Liberalism as Power Grab

Tuesday, February 9, AD 2016

John-Stuart-Mill

 

David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gets to the essence of contemporary liberalism:

That aging feminists are invoking the fires of hell and old sexist stereotypes in order to corral the phallic-challenged among us into the Hillary pens?  This is liberalism.  The same that promised open mindedness and live and let live regarding gay rights, that last year had to assure us Kim Davis is the only person who will ever go to jail over gay rights.  Trust them.  It will never, ever happen again.

This is the same liberalism that equated record stores that wouldn’t play Madonna albums with McCarthyism and kristallnacht.    The same that now sides with bans against Chick fil A over its founder’s beliefs about gay marriage.  Even if it means elected officials using the legislature to ban the restaurants from their cities.

This is the same liberalism that venerated George Carlin and his pleas for a completely open society where anyone can say anything, no matter how offensive to established values.  The same that now considers it hateful and offensive to point out that men can’t have babies and seeks to eradicate offensive speech from the public forum.

This is the same liberalism that insisted women should never be attacked when they courageously come forward in sexual harassment cases.  The same liberals and feminists who stood silently by as Bill Clinton’s White House attacked and destroyed every woman who came forward and accused him of sexual harassment. 

This is the same liberalism that stood by as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Joe Liebermann and Herman Cain were on the receiving end of words and phrases that the same liberals once would have decried as sexist, anti-Semitic, and racist.  Why then, oh why, is everyone running around shocked that hyper liberal feminist activists like Gloria Steinem or former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would use phrases and arguments that sound suspiciously tike the sexism and fundamentalism that have been the very thing from which liberalism promises to rescue us?

By now we should realize there is no liberalism.  There never has been.  There is not even a movement that particularly cares about sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, censorship, intolerance or open mindedness.  There is merely a new revolutionary world order that seeks to impose itself on society, and will use any trick at the moment to achieve its ends.  Those who have long believed that this movement is the only one that cares might want to wake up and smell the latte.

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11 Responses to Liberalism as Power Grab

  • wake up and smell the latte.

    Only if it’s made with fair trade coffee beans.

  • The problem with liberalism is its own incoherence. Rather than seeking the common good, it seeks to eradicate discrimination by discriminating, destroy poverty by destroying wealth, and free the masses by limiting their options.

  • Liberalism is a mental disorder. It’s adolescent, bizarre, comic book, weird. It is illusion, fantasy, delusion, pipe-dream; a program that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.
    .
    They are Democrats and other liars . . . decadent, foolish, ideological . . .
    .
    AGW is a socialist scam.
    .
    Nihilistic narcissist . . . saboteurs and traitors.
    .
    At war with reality . . . utterly ignorant of reality. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    .
    Instapundit: “Leftism is a religion. It’s just a shitty one that promises heaven on earth, while always yielding something closer to hell.” And, “Immigration policy is all about cheap labor and bought votes for both parties. […] this kind of behavior from the Bipartisan Governing Party is why we get Trump. And, if things go on, will get someone much worse than Trump.”
    .
    They think they can solve any problem. However, their only objectives are control and power.

  • Liberal will not read this lest they are exposed to ideas other than their own.

  • This article discusses the intolerant doctrine of tolerance, as practiced by today’s secular radicals. It’s a recipe for fascism, but with a happier face.

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/02/16271/

  • Statism…an end in itself.

  • Alain Badiou, the Grand Old Man of the French Left (he was the long-time Professor of Philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the training college for university lecturers and high school principals) has made no secret of the core Liberal belief that “if you say A – strict egalitarian equality – you should not shirk from its consequences and gather the courage to say B – the terror needed to really defend and assert the A” and “Materialist dialectics assumes, without particular joy, that, till now, no political subject was able to arrive at the eternity of the truth it was deploying without moments of terror. Since, as Saint-Just asked: ‘What do those who want neither Virtue nor Terror want?’ His answer is well-known: they want corruption – another name for the subject’s defeat.”

    The Liberal press makes no secret of its contempt for those whose formula is “1789 without 1793”; those “sensitive liberals” who want a decaffeinated revolution, a revolution which doesn’t smell of a revolution.

  • Liberalism delivers disappointment. It can never fulfill it’s promises. The resulting anger is what is driving today’s electorate. We need to bring back competitive Capitalism. What we have now is a liberal monopoly of government, big business and the medial which serves only it’s own interests.

  • Incoherent academics who celebrate violence and a love of totalitarian movements has ever been a French specialty since the Eighteenth Century.

  • Liberalism is manifested by its magnificent success in dividing to conquer. The PC weapon has been diabolical genius, cunningly attacking man’s weakest link in his sinful nature–his pride.
    The most worshipped god in America today is the self. Liberalism has done wonders, on behalf of the diabolical, via the culture wars which then made the economic and political takeover a piece of cake–devil’s food cake.

  • Liberalism isn’t liberal. It’s a lying, slithering serpent seeking its prey.

Substitute Religions and Tolerance

Tuesday, January 12, AD 2016

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David Gelernter,a professor of computer science at Yale, has noted the snarling hatred that seems to dominate the left in this country and believes he understands its source:

Where does the asymmetry come from? American conservatives tend to be Christians or Jews. Liberals tend to be atheists or agnostics. (Yes, there are exceptions—to nearly everything, always; but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking.) Almost all human beings need religion, as subway-riders need overhead grab bars. The religious impulse strikes conservatives and liberals alike. But conservatives usually practice the religion of their parents and ancestors; liberals have mostly shed their Judaism or Christianity, and politics fills the obvious spiritual gap. You might make football, rock music, or hard science your chosen faith. Some people do. But politics, with its underlying principles and striking public ceremonies, is the obvious religion substitute.

Hence the gross asymmetry of modern politics. For most conservatives, politics is just politics. For most liberals, politics is their faith, in default of any other; it is the basis of their moral life.

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24 Responses to Substitute Religions and Tolerance

  • The left succeeds in part by convincing Christians there is such a thing as a naked public square. There isn’t. Nature abhors a vacuum. The result is that Christians are too often cowed into not “imposing” their morality on society, while the left is free to impose its own “religious” values with near impunity. In the absence of Christians showing courage, I only wished the left actually believed in a wall of separation.

  • Caesar is God for many.

  • Joseph Bottum and David P. Goldman have seperately argued the case that progressivism/(illiberal)liberalism is what you get when you strip the gospel out of the social gospel movement.

  • I think Gelerenter’s point is jejune and also mistaken. The thing is, politics and religion are components or manifestations of a person’s self-concept – at least up to a point. Paul Hollander and Thomas Sowell have explored this – Sowell more deftly than Hollander. A ‘conservative’ is generally a person whose self-undertanding is not very sensitive to his disposition toward the world outside his mundane life.

    If you hang around comboxes populated by people who are committed Republicans or soi-disant ‘conservatives’, you do find some people who have an understanding of themselves as ruggedly independent in a world of freeloaders and losers (the distaff transposition of which is the person in a slow burn that someone somewhere is getting something they do not deserve); the thing is, combox denizens tend to be eccentric compared to ordinary Republican voters, much less Joe Blow off the sidewalks of Omaha.

    I think if you look at committed Democrats, you find three basic types: blacks whose thinking about the world outside of everyday life is dominated by affirmations and assertions of identity; working-class women with a seedy personal history who are irritated that other people might be ‘judging’ them; and bourgeois types who work in word-merchant occupations and / or are very taken with their formal schooling. All three trade in different species of intolerance. The last of these are the most consequential and, I’ll submit to you think of the opposition much the way school administrators think of high school students (except when they think of them as stupid and insubordinate employees).

    A great many of the ‘hot-button’ issues are seldom argued; they incorporate attitudes rather than viewpoints and those attitudes are class-delimited and define in-groups and out-groups. Our household Facebook account counts as a ‘friend’ a retired academic librarian. The man is not stupid – he’s a graduate of Bowdoin College, among other things, and he was almost certainly a scholarship student there. He’s the most capable workshop lecturer in his trade you’re ever likely to find. He’s not intemperate, either and seldom says anything trenchant face-to-face (one of his signatures and shortcomings). He makes political posts several times a week on Facebook, but none of them ever rise above trash talk of the sort you used to get from Molly Ivins or Barney Frank.

  • It won’t surprise anyone that the USCCB is leftist, but you have no idea. Bear will get around to posting an article in the next couple of days, but George Soros is in it up to his elbows.

  • The EEOC gets the nod from obullma to rep. two Muslims from delivering beer because it’s offensive to their religion, yet the bakers get smacked $130,000 plus, for refusing to bake the gay cake. Where is the justice? For the delivery men it’s ludicrous. Did they think they would ever have to deliver beer in their new American job? If they did they should of passed up the position. Who MADE them take the job? In the case of the baker its plain brut bullying from the slimy left.

    Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale are the above mentioned pair.

    Obama appointee allowed this case to go to trial. Jury awards $240,000 of our tax dollars to the two delivery men. Unbelievable!

  •  “ So why punish the handful of bakers who do not want to do so?  Because in leftist minds they are heretics and must by definition be punished. “

    While many of us conservatives might see the left posture as offensive, I am afraid that they see it originating as a defense. Though we think of the bakers as innocent of any attack on homosexuals, the Wounded Group definitely sees the negative reaction to them as an attack. They see their litigation as a civilized and now civilly sanctioned strike back in self-defense.
    They claim innocence: that they are born this way, even created by God this way, and worthy of the same respected status as any other consumer.
    They perceive their litigation or public pressure (as against Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich) as “long-run” defensive.
    So much do hey think the locus of hatred in this country is in the conservative camp, that they think it best to take the education/formation of innocent children away from hateful parents, and they are succeeding in doing just that. The resolution is a looong ways away.

  • Good point about the selective smackdowns Philip

  • “The thing is, politics and religion are components or manifestations of a person’s self-concept – at least up to a point.”

    For some people their political and religious beliefs are simply family heirlooms, how they react to their family will determine to a large extent how they react to the family religion and politics, assuming their parents had the same politics and religion. Others will view both religion and politics through intellectual prisms to determine if the religion is true and if the political beliefs are just. Yet others will gain their politics and their religion based on who and what they love and hate. Others give as much thought to religion and politics as I do to professional sports: almost none. Finally, we have those who have a burning passion for a religion, and those who sublimate this passion to ends other than religion, most notably politics. The last category usually falls along a right left divide.

  • These people are not only worse than a pack of thieves, they are worse than inquisitors of the Spanish Inquisition
    .
    Politics, the state, or the temptation for totalitarianism are tenets of their “religion.” And, “religious”: zealots cannot tolerate disbelief. So much so that they have allied themselves with other enemies of God and western culture/their natural allies: radical Islamists. We see it in their advancing Muslim culture and their persecuting Christians; and they’re blaming for Islamic terror massacres on the NRA, angry white men, and bitter clingers.
    .
    In short, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy. The people have not yet realized that they do not consent to any of it. The progressives need to disarm the people before the people become aware of the elites’ sabotages and treasons.

  • Anzlyne.

    Could this type of lopsided treatment of Christians fuel the Trump popularity?
    My guess is that it isn’t hurting Trumps chances.

    After ALL; “America is not a Christian Nation..”
    Chia Obama said so. 🙂

  • In short, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy. The people have not yet realized that they do not consent to any of it.

    No, we live in a spectacularly corrupt oligarchy at the linchpin of which would be the legal profession. The Democratic Party is the electoral vehicle of the Bourbon classes of the Regime, for the most part (though some boardroom looters are Republicans). A general reformation would require breaking the legal profession on the wheel (and I mean the Bar Association, the professoriate, the appellate judiciary, the har-de-har public interest bar, the U.S. Attorney’s office, Big Law, and counsel for certain regulatory agencies – not the guy who handles your real estate closing or defends you on that drunk driving charge). Read Hernando de Soto on how doing business in Switzerland differed from doing business in Peru and then ask yourself why so many people with ready cash are willing to sluice it to characters like the Clintons and Rahm Emmanuel.

  • I never thought of it that way: former Christians and Jews shed their religion to embrace politics instead. And politics serves as their religion. Makes perfect sense. That explains the near ferocity with which many politicians do battle. Some think they are controlling history.

  • Sal.

    The former Christians and Jews that have adopted their new God still call themselves Christian and Jews. That’s the fun part!

    Call yourself as you see yourself…. the conscience of the narcissist. Who needs humility? That’s just a weakness for the new mercy workers.

  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “progressivism/(illiberal)liberalism is what you get when you strip the gospel out of the social gospel movement.”
    In France, Alain de Benoist and Charles Champetier have made the same point: “In most respects, it represents a secularization of ideas and perspectives borrowed from Christian metaphysics, which spread into secular life following a rejection of any transcendent dimension. Actually, one finds in Christianity the seeds of the great mutations that gave birth to the secular ideologies of the first post-revolutionary era. Individualism was already present in the notion of individual salvation and of an intimate and privileged relation between an individual and God that surpasses any relation on earth. Egalitarianism is rooted in the idea that redemption is equally available to all mankind, since all are endowed with an individual soul whose absolute value is shared by all humanity. Progressivism is born of the idea that history has an absolute beginning and a necessary end, and that it unfolds globally according to a divine plan. Finally, universalism is the natural expression of a religion that claims to manifest a revealed truth which, valid for all men, summons them to conversion. Modern political life itself is founded on secularized theological concepts.”

  • To me everything is politics. Politics has to do with the relationship between people and how these people view themselves and the world. If you believe in God you will believe that we should all follow God’s rules. If you don’t, you will be a secularist who believes an elite (replacement for God) should determine the rules. One of the major differences between those that believe in God and those who don’t is that is that God believers base their judgements on long established moral criteria while secularists constantly review their moral criteria to fit some new theory emerging from academia.

    Nowadays I think must folks lean secularist especially the clergy of the Catholic church and most particularly Pope Francis. The overall trend is the erosion of individual freedom and control by the state. The reason for this is that most people have become distanced from God and dependent on the nanny state which is a substitute for God. God is irrelevant in this situation.

    The main hope is that perhaps enough folks have become fed up with this (Obamaism?) loss of freedom and economic progress that they will elect someone like Trump or Cruz who is capable of fomenting a revolution.

    This debate is sure to continue. I am looking forward to what the Bear has to say.

  • “Michael Dowd

    To me everything is politics. ”

    I understand your point, religion and politics overlap, but that’s sort of like saying that the entirety of a human is chemistry. We can’t confuse the cake with the ingredients. There is a difference.

  • “To me everything is politics.”

    Only beause we live in an age of m(cr)ass (over)communication, increasing democracy (in the Aristotelean sebse) and commingling of the public & private spheres.

  • Michael Dowd, I disagree. Politics fundamentally deals with government. Yes, you can argue that even parish councils are government and therefore political, but most of the time they really aren’t (witness the lack of campaigning for them).

    When government is limited people spend little time with politics, and yet feel satisfied with that limited involvement – most of life being nonpolitical. When government becomes dominant people either avoid politics entirely (success requires too much of an investment) or become immersed in it. When government becomes oppressive politics is either abhorred or becomes literally everything. “The private life in Russia is dead ” – Pasha Antipov “Strelnikov”, Doctor Zhivago – aptly describes the Communist version of political oppression.

    No, in a healthy society most human interactions are outside politics.

  • TomD wrote, “Politics fundamentally deals with government.”
    Does no one read Carl Schmitt anymore?
    The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis,” insists Schmitt, “ transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.”

    “The political is the most intense and extreme antagonism,” Schmitt wrote. War is its most violent form and Schmitt, in effect, inverts Clausewitz’s famous dictum that “War is merely the continuation of policy by other means.” For Schmitt, politics is the continuation of war by other means.

    Scathing in his rejection of Liberal Democracy, he denies the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions; for Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one –represents the victory of one political faction over another and is merely the temporarily stabilised result of past conflicts.

    Internal order can only be imposed as the necessary means of pursuing external conflicts. For Schmitt, a world state is impossible, for” humanity has no enemy.” – It could not unite people, for there would be nothing to unite them against.

  • I don’t know anything about Scmitt. Is he a total secularist? It would seem his eternal cycles of war would eventually be subsumed into religion.
    We do of course have a meaning and purpose- Love. And see more than the secular cause and effect.

  • Anzlyne wrote, “I don’t know anything about Schmitt. Is he a total secularist?”
    Quite the reverse. He was a Catholic and a Throne and Altar Conservative, who hated the French Revolution, the Rights of Man and parliamentary democracy.
    He quoted with approval the English writer Bagehot, who declared that “The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, ‘Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?’ the inquiry comes out thus—’Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?’”
    Hence his famous dictum, “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.” The sovereign is a definite agency capable of making a decision, not a legitimating category (the “people”) or a purely formal definition (plenitude off power, etc.). Sovereignty is outside the law, since the actions of the sovereign in the state of exception cannot be bound by laws since laws presuppose a normal situation. To claim that this is anti-legal is to ignore the fact that all laws have an outside, that they exist because of a substantiated claim (endorsed by the facts) on the part of some agency to be the dominant source of binding rules within a territory. The sovereign determines the possibility of the ‘rule of law’ by deciding on the exception: ‘For a legal order to make sense, a normal situation must exist, and he is sovereign who definitely decides whether this normal situation actually exists.’”

  • It will be interesting to see how the good professor is treated by his increasingly rabid colleagues – and more importantly – the feral students of Yale.

    Academics and their charges are the most intolerant and aggressive zealots since the Cromwell used Puritanism to purge their intellectual opponents.

  • I just meant that
    He doesn’t seem to allow for an intervention of Grace… only speaking in tactical dialectical human terms – which points out how difficult it is even for him to be a “sovereign” individual. free of cultural influence

They Serve Sauron and have Forgotten Their Own Names

Monday, February 2, AD 2015

Obama as FDR

 

John C. Wright, Science Fiction author and convert from atheism to Catholicism, is on fire:

 

Something rotten, very rotten has happened to the Left just in my lifetime.

They used to be champions of free speech; and now they are its most vehement opponents.

They use to be able to give some sort of argument or logical reason for their position, even if an incorrect argument; now they have no argument, none of them, aside from wild and insincere accusations delivered in a mechanical fashion without any hope of being believed, phony as a three-dollar bill.

They used to be firmly on the side of the workingman; now they hate the workingman as a white racist oppressor.

They used to be in favor of free love and the sexual liberation; now they object to rocket scientists wearing shirts with cartoon women printed on them, they object to science fiction magazines showing a scantily clad warrior princess slaying a monster, and they call all sex rape, and demand strict segregation of women and men. On the same day as these protests, they appear in front of the Pope, writhing on the ground naked with crosses and crucifixes inserted into their vaginas. So the Puritan rules apply arbitrarily, without sense or order, to anyone or no one.

They used to be in favor of Blacks and other minorities; now their disgust for all the impoverished and dispossessed is plain to see. All they want is to keep the Blacks on the plantation, addicted to welfare, addicted to crack, their children aborted, their parents unwed.

They used to be in favor of the Jews, and other minorities; now they kneel to Islamic Jihad at every opportunity, vowing that those who slander the prophet of Islam will no be in the future, and ergo the Left now curse the Jews, and pray daily for the destruction of Israel, and a new Holocaust in the warhead of a Muslim nuke.

What? You say that his the not what the Left says? That they say they are creatures of purity, goodness, and sweetness, who live only to help others out of the depth of their hearts and the depth of your wallet? No, that was the old Left, back when the Left still had some scraps of sanity and intelligence.

They serve Sauron and have forgotten their own names.

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14 Responses to They Serve Sauron and have Forgotten Their Own Names

  • He makes such very good points. “They make common cause with Jihadists.”
    ” Every time some Leftist says “But not all Muslims are terrorists” he is accusing you, Christian man or woman…”

  • I should love to know when the Left were the “champions of free speech” or of any other “bourgeois” freedom.

    Thus, we had Alain Badiou, who for so long held the chair of philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure: “If you say A – equality, human rights and freedoms – you should not shirk from its consequences and gather the courage to say B – the terror needed to really defend and assert the A.”

    For him and most of the Hard Left, it has always been axiomatic that “Materialist dialectics assumes, without particular joy, that, till now, no political subject was able to arrive at the eternity of the truth it was deploying without moments of terror. Since, as Saint-Just asked: ‘What do those who want neither Virtue nor Terror want?’ His answer is well-known: they want corruption – another name for the subject’s defeat.” (Logiques des mondes, Paris: Seuil 2006)

    That other grand old man of the Left, Eric Hazan also used to quote Saint-Just: “That which produces the general good is always terrible,” adding, “These words should not be interpreted as a warning against the temptation to impose violently the general good onto a society, but, on the contrary, as a bitter truth to be fully endorsed.”

  • Roosevelt’s New Deal, for all its disastrous long term consequences, was originally a good hearted attempt to enlist government to improve the lot of the American people.

    A complaint here: you’re conflating injuries inflicted by the New Deal with injuries inflicted by congeries of officials who came of age or had their professional debut during the years running from 1933 to 1947. There was an incipient disaster in the National Industrial Recovery Act, but the courts strangled that one in the crib. There was another nexus of injuries inflicted by federal labor law which had some similar sources: efforts to enforce a high minimum wage and promotion of Gompers style business-unionism. I think these did have real-time effects. The manipulation of the farm sector also had real-time effects (though most of the trouble was manifest downstream).

    Ronald Reagan supposedly one said that his task was not the repeal of the New Deal, but of the Great Society.

    1. Detroit is a disaster, but that does not have much to do with the New Deal per se, but with the confluence of three or four different streams of poison, only one of which had a New Deal origin.

    2.The catastrophic decline of public order in American inner cities after 1958 was a disaster, but that’s the loopiness of the social work industry influencing the legal profession. That’s not a New Deal disaster. To a degree, it was an Earl Warren disaster later compounded by an odd alignment of black particularists and suburban voters.

    3. Another mess was collective bargaining for public employees, something no less a personage than Fiorello LaGuardia regarded with reservation and skepticism. You have Gaylord Nelson, Robert Wagner II, and John Kennedy to blame for that, among others.

    4. Another mess has been the chronic incapacity of the political class to put Social Security on an actuarially sound footing. The main perpetrator here was Tip O’Neill, who showed Democratic officialdom how to win votes by rousing the geezer rabble. O’Neill was a junior state legislator during the New Deal.

    5. And, of course, you have several sets of injuries done to primary and secondary schooling (some of which were manifest already in the 1930s, some of which appeared ca. 1955, and some of which appeared after 1965. Discrete policy measures promoting many of these were Johnson Administration initiatives, not New Deal era. The New Deal era problems were circumstantial, having to do with the effect on secondary schools of large numbers of youths the labor market could not absorb and with the early influence of child-centered education.

    6. And then there is the mess that is higher education. You have the GI Bills and the Johnson era higher education subsidies to thank for much of that.

    7. And, of course, what civil rights law had decayed into, for which courts and administrative agency rulings are most to blame. There was little of it during the New Deal. That also derives from Johnson Administration initiatives, though some of the most acutely awful court decisions were during the Nixon Administration.

  • I forgot rent control. That actually was a New Deal-era notion, but it’s ill effects were pretty confined to New York City. Yes, public housing as well…

  • I agree with MPS’s comment.

  • For what happens to tyrants who use terror to impose what is “good” for us all, google the death of Robespierre – his Reign of Terror came back to bite him. Curiously he tried also to impose a new state religion on France after the extirpation of Catholicism. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • No surprise the left and Islam would be aligned. Both complain about persecution when out of power; and then carry it out with a vengeance once in power.

  • I agree with MPS’s comment.

    I’m pleased someone can make sense of it.

  • I hope everyone is starting to figure out that left and right are the wrong labels. Who has been manipulating the left for the past 80 years through Hollywood, the press, and liberal fronts. Who has control of the right at this point it time and is promoting the “right” to support war in the middle east. What you are seeing is the shadows of puppets on the cave wall, to borrow Plato’s allegory. There is more to the story. Get out of the cave and shake these labels that you are clinging to.

  • “Get out of the cave and shake these labels that you are clinging to.”
    I personally blame the Elvis impersonating cattle mutilators who are in a secret alliance with the Trilateralist gnomes of Zurich.

  • I personally blame the Elvis impersonating cattle mutilators who are in a secret alliance with the Trilateralist gnomes of Zurich.

    Soon to be subject to a 10,000 word treatment by Ron Unz, just as soon as he finishes with his latest installment about the Jewish cabal at Harvard.

  • Personally, I think you give the New Dealers too much credit.

  • Over generosity with opponents has ever been a weakness for me. 🙂

To Hate Liberally

Friday, December 19, AD 2014

 

 

 

Spengler (David P. Goldman) takes a look at the blind fury that seems to be the distinguishing characteristic of the Forces of Tolerance these days:

 

They really, really hate us. George Orwell wrote a morning “Two Minutes Hate” session into the daily life of his dystopia in 1984. One blogger notes that 2,000 of Rachel Maddow’s facebook fans wished that Ted Cruz would fall into an open elevator shaft. What would he have made of the hyperventilating hatred that liberals display against conservatives? Over at National Review, Katherine Timpf reports on a hate manifesto published by the chair of University of Michigan’s Department of Communications. Republicans “crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.” wrote Prof. Susan Douglas. “So now we hate them back,” she explains. “And with good reason.”

In fact, they have their reasons to hate us. They are being silly. We know they are being silly, and they know we know, and they can’t stand it. It isn’t quite how we repudiate the idea that the opposing party has any legitimacy at all. But we can’t stop giggling.

“Reductio ad absurdum” does not begin to characterize the utter silliness of liberals, whose governing dogma holds that everyone has a right to invent their own identity. God is dead and everything is permitted, Zarathustra warned; he should have added that everything is silly. When we abhor tradition, we become ridiculous, because we lack the qualifications to replace what generation upon generation of our ancestors built on a belief in revelation and centuries of trial and error. Conservatives know better. G.K. Chesterton said it well: “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”

The antics of the “small and arrogant oligarchy” that controls the temples of liberal orthodoxy have turned into comic material that Monty Python couldn’t have dreamed up a generation ago. There are now dozens of prospective genders, at least according to the gender studies departments at elite universities. What do the feminists of Wellesley College do, for example, when its women become men? The problem is that no-one quite knows what they have become, as a recent New York Times Magazine feature complained:

Some two dozen other matriculating students at Wellesley don’t identify as women. Of those, a half-dozen or so were trans men, people born female who identified as men, some of whom had begun taking testosterone to change their bodies. The rest said they were transgender or genderqueer, rejecting the idea of gender entirely or identifying somewhere between female and male; many, like Timothy, called themselves transmasculine.

Use the wrong terminology and you’re burned for a bigot. There used to be jokes such as: “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, and it’s not funny.” You can’t tell that sort of joke about  Wellesley because the LGBTs never will agree on the lightbulb’s gender. There are rare cases of babies born with ambiguous genitalia, to be sure. There also are a few individuals obsessed from early childhood with the idea that they were born in the wrong body. They have difficult lives and deserve sympathy (but not public mandates for sex-change operations). Gender ambiguity in its morphological infinitude as a field of personal self-development, though, has become the laboratory for cutting-edge liberal thinking, the ultimate expression of self-invention. LGTB Studies (or “Queer Studies”) departments have or soon will be established at most of America’s top universities, classifying, advocating and defending an ever-expanding number of newly-categorized gender identities.

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8 Responses to To Hate Liberally

  • But why do the taxpayers have to bear the expense of this very personal, very unnecessary, rather queer choice?

  • Mary, I think they hate you for that pun. 😉

  • Nate Winchester: “Mary, I think they hate you for that pun. ;)”
    .
    What pun? The question remains. Why should the taxpayer pay for a sex change? I cannot go on vacation because somebody needs a sex change and my taxes must increase?
    .
    Johnathan Gruber said that American taxpayers are too stupid to know what is good for them and must have what is chosen for them (at taxpayer costs) imposed on them. Taxation without representation.
    .
    A transgendered individual was exorcised and the priest asked the devil his name and the devil responded “women changer”. “We, the people” have to pay for the devil?
    .
    and while I am ranting: If a gay couple goes to a gay bakery and is refused service, is it still sexual discrimination?
    I know of a situation where the couple came from another state to a doctor because of herpes. The doctor cared for them but the receptionist refused to take their money or handle the payment they paid. Discrimination or self-preservation?
    And then there are the signs of drug use or HIV/aids or unsanitary hygiene, gay or straight, must the proprietor of a business forfeit self-preservation to accommodate such vague and unequal Justice? Criminalizing the exchange of informed consent is not the business of government.
    .
    Thanks for listening

  • Liberalism is politicized envy. Wrath is another of the seven deadly sins. Think about it for 15 seconds and you will realize that leftists only have seven commnadments which are the seven deadly sins.

  • Liberals like to think of themselves as “unique” and “cutting-edge”. Except for the fact they embrace a tired, old socialist philosophy penned 165 years which has been proven time & again to be an utter failure – LOL! And then we have the “fashionable” leftists who march in mental lock-step with each other because of their collective inability to think …. how “unique” is that?

  • Perhaps, as some say, liberalism is a mental disorder. Beyond “rare cases of babies born with ambiguous genitalia”, men self-identifying as women and women self-identifying as men is madness. What if I self-identify as Napoleon?

