I’m happy to see it…

…but I’m still puzzled by the fact that, after 40 years of pro-abort zealotry from the Democratic party, some Democrats are just now leaving the party–because of gay “marriage” and the HHS mandate. Those things are bad, of course. But it’s still weird to me that somebody could go for decades watching the spectacle of Dems passionately defending sticking scissors in a baby’s brain and then suddenly say, “But gay marriage? *That’s* crossing the line!” It makes me wonder how such people process information and make moral evaluations. Glad to see they are abandoning any organization committed to these “core values”. But it doesn’t fill me with *too* much confidence that they are necessarily going to bring moral wisdom to whatever political home they wind up in (assuming they wind up anywhere, since a lot of us are politically homeless and alienated from the worthless circus of American politics).

  • Bill

    I don’t get it either. I know a lot of black churches are adamantly pro traditional marriage while hardly raising a peep against abortion (which I never got since abortion is the closest thing to black genocide in this country). But getting apoplectic about the HHS Mandate while being a part of the party of death for so long? I really don’t get that. Unless their Catholicity was totally of the Seamless Garment variety.

    • http://gentillylace.wordpress.com Gentillylace

      I am a practicing Catholic whose politics on economic issues, foreign policy, health care, etc. veer pretty far to the left, but also are of the consistent life/Seamless Garment variety. I have never passionately advocated abortion, or even said that women had a right to choose it despite my personal opposition. There should be a socially conservative left-wing political party in the US where people who think as I do could feel at home.

      • Bill

        A Christian Democrat Party in the US like in Europe would be interesting, but it would never take off. The US is a Protestant country, not a Catholic one. CDs are really, by definition, Catholic political parties. The Right really worships Mammon more than anything else, and nods it head to social conservatives and military folks. The Left really worships social liberalism/progressivism more than anything else. The Left nods its head at peace and social justice for the poor, but it craves moral libertinism and relativism.

      • Ted Seeber

        I’m convinced the only reason it doesn’t already exist is the same reason why Catholic Worker Communes are so rare- because in a culture that worships Mammon and Death, they’re unprofitable.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Also, the modern iteration of the Catholic Worker movement is weird.

          • Ted Seeber

            How so? Intentional community to me seems to be a damn good idea- especially given what the ad-hoc communities of sexual liberty and fiscal liberty have created.

          • Dan C

            I had a chance to meet the Old Guard Catholic Worker members. They all were oddballs. Dean Mowrer. Stanley Vishniewski. I heard stories of Ammon Hennacy.

            We would say, “At the CW, the mentally ill blend in.”

            • Ted Seeber

              No wonder I’m attracted to it- since the Neurotypical establishment has deigned to label me mentally ill!

  • http://signsshadows.blogspot.com/ Colin Gormley

    I think it reflects the standard focus of public vs. private actions. Abortion, now matter how gung ho the Dems are, still requires an act on the part of the individual to actually carry it out. Whereas, gay marriage and HHS mandate are actions taken by the state.

    Not saying the logic is valid, just my speculation on the thought process.

  • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com Crude

    It may be a cumulative effect situation. With abortion, it was clear that the pro-aborts run the Democrats in a big way – but you could possibly justify your continued presence by saying “Well, that’s an anomaly, and something we can fight against from within. It’s not like the entire direction of the party runs against Catholic/orthodox Christian teaching.”

    But after the HHS Mandate (which is offensive to even many protestants, as near as I can tell), and not just the endorsement of gay marriage but the tone of the party/culture on the subject, it starts to become harder and harder to justify opposing these trends from within, rather than opposing the whole party from the outside.

    Speaking of which, Mark – have you seen the fallout from the Caiden Cowger issue? For me the most newsworthy detail comes from seeing the comments left on the kid’s facebook page.

  • http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/ Erin Manning

    I get it: it’s the philosophy of autonomous personal choice as the source and summit of all morality breaking down over two issues where personal choice is not enough–as Mark says, you MUST approve.

    Catholic (and other Christian) Dems could ease their consciences on abortion by saying that, really, nobody’s “pro” abortion. Nobody thinks dismembering a tiny unborn human and throwing the bloody pieces in the medical waste garbage is a *good* idea–it’s just that for some pregnant women it might be the best of several bad options, and we have to trust her to make the right decision and stay out of the way. It was always moral baloney, but at least it sounded good to liberal ears (e.g., “Of course I’m personally opposed to feticide, but I don’t want to impose my religious beliefs on others…” etc.).

