The Spanish Civil War: Sadly, Still Relevant

Wednesday, August 24, AD 2011

On Sunday I received a request from a Catholic blogger for my suggestions for readings in regard to the Spanish Civil War, a subject which I have always found fascinating.  Here is my response:

The go to man on the Spanish Civil War is Stanley Payne.  He has been writing on the conflict since the Fifties.  He interviewed many of the leaders of the various factions in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.  Originally a man of the Left, I think it would be fair now to call him a conservative, but what he is above all is a first class historian.

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36 Responses to The Spanish Civil War: Sadly, Still Relevant

  • A much-touted personal account is Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia.” To me, it proved less than the touting.

    Tolerance for me not for thee.

    I used to “see red” whenever a US MSM commie propaganda outlet would cover a reunion of “Lincoln Brigade” murderers.

  • I am fascinated by the Spanish Civil War and have had a difficult time finding good books on the Subject. Warren Carroll’s the Last Crusade is excellent reading.

    I’m already scouring my nearby book stores for your recommendations, thanks Don!

  • One of the disappointments I had with There be Dragons is that it did not delve into the whys and whatfors of the SCW as much as I would have liked, and likewise not in depth as much regarding St. Josemaria. It gave a little of both, but the rather superficial treatment left you feeling somewhat robbed. It seemed the director couldn’t decide whether it was a movie about the war or about the saint, and ended up really being about neither – it seemed to use them both as props or settings to tell the story about the saint’s fictional friend. Not a bad movie if you have that understanding going in, but a bit disappointing if you don’t.

  • Where I was going with that comment – I would love to see a really good documentary on the SCW.

  • The Spanish Civil War seems to be one of those historical events that everyone is supposed to interpret the exact same way. It’s depicted as WWII on a smaller scale. I know very little about the war, but what bothers me is that I’ve only seen Franco’s side defended by extremely anti-communist Catholics. I’m wondering, is this just one of those rare moments with two bad sides (like Mubarak versus the Muslim Brotherhood)? Is it possible to view the world as a Catholic and still accept the common interpretation of the Spanish Civil War?

  • “Is it possible to view the world as a Catholic and still accept the common interpretation of the Spanish Civil War?”

    From an American perspective few of the sides in the Spanish Civil War are too appealing. On the Republican side the main factions were Communists, Socialists (who were often harder Left than the Communists) and Anarchists. There were some moderate Republicans but they were quickly pushed to the side lines. In the areas controlled by the Basque nationalists in Northern Spain the Church was not persecuted and the Basque Republicans were fervent Catholics. They were subdued by the Nationalists in 1937.

    On the Nationalist side we have Falangists, basically fascists modeled after Mussolini’s black shirts, most of the Army, monarchists, fervent Catholics, and the Carlists of Navarre who were probably the most fervent Catholics as a group in the world and who provided the Nationalists their shock troops.

    Of the factions on both sides, my favorites are the Carlists and the Basque Republicans.

    The Republicans were mostly fighting to implement a Revolution and bring to Earth a Leftist utopia, of some Communist, Socialist or Anarchist variant. They wanted to smash the Church and anyone else who stood in their way of bringing this about.

    The Nationalists were mostly fighting to crush the Left and sepratist movements like the Basques and the Catalans, and restore Spain to the glory it had known in the past. They detested democracy, as Americans understand it, as much as their Leftist adversaries.

    A fairly bad choice from an American perspective. However, one point can never be overlooked by a Catholic: on the Nationalist side of Spain Catholics worshiped freely; on the Republican side, outside of the Basque regions, the Churches were shuttered and turned into warehouses, garages, town halls, and the clergy, and faithful Catholics, murdered. I do not think that any faithful Catholic can overlook that.

  • A very concise and compact review Don, I agree wholeheartedly.

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  • Well, certainly the right side won, at least in THIS civil war, Don! 😉

  • I often wondered that there were not “Lincoln brigades” of Catholics… why apparently no organized Catholic military units went to aid the Nationalists. Perhaps for the same reason that none aided the Cristeros in Mexico, an indifference to things Hispanic in the English speaking world, which itself seems to be in part a vestige of the Black Legend. Certainly the “main-stream media” was a formidable roadblock for Catholics trying to find out the truth of what was happening in Spain and Mexico.

  • What about the Hugo Thomas one volume history?

  • Irish Catholics sent about 500 men. They saw very brief action and then were sent home by the Nationalists as being fairly useless. American Catholics sent over a fair amount of money to aid the Nationalist cause, and lobbied hard, and successfully, against any US aid to the Republic. Portugal sent about 20,000 men to fight for the Nationalists, and allowed the Nationalists use of their ports and to use their territory to transport supply. The aid that the Nationalists received from Italy and Nazi Germany is of course well known. There were also White Russian and other right wing volunteers fighting for Franco. The study linked below has a strong Republican bias, but it is one of the very few volumes I am aware of that looks at foreign volunteers for Franco:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Franco-International-Volunteers-Nationalist/dp/0826465382

    Roy Campbell was an English war correspondent who followed Franco’s armies and was sympathetic to the Nationalist cause:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Campbell_(poet)

    Outside of Mexico, almost all of the Latin American states were sympathetic to the Nationalists and extended early diplomatic recognition to the Nationalists.

  • “What about the Hugo Thomas one volume history?”

    Good but dated. We know far more from released Spanish archive records than when he initially wrote it in 1961 and even with updates it is not up to snuff with current scholarship. It still has a warm spot in my heart as it was the first book I read on the conflict.

  • Very pricy is Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War. It is worth every penny however for the serious student. The late Mr. Bolloten made an in depth study of magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and other publications published in Spain during the war. You find material in his history you find nowhere else. He is especially good on the byzantine Republican factional infighting.

    http://www.amazon.com/Spanish-Civil-War-Revolution-Counterrevolution/dp/0807819069

  • Is that last one an even-handed account that you just commented on?

  • Bolloten began as a man of the Left Tito and by the end of his career the Franco regime was touting his books as a great scholarly study of the War. Bolloten was an honest man and the facts he brought to light tended to paint the Spanish Republic in a bad light. His scholarship is impeccable and he had no axes to grind.

    I would add that I would not recommend it to general readers. A fair amount of knowledge of Spain in the thirties and Spanish politics of that period is helpful before tackling Bolloten’s works.

  • Just added it to my Amazon Wish List, niiice.

  • The internet is awesome. Thanks, Don.

  • You want even-handed?

    The following is paraphrased from De la Salle Christian Brothers and Marianist sources.

    The holocaust within the Spanish Civil War has been denied far too long. Almost no one in America knows that during the 1930’s Spanish “Civil” War the “republicans” massacred of tens of thousands of Roman Catholic religious and lay people. For decades, the MSM, publishers, and the academy have sold the one-sided idea that Franco and his government (World War II neutrals) were merely fascists. The MSM, et al, egregiously deny the mass murders of Spanish Catholic religious and lay persons committed by the Soviet-led Spanish and international gangsters like Hemingway, Robeson and the so-called Abraham Lincoln brigade.

    There was a general massacre of Roman Catholic clergy and laity in the areas under communist control during the 1936 to 1939 Spanish Civil War. Four thousand Roman Catholic bishops, priests, brothers, and nuns, and tens of thousands of lay Catholic people were martyred. The Lord had called the Spanish religious community to a radical witness. When the republicans found them to be religious, they were arrested and executed. For example, the bolshevists murdered 165 of the order of Catholic school teachers, the De La Salle Christian Brothers, whose brothers have, for over 150 years, served their vocations at Manhattan College. On October 10, 1993, Pope John Paul II proclaimed “blessed”, seven Spanish Christian Brothers and three Spanish Marianists (Carlos Erana, Jesus Hita, Fidel Fuidio). The Marianists are dedicated priests and religious brothers who serve Long Island Roman Catholics at Chaminade High School and Bishop Kellenberg Memorial High School.

    About ten years prior in Mexico:

    Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J. – martyred in Mexico in November 1927

    A picture is worth a thousand words. One of the things that brought the attention of the world to the anti-Catholic persecutions in Mexico was the distribution of the photographs of some of the executions.

    At ten o’clock in the morning, Father Pro was the first to be led out to execution. Carrying his small crucifix and his rosary, he walked steadily across the yard.
    As his last request, Father Miguel asked to be allowed to pray. He knelt in front of the bullet-pocked walls and fervently prayed briefly. He kissed his crucifix and stood.
    Rejecting the traditional blindfold, Miguel stretched his arms out in the form of a cross and facing the firing squad said, “May God have mercy on you. May God bless you. Lord, You know that I am innocent. With all my heart I forgive my enemies.”

    As the firing squad took aim, Father Pro spoke his last words. In a firm, clear voice, he said: “Viva Cristo Rey!” Long live Christ the King.

    I guess that was “one-sided.”

  • I do not think that any faithful Catholic can overlook that.

    One would certainly think that Don.

  • Mr. McClarey’s advice about Burnett Bolloten’s book is really commendable.

    The Spanish civil war has been a very complex event, and the author’s long and (relatively, as is inevitable) unbiased research unfolded and pondered upon lot of documents, some of which – like newspapers – rarely used (at least intelligently) in other books. Bolloten was really able to give voice to the many, conflicting parties involved in this tragedy.

    It is too convenient to write Manichean books, were the righteous persons stand unerringly on one side only. Communism has been a cancer which exploited and exacerbated very real social problems, and this civil war is no exception. So one has to understand the concrete situation, the human plight in which those events could unfold: in this even conservatives and Catholics had their sins. Real life is not easy and is always more complex than ideology or partisanship would like it to be.

    So, if it is certainly true that the left lied for a long time about what happened (and still does), it is a Christian duty to always try to understand the whole: without hiding anything and certainly without feeling ashamed for politically correct reasons, it is God who must prevail, not our faction.

    ***

    As far as Mr. McKenna’s question, I would like to add this: many, many Italians went to Spain with the sincere intent to help that Catholic country wihch they knew was being devastated. Of course, they were part of the Fascist army, sometime proudly so, then they are easily dismissed in block as mean people.

    Again, reality is different from historical hyper-generalization. Similarly, most Soviet soldiers fought animated by the love for their country and even religion, whatever the Party could say in the propaganda. So much more it was the case in Italy, where the regime’s propaganda never attained the level of brain-washing reached in the USSR.

  • There is still a tendency (largely on the Left, it has to be said) to continue to view the Spanish Civil War through the prism of 1930s ideological assumptions rather than in the context of Spanish history. In hindsight it is difficult to see how Spain could have made a peaceful and swift transition to democracy in the mid-1970s had Franco not provided her with four decades of stability. Although his regime was oppressive and stifling, it was far preferable to those the Soviets imposed in eastern Europe.

  • Great info, Don, I look forward to delving into some of the contemporary histories you mention. Hugh Thomas was really my one and only source about this, and of course, Dr. Carroll under whom I studied, and who was a great proponent of the Carlists.

  • Dr. Carroll Tom wrote a passionate book in The Last Crusade which I enjoyed but it was basically derivate of other books. His tome is a useful corrective to most works on the Spanish Civil War due to their Leftist bias. Hugh Thomas managed a considerable feat of scholarship in 1961 with his volume, especially for one so young and in a field that was not his major subject of study. More amazing is that his account is almost completely neutral, not something you commonly find in books on this conflict.

  • Yikes, T Shaw, I don’t think anyone’s calling for equal respect for martyrs and their killers. But the war was fought between fascists and communists, or more accurately between one side which included and was supported by fascists and one side which included and was supported by communists. As Don describes it, there were faithful Catholics on both sides. There’s got to be some hesitation in portraying either side as the heroes.

  • Hi folks,

    Wonderful comments about a fascinating and tragic historical event. It is truly shocking seeing how hate-filled and bigoted the anti-catholics are in today’s Spain. However, secular Spain is pretty much going over the cliff so a lot of their anger is probably because they know they’ve lost the war.

    Concerning SCW books – don’t write off Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia! Orwell was far too complex and individualistic a man to be a straightforward pinko. He hated what he saw of Moscow’s manipulation of the Republican side and was very clear that there would have been a dictatorship whoever won. His book gives a superb personal, “you’re here too” account a part of the conflict.

  • After all these years ones grows very tired of this updated Black Legend of Spain and as is so often the case in these discussions the usual cliche seems to be that “both sides” committed atrocities and that there were no “good guys”. No, both sides did not commit atrocities. Only one side did, the leftist one. If you wish to maintain the fiction that Franco’s defending his country against these monsters by shooting back at them constitues “atrocities”, well, there is nothing I can say.

    Some are saying the Spanish Civil War was “complex”, which is a word used, I presume, to avoid really seeking out the truth and coming to a sensible conclusion. No, there is nothing complex about that war. It was the attempt by the Socialist/Communist forces to utterly stamp out the last vestiges of Catholicism in the land and as a revenge carried out by International Finance against a nation that was not dancing to their tune. And we Americans, both publicly in Hollywood and privately in the secret halls of government, were huge supporters of that Catholic extermination so sought after by the Left.

    It would seem that now, in the era of Zapatero and a frightened and weakened Chuch, that the Left has the last laugh because they are accomplishing just about everything they wanted in the ’30s. The modernist madness of Vatican II and creepy prelates like the unspeakable Casaroli paved the way for the Zapateros of this world. Sad…but there it is.

    Since we’re all recommending books about that terrible conflict allow me to suggest that we seek out and read the life and works of the Scotsman Hamish Fraser, a Communist fighter in that very civil war who ultimately converted and became one of the greatest Catholic journalists of the last century. It was my signal honor to know him and to learn from him what really happened there.

    And as for Gen Franco? God bless the memory of that great man who at least, if nothing else, bought some time and some peace for his beloved Spain.

  • I like you Dan.

    I agree with you, “both sides committing atrocities” is incorrect.

    Thank you for your book suggestion!

  • “No, both sides did not commit atrocities. Only one side did, the leftist one.”

    Completely untrue. A typical example of a Nationalist massacre:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Badajoz

    There have been few firmer Catholics than the French author George Bernanos. He goes into great detail in regard to Nationalist massacres he witnessed while staying on Majorca during the Spanish Civil War in his A Diary of My Times:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_grands_cimeti%C3%A8res_sous_la_lune

    Historical facts are historical facts no matter what our ideological predilections might be.

  • The late David Eccles was the English representative of one of the Spanish railways at the time. He read of Guernica; as it was within his jurisdiction he asked one of the engineers what was to be done to repair the damage. “Nothing” was the reply. “There was not much damage”.

    It seems that an English reporter in a nearby town had nothing to report. Then he heard of the bombing [some German bombers getting rid of their bombs?] and made up a report of horrendous massacres and damages. “It was written by George Steer, whose familiarity with Basque traditions, passionate support of the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War, and outrage over the bombing may have led him to exaggerate some details, and to emphasize that Guernica was far behind the battle lines and not a military objective”.

    Having been told of this, I tried to do some little research on the subject. The eyewitnesses later interviewed [some two decades later] were across the Pyrenees, and of the Republican persuasion. The earliest book I found was Rudolf Arnheim’s 1973 book, based on the later accounts of eye-witnesses.

