If Only All Catholics Thought As Highly of the Church

Sunday, February 8, AD 2015

 

In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:

 

As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.

In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.

Yes, compared to the ideal imagined by atheists and secularists this sounds like madness.

But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.

You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers:  (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)

Not feeling the hysteria…

…over Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks. It’s just today’s Panic du Jour from the Noise Machine. Here’s what he actually said:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…

“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)

This seems, not merely reasonable, but rather pedestrian.

 

 

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16 Responses to If Only All Catholics Thought As Highly of the Church

  • Sadly I clicked the link more to read the comments. Read only about a quarter so can’t say absolutely. The comments that I did read were pretty sad. It seems the readership over there is fairly leftist in its nature. Not only is America bad but so is Christianity. Little difference between the defensive wars of the Christian Crusades and the Muslims who then, and now, advance by force. Mark has created quite the echo chamber.

  • What about John’s Gospel 15:16 choosing and appointing his own to be fruitful for the Father.
    Are we to throw up our hands and place the (coexist) bumper stickers all over our automobiles? Are we to see the next step in tolerance become a national
    acceptance of bestiality. Then marriage for that pervert so his/her dog horse pig or who knows what has “RIGHTS?”

    OBAMA IS EVIL INCARNATE.

  • I have been struck by the fact that the winners not only get to write history, they get to name history.
    The “Reformation” — yeah, in the same sense that the secessionists were trying to “reform” the Union.
    Likewise the “Age of Reason” portrayed as dawning full-blown as if everyone just decided one day to throw off the shackles of the Church and live by science one day. No mention of the universities founded by the Church nor of the religious orders dedicated to teaching and scientific discovery.
    And, of course, if you try to mention any of this in a discussion of the Church’s role in history you will be laughed at.

  • The only thing that will correct those liberal progressive secularist commenters about about whom Philip talked is what corrected the children of Israel and Judah. In the case of the latter, it was chastisement by the Assyrians and Babylonians. In our case it will be chastisement by Muslims. God never changes. He does the same thing in the same way because He does the right thing in the right way. He is entirely capable and willing to use our enemies to bring us to justice, and that will constitute God’s mercy for the innocent whom these same liberal progressive secularists murder with complete abandon.

  • Tom Collins.
    “…that the winners not only get to write history, they get to name history.”

    I relationship to these so-called winners a short sentence comes to mind from Braveheart; “History was written by those who hung the heroes.”

    The winners will receive a crown of glory that will never tarnish rust or be stolen.

    Unfortunately for the world winners, many will have spent their heaven while on earth. Then they will ponder their existence upon earth. Perplexed at the absurdity they demonstrated while chastising those who believed and lived out the Gospel messages as best they could. Now. All alone in the eternal darkness they unceasingly cry out a hatred towards God. A scream of infinity. A never ending scourge that they themselves created in their enlightened mind and superior thought.

  • The “Reformation” was badly needed when Pope Leo X was Pope. The Church had distorted and warped the gospel so badly that Martin Luther had to speak up about it. In much the same manner that many are speaking out against the Pope today.

    Luther never left the Church. They threw him out and had a death sentence placed upon his head. He stood his ground and at least was able to restore the gospel, in it’s purity, to much of the Christian world.

    If we are speak of ‘history’…we might as well be as honest and objective as possible. And I’m not one of the kooks that believes that the Catholic Church is not Christian. Only that because of our self-centered nature, the gospel needs to be placed back onto the rails from time to time.

  • Folks, stay focused on the topic of the post please. I do not want this becoming a back and forth on Martin Luther, a subject which has zip to do with this post.

  • Was reminded of something recently– do you know how The Inquisition (the instruction from the Church, and later the organization, got its name?

    The Pope put out an instruction that, if they were going to punish people for anything on the list, they had to actually prove the person was guilty.
    *Gasp*
    How horrible!

  • And I can’t help but notice that most talk of the Crusades (or, more flinch worthy, “the medieval crusade”) is sort of like starting a story when the guy who’s been taking a massive beating finally raises a hand.
    As opposed to something like this:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2005/11/the_truth_about_islamic_crusad.html
    long quote:
    630 Two years before Muhammad’s death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a report that a huge army had amassed to attack Arabia, but the report turned out to be a false rumor. The Byzantine army never materialized. He turned around and went home, but not before extracting ‘agreements’ from northern tribes. They could enjoy the ‘privilege’ of living under Islamic ‘protection’ (read: not be attacked by Islam), if they paid a tax (jizya).

    This tax sets the stage for Muhammad’s and the later Caliphs’ policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If they converted, then they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed back to the Islamic treasury in Arabia or to the local Muslim governor.

  • Goes on to note that the polytheists did not get the option to pay for ‘protection.’

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  • President Obama says that we shouldn’t get on our moral high horse re:
    what Muslims are getting up to these days, since Christians also did some
    bad things a long time ago …

    Which makes me wonder if Democrats will cease demonizing conservatives
    now, since it was Democrats who legislated Jim Crow, progressive Democrat
    Woodrow Wilson who re-segregated the federal workforce, Democrats who
    filled the ranks of the KKK, Democrats who blocked civil rights legislation
    for decades…

  • So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.

    That’s the trillion dollar question, is isn’t it? Is ISIS in fact a distortion of Islam, or a more pure form of it?

  • So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.

    That’s the trillion dollar question, isn’t it? Is ISIS in fact a distortion of Islam, or a more pure form of it?

  • @c matt. Amen that is the trillion dollar question:
    Were the the followers of Christ in doing evil actually following Christ, and are the followers of Mohammad in doing evil actually following Mohammad…?
    Even if the evil committed were the same (and it’s not), there is the question of moral equivalency in the two religions to a relativistic elite. Can a religion at is root be evil? Can judeo-christian thought be a superior culture? Can religion be important in a secularist age?

  • Was reminded of something recently– do you know how The Inquisition (the instruction from the Church, and later the organization, got its name?

    The Pope put out an instruction that, if they were going to punish people for anything on the list, they had to actually prove the person was guilty.
    *Gasp*
    How horrible!
    –Foxfier (10:44am)

     

    Inquisitors didn’t accept anonymous accusations either. This puts them way ahead of today’s US universities with their “rape!” tribunals.

Social Justice=More Power to Caesar

Friday, December 5, AD 2014

 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C.S. Lewis

 

 

A fascinating video from Prager University with Jonah Goldberg noting that liberals tend to use social justice as a catch phrase to pursue a new program by government.  In that context the phrase has little meaning with as little substance as saying “I support policy A and policy A is “good”.”

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43 Responses to Social Justice=More Power to Caesar

  • “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
    .

    “those” use their conscience to deny us the use of our conscience in determining what and how we, the people, will express our “social Justice.” FREEDOM from conscience is freedom from civilization.

  • George Steele Gordon: “Intellectuals, especially in the social sciences, have a nasty habit of thinking that, ‘This is the way the world should be, therefore this is the way the world can be.’
    .

    “Sometimes the mind just boggles.
    .

    “The Atlantic has an article this month with the title “Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don’t Realize It).” I am always curious when intellectuals announce that the people (who in the American constitutional system serve as the sovereign power) don’t know what’s good for them (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) or don’t even know what they want.
    .

    “Implicit in all of these revelations, of course, is the firmest, if never directly expressed, belief of the Left: That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions. Those few, those happy few, that band of liberal intellectuals, must do that for them.”
    .

  • As the wag once wagged, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; pick two.”

  • Of course, that doesn’t really work, because you can have liberty and brotherhood, or you can have equality and brotherhood. but you can’t have liberty and equality without subordinating one to the other.

  • Arrogating to oneself another person’s free will is a very serious crime against humanity, trespassing the personhood, violating the sovereignty of the victim.

  • Ernst Schreiber:”Of course, that doesn’t really work, because you can have liberty and brotherhood, or you can have equality and brotherhood. but you can’t have liberty and equality without subordinating one to the other.”

