Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lewis McCrary asks, Is the Pope for New World Order? Based upon the comments left by others, I would have to say many conservatives are worried about a New World Order emerging. Perhaps they are right to be concerned; nonetheless, some of the reactions did surprise me. Being suspicious of government -- is that truly a traditional American attitude?
Austen Blog: Emma 2009 clip up at BBC

Fans are not pleased and are predicting that it will not be that good. Judging based on the appearance of the actors, I would agree that the age gap between Emma and Knightley doesn't seem great enough.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Massad Ayoob's intro on how to shoot a handgun accurately (via LRC)

10 Commandments of Concealed Carry

It's been a while since I've visited glocktalk and some other forums. It is hard for a neophyte to know which expert really knows his stuff until he's tried things out...
Zenit: Commemorating the Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia
Interview With the Archabbot of Monte Cassino

Full interview (in Italian):
Ordo Praedicatorum: Fr. Romanus Cessario on Dominican Spirituality
Zenit: Holy See to UN on Global Trends and Development
"The Global Economic Crisis Continues Unabated" [2009-07-09]
유리 - Save the World Quiz 090530 (cut)

This has all of the major clips featuring Tiffany and Yuri from Girls Generation. But I'm posting it because you can catch a glimps of Jang Yoon Jung (장윤정). Is she still a MC on 1000 Song Challenge? Anyway, she sings a couple of lines from Girls Generation's Gee--I don't think in a Trot style but pansori style? I could be wrong, but her way of singing reminded me more of the latter than the former.

090530 Tiffany & Yuri - 6/6 @ Sebaqui

If you look hard enough you can watch the entire May 30 episode of 세바퀴 online.

An oldie!--Jang Yoon-Jeong - Yeogo joleopban (장윤정 - 여고 졸업반)

Another oldie: Jang Yoon Jeong - I always ... you (장윤정 - 나 항상 그대를)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Escalation Scam By NORMAN SOLOMON
While I'm on the topic of disputations, I should ask: when was the last time a university had a true disputation between members of its faculty or between graduate students? Not that the university is equipped to teach logic, which many of its faculty lack. Instead of disputations, we get discussion through printed materials. A practice related to the polemics during the Reformation period? It may be necessary under extraordinary circumstances, but it is certainly not an effective way of resolving the matter.

Materialists and naturalists have no problem claiming that others are wrong. But if an audience has very little familiarity with logic, can they be persuaded that those who are in error are so?

Anonymous debating.

The past few days I have been thinking that I should really cut down on blog-reading. Having seen a few discussions that weren't going anywhere, or threads in which people took the opportunity to write something about others without addressing what they wrote, I am agreeing with Dr. Fleming more and more that perhaps there isn't any point to writing on the Internet or participating in discussions there.

If we look at the scholastics, the disputations were ideally impersonal, and yet this took place within a community so one nonetheless had to live with the consequences of what one might say. (Fortunately, given the form of the disputation, it was relatively easy to keep anything irrelevant out.) This is true even when the structure of the debate is less rigorous with respect to logic and less formal or more personal. You can't debate with someone in real life and not face the consequences if you go over the line.

But it is easy to avoid the consequences of being nasty when you're online, adopting a pseudonym and communicating with people you don't really know. Blogs and forums (like all forms of written communication) are a rather inefficient way of trying to understand what the other person is saying--who has the time or patience to draw some online discussion out for days, for the sake of clarity?

While some may wish to make themselves available to all inquirers, even if they are somewhat hostile, this may not be the case for everyone. There are only 24 hours in a day. I think there is something to be said for learning being an activity that must be done in some sort of community, in which a relationship is established between student and teacher. Confucians (and those following Alasdair MacIntyre as well?) would agree with this. If you do not follow the rules of the community with respect to personal decorum, then you are expelled. Some semblance of this happens online, when users are banned, accounts shut down, or IPs are blocked. But I don't think this is sufficient to inculcate a sense of personal responsibility for what one says. The consequences are too light.

Mens sana in corpore sano

I thought I had posted something on this topic a while ago, but either I didn't, or somehow the post was deleted.

