As I expected, my remarks on Perry Lorenzo have stirred up both hornets and butterflies. Some of the commentary is quite beautiful (particularly from people who knew and remember Perry for the wonderful guy he was). Brings back memories.

Other commentary has been more negative (sometimes due to my inexact wording, sometimes due to good questions and concerns (many of which I cannot answer since I am not a confessor or spiritual director, so I would refer you here for some good solid Dominican common sense), sometimes due to people making unwarranted assumptions, and sometimes due to to people being abusive jerks who hate me, or gays, or both).

I want to address briefly the inexact wording (my bad) and the unwarranted assumptions, since they are related. The main thing I want to point out is that when I describe Perry as a gay man, I am using the common English word as a descriptor of his orientation (which I know) not his behavior (about which I knew nothing since, you know, Not. My. Business). Some people are assuming a huge amount here. Here’s all I know (which I only learned after his death):

Paul Hearn of Seattle, Mr. Lorenzo’s longtime companion, said they met when Mr. Lorenzo gave a lecture at the University of Washington 13 years ago. Though Hearn was not Catholic, their first date was to St. James, he said.

Hearn said Mr. Lorenzo brought him to the Catholic Church and broadened his appreciation of opera.

The two would pray together and do morning liturgies. “We were monks in love,” he said.

For this reason, my assumption is that the relationship was chaste, though I wouldn’t really know since, you know, Not My Business.

My point was not really to comment on the details of Perry’s private life, but to say that given what I knew of his love of Christ and the Church, I had and have absolutely no reason to think that his sexual orientation was determinative of his life as a disciple of Jesus. All I saw of the man was abundant fruits of the Spirit. That he struggled with sin as we all do is a no brainer (but, by the same token, I have no idea if his orientation was regarded by him as among his struggles. I have problems which are, for me subjectively, annoyances but not huge trials which are, for others, all-consuming battles of the spirit. It may be, for all I know, that his orientation was not much of a trial for him. Not everybody is obsessed with sex and can embrace chastity with relative ease.)

It will be noted that the article says nothing of living arrangements, nothing of anything except, well, here was a man whose first act of love to another human being was to bring them to the altar of Jesus Christ. That was typical of him.

Some people are writing me, assuming all sorts of things about him “giving scandal”. I see nothing scandalous. He loved somebody chastely as far as I can tell. Others are telling me I had a duty to “confront” him. Um, I didn’t know he had a companion till after his death and I have no idea what I should have confronted him about if I had known. Was I to bark, “Stop loving him”? Demand to know the details of their relationship? It’s one thing for somebody to *give* scandal. It’s rather another to go around poking one’s nose into somebody’s life in order to work hard at *taking* scandal. Seems rather at odds with the gospel. Should I have told him, “Random self-appointed inquisitors in my comboxes are scandalized by what they salaciously imagine your private life might be, so, um, you need to do something about that.” I’m frankly much more scandalized by such random comboxers and their dimestore Inquisitions.

When I say I have no idea if Perry was an active homosexual, I mean exactly that. No idea. That doesn’t mean “He probably was, but I don’t care.” It means “I assume, given all I know of him and his dedication to the Church’s teaching and his beautiful love of Jesus Christ, that he wasn’t.” But, people being weak flesh, I also recognize it is possible that he might have stumbled on his pilgrimage, as we all do. That he stumbled in *some* way is a given. So do we all. That he stumbled in *this* way I have absolutely no knowledge. If so, that was between him and his confessor because, you know, Not. My. Business. Of his relationship with his companion neither I nor any mortal flesh is qualified to render judgment. Given Perry’s immense capacity for love, I am not going to tell God that He could not be present in their love for each other. That is because, paradoxically, I absolutely reject the tendency of our culture (often led by the militant advocates of homosexual sin) to reduce all love to sex. If two chaste people present their love to God as a gift, who died and made me judge of that offering? I’ve got my own sins to worry about and don’t need to borrow trouble by inventing sins and attributing them to somebody whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He was a great and good man, that’s enough for me. i pray for his soul and ask his prayers.

A funeral service for Perry Lorenzo will take place at St. James Cathedral on December 30 at 2:00 p.m. Seattle Opera will hold a celebration of Perry Lorenzo’s life on January 9, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be directed to Seattle Opera’s Perry Lorenzo Fund for In-School Education, or to St. James Cathedral.

