Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hayek and the Conceit of Reason

The connection between constructivist rationalism (the construction of morality from scratch) and socialist thought, Hayek argues, is that they both flow from conceiving order as arrangement and control on the basis of accumulation of all the facts. But, as Hayek earlier showed in his landmark 1945 essay, "The Use of Knowledge in Society", the extended order could not be such an order, for accumulation of all the requisite facts is simply impossible. Now he asserts that, similarly, the practices of traditional morality not only do not, but cannot, meet the requirements or criteria demanded by scientism. Hence they are necessarily "unreasonable" and "unscientific". Hayek insists, though, that this is not "news", for      David Hume (1711-76) observed centuries ago that "the rules of morality are not the conclusions of our reason".
And this is not simply the case with traditional morals (including God, sex, family, and — particularly of interest to Hayek — private property, saving, exchange, honesty, truthfulness and contract), but "is also true of any possible moral code, including any that socialists might ever be able to come up with". Hence were we to pursue this perilous path — as "all versions of scientism have advised" — we would soon "be back at the level of the savage who trusts only his instincts". No argument about morals, therefore, can legitimately turn on the issue of scientific justification, because it cannot be achieved, so nothing can be gained-but everything can be lost.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Feminism good, Patriarchy bad?

Patriarchy is a system that gives  incentives (i.e. privilege) to men so they will be motivated to invest in women and children.  Ultimately it is a win-win-win-win system for both men, women, children and society.  If not then why are women less happy now then when America had a functioning patriarchy? Is it better now that children raised in single parent homes has doubled in the past 50 years?

Female head of household (matriarchy) have skyrocketed in the last 40 years but why does this also overlap with inequality and childhood poverty in America?

I am not saying that feminism didn't have some positives  (like the freedom for women voting and being able to choose to go into the workforce).  I am also not saying that patriarchy didn't have negative aspects and abuses but come on.  My grandfathers on both sides were coal miners.  They were underground most of the day risking their lives so that they could provide for their wives and families.  Now who was more oppressed?  My grandmothers that were home raising children or my grandfather's miles underground digging coal?  

I have a wife and four daughters.  My worries for my daughters is not that they will not have freedom and opportunities but that they will be unable to find worthy men that will have the incentives to begin the journey to  lay down their lives for their families like Christ did for the Church.   

Friday, October 04, 2013

Punic Wars: Historical Context for the life of Christ

Here is a great historical series on the wars between Roman and Carthage.  They happened a couple hundred years before the time of Christ.  They give a feeling for the culture of Rome and I think it also gives some context for understanding the Gospels.  Rome had control of Israel during the time of Christ.  The Jews wanted to be free of Rome and this is the politics that surrounded Jesus and was the backdrop of his crucifixion.  Anyway, if nothing else the series is very entertaining.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fr. Barron comments on Misreading Genesis

Art of War Meets Genesis: Know Yourself and Enemy

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle” 
― Sun TzuThe Art of War, Special Edition

The truths and strategies presented in The Art of War  hold true for the spiritual warfare that the Church Militant now faces.  To know who we are we need the data from Divine revelation.  The book on Genesis starts to answer the question of who we are, our place in the universe, where we came from, and it points to where we are going.

God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

To be made in the image of God means that we have intrinsic worth and dignity.  Practically speaking it means that like God we have an intellect.  We can know reality but in a limited way.  It also means that like God we have free will.  It means that like God we can create.  Putting all these things together it means that like God we can love.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Love in this context is not fundamentally an emotion.  It is possible to love and not have good feelings.  Love means to want what is best for the other and to do it.   To win the war we need to be about love.   

Monday, September 23, 2013


The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.
It is an attribute to God himself.
(William Shakespeare)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Comments to a Follower of Ayn Rand: Selfishness and Sacrifice

  • This lecture has a lot of false dichotomies: Bill Gates vs. Mother Teresa, selfishness vs sacrifice, feelings vs. reason. The tension of both extremes is required for a good life.
    Is prostitution with its win/win exchange superior to marriage with it’s mutual sacrifice?
    Is it ever rational to die for country, friend, spouse, son or daughter?
  • The 21 Convention 
    I don't think you understand the ideas being presented clearly. Ayn Rand wrote a lot of non-fiction books that would clear up most of your questions for you.
    In addition, saying tensions of both good and evil are required for a good life is a glaring, bizarre contradiction. True sacrifice is destructive to all human life. There is no upside. It is destroying a higher value for a lower value; a loss 100% of the time. Also, marriage is absolutely not a mutual "sacrifice". A disturbing idea.passdanoose 15 hours ago

    passdanoose 15 hours agoChanging the definition of commonly used words do not amount to some great insight. When people use the word selfish they don’t use it to mean rational self interest that betters the world but self interest at the expense of others. And when someone tells a Marine, “Thank you for your sacrifice” she doesn't mean thanks for making the world worse off. Someone in the game of chess and baseball do not mean that they are purposefully trying to lose when making a sacrifice play.
     ·  in reply to The 21 Convention (Show the comment)

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Some really good videos on feminism:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What is it to be a man?

The great changes to our society lead by feminism has produced widespread confusion about what it means to be a man.  It is a sign of our times that there are websites about how to be a man that provide quotes about what it is to be a man.  Here is a quote that I think is spot on with what it means to be a man with one change:

“As I've mentioned, a large part of my father's legacy is the lesson he taught his sons. He brought us together and said, 'The measure of a man is how well he provides for his children.”

The thing that I would change about the quote is the word provides.  In modern culture, it is not difficult to provide for the physical needs of one’s children.  What is hard is making the personal sacrifices as a man that is necessary for what is best for one's children.  

Man is perfected in Christ.  The simultaneous priest and victim that Christ personifies.  As a father, it is a daily event of being a priest and sacrificing and become a victim for the sake of my marriage and my children.  It is like Abraham going off to sacrifice his son with faith in God’s promise that if I sacrifice my childish self, like a grain of wheat, it will produce much fruit and fulfill what God is calling me to do.