Category Archives: Current Events

The Climate Change Pope, Part 3

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I’ve spent a couple blog posts giving the background on why I believe the Pope is wrong about climate change.   Let me start this post by stating my areas of agreement with the Pope.

  1. I am not deligitimizing the overall, general issue of stewardship of God’s creation.     I am not suggesting the Pope has no authority in this area, nor that he should be silent about these concerns.   I am not even saying that the Pope has no right to an opinion on whether or not human-caused global warming (or climate change) is real.    He, as does every person, has a right to an opinion.    As Pope, he has the obligation to instruct the faithful.   More generally speaking, it is proper and correct to challenge all of us as to whether or not we are striking the proper balance between respect for human rights and progress and respect for God’s creation.
  2. There should be many things that we see that should not be particularly debatable as either a good thing or a bad thing in the realm of stewardship of the earth.   Dumping of toxins, breaking the law, leaving a plastic bottle in the woods – some are clearly more serious than others, but all are wrong.   The Pope is correct to suggest that knowingly doing something that is harmful to the planet is sinful.    This statement is not Gaia-worship, it is a simple acknowledgment that we have a responsibility we need to take seriously to keep this planet as healthy as possible, because God made it good, and also because it’s in our best interest to do so.    No matter how pro-capitalism one might be, this should not be debatable.
  3. Consumerism is a somewhat strange word, but we should all be able to agree that, while the economic system is not inherently problematic, the human conditions of jealousy and greed are.   You can point to any economic system ever put in place anywhere, and you will have one thing in common:   greedy people will find a way to take advantage of other people, and will exploit the system to their gain.    I personally believe that the Pope is often a bit too hard on capitalism, as if the system itself is flawed.    Compared to any other system devised, I actually thing it produces the most superior of moral outcomes – you earn what you deserve (generally speaking) and it forces allocation of resources in the most efficient way for a thriving economy, which benefits everybody.     Clearly, there are shortfalls, as will be the case with every system, and we continue to try to create the perfect variant of a social-capitalistic system, which will never happen.   But having said all that, it is certainly worth noting the personal pitfalls of this system.   Capitalism does offer the opportunity for great wealth.   That’s not bad, but is the question is why is that wealth being pursued?     It’s one thing if natural interests or a great idea that can add to the quality of life of others is the reason for the pursuit.    It’s also another thing if an opportunity exists to make your life better without sacrificing other good things (God, family, etc.).   It’s quite another if the drive is purely materialistic, and the time and effort is sacrificing time and energy on more idealistic pursuits.   This is where capitalism, while not bad in and of itself, can be a source of temptation for those who may have a personal weakness in the area of covetousness or greed.    This goes hand-n-hand, then, with the stewardship of creation.   Most Corporations are good, all of which are filled with working people – I hate the generalization of all Corporations as somehow innately evil. This doesn’t mean that greed cannot infect the principal owners/board members of an organization.    As Christians, we can both believe in the goodness of capitalism while speaking out against environmental injustices when they happen.
  4. There are grey areas in the area of stewardship that can be legitimately debated.    Is it immoral to build a factory that will employ people who will be able to provide for their families if it means the endangered snail darter will be at serious risk?    Is it immoral to shutter the entire project, causing community disruptions, lost jobs, and so forth because of an overscrupulous view of stewardship?    Good and honest people will disagree on the moral high ground here.   Perhaps there is a middle ground that makes sense.    One thing is almost certain – not everyone will agree, and it’s almost impossible to say that one side is sinning and the other is not.

So, I think the Pope makes many great points, and challenges us to make sure we are not letting politics steer our religious or moral obligations.    However, where I do take issue is moving from the moral directives to a much more specific proclamation of what our obligations are as a world community, as governments, and as individuals in response to the threat of human-caused climate change.

