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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Reasons Not To Vote For Trump


Actual Trump Quote: "the Chinese government almost blew it ... but they put [Tiananmen] down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.": For this alone, he should be cast out of society until he publicly repents in sackcloth and ashes.

Trump lied about writing Art of the Deal

Trump pals around with George Soros

Trump says his supporters are fine with murder

Trump Vows to commit International War Crimes: it is a crime to target civilians, even in wartime. We hanged Germans for doing this.

Trump Vows to take away Constitutional Rights: The right to free speech would be curtailed under Trump.

Trump Takes Jobs away from American Workers: He is more than happy to take away jobs from the poorest American workers.

Trump has extensive Mafia connections: Obama brought in the Chicago mafia and lined their pockets, now Trump will bring in the New York mafia and line HIS pockets.

Trump uses illegal labor: No hard hats, no safety from electrocution.

Trump's business was built with government handouts: Not with hard work, but by buying off politicians

Trump is a lousy businessman: He could have made more money simply by investing in stocks

Trump is still battling numerous lawsuits for fraud and malfeasance: And he'll use the power of the White House to get himself out of trouble.

Most of Donald Trump's Money went to Democrats: Trump bought Democrat politicians by the truckload. He can't afford to lose his investments. He is beholden to the Democrat machine.

How Dana Loesch came to her opinion about Trump


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Taxes vs. Wealth

The rich complain about how they pay most of the taxes in the nation (and they do). The social justice types complain about how the wealthy own 80% of the countries assets (it's actually 85%). Both sides presents numbers, but neither side ever presents the other side's numbers.

So, let's do that.

The tax numbers are primarily from the CBO's 2011 data, while the wealth numbers are primarily from Wikipedia's 2007 data. I tried to compare 2011 to 2011 data, but was unable to find any newer wealth data than Wikipedia's. If you know where the 2011 data is at, or where any newer data is at, let me know.

% Taxes Paid% Wealth OwnedGovt. Transfers (Raw $$)Average
Market Income
Top 1%2434.6??1447500
Top 20%68.785.111000240800
2nd 20%19.310.91410089600
3rd 20%8.941650055400
4th 20%2.50.21570031100
Bottom 20%0.6091007900

Now, you will notice a few things right away.

First, looking at the first column, it is obvious that the top quintile really does pay nearly 70% of taxes. Second, when you combine the first two quintiles, the top 40% of taxpayers pay a staggering 88% of taxes. The remaining 60% of the population pays only 12%, and most of that 12% is still in the top 50%.

Fully 50% of the population pays less than 10% of the taxes. Once you figure in government transfers, that is, money transferred directly to the taxpayer through food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid, welfare, etc., the bottom 50% does not pay any taxes at all.

Not only doesn't that bottom 50% not pay any taxes, the people in it actively make money simply by breathing and filing a tax return.

But..... this is not as rosy for the bottom 50% as it appears, because.... well...
More on that in a bit.

The second column helps explain why the bottom 50% doesn't pay any of those taxes. It doesn't have any money. The bottom 20% of this country has ZERO percent of its wealth. None. Nada. Goose egg. Empty Set. We're looking at the inside of a great big empty.

The bottom 60% of the country has less than 5% of the country's wealth.
The bottom 80% of the country has only about 15% of the nation's wealth.

Of course the wealthy pay almost all of the taxes.
They have almost all of the money.

But isn't a lot of their money transferred to the poor?
Why, yes. Yes, it is. But look at that transfer column.
The rich actually get more government transfer money, in raw figures, than the poor do. In fact, the group that gets the least money is the bottom 20%. The poorest of America's poor receive the least of America's transfer payments. The biggest payments go to.... wait for it... the middle class. But even the rich make out better than the poor do.

And please don't be tempted to say, "Good heavens, man. The difference between the payouts for the rich and the poor is a mere $2000. That's hardly a difference at all." Sure, if you're in the top quintile, making a quarter million dollars a year, then $2000 is a rounding error. But if you're in the bottom quintile, making only $7900 a year, then $2000 constitutes 25% of your income. That extra $2000 the rich pick up is, for the bottom 20%, the difference between living in an apartment and living on the street.

Here is a more complete rendering of CBO data, breaking out, by quintile, exactly how much money each group gets in income and pays in taxes, on average. The CBO does not provide the numbers for areas that have question marks.

Table 1 - Average Household Income, Transfers and Taxes by Before-Tax Income Group, 2011

Lowest QuintileSecond QuintileMiddle QuintileFourth QuintileHighest QuintileThe Top 1%
% Taxes Paid0.62.58.919.368.724
% of National Income5.3?14.1?5214.6
Tax as % of Income1.9711.215.223.429
Market Income15500296004980083300234700?
Government Transfers910015700165001410011000?
Before-Tax Income24600453006640097500245700?
Federal Taxes
500320074001480057500?
After Tax Income
24100421005900082600188200?


