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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Sharia Law: American-Style

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government
God gives us rights that are "unalienable", that is, even if we wanted someone to take them away, these rights cannot be removed from us. We do not have the ability to throw away these rights, nor does anyone have the ability to strip those rights from us.

Now, people can kill us. But, when they kill us, they violate our rights by killing us. You can take the thing itself, but you never actually have the right to take it.

So, let us say you create a legal contract wherein you become someone else's slave, perhaps for some payment, perhaps for some other reason. It doesn't matter. That contract cannot be enforced in a court of law. No matter how much you insist you want to do it, you do not have the ability to consent to become a slave. No American court would recognize the contract, nor would they recognize your consent as valid.

Keep in mind, however, that Muslim courts would recognize a right to self-enslavement precisely because Islam does not recognize that individual people have unalienable rights.

Unalienable rights come from God, they are endowed by our Creator. The Founding Fathers were not Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or Taoist. Insofar as they were familiar with any religious tradition, it was purely and only the Christian tradition. They lived in a purely Christian culture.

The Declaration of Independence does not list all of our unalienable rights, just three. But, as the Founding Fathers pointed out in the Declaration, we can determine what our other rights are by looking to the source of our rights: the Christian God.

Once we do that, we can see not only what rights we have, but also what rights we do not have. So, just as no one has the right to contract themselves into slavery, so, in a like manner, no one has the right to consent to homosexual activity.

Now, anyone can engage in homosexual activity, but no one has the right to do so.  In that sense, homosexual activity is identical to rape or slavery. It is an act that cannot be consented to. No one has a right to engage in it.

Again, keep in mind that just as Muslim courts recognize a right to enslave others, so Muslim courts recognize a right to rape, even a duty to rape. For instance, Islam recognizes a duty for the jailer to rape a virginal woman in prison facing execution. Virgins cannot be executed. A virginal woman must be raped in order to carry out her execution and keep her out of Paradise. Thus, the jailer has a duty to "marry" and rape his prisoner before she is executed. He is advised to repeat verses from the Koran during the rape, so as not to become contaminated by her impurity while he helps guarantee her eternal end.

Only Christians believe in divinely endowed, unalienable rights. Islam is what a culture looks like when it fails to recognize the Christian concept of divinely endowed, unalienable rights.

Now, American courts have begun to imitate Muslim courts. American courts now recognize a right to rape in certain circumstances. Because homosexual activity cannot be consented to, every act of homosexual sex is an act of homosexual rape.  No one has a right to rape. But, American courts, like Muslim courts, now recognize the right, under certain circumstances, to rape.

In short, American courts are now no more nor less insane than Muslim courts.
Thus, we can now see the homosexual "rights" movement is simply the American version of sharia law. If you've ever wondered why liberals like sharia law, you have the answer. They may or may not like the details, but they very much like the principles.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Defining "Consent"

One's choice of consensual sexual expression is a freedom-of-conscience issue that must be respected, if we expect others to respect our own freedom of conscience.
Can you see the hidden assumption in the statement above?


It assumes that we share a common definition of  "consent" But what if we don't? For instance, what if two men consensually decide that one of them should be cannabilized, that one man should have parts of his own body carved off him while he is still alive, and both men then cook and consume the parts? What if that is a consensual action? Does society have no right to interfere?

This is not an academic question. Exactly these kinds of cases have been popping up during the 21st century. Google "Armin Meiwes" - a homosexual who used wants ads to find a like-minded homosexual, and both proceeded to act exactly as I have described.  Now, Armin was prosecuted and jailed (so much for consent), but this Japanese cook was not. So, in terms of consent, which country did the right thing? The Germans? Or the Japanese?

What constitutes consensual? For Islam, an eight-year old girl can be given to a fifty year old man for marriage and sex. For libertarians, there is no legal problem with two individuals who enter into a private contract wherein one freely sells himself into lifetime slave-bondage to the second one.

