The ungrateful on Memorial Day

The ungrateful on Memorial Day

While the rest of us were remembering our honored dead on Memorial Day, at Vox Nova, Nate was “grateful for my freedom, but ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom.”

The Irish Elk captures my thoughts on the whole blog.

Do liberation theology-reading anarcho-pacifists who quote Dorothy Day while demanding America renounce military force feel that revolutionary movements like the Sandinistas should likewise have laid down their arms?

Were Catholic priests who aided and abetted armed Marxist revolution failing in their Christian duty? Is violence bad when committed by the nursing Sandinista mother above with the AK-47? Or is violence committed by the American military somehow worse?

And if America encourages a national mythology, paraded on holidays like Memorial Day, do anarcho-pacifists rely at least as much on their own myth, of Uncle Sam as reactionary imperialist Monopoly Guy?

There was some angst a couple of years ago that the blogosphere was dominated by conservative Catholic blogs and that there wasn’t nearly as many liberal ones. Looks like they’re making up ground.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
40 comments
  • The pacifists would tend to strongly condemn violence in the name of liberation theology too. The “left” is no more monolithic than the “right” in this regard – there are pacificists in each “side” and there are those who accept various degrees of the use of lethal force by (1) individuals in self-defense, or (2) legitimate authority in collective defense. Then there are those who embrace violence more enthusiastically than the Church currently is inclined to applaud. As best I could tell, the voices over at Vox Nova don’t seem to be hypocritical in their positions, and in fact seem to be quite capable of underscoring the tensions within them. You may not agree with them, but the scrutinies they are undertaking should be welcome nonetheless.

  • Domenico,

    If you must think simplistically in binomials such as “liberal” and “conservative,” then by all means do so.  Not apropos of analyzing Catholic social thought which tends to shatter such categories.  But I’ll indulge you.  If you pay attention to Vox Nova, you’ll see a very diverse group ranging from “liberal” (Nate, Michael) to “moderate” (me, Katerina, Natalie, MZ Forrest) to “conservative” (Jonathon, Sia).  But one thing you’ll never find is heterodoxy.  I invite you to read more before labelling our blog with convenient American political categories.

  • I wasn’t the one talking about liberal and conservative. I’m just repeating the common refrain. However, since what you’re dealing with on your blog is apparently politics, then convenient political categories are … convenient. I’ll admit that I’m not sure that a “Catholic anarchist” would even qualify as a liberal, but then I think it’s a contradiction in terms anyway.

    Frankly, from my perspective the range you profess at the blog is left to moderate, but, hey, you can describe yourself as you want. I don’t plan on reading it and just wanted to point out the Irish Elk’s interesting reply to the general tone of the anarchists and Nate’s “ingratitude.”

  • Domenico,

    I’d ask that you consider editing your post to put my quote into context.  The entire post was about resolving contradictory feelings rather than smugly accepting hypocrisy.  It also concluded that my freedoms were not secured by the violence of warfare, but rather through the sacrifice of Christ.

    I understand if you disagree with my thoughts and feelings, but there’s no reason to take one line of my multiple paragraph post and turn it into something it isn’t, and to give commentary that has nothing to do with the substance of my thought, but rather judges me as some sort of revolutionary marxist.

    You’ll find my response to Irish Elk’s false judgments on his blog.  I am not a liar – if I say that I abhor violence, then it doesn’t matter who commits the violence – Americans or Sandinistas or anyone else.

  • Domenico,

    If your impression is that Vox Nova is “left to moderate,” then you clearly have not read it.  If you had, you would have noticed the rather conservatively-minded posts from Soutenus (an avowed liberterian and free-market capitalist) and Jonathon (conservative-liberterian tendencies and openly supportive of the Iraq War).

    But if you have no interest in reading our blog, which frankly does not suprise me based upon the socio-political insularism of your own blog, by all means remain in the comfort and safety of your enclave of the similar.

  • “I remain ungrateful for war, its bloodshed, and its death. But my prayer is that I will always find the grace to be grateful for Christ’s victory upon the cross, for the blood shed upon it, and for the freedoms it has purchased.”

