All Your Children Are Belong to Us

Monday, April 8, AD 2013

Every now and then I’ll see a collective kerfuffle ensue over some piece of media that upon inspection isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. But this ad appearing on MSNBC is every bit as scary and awful as some commentators have made it out to be.

For those of you who don’t have the stomach to sit through the ad, it features college professor and MSLSD host Melissa Harris-Perry proclaiming , “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to their communities.”

You might think she’s simply saying that child rearing is something of a collective effort, with all members of the community responsible for helping to educate the little ones. No, she really seems to think that Socrates (by way of Plato) was onto something 2,500 years ago when he speculated that in the ideal republic families would essentially be eliminated, with children being reared communally rather than by their parents.

On top of offering a horrifying notion that children really don’t belong to their parents, Harris-Perry is simply wrong about education spending. As John Sexton notes, the US spends more per pupil than almost any other first world nation, even if the results are less than satisfactory.

Moreover, as Ace points out, this notion of shared responsibility doesn’t quite work in the real world.

One basic thing: This idea of “shared responsibility” doesn’t work. In practice, if one person (or two, in a two parent family) is responsible, then stuff gets taken care of.

If “we’re all responsible,” then actually no one is responsible, and stuff doesn’t get taken care of.

In economics, this is referred to as the Tragedy of the Commons.

Rush Limbaugh also discussed this today on his radio show, and he observes how casually Harris-Perry discusses this idea. Twenty years ago we almost all would have laughed her off the national stage, yet today she can talk about kids not really belonging to their parents and she doesn’t even bat an eyelash, as though the idea were wholly uncontroversial. Sadly, to a large segment of the population, there is not anything even remotely wrong with what she has to say, and that should scare every last one of us.

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11 Responses to All Your Children Are Belong to Us

  • “The horror! The horror!”

  • At risk of offending the Godwin gods, this quote seems entirely appropriate:

    “When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

    Adoph Hitler

  • There is not anything even remotely RIGHT with what she has to say.

    That is, madame is spouting pure ideological trash, dressed up and promulgated by a hopeless mental defective, on TV to her MSNBC audience of 23, for your delectation. You’ll have to figure out what is obscene about it. Think ahead about one generation, make it 30-40 years ahead at most. You’ll see it.

    Easiest assignment I ever did.

  • “These people can’t manage their lives. I’ll be damned if I’ll let them run mine.”

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  • It is astounding that someone in the education field would make such an utterly ridiculous statement. Most critics of the US current malaise in the quality of its education system bemoan the fact the parents are not involved enough in the education of their children – both at the personal level and at the school level. It is no wonder our schools are failing with this kind of convoluted thinking.

  • Sounds like more of that “It takes a village” garbage. I have come to think that progressivism knows no limits. It will never be satisfied with enough already. The idea of dissolution of parental rights is nothing new but only exercised under the worst of regimes. That it should raise its ugly head at this time should be a dire warning of the danger ahead. Yes, I try not to judge the intentions of others rashly but some good intentions are those with which the road to hell is paved.

  • If we lived in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, this might well be true. But, we don’t, yet. Two words: HOME SCHOOL. Pax

  • Jules Ferry, the founder of the modern French educational system, imitated throughout much of Europe, was simply more candid than most politicians, when he said the purpose of public education was to cast the nation’s youth in the same mould and to stamp them, like the coinage, with the image of the republic, [jeter la jeunesse dans le même moule, la frapper, comme une monnaie, à l’effigie de la république]

    Such views are by no means confined to the Left. Quite the contrary; Ferry himself was the minister of Thiers, during the suppression of the Paris Commune and the architect of colonisation in Algeria. He was, of course, a ferocious anti-clerical (bouffeur de curé).

  • “Parents give up their rights when they drop off their children off at public schools” Melinda Harmon, US Federal Judge, 1996.
    People seem to be lazy or something, so they don’t listen or care. What else could it be? Yesterday I spoke with a woman that wants to homeschool her daughter next year, for 7th grade. I told her one of my reasons for homeschooling is because I don’t think it’s the school’s job to decide when to teach things that take away my own children’s innocence. She was very blase about it, but said, “Oh, yeah, that’s true.” Hello? I completely understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the childless women.” I am in fear for my future grandchildren, although the other day my 11-year old asked me if I would help her homeschool when she’s a mom. Of course I will. And I hope it’s still legal then. Strange how it seems like we’re going down a path where moral people are being called criminals and criminals are being ignored.

  • It is sad to see someone on a national television “news” program propagate such blatant lies. The political left in this country has gone away from their initial goals of helping the poor and working for civil rights; they have become mouthpieces for the Big Brother state control crowd. A system like that will only benefit the largest corporations and the wealthiest people. That is the true nature of socialism. I’d hope that these kinds of comments will encourage more parents to put their kids into private schools or home school them.

So Who Exactly Is Pushing A Social Agenda?

Saturday, February 23, AD 2013

The typical complaint one hears about conservatives, particularly from libertarians, is that social conservatives want to use the government to advance their agenda and force their beliefs down everyone’s throats. Normally the first issue that is brought up to defend this proposition is abortion. I find that odd because if wanting to prohibit abortion is akin to being a proponent of big government, then anyone who advocates for laws against murder is clearly also an advocate for big government. The next most commonly cited issue is gay marriage. Again, I find this odd because it is the proponents of gay marriage who want government to make a complete change to the institution of marriage in order to advance their agenda.

At any rate, libertarians and other social liberals usually run out of steam after those two big issues, though the more creative will invent issues that social conservatives supposedly support in order to defend this thesis.

What frustrates me about this is that left-wing attempts to use the government to indoctrinate society are ignored or downplayed, yet examples of left-wing attempts to influence the culture through the government are far more plentiful than conservative ones. One need only look at Mayor Nanny Bloomberg in New York – hardly a raging social conservative – to recognize that.

Want more proof? First, here’s a bill sponsored by Senate Democrats to fund comprehensive sex education.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Thursday that they’d introduced sex-education legislation limiting funding for “ineffective” abstinent-only programs.

The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act would expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools, while ensuring that federal funds are spent on “effective, age-appropriate and medically accurate” programs.

. . . The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act aims to reduce unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and expand sex education programs at colleges and universities. The bill would also prevent federal funds from being spent on “ineffective, medically inaccurate” sex-educ

ation programs.

To translate, we’re going to spend tax money teaching kids about birth control but we’d be verbotten to teach them “medically inaccurate” information like keeping it in your pants will prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. We wouldn’t want kids being told off-the-wall ideas about not having sex before the age of 18 or – even nuttier – before marriage. No, no, no – we gotta get to these kids and make sure they know how to put a condom on a banana.

And do we really need to spend federal tax dollars on expanding sex education at colleges? Are college-aged kids that really in the dark about sex that this justifies federal intervention?

Want to know the kicker? One of the co-sponsors of this bill is Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In that case there will probably be an amendment setting aside funds teaching underage Dominican prostitutes to keep their mouths shut.

And that wasn’t the saddest news of the day. Here’s a story via Creative Minority Report:

Parents across Massachusetts are upset over new rules that would not only allow transgender students to use their restrooms of their choice – but would also punish students who refuse to affirm or support their transgender classmates.

Last week the Massachusetts Department of Education issued directives for handling transgender students – including allowing them to use the bathrooms of their choice or to play on sports teams that correspond to the gender with which they identify.

The 11-page directive also urged schools to eliminate gender-based clothing and gender-based activities – like having boys and girls line up separately to leave the classroom.

Schools will now be required to accept a student’s gender identity on face value.

“A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of her life, should be respected and treated like a girl,” the guidelines stipulate.

As long as little Johnnie feels he’s a little Joannie, no one can tell him/her otherwise.

Hey, but these rules only help liberate young transgendered people from being discriminated against. It’s not like this would impinge anyone else’s freedom, right?

Another part of the directive that troubles parents deals with students who might feel comfortable having someone of the opposite sex in their locker room or bathroom.

The state takes those students to task – noting their discomfort “is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

And any student who refuses to refer to a transgendered student by the name or sex they identify with could face punishment.

For example – a fifth grade girl might feel uncomfortable using the restroom if there is an eighth grade transgendered boy in the next stall.

Under the state guidelines, the girl would have no recourse, Beckwith said.

“And if the girl continued to complain she could be subjected to discipline for not affirming that student’s gender identity choice,” he told Fox News.

“It should not be tolerated and can be grounds for student discipline,” the directive states.

But that’s okay, says a spokesman for the transgendered.

Gunner Scott, of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, praised the directive – and said punishing students who refuse to acknowledge a student’s gender identity is appropriate because it amounts to bullying.

That’s right. Feeling uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with someone of the opposite sex who doesn’t think he or she is a member of the opposite sex is bullying, dont’cha know? And the only way to deal with bullies is to, well, bully them. That sounds reasonable, said Dan Savage.

And yet we’ll continue to hear countless fairly tales about how young modern hipsters would vote Republican if only they’d drop their obsession with silly social issues.

Well, as long as you’ve got useful idiots like Rod Dreherwriting for ostensibly conservative publications, we’ll just keep losing the culture wars.

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102 Responses to So Who Exactly Is Pushing A Social Agenda?

  • For some reason, the link to Dreher isn’t working on my computer. What does he say?

  • Link is working now. It’s similar to the article I blogged about the other day on why conservatives are losing the debate on gay marriage.

  • Dreher is useful to Ron Unz because he can produce a certain quantum of copy on deadline. The quality is not important, and is often a daily diary of his upsets and insecurities. When he is out of ideas, he’ll tell you what he ate that day, complete with pictures.

    Did you catch the Huntsman article? If the behavior of the body of Republican primary voters disappoints you often, you should remember they can be very discerning at times.

  • It helps when those who would inform the public about a group pushing their agenda. Doesn’t warn us at all. It further assists the social engineers when the media is complicit. It’s pretty Orwellian. I’d be concerned.

  • It’s similar to the article I blogged about the other day on why conservatives are losing the debate on gay marriage.

    He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.

  • i know of a kid whose parents let him identify as a girl in middle school for a couple years (name change, hormones and everything) who’s then went back to thinking he’s a guy. certain people don’t seem to acknowledge any line between toleration and full normalization that can potentially have this kinda effect for a small minority of unsure kids.

    as far as indoctrination, i get what you’re saying but when people’ve decided they’re merely “correcting” our past on these issues this argument’s naturally kinda stacked against you. you gotta point out why you have an issue with ’em to get anywhere.

    for me it all comes down to “tolerance” arguments sort of being fake — society will favor one vision (though this doesn’t mean shunning people obviously) or another. liberals realize this, when they refer to their position as more tolerant they’re only referring to the fact that they generally don’t make distinctions between different behaviors.

  • re:amconmag, i noticed former writer Michael Brendan Dougherty (orthodox Catholic) snarking on twitter asking why people were messaging him about the Huntsman piece, saying just cuz the magazine ran it doesn’t mean they endorse it (imagine them saying this about a piece arguing in favor of a mildly interventionist foreign policy, or defending Israel on something) and finally arguing (like Dreher) in favor of Huntsman saying that because the tide’s turned, it’s better to focus on religious exemptions. i’m not sure how people expect tenable exemptions if broader society increasingly views religious teachings on the issue to be without merit, plus, simply deferring to “it’s against my religion” and not making a broader argument will just lead to more criticism about it being an irrational belief, etc.

    regardless of the different writers there, the important thing to remember about amconmag is that they are first and foremost anti-neocon, as well as anti-whatever the Republican base thinks. their stance is reactive, they do not have any guiding principles besides anti-“Empire” and anti-Israeli sentiment (which is essentially given a pass by their writers who aren’t Israeli-obsessed, who also snark with comments on how the GOP’s too nice to Israel/perpetually on the verge of launching a war with Iran if they ever come back to power)

  • Showing libertarians that the pro-life position is consistent with the non-aggression principle isn’t that difficult:

    http://libertyanddignity.wordpress.com/pro-life-libertarianism-abortion-faq/

    The gay marriage issue is a little more complex. I discuss it here:

    http://libertyanddignity.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/gay-marriage-a-libertarian-critique/

    Most self-identified libertarians I know are very receptive to the pro-life message, because most of them are at least what I would call ethically conscious, if they take the NAP seriously.

    But you’re right. There is an unreflective assumption that social conservatism must be federally imposed. I honestly think it is one of these stupid memes that people repeat because it kinda sounds right. “Well, the DEMOCRATS want to tell you what to do with your wallet and the REPUBLICANS want to tell you what to do in the bedroom, and we LIBERTARIANS don’t want to tell you what to do at all.” There’s no evidence to substantiate that anyone in the GOP or the mainstream or even most of the fringe conservative movements wants to tell anyone what to do in the bedroom, but its a nice slogan I guess.

  • If the science fiction meme of time travel ever became fact, I would shove every writer of The American Conservative into Vienna in September 1683. If that did not change their minds, I would shove them into Poland in 1918 and keep them there through 1921.

  • On the one hand, I would like stuff like the MA transgendered nonsense to be challenged all the way to SCOTUS…

    OTOH, one of two things would happen as a result:

    1) The Court might uphold it, or

    2) The Court would rule against it, but the school districts would pull a collective Andy Jackson and carry on as before…

  • i dunno that the libertarian position on marriage is stable. it makes sense that the federal govt. would want to endorse a certain vision of what marriage is, whatever that may be, as opposed to having your status change depending on what state you’re in.

    abortion is different because it’s a one-time action, and while obviously if you think it’s immoral you’ll likely want it banned, period, giving states the opportunity to decide the immorality/illegality of an action (not a status) makes more sense. however given “Roe v. Wade” it’s impossible to not fight for either the states’ rights or absolute position on the matter at the federal level, unless Congress were to strip courts of their jurisdiction in this specific area, which ain’t gonna happen.

  • and i’m aware of the “get the state out of marriage” argument where neither states nor the feds would be involved in it. just not something i agree with

  • one thing about people who won’t vote GOP based on social issues, look out for Mr. or Mrs. Democratic nominee 2016 to be Mr. or Mrs. Fiscally Conservative

    “well i was thinking about voting for Jon Huntsman, buuut…”

  • i noticed former writer Michael Brendan Dougherty (orthodox Catholic) snarking on twitter asking why people were messaging him about the Huntsman piece, saying just cuz the magazine ran it doesn’t mean they endorse it

    A certain amount of misdirection and irony is Mr. Dougherty’s trademark. He is one of a minority of contributors to the magazine who does not seem to have issues.

  • But you’re right. There is an unreflective assumption that social conservatism must be federally imposed.

    Bonchamps, the opposition planned to impose their burlesque on the country through the full Faith and Credit clause and did in fact impose abortion on demand through the judicial ukase. Not much option but some sort of cross-state response.

  • Why does it seem libertarian causes boil down to legalizing weed and gay marriage?

    What sense does that make?

    America is threatened by graver perils like national bankruptcy, socialism and statism.

    And, just how is legalizing gay marriage liberatrian? The motivation is to procure state approval, recognition and coercive enforcement, thus outlawing religious beliefs of millions. We owe perverts Christian charity because as long as they live they may come to a better “mindset.”

    In a free state, Catholics wouldn’t be forced to alter our religious beliefs.

  • Showing libertarians that the pro-life position is consistent with the non-aggression principle isn’t that difficult…
    Bonchamps

    I’d like to believe you’re correct, Bonchamps. Alas, in my experience the typical libertarian who attempts to discuss abortion in the context of the non-aggression principle (NAP) will speedily claim that the baby in the womb is aggressing against the mother blah blah blah Judith Jarvis Thompson, blah, violinist, blah blah, my ears are plugged, naah naah, I’m not listening to you, naah naah, the science is settled, case closed.

    Most self-identified libertarians I know are very receptive to the pro-life message…

    I worry that you don’t know as many libertarians as I do.

    And remember, in a political movement those most committed to it set the movement’s agenda and shape how the movement is defined.

  • The smear job on Dreher doesn’t make any sense. What are you actually trying to imply? The man has repeatedly reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage, and this piece is simply a lament of society’s understanding of marriage. I’m not sure what there is to take issue with.

  • AD,

    “Not much option but some sort of cross-state response.”

    Repealing Roe sends it back to the states. That is ultimately what we would like to see.

  • Also, the slam on his “View from you table” posts is really bizarre. Usually, the pictures, sent in by readers, include descriptions of the food, the gathering, and the significance behind it. Things like family traditions and cultural customs. You know, ideas that conservatives are supposed to care about and preserve. If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.

  • ME,

    “And remember, in a political movement those most committed to it set the movement’s agenda and shape how the movement is defined.”

    Ron Paul’s campaigns have challenged the monopoly of opinion enjoyed by pro-abortionists. And Libertarians for Life have been around for some time. We also have Tom Woods, Judge Napolitano and others who oppose abortion. So it is no longer credible for anyone – either anti-libertarians or pro-choice libertarians – to insist that pro-abortionism is the default and necessary libertarian position. In fact it is absurdly easy to take apart Rothbard’s pro-abortion ethics (without viciously hating every word the man every wrote and even finding some value in it).

  • Bonchamps,

    I think AD was referring to gay marriage and the use of the full faith and credit clause to inevitably force states that do not recognize same sex marriage to recognize same sex unions from states that do.

  • Ah. That’s what he meant by “burlesque.”

    Well, the point basically remains. I wouldn’t view a refusal to recognize gay marriage at the federal level to be an example of imposing morality at the federal level. Whether it is a state or the federal government refusing such recognition, it has nothing to do with the regulation of individual, personal behavior. There are no sodomy police, nor is anyone calling for them – but to hear some libertarians and leftists discuss the issue, they sound as if this is exactly what is being proposed.

  • “If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.”

    Pathetic actually sums up Dreher’s frequent changes in religion and ideology. His preoccupation with food seems to be one of the few constants in his career. A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    Classic Jonah Goldberg takedown of Dreher in his insipid “Crunchy Con” incarnation.

    http://old.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200603020807.asp

  • JL: i don’t think anyone’s saying that a blog has to be all politics, all the time. however, since “crunchy cons” Dreher has tried to extrapolate his personal tastes & preferences into a unique form of conservatism in a way that i think is really silly, especially since, let’s call them the “greedy cons,” i’m sure have their own things they enjoy doing & don’t think amassing wealth is the sum of all human existence like he claimed they do.

    “Things like family traditions and cultural customs. You know, ideas that conservatives are supposed to care about and preserve.”

    well sure. the problem is that this can get vague to the point that trying to attach any political label to it is reading too much into things in my view. for instance i come from a family that’s almost all Democrats and you’d think of as upstanding, good people. does this have much to do with the “Burkean conservatism” defined by amconmag? not really, and personally i try to avoid imputing politics to every little aspect of life.

    on the pro-life thing, i don’t doubt that libertarians can have that view (although i never understood Paul’s stock “get the federal government out of it” response when the issue’s been unavoidably federalized since 1973, at least as far as the courts go) however given the amount of emphasis that libertarianism puts against the state and on personal autonomy it’s unsurprising that the liberal and libertarian position would converge for a lot of people

  • I wonder how long before boys start declaring they “feel” like they’re women just to get into the girls’ locker rooms… 😉

  • If you want to take issue with AmCon as a whole, that’s fine, but the attacks on Dreher are unsubstantiated and really pathetic.