    Try saying that you’re personally opposed to gay “marriage” in these same circles, though. As a commenter on (I think) National Review said the other day (I’m paraphrasing) gays seem fundamentally incapable of happiness so long as somewhere one Christian (or Muslim or Buddhist or Jewish) hermit sits on a lonely mountaintop and thinks of homosexual acts as gravely morally evil. All Christians, Catholics and others, MUST line up and swear that gay acts are exactly the same thing as married heterosexual reproductive acts in the moral realm, or they WILL be ostracized and punished for wrong-think. You can’t be “pro-choice” on gay “marriage;” you’re either a wildly enthusiastic supporter or you’re the Enemy. And people who have bought into the “pro-choice on evil” compromise for so long are taken aback and startled by the sudden deprivation of accommodation for at least the pretense of conscience.

    The same dynamic is at work in the HHS mandate. Suddenly the “choice” of Catholics not to pay for other people’s birth control is being taken away, in an act of raw and naked power, the goal of which is to make it clear that some “choices” are better than others–and in this case, the “choice” to give women all the lifestyle drugs (baby-free pills) they want is, in the eye of our benevolent government, the “good” choice, while the “choice” to be uncomfortable with that coerced control of religious people and their money is the “bad” choice. “But wait!” cry the confused Catholic Democrats. “You’ve been telling us for years now that all choices are good and that the very act of choice must reign supreme–now you want to take choice away from religious groups and force them to supply women with birth control. Could it be that you never really believed in the moral superiority of choice at all–that you played us for suckers all along??”

    Um, yup.

    • http://www.theleenmachine.blogspot.com KML

      Great comment, Erin.

  • http://redcardigan.blogspot.com/ Erin Manning

    (One thing–in order to post the above comment, I had to remove a three-letter word starting with “s” that came before “acts” in “gay acts” and “reproductive acts” etc., because the comment software apparently doesn’t like the word in question.)

  • kenneth

    Anyone who truly believes these politicians are leaving because of some personal principle deserve whatever shell game befalls them next. Politicians go where the votes are at the time. Their “consciences” would lead them to Peronism or Salafist Jihadism if that’s where the votes and dollars were.

    • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

      Sad, but true kenneth. I don’t trust any of these damn politician, whom I consider all of Satan’s children.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Maybe, maybe not. It is not possible for you to judge their hearts.

      • http://confederatepapist.blogspot.com/ Confederate Papist

        Actions speak louder than words, my mad friend.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Lacking evidence to the contrary, charity requires that we give peoples’ intentions the benefit of the doubt.

  • Peggy R

    I moved to the political right on economic issues before social issues. I was a working class jealous have not until I got a job and had to pay taxes. If I can do it, you can too. Milton Friedman’s great work “Capitalism and Freedom” showed me how economic, political and later I realized religious freedom all work together to guarantee one another. There were some points where I departed from Friedman, however. I am not a capitalist per se, but I believe in economic liberty and man’s right to better himself. Now, how a man achieves wealth and what a man does with such gifts are where I see the morality of man coming in to play. I don’t begrudge any one becoming wealthy by building a better mousetrap and employing people with fair wages and conditions and providing a fair return to other investors. When I moved to the east coast I came to resent government intrusions I had not experienced in the midwest.

    I soon after reverted and in short time became pro-life and “socially conservative” as I made a decision to accept what Mother Church teaches morally. I had voted Dem in my youth b/c I believed in the feminist lies. That was the only reason. Never again. There is nothing that would move me to the Dem party; it would have to completely renounce its economic views as well as social platform. Fr. Sirico and Arthur Brooks have new books out on the morality of free markets or economic liberty. There are market-based, ie, freedom-based, ways to achieve many goals of economic security for the public at large. Fr Sirico and others have task of discussing how to do that.

    • Ted Seeber

      I work for a living, and I’ll bet I earn more an hour, and pay more an hour in taxes, than most people in this list.

      And I don’t subscribe to capitalism as the end-all-be-all of “freedom” at all. The only difference between sexual libertarianism and fiscal libertarianism is which part of God’s goodness you are denying- and to me, Fr. Sirico needs to put down Hayek and pick up St. Luke.

    • Dan C

      Here’s the deal about the precious Catholic apologists for capitalism: Capitalism demands poor people and unemployed people. There is no getting around that. If the best Catholic economic minds are out to forever claim that capitalism is the best for the greatest number of people, they have to justify why they are not arguing the same as Caiaphas who would be willing to sacrifice one for the rest of Israel. At least Caiaphas was only talking about one, not millions. I expect smart people to do better, not come up with the same plan over and over again expecting different results, if only this time we do it more “purely.”

      • ivan_the_mad

        No. The Chruch has condemned socialism outright, it has not condemned capitalism outright. It has condemned excessive and unbridled capitalism. See Rerum Novarum.

        • Sean O

          Today’s Capitalism is gravely disordered in many ways. It IS the unbridled version in many areas.

