Politics as a Form of Public Education

Mr-Smith-Goes-to-Washington-James-Stewart

As we head into another election season, we’ll see the customary television sound bites, vague bloviating speeches by politicians far and wide, politicians pandering to different groups with a host of promises, and the usual recent practice of “gotcha politics.” While the fundamental causes of the woes of our electoral politics are poor citizenship formation and democratization—the Founding Fathers established a republic, not a democracy, and as Federalist 10 makes clear they shared with all the great classical political philosophers a deep suspicion of democracy—we can’t expect in the short run to do much about this. We at least can try to get those politicians inclined to the “conservative” side—to use an inadequate and misunderstood term—to see that the stakes in American politics nowadays are nothing less than the preservation of our constitutional principles and what’s left of Western civilization. Further, the politicians who do apprehend this reality, even if inadequately, need to be urged on to recover the long-lost educative function of politics and to develop both the sophistication and courage to carry it out.

That means, of course, that sound bites, platitudes, avoiding “touchy” subjects, gearing political discussion to the least common denominator in terms of voter understanding, and, yes, utterly sacrificing the “bigger,” long-run questions to the often elusive hopes of immediate electoral success cannot be the norm. Immediate electoral success accomplishes little if the Republic and the culture are in shambles.

In The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic, I tried to show how the political order fashioned by the Founders progressively—especially in the twentieth century—turned into something much less desirable. The overriding object of our politics now has to be to try to recover it—and, to the degree that politics can, the culture that spawned it.

The recovery of the crucial educative function of politics requires, to be sure, a political savviness—I like the 1930s term “moxie”—that seems so often to elude the politicians, and others, who go up against the left. Besides having a sound substantive understanding of the questions of the day, they have to master rhetoric (in the best sense of the word). The old expression, “it’s not what you say but how you say it,” is pertinent here. The left should not be permitted, as is so often the case, to define the terms of the debate. There needs to be a proper mix of education and confrontation. Indeed, to effectively carry out the educative function of politics one has to first create the conditions that make it possible, to clear out the obstacles to it. What this means, among other things, is that one has to “call out” the left. The spotlight must be put on what has become their increasingly irrational and potentially destructive socio-political perspective and agenda. So often, the very things they accuse their opponents of—such as the fraudulent “war on women”—are exactly what the left is doing, or will obviously result from their initiatives. They should also be confronted about their manipulation, deception, and opportunism.

It’s not just opposing politicians who should be vigorously confronted, but their enablers and allies like those in the media. So during the Republican primary presidential debates in 2012, when George Stephanopoulos pulled the contraception issue out of the hat, it wasn’t enough just to tell him (as Romney did) that he knew that wasn’t really an issue in the election. The candidates to a man should have repeatedly hammered him for the rest of the debate for using his journalistic position to manipulate the facts, act unfairly (the left is always telling us how they’re interested in “fairness”), and assist Obama and the Democratic party. He should have been put on the defensive, instead of them. That might have nipped the “war on women” in the bud.

As far as contraception is concerned, it has regrettably become a kind of “third rail” in American politics—in fact, almost a kind of (perverse) sacred ground. It’s a good example of how politicians won’t get anywhere near something that has become almost a way of life—no matter how much trouble it’s caused. While I don’t expect politicians to lead the way in the fight against contraception, I do expect them to—repeatedly—set the record straight. The Republican candidates could have showed the hypocrisy of the “war on women” claims and made a masterful effort at the educative function of politics by presenting some facts about the serious health dangers of contraceptives to women. Instead of just trying to run away from the issue once Stephanopoulos raised it, they should have kept reiterating these facts on the campaign trail—along with showing with hard facts and data how such leftist shibboleths as easy divorce (another third rail) and sexual liberation have disproportionately disadvantaged women—to make the “war on women” their issue instead of the other side’s. If people won’t listen to moral, philosophical, or even commonsensical arguments about contraception, chastity, and the like, they’ll pay more attention to the personal consequences (again, not what you say, but how you say it). As stated, politicians don’t lead the way on these subjects, but sensible discussion and rhetoric might encourage the unsung efforts of the people working in other domains about them.

