Friday, June 03, 2005

Points to Ponder:

"Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires, men distort their own nature, for many senseless and foolish desires and habits and ridiculous fancies are fostered in them. They live only for mutual envoy, for luxury and ostentation. To have dinners, visits, carriages, rank and slaves to wait on one is looked upon as a necessity, for which life, honour and human feeling are sacrificed, and men even commit suicide if they are unable to satisfy it...They have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less." [Fyodor Dostoevsky: From The Brothers Karamazov]

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A Monitum on Emailing Rerum Novarum:
(Or Receiving Email From Us)

From time to time, it is viewed by your host as necessary to post a short note on email policy here at Rerum Novarum. The latter was viewed as necessary by your host this morning a few days ago when perusing the spam folder for stray emails that may have been snagged by the filter. In doing this, there was a handful of them found -some of which were reclassified to the inbox for reading and possible future responses. However, amongst the emails consigned to the spam folder were at least three from someone I banned from my email account recently for reasons already covered. And since some people cannot take an obvious hint, this note will enunciate the general norms long taken by your host for dealing with these kinds of circumstances.{1}

For others whose cognitive knives are a bit sharper than the person previously referred to, this is not done willy-nilly by yours truly. There is almost always at least three opportunities for such people which are given for them to straighten up and cease acting like misanthropes. And at that point (should such people calm down), there is usually a few more exchanges where I try to get them acclimated to something resembling a proper dialogue. On the rare occasions when the first three attempts or so do not get them to the latter point, then the parties in question are summarily banned either for a certain length of time or indefinitely at my discretion. I do not have the time or the desire to interact with such timewasters; ergo the above policy which has been followed more or less since the days of message board and bulletin board interactions with others. (Which it might be noted preceded the founding of Rerum Novarum by a number of years.)

Essentially, when I ban someone from my email, I immediately have their emails reported as spam and any future emails from them are classified as such in perpetuity. This is not something I do very often -indeed it has only been done four times in the past year and a half -with one of the parties having their ban lifted six months after it was imposed. So let this note clarify my approach to those who email me{2} who have been previously notified that their addresses were banned.

Notes:

{1} On the rare occasions that they actually take place.

{2} Another way of saying it is this: your notes will not be read by me. They may be read by others (including legal counsel) if that seems opportune to do though. And as I am not likely to give such people prior email notice of this intention, they are advised to proceed at their own risk.

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On the Iraq War, Potential Future Wars, and the Probable Positions of the Popes Thereof:
(Aka "Tales From the Mailbag" Dept.)

As this subject has been discussed with a fair amount of heat in recent weeks, it seems appropriate to post some email correspondences on this matter with a polite and principled individual who takes a different view of these matters than your host does.{1} Some minor adjustments needed to be made to situate the links sent into the sentences themselves in spots for easier reading -as well as adding a footnote for greater clarification on a key point. The words of the emailer will be in black font while previous statements from your host (referenced by said emailer) will be in blue font with the ordinary precepts of The Welborn Protocol being adhered to in this and subsequent postings.{2} But without further ado, let us get to the thread at hand...

Hello,

I admire your thoughts and writings. They are a little too sophisticated for me to fully comprehend, so take my comments with a few bags of salt.

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia. [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: Note of Clarification on the Worthiness to Receive Communion]"

Not to be cute, but is this merely the 'personal opinion' of former Cardinal Ratzinger? Does it stand as an authoritative teaching of the Church, or can one have a 'legitimate diversity of opinion' about it? I happen to agree with Ratzinger, but I hope you see my point.

I do but my response to that is that it was written during the controversy on who can and cannot receive communion. As (i) this kind of clarification involves matters which touch on doctrine and morals and (ii) Cardinal Ratzinger was responding in his official capacity as CDF prefect, therefore (iii) one cannot have a diversity of opinion on this matter because this is an authoritative statement which was set forth to clarify misunderstandings.

It might be better to cast aside these technical arguments, (to become as children), and to search for some common ground instead - to seek understanding rather than conversion. We could start with this: "Catholics are not always bound to agree with the opinions of the Pope and his Bishops, but Catholics should always give strong and prayerful consideration to them."

