Bipartisanship, Compromise, and Leftist Ideological Imperatives

Many people complain about the “gridlock” in Washington and about how the two parties need to work together, compromise, and come to agreement about things. They decry the lack of bipartisanship. What they don’t realize is that the main culprit in this is the political left, which has gained almost complete control over the Democratic party (a development that began over forty years ago). It is the left that typically refuses to compromise, as the continuing struggle over Obamacare has made evident.

With the secularization of liberalism, which began in earnest in the 1960s, the battle lines became increasingly rigid on cultural issues like abortion, feminism, and separation of church and state. Now, we increasingly see the same kind of “no-compromise” stance by the left on economics and social welfare programs, like Obamacare, which by their nature are more given to compromise. The left seems unmoved by facts suggesting the error of their positions or evidence of the poor record and even counterproductive results of big-government, welfare-statist schemes—even if that evidence has been clear since the last massive leftist programmatic offensive, the Great Society. An ideological vision—based much on abstraction—is what now drives the left. Come “hell or high water” it will not be dislodged from it.

Dexter Duggan in The Wanderer a few months ago mentioned how a disillusioned, well-meaning long-time Democratic activist in Arizona, where he writes from, left the party and became an independent. She concluded that the Democrats “put ideology before people.” The left has embraced something like the doctrine of “socialist truth” under communism. It was not truth at all, as communism at its core was utterly relativistic. Socialist truth was whatever would further the cause of revolution. Now, it’s imperative to achieve whatever advances the cause of social democracy or welfare-statism or the managed state, or whatever it’s to be called—whose reach since the 1960s has kept expanding into more and more areas of people’s lives.

Today’s leftism doesn’t like compromising because it would stymie enactment of a broad-based “progressive” agenda built upon a view it has—not necessarily as well-developed and tightly formulated as that of the Marxist ideologue, but one which it is every bit as devoted to—of a remade society. It is basically a gnostic conception. The ideas are generated by different elements of a social and cultural—and, increasingly, economic—elite, only loosely connected, but with a common world-view, and whose members tend to fall in line with the specific positions and policy schemes that start to gain traction among their cohort. They are in the opinion-making strata—in politics, the academy and even the higher levels of pre-college education, the media, the leadership ranks of major institutions (like the government bureaucracy, labor unions, big corporations, the leading non-profit entities and certain think-tanks, and the entertainment industry)—and believe themselves to know better than the average citizen, whose lives they seek to regiment in the interest of fashioning their new world. This is so even though they often lack experience in the very areas they seek to change—like the Obamaites with healthcare—or have a very superficial understanding of the large questions they seek to pronounce on.

This makes one realize the folly of lamenting about gridlock or of instinctively preening about bipartisanship. There is one response to bad ideas: opposition. While moderation is the essence of a healthy political order and compromise is the lifeblood of politics, that doesn’t mean that everything is to be accommodated. While serious Catholics understand that there cannot be a policy common ground on such questions as abortion, euthanasia, and legitimizing sodomy and same-sex “marriage,” one also can’t reconcile oneself to social-welfare schemes that go beyond rightful roles for government or help construct the paternalistic state. This should be increasingly evident when one looks back on the history of the advancement of leftism in America since the 1930s. Accommodation—say, of the Republicans on Capitol Hill with the Democrats—too often has signaled simply an acceptance piece-by-piece of the leftist agenda as it tries to gradually—and, to be sure, somewhat haphazardly—build its new world. The prudent public official or legislator has to look at this and wonder if this has been reasonable compromise or incremental capitulation.

Neither moderation, rightly understood, or a sensible notion of compromise means reflexively going halfway—much less giving up the ship in the long haul. It stands for good prudential judgment. It involves knowing when you compromise and when you don’t, not just in terms of the issues that by their nature can’t be compromised but also that there are periods in the political history of a nation when resistance is called for. Political prudence and the true statesmanship that it represents means knowing when the stakes are truly high and that it’s not a time for politics as usual.

Back in the 1980s, the media uncomplimentarily referred to the late Jesse Helms as “Senator No” for opposing such problematical accommodationism, especially when it came to foreign policy and certain appointments. He wasn’t even liked by elements in his own party. Today, it’s Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and others who are the supposed obstructionists and thwarters of bipartisanship; they have probably gotten more intense heat from their fellow Republicans than even Helms did. Does that underscore how much farther in a generation we have veered away from an understanding of what is implied by separation of powers—that separated powers is the way to insure that bad policies (that may also have the effect of diminishing our liberty) don’t easily get enacted—to some version now of plebiscitary democracy. In other words, whichever group wins an election and controls most of the government now apparently gets to steamroll its agenda, no questions asked. (This was strikingly underscored by the Senate Democrats’ recent trimming of the filibuster.) We even heard some people making the odd argument that it was somehow wrong to try to defund a duly enacted law like Obamacare. This underscores something I pointed out in my book, The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic: in the past fifty years we have moved decisively away from the vision of our Founding Fathers. Even a basic, crucial Founding principle like separation of powers—which some of the Founders called perhaps our central constitutional principle—is no longer understood or sufficiently commended, and we now think that mere legislative enactments, whatever their evident shortcomings, take a place in the cosmos never to be disturbed again by men.

