Saturday, May 05, 2007

Woman is the Future of Man

The Philosopher borrowed some movies from the Faneuil branch, and he said I could watch them if I was interested.

I have no idea why the American critics love this movie, or why Martin Scorsese did the intro (which I skipped). "Emotional honesty?" For showing flawed people? Maybe I don't understand why I need to watch a movie when the existence of original sin is all around me. Sun Hyun-ah plays Park Sun-hwa--the character obviously never gets over being raped by an ex-bf, and allows herself to be treated as a sex toy by the two main characters, Lee Mun-ho (played by Yoo Ji-tae) and Kim Hyun-gon (Kim Tae-woo), both of whom are immature, though in different ways. Kim Hyun-gon seems to be the immature boy; Lee Mun-ho is the guy who is married, no doubt for the sake of respectability, but has no problems having sex with an ex-flame (Sun-hwa) or a student from his university. (Actually Hyun-gon is a bit of a cad as well--both he and Mun-ho try to get a waitress at the local restaurant to help them out with their "art"; Hyun-go is a filmmaker, while Mun-ho is an art teacher and claims to be a painter.)

Perhaps a film that shows human beings with all of their sins and defects is a breath of fresh air to Americans. I wouldn't want to say the film is nihilistic--perhaps the filmmaker is just portraying the human condition, and we are to draw the appropriate lessons if we choose to do so. But I find the teaching value of such a movie to be close to nil, even if it's well-executed, etc., and it ends up just making me angry.

KrMDB
New York Times

Here is a positive review of the movie.

Though not as satisfying as his other features, Woman is the Future of Man once again proves that Hong is unequaled when it comes to honestly exposing the weaknesses of the male psyche, particularly as it concerns women, relationships, and sex.


From the comments section in that review: a Film Quarterly article on the director, Hong Sang-soo.

Now, there is a suggestion that Mun-ho fantasizes a lot, and not all of what is shown is movie reality, but just in his imagination. I don't want to spend more time watching the movie again to sort "fact from fiction"...

Francis Beckwith tells his story

here, at Right Reason

Neoconservatism and Political Economy

by Maximos, for What's Wrong with the World

Food preservation and democracy

Food preservation and democracy
by Sharon Astyk

Growing your own food is only one part of the project - the next is preserving it, and making sure you have enough to eat, and things you like. Most places in the world have a period where you can't grow much food, either because it is too hot or too dry, too cold or too wet. So we have to put up food for those times. And then there's the job of resource management - if I left things up to my kids, I'd have strawberry jam every single day, until there wasn't any more, and then they'd complain until the next year's strawberry harvest. Someone has to be the one to say, "ok, apricot this time - let's save some of that strawberry for early spring when we'll all want something sweet." Someone has to look at the apples and the pears and take the ones that are getting soft off and make them into sauce or dried apples before they rot and spoil, literally, the whole barrel.

The thing is, being involved with your food means being really seriously involved with your food. It means changing the way we've come to think about the world back to the way that we once did - revisiting a life of seasonality, with a time to plant, a time to sow, a time to harvest and a time to rest. It isn't just a song, or a Bible verse, it becomes a way of life. And that's ok, because that link to nature may be the thing that we've been missing in our lives. There's growing evidence that people who work in the dirt, live with the seasons and connect to nature are happier and healthier than those who in more artificial circumstances.

So like all springs, my job now is to figure out how many cucumbers I need to plant next year, so that this time, the pickles (devoured by my three pickle-fiend sons) make it all the way until July, when I can make more. And how many potatoes to grow - and can I grow more of the cranberry colored ones that everyone liked do much? And I want to grow more of my own animal feed this year - the cost of corn is rising, and I'd like to stop buying feed altogether. How much room in my garden do the chickens need? How about the rabbits? Which of those weeds can I dry for hay? What I can I grow for them?

Preserving food is every day work - it begins now, with the first rhubarb that will be dried or canned or made into sauce (and a reminder that I still have a bit left of last year's to eat). Next come the strawberries (I don't bother to preserve asparagus - doesn't taste as good as fresh), and nettles (very nutritious dried in tea), and then the cycle begins in earnest. It really doesn't take much time, once you get into a routine, and is well worth it. There are always some busy days in the summer, but it isn't too hard to put berries in the dehydrator after work or mix up pickle brine while making dinner.

Even if you don't grow your own, preserving what is seasonal and fresh can provide you with a great deal of economic and food security - if you go to the farmer's market at the end of the day, you may be able to get bushels of produce for almost nothing. Then comes the work of dehydration, or canning, or pickling. But the work is worth it - both because it enables you to eat a local diet and frees you from dangers in the food supply, but also because it means you don't depend on corporations or others to provision you.

And that last point may be the most important. Food preservation, and food production are keys to democracy. We accept that a politician who is dependent on the money special interests provides cannot be wholly independent in their thought, and know that no matter how much personal integrity they may have, their intentions are fundamentally corrupted by being beholden to others.

Father Cantalamessa on What's New

Father Cantalamessa on What's New
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings

Scholar: Ordaining Women Is Disrespectful

Scholar: Ordaining Women Is Disrespectful
Says Promotion of Female Priests Overemphasizes Masculinity

Zenit interview with Russell Hittinger

Catholic Social Doctrine More Than Mere Policy

Interview With Professor Russell Hittinger


ROME, MAY 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Beyond mere policy, Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies, says a Catholic author and professor.

Russell Hittinger, the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and a research professor of law at the University of Tulsa, spoke Wednesday at the "Foundations of a Free Society" conference organized by the Acton Institute, held at the Pontifical Lateran University.

In this interview with ZENIT, Hittinger discusses the history of Catholic social doctrine, starting with Pope Leo XIII, up to Benedict XVI's most recent contribution to the body of knowledge in "Deus Caritas Est."

Hittinger's most recent book is "The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World."

Q: Can you explain the seminal role Pope Leo XIII played in shaping what we now know to be Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: Pope Pius XI [1922-1939] is the first Pope to speak of social doctrine as a unified body of teachings that develop by way of clarity and application.

In "Quadragesimo Anno," Pius XI said that he inherited a "doctrine" handed on from the time of Leo XIII. By any measure, it is a prodigious tradition.

Beginning in 1878 with the election of Leo XIII, Popes have issued more than 250 encyclicals and other teaching letters; roughly half are related, broadly, to issues of social thought and doctrine. No government, no political party, no encyclopedia or university has produced such a continuous and voluminous tradition of social thought.

Leo XIII himself wrote some 100 teaching letters.

Why did he write so many encyclicals? The short answer is the collapse of Catholic political Christendom and the rise of the new secularist states in the 19th century.

To be disinherited politically was a traumatic event for European Catholics. Leo XIII understood the need to respond in a measured and reasonable manner.

Throughout the world Catholics looked to the papacy to provide leadership lest Catholicism become divided by the new nation-states.

To his credit, Leo XIII rose to the occasion. Leo XIII saw that he needed to supply not only juridical but also intellectual leadership.

His teachings proved successful because he was ready to ascertain what is open or closed in the secular mind, and to use the right mixture of dialectics and systematics to move the latter toward the former.

He gave Catholics a sophisticated body of thought about social issues that transcended what could be called simple statements of "policy."

His efforts also proved successful because his lengthy pontificate was the seedbed for future Popes; hence emerged a remarkably well-structured, yet quickly evolving body of social doctrine.

Q: Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Centesimus Annus" was written on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "Rerum Novarum." What elements from Leo XIII's encyclical are still relevant 100 years later? What developments in the encyclical were unique to John Paul II?

Hittinger: Like every subsequent Pope, John Paul II expressed his admiration and profound gratitude for the Leonine project. By my count, the world in which John Paul II came of age went through three deep changes.

First, after World War I: Nation-states were profoundly demoralized by the war, and this demoralization became fertile soil for the rise of totalitarian regimes that Leo XIII could have scarcely imagined.

Second, after World War II: Europe and her former colonies around the world undertook a painful and searching re-evaluation of their respective domestic orders, and the international order.

