Friday, July 27, 2007

Points to Ponder:
(From Thomas Jefferson)

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people' (10th Amendment). To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible to any definition.

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.

As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.

Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions.

If God is just, I tremble for my country.

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

The concentrating [of powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one.

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"Ducks on the Pond" Dept.
(Dispatching Easily With Three Critics)

For those who doubt the value of careful planning in one's writing -and why I bothered to set out exacting criteria for dialogue on the subject of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the morality of using atomic bombs in general earlier in the week, they are now going to see in two forms the wisdom behind such tactics.

Now there is a longer response to Mark Shea and two of his positional allies which when I sent a draft form to two friends to look over (it needs to be tweaked a bit but is substantially completed as of this writing), they compared my approach as taking a marine platoon up against a boy scout troop. Of course that was my idea anyway -to so thoroughly dispatch with the haughty righteousness of people such as Mark Shea that there would be no stone left unturned. But a thought came to me after reading the feedback on the longer version and it was this:

--For practical as well as tactical reasons, it may be worthwhile to precede the longer expository musing thread with a shorter posting outlining why Mark and his positional allies are not even worth being taken seriously on this issue to begin with since they do not meet the requirements as we outlined them on July 22nd.

So it is with that in mind that the post you have before you was written today over lunch. Let us review now and dispatch in short order with what the longer post interacts with in detail by examining the comments of Mark Shea and certain positional allies of his and seeing if they even meet the minimal requirements for what I outlined in the posting on dialogue conditions from July 22nd. The words of the other two interlocutors will be in different shades of green font with Mark Shea's words in an appropriate hue of yellow. Without further ado...

I had an English friend who immensely enjoyed websites that took some manifestly absurd proposition and then threw vast intellectual resources at trying to defend it against all the assaults of common sense

Now, here is the fantastically verbose Rerum Novarum, slaughtering trillions of electrons to make the extremely long-winded case for why that plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face teaching does not apply to us when we nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Masterpieces of sophistry. And that's just two posts. There's even more where that came from.

Here's the Catechism saying, just about as clearly as can possibly be said that "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation."


That is the first batch of words from Mark Shea on this subject. Here is the second batch of words from him:

I do agree that Truman probably thought he was doing the right thing. He did not have the benefit of Catholic teaching. Shawn does. Given that the document being cited by the Catechism is directly addressing the annihilation of cities which took place in WWII and given that both Paul VI and JPII condemned the bombings of H and N, I think Shawn's attempts to justify them are a particularly egregious example of nationalism triumphing over the obvious teaching of the Church.

All of this will be touched on shortly after noting what "Jarnor23" had to say:

Well, you know how it is with some Catholics. Since nobody came right out and said we demand assent of the will on the matter, they'll ignore anything they find inconvenient about the faith and call it "prudential judgment". Then they'll proceed to call people who aren't as conservative about something else like returning to a married priesthood "Cafeteria Catholics".

Then there was some fella who apparently likes to call themselves "Anonymous" who noted these things:

Shawn is a cafeteria Catholic, pure and simple. And a good deal worse than a lot of his cousins on the left, who at least believe that abortion is wrong even if they aren't eager to do anything about it. Shawn's on the level of a Catholic who not only doesn't want to stop abortion legally, but actually thinks it's acceptable.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki's civilian casualties could never meet the proportionality test since the military assets in those cities simply weren't valuable enough.


Now then, let us demonstrate in short order why Mark and these other two persons have proven they cannot meet the challenge I set out on this issue by examining the criteria set down point by point. The points themselves will be in the regular dark blue source font but bolded to separated them from the other sources cited. Without further ado, let us get to it...

1) The discussion must conform itself to the discipline of the dialogue at all times...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

Readers who review the thread on dialogue linked to that point can now consider whether Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" meet that criteria or not. To summarize the bare bones of authentic dialogue from that linked posting before moving on with the other criteria, there are nine principles touched on which we will now look at one by one:

---Striving to enter into the viewpoint of the other person as much as you possibly can...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

It is obvious when what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" wrote that they failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue.

---Listening to what someone actually says and taking time to assimilate their arguments into the collective of your mind...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

Review my previous comments as per Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" as they also apply here.

---Striving to conform ones approaches to the canons of traditional charity as much as one feasibly can...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

Review my previous comments as per Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" as they also apply here -particularly in the case of Mark Shea and "Anonymous."

---Seeking to properly represent the positions of the other person in accordance with objective criteria...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

When what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" wrote, it is evident that they failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue.

