September 30, 2015

CathCon Daily - 09/30/2015 (Extra)

Pope Francis Is Not ‘Progressive’—He’s a Priest - Emma Green, The Atlantic

The Lamest Defense of Planned Parenthood Ever - Paul Zummo, American Catholic

A Survival Guide for Religious Believers on Campus - John Zmirak, Intercollegiate Review

On First Things And Maureen Mullarkey - Ben Domenech, The Federalist

Why the Pope Is Right about Nuclear Weapons - Daryl Kimball, National Interest

Jonah, Newt, and Constitutional Presumptions - Matthew J. Franck, NRO

The Mob Is Coming For You - V.D. Hanson, Hoover

The Legacy of Daniel Patrick Moynihan - Gabriel Schoenfeld, Public Discourse

American Flag Meets Resistance on Campus - Jennifer Kabbany, NRO

The Price of Civilization - Graham McAleer, Liberty Law Blog

The GOP Is Overmatched - David Harsanyi, The Federalist

The End Of Abortion Moderates - Hans Fiene, The Federalist

CathCon Daily - 9/30/20145

Freedom is the Condition to Living Well - Peter Lawler, Liberty Law Blog

The Preamble to the Bill of Rights - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

A New Tool for ‘Outcomes’? - James Shaw, NRO

Victim Culture Kills Manhood - David French, NRO

Pope Francis in America and Abortion - Michael Avramovich, Touchstone

Are Human Rights a Legal or Moral Matter? - Matthew Reese, Intercollegiate Review

Success of Irish Austerity - Nicholas Vardy, Human Events

No More Tirades - R.R. Reno, First Things

Shooting a 68-Year-Old Who Poses No Threat - Ilya Shapiro, Cato

The United States Should Stop Treating Russia as an Enemy - Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato

That $750 Generic Pill Is a Pure Artifact of Regulation - Walter Olson, Cato

Pope Francis Met with Kim Davis - Keith Fournier, The Stream

Stephanie Edelman on the Attractive Side of Retro-Sexism - The Federalist Radio

Donald Trump’s Low Energy Tax Plan - Ross Douthat, NYT

Lesbian Parents Attempt to Force School to Educate Child - David French, NRO

September 29, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/29/2015

Cuomo Throws Common Core Under the Bus - Petrilli & Pondiscio, Newsday

Catholic Consensus - Leah Libresco, First Things

Ahmed and the Art of the Psychodrama - V.D. Hanson, PJ Media

Back to Science Class for the Science Guy - George & Lee, NRO

Pete Geddes on the American Prairie Reserve - Russ Roberts, EconTalk

The Inexorable Logic of the Sharing Economy - Michael Spence, Project Syndicate

Soaking the Rich Won't Work - American Interest

R.R. Reno on Pope Francis' U.S. Visit - Sean Salai, S.J., America

What the Roman Empire Can Teach Us - Steven Smith, Public Discourse

Learning from Universal Child Care - Angela Rachidi, AEI

University Bans...Restaurant from Giving Its Students Sombreros - Katherine Timpf, NRO

California’s Drought...An Environmentalist Problem - Steven Greenhut, Daily Signal

Obamacare’s Largest Co-Op Collapses - Natalie Johnson, Daily Signal

Tradition and Modernity in “The Godfather” - Mark Malvasi, Imaginative Conservative

Who Were the Inklings: A Primer - Bradley J. Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

Fisking the Hoya - Sardonicus, Sardonic Ex Curia

September 28, 2015

September 27, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/27/2015

The Shutdown Message - Larry Kudlow, Pajamas Media

No, Atheist Scientists Are Incompetent - Frank Tipler, Pajamas Media

Reversing Course with Putin - Weinstein & Rough, American Interest

Prosecute the EPA Like Any Other Company - Paul Larkin, Jr., Daily Signal

Show Votes on Planned Parenthood Aren’t Fooling Anybody - Genevieve Wood, Daily Signal

Conservatives and Pope Francis's Environmentalism - Anthony Francois, Imaginative Conservative

The Wandering Bishop - Dwight Longenecker, Imaginative Conservative

Demolishing Myths About Communism - Allen C. Brownfield, Imaginative Conservative

September 25, 2015

Fisking the Hoya

[I]t is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. - Macbeth V, 5

Definition and Apology: "Fisking"is a semi-official term for what I am up to below. Also, my apologies for the Shakespeare quote, as it's taken out of context. Still and yet, it seems so apropos.

Today, Georgetown University students Garrett Hinck ("H") and Joseph Laposata ("L") published an article in the Georgetown Hoya - the self-proclaimed "oldest and largest student newspaper of Georgetown University, serving as the [Jesuit] university’s newspaper of record since 1920." The title of the article: "Doing Good Without God." In it, they take up the atheist suspicion that someone, somewhere, thinks that atheists are asleep at the Pope Francis switch. At the bottom, the Hoya graciously invites the reader to "Write a letter to the editor" in the event that said reader has a "reaction." I've gone one better...I've written a blog post in response.

