How a Citizen Should Deal With Injustice

Featured

“I am a citizen of this country — and that is no little honor.”

So said the actor Frank Morgan (1890-1949) in the 1943 movie, “A Stranger in Town.”  He played the part of a Supreme Court justice who was on hunting vacation near a small town where no one knew him and he became aware of the corrupt political machine which controlled the townspeople.

Without revealing his identity or elevated position of responsibility in the justice system, he set out to help those who were trying to right things.  Near the end, he gave his reasons for becoming involved even though it wasn’t where he lived.  The quote was only a small part of his reply and summarized his civic philosophy.

If we truly appreciate what our citizenship means, we will fulfill our duties by targeting  with what needs to be corrected directly.  We won’t waste energy on mere public displays of how offended we feel, but apply our efforts to acquiring the means to accomplish necessary changes.  The focus is on the injustice, not us.

This another case where we must learn from those who have gone before us.

Advertisements

Why Are Egyptian Sarcophagi Not Worthy of the Same Respect Shown to Modern Era Graves?

Featured

The longer one lives, ideas or questions which should have been obvious seem to pop up from nowhere and stun the thoughtful.

Recent example: since it’s disrespectful to disturb graves (outside of criminal investigations), why is it OK to open the sarcophagi(elaborate coffins) of Egyptian mummies?  Is there an arbitrary waiting period so that some day all existing cemeteries can be opened at will?

Or are the ancient civilizations considered somewhat “less than human”?  This is disturbingly similar to how some view “primitive” cultures or the unborn.

 

1 – a stone coffin, especially one bearing sculpture, inscriptions, etc., often displayed as a monument, http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sarcophagi

 

 

 

“… Are a Way to Show Off the Body and Be Provocative” — Is This a Sensible Goal of Fashion?

Featured

A basic Google search for the meaning of “provocative” includes:
“arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately”

The entire quote, which is the subject of this article, is as follows:

“Short shorts are a way to show off the body and be provocative, and everyone has a choice on how to show off their body, no matter their size.”1

Since women have been used by men at historic levels since the 1960’s 2,3 and recent disclosures about the decades of sexual abuse against women, is this a smart approach?  Giving the benefit of the doubt, are bodies being advertised in order to seek more than a short-term relationship like a lifelong mate?  OK, maybe not.

Are revealing clothes being worn to elicit jealousy from other women?  Honestly?… It couldn’t be that it’s being done to boost one’s self-image since a woman should already be familiar with her positive physical attributes every time she dresses.  Or is there some perverse wish in arousing the aforementioned sexual desire in men in order to exert some power over them?  No way!

Regardless of the motives, it’s ironic that the ill-advised quote comes from a magazine named “Women’s Health.”  How women dress should be given serious and responsible consideration as it does have an impact on our society.

 

1 – Gabrielle Porcaro, Women’s Health, as reported in the USA Today section of the Cincinnati Enquirer, by Maria Puente, 7/31/2017.

2 – “Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million.”  From “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage,” by Meg Jay, The New York Times, 4/14/2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html

3 – Meanwhile, the U.S. population will not have increased 100% since 1960 until sometime in the next decade.  Taken from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/cspan/1940census/CSPAN_1940slides.pdf

Why Ordinary Agreements with North Korea are Destined to be Futile

Featured

Open Doors1 noted that “Christians [in North Korea] try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to a labor camp.”2  Given such a threatening environment for people of faith, we can conclude that attempting to solve the recent arms development problem with Kim Jong Un by negotiating routine treaties is not a high percentage strategy.  Why?  As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) once said:

“Can we not see that if law is divorced from morality and religion, then treaties cease to be obligatory and begin to be mere arrangements, binding only so long as they are advantageous?  Rob international justice of its roots in morality and treaties are hypothetical, not categorical; convenient tools, not honorable obligations, while law becomes an attorney’s cloak woven from the flimsy fabric of legalistic phraseology artfully placed on the shoulders of arbitrary power.”3

Perhaps this is why Ronald Reagan used the Russian proverb “trust but verify”4 in his meetings with Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev on armaments in the 1980’s.It was essential in those discussions given the forty years of the Cold War.  It may be too optimistic with North Korea given their approach to life and religious rights.

 

1 – “Open Doors USA is a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through:  Bible & Gospel Development, Women and Children Advancement, and Christian Community Restoration.”  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/about-us/

2 – “North Korea’s War On Christianity: The Globe’s Number One Religious Persecutor,” by Doug Bandow, https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2016/10/31/north-koreas-war-on-christianity-the-globes-number-one-religious-persecutor/#25c3033556e3, 10/31/2016.

3 – “The Quotable Fulton Sheen,” edited by George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin, and John L. Swan.  Doubleday, New York, 1989.  Quote was taken from “The Divine Verdict,” New York: P. J. Kennedy and Sons, 1943.