During these years, when Father Karol Wojtyla was a young priest, he saw the beginning of the human rights movement, the beginning of European Union, and both the hopes and disorders which followed upon decolonization.

Third, the revolution in Central and Eastern Europe that ended the Cold War: "Centesimus Annus" is John Paul II's grand narrative and philosophical analysis of all these changes.

To be sure, the Leonine principles are quite evident, but John Paul II deals with the crises of the 20th century.

I encourage people to read both encyclicals because the entire modern history of the Church is encompassed by the lives of Leo XIII and John Paul II.

The former was born in 1810, at the zenith of Napoleon's power, and the latter was born just a decade after Leo XIII's death, and brought the Church into the new millennium.

Q: Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" has elements of a social encyclical. In what ways does he follow "Centesimus Annus"? Does he bring a new perspective to Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: "Deus Caritas Est" perhaps does not break entirely new ground in social teaching. But it surely reiterates and makes more clear that the mission of the Church is not to be confused with the state and the other temporal instruments of social justice.

Benedict XVI was, of course, familiar with the problem, which surfaced acutely in certain strands of liberation theology. As the prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had written clear and careful instructions on this subject.

From one point of view, the second half of "Deus Caritas Est" continues the standing magisterial admonitions about turning the Church into a mere instrument of politics and the quest for justice.

Beyond the specific questions surrounding liberation theology, however, Benedict XVI wanted to remind us that while the Church teaches and promotes social justice, Christ gave the Church a very specific mission in the order of charity.

The integrity of this mission must be protected. And at a minimum, this means not confusing it with the ordinary objects and ends of civil governance.

Q: You spoke recently at the Acton Institute event "The Foundations of the Free Society" in Rome. How is the exercise of virtue important in building a free and just society?

Hittinger: The natural, acquired virtues and the supernatural virtues are like spiritual muscles, disposing the intellect and the will to achieve their proper objects -- namely, the true and good.

Some levels of justice and love are achievable with a minimum of virtue, but such achievement will not last for long without it. Any one who has married and raised children understands this point. So, too, does any superior of a religious order or congregation.

The first stirrings of truth and love provide an initial thrust toward right order. But without virtue they will turn out to be like seeds thrown on rocky soil.

Today there is a tendency to believe that right order ensues merely from arranging a rational set of incentives, as though truth and love were the products of a system.

Whatever "system" contains real human persons -- polities, markets, education, families -- it cannot succeed without the internal perfections of its members.

Q: Additionally, at the Acton Institute event, your lecture was entitled: "Societies as Persons in Social Doctrine." You argued that societies can be defined as a person. What do you mean by this and what ramifications does it have for Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: It should be obvious that social teaching presupposes that there is such a thing as society.

Indeed, there are many different kinds of society. Some are natural, in the sense that human life is either impossible or very difficult without them. In the older tradition common to philosophers, theologians and jurists, the family and the polity counted as natural societies.

Other societies are voluntary, such as clubs, sodalities, faculties, corporations and so forth. The Church is a supernatural society, though it has aspects of both natural and voluntary societies.

In her social doctrine, the Church has repeatedly insisted that we must carefully note the different objects and ends and modes of unity of these societies.

How can we do justice if we don't appreciate these differences?

For example, how can we do justice to a matrimonial society if we treat it the same as a temporary economic partnership? How can we do justice to a religious congregation if we treat it no different than a chess club?

I call societies "persons" in a restricted but important sense. A society is the bearer of rights and responsibilities that are not reducible to the aggregation of its members. The rights-and-duties bearing unity called a "society" is a subject of moral appraisal.

In the moral sense of the term, a society can harm and be harmed. In "Centesimus Annus," No. 13, this is what John Paul II meant by the "subjectivity of society."

He simply meant that a society is something more than mere intersubjectivity; rather, it constitutes a "subject" in its own right. All of us belong to more than one society.

Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies.

John Robb: The future looks bleak for Saudi Arabia

He responds to the recent news of SA's actions against AQ

St. Antony Coptic Orthodox Monastery

Holy Liturgy slideshow. The interior of the church is gorgeous. Home.

Icons available for sale at the monastery bookstore.
The Holy Psalmody of Sunday

Related links:
St. Justina Coptic Orthodox Church
Manual of Coptic Studies
St. Anthony Monastery, Egypt

Interview with Russell Hittinger on CST

Catholic Social Doctrine More Than Mere Policy

Interview With Professor Russell Hittinger

ROME, MAY 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Beyond mere policy, Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies, says a Catholic author and professor.

Russell Hittinger, the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and a research professor of law at the University of Tulsa, spoke Wednesday at the "Foundations of a Free Society" conference organized by the Acton Institute, held at the Pontifical Lateran University.

In this interview with ZENIT, Hittinger discusses the history of Catholic social doctrine, starting with Pope Leo XIII, up to Benedict XVI's most recent contribution to the body of knowledge in "Deus Caritas Est."

Hittinger's most recent book is "The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World."

Q: Can you explain the seminal role Pope Leo XIII played in shaping what we now know to be Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: Pope Pius XI [1922-1939] is the first Pope to speak of social doctrine as a unified body of teachings that develop by way of clarity and application.

In "Quadragesimo Anno," Pius XI said that he inherited a "doctrine" handed on from the time of Leo XIII. By any measure, it is a prodigious tradition.

Beginning in 1878 with the election of Leo XIII, Popes have issued more than 250 encyclicals and other teaching letters; roughly half are related, broadly, to issues of social thought and doctrine. No government, no political party, no encyclopedia or university has produced such a continuous and voluminous tradition of social thought.

Leo XIII himself wrote some 100 teaching letters.

Why did he write so many encyclicals? The short answer is the collapse of Catholic political Christendom and the rise of the new secularist states in the 19th century.

To be disinherited politically was a traumatic event for European Catholics. Leo XIII understood the need to respond in a measured and reasonable manner.

Throughout the world Catholics looked to the papacy to provide leadership lest Catholicism become divided by the new nation-states.

To his credit, Leo XIII rose to the occasion. Leo XIII saw that he needed to supply not only juridical but also intellectual leadership.

His teachings proved successful because he was ready to ascertain what is open or closed in the secular mind, and to use the right mixture of dialectics and systematics to move the latter toward the former.

He gave Catholics a sophisticated body of thought about social issues that transcended what could be called simple statements of "policy."

His efforts also proved successful because his lengthy pontificate was the seedbed for future Popes; hence emerged a remarkably well-structured, yet quickly evolving body of social doctrine.

Q: Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Centesimus Annus" was written on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "Rerum Novarum." What elements from Leo XIII's encyclical are still relevant 100 years later? What developments in the encyclical were unique to John Paul II?

Hittinger: Like every subsequent Pope, John Paul II expressed his admiration and profound gratitude for the Leonine project. By my count, the world in which John Paul II came of age went through three deep changes.

First, after World War I: Nation-states were profoundly demoralized by the war, and this demoralization became fertile soil for the rise of totalitarian regimes that Leo XIII could have scarcely imagined.

Second, after World War II: Europe and her former colonies around the world undertook a painful and searching re-evaluation of their respective domestic orders, and the international order.

During these years, when Father Karol Wojtyla was a young priest, he saw the beginning of the human rights movement, the beginning of European Union, and both the hopes and disorders which followed upon decolonization.

Third, the revolution in Central and Eastern Europe that ended the Cold War: "Centesimus Annus" is John Paul II's grand narrative and philosophical analysis of all these changes.

To be sure, the Leonine principles are quite evident, but John Paul II deals with the crises of the 20th century.

I encourage people to read both encyclicals because the entire modern history of the Church is encompassed by the lives of Leo XIII and John Paul II.

The former was born in 1810, at the zenith of Napoleon's power, and the latter was born just a decade after Leo XIII's death, and brought the Church into the new millennium.

Q: Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" has elements of a social encyclical. In what ways does he follow "Centesimus Annus"? Does he bring a new perspective to Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: "Deus Caritas Est" perhaps does not break entirely new ground in social teaching. But it surely reiterates and makes more clear that the mission of the Church is not to be confused with the state and the other temporal instruments of social justice.

