Saturday, October 01, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

The morality of boxing and MMA

NCRegister: SDG Reviews 'Warrior'

It must be said that pugilism has a long history in Catholic culture: boxing in Catholic boys’ clubs, for instance. Given sufficient safeguards to minimize the risk of serious injury, pugilism and martial arts are compatible with Catholic morality.

Professional boxing and MMA, though, raise serious moral concerns. The fundamental goal in boxing is to degrade your opponent’s capacity to defend himself, either by battering him into an impaired state or, if possible, delivering a knockout blow. MMA adds grappling techniques and allows for other ways of winning, such as submission holds and tapouts, but incapacitating one’s opponent remains a highly desirable goal.

This is morally different, for instance, from injuries incurred in football, which may be serious enough to warrant moral concern but are not a direct goal of the game itself. In football, a tackle trying to prevent the quarterback from making a throw may have to knock down a guard to do it, or he may be able to dodge past him; either way, in principle what counts is whether or not the quarterback makes the throw, not who does or doesn’t get hurt in the process. (That’s not to say that players never directly try to harm one another, or that serious injuries don’t occur regardless of intentions — only that points aren’t awarded based on who has been harmed.)

In professional boxing and MMA, incapacitating your opponent means you win and he loses. I see no way to avoid the conclusion that this is repugnant to the Fifth Commandment and the obligations of charity, potentially gravely so, particularly when multiplied by the incessant punishment and harm that professional fighters endure over years of training and competition.

Though concessions to safety have been made in MMA’s development from the early days of Ultimate Fighting, there is still too much of the spirit of the Roman gladiatorial blood sport in both MMA and professional boxing. One can respect the skill and courage of the fighters, but the big winners are corporate bosses who grow wealthy on fighters, trading away their well-being for the entertainment of patrons whose money drives the whole machine.

Items of Interest, 30 September 2011

Should America halt the use of unmanned 'killer' drones? Yes

Winslow T. Wheeler, The Elites and the Pentagon Budget

Kevin Carson discusses an emerging low-overhead industrial revolution (mp3)

Peak Oil:
5% health: The risk of catabolic collapse and peak fat in modern health systems
by John Thackara (EB)

Not all leftists accept peak oil: Alexander Cockburn,  Goodbye “Peak Oil” Hello Glut. He writes:
I’ve never had much time for “peak oil” (the notion held with religious conviction by many on the left here, that world oil production either has or is about to top out – and will soon slide, plunging the world’s energy economies into disarray and traumatic change.) In fact there’s plenty of oil, as witness the vast new North Dakota oil shale fields, with the constraints as always being the costs of recovery. Oil “shortages” are contrivances by the oil companies and allied brokers and middlemen to run up the price.
Except that taken too far, would this not result in even greater demand destruction, which would result in less extraction of oil from expensive sources? I don't know if anyone will be responding to Mr. Cockburn.

The Coming Decline and Fall of Big Coal

The Oz Conservative links to commentary on the decision by the Australian government to open combat positions to women: Sheridan's surprise.

Hitfix: Listen: Susan Boyle sings sparse version of Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy the Silence'

Feist: A Pop Star With A Punk-Rock Past

Want Good TV? Try These Three Shows by David Bianculli (Dexter and Homeland and Ken Burns's latest)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gramophone Podcast March 2011

"Gramophone editor-in-chief James Jolly introduces the March issue of Gramophone, and interviews Rob Cowan about Sir Thomas Beecham. Martin Cullingford, editor of Gramophone Online, talks to Jeremy Nicholas about recordings of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, and to conductor and scholar David Skinner about his choir Alamire and their ambitious recording plans."


Still not finished yet?

Life After RC: Damning Milenio video

We'll take that "inch" 
Damning Milenio video (II)

Men, don't sell yourselves short.

Don't settle for a woman who won't be a good wife.

Dalrock: Rejoice in the wife of your youth.

The Klezmatics: Tiny Desk Concert

I know some who would be interested in this audio clip, but I don't think they are reading this blog...

Gene Watson & Rhonda Vincent - My Sweet Love Ain't Around

Rhonda Vincent sings at a friend's wedding reception:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tickets for Gillian Welch at the Fillmore are $42 each. She'll be performing on Saturday at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival - 4:15 on the Banjo Stage. I don't think I'll make it.
NLM: Vigil For Reconsecration: Byzantine Liturgy and Chant (which links to this video taken at St. Tikhon's Seminary)

The multigenerational family: a way of providing for elder care

From 2002: Allan Carlson, Rebinding the Generations: A Fresh Vision of the Multigenerational Family

Items of Interest, 27 September 2011

Distributism Review:
Thomas Storck, Jobs and the Minimum Wage
David Cooney, Practical Distributism: Subsidiarity and Social Security
Dr. Piers Hugill, Riots in England

Anthony Esolen, Two Steps Ahead of the Spirit (via Mere Comments)

Roundup of Europe’s Meltdown by Taki

GARETH PORTER, Did the Rabbani Hit Really Kill Peace Talks?