(Fisking to follow - my comments in red)

As a result of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, including Washington, D.C., Georgetown’s Catholic community is abuzz with excitement and praise for the pontiff. It doesn’t take much more than a glance at one’s Facebook feed to know that people are excited to see a pope who is changing the focus of the church to issues such as poverty, climate change and humanitarian crises, which many argue should have been the primary focuses of the church all along. [One has this sneaking suspicion that those that go about yakking about the exciting "new" focus of the Church haven't really been doing their homework.] This new pope helps attract a younger generation that is less inculcated in Catholic thought and more focused on social progressivism than previous generations. [The "new" Pope is the "old" Pope is the older "Pope." L&H are showing themselves to be members of that part of the Progressive movement which parrots whatever the New York Times sees fit to print.] For this, we applaud Pope Francis. ["The Pope was asked about the thunderous applause of L&H, and replied, 'Who?'"]

However, for those who are newly interested in the Catholic Church because of the message of this progressive pontiff, we’d like to highlight one key point[, "lest anyone who is paying attention forget"]: the Catholic Church does not own being good, nor does any faith. Being a good person ["which we do not define here"] is a universal principle that lies outside of religious doctrine. ["We will also steadfastly refuse to define 'good' further (except by example), and refuse to differentiate between 'being good' and 'acting good,' because, contrary to even pre-Christian philosophers such as Aristotle, there is no such distinction."]

While it is laudable that the pope, with the megaphone that he has, would call upon the nations of Europe to welcome refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East into their countries, homes and parishes, many leaders in Europe have also called for countries to accept refugees. Notably, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Fran├žois Hollande have led their nations to accept more refugees on explicitly moral grounds.  [False dichotomy alert! What, if they're a leader (like the Pope or Merkel or Hollande) calling for refugees, they cannot be acting pursuant to Christian principles as well? Sounds like someone is committed to such a strict separation of Church and State that the idea that a leader could be Christian and acting in that way in making calls to care for the immigrant is utterly foreign.] Hospitality is an ancient custom that predates the Catholic Church [many things "predate" the Catholic Church, nor has the Church claimed exclusive rights to "hospitality"] and the people and countries taking in refugees are not necessarily [Ah hah! Backing away from the dichotomy already, are we?] doing so because God or the church told them.

Likewise, on the issue of climate change, environmental activists have been trying to frame global climate change as a moral issue for years, and the pope’s words of action are helpful and appreciated. [The Church has been framing it as a moral issue for years too. See, for instance, "Octogesima Adveniens" from 1971: "Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation.”] That said, to assume that the only reason that one should care for the environment is in order to be a better Catholic is to ignore the work of those most dedicated to this cause. This last sentence is meaningless. It sets up a massive straw man - WHO is it that is assuming that the only reason one should care for the environment is to be a better Catholic? - and then knocks it down with a non sequitur. Is there some poll of people which indicates that "75% of Catholics working on environmental issues do so in order to avoid mortal sin?" And then, those Catholics turn around and proceed to dismiss non-Catholics works on the environment as...what...non-Catholic? 

Imagine that a leading atheist such as Richard Dawkins or Bill Maher called for the exact same things that the pope has and was able to reach the same amount of people. It does not take a particularly bright mind to realize that he would be given much less credence, almost exclusively because of his religious preference. [ if Dawkins or Maher agree with what the Pope says, the individual who, in one breath is cheering the Pope, turns around and thinks, "Well, wait a minute. Now Maher agrees with me and the I don't believe it at all...because Maher doesn't believe it for the right reasons. Incredibly ridiculous.] And yet the substance of his proposal would remain the same. In its own way, this is a kind of discrimination. [Yes - this is discrimination by a strawman. It's difficult, because, I mean, who would one sue for this? A wheat field? Oppression by crops!] Atheists the world over, including here in the United States, are distrusted and believed to be immoral because most people believe that morality is inextricably linked with religious thought. 

This ostensible religious monopoly on morality has real world consequences. According to the Pew Foundation, only 41 percent of Americans view atheists positively. Only 45 percent would even consider voting for a qualified atheist for public office. Fewer people would be comfortable with their son or daughter marrying an atheist than a person with any other faith, knowing nothing else about the person. Perhaps this is because some atheists go about proclaiming themselves as more intelligent and more moral than Christians, which tends not to produce loving responses from Christians. For instance, this Pew Poll noted that on the "warm and fuzzy" 0 - 100 scale, Evangelical Christians see atheists at about a 25 - consonant with their view of atheists as L&H - and atheists see Evangelical Christians at a 28. I would be interested in seeing how many atheists would (honestly) support an outspoken Evangelical Christian qualified candidate for public office. 