    .
    Mutual respect, each one for the other, can and does make it work. A person does not have to love his neighbor in politics as in religion. And sometimes love does not encompass “like”, but one must absolutely respect himself and his neighbor. Respect gives us liberty and equal Justice. There is no such thing as equality since men are all created differently by “their Creator”. For example: Same -sex practitioners are seeking marriage equality in a court of law. The court of law may only deliver equal Justice, never equality, because equality is something the court does not have the power nor authority to deliver. Equal Justice is giving to each individual what he truly deserves: murder to the murderer, hatred to the hater, love to the lover, acknowledgment of God to God, ad infinitum.

  • Didn’t you post this video before, Don? No big deal if you did (it is a good one) but I just get the strangest feeling of deja vu…

    Ah there we go, back in march.

  • Ah, a sure sign that I have been working too hard in the law mines. I had completely forgotten about that earlier post!

  • Speaking of law mines, Don do you work with patents or can recommend a honest lawyer who does?

  • The thing is there are certain social doctrines of the Church that Catholics must adhere to. For example, healthcare is a right according to the catechism and papal magisterium. It would be nice if the Church would elucidate exactly what we have to believe in these areas so as to separate the wheat from the chaff. Probably too much to hope for a modern day syllabus of economic errors.

  • “For example, healthcare is a right according to the catechism and papal magisterium.”

    There is never a right to a material thing Tom, because such a right is unenforceable. The Church can say that people should make certain that the poor do not go without healthcare, but a right implies enforcement of the right, or it wouldn’t be a right, and the power to compel other people to supply the healthcare for those who lack it. Such powers are beyond the capabilities of the Church, and today we see the welfare states who have sought to do this heading towards insolvency.

  • Only if the case is in Central Illinois would I be able to recommend an attorney. Send me a private e-mail and I will see what I can do.

  • I’m not sure how that works Donald in light of Church teaching. Pope Benedict taught in CARITAS IN VERITATE that there is both a right to food and a right to water. Aren’t those material things and essentially the same as the right to healthcare?

  • Yep and just as unenforceable. Popes can say whatever they please, but they lack the power to grant enforceable rights, and if a right is not enforceable it isn’t a right. The bitter truth of course is that none of us have a right to any material thing. Everything we get in a material way is earned by sweat, either ours or someone else. If we pay for what we get the sweat is voluntary. If the government compels A to give a good to B, the sweat is involuntary. There are many words for that type of situation, but right is not one of them.

  • What you say makes sense but then we have the clear teaching of the Popes. I would have hoped that Pope Benedict, a brilliant mind, would have considered your points about unenforceable rights. I guess I’m back to my original statement. We need clear teaching in these matters with points like yours considered/debated and then ultimately excommunications for those who refuse to adhere.

  • “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Which also explains how harassing Christmas shoppers, badgering school children attempting to sing Christmas carols, blocking commuters from getting to/from work, etc. can all be excused in the name of “justice”… because if Eric Garner, Mike Brown, et al., can’t enjoy Christmas, no one should!

    There is another passage from Lewis’ Screwtape Letters where Lewis, in the persona of the demon Screwtape, explains how a person can be trained to direct their feelings of charity or benevolence to objects that are, for all practical purposes, imaginary, while at the same time treating the real people they see every day with contempt and malice. What some of these “shut it down” protesters are doing is a perfect example: in the name of charity and justice for dead men whom they never met, and about whom they know nothing other than what has been filtered to them though select media sources, they inflict inconvienience (at best) or outright cruelty (at worst) on living people standing right in front of them.

  • “Pope Benedict taught in CARITAS IN VERITATE that there is both a right to food and a right to water.”

    There are a couple of different ways such a statement can be interpreted. The most logical and defensible interpretation IMO is that it is wrong to needlessly or deliberately interfere with the right of others to obtain food, water, healthcare, etc. via legitimate means. It does not, IMO, necessarily mean that these goods must be actively provided to everyone at government expense regardless of the cost to others.

  • The “rights” fallacy was famously exposed by Rousseau.
    “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign [the People] is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.”

    His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

  • “forced to be free”

    Ah, what great evil came from that brief oxymoron.

  • The state does not own the citizen to give the citizen to his own country. The state may acknowledge the free will of the person to choose and guard his free will choice. Man defines his own freedom. Being freed from an overcrowded lifeboat as in J.S. Mills’ philosophy by being thrown into the sea for the common good is not freedom being imposed. Rousseau must have been an atheist because Rousseau believes that the state rules supreme. Divine Providence rules supreme. That is why we have the Second Amendment.

  • I keep going to the various concordances and search engines, and they cannot find these words in any language in any part of divinely inspired Scripture: “Social Justice” or “Social Gospel.” Did the libdissents have a new Council and mess with the canon of Scripture?
    T.Shaw: Didn’t you implicitly nail the current Admn and their MIT shill re: how they put ObamaDontCare over on the stupid US public – “That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions’
    Don R. McC: So good, so well done-should be an OpEd in NYT and WSJ and National [not] catholic [not] Reporter[not.
    Nate-Let me know where you are and I will see if I know someone in the area -Guy McClung, Registered US Patent Attorney

  • “Social Justice” is simply another term for “socialism”. This malevolent system illustrates what secular elitist Jonathan Gruber et al seek to impose – a system of equal misery, equal envy and equal subordination of the “stupid” by godless humanists. No thanks!

  • I think that a Christian cannot fulfill her/his charitable duties by giving the government/state/Caesar more of other people’s money or more power.
    .

    Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.

    Washington wrote/said that government is power and, like fire, when controlled is beneficial; but when uncontrolled/unlimited, like conflagration, is highly dangerous.
    .
    The practical matter and experience is that the geniuses who think they know it all generally don’t and everything they attempt is ruined. So, the solution is to limit their power and their potential to mess up everything, including welfare for the poor. E.G., 50 years of Great Society and trillions of coerced transfer payment, and the USA has more poor people than it had in 1964.

  • Mary De Voe wrote:
    .
    FREEDOM from conscience is freedom from civilization.
    .
    St. Paul wrote in Romans 6:16
    .
    Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
    .
    Freedom from informed conscience is enslavement to sin whose penalty is death.

  • Donald McClarey wrote:
    .
    “The bitter truth of course is that none of us have a right to any material thing.”
    .
    Correct. What each and every one of us deserve is death for putting the nails in Jesus’ Hands and Feet, the Crown of Thorns on His Head, the stripes on His Back, and the hole in His Side. St. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-3 – note what Sacred Scripture at the end of this quote says that we do deserve:
    .
    “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
    .
    It is God’s Mercy that we do NOT get what we deserve: God’s wrath.
    .
    It is God’s Grace that we get what we do NOT deserve: God’s love.
    .
    It is not that a poor person has a right to bread and water and the other sustenance of life. It is that we as Catholic Christians, citizens of the Kingdom of God, have a moral and sacred duty to do works of mercy for the poor out of our individual resources. Never ever is this a duty of Government. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. If we do not, then we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our adoption as children of God, and can and should expect to be segregated with the goats at the Final Judgment.
    .
    As far as I am concerned: Mors Atheismo Democratiaeque. Vive Christe Rex!

  • Paul W Primavera: “Freedom from informed conscience is enslavement to sin whose penalty is death.” Very well said, Paul.

  • Greg, drop me a line to my gmail. “simplegarak” in front of the @.

  • Don and TomM, may I jump in on your debate?

    Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.

    Human rights, such as education and healthcare, are not natural rights since we create them, but the same philosophy applies. Government may not impede them, say, by prohibiting private schools or homeschooling, or by establishing ‘death panels’ for medical review. In a few cases, such as education, it might make sense from a policy outcome viewpoint for government to intervene to ensure by a variety of mechanisms that some education is provided to all, but in no way is it obligated by any philosophy to do so.

    There are even limits to government’s role in the arena of civil rights, where government has an obligation as a provider. For example, we have a right to a free press and to keep and bear arms, but government is not obligated to purchase our word processors or weapons for us. The only place where civil rights affect human rights is on the issue of equal access, and even then we must look at such cases on their unique circumstances to see if we are not misapplying the civil rights regime (e.g., creating a right for equal access to higher education regardless of ability).

    TomM, does that help?

  • Guy, can you send me an email? I’m simplegarak at gmail. (dot com)

  • Whoops, sorry for the double post, didn’t see the first one appearing.

