Today we conservatives congratulate our liberal friends and relatives for the inauguration of our newly minted president Joe Biden. May he truly put into practice his great inauguration speech. God forbid that they be empty words, witness his initial pro-abortion executive orders. Let’s continually pray for his success which is the common good of our country. May God guide him to always do what is right. May we listen to each other with an open mind and objectivity, discuss with civility, learn from each other, find common ground, agree, compromise, and work together where we can. With different perspectives Democrats and Republicans working together can arrive at creative solutions to pressing problems. May we disagree agreeably while maintaining Christian love and remaining friends.
The following dialogue shows that this is very possible and does show how a liberal thinks and how a conservative thinks. The reader will find that it is not necessary to “deprogram” anybody who voted for Trump as the radical left is advocating. Conservatives are not necessarily fascists, white supremacists or allied with the Proud Boys. Nor are liberals necessarily Marxists, Socialists, or allied with Antifa. Both sides can be sincere in the search for the truth and looking for the common good of the people of our nation. Anybody who disagrees with us should not be the enemy. They just think differently.
See "Let’s Go From the Polarization of America to Civility, Reconciliation, and Cooperation Before That Evil Destroys Our Country…….a Christian Approach.
Subject: Common Ground and Opposing Hearts in the Right Place
From Paul (1):
Dear Liberal Friend & all:
Thank you for your beautiful e-mail. I forgot to mention a lovely Latin American custom as I understand it. When one accepts being a godparent of a child in Latin America, the person becomes a member of the extended family of the child. That means you are our comadre, literally translated co-mother of our son. For godfather, it's "compadre". I like to call the father of my daughter-in-law, compadre.
You are right. Your liberal heart and our conservative hearts are not that far apart in our ardent desire for the common good of all as well as our love for the Church, our Country, and its Constitution. We all agree on the inherent dignity of every person created by God according to His image, equal opportunity for every person to be successful, justice for all, human rights, etc. We have common goals for a more prosperous America, minimizing poverty, a healthy America, public order and safety, personal freedom short of abusing the rights of others, etc. That’s a lot of common ground……common goals but different paths that have to be resolved by good will and civil dialogue.
Liberals tend to depend more upon a central government, regulation, and the welfare state for solutions; conservatives depend more on the dynamic creativity and resourcefulness of the individual and the private sector…….. community organizations, churches, private schools, religious orders, voluntarism, and charities for solutions while recognizing the need for limited government to control against abuses. All that empowers the people instead of concentrating power in big government, giving a tremendous dynamic for good.
Private enterprise, be it big business or small business with its profit incentive, stimulates competition that breeds greater productivity, lower prices, and greater quality. However, abuses must be minimized by business social responsibility and ethical minded managers formed by a moral God fearing people, i.e., self-regulation. Every corporate culture must have a mindset of serving the customer with a good or service while making a profit. Since human beings are prone to old fashioned sin, namely greed and corruption, we do need limited government regulation against abuses when self-regulation fails. Abuses are inevitable under laissez faire cut-throat capitalism.
According to the principle of subsidiarity in the social teachings of the Church, decisions should be made at the lowest level possible such as local government, community groups, the family, and individual responsibility. In other words, Big Government with its bureaucratic inefficiencies should only be involved when the private sector cannot or will not do what is necessary for the common good. Centralized power leads to corruption and tyranny.
You are right. We are all children of God………born and unborn.
I pray that Joe Biden will be a successful president, even a great president in serving the people with integrity and dedication. I pray that he can unite us as a people and restore civility and cooperation among diverse groups. I pray that he will be effective in stopping the pandemic. I pray that his policies will lead to a prosperous economy that will trickle down to every person. I pray that he will stimulate better selected and well trained cops capable of restraint in defusing incendiary situations with lethal force as a last resort. I pray that he will foment racial justice, and equal opportunity while insuring public health and public safety.......that our homes and our streets will be safe. We must follow the intent and meaning of the Constitution as the founding fathers originally intended. Any updating belongs to the legislative branch and constitutional amendments, not the judiciary.
Perhaps diverging from liberals, I also pray that Joe Biden and all Catholics be true Catholics, observing all Church teaching passed down primarily through the Bible from Christ and the apostles as opposed to being Cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose what they want to believe. I also pray for the rights of all, particularly the most fundamental right to life.......born and unborn from the womb to the tomb, the integrity of the traditional family as God intended since Genesis, and religious liberty to be faithful to Church teaching in the public square (not only religious worship confined to the four walls of the local church). I also pray for a Republican controlled Senate to maintain our system of checks and balances in order to prevent the radical left from destroying our country with stifling bureaucratic socialism, packing the Supreme Court, codifying Roe v Wade, etc. Of course, may God answer our prayers according to His will, which is the best for all in the long run.
May Joe Biden be God's instrument in healing the many decades old wounds of the soul of the nation, beginning with civility, mutual respect, and working together for the common good. If so, I'll be the first to jump on his bandwagon. God bless.