---Seeking to at all times respect the wishes of the other person viz. the manner in which one seeks dialogue in various mediums...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

Review my previous comments as per Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" as they also apply here.

---Make actual arguments for a position rather than merely give the opinions of others as if said opinions constitute an actual argument in and of themselves...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

When what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" wrote, it is evident that they failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue. In the case of Mark Shea, he engaged in elementary argumentation fallacies as did "Anonymous." Meanwhile, "Jarnor23" showed that he did not understand an important distinction to be made between what is a matter of open theological speculation and what is not admitting of divergence in the Catholic weltanschauung.

---In citing sources, concern for proper context should be viewed to be of importance...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

When what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea wrote, it is evident that he failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue. Mark Shea references sources without concern for the actual context involved and utilizes a common fallacy of argumentation in the process. As for the other two, they did not cite sources so they did not run afoul of this principle.

---In utilizing any source with a degree of controversion pertaining to it, factors which may bias that source should be disclosed to the readers if they either are known or can be reasonably ascertained...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

When what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea wrote, it is evident that he failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue. Mark Shea references sources without concern for the actual context involved and utilizes a common fallacy of argumentation in the process. As for the other two, they did not cite sources so they did not run afoul of this principle.

---There should always be a strong hesitancy against making any kind of strong and opinionated public assertions on an issue where the person in question has minimal knowledge (if any) on....[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 9, 2006)]

It is obvious when what I wrote is looked at and you review what Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" wrote that they failed to adhere to the above principle of authentic dialogue. Both Mark Shea and "Anonymous" run afoul on an argumentation fallacy to boot which "Jarnor23" in what is noted above did not do -though he did make forceful statements on a subject which he obviously is not well informed about as Mark Shea and "Anonymous" likewise did.

In recapping the 9 principles outlined above which are indispensable for authentic dialogue and and how each critic fared, Mark Shea goes 0 for 9, "Jarnor23" goes 3 for 9, and "Anonymous" goes 2 for 9. On this one issue alone, there is reason enough to disqualify them from being taken seriously on the subject in question and no more needs to be said about it. But unfortunately, that is not all.

2) It is absolutely a requirement that anyone who wants to discuss this matter with me review some of what I have already written on the matter in question. I realize that a lot has been written; therefore I have decided to make as a minimal requirement that the inaugural posting I wrote on the problems with revisionist historians, the posting on double effect, and the posting on Gaudium et Spes and general norms be given due diligence as to their content...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

All one has to do is review the threads I refer to above and read the words of Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" and notice that none of them have fulfilled this requirement -indeed I had already confuted a year and a half to two years ago various purported "arguments" made by all three of them. Once again, on this one issue alone, Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" can be disqualified as well to say nothing about failing to meet what was noted under point one. And that is not all either unfortunately.

3) Any such challenger will be expected by me to stick to the natural lights of reason and logic if they expect to try and persuade me of the merits of their position over and above mine.[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

Considering that Mark Shea has engaged in three distinct argumentation/logical fallacies in his referenced words above, it is clear that by this criteria alone he disqualifies himself apart from failing to meet what was noted under points one and two. In the case of "Jarnor23", he did not run afoul on this point but "Anonymous" sure did with the attempt to claim that someone can be a "cafeteria Catholic" by not accepting certain area where the Catholic conscience makes no requirements thereof. And unfortunately that is not all either.

4) Any such challenger will be expected by me to not confuse the subjective with the objective...Those who do not take the time to familiarize themselves with this distinction will be summarily disqualified as unfit...as they will inexorably write a bunch of non-sequiturial drivel which I will not lift a finger to interact with. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum(circa July 22, 2007)]

I am virtually certain that Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" would over time run afoul of this criteria if they spent much time discussing these issues with me. However, in what little is written by them above, it does not appear that they have yet run afoul of this criteria objectively; nonetheless, I note that here.

5) Any such challenger will be expected by me to not engage in any illegitimate appeals to authority as others in the past have done with me. I will not long tolerate it and indeed I will not dispatch with such pathetic attempts irenically so be warned in advance about that. The post noted in footnote fourteen explains this subject adequately and therefore any presumed challenger will be expected to familiarize themselves with its contents...[Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

This is one that Mark Shea has repeatedly involved himself in. As for "Jarnor23" and "Anonymous", they do not but that is quite likely because in their above words, they do not appeal to any authority but merely make unsubstantiated assertions.

