Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Points to Ponder: 
(On Banking and Investments) 

Does not the social function of the bank consist in making it possible for the individual to render his money fruitful, even if only in small degree, instead of dissipating it, or leaving it sleep without any profit, either to himself or to others? That is why the services that a bank can render are so numerous: to facilitate and encourage savings; to preserve savings for the future, at the same time rendering them productive in the present; to enable savings to share in useful enterprises that could not be launched without them; to make as simple and easy as possible the regulation of accounts, exchanges, commerce between the State and private organisms and, in a word, the entire economic life of the people. [Pope Pius XII: Address to Italian Bankers (circa April 25, 1950)]

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Briefly...

On the Chauvin verdict, I thought second degree manslaughter was most likely, third degree murder feasible, and second degree murder would be unlikely. I was wrong on the latter, Chauvin was found guilty on all counts.

Insomnia 2: Electric Boogaloo!

Here is another of the shipwrecks, the Ozlem. Built in 1969 and originally named the Christina I, it was a tanker which went through a few owners and name changes (including the Charles Cruz) until it was wrecked near the Georgian coastal town of Batumi in 2005 where it has remained and slowly decomposed ever since. 





Sunday, April 18, 2021

I had a bit of insomnia this morning so I was awake looking at pictures of shipwrecks. This is the SS Maheno beached at Frasier Island off the coast of Australia in 1935. A former luxury liner, it was converted into a hospital ship and served during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915




Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Points to Ponder:

I can relate to so much of this and have for quite some time. But 2020 sharpened my perceptions if you will. Without further ado...

It’s all dead to me. Celebrities. Sports. Concerts. Bars. Travel. None of it matters anymore. During 14 days to stop the spread, which turned into 7 weeks of lockdown, I would have done ANYTHING to go to a concert.

But now? I count it as loss. It means nothing to me anymore. The people I once idolized are puppets. The politicians I once applauded are imbedded in their own interests and have sold us out. The companies I once shopped with are colluding against us.

The celebrities I once looked up to I know [I] can’t look at. It’s all gone. 2020 changed me. And I don’t miss any of it. I only wish I had ditched all of these false idols sooner.

The truth is is that I’d give up any of these things sooner if I had truly understood. But now I do. And it set me free. I’ll walk the narrow road with my eyes fixed on the finish line. None of what is here matters. The earth and everything here is temporary.

There is life after death. So I count this all as loss. 2020 was the year that separated the wheat from the chaff. There are still people straddling the line, soon they will have to choose where they stand too.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it." 1 Corinthians 9:24

If disagreeing with what is happening causes me to lose my seat at the table and to lose my status in society, I’m willing to sit alone. [Nina Leone]

Monday, April 12, 2021

Four Questions For Distributist/Distributivist Apologists...

This is the text of an unfinished Facebook note primarily composed on April 12, 2012. As it seemed appropriate to revisit the subject, the thread below was finished in roughly the form originally envisioned for publication at this time.

As one who has over the years interacted may times (and often in depth) with distributist/distributivist (D/D) apologists, inevitably you hear these sorts of responses such as I have heard earlier this year from a couple advocates when writing yet another lengthy critique of D/D philosophy:

Shawn, you know nothing of distributism to make such claims.

Shawn, I don't think you know what Distributism is.

Now this is what D/D love to say when their economic weltanschauung is challenged in any detail. So before I get to the four questions I have, here is how some D/D apologists describe their own system on one of their advocacy sites:
While in a socialist society none are owners, and in a capitalist society only a few are owners, in a Distributist society most are owners of productive property. This is the defining characteristic of Distributism: the widescale distribution of productive property throughout society, such that ownership of it is the norm, rather than the exception. Such distribution is the best way of ensuring that the economic rights of man are respected; that men can pursue their livelihoods with the greatest possible independence; and that society can exist as a single harmonious whole, without the vicissitudes of class hatreds and constant economic unrest which plague all of our current systems.{1}
Notice that the describe the way their society looks but not how they actually get there and therein lies the rub!

For this is the same problem the atheist has in accounting for how existing systems came into being in the absence of creation by some higher Intelligence. In like manner, D/D sorts have to explain exactly how their system that they envision becomes a reality instead of merely fantasizing about what they think it would look like. That is the core problem that both of those sorts of advocates have for their respective systems when you take it down to brass tacks.

So I will ask now (albeit in shorter form) essentially what I always have asked D/D but boiled down to four question that they need to answer before I can invest any serious effort or energy into such a hypothesis. Without further ado...
  • Tell me how you get Distribution without some kind of "Distributor."
If this cannot be done, then the proposed system could not be implemented at all and that would make all the advocacies for it nothing but pious nonsense.

Of course if we assume that the D/D recognizes that some sort of "Distributor" (however it is constituted) is needed to make their system work in reality instead of just some nostalgia driven fantasy land, that brings us to this question:
  • Who is empowered to be the "Distributor" and how (and by what authority) are they so empowered?
Once this question is answered, then there is the issue of how those who took issue with the proposed system would be treated as we can assume such a radical overhaul of the existing order would prompt no small degree of opposition. Ergo:
  • What would be recommended to be done with those who have land and other resources that they claim is theirs and who tell the "Distributor" and their advocates{2} to take their ideas for attempting to coerce public behaviour (and/or said property from them) and blow it out their collective pie holes? 
That is a reasonable question to ask because the system they are advocating would in a number of cases do just that and if they are going to complain about being compared to socialists and the latter's redistributist schemes, they will have to explain that in some detail and in a fashion that is logically coherent and not purely arbitrary. And finally, there is the issue that so many of those who advocate for this system happen to be those who would not have to or actually do not live in it themselves:
  • When are we going to see those who advocate for this "glorious lifestyle" actually practice what they preach? 
For those who endeavour to try to advocate for this sort of system or otherwise push it onto others can start by divesting themselves of all the trappings of the economic system they despise, get a farm plot in the middle of BFE, and eke out some subsistence living in all the splendour of the Middle Ages they so longingly wish they were a part of.{3} I am not talking about doing this as some part time thing or jovial little experiment{4} but instead to actually live the life they preach that everyone should be living.

That means:
  • Do not buy food from the market, grow/raise it all yourself. 
  • Do not buy clothes and shoes, make them all yourself. 
  • Etc.{5}
This sort of thing in the overwhelming majority of cases can only be lionized by those who have never had to live it but those of who would advocate for such a system or bemoan the current system or misrepresent it egregously{6} to push their pet notions{7}, how about they go about making a living via the one they claim everyone should be living in.{8} For until I start seeing D/D moving en masse to buy farms and making a lot of (if not all of) their own stuff, do not be surprised if such apologists are summarily (and properly) dismissed as unworthy of consideration in the arena of ideas.

Notes:

{1} Donald P. Goodman: Excerpt from An Introduction to Distributism (circa August 9, 2011)

{2} Who basically try to invent fancy ways to steal it from them under the guise of some "higher morality" or whatever.

{3} And any who actually do try to do this at the very least have my respect for endeavouring to practice what they preach. (If nothing else, they deserve credit for walking the talk unlike most of their comrades who talk in a similar fashion and do not back their words up with deeds.)

{4} For example, my time on a cousins farm one vacation.

{5} I suppose in some aspects they could argue that a kind of collective could be established wherein those who are either better equipped resource-wise or in some fashion more proficient in some areas than others could form reciprocal arrangements with like-minded folks with different skills and better function societally that way. However, as that notion is simply much too close to David Ricardo's Enlightenment era theory of comparative advantage and therefore any who would smear or demean economic theories or principles from the Enlightenment era would be best to leave such things out of their calculations lest they "pollute" their "pristine civilizational model." Or to be blunter: make the damn shit yourselves!