P.S. Forgive me for the length. I only intended a paragraph or two, but the ideas just flowed.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
From Young Liberal (1):
Dear Uncle Paul and All,
While I do not usually respond to political criticism, I feel like a lot of the things that were claimed in this email were greatly hypocritical and misleading. That is why as a patriotic American and a proud progressive I feel the need to politely and emphatically disagree with your statements.
In your email you stated that “liberals” and “conservatives” have vastly different beliefs in how to make our country more prosperous. You claimed that liberals (Democratic Party) long for a more central federal government as well as more stringent regulations while conservatives support a more limited government and less regulation. While conservatives claim that they support limited government and limited regulation, in reality it couldn’t be further from the truth. I say this because the Republican Party (and conservatives) are the ones who want to limit and regulate personal freedom in regards to a woman’s choice to bear or not bear a child, abolishing same-sex marriage, limiting transgender laws, not allowing gay people to adopt children, and keeping marijuana illegal at the federal level. To me this is an example of big government trying to control our fundamental rights to decide for ourselves what we do with our bodies and lives.
Unlike “conservatives,” “liberals” do not want the government to decide what a woman can and cannot do with her own body, want people to marry whomever they want regardless of sex, show dignity and respect to transgender people, allow same-sex couples to adopt a child if that is what they wish to do, and give each and every adult the freedom of choice to smoke marijuana if that is what they want to do with their body. Why should you as a “conservative” decide what your neighbor can and cannot do as long as it doesn’t affect you? It's not like you are being forced to marry another man or forced to have an abortion.
I am personally against abortion, however, I believe that it is a woman’s choice and that it is a big tragedy for a woman to do this.
If a God truly exists then those who engage in “sins” will be punished accordingly by God. It is not anyone else’s job to deliver punishment. That should solely be the job of God.
As a “God-fearing” and “God-loving” Catholic you should support policies that help those that are impoverished, those who go to bed hungry at night, and those who need assistance. Unfortunately the Republican Party (and conservatives that support it) do not care about poor members of society. They are too busy giving trillions of dollars of tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, while cutting funding for programs that poor people rely on. Conservatives are also the ones who do not support raising the minimum wage to a living wage. The federal minimum wage has not changed in 11 years while the cost of living has surged. The Republican Party is also doing everything it can to repeal “Obamacare” which would cause 20 million Americans to lose their healthcare on top of the already 30 million of Americans who currently have no healthcare insurance. The Republican Party has been and is a party of elitist old white men who do everything they can to ensure that their current “way of life” is not changed. That is why they refuse to fix problems relating to racial discrimination that has ravaged this country well before I was even born.
Not to mention, many conservatives don’t even believe in climate change and if they do they refuse to admit that it is man-made. This is ridiculous because all major studies show that climate change is real and that it most certainly is affected by humans.
While I do not like big government, I know that the private sector is not enough to ensure that all Americans have a living wage. That is why I personally support policies that will actually help those who are in poverty such as a $15 minimum wage, Medicare-for-All (socialized medicine like every other major countries in the Western World have) free community college for those who want it, a Green New Deal (to help transform our energy production from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy) get rid of private-prisons, legalize marijuana, and give more emphasis on rehabilitation instead of sending nonviolent drug users to jail.
That is why I personally do not support neither Republican Party nor the Democratic establishment. I support politicians who are not corrupt (meaning those who refuse to take corporate money) such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other progressives who actually care about eradicating poverty and ensuring all Americans are being taken care of and not just the rich. So before you criticize the “radical left,” how about you actually take a look at some of the policies they support and then look at your own party and it’s regressive and backwards policies.
If anyone has any disagreeing thoughts feel free to respond.
Best of luck everyone,
Your “radical leftist” (Young Liberal)
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
From Young Conservative (1):
Dear Young Liberal and all
It is very difficult, indeed, to restrain one’s temper when it comes to political discussion, or to hear one’s own tone justly. I have just been rebuked quite strongly in the past few days by a friend for my own failure to do so. In a chastened spirit, therefore, I wish to make a response.
The charge of hypocrisy is very serious, and ought to be used sparingly and only after we have clearly determined that the person in question is consciously contradicting himself and ignoring the contradiction. I have never met anyone in my whole life who is more sincere than Paul Sebastian. You may disagree with his policy, and you may even believe that you have insight into a contradiction within the policies that he holds, but to assert that he believes one thing and says another is simply incorrect. Please to consider your tone and the meaning of the words you use. Basic civility demands no less.
You name a number of progressive policies. There is certainly room to dispute the good of them — you yourself find some of the actions sanctioned by the policies distasteful. What lies at the center of the dispute between the traditionalist and progressive is a different view of certain profound ideas like Goodness, Freedom, and Nature. (I think leaving the terms conservative and liberal behind, for now, will be useful.) The question is legitimate: how do you define Goodness? Another way of asking this question is: what does a human being exist for? What is the goal of any individual life? One can ask a similar question about Freedom. Does freedom only equal “freedom from” or is there also a possibility that freedom can exist for the sake of achievement? Is there a difference between liberty and license? Does nature (human nature) exist, and if so, what does it teach us about goodness and freedom? I think you will find that the traditionalist will answer this cluster of questions differently than the progressive, and that this difference lies at the heart of many differences in policy.