6) I have no problem with valid usages of the ad hominem approach -unlike many so-called "apologists" I can take a punch as well as throw one. (As this is a subject which naturally effects emotions on both sides, for that reason bits of valid ad hominem will therefore be tolerated by me as a means of letting off steam.) However, any such challenger will be expected by me to make sure they know the difference between valid and invalid uses of the ad hominem because I will not tolerate the latter at any time whatsoever. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

In the case of Mark Shea, he has not in at least a couple years involved himself in anything remotely approaching valid ad hominem; ergo, he fails on this point and miserably at that. As for "Jarnor23", I did not see enough in this area to tell if he/she did or not. But with "Anonymous", it is obvious that they did.

7) Any such challenger will be expected by me to being open to questioning their own infallibility. I have seen a failure in this area far too often and frankly it annoys me. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

I am of course always willing to do this. From what they have written, Mark Shea obviously is not and I cannot tell from what I have seen from "Jarnor23" or "Anonymous" if they are of a like-mind as Mark Shea on this matter. I am inclined to view "Anonymous" as such based on part of what he/she said but nothing "Jarnor23" said would lend me to presume the same about them a priori; ergo I will not do so.

Oh and finally: do not (i) insult my intelligence, (ii) question my orthodoxy, or (iii) engage in any other cheap trick which I have seen from people who have (up to now) proven incapable of interacting on this issue as Catholics should act. Or should I say they should act if they are what they claim (both explicitly and implicitly) to be. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 22, 2007)]

On all three of the points noted in the final cited paragraph, Mark Shea, "Jarnor23", and "Anonymous" could not avoid running afoul of them. Let us sum up the results of this brief examination now.

In the final tally of the principles required for me to dialogue on this issue, there were seven major points (one of which had nine sub parts to it) and three final requirements -the latter of which can simply be summed up in the phrase "show that you are the Catholic that you claim to be."

In other words, there were seven major points -any one of which if it is not met means automatic disqualification. And all three of these critics ran aground on one or more points including various subsections of the first one.{1} Mark Shea also ran afoul of the second, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh points as well. As for "Anonymous", they also ran afoul of points three, six, and seven while "Jarnor23" (considering only what is noted above) did not fail to measure up in the other major areas except with regards to point two.{2}

The end result though is that Mark Shea get the gold medal as the worst of the bunch as far as meeting the criteria so noted in my July 22nd dialogue criteria posting -indeed he fails to measure up practically across the board. "Anonymous" comes in a not-too-distant second and gets the silver medal while "Jarnor23" receives from a distance the bronze.{3} Of course the outline was set up as an all or nothing proposition and this was after careful thought and deliberation on my part for a reason. Understanding that in advance, all three fail to stack up precisely as I predicted in advance would happen almost universally with those who talk the talk on this issue but do not walk the walk.

I noted in the final line of that posting that I was curious to see if any Catholics actually would prove themselves to be worthy or if it would be more of the illogical and theologically vapid status quo. So far it has been the latter unfortunately -at least among those who were briefly noted above.

I also already noted that a more detailed exposition is coming where I will outline certain argumentation/logical fallacies that Mark Shea, "Anonymous", and "Jarnor23" utilized in their words cited above. In that text I will also note some persons who I noticed may be able to meet the criteria I have specified for a productive dialogue on the subject of the atomic bombings.{4} But enough on what is to come and we now need to consider what has been dealt with in this posting.

Without the slightest doubt whatsoever, it is a case of "ducks on the pond" with the persons briefly dealt with in this posting.{5} They would need to do a lot better than they have already if they want me to take them seriously. A hell of a lot better to put it mildly and that is the bottom line really.

Notes:

{1} Mark Shea again going 0 for 9, "Jarnor23" going 3 for 9, and "Anonymous" going 2 for 9. (Where nothing less than 9 for 9 is acceptable if they are to avoid being disqualified on the first point alone.)

{2} It is worth noting though that I view it as probable that both "Jarnor23" and "Anonymous" would if drawn out further run afoul of the fourth and fifth points and Mark Shea unquestionably would with the fourth point making him summarily unfit to be taken seriously on all points involved. I say this based on what I have seen thus far and also based on experience in dealing with people who try and discuss this issue rationally; namely, it so rarely happens that I presume it will not until the contrary is demonstrated.

{3} This means that of the three, "Jarnor23" did the best job even though they still fell far short of the guidelines.

{4} I refer here to the historical incidents as well as the morality of the matter in general.

{5} The longer exposition thread when it is posted (which it will be either tomorrow or perhaps on Monday) will be more methodical in dealing with this subject.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Miscellaneous Threads and Musings:

Without further ado...