So, therein lies the problem - even if we agree that "consensual" makes something acceptable (an incredibly stupid definition, but let's go with it), we are still left with the problem that not everyone agrees on the definition of "consensual". Some insist on elements (age, mental capacity, etc.) that others deny are necessary.

Without a Christian substrate to judge the relative merits, there is no way to determine who is correct. No matter which side wins, the win is arbitrary. Why should person A's values be held acceptable over person B's values? To ask the question is to despair of an answer. The conundrum is purely rhetorical.

Modern-day libertines, such as those that populate our political and intellectual classes (such as they are), tend to legalize stupid, insane behaviour for a simple reason: they intend on acting badly, but if they can define even more outrageous behaviour as acceptable, then their own behaviour will get a pass. So, they see no serious problem with using public definitions that make their own personal definitions seem reasonable. That's how we get legal contraception, abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, euthanasia, and a host of other socially destructive behaviours out in the public square.

Sure, all of these things lead to social breakdown, but at least our fearless leaders get to do what they want. And isn't that why society exists - to give them their hearts' desires, without fear of social disdain? 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Should Women Be Educated?

Among rad-trads, there is a certain level of opposition to female education. Their idea is that women shouldn't go to college, young women should instead get married between the ages of, say, 16 and 21, and start popping out babies. FYI, canon law (Can.  1083 §1.) sets the minimum age for marriage for women at 14, minimum age of marriage for men at 16.

Now, I love babies more than pretty much anyone I know, but preventing women from getting an education will only get you a lot of dead babies (see here or here, for instance).

It is very well-known that the more educated the woman, the less likely her infants are to die (see here, for instance). High education among women greatly decreases infant mortality. Infants get sick, and when they do, you want an educated person there to take care of that baby. An uneducated mother won't have the skills necessary to prevent a baby from falling ill, properly assess a sick baby's needs, nor correctly handle the infant's illness. So, if you want those babies to live, you better educate their mothers: the more, the better.

But, as is also very well-known, educating women has a downside in reference to fertility. Not only does education take time - a woman in the classroom is, by definition, not at home taking care of children - the increased infant survival rate actually decreases family size and female fertility.

You see, when infant mortality is high (as it has been for nearly all of human history), parents have a lot of kids, because they don't know which ones will survive to adulthood. Family size is large, fertility rates are high because there are a lot of dead babies between the ages of one and five. But when infant mortality is low, parents stop having many children because they can be sure the few they have WILL survive to adulthood. They don't need the insurance policy of a large family. So, female education correlates to high infant survival. High infant survival correlates to low female fertility rates.

But therein lies the NEXT problem. All other things being equal, large family size is very well correlated with high numbers of priests and nuns. Small family size correlates to lower vocations to Holy Orders and religious vows. When fertility rates drop, the Catholic Church ends up with fewer priests and nuns. A LOT fewer priests and nuns.

So, the Catholic is caught betwixt and between. We certainly want low infant death rates, but we ALSO certainly want large family size so priestly vocations don't fall off.  From a cultural perspective, nobody knows how to get both.

Many rad-trads don't understand how the correlations work, they just know that female education is somehow interfering with Catholic family life, thus the absurd and useless proposal that women shouldn't pursue an education. Ripping education out of women's hands is NOT a Catholic solution. When a solution is found, it will undoubtedly involve training up people who come from small families up to live as sacrificially as do those from large families.

That's a problem in how to educate parents, not a problem in how to prevent them from being educated. Anyone who advocates uneducated adults is advocating an essentially non-Catholic "solution", a "solution" that actually makes everything much, much worse.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why Libertarianism is Stupid

Libertarians don't want "big government" interfering in private contracts. This creates certain problems for the libertarian.

Assume we have two people who wish to enter into a private contract. One of the two wants to sell himself into slavery to the other. According to libertarian principles, no one has a right to interfere in that contract.