People seem to believe that atheists are nihilists or that they have rejected the moral foundations of our society. [Many famous atheists have done so. Are they not to be included in your group? Why not?]  This is simply not the case. [Unless one is reading Nietzsche, for instance.] Of the 16 percent of Americans who do not profess any religious belief, at least 5 percent are self-identified atheists, which equals about 15.8 million people.  These are law-abiding Americans who find their moral centers in philosophy, societal norms and common human decency. [A massive leap in logic, claiming that all 15.8 million atheists are "law-abiding American" with certain traits. Really? Many Christians wouldn't make that claim for ALL of their fellow Christians. Who is being dishonest and broad-brushed here?] But because religious groups are credited with exclusive moral authority, most Americans would deny them basic rights. Basic rights? Really? Thank goodness someone realized that I, as a Catholic, am out to deny you food, water, breath, LIFE, the right to vote, etc. This sentence might be the most nonsensical in the entire post, though it clearly doesn't lack for competition.

We, as Georgetown students, respect Pope Francis because he advocates on behalf of our fellow man for the least among us and the most in need. These are common moral principles that people of all faiths or none can embrace. We ask that nonreligious people be given the same right to a judgment of character as religious people — not immediately labeled as amoral nihilists. Every person is much more complicated than his religious affiliation and condemning him based on a single belief misses who he really is. As Pope Francis himself said, “Who am I to judge?”

I am waiting for the day when "Brights," themselves extend the same judgment to Christians. 

I am not holding my breath.

CathCon Daily - 9/25/2015 (Extra)

Living Constitution as Impediment to Death Penalty Abolishment - Kevin Walsh, Mirror of Justice

“Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail” - Walter Olson, Cato

A Solution in Search of a Problem - Jason Bedrick, Cato

Confessions of a Member of the One Percent - Theodore Dalrymple, Liberty Law Blog

37 Tweets About John Boehner’s Resignation - Leah Jessen, Daily Signal

Confessions of a Seduction Addict - Elizabeth Gilbert, NYT

The Anti-Benedict Conspiracy - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Don’t Sign the Death Warrant for Unhappy People - Nancy Valko, The Stream

Students Rip Down Pro-Life Flyers, Then Brag - Blake Neff, The Stream

CathCon Daily - 09/25/2015

A Million Little Pieces - Danny Vinik, Politico

The Political Evanescence of the Papal Visit - Matthew J. Franck, First Things

What Francis Said - And Didn't Say - To Congress - R.R. Reno, First Things

The Folly of Lifestyle Ecumenism - Michael Pakaluk, First Things

The Stability of Glaciers in the Astore Basin - Craig D. Idso, Cato

The President, the Pope, and the Green Book - Francis J. Beckwith, The Catholic Thing

Who is Pope Francis Speaking To? - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing

It’s Time to Get Serious about Infidelity - Beverly Willett, Public Discourse

Initial Reflection on Pope Francis’s Address to Congress - John Breen, Mirror of Justice

Is America Post-Christian? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Pope Francis and the Not-Quite-Secular West - Ross Douthat, NYT

VA Department Solution - Jonah Goldberg, NRO

Training to be Doctors of the Soul? - Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing

Liberals' Aversion to Debate - David Harsanyi, NRO

Progressives Are The Ones Who ‘Corporatized’ Universities - Daniel Payne, The Federalist

The Pope Francis Effect: Enthusiasm, But To What End? - Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

September 24, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/24/2015 (Extra)

Pope Francis Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit

Salutary Failures - Dylan Pahman, Liberty Law Blog

Sit Down, Be Quiet, and Listen - Mary Leary, Mirror of Justice

Pope Francis and Religious Freedom - Richard Garnett, Mirror of Justice

Trashing Luther - Russell Saltzman, First Things

The Question of Question-Begging - Lydia McGrew, What's Wrong with the World

20 Key Quotes from Pope Francis’s Address to Congress - Joe Carter, Acton

‘Fast and Furious’ Murder Trial Begins - Astrid Galvin, AP / The Stream

CathCon Daily - 9/24/2015

The Dirty Truth About "Organic" - Henry Miller, Hoover

When Francis Came to Cuba - Carlos Eire, First Things

Can Virtue Heal the American Right? - Rachel Lu, Crisis

Francis and the Politics of Projection - Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