It is one thing to take a position that dumping a known toxin into a river is a sinful action, and it is quite another to suggest that driving a car is a sin if the option of a bus is available.   If the moral instruction is based on a belief that fossil fuel use is causing destructive warming, it is understandable why that instruction takes place.   But if that underlying premise is false, then the moral instruction is also false.    Put differently, if I do not accept the science-based premise that leads to a particular moral instruction on the basis of that scientific premise – not on simply obstinate grounds, but on grounds of experience and research and (to the extent possible) unbiased human reasoning – then am I obligated to accept the moral instruction that is a response to the flawed scientific premise?    This is different from just saying “I studied the Bible and I don’t believe in Purgatory.”    That is not a scientific question that leads to a religious doctrine.   So, I am not saying that whatever I don’t accept I don’t need to listen to.  In fact, I accept that the moral issue of stewardship is an obligation on my part.   It is the specific nature of this issue that I have a problem with.

One may simply ask, “What’s the big deal?”    Well, it is a big deal, actually.    If the Pope gives moral authority to governments, the UN, and other secular organizations on this issue, it sets the stage for a much more aggressive response with the justification that the Vatican is on board.   I think the Pope, in his own way, has this vision of the goodness of they types of choices that will be made – people just decide to buy fewer things, drive less, think about the environment more, and participate less in the types of things that will drive climate change.   Governments will do reasonable things that benefit everyone.

There is good there, and the good things are the things we should do anyway, irrespective of climate change.   But going beyond personal choices, everything else is problematic even if the theory is correct.   And if the theory is wrong, then everything else is horribly flawed. Governments will tax – inefficient, and a displacement of resources that can help people.   Governments will regulate and restrict production, will deviate resources to unnecessary and expensive areas, and will be an overall drag on growth and incomes.   But far worse will be the continuation and escalation of social engineering:   (a) abortion on demand will continue, be promoted as a good, and will escalate in the areas of the world where it has yet to gain a foothold; (b) people will be encouraged to outright “fear” having children, further encouraging use of contraception,  (c) personal property rights and use of property will continue to be diminished and attacked, and (d) marriage will continue to devolve into an institution of self-happiness rather than as an institution of rearing the next generation.

Now, the Pope doesn’t want fewer children via an increase in abortion and contraception.   And he would condemn that approach.   But the secular world doesn’t care what the Pope thinks, except when he thinks something they can use to advance their agenda.   While it should not be the case that the Pope should never speak pastorally or on social justice issues due to the risk of progressives selectively choosing the words of his they want to use for their purposes, neither should the Pope dismiss or ignore the fact that this reality exists.   He should understand the consequences of his instruction, and at the very least make it clear that when he speaks of these things, he condemns absolutely a number of the human “solutions” or agendas around this issue.

He should, in my opinion, also not speak so absolutely about the truth of climate change as a result of human activity, but instead focus more generally on environmental stewardship and our moral responsibility.

The Climate Change Pope, Part 2

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In my recent post The Climate Change Pope, Part 1, I provided a brief historical context as to why I believe i can speak to this issue with some clarity from the standpoint of science and mathematics, as well as modeling.    I have done my best to take an unbiased look at the data, and have also studied a number of the less black and white issues around the idea of human-caused climate change (which used to be global warming, but I’m convinced that it became obvious that this claim was going to be problematic – nonetheless, climate change is still, generally, used synonymous with a precept that the planet is warming, and that is undergirded by a precept that the warming is caused by humans).

My past history has led me to the conclusion that the theory that humans cause global warming is mostly false.   Call it the Diatribe-o-facto-meter.   I say mostly false because I think there does appear, in my past research, that over the past few decaded the temperature anomalies ride slightly higher than what is otherwise nicely explained by incorporating cyclical trend analysis.   The differential, however, is not what I would call significant.    The fact is, there are very long term warming and cooling trends that take place over time.   We all know this without being science majors – there have been series’ of ice ages and series’ of warmer ages.   One can easily find historical charts dating back millions of years that show these cyclical patterns, determined through different scientific analyses.   Then there are intermediate term cycles withing these longer term cycles.  Finally, we know of at least two sixty-ish year cycles that take place with ocean warming and cooling patterns.    Throw on top of that the solar cycle that lasts a fraction of that time, and it’s easy to see why trying to jump to conclusions by looking at a 10, 20, or 30 year temperature trend needs to consider all sorts of things before you can start talking about what the actual impact of human activity does.

