Category Archives: analogy

Symbols mean things

I’m a big supporter for formalism/”New Criticism.”  I always forget who said which, but often, when writers are asked what things in their books “mean,” they say things like, “I wrote a poem, not a puzzle,” (pretty sure that’s TS Eliot) or “If I wanted to write an essay, I’d write an essay.  I wrote a story” (Flannery O’Connor, paraphrased).
I

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A Parable

I’m borrowing this metaphor a bit from the folks at Creative Minority Report, just making it a bit more direct to the case:

A man’s wife and children are put into protective custody pending an investigation of an abuse allegation (note, of course, that the law protects the claimant in such allegations).  Technically, the accuser has the right to anonymity in such a case, but in this case, the abuser has contacted several authorities, and the man has learned who the person is.

The man files a lawsuit against his accuser.  Then he announces to the world, “There is no way to prove my innocence of these allegations.  My wife has treated me unfairly, and these allegations are false.  I am therefore abandoning my wife and children.  I will be seeking a divorce.  I’ll still be a husband and father, but I just won’t live with them or do anything for them, because  that would require fighting for my innocence and putting me in an adversarial relationship with them.  Just don’t call me ‘Dad.’  I’ll still visit and write to my children, even though DSS says I’m not allowed to see them right now. ”
So, DSS issues a statement saying, “We’ve dropped the investigation since he moved out and filed for divorce a few weeks ago.  His family have moved back into their home.  Plus, he’s intimidated some of the witnesses, so we can’t investigate.”
The man replies, “Oh, by the way, I am not actually getting a divorce.  It’s more like a separation.  Again, I’ll still be a husband and father.  I just won’t be living with my family, doing any household chores, or teaching my kids anything or romancing my wife or anything like that.  That stuff was really a minor part of my life as a husband and father, anyway.  Most of my time was spent earning money, and I’ll still be sending child support checks and coming over to take my kids out to the park and stuff like that. And don’t blame my wife.  It’s not her fault.  She’s still a good wife and mother.  She just never lifted a finger to help me the entire time I was being investigated.  She threw me under the buss.  But she’s a good woman.  It’s just that, when I got sick, I had to pay for it with my own health insurance and my own money.  She never gave a dime to pay my bills.  In fact, she’s never supported me in any way.  She’s always mostly ignored me while I was travelling on business all the time or staying long nights at the office.”
The wife says, “I tried asking him all the time to spend more time at home with me and less time at the office, and he kept refusing.”
The guy says, “She just wanted my money.”
The guy says, “By the way, the person accused me of abuse anonymously, so I have no way to really defend myself because I can’t know who my accuser is.  My accuser is my former next-door neighbor.  I know for a fact this person is an alcoholic.  But I can’t defend myself.”  “Oh, you found out about the lawsuit I filed?  Well, I did that on the advice of my father-in-law.  Yep, it was the only way to defend myself against these accusations. ”

What would we say of such a person?

So, what makes a person?

It’s the question “pro-choice” people hate to address. It forces them to examine what they really stand for. I’ve applied it, Socratically, in many an online discussion to get one of the following results:

1. The person tries to say I’m improperly using Socratic logic or analogy.
2. The person says the question is absurd and refuses to answer it
3. The person is honest and admits there are standards by which he or she would deny the right to life to a born person.

So, the question is:
“Is it OK to kill blind people?”
Presumably, the person will say, of couse not.
To this, I respond,
“Well, then, the lack of sight doesn’t deprive one of the right to live?”
No.
“OK, well, what about the lack of hearing? mobility? and so on.”

What faculty do you believe is necessary for a person to have human rights?
At what point does the loss of some particular faculty deprive one of human rights?

After all, an unborn baby is deprived of the right to life merely because of some missing faculty. For many who support abortion, especially our president, that missing faculty is visibility. Wait–for Barack Obama, it’s not even visibility, since he says it’s OK to starve or suffocate newborn babies to death if they’re born in “botched” abortions.