  • A Cloney: “Liberals like to think of themselves as “unique” and “cutting-edge”. Except for the fact they embrace a tired, old socialist philosophy penned 165 years which has been proven time & again to be an utter failure – LOL! And then we have the “fashionable” leftists who march in mental lock-step with each other because of their collective inability to think …. how “unique” is that?”
    .
    Atheism, abortion, human sacrifice, sodomy, self abuse and tyranny have been around as long as man has survived on the earth. These barbaric evils were prohibited by the community as a means of self-preservation and survival. What the Supreme Court has done in permitting atheism, legalizing human sacrifice and self-abuse is to impose a real burden and the cost of the practice of these vices, taxation without representation, on real freedom and the free exercise of religion, conscience and the proper ownership of tax money. Legalizing these evils as a freedom, rather than as a vice, for an individual, makes the innocent persons responsible and liable for the crimes against truth and the general welfare, the common good. The Supreme Court forgot the virtue of equal Justice; the Justice that they must apply to all citizens and for all citizens without prejudice. The questions the Court must ask are: “Is atheism good for the human person? “ “Is human sacrifice good for the human person?” “Is sodomy good for the human person?”
    .
    Our Founding Fathers outlawed atheism with the First Amendment “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” Our Founding Fathers outlawed human sacrifice in drawing the Constitution for the purpose “of securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The Supreme Court has ignored these founding principles our Founding Fathers. Has the Supreme Court forgotten that their very existence is constituted by our Founding Fathers and predicated on their founding principles? The Supreme Court is established by our Founding Fathers to deliver equal Justice to all citizens and sovereign persons, the sovereign person of Jesus Christ, the sovereign person of the newly begotten, innocent, human person in the womb, the standard of the Justice the Court is to deliver, the innocence the Court must uphold to deliver Truth and Justice, their reason for being.
    If the Supreme Court goes the way of evil into the darkness will there still be a Constitution? …an American nation of the United States? Atheism, abortion and sodomy are evils outlawed by our Founding Principles. Will the Court uphold our Founding Principles or will the Court establish a new nation conceived without life, without liberty, without human conscience, without human freedom from tyranny, and with the imposition of evil, and with the extortion of the right to self preservation and property?
    .
    Johnathan Gruber said that the American people are too stupid to know what is good for them. Here is a man who was paid to inscribe the evils of atheism, abortion and sodomy into our Founding Principles to cause the citizens to forfeit their tax dollars to pay for them.
    .
    If anyone does not adhere to our Founding Principles, they are FREE to leave. These individuals are guaranteed the freedom to leave.

  • The United States of America is the political culmination of thousands of years of human progress led by the light of the Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature and our relationship to the Divine source of Justice and Truth. Obama came along, wanted to “radically transform” the country, and we voted him in ….twice. We twice demonstrated that at least a numerical majority of us were “stupid” enough to vote for someone with a statist totalitarian agenda and allow him to nearly wreck the country.

38 Responses to Buckley Was So Right

  • People who believe that America is a bigger threat to world peace than ISIS should live under the dhimmitude and decapitation that ISIS imposes on non-Muslims. But I err in my statement. Decapitation would prevent their living.

  • Amen Paul, AMEN.

  • A wag once wrote that Buckley’s statement may no longer be true, since so many names in Boston now begin with al-

  • An old United Negro College Fund (TV ad) slogan applies: “A young mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

  • ISIS is a bit player the US set up to help fight a proxy against Assad, and give us reason to come in. Like Saddam, ISIS will be eliminated once they have served their purpose. All to keep oil traded in US Dollars and the USD as world reserve currency because otherwise, our currency = 0, and the dollar would sink faster than the Titanic. So yes, to enforce the fictional value of the dollar, the US is likely the greatest threat to world peace. Completely immoral, but utterly rational.

  • “ISIS is a bit player the US set up to help fight a proxy against Assad, and give us reason to come in.”

    Rubbish. Completely untrue.

    “All to keep oil traded in US Dollars and the USD as world reserve currency because otherwise, our currency = 0, and the dollar would sink faster than the Titanic. So yes, to enforce the fictional value of the dollar, the US is likely the greatest threat to world peace. Completely immoral, but utterly rational.”

    Where do you get this delusional stuff from c matt? Prison Planet?

    For those actually interested in learning about the real origin of ISIS:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/origin-isis_804002.html?page=1

  • For these kids and their teachers and parents, the highest form of patriotism is self-loathing, apparently. Of course, they don’t really loathe themselves; it’s all those other white people.

    I have also seen it explained as a desperate attempt at psychological control of the environment: if you claim ownership of the fault , then you feel yourself to be in control.

  • Yes, this is all a pretext for that invasion of a country that produces a whopping 0.5% of the world’s oil supply.

    You know, considering the emphasis that a lot of the Ron Paul-ites place on oil as a supposed motivating factor in American foreign policy, it’s amazing that we have not invaded Canada or Mexico, or any other country that has orders of magnitude more oil than any other country that we have in fact intervened militarily. I mean, if you really want to think outside the box as someone suspicious of American foreign policy and the continuing encroachment of the federal government, I suggest you start arming the citizenry of North Dakota.

  • Regarding sources of US oil imports, please see:

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm

    Hopefully I have interpreted the figures in the table at the web site of the US Energy Information Administration correctly. Please correct me if I err. The legend says that the figures are in monthly thousand barrel increments.

    OPEC typically supplies around 100,000 thousand barrels of oil per month to the US (sometimes more, sometimes less).

    Canada typically supplies a little less than 100,000 thousand barrels of oil per month to the US, but sometimes a little more.

    Total non-OPEC supply of oil to the US substantively exceeds that of OPEC supplied oil. I would estimate that maybe a little less than two thirds (but sometimes more) of all our oil imports come from non-OPEC sources.

    Please, folks, get the facts. When it comes to energy, most people (not a reference to Paul Zummo above) are completely ignorant and should not speak on the topic. That won’t stop them, however.

  • I would like to add that even though the US receives 8000 to 15,000 thousand barrels of oil imports per month from Iraq compared to receiving 100,000 thousand barrels per month from Canada, why is it a bad thing that a US-led invasion of Iraq may have helped prevent full-scale destabilization of oil supply to Europe and elsewhere? Even though I do not think history reflects such was US motivation for the invasion, nevertheless, why is stabilizing oil supply for Europe and elsewhere objectionable? No transportation oil – no coal to coal fired power plants – no electricity. I will go back to a theme I have harped on before: if you do not want nuclear (which can be used to provide electricity and supply liquid hydrocarbon fuel from native coal via the Fischer-Tropsch process), then you are stuck with importing your oil when your native oil supply cannot meet demand. It’s that simple.

  • cmatt- Your theory puts far too much competence in those who have demonstrated none. Obama can’t run a simple website let alone play master puppeteer over foreign policy matters in the Islamic world.

    I’m going to have to go with Occam’s razor on this one and the Weekly Standard.

  • You are missing the point of the argument – it has nothing, zero, zilch, rien, nada to do with importing oil to the US. It has everything to do with allowing the sale of oil to only be denominated in US Currency, regardless of to whom it is sold (thus, the more sold to others, the better). It is not about the supply stability – it is about how it gets paid for. Imagine if Parker Brothers could force everyone to pay for their oil (or phone service, electricity or whatever commodity is in high demand) only using their Monopoly money, regardless of who is selling it or buying it. They don’t want the oil – they want the oil to be bought and sold with Monopoly money only, so there is a demand for Monopoly money, and they control the supply of Monopoly money. Of course, that only works for Parker Bros (and the US) so long as you can force the sellers of the commodity (or enough of them) to only use Monopoly Money. Step out of line, and the Parker Bros will come down hard on you. How else do you explain what otherwise looks like erratic mid-east policy? The Saudis get a pass, but Assad needs to be toppled; one day Saddam is our friend, then he needs to go. The only rational (as in self-interested) explanation is that these guys tried stepping off the USD reservation, and got whacked for it – regardless of their contribution to world oil production, they need to be made examples for others. You seriously think the kleptocracies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait don’ get the message?

    Obama couldn’t run a lemonade stand, understood. But then who seriously thinks he’s in charge (or for that matter, any politician)? They are just the front men. Their backers are the ones in charge.

  • To be fair, one of the students’ comments could be seen as simply recognizing the greater global reach of American power, and ISIS as a regional threat. Not necessarily saying US is evil, but simply it’s greater global reach than ISIS give’s the US more potential for conflict on a world-wide level. I can’t say that is completely unreasonable. He was the cleanest-cut looking student of the bunch.

  • The Weekly Standard article does not contradict that the US used ISIS – or more precisely, the anti-Assad rebels that became ISIS, as long as it suited US anti-Assad purposes. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia. Much like Osama was used to sucker the USSR in to Afghanistan, we support whomever serves our purposes at the moment, and pull the plug when it no longer suits us. I am not saying the US intended ISIS to become what it is, but we helped stoke the ISIS fire, and now that it is getting a bit out of control, we have to send the fire brigades to put it out. In that sense (the US constantly meddling in the internal foreign affairs of others), an argument certainly can be made that the US does not foster world peace. Although the US usually ends up being the fireman, in many cases it is also the arsonist.

  • There was another poll that ask people around the world who is the biggest threat to peace and the USA was a big winner that poll. When other countries see that we have troops in about 100 countries and they see how many wars we have been in… If we would stop putting our nose in other countries’ business, we would not have the reputation.
    Don’t give the excuse that we are the only superpower in the world and it is our responsibility to intervene. It doesn’t say that anywhere in the constitution. No, In Geo. Washington ‘s farewell speech, he said not to get involved in foreign entanglements.

  • Yeah, clearly ISIS it’s on the verge of being eradicated. http://ace.mu.nu/archives/352371.php

    But hey, those nine airstrikes show that Assad is totally done for.

  • “The Weekly Standard article does not contradict that the US used ISIS”

    What you said was that we had created ISIS. Assad is a butcher and in a just world would be deposed. Our problem is that the groups opposing him, at least the powerful ones, are no improvement.

    “Much like Osama was used to sucker the USSR in to Afghanistan”

    We never supported bin Laden and his group came to Afghanistan long after the Soviets invaded in 1979.

    “but we helped stoke the ISIS fire,”

    Not at all. The Syrian Civil War is a completely Arab created situation. It is a fantasy to think that the Middle East would not be in turmoil but for the US.

  • “No, In Geo. Washington ‘s farewell speech, he said not to get involved in foreign entanglements.”

    We won our independence largely by a foreign alliance with France. In an age of instantaneous communication and travel in hours across the Pacific and Atlantic, the idea that the isolationism recommended by George Washington, which was sound policy for a weak republic of three million people, could ever be successfully adopted today is complete madness. He also made his remarks in the context of the US picking sides in the world struggle between Revolutionary France and Great Britain, something forgotten by the latter day isolationists who attempt to turn a policy for Washington’s day into an eternal policy for the United States.

  • “If we would stop putting our nose in other countries’ business, we would not have the reputation.”

    US interventions in the last century have led to more democracy and more peace around the globe than the world has ever known. The cause of world peace has never had a better instrument than the armed forces of the United States.

  • I didn’t say created – I said “set-up”. That could be interpreted as created, but I meant it as like propping them up, supplying them, not necessarily creating them.

  • “as like propping them up, supplying them”

    We didn’t do that either.

  • US intervention has led to 1000’s upon 1000’s of deaths of American soldiers and civilians. Who says the democracy is best? Who are we to implement our beliefs on others? This great democracy has over 10,000 deaths by hand guns every year. That is a disgrace. We can’t handle our own problems, yet we think that we can handle other countries’ problems.
    I am for helping other countries but not with our young people. We can give them financial aids, arms, etc., but human life. We can replace money, but we can’t replace lives.

  • I’m not talking about isolationism. I talking about non intervention. They are two different things.

  • Secondly, Washington probably saw what foreign entanglements brought with it.

  • “Who says the democracy is best?”

    Me for one.

    “great democracy has over 10,000 deaths by hand guns every year.”

    Nonsequitur.

    “We can’t handle our own problems, yet we think that we can handle other countries’ problems.”

    The argument that isolationism is a sound policy because we haven’t produced utopia here is absurd.

  • “I’m not talking about isolationism. I talking about non intervention. They are two different things.”

    A distinction without a difference. Non-interventionism as preached by Ron Paul (R.Pluto)(Retired) is isolationism pure and simple.

  • “Secondly, Washington probably saw what foreign entanglements brought with it.”

    Independence? Washington was an enthusiastic devotee of the French alliance during the Revolution and his skillful relations with French officers paved the way for victory at Yorktown, attributable largely to the French army and the French fleet.

  • According to the constitution, the military is there to protect our national security. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, ISIS,taliban,etc. are no threat to our national security. None of those countries have or had the ability to invade our country. ISIS and the taliban are not countries.
    The Military should be on the borders to protect our country, where ISIS, the Taliban, etc. can get across.

  • “Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, ISIS,taliban,etc. are no threat to our national security.”

    The military exists to fight wars determined by the government. There is nothing in the Constitution about national security. One of our earliest conflicts as a nation were the two wars against the Barbary states in North Africa. The idea of course that we can ignore fires around the globe and hunker down safe and secure in Fortress America is lunacy. We tried that before in the thirties and the World had its greatest war in history.

  • The French intervened. We fought the English with the help of the French on our soil.Secondly, It wasn’t the USA during that war. It wasn’t the United states of American in 1787.

  • Forgotten and often ignored is the contribution of Spain to the American cause for independence.

    As noted, Washington advised against getting pulled into the bizarre alliances that European states frequently formed. It isn’t 1793 anymore.

    Some “trad” Catholics frequently bemoan the loss of Catholic monarchs in Europe, notably the Habsburgs and their Empire, as if that was an idyllic age. The Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs, Poles and Ukrainians begged to differ.

  • “The French intervened.”

    Pursuant to an alliance that we negotiated with them through our agents in France.

    “We fought the English with the help of the French on our soil.”

    As we have fought for liberty, and our national interests, on the soils of other peoples.

    “Secondly, It wasn’t the USA during that war.”

    The United States of America has existed since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress.

  • c matt- I interpreted you to mean the US created ISIS as well. I’m still not convinced we have as much ability to manipulate the situation as you ascribe but that’s a difference of degree.

    It also appears that you bought into the lie that we are responsible for the carnage when things don’t work to our favor. As I’ve said before, it’s certainly possible for prudent decisions today to require further prudent containment from fallout tomorrow.

    This false premise that anything negative that befalls us is our fault is not sound moral reasoning and shifts proper culpability from the primary actors.

  • IMO America is the world’s best hope for peace. I know there are corrupt powerful people in government and in business, but America is still the best chance the world has, and, would be better if we would repent and reform and require the same of our leaders.

  • Donald, you better brush on your history. During the Revolution, colonists considered there colony there country.

  • It was one nation Joe, as indicated by the fact that we had one treaty with the Brits and not thirteen. We had a government, a flag and an army and a navy. We were a nation during the Revolution, and if we had not been we would have lost the war.

    I appreciate your admonishing me to brush up on my history. Thank you. That starts my day off on a humorous note.

  • “Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, ISIS,taliban,etc. are no threat to our national security. None of those countries have or had the ability to invade our country. ISIS and the taliban are not countries.”
    This is stunningly ignorant, considering that teams of terrorists DID invade our country and kill more many Americans than Pearl Harbor did, and did so with abilities given in part by the Taliban. Stunningly ignorant.
    Also, Korea and Vietnam were proxy wars that were really fought against superpowers which DID have he ability to cause massive damage to our country (Vietnam was unusual in that the geopolitical situation shifted just as the American involvement was ramping up, which largely negated the need for the war. Vietnam would not be an evil memory for Americans today if the Sino-Soviet split had not happened and if a better and less wasteful strategy and tactics had been adopted).

    Frankly I don’t care about the polls that show so many around the globe think that the U.S. is a threat to world peace. Before its collapse the USSR was very good at spreading that idea around, and Islamic supremacist have adopted the idea as their own. If the U.S. ‘”minded it’s own business” the people who think so would still say we caused the unrest by not intervening.
    Kurt Vonnegut was right: the reason why most people hate Americans is because most people hate most people.

    Having written all this, I do have to side with one criticism here. The anti-Assad policy in Syria has been based on a flawed premise: that there were enough pro-democracy elements in the rebel ranks to ensure the rise of a post-Baathist democracy in Syria. The Obama policy has been equivalent to throwing fertilizer into a field of weeds and thorns with the hope that a few flowers will blossom. We did indirectly seed the growth of ISIL in Syria.

Dying Nuns, Liberalism, and Time Magazine

Tuesday, September 2, AD 2014

Soon to be Extinct Nun

Time magazine, yes it is still being published, serves one useful function.  It normally gives insight into how doctrinaire liberals view the world.  It is often unintentionally hilarious as the writers demonstrate a cluelessness about the subject that they are writing about, which would rise to the level of Swiftian if it were intentional, instead of being the product of a mentality that cannot rise above the purely parochial mindset of the left that dominates most of those whose scribblings are published by Time.  Case in point:  Jo Piazza and her take on the coming extinction of liberal nuns:

Why would a generation of young women raised to believe that they can be anything join an institution that tells them there is something they absolutely cannot be, that there is a certain level they will never reach? Many of the women who are nuns today joined the vocation because it was a way to become highly educated, travel the world and dedicate themselves to a higher good without being beholden to a husband or children.

Young women today can do that with a passport and a Kickstarter account.

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12 Responses to Dying Nuns, Liberalism, and Time Magazine

  • No woman, female human, has ever claimed that Jesus Christ has called her to Holy Orders. Even the New York Times cannot testify to a woman being called to Holy Orders unless they own that person, which is unconstitutional.
    .
    It is patently nonsense for a female to hold up the bread and say: “THIS IS MY BODY”, the words of Consecration, because it is not. The bread is confected into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, true God and true man by the will of God, the Father, God, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the actions of the Holy Spirit, through the Catholic Church by a man ordained through the Catholic Church to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. ORDERS, ORDERS are indeed orders, even when holy, are not being observed by these heretical persons. Unless the woman claims to be a man, a finite man, the woman bears false testimony in a court of law and commits blasphemy. Blasphemy against the Son of God, Jesus Christ is perjury in a court of law and heresy in the Catholic Church.
    .
    Too many individuals refuse to accept the fact that a new human being comes into existence as science has proved through DNA, time and time again, (perhaps not the New York Time(s), pun intended), that the frozen embryos are persons who are cheated of a warm and nourishing womb in a woman body through “in vitro fertilization” test tubes, imprisoned in liquid nitrogen, and at the mercy of cold, merciless individuals. The three choices the parents of an in vitro fertilized human child are given are: 1. Freeze the living child for future implantation. 2. Destroy the child. (kill the child) 3. Put the frozen child up for adoption.
    .
    When these frozen children are adopted and allowed to grow in a warm and nurturing woman’s womb these living, human children are called Snowflake Babies, several of whom have testified and bear testimony to being human beings from the very first moment of existence. The Snowflake Babies are scientific proof that a sovereign person exists from the very first cell of a fertilized human egg.
    .
    This comment must end here. But unfortunately, the women running around like chickens with their heads cut off, with nothing but political correctness, are an embarrassment to themselves, other women and the Catholic Church.
    .
    Has anyone any suggestion that would enable these misguided, pitiable creatures to ascertain for themselves the truth? The whole world is watching this circus act of idiocy and using these laughable creatures as items for their stories. Or maybe this is the beginning of hell?

  • Pingback: Anti-Christian Hate Crime by Muslims - BigPulpit.com
  • Disobedience is not a virtue.
    Eve’s disobedience opened the beginnings of hell on earth.

    The woman of obedience brought forth the dawn of salvation. If wayward nuns could adopt Mary the Blessed Virgin as model, then the lives of nuns would be forever fruitful and fulfilling.

    If Jesus wanted women to hold “more power and leadership roles,” then Jesus would of elevated His Mother in those terms. Instead He gives us His mother as a model of humility and obedience.
    Nuns who find this out of date need to review their vocation…possibly give it up and join the ranks of the disoriented liberal (c)atholic church.

  • No one has more power or more leadership than a mother, whether she be a mother physically or a mother spiritually. These liberal nit wits are incapable of comprehending that by her fiat, the Blessed Virgin Mary through submission contained within her womb more Power than any mortal man could ever possess. The three worst words in the English language are liberal progressive Democrat followed closely by feminist and environmentalist.

  • The author’s “Swiftian cluelessness” was indeed hilariously highlighted in another phrase from the original Time article:
    “Nuns are dying out because their population is aging and young women are not joining their ranks in the numbers they once did.”
    Umm, yah, righhhht…d’ya think?
    In an age of heightened nihilism and lack of purposefulness in life, a young woman should join THESE unconsciously self-parodying nit-wits? Havent you answered your own inquiry, Ms Piazza?

  • Nuns For Choice – how utterly pathetic these women are. It’s a good thing that these liberal leftist orders are dying out. They don’t belong in the classroom poisoning young minds. “Save the Baby Whales”. No, “Save the Baby Humans”, Sister. Ms Piazza should have done more research; she would have found that orders that are traditional have vocations.

  • CAM: “Nuns For Choice”
    .
    In vitro fertilization and implantation (test tube babies) and DNA are scientific proof that a new human being comes into existence and life with the first individual cell. The newly begotten human being worships God by being a human being. Peter Singer of Princeton likes to define the new person by citing self awareness and conciousness.
    .
    One cannot drive a car without a car. One can imagine or think about driving a car without actually owning a car to drive. The soul of the person imagines having a brain to think about thinking and the brain comes into being. In the stillness of the womb the baby grows a brain. The thinking person comes into being.
    .
    These people are cheerleaders for Satan, the devil’s spawn. Halloween is coming.

  • Actually the statististics show that the fall in the numbers of nuns/religious sisters, which had continued at a steady pace from 1970 to 2005, has slowed remarkably in the past 10 years and it appears it will soon turn around and the numbers will start growing again. Tracing the same path as the numbers of priests, and, more recently, religious brothers/monks.

  • Ronk, Thanks. Yes… the Nashville Dominicans is one order that has had a large increase in vocations. I doubt Ms. Piazza would have used the statistics because it doesn’t fit her agneda.

  • Ronk, you are certainly right about (as CAM observes) reasonably traditional Novus Ordo Sisters’ orders recovering in terms of numbers, but here on the VL (Very Left, as in Vladimir Lenin) Coast, I work closely with two women’s religious orders, one of which has participated in the infamous “Nuns on the Bus” protest tour group, for example, as well as prominent openly documented activism in the most explicitly and publicly pro-choice aspects of the LCWR: and they couldnt buy a novice if you paid them (Maybe I should suggest that to them…Naw!). One of the orders hasnt had a novice in about 4 years, and their median age must be 65…or more.. So, by their fruits ye shall know them.

  • Alas. No light on the Piazza.

  • Jo Piazza’s garbage is typical of Time Magazine, a liberal victim’s rag. I can’t believe it didn’t go financially bankrupt decades ago. Miss Piazza doesn’t address the legitimate reasons for Vatican concerns. These include fidelity to Catholic teaching, arrogance and contempt towards authority to which they professed vows, obsession with “women’s ordination,” the compulsion of many nuns to revel in their delusional “victim” status ad nauseum. Miss Piazza reminds me of those radicals who came of age in the 1960s (Hillary Clinton, and her ilk) who never grew up and can’t stop their adolescent rebellion again the relentless oppressors who are everywhere. Like Time Magazine, they never wanted to grow up and become adults, and will die as miserable ranting and raving rebels because that’s all they know and are capable of doing.

End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

Monday, September 1, AD 2014

It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day.  The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer.  Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.

During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution.  Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’.  The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced.  I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed.  Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States.  The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.

My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment.  These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship.  The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II.  From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.

End of Summer Tito Edwards Simon Schama Citizens 500x625Happy Labor Day!

 

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36 Responses to End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

  • The best histories of the French Revolution probably remains those of two Catholic historians, Hilaire Belloc and Lord Acton.
    Belloc brings out the central rôle of Carnot, the War Minister and effective head of the Committee of Public Safety and gives full credit to the “generation of genius,” Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney commanding the army of Sambre et Meuse, Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr on the Rhine and, above all, Bonaparte and Masséna in the Appenine campaign.
    Acton rightly divined the underlying political motive. “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    The love of equality, the hatred of nobility and the tolerance of despotism naturally go together, for, If the central power is weak, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress The Empire was the consummation of the Revolution, not its reversal and Napoléon’s armies gave a code of laws and the principle of equal citizenship to a continent.

  • Thanks Michael!

    Those recommendations are going on my Reading List for next Summer, awesome!

  • Simon Schama’s ‘Citizens’ was published for the bicentenary of the French Revolution. It is regarded as the best work on the subject in the 20th century. The French hated it, calling it ‘Thatcherite history’. Its main thesis, that the violence of the Revolution was inherent, particularly upset them.

    In particular, Schama makes the point that pre-Revolutionary France was not an ossified feudal society but one that was obsessed with modernity. He also stresses that when the revolutionaries destroyed the Church they destroyed the social welfare system with drastic results in the 1790s.

    People tend to mythologize their revolutions. Englishmen did so regarding 1688; Americans still do over theirs (even though many of the mythologizers are well-educated) and the French are no exception.

  • Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.

  • I find a 948 page book to be daunting.

    I am eagerly awaiting the shortest book in history: subject what Obama did right.

  • I want to clarify that the criticism of Simon Schama’s book, Citizen, is my own. He refers to nuns and monks and unfulfilled citizens, it, not meeting any of their potential because they are cloistered. I am not sure if he was be sarcastic, which would be fine, or serious, which would explain my criticism.

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  • My complete recommendations to Tito:

    “In regard to the French Revolution a good starting point is Citizens by Simon Schama:

    http://www.amazon.com/Citizens-A-Chronicle-French-Revolution/dp/0679726101

    Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France still cannot be beat as an analysis of the early Revolution and is eerily prophetic. Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution is quite dated, and written in his usual odd style, but has valuable insights overlooked by many modern commenters.

    The late Henri Lefebvre, although a Marxist, did valuable work on both the French Revolution and Napoleon and I recommend his tomes. His style is dry as dust, but his research is impeccable.”

  • Um, what beach was that?

  • Tito Edwards: I expected you would look more like Padre Pio. You look happy.

  • Tamsin,

    An undisclosed location on the gulf coast of Florida.

    Mary De Voe,

    LOL. Very happy, my wife was there with me, but she had to take the picture. 🙂

  • My brother Mike lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Say “Hi” to him for me.

  • Thank you for fixing the feed!

  • Tito, I share your view of the French Revolution. It lives on in the Social Radicalism that permeates so much of our politics. Social Radicalism is a phenomenon that bears close scrutiny. It transcends the individual with a mindset all its own. If not scrutinized and moderated the mindset morphs into moral chaos. This can happen in slow creeping fashion or with the rapidity of revolution. The French Revolution is a signal example. It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage. Carlyle describes it thus: “On a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks; What think ye of me?” Do I engage in hyperbole when I compare the presentable, well-clothed and well-intended modern social radical with the maddened mob of Paris? Yes but to make a point. I cross a Robespierre and risk the guillotine, the loss of my life. The modern well-dressed social-radical only asks that I risk my soul. Who does me less violence?

  • John Nolan wrote, “Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.”
    Another Catholic, G K Chesterton described the tragedy of England:
    “A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
    Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
    They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
    And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
    Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
    Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
    In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
    We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
    We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
    The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
    And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
    And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.”
    Hilaire Belloc, too, another Catholic, whose grandfather served in the armies of Napoléon, declared, “Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”

  • William P Walsh wrote, “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.”
    Certainly, it did start with a bankrupt government, but here is the curiosity: this bankrupt nation found itself able to sustain twenty years of war against the whole of Europe and to raise and maintain an army to fight it. For most of that period it had 700,000 men in the field. As for “open rebellion,” it crushed it wherever it showed itself, in Brittany, in Lyons, in the Vendée. It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.

  • “It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.”

    1. Mass murder against opponents.
    2. Mass repudiation of the debts of the Old Regime.
    3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals that rose to the fore as a result of the Revolution.
    4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preocupation of peoples.

  • Donald R McClarey

    “3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals”

    I would certainly agree with that. There is a sense in which Napoléon, Dumoriez (despite his later defection), Kellerman, Hoche and Kléber were the French Revolution – It is their legacy.

    “4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preoccupation of peoples.”

    The levée en masse and all that it entailed was the achievement of Carnot, but we sometimes forget what an astonishing achievement it was. The army was increased from 645,000 in mid-1793 to 1,500,000 in September 1794. The unbroken succession of victories, from Fleurus in June 1794 to Marengo in June 1800 were all, in a sense, his. He was ably seconded by Lindet, in effect, minister of food, munitions and manufacture.

    The political will and administrative skills needed to raise, equip, train, discipline and provision armies on that scale was enormous and quite without precedent. Much of the credit must go to the Committee of Public Safety, which was, in effect, the War Cabinet and to the brilliant innovation of seconding the “Deputies on Mission” from the National Assembly, as political commissioners to the armies.

  • Michael points out my inattention to the economic situation in France. I admit to a lack of formal study of that dismal science. I have yet in mind the diabolical ingredient of revolution. The first revolution starts with Lucifer’s “Non Serviam” and every revolution carries that sentiment in its bloodstream. The laws of economics are swept away when everything can be stolen from rightful owners. The State can be most efficient when it can murder the opposition. “If God does not exist, all things are permitted”. The Social Radical who looks so benign in his well-tailored clothing can do great injustice with a pen-stroke. If the end justifies the employment of any means, we are living in a state of moral chaos. We are then lunatics pulling down our house upon us. But I sing to the choir, as I sort out my thoughts.

  • I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.

    I am an admirer of Belloc but he was fundamentally wrong on two counts – all his life he believed a) that the French Revolution was a ‘good thing’ and b) Dreyfus was guilty.

  • John Nolan
    I think both Belloc (and Chesterton, too) wrote a great deal in reaction to the way the Revolution and Napoléon were portrayed in England.

    There is a print, which can still be seen in the bar parlours of some country inns, of the handshake of Wellington and Blucher after Waterloo. They must have been produced by the million

    http://tinyurl.com/m42zlof

    Chesterton summed up the whole business pretty well.

    “Our middle classes did well to adorn their parlours with the picture of the “Meeting of Wellington and Blucher.” They should have hung up a companion piece of Pilate and Herod shaking hands. Then, after that meeting amid the ashes of Hougomont, where they dreamed they had trodden out the embers of all democracy, the Prussians rode on before, doing after their kind. After them went that ironical aristocrat out of embittered Ireland, with what thoughts we know; and Blucher, with what thoughts we care not; and his soldiers entered Paris, and stole the sword of Joan of Arc.”

    To both Belloc and Chesterton, the fall of Paris to the Allies could only be compared to the sack of Rome by the Goths.

  • An interesting summary of an enormous matter,re. the French Revolution: “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.” – William P. Walsh
    However, from whence came the bitterly murderous hatred of the Catholic Faith and its individual servants, only the abyss could cough up that demon.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Chesterton wrote ‘The Crimes of England’ in 1916. It’s a polemic, brilliant in parts, but it ain’t history. The author’s unreasoning ‘Teutonophobia’, his withering scorn for Pitt, Castlereagh and Peel (in contrast with his hero-worship of Charles James Fox) and his take on the French Revolution and Bonaparte simply parade his prejudices. Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights, especially since French armies had looted and plundered their way across Europe for the previous twenty years. Historical method requires conclusions to be based on evidence. Both Belloc and Chesterton were counter-historical, if not positively anti-historical. They rightly challenged the consensus of the Whig historians, but what they put in its place was too intuitive and subjective. Since it did not rely on evidence it could be sometimes right, but more often wrong.

