Saturday, January 11, 2003

Blogger is still being a pest so I will try to repost it again tonight some time. (My patience with blogger is used up at this time alas.)


Some Overreach by Lane Core Jr. -Part I of III:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Lane Core, Jr. has recently advanced the thesis that George W Bush is the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. Now granted there are some similarities between the two - particularly in how they handle US Foreign Policy. And W now appears to be recommending an economic recovery plan that is similar in some ways to the policies that Ronald Reagan put through. But it seems to me that as good as W has been (and he has been a better president than his father was - and by far a better president than Bubba) - he is not quite up to Gipper stature.

For one thing, he was elected by a squeaker whereas Reagan blew into town like a cyclone crushing Jimmy Carter. It is true that Reagan was able to exploit the poor foreign policy and domestic decisions of the very inept Jimmy Carter while W was running against a seemingly strong economy and in a situation where the incumbant party is generally a lock to win the election. But he was running against Al Gore.

It is not unreasonable to expect that just as any Republican candidate in 1996 would have beaten Clinton except Bob Dole that the same situation presents itself here: any Democratic candidate except Al Gore would have won in 2000.{1} The incumbant party is generally a lock to win when the economy is either good or preceived to be such and in 2000, most people were seemingly under the illusion that the economy was good.

So despite Bush's apparent edge here, in reality the edge goes to the Gipper because (i) he ran in a three way election with a Republican liberal breaking ranks to siphon off votes from those who would normally vote Republican (ii) he ran against a very moral man (iii) he still won the election in an electoral landslide (if I recall he had nearly 500 of the 538 electoral votes) and (iv) he won 52% of the vote despite nearly 8% of the vote going to another Republican who ran as an Independant. On top of that, the Republicans regained control of the Senate for the first time in nearly 30 years and made solid gains in the House.

By contrast, Bush (i) won on a squeaker (ii) running against the chief henchman of one of the three most corrupt presidents in history and (iii) did not win the popular vote even though the Green Party clearly siphoned votes off of Gore. Bush held the House and lost the Senate. Advantage: Reagan.

Now the economy was so bad in 1980 that there had not been any noticeable recovery in 1982 so the Republicans lost an opportunity to pick up House seats. The recovery did not really kick into overdrive until 1983. Similarly, though the economy was slowing down in the last years of Clinton's term, if not for the books being cooked the true weakness of the economy would have been apparent before 2000.

Nonetheless, with two years of a recession, Bush actually picked up seats and won back the House. He therefore will be the first Republican president since Eisenhower to have his party in full control of the government. While this would appear to be an advantage for Bush, there are other factors to take into account.

Now it is clear that both W and Reagan inherited the presidency after a predecessor who was a foreign policy screw-up. So there is then the major opponents that each had to take on: Reagan's was the Soviet Union primarily and smaller communist cells secondarily; W's is world terrorism in general. Reagan basically cleaned house in Grenada in '83 and suffered his only real blunder with the 250 or so Marines who were killed in Lebanon by a terrorist that same year. But like the man that he was, Reagan took responsibility for this believing as did Truman that "the buck stops here" (referring to the Oval Office) rather then the Clinton "the buck never gets here" mentality.

The economy had also kicked into overdrive by this time (referring to 1983) and signs of recovery were everywhere. Reagan got his policies through in 1981 despite a Democratic House because his voting mandate was so huge. (And while the Democrats shafted him on the spending reductions end of the equation, the growth of the economy was significant.)

By contrast, over 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. However, in light of how Bush has resolutely handled the war since that time, it is safe to say that this liability is neutralized. (He has done very well on the war on terror.) Nonetheless, any changes he makes to the economic policy to create an environment for businesses to get us out of the recession will not start kicking in until 2004 - if he can get them through of course.{2}

So despite all of this, the advantage goes rather significantly to Reagan - though we will have a better understanding of W's value in this comparison by this time next year. (Reagan had given the "Evil Empire" speech by this time; W's equivalent is the "Axis of Evil" speech.)