    “Unsubtantiated”? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    JL, Mr. McClarey, among others, has experience directly tangling with Dreher and others have observed him for some years. Persistent features of what he has to say are as follows:

    1. An almost compulsive need to display himself.
    2. Great anxiety about his appearance and juxtaposition to others.

    The content of what he says is incidental. It’s all in the stances.

    A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    He is 46, he has three kids, his wife has a spotty job history, and his employment at The American Conservative (a publication with a paid circulation less than a tenth of the one he resigned from a decade ago) would appear to be the result of a career crash. He may not have too many alternatives.

  • “Pathetic actually sums up Dreher’s frequent changes in religion and ideology. His preoccupation with food seems to be one of the few constants in his career. A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.”

    Ahh yes. This trope. If only we all had life figured out before we turned 11, like you Donald. Blokes like Chesterton are incapable of opining with any credibility!

  • lotta strawmanning goin’ on

  • “”“Unsubtantiated”? I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

    It means that if someone’s making a claim, I’d like to see some sort of justification for it.

    “JL, Mr. McClarey, among others, has experience directly tangling with Dreher and others have observed him for some years. Persistent features of what he has to say are as follows:

    1. An almost compulsive need to display himself.
    2. Great anxiety about his appearance and juxtaposition to others.””

    OK, well pardon me if you stating these “facts” doesn’t amount to substantive evidence in my eyes. If these two have tangled, I’d love to see the primary source for myself and form my own opinion.

    “The content of what he says is incidental. It’s all in the stances.

    A man really should not write opinion pieces when his own opinions have all the rock solid stability of a weathervane.

    He is 46, he has three kids, his wife has a spotty job history, and his employment at The American Conservative (a publication with a paid circulation less than a tenth of the one he resigned from a decade ago) would appear to be the result of a career crash. He may not have too many alternatives.”

    Ha, thanks for the conspiracy theory Art. Clearly it’s an impossibility that he could actually have convictions that GASP! aren’t identical to ones he had 10 years ago.

    Now let’s get back to bashing “The View From Your Table!” Take this iteration, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/view-from-your-table-170/, where Rod, an alleged “conservative,” has the balls to say this!!! :

    “That, my dears, is a vasilopita, or, St. Basil’s Cake. Today, on the Old Calendar, is the Feast of St. Basil. Inside the cake is baked a coin, in honor of a tradition that says St. Basil wanted to distribute money to the poor, but to allow them to retain their dignity. So he baked gold coins into cakes he distributed to them. Today, people put a single coin into the batter. The the tradition is that the first slice is for Jesus Christ, the second for his Holy Mother, and the third for St. Basil. And then on you go, through each member of the family. Whoever gets the piece with the coin in it is said to be blessed throughout the year.

    St. Basil got the coin in our house tonight, but Nora (see right) got that piece. She holds the coin in her hand. This was the first year we had such a cake. It was completely delicious.”

    Clearly talking about Orthodox customs has no value to conservatives at all. He’s obviously desperate for content! Instead he should devote a blog post to a Russian folk song.

  • Chesterton and Dreher, please! Chesterton was a Catholic in belief long before he converted, and when he converted he stayed converted. He remained remarkably consistent in his political and economic beliefs throughout his career. A better example of Dreher’s career is actually that of Gary Wills, although Rod mercifully does not have the rancor of Wills for people believing what he used to believe.

  • JL i have been familiar with Dreher for a while now. it’s not inaccurate to say he conflates his own personal lifestyle a lot with what he thinks conservatism should be. it’s not the same as offering certain critiques of modern conservatism.

    as far as the post you mentioned…cool? like i mentioned above these things might be interesting for some but i do not view them in political terms. i’m averse to affixing liberalism or conservatism to what are basic human experiences

  • The conversion from Methodist to Catholic to Orthodox is far less radical than that of an agnostic steeped in the occult ending up in the RC. I’m not attempting to make the claim that Dreher is somehow on GKC’s caliber. I’m saying your dismissal of a man’s opinions and beliefs because they’re not the same as they were 10 years ago is petulant.

  • “well sure. the problem is that this can get vague to the point that trying to attach any political label to it is reading too much into things in my view. for instance i come from a family that’s almost all Democrats and you’d think of as upstanding, good people. does this have much to do with the “Burkean conservatism” defined by amconmag? not really, and personally i try to avoid imputing politics to every little aspect of life.”

    I think I get what you’re saying, but I don’t really follow. So Value A is inclusive to both Group 1 and Group 2. Therefore Group 1 is forbidden from talking about it?

  • I’m glad I don’t have an opinion-maker in this fight.

    I read Taki’s 🙂

  • “JL i have been familiar with Dreher for a while now. it’s not inaccurate to say he conflates his own personal lifestyle a lot with what he thinks conservatism should be. it’s not the same as offering certain critiques of modern conservatism.”

    So his actions in life are actually informed by his convictions? Ok…I’m really failing to see the harm in any of this.

    “as far as the post you mentioned…cool? like i mentioned above these things might be interesting for some but i do not view them in political terms. i’m averse to affixing liberalism or conservatism to what are basic human experiences”

    I’m not sure Dreher views them in “political terms” either, whatever that means. The entire idea of Burkean/Kirkean liberalism is that its non-ideologocial, and is simply the articulation of what was generally accepted as true about life and society before liberalism sprang up, but never before needed to be summed up in some grandiose political programme.

  • There are no sodomy police, nor is anyone calling for them – but to hear some libertarians and leftists discuss the issue, they sound as if this is exactly what is being proposed.

    Because such tactics work in changing the conversation. If you’ve had any dealings with young turks on twitter and other social media you realize that they don’t have any ability to cogently put forward an argument in defense of same sex marriage. What they can do is offer jeremiads about “hate” and “bigotry.” It’s a beautiful tactic, really, because it plays on people’s emotions.

  • They seem to be under the impression that opposition to “gay marriage” is tantamount to a legal prohibition on personal behavior. This is the great lie I am trying to defeat.

  • no i’m saying there is a line between a particular lifestyle you live and taking it to be some unique form of political philosophy. you don’t typically see eccentric liberals who maybe don’t quite fit in with some of their peers try to invent a new subset of liberalism based on this for example.

    also the “political” comment was in response to you, you’re the guy who said that people here were being mean to the guy by supposedly refusing to acknowledge the relevance of these things to traditional conservatism, and then pulled the all-purpose ill-defined “Burkean/Kirkian” card to make my point on AmCon for me

  • “They seem to be under the impression that opposition to “gay marriage” is tantamount to a legal prohibition on personal behavior”

    no one thinks this. people like those mentioned above are just playing on the fact that opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to homosexuality are related, though not always, and their view that you shouldn’t be allowed to make a distinction between traditional and SSM

  • If minor childen must be in school by law, then the public schools must accomodate their needs for modesty and privacy until they are adults. This would outlaw strangers talking to the minor children about sexual intimacy, soul raping through indoctrination and kidnapping by the state. Every civil right in the Constitution by its nature has sanction against the violation of its freedom. Atheism is sanctioned by freedom of Religion. Perjury is sanctioned by free speech. Social engineering is sanctioned by peaceable assembly. Peaceable assembly is freedom not only to petition government for redress but for persons, especially minor children, to be secure in their virginity and innocence, as they are created, because innocence and virginIty are the bone and sinew of JUSTICE.

  • Ha, thanks for the conspiracy theory Art.

    JL, that term does not mean what you think it means, either. (For one thing, ‘conspiracy’ implies common action with some other individual).

    To make it more explicit for your understanding: Dreher’s career has been producing commentary. That is what he does. He has been variously a film critic, columnist, editorial writer, and now a a daily blogger. He has lived in six different cities and been employed by seven different publications, but admits to no history as a reporter (a trade not in the best of straits as we speak) Retooling at his age is difficult and his last attempt (an editorial position with the Templeton Foundation) came a cropper. Even if he makes a buffoon out of himself, his options to do something other than topical commentary are constricted.

    OK, well pardon me if you stating these “facts” doesn’t amount to substantive evidence in my eyes. If these two have tangled, I’d love to see the primary source for myself and form my own opinion.

    JL, just to recall the history of this exchange, Dr. Zummo referred to Mr. Dreher as a ‘useful idiot’. That’s an insult. It is not something one substantiates or fails to substantiate. My remarks are as follows: He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.. There are two parts to that. One is readily verifiable if you assemble a bibliography of his writings. It is not that difficult for you to rummage through the archives of The American Conservative or Beliefnet or find Maggie Gallagher’s replies to Dreher in various fora if you are at all curious as to how often he returns to this theme. My second sentence is what is known colloquially as a ‘joke’. That is not something you substantiate either.

    That Dreher has an atypical impulse to publicize his opinions and impressions is one he admits to himself. It was his explanation for resigning from the Templeton Foundation, which had insisted as a condition of employment he discontinue his Beliefnet column.

    As for my understanding of the common threads in Dreher’s writing, well, that is a matter of opinion as well. We could assemble his stray topical commentary over the years, his articles and columns, and in particular look at aspects of form, which, in Dreher’s case is important (emotionalism is standard fare). There was a period during which Rod Dreher was all over Catholic discussion fora and anyone who perused it got to be familiar with him. For Dreher, the personal really is the political (and the religious). Honestly, though, this is a blog posting, not a master’s thesis, and the man’s a rank and file pundit, not Karl Barth. (And I have wasted too many pixels on this already).

  • “JL, that term does not mean what you think it means, either. (For one thing, ‘conspiracy’ implies common action with some other individual).”

    Well clearly his wife and kids are in on it. But you’ve nabbed em, Art!

    Again, nothing you imply about Dreher’s convictions or lack thereof amounts to anything more than overwrought, contrived conjecture, “reading” your own nefarious motives into another man’s actions. Apologies for taking the man at his word.

    “JL, just to recall the history of this exchange, Dr. Zummo referred to Mr. Dreher as a ‘useful idiot’. That’s an insult. It is not something one substantiates or fails to substantiate. My remarks are as follows: He has actually written the same article again and again and again for the last half-dozen years or so. Eventually Unz is going to dock his pay for persistent self-plagiarism.. There are two parts to that. One is readily verifiable if you assemble a bibliography of his writings. It is not that difficult for you to rummage through the archives of The American Conservative or Beliefnet or find Maggie Gallagher’s replies to Dreher in various fora if you are at all curious as to how often he returns to this theme. My second sentence is what is known colloquially as a ‘joke’. That is not something you substantiate either.”

    Actually Art, opinions can and should be substantiated if their issuer wants them to be perceived as anything more than a string of baseless syllables. Calling someone a “useful idiot” without much explanation, save a link to an article which seemed anything but idiotic, isn’t just insulting, it’s flippant and wrongheaded. As is implying that someone resorts to showing pictures of food when they run out of ideas.

    “, which, in Dreher’s case is important (emotionalism is standard fare).”
    Depends on what you mean by “emotionalism,” but probably another unsubstantiated claim.

    “For Dreher, the personal really is the political (and the religious).”
    Good, I hope it’d be.

  • “no i’m saying there is a line between a particular lifestyle you live and taking it to be some unique form of political philosophy. you don’t typically see eccentric liberals who maybe don’t quite fit in with some of their peers try to invent a new subset of liberalism based on this for example.

    also the “political” comment was in response to you, you’re the guy who said that people here were being mean to the guy by supposedly refusing to acknowledge the relevance of these things to traditional conservatism, and then pulled the all-purpose ill-defined “Burkean/Kirkian” card to make my point on AmCon for me”

    I don’t think it’s a “unique form of political philosophy,” I just think alleged conservatives should be less derisive of a nice feature that celebrates tradition, family, and culture.

    I think Dreher’s brand of conservatism differs substantially from other forms. He might generally vote GOP, but there’s nothing wrong with distinguishing his approach to politics from the approach of others who happen to vote for the same candidates as him, but for different reasons. The more specificity the better.

  • “I just think alleged conservatives should be less derisive of a nice feature that celebrates tradition, family, and culture.”

    if someone’s not allowed to mock a post about kale, the terrorists truly have won

    me myself i eat conservative food, take conservative walks and drink conservative beers on a regular basis

  • in seriousness i get that people would have certain issues with the modern-day GOP, certain Team Red conservative commentators, i get it. and i appreciate that there’s an interest in other, less partisan arguments with a different focus. i just don’t find AmCon to be a useful alternative for reasons Art has outlined before

  • Art Deco has outlined

  • Donald, I agree Chesterton was a Catholic before he converted. I also think he retained a personlity that was quintessentially Protestant throughout his life. That was his paradox.

  • There are many words that I would use to describe Chesterton in his adult years, and a “Protestant personality”, whatever the devil that is, would not be among them. On my father’s side all my relatives are Protestant and I have never noted any difference in personality between them and me attributable to our difference of religion.

  • Does the government have the authentic authority to take your tax money and force your daughter to go to potty with a male child to validate his feminine side? Let his mother and father valid his sex. Your daughter owes him/her nothing. NOTHING.

  • Donald, I’m drawing on biographical information I’ve come across on him. He was quintessentially Protestant, though Roman in doctrine.

  • In what way was he Protestant in personality Jon? Be specific.

  • Well, Donald, that’s the great paradox of this man. He was an Englishman, an eccentric (he messed with a ouji board during his occult phase), a sort of freethinker, very hung up on liberty, an Anglican for many years, and what drove this otherwise Protestant figure to Rome was the decay that had already begun to set in in highchurch Anglicanism by his time.

  • I see nothing specifically Protestant about any of that Jon. Chesterton was a Catholic in belief long before his formal conversion in 1922. For example in 1911 in his poem Lepanto he wrote:
    The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,—

    If anything I would say that Chesterton as an adult had a naturally Catholic way in which he viewed the world.

  • Yes, Donald. I’m trying to say something different. His formation was high church Anglicanism. Not Roman, but as close as you could get. This was what moulded him. He then became disgusted and went over to Rome. But he was quintessentially Protestant, even if his beginnings were in high chruch Anglicanism. The fact is that he didn’t start in Rome. That’s my point. He’s a Protestant character.

  • What many people don’t realize is that Anglicanism is a hybrid. Canterbury is a cross between Rome and Geneva, and some are totally on one side or the other. They remain completely Protestant in character, though their doctrine can be pretty Roman.

  • Jon, unless you actually define with some specificity you mean when you “character,” I don’t think anyone will know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • “if someone’s not allowed to mock a post about kale, the terrorists truly have won”

    Not at all what I said. Mock away, but it probably reveals that they have a personal ax to grind instead of a legitimate criticism of someone’s political views.

  • “The fact is that he didn’t start in Rome. That’s my point. He’s a Protestant character.”

    Until you define what a “Protestant character” is Jon, there is no way that the accuracy of that statement can be judged.

  • “What many people don’t realize is that Anglicanism is a hybrid.”
    Bastard child might be a better way to put it. Henry VIII and Elizabeth were basically religious conservatives and wanted all the traditional smells and bells with them being pope. As a result the Anglican prelates of their time, most of them Protestants in belief, had to walk a tightrope and many of the 39 Anglican articles could either be interpreted in a “Catholic” or Protestant sense if one closed one’s eyes to the obvious implications of all of them taken as a whole. The Protestant interpretation won the day over time, with occasional “Catholic” reactions, most notably the Oxford Movement that Newman helped head. As for Chesterton Anglicanism was actually the faith of his wife. He converted to it from Unitarianism but was never really satisfied by it. Here is what he has wrote in 1911:

    “I think I have known intimately by now all the best kinds of Anglicanism, and I find them only a pale imitation”

    Out of respect for the sensibilities of his wife he delayed his conversion to 1922. She converted in 1926.

  • Mock away, but it probably reveals that they have a personal ax to grind instead of a legitimate criticism of someone’s political views.

    What personal axe, JL? Rod Dreher would not know me from a cord of wood. We’ve exchanged two sentences online in 11 years.

  • I suppose all of us who are converts carry something of our protestant “baggage” with us, but that doesn’t necessarily make our “character” protestant.

    The essence of protestantism is a prediliction for picking and choosing what they prefer to believe and a take-my-ball-and-go-home (or switch churches) mentality when things don’t go their way. Sadly, there are converts that continue to exhibit this trait. Chesterton, however, was decidedly NOT among those types.

    I will leave it to others to decide for themselves whether they believe anyone else discussed in this thread might seem to fit the bill.

  • “What personal axe, JL? Rod Dreher would not know me from a cord of wood. We’ve exchanged two sentences online in 11 years.”

    Well you apparently know plenty about him. I really don’t understand the bashing of “View From Your Table.” As I’ve already detailed how its content and purpose should resonate with and be celebrated by conservatives, I’m forced to conclude that your dismissal of it can only be chalked up to an ignorance of what it is or animosity towards its originator.

    By the way, here’s a kick-ass Dreher post from today: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/wapo-error-has-no-rights/

    Perhaps nothing earth-shattering, but it’s little things like this that make me wonder if we’ve crossed the Rubicon and it’s just time to get out of Dodge.

  • It is the Catholic Church Who defines and interprets scripture for the Catholic Faith and uses tradition and the Magisterium. The Protestant faith has sola scriptura and does not use tradition or a single Pontiff, unless one considers Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Church of England. I do not know and cannot say how the Church of England defines its tenets.

  • Well you apparently know plenty about him.

    He is a public figure and says plenty about himself.

  • Donald, I think Chesterton was a Protestant character insofar as he thought independently, was pretty eccentric, and very libertarian. He didn’t fit the mold of many pre-Vatican II Catholics, many of whom are alive now and are not Berean-like (they would not go home to search the Scriptures to see if what they are told by authority is correct, but will take authority at face value as if following authority were virtuous in itself–why did fascism appear in Italy and Spain?). Of course Chesterton was Roman Catholic in doctrine.

    As for the Reformation in England, it began politically. I know Henry VIII was a jerk. Everyone does. And I think Mary took after him–they were both incredibly pigheaded. I find Elizabeth I to be an absolute delight. A real gentlewoman. I read the collected works and can discern that she was Protestant in doctrine. The doctrine that made its way to the Anglican church was Lutheran under Edward, and when it was safe enough for the refugees to return, Calvinist. The Articles are pretty Calvinistic, though they haven’t always been taken very seriously, for better or worse.