  • The Republicans exaggerated the damage to Guernica for propaganda purposes. The Nationalists said that there had been no bombing and the damage was caused by retreating Republican troops. Both of these positions were meretricious. There had been heavy bombing of the town and there was nothing wrong about that. The town had not been declared an open city, there were Basque troops in it in an active theatre of war, and therefore the bombing was completely legitimate.

  • Gironella who fought for the Nationalists during the War, wrote about both the red terror and the white terror in his trilogy: The Cypresses Believe in God; One Million Dead; and Peace After War. These books were published in Spain under Franco. No one could deny, with a straight face at least, that both sides had committed atrocities during the War, even at that time in Franco’s Spain. Leftist historians attempt to maximize the Nationalist atrocities and minimize, or ignore, the Republican atrocities. That is both a sin against history and the truth, and those who are appalled at Republican atrocities, as I am, should not ignore the massacres and atrocities of those fighting against the Republicans.

  • Americans who want to understand Spain and the Spanish Civil War should take to heart this preface that Gironella wrote in the American edition of The Cypresses Believe in God in 1954:

    “Author’s Note for the American Edition

    Spain is an unknown country. Experience proves that it is hard to view my country impartially. Even writers of high order succumb to the temptation to adulterate the truth, to treat our customs and our psychology as though everything about them were of a piece, of a single color. Legends and labels pile up: black Spain, inquisitorial Spain, beautiful Spain, tragic Spain, folkloric Spain, unhappy Spain, a projection of Africa into the map of Europe.

    I defend the complexity of Spain. If this book attempts to demonstrate anything it is this: that there are in this land thousands of possible ways of life. Through a Spanish family of the middle class–the Alvears–and the day-by-day living of a provincial capital–Gerona–I have tried to capture the everyday traits, the mentality, the inner ambiance of my compatriots in all their pettiness and all their grandeur. In Spain the reaction to this novel has been that it is “implacable”. Nothing could satisfy me more.

    This book spans a period of five years, five years in the private and public life of the nation: those which preceded the last civil war, which speeded its inevitable coming. The explosion of that war, its scope, and its significance are described in minute detail.

    A single warning to the American reader: Spain is a peculiar country and its institutions therefore take on unique coloration. Certain constants of the Spanish temperament operate under any circumstance. A Spanish Freemason is not an international Freemason. A Spanish Communist is not even an orthodox Communist. In every instance what is characteristic is a tendency toward the instinctive, toward the individualistic, and toward the anarchic. Spaniards follow men better than they follow ideas, which are judged not by their content, but by the men who embody them. This accounts for the inclemency of personal relationships, the small respect for laws; this, too, is what causes our periodic civil wars.

    To bear all this in mind is important in understanding this book. When the narrative deals with a priest, a policeman, a Socialist, a bootblack, it is essential to remember that it is dealing with a Spanish priest, a Spanish policeman, a Spanish Socialist, a Spanish bootblack, not with generic types. This warning is doubly necessary with reference to Freemasonry, Communism, and Catholicism, the interpretation of which will undoubtedly clash with the American reader’s concept of these doctrines.

    The book’s protagonist–Ignacio Alvear–is a type of young man who abounds in present-day Spain.

    Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    August 1954

    José Maria Gironella”

  • Just to follow up on Donald’s recommendation: You really can’t do better than to read Gironella’s trilogy. Thus far I’ve read the first two, and I want to read the third. They are truly brilliant, and they give you the more immediate sense of the war, and the way that sin begets sin. The sinned against, if they are not killed, often themselves become the sinners. Righteous anger begets unrighteous revenge.

    You don’t for a moment forget what side Gironella fought on, and yet he loves Spain so much he can’t help but make you understand and love even the people who would have shot at him.

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  • I was flipping around the radio dial last night and I ran across Michael Savage (who I wouldn’t normally listen to). He was discussing the Spanish Civil War. Odd coincidence.

Juden Raus!

Saturday, June 5, AD 2010

Helen Thomas, the Deaness of the Washington Press Corps, delivered the above charming sentiments at a Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House on May 27.  Thomas has been a left wing loon forever, and has always been hostile to Israel, but here she let the mask slip to reveal the bigot within.  She later made a perfunctory apology for saying what she obviously believes with all her heart.

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20 Responses to Juden Raus!

  • Will there be a cry for her employer to fire her?

    If she were a conservative there would be hell to pay.

  • I thought a house landed on her.

  • T. Shaw,

    You shouldn’t drag down witches like that. It’s an insult to witches everywhere.

  • I apologize.

    Silver lining: She’s an appropriate “spokes-model” for the antisemites masquerading as peace and justice liberals.

  • If Helen Thomas was, say, a woman of 40, I’d blame such a ridiculous statement on ignorance due to an appallingly poor educational system. But she was in her 20’s when WWII ended and they showed newsreels of the death camps in the movie theaters. No excuses.

    Thomas also seems unaware that a majority of Israeli Jews are not from “Germany and Poland” but are Sephardis from the Muslim world who were booted out of their old countries when the state of Israel was created.

    If she is so blatantly ignorant of such basic facts, I’d say it’s long past time she retired.

  • Tito, if she were a conservative, liberals would nod in silent agreement and conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said.

  • “liberals would nod in silent agreement and conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said”

    You are wrong about the latter part of that equation restrainedradical. Most conservatives are very supportive of Israel and have very little tolerance for anti-Semites.

  • Additionally the mind boggles at the concept of Helen Thomas as a conservative. One might as well attempt to consider Bill Clinton as a trappist monk.

  • conservatives would jump through hoops to explain why she didn’t really mean what she said.

    Pat Buchanan would like a word with you.

  • I probably should expand upon my comment just a tad, in case it flew over anyone’s head. Pat Buchanan is regularly excoriated by many conservatives for his anti-Israeli sentiments (and indeed defended by those sympathetic to his worldview).

  • I was thinking the same thing Paul

  • Re: Anti-Semite Helen Thomas
    She shows her complete lack of knowledge concerning Israel. Historically, the land belongs to them. She should read up on the kings of Israeland how the Jewish nation was formed.
    The UN gave back a portion of the Jewish land to its people in 1948. They have a legal right to be there. “Palestine” was a name given to the land of Israel by the Romans to humiliate the Jewish people. If she reads her history she will learn this.
    SHE SHOULD BE FIRED! She’s an insensitive bigot.

  • Though I think Buchanan was deemed an anti-semite by William F. Buckley a number of years ago in an articl at National Review. Good to know we all agree that Helen Thomas is in he same league.

    RR is right that here are anti-semites on the right. I think it is becoming much more fashionable on the left however. That’s not to say anyone who disagrees with Israel is. But there they are.

  • And as Buckley’s example shows, Conservatives kick them off the magazine. What will liberals do with Thomas?

  • Actually, IIRC Buckley was less definitive re Buchanan. What I believe he wrote was something to the effect that given all the evidence a reasonable man could conclude that Buchanan was anti-semitic. But that was enough for many conservatives, including those who otherwise agreed with many of PB’s positions.

  • I think the best quote from the article in question is where Buckley found it “impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism, whatever it was that drove him to say and do it: most probably, an iconoclastic temperament.”

    So he perhaps didn’t see him as an anti-Semite though he found what he wrote and said anti-Semitic.

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  • Fire the bigot. She has shamed herself, her profession and any organization she represents. Her apology rings hollow. She has revealed her true face, and no mealymouthed apology change that.

  • I’ll grant that PB is extremely non-interventionist. I don’t think that necessarily equates with anti-semitism. He seems to advocate cutting foreign aid pretty much across the board. But most journalists, left or right, are extremely afraid of making any criticism of Israel (or our aid to them) and incurring the A-S label.

  • I don’t really think Thomas and PB are in the same league. PB, although I suppose you could interpret his stance against aid to Israel as anti-semitic, I don’t recall him advocating for kicking the Jews out of Israel. He seems to be more of the opinion that it’s simply not our business (and not in our interest) to get involved. I would welcome any correction on that.

    Thomas seems to clearly advocate the US and the world being involved, and wanting the Jewish people out, with apparently very little interest in the various claims involved. I can’t really tell from the clip if she was referring only to the occupied territories, but the fact she said they should go back to Poland and Germany (rather than Israel proper) reveals that she considers Israel itself to be occupied territory.

Red vs. Blue Families

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

It’s fairly common for advocates of more liberal social policies to point out that “red states” tend to have higher rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, etc than “blue states”. This is taken to suggest that, however much conservatives may go on about “family values”, it is actually more liberal social values which are best for families. Ross Douthat does a good job of addressing this mentality in his column from last Sunday, in which he takes a closer look at some of these “family values” statistics.

Today, couples with college and (especially) graduate degrees tend to cohabit early and marry late, delaying childbirth and raising smaller families than their parents, while enjoying low divorce rates and bearing relatively few children out of wedlock.

For the rest of the country, this comfortable equilibrium remains out of reach. In the underclass (black, white and Hispanic alike), intact families are now an endangered species. For middle America, the ideal of the two-parent family endures, but the reality is much more chaotic: early marriages coexist with frequent divorces, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate keeps inching upward.

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20 Responses to Red vs. Blue Families

  • There are more problems with this book that I’ll outline in about a week. I have the post 3/4’s written but have to run some regressions and what not. I imagine you and your fellow travelers will largely be in agreement with me.

  • You read Douthat’s piece and came away with a completely different impression of it than I did. Of course, in my blog post on the subject, I did acknowledge that I may have been reading Douthat’s piece through my Ross-colored glasses, which probably tends to somewhat negatively distort anything written by the guy.

    I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

  • I probably could have just let this one go, but for his gratuitous swipe at Bristol Palin.

    I thought it was pretty obvious from the context that he was characterizing the authors of the book as the kind of people who would make such a comment rather than taking a swipe at her himself. Judge for yourself:

    This is one of the themes of “Red Families v. Blue Families,” a provocative new book by two law professors, Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. The authors depict a culturally conservative “red America” that’s stuck trying to sustain an outdated social model. By insisting (unrealistically) on chastity before marriage, Cahn and Carbone argue, social conservatives guarantee that their children will get pregnant early and often (see Palin, Bristol), leading to teen childbirth, shotgun marriages and high divorce rates.

    I could be wrong, but it never occurred to me to read it otherwise. He is laying out their argument in that paragraph; and the rest of the editorial is critical of that simplistic portrayal of Red America, and (implicitly) the kind of people who would cite Bristol Palin as the exemplar of backwards redstate America. Notice, the conclusion of the piece:

    By comparison, the “red family” model can look dysfunctional — an uneasy mix of rigor and permissiveness, whose ideals don’t always match up with the facts of contemporary life. But it reflects something else as well: an attempt, however compromised, to navigate post-sexual revolution America without relying on abortion.

    Translation: Red State America does not take abortion as an easy way out; this decision has consequences that aren’t always pretty, but it also reflects a lived moral conviction.

  • MZ,

    Sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye out for it. (In the mean time, I’ll try to figure out if I should be flattered or perplexed at having “fellow travelers”.)

    Jay,

    Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it. But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says, Ross Douthat doesn’t fall in that camp for me.

  • Yeah, I didn’t get that he was rolling over to the book’s thesis at all, but rather refuting it.

    I’m with Jay on this one – it sounded like it was Ross himself backing the authors’s thesis.

    There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken. Instead we get a subtle jab that leaves the reader perplexed as to what exactly Douthat’s personal point of view is.

  • It was pretty clear as written, Paul; certainly Darwin and most of the commenters at the New York Times picked it up quickly enough. Douthat’s point is that attitudes toward abortion – not abstinence education or an emphasis on marriage or the simple stupidity of people in Red America – account for most of the differences we see in out-of-wedlock birth, early marriage (and accompanying divorce), etc.

    The contemporary liberal narrative downplays this fact. Abortion is becoming increasingly unpopular, so liberals want to argue that increased access to contraceptives will reduce the need for abortion, and that it is cultural conservatism that, in effect, increases the abortion rate. Douthat just points out this argument doesn’t square with the facts; teen pregnancy is lower in blue states primarily because abortion is more prevalent. That’s why Darwin and Chris Burgwald flagged the article; it refutes a central part of the contemporary liberal diagnosis of red state America – the myth of social conservatism increasing the abortion rate.

  • Jay:

    I’m normally a Douthat fan, but I did think this article was weirdly written for some reason so while I noted as Darwin did that he ultimately refuted the thesis, that I didn’t feel great about him doing so. Not sure why.

  • The whole concept of the book is wrong-headed I think in its analysis of Red and Blue states. There are really very few states that fit in that category. For example I live in Blue Illinois. Outside of Chicago and some of the suburbs, most of Illinois has life conducted along the lines of a Red State by the lights of the book. The reverse is true of Red States, Texas for example, with large urban enclaves. This mixed quality of the states would have to be taken into consideration when looking at statistics regarding marriage and divorce. Additionally, I think we are at the beginning of a political era where the Red and Blue divisions may soon seem like relics as much as the divisions between the Whigs and the Jacksonian Democrats do today. The political landscape is changing rapidly, as I think Illinois will demonstrate in the fall.

  • “teen pregnancy is lower in blue states because abortion is more prevalent”

    Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates that would be lower in those states. I have seen lists of nations with the lowest teen pregnancy rates and the lowest teen birth rates side by side, and they are NOT identical, so statisticians do have a way to compile those statistics separately. (Switzerland, for example, is in the bottom five nations as far as teen birth rate, but does not have the same ranking for teen pregnancy rate.)

    If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    The only other possible cause for such a disparity would be a high rate of miscarriage or stillbirth due to poverty or poor medical care; that might be a factor in some Third World countries but probably not so much in the U.S., even in areas of extreme urban decay.

  • Also, figures in some of the red states may be considerably skewed by the impact of (illegal) immigration.

  • There is an easy way out of this morass, of course. Douthat could have, at some point, made an affirmative denunciation of the thesis and spelled out why the authors were mistaken.

    There is little indication from his writing that Ross Douthat has the background to have much critical engagement with a piece of quantitative social research, so he would be advised to tread rather carefully in commenting on that. It’s regrettably been years, but I have done this sort of work on this sort of topic and (judging from the literature I reviewed and my own analyses) you generally get ambiguous results.

    Of course, the book could be flawed in all kinds of ways that a layman could spot quite readily. Awful lot of groupthink in academe.

    But while I want to argue with anything Rod Dreher says,

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

  • Well, actually it would be teen BIRTH rates

    Yeah, mistyped.

    The bulk of what Brother Dreher has to say is he is upset. No point to arguing with that.

    Heh. A little harsh, but there’s a lot of truth there.

  • If Douthat’s theory is true, blue states would have the same or possibly even higher teen PREGNANCY rates, but lower teen birth rates, the difference being due primarily to abortion.