{6} To note five postings from 2007 on the subject:

Revisiting "Distributivism" (circa May 25, 2007)

"The Empire Distributivist Strikes Back" Dept. (circa May 27, 2007)

On Fundamental Rights, Private Property, and Authentic Dialogue (circa May 31, 2007)

On the "Phantom Menace" of Distributivism (circa September 8, 2007)

{7} For example, the historically ignorant who preach the idiotic idea that capitalism started either in the Enlightenment period or in the post-reformation when in reality its earliest developments preceded both of those periods.

{8} Whether they want to or not!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

My mother in law Raffaelina Barone passed away a year ago this evening. If those who read these words would say a prayer for her and her family, it would be appreciated.

Eternal rest grant unto her soul oh Lord and may thy perpetual light shine upon her...May her soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Friday, April 09, 2021

Points to Ponder: 
(Circa January 9, 2007)

He who tells the people revolutionary legends, he who amuses them with sensational stories, is as criminal as the geographer who would draw up false charts for navigators. [Ralph E. Luker]

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Points to Ponder:

We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green. [GK Chesterton (circa 1926)]

Sunday, April 04, 2021

As today is Easter Sunday{1}, it seems fitting to revisit some material posted to this site last year. It was originally composed for a Facebook post years ago after being used in a comments thread discussion with self-proclaimed "Bible Christians." As will be evident in a moment, these folks were not that familiar either with their Bible or with the traditions and practices of the Apostolic Churches from the very beginning. Without further ado...

Texts on the Sacrament of Penance (circa October 12, 2020)

Note:

{1} In the west anyway.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Points to Ponder:

It has been years since I had a truly bad Lent --last year was not great but all things considered was not bad. I found myself last night when out walking pondering my disgusting Lenten performance this year and it dawned on me that maybe this had to happen.

For often when things go well or pretty well, we can lose perspective to some extent and maybe laying such a stinky egg this Lent was needed to remind me in a fundamental way that there but for His grace go I. 

Or maybe I am just trying to rationalize my own failures.

Or perhaps it is a bit of both?

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

On NFP...

This is the text of an unpublished Facebook Note From March 31, 2014. My words will be in regular font.

And no I am not adding to Catholic's burdens by raising people from NFP to Providentialism

Actually, if one looks at your rationale, this is precisely what you are doing. Just because you do not subjectively recognize it does not change the objective import of where your purported arguments inexorably go.

The Church never ever taught that NFP is meant to be used as a contraception.

This is true. However, as NFP cannot be used as a contraceptive, your statement is pretty pointless. (This is not to say that NFP cannot be used with a contraceptive mentality mind you but even if that happens, it is not the same as engaging in contraception because the mechanics of the completed act via NFP are not impeded.)

It was only be used in exceptional cases.

This is not the Church's teaching but instead is your own. At no point does the Church say NFP is only for exceptional cases. The verbiage is actually just causes and the latter are hardly exceptional or extraordinary.

And yes, NFP is still contraception. That is precisely what it is doing.

How is abstaining from sex during fertile periods contracepting? Simple, it is not. If you are contracepting by abstaining from sex during fertile times, then you have to accuse Mary and Joseph of contracepting because guess what: they abstained from sex during Mary's fertile times!{1} So Mary and Joseph engaged in contraception and thus sin by your absurd "logic" and as we know via the faith that Mary remained sinless, your argument not only does not hold water but you have engaged in blasphemy and arguably espoused heresy.{2} I suggest with all due respect that you take pause and rethink your position here and cease accusing Bill or anyone else of a clouded irrational post considering the objective import of your own statements!

As for the second part of your position, how is having sex during infertile times contracepting? Simple, it is not. God is the author of the fertility cycle and there is no commandment that couples are required to abstain during it. Furthermore, if following God's own laws, there is no wrong committed whereas contraception obstructs or frustrates God's laws. The end may be the same but the means are both objectively and morally different in the eyes of the Church.

What else is contraception but preventing life.

This is ridiculous. By your foolish "logic" if you are married and abstaining from sex with your wife right now, you are "contracepting" because you are preventing life. Better get yourself to confession on the double because by this "mortal sin" you are consigning yourself to hell if you are not having sex with your wife right now! :::rolls eyes:::

It is not artificial but it is still contraception.
No it is not. You obviously do not understand what contraception is and is not.

The aim of both techniques whether natural or artificial is to prevent life from forming (contra-caption, against life). Whether the reason is grave or not, that is it's immediate intent.

Two points: (i) the reason to use NFP does not have to be grave according to Catholic teaching -just reasons is the criteria the Church sets down, and (ii) there is no impediment to conception with NFP during an infertile part of the cycle. By your "logic" an infertile couple is "contracepting" every time they have sex and thus sinning: again your "logic" betrays you as does your ignorance of Catholic teaching.

That is why it is only be used on grave situations -e.g. because of the health of the mother and only temporarily.

Nice try but you are wrong again. The Church does not teach that NFP can only be used in "grave" situations: that is a mistranslation from the Latin text probably originally committed by an overly scrupulous scribe.{3} The actual meaning of the Latin is just causes and again, these are not exceptional or extraordinary.

The principle to be followed is that the reasons should not be trivial or light for the usage of NFP but regulated by real reasons of a serious nature. And the determinants of this criteria are the couple themselves with the assistance of their confessors/spiritual directors not you, me, or anyone else. The Sacred Penitentiary from the earliest of days when they begin addressing these issues{4} down to the present day has said the same thing: "After mature examination, we have decided that such spouses should not be disturbed [or disquieted], provided they do nothing that impedes generation." I suggest that you do as the Church advises on these matters including making the same distinctions they do. Otherwise, you are not thinking with the mind of the Church on these matters


Notes:

{1} They also abstained in non-fertile periods too but my issue here is your flawed argument.

{2} Either way, if St. Jerome were in the room he would smack your face for such inferences!

{3} I will presume for the sake of charity that their error was not intentional.

{4} Their first intervention on these matters was in 1853.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Points to Ponder:

In John 3, when John the Baptist is asked whether Jesus is the Messiah, John says quite clearly that Jesus is the important one: 'He must increase, I must decrease.'

He must increase, I must decrease. Everybody needs to hear that. It's not about me, it's not about you. It's about something infinitely more important than us. [Fr. Robert Taft SJ]

Monday, March 29, 2021

The following was an interesting comment from Facebook on the subject of the word perfidious in light of some self-styled traditionalists who are eager to celebrate not just the pre-1970 Good Friday liturgy but the pre-1955 one. Basically, they just want to refer to the Jews as perfidious and try and cloak their noxious behaviour with the veneer of appeals to antiquity. The poster here really nails the subject well so I post it here for consideration as Good Friday is approaching. Without further ado...


 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Proposed Good Friday Prayer For The Perfidious Apologists:

Though to be fair, this is only aimed at certain radical apologist reactionary sorts. Nonetheless... 

"Let us pray also for the perfidious apologists that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge the damage their ignorant hamhanded theologically stunted proselytizing does to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, you do not refuse your mercy even to the apologists; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of those people so that they may acknowledge in authentic dialogue the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Points to Ponder:

[O]ne who strives to ascend to the highest place must needs rise by steps or paces, and not by leaps. [St. Gregory the Great]

Friday, March 26, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Points to Ponder:

A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. [Proverbs xviii,7]

Grassley to DoJ: Why has no one been charged with crimes over false Kavanaugh allegations?


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Quite disappointed
Am I with my Lent this year
Need to do better

Points to Ponder:

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever [Thomas Jefferson]

Friday, March 19, 2021

Thermopylae

Honour to those who in their lives
are committed and guard their Thermopylae.
Never stirring from duty;
just and upright in all their deeds,
but with pity and compassion too;
generous whenever they are rich, and when
they are poor, again a little generous,
again helping as much as they are able;
always speaking the truth,
but without rancor for those who lie.

