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  • Down the Ladder of Depravity

    by Anthony Esolen

    2013-11-12-ABC-WN-Obama Poll

    Shall we allow sharp dealing, or not?  That’s one of the questions that Cicero takes up in his wise and noble work, De officiis (On Moral Duties).  One side, represented by the philosopher Antipater, holds that you are in the clear so long as you don’t actually tell a lie about what you are selling.  Caveat emptor: it’s the buyer’s business to look into these things.  If you are selling a house that you know is structurally compromised, you needn’t say anything about that, unless the prospective buyer inquires.  But Cicero holds with the other side, represented by the Stoic, Panaetius.  To fail to tell the buyer of something which you know quite well concerns him is to sever the bond between men; it is to strike at the brotherhood of all human beings.  Therefore you are obligated to be candid and forthright.

    Yet there’s another reason why you should be candid, and it opens up what moral philosophy is really about: the development of those habits that distinguish a virtuous person.  Cicero observes that nobody, not even thieves, actually likes to deal with people who are sly, underhand, and full of plots.  Even people who are not forthright do not want the reputation of a double-dealer.  If it were not for candor, hypocrisy itself would be to no effect.  We come to a quick answer to our question, not when we ask, “Is this action permissible?” but “Do I want to be known as the sort of person who behaves in this way?”

    And make no doubt about it, the evil action strikes first and most keenly at the agent.  The knife turns back upon the mugger.  The trap snatches the trapper.  The engineer is hoist with his own petard.  We cannot make our beds in corruption and rise from them as white as snow.  Instead the evil will grow like a cancer and spread its tendrils about the rest of our moral lives.

    I suppose we can construct a ladder of moral descent, thus.  Let stealing be the evil in question:

    Stealing is wicked, and those who engage in it destroy themselves within.

    Stealing is wrong.  (That’s one step below the fullness of moral vision.  It is detached from the drama of personal being.)

    Stealing is impermissible.  (Another step down.  The claim is a weak negative, and is open to further question.)

    Stealing is bad, but I am not really stealing.  (A tip-toeing refusal to examine one’s actions with frank honesty.)

    Stealing is bad, but there are circumstances in my case that overrule the moral law.  (A rationalization, an excuse.)

    Stealing is bad, and I know it, but I am going to do it anyway.  (Over the threshold of grave sin.)

    Stealing is bad for other people, but it is good for me.  (Adding idolatry now to the theft.)

    Stealing is not necessarily bad, because nobody can tell what is bad.  (The intellect itself has begun to collapse.)

    Stealing is sometimes bad but sometimes good.  (The threshold of depravity.)

    Stealing is good.  (Over the threshold.  The person who believes such a thing is bent: depraved.)

    The man who says, “Stealing is good,” and who believes it and acts upon it, is ravaged with a moral disease.  Just as we see the effects of a dreadful cancer in sick organs scattered throughout the body, so moral depravity soils almost everything that the sufferer touches.  We can sometimes judge the evil of one act by noticing the other evils to which its proponents fall.  We won’t be surprised to find that the man who would rob you blind will also lie under oath, will break a promise, or will forge a signature.  If stealing someone’s property is fine, why not burn it down and have done with it?  Or if it is good and praiseworthy to steal from a man, why not gain all the glory and steal from a nation, or steal a nation itself?

    Change the sin from theft to fornication or sodomy or abortion.  Go all the way down the ladder.  We are not now saying, “I know it is wrong to do the child-making thing outside of marriage, but there are special circumstances in my case.”  We are saying, “It is good, it is praiseworthy, it is a blessing, to fornicate.  Everyone should, as often as they can.”  What other evils will we find such people promoting?  What other organs will be shot through with cancer?

    Here’s an example of that form of depravity.  It’s from a recent article, by a self-styled libertarian, on three methods for persuading a woman to abort the child you’ve begotten in her womb (boldface and asterisks mine):

    Let’s face it: sexually active people have accidents.  S*** happens, that’s life. But we know that men have no reproductive rights in opting out of a being a parent.  With only two birth control options available to men (a condom and a vasectomy) the words you use to get your girl off the fence about having an abortion must be well thought out.  If you are not ready to be a father, the following arguments may help you convince a girl to get an abortion.  The first two methods I describe below have worked for me in separate instances for the two abortions I have paid for.  I know other guys who simply did not say the right things or trusted her to “make the right decision.”  Well, now they are stuck paying child support for children they barely see.

    The first method is most applicable for a girl who is a long term booty call or girlfriend; basically, a girl who believes there is an emotional element to your sexual relationship.  For these situations I recommend the “Hail Mary,” a term referring to the end of an American football game when a team attempts a difficult play in a last ditch effort to win.

    You need to bring up the subject of abortion with every ounce of verbal finesse and situation-appropriate sensitivity.  You should sound as sincere as possible and tell her that you want her to be the mother of your children one day, but that now is not the right time to start a family.  Explain [sic] you want to wait until you are further along in your career/life goals and you can afford to give your future family all the comforts of life you cannot deliver today.  Finally, explain [sic] if she has the abortion now, you will be able to plan your lives together so that everything is [sic] perfect.  Then, after she agrees and has the abortion, dump her.  It’s called a “hail mary” [sic] in part because of its difficulty to execute, so if you stay with her post-abortion and she becomes pregnant again you’re really f*****.

    Where to begin?  Or why begin at all?  The writer recommends shameless lying.  Is that a surprise?  Isn’t fornication itself, even for the mildest of people, all tangled up in evasions, demurrals, half-promises, and lies?  The writer uses girls for his pleasure, but despises them.  They are his toys, and when you’re sick of a toy, you throw it away.  Is that a surprise?  And if the perfectly predictable result of the child-making thing occurs, and they make a child, his one thought is how to persuade her to throw it away, too.  Why not?  It is an accident (a piano falling upon your head from the tenth story of a tenement, that is an accident; begetting a child by the child-making thing is not), or it is s*** (which must be disposed of).  No care for her sorrow or her health; no care for the child; no moral qualms at all.

    When we find someone loudly affirming the goodness of something wicked, our first step should not be to try to persuade him otherwise.  That would be to aim at but one tentacle of the cancer.  The treatment must reach much farther down to the roots.  But for the sake of everyone else within earshot, and for our own sanity, we should look to the nearby organs.  You defend pornography, do you?  Then be honest.  Do you not also defend legal prostitution?  Group sex, or any sexual escapades among consenting adults?  Polygamy, for those who want it?  Sexual experimentation among teenagers, so long as it makes a pretense of epidermal hygiene?  Easy divorce?  Abortion?

    Jack Kevorkian did not only affirm the goodness of suicide.  He was himself a murderer.  His paintings were sufficient to lead any sane person to conclude that he was profoundly evil, or mentally deranged, or both—for evil is itself a derangement.  The media could have sunk him into the public’s contempt if they had only publicized those paintings, or probed the other cancerous organs in that man’s moral psyche.  They did not.  They chose instead to bracket the one cause, assisted suicide, and ignore everything else.  That plays into the devil’s hands.

    We must not do so.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Ajram10

      Anthony Esolen posits some very accurate, compelling, and cogent material here.

      But one is left wondering why Crisis Magazine, as seems all too typical, adorns it with a picture of President Obama. One wonders how often we’ll get to see GOP reprobates like Scalia, Cruz, and Ryan portrayed in a similar light. Shouldn’t we put the screws to them as well? I can hear it now.

      “Hmm.. so you affirm the evil of separation of church and state do you? Well that ties in to your affirmation of a masonic-driven constitution that makes no mention of God and has no enshrinement of God’s law, doesn’t it? And doesn’t this also tie into your affirmation that state governments should enjoy every rightful legal prerogative to legalize all sorts of moral evils that conflict with even the most basic notion of the natural law? Let’s see what other odious organs you GOPers have lying around here.”

      • Objectivetruth

        One doesn’t need a picture of Obama to understand the article pertains to him and his signature law, the Affordable Care Act. Dr.Esolen states:

        “To fail to tell the buyer of something which you know quite well concerns him is to sever the bond between men; it is to strike at the brotherhood of all human beings. Therefore you are obligated to be candid and forthright.”