Thus far it is hard to see how Bush could be a "sequel" to Reagan. (Barring of course the conventional wisdom that sequels to movies are not generally as good as the first movie.)

To be Continued...


{1} Not saying that I wanted the Dems to win mind you, simply looking at this through the eyes of traditional election trends.

{2} His majorities in both Houses are slim and a few defectors could upset the apple cart in at least one of the Houses of Congress.

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Okay, that idea failed so time to switch topics before returning for the second half of that post.

"Give Me Libertarian and Give Me Electoral Defeat" Dept.

Actually this one is an area where the Libertarians are quite sensible. For those who think gun control is the answer and were too stupid to learn about what happened in DC with the sniper, let us discuss the problems in Great Britain. As you know perhaps, Tony Blair and company are very much pro-gun control. In fact, if I am not mistaken you cannot own a gun legally in Britain or - if you can - it is so ridiculously bureaucratic of a process that only a masochist or a real NRA "shoot 'em all and let God sort them out" sort would even bother.

The first is from David Carr and is dateline London. A small sampling or two to whet the appetite first though:

I was struck by two contrasting emotions upon reading this editorial in the Telegraph. First, pleasant surprise that views of such obvious common sense have found their expression in a major British news organ but, secondly, dismay that this fact should come as a pleasant surprise at all.

"Since the Government's "total ban" five years ago, there are more and more guns being used by more and more criminals in more and more crimes. Now, in the wake of Birmingham's New Year bloodbath, there are calls for the total ban to be made even more total: if the gangs refuse to obey the existing laws, we'll just pass more laws for them not to obey. According to a UN survey from last month, England and Wales now have the highest crime rate of the world's 20 leading nations. One can query the methodology of the survey while still recognising the peculiar genius by which British crime policy has wound up with every indicator going haywire - draconian gun control plus vastly increased gun violence plus stratospheric property crime."

For those of us who knew only too well that this was going to be the result of the absurd and destructive war on self-defence there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had from having been proved right. But, equally, a mounting despair at the seemingly wilful refusal of most Britons to learn from, or even acknowledge, the evidence that is staring them smack, bang in the face.

Even now, the straightforward truths expressed in this leader would be totally absent from the thoughts of any British journalist and even if that were not so, I suspect none would dare put them into print. We have Mark Steyn to thank for this serice.

"After Dunblane, the police and politicians lapsed into their default position: it's your fault. We couldn't do anything about him, so we'll do something about you. You had your mobile nicked? You must be mad taking it out. Why not just keep it inside nice and safe on the telephone table? Had your car radio pinched? You shouldn't have left it in the car. House burgled? You should have had laser alarms and window bars installed. You did have laser alarms and window bars but they waited till you were home, kicked the door in and beat you up? You should have an armour-plated door and digital retinal-scan technology. It's your fault, always. The monumentally useless British police, with greater manpower per capita on higher rates of pay and with far more lavish resources than the Americans, haven't had an original idea in decades, so they cling ever more fiercely to their core ideology: the best way to deal with criminals is to impose ever greater restrictions and inconveniences on the law-abiding."

It may seem bizarre these days, but I grew up believing and parrotting the lockstep axiom that the British police 'are the best in the world'. It is an assertion that may appear obnoxiously arrogant but, considering how things used to be, may be understandable. There was a time when the British police were charged with enforcing laws that were, for the most part, sensible and it was a task to which they devoted their energies with commendable vigour all whilst remaining routinely unarmed and fostering a public perception that they were both honourable and decent.

In a few short recent years this situation has been turned on its head. The police are now dining out on their reputation as, indeed, is the entire British political class and a reputation built glacially takes a long time to melt.

Take, for example, this glaring juxtaposition taken from the same newspaper about the government's response to last week's shootings in Birmingham:

"The Prime Minister will announce this week that sophisticated airguns which are being adapted to fire live bullets are to be banned as part of a "crackdown" on crime involving firearms."