No Trigger Warnings - George Leef, NRO

No Anti-Asian Bias Princeton? - Roger Clegg, NRO

PETA Sues on Behalf of a Monkey - Katherine Timpf, NRO

The Green Inferno - Armond White, NRO

Super-Earners Targeted in California Tax Push - Alison Vekshin, Bloomberg

College Students Shown Picture of Clock - Oliver Darcy, The Blaze

The Emperor's Moral Narcissism - Mark Steyn

Here’s The Culture That Produces Ahmed Mohamed - Vanessa Rasanen, The Federalist

The Decline And Fall Of American Political Debate - John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Che Guevara’s Pope - Maureen Mullarkey, The Federalist

S.C. Take TN Courts Out of the Marriage Business? - MacLeod & McFarland, Public Discourse

Walker Percy’s American Apocalypse - H. Colin Messer, Nomocracy in Politics

Another Fiscal Cliff? - Josh Siegel, Daily Signal

WH Official Mocks Blocked Teen on Twitter - Kristinn Taylor, Gateway Pundit

The Importance of Conserving Food - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservative

SJWs and Marcuse - April Kelly-Woessner, Heterodox Academy

Education Dogma - George Yancey, Heterodox Academy

The President, the Pope, and the Green Book - Francis J. Beckwith, The Catholic Thing

Will Pope Francis Address America’s Moral Crisis? - Patrick Buchanan, Imaginative Conservative

Donald Trump threatens to sue over T-shirts - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

Obama Invited Fired...School Teacher and Her ‘Wife’ to Meet Pope - Blake Neff, The Stream

Left Would Destroy Religious Liberty - David French, NRO

September 23, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/23/2015 (Extra)

Sex and Campus - Mark Regnerus, First Things

Test of Faith - Mark Edmundson, American Scholar

The Special-Interest State - Michael Greve, Liberty Law Blog

Advancing Heterodoxy - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Reframing the U.S. Religious Liberty Debate - John Allen, Jr., Crux

Pope's Opening Remarks - N.C. Register Staff

A Skeptic’s Guide To The Papal Visit - Rachel Lu, The Federalist

CathCon Daily - 9/23/2015

Why is Donald Trump Happening to America? - Leon Wolf, Red State

The Limits of Consent - Timothy Hsaio, Public Discourse

Christian Nation Thesis:...Right, and...Wrong - Bruce Frohnen, Nomocracy in Politics

Ahmed Mohamed Didn't Build a Clock - Ian Tuttle, NRO

Augustine, Colbert, and Biden: Political Confession - Chase Padusniak, Intercollegiate Review

Three Cheers For Political Incivility - Bruce Thornton, Hoover

The GOP is Killing Itself - Peter Wehner, Commentary

Walter Williams vs. Pope Francis - Daniel Mitchell, Cato

DeKoster’s 3 Dimensions of Work - Joseph Sunde, Acton

Hundred Try and Schedule Mammograms at PP - Bre Payton, The Federalist

We Need to Emphasize What the Family Can Do for Others - Helen Alvare, NC Register

Yogi Berra Dies at 90 - Oliver Darcy, The Blaze

Strange New Climate Change Spin - William Briggs, The Stream

Are You Sure You Want to #Shoutyourabortion? - Charles C.W. Cooke, NRO

Defunding Student Paper for Criticizing #BlackLivesMatter - Aleister, Legal Insurrection

Historical Consciousness and the Roman Road - Christopher Morrissey, Imaginative Conservative

Salon Pedophilia Article a Mistake - Jonah Goldberg, NRO

Idiotic or Dishonest? - Walter Williams, Human Events

Saving N.C. Farms - Kaitlyn Schallhorn, The Blaze

I Shout My Life - Lori Sanders, The Federalist

September 22, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/22/2015 (Extra)

Father, mother, child, which express both the union of the sexes and de production of the being, can only be considered dependently on one another, and relatively to one another. A woman could exist without the existence of a man; but there is no mother if there is no father, nor a child without both of them. Each one of these ways of being presumes and recalls the other two; that is to say, they are relative. Considered thus, they are called relationships, in Latin, ratio; father, mother, child are persons, and their union forms the family. The union of the sexes, which is the foundation of all these relationships, is called marriage. - Louis de Bonald

Book Offers Wide Range of Reasons to Dislike Common Core - Jay Lehr, Heartland

How Many Felonies Did You Commit Today? - Joe Carter, Acton

Political Alignments Suddenly Changing? - Michael Barone, Human Events

Obama’s Faith Isn’t the Issue, But… - David Limbaugh, Human Events

Dr. Paul Church Appeals His Kafkaesque Termination - Michael Avramovich, Mere Comments

Atheism and Morality - Lydia McGrew, What's Wrong with the World

Dems Block GOP Bill That Would Curb Late Abortions - Alan Fram, AP / The Stream

The Double Standard on Smoking vs. Marijuana - Ed Feulner, Daily Signal

“We’re Just Trying to Do Right by Our Students” - George Leef, NRO

Median Income in the United States: Still Falling - Erin Mundahl, Weekly Standard

