A Jealous Faith

Sunday, September 7, AD 2014

a jealous faith

The excerpt below from a column by Francis Cardinal George is an indication of why, although he has often been a disappointment as an administrator, I will miss him when he is no longer at the helm of the Chicago Archdiocese:

 

Nonetheless, many Catholics in the American colonies thought their life might be better in the new country than under a regime whose ruling class had penalized and persecuted them since the mid-16th century. They made this new country their own and served her loyally. The social history was often contentious, but the State basically kept its promise to protect all religions and not become a rival to them, a fake church. Until recent years.

There was always a quasi-religious element in the public creed of the country. It lived off the myth of human progress, which had little place for dependence on divine providence. It tended to exploit the religiosity of the ordinary people by using religious language to co-opt them into the purposes of the ruling class. Forms of anti-Catholicism were part of its social DNA. It had encouraged its citizens to think of themselves as the creators of world history and the managers of nature, so that no source of truth outside of themselves needed to be consulted to check their collective purposes and desires. But it had never explicitly taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what “values” they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country. Until recent years.

In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.

When the recent case about religious objection to one provision of the Health Care Act was decided against the State religion, the Huffington Post (June 30, 2014) raised “concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen.” This is not the voice of the nativists who first fought against Catholic immigration in the 1830s. Nor is it the voice of those who burned convents and churches in Boston and Philadelphia a decade later. Neither is it the voice of the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850s, nor of the Ku Klux Klan, which burned crosses before Catholic churches in the Midwest after the civil war. It is a voice more sophisticated than that of the American Protective Association, whose members promised never to vote for a Catholic for public office. This is, rather, the selfrighteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as “progressive” and “enlightened.”

The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics. Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be. This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

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6 Responses to A Jealous Faith

  • John 15:18-27
    .
    18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’ 26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.

  • Actually, the second paragraph explains my disappointment with Cardinal George. He, like many Catholics, sees America as a misguided, Enlightenment project. In his book, he can find nothing good to say about America for the first 60 pages or so. Then, we find that the only good thing he can make out is that it is multicultural. So the only good thing about America is that it is something else.

    He was also hook, line and sinker for Obamacare with the usual USCCB caveats. Now he finds that big government is not so nice. Hmmmm.

  • Love him are hate him, Limbaugh often talks about the “Marketplace of Ideas.” We have freedom of speech in this country, and what has the bishops chosen to talk about?
    .
    Well, in the 20 years I’ve been Catholic, it hasn’t been contraception, abortion, marriage or any non-negotiable. It’s been “the rich are bad,” “sexism is bad,” “discrimination against homosexuals and undocumented workers is bad,” and “Government support for this or that is good.”
    .
    There is so much they could have done many moons ago to promote NFP, marriage, and real health care, but they choose instead to do Al Smith dinners, “pass the trash”, and look the other way as Georgetown, Fordham, and ND lost their way.
    .
    Even now it is not too late to jump into that Marketplace and try to make the case for Christ. The US, for all her assaults on religious freedom, is not the Middle East, with Islam on the march.
    .
    I have no confidence our bishops will engage that Marketplace with the “Non-Negotiable ideas” with any fervor.

  • In modern American discourse, the ruling class knows it is “imposing its own form of morality,” but won’t own up to being a religion. Which is one reason why I’m skeptical that appeals to religious freedom will succeed, when only one side comes clean about its religious intent to form consciences, especially the consciences of children. And so it may be more useful to frame more of our arguments in terms of freedom of conscience, and conscience rights, appealing to all who dissent from the state religion.

  • With all of their plethora of faults & nauseating abandonment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the peddling of government influence as a way to better society, the USCCB is the only current source of such writings/religious thought addressing the current shredding of our society’s fabric that I can find in the realm of American “Christianity.” In my experience, the Protestants leadership does not even understand the battle.

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 “

ObamaCare as Cargo Cult

Sunday, November 3, AD 2013

Obama and Friend

 

Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish nails it:

Our modernity is style rather than substance. It’s Obama grinning. It’s the right font. It’s the right joke. It’s that sense that X knows what he’s doing because he presents it the right way. There’s nothing particularly modern about that. In most cultures, the illusion of competence trumps the real thing. It’s why so many countries are so badly broken because they go by appearances, rather than by results.

The idea that we should go by results, rather than by processes, by outcomes rather than by appearances, was revolutionary. For most of human history, we were trapped in a cargo cult mode. We did the “right things” not because they led to the right results, but because we had decided that they were the right things. There were many competent people, but they were hamstrung by rigid institutions that made it impossible to go from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time.

And we’re right back there today. The entire process of ObamaCare was the opposite of going from Point A to Point B. It was the least competent and efficient solution every step of the way. There was no reason to think that its website would be any better. The process that led to it being dumped on the American people was completely devoid of any notion of testing or outcomes. It was the right thing to do because… it was the right thing to do. It was cargo cult logic all the same. So was its website.

Healthcare.gov, like ObamaCare, was going to work because it was “good”. Its goodness was by some measure other than result. It was morally good. It was progressive. And so the deity of liberal causes, perhaps Karl Marx or Progressia, the Goddess of Soup and Economic Dysfunction, would see to it that it would work. Karma would kick in and everything would work out because it had to.

This brand of magical thinking was once commonplace. It still is. And it’s why things so rarely work out in some of the more messed up parts of the world. But the sort of attitude that would once have made anthropologists shake their heads is now commonplace here. Savages in suits, barbarians with iPads are certain that things will work because they have appeased the gods of modernity with their fonts, they have made a website that looks like a functioning website. And like the cargo culters who built fake control towers expecting planes to land, they thought that their website would work.

Competence is built on the unhappy understanding that things won’t work because you want them to, they won’t work if you go through the motions, they will only work if you understand how a thing works and then make it work by building it, by testing it and by expecting failure every step of the way and wrestling with the problem until you get it right.

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6 Responses to ObamaCare as Cargo Cult

  • Hah I was JUST about to email this link to you. Especially as one who works as a “fixer” of stuff in a day job, this article really spoke to me. It also brought to mind say… Mark Shea’s post way back when on biometric guns. How did he respond? Why almost like a voodoo priest: chanting a mantra and excommunicating unbelievers.

    In fact not just him, but several believers (protestant and catholic alike) I’ve noticed have this belief:

    Healthcare.gov, like ObamaCare, was going to work because it was “good”. Its goodness was by some measure other than result. It was morally good. It was progressive. And so the deity of liberal causes, perhaps Karl Marx or Progressia, the Goddess of Soup and Economic Dysfunction, would see to it that it would work. Karma would kick in and everything would work out because it had to.

    The only catch is that they believe God will work it out (and we do know He’s real). How can you respond to such? How can you even have a debate? “X won’t work.” “X will work! It’s good and God will make it work!”

    As someone who’s watched far better people than me pass on way too early, I doubt them. If God won’t preserve the best of us from the trials and mortality of this life, why would He preserve our foolish plans?

  • As Ben Franklin noted Nate, God helps them who helps themselves. God gave us brains and when we fail to use them He usually allows us to suffer the consequences.

  • Don, if you’re ever around, you’ll have to let me buy you a drink. 😉

    You’re spot on of course. It’s just… one wonders how to even suggest that idea to people. Heck I’ve seen even where people might get it, they then retaliate with something like “Well we’re called to die for our Lord.”

    …REALLY? Not only has (apparently) God called us to be dumb, but now martyrs? I think He told us to die if necessary, not to seek it out.

    Actually it calls to mind that joke about the guy waiting for God’s help during a flood. (who here knows it?) Only now it seem less of a joke and more the S.O.P. of many Christians.

  • TMLutas also has a great examination over just HOW BAD this thing is. (and as someone who has written website code in the past, I can assure you: it’s even worse than you think)

  • obma messing everything up, when him and his wife sign up i will think about it. dont screw with our constatution, i have rights and a lawyer. we should all think about what we want, not what some guy in office for 8 years wants, i have the freedom to pick what i want and i will. after he leaves how much money will he make per year off the american people, and in 5 years how much will i pay then can obama tell us that no he can not.

Reactionary Liberals

Sunday, November 3, AD 2013

Saint Albert of Ecoscam

 

I have long been struck by how the policies of liberal elites in this country tend to have amazingly destructive impacts on the poor they hilariously claim to champion.  Joel Kotkin at NewGeography has noticed this also:

But   in today’s gentry-dominated era, traditional industries are   increasingly outspent and out maneuvered by the gentry and their allies.   Even amid tough times in much of the state since the 2007 recession —   we are still down nearly a half-million jobs — the gentry, and their   allies, have been able to tighten regulations. Attempts even by Gov.   Jerry Brown to reform the California Environmental Quality Act have   floundered due in part to fierce gentry and green opposition.

The     green gentry’s power has been enhanced by changes in the state’s   legendary tech sector. Traditional tech firms — manufacturers such as   Intel and Hewlett-Packard — shared common concerns about infrastructure   and energy costs with other industries. But today tech manufacturing has   shrunk, and much of the action in the tech world has shifted away from   building things, dependent on energy, to software-dominated social   media, whose primary profits increasingly stem from selling off the   private information of users. Servers critical to these operations — the   one potential energy drain — can easily be placed in Utah, Oregon or   Washington where energy costs are far lower.

Even   more critical,   billionaires such as Google’s Eric Schmidt, hedge fund   manager Thomas Steyer and venture firms like Kleiner Perkins have   developed an economic stake in “green” energy policies. These interests   have sought out cozy deals on renewable energy ventures dependent on     regulations   mandating their use and guaranteeing their prices.

Most   of these gentry no doubt think what they are doing is noble. Few   concern themselves with the impact these policies have on more   traditional industries, and the large numbers of working- and   middle-class people dependent on them. Like their Tory predecessors,   they are blithely unconcerned about the role these policies are playing   in accelerating California’s devolution into an ever more feudal   society, divided between the ultrarich and a rapidly shrinking middle   class.

Ironically, the   biggest losers in this shift are the very ethnic minorities who also   constitute a reliable voter block for Democratic greens. Even amid the   current Silicon Valley boom, incomes for local Hispanics and   African-Americans, who together account for one-third of the population,   have actually declined — 18 percent for blacks and 5 percent for   Latinos between 2009 and 2011, prompting one local booster to admit that   “Silicon Valley is two valleys. There is a valley of haves, and a   valley of have-nots.”

Sadly,   the opposition to these policies is very weak. The California Chamber   of Commerce is a fading force and the state Republican Party has   degenerated into a political rump. Business Democrats, tied to the   traditional industrial and agricultural base, have become nearly   extinct, as the social media oligarchs and other parts of the green   gentry, along with the public employee lobby, increasingly dominate the   party of the people. Some recent efforts to tighten the regulatory knot   in Sacramento have been resisted, helped by the governor and assisted by   the GOP, but the basic rule-making structure remains, and the   government apparat remains highly committed to an ever more expansive   planning regime.

Due to the rise of the green   gentry, California is becoming divided between a largely white and Asian   affluent coast, and a rapidly proletarianized, heavily Hispanic and   African-American interior. Palo Alto and Malibu may thrive under the   current green regime, and feel good about themselves in the process, but   south Los Angeles, Oakland, Fresno and the Inland Empire are threatened   with becoming vast favelas.

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6 Responses to Reactionary Liberals

  • Donald,
    You last sentence is a doozy. It is as succinct a description of liberalism that I have yet heard.

  • Ironically, the biggest losers in this shift are the very ethnic minorities who also constitute a reliable voter block for Democratic greens. Even amid the current Silicon Valley boom, incomes for local Hispanics and African-Americans, who together account for one-third of the population, have actually declined — 18 percent for blacks and 5 percent for Latinos between 2009 and 2011, prompting one local booster to admit that “Silicon Valley is two valleys. There is a valley of haves, and a valley of have-nots.”

    That’s not ironic. That’s UNEXPECTED! (in the ironic sense that James Taranto uses).

  • Curiously enough, in Europe, and particularly in France, it is the Hard Left that is most suspicious the Green Agenda.

    There is no “environmental catastrophe.” The catastrophe is the environment itself. The environment is what is left to man after he has lost everything. Those who live in a neighbourhood, a street, a valley, a war zone, a workshop – they don’t have an “environment;” they move through a world peopled by presences, dangers, friends, enemies, moments of life and death, all kinds of beings. Such a world has its own consistency, which varies according to the intensity and quality of the ties attaching us to all of these beings, to all of these places. It is only us, the children of the final dispossession, exiles of the final hour – the ones who come into the world in concrete cubes, pick our fruits at the supermarket, and watch for an echo of the world on television – only we get to have an environment… What has congealed as an environment is a relationship to the world based on management… Tracking, transparency, certification, eco-taxes, environmental excellence, and the policing of water, all give us an idea of the coming state of ecological emergency. Everything is permitted to a power structure that bases its authority in Nature, in health and in well-being.”

  • Also at New Geography is a blog post and link describing a similar process taking place in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, which has millions to spend on bike trails and sports arenas but (allegedly) can’t afford to hire more cops to stop rampant violence in certain neighborhoods (where, needless to say, the “important” people don’t live):

    http://www.newgeography.com/content/004000-well-heeled-windy-city

  • Anytime you do not let people feel pride and accomplishment in acquiring those things that make their life worthwhile, you are creating an atmosphere and mind set of “I am owed this, as I have been put down”. I have seen this over and over in the last 50 years. This whole agenda has been perpetrated by liberal thought. I have worked closely with farmers and Native Americans. I have in depth knowledge of how these “welfare” subsidy and distribution systems work. I have seen independent working farm families turned into “let’s get everything we can from the government” because the market is not allowed to work under true supply and demand principles. I have watched Native Americans sit on their reservations and darn near starve, waiting for the next government check. The incentives are not there to make things better and rise up against “Big Brother”. This has all been perfectly planned by the ruling parties of the last 100 years. When people are marginalized into thinking that they are owed anything from the abuse or neglect of the powerful they tend to retreat into this demeaning state. The Right To Life, The Native American situation, the farm programs and the population control issue are intricately tied to each other. We have entered this phase. The ignorance of the common person in this country to those issues which literally control life and death, and death not only of the people but the Republic has come full circle into their perfectly planned fruition. The diabolical forces of evil are evident in every phase of society. The CED(committee for economic development) back in the 40’s and 50’s was implemented for this very purpose, This committee was stacked with population control fanatics, purveyors of getting as many people off the land as possible, eliminating small rural communities and mom and pop businesses. congregating all of the people, and the wealth into verticaly economic hubs that are controlled by centralized banking systems. This is not conspiracy, it has all been printed and exposed by the very people who have perpetrated it. They are not humble in their pride of this accomplishment. They knew exactly that birth control and abortion would eliminate future populations. They and their minions have plenty of time to wait it out. Unfortunately our own Christian Churches fell for this and have become a huge part of the problem Let’s see, save the resources, save the animals, get rid of the people, (except for those we have to keep for slave labor) Yes I believe this is a perfect green blueprint.

  • There’s a Catholic chamber of commerce? Who knew?

Bittter Clingers

Thursday, April 18, AD 2013

 

 

Daniel Henninger writes what I believe will prove to be a very prescient column in The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Obama’s remark about rural Pennsylvanians clinging to guns and religion is the coin of the realm in his crowd. But let’s put their shared consensus another way: Somehow it became a conventional view in contemporary American politics that it is non-urban conservatives who in every case have to accommodate their beliefs to a national culture created by people who live somewhere else. “They” must adjust on abortion, guns, school prayer, sexual mores and all the rest of it. Liberals, meanwhile, not only feel no need to concede anything but use the commanding heights of the press and academia to define anyone who dissents from their ever-evolving national culture as a political fringe obsessed with people, one might say, who aren’t like them.

