Fortunately, I've got a project coming up requiring me to keep long-form writing skills sharp, so I intend to use this space for longer posts. More to come soon.
So this “settled doctrine,” what is it? At every step it is a lie. It is a lie about when life begins. It is a lie that the fetus is not human from conception. It is a lie that we cannot strive to do something about it. It is a lie that it is the common good that these infants perish because we decide that it is “necessary,” a “choice,” a “right,” “the law.” It is a lie that we do not need the infants that we have systematically killed. It is a lie that each abortion is not an intentional killing of one of our kind by one of our kind.
“Settled doctrine” is a rule-of-the-thumb judicial maxim, like “Odiosa sunt restringenda” or “In dubiis libertas." These latter are legal customs designed to protect the one who must obey from unclear, though generally just laws. Can we have “settled doctrine” over unjust laws? This is the claim we are confronted with.
The “settled doctrine” of slavery was challenged on grounds of its moral rightness. From whence could such grounds arise? Surely not from “settled doctrine” itself. “Settled customs” in the ancient world maintained that, given a choice between death and slavery after defeat in battle, most men would choose slavery. Therefore, slavery was tolerated. Those who chose death over slavery were always more admired.
The same people who oppose the “settled doctrine” of slavery on moral grounds reject these same grounds when it comes to aborted human beings. This obtuseness can only be explained as a willful blindness justified as a conflict of “rights.” The shifting reasons given for abortion have come to be simply, “We will it.” All arguments for it are at bottom based on lies. But “rights,” we are told, do not apply to human beings at every stage in their growth. We used to say that if children managed successfully to be born, they were human. But now we also eliminate the born. The so-called “right to a dead fetus” or to a “perfect child” is claimed to be a higher obligation.
“Settled doctrine?” It is settled only if we will it to be settled. It is “settled” if we lie to ourselves about what it is we kill. It is “settled” if we reverse the Socratic principle that founded our civilization, namely, “It is, after all, right to do wrong.” Why? Because we will it. “Quod placuit principi, legis habet vigorem” (I-II, 90, 1, ob. 3).
In the end, “No evil can come to an unjust man.” This too is “settled doctrine” among those who deny what Benedict XVI called, in Spe Salvi, the “Final Judgment.”
Is John McCain—for whom, I might add, I have never served as an adviser, formally or informally—a perfect pro-life candidate? Of course not. But Barack Obama is a perfect pro-life nightmare. President McCain would not work to repeal the pro-life legislative advances of the past 35 years; knowledgeable and sober-minded Catholic legal and political observers who have worked on these issues for decades are convinced that an Obama administration and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress would eviscerate those modest advances within a year. As for the Supreme Court, the hard facts of our national history teach us that, while the country can survive the court's getting it wrong on some things, we are in very deep trouble when the court gets it wrong on the big human rights questions. That was true when Scot v. Sanford declared an entire class of human beings outside the protection of the laws. That was true when Plessyv.Ferguson upheld legal segregation. And that has been true with Roev.Wade. Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec say they have "no objections" to pursuing legal redress to Roe; yet they support a candidate who, given the opportunity, would certainly do everything in his power to make any revision of Roe, or return of the issue to the states, impossible for the foreseeable future. Once again, we're through the looking glass and into a wilderness of impossibilities.
As a former Democrat who left the party after it left former Pennsylvania governor Robert Casey out in the cold at the 1992 convention, I deeply regret the fact that the once-traditional political home of U.S. Catholics has embraced policy positions on the life issues that offend both Catholic faith and everyone's reason. I would welcome a new openness to pro-life argumentation and policy in the Democratic Party. But it is not at all clear how that revolution, will be advanced by Catholic intellectuals and lawyers who imagine that the party leader's record on core life issues can be, somehow, bracketed, and that reinventing the New Deal or the Great Society will turn the Democratic Party into a political force committed to the culture of life. Should Senator Obama be elected president, Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec will enjoy a brief moment of satisfaction. That moment will likely be followed by the discovery that they have far less credit in the new administration's bank than NARAL and other longtime Obama supporters.
As his biographer, I think it likely that I knew the late John Paul II rather better than Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec. John Paul II was an adult, with whom one could disagree on matters of prudential judgment without his becoming disagreeable. It was an admirable trait. In reflecting on it, my interlocutors might also reflect on the relationship of the candidacy they support to John Paul's description of America's moral history, eloquently expressed when the pope accepted the credentials of the last Democratic ambassador to the Holy See, Lindy Boggs, in 1997:
"No expression of today's [American] commitment to liberty and justice for all can be more basic than the protection offered to those in society who are most vulnerable. The United States of America was founded on the conviction that an inalienable right to life was a self-evident moral truth, fidelity to which was a primary criterion of social justice. The moral history of your country is the story of your people's efforts to widen the circle of inclusion in society, so that all Americans might enjoy the protection of law, participate in the responsibilities of citizenship, and have the opportunity to make a contribution to the common good. Whenever a certain category of people—the unborn or the sick and old—are excluded from that protection, a deadly anarchy subverts the original understanding of justice. The credibility of the United States will depend more and more on its promotion of a genuine culture of life, and on a renewed commitment to building a world in which the weakest and most vulnerable are welcomed and protected."
Restricted Whitehall documents, seen by The Sunday Times, show that the government is so concerned by the “negative laundry options” outlined in the report, it has told its media managers not to give its conclusions any publicity.
The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2½ years would have a global warming , impact of 550kg of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C, the impact could spiral to . 993kg of CO2 A Defra spokesman said the government was shelving plans for future research on nappies.
Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I'll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own.
You don't know what you can get away with until you try.
