Saturday, August 04, 2007

Points to Ponder:

[The Jihad] has turned the civility of the United States and Europe, into a weapon and turned it against us. It has weaponized niceness, it has weaponized compassion, it has weaponized the fundamental decency of Western Civilization. It has weaponized our desire for peace. It has recognized that our goodness is no match for its savagery, and will continue to exploit that fact until we lose and they win. (…) We have become too civilized to defeat our enemies, perhaps too civilized to survive. The dagger of our decency stabs us in the back.” [Raymond Kraft]

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Miscellaneous Musings:

There are four points briefly that I want to touch on so here goes...

--I plan to write in the coming week on the absurd "impeach Alberto Gonzales" chants from those who are playing the "get Bush at any cost and by any means" game. Others have called it Bush Derangement Syndrome and I cannot say I disagree with this assessment. The aforementioned subject will be covered in a general posting on various hints that the Democrats are starting the process of engraving the tombstone on their control of Congress in 2008.

--I believe I have found an actual person with the right disposition to be able to have a proper dialogue on the morality of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who has claimed to have fulfilled the pre-qualification criteria I set down in July of 2007. Due to the short time frame I initially set down for this (August 6th-August 21st) and considering that we do not have in place yet everything needed to start on August 6th,{1} I hereby abrogate my original time frame on this. I do intend to keep the time this is done relatively short but the latter is a normative concept to some extent. Anyway, I will notify you of when this will start if it does at all -I will not say it will for sure but I am very optimistic based on what I have reviewed from that person thus far that it will.

--I am unfortunately not surprised that some of the usual suspects are jumping to conclusions about who was or was not responsible for the bridge collapse in Minnesota and why. The most laughable one is that the money would have been there if not for the Iraq war and the $$$ sent over there for stabilization and rebuilding after the war. These are the same people who are rather mum about the trillions of dollars spent in the past forty years on the so-called War on Poverty which has made matters worse overall instead of better.{2} It is an example of the sorts of people who claim to care more about others but in reality they place ideology ahead of actual compassion and the latter is but a tool used to advance their ideology whenever it is convenient for them.

--After reading some news about the deaths of some{3}, the tragedies of others, and reflecting upon the subject of various evils and injustices in general, I found myself remembering something that I read many years ago from St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogues which in my mind was the best answer to the question of those who doubt the existence of God because of what they see as evils and injustices in the world. The Dialogue has God saying the following words to St. Catherine of Siena OP:

I ask you to love me with same love with which I love you. But for me you cannot do this, for I love you without being loved. Whatever love you have for me you owe me, so you love me not gratuitously but out of duty, while I love you not out of duty but gratuitously. So you cannot give me the kind of love I ask of you. This is why I have put you among your neighbors: so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me--that is, love them without any concern for thanks and without looking for any profit for yourself. And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 19, 2003)]

This is a principle that is often overlooked and seemingly in direct proportion to those who blow the trumpets the loudest for what they "do for the poor." As I noted last year in a Christmas musing{4}, this is precisely the wrong attitude to have.

Ultimately, the reason why catastrophes happen and injustice of any kind actually exists is because it is only through having compassion on others{5} that it is possible for us to show the virtue of charity. The latter is the only prism we are granted with which to see God as long as we view things "indistinctly as in a mirror" (cf. 1 Cor. xiii,12): the best we can ordinarily expect to see in the present age.

Notes:

{1} Including the person in question sending me an outline of their own position or something similar enabling me to understand where they are coming from and their foundational presuppositions. (This is needed so that I can do well by them in accordance with the principles I have set down for how I want my own position treated.)

{2} By the way, my request for a rolling clock showing the $$$ spent on the War on Poverty since 1965 remains: anyone know where I can find one to post to this site???

{3} Including Karen Marie Knapp who was someone whose weblog we read on occasion with great appreciation for her overall Gerard Seraphinesque kind of approach to issues. Rest in peace Karen and please remember those of us below in prayer.