In my past blogging, I attempted to do just that, and my conclusions are that we are in a long/intermediate trend of warming at about 0.4 degrees Celsius per Century.   This has nothing at all to do with human activity.    From the mid 1970s through the 1990s we were in one of the short-term upward cycles.   My analysis showed that we peaked a few years ago, are on top of a wave where temps would be relatively stable, and then start a gradual decline for a number of years before starting to increase once again.    I posted this observation a number of years ago and it’s exactly what happened.

My analysis also showed that recent anomalies where slightly elevated after considering these cycles.    This could have to do with recent solar cycle contribution, or it may well have to do with human contributions.   So I accept a contributory impact.   But it is such a small contribution that it cannot possibly justify back-breaking action.

So, moving on from all that, why is this important?    I have always felt it is important, primarily, because I think we are victims of a combination of honest mistakes and outright lies.    Honest mistakes can be reviewed and debated and corrected.   Outright lies means that there is something more to the story.   The question is, “why would they lie about something like this?”

And this is where the Pope becoming complicit (I believe with good intentions) is quite problematic.    The goal of those who really, really understand the science behind this issue is to promote a particular socioeconomic outcome.   Increase taxation, disallow more and more land use, thus reducing private ownership of land (I just read today that during Obama’s 8 years, he has federalized enough land to fill Texas three times – that is alarming and something we should resist greatly), and – the greatest evil of all – to paint human beings as intrinsically at odds with creation and of lower value than planet earth.

In my next, and final, post on this, I will further explain my position.   In a nutshell, I am not suggesting the Pope doesn’t have a proper concern in making sure we are reminded of our human responsibility to care for God’s creation.   He makes great and humbling points that need to be considered.   My issue is moving beyond the more general spiritual directive in reminding us of our overall responsibility and the broad considerations we need to make in all our actions, and moving into much more specific case of climate change and fossil fuels.   There is a very real danger in how his words will be taken by many odd bedfellows, and in my opinion not only creates potential confusion but also actually, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, aids in the advancement of evil.

To Trump or not to Trump – Notre Dame’s Question

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I have a few thoughts regarding the issue about Notre Dame publicly considering not inviting Donald Trump for a commencement speaker.   Here’s a link to a Washington Post article.

Here are a few excerpts from the article.

Notre Dame University may not extend an invitation to President-elect Donald Trump to this year’s graduation, a move that would break with a decades-long tradition of inviting presidents in their first year to deliver the main commencement address at the South Bend campus…

University President John Jenkins said the 2009 commencement featuring President Obama was a “political circus” that he is loath to repeat at this year’s ceremony…

“My concern a little bit is that, should the new president come, it may be even more of a circus,” he added.

This is the strongest valid point I believe Notre Dame has in taking this position.    I think it’s proper and valid to assess whether or not the speaker is being a major distraction and somehow affecting what should be a celebration of the graduates.    With as politically divided as this country is, it is probably reasonable to believe that people would not be so courteous as to not protest or take the new President’s presence as some personal affront to them.

I have a couple issues with this, but I also understand the reality.   My issues are (1) people should grow up and be respectful, and this shouldn’t be a concern to begin with, (2) I have a real question as to whether or not this is really an honest conclusion on the part of John Jenkins.    Is he prepared to say that, going forward, no Presidents will be invited under the current political environment?    If so, then fine.   But I can’t help but suspect that had Hillary Clinton won, she would be invited to speak.   I can’t know that, but I strongly suspect it.  (3) Why did Notre Dame so adamantly stick to their guns on this in Barack Obama’s first year?    They knew it would be a circus, at least from the standpoint of being a Catholic Institution.    Now, having said all that, if this is a new policy where Notre Dame says that going forward, we just want the day to be about our graduates and our politics are toxic and from this day forward no President or President-Elect will be invited, well, then that’s not a problem.