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  • Social justice is to have a proper job.
    Social justice is using what the community has given to you to prosper: an education and social stability.
    Social justice is not getting votes making believe that public money is for everyone. (there is never enough when everyone wants it).
    Social justice is to learn a trade or profession and not be a burden to your neighbors.
    Social justice is stopping being a parasite and help other membersof your community with less gifts than you. The opposite would be being a parasite.

  • TomD: “Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.”
    .
    Thank you TomD. This comment has helped me understand the Ninth Amendment, of having rights not inscribed in the Constitution.

  • T Shaw wrote, “Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.”
    I think that Talleyrand, a consummate politician himself, was nearer the mark, when he said, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “Rousseau must have been an atheist…”
    So far from being an atheist, Rousseau believed that atheists should be banished from society, “not for impiety, but as an anti-social being, incapable of truly loving the laws and justice, and of sacrificing, at need, his life to his duty.”
    He held society would fall apart, without a belief in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws.”
    Rousseau never abandoned the Calvinism of his native city, Geneva, and admired Calvin and Beza as statesmen, as much as theologians.

  • MP-S: I think your Talleyrand quote defines the “mindset” of many so-called liberals (I have known) who fear the mob and so pay (with other people’s money) the mob.
    .
    A republic (which once we “enjoyed” in the US) cannot exist where rival, hate-filled hordes (egged on by power-grabbing politicians) fear and loathe each other . . . [sigh] Ergo, the woefully deficient supply of ammuntion persists.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:
    “T Shaw wrote, “Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.”
    I think that Talleyrand, a consummate politician himself, was nearer the mark, when he said, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.””
    .
    If the people are not filled with good will for the common good and general welfare, and mob rule is the wisdom of the constituency. it is better to adhere to what Hilaire Belloc loosely quoted said when ridiculed as a papist and rosary bead counter. Holding up his rosary for all to see, he said:”I pray these beads on my knees every night and pray that I do not have to represent you as my constituent.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “He (Rousseau) held society would fall apart, without a belief in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws.”
    .
    How strange then, that Rousseau would reject the remedy instituted by an all-loving God through Divine Providence, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been given to man to satisfy his immortal soul. Fulfilled souls make excellent citizens. The Catholic Church also separates the church from the state, which Rousseau seems to have confused here.

  • TomD: “Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.”
    .
    Thank you TomD. This comment has helped me understand the Ninth Amendment, of having rights not inscribed in the Constitution.
    .
    because it is through the individual citizen’s conscience can charity, humane treatment and largess be shared to the needy. It is not government’s duty to define charity for any citizen, although the government may deliver charity, acknowledging that all tax money belongs to the tax payer, even as it is administered by the administration. The tax payer has the final word in how his tax money is used.

  • JOHN C. WRIGHT at Instapundit: “Leftism is politicized envy.”

  • Hi, I’m new to this forum (I think), but anyway, you know, I was just reflecting about the whole thing about government/the intellectuals knowing what’s best for you etc. I know that line of thinking has gotten a hard knock in these blogs but in my country we’ve experienced the hardship that can be experienced when the majority or the masses are woefully ignorant and uneducated. We had a political party that governed our country for some 30 years, grew corrupt, and effectively raped the public Treasury of whatever funds were there. This continued until the people, rightfully so in my opinion, voted them out and installed a new government that stood for integrity and good governance. That new government inherited a Treasury that was almost run down to board through the thieving acts of prior corrupt politicians. They began the painful work of re-building the nation and keeping us out of the jaws of recession and economic meltdown. It required much sacrifice on the part of the population – salaries for example were slashed in the public sector in order to at least preserve jobs. In short, after about 4 years the country began to show signs of recovery and began to creep out of the pits of hell. By then election time had come around again and despite the best efforts by the incumbent government to explain to the populace that the sacrifices and pay cuts were necessary to restore the country to some level of recovery, the population would have none of it. All they knew was that this government had caused salary cuts and introduced VAT, etc and so they voted them out after one term in office – before they could fully effect the work of economic and social recovery – and re-voted in the old corrupt party who promptly began to undo all the good work done by the previous party. It was frustratingly sad for those of us who could appreciate the many tough decisions that had to be made by that government to get us back on track, but sorry to say, an illiterate populace threw us back into the dark ages…sigh…so that when T. Shaw, earlier shared that “Implicit in all of these revelations, of course, is the firmest, if never directly expressed, belief of the Left: That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions. Those few, those happy few, that band of liberal intellectuals, must do that for them.” Well, I dare to say that there is some truth in the saying that intellectuals must sometimes make decisions for non-intellectuals otherwise the world will collapse. A mother wisely makes the decision to give her young child some bitter cough medicine because in her wisdom she can see that the medicine will do well for the child even if the child with its limited understanding only deciphers that her mother is being cruel to her by giving her this awful tasting thing. Ok, well I haven’t hought through all the ramifications of this but I just wanted to share my country’s experience and indicate that sometimes those who are smarter need to make decisions for those who are less smart, not out of any sense of superiority or smug pride, but simply because the other doesn’t have the capacity to make that decision. It makes no sense asking the average plumber (no disrespect intended) to preside over national economic matters, because he is not so competent to act. My guess is that the solution is to try to upgrade the general intellect (and morality) of the masses so that they can make decisions that will augur to their and their generations benefit. Cheers!

  • Sean J. ” It makes no sense asking the average plumber (no disrespect intended) to preside over national economic matters, because he is not so competent to act. My guess is that the solution is to try to upgrade the general intellect (and morality) of the masses so that they can make decisions that will augur to their and their generations benefit. Cheers!”
    .
    Your guess is wrong, Sean J. Assuming that the general public is ignorant and needs to be augured to their and their generations benefit is outright garbage in and garbage out.
    If Joe the plumber is paying in his tax dollars for something he abhors, Joe knows it. Taxpayers are buying a product or rather being forced to buy a product that will not further their health and/or happiness. If Joe, the plumber makes a mistake out of ignorance, he has only himself to blame. If Joe, the plumber is forced against his free will and better judgement to accept anything that he abhors. it is tyranny. tyranny , tyranny. It is not, however, freedom.

  • Taxation without representation. That means that when a government hides behind closed doors to avoid telling its citizens what they will be spending our tax dollars on, the government is taxing the people without their informed consent, against their freedom. The government has become a regime of tyrants. oath breakers, constitutional betrayers and thieves.
    .
    For a government to make clandestine imperatives, whether it be Obamacare or amnesty, and use public money is a violation of the public trust.
    .
    When Bill Clinton was president, Hilarycare was put into place. Hilarycare sentenced doctors to two years in prison, federal prison, for any doctor who healed a patient without Hilarycare’s permission. Really criminalizing the act of healing as though Hilary were god. Never telling the doctors that this was going to make them inmates and ruin their careers. It is possible that Hilarycare was going to use the law to impose horrible fines and money penalties rather than real jail time, unless, of course, the doctor gave the court a hard time, but as Hilarycare was written, the doctors were going to federal prison for healing a sick person without Hilarycare’s permission.
    .
    The government does not have authentic authority to criminalize a morally and legally innocent act of humanitarianism. Nor does the government has the authority to make citizens’ taxes pay for this deliverance to hell.
    .
    Taxpaying doctors were the citizens who overturned such evil, when it came to their knowledge.
    .
    Now, we have Obamacare and amnesty. Taxation without representation, penalties without crimes sucking the life out of our nation while the government tells us that the people are to stupid to count their money.
    .
    Let us pray to God that “We, the people” are not to stupid to shake the monkey off our back.

Not By Bread Alone

Saturday, October 11, AD 2014

 

Culture War

 

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online has a great piece explaining why every political issue is a cultural issue:

 

 

Anyway, here’s the point I intended to get to much earlier. I’m coming to the position that every issue is a cultural issue. According to the Thomas Frank view, there are two kinds of issues: real issues and cultural (or social) issues. And, if he had his way, all elections would hinge on “real issues.” He writes in What’s the Matter with Kansas: “People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about. This species of derangement is the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests.”

