Sarah Palin's Hand Job

There has been much buzz in the blogosphere about Sarah Palin's Hand Notes. After criticizing Obama for using a teleprompter, it was discovered that she had crib notes written on her own hand to answer a rather simple, straightforward and indeed "softball" question. This means that she was given the question in advance, but still needed help in answering it.

But missed in all the merriment is what she had actually written, because that tells a story all its own. She wrote "Budget cuts" and then crossed out "budget" to write "tax" cuts. This is the hallmark of the "gimme" generation, the problem with the Politics of Ingratitude. She wants to cut taxes, but is unwilling to talk about cutting the budget. She wants the wars without the cost. She wants the National Security State without paying the cops. She wants the services, but not the expense.

This by now is a time-honored tradition, dating back to Ronald Reagan, who convinced the public that he could finance his tax cuts by eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse." That is, no one need fear that their subsidy was in any danger. Anybody who actually advocates a particular service cut will not be elected, and anybody who actually makes a cut will not be re-elected. But even a person who needs crib notes for simple questions can understand that you cannot cut taxes without cutting expenses. That just drives up borrowing, and borrowing is also a tax, just a tax shifted to the next generation. The Tea Baggers are perfect representatives of this mentality. While I certainly respect their righteous anger, I marvel at their incoherence.

We are all taught by the consumerist mentality, a mentality reinforced by the relentless propaganda known as advertising, to seek instant gratification, to live beyond our means, to live our lives on credit and not let anything stand in the way of our pleasures, to demand tax cuts without budget cuts. It is unfortunate that the Tea Party movement is not the antidote to this mentality, but just another sign of it.

49 comments:

Athanasius Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 11:23:00 AM CST  

This is sadly true. I think the aspirations of the tea party movement are noble, but in the end, especially now that it is co-opted by the neo-cons, is simply part of the system that wants to bring back the good ol' days of Bush and waterboarding.

Brad C,  Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 2:35:00 PM CST  

Wow. I haven't dropped by this blog in a while, but I did today. "Hand job" . . . "Tea Baggers". . . really? Time to delete this blog from my bookmarks . . .

Chris Campbell Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 2:46:00 PM CST  

John, as always, some clear thinking from you!. The title is a grabber(no pun) too!

I have and will continue to bookmark this on my blog, etc....

distributistparty.bravehost.com

John Médaille Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 2:46:00 PM CST  

Brad, delete away, but the imagery is correct: the "hand job" is the perfect symbol of the culture of "instant gratification"; That's precisely what it means. And the movement's leaders adopted the tea bag symbol; nobody imposed it on them. I pretty sure that they understood what it meant, and were having a little joke on their easily led followers, for whom they have little respect.

So I stand by the imagery. Or rather, I allow the tea party to stand by its own imagery.

Doug C.,  Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 3:54:00 PM CST  

I have to agree with Brad C. Distributism is derived from Catholic social teaching; I expect higher editorial standards. I also expect accuracy. Those notes were notes for a speech, not for responding to questions. Also, there are many in the Tea Party movement who support subsidiarity and smaller government.

Mark and Lora Eckstine Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 8:38:00 PM CST  

no John, the tea party people did not give themselves the "tea bag" label I am pretty sure it was an MSNBC commentator. While the tea party people may be some of what you describe, You were wrong about Obama and you are mostly wrong about this too.

John Médaille Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 8:46:00 PM CST  

Mark and Lora, In the first place, I didn't say anything about Obama. In second place, it was the leaders who first called them "tea bag parties" back in August, and the original idea was to "tea bag" the White House. Remember?

Perhaps not. It would be asking too much for American political memory to go back all of eight months.

They choose the imagery, not me.

John Médaille Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 8:51:00 PM CST  

I should add, perhaps somewhat testily, that the complaints are themselves a symptom of the disease. Just as we should never be required to pay for the wars we demand or the services we use, neither should we have to bear the consequences of our own choices. Remember, "It's always somebody else's fault!" It seems to be the Tea Party Creed.