I think that we can illustrate this from the examples of same-sex marriage or marijuana. If your concept of freedom is only that freedom equals lack of external restraint, then a law-maker might transgress your freedom if he imposed a ban on either one. A ban would constitute a limitation or restraint, and would therefore curtail freedom. If, however, one understands freedom to be the power to do what is good, and one sees same-sex marriage or the use of marijuana as antithetical to the good, then a law preventing such things would not infringe upon freedom — it would only place a limit on license. There are, in fact, several lines of argument available to the argument that homosexuality and marijuana hurt the commonwealth. For one, homosexuality is sterile. Countries which fail to reproduce (America is hovering at the 2.1 replacement rate necessary to maintain a population) cannot support themselves. This is why Russia, for instance, now incentivizes fertility — it is in a desperate race against time to restore a workable population. Furthermore, it seems likely that people who have no reason to think about the future will be unlikely to raise a child to make responsible decisions. Or regarding marijuana, there is much evidence available from emergency-room doctors that marijuana use directly, often solely, causes mania, aggravation, and violence, let alone other uncitizenlike and uncontrolled behaviors. A citizen might well prioritize the goods of maintaining his country’s population, minimizing the diffusion of apolitical mindsets, and reduce the amount of manic violence in the streets. To treat these issues as obviously and unimpeachably settled without argument seems to smack more of youthful ardor than measured sense. It may be the case that "old men” - white or otherwise - have had occasion to think through some of these questions during the span of their responsible lives, and to make conclusions from experience, rather than ideological fervor. It's a possibility worth considering.
[I’m not using the example of abortion because it constitutes the destruction of another life, and consequently your own logic should lead you to reject it as a matter of policy. A mother choosing abortion is, in fact, forcing abortion on another person. Let me encourage you, your sense of the tragedy of abortion is logical and just, and you should carry it to logical and just conclusions.]
When you argue that the purported conservative support for limited government is all bosh, I think you confuse metaphor and history. It is simply a fact that progressives favor larger governments and more extensive regulation by that government upon people’s lives. Perhaps you do not see that mandating a Christian to remain silent about a choice that, say, his son makes to marry another man is at least as invasive a regulation as to prevent that son from entering a homosexual union. "Limited government” entails just what Dr. Sebastian said — leaving many freedoms — many licenses, even — untouched by the law and by governmental agencies. I would suggest that having a government mandated curriculum for public schools is one of the largest imaginable invasions of freedom.
I would be happy to discuss each of the policies which you offer for consideration in a different thread, and with a willing audience.
You will find, should you choose to explore, that God-fearing Catholics often support other avenues of relieving the destitute and hungry besides taxation. It is, perhaps, an indication of how far-reaching your sense of governmental agency has become that this possibility does not present itself to you.
I thank you for your patience. I hope that you all are well. It is good to consider important things together.
Love Joy and Peace
Wednesday, November 11
Wednesday, November 11
From Young Liberal (2)
To: Young Conservative & All
Good afternoon Young Conservative and wife,
Thank you for your response. As you said it can be very hard to restrain oneself from political discussion especially in our current ultra-polarized society. I in no way intended to be disrespectful of my uncle Paul. I have the utmost respect for my uncle and never questioned his sincerity or what he holds in his heart in my rebuke. My charge of hypocrisy is directed at “conservatives” as a whole and not specifically Uncle Paul. I know that Uncle Paul meant no disrespect and I didn’t take it that way. I know that he means good, but I figured that it doesn’t hurt to express why I disagree. After all, family should always be above politics and I hope that it will remain that way. I don’t believe that I was disrespectful or that I lacked “basic civility” in my response. If it offended anyone then I apologize, since that was not my intention.
My response yesterday was strictly from a policy standpoint and not from a theological or philosophical perspective. Your response Young Conservative focused solely on philosophical and theological arguments, while it omitted policy completely. You said that there is “certainly room to dispute the good…” of progressive policies, so I ask you to please elaborate and explain to me why you disagree with the following policies that progressives support:
- Medicare-for-All (What is wrong with ensuring all Americans have good, affordable health insurance?)
- Raising the minimum wage
- Free community college
- Investing in clean energy
- Legalizing marijuana
I think that these are exactly the policies that support human life and would help eradicate poverty and ensure all Americans can live happy and fruitful lives. That is partially why I think using the phrase “radical left” is wrong because I think there is nothing radical about the policies that I support. I would actually make a claim that it is radical not to support these policies.