The two teenage girls in Birmingham were cut down by a hail of fire from automatic weapons not adapted air-pistols. But that doesn't matter.

Short interjection: Remember the US governments gun control legislation after the Oklahoma City Bombing - or Maryland's moronic attempt to use tips from the sniper rampage to go after more gun owners??? This stupidity is hardly limited to the land of crumpets and Windsors...

What matters is the governments overwhelming, craven, paranoid insistence on being seen to 'do something' in response. This new prohibition will pass into law without a murmer of dissent and possibly without even a hint of a critical question. As the situation continues to deteriorate (as it will) toy guns will also be banned and eventually there will be censorship of TV, magazines, films and video games. Who knows, perhaps even discussion on firearms-related matters will be classified as 'hate speech'.

If anyone thinks that this scenario is implausible, think again. Had anyone suggested, ten years ago, that mere criticism of immigration policies would constitute a criminal offence they would have been dismissed as a crank.for more go here.

And for a sequel link to the above by the same David Carr I give you:

Prompted, no doubt, by the hugely successful prohibition on the private ownership of handguns, UK police chiefs are planning a gun amnesty:

"A firearms amnesty is being planned for early in the New Year to try to reduce levels of gun crime."

An inspired idea! I am quite sure that Britain's urban desperados will be rushing, RUSHING down to their local police station to meekly surrender their Browning Autos and AK-47s...for more go here.

Such monumental stupidity is breathtaking my friends. What are the odds that emigration is the next thing limited by the Brits. "Not only are we monumentally brain-dead and inept but you are not allowed to go live anywhere else" will be the approach taken. Smart Britons will either get out while they can or really lay the smack down on Labour in the next election - and about four or five elections afterwards.

In perusing the comments boxes of the first link above, the following from a "Tony" in Britain I think sums it up well:

Ok, I really need a sanity infusion here. What the *hell* is happening to our country? We have hate speech laws that are used to muzzle concerned subjects (note to American readers, we are *not* citizens, we are subjects).

You're not allowed to defend youself in this country, you're not allowed to disagree with the government, you're not supposed to complain that your pension has been slashed by a third, soon you'll be in court time and time again until the jury comes up with the right answer (or lets get rid of the jury), we're not going to get a referendum on whether our currency is jettisoned, there is no opposition worth speaking about and we're expecting to pay more and more taxes with less and less representation. Oh, and the leeches in Brussels are sucking liberty, treasure and dignity from the jugular of the nation as we watch, seemingly helpless.

Will someone *please* point out the silver lining?

Recommendations from ex-Brits living in other countries please???

Posted by Tony at January 6, 2003 09:21 PM

Well, if it is at all possible, either get out of the country or really lay the smack down on Labours candy ass in the next four or five elections. That is all that comes to my mind offhand since Blair and company are quite obviously so stupid. Where Hitler failed these clowns will succeed. (At least we appear to be turning the corner here in America at the present time.)

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For some reason blogger does not like back-to-back Reagan posts. (This has happened before. Maybe if I was a geocentrist conspiracy kook I would rant and rave about it but alas that is not the case.) Hopefully by adding this "nonsense" entry I can fool blogger and the second part will post. We shall see...

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Friday, January 10, 2003

I seem to recall saying "Look for [Lott] to be wearing parachute pants, sporting a Kid-like hairdo, and wearing a small clock on a chain around his neck". Well, someone else was thinking along these same lines. Courtesy of KVI in Seattle, I offer you the following:

And they say a picture is worth a thousand words...