The Real Threat to Civil Liberties (Victor Davis Hanson)

This sentence from the article sums it up well in a nutshell:

[L]iberal civil libertarians are not so liberal about free speech when it is a matter of the public not buying into their own progressive agendas.

Essentially the above thread from VDH is a well-written synopsis of the real threats to civil liberties that those who whine the loudest about wanting to "protect" not only do not care about but that they actually encourage.

Moving on, we have more "sound and fury signifying nothing" (cf. W. Shakespeare) as it pertains to the firing of the eight US Attorneys by the Bush Administration. For now the House Judiciary Committee is seeking contempt charges against the president's chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. They do this in the name of the Constitution which shows just how ignorant they really are about the latter (as if we did not know already).

Whether you like President Bush or not, what the Democrats in the House are doing here is unconstitutional and the precedent for Bush's position was set by President George Washington when the House of Representatives in his day demanded all papers pertaining to the then-unpopular Jay Treaty which was viewed as too favourable to Great Britain. President Washington set the precedent here by refusing to comply under the rubric that there was nothing in the Constitution granting the House of Representatives any authority in the making of treaties. Indeed, any purely executive function is exempt from legislative meddling and President Bush will win this fight if the Democrats are stupid enough to press it. And I for one hope they do because it will insure that they fall further in popularity than they already have.

Of course I noted earlier this month what I viewed as the problematical weltanschauung under which the Democrats are operating in their mania to try and get Bush at any cost whatsoever and I do not intend to revisit it anew here except in a footnote.{1} As for the rest, the following article from John Yoo explains this subject so well that I will defer to it now and follow it up with a reminder to readers of what I have previously written on the subject of the US Attorney firings and the hypocrisy of this Democratic Congress in the stance they are taking on the matter. First Mr. Yoo's article:

Contempt and Congress (John Yoo)

And now my previous comments on the aforementioned subject:

To start with, lets call this media hubbub over the 8 US Attorneys fired by the Bush Administration what it is: a crock of horse pucky. I remember well the Clinton Administration firing all the US Attorneys two months into the first term of President Bill Clinton and the msm's response was to say nothing. Only the conservatives on talk radio made a big stink about it but that is neither here nor there. Logically, if firing 8 is a "crisis situation" than what does that make firing 93??? And if firing 8 for supposed "political reasons" is so damned evil than what about firing all the US Attorneys as Clinton did??? Where was the msm when that heinous evil was performed by the Clinton's??? As usual, they were AWOL because Clinton was "their guy" and Bush is not.

The truth is, the whole handling of attorneys in the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) is an executive function and the executive can hire or fire whomever they want. That is true with Bush as it was with Clinton. However, I fail to see how this is anything more than a ploy by the Democrats in Congress and their partisans in the msm to sabotage the Bush Administration with another non-scandalous so-called "scandal." If anything was truly a sign of corruption or seeking to impose favouritism onto the USDOJ it would have been the unprecedented firing of all the attorneys as President Clinton did. No president in United States history ever did that before and that was a genuine example of "destabilization" not the Bush Administration's firing of a mere eight attorneys.

What this boils down to folks is yet another obvious and blatant msm double standard against the present Administration in particular and Republicans in general. What more needs to be said than that really??? [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa March 15, 2007)]

As no more needs to be said about this really than what is noted in my above comments and John Yoo's article, let us move on now to a Baghdad update from a few weeks ago via someone on the ground over there:

Baqubah Update: 05 July 2007 (Michael Yon)

Mr. Yon highlights something in his update which I believe is crucial to understanding how the winds have changed over there amongst the Iraqi populace:

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don’t want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.

Now that all those realizations and more have settled in, the dynamics here are changing in palpable ways.

In other words, the US's post-1975{2} track record of not "having our allies' back" was a significant reason for the Iraqi distrust of us for a while after the ceasing of major military operations in Iraq. And in the case of the Iraqis, they only had to remember what we did after the ceasing of major operations after the 1991. For those with short memories, allow me via Wikipedia to refresh your memory:

A peace conference was held in Iraqi territory occupied by the coalition. At the conference, Iraq won the approval of the use of armed helicopters on their side of the temporary border, ostensibly for government transit due to the damage done to civilian transportation. Soon after, these helicopters, and much of the Iraqi armed forces, were refocused toward fighting against a Shiite uprising in the south. The rebellions were encouraged on 2 February 1991 by a broadcast on CIA run radio station The Voice of Free Iraq broadcasting out of Saudi Arabia. The Arabic service of the Voice of America supported the uprising by stating that the rebellion was large and that they soon would be liberated from Saddam.

