‘We must love one another or die’

Moral obligation — love, solidarity — is boundless and universal. It is also, always, particular and differentiated. Those two things are not in conflict. Those two things have never been in conflict. Pretending that they are in conflict always leaves a trail of bodies. [Read more…]

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With these hands, with these hands

Walter Hagen said great athletes “Make the hard ones look easy and the easy ones look hard.” You will never live long enough to read all the criticism written about Hillary Clinton’s capacity for sometimes making the easy ones look hard, but take a moment this week to acknowledge that she has just accomplished something historic, unprecedented, and incredibly hard — and she made it look so easy that we take it for granted. [Read more…]

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Subsidiarity: ‘Policing was never meant to solve all those problems’

The usurpation by Big Gubmint that Reagan imagined everywhere is always possible, and sometimes happens. But far, far, far more common is the situation Chief Brown describes: government forced to take on ever-greater responsibility due to the irresponsibility of other actors in our network of mutuality. Government is far too burdened with the responsibilities abdicated by all those other actors to have much time or resources left over for the nefarious usurpation of even more responsibility. [Read more…]

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First responders and guns (cont’d.)

When people with guns are summoned in an emergency, they sometimes respond as people with guns — whether or not guns are capable of addressing the emergency in question. This makes things worse. This is particularly — and often tragically — the case when police are called on to be the “first responders” in an emergency involving someone suffering from mental illness, emotional distress, or psychosis. [Read more…]

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Love > tolerance; but (love – tolerance – subsidiarity) < love

Take away all indirect responsibility and all of our more direct, more proximate responsibilities become enormously more challenging. If we begin to treat those direct responsibilities as exclusive — as precluding all of the indirect responsibilities — then we’re soon going to find that it’s impossible to manage them. Without the network of mutuality, we’re on our own for everything — which is to say, we’re screwed. [Read more…]

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Subsidiarity is really important, whether or not you call it that

If I abdicate my direct responsibilities, I will end up placing a heavier burden on those with indirect responsibilities — forcing them to play a more direct role. If I neglect my indirect responsibilities, I will end up placing a heavier burden on those who bear a more direct responsibility — possibly causing them to fall under the weight of it. [Read more…]

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Ben Carson does not understand subsidiarity

Undefined, undifferentiated pronouns are always the hallmark of someone who doesn’t understand subsidiarity. Define and differentiate those antecedents and you begin to appreciate the inescapable necessity of subsidiarity, the bonds of mutuality and the direct and indirect functions that all have in relationship to all. Ben Carson shows us the alternative to that — which involves teaching babies to change their own diapers. [Read more…]

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Proximity, affinity, and mutuality

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” the epistle says. But anywhere and everywhere are beyond my finite ability to comprehend, to act or to pay attention. Fortunately, the letter continues, and the following sentences point toward something that can help us to move beyond the prejudices of our affinities or the paralysis of our finitude. [Read more…]

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