Well, I finally had an opportunity to read the link Bill Cork posted from Dr. Eugene Korn of the Anti-Defamation League of a paper written by a Talmudic scholar. (To rebut various misuses of the Talmud by those who delude themselves into thinking they are Talmudic scholars.) Of course I am sure there are still some idiotarians out there who would claim that this is simply smokescreen material. There is no shortage of them including not a few who try to wrap themselves in the cloak of Catholic "tradition". Nonetheless, to anyone with a normal intact functioning brain, the above link should be adequate to convince all but the most uncharitable bigots.

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Thursday, January 09, 2003

More From JunkYard Blog:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)


...American foreign policy is essentially similar to poker, while our adversaries are typically of the chess mindset, and that this gives us a distinct advantage....For More Go Here

I too have thought that the above analysis is an apt one. Of course when you are the world's military beast you are in a better position to utilize the bluff then one who is not. But the analogy also explains the degree of relative incoherence at times that US foreign policy has had.

Successes and failures in US foreign policy are not easily sketched out in a manner that can provide a systematic answer to the question so maybe the poker analogy *is* the best description. It certainly was when Reagan accelerated the military buildup and basically dared the Soviet Union to keep pace with us. (Which they could not do.) It also applied to the SDI initiative where merely the idea of a missle defense system - and the knowledge that if anyone could build it we could - that coupled with the military buildup played a role in the winning of the Cold War.

Remember Reagan walking out of the Summit in Iceland in 1987 because of Gorbachev's mention that SDI was an unacceptable element of the equation??? Reagan's response in essence was "this summit is over" and he left because he refused on principle to budge on SDI. Likewise Bush Sr - though no Ronaldus Magnus - played the poker game approach as well as he almost dared Saddam to invade Kuwait.{1} The terrorist attack on 9/11 could arguably be said to have been a "calling of our bluff" based on how eight years of Clintonian Babylon had given the appearance that we would not respond with any degree of substance to anything except deporting some poor Cuban boy.

Anyway, GW Bush at least appears (unlike the so-called "highly educated Bill Clinton") to understand that bluffing is not something that can be made into a norm. Instead it is one tool in the toolbox to be used. Accompanying it though is the resolve to follow through if need be; otherwise it is as pointless as being a conservative Democrat. (Hence W has responded well to 9/11 - and in a manner that I believe the terrorists did not expect.)

Anyway, I concur with Bryan that the US policy is more like poker while our adversaries are more like chess. (At times *bad* chess but chess nonetheless as they do certain things expecting certain "counters" and we do not always "counter" as expected.) Thankfully Bush is not the "doofus" that many think he is. Oh, one final thing while I am thinking about it.

To those who are bothered by the media's attempts to make him look like an idiot. Remember this if nothing else: they did the same thing to Reagan. And like Reagan, George W. is able to befuddle these clowns time and again - something that his father was not capable of doing. Unlike Reagan though he will have a fully Republican Congress in a couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for possible Democratic "defectors" at that time...


{1} Anyone who remembers the way April Glaspie interviewed him - and inferred that the US was indifferent to his problems with Kuwait - knows what I am referring to.

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"JunkYard Blog" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum Quadruple Spin)


I think we all did.

Maryland, the ironically nick-named "Free State," will use all those thousands of tips phoned in during the sniper siege to go after gun owners...For More Go Here


Ronald Reagan opened the Iron Curtain. Richard Nixon opened China. JFK opened the age of high-flying espionage. Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened up a can of whoop on the Nazis and Imperial Japan at the same time, while Harry Truman opened up the nuclear age (he had no choice) and staunch opposition to global Communist expansion, and opened up the military to all races through desegregation. While these presidents, hailing from both parties, did much to open up opportunities in the world of the early 21st century, one American president, more than any other, opened up the Pandora's Box of foreign policy troubles we're living with and combating today. It's not who you might think, though. It's not George W. Bush or his father, and it's not Bill Clinton who really gave us most of the headaches in hot spots around the world. It's Jimmy Carter...Click Here to Read More

Very little can I disagree with in Bryan's analysis except the "closeness with Iran before the Ayatollah" part. Methinks he was trying that ancient art of economizing a statement and as a result ended up overstating the case. Having done that a few times myself I cannot be too critical of others who occasionally fall into that trap. (Though in the case of certain "Wil E. Coyote (Superrr Genius)" types who tend to do this on a regular basis, they are of course open targets for ridicule considering how pompous they so often are. But I digress...)