RALPH NADER, As the Drone Flies

Paul Gottfried, Where is the Peace Party?

Mere Comments: UK: Police Ban Bible Display in Christian Café

Why end of growth means more happiness
Richard Heinberg and Kirsten Dirksen (EB)

Peak Oil keynote by Randy Udall and sustainability conference call for participants
by Aaron Wissner (EB)

Donald Davidson, Regionalism and nationalism in the United States: the attack on Leviathan

SWCS: Small-unit tactic training plays big part in Special Forces qualification

Carole King, "Chicken Soup with Rice"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hat Squad Fashion

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and a bulldog spotted on the set of The Gangster Squad

Sierra Hull - Daybreak

Items of Interest, 25 September 2011

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions: Guideposts of Limited Government

David S. D'Amato, Politics as Rich Man’s Sport

Ignoring Daniel Yergin by Kurt Cobb (EB)
There is a vast audience of people out there who, as I said, have never heard of Daniel Yergin, and who have never even heard the words "peak oil." The elected officials who guide our policy will do little to address peak oil and related issues until voters communicate that these are top priorities that will affect elections. Beyond this there is the issue of encouraging personal preparedness, something that is in large part outside the scope of government policy.

Robert Nisbet and the Idea of Community by Fred Donovan Hill

Chef Mark Newsome at the Joshua Wilton House

Jimmy Moore, Book Review: Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield

The LLVLC Show (Episode 500): Celebrating Our 500th Episode With 40 Former Interview Guests (mp3)

John Hartford, "Oh Yeah": Documentary of his life and music


Pope Benedict XVI talks with Ali Dere, a professor for Islamic theology at the university of Bonn, as he meets with representative of the German Islamic community in Berlin Friday morning, Sept. 23, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI is on a four-day official visit to his homeland Germany.(AP/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI, 2nd left, meets with representative of the German Islamic community in Berlin Friday morning, Sept. 23, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI is on a four-day official visit to his homeland Germany. (AP/Daylife)

Criticisms by Laura Wood and Lawrence Auster of the Pope's recent address to Muslim leaders in Germany. Is Pope Benedict XVI guilty of being too accomodating to Muslims? From Zenit: Benedict XVI's Address to Muslim Leaders:

The reason for this seems to me to lie in the fact that the fathers of the Basic Law at that important moment were fully conscious of the need to find truly solid ground with which all citizens would be able to identify and which could serve as the supporting foundation for everyone, irrespective of their differences. In seeking this, mindful of human dignity and responsibility before God, they did not prescind from their own religious beliefs; indeed for many of them, the real source of inspiration was the Christian vision of man. But they knew that everyone has to engage with the followers of other religions and none: common ground for all was found in the recognition of some inalienable rights that are proper to human nature and precede every positive formulation.

In this way, a society which at that time was essentially homogenous laid the foundations that we today may consider valid for a markedly pluralistic era, foundations that actually point out the evident limits of pluralism: it is inconceivable, in fact, that a society could survive in the long term without consensus on fundamental ethical values.

Dear friends, on the basis of what I have outlined here, it seems to me that there can be fruitful collaboration between Christians and Muslims. In the process, we help to build a society that differs in many respects from what we brought with us from the past. As believers, setting out from our respective convictions, we can offer an important witness in many key areas of life in society. I am thinking, for example, of the protection of the family based on marriage, respect for life in every phase of its natural course or the promotion of greater social justice.

This is another reason why I think it important to hold a day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, which as you know we plan to do on 27 October next in Assisi, twenty-five years after the historic meeting there led by my predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II. Through this gathering, we wish to express, with simplicity, that we believers have a special contribution to make towards building a better world, while acknowledging that if our actions are to be effective, we need to grow in dialogue and mutual esteem.
Some traditionalists might judge the Holy Father's attempt to ground certain natural rights in the "dignity of man" to be unsound. Perhaps he feels required by his office to protect the rights of Christians and other believers in secular countries, seeking to encourage dialogue with members of other faiths and to cooperate in preserving the place of faith in the public life of citizens. He may also be looking for some measure of reciprocity on the part of Muslims and how they treat Christians in predominantly Muslim countries. And there is also the argument that the Holy Father needs to prevent further radicalization of Muslims who feel excluded from Western societies.

Still, I could ask if such an address might be interpreted as a sign of weakness, an acknowledgement to Muslims of the precarious situation of both the Church in Europe and the health of European temporal societies. My first reaction to the criticisms was that this is another indication of the crisis of manhood in the Church, especially among the hierarchy, who are not bold enough to preach Christ to the non-believers. Although the speech can be defended on prudential grounds, is the Pope just another European head of state? His goals are rather obvious from the speech, but in what capacity is he delivering it?