4 – “doveryay, no proveryay” according to Google translate https://www.google.com/search?q=russian+to+english+dictionary&oq=russian+to+english&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j0l5.11111j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

5 – Including: “doveryai, no proveryai,” as found in http://www.usmedicine.com/editor-in-chief/doveryai-no-proveryai-trust-but-verify/, by Chester “Tip” Buckenmaier, July 2014.  His article focused on the problems with and approaches to fix the problems with VA hospitals.

Time to Send Sgt. Saunders to Congress!

Featured

Those of us born in the first half of the “Baby Boomer” generation will remember the television weekly series, “Combat!”  It was set in World War II France as the Americans fought the Germans.  Like most programs of that era, short snippets from an episode were used in brief promotions during the week.

The one which stands out featured a night battle scene where Sergeant Saunders (played by Vic Morrow) was giving instructions to an overwhelmed soldier, both covered in mud and sweat.  As the sergeant finished his orders, the soldier said, “I’ll try.”

Saunders sharp comeback was, “Don’t try, you DO IT!”  

Fast forward to 2017, where a two-plus year Republican majority in both houses of Congress has had several years to plan a strategy to deliver us from Obamacare.  The two leaders, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), seem to be rolling out more versions of doomed legislation with their apparent concern being that they can say they tried rather than they were relentless in the critical pursuit of victory.

The threats of the Axis powers then and Obamacare now are similar in their impact on daily life.  Had Germany, Italy and Japan been victorious, our freedoms that are guaranteed (not given) by the Constitution would have been scuttled.  Allow the ironically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to continue much longer and the free enterprise medical world crashes in the U.S. when too many insurers pull out of markets and middle-America is smothered by premiums covering many more than just their own families.  Thus, the original intent of our previous President will be realized as a frantic majority will plead for “single-payer health care” (also known as socialized medicine) where big government decides what health care is given to whom.  This will complete the liberals’ process of trivializing human life to a commodity to be managed like crops and minerals – the same philosophy of the Axis leaders.

To Mr. McConnell, Mr. Ryan and the rest of the Republican controlled Congress:

“Don’t try to fix the damage caused by Obamacare, YOU DO IT!”

Democrats: Don’t Wring Your Hands About Anticipated Federal Budget Cuts, but Donate As Non-Liberals Do

Featured

Lead  In

My wife and I recently attended an info-dinner given by a nationally known financial planning company for invited clients.  Near the end of the evening, one of the attendees at our table repeatedly mentioned how improper it was for those us attending a special dinner we didn’t have to pay for when so many in the U.S. and the world were struggling to survive.  To comfort him, several of us agreed with his assertion that the world contained enough wealth to sustain the entire population, but that the problem was how to make it equitable.

He continued to wring his hands verbally about how those of us at the table, living in excess, were part the problem.  I commented that it would be a great help if our federal government would stop pushing religious groups out the adoption business, hospitals and schools because they did not subscribe to the new political correctness being enforced.  These organizations not only have done good work for centuries, but do it more economically than big government can.

His continued restrained jabs at our supposed lack of concern for the less fortunate changed our responses.  A couple of us described how we and relatives were assisting disadvantaged people through contacts in our country and the world in charitable projects to alleviate poverty.  These efforts included not just significant financial assistance, considering our modest means, but actual labor to help those in need.

Unfortunately, he was not mollified by any of this.  Finally, to my surprise, my otherwise silent wife asked him what he was doing to help others since he seemed so passionate about this subject.  After some typical liberal avoidance of the issue, he said he was promoting awareness.  But what was he actually doing to be part of the solution?  In the absence of anything specific, it was clear that he was for big government to solve these inequities.  This idea was cemented with his question after I reminded him that the success of getting the colonies to agree to a federal constitution was contingent on the assurance that states’ rights would still exist.  He then asked me how much our nation’s population had increased since then.  I correctly stated that it went from three million to 320 million.  His implication was that greater size required great government intervention.

Subsidiarity,  not  Big  Brother

The Left loves concentration of power at the top ostensibly because those of us at the lower levels are incapable.  History proves the error of this strategy because:

“… Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative.  The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity [emphasis retained], according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help co-ordinate its activity within the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good’… The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism.  It sets limits for state intervention… In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies… The family must be helped and defended by appropriate social measures.  Where families cannot fulfill their responsibilities, other social bodies have the duty of helping them and supporting the institution of the family.  Following the principle of subsidiarity, larger communities should take care not to usurp the family’s prerogatives or interfere in its life.” 1,2

How  Does  This  Relate  to  the  New  Federal  Budget?

President Trump’s federal budget proposal is expected to be released this coming Tuesday (May 23).  Included in it will be some budget cuts as the federal deficit begins to be addressed.  The safest bet is that there will be considerable howling, especially from Democrats, as a result of some decreases in funding of some social programs.

Subsidiarity teaches that this is not a crisis or necessarily inappropriate.  Much has been and should be done at the state and local level – and this includes us average citizens, not just “the government.”