    While the terms are being used a bit interchangeably in the comments here, Douthat does successfully make the distinction, and the data he links to does indeed bear this out. For instance:

    Alabama has a pregnancy rate for 15-19 year olds of 73 out of every 1000 women. Connecticut has a rate of 57. For in Alabama only 20% of those pregnancies end in abortion, while in Connecticut 53% do. West Virginia has a teen pregnancy rate of 62, which is the same a Rhode Island’s rate of 62 — but in West Virginia only 17% of those pregnancies end in abortion while in Rhode Island 42% do.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about, Bristol Palin should not have been brought up at all.

  • The bigger point might be the supposed connection between morality and whether one is red or blue. As much as either side tries to convince that it is more moral than the other, neither the public examples, nor the statistics are there.

    If you wanted to analyze the big picture on abortion or divorce, you’d have to draw in economics, religion, and education, among other factors. They used to say the moral majority is neither. It’s still true.

  • Regardless of whether Douthat was using her as an example of the kind of people the authors were talking about

    It’s not that she typifies the type of people the authors were writing about (although she does in some respects). It’s that she is a common example cited by people like the authors. Douthat is laying out the lefty worldview; and Bristol and Sarah Palin references are common. Is that unfair to Bristol? Sure. But I don’t think re-stating the blue state critique of red-state America in its own terms makes Douthat morally reprehensible.

  • Todd,

    I’m not clear that moral conservatives necessarily claim to be more moral than social progressives, they just claim that they continue to espouse morality while their opponents consider it “repressed” or “outdated”.

    Of course, the other point here is that claimed moral beliefs are certainly not the only difference between the populations of “red” and “blue” states. In this sense, although it’s an oft used distinction, trying to make these distinctions is overly broad.

    As I’m sure you’d agree “red” and “blue” (there’s a certain late-Roman quality to how attached we are to these color designations) in the sense of left-politics/right-politics can contain a whole host of contradictory groups within one label. I would imagine that you share much more in moral/cultural outlook with those in the Moral Majority (however distasteful you may find their politics) than you do with the sort of folks who write long self-examining essays about how monogamous marriage doesn’t make sense in the modern world for The Atlantic, even if you might share some of the same favorite politicians.

    Data that I have seen which is more explicitly broken down by actual stated moral beliefs does show that, while as should come as no surprise to anyone those who espouse traditional moral beliefs are far from perfect in their practice of them, people who claim to believe in traditional morality, attend some sort of religious services regularly, etc. do tend to have fewer sexual partners, “wait” longer as teenagers, etc. Whether people claim allegiance to moral norms is not irrelevent to their behavior, even though many do not life up to their own stated ideals.

  • I suspect those on the left have their own moral positions though they may deny that. Just look at the furor over such issues as immigration restrictions, global warming etc. And like those on the right, there are many on the left that do not live up to their moral positions.
    No one is the equal of their ideals. The problem is what ideals are the right ones. Then, how to implement them.

  • Thanks for the comment, Darwin. I suspect that “researchers” on this topic go after their perception of hypocrisy from the Right. In a way, all they have to do is point to select developments in Republican-leaning regions, say “gotcha!” and move on. Point proved.

    I have yet to see a serious across-the-board study that would link abortion, divorce, and other issues with geography, politics, wealth, education, race, etc.. Unfortunately, any serious sociologist who attempted one would either be too biased from the outset, given the polarization of the culture, or would get hammered from both sides of the ideological divide. For now, I think we exist in a state of ignorance when it comes to other people’s morality. And maybe it’s better that way. Heaven knows I have my hands full with my own moral temptations.

    I’m not sure I would equate this situation too much with the parable of the two sons, the one who promised to work then didn’t (conservatives) and the one who declined to give lip service, but then reconsidered and labored (liberals). But we do know there are prominent folk who do not live up to their stated guiding principles. I’m disinclined to credit that as a torpedo to the movement, even ones I disagree with.

    I know, for example, a number of homosexuals who are highly moral people. For some people on the Right, they would trip over the sex and not get any further.

    Sex is a big part of morality, in part because of our culture’s fixation on it, but it’s not the only factor.

  • I grew up in New York and raise my family in NJ, the statistics in this book challenge stereotypes of both liberals and conservatives. However, I just read Frank Luntz’s book, “What Americans Really Want…Really”. Based on polls taken in the U.S. it states that families who regularly attend church and children who are brought up conscious of God and family life are often more aware about the consequences of their decisions and how a religious family life is beneficial to children. Luntz states that children who attend church, eat dinner as a family, take family vacations etc are less likely to take drugs. He also states parents should go over their children’s homework daily. There are tips that can benefit both red and blue families. If rural America and poor areas tend to have higher teen birth rates and unstable families then the U.S. Govt should be working harder to bring quality education and jobs and rescources to these areas especially. Also, many jobs that illegals hold may be desirable to poorer and less educated Americans. Hence, the unfortunate recent bias attacks in Staten Island where people in poorer areas were hostile as illegals came to their neighborhoods and took the jobs available in a sluggish job market. Also, since contraception is so widely accepted since the 60’s the governments role in promoting (politically or financially) contraceptives doesn’t seem so vital in blue states. Teens in middle class blue states are educated and now have the access they need.

Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

I’m not sure I ever expected to wake up to read the New York Times coverage of a new nominee to the Supreme Court and find myself in agreement.

Of course, they think she’ll be a fine justice and I think she’s a pro-abort and could do without her. I also think she looks like Ursula from “A Little Mermaid,” which is less a comment on her than it is a comment on how many Disney movies I watch with my wife (curse you, Disney movie club!). That’s not what we agree on.

What we agree on is that she is a stealth candidate and that just by itself makes us uncomfortable. The official editorial reads:

President Obama may know that his new nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, shares his thinking on the multitude of issues that face the court and the nation, but the public knows nothing of the kind. Whether by ambitious design or by habit of mind, Ms. Kagan has spent decades carefully husbanding her thoughts and shielding her philosophy from view. Her lack of a clear record on certain issues makes it hard to know whether Mr. Obama has nominated a full-throated counterweight to the court’s increasingly aggressive conservative wing.

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5 Responses to Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

  • “(You can tell I went to law school with a sentence that long).”

    It’s not the length of the sentence but the fact that it is unintelligible upon a first reading that betrays your law school bona fides.

    😉

  • Posing in judicial robes for a high school picture truly creeps me out. I am always leery of people who have an overriding career ambition and who shape their entire life to reach it. Such individuals are the last people I would trust to wield power wisely.

  • Has anyone read anything she (or Obama for that matter) has had published?

    Hey! Her fellow traveler colleague defended her today in the WSJ. Seems she broke federal policy/law and refused access to military recruiters; but quickly complied (courage of her convictions) when they moved to take away my (taxpayer) money.

    Sounds like Supremo Corto material to mio!

    Only way I can explain this (and Sotomayor) is Obama doesn’t want anyone to show him up, or his wife would be jealous if he nominated a babe.

    Not that it matters. We are getting screwed “six ways from Sunday.” There will be nothing left by 2012.

  • I notice that Ms. Kagan put her opinions under wraps about the time her fellow political partisans calumnated Robert Bork.

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Political Miscellania

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

A round up of various political items of interest:

1. We lead off with the above video.  Contessa Brewer, MSNBC’s representative journalist for the empty-headed bimbo demographic, is just so darned ticked off that the Time’s Square Would Be Bomber turned out to be a jihadist and not, presumably, some more politically correct villain.  This perhaps is of limited political significance, other than to demonstrate yet again that MSNBC should only be viewed for purposes of unintentional humor.

2. David Obey (D. WI.) announced his surprise retirement.  When Obey was first elected to Congress in 1968 I was 11 years old.  Needless to say, it is long past time for him to be moving on to other things after 42 years, but his retirement this late in the campaign season indicates to me that this was not planned far in advance, and probably was due to the fact that he was facing a tough race and the prospect of the House flipping to the Republicans. This is bad news for the Democrats as it puts one more Democrat seat in play and is yet another sign of the political disaster awaiting the Democrats in November.

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19 Responses to Political Miscellania

  • I do not rejoice over Obey’s retirement because I have not yet seen who the most likely replacement is. LifeNews.com rates Obey as “pro-abortion” (http://www.lifenews.com/state5071.html), which may be accurate, but not terribly precise.

    An issue-by-issue analysis (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/David_Obey.htm) showed he had a mixed voting record on the issues of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Far from perfect, but for me, it’s important that his replacement be better on the issue of abortion and a large number of pro-life issue. The pro-life voters in that district need to step up early and make sure that at least one candidate on the ballot in the general election will be a pro-life voice in the House.

  • Go Colonel West!

    Does this mean I can be a patriot without being a racist now, if I like this guy? Is that acceptable? Or is he a self-hating black, so if I like him, that means I hate blacks?

    I need a thought cop to tell me what to think! Preferably someone who does the freshman initiation at the dorms of the state universities.

  • The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.

  • The seat is likely safe for the dems. I’m not sure how much Duffy’s MTV celebrity will help him, because the district trends older. The bigger disadvantage is that he is an unknown in Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids, cities in counties that make up 170,000 of the district’s 650,000 people. Douglas County (Superior) is the other big county with 43,000, and I don’t think a Republican has every carried the county. Obama carried it 63/32.

  • “The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.”

    A pro-life Catholic with a fine-looking pro-life Catholic wife.

    http://www.rachelcamposduffy.com/

    😉

  • She, I mean he has my vote.

  • I like Duffy. Since I’m a Chicago native I don’t see why the fact that I don’t live in Obey’s district should impair my abilty to vote for him. He has my votes.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

    That strikes me as an example of how “torture” has come to be treated as a generic political bogeyman rather than a serious moral or humanitarian issue. There’s a wide gulf between West’s actions and the sort of things rightly condemned in regards to Guantanamo, etc. The NY Times piece of West actually gives a very balanced view of the incident:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?ex=1400990400&en=71d7b26fe2922d57&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all

    I don’t know enough about West and his positions (much less his opponents in the primary) to know if I’d vote for him if I were in his district, but the increasing mis-use of torture as a political football only serves to cheapen a real humanitarian issue, probably making real torture more rather than less likely.

  • From the NY Times article:

    “one soldier punched him several times”
    “the translator kicked him in the shin and told him he needed to confess before Colonel West showed up to kill him”
    “Colonel West cocked his gun”
    “Soon, the soldiers began striking and shoving Mr. Hamoodi”
    “They were not instructed to do so by Colonel West but they were not stopped, either”
    “Eventually, the colonel and his soldiers moved Mr. Hamoodi outside, and threatened him with death. Colonel West said he fired a warning shot in the air and began counting down from five. He asked his soldiers to put Mr. Hamoodi’s head in a sand-filled barrel usually used for clearing weapons. At the end of his count, Colonel West fired a shot into the barrel, angling his gun away from the Iraqi’s head, he testified.”

    Oh, yes. Critics of Col. West deserve all the scorn we can heap on them.

  • The parts of the article that struck me were:

    In August, Colonel West learned from an intelligence specialist of a supposed plot to assassinate him, which would endanger the soldiers who traveled with him, too. The plot reportedly involved Mr. Hamoodi, a police officer who occasionally worked for the Americans. Although Mr. Hamoodi is a Shiite Muslim, and most attacks against Americans were carried out by Sunnis loyal to Saddam Hussein, some police officers do cooperate with the insurgents and several have been accused of attacking foreigners.

    Colonel West said he initially thought “the information was a joke.” But a week later several of his officers were ambushed when he was supposed to be traveling with them. A roadside bomb sheared off the back panel of a Humvee, and a firefight ensued. None of his men were seriously hurt, but Colonel West began taking the risk of an assassination seriously.

    Intent on foiling a reported plot to ambush him and his men, Colonel West, a battalion commander, made a calculated decision to intimidate the Iraqi officer with a show of force. An interrogation under way was going nowhere, Colonel West said in an interview, and he chose to take the matter into his own hands.

    “This could get ugly,” he told his soldiers. But, he said, he imposed limits: “This man will not be injured and he will not have to be repaired. There will be no blood and no breakage of bones.”

    Still, Colonel West wanted the Iraqi policeman, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, to think “this was going to be the end” if he did not divulge what he knew. So Colonel West presided over what he considered a time-sensitive interrogation that grew steadily more abusive until he himself fired a pistol beside Mr. Hamoodi’s head.

    “There are rules and regulations, and there’s protecting your soldiers,” Colonel West said, sitting by a man-made waterway behind his family’s new home in a Florida subdivision. “I just felt I’d never have to write a letter of condolence home to a `rule and regulation.’ ”

    “The fact is, I made a choice, the choice had consequences and I accept that,” he continued.

    But, he added, the events of that hot, dusty night still disturb him: “I’m not some bully who goes around threatening men’s lives. Certain things we have to do in war are outside our character.”

    Mr. Hamoodi said he did not really blame the Americans for “arresting and torturing me.” Obviously, someone had informed on him, he said, and they had to act on the information they obtained. Still, he trembles now when he sees a Humvee and he no longer trusts or works with the Americans.

    Soldiers testified that they felt safer when Colonel West was in charge. The interpreter, who works for a private contractor, said that “the American soldiers were protected by the tribes” in the area because of Colonel West’s good relationship with the community, and that the situation became more dangerous and chaotic after he left.

    The military decided against court-martialing Colonel West. He was fined $5,000, and he submitted his resignation, which becomes effective this summer, when he will retire with full benefits.

    Colonel West said he had spent many months grappling with disorientation, wondering, “What is my purpose now, my reason for being?” Shortly after he arrived back in the United States, he got a lucrative job offer from a private contractor to return to Iraq, he said, but he was not interested. Instead, he decided to start again in the world of education.

    He is awaiting placement in a high school in Broward County and, he said, he prays that God will see to it that he gets a spot in one of the low-performing, predominantly black schools, where he can try to make a difference. Ever the striver, he plans to begin studying for a master’s in education so he can advance into administration “within five years.” he said. [the article is from 2004]

    I’m not prepared to say whether West was right in his actions, but if someone reads the whole article and simply comes out with a 2D portrait of “that guy is a torturer”, it strikes me that person is reading more through an ideological lens than a human one.

  • Contessa Brewer,

    Another self-loathing American.

    Thank goodness for the Internet because stuff like this would have never been shown for what it is, garbage.

  • It’s not political. I watched the video Don posted and I was honestly impressed so I googled him and found out he’s an unrepentant torturer. I too don’t know if he’s any better or worse than his opponent but that kind of killed the enthusiasm.

  • Colonel West first came to my notice when he sacrificed his career to save his men. I completely support what he did, and I admire his willingness to take his punishment without whining about it. Of course, a man can be a hero and lack any political skills. However, West has since demonstrated that he possesses such skills in spades. Oh and to short circuit the parade of horribles: no I would not have supported West shooting the suspected terrorist. However, frightening him, in order to foil a possible ambush, although against regulations, strikes me as a moral act.

  • Thanks for watching MSNBC (as penance, I presume), Don, so I don’t have to. I’ve never watched it, nor had I ever heard of Contessa Brewer before your post. Things are worse than I thought.

    Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.

  • “Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.”