The gun-control bill is collapsing in the Senate because its liberal sponsors, led by Barack Obama and California’s Dianne Feinstein, lost the support of Democratic senators from states with traditional hunting cultures, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska or Max Baucus of Montana. Why so many people in these states and many others to this day still distrust public authorities on guns is a good, but untold, story. Kentuckians recently voted the right to hunt into their constitution. Instead, gun-control’s failure will be spun as a win for mindless Neanderthals “out there.”

But what about Kermit Gosnell? This story suggests something Neanderthal-like may have developed around the fringe of abortion practice in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. But rather than re-examine and even reform those practices, the curtain will be pulled on the Gosnell case. They’ll cling to Roe, no matter how unseemly its status quo.

Political correctness—the silent code that decides whose side of the story gets elevated and whose side gets buried—has been a blunt but effective weapon, which the dominant liberal culture has used to achieve a lot of victories over “them” the past 40 years. But the wins have come at a price. That price is the return of an unmistakable, growing and potentially destabilizing bitterness in American politics.

A fairer-minded media would be the best way to level the playing field. Absent that, our politics will be leveled by other means. What the major media think then, if they’re still around, won’t matter.

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21 Responses to Bittter Clingers

  • President Obama isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

  • T.E.: He is, at least, as smart as the imbeciles that twice voted for him.

    Obama and his lying, vile supports constantly produced intellectually dishonest “news” painting “us” as liars and mass murderers. When they weren’t outright saying we should be shot, they were charging we killed those little children.

    Obama and his imbeciles’ disgraceful attempts to profit from the tiny, bloody shirts of the Sandy Hook massacre victims failed.

    The rats thought they could use the Newtown mass murders, waving 20 tiny bloody shirts to quickly impose a lying liberal wish-list that did nothing to end mass murder.

    President Teleprompter’s ban on rifles and clips couldn’t get 50 votes. It was comical that Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to fake some “gas” with liberal louts by protesting his undying devotion to anti-gun garbage. In November, Dingy Harry only kept his seat by lying about his pro-gun record.

    Best yet, the lying scum Demorats displayed their lies for all to see and couldn’t hide behind “GOP obstructionism.”

  • That’s a frustrating column. I pretty much agree with it, but there was so much potential in that first paragraph you quoted that I was hoping for something more profound.

  • The virtue of this Republic lies and has always been in its rural communities. Cities are (and have been throughout history) cesspools of corruption, immorality, and groupthink. Look at a color coded election map, especially of midwestern states. Where are the cancerous blotches of “blue” in otherwise seas of red? The cities.

    I happen to live in a city because of circumstances, but first chance I get I’m out. For all the claims of “enlightenment” and whatnot, I have witnessed the most profound lapses of intelligence and reason among urbanites. What makes it worse is that city folks from midwestern cities seem especially hell-bent on proving to their “betters” that they really aren’t in “fly-over country”, no really we aren’t! Look how cosmopolitan we are! Look, look look!

    Obviously this is overly simplistic, considering its a combox entry but nothing puts a bur under my saddle more than uppity and vapid urbanites like King O and his cronies putting themselves up as our “betters”.

  • He is so happy to tout rule by majority vote when lockstep liberals were threatened and bribed to narrowly pass Obamacide or a few republicans cave and capitulate allowing us to be taxed to death and/or raise the debt ceiling but when even a few democrats come to their senses and create the slightest majority against a single item of his agenda he has a fit. This only confirms his immaturity and the deep anger in his soul for any and all who oppose him.

  • We are engaged in a culture war. On one side are the hardy rural folks and those who share a worldview close to nature and nature’s God. On the other side are the pseudo effete snobs who live in the detached from reality environment of the big city. All their hopes and dreams are founded on things manmade. They have come to believe that through the acquisition of political power, all things can be brought under their total control. They are totalitarians. They seek to emasculate the military culture and to disarm the people from which these soldiers spring. They seek to marginalize the religion so many of them consider irrelevant. On one level, we have most of the guns. We better keep them. On a higher level, we have the Faith and that will sustain us, even if all else fail, to the final triumph.

  • Mr. Obama doesnt even deserve the title of President..

  • “Cities are (and have been throughout history) cesspools of corruption, immorality, and groupthink”

    They also happen to be where the jobs are, and where the good medical care and other services are, so we’re pretty much stuck with them. Also, many cities have (or at least used to have) tight-knit neighborhoods occupied by working- or middle-class people of generally good character and of culturally conservative bent. Personally, I think suburbanites are, generally, far more elitist and live more in a “bubble” than either rural residents and residents of central cities. It’s suburbanites (specifically, suburban women) who have actually tipped the political scales toward gun control, abortion, and gay marriage in a way that wealthy urban elites and urban minorities were not able to do.

  • I wonder what Henninger had in mind when he wrote “our politics will be leveled by other means”. Hmmm.

  • It certainly is a culture of death that we live in….A CULTURE OF DEATH

  • Elaine,

    Yes, its a stick and carrot sort of thing. Folks leave their organic communities to “make it” in the Big City. You may very well do that, but at what cost? Big mortgages, big car payments, a strained marriage and kids that ignore you in favor of their gadgets. This is my experience with suburbia. However, where do you think suburbanites came from? They, by and large, came from the children of people who used to live in the “ethnic” central parts of town, i.e. white flight. They got liberal by imbibing the values of the urban environment. Where did the Chicago Machine/Tammany Hall get its power from? The unwashed masses who made up that kind of “tight knit” community. Its the same old rabble-rousing the Romans did. Suburbanites, generally speaking, do have the overall combination of an elitist bubble.

    I really thank God that when my people got off the boat they went right past NYC or Chicago and got some land out in the country.

  • Cities are (and have been throughout history) cesspools of corruption, immorality, and groupthink.

    Must be why the early Church thrived there.

  • Hitler’s henchman referred to their mass-killing with health euphemisms. It was for the “health” of Germany. Now Obama refers to the killing of unborn children as “women’s health”…and is scared that fanatics will take away this wonderful right for women.. He recalls his involvement proudly in all his years of abortion advancement the way a true veteran talks about actual combat in a field as a patriot. I don’t know how advocating killing your own people (the smallest of them) makes a person a patriot. He ties in abortion with general health access and makes it sound like the Republicans are against all health care! When he turns up the rhetoric he really stretches it! He sees himself of the savior of women, how can he do that at the same time as shaking his finger at those who are against the unfettered killing of little women? It’s not a “more equal society….” when the full arm of the state is against unborn Americans! He’s tired of arguing about the “same old stuff’…doesn’t he know he’s in politics where people are supposed to be allowed to express their views publicly and safely?

  • At this moment, Boston and its suburbs are a prison under lock-down.

  • There is always risk in generalization. I look back at my own remarks and find chinks in them. One may infer from the electoral maps that big cities are centers of left-wing domination. And of course they have always been corrupt. The late Roman Republic ran on rampant bribery and demagoguery, much as we have become during our own “late republic”. The comparisons are many. The urban population swelled with people who previously would have been working small farms in the country. These were kept quiescent by free grain, circuses, brothels and the like. The common thread, I think, is a decline in virtue, that old Latin word for manliness. “Appelata est enim a viro virtus: viri autem propria maxime est fortitudo” (“The term virtue is from the word that signifies man; a man’s chief quality is fortitude”; Cicero, “Tuscul.”, I, xi, 18). Ya gotta love it.

  • The “Hope They’re White/Right-Wingers”/Boston Bombers crowd is intent on turning us into outlaws as “enemies of the state.”

  • Actually, my comment was a reaction to the Obama video at the top.

  • Yes, T. Shaw. I share your concern. We are always in danger of being designated “enemies of the state”. It seems to have involved Chechen immigrants. The Muslims of Chechnya are by some accounts violently exclusive, and there may be an affinity for Al Qaeda. Not to make light of a tragedy but we are somewhat relieved to find no connection to the American Legion or the Knights of Columbus. Some liberals are doubtless dissappointed.

  • ‘ “Atop the quotable Barack Obama there will be this: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” ‘

    Whose agenda clings to subject of guns, words of inequity on religion, and using words like racist and bigot in an accusatory manner? Think campaign speeches, voting machine errors, blackout of the March for Life information, the pictures of behavior of certain guests at the W House, many other atrocious memories of this admin who dares to use us/them in reference to the one people he represents as the top public servant.

  • Suburbs used to be a political counterweight to cities, as the Philly suburbs used to offset Philly proper. This is no longer the case. The point made about suburban women supporting gun control, abortion, the fallacy of “gay” marriage and other leftist nonsense is completely correct. The most incorrigible leftists often tend to be singe women and married women with no kids.

    This is the result of the decay in Christianity in the United States. Mainline Protestantism is almost finished. The Catholic clergy as a whole have been unwilling to use the pulpit to preach about sin and hell for decades.

    I live in a suburb, 14 miles from Pittsburgh. It was once almost completely rural – much of it still is – and all of it is atop abandoned coal mines. The Pittsburgh area is such that many suburbs are actually towns, boroughs, townships, etc that have been around for a long time and have identities to themselves, whether or not they have new housing developments.

    Every time Obumbler opens his mouth it makes me want to go buy a gun – and have my family taught how to use it.

  • I did not watch the video, to avoid needless pain. I recollect most of Obama’s pronouncements, and that one well. Obama portrays himself as the indispensable man. Such are always the enemy of liberty.

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.

George Will: Historians Will Marvel

Tuesday, February 7, AD 2012

On This Week on ABC last Sunday, George Will gave a concise, and devastating, explanation of what modern liberalism in this country is all about:

This is not about women’s health. This is about providing 300,000 abortions a year. Planned Parenthood cleverly cast this saying, ‘We are in the mammogram business.’ They’re not in the mammogram business — they are in the referral of mammograms. This showed two extraordinary things, George. First, the American left cares about ending wars and they care about poverty and they care about the environment, but they really care about — when they’re not perfunctory — is when you touch abortions. And historians will marvel that American liberalism in the first part of the 21st century is defined as defense of abortion.

Second, all these people describing themselves as pro-choice said it is illegitimate to choose not to be involved in abortion. And a much more important decision politically that was taken this week was the Obama administration saying that Catholic institutions have no choice — and this was applauded by pro-choice people — have no choice but to provide contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.

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6 Responses to George Will: Historians Will Marvel

  • I think historians will also marvel at the fact that many Catholic leftists, who really do care about stopping wars, the poor, the environment and so on are willing to turn a blind eye to what their secular counterparts REALLY care about. My experience with leftists Catholics has been that they are acutely uncomfortable with the whole topic of and act as if you’ve committed a serious breach of etiquette by even mentioning the topic. They want to forget about that and focus on social justice (which they of course equate with raising taxes).

  • Donna, the problem here is that Catholic leftists are like most leftists in supporting foreign policy/national security policies that necessitate bigger and bloodier wars under the guise of peace and economic policies that actually increase the plight of the poor. And they are blinded by their own arrogance and self-righteousness.

    As far as environmental issues are concerned, the myth of man-made global warming as being harmful to the environment is just that, a myth.

  • Greg, I wholly agree with your take on global warming, defense and economics. My point was not that the leftist stances on those issues are correct, but that I think most leftist Catholics good-heartedly and genuinely believe they are.

  • Lying through her teeth, Nancy Pelosi spoke of: ” quality of thinking”, and “of giving women the right to choose how they (women) will live their children’s lives”…or end their children’s lives. Redecorating the gates of hell, Pelosi, co-opted the most beautiful words and corrupted the words to distort the truth and make them into lies to feed the uniformed minds and hungry souls who listen to hear what they want to hear. I am amazed, I have never heard such grizzly militantcy, absent any form of truth. And when government contraception in Obamacare fails, these women will sue the government for wrongful life and the tax payers will pay and pay…and pay. Pay for your own abortion. Pay for your own contraception. Who gave you the power to take my wallet and penalize me for not handing it over willingly? “the quality of thinking” will not include treason and betrayal to the devil.

  • Romans 1:28-30

    “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.”

    Future historians will marvel at how the American people gave up their liberty and property at the prattlings of a man and movement so dull and illogical as are Obama and liberalism.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY U.S. POLITICS EXTRA I | ThePulp.it

Why Do Those Bitter Clingers Vote Republican?

Monday, November 21, AD 2011

 

 

Liberal elites frequently profess astonishment at why so many  middle class Americans vote Republican.  Thomas Frank in 2004 published a book, What’s The Matter With Kansas , in which he bemoaned the fact that his fellow Kansans, or former fellow Kansans I should say since he resides in Washington DC, did not share his love of the Party of the Jackass.  Lee Siegel at The Daily Beast has a brilliant column in which he explains the political facts of life to the Liberal elites in the form of a letter from Occupy Harvard to their parents:

The man you think is a “sucker” because he votes for Republican candidates who don’t seem to give a hoot about him will vote for them every time. He looks at you, the crowd of The-Fix-Is-Always-In, and he casts his lot with the crowd of wealth and initiative.

You see, Mom and Dad, they don’t lie about his prospects. They tell him that he has to sink or swim. They don’t disrespect his willpower by promising that government will make life easier for him. They tell him that they respect his individuality. They tell him straight out what you, the liberal elite, know to be true but will never say. They tell him that life in America is winner-take-all, and that they are the people who will let him keep what he has. They tell him that his religion, his wife’s capacity to reproduce, his children—whether they are “successful” or not—are his treasure. They tell him that they don’t care if he is a person of modest ambition, little sophistication, and humble means. What they value is his capacity to change his own life.

 

What you tell him is that he should put his life in your hands. Yet you scorn his religion. You mock his faith in the sacredness of conception. You deride his belief in family. You tell him that his love for hunting makes him a murderer, and that his terror at being economically displaced makes him a xenophobe and a racist. Then you emasculate his hope for the future by telling him that if his ship comes in—that dream of a ship that makes the grinding disappointment of daily life worth living through—you’ll help yourself to a big slice of it. And you expect him to believe your rhetoric about fairness and equality when, all the while, you are accusing him of gullibility in his politics and bad faith toward the least fortunate of his fellow citizens. When, all the while, you are living untouched by your own policies. When you are cushioned against life’s hardness, not by government, but by simply knowing other people in your class. You expect him to buy your talk about equitable distribution of wealth when you are sailing through tax loopholes off into the sunset. For this man, his emotions make all the rational sense in the world.

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5 Responses to Why Do Those Bitter Clingers Vote Republican?

  • Brilliant!

    Thank God 52% of “we the people” persist as producers and taxpayers.

    In general, democrat constituencies, e.g., the OWS crowd are amoral, cretinous, immoral, indolent, languid, vulgar creatures who seem convinced that it is the government’s duty to provide for them.

    Last week, a gang of self-identified “patriotic” millionaires was in DC propagandizing (up-scale street threater?) to end evil tax-cuts-for-the-rich. A right-wing provocateur asked each one (and gave the IRS Form) voluntarily to pay additional monies. They all refused.

    I would have sent them to the nearest US Army Recruiting Station.

  • I especially love the reference to the “Party of the Jackass”. Perhaps the party’s new
    slogan should be “Always Braying, Always Obstinate, Always Sterile”.

  • I read the Daily Beast column. Eh. Seems like a strawman argument to me. Ooo, those lousy rich hypocrites making fun of your hard work and your unborn child! Boo!

