Skip to comments.Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, and Liberal False Equivalence
Posted on 08/12/2012 2:45:02 PM PDT by NYer
As Josh Mercer noted earlier today, Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate sets up a stark contrast between the two Catholics on the two contending national-tickets. Ryan is pro-life and a supporter of marriage as the Church understands it (and as it has been understood by the whole human race time out of mind, that is, as a union of a man and a woman). As a public man, at least, Biden rejects these Catholic positions and advocates for the opposite positions.
This contrast will, of course, be somewhat embarrassing to liberal Catholics who want to support Biden. They will no doubt resort to their usual tactic in trying to overcome or obscure this embarrassment: setting up a false equivalence between the candidates based on a false equivalence between issues. “Well,” they will say, “Biden may be wrong on abortion and marriage, but Ryan is wrong about our obligations to the poor and vulnerable. He is, after all, the author of the Ryan budget plan, which will cut government services to the poor and vulnerable.”
It has been pointed out many times that this kind of argument depends on falsely equating issues that are not, on Catholic principles, truly equivalent. But it is worthwhile explaining the error here, since this argument will surely be pressed again in the context of the coming campaign.
Helping the poor and vulnerable is a good thing to do. As is the case with most of the good things that human beings can do, the Catholic Church does not presume to prescribe exactly how it is to be done. This is a matter in which human prudence is free to choose the most effective means to the desirable end. And because prudence is free in this realm, different citizens are free to contend for different ways to accomplish what must be done. It is true, as liberals are likely to emphasize, that Catholic social teaching acknowledges the obligation of government to see to the care of the poor and vulnerable, at least when the institutions of civil society prove ineffective. But here again the Church does not presume to specify exactly the kind or extent of government assistance.
In this light, it ought to be clear not only that Ryan’s “wrongness” is not equivalent to Biden’s, but also that it is in fact presumptuous for any Catholic to say at all that Ryan is “wrong” on Catholic principles in relation to care for the poor and vulnerable, since he does not reject the idea of social obligations to them. The most you could say is that, as a matter of opinion in the realm where citizens are free to form different opinions, you think Ryan’s approach to these matters is mistaken.
The case of Biden is altogether different. According to Catholic teaching, abortion is a serious evil. There is no free-play for prudence in deciding how to do something evil: it is just not to be done. This is not to say that there is an official, obligatory Catholic position on exactly how the law should handle abortion. But I think it is safe to say that someone, like Joe Biden, who contends that this evil should be treated as a constitutional right is not square with the Church’s teaching on a matter of fundamental moral importance. The same thing goes for marriage. From the standpoint of Catholic teaching, the definition of marriage that Biden would like to establish in law is not just imprudent but false. No obedient Catholic could go along with it.
**It has been pointed out many times that this kind of argument depends on falsely equating issues that are not, on Catholic principles, truly equivalent. But it is worthwhile explaining the error here, since this argument will surely be pressed again in the context of the coming campaign.**
Continue reading for clarification.
I am not a Catholic and not even particularly religious
so maybe someone could direct me to Biblical scripture
which directs secular governments in the handling of the
poor and indigent. I’ve always believed that the Bible
instructs the individual and, maybe, society in general
in the treatment of the poor and weak but that liberals
have managed to shift that responsibility to government
because they are lazy, blackhearted bastards.
Apologies for using “Bible” and “bastards” in the same
sentence if anyone is offended.
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Biden, Pelosi and other “Catholic” politician that advocates murdering unborn children and sodomite marriage should be EXCOMMUNICATED from the Catholic Church. They are causing great scandal to the Church and any priest that gives them Holy Communion should be called on the carpet and warned if he gives communion again to these public figures that spit in the face of Church teachings, he’ll be kicked out of the Church himself.
Look at the Old Testament and how the king was expected to be responsible for his subjects...which means that he was responsible for stability, defending them against enemies, and doing his best to offset disasters (plagues, famines). And the just man or ruler has always had the responsibility to care for the widow and orphan.
Obviously, Christians have this obligation to an even greater extent, and so does a Christian ruler, and you will see that St. Paul mentions this.
That’s not the same as a socialist welfare state, however, and that’s where people get confused. As the author says, the Church blesses no particular form of government or economy (although those that violate the rights of the individual would clearly be excluded, which means that Marxism is beyond the line). Christianity is directed at the individual, who can believe and act as a Christian no matter what his circumstances or what government is in power.