    Thank you Cathleen, although I have as much chance of being nominated for SCOTUS as I do of being elected Miss America. Besides, I’ve thus far successfully resisted all efforts to get me into a black robe at the trial court level, since I enjoy simply being an attorney. (Also, as I remarked on one occasion, me being on the bench might be one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse!)

  • Maybe not a sign of the Apocalypse, but it sure would be fun to read your opinion of something like the “sweet mystery of life” passage.

  • Yeah j. christian, Kennedy has a bad case of Black Robitis. Too many people after they put on a black robe forget that, at best, they are smart attorneys and begin to consider themselves Platonic Guardians called upon to make decisions for everyone else.

    Of course the best comment in regard to this type of judicial buffoonery was made by Scalia in his magnificent dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision which reaffirmed Roe:

    “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here–reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. ___ (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidently committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward. Justice Blackmun

    not only regards this prospect with equanimity, he solicits it, ante, at 22-23.

    * * *

    There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.

    There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon to be played out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in hisinaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

    We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-744.ZX4.html

  • I should have said thanks earlier to Blackadder for the information he provided.

The Construct of Rebellion

Monday, January 11, AD 2010

In 2010 the Catholic Church in particular and Christianity in general are under attack because age old truths are being abandoned for the Dictatorship of Relativism. One might ask; how did we get here? It didn’t happen overnight; as a matter of fact many of those doing the rebelling actually think they are doing us all a favor.  Centuries and millennium evolved into a construct of rebellion where self appointed leaders who thought knew better than the Church and society itself tried to change all that was sacred and holy into something, they but most importantly their friends in the intelligentsia, could accept. Too many cooks in the kitchen can be bad for your acquired culinary tastes, but when truth is watered down it is something entirely different and far more serious. In this instance, we are talking about souls, not taste buds.  If this is so then how could the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism be true? The answer is simple because the world is getting closer and closer to the precipice. Some may chose to jump but thankfully more will chose to come back from ledge into the world of reality and when they do they will see the many positive developments happening in the Church. One’s own mortality has a way of causing self preservation.

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55 Responses to The Construct of Rebellion

  • Well said, Dave. Thank God for Mary’s heel crushing the head of the serpent that is rebellion, or the whole place would have turned into one boring, childish, real-life version of “Wayne’s World.” It’s no wonder so many folks despise her as she has done what they ought to be doing.

  • What is the evidence for The Porsche?

  • My compliments for a well argued post. I am unaware of the O’Brien site or books, but I cannot disagree with any of your assessment nor your conclusions. I have been making a similar argument via my Canadian blog (http://www.frtimmoyle.blogspot.com) trying to point out the logical contradiction of modern day relativism – a contradiction that exists because moderns no longer possess a knowledge or sense of the role of the church in times past. I offer the following taken from one of my posts written when the European court ordered the removal of the crucifix from Italian classrooms:


    Where I freely admit that the governing authority of any school should be able to either choose or not to present this symbol of Christian/Catholic faith, it is entirely another thing to deny the right to express their faith/convictions/belief in the public square. The principle that is expressed as “separation of church and state” also implicitly includes the freedom to express those values that we believe are the path which leads to the betterment of all humanity.??Read the story, and ask yourself whether the secular argument that leads to this European suppression of the freedom of speech of believers is any different from the agenda that marks the direction of North American society today.??This story is proof positive of the price of failing to argue in defence of the principles which are the accumulated human reasoning that stretches back to the earliest days of recorded history. Whether the moral principles of our modern civilization evolved as the refinement of simply human wisdom, or whether it is a still imperfect vision of God’s will, they have brought Western civilization to the point where we are today. The “rights” that are now so suddenly being tossed aside in the last twenty-five years are the foundations upon which the right itself is rooted. The poisoned fruit of the civilizational tree now endangers the root from which it sprang. ??Freedom of expression of faith in the public square must be respected; it is the essential corollary of the freedoms of thought and speech. I pray that leaders of our faith, our Bishops, would look to the European (or Québécois for that matter) social experiment and heed the need to “teach”, in every forum possible, the wisdom and teaching of our Church: to educate those raised in the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” generation (the first generation of essentially uncatechized “C & E” Catholics (i.e., “Christmas and Easter”) who now have moved into society’s corridors of power) of the wisdom of these first principles before they use the levers of power to shape the debate. ??Freedom of life… Freedom of belief… Freedom of speech: these are the Bishops’ menu of first principles to defend in full. Let’s pray that they fashion sumptuous salad of arguments, no matter how appealing the dessert table secularism seems to offer. ??Society needs strong bones to grow and prosper. We eat of the poisoned fruit at our own peril.

    Fr. Tim

  • Excellent commentary, Fr. Tim, which very much reflects why us California voters are now being put on trial for having the temerity to vote for changing the Constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

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  • Lest one begin to think that this is all new, I quote St. Basil to the western bishops in the 4th Century:

    “The dogmas of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set to nought; the discoveries of innovators hold sway in the churches; men have learned to be speculatists instead of theologians… The aged sorrow comparing what is with what was; more pitiable the young as not knowing what they are deprived of”. [Ep.90]

  • Thank you Dave for letting history teach us, at least some will repeat the errors and call for a “king” to rule and guide or other idols instead of our Lord and Savior. Your recent Times article was excellent also.

  • Dave, you’ll be thrilled to know that Spirit Daily posted this today in its second most prominent spot.

  • Thank you for writing this. Thank you for mentioning the Blessed Mother crushing the devils head.I attend morning mass and pray the daily rosary for conversions and repentence(for many years) and within the last month have had 3 people say they want to come back to the church and I have been taking them to Sunday mass with me. One has already talked with the priest.The other I am taking to a Catholic healing service. The 3rd is actually an unchurched person who accepts what I am teaching him and wants to talk to the parish priest. When the Blessed Mother said she will give graces of conversion and repentance when you say the rosary, she means it. Thank you.

  • Great article !! Truer words were never spoken. We need to hear more of the truth to stir all Catholics
    into reality and into standing up for the Church and our rights.

  • There are 3 essentials ingredients in the Church that keep any soul on the correct road. The Eucharist. Confession and the Rosary. Stay faithful to these and you and your household will be saved. The world is passing away and we are passing through it to something that we can not even begin to understand. Show mercy to all those who are in darkness.

  • As a simple un-educated mother of seven I read the whole article Construct of Rebellion, and thought it was most informative and full of truth.
    However, what it was lacking was the matter of placing some blame on the church itself for the departing of so many Catholics from their true faith during the 2000 years of excistance.
    I asked should the church not have been more alert and listened to the complaints from the faithful on some liturgical customs and for the lack of education in the full deep meaning of scripture and the bible, also the lack of explaination the dogmatic reasons for truth?
    Even the fathers of the church were weak at times and had to also endure the evil one.
    Now we have at least been assured through the workings of the wonderful Popes we have had with John Paul and Benedict that the church will always remain. Both of them have used the media and every other medium to prove that the Catholic church is the only true one to embrace all of the world’s people.

  • as one person commented I echo: Confession, Mass, the Eelfucharist….and let the world blow its up and fall into hell…..or let it REPENT FAST.

    sanctuaryhouse.tumblr.com…….. CALL IT UP…

  • In Worcester, Massachusetts, a Diocese is coming unglued because it embraced dissent and New Age occultism. Visit: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com

  • I am wondering which diocese in Worcester Roger is talking about.Eileen George gives monthly

  • teachings there and she is veryorthodox andoutstanding catholic

  • The same diocese which hosts a “Commission for Women” which has New Age links. The same diocese where numerous children have been sexually abused. The same diocese where a Holy Cross professor (and ex priest) promotes homosexuality and is “married” to another man. I could go on but you wouldn’t accept the facts.

  • How does Eileen George feel about the College of the Holy Cross sponsoring Planned Parenthood on its campus? How about the Newman Center at Fitchburg State College promoting homosexuality as a simple variant of normal sexuality as well as homosexual “marriage”? Is she concerned that the Diocesan Commission for Women has links to Joyce Rupp? Read what Donna Steichen and other orthodox Catholics have had to say about Rupp.

    With all due respect for Eileen George, the Diocese of Worcester is losing many of the faithful (75 of 120 parishes are in economic crisis by the Diocese’s own admission) for a reason.

  • Holy Cross has engaged in homosexual agitprop:
    http://hccns.org/articles/news/081115_homosexual-promotion.htm

    Sorry Martha, Eileen George’s presence in the Worcester Diocese doesn’t justify that.

  • While I agree with your basic outline, there are two things that bother me with what you wrote: 1) The many grammatical and typing errors. Sorry, but when people have a good idea and they’re trying to communicate it, it helps to do so with correct punctuation and without typos.

    2) Whether or not people believe what Michael Brown wrote in his book or posts on his site is no indication of their adherence to the truth or lack thereof and no one should take it as such. Mr. Brown may be a Pulitzer-nominated journalist, but that doesn’t mean everything he writes is of the same quality as his work on Love Canal. Mr. Brown is not the sum total of the Catholic Faith. That comes to us from the apostles and their successors.

  • Pingback: The Construct of Rebellion « Mary’s Anawim
  • Thomas, while you may claim to be an excellent grammarian, you might want to brush up on your reading skills. Where did I say or insinuate that Michael Brown is the sum total of the Catholic faith?

  • “Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics.” A construct of rebellion implies that there’s something authoritative against which one can rebel. One cannot rebel against one who does not have authority and Michael Brown does not have authority.

  • “…self appointed leaders who thought [they] knew better than the Church…” It’s the authority of the Church that’s being rebelled against. Not Michael Brown.

    Thomas, are you simply here in an attempt to wear down the author of this article?

  • No, John, I’m not. I made two observations about what I consider to be an otherwise well-constructed argument – grammar and saying that not liking Michael Brown’s book is part of the construct of rebellion.

  • No Thomas, you wrote: “A construct of rebellion implies that there’s something authoritative against which one can rebel. One cannot rebel against one who does not have authority and Michael Brown does not have authority.”

    No one said that Michael Brown is the authority being rebelled against. Instead, the author of the article wrote about, “..self appointed leaders who thought [they] knew better than the Church..” That’s the Church. Not Michael Brown.

    You are engaging in dishonesty.

  • On the contrary, John. The author writes (with my edits): “However, the pull of being accepted by the world is tough even for self-professed, orthodox-minded Catholics. For example, the secular scholarly world rolls its eyes and snickers at modern day miracles and apparitions. One of the most popular Catholic websites, Spirit Daily, is one such site that makes mention of both. However, mention you read this site and you are bound to be looked at with suspicion even in the world of orthodox-minded Catholicism…It would seem that for some, the fear of being lumped in with those who see the Blessed Mother in every scrap of burnt toast or every dilapidated barn door holds far more sway than believing that the Blessed Mother has appeared in human history to bring attention to her Son, the Savior of us all. Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics.”

    Hence my statement that in order to rebel, one must have something authoritative against which to rebel. Just because people don’t like what Michael Brown writes — no matter how well researched it is — doesn’t mean they’re part of the construct of rebellion. I certainly accept that Mary appears in the world and that God works miracles. I don’t necessarily like Michael Brown’s approach.

  • This kind of dialogue appears to be feeding the egos of the individuals. Are we working for our own glory or God’s. I think the best road to travel is the one of Humilty and Love. Why not focus on ourselves individually and see where we are on the road of repentance and reconciliation.

    Better still why don’t we focus on Christian Unity and do positive things, – let us do the will of the Father and not our own, let us take this opportunity to love one another and at least celebrate Easter on the same date every year. At least the rest of the world will see that we are united on the essence of our faith; the death and resurection of Jesus Christ.
    It is only through unity that we will have :
    Peace, Love and Reconciliation
    Mary Joanne
    onedate.org

  • I don’t appreciate your unfair criticism Mary. I was merely attempting to defend what the author wrote. Hiw words are being twisted. There is no peace without truth Mary. It is the truth which sets us free (John 8:32), not falsehood.

  • The author wrote, “…It would seem that for some, the fear of being lumped in with those who see the Blessed Mother in every scrap of burnt toast or every dilapidated barn door holds far more sway than believing that the Blessed Mother has appeared in human history to bring attention to her Son, the Savior of us all. Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics…”

    What the author is saying is that because some rebel against the Church’s authority, they even reject or disregard Our Lady’s appearances to mankind. Our Lady always leads people to Jesus her Son and His Church. The author is not saying. or suggesting in any way, that Michael Brown is some sort of ersatz Magisterium of the Church or Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    To suggest otherwise is to engage in dishonesty.

  • Thomas, you are demonstrating the pedantic nature of the “lawyerly” arguments for Relativism. Argue all the brush strokes away and soon the painting itself will no longer exist for you.

  • “Just because people don’t like what Michael Brown writes — no matter how well researched it is — doesn’t mean they’re part of the construct of rebellion. I certainly accept that Mary appears in the world and that God works miracles. I don’t necessarily like Michael Brown’s approach.”

    I agree. I read Spirit Daily, probably more than I should, and I always come away from the site with confusion, not peace.

    What has always bothered me about Michael Brown is his very heavy reliance on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. It’s clear to me that he believes all of them, even those which have not received Church approval. I certainly believe Mary has and still does appear in the world, but there are so many alleged apparitions, and many of them contradict each other.

    I certainly don’t believe they should all be thrown out, but they need to be examined. Michael Brown is always going on about today’s Church “throwing out the mystical”, but I don’t believe that’s a fair claim. Why is it so “bad” to discern these apparitions, and if something about one doesn’t make sense, discard it? Why did God give us intellects if He doesn’t want us to use them?

    Michael Brown may be well-intentioned, but the net result of reading his site is confusion.

  • Elizabeth writes “What has always bothered me about Michael Brown is his very heavy reliance on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. It’s clear to me that he believes all of them, even those which have not received Church approval.”

    Elizabeth, calumny is a sin. I would refer you to what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say in that regard. Mr. Brown has said – repeatedly – that we MUST accept the Church’s final decision on ANY apparition site. And this includes Medjugorje. For you to imply that Mr. Brown is someow failing to discern the authenticity of an apparition site or that he does not accept the Church’s ultimate authority is preposterous.

    Gaudium et Spes (specifically No. 28) forbids judging a person’s interior dispositions. I suggest you meditate very carefully on that teaching.

  • In Fides et Ratio, No. 16, Pope John Paul II teaches us that, “The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process. Faith intervenes not to abolish reason’s autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts. Thus the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence. Here the words of the Book of Proverbs are pertinent: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9). This is to say that with the light of reason human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith. Therefore, reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way.”

    Faith and reason are described by His Holiness in this important Encyclical Letter as two lungs. Imagine how difficult it is to breathe properly with only one lung!

    Michael Brown is all for discernment of private revelation. But, along with St. Paul, he believes that we shouldn’t despise prophecy. Understand the difference?

  • peter santos: You accuse Elizabeth of sin because she expresses concerns about a Catholic writer and speaker. You accuse her of “judging a person’s interior dispositions”, and then lecture her on how she should meditate on Church documents.

