question of both liberty for slaves, political liberty for the Southern States and the Union’s meaning under the Constitution.

    You can’t disconnect the slave issue from its Constitutional aspects, its economic aspects any more than you can its moral ones. I’d also add that as one who leans rather libertarian the lens through which I’m viewing things is liberty itself. Questions of authority are antithetical. Why can’t one believe that slaves should be free and Southern states free? It seems rather “American” to me.

13 Responses to Send Me Your Poor…

  • The fear with immigration seems, to me at least, to be rooted in the notion that if we don’t limit immigration, then we will pluck the tree bare of fruit and not have any left for planting. All the hidden costs that illegal immigrants bring suggest there is some reason for concern there. A surplus of labor tends to depress wages, which isn’t necessarily the end of the world, unless someone out there is mandating unreasonably high minimum wages. But the fact that so many of these immigrants have no problem finding people who will hire them–coupled with the fact the US has had for years a very low unemployment rate–states this isn’t as large a problem as people think. Personally, I’m all for finding all the illegal immigrants and at the very least handing them green cards (or whatever the permission-to-work tag is now).

    Culture is another matter, as well. The problem with the Hispanic wave of illegal immigrants is that they tend to be isolated from the rest of the nation. What I don’t know is whether that is the fault of the Hispanics–wanting to come, pluck the tree bare, and then hurry home without being tainting by US culture–or us–so prejudiced against the immigrant, legal or not, that we isolate them. Regardless of which case it is, we still could do a better job of reaching out to our immigrant communities and help them more.

  • Why is the standard a condo, two cars, a game cube, a cell phone, and Levis what makes “life worth living”. I understand that you did not actually promote this as the standard, but I think it is worth discussing. Who actually has this standard?

    I think the problem is this is what we demand, not for them but for us. People aren’t affraid of having neighbors that are poor. People are affraid of being poor, or as you put it, not living the “American Lifestyle”. Thats why we don’t want to have the kind of redistribution it takes to provide for things like healthcare to immigrants, because we need to live our “American Lifestyle”.

  • Ryan,

    I’d agree in finding culture and education more troubling than economics in many ways. Though to a great extent, that’s part of a larger part of breakdown in education and culture in the US. I’m not clear that we’re doing any better inculcating education and American culture in native born poor children than we are with the children of immigrants.

    Michael,

    Why is the standard a condo, two cars, a game cube, a cell phone, and Levis what makes “life worth living”. I understand that you did not actually promote this as the standard, but I think it is worth discussing. Who actually has this standard?

    What I was thinking of (though expressing it in a slightly satiric way) is that we have a standard of what constitutes “poverty” in the US which is based on our own standards resulting from living in the US: a family should be able to afford its own, stand alone home; you should be able to afford a good working car; your house or apartment should be at least a certain size; etc.

    Obviously, even a very working class lifestyle in the US is very, very well off by the standards of many countries in the world. So given the chance, you might find a three generation family with eight people living in a one bedroom apartment in the US — four adults earning minimum wage pooling their resources to make expenses — and yet compared to their life in Guatamala two years before they might feel like they’re doing very well.

    Now my approach to the above situation would be to say, “They’re getting the chance they want to create wealth and work their way out of poverty into a US lifestyle.” However, I think we often hear people say, “It’s horrible that we allow immigrants to be treated this way, why don’t we pay them a decent wage?”

    At a basic supply/demand level, though, I don’t see how we could both guarantee that they’d make a wage much higher than the current US minimum wage; allow nearly unlimitted immigration; and avoid having high unemployment.

    And so, since even at current low wage levels an immigrant to the US is often making 5-10x what he or she would have been making back home in an undeveloped or semi-developed country — I’d tend to support opening up legal immigration a lot and allowing there to be lots of low wage labor which gradually creates wealth and lifts itself out of poverty.

    However, I think the two forces pushing back against that idea (probably far to strongly for us to ever adopt such a policy) are:

    1) Low skill/low education workers in the US who don’t want to see their wages go down because there is a large supply of immigrant labor willing to do the same work for less.

    2) Well intentioned people across the political spectrum but especially on the left don’t want to see immigrant families be poor — and so would rather either keep immigrants out or provide so much support in terms of either minimum wage hikes or social services that lots of immigration results in high unemployment and/or unsustainable needs for social services spending.

  • The old “lump of labor” fallacy always gets rolled out in tough times. It’s still a fallacy, though. Immigration actually leads to economic growth; it doesn’t steal jobs from domestic workers.