CathCon Daily - 9/22/2015

Intolerant of Truth - Heather MacDonald, City Journal

Faraday on Mental Discipline - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

WaPo Hackery in Support of Late-Term Abortion - Streiff, Red State

Mouse Experiments Point to Alzheimer’s Treatment - Wesley Smith, NRO

A Guide Through the Thicket - Jordan Hylden, First Things

Laudato Si’ and the Selling of Body Parts - Jordan Dauphinais, Crisis

Husbands, Wives, and Work - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservative

The Born-Alive Act-Redux - Hadley Arkes, The Catholic Thing

Obama Disses Chaput - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Evangelicals and the Carson Illusion - Ross Douthat, NYT

Among the Ahmed Truthers - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

American's and Rights in Three Tweets - Amelia Hamilton, The Stream

Do We Really Understand What an Economy Is? - John Willson, Imaginative Conservative

Progressivism: The Horrors of an Idea - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

How To Restore Millennials’ Faith In Marriage - Meg McDonnell, The Federalist

Transgender People Hurt Themselves - Walt Heyer, The Federalist

Hunger for Annihilation Will Devour Us All - Rebecca Hamilton, N.C. Register

Locked in the Welfare State - Gabriel Zanotti, Acton

September 21, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/21/2015 (Extra)

The Modern Left’s Moral Rot - Evelyn Gordon, Commentary

Francis Not Likely to Give Congress Answers - Ivy DeJesus, PennLive

Mary Rice Hasson on Washington Journal - Erika Bachiochi, Mirror of Justice

Most Powerful Defense of Market Capitalism - James Pethokoukis, AEI

Ruth Marcus Falls Off Her High Horse - Matthew J. Franck, NRO

Marcus Needs Remedial Course in Constitutional Law - Ed Whelan, NRO

Hatch Reaffirms Importance of Mens Rea Reform - Jonathan Keim, NRO

Challenge us, Pope Francis - John Cavadini, NY Daily News

Salon Publishes Essay by Pedophile - Kaitlyn Schallhorn, The Blaze

On Salon's Much-Maligned Pedophile Piece - Charles C.W. Cooke, NRO

Hillary Clinton is No Friend to Sexual Assault Survivors - Sean Davis, The Federalist

Politics of the Benedict Option - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Virtues of American Citizenship: Jealousy and Commitment - Kevin Hardwick, Liberty Law Blog

Most Comprehensive ‘Tree of Life’ Created to Date - Liz Klimas, The Blaze

CathCon Daily - 9/21/2015

Bertrand Russell's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

An Unexpected Democratic Revolt - Noah Rothman, Commentary

Planned Parenthood is a Racket - Eric Banecker, First Things

100 Years of Government's "Managed" Health Care - Michel Accad, Mises

Obama Rewrites Immigration Law - Ian Smith, NRO

Public Morality and the Lure of Profit - David Tubbs, Public Discourse

Adam Smith, Rationalized - David Conway, Nomocracy in Politics

What the Public Thinks of Common Core - Frederick Hess, NRO

Fiorina Jumps to Second Place in the Polls - Streiff, Red State

Should We Fight Pashtun Pedophiles? - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Chaos and Choices - Gerald Russello, University Bookman

We Can’t Solve Poverty Without Addressing Families - Maura Corrigan, The Federalist

Opting Out of the Benedict Option? - T. Renee Kozinski, Imaginative Conservative

Is There a Wall of Separation Between Church and State? - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative

Obamacare Will Cost Native American Tribes Millions - Melissa Quinn, Daily Signal

Slavery is No National Institution - Sean Wilentz, NYT

September 20, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/20/2015

The Tragedy of Rand Paul - Noah Rothman, Commentary

Ignoring Rand Paul - David Boaz, Cato

A Virtue of Victimhood - Jonah Goldberg, NRO

Truth on Catholic Teaching on Contraception - Mark Regnerus, NRO

D.C. Loses Another Gun Rights Case - Hans von Spakovsky, PJ Media

Low Hanging Fruit - John Sanphillippo, New Geography

Who's Really Lying About Planned Parenthood - Federalist Staff

Who Stands Up for These Marginalized? - Anthony Esolen, The Catholic Thing

Religious Liberalism = Spiritual Senescence - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

If the NYT Had Real Editors - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Ahmed, You Didn't Build That - Neal Stevens, Red State

Worship the State...Or Else - Eric Metaxas, The Stream

US Spends More on Social Welfare than European Nations - Robert Rector, Daily Signal