When Dr. Norbert Vollertsen lived in North Korea as part of the charity group German Emergency Doctors, he witnessed an unending scene of horror: Young men, mysteriously beaten, left for dead by the side of roads the regime's elites travel every day. Hospitals lacking drugs, disinfectant, syringes, even soap. Children by the hundreds left in ramshackle orphanages, their parents dropped down the memory hole for unknown crimes against the state. The notorious Japanese Red Army operating in the open, the wives of two of its most infamous hijackers appearing at events with Kim Jong-Il himself. Workers from international relief agencies turning a blind eye to all of it, living the high life in Pyongyang while the downtrodden North Korean citizens barely subsist.

Upon exiting the North, Dr. Vollertsen began to publicize what he had seen hoping to drive the international community to do something to end the madness north of the DMZ. Soon, the good doctor began to receive threatening phone calls, warning him to stop, trying to shut him up. As he details in his book Diary of a Mad Place, those calls came not at the behest of Pyongyang, which had already revoked the honors it had bestowed on him and declared him an enemy. The threats came from the South Korean government, a government whose soldiers Dr. Vollertsen had seen beating North Korean citizens attempting to cross the DMZ and gain their freedom.

Why would the South Korean government threaten a doctor dedicated to exposing the horrors of North Korea? Why would South Korean troops beat North Koreans trying to escape?Click Here For More

Excellent Analysis by Bryan Preston of the N Korea-S Korea situation as well as the relations between S Korea and the US and why they have soured as of late.


In the Civil War, Southern soldiers adhered to the belief that any one of them was worth about three Yankees. In the spin wars, Henry Hanks proves that any one sharp blogger is worth more than three lefty gasbags. He takes on Donahue, Mario Cuomo and Al Franken--simultaneously--and smacks them all down.

Three points:

1) Cuomo has always been long on oratory and short on facts.

2) If any conservative got the consistently poor ratings of Donahue, they would have been cancelled a long time ago.

3) For someone such as Al Franken who wrote a book titled "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot", maybe Franken was only projecting onto Mr. Limbaugh his own internal insecurities.

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Good sound insights on the entity known as "liturgical music" by Greg "the Godfather" Popcak can be read HERE.

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Am I the last person on the planet to learn that Norah Jones is the daughter of Ravi Shankar??? Suffice to say, they were playing some of her stuff on the jazz station and she definitely has the old "torch" singing style down. It is so nice to hear some good new music on the radio as of late. The last couple of years I have finally started hearing some stuff I can listen to again. Norah Jones' debut CD is another for the "must burn" list. Hopefully when she gives an interview she does not start with that "Free Tibet" crap or the kind of drivel that Harry Belafonte spewed viz. Colin Powell about two months ago that really irks me. (It is in the archives somewhere.) Anyway, gotta finish my water and hit the hay now but maybe finishing with a poem is in order - if I can wing one on the spot here. Let us see...

Tired from revising
The mind needs to be recharged
With a good night's sleep

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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

An excellent observations on the fallacy of women's ordination as the solution to increasing vocations courtesy of Dylan

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It is easy in todays climate to poo poo unions - and the leadership of unions does not help their case. But unions are still needed however much some may hope they pass by the wayside - and this link by Eve Tushnet details an example of what happens when profits are the sole bottom line of running a business.

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Thanks to Gordon Zaft for (i) perusing my blog archives and (ii) pointing out a grammatical error that I made in several entries - primarily between August and October. They have been fixed and somehow the gaffes (about seven of them) escaped the scrutiny of Nihil Obstat. (Maybe he thought my grammar on those parts was correct.) Nonetheless, the parts were corrected and thanks again to Gordon's eagle eye :)


On the Will, the Truth, and Other Related Threads:

Thanks for your belated response to my query.