Apart from such a troubling imperviousness to a Founding principle, it is also regrettable that too many people seem to believe that legislators are doing their jobs only when they legislate; they judge each Congress to have been successful only if it enacted more policy. The truth is that they are as effective, or more so, when they engage in serious debate to clarify issues or determine national directions, investigate to see how well current policies are being carried out, and change or repeal old laws and policies that are ineffective or no longer needed.

We are in an era in the U.S. now where good statesmanship demands fervent, insistent opposition to legislative initiatives and policies—which have become overwhelming in number—that offend sound morality in big ways (like same-sex “marriage”) or in lesser, but still significant, ways (like when they violate the principle of subsidiarity or when they further undermine Founding principles (which have already taken a beating). Bipartisanship and a skewed notion of “moderation” for their own sakes or to present a façade of smoothly functioning government are hardly virtues. Nor is opposition, in the interest of ethics and a revival of Founding principles, to the left’s destructive ideologically driven agenda an act of extremism.

Stephen M. Krason


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. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He is the author, most recently, of The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and editor of three volumes: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013) and The Crisis of Religious Liberty (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014); and most recently, Challenging the Secular Culture: A Call to Christians (Franciscan University Press). His latest book is Catholicism and American Political Ideologies (Hamilton Books). He is also the author of a new novel, American Cincinnatus.

  • John O’Neill

    Just brace your selves. After the success of the homosexual agenda in the democrat congress, polyamory is the new battle cry. Thousands of American propagandists are lined up and have already started the war to define marriage with multiple partners the new right of the American people. The supreme court declared that there is no definitive concept of what a marriage is and what a marriage isn’t so this development was to be expected. Americans will now start seeing and hearing from the media how compassionate and wonderful families with two daddies and two mommies are. The next logical step is the legalization of incest and the drive for incestuous couples to have a real red white and blue American wedding. Liberal Christian ministers are expecting a Niagara of wedding blessings to be produced in the next decade. O tempora O mores

  • Steven Jonathan

    Ideology as a creed hijacks religious language and symbols and requires constant enthusiasm. The “gnostic” systems feed on their captive constituents like parasites. The secular “experts” are the priests of ideology- which is religious in nature. Of course they don’t compromise- they embody small mindedness.
    We are Catholic and live by Catholic Truth, the Logos and that is principled- we cannot compromise either.
    Excellent article!

  • Don

    A fine article. I my view, Congress has been functioning pretty much as envisioned by the founders – that is to say, the apparent disfunction is actually representative of the nation’s deep divides. The Left often asserts its devotion to “diversity”. But when diversity of thought and opinion are expressed in Congress, the Left crys “Obstruction!” More obstruction is what we need . . . Pax

    • Art Deco

      Congress is not functioning. We should not, at this point, care much about what Mr. Madison envisioned.

      • Adam__Baum

        Nothing is functioning.

        • Art Deco

          No, spending decisions and tax decisions are policy decisions, for good or ill. Certain institutional set-ups make for more spending and taxation and certain make for less.

          Our problem now is not a result of spending and taxation, but of the mix of preferences of the elite and of bad institutional architecture inhibiting clear decision-making. We should fix both problems.

          • Adam__Baum

            “No, spending decisions and tax decisions are policy decisions, for good or ill. ”

            Of course that’s true, but it doesn’t relate to my position. P.J. O’ Rourke quipped something about giving politicians power and money being analogous to giving teenage boys car keys and whiskey, and my position is that to give them money is to give them power.

            Having been part of the MA/MC fiscal apparatus, I’ve seen how FFP (federal financial participation) allows the federal (or is that feral) government to dictate to the states through conditioned funding, just as easily as if it were a simple fiat, but with out all the messy Tenth Amendment issues that diktats would create.
            See Chris Christie (ok, he’s a craven demogogue of the first order), and John Kasich and the rest of the “conservative” Republican Governors selling their states to Obamcare for an example of how fealty can be bought, and at a discount.

            As an aside, I’m hoping the DHS purchase cited above is merely just a little political quid pro quo, because if it is a reasoned policy decision, it’s an announcement that the federal government is preparing to make war on us.

            “Our problem now is not a result of spending and taxation”

            Art, when you start saying things that sounds very much like something that came out of Nancy Pelosi’s mouth, you might want to restate or rethink it.

            “bad institutional architecture inhibiting clear decision-making”

            That’s not an architectural consideration, it’s an epistemic limitation of humanity. The innate wisdom of any policy can oftten only be determined retrospectively, because there’s so much we don’t know. Taleb, Popper and Hayek are useful in pointing out that experts are usually more than court astrologers. I don’t believe in the cult of experts, or the cult of the colossal. That’s the nonsense of Richard T. Ely and Henry Carter Adams.

            • Art Deco

              Thanks for the jokes, but the federal government routinely balanced its books prior to 1961 (absent some serious reasons) and state and local governments continue to do so today. It was not until after 1969 that the problem really got out of hand. Also, the ratio of public expenditure to domestic product was stable for 35 years (1974 to 2009).

