Friday, December 31, 2004

The Final Rerum Novarum Update for 2004:

Though a lot could be said in prefacing this update, I will save noting the details for now and relegate them to a footnote for those who are interested.{1} As is customary for this process, all main categories will be in bold bont and underlined while all subcategories will be merely noted and underlined. Any changes to the category names will be noted as such.

The first addition in this update that is worth noting is the new quote in the side margin. Joining the quote attributed to GK Chesterton (added August 30, 2002) and the one from Arthur Jones (added September 8, 2003) is one from Mike Mentzer. The latter was a pupil of Jones and was (and to some extent still is) someone to whom I owe a good degree of credit for how I have approached various subject matters over the years. (Albeit with varying degrees of explicit recognition of this on my part in that time span.) It is difficult to parse his longer cogitations down into quotable tidbits but I have done this with the following paragraph which now adorns the side margin of Rerum Novarum just above the extended archives list:

[W]hat I observed [with other people] was abject conformity and the desperate desire for the safety of will-less passivity. Not passivity of the body, but passivity of the mind...They were either unwilling or unable to think beyond the confines established by the pack...They lead blighted lives, bereft of any interest in science, philosophy, morality or art...They were merely passing through existence, as cultural ballast, individuals that never looked up, held nothing sacred; while I and others seeking to achieve the ideal were righteously doing what truly, in logic and reality, was of fundamental importance. [Michael J. Mentzer]

From this point onward, my comments will be in purple font.

Weblog Special Reports, Commemorations, Retrospectives, Miscellaneous Stuff, Etc.:

This category has been renamed slightly and broadened a bit to include posts which do not easily fit into any of the other categories for one reason or another. Links added in previous weblog updates (which have been reclassified to other categories in this update) will henceforth be noted with ### marks around them.

Guest Editorial on September 11, 2001 From A New Yorker's Perspective (Written by Bill Bannon; Prefatory Comments by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

Guest Editorial on Public Morality Viz. Legalization of Drugs (Written by Albert Cipriani; Prefatory Comments by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

The above two threads are being added at this time from the archives in this update because (i) it is important that we not forget the genesis of the current war on terror and (ii) the role of "public morality": something that has been on my mind more than normal as of late.

###Personality Profile of Rerum Novarum [>>>]

###Musings on Cigar Preferences [>>>]

###"Turn Back the Clock" Dept. [>>>]

Miscellaneous Evening Musings on CBS, the Alternative Media, Church History and Tim Enloe, Etc. (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Guest Editorial on the War on Terror (Written by Charles M. de Nunzio; Prefatory Comments by I. Shawn McElhinney) [>>>]

In Remembrance of Gerard Serafin [>>>]

In Remembrance of Louis Bouyer [>>>]

Musings on the Fight Game [>>>]

I have also removed at this time the public status from the Rerum Novarum Comments BLOG because I have not had the time to utilize it as I initially intended to. Whether I am able to do so in the future or not will remain to be seen but right now it has been excised from the margin links.

My Political/Social Musings:

On Political/Social Subjects in General

On Chris Matthews, Michelle Malkin, and John F -word Kerry (Dialogue With Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

More on Chris Matthews and John F-word Kerry, Etc. (Dialogue With Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on the Mainstream Media (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Threads For Viewing [>>>]

"My Kingdom for a Viable Third Party" Dept. [>>>]

"My Kingdom For a Viable Third Party" Dept. Redux [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on the Patriot Act and Legislative Reform (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Threads Worth Noting (Plus Some Commentary) [>>>]

On the Blogosphere and the Influence of Alternative Media on Current and Future Elections [>>>]

On the US Constitution and the Fundamental Rights of Man

Notations on Long and Short Term Approaches to Dealing With the Problems of Judicial Activism [>>>]

On the Supreme Court and the Nomination of Judges (An Audio Post) [>>>]

On the Pro-Life Issue and the Myopic Vision of Many Pro-Life Advocates [>>>]

Election Ecumenical Jihad and Voting Principles for Restoring Our Society [>>>]

The Fundamental Rights of Man Revisited [>>>]

"Culture of Life and Fundamental Rights" Dept. [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on the Hypocrisy of So-Called Liberal "Tolerance" (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on Bill O'Reilly and the Liberal Media (An Audio Post) [>>>]

On Political Election Topics

On the False Notion of "Equal Weight" Catholic Voting Issues [>>>]

On the Mainstream Media and Liberal Inbreeding [>>>]

Miscellaneous Morning Musings on Rathergate (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Briefly on Hanoi John Kerry, the First Debate, and What President Bush Needs to Do in the Second Debate [>>>]

On the Second Debate [>>>]

Miscellaneous Notes on the Election and Campaign Strategies in General (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on Elections and Voting (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Threads Worth a Read [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on the Election (An Audio Post) [>>>]

"Anybody But Bush" Dept. [>>>]

A Brief Rerum Novarum Commentary on the Notion That a Kerry-Edwards Presidency Would Really Result in the "Stronger America" That They Claim on Their Campaign Signs [>>>]

"Election Update" Dept. [>>>]

Briefly on the Supposed "Tora Bora Faux Paus" of the Bush Administration [>>>]

A Rerum Novarum Election Night Live Report (An Audio Post) [>>>]

"Orwellian Doublespeak" Dept. [>>>]

Miscellaneous Notes on the Upcoming Rerum Novarum Post-Election Commentary and on the Secretary of State for the Second Bush Term (An Audio Post) [>>>]

A Rerum Novarum Post-Election Commentary, Development of Some Key November 2002 Post-Election Observations, Etc. [>>>]

"Grand Theft Auto Election" Dept. [>>>]

A Reluctant Rerum Novarum Prediction that Has Unfortunately Come True [>>>]

"Grand Theft Election" (The Saga Continues) [>>>]

On the Recent War and War in General

On the Media's Treatment of the Breslin Hostage Situation (An Audio Post) [>>>]

On the Breslin Hostage Situation and its Aftermath [>>>]

Briefly on the Founding Fathers and Propagandistic Uses of Their Words by AntiWar Activists [>>>]

The Problems With Terrorists and Terrorism According to a Muslim [>>>]

Some September 11th Recollections: (A Recapitulation Thread From Rerum Novarum and Other Weblogs) [>>>]

The Iraq/Al Queda Connection, WMD's, Etc. [>>>]

Reflections on the Most Recent Beheadings and the War on Terror --Part I (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Reflections on the Most Recent Beheadings and the War on Terror --Part II (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Briefly on the Vatican Diplomatic Corps and the War in Iraq [>>>]

Bridging Reason and Faith: My Philosophical/Ethical Musings:

The above is a new general classification for posts with subject matter that does not neatly fit into either the political/social or the theological general classifications. Within this new general classification are two subcategories -one of which has been transferred to this spot with all its previous posts and another which is newly created and to which posts in other more general subcategories have been reassigned. Posts added in past updates which were reassigned to either of the two categories in this new classification will be noted with ### markers. Those not marked as such are new additions in this weblog update.

