Saturday, December 9, 2017

Trumping the papacy

The problem for Pope Francis, post-Trump, is that the president inadvertently spilled an awful lot of bluntness and honesty into our water supply, and a lot of people have been drinking pretty heavily from it. So when the Pope goes about openly trying to cut connection with traditional church teaching - indirect and roundabout, lest he go too far and provoke the Holy Spirit to throw him off a balcony courtesy of a zealous underling - there's far less of an urge to excuse the whole thing.

"Oh, we just don't understand the Pope."

"It's the media! The media isn't reporting him accurately! They want us to believe he's a heretic!"

"It's not HIM. It's his advisers! Ohhh, that Kasper. That Marx!"

Yeah, I know the feeling, I understand the motions people feel they need to go through. And I know the sigh of relief many - and I mean many - otherwise traditionalist-leaning Catholics will feel when he finally kicks it. "Oh, he's dead? Requiem in terra pax, and FUCK him." is going to echo off quite a few walls when the time comes and the burden of loyalty is lifted from them with regards to this particular blight.

But for many of us, the blessing of this new moment of sincerity in communication ('toxicity' as it's called in the mainstream) makes it hard for us not to say what we damn well think. And I suspect many a Catholic, and a cleric, bemoan this state of affairs. Life was easier when cuckservatism was the name of the game, and a demanding left could be pacified by sacrifices from the timid right.

But when both left and right growl and throw punches, what's a coward to do?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Just an image post

Found this on Imgur.

What I love is that someone obviously added that text at the top, having absolutely no idea about the context of the original pic/edit.

I love it.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

I'm not interested in defending bad clergy.

I side heavily with the traditionalists in the Catholic Church. On sexuality, on the death penalty, on all the nasty, controversial, modern conflicts of Catholic moral teaching, I'm orthodox. Even on the touchier subjects, like evolution and creation, my sympathy with traditional teachings (and modern views which heavily incorporate traditional teach) is express.

But I don't include nobility-LARPing among that.

I'm talking about the tendency to describe cardinals and bishops as "Princes of the Church", and all that implies. Or the stern lecturing I sometimes get from Catholics who tell me that the Pope is "your sovereign" and my very soul depends on my treating him with the utmost respect, the most scrupulous of personal loyalty. That, while I am perhaps not duty-bound to follow his political views, and I can resist any de facto immoral commands from him, I nevertheless must treat him with great respect and love at all times, never questioning his intentions, and never standing in judgment of him.

My response is simple: yeah, I'm not doing that.

Francis is a terrible Pope. His advisers are terrible people. That recently-dismissed US priest had him dead to rights when he talked about how the main accomplishment of Francis was making all the rotten-hearted turncoat clergy (I'd add, "And Catholic bloggers") in the Church reveal themselves and thus raising the possibility that a future Pope may kick them all out. Which, I surmise, he could probably do just by ordering that health plans and hospitals for the Catholic clergy no longer cover HIV-related illnesses.

Yes, I'm suggesting a lot of them are not just gay, but sexually active heretics besides.

Again, I know the some people - some good people! - would be horrified by this. I'd be condemned as a liberal (or a protestant!) for having this attitude, which is funny since the Pope seems to have a rather celebratory attitude towards both of those things. Pardon, but I disagree. I'd go so far as to say, I think otherwise good people do harm to the Church by promoting it.

And so long as I'm letting that out, I may as well say: my opinion of many Catholic bloggers isn't much better. I value Feser and Mike Flynn and various others. But I think Mark Shea and Simcha are pretty awful, and would do everyone a service if they gave up blogging altogether and found another hobby. (For Simcha, I recommend something other than cooking. For Shea, something other than eating.) The combination of sanctimonious political rage and mediocrity is downright Loftusian, with the success to match.

It doesn't get much better when I read the Anchoress or, the house-trained pet of the New York Times, Douthat.

I bring all this up just to make it clear where I stand on these things. I came to peace long ago with the idea that the truth of the Church is compatible with the existence of an absolutely rotten Pope (and thus, certainly Cardinals.) Well, we've got one.

I always wondered what it would be like to experience that!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Objectivism and charity

On a whim, I decided to check out what the objectivist line on charity is. Partly because I remembered Ayn Rand's view wasn't quite as horrific as I expected (people make it sound like she actively desired poor people be gassed just for being poor, and all charity was quasi-sinful.)