              We do not have a problem with spending because we spend. We have a problem with spending because of institutional mindsets, conventions, institutional defects, and vested interests.

              I do not care for ‘co-operative’ or ‘creative’ federalism either.

              One thing you can attempt to do is address the institutional defects (which does not interest anyone because that would mean acknowledging that Mr. Madison’s scheme was less than flawless).

              • Adam__Baum

                “We do not have a problem with spending because we spend.”

                Did you get an early Valentine from Pelosi or something?

                “Bu the federal government routinely balanced its books prior to 1961 (absent some serious reasons) and state and local governments continue to do so today. It was not until after 1969 that the problem really got out of hand.”

                So what? Sure it took a while before the kids noticed the pool doors were open, but we went from a federal debt of $1T to adding that amount to it every year awful quick.

                We have a problem with spending because of institutional mindsets, conventions, institutional defects, and vested interests.
                All of whom are in a symbiotic relationship with the host, but these things were all nutured on the mother’s milk of politics, filthy lucre. Now their are the foot soldiers and shock troops of the leviathan.

                • Art Deco

                  I do not know why you persist in insisting that excess public spending must be both cause and effect, but never mind.

                  There was such a thing as filthy lucre prior to 1961, and large federal expenditures. We still balanced our books. There is filthy lucre in New York politics and the most wretched political culture. New York does not do worse fiscally than any other state and its public pension programs are the most sound in the nation.

                  You have forgotten the chatter from ca.1980 that discretionary central banking was unsustainable in our political economy and we needed a gold standard. We needed no such thing. We needed steadfast central bankers and politicians willing to leave them alone.

                  Sometimes the problem is just some bad decisions.

                  In our time and place, you need the concordance of three authorities to pass a fiscal plan. One requires a never obtainable supermajority. This is your structural problem. Your personnel problem is that one is led by a man who will likely never bargain in good faith, one is addled by the idea that marginal tax rates must never increase, and one is led by a man who is on air talent only and has a petulant response to any and all opposition.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    “I do not know why you persist in insisting that excess public spending must be both cause and effect, but never mind.”

                    I spend a good bit of time in Unites States Code, Title 26 and have for years.

                    “One requires a never obtainable supermajority”

                    Not any more. There will be effects from the erosion of the filbuster, although they may not be clear or conspicuous.

                    “the idea that marginal tax rates must never increase”
                    One of the first things I learned in “Finance 101” was how to calculate the after-tax cost of something. It’s actually pretty simple: (1- the marginal tax rate) * pre tax cost. Every time the marginal tax rates go up, the value of deductions go up, which increases political lobbying for new deductions. Which is why we once had a certain real estate mogul arguing for a 90% marginal tax rate – but retaining the deduction for real estate. He’d be pay 10 cents on the dollar, after-tax.

    • hombre111

      Really shallow. One of the main reasons for the loss of bipartisanship is the deliberate creation of safe districts through the gerrymandering process. Some Democrats, and many Republicans, know they will never face real opposition. In my state, the only real goal is for Republicans to win a primary, because Democrats have not gone to Congress for a generation. And so it becomes an argument about who is the most “conservative.” Since this is a strong Tea Party state, the guy farthest to the right usually wins. And then, when he gets to Congress, he can’t compromise, because he will be punished by the fanatics at home.

      • thebigdog

        And how exactly have the Democrats offered to “compromise” with the Tea Party? By calling them Tea Baggers? By attacking Sarah Palin’s family?

        The Tea Party wants to eliminate abortion — how have the Democrats reached across the aisle on that issue?

        The Tea Party wants to keep the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman — how have the Democrats compromised on that issue?

        The Tea Party wants to get back to the original intent of the Founders, with stronger State’s rights and a smaller Federal Gov’t. — “bipartisan Democrats” say what? “Shut up stupid Tea Baggers”, that’s what.

        The truth is that the Republicans have compromised so much with Democrats that today, the establishment GOP is left of JFK — literally.

        Now it’s time for the big mouth, self righteous liberals to finally start compromising with conservatives and bring that pendulum back to a point of sanity before it’s too late.

        • Godmother

          The Leftist and Trotskyites compromise tactically to keep their juggernaut going. That’s why they celebrated the Stalin-Hitler pact that gobbled up Catholic Poland. They hate Catholicism and needed to buy time to save Stalin, their communist hero. Now, they neo-cons. Don’t you believe it!.

          • Adam__Baum

            In the mid or late 1970’s, my grandmother travelled home to the “old country”. Because she was born in 1912 to immigrant parents, she spoke the language perfectly, and it enabled her to connect with her cousins.

            One day, one of her cousins took her to a small Church that was tolerated by “the authorities” (statists, take note), when the cousin’s then small child dipped a small hand into the holy water font, the mother said “for this he’ll never be much of anything”.

            That had been true for decades, but there was this Cardinal in nearby Poland…

          • Art Deco

            In 1939, ‘Trotskyists’ were a completely ineffectual sect. They had nothing to do with the conquest of Poland. There was a Trotskyist faction of the British Labor Party ca. 1983, but I do not think they have ever been of the slimmest influence anywhere else.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              In France, there are three Trotskyite parties, the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, the Courant Communiste Internationaliste and the Lutte Ouvrière. Between them, they tend to attract about 10% of the vote; small, but far from insignificant in a multi-party system.