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84
"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
However you feel about Bush, the President deserved loyalty from the two people he appointed to high government positions. Or, more importantly, the Nation and the Military deserved their resignations the moment they opposed the war.
Instead, both men stayed in the administration, dragging their sea anchors all the way. This reflects honorably on neither man.
Now Powell steps outside the Republican tent and pisses in. He was inclined there a long time ago, and waited until now to open fire so as to do maximum damage to a man whose service to the country is at least as laudable as is Powell’s.
We need to know the precise reasons why too many of the core commentators of our movement turned on Sarah Palin. That is the only way that we can discover if the situation can be salvaged. What we've heard so far is only part of the truth, at best. The response to Palin by such figures as Brooks, Frum, Brookhiser, Buckley, Parker, and Noonan (Krauthammer and Will have been considerably more rational, if still mistaken) has been the farthest thing in the world from reasoned. It has been vicious and feral. People do not react to a merely disagreeable political figure in this manner. All the individuals I mentioned, including Krauthammer and Will in this case, have attacked the McCain/Palin ticket with more ferocity than they have Barack Obama, the most socialist presidential candidate since Henry Wallace. This requires an explanation.
People react that way only to threats. We have to know precisely why the conservative elite is threatened by a successful conservative governor to the point that they have completely lost their bearings. The reasons we've heard so far are nonsense -- you don't call a woman a "cancer" because she says "like" too much or wears flashy shoes. If these questions are not answered, then we will be obliged to formulate our own.
My opinion is no mystery to readers of this site -- that the urban conservative crowd is frightened of Palin because she represents a threat to the standard model of conservatism constructed since the wilderness years of the 1930s, in which a highly-educated and well-connected East Coast coterie led a much larger, less-informed heartland contingent. This, like it or not, is elitism. By their very nature, elites tend to corrode over time. And Sarah Palin, through the very fact of her showing up, has revealed this to be the case in our circle. She upset the enclave conservative applecart, and now they are angry -- a lot angrier than they have been at any lefties in recent memory.
Well, applecarts are made for upsetting -- they must be knocked over from time to time, to assure against smugness, arrogance, and decay. You can't simply decry events like this -- you have to learn from them. That is what our little elite is refusing to do. And that tells us all we need to know.
The way out is to remember that when there are differences among religious creeds, none is entitled to be given preference in law or policy.
Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on slavery, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to liberty undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God's, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual's voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.
The way out is to remember that when there are differences among religious creeds, none is entitled to be given preference in law or policy.
Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space. This does not, of course, leave the right to life undecided or unprotected. Nor for that matter does the reservation of space for individual determination usurp for Caesar the things that are God's, or vice versa. Rather, it allows this sensitive moral decision to depend on religious freedom and the voice of God as articulated in each individual's voluntary embrace of one of many faiths.
Now Joe, as someone whose been there, let me tell you how this works, though I think you have a good idea. At the end of the year, as an LLC, I do file taxes with the business profit on my personal returns like many of others do as well. And yes, that figure is much bigger than 250 thousand. But that's not really MY MONEY to keep. It's how I underpin my business. When customers disappear or take their time paying bills, I still have to pay my employees, rent, suppliers, and countless other expenses. Every penny that the tax man takes out of that profit is less money that I have to carry forward to stay in business for the next year. And if Obama and Reid and Pelosi take more of this by "raising taxes on the rich" then of course my business will suffer. And so will all the employees.
This is exactly what almost none of those lawyers turned polticians understand.
But of course, you will have to send tax money into the government, Joe, because the man who is in charge of spending that money -- Charlie Rangel -- damned sure wasn't paying his fair share as we know now. Get out that checkbook.
Of course, all of this matters only if you can afford to fill your plumbing vans with gas at gosh knows what price. It could be that the recession will lower the gas price, but that's not terribly good news for you either, since customers don't spend as much money in a recession. I mean, I hate to burst your bubble, but small business owners are surrounded by a sea of challenges outside their control and almost all of them are caused by liberalism. Government has formed a business firing squad and it's a doggone circle!
I wish you well, guy. You might just have the genius and persistence to pull this off. I really do hope so. As for me, I have had enough. I have fought creeping liberalism and managed to eake out more wins than losses over 17 years. We have progressed to where our business, now a corporation, is big enough so that Obama and his ilk now have their own ideas about "what larger businesses can afford" and what "corporations can afford."
Well I've got news for him. I cannot afford what they think I can afford, so I am breaking her up and giving her away to some key employees. I wish them well too. They are like you, tough and smart. Perhaps if they stay small enough and never can carry forward more than 250 thou to the next year, they will be allowed to keep their businesses through a downturn.
As for me? I'm outta here.
Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched.
Gov. Linda Lingle's administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.
"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."
State officials said Thursday they will stop giving health coverage to the 2,000 children enrolled by Nov. 1, but private partner Hawaii Medical Service Association will pay to extend their coverage through the end of the year without government support.
"We're very disappointed in the state's decision, and it came as a complete surprise to us," said Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for HMSA, the state's largest health care provider. "We believe the program is working, and given Hawaii's economic uncertainty, we don't think now is the time to cut all funding for this kind of program."
Hawaii lawmakers approved the health plan in 2007 as a way to ensure every child can get basic medical help. The Keiki (child) Care program aimed to cover every child from birth to 18 years old who didn't already have health insurance — mostly immigrants and members of lower-income families.
It costs the state about $50,000 per month, or $25.50 per child — an amount that was more than matched by HMSA.
State health officials argued that most of the children enrolled in the universal child care program previously had private health insurance, indicating that it was helping those who didn't need it.