And they merit greater honor
when the foresee (and many do foresee)
that Ephialtes will finally appear,
and in the end the Medes will go through.
[Constantine P. Cavafy]

Monday, March 15, 2021

Points to Ponder:

Cigars bridge all kinds of gaps, ideological, political…they promote harmony and a feeling of getting along. [Rush Limbaugh (circa April 2017)]

Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Points to Ponder:

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. [Proverbs xxvi,11]

Saturday, March 13, 2021

I saw this article and a few of the Usual Suspects publicly critical about this policy and have decided to weigh in about it here.

As for how to interpret this, it bears noting that mass is intrinsically a public devotion. This has always been the correct understanding of liturgical worship even if in the west various legal fictions have been devised at times to try and circumvent this understanding. For example, the intrinsically public nature of the liturgy is witnessed to by church custom, laws, regulations, etc.{1} There is a reason for example that even in an ostensibly private mass a priest has at least one server and since time immemorial this one server could even be female provided certain stringent requirements were followed.{2} This principle is even enshrined in the Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law under section 906:

"Nisi iusta et rationabili de causa, sacerdos Sacrificium eucharisticum ne celebret sine participatione alicuius saltem fidelis."{3}

A translation from the Vatican website renders this as follows:

"Except for a just and reasonable cause, a priest is not to celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least some member of the faithful."{4}

Even this standard is more relaxed than the equivalent provision from the old 1917 Code which itself was a relaxation from centuries of more stringent rules in this area.{5} All of this points to the normal or operative presupposition that liturgy is intrinsically or by its nature a public devotion. The regulation from canon law basically says this while providing exception clauses for some cases. What are those exceptions? The wording is Nisi iusta et rationabili de causa translated as Except for a just and reasonable cause

How should we interpret this? As probably all of those griping about this are self-proclaimed traditionalists, I propose an eminently traditionalist reading; namely, only in grave situations should private masses be permitted. Here much as with Humanae Vitae (HV) we see the words iustae causae used though here rationabili (reasonable) also appears. But if iustae causae is to be interpreted as grave (or serious) in HV, then by that interpretation, only for grave or serious reasons (as well as rational) should private masses be allowed and anything more is being selfish and having a kind of ecclesial contraceptive mentality by seeking to frustrate a kind of ecclesial procreative function.

So why do traditionalists promote liturgical contraception and criticize Pope Francis for insisting that all liturgical observations at St. Peters be open to the life of the faithful?

As for the restriction of the extraordinary form liturgy, it bears noting that extraordinary by its very nature means out of the ordinary or less common. As many traditionalists when it comes to subjects pertaining to the salvation of others like to interpret concepts like extraordinary so narrow as to be nearly non-existent, it seems to me this should be how allowances for the extraordinary form should be approached for those same persons as the Lord says in the Gospels "whatsoever ye measure unto others shalt be measured unto you"{6} so like it or lump it{7} and that is the bottom line!

Notes:

{1} The late and esteemed Right Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Robert Taft SJ of eternal memory liked to quip "There are two things you do not do alone: liturgy and sex."

{2} Namely, if there were no males to perform the function and as long as she stayed away from the altar.

{3} Code of Canon Law 906 (Latin)

{4} Code of Canon Law 906 (English)

{5} A subject perhaps for another time if I feel inclined to discuss it.

{6} Cf. Mark iv,24

{7} To use another quip from the late and esteemed Right Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Robert Taft SJ of eternal memory.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

More on Usury, the Importance of Definitions for Utilizing Logic and Rational Thought, the Problem With Sophism, Etc.

Originally posted to Facebook on May 3, 2012.

This is a continuation of the thread located here:

On Usury, the Importance of Definitions to Reasoned Thought and Discourse, Etc.

My words will be in regular font.

Since I have no means to post on Shawn's page, I'll post my final remarks here and be done.

Folks like this are rarely if ever done. And I titled this response with the word usury deliberately -readers are asked to notice how little it comes up in the bolded parts below -and not by accident I might add.

how does one credibly say that the overall quality of life has not improved?

If we agree that living longer, that indeed modern medicine has improved the health of humans, that our nutrition is better, that abundance of things in and information, and all these are completely positives. However, I do beg to differ. Living longer just means more years on the planet, it doesn't tell us anything of the quality and nature of any given person's life.

How does one objectively measure quality of life apart from certain empirical measure such as the ones above?

A person could live 5, 10, 15 years and still have had as good, or better a quality of life than someone that has lived 125 years.

Theoretically I suppose this is true.

So what if the average person lives at present better than a king? Why do they still feel like a peasant, or would rather dream of being a king in the Medieval times if out current period of time is so wonderful?

Because people tend to be nostalgic by nature. They often think things were better in the past and usually it is because the past can at times be romanticized by them -whether they lived in the period they are nostalgic for or not. (Either way it is because those folks find certain factors of their present life less than satisfactory.) But this is hardly something new to folks of the present age -indeed if you look throughout history, you will always find folks who think this way. Even the children of Israel were nostalgic for certain things they had when they were slaves in Egypt! They were in that state not thinking of the many things that were worse about their lot when they were slaves, only the stuff they did not have when they were a free people wandering in the desert. I could note other examples but that one should suffice to make the point in brief.

How is it that people who couldn't read could still enjoy life, yet people who can don't?

Now we are getting into questions that go far afield of the last thread. I of course answered this sort of question rather succinctly in the thread above.

All this access to stuff doesn't necessarily equate to happiness, the quantity of it doesn't equate to happiness. Having all possibilities doesn't merit bringing happiness, it can burden with too many choices, many of which are not even worthwhile to consider, not to mention garbled in so much grey that even if they are possible, it doesn't mean they are probably or worthwhile to pursue. So, it's not the quantity of things and years in life that bring happiness, it's the quality of them and if they are things both worthy and of good to pursue. Otherwise, one falls into affluenza and the deception of the world that materialistic quantity is happiness, when it is not and can imprison people more than liberate them when things are wrongly pursued and gained for wrong cause and without consideration of what is beyond the material good.

See my previous comments.

However, I do not see folks like you who bewail these things trying to deprive yourself of some of that which makes you part of the spoiled element of society.

You don't even know me, nor my particular lot in life, so you are working off an assumption.

So says the guy who has made assumptions about usury all along and deliberately avoided dealing with the very point that I have pressed him on all along. (Read: the Catholic Church's definition of usury.) Again, this is not accidental folks. Watch how many assumptions he makes about me in this thread -I will mention them briefly in passing when (and not if) he does.

I'll leave out what making assumptions can do, which I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.

His pomposity aside for a moment, as I literally just said:
Watch how many assumptions he makes about me in this thread -I will mention them briefly in passing when (and not if) he does.
Furthermore, assumptions only make one an ass if they are untrue, not when they are true.

Because material goods themselves do not suffice to make folks happy. They never have and they never will.

Agreed, and thus is a reason why merely just having a quantity of material things does not equate to a better quality of life. 

I never said that merely just having a quantity of material things does not equate to a better quality of life did this of course. Goods are merely tools which are themselves morally neutral. It is how folks use them that determines their moral value as well as their objective efficacy in contributing to a better quality of life. But to seemingly pretend as if they are of no objective value in enabling someone to better their standard of living qualitatively as well as quantitatively is to only be selective with information rather than fully disclosing of it.

In some respects, a peasant in the Medieval times might have a much better quality of life than a CEO that could own the world in today's time. Is it not said the meek shall inherit the earth?

In an apples to apples comparison, the average peasant in the medieval times did not have a better quality of life overall than the average person of today -not to mention ceo's or anyone else who is not exactly average. Again, apples to apples, the average person today has a quality of life overall that the rich did not have in past ages. There is a tremendous difference between those who were/are capable of being able to improve their lot in life and those who for various reasons are stuck in whatever station of life they happened to be born into.