      • Adam__Baum

        Since this is a strong Tea Party state, the guy farthest to the right usually wins.

        And what was your explanation before there was Tea party? You know like 3 or 4 years ago? Move to San Fransicko, you’ll have congressional representation more to your liking.

      • Art Deco

        One of the main reasons for the loss of bipartisanship is the deliberate
        creation of safe districts through the gerrymandering process.

        Hombre111, you seem not to have noticed that the Republican caucus lost close to fifty seats in Congress in 2006 and 2008 and then the Democratic caucus lost over sixty seats in 2010. The position of an incumbent in a general election has been as unstable in the last eight years as any time in the post-war period.

        You got a nice bi-partisan tax increase in 1990, the same year a grand total of six federal Representatives were voted out of office.

        The U.S. Senate under Harry Reid’s ‘leadership’ looks like an institution with some partisan divisions (though no gerrymandering at all).

  • Showman

    Stephen Krason’s article seems to have a bevy of defective thinking present that calls into question the overall vision being presented here.

    No, the majority doesn’t just get to steamroll into law whatever they want. There can and should be vigorous discussion and debate. But when a law has been enacted, and even upheld by the Supreme Court, then there are proper and improper ways to deal with it. Engaging in slash and burn tactics to start shutting down aspects of government to get one’s way after one has cleanly and legitimately lost the fight is not a proper way.

    One cannot help but be confused by an early reference to the separation of church and state followed by a string of clarion calls to ‘Founding principles’. One of principles is actually the separation of church and state, which happens to be an odious concoction in the eyes of Holy Tradition.

    An attenuated Americanist mindset is a poor substitute for drawing upon the riches of the faith.

    • Hmm.

      This comment seems to have a bevy of loaded words that calls into question the overall vision being presented here. “slash and burn”? “cleanly and legitimately”?

    • AcceptingReality

      The defective thinking in your comment, Showman, is the statement, “… has cleanly and legitimately lost the fight”. Fact is the enactment of Obamacare was a cramdown. Nothing legit about it. Furthermore the fight has not been lost. It still goes on as you admit in your post. Further still, the Supreme Court ruled but got it wrong. And lastly, you are also off the mark with your comment that the Church views “separation” as an odious concoction. Read the Popes. They practically invented the idea. Your comments are nothing more than the classic tactic of a leftist making false assertions and calling them true.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Where do you find the Popes advocating political atheism of the form that has become common in the United States, leading to a tyranny of immorality?

      • Adam__Baum

        The left never accepts the idea the war has been lost. Every conflict is merely a battle, never the war.

        • Showman

          Well aware of that. I see you battling on behalf of your fanatical liberalism all the time.

      • Showman

        You cannot possibly be serious. Read the popes?? I have, but apparently you haven’t. Mirari Vos, Quanta Qura, Immortale Dei, Vehemter Nos, Quas Primas. All officially categorically condemn the separation of Church and State. That is our classical official teaching. Even Second Vatican doesn’t contradict it.

        But this is a typical leftist tactic you employee – deflecting the charge onto somebody else in order to conceal your own virulent liberalism.

        • Art Deco

          It is not the result of ‘virulent liberalism’, Showman, it is the result of living in a country where observant Catholics were a never more than a modest minority. Sixty years ago, you might have said that about 15% of the population met that description and that would have been the historical peak. Chuffering about a confessional state in that circumstances is idle and even Thomas Droleskey does not venture more than a spare sketch of what that might look like in practice.

    • Augustus

      Obamacare is collapsing around our ears as Congressional Democrats up for re-election run for the hills. And, incredibly, you still repeat Obama Administration talking points with a straight face. Time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid of Obamacre lies and look reality in the face.

    • Don

      Respectfully, I don’t believe “slash and burn tactics” were employed. The debt limit was the “law of the land” and shutting down the government was a consequence of the Left’s refusal to address the staggering and ever growing debt. While one can fairly argue the political wisdom of digging in on this issue, it does not strike me as improper. I should be mentioned that when the President was still a Senator, he called the debt “disgraceful” and the Republican President “irresponsible”. Senator Obama was correct and President Obama and the Senate continue to act irresponsibly.

    • Adam__Baum

      You seem to think that because one Congress decides to enact their political nocturnal emissions into a oppressive Rube Goldberg device, that future Congresses are thereby duty bound to fund it.

      NASA was enacted, and yet it was cut. Where’s the cries of “slash and burn” with regard to the evisceration of that agency?

      • thebigdog

        “NASA was enacted, and yet it was cut. Where’s the cries of “slash and burn” with regard to the evisceration of that agency?”

        The left is still angry about the inferior Americans defeating the superior Soviets in the Space Race… that should be a hammer and sickle flag on the moon!

        The only way liberals can even talk about the issue without banging their shoe on the desk, is if they credit Kennedy and ignore Nixon altogether.

    • Art Deco

      An attenuated Americanist mindset is a poor substitute for drawing upon the riches of the faith.