    I agree there is a hypocritical element to “leftist” politics and activism: their one-sided accusations during the nuclear disarmament campaigns in the 1980s, their silence about the plight of the victims in Cambodia and the boat people following the fall of South Vietnam, their eagerness to be human shields in Iraq in early 2003 (where are they now to stop the suicide bombers), on and on and on…

    I, however, read the post at Vox Nova as being written by someone struggling to make sense of war and violence in light of our call to love one and other and to love our enemies.

    This is a great struggle we all encounter and all face at a certain level. Sometimes it plays out in front of us on the larger world stage.

    Over the past year, I have read (and continue to read) the encyclicals, “The Gospel of Life” and “God is Love.” How do we as individuals and as a broader society and nation live the “Gospel of Life” and show others that “God is Love” with all of the conflict around us? That is a challenge we all face and one that is hard for me to understand and grasp.

    “Even in their bewilderment and failure to understand the world around them, Christians continue to believe in the ‘goodness and loving kindness of God.’ Immersed like everyone else in the dramatic complexitiy of historical events, they remain unshakably certain that God is our Father and loves us, even when his silence remains incomprehensible.” (Pope Benedict XVI, “God is Love”).

  • “It also concluded that my freedoms were not secured by the violence of warfare, but rather through the sacrifice of Christ.”

    You are conflating two different meanings of the word “freedom”, political and spiritual. One can be spiritually free but not politically free. Consider St Maximilian Kolbe in Auschwitz. Conversely, there are plenty of Americans who are politically free but not spiritually free.

    But don’t you see, those are two separate conversations. It is very dangerous to conflate the two realms, political and spiritual. Christ said his kingdom is not that of this world, a response to Pontius Pilate who was worried Christ was setting himself up in opposition to Caesar.

    Christ also said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Therefore, I think it is entirely appropriate to give to secular political institutions, such as the military, the honor that is due to them in their proper realm. Men and women died so that I may live. That is truly living the Gospel message: greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.

    For me it boils down to this: If your family were walking down the street and were accosted by an individual who wanted to rape and kill your wife and daughter, would you fight to defend them?

    If you answer yes, then you agree that we have not only a right but an obligation to fight to protect the innocent and defenseless and it’s just a question of scale.

    If you would stand by and let them be accosted, then I have no words for you, no respect for you and further conversation is pointless.

    This is the basic duty of a man: to protect the innocent at the cost of his own life. It’s what Adam failed to do for Eve, it’s what Christ did for his Bride.

  • Well, the point of pacifists (I am not one) is that Christ did not wield violence to defend his Bride but *suffered* violence, and that is a huge category distinction. Pacificism has a long and honored position as a kind of evangelical counsel in the Catholic/Christian tradition – priests and clerics and religious were for many centuries forbidden to fight or draw blood in violence, et cet. (the Eastern traditions, IIRC, kept these strictures longer than we did in the West). The Catholic tradition came up with the Just War doctrine to accommodate multiple ways of embracing the virtue of Justice (something that people who criticise that doctrine almost always fail to place it in that proper context). The Church would not necessarily as a sin of omission someone who chose a non-violent path to pursue Justice. And then the issue of collective action in pursuit of Justice raises additional issues that pacifists may or may not persuasively critique. But certain types of pacificism are not entirely outside our Tradition.

  • First off, “liberal” and “conservative” are secular ideological terms with no meaning in Catholic discourse. If you want to get pedantic, the kind of individualistic laissez faire position twinned with a militaristic nationalism (the ideology of the current American right) is a historically liberal one, opposed by the Church.

    And if you cannot see the wide diversity on Vox Nova…. open your eyes!

  • So liberal and conservative labels are bad, but anarchist and libertarian are okay.

    Since Vox Nova purports to offer “Catholic perspectives on society, culture and <span style=“font-weight:bold;”>politics</span>,” why is it so objectionable to use political labels, especially when most of those people have used political labels on themselves on their own blogs. Or is it just the particular labels I used that are objectionable? I suppose “liberal” (not in the classical sense, which I do know, thank you very much) is a pejorative these days.

    Seems inconsistent to me.

    As for the vaunted diversity, I see one post after another expressing what most would call left-wing points of view on prudential matters of politics and society. Care to give an accounting of how many posts come from the left versus how many come from the right?

  • “grateful for my freedom, but ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom.”