The original thought was this: perhaps Aristotle's exclusion of those who work in the mechanical arts from citizenship could be justified on his own premises. iirc, he claims that this sort of work is debilitating to the body. You may ask, if so, why should it hinder someone from exercising citizenship? After all, is not the soul or mind more important than the body to being a citizen? But I believe that Aristotle, like many of the ancient Greeks and Romans, believed that there was a connection between the soul and body, one that we do not take seriously these days, if we believe in the existence of the soul at all. Hence, "mens sana in corpore sano." If a healthy body is conducive to a healthy (or sound mind), then what of an unhealthy body?

If an unhealthy body leads to an unhealthy mind, and an unhealthy mind is opposed to the good exercise of citizenship, then it seems that any regular work that results in an unhealthy body is opposed to the good exercise of citizenship. And hence Aristotle's prohibition is justified on his own premises.

Even if we do not take this premise about the connection between mind and body seriously, we can consider that certain kinds of work (sitting 8 hours every day or more in front of a computer, for example) can lead to the acquisition of vice . It seems to me that sedentary work, especially when it is separated from a healthy diet and physical exercise, is not only conducive to bad health, but sloth and soft living as well. One could spend part of one's free time undoing the damage by going to the gym and so on, but this would not be a very integrated way of life, and leisure should be better spent on other activities. (One may not have much of a choice for that matter, but this does indicate who constricting the normal workday really is, and how poor wage slavery compares to the life of the medieval peasant.)

Also, those who have the endurance to go to the gym regularly may not have the full virtue of courage--just a shriveled counterfeit as it is centered only on a particular object that may not be praiseworthy (vanity, or excessive concern with one's appearance, for example). So it is possible that one may be "hard" with respect to one's chiseled physique, but nonetheless soft with respect to one's character.

If one believes in the unity of the virtues, then to be intemperate or soft can have an impact on one's practical reasoning and actions. If the good exercise of citizenship is dependent upon virtue, then those who do not have virtue should not be given citizenship, as they will use it poorly, to the detriment of themselves and others. "Mens sana in corpore sano" could be interpreted in the following manner: one should maintain a healthy, fit body in a virtuous manner, and a healthy, fit body serves as an aide to virtue by facilitating virtuous actions.

But maybe there is something to be said for the Greek and Roman understanding -- or any understanding of the health that is more holistic. (For example, an Asian understanding of health, despite its erroneous principle of qi.) Physical fitness may be important for our senses and brain to function well. Given the connectedness of the parts of the body, we cannot rule this possibility out a priori.

What of the practical implications for philosophers and academics? (Or those who sit behind a desk for much of the day?) What would Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle say about the lives of modern academics? How much sitting is really necessary for a learner and teacher of wisdom? Without the demands of publishing and modern "scholarship" put upon him, a philosopher could live a more balanced, active life. A philosopher studies not to know what so-and-so said, but to know the truth. This is also true of theologians.

(One could say that given their education, the intellectual growth of academics has already been stunted. Harming their mind due to lack of sufficient care for their body is a less serious problem.)

How about contemplatives and monks? Monks and other religious engaged in study do not, as far as I know, devote all of their waking hours to study. Of course time is set aside for the liturgy and prayer. Monks are expected also to contribute to the oikonomia of the monastery as well. (Though I suppose it may be the case that those who are exceptional are permitted to study as their economic task.)

I would think that the Dominicans are encouraged to take recreation after meals. While being abstemious prevents one from putting on too much weight, is it really a healthy solution for a lifestyle that could be too sedentary? I don't not know if there are any rules that explicitly mention physical fitness. Are measures to take care of one's health are assumed? Or is maintaining fitness and health something that the superior should take into consideration when assigning duties and work? Is the monastic life more balanced with respect to the good of the body? Or should a religious not be concerned with one's fitness?

I know that some of the laity may be scandalized, perhaps wrongly so, if they see a religious devoting what they consider to be too much time to maintaining their physical fitness. "Don't they have better things to do with their time?" Is God is bound to prevent us from harming ourselves through neglect, even if this is due to preoccupation with doing His work?

Can the Greek ideal of the virtuous man, who takes care of both body and soul, be harmonized with the Christian ideal of the saint? The easy answer is that all that is good is permissible, in moderation. But if a religious is not doing enough physical activity during the day, should he set aside some time for exercise everyday, or even be required to do so?