    Elizabeth states that, in her opinion, Michael Brown relies heavily on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. This is not judging Mr. Brown’s “interior dispositions”, but simply stating fact. On Spirit Daily, Mr. Brown mentions the “1990 prophecy” VERY frequently, and is quick to defend Medjugorje. Yes, he does state clearly that we should accept the final decisions of the Church on these matters. But, that does not negate what Elizabeth wrote.

    It seems to me that because you disagree with Elizabeth YOU assume evil motives on HER part. She says nothing in her post that would constitute the “sin” you claim she has committed. YOU are the one who has accused someone of sin because of a post. Elizabeth makes no such accusation.

    As an aside, I follow Spirit Daily and have for about 4 years now. I enjoy reading both the links and Mr. Brown’s own articles. Much discernment is needed in digesting these writings, clearly, as Mr. Brown’s opinions do not constitute official Church teaching. Stating that plain fact is NOT a sin, Peter.

  • For Elizabeth to assert that Michael Brown believes all apparitions or private revelation, “even those which have not received Church approval,” is calumnious. It’s a lie. He has written against certain private revelations which were obviously false. The rest he commends to the Church.

    Calumny is, objectively speaking, sinful. It may even constitute grave sin. It offends against both charity and truth. It is a violation of justice.

  • For Elizabeth (and anyone else who falsely accuses Michael Brown of accepting all apparitions), I submit the following words of Mr. Brown himself from 2005:

    Discerning Apparitions A Difficult Process

    [Q & A by Michael H. Brown]

    In the past twenty years there has been an explosion of alleged apparitions, locutions, stigmatics, and healers. Which are real and which are not?

    I would never attempt such a list, because I don’t have the authority to do so. We simply go by what the Church has decided, unless there is not yet a decision, in which case we try to exercise discernment.

    How do you tell if an apparition is real?

    This is one of the hardest questions in the world to answer. The process of what we call “discernment” is intensely complex. It’s also very personal. There is no formula. Some apparitions miss certain criteria and yet bear signs of authenticity while others seem to fill most standards but have problems at their very root. In the end, only through prayer and fasting can we get a true inkling. It is the spirit — not the mind — that discerns.

    You mean a “gut feeling”?

    No. I mean a feeling in the depths of the spirit after a period of fasting. When we fast, we are more sensitive to evil. We are more likely to know if it is present. This is very important.

    But aren’t there some tips to discernment?

    In the Bible it says that “by their fruits you will know them,” and so this is certainly one major facet. But we have to be careful about what we consider “fruits.” I have seen many cases in which people adhering to what turned out to be a deceptive circumstance had a great first impression, or even found the visit a major step in their return to the faith, to their conversion. God can take good from evil. He can draw with crooked lines. It is for that reason that we must be careful in speaking negatively about a circumstance, even if there are indications of problems; we don’t want to discourage those who have had good experiences.

    Are there often problems?

    Most claims of apparitions, visions, or locutions are a mix — in other words, there are parts that seem inspired, parts that come from the person’s subconscious, and parts that may be from a source that is deceptive or demonic. All of us are in touch with God and those who feel they have a special “line” of communication may in some cases have such a special gift, although too frequently this leads to ego, and ego leads to a person putting his or her own spin on what they think they have been “told.” This is very common, and why so many predictions do not materialize: The prophecy was not a direct communication but filtered through the ideas, preconceptions, and feelings of a person. It is the demonic component that of course concerns us the most. A demonic influence can cause not only spiritual trickery but also deep discouragement, division, and illness.

    Is divisiveness a standard of discernment?

    Certainly, it’s one. Now, remember that even with the authentic apparitions like Fatima or Lourdes or Medjugorje, which the Pope discerned as worthy of devotion (in recently publicized private letters), there is resistance. There is spiritual warfare. And that can lead to division. There will be some division. But that division usually is far outweighed by good fruits such as conversion. If division is the main effect, or if there is constant, lasting rancor, and a lack of peace, then there is a problem with the apparitions. We can also say to watch out for pride among the seers, attempts at self-promotion, and the spawning of a cult-like following. Cults in the bad sense of that term are a bad fruit (there are also holy cults, when proclaimed as such by Rome). Those who begin to exclude others because they don’t believe in a certain apparition are not in tune with the Holy Spirit, Who tells us through the Church that we don’t have to accept a private revelation. Meanwhile, we must watch for prophecies that are too gloomy and dark, that give messages of tremendous specificity, that ramble on at great length, and that contain messages threatening people who don’t believe in the particular revelation. There are some messages that have denounced anyone who won’t help purvey a private revelation. As soon as I see that, I know there is deception.

    What about those that mention the anti-christ?

    We have to weigh these with special caution. In my discernment there is truth to the coming of a personage of evil, and certainly major events, but we have to be cautious about believing that the coming scenario will exactly fit the scenarios spawned by those who have speculated on specific end-times schedules. Are we in the end times? We are at the end of an era. It is a very, very important time. It is not the end of the world. What is about to happen will fit the general prophetic pulse we have heard now for nearly 25 years (since the onset of Medjugorje, which caused an explosion in private revelation), but it will occur in ways we don’t specifically anticipate and that make sense (the feeling of, “oh, yeah, of course”) only in retrospect.

    What percent of seers are authentic?

    It’s impossible to say. What we can say is that very, very few are corporeal apparitions at the level of a Lourdes or Fatima. “Corporeal” is to see the Blessed Mother as a full-bodied, multi-dimensional apparition similar to the way we see another person: with eyes wide open. Some who claim this are imagining it, are projecting a “vision,” and a vision can be authentic, but it is not at the level of an apparition.

    How prevalent is actual demonism in alleged revelations?

    It is not uncommon. That is one way to put it. This is the fast lane of mysticism, which is one reason the Church is cautious. I might add that I am always perplexed by why a local bishop usually uses the term, “no evidence of the supernatural,” to dismiss a troublesome apparition. Often, there is plenty of evidence of the supernatural, but it’s supernaturality that is coming from the wrong source. At the same time, and overall, private revelation is of great benefit and as in Jesus’ time, among the Pharisees and Sadducees, it is sorely neglected by the official Church.

    Is the U.S. Church more closed and skeptical toward apparitions and phenomena like weeping statues than other nations?

    Yes, due to our scientific bent, much more skeptical.

    Why do you believe in Medjugorje?

    I have been there I think seven times, and I didn’t believe in it the first few hours I was there. I thought it was collective hysteria. Then I started to see phenomena myself — a lot of it — and tremendous, tremendous fruit, whereby virtually everyone who was going there was experiencing a deepening of faith or outright conversion unlike any other religious encounter with which I was familiar, just really profound and in most cases lasting. I had never seen people touched on such a massive scale. Dozens of millions have been affected in a way that can be compared only with older sites such as Lourdes or with trips to the Holy Land. Medjugorje leaves a feeling of peace and well-being and conversion.

    Whereas a false apparition?

    Another way of discerning a false apparition or a false anything is that it tends to drain you. It takes your energy. This is a hidden means of discernment: it takes more than it gives. It is temporary. This is often a good way to evaluate any situation, although like everything else in this field, there are exceptions (no foolproof means of discernment). We are very open to mysticism — it is crucial to our time and to any time — but we urge folks not to become involved in new such claims unless they are fasting and staying close to the New Testament. Daily reading of the Bible puts us in the correct frame of mind and is probably the best way to discern an apparition.

    06/27/05

    As for his acceptance of Medjugorje, there is nothing against faith there. A decision has not been made regarding that alleged apparition site. Mr. Brown has already said that he will ACCEPT THE CHURCH’S DECISION.

    Elizabeth is engaging in calumny. She should make this right.

  • I don’t understand where you’re coming from. How can you be so bold as to assume I’m in a state of mortal sin? Isn’t that up to God to judge? Not you?

    What exactly IS the “1990 prophecy”? Has it undergone Church scrutiny? Has it been submitted to any Church authorities for discernment and/or approval? I have been reading Spirit Daily for about 5 or 6 years. This is what I meant by an unapproved private revelation. There is no source and no mention of it ever being submitted to the Church.

    Medjugorje is different. It hasn’t been formally approved by the Church, but the Church is more than aware of it, so to speak. Not so with the 1990 prophecy.

    There is good on his site (his articles on Maria Esperanza, but much that leaves me, and others I’m sure, scratching their heads. There is a lot of stuff from his “mailbag” that makes me wonder. How much of this is real, and how much of it is coming from people’s overwrought imaginations? He needs to be more careful when presenting these viewpoints and some sites he links to. It’s all very confusing and doesn’t help the average person on their spiritual journey. That is all.

  • Elizabeth, Peter never said you are in “a state of mortal sin.” Your dishonesty is showing again. He wrote, “Calumny is, objectively speaking, sinful. It may even constitute grave sin. It offends against both charity and truth. It is a violation of justice.”

    You falsely accused Mr. Brown of accepting ALL private revelation, “even those which have not received Church approval.” This is – objectively speaking – calumnious. But rather than acknowledging that your post was false and unjust, you now assume a defensive posture and accuse Peter of judging your soul.

    When will your dishonesty cease? You are behaving very poorly.

  • I know what I wrote. I don’t appreciate Elizabeth’s false accusation against me.

  • This is the time I will ever read or visit this site. I’ve been accused of being a poor reader, of trying to wear down an author after a mere two posts, being dishonest, being egotistical, twisting words which were clearly written, and of being a relativist. Elizabeth comes along and gives her opinion that Michael Brown relies too heavily on Marian apparitions and personal revelation and she’s accused of calumny. There is no engagement of ideas here, only personal animus. The impression one is left with is that if one does not agree with everything written at this site, then that one is necessarily part of the construct of rebellion. Not exactly the best impression to leave with anyone.

  • Sorry, meant to say “This is the last time I will ever read or visit this site.”

  • Thomas, you’re not here to participate in a “dialogue.” Like Elizabeth, you’re here to level false accusations. Read Peter’s post of Michael Brown’s article from 2005. He does not accept all private revelation uncritically. Nor has anyone (including himself) held up Mr. Brown as “the authority” on all private revelation.

    As Christians, let us refrain from such falsehoods.

  • I will never cease to be amazed how the internet has the capacity to take a solid, well formed argument for the faith, and transform it into this demonstration of the classic “my father can beat up your father” form of analysis (or in this case, “my Mary can beat up your Mary” such as this thread has morphed into.

    Will wonders ever cease.

    Yes indeed, a great illustration of how the the internet is a wonderful tool for the faith… or is it that the internet is the place to witness the faith of tools?

  • Apparently Fr. Moyle has no problem with calumny. Maybe he should brush up on his Catechism. If this thread has “morphed” into something unproductive, it is because of unfair allegations and misinterpretations.

    Asinine comment Father. With all due respect for your priestly office. Asinine.

  • “Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2479).

    I would exhort those who visit this thread to read Michael Brown’s 2005 article on discerning private revelation and hold Elizabeth’s false accusations up to the light of truth.

  • I agree with you Peter. Where was Father Tim when Elizabeth was leveling a false accusation against Michael Brown? He chides you for exposing Elizabeth’s false accusation against Michael Brown and showing it for what it is and describes it as a “my father can beat up your father form of analysis.”

    Father is a disappointment.

  • I am closing this thread.

    In the future please stay on the topic at hand.

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Global One Child Per Family Policy

Thursday, December 10, AD 2009

Diane Francis, a columnist with the Financial Post, a Canadian newspaper, has a column here calling for a global one child policy.

A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world’s other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity’s soaring reproduction rate.

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.

The intelligence behind this is the following:

-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world’s population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.

-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world’s forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.

-Doing nothing, by contrast, will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.

Although I think this proposal of Ms. Francis is both evil and insane, I do give her props for saying out loud what many environmental hysterics only hint at:  Man is the problem.  Eliminate as many humans as possible and the environment can by saved to be enjoyed by the anointed few like Ms. Francis.

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49 Responses to Global One Child Per Family Policy

  • Oh dear, where to start?

    Perhaps with the good news? I already have two kids and I’m hoping for more. In other words, my descendants will have more influence than those of Francis and the like-minded.

    Now the insanity.

    Why even allow one child? Some poster told me that two wasn’t an arbitrary number in a combox at the end of this post, because two is necessary for population replacement:
    http://vox-nova.com/2009/08/07/preliminary-ramblings-on-population-and-the-environment/
    But of course two is arbitrary, unless the goal is perfect replication of today’s population, and I’m not sure on who is pushing for that.
    Further to the point, allowing one child is also arbitrary. If you really want to stop human influence on the environment, allowing one child is non-sense.

    Another option make much more sense if Francis is really serious:
    The vast majority of people should have no children and select families should have several. There is nothing more inefficient, ecologically, than raising a single child. Families with several children use far less resources per child.

    You know what, that wouldn’t be fair. How about this? No one can have babies and raise them. The government can calculate how many people we’re going to need to keep this thing running (we’re going to need organ transplants you know, and nurses to care for us in our old age), clone them and raise them in huge, efficient, camps. Problem solved.

  • In the worldview of these maniacs, human beings are a virus, a disease, and need to be reduced or eliminated so that Mother Earth can heal.

    This is why the global warming issue is really starting to bother me. Regardless of whether or not it is a serious problem, it is clear that some of the same forces that support this population reduction ideology are also behind terrorizing us all into accepting that we must completely reorder the world economy to reduce CO2 emissions.

    I’ve already seen articles about how babies are bad for the environment from the stand point of “carbon foot prints” – every child makes global warming worse, apparently.

  • I take a small amount of comfort in the fact that even the commenters there think she’s loony.

  • Joe, not being a scientist it is difficult for me to have a truly informed view on global warming. That said, being human I’m prone to bias and I admit I’m biased toward skepticism precisely because the folks who are the most passionate alarmists seem almost uniformly to hold some variant of comical view you describe. They see the earth as a god-like living organism that is infected with the virus known as humanity, which virus would be largely benign but for capitalism and religion, which render it deadly and malignant. The treatment requires (i) marginalizing organized religion, (ii) reducing the virus count, and (iii) replacing free markets with government planning and control. And if we don’t start treatment immediately, we’re all gonna die.

    Somehow I just don’t think so.

  • But today’s lunacy is tomorrow’s policy, at least at the rate we are going.

    Our descendants may have more influence, but who is influencing our descendants? With academia and the media (both journalistic and entertainment, to the extent there is a differrence) overwhelmingly tilted towards Mz. Francis and her ilk, the odds do not look good.

  • I have a more simple solution: if everyone who was truly alarmed about AGW would just personally stop emitting CO2 for about thirty minutes, think how much progress we would make! I think Al Gore should lead by example here.

  • One child per family will end up being a statistical result only. See, if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough. This will help insure that kiddies end up in wealthier families that can afford to give them the high standard of living they deserve. Some kooks have already thought of this — count on it — but are waiting until society is “enlightened” enough to be receptive to it.

  • Not well thought out, to say the least.

    The idea of human beings as a plague or infestation is not unknown in science fiction. But the notion that nine billion people on the planet is unsustainable is also fiction.