{4} [R]emember my friends: those who try to make themselves look the most compassionate among us usually give less than those who give in silence without others knowing about it. And because they draw attention to themselves in doing so, they have already received their reward as Jesus said. Do not be like them. Do not draw attention to yourself when helping other people. Keep it between yourself and God. But by all means, help out however you can in accordance with your means to do so. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 22, 2007)]

{5} I refer here to genuine compassion and not the pseudo-"compassion" of those who blow a trumpet to tell others what "great people" they were or who "thank God" they are not like the rest of us "publicans" or whatever.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Points to Ponder:
(On "Supporting the Troops")

"If you say that you support the soldier but not what I am doing you are a liar. Soldiers are what they do and what they do is fight and win the nations wars. Popular or unpopular." [A Sergeant Major Stationed in Iraq: Responding to the "I Support the Troops But Not the War" Mantra]

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG has been updated!!!

The subject is one that is directly applicable to the subject of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -one which I have already set out parameters for a possible August dialogue on. Thus far, I may have one taker who may be able to stick to the guidelines unlike a certain intellectually-challenged simp{1} who obviously cannot. (I will email the possible party on the matter hopefully tomorrow time willing and find out.)

The clarification to the Miscellaneous BLOG is one which I have made many times but for the reasons noted in the above link, I was not always as consistent on as is noted in the posting itself. Nonetheless, from this point on, I will expect it to be recognized and accounted for whenever this subject is discussed with me.

Note:

{1} More will be posted on them in the coming days.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Points to Ponder:
(From Gouverneur Morris -Writer of the US Constitution's Final Draft)

All these [agitations] in a nation, not yet fitted by education and habit for the enjoyment of freedom, gives me frequent suspicions, that they will greatly overshoot the mark, if indeed they have not already done it....Having never felt the evils of too weak an executive, the disorders to be apprehended from anarchy make as yet no impression. [Letter to John Jay From The Chateau de Versailles in Paris, France (circa June 26, 1789)]

"[F]or avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy . . . the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people.

Religion is the solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man toward God.

Americans need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.

Will you trust the Commissioners? Trust crocodiles, trust the hungry wolf in your flock or a rattlesnake near your bosom, you may yet be something wise. But trust the King, his Ministers, his Commissioners, it is madness in the extreme. Why will you trust them? Why force yourself to make a daily resort to arms? Is this miserable country to be plunged in an endless war? Must each revolving year come heavy laden witli those dismal scenes which we have already witnessed ? If so, farewell liberty, farewell virtue, farewell happiness ! "

"What may be the event of the present war it is not in man to determine. Great revolutions of empire are seldom achieved without much human calamity, but the worst which can happen is to fall on the last bleak mountain of America, and he who dies there, in defense of the injured rights of mankind, is happier than his conqueror, more beloved by mankind, more applauded by his own heart."

"You will, ere this have seen the Constitution proposed for the United States. I have many reasons to believe that it was the work of plain, honest men, and such I think it will appear. Faulty it must be, for what is perfect? Should it take effect, the affairs of this country will put on a much better aspect than they have yet worn, and America will soon be as much respected abroad as she has for some time past been disregarded."

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Two reasons I am not likely to diss either Sweden or France anytime soon:



Granted they are not perfect as those Wikipedia profiles will testify to; however, politics is the art of the achievable not the art of the perfect and I am satisfied for the time being to cease and desist any derogatory comments about either Sweden or France while I watch to see if things actually improve there as a result of this significant political paradigm shift.

Maybe there is hope for those countries after all.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Case Study on What I Wrote Earlier Today:
(Aka "Reason and Logic Revisited")

Before I delve into the case study that fell into my lap a matter of a few minutes ago, I want to direct the readers to something written a couple of hours ago and posted to this very weblog. Here is that thread:

On Why Reason and Logic Are So Indispensible

As I will use what is written in that thread as a foundation for this posting, a quick review by those who have not seen it would be advisable.

Since the above thread was written, I received communication from someone who calls themselves The Midnight Rider who was apparently banned from Mark Shea's comboxes for refusing to denounce something I had said. If readers need a case study in why reason and logic are indispensable and yet so sorely lacking today, this one will work in spades; ergo I will now use it.

According to Mark Shea -someone who repeatedly throws gratuitous and unsubstantiated insults at anyone who does not agree with him, I have by claiming that he is a posterchild for why we need another sedition act in this country during a time of war "lied" about him and his view. The problem with the assertion of someone "lying" is that it is usually based on subjective frames of reference. In other words, Mark by not viewing himself as a seditionist naturally accuses those who say otherwise of "lying" about him. The question is, how does a reader approach objectively this subject to determine who is right and who is wrong.