    Simon Schama’s book is revisionist, not least in that he uses the narrative approach which was unfashionable in 1989 (Orlando Figes does the same in his study of the Russian Revolution ‘A People’s Tragedy’). But both men are historians; Belloc and Chesterton, for all their brilliance, were not.

  • The errors of the french revolution came from somewhere!
    The protestant reformation shaped Europe and the world in ways we are still discerning. That “reformation” preceded the Enlightenment, which came to the “spirit” of revoltion of the 18 and 19 centuries everything from the very un- “reason”able reign of terror to marx to the culture kampf– and what follows in russia and mexico and china and on and on and on

  • John Nolan wrote, “Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights…”
    Hardly. In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.
    Belloc’s evaluation of the Revolution is not all that different from the great French historian of the Revolution, Louis Blanc. Blanc, one recalls, during his exile in London (he had fought on the barricades during les journées de juin 1848), had access to Croker’s unrivalled collection of manuscripts and pamphlets.
    Acton summarises Blanc’s principle: ”He desires government to be so constituted that it may do everything for the people, not so restricted that it can do no injury to minorities. The masses have more to suffer from abuse of wealth than from abuse of power, and need protection by the State, not against it. Power, in the proper hands, acting for the whole, must not be restrained in the interest of a part.” That was also the view of the great Dominican, Lacordaire, “Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”
    This was a principle Belloc and Chesterton would have heartily endorsed. It is the negation of Liberalism and its doctrine of laissez-faire.

  • “In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.”

    Please. Even as hyperbole that is over the circus top. The French Revolution was a complex historical event, but by the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times, one with delusions of grandeur. It was a very good thing for the peace of Europe that Napoleon fell in 1814 and that he was soundly thrashed in 1815 at Waterloo which brought an end to his “Golden Oldies” attempt at a Bonaparte revival.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “[B]y the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times.”
    That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne. As Chesterton said, “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Swinburn’s “Sea-Eagle of English feather”) understood:
    “And kings crept out again to feel the sun.
    The kings crept out — the peoples sat at home.
    And finding the long-invocated peace
    (A pall embroidered with worn images
    Of rights divine) too scant to cover doom
    Such as they suffered, cursed the corn that grew
    Rankly, to bitter bread, on Waterloo.”

    Those “carrion kings, unsheeted and unmasked,” described by Michelet, the great historian of the Revolution.

  • “That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne”

    Augustus was a military dictator, the last man standing of the ambitious warlords/politicians who murdered the dying Republic. Charlemagne was not a military dictator but the scion of a family that had been running the chief of the Frankish states for some time. Napoleon owed his position to his military brilliance and his willingness to use military force against civilian rule and nothing more.

    “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”

    That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.

  • M P-S, the ‘barbarians from beyond the Rhine’ produced Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but a few. I’m sure those German citizens, living in their peaceful towns and villages, often in the shadow of old-established monasteries on which the local economy depended and which were soon to be destroyed, were overjoyed at the arrival of Revolutionary French armies with their portable guillotines. Germany in the eighteenth century was civilized in the real sense that the local ‘civitas’ enforced its own laws for the benefit of the citizens. It is telling that the incidence of capital punishment in the German states was far lower than in France or England.

    Michael, get off your hobby-horse and face facts. Bonaparte has a good record when it comes to establishing (or more correctly re-establishing, since the Revolution had destroyed much) institutions in France; but he also erected a police state. His hubristic lust for conquest led (as in the case of Hitler, with whom he has much in common) to eventual nemesis. And France only recovered its 1789 levels of foreign trade in the 1830s by which time Britain had far outstripped it.

  • “I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.”
    .
    The sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being (His body and his soul) constitutes the nation from the very first moment of existence. His absolute moral and legal innocence are the standard of Justice and the compelling interest of the state in its duty to deliver Justice and in protecting the newly begotten human being. Francisco Suarez says that: “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.”
    .
    The newly begotten human being who constitutes the state from the very first moment of his existence and through his sovereign personhood endowed by “their Creator” is the citizen. At birth the new citizen is given documents to prove his citizenship and a tax bill.
    .
    The French Revolution must have been dealing with the loss and denial of citizenship by the state as in “persona non grata”. Religious persons, priests and nuns, do not forfeit or surrender their God-given sovereign personhood and/or citizenship by answering their vocation. A higher calling, in fact, purifies their citizenship and brings “the Blessings of Liberty”.
    .
    It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth.
    .
    This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.

  • Donald R McCleary wrote, “’ French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.’ – That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.”

    And yet it was, in effect, endorsed by Walter Bagehot, a man politically poles apart from Chesterton. Writing of the nephew, that shrewd cynic observed, “The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, ‘Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?’ the inquiry comes out thus—’Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?’ The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, ‘Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?’ The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.'”

  • “The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.’”

    Preposterous. The plebiscite of 1851 was instituted only after wannabe Napoleon had instituted repression. It had as much validity as one of Stalin’s show trials in the thirties. Like his much greater uncle, wannabe Napoleon owed his imitation imperial title, eventually granted him officially through another plebiscite with an unimaginative 97% yes vote, to the bayonets he controlled rather than the ballots he manufactured in pretend plebiscites.

  • Donald R McClarey
    Louis Napoléon may not have been supported by a numerical majority of the nation, that’s as may be; but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion—determinant in intensity and in weight, that is, as well as in numbers. That was true of his uncle also and it needed no plebiscite to establish this obvious truth.

  • “but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion”

    Nope, like his uncle he had control of the military and crushed all opposition. Speculations about his “true” popularity among the people or the elite are meaningless when he made certain that his opposition had no voice.

  • Mary De Voe’s, “It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth. . This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.”, nails it.
    In America today, the newly begotten human being is no longer protected, the person who is religious, a veteran, a supporter of Constitutional rights is a potential domestic terrorist. Remember Andrew Cuomo’s saying that a supporter of the Second Amendment has no place in New York State. If he becomes President, that may apply to the whole country.

  • I started to watch Simon Schamas tv program about judiasm since i enjoyed his shows about England. I caught an episode in the middle and what amazed me was that the program seemed more of a rant against the injustices perpetrated upon the Jews by Christians than a true unbiased history of Judaism.
    I was a bit shocked but it may explain this “book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens “

Conservatives & The Eich Affair

Wednesday, April 9, AD 2014

Joseph Shaw over at LMS Chairman has posted a four part-critique of the conservative response to the Eich affair (and related incidents) titled “Why Conservatives Are Wrong.” Whereas Jeffery Tucker attacked conservative libertarians from the left, complaining about their “brutalism” in their assertion of their rights to live according to traditional and natural values, Shaw attacks from the right, following the general outline of the illiberal critique of the foundations of American political thought. A serious critique deserves a serious response, which is what I hope to provide here from a classical liberal perspective.

At the outset it is worth highlighting that Shaw, myself, and I imagine many of us on both sides of the “America is good/America sucks” divide share many common concerns and basic moral values. This is not a battle between left-wing “liberal” Catholics and orthodox “conservative” Catholics; it is a strategic and perhaps philosophical dispute between two groups that share a set of values and commitments to authentic Church doctrine and the natural moral law. Our most important point of agreement is that neither of us are “progressives”; we do not view history as a linear ascent to some utopian future in which fallen man has been redeemed by his own self-righteous awakening. We, political traditionalists and classical liberals both, ground ourselves in “self-evident truths” that do not change with the direction of the winds and in our belief in the superiority of reason to the irrational and fickle demands of the mob.

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7 Responses to Conservatives & The Eich Affair

  • The contradiction at the heart of liberalism lies in its simultaneous assertion of popular sovereignty and universal human rights. In the brief interlude between the absolutist state of the Ancien Régime and modern social democracies, this was achieved by the separation of the public sphere of state activity and the private sphere of civil society. The state provided a legally codified order within which social customs, economic competition, religious beliefs, and so on, could be pursued without interference.

    But, when the social consensus on which the distinction rested breaks down, liberalism has no way of defining or defending the boundaries of this sphere; everything becomes potentially political.

    As a matter of history, the first challenge to the consensus of the bourgeois parliamentary parties came from socialism, which denied the autonomy of the economic sphere. The Conservatives had never accepted it: they hankered for the dirigisme of the Ancien Régime.

    Rousseau saw this very well. “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.” His solution is well known: “In order then that the social compact may not be an empty formula, it tacitly includes the undertaking, which alone can give force to the rest, that whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre]”

  • One way you can look at these disputes is as a competition over ‘positional goods’, which competition is generally zero-sum. So, you have the competition between the word-merchant sector and the business sectors (which re-capitulates the competition between the socially adept and the rest on the playground), the disdain of the haut bourgeois for everyone else, conflicts between blacks and everyone else, conflicts between men and women, conflicts between sexual deviants and the remainder, conflicts between immigrants and the remainder. It does not map very well to questions of liberty and tolerance because the goal is not to be free of anything but to place oneself and one’s fellows in a superordinate position. (With regard to the issue at hand, one might also note the prevalence of homosexuals in the theatre; it’s a social segment which hankers after applause).

    Consider that in a society where freedom of contract and freedom to publish within a state of tolerable public order, recognition is not distributed at random. The position of a landed gentry will gradually erode, the position of the clergy and the military will be circumstantially contingent, no special recognition will be accorded salaried employees public or private, and wage earning populations are definitely subordinate and generally poor. Also, the influence of dynastic fealty on the political order will gradually erode in favor of lateral bonds between participants in society. The word merchant element is proportionately smaller and less autonomous.

    Note also, that family relations are the principal means by which people are indemnified against the vicissitudes of life, most particularly so in societies with small public sectors. However, family relations remain vigorous only when law and custom stress durability, legitimacy, and stereotyped responsibilities. Domestic division of labor and coping with the inevitable friction of domestic life suits some people better than others.

    When you ask what is congruent with a system of natural liberty (equal liberty and careers-open-to-talents) you see that recognition will tend to flow to people with certain talents and virtues: a talent for competition and leadership qualities. Not every free society will precisely replicate the United States of 1928, but the distribution of recognition would certainly be very different than what it is today, where the capacity to manipulate people in various setting (through verbiage, through symbolism, through mind games) is the order of the day.

  • “The contradiction at the heart of liberalism lies in its simultaneous assertion of popular sovereignty and universal human rights.”

    Liberalism does not necessarily advocate popular sovereignty. As a Jeffersonian, however, I can defend the marriage of liberalism and popular sovereignty by way of freedom of association and political pluralism. The essential right becomes the freedom to leave a popular sovereign territory with values one does not share and relocate elsewhere.

  • Art Deco wrote, “recognition will tend to flow to people with certain talents and virtues: a talent for competition and leadership qualities…”
    Under popular government in antiquity, the most honourable, as well as the most lucrative professions, were those of the statesman, the soldier and the jurist.

  • I agree with the fact that what we are witnessing is not longer just progressive liberalism per se but outright Communism at the very worst or Socialism in the best. Either way it is un American. Even the well known Andrew Sullivan said he thought this was a mistake on the part of Mozilla because somebody was fired simply for an action he took on Prop 8. I am sorry but we no longer live in the Land of the Free. Instead we are starting to become like another police state were people are losing their civil and religious and constitutional rights due to some kind of Special Interests group. BTW Political Correctness is not the proper term being used it was and still is CULTURAL COMMUNISM. PC sounds harmless enough

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  • They were jealous and used Eich’s donation as an excuse to pirate Mozilla

Liberalism, Capitalism & Pluralism: The Catholic Wars Continue

Monday, February 10, AD 2014

On February 6, The American Conservative published a piece by Patrick J. Deneen titled “A Catholic Showdown Worth Watching.” In it, Deneen outlines the positions of two hostile political camps within American Catholicism: the “liberal” camp and what he calls a more “radical”/illiberal camp. The liberal camp is characterized by its support for free-market capitalism, liberal democracy, a vigorous interventionist foreign policy, and the basic compatibility of the American republic with Catholicism. The radical illiberal camp is virtually the opposite in every respect; it is skeptical of and in my experience quite hostile towards free-market capitalism, contemptuous of liberal democracy, anti-interventionist and views the entire American project as a failed enterprise incompatible with Catholicism.

In my view there ought to be recognition of a third camp: Catholic libertarianism. Of course this immediately lends itself to semantic confusion. After all, some of what Deneen’s “liberals” hold would align with what libertarians hold, and both might lay claim to the descriptor of “classical liberalism.” The important point of dispute between this peculiar lot of liberals and libertarians proper, at least given the specific points raised by Deneen, would be the matter of foreign policy. Catholic libertarians such as Tom Woods and Judge Andrew Napolitano are resolutely opposed not only to American interventionism, but also to the growing domestic security apparatus that poses a threat to individual liberties. Deneen’s liberals, or at least the contemporary names such as Wiegel, Neuhaus, and Novak, may better be described as neo-conservatives. Insofar as the Catholic neo-conservatives share economic views with the libertarians, I will include them as “classical liberals” in the analysis to follow. It may also be argued that Catholic libertarians aligned with the Austrian school of economics and political theory are also quite critical of liberal democracy. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, an Austrian intellectual, has led the way in the libertarian critique of democracy and there is no reason to assume that a classical liberal is necessarily a democratic liberal.

Read the rest here. 

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61 Responses to Liberalism, Capitalism & Pluralism: The Catholic Wars Continue

  • One point of clarification: the Deneen article doesn’t use the term “liberal” to describe those who see compatibility between Catholicism and liberal democracy. He seems to go out of his way to avoid that label. In that I think he’s correct; the term is just too confusing.

  • Pinky,

    You’re right of course, but he doesn’t use ANY term to describe them as far as I can tell. They’re de facto liberals, then, given what they’re said to believe.

  • Best wishes, Bonchamps. I like your defense of the American project, within which Distributists can form their voluntary collectives. I read Deneen’s recent article, Corporatism and Gay Marriage: Natural Bedfellows. (note that is Corporatism, not Capitalism.) Before the Distributists retreat to their collectives, I hope they understand that it’s going to be really, really hard to make a living when the ruling regime seeks to punish those who do not profess the beliefs of the regime. In other words, I’m not sure we can all move to a particular location within these fifty (or was it fifty-seven?) states, and live out our lives. Hmm. Time to review the specific examples of the people who came to America seeking religious freedom for the low, low price of carving settlements out of the wilderness. 🙂 Where is our wilderness?

  • As a matter of history, classical liberalism was at great pains to remove precisely the means that had been traditionally used to curb the free market.

    Jefferson, for example, was a great opponent of entails and perpetuities and secured the passage of a bill abolishing them in Virginia. “Entails” or “Tailzies” as we call them in Scotland, were settlements of property to people in succession, with irritant and resolutive clauses, preventing that property being alienated or made subject to the debts of the holder from time to time. In that way, property could be left to A and the heirs male of his body, whom failing to B and the heirs of his body &c

    Like the French Jacobins, Jefferson considered each generation was entitled to redistribute property over which no individual (or group of individuals) had the right of disposal – “whether they may change the appropriation of lands given anciently to the church, to hospitals, colleges, orders of chivalry, and otherwise in perpetuity; whether they may abolish the charges and privileges attached on lands, including the whole catalogue, ecclesiastical and feudal; it goes to hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions, to hereditary orders, distinctions and appellations, to perpetual monopolies in commerce, the arts or sciences, with a long train of et ceteras.”

    Likewise, the activities of trade and craft guilds (and later trades unions) were regularly subject to legal curbs, as being “in restraint of trade.”

  • “As a matter of history, classical liberalism was at great pains to remove precisely the means that had been traditionally used to curb the free market.”

    Yes… which is why I am an economic classical liberal.

    “Likewise, the activities of trade and craft guilds (and later trades unions) were regularly subject to legal curbs, as being “in restraint of trade.”

    Which they are. It is hardly fair to harm the interests of consumers, who are greater in number and include all of the poor, for the sake of a narrow set of specialized workers. The common good is served by lower prices, which effect everyone, and not higher wages, from which far fewer will benefit.

  • Bonchamps, thanks for this and your other recent post…I’ve not had the time to fully digest them and the ensuing discussion in “Brace Yourselves: The Dark Enlightenment is Upon Us”, but I’ve been on a similar (I think) line. There are some, following apparently in the Thomist tradition, who posit that Catholic identity is ultimately incompatible with the American experiment. Some others, perhaps not so much Thomist but every bit as much aiming to be orthodox, disagree.

    The folk debating this study it for a living while I’m just arm-chairing here, but I wonder if the answer is related to a discussion by Benjamin Wiker on the founding of America (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholicism-and-the-american-founding), wherein he discusses the different between natural law and natural rights.
    Put simply: the more we focus on natural rights in American politics, the greater the division from a political infrastructure at odds with Catholic thought and social teaching (and hence, incurring the criticism of the Thomists)….the more the focus is on natural law, the less the criticism of the Thomists (who claim to champion natural law) and the closer to Catholic thought and social teaching.

    Prior to this, my only substantive rebuttal was: “What else do you propose? My limited survey of the modern world and the highlights of history produces, as a database programmer might say: ‘Query returned zero rows.'”

    It’s entirely possible that the Thomists are misinterpreting the difference…in another realm, with which I’m slightly more familiar, Albert Einstein famously (and quite incorrectly) rebutted the notion of the Big Bang as presented by Georges Lemaître (a Catholic priest) by saying, “Your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious” (For MPS: Vos calculs sont corrects, mais votre physique est abominable). Einstein was wrong on the “Steady State” model of the universe as well as quantum mechanics…maybe the error of the professional Thomists is a similar one…but then again, I’m certainly no Lemaître in philosophy or theology.

  • It may also be argued that Catholic libertarians aligned with the Austrian school of economics

    You don’t want to go there.

  • John,

    I would take exception to the idea that natural rights simply mean that one can do as they please within the boundaries of other people’s rights.

    John Locke’s version of natural rights are rooted in natural law. Natural rights are in fact corollaries to natural laws. We have a right to life, liberty and estate because we have a moral duty to preserve our own lives, those of our families, and even those of our communities.

    The idea of natural rights as a license to do whatever we want within the bounds of other people’s rights is a later idea that I don’t think either Locke or Jefferson subscribed to. Maybe later classical liberals such as Spencer or libertarians such as Rothbard would see it this way, once they’d detached natural rights from Christianity. Spencer’s “law of equal liberty” or Rothbard’s “non-aggression principle” are detached from the Christian version of natural law to be sure.

    I’d close by saying that the doctrine of individual natural rights had less to do with establishing an individual right to do as one pleases than they did with limiting governments. That’s what the classical liberal project was all about – limiting the power of the state. One can argue that this naturally or logically leads to a state of moral degeneracy of sexual license, but I don’t think that is true. The state, after all, continued to expand regardless of the wishes of classical liberals, whose ideal societies only existed on the frontier.

  • Art, briefly what are your objections to Hayek? Any links/references for further consideration would be nice. Thanks!

  • tamsin: “Where is our wilderness?” In the wilderness. The Homestead Act has not been repealed. Indwellers have gotten a court order that they can live where they live…in the national parks and forests. All free lands and waterways belong to each and every citizen in joint and common tenancy In recent years, Clinton tried to put all free lands and waterways under the jurisdiction of the Executive in Chief. The Department of the Interior was ordered to evacuate all indwellers from parks and forests.That failed.

  • “John Locke’s version of natural rights are rooted in natural law. Natural rights are in fact corollaries to natural laws. We have a right to life, liberty and estate because we have a moral duty to preserve our own lives, those of our families, and even those of our communities.”
    .
    Those who would take license with vice against virtue give scandal to the community and must be ostracized. It is the duty of the state to deliver equal Justice, not equality. Man is created equal. Justice must be preserved.

  • Bonchamps,
    .
    You have written an excellent and timely piece on Liberalism in its many manifestations and re-inventions which undoubtedly will inform and educate many.
    .
    As I reflected on your most recent piece together with your other riveting article, “Brace Yourselves: The Dark Enlightenment is Upon Us”, I have come to realize that I would decline to classify myself in any category of Catholicism because to do so might give rise to an appearance of division among the Catholic faithful.
    .
    I recall an article by the respected late prelate Father John A. Hardon, S.J entitled “Conservative or Liberal Catholic” which is instructive. Fr. Hardon cautioned Catholics against describing themselves and the Catholic faith in social or political terms. He recounted a story of a priest who provided the truly “Catholic” response when queried whether he was conservative or liberal:
    .
    “… “I’m a Roman Catholic. I follow the guidelines of the Vatican.” The holder of the Petrine Office is the direct descendent of Peter to whom were handed the keys of the kingdom. His mandate is clear; our duty as Roman Catholics is to adhere to both the letter and the Spirit as the Holy Father delineates them for us, not pick and choose those aspects of Catholicism more to our liking. As 2 John 9 reminds us, anyone who “does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both Father and the Son.” http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Church_Dogma/Church_Dogma_003.htm.
    .
    Politics, within the Church or in secular society, must not become an entree for division among Catholics because we are the children of a God who is Love and Unity; there should be no division among the children of Our Heavenly Father.
    .
    I believe that as Catholics, we must meet this great trial which confronts us …this assault against our faith by the secular forces of the world… with a united front. Each of us as individuals must therefore intentionally and bravely exercise our free will to stand firm in defense of Catholicism and our fellow Catholics…even if it causes discomfort or brings mockery upon us. And we must pray for the intervention of the Holy Spirit that those Catholics who are blinded by secularlism will wake up in time and turn away from their error.
    .
    Chuck Colson, a protestant, made a videotape shortly before he died, pleading with all Christians (Catholics and Protestants) to align and stand together in unity against what he knew to be coming against us.
    .
    Mr. Colson reminded us “We are all one in Christ”; his video is worth watching.
    .
    See, link for Chuck Colson video, http://youtu.be/Kuyv-XzHueM

  • Bonchamps: I’m by no means (as I’ve stated) a scholar on the topics like you and many others here are. But here’s the “proof in the pudding” as it were: if there was no difference between the classic understanding of natural law and, as you put it, the corollary of natural rights from Locke / Jefferson, then from where did the “modern natural rights” come?

    Specifically, I have a particular libertarian friend who subscribes to the “modern natural rights” notion…and I hear modern Christian libertarian talk-show hosts espouse the following:

    The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Notes_on_the_State_of_Virginia

    To be sure, I agree more than I disagree with such sentiments…but my level of disagreement is non-zero. I could go to Cardinal Ottaviani and his reaffirmation that “error has no rights” (http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2013/05/the-last-laugh-of-alfredo-ottaviani) and the modern explications of Dignitatis Humanae that have put forth the notion that there isn’t an absolute right of the state to argue against the practice of religion, only when the state is acting in accordance with justice (see this article on whether all religions can deserve equal respect: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/do-all-religions-deserve-respect). Those discussions are probably helpful to my argument, but I use instead another (to lean on the well at Crisis, http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/those-intolerable-catholics-in-lockes-time-and-ours … and I note that some good TAC’ers were there in the comments early on), and I wonder if Locke’s view of government could conceive of someone putting God before Country. In other words, if the State had declared X and a religious view held Y, which trumps? Locke had a rather dismal (if arguably misinformed?) view of “papists” such as us, beholden to the keys on the Pope’s belt over the common good of our neighbors…so how does this sit with an orthodox Catholic understanding?

    Please note: I question not because I disagree with libertarian/natural rights prima facie, but rather, I see the consequences of some of these decisions that modern “natural rights” proponents might favor compared to advocates in favor of natural law. If the “natural rights” advanced by modern types is substantively different from that proposed by Locke and Jefferson, I ask : where, that a layman might understand, is the difference? If there is no difference, then what about the criticism afforded, for example, by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on his dissent on the decision striking down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. Citing the book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/08/the-supreme-court-and-the-future-of-marriage), Justice Alito affirms a natural law definition against the tide of natural rights that triumphed in U.S. vs Windsor. Where did Justice Kennedy and the rest “get it wrong” in presumably applying the fruits of Jefferson and Locke?

    I’m generally inclined toward libertarian notions but with caveats. I can find enough evidence in Hayek’s Road to Serfdom that settles, for me, that there’s no real difference between Hayek and general Catholic economic sentiment…it’s the rhetoric from those who haven’t read much of either that appears to create the difference. But where it comes to natural rights and natural law, it’s not as clear to me and the consequences are as big as the gulf between my friend and I on the definition of marriage. And I ask as one who seeks to defend the ground I’m on better than what the archetypical parent might say: “Because I said so.”

  • Slainte,

    I’m glad the piece was of some use to you.

    I share your disdain for political labels. I would describe what I hold to be sympathies, not identifications. I call myself a “fellow traveler” of classical liberalism, but I can’t be a die-hard adherent. Liberalism’s critics aren’t wrong to point out its relativist tendencies and the dangers these pose to Catholics. As an ideology that seeks to limit and even oppose the pretensions of the state for the sake of individual liberty and dignity, it is quite useful though. I think it is also indisputable that free-market capitalism is the system that best serves the common good and the needs of the poor – mostly by eliminating poverty through a competitive process that forces innovation, which in turn leads to technology that lowers the costs of production and the prices of everyday goods for average people.

  • Bonchamps: we may be passing comments past the time-delay to post, but I want to also affirm something. I wholeheartedly agree with you here:

    I think it is also indisputable that free-market capitalism is the system that best serves the common good and the needs of the poor – mostly by eliminating poverty through a competitive process that forces innovation, which in turn leads to technology that lowers the costs of production and the prices of everyday goods for average people.

    That’s a more elegant way of saying what I was trying to:

    Prior to this, my only substantive rebuttal was: “What else do you propose? My limited survey of the modern world and the highlights of history produces, as a database programmer might say: ‘Query returned zero rows.’”

    What other system is there that does what a properly-implemented free-market system does (ie, without cronyism and corruption)? There’s nothing yet proposed that’s better. One needs only look at the percent of GDP that the US gives in charity (or any of another statistics) to confirm this. So please read my above comments in the same spirit, that I question not to attack to but understand…especially in light of social concerns, such as marriage and defense of life. My libertarian friend might agree with me economically…but not socially.

  • John,
    .
    “then from where did the “modern natural rights” come?”
    .
    It was a subtle shift of thought, I think, from Locke to Jefferson. The reason that I wouldn’t put Jefferson in with later classical liberals, though, is that he still held that natural rights came from God, and in fact that they could only be “secure” if the people believed they came from God. Non-Christian liberals are often content to invoke reason as sufficient for recognition of these rights, and Ayn Rand takes it to absurd levels. Spencer on the other hand really tries hard to establish that men have a sort of natural “sense” of having universal, equal rights.
    .
    “and I hear modern Christian libertarian talk-show hosts espouse the following”
    .
    Yes, that Jefferson quote. That is an articulation of the “modern” view of rights, yes. But your right to that sort of liberty, even though he doesn’t mention natural laws/duties, still comes from God in Jefferson’s view. So he’s somewhere between Locke and the others I think.
    .
    As for Locke’s attitude towards Catholicism, yes, this too is a big problem. This is where we get into John Courtney Murray territory. Some of these classical liberals were continuing a natural law tradition that the Church had developed, but only in parts, and not in the whole, and they ended up attacking Catholicism. It’s a shame, really. After all, Locke is mostly arguing against absolute monarchy, a repugnant political doctrine that the Church never endorsed. Then Cardinal Bellarmine argued against James I’s claim to “divine kingship” and held that the people had a right to overthrow despotic rulers and establish new governments. The real absolutism came when Henry VIII declared himself the head of a new sect, the Church of England.
    .
    I’d say that Locke’s attitude toward Catholicism has little to do with his arguments in the Second Treatise, though. The proof, I think, lies in the fact that the men who advised Pope Leo XIII in the drafting of Rerum Novarum were drawing upon that very work when formulating the Church’s modern position on private property rights, and, I think, the limitations that reason and justice demand be placed on the state.
    .
    “Where did Justice Kennedy and the rest “get it wrong” in presumably applying the fruits of Jefferson and Locke?”
    .
    They definitely got it wrong with Locke because Locke clearly and strongly reaffirmed natural laws and obligations. Jefferson is a different story. I couldn’t confidently say that they totally botched his views of individual natural rights, but they certainly made a complete mockery of his belief in pluralism, state’s rights, popular sovereignty, and the dangers of an unelected body of judges invested with the (self-appointed) power to decide what the law is on the basis of their own philosophical pretensions and biases. The thing to remember about Jefferson is this: while he may have wanted the maximum liberal demands when it came to individual rights and separation of church and state in his own state of Virginia, he completely respected the right of the other states to maintain their own rules and establishments. His reply to the complaint of the Danbury Baptists didn’t end with a promise to send troops to shut down the established church in Connecticut. It made no promises at all. It was along the lines of, “yeah, I hear you… but…” So while Jefferson the personal liberal may lend some support to the arguments of homosexual radicals (repugnant as they would have been to Jefferson himself), Jefferson the statesman, who held the 10th amendment and NOT the 1st to be the foundation of the Constitution, wouldn’t have supported this federal/judicial theocracy in the least.

  • There is no doubt that the growth of commerce tended to destroy those intermediate authorities that opposed an effective obstacle to the powers of government and what Lord Acton calls conditional obedience guaranteed by the power of a limited command

    Dr Johnson has described this process: “Where there is no commerce nor manufacture, he that is born poor can scarcely become rich; and if none are able to buy estates, he that is born to land cannot annihilate his family by selling it. This was once the state of these countries. Perhaps there is no example, till within a century and half, of any family whose estate was alienated otherwise than by violence or forfeiture. Since money has been brought amongst them, they have found, like others, the art of spending more than they receive; and I saw with grief the chief of a very ancient clan, whose Island was condemned by law to be sold for the satisfaction of his creditors.”