A funeral service for Perry Lorenzo will take place at St. James Cathedral on December 30 at 2:00 p.m. Seattle Opera will hold a celebration of Perry Lorenzo’s life on January 9, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be directed to Seattle Opera’s Perry Lorenzo Fund for In-School Education, or to St. James Cathedral.

This is from a letter from Ted Naff that is making the rounds:

Our dear friend Perry Lorenzo died Saturday night after several months of battling cancer. He was courageous and faithful in his resignation to God’s will in his final months. He told us during this past summer that if it be God’s will that he be healed, he would even more fervently dedicate himself to education, as he had throughout his rich life. If it not be God’s will that he be able to continue his work, he prayed that he could be like Pope John Paul II and offer himself to God in his death as he had in his life. Perry especially wanted us to pray to Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, for whom he had a particular affinity and devotion.

Perry spent his life teaching at Kennedy High School and later at the Seattle Opera. He had a unique ability, a glorious talent from God, greater than I have ever seen before or expect to see again in my life, to be able to take beautiful, complex ideas and explain them clearly with great passion and drama. His lectures whether at Kennedy or for the Opera were at the same time truly inspiring from a poetic standpoint and thoroughly rigorous from a rational perspective.

He was always reading and read very broadly from the rich panoply of Western Civilization. He would sometimes read Ancient Roman poets, or Medieval philosophy, or English history. His facile mind was able to put together all the disparate things he read into a cohesive whole. That is partly what made his lectures so engaging; he was able to draw on the tremendous amount of knowledge he had acquired in numerous disciplines and bring that knowledge to bear on whatever subject he might be lecturing on in such a way that a whole new world would open up for you as you listened to this man who so loved learning and the life of the mind.

I remember one lecture he gave last year on Joan of Arc. It was typical Perry. He explained simultaneously the history behind the drama and the deep interior life of the saint. He brought her life so clearly before us and let us see her in her glorious humanity. He brought the struggle she had with Church authorities vividly alive so that we saw their compromised political decision-making at work. Sitting on the edge of our seats, spell-bound with his palpable love of the subject and sublime rhetoric, he led us to the culmination of his speech in which he, like any great orator, resolved his argument by bringing together various elements of the story together in a brilliant synthesis. He was able to fuse the three iconic images of the heart, the dove, and fire and explain how they somehow summarized her saintly life and death.

He loved the Church, even though as a student of history he knew intimately her foibles and failures. In fact, he was fearless in his presentation and defense of the Church. While giving public lectures for the Opera he would regularly mention his Catholic faith and draw from the intellectual history of the Church. He would weave Hans Urs Von Balthasar or other Catholic theologians into his presentations. I was always shocked by his courageous attitude, but no one, that I ever saw, tried to gainsay what he said. I think everyone knew that they were no match for him in an argument and he was just so interesting to listen to, anyway. Perry was someone you just had to take entirely as he was.

If I had to try to articulate what I think Perry’s greatest intellectual interest was, I would say it was how God is revealed through Beauty. Of the three Transcendentals, The True, The Good, and The Beautiful, I can remember Perry arguing that Beauty is the one most able in our present age to lead people to God.

I can thank Perry for leading me to the Catholic faith and for my choice of college where I met my beloved wife, Sarah. He has meant a tremendous amount to me and many others. He will be missed and there is now a hole in my life where his inspiration and wit are no longer.

Perry, you gave a us a glimpse of heaven’s splendor, may you now behold directly the radiant face of God whom you mirrored so enchantingly in your captivating words when you were with us.

Please pray for the repose of his soul.

Requiescat In Pacem!

He was a profoundly gifted teacher and one who could effortlessly weave the Catholic tradition into his teaching on all manner of subjects from the Western tradition. I head him speak on a number of occasions, most recently in a series he presented on von Balthasar at Blessed Sacrament parish a couple of years ago. We won’t have his like again here in Seattle anytime soon. Of your charity, pray for him.

Periodically, I get told that “Christianity is a white religion”.

Certainly, some expressions of it here in the US give that impression as they prostitute themselves for a man beloved by Neo-Nazis and the KKK (a man who has not done one thing to distance himself from that filth and who has, in fact, selected a white supremacist as a delegate).