Going back to the discussion at the financial planning dinner, what states’ residents are doing the most to make the world a better place through their own initiative?  According to recent data, these states were the most charitable based on income tax filing deductions (as a percentage of income) and would not reflect aid to family members and friends in need:

  • Utah 6.6%
  • Mississippi 5.0%
  • Alabama 4.8%
  • Tennessee 4,5%
  • Georgia 4.2%
  • South Carolina 4.1%
  • Idaho 4.0%
  • Oklahoma 3.9%
  • Arkansas 3.9%
  • North Carolina 3.6%

Liberal states aren’t present in this list.  Adding  to the Left’s reputation for wanting the federal government take all of the responsibility, New Hampshire was the lowest and Maine and Vermont were among the lowest.While some may believe that this is because conservatives are simply wealthier or more religious (at least true on the second part), the point is that for the 2012 election, “The top 17 states for rate of giving all went for Romney.” 4

The take away from this:  Liberals, with their willingness to spend others’ money instead of their own, may not complain about budget cuts until they match the generosity of their supposedly less informed non-liberal acquaintances.

 

1 – Taken from paragraphs 1883, 1885, 1894 and 2209 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November, 2013.

2 – A word about “the common good.”  It is not about majority rule or what helps the most people, but “By common good is to be understood ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.’  The common good concerns the life of all… The common good consists of three essential elements:  respect for and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person; prosperity, or the development of the spiritual and temporal goods of society; the peace and security of the group and of its members.”  Ibid, from paragraphs 1906 and 1925.

3 – “Report:  Which states give the most to charity?  The ones with church-goers,” by Lindsey Bever, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/06/report-which-states-give-the-most-to-charity-the-ones-with-church-goers/?utm_term=.d192b18507a9, 10/6/2014.

4 – “Who’s More Generous, Liberals or Conservatives,” by John Grgurich, The Fiscal Times, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2014/10/17/Who-s-More-Generous-Liberals-or-Conservatives, 10/17/2014.

It’s Unfortunate that Many “Universities” are Digressing to “Particularities”

Featured

Universities have been in existence for many centuries, although a precise starting date is not known.

“It was, after all, in the High Middle Ages that the university came into existence… The precise origins of the very first universities are lost in obscurity, though the picture becomes ever clearer as we move into the thirteenth century.  We cannot give exact dates for the appearance of universities at Paris and Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge, since they evolved over a period of time…”1

The original purpose of the university is “the creation of prepared minds.” True, over the last century, we have seen much commercialization of higher education in the form of investment into research for the business and manufacturing worlds.  In addition, the idea that colleges are to prepare students for more lucrative employment has somehow become the majority opinion.

All of that aside, an inherent mission of the university remains that it is to be an arena where a multitude of ideas can discussed and debated.  The concept comes from “the Latin words universitas and universitatis (which) are generally thought of as the source of the word university.

These words are derived from universus universeum / universa, meaning universe or universal.”3

 The intrinsic purpose of the university was maintained in the 1960’s despite near anarchy occurring on some campuses when “progressive” ideas ranging from the validity of the Viet Nam War to sexual mores to questioning our form of government aggressively demanded to be heard.  While many opposed the progressives, it was appropriate that these differences of opinion were allowed to be debated.

Now, after seven centuries of purposeful existence, the “university” is threatened with extinction.  Since the 1960’s, a majority of U.S. universities have adopted the “progressive” social and political philosophies.  However, in this new climate they have abandoned the fundamental purpose of the university by not allowing “conservatives” to speak on many campuses.  Excuses for limiting the exchange of ideas include charges of not representing the university’s core values4 and false accusations of “hate speech” compelling the universities to say they cannot guarantee safety of the speaker or audience because of the expectation of violent protests.

These institutions of higher learning are abdicating their responsibility to “create prepared minds” via civilized discussion of opposing thoughts.  They are ceasing to be universal in the testing of ideas.

An antonym for universal is “particular”.Consequently, institutions that “disinvited” conservative speakers last year such as Princeton University and American University should henceforth be known as Princeton Particularity and American Particularity.5

 

1 – “The Catholic Church and the Creation of the University,” by Thomas E. Woods Jr., http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/education/catholic-contributions/the-catholic-church-and-the-creation-of-the-university.html, 2005.

2 – “The Purpose of Higher Education:  To Create Prepared Minds, “ by Andres Fortino, https://evolllution.com/opinions/the-purpose-of-higher-education-to-create-prepared-minds/, 6/26/2012.

3http://english-ingles.com/en/etymology-of-university/

4 – “Dis-invited: 4 Conservatives Not Welcome To Speak On College Campuses,” by Arissa D (Future Female Leaders cabinet member and a student at Yale University, http://futurefemaleleader.com/disinvited-conservatives-not-welcome/, 4/16/2017.

5http://englishthesaurus.net/antonym/universal