Are you claiming that in the middle ages this sort of thing never happened -albeit in some different circumstances?

No, if anything, I'm claiming that, despite having more stuff, we are still under similar inequalities as we were in the Middle Ages. Imperialism has reformed itself to Corporate agendas.

One problem with your claim above is that there are a variety of ways for folks to better themselves today compared to in say the middle ages. If you were born a peasant, you were gonna stay a peasant unless perhaps you became a member of the clergy. Today though folks have a lot more opportunities for advancement of their station in life in the western world in general and in places like America in particular. And for all the bemoaning of Corporate agendas, it is still easier for a person today to avoid the reach of corporations than it was in olden days to avoid the Imperialism of kings and sovereigns.

My guess is you do not whine about big corporations when you avail yourself of those products and services which they make available and which makes your life either more comfortable or otherwise easier in some fashion.

You seem to have a habit of making many assumptions of me that are neither verified, nor valid for anything more than mere rhetorical mechanism.

Actually, I have over the years interacted with a lot of folks who whine like you are about this stuff and then I find out their moralizing does not match how they live their own lives. But hey, if you want to play the who is making many assumptions game, two can play that one.

As it is, Corporations did have humble beginnings, being chartered for public works programs, but that was at least a century or more off from now.

This is quite a generalization in itself. One could indeed go so far as to call it an assumption if they wanted to be technical about it.

What they have become, and their environmental and societal footprint have gone astray from those humble beginnings.

Again, this is quite a generalization in itself. One could indeed go so far as to call it an assumption if they wanted to be technical about it because corporations come in a lot of shapes and sizes.

Companies incorporate any more to make a lot of money and to enjoy all the benefits of personhood while not even being a person.

Boy, we are really getting far afield of the original discussion now. Corporate personhood is another subject altogether but notice how we are so far into this response and no interaction with the fundamental criticism I had of this person all along. Again, this cannot be accidental but I digress.

Not to mention, under limited liability, it offers them a way enjoy that personhood without the moral obligations of a living breathing person.

So? Have you ever owned or run your own business? I have on a few occasions and let me tell you, without limited liability capabilities -in lieu of the litigious society we have become- it would be impossible to do so otherwise.

And through their imperirialist agendas, they work to enslave the population.

Oh brother talk about assumptions and generalizations!

Ironically, the Amendment that they used to claim personhood was meant with regards to emancipating the slaves.

Again,  we are really getting far afield of the original discussion now. To note something I wrote at the beginning of this response:
I titled this response with the word usury deliberately -readers are asked to notice how little it comes up in the bolded parts below -and not by accident I might add.
Now then, I was not sure where this thread was gonna go as I am responding to it bit by bit as I go along here. But notice though that so far that assumption has been vindicated? I wonder if anyone would care to bet that I will be able to say this at the end of this response as well but that is neither here nor there.

And yet, far more cases of companies wanting personhood for something that is not even a person utilized the Amendment than did the slaves, real people who were for so long denied being considered anything but property.

To quote myself from earlier in this thread:
Boy, we are really getting far afield of the original discussion now.
At this point, I could probably say that for the duration of this thread and it would be applicable at every step!

So yeah, I do have a moral objection to that. Just like people morally object to war, abortion, and all sorts of things that are in our society that is so much the greater than any other. I don't see you calling them 'whiners' for doing so. Would that be a double standard?

Not at all because the thread of interaction at the very beginning was on your failure to explain what you meant by usury and furthermore your criticism of those who were not following what the Catholic Church teaches on the matter when you yourself had no idea what that teaching actually was! I sought to get you to define your terms a bit (in part by pointing you to the actual definition of the Church on the matter of usury) but your response to that was to ignore that, prattle on about more non-sequiturial stuff, then sum up by calling me a snob for daring to expect people who piously pontificate on something to know what the hell they are talking about first.

I'm not going to make excuses, I just believe that corporations can, and should be held more accountable for their actions. If a corporation can be defined a person, then they should be held accountable as any other person in society.

To quote myself from earlier in this thread:
Boy, we are really getting far afield of the original discussion now.
I suppose by pointing out the various ways that this thread has gone astray from the original subject matter (and my original criticisms of you on the usury subject: criticisms which in light of all your responses to me remain intact stable and valid I might add) that constitutes snobbery in your world, right?

your generalizations are typical of someone who cares more for some sort of ideology than they do for actual facts and reality. 

Another assumption?

And one that your response so far has only confirmed was correct so thank you for verifying yet another one of my earlier assumptions about you.

Of course I like the idea of improving the situation and the gap between the rich and the poor. But it's more than that, and you just don't get it.

Now who is making assumptions? You have no idea what I do or do not get so kindly stop making assumptions if you are going to whine about assumptions being made about you!

You're more about making assumptions and trying to fit me into a mold that will never hold me.

Now who is making assumptions? You have no idea what I am more about or not so kindly stop making assumptions if you are going to whine about assumptions being made about you!

Why do you find it important to make it a matter of personal?

See my previous comments.

You dodge the fact that corporations ought to be held accountable 

Where have I ever said this? Answer: nowhere. You have no idea what I am about so kindly stop making assumptions if you are going to whine about assumptions being made about you!

and, because of their place in the world, they do have an obligation to do so

See my previous comments.

just so you can make a lot of assumptions about me personally and attack my credibility.

You have imperiled your own credibility in this process by how you have conducted yourself.

I just find it silly and uncalled for.

So says the guy who (i) continues to make assumptions though he whines about others doing that and (ii) who has the entire time failed to interact with the actual criticisms I made of his stuff from the very beginning. Let us recap now shall we, here is the sequence of events that started this thing off:
Why is the world in poverty? It's about greed and being in the throes of a debtor's society. Guess what? The Catholic Church a long time ago taught that usury was sinful and something a Christian ought not to be a part of. And yet, what the Church has warned against, that is what the world has chosen to do. So we reap the poverty that we've made by not listening to the Church.
Half of your entire gripe originally was about usury and how the world has become worse because it did not listen to the Catholic Church which taught that usury is a sin. You also started whining about poverty being about greed and the whole "debtors society" schtick which set off a red flag that you are one of those who has an ideological agenda -something I was to comment on later in the series.

Here is the gist of my initial response to you:
Why is the world in poverty? It's about greed

Yeah, the world was in so muchlip less poverty in the middle ages aye? ::rolling eyes:::

...

Guess what? The Catholic Church a long time ago taught that usury was sinful and something a Christian ought not to be a part of.

Guess what? The Church defined what they mean by usury a long time ago and in my experience, most of those such as yourself who kvetch about "usury" and raise that shibboleth in the modern economic context have no idea what the Church actually said on the matter.
My fundamental criticism from the beginning was that in my experience, most of those such as yourself who kvetch about "usury" and raise that shibboleth in the modern economic context have no idea what the Church actually said on the matter. Guess what? Nothing you have posted since my first response has done a thing to disprove me on that.

If anything, the manner in which you have sought to evade interacting with the Church's actual definition tells me that (i) you originally had no idea what it was and (ii) now that you do, it is not convenient for your ideological agenda to do so.

Here is more from the sequence of events to buttress my assertion above:

Yeah, the world was in so much less poverty in the middle ages aye?

Actually, it wasn't. There wasn't such thing as trillions of dollars, for one thing. Even a billion dollars was unthinkable just a few decades ago. However, because the Middle Ages did not hear the warning of the Church, here we are now with deficits in the trillions of dollars.

...

Guess what? The Church defined what they mean by usury a long time ago

The Church did, and people ignored it. Surprise, surprise.

In my experience, most of those such as yourself who kvetch about "usury" and raise that shibboleth in the modern economic context have no idea what the Church actually said on the matter.

