December 11, 2015

CathCon Weekly - 12/11/2015

The Best Way Forward For the Church - James Kalb, Crisis
Things look bad in the Church and Western world just now. The Church, humanly speaking, seems to be destroying herself through unresisted absorption in a secular world with which she has ever less in common. What was once her real though imperfect reflection, the civilization of the West, is also destroying itself through willful rejection of moral and cultural tradition reinforced by demographic suicide.
Obama’s Less Orwellian Terrorism Speech - Ken Masugi, Liberty Law Blog
On the day before the Pearl Harbor anniversary (which he did not reference), President Obama admitted that “Our nation has been at war with terrorists since Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” including horrors that his Administration previously dismissed as workplace violence. While much of what he said seemed to deny the reality of war, the last fourth of the speech raises the key question of what Muslims owe the rest of the world in this time of war.
Understanding and Countering the Liberal Wringer - Scott Yenor, Public Discourse
According to the modern idea, marriage is merely a consenting relationship between adults, for whatever purposes those adults define. This idea has given us same-sex marriage. As many have pointed out, plural marriage is the next logical step. Why should a marriage so understood be limited to two people?
Liberalism’s Gun Problem - Ross Douthat, NYT
Despite their occasional sympathies for Gallic socialism, I don’t think American liberals necessarily want to “get to France” in this illiberal sense.
But to be persuasive, rather than just self-righteous, a case for gun control needs to explain why that isn’t where we would end up.
The Times are Out of Joint - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing
Italian has a word (coined from Shakespeare’s Hamlet) – “amletico” – for the kind of narcissist who indulges in eloquent, self-regarding, moral soliloquies, but doesn’t ever really do anything.
Is Barack Obama Qualified To Identify True Islam? - Rachel Lu, The Federalist
Most of us realized this quite some time ago. It’s ironic that this admission, coming from the White House and a Democratic president, really does count as breaking news. Can we finally talk openly about the real dimensions of this problem? Is it time, at least, to stop pretending this is really just about “workplace violence” or the availability of guns?
Wilson, Jefferson, & the Will to Ignorance - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative
The crybullies currently raging through American campuses collecting scalps (oops! microaggression) have set their sights on dead villains as well as live ones. The motivation is the same, of course, to harness the resentment they have learned in school as a tool of self-aggrandizement in power, influence, and cheap pride. 
A Champion of Inherited Culture - William McCann, University Bookman
H. L. Mencken once said that the college professor, “menaced by the timid dogmatism of the plutocracy above him and the incurable suspiciousness of the mob, beneath him, is almost invariably inclined to seek his own security in a mellifluous inanity.”
On What Is Not Found in English Departments - James V. Schall, S.J., University Bookman
In A Literary Education and Other Essays is found Joseph Epstein’s 2011 review, “English as It’s Taught” in The Cambridge History of the American Novel. This hefty tome has seventy-one chapters with some twelve hundred pages brilliantly written, to Epstein’s amusement, so that no one else but professors teaching in English department could or would read them, and he is not sure about them either. English departments, as I have long suspected, are the last bastions of Marxism in the Western world.
How I Didn't Become a Conservative - Thomas Storck, Distributist Review
What unites those who attend this meeting? Obviously it could be hostility toward those who call themselves liberals. After all, are not liberals those who favor abortion, same-sex unions, a government that grows annually bigger like a cancer?
Krampus - Edmund Waldstein, OP, Sancrucensis
My first encounter with Krampus — St Nicholas’s demon slave who punishes the naughty children who say their prayers, while St Nicholas rewards the good children — was also my most memorable encounter with that spirit.
In Search of American Fascism - Ross Douthat, NYT
Certainly during the great “Liberal Fascism” contretemps this was one of the assumptions held by a number of Jonah Goldberg’s critics, and one of the major claims lodged against his thesis — that some kind of traditionalism is essential to fascism and therefore fascism is definitionally an ideology of the right, and so even if you can find fascistic tendencies (a cult of action, a fervent nationalism, an embrace of race science, a constant quest for the moral equivalent of war) in American progressivism’s past or present, you need a different label for what you’re actually describing than the f-word.
Why Do They Come Here? - V.D. Hanson, NRO
Why would Ms. Tashfeen Malik, who was born in Pakistan but lived most of her life in Saudi Arabia, want to come to the United States?
Liberal Nihilism in a Nutshell - V.D. Hanson, PJ Media
He opposed gay marriage. He warned that he could not use presidential fiats to grant amnesty, close down Guantanamo, or remake the EPA in his own image. He borrowed as never before, in vain hopes of kicking-starting a natural recovery that he would soon abort through his own anti-business jawboning, more regulations, growth in government, and tax increases.
