Saturday, February 23, 2008
FROM THE SIRICO BRIEF
The following entry in Randy Engel's Brief appears under 1989:
Sirico and another Paulist priest, Fr. James Fisher, present a talk at the CIC, “Who Was Ayn Rand?” Both priests are admirers of Ms. Rand, atheist and author of Atlas Shrugged and prophetess of the philosophy of Objectivism and “the virtue of selfishness,” and the “godmother” of the Libertarian Party. [A tape of the Sirico-Fisher lecture confirms that that Sirico’s return to the Catholic Church and ordination to the priesthood did not substantially alter the Libertarian ideals he acquired during the heyday of his “gay” Libertarian Party activism in San Francisco, albeit, with a Christian veneer.]
THE ILLUMINATI ORDER
Their website claims Ayn Rand's philosophy is theirs as well:
To learn what we mean by the concept of individual rights, read "Man's Rights"; to learn what we mean by the proper role of government, read "The Nature Of Government." Both essays are by Ayn Rand and can be found in either The Virtue Of Selfishness (VOS) or Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (CUI), though we strongly recommend VOS for its other valuable essays dealing specifically with rights. These books are usually kept in stock at most major bookstores, or easily ordered through them or online.
We must emphasize, however, that the Illuminati Order is not an Objectivist organization, per se. Accepting Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is not a requirement of membership.
All who support individual rights--which include the rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and the pursuit of happiness--are encouraged to join us!
Why here? Why now?
The Internet offers the means to reach an amazing number of people both quickly and easily, which is at once a blessing and a curse. Many people have at least heard of the term "Illuminati," which is great. However, because of widespread conspiracy theories, it has been our experience that a significant portion of what they have heard about us is incorrect. It is time to act against the misconceptions and disinformation. We aim to set the record straight by using this site to reveal the true nature of the Illuminati Order.
CHUCK COLSON ON AYN RAND
In his new memoir, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan reminds us that author Ayn Rand is still influencing the world. He credits her with turning him into something more than a “math junkie.”
Greenspan is not alone. A 1991 Book-of-the-Month Club and Library of Congress survey asked members which book had most influenced their lives. As expected, the Bible finished first. Unexpectedly, Rand’s most famous book, the novel Atlas Shrugged, finished second.
Fifty years after its publication and 25 years after Rand’s death, Atlas Shrugged is still read everywhere from college campuses to Wall Street. Given its popularity and its impact, Christians ought to be acquainted with Rand’s work and, especially, her worldview.
As theologian John Piper puts it, Rand’s work manifests a “complete rejection of a divine or supernatural dimension to reality.” The absence of God causes Rand to get human nature wrong as well.
In Atlas Shrugged and her other writings, Rand articulated a philosophy she called “objectivism.” Among other things, objectivism teaches that man’s “highest value” and “moral purpose” is his own happiness.
Friday, February 22, 2008
DR. ISSAM NEMEH IN THE NEWS AGAIN
NewsChannel5 anchor Ted Henry reported about his healing prayer sessions in Cleveland over the years, and now he's working with a NASA scientist to prove that spiritual prayer is, in fact, science.
Henry said that spontaneous healing prayer cannot only reach its mark in human healing, but that it can also be measured.
"Dr. Nemeh is the key here. With him, we have just a tremendous opportunity to advance this type of research," said George Szatowski, NASA Electromagnetic Specialist.
Szatowski is a NASA researcher from Virginia who believes Nemeh's healing prayers can be measured remotely, over long distances in a closed metal box used to measure electromagnetic images.
"What I think is going on is the electromagnetic signal is creating resonances at a molecular level and time sequence correctly that is causing these physical healings," Szatowski said. "In our three-dimensional world, that is the true physical healing is taking place from the electromagnetic radiation."
Read the article...
HOLY REDEEMER PARISH AGAIN
A “coalition of eight leather- and motorcycle-oriented clubs in the South-of-Market Area gay and lesbian community” held its annual community awards Feb. 16 at Most Holy Redeemer parish’s Ellard Hall in the Castro District of San Francisco. Most Holy Redeemer is well known as a “gay-friendly” Catholic parish.