ST. DOMINIC and HIS WORK, by Pierre Mandonnet, O.P.
A startling lesson in pasture farming
Gene Logsdon, Dave Smith, Organic To Be

I know only one other person who in his lifetime was aware of the benefits of crabgrass— Bob Evans of fast food fame, now passed away, who was also a pioneer pasture farmer and a close acquaintance friend. Unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to his enthusiasm over crabgrass because of the plant’s notorious reputation as a lawn weed. I remember thinking that sheep like poison ivy too.

The Organic Monopoly and the Myth of "Natural" Foods by Ronnie Cummings
How Industry Giants are Undermining the Organic Movement

The author adds to criticisms posed by Michael Pollan.
Zenit: Allan Carlson: The Family Wage in "Caritas in Veritate"

In contrast, "Caritas in Veritate" seems to assume that mothers will be in the workforce (No. 63). It makes no mention of the special work of women in the home, while acknowledging "the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family." In discussing "decency" in regard to work, Benedict XVI describes "work that is freely chosen, effectively associating workers, both men and women, with the development of their community; work that enables the worker to be respected and free from any form of discrimination; work that makes it possible for families to meet their needs and provide schooling for their children, without the children themselves being forced into labor." Earlier Popes would have added "and mothers" to that last phrase; Benedict XVI seems to have quietly accepted the two-earner or two-career family as the new social and economic norm.

This may be a case of simply acknowledging current reality. In the developed world (and starting in the late 1960s), capitalism’s hunger for the labor of adult women broke though the legal and cultural barriers created over the prior 100 years to protect the mother in the home. In the developing world, women's labor is now simply assumed. To progressive eyes, the mother in the home is at best an antiquarian curiosity.

However, this potential shift raises troubling questions about the nature of the Catholic family. Has the rich concept of complementarity -- men and women being equal in dignity but different in function -- been deemphasized? Has the Christian Democratic defense of the full-time mother subtly given way to the Swedish model of gender equality in the workplace?

Benedict XVI has spoken about the dignity of motherhood in many other settings, but the silence in this encyclical concerning familial roles has created an ambiguity that could undermine the very institution the Pope is strenuously trying to protect. Perhaps a future apostolic letter will clarify these points.

"This may be a case of simply acknowledging current reality," could perhaps be said of the assumptions behind many of the points that the encyclical makes. If this is the case, then is meeting everyone where they are at (and not asking them to question their customs and assumptions, but instead asking them to "make the best of things as they are") really effective? To those who are given more, isn't more required of them?

Russell Hittinger talked about how the papal encyclical replaced dogmatic declarations (if that is the proper term to use -- statements like the Syllabus of Errors). It may have the appearance of being more pastoral, but I cannot help but sympathize with those who say the letter will be read by only a few, and only by the faithful. It will fall on deaf ears for the rest. Perhaps the office of the papacy would be better employed in another way.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Winslow T. Wheeler, Gates, Congress and the F-22
The Big Whorehouse on the Potomac by Paul Craig Roberts
Someone posted a link to this over at Facebook: Lifesize Noah's Ark in Hong Kong will buoy recession fears

Raw Video: Full-size Noah's Ark Replica

The attraction's website.
Discover Hong Kong

Related links:
Hong Kong Christens an Ark of Biblical Proportions -
Christianity Today
Living in Hong Kong blog

Democracy: An American Novel
Google Books
Classic Reader

The Education of Henry Adams
Hypertext at the UVa
Derek Stanovsky's annotated web guide
Google Books

About Henry Adams:
Online Literature bio
Henry Adams, Globe Trotter in Space and Time
Random House