        Obama: “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan.”

        Yes, Obama lied to us. And he has lied to us continuously since his campaign for president in 2007. The litany of his lies is too exhausting and depressing to list here. The one that had me really chuckling was the “no federal funds will be used for abortions” lie he bullied Bart Stupak with to get him on board for the ACA. All one has to do is follow the federal money down the sewer pipe to state Medicaid programs that now pay for abortion.

        I’ve been in sales for 28 years and I saw the unethical hucksterism of Obama 500 miles away back in 2007.

      • Art Deco

        Can someone ask whence comes this drive by smear of Messrs. Scalia, Ryan, and Cruz?

      • Guest

        Scalia and Cruz are in the same moral plane as Obama? Such moral logic is terrifying.

      • Elat

        I’m not a GOPer.. aside from their stance on conservative sexuality I think they are detrimental to the environment and the poor, and always support the military machine. This is completely against God. They protect corrupt corporations and a whole host of other things. So, no I dont champion them by any means. The Dems are just a little less bad on those things, but with the perversion of sexuality that they champion, it leaves me unable to support anyone.

        • Art Deco

          Why not attempt something more elevated and sophisticated than cliches?

          • Elat

            the health insurance companies are morally bancrupt. People die because of them. not to mention the millions who cannot afford them. It’s sickening.

            • Objectivetruth

              Specific, concrete, examples of “people die because of them.”

              • Adam__Baum

                Never let facts get in the way of a good rant, OT.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Agree….

              • Elat

                they have various diseases and no money to pay for the hospital bills or needed treatments. Hence they can’t get help and die. Are you aware of what things in the hospitals costs? you have to be a millionaire to afford some things.

                • Guest

                  Is this a joke? Have you ever worked in a hospital?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    A better question would be have you ever worked?

                • Adam__Baum

                  Do you understand the difference between “specific, concrete, examples” and your imagination?

                  If this is the case, then tell me what the hell we spent $415 BILLION dollars on medicaid for in Fiscal 2012?

                  http://kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/total-medicaid-spending/

                • Objectivetruth

                  No, you only need Medicaid.

                  My son spent the night in the hospital the other night. Another boy, whose family has Medicaid, was also in the same room. His twenty something, healthy strong father sat there playing on his $300 cell phone wearing about $500 in clothing. Both my son and his son received excellent care.

                  But what’s the difference? I will be out of pocket $1500 for that hospital visit for my deductible while the fully capable of working and having a job Medicaid father will walk away from that incredible health care without owing a dime. I sat there realizing that my stressful, 60 hour paying taxes work week was paying for both boys. And by the other father’s actions and comments, was gaming the system. He could definitely go out and bust his butt and find a job, pay taxes, and have his own health insurance, but daddy Obama has made it easier for him to not work.

                  Are there people that definitely need the government social safety net such as Medicaid? Yes. But what I see is many, many people who have found it easier to tak

                  • Objectivetruth

                    ……take the money and not work.

            • Adam__Baum

              Can always tell the trolls, they are intellectually “bancrupt”.

              • slainte

                Her frustration stems from an astute observation that the same pervasive political ideologies continue unimpeded notwithstanding which political party or politician occupies high office.
                Long term foreign entanglements which serve no identifiable national purpose maintained at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer; unsecured borders; out of control medical costs, excessive deficit spending; monetizing of the national debt and its devaluation of the dollar; skyrocketing inflation not reflected in governmental statistics….just a few things that never seem to change.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Sure they do, the worsen, but I get your drift.
                  We have a duopolistic government. Like the NFL, they hire paid guns to play on Sunday, but but go to the bank on Monday.

              • Elat

                Mt 5:22

                • Adam__Baum

                  I’m angry with your ignorance and immaturity, and I have a strong suspicion that you are a troll.

                  Now get a mirror.

                  Brush up on Exodus 20:16.

            • Art Deco

              No, people die from disease. Millions of people cannot afford a great many things, which is a consequence of scarcity and cost and variation in earning power. The effects of this can be ameliorated to a degree with various and sundry risk pooling, cost shifting, and redistributive schemes.

              Private insurance companies are not some vast piggy bank. They are commercial businesses which have to earn a profit from their fee-for-service enterprise. That means they have to have viable actuarial pools. That in turn means they have to undertake risk assessments of potential customers where permitted (or socialize the cost over the whole pool). Again, you cannot have philanthropy if people are not earning.

              • Elat

                Jesus didn’t punish the poor he helped them. Insurance companies are in it to make money not help ppl. Are you a christian? I mean are you aware that Jesus said you cannot serve mammon and God? so basically you are against making sure everyone can get healthcare?

                • Guest

                  Everyone is “in it” to make money. How do we feed our children?

                • Phil Steinacker

                  Man, are you ever confused! By “mammon” Jesus meant not to idolize money; He didn’t say working for money was sinful. Themost misquoted Bible verse is “the root of all eveil is money” but the correct quote is “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”

                  Your confusion even extends to healthcare. If you are in need go to an emergency room and get treatment; if you have no money you don’t pay the bill. Pharmaceutical companies ALL have programs to make drugs available to those without insurance or money.

                  It’s not a perfect world nor will it EVER be until He returns. But you have been drinking the Leftwing kool-aid, friend. Your comments are warmed over progressive rhetoric, and as usual, your small attempt at elaboration reveals you are, to be kind, clueless.

            • slainte

              A more intriguing question Elat is why the cost of healthcare (doctors, hospitals, etc.) does not reflect the actual market value of the service provided to the patient.
              Why does a simple, uncomplicated removal of a gallbladder by a common laser procedure (without surgery), which includes a one night stay in a hospital tor observation purposes only, cost in excess of $30,000.?
              Why does a ten minute examination by a doctor for a simple sore throat and a prescription for codeine syrup cost $200., excluding the cost of the prescription?
              I understand that medical malpractice insurance is a factor, and agree that reform in this area is necessary, but this is not the primary driver of price disfunction in medicine today.

              • Adam__Baum

                “Why does a ten minute examination by a doctor for a simple sore throat and a prescription for codeine syrup cost $200., excluding the cost of the prescription?”

                There are manifest disorders in the provision of medical services, most importantly third-party payment. It’s notable that since it’s introduction, laser eye surgery has generally not been covered and yet price and effectiveness has gone up.

                http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/11/seeing_is_belie.html

                Of course, you aren’t just paying for that ten minutes, but a part of that doctors office, his staff. and most importantly his expertise and the years of training and the direct and opportunity costs of the education it takes.

                But don’t worry about that, in the future you are more likely to see a PA or CNRNP, as there is a looming shortage of physicians.

                It just like when you pay a lawyer $4500 to settle a $150,000 estate, and all the barrister does is shuffle papers at the Register of Wills office in the courthouse and the Executors do a lot of the work.

                • Guest

                  It is as old as business. People who never met a payroll in their life fail to grasp the most basic and fundamental aspects of business. They see money coming in, but fail to notice how much goes out.

                  • slainte

                    I have indeed run a business and met payroll obligations; I stand by my observations.
                    I have always been mindful of receivables and expenses in addition to the other practicalities demanded by my profession, including business generation.

                    • Guest

                      Great, then you know lawyers act like the Mafia many times. That take a percentage of some deal many times rather then bill for hours worked. Try that in healthcare.

                      Can a surgeon take a percentage of your yearly income as his/her fee?

                      • slainte

                        The relationship by and between an attorney and client should be clearly set forth in a written retainer agreement which will contain, among other things, an agreed upon fee arrangement.
                        If you are unable to reach terms regarding fees or if a proposed retainer agreement does not clearly reflect your understanding of the relationship, please do not sign the agreement. Rather, continue to search and interview alternative candidates who merit your valuable business.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Sorry Slainte, you are being rather one-sided here. Let’s rephrase your response:

                        The relationship by and between a doctor and patientt should be clearly set forth in an agreed upon fee arrangement.