I would modify the above text slightly to read as follows:

"Catholics are expected to give religious submission of mind and will to the Pope and the united episcopate when they exercise their authoritative magisterium (cf. Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium §25, the fourth paragraph of the 1989 Profession of Faith, 1983 Code of Canon Law §752). On matters where judgment is not rendered, Catholics are not always bound to agree but (of course) they should always give strong and prayerful consideration to them (cf. Benedict XV's Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum §23."

What irks many 'progressive' Catholics so much about the Iraqi war is not that many Catholics disgreed with John Paul, as much as that many Catholics did not *appear* to value the Pope's advice as much as the President's advice.

I agree with you here. For the record, I did not do this.

Rather, Catholic support or opposition of the war appeared to occur along political lines - with liberals coming out against war, and conservatives coming out for war. To be sure, both sides used religious terminology and rationals to bolster their respective positions, but underneath it all (I believe) is something else: the political ideologies of the left and right. But I could certainly be wrong. These are gut feelings.

There is probably some truth to that. People do after all interact with events and information with certain presuppositions. Another way of saying it is that no one approaches events and information with a blank slate.{3}

There is, however, a test for my theory:

The next war.

If there is another war, how will conservatives and liberals react to the inevitable opposition of Benedect XVI? Will they again quote or ignore him as they see fit? Will they either overvalue or undervalue his 'teaching' or 'opinion' as they see fit? Or will we see a true religious *dialogue*?

I give my answer to this question HERE. And I do not see Benedict XVI acting any differently than the popes of the last hundred years have acted with regards to war: essentially opposing it but not in their official capacity as Doctors of the Faith.

Will liberals see that their refusal to see Saddam as a murderous dictator was a mistake? Will conservatives see that their refusal to admit the non-existence of WMDs was a mistake?

I remind you of my positions viz. the war subject and WMD's.

As far as the war subject goes, I have actually given a virtual command to a friend of mine who disagrees with me on the war subject to set forth a reasonable defense of that theory publicly. Thus far, he has not done it but (hopefully) he will do so after the recent postings to Rerum Novarum so that the appearance is not given that one cannot disagree on the war subject with the president and prime minister Blair and do so intelligently. I asked him to do this after my August 2004 response to him on the war, moral principles, and "supporting the troops" where I interacted with some of his offhand comments as an opportunity to clarify some key points on the subject. This included rejecting the idea (floated about by some) that to oppose the war meant one had to be a seditionist.

Or will the same game be replayed, with both sides using the words of our Pope to bolster or destroy the other side's arguments, without really pondering the debths of our pontiff's wisdom?

Let us hope not.

Here is the true test: if Benedict XVI calls for American Catholics to disavow the next war of their nation, and he says that his teaching is binding upon the conscience of the faithful (as opposed to his words on the Iraq war) - will conservatives and liberals listen to him?

As the first two links posted above indicate (particularly the second one), I would do so (albeit reluctantly). Though I do not see the pope doing this because it would contradict the CCC's own teaching that the authority who determines whether or not just war criteria is met is the secular authority. I would expect the popes to continue to call people to reflect on their consciences viz. the war subject much as John Paul II of venerable memory did during the last two wars (including Afghanistan which he appears to have reluctantly supported).

It is my theory that just as liberals refuse to listen to the Pope about abortion (even when the Pope says they must), most conservatives will refuse to listen to the Pope about war. I think their reasoning will be that the Pope has no authority to say that he has authority to teach about war. Perhaps many already hold this belief.

I hope not.

I could be wrong. I sure hope I am. But in that moment, we will see the underlying truth behind the conservative's arguments for war in Iraq. We will see if they didn't agree with the Pope because his words weren't binding, or if they didn't agree because of a partisan political ideology. The left has already proven that they don't listen because of politics. The time of reckoning for the right may very well be at hand, as America gears up to invade the enemies of democracy - something that may very well be noble and inspirational, but something that our Popes and Bishops can find no place for within the Just War Theory.

Good points XXXXXX. You may find my arguments supporting the military intervention in Iraq to be of interest:

Why Those Who Hold Out For Peaceful Solutions With Iraq Are Wrong

One should never lightly oppose themselves to the positions of the pope. We may not agree on this issue but I assure you, I did not arrive at the above position easily or without a good degree of discomfort for reasons already stated.

Notes:

{1} This exchange took place on May 1, 2005.