Benedict XVI was, of course, familiar with the problem, which surfaced acutely in certain strands of liberation theology. As the prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had written clear and careful instructions on this subject.

From one point of view, the second half of "Deus Caritas Est" continues the standing magisterial admonitions about turning the Church into a mere instrument of politics and the quest for justice.

Beyond the specific questions surrounding liberation theology, however, Benedict XVI wanted to remind us that while the Church teaches and promotes social justice, Christ gave the Church a very specific mission in the order of charity.

The integrity of this mission must be protected. And at a minimum, this means not confusing it with the ordinary objects and ends of civil governance.

Q: You spoke recently at the Acton Institute event "The Foundations of the Free Society" in Rome. How is the exercise of virtue important in building a free and just society?

Hittinger: The natural, acquired virtues and the supernatural virtues are like spiritual muscles, disposing the intellect and the will to achieve their proper objects -- namely, the true and good.

Some levels of justice and love are achievable with a minimum of virtue, but such achievement will not last for long without it. Any one who has married and raised children understands this point. So, too, does any superior of a religious order or congregation.

The first stirrings of truth and love provide an initial thrust toward right order. But without virtue they will turn out to be like seeds thrown on rocky soil.

Today there is a tendency to believe that right order ensues merely from arranging a rational set of incentives, as though truth and love were the products of a system.

Whatever "system" contains real human persons -- polities, markets, education, families -- it cannot succeed without the internal perfections of its members.

Q: Additionally, at the Acton Institute event, your lecture was entitled: "Societies as Persons in Social Doctrine." You argued that societies can be defined as a person. What do you mean by this and what ramifications does it have for Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: It should be obvious that social teaching presupposes that there is such a thing as society.

Indeed, there are many different kinds of society. Some are natural, in the sense that human life is either impossible or very difficult without them. In the older tradition common to philosophers, theologians and jurists, the family and the polity counted as natural societies.

Other societies are voluntary, such as clubs, sodalities, faculties, corporations and so forth. The Church is a supernatural society, though it has aspects of both natural and voluntary societies.

In her social doctrine, the Church has repeatedly insisted that we must carefully note the different objects and ends and modes of unity of these societies.

How can we do justice if we don't appreciate these differences?

For example, how can we do justice to a matrimonial society if we treat it the same as a temporary economic partnership? How can we do justice to a religious congregation if we treat it no different than a chess club?

I call societies "persons" in a restricted but important sense. A society is the bearer of rights and responsibilities that are not reducible to the aggregation of its members. The rights-and-duties bearing unity called a "society" is a subject of moral appraisal.

In the moral sense of the term, a society can harm and be harmed. In "Centesimus Annus," No. 13, this is what John Paul II meant by the "subjectivity of society."

He simply meant that a society is something more than mere intersubjectivity; rather, it constitutes a "subject" in its own right. All of us belong to more than one society.

Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies.

Interview with Russell Hittinger on CST

Catholic Social Doctrine More Than Mere Policy
Interview With Professor Russell Hittinger


ROME, MAY 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Beyond mere policy, Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies, says a Catholic author and professor.

Russell Hittinger, the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and a research professor of law at the University of Tulsa, spoke Wednesday at the "Foundations of a Free Society" conference organized by the Acton Institute, held at the Pontifical Lateran University.

In this interview with ZENIT, Hittinger discusses the history of Catholic social doctrine, starting with Pope Leo XIII, up to Benedict XVI's most recent contribution to the body of knowledge in "Deus Caritas Est."

Hittinger's most recent book is "The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World."

Q: Can you explain the seminal role Pope Leo XIII played in shaping what we now know to be Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: Pope Pius XI [1922-1939] is the first Pope to speak of social doctrine as a unified body of teachings that develop by way of clarity and application.

In "Quadragesimo Anno," Pius XI said that he inherited a "doctrine" handed on from the time of Leo XIII. By any measure, it is a prodigious tradition.

Beginning in 1878 with the election of Leo XIII, Popes have issued more than 250 encyclicals and other teaching letters; roughly half are related, broadly, to issues of social thought and doctrine. No government, no political party, no encyclopedia or university has produced such a continuous and voluminous tradition of social thought.

Leo XIII himself wrote some 100 teaching letters.

Why did he write so many encyclicals? The short answer is the collapse of Catholic political Christendom and the rise of the new secularist states in the 19th century.

To be disinherited politically was a traumatic event for European Catholics. Leo XIII understood the need to respond in a measured and reasonable manner.

Throughout the world Catholics looked to the papacy to provide leadership lest Catholicism become divided by the new nation-states.

To his credit, Leo XIII rose to the occasion. Leo XIII saw that he needed to supply not only juridical but also intellectual leadership.

His teachings proved successful because he was ready to ascertain what is open or closed in the secular mind, and to use the right mixture of dialectics and systematics to move the latter toward the former.

He gave Catholics a sophisticated body of thought about social issues that transcended what could be called simple statements of "policy."

His efforts also proved successful because his lengthy pontificate was the seedbed for future Popes; hence emerged a remarkably well-structured, yet quickly evolving body of social doctrine.

Q: Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Centesimus Annus" was written on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "Rerum Novarum." What elements from Leo XIII's encyclical are still relevant 100 years later? What developments in the encyclical were unique to John Paul II?

Hittinger: Like every subsequent Pope, John Paul II expressed his admiration and profound gratitude for the Leonine project. By my count, the world in which John Paul II came of age went through three deep changes.

First, after World War I: Nation-states were profoundly demoralized by the war, and this demoralization became fertile soil for the rise of totalitarian regimes that Leo XIII could have scarcely imagined.

Second, after World War II: Europe and her former colonies around the world undertook a painful and searching re-evaluation of their respective domestic orders, and the international order.

During these years, when Father Karol Wojtyla was a young priest, he saw the beginning of the human rights movement, the beginning of European Union, and both the hopes and disorders which followed upon decolonization.

Third, the revolution in Central and Eastern Europe that ended the Cold War: "Centesimus Annus" is John Paul II's grand narrative and philosophical analysis of all these changes.

To be sure, the Leonine principles are quite evident, but John Paul II deals with the crises of the 20th century.

I encourage people to read both encyclicals because the entire modern history of the Church is encompassed by the lives of Leo XIII and John Paul II.

The former was born in 1810, at the zenith of Napoleon's power, and the latter was born just a decade after Leo XIII's death, and brought the Church into the new millennium.

Q: Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" has elements of a social encyclical. In what ways does he follow "Centesimus Annus"? Does he bring a new perspective to Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: "Deus Caritas Est" perhaps does not break entirely new ground in social teaching. But it surely reiterates and makes more clear that the mission of the Church is not to be confused with the state and the other temporal instruments of social justice.

Benedict XVI was, of course, familiar with the problem, which surfaced acutely in certain strands of liberation theology. As the prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had written clear and careful instructions on this subject.

From one point of view, the second half of "Deus Caritas Est" continues the standing magisterial admonitions about turning the Church into a mere instrument of politics and the quest for justice.

Beyond the specific questions surrounding liberation theology, however, Benedict XVI wanted to remind us that while the Church teaches and promotes social justice, Christ gave the Church a very specific mission in the order of charity.

The integrity of this mission must be protected. And at a minimum, this means not confusing it with the ordinary objects and ends of civil governance.

Q: You spoke recently at the Acton Institute event "The Foundations of the Free Society" in Rome. How is the exercise of virtue important in building a free and just society?

Hittinger: The natural, acquired virtues and the supernatural virtues are like spiritual muscles, disposing the intellect and the will to achieve their proper objects -- namely, the true and good.

Some levels of justice and love are achievable with a minimum of virtue, but such achievement will not last for long without it. Any one who has married and raised children understands this point. So, too, does any superior of a religious order or congregation.

The first stirrings of truth and love provide an initial thrust toward right order. But without virtue they will turn out to be like seeds thrown on rocky soil.

Today there is a tendency to believe that right order ensues merely from arranging a rational set of incentives, as though truth and love were the products of a system.