  • What many people don’t realize is that there are basically three Anglican types: the Evangelical who is like a Baptist, the broad churchman in the middle who is not at either extreme, and the Anglo-Catholic who is not Roman. Many people become confused because they’re unaware of this. The diocese of Sydney, for example, is so reformed you would swear you were worshiping in a Baptist or Presbyterian church. Now there is a segment that’s very liberal and undefined in doctrine, but that allows just about anything. So the Anglican communion and the Episcopal Church in America, especially, are very diverse internally. Some of these people feel Roman Catholic and may wind up there. Others many wind up in a low church. Still others may continue to stay, either upset or upsetting others. It’s a complicated situation.

  • Jay, you are correct to a degree. When many diverse Protestant chruches exist, people can switch when they becvome dissapointed. But the feeling is that it’s better to have diversity than uniformity. Everything has its pros and cons, but at the end of the day one wishes to held captive to Scripure and God, and the church insofar as it adheres to that. Every chruch has its quarrels and its bigwigs and its showoffs, some of whom are sometimes the leaders. One simply has to learn tolerance and excersise charity.

  • Part of the problem with getting anything across to “Libertarians” is that it’s the go-to self-label for folks who want to be special snowflakes and grant their own views Super Special Rational Powers unlike any other political view. Even if they’re “libertarians” who vote Dem or Socialist consistently or want licenses for people to be allowed to reproduce, they’ll take the name. (Examples from real life– humans! What more is there to say?)

    Generally, when you do make the case for abortion being illegitimate because it’s killing another, they just get angry.
    I’ve had one anarcho-capitalist type Libertarian stop talking to me because when he threw a fit about gov’t being able to use deadly force, I pointed out that his “no killing humans” stance was rather weak because he is pro abortion.

    While straight Libertarian philosophy should be very obviously pro-life, libertarian has a strong tendency to be used when libertine would be more accurate, famous statements not withstanding.
    They just want to be the ones deciding who is person enough to have their rights respected.

    Gets darkly funny when you run into the strain of Libertarian that holds nobody has the right to say someone else isn’t part of this or that group….

  • “Donald, I think Chesterton was a Protestant character insofar as he thought independently, was pretty eccentric, and very libertarian”

    All of which fit many Catholics both pre and post Vatican II. Chesterton would have fit in well with most of the Irish nationalists of his day if he had been born one of the Great Gaels he wrote about:
    “For the great Gaels of Ireland / Are the men that God made mad, / For all their wars are merry, / And all their songs are sad.”

    “I to be an absolute delight.”

    She was an absolute bundle of laugh for my Irish Catholic ancestors.

    “I read the collected works and can discern that she was Protestant in doctrine.”

    In regard to religion Elizabeth viewed herself as trodding a middle path between those she condemned as Romanists, ie those who possessed the True Faith and died for it under Bloody Bess, and radical Protestants. This from a speech in 1583:

    “One matter touches me so near as I may not overskip; religion is the ground on which all other matters ought to take root, and being corrupted may mar all the tree; and that there be some fault finders with the order of the clergy, which so may make a slander to myself and the Church whose overruler God hath made me, whose negligence cannot be excused if any schisms or errors heretical were suffered.

    Thus much I must say that some faults and negligence may grow and be, as in all other great charges it happeneth; and what vocation without? All which if you, my Lords of the clergy, do not amend, I mean to depose you. Look ye therefore well to your charges.

    I am supposed to have many studies but most philosophical. I must yield this to be true, that I suppose few that be no professors have read more. And I need not tell you that I am so simple that I understand not, nor so forgetful that I remember not. And yet amidst so many volumes I hope God’s book hath not been my seldomest lectures; in which we find that which by reason, for my part, we ought to believe–that seeing so great wickedness and griefs in the world in which we live but as wayfaring pilgrims, we must suppose that God would never have made us but for a better place and of more comfort than we find here. I know no creature that breatheth whose life standeth hourly in more peril for it than mine own; who entered not into my state without sight of manifold dangers of life and crown, as one that had the mightiest and the greatest to wrestle with. Then it followeth that I regarded it so much as I left myself behind my care. And so you see that you wrong me too much if any such there be as doubt my coldness in that behalf. For if I were not persuaded that mine were the true way of God’s will, God forbid I should live to prescribe it to you. Take you heed lest Ecclesiastes say not too true; they that fear the hoary frost the snow shall fall upon them.

    I see many overbold with God Almighty making too many subtle scannings of His blessed will, as lawyers do with human testaments. The presumption is so great, as I may not suffer it. Yet mind I not hereby to animate Romanists (which what adversaries they be to mine estate is sufficiently well known) nor tolerate newfangledness. I mean to guide them both by God’s holy true rule. In both parts be perils. And of the latter I must pronounce them dangerous to a kingly rule: to have every man according to his own censure, to make a doom of a validity and privity of his Prince’s government with a common veil and cover of God’s word, whose followers must not be judged, but by private men’s exposition. God defend you from such a ruler that so evil will guide you. Now I conclude that your love and care neither is nor shall be bestowed upon a careless Prince, but such as for your good will passeth as little for this world as who careth least. With thanks for your free subsidy, a manifest show of the abundance of your good wills, the which I assure you, but to be employed to your weal, I could be better pleased to return than receive.”

  • “While straight Libertarian philosophy should be very obviously pro-life, libertarian has a strong tendency to be used when libertine would be more accurate, famous statements not withstanding.
    They just want to be the ones deciding who is person enough to have their rights respected.”

    Bingo. They usually have a very cramped idea of when “rights” impact those luckless enough to be in their way. Abortion is the classic example.

  • Very good, Donald. Thank you. Celtic territories were never far from Protestantism even while Roman. So I agree with what you said about Chesterton. Celtic pockets have been linked with mroe independent thought in religion.

  • My Irish Catholic ancestors wished they were very far indeed from Protestantism Jon, especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.

  • COncerning Elizabeth I, I’m not sure what’s comic. I never found her funny or amusing. Thanks for the quote. Yes, it was a settlement for the crown and the growing nation that worked. She didn’t like those who preach long and get very detailed and who stress the regulative principle of worship. The settlement was at stake, and this comes through in your quote. In many other places throughout her writings she seems authentically Protestant in doctrine, sentiment, and temperament. We already knwo the settlement accounted for some of it. It cannot account for everything she wrote. She always spoke as one who had to give an account to a higher one, as one who knew she was placed upon the throne and dependent upon the one who placed her there. As one who knew she shoulod shepherd her people affectionately and humbly. She knew she was there for a task and that it was pivotal. Her father was obviously a jerk and her half sister wasn’t too swift either.

  • “As one who knew she shoulod shepherd her people affectionately and humbly.”
    Yes, many of my English Catholic brothers and sisters felt her affectionate regard at Tyburn.

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/02/312-english-catholic-martyrs-and-heroic.html

  • Yes, Donald, there is the Irish crisis with the Englisha dn Scots settlers, or rather those who were dumped there. I know that. But celtic religion has always been of a different variety and alien to the Roman structure. Witness Rowan Williams, who recently resigned but who was arguably the most eccentric cleric and a Welshman! Very interesting fellow and a real genious.

  • “But celtic religion has always been of a different variety and alien to the Roman structure.”

    Not really. Once communication was firmly established between Rome and Ireland, the Irish began their long career as the loyalest sons and daughters of the Church. Would that the present generation in Ireland had not foresaken that old allegiance.

  • Yes, more research needs to be done on Celtic Christianity, not in the popular sense of advocating wishy washy spirituality, but of establishin its unique character and links with independent and reformed thinking throughout Europe. There’s a connection.

  • Well it was from the grassroots, Patrick and all. In Britain it was superimposed more or less. But Ireland was a far trip from Rome and I think it can be established that the Celtic areas though not necessaritly Ireland were to some degree more prone to local spirituality.

  • Well it was from the grassroots, Patrick and all. In Britain it was superimposed more or less. I think it can be established that the Celtic areas though not necessaritly Ireland were to some degree more prone to local spirituality.

  • Apparently, Freud did not say, regarding the Irish, “This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.”

    But, likely it’s correct.

  • Jon, your argument essentially boils down to something like “Anyone who doesn’t live in Rome is Protestant in character.” I really don’t get it.

  • No, there’s research to suggest a connection exists between celtic pockets and a break away from Rome. I haven’t looked into it so I can’t specify. While Elizabeth wasn’t perfect, her half sister Mary was no bargain either. She earned a dark reputation for killing people who didn’t acquiese when she steered the realm back to Rome. Then she wanted children but couldn’t get pregnant so she psychosomatically expanded her stomach, and she kept herself surrounded by ‘little people’ at court.

  • She earned a dark reputation for killing people who didn’t acquiese when she steered the realm back to Rome. Then she wanted children but couldn’t get pregnant so she psychosomatically expanded her stomach, and she kept herself surrounded by ‘little people’ at court.

    I haven’t been monitoring this thread too closely because I’ve been travelling, but how on Earth did we go from a post about cultural issues to a discussion of Mary, Queen of Scots, and what she may or may not have believed or done?

    That said, yeah, Jon’s definition of “Protestant” attitudes is . . . something.

  • Jon, the Catholic Church is decidedly culturally-relativistic. Incorporation of local customs and traditions, insofar as they do not violate theological precepts and moral standards, are more or less par for the course.

  • NO, not Mary Queen of Scots, but Mary who reigned immediately prior to Elizabeth I. Someone mentioned Elizabeth I wasn’t perfect, so I pointed out a few of Mary’s imperfections.

  • JL, I agree. That’s the way it should be, though wherever the gospel is preached and many lives are changed, some cultural patterns change. Some practices change. I thinhk of the peace and truce of God in the MIddle Ages. Barbarism yields to civility.

  • NO, not Mary Queen of Scots, but Mary who reigned immediately prior to Elizabeth I.

    Kinda missing the point, Jon.

  • especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.

    You got something against my family?

  • If I did Art I’d have to go to war against myself since on my father’s side I am pretty sure they were reprepresented among those Calvinist “settlers”.

  • I did a little research and what I found out was that the Irish church was more in touch with earlier, eastern christianity and rather disconnected from Rome. The Irish church sent out missionaries to the continent. Those places turned out to be fertile soil during the Reformation. So it was areas reached by the Irish church that gave a ready welcome to Protestant theology. It makes sense.

  • Complete and total rubbish Jon. This missionary effort occurred almost a millenium before the Reformation and the Irish missionaries established monasteries which were anathema to Luther and his ilk. These monasteries were pillars of the Catholic Church, centers of learning, during what has been erroneously called the Dark Ages. The Stowe Missal, a sacrementary in Ireland written in 750, has prayers for the Pope as part of the Mass. You are sadly mistaken in your attempt to depict the earliest Irish Catholics as proto-Protestants.

  • The Irish saved civilization.

    During the Middle Ages, newly converted Irish Christians embraced monasticism as a sort of martyrdom. These holy ascetics preserved ancient books and spread it back to western Europe.

    If they were not faithful to the Gospel, the Irish had a huge beef with the Pope that effectively ceded Eire to the Norman conquerors. The Irish stayed in a clan/tribal system. They did not go through a feudal economic/political era.

    That being said, the Irish can be very “hard cases.”

    And, Freud did not say, “The Irish are the only people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever.” Although, that does not alter the reality of the condition.

  • Yes, it seems there has always been a disconnect between Rome and Ireland, if not in thought then at least in practice.

  • I agree the Dark Ages were not ‘dark’. The renaissance was not as much of a revival as we have thought.

  • Yes, the Irish, who suffered conquest, persecution, death, and disenfranchisment in their own country for daring to practice the Roman Catholic faith, and who kept that faith alive in secret Masses in bogs and on hillsides, and who put candles in the windows of their homes to let priests know it was safe to come in to say Mass, and who, if discovered doing those activities were liable unto death, were REALLY “protestants” who, if shown the error of their ways, would have gladly accepted the “reforms” of the “Church of Ireland” (i.e. the Church of England) or the Calvinism of the Scottish transplants.

    Yes, those Irish were so “disconnected” from Rome that, up until very recently, they were among the most faithful Roman Catholics in all of Europe.

  • Art Deco says:
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 A.D. at 5:47pm
    especially of the English variety or that of the Scottish Calvinist “settlers” to their land.
    You got something against my family?
    Donald R. McClarey says:
    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 A.D. at 5:50pm
    If I did Art I’d have to go to war against myself since on my father’s side I am pretty sure they were reprepresented among those Calvinist “settlers”.

    Good grief, y’all are BOTH my relatives?

    Explains so much….

  • “Good grief, y’all are BOTH my relatives? ”

    ..and then there was that Scot who came to Poland and married one of my ancestors.

  • The “explains so much” statement stands. *grin*

  • “Explains so much….”

    Yep. My Irish and Scottish ancestors were the most peace loving people in the world and they would gladly have gone to war against anyone who said otherwise. 🙂

Ben Carson’s National Prayer Breakfast Speech

Wednesday, February 13, AD 2013

Ben Carson’s rousing speech at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast has garnered a lot of widespread attention. Depending on your point of view, this is either a heroic address that is proof that this man needs to be our next president, or it’s an insulting attempt to humiliate Barack Obama. You’ll never guess which side I’m on.

First, the speech for those of you who have not seen it:

Things get really interesting at around the 17 minute mark as he directly confronts Obamacare and economics more generally.

Actually, upon initial viewing, I did wonder if this was the appropriate venue for Dr. Carson’s remarks. After all, shouldn’t the National Prayer Breakfast be a time where we put aside partisan debate and concentrate on what draws us together? This is what Cal Thomas – no fan of President Obama – thinks:

His remarks were inappropriate for the occasion. It would have been just as inappropriate had he praised the president’s policies. The president had a right to expect a different message about another Kingdom. I’m wondering if the president felt drawn closer to God, or bludgeoned by the Republican Party and the applauding conservatives in the audience (there were many liberals there, too, as well as people from what organizers said were more than 100 nations and all 50 states).

If Carson wanted to voice his opinion about the president’s policies, he could have done so backstage. Even better, he might have asked for a private meeting with the man. As a fellow African American who faced personal challenges and overcame them, the president might have welcomed Dr. Carson to the White House. Instead, Carson ambushed him.

Carson should publicly apologize and stop going on TV doing “victory laps” and proclaiming that reaction to his speech was overwhelmingly positive. That’s not the point. While many might agree with his positions (and many others don’t as shown by the November election results), voicing them at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of the president was the wrong venue.

Leftists were much more vehement in their criticisms of Dr. Carson. Suddenly the very same people who think the entire concept of a National Prayer Breakfast is an affront to the sanctity of  the separation of Church and State were howling at Dr. Carson’s impropriety on such a solemn occasion.

There are several reasons why this criticism is unwarranted, and why Dr. Carson should proceed with his “victory laps.”

Continue reading...

16 Responses to Ben Carson’s National Prayer Breakfast Speech

  • The Left pushes it’s agenda relentlessly, in every way, every day, in every forum they can. Conservatives are the only one still playing by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules for political discourse. I applaude Dr Carson’s se of his opportunity, all right thinking people should seek out their opportunities and do likewise.

  • The Left pushes it’s agenda relentlessly, in every way, every day, in every forum they can. Conservatives are the only one still playing by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules for political discourse. I applaude Dr Carson’s se of his opportunity, all right thinking people should seek out their opportunities and do likewise.

    I think we can leave the high school yearbook staff in peace, even if Dan Savage and his enablers refuse to.

  • If this kind of thing keeps up, the president may just end up skipping the National Prayer Breakfast. Dr. Carson challenged his policies this year and last year Eric Metaxas pointed out the evil of abortion and the Pro-Choice stance in front of Obama and self-professed Catholics, Biden and Pelosi. Take a look at his speech at the link below.

    http://www.ericmetaxas.com/blog/the-blurb-worth-a-thousand-words/

  • FWIW I think Dr. Carson makes a serious point about graduated tax rates, and I say that as a person who happens to favor them. We can all agree that it is wrong for government to tax in such a way as to deprive the poor of necessities (leaving aside the murkiness of definitions, etc.). Beyond that a reliable basis for graduated rates is hard to identify with confidence. The best explanation is grounded in the theory that the marginal utility of money diminishes. While that is almost certainly true for any one individual or household, it is problematic when applied to groups. Some people value money (and what it can buy) more than others. Others favor various types of psychic income. People make different life choices based on their different values and preferences. I support graduated rates because I do think that the marginal utility argument has some force. But I do not support it with a lot of enthusiasm since I have little confidence in guaging the strength of that force. While I doubt that Dr. Carson ever read Blum and Kalvin (who said all that could be said on this topic over 50 years ago), I bet that these scholars would be nodding their heads in sympathy at his point.

  • The best explanation is grounded in the theory that the marginal utility of money diminishes.

    The utility of additional increments of income certainly does decline, but that is unaffected by the rate at which you tax income. The effect of escalating marginal rates would be that the utility to be derived from earning and owning property declines more rapidly than it otherwise would. I am not sure what is the argument for that.

    A solitary marginal rate conjoined to a general (per-capita) credit or exemption large enough to remove the most impecunious third from the income tax rolls will do agreeably. Both the rate and the dollar value of the credit or exemption will have to be higher than that to which people are accustomed, but the effect on labor force participation of elevating marginal rates is mild.

  • I thought that the argument for a progressive income tax was that it acts to counterbalance regressive taxes such as sales tax, thus making the overall tax rate relatively flat. In theory. Whether that’s true in practice, I don’t know.

  • J.,
    While it is true that sales taxes are generally regressive, I don’t think that is really the basis for a progressive income tax. The tax equity (vertical equity) justification is simply that a progressive tax spreads the pain more evenly because higher income folks won’t miss the dough as much. While there is intuitive merit in this justification, it’s actual truth is elusive because people value money differently. Moreover, taken to its logical conclusion this justification would suggest we should impose a tax system that is sufficiently progressive to allow all households to end up with the same after tax income. Of few Americans would support that for reasons of equity (my point about people valuing money differently and making different choices) and efficiency (the necessary 100% marginal rates would obviously result in a productivity collapse).

    Art,
    I agree (assuming I understand you correctly) that the benefit to any one individual of an incremental $100 “declines more rapidly” in a graduated rate environment than it would in a flat rate environment. But this is an effect of graduated rates rather than a purpose, so I don’t see why anyone would offer an argument for that.
    The degree to which marginal rates affect labor participation depends on the rates. Plainly moving a rate from 33% to 36% would have a milder effect than a move from 33% to 73%.
    Finally, I agree that your single rate plus exemption approach is supportable on both equity and efficiency grounds, though graduated rates are also supportable on these grounds as long as the rates are not too graduated. Either approach arguably presents equity deficiencies depending on one’s view how income is earned and valued while the latter presents efficiency issues to the extent earners will spread income temporally as well as among family members in order to avoid the higher rates. Of course, all approaches are imperfect.

  • Mr Deco: I’m afraid I have missed your reference to a year book staff, and have no idea who Dan Savage is. Is your quote of my comment and subsequent follow on meant as insult or insight?