                        If you are unable to reach terms regarding fees do not engage that doctor. Rather, continue to search and interview alternative candidates who merit your valuable business.

                        You can’t criticize another profession while blowing off the same criticisms of yours.

                      • Guest

                        Very good. Apparently lawyers can fleece as they desire, but not physicians.

                      • slainte

                        Neither should fleece.

                      • slainte

                        I agree 100 percent with your revision of my statement as it relates to written agreements by an between patients and doctors for specific medical services to be provided at agreed upon rates.
                        I have no allegiances to any particular doctor and if I determine that a medical professional is charging me an amount which is not proportionate to the service being provided, I move on and find another doctor.
                        This is not a complicated equation.

                • slainte

                  Lawyers bill by the hour at an agreed upon rate which, if excessive, is a very legitimate reason to look elsewhere for someone with more integrity. Alternatively some charge flat fee or contingency rates.
                  A family practicioner who charges $200. for ten minutes is charging an hourly rate of $1,200. per hour…utterly ridiculous.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    “Lawyers bill by the hour at an agreed upon rate which, if excessive, is a very legitimate reason to look elsewhere for someone with more integrity.”

                    Isn’t that a little like looking for the shark with the smallest teeth? (couldn’t resist)

                    Now, seriously:

                    I have a couple of friends who are MD’s,

                    One who practices in a “safe” specialty (not oncology, dermatology, OB/GYN) made my eyes bug out when he told me what he paid for liability premiums.

                    If you think medicine is expensive now, wait until Dr. Obama makes it “free”. I see he’s addressing the problems by going on a campaign tour. That should fix everything,

                    • slainte

                      With medical reform will come malpractice reform.
                      A medical doctor friend told me some time ago her med-mal premium exceeded $100K per annum…this sort of expense undoubtedly contributes to why many talented individuals are reluctant to enter the medical field.
                      I referenced a sore throat analogy earlier to illustrate how burdensome the cost of simple medical care is for families with young children who often present with ear infections and sore throats. I am mindful of the many struggling families living on a single income who are forced to resort to self help in lieu of medical care.
                      When I was a child, my mom used to pay $30. total for an examination and a prescription for antibiotics. Medical insurance was reserved for catastrophic events. Those were the good old days.

                      • Objectivetruth

                        I get what your saying slainte, and I have kids and it ain’t cheap. But there is piece of mind that an expert has told me my child has a sore throat and not pneumonia or pertussis. Like I posted above, we pay $100 bucks at the local 4-5 star restaurant for $12 worth of food, but balk at the bill for medical care that’s kept us and our children alive.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Except we aren’t getting medical reformation, but deformation.

                        Obamacare will survive, despite all of its dysfunction. Whenever there’s a conspicuous failure, some sanctimonious politician will assure us that it’s an anomoly, and that or she will “get to the bottom” of this. There’s no going back, too many bridges have been burned along the road to serfdom

                        The only reform that will work is to begin removing third party payment systems that prevent the sort of cost benefit calculations that keep prices in check. A good first step would be to limit the unlimited exemption from tax for employer paid premiums provided by Sec.106 of the Internal Revenue Code, but that’s not going to happen.

                        Despite everything that’s gone on, in the past few months, the stories of cancellations, price increases, the website issues, we have this:

                        http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/catholics-criticize-cardinal-dolan-lamenting-catholics-couldve

                        One has to ask, how divorced from reality are some Catholic Bishops, that the think they are supplicants to some political Wizard who through legislative fiat can create a cornucopia?

                        One of the more telling aspects of this Pope’s Pontificate will if it really is dedicated to simpler, more holy Church, if his Episcopal appointments produce better Sheperds than this publicity hound What an embarrasing “performance”. Why is a Cardinal on TV on Sunday, anyhow?

                        I’ll certainly be taking the Pope’s call for “decentralization” seriously. My Parish has a ~$2m construction debt. I’m sure my donations are better spent here than on USSCB bureaucrats, whether they have a mitre or not.

                      • Art Deco

                        The only reform that will work is to begin removing third party payment
                        systems that prevent the sort of cost benefit calculations that keep
                        prices in check

                        No. And I would refer you to Milton Friedman’s article in Policy Review in 1999 on this subject. He had a number of criticisms of the evolution of medical finance after 1940 but he certainly did not advocate cash on the barrelhead for that.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Uh, Yes.
                        I don’t see that reference in his complete Bibliography:
                        http://hoohila.stanford.edu/friedman/pdfs/116_5.pdf
                        Because the result isn’t “cash on the barrel head”, just removal of a distortive tax preference.
                        Here’s Uncle Miltie in 2001. See pp 6&7, he’s very critical of third-party payment.
                        http://www.nationalaffairs.com/doclib/20080709_20011421howtocurehealthcaremiltonfriedman.pdf
                        Also see:
                        http://mercatus.org/publication/tax-exemption-employer-provided-health-insurance

                      • Art Deco

                        I appear have misunderstood you.

                        Dr. Friedman advocated high deductible insurance conjoined to medical savings accounts. Some of this is in effect in Singapore.

                        One cultural problem is that a large share of the public is habituated to seeing the doctor in return for piddling co-pays. Cultural problems sabotaged many of the salutary features of managed care which emerged as common ca. 1995. You had politicians proposing bills mandating the length of hospital stays, the continual kvetching about utilization review, and so forth. We need someone with credibility to tell the public that first-dollar coverage is not sustainable over the long haul. It is doubtful any politician has had this sort of credibility with the public since Gen. Eisenhower retired.

                        One thing we need to do is promote price transparency. If it were possible, a federal commission to develop a controlled vocabulary for medical billing which states could adopt and then compel providers to make use of conjoined to state laws compelling providers to publish their chargemasters and commit to those prices.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        “Aa federal commission to develop a controlled vocabulary for medical billing ”

                        Already have it. No federal commission necessary.

                        ICD (International Code of Diseases) which you’ll see as IC-9-CM (9th edition, clinical modification) .

                        Here’s a good article on the cost of the transition to ICD-10.

                        http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Services/Advisory/ICD-10_code_How-much-is-this-going-to-cost-

                        Also CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), i think it’s in its fourth edition.

                      • Art Deco

                        I am familiar with ICD-9.

                        I was referring to billing and not diagnostics.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        See my prior comment on CPT-4

                        Also:

                        “ICD-9-CM codes are used in medical billing and coding to describe diseases, injuries, symptoms and conditions. ICD-9-CM V23.0 is one of thousands of ICD-9-CM codes used in healthcare. Although ICD-9-CM and CPT codes are largely numeric, they differ in that CPT codes describe medical procedures and services. ”

                        http://www.icd9data.com/2012/Volume1/V01-V91/V20-V29/V23/V23.0.htm

                      • slainte

                        The medical malpractice reform will come when all hospitals are state owned and all doctors are employees of those state owned hospitals.
                        A small piece of legislation granting immunity to state owned hospitals and their employee doctors from malpractice claims will make substantial verdicts an historical footnote, and when risk is significantly reduced, malpractice insurance premiums tumble. That is, assuming there are any insurance companies still in existence and any independently practicing doctors that require such protection.
                        What also will decrease is the compensation level paid to employee doctors. A local hospital affiliated with a major university is already using “hospitalists” in lieu of granting admitting and practicing priveleges to certain kinds of independent doctors.

                  • Guest

                    But, they do not charge by the hour but by the procedure. Whether it take 10 minutes or one hour they get paid the same.

                    It does vary by insurance and some take complexity of the visit into account.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Think about it: if I’m an MD and you come to me with abdominal pain, how much is my expertise worth to tell you it’s from the chile kielbasa sandwich you ate, or possible stomach cancer? My car mechanic can diagnose me either way for ten bucks, but I have to believe his chance of misdiagnosing me is far higher than the good doctor.

                      • Guest

                        I agree. I am pointing out this idea that it costs too much when healthcare people do not charge by the hour as lawyers do.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Uhmm Kielbasa..