Pope Francis, Poverty, Capitalism - George Will, NRO

Turning Smog Into Diamonds - Mara Zebest, Gateway Pundit

A Priest's Hopes for the Pope's Visit - Fr. John McCloskey, The Catholic Thing

The 4 Types of Poverty, and How to Cure Them - Robert Woodson, Sr., Daily Signal

Kim Davis Update - Lydia McGrew, What's Wrong with the World

What Today’s Rape Activists Don’t Get - Katie van Syckle, NY Mag

The Case Against Legalization - Ed Gogek, The Stream

A Review of Beyond the Abortion Wars - Susannah Black, Human Life Review

Obama Admin - Hillsdale Not a Real College - Blake Neff, The Stream

Becoming Dashiell Hammett - Benjamin Welton, Weekly Standard

The Cultural Contradictions of Modern Liberalism - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative

September 18, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/18/2015 (Extra)

Glendon's Tocquevillian Approach - Erika Bachiochi, Mirror of Justice

Our Side Must Decide to Put the Sideshows Aside - David Limbaugh, Human Events

Fiorina was Right - Glenn Stanton, First Things

The White House’s Childish Dig at the Pope - American Interest

American Cultural Imperialism - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Bernie Sanders, Genteel Socialist - Patrick Lynch, Liberty Law Blog

Diversity v. Academic Psychologists - Mark Perry, AEI

How Many Women Are Pressured Into Abortions? - Greg Scandlen, The Federalist

Artificial Intelligence Is Ruining Child’s Play - Payton & Cromwell, The Federalist

TN Defiant Bill Aimed at Dismantling Gay Marriage Ruling - Billy Hallowell, The Blaze

Black...Student Admits to Hanging...“White Only” Signs - Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit

Washington Gears Up for Pope Francis’ Visit - Madaline Donnelly, The Stream

CathCon Daily - 9/18/2015

RSVP "No" to Suicide Party - Wesley Smith, First Things

The Africans Will Save the Synod, the Church, and the World - Austin Ruse, Crisis

The Shadow Hanging Over Fantasy Sports - Stephen Malanga, City Journal

Accepting Only Christian Refugees Makes Sense - Raymond Ibrihim, Human Events

Fiorina's "I Don't Care" Attitude is Bothering the Left - Kim Ross, Red State

What Makes a Society Thrive? - Stoner & James, Public Discourse

Part I: The Supreme Court’s Felt Necessities - Mike Rappaport, Liberty Law Blog

Scribes and Holidays - Gerald Russello, CLRF

Europe's Humanitarianism Is, Sadly, Not Humanitarian - Michael Barone, Human Events

The Music of Chaos and Creation - Stephen Klugewicz, Imaginative Conservative

The Media’s Stupid Trump Obsession - Rich Lowry, The Stream

National Constitution Center’s ‘Interactive Constitution’ - Eugene Volokh, Volokh

September 17, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/17/2015 (Extra)

In Praise of John Roberts - John O. McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Why Dodd-Frank Is Already Failing - Paul G. Mahoney, Liberty Law Blog

GOP Debate Features SCOTUS Discussion (Finally!) - Carrie Severino, Bench Memos

Media Lash Out at Fiorina - Ian Tuttle, NRO

Opportunity vs. Outcomes - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Asexual or A Sexual Public Square - David Talcott, First Things

Assembling an American Majority - Pete Spiliakos, First Things

The Left’s Bad Social Science - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

Obama to Francis: Screw You - Declan Finn, Catholic Geeks

American's Strange Constitutional Thoughts - Sara Jones, Daily Signal

IRS Revokes Nonprofit Status of Veterans Group that Hosted Trump - Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit

No-So-Conservative Positions - Rachel Alexander, The Stream

The Relevance of Debates is Debatable - Phillip Terzian, Weekly Standard

Will the Trump Madness Now End? - Peter Wehner, Commentary

CathCon Daily - 9/17/2015

Problem of Liberal Sexual Ethics -  Daniel Haqiqatjou, Public Discourse

Architects of Manipulation - Daniel Postell, Nomocracy in Politics

Breyer’s Red Herring on Foreign Law (II) - Ed Whelan, NRO

#GOPDebate Tweets of the Night - William Jacobson, Legal Insurrection

The Myth of America's Religious Founding - Mark David Hall, First Things

Preschool Stories - Kay Hymowitz, City Journal

Oregon Judge Who Won't Officiate at Gay Weddings - Ken McIntyre, Daily Signal

Suicide and Sins of Omission - Ellen Wilson Fielding, The Catholic Thing

The Mind of the Social Justice Warrior - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

The Migrant Crisis: Compassion and Common Sense - William Kilpatrick, Crisis

The Cult of Donald Trump - Charles C.W. Cooke, NRO

The Trouble With Kids Today - Charles Murray, The Federalist

September 16, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/16/2015

Saint Origen - David Bentley Hart, First Things

The Truth About Mass Incarceration - Stephanos Bibos, NRO

Social Ownership of Money - Joe Carter, Acton

Grover Cleveland, The Forgotten Conservative - Garland S. Tucker, Intercollegiate Review