According to its web site, the Inter-Club Fund of San Francisco, which held its 42nd Annual Motorcycle and Leather Community Awards on Saturday at Ellard Hall, exists to “promote safe motorcycling, provide financial assistance to persons in distress,” and “promote motorcycling organizations.” The ICF is made up of seven member clubs, including the Bears of San Francisco, Defenders/San Francisco, San Francisco Dykes on Bikes-Women’s Motorcycle Contingent, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Defenders/San Francisco calls itself “a Leather/Levi club, chartered by Dignity, the national gay Catholic organization.” On its web site, Defenders says it “take[s] a stand for the sacredness of our leather sexuality and explores practical ways of integrating sexuality and spirituality….
“Although we are a Catholic leather club, our members come from many different denominations and spiritual traditions. Men and women of all spiritual paths are welcome.”
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.
OBJECTIVISTS POSITION ON ABORTION
In order to understand Objectivists, it is necessary to take note of the schism within the philosophy between Leonard Peikoff and David Kelley. Peikoff is Ayn Rand's intellectual legal heir and founder of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is a purist in that he believes the only principles of Objectivism which can be embraced are those espoused by Ayn Rand herself. He rejects all attempts to work with others of similar thinking. Peikoff strongly supports laissez faire capitalism.
David Kelley, a philosopher who was formerly associated with the Ayn Rand Institute, prefers to work with others within the Libertarian community who have adopted some, but not all of Rand's thinking. Peikoff claims Kelley is not an Objectivist. Kelley embraces "truth and tolerance". When Peikoff tossed Kelley out of the Ayn Rand Institute, Kelley founded the Institute for Objectivist Studies, later renamed the Objectivist Center, and subsequently The Atlas Society. (Source: Wikipedia)
Shades of occultist squabbling?
In any case, both groups embrace abortion.
Peikoff lays out his thinking in an article titled "Abortion Rights Are Pro-Life". The life he has in mind is the life of the mother.
It is a woman's right to her life that gives her the right to terminate her pregnancy. ...
The embryo is clearly pre-human; only the mystical notions of religious dogma treat this clump of cells as constituting a person.
We must not confuse potentiality with actuality.
He equates calling the embryo an "unborn child" with calling an adult an "undead corpse", suggesting that by the same logic we could bury the adult alive, indicating to me that he confuses the nature of life and the nature of death. Clearly an unborn child that moves independently in the womb has no relationship with a corpse. This argument is simply bizarre.
Peikoff refuses to grant the unborn with any rights before birth, and offers the following "legitimate reasons" for an abortion: accidental pregnancy, rape, birth defects, danger to her health.
Further fuzzy thinking is evidenced by his claim that a woman who is forced to give birth to a child she does not want "is a death sentence", citing the years of parenthood required until the child is an adult. He completely ignores the fact that the woman who gives birth is not obligated beyond delivery. Others are quite capable of raising the child through adoption. A woman's obligation does not absolutely extend beyond the date of delivery.
He closes the argument with: "Anti-abortionists are not lovers of life--lovers of tissue, maybe. But their stand marks them as haters of real human beings.
Turning to The Atlas Society I found a similar fuzzy thinking.
Ayn Rand held that "abortion is a moral right--which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved."...
Rights are based on the fact that the use of force against others is not a reliable means of gaining values, while dealing with others by production and trade is...
We therefore apply rights principles to a person in virtue of his ability to live by production and trade....To live by production and trade, one must be able to project and pursue alternatives to what is given metaphysically in nature; grasp principles and thereby employ conceptual knowledge; and communicate and learn open-endedly, making possible agreements, friendship, and the transmission of knowledge. Beings that lack these capacities also lack rights: dogs, for instance, or termites.
It is not only the embryo or the fetus who lacks these abilities. It is also the child up to his teen years. Imagine a society in which this law was put in place!
William Thomas, who has written the piece, does make a qualification:
But some humans--infant children, embryos and fetuses--also lack these capacities; if we deny intrinsicism, whatever basic rights or legal claims they may deserve must be explained by an argument that follows from their actual, existing capacities, but from their potential to develop.
If children are to be exempted from infanticide based on potential, the same must apply to the embryo. Otherwise one ends up with a sliding scale of potential that is arbitrary and can easily be used to justify killing a seven-year-old who turned out to be inconvenient. More fuzzy thinking from the Objectivists.
Not content with this muddle, Thomas wades in deeper:
In the Objectivist view, one's fundamental rights are unitary, because they define the freedom that a rational being needs, in a social context, in order to live by production and trade.