Coll Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 9:58:00 PM CST  

You can't win that one John - in a bi-polar society like the west, any critiscism of the left will result in jibes of rightism and vice versa. The true path desired for you by your illustrious leaders is to chose one of the two options (two sides of the same conterfeit coin) and meekly submit as a loyal subject of the coming servile state.

Seriously, just keep making sense and it makes a difference.

theodosi Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 10:45:00 PM CST  

Sorry - but I too, John, am disappointed and I am afraid Father McNabb, outspoken as he was, would disapprove of the title.I threw away my TV for less. I have children I am training to be good Chesterbellocians; it would be sad to ban them from Distributist Review. Please choose your words more carefully in the future.

The truth will set you free...

-Theodosi

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:47:00 AM CST  

John, can you see Christ using the language you have used? I don't think that position is tenable. I am a conservative pro-life pro-marriage voter who has recently been considering Distributism as a viable option. You are not helping to convince me with sewage like this.

Cajetan

Chris Campbell Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 7:23:00 AM CST  

John and all, there was a good article recently, whereas Dr.Ron Paul noted that though his people played a large roll in the beginnings of the "tea parties", it was largely and quickly co-opted by Necons (hence Palins job until she can run for something else...a judas goatess if you will, intended to keep Christians voting Republican and furthering a false Left/Right paradigm)

http://rawstory.com/2010/02/paul-cautions-neocon-influence-infiltrating-tea-parties/

on a side note, the title of article drew som protest for Catholics and Prots a like when I shared article with them....I get it and dnot have a heartbrun over it, but some are....

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 7:45:00 AM CST  

ok.....

Someone's got to say it:

Firstly mygamebest lay off the drugs.

Secondly I think people have missed the point - seriously: 'i will change my political/economic viewpoint because a writer used words which i [mis]construed as a sexual innuendo' ?!
Ok John could choose less abrasive words and be really nice whilst talking about people who are pulling apart society ! You really think John's (lame) pun is offensive compared the double dealing he's reporting on?
When I read the article I understood the title was a reference to the political phoneyism which is refered to in many circles using various innuendos. At no point in the article did John say it was intended to be a visual of Ms Palin engaged in any act other than that of pulling the wool over the electorate's eyes. This only became the topic when someone else got the urgent need to censor and reprimand.
As for the expression tea-bagging -- how that is interpreted as a sexual act i don't know. Yes there is a funny expression that means something somehow. I am not into that stuff so didn't immediately reference it, maybe one of you puritans whinging about a few words can explain it to me, then explain why you think of that first before you think of what tea-bagging actually refers to: a bunch of ineffective hollow acts like a pack of old bitter spinsters sucking on teabags because they are too mean to make a second cup and too pathetic to drink real tea in the first place!
This is a distributist site. It's free but it's not compulsory. If it is so offensive to you to hear it spelt plain, then don't read it. You don't need to tell everyone your grief. Save that for you tee-totallers club meeting.
As for attacks directly on John Medaille, as though a few words puts him outside the faith: who put you as judge. John has done more to educate people on distributism than any 1000 of you who sit back and tut-tut that he said a naughty word. It is like a group of people complaining that the streets are dirty and then haranging the cleaners for having dusty shoes. You're free to have opinions, you are not free to drown out distributists discussions with your self-righteous nonsense then call your posturing distributism. Fr McKnabbe probably didn't use the expression hand-job but i read a lot about him doing things and nothing about him nit-picking.

Let's discuss distributism which is what John's article was actually about.

Ok end of diatribe. Sorry it sounds harsh but sometimes there are not nice ways to do it.

Chris Campbell Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 8:05:00 AM CST  

Decent points, some have too thin a skin.....

Not long ago, I posted an article critical of Pat Buchanan and you would have thought I insulted a declared saint....some people will not look past the tree line and see the forest of problems that need Catholic solutions...I liked John's article and it is a good picture......