I agree with your statement that the charge of hypocrisy is very serious, however, I stick to what I said because I do think it is hypocritical for conservatives to claim that they support personal freedom and liberty when in reality they do everything they can to suppress it. I also think it is hypocritical for “conservatives” to claim they care about human life. Just because conservatives are against abortion does not make them pro-life. If the Republican Party was truly pro-life then it would support policies that ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare, would encourage people to wear masks instead of politicizing them, they would support policies that encourage people to educate themselves to help lift them out of poverty, they would support expanding Medicare and Social Security, and increasing the minimum wage to a living wage.
What I don’t understand and hope you can explain to me is why conservatives in this country do everything they can to support the lives of fetuses, while not doing anything at all to help support the lives of those Americans who are currently alive. If you can’t support the people who are alive, why support those who aren’t?
Don’t get me wrong I do not like abortions and when a woman has to abort a child it is a sad thing, and I respect your stance on abortion. But I do not think that outlawing abortion will actually eradicate abortion. Look at Poland, they have some of the strictest abortion laws in the world, but women still find ways to get them. Just cause drugs are illegal doesn’t mean that people don’t use them. Where there is a demand there will always be a supply.
When it comes to homosexuality there is nothing we can do. Being homosexual is not a choice. People are born that way and nothing will change that. Banning homosexual marriage will not mean that homosexuals will marry people from the opposite gender. Plus on top of this I am not sure if you're aware of this or not, but homosexuals adopt many children who otherwise would have no homes or families. A homosexual home is better than no home in my opinion.
To respond to your worries about the left forcing others to embrace their way of life I do not think that is the case. While I agree with you that students shouldn’t be taught about celebrities because as you said it isn’t educational and I am glad that you're not wasting your student’s time by discussing such worthless matters. I believe in tolerance and that all people should respect one another regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, etc. I don’t like how the political right wants to limit my freedom to decide for myself what I can do. I don’t think prayer should be mandatory at public schools, I don’t think people should force their religion on others, and I don’t appreciate conservative politicians trying to tell me whether or not I can or cannot smoke marijuana. I think that should solely be my decision since it is my body and doesn’t affect anyone else, but me.
The last thing I will touch in this email is marijuana rights since I am very passionate about this. The article you attached Young Conservative regarding marijuana is not a scientific study, but a personal opinion of a doctor who represents his own opinion based on his own experiences. This article would not receive approval from any legitimate scientific journal. While I agree that frequent marijuana use can have adverse health effects and in the worst circumstances lead to mania, this is very uncommon.
My opinion on marijuana has nothing to do with my “youthful ardor” and much more to do with “measured sense.” I have written 4-5 papers at my university regarding marijuana, so this is a topic I know a great deal about. I will attach my research paper for you to read if you choose to do so. Your view of marijuana reminds me of the fear mongering that was prevalent in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Your views are not based on science, but your preexisting misconceptions. Based on my own extensive research, marijuana was made illegal solely for political purposes and not due to any health effects. After all, basically all major studies show that marijuana is much safer than alcohol. Since this is the case should we prohibit people from drinking alcohol?
To finish it off I will respond to your claim that conservative lawmakers main purpose is “to secure the good of the commonwealth.” If you believe that politicians enriching themselves off of political corruption is to secure the good of the commonwealth then that's your right to believe that. I do not believe any politician, Democrat or Republican, can act in good faith towards the people if they take corporate money from lobbyists. To me that is the definition of corruption and exactly what I am fighting against. That is why I don’t like to call myself a “liberal” because there are many corrupt liberals. I call myself a progressive because I support progressive candidates that only take in grassroots money from people like me and you. Who you choose to support is solely your decision.
P.S. Texas will turn blue in the next 10 years
Thursday, November 12
From Young Conservative (2):
Dear Young Liberal,
Thank you for the thoughtful and charitable response.
You bring up many topics — an adequate treatment of each in a single email would be intolerably lengthy. As I mentioned before, I would happily attempt that treatment, but I think it would be best to do so in a separate thread.
I do wish to respond to a few comments and questions, though.
I want to consider the distinction between policy and philosophy. I brought up the philosophical arguments in order to counter the suggestion that the conservative policies are hypocritical. Trying to determine which policy to promote without having a firm philosophical rooting is simply an impossible task. Policy just is the application of one’s understanding of the political good to the reality at hand. If you don’t have a firm understanding of what the good is, then you can’t make rational policies. By pointing out that a different vision of what is good can lead to different policies, I’d hoped to suggest that traditionalists or ‘conservatives’ may in fact be able to justify many of the policy-positions which progressives criticize. This would de-barb the accusation of hypocrisy, and allow us to have a valid conversation about what the good is. Once we agree about what the good is, we can proceed to deliberate about the most effective means of bringing that good into the reality which we all inhabit. [I would also point out that I scrupulously avoided making any theological arguments. I believe in God, and my philosophical understanding of reality is consonant with this belief, but a theological basis for a policy would be one rooted in revelation, and I did not make such arguments.]
