Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Use of Analogy

Sometimes analogies and examples can help, but sometimes they just make things more confusing. I think the "government" discussion would go a lot farther if everyone refrained from further analogies or real-life examples until the basics are hammered out. It might also make the posts shorter and easier to read. Just a thought...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pro-Life Prayers

Hey all,
Just asking all of you to keep pro-life work in your prayers the next couple months. There is a national campaign kicking off tomorrow that will put a prayer vigil on the doorstep of Planned Parenthoods in 89 cities across the nation for forty days. Here in Ann Arbor it will be a 24/7 prayer vigil. In addition, there is a great campaign going on in Illinois right now and the movie 'Bella' comes out nation wide on October 26. It could be a great few months!
God Bless!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What is Caesar, and what is due to Caesar?

Interesting. And, I regret to say, a good segue. Sorry.

He's suing God for "Making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing 'widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants.'"

If his God is Caesar, (the State) then he's certainly suing the correct entity. But if he believes he is suing the omnipotent, all-good creator of the universe, I think he's slightly confused. Death, violence and terror are the domain of coercive, tax-based government. Mercy, kindness, forbearance, long-suffering, charity and justice are of God and his followers. The two dominions are always juxtaposed, by their respective natures.

I don't think God believes that having men forcing (at gunpoint, ultimately) other men to surrender the fruits of their labor (even for a good end) is justifiable. It reeks of consequentialism.

To believe that taxation qua forcibly depriving another of their property is necessary because of fallen human nature is to say that taxation is an evil that you can justifiably intend in itself, not an evil you may merely allow. (Unless, in some twisted way, one considers being forced to surrender that which belongs to you a "good?") Many do consider it a "good. "

Can taxation be compared to a painful medicine that benefits an ailing body politic? Is it like a lancet, which causes pain while draining an abscess, thereby benefiting the whole body? No.

First, the body politic is not one leviathan conglomeration of humanity. It is a conglomeration of men with power and and men who allow it to have certain powers (which the men with power invariably enhance and abuse.)

Second, the ailment afflicting any body politic is sin. The nature of the body politic (fallen human nature) is sinful. However, all sin is individual. Unless one believes that force can change human nature, one can only treat the symptoms of the illness. Some of these symptoms (individual sins) are actions that violate the rights of other individuals. Anyone can, in theory and practice, justly prevent or correct such violations. The state, in practice, has proven itself incapable.

Third, medical care must be voluntary. Even the state legal system recognizes this: a man may refuse medical assistance while he is still conscious. If he lapses into unconsciousness, it is considered consent for treatment. Do any of you consider yourselves unconscious? If so, do you think that those in power are somehow magically more conscious than you, now that they are in possession of power?

Can one compare taxation to commandeering another person's property, in a grave extreme, to escape harm? (Robbers, for example?) Certainly, one may morally commandeer a vehicle to escape from people who wish to unjustly kill you. Is this at all a good comparison, however? It would be a mistake to think that this is a Hobbesian world in which we live, where one must lock one's doors, because failure to do so would mean someone would doubtless enter your house and deprive you of life and property. Somehow, I don't think that a mere common robber could deprive me of half my annual income. It takes a special kind of robber to do that. One with a pretentious claim to moral legitimacy. One who says he's taking my property for a good cause, and if I don't comply, he will kill me or ruin my life. Even though I may give 50% of the contents of my wallet to a man with a gun stuck in in my ribs, and though he assures me he will do good things with my money, it does not justify his doing it. Does it?

The fact is, we do not live in a world where it is continually necessary to take from others to escape dire evil. In fact, a good many of the evils we suffer come from believing that we do live in such a world. Such a world view is paranoid in its truest sense. To live in such paranoia is to really a possess a cynical view on human nature, whether this cynicism is deliberately possessed or not.

Coercive government is not a part of true human nature. It is merely a symptom of fallen human nature. It is, as Augustine believed, the result of sin. Anyone can treat the manifested symptoms of fallen human nature, when manifested in acts against the life, liberty and property of human beings sharing an equal nature. One can only correct the underlying cause of sin by voluntary means. The coercive state isn't about "voluntary." At all. It merely considers itself (and is considered by its supporters) as an impartial rectifier of the symptoms, and sometimes the "causes," of fallen human nature. It isn't impartial. And it has no serious incentive to be impartial. The coercive state is partial to itself, and it perennially violates the rights of others in order to give itself partial treatment. Individuals do have incentive to be partial to others. (Christ commanded it, in fact.) But in some cases, individuals have the right to deny others from pursuing an injustice against another human being: (self-defense against rape or arson, recovering stolen goods on one's own.) There is no reason why a set of men chosen by 51% of a population have some God-given proprietary claim on the administration of justice. Especially when it has rendered such a laughable claim null and void through its patent lack of administering true justice.