Or in simple language, your dollars define you. Children, of course, are notoriously lacking in dollars and production ability.
Thomas writes further:
Because they are unable to support themselves by reason, we cannot extend this right to infants or the unborn in a clear and straightforward manner....it is hasty and cavalier to simply say that a fetus, or even an infant has rights in the sense that an adult does, or for the reasons an adult does.
In an effort to define rights and obligations for the purpose of claiming that a pregnant woman has no obligation to the unborn child, Thomas writes:
Opponents of abortion rights seek to impose obligations in the name of a process that leads to a human being, upon the rights of an actual human being: the mother. This is no small duty, but a long-term obligation to care for her child...
Again this claim that the birth mother must raise the child completely ignores the perfectly legitimate recourse to adoption.
Thomas is willing to concede that
One can incur an obligation without choosing to do so; for instance, if one injures someone in an auto accident, one is responsible for seeing him right, regardless of whether one intended to have a wreck. But there is no reason to deny people choice in accepting great obligations, if choice is both possible and consonant with justice. A secure legal right to abortion ensures that the obligations of pregnancy and parenthood can be faced and chosen on their own merits, and not undertaken unwillingly.
So apparently to the Objectivists one might incur an openended obligation through a car accident, given that the person injured may suffer a life-long incapacity that can never be made right; but the inconvenience of pregnancy--a 9 month affair--is beyond the obligation that any living person should have to endure.
The arguments presented in both of these websites are so shot full of holes as to be laughable. It was hard to ignore that both of these websites were written by men. A woman who has carried a child knows full well the difference between the unborn child and a dead corpse. One cannot look at ultrasound pictures of a three-month-old embryo without acknowledging that it is far more than a lump of cells and that it bears an uncanny resemblance to what appears when we look in the mirror.
Two messages that do come through is the utter selfishness of the writers, and the typical argument of the man who got a woman pregnant and wants no part of the responsibility he has incurred in the name of his sexual gratification. In reading them I could not help but wonder what skeletons lie in the closets of the men making the claims.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
WEAPONS SCREENING HALTED
According to the Agonist:
I don't know how true this is, but if it is (and I really doubt the Star-Telegram would print a falsehood) then it is pretty scary and screwed up:
Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.
The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.
AYN RAND NOT POPULAR IN ISRAEL
There was an article about Ayn Rand in the Jerusalem Post last July. The article includes a YouTube video of Dr. Yaron Brook speaking about the current war that Israel and the U.S. are engaged in.
Dr. Brook is the president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) in Irvine, California. In the video he explains that we really don't know who we are at war with, equating the War on Terrorism with a war on Japanese kamakazie pilots during World War II. Then, acknowledging that terrorism is an ideaology, he equates the war on terrorism with a war on Japanese Imperialists and Nazis, implying as he does so that instead during World War II we made war on a nation, not on an ideaology.
Yet he tells us that all of the people making war have had one goal in mind, and that has been world domination; and that the current conflict has the same root cause.
To the extent that these ideas have developed out of Rand's philosophy, I cannot disagree with Brook's conclusion. But the article goes on to say of Rand's philosophy: "its distinctive development is a moral ideal of 'selfishness,' whereby someone's own happiness is a moral responsibility". He goes on to give Rand's mantra, 'My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
Rand, born in St. Petersburg in 1905 to a middle-class Jewish family by the name of Rosenbaum, wrote at age 29, "I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering."
She was not an observant Jew, and in Israel she is not the sort of cult icon that she is becoming in America. Brook
thinks her popularity is now at its highest, with more than 750,000 of her books sold annually.
Historically, American academia has been dismissive of Ayn Rand, but in recent years her work is increasingly being included in mainstream curricula. According to the Ayn Rand Institute, which works to raise her profile in academic circles, more than 30 professors teach Rand in leading American universities, with the number continually growing.
The same is not true of Israel where her philosophy is not taught. Moshe Kroy did teach it at Tel Aviv University in the 1970s. Subsequently he abandoned it for Scientology. That should tell us something about the path Rand was following, given that Scientology is closely associated with the beliefs of Aleister Crowley, and given that, as I blogged yesterday, there is a hot debate taking place between the Randians and the Satanists.