{2} As it has been a while since I posted any email correspondence at Rerum Novarum, it seems appropriate to remind the readers of what the ordinary policy for any emails sent to your host entail:

Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies. This is referred to as the Welborn Protocol and is a policy that will be followed at Rerum Novarum. (Though name and email information will as a rule not be posted without explicit request to do so by the sender.) [Excerpt from the Rerum Novarum Site Disclaimer. All Rights Reserved.]

{3} I used to say when dialoguing with atheists in years past that "no one's philosophical/theological/political views are formed in a vacuum." This should be a self-evident fact but so often it seemingly is not.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

As the war subject has been discussed with a fair amount of heat in recent weeks, it seems appropriate to post a couple of email correspondences on this matter with a polite and principled individual who takes a different view of these matters than your host does. This will be done in the coming days as time allows. (The emails need to be formatted with HTML for posting and that is a tedious process as veteran bloggers are aware.) Nonetheless, I just wanted to give a short "heads up" on this matter for those who find the war subject to be of extended interest. (Judging by some of my email feedback, there are some of you out there.)

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A Short Rerum Novarum Weblog Update:

Most of these weblog links have been sitting in a drafts folder for far too long without being added to Rerum Novarum. Taking into account recent situations --and also to facilitate a shorter weblog update when the present writer gets around to another major weblog update{1}-- it seems appropriate to add the following weblogs to the side margin of threads{2} in perpetuity:

Weblogs in General:

Greg Mockeridge's Cooperatores Veritatis BLOG [>>>]

Fr. Alvin Kimel's Pontifications BLOG [>>>]

Tim Birdnow's BirdBLOG [>>>]


Weblogs of a Predominantly Political Nature:

Beth's Vast Right Wing Conspiracy BLOG [>>>]

National Review Online's Corner BLOG [>>>]


Ecumenical Jihad Threads:

Edwin Tait's Ithilien BLOG (Episcopalian) [>>>]

Christopher Blosser's Catholic Just War BLOG [>>>]

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

Notes:

{1} Which will probably be in about a month or so at this rate.

{2} And to reclassify Fr. Bryce Sibley's weblog to On Haitus status.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On the Subject of "Deep Throat", the Correlative Ramifications Thereof, Etc:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

For those who are not living in a cave somewhere, the identity of the infamous Watergate informer "Deep Throat" was recently unveiled. The timing of this is somewhat suspicious in the opinion of the present writer because it coincides so closely with the prevarictions of Newsweek about Koran flushing at Gitmo. Lest We appear to be giving the occasion of using this as a distraction Ourselves, the Koran flushing story will be dealt with briefly before moving onto the main topics to be covered in the thread you are now reading.

To start with, the Koran flushing "incident" has been covered in many places including at the satirical Scrappleface site. Michelle Malkin also covered it under the headline Newsweek Lied, People Died which unlike previous takes on that phrase was actually accurate. Her site is worth reading even if only for the summary of other articles on the matter from Rerum Novarum recommended sources such as Little Green Footballs. But that is not all.

Ms. Malkin also covered recently the media standard of the MSM on printing retractions and it confirms what your host has long suspected on the matter. To say that We at Rerum Novarum have about as low a view of most journalists as possible (to say nothing about most attorneys and most politicians) would be an understatement. It has been hinted at before on a few occasions but to state it in as explicit a fashion as possible: prostitutes are viewed with greater respect by Us than most journalists, most attorneys, and most most politicians are. (Note the emphasis on the word "most" in the previous sentence.) The morality of their profession aside for a moment, at least prostitutes are somewhat honest about what they do. The same cannot be said for mostjournalists, mostattorneys, and most politicians.{1} But lest things get too far off track on that subject, let Us now move onto the primary purpose of this post.

It must be noted in starting this thread of musings that the subjects to be covered are somewhat conflicting ones for your host to discuss because there are many moral factors involved which may not seem evident on the surface. One of those is a traditional moral/ethical distinction about the end not justifying the means. This is a concept which has not a few nuances to it which are lost on most ideologues who would appeal to it in argument to justify their particular agendas irrespective of what actually happened (or happens) in reality. In the case of "Deep Throat", it would be with those who see some preceived notion of "heroism" in what the person known as "Deep Throat" actually did. To set the stage in discussing that subject, let Us consider some of the contents of a recent Washington Post article. The article which will be cited is located HERE. Any quotes from that source will be in black font.