    Again, “The Laird is the original owner of the land, whose natural power must be very great, where no man lives but by agriculture; and where the produce of the land is not conveyed through the labyrinths of traffick [sic], but passes directly from the hand that gathers it to the mouth that eats it. The Laird has all those in his power that live upon his farms. Kings can, for the most part, only exalt or degrade. The Laird at pleasure can feed or starve, can give bread, or withhold [sic] it. This inherent power was yet strengthened by the kindness of consanguinity, and the reverence of patriarchal authority. The Laird was the father of the Clan, and his tenants commonly bore his name. And to these principles of original command was added, for many ages, an exclusive right of legal jurisdiction.”

    That is why, until 1745, no people enjoyed greater freedom from government interference than the Highland clans, its security being their loyalty to their chieftains.

    The rise of the Tudor despotism was made possible by the mutual destruction of the old landed nobility in the Wars of the Roses and was supported by the towns, which had the liquid wealth to purchase charters of privileges. We see a similar process in the rise of Absolutism in France, in the wake of the Wars of Religion and the Frondes; again with the support of the commercial classes, the bourgeoisie or townspeople, characterised, since the time of Augustus by the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism.

  • “Locke does characterize conjugal unions as “voluntary” compacts between men and women.”

    F P Walton, an eminent authority on the marriage law of Scotland wrote that “The question has often been debated by lawyers, if it is correct to describe marriage as a contract. Some writers prefer to call it a status or an institution.

    The difficulty in calling it a mere contract is this—two people may agree to marry each other, but they cannot agree what sort of marriage it shall be. If they take each other it is “for better, for worse.” They must accept all the consequences and incidents of marriage as it is fixed and determined by law. They could not, for example, agree to be married for ten years, or that the wife should be head of the house, or that the children should not have any rights of succession. All that they can do is to agree to marry. It is the law which lays down what are the rights of the husband, the rights of the wife, the rights of the children; whereas as a general rule in the making of contracts the parties may come to any terms they like. The discussion is not a particularly fruitful one and I only mention it to introduce the elementary proposition so often lost sight of — that there must be matrimonial consent. Whether marriage is a contract or something more, there is no doubt at all that it is entered into by a contract—an agreement to marry.”

    Walton adds that, by the law of Scotland, “when it is proved that the two people agreed to marry {i.e., to marry then and there, not at some future time, which would only be promise of marriage), then they are married, provided, of course, there was no legal impediment.” That is taken from the Canon Law and was the rule of the Catholic Church, too, until the Tametsi decree of the Council of Trent in 1563.

  • “he growth of commerce tended to destroy those intermediate authorities that opposed an effective obstacle to the powers of government”

    The growth of commerce inspired people to fight for their lives, liberties and property in ways they had scarcely done throughout human history.

    “That is why, until 1745, no people enjoyed greater freedom from government interference than the Highland clans”

    I’m quite sure that very few if any peoples enjoyed greater privation, hunger and general want. It is easy to romanticize the clan system, far moreso than it would be to live in such a place. One of my life-long dreams is to visit the Hebrides. Living there the way 18th century cotters did isn’t a part of that, though.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “”The difficulty in calling it a mere contract is this—two people may agree to marry each other, but they cannot agree what sort of marriage it shall be.””
    .
    God brought the woman, Eve, to Adam and Adam said: “She now is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
    Ejecting God, our Creator, from His creation is nothing short of stealing.
    The Sacrament of Matrimony is the epitome of sovereignty, consent for a woman to become a wife, for a man to become a husband, each to his office to fulfill his and her vocation. The office of wife for a woman and the office of husband for a man is no less than the office of priesthood of the laity with Jesus Christ as head Priest.

  • Bonchamps

    Life on a Hebridian croft, typically 4 acres of arable land and sixteen of pasture tends not to be one of Sybaritic luxury even today.

    The chieftain would have shared the same hardships of life as his clansmen. His rents were paid in victual or cattle, for which there was no ready market. He spent them on the only form of conspicuous consumption available to him, that is, hospitality. The number of retainers is astonishing and we read of minor chieftains visiting Edinburgh with three or four score horsemen. Their loyalty to their chief and their keen sense of honour, quick to detect and punish any want of respect shown him, led to many famous tulzies, like that in in 1520 between the Hamiltons and the Douglases, known as “Cleanse the Causeway,” when the latter, as Pitscottie records, ” keiped both the gaitt and their honouris”; and
    that in 1551 between the Kerrs and the Scotts,

    When the streets of High Dunedin
    Saw lances gleam and falchions redden,
    And heard the slogan’s deadly yell—
    Then the Chief of Branxholm fell.

    Such men were unlikely tamely to submit to oppression by government.

    If you do visit the Hebrides, on no account miss Islay, which boasts nine distilleries and whose peaty malts, such as Bowmore, Laphroaig and Kilchoman, which all have their own malting floors, are beyond description. I would especially recommend Lagavulin.

  • Mary de Voe

    Yes, as a great judge, Lord Stowell said, “Marriage in its origin is a contract of natural law; it may exist between two individuals of different sexes although no third person existed in the world, as happened in the case of the common ancestors of mankind. It is the parent not the child of civil society. In civil society, it becomes a civil contract regulated and prescribed by law and endowed with civil consequences. In most civilized countries, acting under a sense of the force of sacred obligations, it has had the sanctions of religion superadded; it then becomes a religious, as well a natural and civil, contract; for it is a great mistake to suppose that because it is the one, therefore it may not likewise be the other. Heaven itself is made a party to the contract and the consent of the individuals pledged to each other is ratified and consecrated by a vow to God.”

    I do not think Locke would have disagreed.

  • Bonchamps,
    .
    When MPS states, “…If you do visit the Hebrides, on no account miss Islay, which boasts nine distilleries and whose peaty malts, such as Bowmore, Laphroaig and Kilchoman, which all have their own malting floors, are beyond description…”
    .
    When MPS uses the term “peaty malt” he really means it….keep all lit matches at bay. : )

  • Art, briefly what are your objections to Hayek? Any links/references for further consideration would be nice. Thanks!

    Not to Hayek, but to contemporary Austrian economics as developed by Peter Boettke, Robert Higgs, and others. The theoretical aspect has led to (I am quoting a libertarian more inclined to the Chicago school) “a great deal of meta-economics, but not much economics”. They are dubious about (if not rejecting of) statistical analysis as a tool and tend toward policy prescriptions (e.g. replacing central banking with updated versions of the gold standard) which would have been indubitably disastrous during the most recent unpleasantness (and were disastrous during the period running from 1929 to 1933).

  • The truth is out there.

    The unpleasantness of the Great Depression was not exacerbated by lack of government action or monetary strictures of the dreaded gold standard.

    Here are the government policies/culprits:
    • The Federal Reserve reduced the amount of credit outstanding, and therefore the stock of money, in 1931 and again in 1933;
    • Congress passed and President Hoover approved a major tax increase in June 1932;
    • Rumors that President-elect Roosevelt would devalue the dollar (which he later did) caused the final banking panic; and
    • The national banking holiday declared by Roosevelt on March 6, 1933, undermined public confidence so greatly that 5,000 banks didn’t reopen after the holiday expired, and 2,000 closed permanently.
    • In the 1930s, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act caused a collapse in global trade.

    In January 1934, FDR increased the dollar price of gold from $20.67 to $35, devaluing the dollar by 70 percent and increasing the value of gold that the government now owned.

    Up to 1934, the $20 (I own one) Federal Reserve Note (you call it “dollars”) had imprinted on it “WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND TWENTY DOLLARS.” Today, it says “Twenty Dollars.”

    PS: The central planners and collectivists dread the giold standard because they cannot control us if money is backed by something real.

  • The monetary base was stable, declining slightly during the period running from 1929 to 1933. What changed was a rapid increase in the demand for real balances, which was not met by the monetary authorities (because of the gold standard, in part).

    It is doubtful Smoot-Hawley caused a ‘collapse’ in global trade. The United States relied on its domestic market and only about 5% of our domestic production was exported. We had a similar abrupt implosion in foreign trade in 2008-09 (and manifest in several countries) absent any sort of protectionist legislation.

    ==

    The ratio of federal income tax collections to domestic product in 1932 was quite low. The tax increase was injurious to the economy, but only a small fraction of the economic implosion registered over 3.5 years is attributable to that tax increase. (The economy had actually stabilized by the 3d quarter of 1932 after three years of rapid implosion).

    ==

    One purpose of the bank holiday was to arrest panic withdrawals and identify insolvent banks. Of course the banks did not reopen. They were bust.

  • You think Sir Alan Walters qualifies as a ‘central planner’ and ‘collectivist’??? (His description of advocates of the gold standard in 1984 was thus: “crackers”).

  • Thomas Jefferson once said:

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” — Thomas Jefferson — The Debate Over The Recharter Of The Bank Bill, (1809)

  • Michael Peterson-Seymour.
    “”it (civil marriage) has had the sanctions of religion superadded;”” The sanctions of religion superadded may be removed by civil society.
    .
    The Defense of Marriage Act posits that marriage consists of one man and one woman. Marriage consists of one husband and one wife. The informed consent of one man to become a husband and the informed consent of one woman to become a wife is required. The essence of marriage then is the offices of husband and wife to which a man and a woman attain, an attainment that continues “until death do us part.”
    .
    Some people wish to have civil society normalize sodomy by demanding equality and pretending that sodomy is theirs by “natural right” because they suffer same-sex attraction. This amounts to Abraham Lincoln’s query about counting a dog’s tail as a fifth foot. If one counts the dog’s tail as his foot, one will still have a dog with four feet and one tail.
    .
    If religion is superadded or subtracted, one fully informed husband and one fully informed wife constitute marriage, a marriage between one man and one woman.
    .
    It is a miscarriage of Justice and a crime against civil society that same-sex oriented individuals are being used by militant sodomites to thwart the truth.

  • “Heaven itself is made a party to the contract and the consent of the individuals pledged to each other is ratified and consecrated by a vow to God.””
    .
    All, I say all, contracts, civil and vows as religious, are ratified and consecrated to God and by God. One does not enter into a civil contract to be swindled or lied to. “In God We Trust”

  • Bonchamps: “It was a subtle shift of thought, I think, from Locke to Jefferson. The reason that I wouldn’t put Jefferson in with later classical liberals, though, is that he still held that natural rights came from God, and in fact that they could only be “secure” if the people believed they came from God.”
    .
    This excerpt from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Church states the First Amendment with its freedom of Religion, then, the “wall of separation of Church and State” after, but only after “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” Giving atheism priority over the “free exercise thereof” is establishment of atheism.
    .
    “Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience” Any reference to the HHS Mandate?
    .
    “I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    .
    Natural rights exclude the unnatural rights of the sodomites’ agenda.
    .
    excerpt from Jefferson:
    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

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  • Mary,

    Yes, I’m aware of the content of the letter. What actually became of the Danbury Baptists, though? Connecticut kept its established church during the Jefferson presidency. Why?

    “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” — TJ

    The separation of church and state applied to the federal government, not the state governments. In the early American mind, before the days of “incorporation”, the difference between these two was actually significant.

  • “The reason that I wouldn’t put Jefferson in with later classical liberals, though, is that he still held that natural rights came from God, and in fact that they could only be “secure” if the people believed they came from God”

    That belief was all but universal. In the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 26 August 1789, “the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being [« en présence et sous les auspices de l’Etre Suprême »], the following rights of man and of the citizen…”

    Indeed, religion was held to be essential to the social bond and that society was dependent on its sanctions. Rousseau had been intolerant in his theism – “While it can compel no one to believe them, it can banish from the State whoever does not believe them — it can banish him, not for impiety, but as an anti-social being, incapable of truly loving the laws and justice, and of sacrificing, at need, his life to his duty. If anyone, after publicly recognising these dogmas, behaves as if he does not believe them, let him be punished by death: he has committed the worst of all crimes, that of lying before the law.” Robespierre, who described himself as “a pretty bad Catholic” [un assez mauvais Catholique] – something few would dispute – famously declared “Atheism is aristocratic; the idea of a great Being that watches over oppressed innocence and punishes triumphant crime is altogether popular.”

    An established church, from which dissent was tolerated, remained the European norm throughout the 19th century.

  • Professor Deco:

    Dr. Friedman and I bow to your superior analysis and firmer grasp of the factual record.

  • Shaw:

    Dr. Friedman was not an adherent of ‘Austrian’ economics, nor of any policy prescription that contemporary ‘Austrians’ are promoting at this time.

  • Dr. Deco:

    Nor am I.

    I had my “ass in the grass/boots on the ground” in the past 37 years of serial banking/financial crises. I lived the causes and effects. The Congress, Fed and Treasury made them worse.

    “They” don’t listen to guys like me. And, I am not one of them guys that habitually predicts 50 of the past five busts.

  • What’s your point, T. Shaw?

    First you endorse a gold standard (including a kvetch that gold and silver certificates are no longer in circulation), then you eschew Austrian policy prescriptions, which include a ‘currency board’, which is meant to function similarly to a metallic standard.

    You make like I contradict Milton Friedman. Trouble is, my 1st point above is the nut of Dr. Friedman’s thesis about the Depression (seconded by Sir Alan Walters, another monetarist). The rest is (some interpretive statements aside) factual and would not be denied by Dr. Friedman or anyone else who had looked through the statistical manuals.

  • Everyone acknowledges that Peel’s Bank Act of 1844, restricting the note issue failed to address the real problem. Even then, currency notes were the small change of commerce and the Act did nothing to restrict bank deposits and, therefore, bank advances. Accordingly, the Act had no effect on price inflation.

    Neither then, nor subsequently, could any bank have paid its depositors in gold or Bank of England notes, had they all demanded repayment.

  • I so adore these on-topic conversations.

  • Professor Deco,

    I stifled myself. Mr. Bonchamps would have so adored it.

  • Neither then, nor subsequently, could any bank have paid its depositors in gold or Bank of England notes, had they all demanded repayment.

    I think that’s pretty much been true since the early modern period. When people decry ‘fractional reserve banking’, what they are objecting to is what is known more concisely as ‘banking’.

  • Art, thank you for your reply. I was not aware that when the Austrian school is referenced, that there is a “contemporary” school.
    .
    I read both The Road to Serfdom and The Fatal Conceit in recent years. I find Hayek’s argument to be compelling. To put it in moral terms, he shows how we create a Hell on Earth when we try to create Heaven on Earth through the machinery of State planning… and there’s a lot of data from the 20th century to back that up. I’m curious to know if there is a theological? doctrinal? natural law? reason that Hayek’s reasoning should be rejected.
    .
    Bonchamps, this is on-topic insofar as I’m asking about man’s relationship to the State, specifically what choices the State should make for men in the light of our Catholic faith.
    .
    I read your whole Scribd essay before making my first comment.

  • Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were aligned in their concern that the establishment and continuation of a “Central Bank” now known as “The Federal Reserve” would jeopardize the well being of the new republic, the integrity of its Constitution and its concept of federalism, along with the rights and liberties of its citizens. This “bank” issue is a fundamental concern to Liberalism on many levels.
    .
    In 1832, President Jackson rejected a Bill seeking to continue the existence of a Central Bank. In his veto of the bill, he stated:
    .
    “…It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society-the farmers, mechanics, and laborers-who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.
    .
    “….Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country? The president of the bank has told us that most of the State banks exist by its forbearance. Should its influence become concentered, as it may under the operation of such an act as this, in the hands of a self-elected directory whose interests are identified with those of the foreign stockholders, will there not be cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war? Their power would be great whenever they might choose to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly renewed every fifteen or twenty years on terms proposed by themselves, they might seldom in peace put forth their strength to influence elections or control the affairs of the nation. But if any private citizen or public functionary should interpose to curtail its powers or prevent a renewal of its privileges, it can not be doubted that he would be made to feel its influence.”
    .
    “Should the stock of the bank principally pass into the hands of the subjects of a foreign country, and we should unfortunately become involved in a war with that country, what would be our condition? Of the course which would be pursued by a bank almost wholly owned by the subjects of a foreign power, and managed by those whose interests, if not affections, would run in the same direction there can be no doubt. All its operations within would be in aid of the hostile fleets and armies without. Controlling our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence, it would be more formidable and dangerous than the naval and military power of the enemy….”
    .
    “…..It is maintained by some that the bank is a means of executing the constitutional power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof.” Congress have established a mint to coin money and passed laws to regulate the value thereof. The money so coined, with its value so regulated, and such foreign coins as Congress may adopt are the only currency known to the Constitution. But if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves, and not to be transferred to a corporation. If the bank be established for that purpose, with a charter unalterable without its consent, Congress have parted with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its legislative power to such a bank, and therefore unconstitutional…”
    .
    “…Nor is our Government to be maintained or our Union preserved by invasions of the rights and powers of the several States. In thus attempting to make our General Government strong we make it weak. Its true strength consists in leaving individuals and States as much as possible to themselves-in making itself felt, not in its power, but in its beneficence; not in its control, but in its protection; not in binding the States more closely to the center, but leaving each to move unobstructed in its proper orbit….”
    .
    “….It can not be necessary to the character of the bank as a fiscal agent of the Government that its private business should be exempted from that taxation to which all the State banks are liable, nor can I conceive it “proper” that the substantive and most essential powers reserved by the States shall be thus attacked and annihilated as a means of executing the powers delegated to the General Government. It may be safely assumed that none of those sages who had an agency in forming or adopting our Constitution ever imagined that any portion of the taxing power of the States not prohibited to them nor delegated to Congress was to be swept away and annihilated as a means of executing certain powers delegated to Congress….”
    .
    “….Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties our Government now encounters and most of the dangers which impend over our Union have sprung from an abandonment of the legitimate objects of Government by our national legislation, and the adoption of such principles as are embodied in this act. Many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting to gratify their desires we have in the results of our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. It is time to pause in our career to review our principles, and if possible revive that devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the Revolution and the fathers of our Union. If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy….”
    .
    Source: “President Jackson’s Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States” of July 10, 1832;
    See, link: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/ajveto01.asp.

  • From page 168 of the 5th edition (1966) of Karl Popper’s 1945 study, The Open Society and Its Enemies:

    “Aestheticism and radicalism must lead us to jettison reason, and to replace it by a desperate hope for political miracles. This irrational attitude which springs from intoxication with dreams of a beautiful world is what I call Romanticism. It may seek its heavenly city in the past or in the future; it may preach ‘back to nature’ or ‘forward to a world of love and beauty’; but its appeal is always to our emotions rather than to reason. Even with the best intentions of making heaven on earth it only succeeds in making it a hell – that hell which man alone prepares for his fellow-men.”

  • When MPS uses the term “peaty malt” he really means it….keep all lit matches at bay. : )

    I had a friend in college that loved Laphroaig…at the time (maybe they still do it), they had a certificate for a square inch claim to the peat bogs of the surrounding area. I still only partake in Scotch with friends to humor them…but the image of a burning square inch of peat will now assist me when I tilt one back with them.
    .
    Back on topic…Thanks for the replies Bonchamps, MPS and others. So if I understand it correctly, Jefferson would have supported each state’s determination to be as religiously tolerant or not, per an application of the the 10th Amendment.
    .
    Now, from the perspective of Dignitatis Humanae, as presented at Crisis (http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/do-all-religions-deserve-respect), absolute religious tolerance of every religion (ie, the entire spectrum of religious practice) isn’t good. Further, religious freedom can be, under justice, restricted…obvious example: human sacrifice. But then I pose this (from the link):

    The Council fathers also have this to say: “Civil society has the right to defend itself against possible abuses committed on the pretext of freedom of religion. It is the special duty of government to provide this protection. However, government is not to act in an arbitrary fashion or in an unfair spirit of partisanship. Its action is to be controlled by juridical norms which are in conformity with the objective moral order.” For our purposes the first and the last lines are the most important. The first possibly signals again an awareness of the problems that might be caused by false religion. The last tells us that government should be guided in its actions by the “objective moral order.”

    Take the above quote, mix in Jefferson and Locke for a moment…and then superimpose this mixture upon the HHS contraception mandate oppression. If the Gub’ment, through the actions of Sebellius and Holder, is acting in accordance with the “objective moral order” (please note the sarcasm), then aren’t they able to legally and within the realm of justice oppress Little Sisters of the Poor? Of course we reject that interpretation, but what would stop Jefferson from arguing that, or at least remaining silent on the dispute?

  • John,
    .
    Answer 1: http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/01/09/ursuline-nuns-thomas-jefferson-and-synchronicity/
    .
    Answer 2: http://www.thomasmore.org/blog/2012/02/thomas-jefferson-president-obama-hhs-mandate
    .
    The HHS mandate has absolutely nothing to do with moral order. The government doesn’t even make that claim when challenged in court. It is about achieving “gender equality”, a purely political goal. I suppose anyone can say that anything they propose is in the interests of “objective moral order”, though, should they want to.
    .
    Jefferson had zero interest – none, nada, zilch – in forcing people to behave contrary to their consciences and beliefs when there was no compelling, overriding issue at stake, which is precisely the case with the HHS mandate. He was not an ideological sociopath who believed it was his mission to force everyone to contribute to some grand political vision.

  • “It does reject the old Aristotelian idea that the state precedes man…”

    To quote something I wrote on a previous thread, “Aristotle famously called Man a ζῷον πολιτικόν – a political animal, For him, it is as blindingly obvious that people everywhere live in communities as that bees live in hives or wolves in packs.” It is in this sense that the polis logically precedes the individual.

    Now, the good of a human community must be a specifically human good and the Catholic political philosopher, Yves Simon identifies this: “the highest activity/being in the natural order is the free arrangement of men about what is good, brought together in an actual polity, where it is no longer a mere abstraction.”

    It is an old saying that the people make the laws and then the laws make the people. Recall the famous epitaph to Leonidas and his immortal 300 that “they died in obedience to the laws.” For the Spartan, the laws of Lycurgus were no mere constraint imposed from without; they pervaded his nature and expressed themselves in his actions. That is what Montaigne meant, when he says that “to obey is the proper office of a rational soul.” No wonder Sparta has been called “a lightening-flash of freedom, in the dark night of tyranny and crime.”

  • MPS,

    “Communities” are not “the state.” It was blindingly obvious to Locke too that men lived with women, had children, and established households and even communities before there ever was a state, which as a matter of historical fact, I believe is the truth.
    .
    Sparta was as close to a fascist regime in the ancient world as could be imagined, which is why it was adored by totalitarian fanatics such as Rousseau. I don’t say that it had no admirable and formidable qualities, but one wonders how the helots felt about those.
    .
    But none of this is really about history. It is about moral precedence. Man doesn’t simply precede the state in time, but in moral importance. The state exists to serve man and to protect what he has a right to acquire by nature. Men have a right to limit its power over their lives because it is their servant. If man exists to serve the state, well, what can I say – look at the bloody Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, fascist Italy. There’s your state preceding man.

  • “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State” – Mussolini
    .
    Sign me up for some of that.

  • Bonchamps

    The individual does not exist to serve the state – that is the fascist distortion of what Plato taught – rather the state is necessary to his perfection, to the fulfilment of his nature.

    As Hegel says, “If the state is confused with civil society, and if its specific end is laid down as the security and protection of property and personal freedom, then the interest of the individuals as such becomes the ultimate end of their association, and it follows that membership of the state is something optional. But the state’s relation to the individual is quite different from this. Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life. Unification pure and simple is the true content and aim of the individual, and the individual’s destiny is the living of a universal life. His further particular satisfaction, activity and mode of conduct have this substantive and universally valid life as their starting point and their result.”

    This is why Yves Simon says that, in this state [of abstraction], man is “no longer unequivocally real.” To clarify, Simon then adds: “Human communities are the highest attainment of nature for they are virtually unlimited with regard to diversity of perfections, and are virtually immortal.” He is talking not about what God has in mind for us in eternal life but what, in this world, is the purpose of the “highest of the practical sciences,” as Aristotle called politics.

  • MPS, did the German Third Reich understand itself to be the sort of Hegelian state you describe which represents a kind of perfection?

  • “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” — TJ ”

    ” or to the people”
    .
    “We, the people… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the united States of America.” The Connecticut Baptist Church’s fears have become our daily living nightmare.”
    Some people think that “Church” means the body of people. “Church” means one living human person and he is free to have his Faith and his Conscience.
    Freedom and Justice are predicated on virtue. Those who take license exile themselves to a gulag of their own making.
    The Church of Connecticut was a church that happened to be in Connecticut. If it was supported by taxes, then, unless all churchs and denominations were supported by taxes, it would have been discrimination and taxation without representation. All education ought to be supported as education not as public or private school because all taxes are collected from all people.

  • Being overrun by immoral despots is not American.
    The atheist and the secular humanist are to be tolerated. Atheism and secular humanism are to be exposed as the fraud, the perjury, the lie, that they are. Atheism refuses to acknowledge the existence of God. The Supreme Sovereign Being, our Creator, endows all unalienable human, civil rights. Unalienable rights are endowed by the infinite God. The state, constituted by man, is finite and all rights endowed by the state are finite. Finite human rights have an expiration date, and unless constantly renewed and ratified, they may expire or lose their efficacy. Finite human right, unacknowledged, puts man at the mercy of the state.
    Infinite human rights come from the infinite God. Unending and unalienable human rights comes an unending and unalienable Creator.
    It is the desire of God that all men be free. Our Creator has created man in freedom, freedom from enslavement to every vice and every addiction to every sort of evil. Man is created to be especially free to choose good over the deceit of the devil.
    It is the will of God that man might live in peace with his neighbor. God inspires man to constitute the state that all unalienable rights of man might be shared to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” all future generations, persons still in the mind of God, our Creator.
    It is the duty of the state constituted by man’s free will to deliver equal Justice. Equal Justice may only be established through virtue, through the innocence and virginity of the newly begotten human soul created in legal and moral innocence. Manmade Justice will always bear the mark of finite, imperfect man.
    Freedom of Religion must remain constant so that when the atheist and secular humanist freely choose Truth, the unalienable right to freedom of religion may be theirs to embrace. This is evident in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Church.
    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
    Citing the whole First Amendment, including the phrase, ”or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” Jefferson then comments about “a wall of separation of church and state.” The wall of separation of church and state has been abused by the atheist and the secular humanist to remove any free expression of religion, to impose atheism, their own agenda, to bamboozle and tyrannize and obliterate the unalienable human rights endowed by our Creator, God, the Supreme Sovereign Being in Whose image and likeness man is created with a rational, immortal human soul, endowed with free will, intellect and sovereign personhood. Enough of the half-truths of atheism and the skullduggery of secular humanism, if the atheist and secular humanist wish to impose finite civil rights on the souls of men, equal Justice dictates that they are the first to have their finite civil rights enforced by the state and by the state removed, finished. The atheist and the secular humanist want unalienable human rights while imposing their finite and removable human rights on the souls of men. This injustice must be rectified and the whole truth be re-established and re-ratified.
    Jefferson also cites “ the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience.” “ Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties”
    This statement alone is the response to the Obamacare’s HHS Mandate.

  • “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State” – Mussolini . Sign me up for some of that.”

    Believe me, Bonchamps, you do not want to go there.
    .
    If the individuals all practice virtue and brotherly love, they may constitute the state. The criminal, by virtue of his exiling himself through his crime, ceases to constitute the state. Persona non grata.

  • MPS,
    .
    “But the state’s relation to the individual is quite different from this. Since the state is mind objectified, it is only as one of its members that the individual himself has objectivity, genuine individuality, and an ethical life.”
    .
    There’s quite a miscommunication here, isn’t there? In the minds of classical liberals, “the state” is specifically a body of armed men with a monopoly of violence over a given geographical territory. The way that popes and maybe Hegel too used “the state” was akin to the way that classical liberals may speak of communities or societies. “The state” as organized violence IS optional, DOES exist almost entirely to preserve private property (life, liberty, estate). “The state” as a community of human beings sharing values, culture, technology is society. It too is optional – anyone can go live in the wilderness alone. But I agree that no one will develop in isolation. No classical liberal believes that men can develop or ought to seek to develop as isolate individuals outside of society. What Hegel calls “civil society”, we call the state. What he calls “the state”, we call society. This is semantic confusion at its finest, without a doubt.

  • ““The state” as organized violence IS optional, DOES exist almost entirely to preserve private property (life, liberty, estate).”
    .
    This so called “violence” is called armed forces. Violence is used in the commission of a crime. Armed forces are used in the protection of the community or self.
    .
    But I agree that no one will develop in isolation. No classical liberal believes that men can develop or ought to seek to develop as isolate individuals outside of society .”
    Hermit monks and the desert Fathers grew in holiness in isolation, not without of the state but for the state.

  • Thanks for the comments and clarifications. I would tend to agree that the terms that each philosopher and commenter use are critical for understanding…I can’t help but wonder if much of what many of us have said is the same but with different words. MacIntyre’s After Virtue discussed the fact that when no one properly understands the language of moral philosophy, it’s terribly hard to come to any agreement on anything.
    .
    If I may synthesize and put this into my own language (contributing to the dilemma I just mentioned…O Irony!) and see if I’ve understood properly, the individual man and society exist in an interdependent relationship. Drawing on the notions of how subsidiarity (which tends to focus downward) and solidarity (which tends to focus across the entirety of humanity) need to be a “Both And” and not an “Either Or”, man and society are similiarly (though not identically) positioned.
    .
    An individual (and this is where my limited knowledge of Thomism and the greater Catholic application to theology / philosophy might fail me) is ordered toward the objective goods of worshiping his Creator, pursuit of virtues (Cardinal and Spiritual), and the Great Commission with respect to his fellow man. That inevitably aims work toward a just and good society (I’m using “just” more as I understand Aquinas to mean it, not your average progressive). A just society, in turn, tries to foster an environment in which individuals can achieve their own objective good.
    .
    I think it’s important that MPS discussed the way in which Plato had been twisted…In that same line, C.S. Lewis noted in Mere Christianity, the simple premise of which entity, the man or the state, is more important is, among other things, related to the belief in the lifespan of each.