Jeff Walker has written a book, THE AYN RAND CULT, which is reviewed online. From the review:
"For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est...not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult..." (page 98)
"Ayn Rand was not the first to propound an ethics for the masses based on survival as a rational being. That honor goes to fellow novelist and cult leader L Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), the science-fiction writer who founded Dianetics and the Church of Scientology. Dianetics preceded...the Objectivist ethics by 11 years. Dianetics groups formed on campuses during the 1950's, much as Ayn Rand clubs would in the 1960's. Many who flocked to Objectivism in the 1960's had previously had some contact with Dianetics or Scientology.
Dr. Yaron Brooke has posted comments on the Iraq war in the THINK-ISRAEL BLOG-EDS (scroll down), dated November 22, 2005:
We must define war objectives designed solely to protect the American people from Islamic terrorism, and then execute those objectives by any means necessary. Above all, we must make it our objective, not to bring the good life to every corner of the Middle East, but to make the terrorist states of the Middle East non-threatening--which means that we must end state sponsorship of terrorism.
In Iraq, we must crush the insurgency immediately--which includes choking its backers, Iran and Syria--and let the Iraqis themselves take on the responsibility of establishing a government that will not threaten America. Once the insurgency is crushed the priority should be on eliminating the regime that is the greatest terrorist and nuclear threat to the United States in the Middle East: Iran. Such a policy would serve as a death blow to bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and the rest of the fundamentalists, who attract their recruits with the hope that America can slowly be defeated.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBJECTIVISM AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO SATANISM
Objectivism was the philosophy of Ayn Rand. As the Ayn Rand Institute website tells us:
Ayn Rand named her philosophy "Objectivism" and described it as a philosophy for living on earth. Objectivism is an integrated system of thought that defines the abstract principles by which a man must think and act if he is to live the life proper to man. ...
Ayn Rand was once asked if she could present the essence of Objectivism while standing on one foot. Her answer was:
Metaphysics: Objective Reality
She then translated those terms into familiar language:
"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."
"You can't eat your cake and have it, too."
"Man is an end in himself."
"Give me liberty or give me death."
For the purpose of this blog, the main interest lies in Objectivism's definition of metaphysics:
"Reality, the external world, exists independent of man's consciousness, independent of any observer's knowledge, beliefs, feelings, desires or fears. This means that A is A, that facts are facts, that things are what they are—and that the task of man's consciousness is to perceive reality, not to create or invent it." Thus Objectivism rejects any belief in the supernatural—and any claim that individuals or groups create their own reality.
Put simply, to the objectivist, God is dead, or more accurately He never existed in the first place.
Adherents to the philosophy can often be found linked in Libertarian lists. Wikipedia tells us:
Many individuals found their support of libertarianism upon ideological elements derived from the philosophy of novelist Ayn Rand, which she called Objectivism. Some libertarians who derive their beliefs from economic reasoning acknowledge various insights of Objectivism, even when not deriving their libertarianism from Objectivism. Many influential figures in the libertarian movement, such as L. Neil Smith, acknowledge a debt to Objectivism. In addition, the fiction of Ayn Rand is popular among even libertarians who do not consider themselves to be Objectivists. Therefore, it is perhaps surprising to some that the compatibility of Objectivism and libertarianism is a hotly contested matter.
The Penn (University of Pennsylvania) Libertarian Association lists "The Atlas Society - home of the Objectivist Center" as one of two "Highly Recommended" links. On the "Recommended" list are familiar names of organizations that I have been writing about--"The Acton Institute" (headed by a Roman Catholic priest), "Atlas Economic Research Foundation", "The Cato Institute", the "Von Mises Institute".
An organization called The Objectivist Center, founded by Philosopher David Kelley who has "addressed the Mont Pelerin Society, the Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute, as well as many Objectivist conferences, proving that Rand's philosophy can seduce even Princeton Ph.D.s.
At the University of Michigan the Students of Objectivism call themselves "The University's Rational Egoists" and present "A Brief Summary of Objectivism" from which the following is taken:
Objectivism states that there is only one reality, the reality we perceive with our senses. Everything in existence acts in accordance with causal laws, because actions are only expressions of the identities of the things acting; this is the “Law of Causality.”... In the philosophy, these statements about consciousness’ relationship with existence are summed up as the “Primacy of Existence” principle. A consequence of the Objectivist view of reality is that supposed supernatural Beings and realms do not exist, and therefore on Theology (study of God, His existence, etc.), Objectivism’s position is Atheist; in addition, it is A-Satanist, A-Vishnu(ist), and A-Flying Spaghetti Monster(ist), etc.