  • Someone please argue how Hispanic culture is inferior to American culture…

  • Mark,

    I didn’t see where anyone said that Hispanic culture is inferior to American culture. But more generally, do you have a problem passing judgment on a culture? Even if, say, that culture practiced infanticide or virgin sacrifices as part of its way of life? It’s people who are created equal, not the attributes of their culture…

  • j.

    True.

    But I guess I have this quetion? why do we have the intense focus on insuring/insisting that Hispanics are thoroughly assimilated into ‘Amercan culture.? And what in God’s name is American culture, that is seemingly so said to be a threatened by unassimilated, outside influences?

    I look back at the educational endeavors of the 1920s and see some of the untrue, terrible things that were simply assumed about Jews, Italians, the Poles etc.

    Is not the concern coming from the same ignorance and/or prejudice?.

  • -I’m all for open boarders,-

    I spent eighteen months after college as a full-time volunteer in shelters that aided illegal immigrants (actually, about half that time was on the Mexican side working with the homeless and running a women’s shelter). So, I don’t share the fear or hatred of the immigrant. Actually, I like Spanish and Latin culture more than I do American, and I only speak Spanish in the home, so I am quite comfortable with immigration.

    However, I could never agree with some of my fellow volunteers that we should have open borders. That seems reckless. What has always annoyed me about the immigration situation is the way it is set up. The truth is that for many years we had nearly non-existent unemployment and these workers were not taking jobs from people (I never lost a teaching job to an illegal immigrant and I never wanted the job in the orchard busting my ass for minimum wage). Basically, we needed these people but we made them go through hell to get here (Pragmatically, the border enforcement is a good idea: it generally only allows the strong and young to get through and then we exploit them for labor. Obviously, that is an inhumane practice and, to cover it up, that is why the immigrants are always painted as a problem rather than the solution to our need for cheap physical labor).

    I just wish that our policy could be more honest. Admit we need a certain amount of people and recruit them!

    It always amuses me when people say, “Why don’t they just come legally?” They think that it is just as simple as dropping into the US consulate and getting papers. It took me over two years (and the frequent assistance of Senator Jon Kyl’s office) to immigrate my wife and my own children, and I am a natural-born US citizen. Can you imagine how hard it is for Jose the orchard worker from Nicaragua? It is impossible, actually. You have to meet income and property requirements that are unreachable for your typical Latin American worker. They have little choice but to come illegally.

  • Rob,

    I think you bring up an important and (outside of those who’ve actually had to deal with the current immigration regulations) little known point: Whatever the right approach is, the status quo of immigration regulation is just plain disfunctional. It’s very, very difficult and time consuming to immigrate legally (coming in on a student visa and then getting an employer to sponsor you for a work visa is probably the easiest route) and the combination of a very difficult immigration process with occasionally lax enforcement is that we end up actively selecting for people who are willing to ignore the law and sneak in. (Which in turn leaves them most open to being exploited.)

    As for open boarders — I personally think that it would be most just to allow anyone without a criminal record or a serious communicable disease in (19th century style) but I don’t know if I’d actually support the policy if there was a vote on it tomorrow in that I don’t think the US is open to dealing with the consequences of really huge immigration. Realistically in the short term, I think we need to expand the quotas and simplify the process, and enforce what laws that we do have.

    Mark,

    Someone please argue how Hispanic culture is inferior to American culture…
    [snip]
    But I guess I have this quetion? why do we have the intense focus on insuring/insisting that Hispanics are thoroughly assimilated into ‘Amercan culture.? And what in God’s name is American culture, that is seemingly so said to be a threatened by unassimilated, outside influences?

    While I don’t think it’s impossible to say that in certain cases one culture is inferior to another (not all cultures are equal) I don’t think that “Hispanic culture” (whatever that means — “Hispanics” being a very broad and diverse group) is inferior to US culture.

    However, I think society is generally only healthy and free of strife when people share a common culture. That doesn’t mean they can’t have differences based on their culture of origin, but it’s important that they be able to speak to each other (shared language) and that they share certain common knowledge and archetypes derived from their nation’s history, political philosophy and literature.

    This isn’t something unique to the US. It seems to me that if one was going to emmigrate to Japan, one would owe it to one’s new country to learn at least some Japanese and develop an understanding of Japanese history and literature as it applies to modern Japanese culture. Similarly, if you moved to France, you’d owe it to them to learn some French and learn enough of their history and culture to understand “Frenchness” as your new fellow countryment would.

