The Lure of Authoritarianism

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

There seems an odd attraction towards Chinese-style authoritarianism among certain more technocratic/elitist segments of the left-leaning political elite. On the one hand we have we have people like Thomas Friedman arguing that Chinese one-party-autocracy is more efficient in passing the sort of regulations (“green” energy and nationalized health care) that he cares most about. On the other, we have Harold Meyerson’s claim that China is doing a better job of providing clean political process and economic recovery than the US, and that if Republicans don’t get in line behind Obama’s agenda the rest of the world will resolve to follow China’s autocratic example rather than American-style democracy.

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This is Unconscionable.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

From the Anchoress:

MSNBC ran a headline on their website:

“Pope Describes Touching Boys: I Went Too Far.”

NBC has apologized (the linked story had absolutely nothing to do with the headline, or with the pope, for that matter).

Really? Will heads roll, too? They should, but I doubt they will.


Edward Feser on Stupak, the USCCB and Subsidiarity

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 \PM\.\Wed\.

Pertinent to recent discussions of Stupak and the role of the USCCB in advancing the health care bill, Edward Feser offers his reflections on Bart Stupak, the USCCB and the Catholic principle of subsidiarity:

… before the health care bill vote, the USCCB urged Congress either to alter the bill to prevent federal funding of abortion or to vote the bill down. (The USCCB also objected to the bill’s failure to extend coverage to illegal immigrants.) But the letter in which this request was made also emphasized that “for decades, the United States Catholic bishops have supported universal health care,” that “the Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity,” and that it is only “with deep regret” that the bishops must oppose passage of the bill “unless these fundamental flaws are remedied” (emphasis added).

Needless to say, the impression these words leave the reader with – whether the bishops intended this or not – is that, were abortion (and coverage of illegal immigrants) not at issue, the moral teaching of the Catholic Church would require the passage of the health care bill in question, or something like it. In fact the teaching of the Church requires no such thing. Indeed, I would argue (see below) that while the Church’s teaching does not rule out in principle a significant federal role in providing health care, a bill like the one that has just passed would be very hard to justify in light of Catholic doctrine, even aside from the abortion question. Nevertheless, as I say, the bishops’ language would surely leave the average reader with the opposite impression. And as the bishops themselves remind us, they have “supported universal health care” for “decades,” in statements that also would leave the unwary average reader with the impression that Catholic moral teaching strictly requires as a matter of justice the passage some sort of federal health care legislation. On the day Obama signed the bill into law, Cardinal Francis George, a bishop with a reputation for orthodoxy, urged vigilance on the matter of abortion while declaring that “we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.”

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The Middleman

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 \AM\.\Wed\.

One of the joys of life for me is stumbling upon an unexpected gem.  So it was on Saturday when my family and I were browsing in a Best Buy and came upon the DVD collection of the complete Middleman series.  I had never heard of the series, but it seemed to be some sort of comedy science fiction show and it was only $29.00.  Recalling the McClarey family shopping motto, “If we don’t like it we can sell it on e-bay.”, we purchased it. 

I wasn’t expecting much when I put it on, and I was shocked while watching the pilot.  It was startlingly good!  Funny, intelligent dialogue, vastly entertaining, the superlatives could go on at some length.  I will not give away too much of the series  for fear of spoiling it for anyone who has never heard of the series that was briefly on ABC.  Think of a funny X-files series that spoofs virtually every science fiction, horror and fantasy theme imaginable.  This summary of course does no justice to the series.  It is also a sharp satire on contemporary life.  Except for a few off-color references it is a clean series fit for family viewing.  It is also “adult” in the best sense of the word in scattering throughout the show references to books and movies that are a treat to pick up on.  I am surprised that the series survived on  ABC Family for 12 episodes.  It is far too bright a series for network TV where the base, the obvious and the banal tend to reign supreme.

Enough text, time for videos!

The wit and wisdom of The Middleman:

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