No problem. I apologize for being belated in my reply. (Time is not on my side at the moment unfortunately.)

You said, "As far as the essence of [XXXX's] complaints viz the philosophical knowledge aspect, I do not see problems with what he said". What he said was: "To know and to will are not the same -- that was the error of Plato and Socrates - explicitly refuted by Aristotle and Aquinas." With this much you and I and he are in agreement. Socrates said, "The only vice is ignorance." I stopped believing that in my sophomore year of high school. Ignorance can, at best, only remove our culpability for the vice we commit, not remove our will as the source of the vice we commit.


But [XXXXX] went on to say:"To choose a lesser good -- to know what one ought to do and then not do it is the very foundation for Thomas' moral philosophy."

This is correct. St. Thomas' moral philosophy saw all goods as being subordinate to the greater good insofar as they direct the soul to God.

To know that choosing a lesser good is, well, less good, is not the "very foundation for Thomas' moral philosophy." It's common sense. It's the ethical equivalent of 3 - 1 = 2.

He was directing that argument against the stances that you have taken in discussion lists and on message boards, etc. At least that is how I understood him to be directing the statement. I do not intend to contact him and ask for a clarification; however if he should correct me I will accept it since he is best qualified to interpret the "XXXXX Magisterium" much as you are what you say or myself with what I say, etc.

My point, that neither he nor you addressed has nothing to do with morality but with the nature of free will. Tho there is nothing in this universe worse than quoting myself (It speaks of a massive communicative failure.), I will.

Well, abortion is worse then quoting oneself...

I'd said, "Our will is operative as a function of our incomplete knowledge. For example, infallibly complete knowledge, like 2 + 2 = 4, renders our will inoperative (e.g., such knowledge prevents us from willing that 2 + 2 = 5).

There is a problem with your usage of terms above. The equating of certainty with infallibility as if without one you cannot have the other is the same problem that ensnared the Anglican critic Dr. George Salmon. This is also the reason why the apologetical argument about the "fallible collection of infallible books" (used by Prots such as RC Sproul) and the Catholic attempt to assert certainty being predicated on the infallibility of the Church both miss the boat and badly.

I will try to summarize this as briefly as I can in this note: no easy task for one who has a history of Philosopher-like lengthy expositions) but I believe I am improving in this regard thanks to the blogging discipline.

While whatever is infallible is intrinsically certain; the converse is not true. Certainty does not require infallibility. If it did then we could not be certain of anything without being infallible ourselves. I am certain that 2 + 2 = 4; however I am not infallible.

Conversely, Adam and Eve's knowledge about the tree of good and evil was incomplete enough for them to be tempted by the serpent's lies regarding what would happen if they disobeyed God's will and followed their own will regarding the forbidden fruit."

Not necessarily. They after all received the command from the Lord directly. It would seem logical that if someone says not to do something that it goes against their wishes for it to be done. It seems that they gambled on the advice of the serpent because what he promised (being as gods) was better then what God promised for the same action (dying the death). Maybe this example can serve as an illustration.

Just as neither you nor I would claim that St. Thomas' works were all as worthless as straw but after receiving some visions he stopped writing because of this belief. In the same manner, it is difficult to say exactly what Adam and Eve's degree of knowledge was because their state was of a greater perfection then ours is.

Just as there can be no human being without at least a single cell of flesh, there can be no free will without at least one question. Some deficit of knowledge is our birthright as free beings. If we had complete knowledge, we would be robots. Our lack of knowledge, then, is the source of our greatest human gift, our freedom.

This is where your logic goes askew. It is not that we would be robots with complete knowledge because otherwise those in heaven are robots. They have the complete certainty that we lack - it replaced their faith when they passed on to the other side. (Likewise hope was replaced with fulfillment.) The one constant in both is charity and charity is not "robotic".