During the 2012 campaign Representative Todd Akin probably lost a Senate seat for himself and found the Republican Party and even normally sympathetic commentators running to dissociate themselves from him because of how he answered a journalist’s gotcha question about abortion and rape. The episode demonstrates how candidates opposing the left must be prepared to address the whole range of possible questions and think about the wording to choose—and also should be careful about who they give interviews to. It also points to what is the best way to deal with the issue of abortion for “hard cases” (which is usually a false issue raised by people supporting abortion on demand). Besides pointing out the small percentage of abortions sought as a result of rape, a pro-life candidate should “call out” the inquisitor, accusing him openly of insincerity: it’s a gotcha question with, simply stated, a pro-abortion agenda. The best way to argue against abortion here and in all cases, of course, is to focus repeatedly on the conclusive facts about the unborn child’s humanity—regardless the circumstances of his conception. The aim should be to put and keep pro-abortionists on the defensive and hold the rhetorical higher ground—provide the truth and, more, keep pounding it home. As important as sound arguments are, however, many people need to be touched personally. So pro-life candidates could do no better than to occasionally have pro-life speakers who were conceived in rape but whose mothers chose life (such as Rebecca Kiessling)—or abortion survivors or just women who have suffered physically or psychologically from abortions—join them on the campaign trail.

Finally, how do pro-family candidates tackle same-sex “marriage”? This is actually harder, given the now deep-seated convoluted thinking about rights and equality. Rights are now viewed as essentially grounded in desires—personal preferences—that should prevail as long as someone is not obviously hurt by their exercise. Equality means that everyone should be able to exercise the same rights. Isn’t that just fair? Our individualistic ethos also makes contemporary Americans unable to recognize damage to the social fabric and how that ultimately can hurt people. Since people need to hear about harms, candidates cannot go easy on active homosexuals; there is no way to oppose same-sex “marriage” without targeting sodomy. So, the significant health consequences of homosexual practices must be repeatedly emphasized, as must the fact that their being allowed to “marry” will not check the tendency to have multiple sexual partners (as some claim). The obvious harm of that for any children present—who were, say, adopted or from IVF or a previous heterosexual relationship or marriage—must be underscored. The emerging evidence, anecdotal and from studies, of the range of deleterious effects generally on children reared in same-sex households must repeatedly be pointed to.

Still, with the aggressive efforts of the homosexualist movement to debunk even the soundest research, pro-family candidates can’t be content with discussing empirical social science evidence. Like it or not, on this issue, they have to take the educative function of politics to a deeper level. They have to make a part of their stump speeches a commonsensical and even philosophical—as Mortimer Adler said, “philosophy is everybody’s business”—defense of true marriage. That means explaining why companionate marriage, which helped spawn the current confusion, doesn’t work. The starting point here is with the reality that most married couples instinctively grasp: that, as Professor Gerard V. Bradley once put it, children cement a marriage. They probably will even have to speak about another almost verboten topic of recent decades: how men and women actually are different and why children need both. If they are uneasy about feminist attacks, they should occasionally feature thoughtful women critics of feminism at their campaign events. The effects of such efforts, of course, will reach beyond politics to help right the struggling culture.

All this, of course, is not politics as we know it, but politics as it needs to be in this current time. Naturally, some people will say that it will not work. Conventional political wisdom says otherwise. They might be prompted to say that Dr. Krason should stay in his ivory tower and write and teach about politics; he’s not a campaign strategist and doesn’t know the realities of it. Yes, I guess we should just trust the judgment of the multi-million dollar political consultants and operatives with their short-term horizon and “politics as usual” mentality—who keep losing big elections for anti-leftist candidates.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is James Stewart in the filibuster scene from Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” released in 1939.

Stephen M. Krason

By

Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville and co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His is the author of several books including The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and most recently an edited volume entitled, Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013).

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    “there is no way to oppose same-sex “marriage” without targeting sodomy.”

    But there is. « Manif pour tous » the grass-roots organization that opposed SSM, was able to collect 700,000 signatures over three weeks to a petition to the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council and to bring a million protesters onto the streets of Paris, during its demonstrations in April and May last year. Its spokesperson, Mme Ludovine de la Rochère declared they would continue to fight against the “progress” of which the supporters of SSM speak – “that of merchandising the human body, of wombs for rent” [« celui de la marchandisation du corps, celui des ventres à louer »]

    The passage of the loi de 17 mai 2013 [LOI n° 2013-404] has done nothing to weaken the opposition of many French people, religious and secular, to the notion of a right to a child: a child, “battery-farmed,” that can be raised in the denial of man-woman complementarity. They remain firmly convinced that the purpose of adoption is to give a family to a child, not to give a child to adults and to defend the right of every child to a father and a mother, « la filiation PME »

    The argument should focus on the rights of the child to a father and a mother and, to be logically consistent, it must also address the issues of adoption, assisted reproduction and surrogate gestation. A society that allows human gametes to be treated as articles of commerce or tolerates a market in babies, bespoke or prêt-à-porter (which France does not) cannot consistently object to same-sex marriage.

