Daily Archives: June 17, 2009

Why Obama Scares Chuck Norris

Since Chuck Norris seems like the only guy besides me who’s a huge supporter of Mike Huckabee, I was pleased to discover he’s no writing for Townhall.com

His first column that I’ve read reprints a letter written by a former vice president of Proctor and Gamble, Lou Pritchett.  Pritchett sent the letter to the New York Times, but they rejected it. Pritchett’s thesis, addressed to Barack Obama,  is “Why you scare me.”

Chuck Norris adds his own list, starting with the fact that Obama scares CEOs.

They pretty much cover most of it between the two of them, except that a) I have no problem with windmills and b) the focus seems mostly economic.

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“Three Strikes You’re Out” and Socratic Questioning

Relatively early in my 12+ years online, I established a basic rule of debate, which I’ve more or less followed: I call it the “Three Strikes Rule.”
Basically, if I find myself saying the same thing 3 times, without my interlocutor really responding, I quit.  When a person proves to be not interested in dialogue but merely drumming a point.  It was originally formulated in the case of fundamentalists who will pound you with a verse:
“What about Rom 3:28?”
[“For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”, NAB]
And I say, “You’re taking it out of context.  Verse 31 says, ‘Are we then annulling the law by this faith?  Of course not!  We are supporting the law.'”

Protestant replies, “But what about Rom 3:28”?

And I say, “Well, what about James 2:14-26?” [You know, “faith without works is dead, and all his examples)

Protestant replies, “But what about Rom 3:28”? {This mentality, BTW, shows the problem with verse memorization, as Tom Howard and other converts point out: they’re trained to parrot certain verses and ignore everything else.  Passages that challenged their Protestant faith were never discussed by ministers and brushed over in private reading).
Me: “Well, what about Matthew 7:21: ‘Not everyone who comes to me saying, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father in Heaven.’  That’s Jesus speaking, and doesn’t Jesus outrank Paul?”
“The Bible is the word of God.  What about Rom 3:28?”

So, I give up.  This isn’t just limited to fundamentalists, but they make good examples.

A related form of that rule is from when I’m taking a Socratic approach.

A common process in Plato’s dialogues is that Socrates will debate with some fellow (e.g., Thrasymachus in The Republic), and he does such a good job of breaking the guy’s position down that the guy runs off in a huff before Socrates has a chance to build up his *own* position).

So, the inverse of the “Three Strikes” rule is if *I* have to say the same thing, or, more precisely, ask the same question, numerous times to get an answer.

Usually, if I ask the question *once* in a discussion without an answer, I’ll give up.  But if the person answers part of my post and ignores the Socratic question (whatever it may be), I ask it again.  Two recent examples on this blog are the debate with “Anonymous” a few weeks ago and the debate with that Chad Tonka guy a week or two before that.

There are certain questions I keep asking of certain individuals or groups and getting no answer to.  One is the several times I have demanded of Chris Korzen and other Obama Catholics their positions on contraception, and have received no reply.

Another example has to do with the war in Iraq.  As I previously blogged, pacifism is the basic doctrine on which Liberal Catholics try to “excommunciate” conservatives or accuse us of the very “cafeteria Catholicism” we condemn.

Now, they insist that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have both clearly condemned the War in Iraq as unjust.  They insist that the war is de facto unjust, and that anyone who voted for Bush (or McCain) is committing mortal sin by voting for a person who supports an unjust war.

I have decided to begin a series of articles on the complex issues regarding the war.

However, before I do, I wanted to clarify a few issues.  The first was yesterday’s post on how important this issue is to the Left.  The second is that I have no evidence of a clear condemnation of this war by either of the previous two Popes. I’m not denying it’s out there.

As I first started to pay attention to the issue of torture, for example, I was unaware of direct papal statements . I was keeping an open mind to both sides, because I really didn’t know anything about the subject.  I had already pretty much made my own mind up when I finally saw clear-cut Papal statements.

But here’s what evidence I’m aware of:

1.  Certain Vatican prefects have overtly condemned the war.  That includes, I believe, Peace and Justice, which makes sense.  Now, granted the opinions of the person the Pope has delegated a position to are fairly definitive.  Cardinal Arinze’s opinion on liturgy (or Cardinal Canizares’s), Cardinal Stafford’s opinion on sin, or Archbishop Burke’s opinion on canon law are to be listened to.  So would the opinion of the head of Peace and Justice (is he a Prefect or just a president?) on the issue of war.

*However*, I would not take a statement of Cardinal Arinze or Archbishop Burke as being “the opinion of the Pope.”

Now, the next statement is what I’ve heard or read the Popes say.

2.  John Paul said, “War is always a defeat for humanity.”  He also said that violence can never solve the problems of man.

OK, I’ll agree with that principle, up to a point.  Violence is never a solution: it can be a necessary tool, though, as the Church has more or less consistently taught throughout history. 

But to say “war is a defeat for humanity” doesn’t really mean “war is always wrong,” just that “if war happens, something has already gone badly wrong.”  Like, if one of my kids does something wrong, and I have to discipline my kid, that could be called a “failure for the family,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong to discipline the kid.

I was going to raise a few other quotations that would seem to contradict the position that the war in Iraq is “unjust,” but found what I was looking for on my own, and kind of altered this post mid-course.

The point is, every time a liberal has insisted the Church condemns the War in Iraq, I’ve aksed for a specific quotation or citation.  The most hard-headed RadTrad can quote date and time for the speech where, he claims, Paul VI or John XXIII spoke against what was going on at Vatican II.

A simple Google search just now turned up a pretty thorough argument on the Vatican’s rejection of the “preemptive war” argument, and how the US media tend to cover up Vatican condemnations of US wars.  More interestingly, John Paul II spoke out, the article claims, 56 times on the 1991 war. 

So, from the article by Mark and Louise Zwick from Houston Catholic Worker, here is the statement from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, now Pope:

In an interview with Zenit on May 2, 2003, the Cardinal restated the position of the Holy Father on the Iraq war (II) and on the question of the possibility of a just war in today’s world.: “There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a “just war.”

However, a year later,  Cardinal Ratzinger said the following in his infamous letter to Cardinal McCarrick:

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Now, for the past five years, Catholics have tried to argue, even citing this letter, that, while it’s OK for a Catholic to be “pro-just-war,” the war in Iraq is unjust, and, therefore, Catholics *must* oppose it, because the Holy Father said so.

Yet, here, Cardinal Ratzinger has said clearly that it is not a mortal sin for a Catholic to disagree with the Holy Father on application of Just War or capital punishment teaching.  That even though the Church admonishes modern governments to be extremely cautious in applying either principle, the Church still gives the governments the freedom to do so, and that Catholics are free to have their own opinions (assuming, as with the conditions on economic issues, they take all factors into consideration).
So, again, it is not “cafeteria Catholicism” to formulate the opinion that the war in Iraq may be justified (or that socialized medicine, in fact, an offense against the common good).
Now, as to whether I, personally, think the war is just, tune in tomorrow 🙂

Evangelium Vitae: legalizing sin makes it acceptable

The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, Ch. 1, pt. 4)