Tuesday, March 25, 2008
If, as my friend Rodak insists, the state must maintain an orthodoxy of moral relativism, upon what is the state to base its laws? Law must be based on morality. If it is not, then what is it based on? The tyranny of the majority? Bigotry? Prejudice? Self interest of the powerful? The dictates of the powerful?
No doubt you ask, “But which theory?” That is a good question, and would make for an interesting discussion, but we have to take things one at a time. Before going into that, first we should consider the matter in the abstract.
What do we base out law on if not objective morality.
I'm about 1/3 of the way through The World is Flat. One of the chapters is dedicated to Wal-Mart and their system of uberefficiency in logistics and cutting out wholesalers.
The author acknowldges Wal-Mart's failures in providing adequate benefits and, when he interviewed the CEO, so does Wal-Mart to a certain extent, and supposedly they are trying to improve. Anyway, one of the things that Wal-Mart says it is NOT to blame for is the outsourcing.
Apparently they fought to have things manufactured in the U.S.A. rather than abroad. They figured if the factories were in the U.S.A. the workers would have jobs and more money to spend at Wal-Mart. It was the manufacturers who insisted on outsourcing.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
My biggest problem is the assertion that you can't have natural law without God. I have no problem with God, but people put forth the "natural law" as a basis for regulating society that is independent of theological strings. It seems to me that either Natural Law as a non-relgions moral basis for regulating society, or God as the foundation of Natural Law has to go. Right?
Second, can you develop moral norms from the natural law? I'm not entirely clear on that. If I want to know whether I would without food and water from my grandfather who is PVS, will the Natural law tell me? If not, what is the purpose of Natural Law.
Bottom line here: I don't see how Natural Law can be a way for Americans to agree on the best way to regulate society.
The Devil's Advocate
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I've come to the conclusion that poking fun at some "professional liturgists" in such a way was distasteful and thus I've removed the video. Please note, the original post was not addressed to any laity or priests in my diocese in particular. (Apparently more than a couple of people are reading the blog from the diocese I belong to and I don't want to lead anybody into making false judgments or thinking I'm picking on them.)
Friday, March 21, 2008
The following is Rodak's question:
What is the "collectivist" interpretation of this:
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23, 24)
Is the collectivist concept that you all share one great big cross, that you all carry together towards salvation, like a group of pall bearers carrying a coffin together, so that no one individual feels the weight of it?
The Jews were a Chosen People. If you read the Old Testament, you will find that the Jews were not particularly happy about having been chosen, much of the time. Consider, for instance, their actions in the wilderness, after the exodus from Egypt. When God tapped some man on the shoulder to make a prophet of him, that man usually tried to avoid the task. The Jews were redeemed by individually keeping the Law, and punished collectively for the failure of individuals to do so.
This is the same Law that St. Paul equated with death. We Christians are saved by faith, and we die only our own death. How can any group have my faith for me, or stand before the Throne for me, after I have died the first death alone?
Rodak said: "[relativism is] not a tyranny, since it's not coercive."
Relativism says "There is no objective truth concerning X". This statement however in fact asserts an objective truth, namely that objective truth does not exist. It is also, coercive. If I say "X is objectively true" and relativism says "X is not objectively true", one statement must be true and one must be false.
Relativism is in fact the most coercive statement of supposed objective truth, because it cannot co-exist with any other objective truth whatsoever. The Church teaches that, while it contains the fullness of truth, we must accept the truth that we find in science and in other religions. There can be common ground. Relativism will allow no such tolerance: everything must bow to it.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Mr. Loi is a thoughtful and articulate man, and he gave an enjoyable and enlightening lecture. In light of his position, I understand why he only faintly alluded to human rights violations. Yet he did discuss the yawning gap between the wealthy city dwellers and the poor peasants, and China's pollution problem.
When a questioner highlighted the human rights problem he did address it, and came down on the side of trying to influence China to improve its record.
In the knot of people who gathered around him after the lecture, it was curious to note how many people wanted to talk about China's environmental problem. This seems a bit odd. Why so much concern about smog when there are work camps, executions, torture (well, I guess America is now for torture), and lack of religious freedom? It doesn't add up to me.
Aside, though I have not researched this myself, I understand evidence supports the proposition that economic development often aids environmental conservation and remediation.
I'll be pondering all of this.
As always, the Banners series attracts interesting speakers and does a lot to enrich our little community. It is great to see such an effort work so well. You meet the most interesting people there too. I'm marking my calendar for "Zydeco, Mardi Gras and Trail Rides" (April 1st), "Eisnstein's Jewish Science" (April 15th), and "Inventing Vietnam: Lessons in Nation Building from a Forgotten Example" (April 29th).