    Which isn’t to say that politics doesn’t muck up the distribution of food and other resources. That’s plenty hard stuff to work on right there.

  • Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!! Have one 13-month old and twins on the way at the end of January. Guess we’d better keep going before the Earth Worshippers have their way!!!

  • P.S. what kills me is that these anti-human dirtbags will be whining and moaning when they grow old and grey and realize there aren’t enough tax-payers to support them in their old age! Then they’ll probably think twice about, “There are too many people!”

  • Congrats Coffee Catholic! As the father of twins, there is nothing like them to add zest to a house!

  • I’d be inclined to take her seriously if I were into gaia worship. But alas I’m not, so… meh.

  • if carbon credits are a good idea, why not kiddie credits. Families who have dough can buy kiddie credits from families who need dough.

    They thought of that already.

  • To be clear: I would never morally condone what I am about to say. Yet what strikes me as odd is that the people who call for mass population reduction because of “overpopulation” don’t…I don’t know…sacrifice themselves. There’s this group called the Voluntary Human Extinction movement and conveniently its originators have yet to voluntarily remove themselves while advocating others to do so.

  • Well, to be fair, I think you’re supposed to get yourself sterilized before signing up as a member of the voluntary extinction group. Apparently, wiping out humanity is important enough one should not have children (with the comfortable side effect that one can spend all one’s time and money on oneself and not have to support any dependants) but not actually urgent enough that one should hurry things along by actually hurting yourself.

  • I’m curious at the justification of these iniatives b/c it would avoid wars over scarce resources. Aren’t wars, from a perspective that doesn’t really value human life, just as if not a more effective means of population control? The bloodier the war, the more the population is in check.

    I just wish these kinds of proponents would be consistent with their logic, so that they could see for themselves how irrational it truly is.

  • Eric, they don’t off themselves because they’re the wise and enlightened ones. Gaia needs them to inform other people that they’re unnecessary wastes of space.

    “There’s just enough of me and way too much of you.”

  • As was basically said by another commenter, “Today’s insanity is tomorrow’s public policy.”

    China will increasingly be seen as setting the standard for all to follow. Soon every nation will be encouraged to fall in line and push for population control.

    Think it can’t happen here? Take a gander at the emissions goals to be reached in this country by 2050. They’re nothing but hogwash UNLESS efforts to “go green” are coupled with formal population control policies.

    Those policies won’t be limited to abortion. Citing “quality of life” issues we can expect a fevered push for euthanasia of the less than desirable in our society.

    It’ll be almost inevitable unless a complete turnaround is effected in the present cultural mindset.

  • This author is a day late and more than a few dollars short when it comes to the Chinese policy. I believe China has of late decided to ease up on the one-child policy in certain areas of the country because of the disastrous social problems it has caused, including but not limited to:

    1. An extreme gender imbalance (men greatly outnumber women);
    2. The disappearance of extended families (if everyone is an only child, that eliminates not only siblings but aunts, uncles, and cousins, and forces one young or middle-aged adult to be responsible for the care of both parents and all four grandparents);
    3. The “little emperor” syndrome of spoiled children and teens who grow up never having to share anything;
    4. The social instability that is likely to result from large numbers of young men being unable to marry and spending their lives as “lone wolves”.

    Other points overlooked by the global population control pushers:

    1. The main reason world population doubled in the last 50 years was NOT because birth rates went up, but because death rates went down due to sanitation, vaccinations, and improved medical care. As demographer Steven Mosher puts it, “People didn’t start breeding like rabbits — they STOPPED dying like flies.”

    2. The so-called “replacement level” fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is merely a statistical average for developed countries in which the vast majority of children can expect to live to adulthood. In less developed countries where infant and child mortality is higher, a “replacement level” birth rate would have to be higher. A couple in Haiti or Bangladesh, for example, might have to have 5 or 6 children in order to insure that at least 2 of them survive to adulthood.

    3. To maintain a replacement level of 2.1 or 2.0 children per woman, some couples will have to have larger families in order to compensate for those who have only one child or none at all (often through no choice or fault of their own).

    4. One does NOT raise the standard of living in a less developed country by forcibly lowering the birth rate. Rather, the birth rate will drop “naturally” as standards of living rise and education and employment opportunities open up for women, which prompts them to postpone marriage and childbearing. To try to bring the birth rate down first is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.

    5. Many countries, most notably Japan, Russia, and most of Western Europe, are facing an imminent UNDER population problem because their birthrates have been well below replacement level for decades. Some governments have tried, with varying degrees of success, to encourage childbearing through “baby bonuses”.

    6. Many experts such as Mosher believe world population will peak at 8 to 9 million later this century and then begin to decline on its own, purely from the demographic “momentum” of birth rates that are currently in decline over most of the world. Mosher states categorically that world population will NEVER double again since birth rates are dropping and life expectancies are not increasing nearly as fast as they were earlier this century (in some areas such as Russia and sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy is actually dropping due to AIDS and other factors).

  • Oops, I meant to say that world population would peak at 8 to 9 BILLION.

  • Bravo Elaine, informative and succinct, always a potent combination!

  • “Thank God me and the husband are breeding like Catholic rabbits!!”

    Don’t forget adoption. Over 120,000 kids available today. You don’t need to give birth to expand your family, and adopted kids benefit from having a ready family!

  • Well said, Elaine. This brings to mind something I found on here at one point before. I’m sure the Doomslayer is twitching out there…

  • Nice touch Elaine,
    One addition to the disappearance of the extended family: not only do some kids grow up as ‘little emperors,’ but most kids grow up never having seen parenting in action. Most of us learned something about parenting from watching our parents with our youngest siblings, or our oldest siblings with our nieces and nephews, or our aunts and uncles with our younger cousins. All of that is eliminated when extended families disappear. To learn everything you know about parenting by observing only how your parents worked with you can be a serious disadvantage.

  • When so-called “science” comes with a set of talking points and a ready-made statist political agenda, one would be an irrational fool NOT to be skeptical of the so-called “science”.

  • Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.

    Here’s the real question: Can 9 billion people sustain the level of consumption of resources currently enjoyed in the U.S.?

  • Brian,

    To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?

  • “Ah, let’s pick the most extreme views on how to deal with human induced climate change in order to generate more suspicion of the reasonable efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”

    This is my post Brian and I posted it as an extreme example of an all too common anti-human mindset among extreme environmentalists.

    I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.

  • The notion of an imminent and disastrous worldwide population explosion requiring strict limitations on childbearing is — literally — as outdated as leisure suits, disco, and the notion of an imminent and disastrous new Ice Age (which was all the rage among climate scientists in the 70s). Birthrates have been falling rapidly all over the world — in less developed countries as well — for the past 20 to 30 years.

    The “unsustainable” 9 billion population Ms. Francis says will occur by 2050 if we “do nothing” is, according to Steven Mosher and many others, EXACTLY the point at which global population will peak and then begin to drop if we “do nothing” to change current birth rates.

  • From what I’m aware of the earth can easily sustain 9 billion and even 18 billion people without batting an eye.

    We are nowhere near reaching capacity on this blue planet, so any, ANY environmentalist or eugenicist that wants to control population control is battier than the climate change crowd.

  • World population is expected to rise until 2050 and then level off. It has fallen in India as living standards rise. The real problem we are facing is not the prospect of 9 billion people who all live like Americans, but that all Western countries (with the exception of the US) are reproducing at below replacement levels. Europe as a whole is at 1.38, Canada is at 1.48, Russia and Spain are in the demographic “death spiral” – 1.1, or half replacement rate. And,…,the same people who are most concerned about “overpopulation” tend to be the same people who like cradle to grave social programs. How, exactly, will that work when you have far more graves than cradles?

    What about the Third World, you ask? Well, as was discovered with crop yields 40 years ago, our technological capacity outstrips our growth rate by a significant margin. But, gee, once again, the greenies fret about “frankenfood” – which has done a lot more to feed Africans than Bob Geldof has.

  • “I’ll ask you a question: Which is more important, restoring the environment or economic development to lift more of humanity out of poverty? Personally I think we can do both, and without losing our humanity in the process.”

    It seems that we can do both because it is not a question of either/ or. Restoring the environment helps humanity, because humanity is part of, and depends on, the environment. Surely there is nothing extreme or “new agey” about that. Even those who highlight species and ecosystem loss tend to do so from the perspective that this would be a bad thing for humanity.

    What may seem to be beneficial for the development of humanity might indeed have unintended side effects that actually increase poverty and depersonalization. Remember that the Church was wary of industrial progress in the 19th century, not because it was anti- human, but because it had a broader view of what constituted progress.

  • Certain church leaders were wary of industrialization and they were wrong. Broader prosperity and increased life expectancy were great goods. The past in certain eras has many advantages over the present, but for the great mass of humanity life truly was, in Hobbes’ phrase, “nasty, brutish and short” compared to ours, until the great transformation wrought by the Industrial Revolution.

  • Don,

    I want to respectfully disagree with your assessment here. I do not believe the Papacy was wrong to be wary of the Industrial Revolution – there were often terrible abuses of workers and their rights, and the whole revolution was only made possible after a few centuries of political revolution against the Church, the confiscation of her property and the ruination of her ability to care for the poor.

    The Church did not and does not totally reject industrialization. All of the Popes recognized the potential benefits, but they insisted that the system of industrial capitalism be reformed and modified to respect the rights and dignity of the workers. They were not wrong to note it as a problem, and they were not wrong to demand that society address it.

    As Pius XI wrote, industrialization could have taken a better path that did not involve usurping the Church, displacing the peasantry, and abusing the workers. Thanks to the intervention of the Church, among other groups, many of the worst excesses have been remedied – but I think it is wrong to assume that they would have been without that intervention.

  • I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population. I think industrialization had very little to do with attacks on the Church and everything to do with human inventiveness combined with economic and political freedom. It was a process that was building for centuries and I only regret that the process wasn’t quicker. I would have died at 5 without penicillin. My father would never have walked but for advances in surgery a few decades before his birth. My mother would have been denied 12 years of her life but for the cancer treatments available in 1972. My wife and my twins would have died but for safe c-sections. We take for granted advances that our ancestors would have viewed as miracles and I am very grateful for them.

  • “To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know because I don’t know who I should trust or why I ought to trust them. Credentials just don’t seem to cut it for me anymore, since people with letters after their names can be found on both sides.

    Who do you trust and why?”

    Trust? I tend to avoid reading with a hermeneutic of suspicion, unless I have a very good reason to do so. I just don’t have enough evidence that there is some massive conspiracy in the scientific world to over exaggerate the science on the large impact we have on the environment. In much of the scientific literature that I read, even from writers who have different politics than myself, I find very little “hard” science that cannot be interpreted in a Catholic light. To give a broad example, I see a confirmation of the Church’s critique of the modern industrial world in our recent discoveries concerning human induced climate change.

  • Another factor overlooked by population controllers: one of the most effective methods of spacing births practiced throughout human history has been the “ecological” breastfeeding of infants and toddlers for the first 2-3 years of their lives, a practice which is difficult for many modern women to adopt for various reasons.

    Historic studies of birth records going back to the Renaissance, and of certain ethnic and cultural groups such as the Amish and Hutterites, show that on average, a woman who married in her early 20s, breastfed all her children on demand as long as necessary, and practiced no other form of birth control would give birth to about 6 to 8 children in her lifetime, with the last birth occurring around age 40. Now, back when average life expectancy was in the mid-40s and nearly every family lost several children to disease, famine, etc. this was pretty close to a “replacement level” of fertility.

    When bottlefeeding became the preferred “scientific” and “sanitary” method of infant nourishment in the early to mid 20th century — and was heavily promoted in Third World countries — the result was that many women began getting pregnant every year, instead of every 2 to 3 years, and birth rates did begin to exceed replacement levels. In ancient and medieval times, women who gave birth to extremely large families of 15, 20 or more children, spaced only a year apart (sometimes less), tended to be noble or wealthy women with the means to hire wet nurses.

    The decline of breastfeeding and the resultant closer spacing of births probably fed a popular belief that without effective artificial contraception, women would be “doomed” to constant pregnancies and childbirths with little or no time to recover between them. Meanwhile, the discoveries that made natural family planning possible (e.g. the timing and signs of ovulation) didn’t occur until the late 1920s and it took several decades for doctors, etc. to get with the program (and some still haven’t).

  • “I will not deny the terrible abuses Joe, but I think industrialization was an absolutely crucial process for the well being of the great mass of the population.”

    But here’s the thing: most environmentalists, in my estimation, are not Luddites. Just as the Popes were critical of the narrow and exploitative way industrialization was carried out, and not of industrialization itself, so are most environmentalists critical of where certain industries are at today, considering what we know about climate change.

  • Brian,

    I think you’re setting up a false dichotomy. It isn’t “either trust what scientists say completely” or “scientists are involved in a massive conspiracy” – though I do believe the leaked e-mails are evidence of corruption on the part of some scientists, evidence that they are doing exactly that – exaggerating.

    What I mean is, what is it that causes you to trust what some scientists say and disregard what others say? Is it really as simple as the majority overrules the minority? Is it not true that in the history of science a minority that has gone against the prevailing wisdom has turned out to be correct in the long run? How are you so certain that isn’t the case now?

    I don’t believe the consensus really exists. The more digging I do, the more scientists, including real bona fide climate scientists, who say Co2 is not a deadly pollutant, but is actually good for the atmosphere, that temperatures are rising but at the same rate since before industrialization – a planetary recovery from the mini Ice age.

    We have two camps of scientists, both consisting of professionals with letters after their names, saying very different things. We also have a pretty deep political agenda accompanying the AGW scientists, though of course everyone accuses the skeptics of being hired by “big oil” – conspiracy theory for conspiracy theory.

    There IS evidence of collusion to hide unfavorable evidence, the destruction of data, even concerns that information might be accessed through the Freedom of Information Act. To me that sounds like evidence. Regardless, I believe that what is happening is that a correlation is being presented to us as a cause in order to push an agenda that would otherwise be extremely unpopular.

    Don,

    I don’t disagree that those are all wonderful things. My only concern is for an uncritical approach to industrialization that accepts all of its negative and sometimes evil consequences as collateral damage. I’ll say again that I do not believe the Church opposed industrialization, but she was highly critical of it and sought to put it on the right path. I think that was the right thing to do.

  • Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.

    People who believe global warming is a serious crisis are so fanatically intolerant of skeptics that no serious public debate has been allowed to take place. A theory that is secure, is sound, is supported by evidence, HAS NO NEED TO FEAR DEBATE. The excuse that the problem is too urgent for discussion is the rational of tyrants and oppressors.

    Because the vast majority of us are not scientists, it is all the more reason we ought to have access to both camps, to the “alarmists” and the “skeptics” or “deniers”. I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand. And if they say that they are above this, that they don’t have to do it, that we should trust them even without debate, well, how can a reasonable person accept that?