Mark and Lora Eckstine Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM CST  

To understand why people are offended at the use of the title "tea baggers" and it is offensive to many people go to wikipedia for a summary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teabagging
John, you chose the imagery, and got a pretty predictable result. While you are right on the history of them using the "tea bag" label that is not the word you used in this post.If you would have called them the "tea bag parties" in the post, not just in your response to me, maybe people would not be so offended. I would not have been.
My reference to Obama was to the fact that you endorsed him in the election, not in this article, and maybe you are wrong about these people too.
I really respect and appreciate most of what you write, once in a while I am surprised like now, and wonder how this helps the country. I have learned a ton from you, but alas I am a lazy American who remembers the insults, and misrepresentations and does not know the history of the movement that is trying to make a difference. I hope they don't just represent a swing back to the right. Chesterton talks in Orthodoxy, about Gradgrinds factory, "As long as the vision of heaven is always changing, the vision of earth will be exactly the same." I also would love to see some real change. I too doubt it....

John Médaille Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:05:00 PM CST  

Someone asks, "Would Christ use such language?" Clearly, the answer is yes, since he did. In Matthew 23:27 he tells the Pharisees they are full of filth. The word, akatharsias, is actually stronger than that, and implied uncleanliness, which was highly offensive to the Jews in general and the Pharisees in particular. He was deliberately goading them which something they had to react to in the most aggrieved terms. The Bible doesn't record the reaction, but it doesn't take much imagination to picture the scene.

Aside from that, the Bible is a pretty racy book, including the love poems like the Song of Solomon, which drips with sexuality. Hosea is commanded to marry a prostitute, and he waves some rotten underwear as a symbol of what has happened to Israel. It is a tale of violence, sex, intrigue--all those human things. The rather finicky attitude is rather a modern invention, and I am much too much of a traditionalist to pretend that Christ was shrinking violet or the Bible is something other than what it is.

Again, tea-bagging is offensive, but it is their term, not mine. I think it a bit thick that people object to calling them the name they have chosen for themselves.

I think the real obscenity is demanding wars you are not willing to pay for. I think it is obscene to tell the public you can cut their taxes and leave their spending. Of course, nobody would believe that if you put it in those terms, so they never do; it is deliberate manipulation of a gullible public.

That's obscene.

IoshkaFutz Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 2:50:00 PM CST  

I'm not scandalized, but I did do a double take.

Ma, Professore! Dottor Médaille! Holy Palin palming profligacy!

Chris Campbell Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 3:08:00 PM CST  

True, obscene, but then again, (self professing) Christian war mongers are, they wrap themselves in righteousness, then call for bombing, invading, opposing "evil" Democrats and what the hay, nuking people off face of earth and torture....

in the end, more anger, more resentment, less secuirty and a debt for their great-grandkids...if any survive the "war" on "terror"....

John Médaille Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 3:33:00 PM CST  

We need to identify the real obscenities here. Sarah is calling for a third war, but can't find a way to pay for the first two. And telling her people that it doesn't matter; only tax cuts matter.

H.L. Mencken said that when Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. His vision is unfolding before our eyes. Obama will fail-domestically and internationally-unless things change radically, and he hasn't got the power to do that. The Palin Presidency will be open season for the corporate powers looting whatever is left, just as the moguls did at the fall of the Soviet Union. The army will return, defeated, from its foreign ventures, and the public will be totally confused and angry about events, events that have deprived them of jobs and dignity. It is a dangerous combination.

If you want to see how such things turn out, read the history of Europe between the wars; their past is our future. Theirs as well.

Doug C,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 4:22:00 PM CST  

I do not object to your criticism of Sarah Palin, although I do believe you have you facts wrong. I object to your characterization of those in the Tea Party movement. They are not sheep being easily led by anyone. In fact, I think the only thing they have in common is frustration no one in government is listening to them. They are frustrated with the left and the right, socialists and capitalists, but they don't know another way. And given a choice between the two, they opt for capitalism since it seems to guarantee more freedom.

They have coopted the term Tea Baggers, trying to turn what was intended as an insult into a compliment. They were initially called tea baggers or accused of tea bagging by reporters on CNN (Anderson Cooper wasn't it?) The left often ridicules those who are more conservative, just Google santorum (as in former senator Rick Santorum) and see what homosexual advocates have done to smear his name.