And for the average person who *has* an abortion, visibility is the missing factor, because people don’t take the time to think about such things.

It’s a personal decision


Like Francis Cardinal Arinze says in his special way: “What if I said, ‘I’m pro-choice on killing politicians. I personally think killing politicians is a bad thing, and I’d never do it myself, but whom I to say it’s wrong for someone else to do?'”

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3MRyKfEHA]

Funny how oppression works

Everyone who supported slavery was free; Everyone who supports abortion has been born.

“He hit me first!”: Nations are basically Four Year Olds

It’s gotten tougher as the family has diversified, but one of my rules is the “King Solomon Rule.” When two kids are fighting, I don’t care who started it. I care who’s willing to end it first. If they’re fighting over something, and they can’t make a compromise, I take the item away.

We’ve all heard it as parents, and we did it as kids: “He hit me first!” “Because he made a face at me!” “Because he was teasing me!” “Because he took my toy!” “Because he wouldn’t let me play with it!”

Nations, whatever their pretensions, are basically a bunch of preschoolers.

Call it my liberal public school education, but one thing I have never understood, since I was in kindergarten, was why we ever refer to “good” and “evil” in international relations. As a kid, I naively thought, “Isn’t everyone basically good?” Of course, as I got older, it changed to “Isn’t everyone basically evil?”

After all, I was taught in school that, while Communism was itself evil, the people in Communist countries didn’t really want to be Communist: deep down, everyone wanted to be democracies just like the United States. I figured that, if the “Russians” didn’t really want to be Communists, and they didn’t like their dictators anymore than we did, then why did we call the Russians “evil”?

The Holocaust was an act of unspeakable evil. Invading someone else’s country is also an act of unspeakable evil. Josef Stalin killed millions more Jews and other dissidents than Hitler did, and this is an act of unspeakable evil. The United States killed and sterilized thousands of disabled people in the 20s-40s, and this is also an act of unspeakable evil. The United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasake, and this is also an act of unspeakable evil. The United States and Europe and so many other countries are aborting millions of children a year, and this is also an act of unspeakable evil.

I finally read the trade paperback of the first issues of the new IDW GI Joe continuity. In a passage I’d already read in an online preview when IDW’s series started a while back, the Joes take down a weapons shipment by a small terrorist group from Macedonia.

“They have a grievance that goes back to before Alexander was born,” says Duke.

“They blew up our buildings!” “They shot at us!” “We have the right to wipe out everyone else because everyone has been mean to us!”

Recently, famous White House correspondent Helen Thomas has gotten into hot water over comments she’s made about Palestine (one of the basic rules of Journalism is never to become the story). Indeed, she’s now been fired by Hearst after a half a century as a White House correspondent.

Thomas is Lebanese, of Melkite Orthodox belief, and has a history of favoring the Palestinians, though usually in a more subtle manner.

Well, she went a bit too far recently, apparently. When asked at a Jewish Heritage Month function what she thought was the solution to the crisis in the Middle East, Thomas said that Palestine is occupied territory, the Palestinians are under occupation, and the occupiers, the Israelis, need to go back to their home countries. Sadly, she used some profanity I won’t repeat here, and, though she listed “America” among the countries, the way she said it was “Germany, Poland, America, or wherever else they came from.”

This has been taken by many to indicate that she wants another Holocaust. Yet it seems like Germany these days is pretty darn safe. After all, with all the laws designed to prevent “anti-Semitism,” including laws against “holocaust denial” (and some of what I’ve said here can be construed as “Holocaust denial” by those for whom the Holocaust is THE WORST EVENT EVER IN HISTORY [TM]). If I could go to a country where it was 100% illegal to say anything against my religion, my ethnic background, or even to question my views on historical facts, versus living where I run a constant risk of being killed by terrorists, and I could afford to emigrate, I’d go there in a heartbeat. Indeed, if anyone can set me up with a good job teaching English in Malta, let me know.