Particular Philosophical Subjects

###Canada "Slouches Towards Gommorah" (A "PG-13" Weblog Post) [>>>]

###On Polarizing Views [>>>]

###An Argumentation Fallacy [>>>]

###On the Pope, Moral Principles, the UN, and Stephen Hand [>>>]

###An Activist Call Against the "Morning After" Pill [>>>]

###A Brief Digression on the "Scylla/Charbydis" Conundrum of American Political Parties, Etc. [>>>]

"Argumentation Fallacy" Dept. [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on State Taxes and Buying Highly Taxed Goods Out of State (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on War and Disarmarment --Part I (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on War and Disarmarment --Part II (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Some More Notes on Dignitatis Humanae [>>>]

On the Double Effect Principle in Ethical Argumentation [>>>]

Of or Pertaining to 'Progressivist' Philosophies (Falsely So-Called)

This is the new subcategory added to this main category.

###My Kingdom for a Viable Third Party [>>>]

###On US Foreign Policy [>>>]

###"Lie to Me" Dept. [>>>]

###On The Political Double Standard [>>>]

###The Canard of Conservatives Being "Opposed to Progress" [>>>]

###On "Traditionalism", "Antisemitism", and Mel Gibson: (A Response to the Constant Criticisms of Bill Cork) [>>>]

###Saddam Hussein and a Political "See I Told You So" [>>>]

###Some Key Evidence of Democratic Demagogery and Self-Destruction (Aka "Reductionum ad Hitlerum" Dept.) [>>>]

###On So-Called "Gay Marriage" (Dialogue With Pete Vere) [>>>]

###Miscellaneous Morning Musings (on The Passion of the Christ) [>>>]

###Briefly on The Passion of the Christ [>>>]

###The Logical Fallacy of the "Communist-Fascist" Political Spectrum Theory [>>>]

###Miscellaneous Mutterings on the Mental Disorder of Liberalism, Political Propaganda, Etc. (An Audio Post) [>>>]

###Evidences Against the "Right Wing Media Conspiracy" Theory [>>>]

More on Extreme Ideologies [>>>]

A September 11th Confutation of Extremist Liberal Canards Viz. the War on Terror [>>>]

Miscellaneous Musings on the Mainstream Media (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Musings on the Presidential Debate, the War on Terror, "Weisbach's Theorem", Etc --Part I (An Audio Post) [>>>]

Musings on the Presidential Debate, the War on Terror, "Weisbach's Theorem", Etc --Part II (An Audio Post) [>>>]

On Liberal So-Called "Tolerance" and Claiming To "Oppose Hateful Stereotypes" [>>>]

"Post-Election Potpourri" Dept. [>>>]

Miscellaneous Thoughts on the 9/11 Commission, the Bush Administration Appointees, and Two Examples of Blatant So-Called "Progressivist" Double Standards (An Audio Post) [>>>]

My Theological Musings:

On the Mystery of the Church

Because one of the elements of the mystery of the Church involves the Jews and the covenant God made with them, I have decided to reclassify all threads on this subject under the aforementioned subheading for greater exactness in categorization.

Musings on the Reflections on Covenant and Mission Document Controversy [>>>]

The above link was never posted in a previous weblog update. I am however adding it at this time to provide a bit of prefatory context to the later threads on this subject which were added in previous updates (and which are being reclassified to this subcategory after it in sequential order).

###On Reflections on Covenant and Mission (With Christopher Blosser) [>>>]

###On The Controversy of the Unrevoked Old Covenant [>>>]

###More on the Unrevoked Covenant [>>>]

On the Second Vatican Council

This category has been abrogated and all contents thereof have been transferred to the category titled On Church Authority Topics.

On Church Authority Topics

###Gaudium et Spes vs. the Unlearned and Unstable (Parts I and II) [>>>]

###The Levels of Council Authority (With Mark Cameron) [>>>]

###Commentary on Canon Law 747-755 [>>>]

###Musings on the Ordinary Magisterium [>>>]

###Briefly On the Canon of Scripture [>>>]

###Discussion List Musings on Common Problematical Catholic Approaches to the Ordinary Magisterium [>>>]

###Clarification on the Dogmatic/Pastoral Distinction [>>>]

###On the Supreme Magisterium [>>>]

###On Principles of Interpretation [>>>]

###Piercing the Catholic Veil [>>>]

###More on the Canon of Scripture [>>>]

###Points to Ponder From Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh (Parts I-IV) [>>>]

On Church History Topics

On Historical Figures, Development of Doctrine, and Briefly on Different Views of Historical People and Events: (Dialogue With Tim Enloe) [>>>]

On 'Traditionalism' (Falsely So-Called)

###A Discourse on Leisure [>>>]

On Deal Hudson and Christopher Ferrara Esq. (Dialogue With Greg Mockeridge) [>>>]

On 'Traditionalism' (Properly So-Called)

###"The Kenotic Husband" and "Wifely Submission" Subjects (Rerum Novarum vs. El Camino Real) [>>>]

###On Limbo, Nature, Grace, and Related Tidbits [>>>]

###On Theological and Liturgical Ressourcement, 'Traditionalist' Schools of Thought, Abortion, and Other Subjects (Dialogue With Kevin Tierney and Pete Vere) [>>>]

###On Adoption in the Spirit (With Apolonio Latar III) [>>>]

###Briefly on NFP and a Unique Contribution to the Arena of Ideas [>>>]

More on the Nature and Grace Controversy [>>>]

On 'Progressivism' (Falsely So-Called)

###Responding to Some Declarations of Brian Tierney (Parts I-III) [>>>]

On Certain Controverted "Hotpoint" Theological Subjects

This category has been renamed slightly.

###For Those Who Bemoan Architectural Wreckovations: Help Restore A Landmark [>>>]

On Other Controverted Subjects

On Deal Hudson and Handling Public Scandal [>>>]

More on the New "Boston Heresy" Case [>>>]

Shawn Tested, Shawn Approved* Catholic Weblogs:

Most Frequently Read and Recommended

There have been some defections from this category -mainly because (i) my reading time has been limited in the past year plus, (ii) some of those who used to blog with greater regularity (whom I read regularly) now blog more sparingly, and (iii) as such, they needed to be moved down in the "pecking order" for that reason. In truth, there is not really a "pecking order" of sorts except that I read certain weblogs often, others less often, and others still only on occasion for various and sundry reasons: and that is why I categorize the St. Blog's sites I list in three categories as I do. (Which blogs I read more frequently than others depends a lot on my moods and what I happen to want to read at a given point in time but I digress.)