      Quack quack down comes Groucho’s duck.

      More bilge courtesy The Wanderer‘s “From the Mail” column, coming down the pike.

  • AcceptingReality

    Love the line “There is one response to bad ideas: opposition.” That should be a constant refrain…..Thanks, Krason for another great article!

  • Watosh

    Now as for the claim that the main culprit to compromise is the “political left,” during the recent standoffs the political right as I recall, publicly advertised that they would not budge an inch from their position. It takes two to not fashion a compromise after all. Moreover liberals themselves have been have been screaming that Obama has compromised away many liberal goals and have been attacking Obama for that.

    Now of course if one takes the position that the liberal agenda is bad, then I can understand that one wouldn’t want the opposing party, I hesitate to call them “conservatives” as they support very liberal and uncatholic economic policies, then one would not want the opposing party to make any compromise with these liberals. At the same time it should be recognized that the liberals are convinced they stand for what is good for the country, and therefore to argue that they are wrong by not being willing to compromise, when one applauds the opposing party for not giving an inch on the grounds that they stand for the right principles is a bit of ideological hypocrisy. One can argue that the liberals are wrong, but inasmuch as they are as convinced they are right as the opposing party, one should not demand that they are the obstructionists for not compromising. And after all our government is based on liberal secular principles.

    Now some have observed that the election districts have been so gerrymandered that the incumbents are generally a cinch to be re-elected so they find no need to compromise, all they need to do is to stand fast for the beliefs of their district. But this explanation does not permit bashing of the liberals. I do not care for liberalism in the social sphere nor the economic sphere, myself. so I tend to look at things somewhat objectively.

    • Art Deco

      I hesitate to call them “conservatives” as they support very liberal and uncatholic economic policies,

      What, precisely, do you have in mind, Watosh?

      • Watosh

        Well promoting the Darwinian approach that underlies the laissez faire economic principles in which profit is the only purpose and consideration of a corporation is hardly Catholic. The idea that corporations and businesses should not be restricted in their competitive actions, that market forces alone will always produce the greater good is certainly a liberal approach to the market.

        This subject has been covered brilliantly by Christopher Ferrara in his two books, “The Church and the Libertarian,” and “Liberty: The God That Failed.” The latter book was recently reviewed in Chronicles magazine. A specifically Catholic view of how the economy should operate can be found in John C. Medaille’s book, “Toward a Truly Free Market.”

        I know the accepted wisdom is that there are only two ways of engaging in economic activity, Communism and what is called free market Capitalism, and since Communism has failed, we should conclude that free market Capitalism is the only way to go despite its increasingly obvious shortcomings. Surprise, surprise, there are Catholic alternatives to the unrestricted, profit worshipping corporate activity championed by the rich and powerful corporations.

        • Adam__Baum

          Would this be the same Christopher Ferrara who made an appearance with suspended Priest Nicholas Gruner? Yep, that be him.

          • Watosh

            Well the suspension of Fr. Gruner depends on who is interpreting the case. It isn’t as if Fr. Gruner abused children or that he denied any Catholic teaching, rather it appears he was the victim of Vatican politics, in which he insisted that the consecration of Russia was not accomplished. This was embarrassing to the top vatican officials so as I understand, and I am not up on on the details, they tried to make it look like he disobeyed orders to return to Italy, which some maintain was impossible for him due to Italian laws, and also I understand he claims he gained incarnation from some Cardinal in India which may have satisfied some requirement. Priests get suspended for a variety of reasons, so it would have been more honest to explain why Fr. Gruner was suspended and some mitigating facts surrounding this cloudy issue rather than sneeringly trying to smear Christopher Ferrara with guilt by association.
            Now if you want to discredit Christopher Ferrara wouldn’t it be more honest and more honorable to show that his book contained errors rather than to resort to an attempt too smear him because he appeared with a priest whose worst crime was to insist that the consecration of Russia has not been made as the Blessed Virgin commanded? I beg any reader, find out what Mr. Ferrara has to say and then refute it, if you can, rather than ignore his arguments because some judge rashly a person that Mr. Ferrara has associated with whose Catholic beliefs have never been questioned, merely he has ruffled a lot of feathers in the Vatican. Hey, I suspect Fr, Gruner may have an obsession with this issue, possibly he is a nut on this issue, but I can definitely conclude he is absolutely wrong either.

            • Adam__Baum

              Suspended is suspended.

              Gruner is not Saint Pio.

              You guys always sound like Luther.

              • Watosh

                Well that certainly is true, suspended is suspended, and down is down and up is up, however, while I do not know exactly what happened in Fr. Gruner;s case, I have followed it a bit out of curiosity and a desire to know the truth, I have noticed Fr. Gruner’s enemies all claim he was suspended, while his supporters make a case that he was not suspended. I cannot say for sure whether he was or not, but if someone could cite an authoritative statement by someone in a position in the vatican that has jurisdiction that Fr. Gruner has been suspended I would appreciate them telling me. It is too easy to claim someone was suspended, claims like that are cheap and I have in my long life heard unsubstantiated claims made with great positiveness, before about this or that. Speaking of Padre Pio, I have heard someone claim he was an imposter. Regardless I freely admit that being suspended is being suspended, as that is merely definition of being suspended. The key question is: on what authority was this suspension officially promulgated?