But looking beyond the provincial world of Right Wingnut American Christianism, we discover there is rather more to the Church than that. Mike Flynn gives us a little taste of Catholicity of the Church in his sampling of the Church’s great saints and heroes:

Jews: Joseph of Palestine, Pope Zozimus, Romanus the Melodist, Daniel of Padua, Julian of Toledo, Edith Stein of Dachau, etc.
Syrians: Habib the Martyr, John of Damascus, Pope John V
Lebanese: Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardin, Rafka al Rayes, Sharbel Makluf
Anatolians: Nicholas, Gregory Nazianzen, Macrina the Younger
Greeks: Irene, Athanasia of Aegina, Alexander Akimetes
Romans: Agnes, Cecilia, Pope Cornelius
North African: Augustine of Hippo, Perpetua and Felicity, Cyprian of Carthage
Egyptians: Anthony the Hermit, Mary of Egypt, John the Merciful, Catherine of Alexandria

Arabs: Moses the Arab, Cosmas and Damian, Sheikh Aretas of the Banu Harith and the Martyrs of Najran, Mary Baouardy, the Little Sister to Everyone
Assyrians/Iraqis: Thaddeus and Maris, Maruthas of Maiferkat, Ephraem, the Harp of the Holy Ghost
Persians: Anastasius Majundat, Abdon and Sennen
Ethiopians: Iphegenia of Ethiopia, Kaleb Elesbaan of Axum, Moses the Black
Armenians: Isaac the Great, Gomidas Keumerigian
Georgians: Euthymius the Enlightener, George Mtasmindeli
Italians: Thomas Aquinas, the “Dumb Ox,” Clare of Assisi, John Bosco, Pope John XXIII
Spaniards: Nathalia and Aurelius, Theresa of Avila, Bonifacia Rodríguez de Castro
Basques: Ignatius Loyola
Portuguese: Anthony of Padua, Isabella
French: Jane Frances de Chantal, Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Sacred Heart, Theresa of Lisieux, the Little Flower
Bretons: Alan de Solminihac
Belgians: Mary of Oignies
Irish: Brigit of Kildare, Columba, Colmcille of Iona, etc.
Scots: David, King of Scots, Margaret of Scotland
English: Margaret Clitherow, the Pearl of York, Thomas More
Welsh: Winefride of Holywell, Cadoc of Llancarfan
Germans: Gertrude of Helfta, Herman the Cripple, Hildegarde of Bingen, the Sybil of the Rhine
Austrians/Swiss: Nicholas von Flue, Jakob Gapp
Scandinavians: Willehad of Denmark, Hallvard of Oslo, Bridget of Sweden, Thorlak Thorhallsson of Iceland
Balts: George Matulaitis
Magyars: King Istvan the Great, Elizabeth of Hungary
Czechs: Good King Wenceslaus, Agnes of Bohemia
Poles: Hyacinth Ronzki, Stanislaus Szczepanowski, Mother Mary Theresa Ledochowska, Pope John Paul the Great
Albanians: Mother Theresa of Calcutta
Slovenes: Lojze Grozde
Serbs: Sava
Croats: Mark Korosy
Romanians: Ieremia Stoica
Bulgars: Bishop Eugene Bossilkov
Russians: Olga of Kiev, Sergius of Radonezh, Euphrosyne of Polotsk
Native Americans: Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks, Black Elk of the Oglala, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin of Guadeloupe
Puerto Ricans: Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago
Mexicans: María Guadalupe García Zavala, “Mother Lupita”, Bartholomew Laurel, Padre Pio
Central Americans: Peter Betancurt of Guatemala, Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador
Peruvians: Rose of Lima, Ana de los Angeles Monteagudo
Ecuadorians: Mercedes of Jesus, Mariana de Paredes, the Lily of Quito
Brazilians: Pauline of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, Antonio de Santa Ana Galvao
Paraguayans: Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz
Argentinians: Ceferino Namuncurá, the Lily of Patagonia
Chileans: Teresa of the Andes, Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga
Americans [USA]: John Nepomucene Neumann, Elizabeth Seton, Katherine Drexel, Mother Frances Cabrini
Canadians: Marguerite D’Youville, Mary Rose Durocher
Indians: Alphonsa Mattahupadathus, Kuriakose Chavara, Mother Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan
Chinese: Thaddeus Lieu, Agnes Sao Kuy
Japanese: Father Thomas Hioji Rokuzayemon Nishi, Magdalene of Nagasaki
Koreans: Agatha Kim, Paul Chong Hasang
Thais: Philip Siphong, Sister Lucy Khambong
Vietnamese: Vinh Sơn Phạm Hiếu Liêm, Micae Hồ Đình Hy, Agnes De, Father John Dat
Filipinos: Lorenzo Ruiz
Australians: Mary of the Cross
African diaspora: Benedict the Moor, Martin de Pores
African: Charles Lwanga of Uganda, Mother Josephine Bakhita of the Sudan, Anwarite Nengapeta of the Congo
Victoria Rasoamanarivo of Madagascar