    I haven’t read Thomas Frank’s book, but I’ve read other things he’s written, and in my opinion he can’t grapple with the fact that the Republican Party is socially populist and economically elitist, and the Democratic Party is socially elitist and economically populist. That’s not to judge whether either party’s policies are correct; it’s just an acknowledgement that a lot of people are split between their social and economic interests.

    Frank looks at Kansas and can’t figure out why people vote against their economic interests. Well, Frank, that depends first of all on whether you think they are voting against their economic interests. But more than that, the idea that people vote strictly according to their pocketbooks is ridiculous. It reminds me of a question that Charles Murray asked: if you passed away, would you rather your children be adopted by a rich couple with poor morals or a good couple who was just scraping by? I think most people would choose the latter.

    Anyway, sorry if I went off on a tangent there, but lately I’ve been getting equally frustrated by the Bill O’Reillys and the Chris Matthewses.

  • Actually Pinky, Chris “Tingle up my leg” Matthews is sounding fairly frustrated about Obama these days.

  • Regarding Oama’s re-election hopes:

    Bray for a miracle!

A Liberal Education

Friday, October 14, AD 2011

The ideological orientation of  academia to the political left is an old story.   Certainly such ideological conformity was well established back in my halcyon undergraduate and law school days at the University of Illinois, 1975-1982.  Outside of my ROTC courses, I was guaranteed to be the most outspoken conservative in any class I attended.  In some classes of course, geography for example, politics never came up, but when political issues arose they would almost always be presented with a left of center, sometimes far left of center, viewpoint.  With the same shy, retiring nature that is always on full display on this blog, I always felt compelled to respond, which included, on one memorable occasion, interrupting a class room political rant by one of my education professors at the five minute mark with the comment:  “That is garbage sir!  Sheer garbage!”  The look on the shocked faces of my classmates will remain a cherished memory until my dying day!

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2 Responses to A Liberal Education

5 Responses to The Liberal Mind Explained

  • That one quote explains all one needs to know about liberalism.

  • The best definition of liberalism is “equal freedom,” and it is deeply embedded in the American founding. Unfortunately it has evolved today into anarcho-tyranny, and the “conservative” movement has waaaay too much right-liberalism (“freedom” as of a high value). Yet liberalism is also inescapable in our socio-political context (we are not the French and the Spanish conservatives of old, and cannot be, sadly, being born of revolution).

    This can be seen even in Burke, the Whig and defender of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (and a man I very much admire).

    Catholic conservatives have extremely little place in Anglo-American thought, and the reason is the turn away from Aquinas, from Henry VIII to the Prince to both George III and the revolt.

  • Ambrose Bierce may have had it right: “A conservative is a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal who wishes to replace them with others.”

  • My father-in-law always says that the word “liberal” (in the political context) means a “liberal application of laws” (ie. more laws) while “conservative” (also in the political context) means “a conservative application of laws” (ie. less laws).
    When I used these in a discussion with a liberal friend, he called me a liar and that it was exactly the opposite. You know what they say, denial is the first step towards acceptance.

  • A liberal is a person who is:

    Valiantly fighting the injustices
    Caused by the last generation of liberals
    Thus providing injustices
    To be valiantly opposed
    By the next generation of liberals.

Stevens to Retire

Friday, April 9, AD 2010

Get ready for Obama appointment, Round 2.

Supreme Court Justice Stevens announces he will retire in the summer.

Not sure how the timing will work on this, especially as Obama and the Democrats try to avoid being too contentious right before the November elections. That might play in our favor as far as getting a more moderate nominee. It will also be interesting to see if the GOP can or will delay the nominee as they have the 41 votes to filibuster.

The names being thrown around are the same ones being thrown around before; we’ll see where he goes with this pick. Time to start praying again.

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39 Responses to Stevens to Retire

  • Jerry Ford’s gift to liberal Democrats everywhere finally decides to call it quits during a Democrat administation, which shocks me as much the sky being blue and water being wet.

  • I don’t foresee a filibuster. There are only 41 Republicans, and it will just take one R to break a filibuster, and in this case I highly doubt Snowe, or Collins, or even Brown would join in one.

    Anyway thus passes Gerald Ford’s great gift to the country.

  • Heh, Donald beat me to the punch by seconds on the gift remark.

  • Stevens being from Chicago Paul I was in a hurry to give him a proper “the Chicago Way” send-off. 🙂

  • I have to admit, going to 90 to make sure his replacement shares his views is pretty stout.

    I agree that the filibuster seems unlikely, but there is a chance and that might affect the choice of nominee.

  • Pray for what?

    I don’t say that to doubt the efficacy of prayer, or to discourage anyone from praying for the souls of the Supreme Court members. But the way this game is played, 100% of nominees from Democratic presidents are activist pro-choicers, and 50% of Republicans’ nominees are originalist pro-lifers.

    The only way loyal Catholics get someone palatable is if the paperwork gets mixed up in the mail, and Bishop Gomez gets on the Court and some liberal judge takes over the Diocese of LA.

  • Pinky:

    Well, one could always hope the Democrats make their first mistake.

    But if that’s not a hope, then I think we should pray that he picks someone more moderate on the issue rather than the absolute “abortion is a right and ought to be fully funded by the federal government” crowd. There are various shades of being pro-choice, and we can pray that we get a lighter shade than Stevens.

  • I for one am going to start praying that Scalia does not fall over with a Heart attack

  • I for one am going to start praying that Scalia does not fall over with a Heart attack

    Yeah. . . where will we find another judge as dependably pro-torture as he is!

  • Through Obama.

  • “Yeah. . . where will we find another judge as dependably pro-torture as he is!”

    Why the entire liberal wing of the court unless you do not consider partial birth abortion to be torture, in addition to infanticide.

    From the Ginsburg dissent in Carhart, the Supreme Court decision upholding a law against partial birth abortion joined in by Stevens, Souter and Breyer.

    “Today, the Court blurs that line, maintaining that “[t]he Act [legitimately] appl[ies] both previability and postviability because … a fetus is a living organism while within the womb, whether or not it is viable outside the womb.” Ante, at 17. Instead of drawing the line at viability, the Court refers to Congress’ purpose to differentiate “abortion and infanticide” based not on whether a fetus can survive outside the womb, but on where a fetus is anatomically located when a particular medical procedure is performed. See ante, at 28 (quoting Congressional Findings (14)(G), in notes following 18 U. S. C. §1531 (2000 ed., Supp. IV), p. 769).

    One wonders how long a line that saves no fetus from destruction will hold in face of the Court’s “moral concerns.” See supra, at 15; cf. ante, at16 (noting that “[i]n this litigation” the Attorney General “does not dispute that the Act would impose an undue burden if it covered standard D&E”). The Court’s hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label “abortion doctor.” Ante, at 14, 24, 25, 31, 33. A fetus is described as an “unborn child,” and as a “baby,” ante, at 3, 8; second-trimester, previability abortions are referred to as “late-term,” ante, at 26; and the reasoned medical judgments of highly trained doctors are dismissed as “preferences”motivated by “mere convenience,” ante, at 3, 37. Instead of the heightened scrutiny we have previously applied, the Court determines that a “rational” ground is enough to uphold the Act, ante, at28, 37. And, most troubling, Casey’s principles, confirming the continuing vitality of “the essential holding of Roe,” are merely “assume[d]” for the moment, ante, at15, 31, rather than “retained” or “reaffirmed,” Casey, 505 U. S., at 846”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05-380.ZD.html

    Scalia’s dissent in the earlier Carhart decision which overturned a law banning partial birth abortion:

    “I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court’s jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child–one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child–proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. And the Court must know (as most state legislatures banning this procedure have concluded) that demanding a “health exception”–which requires the abortionist to assure himself that, in his expert medical judgment, this method is, in the case at hand, marginally safer than others (how can one prove the contrary beyond a reasonable doubt?)–is to give live-birth abortion free rein. The notion that the Constitution of the United States, designed, among other things, “to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” prohibits the States from simply banning this visibly brutal means of eliminating our half-born posterity is quite simply absurd.

    Even so, I had not intended to write separately here until the focus of the other separate writings (including the one I have joined) gave me cause to fear that this case might be taken to stand for an error different from the one that it actually exemplifies. Because of the Court’s practice of publishing dissents in the order of the seniority of their authors, this writing will appear in the reports before those others, but the reader will not comprehend what follows unless he reads them first.

    * * *

    The two lengthy dissents in this case have, appropriately enough, set out to establish that today’s result does not follow from this Court’s most recent pronouncement on the matter of abortion, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992). It would be unfortunate, however, if those who disagree with the result were induced to regard it as merely a regrettable misapplication of Casey. It is not that, but is Casey’s logical and entirely predictable consequence. To be sure, the Court’s construction of this statute so as to make it include procedures other than live-birth abortion involves not only a disregard of fair meaning, but an abandonment of the principle that even ambiguous statutes should be interpreted in such fashion as to render them valid rather than void. Casey does not permit that jurisprudential novelty–which must be chalked up to the Court’s inclination to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue. It is of a piece, in other words, with Hill v. Colorado, ante, p. ___, also decided today.

    But the Court gives a second and independent reason for invalidating this humane (not to say anti-barbarian) law: That it fails to allow an exception for the situation in which the abortionist believes that this live-birth method of destroying the child might be safer for the woman. (As pointed out by Justice Thomas, and elaborated upon by Justice Kennedy, there is no good reason to believe this is ever the case, but–who knows?–it sometime might be.)

    I have joined Justice Thomas’s dissent because I agree that today’s decision is an “unprecedented expansio[n]” of our prior cases, post, at 35, “is not mandated” by Casey’s “undue burden” test, post, at 33, and can even be called (though this pushes me to the limit of my belief) “obviously irreconcilable with Casey’s explication of what its undue-burden standard requires,” post, at 4. But I never put much stock in Casey’s explication of the inexplicable. In the last analysis, my judgment that Casey does not support today’s tragic result can be traced to the fact that what I consider to be an “undue burden” is different from what the majority considers to be an “undue burden”–a conclusion that can not be demonstrated true or false by factual inquiry or legal reasoning. It is a value judgment, dependent upon how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the life of a partially delivered fetus, and how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the freedom of the woman who gave it life to kill it. Evidently, the five Justices in today’s majority value the former less, or the latter more, (or both), than the four of us in dissent. Case closed. There is no cause for anyone who believes in Casey to feel betrayed by this outcome. It has been arrived at by precisely the process Casey promised–a democratic vote by nine lawyers, not on the question whether the text of the Constitution has anything to say about this subject (it obviously does not); nor even on the question (also appropriate for lawyers) whether the legal traditions of the American people would have sustained such a limitation upon abortion (they obviously would); but upon the pure policy question whether this limitation upon abortion is “undue”–i.e., goes too far.

    In my dissent in Casey, I wrote that the “undue burden” test made law by the joint opinion created a standard that was “as doubtful in application as it is unprincipled in origin,” Casey, 505 U.S., at 985; “hopelessly unworkable in practice,” id., at 986; “ultimately standardless,” id., at 987. Today’s decision is the proof. As long as we are debating this issue of necessity for a health-of-the-mother exception on the basis of Casey, it is really quite impossible for us dissenters to contend that the majority is wrong on the law–any more than it could be said that one is wrong in law to support or oppose the death penalty, or to support or oppose mandatory minimum sentences. The most that we can honestly say is that we disagree with the majority on their policy-judgment-couched-as-law. And those who believe that a 5-to-4 vote on a policy matter by unelected lawyers should not overcome the judgment of 30 state legislatures have a problem, not with the application of Casey, but with its existence. Casey must be overruled.

    While I am in an I-told-you-so mood, I must recall my bemusement, in Casey, at the joint opinion’s expressed belief that Roe v. Wade had “call[ed] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution,” Casey, 505 U.S., at 867, and that the decision in Casey would ratify that happy truce. It seemed to me, quite to the contrary, that “Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since”; and that, “by keeping us in the abortion-umpiring business, it is the perpetuation of that disruption, rather than of any Pax Roeana, that the Court’s new majority decrees.” Id., at 995—996. Today’s decision, that the Constitution of the United States prevents the prohibition of a horrible mode of abortion, will be greeted by a firestorm of criticism–as well it should. I cannot understand why those who acknowledge that, in the opening words of Justice O’Connor’s concurrence, “[t]he issue of abortion is one of the most contentious and controversial in contemporary American society,” ante, at 1, persist in the belief that this Court, armed with neither constitutional text nor accepted tradition, can resolve that contention and controversy rather than be consumed by it. If only for the sake of its own preservation, the Court should return this matter to the people–where the Constitution, by its silence on the subject, left it–and let them decide, State by State, whether this practice should be allowed. Casey must be overruled.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-830.ZD1.html

  • Why the entire liberal wing of the court unless you do not consider partial birth abortion to be torture, in addition to infanticide.

    Wel then, I am confused. . . after all, since torture isn’t wrong, then how can partial birth abortion be. . .

    Unless. . .

    Of course! It makes sense now: abortion means no children. No children means no children’s testicles. And if there are no children’s testicles to crush. . . the terrorists win!

    Ex Conservatatione Quod Libet

  • I am sure phosphorious that you will be able to cite a text where Scalia ever indicated that he was in favor of someone’s testicles being crushed. On the other hand I have just provided you with chapter and verse where the liberal wing of the court views as a constitutional right the ability of an abortionist to stick scissors into the base of an unborn infant’s skull. However, I suppose in your view that since it is abortion it cannot be torture. Res Ipsa Loquitur

  • Don,

    phosphorius is right. Obama prefers murder to torture.

  • Bush’s legal advisors has defended Bush’s right (I don’t know if a “lib” president is invested with a similar “right”) to crush a child’s testicles to extract information from his parent. Scalia is known to have defended Bush’s torture policies in toto.

    Bush ordered torture to be performed. Did Obama ever order an abortion to be performed, partial-birth or otherwise? A distinction a “conservative” should take seriously.

  • phosphorius is right. Obama prefers murder to torture.

    Whereas I can’t think of anything that conservatives prefer to torture. they defend it every chance they get.

  • Actually many conservatives oppose torture. Many liberals (such as Pelosi)supported the CIA interrogation techniques (though she lies about it.) Obama, given his penchant for murder would likely not oppose past interrogation techniques if the right situation arose. Did he order any murders? See discussion on assasinations below.

  • Phosphorious raises some very good points, and I would like to follow up with a post of my own. I would just ask phosporious if he could kindly supply some of the links or other supporting literature that shows that Bush’s legal advisors defended his right to crush a child’s testicles, where Bush so ordered such an action to be taken, and the opinions offered by Scalia demonstrating his approval of such. I look forward with great anticipation the roundup of this information.

  • Google “Yoo testicles” and you will see the defense. As for proof that Bush actually ordered the crushing of testicles, child’s or not, I assume that’s a matter of State security that only a traitor would pry too closely in. If the terrorists knew about it, they would train their children to withstand testicle crushing, after all.

    But Bush did order the torture of prisoners. And Scalia supports it. . . citing I believe “24” as proof that law enforcement needs “lattitude” in the fighting of terrorism.

    But gentlemen, we digress. The point is that abortion is the litmus test, and nothing else.

    On that, conservatives can agree, no?

  • “Did Obama ever order an abortion to be performed, partial-birth or otherwise? A distinction a “conservative” should take seriously.”