This is of course, warmed-over Marxist twaddle. Frank thinks his view of economic interests is the only defensible view and everything else is boob bait for bubbas (Pat Moynihan’s orthodox liberal ad hominem for Clinton’s push for welfare reform) or what the Marxists call “false consciousness.” Much like Lena Dunham’s sex scenes, the list of things that are wrong with this is very long. People vote on the kind of community or country they want to live in, period. That means that taxes are a legitimate issue, but it also means that guns and abortion and free speech are just as legitimate. Liberals implicitly understand this, even if they lie about it routinely in their rhetoric. They are the first to invoke the language of values and right-and-wrong on the issues they care about, whether it is gay marriage or immigration or civil rights. And they are entirely right to do so. Where they are wrong is when they employ the language of “real issues” to dismiss any value-laden arguments that help conservatives win elections.

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3 Responses to Not By Bread Alone

  • Attempting to bifurcate political issues bet

    But it makes it a lot easier to try to form elegant theories for why your otherwise unworkable philosophy is good.

    They just want to get to decide what is “cultural”– ie, optional– and what isn’t; setting the terms.

  • Religion and politics can’t be separated from each other. Not in individuals nor in society. Religion and politics together are basic components of culture

  • “a society going to hell on the cultural front is inevitably going to be one which will have a larger government and social turmoil that will be negative for economic growth.”

    That, as I have explained before, is probably the most likely way in which a society or nation suffers chastisement for its sins — not natural disasters or even necessarily direct attack. Combined with the bad leadership that rises to the fore in a complacent or corrupt society, it makes life more and more onerous for the average person and, sometimes, downright dangerous for the more vulnerable (due to rising crime, poverty, etc.)

What Is Social Justice?

Thursday, March 27, AD 2014

Jonah Goldberg for Prager University asks and answers what is social justice.  I agree with him that social justice usually in practice ends up with thieves employed by the government taking property from A, keeping a substantial cut, and throwing the much reduced remainder at favored B and C.  This poorly thought out Robin Hood theology is at the basis of the manifestly failing welfare states today.  It is the antithesis of the voluntary charity called for by Christ in the tale of the Good Samaritan and it is beyond shameful that powerful people within the Church still think that the State is the preferred medium for social justice.  For those completely destitute and unable to work through no fault of their own, State support is a last resort necessity.  Where the welfare state ideology, masquerading as social justice, has gone astray is in taking a last resort and always making it a first resort, with disastrous consequences that are obvious to all, and completely ignored by those who ever bleat “social justice” and usually mean “state control”.

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15 Responses to What Is Social Justice?

  • In Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI carefully distinguished the respective roles of private individuals and the public authorities, harmonising the demands of solidarity and subsidiarity:
    “33. Individual initiative alone and the interplay of competition will not ensure satisfactory development. We cannot proceed to increase the wealth and power of the rich while we entrench the needy in their poverty and add to the woes of the oppressed. Organized programs are necessary for “directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating” (John XXIII, Encyc.letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 414) the work of individuals and intermediary organizations.
    It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

  • This is what frustrates me with talking with some Catholics (no really, I had this exchange with Bad Catholic once).

    They have in mind a meaning of social justice that we’ll call c!sj. Leftists have in mind a meaning (as demonstrated above in the excellent video) of social justice that we’ll call l!sj.

    Now in general discussions, many Catholics end up on the side of leftists because they hear them talk about “social justice” and assume c!sj is meant (when in fact it is l!sj), thus leftists are allies. Likewise when they hear rightists oppose “social justice”, they assume c!sj is meant. When in fact in both cases, the l!sj is what the left and right are meaning. Thus you have things like Shea’s post today, “A smart & moving letter”.

    If we were to use animals as metaphors, Catholics would be sheep (no offense, but the boss is a shepherd, remember?), rightists would be donkeys (because they can be used as guard animals), and leftists would be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Right & Catholic should be natural allies, but because the wolf wears a disguise and makes all the right noise, the donkey is dismissed as an enemy because it’s just too different.

    And so we have today, where the wolf has begun to eat the flock, while the sheep beg and plead for it to remember their old friendship.

    (and yes, the metaphor also applies to those sheep who say they’re against wolves and donkeys both and purely for sheep – if anything they are even easier to deceive than those who admit they have chosen a side)

  • There is a lot of talk about social justice. But with God there is only mercy on one side of the coin and justice on the other, and it isn’t called social justice. His eternal justice should scare the living hell right out of us. God doesn’t look just at income inequality. He sees more than 1 million babies murdered annually in the US, and the open promotion of same sex marriage and all the other innumerable crimes against humanity that cry out for vengeance, and His vengeance is a terrible thing. Just ask Kings Manasseh, Zedekiah and the others who thought differently.

    Domine Deus, miserere nobis et totius mundi.

  • When I read this post, I immediately thought of the parable of the Good Samaritan giving comfort and life but also providing that others ought to give comfort and life in the spirit of social Justice. The good Samaritan loved the injured victim. The High Priest did not love the victim. Nor did the others. Compassion is social justice. Compassion is taught by compassionate people.
    .
    Our society reeks of selfishness. Selfishness is adored and glorified. Selfishness is the High Priest of the parable. “Hooray for me, to hell with you” as the saying goes.
    .
    Government is made up of people. Like the church, who, without priests cannot exist, so, too, the government, who, without citizens cannot exist. The government in and of itself owns nothing but must take from its citizens what it gives and uses. The citizens must exercise the virtue of compassion and give to others the means to survive, their just due. Giving to others what they want is extortion and taxation without representation for there is no group of citizens who owes another group of citizens what that other group demands or wants, but only what anyone and everyone needs to survive…and in love and compassion, a two way street. The victim could not have lived without a love for his rescuer. The Samaritan’s good works delivered the victim from evil.

  • Why can’t you just say “justice.” Isn’t “justice” enough? “Social” refers to “groups”, does it not? So isn’t “social justice” really “group justice?”

  • I believe justice is defined thus: “To reward or punish based on merit”.

    Are the actions here discussed a reward or a punishment?
    No?
    Then please; let’s drop the term “justice”.
    Social justice may refer, I suppose, to the punishment of a group/society. Paul P’s description is probably best.

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  • exNOAAman wrote “believe justice is defined thus: “To reward or punish based on merit”.

    Perhaps, the most famous definition is contained in the opening lines of the Institutes of Justinian, “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuens” = Justice is the constant and perpetual intention to give to each his own.

    Thus, Ulpian says in the Digest, “Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere” = These are the precepts of the law: to live uprightly, not to harm another, to give to each his own [Dig.1.1.10.1 Ulpianus 1 reg]

    It is the foundational principle of the Roman and Civil law, the basis of the jurisprudence of every civilised nation.

  • “group Justice” would refer to the government which is a group. Social Justice would refer to society with government at its head. The voice of the people is Congress. The will of the people must be heard on the ballot.

  • It should be called “Socialist Injustice”

  • DJ Hesselius on Thursday, March 27, A.D. 2014 at 2:31pm (Edit)
    Why can’t you just say “justice.” Isn’t “justice” enough? “Social” refers to “groups”, does it not? So isn’t “social justice” really “group justice?”

    No, actually. That’s a large part of the point.

    The left is using “social justice” to mean treating people as parts of a group to be balanced; the right is more likely to think that “make laws that promote justice” is an inherent purpose of laws.

    Justice in the Catholic sense; read here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08571c.htm
    It is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them. Of the other cardinal virtues, prudence perfects the intellect and inclines the prudent man to act in all things according to right reason. Fortitude controls the irascible passions; and temperance moderates the appetites according as reason dictates. While fortitude and temperance are self-regarding virtues, justice has reference to others. Together with charity it regulates man’s intercourse with his fellow men. But charity leads us to help our neighbour in his need out of our own stores, while justice teaches us to give to another what belongs to him.
    and
    Justice between man and man is called individual, particular, or commutative justice, because it is chiefly concerned with contracts and exchange. Individual justice is distinguished from social, for not only individuals have claims in justice against other individuals but a subject has claims against the society to which he belongs, as society has claims against him. Justice requires that all should have what belongs to them, and so the just man will render to the society, or State, of which he is a member, what is due to it. The justice which prescribes this is called legal justice. On the other hand, the individual subject has claims against the State. It is the function of the State to protect its subjects in their rights and to govern the whole body for the common good. Authority for this purpose is given to the State by nature and by God, the Author of man’s social nature.