Harvard Magazine: Owen Wister, Brief life of a Western mythmaker: 1860-1938

Ambivalence about his success was linked to Wister’s personal disillusionment with the West. He had believed a new kind of American would be produced by the simplicity and rigor of life there: an honorable, chivalrous, high-minded natural aristocrat not unlike the Virginian. Instead he found his beloved Wyoming increasingly overrun with what he disdainfully regarded as the rabble of an excessive democracy: populist politicians, traveling salesmen, rebellious workers, unassimilated immigrants, and tourists.
For a truly negative assessment, who can beat Dr. Fleming (writing in response to this comment)?
They are a great many assumptions here, or, perhaps questions that would need to be answered first. The Left has, as you say, reengineered society and uses government in a thousand unimagined and possibly illegitimate ways? But which actions of government infringe on a decent person’s moral liberty? Does government compel you to send your kids to a public school or require immoral young women to seek abortions? While the scale of the abuse of power may be unprecedented, the abuse itself is hardly anything novel. Secondly, what do you mean by collective action? It seems a deliberately vague term that might refer to the secession of South Carolina in 1860 or the secession of the colonies in 1776 or to members of black or white nationalist groups who murder out of a shared conviction that it is the right thing to do. I think you are being rather too optimistic in assuming that there is some level of society where one can take one’s stand. That was probably true in the 1860’s but it has never been true in my lifetime, and with each passing day one is more aware of the complete and hopeless decadence of the majority of the American people. Any individual or group action against authority, unless it springs from an authentic, historic, legitimate political community, is no better than terrorism. The problem, though most conservatives today fail to realize it, lies not in the government but in the people. The handwriting was on the wall in the 1860’s–as prescient people like Henry Adams and Owen Wister realized–and was written as high as a skyscraper by the 1920’s. What are we going to do today? Herd suburbanites into concentration camps and recondition their minds? Who will give the order? Who will carry it out?
The Rockford Institute: Summer School is Under Way

Click on the link to see a video of a lecture given by Dr. Fleming. Here is the institute's youtube channel.
Asia Times: A town braces for Taliban battle
Zenit: Legion Visitation Set to Being July 15

Perhaps it has already been reported in different languages, but the English bulletin has been slow in coming. The article admits that "Last February it was revealed that the congregation's founder, Father Marcial Maciel, who died last year and was buried in his native Cotija, Mexico, had a relationship with a woman and fathered a daughter."

PCED has been officially attached to the CDF

NLM: Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Attached to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
and English Translation of the Motu Proprio "Ecclesiae Unitatem"

Rorate Caeli: New "Ecclesia Dei" and Motu Proprio "Ecclesiae Unitatem" - in English (Latin)

Fr. Z: The Next Logical Step: the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” RESTRUCTURED

Zenit: Papal Letter "Ecclesiae Unitatem"
A Restructuring of the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" [2009-07-08]
cuddletuffy writes at JHK's blog:

Most of the programs you mentioned passed by the Congress we simply cannot afford. Some of them are just symbolic moves. The Credit Card responsibility act? Responsibility means that if someone racks up a debt they cannot repay, they must take responsibility for the consequences - not impose their liability on some other party. That bill, means that the losses are no longer between the lender and the borrower, but are now underwritten by all of society. A society, we must note, that is financially insolvent.

All of those acts are meaningless political gestures that scored political points with people who have no idea how economics work. They only further increase our debt making our primary problem, namely our debt, worse.

Here is to my mind the worst aspects of the Bush/Cheney regime:
1. They expanded the public debt at an historic pace.
2. They embarked on the, "War On Terror", and made open pre-emptive war all over the middle east in a thinly veiled imperial operation to secure the worlds remaining cheap oil supplies with the U. S. taxpayer funded military.
3. They supported an unprecedented attack on our civil liberties including our right to privacy with the Patriot Act and the use of domestic spying.
4. They effectively ruled by decree via signing statements and made extensive use of invoking state-secrets as
5. They rushed to bail out insolvent institutions with taxpayer money that should have failed in bankruptcy so that entrepreneurs could re-invigorate the enterprises risking their own capital and reaping their own rewards.

To spare words, Obama has borrowed even more money at an even faster rate than Bush/Cheney, supports the War On Terror, the Patriot Act, and domestic spying, expanded our military budget and has been bombing a nuclear armed Muslim nation with unmanned drones. His new bombing campaign has caused massive migrations and displacement in yet another Muslim nation. He has also kept in place and expanded the bailout programs. Maybe Obama is more handsome and less belligerent than Bush/Cheney. Big deal! If the policy is the same, what makes an Obama supporter different than a Bush/Cheney supporter? Effectively, nothing because they support the same policys but expect different results. That is the definition of ____________.

Obama certainly won the popular vote, and the DLC got its wish to control Congress. However, the fundamental policies of our government have not changed one bit, and in some cases, they've gotten worse.