Any questions? :) 

The fundamental criticism I had of your comments from the very beginning was reiterated yet again in what I wrote to you in response above. Here is just the gist of it for the sake of not going overlong:
Guess what? The Church defined what they mean by usury a long time ago
The Church did, and people ignored it. Surprise, surprise.
There is no reference to the actual definition of usury which was defined by the Church in that article. And as the concept of usury was defined in and under different economic situations and assumptions, recourse to them is necessary to avoid misrepresenting the Church's actual view on these matters. 
In my experience, most of those such as yourself who kvetch about "usury" and raise that shibboleth in the modern economic context have no idea what the Church actually said on the matter.
Any questions? :) 
Yes, why did you post a link to an article that does not even include within it the actual definition of usury which the church made?

From there our responses can be followed in my first note here:

On Usury, the Importance of Definitions to Reasoned Thought and Discourse, Etc.

By the way, I chose the title I did for that note because there were two issues that were addressed in that note. The first was usury which you had reiterated over and over again in responses but did not bother to confront the actual definition of usury as defined by the Catholic Church centuries ago -the very teaching you were complaining that others were not following.

The reason for the second part of that title is that my interest is and always has been promoting reasoned thought and discourse on subjects in question. And knowing from experience how failing to set down certain expectations at the get-go with folks results in going far afield of initial starting points, that was therefore part of what I sought to do in that note. The readers of this note can (if they are interested in it) go over every link above and read every bit of what you and I said. It is not even debatable that you have been doing what I have said all along and in your latest response it was yet more of the same.

You seem to be claiming that inflation is caused by capitalism.

It is, to some extent.

If inflation was caused by capitalism than it would not have existed prior to capitalism, yet it did.

If this is your claim, then explain the significant problems of inflation in antiquity prior to the existence of capitalism.

The same matter of things that burden all matters of economy - greed. Since capitalism is under the assumption that greed is good, it is what makes Capitalism very much the avarice evil that it is.

Capitalism is not under the assumption that greed is good. But hey, thank you for verifying yet another one of my previously enunciated assumptions about you as being spot on correct. To wit (note the part underlined):

Poverty is a problem still because serfdom is now created by the new imperial land barons of world banks and corporate greed. 
No, poverty is a problem still because poverty will always be a problem. When Jesus chastised the guy who nit picked over the cost of the oil that the repentant woman anointed him with in John's Gospel, he said "the poor you will always have with you." That does not mean that we are unable to better things in general for the poor of course but your generalizations are typical of someone who cares more for some sort of ideology than they do for actual facts and reality. [Excerpt from the Facebook Note On Usury, the Importance of Definitions to Reasoned Thought and Discourse, Etc. (circa May 1, 2012)]

Your response subsequent to that note outlines and then confirms in spades my intuition that you have an agenda. So I must be fair and thank you for confirmation that yet another assumption  I made about you was spot on accurate. And even the one assumption I made that was not completely correct you still fundamentally fit the parameters of not a few of those who espouse that outlook as well so even that one was at least half right.

It was not uncommon in past eras for kings and other rulers to debase their currency on a regular basis. When you couple that with the inabilities to prevent a lot of the calamities we now can prevent or lessen, inflation was a far more serious problem in antiquity than it has been in recent centuries as a rule.

You speak as if this does not still happen. Why do you think we had this 'recession'? You fail to see where US Corporations have been the despots and reason for inequities abroad.

You have no idea what I fail to see or do not fail to see so kindly stop making assumptions if you are going to whine about assumptions being made about you!

Money is a tricky thing, and the current magicians that hold magistrate over it are well versed in all the tactics they need to hold their power over people. It's a trick as old as time.

To quote myself from earlier in this thread:
Oh brother talk about assumptions and generalizations!  
You fail to see that the modern forms of the tricks do survive in Capitalism especially.

Again, you have no idea what I fail to see or do not fail to see so kindly stop making assumptions if you are going to whine about assumptions being made about you!

Why? because it's the most dominant system of economy at the moment. They would (and did) easily transfer it over to Marxism and any other form of society and economy that they want to do business with. They just have to know how to work their way into the system, and then, viola, they run the system.

To quote myself from earlier in this thread:
Oh brother talk about assumptions and generalizations!
At any rate, there's no point going further. You have chosen to make it personal and about one upmanship. Have fun being a snobbish brat! ;)

So says someone who has done nothing but make assumption after assumption about me the entire time -as well as assumptions of what usury is without concerning themselves with what it actually is. Physician, heal thyself!

Truthfully, nothing you wrote above is even worth responding to in light of your failure to deal squarely with the latter point at any time in your public pontifications. I only did so to point out that it was clear that your voluminous attempted response was (again in Shakeaspeare's words) "so much sound and fury signifying nothing" and because you vindicated in what you said virtually everything I have been saying all along including:

  • You did not know what usury was but you were talking about it publicly so you could try and come off sounding intelligent about it.
  • When called to the carpet on the term, you have continually while claiming that society has ignored the Church's teaching on usury dodged interacting with the actual Church definition yourself.
  • Your knowledge of economics is facile as is your understanding of history.
  • When any of this is pointed out to you you whine about it and insult folks rather than stopping to consider that maybe, just maybe you are talking about issues where your knowledge is thin.

And finally:

  • You have as I suspected from the very beginning an agenda which you are not going to let inconvenient truths like facts get in the way of.

As far as the claim of making assumptions goes, it is evident above that you do not practice what you preach; ergo, remove the beam from your own eye before you bitch about the specks in the eyes of others. You should not expect to go onto threads and post voluminous tomes of bullshit and act like a know it all without some folks who tire of such "more superior than thou" pompous asshattery (like myself) potentially calling you out and (perhaps) taking you to task for it.

If you do not like that, well tough. I am interested in reason, logic, ethics, and what is true and could care less about making pompous "more moral than thou" sorts like you who bitch about what they know not happy. And finally, remember, it is advisable to know what you are talking about on a subject before you attempt to tell others about it. Otherwise you only look foolish.

Have a nice day! :D

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Points to Ponder:

The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it. [James Wilson]

On the Subject of Character:

This material was drafted back in February of 2007 but never published. I found it when perusing the old drafts folder and decided to publish it at this time with a few small tweaks.

Having posted material on integrity, basic public and private ethics, and the building of one's character before{1} it seems appropriate to note something additional in light of some views that your host has been privy to in recent weeks. For starters, there are certain parties who have taken a stance that is viewed by us as contradictory in its essence. They would assert that someone who engages in unrepentent libelous behaviour should somehow be spared any financial repercussions on the basis of "not wanting to hurt his livelihood" or something of an equivalent nature. This is a position not only that is taken by those who seem to want to defend such persons at all possible costs (read: certain oligarchs) but even some critics who while going after such folks on principle stop short of advocating actions that may "hurt [their] livelihood" where a good portion of their livelihood is from public speaking, writing books, etc.

The problem is, such persons have a responsibility to think of their family and anyone else who could possibly be hurt by the actions they take, the statements they make, etc. If they are not willing to do this, then they have no grounds for complaint if others seek to have them deprived of income as a result of the actions they take and the statements they make.

Note:

{1} Among other subject matter pertaining to these matters in some fashion or another. (To note a few of them in brief, there are the subjects of how to dialogue, how to identify and avoid a number of basic fallacies of argumentation both in actuality, outlining many of the flaws in various presumed "methodologies" of argumentation, how to cultivate the skills needed for effective reasoning and logic, the importance of vetting the sources one uses, etc.)

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Points to Ponder:

The mind that has no prejudices at the outset is empty. It can only have been so constituted by a method that is unaware of how difficult it is to recognize that a prejudice is a prejudice. [Allan Bloom]

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Today would have been the 80th birthday of my father Richard Dunn McElhinney. If readers could offer some prayers for the eternal repose of his soul, I would appreciate it. For those who do not believe in this ancient custom, then prayers for my mother (who still has difficulties on anniversaries such as this) and the rest of the family would be appreciated.