    Indeed.  Well, I’ll remember that when I think about the gallant men who died so you can spout off your nonsensical rhetoric.  Or better yet, you write the letters to the family members of the folks who died fighting for your freedom.  That was one part of the job I detested.  I am sure you could do a much better job that I ever did, especially when you tell them their son/husband/brother died for no real reason.

    Christ’s Sacrifice freed us from the bondage of sin, but not from the tyranny of evil men.  Your defense from that is those individuals who choose to place their bodies between the evil of the world and you, those who choose to do nothing but rely upon others for protection, and then complain about how they protect you.

    The asinine assertions on your website that somehow assisting someone being assaulted by using violence is in itself wrong… I am at a loss for words.  What are you supposed to do, ask the bloke who is raping the poor lass to stop, and explain how it isn’t right for him to express his rage in that manner?  I have two words for you… Kitty Genovese.

    Is violence the best solution?  No.  Is it sometimes the only solution?  Yes.  Should we try to find ways to avoid violence?  Yes.  But as members of the human race, everyone had best face up to the fact, the cold hard fact, that there are people out there who mean to do violence unto you.  You can choose to refuse to react, in which case you will be annihilated and your cause forgotten (except that maybe you screamed out for help, but everyone was too righteous to help).  History is like that.  Or you can fight.  It’s just that simple, and no amount of wishful pettifogging will change that hard fact.  If you think that denying cold, hard fact will earn you a martyr’s death… well, we’ll see come the great gettin’ up morning, I guess, whether it is truly a martyr’s death, or just some silly sod who wouldn’t stand up for himself.

    Personally, I’ll say a rosary for the souls of the departed who fought for my freedom, just as I do every week.  And say a heartfelt, “Thank you,” to the folks who didn’t make it back.  Some of their names are etched into my soul forever.

    I know this should have been written over on “Nate’s” blog, but having visited there once, I have little stomach to return.

    Hooah!

  • Domenico,

    You are misleading your readers, as Andy’s post shows.  Please change your post to put my quote in its context.  You’re a journalist?  Before cutting and pasting the quote, did you read and digest what I wrote?  I have a difficult time believing that you want to smear me, and I’ve been assuming that you’ve either not read what I wrote, or not understood what I’ve wrote.  All the other people who commented – including a relative of yours, understand that the quote was meant not to show a conclusion about my feelings, but to show an unresolved tension that I was battling.

    Andy, please read my post, or if you have read it once, I’d ask that you read it again to get a better understanding of what I was communicating.

  • Please read my article again.  Ask someone you trust if you are off-board on this.  Try to practice Christian humility, and double check your understanding – which you know for a fact is different than my understanding.

    Who is better equipped to understand and summarize my own thoughts.  You?  Me?

    The fact is that you’ve taken the quote out of its context, that you’ve quoted some sort of diatribe against me that bears no relation to my actual life or beliefs, and that you’ve been asked twice now to correct yourself but maintain that you couldn’t possibly be wrong.

  • Sir, I visited your site, and read for myself.  I don’t like relying on secondary sources… one of the problems of being a historian.  What I read made me sick, and as a result, you want me to go read it AGAIN?  Maybe, just maybe, as you must frequently ask people to re-read what you wrote, maybe you should re-write your diatribe to accurately reflect what you mean, since so many people have obviously misunderstood you.  When too many of an author’s audience “don’t get it,” it’s time for a rewrite.

    But I believe that it already means exactly what you meant it to say.  You are ungrateful to the men and women who have had to fight to protect your freedom.  You say that Europe doesn’t have this odd feeling towards its soldiers.  Why?  Because American soldiers freed Europe from Nazism and fascism in the 40s, and we were the only bloody thing keeping them from speaking Russian and eating borscht during the Cold War.  It’s easy to be pacifist when someone steps up and says they will fight for you.

    I have been misled in nothing, sir.  If I do not agree with what your post, it is because I find its reasoning infantile and completely lacking in understanding of how the world REALLY works.  And BTW, keep on writing.  Enjoy that freedom that was bought with the blood of many, many people, some of them ones I led.  Whether you appreciate it or not, the successors of these same people stand ready to keep you free… whether you deserve it or not.

    So how about just saying “Thank you,” and letting it go at that?

  • Nate,

    How much of your blog entry should Domenic quote in order for your opinions to be presented in their proper context? Maybe you could provide the full quote that you think is adequate to express your opinions here in the comments section.