                I might point out in regard to Christopher Ferrara’s writing, that Chronicles magazine, a periodical that boasts of being a “magazine of American Culture,” and has an impressive list of writers and editors, saw fit to give a favorable review to Christofer Ferrara’s book “Liberty: The God That Failed” in its December issue. For those who don’t come in contact with a magazine like Chronicles that deals with intellectual issues, I quote the conclusion made by the reviewer R. Cord Kirkwood, “Neither liberals nor conservatives will like this book. BUT IT IS STILL A BOOK THEY NEED TO READ [my emphasis]” He says this because this book is comparable to telling the pre-WWII war Japanese that their emperor was not a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess. Oh yes, the theme of Chronicles magazine for the December issue is “Returning to Reality.” In other words ideologues beware.

                One last point Christopher Ferrara also appeared with Rand Paul recently which kind of disappointed me, but I did not throw his books out the window.

                • Art Deco

                  Fr. Gruner has a long history of diocese shopping. Last I heard, he was incardinated in a diocese in India (while living in Canada).

                  • Watosh

                    Yes, I only vaguely recall the details, but those who wanted to silence him, His insistence that the consecration of Russia to the Blessed Virgin was not done became an irritation to those in the Vatican who did not think this necessary or that the consecration of the World to the Blessed Virgin sufficed, and Fr. Gruner’s campaign became a major irritant to them, as one an imagine. In other words it is obvious he had enemies highly placed in the Vatican. One of their schemes to silence him was to require that he get incardinated by some cardinal or return to Italy where he would could be silenced. It did not appear that Fr. Gruner could get incardinated by anyone, except for some reason an Indian cardinal offered to incarnate him in his diocese. This business of being incarnated in a faraway diocese is not uncommon. It does not represent something sinister necessarily. I have no connection to Fr. Gruner nor his organization, but I think he deserves a fair and accurate hearing.

                    I am beginning to believe that a democracy spawns ideologues. In order to get people to “vote” your way, you have to exaggerate the reasons and make those who are otherwise minded look bad by placing the worst possible interpretation on everything they say or do. You can’t merely argue that you believe your way better than someone else’s, that won’t get many votes. No, you have to say that your way is the only way to avoid an absolute catastrophy. This way of thinking affects the way any issue is viewed then, it seems.

                • slainte

                  Christopher Ferrara, Esq. describes Father Gruner’s case as an act of injustice perpetrated against a man whose efforts at cooperation with Cardinal Soldano’s requests were wrongly impeded.
                  For your consideration:


              • slainte

                “Suspended is suspended.”
                Respectfully NO…not if Father Gruner was denied an opportunity to be heard in defense of the charges that gave rise to any suspension.
                While we do not know the facts of the case, it is unfair to tar Father Gruner in light of complaints that he has not received due process. Father is the recipient of more than one letter from then Cardinal Bergoglio in connection with his priestly ministry dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. An appeal or a request for reconsideration of the suspension, if one has actually issued, is entirely appropriate.

                • Watosh

                  Well said!

                • Adam__Baum

                  Next up, the case of John Corapi.

                  • slainte

                    He resigned purportedly of his own free will. Facts are in dispute so it’s reasonable not to draw adverse conclusions.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      What apparently isn’t in dispute is the existence of confidentiality agreements, and a few other things that are less than sacerdotal.

          • slainte

            You’ll understand when you finally complete law school. : )

            • Adam__Baum

              Don’t have the stomach for it.

              • Slainte

                I recall the LSAT being primarily about logic; law school about theory, and statutory/case law analysis.

                In practice, one learns procedure and the format of motion practice from a mentoring attorney, but most especially from seasoned para-legals who understand the demands of the clerks of the Court and the nuanced requirements of each judge.

                Active involvement in the discovery process (depositions) helps sharpen the mind and is necessary to prep one for effectively arguing a case in Court.

                Regarding the Fr. Gruner case, I recently read an article by Ferrara about the suspension. Ferrara states that no reason has been cited to justify Fr. Gruner’s suspension. Ferrara further describes the matter as an act of grave injustice perpretated by Cardinal Soldano as against Fr. Gruner.

              • Art Deco

                Donald McClarey has offered recently (informed by his own experience of law school ca. 1980 and his 30 years as a working lawyer) that law school curriculum serves to train appellate judges, not working lawyers. He says one year of classroom instruction followed by two years of apprenticeship would do better to train rank-and-file attorneys.

        • Art Deco

          Well promoting the Darwinian approach that underlies the laissez faire
          economic principles in which profit is the only purpose and
          consideration of a corporation is hardly Catholic. The idea that
          corporations and businesses should not be restricted in their
          competitive actions, that market forces alone will always produce the
          greater good is certainly a liberal approach to the market.

          Can you tell the difference between Mitt Romney and Herbert Spencer? Do you understand that when people discuss the economic realm that they are not referring to the whole of human life, just the economic sector? When you hear people discussing policy, you do realize they are discussing comparative states of the world that exist, not ideal types?

