Critiques & Controversies: June 2004 Archives

In correspondence with a friend, my conscience was inadvertantly stung and I wrote this entry rapidly in response. He could not know that his reply would activate my own extraordinary frustration and guilt over this issue (I know that I don't do all that really does lie within my power to do), nevertheless, this may sound a bit more bitter and harsh than I normally do. If so, please forgive me, but I think this is an issue of enormous importance to the idea of Catholic Justice.

Here's a place to track how we can maintain all those low-low prices we find in stores.

It is this monstrous regime that we grant "most favored nation status" because it behooves us to farm out work in this direction. While there, be sure to check out other atrocities such as reports (I don't know how well confirmed) that United Nations Population Funds supporting coerced abortions. (Has nothing whatsoever to do with Lao-gai, but the site reports on everything from coerced abortions to slave labor and Death Camps in North Korea.)

Those of us who have grave reservations about the wisdom of internationalization have merely to look this far before finding a stinking cesspool. And we don't even begin to know how many businesses are working with North Korea or other oppressive states.

Encouraging the economic growth of underdeveloped countries is a wonderful business commitment that needs to be very carefully undertaken and monitored. Unfortunately, too often, the government and the citizenry are not too keen to look beneath the hood. And if this is what is there, more often than not, they have good reason.

Next time you shop at a Wal-Mart, a Target, or almost any major chain, look to see how much of what is there is made in China. It will appall you (I hope) and perhaps sting you into action. Next time you think about buying Chinese, visit this site and remember Cardinal Kung and others of his ilk who suffer under this most favored regime.

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I don't quite understand the furor. I've never disliked the man, but I didn't see him as all that great. You would think that he should stand beside acknowledged greats like Washington and Lincoln (of whom I also fail to see much of the glamor).

So why do people line up for five hours to file past his coffin? What was really so great about Mr. Reagan? What are people admiring and adulating? I'm not attempting to provoke controversy with these questions.

The only policy I can remember from the Reagan years is one that began to tax the pitiful stipends of graduate students AND their tuition exemptions as "benefits." So my friends, making seven-thousand dollars a year had to pay taxes on that and on up to 13,000 dollars a year in tuition fee wavers. What is there to admire in this foreward thinking economic policy? I cast my mind back to Reagan and I think Iran-Contra. What is there to admire here? Certainly the administration was no worse than many, but what are people seeing that I cannot seem to see?

I mourn for the family who have lost a loved one. In a sense I mourn for the loss of an era. And as always, I recall, "No man is an island. . . send not to know for whom the bell tolls--it tolls for thee." I am reminded of my own end.

Nevertheless I am puzzled. Puzzled, but in some sense pleased because this shows humanity at its very best. People willing to line up without complaining in a line that stretches from the Capitol biulding to the Air and Space Museum--waiting five hours to file past a man's coffin--to pay respects. There is something about this that appeals, that suggests the nobility of spirit that humanity is capable of.

In this particular case, I just don't quite understand its subject, Mr. Reagan. Regardless of my understanding, may he rest in peace. "May choirs of angels sing him to his rest."

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From a blog I discovered via Father Jim (RatherNotBlog), an excerpt of an op-ed piece in NYT (be sure to visit the site and read a fuller excerpt of this interesting piece):

from "Circling the Wagons" (NYT)
David Brooks

But that is not how things work in real life. As Donald Green, Bradley Palmquist and Eric Schickler argue in their book, “Partisan Hearts and Minds,” most people either inherit their party affiliations from their parents, or they form an attachment to one party or another early in adulthood. Few people switch parties once they hit middle age. Even major historic events like the world wars and the Watergate scandal do not cause large numbers of people to switch.
Moreover, Green, Palmquist and Schickler continue, people do not choose parties by comparing platforms and then figuring out where the nation’s interests lie. Drawing on a vast range of data, these political scientists argue that party attachment is more like attachment to a religious denomination or a social club. People have stereotypes in their heads about what Democrats are like and what Republicans are like, and they gravitate toward the party made up of people like themselves.

Once they have formed an affiliation, people bend their philosophies and their perceptions of reality so they become more and more aligned with members of their political tribe.

If this is, indeed true, it should give any Catholic in good standing pause. I do not think it is necessarily true, but I do think that it is more often than not true. Even the best of us hold out against peer pressure but poorly and if our principle interest strays away from God and toward politics, it strikes me as entirely plausible that one would soon find all sorts of good Catholics scrambling to defend the indefensible--referring here not to candidates but to specific items of the platform.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

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Philip Pullman


In terms of real threats, Philip Pullman ranks far higher than the objects we commonly launch defenses against. See this insightful overview for the details.

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Not that we shouldn't try, we certainly should. However, it is stories like this one that cause me to question the viability and purpose of legislation among a people with such hard hearts and broken minds. We can't even effectively ban infanticide without one wiser-that-thou supposedly constitution-interpreting-Judge pronouncing that we are wrong.

A while back I posted my "opposition" to legislation, which consisted largely of the fact that while not really opposed, I didn't really see much purpose to it with the present make-up of the courts and the present mindset of the populace. This just convinces me more and more of the necessity for prayer and fasting as well as charitable, meaningful, sincere person-to-person action and conversion. As Jesus said, "This type comes out only with much praying and fasting." We've invited Moloch in--it's very, very difficult to shove him back out again. While effective, substantive law will help, we're not yet at the stage, it appears, where such will be allowed to take effect. Please pray.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Critiques & Controversies category from June 2004.

Critiques & Controversies: May 2004 is the previous archive.

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