In the North, Kurdish leaders took heart in American statements that they would support an uprising and began fighting, in the hopes of triggering a coup. However, when no American support was forthcoming, Iraqi generals remained loyal and brutally crushed the Kurdish troops. Millions of Kurds fled across the mountains to Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iran. [Wikipedia: From the Article Gulf War]

This is why I have never jumped on the whole "we have to get out because the Iraqis are not stepping up" school of thought that even permeates the outlook of some conservatives initially supportive of the war effort. Unlike them, I was taking history as my teacher here and recognizing that the Iraqis knew what we did last time and what the result of our failure to have their back did under Hussein's regime. It would not be any different this time around except in the specific tyrant or tyrants doing the crackdown.

It has taken a while not only to stabilize the country -which in the age of idiotic PC self-anointed "watchdogs" means walking on eggshells to an extent that has been frankly absurd- but to get the Iraqis to trust us. Now this collection of Congressional cretins wants to show that they do not learn from history and repeat the mistakes of the 1974 Congress. And they have the gall some of them to kvetch about supposedly impeaching President Bush??? As I noted earlier this year, the only viably impeachable offense no longer is one by virtue of dumb luck really since the President if he had gotten his way would have been ripe for the plucking.{3} But I do not want to get offtrack on this issue as the time to wrap up the current thread is at hand. Oh, one more thing from Mr. Yon's July Baghdad update which is particularly chilling to consider:

Speaking through an American interpreter, Lieutenant David Wallach who is a native Arabic speaker, the Iraqi official related how al Qaeda united these gangs who then became absorbed into “al Qaeda.” They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people.

At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

As far as I am concerned, those who bitch continually about the use of slightly rough coersion/interrogation tactics of captured "insurgents" deserve a severe caning for their idiocy. And I for one would be glad to wield that cane if asked to with no qualms whatsoever on those kinds{4} of morons but that is all I will say on the matter at the present time.

Notes:

{1} The more I have mused on their behaviour, the more apparent it is that their entire approach is akin to the old Articles of Confederation where the power was vested solely in a congressional body. For readers who do not know history very well, that is the sort of governmental arrangement that the Founding Fathers sought to do away with in writing the Constitution of the United States which intended to support and sustain a strong and vigorous executive branch. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 11, 2007)]

{2} Basically when the Congress in 1974 betrayed our allies in South Vietnam and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and ushered in atrocities that the pseudo-"peacemakers" to this day do not want to accept responsibility for. (See this thread from 2006 for a snapshot of a longer thread I wrote on this subject in years past.)

{3} I noted a couple of times back in June[...] that I was coming to the conclusion that the immigration approach that President Bush wanted to undertake was potentially an impeachable offense -indeed this was the reason I decided to shelve a project I have worked on intermittently dealing with the whole "impeachment of Bush" issue.[...] However, as we noted the other day, since the illegal immigrant amnesty bill is dead and will not be revivable until the next congress and presidency for various and sundry reasons[...], essentially President Bush dodged a bullet on this matter and therefore the subject previously noted as being shelved may be revived and completed for posting before the end of the year time and motivation-willing on my part. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 11, 2007)]

{4} I will not for the sake of time constraints note some of the parties I had in mind when writing those words.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Points to Ponder:

In the past few days, the number of those killed by the extremists of the "religion of peace" since 9/11 has surpassed 9,000. Care to bet that the mainstream media is not going to report this as breathlessly as they did the 2,000 death in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003??? [I. Shawn McElhinney: A Thought From Five Minutes Ago]

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

On the Morality of Using Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Use of Atomic Bombs in General -Outline for a Possible Dialogue in August of 2007:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Though I have sought consciously to avoid this subject directly for the better part of the past year and a half{1}, I began pondering a few months ago the possibility of giving another go at an actual dialogue{2} on these matters. But before going into my reason for deciding to do this, a bit of background on the issue is important so I will do that at the present time.

To start with, the subject of the morality of using atomic weapons have been discussed from time to time by your humble servant at Rerum Novarum. This has occurred at sundry times and in diverse manners over the years with the decision made a couple of years ago to put together a synthesis if you will of our view on the subject in question. The latter decision was sparked by our becoming aware of certain very ignorant and historically revisionist statements made on the matter in question by a Catholic apologist of once high reputation{3} which we decided at the time to address in a pseudononymous fashion.