    Again, Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. . . . And immortality makes this other difference, which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilisation, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of the state or civilisation, compared with his, is only a moment.

    http://merciarising.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/cs-lewis-state-and-individual/

    I think that this certainly explains why collectivist governments (I find Hayek’s generalization to be quite appropriate, as there’s little net difference between fascists, communists, and any other type of socialist) invariably will make determinations that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one” and then, in turn, lead to the Culture of Death. In light of that, the Christian alternative would look to Christ’s example, where He would leave the 99 sheep to look for the one which was lost. So, I think it’s fair to say (unless I’ve botched an understanding) that the individual is more important than the state (bad connotation) and probably the society (good connotation). So I think this would find agreement with Bonchamps point in the primacy of the individual. But to MPS’ point, it’s a “chicken and the egg” question; you necessarily must have man and society, even if the “egg came first” (in this situation, the man). Maybe more appropriate to use a plant seed…the seed is essential, but without growing into a mature plant and flowering, it hasn’t reached its proper end (MPS’ comment about assisting to man’s proper end). But this is the break with my comparison to subsidiarity and solidarity…those I regard as “co-equal” compared to the individual and the polis.
    .
    Further, if I’m understanding and translating between Bonchamps accent from a classical liberal and Michael’s of a Catholic theologian/philosopher, an individual who is aligned properly with an objective morality won’t come into conflict with a society aligned the same. To Mary’s point, we have a situation in present times where the societystate is not aligned properly.
    .
    It’s when either the individual or the society stray from the proper moral code that they become unjust, and therefore either the criminal or the oppressive state. A just war undertaken by the state is a proper exercise of its capacity, insofar as it is protecting the good and defending against the bad. When it is turning firehoses on some people, intentionally starving other people, or subsidizing infanticide, it has divorced itself from justice.
    .
    Hopefully that makes sense, as I’m trying to make sure I’m understanding properly…I think I’m still around the “first level of understanding”…I heard it once said that there are three levels of understanding, depending upon your ability to explain a topic or thought to first yourself, second to a friend (who will grant you some leeway) and finally to an enemy (who will find any holes in your presentation and challenge you on it). If, of course, I’m still at the “zeroth level of understanding”, I welcome any nudges, hints or sledgehammers anyone might provide.

  • Mary,
    “Hermit monks and the desert Fathers grew in holiness in isolation, not without of the state but for the state.”
    .
    I think there’s a distinction here, and I’m probably the least best to articulate it given the rambling I just went through. I believe the difference is that in the case of a hermit monk, there’s a relationship to the greater society, but a supernatural one. Whereas in the context of politics / philosophy, the question is more discussing what authority the state has over the individual. An anarcho-individualist, who would reject any state authority, would be supporting a notion of isolation completely different than what a monk might be doing.

  • John by any other name: You said it correctly. Thank you for the clarification.
    .
    “It’s when either the individual or the society stray from the proper moral code that they become unjust, and therefore either the criminal or the oppressive state. A just war undertaken by the state is a proper exercise of its capacity, insofar as it is protecting the good and defending against the bad. When it is turning firehoses on some people, intentionally starving other people, or subsidizing infanticide, it has divorced itself from justice.”

  • Bonchamps

    Thank you for your clarification.

    Certainly, for the ancients, the polis or respublica (the “public thing”) was distinguished from other communities by the fact that it was independent and not subject to any external authority.

    A polity cannot exist without laws, enacted or customary. That is what Simon means, when he says that it is a “free arrangement of men about what is good brought together in an actual polity where it is no longer a mere abstraction.” That is also what Hegel means, when he says that “the state is mind objectified.”

    As a matter of history, many societies have had very limited means of law enforcement, but there was always a clearly recognized difference between self-help in enforcing a legal claim and mere aggression; a creditor would call up witnesses and pronounce a particular formula, when seizing his debtor’s goods or person; magistrates did not adjudicate claims themselves (an invidious task), but appointed an arbitrator, with the consent of both parties and so on.

    For a Catholic, like Simon, ““Beyond the satisfaction of individual needs, the association of men serves a good unique in plenitude and duration, the common good of the human community.” This “common good” is not a separate “being” into which individual persons are somehow subsumed. Rather it is a “good” that recognizes that each citizen also has a transcendent destiny that is not merely political. Moreover, the polity itself exists as a relation of order among men, whose being, whose substance, grounds the polity’s reality, which cannot exist without them. That is where it differs from Fascist and Socialist concepts of the collective.

Makes Sense

Sunday, February 2, AD 2014

4 Responses to Makes Sense

  • Correlations =/= causation. Or there may be a different cause at work.
    For instance, Nevada has the highest alcohol use but that is probably because people go there specifically to indulge in vice.
    Likewise, as states become more liberal they increase the social safety net (providing employment for health-Nazi Ed.D. and MSW types plus an army of “civil servants”) but also attracting poor “clients” who are likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

    This provides endless opportunities for elites to discover the need for tax-funded drug and alcohol programs.

    Just a theory. But I work at a shelter and the poor certainly vote with their feet for NY vs. sunnier climes like GA, MS, or even VA.

  • Religion, for example, has been linked to healthier lifestyles by discouraging alcohol and tobacco consumption while encouraging exercise and personal hygiene.
    The last phrase may well be correct, But The monks in the early Church used to brew beer as a way to get their dietary protein, because they were generally vegetarian. And what about the favoured spirit on many, Benedictine.
    And wineries -many of the famous wines in France were started by religious orders. One of our better vintages down here is named “Saints”; and in the Hawkes Bay region, the Marist Fathers had their seminary where, to be self sufficient, they started “Mission Estate” a very fine vintage, and still produce much of the altar wine for our churches.
    As for beer, I can only say that I and my family must be descended from the same families as those monks in the early Church – Saxony, England and the Celtic regions, for we believe, along with most of my countrymen, that a moderate but regular consumption of good ale is a balm to the spirit, a good health providor to the body and a means to solve the world’s problems – especially with a group of men gathered around a leaner in a pleasant bar for an hour or so.

  • I know that Connecticut has “gone to hell in a basket.” Our governor has made it possible to sell liquor on Sunday now and the state is now in the drug growing
    business! I hope to move out of here soon. Any ideas where to go where the
    Lord rules? No know any, I bet!

  • I would think that drug usage is higher also in politically liberal states. (I only read the teaser, not the entire article).

Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

Tuesday, January 21, AD 2014

Hello again TAC! It has been nearly a year since I posted here, and it is good to be back. I have a long one for you this time, but I think you will find it interesting and my hope is that it will contribute to an ongoing discussion about an important topic.

In December of last year John Zmirak, a Catholic author I know and respect, wrote a piece for Aleteia.org titled “Illiberal Catholicism.” In it, Zmirak takes to task a growing tendency among both Catholic traditionalists (bear in mind I consider myself a traditionalist) and various leftists to denigrate liberalism in general and America’s classical liberal heritage in particular. The piece rubbed quite a few people the wrong way, as several hundred Facebook posts I skimmed would attest. There were lengthier responses from some corners of the Catholic blogosphere as well. If I had to offer the thesis statement of the piece, it would be this:

 [T]here is something very serious going on in Catholic intellectual and educational circles, which — if it goes on unchecked — will threaten the pro-life cause, the Church’s influence in society, and the safety and freedom of individual Catholics in America.  The growth of illiberal Catholicism will strengthen the power of the intolerant secular left, revive (and fully justify) the old anti-Catholicism that long pervaded America, and make Catholics in the United States as laughably marginal as they now are in countries like Spain and France…

From there, Zmirak provides us with an overview of the lack of tolerance in Church history that was bound to rankle traditionalists, as well as an endorsement of political and economic liberty that anti-capitalist traditionalists and leftists could not but despise. He also explicitly identified with “Tea Party” Catholicism – what could be more philistine for the enlightened anti-capitalist crowd, traddie or leftie?

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81 Responses to Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

  • I have always felt this way, but I am conflicted partially. I mean, force and the threat of force when it comes to religious convictions seem to be woefully inadequate just in terms of human nature; there is a big difference between “I believe God is real” and “I believe if I say that I believe in God, this will keep me from getting whacked, or could get me a nice government job.”

    So, I wonder, is religious liberty always and everywhere going to be the best option, even though it (in and of itself) is no more than a concession to human nature rather than something to be sought for its own goodness?

    A lot of the popes I have read on this seem to suggest that the ideal state has no religious tolerance, but I wonder whether the ideal state could exist, and whether this belief falls within the parameters of their statements taken holistically.

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  • At the same time we cannot reject religious liberty in practice, unless we are prepared to be denied the right to publicly exist and profess as authentic Catholics. We must know and profess that our religion is true, and yes, that other religions are in fact false, while simultaneously defending their right to be false.

    Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.
    But some religions do not play well with others; I’m thinking of Islam and Leftism, each of which is built to exclude all other ways of finding God (or the Good). To defend religious liberty is necessary but not sufficient when professing Christians cannot profess and still earn a living baking cakes.
    As to the separation of Church and State, I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot. And no, simply repeating the phrase “human flourishing” over and over again does not correct the characterization.
    Eugene Volokh had a recent blog post addressing this problem with how arguments are framed: Your side tries to impose your beliefs; my side seeks justice. Any Catholics of whatever stripe who assist the Left in framing arguments this way are scoring an own goal. Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.

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  • Here, here!!

  • “Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.” Excellent statement of truth, tamsin.
    Films, movies, books, the media, and every politician have agendas. Jesus Christ came to serve God and man. Religious Liberty is about the freedom to come to know, to love and to serve God in thought, speech, press and peaceable assembly.

  • “Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.”

    I do not believe that Catholic policy in the age of Christendom denied man his free will. The Church never recognized forced conversions as valid. The Church has always held that a baptism is not valid for a person of the age of reason who does not consent to that baptism. What the Church did do, however, was forbid the public expression of religions such as Islam within Christian lands. I would not recommend this practice today, but can I condemn it as an intrinsic evil in violation of a basic human right? I won’t.

    “I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot.”

    Did I do that somewhere? For my part, I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. It is a civilization-destroying ideology.

  • In order to speak in a complete way about “religious liberty” one must first come to grips with the Tradition concerning “Church and State”.

    Christ Jesus introduced a distinction between state and religion for the first time in human history. Since all governments, and families for that matter, saw a profound unity between ‘authority’ and ‘the divine’, leaders of governments and ‘fathers of families’ were raised to new heights. In most cases, being divinized, becoming ‘gods’ or having ‘god-like’ authority. Even ancient Israel when it finally established their monarchy endowed the king with divine authority-just take a look at Psalm 2 (read in the context of the ancient monarchy). Also recognize the very close association in the Jewish mind of the authority in families with God, in the relationship of the fourth commandment immediately following the first three all of which have to do with the Lord God.

    When Jesus was speaking, both Rome and Jerusalem saw no real separation of religion and state, yet Jesus said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. It might seem that this statement was a coy avoidance of a dispute over giving taxes to Caesar, but the whole question about the coin, and whose image was on the coin-Caesar’s has a deeper meaning. Caesar himself, as a human being is created in the image of God. Thus, the ‘state’ has only certain rights and expectations while the Original-God has the right to all or love with out whole being etc.

    If there were a question about this, then the Lord’s response to Pilate during His trial cinches it. There in John 18, Jesus says that His Kingdom does not belong to this world. Jesus is indeed a king, but not a political king. He reminded Pilate that his authority did not come from Caesar but God Himself yet that power and authority is not absolute. It is both under God and bounded by “truth”: the truth about God and the truth about ‘man’

    The Church Fathers were very clear about this ‘distinction’ [I call it a distinction because I do not want to confuse it in anyway with the supposed principle of the “Separation of Church and State” as it is understood today. This distinction however is closer to the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment.] In the Letter of Diognetus, there is a wonderful pithy remark which sums it up: “we pray for the emperor, we do not worship him”

    In the Arian crisis, there was a profound political implication at work as well in the heresy. If indeed Jesus Christ was not the consubstantial Son of the Father, then all bets were off who represented God’s authority on earth. If the Arians were right, then the Emperor represented God’s authority [there was more than conviction at work with so many emperors fighting the nicene bishops]. However, if Jesus Christ is indeed homoousion [consubstantial] with the Father then He first of all images the authority of the Father and after him, the bishop, most especially the bishop of Rome. The Fathers of the Council understood this implication. That is why they put a permanent reminder into the Creed: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate” They were reminding people for all time that “Caesar” is not God but very much a frail, sinful man.

    Pope Gelasius would further this tradition in his ‘two swords”: the political sword (authority) and the religious sword-with the understanding that there was a separation of the two powers.

    In all of this there was never a hint of equivocation of watering down the ‘true religion’ whether in terms of the Church’s relations with the pagans or the ultimate heretics, the Arians. In the early Councils, the Church (on al sides of the disputes) found the machinations and scheming of the “Christian emperors” problematic to say the least. Their scheming led to the exaltation of the bishop of Byzantium into becoming the Patriarch of Constantinople, second only to the pope (but for political reasons!). In later councils both Nestorians and Monophysites broke with the Church more for the interventions of the Emperor than for the doctrinal language and questions at hand.. More than one Pope was pressured by the Emperor to soften his stand or abide by a decision etc, even one being abducted from Rome and brought to Constantinople in chains. The Church, especially the Church in Rome saw very specific distinctions between the two powers. it would be only later that things got confused and even mushy

    It was Augustine, the great Church Father who really brought in confusion. In order to quell the reactionary schism of the Donatists, Augustine, in exasperation, wrote to the local Roman authority to intervene and to squash the reactionaries. In his letter he gave all sorts of high sounding reasons to do so, and in this way paved the way for the Church from that time forward to use the arm of the political authority to deal with the Church’s ‘problems’. From this heretics were burned, witch hunts took place and pogroms of the Jews found ‘succor’

    So which is really the more traditional?

  • Liberty is God-given.

    A government that infringes on a God-given, human right is illegitimate: organized brigandage. They can take your life and property. They cannot take your liberty or your soul.

    Fear not that which can only destroy your physical life but cannot kill the soul. Fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. See Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:2-7.

  • “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” God created Caesar and Caesar’s state through the sovereignty of personhood. Personhood comes before citizenship in order. Caesar belongs to God. Christ was put to death for blasphemy. Separation of church and state will forbid state punishment for sins. The church forgives sins, the state prosecutes crime. As Thomas More said: “then let God arrest him.”
    Atheism undermines the sovereign state, denies unalienable civil rights and the Divine image in man. “Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?” Both, as church virtue and state necessity. Only by admitting to church and state can there be separation in principle of each.

  • Botolph,

    I appreciate your overview of the ancient Christian conception of “church and state.” It certainly isn’t the first issue that St. Augustine may have mucked up either. But I don’t believe that the Medieval/Early Modern view of church and state that prevailed – at least officially – up until Vatican II was in any sense a contradiction of the “two swords” doctrine. Popes from Boniface VIII to Leo XIII reaffirmed this doctrine and always understood the demarcating line between secular and ecclesiastical authority. The question of religious liberty is related but ultimately distinct. Church and State may have different functions, which is what the two swords refers to, but States still have positive duties, among which is the recognition of the true religion.

    I don’t believe that this recognition necessarily entails the sort of repression that Augustine requested. The ideal Catholic statesmen would have discretion regarding the implementation of the doctrine. Religious toleration is compatible with an established religion, in which case the established religion would simply receive preferential treatment while all others would more or less be on their own, to sink or swim according to their merits.

    To put it simply, there’s a difference between the idea and its implementation.

  • Bonchamps,

    You are correct that the Medieval and early modern Church is not ruptured from the earlier ‘two swords’ of the early and Patristic Church. My point was to show that the ‘two swords’ and the accompanying way the Church dealt with its problems [persuading and if necessary calling a Council: basicallly putting into practice Matthew 18] was very different than the way the medieval/early Modern Church dealt with such issues: call in the govt, the troops and the use of force.

    See my point is to put a mirror up for us to see ourselves in a very distinct/different light. A light we used to be, but over the centuries became frustrated with dissent, error etc and began to rely more and more on the other sword to enforce our issues. Until the American experiment prevented it for their own reasons [not theological ones], we believed that this second way of doing things was the only way to deal with our problems. The American experiment ‘shocked’ us into looking at our whole history and soon we discovered this older truer way.

    We still hold that the Catholic Church is the true Church etc but we can deal with our difficulties with our own tools, ‘our own ‘sword”, and not turn to the State to enforce our doctrines etc.

    There are moral issues that are very much in the vanguard in our own day. Let’s take for example Life issues. Is it enough for us to work to change laws and criminal codes in order to end such atrocities as abortion etc. Yes, they are important but the real work is to raise consciousnesses, begin to illuminate clouded and even ignorant minds, melt hardened hearts and seek the conversion-but not forced conversion-of our neighbors. It is then and only then that America will truly be pro-life.

    Error does not have rights. People who are in error have the rights

  • I would distinguish between whether or not it is prudent for the Church to demand the use of force to further some aim on the one hand, and whether or not the Church ought to proclaim a positive obligation on the part of governments to acknowledge the one true faith, or – if dealing with non-Catholic governments – the obligation of Catholics to support, when practicable, the establishment of such a government.

    I make the distinction as well between the minimal and maximum demands of an establishment of religion. Religious toleration is entirely compatible with the minimum demands, which are public recognition of the true faith, legislators who profess the true faith, and preferential tax support (I don’t like the idea of subsidies, but exemptions are fine). Nothing about this arrangement necessarily entails the violent repression of those who adhere to other religions.

    This minimal establishment would be in accordance with what Pope Leo XIII prescribed, in my view.

  • Hello Bonchamps,
    I apologize for the confusion — I think we are in close agreement as regards free will, and reason. My complaints were not directed at you. Your discussion of religious liberty got me started thinking about the larger problem: define religion.
    .
    I wonder if we would be better off defending “conscience” rights rather than “religious” liberty, because the word “religion” is poorly understood, or has been mis-defined, to our detriment in the game of writing laws in this country. Per my link to Volokh.
    .
    I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. Agreed. It is a tenet of their religion.
    .
    Thank you for the excerpts from Pope Leo’s writings. Very helpful!

  • If I may, (do not let my appearances of humility fool you, as I will any how.) Faith is a gift from God to which man responds in thought, word, and deed, in a relationship with God, our Creator. This acknowledgement of God cannot be prohibited by any entity, not man, nor beast, nor demon. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”, a constitutional relationship that may not be prohibited.
    In thought, in prayers and petition in meditation and contemplation. In word, speech and free press. In peaceable assembly, community, church, in the forming human being in the womb. Man and his God are inseparable. The atheist denies his Creator and his immortal soul which is perjury in a court of law. The human person is endowed with unalienable, that is, infinite civil rights by his infinite Supreme Sovereign Being.

  • There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    The real threat to religious freedom from the liberal state was well summarised by Lord Acton: “Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

  • “There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    And yet, MPS, there was a time during which the Church did insist upon coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls, and not public order. The implication of DH remains: the Church supposedly ignored or denied a fundamental human right for nearly two thousand years, an utterly preposterous conclusion. Moreover, DH does regard as right and good that which Pope Leo XIII and other pontiffs had designated as an evil that at most was to be tolerated. That line of thinking is an insult to the entire history of Christendom. DH goes too far. Pope Leo XIII found the right spot, acknowledging that the Church may have to conform to the times, but still insisting on the fundamental distinction between right and wrong – as opposed to changing it!

    There is another problem. It’s a thin semantic line, but there are likely many people who would regard the official recognition of a religion by a state to be an act of coercion if it is to go beyond mere words and extend into a minimal policy of a religious test for public officials and tax exemptions and/or subsides. It may be impossible to practically separate establishment from coercion.

  • Bonchamps,

    I will certainly let MPS speak for himself. He is extremely capable. However, I might point out that you have a gap in your own logic.

    You state that indeed the Church did use coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls and not for the sake of public order. We are agreed. That stems back in the West to Augustine’s ‘request’ that the Roman authorities suppress the recalcitrant reactionary Donatists who were creating havoc for the Church in North Africa. We already established this in another post.

    Yet, what is faith? Is not faith a gift which cannot be prevented from being exercised? Is not faith while fundamentally graced nonetheless be a free human act. How could or can the Church possibly hope to gain unity of faith when the unity is nothing more than coerced conformity? Is faith free or not?

  • Botolph,

    As I previously established, the objective of the Church’s coercion, at least in the Middle Ages and beyond, was to prevent the public expression of non-Catholic religions. The point was not to change a person’s religion by force, but to prevent those of other religions from proselytizing or exerting other influences upon the Christian community. I do not claim that this practice is something that ought to be done in all times and places, but I do reject DH’s necessary implication that it was an intrinsically evil act.

    The Papacy had specifically outlawed forced conversions and would not recognize them. So the question, “is faith free or not”, is not relevant to this discussion. What happens in a man’s head and heart is more or less free, ontologically and morally.

  • Bonchamps,

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that ghettoizing the Jews both physically as in Rome or Warsaw or preventing them from owning property as farmers etc thus ghettoizing them into the financial trades (irony of ironies we did that!) not only was ok but still is IF we had the opportunity?

  • Botolph,

    Is “ghettoizing” the same exact thing as “preventing the public expression of non-Catholic religions”? The answer is quite obviously no. The most prominent example I had mind did not pertain to Jews, but rather to Muslims living in Spain. The Papacy insisted that Catholic rulers forbid the call to prayer and other public expressions of Islam in Christian lands, not for “public order”, which I presume John Courtney Murray would be ok with, but for the sake of souls.

    Distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate here.

  • Bonchamps,

    I agree distinctions and semantics are indeed at least 90% of the debate here.

    My first comment concerning the pope’s insistance concerning the Moslems of reconquered Spain, is that he probably did not have to insist too hard. The Spanish and Portuguese Catholics had been repressed for centuries and, on the human level, it was payback time.

    You make an interesting point however. The pope insisted that Catholic rulers….. Are you interpreting a pope’s insistence, or even a ‘ruling’ to be Church teaching? [As you say distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate]. You see I would maintain that what appeared to be ‘set policy etc’ based on tradition (notice the small “t” not the capital “T”) is the same as Magisterial teaching. They are not the same.

  • Botolph,

    I would think that a directive issued through one of the official councils of the Church, in this case the Council of Vienne, would count as Magisterial. Here is the entire paragraph, #25, followed by a link to the text:

    “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place, in the hearing of both Christians and Saracens and there make public declarations in his honour. There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. A great number of Saracens flock there quite openly from far and near. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated any further without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on catholic princes, one and all, who hold sovereignty over the said Saracens and in whose territory these practices occur, and we lay on them a pressing obligation under the divine judgment that, as true Catholics and zealous for the Christian faith, they give consideration to the disgrace heaped on both them and other Christians. They are to remove this offence altogether from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet. They shall also forbid anyone in their dominions to attempt in future the said pilgrimage or in any way give countenance to it. Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.”

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/vienne.htm

    That and DH occupy two different moral universes, do they not?

  • Bonchamps,

    I do not accept that the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council are in two different moral universes. I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.

    If you take another look at what the Council states (in your own quote above) you can ask yourself this question. Is the Council addressing a doctrinal, moral or disciplinary issue. Now it is absolutely true that the three are not totally independent, yet, like each Person of the Most Blessed Trinity they are distinct and have their own mission. I believe we both agree that the ‘statement’ is not doctrinal-no doctrine is in question (except of course the preservation of the Catholic Church and faith) But no specific doctrine is being debated etc.
    I will grant that there is a fine line of distinction between the moral and the disciplinary. In fact for many they seem to be the same, however they are not. Moral teaching fundamentally is the Apostolic Moral Tradition that has been passed down through the centuries etc, needs to be passed on, preserved, protected [for example the Church’s teaching on abortion, marriage, birth control]. The Council of Vienne is not passing on Apostolic Moral Tradition here. Instead, what we have is a very important part of Church life called “discipline’. Canon law is very much rooted in this. It has to do with how Catholic life is or ought to be lived out at that time. Unlike doctrine or moral teachings however, disciplines, canon law while organic nevertheless changes.

    As to the authority of ‘canons’ of Ecumenical Councils, they are of varying levels of authority and in fact some are not even accepted at all. I presume you kneel during the Canon of the Mass [Eucharistic Prayer], yet the canons of Nicea I call for the faithful to stand. There are canons from the Council of Constantinople I (381) that the Catholic Church refuses to accept-placing the Patriarch of Constantinople second in rank among the Patriarchs because he is the bishop of the New Rome while the pope is the Bishop of old Rome [notice nothing to do with Peter etc]

    Councils and all Church documents, like Sacred Scripture need to be exegeted Bonchamps. In a letter to Fr Feeney S.J. in the late 1940’s, the official communique stated that no one should interpret a Church teaching, statement etc except with the understanding of the Church.

  • “I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.”

    Is that so? I don’t know how you can agree, when I would not hold that the issues they face are so different. They are not. The same issue is before both councils, at least in general if not in the specifics, and they came to two different conclusions.

    I never made the claim that it was a doctrinal statement. What I do claim, because it is quite simply true, is that what the Church called for at the council is in direct contradiction to what Vatican II calls for with respect to religious liberty. Now you can say that this is merely a “disciplinary” matter, but frankly I think that what Pope Leo XIII wrote was more aligned with a shift in Church discipline. Vatican II, as opposed to Pope Leo, distinct from Pope Leo, proclaims a fundamental human right, a God-given right. This goes beyond discipline. I do not say it extends all the way to dogma.

    I also don’t see how it is relevant to invoke disputed canons of ancient councils to question the authority of a canon of a council that is not in the least disputed by Catholics.

  • Bonchamps

    One very important point about the mediaeval practice is that the Church courts always claimed exclusive jurisdiction over cases of heresy and apostasy. The temporal courts could only punish those relaxed to the secular arm. In other words, the jurisdiction of the state over religious opinions was consistently denied.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, such cases were extremely rare. In the year 1222, Archbishop Stephen Langton held at Oxford a provincial council, where a deacon who had turned Jew for the love of a Jewess was relaxed and burned. That is the first instance in English history of someone being handed over to the secular arm and burnt. The next recorded case is the burning of Sawtry the Lollard in 1400, also relaxed by a provincial council as a relapsed heretic, having some years before abjured the same heresies before the bishop of Lincoln. He was a priest and his bishop did not even suspend him after his abjuration.

    Two executions in the 800 years, from St Augustine’s mission in 597 to the Statute De Hæretico Comburendo – I leave open the question of whether Sawtry was burned at common law or under that statute; the sources are unclear. Bracton who begins the series of English law reports, on the basis of the 1222 case, says it is the penalty for apostasy; he does not mention heresy.

    In Scotland, the first person burned for heresy was John Resby, an English Lollard, in 1407. He taught that no one not in a state of grace could exercise any authority, ecclesiastical or civil – Heady stuff. In 1433, Paul Craw or Crawer, [Pavel Kravař] a Bohemian physician and a Hussite, was burned.

    It is only when we come to the Reformation period, nearly a century later that we find a spate of burnings: Patrick Hamilton, a Lutheran, was burned in 1527; in 1517, at the age of 13, he had been appointed titular abbot of Fearn, from which he drew the revenues, but never visited. Henry Forrest was burned in 1533, David Straiton, excommunicated for resisting payment of teind in 1534, Thomas Forrest and Duncan Simson, also John Kyllour and John Beveridge, Dominicans and Jerome Russell, a Franciscan, all in 1539, The St John’s Toun Martyrs of 1543 were; Robert Lamb, William Anderson, James Hunter, James Raveleson, James Finalson and Helen Stirke. George Wishart, a disciple of Calvin and Zwingli, in 1546 and Walter Milne [alias Myln or Mill] in 1558.

    Again, the requirements of public order were very different in societies in which the ecclesiastical and civil orders were closely intertwined and where religious dissent went hand in hand with defiance of the established government. The French King, for example ruled by the grace of God as roi très-chrétien, anointed by the Church with the oil of Clovis and to attack the Church was to dispute his title.

  • Bonchamps,

    I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry. While I would say that no one is calling for a rejection of this particular disciplinary statement of the Council of Vienne, (therefore not in dispute) it is hardly being called to mind in any way to be revived, renewed etc. It simply was/is a time-bounded discipline.

    Tell me Bonchamps, how do these principles break with Catholic Church teaching?

    “The Sacred Council begins by proclaiming that God Himself has made known to the human race how people by serving Him can be saved and reach happiness in Christ. We believe that this one true religion exists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord entrusted the task of spreading it among all peoples……All are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and the Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it.

    The Sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind peoples’ consciences. Truth can impose itself on the human mind by the force of its own truth, which wins over the human mind by gentleness and power. So while the religious freedom which human beings demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral obligation of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ…..DH 1

    “The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that everyone should be immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, no men and women are forced to act against their convictions nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. The right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civil right.

    It is in accordance with their dignity that all human beings, because they are persons, that is beings endowed with reason and free will, and therefore bearing personal responsibility, are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and to direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth. But human beings cannot satisfy this obligation in a way that is in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy both psychological freedom and immunity from eternal coercion. Therefore the right to religious freedom is based not on subjective attitude but on the very nature of the individual person. For this reason, the right to such imunity continues to exist even in those who do not live p to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it. The exercise of this right cannot be interfered with as long as the just requirements of public order are observed. DH2

  • immunity from eternal coercion

    I think you mean external?

  • c matt

    Yes, the ‘x” got dropped. The word is ‘external coercion”

    Thanks

  • immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, … nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others.

    Seems this would prohibit the banning of a public Saracen call to prayer as was done by the Council of Vienne.

  • c. matt

    A key phrase of DH is “within due limits”. This is speaking about objective law based on natural law: for example if a religion practiced human sacrifice, or Islamicist terrorist bombing etc.

    Given that, yes, DH would not allow or call for the silencing of the Islamic call to prayer-just as it would state categorically that Islamic countries cannot forbid Catholics practicing their faith etc

  • c. matt,

    You did not explicitly say so, however are you concerned about what seems to be a contradiction between two Ecumencial Councils?

  • Botolph,

    “I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry.”

    This really isn’t called for. I most certainly understand the general point. I did not argue, at any point, that canon 25 of the Council of Vienne was a binding dogmatic statement. However, I did think obvious that such a directive could only issue from a Church that manifestly did NOT share the view of religious liberty expressed in DH, namely that “the human person has a right to religious freedom.” The Saracens were human persons. The Church did not recognize their right to such a freedom.

  • It is also obvious that the Council of Vienne was NOT concerned with the “due limits” of public order, but rather sought to prohibit the public expression of Islam for entirely spiritual and cultural reasons. It is deemed an insult to God, a scandal, for this practice to continue. No explicit threat to public order is ever mentioned.

  • My problem with DH is that it proclaims as a right what the Church was only ever obliged to recognize as an expedient privilege. It elevates an arguable necessity, given the way the world had changed, into a positive virtue. I believe that goes “too far”, and, as I stated as clearly as I could, Leo XIII’s position represents the ideal point along that spectrum.

