Monday, January 28, 2008

Cutting Through the Crap

Sometimes B.S. is B.S., regardless of who's spouting it. Regardless of one's extensive resume, detailing all the different ways that one is a so-called "expert" in one's field. Regardless of one's flowery writing style using lots of pretty words and phrases that purport to evoke the "higher things". Regardless of one's superior knowledge of "practical Catholic ethics".

Sometimes these folks turn out to be, in reality, nothing but freakin' political hacks.

(Albeit hacks well-schooled in the art of sophistry.)

I may not be the smartest or most eloquent blogger out there. And being a convert (still infected as I am with "Calvinism" - never mind that I was never a Calvinist), I may not have as deep an understanding of the application of "practical Catholic ethics" or have "developed the intellectual and moral dispositions" as some of my over-educated cradle-Catholic betters. And I'll never be able to go toe-to-toe with those holding a collection of Masters degrees and PhDs from various Jesuit universities.

But I can recognize a damn phony when I see one.



At 1/28/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...


At 1/28/2008 5:36 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

The usual suspects.

At 1/28/2008 7:59 PM, Blogger papabear said...

I read that thread, and it was something else. Everyone recognizes the brute fact that people have the power to choose, but this does not imply the state has no authority to punish them for choosing wrongly.

At 1/28/2008 8:40 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Well said Jay.

At 1/28/2008 11:00 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

It's sickening to converse with somebody building a meticulous and stunning philosophical case for homicide:

"The pro-choice concern is primarily with the intrusion of the Federal government into the lives of individuals. It's about personal freedom. This is a reasonable concern."

"All the difference. The decision rests with the women. It becomes an act of individual conscience. And yes, there is a difference between informed and uninformed conscience. And yes, conscience trumps all, whether formed or uninformed."

"Ask yourself that question. Why have laws not been passed to declare abortion murder? Could it have something to do with practical reason?"

At 1/28/2008 11:26 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

With degrees from Gonzaga, St. Louis U., and Georgetown, he'd be wasting some perfectly good Jesuit educations if he didn't make such arguments.

At 1/29/2008 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great fiery post!

At 1/29/2008 11:13 AM, Blogger Darwin said...

See, I may be nothing but a knuckle-dragging ditto head, but I think there's such a thing as editorial control on a site. You can be a Catholic site, or you can be a disgrace.

Time to make a couple decisions over there at Vox Nova and either pare down the list of contributors a bit or stop pretending to be serious about Catholicism.

At 1/29/2008 11:18 AM, Anonymous paul zummo said...

One of the beautiful things about having to finish up my dissertation is that I have severely paired down the blogs I read. I am skipping certain sites where I know I could potentially get bogged down on a neverending thread where nothing really ever gets resolved, and I'll just end up pissed off in the end anyway.

Looks like I made a good decision.

At 1/29/2008 11:33 AM, Blogger Tito said...

Which posting over at Vox Nova is this in reference to?

I don't read it at all and am curious.

Michael Deem help start that blog and from personal experience I say that their is Noam Chomskey hair splitting aplenty if any of those bloggers are of the level of Michael.

At 1/29/2008 12:15 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Read the comments under "Obama the Proabort".

I want to make clear that my post is not about the blog itself, but about one blogger in particular - someone attempting to make the "pro-choice" case under the auspices of "practical Catholic ethics" on a blog claiming to be dedicated to a "consistent ethic of life".

And I suppose my post is also aimed at what I perceive as a double standard. For example, if I were to make similar arguments that seemed to justify a more lenient position toward an intrinsic evil like torture, I would not be treated with the same forbearance as this contributor has been. In fact, if I had made similar arguments to justify the war or the death penalty or strict border control policy - matters that are prudential in nature - I would be raked over the coals by the same people who appear to be giving this Obama supporter a pass.

So, while I continue to think that blog and the majority of its contibutors quite good, I am somewhat at a loss as to why certain viewpoints that seem at odds with a "consistent ethic of life" are given a pass while others are not.

At 1/29/2008 12:25 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Jay -- I appear to be as ignorant as you! This from the author:

Your attempts at characterization are shallow. Deeper issues have been expressed throughout this thread and elsewhere that you should have been able to penetrate and dissect, given your educational background. But you insist on reducing them to flights of fancy. So, I can’t comment furthers on your remarks.

Aw, shucks. ah suppose ah ought t'go back t'munchin' on fried possum an' peggin' jackrabbits wif mah gun fum th' front po'ch while wawkin' on a six pack of Bud.

The above dismissal in response to my questioning Obama's explicit support of the Freedom of Choice Act and how he would reconcile it with his praise of Obama as "“authentic and truthful. He radiates truth and goodness. He possesses charisma and exercises sound judgment." (His words, not mine).

At 1/29/2008 12:53 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Don't bother him with the details, Christopher. That was my mistake, too.

Obama and his sycophants are too busy with flowery rhetoric that doesn't really say much of anything to be bothered with such trifling things as the details of particular policies and their implications.

At 1/29/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger PB said...

Alright, I never read Vox-Nova but went over to check the "Obama the Proabort" post and skim through the comments only to say huh? The lack of common sense makes me sick.

At 1/29/2008 2:51 PM, Blogger Dale P. said...

Ah, found it.

For people who profess to be deeply concerned about the alleged philosophical problems of pro-life arguments, they are blissfully unaware of the flaws of pro-choice casuistry.


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