Moderation in Drug Policy Is a Virtue - Theodore Dalrymple, Liberty Law Blog

Ushering in a Golden Age of Medicine - Tom Coburn, City Journal

Popes in These United States - George Weigel, First Things

A College Dream Deferred - Breaking Ground

Is Obamism Correctable? - VD Hanson, NRO

Government Just Wants Money - Steven Greenhut, Human Events

Behind the Mainstream Media's Crumbling Facade - Rachel Alexander, Human Events

The Public Case against Human Cloning - Witherspoon Council, Public Discourse

The Candidate of Coercive Democracy - John McGinnis, Liberty Law Blog

Liberty University Shows the Left How to Handle Dissent - Andrew Walker, NRO

Tax Exemptions and Religious Freedom - Rick Garnett, WaPo

Calling Carson an "Okay" Doctor is Laughable - Paul Dykewicz, Human Events

PopeWatch: Catholic Divorce - Donald McClarey, American Catholic

Annulment and the American Experience - Fr. Mark Pilon, The Catholic Thing

Is Biden Really the Answer? - Jonah Goldberg, The Stream

Getting History Right - Bradley Birzer, Imaginative Conservative

The Ecstasy of Love - Eva Brann, Imaginative Conservative

Confusion over Opportunity versus Outcomes - Thomas Sowell, The Stream

Heterodox Academy - Jonathan Haidt, et. al.

A Brief Note on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Long Essay - Roger Clegg, NRO

September 15, 2015

Civil Asset Forfeiture - A Reply to Rachel Alexander at The Stream...

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 
- U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV

No person shall be ...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- U.S. Constitution, Amendment V

This provision seems indispensable to the full enjoyment of the rights of personal security, personal liberty, and private property. It is little more. than the affirmance of a great constitutional doctrine of the common law. 
- Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, Amendment IV

      At the interesting new website "The Stream," author Rachel Alexander (founder of Intellectual Conservative and author of pieces in other places, as well) pens a blog answering the question "Does Civil Asset Forfeiture Really Go Too Far?" In doing so, I think Alexander does not address the broader issues at stake in civil asset forfeiture and reform, therefore and should take more into consideration in the analysis.

      Part of what John Duffy has called "virtues of conversation"is, I believe, taking the other person seriously, as an independent thinking agent. Part of that virtue, when writing a response such as this, is to attempt to understand and accurately summarize the other's argument. Therefore, I take Alexander's attempt to answer the question as follows:
  1. Civil asset forfeiture consists of seizure of property without (necessarily) charging anyone with a crime, when the property is suspected of being part of some illegal activity, thus preventing its further use in criminal activity.
  2. Civil asset forfeiture is legal, as it has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
  3. The ACLU believes that asset forfeiture has been abused, and presents two cases for consideration, but those cases are only two examples, and not good ones, of mistakes.
  4. While seized assets are often used to fund police departments and other agencies, organizations like the ACLU and Cato go too far in hinting that this is profiteering on the part of such agencies.
  5. Oklahoma counties seized $4 million in cash from 114 people in a five-year span, providing the basis for the ACLU's complaints; however, the ACLU provides only two examples, which aren't good enough, especially since they are not calling for a criminal investigation in OK.
  6. While there are ways to rein in abuses, such as limiting how seized property may be used, improving privacy requirements, and improving transparency, bills such as that proposed by OK Sen. Kyle Loveless go too far in requiring a criminal conviction.
  7. This problem is not as serious as Loveless, Cato, the ACLU or other proponents of criminal convictions claim, because they have failed to support their claims with appropriate evidence.

If this summary is inaccurate, I hope that Alexander or any of my readers will take the time to let me know, so I can revise it, and any other parts of this reply.

First, I think Alexander should expand her view to deal with the entirety of the problems asserted concerning abuse of civil asset forfeiture. Many of the proponents of reform indeed point to lack of criminal charges, but  this is also as a symptom of abuse, rather than a root problem. For instance, I doubt that many reform proponents would contest Bernard Madoff's civil forfeiture of assets. However, proponents become concerned when the government proceeds to people that had dubious connection to the criminal activity. Reformers become even more concerned when civil forfeiture is claimed in cases far exceeding the actual harm, or simply based upon the idea that the amount of money on a person ispo facto indicates the likelihood of a drug deal. When Alexander accuses the ACLU, Cato, etc. of failing to provide enough evidence that civil asset forfeiture is abused due to lack of conviction, she may be correct in this limited view, but she does not appear to have taken steps to review the totality of claims of reformers, nor the idea that laws may be unjust even if only one person has ever been ensnared by them. For instance, the Institute for Justice, here, gives a very good overview and in-depth discussion of the issues they perceive with civil asset forfeiture.