    Nah, he merely defends it as a constitutional right and raises campaign funds trumpeting his opposition to laws banning partial birth abortion, what the late pro-abort Senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to as “barely disguised infanticide”.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/partial-birth-abortion/michelle-obamas.html

  • I assume that this interview on 60 minutes is what elicts phosphorious’ attempts to defend Obama on abortion by attacking Scalia on torture:

    Viewing Leslie Stahl attempting to question Scalia is rather like watching Bill Clinton attempting to teach a course on legal ethics. She didn’t have even the foggiest notion of what he was talking about.

  • “The point is that abortion is the litmus test, and nothing else.”

    The point is phosphorious almost a million dead unborn children a year and your desperate attempts on a Catholic blog to supply political cover to a President who is dedicated to this continuing forever.

  • Stevens’ retirement troubles me because, every time a justice retires many people speak in terms of litmus tests related to societal issues such as abortion and freedom religion. In discussing such tests for prospective nominees most individuals focus solely on the subject of abortion.

    The use of abortion as the sole litmus test that nominees must be subjected to is akin to tunnel vision because, most social conservatives fail to realize that the adoption of such a position is tantamount to heresy in many circles and no politician would risk their careers by taking such a position openly and publicly because, it would alienate an extremely large bloc of voters who see overturning Roe v Wade and it descendants as potentially causing even more harm than good because, attempting in their eyes restoring the status quo as it existed before 1973 could engender the return and resurgence of backroom abortionists who are not medically trained.

    I would advocate the development of additional tests. For example, how would the nominee defend the rights of the disabled, minorities and women?

  • “I would advocate the development of additional tests. For example, how would the nominee defend the rights of the disabled, minorities and women?”

    In other words, shut up about the right to life of the unborn. Additionally, what attempts are there on the scale of abortion in reference to unborn children to deny rights to minorities or women? Unborn disabled children are of course often targeted for abortion because of their disability.

  • I assume that this interview on 60 minutes is what elicts phosphorious’ attempts to defend Obama on abortion by attacking Scalia on torture

    I am attacking the smug, self-righteous Catholics who only object to the sins that political liberals commit.

    Which is every poster here, far as I can tell.

  • In other words, shut up about the right to life of the unborn.

    Because, of course, if abortion is not the only issue, then it is no issue at all.

    Heresy is not necessarily the abandoning of Church doctrine. Focusing on one bit of doctrine to the exclusion of all else will do quite nicely.

  • The point is phosphorious almost a million dead unborn children a year and your desperate attempts on a Catholic blog to supply political cover to a President who is dedicated to this continuing forever.

    Obama has dedicated his life. . . and beyond. . . the making sure that mothers kill their children?

    Wow. . . I had no idea. . .

  • What are the penalties for refusing to abort your child?

  • Phosphorious it would be much more concise if you simply said: “I’m a liberal and I don’t give a damn about abortion. Go Obama!” That is, after all, what your position boils down to.

  • The Cajun is right, how much damage does President Obama want to incur in order to nominate another pro-abortion advocate.

    I think he will, he seems to believe he is invincible and 2012 is far away enough to recuperate lost prestige.

    He apparently doesn’t really care about the Dems this election cycle, so why not write this election off. Besides, what’s the worse that can happen? The Democrats will have a small majority in the House and in the Senate he’ll have veto powers that can’t be overcome.

  • At no time did I argue that anyone needed to be silent about the rights or lack thereof accorded to the unborn. I merely assert that a multitude of sociopolitical issues must be considered in addition to when nominating a successor to Justice Stevens.

    As for my assertions regarding the nature of politicians and their desire to maintain their positions at the expense of their morals, such a school of thought has existed in some form or other since, the foundation of the Roman Empire. Indeed both Machiavelli and Gracian discussed this tendency at length.

  • Mr. McClarey, I know very well how many fetuses are subjected to abortion because of their disabilities. I myself am possessed of cerebral palsy characterized by ataxic presentation.

    I merely sought to point out that in my opinion if an individual chooses to focus on the issue of abortion alone, while failing to review the positions taken by a prospective nominee on other sociopolitical issues is possessed of a focus so narrow that it fails to meet the standard set by Saint Basil Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

  • Nathan, I rather think all of the Saints you name would be protesting outside of abortion clinics constantly if they were alive today. Abortion is the human rights issue of our day, and to sit on our hands because of opposition from pro-aborts is not an option.

    I think Cardinal Ratzinger put it well in a letter:

    “2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it” (no. 74).

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

    Catholics and all who cherish innocent human life must be untiring in their battle against the crime of abortion.

    In regard to your disability, my prayers. One of my sons is autistic. I have no doubt that if there were a test to determine autism in utero, many of his autistic peers would not be alive today, just as has occurred with 90% of Down Syndrome children where such a test does exist. This slaughter of the innocents must stop and I will never cease working against abortion until I take my final breath.

  • Phosphorious it would be much more concise if you simply said: “I’m a liberal and I don’t give a damn about abortion. Go Obama!” That is, after all, what your position boils down to.

    As opposed to saying that the mere mention of torture distracts from abortion, which is the only sin.

  • I agree they would be protesting, and they would be examining the positions held by candidates in regards to other issues as well so that could more fully ascertain the candidates in order to have a fuller understanding of their character, so that they could more effectively battle them.

  • Phosphorious your laborious dragging of red herrings through this thread merely demonstrates that my concise version of your position is totally accurate. Such tactics may work at Vox Nova, they are absolutely of no use on this blog.

  • I merely sought to point out that in my opinion if an individual chooses to focus on the issue of abortion alone, while failing to review the positions taken by a prospective nominee on other sociopolitical issues is possessed of a focus so narrow that it fails to meet the standard set by Saint Basil Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

    An aspirant for a seat on an appellate court of last resort who proposes to uphold Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton is in doing so subscribing to a particular conception of judicial review favored by Laurence Tribe. A judge engaging in authentic judicial review declines to apply administrative rules which conflict with statutes and statutes which conflict with constitutions. A judge engaging in Tribean judicial review assumes plenary authority to annul any statute or administrative rule incongruent with the policy preferences of law professors, so long as his shallow and smart-assed clerks can gin up a salable excuse. An adherent to Tribean judicial review is unfit for any office or public trust, period.

    Judge Stevens was one of four members of the federal Supreme Court who contended (in a dissenting opinion issued in 1977) that the federal and state governments were required by constitutional provisions to appropriate public funds to provide abortions on demand. Congress should have stuck a fork in this bastard a long long time ago.

  • In this country, ‘sociopolitical issues’ are the business of legislators, not judges.

  • The reason it appears that Roe v. Wade is all that matters is because, in addition to being about the civil rights issue of our time, it also has become a proxy for two opposing views of constitutional jurisprudence. How a judge is likely to vote on Roe tells me almost all I need to know about that judge.

Why They Attack Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, April 5, AD 2010

In some ways, we shouldn’t be surprised at all concerning the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father was never one of the “chosen religious people” loved by the dying group called progressive Christians, or by the mainstream media; that distinctions falls to the National Catholic Reporter, Maureen Dowd, Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, or the openly gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson.

(Point of personal privilege. In my mind, there are two schools of liberals, one is the utopian view, and while I disagree with their unrealistic views of the world, they are in their heart of hearts not nefarious. This group truly believes the world would be a better place if their views were followed. A couple examples of their spiritual gurus would be Jerry Brown and Jerry Garcia.  However the other form of liberalism, which is much more prevalent, is a virulent strain that masquerades as a protector of the less fortunate and a conduit of all things intellectual. Their goal is nothing less than absolute societal control; their godfathers are Voltaire, Nietztche, Karl Marx, Saul Alinksy etc.)

When the Abuse Crisis came to Europe, the mainstream media, and the many within religious reporting circles who despise the conservative social teachings of the Catholic Church, were licking their chops to take a shot at Pope Benedict. Never mind, the huge number of abuse cases coming out of big government circles, or the fact that an overwhelming majority of abusers who were priests were those with views of changing the Church and not respecting her teachings, the mainstream media smelled blood in the water and feeding frenzy was on.

The New York Times article, basically saying then Cardinal Ratzinger looked the other way during the abuse scandal, was so shoddy that even writers from the liberal Jesuit America magazine took note of it. It might behoove those who have fallen for the Old Gray Lady’s hysterical rantings to read the quotes of some in the mainstream media praising then Cardinal Ratzinger’s handling of the crisis during the later stages of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

Why the attack on the Catholic Church one might ask? The Catholic Church is the only Church who is universal, can speak with one voice and has conservative based social views. This coupled with the fact, that she unlike far too many Christian churches, has never lost her belief in the mystical i.e. the Eucharist, miracles, apparitions etc. However, the biggest reason some in the mainstream media attack the Holy Father is that despite all of these “non modern” views, the Catholic Church continues to grow. Adding insult to injury for these modern day Pontius Pilates (what is truth?) the Church continues to grow, young people in particular are draw to devotions like the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration.

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7 Responses to Why They Attack Pope Benedict XVI

  • Great column as usual, Dave. It brings to mind the crowd that mobbed Jesus and threatened to throw him over the cliff. But like Jesus, the church will just walk right through them.

  • “As one can clearly see from this example, the right wing Catholic hierarchy may not have existed as vividly as it did in some liberal’s imagination.”

    The Kennedys had the Church in Boston in their hip pocket since the Thirties, largely due to the amount of money that Joe Kennedy, a man who gave slime a bad name, dumped on the Church in Boston. To be fair, his wife Rose was a model Catholic and mother. Too bad her sons took after their villainous father.

    Most Catholic clergy tended to be Democrats, like most of their parishioners, prior to the Sixties. This rarely mattered then, since the Democrat party at that time rarely embraced causes which went against Church teaching. An exception was the Spanish Civil War of the Thirties where Catholic Democrats were often at odds with their more liberal brethren.

  • AMEN. As usual a well presented and logically laid out response.At least one of the those Magisterium will be gone next February and hopefully two. ( Los Angeles and Rochester )

  • I was thinking about this the other day. You hit on it here pretty well. The timing (not just the attacks right at Easter)is intriguing. In about November, it was announced that the Traditional Anglican Communion was going to be allowed to come into the Catholic Church. This means upwards of half a million people in a very short time will enter the Church. I feell strongly that the liberals must hate this. I think part of this onslaught from the press against Pope Benedict is due to this amazing event.

  • AFL, one of your wishes is coming true, with the pope picking a conservative archbishop from San Antonio to replace Cardinal Mahony as the shepherd of the Los Angeles archdiocese. Hallelujah!

  • Just a theory… President Obama visited Pope Benedict XVI about 2 weeks before the healthcare bill vote, I personally believe it was to garner support for it. Obviously the Pope wouldn’t support the bill, abortion and euthanasia are in direct opposition to the basic tenets of our Catholic Faith. It is my personal opinion that dragging the Holy Father through the mud is just Obama trying to get back at Benedict XVI for his resounding ‘NO’ when it came to supporting that heinous healthcare bill. I caught the pics of Obama and Michele (actually wearing a chapel veil) on the Vatican’s Youtube site.

  • Pingback: British Government Shows Prejudice Towards Papal Visit « The American Catholic

What Will ObamaCare Look Like

Friday, March 5, AD 2010

[4 updates at the bottom of this post as of 8:08am CST]

If ObamaCare somehow passes through Congress and signed by President Obama, what can Americans look forward to?

Well the Republican Party’s very own potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney did just that as governor of Massachusetts, passing universal health coverage for the entire state.

The results are mixed at best, and scary at worst.

Here are some highlights from the op-ed titled Romneycare model a dud in the Boston Herald by Michael Graham where Massachusetts is “already glowing in the radioactive haze of Romneycare, aka “ObamaCare: The Beta Version.” [emphases mine]:

Shouldn’t Obama have been bragging yesterday about bringing the benefits of Bay State reform to all of America?

As we prepare to wander into this coming nuclear winter of hyper-partisan politics – one in which we’re almost certain to see widespread political fatalities among congressional Democrats – I have to ask: If bringing Massachusetts-style “universal coverage” to America is worth this terrible price, why doesn’t Obama at least mention us once in awhile?

Maybe he thinks of us as the Manhattan Project of medical insurance reform. Too top secret to discuss. More likely, it has something to do with the nightmare results of this government-run debacle. Here are a few “highlights” of the current status of the Obamacare experiment in Massachusetts:

It’s exploding the budget: Our “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget [imagine it in trillions for American tax-payers] for 2010. Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

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11 Responses to What Will ObamaCare Look Like

  • Clearly, the program only failed because it wasn’t properly funded. The rich need to pay their share to ensure everybody has access to health care. Your opposition to health care reform is really a manifestation of your deep-seeded hatred of the poor and fear of those who are not like you. It is shameful for you to use abortion as a smokescreen for your racism.

    //There. Just saved a few folks some time this morning.

  • Steve,

    That is a failure of imagination.

    All problems cannot be solved by throwing more money at it.

    Massachusetts is a model of what will happen to America.

  • Steve, you do deadpan humor better than I do it! You parodied the arguments of the Left to perfection. Well done!

  • Steve,

    I’m enjoying my sucker-pie right now.

    Good one!

    🙂

  • Yes, but Steve forgot to mention fascism. A fatal flaw in any real argument

  • I don;t know enough about Mass to comment.

    However, if public options are doomed to fail, how come they seem to do OK in Canada and Europe and have done for decades?

  • RuariJM,

    Canada and Europe have been subsidized by American military power for the past fifty years. If those ungrateful countries had to spend money on their own military, they wouldn’t have enough money for universal health care. The only our country could afford to ensure health care for all is to do what those countries do – gut our military spending and shut down the one trillion dollar budget.

    Yeah, right! Who else is going to stop Western Civilization from succumbing to the jihadists, if not the American military?

    // I jest. 🙂

  • “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget

    Thanks to greater-than-expected enrollment. It’s a good thing.

    Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

    So what’s an acceptable price tag? The VA budget is $57 billion. Is that too much?

    Besides, most of the $900 million was already being spent to reimburse hospitals for treating the uninsured. The shortfall is $100 million.

    The choice is between insuring the uninsured, reimbursing hospitals for treating the uninsured, making hospitals suffer the losses from treating the uninsured, or allowing hospitals to turn away the uninsured. Pick one.

    Average Massachusetts premiums are the highest in the nation and rising. We also spend 27 percent more on health care services, per capita, than the national average.

    It was probably already the highest before the reform. I do know for a fact that since the reform, the rate of increase has declined both compared to the past and compared to other states. This is consistent with the CBO report which predicts lower costs offset by higher premiums for more comprehensive plans (a net increase in premiums but a decrease in cost). The Massachusetts plan apparently lowered costs more than it increased the price of premiums.

    In Massachusetts, ObamaCare 1.0 is such a mess our governor is talking about imposing draconian price controls.

    The federal government will deal with a larger deficit the way it always does, borrowing. If the federal government was going to impose price controls, it would’ve done so already to save money on Medicare/Medicaid which dwarfs ObamaCare.

    uninsured Bay State residents has gone from around 6 percent to around 3 percent.

    That’s hundreds of thousands of people. That’s great news! A federal program will help millions!

    In conclusion, the Massachusetts plan doesn’t defy logic and works largely as it’s expected to work. Nobody expected it to be free.

    If you oppose ObamaCare, offer an alternative. The way I see it if you take out the public option and include the Stupak Amendment, you have an acceptable plan. Sure, HSA’s would be preferable but if that’s not an option, insurance is still better than nothing.

  • In all seriousness, the rich have no greater right to health care than the poor. The rich are rich not for their own sake, but for the sake of the poor. To those whom much is given, much will be expected.

    Now, having said that, I do not approve of national taxes and national health care schemes. State taxes and state health care schemes . . . I’d have to think about.