          • ivan_the_mad

            There can be no doubt about that. Distributism, anyone?

        • Ted Seeber

          Also see Caritas In Veritate- absolute freedom in the realm of private property is just the license to commit crime.

      • Peggy R

        Capitalism requires nothing. We’re talking about freedom. Guaranteed employment isn’t possible outside of socialism/communism, which as ivan the mad points out the Church explicitly condemns. There have always been the poor in any socio-economic system. I think there was plenty of hunger, poverty and limit of basic goods in the Soviet Union. It appears that people traded and sold goods with freedom, generally, in Jesus’ time. There was slavery too. Perhaps we can go back to serfdom or slavery to ensure full employment if you don’t like socialism/communism. You will see plenty of greed and a utilitarian approach to human dignity in socialism/communism as much if not more than in market economics. In communism/socialism, the individual has no opportunity to better himself and care for his family if the state doesn’t provide enough.

        Ted S: La-de-da on your income and tax level. I was doing quite well for myself as well until I became a stay home wife and mother.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “We’re talking about freedom.” I’m talking about the social teaching of the Church. Universal destination of goods and all that.

          • Peggy R

            I apologize for the royal “we.” I didn’t necessarily intend you to be included. Those of us who favor market economies in general I was speaking of.

        • Dan C

          Encouraging and ensuring that millions remain unemployed is demanded by capitalism. Catholics promoting that without guilt clearly have little or no personal relationships with the involuntarily poor. I expect better from smart Catholic economists. They have little to distinguish themselves from secular economists when they behave as such.

          I am criticizing Catholic capitalist apologists. I am not discussing socialism or communism. I expect them to be better, not merely be pleasing to Goldman-Sacks or Sam Walton. I expect them to be apologetic over capitalism’s blatant evil failures. Not trot out socialism every time it becomes clear that capitalism in normal function involves virtue and results in human flourishing only by accident.

          Jesus’s time had merchants in a market trade, this is true. Jesus himself seemed to display his wrath most memorably on merchants, also.

          Catholic economists justifying the suffering and poverty of millions because it supports the middle class in what might be the greatest number still argue from the same ethical framework as Caiaphus.

          • Peggy R

            Dan C: “Encouraging and ensuring that millions remain unemployed is demanded by capitalism. ” Really? I missed something here.
            The “poverty of millions…supports the middle class”? Wow. How does this happen? I missed this in grad school. I think its the middle class that gets dinged on taxes to support the poor and other programs for which they are not eligible b/c they are “too rich” though they can’t afford “nice things” or college for their kids. The wealthy have always been called upon to help the poor and for the most part as a group have done so. The Church has always relied on the wealthy to help with its big projects too.

            Instead of blaming “greedy” capitalists and CEOs, you could also blame unions, minimum wages and living wage ideas of decreasing employment levels. Unions rarely give up salaries and are always willing to let the less senior employees go to achieve a contract.
            I think Jesus’ wrath had to to with the commerce taking place in His Father’s house.
            I also trotted out serfdom and slavery. Those would ensure employment, housing and food to the poor, unemployed. How about that? Europe’s “social democracy” or socialism in my book has never achieved the low unemployment rates of more economically “liberal” (in the classic sense of the word) policies of the US. Look how O’s over-regulation of several industries and O-care have done nothing to improve unemployment or economic growth. We are supposed to accept 8-9% as new normal when we’ve historically sought 5% as probably being about the best on average we could get. That’s not perfect but not bad. What other “systems” or ideas do you have? Do you like O’s approach?

            • Dan C

              The market structure that determines labor and unemployment demands unemployment in all capitalist constructs. You acknowledge that. How does that promote human flourishing for the unemployed? 5% is how many million in this country, by the way?

              And as smart and well-resourced as these intellectuals and scholars are in these conservative think tanks, is serfdom, socialism, and slavery the only comparator systems? If so, their intellectual credentials are questionable. And it’s money spent largely on capitalist propaganda and not on scholarship advancing human flourishing.

              Unemployment is guaranteed in capitalism. It’s apologists acknowledge this as necessary for encouraging wealth in the rest of society. As such, it is promoted by these folks.

              Why is this different than Caiaphus’s ethics?

              • Merkn

                Unemployment is not guaranteed by capitalism. What do you base that on? Human experience shows us their are unemployed and the poor always everywhere in all systems. It seems to me Someone once said the poor will always be with us. The existence of the poor, therefore, is not a proof of the defects of capitalism. That is not to say capitalists do not have obligations to their brothers in charity. They do. See Rerum Novarum; It explains the obligations quite clearly. Freedom in the Western capitalist tradition treats the poor better than any other system because it places the dignity and freedom of citizens before the demands of the state. Our poor are now endangered by obesity of all things. The average poor person in the US enjoys a better standard of living than 80% of the world’s population circa 1900. Does that justify the defects of capitalism? No, It does prove empirically that it is not a material evil in itself as some here suggest. It is also evidence that a reasonable person may base an argument in favor of this as a human economic system as opposed to another. By the way, where exactly did Jesus condemn merchants?