Not all agree, however. The following can be found in the online Encyclopedia of Religion and Society:
[J. T.]Richardson (1997) defines three types of "objectivists" who promote satanism either directly or indirectly, with the types depending on the degree to which the person accepts the objective reality of Satan. Strict objectivists such as fundamentalist Christians believe in an actual Satan that is active in human affairs, promoting evil at every opportunity. Secular objectivists may not believe in a real Satan, but they are willing to entertain the idea of a "satanic conspiracy" operating in our society, say in child care centers or the government. This may occur in particular if accepting the idea of satanism promotes other interests they may have, such as the development of a larger welfare bureaucracy or the spread of feminist ideas of female exploitation. Opportunistic objectivists are those, perhaps including some media talk show personalities (as well as others), who do not believe in Satan or the idea of a satanic conspiracy but who nonetheless are willing to promote the idea for their own purposes.
A poster who calls himself (herself?) "Nemo" sees subtle differences between Satanism and Objectivism:
Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, is an acknowledged source for some of the Satanic philosophy as outlined in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey. ...I am a strong admirer of Ayn Rand but I am an even stronger admirer of Anton LaVey for the vital differences between the philosophies of Objectivism and Satanism. ...
If anything, Satanism holds that indulgence in life or “fun” as perceived by the individual is the highest standard of ethics. Satanists see that Objectivism has enthroned reason above the individual as opposed to utilizing this sole means to knowledge as a tool to achieve a purpose. Satanism enthrones the individual as a whole, not reason, as the supreme standard to determine the value of actions (ethics).
Ah yes, the "fun" philosophy. You can find its active adherents among the Libertarians. Robert Anton Wilson was a major proponent of this philosophy as reflected in his book ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY. He could often be found among the Discordians, including members of the Church of the Sub-Genius, a "religion" that pokes fun at religion. All in the name of a good time, and preferably with some variety of sex thrown into the mix. Libertarians want to define their "fun" without any interference from anyone else who might get hurt. Wilson got star billing at Rev. Ivan Stang's Church of the Sub-Genius.
Wilson is no longer among the living, but his Maybe Logic Academy seems to be going strong, and the list of instructors are a "Who's Who" of the "fun" philosophy.
Ayn Rand's 100th birthday was the subject on one segment of the Sub-Genius forum. They's not fond of her over there. Rev. Stang has this to say:
I feel that Ayn Rand was a classic Rogue SubGenius -- a true weirdo,
indeed a Superior Mutant, but trapped in a prison of ignorance about
Slack. There is not the slightest, teeniest bit of Slack in her world.
It appeals very deeply to certain members of the would-be
intelligentsia. Mensans and so on.
With your evident abiding interest in economic sciences, you should
find some of the business rants by her industrialist characters
side-splitting, or else enfuriating, or, as I did, both.
She has the Us and Them syndrome big-time, and her idea of Us is so
limited that it really did not include even her.
True to form, Stang proves his belief in Rand's philosophy by rejecting even the philosopher who validates his beliefs. But then what is Randianism if not the belief that you are right and the rest of the world is simply misinformed.
ONE MILLION EURO COMPENSATION FOR BAN
The ban placed on the organisation of a gay Pride march in Moscow in 2007 was a breach of human rights, the organisers have said in a letter to the European Court of Human Rights.
They are asking the court to rule on the ban and want one million euros compensation.
The legal action against the Russian authorities is the second brought by Moscow Pride organisers, who are also asking for a ruling on the 2006 Pride march ban.
"I am absolutely certain of our final victory in Strasburg," Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev told Interfax. ...
Mr Alexeyev said if Pride activists won their case the compensation money would be used to develop the LGBT movement in Russia.
Activists plan to try to stage another gay Pride march on May 27th this year.
Read the article...
SATANIC VANDALISM IN PHILADELPHIA CATHOLIC CHURCHES
Three Catholic churches in the Philadelphia area have been vandalized by what ABC News is calling Satanic activity. The video clip includes an interview with one of the pastors who tells of two women coming up to him after Mass and telling him they are demons.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Yesterday I took a look at Ayn Rand's rejection of altruism, as it has been adopted by Austrian economics, a system that has impacted American economics.