Whatever "system" contains real human persons -- polities, markets, education, families -- it cannot succeed without the internal perfections of its members.

Q: Additionally, at the Acton Institute event, your lecture was entitled: "Societies as Persons in Social Doctrine." You argued that societies can be defined as a person. What do you mean by this and what ramifications does it have for Catholic social doctrine?

Hittinger: It should be obvious that social teaching presupposes that there is such a thing as society.

Indeed, there are many different kinds of society. Some are natural, in the sense that human life is either impossible or very difficult without them. In the older tradition common to philosophers, theologians and jurists, the family and the polity counted as natural societies.

Other societies are voluntary, such as clubs, sodalities, faculties, corporations and so forth. The Church is a supernatural society, though it has aspects of both natural and voluntary societies.

In her social doctrine, the Church has repeatedly insisted that we must carefully note the different objects and ends and modes of unity of these societies.

How can we do justice if we don't appreciate these differences?

For example, how can we do justice to a matrimonial society if we treat it the same as a temporary economic partnership? How can we do justice to a religious congregation if we treat it no different than a chess club?

I call societies "persons" in a restricted but important sense. A society is the bearer of rights and responsibilities that are not reducible to the aggregation of its members. The rights-and-duties bearing unity called a "society" is a subject of moral appraisal.

In the moral sense of the term, a society can harm and be harmed. In "Centesimus Annus," No. 13, this is what John Paul II meant by the "subjectivity of society."

He simply meant that a society is something more than mere intersubjectivity; rather, it constitutes a "subject" in its own right. All of us belong to more than one society.

Catholic social doctrine seeks to clarify the proper order and harmony among societies.

Friday, May 04, 2007

St. Michael's Korean Catholic Church

in San Francisco

Amish families

From Amish cultural dynamics:

V. Family Structures, Courting, Marriage, Funeral

A. Family Structure

The Amish family is comprised of a large extended family. Families usually are composed of two parents (divorce is unthinkable), seven children (since no birth control is used), and often grandparents and close relationships with cousins, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles. Since the Amish don't have cars and remain largely in agriculture, families tend to stay together and keep in close contact, unlike in urban societies. This has allowed for extremely large extended families with much interaction. These large families provide the foundation of Amish society and for the welfare of other family members. This strong family unit is a major reason that most Amish become members of the Amish church. Another interesting fact about Amish families is the "Grandpa House." The "Grandpa House" is the additional house or addition to a house built to house grandparents after retirement (Hostetler 1983, p.33). After many years of work, the grandparents can be taken care of by their family and are very interactive with the grandchildren.

B. Courting

Amish courting practices, at one level, are surprisingly similar to that of the English. Like most Americans, Amish youth meet at group gatherings (in the case of the Amish, in church gatherings, youth groups, or singings). Amish parents give their teenage youth a great deal of freedom to stretch rules and "spread their wings," with very little parental knowledge or interference. This is to allow the youth to "get things out of their system' before choosing to become baptized Amish adults. After becoming fond of one particular youth, a young couple begins to court in secret. Often, the young male will drive the female home after church (with "fancy" courting horse fittings) or get together and/or they will sneak away together to be with each other while others politely ignore them. Often the young Amish man will visit the female at night and she will proceed to make him a snack. However, at this point they are under the careful observation of the church and family. Though there is some individual choice in courting, there is only a selected group that youth may associate with. Because of this, there is no room for courting non-Amish, which would lead to excommunication. This is just another example of Amish social control.

C. Marriage

After the young couple decides to marry their names are "published" several weeks before they marry. Being "published" is the Amish way of announcing publicly a couples intention to marry. Most marriages take place during November and early December after the harvests (Good 1979, p.52).

Amish marriage, like the Amish, is a simple affair. The entire church will be invited to the marriage which will be held on a Sunday, as well as other relatives and friends. It is not unusual for there to be over 200 people at a wedding! Four hour services are held at weddings, usually beginning at 9 a.m. The sermon is long but is followed by singing from the Ausbound , the Amish book of hymns. The actual marriage consists of a blessing done by the whole community and simple vows. The communal blessing during a marriage is an example of the importance of community in Amish culture, unlike in American culture where two individuals fall in love and then recklessly get married. Also, at Amish weddings there is no fancy dress, ring, or kissing, though everyone is dressed in their Sunday church clothes and the bride wears a special, but plain, new apron that will be used for Sunday church. After services, a large meal is served, with dishes brought from all of the visiting families. For the couple's honeymoon, they will travel for several months to visit with families in their church and friends. It is during their honeymoon that they will also receive their wedding gifts at each visit, largely practical items that they will need for their new home and life.

D. Funerals


Death is also treated simply. Most Amish bury their dead three days after death. They are buried in their Sunday clothes with the women in the apron they were married in. Coffins are usually simple and made of wood (Good 1979, pp.66,68). The whole church attends and contributes to the meal afterward.

The Traditional Chinese Family & Lineage

The Traditional Chinese Family & Lineage

From what I have learned, the description seems rather accurate. If I get a chance I may try to compare the Chinese family with the Roman family, looking at the role of the ultimate male authority in each (the pater familias in the Roman family, I have to find out what the equivalent is in the Chinese family) and show how the excesses of "patriarchy" do not destroy the authority of the husband and father.

Abusus non tollit usum.

Thomas Storck, Mass Culture or Popular Culture

Mass Culture or Popular Culture by Thomas Storck

Soft Living

The war against men, especially as it is waged in the mass media, may have been stimulated by radical feminism, PC indoctrination, and other ideologies of rebellion (academic or otherwise), but could it be that its roots are much older? What is the cause of men being soft?

Linked to the war against masculinity is the war against anger, which is needed along with courage and justice for a man to be psychologically whole. (Dr. Conrad Baars wrote about the negative effects of repressing anger; the deformation of charity into "niceness" is the target of books like No More Christian Nice Guy.)

While Madison Avenue does its best to create artificial desires through advertising and fosters the consumerist mentality, it is not the direct cause of the lack of discipline and reason in men. Moreover, vice and bad habits do not suddenly replace virtue. Once one has attained the age of reason, the soul beings to acquire some habit, either virtue or vice, or continence or incontinence--one does not stay "unformed" for very long. The natural drives that are particular to men will either be shaped and channeled towards God and the good of others, or it will be twisted by disordered self-love.

It is true that fathers and "patriarchy" have been denigrated by feminists. But I suspect the lack of male leadership and fathering preceded the current feminist war on males. With the rise of the suburbs, the disintegration of communities and disappearance of extended families, two important sources of communal wisdom, customs, and moral training. How else does one explain the rise of the experts (from the 50s? onwards) telling parents how to raise their children? The social tumult of the 60s and 70s probably caused young adults to doubt even more the traditional ways.

How many father are the wise guide and teacher, like Mr. Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver? (Not that he represents the ideal, but he is a couple of steps above the fathers of today's sitcoms.) Many fathers no longer show their sons how to be virtuous men, and what is distinctive about their sex and hence function in society. After all, they cannot do so as they themselves are not really manly. How many middle-class males are just compliant wage slaves for corporations who are ignorant of their obligations to family and community, pursuing only self-fulfillment?

There are many good fathers, but it is likely that their numbers are dwarfed by those with much less or no competence. Still, it seems to be the case that there are areas in this country which are more traditional and better off than the metropolitan belts.

More speculation--
With the postwar boom, the loss of productive function of the household affected not only the wife but also the children, though in general, the effects on the children were initially less pronounced. Consumerism affected the wife first; there was still some check against this with respect to the children as their allowance was limited, and they had to "contribute" to the hosuehold by doing chores. (Remnants from a more agrarian way of life? How many real chores do teens have these days?)