Additional Highly Recommended (And Oft-Perused) Catholic Weblogs

###Jeanetta's De Fidei Oboedientia BLOG [>>>]

The above weblog is reclassified because Jeanetta's updating frequency appears to have slipped a bit in recent months.

###Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It BLOG [>>>]

Mark has basically taken a sabbatical so he will not be doing updates anytime soon.

Occasional Catholic Weblog Reads Also Well Worth Mentioning

###The Curmudgeon's Disturber of the Peace Institute BLOG [>>>]

###Chris Burgwald's Veritas BLOG [>>>]

###Dr. Philip Blosser's Scripture and Catholic Tradition BLOG [>>>]

The above weblogs were reclassified because of not being updated very frequently in the past four months.

The weblogs which were regrettably dropped from the scroll included the Dale and Heather Price Love Honour and BLOG and Greg Mockeridge's Musings of the Armchair Theologian BLOG. The reason in both cases was a lack of updating for over four months. (This is my new policy for regulating weblogs listed starting with this update.) When I install a blogroller feature at Rerum Novarum, I will be able to throw in these kinds of weblogs and know when they are updated. Until then, the approach will be manual from update to update.

St. Blog's Hall of Fame

###Gerard Serafin's A Catholic BLOG for Lovers [>>>]

Basically, this is an excuse on my part to reclassify Gerard Serafin's weblog. His website has been among my favourites for years and I enjoyed his weblog as well -though in recent months I have been lax in my usual reads admittedly. Nonetheless, his weblog makes my personal St. Blog's Hall of Fame. May Gerard rest in peace and may the archives of his sites continue to provide profitable musings for all.

Approved* Weblogs and Websites of a Predominantly
Political Nature:

The Diplomad BLOG [>>>]

Ecumenical Jihad Approved* Websites and Weblogs:

Dr. Philip Blosser's Philosophia Perennis BLOG [>>>]

General Magisterial Texts:

Fides et Ratio Encyclical Letter on the Relationship Between Faith and Reason (Pope John Paul II) [>>>]

And of course as each and every one of these adjustments meets with the approval of the Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum, they are henceforth instituted in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


{1} Go HERE for more details if you are interested.

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Prelude to the Latest Rerum Novarum Update:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

As this will be the first update since late August, the four month time span means that it will be larger update than the norm for that reason alone.{1} However, this is going to be more than a mere updating of the weblog but it is also a structural reconfiguration of sorts. The problem with any kind of categorization is that eventually it fails to serve its originally intended purpose because of the connexions of so many different general subject threads that permeate different posts. The old structures set up for that purpose had become obsolete in some respects and were therefore in need of being reconfigured: a process that made this update much more difficult to execute than the standard "plug the posts into a general category and the appropriate subcategory" kind of update that is normally how things of this sort are executed.

To digress a bit on what has brought the subject classication system of Rerum Novarum to where it is as of this writing, it bears noting that originally, Rerum Novarum was created primarily as a means for me to muse on whatever I wanted to without the kind of dichotomistic restrictions common to virtually all forms of internet communication. After years of involvement in various mediums, the restrictions on subject matter (among other things) became simply unbearable to me. I have as much freedom in this medium as I could possibly want -and that will increase when I install moveable type in early 2005.{2}

As this weblog has grown, the manner whereby some of its contents (reflected in the side margin of links) have been categorized has likewise developed to accomodate some degree of organization of the subject matter. The original categories were by whatever the particular subdivision happened to be. As this quickly became a mess to navigate, a more expansive system was conceived which divided the subjects into two general categories ("my theological musings", "my political musings"). From there "political musings" was expanded to include "political/social musings" since the two so often intersected in what I was writing about and the mere categorization of things as "political" was woefully inaccurate.

Furthermore, as I began deciding to codify some of the logical principles that guide my pondering on various issues, each general category begin having various subcategories added until finally (around mid 2003), I added a more general category "on other controverted subjects" (at the bottom of the theological musings main heading) which basically became the dumping ground for any post with theological material in it that I could not easily classify in other ways. Shortly after that time, I added a "general political/social subjects" category under the political/social main heading for the same purpose in the other major category. Over time, these two subcategories became a dense forest of posts dumped in them when I had very little time (or inclination) to place them more appropriately.

I did make an effort earlier this year to address the structural problems of this weblog{3}; however the end result of that endeavour was a revised structural format that was obsolete virtually from the moment it was utilized. As a result of the aforementioned clutter of diverse subjects in more generalized categories, when I was reviewing the subject threads back in early November (when the process of composing this update began), it was evident to me that the old structure was not adequate anymore. There was also the issue of various posts which had more of a philosophical thrust to them than anything theological or political and therefore were not adequately done justice with their classification in either of the major categories previously used.

In short, the threads were in a mess and I had no time to tend to them properly for quite some time. The current update necessitated several changes to the structure including (i) the creation of a third major category to bridge the previous two, (ii) the creation of subcategories for the new main category, (iii) the combination of other subcategories together where the originally intended separation never achieved its intended purpose, (iv) the elimination of some subcategories, and the renaming to some degree of some of the existing subcategories. All of this was to set the stage for (v) reclassifying numerous posts clumped into the two "miscellaneous" categories into other subcategories as well as (vi) some of the posts put under other subcategories previously. And of course all of this had to be done prior to (vii) categorizing the new weblog additions intended for this update.

Now I had always had other main categories for miscellaneous stuff as well (i.e. "other approved sites or links of interest", "approved weblogs and websites of a predominantly political nature", etc.) but with my weblog posts there was always the two main categories -though eventually some posts begin finding their way into the other areas as well. That tendency has not changed though I did reformulate slightly the heading of the first main category where posts are sometimes categorized to make putting oddball posts (or posts without a viably delineated category to them) somewhere. And while some of this "post dumping" will still be inevitable in the future, I hope that the new structural reconfiguration will significantly mitigate against it to a much greater degree than was previously the case under the old format. Nonetheless, without further ado, onto the update which can be viewed HERE.


{1} It has been my norm to try and update the weblog roughly every two months.

{2} Which is roughly a year behind schedule but better late in that regard than never I suppose.

{3} Weblog Restructuring Ideas Currently Under Consideration (circa April 12, 2004)

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

On the Double Effect Principle in Ethical Argumentation:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The ethical principle of double effect is a key concept within the Catholic tradition for distinguishing the permissibility or impermissibility of certain actions which have a degree of questionable association to them. As the application of this principle is primarily one that comes up in moral/ethical situations -and as it is at the foundation of how I approach more complex subject matter- it seems appropriate to note it at this time as a way of helping navigate some of the arguments being propounded in modern society for the support or rejection of various concepts. One of several sources I have on double effect defines it as follows:

A rule of conduct frequently used in moral theology to determine when a person may lawfully perform an action from which two effects will follow, one bad, and the other good.