                      • slainte

                        “… chile kielbasa sandwich..”
                        Yikes…it’s a good thing you’re in the medical profession, you might need a doctor in short order. : )
                        Now if the kielbasa was prepared with tons of deli mustard and sauerkraut, your stomach would likely remain in fine working order for an indefinite period.

                      • Objectivetruth

                        I like em on the grille in summer…..I agree with you on the mustard!

                      • Adam__Baum

                        “Now if the kielbasa was prepared with tons of deli mustard and sauerkraut, your stomach would likely remain in fine working order for an indefinite period.”

                        Now there is an indisputably true claim, worthy of the author’s acclaim.

                    • slainte

                      What you are describing is a “flat fee arrangement” which you should negotiate with any attorney whom you seek to retain. Some will agree, others will not.

                • Elat

                  so basically, you just want to live in a world where only the rich can afford to go to the hospital? and when the rest and especially the really poor all have died, who’s gonna do all the cheap labor jobs?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    No, that’s your drug-addled nightmare. The adults in the room understand that just because you really, like want something, doesn’t make it possible.

                    • Elat

                      so you cannot make one single post without degrading and insulting me? do you talk like that just on the internet or in real life too? if so, do you have an friends? I mean aside from guys who are as abusive as you are? And also, if you as a man talk to a woman this way because I am for everyone being able to afford healthcare, how do you treat ppl you disagree with on other topics? how do you fulfill the commandment to love your neighbour? Yeah, you need a LOT of prayer…

                      • Guest

                        I have to say that when I read comments as you just posted I wonder what the point is? Why not just stick to the discussion? Why bring up all this emotional nonsense? Are we so effete that we cannot even make strong points without having to constantly discuss one’s perceived tone?

                      • Adam__Baum

                        It’s a typical of the people that are attracted to leftist politics to constantly be surprised that other people reason things out differently and when they mean forceful opposition, hypocritically argue tone, decorum. Kind of like Obama calling for civility after telling people to bring a gun to a knife fight.

                      • Elat

                        I beg to differ. If someone so blatantly degrades and spews out offenses to a fellow Catholic on a Catholic site like this, I think it should be addressed.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Listen if you can’t see that you “blatantly degrades and spews out offenses” by the stuff you wrote,

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Now I get it. “ppl” should have been the tipoff.

                        Under 30, lack of extensive work experience, idealistic and naive, a little spoiled and protected.
                        Newsflash:

                        If you expect to walk into a forum, describe good and decent people as “insanely immoral” and accuse them of depraved indifference to the welfare of others

                        (You see I worked in health insurance and I know how calumnous that really is-and I resent that attack on me and my colleagues with righteous indignation)

                        -simply because they have INFORMED prudential objections to a scheme that’s already screwing up everything and then complain about how you aren’t being treated like the belle of the ball, and then sanctimoniously lecture them on Scripture and decorum, with impunity-think again.
                        There’s two things at issue here: your reckless and unjustified accusations and your naivete.

                      • Art Deco

                        Insulting? degrading? Do you really want a review of your remarks above?

                    • Art Deco

                      He’s got problems with his worldview, but advocating cash on the barrelhead for a service given to unpredictable and ruinous spikes in expenditure is less than cautious.

              • Objectivetruth

                “Why does a ten minute examination by a doctor for a simple sore throat and a prescription for codeine syrup cost $200., excluding the cost of the prescription?”

                Because you’re paying for the expertise and experience of an MD that knows the difference between a sore throat and eliminating possible meningitis, which sometimes has the same symptoms. You are paying $200 for the deadly diseases he can possibly identify, where your average non-MD has no clue.

                In a similar vein I often wonder why an attorney charges $200 per hour for legal advice that took her 10 minutes to type up…..

                • slainte

                  If she is charging you a rate not previously agreed upon, as set forht in a written retainer agreement, then I strongly recommend you report her to the office governing professional misconduct in your jurisdiction.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    I know you’re a lawyer, slainte…..I was trying to be “tongue in cheek” sarcasm……just a little fun,I have many lawyer friends…!

                    • slainte

                      I know but your observation is a very valid and realistic one, and over-charging should not occur.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    It’s funny how we view the price of anything. We willingly purchase food, alcohol, tobacco, TV’s, clothes, restaurant dinners, cars, houses, popcorn at movies, , etc that have markups of anywhere between 100-900% without batting an eye, but we complain heavily when our physician that is saving our life isn’t charging us $5 or the pill keeping us alive isn’t $2 per month.

                    • slainte

                      My point is that every service has a cost which reflects a medical practitioner’s time, expertise, and the benefit provided the patient. Routine, uncomplicated medical services should not be exempt from a competitive market calculation.
                      Would it be ok for a doctor to charge $2,000. for a 10 minute visit involving a child’s sore throat? Why not? Is it ok for the medical provider to charge that amount to a third party insurance company, but not ok to charge that amount to a patient recipient without insurance? The value of the service remains the same.
                      The presence of the third party provider skews the competitive market price which otherwise would be negotiated by and between the doctor and the paying patient.

                • Elat

                  yeah, and??

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Is that an admission of ignorance or defeat?

              • Elat

                you’re asking me??? when I have just stated that that is part of the problem? that is why ppl die when they don’t have insurance. And insurances are SUPER expensive so ppl who don’t earn much cannot afford them. Are you aware that the rest of the industrialized world take care of their ppl re: health? even Iran? I understand and agree about NOT covering abortion and those issues, but other health issues? are you kidding me? how in any way shape or form can you call yourself a christian and oppose ppl being helped and able to go to the doctor??

                • Guest

                  Because it is not that simple minded or reductionist.

                • Adam__Baum

                  “And insurances are SUPER expensive ”

                  Are you like, twelve?

                • Guest

                  Guess what? Would you rather have medical care in the USA or Iran? You can get an ambulance ride to the ER for a toothache in the poorest parts of this country.

                  That is partly why hospital care is so expensive.

                • slainte

                  You misunderstood me. I am not opposed to people going to the doctor. I have registered my concern that routine medical care prices are excessively high for several reasons, including the effect of third party payers driving up the cost of simple services.
                  I believe that more people could access these medical services if the prices were not needlessly inflated and patients and doctors could privately negotiate medical fees.

                  • Art Deco

                    There is chronic cost-shifting in medical care and the actual market price for the service in question is difficult to discern. If our insurance system placed its focus on the finance of catastrophic care and provided for out of pocket finance of mundane expenditures, we might get an idea of what the real prices are.

                  • Elat

                    I am all for anything that will lower the costs.

                • Art Deco

                  A bit of wisdom from Megan McArdle: You cannot insure against banal and discretionary expenditures. You can only pre-pay for them.

                  We might start leaving the insurance for cancer and car-wrecks and nursing home care.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    In the industry it’s known as “trading dollars”. The deadweight losses in administration on small controllable losses are wasteful, but we are now going to be payiing for the pill. Of course it’s a thinly veiled payoff to Planned Parenthool and a couple other rent seekers. Apart from it’s morality, it’s stupid economically.

                    • Art Deco

                      Contraception and boob jobs do not count as medical care. They merely draw on the knowledge of medical practitioners.

                      Its not just the pharmacy. It is just about everything done under the color of medical care not requiring acute care hospitalization (chemotherapy, dialysis, and diabetes management the exceptions).

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Contraception and boob jobs do not count as medical care. They merely draw on the knowledge of medical practitioners.

                        No, they aren’t. Healthcare is restorative, not impeding.

                      • slainte

                        “…boob jobs do not count as medical care…”
                        Not sure if this is correct in the event of a radical mastectomy.
                        In any event, if viagra is covered, then bj procedures should be covered. All’s fair.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Viagra is not cosmetic, it restores lost, essential function. Rad Mast is indicated as treatment for or prophylaxis against disease.

                        In the absence of extensive third party payments Pfizer (or whoever makes it) must learn to make what is essentially a routine vasodilator at a price that the customer is willing to pay, not something that causes it to be removed from formularies.