but somehow I seem to have been drafted along with Lizzie Scalia into some kind of role in it.  Don’t know what that means, but since it’s Terry Nelson, I’ll take it as a compliment since I think the world of that guy.

I think it’s… weird to be seen as “homophilic” for thinking that homosexuals should be treated as we treat anybody else with a disordered appetite (which is to say, everybody else).  The vast majority of the human race struggle with disordered heterosexual appetites.  Such a disordered appetite is not  “gift” but neither is it the end of the world either.  A healthy Catholic says, “Yep I struggle with lust or porn or whatever” says he’s sorry when he caves to temptation, asks for grace, and moves on.  If a gay person does the same, they should be commended for repenting and trying to live in accord with the teaching of Christ.  If they live in accord with Christ’s teaching in an exemplary way (as I think Perry Lorenzo did) they should be encouraged.  And if they live their faith to the end and die in the grace and love of God they should no more be condemned for the temptation they resisted than St. Peter should be condemned for his failures.  I think it insane and unjust that homosexuals alone should be singled out for condemnation on the basis of what tempts them while everybody else gets cheers and accolades for overcoming their temptations.

That’s why I don’t get the “homophile” thing.  If I said that same sex attraction was a “gift” it might make sense.  But I think SSA, like gluttony, or a hot temper, or a tendency to envy, or a greedy personality, or various other manifestations of concupiscence are not “gifts” but relics of original sin.  Why?  Because that’s what the Church says.  Concupiscence is the weakened will, darkened intellect, and disordered appetites resulting from original sin.  You might as well call fetal alcohol syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or sickle cell anemia “gifts”.  They are not.  They are various manifestations of damage done to our psychophysical nature as the fall of man echoes down the corridors of history.  God can certainly *use* such afflictions to soul and body to join us to the sufferings of Jesus Christ and he does that everyday.  But they are no more “gifts” to our human nature than the hole is part of the donut.

That said, the other side of the coin is that concupiscence is not, in itself, sin but only the “tinder for sin” according to the Church.  And concupiscence resisted is, in fact, proof of virtue and the battlefield upon which the Christian life is fought.  So a person who resists temptation is right to be honored and encouraged, not told “So what if you did the right thing?  You were tempted and so you should burn with shame!”  This is why I think it’s a mistake to call me “homophilic”. I am virtuephilic.  I think any Catholic struggling with a temptation, who does the right thing, should be honored and encouraged, not torn down for having the temptation–homosexuals amongst all the rest.  And I’m not shy about saying so when a gay person lives chastely in a way that obviously honored Christ and his teaching–even when people (tellingly) think that this is somehow a peculiarly damning notion.

in a piece that takes various Chesterton quotations that generally preserve quite a lot of common sense and then subjects them to flat-footed heckling for no particular reason other than being contrarian and jerkish.

Much of the heckling works if you are into that sort of thing, sort of like a 13 year old’s heckling “works” as pure logic when the snot-faced little brat retorts to Mom’s “I said come here immediately” by jail-house lawyering what “immediately” might mean: “Measured on the basis of quantum physics, ‘immediately’ is not possible since no human being can move in a space of nanoseconds.” Any clever high schooler can pick apart random sentences from a FB page. You can do it with aphorisms from the Sermon on the Mount (“Oh yeah, like a camel can literally go through the eye of a needle! Why not just say that our job creators are all going straight to hell, Jesus!”). But none of this constitutes real critical thought. It’s just heckling and the kid deserves the slapped face he gets.

Several of the deconstructed quotes, ripped bleeding from their context, can be ridiculed if elevated to the status of the Ten Commandments(something that would have horrified Chesterton). However, some of the nitpickiness by the First Things author seems to me to be wilfully obtuse and ultimately contrary to the Faith out of spite, such as:

  • “Love means to love that which is unlovable; or it is no virtue at all.”