As more males became wage slaves, they had fewer vocational skills to pass on to their sons, skills that would be needed in order to support the family. The time fathers who worked outside the home were able to spend with their sons was also limited, because of their absence. Hence there was less time to model masculine activities and the exercise of duties and obligations to the household and the community. (Playing sports is the stereotypical fathers-and-sons activity that we think of, but aren't there more important bonding experiences, those concerened with the ultimate truths?) And yet, the need for a father (or father figure) becomes more pronounced as a boy approaches and undergoes puberty. (The channeling of sexual energy, and the subordination of this to the love of wife and the formation of family and all that is linked to it.) How many men reflect enough on their own lives and have something to pass on to their sons on how to live? How much of this is absorbed from other sources?

Luxury can kill thumos as well as work against temperance. Without honest work and direction to something more noble, males with means have become content satiating their appetites as consumers and adopting counterfeit forms of manliness. This is the male form of adultlescence, being mostly "useless" to themselves and to others. When do the young men of today acquire a stable identity with respect to community and a sense of vocation that will show them what they should be doing with their lives? Perhaps never. With Thomas Storck (CeT) we can accept that reaction of the hippies to their society was somewhat justified--the pursuit of material prosperity proved to be all too empty of meaning and the impact of this on communal bonds and culture was severe. And yet the hippies could not find something to replace it, and their children have suffered.

Industrialization in the 19th century and the weakening of the household and family did not create soft men, because there was no extraneous wealth or leisure for the working classes. The children had to be occupied doing something, and they entered the work force relatively early. And yet, the "problem" that persisted since the rise of the nation-state was this--men of the working classes continued to be citizens of a modern nation-state, and not a truly free citizenry.

The Lady Downstairs asks, "What is manliness?" Dr. Laura, in The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, covers sex differences to an extent and their impact on how spouses interract with one another. Sex differences are also discussed by other authors such as Steven Rhoads in Taking Sex Differences Seriously. Authentic manliness is the possession and exercise of the masculine virtues, the virtues which build upon the abilities specific to men. I will focus on what is salient about being manly and the features that are most relevant to Mr. Kirkwood's article:

(1) Use of his [physical] strength to work for his family and community and to defend them. Which would be true even of those we would not think of having physical strength, those who have rather small frames (the ectomorphs). I have seen many ectomorphs in Hong Kong and China who do manual labor.

In a community with a great division of labor, the need for all healthy males to use physical strength is lessened, but I wonder if this is ideal.

(2) With respect to the community: the use of reason with respect to leadership or authority (in the realm of action)--either in the exercise of leadership or in obedience to it. Hence, the importance of hierarchy for men in order to do what they need to do for the sake of the unit.

One competes for honor and glory not only to prove one's self but also to find one's place in the pecking order. (Competition can check pride as much as it can cause it in the winners. The selection of those who are qualified to lead must be balanced at the same time with a concern to develop the abilities of the rest and to promote civic friendship. Leadership is not enough--men must co-operate in a virtuous manner so that the common good may be attained.)

Even extreme American egalitarianism can only go so far--when there is a danger to the community, differences in authority and rank must be acknowledged.

(3) With regards to the family, the exercise of authority as husband and father. Also, particular to the father is his role in the religious and moral formation of his children.

Legitimate differences in parenting will have to be discussed elsewhere, and it needs to be emphasized that the function of mother and father are not the same.

See also:
The War Against Men by Richard T. Hise (review by Paul Craig Roberts)
The War Against Boys by Christina Hoff Sommers (Kelley Ross); bookpage interview
Spreading Misandry

New Southerner interview of Albert Bates

Interview with Albert Bates

INTERVIEW

The Good News about Oil Depletion:
Albert Bates discusses how life can be simpler and happier for generations to come


BY DAVID M. BUCHANAN

When an ice storm hit Tennessee on Super Bowl Sunday a few years ago, all of Summertown lost power. But the game went on for sports fans at The Farm's ecovillage, where solar batteries provided the power to watch TV.

Life at The Farm is often this sort of mix — living, as Albert Bates puts it, "with one foot in the last century and one foot in the next." Bates has been director of the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology since 1984 and The Farm's Ecovillage Training Center since 1994, where he has taught sustainable design, natural building, permaculture and restoration ecology to students from more than 50 nations.

We sat down in his one-room home, constructed of straw bale and plastered with stucco, to talk about his new book, The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times (New Society Publishers, 2006).


David Buchanan: Rather than treat oil depletion as an apocalypse, you take a positive approach in your book, embracing what you call "The Big Change." When and how did you decide this could be a positive thing for society?

Albert Bates: It's the product of a lifetime experience. Over the last 30 years, I‘ve been living a much simpler lifestyle, and I've found it better in a variety of ways for a lot of different reasons. I've found that living simpler is actually more pleasurable, more enjoyable than the frenetic pace of life that most people live today. As we move from a society based on intensive use of energy to one that has to live within a resourced budget, we will find that we can go to more elegant styles of living that consume much less but are also much more fun.

DB: Talk of the oil crash seems to have died down over the past few months. What would you say to keep people interested in and aware of this issue?

AB: I think it's going to go up and down depending on the price of gas at the pump. One of the things we saw last year was a shortage that happened coincidentally in a presidential election year. Then the price went down just before the election. And it's going slowly back up now. I think we're going to see those kind of fluctuations from time to time. Peoples' interest in peak oil may go up and down too. But unfortunately, that price change is not the worst of it. What's coming is a shortage, not just for oil. It's for a whole lot of resources that we use and take for granted that are reaching their finite limits on a finite planet.

DB: Your book says we're reaching critical mass with the oil issue. However, some analysts say the peak-oil theory is flawed. Some claim global oil production will not peak before 2030, and with the technology and opening of new frontiers, it's unlikely that oil production will peak in the next 60 or 70 years. How do we know who to believe?

AB: Yeah, we heard this about tobacco, and we heard this about radioactivity. And we heard this about climate change. I think the number of experts keeps going down — the ones that say we don't have a problem here. We have a problem. We have reached a point now at 85 million barrels a day in production … and despite the best efforts of Saudi Arabia to push that up, they've not been able to. We've seen the decline of Mexico's largest oil field, which is now dropping 15 percent per year in production. This is happening all over the world . We're getting to the stage now where, with the demand up from China and India and others, we should be producing more oil, and we're not. We're producing less. That's going to begin to change things. It's going to change the prices, and it's going to change the availability of a lot of consumer goods that we take for granted.

DB: Do you think high gas prices are really an indication of oil depletion? If not, what's your theory?

AB: High gas prices are caused by lots of different things. You've got a lot of players in the supply chain who can jack up the prices at each stage. So it's not necessarily a clear indication. But I think we're coming to the point where none of those players can reduce the price of gasoline below the threshold level that crude oil costs. And that price must needs go up as we get to the bottom of the barrel. You know, up 'til now, we've had images of oil coming out of the ground like spindle toppies — Texas gushers just spewing oil into the sky. That's what happens at the very early stages of production when you have a lot of pressure and very light sweet crude that comes to the top of the well like cream rising in a pail of milk. Instead, now we're getting to the tars and sludges and the really thick gooey stuff. That stuff is not only hard to get out of the ground, but it costs a lot more and takes a lot more manufacturing to get it into things like gasoline and plastics. What we're actually experiencing now is the back end of a hundred-year-long process, and we're going to start seeing a change in the economy that we built up around an era of light sweet crude.


DB: Assuming there is an end to oil, what are some of the immediate solutions you propose for surviving an energy crisis? What's the most basic thing that a person or family can do to prepare for life without oil?

AB: Petroleum is the basis of so much in our society that you could almost say it's the whole basis for Western civilization at this stage. Over the last 100 years, we've gotten rid of our railroads. We have gone into big-box stores that are essentially warehouses on wheels. The supply chain stretches clear around the planet to China and India. All of that has to change. All of that's become obsolete. Our interstate highways are becoming obsolete. What comes next is relocalization …. getting smaller. It's having local production of food and water and basic resources, things you need for living. If I were an individual, I would look and see, How dependent am I? Most of us would have to admit we're addicted. We need the next fix, and we're almost prepared to do anything to get it. What we really need to do is see how to get off of that, how to sober up. That might mean producing our own energy. It might mean producing our own food. If I were living in a city, I'd be looking at boxed gardens on my balcony or rooftop. If I were living in suburbs, I'd be thinking about container gardens and cold frames and turning my lawn into soybeans and corn. If I were living in the countryside, I'd be thinking about producing some crops that could be made into fuel.