  • It is trite learning that Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in their legislation nor in their policies.

    As Bl John Henry Newman points out, “Nor is a Council infallible, even in the prefaces and introductions to its definitions. There are theologians of name, as Tournely and Amor, who contend that even those most instructive capitula passed in the Tridentine Council, from which the Canons with anathemas are drawn up, are not portions of the Church’s infallible teaching” and he notes that “in the Third Council, a passage of an heretical author was quoted in defence of the doctrine defined, under the belief he was Pope Julius, and narratives, not trustworthy, are introduced into the Seventh.”

    Following the 1870 decree on papal infallibility, the Swiss bishops declared, “”The Pope is not infallible as a man, or a theologian, or a priest, or a bishop, or a temporal prince, or a judge, or a legislator, or in his political views, or even in his government of the Church”; the same holds for an ecumenical council. What we have from Vienne is a piece of legislation, pure and simple.

  • Bonchamps,

    This did not come up on the agenda of the Council of Vienne, but the Church of that time did not have a major problem at all with human slavery. In fact, as Thomas Aquinas would argue, it a ‘good’ if and when comparing it to the execution of all prisoners etc. However, over time, thanks be to God, the Church began to recognize that slavery was an evil contrary to the human dignity of each and every person created in the image of God. There is something similar going on here. It is a development, not a contradiction or a break in the Moral Tradition of the Church.

    Does this make sense?

  • Botolph,

    In the sense that what you propose is coherent, yes, it “makes sense.” That does not mean I am obliged to agree with it. I disagree with the idea of “moral progress” and all of its Hegelian implications. History is not a process of God coming to understand himself, nor is it the process of the institution that God entrusted with the promulgation of the Gospel coming to understand itself – as has been implicitly and explicitly suggested by the post-conciliar popes, particularly Paul VI and JP II.

    What of slavery? Historically there were different kinds. I think the Christian attitude towards slavery was always practical and humane, as it was towards all social situations it encountered: it established definite moral rules and guidelines that people in positions of power and of subservience had to obey. It made the absolute best out of a situation that was brought about through both barbaric customs as well as the iron laws of scarcity and economic necessity. The abolition of slavery, and we can add serfdom as well, only became a widespread notion when technology had so improved the productivity of human labor that it became counterproductive to rely on masses of raw human labor power to produce goods.

    All of that said, the Church was far ahead of the historical curve in prohibiting the sort of chattel slavery that came to dominate in the early modern period. The Church prohibited the enslavement of indigenous peoples under threat of excommunication. It continued to allow the enslavement of those who were in a state of war with Christendom, such as the Muslim pirates that would take Christian ships and towns and enslave those whom they did not kill. Such was the norm in the world at the time.

    The conditions under which men live, change. The Church, in her wisdom, adapts to these changes. She did not continue to insist that Christian rulers could take Islamic aggressors as slaves, and I don’t believe she continued to insist that Muslim prayers be silenced. Vatican II’s pronouncements were not required for this. It was never necessary to declare that slavery is an absolute moral evil, nor was it necessary to declare, at least by implication, the prohibition of public displays of non-Catholic religions as moral evils. They are simply practices which no longer serve a useful and prudent purpose, and may therefore be set aside in favor of policies that are.

    So you see, I completely agree with you. These are, in the end, policies. It is not me, but Vatican II, that elevates the discourse beyond a mere policy dispute into an absolute moral discussion.

  • Bonchamps

    Vincent of St Lérins (died c 445) – he of the famous “Quod ubique, quod simper, quod ab omnibus – says in his Commonitórium Primum, “Thus even the dogma of the Christian religion must proceed from these laws. It progresses, solidifying with years, growing over time, deepening with age.” It is no great stretch to argue that the same holds true of the moral demands of the Gospel.

    You are right to point to the social conditions which led to tolerance of the practice of slavery (and you could equally have pointed to the question of usury) In societies where religion was central to social cohesion and to the legitimacy of the ruler, individual rights would tend to be marginalised. It is no accident that, as recently as 1745, in the Scottish Highlands, people were Catholic, Episcopalian or Presbyterian by clans. Even now, in Glasgow, the common term of abuse for Catholics is “Fenian B*****s” In an age when religious dissent was closely associated with political disloyalty, the claims of religious freedom were unlikely to be respected..

    This does not mean that the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae does not articulate the demands of the Gospel

  • There is quite a difference, MPS, between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the word “progress” and what people living in a post-Enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolshevik world may mean by that word.

  • Bonchamps,

    Actually I am pleased. You are developing what is known as a ‘historical consciousness’ for you wrote,
    “There is quite a difference between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the woird ‘progress’ and what people living in a post-enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolsehvik world may mean by the word”

    Now that’s progress ! 🙂 Of course now that same sense of differences due to historical context applies to everything-including the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council.

    However, for a more recent witness, how about what Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in his opus magnus “On the Development of Doctrine”?

  • I didn’t think you had a quality that could exceed your pedantry, but you have proven me wrong with your condescension.

    I have had a “historical consciousness” since I have been conscious.

    At no point before Vatican II did the Church ever imply or declare that her practices were at one point intrinsically evil. The pre-conciliar Pontiffs defended the legacy of the Church. They didn’t apologize for it. That’s the difference between “development” and rupture. One of them at least.

  • And your response is not sarcastic etc?

    Point is this. You do not like/ or even reject Vatican II. What you are doing is attempting to justify that stance. If that is the real issue then we can end this here, because this will go on endlessly. I accept Vatican II as both an authentic Ecumenical Council of the Church and authoritative for the faith of the Church. That acceptance is indeed an act of faith, freely made under the grace of the Spirit.

  • Botolph,

    There has been no sarcasm in my response. I have no need of it, or any other rhetorical aggression.

    You are right: I don’t like Vatican II. But I am not engaging in a pointless Vatican II-bash. The point of my post was to highlight a reasonable course between both the rigid reactionary position of some traditionalists and the Vatican II position on religious liberty.

  • Bonchamps

    Ok fair enough. We obviously do not agree on our approach to Vatican II, I both like andaccept it. However, let me say this to you-something I have said repeatedly in here. I do not subscribe in any shape or form to ‘the spirit of Vatican II’. Although a very amorphous phrase etc., there are those who use it (grant you not all) who actually have not simply misinterpreted VII but corrupted it to the point of destroying it. They have done great harm in the Church. They have given support to a supposed style of being Catholic in which one can pick and choose the doctrines etc one likes about Catholicism. At the same time they have so corrupted and betrayed VII that more traditional Catholics are ‘turned off’ or even ‘scadalized’ by what they believe is VII but is really the ‘spirit of VII”‘s interpretation.

    As to the Declaration on Religious Freedom, it needs to be placed in the context not only of the Catholic tradition but within Vatican II itself. For example, Vatican I and Vatican II cannot be divorced as frequently happens by both ideological sides. Vatican I dealt fundamentally with the ab intra of the Church, giving a solid foundation to an understanding of the Church in which the pope is over the whole Church without interference etc of governments etc and the bishop is over the diocese without interference of govt etc. However, the relationship of the Church ab extra-the relation of the Church with the external world was not described etc and as the Bishops entered into the first session of Vatican II it was understood by all that this relationship of the Church with the world outside it needed to be put forward.

    Therefore we have the four fundamental Constitutions: on Divine Revelation, on the Liturgy, on the Church and on the Church in the Modern World. These are the key to VII, everything else revolve around them. Of course they need to be read in continuity and not discontinuity with the Catholic tradition that preceded them. Like Scripture itself, anything quoted out of context etc will give a very different meaning than when it is read in context etc.

    Thus the Declaration (not a Constitution) on Religious Freedom is to be read in the context especially of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. It cannot be read or understood without them. It is rooted in the deep Thomistic contemplation found in Gaudium et Spes which has as its focus and base the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. If one is caught up in the Incarnation one begins to recognize that in a mysterious way, the Incarnate Son of God identified Himself with each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. This does not mean they are “Christians” nor does it mean they are ‘automatically saved”. It does mean that The Incarnate Son has revealed the dignity of each and every human being, a dignity which is not fulfilled by merely giving or gaining certain rights, but that each person from the moment of conception is called to communion, to participate in the Life of the Blessed Trinity in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ.

    It is only in this light, not some secularist view of man, that the religious freedom of all people can be seen-because it is in this freedom that they are obliged ultimately to seek the Way the Truth and the Life

  • Botolph,

    I do not share your assessment of Vatican II, though I certainly understand why conservative Catholics feel obliged to hold it. I will say upfront that I do agree with the basic idea that leftists and extreme liberals have run wild with statements from Vatican II. I can agree to the basic proposition that they go beyond perhaps what was intended.

    However, the dense, complicated rhetoric of Vatican II lends itself quite easily to misinterpretation. The fact that so many people have misunderstood what these documents supposedly mean is the first indication that they are riddled with flaws. Ambiguity can be the result of a genuine failure in clear communication; it can also be the result of deliberate design, the ultimate aim being to construct a document that can simultaneously uphold and deny certain controversial positions and ideas.
    You speak of the context of DH. I happen to know that it was authored by John Courtney Murray, that it was barely ratified by the council having met with stiff resistance from men such as Cardinal Ottaviani, and that Murray explicitly and repeatedly relied on Enlightenment thought and viewed it as a significant advance over Medieval thought on these questions. This was not the view of the pre-conciliar popes, as the bulls/encyclicals of Leo XII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, and so on amply demonstrate. It is quite obvious to me that there is a historical context that is just as if not more important than the context of the council itself; for over a century and a half the Papacy waged an unapologetic and unremitting war against ideals that Vatican II would – to put it nicely – adapt itself to or even positively declare. You may say that Vatican I & II somehow shared a unity of purpose, but this would require that you ignore a century of staunch and unapologetic encyclicals by some of the aforementioned popes that, again to put it lightly, in no way support the central themes of Vatican II. Religious liberty is only one of these fronts. Pius IX, remember, declared Papal infallibility in defiance of the entire world; Vatican I was cut short because invading armies caused him to flee into exile.
    I don’t even want to touch the idea that Christ united himself with every man through the Incarnation. That’s way off the topic and would take way too long to address. Suffice to say that I am familiar with the issues and controversies surrounding Vatican II, and that I take the positions that I do for definite reasons. It is difficult for me to regard the proposition that one must begin with continuity as a premise as anything other than an ideological assertion. Continuity is something that must be proven and demonstrated, not assumed at the outset. If you being by deciding that there is continuity, then you will quite naturally overlook everything and anything that could prove otherwise. In what moral universe is this an honest way to read?

  • Bonchamps,

    Ok but I would say the discontinuity is just as ideological a hermeneutic. Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity? Not to sound sarcastic but that makes strange bed fellows.

    VII needs to be read not simply in a hermeneutic of continuity but that the type of literature which it takes up is ‘exhortation’. It expresses the ideal toward which the Fathers of the Council desired the whole Church to move. What those (on both sides) who read the documents in discontinuity fail to recognize is that the documents very frequently state a very balanced approach to a subject in order to point the way to the future. Its manner of communication will say: a then on the otherhand b. Why? because both are needed. Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”. Reading the documents in discontinuity leads one to take a or b but not both together and in context.

    I too know that John Courtney Murray was greatly responsible for the Declaration on Freedom of Religion. I also know that it was the most debated of the documents. I know as well that Cardinal Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre were not in favor of the final document. However, that is the history of all Conciliar documents down through the centuries. There has always been a minority against any one of the documents of Ecumenical Councils and or against the Councils as a whole. The problem comes with what that minority seeks to do when the majority have ratified the Council etc.

    I want to be clear here. You took up the conversation with me concerning DH. I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not. I can say that some very vigorous conversations and debates have taken place. I basically choose not to argue for the sake of arguing. Some like to do that, I find it a waste of time, although having been on a debating team in my youth.
    If on this and other subjects pertaining to VII you want to carry on a conversation etc about what this document means etc fine. If you are seeking better understanding, fine, I am up for it. However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time. Just let me know what you want to do and how you want to proceed or not proceed with me.

  • Botolph,

    “Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity?”

    Not really, not anymore odd than extreme reactionaries and Marxists beginning with the same premise of anti-capitalism. It’s the whole “beginning” part that I don’t like. I don’t mean to boast, but I feel it necessary to establish that I have read almost every relevant encyclical of the 19th and 20th centuries in addition to the documents of the council. My aim was to discover whether there was continuity or rupture. My conclusion is that it is not the least bit easy to determine what the situation is with respect to doctrine/dogma – I think only a much larger context can tell us in that case and I’ll leave it alone for the moment – but that it is rather obvious that there is a sharp rupture when it comes to overall attitude and orientation. From roughly the French Revolution to Vatican II, perhaps a few years earlier with the beginning of John 23’s reign, the Church was waging war with the hostile powers of the world. At Vatican II, the war was declared to be over, explicitly, by Paul VI himself in his closing address. It may not be a doctrinal rupture, but it is a significant break with the past all the same.

    “Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”.”

    Wisdom means knowing when it means one or the other.

    “You took up the conversation with me concerning DH.”

    My blog post mentions DH. You decided to comment, so, I decided to respond.

    “I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not.”

    I am not. I’ve been posting off-and-on for roughly four years.

    “However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time.”

    I respond to almost all posts that are addressed to me. I am willing and happy to share my thoughts on Church history and documents. It seems you really want me to see Vatican II the way you see it, though, and I don’t think that likely. So, its up to you. I doubt I’ll change your mind about Vatican II, but if you want to know why I think the way I do, by all means, ask away. I’d rather have a discussion than a debate. In fact I hate formal debates. Ego-driven nonsense.

  • ROFL Ok you have me. I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were the original author. With that in mind, I did in fact take up the response to your original post.

    You are correct. By the end of VII, the ‘war with the modern world’ came to an end from the Church’s point of view. It was not a ‘surrender” but a new tact, one attempting to find what is good, true etc in what the world is saying and then building on that. That is a decisively Thomist position. It is incarnational. There are those who accept VII etc yet believe that this approach (not the teaching) was too optimistic. That I believe is debatable. I too believe that many aspects which the Fathers of the Council built upon was a very optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) approach to ‘the modern world’, ‘with Islam’, and even other religions (yes there is in all religions the manifestation of the religious impulse however, if they are worshiping false gods they are worshiping false gods. I totally agree that the Church must enter into dialogue rather than wage war on all parties. However in taking up that dialogue we have to be realistic and honest recognizing that all ‘men’ are seriously flawed due to original sin.

    In terms of DH, I believe what it teaches, however, it was really ‘pushed’ by the American bishops who lived in post WWII America and everything was very much in the Church’s favor [as opposed to the laicism of France and Europe]. Now however, America has changed. We no longer live in that country in many ways. Now we live in a culture that is similar to what the Church has been experiencing in Europe for two centuries. I don’t believe the answer is to take up the ‘war’ again, but have a vigorous, virtuuous, holy response which is realistic and not simply idealistic

  • It’s one thing to build on what is good in the pre-revolutionary world. It is a different thing to make that attempt in the post-revolutionary world. I would not deny that the Church had to change her orientation to a certain extent, for she was totally overwhelmed by hostile powers. I maintain that Vatican II went too far – from necessity, to virtue.

    When St. Thomas picked up Aristotle, Aristotle had been dead for roughly 1500 years, and the world had hardly changed. When Vatican II baptized liberalism and humanism, and worst of all, egalitarianism, the liberals and the humanists and the egalitarians were still, and are still to this day, waging their war against the Church. No matter how much the hierarchy gives into their demands, still the world demands more, and more. It remains to be seen how much more will be given.

    As for other religions, again, don’t get me started. Do you want to know what I think was the real impetus behind off-the-rails ecumenism and syncretism? It was Rousseau’s overt threat to the Church, in the closing lines of his Social Contract: anyone who says “outside the Church, there is no salvation” ought to be driven from the state, unless the Church is the state. And since, of course, the Church was not the state or ever would be, well – you get the idea. The original, exclusive, and I believe authentic understanding of EENS was seen by the revolutionary world as one of the greatest obstacles to its supremacy. Rousseau held that no man could be civil and peaceful with those he believed were going to hell. The French Revolution and everything that followed developed this idea greatly, and it eventually infested the Church hierarchy as well. It didn’t affect the Papacy, however, until Vatican II. It didn’t become Church policy to basically twist EENS beyond all measure to the point of gibberish without actually renouncing it until Vatican II. And I believe it did so mostly under duress, though as I have said, they elevated what they once saw as a necessity under the gun into a positive virtue that they were happy to shout from the rooftops.

  • I realize my views aren’t popular on these topics. They’re just personal observations based on my studies, that’s all. I think the Church is suffering and I’m willing to suffer with it. I think its leadership is deeply disoriented and flawed, and I’m willing to accept it – critically, though.

  • Bonchamps,

    I have heard in the past those who believe that Vatican II basically took up the three-fold call of the French Revolution “Liberte, egalite, Fraternite: liberty, equality and fraternity” as the basis and hermeneutic by which one could understand VII. I can see that that would be a major concern for someone like Archbishop Lefebvre, born in France, and seeing the results of the revolution on the Church in France. Yet, the Church is more than France and the French Church. it simply does not make sense that a bishop from another nation, especially not from Europe, and there were many, would even have the French Revolution’s call on their radar screen. What this understanding of VII is is a hermeneutic, A political one at that. I do not believe that one can really come to know the Church or the Church’s decisions and teachings from a secular perspective, a political one at that.

    I understand the ‘fear’ involved on the part of those who see VII in that manner, but not the substance.

  • Bonchamps,

    I am not sure there has ever been a period of time in the Church’s history in which the leadership of the Church has not been deeply disoriented and flawed. As I keep telling my friends, remember it has taken the Church two thousand years to get to where we are today! We are all extremely slow learners, stiff necked, sluggard of heart!

    It is not on the leadership that we base our faith, but on the Holy Spirit continuing to maintain, guide and teach in the Church. The difference is this: the Holy Spirit works in and through the successors of Peter and the bishops in communion with the successors of Peter-not how matter how flawed and disoriented they are themselves. The Pope and those bishops in communion with Him are the apostolic college. There is no other. There is no other place to go.

  • Botolph,

    I can’t say I entirely agree. I think the 19th and early 20th century popes were quite strong and courageous. I think they were true and effective leaders, for the most part.

    On the other hand, in the past, popes have been criticized, publicly accused of heresy, driven out of Rome, etc. The post-Trent centuries gave us a very long succession of exemplary popes. But I am not afraid to say what I think ought to be said about the direction of the post Vat-II Church.

    Also, the fact is that the French Revolution changed the world. Jacobinism set the stage for Marxism and Masonic anti-clerical nationalism, i.e. Italy, Mexico, Portugal, etc.

  • Bonchamps,

    I was not limiting my comments about disoriented and flawed to the popes, pre or post VII popes. I do not share you view of the Pope VII popes, although Pope Paul VI has been roundly criticized from many quarters concerning how he allowed the post-VII Church get out of control. He apparently did not have the personal gifts and or skills needed for that aspect of his ministry. I certainly stand with him in his upholding of Catholic teaching concerning birth control although I myself am not sure that his presentation and arguments were the best.

    Blessed Pope John Paul II was an amazing man IMHO, my guess is that we disagree on him. He certainly had his faults, we all do. However, he was God’s gift to the Church in bringing her out of the chaos unleashed by those running with ‘the spirit of VII’. It is unfortunate that he did not allow the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated to the same extent as Pope Benedict did, but that is Monday morning quarterbacking. His calling for the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 was ‘inspired’ (not full meaning of that term). The assembled bishops gave the six principles by which VII was to be interpreted-principles the Church uses today. JPII’s weakness was that he was a macromanager/leader and not a micro-manager/leader. He did not bring the Curia under sufficient ‘oversight’, and with that certain bishops (only some not all) ‘got through the process’ were ordained etc and well history proves they were not the best etc. However, in his encyclicals, ppost-synodal exhortations, apostolic letters, Blessed John Paulgave us great guidance as we prepared for the turn of the millenium. The promulgation of the Code of Canon Law 1983 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not only great riches in their own right but sure and solid interpreters of VII as well.

    Pope Benedict was a much maligned figure by pseudo-progressives in the Church. I really I loved and cherished Benedict. He really firmed up the hermeneutic of continuity in interpreting the Council (there will be no more hesitancy etc in the Church about this) but also re set the whole of the Church based on Divine Revelation, the Word of God and the Liturgy of the Church (spirit of adoration and thanks).
    He was not up for the challenge of the intrigue within the Curia that was both savaging him and undermining his own petrine ministry. He had the courage to step down so that another more capable could finally set that house in order.

    I am generally favorable toward Pope Francis-no much maligned by more traditional sources He had stepped on some landmines in the first weeks of his petrine ministry but seemed to have learned from that. I am generally very favorable about the tact which he is taking up-however, number one, he is not without his faults, and secondly it is really too early to come down with a definitive verdict on him

    For the rest, Bonchamps, I would agree that the French Revolution certainly prepared the way for many other revolutions etc especially te Bolshevist one in Russia, however, I do not see the French Revolution having lasting effect. The Enlightenment, while related is not the same thing, and I do see the lasting effects of that. We are actually at a point in time that while it seems that the Enlightenment is just about at its apex I believe it is actually in its last gasps. We are entering a totally new era of history, one that cannot be easily described or understood, but it is already here in some form. That will be our next challenge.

  • Yes, on birth control I think Pius XI’s Casti Connubii was more to the point. As for JP II, I will leave it at yes, we disagree. There are aspects of his theology that are extremely troubling. However I am at least grateful that he allowed the formation of the FSSP, whose Latin Masses I usually attend. I have great respect for the intellect and learning of Joseph Ratzinger. I have virtually none for that of Francis. His statements on everything from morality to proselytizing to economics have been nothing but irritating and/or myopic. If ever there was a pope to stir my inner rad-trad to fury, it would be him.

    On John 23, Paul VI, and JP II, you may want to research the translated critical biographies of Fr. Luigi Villa. For starters.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    .
    Thank you for an interesting discussion. I am interested in your opinions regarding “The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita” and its effect, if any, on the current age.

  • Bonchamps

    To put VII in context, the church had been in turmoil for at least 60 years before the Council, possibly for a century.

    It was in 1904 that Maurice Blondel wrote, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”

    We have only to consider the rival Catholic supporters of Action Française and Le Sillon, who fought each other in the streets, to see the truth of that at a political level, but with deep theological undertones (Both movements were ultimately condemned by the Holy See).

    Responding to a national survey in 1907, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: “[U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” [for the spirit of faith does not die], nor even an “evolution” [for the spirit of faith does not change], it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth.”

    This is a view that was shared by the leading theologians of the 20th century: Brémond, the Oratorians Bouyer and Laberthonnière, the Dominicans, Chenu and Cardinal Congar and the Jesuits, Cardinal Lubac, Cardinal Daniélou, Maréchal and Mondésert.

    Blondel diagnosed the root of the crisis: “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.” Hence, anything “that would hinder this spirit of domination, everything that would recall the role of this interior hearing (auditus interior) of which St. Thomas did not fear to speak, would be pitilessly blasted (foudroyé).”

    It was because of this that Cardinal Henri de Lubac said of Blondel that “he is the one who launched the decisive attack on the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought.”

    The primary task of the Council was to heal this division and why I would venture to suggest that Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium were its most important achievements.

  • Slainte,

    I have not been ignoring you or your question. I just came back online. Now to your question.

    “Alta Vendita” is a genuine document arising in the 19th century from Masonic circles. It stated that there was a plan to infiltrate the Vatican and take it over. It was hailed by both Pope Pius IX and Leo XIII as genuine and they wanted it to be widely published to show the real danger of Masonry.

    Those are facts that are indisputable. However, with every true story there is a background, history etc. Up until 1870 a relatively large swath of land across the middle of Italy existed which was known as “the Papal States”. The pope was literally a ruler of a sizable portion of land and numbers of people. He had a standing army to defend it, etc. While the actual size of the lands swelled and shrunk according to the historical and political forces of the particular age, they remained in place from the Dark Ages until 1870.

    While the origins of the lands arises from actually many sources, basically as barbarian overlords came to peace with the Church during the Dark Ages they donated tracks of their lands to the popes in thanksgiving for both the Catholic Faith and peace finally achieved. Chief among these were the Lombards, a Germanic peoples who settled down the spine of Italy. A region of Italy is still named after them, Lombardy.

    Over time, what a legend rose which stated that it was the Roman Emperor Constantine who donated the land, thus it became known as Constantine’s Donation. it was a legend which had/has no basis in history. Constantine was generous with plots of land for churches etc but a Constantine would never have dreamed of giving away the unity of his Roman Empire, not even to the Church. However the legend grew and began to believed [this is very important to keep in mind for the specific topic]. In the 800’s a forged document came to be written supposedly a copy of the deed Constantine had given to Pope Saint Sylvester I (the pope at the time of Constantine). That became ‘proof’ of the right of the pope to have what was then known as the Papal States.

    Now there is a real issue at work here. If the pope was subject to any foreign power, which has happened at various points in history, how could he really be independent enough to minister as the successor of St Peter and not be some king’s stooge [See here the development of the distinction between Church and State-even if its form is ‘different’] The popes saw the defense of the papal states to be essential not only as keeping what had supposedly given them but also as the primary means for them to remain independent [You can catch the flavor of this in the Movie The Agony and the Ecstasy: the story of Pope Julius II, the warrior pope and Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel]

    Now to the point Slainte. In the 1800’s there was a movement to reunite all of Italy and Sicily, While popular etc., it was led by Italian Masons who already as Masons had no love for the Church. The leader of the Italian unification movement was the Italian Mason, Garabaldi. The only thing finally in their way to Italian reunification were the Papal States. They waged war in every way they possibly could-including planning on infiltrating the Vatican-via the Curia. It was the Garabaldi forces who invaded Rome precisely was the First Vatican Council was in session in 1870. The Council disbanded and never ended until the very first act of the Second Vatican Council. Italy was reunited. The papal Palace and residence in Rome, the Quirinal Palace was taken over as the residence of the King of Italy (at the time) It is now the official residence and work place of the Italian President. On a hill overlooking the Vatican is a statue of an Italian revolutionary pointing a gun at the Vatican. It is the statue of Garibaldi, the masonic revolutionary.

    Although Pope Pius IX wanted the First Vatican Council to back his temporal role as well as his spiritual and to state that any statement he made was infallible, the Council wisely ‘staked’ out the real claim and power of the Church: faith and morals. Vatican I unified the Church and her mission ab intra (on the inside) [the relationship with the world ab extra still needed to be staked out-which happened in Vatican II] Neither Pius I nor Leo XIII nor any of the popes until Pope Pius XI agreed to the seizure of the Papal States, Rome or so much property in Rome which belonged to the Church. That would all be sorted out during the ministry of Pope Pius XI with Mussolini of all people. With Mussolini the Church was given a very great amount of money in payment for the lost lands property etc. The Vatican City State was established (thankfully) to ensure Papal independence of foreign powers [which would happen very soon with the German Nazi occupation of Rome]. With Pius XI and then Pius XII the Church was able to begin laying the groundwork of how best to ‘work with Italy and the wider world [I would especially point out Pope Pius XII radio addresses on the subject of the Church and State]

    So what of the Alta Vendita? The reason for wanting to infiltrate the Vatican were no longer pressing after 1870. As a group, the Masons do indeed remain inimical to the Church. That needs to be kept in mind. They are not “Protestant Knights of Columbus’. However, there are so many conspiracy theories about them that they give Dan Brown the novelist great material for his novels. Since 1870 the Nazis had plans to infiltrate the Vatican as well as the Soviet Union. Were there ever Masons in the Curia? I would be nuts to say there were not-see that is the nature of a secret organization-but enough to take over the Vatican and the Church? ROFL ! I am sure there were some fascist/nazi sympathizers in the Vatican during those terrible years. I am also sure there were communist spies in the Vatican as well-but again, enough to take over the Church?

    The bigger question is this. Would the Holy Spirit allow such a widespread apostasy of the Church so that popes, councils, bishops etc deliberately set out to subvert, substantially change [for example say: the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of Christ] the teaching of the Church in faith and morals? There are those who fully expect the anti-christ to be a pope? Can that be? NO! Not unless the whole thing is one big lie/hoax. See Slainte, people really do not think their positions, their conspiracy theories through. If what they say is true then the Holy Spirit is not guiding the Church, Christ is not faithful to His promise, is not the Son of God, and frankly then, there is no god. I believe it was Cardinal Newman who said, take one strand of the truth of the Church out and the whole thing falls to pieces (this is what Pope Francis was referring to in an interview but it was not communicated well)

    In the meantime, and I will end with this. Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Notre Dame in Paris and announced to the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris that he would take over the Church in a month. Now the previous archbishop of Paris had apostasized and went over with the revolutionaries. Knowing this full well the Cardinal Archbishop laughed in Napoleon’s face and said. “Your excellency, if the popes and bishops of the Church have not done this in 1800 years you are not going to do it in a month!” Don’t get caught up with a sense that Christ Jesus is not Lord and Head of His Church. He is. And HIs Promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church built on Peter is very real and true.

  • Thank you Botolph for explaining the historical context of the document regarding the Alta Vendita. Freemasonry is often discounted as the stuff of conspiracy theories, yet not one but several popes took its promises very seriously including Pope Leo XIII who urged that the mask of freemasonry should be ripped off. It is not just the goals but the ideas of masonry that was of concern to the popes.
    .
    The French Revolution is generally understood to have been a masonic enterprise which directly targeted the Church, causing blood to run in the streets, and eventually resulted in the insinstallation of the goddess of reason on the high altar of Notre Dame. From this revolution came the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” of August 26, 1789 which encompassed many principles we would associate with masonry and the Enlightenment.
    .
    Isn’t “religious liberty’ fundamentally a masonic principle, and if so, how does Catholicism and the Council at VII reconcile this with the traditional faith and the warnings of several popes?

  • Slainte,

    Botolph already established what he calls – and I would concur – the “indisputable facts.” The document is a real thing, popes recognized it as a real thing, and so it would be wise to take it seriously. Between MPS and Botolph, you have already read a tome, so I will try to make my own remarks relatively short.