The following are taken from the New Catholic Encyclopedia as conditions for double effect to be legitimately performed. Two common situations that present themselves -one natural and one supernatural- will be weaved throughout the enunciation of these principles so that the manner of properly applying this principle can be more readily ascertained. The natural act will be surgery on a pregnant woman who happens to have cancer of the uterus and the supernatural will involve whether or not people of different religions can pray in the presence of one another without compromising the principle that truth is unitary by nature. Without further ado, the principles which must be met for double effect will be posted in darkblue with my comments on each point interspersed.

The act itself must be morally good or at least indifferent.

The basic premise here is that the act itself cannot be morally bad. It must either be good by its very nature or at least indifferent. Otherwise, any good effect obtained would be by virtue of an evil action and thus violate the ethical principle of "the end cannot justify the means": a core principle for sustaining any presumed code of moral behaviour in society.

Having noted that, it seems appropriate to consider a couple of examples and how they would cohere within the matrix of the points we are about to consider. The first example will be one from the natural sphere and the second will be more religious in orientation and thus qualify as a "supernatural" example. For the natural example, consider a pregnant woman with cancer of the uterus. While inducing an abortion is a violation of the fundamental right of life, at the same time, if the abortion is induced as a result of surgery to remove cancer from the pregnant woman and not positively willed, then the act itself (preservation of the woman's life) is morally good despite having an accompanying bad effect (the death of the fetus). So with the natural example we are providing, the first principle for proper utilization of the double effect is sustained.

With the supernatural example, let us consider prayer in obedience to the dictates of one's conscience and convictions. This is a natural good and in accordance with what has traditionally been called "natural law." According to Christian principles, those who do not have the Law yet do what the Law requires witness to the Law as written on their hearts (cf. Romans ii). For that reason, point one with regards to the supernatural example is easily sustained for a legitimate application of the principle of double effect.

The agent may not positively will the bad effect but may merely permit it. If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect, he should do so. The bad effect is sometimes said to be indirectly voluntary.

It would transgress the guidelines of charity to presume (without an external manifestation to the contrary) that with the natural example, a doctor performing such an operation on a pregnant woman with cancer would positively will the death of the fetus. However, obviously he would have to permit it (or indirectly tolerate it), ergo the natural example withstands scrutiny on this point.

With regards to the supernatural example, it would likewise transgress the guidelines of charity to presume (again, without an external manifestation to the contrary) that a person who invited someone of a different faith to pray in accordance with the dictates of their concience was positively willing the bad effect that would accompany the natural good of prayer. (If the other person in question was praying to what the inviting party would see as a false conception of "God.") Likewise, even if there was no positive willing of the accompanying bad effect, it obviously would have to be indirectly tolerated. Having noted this, we can move onto considering if the good effects sought could be achieved without a corresponding bad effect taking place.

Essentially the doctor would have to be able to successfully remove the cancer from the pregnant woman's uterus without it adversely effecting the fetus. The likelihood of achieving this in the scenario we are outlining is (of course) virtually nil; ergo, the natural example is sustained under the second criteria for a legitimate application of double effect methodology.

With the supernatural example, a common argument in certain religious circles involves interfaith gatherings for specific purposes. As a target of a number of these critics is the pope, an example of him inviting to prayer a diverse mosaic of people of varying religious beliefs can be seen as one of the largest manifestations of this principle. As some undoubtedly are aware, the pope invited theists from every conceivable stripe to Assisi in 1986 and also in 2001 to pray for peace. To resolve the supernatural example (of someone inviting another of differing beliefs to pray according to their conscience), we need to ask if this could be resolved in another way and answer in the negative for the principle of double effect to apply here.

Another way of saying it is this: essentially the Pope would have to be able to succeed in showing moral solidarity with all theists against an increasingly secularist and defacto agnostic/atheistic world and promote good and charitable conduct amongst them (through manifesting externally their heartfelt concern for all of humanity through prayer) without these people praying to an erroneous conception of God. As it is not possible to reach the eastern mind through verbal formularies and propositional proofs,{1} the good effect intended cannot be attained without the accompanying bad effect taking place too. As a result, the bad effect is *indirectly* voluntary in the process and thus permissible according to traditional Catholic ethical principles. Ergo, the second point for "double effect" is sustained in both of its premises with both the natural example and also the supernatural one.

The good effect must flow from the action at least as immediately (in the order of causality, though not necessarily in the order of time) as the bad effect. In other words, the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. Otherwise, the agent would be using a bad means to a good end, which is never allowed.

With the natural example, the saving of the mother's life would be the good effect and it would flow from the operation and would be produced directly by the surgery. The bad effect (death of the fetus) would not be directly produced by the action but instead be an indirect effect from the surgery which would be a positive good. For that reason, the natural example we are considering continues to be sustained under the criteria of the principle of double effect.

With the supernatural example we are considering, prayer for the good-will of others out of a concern for them is a foundational act of charity - a "spiritual work of mercy"{2} if you will. In the prayer of Assisi's participants, the good effect flows from the action. However, in the case of some of Assisi's participants, a corresponding bad effect is a consequence of their noble actions essentially, not the source from which the good effect is obtained.

Another way of saying it is as follows: the bad effect is an effect of the good effect which is the cause. If it could be shown that the bad effect was directly intended then an argument could be made that this point is not sustainable. However, that would involve passing judgment on the intentions of the Christian participants in a non-charitable way. As someone interpreting this event charitably would have to admit that the pope and other participants did not positively will the bad effect -though they probably were able to foresee the bad effect in the overall matrix of contingent factors- the idea of the bad effect being willed to produce the good effect is ruled out and (for that reason), point three is sustained with our supernatural example as well. That leaves only one more point to consider in assessing the categorization of these situations under the principle of double effect.

The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect. In forming this decision many factors must be weighed and compared, with care and prudence proportionate to the importance of the case. Thus, an effect that benefits or harms society generally has more weight than one that affects only an individual; an effect sure to occur deserves greater consideration than one that is only probable; an effect of a moral nature has greater importance than one that deals only with material things.

With the natural example, we would be striving to save the life of the mother which would be a sufficient reason for allowing the bad effect (death of the fetus) to take place. So our natural example succeeds in fulfilling all four criteria for a valid utilization of the principle of double effect. All that remains at this time is to consider if our supernatural example also passes this point of examination (and thus can likewise be qualified).

If we are dealing with a private gathering where different people of different religions pray before undertaking a particular venture,{3} we have to consider a number of factors. As the Assisi prayer gathering for peace is possibly among the largest such embodiment of this concept that come to my mind, let us consider the fourth criteria in light of this event and see if it also is justifiable under the ethical principle of double effect.