From the site:
Answer:  Objectivism holds that there is nothing wrong with charity, so long as one is pursuing one's own values in providing it. As Ayn Rand said, charity is a marginal issue: it is not especially noble to engage in it, but if pursued prudently and seriously, and not at the cost of other important values, it can be a source of good for one's society and ultimately one's self. Objectivists tend to view their donations to causes as investments in some kind of improvement: a better culture, a better city, etc. But like investments, these require attention to make sure they are paying off.
I'm not an Objectivist of course - I'm too theistic, too classical, too religious. But I think Objectivists tend to get a bad rap. The problem is, they get a bad rap because they seem - practically to a man - hellbent on coming across like dickheads.

Seriously, just look at that quote from the Atlas Society. "Charity is fine so long as you get something out of it." Thanks for the tip, Flintheart Glomgold. You dick.

Ironically, the Atlas Society's depiction of the Objectivist view on charity... isn't even charitable. No matter how cold the view of it may be, it could be presented more sensibly, less caustic, while sacrificing none of the honesty of its presentation. But Objectivism seems to function as a lint trap for a certain kind of person who just rubs people the wrong way by nature. Go figure.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Trump is defying basic expectations of a president - just like his supporters wanted

People who wail about how deeply unpresidential Trump is seem not to understand that this is a large part of his appeal for his base. Many of us love that he shows deep disrespect to journalists, politicians and entertainers - because we don't think these people deserve much respect anyway.

We love that he isn't yet another Republican sap trying to 'unite' the country, ie, submit himself to the criticisms of people who hate him and his supporters.

We love that he does not pretend to be 'above it all'. We love that he doesn't pretend for a moment that an idiot judge who throws down a stupid ruling is anything but a partisan hack seeking to preserve political spoils.

We love that the act has come to an end. And we love the idea that the cultural changes he is making to the presidency, to discourse, and to politics in general may be impossible to ever reverse.

Even now, so many people can't accept - or at least refuse to publicly accept - that these are features, not bugs, of a Trump presidency.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fast thoughts mid-week 11/09

* First, a casual hello to everyone out there in philosophical blogging land who I don't get to talk to much lately. Grod, Brandon (he never comes here, ha!), etc, etc. You know your names. Pardon my absence, but I still lurk and watch a lot of your arguments, and it continues to impress and inspire. Good to see Ed doing so well too.

* I see the latest headline involving the Pope has him lecturing about cell phone use. I find that encouraging, because if we can keep him talking about fortune-cookie level petty shit for the rest of his papacy, maybe he'll stop doing damage to the Church.

* Latest abomination in science is injecting rats with tiny human brains for the scientific reason of "why the fuck not" and "we're already funded". Hey, here's an idea for a horror movie: these rats track down and find the women and chop-shop docs who aborted them, and tear them to pieces a la Willard. I'd go see it, and I hate movies.

* Here's a statistic you're not gonna hear anyone quoting: "Atheists are responsible for some of the largest mass-shootings in the US." Someone tell Dawkins, maybe it'll give him another stroke, and then we won't have to endure him embarrassing himself with yet more shitty jokes as he lectures the US on gun control. (And the NRA member who shot the monster? He deserves a medal. Here's the thing: with Trump, he may actually get one.)

* By the way, one of the best parts of the Trump administration? It's nice to have a leader who sounds like a human being. I know, I know, people miss the previous joke we had who did a Flowers for Algernon imitation whenever he lacked a teleprompter. I prefer this, mistakes and all. Trump is, if nothing else, certifiably human and he doesn't try to be anything else, and we don't have to pretend he's anything else. Fun as it is to call him God Emperor.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who blew Harvey Weinstein?

You know, for all the explosive coverage of Harvey Weinstein, I notice there's one question no one - and I mean no one - is asking.

What actresses blew Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in the business?

I'm not asking "What girls did Harvey Weinstein force himself onto."  Nor am I denying that happened - in fact, that's part of the point here.

I'm asking, "Which girls eagerly blew this guy, thinking that it would do wonders for their career?" Which girls blew the guy that everyone knew was a grabby and at least workplace-dangerous pervert?

Reminder: Weinstein's turn to pariah status is extraordinarily recent, not to mention sudden. As of a few weeks ago, he was a powerful Hollywood figure. There's no shortage of pictures of women smiling happily as they glom onto him. No shortage of video clips of actresses praising him or thanking him. No shortage of quotes to the same effect.

And we've got every reason to believe that his behavior wasn't exactly a secret. Actors and actresses knew. They talked.  They excused, and they even went to bat for him.

So, how many girls did Harvey a favor - jumped at the chance to do him a favor - to get ahead?

And what should we think of any self-described feminist who eagerly played this game, with a guy like this, if they in fact did so?