 

And then there is this:

“I do think the elected leader of the nation should be listened to. And it would be good to have that person on the campus — whoever they are, whatever their views,” Mr. Jenkins told The Observer, the student-run publication of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

 

This is hogwash.     At least the “whatever their views” part.   This is an academic institution, but it irks me to no end that these Catholic higher institutions consider discourse of ideas to be a higher calling than their own Catholic identity whenever that discourse of ideas runs afoul of Catholic teaching.    I have no idea with the idea that we should listen courteously to Barack Obama talking about general topics, or religion-neutral policies, whether I agree with his perspective or not.    I take great issue with having Catholic doctrine openly challenged on a Catholic campus.   And it is a perfectly reasonable position, if someone holds very public views expressedly contrary to Catholic Doctrine (not just differences in preferred opinion), to not invite any person – regardless of status or position – who holds those views.

 

Finally:

Conservative cardinals and bishops opposed the invitation of Mr. Obama at the time, citing his views on abortion which run contrary to church teaching. Prominent alumni also lobbied the school to disinvite the president.

Mr. Jenkins has expressed disapproval with the president-elect’s stance on immigration.

 

Eight years ago, Notre Dame ignored Bishops and Priests and expressed that the god of Academia reigns Supreme, and they had to know it would rankle people.   But now, there is no such dilemma.   Yes, it’s true that Trump is controversial, has said some things that are not all that nice, and has in the past held views contrary to Catholic views.   But as a candidate, and so far as a President-Elect, he has taken positions that can only be described as pro-religious freedom, pro-life, and simply not contrary in any way to Catholic doctrine.     Yes, it’s true that there is all sorts of disagreement about how to deal with immigration, and we need to have that debate.   And there is a real moral component to that, but there is room for disagreement.

In the end, I understand where the folks of Notre Dame are coming from.    I just wish I could really believe them.   They do not have a history where I trust that this isn’t just another response by sore-loser, snowflake-ridden, progressive academia presented as something else.

 

 

A Heartbeat Away

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In an interesting look at the up, downs, simplicities, and complexities in advancing a Pro-Life agenda, looking at what has recently happened in Ohio makes for interesting debate.

On the one hand, an “incrementalist” view is favored in some segments of the Pro-Life community.   Depending on the lens with which one looks, this is either a horrible compromise or a solid strategic way of making progress that has more of a permanent foothold.   It can be best viewed as trying to meet the public where they are willing to be on this issue in a way that changes opinions, hearts, and minds with far less risk of a sudden backlash.    The downside, of course, is that it is a compromise.   A strategic vision is in place that tries to assess the reality around us, work within that reality, accepting that abortion is still the law of the land, while continuing to poke and prod, slowly and incrementally changing where that acceptable line is.    One consideration is public backlash and the other is an assessment of court rulings.   The fear on the judicial side is that a negative ruling sets things back and erodes prospects for future progress.

There are other segments in the pro-life community that take a more simplistic and pure view – that we should push for everything we can whenever we can, and setbacks be damned.   This really is a play of principle in a lot of cases – it is known that certain laws that are passed will not only be challenged in court, but will also almost certainly be declared unconstitutional under the current make-up of the federal courts, particularly SCOTUS, and that precedents aren’t on the side of drastic changes.

Both sides have a solid argument.   From a purist perspective, one cannot accept something that is intrinsically evil.   There is nothing wrong with incremental changes when that is your only option, but to reject more dramatic action when made available is very problematic, regardless of the claims that this is in the long run a better strategic approach towards attaining more permanent and significant change.

The incrementalist view has good intentions, and perhaps has strategic merit.  I think it is wrong to consider these persons as “not really” pro-life.   I think it’s more that they are scared to death of losing whatever it is they have gained to date, and the fact that they fear negative court decisions and public backlash.

While I think we need to remain charitable with respect to what labels we assign to the different camps, and I think it’s worth understanding the perspectives, I think there is also a time where we need to look inward and ask the question about the fundamental message we are giving by the stance we are taking.

So, back to the Ohio example.   The Ohio state legislature passed a fetal heartbeat bill that disallowed abortions after a heartbeat is detected.   This effectively limits abortions to the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy.    At the same time there was a different bill that simply limited abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no considerations for technical viability, detected heartbeats, etc.   Governor Kasich signed the 20-week bill into law, and vetoed the fetal heartbeat bill.

