Thursday, July 13, 2006

Very Briefly on the Invasion of Lebanon By Israel:

This is a subject I will almost certainly write more on as I have time to but briefly:

I have a very close friend whose family is from Lebanon. (They came to the States when she was a kid during the original occupation.) In two weeks time, her mother was scheduled to return to stay with relatives for about two months but after Beirut International was shelled, that trip has been cancelled.

More will be noted later on but I need to be in a proper frame of mind to handle this with the detachment it will require. (At the moment I am not capable of that so what is noted here is all I will say on the matter at the present time.)


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On Irrational Approaches to Gain Self-Esteem)

[A] lot of people like to see celebrated figures come down a notch or two because their own self-esteem is not very high. They gain a sense of self-esteem when they can say, Look, I'm not like that; that person has shortcomings. And that's not the proper way to gain self-esteem. That's irrational. [Mike Mentzer]


Points to Ponder:

“We should not have an ‘open mind’ because that means we grant plausibility to anything, however, we should have a discerning mind. [Mike Mentzer]


Health Tip: Can Beer Be Good for You? (Forbes.Com)

A wonderful piece of news received via fellow beer connoisseur Greg Krehbiel. For position papers of sorts on beer from this humble weblog, some links will be provided below{1} and there are others in the archives. I recall reading once that beer can be good for bones...if memory serves it was Greg Krehbiel who found that thread too.


{1} Though there is a lot more that has been noted on this weblog over the years than the link I am about to provide; nonetheless, some of my observations on the subject can be seen in the thread located HERE.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Points to Ponder:

Individuals who have spent enormous amounts of time, energy, and money selling a particular idea or product often become so intent on seeing their [idea/creation] accepted by others that they tend to lose their objectivity...the stakes [involved] are in some manner intellectual/philosophical. [Mike Mentzer]


On Miscellanous Matters:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Note: I originally planned to post the first part of this note on July 6, 2006 with the working title "Damn Kim Jong II" Dept. but decided against it. -ISM]

---Right when I plan to not comment for five days or so, North Korea goes and tests some missiles. I was sorely tempted to write on this matter but to do so would have been to let that little twerp of a dictator interfere with my downtime so I said "sod it" and kept quiet. Thanks are in order to my amigos at the American Conservative Blogroll and The Alliance for dealing more than adequately with this issue. Having noted that, I want to expand on comments I made on Texas Fred's weblog on some other subjects (along with a couple other bits) so here goes...

---With regards to the whole slavery reparations issue, I personally have no sympathy whatsoever for those who whine about wanting "reparations"{1} because my ancestors were also slaves economically{2} or otherwise{3} which is part of the reason they immigrated to this country. They also either arrived here legally or they quickly made themselves legal citizens. If not for the fact that there is no evidence of the Mexican immigrants who arrive here illegally to become legal of their own accord{4}, I would hardly take the stance I do on these matters. But enough on that for now.

---As far as the Congress and being trusted, I do not need to remind those with longer memories that it was the Dems on Congress who cozied up to Commandante Ortega in the 1980’s when the Soviet Union was still around and taking territory like the Cornhusker offense on a Saturday in the fall. They cannot be trusted and should not be trusted with information that is intended to be kept quiet…too many seditionists in that batch along with some of the Republicans who are essentially ”me-too” sorts and thus are not better.

---It was brought to my attention a little while ago that Mark Shea took issue at being called a "distributivst" by yours truly a couple months ago. This stumped me as I could not recall making the assertion -indeed I checked the postings where I wrote/spoke on this matter{5} and gave them a read/listen. Having found nothing in them to substantiate this point, I was wondering where on earth Mark got this idea when I remembered a private email exchange I had with Greg Krehbiel where I wrote him pertaining to the subject of Catholic Church teaching. It was in that note that the assertion of distributivism was made pertaining to Mark Shea.

The purpose of my note to Greg was to point out in a discussion he and Mark were having, areas where each was right and wrong. Or to quote my own words on the matter:

You and Mark [Shea]'s disagreement is more interesting to me because (as I see it) each of you gets part of it right and part of it wrong.

In your case, you [Greg] are correct that on particulars the magisterium has not bound people to much in the way of specifics. However, it appears based on what I read (and I may have misinterpreted your view) that you do not think there is anything the magisterium has said on these matters that is requiring of assent. That would be incorrect. Mark is right that there are general principles that are bound viz. how we need to approach these matters. He errs however in presuming (as he seems to) that the magisterium has bound people to particular economic theories when in fact this has not happened at all.