                        Perfect example of how third party payments can increase costs

                      • slainte

                        “..Viagra is not cosmetic, it restores lost, essential function…”
                        It’s not essential when he’s 85; just ask his 84 year old wife.
                        I agree with your point on third party payments.

        • Objectivetruth

          This is from students for life, commenting on Kathleen Sebelius’ (head of HHS, extremely liberal democrat) April Good Friday memo calling pregnancy a “preventable disease. ” One of the main foundations of the Democratic Party is open access (and free) abortion at all stages. Also, religiously conservative Christians give far more to the poor out of their pocket than liberal democrats:

          ““As you may know, this April, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation ordering health insurance companies to cover Planned Parenthood clinics in their state exchange plans. In addition, Sebelius’ HHS has labeled pregnancy as a ‘preventable disease’ requiring all health insurance providers to cover at 100% potentially abortion-inducing, cancer-causing contraception in every health insurance plan nationwide- almost guaranteeing Planned Parenthood hundreds of millions in new taxpayer funding.”

          • Elat

            trust me, I am 100% against that. And clearly, she is a liar of gigantic proportions. that is scary. I didn’t even know she said that. Shocking and disgusting. I just want to say that I am for healthcare, again NOT abortion or the pill or abortion pills, or any time of transgender operations, and I think it would strenghten us if we could together fight for healthcare without things that are instad about mutilations and murder.

        • Adam__Baum

          No, you are a statist, because you believe that the erection of massive, oppressive bureaucracies accomplshes something.

          The Democrats gave us a “war on poverty” and it looks like poverty won.

          • Elat

            no, I think the insurance companies are massively bureaucratic. No difference. not to mention the hospital bills. Corruption is everywhere.

            • Art Deco

              You were hoping for mom-and-pop insurance companies? I do not think that there are severe diseconomies of scale in erecting actuarial pools. Insurance companies have large portfolios because such portfolios have a more predictable pattern of gain and loss.

            • Adam__Baum

              So you want to give everything to the mother of all bureacracies?
              Now tell me again how if I like my plan, I can keep my plan.

      • Elat

        PS. I am for everyone having healthcare, but plz know that abortion is NOT healthcare, neither is the pill. The pill causes cancer. While the GOP attacks Obamacare they have absolutely zero plans to make sure everyone can get healthcare. That’s anti-Christian.

        • Art Deco

          Rubbish. There is a distinction between ‘health insurance’ and ‘health care’. That aside, there are a set of real policy dilemmas and trade-offs with every means of financing medical care you would care to name.

          • Elat

            health insurance companies are insanely immoral. They don’t care if you die, they just care about making money. Jesus would be outraged.

            • Adam__Baum

              You are immorally insane.

              • Elat

                so I am for healthcare for all and I am a fellow christian, and I denounce abortion, euthanisia and those things to be paid for because they are wrong yet you call me names and spew deragatory comments? I think you need to study Scripture and repent about your ways.

                • Art Deco

                  Posturing does not relieve you of the responsibility of ascertaining the relationship between means and ends.

                  • Elat

                    using fancy words doesn’t make you right.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Those aren’t fancy words, for any reasonably literate person.

                • Adam__Baum

                  If you were a Christian, you would capitalize it.
                  Everything you’ve posted is a derogatory comment.

                  • Elat

                    wow… get help.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You first.

            • Art Deco

              They are selling risk-pooling services. They earn a living from the markups they are permitted by state regulatory regimes. It is doubtful that the people who work there care less about you than any other claque of perfect strangers. I fail to see how selling risk pooling services is ‘insanely immoral’.

              • Elat

                they decline ppl who will die without their help. They let ppl die. It’s about as unchristian as it gets. What is your proposal to help everyone be able to go to the doctor?

                • Adam__Baum

                  The first thing would be to get you the mental hygiene you need.

                  • Elat

                    I will pray for you.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You are nothing if a not hypocrite.
                      Pray for yourself and your tendency to bear false witness.
                      I prefer the prayers of people who pray to the one true God, not the state.

                • Art Deco

                  Bread does not come from the bread truck, Elat, but from the labor of agriculture and industry and transportation.

                  People die from disease. In some cases, medical care might be helpful in averting that and in some cases financing is an issue. People for whom that would be decisive are dying for lack of everyone’s help. That would be the hospital, the physicians and surgeons in question, family members with resources, and any philanthropy or member of the public who knows of their situation.

                  Insurance companies pay hundreds of billions of claims every year. They take in premiums, invest them in securities, and pay claims from their sales and their investment income. They make use of the tools of actuarial science to determine their rates and their scope of coverage (within the limits of what state regulators will permit). They actually have to have some sort of regular rules about what they cover and what they do not and for whom. If they do not, it’s bankruptcy for them, and all their customers lose the risk-pooling services they provide. Thanks.

                  • Elat

                    and because that system does NOT work it’s time to change it.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      So you’ll be in favor of scrapping Obamacare?

                    • Art Deco

                      “Does not work” toward what end? Not to say there cannot be improvements and there are not gross inefficiencies, but it does succeed in service delivery as a matter of course.

            • Adam__Baum

              A true Christian would never write “Jesus would be outraged”.

              Jesus is or isn’t outraged, He’s not a dead historical figure.

              • Elat

                I know that. that’s semantics. If you can’t even treat a fellow christian with minimum decency how do you treat your enemies?Spewing out hate like you do is about as un-christian as it gets. You’re the type that gives all the rest of us a bad name. you also give Jesus a bad name. You do NOT represent his teachings one ounce.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Interesting. I don’t consider you, and did not call you an “enemy”.
                  We all appreciate your candor though.

                • Guest

                  Anytime I see the word hate used these days I immediately check to see the context. As usual it is a propaganda tool. To throw around that term in such a way is a grave injustice.

                • Deacon Ed Peitler

                  Exactly how old are you? You sound like a whining 13 year old (apologies to the teenagers out there).

            • Guest

              Corporations are made up of the same people who make up the government. Inept people. Rude people. Cheating people. Greedy people. You know the human race.

              Do you think government workers care about you more than corporate workers?

              The entire discussion is about morals and people not business, or economic theories, and any other pseudo academic masturbation.

              To have a moral society we need a moral people. Catholics need to live as Catholics. Voting for Obama is not a good moral act.

              I am no Republican. I am no Democrat. Do not like either group.

              • Elat

                I agree. But don’t you think it’s pretty depressing when here where ppl are supposed to be Catholic you see the onslaught of hate and slander because someone (me) believes in everyone being able to have healthcare. that’s absurd. If christians are gonna spew out hate like this, they shouldn’t call themselves christians. it’s about as offensive as it gets.

                • Guest

                  I strongly disagree. It is about the arguments made. That is what interests me. If we focus on emotionalism then we would not leave our houses. If tone is the main concern, rather than truth, then we can see why we are headed where we are.

                  If we want different healthcare options the solution is to have a more moral population, not government imposed fiats with gravely immoral consequences.

                  If we want a freer country then we need a more moral population.

                  The problem is not the institutions it is that we are an immoral generation that lusts after diversions, luxury, and sloth.

                  • Elat

                    I didn’t focus on “emotionalism”, I responded to being verbally assaulted. Did you read all his comments? And I don’t think emotions are bad. But it is bad to spew out hatred. And it IS against Jesus’ teachings. Of course morality is the problem. But it is moral to help all ppl be able to see a doctor. And we have to figure out how to do that.

                • Adam__Baum

                  If you want respect, earn it. Start with stop throwing bombs at people.
                  If you want unconditional love and adoration, buy a puppy.

                • Deacon Ed Peitler

                  Who’s forcing you to frequent this site?

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          This is desperate indeed!