The explanation given by Kasich, and it should be noted that this was supported by Ohio Right to Life, is that similar attempts to restrict abortion at this level invited defeat in the courts, so signing this would have set up lengthy and expensive court battles.   The President of Ohio Right to Life, Mike Gonidakis, went so far as to say “By endorsing the 20-week ban in lieu of the heartbeat approach, Gov. Kasich provided strong pro-life leadership to finally engage a winnable battle with the federal judiciary while saving countless babies.”

I think the heart is generally in the right place, but I also think this approach is flawed in a number of respects.    First of all, Ohio already had a viability law in place.   Every life counts, but the relative increase in babies saved with this restriction will not be countless.    This is a very incremental improvement.    Standing alone, it is welcomed, and is a good thing.    Considering this a huge step forward is really not factually correct.    This is still allowing abortions for nearly the first 5 months of pregnancy.   Five months is still a long time of risk for a baby in the womb.    Further, health exceptions are still firmly in place.

The other issue I have is that he didn’t have to choose one or the other.   He could have signed both.    So, making the argument that he signed one in lieu of the other is erroneous.   He signed one and vetoed the other, pure and simple.   Had both been signed, and the more restrictive law found to be unconstitutional, then the other would still be in place.   This was a punt.

I appreciate the incremental gains we’ve made.   But I think there is also such a thing as overanalyzing things in order to get to a certain end.    There are times where a strategic approach to achieve the best end is not problematic.   An example was the Presidential Election.   If one firmly believed that there were truly only two options, then voting for the least imperfect candidate is not an immoral thing to do, nor does it compromise your principles.    This is not an incremental decision.   It’s a binary one.   But this is not true of the pro-life issue.

We are obligated to communicate the entire reason we are pro-life.   It’s murder.   It’s immoral.   The baby is a human being.    The womb should be safe.    Like the election decision, if the choice is between a slight restriction and no restriction then you take the slight restriction.   You are not immoral because you sign a ban after 20 weeks that still allows abortion in the first 20 weeks if the only other choice is that the status quo is 24 weeks.    But rejecting a more restrictive law for strategic reasons goes beyond a binary decision.    Especially with the Supreme Court in flux, and the fact that nobody can predict the future, to somehow state with certainty that this is a loser is probably not the best position to take to begin with.   But even if it is, there is a very real moral question involved here.    Why in the world is it not in our DNA to fight as hard as we can for an injustice to be corrected?    Why aren’t we willing to die on that hill?    Even if the courts shoot us down, why do we care?    I do understand there is a resource issue – but millions of people will support these expenses.

I have had people who are not pro-life ask me in the past that if we think abortion is essentially the killing of an innocent human being, then why are there exceptions for rape and incest?    The question was not necessarily meant to support the idea that they want us to fight for a comprehensive abortion ban, but it is an honest confusion about the message we are sending as a pro-life community.    If it’s a person, then why are we agreeing to certain lines of differentiation in treatment?    If they are confused by that, then how much more confusing is the message (real or perceived) that we are OK with abortions up to a certain number of weeks, but not after?    And that we’re willing to draw one line, but not another?

The danger here is also something I’ve heard:  that pro-lifers don’t really want this issue to be ever completely won, because it takes away the life issue in the political conversation.    I don’t believe this to be true for most people, but I do think the incrementalist approach feeds into that perception.   It’s confusing and contradictory in many ways, and the only actual way to explain it is in terms of politics and strategy.    This is problematic as far as messaging goes, any way you slice it.

Sadly, there may also be some truth to that perception.    I think a lot of politicians are nominally pro-life, but it is not what they would consider to be a crtical issue.    They would never personally have an abortion, and being pro-life is a winning issue for their particular constituents.    Small progress is a win, and they can tout it as progress.   But they have no stomach for any political fallout on this issue at all, so they would never support harsh steps even if they could be had, because it makes it more of an issue and could be politically damaging.

I don’t know if Kasich is in the “nominal” category, or if he truly believes he just did the best thing to get where we need to do and would be willing to go further if he feels it would be upheld.   But his approach is most definitely incremental, and for the good it does for some babies, it pulls the plug on a potentially much greater opportunity.    But that would be bold.   And who needs that?

The Power of the Purse – Use it

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While this occurred in May 2016, I only recently became aware of action taken in Tennessee where Republicans finally grew a spine and used their brains to fight against anti-Christian and immoral social progressivism.