    The link he’s provided allows his readers to read the entire article. That’s about as much context as anyone could hope for.

    Intellectual property law and internet custom have generally led to the practice of quoting the words a writer feels are relevant to the point he is making and then providing a link to the full text to provide context.

    All quotes are taken out of context. If Domenic were quoting you and not providing a link by which readers could read what you’d written, I could understand your beef. But not only does Domenic provide a link to the full text of your article, he’s also providing you this handy forum in which you can further explain your thoughts and engage in discourse with persons whom you feel are misunderstanding your point.

    Like Andy says, if you feel people are misunderstanding what you are trying to say, rather than simply disagreeing with your point, perhaps it is because your words do not adequately express your thoughts. Might be time for a re-write.

  • 90% of the comments I’ve seen have a good level of understanding of my post, and address the issues it raises.

    However, I agree with what you guys say about rewriting things.  But Melanie – I think you understood what I was writing about, and tackled my assertions head on.  Hopefully I’ll be able to reply soon.

    Andy, your comments are a good indicator that I may need to rewrite and clarify my thoughts for you.  But you’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in engaging my ideas intellectually.  You’re interested in degrading my beliefs and feeling.  It seems to me that your attitude is the source of your misunderstanding – not my writing.

    To put the quote in context is simple:  “I agree with what you guys say about re-writing things.  Melanie – I think you understood what I was writing about, and tackled my assertion head on.  Andy, your comments are a good indicator that I may need to rewrite and clarify my thoughts for you, and others like you.”

    And so I am torn. I am grateful for my freedom, but ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom. There are only a few ways out of this conflict . . .

    The statement you quoted, DB, is contradictory.  You quote me as believing in something utterly indefensible.  The entire post is about coming to come to some sort of coherent understanding of my freedom and my world.  To quote the incoherence as if it sums up my belief is absurdity.  It means, essentially, that you are calling me a liar – for I lay out exactly what I do believe:

    “In spite of the bloodshed committed in the name of freedom, I remain free – individually, socially, politically, because of the blood shed by Christ and his countless disciples throughout the ages.”

    Do you see how this contradicts the statement you quote as defining my beliefs? 

    “ungrateful for the violence done to secure that fredom”

    vs.

    “I remain free – individually, socially, politically, because of the blood shed by Christ”

    Melanie understood my point just fine.  She disagreed, but she didn’t pretend that I believed in an absurd contradiction.  She understands that conclusions come at the end of reflections, not at the beginning of them.

    When you quote on your website that “I remain ungrateful for the violence done to secure those freedoms,” you are incorrectly attributing to me a belief that I do not have. 

    The full quote shows that this was an reflection of a torn heart – not the conclusion of a leftist revolutionary.

  • Apparently, to put the quote into context is not so simple.  Here’s what I’d like to see:

    ”And so I am torn. I am grateful for my freedom, but ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom. There are only a few ways out of this conflict . . . ”

  • You still don’t get it. I never said it summed up the totality of your beliefs. I quoted the essence of your post as I saw it and then quoted the Irish Elk’s response to, not just your post, but to all the anarcho-pacifist drivel on your blogs.

    If you statement is self-contradictory, then that’s your own fault. Whether you are “torn” over it or not, you state the conflict in your own words.

    My wife can speak for herself, but she told me that there is no disagreement between me and her on understanding your post, so you’re wrong to posit a difference between our approaches. Again, that indicates to me that the problem is in your post and your reading of other peoples’ responses and not in my very brief quote.

    That you are getting bent out of shape about this on my blog over a small quote of you and another blogger speaks volumes in itself.

  • It’s humbling to have to keep correcting my errors.  DB, your quote is that on Memorial Day, Nate was . . . “ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom.”

    The full quote shows that this was an reflection of a torn heart – not the conclusion of a leftist revolutionary:

    “And so I am torn. I am grateful for my freedom, but ungrateful for the violence done to secure that freedom. There are only a few ways out of this conflict . . . “

    At this point, days after the event, I think a retraction and apology would be more charitable than a correction.

  • Nate: You’re delusional. I did nothing uncharitable nor have I done anything that needs retraction or for which I need to apologize.

    Did you write the words I quoted? Yes. If you regret having written it that way or having phrased it in the way you did, then you have to deal with it.