  • RuariJM,

    That would explain why the premiere of Newfoundland decided to have surgery in the US and not Canada.

    As well as many more Canadians crossing our border for superior and sorely needed doctors visits.

    Remember, dead patients don’t complain while waiting in line for a transplant.

    That’s why you don’t hear much of them complaining, but there are complaints and it is ugly.

  • I hope Republicans will run attractive candidates for every open House and Senate seat who promise to repeal it. If this Obama/Piglosi/Reid abomination can be crammed down our throats via the nuclear option, why can’t it be repealed via nuclear option once all the Marxist-Alinskyite dirt bags have been voted out of Congress this November? By the grace of God there will be enough of a conservative flip to override ObaMao’s veto.

Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

Tuesday, February 16, AD 2010

Sarah Palin and Bristol Palin respond to the vile Family Guy attack on Trig, her son with Down’s Syndrome:

People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut. Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, “when is enough, enough?”:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks. – Bristol Palin”

– Sarah Palin

Perhaps it is partially because I have an autistic son, but words literally fail me to adequately describe people evil enough to mock a handicapped child because they differ with the mother of the child politically.

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79 Responses to Palin Responds to Family Guy Attack on Trig

  • Family Guy is commonly about as tasteless as the imagination permits, exceeded in this only by South Park. It is an indication of how corrupted the media have grown in a modest time frame.

    Amy Carter was overexposed but given only the mildest ribbing by the likes of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players and Chelsea Clinton was left in peace (bar for being called a ‘dog’ by Rush Limbaugh). I think one of Geraldine Ferraro’s children is named ‘John’; do you recall the other two?

  • It is quite amazing that people who allegedly have their full faculties and imaginative creativity will act like the effin’ retards they ascribe people with actual special needs as being.

    The fact is people with mental retardation, autism and other impairments are more enjoyable, joyful and pleasant to be around than any of these monkeys who like to throw mean words around without considering the feelings of those who have impairments and the loved ones who care for them

    If you ask me, that is pretty effin’ retarded, especially when the goal is to attack a defenseless child simply because his mother makes you feel uncomfortable and intimidated.

    Do you think that the fact that we consider children a burden and a punishment for recreational sex or a simple ‘choice’ to kill has anything to do with considering anyone with special needs as a burden on society and fair game for ridicule?

    Sick.

  • One of the things Palin has unquestionably achieved (to her sorrow) is giving the hard left a chance to show the entire country how utterly despicable and hateful the “caring” party can be.

  • Southpark usually has a nuanced and valid point to make, even if it is one we disagree with. It has had pro-life episodes, and many shows about the humanity and dignity of disabled people.

    I simply can’t put that show in the same class as Family Guy, which is nothing but one-sided propaganda.

    In addition to being intrinsically evil, making fun of a down-syndrome child is mind-bogglingly irrational and stupid if your goal is to somehow oppose Sarah Palin.

    In the end this is the same show that depicted Jesus as a pedophile, God as a selfish womanizer, and all Christians as mindless, book-burning, hate-filled bigots. It’s the kind of stuff I might have thought up as an angst-ridden teenage atheist in rebellion against the Church. I’m glad I grew up, and I’m sad others are still stuck there.

    And you know what MacFarlane’s defense always is? And its the same one used by all of these guys: either we can make fun of everything, or we can make fun of nothing. Everything is sacred or nothing is sacred. And somehow our first amendment embodies this idea. Of course this is irrational, illogical, and childish.

  • When a culture makes everything profane, nothing is sacred.

  • I seem to recall that Joan Rivers was interviewed in 1983 or thereabouts and said her aim was to be “the meanest bitch in America”. Asked if any topic was off limits, she said, “deformed children…and religion I’m very careful with…”. Well, that was then.

  • I deleted your comment restrainedradical. No one in this thread will be allowed to speak in defense of this vile assault on human decency. All such comments will be deleted.

  • In my misspent past as a teen, youth, young adult and sadly full grown man I would have found this funny. In fact, I used to like the show as well as other prurient interests. Then I was assaulted by God and only by His Grace I came to my senses and returned to the Church of my Baptism.

    Making that decision meant that I was all in. Of course, I only think I am all in because everyday I am reminded of how not-at-all-in I really am. Yet, I know that morality is not in me it comes from God alone. Adhering to His standards renders this and other things I would have found entertaining and funny in my past as sick and twisted.

    I certainly am not ‘politically correct’ and I don’t think we need to allow coercion, government or social, to limit artistic expression. Yet, I think that social standards, based on ‘mere Christian’ morals must be infused into our culture.

    This ‘joke’ was not funny because it maligns children with inherent limitations and not because it attacks Sarah Palin. She’s a big girl and can take care of herself and she chose public life. I think that children with mental retardation, physical disabilities, Down Syndrome, etc. have a greater opportunity for sanctification than fools that find this kind of crap funny.

    I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.

  • The sad thing is that Family Guy is capable of being hysterically funny without being radically offensive.

  • Sadly, I read restrained radical’s comment before it was deleted. It’s an appalling enigma to me how the left is so adamantly against torture, but at the same time can applaud a wicked and evil cartoon which could be considered one of the most deadly of weapons, the most harmful poison. Society must be nourished with good, not evil, and evil is being preached to an immense audience. Evil such as this corrupts and kills souls. But then, the principles of God’s kingdom and the principles of the world are vastly different. That cartoon caused unnecessary pain to the Palins and countless others. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, a perfect time to contemplate Jesus’ crowning with thorns. Mother Teresa said that mental illness is Jesus’ crown of thorns. Although children with downs’ syndrome are certainly not mentally ill, I think we could extend the meditation to include the parents of these children who suffer greatly with mockery, taunts and insults directed toward their beloved children.

  • restrainedradical is a valued commenter here at American Catholic. This thread however is not one where our usual free-wheeling debate format applies. I feel quite strongly about this and no comments defending the Family Guy spit in the face of decency will be allowed. If handicapped kids can be mocked as entertainment or political attack, then we truly are a culture that is sick unto death.

  • Surprisingly (at least to me), The Anchoress is defending “Family Guy” and criticizing Palin for speaking out:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/02/16/family-guy-goaded-palin-into-a-mistake/

    I responded somewhat negatively in her comboxes.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

  • “I think if I met myself from several years back, I might kick my own ass.”

    American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity. To me, the realization of how we were wrong in the past explains why reconciliation is the greatest of the sacraments.*
    Bill

    * Unless my wife is reading and then my answer is marriage is the greatest sacrament.

  • I’m missing something. I get “former governor of Alaska” is referencing Sarah Palin, but how does Trig fit into this? I don’t get it. I second the call for an explanation.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    The Huffington post author here is clear as to what Seth MacFarlane intended.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/15/family-guy-trig-palin-vid_n_462522.html

  • Jay, the Anchoress is simply clueless on this. The insult was directly aimed at Trig as you pointed out. That the Anchoress can’t see this astounds me.

  • I’m not seeing how the clip was an attack on Trig (not saying it wasn’t mind you, just that I don’t see how it was). Maybe someone could explain?

    I think MacFarlane was trying to cover his ass by recasting Todd Palin as ‘an accountant’ and Trig as female.

  • I had deleted this comment but on second thought I am going to post it. It came from someone, now banned from this blog, calling himself FascistHater. His name is apt, but not in the way he intended. It is a monument to the type of hatred that motivates people to attack those they disagree with by attacking their kids. Such hatred ultimately consumes those who revel in it.

    “What a bunch of “knee jerk assholes” you all are. Did any of you watch this entire show? The girl with downs syndrome is treated as a self assured young women who is the superior of the “normal” Chris Griffin. I’m certain if he had made inappropriate suggestions involving a Lufta she would have shoved it up his ass. If only Palin’s “Normal” slut daughter was as self assured and bright as this cartoon character.

    By the way Don sorry about your son but maybe someone with genes as defective as yours shouldn’t be reproducing. Hey . . . if my comments going to be deleted might as well make it good.”

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indictated by the way that she speaks.

    Okay, but how is that an attack on Trig?

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

  • Don, I caught that comment last night but refrained from commenting because I knew it would be deleted. Obviously the person is quite filled with hate and apparently a proud fascist too (they often go hand in hand dontcha know), but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by. I was inclined to think it was the typical leftist type of drive by because I only know of a handful truly hatefilled semi-regulars but their names are well known and they seem to have no shame about associating their name with their venom. However, I got to thinking that this person probably knows more about you than can be ascertained from the post. Nevermind, I’m fairly sure who it is. Sad.

  • Governor of Alaska plus Downs Syndrome Child. The Downs Syndrome child is also portrayed as nasty and manipulative. This is not rocket science BA.

    I grant that it was a reference to Palin/Trig. That much is obvious. What I don’t get is what is insulting about it. The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me, and even if she did, Trig isn’t a teenage girl, so it’s not like these attributes would be ascribed to him.

    I agree this isn’t rocket science, why is what makes the unwillingness/inability of people to say what was insulting about the clip somewhat mysterious.

  • I think I may have watched family guy once, maybe twice. Never thought it funny or entertaining – mostly just stupid. No reason to ever watch it.

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people. I guess we’ll see how this plays out and how many other people fail to see what I think is an obvious attack on a child with Downs Syndrome simply to vent political hatred.

  • FWIW, I could see the, “Well, this isn’t all that offensive,” point were this more or less in isolation. However, given that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

  • “but I was wondering if you were able to tell if the person was someone we’re familiar with or just a drive by.”

    Deliberately didn’t attempt to Rick. The person involved wasn’t worth that much effort on my part. Whoever it was I feel pity more than anything else. Living with that level of hate must be like wearing an emotional hair shirt.

  • The girl didn’t come across as nasty or manipulative in the clip to me

    She rebukes him for not helping her to her seat and then rebukes him for not asking about her person. You wouldn’t mind?

  • Nothing mysterious about it BA. You simply do not think it is insulting. I, Trig’s mother and Trig’s sister think it is, along with quite a few other people.

    I’m asking why you thought it was insulting. Saying, “well I and a lot of other people thought it was insulting” doesn’t answer that question.

  • It’s pretty incoherent, which is describes the MacFarlane’s humor in general. Throw everything against the wall and hope to elicit a response.

    South Park actually had a dead-on hilarious parody of the Family Guy writing style during the notorious censored Muhammad episode, depicting FG as being written by manatees who nudge random balls labelled with pop culture references into a mixing machine, thus leading to the attempted gags.

    After having watched the clip, it sure looks like a manatee job. I agree that it’s offensive, and a secondary shot at Trig, but I think it’s more of an attack on Sarah Palin than her son, projecting the latter’s handicaps on to the former. I say “secondary” because the depiction of the impaired character as an obnoxious, attention-mongering glasses-wearing diva is a direct attack on the former Governor herself.

  • [G]iven that Palin has been consistently vilified by the left for bringing a child with Downs Syndrome to term ever since she appeared on the national stage, I think it’s reached the point where making a point of it at all (especially in a venue like Family Guy, which has become an all purpose political/cultural attack program over the last couple years) plays as offensive.

    I can understand this as a psychological explanation, but if past attacks make people conclude that any reference to Palin is per se insulting then I think they are overreacting.

  • BA, I’ll try this one last time with you and I’ll put it in personal terms. My son is autistic. He is a constant joy to me and to his mother. He is unable to carry on a normal conversation, although he can answer yes and no questions. His autism may have caused retardation although with autism this is difficult to say. He can read although how much he retains is often a mystery for us and his teachers. His autism gives him all sorts of behavioral quirks so that he will never be able to live independently or work outside of a sheltered workshop. Things that other people can do without thinking, he, sadly, will not be able to do. Compared to most people his life will be hard, something thus far he has coped with magnificently.

    If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me. That you fail to understand why I would be livid, and why the Palins are livid, I find baffling.

  • If I were to be a public figure, and a “comedy” show decided to feature a character who is mentally handicapped and who is the child of a person who is clearly intended to be me, I would be livid. My son was not brought into this world to be used as a prop by which an attack could be launched against me.

    This begs the question of how it was an attack, which is what I was asking. If I comedy show attacked my family I would be livid too. But I don’t see how the above clip constitutes an attack.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself. Kids of politicians used to be off-limits. Now it is open season on disabled kids of politicians. I guess common deceny is a thing of the past.

  • BA,

    I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period. I’ve watched the Family Guy before and found certain bits extremely funny…even some of the very offensive ones, but this one wasn’t funny and is quite transparent and unnecessary. It’s clear that it was framed with Sarah Palin in mind, which in itself isn’t a problem, but that the cudgel is Down Syndrome because of her son is rather distasteful.

  • Exactly, Don. It wasn’t that Family Guy necessarily depicted the disabled person in a negative light. It was the fact that the show’s creator felt the need to draw the connection between the disabled person depicted and a 2-year-old disabled person actually in existence.

    It would have been objectionable to use ANY of a politician’s kids to make a dig at that politician; to use a politician’s 2-year-old disabled child to do so makes it all the worse.

  • DarwinCatholic:

    Absolutely. And not only has the Left revealed how vicious the “compassionate” can be, they have managed to show that their socialist policies aren’t really motivated by compassion for the poor and downtrodden after all, as they like to pretend. If that was really their motivation, they wouldn’t behave this way.

    Which brings us to the question. If the Left’s socialist policies aren’t driven by compassion, then what’s their real motivation? The answer, I think, is a combination of a desire for control over others, and the worship of the state which they have divinized in their minds.

  • Let’s make it clear, if Rush does it, it is wrong. If Family Guy does it, it is wrong. There. Left and right — are both of them lacking compassion because of Rush or Family Guy? I think many on both sides are; but many are not. Don’t do guilt by association; Family Guy isn’t like Rush, though — one of the big differences is Family Guy is a rude, crude, nasty show and a “comedy” with its axe to grind but yet — it isn’t gearing itself as a piece of political opinion to help energize politics. Rush and Beck and people like them — are. But that doesn’t make Family Guy good. It’s a show which makes Beavis and Butthead look intelligent.

  • Because Trig can’t defend himself BA, just as my son cannot defend himself.

    Defend himself from what? All of your comments make sense only on the assumption that the Family Guy clip above constitutes an attack on Trig. What I’m asking is, how is it an attack?

  • I think Dale summed it up well. The odd thing for me is that the scene was simply not funny. I don’t mean not funny because it was offensive, it was simply not funny period.

    Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

  • I watch family guy – it’s very left, it’s very offensive, and occasionally it’s very funny, but that’s hit or miss. I’m generally irritated by the hyper-sensitive jump to offense behavior of people a la the recent hoopla over Rahm Emanuel’s comment which was clearly not directed at or referring to mentally handicapped people (incidentally, the much smarter and funnier South Park recently had a good show about about just this thing except instead of “retarded” it looked a homosexual slur that has now been adopted to mean something else in the culture, but I digress). However, I can understand how this could be hurtful b/c it’s definitely targeted at Palin and her son (the former to a bigger extent than the latter I think). I sort of see what blackadder is saying in that it doesn’t seem like an attack against the DS girl, but rahter that DS was used to tie her to Palin. I think the point is that whether he intended to mock DS itself (or Trig himself), the writer clearly used the real life handicap of one of Palin’s children to mock her. And I do think that crosses a line.

  • BA

    I agree it might be difficult to see, but the girl is not Sarah Palin. The girl represents Sarah’s children morphed into one. It is a girl and apparently has Down’s Syndrome. And it is being used to goad Sarah Palin — mock both her daughter’s dating choices as well as Trig. I can see where it is coming from, and I can see why this is not respectable at all (just like attacks on Chelsea were not respectable). If the girl were Sarah and she was shown careless with her children, that would be one thing; but taking it out on her children for their mother, no, not good.