    • lifeknight

      The rights of a child to two parents is inherently good. Sodomy is an abomination. Why does this reality have to be avoided. Those who SUPPORT homosexuals are as guilty of sin as those who buy abortions for their girlfriends. As I stated, if one is going to support the act of sodomy, one must be willing to hear about the perversion of it.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Politics is the art of the possible and to implement their policies, politicians must win popular support.

        On 25 September 1791, the Constituent Assembly abolished, without a debate, the crimes of blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft [le blasphème, la sodomie et la sorcellerie] and no one has ever proposed reinstating them. These laws are indelibly associated in the public mind with the Ancien Régime and the confessional state, detestable to the mass of the French people.

        Marriage stands on a different footing and many supporters of Manif pour tous, who embrace the values of the Revolution insist that (1) Mandatory civil marriage, introduced on 9 November 1791, makes that institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation – the rule that “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father” – enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation.

        They believe the law should reaffirm the specificity of marriage, not only among other forms of life of couples, but as the foundational institution of the family.

        These arguments persuaded the courts to reject claims to a right to SSM on equality grounds and they enjoy widespread popular support. This has led the UMP – the centre-right coalition that will probably form the next government – to pledge repeal of SSM. Unlike the United States, no jurist suggests this is not within the competence of the National Assembly.

    • montanajack1948

      From whence comes “the right of a child to a father and a mother”? Nature in its wisdom has often arranged things otherwise (via mothers dying in childbirth). Such a family arrangement–a father and a mother–may well be desirable, but doesn’t Mr. Krason decry our modern tendency to turn desires into “rights”? Next you’ll be saying that each child has the right to proper nutrition, to a good education, and to a nice home in a decent neighborhood–none of which, may I remind you, are mentioned in the Constitution.

      • Daniel P

        I’m guessing you’re a libertarian?

        At any rate, the possession of a right does not entail the duty of any particular person to secure that right. (So random men don’t have a duty to marry widows with children). It does, however, entail the duty of the government to legally encourage the satisfaction of the right — for example, by making divorce difficult to obtain or by outlawing gay marriage.

        • montanajack1948

          No, I’m not a libertarian. Nor do I see that you’ve addressed my objection–which was, “from whence comes ‘the right of a child to have a father and a mother’”? What makes that anything other than a situation we find (rightly, no doubt) desirable?

          • Daniel P

            In order to answer that, I’d have to start by giving you a theory of what “right” is. I don’t have time to write a book right now, though. Suffice it to say that there are views of rights on which they are NOT merely desirable situations. Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example (as a heuristic, not gospel truth). A child has a right to all the basics that provide for him ascending that hierarchy to the top. Whether he ascends is his choice, but he should have the tools to do it.

            • montanajack1948

              “A child has a right to all the basics…”
              As I said, a “right” to a father and a mother suggests that a child also has a “right” to proper nutrition, a quality education, and a good home in a nice neighborhood. So you and I agree, at least, on the implications of this view of “rights”. I wonder if Mr. Krason agrees?

              • Daniel P

                I don’t agree with the home in a nice neighborhood (safe, yes, but not nice), and I question whether a quality education is necessarily good for a child, in the relevant sense. Uneducated people are as likely to have healthy and rewarding lives as educated people, in my experience. But proper nutrition — yes. That’s a right, sure.

              • DE-173

                As I said, a “right” to a father and a mother suggests that a child also has a “right” to proper nutrition, a quality education, and a good home in a nice neighborhood.

                There is no such linkage, even when made with the tenuous connection of “suggests”.

              • Guest

                Why? You have a right to life. You do not have a “right” to a free mansion with servants.

              • fredx2

                The law does acknowledge the right of the child to proper nutrition – Parents are legally required to provide that for their kids, and if they do not, the kids can be taken away.
                Parents also have a legal duty to send the kid to school.
                Parents also have a right to provide a safe home for the kid. Whether where they live is a nice neighborhood is a value judgement.