DB: Why should people even care about it?

AB: It's going to affect us. But more importantly, it's going to affect our children and our grandchildren. There's a proverb in Saudi Arabia: My grandfather rode a camel. My father drove a car. I ride a jet plane. My son will ride a camel. I think that's indicative of what we need to think about in the near future. What's life going to be like for our children? We've grown up with a paradigm of constant growth, constant expansion, things always getting bigger and better. Now we have to change paradigms. We need to think about shrinking, about having a smaller world population, about having limits on how much we can travel and how expensive things are. We're going to be going through a change and our children are going to go through a change, and we all need to be preparing for that, not just some of us.

DB: How do local economies fit into this picture, and why is supporting local economies such a good thing, particularly for a world without oil or other natural resources?

AB: You might be getting your food from 3,000 miles away. You might be getting your shoes from Italy or your belt from Brazil. So you need to think about how these things come to you and how long a distance they travel. It might be more effective and efficient to have production locally, like belts and shoes in your town. You might find that there's a lot of time and money to be saved by repairing old things rather than buying new things.
I think that as we go through the coming years, life will actually become better. We'll find that we have more time for the kinds of things that we enjoy than we currently spend in traffic jams waiting to get to work. Or in various different pursuits that are necessary to produce an income to pay off a mortgage, to pay back college loans and so forth. What we really need is to be able to garden and grow our own food and have our own local economies.

People sometimes hold out places like the Farm as a model. I don't think we see ourselves that way. We're just normal folks. We're living with one foot in the last century and one foot in the next century. We're having to buy stuff at big-box stores just like everybody, and we have to try to adjust and make changes as we can afford them, just like everybody. Not everybody can afford to have solar cells on their roof or rooftop water catchment. But as you can invest in that, you try. I don't think there's any need to hit people over the head for their slowness or their lack of greenness. Whether you're muddy brown or iridescent green hardly matters in the scheme of things. What you really need to be doing is trying to improve your footprint to be lighter on the planet.


DB: What do you say to a generation of young people who pooh-pooh the move toward more self-sufficient living and environmentally sustainable practices — who see these ideals as old-fashioned and repressive?

AB: I don't know if you can categorize all young people that way because a lot of young people come to us to see how we do things. In fact, that's part of the main solution to the problems that lie ahead: Changing the attitudes of youth, looking at the ways we educate our children. What needs to happen now is that the grownups need to catch up to some of the ideas that the kids have about how things should be. We can live on a planet that has a carbon balance so we're not increasing global warming. We can live on a planet that has a resource balance so we're not emptying the seas of fish and the soils of nutrients. I think the kids have an intuitive understanding of this, and we just need to be able to follow that intuition and help them do what they're going to need to do.

DB: Do you think it's possible for our current global economy and transportation system to survive in the face of oil depletion? Or is it inevitable that these systems will collapse and everyone will be forced to start over? How do you see this whole oil depletion situation panning out? What kind of scenario might we see, and when do you think it might start?

AB: It's very difficult to predict how this will all unfold because so little is know about what the actual resource in the ground is or how soon or how easily it can be brought to market. I see four possible scenarios. Plan A is business as usual, and to some extent that involves a global strategy of last one standing, the idea being that we will just dominate the world and take over whatever resources we need to feed ourselves. I don't think that's viable. That's not going to last. Plan B is something you might hear from Al Gore or Amory Lovins or some of the advocates of green technology. I think Lester Brown is a good example of that. That you have technologies that will come along and enable us to maintain our lifestyle with very little change. I don't think that's very realistic either because that still assumes this exponential growth, which is never sustainable. So then Plan C is more like the Amish. It's curtailment. It's living more simply, using less resources. Plan D is what we're trying to avoid — that's the die-off. It's nuclear war. It's the idea that James Loveluck propounds that the world is getting so hot in such a short amount of time that we'll soon become warring tribes fighting over the last habitable areas of the arctic. I don't foresee that either. I categorize myself as somewhere between Plan B and Plan C. I see us finding elegant ways to simplify, reduce our consumption and scale down.

New Southerner interview of Wendell Berry

Interview by Holly Brockman

How can a family ‘live at the center of its own attention?’
Wendell Berry’s thoughts on the good life

BY HOLLY M. BROCKMAN

If you profess to embrace family values and you shop at Wal-Mart, think again. The global economy, powered by big corporations such as Wal-Mart, destroys families with low prices made possible by low wages.



Such are the teachings of Wendell Berry, 71, a lifelong advocate of family values, sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. Berry’s writings promote local economies as a healthier, more eco-friendly way of life. He has authored more than 40 books and is among 35 Kentucky writers whose work is featured in a new anthology on the devastation that mountaintop removal mining has wrought in Southern Appalachia.


Berry lives, writes and farms at Lane’s Landing near Port Royal, Ky.


Holly M. Brockman: I've heard you use the term "useful" in some of your talks, and it certainly permeates all your essays and other writing. What does usefulness mean? Who is somebody who is useful and why?



Wendell Berry: There’s a kind of language that obscures its subject. Such language makes it harder to see and to think. By the word usefulness I mean language or work that enables seeing, makes clarity. Wes Jackson’s work and language have been wonderfully useful to me in that way. Harry Caudill too, by his books and his conversation, helped me to see and think and make the radical criticism. Gary Snyder and I agree on a lot of things, but his point of view is different from mine and it has been immensely useful to me. Some differences make for binocular vision.

HB: And what does it mean in the context of human daily living and beyond? Let's say into the corporate world?

WB: Usefulness stands in opposition to the frivolous. John Synge wrote about the Aran Islands where the people were poor and yet all the useful things in their life were beautiful. The issue of usefulness has a kind of cleansing force. If you ask, "Is it useful?" probably you’re going to have fewer things you don’t need. You are useful to your family if you’re bringing home the things they need. Beyond that, maybe you are useful to other people by your work. The corporate world is much inclined to obscure this usefulness by making and selling a lot of things that people don’t need. For instance, a lively and important question is how much light we use at night and what we use it for and need it for. I’m old enough to remember when the whole countryside was dark at night except for the lights inside the houses, and now the countryside at night is just strewn with these so-called security lights. How much of this do we need? How much of it is useful? We have a marketplace that is full of useless or unnecessary commodities. I don’t want to be too much of a crank, but there are many things that people own to no real benefit, such as computer games and sometimes even computers.

HB: How does your notion of usefulness differ from the old Protestant work ethic?

WB: The Protestant work ethic has never been very discriminating about kinds or qualities of work or even the usefulness of work. To raise the issue of usefulness is to call for some means or standard of discrimination. The Protestant work ethic doesn’t worry about the possibility of doing harmful work or useless work.

HB: In order to be better stewards of our own lives and therefore those resources around us—land, soil, each other— how do we work toward a more sustainable, community-oriented life?

WB: I think you have to begin with an honest assessment of the value or the possibility of personal independence. What is the limit of individualism or personal autonomy? Once you confess to yourself that you need other people, then you’re in a position to look around your neighborhood and see how neighborly it is, starting with how neighborly you are yourself. The question of stewardship naturally follows. How careful is your neighborhood of the natural gifts such as the topsoil on which it depends.

HB: Large chunks of what used to be taken care of by family members—caring for children, the elderly and education—has been outsourced to corporations in the form of daycare, preschool and corporate sponsorship of education initiatives. You've written extensively about this and that these are signs of familial breakdown. Why is it a breakdown and what impact does it have on a family?

WB: The issue here is the extent to which a family is like a community in its need to live at the center of its own attention. A family necessarily begins to come apart if it gives its children entirely to the care of the school or the police, and its old people entirely to the care of the health industry. Nobody can deny the value of good care even away from home to people who have become helplessly ill or crippled, or, in our present circumstances, the value of good daytime care for the children of single parents who have to work. Nevertheless, it is the purpose of the family to stay together. And like a community, a family doesn’t stay together just out of sentiment. It is certainly more pat to stay together if the various members need one another or are in some practical way dependent on one another. It’s probably worth the risk to say that families need to have useful work for their children and old people, little jobs that the other members are glad to have done.