Eternal rest grant unto his soul oh Lord and may thy perpetual light shine upon him...May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Apmen.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Points to Ponder:
(On Cigars)



Top Arizona News Anchor Declares 'Journalism Is Dead,' Publicly Resigns: 'I No Longer Want to Do This Job'

I have written on the problems in the media a number of times over the years with this posting being among the most recent. After how the media conducted themselves in the last election, we basically do not have real journalism anymore. The sooner folks accept this reality, the easier it will be for them.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

On Usury, the Importance of Definitions to Reasoned Thought and Discourse, Etc.

This material is from a note published to Facebook on May 2, 2012. My words will be in regular font.

The standard of living of the average person today is significantly higher than it was in the middle ages

There may be more quantity, but that doesn't necessarily level out in the matter of quality of life. 

As a society worldwide taken as a whole, we live longer, are able to cure a lot more diseases, have better overall nutrition, and as I said previously, kings and queens in ages past did not live with the sort of luxury that the average person of today does. Nor did the average person of yesteryear have the sort of access to information and the possibilities/capabilities of improving their station in life the way we can today. By any number of objective measures{1}, how does one credibly say that the overall quality of life has not improved?

We are a more demanding society, much more spoiled, really. 

Societies are always demanding even if the nature of that demand can have a variegaton of sorts. As far as being much more spoiled, I agree in some respects this is true. However, I do not see folks like you who bewail these things trying to deprive yourself of some of that which makes you part of the spoiled element of society. In other words, I see plenty of moralizing and complaining but little in the way of actual workable solutions.

The thing is, we have all these things, but why aren't we happier?

Because material goods themselves do not suffice to make folks happy. They never have and they never will.

Upward mobility may be easier in some places, but other places, it is much more despotic, and not just because of rogue government, but also thanks to big corporations that make great profits in their capitol gains while marginalizing or impoverishing the places they outsource to.

Are you claiming that in the middle ages this sort of thing never happened -albeit in some different circumstances? And I see you wielding the big corporations shibboleth now. My guess is you do not whine about big corporations when you avail yourself of those products and services which they make available and which makes your life either more comfortable or otherwise easier in some fashion. So in order to have some credibility on this, how about you rid your life of everything you have that was in any way the product of big corporations and then you will be in a more credible position to whine about them? My guess is you not only would not do that but you probably would not even entertain the idea -or if you did you would come up with a thousand excuses for why you could not do that. But that is neither here nor there.

Poverty is a problem still because serfdom is now created by the new imperial land barons of world banks and corporate greed.

No, poverty is a problem still because poverty will always be a problem. When Jesus chastised the guy who nit picked over the cost of the oil that the repentant woman anointed him with in John's Gospel, he said "the poor you will always have with you." That does not mean that we are unable to better things in general for the poor of course but your generalizations are typical of someone who cares more for some sort of ideology than they do for actual facts and reality.

The larger an economy the more capital is required for growth.

 If the system is based on debt and capitalist greed,then yes, more is always needed. And thus comes inflation and stretching the dollar until it has no value, until its greatest value is the debt put upon it.

You seem to be claiming that inflation is caused by capitalism. If this is your claim, then explain the significant problems of inflation in antiquity prior to the existence of capitalism. It was not uncommon in past eras for kings and other rulers to debase their currency on a regular basis. When you couple that with the inabilities to prevent a lot of the calamities we now can prevent or lessen, inflation was a far more serious problem in antiquity than it has been in recent centuries as a rule. For example, if you have droughts or other catastrophic events{2} that wipe out parts of or entire classifications of different foods, the cost of said foods suddenly spikes up dramatically. Pair those sorts of calamities that with your sovereign doing one of the regular currency debasements that were hardly infrequent and antiquity was hardly a Shangrala for the average person comrade (to put it mildly!).

And who wins there? The people that hold the debt. They hold the power, and are the means by which usury enslaves the world.

You continue to use a term that you do not even concern yourself with the meaning of.{3} I realize that such a practice is intended by you to mask your own lacunas of knowledge in this area{4} but as one of my earliest intellectual mentors was fond of saying "definitions are the tools of thought" and without certain points of reference, it is difficult to discuss any issue. And with usury, if you do not know what it actually is, then all of your railings against it are simply in Shakespeare's words "so much sound and fury signifying nothing."

There is no reference to the actual definition of usury which was defined by the Church in that article. And as the concept of usury was defined in and under different economic situations and assumptions, recourse to them is necessary to avoid misrepresenting the Church's actual view on these matters.

I don't know, it seems pretty simple

A lot of things [seem] pretty simple which are not.

the trick to put all people under the debt of the lenders has been the game of usury for a very long time, even before usury was defined by the Church.

And in the words of Governor Ronald Reagan "there you go again!" You are now engaging in bait and switch and then having recourse to a word you did not concern yourself with the actual meaning of at the outset.

Yes, why did you post a link to an article that does not even include within it the actual definition of usury which the church made?

 How about because it's an encyclopedia and goes into the issue much more in depth than just posting a definition.

How can the article go more in depth on something that you do not bother defining to begin with? It would be like a paper on a subject which contains no thesis or any point in which the paper purports to defend or explain. Try if you are in school still writing a paper on a subject where you do not even explain at the outset what you are writing and then see what kind of grade the teacher gives you. If they have any business teaching at all they will give you a failing grade for such an endeavour. You might as well be talking about widgets and your entire correspondence would make roughly the same amount of sense.

It notes the 'actual definition' is much more complex that you seem to imply here.

But it does not reference the actual definition of the concept in question now does it? This is no minor matter, the very foundation of rational thought and analysis hinges on knowing with as much precision as possible what one is dealing with. And this principle applies in all fields of knowledge.

But this seems to be the gist of the 'definition' as it stands:

Lending money at interest gives us the opportunity to exploit the passions or necessities of other men by compelling them to submit to ruinous conditions ; men are robbed and left destitute under the pretext of charity. Such is the usury against which the Fathers of the Church have always protested, and which is universally condemned at the present day. Dr. Funk defined it as the abuse of a certain superiority at the expense of another man's necessity ; but in this description he points to the opportunity and the means which enable a man to commit the sin of usury, rather than the formal malice of the sin itself. It is in itself unjust extortion, or robbery.

No, that paragraph goes into a lot of fluff and misdirection and obscures the matter rather than properly clarifying it. For example, lending money at interest is not ipso facto  usury nor is lending money at interest by that very fact synonymous with ruinous conditions. Yet your proposed article in a few places gives precisely those impressions. Such deceptions do not clarify matters or go more in depth but if anything, they complicate the matter at hand and make for having an intelligent conversation on the issue of usury that much harder.

It was in anticipation of where this thread was likely to go in the absence of them that is why I raised the issue of the importance of definitions to begin with -well that and I tire of seeing folks talk about things of which they do not know much about of course. And as I suspected you might, your recourse to having your negligence in this area pointed out to you was to repost the same imprecise source which was criticized earlier. This makes it appear as if you are retreating from that which is clearer into that which is more obscure: a significant problem that subsists with those who do not concern themselves with an operative notion of what they are dealing with to begin with. A definition to grab two quick explanations off of Google{5} for demonstration is as follows:
A statement of the exact meaning of a word, esp. in a dictionary. An exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something.
Now then, you either concern yourself with the meaning of words you bandy about or you do not. And if you do not, then you cannot expect those of us who take reason and logic seriously to take your complaints seriously.

I know well what usury is and is not and of the two of us, only one of us has actually considered the Church's own definition of the subject of what we are discussing.