Welfare Isn’t Dead - Thomas Main, City Journal
Welfare reform destroyed the social safety net—that’s the thesis of Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer’s $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. “Welfare is dead,” as the title of the first chapter has it. This phrase turns out to mean not that there literally is no federal welfare program—there is; it’s called Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)—but that the nearly 60 percent decline in the welfare rolls has caused the number of families with a daily cash income of $2 or less per person to more than double, to about 1.5 million households by 2011.
Same-Sex Marriage, Religious Schools, and Parental Rights - Nathan Swanson, Public Discourse
The “inversion of the original meaning of liberty” in Obergefell v. Hodges, observed Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, “will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty . . . It appears all but inevitable that [civil and religious marriage] will come into conflict.”
Keynes Was No Keynesian - Allen H. Meltzer, Hoover
The United States and much of the developed world have been subjected to many decades of so-called Keynesian policy. These policies have left many of the countries, ours especially, with heavy debts and continuing budget deficits. Our current slow recovery has come on the heels of the Obama administration’s 2009 Keynesian “stimulus” of nearly one trillion dollars, which was followed by additional deficit spending. 
Is Gun Control Even Possible in the U.S.? - Rachel Lu, Crisis
Catholics have no clear, dogmatic position on guns. The American bishops have occasionally indicated that they are favorable to gun control, although this has never been a major point of emphasis for them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions that it is permissible to do injury to others in self-defense, or in defense of the lives of innocents. Clearly, a great deal of prudential calculation is needed to form an informed policy position from such limited data points.
Corporations are People, Too - Carson Holloway, Public Discourse
A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. The Little Sisters, an order of Catholic nuns, seek relief from mandates issued by the Obama administration that require them to provide health insurance that includes artificial contraception. The Little Sisters contend that the mandates require them to provide coverage contrary to their religious beliefs, in violation of their rights under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Problem with the Ancient Greeks - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics
Too many public intellectuals, and especially teachers of political science, continue to present ancient Greek political thought as providing a kind of model for contemporary conduct and regime analysis. This statement may seem odd coming from a self-identified conservative.
Imagining a World Without Time - Eva Brann, Imaginative Conservative
Here is a theory of time. It is neither new to me nor new in the world. I formulated it for publication in 1999 and had it formulated for me, so I could make it my own, sixteen hundred years ago by Augustine in 399 C.E. and some three quarters of a millennium before that by Aristotle, post-335 B.C.E.*
Then and Now in Academia - Paul Gottfried, Unz Review
Recent troubles at Yale, Missouri, and other campuses have made me think about how the academic culture has changed – much for the worse I believe. But a former colleague (who recently passed) used to tell me how much better the academic world seemed to him now than when he was a graduate student circa 1970.
A Response to David Bentley Hart - Samuel Gregg, Public Discourse
Hart adds that he “simply cannot find an assertion anywhere in its pages that strikes me as anything other than either a plain statement of fact or a reasonable statement of Christian principle.” Such comments are audacious but untenable. Close examination of some of Laudato Si’s arguments does raise questions about their coherence.
Congress’s Diminishing Power of the Purse - Randal John Meyer, First Things
One of the most important aspects of the separation of powers is the commitment of the power of the purse to the legislative branch. It constrains the executive and the judiciary from engaging in unilateral action without congressional approval. If there’s no approval, there will be no money to pay for the executive action, as the rule would have it. Unsurprisingly, with the advent of the administrative state and an aggressive executive, this power has been significantly diminished in modern times
The Growing Threat of Historical Presentism - Paul Bartow, AEI
The outrage began with the calls for removal of the Confederate Flag and exploded to assaults on John Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, and most recently on Thomas Jefferson. 
Do People, Or Do People Not, Respond to Welfare Payments? - Don Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek
Yesterday in the Copenhagen airport, awaiting a flight back to the U.S., I had a pleasant if brief conversation with a Danish-American woman.  A fair summary of her views about government-provided welfare is the following...
The Devolution of the American Presidency - Clyde Wilson, Imaginative Conservative
The American President began as Cincinnatus, a patriot called to the temporary service of his country (a republican confederation). The President ends as Caesar, a despot of almost unlimited power, presiding over a global empire.

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