That is correct, love is not "robotic" nor is it capable of being accurately quantified by measurement. This was eloquently stated by the late Orthodox scholar Fr. Alexander Schememann who noted the following points worth reflection:

Since comparison always, mathematically, leads to the experience and the knowledge of inequality, it always leads to protest. Equality is based on the denial of distinctions, but since they exist, the wish for equality calls to fight them, to force equalization on people, and, what is even worse, to refuse these distinctions, which are the essence of life. The person—man or woman—who hungers for equality is already emptied and impersonal because a personality is made of what distinguishes it from others and not submitted to the absurd law of equality. To the demonic principle of comparison, Christianity opposes love...Equality cannot exist in this world because the world was created by love and not by principles. And the world thirsts for love and not equality.”

This is why one needs to be careful to avoid over-rationalizing because when love is confused with mindless motion the very free-will required to be able to love is defacto denied.

I used to be a bee keeper. And if there was ever a creature created that could be considered to have complete knowledge it would have to be bees. They are infinitely smarter than we are in all it is that they need to know in order to be bees. Even after a college education, we don't know half of what we need to know to be human beings. Ergo, we have many more opportunities to exercise our free will than do bees.

Except of course that bees like all non-rational creatures are incapable of rational thought. They operate off of the instinct God built into them which leads them to do what they do. It is the same reaction that you would have if you stepped in front of a speeding car and then realized what you had done.

You would not stand there and stare at the car and try to calculate its velocity towards you but instead you would immediately (God-willing) leap out of the way. Your action would not involve a rational deduction but instead an instinct you have for survival. Likewise the bee acts except rather then the occasional use of instinct that is its only recourse because it cannot think and cannot reason.

If you can agree with me that ignorance is a necessary component to our freedom, then you will find the necessity of faith to be more agreeable and more easily defendable. Faith is the intelligent response of our will to what we are in ignorance of.

Holy Writ defines faith as "the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not yet seen" (Heb. xi, 1). Ergo, that is the definition I accept. Yours does not take into account the variable of hope which is essential. If not for that virtue a lot of things that gnash at us on a daily basis would probably crush us. Hope is the virtue that offsets dispair while charity is the virtue that offsets pride.

If we could not see our way "through a glass darkly" to faith in God and His Church, if the Light and the Truth were blindingly obviously clear to us, we could not help but be God's zombie love slaves. Ignorance is the distance between us and Him which allows us to freely reach out to Him.

Again, your analogy is problematical. Zombies are creatures without free will. Mankind has free will. The notion of a "zombie love slave" is an oxymoron; as a zombie does not have freedom of the will whereas those in heaven do.

You said, "[XXXXX] is also correct that you seem to want to attack Vatican II with whatever weapon you can find however problematical the given weapon is. (And often you choose weapons which have a much more destructive range then you are aware: weapons that obliterate not only VC II but VC I and all the popes prior to John XXIII as much as John XXIII's successors.)"

Shawn, the truth is not a weapon. And if the truth destroys anything, it only destroys our illusions. It only blows away our rose-colored glasses so that we can see reality in Technicolor.

I can concur with that. (Hence I am no longer a false 'traditionalist'.)

Rhetoric can be a weapon to destroy or a tool to build up. I admit I'm guilty of rhetoric. But if you feel my arguments are merely rhetorical and not logical, please be specific. Otherwise, I'll simply pass over your criticism of my criticisms of VCII as YOUR rhetoric :)

I suppose that is a fair criticism. The problem though is core issues often get buried with ancillary side-subjects. But I will start with my open letter to you as that was written to address specific issues you raised with the conscious intention of writing it in a way that would best communicate with you personally. We can start there and then other subjects can be addressed in conjunction with those primary points.

PS I sent you a Christmas e-card but no notification was sent to me that it was picked up. I therefore presume that it did not get sent. In that case, I want to wish you at this time a holy and prosperous new year my friend.