      • Guest

        It is a natural right. That people die have no impact on that right.

        • montanajack1948

          What makes it a “natural right,” other than that you say so?

          • Guest

            Biology, right reason, self evident. I mean really? Children come from a father and mother. They are not brought by the stork.

          • DE-173

            Until in-vitro fertilization , all persons were the product of a sexual union of a man and woman, and even with in vitro, you still have a mother and a father.
            In other words, that right is natural because for the child to exist, there must be a mother and a father. The right is not secured through philosophical or juridical reason, but as a matter of nature. It’s existence doesn’t need to be defined or secured, but it exists as matter of course and the abrogation or frustration of parentage needs to be secured against.
            .

          • fredx2

            The fact that males and females have definitely different approaches and capabilities when raising children.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        I have a right to walk down the road. I incur no liability, civil or criminal by doing so. For the sake of clarity, some jurists call rights of this kind a “bare liberty.”

        Now, it is worth noting that any attempt to stop me exercising this right will normally give rise to a claim-right, a right enforceable by the courts: I can raise an action for obstruction and conclude for damages and an interdict. An attempt t prevent me may well amount to an assault; here I can raise a civil action, and, if I choose, I can present a bill for Criminal Letters.

        In the same way, the law provides a child with redress for any attempt to deprive him of a father or mother. It is a crime to abandon a child, or to induce someone to do so. Surrogacy agreements or agreements for the sale of human gametes are (in some countries, such as France) void. Adoption agreements are heavily regulated, both by municipal law and international conventions between states and so on. This is another kind of right (an immunity); my civil status cannot be altered by another’s acts, but only by the courts, just as a thief can deprive me of possession of my goods, but not of my ownership of them

        • montanajack1948

          I’ll ask again: where in our laws is a child granted the “right” to a father and a mother (which seems to me a different issue than “being deprived of” or abandoned by the parent(s) one already has)? Or where in “natural law” (for those who believe in such a thing) does such a right exist? If I’m being obtuse, I’m not being deliberately so; I just don’t see that such a right is present. If either of a child’s biological parents dies or disappears, what claim does the child have to obtain a replacement (“I have a right to a father and a mother”) and against whom can it be lodged–the surviving parent? The State? Isn’t this so-called “right” merely the insinuation of a biological fact–every child is conceived via male sperm inseminating, naturally or via artificial methods, a female–into our discourse about rights?

          • Daniel P

            You operate under the mistaken assumption that all rights are enforceable. They aren’t. For example, a teenager has a right to be housed, but this does not mean that I have a duty to invite him to my house when he demands it.

            • montanajack1948

              A teenager’s right to be housed (assuming it exists) could be enforced by appealing to the State, which would provide housing. Your example isn’t of a right that’s unenforceable; it’s of a right that can’t be enforced in a particular way (which is true of all rights; they can be enforced in some ways but not in others). Does the State have an obligation to provide a father or a mother for children who happen to be lacking one or the other? Modern states, of course, do have an obligation (or at least they have assumed the obligation) to provide for orphans, but our dispute here is about the “right” to have both a father and a mother. I’m waiting for someone to either show me a statute to this effect or to explain some “natural law” foundation for the claim.

              • Daniel P

                The state can’t provide a father or mother for a child forcibly without making the child’s life (likely enough) worse, because of the dynamics of families. I’m sure you realize that.

                If giving a child a dad were as easy as giving the child a roof, the state would have a duty to do so. But it’s not nearly that easy.

              • Tamsin

                You’re talking like you have a natural right to a State, because Naure in her wisdom provided you with one.

                • montanajack1948

                  If so, then I expressed myself poorly–in my view, the State is clearly a human invention, as are our family arrangements, our laws, and our rights.

              • Guest

                Children are produced from a mother and father. This is self evident. That is ordained by God or nature if you prefer. That some children do not have both or either due to some chance like death does not mean anything goes.

                That is a natural right. It is consistent with biology, it is consistent with proper reason, it requites no proof really as it is self evident to anyone with an uncorrupted mind.

                The state does not have to magically produce new parents for any particular child, but the state has no authority to redefine nature and reason.