  • John Uebersax

    An an interesting and articulate article. I might take the analysis a step further by suggesting that the left political agenda is a manifestation of unwillingness to abandon sin and to turn to God. However I question the motives of the Republican party, too. It seems to me that Wall Street owns both parties, and that a desire to keep the American public dumbed-down, afraid, and divided against itself is the motive for both gridlock and the bad ideologies of the two parties.

    • Adam__Baum

      The owners of NFL teams engage in battle (by mercenary proxy, of course) on Sunday, but cordially deposit the gate receipts together on Monday.

      Read “The Ruling Class” by Angelo Codevilla.

      • Godmother

        And they won’t left rifle manufacturers advertise during their games. Whatever happened to the “shotgun” and the Polish rifle, the great Ron Jaworski?

        • Objectivetruth

          Mike Quick and Harrold Carlmichael made “Jaws'” career.

  • cestusdei

    When you hear “bipartisan” think “do what you are told.”

    • Adam__Baum

      And if listen carefully, you might hear the no-so-faint echoes of jackboots marching in cadence.

  • NE-Catholic

    Very well said, Mr. Krason – what is equally amazing is the total inability by the Democrats to admit ANY possibility of compromise (e.g. refusing to apply Obamacare to Congressional politicians at all let alone under the conditions that expect to apply to innocent, unfavored citizens (those not covered by union plans)). THAT was the last offer made prior to the government shutdown. And, their immediate response to ANY challenge is to insult, defame, lie and fling accusations of the worst motives to any opposition.

  • hombre111

    Blame it all on the Left! Then the Right must know how to do things right. My state has been Right as long as I have been alive, and that is a long, long time. So, why is it near the bottom in education, and in almost every imaginable social and economic category?

    • Adam__Baum

      “So, why is it near the bottom in education, and in almost every imaginable social and economic category?”

      Well, you are there for starters, you quaint reminder of why the 1960’s were a pox on the world.

      Of course, I’m guessing your “red state” is like mine. A couple of “progressive” paradises that are outstandingly bad, but that you aggregate into the rest of the state in order that you can keep raising the hammer and sickle on May Day (which is every day for you).

      • hombre111

        Ad hominem attacks add nothing to the conversation. I am getting bored.

        • Adam__Baum

          Ad hominem, you mean like “red neck”?

    • Art Deco

      You will not tell us which state, so we can neither answer your question nor verify anything you say.

      • hombre111

        Just pick any education, sociological, or economic category. It will be at, or near the bottom. Since only three or four states continually inhabit that dreary, place, your question is answered.

        • thebigdog

          Just answer the question.

        • Art Deco

          This is the personal income per capita of the four most impecunious states as a percentage of the national mean in the years named. Seems they have not been doing badly with regard to comparative economic dynamism over 83 years. One might also ask if British standards of living really render ones locus a hell hole.

          1929: 39.6
          1954: 50.77
          1960: 54.1
          1970: 64.35
          1981: 69.96
          1990: 67.77
          2000: 71.09
          2008: 75.01
          2012: 76.96

          1929: 43.47
          1954: 59.06
          1960: 61.6
          1970: 69.54
          1981: 75.9
          1990: 74.41
          2000: 74.45
          2008: 79.22
          2012: 81.03

          South Carolina
          1929: 38.16
          1954: 64.03
          1960: 62.92
          1970: 74.8
          1981: 76.78
          1990: 81.86
          2000: 82.71
          2008: 81.12
          2012: 80.16

          1929: 45.62
          1954: 62.49
          1960: 67.86
          1970: 72.53
          1981: 77.27
          1990: 80.7
          2000: 79.38
          2008: 82.45
          2012: 82.14

        • Adam__Baum

          Now lets look at a different subdivision, cities. Detroit, Chicago, all the home of far left crazies (I guess that’s repetitive but..)

          • Art Deco

            A weighted average of metrics adhering the whole metropolitan settlement in these loci does not look all that bad. The problem is the core city in both cases. Intra-metropolitan migration has concentrated the slum population in the core city, and., in the case of Detroit, there is scarcely anything but the slum population. The problem is exacerbated by modes of local government finance and the conventional locus of crucial services in municipal government and not in county government or metropolitan authorities.

            And your problem is not ‘far left crazies’. That problem you find in the San Francisco Bay area, or in Madison, Wisc. or in some of the goofier enclaves in and around Boston and New York. Your problem is institutionalized loutishness and embezzlement.

            Someone once said that Paul Castellano was the silent partner in scores of handshake deals but that his successor John Gotti could never build a business; he knew only how to shake them down. I guarantee you the political class in Detroit (and, to a lesser degree, Chicago) has no one with any sophistication in business and few people with a serious vocation to public administration either. You get low-rent lawyers, union meatheads, social workers, school teachers, public education apparatchiks, and mouthy pastors. If I am not mistaken, all the outside trustees of Detroit’s trashed pension system were drawn from one of these categories. These people produce little, but some are passably adept at using their position to line their clients’ pockets (and their own).