What Mr. Kunstler has been saying is that Obama is acting like Wall St.'s and the Post WWII imperial energy economy's stooge, pretending that things can turn around, and supporting legislation that effectively amounts to an imperial dog and pony show. What Mr. Kunstler wants Obama to do, is to tell people like you,

"Hey! We are fucked on our present course. There is no use pretending that this meaningless legislation will work. It effectively amounts to doing more of what caused this problem - denial by assuming ever greater amounts of un-serviceable debt. It is time that we face up to the fact that life as it has been cannot go on. We must admit that an economic system that says that just because more zeros are added to aggregate numbers like GDP is a patent lie. We are poorer than ever. The evidence is that we are the greatest debtor nation in the history of the world. We can never pay back our debts. We must accept that we are poorer, and must live that way.

Every person in debt is responsible for deciding to go into debt. They and their lenders must pay the consequences of settling their debts and honoring their contracts amongst themselves and using the bankruptcy proceedings and laws. Every person who saved and truly sacrificed by deferring personal consumption in order to be self-sufficient must be rewarded. We must encourage more of that kind of behavior. The surest way to do so is to reward those savers. For the past 95 years we have made interest rates artificially low - punishing savers and prudent investors, while rewarding debtors and speculators. This, along with emerging energy and resource constraints, has led to this disaster we are only now just entering into.

This inflationary financial system has also enabled a vast imperial military apparatus that is wholly unnecessary to our physical safety and economic well-being. That military machine has sucked our national treasury dry. I and my big-money donors would love to continue our wars of imperial conquest, but the fact is that it requires stealing money from you the general citizenry via debt and inflation and the fact is that you do not have any more money that we can steal for the purposes of subsidizing our neo-colonial thievery. So, we will close our bases and bring our troops home - at least until we can afford to expand again and you are willing to be duped once more by fear or arrogant notions of rebuilding nations with occupying soldiers and military bases.

In addition, there are institutions that knowingly sought to profit from the debt pyramid. They are all backed by our government. The primary culprit is the Federal Reserve and its member banks. There are criminal acts here that must be prosecuted.

The prospect of Peak Oil also means that globalization is no longer a viable economic model. Our nation has a huge surplus population - many of them new immigrants coming here seeking opportunity largely as a result of neo-colonial trade agreements like NAFTA. We must find an orderly and non-violent means to discovering population levels our energy and food capacity can support along with a real sustainable productive economy. Our population must shrink. Our standard of living as measured in gross aggregates will shrink. We must be brave and re-organize ourselves in an orderly and humane manner. The best case scenario is that cross-border and rural to urban migration patterns reverse in an orderly and humane manner.

We will do it as fairly as possible via the rule of law. We will do it by allowing people to be truly responsible and own up to and face the consequences of their debts and financial failures. We will do it by preserving the capital of the prudent and encourage them to fairly finance the restructuring of our nation. We will lead the way by prosecuting the criminals in our own government and our largest corporations and our military.

Sadly, my recent invocations of state-secrets designed to protect members of my political party who knowingly supported war crimes, has made me complicit and therefore guilty of these crimes. My support for retroactive immunity in the case of unwarranted domestic surveillance of Americans violated my oath to uphold the Constitution. It is time for me to be the leader my vast PR machine and my throngs of blind supporters do not hold me to account to be.

I do care about my legacy. I cannot in good conscience continue on my present course of clinging to power for the sake of power while that course enables a disillusioned society to invite disaster. The only way to reform a democracy is to ensure you are self-governed. I urge you to re-invigorate your sense of self and purpose. As a former Senator, I can assure you that nearly every member of Congress is a war-monger and profiteer and has had a hand in subsidizing the massive frauds that have bankrupted our former republic and erected this fascist imperial dictatorship we pretend is still a participatory democracy.

I hereby resign. You have the facts and deep down you know the truth. I can't force you to retake control of your lives and your states and country. I humbly encourage you to dismantle this imperial government and seek a more localized and realistic way of living and self-governance. I humbly suggest the first step is to begin citizen led investigations and prosecutions of our imperial government. Be merciless to the criminals and kind to your neighbors - you are going to be relying on each other for support, survival and a new definition of your standard-of-living sooner than you think.