HB: What are some things we can do—small things, perhaps—until we actually make a commitment on a broader scale, to initiate husbandry (whose trajectory will be felt globally) to ourselves, our families and our communities?

WB: I think this starts with an attempt at criticism of one’s own economy, which may be the same thing as good accounting. What are the things that one buys? How necessary or useful are they? What is their quality? Are they well grown or well made? What is their real cost to their producers and to the ecosystems in which they were produced? Almost inevitably when one asks these questions, one discovers that they are extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to answer. That frequently is because the things we buy have been produced so far away as to make impossible any stewardly interest on the part of the consumer. And this recognition leads to an even better question: How can these mysterious products brought here from so far away be replaced by products that have been produced near home? And that question, of course, leads to all manner of thoughts and questions about the possibility of a better, more self-sufficient local economy. What can we neighbors do for one another and for our place? What can our place do for us without damage to us or to it?

HB: Is it possible to reshape our thinking in baby steps or must we make sweeping changes?

WB: Oh, let’s be against sweeping changes and in favor of doing things in small steps. Let’s not discourage ourselves by trying for too much or subject ourselves to the tyranny of somebody else’s big idea.

HB: If everything is left to the individual and the community, how can each avoid being so overburdened that no one has much time for activism and intellectual pursuit?

WB: In other words, how can you have a livable life and do everything? Everything ought not to be left to individuals and communities. Government exists to do for people what they can’t do for themselves. Farmers individually or in their communities, for instance, can’t enact effective programs for price supports with production control so a government can do that, and at one time our federal government did do that. Maybe I’d better say at this point that I am an unabashed admirer of the tobacco programs of The New Deal.

HB: Many progressives live transitive lives (you included having spent time in New York, California and abroad) having fled small towns for the more intellectually stimulating environment or a college town. How do we close that gap and encourage progressives and intellectuals to find safety and comfort outside an academic setting?

WB: The geographer Carl Sauer said, "If I should move to the center of the mass I should feel that the germinal potential was out there on the periphery.” I think there should always be some kind of conversation between the center and the periphery. So you need people in the periphery who can talk back to the people in the center.

HB: What encouraged you to settle back in your hometown of Port Royal, Ky., after finding rewarding intellectual and academic success?

WB: It was clear I’d be thinking about this place (Port Royal) the rest of my life, and so you could argue that I might as well have come back so as to know it. But that’s only a supposition. The reason I came back was because I wanted to. Tanya and I wanted to. We hadn’t been homesick but when we started down the New Jersey turnpike with the New York skyline behind us, it was exhilarating.

HB: How do we encourage progressives to settle down and where should they stay? Would you see possibility in them forming communities among themselves or would you see them successful in joining already established rural communities where they might not feel initially welcomed?

WB: Well, people do form intentional communities. I have visited a few that seemed pleasant enough. But I’ve never lived in one, and so I don’t really know about them. I’m not willing to say, as general advice, that urban people should move to the country. I’ve never advised anybody to give up a well-paying city job and try to farm for a living.

HB: Rural, community-based living has the thinking, stereotyped perhaps, that there is an innate distrust of outsiders. Do you see truth in this thinking? What can be done to re-shape this thinking?

WB: There’s truth in it, but it’s also true that distrust is a major disease of our time, wherever you live. I don’t have any idea what can be done about that. The only way to stop somebody from distrusting you is to be trustworthy and to prove it over a longish period of time.

HB: Do you believe community-based living has historically bred conservative rather than progressive ideas?

WB: That depends entirely on the community you’re in. Communities of coal miners have supported the union movement. Small farmers have in this part of the country supported the tobacco program. On the other hand, I suppose that if you live in a community that is thriving, providing good work for its members and unthreatened by internal violence, you would probably try to conserve it. I suppose that Amish communities have tried to be conservative that way. If you live in an enclave of wealth and privilege, probably you tend to be conservative in a more familiar way. And, in my opinion, that is the wrong kind of conservatism.

HB: Many people grow up in small towns and find great comfort in their natural and familial surroundings, but their thinking and ambitions aren't rewarded there either by lack of jobs or lack of embracement of ideas—certainly, a misuse of the community's resources. How can youngsters and young adults be encouraged to stay home and still be fulfilled?

WB: This question depends on what you mean by intellectual stimulation and whether or not you can get it from the available resources. It’s perfectly possible to live happily in a rural community with people who aren’t intellectual at all (as we use the term). It is possible to subscribe to newspapers and magazines that are intellectually challenging, to read books, to correspond with like-minded people in other places, to visit and be visited by people you admire for their intellectual and artistic attainments. It’s possible to be married to a spouse whose thoughts interest you. It’s possible to have intellectually stimulating conversations with your children. But I’ve had in my own life a lot of friends who were not literary or intellectual at all who were nevertheless intelligent, mentally alive and alert, full of wonderful stories, and whose company and conversation have been indispensable to me. I’ve spent many days in tobacco barns where I did not yearn for the conversation of the college faculty.

HB: Farmers markets and coops where people buy a share of a farmer's harvest and pick it up weekly or bi-weekly have gained in popularity. So have weekly, predictable roadside stands. Why is this so important to a community?

WB: Well, the obvious reason is that a good local economy feeds the local community. But markets of the right kind and scale also fulfill an important social function. They are places where neighbors, producers and consumers meet and talk. People come to the farmer’s market to shop and might stand around and talk half a day. Country stores have fulfilled the same functions. People feel free to sit up at the Hawkins Farm Center in Port Royal. It’s a great generosity on the part of the Hawkins family, and a great blessing to the community.

HB: Why is providing food to a local community so important in sustaining it?

WB: Because the most secure, freshest and the best-tasting food supply is local food produced by local farmers who like their work, like their products and like having them appreciated by people they know. A local food system, moreover, is subject to the influence of its consumers and the dangers and vulnerabilities of a large, high-centralized, highly chemicalized, industrialized food system held together by long distance transportation. A locally adapted local food economy is the most secure against forms of political violence, epidemics and other threats.

Should Women Go Into Combat?

Should Women Go Into Combat?
By Catherine L. Aspy

One could even question their fitness for support roles.

In 1994 an Army rule barring women from hundreds of "combat support" positions was eliminated. Meanwhile the Army tried to institute tests to match a soldier's physical strength to a specific "military occupation specialty," or MOS. Then it was discovered that the tests would have disqualified most Army women from 65 percent of the more than 200 MOSs. The tests were scrapped.


Via Tea at Trianon

In a 4GW world, airpower becomes less significant in comparison to boots on the ground.

Another point--in many instances, the military has become just one more Federal government welfare program.

Center for Military Readiness (I suspect it supports having women in the military)

The National ID Card

Both Romney and Giuliani claimed that it would apply only to foreign nationals visiting the U.S. So how does one know that someone not carrying the card is an illegal immigrant, as opposed to someone who left his card at home or lost it? Or a citizen or resident alien with a strong accent and ethnic identity, but lacking this card since they aren't required to have it?

Healing Threads

website

"Elegant":


Elegant is a sophisticated Healing Thread Hospital Gown garment. Its frog accessories complement the soft closures. The high mandarin collar and kimono sleeves give warmth and easy accessibility while maintaining your modesty, helping you on your personal road to wellness and recovery. As with all Healing Threads, its fabric is an extremely soft, skin sensitive micro-fiber; this designer hospital gown can be washed and dried in your own home.

Uses for the Original Healing Threads tops with access panels are for patients undergoing all types of chest surgeries or radiation for breast, heart, lung, portacath access, dialysis, rehabilitation and nursing mothers.


special features

I learned about the company and their line of hospital gowns through channel 5 noon news.