Richard Ben-Veniste, a top lawyer in the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, said W. Mark Felt's acknowledgment of his role showed that "the importance of whistle-blowers shouldn't be underestimated, particularly when there are excesses by the executive branch of government -- which in this case went all the way to the executive office."

Notice the "end justifies the means" rationale of Mr. Ben-Veniste in the above quote??? It also helps to remind people of more recent stances where Mr. Ben-Veniste quite evidently applies his own so-called "principles" quite selectively. After all, he was quite the booster of President Bill Clinton -defending the latter with duplicity, distraction, and dubious reasoning.{2} People such as Mr. Ben-Veniste who made Watergate out to be far more than it actually was{3} often liked to ignore or downplay far more significant examples of "excesses by the executive branch of government-- which in this case went all the way to the executive office."{4} There were several of these in the Administration of Bill Clinton -most notably Filegate and Chinagate -particularly the latter.{5}

And of course it bears noting that there was also Ben-Veniste's performance in the 9/11 inquiries which was so obviously partisan that it bordered on the disgraceful.{6} But that is the sort of thing that happens when an ideologue like Ben-Veniste put so many of his eggs in the Clinton Administration's basket during the 1990's. For those who miss the connection, here it is: any indictment of poor intelligence networking prior to 9/11 logically points to the lapses of the Clinton Administration on national security matters!!!{7} After all, it is ludicrous to blame an administration in power for less than eight months for the kinds of intelligence deficiencies that take years to develop.{8} But that is what Richard Ben-Veniste was stuck trying to do in the 9/11 hearings...as his treatment of the Administration officials who testified amply demonstrated.{9}

But it suffices to note in summary form that Richard Ben-Veniste's career is an excellent argument against attorneys in general. And certainly it is attorneys like him that are the reason that We at Rerum Novarum have such a low opinion of that potentially noble profession.{10} But enough on that matter for now.

But Charles W. Colson, a senior Nixon adviser who served seven months in prison for obstruction of justice in connection with Watergate abuses, declared that he was "personally shocked."

"When any president has to worry whether the deputy director of the FBI is sneaking around in dark corridors peddling information in the middle of the night, he's in trouble," said Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship Ministries after leaving jail. "There were times when I should have blown the whistle, so I understand his feelings. But I cannot approve of his methods."

Chuck Colson gets it right in noting that whatever personal feelings are, the end does not justify the means. For those who wonder why the present writer spilled so much ink on the Clinton Administration earlier on, it was to note the following after quoting Chuck Colson. For one of the crimes of the Clinton Administration was acquiring over 1100 FBI files on political opponents. Chuch Colson acquired one of these in the 1970's pertaining to Watergate and spent time in prison as a result -something that We have noted before.{11} What was a federal crime deserving of prison in the 1970's should have been a federal crime deserving of prison in the 1990's...if not for the fact that Ken Starr fumbled the football and badly so. But there is more.

Speaking last night on MSNBC's "Hardball," former Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan labeled Felt a "traitor" for having worked with reporters on stories that did severe damage to the administration.

Much as it pains Us to do so, We must agree on this matter in substance with Patrick J. Buchanan. The term "traitor" may be a bit strong but Felt did take a vow to protect the Constitution when he was given his post at the FBI. By staying on at the FBI and spilling information to Woodward and Bernstein, he violated that sacred trust. Whatever the failings of President Richard Nixon were in not adhering to his oath of office, two wrongs do not make a right. But notice for those who were ideologues against Nixon that the end (bringing down his Administration) justified in their eyes the means (using an FBI official who had vowed to protect the Constitution: something that Felt's escapades as "Deep Throat" manifestly did not do).

Things could have been different of course. For example, Felt could have quit his job in protest at the time and from that standpoint become an informant for Woodward and Bernstein. There would have been no moral ties binding him to secrecy in that situation and he would have actually been rightfully seen as a hero in that scenario. But he was no hero for what he decided to do because heroism requires sacrifices. And quitting the FBI when he was the number two man there -and in the aftermath of J. Edgar Hoover's death in May of 1972 which provided a possibility for career advancement- would have been quite the sacrifice to make. But Mr. Felt did not do this and instead chose the route of dishonour. And those who celebrate him today celebrate that dishonour. But there is more to this tale still...

But Deep Throat also had an influence over the practice of journalism that far outlived the Nixon administration, Garment said.