  • Templar,
    More insight than insult, I think. I believe AD was simply pointing out that while you are correct that we must be willing to take off our gloves, we nonetheless should refrain from hitting below the belt. In other words “opportunities” to push our conservative agenda should not include every forum, even if the Left does not recognize such boundaries. AD can correct me if I’m wrong.

  • I believe Mike is correct in his interpretation of Art’s remarks.

    As for Dan Savage – you’re better off not knowing, though a google search can provide you the information if you’re desperate.

  • Mike and Paul, thanks for the response. I did a search on Savage…another lapsed Catholic who seems to believe everything in life boils down to the right to fornicate on demand. You’re right, a few minutes of my life wasted.

    As for our choice of forums, I agree that the rules of good taste should always apply, but I am no longer such of fan of the old adage that rigidly dictated a proper time and place for everything. Dr. Carson’s timing transformed his 15 minutes into a week long event, and many people who may not watch politics closely would be exposed to it, certainly far more than if he had merely said it in public, but not in front of the POTUS.

  • You are both correct.

    Templar, there is a pair of organizations (one I believe composed of high school teachers and one of j-school faculty) who jointly sponsor an annual conference for student newspaper and yearbook staff. It sounds like something of a boondoggle, but never mind. This past year, the knuckleheads on the organizing committee thought it a boffo idea to invite as a ‘key-note’ speaker (why would they need one?) an obnoxious homosexual who edits the main alternative newspaper in greater Seattle. He elected to address the topic of ‘bullying’. Now, I seem to have gotten through high school without the photography aficionados on the yearbook staff causing me any anxiety. So, I imagine, did this fellow Savage. Of course, discussions of ‘bullying’ are a wedge for discussions of sodomy and the nexus of social relations which surround it, including rude and stupid public chastisement of those this fellow Savage regards as cultural enemies. You would think a conference of yearbook and student newspaper staff might discuss better photography or concise and elegant writing but nooooooooooooo. I would love to attend a deposition with the inviting committee under subpoena and under oath.

  • Fornication is actually something Dan Savage does not care much about.

  • A careful analysis of the past five years makes one believe a campaign speech was something Obama thoroughly enjoyed hearing at any venue. And this one was brilliant.

  • I don’t care what he has to say, or anyone else about him! He saved my sons life. Enough said!

  • When I listened to Dr Carson speak, I felt like I had just received a desparately desired booster shot from a highly educated man that wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His speech validated my beliefs and principles that have guided me well for the past 57 years. These beliefs and principles are founded in the Christian faith, which I believe was very appropriate and an overall part of his message. He intelligently tied his convictions from life experiences and perceptions of what needs to happen to prevail over the fear of what could happen should we continue to proceed ahead under the status quo. I was impressed in his confidence that we all must be educated which if combined to a basis of spiritual knowledge and intelligence (not emotionalism or PC) that we use to confront and address problems within our society for the good of all. I’m reminded when Jesus spoke in the temple where prominent members of the Scribes and Pharisees were in attendence and Jesus proceeded to confront the hypocrisy of the times as it conflicted with the genuine message of God and what was expected. His message was also not received favorably by those who may have been exposed. Sometimes his pointed questions were embarrassing but his depth and insight portrayed such candid comments that fairly depicted his sense of knowledge, that the majority of the teachers had to treat him with every consideration. Such a tolerance in today’s society is not reciprocrated by some butb often expected by them when the light is on themselves!! DR Carso speech and delivery was in my view spot on and appropriate for this occasion.

The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency

Wednesday, August 29, AD 2012

A couple of days ago I was listening to a radio show on Sirius. The hosts were playing audio of a woman who had spent six hours waiting in line at the welfare office. The woman did not sound particularly old, and she had six kids.

There were several disconcerting elements to the story. The fact that this woman waited so long highlights the inefficiencies of government bureaucracies. More importantly, it was clear that this woman not only depended on the welfare checks to get by, the attitude expressed in the soundbite revealed how deeply she felt entitled to the government benefits.

No one should begrudge those who truly need government assistance. I know nothing of this woman’s history, so I won’t comment on her situation specifically. But I was saddened as I listened to this woman speak, and I thought of how welfare has turned many people into truly helpless individuals – not because they are so by nature, but because that is what the welfare state does to people.

The radio hosts who played this story have what can be described as a libertarian bent, and they decried the welfare state’s tendency to breed dependency. Yet I couldn’t help but laugh at their willful blindness, for they are certainly the types who would mock social conservatives. So many libertarians, or socially liberal and economically conservative individuals, fail to appreciate the nexus between social and economic issues. The breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state. More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families. Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.

Yet libertarians are not the only ones who fail to connect economic and social issues. Looking at it from a different perspective, those who consider themselves socially conservative but who advocate enhanced government intervention in economic affairs do not see how the welfare state itself leads to the breakdown of the family. The welfare state has practically displaced the family in many situations, fostering the sense of independence from family life. The family hasn’t been wholly displaced as the primary means of financial support, but many people have been brought up to expect that the government will be there to bail them out of poor life choices. Therefore, just as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.

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22 Responses to The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency

  • “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    John Adams

  • Evil people cannot be free. Their embrace of the seven deadly sins forges their chains.

  • [J]ust as the breakdown of the family contributes to the rise of the welfare state, the welfare state itself contributes to the breakdown of the family. It is a vicious cycle…
    –Paul Zummo

    The welfare came first. And that has made all the difference.

    More and more children are born out of wedlock, and single mothers must turn to the state to provide financial support to their families.

    Shame on all who misuse the phrase “single mothers” in order to cloak females who choose to put baby-making before marriage. And what she’s doing outside of marriage isn’t making a family, it’s making a brood. Or a primate troop. But no way is what she has a ‘family’.

    <blockquoteIt is a vicious cycle, and those who insist that we can separate economic and social issues perpetuate that cycle.

    Those who invert initial cause (welfare) and effect (social breakdown) also “perpetuate that cycle.”

  • “what she’s doing outside of marriage isn’t making a family, it’s making a brood. Or a primate troop.”

    So it’s OK to call her children “primates” after they’re born but not OK to call them “fetuses” before they’re born? I get your point, and I agree that women should not be wilfully having children outside of marriage, but that sounds a bit too much like something a pro-abort would say.

    As I’ve written before, the question of whether the welfare state or family breakdown came first is a chicken-and-egg type of question. Personally I think family breakdown, or more precisely the sexual revolution, came before the welfare state, but the welfare state continues to feed off of it and perpetuate it.

    However, there are other factors besides family breakdown that are contributing to dependence upon government, such as the high cost of college education, the need for both parents in two-parent families to work outside the home, and the fact that many people have to move away from their families of origin to find work, leaving them with no one to turn to in time of crisis.

  • First, please don’t blame Libertarianism for the break down of the family and other problems of the welfare state. You want to preserve marriage then get marriage out of the marriage business. It is a Sacrament and not something the State should be involved in or regulate any more than Holy Orders or Extreme Unction – it should be the sole purview of the Church. Marriage has become weakened over the past 500 years because we have allowed the State to define, regulate and administer marriage. Any State strong enough to define marriage as a relationship between a “man and a woman” is also strong enough to define marriage as a relationship between a “man and man”, “woman and cat”, “man and woman and woman”. If left to various denominations you may still get those that allow “marriages” in the above combinations but I won’t be legally compelled to recognize it as a marriage. Get the State out of the Marriage business. (But then fine Catholic lawyers who make money off of divorce would loose a large source of income.)

    Secondly, Ms. Krewer, sexual promiscuity, illegitimacy, drug abuse have always been with us. If you listen to Protestants licentiousness has always been a major characteristic of Catholic countries and cultures. Legal prohibitions and restraints on drugs, alcohol, prostitution are extremely recent innovations, i.e. the last 100 years. Look at their success! No, when you subsidize something you get more of it. When you give immigrants rights to government entitlements you get more immigration (legal or otherwise). If you subsidize woman who have children outside of a traditional family – then you will get more women having children outside of a traditional family.

    Finally, Mr. Zummo, when you have people who make their living inside the beltway working for lobbying organizations you end up with people (even allegedly conservative individuals) with a vested interest in a Government which is dedicated to the regulation of every aspect of our existence.

  • I agree with much of the above but I do not agree that it is a “fact that many people have to move away from their families of origin to find work, leaving them with no one to turn to in time of crisis.”

    It is not a “fact,” it is a choice. It is similar to putting off marriage until one’s career is “established.” It has no more validity than that.

    Having to “strike out on our own” and establish a “nuclear” (or, “nucular” if you will. Dear God I miss GW.) family… “the two of us against the world” – is a zero sum gain for most people. We do it for careers that leave us no better off financially, no more satisfied with our lives than if we had stayed at home, and, usually, considerably poorer for those lost family connections.

    My wife and I have had numerous opportunities to advance our careers that would have required our leaving home. However, having her parents only an half an hour away and mine five blocks from our home has been a tremendous blessing. It has allowed us to maintain perspective and family life. It allows my wife and I to have time alone, knowing the children are well cared for. Most importantly, it maintains continuity between the generations, enriching our lives through constant interaction between three generations and across an extended family of parents, grand-parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles.

    We are blessed and not everyone benefits from living in close proximity to their families but I suspect many more would than do and that most who move away for their careers gave up far more than they gained.

  • That should be “get the State out of the marriage business”.

  • “You want to preserve marriage then get the state out of the marriage business.”

    I can presume then Mr. Tiden that you are not an attorney and represent people fighting over custody of kids and property after a marriage goes south? “Get the state out of the marriage business” may make a great libertarian bumper sticker, but as long as there are divorces, inheritances, adoptions, etc, in short as long as humans remain humans, the state will be in the “marriage business”.

  • “Yet these social libertarians (indeed some of them are libertines) see no contradiction in promoting lax cultural mores while decrying ever-increasing government dependency.”

    Correct. In fact, I would call all of them libertines.

    However, many Libertarians, few if none of which are libertines, see no contradiction in allowing the consequences of immoral behavior, allowed by lax cultural mores, to play themsleves out with no molly-coddling “assistance” from taxpayer-funded (read: extorted) government agencies.

    The consequences of drug use, sexual irresponsibility and profligate sloth, etc. are self-evident. The promotion of those behaviors comes not from Libertarians, but from State-sponsored “protections” against those natural consequences. Remove those protections, and the examples thus provided would soon do quite an efficient job of discouraging those behaviors, libertines be damned.

    “Sink or swim” does not equal “It’s OK to pee in the pool.”

  • When Bill Clinton popularized that tidy little phrase “it’s the economy, stupid” people applauded that clear -spoken delineation of what’s wrong, and what seems a sticky mass of overlapping and knotted thread.
    But let’s don’t take that (“economy”) to mean Just Job Numbers. The economy turns on mutual respect, dignity and love, despite earnest beliefs otherwise/with efforts to separate moral precepts and government.

    In Christian writings “economy” is seen in the overview; in the connectedness of all the parts; in how all things work together… not Necessarily in a financial sense but indicating God’s plan, providence, and also Order.

    In the bible the word in Greek mean something like household management. Anyone who has had a part in managing a household ( the famous “kitchen table” conversations ) knows that love and mutual respect can carry people through.

  • I just re-read, and see that I wasn’t very clear. To re-phrase: Clinton was identifying the problem to be addressed as the “economy.” I say, the economy is more than that whole ball of knotted problem, more than just as economic indicators, and let’s address cultural underpinnings of what makes it all work.
    I have heard people say that abortion, for instance, is not an economic issue. I say that it is, and I would like more national talk about that.

  • I could not agree more!

    We don’t hear enough about people being “industrious” about how they apply themselves… about risk-taking and earning rewards. I think there are a lot of people out there doing all kinds of cool things but the image that is presented is that of a stagnant and dying people, fighting for scraps from the government’s table.

    Hard work is a virtue that is essential to our national well-being, to the broader “economy” that you are talking about. It isn’t anomalous but it sure is made out to be.

    One of the reasons I love country music is that it talks about things that aren’t mentioned in the rest of popular culture: hard work, God, patriotism, duty, etc. We hear enough about the mean streets and licentious lives. Country music provides a safe harbor for the America that I love.

  • WK, I have two problems with that. First, the consequences of bad actions don’t just fall on those who commit them, but on their family and neighbors as well. Secondly, there’s got to be some finite government role in steering people toward better behavior and helping those who stumble. God created us as societal beings, not just as individuals or families. There is a role for government in supporting the common good. I don’t see much in the writings of libertarians that acknowledges it.

    Are we anywhere near the proper balance between individual, family, community, and government? Of course not. But libertarians would be more persuasive if they could argue for what the right balance is. I can’t think of libertarianism as anything more than a critique until it does.

  • Donald Mc Cleary: I agree with your assessment of marriage and the state. I must think on the rest.

  • Anzlyne: ” In the bible the word in Greek mean something like household management. Anyone who has had a part in managing a household ( the famous “kitchen table” conversations ) knows that love and mutual respect can carry people through.”

    Love and mutual respect is called good will.

  • Don:

    People who are not married (sacramentally or otherwise) fight over the custody of kids, inheritances and property everyday, and the courts have jurisdiction over those disputes. Likewise, people who are not married adopt children.

    People enter into legal agreements all the time in which they share real and personal property and enter into agreements giving each other the right to act on their behalf, i.e. powers of attorney. It has always been the argument of those opposing Gay Marriage that these legal tools are available to gay couples; therefore, gay marriage is not needed.

    I just carry this one step further and say heterosexual couples can enter into the same type of legal civil contracts – again with or without marriage – and the courts (if necessary) can administer and oversee the division of assets if the parties wish to dissolve the partnership (just as they can for business partnerships); and, if there are children the courts can determine custody just as they presently do for unmarried couples.

    Let’s just keep the State’s hands off the “sacramental contract” of marriage and the definition of marriage. Don’t worry small town lawyers will still be able to make money off of broken relationships!

  • Chas, the state is involved in marriage because it is the building block of society. Calling marriage something else does not alter that reality. Additionally I think the explosion of shack up or hook up relationships have been devastating to society and usually detrimental to the children produced by such transient “unions”. Weakening marriage by passing it off as no different than any other type of partnership is completely wrongheaded. As for the homosexual aspect of this, “marriage equality” is simply pretextual. The goal of most homosexual activists is for society to give a big stamp of approval to what they do in their bedrooms. Playing semantic games with marriage will do nothing to alter that goal.

  • There is no liberty without virtue. The Founding Fathers knew it, and many of the Austrian school philosophers also understand it. This is how “paleo-libertarianism” came about and is the school of thought I most identify with.

    The whole “keep the state out of marriage” line sounds appealing at first, I must admit. The problem is that the radical homosexuals and the radical left in general will never cease their attempts to force the issue upon the state. A federal definition of marriage, therefore, appears necessary to protect the institution from total disintegration.

    I don’t only support this for moral reasons, but for the reasons Paul and Don have brought up as well. Marriage is one of the most important predictors of household income and poverty status. People who get married are far less likely to become dependent upon government programs. A society of married people with religious values will do more to eradicate the practical arguments made by leftists than all of the liberty rhetoric we could ever produce.

    At this point there is no greater act of rebellion against the established order than to marry, have kids, and take them all to Church every Sunday.

  • “At this point there is no greater act of rebellion against the established order than to marry, have kids, and take them all to Church every Sunday.”

    Tragically true.

  • Thanks for the great discussion. I would have commented but spent much of the day in a feverish haze.

    As I’ve written before, the question of whether the welfare state or family breakdown came first is a chicken-and-egg type of question. Personally I think family breakdown, or more precisely the sexual revolution, came before the welfare state, but the welfare state continues to feed off of it and perpetuate it.

    This more or less sums up how I feel. I would say, though, that the advent of the welfare state unleashed the worst aspects of the sexual revolution. So while I think we saw fractures in the family before the Great Society, it was one of the prime forces if not the prime force in speeding up the process of societal decay.

    All right, now I am off to see if I can stay awake to at least watch Clint speak.

  • The Dark Side of Ideological Inconsistency:
    It seems that the aid, which was a bright spot for families in financial trouble before the 60’s revolution of sex and drugs as recreation, has become the dark side for those here and now; as the partiers denied existence of God and virtue and tradition, they paved a way of life with nothing but material benefits for half the people to look to for underpinning their lives. A poverty worse than material, and driven to the edge by this admin.
    Insane Vocabulary: baby daddy, baby mamma, flash mob, occupier, war on women, legalizing infanticide, are you in, …

    Lack of Manners: Waiting room at Dr. Ofc.: Baby daddy on cell to reception 6 feet away busily demanding more supervisors to cancel the 30 min. wait as atrocious, then arrogantly gathering mamma, baby in carriage, infant in carrier and toddler in quest of a better dr. leaving a wake of elderly and youngsters observing without pity. Healthcare benefits on demand.
    Elder teen boy at Soc. Security Ofc. stopping by for a check to take him to a hotel and restaurants due to spat at home until his regular check comes.
    Teen mom sneering at her substitute teacher for low pay, advising same to have babies for money and a nice place and sire, who can make as much in an hour on the street.

    Voodoo Math: Doubling national debt for benefit of political backers, but not the ‘poor’ political backers, who are set up for betrayal by Obama’s lack of economy. Their only hope is Paul Ryan’s budget and Mitt Romney’s encompassing capability to lead them from total darkness of the edge they are on now.

    Division of citizens by acrimony and mocking: After attacking their religious conscience and causing an angry reaction, belittling them as bigots and racists and only excepting Islam for fear.

    Waste of time, money, and hopes. A government not working. Agenda of fund raising.

    Allowing people freedom of religion is the restart button, if only people wake up to see good and evil. Meanwhile, I hope people see that Romney and Ryan are there now wanting to work for the return of good to their lives.

Morrissey on Converts, Faith and Politics

Monday, June 4, AD 2012

Ed Morrissey had a great post inspired by the conversion, so to speak, of Jo Ann Nardelli. She is the former Democratic party official in Pennsylvania who left the party, prompted in part by the Democratic party’s embrace of gay marriage. Joe Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press sealed the deal. As a result, she has not been treated kindly by former colleagues.

The longtime Democrat from Blair County quit the party and registered as a Republican, and then boldly walked in a Memorial Day parade in support of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“A couple of people who I thought were friends turned their backs on me, literally, as I was walking in the parade,” she said on Tuesday. “I have to admit it made me sad, but that is the way it is.”