 I know well that you are nothing more than a snobbish brat. :p

Yeah, it is snobbish to expect those who are going to rail on issues to actually know what the hell they are actually talking about. Boy, if that is the sort of approach to thought and reasoned discourse that is par for the course these days, we are in an even worse dark age of sophistic unreason than I thought! But I digress.

Notes:

{1} With a bit more time, this list of examples could be notably lengthened but I trust what is here suffices in passing to support the point being made.

{2} I am not going to take time to compose a list of all the possibilities here but suffice to say, anyone familiar with even rudimentary understandings of history can come up with at least a few of them without a lot of effort.

{3} Usury for the purposes of this discussion is the one defined by the Fifth Lateran Council and what I referenced in previous responses to the person in question; namely as "when, from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense or any risk" (Lateran V, Session X circa 1515).

{4} And by all surface appearances to feed whatever ideology you are clinging to at the expense of any concerns for factual accuracy.

{5} So you can access them yourself for verification by simply entering "definition" in quotes twice separated by a comma.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

On the Economics Ignorance of Many Purveyors of Distributive Economic Models:

This was a comment response I made to a Facebook post on July 18, 2012 which I intended to make a note out of at the time but never got around to. It is also representative of the sort of economics ignorance a number of folks I have seen over the years who tend to push certain dubious economic models. My interlocutors words will be in dark green font. Without further ado...

The capitalists want it as well.

I read your thread and it sounds like a giant whinefest with all due respect.

A dozen or two people living in one house find hand-me-downs virtuous,

The idea that it is seen as virtuous is silly -I do not know any of my relatives from large families who thought this way. It is more that in those situations they find hand me downs as a necessity.

they only need one set of cook pots,

Depends on the size of the family.

they only have one toaster.

And you know this how? Oh yes, because toasters were still a new technology back then and new technologies are always more expensive. Nowadays with toasters being so cheap compared to what they once were, what would have been economically unviable back when the technology was new is now achievable.

Large households are not good for the economy because they consume fewer goods.

Large households consume more things overall than smaller ones do.

If there were some way to split those people up so they inhabit three, four, five or six households, then we can sell five or six toasters, five or six sets of cook pots, five or six sets of dishes or cars or houses. From a capitalist’s point of view, it would be best if every one of our 300 million Americans lived in a separate house since that would maximize both purchases and profit.

And from a distributist point of view, it is better to shove them all onto a farm from a certain plot of land stolen from someone else{1} and make them grow their own food and make their own stuff and if they do not like it, tough. This is what their superiors demand so out of "obedience" they better damn well accept it and if not, the government will make them do it. And they had better not get any ideas of improving upon whatever meagre allotment they are allowed to reach or anything over that will be stolen from them by the government or some entity set up to spread the wealth around and ensure that everyone is within a defined level of "acceptable" economic status. Can I get a "whoaaaaa distributism" now folks?

Of course there would be no economic betterment in the above model because there is no incentive to risk capital one has or can attain to actually create anything that could better society. That would after all be "selfish" or somehow to be discouraged because if folks are not kept at near poverty and given no opportunities to better themselves, then they might be something less than showing proper servile obedience to appointed "elders" who know better just because.{2}

In order to break up the multi-generational family, sowing social dissension between the members of the family is absolutely critical.

Translation: no matter what your superiors say, you are to blindly and uncritically accept it. The state is to be treated with the same reverence as the church and do not dare question anything. Blind obedience is the rule of the day, can I get another "whoaaaaa distributism" now folks?

The most efficient way to set the various family members in opposition to one another is to encourage every kind of selfish behaviour. If each person thinks only of his own best interests, then each person will spend his income on himself, saving none of it for anyone else.

Here is the problem with all of this: you err in assuming that any economic model is intrinsically ethical or moral in and of itself. Like anything economics is value neutral by itself, it is what folks bring to the model that determines how it is implemented.

Unfortunately, this selfishness bleeds over into the workplace. A selfish worker is more likely to steal, to use up sick days and similar benefits at the highest possible rates, in short, s/he will have little loyalty to the company.

Aaah yes, maximum servile loyalty to the company. And do not even think of trying to acquire capital to build a company of your own and actually being your own boss instead of a worker bee...that would be selfish and place you above a preset "acceptable economic status" whereby you might actually question the rules set in place by your elders who by virtue of their age or presumed religious piety know more than you do about everything. Can I get a third "whoaaaaa distributism" now folks?

Part of the cost of doing business is precisely the controlled anarchy that tends to be engendered in the larger society as each person looks out primarily for number one.

Spoken by someone whose understanding of business is about as malformed as their understanding of what constitutes capitalism.

I have to stop this now because all this eye rolling is starting to give me a headache.

Notes:

{1} After redefining the concept of property to attempt to justify said theft and make it virtuous.

{2} Do not question it!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Points to Ponder:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. [H. L. Mencken] 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Revisiting Common "Traditionalist" Complaints About Vatican II:

My words will be in regular font. Without further ado...

Bad things about Vatican II

Here we go again.

1. The altar turned into a “table” without a consecrated altar stone

The first part is simply (to put it bluntly) pure ignorance. The Greek term for "altar" is thysiastelirion, which literally means, "sacrifice table." An altar is a table. Fixed altars still have altar stones while portable altars at times no longer do. The idea of all altars having consecrated altar stones was a very Western idea. It is not one our Eastern brethren share but if this is "bad" then you are claiming that you think their usages are "bad" or "inferior" to western usages. 

2. The introduction of Mass facing the people.

To quote from a friend who covered this point in a traditionalist themed project he and I worked on over 20 years ago:

At the Last Supper, which way was Jesus facing? Every representation of this in the history of Christian art has him facing the Apostles not away from them. At a Passover meal, this would have been considered the polite way to act. Older Catholic scholarship tried to defend an apostolic origin for the Priest facing away from the congregation during the Consecration, but we honestly don’t know when this custom started. Fr. Jungmann on page 50 of his short book, The Mass states that there was diversity of practice in both East and West on this matter until the 4th Century. Most likely facing with the people became an entrenched as a custom as worship became more formalized and the Eucharist was performed using the usual conventions of other sacrificial rites from the surrounding cultures. There is nothing wrong with this practice, but there is also no reason to require it.{1}

And from the work of the Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol whose 1934 work The Mass of the Western Rites was part of my apologetical repertoire back in my message board days{2}:

Today, as the altar usually has a retable and a tabernacle, the priest when standing before it turns his back to the people; so that when he greets them with 'Dominus vobiscum' he is obliged to turn round. The Bishop would be hidden on his 'cathedra' at the back of the apse, and could hardly follow the ceremonies, therefore his throne, as well as the stalls of the clergy, have been moved to places before the altar. But if we wish to understand the ancient positions, it will help us to remember that at that time the altar was a 'table' (hence its name of 'mensa') of wood or stone, forming either a solid block or else raised on four feet, but in any case without a tabernacle; so that the officiating priest would face towards the people, as he does to-day at 'San Clemente.' In our own churches, of course, he officiates on the other side of the altar; the Gospel side being the left and that of the Epistle the right. As we explain elsewhere, another consideration has brought about these changes: the practice of turning in prayer towards the East, the region of that light which is the image of Christ, Who Himself came from the East. The question of the orientation of churches was an important one in Christian architecture from the fourth-twelfth centuries.{3}

3. Concelebration

Concelebration was among the recommendations of the Eastern Melkites at the Second Vatican Council. To wit:

Here again is a desirable restoration inspired by the example of the Eastern Church. I likewise applaud without reservation this felicitous innovation, whose benefits will quickly make themselves felt. I shall merely take the liberty of making the following remarks:

a) 'The faculty to concelebrate is restricted to specific circumstances,' although it is concelebration which is the rule, and individual celebration the exception. The Eucharistic sacrifice is above all the sacrament of unity, and in the first place of priestly unity. There should be a truly serious reason for a priest to refuse to concelebrate with his brothers. Here again there would have to be a reversal of perspective. No limit should be placed on concelebration other than the necessity of assuring other Masses in the course of the day for the good of the faithful.