We often get myopic about how we can combat the things going on around us, leading to a feeling of helplessness and despair.   While we all know that we can pray and trust in God, we often act as if that’s an afterthought rather than our first line of defense.    God works in strange ways and in uncertain timelines, so us mere humans can sometimes get the feeling that our prayers are not heard if they are not immediately answered.   It’s a somewhat natural reaction, which is why faith and trust are often sheer acts of will as opposed to nice and comfortable emotional joyrides.   I sometimes contemplate the little chicken-and-egg type of sayings, like “I pray because I trust.  I trust because I pray.”   Well, which is it?    It’s both, of course.   I sometimes wonder if the very reason for a seemingly unanswered prayer is either because I didn’t trust enough that God would or could grant my request, or if He needs to test me by fire a little bit – force me to continue to trust even without getting exactly what I want.

So, while it is certainly fine that relying on prayer is a welcome myopia, at least as one of the actions we need to take, we often fail to use our brains in finding other ways to make a difference.

Let’s focus on some of the social issues around us and how we seem to never gain any ground – and in fact we always seem to lose ground.    Whether it’s abortion or same-sex marriage, or whether it’s the new pet of the progressive left, transgender issues (or definition of what gender is, period) we seem to really rely on elections, laws, and Supreme Court decisions.    If we lose an election at the federal level then, well, there’s nothing we can really do.  Worse yet, there seems to be this reluctance to actually stand up for anything when we do have the chance to do it out of some fear of losing power.    We continue to trade moral issues away out of some argument that this will preserve our power so we can do good in other areas.   It’s not exactly the wisdom of Solomon.   It’s the fear of a miser.

Lawmakers in Tennessee disagreed earlier this year.   And it’s a great example of using the power you have to impact behavior.

Here is a story on the subject:  Link to article

Notably, from the article, the bill

Bans UT from spending state funds “to promote the use of gender-neutral pronouns, to promote or inhibit the celebration of religious holidays, or to fund or support Sex Week,” most of which had already occurred.

What happened here is that the UT-Knoxville “office of diversity and inclusion” went off the rails of what they consider to be diverse and inclusive.   Which isn’t particularly surprising.    Many of these kinds of offices in Universities (as well as corporate America and government offices) long ago went off the rails.    And until now most of the response has been “if you don’t like it, don’t go there.”   Fair enough, but it’s also hypocritical.   These are entities that receive public funding (i.e. tax dollars) and the people making these arguments would be the first to go apoplectic if someone on staff uttered the words “Merry Christmas.”

The office of diversity and inclusion apparently believes that banning all gender-specific pronouns like “he”,”she”,”him”, or “her” so as not to offend anyone struggling with gender identity.   They also picked and chose acceptable and unacceptable religious holidays to make any sort of reference to, and they hosted what can only be called a completely offensive and inappropriate “Sex Week.”

So, the funding arm of the state Congress in Tennessee finally grew a pair and said “enough.”   All funding to that morally bankrupt department goes to actually helping minority students pay for school.    It was the right move, and a good move.   One hopes that either this entire office goes away completely or it rediscovers its actual purpose – which is to actually promote real diversity, encourage dialogue – not just liberal mantras – and be fully inclusive (including Christians and those who want to use boy pronouns to talk about boys.)

I hope this helps set precedent and embolden other legislative bodies.   We can push back – we don’t just have to accept cultural decay.   We might not be able to do it everywhere, but we can do it in a lot of places.   It’s time to use all the tools at our disposal.

The Fall of Elites and Persecution

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One of the things that has been evident throughout the year 2016, if one follows current events, is what seems like a sudden backlash against globalization.    The anti-elite/anti-globalist position is not new, but the sentiment has largely continued to be contained.   Those coming forth with an anti-globalism message have always been treated as something of a fringe group of extremists.

This isn’t entirely unfounded, to be perfectly honest.   The most ardent anti-globalists are found on both ends of the left/right spectrum.   The reasons are often completely different, so it’s not that both sides are envisioning the same utopian solution to the problem, but there is an alignment on sentiment.