What was dealt with here was (i) prayer in solidarity with other theists for peace in the world, (ii) the cultivation of the supernatural virtue of charity via the religious impulse of the participants, (iii) an opportunity for pre-evangelization,{4} and (iv) the breaking down of long-held hostilities towards Christians by the traditions of many of the participants involved. All of this constitutes positive effects from the endeavour.

The only real negatives from this endeavour were (i) the situation was open to some degree of misunderstanding by not a few parties and (ii) not all of the participants have what Christians would consider a fully orthodox conception of God. This is where the double-effect principle is most prevalent here: the pre-evangelization approach of Assisi is an attempt to proclaim Jesus Christ through having "legitimate recourse to the sentiments of the human heart" (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi §51).{5} As this is a backdoor way of inculcating in the participating parties the theological virtue of charity, the positives by far outweigh the negatives and the fourth point is therefore easily sustained.

Of these four conditions the first two are general rules of morality. A person is never allowed to perform a morally bad action. Nor may one ever positively will an evil effect of an action, even though the act would otherwise be lawful...The third and fourth conditions enumerated above pertain specifically to the principle of the double effect.

Of our two examples in this post (the natural example and the supernatural one), all of the required criterion for the double effect principle are present. And hopefully, this post{6} will help clarify this ethical principle and its applications to a variety of morally complex subjects for the benefit of the readers.


{1} A point I have noted in many an occasion in different forums and different contexts. The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained this in the following words:

"[I]t might be short-sightedness on our part to impose Aristotelian philosophy on the Eastern mind; that it would have been better to have gathered up the good religious aspirations of the Eastern people in the natural religions to bring them to Revelation. God is not proven to them; He is rather 'given.'" [Treasure in Clay pg. 146 (c. 1980)]

{2} The participants at Assisi prayed for peace in the world: a prayer directly involving all who are living. As prayer for the living and the dead is considered a "spiritual work of mercy" in the Catholic lexicon, my use of this terminology here is not unapt.

{3} A classic example here would be gathering together to eat whereby different people pray different prayers (albeit usually silently).

{4} I have explained this point elsewhere by referencing the following words:

The work of evangelization presupposes in the evangelizer an ever increasing love for those whom he is evangelizing. That model evangelizer, the Apostle Paul, wrote these words to the Thessalonians, and they are a program for us all: "With such yearning love we chose to impart to you not only the gospel of God but our very selves, so dear had you become to us."{1 Thess 2:8; cf. Phil 1:8.} What is this love? It is much more than that of a teacher; it is the love of a father; and again, it is the love of a mother.{Cf. 1 Thess 2:7-11; 1 Cor 4:15; Gal 4:19.} It is this love that the Lord expects from every preacher of the Gospel, from every builder of the Church. A sign of love will be the concern to give the truth and to bring people into unity. Another sign of love will be a devotion to the proclamation of Jesus Christ, without reservation or turning back. Let us add some other signs of this love.

The first is respect for the religious and spiritual situation of those being evangelized. Respect for their tempo and pace; no one has the right to force them excessively. Respect for their conscience and convictions, which are not to be treated in a harsh manner.

Another sign of this love is concern not to wound the other person, especially if he or she is weak in faith,{Cf. 1 Cor 8:9-13; Rom 14:15.} with statements that may be clear for those who are already initiated but which for the faithful can be a source of bewilderment and scandal, like a wound in the soul.

Yet another sign of love will be the effort to transmit to Christians not doubts and uncertainties born of an erudition poorly assimilated but certainties that are solid because they are anchored in the Word of God. The faithful need these certainties for their Christian life; they have a right to them, as children of God who abandon themselves entirely into His arms and to the exigencies of love. [Pope Paul VI: Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi §79 (December 8, 1975)]

Pope John Paul II made his views of the importance of this document known a number of times including in the following words:

Ten years after the Council, the Synod of Bishops on the theme of evangelization was convened. It bore fruit in the apostolic exhortation of Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi. It is not an encyclical, but in its great importance it perhaps surpasses many encyclicals. It can be considered the interpretation of the Council's teaching on the essential duty of the Church: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" [Pope John Paul II: "What is the 'New Evangelization'" from the book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (c. 1994)]

{5} Here is the full context of the excerpt:

To reveal Jesus Christ and His Gospel to those who do not know them has been, ever since the morning of Pentecost, the fundamental program which the Church has taken on as received from her Founder. The whole of the New Testament, and in a special way the Acts of the Apostles, bears witness to a privileged and in a sense exemplary moment of this missionary effort which will subsequently leave its mark on the whole history of the Church.

She carries out this first proclamation of Jesus Christ by a complex and diversified activity which is sometimes termed "pre-evangelization" but which is already evangelization in a true sense, although at its initial and still incomplete stage. An almost indefinite range of means can be used for this purpose: explicit preaching, of course, but also art, the scientific approach, philosophical research and legitimate recourse to the sentiments of the human heart. [Pope Paul VI: Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi §51 (December 8, 1975)]

{6} By demomstrating how this principle can be applied to subjects with not only political and philosophical/ethical issues but also within theological dimensions and done in a perfectly consistent manner.

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"Grand Theft Auto Election" Dept.
(The Saga Continues)

It appears that We at Rerum Novarum will be proven correct in our premonition about the attempt to steal the election "count every vote" which was the mantra of the Washington Democrats -much as it was one of the talking points of them and various and sundry branches of idiotarians{1} who affiliate to some degree or another with that general weltanschauung.

Having reiterated that stance in recent days and (in light of the coming certification of Bonnie Parker Christine Gregoire as Washington State Governor-Elect, it seems appropriate outline a bit of the irregularities (to put it nicely) that have surrounded Washington's election for governor. For that we give credit to Sound Politics, a Washington based weblog which has been covering the election issues and doing a pretty good job of it in the opinion of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum.

As far as Dino Rossi's call for another election, I could support this idea with one caveat: the Republicans would have to fork over the money for a re-election just as the Democrats did for their heist "recount." I have heard that this would be about three or four million but if they can do it with the same kind of outside help that the Democrats in Washington State got for financing their heist "recount",{2} then let there be a re-election. If however they cannot do this (or balk at the idea of paying for a re-election), then they should learn from this situation and do better next time.

One thing they need to learn is that the Democrats will do anything no matter how low it happens to be to steal elections. They failed to steal Florida in 2000 and they also failed to steal Ohio in 2004. However, they have succeeded in stealing the governorship out here in Washington in 2004 my friends. Watch now as the likelihood increases that my predictions about the business climate worsening in Washington under the incompetence of a Parker Gregoire administration will come true. In the meantime, I leave you with seven offerings from Sound Politics for your perusal.