The subject in question was one which when made the subject of an extensive analysis and exposition in August of 2005{4} resulted in a number of unfortunate situations developing. I had long known that the complexity involved in attempting an equitable analysis of the issue were seriously lacking by the lions share of people who had written on this subject over the years. However, while it is true that this was not a subject which normally reasonable people were either able or willing to discuss intelligently though I had naively thought that some good friends would be able to at some point do this. Ultimately this proved not to happen{5} and subsequently I have unfortunately found myself out of principle forced to revisit the subject as a result of others' engaging in standard revisionist history or misrepresenting certain curial statements as being statements of the Catholic Church's magisterium{6} thus evincing a significant ignorance of general norms of theological interpretation.{7}

Essentially, I realized through experience on the issue in question the Pandora's Box that is involved in discussing it. Part of the reason for this is the emotions that an issue such as this can have. With the overall lack of anything resembling rational thought and logical analysis of issues in society at large, I should have realized that such a situation could have occurred which did but alas, I was naive in trusting friends to act as friends. And when considering the number of times this subject has been on the verge of being rehashed in the past year -and how I have managed to skirt it through a proper appeal to principled rationale{8} the time has come in my mind for a careful reappraisal of my normative approach to this matter.

As much as I tire of hearing about this issue{9} from the usual suspects{10}, it also stands to reason that no subject can be shut off from being discussed indefinitely. For those reasons, and to insure that the subject is neither (i) completely neglected or (ii) handled in the embarrassing fashions to which I have unfortunately witnessed on not a few occasions, I will despite my reluctance agree to discuss it between August 6, 2007 and August 21, 2007 within certain parameters. I will now spell out the aforementioned parameters so that there is no confusion on the matter.

1) The discussion must conform itself to the discipline of the dialogue at all times as spelled out to some extent in the posting on the principles of authentic dialogue noted in this thread.{11} I go over with no small degree of care this subject in that thread because it is an important and often neglected facet of modern discourse. Any such challenger will be presumed by me apriori to have familiarized themselves with those principles and will be assessed accordingly by them.

2) It is absolutely a requirement that anyone who wants to discuss this matter with me review some of what I have already written on the matter in question. I realize that a lot has been written; therefore I have decided to make as a minimal requirement that the inaugural posting I wrote on the problems with revisionist historians, the posting on double effect, and the posting on Gaudium et Spes and general norms be given due diligence as to their content. Those will be linked in this thread in an accompanying footnote.{12} As those threads are the minimal requirement for someone to understand where I am coming from on this subject, I will therefore focus most of any response to defending what is written in those postings though (if necessary) I will have recourse to other postings if the person who wants to try and dialogue cannot stay on topic or if they try a lot of the standard evasion tactics or referencing certain so-called "experts" if said "experts" are ones whose credibility has been debunked by me already in years past.

3) Any such challenger will be expected by me to stick to the natural lights of reason and logic if they expect to try and persuade me of the merits of their position over and above mine. Illogical appeals to emotion will be grounds for disqualifying the party in question from being taken seriously without a moment's hesitation on my part.

4) Any such challenger will be expected by me to not confuse the subjective with the objective -a subject I have written on before and will note in a footnote an important clarifying thread on this matter written earlier this year.{13} Those who do not take the time to familiarize themselves with this distinction will be summarily disqualified as unfit for me to expend my time trying to dialogue with as they will inexorably write a bunch of non-sequiturial drivel which I will not lift a finger to interact with. If I am going to attempt a dialogue with someone, I want it to be substantive and not involve wasting my time; ergo the importance of any presumed challenger familiarizing themselves with the distinction outlined in footnote thirteen above.

5) Any such challenger will be expected by me to not engage in any illegitimate appeals to authority as others in the past have done with me. I will not long tolerate it and indeed I will not dispatch with such pathetic attempts irenically so be warned in advance about that. The post noted in footnote fourteen explains this subject adequately and therefore any presumed challenger will be expected to familiarize themselves with its contents.{14}

6) I have no problem with valid usages of the ad hominem approach -unlike many so-called "apologists" I can take a punch as well as throw one. (As this is a subject which naturally effects emotions on both sides, for that reason bits of valid ad hominem will therefore be tolerated by me as a means of letting off steam.) However, any such challenger will be expected by me to make sure they know the difference between valid and invalid uses of the ad hominem because I will not tolerate the latter at any time whatsoever. The post thread in footnote fifteen{15} explains this more than adequately and therefore any challenger will be expected by me to familiarize themselves with its contents.

7) Any such challenger will be expected by me to being open to questioning their own infallibility. I have seen a failure in this area far too often and frankly it annoys me.