Providing an opposing viewpoint is Bnei Baruch, an Orthodox Jewish organization that promotes Kabbalah. They believe
Even though today’s society is egoistic, it is quite prepared to advance toward following Nature’s law of altruism. Education and culture have always been established on altruistic principles. In our homes and at school, we teach our children to be compassionate, kind, friendly. We want our children to be nice to others, and we feel that such an attitude toward others is the proper way, and that it protects those who follow it. Hardly anyone would declare opposition to these values.
"Quite prepared"? No, I don't think we are quite prepared given the influence of these major economic think tanks. Nor do I agree that "Education and culture have always been established on altruistic principles" based just on the influence of Austria economics alone. Alan Greenspan was a propnent of Ayn Rand. Consider the influence that just this one man alone has had on our culture. As to altruism being natural, consider the inclinations of the little child. Children must be taught to share. It doesn't come naturally.
Do we feel that being nice to others is the proper way? When it comes to religious differences, being nice is what has brought us to the brink of denying Christ. We probably believe in being nice until it impacts our own personal economics. Where our dollars and personal possessions are concerned, we are not even remotely nice unless we are influenced by Christianity. It appears that Bnei Baruch believes the Kabbalah has the same influence.
As with most things both selfishness and altruism need to be kept in balance. We have a legitimate right to own property and to hold it for our exclusive use. Collectivism has proven to be unworkable in the Soviet Union. At the same time we must not ignore the plight of our neighbor. Charity is a more workable solution than a welfare state. It hinges on the majority being generous. Choosing to be charitable surpasses in satisfaction having our property confiscated and given to others. Dependence on charity generates industry in at least some who would otherwise chose to live off the dole under government mandated social programs. Charity does not have a built-in welfare mentality.
When either attitude becomes dominant, we find ourselves living in circumstances that are difficult.
In a Zenit article Cardinal Kasper rejoices over a "Breakthrough" in Orthodox-Catholic relations reflected in the "Ravenna Document" which lays groundwork for discussing the Church at various levels including the primacy, which is the Pope, and what it can mean for East and West. According to the article:
the real breakthrough, he said, was that "the Orthodox agreed to speak about the universal level -- because before there were some who denied that there could even be institutional structures on the universal level. The second point is that we agreed that at the universal level there is a primate. It was clear that there is only one candidate for this post, that is the Bishop of Rome, because according to the old order -- 'taxis' in Greek -- of the Church of the first millennium the see of Rome is the first among them.
"Many problems remain to be resolved, but we have laid a foundation upon which we can build."
The Ravenna document was so named because the talks took place October 8-14, 2007 at the plenary assembly of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, held in Ravenna, Italy.
While Cardinal Kasper rejoices at progress, Patriarch Alexiy II offers a different view in a "Christian Today" article:
The leader of Russia's powerful Orthodox Church played down hopes of an imminent reconciliation with Rome in an interview on Monday, saying Catholic missionary activity in Russia prevented the churches from restoring ties. ...
"Stopping us from restoring relations are some unsolved issues between our churches," Alexiy told the Polish daily Dziennik in an interview published on Monday.
"We have many questions about the missionary and charitable activities of Catholic monks and clergy in Russia and CIS (former Soviet) countries." ...
"We have always said that a Russian visit of (former) Pope John Paul was possible only when all the problems between our churches were resolved. Unfortunately, it has not happened until now," Alexiy said.
"In Russia and Ukraine, Catholics always treated the Orthodox believers more as enemies than as brothers in faith ... the activities of Catholics in Russia have created many challenges for the dialogue of our churches."
"These matters need to be resolved".
Back in 1977, that was the subject of an article by Austrian Economist Murray N. Rothbard, published in "Reason", April 1977.
Surprisingly he does not reject the idea of conspiracies. He points out instead that there is a proper way to go about researching conspiracies and an improper way of doing it. I tend to agree with what he wrote.
Monday, February 18, 2008
AYN RAND - WHO WAS SHE? - WHAT DID SHE BELIEVE?
As the world moves closer to a single global society, discussions of economics at high level think tanks take on a greater meaning given that a global society will require a global economy. Hence liberalism, and especially some of its extreme positions, take on a greater meaning. Having the name Ayn Rand floating around Austrian Economic think tanks should be a red flag in front of a bull, though I'm not convinced it has alarmed very many.