QE2 and cadets


Queen Elizabeth II is saluted by members of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets (L) and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (R) as she enters the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, May 3, 2007. REUTERS/Bob Brown/Pool (UNITED STATES)

Virginia Tech Cadets (L) make final preparations to be part of an honour cordon for Queen Elizabeth II before her arrival at the State Capitol Building in Richmond, Virginia, May 3, 2007. It is the Queen's first visit to the United States in 16 years. Virginia Military Institute cadets are pictured at right. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)




More photos of her visit to Virginia to come...

VMI website; VMI museum; Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson resources
Corps of Cadets Virginia Tech

Photos: Sean Lau


Hong Kong actor Sean Lau poses with his wife Amy attends the ribbon cutting at HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong Thursday May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Hong Kong actor Sean Lau attends a news conference in Hong Kong May 3, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung

Hong Kong actor Sean Lau (R) and his wife Amy attend a news conference in Hong Kong May 3, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung (CHINA)

Catholic school adopts DJG

HONG KONG (AFP) - A Hong Kong school is using the heroine of a Korean soap opera set in the 19th century to teach its pupils life skills, a teacher said Tuesday.


This 2005 photo shows South Korean actress Lee Young receiving flowers from young South Korean fans as she arrives at the Hong Kong International airport. Yau Ma Tei Catholic School has adopted the hit show "Jewel in the Palace" as a model for a series of classes in which pupils recreate real-life situations and work out how the lead character would tackle them.(AFP/File/Samantha Sin)

Yau Ma Tei Catholic Primary School
entry on a list of HK schools

Photos: Maggie Cheung




Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung poses during a news conference in Hong Kong May 3, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung (CHINA)


REUTERS/Paul Yeung (CHINA)

Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung (R) toasts with Peter Wong, executive director of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, during a news conference in Hong Kong May 3, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung (CHINA)


Hong Kong movie star Maggie Cheung attends the ribbon cutting at HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong Thursday, May 3, 2007. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Ehhh... she looks underweight...

Better than M4, but you can’t have one


Even the Army Times is reporting on this...

Village chief goes to Beijing eight times because of land seizures

Village chief goes to Beijing eight times because of land seizures
Local officials mistreat and use violence against Weiwu village chief Xu Jianguo, but he is back in the capital to petition the central government, demanding justice for his village whose lands have been stolen by local Communists.


Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After five years of arrests and violent treatment by local Communist officials, a rural village chief in the eastern province of Jilin has returned to Beijing to petition the central government in the hope that government leaders will intervene against land seizures.

Weiwu village chief Xu Jianguo is one of the tens of thousands of visitors to the State Petition Office who every year demand justice from national leaders. For years the latter urged the population to complain, only to ignore them.

Mr Xu, 49, said that for the past five years he has played hide-and-seek with officials from his village and Xiaojia Township to which the village belong; however, these officials have never listened to his complaints and continued seizing land from the local population.

Right now, what worries him the most is his family. “I am just worried about my wife and son. They are under great pressure as local officials have harassed them since I left the village,” he said. “But it will not stop me from petitioning because I believe that President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will solve our problem one day.”

Mr Xu said he was obliged to speak up for the villagers when he was elected village chief in 2004. He explained that his predecessor had cheated Weiwu villagers into selling 120 hectares of their land to a neighbouring village but had failed to ensure they were paid compensation. He alleges his village's former party secretary, Zhang Fuguo, has since absconded with 3 million yuan in public funds.

Because he kept going to Beijing to petition, Weiwu village party secretary Lo Jide refused to pay Mr Xu his salary and even unilaterally stated that he had been fired, although a dismissal would require the approval of two-thirds of the villagers.

His courage has cost him a lot. According to villager Zhang Qingjin, he was beaten up several times by thugs. “He was sent to the hospital three times over the past few years,” Ms Zhang said. “But no one has been arrested so far as local police were all reluctant to act.”

Guangdong, television pirates transmit anti government messages from state TV

Guangdong, television pirates transmit anti government messages from state TV
On the night of May 1st a group of hackers re-routed the provinces stat elite signal and for over an hour transmitted messages against the Communist Party. No one has so far claimed the attack.

Guangzhou (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Unknown television pirates successfully re- routed the television signal in the rich southern province of Guangdong and for over an hour transmitted messages against the Communist Party. The attack took place on the night of May 1st, the national Labour Day holiday.

Local media and dozens of witnesses report that between 8 and 9 at night the saw anti government slogans and footage targeting the communist leaders. The provincial television station confirmed the interruption and admitted that the television satellite signal was attacked by hackers.

The footage, showing a slogan urging viewers to abandon the Communist Party, was briefly shown during the Happy Boys talent show. According to some non-state news websites, the interruptions also occurred in several other cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan and Tianjin, reaching millions of viewers.

Officials from Guangzhou and the broadcasting networks could not be reached for comment yesterday because of the "golden week" holidays.

No organisation has claimed responsibility for hijacking the TV signal.

It is not the first time that mainland satellite television signals have been disrupted. In past years, Falun Gong supporters have commandeered the country's major television satellite station several times to show videos protesting against the government's crackdown on the group.

Journey to the East: the Jesuit mission to China, 1579-1724

Journey to the East: the Jesuit mission to China, 1579-1724

Foreign Affairs review; America Magazine review
Also via Open Book: Tablet review

Liam Matthew Brockey: interview, Princeton University page, Brown University History Graduate Student Association

Misc:
The Institute of Jesuit Sources

The ITC document on limbo

archived at Catholic Culture

via Open Book

This won't make the Baylor traditionalists happy

Jimmy Akin reports: Dr. Francis Beckwith is reconciled to the Church

He was here at BC for the JP2 conference; I didn't know he was Catholic before. He had been denied tenure at Baylor once, but has been given tenure since then. Baylor traditionalists, both alumni and those who are members of the university community, reacted strongly against Robert Sloan's Vision 2012 in part because of the infiltration by Catholics and their influence upon the university. They also did not agree with the return of Baylor to the Western intellectual tradition (with its emphasis on the harmony between faith and reason) or the attempt to turn Baylor into the Baptist "Notre Dame."

His homepage. (Old page.) Right Reason profile. Baylor page.
Baptist Press - Baylor denies tenure to highly regarded Beckwith ...
CT coverage: The Battle for Baylor

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Videos of Holy Trinity Monastery

Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville

Taken on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Pt 1


Pt 2


Pt 3


Pt 4


Pt 5

The Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra




Photos and description
Museum website
UN World Heritage Site
Some more photos
wiki

Cowards, Bullies, and Killers

Cowards, Bullies, and Killers
Posted by R. Cort Kirkwood on May 03, 2007

Is radical feminism the only cause at fault? What about the nanny state and the indoctrination that goes in schools? Now, one could say that the radical feminist agenda has taken over the public schools, but might it not be the case that it is in the interest of the powers to be to create a docile, passive people through the social instruments they have at their disposal as well? Isn't this what one would expect a centralized nation-state to do, to maintain control over the populace and to get rid of any threats to the power of the political and economic elites?

Reminder

First Republican presidential candidate debate for the 2008 election is tonight--live stream video available at MSNBC and Politico. Debate starts at 8 P.M. EST/5 P.M. PST.

Good news

From Lew Rockwell:

Ron Paul is in the South Carolina GOP debate! Internet pressure did it, just as it kept Mike Gravel from being kicked out by the Democrats.

Peter Hitchens on ADHD

his post

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Association of Ave Maria Law Faculty speaks

statement at MOJ

Fumare has the links to reactions by Catholic bloggers.

Eh! Jericho

So the mayor, who has no military experience whatsoever as far as I know, decides to order a squad of the town's militia to go after the enemy mortars, disregarding the advice of the ex-Army Ranger? There is a reason why civilians who have no military experience and training do not do strategy or give specific orders--they don't have the necessary competence.

If the Federal Government fell, I don't think the aftermath would be that peaceful, even for a town that is relatively isolated, like Jericho.

Edit: If a town were to start a volunteer militia, where would it find instructors? From vets? And how would one determine their qualification? Too bad Army SF doesn't go around training local militias here, in addition to their work abroad.