                What is appalling is that the most basic and fundamental concept in all of reality now requires explanation. Quite sickening really.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                A creditor has a right to payment of his debt but, if his creditor is insolvent, the right is unenforcible

                Again, a creditor may be unable to enforce payment of a debt, because the agreement is one that requires proof by writ or oath. Nevertheless, the obligation exists and, if the debtor does pay, he cannot recover the money under the condictio indebiti, as he could if there was no obligation.

              • fredx2

                Our rights are not all enshrined in law. For example, the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution even recognizes this.
                “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”

                When we say that a child has a right to a mother and father, we are not explaining what the current law says, nor are we speaking legally. We are speaking morally and ethically. . Since gay marriage is a new subject, we are examining what is important and what is not. A kid should have a mother and a father because that is the best situation. To purposely deprive him of that would be an injustice. To purposely sentence children to the confusion of not knowing or understanding the subtle interplay that takes place between man and woman is to deny him something important.

                Just because some can’t have a mother and father, does not mean that we throw out the principle entirely. We just try to maximize the number of instances in which a child has a mother and a father, to the extent we can.

                • montanajack1948

                  Thank you–that makes perfect sense to me. “We are speaking morally and ethically,” which is to say, we are expressing our judgment as to what is best and our desire to provide that for our children. I have no trouble with that, though I suspect Stephen Krason might, since he doesn’t want “rights” to be conflated with mere “desires”.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            It is a fact that every jurisdiction that has introduced same-sex marriage has also permitted joint adoption by such couples and has also allowed them access to assisted reproduction and to surrogate gestation. These do actively deprive the child of a two-parent family.

            Those following the debate in France will have seen that there most secular opposition to SSM stems from the belief that it will erode the ethical principle, long enshrined in the law of France, that children cannot be made the subject and source of a transaction, the restriction hitherto of joint adoption to (opposite-sex) married couples and declaring that the human body, its parts and products cannot be the subject of a patrimonial right.

            This is what Manif pour tous means by defending the child’s right to a family.

          • Guest

            They have a right not be to imposed upon by the State to be corrupted.

      • Tamsin

        Nature in its wisdom has arranged for mothers to die in childbirth? Wisdom?

      • DE-173

        This is very confused.

    • BM

      This is fine as far as it goes, but it only affects same-sex partners who wish to acquire a child for their arrangement. Plenty don’t.

      • Daniel P

        Not true, BM. It would be discrimination par excellence to say that gay people can get married but not have children — that’s like “separate but equal”. You can’t allow gay marriage without allowing gay parenting. It’s a package deal.

        • DE-173

          “It would be discrimination par excellence to say that gay people can get married but not have children — that’s like “separate but equal””

          Actually, it’s a matter of basic biology.

      • Tamsin

        One of the interesting results of the Manif Pour Tous movement in France is that because it focuses strictly on the needs of the child, it has allowed many gays to say out loud that they, too, believe every child should have a mother and a father, and so they themselves would not consider obtaining and raising a child.

        Whereas in America, gays are so Puritanical that no gay can emerge from the closet and criticize gay parenting for its elimination of one or the other or both biological parents.

  • Daniel P

    The theme that we can’t do politics without engaging in substantial claims about the consequences of actions is welcome. Your comments on same-sex marriage are puzzling, however. You say that sodomy should be the target, but then you talk more about the right of a child to a father and a mother than anything else. That right has nothing to do with sodomy. It’s wrong for two women to intentionally create a child in order to raise it together whether or not they engage in sodomy (or the lesbian equivalent) — indeed, even if they are sisters.

    • lifeknight

      Talk of sodomy makes everyone uncomfortable—–even those who participate in it. Why must this truth be omitted? Those who support the unthinkable horror of this act must be held to the standard of hearing about it as well. It’s not just the nice two fellas down the street.

      • Daniel P

        This unthinkably horrible act is common is Catholic marriages. Talking about the act as if it is the sole territory of gay people is just silly.

        • lifeknight

          It is an unnatural act no matter who you are. The idea that “any opening will do” is a perversion. There is an intended plan for the body—and it is NOT sodomy.

          • Daniel P

            I agree with you about sodomy being wrong and unnatural, lifeknight. My original point was about a contradiction in the article; I certainly wasn’t saying sodomy is OK.

            But I do think that most criticism of sodomy itself would come off as hypocritical, especially since many Catholic interpreters currently consider the very same *acts* licit in the context of marriage. (They shouldn’t, but they do). In this context, the most effective arguments against same sex marriage are those which rightly emphasize the damage it does to children.