    Where I differ with Botolph is here: the Masonic conspiracy did not end in 1870, the documents of the Carbonari, that is, Italian Freemasonry, did not limit their intentions to the overthrow of the Papal States, that it was not simply their desire to crack the temporal power of the Papacy, but to transform the Church into a Unitarian clearing house for all religions. Abolishing the Papal States didn’t abolish the Papacy, after all. It was still there, stubborn as ever, insisting on the exclusivity of the one true faith. Completely unacceptable to the powers and principalities.

    Botolph asks if the Holy Spirit would allow the Church to be consumed by a Masonic conspiracy. My answer would be to read about what God allowed to happen to the Jews in the Old Testament. Yes, I do believe God could, would, and perhaps has allowed the Church to be viciously scourged by the hostile forces of the world for a number of reasons.

    What I can’t say is whether or not the possibility of Masonic popes = loss of office = sedevacantism = the whole thing is over and is either a lie, or, the end times are immanent and we’ll be seeing Enoch and Elijah. There are sedes who believe they ARE Enoch and Elijah, and I’ve met some of them. It is the ONLY position a sede can take. The end is here and now. Otherwise Botolph would be right; you would have to conclude that the Church is a false institution.

    I think it more likely that the hierarchy is proclaiming bold and strange new doctrines that have not been formally defined as heresies, though they could well be and certainly have the odor of them. I think this ambiguous state of affairs does not easily lend itself to simple and definite conclusions, as so many on both sides of the question would have it. Anti-sedes make a lot of presumptions about what God would and wouldn’t do and what His promises mean and don’t mean; the sedes themselves make a lot of presumptions about what heresy is, whether it applies, what it means about loss of office, etc. All of this presumption, I seek to avoid. I don’t know if we are in the last days, but it seems obvious to me that we are in a time of chastisement, and that we have many wolves posing as shepherds.

    However, if you want some interesting facts, I recommend the critical biographies of John 23, Paul VI and JP II by Fr. Luigi Villa. It seems almost certain that John 23 was a Freemason. At the very least, it is a fact that he was admired by Freemasons.

  • Slainte,

    If as you say that the French Revolution was a masonic enterprise and if as you say that freedom of religion is a masonic principle [I would give a qualitative agreement with the first statement and a negative assessment of the second] how is it that the Catholic Church was persecuted in the French revolution?

    Slainte, we have spoken over a great deal of time. Just step back and think for a second. Is it not in the least a bit suspicious that everything being said against Vatican II etc is related back to the French Revolution as if the Church were merely just one more sociological given which can only run according to socio-political forces. The very fact that secular political terms such as ‘left’/’right’ and ‘liberal/conservative’ are used by those on both sides who read Vatican II as a break in the tradition should give you pause at least.

    Christ has established the new and eternal Covenant in His Blood and promised to be with the Church until the end of the world. He has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built on Peter. He promised His Spirit to continue to remind the Church of all that Christ has revealed. As terrible and nasty as the French revolution was and as problematic to say the least that the Masons were and still remain-do you really think Christ would abandon His Church, break His faithfulness to His Bride [Israel was not the Bride], and allow revolutionaries and a secret society take His Church away from Him? That Church either remains the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or everything we confess in the Creed is rubbish. It is that clear, that important!

  • Bonchamps,

    I actually feel very badly that your own spiritual journey has taken you to this point. I am not being sarcastic nor am I giving you ‘false pity’ [just want to make this perfectly clear] I genuinely am saddened by what you are saying. I feel in a situation as if we were two astronauts and that the tether line you are attached to is fraying and you are drifting more and more into deep space. I want to reach out to you brother, I really do.

    I obviously do not agree with much that you wrote. Let me say this. Ancient Israel and the Church are in two very different eras of Salvation History, established by two very distinct and different Covenants, mediated by two very different Mediators. Christ established a new and eternal Covenant in His Blood, establishing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as its center and founding that Covenant Community, the Church on the Apostolic College, headed by Peter. We are not looking for a newer covenant, nor another Church etc. Now I can say outright that there has never been a golden age of the Church-that is perhaps the oldest legend, myth even heresy. If anyone wants to dispute this take a close look at Acts or any of the Letters of Paul, or even the seven Letters found at the beginning of the Book of Revelations. The Church has been attacked on the outside by religious and political forces seeking to either exterminate her or control her. The Church has been attacked on the inside by two [not just one] enemies: heresy (the stubborn refusal to accept in faith/teach what the Catholic Church teaches: the great sin against Truth) and schism (the great sin against charity). Sadly with almost every Ecumenical Council of the Church there has been a minority who have rejected what the Church taught or refused to go in the direction the Church was taking-and went there own way. Some into schism others into both schism and heresy. And where is the Church? The Church is that community that remains with Peter and those bishops in communion with him. It is that Church that is One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic and frankly there is no other (although other churches share in a great deal of this they do not share in its fullness).

    There can be no room for nor reason for either presumption or triumphalism among Catholics. To be Catholic is far more than accepting x amount of teachings as true [athough that indeed is important] It is to answer the call of Christ daily to be a disciple in a community of disciples, growing stronger in being witnesses before the world. It means answering the call of Christ to an ongoing and never ending lifelong conversion of life in Christ’s call to us to be holy. It means to grow more and more in communion with the Church in faith, in the sacramental life and in the unity of community under and with the bishops and pope. There is no room for boasting since none of us has ‘arrived” in the Kingdom. I could go on but will stop here.

    However I need to make one more point. Your reading source from Italy states Pope John XXIII was a mason. In fact that would mean John XXIII did not believe in and consciously rejected the Blessed Trinity, the Divinity of Christ salvation in and through His Paschal Mystery etc (I could go on). Yet in a few months time he will be canonized a saint. Every canonization is an act of papal infallibility, declaring without equivocation that the blessed is living in the Beatific Vision etc. So what is about to take place is an absolutely guaranteed declaration of the most solemn teaching of a pope as defined by Vatican I that an apostate rebel is a saint-according to what your source says and you repeated. Do you realize again what this means? If this actually were true the whole thing-the whole thing=and not just for what you are fighting for is absolute rubbish-can you see that?

  • Botolph,
    .
    I am not questioning the holiness of the Church, the integrity or legitimacy of the popes, or that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and will ensure that the gates of hell will not prevail against her. I affirm and believe all of the foregoing. to be true. I reject sedevacantism as incompatible with the faith and an insult to Truth I do, however, seek to understand how the Church has been attacked historically; the methodologies and ideologies utilized, and whether the same is ongoing today.
    .
    I tend to agree with Bonchamps that God will permit incursions to occur, yet I also agree with Michael Paterson-Seymour that the Church cannot err in matters of faith because of her saving faith, but that she can hold erroneous positions in matters unrelated to the faith, which she eventually will purge and spit out. (MPS please correct me if I have mis-stated your view).

    .
    Do you view “religious liberty” as a matter of “faith” which is infallible or is it a principle which serves some other useful function?

  • Botolph,

    You ask if I realize what it means, if John 23 were in fact a Freemason. I can only reply that I am grateful that I will never know if he was. As for his canonization, believe me, that’s the least of it. It’s the impending canonization of JP II that has many traditionalists on the verge of declaring themselves sedevacantists.

    But if it were true, it would not necessarily make the whole thing rubbish. As I said, the other option is that the end times are here and now, that we are actually living in the Apocalypse.

    I can’t unknow what I know. But I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t know enough to have a definite idea of what the situation really is, nor can I. If I were really convinced of the sedevacantist/end-times narrative, I wouldn’t be getting ready to head out to an approved Latin Mass performed by the Norbertines. I see possibilities and probabilities, that is all. They weigh on me, but they haven’t crushed me.

  • Bonchamps,

    Then my brother in Christ, While we differ over many issue I offer you my hand in communion. I do not believe we are living in the End Times etc. I am not sure how best to proceed in conversation with you but I will not do anything to ‘break’ the communion we still share together.

  • Slainte,

    I think DHs position on religious liberty scandalizes the Church with its implications, but I don’t think it was heretical.

  • Slainte,

    The Church can and has held all sorts of erroneous things over the centuries that are not matter of faith and morals. If anything the Church in more recent years has been more open to admitting this. These are policies, presumptions, contemporary world-views and assumptions (for example the Greek Ptolemaic world view that the sun revolves around the earth). Over time these needed to be and were indeed purged, the gold and silver separated from the alloys-and still is today.

    No new (key word here) ‘doctrine’ or dogma was proclaimed in The Declaration on Human Freedom or the whole of the Second Vatican Council for that matter. However, just because no new doctrine etc was proclaimed does not mean it can be reduced to non-importance etc. In DH [Dignitatis Humanae: Declaration on Religious Freedom] the doctrinal principles are set out in the first two ‘paragraphs’ [1 and 2], in turn they are based on The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World [Gaudium et Spes] which states “The mystery of man becomes clear only in the mystery of the incarnate Word….For the Son of God by His Incarnation did in a fashion unite Himself with every man.” [Gaudium et Spes 22]

    It is in this light coming from the Face of the Incarnate Word of God in which we begin to see the human dignity of each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. That is the doctrinal foundation etc of GS [Gaudium et Spes] an DH. Putting it simply, the rest of the document is that doctrine applied in various areas of the question of religious freedom.

    The whole of Vatican II was a profound conversion of the Church to the further and deeper implications of the Mystery of the Incarnation and to the truth that the Church as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world. Jesus Christ is the Light of the Nations and the Church is the means by which that light reaches the nations of the world for the sake of their salvation.

    I see “religious freedom’ as a principle that arises from a deep and penetrating contemplation of the Incarnation of Christ Jesus and what that means in terms of each person’s dignity.

  • Botolph,

    I don’t intend on spending a great deal of time discussing the various “ologies” of the Church – ecclesiology, theology, eschatology, soteriology, and so on. My area of study and expertise is politics. So 90% of future posts will be on topics that I think we can all agree on, as a traditionalist who doesn’t hate America.
    However, if those kinds of discussions interest you, I will always be happy to oblige. I don’t know if we are in the end-times or not. We could be. What I do know is that I need the Mass. I can’t let theories about what may be keep me from it.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    .
    Thank you for your perspectives.
    .
    As France has often been the epicenter of tumultuos events in Church history, I will defer to your responding to MPS’ earlier comment regarding the state of the Church in France pre-Vatican II.
    .
    By the way Botolph, every time I begin to write a comment to you, I pause for just a moment fearful that I might give you a heart attack! : ) Thanks for being a good sport and responding so generously. : )

  • Botolph

    On the question of the Temporal Power, I would only note that, from the Congress of Vienna in 1815, so far from preserving the independence of the Pope, it did much to compromise it, for subversion, rebellion and sheer anarchy in his dominions made him wholly dependent on French or Austrian troops for his protection.

    “For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations…. Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted [after the Roman Republic of 1849 under Giuseppe Mazzini], nor, being reconstituted, would have endured.” (Raffaele de Cesare)

    For centuries, the Papal States had involved the Holy See in questionable alliances, during the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines and when the Habsburg-Valois rivalry was fought out in Italy.

    All in all, a very mixed blessing and I cannot but feel a certain sympathy for the Abbé Arduini, when he called the Temporal Power, “an historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality.”

  • Slainte,

    LOL Nah I have a strong heart. However, this might give you a little insight into who I am, or rather what I am like. I took a religious personality test years ago. THe test asked certain questions, how you would respond etc to certain issues etc. There were many biblical personalities such as David, Peter, John, Paul. I came out a perfect Paul-minus the saint part of course. This is not a theological boast etc I can pick up Paul’s Letters etc and know what he is getting at very quickly etc. If you have read Paul you know he could be feisty, pointed in his arguments and sometimes well even crude (I don’t go there thanks be to God).

    Of course I recently took a similar test based on Star Wars personalities and I came out a perfect Yoda ROFL Now what does that tell you lol?

  • Slainté wrote, “As France has often been the epicentre of tumultuous events in Church history …”

    There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”

  • I suspect Botolph that you just might be an abbe or a pere or a padre or a frere… : )

  • MPS writes, There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”
    .
    But her Heart, my dear MPS, is in Ireland and within the Irish people wherever they may be in the world. : )

  • MPS,

    Thank you for that further clarification. I was attempting to catch the kernel of truth at the center of the Papal States etc. I would concur with your evaluation on the necessary compromises etc that the temporal power imposed on the papacy. While the scene is from a movie, it correlates with reality: I can still see Pope Julius II in all his soldier/knight garb sloping around in the mud amid the carnage of the battles in which he was engaged with the papal armies

    I believe that 1870 was a complete blessing for the Church. At one and the same time She was stripped of temporal concerns (Papal States) with which She had no mission nor business Yet Vatican I staked out her real claim: the realm of doctrine and moral teaching. In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints: St Pius X, Blessed John XXIII Blessed John Paul II (and I believe soon: Pius XII) (I know some will dispute the latter ones but I definitely include them)

  • Slainte

    Ahhhh the mysteries of the internet lol

  • The mysteries of the Internet are not always so mysterious.
    .
    I really am laughing out loud! : )

  • you are funny lol

  • Botolph wrote, “In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints.”

    The change has been truly remarkable. From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini) can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    Meanwhile, the Church was riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

The Left and Morality

Tuesday, July 30, AD 2013

 

 

Dennis Prager has an intriguing post about the interaction among liberals of morality as a laundry list of public political positions combined with wretched personal behavior:

I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors’ offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.

My sense was that the radicals’ commitment to “humanity,” to “peace,” and to “love” gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison — or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: “Look at what a moral man I am after all.” And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the “waitress sandwich” he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative.

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21 Responses to The Left and Morality

  • I fear that there’s a strain of libertarianism that wants the same license, for the same reason. It hasn’t entered the political sphere yet – actually, I was going to say that, but how did Packwood hang on for so long? And wasn’t Schwarzenegger given a pass for a lot of things? Not that they were ideologically libertarian, but they were socially liberal and perceived as fiscally more conservative.

  • Religion and its moral guidelines, Ten in number plus a Book, give those, who progress from cheating, lying, and stealing during school years to supporting death of innocents and degradation of human life, an excuse to find fault with and scoff at others trying to follow what is good, not bad.

  • Pinky, that’s not libertarian. That’s libertine, and it’s the common thread they have with liberals. It’s why you haven’t seen it in ideological fom yet – it’s a personal trait. True libertarians know that liberty depends upon a moral, educated population that zealously guards its heritage. The left has little use for any of those.

  • “but how did Packwood hang on for so long?”

    Packwood was a pro-abort and got the same pass that Kennedy did until the very end of his career. Packwood had sponsored a bill in the Senate to legalize abortion two years prior to Roe. He was a pro-abort pioneer. By the time the scandals broke that ended his career the Democrat party was well on its way to becoming the party of abortion and Packwood was no longer needed by the pro-aborts.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/29/magazine/the-trials-of-bob-packwood.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort. Once Maria got fed up with him it was time for Arnold to go and not to come back.

  • Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort.

    Arnold did, however, invest a lot of political capital backing a parental consent ballot initiative that, unfortunately, failed rather miserably. After that, he basically hid under his desk for the remainder of his time in office.

  • The only moral liberal I ever saw was dead.

  • Remember Arthur C. Brooks’ Syracuse University study from back in ’07? He
    compared the charitable giving of conservatives and liberals. While self-
    described liberal households reported an average of 6% more in annual income,
    the self-described conservative households claimed 30% more in charitable
    giving in their tax returns.

    The tax returns of some of our liberal elites are less than edifying. In the entire
    10 years combined before he became Vice President, Joe Biden and his wife
    gave a total of $3,690. To put that in perspective, that’s about 1/10th of the
    average charitable contributions of families in their tax bracket.

    In 1995, John Kerry– probably the richest man in the Senate today– reported
    $0 in charitable contributions. In ’93, he gave $175. In ’93 I was a broke
    college student and I still managed to give more than that!

    A comparison of the reported charitable contributions of the Obamas v. George
    W. Bush is also interesting. The Bushes have consistently reported charitable
    contributions of about 10%+ of their annual income. In the years 2000-2008,
    the Obamas averaged about 3.5%, on a combined annual income that was
    about 2 to 3 times more than Bush’s. In the years since becoming president,
    Obama has beefed up his contributions to slightly less than 6% of his annual
    reported income.

  • Ach. Just recalled that John Kerry is now our Secretary of State. Still, he’s
    a piker.

  • I think a better description of Packwood would be ‘capitol hill careerist’, and was known for warm relations with the folks from Gucci gulch. The sad business was, by the close of his time in Congress he had ruined his marriage (telling his wife he wanted a divorce on the birthday of one of his children), had only faint ties to people in Oregon (his voting address was a trailer on his uncle’s property, which I suppose improves on Richard Lugar’s voting address), and went into the lobbying business after leaving the Senate just ahead of the heave-ho posse.

  • Hegel, who is usually tediously wrong, has rare flashes of pure genius, and none better than his description of the Politics of Virtue:

    “Virtue is here a simple abstract principle and distinguishes the citizens into two classes only—those who are favourably disposed and those who are not. But disposition can only be recognized and judged of by disposition. Suspicion therefore is in the ascendant; but virtue, as soon as it becomes liable to suspicion, is already condemned . . . . Robespierre set up the principle of virtue as supreme, and it may be said that with this man virtue was an earnest matter. Virtue and Terror are the order of the day; for Subjective Virtue, whose sway is based on disposition only, brings with it the most fearful tyranny. It exercises its power without legal formalities, and the punishment it inflicts is equally simple—Death.”

    Thus, Robespierre, in a speech that reads like self-parody, “One wants [on veut] to make you fear abuses of power, of the national power you have exercised…One wants to make us fear that the people will fall victim to the Committees … One fears that the prisoners are being oppressed… I say that anyone who trembles at this moment is guilty; for innocence never fears public scrutiny.”

    What guarantee does the man of virtue, the republican citizen, have that he is really acting for the public good? What are the guarantees against self-delusion and hypocrisy? The only standard that the man of virtue can provide of his own moral goodness turned out ultimately to be his own self-certainty or sincerity.

  • PJ O’Rourke summed up the Kennedys with devastating accuracy:

    “Old Joseph P Kennedy was a liar and a greedy thief, an ignoramus, adulterer, vile anti-Semite, coward and pompous ass. His wife Rose was a frigid martinet, unashamed to suckle at the teat of shabby lucre, awash in pietism and tartuffery, filled with the letter of Catholicism and empty of its spirit. They raised their nine whelps in an atmosphere of brutal pride and stupid competition. When the hapless Rosemary turned out to be retarded they had her lobotomized and parked her with the nuns. The remaining eight turned out to be foolhardy, arrogant, unprincipled, and wholly lacking in sense of consequences. This last trait caused Joe Jr and Kathleen to die in airplane crashes and allowed Jack to get his PT boat T-boned by a Japanese destroyer. (A tale of heroism was manufactured from that incident. The family wasn’t so lucky with Teddy’s Chappaquiddick skin-diving efforts three decades later).

    The Kennedys, however, continued to wax. Elections, individuals and press adulation were purchased. One family member rose , briefly, to great political power and almost unlimited sexual excess. Some others nearly achieved the same results. Two were shot but under the most romantic circumstances and not, as might have been hoped, after due process of law.”

  • O’Rourke is generally engaging and insightful. In the interests of precision:

    1. Retrospective assessments of Rosemary Kennedy indicate her demonstrated skills in arithmetic were consistent with someone of subpar intelligence, not mental defect. Joseph Kennedy submitted her to the quackish care of Dr. Walter Freeman’s novel psychosurgery because of her erratic and temperamental behavior.

    2. As far as I am aware, no one in the Shriver clan (other than son-in-law Ahnold) has been implicated in any scandals. Patricia Lawford separated herself from her disspated husband in 1966, but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything notably gross. Jean Smith’s son is repellant (and her late husband supposedly a flunky), but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything either.

    3. About half of Robert Kennedy’s children have been scandalous, and one each of the Lawford, Smith, and Ted Kennedy broods. That would be 8 out of the 28 grandchildren have been the source of considerable embarrassment. Sad to say, that might be about average for families in this country.

  • I do not know whether Bobbie and Jack (a high-level US civilain official gave the OK) approved murders of the Diem brothers in Saigon. We know both met similar demises.

    And that propaganda regarding PT 109 . . . The worst calamity a naval officer can incur is to lose his ship: even in glorious action. Jack got his scow run over . . . Providentially, the Scotch went down with the boat . . .

  • I’m inclined to cut anyone slack in matters of psychiatry (and quackery) that took place a while ago. It’s an emerging field. Surgery 100 years ago, talking therapy 30 years ago, massive doses of chemicals today…I wonder how embarrassed by our current approach people will be in 50 years? (Of course, as Catholics, we understand the moral dimension of behaviour in a way that the secular field of psychiatry can’t, but that’s just an aside.)

  • The heydey of pscyhosurgery was during the period between 1935 and 1955, not a century ago. It was unusual after the introduction of psychotropics in 1955 and I think may have disappeared entirely by about 1980. Walter Freeman completed his residency around about 1924 and he was a working psychiatrist for about a decade before he developed the lobotomy. There was not much in the way of controlled studies at that time and medical journals were filled with case reports (a phenomenon which aided the dissemination of largely useless talk therapies as well). By some accounts, professional courtesy at the time prevented one physician or surgeon from criticizing another bar behind closed doors, so Freeman was not receiving the resistance he should have. I am not sure why he was not chewed to pieces by personal injury lawyers.

  • Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth, namely that he and Kopechne had left the party intending to park up and have sex, but on being spotted by an off-duty policeman he had panicked and told her to drive back alone, the only explanation that seems remotely plausible. He would not have had to perjure himself and two others, would not have faced criminal charges (which could have included manslaughter), and would have saved himself a lot of money in bribes and legal fees (not that money was in short supply). I hope he was able to make a full confession before he died.

  • “Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth”

    He would still have had to have explained why he did not report the accident until the next morning. The reason he did not, I assume, is because he was worried about the impact on his career. That mattered far, far more than Kopechne’s life. Afterwards he would tell Chappaquiddick jokes:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/ted-kennedy-loved-to-hear-and-tell-chappaquiddick-jokes-audio

    Ted Kennedy wasn’t worthy to be spat upon.

  • The position of Mary Jo Kopechne’s body in the car makes it unlikely she would have been in the passenger seat. The diver (who took only ten minutes to retrieve the body) also said she died from suffocation, not drowning as she found an air bubble which kept her alive for up to four hours. Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.

    Kennedy’s lawyers managed to get the inquest held in camera and (astoundingly) there was no autopsy.

  • “Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.”

    Which makes absolutely no sense. It would have been better then for him to simply tell what happened. People were going, and did, to suspect an affair no matter what happened. His making up a story about trying to rescue her and then mysteriously not telling the authorities about it until morning makes absolutely no sense unless that part of the story was true. It would make him look worse than he was if your theory was correct to make up his driving off the bridge and what followed.

    There was an attempt to exhume Kopechne’s body for examination but her parents successfully opposed the request.

  • On tax statement charity claims– just because something isn’t claimed doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t think it’s PROBABLE that all these politicians are hiding their charity, but it’s possible. I’m rather glad that our income is low enough we take the default deduction….

  • Don, it all comes back to O’Rourke’s point about the Kennedys being “wholly lacking in sense of consequences”. Once you start constructing an edifice of lies, you’ve got to stick with it, even if coming clean might be less damaging. The argument that “it’s so implausible, it must be true” can be made to work in your favour. The fact that Mary Jo left her purse and room keys behind would lead any reasonable person to infer that she intended to return to the party after having had sex with Teddy in the Oldsmobile. With the Kennedys it would only have lasted five minutes at most.

    Bill Clinton would have nonchalantly admitted to it and taken the consequences, but the moral climate in 1969 was different.

Competing Religions

Thursday, February 14, AD 2013

Liberalism

Christopher Johnson, the non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for Mother Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, points to an editorial of The Washington Post that hopes the next Pope will not be so Catholic:

Roman Catholics?  You have my deepest sympathies.  You guys are going to have a LOT of crap to put up with over the next month and a half:

The hallmark of Pope Benedict’s tenure, for better or for worse, was fierce resistance to those changes. He rejected calls by Catholic progressives for reconsideration of doctrines such as celibacy and the ban on women in the priesthood; at a time when acceptance of the rights of gays and lesbians is rapidly spreading across the world, he was outspoken in condemning homosexuality as “unnatural” and unacceptable. With sectarian tension growing in Europe as well as the Middle East, he eschewed dialogue with Muslims and infuriated many by quoting a condemnation of Islamic theology as “evil and inhuman.”

Some of Pope Benedict’s most important achievements came in response to the backlash triggered by his reactionary acts. Pilloried for having suggested before a tour of AIDS-stricken Africa that the use of condoms “increases the problem,” he later suggested that the use of a condom by an HIV-infected person to avoid infecting a partner could be a positive step. After angering Jews by rehabilitating a bishop known as a Holocaust denier, the pope prayed at Auschwitz and published a book exonerating the Jewish people for the death of Jesus.

Pope Benedict will leave behind a church facing the same debilitating problems that loomed after the death of Pope John Paul II — above all, how to remain relevant to an increasingly secular world and to its own changing membership. This pope’s response was to insist that only uncompromising adherence to past doctrine could preserve the faith. Catholics who seek a different answer will have to hope that a college of cardinals dominated by the pope’s appointees will choose a more progressive successor.

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32 Responses to Competing Religions

  • The accompanying photo reminds me of a quote by William F. Buckley:
    “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

  • I have to wonder if press bias has as much effect as we think. That editorial is about half opinion, half incorrect information. Reading it is like playing charades, trying to guess the real event from its mis-description. But then I think, they do that with everything. Every single thing that I know about, I can find errors in the coverage of. If I attend something, it’ll get falsely described. I wonder if we all just filter out the nonsense reflexively.

    In czarist Russia, in the Soviet Union, and for all I know in present-day Russia, no one ever believed the official story about anything. By censoring the news, they created a situation where any rumor was assumed to be more truthful than any official account. I’ve heard it argued that in the Soviet era, the whole point was to make a news story as false as possible, not because anyone would believe it, but because it broke people’s spirits to have to pretend to believe the stuff. The more outrageous the falsehood, the more dehumanizing it was to feign assent to it.

    So when I read this WaPo nonsense, part of me is afraid for the souls that think they know the Church based on the press’s reporting of it. But another part of me thinks that no one believes the press any more, about anything.

  • when people die are they going to go to catholic heaven, baptist heaven, methodist heaven ect ect?

    religious institutions are big money making machines, i wonder what our LORD/JESUS thinks about all this?

  • Pingback: Final Offer to Reconciliation for the SSPX by Pope Benedict XVI
  • when people die are they going to go to catholic heaven, baptist heaven, methodist heaven ect ect?

    No. There is only one heaven.

    religious institutions are big money making machines, i wonder what our LORD/JESUS thinks about all this?

    For whom? The flagship Anglican parish in my home town, chock-a-bloc with attorneys and corporation executives, employed a grand total of ten people. It had that many because it operated a day care center on site. That would be the most affluent parish in the most affluent denomination in the metropolitan region. The rector of that parish lived well, but rather less well than most of his parishioners and less well than the real-estate developer who bought the rectory when the vestry decided future rectors should own their own homes. Another parish in that same denomination (just down the road) lived hand to mouth under the inept financial administration of the schoolteachers who made up the majority of its vestry. The rector was over paid, but still earning less than he might have in the engineering career he had abandoned. That particular parish had a rector, a sexton, and a secretary.

    Catholic clergy receive a stipend that was (at that time) about 60% lower than the salaries paid to Anglican clergy. They were also celibates, generally owned no real property and often no consumer durables worth more than a three-figure sum of money.

    Running a small eleemosynary and receiving compensation similar to what a school teacher might receive is not an ascetic life; neither is it a life that would be chosen by someone notably acquisitive.

    You do realize, do you not, that religious congregations have no profits to distribute?

  • “he was outspoken in condemning homosexuality as “unnatural” and unacceptable.”

    What a horribly false mischaracterization! The Church certainly asserts that homosexual attraction is “unnatural” (which it is, how is that a contentious claim?), but she never claims that the orientation itself, distinct from acting upon it, is “unacceptable!”

    The problem is that we live in a world where people are incapable of using logic and reason. There is no nuance, there is no appreciation for subtle differences. It’s almost impossible be taken seriously when this is how the media portrays you.

  • And by the way, Left liberals aren’t the only ones guilty of mischaracterizing what the Pope/Church says.

    Sean Winters had a fantastic article praising Benedict’s papacy, but he also made some incredible insights into American Catholics.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/why-i-came-love-benedict-xvi

    I realize most of you won’t click through because it’s a piece from the National Catholic Register (I don’t blame you…this is the first half-way redeemable article from them that I’ve ever come across), so I’ll copy and paste the two most relevant paragraphs:

    “This concern for unity was evidenced in other aspects of his teachings. In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he was clear that the social justice teachings of the church and the teachings about sexual morality flowed from a single source and, in his mind, were irrevocably bound together. As I mentioned in my article at The New Republic yesterday, the fact that the pope was as devoted to social justice issues as he was to issues of sexual morality has been somewhat opaque in the U.S. because so many of his loudest supporters in the U.S. tended not to mention his commitment to social justice or minimized the radicalness of the demands he made in that regard. Catholic neo-cons dismissed his call for a conversion of Western lifestyles, his commitment to environmental protection, his denunciation of “unregulated financial capitalism” as a threat to world peace, his abiding lament at growing income inequality, and because these neo-con voices claimed to be authoritative and because the mainstream media does not know any better, Benedict’s rigorous critique of modern consumer, capitalist culture was underplayed. Whenever he spoke against gay marriage, however, the headlines of a reactionary pope could be found everywhere.

    The Catholic left, unfortunately, let the Catholic right define the narrative of Benedict’s reign. They, too, neglected the significance of his social teachings to focus on anything he said about sex or gender. More importantly, they failed to really wrestle with his challenge, to see all the issues the church addresses as bound together. Take this morning’s Washington Post. There, George Weigel is quoted as saying, “If you don’t sell full-throttle Catholicism, people are not going to buy it. Everyone knows the whole package is more compelling and interesting than some sort of Catholic hors d’oeuvres that leave you hungry.” This from the man who advised using red and gold pens to mark up Caritas in Veritate, ignoring the parts Weigel thought were not really from the pope’s hand. This from the man who can cite one paragraph, and one paragraph only, from John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus but never once has evidenced his compliance with, nor appreciation for, the call to a conversion of Western lifestyles contained in that same encyclical, nor its restatement of the church’s commitment to the rights of workers, nor those sections that question the very ethical and anthropological foundations of capitalism. I agree with Weigel about the need for “full-throttle Catholicism,” though I find his use of the verb “sell” telling. I just wish Weigel and other Catholic neo-cons actually engaged the full breadth of the church’s teachings instead of trying to distort and minimize those teachings about economic and social justice they disdain.”