Morrissey discusses this as well as the case of Artur Davis, who also has quit the Democratic party. Then he explains, in very charitable terms, the reasons that some Catholics remain in the Democrat party, despite it holding positions that are antithetical to the Catholic Church on most social issues. He does a great job of explaining the nuances of Catholic economic teachings to an audience that is mostly non-Catholic. The following succinctly captures the tone of Morrisey’s post:

However, even while we do our best on a personal and institutional level within the church, our community, state, and nation have an impact on the scope and depth of the societal and human ills we hope to alleviate.   Some Catholics feel that significant involvement of representative government represents the best and most direct way to achieve our mission, and support the political party that more closely aligns itself with that philosophy and agenda — Democrats.  Others feel that the mission is best directed at a personal and institutional level and oppose significant government involvement as wasteful, impractical, and counterproductive, and those Catholics are more likely to be Republicans.

As such, these fellow Catholic liberals (many of whom do oppose abortion) do not deserve our scorn or a condescending attitude; they come to these positions honestly and faithfully.  We may disagree on the best approach to the mission at hand, but we are at least united on the mission itself.

In a sense it might be more difficult for conservative Catholics to accept this than for conservative non-Catholics, particularly because we are so close to the issue. We can get easily frustrated by fellow Catholics who persist in supporting a party that upholds so many terrible positions on life and death matters. And I do think that a handful of left-leaning Catholics offer up merely token opposition to their party on social issues, but who largely ignore these matters so as not to distract from the more important (to them) economic issues. Yet there are leftist Catholics  who are genuinely committed to the pro-life cause and who struggle with their party’s stance on social issues. And it is with regards to these individuals that we ought to heed Ed’s words.

Another thing strikes me about all this, and it’s that many of these political conversions have occurred due to differences of opinion on social issues. We have been told more times than I can possibly count that this election is all about the economy, and nothing but the economy. Yet we’re seeing more and more Catholics leaving the party that has been not only their home, but likely their parents’ home and their grandparents’ home. And they aren’t leaving the party because of its stance on income taxes. For those who insist that social issues are a losing proposition for conservatives and the Republican party, they might want to reconsider that position in light of the mounting evidence.

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14 Responses to Morrissey on Converts, Faith and Politics

  • Amen, and amen!

    I’m an Black Catholic. Born and raised in the South (Archdiocese of Atlanta). I’m old enough to remember seeing the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s play out on the evening news. My mom spied on the Klan for the SCLC because she could “pass”. And I was a life-long Democrat…until my heart changed on *social* issues.

    THis is hy I stopped supporting the Democrat Party’s candidates. And it is, incidentally, why I don’t support the Republican Establishment’s candidates either.

    The patry would do well to learn something from the experience of people like me…

  • What about the republican party do you oppose? I know that I certainly find very little in the Democrat party as tasteful for example the idea that the government gets to rule how people run their land and now even their religion.

  • I am from Europe and I know how insane and awful socialism and bureaucratic governments are.

  • I think it is a huge mistake to think about these things in terms of parties which seem to be more like cliques.

  • God Bless you Deacon Chip. I have been a lifelong Republican who has wanted to leave the party for a very long time, but for those social issues where the Republicans are “less bad” than the Democrats. I’m convinced the Republicans only give lip service to them. In my state a pro-choice Republican got the nomination in the last election. I wrote in Alan Keyes in the primaries. I’m of the opinion that Romney is only “Reduced Calorie” Obama. So I will once again vote for the lesser of two evils. I’d register with the Constitution Party because I like their platform, but those people are nuts. One of the people in my state connected to the Constitution Party wrote a column that states the government is watching us through RFID tags in clothing. I believe more and more that there is no home for a Catholic in current American politics. It’s a sad situation.

  • I use to consider myself an independent but now more of a republican although I would prefer having a third party as an option. I’m a fiscal conservative but very upset about the separation of religion & state that is being ignored by this administration. I do have a close friend, who went to Catholic schools like I did, but will only vote for democrats because it is the party she was raised in. I just can’t understand why anyone would vote for a party as I vote for the person. I do like Romney & his personal life is to be admired. There is no perfect candidate.

  • “I’d register with the Constitution Party because I like their platform, but those people are nuts.”

    Really? ALL of them? MOST of them? Or just the nut that you encountered? I’m not a member of the Constitution Party, but I’ll be voting for Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode in November. I can assure you that he is not “nuts”.

    And why register with any party? It’s not required for voting in the general election (and in many states, not even required for voting in the primaries).

  • I left the Democratic Party after 30+ years over the HHS Mandate. Social issues DO matter.

  • Thanks to Deacon Chip for sharing his experience. I can relate as I was also a committed Democrat earlier in life. The GOP, while better on most social issues, also does have its blind spots. It is time for committed Catholics to get serious about a social movement that embraces political involvment while transcending it, and moves beyond involvement and support of our two major parties, neither of which encompass what it truly means to be Catholic. We need to devote ourselves in our public witness in a way that does not require us to be muted or apologetic about who we are, but free to live the faith and witness fully as Our Lord intends us to.

  • “Really? ALL of them? MOST of them? Or just the nut that you encountered?”

    Actually, this person received the nomination to run for governor in 2006. In addition, I wasn’t to pleased about their treatment of Alan Keyes in 2008.

  • I am a Pacific War historian (author of One Square Mile of Hell, American Commando, and others) trying to contact Tom Looney, who has posted comments on this site before. I am researching a book about Guadalcanal and want to include material about Father Reardon. If you receive this posting, Tom, please contact me by phone (734-676-5473), email ([email protected]) or via my website (www.johnwukovits.com). Father Reardon deeply interests me, and I hope to view the first year of the war through his eyes and the eyes of three other main characters. Thanks for any help you can be.

  • Well, we may just have to agree to disagree over Alan Keyes’ alleged “treatment” at the hands of the Constitution Party.

  • Deacon,

    Thank you for being a deacon.

    All parties could benefit from the experiences of people like yourself.

    Pray for the best outcome. Prepare for the worst.

  • In my personal experience, among several, but not all, of the Catholic liberals I know, it is a matter of doing nothing while feeling good. People who want to “help the poor”, but are too lazy to actually get out and give their time and efforts to a worthy organization, or on a one-to-one basis, can feel so self-satisfed by pulling the lever in the voting booth for someone else to do what they don’t want to do personally. These same people, of course, tell you how open they are to people of other races, etc., but they cannot name one minority member who is a personal friend, or even been a guest in their homes. As I have always contended, if you scratch a liberal, you find a hypocrit! Just examine the words and actions of our last two democrat leaders!

Our Country

Wednesday, February 29, AD 2012

So to sum up: we now live in a country where students at ostensibly Catholic universities testify on national television before Congress that they are freely engaging in pre-marital intercourse, and that the university’s failure to pay for their $100 per month contraception is severely cramping their style – as they pay on the order of $50,000 per year for the privilege of said education.

But Rick Santorum is considered kooky and extreme.

 

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24 Responses to Our Country

  • Yup, that aboout sums it up, Paul Z.!

  • “that they are freely engaging in pre-marital intercourse, and that the university’s failure to pay for their $100 per month contraception”

    Which would actually be closer to 9-20 dollars per month. Bad enough being an airhead with the morals of a shrew in heat, but a lying airhead with the morals of a shrew in heat is even worse!

  • Yeah, I thought the $1,000/year figure seemed a tad high.

    And can I be a bit crude here? If we’re concerned about overall health, shouldn’t we be subsidizing condoms? After all, birth control pills don’t protect against STDs.

  • I imagine her parents are very, very proud. We should find them, and congratulate them as publicly as possible, in front of as many TV cameras and pod-cast i-Phones as can be found.

  • I wonder what other items are in these students’ “budgets”. I recall college… “poor” indeed, except when it comes to the party life.

  • How much you wanna bet that these self-absorbed brats who cannot afford rubbers have smart phones with robust texting plans.

  • I wrote on this as well, complete with facts, charts, powerpoint presentations and fancy blockquotes in red text.

    OK, no charts or powerpoint presentations, but I did include a few facts and 2 fancy blockquotes in red text.

    And of course, my usual style of commentary, such as:

    “One thing is for certain – I won’t be seeking legal advice from any recently graduated Georgetown-educated lawyers. Ever. It appears the only thing they know about legal briefs are the ones they stripped off of a fellow student.”

  • Well done, LarryD. I’ve obviously been on twitter too much, thus my pithier post.

  • The Newman Society commissioned survey of some Catholic colleges found more Catholic college young women than men involved in pre marital sex 50% to 41% and less Catholic young women being drawn to the sacraments than men. Close ’em up. Those are religious orders that could be missionizing in the third world where people skip meals instead of class. Go to the bottom of this link:

    http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=1265&grupo=Think%20%20Learn&canal=Education

  • Not that it’s a high bar (rimshot!), but she’s waaaay too stupid to be a lawyer. If she’s having that much sex and not charging for it, she’s an idiot–she’d have even a Georgetown education paid off by now.

  • You crack me up, Dale, you truly do. And it’s with the truth, no less! 😀

  • Here’s a pdf of Fluke’s testimony:

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/fluke.pdf

    Now, Ms. Fluke talks about 3 people who need BC meds for non-sexual reasons – but that doesn’t explain 40% of the women at GLS. Unless there are only 7 female law students in attendance…

  • What staggers me is that these airheads expect everyone else to pay for their jollies.

    I think this is even too bizzare for George Orwell to have predicted isn’t it?

  • Their god is in their groins.

    Thank God I only have sons.

  • With marriage so devalued and convenient what is surprising about this?

  • Karl-
    I suspect marriage is devalued for the same reason that this happens, rather than being the cause of it happening. It’s possible that “free love” devalued marriage, as well…. Virtue is devalued, especially if you’re of the class that can expect to go to college as a baseline expectation.

  • I have no trouble accepting, on an intellectual level, the evil of contraception. But the emotional part of me really does not want people like this young woman to succeed in producing offspring.

    Incidentally: condoms to not offer much protection against STDs, espcially things like genitals warts.

  • I could not afford anything but a “state school” back in the early 70’s when I attended the University of Buffalo. Loose sex was everywhere. I hope no one kids themselves into thinking this is a recent phenomenon.

    By some miracle, I do mean miracle, I got through college without being sexually active but it was all around me. I once “slept” through my nearly orthodox jewish roomate and his girlfriend/future wife, making love. It was quite an experience. I remember staying up all night with a young woman, simply talking. This was after she had been invited to stay with a guy who offered to give her a room to stay in while she visited the school as a potential student. The guy was a suite mate of mine. I found the young girl sitting sad-faced nearly in tears in the common area outside of our rooms, late one friday evening. She told me he had ordered her to get out, with no place to go for the weekend to sleep, unless she would succumb to his charms. She was very broken up and knew know one at the school except my lecherous “friend”, but I was able to gain her confidence and asked a female classmate to help her out. Fortunately, I had gone to high school with this classmate and she kindly shared her room with this girl for the remainder of her visit.

    These kids, today, face these temptations, everyday. I am grateful to be old enough to be their, almost, grandfather. Even at 57, the temptation is ever present, living as a single man in a world of “hooking up”. I guess that is what it is called these days.

    I truly do not know how I got through my college years without such reckless behavior because I was always on its threshold. I had drifted away from my active Catholicism but retained the moral structure without paying much mind to God. When I reflect upon it, I must have a very wonderful Guardian Angel whom I probably just about wore out.

    I think things are much more “immediate” for young people today. I once got my glasses slapped off my face and into the backseat of my 1967 Plymouth Fury, for refusing to continue with the “gymnastics” I was involved in, in the front seat. I gently told the young lady I had met earlier in the evening(I was 19) that it was not “right” for us to proceed any further and that I did not want either her, nor I, to regret it later.

    POW, right in the face!

    I still laugh when I recall the incident. I was so naive. But I am glad that I was, even though that young lady never spoke another word to me.

    My point is, it is not easy to remain chaste. I am convinced, in my own case, that I was “protected” from what I still cannot believe I did not do. If that makes any sense. I would NOT want to be young now. Nothing of a sexual nature truly surprises me anymore.

    I do not deceive myself into thinking that I am “beyond” falling “off the wagon”. It is only
    a heartbeat away, but for the grace of God. How much more difficult it must be for younger people. May God help them.

    Karl

    Karl

    From time to time, I speak of these incidents to an occasional young person and I wonder if they think I am just making it up for their behalf.

  • Higher education to become tomorrow’s leaders and shape the world …
    Wonder if the professor offered college credit for the experience of debasing herself, her family, and her Catholic school and so, Church?
    Educating the brain must be a challenge when it’s located below the neck.
    Temptation, repentance, conversion of heart, renewal of spirit, reverence, and holiness will become futuristic courses taught by the desensitized as electives, or just become extra credit papers.

  • AC/DC: “On the highway to Hell.”

  • Remember, these contraceptives that are so expensive will be added to insurance plans ‘for free’ so that there is no financial impact to the university. Really, no one will be paying for it, it’s nothing…

  • “Friendly21” as well.

It Takes A Family

Monday, February 27, AD 2012

I recently completed Rick Santorum’s It Takes A Family.  I quipped on Twitter that had I read this before the campaign started then Santorum would have been my top Rick pick before that other Rick entered the race (though I still maintain that Governor Perry would have been an outstanding nominee, but no need to go there).  At times Santorum slips into politician speak – you know, those occasions when politicians feel compelled to tell stories of individual people in order to justify some larger agenda.  And some of the book is a little plodding, especially when he gets into wonkish mode (which fortunately is not all that often).  Those quibbles asides, there are large chunks of this book that could very well have been written by yours truly.  That isn’t meant to be a commentary on my own genius, but rather a way of saying I agree with just about everything this man has to say.

The book title really says it all.  The heart of Rick Santorum’s political philosophy is the family, meaning that to him strong families are the heart of any functioning society.  The family has been undermined both by big government programs and by the culture at large.  Santorum mocks the “village elders” who view more government programs as the solution to all problems.  Santorum acknowledges that many of the problems we face don’t have quick and easy fixes, and often no legislative action can be taken.  Santorum offers a series of small policy proposals that are aimed at giving parents and individuals in tough economic circumstances some tools to help, but he also emphasizes the doctrine of subsidiarity.  Ultimately we must rely principally on local institutions, starting with the family.

Santorum understands what even some on the right fail to appreciate, and that is we can’t divorce social issues from economics.  The breakdown of the family coincides directly with economic hardship.  If we want a healthier economy, we need healthier families.  It’s a central tenet of conservatism that is somehow ignored by large swathes of the political right.

His approach to politics can be summarized in a passage on page 341 of the hardback edition:

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10 Responses to It Takes A Family

  • What a contrast from “Dreams from My Father”. I’m voting for Rick tomorrow, May his tribe be blest.

  • By the grace and mercy of almighty God, Rick will be our next President.

  • I completely agree. If I was judging Santorum based on his books and speeches, voting for him would be trivial. The problem is his voting record does fit with what he says. Correction, doesn’t fit enough with what he says.

  • I think you make a good point here Kyle. I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic. His contentions with Rick are his support for Title X funding for Planned Parenthood (and other organizations who both provide contraception and perform abortions), his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI) and his support for the use of torture. These are not pieces that mesh well with what Rick says and what he writes (and, for that matter, with the teachings of the Catholic Church). If it truly takes a family and public policies should emphasize that priority, why are we spending tax payer dollars on contraception? What assurances has he given us to prove that he will stick to his morals and principles when making public policy. He fell down on those principles when voting for Title X. George Bush talked great before his presidency, too. He didn’t deliver in dealing head on with the great social issues of our time.

  • I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic.

    Ah yes, Ron Paul supporters. I wonder what his thoughts are on the fact that Ron Paul is on record as saying that social issues should be completely off the table in this election, and that he’s basically serving no other purpose than to be Mitt Romney’s lapdog.

    his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI)

    Are we really going to go down this road again where we act as though support for the Iraq war signals a break with Church teaching? Both of the popes opposed the war, it is true, but in so doing did not speak with the magisterial authority of the Church. They gave personal opinions on the matter. That is all.

    his support for the use of torture

    Only true if you consider the use of waterboarding as torture. I personally do, but it’s not an open and shut case (and NO, this is not an invitation to go down this rat hole again).

    If you’re looking for policy perfection in your candidates, you’re not going to get it. Every single politician is imperfect because all of them, contrary to the belief of some Obama voters, are human beings.

  • Thanks for the response, Paul and I’m with you on all you said. In fact, I mentioned much of this to him as well. Though I didn’t know that RP wanted all social issues off the table during the campaign.

    I guess I want to make sure that what he is saying is really what he’s going to try to give us. Funding contraception (especially giving funding to places that perform abortions) should not be allowable in his administration if he is going to try to shape this country into one that supports and promotes the family as the building block of this society.

    I believe he very well could, I just want to be reassured. His voting record doesn’t completely do that for me, but I also don’t see a better choice in the field.

  • Here’s Jay Anderson’s post talking about Ron Paul’s comments. Actually he called social issues a loser, but the sentiment is the same.

    I understand your concerns. One of the things to keep in mind is that these issues are more visible than they were during the time that Santorum was a Senator. President Santorum in 2013 would likely treat these funding considerations differently than Senator Santorum in 2003.

  • Just promising us one thing TAC, that whoever wins the nomination, if it is other than Santorum, that the end of the Obama regime is favored over internecine sniping.

  • Well, I can’t speak for my other bloggers, though I suspect most will work to defeat Obama. Personally, I have no intention of supporting Romney, but I will likely simply remain mute on the election.

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Randians on the Right

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

Speaking as a former Rick Perry supporter, I promise you that not all of us are petulant brats.  I cannot speak for others, unfortunately.

Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise.  This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics.  So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.

The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected.  What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum.  What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Ace is displeased:

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33 Responses to Randians on the Right

  • I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.

    THIS.

    I’ve mentioned before– maybe not here, I’m not sure– but hard-line libertarianism seems to be ideology of choice for those who would be anarchists, but they like getting paid for their work.

    More sympathetically, it’s a lot easier to “win” with libertarianism– there are a few core beliefs, you don’t compromise on anything, and there’s not a lot of history to hold against it. It’s like “conservatism redesigned to use the liberal playbook.”

    Amusingly, I recently had a conversation with my husband that boiled down to him pointing out that people our age aren’t usually going to accept an obligation of the sort moral conservatism involves.

  • (You would not BELIEVE how much re-writing I put into those three paragraphs, and I’m still not quite satisfied. Five bucks says that someone shows up and decides to take offense, rather than trying to understand the point. I don’t think anyone would take the bet on your post, that’s a sucker’s bet.)

  • Paul:

    One major problem from a purely political perspective:

    One wants the GOP nominee to be able to rally the relevant camps within the GOP “big tent.”

    One of those is the libertarian-leaning portion, which at last look was about 15% of those who typically vote Republican.

    Now, the GOP-leaning libertarians are pro-life libertarians, largely. The Bill Mahr (or however that clod’s name is spelled) kind of “libertarians” define libertarianism so as to make it identical to libertinism, and all all going to vote for Obama in the end because they care only for sexual libertinism and not a whit for the liberty of the unborn or the infirm or for free markets.

