Saturday, June 28, 2003

Men Without Feet, II

Yesterday’s SCOTUS decision in Lawrence v Texas is appalling for several reasons. One, it virtually guarantees that future Court decision will be based more on the desired social outcomes than on social precedent. Justice Kennedy has made it clear that any future case that comes before the Supreme Court can be decided on the theory of “substantive due process” – the same theory used in the Roe v Wade Case. It also likely ended the right of states, any state, to regulate not only sodomy but homosexual marriage and any other item on the so-called “gay rights” agenda within its borders.

Russell Kirk summarized the beliefs of Edmund Burke on the nature of government in 3 major points:

1. "The temporal order is only part of a transcendent order; and the foundation of social tranquility is reverence. Veneration lacking, life becomes no more than an interminable battle between usurpation and rebellion. . . . He is emphatic that the first rule of society is obedience - obedience to God and the dispensations of Providence, which work through natural processes."

2. "After the order of God . . . comes an order of spiritual and intellectual values. All values are not the same, nor all impulses, nor all men."

3. "Physical and moral anarchy is prevented by general acquiescence in social distinctions of duty and privilege. If a natural aristocracy is not recognized among men, the sycophant and the brute exercise its abandoned functions in the name of a faceless 'people.'"

It seems to me the SCOTUS decision in Lawrence comes close to the abandonment of these three degrees of order in favor of chaos. It abandons reverence and obedience - the order of God; it abandons the order of spiritual and intellectual values, and it abandons the order of social distinctions. It is the fruit of the great "leveling" project that has been going on in the West for nearly 100 years. We are being "leveled" to the existence of brutes. Our moral understanding and judgment, one of the things that raises us above the level of animals, is being eradicated from society. This in the name of a spurious notion of "diversity," by which is meant a very carefully defined, rigid pattern of thought, deviation from which cannot be tolerated. It goes without saying that this pattern of "acceptable" thought is hostile to both God and man.

May God help us.

Friday, June 27, 2003


Aging can be a good thing. With maturity, one grows in perspective on the difficulties, trials and tribulations of life. One also grows in gratitude for each new day and the miracle of a wildflower or a bluebird, or a new fawn in the backyard, busily eating the plants in the garden. There are, however, difficulties to be overcome. One of these is failing eyesight.

It seems with this new version of Blogger (there is good reason for the old adage: If it ain't broke, don't fix it) my comments box has shrunk to the size of a postage stamp. I just realized, after trying to do a reply to Steven's last comment, that I have no idea what I wrote, I couldn't see it.

So, in the future, I will reply to comments by a post, at least until the situation on the screen is remedied.

Note to Blogger/enetation/whoever or whatever is responsible for my disappearing comments window: Not all who do blogs are teenagers!

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Lawrence v. Texas

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law. As I understand the decision, the Court declared that the state has no right regulating the private conduct of individuals.

It so happens, that I have been reading Russell Kirk's book, The Conservative Mind, which deals with the history of conservative political thought since the time of Edmund Burke. I would like to provide a quote from Burke cited in Kirk's book:

"'Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants', says Burke.’Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom. Among those wants is to be reckoned the want, out of civil society, of a sufficient restraint upon their passions. Society requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individual, the inclinations of men should be frequently thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection. This can be done only by a power out of themselves; and not, in the exercise of its function, subject to that will and to those passions which it is its office to bridle and subdue. In this sense the restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights.'"

C.S. Lewis wrote about "men without chests." What we have become is men without feet, we have lost track of the foundational ideas upon which our civilization and our culture are founded. We have nothing left to stand on but the stilt-like stumps of our cut off legs.

What we have forgotten is that government is a gift of God's loving providence to us, intended to elevate us above the level of mere animals. As Kirk puts it, its purpose is to govern those who cannot govern themselves. Our Christian civilization has always viewed Government as one of the implements of our salvation, protecting us from the moral collapse caused by the surrender of society to the uncontrolled passions of the individual. This Supreme Court decision is another step in the elevation of the passions of the individual over society; another nail in the coffin of Christian civilization as we know it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003


I have not been very consistent in the last week or ten days in doing posts here, but there is a reason.

About a year ago I became inspired to try to become a writer, or at least to try to learn to write in order to help further the Kingdom. Part of that inspiration was an idea for a book that came to me in a moment. I thought that in order to get the idea on paper I should try to write a sysopsis, perhaps an article covering the main points of idea. Until last weekend I found the task impossible, and I have electronic copies of the 10-12 false starts to prove it. I prayed about this and believed that either 1) I was mistaken and was not intended to be a writer or, (2) was badly mistaken about the inspiration of my subject. I even began working on a mystery novel. Anyway, Monday morning, (I think this idea was gestating over the weekend) with some time off, I sat down and had the article complete after about 6 hours work; it just came all at once.

Anyway, I have been working on a mystery and polishing my article which is now on a shelf where it will sit for a week or so.

I have also been doing some heavy reading in works by Russell Kirk, Christopher Dawson, and Edmund Burke and hope to concentrate on doing some posts about this reading while I am on vacation between now and Monday. I am also going to attempt a book review which I do with great trepidation; I do not believe I am truly a critic.

Paz y bien

Tuesday, June 24, 2003


Edmund Burke once wrote:

"Nothing can be conceived more hard than the heart of a thoroughbred metaphysician. It comes nearer to the cold malignity of a wicked spirit than to the frailty and passion of a man. It is like that of the principle of evil himself, incorporeal, pure, unmixed, dephlegmated, defecated evil."

I guess Burke didn't like theorists.

I suspect the reason for this is that he understood, as so few people do these days, that theories, unless they have a positive effect on practice, unless they are based on tried and proven practice, are useless.

I think Burke understood that if we profess to believe in something, that belief should have some positive effect on the way we act; if we profess to be Catholic we should appear to the world to be Catholic.

I bring this up apropos of a post done in the last day or two by Kathy over at the Gospel Minefield. It seems that she had a friend who apparently did not believe that Kathy, because of some books she had for her children and other nefarious actions could not believe that Kathy was Catholic enough and has cooled the friendship.

First, let me say that I hope this situation reverses itself. The loss of a friend, for whatever reason, is a real loss. I pray that this friendship will be recovered.

But, Kathy's post reminded me that this is a fairly common situation. I can think of a person in a parish I once attended who made a very formidable show of being completely disdainful of everyone else at Mass. I can also think of those who troop into Mass at the last minute and suffer through the liturgy with a certain grim determination which turns to very evident anger when the priest deviates in the least from the published rubrics, and then leave immediately upon receiving Communion. These stories are legion. I pray for all such who are trapped in the net of super-Orthodoxy. They have become what Burke might call "thoroughbred metaphysicians." The rules, for many of them, have become more important than living the kind of life which the rules are intended to bring about. I don't believe this is a happy situation for anyone, but it surely exists.

I guess I write this to remind myself of these dangers; it is important to know the faith and accept as true what God has revealed of himself to us through both Scripture and Tradition. But unless we are able to make the truths of the faith real in our lives, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as ourselves, the teachings of the Church are useless to us. They become idols and will lead us away from God instead of to Him.