For 60 years or so, the progressive elites managed to plod consistently along in their efforts to open borders, open trade, and incorporate a migration of progressive social norms and beliefs across regions of the world.    Many promises were made on all fronts about how wonderful it all would be.   Wars would cease, there would be a chicken in every pot, but no one person would have more than a few, and no one person would be without.  We could all have everything.

But eventually, the mask on these things falls away.   Underlying the very tenets of all of this was an anti-capitalism masked as a new kind of better capitalism.   Unknown to many was the subtle fascism that was taking place.    I don’t mean jack-booted thug reactionary fascism (which is more an eventual result of trying to maintain the status quo than an actual element of fascism itself) but the coordination and even co-ownership of government and corporations.    This includes more and more governmental aspects of the business world, over-regulation, over-taxation, partnership between government and the private sector and all that comes with it.    When this becomes predominant, the government can control and dictate all aspects of economic life, and in many ways our daily life.    Even when not directly controlling ownership interests, the quid pro quo aspect of allowing company mergers to create monopolies while relentlessly punishing independent small businesses has staggering implications.

The promise of free trade has strong capitalistic sentiments around it, but this too comes with major issues.    It requires all actors to cooperate on an equivalent level.  It also requires our government to not foolishly export the dollar and risk an inflationary backlash.   This care has not taken place, as the country’s debt skyrockets and the trade deficit looms.   We continue to export the dollar, hoping and praying it doesn’t suddenly get sent back to us in droves.

At the same time, progressives escalated all sorts of changes to social norms.  If the elites are not openly anti-Catholic or anti-Christian, they consider those who hold fast to certain beliefs as unworthy of any serious consideration.    The escalation in normalization of abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism comes with it the establishment of human rights tribunals that are now openly challenging traditional moral beliefs as thought crimes or hate crimes.   The message has been that such beliefs are hateful and not to be tolerated.   It’s OK to think those things to yourself in the privacy of your bathtub, but leave it there or face prosecution.

It seemed that until 2015 people were either ignorant, apathetic, or too frightened to push back on these continued developments.    During 2016, we have seen an amazing upheaval of the emboldened who have had enough.    More surprisingly is that this upheaval now counts among its ranks not just the marginally disaffected or the extremist wings of left and right, but an ever-growing element of the population that realizes that they are not extreme and are now being labeled as such because they don’t want to just continually move along with the ever-changing lines of what is considered appropriate decorum.   They have had it with political correctness.   They are sick of being labeled as racist or hateful because they have some sense of standard or principle.   They are tired of a good capitalistic system being completely perverted, and then the failings of the perversions being blamed on capitalism itself.   They are tired of government/corporate partnerships gaining monopolistic power and shutting down competition (crony capitalism).   People are tired of failed promises around free trade while there is no attempt to secure national borders.   People are tired of elitist, immoral, self-righteous, philosophical thinkers who have never worked a day in their lives telling us how to live, what to think, and what to say.

And so, Brexit happened.   And in many places in Europe there is discontent.   And populism arises.   And Donald Trump happens.

Don’t misunderstand me – not all of these developments are necessarily good.    Some may be good, some may be dangerous.    We are in a time where people have had enough and are now reacting.  Mini-political revolutions could eventually lead to real revolutions.   Nobody wants violence and bloodshed.   Nobody wants dicatatorships.   All these things are possible.

But why is it possible?   Because the elitists thought they had it all figured out and they pushed, and they pushed, and they pushed.   In many cases, they waited until they shaped the opinions of the majority so that they could maneuver with the tide.    But progressives are never happy, and they are not good at being patient.   When things don’t go their way, they do not always take it real well.   That’s because they know what’s good for us.   They are also emboldened by some success, which can lead to overreaching their mandate.

An overreach beyond where the public is at, along with evidence of actual failures now impacting the daily lives of the people, is what has happened in the last decade or so.   And now, people are pushing back.

And the elites don’t like that one bit.

Whenever someone starts to lose the grip of power, they seldom just let it happen.   There are scapegoats, they will lie, they will double-down, and they will fight.    We are in a perilous time.    The elites are coordinated, they are in all the highest levels of numerous governments, they control the central banks and the courts (I am not speaking of “control” in the conspiratorial sense, just in the sense of the reality of who is in what positions around the globe – these are almost all globalists and proudly and publicly so).

