Smart people saying smart things

Sr. Joan Chittister: 2012 Baccalaureate address at Stanford University

The great leaders of history have always been those who refused to barter their ideal for the sake of their personal interests and who rebelled against the lies of their times.

If you want to be a real leader, if you want to give a new kind of leadership, you cannot live to get the approval of a system, you must live to save the soul of it.

“As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs,” Clarence Darrow warned us. “And if no leaders object, and no leaders rebel, those wrongs will last forever.”

If you really want to lead, you must rebel against forces of death that obstruct us from being fully human together.

Brian McLaren: “A question I can never get an answer to

If there is a God, is God best reflected:

a) in human love, but not human hate,
b) in human hate, but not human love, or
c) in both human hate and human love?

Now we would need to define more carefully what we mean by “hate” and “love,” no doubt – but assuming that by hate we mean hostility, the desire to harm or destroy another, and the desire to use one’s power to downgrade and destroy the well-being of another — then my guess is you will never get an “answer” (in terms of proof) to this question, but you will have enough data and instinct to make a faith choice in response to the question.

The Catholic philosopher Richard Kearney refers to this as life’s “wager” (drawing, no doubt, from Pascal). We literally bet our lives on love rather than hate being at the center of it all, hope rather than despair leading to meaning, faith and grace rather than resignation and fear being the way forward. That’s what faith is all about … not knowledge, answers, or proof as much as a choice for love, hope, love, and grace.

Mark Thoma: “The Role of Government

We cannot function economically without supporting infrastructure, we are already falling behind where ought to be and that will prove costly over time, and we cannot allow externalities, particularly those associated with global warming, to run rampant. Conservatives used to understand that government had an important role to play in these areas, and opposition to government was based upon coherent reasoning rather than a knee-jerk rejection of government.

This extremism within the Republican Party is hurting the economy. In the short-run, it makes it much harder to do anything about the recession. Even if you believe spending more on infrastructure will do nothing to help employment, letting infrastructure crumble will hurt our long-run growth, and presently the construction of infrastructure is about as cheap as it gets. Infrastructure is inherently a supply-side policy with attractive demand side effects in a recession, and the refusal of Republicans to support such spending looks far more like a political ploy than a well-reasoned position.

But that may pale in comparison to the long run consequences of failing to deal with global warming. Here we have a party that purports to be all about letting markets work their magic confronted with a clear market failure with considerable potential consequences, a problem that the private sector will not fix by itself. So what do they do? They know that there’s no solution except government intervention if they admit to a consequential market failure, so they deny that a problem even exists.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    daughter- sorry I cahnged my comment because my other one, though heartfelt, was a little OT.

    I had made the point that many here say the govt is “us” and yet “we” appear to be spending about half of our tax revenue on wars which would indicate we are pretty weird people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     It’s not just an inappropriate tone, it’s a very direct insult about the intelligence and maturity of people with theistic religious beliefs.

    As for being a fine term to use amongst an in-group: If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, why is it okay to say it behind their back?

  • hf

    What on Earth do you mean? The government had a role in infrastructure decline in the sense of not stopping it. The same goes for the economic consequences of a bubble which caused trillions of dollars in paper wealth to disappear suddenly. You, not Thoma, seem wildly out of synch with the experts.

    And I think he meant that government has a role in protecting our lives / relationship with nations who’d see many of their people die.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    hf- It had an active role in both.  Infrastructure is the governments job and they let it fall apart. it’s not a jobs program intough times, it’s something that is supposed to be maintained regularly. The government’s role in the housing bubble was significant as well. From demanding that banks offer credit to people with bad credit to lowering interest rates to turn the whole thing into a bubble that was inevitably going to burst. 

    Then when the whole thing unravels they bail out Wall Street and themselves.

  • Beroli

    I had made the point that many here say the govt is “us” and yet “we”
    appear to be spending about half of our tax revenue on wars which would
    indicate we are pretty weird people.

    You must realize that, while “the Iraq War is obviously morally, logically, and strategically unsound and we got into it under false pretenses” has something close to consensus here, on this blog, it’s a much more controversial assertion across the totality of the United States.