        • FB

          Sin is sin, that’s true, and we ought not to be celebrating it with rainbow and unicorn parades as we are forced to accept it as normal behavior by our own government now. I don’t any more want to see a celebration of adultery or other sexually oriented sin either. Jesus’s message in how he treated the adulterous woman is a good story for us all to remember – he with no sin cast the first stone, and then lovingly encourage to sin no more. Last time I checked though people engaged in committing sin in marriage weren’t trying to ram their perversions in my face now using the strong arm of the government to force acceptance, or else. I have no problem with calling this the sodomite movement.

          • Daniel P

            Sure, the gay activist movement is troubling. But in this social context, there isn’t moral traction to attack sodomy — and certainly not until Catholic theologians stop winking at the practice within marriage. We’re in a glass house right now, sadly.

            • DE-173

              “But in this social context, there isn’t moral traction to attack sodomy — and certainly not until Catholic theologians stop winking at the practice within marriage.”

              Example, please.

              • Daniel P

                It’s well known that some theologians say oral/anal sex is fine within marriage, so long as the act finishes with vaginal intercourse. This amounts to saying that sodomy is not intrinsically wrong. Not a very clear witness to the world about the harms of sodomy!

                • DE-173

                  “It’s well known that some theologians say oral/anal sex is fine within marriage, so long as the act finishes with vaginal intercourse.”

                  “well known” and “some theologians” does not constitute an example. A specific name and a specific statement does.

              • Guest

                I assume he is referring to those “theologians” who have hijacked Pope JPII’s Wednesday talk they call TOB and turned them into an industry. Not Church teaching.

                • DE-173

                  Thanks, but your speculation isn’t the specifics the CLAIMANT is supposed to provide.

                  • Daniel P

                    Oi vei. Heribert Jone, for example, in the 1950s, said anal sex was OK in a marriage. And he was a very mainstream theologian.

                    • DE-173

                      1.) That’s not a citation.

                      “And he was a very mainstream theologian.”
                      2.) Another ipse dixit claim, a matter of opinion because there’s no way to qualify it or quantify it.

                  • Guest

                    Yes, and what he seems to be providing is the same thing the gay activists claim.

                    • DE-173

                      What he’s providing is sweeping generalizations that are ipse dixit claims.

        • DE-173

          Not mine.
          Do you have something to back up this claim?

          • Daniel P

            Sure, look at the number of straight Americans who admit to having oral/anal sex. I don’t think this number changes much among self-professed Catholics.

            • DE-173

              Sure, look at the number of straight Americans who admit to having oral/anal sex.

              Since many “straight Americans” are not married Catholics, even if you had PROVIDED a citation buttressing your claim, it would be invalid.

              Do you understand the concept of substantiating a claim?

              • Daniel P

                I’m not writing a dissertation on the subject, but Catholic sexual practices don’t tend to vary much from ordinary American’s sexual practices, in every study I’ve seen.

                • DE-173

                  In other words, you can’t support your claim with so much as a single example. If you’ve “seen” so many studies, a single citation should not be beyond provision.

    • Guest

      I do not understand your point? Homosexuals can only engage in sodomy. Heterosexuals can choose this unnatural act but it does not produce children. Heterosexuals do not primarily engage in such acts.

      • Daniel P

        My point was simple: the best objection to same-sex marriage is that it violates the rights of a child to a father and mother. This objection does not refer to sodomy, which is dialectically advantageous, since a majority of Americans participate in sodomitical (oral or anal) sex. It’s not wise to push on an issue that touches people personally — unless you have to.

        I think objections to sodomy are very valid. But they aren’t needed, in this context, and they are potentially alienating.

  • montanajack1948

    Is it a “gotcha question” if I ask what you mean by “gotcha questions?” How do such questions differ from ordinary questions? Are they illegitimate questions which contain unstated assumptions, along the lines of “When did you stop beating your wife?” Are they fatuous and inane questions like “Do you think Senator Clinton is likeable enough to be elected?” or “Do you believe that Reverend Wright loves America?” both of which were asked of then-Senator Barack Obama by George Stephanopoulos back in 2008? Or are they simply questions for which a candidate is not prepared (“What news sources do you read?”) and would prefer not to answer?