  • The line goes that once you explain a joke, it’s not funny. This joke wasn’t funny in the first place, so far as I can tell, but we seem to be struggling with a situation where an insult isn’t insulting once you explain it. I’ll give it a shot, though.

    The gag here (to the extent that there is one) appears to be that Chris goes out on a date with a somewhat bitchy and demanding girl who speaks in a “retard” voice. When he asks about her family, she explains that her mother is the governor of Alaska. I guess one could see this either as a “boy, they all seem to be retards in Palin’s family, don’t they” joke or as “oh, Down Syndome, heh heh, Palin, heh heh” joke. Either way, it seems to get what little steam it has from associating mental disabilities and disagreeableness with Palin.

    Now, I suppose one could say, “Why is it offensive to associate Down Syndome or retardation generally with Palin’s family? She has a child with Down Syndrome, but there’s nothing shameful in that.” This would be true in a limitted sense, but it ignores the fact that in the instance in question it’s clearly being treated as something which is humorous or derisive, not just a “Oh, by the way, did you hear a child of the former Alaskan governor has Down Syndrome?” This is where the fact that Palin has been routinely mocked by the left for having a child with Down Syndrome would come into play.

    I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas. Now clearly, there’s nothing wrong with being black, so one could question how this was an insult, but the obvious answer would be that the show was attempting to make “Obama’s kids are black” an insult, and thus serving as both racist and anti-Obama.

  • The date has Downs syndrome, the one who says she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. That is indicated by the way that she speaks.

    Thanks for the explanations. But as I watched the clip, my impressions were that reference to the former Alaskan governor was nothing more than a non sequitur. I saw the date as merely having a speech impediment, nothing more. Downs Syndrome never came to mind, because the character’s demeanor was very different to that of people with DS that I have encountered.

  • I suppose a comparison might be, say that the Family Guy episode had featured Chris going on a date with a bitchy and spoiled teenage black girl, who proceeded to wolf down a couple watermelons and speak in a heavily stereotyped “Black English” accent. If when Chris asked her about her family she explained that her father was the president of the United States, people might rightly take this as a racist attack on the Obamas.

    That would be offensive. But unless I’m misinformed, there isn’t a stereotype that people with Downs Syndrome are bitchy and demanding.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities, and assumed that eating watermelons and “Black English” would be the equivalent stereotype in regards to race.

  • Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that carries with it various physical characteristics that are easily identifiable even to the average observer. It’s pretty clear (to me anyway) that the intention was to illustrate the character as having Down Syndrome.

    Still, regardless of how ill conceived or executed the scene was, it’s clearly intended to be a dig on Palin which in itself isn’t a problem. Using Down Syndrome to do it would be tasteless in itself, but it’s certainly no coincidence that that means was employed because she has a DS child.

  • employed ugh

    [Fixed it for you Rick. 😉 – Tito]

  • Maybe I’m slow to catch on…

    The physical attributes I get. However, animation is a poor medium to convey that. Upon re-listening, I see your point about the speech, Rick. However, my initial impression was that of a woman with a lisp combined with an Elmer Fudd-ian style of pronunciation. DS never came to mind.

    Oh well, I guess I shall retreat back into my bubble where most pop culture influences do not dare enter.

  • I had taken the “retard speak” voice as being the negative stereotype generic to mental disabilities

    I’m not sure having speech problems is a stereotype about people with Downs as it is a reality. I mean, the actress who plays the girl has Downs Syndrome. That’s her real voice.

  • Let me also make a side point. Both from watching the clip and from reading about it in general, a theme of the episode seems to be that people with Downs Syndrome aren’t all that different from the rest of us. We live in a world where 90% of couples who are told there child has Downs abort, perhaps in part because they have an exaggerated image of the problems associated with Downs. The message of the show, in other words, is one that people desperately need to hear, and particularly for the FG viewer demographic I’m not sure if there would have been a more effective way of getting that message across.

  • Thanks Tito. I’d type this in huge letters if WP would let me. 😉

    BA, so yes, the speech issue is a reality. And based on what you just wrote, the voice actress has DS. Her character claimed to be the child of a former Alaska governor. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to assume that whole gag is about Sarah Palin due to her having a DS child. Yeah, it’s not like they were attacking Trig directly, but it is reflective of a rather nasty attitude. I mean, with all the things someone could use to rib Palin like her botched interviews, writing on her hand, leftist stereotypes of conservatives as dumb hicks, it takes a pretty vicious mind to use their child’s birth defect in an attempt to score a point and/or laugh.

  • Rick,

    Again, I’m not denying that the reference was to Palin. That’s obvious. I just don’t see what’s insulting about it, either to Trig or to Palin.

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people eluded Seth MacFarlane who manfully responded to the controversy by sending out his publicist with this statement:

    “The Times asked “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane for an interview regarding the matter. But he opted to send a statement via his publicist: “From its inception, ‘Family Guy’ has used biting satire as the foundation of its humor. The show is an “equal-opportunity offender.””

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

  • Dale’s theory, as I understanding it, is that the girl is supposed to be Sarah Palin. Watching the above clip, that idea would not have occurred to me in a million years.

    Just a cobbled together guess, based only on the clip and the one previous bit of venom directed at Palin (Stewie in an SS uniform wearing a “McCain/Palin” button). I bow to anyone who watched the whole thing for context. For my part, it would not have occurred to me in a million years that I would be carefully parsing FG episodes for narrative context. 🙂

    After all, the show peaked with the Benjamin Disraeli sight gag…

  • Somehow BA’s unique interpretation of how the mockery of Trig is good for handicapped people…

    It’s not that I think mocking Trig is good for handicapped people; it’s that I don’t see how the show was mocking Trig.

    My comment about the effects of the show generally was, as I said, a side point. As I understand it, many of the people here who think the show was offensive only have a problem with the reference to Palin, not to the show’s treatment of Downs Syndrome generally (certainly your comments have focused in this direction). So whether you agree that the show could serve a useful purpose in demystifying Downs is separate from whether you think the reference to Palin was out of line (and visa versa).

  • I think Henry Karlson is correct. The girl is a conflation of Bristol and Trig.

    I’m not really seeing this. The girl in the clip doesn’t look like Bristol Palin, Chris neither looks nor acts like Levi Johnson, etc. The only reason I can see for saying that she must be Bristol is that as a teenage girl she obviously can’t be Trig.

  • A link to Seth MacFarlane’s campaign contributions:

    http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Seth_MacFarlane.php

    Then we have his comments about the election when he was stumping for Obama:

    Then we have the McCain-Palin are Nazis scene from the Family Guy.

    MacFarlane is a bitter partisan of the Left. That is his right. When he decides to give vent to his hatred by mocking a disabled child of someone he hates, that should go way over the line for any civilized person.

  • Anchoress did not say Palin should not have spoken out. She said she should have done so differently, in a way that would have turned the tables on Family Guy.

  • I speak as a big-time critic of Sarah Palin as a potential political leader- I don’t see any valid point in targeting her as a parent of a child with a disability- she’s a human being- not one of us would find it acceptable for someone to take us on as public bloggers and start picking on our kids- especially our youngest most vulnerable children.

    Joe has pointed out that it is perhaps possible to include the disabled in a joke line that isn’t just picking on someone, but makes some larger relevant point about some issue related to being disabled. But clearly, making sly reference to a politician’s disabled child is cruel and unusual- and unless that part of the Left wing is ok with their alter-ego part of the Right wing, perhaps targeting Obama through sly put-downs of persons meant to bring to mind his daughters- then I would say the more reasonable folks should be able to bring public shame to this type of “humor”. With public shame in the offing, most commercial artists will learn that there is no pay-off for continuing such a trend. Public shaming has a role to play- it can be a check on out-of-bounds expression without having to resort to some kind of direct censorship.

  • I agree with Tim.

    If the tables were turned and a Family Guy clip had Mr. Seth McFarlane mocking President Obama’s precious little daughters using derogatory black stereotypes all hell would break loose in the form of constant media attacks in characterizing conservative Americans as hateful bigots.

    My two-cents worth.

  • A couple months back there was an episode of 30 Rock where one of the characters tried to infiltrate Obama’s “inner circle” by befriending one of his daughters. There were scenes of him talking on the phone with the daughter, etc. in which he adopted a valley girl voice and basically talked like a stereotypical schoolgirl. I don’t recall much of a fuss about this at the time, presumably because while the show quite clearly was referencing the Obama family there was nothing insulting about what was being said about them (one could argue that it was insulting to imply that Obama’s daughters act like little girls, but then they are little girls).

  • BA,

    So acting like a little girl is equivalent to a derogatory black stereotype?

    😉

  • Interesting counter example, BA.

    As per previous discussion, though, I assume that if the 30 Rock character had used a heavily “Black English” voice rather than a schoolgirl voice, people would have seen that as more offensive — because although some black people do indeed talk that way (though not the Obamas) it’s seen as connected to a negative stereotype about black people.

    I think the reason people are taking offense in this case is that although it’s true that people with Down Syndrome do have speech impediments, the social perception of those speech impediments is pretty uniformly negative.

    By which I guess I mean, it seems to me that simply making “hey, did you hear Palin’s kid has Down Syndrome” references (at least in a comedy show, especially one that emphasizes sharp political satire) will end up coming off as derogatory all on its own.

  • I don’t know Blackadder. I guess there are different thresholds or considerations people take into account on things. For example, I have a son who is developmentally delayed. He’s not classified as autistic though he has some similar symptoms. In fact, it sounds like he is not much unlike Don’s boy in functionality and prospects for his future. I didn’t take offense Obama’s Special Olympics joke a few months ago, yet many others did. I didn’t view it as a dig on special needs kids nor indicative of an underlying disrespect or contempt for them. I viewed it as a bit of self-deprecating humor on behalf of Obama and have used the same type on myself (still do in fact).

    In this case, it’s more a matter that I can see how many could be offended because there is nothing really humorous in it though it was an attempt to use a DS as a pretext of slamming a political opponent or at best forcing in a political jab where it has no business. I guess I’m looking at it more from where something like this must have come from. Unfortunately I think there are a number of hate filled people like that Hateful Fascist guy who insulted Don. It’s one thing to have such a hard heart and express it, it’s another to use or tear down innocent or powerless people to vent that hatred. It’s certainly not something in our Christian understanding of the dignity of the person that there is any room for, but it strikes me as the type of thing that just about anybody of good will would avoid. Nay, that it’s not even something they would conceive of. I guess I’m just offended that people think that way and act upon it.

  • Rick,

    I have to admit that President Obama’s joke was self-deprecating.

    The GOP and conservatives were politically opportunistic in bashing him and were not justified in their anger.

    In contrast, I believe Mr. Seth Mcfarlane was deliberately being nasty in this clip. Unfortunately I do watch FG from time to time (rabbit ears television) and I can say that Mr. Mcfarlane is a bitter left-winger who takes every opportunity he can to disparage the GOP and conservatives. Although he “claims” to be an equal opportunity offender, the balance is skewed grossly in disparaging conservatives than liberals by a 10-to-1 margin.

  • I’ve FG a fair number of times myself. I don’t particularly care one way or another about the politics. If something is funny, it’s funny. My uneasiness with the shows I have seen are some of the religious things. Unfortunately I have a higher tolerance for religious jokes than I ought, but FG can still manage to offend me in that regard. However, I find great humor in many of the gags whether they be G rated or R rated. The funniest gag I’ve seen on the show was quite R rated, but was right up my alley from a setup/punchline point of view (the scene with the blow-up dolls).

  • I don’t mind the unbalanced attacks as well. I like to laugh and whatever does it for me makes me happy.

    But you have to admit, FG is definitely not on the family viewing list. In fact if I were blessed with children I would stop viewing FG for the sake of the children not catching me watching such filth.

  • Largebill: “American Knight,

    The desire to go back in time and kick your own backside is the universal sign of maturity.”

    I don’t know if I am mature, but I am certainly more mature than I was when I was caught up in the Spirit of the World. It is easy, tempting, alluring and seductive to go with the flow of the present darkness because when you are in it, it doesn’t seem dark. In fact, it seems fun, light and quite right.

    It isn’t. FG could be funny at times; however, when it disparages the defenseless it crosses the line. That doesn’t mean that people with physical and mental limitations cannot be funny or even made fun of in a lighthearted way, but this was clearly mean-spirited.

  • AK

    I think a good example where there is a lighthearted way this was done, and yet misunderstood, was Tropic Thunder. The whole point was to ridicule the way some people with disabilities are used by Hollywood for the sake of self-glorification instead of any real concern for them. But many people felt disturbed by its representation, not understanding the point.

  • HK,

    Tropic Thunder!

    That is a funny movie, enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • HK,

    I did not enjoy the movie as much as Tito, but it had some good parts. I think those actors have so much talent (acting talent, they seem vapid in everything else) that more could have been done.

    Nevertheless, the scene you reference is funny and I agree, it is not offensive because the object of ridicule is not people with mental retardation or other handicaps.

    Stiller does not seem like the kind of guy who would cater to low humor as pertains to people with special needs. Mary’s brother in Something About Mary, which was funny and extremely inappropriate was not disparaged even though he was made fun of. Stiller’s character comes to his defense. Additionally, Dillon’s character refers to people with special needs when he is lying to Mary about how much he likes working with them as ‘retards’, but he is clearly portrayed as a man with very low moral character.

    We cannot be offended at the slightest mention or inappropriate view about sensitive things without referring to the context. I have noticed that many of us, me included, oft times have a knee-jerk defensive reaction when the Church is portrayed in most media. Sometimes it can be done well, I think Doubt was well done and not offensive, Bill Mahr is another matter all together.

    Humor, even off-color humor, can still be funny without being mean.

  • It will come out shortly that Palin used a couple of babies for publicity, and that Trig is NOT her son. I got this info from several non biased observers of the Internet.

    While I have no comment about Palin not getting an abortion (she certainly considered one), I also do not think she has told the truth about the delivery of her baby. I truly do not think the baby she calls Trig is HER baby. Maybe it is her daughter’s, maybe not. The fact is, we do not know for sure what is real and what is not.

  • Michael,

    It is HER baby. The problem is that she was inseminated by a space alien from Zorcon. The delivery was kept secret because it was performed on a Rian spaceship in the Torary Sector. This is what is real. I got it from non-biased sources. It really is.

  • Phillip,

    I’m afraid your ‘sources’ were a bit confused; insemination implies pregnancy and Palin was not pregnant. Trig was transported from the Zorconites via a Rian spaceship (you’re right about their involvement – too many sources have confirmed it at this point), and given to Palin during her flight back to Alaska from Texas. I am still combing through ‘Going Rogue’ for hints about why she was chosen, though.

  • John Henry,

    They’re Zorconians not “Zorconites.” How can I trust you if you can’t even get that right.

  • Pingback: Family Guy Actor Sides With Palin « The American Catholic

5 Responses to USCCB Promoting Anti-Catholic Speaker This Weekend

  • Not a comment–a question:

    Does anyone ever call up the USCCB and just ask them what they have to say about this (or any of the other idiocies they inflict on us)?

  • Carol,

    They don’t return phone calls.

  • I know the USCCB isn’t open to the public but I emailed Cardinal George a very civil letter asking him basically “whassup with this?” Speaking of doing a yoeman’s job, he is & I have nothing but admiration for him & most of our bishops. What I cannot understand is why they don’t dissolve the USCCB & just start over. Do these people have tenure or what?

