Thursday, July 21, 2016

I Would Have Voted For Ted Cruz

I definitely agree that much of his rhetoric was extreme, a bit Trump-like. I also think his foreign policy as articulated was dangerously naive. I think he vacillates between rage-monster, and a less-endearing Ned Flanders. To say that I didn't prefer him is a massive understatement.

But I would have held my nose, and done it. In the end, with a smile. Because I know that on the issues social conservatives care about, Ted Cruz is with us. I wouldn't have to wonder if he's better than Hillary, because I know he is.

Most of the time, there is great wisdom in falling in line after a spirited primary. Not this time. And good for Ted in not doing so. See you in four years, Senator Cruz. Hopefully in happier days.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ideology, Reasoning, And Political Engagement

I thought I would outline my way of thinking through political issues and engagement these days. I am by no means able to discourse dispassionately all the time, by any stretch. Yet as I have more fully embraced Catholic social doctrine, I have begun to observe that the process for arriving at a conclusion on any particular matter is more involved than a particular instance of political discussion--often more accurately characterized as combat--would lead us to believe. So, here is a sample of the kinds of questions I am now asking:

What is the common good, and what aspects of the common good may be served (or not) by a proposed solution?

Is a proposed solution to a problem intrinsically evil, that is, evil irrespective of circumstances, or good intentions?

Are there other principles related to the common good or to the intrinsic dignity of the human person (e.g. justice, solidarity, subsidiarity, etc.) that I need to be aware of? Does a proposed solution seem to violate any of them on the face of it?

Are the particular goals articulated achievable? How does the proposed solution achieve those goals, if so?

Can those goals be achieved more easily in another way? Why or why not?

Is a proposed solution, though not immoral in itself, actually Constitutional and legal in our political system?

How might my political philosophy affect my universe of possible solutions to any problem? Are those limitations reasonable? Why or why not?

How might I work with other elected officials (just thinking ahead) to achieve noble goals with reasonable solutions, once I determine that proposed solutions are moral, desirable, and possible?

That's a lot to think about! Most people start with, "Well, I personally believe x, therefore, this is the only right thing to do. Also, all who disagree are stupid, and/or evil." We now belong to a highly reactive and emotive political culture that's very toxic. If we're going to do better, we have to slow down, and practice virtues, both intellectual and spiritual. When Dr. Bryan Cross mentioned "motivated reasoning" the other day, it got me thinking (though I was desirous of a specific example) that it could take a couple different forms, whether a non sequitur, or a circular argument of some kind. In any case, it's a prejudicial kind of reasoning that closes us off from either good ideas, or good faith dialogue. I thought of an example of motivated reasoning, one I have done myself:

A vast majority of scientists believes that anthropogenic climate change is happening, and has been an urgent problem for some time;

However, communists, socialists, and other bad people also agree with them;

Many of those same scientists have done their alleged research with public funding, which indicates a conspiracy with those ideologues to limit my freedom;

Therefore, I will not consider any evidence of anthropogenic climate change.

We must do better, in all sorts of ways.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rain Down, Rain Down, Rain Down Your Love On Your People

I made some of you cringe. Good. You're now reading my blog, which was of course my plan all along. But I didn't intend to scare you with the alleged "spirit of Vatican II." No. I just want to tell you it was raining buckets on the way back from Mass today. And that's wonderful, of course. Though it is potentially far less wonderful in a wheelchair. A power wheelchair. I wouldn't expect any electrical danger, but of course the more significant risk is that the chair stops working. They plan for rain when building them, but still. My Quickie P-222 SE came through like a champ. Seriously though, if you're going to be a cripple caught in a downpour, get a Quickie.

Pretty sure you can't buy my specific chair from the company anymore, but I'm sure the countless middlemen still carry it.

Maybe you'll like this James Taylor classic instead.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Luther Didn't Reform Anything

You can't actually coherently say Christian ecclesiology, doctrine, and practice is wrong, and be a reformer. You can say it was never right. But no Protestant really wants to say that. So everyone in that position lives inconsistently on that point.

That's why I'm Catholic. That's the reason. We wouldn't need to profess new dogmas, if the motivation was moral reform. It wasn't.

Tim Dukeman, you need to read more.