Thought you might be interested

This is the second story on this topic:

''God'' responds to legislator's lawsuit, saying Nebraska court lacks jurisdiction
Posted: 2007-09-20 20:30:10
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response. One of two court filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha. "This one miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of a sudden was here - poof!" Friend said. State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sued God last week, seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty for making terroristic threats, inspiring fear and causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." Chambers, a self-proclaimed agnostic who often criticizes Christians, said his filing was triggered by a federal lawsuit he considers frivolous. He said he's trying to makes the point that anybody can sue anybody. Not so, says "God." His response argues that the defendant is immune from some earthly laws and the court lacks jurisdiction. It adds that blaming God for human oppression and suffering misses an important point. "I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you," according to the response, as read by Friend. There was no contact information on the filing, although St. Michael the Archangel is listed as a witness, Friend said. A second response from "God" disputing Chambers' allegations lists a phone number for a Corpus Christi law office. A message left for that office was not immediately returned Thursday. Attempts to reach Chambers by phone and at his Capitol office Thursday were unsuccessful. Associated Press Writer Anna Jo Bratton in Omaha contributed to this report.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
09/20/07 20:29 EDT

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boycott Celebrity "News"

I had this idea today that we should all band together to boycott fake news about celebrities. It has been thrust upon my notice that this is an insidious form of slander, gossip, or detraction that masquerades as news, causing two detrimental effects. First, the spread of such gossip or detraction (for, sadly, the news is often true) is extremely harmful to the culture at large. It increases envy in those who hear it, who rejoice in the misdeeds of the very rich and very famous. This attitude is so common that I accuse no one in particular by mentioning it, but I do want to underscore how serious it is to the soul. Also, as always, gossip kills three parties: the one whose reputation it injures, the one who propagates it, and the one who hears it. Second, in occupying the attention of the media, such reports serve to clog the airways and prevent us from receiving the real news about what is happening in the world. All serious journalists must cringe to see report after report about Britney Spears while truly grave and terrible things happening around the world every day get pushed to the back page of the paper. We should cringe too. However, we should also take action!

Here is my proposed plan of attack: Refuse to buy any publication that has celebrity gossip on the front page or in a prominent place (I assume that everyone here already avoids tabloids and entertainment/celebrity magazines). If you happen to be watching the news on television and a report about a celebrity comes on, change the channel. Never click on any link or online advertisement having to do with a celebrity. If people are talking about such reports, try to change the subject (in a charitable way, of course). Pass this message on to your friends. I know this problem is so widespread that it seems naive to think we could make a difference in the U.S. entertainment culture, but I think it's worth it to make an attempt. We have to build a culture of life!

What do y'all think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Meanwhile, on the home front...

Yum yum.

The Associated PressMONCKS CORNER, S.C. -
An alligator bit a 59-year-old man's arm off Sunday at a Lake Moultrie recreation area, officials said.
Bill Hedden, 59, was in critical condition at the Medical University of South Carolina. His arm, retrieved from the belly of the alligator after wildlife officers shot it, was on ice while doctors evaluated whether it could be reattached, said Bill Salisbury, Berkeley County Rescue Squad captain.
Wildlife officials said it was one of the worst gator attacks in the state, but no one saw it except the victim.
Hedden stumbled into a party of picnickers with his arm missing and blood gushing from his wound. Five nurses were among those at the gathering and put ice on his wound and kept him awake until paramedics could arrive.
Jerome Bien followed the man's trail of blood to the shore, where he saw the gator with victim's arm in its jaw. "He was just smiling at me," Bien said.
Department of Natural Resources officers showed up later and shot the animal, which was nearly 12-feet long and weight about 550 pounds. The officers cut the gator open and removed the man's arm, which was bagged, put in an ice cooler and rushed to the hospital with a police escort.
"The arm, surprisingly, was not chewed up like you would think it would be," Salisbury said.
A hospital spokeswoman said medical laws prohibited her from discussing Hedden's treatment.
There have been no confirmed deaths involving an alligator attack, state wildlife officials say.
"To my knowledge this is the worst case scenario we've had in the state," said Sam Chappelear, wildlife regional coordinator for the state Natural Resources Department. He said it's rare to see an alligator so large.
Officials think Hedden was snorkeling when he was attacked. "Basically until we talk to him, no one knows exactly what happened," Chappelear said.
Bien said the man's arm was completely torn off. "He was bleeding bad," Bien said. "His arm was clean off the socket."

The report in our local paper added that despite all this, the man "was in high spirits."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bitterness in Italy

Wowzers. Talk about a frigid reaction.