I think that a closer examination of current policy would undermine the claim that conservatives do nothing "at all to help support the lives of those Americans who are currently alive.” Firstly, I will add a word which I assume you meant: conservative politicians, rather than anyone who holds conservative or traditional values. My wife and I, for instance, give more than 10% of our gross income “to help support the lives of those Americans who are currently alive” and we are not unique either in so doing or in the proportion of our commitment. I’m not virtue-signaling. I’m just pointing out that there are alternative ways to support these people besides governmental compulsion, through a system of wealth redistribution.
Secondly, I think that the categorical statement even that conservative policy makers do noting at all to support living Americans is dramatically overblown, unless nothing constitutes “help” besides the establishment of a total safety-net. Tax incentives for small businesses constitutes “help” for “Americans who are currently living,” as do all welfare laws. You can argue that there ought to be more help, and we can engage in that conversation, but it is unhelpful to assert that conservatives manifest no concern at all for living Americans. Overstating the case typically detracts from an argument’s persuasive force, since it leaves the argument open to easy counterattack.
I am very sympathetic to the idea of a living wage. I think that there is a lot to argue in favor of the justice of a living wage. Indeed, my concept of a living wage may be even bigger than that of the typical progressive (I don’t know where you stand) since I think a man should be able to exchange his time and labor (40 hours a week, or 50 even) for a wage sufficient to support his wife and his children. There is (by the bye) a long tradition in Catholic social teaching in support of this concept. I’m thinking of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum in particular. It is a fine, short piece, well worth the reading, since it offers a measured critique both of unchecked capitalism and of socialism.
The manner of achieving this living wage, however, is a matter for deliberation. Raising the minimum wage to some arbitrary figure has not proven to be an effective means. Let’s say that I run a small manufacturing business, and employ 10 people for 40 hours/week (400 man-hours/week x 50 weeks/year = 20,000 man-hours/year). Let’s say that I make a decent $50k/year in the net profits from my company’s work. If I had to raise my hourly wage by $1, I would increase the cost of running my business by $20,000 annually. This would cut directly into my own salary, leaving me at $30k/year. If I had to raise the minimum wage by $5/hour I would no longer make any money. Of course, I would probably not want to live on $30k or $0 /year, so my recourse would be to raise the price of my product so that I can recuperate the loss on my ledger line. Or I can fire some of my employees, and threaten to fire the others if they don’t make up the difference. Raising minimum wages raises the cost of everything produced by companies who pay minimum wage. If the cost of everything goes up, then the relative value of $15/hour goes down. Or, to keep costs down, we increase unemployment —which is not anyone’s desire. Or we close up shop, and sell out to the big corporation who can afford to pay out.
The minimum wages is, in my view, characteristic of a lot of progressive thinking about policy: I see it as trying to paint the Mona Lisa with a roller brush and Sherwin Williams. It is too clumsy an instrument to wield effectively or in due proportion to the work it seeks to perform. I would be much more interested in educating and persuading business owners to understand the goodness of using their position of power and influence to support the lives of their workers. This endeavor takes a lot of time and effort, but it is not inconceivable, and it does not derogate from the freedom of the employer.
[One of the best arguments against the claim that conservatives have done nothing to help people is that over the course of the last four years we have seen the lowest unemployment rate we’ve ever seen = more living Americans than ever before getting regular income.]
I think you can see that our conversation will take quite some time and space, if we are do anything like justice to our consideration of each of the policies you have mentioned — since this is only my understanding of one of them, let alone your response to that argument.
I would be happy to carry our political philosophizing out in a new thread.
Some questions for reflection: what constitutes healthcare? Does abortion count? How about contraceptives? Should a Catholic be forced to pay for someone else’s birth control? What about euthanasia?
Why should anyone subsidize a failing network of institutions. Community colleges in most cases that I’ve seen are ineffective as places of higher education. Places where youths congregate to look at the internet during class and get certificates from adjuncts who are afraid they might lose their jobs and therefore their careers if they hold their students to high standards. Why not encourage trade schools, or encourage companies to furnish ongoing education for their employees, rather than forcing everyone to pay for it?
Some people are “born" sadists, or masochists, or pedophiles — meaning they experience unelected, spontaneous, desires for unusual forms of sexual pleasure or camaraderie. Does that mean that it is good to be sadistic, or masochistic, or to have intercourse with children? Should I countenance these forms of activity just because some people spontaneously desire to perform them? The argument proposed in defense of homosexuality works just as well in favor of psychopathy. But we reject psychopathy or pedophilia since they clearly destroy the fabric of society. It is arguable that homosexuality does the same.
Almost done — to the point that illegalizing something doesn’t automatically eradicate it. That is certainly true. But I would point out that the mantra “safe, legal, and rare” that Bill Clinton used to justify pro-abortion laws has only definitively accomplished the middle term. The reason the legislation in Louisiana was so contentious is that the doctors who perform abortions are not admitted into hospitals because they are unqualified —Louisiana made it a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges within a 30-mile radius, and that requirement would have put Planned Parenthood out of business in the state. So abortions are being provided by the worst doctors in our country. And, of course, they are not rare. Just legal. So legalization has increased the number of abortions. Presumably, therefore, illegalization would decrease the number and that would constitute a positive good.