Note: The numbers in the second table are largely drawn from CBO Table 2. Numbers are different because " In Table 1, households are ranked by before-tax income, which includes income from government transfer programs, including Social Security and Medicare; in this section (Table 2), households are ranked by market income, which excludes income from transfer programs."

So, don't beat on the rich for not paying taxes. They do.
And don't beat on the poor for sucking at the government teat.
Compared to everyone else, they don't.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Collection of Backdoors

For those of you who like software that can be used as spyware:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2606776/hacking/155947-Biggest-baddest-boldest-software-backdoors-of-all-time.html


Microsoft bought Skype from Ebay to insert their patented 'Legal Backdoor' technology
http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&p=1&S1=20110153809&OS=20110153809&RS=20110153809


This is why it is important to keep up with the news. The first you hear of a vulnerability on your network maybe the morning email.

www.cnet.com
"Mousejacking" takes advantage of a flaw in many wireless USB dongles.


www.wired.com
Computer users pass around USB sticks like silicon business cards. Although we know they often carry malware infections, we depend on antivirus scans and ...

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/how-crackers-make-minced-meat-out-of-your-passwords/

arstechnica.com
Risk Assessment / Security & Hacktivism Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” For Ars, three crackers have at ...

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/03/how-i-became-a-password-cracker/
arstechnica.com
Risk Assessment / Security & Hacktivism How I became a password cracker Cracking passwords is officially a "script kiddie" activity now.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/15/virginia-hacking-voting-machines-security
www.theguardian.com
Voting machine password hacks as easy as 'abcde', details Virginia state report

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-frankel/the-black-box-voting-mach_b_8082384.html
www.huffingtonpost.com
The 2014 midterm election results may have been a complete farce. All it takes is one insider who knows how to flip a switch and the outcome changes. When ...



http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/5/5263/1.html

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2606776/hacking/155947-Biggest-baddest-boldest-software-backdoors-of-all-time.html


Microsoft bought Skype from Ebay to insert their patented 'Legal Backdoor' technology
http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&p=1&S1=20110153809&OS=20110153809&RS=20110153809

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Myth of the Ecological Indian

"“You may say to them that the Indians do not eat all the game they take,–that it is not supposed they eat more than four-fifths of the deer they kill. The skins are of great value to them, and having secured these, the bodies are left for the wolves to devour, and it is much the same with the buffalo; they are hunted for their tongues, and skins, of which they manufacture robes, and sell them to the fur traders."

https://thehistoricfoodie.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/native-american-waste-of-the-buffalo-c/

The Indian Americans were so good at destroying forests that a team of Stanford environmental scientists think they caused a mini ice age in Europe. When most of the Indian Americans died in the plague, so many trees grew back that it had a reverse global warming effect. More carbon dioxide was sucked from the air, the Earth’s atmosphere held on to less heat.

http://anonhq.com/5-lies-schooltaught-native-americans/

Kay documents a strong inverse relationship between Indians and wildlife.  That is, there was little wildlife in the “core areas” of the various tribes, while big game animals were abundant in the “buffer zones” between tribes at war.     Kay found no exceptions to the relationship.  If Indians were resident in an area, wildlife populations were significantly reduced.   That relationship held true, not just for buffalo, but for all of the large animals...elk, antelope, bighorn sheep,  mule and white‐tail deer, moose...even large predators such as wolves, black and grizzly bears.

http://www.vorebuffalojump.org/pdf/Effect%20of%20Indian%20hunting%20on%20wildlife.pdf

In Australia and the Americas, where humans arrived comparatively late, the extinctions were the most extreme, Sandom said.

"You've got this very advanced hunter arriving in the system," he said, not unlike the invasive species that cause native extinctions today. The researchers did not find a strong overall relationship between extinctions and climate, except in Eurasia, Sandom said. Climate there might have interacted with human arrival in a complicated way, with temperatures determining where people migrated, he added.

Overall, humans' arrival was responsible for 64 percent of the variation in extinction rates around the globe, while temperature changes explained 20 percent of the variation, mostly in Eurasia.

http://www.livescience.com/46081-humans-megafauna-extinction.html


http://www.amazon.com/The-Ecological-Indian-Myth-History/dp/0393321002
There is no room for the Ecological Indian here. As Martin himself wrote in 1967, "that business of the noble savage, a child of nature, living in an unspoiled Garden of Eden until the `discovery' of the New World by Europeans is apparently untrue, since the destruction of fauna, if not of habitat, was far greater before Columbus than at any time since." For Martin, that realization is "provocative," "deeply disturbing," and "even revolutionary." To no surprise, Martin's findings fed the conservative press who argued that because of the (supposed) sins of their earliest ancestors, Native North Americans today lack authority to occupy the moral high ground on environmental issues.