Love means to love what is worthy of love; everything else is vice.

  • “There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

This is basically a Sartrean thesis: The will by choosing to love something endows it with the value which makes it capable of being loved. I don’t think I need to explain how pernicious this thought is, since we all know from Thomas “quia bonum intellectum est obiectum voluntatis.”

Both passages suggest a complete unfamiliarity with the fourth and fifth chapters of the epistle to the Romans or with, well, ever having been around parents of people like the author of this piece, who doubtless had moments where they chose to love their sneering, superior know-it-all child when there was not much for the neighbors to appreciate. The secret of grace–as of parenting–is the love of “God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). That is why

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man–though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.  But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5;6-8)

Still I was prepared to cut the piece some slack since I–yes, even I–think that Chesterton is misquoted at times or his word misused to support agendas rather remote from his intentions. That is, until one of the commenters, one AF Zammoro, wrote:

Were you perhaps frustrated at how such a second rate, miseducated, and fat Englishman could have such cache (sic) amongst a certain class of Catholic reader? Did you trip over a hardcover of the collected works this morning? Did you find yourself looking at some photo of Chesterton or other and just think, “Goodness, what an ugly man”?

And the author of the piece responded:

Of the commenters so far, AF Zamarro has things more or less right.

At which I realized the author is a second rate, miseducated ass who seriously believes “Chesterton was fat and ugly” constitutes brilliant argumentation. May he find the love and generosity he refuses to extend a good man like Chesterton extended to him from God, that he might cease to be a malicious ass and become a saint–as Chesterton is.*

First Things: What happened to you guys?

*Note to panicky readers who fret about such matters: no, I am not claiming the authority to canonize saints of Holy Church. This bogus and deeply stupid complaint was first leveled when I mentioned that I consider Perry Lorenzo a saint and a mob of self-appointed Inquisitors with no sense of irony whatsoever took it upon themselves to don their paper mitres and threaten me with excommunication for admiring a man I think was deeply admirable and thinking he lived a holy life. As anyone not wilfully obtuse can grasp, Catholics have a long and happy tradition of saying, “Aunt Agatha was a saint” without expecting that people will take that opinion as some sort of serious claim to unilateral papal authority. That’s why, when the crowd shouted “Santo subito!” at JPII’s funeral, Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t tell them to shut up and stop usurping the Church’s authority to canonize saints. But then, Cardinal Ratzinger was a real bishop with common sense, whereas combox and Facebook bishops imagine false claims of episcopal authority to canonize where none are being made even while themselves making real claims of episcopal authority to excommunicate where they emphatically do not exist.

Bottom line: I pray for Chesterton’s intercession when I write because it is my private opinion that the man was a saint and now enjoys the beatific vision. If I’m wrong, I’m sure God will understand. I hope and trust that GKC will merrily pray for the spiteful little men who seriously believe “Chesterton was fat and ugly” is just the sort of argumentation the readership of FT needs.

For those who followed the Facebook contretemps over the weekend, Fr. Peter writes:

Mark Shea has revised his article on Perry Lorenzo and removed an offensive post about John Corapi. While Mark and I continue to have serious disagreements, they are on matters related to prudential judgments not the Catholic faith. I consider Mark to be a faithful Catholic. While I’m sure we will disagree in the future, I pledge to be more measured in my criticism. I thank Steven D. Greydanus for acting as an intermediary. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5, 9)

I replied:

Father Peter: I’m out here on the Left Coast and so only just saw this. Please accept my sincerest gratitude. I likewise am grateful for your faithful priesthood, your obvious fidelity to the Church, and your devotion to protecting the most vulnerable among us. God bless you and may God bless your work in the Vineyard through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also, I want to second your remarks about Steven, who is an ornament of the Church and a true friend. If you think of it, please pray for our family, particularly our son Matthew and his bride-to-be, Claire, who will be married on Saturday. We are about to hit the road for Chicago and will be incommunicado therefore, but I could not leave without thanking you. God bless you through our Lord Jesus Christ.

One point that somehow got confused is that I have not removed but revised the post about Fr. Corapi. Just so we’re clear.

And with that, I really have to go TO MY SON’S WEDDING! YAY! Your prayers for the happy couple would be deeply appreciated!