More could be noted but in a nutshell that will suffice for the time being. Oh, there is another thing which needs to be noted in advance before I finish this thread and it is this:

--I have practically no confidence whatsoever that any Catholic will be able to meet the criteria as noted above.

My reason for setting this down as I have is to make it clear from the outset that I do not expect to see a single Catholic of the common school of what passes for "thought" on this issue to be able to stack up. However, I would love on this latter point to be disproven. The ball is therefore in the court of those who have tried without success to get me to discuss this issue since the last dispatching of a poor excuse for a supposed "dialogue" on this matter back in early 2006.

I have posted this thread and the one preceding it over two weeks prior to the proposed dialogual period to provide for anyone who wants to dialogue on this issue a sufficient amount of time to become at least minimally informed on my position and familiarize themselves with some tools for being able to effectively argue their position to the extent that they can. Furthermore, I have by no means set up an impossible standard for people to meet in how this criteria is outlined. However, it will involve anyone wanting to have a rational dialogue on this matter to do a bit of homework and figure out why I hold the position I do and for what reasons. That is a core requirement for the discipline of the dialogue after all and one that we have noted on this weblog before:

To tell the truth, it is very difficult to carry on a dialogue: Many dialogues, even of Plato are fictitious, juxtapositions of monologues. Each stays as they were. This is so often what happens at assemblies and congresses. The true dialogue demands an effort which is continual and almost heroic, which consists first in trying to see from the other's viewpoint. Leibniz, that mind so open and elastic, said that the position of the other is the true viewpoint of politics and morals, and this going out of oneself to adopt --if only for a moment--the point of view of one's interlocutor he calls quite simply: love. [Jean Guitton: Dialogues of Paul VI With Jean Guitton pg. 163 (c. 1967) as quoted in a Rerum Novarum Posting (circa May 20, 2005)]

Oh and finally: do not (i) insult my intelligence, (ii) question my orthodoxy, or (iii) engage in any other cheap trick which I have seen from people who have (up to now) proven incapable of interacting on this issue as Catholics should act. Or should I say they should act if they are what they claim (both explicitly and implicitly) to be.

In summary, for those who have sought to try and get me to discuss this subject again in various overt and covert ways -or anyone else for that matter- these are my terms for discussing it and the time frame in which I am willing to discuss it. I await to see if any Catholics will actually stack up on this issue or if it will be more of the illogical, ahistorical, and theologically obtuse status quo among them.

Notes:

{1} The better part of a year and a half as of August 4, 2007

{2} Though this is a subject which has resulted in a number of weblog postings in written and audio form over the years, there is one in particular which I want to note here:

Some Principles For Authentic Dialogue and the Proper Use of Sources in Papers (circa February 9, 2006)

The above thread gives an outline of sorts on certain elements which are required for a genuine dialogue and I expect them to be present in any presumed dialogue I have -either on this subject or any other really.

{3} I say "once high reputation" because certain events in the more recent past have seriously sullied our once high view of this individual and their organization.

{4} For a history of the postings to this weblog on the subject of the atomic bombings, see this thread from earlier today where all the links are posted in sequential order from oldest to newest.

{5} I had hoped after I had notified some friends of the intention to publicly weigh in on the matter in question that it may be intelligently discussed at some point in the future once my position was properly understood. However, I had naively underestimated the good-will of certain friends on this matter. For that reason -and without agreeing in advance to a format for discussion of the matter- the result was unfortunate but in retrospect not completely

{6} This is a reference to the teaching authority of the Church and the statements it sets forth which are requiring of assent to varying degrees by faithful Catholics.

{7} If necessary, I will outline the Vatican's general norms of theological interpretation and how they apply to the issue in question. However, if a dialogue fitting the above criteria cannot be established first, I am hesitant to take the time to do the extra effort outlined in this footnote by my own admission.

{8} I would be more than happy to discuss the subject of atomic bombings at another time -say contemporary to the next anniversary which will be in August of this year. The reason for that is that I have already written a fair amount on this subject already and it has a way of getting under people's skin in a way few other subjects can. For that reason -and because I am tired of discussing the subject[...]- I would ask that if you want to talk about it with me to let me know around August or so when the subject of the anniversaries of those events come around again and the circumstances would be more appropriate. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 15, 2007)]

{9} Mainly because I have not seen anything approaching a serious and intelligent public response to what I have written on this matter from other Catholics up to the present day.

{10} Namely, Catholics who are obviously not familiar with either the degree of theological speculation allowed in this area or the concept of general norms of theological interpretation when reviewing various statements or texts which may to a certain extent apply to the subject in general.