John Médaille Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 4:56:00 PM CST  

Doug, I am pretty sure I have my facts right: she did indeed have crib notes on her hand, while complaining about using a teleprompter.

Interpretation is another matter. But I don't think there is anything coherent here, and I think they are being used and manipulated by forces who have little respect for them. And that is at least partially their own fault. They are not willing to give up what they get, but insist on not paying for it. If they want war, fine, but doesn't that cost money? Is it an insult to them to point this out. At some point, there is a moral culpability. And I think it necessary to point that out. They are full of rage at others, but do not examine their own consciences.

As are as far as "nobody is listening to them" goes, I think the opposite is the truth. There is the constant plebiscite of polling, with politicians too scared to tell the truth, lest it affect their poll numbers. "Listening" after all works two ways.


And if they are trying to turn an insult into a complement why complain about my use of the "insult/complement"? In fact, they started with something crude, they were going to "tea bag" the White House, remember? They meant the insult, not the complement; that much is clear. Now they are self-righteous if the term is turned against them.

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 9:45:00 PM CST  

"Again, tea-bagging is offensive, but it is their term, not mine."

You're either mistaken or dishonest.

Either way, you keep insisting.

And if you continue to insist, you'd be credible if you'd try to back up your claim by citing your [supposed/apparent] source.

Because not once, not anywhere, whether "eight months" ago or otherwise, have I ever seen this expression used the way you keep insisting it was used. It was vulgar epithet that the Left quickly learned to exploit--and,I admit, cleverly so, but it don't make it any less offensive.

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:16:00 PM CST  

And BTW, WTH's wrong with the involvement of "Neocons" anyway?
I'm really starting to get annoyed with the way that term is casually thrown around. It used to be a just name for a faction of the overall Conservative movement, but over the years it's been transformed into some political-discourse equivalent of the "N-word". It's especially sad--even reprehensible, IMHO--the way many Catholic commenters and pundits seem to have developed a fondness for using this by-now-pejorative.
When the term "neocon" is used, it increasingly seems to refer not so much about a Conservative faction with which they disagree with as much as "neocon"="people I don't like"/"evil". Especially if these "evil" folks happen to be Jewish and/or former Leftists.The way the term is used, I can't help but wonder whether or not those Anti-Catholic (and not just "Anti-Catholic" per se) pundits and writers who insist on continuing existence of Anti-Semitism in Catholics today might be on to something. And this wouldn't help with our overall credibility.

Might I contribute a link to an essay that helps to explain my annoyance:

http://neo-neocon.blogspot.com/2005/03/so-why-neo-neocon.html

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:39:00 PM CST  

John, if you are trying to make the point that Christ would use sexually vulgar terms, I disagree. You support that claim by showing that Christ used a word which meant filth. You did not say so, but I think you meant "filth" along the lines of "excrement". I may be mistaken, so please clarify. If that's what you meant, then a couple of points are in order here. First, you did not make clear whether this word Christ used was merely offensive, or offensive plus vulgar. I can offend people named Steve by saying that "all people named Steve are lower than fecal matter", but in doing so I have not used vulgarity. I have merely made a comparison which was intended to offend. I could change that up by using the s--- word, and that would be considered vulgar in addition to offensive. Secondly, even if the word Christ used was considered vulgar, it would still be different than sexual vulgarity. Where is your evidence of His inclination to venture into sexual vulgarity? Until you deal with these two points, you have not dealt with the fundamental question: is your behavior Christ-like?

For those of you saying "who cares, John makes sense, so what if the words are a bit raw", I answer this: I am investigating distributism as a possible model for Christian living. When I look for such things, I expect to find people associated with it dripping in holiness. If vulgarity is a hindrance to holiness (as I believe), then John's post does more to drive me from distributism than attract me to it. Not that distributism's merits depend only on John's quantity of holiness, but still ... I'm looking for the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and I've never heard that vulgarity is one of them.