    What I see happening is very ugly, very troubling. I don’t care if the world is going to blow up in a year, before we agree to massive carbon taxes and a reordering of whole economies, to major political and cultural changes, we need to have a much more open debate than we have had thus far. The smearing of the skeptics is what makes me more skeptical than anything else. Copenhagen should have been a debate, the UN should allow debate, these scientists should be debating before the entire world for a week, a month, for at least as much time as we spend on murder trials and kidnapping fiascos and the Tiger Woods scandal.

    It all reinforces the sense that an agenda is being pushed on us. I don’t like it, and I will remain skeptical.

  • Joe,

    I don’t think consensus means majority, or that climate science is somehow split between camps of skeptics and proponents of human induced climate change. There are a wide range of ideas that attempt to explain data. There are many open questions, and of course everything is open to question. The peer review process, or, to put it differently, the scrutiny all theories face over time by other scientists, is how I would distinguish between good science and bad science. By good science, I wouldn’t say completely reliable, just more reliable than ideas that haven’t withstood or faced the same process. And while our understanding of climate change is always developing, and there are alot of differences over the particulars, there do seem to be some basic ideas that have withstood the test of time, namely, that rising CO2 in the atmosphere has contributed to global warming and that the reduction of CO2 emissions will have an effect on future temperature rises.

    Keep in mind that the stolen emails are, in fact, private emails that have been selected out of their original context. I’m not sure its appropriate to judge the content given how they were unethically and selectively required.

    With that said, I think there is something to the call for more open peer- reviewed journal process, which had already begun in certain quarters, although it also had its drawbacks.

    As to the “hockey stick” controversy, let me just say that there is a big difference between the controversy and what skeptics have made of the controversy, which reveals the difference between science and ideology. Check independent temp. data from boreholes, stalagmites, glaciers that together confirm an unprecedented rise in in recent decades.

  • “Let me just say that I am open to persuasion, but I am deeply concerned that what ought to be a scientific debate has turned so ridiculously ugly.”

    I would say that if anything is ugly, it is the politics or ideology creeping into the science. A good example is the dispute between Michael Mann and Stephen McIntyre over the now infamous “hockey stick graph”. The dispute was over technical aspects of methodology, not over the credibility of any theories of climate change. But since it was made into a dispute over climate change, it has become politicized.

  • Joe,

    You want to have a public “debate”, and that’s exactly what I’d like to avoid – although I guess it’s too late for that. You see we didn’t have a debate before we signed the Montreal Protocol. Most people didn’t know it happened. Nations just went ahead and took the recommendation of sound science and regulated the heck out of CFCs. Most current research has shown that if nations hadn’t acted a decisively back then, we’d be in trouble today. It was a non- partisan issue back then and it should be that way today.

  • “I want to hear a climatologist who accepts the mainstream narrative debunk the skeptics case point by point in a way I can understand.”

    That’s like reading an introduction to Catholicism that starts with areas of disagreement with Protestants. Better, in my view, to read a good book that gives a comprehensive overview of how climate science has developed. Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers is a good start. Then hold up the arguments of the skeptics and see if they “debunk” human induced global warming.

  • Brian,

    I respectfully disagree. What the UN and major governments are proposing are drastic changes to our society, and these are not to be undertaken lightly. A debate is wholly appropriate on such major matters in a democratic society.

    As for the rest, I am not convinced that Co2 being a dangerous, toxic pollutant as recently declared by the EPA has or will “stand the test of time.” I am not convinced that the skeptic’s argument about the rate of change remaining constant before and after the Industrial Revolution has been sufficiently engaged or debunked. If they are right, we are about to make a major mistake.

  • I wonder why no one has brought up the fact that Diane Francis has TWO CHILDREN!

  • Well thank you Rocky for bringing it up. What she proposes is obviously meant for people not as enlightened as she is, rather like Gore preaching about carbon foot prints as he jets around the world and maintains a huge mansion. Now there is a word for that type of behavior and it begins with an H. The word of course is hilarious!

  • For more information about the death of the Hockey stick graph, consult Steve McIntyre’s blog(climate audit). This graph has been thoroughly discredited and, anyway, most IPCC scientist agree that the purported AGW theory does not rise or fall on it.

Who Is Irrelevant, Obama or Americans

Wednesday, September 23, AD 2009

Tea Party Protest 9-12

At this point it is almost irrelevant what President Obama thinks, says, or does.

As long as former Presidents Carter and Clinton keep calling Americans racists…

As long as Speaker Pelosi refers to Patriots as violent, swastika wearing, un-Americans…

As long as the extreme left on the Democratic Party insist on ignoring a movement that not only contains conservatives and Republicans, but pretty much everyone else in America…excluding most liberals.

Then it really doesn’t matter what the Obama Administration and their proxies continue calling ordinary American patriots.

Thus the only relevant question that can be asked is how badly will the Democrats continue to shoot themselves in the foot?

…It depends on how radical a health care bill they pass.

In the meantime  an insignificant handful of crazies the rest of America will wait for another round of insults as they continue to turn a deaf ear to the rhetorical platitudes of an ever increasingly irrelevant presidency.

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10 Responses to Who Is Irrelevant, Obama or Americans

  • A lot can happen between now and November 2010. One thing the Dems can count on is Americans’ short attention span. They can keep shooting themselves in the foot until May 2010.

  • That’s what I am anticipating.

    More shoot-in-the-foot comedy from here till next year.

  • The Seniors will remember. There are 9 Million plus who elected to replace normal Medicare with Medical Advantage Plans which have more coverage and very minumunal $10 and $25 dollar deductibles for regular or Specialist vists. O on Hospitalization and any type of lab tests and X Rays including MIRs Cat Scans etc. plus an excellent RX program. All the bills plan to strip the coverages and increase premiums for these plans. The 9 Million plus Seniors will not forget in 2012.

  • You are assuming the new plan will allow those 9 million to still be alive to vote in 2012.

    One year plus is a long time and we, the public, are entertained idiots. But it only takes a few people with strong conviction to keep the pressure on and the blind arrogance of the left to keep over-reaching and upsetting people to change the wind beginning this year in VA and NJ and next year in the House.

    The problem as I see it is that the change will be simply to put Republicans back in charge so they can do the same stupid stuff Democrats do while pandering to the pro-Life movement (while doing nothing to protect life), lowering visible taxes (while inflation is the real tax and it is hidden and increasing dramatically, smaller government (while expanding the strained empire), etc.

    I think thinking Americans are fed up with both parties, but third parties don’t seem to succeed at anything other than peeling votes off to ensure the worse of two options wins.

    Teddy Roosevelt crushed the Republican and gave us Wilson, Perot gave us Clinton, it is a ruse. What we need is to revitalize the Republican party so that they can actually be conservative.

    The Constitution is just a piece of paper if the political class walks all over it and the public sits back and does nothing.

  • You are assuming the new plan will allow those 9 million to still be alive to vote in 2012.

    I don’t know what’s with today, but I’m just cracking up at all the comments!

    Keep bringing them!

  • American Knight…from my Actuary background I would first suggest to you that over 92% will still be with us and able to vote. I would also suggest you might want to look at the “liquidity trap” rather than inflation which can and will cause deflation. Most of money in the stimulus package is still in the Banks and they are keeping it, not lending it or helping other to create jobs. Also if the current administration keeps on its downgrade of our CIA, Military, Homeland Seurity and appeasement toward those who want us to fail and attack us, we may not get to 2012.

  • afl,

    I wasn’t referring to the aged dying naturally, I was implying, toungue in cheek, that the current so-called health care plans may lead to expedited, mercy killings for the useless old people. In other words, a kind way of legalizing more murder.

    As for liquidity and inflation, inflation has already occured tot he tune of trillions on newly fabricated money units and as you said, the banks are still holding on to it but it has occured – the money supply has been inflated. If you are referring to the symptom of inflation, price increases, we will see that. Right now it is offset by low demand, but the supply will clear soon. Also, the losses of the stock and real estate markets have reduced the overall amount of additional money stcked (using fractional-reserve banking). All this accomplishes is delaying the inevitable inflation (money unit devaluation, loss of purchasing power). Qui bono? Government, banks, military-pharma-industrial corporations that are closely allied with government.

    Central banks breed fascism/corpratism and eventually a communist oligarchy. That frigthens me more than any other earthly thing.

  • American Knight Amen and I totaly agree. Point I was making on deflation ( prices go down ) as people do not have the money to spend and unemployed continues to escalate ( Ala 1930’s and it took WWII to change the economy. not FDR ) so we keep printing worthless paper. Maybe we do need to start start a new political party or bring the orthodox thinkers together to keep us from continuing socialism and an oligarchy run by all these new CZARS.

  • afl,

    Ok so we agree, then why do we think we might not. I am not necessarily referring to you and I, just this topic in general.

    It is designed to be confusing. The terms are designed to get us off track.

    What is inflation? No one really knows except the perpetrators of the theft.

    INFLATION is often thought of as prices going up. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Prices will probably go up as a result of inflation but rising prices are NOT inflation.

    INFLATION is the increase in the quantity of money.

    DEFLATION is obviously the decrease.

    Prices do not necessarily rise or fall as a result of inflation. Prices are merely distroted and so is the entire nervous system of the economy — price signals fail and no one knows what to make or not make.

    Prices are determined by SUPPLY and DEMAND, independent of the quantity of money.

    It is a stable quantity of money that allows for a stable measurement and allows the price system to signal properly.

    Inflation/deflation of the supply of money, a change in quantity, distorts those signals.

    Obamunism is designed to destroy the pricing system of whatever it is he and his masters want to control next. Right now it is so-called health care.

    Perhaps they will combine the clunkers program and health care and just pour ‘liquid glass’ into pefectly functional but old engines that are emitting too much CO2 becuase they are upset about losing their medical coverage.

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Did Francis Schaeffer advocate the "violent overthrow" of the U.S. government?

Tuesday, June 2, AD 2009

In a Vox Nova post, Gerald Campbell claims the following of Francis Schaeffer:

In 1982, Frank’s father (Francis Schaeffer) wrote a book called A Christian Manifesto in which he called for the use of force if all other means of stopping abortion failed. He compared the United States and its practice of legalized abortion to Hitler’s Germany and argued that whatever means might have removed Hitler could be used to stop abortion here. In 1984, Frank Schaeffer wrote A Time for Anger. in which he argued the same point. His book became a national best seller with the help of the evangelical movement. Dr. James Dobson alone gave away 100,000 copies.

Gerald is not only wrong, but I believe — having corrected him once already on this very matter — he joins Frank Schaeffer in wilful slander of his father.

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31 Responses to Did Francis Schaeffer advocate the "violent overthrow" of the U.S. government?

  • Campbell twisting the truth so as to demonize pro-lifers and defend his pro-choice position? Ain’t the first time.

  • This piece is just crap. No one suggested Francis Schaeffer advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Period.

  • Gerald,

    If you knew your piece was “just crap”, why did you write it?

  • This piece is just crap. No one suggested Francis Schaeffer advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Period.

    Um, you did.

    In March 2008, you linked to and cited approvingly the opening lines of an article you previously linked to, and republished in condensed form, by Frank Schaeffer (“Frank Schaeffer Decries Double Standard” Vox Nova March 17, 2008).

    When Senator Obama’s preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father — Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer — denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

    I responded and corrected you in the comments, as well as Catholics in the Public Square.

  • Campbell:

    Provide your proof (citation and direct quotations, preferably with PDF scans or some other means of verifying your accuracy) that the following claims are correct:

    Schaeffer “called for the use of force if all other means of stopping abortion failed.”

    Schaeffer “argued that whatever means might have removed Hitler could be used to stop abortion here.”

  • Very brave of Frank the Younger to blast Catholics without noting that the Orthodox refer to abortion as murder.

    See, e.g.: http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8083

    Yet not a word about that. Oh, and it’s nice to see him continuing his Pope Formosus act with his father’s corpse.

  • The ONLY reason I disagree with the idea of a ‘revolution’ to stop abortion is because it is NOT like the Holocaust, or to use a more accurate modern comparison, China’s forced abortion policy. It is something desired and sought out by large numbers of Americans on a regular basis, something woven into our cultural fabric as a result of consumerism and materialism (as JP II argued again and again).

    That said, every individual abortionist is still a murderer, as are those who solicit his services, and even while addressing the root cause of abortion we should strive for just laws that recognize the dignity of the unborn and meet out the proper punishment.

  • Joe,
    Your last comment represents my views as well, and expresses them perfectly.

  • Anyone see Gerald’s refusal to take Blackadder’s views into account, instead obstinately declaring twice that he still believes Frank Schaeffer’s interpretation (for no reason that he seems to be able to explain).

    If you’re going to play the part of a peacemaker who is against harsh rhetoric and just wants everyone to get along, it isn’t exactly persuasive if your case rests on demonizing and misrepresenting what other people said.

  • Yep, I saw that, S.B. Well, I have to concede “partisan” and “peacemaker” share a couple of letters.

    “Calumny: It’s OK when I do it.”

  • Franky Schaeffer has made a career out of his father. First by trying to follow in his footsteps and second by spitting on his grave. He is for the moment a useful tool for the far Left and they are welcome to him.

  • Kind of odd when you think about it. Franklin Graham is the very visible face in front of Billy Graham Ministries- taking it where his father stopped due to infirmity. Joel Osteen’s father was just a pal of Kenneth Copeland in the 70s. Now the church is a Sunday teevee staple and eminates from the former home of the NBA Houston Rockets. Not sure what’s going on inside the noggin of Frank the Younger and why he’s ripping on Pop. Better that we don’t know.

  • Just one question: why should anyone care what Francis Schaeffer thought about anything?

  • Joe Hargrave,

    The ONLY reason I disagree with the idea of a ‘revolution’ to stop abortion is because it is NOT like the Holocaust, or to use a more accurate modern comparison, China’s forced abortion policy. It is something desired and sought out by large numbers of Americans on a regular basis, something woven into our cultural fabric as a result of consumerism and materialism (as JP II argued again and again).

    in that sense it is in no substantial way different from the Holocaust. In spite of the fact that it is perhaps slightly more popularly supported than Hitler’s Holocaust, it is in reality quite similar in that many of it’s supporters are wilfully blind to the true nature of it.

    The reason that armed rebellion is not justified in this case is pure and simple. It would violate Catholic teaching of just war on certainly one and probably two or three points.

    1. All other means have not been exhausted
    2. It will cause more harm than good
    3. It has no reasonable chance of success

    That said, every individual abortionist is still a murderer, as are those who solicit his services, and even while addressing the root cause of abortion we should strive for just laws that recognize the dignity of the unborn and meet out the proper punishment.

    Amen brother.

  • Matt,

    I disagree, and I’d like to do so without the usual animosity.

    A while back a book came out arguing that the Holocaust was the result of the ‘anti-Semitism of the ordinary German’. Most historians panned the book, and rightfully so – most Germans did not know about the Holocaust until it was too late. They certainly had no idea when they elected Hitler that he would murder millions of people in death camps. It isn’t as if it were part of the Nazi party program.

