Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Memorare

The Rosary gets all the good press among Western Catholics, and rightly so, probably. Our Lady has a funny way of appearing and telling us to pray it. Fair enough.

For my devotion recently, the Memorare is becoming my favorite Marian prayer. I'm taking into account my situation, my strengths and weaknesses, and other things.

We are told in Scripture to "pray unceasingly". St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, along with St. Therese of Lisieux, teach us to do little things with great love. St. Jose Maria Escriva gave us a whole spirituality of divinizing the ordinary.

God is not some ethereal ogre that I must placate and visit periodically; he's with me and for me, right here, and right now. By the mystery of His great love, he elevates you and me to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I do not know your crosses, but I know that I am tempted with discouragement when the tasks of the day seem especially arduous. There is a time to grow in fortitude, and I'm thankful for those opportunities. And yet, little soul, if you cannot pray 50 prayers, pray 3, or one. If we can never return to Jesus the love He's given, it is for us to give our small portion back, rather than to despair of our smallness, and to give Him nothing.

I can give to God in these moments my widow's mite, and He is pleased. And I can do it throughout a day. And if we do this, we find that we have become great warrior souls of prayer, one small prayer at a time!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Genesis Simple Outline

I. The Primordial History (1-11)
II. The Patriarchs (12-38)
III. The Story Of Joseph (39-50)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Re-Thinking The Purpose And Foundations Of Government

I'll let Deneen and others make their case against classical liberalism, but suffice to say that a Catholic is on unsteady ground with anything that makes the individual the focal point of political action and concern. As we discussed various things after a conference on the future of liberalism, Dr. Cross helped me to see that liberalism's major flaw is that it imposes a regime of individual rights upon the family, community, and society which already exist as goods before any attempt at political organization. The idea of the common good cannot exist in any system that denies the common good, in principle, or in practice.

This basic contention should be obvious, but it isn't.

The basis for legitimate authority of government is the natural moral law. Liberalism fails because it purports to be neutral in regard to the moral law. It fails also because it treats the procedural questions of exercising one's liberty as the only consideration. It commoditizes moral claims, because through its economic expression--capitalism--it treats everything as a commodity with a price, including people.

I think the tricking of American Catholics in regard to the compatibility of our political/economic system with Catholicism has happened because of the apparent harmony of subsidiarity with federalism. As you may guess, I think that harmony is only an appearance, not real.

Finally, there is no principled distinction between libertarianism, and anything we might call "conservatism". This is so because there is nothing systemic which obligates the individual to subordinate his individual whims to the common good, because the common good doesn't exist in classical liberalism. "Left" and "Right" are just the presently palatable versions of this same individualism, marketed--fittingly, that--to different segments of the populace.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Changing My Mind, With Naomi Oreskes

I’m not sure when I watched the video in Bryan Cross’s giant climate change thread. It’s on YouTube as, “The American Denial Of Global Warming”. I’m not sure why I watched the whole thing. I was a contrarian and conservative, if anyone was. But I noted right away that Dr. Oreskes had no desire to be sensationalist or provocative. Just the facts, take it or leave it.

It’s a rough overview of the consensus view of climate change.

I knew I had plenty of reasons to deny it, if I wanted to be lazy, or to stick it to “the Left.” Then, this thought: These geeky scientists don’t care about my beefs with Democrats and communists. This is generations of their life’s work. They are experts, and I am not.

To summarize the data, it’s been known that our consumption of fossil fuels was a major cause of climate change since the middle of the ‘60s. The IPCC was created as a clearinghouse for the data and studies. The government studied the data and issued a report in 1979, recommending urgent action. I was not yet born. Little has been done.

I’m sympathetic to the main denialists, and their motivations. Communism is evil. Total state management of economics is total management of people, which ends in tyranny. Oreskes named this fear, and did not dismiss it out of hand. That was a great act of friendship. She took me seriously as a listener. She seemed to anticipate the strongest impediments to being heard.

The other exercise of intellect was for me to realize that the mere existence of dissent from the consensus doesn’t falsify the consensus. What authority and expertise the doubters have is a crucial question. As a non-expert, I should follow the expert opinion, if indeed there are no strong reasons to believe it’s wrong.

Conversely, if doubting scientists are engaged in motivated reasoning, it seriously damages the skeptics’ case, and the weight I should give to that case.

I still have the liberty to choose among many options for combatting the problem of climate change, provided they confront the problem with sufficient urgency.