    So it isn’t Santorum’s pro-life credentials that will turn off the libertarian-leaning portion of the GOP. Indeed, being pro-life is a requirement of libertarianism, if one is well-informed enough to know that a fetal human is a human.

    But Santorum has twice now stated his opposition to libertarians and libertarianism by saying they (and I quote) “believe in having no government.”

    This is a problem. It is basic ignorance of libertarianism.

    Libertarians don’t believe in no government. Libertarians believe in government’s use of violence or the threat thereof — which is to say, all government’s activity — to be limited to those areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified. And Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons. Libertarians believe that policies directly involved with such violations offer clear and sufficient justification for violence or the threat thereof; policies indirectly or tenuously involved with such violations offer only tenuous justification for government action; and policies not even tenuously involved with such violations offer no justification for violence at all and therefore no justification for government activity.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    And it’s a view which resonates well with Catholic teaching in at least some ways. It recognizes that violence (whether done by an individual, or the armies of a nation-state, or by the police) is always something requiring extraordinary justification — like the requirements of a Just War. (It is morally nonsensical to have a very high threshold of justification for holding prisoner another nation’s soldiers captured at war, but a very low threshold of justification for arresting a man captured in peacetime activity.)

    I don’t think Santorum knows that this is the libertarian view. At least, his public pronouncements show no recognition of the existence of pro-life libertarians (not a majority, but a large minority). He shows no recognition of the distinction between libertarian and libertine. He shows no understanding of what libertarians think.

    And he shows no recognition of the notion that maybe something being a morally wrong thing is not, by itself, sufficient justification for outlawing it. Since outlawing it requires empowering government to use violence (to lock up those who do the morally wrong thing, and to shoot them if they try to escape), it must not merely be morally wrong, it must be morally wrong and of a character for which forcible opposition is fitting.

    Generally, that means a moral wrong which is, itself, forcible. Rape may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Theft may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Fraud may be opposed by force; it is forcible (for to make someone, through trickery, do what they otherwise would not have done is to wield intellectual force over them). Violation of legitimate contract is fraud and is therefore forcible.

    Libertarians support strong government to oppose all these kinds of evils. Santorum’s comments suggest he’s unaware of this.

    So I fear that 15% of the GOP electorate, if Santorum is the nominee, will be turned off and possibly turned away for no better reason than that Santorum is ignorant about them, and consequently believes statists’ popular libel against them.

    And libertarians (and libertarian-leaning conservatives) consequently begin to believe Santorum is a statist, who hopes not only to outlaw abortion (which he should) and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which he should) but also sales of condoms…all while caring not a whit about crony capitalism and corporate welfare. They begin to suspect that Santorum is fine with government using its compulsory power to pick winners, as long as they’re supporters of conservative causes.

    I don’t think a GOP nominee can win the general election, if he shows utter disregard for that whole arm of the Reagan coalition. (An increasingly larger and more youthful segment, please note.)

    So that’s a political problem. A very solvable one, I think, if the man would just show himself aware of libertarian concerns and sensitive to the moral limits of government activity, instead of just repeating ignorant misunderstandings about libertarians.

  • They need to understand that Obama must be stopped.

    That probably means nominating a GOP candidate that constantly emphasizes jobs, jobs; is not 100% of the time pounding for legalizing weed, ending all “entangling alliances”, and abolishing the Fed. Not that that is bad. But, those are not the main threats to our liberty and our way of life.

    The ones I know are really nice people. And, the Fed certainly needs to be pushed back to being the clearing house and lender of last resort for banks.

    If he gets another term, Obama pack the supreme court and repeal the Second Amendment, etc. Health care will permanently retard economic growth: you will look back on full-employment as a dream of your youth.

    If the libertarians are turned off by the GOP, Obama will get four more years to finish us off.

  • If the media can paint Santorum as a guy who wants to take away everyone’s pills and condoms, not only libertarians but many, many Protestant social conservatives (who make up the majority of socons in this country) will stay at home or vote against him. Do you think a married Baptist in Alabama who uses the Pill and sees nothing wrong with that is going to read Human Vitae or the Theology of the Body and come around to the Church’s position on BC? Heck, while I don’t believe the Guttmacher figures stating 97% of Catholics use artifical BC, let’s be honest – many, many of them do. Outside of the Tridentine Masses, I don’t see a lot of families with more than 3 kids.

    I agree that Ace willfully ignored evidence which shows Santorum is not going to ban BC; however, remember that just last week he wrote a great critique of the HHS directive. And I believe the man is pro-life as well. He’s way overreacting here, but I wouldn’t call him a heartless Randian.

    We are falling right into the trap being set for us by leftists, who want to turn the discussion away from the violation of religious freedom and make it into a debate about “ooooh, my, scary, weird Santorum wants to take your birth control pills away! The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!” That keeps the focus off of Obama’s dismal economic record.

  • Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons.

    And yet the arch-typical figurehead, Ron Paul, disagrees with this when he wants to push actually killing the most innocent people possible down to a state level. About the only libertarians I know who have a sizable minority of pro-lifers are the Catholic ones; even my husband went from being a Republican leaning Libertarian to a libertarian leaning Republican before he was pro-life for non-tactical reasons.

    I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.

    Donna V-
    so we fight the lies the media puts out. What else would we do? We know they’re going to lie like a rug, and it looks like there are libertarian conservatives who will gladly help them spread the false claim that Santorum is coming for your Pill.

    The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!

    *lightbulb* Hey, isn’t that an angle they used against JFK?
    Can someone who actually remembers back then maybe cook up some sort of a response based on that?

  • “I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.”

    Yep. What you said, Foxfier.

  • Ron Paul is a fair-weather libertarian apparently. When asked about the imaginary “right to privacy” created in the Griswold case and brought to fruition in Roe v. Wade, all Paul could weakly say is that there IS a right to privacy, referring to the Fourth Amendment, which of course, specifically refers to the right against illegal search and seizure.

    Now, for such a staunch “constitutionalist” I find this very ironic.

  • I agree with Donna. The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate. Saying that he only wishes to use the bully pulpit to speak out about the dangers of contraception is not, repeat not, going to reassure voters on this score. That’s not to say that Santorum is wrong on the issue. He’s not. But it’s still a view held by only a small minority of Americans. My hope is that Santorum understands this and that the comment Ace quoted was/will be an isolated lapse. Otherwise we could be in real trouble.

  • What Blackadder said. The administration is rocked back on its heels with the HHS mandate–focus on that as the social issue. Otherwise, stick with fighting on the economy and this administration’s cluelessness on it.

  • Santorum merely responds when asked about it that he supports Catholic teaching against contraception. He then notes that he has voted for government funding of contraception under TItle 10 and would not favor legislation seeking to ban contraception. The video below is from 2006:

  • Once again I will let noted Christian so-con Jeff Goldstein dismantle Ace’s arguments (language warning).

    Oh, and I see that Ace and his co-bloggers are doubling down today. Hell hath no fury like a blogger whose favorite candidate was scorned.

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

  • Of course you can Greg. I accept the teachings of the Church on divorce. That doesn’t mean if I were a legislator that I must lead a futile effort to ban divorce or strip funding from courts that hear divorce cases. I do appreciate the bleak humor of Santorum taking fire for being too hard and too soft on contraceptives. The simple truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that contraceptives could be banned in this country at the present time, and that any candidate suggesting such would be committing political seppuku.

  • Mac, that would be a good politician.

    Santorum doesn’t have a chance.

    Obama can point to $1.81 gasoline prices the day before he took over and tout today’s $3.50 (earliest date gas hit that level)! It’ll probably be $5 a gallon by Summer. Yeah, that ought to him re-elected.

    Santorum doesn’t have a prayer.

    Obama can sing about improving unemployment rates when tent cities are rapidly expanding. That’ll get Obama re-elected.

    Hey, if they live in tents they don’t count.

    Walter Russell Mead: WH flubs BC compromise: “First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.”

    Briliant!

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

    If the line item is in an appropriations bill that funds the entire foreign aid apparat, it does create rather a dilemma for the legislator (unless he favors dismantling the foreign aid apparat).

    We had a similar controversy here in New York many years ago when the question arose as to whether the Right-to-Life Party (now defunct) should refuse to endorse legislators who had voted in favor of passing the state budget. New York was the odd state that had retained Medicaid funding of abortions.

  • The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate.

    Depends on who he is running against, and what the ambient circumstances are.

  • tom: The right to privacy extends to the womb. Nature’s God does not allow invasion of privacy of the unborn in the womb. Any attempt to abort the unborn is a violation of privacy in its truest sense. A murdered victim, whose body is concealed in a closet, warrants search to be rescued from the crime/crimnal without the proscribed legal warrant, because the person is dead but not annihilated. Any evidence collected from such a search without a legal warrant, revealing a murdered victim to be set free, rescued, is evidence admissible in a court of law through the sovereign personhood of the victim. Searches to find jewelry, art or anything that is not a person is illegal.

  • Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning. You see, the Church allows civil divorce. Look it up in Catechism if you don’t believe me. Not the same with contraception. I was not talking about leading an effort to criminalize contraception, but voting IN FAVOR of forcing taxpayers (many of whom are Catholics) to pick up the tab for people’s contraceptive use. This is really not much difference in substance with what the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

  • P.S. In fact, diocesan tribunals require that petioners present a civil divorce decree before they will even begin to process requests for decree of nullity.

  • wE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION BAN. We are talking about the funding of contraception. On some level people using “the pill” know that it is wrong. It seems to me that they want to blame Santorum for their addiction to the pill. If they are honest, and Santorum removes funding for BC, they need to feel relief. It would not hurt if they realized that Obama’s math is different from their arithmetic. Funding for BC involves ten for Obama and one for the taxpayer. In this way, they could buy eleven times the BC for the cost of one from Obama. SANTORUM DOES NOT WANT TO BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THEIR EMBOLISM.

  • Yeah, Ace has gone nuts on Santorum again today. I think I’ll be avoiding the HQ for a while. He did a lot of needlessly destroying of non-Perry candidates before he dropped out (I supported Perry to the bitter end. Sigh.) and now that he’s on the Romney bandwagon it’s death to the “unelectable” non-Romney’s. These threads are getting pretty vicious, too. And I’m seeing a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-general Christianity sentiment being expressed over there right now. Very disturbing.

  • “Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning.”

    Complete and total rubbish Greg, and betokens a fundamental lack of understanding of the Church on your part in regard to divorce. The catechism provisions demonstrate that:

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    As recently as 2002 Pope John Paul II was stating that attorneys should refuse to undertake divorce cases:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/29/world/john-paul-says-catholic-bar-must-refuse-divorce-cases.html

    http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264xh.htm

    Your criticisms of Santorum would be equally applicable to all Catholic legislators who refuse to strip funding from courts handling divorces.

  • Mandy, I agree, Ace has come a little unglued. What’s striking is that on top of the ideological differences he is motivated by this fear that Santorum can’t win (funny, since not that long ago he was arguing against Romney’s inevitability). The thing about that: Santorum’s social conservatism is in line with the majority on most things. His personal feelings about contraception are another thing, and that’s why the Dems are pivoting hard on contraception.

    I don’t normally agree much with Dick Morris, but he’s right about the Dems ceding the ground on an issue like abortion where they are increasingly out of touch with where most people are headed, and are focusing on an issue where the public would seem to be in line with their beliefs. That’s what is disappointing about what Ace is doing. He is actually conceding leftist talking points and giving them more ammo. Because if this is a debate about religious liberty, Santorum is with a majority of the people.

  • Don, because civil divorce does not invalidate sacramental marriage, a civil dorce is morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    “2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Sacramental marriage is indissoulable whereas non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved, hence the Pauline privilege. Strictly civil marriages do not carry sacramental weight.

    This citation you provide proves my point. Now, iunless you can provide something that says the same for contraception, I’ll save you trouble because you can’t, then your shilling for Santorum on this has absolutely no basis. Whereas my calling him out does.

    As to JPII’s urging attorneys to refuse to take divroce cases, notice the qualifer “should’ as opposed to “must”. THat’s the operative word there.

    Really Don, if you are gonaa accuse me of misunderstanding Church teaching on anything, please at least take the time to learn the difference between prudential judgments and doctrinal imperatives.

  • You still miss the point Greg. The Church is against adamantly against divorce. It reluctantly allows participation in it where it is the only way to protect other rights as listed in 2383.

    John Paul’s Discourse to the Roman Rota of January 28, 2002 which I linked to indicates that clearly in this passage:

    “Among the initiatives should be those that aim at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order (cf. ibid., n. 17). Resolute opposition to any legal or administrative measures that introduce divorce or that equate de facto unions — including those between homosexuals — with marriage must be accompanied by a pro-active attitude, acting through juridical provisions that tend to improve the social recognition of true marriage in the framework of legal orders that unfortunately admit divorce.”

    In regard to contraceptives actually the Church has allowed their use in very limited circumstances in regard to disease.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/europe/22pope.html

    As in the case of divorce, use is permitted where it is not undertaken to reach a forbidden end: divorce or contraception, but for other purposes, custody of children or to stop the spread of disease.

  • Paul Z.,

    What kills me is that he’s doing the same purity nonsense he’s accused others of. If you don’t agree with his brand of conservatism you’re a dirty statist. His comments to you were pretty out there and he went off on the poster Y-not as well; he gave her both barrels for supposedly trying to force him to convert to Catholicism. It was bizarre.

    The thing is, even though he wrote a really good piece about the contraceptive mandate the other day, I think his disdain for whoever is not currently his candidate- in this case the target is Santorum- is so palpable right now that he’s going way over the top in his attacks implying things that were never actually said. And in the comments section- and apparently on twitter- today he even went down the Karen-Santorum-is-creepy route, using her personal past to bash the both of them, which has been off limits as far as Mrs. Obama goes over there. Because, racism. So yeah, I think it’s got a lot to do with him being angry that Perry never took and now his next candidate of choice is faltering as well. It’s a gigantic temper tantrum. On a blog.

  • No, contraception is NOT allowed even for the purposes of stopping the spread of disease. This is something both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made clear. In fact, when B16 made the statement regarding condoms in an interview with Peter Seewald that got spun as him giving his approval under those circumstances, he prefaces those remarks with saying that it is not morally permissible. Only that it might signal something positive regarding the INTENTIONS of those who take such a position. Don, you really need to do your homework on these issues.

  • Here is what Benedict XVI actually says. From page 119 of Light of the World:

    Question from Peter Seewald:

    “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed to in principle to the use of condoms?”

    Answer from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or thast case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    And since condoms are the only form of contraception that even have the prospect of preventing disease, the idea that contraceptives, the idea that contraceptives are a morally permissible means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases even as deadly as AIDS, is not consistent with Church teaching.

    Now, Don please find a more reliable source than the NY Slimes if you are going to try and argue with me on matters of Catholic morality. Okay?

  • Actually Greg the story quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a link to the note in which the Congregation explained the Pope’s remark:

    “This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that “also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.” The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

    On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Flee from fornication” (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

    In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute “the real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS and also that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality” in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom “with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.” This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

    Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/note-of-the-congregation-for-the-doctrine-of-the-faith-on-the-popes-condom

  • Don,

    None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.

  • This is the week to save ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the proclamations of the Executive Branch.

  • “None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.”

    Reading comprehension Greg is obviously not your strong point in this debate. The prostitute in the Pope’s example clearly was not engaging in an intrinsically evil act by using the condom to prevent disease. That much is clear from this passage in the note:

    “Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    None of that would have made any sense at all if the prostitute’s use of the condom to prevent disease was intrinsically evil.

Other Reactions on the HHS Mandate and the “Compromise”

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said on the subject other than to express my wonder at who President Obama thinks he is fooling.  Granted I’ve already encountered vacuous leftists using the “but they don’t have to pay for it” talking point, but these are the types of people content to loyally follow Obama over the cliff anyway.

I just wanted to use this space to highlight a few other blogs that have written copiously about this subject.  Ron Kozar thinks this has been something of a missed opportunity for Catholics.

One point, which cries out to be made but isn’t being made, is how stupid it is to buy insurance for something as inexpensive as contraception, even if one has no moral objection to it.

It’s like requiring your auto insurer to cover an oil change, with no deductible.  Thus, rather than simply collecting the money from the consumer, the oil-change mechanic would have to employ a clerk to “process” your insurance and await an eventual check from your auto insurer.  This kind of nonsense – mandating coverage for routine, inexpensive procedures, and relieving the consumer of the need to pay – is one of the larger reasons why the healthcare and health-insurance systems are so utterly out of control.

Another point that cries out to be made but isn’t being made is that the government shouldn’t be dictating the terms of health-insurance benefits to employers in the first place, regardless of the employer’s religion.  The debate is being framed as a question about which package of coverages the federal government should mandate, rather than about whether the feds, or any government, should be dictating any terms at all.

Meanwhile, Jay Anderson has been on fire lately.  He has several blogposts this week worth reading, so just read his blog. Needless to say, I agree that it is time to disinvite certain so-called Catholics to the supper feast of the lamb.

Finally, if you’re not reading Jeff Goldstein’s blog Protein Wisdom, you should be.  Jeff is a Jewish, Santorum supporting, libertarian-conservative, and he’s done just as good a job of getting at why Obama’s actions are so tyrannical as anyone else.  Here’s his take on the compromise.

The problem is, rules or laws that provide exemptions to specific identity groups are ripe for corruption — and there’s no more reason that the federal government should be able to direct insurance companies to provide free contraception that it should the Catholic church. And by making the accomodation a waiver or derivation, Obama is still asserting his own Executive authority to tell private companies how they must spend.

Catholics shouldn’t have to go on bended knee before the State and beg for a conscience exemption for providing the kind of coverage it wishes to provide. And the State should not have the arbitrary power to pick and choose who must follow laws, who gets waivers and exemptions, and so on.

Obama’s “accommodation” is meant solely to hide his underlying power grab: namely, the unstated authority of the State to set these kind of dictatorial demands on private industry, and by extension, on individuals.

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7 Responses to Other Reactions on the HHS Mandate and the “Compromise”

  • Pingback: The HHS “Accommodation”: Lie to Me | The American Catholic
  • It’s too bad Jeff Goldstein used the “f” word in one of his posts – the very one I wanted to share on Facebook. But by golly, he’s right on the mark! I empathize with his anger. Liberals are so stupid, but as someone said, that’s what sin does.

  • I looked over Protein Wisdom and it looks like a great blog. Thanks for the tip.

    Obama is the anti-constitutional president, looking for any way to undermine citizens’ rights. The contraception mandate “compromise” is a farce. We don’t compromise when it comes to our religious liberty.

  • “It’s like requiring your auto insurer to cover an oil change, with no deductible.”

    Or like your homeowner’s insurance providing 100% coverage for gutter cleaning and lawn mowing. Yes, it would be convienient but it would hardly be “free”.