Conspicuous by its Absence: Media Scrutiny

But Will Every Vote Count?

Snohomish County's Numbers Don't Add Up

A Tale of Disenfranchisement

An Open Letter to Sec. of State Sam Reed

Two "Votes" Accounted For, 127 To Go.

Residence, Schmesidence


{1} Because I am in the mood to be nice, I will give the definition of this word as it has come to be applied in some branches of the blogosphere. Here it is courtesy of the Libertarians over at Samizdata:


noun. A term of abuse for an advocate of what are deemed to be irrationalist and subjectivist values that have very little reference to the workings of the real world. Idiotarians are often socialist (quintessentially Noam Chomsky), but can also be paleo-libertarian or paleo-conservative. The defining phrase of idiotarianism is "it is all the fault of the United States": this is usually applied to geopolitics but is sometimes encountered with regard to cultural issues, economic issues, environmental issues, the weather, socks lost in the laundry etc.

The term is obviously highly partisan but is in quite widespread use by many blogs. However it is not a term used exclusively by the neo-conservative 'right wing' and many well left of centre or libertarian blogs have used it describe the more surrealist wings of their particular branch of political thought.

Also see: Tranzi, Anti-idiotarian

And yes, as I would to some extent be accurately classified as an anti-idiotarian so here is the accepted definition of that term from Samizdata:


noun. Someone opposed to a whole raft of political values which are derived from a fundamentally irrational meta-context (world view). Anti-idiotarians can be found across a wide section of the political spectrum and are primarily characterised by vocal rational judgmentalism, generally hawkish sentiments and transcendent loathing of Noam Chomsky.

(coined by Charles Johnson)

Usage: "Like most anti-idiotarians I cannot but marvel as the sight of the Palestinian leadership forming yet another circular firing squad at the first grudging sign of reasonable behaviour by the Israeli government" - Perry de Havilland.

Also see: Idiotarian, Tranzi, Warblog

{2} And by "outside help" I refer to from the national Republican party and other state parties. (This is not an endorsement of the kinds of "fundraising" that the Clinton cabal pulled in the 1996 presidential campaign lest anyone wonder.)

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

2004: Fat Chicks, Good; Big Guys, Bad

In the above article, Debbie Schlussel editorializes on the illogic of those who support "fat women" but not "big men." I do not expect those to whom logic and consistency of argument is a foreign concept to recognize the blatant double standard involved here but for those who value logic and reason in argumentation, this article will be a reaffirming read in not a few ways.

Monday, December 27, 2004

"Musings on the Fight Game" Dept.

This is a post written some time ago in response to an email I received about the Rerum Novarum post located HERE. The words of the interlocutor will be in black font.



After reading your blog post on Rocky Marciano, I thought I would toss in my two cents.


He was a great fighter. Of that there is no doubt, but I still think Muhammad Ali was the greatest.

If by "greatest" you mean that Ali internationalized boxing to a degree it previously was not then I would agree. He did for boxing what Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan) did for professional wrestling in that regard. But frankly, I do not believe Ali was as tough as fighters from the earlier eras: men whose bodies were chisled from a rough life and from even rougher training methods if you will.

Not only was Ali one of the fastest, if not the fastest, heavyweight...

I would say top five fastest hands is a fair analysis. (How anyone could disagree with it is beyond me.) As far as feet goes, that is a tougher read but top ten overall among the heavyweights (and fastest of the 6' plus 210 pound plus fighters) is IMHO a safe bet.

not to mention being a master at psychologically picking apart his opponent, he was by far the toughest. Who else could have gotten his jaw busted in the first round, as he did in first fight with Ken Norton in 1971, and still go the distance.

I agree that this is tough but try fighting the better part of a decade without much in the way of meals as Jersey Joe Walcott did. (From about 1930 until 1940.) He did not have the most impressive of records but of his eleven losses in that time period, most of them were because he was on the verge of passing out from hunger in the ring. Of those losses where he was not food-deprived, he lost twice to Marciano, twice to Ezzard Charles, and twice to Joe Louis after that but there are caveats to many of those losses as well.

For example, no one (not even Louis) believed that Walcott lost their first fight...except the judges that is for some odd reason. In the second Louis fight, Walcott was comfortably ahead but decided to try for a knockout against Louis which was not smart. (As he was KO'ed in the eleventh round from trying to outpunch a puncher: much as Billy Conn lost his first fight to Louis for getting similarly greedy.) Walcott lost twice to Ezzard Charles after the latter was champion -the second of which he would have won if he was more aggressive from the start of the fight rather than attempting to rally late. (Whether he would have won the first fight is debatable.) This was revealed in the third fight where Walcott came out aggressive at the start and controlled the fight KO'ing Charles with his patented stealth left hook -a punch Charles never saw coming.{1}

Walcott foreshadowed Ali with the manner whereby he approached opponents: with crablike feints, backpeddling, and sudden striking right crosses and left hooks. I will deal with Charles in a moment but (in my opinion) virtually any black heavyweight of the 1930's through 1950's had it a lot rougher than Ali did outside of the ring. That translates to some degree within the ring too -indeed how can it not do so???

Ezzard Charles is another fighter who (like Walcott) rarely went to the wall as he was capable of doing but was also capable of taking a beating. In Charles' case it was because he once killed a man in the ring and it made him hesitant{2} -to a degree that he lost some fights he would have won if he was more aggressive. The Charles that fought Marciano twice was a rarely seen Charles: one with determination and purpose who studied his adversary closely for a year and a half and pinpointed weaknesses he sought to exploit. (Ala what Max Schmeling did prior to beating Joe Louis in their first fight.) The problem is, even doing this, Charles could not take out Rocky despite being one of the greatest scientific boxers who ever lived.

As far as Marciano goes, he had the biggest heart, the greatest stamina, powerful legs (from which he drew power for his punches), could absorb hellacious punishment like a sponge, and arguably had the hardest punch of any heavyweight who ever lived. Only Foreman, Tyson, Liston, Dempsey, Louis, Frazier, and Jeffries could legitimately be ranked with him and I know the first three could not maintain their power throughout the fight as Marciano could. (Though Joe Louis in his prime could as could Jack Dempsey.) As far as Dempsey's view of Marciano's punching power, he is quoted as noting the following about Marciano compared to himself and Joe Louis:

"I've scored my share of knockouts along the way, but more often than not my opponents got up after being knocked down and had to be knocked down repeatedly. The same is true of Joe Louis. But Marciano needs only one solid smash and it's all over. That's why I say Rocky Marciano is the hardest-hitting heavyweight champion I have seen." [Former Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey: Fight Magazine Fall Edition (c. 1953)]

That should suffice for dispatching with the first five. As for the others, I question Frazier's right hand and also whether or not he could sustain his power in fights that went the distance. As Marciano could (and did), to me that is the deciding factor in his favour. In the final analysis, only James Jeffries withstands scrutiny as he had power and could sustain that power much as Marciano could. From that standpoint, Marciano has one peer in this area as I see it. But Marciano's conditioning was superior overall to Jeffries and that IMHO gives him the edge when it comes to the subject of the heavyweights with the greatest punching power.