    Frankly, every response to your post I’ve seen here and on other blogs has been in general accord with what I took from what you wrote.

    You need realize that nobody really cares about this little tiff. All you’re doing by dragging this out is making the situation worse. Just drop it.

  • I won’t drop it, because this is a matter of truth, and you are wrong. 

    So much of what you write is factually incorrect.  For instance, your latest comment:

    “every response to your post I’ve seen here and on other blogs has been in general accord with what I took from what you wrote. “

    Every response?

    This is one of the reasons I joined Vox Nova – to counter the daily misinformation that I read in the Catholic blogosphere day after day.  It is important that we fight for truth – no matter how small it might seem.

  • Yes, Nate, every response I’ve seen. I won’t claim to have read everything out there. Frankly, I don’t care enough about your writing to go seeking out every response.

    I’m glad you feel like you’re on a quest to save the blogosphere from misinformation, but perhaps a little humility might be in order to realize that perhaps you (a) might not know everything (b) that others might know more and (c) that you might be wrong. In this case, you are wrong because you have no idea what I’ve seen.

  • Incidentally you did to me exactly what you accuse me of doing. I said “Every response I’ve seen” and you responded to “every response.” Now do I get bent out of shape at you for quoting me out of context? No, because I assume that everyone can read what I actually wrote by looking at my actual comment.

    Try not to trip over the irony on your way out.

  • “Andy, your comments are a good indicator that I may need to rewrite and clarify my thoughts for you.  But you’ve made it clear that you’re not interested in engaging my ideas intellectually.  You’re interested in degrading my beliefs and feeling.  It seems to me that your attitude is the source of your misunderstanding – not my writing.”

    I love it!  My attitude is the reason that I cannot understand what you wrote!  I always thought the hallmark of a good writer was being able to sway his readers to understand his POV, even if they don’t agree with it.  Now we have to agree with you before we understand you.

    In spite of my better judgment, I went back to your site.  A phrase I saw repeatedly was “Killing is never an option, dying is.”  At least you do not seem to ascribe to the old adage “violence never settles anything.”  Violence has settled more issues in human history than any other force.  For you to simply give up and die, well, that is your option as a human being.  I feel it to be the wrong decision, but hey… to each his own.

    I choose to fight.  Again, my choice.  I chose to fight to protect people who, apparently don’t value the service I gave.  That’s fine, too.  But, think on this…

    You state, “I remain free – individually, socially, politically, because of the blood shed by Christ.” 

    In a purely philosophical/theological sense there is truth to that statement.  But we don’t live in the world of philosophy and theology.  We live in a world of evil and danger, with evil and dangerous men who would love nothing better than to do ill to innocents.  From a purely practical sense, you are free because people have ensured that freedom, paying for it with their blood.  You wail and bemoan the enemy dead.  That is your right.  But it is silly to expect a combat vet to bemoan the lives of the people he’s killed who did their level best to kill him first.

    Apparently, I hurt your feelings with some of the comments I made.  Well, I will always ridicule and scorn absurd ideas, for that is what they deserve.  Your tantrums here on Dom’s blog are a testimony to your lack of understanding of what actually constitutes intellectual discourse.  If you want to convince someone, you don’t tell them that they don’t understand what you wrote.  That is a bit condescending and off-putting.  Reformulate your argument and try again.  You are sure you’re right.  I am sure I am right.  You don’t convince me.  Work on it. 

    I seldom post here, usually preferring to sit back and enjoy the news, opinions and commentary.  But your posts struck me entirely wrong.  You upbraided Dom for saying it, but I’ll back him… it is an essentially leftist pacifist mindset, and there is no cure.  Short of you being placed in a “fight or die” scenario.  And I really hope that does not happen.  For either you will die, or someone will intervene on your behalf, use violence, and end up being berated on your site.  I pity you, sir, and your tenuous existence predicated upon the niceness of strangers.

  • After some food and tea and rest, I feel little more clarity on this entire subject.

    First, I want to say that it’s really my prayer that fraternal love can be at the heart of any discussion we have.  I feel like I haven’t lived up to that standard, and though I’ve spoken from the heart, speaking from the heart doesn’t make one right – nor does it make one respectful towards others.  I don’t want to back down from truth, but I do want to be gentle and kind at the same time – because love is both.  I sincerely apologize for being neither gentle nor kind with my comments.  I’m not just saying that.  When I see discussions turn sour like they did in this one, and go away having pangs of conscience for what I’ve written, I know that I haven’t lived up to the love that Christ calls me to.