Second, and relatedly, I think Alexander needs to grapple with the question of why requiring criminal charges to be filed is a bad idea? She believes the reformers show a lack of evidence, of bad faith ("the ACLU seems to be insinuating that the police must be corrupt and greedy"), of lack of logic and hidden agenda ("It is telling that the ACLU never provides this full explanation"), and of being hasty ("premature to change the law to require criminal convictions in order to seize property"). However, all of these fail to deal with the reformers' issues concerning seizure of property from the truly innocent, and the difficulties those innocent individuals experience in attempting to recover their property. 

In the end, Alexander seems to have no real argument against civil asset forfeiture reform, nor in favor of it.  She needs to address the larger issues at stake in order for her discussion to have more force and be more convincing to those arguing in favor of reform.

CathCon Daily - 9/15/2015

Obama Takes on Political Correctness - American Interest

Republican Leaders Have No Plan For Planned Parenthood - Ben Domenech, The Federalist

Obama Administration Isn’t Telling You About Its College Rankings - Greg Ferenstein, Daily Signal

The Rise of the Divorce Selfie - Bethany Mandel, Acculturated

Purging America's Heroes - Patrick Buchanan, Human Events

The Redistributive State - Robert Rector, Daily Signal

Another Case Where Unborn Lives Don’t Matter - Repair_Man_Jack, Red State

5 Ways the Army Changes Life in America - Mackenzie Eaglen, AEI

We Spend Much More Per Person on Social Welfare than Europe Does - Robert Rector, NRO

The Radicalism of Woodrow Wilson’s Racism - Bruce Frohnen, Imaginative Conservative

Gas Tax Still a Tax - Luke Phillips, New Geography

Progressive-Era Economics and the Legacy of Jim Crow - William Anderson, Mises

Controlling Thought in French Schools and Beyond - Fr. George Rutler, Crisis

Science Waiting to be Heard on Abortion - Phillip Hawley, Jr., Public Discourse

Attack on Teachers - Walter Williams, Human Events

Why Have Elections? - Thomas Sowell, Human Events

Why Words Matter - Gracy Olmstead, American Conservative

On Being "Undisturbed" by Transcendence - James V. Schall, S.J., The Catholic Thing

Constitutional Morality vs. Class Warfare - Virginia Arbery, Imaginative Conservative

Refuting More NY Times Idiocy on Catholicism - Matthew Bowman, Catholic Geeks

Resolution Would Label Islamic State Atrocities ‘Genocide’ - Matt Hadro, N.C. Register

Bernie Sanders @ Liberty - Rod Dreher, American Conservative

The Flock vs. The Shepherd - Mark Bauerlein, First Things

Trump’s Business Success Is More Than Marginal - Ethan Epstein, Weekly Standard

How Star Trek Explains The Decline Of Liberalism - Timothy Sandefur, The Federalist

September 14, 2015

CathCon Daily - 9/14/2015

Adaptation or Abandonment? - Patrick Deneen, Liberty Law Blog

The Elephant in the Room: Judicial Nominations - Carrie Severino, NRO

The Dictionary of the Modern Campus Activist - Bennett & Neff, The Stream

The Death of Good Journalism - Eric Metaxas, The Stream

Fiscal Evolution from Madisonian Constitutionalism to Wilsonian Statism - Daniel Mitchell, Cato

Is Francis Ready for a Cuban Confrontation? - Paul Kengor, Crisis

Rousey Is Smart To Not Fight A Man - D.C. McAllister, The Federalist

The Derridean Echo - Mark Bauerlein, First Things

Trade in the Cadillac Tax on Health Insurance - Howard & Feyman, NRO

Let The Left Destigmatize Racism - Matthew Cochran, The Federalist

Global Warming & A Second Holocaust - Robert Zubrin, NRO

Momentous Days Ahead - Robert Royal, The Catholic Thing

Founders Good, Progressives Bad? - Peter Lawler, NRO

Keeping the Spotlight on Planned Parenthood - Stephen Heaney, Public Discourse

Lust for Learning - Laura Miller, New Republic

An Eternal Introduction - Gordon Lloyd, Liberty Law Blog

Planned Failure - Jim DeMint, Daily Signal

Is Our Culture Worthy of Despair? - R.J. Snell, Imaginative Conservative

Carson: The Alternative Non-Politician - Debra Saunders, The Stream

Homophobia Now Being Labeled a ‘Mental Disease’ - William Briggs, The Stream

Do Americans Really Value Hard Work? - Mark Malvasi, The Imaginative Conservative