At the Ludwig von Mises Institute website you can read about Rand:
Her books sold in the millions and were most effective in transforming a generation of readers into ardent anti-communists and strong capitalists. There is also a connection between the Austrian School and Rand, as shown by a new symposium from The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (Spring 2005) entitled "Ayn Rand Among the Austrians."
This is a collection of scholarly papers by some of her most serious students. If we may generalize from their conclusions, it is this: though Rand calls herself an Objectivist, and appears to reject important aspects of Austrian economics—apriorism and subjective value theory—and claims that a scientific ethics may be derived from an individual's right to life, Ayn Rand was essentially an Austrian and a Misesian. The contributors to this volume give insight into Rand's principles and offer reasons for reconciling Rand's Objectivism with Mises's subjectivism.
At a You Tube website you can hear her message to the GOP said to be "more relevant today than when it was delivered", and Presidential candidate Ron Paul's discussion of her.
Her Russianness comes through in her video. She doesn't smile much and she speaks with an accent. She appears to have unqualified belief in what she is saying, almost to the point of treating it like religious truth.
Time provides a 1960 article written about her, titled "Down with Altruism" that tells us:
she has hurled more than 1,000,000 words in two hectoring novels at what she considers the root illness of man—the tyrrany of altruism. "If any civilization is to survive," said she last week, "it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject." And why? Because this Christian virtue leads to self-immolation, tolerance of the "incompetent" common man, the welfare state, and ultimately to the slave labor camp. By hindering ego, altruism destroys human "reason." Nurtured by a small Manhattan cult, Author Rand's unaltruistic philosophy of "objectivism" is objectified by the gold dollar sign that she often wears as a brooch ("The cross is the symbol of torture; I prefer the dollar sign, the symbol of free trade, therefore of the free mind").
But this weird spiritualization of cash ("Money is the root of all good") is perhaps only an outward and visible sign. The real point of objectivism is rousing unembarrassed self-interest. For the best man is a tough-minded egoist, "a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
Some quotes from Ayn Rand at the Ayn Rand Lexicon website on the subject of War:
Men who are free to produce, have no incentive to loot; they have nothing to gain from war and a great deal to lose. Ideologically, the principle of individual rights does not permit a man to seek his own livelihood at the point of a gun, inside or outside his country. Economically, wars cost money; in a free economy, where wealth is privately owned, the costs of war come out of the income of private citizens—there is no overblown public treasury to hide that fact—and a citizen cannot hope to recoup his own financial losses (such as taxes or business dislocations or property destruction) by winning the war. Thus his own economic interests are on the side of peace. ...
Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.
Ah, if it were only so. Taylor Caldwell's book CAPTAINS AND THE KING could have disabused her of such a foolish notion if she had been able to read it. War is a cash cow. Just think back to the prosperity of the 60's during the Viet Nam war. The trick for industrial wealth is to be sure the war isn't fought at the same place where the goods to fight it are being manufactured. It is every manufacturer's dream to be able to produce goods that will be destroyed immediately after purchase, necessitating replenishment. It doesn't get better financially than this for the makers of the product.
MORE EXORCISTS NEEDED DOWN UNDER
Fox News reports that Australia is training hundreds of exorcists to meet the growing demand resulting from the attraction of the occult.
Hat tip to New Oxford Review.
PROVING THAT ENGLISH LAY CATHOLICS CAN TAKE BISHOP LESSONS FROM THE BOSSES...
You can't make this stuff up. Well...you could, but why would you? It's so seedy. It's so immoral on more than one level. It's so hypocritical. It's so sensational. A soaper can get material just by watching the Roman Catholic news. With tales like this in the headlines, who needs a gossip columnist?
Tell someone you're Roman Catholic these days and they're apt to laugh. Behave like a pious Roman Catholic, and they're apt to conclude you have mental problems.
I'm not taking my rosary beads out in public anymore.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
KAZMIERCZAK DABBLED IN SATANISM
There is an unexpected twist in the story of the life of Northern Illinois University shooter, Steve Kazmierczak, noted in an article sent in by a reader:
Peter Rachowsky, 27, a former Elk Grove Village resident, described Kazmierczak as "pretty much my first and only friend" during junior high and their first two years of high school. Around their junior year, he said, Kazmierczak began exploring satanism and white-power movements, leading Kazmierczak's parents to take him to specialists who put him on drugs that caused his weight to fluctuate greatly.
"He started to identify more with hatred-type stuff," Rachowsky recalled. "It seemed like the medicine made the whole situation worse."