In "All The President's Men" Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein recounted how Deep Throat requested a secret meeting with Woodward. How was the request made? Drawing a clock inside Woodward's New York Times. Moving a flowerpot on Woodward's balcony. Using a bartender at The Post Pub as a go-between. No signals used; Woodward initiated their meetings.

The existence of a mysterious government source for the articles, revealed in the Woodward and Bernstein book "All the President's Men," "gave drama to the investigative reporter and gave rise to a whole generation of prospective Woodward and Bernsteins by the bushel" that sharpened the adversarial relationship between the news media and the government, Garment said.

The depravity to which the journalistic profession has fallen since the days of Watergate can be to some extent pinned on Woodward and Bernstein...not as much them personally as what they ushered in in the aftermath of the Nixon resignation.{12} The journalistic profession has become one where you "make it" by finding someone whose reputation you can destroy. Ethics are often not a factor, indeed morals and ethics often get the screw from journalists who are trying to "make it" and then (for those who "make it") the same tactics are utilized to try and stay "on top." The same is the case with the legal profession and the political profession: oftentimes those who "make it" do so by screwing other people. So the parallel to prostitution is an apt one. The only difference of course is that prostitutes are somewhat honest about it. But enough on that subject for now.

To summarize these musings, Woodward and Bernstein by their approach to "Deep Throat" ushered in a new era of journalism which is rotten to the core. It is comprised of people who seek to create news and who are interested in spinning the facts to advance an agenda rather than report on what is happening and letting the readers draw their own conclusions. The ethics in this field are abysmal and a strong reason why the MSM is slowly becoming more and more irrelevant in this new age of alternative media is because they are no longer a monopoly.

Unlike in the days of the Watergate scandal and even in the days of the so-called "Iran Contra scandal", the MSM does not have their former capabilities to propagandize the public discourse. Instead, today they must peddle their wares in the marketplace with a variety of viewpoints now and do not have the luxury of monopolizing the media as they once did. This has made many of them take an approach from being wary to being skeptical (if not downright hostile) towards alternative media. And they will find out in the coming weeks that the conventional wisdom about W. Mark Felt being a "hero" in the early 1970's will not play with the public in quite the sameway they think it will. And when that happens, the MSM's disconnect with the populace will again be set forth in bold relief. The present writer would not bet on them figuring it out at that point though for those who are wondering.

Finally, we have Mr. W. Mark Felt apparently saying that he was silent for so long (on his role as "Deep Throat") because he was not sure if he did the right thing in doing what he did. But the bottom line Mr. Felt is that you know you did not do the right thing. You spoke of an agitation you feel over the matter and that agitation you feel is your conscience trying to speak to you. Hopefully you will heed it and can then find psychological rest for yourself as you enter the twilight of your life.

Notes:

{1} See the side margin at Rerum Novarum for some audioposts on attorneys, accountants, politicians, and economists for more of your host's views on those professions if you are interested.

{2} To use the words of Jonah Goldberg.

{3} While this writer would not go as far as to call Watergate "a bunch of Mickey Mouse misdemeanors" as Patrick J. Buchanan has done; nonetheless, it was an event blown greatly out of proportion. (Most often by certain parties who have since shown an obtuseness with regards to greater governmental scandals in subsequent years ranging from vincible (at best) to crass (at worst).

{4} And no, the supposed "Iran-Contra" affair was not one of them for reasons this writer briefly outlined some time ago when discussing the Reagan Administration's Handling of the Iraq/Iran/Sandinista Situations. Here are a few relevant excerpts on that subject:

When the Soviet Union started also funding and supporting Iraq, we were in a quandry because this meant that Iraq would likely win the war and the Soviets would have had major influence in the area. There was also an uprising of rebels in Nicaragua who were fighting the communist Sandinistas and the communist-sympathizing Devilcrat in Congress (including the Speaker of the House) was cozying up to Noriega and company. The whole situation was both delicate and complicated.

President Reagan and his advisors saw a brilliant way to put down the Sandinistas without involving American lives and also to help keep the scales balanced in the Middle East conflict. It involved selling outdated munitions to Khomeini and funnelling the money to the "contras" in Nicaragua to buy weapons and supplies with which to fight the Sandinistas. Since we were supplying Iraq - and wanted to retain that option again if necessary - this had to be kept quiet.