    I’m going to be writing a post about what I learned from these exchanges, and the importance of fighting for objective truth.

    But to address it here:

    The thing about objective truth is that it includes accurate descriptions of people’s subjective feelings. 

    Domenico, your post makes perfect sense from your perspective.  If I understand you correctly, my thoughts about where my freedom comes from are a little irrelevant to you.  You already know where my freedoms come from – from the sacrifice of soldiers.  Therefore, I am ungrateful for that sacrifice.  It doesn’t matter what I wrote or what I feel, as much as the fact that I don’t recognize that the soldier’s sacrifice led to my freedom – and am therefore ungrateful.

    I hope that this is a somewhat accurate assessment of your perspective.  I’m trying to look at it through your eyes.

    To continue, I think that your thoughts are logical and understandable, but flawed in one respect:  your post’s title and content seem to be about how Nate feels (ungrateful), when in actuality it is a judgment of who Nate is (an ungrateful person).

    Your post seems to be about an objective truth about a subjective feeling – that Nate feels ungrateful for the blood shed on his behalf.  But for your post to be objectively true about my feelings, it would have to include those feelings in an accurate way – from my point of view, not yours.

    I think I would be entirely comfortable if you had simply said that I was ungrateful without quoting me as saying I was ungrateful.  By quoting me, you seem to be saying that this is how Nate feels, and Nate admits it.  By quoting me, you seem to be passing on a piece of information about how Nate feels towards warriors.

    But in actuality, you’ve made a judgment that Nate is simply ungrateful for his freedoms.

    I know this is long winded, but do you see what I’m trying to communicate?

    To summarize:

    By quoting me, you seem to be passing on my subjective feelings. But in actuality, you are making an objective judgment of my person.

    If you want to talk about how I feel (and by your title and quote, you give the impression that you are) – I think you need to be accurate about how I feel.  If you want to make a judgment of my person, then that’s fine.  But there’s a crucial distinction there. 

    If you want to make a judgment of me, then a better quote would be:  Nate is “grateful for my freedom”, but “ungrateful for war, its bloodshed, and its death.”  At this point, you could say – “Nate wants to disconnect freedom from war, but you just can’t do it.  He’s spoiled and childish, and needs to accept the real world.”

    Of course, then my comments would be about how I didn’t think that wars gave me freedom – which is the essential point of my post.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughts!  I’ll try to answer your comments, Andy and Monica!

  • Actually, my initial comment was with the understanding Nate is underscoring, and I pointed out that tension was being brought out by Nate. I felt the snipped version did not bring that out.

  • Nate: You’re reading a whole lot of intention into a couple of words. I didn’t put much thought into whether I was addressing your feelings or your ontological person. I found your whole post to be objectionable and specious, but I didn’t want to spend time dismantling the errors I saw in it one by one.

    (I don’t mean that to be insulting to you as a person. It’s your intellectual arguments I’m addressing.)

    What I did want to do was point out the untenability of someone claiming to be a Christian anarchist, and the mindset I saw creeping out on Vox Nova in my brief perusal of the site, but I found the Irish Elk’s response to sum it up much neater than I could.

    That’s when the storm broke out in my combox and people insisted on attributing malice where there was none.

    I’m also slightly amused by the denizens of Vox Nova complaining about my use of political descriptors for the various points of view at the site, when in fact you all claim to want to discuss politics.

    Oh and my wife’s name is Melanie, not Monica. St. Monica, pray for us.

  • Well, Domenico, your outlook is surely colored by your tendency to parrot American right wing talking points. I guarantee you that in the global Catholic world, Vox Nova is quite diverse, and very mainstream. I would suggest you get beyond the narrow confines of the American right. It’s a big world out there.

  • My apologies to you, Melanie.  St. Monica, pray for us!

    Domenico, I’m not trying to criticize your intentions.  I’m trying to get to the heart of our disagreement, which I think stems from your perspectives rather than intention. 

    The main point of my post is that war does not purchase freedom, yet the quote you chose gives the opposite impression.