{11} See footnote two.

{12} Namely these threads:

On Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications (circa August 17, 2005)

Expanding Futher on the Subject of Double Effect Viz. the Atomic Bombings (circa August 26, 2005)

On Gaudium et Spes and General Norms of Interpretation (circa February 4, 2006)

While far from the only ones I have written on this subject and the various complexities involved philosophically, rationally, theologically, historically, etc., those thread will serve as a good starting point for this discussion with the others being brought into the mix to the extent that it would be deemed necessary by me in accordance with how a dialogue on this subject would develop.

{13} On the Difference Between Objective Meaning and Subjective Intention (circa February 27, 2007)

{14} On the Appeal to Authority and Distinguishing Between Valid and Fallacious Appeals Thereof (circa March 8, 2007)

{15} On Ad Hominem, Revisiting Argumentum Ad Vericundiam , and Considering the Core Principle That Is Behind Any Argumentation/Logical Fallacy (circa June 1, 2007)

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Threads on the Atomic Bomb Droppings, Military and Statistical Calculations, the Moral and Ethical Aspects of the Subject Matter in Question, Etc...
(A Rerum Novarum Recapitulation/Update Thread)

This subject was treated to a similar recapitulation treatment back in January of 2006 prior to dispatching once and for all with the pretensions of "scholarship" and "logical argument" posited by a former friend of this weblog writer at theie instigation. In light of a post I am readying for posting later today, it seems appropriate to summarize up to this point in one spot all of the threads on the above subject matters from August 17, 2005 through July 20, 2007. Without further ado (in order from oldest to newest):

On Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications (circa August 17, 2005)

Some Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications" Thread (From Dr. Art Sippo circa August 18, 2005)

More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications" Thread (From Tim Tull circa August 19, 2005)

More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontificatons" Thread (From Tim Tull on Dr. Sippo's Email circa August 21, 2005)

Points to Ponder --On the Atomic Bombs and Their Usage (By Dr. Art Sippo circa August 22, 2005)

And Yet More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications" Thread (circa August 25, 2005)

And More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications" Thread (circa August 26, 2005)

And Yet Still More Feedback on the "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Profound Problems With Ivory Tower Revisionist Pontifications" Thread (circa August 26, 2005)

Expanding Futher on the Subject of Double Effect Viz. the Atomic Bombings (circa August 26, 2005)

Clarifying Some Additional Points on the Atomic Bombing Subject With Dave Armstrong (circa August 28, 2005)

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept. --Part I of II (circa September 6, 2005)

"Armstrong Illusions" Dept. --Part II of II (circa September 6, 2005)

Points to Ponder --On Appealing to Authority in Argumentation (circa September 9, 2005)

Briefly on Making a Valid Argument and Avoiding Argumentation Fallacies (circa September 11, 2005)

"Exit Stage Left" Dept. (circa September 12, 2005)

Abstract Theorizing and Hypothetical Wartime Situations With SecretAgentMan--Parts I-II (circa September 20 & 23, 2005)

"Armstrong Illusions" Revisited (circa January 23, 2006)

Guest Editorial on the Atomic Bombings, the Continued Emphasis on it Publicly by Certain Apologists, and the Goal of Catholic Apologetics--By Dr. Art Sippo (circa January 26, 2006)


A Followup Guest Editorial on the Atomic Bombings, the Continued Emphasis on it Publicly by Certain Apologists, and the Goal of Catholic Apologetics--By Dr. Art Sippo (circa January 31, 2006)

Naked Anticipation -A Poem by Albert Cipriani (circa January 31, 2006)

Some Wrapup Comments on the Previous Guest Editorial (circa January 31, 2006)

On Gaudium et Spes and General Norms of Interpretation (circa February 4, 2006)

Responding to Various Assertions of Stephen Hand (circa March 12, 2006)

Some Core Problems With Apologetics Methodology (circa August 5, 2006)

Core Problems With Apologetics Methodology Revisited With Apolonio Latar III (circa August 14, 2006)

Setting the Record Straight on Old Controversies (circa August 16, 2006)

Highlighting a Key Problem With Apologetics Methodology With Jimmy Akin (circa November 28, 2006)

On Peace, the Role of Force, and Gaudium et Spes §80 Revisited, Plus a Bit More on Rerum Novarum Guest Editorial Policy With Nate Wildermuth (circa January 15, 2007)

On General Norms of Theological Interpretation (circa April 27, 2007)

From the Mailbag (circa May 17, 2007)

The reason for this recapitulation/update thread will become evident soon.

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