Above all, take care not to permit any leader with too much centralized power to seize control. Take care to remember that hope is as much a response to fear as anger is. Do not invest your hopes or desire for protection into any leader. Invest in yourself, your family and your community."

Now that would be change we could not only believe in, but witness and effect. The rest would be up to us. The point is, Obama will never do this, not as long as he has throngs of idolizing supporters and excuse-makers. The path to change on the political front is to cast out those whose votes perpetuate failed policies. Sadly, Obama and the Congress should at this point be cast out or threatened with it in order to change their behavior.

Paul Gottfried, The “Values” Fetish

Now it’s not that I’m against truly good people going into politics. I’ve cast my ballot more than once in senatorial races for Peg Luksik, who has been our Constitution Party candidate in Pennsylvania. Peg is a devout Catholic, who hails from Alabama, and the mother of six children, including five strapping sons. She is the paradigmatic Earth Mother and has steadfastly opposed abortion.

But there is more to her politics than her unfeigned domesticity: Peg Luksik advocates a “family-centered society” based on independent communities and freed from the grip of the multicultural-managerial state. The main reasons I’m for Peg is that I’m entirely in agreement with her understanding of the need for limited, constitutional government. And I endorse her communal conception of American society and her corresponding repugnance for government agencies and meddlesome judges controlling and recoding our social and cultural attitudes.

Peg Luksik for Senate

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Kevin Gutzman, The Frank Ricci Indecision

See also his Jefferson and Sovereignty:

Ilana Mercer says, “For the edification of libertarians prone to vulgar individualism, the Declaration of Independence is at once a statement of individual and national sovereignty.” Jefferson surely would have found this perplexing, as the Declaration’s last section—the operative one—includes the boast that “these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” Individual sovereignty? Theoretically, in the state of nature, as explained in the famous second paragraph. National sovereignty? Only if we understand “nation” as Jefferson understood it: as interchangeable with “state”—and only if we understand “state” according to the last definition of that term offered by James Madison in his Report of 1799: as referring to the people of a state “in their highest sovereign capacity.”
The encyclical on energy:

49. Questions linked to the care and preservation of the environment today need to give due consideration to the energy problem. The fact that some States, power groups and companies hoard non-renewable energy resources represents a grave obstacle to development in poor countries. Those countries lack the economic means either to gain access to existing sources of non-renewable energy or to finance research into new alternatives. The stockpiling of natural resources, which in many cases are found in the poor countries themselves, gives rise to exploitation and frequent conflicts between and within nations. These conflicts are often fought on the soil of those same countries, with a heavy toll of death, destruction and further decay. The international community has an urgent duty to find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources, involving poor countries in the process, in order to plan together for the future.

On this front too, there is a pressing moral need for renewed solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and those that are highly industrialized[118]. The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens. It should be added that at present it is possible to achieve improved energy efficiency while at the same time encouraging research into alternative forms of energy. What is also needed, though, is a worldwide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them. The fate of those countries cannot be left in the hands of whoever is first to claim the spoils, or whoever is able to prevail over the rest. Here we are dealing with major issues; if they are to be faced adequately, then everyone must responsibly recognize the impact they will have on future generations, particularly on the many young people in the poorer nations, who "ask to assume their active part in the construction of a better world"[119].

Is the Holy See aware of Peak Oil? If petroleum is a common good for all of the human race, and not just those nations that have the economic power to claim it through the "free market," then how do we convince those countries with oil fields to share oil instead of selling it as a private resource?

How much oil is needed for economic development? What would E.F. Schumacher say about this? Oil may be needed for a "traditional" model of industrialization, but if the age of cheap energy is over, shouldn't we be looking at whether industralization is a desirable goal? Where is the awareness of sustainable models of development?