      • Crisiseditor

        Are you saying that the article does not apply to Obama or that the GOP “reprobates” have not gotten equal treatment? What where the central examples of depravity mentioned by Dr. Esolen?: Lying; stealing; and murder (abortion). President Obama’s lie about our ability to keep our health insurance in and of itself makes the graphic of him relevant and timely. (Thus the poll numbers indicating his untrustworthiness.) But there is plenty more justification. The President is a serial liar, from “Fast and Furious,” to Benghazi, to the IRS scandal. And can anyone honestly deny that adding 5 trillion dollars to the national debt is generational theft? It is those “reprobate” Republicans in recent years who have sought to limit the damage by resisting debt ceiling increases and reforming the entitlement state. Are you willing to deny that President Obama is the most pro-abortion president in American history? Are you prepared to deny his opposition to the “Born Alive Act” in the Illinois state senate that would have protected children who survived failed abortions? That is not only abortion, it’s infanticide: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/audio-obama-says-fetus-or-child-was-just-not-coming-out-limp-and-dead_650611.html In my judgment, the image is apt because the issues raised in the article apply to President Obama; they do not apply to Scalia, Cruz or Ryan. Republicans are not beyond criticism but to mention these particular names in the context of this article is patently ludicrous. Your last paragraph shows that you are not Catholic since you think that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the enforcement of public morality. That you would target pro-life Republicans is all we need to know.

        • Ajram10

          My Catholicism is perfectly fine, Crisis Editor, it appears to be yours that has become saturated in Americanist GOPism, and doesn’t draw from the full breadth and depth of Holy Tradition.

          As a brief aside, serial lying can perhaps be speculated about with regard to any number of presidents, but I certainly haven’t seen unassailable proof that backs it up in the case of the current president. If you want to make a debatable claim based upon speculation, the same could more or less by said about the previous president as well.

          As for the main issue, any position of any kind that condones any level of government legalizing or failing to properly legally prohibit moral evils that are linked to required enactments by government to uphold natural law for the common good is grave sin that perfectly fits with the essence of what Dr. Esolen has stated, even if that was not his direct intent.

          In examining our 3 ‘pro-life’ Republicans, Cruz has said he has no legal procedural qualms regarding a state legalizing and recognizing sodomite marriages, Scalia has said he fully supports and condones states having a legal option to legalize any number of transgressions of the natural law, and Ryan has publicly proclaimed his support for sodomite couples adopting children. I also imagine that all of them most probably support legalized embryonic stem cell research.

          I don’t accept or tolerate the slightest infringement of any kind against the natural law, Crisis Editor. Do you?

          I did not say that President Obama does not come under moral indictment for a number of serious sins. I was pointing out what appears to be the convenient blind eye cast around here toward ‘pro-life’ Republicans who still stand for any number of sins as well.

          Frankly, it doesn’t appear you even understood the nature and intent of my comment correctly, as I am as pro-life and pro-Kingship of Christ as they come. No matter. You should refrain from declaring somebody not to be a Catholic simply because they more rigorously affirm the fullness of the Catholic faith – including the condemnation of the separation of church and state – than you may. I certainly would never declare somebody like you to not be Catholic, regardless of your conduct or how defective your understanding of Catholicism may be.

          P.S. No less than Judie Brown, Catholic head of the American Life League has declared Scalia may well be one of the greatest enemies of the unborn.

          • Guest

            Is Judie Brown now the authority?

          • Art Deco

            it appears to be yours that has become saturated in Americanist GOPism,

            Quack Quack.

          • Art Deco

            Here we go again.

            Mr. Justice Scalia’s job is to evaluate subordinate positive law in light of superordinate positive law. He does not actually compose statutes or administrative regulations. He merely determines whether regulations composed are congruent with statutes and statutes are congruent with Constitutional provisions. If you have objections to the law as composed, you need to lodge them with the people who compose them.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          Right on, brother (or sister)!

          • Crisiseditor

            Thanks, Deacon Ed. (And it’s brother.)

      • Adam__Baum

        There is a certain intellectual disorder to the cadre of loons that sees a masonic conspiracy in everything. Ryan is sliding left, Scalia is a kakistocrat, and Cruz well, I guess the knock on him is that he’s insisting on some sort of fiscal discipline.

        • Art Deco

          There is a certain intellectual disorder to the cadre of loons with that
          monomania that sees a masonic conspiracy in everything.

          Dollars to doughnuts Ajram10 is regurgitating confused articles found in The Remnant, perhaps authored by Thomas Droleskey or perhaps by John Rao. And next, we get the astrophysics of Robert Sungenis.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          You’re on a roll….keep it up!

    • Steven Jonathan

      If I were in the White House I might be applauding alone in front of a militia of ideologues who have no conscious understanding of what good Dr. Esolen is talking about.
      The Moral inversion is complete at the highest levels of political discourse in this once great country- We were ravaged first by our schools, then our psychologists, then our media and now our politicians hammer in the final nails as licentiousness is the arbiter of moral truth.
      What a despicable misuse of language by that libertarian! I don’t know if I have seen worse. He is the poster-boy for the “unman,” The Father of Lies must be gloating.

      • Adam__Baum

        I know that loose confederation of herded cats known as libertarians has all sorts of philosophical problems, organization, syncretism, monomania, but that is the language of the left, that in recent years has been busily courting libertarians on the “social side” . I detect an intellectual virus.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          If, as Ludwig von Mises claims, any regulation against a business or individual, save for laws against force and fraud, is an invalid intrusion into the market by government, then for people who buy into the idea that abortion is health care rather than violent murder, of course it should not only be legal, but used by anybody wishing to have liberty of sex free from parenthood. That’s completely within the atheism of the Libertarian philosophy.

          • Logan

            Except some libertarians agree that abortion is murder. Viz. Mr. Libertarian, Ron Paul.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              Which leads to the second problem with libertarian philosophy- when you forbid the government from using force, there is no way to defend against fraud.

              • Militaris Artifex

                Wrong again! If an individual citizen, or even a government official initiates the use of (a) force, (b) fraud, or (c) coercion, in such a manner as to require the use of force to prevent the successful completion of such a criminal act, the government (or its lawful agent, or under certain specified circumstances a private citizen) would be perfectly justified in using force to prevent the commission of the crime initiated by the supposed perpetrator. Nothing in the principle allows the government lawfully to initiate the use of force or coercion beyond the unlawful initiation of such actions by a private actor.
                Pax et bonum,
                Keith Töpfer

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  And thus, the use of force always becomes reactionary and after the fact, allowing a certain percentage of fraud to either go undetected or worse, due to the universal libertarian hatred of “big strong government taxing poor weak little citizens”, the government won’t have the capability to initiate force at all, leaving the fraud free reign in the marketplace (a free market indeed!).

          • Adam__Baum

            And I call anybody who doesn’t see abortion as an act of force is a fraud.

            Then again, I don’t speak for Mises, who died in 1973.

            The “atheism” of libertarians, as least the ones I know, is in large part driven by annoying economic illiterates and like you.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              Are you claiming that libertarians have been converted since 1973? I don’t see any of them, including yourself, promoting the monarchy of the Catholic Church. And economics isn’t complex. All of the complexity in economics is self-imposed by men trying to commit fraud, by creating artificial scarcity in God’s world of abundance.

              • Adam__Baum

                I’m not a libertarian, even if I find them to be better company than you.

                You defraud yourself with your paranoia and foolishness, Time Share Buyer.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  Then why not admit that The Way of Christ is more progressive than progressivism and more conservative than the worship of mammon?

          • Militaris Artifex

            Mr. Seeber,

            Your characterization of libertarian (as contrasted to Libertarian) philosophy is uniformly and consistently more caricature than characterization. Not a few of us who fall along the libertarian portion of the political spectrum, yours truly included among them, find your assumption that there is but one libertarian position on abortion (and that being specifically a pro-abortion position) to border on the offensively erroneous, and to place your abundant ignorance on public display.