The thread that got me banned from Mark Shea's site was later expanded into a weblog posting and blogged here. After what is noted in this posting, readers familiar with the rudimentary tools of reason and logic will be able to review it along with Mark Shea's site to determine which of us is objectively correct. But before they do that, they need to know what is involved in utilizing reason and logic as well as why failure in this area is so applicable to Mark Shea.{1} For that reason, the following material written by us earlier this year on the difference between objective manifestation and subjective intention is particularly a propo so it will be referenced at this time:

[T]he purpose of citing the above material in the present posting is to point out an example of the problems that come from confusing intentions with reality. This is what solipsism is as has been noted before: the self knowing nothing but its own states and their constituent modifications. To such persons, you can reason with them until your hair falls out but they will often not budge. One reason could be because they cannot be reasoned with. Another though can be due to the person confusing reality with their intentions.{3} If we are dealing with a person's written words, the latter problem can at times make it very difficult to talk with them because while you point out to them what they actually said{4}, they may take issue with this and shift the ground to what they claim to have intended. This is a variation of a fallacy called red herring because it does not pertain to the issue of discussion.{5} In the case of shifting from emperical evidence of what was said to subjective intention of the person saying it is to shift from the non-normative to the normative context. Those terms were defined briefly here and the distinction being made between them is hardly insignificant. Indeed, the difference between what is objectively verifiable and what was subjectively intended is a night and day distinction because one can be verified by empirical evidence objectively and the other cannot. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 27, 2007)]

Here are the footnotes from the above text for fleshing out further the points made -notice in particular how what is outlined in footnote three fits Mark Shea like the DNA at Brentwood fit OJ:

{3} It is not uncommon for these sorts to accuse those who point out what their statements and actions logically involve of being "liars" or of "lying" and often they do this with a degree of personal indignation. The reader should remember that the reason for this is that the person is confusing objective reality with subjective intention. Since these people would claim that their subjective intention is pure, right, or whatever, they view anything that does not support their subjective intention as a misrepresentation of objective reality rather than consider the alternative.

The alternative, of course is that the objective meaning of their statements does not support their later-stated intentions or subjective intentions. When the latter is properly understood, it is evident that those who point these distinctions out (where they are valid) are not "lying" or "slandering" them but instead are correctly describing the situation objectively and apart from the other person's subjective intention.

{4} Assuming for a moment that they even bothered to quote the words in context of course. (This is unfortunately no small assumption to be making oftentimes.)

{5} To take the definition of red herring from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary for the sake of reader convenience (all emphasis is the present writer's):

Main Entry: red herring
Function: noun
1 : a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color
2 [from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs] something that distracts attention from the real issue. [LINK] [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa February 27, 2007)]

Now then, readers armed with this knowledge are asked, nay encouraged to review what I have written on sedition and what it consists{2} of and also consider a number of Mark Shea's public statements{3} and see if my equating of the two is not objectively correct. Do not take Mark at his word on this and do not uncritically take mine either. Look at the evidences and use them to determine objectively whether or not I am "lying" (as Mark claims) or objectively verifying what Mark has materially conveyed{4} as I have and will continue to assert that I have done until objectively proven to the contrary. One of us has no problem with having people examine both sides of the issue and the other feels threatened by it and is desperate to try and squelch anyone who would point this out -even stooping to character assassination as a means to the end of no one questioning him.{5} And that is the bottom line really.

Notes:

{1} And why what I have asserted is objectively correct despite Mark Shea's vehement denials to the contrary.

{2} On Sedition and What it Consists Of (circa May 3, 2007)

{3} Two sites which have numerous threads on them which fit the requirement above are The Mark Shea Reader and particularly The Coalition For Fog.

{4} Whatever he would claim his intentions are is not the issue here; only what he has materially conveyed - see the sites noted in footnote two for some of the numerous examples which could be noted on this matter.