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/k/krech-indian.html

Friday, February 19, 2016

Two Vatican Memes

Fun Facts about the Vatican Nation-State


Terrorists and Vatican Passport Policy



America's Anti-Catholicism



It's 24 hours after the initial Reuters-inflamed conflagration, and a few things have become clear.

The facts are now easily available to anyone who wishes to find them.

What has become clear is this: to a large group of people out there, the facts don't matter.

They hate the Pope, they hate the Catholic Church.
It doesn't matter what the Pope actually said.
The fact that Trump attacked the Pope is manna to them.
There are even Catholics in this group.

They want to hate, and they are not going to let ANYONE take their hatred away by citing a few tawdry facts.

So, it doesn't matter that the Pope didn't actually say Trump wasn't Christian.

It doesn't matter that the Vatican is a 100% immigrant city, with absolutely open borders, a nation state that has already taken in refugee families and whose leader has directed every European parish, monastery and shrine to take in refugee families.

It doesn't matter that the Pope has never said people should not build any walls, but has instead said that someone who wants to build only walls is not Christian. It does not matter that the Pope even expressed doubt that anyone would hold such a position.

All that matters to the people who are now pushing this meme is that they have a legitimate political opportunity to express hatred and contempt for this Pope, and by extension, for the Catholic Church.

They thank God and the MSM for giving them the chance to spew out their anti-Catholic hatred. This is a golden opportunity to legitimately express bigotry, and by heaven!, they will not miss the chance.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rush Limbaugh and the Vatican Wall

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Well, there's big news to open the program with. CNN just reporting that il Papa, Pope Francis, upon boarding the pope jet on the return to Italy from Mexico said that Donald Trump is not a Christian. Man are they pulling out all the stops now. The Pope says that Donald Trump is not a Christian, because Christians do not build walls, they build bridges. Nevermind that the Vatican is surrounded by a wall and we won't even talk about who built that wall. But that's what the pope said. And given the pope's political leanings I'm surprised he isn't on the campaign trail for Bernie Sanders. But maybe Bernie Sanders is too far to the right for the pope.

Perhaps should tell Rush: 

  1. The Vatican is the only 100% immigrant country in the world,
  2. Anyone can enter the nation-state of the Vatican, any time of the day or night, without a passport,
  3. The Vatican has not only accepted refugee families, it has directed every parish, monastery and shrine in Europe to also welcome refugee families. It has also accepted homeless refugees from Italy.
  4. At 1.5 crimes per citizen, Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world, all directly attributable to its open borders. Many of the people who cross its borders every day are pickpockets who target all the other people who cross its borders each day, or shoplifters. It has no working prison. 
  5. And, yes, we know who built the wall. The Popes did. In fact, part of the wall was built in order to prevent the Muslims from raiding the city, as they had in 846 AD. 
The population density of Vatican City is 1884 people per square kilometer. The Vatican has already taken in 2% of its population in Syrian refugee families alone, not counting the dozens of Italian homeless.

The population density of the US is 35 people per square kilometer. To match population percentage, the US would have to take in 640,000 refugees a year (2%).

To match population density, the US would have to take in 33,920,000 refugees.

Update:
Now that many people are beginning to understand how generous the Vatican is, I hear people making this complaint:

The Vatican is not welcoming millions of settlers, that's the difference. Those millions are tourists who go home, they don't overstay their visas and disappear into Vatican City.
Americans misunderstand. 

All the Pope is asking is that people be afforded food, shelter and dignity.
That's it.


If the US had a program wherein everyone who came across the border got fed,  bid a fond farewell, and were then put on a plane to a safe home somewhere else in the world, we would have done all that the Pope asks. We would have been a bridge for them to a new life. 


If our laws don't allow for that, or if our laws allow refugees to do something else, that's not the Pope's fault. That's on Congress and the President and us, the citizens who elected them.

It is really very simple.
We don't want to be the rich man in the story:

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Mexico, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores...."

Pope Francis On Donald Trump

The media is exploding about the remarks Pope Francis reportedly made about Donald Trump. Let's take a close look at EXACTLY what was said:
Phil Pullella, Reuters: Today, you spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigration. On the other side of the border, there is a very tough electoral battle. One of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump, in an interview recently said that you are a political man and he even said that 
  1. you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics. Trump said that if he’s elected, 
  2. he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border.
  3. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etcetera. I would like to ask you, 
  4. what do you think of these accusations against you and if a 
  5. North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?
 Pope Francis' response:  
  1. Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as 'animal politicus.' At least I am a human person. 
  2. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don't know. I'll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, 
  3. a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. 
  4. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. 
  5. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.
Now, let's take note of a few things.
  1. The reporter said Trump disparaged the Pope,
  2. The reporter listed only Trump's negative proposals, failing to mention that Trump welcomes legal immigrants,
  3. He reiterated Trump's disparaging remarks,
  4. And asked the Pope to get involved in America's political process.
Looking at the points in the question, a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the reporter was deliberately trying to bait the Pope.

