Thursday, 7/28/16

  1. Holy Martyr Father Jacques
  2. Tim Kaine, Take 1
  3. Tim Kaine, Take 2, Donald Trump Take 1
  4. Donald Trump Take 2
  5. A pox on both houses
  6. Playing for the rule of law itself
  7. Humpty Dumpty writes his Dear Colleagues
  8. Naked Emperors

1

Anyone martyred for the Christian faith is ipso facto a Saint. That’s (almost?) a dogma of the Orthodox Church. A Priest killed by throat-slitting Muslim terrorists while celebrating Mass and after refusing the command to kneel would appear to qualify.

Holy Martyr Father Jacques, pray for us sinners!

2

It might be said of Kaine, as H.L. Mencken said of Grover Cleveland, that he was “a good man in a bad trade.” But he made his life harder by deciding to rise politically in a party that was more and more pro-abortion without even minor restraints. When he ran for governor he favored a ban on the grisly surgery known as “partial-birth abortion.” He was also willing to support a scheme of “informed consent,” to give a woman information about the state of the child she was thinking of aborting. But he was also emphatically against “criminalizing abortion.”

Yet why seek an “alternative” if there was something rightful and legitimate about abortion?   If we were dealing with the taking of a human life, why shouldn’t this kind of homicide be punished?

The tip-off came when Kaine professed to have a “faith-based opposition to abortion.” There was the Kennedy-Biden formula: the moral case against abortion does not depend, as the Church has it, on the reasoning of natural law, weaving the facts of embryology with principled reasoning. It is merely a matter of “belief,” and therefore Kaine would decorously decline to impose on the public the “beliefs” he professes to hold.

His party is now firmly committed to the notion that the right to abortion, established in Roe v. Wade does not end with the pregnancy; that it entails the right to kill a child born alive. That is the position that it falls now to Hillary Clinton and Kaine to defend in public.

(Hadley Arkes, Tim Kaine: An Explosion Waiting to Happen? — emphasis added)

3

Less than a month ago [Democrat VP Nominee Tim Kaine] described himself as “traditionally a supporter of the Hyde Amendment,” but since joining Hillary Clinton’s ticket he’s reportedly reversed that position, sweeping away the last trace of actual pro-life policy from his repertoire of views.

What remains isn’t a distinctively Catholic liberalism, or a “Pope Francis Catholicism,” as some credulous observers have suggested. It’s just a liberalism that likes its usual agenda read in the light that comes in through stained glass.

Of course Kaine’s surrender to party orthodoxy isn’t the only Catholic surrender happening this year. On the Republican side, prominent Catholic politicians like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio spent several years trying to walk their party’s rhetoric back from its un-Catholic, “makers vs. takers”/“47 percent” turn, and making limited but promising attempts to bring economic solidarity back into the G.O.P. policy agenda.

And then came Donald Trump, inviting Republicans to embrace a more authoritarian form of solidarity, unmoored from any real social conservatism and united by white-identity politics rather than a vision of the common good. Which to their credit, both Ryan and Rubio resisted … but only up to a point, because in the end partisanship trumped Catholic principle. (Mormon principle, it’s worth noting, seems to be made of sterner stuff.)

So this is the “Catholic” politics we have in the America of 2016: Catholic liberals who endorse unlimited abortion, and Catholic conservatives who endorse an authoritarian buffoon.

Jesus wept.

(Ross Douthat) Do I need to remind you again of which party stands for the sanctity of life and economic solidarity?

4

I hadn’t notice it until Tuesday, but Carl Eric Scott is up to part 6 in a National Review series on, basically, why conservatives shouldn’t vote for Trump. I guess I’m sort of a member in the choir he’s preaching to, but I couldn’t endure the full sermon.

But I’m intrigued by a question reprised in part 4,

Is there is a floor of unethical behavior and shamelessness on the part of a candidate for major office below which no genuine conservative can support the candidate?

and in his earnest-if-speculative chain of reasoning on how Trump is the greater evil (in part 6).

5

J Budziszewski blogs rarely enough that I really look forward to it when he does. His usual topic is natural law — “what we can’t not know,” as he puts it. But after a long blogging hiatus, he delivered a doozy Wednesday morning, quite explicitly political, Saying No. If I start quoting, it will be hard to stop.

His diagnosis of Trump is astonishingly identical to my own, right down to “sociopath,” which I had not uttered, but had thought (based on Trump’s constant Luciferic lying). Of the “wild card versus known evil” argument for Trump, he again nails it: this wild card is wilder than they think.

His diagnosis of Hillary is provocative, but I can’t claim I’d thought her personal flaws through; her positions were disqualifying, in my book. But his diagnosis is an exercise in “there is no lesser evil in this race.”

His conclusion:

Understandably, they say one must follow the path that minimizes evil.  One must try to save as much as one can.

I do not disagree.  The question is what it is that one is saving as much of as possible.  By saving as much as one can, my honest friends mean saving as much of one’s policy goals as one can.  But in the first place, there is no longer any path to saving decent policy goals.  For example, although it is true that a victory by the criminal would spell the triumph of the party which is programmatically committed to death, a victory by the sociopath would spell the destruction of any pretense to the other party’s commitment to life.  In the second, this time the stakes are greater than policy.  We are not playing for this law or that; we are playing for the rule of law itself, in which neither nominee believes.

So I do propose saving as much as one can — of something else.  Whether the republic itself can be saved is uncertain; time will tell.  But there will be no republic without conscience, and we can save every farthing of that.

(Emphasis added. The concluding “How’s that?” seems to be directed to the folks who complained at the long blogging hiatus.)

6

Team Obama doesn’t care for the rule of law, either:

Societal attitudes and mores can and do change dramatically over time, but (aside from Humpty Dumpty) the meaning of commonly understood words does not …

The word “sex[]” … used in civil rights statutes enacted during the 1960s and 1970s, still means what it has always meant: the biological status of being male or female. By mendaciously insisting otherwise, with its recent transgender bathroom edicts, the Obama administration has demonstrated a shocking disregard for the plain meaning of language, and an insolent indifference to congressional drafting …

Obama’s Departments of Justice and Education are asserting an interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that requires school districts receiving federal funds to allow biological males who self-identify as females to use facilities reserved for females (not just bathrooms but also locker rooms and showers), and vice versa, on the grounds that enforcing sex-segregated facilities constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex.

The DOJ and DOE contend that the word “sex” includes “gender identity” … As the state of Texas and 12 other states argue persuasively in a pending federal court lawsuit, the DOJ’s and DOE’s position is utterly baseless—bordering on frivolous …

The contention is so preposterous that one questions whether it is made in good faith ….

(Mark Pulliam, Dear Colleague’s Letter of the Law) Stopping short of a full legal brief, Pulliam continues and does a very good job of exposing Team Obama’s shameless bit of election year pandering.

7

Here’s a thought: mightn’t every ISIS atrocity be an opportunity to evangelize Muslims whose good will makes them recoil from the intractable violence within the walls of Islam?

8

Naked Emperors

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.