The problem as I see it with many who would argue as Mark and company do is that they are adherents to an economic theory (distributivism) that is internally contradictory. They are right that one cannot dismiss wholeheartedly the magisterium’s interventions in economic matters; however, they are wrong to presume that said interventions are at all crystal-clear and precise and not admitting of a variation of applications depending on particular circumstances.

There are certain theories which we cannot accept of course (i.e. communism/socialism, forms of capitalism which are utilitarian and shorn of moral proinciples, etc.) but other than that, there is a broad spectrum of acceptable approaches to these matters.

Furthermore, Mark Shea’s assertion that your argument is no different than those who would question the church’s stand on bioethical matters is context-switching since bioethics involves matters which are not contingent ( i.e. when life begins, what is life, etc.) whereas economic theory is admitting of varying interpretations many of them which are contingent. But the thread above touches on these matters adequately for the present time -though I may develop parts of it later on if it seems appropriate or necessary (time-willing of course). [Excerpt from an Email Correspondence With Greg Krehbiel (circa April of 2006)]

For those who wonder how this note made it into the public forum, Greg asked me if he could blog that email and I said he could. Now then, if what I wrote is looked at carefully, the distributivist comment was a side issue to the broader subject matter of discussion. My main criticism was that Mark was not making proper differentiations between matters of teaching and matters of prudential judgment on some issues.{6} Another way of saying it was that Mark was in seeking to affirm that there are certain general principles which Catholics must give assent to was extending this to particular applications. Nonetheless, I did appear to call Mark a distributivist and he is right that in part I did this based on his esteem for G K Chesterton. The latter was a distributivist but it was not for that reason alone that I claimed that Mark was a distributivist.

My comment was based on the latter in part but also on observing that Mark seems to have a definition of capitalism that mirrors the caricatured one that the distributivists use. The rest of what I noted in that email remains intact though and I do believe that Mark and Greg each get certain parts right and certain parts wrong in their dispute.{7} Nonetheless, if Mark claims he is not a distributivist{8}, then I take him at his word, retract the assertion, and with this public notation, apologize to him for it.

---On the World Cup, I was so supportive of Italy in this final that I practically acquired an Italian flag to fly and took on a paizano accent. Anything to see the French go down to a crushing defeat yet again...they are cowards militarily and otherwise and now have been denied the World Cup. Aaaah how I love the smell of raviolli in the morning ;-)


{1} Unless they either have actual family members who are slaves or have living relatives who were slaves of course.

{2} My father's ancestors were treated like subhuman crap by the British in the Potato Famine which was pretty much a creation of the British who let Irish who refused to convert to the Anglican religion to starve.

{3} My mother's ancestors (including her grandmother) were either serfs under the Tzar in the Ukraine or perished in the Terror Famine of the 1930's.

{4} In a fashion that respects the role of law in a just society of course -something that the proposed "amnesty" programs do not do. Oh and before I hear any of the "but they cannot speak English" schtick, that will not fly with me cause my ancestors could not speak the language initially either.

{5} On the Acton Institutes' Critique of Distributivism (circa March 27, 2006)

Miscellaneous Musings on Illegal Immigration, Voting Issues, Audioblogger, Fundamental Rights, Activism, Distributivism, Valid Theories and the Criteria Thereof, Etc.--An Audiopost (circa April 8, 2006)

Miscellaneous Musings on Distributivism, Valid Theories and the Criteria Thereof, Illegal Immigration, Activism, Fundamental Rights, Etc.: A Continuation Audiopost (circa April 8, 2006)

{6} This is a subject well worth writing on at some point IMHO -not specifically aimed at Mark but to the problem as it exists in general.

{7} In Greg's defense though, I believe his approach is more common to the general Catholic approach of wanting to live one's life as a Catholic and not wanting to delve too deeply into these kinds of more intricate matters. Let us face it: there is a lot of depth to those waters and no one can successfully navigate them all.

For that reason, those who would rather focus on living the faith instead of trying to understand everything, I can respect that certainly. I am also well aware of the way not a few who call themselves "apologists" overemphasize certain applications of principles and place the latter on a par with the principles themselves. I think part of the reason Greg approaches things as he does is in reaction to what not a few who call themselves "apologists" do either in general or (on certain issues) from time to time. But that is enough on the matter for now.

{8} Distributivist and distributist are two different terms used to explain that economics pseudo-"theory." (And that is what it is: see the threads in footnote five for more than ample substantiation of this assertion if you are interested.)

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