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Showing posts from June 21, 2015

An Actual Coherent Thought I Had

I'm no actual philosopher, but anybody remember the case Loving v. Virginia? This, if you are unaware, was the case that prohibited state bans on interracial marriage. The details aren't super-critical. It seems to me that you can look at that case one of two ways: The muddle-headed liberal way, or the Thomist philosopher way. (Incidentally, the muddle-headed liberal and the Thomist will agree on the practical outcome.) The liberal way is to look at that case, and the one yesterday, and yell, "You can't help who you love! WOO!!! [Waves rainbow flag]" You're done thinking. Must be nice. Wish I could, but I don't want to end up on the wrong side of history. I digress. The Thomist looks at the whole thing and says something like: Reply to Objection: The conjugal act is intrinsic to the nature of marriage. It is sensible for the civil power to regulate in some manner the conduct of marriage, since the results of the acts proper to spouses are children. N

The Political Liberal Evangelical Christian Fantasy

It's just the basic idea that whatever the society's liberal social change of the day is, it only happened because those "conservative" Christians--who are probably too allied with the Republican Party, obviously--were hypocritical about something else. Heaven knows, I barely have known a more hypocritical bunch than conservative Republicans, which is probably why that's where I belong. But in reality, you are chasing a ghost. In the final analysis, you will never say the hard things just the *right* way. We did not arrive here because Dr. Dobson was mean. Sexual ethics is even worse. Romans 1 talks about homosexuality directly, but it says plainly that the root cause is idolatry. Guess what, left-of-center Christian? They'll hate you, too. Might as well just tell the truth, and take your medicine. By the way, I have the freedom to be what seems to be a haphazard clash of conflicting political imperatives, because I know that our whole political anthropo

More Hopefully Not Self-Indulgent Thoughts

I preface this by saying that I am not (yet) a writer of history books; I am a guy who has learned a lot of things, more oral than written, and I remember most things more or less correctly. Any defects herein can be attributed to my teachers failing to learn broadly, or my failure to heed them. In a sense, though the American president emerges as a contrast to the British de facto head of state which comes from the legislature, the American president in effect works to enact the legislative priorities of whichever party has selected him. This was certainly true of Abraham Lincoln. He was the compromise choice of the party nominally dedicated to the abolition of slavery. There were those within who wanted to go further and faster, affirming civil rights almost as we know them today, and there were simply those who thought that dividing this grand American experiment was a fools' errand. I don't recall being taught that being thankful for the defeat of a rival nation (albeit

The Only Thing Worse

...than having a flag stained in innocent blood is founding a country dedicated to the shedding of more. The only thing worse than overrating a president who won a war is revering a statist who started them, and putting his face on a mountain. The Roosevelt presidents could be on a game show or history special called, "The Lesser Of Two Evils." I don't think George W. Bush will be ranked by historians as among the worst presidents 20 years from now. In 40 years, he may crack the top 20. Historians are just as influenced by irrational perceptions as average people are; they just have more letters after their names. Nixon was just a Greek tragedy. Never has being cast as a villain left out so much. You can thank Nixon you were not annihilated by Communists. Blessed are the peacemakers, until they break into hotel rooms, looking for ultimately unnecessary information, and then lie to cover it up. A sobering thought: If JFK had lived, we'd have despised him by thi

The Living Years

This song  has always meant a lot to me. It came out right around the time I lost my father. I faced something of a moral dilemma earlier, and I saw this song. I couldn't help but wonder what my Dad would do, and then the test was over before it started. I was never estranged from my father, as though we had something to reconcile, though I suppose if I wanted to assign blame to my parents for divorcing, I could. Anyway, he was taken from us when I was still young enough to think he was perfect. Quite honestly though, if you knew his surviving brothers and sisters, talked to his friends, their friends, and countless others, you might begin to believe the hype. A Kettinger is the type of person you want to count as a friend. The bar is set pretty high. I might even be the worst. Pardon the rabbit-trail. When you get to, "I wasn't there that morning/When my father passed away..." you've hit the part where, if I haven't already begun to cry, it will occur. I

He Jumps Off The Page

I have always loved William Jennings Bryan. Bryan is the type of guy that people who love politics hope for, but he was real. Ardent, zealous, and pious, he sticks out. Pick up any serviceable history book, and he gets more "air time" than you would think, and rightly so. I probably couldn't vouch for him in economics; I probably would have been a Cleveland Democrat back then. But I picture all the common folks in America; I can see why a man like this would inspire a young Harry Truman. Where have these Democrats gone? We have this funny habit of letting presidential candidates speak in churches, and we should probably not. It's always some tendentious appeal to a certain Scripture, for the sake of some policy that he hasn't been able to convince people to adopt. Gore did this once, and I wanted to punch him. But I have always dreamed of taking that opportunity, and saying, "Forget the politics; this is a church, and this is a sermon." Jesus, gra

Read It Like This, Part 2

Just a little something to hold you over, until I write the next post. Let me say clearly that I don't think Jorge Mario Bergolio (now His Holiness, Pope Francis) has ever been a socialist. No, seriously. Making some American Republicans uncomfortable is not a sufficient condition for having advocated socialism.

Read It Like This, Part 1

There is so much in the Holy Father's new encyclical that even picking through it seems like an injustice. I thought it would be most helpful just to ask a few questions pertaining to terms that Pope Francis uses, to help us see where he is coming from. A big problem I see from Catholics is that we ask, "Am I bound in conscience to this? As a matter of divine faith? No? Then I will ignore it." We can't do that. We are Catholic. We have an all-embracing gospel that is supposed to touch every aspect of life; thus, the Holy Father as the Successor of St. Peter has an important role to play in reminding us of the principles of the faith we profess. The Church never agrees with the common sentiment you hear in the world: "Well, religion is religion, and politics is politics, and each should stay clear of the other." Anything that affects the dignity of the human person, and how she relates in this world, and how she seeks God within it, is fair game.  I don'