  • Gee, Minion, and here I thought I was just expressing my thought-out and deeply held beliefs based on personal study and edification. But if you say I’m just parroting talking points, I must be. Thank you for your analysis.

    Now you apparently have the habit of making snap judgments about people’s knowledge and deeply held beliefs based on nothing more than your mere opinion. How’s the shoe fit on the other foot.

    Nate: See, the point is that you are wrong, because you don’t make distinctions. There are different kinds of freedoms, including spiritual freedoms and political freedoms. Now Christ encompasses them all (all our freedoms are inherently God given), but freedoms are not necessarily maintained without personal cost to individuals and nations. And so the quote—which is your very words—encapsulates the problem in your post, whether you intended it to or not.

  • Snap judgments? I see nothing on your blog that reflects more than a standard American right-wing analysis (complete with condescension toward the rest of the world). Go and see what Catholics in other countries think. It’s a big world beyond your bubble.

  • And that’s why I call it a snap judgment. You insult me again and again, essentially calling me a jingoistic automaton incapable of coming to certain conclusions on my own that are well-reasoned and based on the truth and of being a backwards boob who doesn’t pay attention to anything outside the borders of his own country.

    That just illustrates your own ignorance, especially since there is no way you’ve read all of the several thousands blog posts I’ve written in the past six years as well as all the articles and editorials I’ve written in more than the past decade in order to come to a conclusion on what I do and do not believe. You’ve made a snap judgment on a very thin slice of evidence.

    The only reason you have disdain for my beliefs is because they don’t reflect your own beliefs. You are as insular and close-minded as you accuse me of being.

  • Hmmm…interesting argument that past few days.
    Seems early on in the comments that Dom was accused of thinking simplistically by using political labels such as liberal and conservative, yet some (or at least one) on the “other side” have no qualms of using simplistic labels such as right-wing.

    Again, I do read the initial post at Vox Nova as showing an individual, perhaps very much a liberal in a political sense (I don’t really know), struggling with what it means to be a Christian in a world full of violence, in a world—where sadly—we seem to need to act violently in response to a crisis.

    “Often we cannot understand why God refrains from intervening. Yet he does not prevent us from crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Pope Benedict XVI)

  • Domenico, you said, “Nate: See, the point is that you are wrong . . . And so the quote—which is your very words—encapsulates the problem in your post, whether you intended it to or not.”

    I don’t want to take your words the wrong way, so let me clarify how I understand them:  You quoted my words without referencing my intended meaning, in order to encapsulate your judgment of my point as wrong.

    Before giving my objection, I’d appreciate your help in clarifying whether my understanding of your words is correct, incorrect, or somewhere in between.  I hope I haven’t put words in your mouth, but I have tried to phrase them in a way that will make it easier to explain my objection.

  • Sorry, Domenico, but you jumped the shark when you accused the IPCC report as “lies” and used the evidence based on a science fiction writer to back up your claim. And then you claim measures to reduce emissions would “wreak havoc on the global economy” while ignoring the conclusions of the Stern review. Thin evidence, perhaps, but pretty damning.

  • Because of course a science fiction writer who also happens to be a college professor and a syndicated columnist could never have any competence outside science fiction. (And your accusation relies on only one post I ever wrote on the subject of climate change, but since you haven’t actually read my blog for that long, you don’t know that.)

    So, Minion, in order to be consistent you’ll have to prove to me that you have some competence in climatology and also in political science and/or philosophy. But of course you can’t or won’t and thus your hypocrisy is shown because you demand of others what you won’t do yourself and you hold others to standards you won’t hold yourself, i.e. You accused me of using inappropriate ideological labels while labeling me as a “right-winger”.

    This little puppet show has gone on long enough.

  • Domenico, you said, “Nate: See, the point is that you are wrong . . . And so the quote—which is your very words—encapsulates the problem in your post, whether you intended it to or not.”

    I don’t want to take your words the wrong way, so let me clarify how I understand them:  You quoted my words without referencing my intended meaning, in order to encapsulate your judgment of my point as wrong.

    Before giving my objection, I’d appreciate your help in clarifying whether my understanding of your words is correct, incorrect, or somewhere in between.  I hope I haven’t put words in your mouth, but I have tried to phrase them in a way that will make it easier to explain my objection.

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