  • LHJ

    Great article but this is a lot to expect out of politicians in one election cycle. I think they need some help – small groups to share the message also people should be more concerned on what they share in e-mails. How about reading and sharing some articles like this instead of the nonsense being shared now. The average person needs to get more intellectually involved. When you try to share some of these things even with adult Catholics they would rather argue then research something. Try telling someone science has established life begins at conception and see what happens. Thank you again for the always thoughtful and educational articles. Peace be with you,LHJ

  • BillinJax

    “Rights are now viewed as essentially grounded in desires—personal preferences—that should prevail as long as someone is not obviously hurt by their exercise.”

    This would make a great Billboard sign for the highways around Washington D.C.. Especially now that the government is planning to take over the bulk of all primary education including charter and private school curriculum thanks to Bill Gates and his billions.

  • Guest

    “Equality means that everyone should be able to exercise the same rights.
    Isn’t that just fair? Our individualistic ethos also makes contemporary
    Americans unable to recognize damage to the social fabric and how that
    ultimately can hurt people. Since people need to hear about harms,
    candidates cannot go easy on active homosexuals; there is no way to
    oppose same-sex “marriage” without targeting sodomy.”

    While this is true I do not think the average person understands what equality means in all contexts, they certainly do not understand what a right means in context. People used to be repulsed just by the word sodomy, now it is been desensitized to the point where it is dismissed as no problem by the majority of people.

    How do you awaken a dead conscience?

  • DE-173

    A more realistic view of the contemporary political landscape would bear the title “Politics as a Form of Public Indoctrination”.

    • Tamsin

      Yes, the word “education” is aspirational, “leading forth” people into individual liberty.

      I think most politicians practice what we could call “Politics as a Form of Surfing Across the Top of Public Opinion”. :(

  • Watosh

    The American Constitution is the product of liberal thinking hatched by the thinkers of the Enlightenment, who were, you must realize, anti-Catholic to the core. It is based on the idea that Man is King rather than God is King. Now since it does allow for the possibility that all we need to do is to get laws passed that reflect Catholic teaching, i.e. and so make God the King again by the popular vote mechanism available in a democracy, and then all would be well. Of course the secular democratic system is loaded against this, but holding out this prospect is enough to ensure overall support for our system by Catholics. It always provides religious catholics with hope, if only …..

    • DE-173

      Enough with this bovine excrement nonsense aleady.

      The Constitution merely merely restated, refined, reapplied, clarified and amplified limits on government power. The idea of limits on government power eminated from the Magna Carta sealed under Oath by King John (1215) which rested upon the Charter of Liberties proclaimed by Henry I (1100). At that point, English monarchs had been in union with Rome since Alfred the great.

      Those “liberal thinking” men of the American revolution that saw the dangers of an unlimited state were merely building upon the efforts of giants that came before them. Catholic giants. Whatever they were, the were largely men influenced by the long institutional memory of the English, and despite Henry Tudor and his successors’ efforts, that institutional memory was affected by the seven or eight centuries that England was Catholic.

      “democracy” is a mob shouting “give us Barabbas” and “crucify Him”.

      • Watosh

        Oh you have that right. Liberals tended to divide into two groups, those who wanted more individual freedoms, they wanted people to have as much freedom as was possible until now men have the freedom to “marry” other men , and some of that type of liberal went off the deep end and made a bloody revolution in France. The other liberals were men of property and wealth who wanted unrestricted economic freedom but were fearful of having their wealth confiscated by the mob. So they devised a representative form of parliamentary government figuring they could check the mob’s rule by controlling parliament and if that failed they could use the judiciary. You see how that works here. The monied interests control the government and should the Supreme Court be needed it can always be counted on tho protect the wealth of the wealthy. So the wealthy devised this idea of a representative government. So when the progressive liberals passed laws extending the right to vote to more and more americans, it didn’t worry the wealthy too much because they had the power to determine who the voters were able to vote for. The restrict the candidates to run for office by not giving those that they distrust as being to socially liberal, and not supportive enough for an unrestricted free market the financial backing they need to run for election. It used to be the Democrats were the party of progressive liberals, advocating freedom in the social area, and the Republicans were the party of the wealthy who want to conserve and increase their wealth. However money eventually bought up the progressive Democrats so there is not all that much difference anymore. for those who have eyes to see we no longer are a democracy since our government is characteristic of an Oligarchy. Anyone who can see, realizes our government is more responsive to the wealthy interests than to the mass of people,, on the whole. And recently a study by two political science professors confirmed this.