    Pretty clearly NOT about balancing of groups— and small wonder that the more nasty folks would want this term destroyed!
    The rights aren’t granted by the state, but must be PROTECTED by it?
    Goodness.

  • Our church has always been the most successful and efficient engine for providing true SJ. The sad reality that when gov entities wish and even demand to take charge of this process only means a less efficient result and a less just reward.

  • Social Justice as explicated in this article has next to nothing in common with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is important to keep in mind as people rightly criticize and reject this ‘socialism in sheep’s clothing’. This is not Catholic Social Doctrine, which offers true light on the subject.

  • Botolph, good point, given that the left has hijacked the term.

  • According to Père Henri-Dominique Lacordaire OP, who re-founded the Dominicans in France after the Revolution and was reckoned the most eloquent preacher of his day, “”Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”

The Crusades and Historical Ignorance

Saturday, May 5, AD 2012

The above video is a salute to Rick Santorum, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, for understanding the essential nature of the Crusades as a defensive reaction to Islamic aggression.  In the video below we have a rather mindless reaction to the same quote from a talking head from the liberal group Young Turks, who, judging from his comments, gained his knowledge of the Crusades from the laughably ahistorical crusader bashing flick Kingdom of Heaven (2005).

Ignorance of the depth displayed in the video above is always to be lamented, and is not unusual, as noted by Dr. Thomas Madden, one of the foremost of the scholars of the Crusades, who, over the past 40 years, have revolutionized our knowledge and understanding of that epoch:

 

The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by events older than six weeks. After all, weren’t the crusaders just a bunch of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of Peace? Weren’t they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in 1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No wonder.

Jonah Goldberg, in his just released book Tyranny of Cliches, demonstrates that he is aware of the current scholarship on the Crusades:

The great irony is that the zealot-reformers who want to return to a “pure” Islam have been irredeemably corrupted by Western ideas. Osama bin Laden had the idea that he was fighting the “new crusaders.” When George W. Bush once, inadvertently, used the word “crusade,” jihadists and liberal intellectuals alike erupted with rage. It was either a damning slip of the tongue whereby Bush accidentally admitted his real crusader agenda, or it was a sign of his stunning ignorance about the Crusades. Doesn’t he know what a sensitive issue the Crusades are? Doesn’t he know that the Crusades belong alongside the slaughter of the Indians, slavery, and disco in the long line of Western sins?

After all, it’s been in the papers for a while. In 1999, Muslim leaders demanded that Pope John Paul II apologize for the Crusades. “He has asked forgiveness from the Jews [for the Church’s passivity in the face of the Holocaust], so he should ask forgiveness from the Muslims,” Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, told the New York Times.3   Across the country sports teams have been dropping their crusader mas­cots because they’re offensive to . . . someone. Wheaton College changed their seventy-year-old team name from the Crusaders to the Thunder (no word from Thor worshippers yet as to whether they are off ended). Even Campus Crusade for Christ opted to change its name to Cru partly be­cause the word crusade has become too radioactive. “It’s become a flash word for a lot of people. It harkens back to other periods of time and has a negative connotation for lots of people across the world, especially in the Middle East,” Steve Sellers, the organization’s vice president told Christianity Today. “In the ’50s, crusade was the evangelistic term in the United States. Over time, different words take on different meanings to different groups.”4

I’ll say. Until fairly recently, historically speaking, Muslims used to brag about being the winners of the Crusades, not the victims of it. That is if they talked about them at all. “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual re­sponse to the jihad—a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war,” writes Bernard Lewis, the greatest living historian of Islam in the English language (and perhaps any language).5 Historian Thomas Madden puts it more directly, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: The cru­sades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.”6

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37 Responses to The Crusades and Historical Ignorance

  • I just finished Goldberg’s book. Not quite as good as Liberal Fascism, but still very enlightening as he takes hammer to a bunch of trite cliches that rule our political discourse. The Crusades extract taken above is part of a larger chapter about the Catholic Church and the bone dry ignorance that persists in certain quarters about it.

  • All lies. All the time.

    You can detect when a liberal is lying: his lips are moving.

  • i, as may be noticed, tend to be naive– thinking if those other guys just really UNDERSTOOD, were really educated on the subject, they would change their behavior… like on the issue of Georgetown and Sebelius (isn’t there a great composer with that same name?)
    … if the Young Turks, and Shepard Smith (who has also made remarks about the Crusades on air) and those priests at Georgetown just really UNDERSTOOD I can’t imagine they would do what they do.
    but sadly I am forced to see that they do understand, and this is just what they choose. God gives us an Intellect and a Will and puts the choice before us. Those of the Other Side do have their Intellect engaged– and are making their choice.
    yes, the war of ideas precedes other wars on this plane… the efforts to discredit Santorum, to occupy wall street etc., all use useful idiots…. and it is important to educate them about the truth of history.. but our concern about the truth of the Crusades goes beyond judging them fair or foul– but joining them. The devil is NOT an idiot..

  • For them the truth is that which serves the cause.

    It is easy to exaggerate, distort, fabricate, omit aspects of major events that occurred 1,000 years ago.

    Lying about history serves the narrative and the agenda.

    Students are indoctrinated not educated. Taught what to think, not how to think.

    The narrative: Western European institutions, economics, men are essentially evil, in fact, the source of all evil. The agenda: it must be destroyed. America is the primary target.

  • Ah, the Crusades. Along with their slightly taller cousin the ‘Dark Ages,’ both seem to be the favorite historical trump card to be played, well, whenever.

    Fortunately, in some ways both have undergone a sort of rehabilitation within the academic world. Many of the more recent books I have read on the Crusades take a far more moderate approach- at the very least the chronological snobbery is held to a minimum.

    I thought The First Crusade: The Roots of Conflict between Christianity and Islam by Thomas Asbridge was a decent read- unlike many historical works, he is a good writer and crafts a stirring account. The Battle of Antioch chapter could actually be considered a page turner. Granted, the subtitle kind of gives away where it ultimately ends up, but his concluding thesis is more nuanced than the title (no doubt foisted upon it by the publisher) might lead one to believe.

    As far as the ‘Dark Ages,’ Barbarians to Angels by Peter Wells is a good read, dealing more with the archaeological evidence. I’ve also written briefly about it on my blog.

    One of things I appreciate about this blog is the attention given to history and the care and sobriety with which it is handled. I’m not Catholic, (yet) but I am thankful for voices such as these, since so many authors are far more tempted to be lazy with the material and parrot the more popularized narratives, especially when it comes to Christian history.

    Thanks.

  • “One of things I appreciate about this blog is the attention given to history and the care and sobriety with which it is handled. ”

    A high compliment indeed Jason, and we thank you for it!

  • I am always happy to see history put in the correct context. Cultural Marxism has corrupted our view. So many subscribe to the materialist fallacy of the long march of history, as if history is sentient and fatalistic. Removes responsibility of the individual I guess-somehow that must be ‘comforting’ to some.

    Ah, for the sake of accuracy, Rick Santorum is not technically a FORMER candidate, he is a current candidate with a suspended campaign. Same applies to Speaker Gingrich. Until delegates vote at convention, there is no nominee and Mitt is incapable of securing 1144 prior, less so to defeat Obama. If we get another four of him thanks to a weak liberal GOP candidate like Romney, then we may need to launch a Crusade because Catholics (at least if you are ‘one of THOSE Catholics) will face pogroms (perhaps not violent, but legal and psychological pogroms can be just as bad.)

  • American Knight,

    “Cultural Marxism” is excellent short-hand for it, but it really goes back long before Marx…and, in fact, a case might be made that Marx could only have written his theories because for a long time intellectual adherence to truth had been fading. Not to try and start a fight with anyone, but when our Protestant brothers and sisters set about justifying their break with Rome its not like they could rigidly adhere to truth, now could they? It became a necessity, as it were, to re-cast the past in a manner which justified the desires of the present. Do that for a few centuries and it becomes rather easy to do what has been done to the Crusades – simply make up a fairy tale about them and call it “history”.

    It is quite daunting when one thinks about it – how the heck can we get the truth to be widely accepted when a gigantic series of inter-locking lies have been deeply ingrained in our society? I don’t know how to do it – but I suspect that only a revival of Catholic militancy will ever do it.