  • @JL a small correction, Sean Winters’ article was in the National Catholic Reporter, not the National Catholic Register (which is usually steadfast in supporting Church doctrine)

  • @Kathy

    You’re absolutely right! My apologies. It’s so annoying that those two are so close in name, yet generally so far apart in terms of orthodoxy!

    Nonetheless, I suggest you all give Winters’ piece a chance.

  • Pinky, interesting thought. Of course, we Catholics know that confusion is a tool used by Satan. An individual that can’t trust anything he or she hears is an individual that is isolated and helpless against the devil. He or she is similarly shielded and resistant to Love.

  • JL – I read the article. I had two problems with it. First, it took the pettiness and infighting over messaging far too seriously. If a person tells a story about both sides’ pettiness, he always casts himself as the visionary who can see above it all. “The time for partisanship is over”, et cetera. I don’t think that anyone, even those involved in the trivial “left”/”right” squabbles, think they’re representing the fullness of the Faith.

    Secondly, the bit about Benedict saving the Church from being juridical and neo-scholastic. That didn’t sound genuine. It’s no different from saying “I like him”. It’s always easy to say that the people before the guy you like failed to resonate, because they failed to resonate with you. And there is something about a live person fleshing out an idea that makes it more compelling. But saying the Church wasn’t Christological enough? The Church is always walking the line between being formal and passionate. Each of its members walks that line. But it’s just weird that Winters praises Benedict for his organic hermeneutic at the same time he calls him a break from the past, and at the same time he complains about his heavy-handedness.

  • Art Deco, thank you for your comment. i believe that regardless of the church we attend, our worship is judged by the Lord. We do not earn browny points for aligning ourselves with a particular tradition, nor do we gain merit by associating ourselves with a worshipping community that claims an astonishing pedigree. We are one in the Spirit if we claim Christ as Lord and Savior, and this is the essence of true religion. He that worships him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.

  • @Pinky

    “First, it took the pettiness and infighting over messaging far too seriously.”

    It’s not really about the pettiness and infighting as evils in and of themselves, it’s about the fact that they obfuscate the entirety of Pope Benedict’s teaching. The problem isn’t primarily that “conservative Catholics” and their left-wing counterparts squabble amongst each other, it’s that they both latch on to one aspect of the pope’s teaching (sexual morality), and use it to define the pope and all he has to say in the terms of the American political spectrum. They’re too busy cramming him into pigeonholes that fit their own partisan paradigm to bother hearing out the rest of his message.

    Weigel is such an obvious example of this that it’s like he’s a living caricature. The audacity and presumption needed to go through a papal encyclical and decide what’s “legitimate” and what’s not is simply stunning. I don’t want to judge his intent, but it seems like he’s got a pretty bad case of the “conservative before Catholic” thing going on.

  • JL

    I am rushed today so I will have breaks in taking apart your flawed thinking.

    “In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, he was clear that the social justice teachings of the church and the teachings about sexual morality flowed from a single source and, in his mind, were irrevocably bound together.”

    No problem there, Catholics agree God is the source of all good. However, the Church teaches that God holds some things to be evil (i.e. abortion, homosexuality). No one can ever condone those. However, in ordering the common good (justice) there are different legitimate solutions which people can licitly disagree with.

    “As I mentioned in my article at The New Republic yesterday, the fact that the pope was as devoted to social justice issues as he was to issues of sexual morality has been somewhat opaque in the U.S. because so many of his loudest supporters in the U.S. tended not to mention his commitment to social justice or minimized the radicalness of the demands he made in that regard. ”

    Conservatives don’t deny those social justice issues, they just disagree with the application of other’s solutions (see above). Rather, they see the preeminent issue as being that of the attack on the most vulnerable of our society – the unborn.

  • Weigel is such an obvious example of this that it’s like he’s a living caricature. The audacity and presumption needed to go through a papal encyclical and decide what’s “legitimate” and what’s not is simply stunning. I don’t want to judge his intent, but it seems like he’s got a pretty bad case of the “conservative before Catholic” thing going on.

    Oh go on. Actual disputes over political economy and social policy in this country involve questions of whether or not to replace extant public insurance schemes with vouchers, what sort of deductibles to put on public and private insurance programs, how to determine re-imbursement rates for physicians, and the balance between public and private insurance in financing medical care. You cannot repair to the social encyclicals to adjudicate these sorts of questions.

  • “You cannot repair to the social encyclicals to adjudicate these sorts of questions.”

    Exactually. Catholic Social Teaching definitively states that the Church does not propose specific solutions. The error of Sean Winters (and by extension JL) is that they believe it does. And they believe that those solutions happen to coincide with their political prejudices.

  • You cannot repair to the social encyclicals to adjudicate these sorts of questions.

    While I pretty much endorse most of what Art has said in response, I will throw in a word of caution. There are no specific guidelines to treat these issues within the magnificent treasure of Church magisterial teachings; however, the Church certainly proscribes certain – for lack of a better term – attitudes. Catholics need to approach economic issues in light of those guidelines.

    To be a little more specific, I’ll go to a non-economic issue. It is manifestly incorrect to assert that Catholics are bound to oppose the death penalty. Church teaching throughout the century has not mandated an absolutist anti-death penalty approach. That said, Catholics who do support the death penalty do have to do more than pay lip service to the many qualifications the Church places on the practice. One cannot simply wave their hands and say that it is a prudential matter. If one has honestly wrestled with what the Church has laid down and can show where support for the death penalty is justified, then one may support the institution with a clear conscience.

    I will grant JL one thing – gasp! Conservative Catholics sometimes do suggest that economic policies are merely prudential matters. In a sense they are, but we can’t breezily dismiss what the Church has taught through the ages. I am certainly not suggesting Art or anyone here has done this, and Winters as usual demagogues and exaggerates the issue in an attempt to salve his own conscience. It’s just a mild note of caution about how we should approach these prudential matters as Catholics.

  • The Church is on firm footing as to goals: help the poor comes to mind. She is on much less firm footing frequently when she comes to means: the long ban against interest for example. Additionally, mistakes of fact remain mistakes of fact whether they are in Church documents or not. Consider this from 2267 of the Catechism:

    “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

    American prisons, and most prisons around the globe, are ongoing refutations of the argument that the State can render prisoners incapable of doing harm.

  • the long ban against interest for example. Additionally, mistakes of fact remain mistakes of fact whether they are in Church documents or not. Consider this from 2267 of the Catechism:

    Interest is the price of credit and in part derived from alternative opportunities. The implications and effects of charging interest are dependent on context. Medieval society (and early modern society – see Stanley Engerman on colonial America) featured rates of economic improvement that were glacial on balance and featured both sudden catastrophes and elongated periods of economic decline as well as advance (the latter 14th century and the early 16th century). In addition to that, the effect of charging interest in a cash poor agricultural society is not the same as in a modern society. Somewhere I have some lecture tapes which delineate the implications of charging interest in that context.

  • I will grant JL one thing – gasp! Conservative Catholics sometimes do suggest that economic policies are merely prudential matters. In a sense they are, but we can’t breezily dismiss what the Church has taught through the ages. I am certainly not suggesting Art or anyone here has done this, and Winters as usual demagogues and exaggerates the issue in an attempt to salve his own conscience. It’s just a mild note of caution about how we should approach these prudential matters as Catholics.

    I am not a close reader of the social encyclicals. As far as I can see, they rule out command economies (however inspired) and rule out most flavors of libertarianism. Getting more specific than that – and making sense of some apparent prescriptions – is a challenge.

  • “She is on much less firm footing frequently when she comes to means”

    True. Which is why, in her wisdom, the Church is stating more and more clearly that it does not have specific solutions. This is why the Church leaves to the laity, following the principles She lays out, to bring order to the world.

    “One cannot simply wave their hands and say that it is a prudential matter.”

    True again. Though one must be cautious. Not every pronouncement of an encyclical, apostolic exhortation etc. is binding on the conscience of a Catholic. This is not to pick or choose. Rather, the Church herself is taking from science, economics, historical understanding etc. to guide her. As understanding in these areas evolve, that guidance will change. The Church does indeed acknowledge this.

    An example I would posit is Climate Change (aka Global Warming.) Is the science on this definitive? If not, then is Church guidance on this open to reflection and correction? I would say that the science is not definitive and that Church reflections on the environment may shift some.

    Another issue, I know JP II in part argued against the death penalty citing that social science showed there was no deterrence effect of it. But that science may in fact have been flawed. In fact some current work shows the death penalty does deter crime. Will this change the Church’s judgment? It should if the change was based on such work.

  • Mobility of capital is desireable in any society, but most especially a cash poor one.

    I agree with Don re 2267. It’s expression of a factual assessment seems ideosyncratic and out of place in a catechism. The extent to which modern society can render violent criminals incapable of further violence requires a prudential assessment. And I point that out even though I’m generally opposed to the death penalty in the US.

  • @Art

    “Oh go on. Actual disputes over political economy and social policy in this country involve questions of whether or not to replace extant public insurance schemes with vouchers, what sort of deductibles to put on public and private insurance programs, how to determine re-imbursement rates for physicians, and the balance between public and private insurance in financing medical care. You cannot repair to the social encyclicals to adjudicate these sorts of questions.”

    Weigel wasn’t having a debate. He was pulling a Jefferson and cutting out what he didn’t like (not inferring that encyclical = scripture so please don’t go there). He consistently uses papal encyclical’s as binding commandments when they serve his purposes, so this amateur exegesis by him was a necessary reaction.

  • “I am rushed today so I will have breaks in taking apart your flawed thinking.”

    Sigh. This place would be far healthier without this unneeded internet combox bravado.

  • What Weigel did with Caritas in Veritate was pretty embarrassing. While there are usually several hands involved in constructing an encyclical, to go source-critical on it said more about Weigel than it did about Benedict.

  • “Sigh. This place would be far healthier without this unneeded internet combox bravado.”

    Back from retreat so I can respond. Thanks for not addressing the points I made. Instead you resort to pseudo-wit.

  • JL,

    Some more unpacking of the, um, internet bravado of Sean Winters.

    “nor its restatement of the church’s commitment to the rights of workers…”

    A commitment that is qualified. This as seen in Abp. Morlino’s prophetic response to the Wisconsin Public Union fiasco.

    “…nor those sections that question the very ethical and anthropological foundations of capitalism.”

    These foundations are not questioned per se. Otherwise JP II and Benedict XVI would not have had their qualified endorsement of Capitalism.

    Enough for tonight. But the reason I do not read Sean Winters much is that I routinely read the National Catholic Reporter. Someone leaves them in the back of Chuch. I take them home and read them before throwing them away. Unfortunately, every issue seems to say the same thing. Women priests, homosexual marriage, etc.

  • @Phillip.

    Of course it’s qualified. The right to life is qualified to. As is the right to liberty. Etc.

    Re: capitalism: http://distributistreview.com/mag/2009/02/what-does-centesimus-annus-really-teach/ I think critical acceptance is a better way to put it than “endorsement.”

    My approval of Winters and NCR went no further than the words that were written on that page.

  • The endorsement is in the wording of Centesimus Annus. Even if distributists disagree.

  • “The endorsement is in the wording of Centesimus Annus.”

    Prove it.

  • And quickly here from CA. I include the whole paragraph to show, as is frequently the case, a qualified endorsement. But an endorsement nonetheless.

    “34. It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are “solvent”, insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are “marketable”, insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied, and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish. It is also necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources. Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity. Inseparable from that required “something” is the possibility to survive and, at the same time, to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity.”

The New York Times as State Organ

Wednesday, February 13, AD 2013

In the old Soviet Union the two dominant newspapers were Izvestia (News) and Pravda (Truth).  People luckless enough to be born in the Soviet Union had a cynical joke about them:  “There is no News in Izvestia and there is no Truth in Pravda!”  James Tarantino in The Wall Street Journal notes that The New York Times, in its sycophantic coverage of the President and in its hostile coverage of the Church, resembles these two old propaganda organs of the Soviet State.

Despite being based in Rome, the reporters don’t seem to have a deep familiarity with the Catholic Church. They even quote a fellow journalist, from the Kansas City-based National Catholic Reporter, as an expert. What’s really striking about the Times story, though, is its ideological perspective–one that views the Catholic Church through the distorting lens of contemporary American liberalism as that weird religion that discriminates against women and has some sort of hang-up about condoms. Again, it reminds us of the way totalitarian propaganda outfits “report” on enemy states.

If you think “enemy states” is overwrought, check out the Times op-ed page. In a piece titled “Farewell to an Uninspiring Pope,” playwright John Patrick Shanley rants against the church:

Priests cannot marry. Why? I will tell you why. Priests cannot marry because they would have to marry women. Women cannot be priests.

Why? Women cannot become priests because of a bunch of old men. These old men justify their beliefs with a brace of ridiculous arguments that Jesus would have overturned in a minute. . . . I have little reason to hope that the Church of Rome will suddenly realize that without women, the Catholic Church is doomed, and should be doomed.

Wait, hasn’t he heard of nuns? Why yes he has. He continues: “I think of those good nuns who educated me, of their lifelong devotion and sacrifice. They have been treated like cattle by a crowd of domineering fools.”

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10 Responses to The New York Times as State Organ

  • And the young lady in the video grew up to work for the Washington Post and publish a story that Sarah Palin was going to work for Al Jazeera:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/palin-mocks-false-report-joining-al-jazeera-article-1.1262016

    Besides being biased, reporters also stupider and lazier than just about any other profession.

  • Writer Andrew Klavan had a character in his novel, “The Identity Man” make this statement: “If stupidity were a communicable disease, journalists would need to be herded into a pit and shot like infected cattle.”

  • “Writer Andrew Klavan had a character in his novel, “The Identity Man” make this statement: “If stupidity were a communicable disease, journalists would need to be herded into a pit and shot like infected cattle.””

    Comment of the week George!

  • I do believe Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and fan of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, uttered similar things about the Catholic Church.

  • Alphatron, during the initial phase of progressivism in America, eugenics was considered to be an enlightened application of science to social problems. Progressives were of one mind in believing they, as educated professionals, should control society’s course. However, the ultimate outcome appeared in Nazi Germany.

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  • Nothing like parading your ignorance for all to see. Shanley’s opinions don’t demonstrate even the slightest understanding of Catholic Church teaching, nor any interest in cultivating an understanding, just spreading the same old tired myths and prejudices. Those “good old nuns” he speaks of would be horrified because they were humble, holy and obedient servants of God.

  • Is Shanley one of those “I can’t be an anti-Catholic bigot because I’m Irish!” types?

    And does he imagine that all he needs to know about the Church he learned in kindergarten? Or in CCD? And, of course, what he picked up from cool kids who think the late George Carlin’s gags and jibes are full of deep theological insight?

  • Is Tarantino trying to mock the NYT’s quotation of John Allen? That really discredits his criticism.

    Allen is a great journalist who was honest enough to admit he misjudged the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The NCReporter needs him a lot more than he needs the NCReporter.

  • Is the paper meant for criticism only ? Are not people alloweed to have different views, faith, religion etc ? Is not that freedom recognized by New York Times ? If so they should have something called “Tolerance”. Every religion including atheistic communism has its rules and regulations, principles and faith. Is it right to go on criticising everything like the many different customs of groups ofpeople ? A hindu believes that a bath in Ganges will help his salvation. can New York Times see the millions that gather for this bath ? It shows their faith You may call it superstition, The reasons, the backgrounds, the culture , all things have to be studied before condemning any customs or faith.

Of Aging Porn Stars and Aging Ideologies

Friday, February 8, AD 2013

 

 

 

 

My alma mater, the University of Illinois, brought a 58 year old porn star, Annie Sprinkle, to campus to teach students young enough to be her grandkids about orgasms this week.  Go here to read the story in the campus newspaper The Daily IIllini, or as generations of U of I students have referred to it, The Daily Illiterate.

It would take a heart of stone and a mind of lead not to laugh at this feeble attempt to shock.  Annie Sprinkle, or Ellen F. Steinberg, her birth name, has been doing this schtick since long before most current U of I students were born.  Something that was shocking in the Seventies of the last century is completely old hat in the porn drenched Twenty-First century.  (The U of I having an abstinence activist speak would truly be a shocking event in our current amoral climate.)  So why bring her to the U of I?

Well, and do not laugh, the ostensible reason is diversity, at least accord to this blog entry by Jordan Glaser:

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10 Responses to Of Aging Porn Stars and Aging Ideologies

  • In the spirit of diversity a pig farmer, (let’s call her Scratchie) is available to discuss the proper retrieval and careful application of pig feces in our wanting culture.
    Because most college attendees are inexperienced in such matters, it would help them to appreciate the finer aspects of pig excrement. After all we want the students informed and enlightened….right?

  • I have believed for some time that one the sure ways to dumb down the young is make a college education more accessible. This goes a long way in proving me right.

  • It is ironic that this pervert is lecturing to students who know as much as she does about heterosexual sex due to the prevalence of widespread pornography. She probably gets her support from a NGO. Ms. Steinberg probably has another agenda of opening the minds of female students of the ‘wonders’ of female masturbation, experimental lesbianism and reproductive choice. It is all part of an overall process of social conditioning and transformation of young minds and bodies to conform to new age and socialist morality.

  • Diversity of what? I suppose it’s an important skill to learn how to not be embarrassed by pathetic baby-boomers, though.

    Philip made his comment as a joke, but I’d bet that you could get a lot more diversity by having a pig farmer give a lecture. But isn’t that what schools are supposed to do in, like, second grade? Parents’ Careers Day?

  • The modesty and intimate privacy of the orgasm laid bare to public scrutiny, and purposely denied the procreative act is soul rape, a violation of the true nature of the human person, body and soul, the avant guarde of nasty totalitarianism.

  • (from Wikipedia) Enculturation is the process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviours appropriate or necessary in that culture.[1] As part of this process, the influences that limit, direct, or shape the individual (whether deliberately or not) include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture.

    We do it in television, movies, literature, why leave out “higher” education.

    Screwtape is alive and well; we not only pay him too much attention, as C. S. Lewis warned us about, but then we court him – and his most effective tool, progressivism, the rate of which seems to keep accelerating.
    Amazing!

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  • What a joke. The Chinese are laughing at us as they build a dozen more skyscrapers this month… “Diversity,” yes, that means upper-middle-class liberals from New York AND California!

  • C. S. Lewis spoke of chronological snobbery and did much to debunk the myth of progress. Then I think of G. K. Chesterton who once said that he who marries himself to the worldview will soon be widowed. And I think of his constant sense of how the world grows old while Christianity is ever new.

  • STUDENTS in COLLEGE need to learn about orgasms? These poor children, how deprived! Or is that depraved?

    In college, way back in 1975, I befriended a young girl I met who was sitting alone in our suite’s “living room”. She was red eyed and appeared to have been crying. I stopped and gently spoke with her to find out what was going on. I found out that one of my suite mates had invited her up to Buffalo to visit the University of Buffalo Campus and promised her a place to stay. When she arrived, she found out there was a “price” for her lodging, sexual favors, which she refused, so he told her to leave with no place to stay.

    My roommate was back in Brooklyn that weekend. She stayed in our room. I slept on the big couch in our suite “living room”. I was a prude, even then. So much for orgasms!

    God bless you, Don.

Guns and “All Men Are Created Equal”

Saturday, January 19, AD 2013

Few issues demonstrate better that liberal elites and the rest of us might as well live on different planets than the Second Amendment.  Frequently living in gated communities, usually working in institutions that have armed guards, and sending their kids to elite schools that have elaborate security, liberal elites are quite good at proclaiming that other people should disarm and rely on the police for protection who, as most cops will readily admit, are minutes away when seconds count.  James O’Keefe, the master of conservative undercover journalism, and his Project Veritas, expose liberal hypocrisy in the above video.  Contemporary liberalism is all about implementing rules for the majority to live by, rules which liberal elites themselves, and their friends and colleagues, can freely ignore.  Such a system, with one set of rules for the masses who live under the laws, and another set of rules for those who effectively live above the laws, is an essential component of a tyranny in the making.  It makes a mockery of the words of Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:  “all men are created equal.”   Let us recall these words of Abraham Lincoln:

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10 Responses to Guns and “All Men Are Created Equal”

  • liberal elites are quite good at proclaiming that other people should disarm and rely on the police for protection who, as most cops will readily admit, are minutes away when seconds count.

    And of course when you do put cops seconds away–that is, put lots of cops where there is notoriously lots of crime, they start wetting themselves about profiling. Yesterday I saw this:

    A Canadian truck driver was shot and killed early Wednesday on the South Side of Chicago. Police said he was the victim of a robbery with multiple male perpetrators.

    And someone pertly replied:

    “Yeah, more of that ‘male’ crime we’re always hearing about.”

  • Don

    I know it is not common to reccomed comment by left leaning persons on this site but enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVhBAI9a66s&feature=player_detailpage
    “We Did It To Ourselves” by Joe Bethancourt

  • The point of this execrable exercise in faux fear and public health hysteria is, “Do as I say.”

    The common good is the common alibi of all tyrants.

    In America, you can have a pizza delivered quicker than you will see a policeman in an emercgency; unless they are breaking down your door at four AM to drag you off to the concentration camp.

    One is not equal or free if one cannot be similarly empowered as the police state.

    As to your excellent title: “God Created Men Sam Colt Made Them Equal.”

  • “Don I know it is not common to reccomed comment by left leaning persons on this site”

    Mr. Bethancourt may be left leaning Hank, but with songs like this he risks being labeled a dangerous right wing extremist by the Obama administation!

  • Tyranny in the making. I do wonder if coronation will become a synonym for inauguration.

  • For fairness’ sake, some gated communities are pretty basic “good fences make good neighbors” type planning, with cops allowed to go in. That’s the sort we lived for a few years, in an almost bad area just down the road from several more affordable rental communities that had a large number of young adult males hanging around everywhere at two on a Tuesday. (Worked pretty well, really, only minor break-ins– and they could background check before renting because of the on-site daycare.)

  • “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights” from Thomas Aquinas through Jose Suarez(sp) If a person exists, his human rights may not be denied or altered for God (their Creator )is unchangeable. The human being comes into existence at conception when God creates and endows the human soul with free will, intellect and personhood. A person is a person is a person. The person is immutable. That is why when an atheist or tyrant denies the person’s soul, he forfeits his own soul. Only through free will can a person mute his soul and God will not and cannot contradict Hmself. God allows the atheist to deny his God-given soul to the atheist’s detriment. It is only in imposing his detriment on society that the tyrant comes into being. Truth is immutable. If it is not the TRUTH, then it is a lie. The simple explanation of the Pope’s infallibility. May God bless and keep you.

  • @Robert A. Rowland, I do believe that Obama is more leaning towards being emperor, but will have to settle for coronation as king, like Elizabeth II.

  • At least Elizabeth II has poise and dignity.

  • Secretaries are servants. Czars are overlords. Secretary of the Interior is now “czar”. Obama appoints “czars”, (32 at last count and more in the making). The constituents elected a president as a public servant. The public servant appoints czars to collect tribute from the people. It is not taxation without representation. It is tribute without recompense. It is not representative government. It is dynasty.
    Jesus Christ has a human, rational soul. Obama says He doesn’t.

Interesting Times

Thursday, January 3, AD 2013

 

 

My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, has a new post in which he details bad signs aplenty of scary times ahead:

 

Read the News and Weep

That is not conspiracy talk, but simply a distillation of what I read today. On the last day of the year when I am writing this, I offer you just three sample op-eds.

A journalist, Donald Kaul, in the Des Moines Register offers us a three-step, presto! plan to stop school shootings:

Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. … Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. …Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.

Note the new ease with which the liberal mind calls for trashing the Constitution, outlawing those whom they don’t like (reminiscent of “punish our enemies”?), and killing those politicians with whom they don’t agree (we are back to Bush Derangement Syndrome, when novels, movies, and op-eds dreamed of the president’s assassination.)

What would be the Register’s reaction should a conservative opponent of abortion dare write, “Repeal the First Amendment; ban Planned Parenthood as a terrorist organization; and drag Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a truck”? If an idiot were to write that trash, I doubt the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal would print such sick calls for overturning the Constitution and committing violence against public officials.

Ah Yes, Still More Redistribution

Turning to a column in The New Republic, John Judis, in honest fashion, more or less puts all the progressive cards on the table in a column titled “Obama’s Tax Hikes Won’t Be Nearly Big Enough” — a candor about what the vast $5 trillion deficits of Obama’s first term were all about in the first place.

Here is the summation quote: “But to fund these programs, governments will have to extract a share of income from those who are able to afford them and use the revenues to make the services available for everyone.”

Note that Judis was not talking about the projected new taxes in the fiscal cliff talks, but something far greater to come. He understands well that the “gorge the beast” philosophy that resulted in these astronomical debts will require enormous new sources of revenue, funds “to extract” from “those who are able to afford them” in order to “make services available for everyone.”

That is about as neat a definition of coerced socialism as one can find. Implicit in Judas’s formulation is that only a very well-educated (and well-compensated) technocratic class will possess the wisdom, the proper schooling, and the morality to adjudicate who are to be the extracted ones and who the new “everyone.”

The Constitution — Who the Hell Needs It?

The third item in my year-end reading was the most disturbing. A law professor (could it be otherwise?) named Louis Michael Seidman enlightens us with “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” — yet another vision of what the now triumphant liberal mind envisions for us all:

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Did Madison force Obama to borrow a half-billion dollars to fund Solyndra and its multimillionaire con artists?

Note Seidman’s use of “evil,” which tips his hand that our great moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.”

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13 Responses to Interesting Times

  • More eliminationist rhetoric from this vile, lying scumbag (Donald Kaul):

    “Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.

    “Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.”

    Instapundit: “This kind of talk makes me want to buy an assault rifle. Or twelve. And really, dude, the fact that you’re angry doesn’t give you some sort of a pass from the norms of civil society. Or, if it does, be prepared to tolerate a lot of things that you’ll find intolerable. Because, you know, a lot of people are angry.”

    And, this is selective stigmatization: It’s as if the NRA, GOP leaders, and 50 million law-abiding gun owners killed everybody that ever was shot.

    Let us be consistent in stigmatizing: “What about the Children?!?!?!”

    “What is the gun community going to do the Sandy Hook tragedy?

    I dunno.

    What is the gay community going to do about the massive (2,500,000 new AIDS cases each year) AIDS epidemic and about Penn State football abuses?”

    What is the Islamic community going to do about 10,000 media-ignored massacres since September 2001?

    The gay and Islamic communit are off-limits despite the deviant and predatory behaviors of their hundreds of thousands.

    PS: I was about to refer to Judas. You beat me to it.

  • Forbes: “Assault Weapon” is just a PR lie used to agitate gullible, Obama-worshiping imbeciles.

  • Regarding the fiscal cliff excrement sandwich:

    Victor Davis Hanson, “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change.”

    Ross Douthat quoted at Instapundit, “If a newly re-elected Democratic president can’t muster the political will and capital required to do something as straightforward and relatively popular as raising taxes on the tiny [what 2%?] fraction Americans making over $250,000 when those same taxes are scheduled to go up already, then how can Democrats ever expect to push taxes upward to levels that would make our existing public programs sustainable for the long run?

    “There is a significant constituency among Congressional Democrats that was already uncomfortable with the $250,000 threshold and wanted to push it higher — all the way to a million dollars, if a certain influential New York Senator had his way — and the possibility that these Democrats might go wobbly in a post-cliff scenario gave the White House a reason (or an excuse) to concede ground that Obama had once promised to defend unstintingly. Nor is this tax-wary caucus likely to grow weaker with time: It exists because many Democratic lawmakers represent (and are funded by) a lot of affluent professionals in wealthy, high-cost-of-living states, and that relationship is only likely to loom larger if current demographic and political trends persist.”

  • We live in interesting times. Prayer, mortification and action in converting the Public Square.

  • “And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the oath that I take?”

    May all of us adopt your oath of long ago since the lava of bondage once again spews from the Washington White House.

    Donald. Where is our Lincoln of today?

  • Awesome!! Great! Standing up and clapping!

    “… moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.”

    Thank you Donald McClarey. How can we get Donald Kaul to read this?

  • “Donald. Where is our Lincoln of today?”

    Standing in the wings, waiting for his cue from History to proceed on to center stage.

  • “Standing in the wings..”

    Your right. “Where sin abounds Grace abounds much more…”

    The friends of tyranny ( many of Todays left )
    make me wonder about the future Lincolns, and when they will step on to the stage.
    Staying optimistic in the face of the above columns is an art form that I must practice.

  • Our nation is more threatened now than it has ever been in my 85 years.

  • Years before the national debt rose to $16 trillion (103% of GDP), the Chmn of Joint Chiefs stated that the gravest threat to the USA is the ruinous national debt.

    Thank God we are in this World we are not of the World.

    They hate the Constitition because it was an effective check on unlimited government and abusive power. But, their intentions are “pure.”

  • Victor Davis Hanson’s point about the abuse of offering tenure without merit is spot on.
    His 1,000 student per yr. example effecting the lives of 30,000 in a negative way is realistic if not conservative. He spoke briefly on unionized campuses. An eye opening documentary titled: Waiting for Superman, shines some light on the entitlement epidemic sweeping across this great land.
    Thanks Donald for the clip above.

  • that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.

    Well, therein lies the rub. No doubt Obama and the left feel as strongly for their cause, and it is no less approved of their judgment. The difference between the leadership of the left and that of the right is the left is far more convinced of the rightness of their judgment. And I don’t know if it could ever be different – one characteristic of true conservatism is a natural distrust of power, because of a natural distrust of man’s ability to wield it correctly (a distrust proven correct time and again). The left suffers from incurable hubris. Rather than a Lincoln, I think I would prefer a Cincinatus.