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Showing posts from March 26, 2017

Consider Others Better Than Yourself

My most concrete application of this biblical command is in the Confession line. Jesus, through the Church, tells us that grace comes to us through the sacrament, even if sanctifying grace hasn't left the soul through mortal sin. I can't imagine that these others are in need as much as I am. I have always thought this. I guess I have been lucky enough not to run into an enemy in line. So far, it's been an easy assumption. Maybe the bigger challenge is not to hate ourselves as much as we could hate others, at least for some of us.

A Problem In The "Holistic" Approach To Abortion

It is a contradiction to oppose abortion but otherwise to endorse the radical individualism of classical liberalism. There may be in many cases economic and social factors that make the tragic decision more likely. Indeed, these are some of the things that lessen culpability (et al.) in individual cases. However, there is often a hidden premise in such arguments: Abortion is regrettable, but sometimes acceptable.  As Catholics, we can travel a long way down the road of systemic explanations, as long as we correctly maintain that the choice to commit an intrinsic evil is never acceptable, (excepting a double effect scenario where a grave evil is unavoidable). Many arguments acknowledge the morally dubious nature of abortion, but substitute one evil for another, such as advocating for increased use, and funding for, contraception. (In that case, a person often merely trades one method of abortion for another.) Let's try to be aware of all the premises of the arguments, either o

Alright, Alright, Alright! (An Appreciation Of Matthew McConaughey)

If you're somewhat conversant with pop culture, you might recognize this title as a catchphrase, uttered by Matthew McConaughey's character in the comedy film, "Dazed And Confused". (I've actually never seen it.) As with a lot of things, people get ahold of a phrase, and it takes on a life of its own. Personally, I say it every time I see McConaughey on TV. I think if you asked most people who know who he is what they think, they'd have a positive opinion of him. That may or may not be deserved; who knows? He projects a laid-back bro coolness, pretty much all the time. Not only in roles. He has starred in a number of romantic comedies, and in a buddy film called Sahara (2005) that I really enjoyed. I deeply appreciate his work, especially in two roles: As "Jake Brigance," in A Time To Kill, (1996) as a Mississippi lawyer defending a black man (Samuel L. Jackson as "Carl Lee Haley") who sought revenge against two men who raped his daughter

Conserving America? Essays On Present Discontents, Patrick J. Deneen (VIII)

Dr. Deneen asks, "What is conservatism?" in this essay of the same name. He asserts that what we know as an ascendant conservatism in the US since 1980 isn't conservatism at all, in fact, but another form of liberalism. Noting that the program we can identify in politics is achievable but incoherent, he cites Edmund Burke's opinion that the very notion that the goods to be achieved ought to be sought primarily in politics is fundamentally anti-conservative. Indeed, Deneen appeals to four thinkers that define and promote the type of conservatism he commends: Aristotle, Vico, Burke, and Tocqueville. In the main, they concur with one another (and with Deneen) that to separate people from their families and communities in favor of a new political arrangement, centered around the alleged autonomous individual, is to ultimately frustrate his happiness in the fullest sense. In the case of Tocqueville, we have already seen through his eyes how democratic government plays