b) 'The concelebrants are only permitted to wear the alb and the stole.' We think that the concelebrants should wear all their sacred vestments and participate intimately in the liturgical action, which is simply presided over by the principal celebrant, notwithstanding the recent practice of certain non-Byzantine Eastern clergy. Moreover, it is not necessary that all concelebrants say all the prayers at the same time. Concelebration is not a simultaneous gathering of several individual celebrations, but rather a common action in which each one plays his role.

c) 'Only the ordinary of the place has the right to permit concelebration, on a case by case basis, and to set the number of concelebrants.' Again, this is an excessive limitation of an act that is not only more legitimate but even more consistent with tradition. Priests should be able to concelebrate as often as they wish, as long as this does not interfere with their pastoral duties, and to do so in as large a number as they choose.

d) Finally, 'concelebrants are permitted for good reason to receive an honorarium for a concelebrated Mass, just as for an individual celebration.' That is self-evident, for a concelebrated Mass is no less a Mass than a Mass celebrated individually. It is even surprising that the Roman Curia believed that it had to intervene, in the 18th century, to affirm this obvious fact. However, this affirmation should not be based on the assumption that in concelebration each priest celebrates a distinct sacrifice. In concelebration there are not several Masses, but one single Mass offered and celebrated in its entirety by several priests.{4}

Concelebration is eminently traditional and has always been prevalent in Eastern worship. It was once prevalent in the west too but fell out of usage over time. Bringing this custom back to the west could only be considered "bad" by someone either unfamiliar with Church history, contemptuous of the Eastern liturgical customs, or both. 

4. Mass celebrated in the vernacular.

Vernacular languages were used for all of the early liturgies. A wider use of the vernacular churchwide was among the recommendations of the Eastern Melkites at the Second Vatican Council. To wit:

We are resolute adherents of a much wider use of living languages, even in the celebration of the Mass. Whatever may be the advantages of liturgical Latin—and they are numerous—they should, it seems to us, be outweighed by the irreparable disadvantage that it is not understood by 99% of the faithful who participate in the sacred action. In the light of this painful consideration, we think that the example of the Eastern Church, which strongly advocates the use of language that can be understood by the people, should serve as a model. We fear above all that the fervor with which certain groups defend the almost exclusive use of Latin is not inspired by purely pastoral or ecclesiastical considerations, not to mention those who claim that Latin is 'the language of the Church,' forgetting that the Latin Church is only one of the Churches within the Catholic Church, and that latinism and Catholicism are in no sense identical.{5}

I am sure they and their other Eastern brethren will be glad to know they practice "bad", "lesser", or "defective" forms of worship.

5. Mass celebrated exclusively in a raised tone of voice.

As they do in Eastern liturgies. I am sure our Eastern brethren will be glad to know they practice "bad" forms of worship for not whispering during their liturgy. 

6. Mass separated into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition:

The Eucharist was always celebrated at the end of a service of lessons, psalms, prayers, and preaching, which was itself merely a continuation of the service of the synagogue. So we have everywhere this double function; first a synagogue service Christianized, in which the holy books were read, psalms were sung, prayers said by the bishop in the name of all (the people answering 'Amen' in Hebrew, as had their Jewish forefathers), and homilies, explanations of what had been read, were made by the bishop or priests, just as they had been made in the synagogues by the learned men and elders (e.g., Luke 4:16-27). This is what was known afterwards as the Liturgy of the Catechumens. Then followed the Eucharist, at which only the baptized were present.{6}

The old Liturgy of the Catechumens is now referred to as the Liturgy of the Word which is followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This division is very ancient and was a restoration in the west of a practice once common to them and has always been to liturgies of the east. But I am sure once again our Eastern brethren will be glad to know they practice "bad" or otherwise "lesser" or "defective" forms of worship.

7. The profanation of the sacred vessels

This is a vague statement. Without specifics, it is useless tradbabble.

8. Leavened bread as the matter of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

Leavened bread has always been used as matter in the Eucharists of the east.{7} Let me guess, you did not know that did you? Can you see how an Easterner would feel insulted by such a claim?

9. The administration of Holy Communion by lay people

To quote from a friend who covered this point in a traditionalist themed project he and I worked on over 20 years ago:

When a duly appointed lay minister in the course of a sacred rite lawfully handles the Holy Eucharist there is no sign of disrespect. All of God’s people are consecrated to him in Baptism and are worthy to touch Christ’s Body and Blood. Once again we see the Integrists over-reacting to a practice that they do not like. Their personal dislikes are elevated to the status of objective moral faults in others. The opinion of St. Thomas Aquinas on limiting the handling of the host to 'the consecrated' is fine, but St. Thomas himself would be the first to admit that obedience to the hierarchy in this matter would override such scruples. Properly trained ministers of the Eucharist acting in accordance with Church law are no affront to God.{8}

And again:

If the laity in the Early Church were permitted to distribute Communion outside of Mass under their own recognizance, what problem is there with them doing it during Mass under the direct supervision of the priest? This type of illogical comment is typical of the over clericalization of the Integrist’s view of the Church.{9}

10. Communion admnistered in the hand

I dealt in detail with this already.{10} Repeating debunked complaints as if they are still viable is disingenuous. Communion in the hand was not uncommon for much of the first millennium. The principles outlined in point nine apply here as well.

11. The reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in a wall[instead of a tabernacle] 

Where are these supposed "walls" where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved? Every church I have ever been in has a tabernacle of some form or another. As far as placement goes{11}, the placement of the tabernacle on the main altar is a recent innovation dating from the late Middle Ages. It was not done uniformly in Catholic Churches until the Counter-reformation. 

12. Liturgical readings made by women

The Second Vatican Council in settling definitively the degrees of the sacrament of Order to bishops, priests, and deacons relegated the minor orders (including lector) and their functions to sacramentals.{12} As the minor orders have no participation in the sacrament of Order, these ministries can be said to be rooted in baptism rather than as stepping stones toward the ordained priesthood. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with a lector being a woman.

13. The administration of Holy Communion to the sick by lay people

See my response to point nine above. The same principles apply.

Notes:

{1} The project serves an important purpose twenty off years ago when it was published and I really appreciated the work of my friends who contributed to it. However, my own contributions to the work read winningly to these older eyes in the tone and presentation I utilized. I was too emotionally invested in the project for a couple of reasons and it showed in my contributions. For this reason, while I am quoting verbatim material from it here, I will not actually link to the project itself in this posting.

{2} From 1998 through 2003.

{3} Rt. Rev. Dom Fernand Cabrol: From The Mass of the Western Rites (circa 1934)

{4} His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh: Intervention At the Second Vatican Council (circa Oct. 23, 1962) as cited in The Melkite Church At the Council Chapter 3 (circa 1967)

{5} His Beatitude Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh: Intervention At the Second Vatican Council (circa Oct. 23, 1962) as cited in The Melkite Church At the Council Chapter 3 (circa 1967)

{6} The Catholic Encyclopedia: From the Article Liturgy (circa 1913)

{7} Usually it is the Easterners accusing Westerners of departing from ancient practice in their use of unleavened bread as both west and east used leavened bread originally.

{8} See footnote one.

{9} See footnote one.

{10} To clarify, I had covered this subject in detail with this person previously using excerpts from my material in a cowritten essay The Red Herring of Communion in the Hand published online twenty years ago.

{11} Because I know the next gripe to follow.

{12} For this reason, Pope Paul VI suppressed the minor orders with the Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam in 1972.