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  • Right on Mark. I was attempting to cast it in light of an ‘acceptable’ villain (Marx, despite the current occupant of the WH), but Protestantism, although not today’s adherents, certainly is a significant contributor. We can lay blame at Machiavelli and Wesihupt, et al. as well. Of course the father of lies is the ultimate culprit. But I think you identified the most blameworthy human culprit: You and me. Yes, brothers & sisters, it is our fault for as Mark pointed out we are not behaving as the Church Militant. This, I suspect is the reason God is allowing the present and intensifying persecution of the Church and Obama’s attempt at setting up an anti-Church.

    On this ‘Mexican holiday’ perhaps we should recall the bitter history of our southern neighbor with the Church and get busy. Viva Cristo Rey!

  • The Enlightenment cast religion as the villain, didn’t it?

    Given three big cultural revolution type examples like that, I think we can put it down to the human love for obvious villains.

  • @ Jason: “One of things I appreciate about this blog is the attention given to history and the care and sobriety with which it is handled. ”

    Here! Here!

  • One thing that is frequently left out of the placing of the Crusades in it’s fitting historical context is the important fact that… these battles were fairly insignificant affairs. The numbers involved and the cities at issue were both small. The population density of that region was negligible, conditions were inhospitable, and resources for extended campaigning in short supply and difficult to impossible to replace. That the Crusades have any significance at all is entirely as a result of the cultural residue of the real estate it took place on. The Byzantines had been campaigning, often very successfully, against various iterations of Islamic challengers for hundreds of years. Christian vs. Muslim, but w/o the cultural cache.

    The Crusades happened not even 1000 years ago, and yet it is separated from our understanding by a gulf so deep and wide as to be impassable. I hold that historical research has done the best it can, given what is available, in attempting to make sense of near antiquity. Far off or deep antiquity might as well be another planet altogether. The reality is that there is so precious little available that a frank admission of almost total ignorance is the order of the day. Unfortunately, the Crusades can be just about anything you want it to be.

  • Lepanto is in the Holy Land?

  • “The reality is that there is so precious little available that a frank admission of almost total ignorance is the order of the day. Unfortunately, the Crusades can be just about anything you want it to be.”

    Actually our knowledge of the Crusades has been expanding rapidly in the past few decades. A good starting point is to read some of the numerous works of Dr. Riley-Smith.

    http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/jonathanrileysmith.html

    Here is a link to a First Things Article in which Riley-Smith explains what the Crusades were:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/rethinking-the-crusades-35

    The Crusades are not something that “can be just about anything you want it to be”, but rather historical events that we can know much about if we have the determination to make our way through the mountains of good scholarship available.

  • I’ve been told by folks who actually study the “dark ages” that anyone who talks about the “dark ages” and doesn’t qualify it should be looked at with a bit of suspicion…. they’re “dark” because of the lack of data, not because of some inherent characteristic.

    Which I am thankful for, since it gave me a big flashing WARNING sign when a friend from high school that’s into anthropology started going on about how horrible the middle ages were.

    Want something really funny? Watch Terry Jones’ series on “Medieval Lives.” The conflict between offending modern assumptions and being pissed at the Catholic Church is hilarious! (If you’ve got Netflix, I suggest a drinking game for “The Hidden History of Rome.” Every time you recognize a phrase from modern political arguments, take a half-shot of beer. I can’t suggest anything stronger because being drunk is sinful….

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  • Foxfier- excellent points.

    The perception of the ‘dark ages’ comes both from a lack of data and a residue of cultural snobbery (for lack of a better term) left over from the Renaissance. (which, in many respects, was not really much of a renaissance at all.)

    The interesting thing is that many of the writers/thinkers/whatever of the renaissance period shared similar perceptions towards the culture of the early Middle Ages as those whose writings from that era are still extant- namely, if the cultural or societal artifact under consideration didn’t have a decidedly ‘golden age of Rome’ quality, then it was somehow inferior. (I’m making broad strokes here, of course.)

    Never mind that none of the writers/thinkers/whatever from either period had ever experienced such a thing or that such a thing probably never existed. (sorry Gibbon…) Never mind that technological innovation (such as advances in agriculture that brought about the (probably) first time in human history where physical development wasn’t hampered by malnutrition) and cultural production and creativity flourished. If you’re not writing Ciceronian Latin or sculpting Phidian Amazons it’s simply barbaric, damn it! Your exquisitely ornamental fibulae just don’t have that Roman seriousness!

    As far as the lack of data- one of the problems of earlier studies of the ‘dark ages’ that led to its equivalence with ignorance, lawlessness and the like was that archaeological knowledge was scarcer than today, combined with a tendency to harbor a favorable prejudice towards literary evidence. Even in this respect there are different categories of literary evidence- those of a more narrative nature (like Gregory of Tours, Bede, etc.) are more scarce than evidence from land purchases and disbursements, legal proceedings, etc.

    Additionally, as with the Crusades, computers have been instrumental in recasting the way in which these events and periods are perceived, as they can correlate data more easily and systematically. For example, one common misconception about the Crusades is that many of the Crusaders went off to the Holy Land in hopes of striking it rich. No doubt some did, but on the whole the opposite is actually the case, as crusading was horribly expensive. Even the wealthy often had to sell off land or take loans against them to fund themselves and their entourage.

    Sigh. Now look what you’ve made me do. Apologies for the verbosity. 🙂

  • Apologies for the verbosity.

    In the words of my generation– dude! That ain’t verbose for the amount of actual information conveyed!

    Watch what I say for a notion of verbose minus data conveyed!

  • Thank you for the links.
    I am glad to see that you feel that after some 900 years we are finally getting some proper perspective on the matter! “Make haste slowly” if ever I saw. Please, don’t get me wrong. The prospect of making my way through a mountain of good scholarship wets my whistle. It is just a question for me of pay off. In weighing my time commitments (active practice of the Catholic faith already generates a lot of reading commitments) I’d much rather explore Cluny as an expression of the Catholic theoarchy, aka Christendom, than the relatively small potatoes of the Crusades, except in so far as it relates to the former. Acknowledgment: it is a significant relationship.

    Seeing as you take exception to my “can be whatever you what it to be” stance, what are the Crusades to you? A forgotten-at-best or abused-at-worst historical period that is only now getting the valiant defense it needs or a relishing at the prospect of smacking the anti-historical socialist/leftist/anarchists on the snout? If you don’t like my proffering, feel free to complete this sentence: “The Crusades, to me, represent _____________.”

    Eh? What’s that? You know I’m right? Yes you do.

  • If you don’t like my proffering, feel free to complete this sentence: “The Crusades, to me, represent _____________.”

    I wish I could put this better, but….

    Grow up.

    History isn’t about you, or anyone else.

    History is about what was.

    If you can’t accept that, it says something about YOU, not about then.

    We may not know this-and-that about some other time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s about us. “Then” is ALWAYS about then.

  • The bees fly in swarms, and do not begrudge each other the flowers. It is not so with us. We are not at unity. More eager about his own wrath than his own salvation, each aims his sting against his neighbor.

    St Basil the Great.

  • Good men and women must confront it or evil prevails.

    The issue is that jihadis, liberals, progressives, and other assorted evil persons distort history to support their vile agendae.

    In the case of the Crusades: OBL, et al use the lies to recruit mass murderers. Liberals use the lies support the memes that we deserve to be massacred and that all things Western Civilization must be destroyed.

    I studied the Crusades, particularly the military orders, for edification: try to understand the men and women, and the world views, of the age; and to understand how we got here.

    That was years before Lockerbie and the Beirut bombing. In the 1950’s, NYC Catholic parish schools taught fifth graders that the Crusades also served as an opening of exchanges on various levels of the West to the East . . .

  • Disco is a western sin in a class by itself. Maybe joined by polyester leisure suits.

  • We can never repent too much for those sins cmatt! 🙂

  • All this erudition makes my head hurt. However, I do wish people would check the spelling of their comments. Saying “wets” instead of “whets” completely changes the meaning of the sentence. By the way, the Battle of Lepanto was fought in a strait between the Bay of Corinth and the Ionian Sea. I apologize, but as my old aunt used to say “It’s the little things in life that make it beautiful.”