Think I'm exaggerating? This is what the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has to say about libertarianism
It wrongs an individual to subject her to non-consensual and unprovoked killing, maiming, enslavement, or forcible manipulation. (emphasis added)
Full-self ownership is sometimes thought to guarantee that the agent has a certain basic liberty of action, but this is not so. (emphasis in the original) For if the rest of the world (natural resources and artifacts) is fully (“maximally”) owned by others, one is not permitted to do anything without their consent—since that would involve the use of their property. For example, as a result of one's trespass on their land, one may become their slave. The protection that self-ownership affords is a basic protection against others doing certain things to one, but not a guarantee of liberty. (emphasis added) Even this protection, however, may be merely formal. A plausible thesis of self-ownership must allow that some rights (e.g., against imprisonment) may be lost if one violates the rights of others. Hence, if the rest of world is owned by others, then anything one does without their consent violates their property rights, and, as a result of such violations, one may lose some or all of one's rights of self-ownership. (emphasis added) This point shows that, because agents must use natural resources (occupy space, breathe air, etc.), self-ownership on its own has no substantive implications. It is only when combined with assumptions about how the rest of the world is owned (and the consequences of violating those property rights) that substantive implications follow.

Libertarianism is the philosophy of libertines and teenagers (but I repeat myself). It is incompatible with Catholic philosophy. Catholic philosophy views "ownership", in the strict sense, as an attribute of God - God owns all things because He created all things.

Every human individual is, at most, a steward of one or more created goods. Strictly speaking, in Catholic philosophy, we don't own anything.  Our lives revolve around the rights that flow from being appointed a steward and exercising stewardship, they do not flow from ownership. Thus, the core concept of libertarianism is fundamentally incompatible with Catholicism.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Politics of Greed

Seen on the Web:

The "that guy has more than us" narrative is getting old. Stop adding up the wealth of the poor to "prove a point," because it's misleading. Here's why.
If you have a net worth of just $1, you have more wealth than 2,000,000,000 people COMBINED. How? Because "if you take the bottom 30% of the world’s population — the poorest 2 billion people in the world — their total aggregate net worth is not low, it’s not zero, it’s negative. To the tune of roughly half a trillion dollars. My niece, who just got her first 50 cents in pocket money, has more money than the poorest 2 billion people in the world combined."[1]
That same $1 makes you richer than 40% of Americans,[2] who combined have a net of $0. Between 20%-25% of Americans have negative net worth,[3] while the 2nd quintile's meager net worth offset the 1st's negative worth to a balance of $0.
Now consider this: of the global poorest decile (bottom 10%), Americans make up 10% of that, while less than 1% of the poorest are from China [4, Page 12, Figure 7], a country where the majority of the people could only dream of being as well off as the poorest Americans. That's right, 10% of Americans are worth less than a poor person from China! How could that be? Because while the poor in China have next to nothing, over 20% of Americans have LESS than nothing.
Why is that? Think about this: a typical 18 year old kid who is working for minimum wage at McDonald's has more wealth than a typical 27 year old doctor. Because that doctor is fresh out of medical school, with an average of $170,000 in student loans. Before his first paycheck, car payment, or rent, that doctor has a net worth of negative $170,000 [5]. Who would you rather be, a min-wage fast-food worker with $0 net worth, or a young doctor with negative net worth?
Point is, adding up the wealth of a large number of poor people for comparison is misleading. They should just come out and say it: "I'm jealous that someone else has more than me."
You know what they say about people living in glass houses. Yes, those 62 people live in really huge glass houses, but you live in one too. By you, I mean someone privileged enough to have access to a computer and/or mobile device to access Facebook. Because as you point to that 1-percenter, saying "that's excessive," 2,000,000,000 people in the world could do the same to you.

Monday, January 25, 2016

An Open Letter to Donald Trump Supporters

To Donald Trump supporters:

Donald Trump said you would be fine with him murdering someone in the street. He could shoot someone in the street, and you would still support him.

That's what Trump thinks you are.

And if you continue to support him after he says that...

...then that is, in fact, what you are.

Trump has been bought by his own money.

When he invests millions in the Clinton Foundation, he HAS to make sure the Clintons stay in power or he has lost millions on a bad investment.

He has invested millions in the Democrat party and its principles. He can't afford to lose that money.