  • gb,

    I’m not sure why they don’t do a complete overhaul of the place.

    But it’s human nature to resist saying “I was wrong”. Pride then kicks in when the pressure mounts.

    In my opinion, nothing will be done.

    Just look at the pedophilia scandal.

    Nothing was done about that. Only when the media pressure became overbearing did “individual” bishops act.

    No bishop likes to be told what to do, especially from us plebians.

  • Cardinal Newman quoting St. Basil writing to the Western bishops on the onslaught of the Arian bishops:
    “The dogmas of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set to naught; the discoverers of innovations hold sway in the churches. Men have learned to be speculators instead of theologians… The aged sorrow, comparing what is with what was; more pitiable the young, as not knowing what they are deprived of”. [Ep. 90]

USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

Thursday, February 4, AD 2010

[Update at the bottom of this post]

The scandal that has engulfed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) shows no sign in abating.

Today we learn even more incriminating facts that continue to tarnish the image of the USCCB.

In the latest RealCatholicTV.com program Michael Voris explains the deep entanglement of Democratic Party and anti-Catholic operatives that hold high positions within the USCCB.

Continue reading...

67 Responses to USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

  • Pingback: Res et Explicatio for AD 2-4-2010 « The American Catholic
  • All this sounds like the attitude of the bishops about the sex scandals. “Don’t confirm; don’t deny. Maybe it will all go away”.

    The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.

  • Well, it will only make them look even worse.

    With the new media, ie, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc, the news of their lack of action will spread like wildfire.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much tap-dancing will occur and who will do the tap-dancing.

  • I guess I’m a little perplexed as to how this is in some sense a current or deepening “scandal”. It doesn’t take much dealing with most diocese with large national Catholic organizations (with the exception of some of the newer, more orthodox ones) or with the USCCB to find that a lot of their employees are left leaning politically and progressive leaning in regards to theology and liturgy. If anything, this was more pronounced 10-20 years ago than it is now.

    I think it’s generally been bad for the Church, and we’re suffered as a result, but if anything it’s a bad scene we’re gradually coming out of (it takes a long time to turn over employment) rather than a new breaking scandal of some sort.

  • It’s probably perception more than anything.

    Many of us maybe never bothered to think much, if anything, about the USCCB.

    Then when they got a bit higher visibility when they actively involved themselves with ObamaCare more Catholics took notice.

    Over time as Catholics began to look into the USCCB, what you may call something that has been there for awhile, to us is scandalous.

    So there it is.

    You probably were fortunate enough to be raised a solid Catholic as a child, then progressed to a fine Catholic university immersing yourself even more in Catholic culture. All the while you were already aware of the problems with the USCCB since age 7.

    Me, and many others like me, returned to our faith through various forms. So many of us are behind the loop, so to speak, of the many warts and issues involved in the Catholic Church in America.

    So when many of use “reverts” or “converts” find scandalous information such as an openly professed lesbian or a woman priest advocate working in high profile positions in the USCCB, we are scandalized by this.

    So those are the perceptions.

    The attitude of “well it’s always been there and besides it was worse 10-20 years ago” is understandable.

    But to me and many others its scandalous. 😐

  • Except the problem is: this report is filled with lies, misrepresentation, and logical fallacies. It does no one any good to be scandal mongers and gossipers using false information — though it seems it is all for politics (which is why Voris acting like an authority also suggests, falsely, anyone who said a Catholic could vote for Obama was wrong).

    Want to see the kind of error? Well, it is simple: Mary Kay Henry was NOT given a position by the USCCB. She was brought into talks with people representing different labor groups, and represented one such labor group. In other words, it would be like someone condemning Pope Benedict for his dialogue with Islam and saying “there is something wrong with the Vatican, it is promoting Islam.”

  • Henry K.,

    You made a lot of accusations but you haven’t offered any evidence to back any of it up.

    I respect your knowledge in your fields of study, but where is the evidence of what you propose?

  • Tito

    Voris makes all kinds of accusations and claims, and you never ask him to back it up; you just upload and attack. You never look to the sources yourself. But you want source? Ok.

    http://vox-nova.com/2010/01/29/virtual-polemical-videos-not-real-catholic-tv/

    Go to that thread. Read the post. See the logical fallacies being exposed. Then read the commentary thread. In it you will see this linked: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/usccb_clarifies_involvement_with_controversial_expert/

    And what it says is clear:

    Washington D.C., Dec 7, 2009 / 05:44 pm (CNA).- On Monday, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, media director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke with CNA, clarifying the role of Service Employees Union executive and gay rights activist Mary Kay Henry with the bishops’ conference.

    Sr. Walsh noted that in the past, Mary Kay Henry was chosen by the unions to take part in a dialogue with the USCCB but left in 2006.

    She was not appointed by the bishops, Sr. Walsh explained.

    So there you go, an example of distortion going on. Sure, she talked with the USCCB representing unions. Jesus, and the Catholic Church, has always had dialogue with people in such roles before; will anyone condemn Pope St Gregory the Great for meeting with Atilla the Hun? Using the loopy logic in this video, Pope St Gregory the Great was promoting Atilla’s rampage!

  • Henry K.,

    Good catch on the CNA article.

    I’ll send that link over to Mr. Voris so he can avoid making that mistake.

    (my article didn’t make that connection)

    And for your VN posting, very interesting reading.

    I’m not up to speed in many of the subjects you touch upon, but I’ll be rereading it again. Every little bit helps!

  • As I mentioned in the thread about the CCHD, the underlying theme behind these criticisms is a deep hostility toward not only the USCCB, but the bishops themselves. In this thread, we have read: “The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.” Tito has said that he has been scandalized – i.e., tempted to lose faith.

    Henry is right – these accusations fall apart upon further research. Catholics are being told to doubt the authenticity of the bishops’ teaching and governing office. Moreover, we are being told to question their very sincerity and faith. This is the scandal we should be afraid of.

  • When Bishops have dialogue with lesbians and gays and other members of the legions of hell, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal to criticize the Bishops.

    When Bishops take false Catholics like Representative Patrick Kennedy on the carpet for open apostasy, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal the Bishops are using the Communion Rail politically.

    No, folks, the best liberal is the repentent liberal, and failing that, a defeated, muzzled and emasculated liberal. The only dialogue we should have with them is this: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

    P.S., I’ll trust Michael Voris before I’ll trust any liberal Democrat.

  • PS, Mary Kay Henry should re-read what 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states (NIV):

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    So why are we having dialogue with the wicked? Jesus didn’t have dialogue with them. He preached the Gospel of repentance to them. We ought to do the same.

  • Jesus didn’t have dialogue with the wicked? The Jews certainly thought he did — he was dining with sinners, indeed, drunkards; he was hanging out with the Samaritans; and he said nothing about the abuse of Roman society upon the Jews, yet affirming the faith of a non-Jewish Centurion (are you going to say he was without sin)?

    And that’s just the start of the matter.

  • Mary Ann Walsh did not participate in a women’s “ordination” ceremony. After one such event, the participants marched to where the bishops were meeting. When they didn’t go away, she appeared, met with them, received their rose bouquet, and they left. It’s the kind of thing a media relations person does.

    And her statement that a person could vote for Obama (not that they should – I certainly didn’t) matched up pretty well with an interpretation of Faithful Citizenship that many orthodox bishops accept. Of course, when you’re part of the neo-Donatist movement that thinks Cardinal George and Archbishop Wuerhl are closet leftists, none of this will satisfy you.

  • Zak,

    I caught it right before you posted your comment.

    I corrected my post to reflect this fact.

  • Henry,
    I agree with the points you’re making – one factual issue: it was Leo the Great, not Gregory the Great, who met with Atilla.

  • I agree with both Paul P. and Henry K.

    Whether it was dialogue or preaching, Jesus certainly spent time with sinners, but not to reaffirm their sinfulness but to show them the light.

  • Zak

    Oops — you are right (though I know this, I often do this same mistake when typing, for some reason — I have a few other lapses where my fingers go into automatic writing mode — an interesting phenomena and I expect many of us have examples of this)

  • Another example of what is going on: Voris says people in the hallways are found supporting Obama’s policies. Ok.

    The question is: which policies? All of them? Some of them? A couple of them? But yet by saying it in this way, it’s easy to create a false picture, and that is exactly the kind of strategy which is done for propaganda not for the exploration of truth.

  • Well hopefully they’re not supporting this:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/60893

  • I think ultimately though one needs to see that the USCCB is a political organization in addition to a religious organization. That’s fine as long as people realize it is and that it will have the problems of any organization that is political. I think Henry has pointed out such problems with some pro-life organizations.

  • Well I’m pretty sure that the USCCB is not a political organization in any legal, tax or regulatory sense of the term. But any tax exempt group is permitted (within certain constraints) to work to advance their charitable agenda via supporting and opposing relevant legislation, though not supporting or opposing political candidates. The USCCB has a reputation for generally supporting the liberal approaches to addressing Catholic concerns. To the extent this is true, it is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent. My guess is that the policy preferences expressed by the USCCB are more representative of its staffers than the bishops, and that neither the bishops nor the staffers are especially gifted at public policy, but probably think they are.

  • I think John Carr is one of the most thoughtful Catholics in America–and certainly one of the best spokesmen for Catholic social teaching. And I find it more than a little dismaying that a group of self-anointed REAL CATHOLICS are spending so much energy trying to undermine the work of the bishops of this country. This is not just unhelpful; it’s diabolical.

  • Mike,

    There is political and there is political. I think Henry points out some of the foibles of pro-life conservative organizations that are tax exempt also.

    I don’t think the USCCB generally supports liberal approaches I think it pretty much always does. Again understanding the experts that advise the body may give understanding to why they do.

  • Ron Ch.,

    Thoughtful as in promoting that more innocent children be killed?

    Yeah, and THAT’S not diabolical.

  • Phillip,
    I have not read Henry’s expose on the foibles of “pro-life conservative” organizations, but if the problem is that they are willing to support candidates who are imperfect on life issues in order to prevent the election of candidates who are abortion enthusiasts, ok, but I don’t see that as a foible. On the other hand, if they are favoring pro-choice candidates over pro-life candidates because they former are otherwise considered more conservative than the latter, then that would be worse than a foible — and I’d really appreciate knowing more about it.

  • Tito, what you are doing here is slanderous–to a good man and to the bishops whom he serves as a spokesperson. Do you happen to KNOW John Carr? Have you ever heard him talk about abortion? Do you suppose his work for peace/justice . . . and the work of our bishops through the USCCB to uplift the poor . . . has nothing at all to do with fostering respect for human life? For that matter, do you recognize any connection whatsoever between poverty/racism and abortion, or do you think it is purely coincidental that poor minority women patronize the killing clinics at such a disproportionate rate?

    Sorry, fella, John Carr is a REAL Catholic, not some Pharisee with video blog, a big mouth, and way too much time on his hands.

  • Ron Ch.,

    I’m not sure what blog you are reading, but I have never said anything such about John Carr.

    Joe H. posted a video that stated John Carr has been with an organization that promotes abortion for decades. I don’t see how you got your conclusions from this, so I’ll just chalk it up to your liberal-tainted glasses getting the better of your imagination.

    Get a hold of yourself brother.

  • Some other concerns about the CCC that I’m sure can be disproved:

    http://www.catholicadvocate.com/?tag=john-carr

  • Phillip and Ron Ch.,

    The evidence is devastating concerning the cooperation in evil that John Carr has led and been involved in.

  • American Catholic began as a healthy alternative to the consistently left-leaning Vox Nova. It seems to be reinventing itself in the spirit of the old Wanderer. That is a terrible shame, and shame on anyone here–and in the holier-than-God “orthodox” blogosphere–who casts aspersion on a man who has faithfully served the Church in the United States and its bishops for many years.

  • No, what this post is doing is highlighting a story. If any of the facts are mistaken Ron tell us precisely what facts are wrong. The USCCB has a history of allowing its staffers to associate the USCCB with some pretty unsavory groups that promote positions directly contrary to Church teaching. The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

  • Donald, a lot of the ‘facts’ have been debunked, and one glaring piece of slander removed (the picture of Sister Mary Ann Walsh). The more you dig into this, the more you see that a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

  • That sounds intereting. I can’t believe it. gochristian shoes

  • I have to say, I don’t find this video or the accusations very substantial. Everyone is entitled to their polemics, of course, and so I can see why some anti-Democrat Catholics enjoy this type of stuff. But, as Mike Petrik says above, some members of the USCCB preferring policies favored by the Democratic party to advance the common good “is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent.”

    Also, on a personal note, I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.

    To be clear, I think legitimate criticisms can be made of the USCCB. But these types of videos blend and muddle legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful. The problem with the Vortex, as I see it, is that it isolates and absolutizes one of many possible approaches to serving the common good, and regards any other approach as illegitimate. It seems to me that it instrumentalizes the Faith in the service of a conservative political polemic, and in the process does a disservice to the Faith and to the USCCB.

  • The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

    I don’t really see what you’re talking about. These accusations are pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things, and, as Darwin notes, there is nothing new in there. In the 1980’s, sure, the USCCB was basically co-opted by Democratic partisans. But the Vortex is basically the mirror image of it from the right; they are not raising any new questions. Most of these issues have already been addressed, are matters for prudential judgment where reasonable people can differ, and/or are inaccurate to begin with.

  • I’ll spell it our for you John Henry. They should explain why they were shoveling money into an organization that one of their staffers served as the head of. Can they even spell “conflict of interest”? Rather than attacking the people who are bringing this to light they should be ramping up their own investigation. They might also wish to explain why Carr omitted noting his involvement with the CCC from his USCCB bio. They might also explain why Tom Chabolla, associate director of CCHD programs until 2008, and who worked under Carr, took Carr’s place on the CCC board after Carr left, during a time period when the CCC became involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and whether Chabolla and Carr maintained contacts about the CCC. Chabolla since leaving the CCHD is now assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union. Finally, perhaps they can explain why, when this all came to light, the first reaction from the CCHD was to scrub their website of all mention of ties with the CCC. This story is not going away.

  • Don,

    I get conflict of interest issue; and I get that the CCHD has had very poor oversight. I think the CCHD should be either scrapped or completely overhauled, and I’m in favor of more transparency. But I don’t think the video covers these issues very well.

    My issue is that I think the Vortex (and, really, couldn’t they find a better name?) is advancing a partisan agenda, rather than simply voicing legitimate concerns about conflict of interest or the funding of groups whose values conflict with those of the Church. For instance, the video keeps repeating the word ‘Democrat’ or ‘Democractic’ as if it’s an epithet. And some of the charges in the video are just ridiculous (implying that making the case that Catholics could have voted for Obama should disqualify someone from working for the USCCB?). In other words, as I said above, the video “blends and muddles legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful.”

  • Clearly many improvements or even an overhaul of the program needs to take place. Attacking the structures of sin is a laudable activity with a positive goal. However, the problem with many (most?) secular groups that appear to be doing that sort of work is that they’re almost always trying to exchange one structure of sin for another. They are typically shells for particular political parties or have too closely aligned themselves to party interests.

    Therein lies part of the danger for third party benefactors like the USCCB. It’s one thing to work with a secular org for a shared interest even though they may not share all interests, it’s another to thing to support that org directly. What happens is that you run the real risk of becoming an integral part of a structure of sin.