John, I'd also like you to comment if you will on St. Paul's admonition about "silly and suggestive talk" from Ephesians 5:4. Since you seem to know something about Greek, perhaps you'll shed some light on this passage, because I don't quite know what to make of it.

Thanks in advance,

Cajetan

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:43:00 PM CST  

Fair call, anonymous. It is public knowledge but you simply don't want to see.

I am not sure how you justify an accusation of being dishonest, when it took me about 3 minutes to find what is publicly available. Look up Tea Bagging in wikipedia. They have one of the banners from the protest in question. A large picture of a tea bag (which were mailed en masse to the whitehouse) under which is the slogan "Teabag Washington? They have way too many nuts already!" The source is the Tea Party protest, photos that are available on public news sites, google, wiki. Spend 3 whole minutes backing your own diatribe up before you throw around accusations of dishonest.
Clearly the Tea Party introduced the unsavory connection between "nuts" and "tea bags". The offence was initially directed at the white house by elements of the Tea Party outfit. You say "not once, not anywhere" which should imply you actually looked. I'll now put your own demands onto you: you'd be credible if you'd try to back up your claim by citing your [supposed/apparent] source that Because not once, not anywhere, whether "eight months" ago or otherwise, have I ever seen this expression used the way you keep insisting it was used. This would be possible if you were only repeating the party line and not opening your eyes. I think that is called intellectual dishonesty. Or cowardice.

I am amazed that people are ready to be offended by the return of the Tea Party's own propaganda but have no qualms using words like "dishonest" and asking some to back up their claim (for something that is public knowledge) and haven't the decency to do so themselves.

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:48:00 PM CST  

Anoymous, I ask you to back up your claims of anti-semitism in anything John has written. Give me the quote.

You are clearly clutching at straws and throwing any smear into the mix now.

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:50:00 PM CST  

Cajetan,

Since when is sexual activity more offensive than excrement?

Coll.

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 10:59:00 PM CST  

Coll,

You didn't miss the point about the distinction between offense and vulgarity, I hope?

Also, I've learned a few things from the Motion Picture Association of America over the years ... several s-bombs get you a lighter movie rating than several f-bombs. Why do you think that is?

Cajetan

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:07:00 PM CST  

Cajetan,
Fair enough. But I'll rephrase : since when is sexual activity more vulgar then excrement?

As far as the the MPAA goes, I would reason out anything they do. They are far from my source of morality and standards. I really don't understand why western media - and particulary christians, find words associated vaugely with sexual activity as vulgar or offensive but seem to drop words like "damn" and "hell" as though they were casual statements.

As far as the vulgarness of someone's language goes as a measure of someone's holiness, such a standard places Adolf Hilter as more holy than many people on this planet.

Coll Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:20:00 PM CST  

The concept of wanting a war and not wanting to pay for it goes hand-in-hand with much of the rest of the mindset of modern politics. We have people telling us how capitalism has assured that even the poorest of our society is wealthier than many of the kings of old. We conveniently look over the real cost of the third world slaves on whose labour our wealth is based.

Anonymous,  Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:29:00 PM CST  

Coll,

You make good points, and I did not include a winky face emoticon to indicate a bit of tongue in cheekiness on my MPAA reference. I am far more likely to criticize the MPAA than hold them up as a trustworthy moral standard. For the record, I live in west Texas, and I wince when people use "damn" and "hell" because to me they are not casual statements. In any case, I think that sexuality deserves more reverence than the faculties of human waste because our sexuality is to some degree an image of the relationships of the Trinity. I know far, far less on this topic than many. I think one of those Theology of the Body websites could be helpful here. Anyway, you'll probably go along with people saying "sex is sacred", but no one bothers arguing that going #2 is particularly sacred. Perhaps we can further associate sexuality and the sense of sacred by pointing out that many men and women become "eunuchs for the Lord" by choosing celibacy. Human waste ... I've not met anyone who renounces that faculty.