Although he lost that fight, it was an amazing feat in its own right. Nor do I think anyone else could have taken the kind of beating he took from George Foreman, arguably the hardest puncher in the history of professional boxing, in a 100+ degree heat and then knock him out in the 14th round.

You mean the eighth round. (It was Frazier who was KO'ed in the 14th in their third fight circa 1975.) Foreman had no stamina and Ali knew it. (He was like Liston in that regard.) The same could not be said of Marciano or many fighters of earlier eras like Louis, Dempsey, Jeffries, Walcott, Charles, LaStarza, Moore, Tunney, Johnson, Sullivan, etc. Marciano could not only hit a lot harder than Ali but he could outlast Ali in the ring which is no mean feat.{3} Frankly, if Ali tried to rope-a-dope Marciano he would have been knocked out and early in the fight at that.

Foreman could hit like a wrecking ball - indeed this is not even debatable. However, there is a lot more to it than just the punching power. There is also how they use that power and Foreman wasteda lot of energy and a lot of punches in the Ali fight: many of which missed and missed badly. Marciano was well conditioned enough to where that sort of approach could work but Foreman was not. Indeed, Foreman was not punching as hard in the middle rounds of that fight as he was in the earliest rounds -which brings up another subject altogether about Foreman the fighter and his relative ring intelligence in the early days.

The early Foreman (the one who fought Ali) was not a very intelligent fighter at that time. Marciano by contrast was intelligent in his own right in the ring -*far* more so than Foreman. Further still, Rocky had the brilliant strategist Charley Goldman in his corner{4} who would have deconstructed Ali's style in between rounds as he did other fighters Marciano faced. Foreman did not have such an ally in his corner. If he did, then I have no doubt he would have beaten Ali{5} provided that he actually *listened* to the cornerman{6} if the latter was of average grade. As far as Marciano goes, often his opponents explained their fights as "I was having my way until..." and from there explain the point where the wheels came off the cart for them.

The truth is, Marciano's style was a smothering one and only once in his career (the first Walcott fight) did he not set the pace for the fight or control the overall tempo.{7} Virtually none of his opponents (unlike Ali's) were ever the same after they fought him{8} -the cumulative effect of Rocky's pounding of the body and head took its toll on all of them. And that is despite the fact that Marciano missed with a lot of punches as well!!! You have to take weaknesses with strengths and a weakness of Marciano's approach was that he missed a lot and good boxers could make him look like an amateur at least some of the time. They could not however beat him as Marciano's record against some of the finest scientific boxers in history amply demomstrates.

The only significant name that sticks out at me of Ali's opponents prior to Liston who was good was Archie Moore. But Ali's TKO in the fourth in 1962 is not that impressive when you consider that Moore was anywhere from 45-59 at the time.{9} There is a reason why Ali was such a heavy underdog against Liston{10} in the first fight and it was because he had no one on his resume that was that impressive except Moore -but that was diluted significantly for reasons I have already noted.

As you brought up Foreman-Ali, it should be noted that the style of Ali's rope-a-dope was to get Foreman to punch himself out by throwing too many punches. (And by keeping enough distance between them where Foreman's blows would not have the effect they would have if Ali had let Foreman in closer: one reason why Foreman's blows were mitigated as to their effect against Ali to some extent.) This strategy worked with Foreman though I have long believed Foreman gave up in that fight and could have gone on but that is another subject altogether.{11}

Throughout his career, the purists always opined that Marciano would fall to some "scientific" or "polished" fighter or someone who "knew how to box." I see the same kinds of statements made today when people say Ali would have beaten Marciano. Frankly, I do not buy it even in Ali's case though I have no doubt it would have been a great fight if it ever could have taken place. But when Marciano was offered 1.4 million to fight Ali in 1965, he turned it down wisely because at 43 he would not have stood a chance in the boxing ring. But the Marciano from ten years earlier, I submit that he would not only have beaten Ali but perhaps more handily than it may appear on the surface when all factors are considered.{12} But I digress.

You wouldn't think that somebody with Ali's flambouyant personality and pretty-boy image that he would actually be that tough. But he was. It back in the early 1990's on a boxing tape I have. (Likewise, he said that was his least-known trait. He may have been an egotistical pompous ass, but you gotta respect somebody like that who had the balls to run the smack that he did and then step in the ring and back every word of it up.

I have no doubt that Ali was tough but are you saying that he was as tough as Rocky??? Come on XXXXXXX, Marciano's entire fighting strategy was to get hit with a ton ot punches to the body and the head and throw a ton of punches in return. Ali dodged a lot more punches than he was hit with. Rocky did not because he could not: his stature made it impossible for him to do so to say nothing of having the shortest reach of any heavyweight in history. I do not even see a comparison between the two in the "toughness" department. That brings up another strength that both men had: stamina. Ali used this weapon against punchers like Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. However, those three combined did not have Marciano's stamina.

Indeed as no power puncher ever trained harder than Marciano and no heavyweight in history had more stamina than him in the ring, I find the idea that Ali would win a fight with Rocky when all factors are considered to be almost humourous. The closest Ali got to fighting someone like Marciano was his fighting of Joe Frazier. Though Frazier had the determination of a Marciano and a left hand like Rocky's as well -I would argue his left was a bit better too{13}- Frazier did not have a right hand anywhere comparable nor did he have Rocky's stamina. And even with those deficiencies, he still beat Ali once and arguably twice. And all that without having a right hand with the power of a Marciano or the Rock's stamina in the ring.

As far as Foreman goes (another blockbusting hitter that Ali faced), if Ali had tried to rope a dope Marciano, Ali would not have remotely succeeded. He lucked out against power punchers like Liston and Foreman in large part because neither of them were good ring strategists. Ali was a polished boxer certainly but he made a lot of mistakes which he was able to get by with against competitors lacking the same or similar ring smarts as he had.{14} Marciano by contrast was not a polished boxer but he was very ring savvy and Ali's sloppiness would not have panned against Marciano.

As far as cockiness goes, Ali claimed to be "the greatest" and Marciano claimed in his fighting days (and even afterwards) that he did not believe he could be beaten. History shows Marciano with no losses and Ali with five. I would argue that he should have had another to Frazier (the second of their three fights) and another to Norton (the second of their three fights). Frazier would not have beaten Marciano for reasons already noted and Norton would have fared even worse still.

