Month: January 2016



Allegations of Orestes Brownson’s inconsistencies in later years are often misplaced.

Recent biographer R.A. Herrera, for instance, alleges that Brownson’s view on the democratic revolution that was picking up speed in the mid-nineteenth century flip-flopped. Herrera criticizes Brownson for saying, in 1856, that the democratic “revolution, in some form, will go on,” and urging the Catholic Church to prepare for the revolution’s success. Herrera calls Brownson a weathercock for this “turnabout” because eight years earlier Brownson had “severely criticized the view that the Church should abandon the governments and appeal to the people, forming an alliance between religion and liberty.”

Herrera’s analysis doesn’t fit. Brownson didn’t think any form of government was necessarily better than another as long as it assured the people liberty. Democracy, he thought, was in the best position to do this, and hence he tended to favor democracy, especially in the United States where it was implemented under the Constitution. But he never wavered from the view that the people’s liberty could be obtained under a monarchy, aristocracy, or other form, and he also thought all just governments were an arm of God and deserved obedience, as long as they ruled with divine law in mind. He accordingly objected to the rabidly-democratic rebellions and revolutions that were accosting European nations at that time, finding that they proposed to overthrow monarchies and divine law in the name of popular government and political … Read the rest


Jeb Bush joked in a new interview that he’d like to appear in a G-rated episode of the Showtime series “Homeland” and would like his character to kill a terrorist with his bare hands. So I think Jeb might be a little confused about what can be in a G-rated movie. Also, I don’t think Donald Trump is technically a terrorist.… Read the rest


Shonda Rhimes is set to executive produce a show on ABC that picks up at the end of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” So I guess no one at ABC read the end of “Romeo and Juliet.”… Read the rest



“The original candidate for DC Comics’ first headlining black superhero was a character called the Black Bomber, a white racist who would turn into a black superhero under stress, and be later described by comics historian Don Markstein as ‘an insult to practically everybody with any point of view at all.'” Link.… Read the rest



“The principal purpose of the foreign policy of the United States is to maintain the liberty of our people,” said Taft. “Its purpose is not to reform the entire world or spread sweetness and light and economic prosperity to peoples who have lived and worked out their own salvation for centuries, according to their customs, and to the best of their abilities.” Bill Kauffman

I wonder if such a man could even get elected to the Senate these days. … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

“There are two things you should know about the poor: they tend to smell, and they are ungrateful.” That’s potential canonized saint Dorothy Day. I’ll be wrestling with her words this week as I struggle with whether to get involved with a new poor mission. I have a real hard time accepting the idea that America, in absolute terms, has poor people. Of course, there are poor people when compared with me, just as I’m poor compared to many of the thieves on Wall Street. But “poor poor,” like “Don’t have money to get that tatoo?” I’m skeptical. Highly skeptical, but I’ll be hearing about and weighing local evidence that will supposedly dispel my skepticism, We’ll see. * * * * * * * I mean, if you aren’t willing to help the poor, you might as well check yourself into the Hell Hotel right now. Few biblical injunctions can be much clearer. * * * * * * * I saw this story last week and was very surprised: “Anglican Communion suspends the Episcopal Church after years of gay rights debates.” I’d just assumed the Anglican Church was lemming over the gay cliff like all the other mainstream Protestants. I have to admit, I’m a bit impressed. * * * * * * * I’m glad I’m too cool to fall this way: “Boasting of wealth and virtue brings your … Read the rest