“Good-bye then, and really good-bye!” said Gandalf, and he turned his horse and rode down into the West. But he could not resist the temptation to have the last word. Before he had passed quite out of hearing he turned and put his hands to his mouth and called to them. They heard his voice come faintly: “Good-bye! Be good, take care of yourselves – and DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!”

…on the Bulverism of same-sex marriage supporters.  Bulverism, for them that don’t know, is a term coined by C.S. Lewis who

wrote a little essay titled “‘Bulverism’: Or, the Foundation of 20th Century Thought,” in which he invents a hapless character, Ezekiel Bulver:

You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third—“Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.

Bulverism explains how we can know that I oppose gay marriage due to homophobia, speak highly of Perry Lorenzo due to my suppressed homosexuality, will not vote for Romney due to my secret love of Obama, will not vote for Obama due to my racism, oppose torture due to my love of terrorism, oppose lying to Planned Parenthood due to my secret zeal for abortion, oppose abortion due to my intense misogyny, dislike the philosophy of Ayn Rand because of my Communist sympathies, hate Communism because of my contempt for the poor, oppose Radical Traditionalism because of my hatred of the Faith, love the Faith because of my hatred of Protestants, oppose Progressive Dissent because of my Reactionary hatred of Progress, dislike antisemitism because of my capitulation to Jewish subversives, criticize Israeli treatment of Palestinian Christians because of my hatred of Jews, support Just War theory because of my bellicose neocon sympathies, support Just War theory because I am a peacenik who wants America to lose, and like Magisterial teaching because I am a Reactionary who wishes to roll back Vatican II and a Liberal stooge who refuses to roll back Vatican II.

Our nation’s top military planners are now discussing plans for fighting Americans on American soil.

Feeling really safe right now.  Operation Enduring Slavery proceeds apace as the Caesaroligarchic police state slowly and surely draws its plans against us.

Meanwhile, on other fronts of our Ruling Class’ war against us, I get this from a reader:

A boring rip-off of Donnie Brasco and American History X recycled to show us that 1) anyone who has a problem with the Federal Oligarchy is a militia nut, therefore good people have no problems with the Federal Oligarchy, 2) state paranoia, informers, and surveillance are essential to protect the Federal Oligarchy and the good people who support it. You’d think people who pride themselves on creating drama for a living could pull their heads out of the Oligarchs’ asses long enough to pen a series about an FBI undercover agent who meets some nasty militia types who are hard to catch, and people who are just pissed at the feds and alienated from the Oligarchy who are easier to entrap, gets pressure from his bosses to do the easy folks so that headlines in the War on Terror can be made, but goes after the hard cases instead. Rip off of 1980s film Rush? Sure, but at least the drama would be drama, and not Triumph of the Will with sex scenes.

And just for that special icing on the cake of our Ruling Class’ bipartisan support for subjugation of the citizenry we get this marvelous cooperative effort, according to my reader:

On the left is a bill that allows the FAA to license spying on Americans, but now allows Congress to say they’ve “done something” by requiring the FAA to consider “privacy concerns” before rubber-stamping licenses to spy on Americans. This tough legislation also requires drone operators to give pious, butter-won’t-melt-in-their-mouths advertisements for their good intentions and the benefits of spying, without placing any restrictions on the collection, storage, or distribution of incidental data they just happened to collect while doing all that good B.S. they wrote in their applications.

Meanwhile, on the empty gesture, culture warrior Right,

the Republicans are going to show their deep and immediate concern for the middle and working class by this cheap, symbolic hype. Real income hasn’t risen in 30 years, but Rubio’s #1 priority is to exempt Olympians’ income from taxation to teach us proles a lesson about “punishing success” and who the bad guys are. I can see how people might be dumb or craven enough to accept the unparalleled, politcally-generated wealth of the moneyed class on the theory that it results in subsistence incomes for the lower classes. But I can’t think anyone, not even in America, is dumb enough to believe that Olympic succcess works the same way. No one’s more fit because Michael Phelps finally won a medal. My cholesterol isn’t lower. Perhaps fatherless American children might find, in hero-worshipping Michael Phelps, some poor substitute for family life that the American state has made impossible, but that’s income of the most nebulous and indirect kind, hardly worthy of a 100% tax subsidy.

My reader, an attorney, adds:

We must be the dumbest people on the face of the earth, that our leaders think crap such as this will be an acceptable guarantee of our rights.

Interesting, I guess. But what’s on American Idol?

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