“As a public man, at least, Biden rejects these Catholic positions and advocates for the “opposite positions”.
Before posting this reply I searched my reasonably well-rounded vocabulary for some less-abrupt and more soothing words to make my point, but as an elder told me many years ago, “Often when you try to use too much TACT, you blunt or lose your ATTACK.” So I just have to say it.
In rejecting the traditional, scriptural Catholic “positions” and flacking for the “other positions” let us be clear: Those other positions Biden is promoting for the homo men and women are, the sodomy position and the dildo position, respectively!
And to think; that perversion-minded scrap of formerly human debris is the vice-president of the U.S.A. How far have we fallen?!
No problem, for me, at least. The Bible pulls no punches when making a point. Neither should we. In the 25th chapter of 1st Samuel, soon-to-be-king David and his men protected the flocks and herds of a wealthy (skinflint) rancher named Nabal. A short time later, when David and his merry men had come on hard times, David sent a few men to Nabal to request a little something to eat to get them through the rough patch, and they were rudely rebuffed by Nabal. David strapped on his Colt 45 ACP, told his men to do the same, and vowed mayhem upon Nabal and all his MALE employees.
1Sa 25:21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
1Sa 25:22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
By vowing to kill everyone on the ranch who pisseth against the wall, he was indicating the males. But Nabal’s wife Abigail got wind of what her stingy husband had done, loaded up a convoy of donkeys with choice foods, and headed down the pike to intercept David and deflect him from his intended mission; which she was able to do.
When her old man, Nabal heard what Abigail had done he flew into such a rage that he dropped dead! Shortly thereafter, Dave married Abby, became owner of the ranch, lock, stock and barrel; and they all lived happily ever after.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy [Catholic Caucus]
The Corporal Works of Mercy [Catholic Caucus]
Lists Every Catholic Should be Familiar With: The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy
Lists Every Catholic Should be Familiar With: The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy
Catholic Caucus: Spiritual Works of Mercy
Introduction to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Lest We Forget - The Corporal Works of Mercy & The Spirtual Works of Mercy/A>
Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
I don’t know what that has to do with regard to the
government and its’ relationship to the poor but it
is a pretty cool story. Keep me posted if they make
a movie......Thanks, Tuck
“Christianity is directed at the individual...”
I certainly agree with that although I see your
point about the responsibility of kings and rulers
as described in the OT.
Thank you for your response.
No problem. I do it all the time.
First of all, a "prudential" judgment is a judgment between competing good things, and a choice between the "good, better, best" way to do it. HOW? is the key word. (The question of "evil" or "moral absolutes" doesn't come in play here, because one is never allowed to choose evil, "NOHOW".
So the question is, how can the we deal with the hungry, poor, sick, unemployed, natural disaster survivors, victims of war and crime, etc.?
"Kill them all" is obviously wrong; "Ignore them all and let them starve/bleed to death" etc. is also wrong, because there is not just a (negative) moral imperative to not kill them, there is a (positive) moral imperative to make sure they're cared for somehow.
That's where the "HOW" comes in.
The Catholic Churh teaches (when it's teaching its own doctrine correctly!) that thuis must be handled under the principle of "Subsidiarity," which means everything is to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing that matter effectively.
That's the principle.
It should start with individuals and their families, and then their parish, church, charitable groups, and also private fraternal and philanthropic organizatons, labor groups, business partnerships, professional assocations, for-profit enterprises, local governments, city, state, region, etc.
The direction of responsibility is:
That's the framework, anyhow. How it all gets sorted out? That's a lifeime job.
I won't go on. This disturbs me too much.
To the best of my knowledge, the Church doesn't even use the word "individual," it uses the word "person" --- because "individual" implies an isolated entity, while "person" implies a social context, beginning with the family.
It's subtle, but important: you could be an "individual" in a Petri dish, but you develop as a person in a family. And the Church teaches that human beings are intrinsically social, not intrinsically isolated (individual.)
There is also an essential Chrisian role for the societies directly founded by Divine and Natural Law, namely, the Family and the Church, and for a HUGE number of intermediate institutions, and for the State (King).
Don't forget that in the days of Joseph in Genesis, God's providence ended up using the Pharaoh seizing control of all agricultural production, imposing an Emergency Preparedness Program involving the stockpiling of grain and the building of Storage Cities, and appointing Joseph to control all buying and selling during the famine.
That's an extreme situation and shouldn't be taken as typical. However, it does imply that if the emergency is truly cataclysmic, "subsidiarity" will mean a whole lot of power going to the State when necessary to prevent the extinction of nations.