The Pope responded precisely as he should:

  1. He assumed the reporter was acting in good faith (Christian benefit of the doubt towards the reporter),
  2.  Refused to take the bait on the name-calling,
  3. Pointed out that, if the reporter's synopsis was accurate, this is not the attitude of a Christian,
  4. Refused to get involved in the political process,
  5. Gave Trump the benefit of the doubt by asking if this was really an accurate summary.
Now, as my friend, Dan Severino pointed out, the reporters' synopsis was inaccurate. It left out salient facts. But someone reported the papal remarks to Trump - whether accurately or not, we don't know.

We can be fairly certain the reporter's question was not included in the summary to Trump. Thus, Trump had no idea that the reporter seemed to be deliberately baiting the Pope to attack Trump. If he didn't have access to the Pope's reply, Trump would not have had a chance to examine the nuance with which the Pope spoke. 

In any case, Trump immediately attacked the Pope. Perhaps a reporter had helped him misunderstand the Pope's answer, or perhaps he did that on his own, but here is the relevant portion of Trump's response (full response at this link)
For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. 
If Trump had spent some time, gotten the full context of both the question and the answer, and had spent some time in thoughtful reflection, there would be no news story.

But, in ironic imitation of Ted Cruz's response to the CNN report that Carson was dropping out, Trump didn't check his sources. 

Instead, he went for the quick, politically safe response. And, in Protestant America, disparaging the Pope is always a politically safe response. In fact, it is a guaranteed vote generator in certain areas of the South.

In both the Cruz-Carson flap, and in the Trump-Pope flap, reporters have been the go-betweens. The accuracy of their reporting is suspect. But the popularity of the controversy their reporting generates.... ahhh, it is, as the French say, magnifique!  

From a political perspective, this whole mess is a win-win. The media gets their conflagration, lots of clicks, and lots of people tuning in to watch while Trump gets lots of votes. Nobody is left out but Catholics, and they deserve the blowback. So, the Pope was certainly used as a pawn... but not by the Mexican government. 




UPDATE:

Now you can watch the video!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Theocracy

I have heard some people complain that Ted Cruz is a Dominionist who would attempt to impose a Dominionist theocracy on the United States. This is, according to the whiners, hateful. After all, we are Americans, who have and cherish separation of Church and state!

Now, let us leave aside the fact that, for Catholics, separation of Church and state is heresy, and deal with the simple fact: in America, we neither have nor cherish separation of Church and state. Consider: if the Church and the state were truly separate, then actions undertaken on religious grounds could not be prohibited. But they ARE prohibited.

Followers of the Aztec religion cannot kill and eat each other. Muslims aren't allowed to rape and behead non-Muslims. In many cities, Christians are not permitted to feed the homeless. Obamacare requires Catholics to buy contraception, and requires religious sisters to pay for abortion.

We ALREADY live in a non-Christian theocracy. There is no separation of Church and state in this country. There is only domination of the Church by the state. That's it.

As a Catholic who very much opposes Dominionist theology, I have no serious issue with Cruz wearing his religion on his sleeve nor would I have serious problem with any attempt he makes to impose his beliefs on the nation. His beliefs are not any worse than what has already been imposed on us. Dominionist theology may be whacked in many respects, but at least Dominionists don't murder babies.  And, today, that's a pretty high bar.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Homosexual Activity is ALWAYS Rape

If I contracted with someone so that, under the right conditions, I agree to be their slave, that is not a valid contract. I have neither the right nor the ability to consent to that, nor can the person I contracted with enforce that contract.

Maybe I WANT to be enslaved, because I don't have to worry about income or taxes anymore - that's my owner's problem. Maybe my owner WANTS me to be a slave, because s/he always wanted to experience that relationship. Maybe my slavemaster treats me very well, and that's why I want to be his/her slave.

NONE of that matters. I don't have the ability to consent to such a relationship, nor does the one who wants to enslave me. The Declaration of Independence makes quite clear that our rights are:
(1) inalienable and
(2) endowed by our Creator.

The only theology that holds both of those principles to be true is Christianity. Christianity says that we have rights because: (1) God has rights and (2) we are made in God's image and likeness, so we have a share in the divine rights. No other theological system makes those two statements.

It isn't a question of emotion. No one has the ability to consent to homosexual activity. Period. Because no one has the ability to consent to the act, the act is always rape.


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?

Correct!

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.