    “This kind of nonsense – mandating coverage for routine, inexpensive procedures, and relieving the consumer of the need to pay – is one of the larger reasons why the healthcare and health-insurance systems are so utterly out of control.”

    I have suspected as much for a few years now. It seems to me that, TOTALLY aside from the religious freedom/moral issue (important though it is), the HHS flap would be a great opportunity to reexamine the whole idea of “preventive” care being covered by insurance in the first place. Isn’t insurance designed mainly to protect people from catastrophic losses or expenses they could never hope to pay for on their own? It never was intended to cover EVERY conceivable (pardon the pun) expense.

  • It’s about Obama telling you what you can and cannot do with your property and your life.

  • How funny — I’d recently picked up on this site, and see reference to Jeff’s site Protein Wisdom! Been reading it for years; cannot recommend enough. If you’re looking for visceral and pithy and effective, there you go. Do watch for the strong language, though.

  • Another reason this can’t possibly be just about health care: if I’m not mistaken, birth rates in general are down due to the poor economy, which in and of itself proves that lack of money is not preventing people (in general) from avoiding pregnancy if they truly want to. Moreover, birth AND pregnancy rates among teens are at 20-year or more lows, and abortion rates (at least for reported surgical abortions) are markedly lower than they were in the 70s and 80s.

    If birth rates and abortion rates were going through the roof because ALL forms of birth control had been priced out of the reach of most women, AND if many insurance plans didn’t already cover birth control, AND if cheap or free birth control weren’t already available from places like Planned Parenthood, then there might be some semi-logical reason to mandate or encourage contraceptive coverage to combat an “epidemic” of unwanted pregnancies. That’s not happening, as far as I can see. And even if it were, it would be no excuse for running roughshod over the 1st Amendment in order to insure that a relatively small fraction of women (those of childbearing age who happen to be employed by Catholic institutions) were covered.

And It Begins

Friday, December 2, AD 2011

Newt Gingrich may not be my first choice this primary season, but I have a sinking feeling that left-wingers are going to help me get over whatever reservations I may have.  Newt is getting hammered for comments he made yesterday:

“Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of  ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

Gingrich lately has been unspooling an urban policy, beginning with his comments at Harvard University last month when he discussed child labor laws. “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods,” Gingrich said then, “entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.”

Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.

Yes, what an absolutely crazy notion – allowing kids to develop a work ethic early in life.  I mean it’s not like we’ve trained an entire generation of people to just simply expect handouts:

“Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay.”

But yes, let’s attack Newt Gingrich for suggesting that young people develop work skills at an early age.

I also wonder how many socially “moderate,” economically “conservative” types will see this video and grasp that inconsistency.  Maybe Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint have a point after all.

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7 Responses to And It Begins

  • The problem with his remarks is that slum populations thirty years ago were a jumble, containing low-wage workers, episodic dole recipients, elderly pensioners, and the chronic welfare and career criminal population. (In the intervening years, the number enrolled in the principal long-term dole for the working-aged (AFDC/TANF) has declined by about two-thirds). There are a great many people in the slums who have not properly and truly entered into adult life. However, it is wrong to speak as if no one there has a proper job (though that may be nearly true in certain housing projects).

  • “Children in poor neighborhoods, he said, should be allowed to serve as janitors in their schools to earn money and develop a connection to the school.”

    Having hired people do this work is a fairly recent innovation historically speaking. Prior to World War II many schools would have teachers supervise kids in cleaning schools. Minor repairs were often done by students or their parents.

  • But, but, if kids do some very minor work as early as high school, how will they prepare to do nothing when they hit college?!?!?! What on earth will happen if they get the idea they should work for what they get?

    /sarc

    It bucks the recent flow of history, but I like the idea of making it easier for kids to work. It is a mindset, and it is getting less common.

  • Parts of what Newt said about welfare should divide Republicans. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/12/fact-checking-newt-gingrichs-food-stamps-claims/

    “So more Americans now get food stamps therefore and we now give it away as cash. You don’t get food stamps. You get a credit card and the credit card can be used for anything. We’ve had people take their food stamp money and use it to go to Hawaii. And you know, they give food stamps now to millionaires.”

    Food stamps is a stupid program. People will buy food without you having to police them. Sure, they may buy other stuff too which is actually great. We don’t want people buying food they don’t need. Food stamps is an obesity promotion program. Just give them cash like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan wanted to do. I might entertain a more paternalistic welfare program when children are involved though.

    As for food stamps for millionaires. It’s happened and it’s legal because eligibility for government programs is usually determined by income, not assets. Do you want a new government bureaucracy auditing assets?

    I do like the the Gingrich make-work program to give people the dignity of work in exchange for welfare. I have suggested the same thing on this blog and it has been discussed (I think it was DarwinCatholic who posted it) and dismissed by most here. Now that Gingrich supports it, it’s taken more seriously. Just goes to show that sometimes perception matters more than policy.

  • I washed dishes and scrubbed floors at the Country Club in my small town all through high school. They paid me the princely sum of a $1.15 per hour, I was allowed to do my homework in slow periods and they fed me a good meal each night. I saved up $3,000.00 for college which was a considerable sum in 1975. I probably learned more that helped me in my future life from that job than in all in my high school courses combined. Before I entered high school I worked at detasseling corn and rogueing corn.

  • Won’t help.

    The weak link – the common denominator – is in that “community” the two parent, father and mother family doesn’t exist.

    I blame Bush.

  • Comedian Larry Wilmore who has a contrarian streak has a devastating piece on the Daily Show about Newt’s child labor program: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-13-2011/newt-gingrich-s-poverty-code

    This is yet another example of Gingrich’s “passionate embrace of shallow ideas.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-problem-with-gingrichs-simplistic-attack-on-sharia/2011/12/12/gIQAv0nZqO_story.html)

Shape Shifter

Thursday, November 3, AD 2011

Just so we’re clear, if this guy wins the Republican nomination, I walk:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

People can change their minds on an issue, and if Mitt Romney has had a genuine change of heart on abortion, then that’s great.  But how can anyone possibly trust this man?  He’s a chameleon who changes his tune to suit his audience.

On the other hand, though Rick Santorum is not my first choice at the moment, he’s the only candidate who puts social issues first on his website.  He’s by far the most passionate defender of the unborn we have in this race, if not the country.

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33 Responses to Shape Shifter

  • Romney’s primary objective is be get elected and reelected. At least in his first term, he should be reliably conservative. Dump him in 2016 if you’re still not convinced.

  • Rather than see Obama re-elected I would vote for the Weather-Vane although it would make me physically ill to do so. My distrust for Romney is immense and any man who can flip-flop as easily and as regularly as he does deserves not an iota of trust from any voter. If it comes down to Romney and one conservative in the primaries, Romney loses, which explains the rise of Herman Cain. Now as Herman Cain begins the crash and burn phase of his campaign, it is a golden opportunity for some other conservative to make his move. I think Rick Perry has been counted out far too soon. We shall see. The GOP establishment gravely underestimates the opposition to Romney among the Republican base. Republicans had to hold their noses with McCain in 2008 and McCain is the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan in comparison to the Weather-Vane.

  • If it comes down to Romney and one conservative in the primaries, Romney loses,

    I’d go a step further and suggest that he couldn’t survive there being two viable candidates, at least when you work out the numbers. He needs a third candidate (aside from Ron Paul) to be polling in at least the 10 percent range.

  • Windsock Romney’s core political conviction is that he should hold elective office. He’ll never waver on that.

    In the last few days, I’ve actually found myself taking another look at Gingrich. For all of his manifold flaws, he has knowledge of the issues and can articulate his viewpoint in something other than gimmicky soundbites.

    What a field, what a field.

  • Windsock Romney’s core political conviction is that he should hold elective office.

    And that’s what I do not get (and did not get about George Bush – pere, either). He is a man of genuine accomplishment in other endeavours, he has ample skills at organization and fund-raising, and he is not such a fool that he cannot think through for what he actually stands. Why is he abasing himself?

  • Paul Z. wrote, “…if this guy [i.e., Romney] wins the Republican nomination, I walk…”

    Does that mean, Paul Z., that in a race between the Obamanation of Desolation and Mr. Weather Vane (as Donald so aptly describes him), you will vote for the Obamanation?

    Like Donald M., I will hold my nose and vote for Mr. Weather Vane, then promptly vomit afterwards.

  • I would light my eyeballs on fire before voting for Obama. No, I’d probably just sit out the election. Considering I live in Maryland, it is of little consequence who I vote for I suppose. But with any other candidate I’d at least be motivated to volunteer, particularly in the bordering states of PA and VA. If it’s Romney, I’m not lifting a finger to help the man or the party.

  • Because I live in Louisiana, I have the luxury of being able to vote for whomever I choose without helping Obama. So, I can say that if Romney gets the nomination, the Republicans won’t be getting my vote.

    I’d love to love Santorum; but, I’m not sure he can win a national election. Heck, he didn’t even win his last campaign in Pennsylvania. I’m taking a much harder look at Gingrich right now.

  • If God had meant us to vote, he would have given us candidates…

    Yeah, I too am increasingly disgusted with the way this field (never good) has been shaping up. Though living in Ohio now, I’m not sure I’d actually sit out and refuse to vote for Romney if he’s the candidate against Obama. I’d have to think hard about it, though. With Obama in there, at least the GOP is clear on who the enemy is. With Romney in the White House, the congressional GOP might actually allow a more left-ward leaning set of policies to be implemented than would be the case under Obama.

  • Despite my negative tone, as I’ve said elsewhere, I actually like several of the candidates – not just tolerate them. I’m perfectly fine with Perry, Santorum, and Gingrich. Sure, they’re all flawed, but then again you can’t really expect perfection from your candidates.

    In a way it might be good to elect someone that we’re not all praising as the next political Messiah. When we go overboard with a politician we can only wind up being disappointed in the end. In other words, here’s hoping we don’t let perfect be the enemy of the pretty good.

  • With Romney in the White House, the congressional GOP might actually allow a more left-ward leaning set of policies to be implemented than would be the case under Obama.

    To demonstrate your point, would a GOP Congress have passed “No Child Left Behind” with a Democrat in the White House? Probably not.

  • Rubio, anyone?

  • Nope, I’ll not vote for Romney. Someone better set the Republican National Committee straight on this. Romney runs, we all lose. Yes, I would vote Santorum — and you can tell the RNC that, too.

  • Yeah, I too am increasingly disgusted with the way this field (never good) has been shaping up.

    I have a sinking feeling that the major problem is that (collectively) we ain’t the people we used to be.

  • One warning about the “I’ll walk” sentiment: if followed too strictly, it guarantees you will have no political party to speak of.

    Social liberals took over the Democrats in part because too many good people followed the “I’ll walk” sentiment, rather than staying and fighting.

    What if they sabotage the GOP too, relying on their sabotage to boost their enemies’ principled exodus?

    I’m getting the sense that the rich Republicans who backed SSM in New York will be allying with gay groups’ agents to do dirty deeds at the Republican National Convention in 2012.

    I advise Republican Catholics to find out how their state party appoints delegates and to make sure many reliable allies are among their delegation. Organize now, or die in defeat later.

  • I will not vote for Romney UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. NEVER.

    I live in Ohio – a swing state. If I knew with absolute certainty that my vote would be the difference in the election, I STILL would not vote for Romney.

    Of course, I’d never vote for Obama either. I don’t vote for pro-aborts. And that includes Romney.

  • Refusing to vote for Romney doesn’t mean we won’t vote in 2012. I want to see Obama pack his things but we may have to settle for the US Congress and a bunch of state governments.

  • You optimists are assuming that there will be anything left in November 2012.

  • What’s weird to me is how, time and again, parties manage to nominate candidates that nobody wants. That is mysterious to me and I start suspecting that it’s due to some sort of mysterious feature of statistics or math. It’s counter-intuitive that a system that is allegedly about majority rule keeps picking candidates for whom no majority seems to exist and which everybody I know doesn’t want. It reminds of the mysteries of fluid dynamics, where leaves mysteriously float upstream due to hidden eddies. Nobody wanted Dole, yet somehow, he was nominated anyway. Bush seemed to get nominated with shrug. McCain was also somebody nobody really seemed to want. And now Romney. I don’t know of living soul who wants him, and yet somehow everybody is glumly resigned to the fact that, despite nobody wanting him, his party are still inevitably going to pick him anyway. It makes me wonder, in what sense is all this democratic. Very strange to me.

  • “It makes me wonder, in what sense is all this democratic.” That’s the exact problem. It IS democratic. 1st Samuel chapter 8 rings loudly and clearly. The “peepul” get the government it deserves, and until we repent of our baby-murdering, our homosexual perversions, our adultery, our fornication, and our idolary, we can expect nothing but leaders who at best are Weather Vanes. When the “peepul” have lost the principles of morality and virtue, can we expect anything other than that of their leaders?

  • The worst features of our current society have not been caused by elections Paul. Abortion on demand, the rise in acceptance of homosexuality, etc, have been fostered by elites wearing the black robes of judges, seated in academia, at the helm of the media and making barely disguised propaganda in Hollywood. If the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box over the past several decades had not been thrwarted by said elites, our society would be far better off.

  • What’s weird to me is how, time and again, parties manage to nominate candidates that nobody wants.

    Do you get the insurance agents you want?

    People enter and are recruited into the political profession like other professions. Who you get is derived from who is already there and what sort of screens and hurdles are present. Public opinion is a matrix in which these fellows operate, influencing their behavior in some measure and winnowing a few who are beyond the pale. Other elements of the matrix also winnow people, for good or ill. I do not think public opinion has much effect on the supply-side, and the supply-side is where your problem is. The general calibre of the professional-managerial bourgeoisie is a problem, and the degree of regard ambient among them for public office.

  • Simply running in opposition to Obama is not enough to get my vote. I did not vote for any presidential candidate in ’08 and I’m prepared to sitout ’12 if I have to. Romney is unacceptable (for my own reasons) and I am not yet certain who is acceptable.

  • Same situation as many – in a state which will go Republican regardless of who is the candidate, so my vote really won’t matter. Voted QTP (Quixotic Third Party) last time, other than local races. Looks like it may happen again, or maybe I’ll have some Tea.

  • “That is mysterious to me and I start suspecting that it’s due to some sort of mysterious feature of statistics or math.”

    Mark – It’s called Arrow’s Paradox.

  • Most likely I would simply not vote over voting third party. Last time around, as bad as the McCain choice was, the third party options consisted mainly of kooks.

    G-Veg’s comment echoes my feelings fairly well.

    Pinky gets to the heart of the matter with Arrow’s Paradox, explained here if you’re looking for a link. I would add that conservatives tend to shoot themselves in the foot each election cycle. I don’t have time to go into detail, but we can be our own worst enemy.

    Somewhat tangentially, I’d like to address one thing that keeps popping up. I have now seen a couple of pieces written about how Romney was the conservative darling in 2008. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Like many, I saw him as the best of a very bad lot and meekly threw my support to him when Thompson dropped out. Few energetically supported him, and now that there are much better conservative alternatives in the race this time conservatives want nothing to do with him (for the most part).

  • Any support that Romney got from conservatives in 2008 was almost entirely due to a deep antipathy to McCain and a well-founded conviction that McCain was entirely intent on being a good loser in the Fall rather than putting up the type of fight needed to beat Obama. McCain seemed so pathetically eager in the Fall to suspend his campaign for the “good of the country” which I believe he did twice ostensibly due to the economic meltdown. The truth is that McCain’s heart wasn’t in the fight, and he seemed to be running for “Miss Congeniality” instead of president.

  • If John McCain spent 1/10 the energy going after Obama the way he went after conservative opponents like Hayworth . . . well he still probably would have lost. But at least he could have gone down swinging.

  • But, sputter/sniffle, “What about the children!?”

    Soaring food/fuel prices inflict the most harm on low-to-moderate income families and their children.

    So, why are brilliant Obama and his geniuses (Bernanke, Geithner) feverishly striving 24/7 to hike food/fuel prices? I suppose it’s another one of them high-level concepts we ignorant, self-supporting yokels just cannot comprehend.

  • At the risk of being flip, Art, regarding your excellent 8:08am comment: garbage in, garbage out?

  • Donald, maybe you are correct when you said that “The worst features of our current society have not been caused by elections Paul.”

    But I have no confidence in the people’s ability to recognize right from wrong after the last election. Maybe I am just a pessimist. 🙁

  • Poor fallible Man Paul! We are blinded by sin and our intellects feebled by our passions. Yet, by the grace of God we can accomplish so much that is good! As Lincoln said at the beginning of the Civil War we have “the better angels of our nature”. We must have courage and resolution to speak the truth boldly. If we do that, and if we mean it, I have no doubt that there is much in our nation that can be amended.

  • The shallow presidential talent pool today reflects the choices of the people who took part in politics 30-40 years ago (and also the choices of people who refused to take part in politics.)

    The only reason we’re fighting those HHS contraception regs on the national level is because 28 states already passed similar regs.

    Look at your local politics. Start your own little party machine. Convince your neighbors, not some guy 2,000 miles away. Learn to win a neighborhood caucus election.

    These great debates about national issues are fun on the internet, but they often distract from where we can have the most impact.

Cultural Rot

Wednesday, September 29, AD 2010

My wife and I often joke that we are going to raise our children Amish so as to shield them from our depraved culture.  We jest, but there’s a sliver of truth in our jesting.  And of course  Donald has written a series of excellent posts here at TAC on the signs of our cultural decay.

It’s not exactly a newsflash when a bunch of cranky bloggers at a website called the American Catholic bemoan our hedonistic culture.  But when others of a less socially conservative bent join the fray you know that things may have reached a breaking point.

Ace of Spades is a conservative blog, though one that tends to a certain amount of, err, frivolity with regards to cultural matters.  I don’t think Ace deviates from most social conservatives on the core issues, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a rant like this one a site like his.  But Ace completely lays into the singer Katy Perry and the awful message that she spreads to our youth.

Ace posts the lyrics to one of Perry’s new songs:

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30 Responses to Cultural Rot

  • I agree. But sex sells. And, in my opinion, the hyper-sexualization of our young at the hands of the entertainment and media and clothing industries is but one facet of the growing branding and corporatization of children, which starts at a very young age. (Cf: this excellent article: http://www.truth-out.org/040309J)

    I actually think that this is an issue in which social conservatives have more in common with traditional leftists (not liberal democrats, mind you) than either have in common with liberalism, properly understood.

  • It is interesting to note that most states have laws against “contributing to the delinquency of minors” and this appears to be directed towards minors whereas other media/advertising/music/speach can claim it is not directly targeting minors so they are not contributing. This type of stuff will never be removed from the public area but at least we/the public can express our dislike/disgust with it.

  • Kate Perry is a Calvinist choir girl compared to Brittany Spears. Perhaps BS is her role model.