I agree with you that lack of vulgarity does not guarantee holiness. Then again, neither does the fact that you've never murdered anyone with a poisoned dart make you holy, but it remains an action to be avoided if one is serious about pursuing holiness.

Cajetan

Chris Campbell Friday, February 12, 2010 at 7:18:00 AM CST  

Palin i think was the judas goat to get Christian voters to vote McCain is what wa a rather boring and lackluster campaign..McCain was not supposed to win, as Bush I was not in 1992, but we have to make the fight look good to gullible voters. She did great at her task, as evident in many Catholics I know basically hoping she would play a roll or even succeed McCain....

Some basically stated that a vote for anyone other than McCain was a mortal sin...

She quit her Gov job now to write books and raise her creds for the next few yrs....

She, like Glenn Beck have a job-subvert and infiltrate any movement and control and steer the anger and frustration...after all, it is dangerous to the powers to be to have Americans actually demand changes and action.one has to control the sheep if you will..

Palin is a fresh face, a "I love Jesus by shucky darn" down home gal that is going to revolutionize the GOP....when in fact we should leave the GOP and Dems in droves..

I like the Mencken quote and have heard it before, but, anyone have the source or a link? would love to have it for future....he was spot on as, in my area at least, Evangelicals and their lapdog Catholcis (Hannity, Santorum,etc) are parroting the lets nuke Iran, lets attack Pakistan blood thrist....

On Santorum, glad he is out-guy was a talk only on moral issues and a neocon..he did nothing,really, besides hide behind his "Im a Catholic" schitick, much like Evangelicals love a guy that wears a nice suit, loves Jesus and is a "R"...

He is a hero in much of AmChurch, esp "Conservative Catholics", but sadly too, "Traditional Catholics" who have bought his rap.....he shot himself, the homos just helped push a little....

Viking Friday, February 12, 2010 at 2:31:00 PM CST  

Hi all,

I'm not particularly hot and bothered by the two double entendres, nor by their origins, but I must confess to sharing Cajetan's frustration with the too liberal use of neo-con(servative). (Yes, "liberal" was intentionally ironic. And am assuming that Cajetan was responsible for the other "Anonymous" posts in this discussion.) Could someone please post a definition of what you mean by "neo-con"? And please bear in mind that the term originally, I believe, simply meant a former liberal or leftist who took a sharp rightward turn as the years went by. Many of today's alleged neo-cons never went thru such a port-to-starboard conversion, being fairly consistent throughout their lives so far.

Viking

Civis Friday, February 12, 2010 at 2:36:00 PM CST  

The hubbub about terminology reminds me of freshman logic. In class Fr. Masestri posed a question to me and in my answer I used the phrase "kick some ass." I was soundly scolded by my peers. As one of my classmates said "You should never use such language around a priest!" a senior walked by and commented to him "I guess you've never played basketball with Fr. Maestri."

I'm afraid some confuse religious piety with Victorian manners, but I'm afraid such a notion would run contrary to the writings of Isaiah and St. Paul.

Civis,  Friday, February 12, 2010 at 2:48:00 PM CST  

I think fundamentally what separates a conservative from a neo-conservative is that the neocon tends to be an idealist hung up on ideology, whereas a conservative relies on experience and what works in practice.

In practice I think there are two major difference: 1) neocons think we can ensure security through force. The conservative responds, "That 'sounds' great, but I would submit to you the example of Russians in Afganistan, Brits in America and Romans in Scotland" 2) The necon, whatever his rhetoric may be, tends to see central government as a means of fixing things where the conservative tends to support the priciple of subsidiarity.

Still I think the key difference is not positions on particular issues but the underlying way of thinking.

That's my two cents anyway.

Anonymous,  Friday, February 12, 2010 at 7:28:00 PM CST  

Viking,

I have signed all my posts "Cajetan", so I'm not sure who the other anonymous poster is.

Civis,

Would you be specific about Isaiah and St. Paul using language the way that John did? I posted a verse from St. Paul about "silly and suggestive talk". Perhaps you'd like to comment on that one.