The result of this policy was that Iran was able to fight Iraq to a standstill which depleted both nations militarily. [...] And by 1990 the contras due to our support had successfully gotten their way in Nicaragua with the first free elections down there where the Sandinistas were voted out of office. Verdict in both cases: a brilliant use of diplomacy by the Reagan Administration and at a loss of no American lives.

The Keystone Kops diplomacy of President Carter created a lot of the messes Reagan inherited foreign policy-wise in 1981. Compared to that and to the foreign policy miscues of President Bush on Iraq (giving the implied green light to invade Kuwait and then not finishing the job when we went to war against Hussein in 1991), I will take the strategic planning and American-life-preserving polices of President Reagan's Administration any day. True he blundered in Lebanon but considering the world scene in 1981 and then again in 1989, Reagan's batting average was damn high - far higher than any president I can think of in recent decades. And considering both the world situation and our domestic situation in 1981, that is saying a lot. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa March 15, 2003)]

For those who have trouble following the logic of this kind of geopolitical approach, We posted a recent points to ponder thread which explains it with a bit more economy of prose.

{5} The long and short of it is this: anyone who thinks that Kenneth Starr was really out to get President Clinton needs a transfusion of reality.

{6} Yes, with a subject as important as national security, partisanship should be set aside for the common good of all...particularly during wartime. (This is what the Republicans to their credit did after Pearl Harbour after all.)

{7} To call scandals like Filegate and Chinagate "lapses" is to put it about as generously as this writer can. (The actual term for it is sedition if not downright treason if we really want to call a spade a spade.)

{8} And if we really want to get technical about it, the controversy of the 2000 election resulted in a delay in getting the transition government apparatus into place properly. For that reason, it is more accurate to say that the Bush Administration lost the first two months of their term playing "catch up" and did not get back to where they were supposed to be on January 20, 2001 until sometime in late March. If those factors are taken into consideration, 9/11 happened only about six and a half months after the Bush Administration really got settled in and started its governing rather than the eight and a half months which the calendar indicates were between the inauguration and 9/11.

{9} Fortunately Condi Rice slapped Ben-Veniste around like a red-headed stepchild.

{10} With notable exceptions to this outlook being (i) Ian McLean (ii) Dale Price (iii) The Mighty Barrister (iv) the staff at Southern Appeal, and a few others whom We view as shining lights of the legal profession in the tradition of St. Thomas More.

{11} Where were these nitwits during Filegate when Clinton and his wife pilfered over 1,000 FBI files on political opponents??? Chuck Colson went to jail for a while in the 1970's for possessing just ONE of these kinds of files. But Clinton??? Nope, he and Moloch Hillary got off scott free because there is a clear and unmistakable double-standard here. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 11, 2003)]

For more examples of blatant double standards, see the Rerum Novarum post located HERE.

{12} To use an example from cinema, the 1978 movie Animal House was a well crafted fraternity-based movie (to the extent that such movies can be "well crafted" of course) but in its aftermath a whole plethora of poor quality imitations sprang up attempting to in some way duplicate it or ride on its coattails. That is what Woodward and Bernstein did for the journalism profession.

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Points to Ponder:
(On Argumentation Fallacies, Rhetoric, and Decision Making)

[F]allacies can be powerful tools of persuasion. A skilled sophist may employ fallacies to divert the attention of listeners from the real issue being debated, lead them to accept false premises or ignore conflicting evidence, cause them to reason by emotion rather than by logic, or even forestall them from questioning the speaker's position altogether. If effectiveness was used as a barometer for evaluating rhetoric, the "good" and "bad" labels probably would have to be reversed. Fallacies are bad rhetoric because they lead to bad decision making. [Michael Ahluwalia (c. 2004)]

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Miscellaneous Threads Worth Reading:

It is the intention of the present writer to finish a long-overdue JunkYard BLOG thread in the coming days as well as hopefully initiate a long-hoped-for dialogue with Tim Enloe on foundational premises and their effects on how people view the same issues in different ways. In the meantime though, it seems appropriate to put together a small collection of threads worth reading for the convenience of the readers of this weblog. Without further ado, here they are...