In non-cataclysmic situations, though, responsibility is always supposed to devolve back to the lowest, most local, and most voluntary level that can effectively carry out the task.
How to do that is not laid out in any kind of official blueprint. It's up to us. It's called 'prudential judgment.'
Jesus calls individuals, not groups; if you want to call them persons, that’s fine, but we’re still talking about only one person at a time. It is the individual believer who accepts the gift of faith, and also the individual believer who is then responsible for his own acts and for following the Lord in his own way. It is the individual who is baptized into the Church, the individual who tells the priest that he has accepted the Faith and rejected Satan.
He then becomes part of the Body of Christ, and also part of other units (family, monastery, etc.), but it is always his unique act of faith that has brought him there. Obviously, we are all part of some institution or entity of one kind or another, and there are good ones and bad ones.
But Jesus would never have called the lame, the halt and the blind if it were all up to a person’s having developed in a healthy form. Even the most rejected, neglected and isolated individual can accept the Word of the Lord and become a Christian.
I’m not saying there aren’t better or worse situations, those that encourage or don’t encourage an individual to live a good life. But my point is that to base the argument against “gay marriage” on the statement that it’s not a healthy environment for children simply isn’t enough. If it’s all based on relative experience, you can certainly find enough people who had miserable two-parent homes and others who probably claim to have grown up quite successfully in a home where the parents may have been gay (although you’re certainly going to have a lot fewer of those).
The only argument against “gay marriage” is that it is simply not possible for human beings to redefine physical reality and declare that the law embedded in nature (both spiritual and biological) doesn’t exist because they don’t like it. The state cannot possibly go out and declare that two men can be “married” simply because the basis for the concept of marriage is actually a biological one and all the laws in the world won’t change that.
But, as I said, when some people are now announcing that a child’s biological sex is something that the child should “choose,” we see that this is absolutely a Luciferian rebellion against the Law of God which is inscribed in nature itself.
So it goes way beyond social structures.
I was (maybe confusingly) trying to address the question that Sivad originally brought up, about whether God's laws are for individuals only, or for "society in general," or for the State.
It's a good question. And I was trying to say that the societies which are instituted by Divine and Natural Law (the family and the Church) also play their part in His saving plan. There's a sense in which we are all saved as individuals; in another sense, none of us are saved as individuals. We are saved by being incorporated into Christ. Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus. We say "Our" Father.
And there are moral laws applicable to the family as such, and in fact every level of human society. Look at all the constant Biblical concern for intermediary institutions, the comings and goings of tribes, the identification of kinship, the mustering of armies, the selecting and deposing of royal courts, the teaching and sending of authorized apostles, the appointment of deacons, etc.
One by one we my have unique callings and unique responsibilities, but there are also laws that pertain to societies. The "nation," also, is called to repent. "Israel" (used as a collective term) is summoned to heed God's statutes. The "Church" cares for the poor in Jerusalem.
Anyway, the concept of Subsidiarity helps here. Keep things as small and as local as you can. The more things fall out of the hands of the small groups, the intermediary societies, the more they are picked up by Leviathan. If we are totally absorbed into a Reich or Obamunism or a Collective from Hell, it'll be because we let them pick up the tasks we dropped.
Let me be clear about my original question. I was not asking
a general question about whether God’s word applies to the
individual or to groups. My specific question was about how
the issue of the poor is to be addressed per the Bible. Is it
the responsibility of the government, individuals, or both to
ease the suffering of the poor and indigent? I’ve long sus-
pected that liberals want to absolve themselves of person-
We are all called as individual persons to care for the poor, downtrodden and brother's and sisters and if we happen to be part of the government we should use our responsibility to do such whereas we are not causing undue burdens upon our fellow citizens. A government of the people by the people and for the people should do just that but government is not a charity. Charity has to be a free act of the will on the part of person(s) to be a true act of charity.
We all know and it has been shown over and over again that government is not a charity and it is not an efficient vehicle for distributing charity. One of the things that gets me about the tax code is the ridiculous restrictions put on donations to charity by taxpayers. It is simply evil
It is the firstly the primary responsibility of the person to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. But we cannot pull a Pelosi, Biden, JFK and act like our public beliefs are different from our private beliefs. Our Lord rails against hypocrites constantly. Our Christian faith is to be lived out in every part of our life. This is one reason why I am a conservative and not a libertarian.