    All that said, I think those ads are poorly done in substance. They smack of overblown righteous indignation, take many intellectual shortcuts, argue by assertion, use charged words that are usually quite subjective, makes unwarranted assumptions, etc. Frankly, I can’t see any difference in what is being done here than what some authentic Catholic anti-american-calvinist crusaders do. The only difference is what side of the fence their sitting on.

  • I’m not touching this story with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the reporting (and I have my doubts), the blatant guilt-by-association-and-innuendo style of the reporting left me feeling dirty after watching.

    “… I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting that it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.”

    Yeah, tell me about it. I must be a stark-raving lefty.

  • Rick,

    Right. There are problems on both sides of the fence. There are pro-life pharisees. There are also social justice pharisees.

    Just hard to recognize one’s own as such sometimes.

  • Great comments and insights.

    About the overhaul of the CCHD – they have two overall programs, one focusing on political activity, the other focusing on business activity. The business grants are amazing – helping poor people build skills and worker-owned businesses. The political grants are a lot more tricky – often involving people with liberal mindsets – and I agree that it needs to be overhauled.

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  • Henry K, for your insights on what the Bishops knew and didn’t know, you are probably right. For your history on St. Gregory the Great meeting Atilla the Hun, you are at least a century off. It was St. Leo the Great in 451 who met with Atilla, thus delaying the destruction of Rome by 25 years……historical footnote worth noting….

  • Nate W., John Henry, Ron Ch., Jay Anderson, et al,

    You guys are building straw men arguments by attacking the messenger.

    By shining the light on the problem, you guys go ahead and savage the reputation of those doing the reporting and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Granted that Mr. Voris *may* have gone over the top in some of his analysis, especially the innuendos to being a “Democrat”, but the basic story is this, the USCCB has been dealing with anti-catholic organizations for years. Just because they’ve done it in the past, doesn’t allow them a free pass, such as John Henry’s comment, ‘small potatoes’.

    If the USCCB wants to be taken more seriously they need to get their ‘allegedly’ devout Catholics like John Carr OUT of pro-abortion organizations and place Catholics without, as Jay says, a ‘conflict of interest’.

    Thank you for your comments, I’m learning a lot on how to report such news.

  • Dennis

    Yes, that was established above about Gregory/Leo. Often my fingers will mix them up when typing — but the point behind it still stands. Thankfully, I know I’m not impeccable nor infallible!

  • Tito, the guys you reference have no reason to be ashamed of themselves, anymore than does anyone who notes that other journalists & commentators occasionally make generalizations and inaccurate statements.

  • Chris,

    There is no evidence of inaccuracy.

    If Nate could name what was inaccurate instead of making things up I can see your point.

    On the rest, I understand what you’re saying.

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  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content behind encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests along with their progressive laity can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • Darlene

    So basically, you are telling me you are still a Protestant, and the reason why you didn’t convert is because you are a Protestant? Big deal.

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  • Henry,

    No, I am not a Protestant. It’s easy to assume things in a forum like this where face-to-face, in person dialogue is absent.

    Protestant evangelicalism has many problems, one of which is that they (for the most part) ignore the creeds and councils of the first millenia.

    So, I came to the conclusion that Protestantism is a schism from a schism and will continue to split and divide. Sola Scriptura is not a unifying force within Protestantism, but a disunifying force. Hope that clarifies things.

    As far as my emphatic, blunt post, I understand that it will offend Roman Catholics. Offending was not my intent. With that said, the priest with whom I had counsel was very kind, long-suffering, and understanding. Even taking into consideration my original comments, I do not judge the salvation of individual Catholics. That is God’s business.

    If I have sinned in being so bold, forgive me.

  • The USCCB website says that Mary Kay Henry was appointed to a USCCB subcommittee and the USCCB accepted the subcommittee’s findings. Why would the USCCB look to anti-Catholic “experts” like Mary Kay Henry for advice in developing policy?

    Answer: For the same reason they invited Father Thomas Reese and Diana Hayes to speak at their conference last week-end.

    Jesus had something to say about this: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

  • Michael Voris is certainly human, and on rare occasions he may get his facts wrong, but taken as a whole, there is a mountain of evidence against the USCCB. A favorite liberal trick is to suggest that one flaw in the evidence damns all the evidence. I’m not fooled.

  • Nothing has been said here. Absolutely nothing.

    All of you are defending nothing and have nothing concrete to say about anything.

    The fact is you can not vote for a man who kills babies, I’d like to see you explain that when you come face to face with your creator. Can’t do it.

    The fact is, you can not give money to death programs from unsuspecting pew sitters – its illegal as well as totally against what Jesus commanded of us.

    Who cares who supports John Carr? It’s irrelevant? If the man has put any support into anti-God programs he is out.

    The Jews (many) did it wrong and so are the Catholics (many). You don’t reject the sacraments because the gatekeepers are corrupt. God said to St. Teresa of Avila “I put myself in the hands of thy enemies for your sake!” If you reject the commandments and the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church through those sacraments – then you hold man up as God.

    Don’t give money if you don’t know where the money is going. Put your money in areas you know are deserving of it. Don’t vote for the slaughter of innocence. Don’t keep quite when a priest is an idiot or a Bishop is a nutcase. Fight – and stop trying to defend your need for comfort.

    Newsflash the Church has the enemies within. Fight it – get them out – run them out of town but stop trying to give yourself an excuse to take a nap.

  • My dealings with the USCCB and the two of the organizations it sponsors and funds leads me to believe this organization is more a socialist political group than people working to live up to the Gospels. Obama and far too many of the Democrats in office are sociast with a socialist agenda. I fear that some of the Bishops may have been sucked into the false notion that socialism serves the needs of the poor. SOcialism brings the entire society down to the level of the laziest. Socialism depleats to will and ability of the society to provide for all.

  • WayneK,

    It is quite apparent in Europe today. France is turning into an economic basket case with gov’t unions striking each day preventing Sarkozy from instituting well needed reforms.

    It’s a slow creep towards totalitarianism.

  • MIchael Voris and Simon J. Rafe practice censorship of
    anyone who does not accept their messages on face value. That leads me to believe they are fake critics
    seeking to marginalize rather than serve any issue.

  • I believe they love their faith and don’t like it when bishops fail in their duty to feed their sheep.

    Instead they hide behind man-made bureaucracies hoping that difficult issues that don’t adhere to their Democratic Party Catholic leanings would just go away.

  • Archbishoip Raymond Burke was well known for “speaking out”. In an article for Time online, Amy Sullivan (Priests Spar Over What it Means to Be Catholic) alludes to the fact of his removal by the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. In particular, the article states that because of a “calming down” of the anti-abortion rhetoric, the president was elected. In fact, I can tell you that here in St. Louis, the archbishop who replaced Burke (Carlson) silenced the Latin rite Church (St. Francis De Sales) from speaking out against abortion from the pulpit.

  • D Paul,
    That surprises me greatly. I wonder whether the “silencing” actually referred to exhortations on who to vote for or not vote for, which is a violation of federal tax law. Under federal tax law churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations may receive contributions on a tax deductible basis only if they refrain from political or partisan behavior. Within much more relaxed constraints they normally can engage in legislative or policy behavior. Telling a congregation that it is important to vote for candidates who are opposed to abortion is fine (even if somewhat simplistic from a Catholic perspective), but a minister may not tell his congregation to vote for X or against Y, at least without losing the right to receive contributions on a tax deductible basis. I’d be very surprised if AB Carlson told the priest at SFdS that he could not speak out against abortion from the pulpit. If true, that really would be quite scandalous, and shocking given that AB Carlson is among the bishops who criticized ND for awarding pro-abort Obama an honorary degree.

State of the Union Open Thread

Thursday, January 28, AD 2010

Although I tend to agree with my friend Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, that the State of the Union address is our annual self inflicted ritual of boring torture, I did have the State of the Union on as background noise while I went about other tasks.  I was amazed at what a self-indulgent exercise in venting it mostly was.  Things haven’t gone Obama’s way, and last night he decided to engage in a little Presidential talk-therapy.  The tedious length, reminiscent of some of Bill Clinton’s efforts, indicated that this was an undisciplined opportunity for Obama to lash out at his opponents.  Three more years of this should be as much fun for the country as my last root canal was for me.

Two points struck me as particularly odd.  Obama telling Democrats in Congress that this was not a time to “head for the hills” in panic over the looming elections.  This is the type of statement that he might make to them behind closed doors, but certainly not in a State of the Union address so as to remind the nation that Democrats are in panic mode.  Doing so will not calm jittery Democrats in the slightest.  The second point was his reopening the issue of gays in the military.  I could just hear Blue Dogs from Republican areas thinking, “Well thanks Mr. President for driving another nail in my coffin in November!”  Obama has obviously decided that if he is going down, he will do so as a champion of Liberal orthodoxy.  I doubt if this will please the Democrat members of Congress more rooted in electoral reality.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Continue reading...

19 Responses to State of the Union Open Thread

  • I think “gays in the military” actually helps the Dems in senate races, because it’s one thing that might actually increase the turnout for urban libs.

    I missed the last third of the speech, so I can’t comment on the whole thing. The one proposal that really bugged me was student loan relief for going into “public service.” As if some bureaucrat in the General Services Administration is doing a great service to the country that needs an additional reward beyond job security, great benefits, a good salary, and a defined benefit pension. WTF! Why should we borrow money from China for that?

  • Dissed banks at least four times, by my count; insurance companies at least once.

    Blamed Bush at least twice.

    Not much in the speech that isn’t stock in every other speech he’s given since he started campaigning. Maybe a couple of attempts to recast himself as a centrist.

    Nice dodge of responsibility for TARP.

    “I am ending the war…in about the same time frame as it probably would have ended anyway” I know that strategy; it gets attempted almost every time I give my kids housework.

    Not a remarkable piece of oratory, though it coulda been worse. I’m assuming the Presidential Fan Club in the media will hail it as the new Gettysburg Address; would that he had taken a page from Lincoln and gone for brevity.

    VA’s Gov did a respectable job (definitely better than last year’s response,) but might have come down a little harder on the transparency issue and the locking out of the opposing party in drafting legislation.

  • I thought that Bobby Flay’s ribs should have won the throwdown, but then I am more partial to spicy rather than sweet pork ribs. It boils down to a matter of taste.

    And it was about time Marque got axed from Worst Cooks.

    What … there was something else on TV better than the Food Network?

  • Amen, c matt! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one watching the Food Network instead of the SOTU! I agree, too, on spicy BBQ instead of sweet!

    By far the most offensive thing I’ve seen about the SOTU last night was the President’s unprecedented direct, frontal attack on the SCOTUS. It shows how petty and vindictive he thinks, and it shows an incredible lack of respect for the separation of powers created by the US Constitution. Some Constitutional legal scholar he is, eh?

  • It is amazing how regional BBQ is. I can’t believe these folks haven’t heard of the best smoking wood in the world – mesquite. They keep insisting on hickory or apple/maple.

    (To be precise, there are at least three different ways of cooking that people call BBQ – (1) using heavy sauces for basting while cooking, probably what most think of as BBQ; (2) grilling, where you use a hotter fire and open flame; and (3) smoking, where the fire is usually cooler (low to no flame) and the choice of wood is most important).

    Constitutional Scholar + Harvard = disaster in the making.

  • (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy): I let Don watch the State of the Union speech for me. I was at a financial aid workshop at the HS with my oldest, fetched home my youngest from CCD, and then listened to the President’s speech as “background noise” while retro-gaming on the computer via DOSBox. I did spot a link on Drudge that listed the longest & shortest State of the Union speeches for each President from Johnson on; Obama’s was right up there with LBJ’s & Clinton’s longest speeches.

  • Completely missed the State of the Union.

    I was attending a question and answer session with Cardinal DiNardo regarding the Anglican Ordinariate here in the U.S.

    Major points:

    1. Need to establish an Ecclesial Commission ASAP via the USCCB to begin the process of forming the U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.

    2. Then need a bishop appointed for said ordinariate.

    3. Many things that needs to be done would be made easier to accomplish if numbers 1 & 2 were done immediately, ie, begin the process and have a shepherd to guide that process.

    4. A bunch of other stuff that I will be reporting later on… lots of inside information that I need His Eminence to approve of before posting!

  • c matt — get Tito to ship you some pecan (that would be puh-cahn). It’s vastly underrated outside the Texas Gulf Coast.

  • It wouldn’t be very far to ship, since we live in the same city. Although I like mesquite better, pecan is good – and makes one heck of a pie!

    The O ran for over an hour I hear. I read the text of the speech so didn’t get the nonverbals, but I was shocked at the dig at the Supremes. I guess the O doesn’t like Marbury v Madison if it might mess with his agenda.

    Anchoress seemed to have a pretty good take on it. The speech itself was rather mid-level – not great, not a complete disaster in itself, but there were a lot of WTF? moments – he seemed to criticize the very things he himself has been doing for years as if he never did them. And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. What was up with that? I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t a bit schizophrenic.

  • On gays in the military, why is it [I know why. I’m just asking] that no one addresses the question in real life. Thus, what of master sergeants who might be gay given authority over new recruits?

  • I was at Mass.

    Re: BBQ… Mesquite is king when it comes to wood choice.

    The regionality of BBQ is a curious thing. In Texas, beef reigns supreme. In the deep south, it’s pork. I’ve spoken to Alabamans that don’t view beef as real BBQ. (He has been forgiven for his transgression.) Additionally, sauces tend to vary regionally as well. Give me a spicy, rather than sweet sauce. Although, I respect the joint that offers no sauce, i.e. the attitude that “Our meat can stand on its own.”

  • Nice Houston contingent on this blog. I’m from Pearland, and the barbecue in the area’s one of the big things I miss most.

    As for what I guess we’re supposed to be talking about: And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. He just told an audience, I believe here in Florida, how great it is to be out of Washington. I agree that it’s a bit contrived and disingenuous.

  • Gabriel Austen,
    Because male master sergeants already have authority over female recruits in boot camp, do they not?

    The criticism of SCOTUS by a president is not unprecedented. Jackson routinely flouted SC decisions (and was reputed to have said something along the lines of “John Marshall has decided. Let him enforce it.”). I don’t think Obama’s response, as immature and incorrect as it was, is quite of the same level. When a pro-life president criticizes Roe, he’s not disturbing the separation of powers.

  • I didn’t see the SOTU. They are seldom worth listening to. But my understanding is that the criticism directed toward the POTUS is not because he criticized the Citizens United decision, but because he unfairly mischaracterized what it said. Given the inordinate efforts undertaken in crafting and vetting the speech, it is not plausible to suggest the mischaracterization was unintentional.

    Andy Jackson had his attributes, but he behaved like an ass. His 200 year old example is pretty weak precedent.

    Finally, gentlemen understand protocol. A president does not use the occasion of the SOTU to take a misleading cheap shot at those who voluntarily present themselves as a demonstration of respect for your office.

    In other forums, go ahead and criticize SCOTUS opinions. We all do. But try not to lie about them.

  • I’ve heard that mesquite imparts too strong a flavor.

    Besides the scolding of the SCOTUS, the bank tax, and possibly the education tax credit, I didn’t find anything objectionable. I noticed that when he spoke in favor of free trade agreements, only Biden and the Republicans applauded.

  • RestrainedRadical,

    Biden only clapped because he wanted more light in the room.

  • Biden would have applauded Obama if Obama had belched.

  • I was engrossed in a book and did not watch the SOTUS. However, I have very strong feelings about barbeque – I favor spicy ribs, and prefer beef to pork. There, I have weighed in on a very important issue. 🙂