  • Beroli

    hf-
    It had an active role in both.  Infrastructure is the governments job
    and they let it fall apart. it’s not a jobs program intough times, it’s
    something that is supposed to be maintained regularly. The government’s
    role in the housing bubble was significant as well. From demanding that
    banks offer credit to people with bad credit to lowering interest rates
    to turn the whole thing into a bubble that was inevitably going to
    burst. 

    Then when the whole thing unravels they bail out Wall Street and themselves.

    Oh, here we go.

    That is all true. Do you know why it is, however?

    Because rich people (people like your sister, if you weren’t lying about her being part of the 1%) spend large amounts of money to make it so. Vice President Gore champions a tax on sugar to restore the Everglades, Alfonso Fanjul picks up a phone and calls President Clinton, the tax gets squashed: All hail the mighty free market.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    There’s also all this black-and-white thinking there. Why does it have to be love or hate? Why can’t it be liking or indifference? And what’s with the dichotomy between faith and despair? I’m a much more optimistic person now than when I was Christian. 

    I think I understand grace, and I don’t think the Christian God is a necessary postulate even for that. To put it over-simply: It’s when everything in your life is going absolutely wrong and you’re filled with nothing but horrible feelings and thoughts, and your cat sits in your lap and purrs and you realize someone loves you. It’s whatever gives someone who is part of and benefits from a corrupt and evil system an epiphany, and they decide, for no reason anyone can figure out, to become a whistleblower. It’s when a wealthy reality TV star decides to stop spending all her money on herself, and instead devotes the rest of her life to environmental causes. (I can dream, can’t I?)

    Christians might say that those things are possible because of their god. Other religions and philosophical traditions might say it’s because of their gods, or because you were wearing lucky colors that day, or because something you experienced a long time ago and has finally worked its way out of your subconscious, or because someone cast a spell on you, etc. I would say they’re possible because humans are incredibly complex creatures, with amazing capacities that come from I know not where.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Well, this is what I get for replying to a comment without reading the entire thread and seeing that my comment was probably a waste of time. However, I think the idea of grace is a very interesting one, as it is something I have experienced as someone of no religion at all. I think. So maybe we can talk about that instead of having this argument about the fact that it is possible to be a jerk even when you’re not privileged vis a vis the people you’re arguing with? Or at least as well as? Because I’ve never seen that argument convince anyone.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “Imaginary friend” is an extremely poor metaphor. The connotations are all wrong. It’s like calling a multi-tiered, beautifully decorated chocolate and raspberry wedding cake a Hershey bar. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    hf- It had an active role in both.  Infrastructure is the governments
    job and they let it fall apart. it’s not a jobs program intough times,
    it’s something that is supposed to be maintained regularly

    It is precisely because of the ongoing cheap-bastardness of the people YOU like to vote for that the infrastructure of the USA has been given short shrift.

    Why bother with the ongoing operating expenses to keep the pipes from breaking, bridges from collapsing, roads from being undrivable when it’s eaiser to just give a tax cut to rich people?

    I’ve told this story before, I’ll tell it again.

    I had occasion back in the 1990s to make my first drive to the USA. Now, the USA even now, but especially back then, was most assuredly a car-culture country through and through.

    So you’d expect things to be A-OK, road wise, yes? Good maintenance, etc?

    Ahem, no.

    As soon as I got over into the US side, the ride got quite a bit rougher and there were times when my car was almost bouncing up and down over the highway with a regular ol’ baDUMP baDUMP baDUMP baDUMP baDUMP.

    And I was shocked!

    The wealthiest country in the world couldn’t be arsed to maintain its own roads.

    And lest you say it was just a Washington state thing, I can tell you that in my travels through quite a few of the Western states, the road quality was decidedly variable and generally not quite up to the level of British Columbia, except maybe in Wyoming and Utah.

    If you want another example of the most ridiculous level of cheap-scroogely-penny-pinching bastardry, try this one on for size:

    At one point in Arizona, I-17 got repaved by a state government too cheap to pave the middle, because then it meant they’d have to replace all the Bott’s Dots.

    So two wonderful new black strips with the middle being the old lane markers. God, talk about just being fucking cheap for the sake of being cheap.

    And Chris? You have mostly Republicans to blame for this. The USA has been essentially living off the “fumes” of the infrastructure built up from the 1930s to the 1970s, until Reagan made it popular to grab everything for yourself and damn the poor for being poor.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X