    In the same sense, if our own country is to resist becoming a Balkanized federation of unassimilated cultures which don’t have any interest in each other, it’s important that US citizens learn English in school and develop an understanding of American history and literature (including American political archetypes.) That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t retain an appreciation of their own culture of origin as well — but there needs to be a sharing in real culture — not just consumer MTV culture that you pick up from the television and radio.

    Which is why I think it’s essential that our schools do a massively better job than they have in recent decades.

  • DC,

    I forgot to make my point! LOL

    I was going to say, even with my background, I think that any country has the right, really a duty, to defend it’s borders, even seal them off. So an “open” border would just be reckless. But our present kookoo pokicy is essentially an open border, since the difficulty of legal immigration encourages people to cross the border anywhere but at a legal checkpoint.

    However, I atke issue with your concern about Balkanization. This country has always been on the verge of Balkanizaton and has always survived. Common language? There are still (small) places where French and German are spoken first in this country. 100 years ago, upstate New York and much of New England were French speaking (and Cajun in Louisiana). Lots os Pennsylvanians were German speakers (the first World War convinced them to change that, though!). These were not people who learned foreign languages as a hobby. They spoke “foreign” languages at home and in business! Now, though, those areas are practically museums, little Williamsburgs. The same will happen in the Southwest. It behooves people to learn English. The ones that aren’t learning English are the parents (I dare you to pick up a foreign language after a childhood of little or no education and having six kids to support!). But their kids, the ones born here, are native English speakers just like you and I. I know. I taught these kids for ten years.

    If there is anything I am worried about, it is that they WILL assimilate into our sick culture. I find it hard to relax when I see the ease with which the kids of simple, earnest, Catholic immigrants become drug-using, abortion-seeking, “good Americans”.

  • Rob,

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you much on the assimilation question. I don’t have a problem with Spanish newspapers and radio stations and some of the stores I go into being primarily Spanish speaking — that’s just a matter of serving the people who are local. (Back in Los Angeles our neighborhood supermarket went through stages of being mostly in Spanish, then Russian and later Arabic and Turkish.)

    What did worry me a good bit with the California schools was that because they got paid more for “ESL” students than English-speaking students, they’d often shunt kids off into classes that were mostly taught in Spanish for all eight years of their elementary education. However, they didn’t cover Spanish grammar very well, so the Spanish spoken was often low quality, and for “Hispanic culture” there was a lot of messing around about “Aztec culture” because they felt uncomfortable discussing anything that was Catholic in a public school setting.

    So you’d end up with kids who sounded uneducated in both Spanish and English and didn’t have a real grasp of either culture — though they were definitely fluent in the trashy pop-culture which pours out of American TV sets every day.

    Though I should say: Although the ESL classes tended to cover less math and writing than they should have (and thus hurt kids in the long run) — I don’t think that the “normal” classes in most of our public schools do a very good job of instilling American and Western Culture. So the problem is certainly wider than just dealing with immigration.

  • -there was a lot of messing around about “Aztec culture” because they felt uncomfortable discussing anything that was Catholic in a public school setting. –

    LOL Aren’t liberals a riot? Yeah, because the average Mexican kid really identifies with the ancient Aztecs more than he does with Christianity. Gimme a break.

    -I don’t think that the “normal” classes in most of our public schools do a very good job of instilling American and Western Culture.-

    But they do. They just don’t instill the culture we want them to instill. George Washington? Naaah. Bill of Rights? Plymouth Rock? In God We Trust? Naaaah! Instead, they teach the permissive, nebulous and totally unidentifiable blob-culture that is the new America. By “blob”, I mean that most people no longer stand for anything or try to even say anything, because all viewpoints are equally offensive, so the solution is to make everything “okay”. The new culture is non-culture…

    Ah, what am I doing? I’m preaching to the choir, right?

  • ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…and…you shall love your neighbor as yourself’.

    There are no liberals, conservatives, Mexicans or Americans. There are only children of God. There are no British, Canadians, Brazilians, black-white-or-brown.

    National pride, saluted flags and hoarded money are idols when revered in greater sanctity than the greatest commandments of our Lord.

    Would Christ turn away a desperate immigrant? Would Christ tell someone to speak the right language? Would Christ turn away a person who is not Christian? Would Christ care that you would not share for fear you may lose a piece of your fortune?

    We should put our fears aside and trust in the Lord.