Cajetan

Tom Laney Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 4:07:00 PM CST  

Great job John! Let the sensitive squeam. I believe Dorothy Day would dig it.

But I hold little bits of hope for the Tea Party. They seem to now be wrestling with continuing to blame the poor OR, the Banksters. Glenn Beck may rue the day he implored working stiffs to trust their Common Sense.

The real obscenity is the 39.8 MILLION Americans in poverty (according to the Bishops, most of whom recognize real obscenity when they see it.) How about +30 posts on that?

Civis,  Monday, February 15, 2010 at 7:45:00 AM CST  

I think Mr. Laney alludes to a good point, it is one that C.S. Lewis made: scruples are always bad because they distract us from things that are actually important.

You know I actually hate to repeat what Isaiah said, but suffice it to say that "filthy rags" is a gloss. With St.Paul, I was referring to his suggestion that the Judiaizers ought to cut off their peepee.

If you would like an example from the catholic saints, here is the patron saint of orthodoxy, describing Luther: "He farts anathema....I am ashamed even of this necessity, that while I clean out the fellow's shit-filled mouth I see my own fingers covered with shit."

Luther, the protestant hero, is famous for saying "I am like ripe shit, and the world is a great asshole. We probably will let go of each other soon.”

Civis,  Monday, February 15, 2010 at 10:39:00 AM CST  

That one's golden isn't it? I ran accross both the More and the Luther quotes in Peter Ackroyd's LIFE OF THOMAS MORE. If you need a better source, and I can remember, I can look to see if Ackroyd gave a reference.

viking6070@gmail.com,  Monday, February 22, 2010 at 6:36:00 PM CST  

Sorry, all, to have been so late in responding, I've been having computer problems. Cajetan, the "Anonymous" to whom I was referring was the one who stated his opposition to the casual use of the term "neo-con" as a word of reproach, and who provided us with the neo-neocon blog site. (Very interesting, btw.) I thought it might be you, as your post after that seemed to be following rather nicely and coherently with the earlier statement. Perhaps I was wrong.

Viking

viking6070@gmail.com,  Monday, February 22, 2010 at 7:06:00 PM CST  

Civis, thank you for your letter giving your definition of "neo-con". You're the only so far to do so. However, I'm still skeptical that even yours is quite a coherent defining.

First of all, "ideology" is about as loaded as "neo-con". It reminds me of the Briton who explained to his son the difference between orthodoxy ("my doxy" and heterodoxy ("the other fellow's doxy"). To be sure, that was probably at least partly tongue-in-cheek, but many others use such terms without a trace of irony. And yet, is there a genuine difference between "ideology" (bad) and "political philosophy" (good)? It seems just a way of making points at one's political opponents expense, which would be fine, if only the truth and fairness weren't also likely casualties.

My second point is that the distinction between the theoretical and experiential, to put the matter as objectively as I know how, doesn't really define the difference between two sets of political beliefs. Rather, it most likely occurs within every belief system, or at least those that have been tried sufficiently close to the ideal to permit some to reap the benefits of experience.

Finally, I would caution all against being too cynical about the neo-cons' ideals, or anyone else's, for that matter. Much has been made about their foolishness in trying to make other countries democratic. But that strategy worked quite well for us after World War II. Their efforts to re-capture that shining moment may indeed be unrealistic, but the same, many would say, could be said of us. In any event, what is the solution? And might the fact that former Nazis, Fascists, and Japanese Imperialists were able to achieve democracy, but perhaps not Islamicists, say something rather significant about our enemies?

Viking

viking6070@gmail.com,  Monday, February 22, 2010 at 7:24:00 PM CST  

My last post for today, I think. Tom Laney, I agree with you in part, but is there a way of ensuring that no one is in relative poverty? Yes, we can just give the poor money or goods, but would that affect incentives? Some measure of hard work is likely to still be necessary to ensure well-being, and not giving people incentive to labor is likely to impoverish us all mutually. As to your beloved unions, I'm not at all sure that they're so much a part of the solution as they are part of the problem.

Viking

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