Anyway, another of Thomas’s controversial statements is questioning why the International Community is giving Israel a pass for attacking a flotilla of humanitarian aid being sent to the Palestinians. If any other country did this, she noted, it would be immediately condemned worldwide.

I’m not a fan of Israel. I’m not a fan of Palestine. I am a supporter of my Christian brothers and sisters, and I know that Christians in Palestine–except the ones who collaborate with Muslim terrorism–get it from both sides. I also know, from what happened in the 1990s, that “peace” in the “Holy Land” means death to Christians, since the Jews and Muslims only stop fighting each other to turn their attention on their common foe.

I also don’t understand the fascination with the Holy Land. It’s a piece of dirt. I understand why Jews and Muslims are so obsessed with it, but why Christians? Shouldn’t Christians be actively working to *convert* the Jews and Muslims?

Otherwise, who cares who runs it? St. Francis of Assisi was a great devotee of the Holy Land, and yet he also realized what a mess it was in his day. So he started a great many devotions–Christmas Creches, Stations of the Cross, and the Portiuncula Indulgences, to name a few–that said you can get the same graces you’d get from going to the Holy Land just by practicing those devotions and bringing the Holy Land to you.

If the people of Israel want the land God promised them, then let them keep up their part of the covenant: offer animal sacrifices, don’t associate with Gentiles, and keep the Sabbath–not just the Sabbath day, but the Sabbath year and the Jubilee. It was failure to forgive debts and stop working for a year every 7 years, and 2 years every 50, that lost them the Holy Land to begin with. Is it anti-Semitic to suggest that they should actually practice their own religion?

In any case, “Israel” isn’t “the Jews” any more than “USSR” was “the Russians” or “PLO” is “the Palestinians.”

People are people; governments are governments, and there is no such thing as a good government. There is no such thing as a good earthly power. All earthly powers are corrupt. All are subsidiaries of the Prince of this World.

I don’t understand why criticizing the faults of a country mean one “hates” that country. Indeed, as G. K. Chesterton observes in Orthodoxy, a friend merely likes a man the way he is; a wife loves him and wants him to be *better*.

In any case, to take sides in any international conflict is really like taking sides with a conflict between toddlers. Very rarely is either party completely innocent. International relations should be handled just like parenting: “Stop fighting, or you’re both in trouble. Work it out. Make peace.”

People want to come up with all sorts of platitudes about why they favor Israel over Palestine, but what it boils down to is that there should be no favoritism. The only way to have peace is for both sides to quit being selfish, and for the world to treat both sides with an even hand, just as that is the only way to make peace among little kids.

Explain this to me: Roman Polanksi and the Catholic Church

Have Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Monica Bellucci, Tilda “the White Witch” Swinton, David Lynch, Harvey Weinstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Debra Winger, or any of the other 200 movie industry people listed on this site ever condemned the Catholic Church?

I know Goldberg has.

Yet these very people are supporting child molester Roman Polanksi, who, after evading authorities for 30+ years, is complaining that his case is too old to be prosecuted, and it’s not right to accuse him of a crime because he and his victim “were in love.”

Gee.  Didn’t Rembert Weakland say something similar?

Why don’t people see the hypocrisy of these people?????

I heard the comment the other day, regarding the Church, “Why, after all the lies, does anyone believe these people?”
Yes, after all the lies of the New York Times, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc., why does anyone still believe them??

These people are blatant hypocrites!  They condemn the Catholic Church for a small fraction of priests who do what they themselves advocate, only because the Church condemns it!

I was on some site recently where some idiot commented, “I wonder what the age of consent is in the Catholic Church.”
Someone else said, “I bet they set it really young, ha, ha”
I replied, “There is no ‘age of consent’ in the Catholic Church, since we don’t believe in fornication.  The earliest one can marry in the Church is 16.”

Which of course raises the point that many of the victims of these “child molesters” were 16 or 17.

Yet Roman Polanksi is this martyr of liberalism.  I really don’t understand.