Lastly — I do not believe that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez or Mr. Sanders refuse money from Planned Parenthood. It is also clear that there is a great deal of corrupt corporate money behind certain recent racially motivated movements. But I certainly do approve of the intention to be wary of the corrupting influence of large capital. It is good to be aware of it, and to raise awareness. (That is one of the reasons I support Donald Trump: being independently wealthy, he is much less influenced by corporate money than many other current politicians. Consider his chief enemies — Big News, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon — these account for a huge proportion of the wealth of corporate America, and they are certainly not supporting Trump or conservative politicians. I think his crowning achievements — his ability to avoid foreign entanglements in wars and to facilitate growth in the job-markets — is related to this relative freedom.)
Mercy! It is hard to stop the flow, when you’re as loquacious as I am. Let me put an end to my words here!
Again, thank you for your patient and thoughtful consideration. Family is such a delightfully good thing.
Friday, November 13
From Young Liberal (3):
Dear Young Conservative,
I will try to keep my response as brief as possible. I think we each know where we stand at this point and it is clear to me that we live in two different worlds and that there is very little in common between us. A good Catholic in my view is someone who embraces and tolerates those who are different just like the teachings of Jesus state. I think that every human being is worthy of respect and dignity regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. This is the main difference between us as I see it. I think that diversity is what makes America great and I hope that you don't think that your beliefs are superior to those of others and that you will find the virtue of tolerance and compassion.
Your comparison of pedophiles and homosexuals really stood out to me as distasteful. To me pedophilia is inherently bad and evokes a great deal of pain and suffering on the child. Homosexualism on the other hand is not destructive in the same way and it involves a consensual relationship between two adults.
Since you brought up the topic of pedophilia I think it is important to acknowledge the role of the Catholic Church in covering up pedophilia within Catholic clergy. To me this is hypocritical because the Catholic Church claims they are against pedophilia, however, it is evident that they have tolerated this for centuries.
Last, but not least I completely disagree with your view on politicians and Mr. Trump. Idealistically you think that politicians are working for the common good of the people. In reality politicians represent vested interests, lobbyists that contribute to their campaign, and their own interests, not the people they are supposed to represent. Trump is the most corrupt, egoistic, and narcissistic politician in modern American history. His sole purpose for being president is to enrich himself and his family. He engages in nepotism more than any other previous president (five members of his family hold top posts in the country, which is unprecedented in Western Democracy and more common in absolutist regimes) Your claim that Trump is less corrupt because he is wealthy is laughable to me. He only spent $66 million of his own money in 2016 and nothing in 2020. He relied heavily on billionaire support, such as the Koch brothers. Not to mention the fact that he received millions from the oil industry and pharmaceutical industry. This is why he refused to lower prescription drug prices and refused to acknowledge climate change. This is vivid proof that he is not independent and extremely corrupt.
Unlike Mr. Trump, Senator Bernard Sanders and other progressive candidates refuse to take corporate money. Thus your statement that Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ocasio-Cortez accepted money from Planned Parenthood is false. Don't just take my word for it, but you can verify this yourself here: Planned Parenthood PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates
I appreciate the fact that we had the possibility to have this dialogue. I know that I am very passionate in what I believe, as well as you are. The exchange of opposing opinions is always beneficial in helping us expand our views. I wish you and our extended family all the best.
Friday, November 13
From Young Conservative (3)
To: Young Liberal & all:
Thank you, Young Liberal,
You will find, on re-reading my comments about corruption, that I am in no way the idealist you propose. I do know that it is the sworn duty of a politician to look after the common good, and that is what I want them to do. I try to vote for people who, I think, will do that better than the other available options. But I know (not to the admirable extent that you do) that there is a lot of corporate money leveraging policies — as a Catholic, I feel this keenly, since I attribute the failure of Republican governments to meaningfully restrict abortions to the influence of corporate money. Believe me, at home, with my Republican family, I am found to have distasteful ideas about cutting down on big business and especially big business’s influence in politics… I never said that President Trump didn’t take any money; I just pointed out that the largest companies, by far, are opposed to him. This has ‘in-kind’ ramifications (I don’t know the price of advertising, or reputation, but the role of the media in spreading the word in favor of, or against, a candidate is certainly real, as is its ability to stifle the spread of certain other stories), beyond the fact that their monies are going elsewhere. Indeed, I’m sure you bitterly regret this valuable influence of in-kind donation, since, by all accounts Senator Sanders was the favorite candidate among actual living, breathing people. His candidacy seems to me to have been torpedoed by media and tech sabotage. But you mentioned in your first email, I believe, that this is the reason you do not call yourself a Democrat or a liberal — because both established parties participate in corruption. That is why I praised your wariness in my previous email - I meant that praise, and still mean it.