  • Yeah, but she seems to be doing everything she can think of to slouch toward Brittany-dom. They have in common that both are of at best modest talents, though I think Katy is the better singer. She’s not good enough to make a career on musical talent alone, however.

    Commenter #67 at Ace of Spades made what I thought a rather adept point:

    “Why do leftists think that the best way to ensure sexual freedom is to encourage people to engage in sex that is risky and self destructive?

    That would be like the NRA promoting the second amendment by encouraging people to start shooting at everything.”

  • The link Henry provides is revealing. Both Perry & Gaga have roots as more demure singers-but they didn’t have success and altered themselves (choosing hyper-sexual personas in order to sell records). It really throws into question whether practicing Christians can succeed in the mass media-and if not, why do Christians continue to indulge in that media?

  • As much as I am generally critical of mass media and Hollywood, I do think Christians can succeed there. What is tougher is succeeding when the art form is an explicitly Christian one. Eventually, a so-called “Christian artist” is pigeon holed into an unsatisfactory limited market and decides he needs to change his image. Doing that with effectiveness may require doing a 180. The bottom line is that I think it should be perfectly possible to be a mass media artist who is also a committed Christian, but it is much harder to be a so-called “Christian artist.”

  • I guess it depends on what you define as success. Certainly specifically Christian artists – be they music, literary, or other – won’t be sell as much as secular artists, but I suspect that one can still have a relatively successful living as one.

  • Certainly specifically Christian artists – be they music, literary, or other – won’t be sell as much as secular artists, but I suspect that one can still have a relatively successful living as one.

    That’s certainly true, but a lot of them are artistically compromised by the ‘Christian music’ industry. They can’t explore new ground outside of the kids-in-youth-group/forty-something-mom demographics without losing their record deals, and this has a predictable effect on the quality of the music they produce (it’s generally boring, predictable, and formulaic).

    It’s certainly riskier and more difficult for bands composed of Christians to try and make music outside of the CCM industry, but I think those that do make much better music (even if they have less success without the captive CCM youth group audience). And, of course, there are bands like U2 which show that Christian musicians can be successful if they are really good at their craft.

  • I agree, Paul, but such artists must live not only accept far less pay they must also live with not being taken seriously by much of the artistic community. For instance, in general serious followers of rock music do not think highly of so-called Christian rock bands, even if those followers are themselves seriously Christian. Much of this reputation disparity may not be deserved, but no doubt the disparity is difficult for ambitious artists to live with. To be fair, many Christian rock bands probably couldn’t be successful in the broader market, but some certainly could if they abandoned their Christian-focused art. The fact that so many of these groups nonetheless continue as Christian artists is testimony to their faith and commitment.
    Finally, I would note that the best Christian artists are those whose Christian artistry is not very explicit. Think Graham Greene or Flannery O’Connor. There creative works would not have been as successful if they had been more explicitly Christian. When the art form is explicitly Christian it usually suffers from being not all that interesting.

  • John Henry’s response was superior to mine. I hereby incorporate it by reference, with credit of course. 😉

  • I had the same thought in reverse, Mike. The Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene point is a very useful comparison. In literature, as in music, there are ghettos; honest art that is well done can usually win a hearing.

  • John, Henry, Paul, etc.

    I think those are good examples. I tend to agree with the idea that most explicitly Christian music/movies tend to be very formulaic and not so good (though there are exceptions). Indeed, Tolkien thought this to be almost a rule, which is why he despised Narnia.

    But I think that for a Christian artist, even one not advertising as “Christian,” the bar is higher for success. They have to be great. Whereas, if one is secular, the bar is lower (Perry, gaga, spears-no one, I hope, will be listening to their music in a hundred years).

  • I think part of it is what art is. Granted I’m speaking in large part from my own tastes in rock, but I think the type of music that rock is is better suited for lyrics dealing with conflict, pain, and the more base emotions. I simply can’t see suitable and lofty lyrics about God fitting into that format. It may simply be because they can’t. I know people try to, but their lack of mainstream success may point to this disconnect.

  • A distinction should be drawn between musicians who are Christian and musicians who make “Christian music” i.e. where all the songs are about Christianity. The latter is of course going to be limiting. I can see how the former would be the source of lots of temptations, but unless you’re a teenage girl singing pop music I don’t see being a Christian as being very hampering to one’s success.

  • “It really throws into question whether practicing Christians can succeed in the mass media-and if not, why do Christians continue to indulge in that media?”

    Well, a few acts come to mind–Switchfoot and P.O.D., for example. To paraphrase what I said earlier, one can build a career on talent rather than shock value–if one has some. And Amen to the literary examples–I think writers/artists whose worldview permeates their work rather than sitting on the surface are actually more compelling.

    But the link which Henry so helpfully provided us has me thinking: is little Katy a living example of what is wrong with Sola Fide? She claims to believe in Jesus (also space aliens) but doesn’t seem to wrap her mind around the concept that that belief places responsibility on her.

    And–oh, my goodness–I had to look it up–she is a middle child. Suddenly, everything falls into place.

  • One little funny anecdote before I get to my comment. As I was getting out of the Metro, what do I see but a poster for Saw – 3D. Fitting.

    Anyway, good points by all. I think it’s worth pointing out that it would be an improvement just to have art that simply isn’t hostile to traditional morality, and I don’t think one has to be an overtly Christian artist in order to produce a message that is at least not offensive to traditional mores. For example, U2 is widely successful and I can’t think of anything in their collection that I’d have to shield my child from – unless you think “Elevation” is not subtle enough. They’re but one example, but my point is that I’m not necessarily looking for specifically Christian-themed stuff (though that’s a plus), but it would be nice if most of pop culture didn’t seem to preach a message antithetical to what I hold dear.

    It’s also worth emphasizing that acts like Katy Perry target a young audience. As Ace points out it’s not that she’s an adult artist who kids happen to like. She intentionally markets herself to young girls and is teaching them that it’s okay to throw all morals aside in pursuit of living the “teenage dream.”

  • I could watch this video over and over and over again…

    LOL. ->just kidding

  • No, Jasper, I think you mean the Cleverly Trio’s version:

  • Uh…y’all aren’t gonna ban me for that, are you?

  • Some interesting pop culture perspectives by none other than Alice Cooper — yes, THE Alice Cooper, who also is a born-again Christian:

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=12960

    “He no longer performs some of his older repertoire. Any song promoting promiscuous sex and drinking “gets the axe,” he said. “I’m very careful about what the lyrics are. I tried to write songs that were equally as good, only with a better message.”

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/alice.cooper.opens.christian.recreation.centre.for.troubled.kids/7124.htm

    “Speaking about the value of boundaries for kids, he (Cooper) said: “Kids love boundaries. We used to fight against them. But in all reality, what we really did want was to know where we could go.”

  • “Uh…y’all aren’t gonna ban me for that, are you?”

    Nah, cminor, if we’ll tolerate ABBA, it will take more than that! 🙂

  • Henry’s link reminded me of a Katy Hudson story (before she was Katy Perry) I linked to on the Catholic Report a couple of years ago. It was an archived story in which the reviewer was saying she would be the next great Christian singer. The Christian music scene sputtered and she took road too often traveled.
    http://www.thefish.com/music/reviews/11618329/Katy-Hudson/

    The difference between her and Alice Cooper which Elaine excellently alludes to is that Alice had a lot of right and wrong drilled into him. Eventually he realized the lessons from his youth and went back to them (though Alice’s faults often lie with his blood and gore stage shows, rather than with pomiscuity in his lyrics.) It sounds like Katy’s religious background was not as structured as Alice Cooper’s was. I wonder if the old “I am saved mentality” truly makes some people think they can backslide and do just about anything and still make it to heaven, no questions asked. It would appear that these folks left Matthew 7:21-23 out of their Bibles.

  • Nah, cminor, if we’ll tolerate ABBA, it will take more than that!

    What’s wrong with ABBA?

    🙂

  • Ditto with ABBA, Tito!

    Don just has a slight hang up there, but his excellent taste in classical music
    offsets that.

  • RL:
    For content, or musical style?:-)

  • Remember the Diana Ross and the Supremes song “Love Child?” A woman insists on waiting for marriage because she knows the shame of being an illegitimate child and does not want any child of hers to bear the same stigma. My, how quaint. What “progress” we’ve made in 40 years.

    Elaine: I knew Cooper was a preacher’s son, but didn’t realize he had returned to Christianity. I wasn’t crazy about his music when I was a teen, but I always liked him for doing stuff like being on Hollywood Squares and for making it very clear that the on-stage, rather scary “Alice” character was only a character. The off-stage Alice was always quite open about being a rather amiable “square” sort of fellow who voted Republican and liked to golf – with Barry Goldwater.

  • Donna V & Elaine,

    When I lived in Phoenix (where Mr. Cooper resides) Alice Cooper was a prominent pillar of the community. It was made clear he was a family man and he held strong conservative values. The people of Phoenix loved him for that.

    And yes, his onstage persona was only a character.

    He seemed genuine to me.

Political Correctness Trumps Expertise in Gulf Oil Spill Response

Tuesday, June 1, AD 2010

During his press statement last week, President Obama said that in dealing with the recent oil spill in the Gulf, he was “examining every recommendation, every idea that’s out there, and making our best judgment as to whether these are the right steps to take, based on the best experts that we know of.”

That, however, is not entirely true:

A St. Louis scientist who was among a select group picked by the Obama administration to pursue a solution to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been removed from the group because of writings on his website, the U.S. Energy Department confirmed Wednesday.

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz was one of five top scientists chosen by the Department of Energy and attended meetings in Houston last week.

Though considered a leading scientist, Katz’s website postings often touch on social issues. Some of those writings have stirred anger in the past and include postings defending homophobia and questioning the value of racial diversity efforts.

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0 Responses to Political Correctness Trumps Expertise in Gulf Oil Spill Response

  • Pingback: The Patriot's Flag » BP – Update Page
  • In addition to his “expertise”, he did find Jesus burial box: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Tomb_of_Jesus

    And President Obama is supposed to be “smart”.

    I have a bridge to sell you if that’s true.

  • 1/20/2009: Beginning of an Error.

    Hold them regime responsible for the misery.

  • To be fair, I did just learn that James Cameron is also an engineer. Didn’t know that, and it puts his involvement in a different light.

    But to exclude someone because he has differing opinions on unrelated topics? Well, that’s only something conservatives do, right? /sarcasm

  • Engineer is a very broad category (like doctor). You wouldn’t call in a cardiologist to do brain surgery (heck, you wouldn’t even call him in to do heart surgery, since cardiologists are not surgeons).

  • This whole situation will be extremely unforunate for the environmental life and for the economy in a number of clashing ways. This problem could have been baffled however sometimes accidents happen. These companies should be held responsible for this global catastrophe.

  • It is nearly unbelievable that this oil spill is still not taken care of. It’s been what, like 46 days now?? All i see on the tv all day long is washed up fish, and poor pelicans covered in oil.

  • The Gulf is a nightmare and the oil has been seen as far as Alabama and Florida…Obama didn’t do himself any favors by criticizing Bush’s response time to Katrina

  • This whole catastrophe with BP is out of control. The amount of spilling into the Gulf of Mexico sprung up by thousands of barrelfuls Wednesday right after an underwater robot seemingly hit the containment cap that has been getting oil from BP’s Macondo well. I question how much desolation this entire oil spill is going to cost the sea when it’s all over

  • Well finally they have a plan to cap this thing, but given their track-record so far, I’m not holding out a ton of hope for this. I was in Tampa when that tanker caught fire (I was driving over the Skyway right when it happened, saw the smoke) and the beaches are still washing up tar balls. I think it has effectively ruined the economy of southern LA, MI and AL towns. I have a ton of family there and they are really desperate.

Looking into the Cloudy Ball

Thursday, April 15, AD 2010

Tax day is a day when all Americans are reminded about the importance of politics and think about the importance of the political future so they can adjust their budgets accordingly. Most of the time in politics we have a reasonably good idea of what’s going on: what the issues are going to be, who the favorites in the next election are, who are the main blocs, etc. Of course, there are always surprises and upsets.

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13 Responses to Looking into the Cloudy Ball

  • I think the GOP can count on solid tea party support in the Fall. In many states the dead line to get on the ballot is approaching or passed, and, in any case, there has been little movement by tea party members to run third party candidates. The big problem for the GOP will be if they win a huge victory in November with crucial tea party assistance, which I expect, and then proceed with business as usual. In that case I do anticipate a tea party third party in 2012.

    The post by Morning’s Minion, which you linked to, thanking God that John McCain is not president was a hoot! A weak defense indeed of the South Side Messiah!

  • Don:

    I hadn’t talked about the Tea Party as a potential third party, but I think you’re right. The Tea Party is largely built on the emotional resistance to Obama and I think the Tea Party will do its best to defeat Obama and Democrats. I would imagine they’ll stick with the GOP until at least Obama’s defeat and then perhaps start a separate party if they’re unsatisfied with the results.

    However, which candidate the Tea party will back in the Presidential primaries is anyone’s guess. Palin? Someone like Scott Brown? Will they go ideology or the best chance at winning?

  • “However, which candidate the Tea party will back in the Presidential primaries is anyone’s guess. Palin? Someone like Scott Brown? Will they go ideology or the best chance at winning?”

    At this point I am beginning to think that Palin is looking at 2016. Brown I think isn’t looking at the Presidency at all, but is completely concentrated on Massachusetts where the political revolution he initiated is gathering momentum. I think that 2012 may well be the year of someone who is little known now, at least by the general public. From the GOP standpoint it is essential that the standard bearer be someone who can cause great enthusiasm among the tea partiers.

  • From the GOP standpoint it is essential that the standard bearer be someone who can cause great enthusiasm among the tea partiers.

    Seems unlikely with Romney and Huckabee as the frontrunners. But a lot can change in two or three years.

  • The articel seems to presume that, absent the ominous “Tea Party threat,” the Republican Party would naturally sweep to victory in November, then immediately set about setting things right. Wrong! If the recent history of the American body politic says anything, it says that the parties are both more intersted in having and expanding power, rather than necessarily using power for good.

    Without the Tea Party threat, the repubs are nothing but a shade or so removed from the Dems on the critical life issues; the country club repubs most definitely want pro-lifers to go away.
    In my adult days, only once has the repub party used a majority to try to limit government expenditures and reduce the interfering influence of government in the daily lives of citizens; and ultimately, they abandoned the effort.
    Neither party can lay claim to a corner on “social justice” issues. At least not if one takes the position that forced taxpayer largesse in the social programs MUST be able to boast of resounding success in return for the now truly collossal expenditure of funds involved.

  • although not a memember of the so called tea party..people are rightly concerned that if the spending contiunes the chances of having a debt that requires a one trillion dollar interest per year will occur. the problem as i view is that we need a congress that will pass a bill demanding a balance budget each year and get rid of those bills that do not create jobs or add to an already explosive deficit and to develop a foreign policy with teeth and not just words and one that quits trying to tell people how to live. we fought one king for that right and it appears we have another trying to tell us the sme thing.

  • Kevin:

    The articel seems to presume that, absent the ominous “Tea Party threat,” the Republican Party would naturally sweep to victory in November, then immediately set about setting things right.

    Wrong on both counts though I don’t think that’s obvious from this post. I think the Republicans did a fine job of messing things up long before “Tea Party” was thought up and so would have complications going into November (i.e. the residual effects of the Bush presidency). Nor do I think the republicans would set things right, though i hope especially on issues of SCOTUS nominations and abortion funding they would be able to provide some corrections.

    My point in discussing the Tea Party was that, especially in considering 2012, they provide a variable. We don’t know what kind of effect they will have and so it is hard to predict how elections will turn out.

    afl:

    develop a foreign policy with teeth and not just words and one that quits trying to tell people how to live.

    Beware that the foreign policies with teeth (such as Bush’s) are often the ones that are based on the premise that the United States has a moral responsibility to spread democracy & its principles i.e. tell people how to live.

  • MD,
    Okay, if you say that was your point, I must believe you. But if the democrats remain in control of the house in December of this year, the political game is up. No amount of right thinking in 2012 will serve any good purpose if the leak in the dike is not stopped now.
    Those of you who think that politics, carried out with the Constitution in the fundamentally fractured state it is in now, can answer the mail are probably fooling yourselves.
    What was it Gandolf said? “The board is set, the pieces are moving, the final battle for Middle Earth has begun.”
    God help us all!

  • I don’t think any of the presumed GOP candidates (Huck, Palin, Romney) will win the nomination. I think it will be someone who catches fire–like a Paul Ryan or a conservative governor.

  • The fact that they’re more educated and wealthier may just be a reflection of the fact that they tend to be white, male, and old.

    The NY Times pool reveals some other interesting facts. Most Tea Partiers favor at least civil unions for gay couples, most favor legal abortions, and most don’t go to church regularly. Most like Palin but don’t think she would make a good president!

    My money was on Romney before this whole Tea Party thing. Huckabee and Romney have fiscally liberal records which voters may not forgive. Palin is talking up Romney though so Tea Partiers may forgive his past. The liberal elite find Romney to be the least objectionable.

    Gingrich’s negatives are too high. He’d be unelectable in the general election.

    Ron Paul is polling well but he can’t win the GOP nomination.

    A lot of excitement around Marco Rubio but he’s not even Senator yet and he’s only 38. Maybe 2016.

  • Romney is a political chameleon and I doubt if he will get the nomination in 2012. Paul is going no place slowly. Gingrich is only formidable as a talk show guest. The Huckster should stick with his show on Fox. I think Palin, as I stated earlier, is waiting for 2016. Rubio is a man to watch closely, but his year is not 2012. The New York Times poll of tea partiers is as worthless as most of what appears in that poor excuse for a fish wrapper.

  • Intrade has Romney in first followed closely by Palin. In third is John Thune. Others fall way behind. Oh how far Jindal has fallen…

    Intrade also gives the Democrats slightly better odds of retaining control of the House.

    Bad news in New York. Neither Guiliani nor Pataki will challenge Gillibrand.

  • As a twenty-something male I find the whole situation depressing. When you have Romney and Palin ahead in the poles for the Republicans and I guess, um…, Obama for the Dems, you really have to fool yourself to see anything bright in the future. The way I look at it we just have to hope that our pilot was the one who was sitting at the bar before departure who only had three whiskeys instead of five. I really am sorry for it but this nation has become the fruit of a more and more Godless society. Even though we have statistics that comfort us in being a Christian nation, the label “Christianity” is about as broad as Conservatism or Liberalism. Fact of the matter is that unless there is some major miraculous turn around in the faith of the people of this nation and their education in that faith, we will be sentenced to suffer the consequences of such a society. However, conversation such as in this com box and in the greater political arena is still necessary. I may not have much faith in the future of this country but I do realize that you have to go down swinging.