It is clear from his other talks that he is aware that the Church is in need of renewal (and repentance?). Who is the bigger threat to the Church, the secular, anti-Christian forces or the Muslims? Is the liberal state merely non-Christian, or is it committed to being anti-Christian? And is peace possible in liberal multicultural societies in which the number of Muslims continues to grow? How long before a non-Christian (or anti-Christian) nationalist movement develops and responds? Might it be better to focus exclusively on reforming the Church and its members so that they may be prepared for the worst, whether it be persecution by the state or violence from Muslims?

Can a "national" (or pan-European) solution be attempted when the local Churches remain in poor health? Or must local solutions be attempted first, with a restoration of the observance of the order of charity? Bishops who are clearly heretical should be excommunicated and removed from authority. Is this achievable in Europe? Will the civil laws respect the judgments of the Holy Father in this regard? What of weak and incompetent bishops? Should they be encouraged to resign? And is there a way to restore the voice of the local Church in the nomination of bishops, so that there is greater accountability on the part of the local Church? Or is this too much of a risk to take when heresy is rampant in so many dioceses?

Where are our great Catholic reformers, zealous in their care for souls and courageous in dealing with the enemies of Christ, both within and without the Church?

As far as I know, the Italian bishops who have called for restrictions on the number of Muslim immigrants have not been censured or repudiated by the Holy See. Is there tacit support by the Pope and the Curia for such restrictions? If so, wouldn't this sort of outreach seem disingenuous to Muslims who are aware of these facts? After all, if Muslims are to be commended for being  believers, why should they not have an "equal" or even greater opportunity to immigrate to European countries as non-Muslim peoples?

An appropriate response: preach Christ to the non-believers, and let the state deal with the consequences of bad immigration policy? Christians should be charitable to Muslims. But should they not support the assimilation of Muslim immigrants? What should they assimilate? Liberal culture? Or traditional, Christian culture? Are Christians natives really in the same boat as Muslim immigrants, being outsiders to mainstream European society? Can and should Christians use the liberal state to protect their "rights"? Is there any chance of success when the state is overwhelmingly anti-Christian?

The Zenit summary of the address: Society Has to Agree on Basic Values, Says Pope

FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 24: People dressed in traditional blackforest cloth attend Pope Benedict XVI visits the Muenster cathedral on September 24, 2011 in Freiburg, Germany. The Pope is in Freiburg on the third of a four-day visit to Germany, and he will conclude his trip with an open air Sunday mass tomorrow near Freiburg. (Getty/Daylife)

Worshippers arrive to attend a mass to be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in front of the Cathedral in Erfurt, eastern Germany, on September 24, 2011, on the third day of the Pontiff's first state visit to his native Germany. The 84-year old pope, German born Joseph Ratzinger, has a packed program, with 18 sermons and speeches planned for his four-day trip to Berlin, Erfurt in the ex-German Democratic Republic and Freiburg. (Getty/Daylife)

Damsels in Distress

This fan site has news about the new movie by Whit Stillman. (via Daniel McInerny). A recent video at the TIFF for The Guardian.

Peter Hitchens reacts to Downton Abbey

From today's post:

Words that have no place at Downton

I have finally forced myself to watch Downton Abbey. Oh dear. It’s the usual problem, of microscopic attention to cars and clothes and no attention at all to what people were really like. Edwardians did not use the phrase ‘as if’ to express scorn for a suggestion. Nor did they say ‘ta da!’ when they successfully baked cakes. As for the much trumpeted realism of the trenches (pictured right), I’ve seen children’s play areas in urban parks more menacing and squalid than these neat, dry diggings.
But at least Downton is entertaining. This cannot be said for the awful, miserable cadaver that is the new film of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I have explained just how bad this film is, and why, on my blog. Anyone who has read the book or seen the Alec Guinness TV version will be deeply disappointed. And anyone who hasn’t will be baffled.

The Long Emergency: Surviving Catastophies of the 21st Century

From 2005:

The US is well and truly fracked (via EB)

The wedding was a nice affair, and I like the small-town feel of Sunol. (Unfortunately, Michelle Le's body was found there.) While driving on 84 to Union City, I was surprised to find that the city limits of Fremont was on the other side of the hills. I am not sure if that makes sense.

The wedding itself was a very small gathering of family, friends, and co-workers. (A big contingent from HP, and there was some talk about the new CEO.) It was my first visit to Elliston Vineyards -- how much of the property did I actually see?

I do not know who solemnized the marriage. I don't think the bride or groom are religious, so there was no talk of religion during the ceremony. But what he said about marriage I did not find objectionable at the time. Maybe I was just in a pleasant mood; while he did have some good things to say about what is required to make a marriage successful, he didn't go the whole hog, and it's not clear to me that he would have the background that would enable him to do so.

The reception/dinner was nice, and I enjoyed the food, though it did not stay warm very long. These days I am averse to making small-talk, since I'd prefer to avoid talking about my situation as much as possible. It's better to listen than be the party pooper when it comes to talk about political or economic questions.

Cal Guns Foundation is not the same as the forum? I think it was the former that helped co-sponsor the Second Amendment Foundation conference last year.