Upon review, I think you will find your comments about President Trump to be overstated, and some of them indemonstrable. You cannot prove what he desires, for instance.
Your answer to my pointing out the logical consequences of your argument in favor of homosexuality is in the right vein. Serious thinking about politics works by pointing out the distinctions. Now, we are able to agree on one feature of the Good. I said that pedophilia ‘destroys the fabric of society’ and you said that ‘it is inherently bad’ causing pain and suffering. I think we can agree that destructive behaviors are not part of the Good which we are try to enact into policy. Now, the (hypothetical) conversation (not this thread, probably) is poised to prosecute the question: Is homosexuality a destructive behavior or not? You suggest reasons why you think it is not. The ball would now be in my court to consider your objections and return my own.
The Church has scandalized the world by being like it. It is true that the Church has come under scrutiny recently, and no Catholic is proud of the behavior of his or her errant priest. We feel it especially because we do stand against it; our Faith and our allegiance to Jesus Christ cries out against the horrors of pedophilia. It is worth noting, though, that the Church does not suffer more from this vice than does the public school system, or any other similarly organized group. We are average. Believe me, we understand and feel deeply the scandal and hypocrisy of those men and those who support their activities.
And, for the record, know that Jesus did not ever teach his disciples to tolerate anything. He teaches us to forgive, and to suffer patiently when others refuse to live in harmony with their own good and the blessed will of God. Forgiveness and patience is the only way forward in a broken world. We both see brokenness in the world and in our beloved country. We both feel keenly — urgently — the need to restore justice. But any approach to this restoration that does not enjoy patience and the free disposition to forgive will always fall into an unjust extreme. Anyone who follows such an approach will fall away from his or her ideal into bitterness and hatred — hatred not of evils, but of persons — and thus sunders man from man, family from family, citizen from citizen. Forgiveness restores community, and no one can forgive who is not able to endure wrongs patiently.
Peace be with you, Young LIberal and with anyone else who has read this dialogue.
Love Joy and Peace
November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020
From Paul (2):
My dear Young Liberal:
Dialogue and discussion are healthy if the participants keep an open mind and learn from each other. But be careful with such strong words as "hypocritical" when the discussion gets heated. I would expect that kind of language from Donald Trump. His thoughtless outspokenness alienated many and cost him the election despite some solid achievements. Trying to show common ground and pointing out other ways to reach our common goals does not make me a hypocrite. To be able to work together and obtain reconciliation with mutual respect, finding common ground is essential. Even Barack Obama would agree with me on that. I know that you did not mean to be disrespectful and I accept that.
Both the left and the right are full of hypocrites…….the liberal left – shove individual responsibilities to the poor on big government and personally do nothing. It’s easy to spend somebody else’s money, namely the taxpayer’s money. Just as bad are the conservative rich, bent on the status quo and indifferent, caring only about themselves, do nothing. At the same time we must be grateful to many of the rich who have engaged in philanthropy and left millions to foundations and charity while not living extravagantly. We believe in Church teaching that one has a right to private property, but has an individual social responsibility to use his wealth not only for himself, but for the common good of all. We are stewards of the riches of the earth which really belong to all.
You will have to make many decisions in your business over your lifetime. So I ask you, Young Liberal: will you pay your employees minimum wage, the going wage, or more than the going wage? More money for them means less profit for you. Will you donate food to the nearest food pantry or soup kitchen? Would you work a few hours a week in one?
I commend you, Young Liberal for your concern that all workers receive a living wage. That’s also Church social teaching since the 1891 landmark encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum: On the Condition of Labor. I like to define the living wage as sufficient to modestly raise a family of four where the mother does not have to work. We are blessed that my wife has been a full time mother since 1995. As a rule of thumb, I’d like to see the highest salaried person in a big corporation make not more than 10 times what the lowest salaried person makes. In the large companies it’s over 100 times. Also I’d rather see individual employers have social business responsibility rather than a government mandate. We raised the wage of our handyman who occasionally does work for us from $18/hr (which he charges others) to $20/hr and we hired a contractor to replace our roof who provides health insurance to his workers and pays them more than most. There is a danger if a government mandated minimum wage is higher than supply and demand would indicate. Then employers will often lay off people and lean more towards automation. And/or employers will simply raise their prices and the worker gains nothing in an inflationary economy unless wages increase faster than prices. Too much spent on government programs is inflationary. The reality is that many business owners are not socially responsible and thus a minimum wage is necessary whenever the forces of supply and demand are impeded.
Welfare for the poor sometimes does more harm than good, especially when it produces generations of people on the dole dependent upon big government handouts. Providing training, opportunity, and good jobs in a vibrant economy does far more good for the poor than welfare. That's where the focus must be. Helping the poor through community and church organizations is much more efficient than impersonal bureaucratic big government programs, which so often give without love and provides care without concern. That's socialism. The emphasis must be upon self-improvement…….according to an old proverb, “Give a man a fish and he eats only once; teach him how to fish and he eats for the rest of his life”. Your father is a good example of the beauty of free enterprise. He came to the United States with little, worked hard in Real Estate, saved his money, and invested in a small business which has become quite successful due to his hard work and ingenuity.