{5} And yes, this assertion (much as any I have made here or elsewhere) I am more than capable of substantiating by rational argument and objective evidences unlike the Mark Shea's of the world who demand accountability from others but then run from it themselves like a vampire fleeing a crucifix.

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On Why Reason and Logic Are So Indispensable:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

What I noted in the dialogual thread posted prior to the one you are currently reading is a phenomenon that easily leads into what Vernon Reid of the band In Living Colour wrote a song about in the late 1980's; namely a "cult of personality." The latter explains why sometimes intelligent people (to say nothing about those who are not intelligent) can act like such mindless drones drinking different kinds of "Kool-Aid" at the beck and call of their chosen Jim Jones.

As I get older I find myself more and more concurring with the observation of one of my early intellectual mentors Mike Mentzer when he referred to the modern era as "a new Dark Ages." He predicated this observation on how intellectually dependent most people are and at bottom it is because as a rule people do not know much about logic or how to use it -how they can use reason to separate probable truth from probable falsehood.{1}

When you couple the short attention spans of modern people with the information overload from the msm and other media outlets -most of which I might add is irrelevant or a distraction from what is actually important- this is where the inability of most people to utilize logic and reason correctly is most problematical.

If there is a reason why I have focused so much on foundational presuppositions over the years and why it is important for everyone to recognize how this relates to their own outlook and also to challenge from time to time "their own infallibility" as Ben Franklin called it, this is the reason why. Because by default, everyone treats their own foundational presuppositions as if they are infallible. And no one has any business challenging someone else to reassess their foundational presuppositions if that person themselves is not similarly willing to do the same in their own case from time to time.

Note:

{1} I say "probable truth" because logic and reason have their limits when it comes to identifying what is and is not truth. Their primary value is to eliminate what is either evidently or by logical extension most probably false and thus make ascertaining truth much easier to do than when they are not utilized. And obviously the better they are utilized, the narrower the field to choose from and inexorably the greater likelihood that one will choose truth over falsehood.

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"Rare as Hen's Teeth But They Do Exist" Dept.
(On Good Apologists With Bob Klaus)

The following was taken from a discussion list thread last year but mothballed for a variety of reasons to be used later. Considering a few of the postings as of late (and at least one more that will be posted next week), I dug the following from my drafts folder and put the finishing touches on it for posting at this time. My previous words will be in aqua coloured font with the subsequent words in blue font.

On 12/20/06, XXXX XXXXXXXXX wrote: Someone asked me if Bob Klaus left Catholic Legate and I said I didn't know. Bob? Bueller?

I hope not. Much as apologists in general have ticked me off as of late, Bueller...I mean Bob is one of those I believe does it right and the Legate would be diminished if he left it.

That is kind of you to say, Shawn. I appreciate it.

No problemo amigo.

Unfortunately, unless I won the Powerball tonight I still need to earn a living -- which means I have a limited amount of time to work "my hobby" -- and hence I cannot work the Legate and Christian Forums at the same time.

Frankly Bob, that is probably a good thing that it is not your job the way it is with not a few whom I shall not mention. But for those who do make $$$ off of it, there is the at least implicit need to stir the pot and create controversy because that is what people react to. Well, that and the "if you do not send what you can, my kids and wife will starve" kind of letters. When there is no financial concern, the problem of being compromised is a lot less as is the temptation to put oneself in that position.

############################

Hi Shawn,

Frankly Bob, that is probably a good thing that it is not your job the way it is with not a few whom I shall not mention. But for those who do make $$$ off of it, there is the at least implicit need to stir the pot and create controversy because that is what people react to. Well, that and the "if you do not send what you can, my kids and wife will starve" kind of letters. When there is no financial concern, the problem of being compromised is a lot less as is the temptation to put oneself in that position.

That is why I said "win the powerball" - if I was independently wealthy and didn't depend on speaking fees and selling books (and gaining donations) for a living...then I could devote myself to my hobby full time instead of only part-time.

I have ZERO interest in becoming a "professional" apologist...for all the reasons you and I have discussed many times.


Give and take is fine. The problem I have with a lot of the apologists is that they are illogical. They base the veracity of a particular argument or position not on its intrinsic merits or lack thereof but instead on who says it as if that is by itself the determining factor.

For an additional musing pertaining to the above material, see the thread to be posted following this one.

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