            A fundamental principle shared by virtually all who can be considered truly libertarian is the non-aggression principle, which you casually (and habitually) misstate. To state it succinctly yet thoroughly, that principle is: that no one (either individual or group) has the right to initiate the use of force, fraud or coercion against any other person or group.
            Given that principle, which appears to me to be wholly consistent with Church teaching, once I have recognized that an infant has been conceived and must therefore be presumed to be a human person, I see no moral or legal justification for permitting abortion under any circumstances. Crises placing the life of the mother can typically be handled without performing an abortion. I, and I am confident my fellow Catholic libertarians, would be most grateful if you would cease from constructing invalid strawman arguments to assert that we invariably support acts that constitute grave mortal sin. Your continuing to do so appears to me to be, or at least border on, the sin of slander.
            Pax et bonum,
            Keith Töpfer

            • TheodoreSeeber

              If nobody can initiate force against those who would use force, then sin will be the result. Original sin, the tendency of the individual human towards sin, is a stronger force than a good that refuses to act.

    • Art Deco

      The degenerate in question posts under the handle ‘bacon’. I wonder why he uses a pseudonym.

      http://www.returnofkings.com/author/bacon

      • Objectivetruth

        Just checked out the website. Hands down, the most disgusting site I’ve ever seen.

    • Jamie

      This squares very nicely with what my brother, a detective in a big city, says about criminals. There’s the perpetrator who runs from police, maybe even resists arrest, and when apprehended, makes an elaborate defense replete with lies and excuses. Oddly enough, that guy is redeemable–he still sees wrong as wrong. Then there’s the cool customer, smiling, joking, making small talk with police–that guy is terrifying, he’ll do anything, and is almost certainly a vicious killer. He sees no evil.

      • Adam__Baum

        That guy was on a repeat episiode of “COPS” last night. Polite, cordial, cooperative.
        Tagged for identiity theft, as he hijacked wifi outside a house, he claimed he had permission to have all the SSN’s credit card no.’s he had written in a NOTEBOOK. “go ahead call them”. Respondents said “no” and indicated they had received fraud alerts-he claimed that he was given wrong information by people.
        It was a stunning display.

    • Elat

      wow. that quote from the guy convincing a girl to have an abortion is so insanely horrific. We certainly live in days where the Devil is not only busy stealing lives but flaunting himself doing so…

    • grzybowskib

      I read the article by the abortion-promoting son of a gun a few weeks ago. It made me want to vomit and punch him all at once.

      • Adam__Baum

        G: this is totally off topic, but are you familiar with the geographic acronym “NEPA”?

        • grzybowskib

          No sir.

        • grzybowskib

          And why do you ask?

          • Adam__Baum

            Your surname is/was the same as well known dealer of Lionel Trains in “NEPA” (Northeastern Pennsylvania)

            • grzybowskib

              My dad’s side of the family is from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but I’m fairly certain they were not involved in the train business. :)

              • Objectivetruth

                I’m descended from a lot of coal miners in that part of the world, including Kingston, Pittston, Hazleton….!

    • Cincinnatus1775

      Powerful. Thank you.

    • Stephen Golay

      Now that we’re in the mist of the “Pope Francis Effect” I have noticed some (once trustworthy) Catholic wordsmiths descending down your ladder. All for mercy and all that.

      If I were a sinner fallen (drown dead) at the bottom of the ladder would hate my sight (of any ascending hope) be overshadowed by the billowing skirts of descending wordsmithy Catholics – who, somehow, think that going soft is now an evangelical virture

      • Adam__Baum

        Try again, this time, skip the neologisms, the metaphors and the wordsmithing. What are you trying to say here?

        • tamsin

          Personally, I liked Golay’s extension of Esolen’s visual metaphor.

          Think of the “billowing skirts” as “robes”, or as “roomy pantsuits with bell-bottoms”. Ladder? What ladder? God loves you just as you are! Don’t change a thing!

          • Adam__Baum

            Then explain it to me. It was to metaphorical for a numbers guy.

            • Stephen Golay

              OK guys, plain English.

              Ever since the coming of Pope Francis there has been a noticeable relief (glee, exhilaration) from various “conservative’ (faithful) Catholics, headed by the certain bloggers and article writers, that now, finally, we can, ourselves, descend down the “depravity ladder” and meet folks on the various steps, offer up Jesus, and tell them that salvation has come to them on this step – fully, without expectation — mercy “spooned” to them without a whiff of judgment of their behavior on that particular step.

              The EFFECT of Pope Francis has throned mercy above all choices and acts; it has become a meta-law above all the Natural Laws of creation, including those that constitute PERSONHOOD. The Francis (Mercy) EFFECT is nearing the theological stage of eternal determinism or predestination. Think that’s what I see in it – a universal condemnation to Mercy: that men and women are so depraved in their ability to know and to receive God’s absolute mercy that they are consigned to it as the final status and state of their lives whether they chose it or not, and certainly regardless of their behavior as the causal consequences of their reason and will.

              In short (the soft blogging Catholics seem to be saying) our behavior on whatever step of the “depravity ladder” is the content of God’s Mercy. (Our constructed identity mingled with God’s life.)

              You see, they seem to be saying, mercy, doctrine, ethics, hooking up with God via Jesus, it is all about personal identity ratified and affirmed by Mercy. If transgressing and trans-morphing the Natural Law of Sex, for instance, is the constitution of my personal identity than so be it; God, in his “lawless” mercy will met (better yet, conjoin) me there, confirming, supporting the creaturehood of my constructed identity. If I say there is no “he” or “she” but the “fluidity of gender” than God, who is the essence of fluidity, knows and conjoins. Now I see that my fluidity images God’s. Thank God the Francis’ EFFECT, winging off the fluttering of the V2 Spirit, has come to save us from boundaries and definitions. Yes, I know, Pope Francis had to insert this and that in his Exhortation about abortion and marriage, but didn’t you detect the wink and nod. That winking and nodding was right there, blinking in the PROGRESSIVE LANGUAGE he used when talking about politics and economics. His chosen language communicated; one can almost call it the language of the ladder.

              According to these soft Catholic bloggers and writers, Jesus simply sits with you no matter what step on the ladder you are at. (Howdy buddy! No expectations here.)

              Where I live there is a CATHOLIC leather/bondage/S&M fellowship group. They’ve been glad-handing since Francis’ arrival. They are quite excited (and comforted) that the Pope Francis EFFECT and blown into town, putting its imprimatur of their particular brand of titillation. (Isn’t Christ’s pain much like ours when we lay our and down the whips and chains?) Who would have known that the breath of Vatican 2 would be exhaling this.

              Take me seriously, guys, I’m serious. The Francis EFFECT has set loose a malicious confusion across the land.

              No matter how one reads it, Pope Francis was mostly invested in the political and economics enthusiasms of his exhortations. In that, he missed addressing (evangelizing) the Spirit of the Age.

              ASSIGNMENT: go to the “American Thinker” and read Daren Jonescu’s article “Catholics and Communists”. (12/3/13) READ IT, it pertains.

              You see, I’m coming to the point where I don’t give a damn about being nice. I’ve been, not only on the last step of the depravity ladder, but under it. Thank God the Francis EFFECT has not blown into town; that I had enough reason and will to understand that God’s Mercy would not confuse the filth upon which I lay with salvation. I know, sunk as I was deep in the muck beneath the ladder, what I needed to be saved from. Hollywood & Vine was no place house the Mercy of God. It’s habitat was tabernacled elsewhere.

              • Adam__Baum

                Yessir, I agree. Last paragraph is really resonant. Thanks.

              • tamsin

                Yup, all mercy, all the time. No hell; no heaven; definitely no ladder visible from this angle.

              • FrankW

                Well stated. I have to admit, I can’t help but think that the version of Jesus being portrayed by the EFFECT is a Jesus who would have seen no need to proceed to the cross. Instead He would have simply said, “I forgive you. I’m okay, you’re okay.”, and then ascended back to heaven.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Read paragraph 213 of Evangelii Gaudium, then try again.

                • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                  I will rewrite my response. Has glaring errors and its wording can be clarified with some rewording. Pay more attention to the authority (that is, the Thomist “itness”) of words. Yet, do not think its points or argument will change. Mercy (as doctrine or spiritual ether) has center staged recent Catholic conversation, long before Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. Martin’s now infamous little book burden’s blame – shining its bright light on Dr. von B.’s often brittle illuminations. In this instance, on his web spinning around the notion “that all may be saved”.