Parting Thoughts on [Recent Disputations and] Conditions for Dialogue (Christopher Blosser)

While it is true that the above thread had a different title than the one which is utilized, the reason for the change was to avoid giving any undue publicity to one of the parties involved.{1} Nonetheless, this writer would be remiss in not thanking Christopher Blosser for giving a small tip to what was written at this weblog recently on the subject of dialogue.{2} Those who peruse all the threads of the recent disputations will notice that the proper disposition for authentic dialogue is missing from certain parties who shall remain nameless. But that is a subject for another time perhaps.

Memorial Day - May 30, 2005 (Christopher Blosser)

The above thread contains a good collection of Memorial Day material courtesy of Against the Grain.

The Meaning of True Peace (Greg Mockeridge)

The subject of peace is often given short shrift by certain self-styled "peacemakers." The above thread by Greg Mockeridge supplies some balance on this oft-misunderstood subject and is worth reflecting upon for that reason alone.

A Memorial Day Remembrance (Greg Mockeridge)

The above thread was directed towards (in Greg Mockeridge's words) [e]very serviceman who gave their life, every serviceman that has been wounded, and every family who has suffered along with them is a testimony to the fact that freedom is not only not free, it is not CHEAP either. As that summarizes it all really, We post it and pray that those who made the supreme sacrifice that one can make for another (cf. John xv, 13) will rest in peace.

Thank You Spinless Republicans (Kevin Tierney)

Readers of this weblog may recall the present writer linking to and quoting the above thread when recently weighing in on the latest boneheaded blunders of "The Stupid Party."{3} This was originally supposed to precede a Framers Know Best thread on the entire subject of advise and consent as those who were most influential on the drafting of the Constitution saw that term to mean. However, time constraints and the idea of using the Framers Know Best material as part of the commentary on the so-called "filibuster deal" resulted in an alteration to this writer's original plans for dealing with the latter subject matter. Nonetheless, We at Rerum Novarum recommend Kevin's thread to be read in its entirety...even if he scooped Us by one day in writing on the cowardice of the Republican so-called "moderates."{4}

Prediction: Election to Be Set Aside (Stefan Sharkansky)

Readers of this weblog are aware that your host's profound disgust at the recent heist of the governorship of Washington State. For this reason, We are indebted to SoundPolitics for staying on this issue like a bulldog on an old soupbone. The above article is a recent update of sorts on the lawsuit which was filed in Chelan County{5} and is recommended as a kind of "update" on that process from those who are paying close attention to it. (And who have similar outlooks as the present writer on the matter in question.)


Notes:

{1} The position of your host on the present matter was summarized in a thread from a couple of weeks ago when three attempts by your host to get the ideologue in question to behave and actually interact in a fashion befitting the dialogue failed to achieve this intention. At that point, it was determined that future attempts would be fruitless; ergo a decision was made to suspend that thread indefinitely. And while that policy has remained intact to the present time, it has not prevented the present writer from subsequent confutations of certain illogical and dyspsptic screeds written by aforementioned individual's associates (and promoted by the aforesaid individual).

While some could point to subsequent threads --including a few on "argumentation fallacies"-- as being directed at the individual in question and their allies, there is some truth in that assertion. However, those threads in question were intended to address common fallacies of not a few who happen to share certain elements of their weltanschauung in common with those individuals. For that reason, whatever similarities happen to exist, they are mostly of a circumstantial nature and that is the proper context in which the generalized threads on logical fallacies are to be properly understood. But enough on that matter for now.

{2} The thread in question is available HERE. Though the thread was intended for another party completely, it nonetheless encapsulates some of the ingredients of authentic dialogue and what the present writer has always sought to adhere to both at Rerum Novarum and in other communications mediums as well.

{3} Democrats who read that and think it means a defacto endorsement of their party apparently have not read much of Rerum Novarum to reach that conclusion. The Republican Party is indeed "The Stupid Party" but the Democratic Party is "The Evil Party." There is a reason the present writer has long favoured a recapitulation of the third party concept as a viable entity...a sentiment that found expression at this humble weblog as recently as November of 2004.

{4} With regards to the so-called "moderates", most people who situate themselves here are precisely the sort of people who are incapable of making decisive judgments -indeed they often impugn people who do this. And as a result, they set themselves up as lambs for the slaughter by those who can make decisive judgments and who lack the moral grounding to render such judgments in accordance with any standard of morality except the subjective morality of the individual. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 16, 2004)]

{5} Chelan County is about three and a half hours from where your humble servant is writing the present text.

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