Finally, we have the trainer quotient and with Angelo Dundee in his corner, Ali had an edge over many opponents in this regard. But here Marciano would counter with Charley Goldman. (Just ask Angelo if he was a better tactician than Goldman - I will give you 70-1 odds he would say no.) In summary, Ali-Marciano would be a good fight -a classic "boxer versus slugger" fight when it lasted but I do not see Ali winning in any scenario except (perhaps) if he could cut Marciano really badly and then get the fight stopped on account of blood. Other than that, on an offnight Marciano would KO Ali in the mid to late rounds or win by decision. (And on a good night, it would probably have been a third to eighth round KO depending on whether Ali ran from Marciano or acted as the pursuer.) But of course we will never know one way or the other so all of this is admittedly speculation on both of our parts.

Additional Links:

Marciano Vs Champions of Other Eras

Answering the Critics

In His Own Time


{1} In all fairness to Ezzard Charlds, Rocky Marciano did not see Walcott's left hook coming when the latter knocked him down with a solid perfectly placed shot in the first round of their first fight: one of only two times in his career that Marciano was ever knocked down. Some experts have opined that Walcott would have KO'ed most fighters hitting them that hard and that square to the jaw (it was a wide open and perfectly placed shot) but Marciano was still up at the count of three contrary to the orders of Goldman to stay down for eight.

{2} Marciano came close a couple of times to killing a man in the ring -most notably Carmine Vingo in 1949 who Marciano always claimed hit him harder than any other fighter in his career. They fought six rounds akin to what Stallone's character in the Rocky movies and his opponents did. Vingo was knocked into a coma and almost died -indeed he received Extreme Unction that night. Marciano sought to make peace with Vingo's mother, spent all night in a prayer vigil for Vingo's recover, and donated $2500 towards his hospital bills. (This was before he was a rich man - indeed he was scraping by at this point in his career.)

{3} Angelo Dundee (Ali's trainer) is on record as saying that Marciano had the greatest stamina of any heavyweight in history.

{4} Angelo Dundee's mentor and the man who made Marciano who he was in the ring. (Rocky never would have been champion without him.)

{5} And Angelo Dundee himself said this much when discussing the fight it was fortunate for them that Liston in the first fight lacked the ring fundamentals to cut Ali off and corner him: fundamentals that Marciano I might add for his defects as a pure boxer did not lack.

{6} But Foreman was not known for doing that early in his career: a defect that cost him in Zaire.

{7} To note a few of the significant names who fought Marciano:

Rex Layne was over six feet tall and around 210 pounds. His record prior to fighting Marciano was 34-1 with 24 KO's. He was considered the next big thing in 1951 and was a 9-5 favourite against Marciano on the eve of their fight. He also dominated the first two rounds before Marciano's blows began to have an effect on him. Marciano knocked Layne down for the first time in his career in the fourth round and KO'ed in the sixth (knocked out on his feet actually.) His handlers claimed after the fight that Marciano broke two of Layne's front teeth at the gums and Layne was never remotely the same fighter after his encounter with Marciano.

Roland LaStarza was 55-8 25 KOs. Prior to his first fight with Marciano (the only disputed fight on Marciano's resume I might add) he was 37-0 with 17 KO's and was a premiere scientific fighter. After the first fight (which he lost in a split decision) and between the second fight, he was 17-1 with 7 KO's. After their second fight (where he was completely destroyed by Marciano with the latter prolonging the fight to punish him), he was 2-4 with one KO and was a shell of his former self.

Harry Matthews was 78-4-1 57 KO's prior to fighting Marciano. After being KO's in 2 rounds by the Rock, he was 10-3 in his final 13 fights but he never was able to return to the bigtime after that night in New York City where he dominated Marciano for the better part of a round and a half only to be make two tiny mistakes which resulted in him being crushed.

Joe Louis was retired for good - KO'ed for the second time in his career and knocked off his feet through the ropes. (The referee did not even bother counting but merely signalled that it was over as Louis could not move for a while.)

After his rematch with Marciano, Walcott (53-18-1) was finished for good.

Ezzard Charles lost thirteen of the twenty-five fights he lost in his career (96-25-1 58 KOs) after his two losses to Marciano.

{8} Obviously there were swings in some of the fights back and forth - I refer here to overall tempo. (As Marciano's opponents tended to admit that he made them fight his way rather than how they would have preferred for the most part.)

{9} Moore claimed to be 38 when he fought Marciano in 1955 but not a few people claimed that he was in his early '40s at the time. (That would have put him at 56 when he fought Ali.) According to Moore's mother, he was born three years earlier and was 41 when he fought Marciano -which would have made him 59 when he fought Ali. Like Jersey Joe Walcott, there was always a mystery around the actual age of Moore but (like Walcott) he actually got better as he aged to a point.

But remember what I said about Marciano's opponents after they fought him not being the same: Moore's decline was slower -up until arguably 1958 when he fought Yvon Durelle in an eleven round slugfest (where each man was knocked down four times each) he was still formidable. However, by 1962, Moore (194-26-8, 1NC 141KO's) was a shell of his former self. He is the exception rather than the rule for Marciano's opponents.

{10} Frankly, I would argue that Liston overlooked Ali in the first fight and did not train as hard as he should have. For the second fight, I believe he was told to take a dive by certain personages who had an interest in Ali remaining champion who were not above doing unscrupulous things to see to that.

{11} This I believe was what fueled Foreman to make his comeback and reclaim the crown: the monkey on his back from the Ali fight needed to be exorcized if you will.

{12} Though if it was outside the ring in a streetfight in 1965, even at 43 I would not have bet against the Rock because he was a brawler and Ali was not.

{13} Basically you had Marciano's left hand prior to about late 1950 and after that time period. Charley Goldman did not even begin developing the left hand of Marciano until after Rocky had fought ten fights and it was not used to speak of in any fight prior to Jimmy Evans in May of 1949. Gradually Rocky developed it into a formidable weapon to where he had knockout power with both hands and the left hand factored heavily into some of his biggest fights from his KO of Carmine Vingo in December of 1949 with a left hook to his KO's of (among others) Harry Matthews and Ezzard Charles with the left hand as well. Nonetheless, Frazier may have had the best left ever -even better than Joe Louis' so he has to be given the nod here over Rocky as I see it. (As I see it, the "greatest left hook ever" competition is between Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey, and James Jeffries with Marciano and Louis trailing them by a bit.)

{14} "That jabbing and running would have made it hard for me to catch a guy like Ali, but eventually I'd get him and knock him out. Ali's a great fighter, but I think a Rocky Marciano or Jack Dempsey would rate ahead of him. So would Walcott. Ali makes too many mistakes, his hands are down alot, and he takes too many punches to the body." [Former Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis (circa 1980)]

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