                  In my reading of the controversy this, shook down to its fundamentals, is an argument over predestination – that all are predestined to the eternal ends of Mercy. (This is a far different question than the teaching of the universal offer and calling of Grace.)

                  I find that Evangelii Gaudium, in its emanations, gives, if unintended, qualified support to this newfangled doctrine of Mercy Predestination: if only recycled from the debate between Luther and Erasmus, or Augustine and the Pelagians. It should not be overlooked, if only because it feeds this over-the-top enthusiasm over the Francis EFFECT. Once more, taking up the article’s image of the “Depravity Ladder”, the implied revelation is of God’s Mercy affirming the state and acts of each step of that ladder, finding that the only missing ingredient – movement of God – is for that state and those acts to be taken up, infused by God’s Life. Mercy Predestination requires it. The enthusiasts of the Francis EFFECT demand it! No state, no act is beyond God’s taking up and affirmation. Any talk of states and acts being transformed is only a slight-of-hand. To test that observation tell the Francis EFFECT enthusiasts that the Enthroned Jesus Christ will dive bomb God’s Righteous Justice down on San Francisco onto Folsom Street the next time the city revels in its Leather & Bondage Fair (with no thought of sparing the Catholic Leather Fellowship).

                  Don’t underestimate the Ancient One’s strong right arm. Often He operates his Justice via human proxy. Maybe, once more, through the West’s, the Church’s, traditional Scourge of God – that is Islam. When Islam jihads into town with its sharia law Folsom Street will be vacant of revelries in the month of October. Think that proxy is no way near? You have not cocked an ear to that city’s rulers. They are loathe to insult the violence of THAT arm!

                  But what a horror that will be. There will be no islamic mercy to the Folsom revelers. Better to give ear to the FULL WORD of Jesus to the PERTINENT thief at that bloody hour of Redemption.

                  In the telling of that story I read nothing of Mercy Predestination.

                  Did Pope Francis’ Exhortation wiggled room for that? That is my question. It is an honest one.

                  Cadavera Vero Innnumero

        • Guest

          Favorite bumper sticker: Just because no one understand you does not make you an artist.

          • Adam__Baum

            Is that why the “tortured angst” never worked on women when I was single. They must have seen the bumper sticker and realized it was “shtick”.

            Here I thought the unkempt hair, leather jacket and general effusion of nihilism and fatalism was a magnet, and I had the poles reversed.

            • Guest

              Well, that or you were so deep they could not handle it.

              • Adam__Baum

                Based on the fact that it was more act than fact, I’m pretty sure I was more”full of it” than deep.

    • JERD

      I like the ladder analogy.

      It’s easier to descend the ladder into eventual depravity than ascend it to virtue; less effort is required and less pain is felt. It’s easier to descend into the pit of sin than crawl out of it.

      We can only ascend the ladder with the aid of the crucified Christ. He takes upon his shoulders our weakness and infirmities; our sufferings and pain; and carries us up to ever greater goodness and virtue.

      Thanks for the article. Very well done.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Or, as Vergil has it

        Facilis descensus Averno;
        Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;
        Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
        Hoc opus, hic labor est. [Aeneid VI 187-190]

        • joseph Vellone

          The above discourse should be dramatized and put immediately on Broadway….just tooooo precious

    • cestusdei

      “If you like your health care you can keep it, period.” We see this at the highest levels now.

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    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      If I had but one prayer today, it would be this: that any pastor reading this piece (clearly one of Prof. Esolen’s best) would reproduce it and insert it into his parish’s weekend bulletin for all to read before Holy Mass. It would be far better than any clumsy attempt to get at the heart of what is the matter by means of any homily. At least the parishioner can take the printed sheet home and perhaps meditate on it.

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    • msmischief

      I note this applies to lesser as well as greater vices. I have read with my own eyes a story in which the character who goes up to a total stranger and browbeats him about his language is presented as the marvel of goodness.

      Non-PC, of course, not obscene or profane.

    • Anthony

      As the bible says in Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.”

    • FrankW

      Wow! Thanks for posting this. That section in the article that quotes the libertarian blogger should be read by every young woman currently dating.

      So many young men are capable, and in fact, end up indulging in the exact same approach towards women. Why? Because they have grown up in a society in which birth control is expected, and therefore, sex with no consequences attached is the norm for any couple dating for more than a few weeks (in some cases days). Young women on the other hand far too often see this step as an emotional and necessary connection they need to make to even keep a guy they like interested in them. The mindset between this man and his “girls” could not be more opposite.

      This may be the best illustration (from the modern world at least) as to why women should wait until marriage to start having sex. Young women need to start demanding better for themselves, and demanding that young men start earning their trust via a commitment in marriage.

    • A commentator

      I would like to state upfront that from an intellectual point of view, my forthcoming comments should bear no consideration for those who might read them. I simply like to read my own writings, and my present comments are simply for my own elucidation and self-edification.
      For one can write in such forums, without any clear intention or meaning, just for the sake of writing- or in this case typing– but now that I have just wasted perhaps two or three minutes of time I have now come to the conclusion that I must go now–not that I have anything more important to do, but because I have discovered that this exercise of meaningless commentary is in fact boring.
      But in closing, I would like to thank Crisis magazine comment section for providing the opportunity for this exercise of meaningless input on behalf of this writer.

      • slainte

        Sometimes Catholic evangelization and confraternity can be best accomplished through laughter and debate which is what often happens here.
        Sorry we have not scaled the heights of intellectual probity sufficiently to whet your discerning palate. Try contributing in a meaningful way instead of being a morose downer; you may find you learn a great deal and laugh a lot too.

    • Militaris Artifex

      I note that Professor Esolen categorizes the author as “a self-styled libertarian,” a categorization with which I would tend to agree—especiall the “self-styled” quality of his libertarianism. Were the quoted individual truly libertarian, he would not have initiated the use of fraud on a pregnant girl by suggesting that he intended to marry her, quite contrary to his subsequently stated intentions. Any honest and moral libertarian worthy of the name, even those of us with anarcho-capitalist leanings, renounces the right to initiate the use of force, fraud or coercion against another person.
      Likewise any sentient and honest libertartian recognizes that an unborn infant is a human being, biologically it can be naught else. Once conceived the unborn child, absent both trauma such as would cause bodily harm to the unborn child and infectious disease, will inevitably develop into a healthy human child. Once that fact is comprehended by an individual, abortion, voluntary killing of that human infant is simply off the table. No moral and intellectually consistent libertarian can honestly support abortion. Ergo, self-styled is the appropriate qualifier for the individual whose article Professor Esolen quotes.
      Pax et bonum,
      Keith Töpfer

    • markkrite

      This is explosive and visceral stuff you’re writing here and I applaud you for it. More comments like yours upon our severe moral dilemma as a nation re the increasingly evil sexual climate we’re ratcheting (rocketing even) down to are also severely needed. It would seem at times that the U.S. and what’s left of the Christian West are rapidly approaching 1st and 2nd century Rome. In fact this cretin and his moral conduct that you’ve analyzed would’ve been seemingly very happy living in that time, and that’s from his own comments that you’ve provided. Truly chilling. And I remember reading parts of this from another site on the internet. What about the possibility that such a person can be possessed by a demon of lust that is giving him clever lessons in his demonic “pilgrim’s progress” towards his sexual “nirvana?” For that person’s own destruction, of course. For J. Edgar Hoover once observed that there’s no spoon long enough to sup with the devil. But I’m just speculating, based upon the writings of the man you’ve cited. In any case, knowing the prevalence of porn on the internet, it’s easy access, and that in the final analysis, pornography (from the Greek) is nothing but LIES to seduce us humans, w/pregnancy the hoped for outcome by lucifer so that abortion can then be utilized to kill the enemy i.e., us, man and woman,we’re in dire straits as a nation. And don’t even get me started w/”same sex marriage” (a giant oxymoron). Good Pope Francis has already outed satan on that issue while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010. God Bless on your eye-opening piece.

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