Any advice on other books or what to cover. I am open to suggestions.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I don't agree with PJB on everything, and he makes some comments that make me squirm, but I had to face it, how many conservative thinkers are there out there? The talking heads on the radio are neither conservative nor thinkers. What other conservative voices are there? Besides that, PJB is sharp as a tack. Also, now that, I think, he no longer has plans to run for president, it's easier to identify with him. Brilliant, great speaker, great writer, fierce in debate, but no politicial.
Anywho, he's pretty fun to read, so I'm reading RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING, and may read more ( I plan to, but you how it is being an slow-dyslexic-reader-book-enthusiast with ADD) of his stuff after that (maybe his new book?). RFTB is his memoir through 1988. I imagine that it was written as part of his aborted 1988 bid for the White House.
Cerebella, as much as I hate to feed your militancy for the Latin Mass and the church of mid-century, you would love this book, particularly the first 79 pages, which chronicles his childhood in 1940's and 50's Georgetown and Chevy Chase.
Friday, March 14, 2008
One major issue that is neglected by the mainstream media and many conservative commentators is that since the Iraq War began we've seen more attacks on the religious liberty of Christians in Iraq than while Iraq was under the control of the dictator Saddam Hussein. I did see where The American Conservative magazine highlighted the persecution of Christians since our occupation. It's certain that Iraq was a better place to live for Christians then than it is now. Should we just chalk this problem up as another one of those unforeseen consequences that was not considered by the advocates of the Iraq War? Maybe some thought about it; perhaps some just didn't care.
Knowing that this war has severely hightened the danger of my brother and sister Christians and their free exercise of the Faith saddens me deeply. With respect to the late Archbishop, what consoles me is the crown he has received from our Blessed Lord and for his ability now to intercede for us here. Like my wife said, "The bishop now can do bigger and better work for Iraq."
Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, pray for us, especially this sinner.
(See also, "If I Were King...." below) What should the king (in our case the people) study in order to rule for the common good? Below are some major areas with some specific issues. What needs to be added?
History and historical geography, particularly the progress of civilizations (how they began, major events, how they declined, forms of government and how the form changed).
Philosophy, what are the major areas of study and the schools of thought within each, who founded, which thinkers, what implications, what historical anecdotes.
Current events and geography (esp. beyond our borders)
Science (current issues: global warming and environmentalism, evolution, creationism and intelligent design; theories in support and against).
Economics, micro and macro.
Politics (here and abroad), who controls what where, who is going where with what policy; schools of thought on foreign policy, proponents, implications and current and historical anecdotes; theories of government proponents, implications and current and historical anecdotes.
Specific moral issues: abortion, euthanasia, the family and sex, torture, trade with oppressive regimes, labor standards.
If we are all rulers here in America, don't we all have a certain duty? Or should there be some “golden class” of elites that are responsible for the common good in America? You don’t hear a lot of people debating this much past the eighteenth century in America, but whether it is discussed anymore or not, it remains a vexing question.
Even if we do not believe that all Americans can or will look after the common good, if we love our country, if we want to consider ourselves good people, we need to take up the yoke by at least being informed. We hear a lot of banter right about now about how important it is to vote, but what difference does it really make if all you ever do is vote once or twice a year if you are ignorant? You probably do as much harm as good.
(see also my next post "I am King" above)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"If you find it difficult to discuss this subject without appealing to predictions of dire consequences for the future...if you find more vitrolics than veracity in your contributions to the debate, then you need to acknowledge that you are driven at least as much by fear and anger as you are by genuine concern for a 'let the chips fall where they may" pursuit of the truth. Anger and fear have never been reliable conduits of verisimilitude."
Saturday, March 8, 2008
And here a certain rural Texas doctor takes on the new Fed Head (linked to the CMI blog):
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I think the reason the post gets so much discusion is that it asks what is wrong with our country.
I have one observation and two questions:
OBSERVATION: Everyone seems to agree that something is wrong.
Q1: What is it we are all looking for? What are we seeking? What is the goal we have missed?
Q2: How do we fix it?
Monday, March 3, 2008
It promises to be interesting.
I don't know why blogger isn't letting me put links in my posts. Here is the URL:
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Even if they don't break, they need to be disposed of carefully (ie, not with the kitchen garbage). The ban on incandescent bulbs was supported by environmentalists. This sounds like an environmental disaster in the making to me.
I've seen this info several places on the 'net, but here are a couple specific links:
Also, here is the EPA's own page for how to clean up if one of these bulbs breaks: