Thursday, July 30, 2009

Real Paleoconservatives don't like free markets

I had a reply to this but it either wasn't "fact based" enough or not economics enough. Or I messed up trying to post it. At any rate, it better belongs here than on EP anyway:

Americans are weird creatures. Our liberals like progress, our conservatives like freedom. Between the two, we have no real liberals (who prefer status quo utopias that attempt to maximize freedom) or real conservatives (who prefer status quo utopias that attempt to maximize order).

Our conservatives crave freedom more than order; and so support the chaos of the free market and think that getting the Chinese to float the Yuan will magically erase the trade deficit; where real conservatives would probably either ban Chinese trade outright or use a public corporation charter to limit imports from China to be equal to exports to China.

Our liberals prefer progress- and thus are often for change regardless of who the change hurts, merely for the sake of change and trying out something new.

Between the two- a middle class whose very lives depend on having a status quo that stays the same instead of a roller coaster ride of a gambling business cycle, gets squished every time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

20% profit?

Under what absolutely insane form of economics is 20% profit taking sustainable? All the clues were in these two videos from more than a year ago....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homophobia=Fear of Rape

I'm sure many people will disagree with what I write in this blog, that's OK, it's your right to disagree, and I'm not going to censor anything. But my grandmother taught me to read Ann Landers- and when her daughter Amy took over the column, I started reading that too. Today's first letter completely missed the real worry- and mislabeled it as simple discrimination or homophobia. I give Amy and the University only 1/2 point though.

Would you put a female lesbian in a dorm room with a straight 18 year old human male? Would you put a female heterosexual in a dorm room with a straight 18 year old human male?

No, because in both those scenarios, the chance of rape is actually quite high. It might not happen still, but being forced to enjoy one another's company long periods will cause at least the fear of rape in the female. Either that or it will turn into a romance.

So why would a straight male, roomed with a homosexual male, feel any different than the females in the above two scenarios? And if he doesn't want a "Bromance", what's he supposed to do?

Considering this led me to realize my own homophobia, is indeed a fear of rape. And possibly my gluttony is a subconscious reaction to my homophobia. But both are valid fears- and need to be addressed if GLBT people want to end discrimination.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A glaring example of Moral Relativity

Once again I've been wrongly accused by Robert Oak of evangelizing on his blog, this time, oddly enough for Monsanto and the Catholic Church, in a posting where the studies quoted went against both (the WTO/OECD and FAO studies both recommended *against* genetically modified foods for development of these lands, and despite the near-agreement with the Catholic Church on overpopulation being a religious myth, the recommendation isn't so much charity and food for the poor (Classic Catholic response) as it is tractors and infrastructure and small farms for the poor (modern sustainable response).

But even more interestingly is the claim that my last post, which pointed out the bigotry and prejudice clouding RO's judgement and that NEITHER of the studies quoted came from either Monsanto or the Catholic Church was labeled a "flame post" and deleted- despite his own last post being rather a flame rant itself.

THAT is moral relativism for you- when you preach tolerance but practice intolerance and censorship.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Rights and Unconditional Love

I'm beginning to wonder if God's love is truly unconditional, for all of us. And how incredibly stupid it would be if it was- for in modern America at least, one cannot sin if one is loved unconditionally. Unconditional love erases sin.

I prefer a loving father to that- and as a father, my love is NOT unconditional. My child experiences discipline from me at times, when necessary, and thus, my love is not unconditional. But I'd suggest that the discipline of conditional love is closer to the Greek of Agape, than the uncritical, unconditional love of modern America, where, to paraphrase Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, we have rights but no duty- and thus, have reduced right to mere license.

Far too often, we go beyond forgiving sin, to encouraging sin, in modern America- and eventually, we all pay the price of that, economically and spiritually.

After a couple of comments on facebook, I realized that this might actually be a translation problem from the Greek- that perhaps a better translation of Agape is unENDing love, not unconditional love. Which makes me wonder what else we've mistranslated in modern American English- for instance the French concept of Liberty, what would it be without the duties of Patriotism? Sure might look a lot like what the libertarian party stands for- every man his own island.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The History of Caritas in Veritate

Had to repost here just in case it goes away elsewhere:

And now, the seven Papal documents, so far, on economics, so that you can get a feeling of the history of the Doctrine of Distributism:
Rerum Novarum from Pope Leo XIII

Quadragesimo Anno from Pope Pius XI

Mater et Magistra from Pope John XXIII

Populum Progresso from Pope Paul VI

Centesimus Annus from Pope John Paul II

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis from Pope John Paul II

Caritas In Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI

People think that Catholic doctrine never changes- but it's dogma that doesn't change, doctrine changes ever so slowly because of the concern for human error. The Doctrine of Distributism is as solid as any other form of economics I can think of, but unlike communism, which requires total subservience to the state, and capitalism, which requires total subservience to self, distributism is duty to protect other people's rights and justice to fulfill other people's needs. And in return- other people have a duty to protect YOUR rights and fulfill YOUR needs. Interdependence, rather than independence.

And that ethic I think is really worth thinking about.

Just had to respond

But this is a bigger philosophical argument than should exist on the other blog, so I'm putting it here: religion may not be economics, in fact, most of it certainly is not, but economics is always religion.

What do I mean by that? There are no hard set-in-stone laws in economics like physics- everything comes with assumptions. Those who believe in a given set of assumptions, such as "free trade is always good for both cultures engaged in it", or "socially beneficial risk is worth taking and should be encouraged", have a tendency to have a blind spot to other sets of values and other ways of thinking. In this way, much of economics is not only religion, but IRRATIONAL religion, as defined by Pope Benedict XVI in that speech that made the Islamics so angry. It's the difference between Thomas Aquinas and Bob Jones University- deep thought vs shallow adherence to theories even when those theories are wrong and do much damage.

We'd be better off with the rational religion of Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate- than selfish clinging to a set of theories that enriches one group while impoverishing another.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Charity In Truth

Benedict XVI has put out a new encyclical, now available on the Vatican Website. It's an update of the four documents I've linked to previously in this blog as being my basis for economic ethics; and what an update it is. Still doesn't address my basic quibble on illegal immigration, but it does offer a solution in chapter 5 that is more acceptable than the mere "right to migrate for work", for it now includes a "duty to become a productive citizen of the new country".

However, it's chapters 3 and 4 I'd draw your attention to; for here, Pope Benedict XVI actually treads what is new ground for Americans- man's duty to each other limiting rights, and man's duty to protect the environment for the good of the poor and future generations. This is something we don't hear often enough from the pulpit, and I'd certainly like to hear it more often.

For it is these two "new ideas to America" that we have lost in the last 150 years, and that have caused our current meltdown. By concentrating only on our individual rights, and not our duty to our community and others, we've become unbalanced. Because of this, we've built up a trade deficit and level of personal debt that has destroyed this "last of the superpowers" (don't believe that lie- China is following close behind, ready to take over the power vacuum), and we've destroyed our environment to the point that MIT is announcing that global warming will be 4x to 9x worse than anything previously imagined.

It's time to stop thinking of ourselves. Forget independence, it's time for solidarity and subsidarity, if the human race is to survive at all.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The fruits of the Spirit Of Protestant Rebellion

Protestants will tell you that Martin Luther was a Holy Man- doing the work of God when he came up with the five Solas and removed books from the Bible. But they also say you can judge a doctrine by the fruits that come from that doctrine.

I charge that the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City is an example of the fruits of the doctrines of "Bible Only" and "the priesthood of all believers" in spades. Not so much a united denomination as a collection of Protestant Biblical Family Traditions, their Bibles don't have the deuterocanonicals in them. They have no set theology, yet they are extremely conservative and strict. They have no minister since their founder died in 1969, they have no bishops or priests to keep them away from heresy. They are, in short, the dream of Martin Luther and John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli- a priesthood of all believers, no hierarchical control whatsoever. They are in short, a fine test of the Five Solas, for they are alone in their beliefs.

Let us first start with the orthodox Catholic Christian view on "Faith Healing":
Sirach 38:1-15 is the defining scripture on the topic
Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you,
and God it was who established his profession.
From God the doctor has his wisdom,
and the king provides for his sustenance.
His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished,
and gives him access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs
which the prudent man will not neglect;
was not the water sweetened by a twig
that men might learn his power?
He endows men with the knowledge
to glory in his mighty works,
through which the doctor eases pain
and the druggist prepares his medicines;
thus God's creative work continues without cease
in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.

My son, when you are ill, delay not,
but pray to God who will heal you:
flee wickedness; let your hands be just,
cleanse your heart of every sin;
offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition,
a rich offering according to your means.
Then give the doctor his place
lest he leave; for you need him too.
There are times that give him an advantage,
and he too beseeches God
that his diagnosis may be correct
and his treatment bring about a cure.
He who is a sinner toward his Maker
will be defiant toward the doctor.

So what is the fruit of the spirit of these Five Solas in this matter? It isn't utopia. It certainly isn't what I'd call Holy. It is instead defiance against medical practitioners. As Carl and Raylene Worthington Testified and the Oregonian reported:

Carl and Raylene Worthington told detectives that they never considered calling a doctor, even as their 15-month-old daughter deteriorated and died.

"I don't believe in them," Carl Worthington said of doctors. "I believe in faith healing."

Raylene Worthington said that her religious beliefs do not encompass medical care and that she would not have done anything different for her - daughter, who died at home of pneumonia, a blood infection and other complications.

And if that wasn't enough- we're treated to a graphic description of the last few hours of little Ava Worthington's life:

Ava came down with what appeared to be a cold or the flu on a Tuesday. By Saturday, her breathing became labored and the family turned to its traditional faith-healing rituals, praying, fasting, anointing the body with oil, administering diluted wine and laying on of hands.

By Sunday, Carl Worthington said he thought there was "a possibility" his daughter was so sick she could die. Then, after a final session of laying on of hands at about 5 p.m., "she perked up," he said. She grabbed her bottle and "took some food."

"She was peaceful; she was rested," Worthington said.

Two hours later Ava was dead.

The interviewers, Detectives Michelle Finn and James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff Office's child-abuse unit, asked pointed questions, and Carl Worthington provided details about his, his family's and his church's beliefs and practices.

He said no one in his immediate family has ever been to a doctor or used prescription or over-the-counter medicine. "It's not something we believe in."

The detectives also asked about the growth on Ava's neck, which swelled during the last days of her life. Prosecutors allege the lump -- a benign cystic hygroma -- impeded her breathing.

The soft lump became more noticeable two months before Ava died and started to get "tight" the day before her death, according to the Worthingtons.

Brent Worthington said he had ultimate responsibility for Ava's care. "I'm the head of the house; it falls to me. The wife follows the husband."

He said he confers with his wife but did not consult with anyone else about treating Ava's illness. Raylene Worthington did not dispute the decision to rely on spiritual healing, he said.

Asked if she would have taken Ava to a doctor if she knew her child was dying, Raylene Worthington said, "I don't know."

Carl Worthington said that forgoing medical treatment is probably difficult for outsiders to understand. For him, medical treatment "is not a question. It's not even thought."

THIS is the spirit that Protestants must take a hard look at. This is the spirit of rebellion- against Christ, against the Catholic Church, against Life itself. "He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor." wrote Jesus son of Sirach a hundred years before Christ. I charge that in Protestant rebellion, such people have become blasphemous of the Holy Spirit, for as Carl Worthington said- for him medical treatment is not a question, it's not even a thought.
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Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
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