NAPLES - He is known as the bishop of tolerance. Of immigrants. Of deprived persons. He has opened diocesan structures for Muslims to say their Friday prayers, and Ukrainian/Moldavian Orthodox to use for their worship.
But now he has prohibited the celebration of the 1962 Mass restored as of September 14 by Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.
With a telephone call, Mons. Raffaele Nogaro ordered the rector of the Shrine of Sant'Anna in Caserta, Don Giovanni Battista Gionti, to stop the Mass he was planning to celebrate at 8 p.m. today.
"This case has nothing to do with tolerance," Nogaro said later.
"The Mass in Latin is a distortion of religious fact. Not even university professors who teach Latin pray in Latin. It is not an appropriate instrument for establishing a true relationship with God. To help people to pray is an honorable effort. That is what I try to do in allowing the Tent of Abraham to be used by Muslims and the chapel next to the Cathedral, to be used by the Orthodox.
"But to assail the faithful with sacred images, theatrical choreography and esthetic embellishments does the opposite. The faithful should be offered something valid and educational, not an occasion for disorientation. In short, murmuring prayers in Latin is good for nothing."
Strong words. A clear dissociation from Pope Benedict XVI's decree regarding the traditional Mass.
"The authority for the theological, liturgical and moral correctness of a diocese is the bishop," Nogaro continued, "even if the Pope has decreed an opening in favor of other rites. I am the only bishop in Campania who has asserted this so far to control the application of the Papal decree.
"Besides, the request of 30-40 persons is not sufficient in order for the traditional Mass to be celebrated. The parish priest is obliged to report it to his bishop. And I was never informed."
In his sacristy, Don Gionti is surrounded by many of those who had requested him for the traditional Mass, and is visibly disconcerted: "I will obey the bishop," he said, "even if this loses us the occasion for a liturgical experience that is important for our community, many of whom requested this. I considered it an experiment, certainly not a replacement for the post-Conciliar Mass.
"I think a priest should respond to a request by his congregation. But the bishop has ordered me to suspend the scheduled Mass, telling me that this would create a dangerous precedent. Though I still do not understand what danger he means."
In short, the Caserta case is everything but "Nulla veritas sine traditione" (Nothing is true outside tradition) as the followers of St. Pius V love to quote.
Fr. Louis Demornex, who studied at the Collegio Russium of Rome and has been the traditionalist parish priest of the Aulpi-Corigliani district in Sessa Auruna near Casertano, commented: "The Tridentine rite is not 'democratic' but for more than a millennium, it was the backbone of the Church. By destroying a traditional valid form of teh mass, one is tearing down the Church itself. The Pope knows this and that is why he issued this decree."
Nogaro, while protesting that he did not wish to be involved in any controversy, said further: "(Celebrating the traditional Mass) is like watching a statue passing in procession and simply admiring its artistic beauty. One cannot say that this is an act of faith or an occasion to inspire spirituality. This is what happens if we communicate in a language which no one knows at all, no one uses anymore, no one understands. The practice has nothing to do with the faith and someone must speak out on what the common thinking is about this."


Saturday, September 15, 2007

For your consideration

Do any of you agree or disagree with the following statement:

"The Church has a philosophy that she canonizes in preference to others."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Benedict XVI in Austria

Happy feast day!

A few words from our Holy Father:

Today as in the past, it is not enough to be more or less like everyone else and to think like everyone else. Our lives have a deeper purpose. We need God, the God who has shown us his face and opened his heart to us: Jesus Christ. Saint John rightly says of him that only he is God and rests close to the Father’s heart [cf. John i, 18); thus only he, from deep within God himself, could reveal God to us – reveal to us who we are, from where we come and where we are going.

Certainly, there are many great figures in history who have had beautiful and moving experiences of God. Yet these are still human experiences, and therefore finite. Only he [Christ] is God and therefore only he is the bridge that brings God and man together. So if we call him the one universal Mediator of salvation, valid for everyone and, ultimately, needed by everyone, this does not mean that we despise other religions, nor are we arrogantly absolutizing our own ideas; on the contrary, it means that we are gripped by him who has touched our hearts and lavished gifts upon us, so that we, in turn, can offer gifts to others.

In fact, our faith is decisively opposed to the attitude of resignation that considers man incapable of truth – as if this were more than he could cope with. This attitude of resignation with regard to truth lies at the heart of the crisis of the West, the crisis of Europe. If truth does not exist for man, then neither can he ultimately distinguish between good and evil. (Pope Benedict XVI, Mariazell, September 8, 2007)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Grad school?

Hi everyone. We all seem to be pretty busy lately. It's amazing what law school and a full time job have done to the writers of long political posts :)
Anyway, as some of you may know, I'm planning on leaving my hotel job and moving to Front Royal. A number of circumstances have led me to believe God is pushing me in a different direction than the hotel industry. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what yet. I'm thinking I'd like to work at a Catholic school or organization. Or maybe go to grad school.
So, the point of this post is to ask if anyone has any suggestions or knows of a place that I might look for a Catholic job. Right now, I'm feeling adventurous, and open to going anywhere in the country.
Gracia, amici. You are all in my prayers.