    Abortion is not motivated by an ideological hatred of the unborn, it is motivated by personal, selfish reasons that find rationalizations in ideology. The Holocaust was imposed by the Nazis from above; abortion is chosen by the people from below. Most people don’t want to murder their children – they just want to not have them, and it so happens that murdering them is the the most expedient way to abandon parental responsibility.

    So, I do see a difference there. There are root causes of abortion that require a much different strategy than would be the case if the government were forcing women to get abortions, in which case, I would argue, we would have a right to revolution.

    As for the criteria for just war, if the government were carrying out a Holocaust – an actual Holocaust, like the Nazi Holocaust – I would take up arms against it and, if I am wrong to do so, take it up with God when I meet him.

  • Joe,

    A while back a book came out arguing that the Holocaust was the result of the ‘anti-Semitism of the ordinary German’. Most historians panned the book, and rightfully so – most Germans did not know about the Holocaust until it was too late. They certainly had no idea when they elected Hitler that he would murder millions of people in death camps. It isn’t as if it were part of the Nazi party program.

    Perhaps they didn’t actively believe that he would murder millions, however, they know that the Nazi’s believed that Jews were subhuman, and that they would be subject to all sorts of oppression and violence before he was elected, and they knew that all sorts of horrible things were going on to the Jews.

    Abortion is not motivated by an ideological hatred of the unborn, it is motivated by personal, selfish reasons that find rationalizations in ideology. The Holocaust was imposed by the Nazis from above; abortion is chosen by the people from below. Most people don’t want to murder their children – they just want to not have them, and it so happens that murdering them is the the most expedient way to abandon parental responsibility.

    So, I do see a difference there. There are root causes of abortion that require a much different strategy than would be the case if the government were forcing women to get abortions, in which case, I would argue, we would have a right to revolution.

    The unborn are the victims being forced into the the death rooms, just like the Jews were. It matters not a wit that the mother is participating in it, it is still state supported, state protected.

    As for the criteria for just war, if the government were carrying out a Holocaust – an actual Holocaust, like the Nazi Holocaust – I would take up arms against it and, if I am wrong to do so, take it up with God when I meet him.

    Even given that we live in a democracy, and that the rebellion would do more harm than good, and would not be successful you would attack the government?

    Are you rejecting my assessment of the conditions of just war, or are you rejecting Catholic doctrine on Just War???? Tell me how you answer the test of doing more harm than good, or the impossible chance of success?

  • Matt,

    There is a difference with respect to strategy, is what I am saying.

    Overthrowing the Nazi regime would have meant ending the Holocaust.

    Overthrowing the US government would not mean ending abortion because it is something the people want. If the majority or even a large minority wants it, there are few ways to prevent it, and getting rid of the current government isn’t one of them.

    That is why ending abortion is ultimately about changing the culture, though we must also work to change the law as well. Unlike some in our camp, I would put changing the culture as a higher priority than changing the law.

    As for your final questions: to the first one, yes. But the proper word is not ‘attack’ – the proper word is ‘resist’. Like the Warsaw uprising or the revolt at the Sobibor death camp, we have a right to resist, to preserve not only our own lives both those being immediately threatened, as millions of Chinese babies are in China, for instance. If we don’t have a right to fight to defend our own lives or the lives of our neighbors as they are being exterminated, then we may as well have no rights at all. I won’t live in such a world. I will change it or die trying.

    As for your assessment of just war – I’m not sure that resistance against wholesale slaughter warrants any reference at all to just war theory. Self-defense is a legitimate right. If we were invaded tomorrow by China or Russia, we wouldn’t have to consult the Church as to whether or not it would be ok to resist the invasion. Likewise if the state has a policy of genocide, it has effectively declared war on its own people. If your argument is that we must stand idly by while millions are exterminated by the government lest we violate just war theory, I reject that argument.

    And if that is in fact what the Church argues, then, like I said, I will take up my transgressions with what I believe to be a just God in the hereafter. I have my limits. It would indeed be insane and imprudent to fight a civil war over legal abortion, but it would be plain crazy not to resist a policy of genocide.

  • So, if instead of rounding up the Jews, the government simply declared open season on Jews. Anyone could grab one and kill him, would that qualify as “a genocide” that is then exempt from just war theory? or is it only “resistance” to the government which is exempt from these principles?

    If we were invaded tomorrow by China or Russia, we wouldn’t have to consult the Church as to whether or not it would be ok to resist the invasion

    no, we don’t always need to “consult” the Church, but we certainly need to apply the moral principles which the Church provides in any situation. Certainly if Russia or China invaded, just war principles could be met, because the resistance would almost certainly be successful. But what if the imbalance was so great that no chance of success existed? Would it be morally acceptable to commit suicide?

  • Matt,

    It’s a good question – in spite of the snide tone. There’s no need for you to reply to this as if we’re fighting yet again.

    It’s still not quite the same as abortion, because not ‘anyone’ can grab any woman and force her to abort. Abortion is allowed by the government, yes, but it is the power differential between the mother, and sometimes the father, and the unborn child that is really the mechanism causing the abortion.

    What legal abortion does is offer people a way to abandon their parental responsibilities. Thus it is a much more personal thing than one ethnic group wanting to cleanse another ethnic group. That we could stop in various ways, through military intervention, diplomacy, or whatever. You can’t do that with tens of millions of individual family units.

    So legal abortion is not tantamount to a declaration of ‘open season’ on the unborn – it is still, at least in some states, considered homicide if an act of violence against a pregnant woman ends up killing her wanted child. What we have here is something very specific – a law that allows individual mothers to kill their children.

    As for the last paragraph, I absolutely reject the notion that the morality of our resistance depends upon our chances of success, which in any event are hard to know with absolute certainty. My intention in resisting would not be to commit suicide, but to do what is in my power to resist evil. I would not go out of my way to seek my own death, I would try to survive for as long as I could and, perhaps, turn a situation where to odds are against me into one where they are not against me.

  • Thanks Christopher for again reminding us that this guy is to put it in a polite way eccentric

    I very much think the earlier article you link and his comments today are very telling

    In 2008

    “Today we have a marriage of convenience between the right wing fundamentalists who hate Obama, and the “progressive” Clintons who are playing the race card through their own smear machine. As Jane Smiley writes in the Huffington Post “[The Clinton’s] are, indeed, now part of the ‘vast right wing conspiracy.’

    “Both the far right Republicans and the stop-at-nothing Clintons are using the “scandal” of Obama’s preacher to undermine the first black American candidate with a serious shot at the presidency. Funny thing is, the racist Clinton/Far Right smear machine proves that Obama’s minister had a valid point. There is plenty to yell about these days.”

    Yes that is the same Clinton that is Obama ‘s Sec of State. Who knew Obama put in his Cabinet and in fact in one of the most important positions in the U.S. Government a person behind the “hate machine”.

    The piece today

    “Regardless, the same hate machine I was part of is still attacking all abortionists as “murderers.” And today, once again, the “pro-life” leaders are busy ducking their personal responsibility for people acting on their words. The people who stir up the fringe never take responsibility. But I’d like to say that I, and the people I worked with in the pro-life movement, all contributed to this killing by our foolish and incendiary words.”

    Wow so many hate machines!!! One gets a sense that anything is a hate machine that dares disagrees strong with the Frank Schaeffer. I think it is apparent who is throwing “incendiary” words around.

  • You can’t do that with tens of millions of individual family units.

    You don’t need to. Abortion is only possible because the government allows and protects the operation of abortuaries. Close them, and abortion is over. That is a significant portion of our non-violent “war”.

    As for the last paragraph, I absolutely reject the notion that the morality of our resistance depends upon our chances of success, which in any event are hard to know with absolute certainty.

    It depends entirely on the alternative. If it’s subjection vs the loss of an entire people, surrender would be the only morally acceptable action (again, where there is no reasonable possibility of success).

    My intention in resisting would not be to commit suicide, but to do what is in my power to resist evil. I would not go out of my way to seek my own death, I would try to survive for as long as I could and, perhaps, turn a situation where to odds are against me into one where they are not against me.

    I am not speaking here of the morality of an individual or unit accepting a “suicide” mission but the certainty that resistance would lead to a greater harm than good, and having no reasonable chance for success.

    Sorry if you confuse my blunt approach for “snideness”, if I was sensitive I’d probably accuse you of the same for saying something about “consulting the Church in order to act”.

  • So now Gerald (in the VN thread) is claiming that he objects to forthright descriptions of abortion because he’d rather change hearts:

    No one said that the truth should not be told about abortion. It should. What was said is that truth should be told with a view to a practical end.
    * * *
    If one wants to defend innocent lives in America, the best way is to change hearts and minds.

    The obvious problem is that Gerald admittedly never tries change people’s “hearts and minds” so as to oppose abortion . . . he couldn’t name even a single such effort when directly asked. To the contrary, he’s constantly trying to “change hearts and minds” in favor of pro-choice policies, i.e., arguing that letting women choose abortion is “reasonable and ethically defensible,” or that abortion “should be decided at the level of the women, the doctor, and the pastor. This is subsidiarity.”

    What explains this phenomenon of seemingly intelligent people acting like such dimwits? It’s one thing to argue that letting people choose abortion is ethical, but it’s just stupid to pretend that your aim in making such arguments is to persuade anyone that abortion is wrong.

    Again, one doesn’t see this phenomenon on the right . . . I’m not aware of any commentators who constantly make arguments about how having the death penalty is ethical and wise, and who never utter even a single word that is critical of the death penalty, but who then turn around and expect everyone to be stupid enough to believe that their objective is to “change hearts and minds” against the death penalty rather than in favor of it.

  • S.B.:

    Not only that, but the “hearts and minds only” campaign effectively argues for the repeal of the few provisions on the books which attempt to put the brakes on abortion, i.e., parental notification, waiting periods, medical certification (however weak).

    In what other social problem does anyone make this argument? Try it with drunk driving, exploitation of migrant workers, employment discrimination, and the sheer vacuousness shines through.

    More to the point: where has it ever worked?

  • I’m curious as to why Catholics care one way or another what Francis Shaeffer thought about anything.

  • Francis Schaeffer was a very thoughtful man who deserves the bulk of the credit for rallying evangelicals to the pro-life cause (e.g., the Southern Baptists were initially pro-choice after Roe). He also deserves enormous credit for broadening the intellectual horizon of American evangelicalism.

    Here’s an overview of his life and work.

    http://www.markheard.net/heardtribute/archive/schaeffer1_c_today1997.html

    http://www.markheard.net/heardtribute/archive/schaeffer2_c_today1997.html

  • I’m curious as to why Catholics care one way or another what Francis Shaeffer thought about anything.

    Dymphna,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Well, I certainly can’t speak for the rest of my colleagues. But as for myself, being the author of the post in question, several reasons:

    As a Christian philosopher and theologian, Francis Schaeffer had a great influence in the 70’s and 80’s. He’s credited with inspiring Christian political activism, particularly in response to the moral scandal of legalized abortion. He also provided a ‘counter-cultural’ Christian witness and renewal to many who were aimless and wandering in those years. My parents in what you might call their ‘hippie’ years spent time with him at his Swiss retreat in La’Bri, and (by way of reading my father’s books) he subsequently played a role in my own religious development.

    Curiously, the Catholic Anarchist and Morning’s Minion (residents of Vox Nova) might something to appreciate in Schaeffer — such as his critique of American consumerism; his ‘preferential option for the poor’; his ecological-mindedness (see Pollution and the Death of Man: A Christian few of ecology) … that is to say if they only got over their phobia towards Christian Evangelicals. 😉

    There is a recent biography written about him that captures what I and no doubt others find inspirational:

    The man who cared enough to tutor a little boy with Down Syndrome is also the man who told his church in St. Louis that he would resign if a black person ever came to his church and felt unwelcome. The budding intellectual who answered the existential questions of college students in Europe is also the agitator who took up the cause of the unborn and became arguably the finest shaper of and advocate for a potent evangelical critique of modern culture.

    Why should Catholics care one way or the other about Francis Schaeffer? Or C.S. Lewis for that matter? Or any other Protestant or non-Catholic writer? — That’s a question you’ll have to discern for yourself.

    But even as a convert from Protestantism, I still retain my interest and appreciation for those who have played a role in forming and inspiring me as a Christian.

    And insofar as I have an interest in ecumenism, particularly in the collaboration between Catholics and evangelicals in responding to the relativism and secularism of our nation, I find Schaeffer’s witness relevant today.

    That said — with respect to the current topic, when somebody misrepresents Schaeffer’s thought and engages in falsehoods (whether it’s his own heterodox son or a fellow Catholic like Gerald Campbell), I feel obliged to correct the record.

  • Even if he did advocate it – so what? Are you folks so wrapped up in an American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny mentality that you can not forsee any circumstances under which we should hit the reset button? The world existed prior to the USA and will exist after it is long gone. There is only one earthly institution against which Hell will not prevail.

  • awakaman,

    Even if he did advocate it – so what? Are you folks so wrapped up in an American Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny mentality that you can not forsee any circumstances under which we should hit the reset button? The world existed prior to the USA and will exist after it is long gone. There is only one earthly institution against which Hell will not prevail.

    No awakaman, we are so wrapped up in Catholic teaching that we would not endorse an unjust war, which a rebellion in a democratic nation would be. Our system of government has flaws, and is in need of reform, but it is still a democracy.

  • Hargrave, Petrik, Thank you.

  • Matt,

    “Abortion is only possible because the government allows and protects the operation of abortuaries. Close them, and abortion is over. That is a significant portion of our non-violent “war”.”

    Even if it took a Supreme Court ruling, against the will of the people at the time, to legalize abortion, now we can see that it does have much broader (but not absolute) support from the population. That is what really continues to make it possible.

    Since we live in a democracy, a democratic republic to be more precise, that counts for something. It means that the law at least in part depends on the will of the people, which in turn depends upon many things, most importantly, the culture in which they live.

    So I will continue to maintain that this is an important distinction between abortion, and the Holocaust, or abortion and any other policy where the state and not individuals are the actors – it is a distinction important for strategy and tactics.

    As for the just war stuff – again, if you are being faced with a war of extermination, which is what genocide is, it would be suicidal and probably therefore immoral not to resist. And even if it is not ‘your group’ targeted with elimination, I still think it would be unconscionable not to resist with them.

    So, yes, a policy of genocide would not only mean that resistance is allowed, but in fact a duty. But we do not have that now. We have a cultural disease that no amount of killing will put a stop to.

  • Matt:

    Wow someone on this blog recognizing that there is such a thing as an unjust war. However, using your reasoning the American Revolution was an unjust war.

Catholic Democrats Attack Glendon And Run Into Father Z

Wednesday, April 29, AD 2009

catholic-democrats1

Father Z plays whack-a-mole here with the attack on Mary Ann Glendon by Catholic Democrats, a group which has experienced a ferocious fisk from him before.   Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has some perceptive thoughts in his post “… Dollars to Doughnuts …” regarding the attacks on Mary Ann Glendon now coming from some elements of the Catholic Left.

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