Over the centuries the Church has been far more effective than governments in helping the poor. For 2000 years the Church has had a special preference for the poor. It was the Church that first founded hospitals, schools, universities, orphanages, patronized great art and music, etc. Read your history by both Catholic and secular authors. I recommend the book, “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization” by Thomas E. Woods, Ph.D.
Watch what the so called “progressive” mayors are doing in Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, Portland, etc. It’s apparently OK to loot because that’s peaceful protest. “Defund the police!” Look at the results. Crime, violence, and murders, have doubled in cities that have defunded the police. Minneapolis had to appeal for police help from outside the city. In San Francisco on the left coast, they don’t even bother prosecuting petty crimes any more. The solution to police brutality is not defunding the police, but training them to use appropriate restraint in making arrests when the suspect resists and how to defuse explosive situations.
Then those engaged in the pro-life movement are the modern day abolitionists. We cannot simply say it’s a women’s choice and then be indifferent. Society has a grave responsibility and so do we as citizens to protect the unborn. The baby is not part of the woman’s body which of course is an indispensable host. The baby has his/her own unique genetic makeup and right to life, the first of the basic rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. By the part of the woman’s body logic, the mother has four legs, four arms, etc. Many couples would love to adopt, but there is a shortage of adoptable babies. That is the responsible and humane choice…….put the baby up for adoption.
We have a lot in common particularly our roots, Young Liberal ……..first of all family, that is Babcia and Dziadek (R.I.P.). May they be a bond of love that will never separate us.
Then there’s our common Polish American roots either by blood or by marriage. Always be faithful to our heritage and what the great figures in Polish history fought for, gave their lives for, and made their marks upon Poland, America, and the world. Follow in the footsteps of the immortal Polish greats…….Copernicus, St. Stanisław Szczepanowski who stood up to an immoral king, Jan Sobieski, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Casimir Pułaski, Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, St. Maximilian Kólbe, St. Jan Pawel II, Lech Wałęsa, Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko who stood up to the Communists. Most if not all were solid Catholics. And let us not forget your namesake, the great Polish American poet and 1980 Nobel Prize Laureate, Czesław Miłosz, another great Catholic (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czes%C5%82aw_Mi%C5%82osz)Any of the above names can be easily googled for extensive detail.
And don’t forget that Poland was very instrumental in saving And don’t forget that Poland was very instrumental in saving Western Civilization more than once……repelling the Tartars, defeating the Swedes at Czestochowa, breaking the Turkish siege in the Battle of Vienna that kept radical Islam at bay for the next three centuries, stopping the Bolsheviks from overrunning Europe in the Battle of Warsaw (Cud nad Wisłą) in 1920, the Polish resistance in World War II that tied up German forces and the Kościuszko Squadron that shot down more German planes than any British squadron in the Battle of Britain, and Solidarność which led to the overthrow of Communism in Eastern Europe. Throughout history when in trouble the people would go to Maryja Panna Królowa Polski (Mary Queen of Poland) for help. It was the Church that helped the Polish people to maintain their identity during the 125 year Partition when Poland was absorbed by Austria, Prussia, and Russia and did not exist as a nation. Again it was the Church that gave the Polish people strength to resist the Nazi occupation and Communist domination.
And of course we are Americans with a mission to maintain the ideals of our founding fathers. Furthermore, you, my son, and I love football although different teams (Steelers vs. Patriots). I say to you and I say to all of our extended family with our roots, especially my children and spouses: “Americans first, yet be proud of your Polish heritage and always be faithful to it. Don’t lose what they passed down to us.
The book that gave me a great appreciation of Polish culture and history is the book, “Poland” by James Michener. Your father has the book. It’s a fascinating novel, but the historical events are accurately described. I felt like I was there living Polish history as I was reading the book. It made me proud to be Polish by marriage.
Young Liberal, you have a tremendous amount of potential. If you ever see the light, you would be a great Catholic Christian. Keep an open mind. Be open to different ideas. Read different points of view such as mine, review your economics courses. Be willing to change your mind and opinions if the evidence warrants. Don't let yourself be indoctrinated by either the right or the left. Dialogue with people of different views and learn from them; then make your own decision. Diligently search for the truth and you shall find it.
Attached is a complete list of all of my blog articles at http://paulrsebastianphd.blogspot.com by subject and corresponding links along with my most recent article. I think that some of the articles on a wide variety of subjects will interest you, especially the sections on Poland and Business. Also attached is a list of article blogs regarding our Men’s Conference and Men’s spirituality at http://diosteubmen.blogspot.com with some application to women. I think that looking at the titles and reading some will help to make you a better informed progressive. Attached is my most recent article for Veterans Day.