  • Are we talking all Crusades? What about the Fourth Crusade? (1201-1204). This group of Crusaders were supposed to go directly to Cairo, leaving Europe in June of 1202. They changed course from the Holy Land and took Constantinople on April 12, 1204. Pope Innocent III had issued a solemn ban on attacks on Christian states. The Crusaders were asked for help by members of the feuding Angelos Dynasty. In exchange the Crusaders were to receive land and money. After defeating Alexius V Angelos (who had usurped the throne from his predecessor Alexius IV Angelos, put in power by the Crusaders) they sacked the city desecrating the Most Holy Eucharist, profaning Hagia Sophia, pillaging churches and monasteries, violating nuns, killing priests, raping women and children, stealing countless ikons, relics and manuscripts.
    Bishops and priests were among the Crusaders, none were documented as trying to stop the destruction of the city.
    In mercy and Christian charity, please, please no one say that these sins were brought on by a Byzantine leader or because Latins considered the Byzantines schismatics and therefore somehow justified in this sacrilege. I have heard these pathetic excuses before.
    The Crusaders could recognize the image of our Lord or His all pure Mother in the ikons. The churches of the city were familiar enough to Western eyes to be recognized as churches. What else could be in the golden artophorions on the altars other than the Holy Gifts of the Eucharist? Could the Crusaders not recognize the image of the Lord in those they killed, raped or used as slaves? The defeat of Byzantium, already in great decline, was accelerated so that the Byzantines eventually became an easy prey of the Muslims. The Fourth Crusade resulted, in the end, in the victory of Islam, which was of course the exact opposite of its original intention of the Crusades.

  • The best work I have read on the Fourth Crusade is Donald Queller and Thomas Madden’s The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Fourth-Crusade-Conquest-Constantinople/dp/0812217136

    Pope Innocent III of course condemned this misuse of the Crusade. Byzantium was already well on its way to being a military nonfactor before the Latin Empire, created by the conquest of Constantinople, occupied Constantinople until 1261. The recreated Byzantine Empire then endured until 1453, courtesy largely of Turkish internecine conflict and support from the West, most notably the sea power of Venice and the other Italian city states with merchant empires in the east. The popes of course continually called for assistance to the Greeks and other Christians in the East throughout this period, calls which were increasingly ignored as the centuries rolled by.

    The sacking of Constantinople is considered a cause celebre to this day by the Greek Orthodox. I would have more sympathy for this attitude of perpetual high dudgeon if Byzantine armies hadn’t been besieging and sacking cities in the West, including Rome, for many centuries. Internecine strife among Christian polities was never a one way street, and the sack of Constantinpole is usually considered some sort of unique crime and that is simply not the case.

  • (Guest comment by Don’s wife Cathy:) It happened back in the 6th century, Fr. Philip, when Justinian was trying to reconquer Italy back from the Ostrogoths (through generals such as Belisarius and Narses). It’s the backdrop against which L. Sprague de Camp’s alternate history novel Lest Darkness Fall is set (and SF author Harry Turtledove has credited that book with getting him interested enough in Byzantine history to get a Ph.D. in it).

  • Hi Cathy! I have found nothing that states that Justinian or Belisarios sacked Rome. While the war against the Ostrogoths brought suffering to the people of Italy, I cannot find any historical information stating the Imperial forces during battles desecrated churches or violated monastics. I can’t find any reference regarding forces of the Empire of stealing ikons, manuscripts and sacred vessels. I do know that the Ostrogoths were Arians and that Justinian was concerned not only about his control of Italy but also the spread of heresy. War and slaughter are always counter to the mercy of God so Justinian’s way was not good, no question there. But war unfortunately seems to be part of human sinfulness. Still, I find no reference to the type of sinfulness shown by the forces of the Fourth Crusade to people, places and things consecrated to the Lord.
    Regarding alternative history novels, I have read many the works of L. Sprague de Camp, Harry Turtledove and S.M. Stirling. They are, as you said, “alternative history.” When Darkness Falls offers de Camp’s sympathetic view of the benevolence of the Ostrogoths, while that is fine it is not reality. Here is another alternate history option; if Justinian had not fought against the Ostrogoths would Western Christianity be Arian?

  • “if Justinian had not fought against the Ostrogoths would Western Christianity be Arian?”

    Probably not because the war with the Ostrogoths opened the door for the conquest of most of Italy by the Lombards who were also Arian. They were peacefully converted by the Church in the seventh century. Addditionally the Franks had already been converted to the True Faith under Clovis and were quickly becoming a secular mainstay of the Church in the West.

    Rome surrendered during the siege because the Byzantine army brutally sacked Naples in November 536 and the Romans rightfully feared similar treatment. Justinian of course fell into heresy during his reign and had absymal relations with the popes of his time.

  • I was responding to the mention of “alternative history” regarding the Ostrogothic Arianism and the Orthodoxy that Justinian promoted. Cathy mentioned alternative history in response to my earlier post. In the realm of alternative history the Lombards might have never gotten an ascendency. So much for alternative history!

    Objective history (see the only exception I can find below) seems to show that Justinian was a firm proponent of Orthodoxy; he condemned and worked to stamp out heresy during his rule. He made belief in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation part of the law of the Empire and he stated that the heterodox were to be deprived of due process of law. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was made the only creedal symbol of the Church in his reign and he gave legal force to the canons of the first four Ecumenical Councils. He called the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553, condemning the teachings of Origen and affirming the definitions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon. Justinian also took a very firm stance in his support of Orthodoxy; he fought different heresies throughout his rule. He built churches, including Hagia Sophia and showed a tender devotion for the Mother of God. He lived a moral and pious life.
    The only primary source I can find regarding an accusation of heresy against Justinian is in The Life of St. Eutychios of Constantinople. The hagiographical document accuses Justinian of subscribing to the asartodoketai/aphthartodocetist heresy which taught that the Incarnate Word could not suffer in the flesh. Evagrios the Historian states that Justinian issued a decree imposing this heresy on the Empire. No copy of this decree has been found, nor did any hierarch or Council other than St. Eutychios denounce Justinian for holding this heresy. That St. Eutychios and Justinian were at odds was obvious through other events. Justinian ordered St. Eutychios deposed; there is no mention in primary documents as to why this was done. An accusation of heresy by a hierarch was a good way to denounce an Imperial opponent. Deposition from an episcopal throne by a ruler was a good way to remove an annoying hierarch.
    Justinian and the bishops of Rome did have many serious disputes, though none of the popes ever accused him of heresy.

  • Justinian towards the end of his reign adopted a policy of conciliation towards the Monophysites. Towards the end of his life he adopted aphthartodocetism which is simply Monphysitism under another name. Many Greek Orthodox writers, to whom Justinian is a great champion of Orthodoxy, dispute this but as this passage from J.B. Bury’s History of the Later Roman Empire indicates, I believe the historical record is clear on this point:

    “The Three Chapters was not the last theological enterprise of Justinian. In the last years of his life he adopted the dogma of aphthartodocetism, which had been propagated, as we have seen, by Julian of Halicarnassus, and had sown strife among the Monophysites of Egypt. This change of opinion is generally considered an aberration due to senility; but when we find a learned modern theologian asserting that the aphthartodocetic dogma is a logical development of the Greek doctrine of salvation,we may hesitate to take Justinian’s conversion to it as a sign that his intellectual power had been enfeebled by old age. The Imperial edict in which he dictated the dogma has not been preserved. The Patriarch Eutychius firmly refused to accept it, and the Emperor, not forgetting his success in breaking the will of Vigilius, caused him to be arrested (January 22, A.D. 565). He was first sent to the Island of the Prince and then banished to a monastery at Amasea. The other Patriarchs were unanimous in rejecting the Imperial dogma. Anastasius of Antioch and his bishops addressed to the Emperor a reasoned protest against the edict. Their bold remonstrances enraged Justinian, and he was preparing to deal with them, as he had dealt with Eutychius, when his death relieved the Church from the prospect of a new persecution.”

  • Donald, I know of the recent scholarship that states that Justinian was a heretic. However, there is no statement by the Church that he was. Analysis of writings and documents of Church documents contemporary to the subject do not support the premise that Justinian fell into heresy. The supposed decree ordering the Empire to accept Monophytism either did not exist or cannot be found.