Jason Bradford, Revisiting Relocalization
Lew Rockwell, How Dare the Russians Not Bow to Obama

Can we trust the Russians to oppose American imperial goals on moral grounds? Or is it enough that they will do so (to some extent) in order to protect their own interests?
Alexander Cockburn, McNamara: From the Tokyo Firestorm to the World Bank
Browsing Caritas in Veritate, I can't help but ask, "What would Ivan Illich think?" Is globalization ultimately destructive of the common good? I think so. The economy is for the sake of the community, and not the other way around. Unless they have some special expertise regarding sustainable development, popes can only speak of general principles. But can it truly be said that "Despite some of its structural elements, which should neither be denied nor exaggerated, 'globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad.'" Is the means proportioned to the end? Certainly globalization seems be opposed to autarky, and autarky seems to me to be a reasonable principle for the science of politics.

And then there are the troubling words concerning the need for a true global authority. Pope Benedict XVI is not saying anything new here--there have been calls for a true global authority from the Curia and from John Paul II (all the way back to Paul VI and John XXIII?). But it still seems to me to be wrong-headed. What would John Paul I have made of this? Or Cardinal Siri?

If one accepts globalization as a fact of life, then one cannot but maintain that since globalization does affect the global common good, its regulation can only be done by that competent authority which has care of the global common good. It would have been much easier to reject globalization as being inherently exploitative and detrimental to everyone except those at the top of the money-making pyramid.

Dr. Eamon Duffy has a new book out on the reign of Mary Tudor

Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor

I should get this relatively soon...

Author Eamon Duffy talks about his new book: Fires of Faith
Cambridge faculty page
Extract at the Catholic Herald
Spectator Book Club review
Tablet review

Related links:

Caritas in Veritate (no Latin version yet)
Zenit: Encyclical Letter "Caritas in Veritate" [2009-07-07]
American Papist: Full Text: Caritas in Veritate
Insight Scoop:
Charity in Truth Released and Pope’s Encyclical Launches Publisher’s Expansion in Electronic and Audio Books
First Things: Caritas in Veritate Roundup

Vatican Summary of "Caritas in Veritate"
"Charity Is at the Heart of the Church" [2009-07-07]

Freddy Gray, Benedict vs the Neocons?
Robert John Araujo, SJ
Michael Liccione, The usury crisis and Catholic social teaching (see this comment)
The Distributist Review:
Go Read Caritas in Veritae

This handout picture released on July 7, 2009 and taken the day before shows Pope Benedict XVI (L) signing his latest encyclical "Caritas in Veritae" (Charity in truth) in his office at The Vatican. "Caritas in Veritae", a social encyclical on how the global economy should take into account the needs of the poor, is published a day before a G8 summit in L'Aquila and is widely seen as a message by the Pope to the leaders of the world. (Getty/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI signs his encyclical "Charity in Truth" at the Vatican July 6, 2009. Pope Benedict's encyclical "Charity in Truth" is the latest in a long line of papal documents that criticise unbridled capitalism and stress human welfare and solidarity over the profit motive. Picture taken July 6, 2009. (Reuters/Daylife)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Energy descent and transition in Mexico, part 1
Holger Hieronimi, Energy Bulletin

“In Mexico nothing happens, until it happens.” This is an old proverb here, and it can also easily apply to the current situation. Everything feels tranquilo and smooth, as if it is nothing out of the ordinary. However, as history shows us, once something begins in Mexico, it generally develops rapidly, and can end up being intensely spectacular.

John Médaille, The Peasantry of the Future

In this post Dr. Médaille discusses Adam Webb's A Path of Our Own. It is also posted at The Distributist Review.

Fabius Maximus: College education in America, another broken business model and The secret about our universities (seldom even whispered among Professors).

Does our sensual culture have any place for a real liberal education? Perhaps not -- but that is a problem with the culture and society's distorted notion of leisure, not with a liberal education. Nonetheless, it is the case that the humanities programs at many colleges and universities do not provide a liberal education, and should be avoided.

Then there is this piece--Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?

See also his Forecast: Death of the American Constitution. Regarding this post, I think he subscribes too much to a Nationalist view of the Constitution. (Otherwise, how could he judge the Civil war to be one of "many crises of types often fatal to political regimes"?) And he attributes too much of American prosperity to it.
This week on the BBC Early Music Show: Music for the Founding Fathers and L'homme arme melody.
Is the military industrial complex as bad in the UK as it is in the U.S.? See "Heroes like this deserve a real cause to fight for" in Peter Hitchens's latest. Will the UK admit that very little can be done in Afghanistan before the US?