So, who is their scapegoat?

Perhaps there will be a number of scapegoats, but it really is quite simple.   Barack Obama considers those clinging to God and guns to be an enemy of progressivism.   This is a glib and simple summary of who can be expected to be the targets of elitist ire.

The unrest is out of the bag.   It will not be quelled naturally.   Not just in the United States, but globally, drastic measures will need to be taken by the elites or they will risk losing all they have worked to accomplish.   God only knows what those drastic measures will be.   But if you are not falling in line with their Credos because you actually have a moral base, and if you believe in your First and Second Amendment rights, then it’s highly likely that you will be a target.

It remains to be seen how that will happen, and how dramatically.   But keep your eyes open.

Infiltrating the Church – Democrats Steal a Page – or 80 – From the Communists

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In the sepope-hillaryemingly endless dump of Wikileaks documents – many that should give any voter great pause about what kind of person they are supporting in Hillary Clinton even in the absence of continued additional revelations – is the nugget that we heard about for a short time and got a few Catholics riled up until the next e-mail dump distracted us.

It is indicative of our AD&D age that we can’t seem to focus on a horrid thing that has been uncovered for more than a day.   I mean, seriously, if Watergate happened today it wouldn’t even be a lead story in today’s news cycle.   There would be somebody who brings it up, the partisans would argue that this is just politics, a few people would yell at each other on TV, and within two days we’d be on to the next thing.    The numbers of scandals that have occurred since the Bill Clinton years and have continued to this day make the Watergate scandal look like a bouncy house on the White House lawn.    That analogy probably makes no sense.   This makes it perfectly apt in today’s political environment, because that makes no sense either.

Let me provide a link for your memory.

“There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church,” Sandy Newman, president and founder of the progressive nonprofit Voices for Progress, writes to Podesta in an email titled “opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing.”

In response, Podesta assures Newman to rest easy for he and his progressive pals have already created organizations explicitly designed to infiltrate the Catholic Church with progressive ideology, though he cautions that the time may not be right for full revolution — just yet.

“We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up,” Podesta writes.

A scholar at the Left-wing Center for American Progress emailed Podesta in 2011 bashing then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for his Catholic Faith.

“It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith,” John Halpin wrote to Podesta, and Jennifer Palmieri, now the communications director of the Clinton campaign. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Palmieri, agreed.

“I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”

 

To the non-religious among us, this may not seem like a major issue.   But this is a huge issue.   It’s actually quite unbelievable, while unfortunately being entirely believable.

Everyone wants to focus on the bigotry and insults – that people are Catholic or not based not on beliefs, but to impress their friends, be socially acceptable, and for political reasons.   That’s insulting, sure.   And to call the devout Catholics backwards and in the same sentence berate evangelicals is head-shaking as well.

But the most incredible admission here is that two faux Catholic groups have actually been started for the explicit purpose of influencing the moral teachings of the Church for entirely secular and political reasons.   I cannot overstate how diabolical this is.   This should be utterly disqualifying to any person of any religion.   We cannot reward leaders who view our Nation, founded upon Judeo-Christian values, with this kind of disdain.

I know this was in the news, but I want to challenge all the Christians to not forget this.   Over the next three weeks we will see continued mudslinging and Wikileaks drops and debates.   But this is not and should not be a dead issue in our minds even if the news cycle treats us like we have the attention spans of gnats.

Any political system or Party that actively works to undermine the Church is by definition an antichrist.  (Not THE Antichrist – but an antichrist).   Sounds harsh, I know, but we need to call a spade a spade.   It is well known that Communists actually sent men to be seminarians for the express intent of infiltrating the Church.   (e.g. See this book and this wiki page).

We have long accepted that this is self-evident evil.    If we do not come to grips with the fact that today’s progressive Democrats are in the same bed as the Communists, then we simply don’t want to see what is self-evident evil in our own American political class.   The tactics may differ (or who knows – maybe not.   It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we someday find that some seminarians have been encouraged to enter the Priesthood in order to further political liberalism) but the intent is the same.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – Pray for us.