            Walter Russell Mead put it this way: “Given the dysfunctional nature of Detroit politics, it’s impossible for outsiders to know whether a public spirited City Council is raising the
            alarm about a genuine scandal, or whether one group of demagogic rent-seekers is complaining that the wrong guys are getting the payola that should rightfully be theirs….the political class spouts blue liberal slogans but appears to have the compassion and generosity of a pack of velociraptors;”

            And if you want tragicomedy, read William Nojay’s account of his tenure as a management consultant working within Detroit’s city government.

            • Adam__Baum

              Nancy Pelosi, is either far left and crazy, or the willing handmaiden of the far left crazies. I agree that there is widespread graft in those areas, but SF gave us Pelosi, Chicago gave us Obama and his fellow travellers. Whatever their motivation, they are always advocating more government to Hombres of the world.
              There’s nothing mutually exclusive about graft and ideology, they can co-exist in symbiotic harmony.

    • Objectivetruth

      Good thing the left has given us greater access (and in many cases free) abortions and contraceptives. Now I can fornicate and kill my baby in the womb….for free!!! Yeaaaaaa all you Democratic liberals such as Obama, Pelosi, Casey, Biden, Boxer!!! Yeaaa!!!

      • chuck

        Making abortions illegal only makes them unsafe for the poor the rich woman will always have safe legal abortions and a nice vacation somewhere !

  • Godmother

    The Marxist dialectic can’t stop. The philosophy requires complete control of everyone and everything with the end justifying the means. When you compromise with them you actually legitimize the process by confirming they are at least partially “right”. Then, it starts all over again. Watch a python catch and eat a meal and you get a sense of what it’s all about.

    • slainte

      Did Marxism (the materialist dialectic) and the Soviet Union really collapse in 1991?

      • Art Deco


      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        The nomenclatura, which had long ceased to believe in dialectical materialism, effectively staged a coup, in which they ended up with the raw materials, industrial infrastructures, the military-industrial complex, the banks and the nightclubs. Everyone else got poverty or emigration.

        • slainte

          Key members (Putin) of the nomenklatura remain in
          control of the Russian state bureaucracy today. What’s changed? While other members of the nomenklatura (Gorbachev) actively function as global power brokers aligned with the United Nations promoting centralized global governance over an increasingly interdependent network of formerly sovereign nations.
          Environmental reform, sustainability, and disarmament are the causes de jour justifying the elevation of a scheme of international laws and regulations which supercede well established sovereign constitutional and local positive laws. Sovereign power is inexorably ceded to distant bureaucracies through congressional fiats and treaties, all without the express knowledge or consent of the people. Twenty years on from the alleged collapse of Soviet communism, the world looks increasingly more like the old Soviet Union, all without firing a single shot.

          It was Gorbachev who told the Politburo in 1987:

          “Gentlemen, comrades, do not be concerned about all you hear about glasnost and perestroika and democracy in the coming years. These are primarily for outward consumption. There will be no significant change in the Soviet Union, other than for cosmetic purposes. Our aim is to disarm the Americans and let them fall asleep.” .

          KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s concluded in “The Perestroika
          Deception” (1990):

          “The Soviet strategy of ‘perestroika’ must be exposed because it is deceptive, aggressive, and dangerous. Gorbachev and ‘glastnost’ have failed to reveal that ‘perestroika’ is a world-wide political assault against the Western democracies…. It must be revealed that ‘perestroika’ is … not just Soviet domestic renewal but a strategy for ‘restructuring’ the whole world…. Gorbachev’s renunciation of ideological orthodoxy is not sincere or lasting,
          but a tactical manoeuvre in the cause of the strategy. The Soviets are not striving for genuine, lasting accommodation with the Western democracies but for the final world victory of Communism…”

          • Art Deco

            Vladimir Putin was a rank and file employee of the security services, not a ‘key member of the nomenklatura’. The political economy in Russia is troubled in various ways, but structurally quite different from what it was 25 years ago.

            Nor is Russian society particularly poor on a global scale at this time. Per capita income (even deducting extractive industries) is at a point between the most affluent Latin American countries and the least affluent west European countries.

    • Art Deco

      Marxism is inconsequential. The problem we have has some features in common with communist systems – a ‘new class’ of officialdom with little regard for popular preferences – but it is much more eclectic than Marxism in its ideology.

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  • Margaret Del Debbio

    It is a fact that the U.S. did not implement a Democratic Party national health care system paid for in part through taxes and by implementing preventative practices and the elimination of insurance company overhead and billing costs. It is also a fact that the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act matches a Republican Party Massachusetts Health Care Reform in such instances as individual and business mandates and penalties, subsidized insurance, youth staying on until 26, forbidding retroactive rescinding of
    coverage, coverage of pre-existing conditions, and, most important, maintaining the private insurance system. It therefore cannot be factually asserted, as your article attempts to do, that the left “typically refuses to compromise, as the continuing struggle over Obamacare has made evident. ‘ Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, is the compromise. Your additional assertion, “that the political left, … has gained almost complete control over the Democratic party,” thus lacks plausibility, at least in this example of health care reform. When premises are based on a misrepresentation or ignorance of facts people who are wise rethink their premises.