              • Peggy R

                Some economists have eschewed market economies and favor statist solutions to market failures. Look, there is a whole field of economics called “industrial organization” and it, among other economic fields of study, look at market failures, because we don’t have the ideal “perfectly competitive markets” in real life. The questions in many economic situations are what is the market failure, what is causing it, how can we ameliorate if not eliminate the market failure, what is the least restrictive policy prescription, ie, what policy prescriptions won’t create other problems, and so forth. Yes, some academics and think tanks are bought and paid for, while others operate on principles they truly hold. You think b/c these guys haven’t come up with alternatives to market economics, they are lame brains or something akin? The proponents of market economics believe that markets are better than the alternatives which have been tried. They’re pretty pleased with it, relatively, all in all. I guess that just freaks you out, though. You may not really know the economics field if you think all economists are out there saying no rules of the road, no government whatsoever. We do think government is important for setting rules of conduct, so to speak. We have anti-trust laws and regulation for companies that (might) unethically leverage “market power.” Property rights and contract law are important as well.

                I think that when people say they don’t like capitalism, that it really means they don’t like industrialization and the rise of factories….and that much capital/investment is needed to get off teh ground….I gotta be some where. My bow out is not cowardice but familu coming first.

                • Dan C

                  Enjoy your day. I would never accuse you of cowardice or of backing down from an argument, Ms. Peggy R.

                  • Peggy R

                    Merci. God speed to you and yours. Time for a quiet night and reading of a good book. I hope I have conveyed to you that the economics profession includes a variety of opinions, with a few wanting utter laissez-faire–which will never happen, with most recognizing some limits on that, and including some on the other end advocating extreme statism as to achieve socialism/communism.

                    The problem that “capitalism” raises I think is actually rooted in technology and the need for great resources to produce many consumer goods. The little firm has a hard time starting up and competing with such economies of scale, but many do in many industries. investors put in capital and desire a return for their investment. That really bothered Marx. Often, regulations and costs of business that large firms can absorb keep out small competitors too. Before industrialization, a man could have his own farm and trade eggs, grain or meat, for stoneware, linens, and so forth. That was still market economics at work, with bartering, or money that was less consequential than it is today. Catholic economists informed of Catholic social teaching, like Fr. Sirico and others, do seek to show how markets can achieve moral goals of alleviating poverty maximize employment, feeding the poor, etc better than government control or unreasonable intervention. Other systems we’ve seen have not done as well as markets to lift more people out of poverty. We are not slaves to corporations. We are our own men and can start out on our own. It is risky, but it can be done.
                    Cheers.

          • ivan_the_mad

            “I am criticizing Catholic capitalist apologists.”

            No, you’re ranting and not making any sense.

          • c matt

            In fairness, His wrath seemed to be directed at the improper context in which the merchants were plying their trade, not the mere fact of their being involved in commerce. The improper mixing of the secular/profane with the sacred.

        • Ted Seeber

          My point is don’t envy the rich- pity them. They have more, and from those who have been given more, more is required.

          Now having said that- I don’t worship freedom. I worship God. And the average serf had more economic freedom than the average American.

  • Observer

    Two things they do: Re-peal the DP and ban religion (especially a Christian sound one.)

    The other mistake is saving marr’iage and preventing parental notification when their dependent loved one who is not an adult seeks to term a baby’s life. The sad and worse part is they are really making justifica’tions for choosing the other party. Sorry, they are the one’s who want to do away with societies sins (the DP, violence, disorder, etc.) and at the same time ban the foundation (religion) to which those sins are measured by the highest possible moral order (expecially requiring an act of charity.) In the end, they’re an establishment wanting to do away with charity founded on the precepts of religion (especially one which the moral good and welfare of soceity are held by a judge of justice and truth – God.)

  • Ringmaster

    Barnum & Bailey proudly presents: Election 2012 – guaranteed to frighten, amuse, and bewilder you. Two ring action guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire show!

  • Rachel K

    In my experience, pro-life Christian Dems stay in the party because they swallow the “safe, legal and rare” line and because they genuinely believe that liberal economic policies will reduce the number of abortions. They’re not stupid–they know that there are utter pro-abort zealots in the party–but they want to think of the pro-abort zealots as a tiny, vocal minority who are vastly outnumbered by the “safe, legal and rare” wing and thus willfully blind themselves.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X