    You state that the Orthodox dispute that Justinian was a heretic and this is true. Does the fact that many Orthodox writers believe Justinian was Orthodox make it untrue? Is this debate about Latin claims versus Orthodox claims?

    You states that many, “Orthodox writers, to whom Justinian is a great champion of Orthodoxy, dispute this but a passage from J.B. Bury’s History of the Later Roman Empire…” proves your point.

    Here is the “other side.”

    Father Asterios Gerostergios (yes, he is one of those Orthodox folks) in his book Justinian the Great, refutes the assertion that Justinian succumbed in his last years to the heresy of aphthartodocetism. The depositions of both Eutychius and Anastasius, patriarch of Antioch cannot be proven to be related to their opposition to the supposed edict.

    “That they were deposed because of their refusal to accept the edict we do not believe to be true because of the following reasons:
    1. The bishop of Northern Africa, Victor, an enemy of the Emperor, mentions the deposition of Eutychius in his Chronicle, but does not give any reasons for the deposition. If he really knew anything about a new edict, and if, further, he knew of Justinian’s acceptance of the aphthartodocetistic heresy, not only would he certainly have mentioned it, but he would also have emphasized the event, in order to defame Justinian’s exiling and imprisoning him.
    2. If Eutychius had been deposed for this reason, his successor, John the Scholastic, would have had to accept such a decree. We have absolutely no information concerning his acceptance of the edict, nor any testimony that he accepted aphthartodocetism. On the contrary, Pope [Saint] Gregory the Great, who was then the papal representative in Constantinople, praises the new patriarch, John, for his holiness and Orthodoxy.
    3. The same Pope Gregory praises Justinian for his Orthodoxy and he makes no mention of the edict. He says that Patriarch Eutychius was an Origenist. For this reason, W. H. Hutton and A. Knecht have stated: this was the cause for Eutychius’ deposition.
    4. When Patriarch Eutychius returned to the throne of Constantinople in 577, he did not mention the reasons for his dethronement.
    5. Bishop John of Ephesus, contrary to Evagrius, makes no mention of what transpired in Antioch concerning the deposition of Anastasius. … For all the above reasons, we can only conclude that Justinian never issued or planned to issue an edict imposing aphthartodocetism. Such an act would have been in antithesis to his whole previous theological work, and it is clear that it would not have helped the overall purpose of unification. Moreover, such a complete change at such an advanced age, we believe to be a totally unnatural thing. With regard to the deposition of the two mentioned Patriarchs, we believe that it was not related to such an edict, because there is no basis for such a conclusion from the contemporary sources. We are of the opinion that their deposition was due to other reasons, probably to their failure to obey the old Emperor.”

    The sad claim that “…aphthartodocetic dogma is a logical development of the Greek doctrine of salvation…” by Bury does not stand up to the reality of the Orthodox view of salvation. Aphthartodocetic heresy is found nowhere in the writings of the Eastern Fathers, later writers, canonical writings, the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy or the lives of the saints. Bury shows his ignorance of Orthodox soteriology and faith. I know of no contemporary Roman Catholic theologian who would hold this view, including the current Pope Benedict. His writings only show admiration for Orthodox soteriology.

What He Said

Tuesday, August 2, AD 2011

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

Well, go to Hell. All of you.

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

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2 Responses to What He Said

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

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

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

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

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

Are The Rules Changing?

Monday, July 19, AD 2010

 

Jonah Goldberg has put into words what I have been thinking and feeling since the financial meltdown of 2008.  We have turned a page and entered a new era in American history.  He wonders if, as a result, the political rules have changed.

But what about when the rules change? For nearly a century now, the rules have said that tough economic times make big government more popular. For more than 40 years it has been a rule that environmental disasters — and scares over alleged ones — help environmentalists push tighter regulations. According to the rules, Americans never want to let go of an entitlement once they have it. According to the rules, populism is a force for getting the government to do more, not less. According to the rules, Americans don’t care about the deficit during a recession.

And yet none of these rules seem to be applying; at least not too strongly. Big government seems more unpopular today than ever. The Gulf oil spill should be a Gaiasend for environmentalists, and yet three quarters of the American people oppose Obama’s drilling ban. Sixty percent of likely voters want their newly minted right to health care repealed. Unlike Europe, where protestors take to the streets to save their cushy perks and protect a large welfare state, the Tea Party protestors have been taking to the streets to trim back government.

Go here to read the rest at Townhall.  When Obama won election there was much talk among his giddy acolytes in the media that he was the second FDR and that Obama would usher in a Second New Deal.  The cover of Time magazine that graces the top of this post is a prime example of the millennial fever that gripped the Left in this country at the beginning of the Obama administration.  Now it has all turned to dust and ashes for a large section of the Left.  In exchange for years of effort on their part they have an administration that has roused an angry electorate against it.  This bemuses the Left since many of them view the Obama administration as a failure because it has been too moderate (Yeah, I do find that hilarious), as noted by Eric Alterman in The Nation:

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4 Responses to Are The Rules Changing?

  • Is it possible, thanks be to God, Obama and the Marxists who have guided his rise to power and supported his progressive agenda were so overwhelmed with the thrill of victory in 2008 and the desire to implement all of their “crisis” driven agenda upon America as quickly as they could that in their arrogant haste the cycle of propose, pass, sign, and implementation of their ill willed socialist hope and change fast forwarded public awareness of what was happening to our country before our very eyes and awakened our senses to where we (i.e. the Tea Party) have demanded a halt to their victory charade?

  • Obama did try the nostrums of the New Deal in 2009. He passed the huge stimulus. He has increased government regulation. It hasn’t worked. The Great Recession continues. Unlike Roosevelt, Obama lacks the salesmanship to convince the American people that a manifestly bad economy is on the mend.

    Just wish to point out that domestic product had, by early 1937, come close to returning to 1929 levels and that per capita income was perhaps 5% below its peak. Both metrics exceeded 1929 levels by 1941. The economy was mending in this most salient respect, and mending rapidly. However, the labor market remained severely dysfunctional, with about 15% of the workforce either unemployed or stashed in low productivity jobs in the Works Progress Administration and other agencies.

    The problem with B.O. is that he is quite unlike Mr. Roosevelt. FDR had 11 years under his belt as a public executive at the time he was sworn in and (through recommended legislation and executive order) engineered effective and immediate first aid and surgery to the financial system. Obama turned the task over to Bwaney Fwank and Friend-of-Angelo Chris Dodd, who produced a 2,400 page bill (which has in it God-knows-how-many bon bons for people on the patronage of these two characters). The original session law erecting the Social Security system was 28 pages long.

  • I wouldn’t blame Obama, at least not primarily. The electorate has changed. FDR won in 1932 by 18 points and 413 electoral votes which is still the largest margin ever against an incumbent. Obama won by 7 points and 192 electoral votes. Congress was to the left of FDR and passed spending bills that FDR vetoed. As you mentioned, austerity is much more popular these days.

    I was recently wondering whether it’s possible to take advantage of this anti-big-government public opinion while still applying Keynesian policies. I think it’s possible, but probably not now. During good economic times, it would be possible to enact automatic stabilizers which may not do much at the time but which would really kick in during recessions. Things like expanded unemployment insurance (preferably individual savings accounts backstopped by subsidies). They’d have to be designed as individual accounts or entitlements so they don’t get axed in recessions. During bad times, let austerity run rampant. Government would slow its growth or even shrink while the automatic stabilizers keep spending up temporarily.

  • I don’t know that the rules are changing. We just found a new group of really cool friends with a lot of the same interests, and there are a bunch of cute boys, and we’re hoping that one of them will be Mr. Right. When we actually get into a relationship, though, we’ll find out that he has other friends, and he doesn’t want to be changed, and there are a lot of things we don’t have in common. It’s too early to tell if we’ll find love.

    (Apologies for the prolonged analogy.)

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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40 Responses to If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Secularists Reaction To The Passing Away Of Ted Kennedy

Friday, August 28, AD 2009

9 Responses to Secularists Reaction To The Passing Away Of Ted Kennedy