        I am sorry to have to tell you this, and caste aspersions on anyone’s cherished illusions, and I realize that our form of government is considered as divinely inspired through our founding “fathers.” and I am fully aware that people will become incensed at me for saying such lese majesty type statements, exactly the response I would get if I had the temerity to criticize the Muslim Prophet in a Muslim country, but if one is on the wrong road , one will not get to the desired destination. If such facts do bother anyone, then I would advise them not to read John Rao’s “Black Legends” and “Removing the Blindfold.”

        • DE-173

          You are a monomaniac. You have a list of grievances that are largely caused by deviating from or ignoring the limts on power (contained in the Constitution) and all you do is stammer about “liberals” and the “enlightment” and ignore the fact that the nascent steps toward limiting power were taken by Catholics.

          As it’s been said you have no power other than the power of an alternative. You provide none. Your initial post (and I have no problem piercing your DElusion) is a disjointed and incoherent screed.

          Do you read what you write?

          “Now since it does allow for the possibility that all we need to do is to get laws passed that reflect Catholic teaching, i.e. and so make God the King again by the popular vote mechanism available in a democracy, and then all would be well.”
          What does that even mean? No orthodox Catholic would ever right “all would be well”. That’s a denial of (original) sin.
          Nowhere did Christ promise that, in fact he was crucified because he enjoined people to carry their Cross.
          You live in a fantasy land, and it’s not Catholic, no matter how much you insist that is so.

          • Watosh

            And even after John Brennan admitted the CIA spied on the Senate committee investigating some of the CIA’s doings, Mike Congressman Rogers came out and publicly said he didn’t believe the CIA spied on the Senate committee, it is faith without reason and where it exists nothing will shake it. Some try to consider the arguments made by others in order to evaluate them, others when confronted with any argument they don’t agree with react emotionally and seek to discredit anyone who would entertain what they have decided is heretical. It is an interesting phenomena, Probably one more result of the effects of original sin. It is hard to deny.

            • DE-173

              Interesting diversion, but an irrelevant curiosity and you still offer nothing other than your emotional responses.

              I’m beginning to think being a PHO is a manifestation of a mental disturbance.

              • Watosh

                The thing is I era;ize the great mass of people prefer pleasant myths rather than face the often unsavory reality. In the picture “A Few Good Men” the mean Colonel played rather well by Jack Nicholson, issued the challenge to the two good guys trying to get at the truth, “The truth, the TRUTH, you can’t handle the truth!”

                How many people reralize that shortly after we backed the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine and installed our man “Yats”, as Victoria Nuland referred to him as the person she wanted to head the next Ukrainian government in an intercepted phone call while she was in Kiev encouraging the protestors, that shortly after the Kiev government was overthrown in a putsch, The son of vice President Joe Biden, Hunter Bide, was appointed to the board of the Ukraine’s largest gas company. It was for his expertise you know, and then Joe Biden visited the newly elected government, this was around the time we in the United States celebrated fighting and gaining our independence from England with lavish ceremonies and rocket displays, and Joe Biden gave the newly elected president of the Ukraine, the Oligarch, Petroshenko (our oligarch) told Petroshenko to go after the Eastern areas in the Ukraine that wanted their independence with planes, tanks and artillery bombardments. And we won’t permit Russia to reacquire Crimea which had been a part of Russia for longer than the U.S. had been an independent country in a bloodless annexation requested by the majority of Crimeans because the area in the Black Sea around the Crimea has the promise of large amounts of natural gas and oil. If Russia maintains control of Crimea, our megacorporations won’t be able to exploit these fields. We therefore want the Ukraine to enjoy European and American values like abortion, and legalizing same sex marriages. It is our sacred mission to spread democracy and Western values to less benighted countries, like we have done in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria. Unfortunately in each of these countries except Syria where we are still currently supplying support to those seeking to overthrow Assad and to construct an Islamic Caliphate, even after we coached them and trained trained them, they ended up killing each other, but of course that was not our fault.
                Ah but I digress and have come up with another diversion that describing reality. The myth is far more pleasant to consider, so I apologize for upsetting people who are happy with the mythology until we trigger a nuclear war with our striving for Empire.

                • DE-173

                  “The thing is I era;ize the great mass of people prefer pleasant myths rather than face the often unsavory reality.”

                  Look in a mirror to see one.

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