Read the whole Chicago Sun-Times article.
OBAMA'S POSITION ON ABORTION
Catholic News Agency reports:
At the federal level, legislation was presented called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) which stated all live-born babies were guaranteed the same constitutional right to equal protection, whether or not they were wanted.
BAIPA sailed through the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote and by an overwhelming majority in the House. President Bush signed the bill into law in 2002.
Stanek wrote that, “in Illinois, the state version of BAIPA repeatedly failed, thanks in large part to then-state Sen. Barack Obama. It only passed in 2005, after Obama left.”
“Obama articulately worried that legislation protecting live aborted babies might infringe on women's rights or abortionists' rights. Obama's clinical discourse, his lack of mercy, shocked me. I was naive back then. Obama voted against the measure, twice. It ultimately failed.”
Read the entire article.
Thanks to a reader for the link.
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 03, Number 07 | Friday, February 15, 2008
Questions St. Ignatius Would Ask the New Jesuit General
St. Ignatius Loyola would undoubtedly be happy that a fellow Spaniard, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, is once again at the helm of the Society of Jesus, but I doubt St. Ignatius would be happy about the state of his order at this moment in church history. While I have a healthy respect for the many good Jesuits I have known, I can't be as optimistic about their ability to pull off an internal reform that would make this company, once known as the pope's shock troops, the pre-eminent force of orthodoxy and spiritual renewal in the world. For this to happen, the Jesuits will need strong, decisive leadership - in other words, Fr. Nicolás has his work cut out for him.
Fr. Nicolás has received his share of accolades for his 40 years of missionary work and solid character, but the "hard questions" have yet to be asked, and his accountability is not merely to the Catholics waiting for a resurrection of this order, but also to St. Ignatius himself, who will undoubtedly be posing the hardest questions of all. I believe that the answers to these questions are what will make or break our confidence in the new General's leadership.
First and foremost, Ignatius would ask if he was planning to use his authority to return Jesuit universities to orthodoxy. The list of Jesuit university horror stories is simply appalling to any decent Catholic let alone a saint like Ignatius. When I was in Ecuador last November, the Jesuit university in Quito sponsored a seminar on the "Theology of Che Guevara" (the radical companion of Fidel Castro) as a legitimate public lecture. In America the horrors range from ten Jesuit universities sponsoring the despicable V-Monologues on campus this year, others hosting gay and lesbian student groups, one giving scholarships for training in pro-abortion activism and many others bestowing honorary degrees and speaking platforms to pro-abortion politicians in commencement ceremonies. What will be done about this?
Second, Ignatius would want to know whether Fr. Nicolás will discipline dissenting theologians in their ranks before the US Bishops or the Vatican have to. Fr. Peter Phan of Georgetown is the most recent example, but other "theologians" like ex-priest Daniel McGuire at Marquette and at least one Jesuit "ethicist" who endorsed the killing of Terri Schiavo are outright predators on the faith of young souls and need to be removed. Then there is the nagging scandal of deceased Jesuit, Robert Drinan. Fr. Drinan was a US Congressman in the 70s with a 100% pro-abortion voting record and was never once disciplined by his superiors for his blatantly heretical positions. In fact, he was so benignly pardoned by his superiors that Georgetown Law School rewarded him with an honorary Endowed Chair for human rights!
Third, what will be done to purge the Jesuits of its misfits, Ignatius would ask. For a starter, Fr. Nicolás could show his seriousness in reform by suspending and removing from office Fr. Michael McFarlane, president of Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, who flagrantly disobeyed the directive of Bishop Robert McManus not to allow a pro-abortion group to meet on campus. Better yet, he should remove Fr. McFarlane's Provincial who stood by in silent assent to this disgraceful conduct. He might also clean up the ranks of the Jesuit sex offenders who have cost various Jesuit Provinces more than $60 million in lawsuits in the past decade, including the largest single payout from a religious order in history for more than a hundred victims.
Jesuits ranks have thinned from 38,000 Jesuits worldwide in 1965 to about half that number today. Their average age is rising and their seminaries are anything but full. There is a reason for that: lack of orthodoxy coupled with toleration of dissent and misconduct in the ranks. Only strong leadership and a return to discipline will restore the Jesuits to their position as the world's pre-eminent defenders of the Faith - and, like the rest of us, St. Ignatius will surely be watching.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International