Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wow...Step Out for a Couple of Days...

I returned to computer access this morning, my PC is very upset with me for installing a new graphics card (turns out the card was bad, not me), only to find that the most vigorous conversation in Cinerati history took place without my participation. To beat all!

To clear the air a little. I keep my political affiliations/beliefs as close to the breast as Fritz keeps his religious beliefs. That is to say that I don't tend, though I might on occassion, reveal the results of any political litmus test I might take. I might have revealed them sometime in the past on the blog, but it is doubtful. For example, when discussing Brave New World, I mentioned what some of my specific beliefs are, but not my general ideology. For me, political affiliations/beliefs have too often clouded conversations and so I avoid declaring my ideology. I don't know why Fritz keeps his religious beliefs close to his breast, but I do know that religion is a deeply personal thing and so I find it an appropriate behavior.

Having said that, David Chute asked an interesting question, "Can one be a Catholic and a Libertarian, or even a libertarian?" I imagine that the answer is yes, but would require some amount of extrapolation. The Acton Institute is a Catholic organization that presents arguments for the justice of Capitalism, which is especially tonic for those who think that Social Justice requires a rejection of Capitalism. I think it would be fair to say that the Acton Institute is also an advocate for "freedom" in the broader, more libertarian, sense.

This is not to say that the organization is libertarian in the sense that David was asking the question. Interestingly, the modern libertarian is often more libertine than liberal. One could defend freedom "rightly understood" and still consider themself a libertarian, but one must also believe in a moral absolute (specifically Catholic Doctrine) if one is an observant Catholic. That doesn't mean that one cannot question Catholic Doctrine, but it does mean that to be Catholic one must defer to the institutions answers to given questions. One may offer new arguments to further the dialogue, but one must (as one has "confirmed" they will) abide by the "results" of the discussion. The wonderful thing about the Catholic Church is that the "results" are offered with a great deal of humility and Papal Infallability is not what many consider it to be.

What the post-Reformation, and Counter-reformation, era (particularly in Modernity) has introduced to the equation is those who profess a particular belief, but say that they "disagree" or think that the "Church is wrong" about certain issues. I would argue that such individuals are not in fact Catholic, rather they are one of either an existing Protestant Church or they are merely protestant in the descriptive. I think many of these people would do well to read Erasmus,Luther, and More to get an idea of how different individuals deal with "issues" within the Church. For the Catholic, not the Christian, at some point there must be acceptance of the decisions of Rome. In America, there isn't even a stigma to not being Catholic. We have a beautiful, rich, and abundantly diverse community of religions. Find the one that suits you and hold to it. It is better to believe in something than to say you believe in something with which you disagree.


The modern libertarian is often the libertine that is inferred in David's comments, and most certainly is by the standards offered by the Cupid Test. But can we really only trust a test that has the libertarian extreme as the Unibomber, the republican extreme is Pinoche, on the totalitarian extreme Darth Vader/Stalin, and on the "True Socialist" (Marx would have a great time with that if you have read his "German Ideology") side is Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.?

So "extreme" socialism is no extreme according to their "famous persons" test? Puh-leese!

Heck! The test didn't ever let you say that you neither agreed or disagreed with a statement. A test without such an possible answer is no true evaluation at all. Talk about shoddy methodology, and don't get me started on the phrasing of the questions.


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