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More Predictions for 2003:

The Mighty Barrister, in the footsteps of Jeff Miller, Anne Wilson, and your humble servant at Rerum Novarum has set forth a list of predictions for 2003. "NostraShawnus" predicts that he will go 6 for 8. (Presumably he means "plenary council" and not "ecumenical council" in one of the predictions he sets forth that will probably for the most part be accurate (unfortunately: I sense he wants a lot of his predictions to be wrong much as Jeff and I do with ours).


Sunday, January 05, 2003

The "Cunning Plan" Dept.
(at least I think it is...)

I have an idea for the new year that all who read this humble weblog who are interested in doing something productive for the Church to speed along the renewal that has been gradually taking shape since 1984: the printing and distribution of Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter MISERICORDIA DEI issued last April. It is on the norms for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. I linked to it back in September if memory serves me (I am too busy to search the archives for it). Here is the link:


My thought was that downloading and printing two copies of the Apostolic Letter - one for the local ordinary and one for the pastor of your church - would be a good idea. I am not advocating that priests sit in the confessional for hours at a time every day of course. However, it seems that the "one hour a week or by appointment" approach is nowhere near adequate. It seems that thirty minutes before mass on Sunday and an hour or two on Saturdays would be adequate - accompanied by mentioning it from the pulpit at least briefly every week or two.

As one who hopes to make a General Confession before Easter, I am one of those who does not do the "by appointment" approach very well. So yes, while there is perhaps a bit of selfishness in that respect, it seems nonetheless that (i) I cannot be the only person uncomfortable with this approach and (ii) the infrequency of scheduled confessions does not help in this matter. Further still, in light of the recent bishops scandal, it seems an opportune time to bring this up to the ordinaries - as well as the pastors of churches. Of course anyone who thinks it would not be beneficial to make the sacrament more easily available for people I would be happy to hear your "alternative" proposals. I doubt highly though that they would be better then the idea I am advancing here but to quote Pat Benetar "hit me with your best shot..."

"I...encourage my Brother Bishops and earnestly appeal to them – and, through them, to all priests – to undertake a vigorous revitalization of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a requirement of genuine charity and true pastoral justice, and we should remember that the faithful, when they have the proper interior dispositions, have the right to receive personally the sacramental gift. [Apostolic Letter: Misericordia Dei issued Motu Proprio by the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II on April 7, 2002]

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Pete Vere sums up the difference between an authentic Traditionalist and a 'traditionalist' who is not the real deal here.

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Random Links of Interest:

Quenta Narwenion had the following interesting parody link:

Liturgy Police

Frankly I am one who thinks that a local ordinary *should* have knowledgeable people monitoring the way mass is celebrated. The problem of course is finding people who can place their personal preferences in check and be as reasonably objective on the matter as possible. There is also the need to have whomever the people are who would do this not be known. That way there would be no "oh here is the ordinary's spy so let us play nice".

Perhaps if there was one such "observer" for every ten churches in a dioceses - and presuming that people who were of proper temparament were selected - such a procedure may be a good antidote for the more extreme variations out there. But I digress...

A Screwtape Parody (via Mystique et Politique)

Who can fail to appreciate the Screwtape style???

The Barrister takes on Moby

Moby, whose album "Play" I have been pestering my sister to burn for me, joins the list of entertainers whom I either enjoy their music or their cinematic talents but immediately feel my stomach turn when they start talking.

Anne Wilson's Predictions for 2003

She took a few more risks on her predictions then Jeff Miller and I did with ours. Nonetheless, "NostraShawnus" predicts that she will go at least 8 for 10. (I have a hunch the war prediction will be false.)

I was going to add a link to the JunkYard BLOG here but as I have not read Bryan's stuff since ...well ... last year, I think addressing it in a new category of its own is more appropriate. Ergo, that is what will be done.

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