JHK makes a prediction

From his latest blog entry:
President Obama had better turn his efforts from pretending to re-start the revolving credit rackets to overseeing the comprehensive re-simplifying of American life. I think he has a few weeks to turn his rhetoric around before the political mischief begins for real, and the aggrieved classes start shooting things up and burning things down. These classes really do need something to hope for, and something to work at, and something to occupy their attention besides their grief over the massive losses in their lives. But none of that energy will be focused beneficially unless they hear the truth... that there really is no going back to what was before.
Zenit: On the Shedding of Blood
"When Will Men Learn That Life Is Sacred?" [2009-07-05]
Brad Miner on subsidiarity. He repeats the standard contemporary Catholic presentation of it, which is of course at variance with how it is understood by Drs. Fleming and Wilson. He also is in favor of "free market capitalism" over socialism, but does not acknowledge the possibility of an alternate political arrangement.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Western Confucian has a post on Jang Yoon-jung (장윤정). She has a Myspace page?!?

Jang Yoon Jung - 첫사랑 (First Love) MV

Jang Yoon Jung (장윤정) - Twist MV

Jang Yoon Jung - Later,Later

[스포츠서울TV]장윤정 "인생의 목표는 결혼, 아이는 4명 낳겠다"

Jang Yoon-jung Wants 4 Children
Stephen Hand: The Concentration Camp Called Gaza
Daniel McCarthy responds to John Payne regarding secession: Secession Has a Downside.
Pediatrician sees three-year-old on cell phone
Shepherd Bliss, Energy Bulletin

The long-term consequences of young children already taking their gaze away from living people and constantly-changing nature to look down into and be captured by static machines concerns me. Who benefits and what is lost? What is appropriate technology use? What induces obsessive/compulsive/addictive behavior?

Some more thoughts on The Treasonous Clerk: Letter to a Confused Catholic...

Dr. Wilson writes:
Since the Protestant Reformation, non-Catholic Christians have developed a different understanding of ethics. Many of them assume that human nature, unenlightened by God’s grace, merely and surely leads one to live an evil life, a lost life. Only through the direct intervention of Christ’s revelation can one’s natural inclinations be brought up short, reined in, turned around, and made to conform with God’s commands. The Catholic Church says, and has always said, that the initial reason one follows Christ is because he reveals richer—indeed, infinitely more complete—answers to the questions all reflective persons are always already asking (again, “What is the good life for man?,” and “How does one go about living it and achieving it?”). Philosophers call this teleological thinking, meaning, here, that ethics is ordered to a telos, which is Greek for “end” or “goal.” Protestants generally conceive of ethics differently—and often in ignorance of the thought process that nonetheless persists behind their thinking. They effectively proclaim, whatever human beings would do, however human beings would live, according to their own reason and natural experience is evil or at least irrelevant to the goodness of God and the Way that His goodness commands. Only through God’s revelation can one begin to think ethically. That is, because revelation consists in part of God’s command to do one thing and abstain from another, human persons can know how to be saved rather than damned. By that command alone they can know it. This is usually called Divine Command ethics, suggesting as it does that the answer to the question, “How does one live the good life?” cannot meaningfully be asked until God has himself already told us the answer. It suggests, further, that Divine Command ethics is not really ethics at all, but simply the criterionless election to obey God. One senses that reflection on the character of and path to a good life would seem an irrelevant act of waffling or procrastinating before the inexorable declaration of God.
Is this an accurate representation of Protestant ethics during the first two hundred years of Protestantism's existence? This is something for me to look into. Connections have been made between Protestant theology and nominalism -- how pervasive was voluntarism in Catholic universities on the eve of the Reformation? Perhaps Dr. Wilson is echoing Fr. Pinckaers or Dr. MacIntyre here, but after having read so much shoddy intellectual history, I would like to see some actual texts from Protestant theological works to support what is being said.

I believe that an examination of Catholic moral theology treatises from the Reformation onwards would support Fr. Pinckaer's historical theses. (The one I question relates to the influence of Ockham and nominalism upon subsequent developments.) Did the Protestants of the early Reformation explicitly lay out Divine Command theory? Or were they, too, like Catholics concerned more with obligation and laws, rather than with a teleological conception of ethics or moral theology?

IEP on Divine Command Theory