Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
From RR
More lies, more deception
Paul Craig Roberts on business as usual
This is “freedom and democracy” at work. The leaders of the G-20 countries, which account for 85 percent of the world’s income, cannot meet in an American city without 12,000 cops outfitted like the emperor’s stormtroopers in “Star Wars.” And the U.S. government complains about Iran.
Reminds me of Fr Blake on better days:
How different from the days when my uncle had a nice conversation with Mr Atlee and his detective on the tube, or when boys would be photographed standing on the pavement outside No 10.

I know we have had the Brighton bomb and other terrorist outrages but how society has changed, and yet until recently the Queen used to be met out riding or driving on her own in Windsor Great Park.
Of course the England I remember was hypervigilant about terrorism like much of the rest of the world, in that case because of the IRA (Communists not Catholics?).

Not to be outdone in idiocy, out of Obama’s mouth jumped Orwellian doublespeak: “The Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law.”

The incongruity blows the mind. Here is Obama, with troops engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, demanding that a peaceful nation at war with no one demonstrate “its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law.”

It is the U.S. government and its NATO puppet states, and militarist Israel, of course, that need to be held accountable to international law. Under international law, the U.S., its NATO puppets and Israel are war criminal governments. There is no doubt about it. The record is totally clear.

The U.S., Israel and the NATO puppet states have committed military aggression exactly as did Germany’s Third Reich, and they have murdered large numbers of civilians.
As Ron Paul says, the good news is he hasn’t invaded Iran. The bad news is he might.
From LRC

Monday, September 28, 2009

From RR
  • Now the US Navy’s submarines can have the same problems the rest of the forces do: breakdown of discipline (pregnancies, double standards — it’s easier for a woman to cry her way out of an enlistment), more broken marriages (already a problem in the services and another morale-killer with the above) and inefficiency (using five people to do what four normal men can) which aboard a warship, especially a sub, can be deadly. Hmm. Both sexes in a small space for months at a time: duh. Hearing West Pointer Brian Mitchell discuss this in person 11 years ago convinced me. I’m for peace but not pacifist and don’t want egalitarian nonsense anywhere including compromising the legitimate mission of the military (see above on five doing what four can).
  • Do school vouchers pass the anarcho-libertarian test? The slippery slope here is the lesson of Notre Dame and other formerly RC colleges which have ‘taken the soup’ (assimilated; sold out to the larger culture): once you hand over control from the bishop to the state to get subsidies (long a goal of the RC schools, still under the bishops... founded to get away from the state and its de facto Protestantism), the state calls the shots on the content. Then there’s the problem nothing to do with the state of the clergy slinking off and joining the enemy.
  • Peckerwood populism (part II) or being patronised by prats on the right. Stop the race-baiting! I read Steve Sailer but my answer’s not the anti-immigration and Nazi race laws his fans obviously use his conclusions to back up. One high standard for all and never mind race — no racial quotas or double standards. The right thing to do whether or not his theories are true. Sidebar: One of Joshua’s great insights: if only the populist right had dropped this, the New Left got over their brattiness and the two sides around the year I was born sat down and talked to each other (George Wallace minus race meets the SDS’s Carl Oglesby, with Murray Rothbard and Frank Chodorov hosting/moderating), we would have stopped being played by the state and the pols and the destructive cultural ’60s as commonly understood never would have happened. (But the palæos have a point that the root of the last problem went back to the ’50s and earlier. Much of the older generation was as clueless as the kids.)
  • Married to the state. In 1947, with the baby boom in its infancy and few disposed to hearing of family crisis, Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman saw the long-term reality: the family had been deteriorating since the Renaissance and was nearing the point of no return. Whenever the family shows signs of dysfunction, Zimmerman observed, “the state helps to break it up.” As all-round nice bloke Ringo Starr says, everything government touches turns to crap. They ought to put that on posters and not ‘Imagine’ (an evil song).
  • Obama and Afghanistan. The establishment left have more blood on their hands historically than the right so this should surprise no-one. Maybe like Madeleine Albright (God have mercy on her) on killing Iraqis under Clinton’s watch he thinks it’s worth it to push his version of American hegemony.
The dawn of decadence
What’s ruining us ruined ancient Persia. From Taki.
From LRC

Sunday, September 27, 2009

One of the best films ever
This is the Fordham section of The Bronx: my home. A world unto itself. Any borough is only 15 minutes away... but they seem 3,000 miles away. That’s Mount Carmel Church. The sound of the bells filled the neighborhood. It was 1960...

It was great to be Catholic and go to confession. You could start over every week.

Chazz Palminteri:
I wanted to write a story about the working man. It’s really about my father. Sonny is the antagonist, but he’s a likeable one. “A Bronx Tale” is not about good and evil. It’s about gray and gray. Calogero takes the best of both men — his father and Sonny — and becomes a man.

‘Now youse can’t leave.’ This is a peace blog but not pacifist; I liked the old-school mafiosi kicking the counterculture out of their neighbourhood. Warnings: language and violence.

Among other priceless scenes and dialogue (‘the saddest thing in life is wasted talent’), Sonny teaches Calogero this:
You must be pretty upset after the Yankees lost... Mickey Mantle? That’s what you’re upset about? Mantle makes $200,000 a year. How much does your father make?

I don’t know.

You don’t know. If your dad needs rent money, go ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens. Mickey Mantle don’t care about you. Why care about him?

Answering Derek on Anglo-Catholicism
Familiar to regular readers

Update: how fallible denominations work. Besides claiming unlimited power as past doctrine is fallible, there’s the Neuhaus principle (making orthodoxy optional is effectively banning it). Begging for inclusion in a liberal sect is not the way to go.

Photo: St Magnus the Martyr, London.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

From May: the Fed speaks
Who else thinks the clumsy, pretentious corporate talk (the sort of thing I rip out of press releases at work before we publish them) sounds like she’s lying/trying to cover up? From Ad Orientem.
Music issue: the kids are all right

NeemaV: I know what’s wrong with it (true authority comes from God; that’s not necessarily the state’s authority) but still. Language.

Aimee Allen from last year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baptism is not an economics degree
John Zmirak answers well-meaning Christians left and right. From Joshua.
Local history: the Pew family
Forget the Kennedys: these hard-working, dutiful old-school Presbyterians would have made better presidents
From RR

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama the academic
Not that I think much of National Review. (Now that their side’s out of power they’re pretending to be us again like in the ’90s, or why I stayed home in November rather than vote for Barr.) From Dr Tighe.
Fr Gollop on middle-class church
Vs the Catholic Church: here comes everybody from the educated and pukka to the folk religion Arturo writes about
One of the points of liturgical prayer
Objectivity and Godwardness
I have sometimes set aside my prayer book for days and weeks on end, and I find, at the end of those days and weeks on end, that I have lapsed into narcissism. Though meaning to commune with or reverence or at least acknowledge God, I wind up talking to myself about my emotions du jour. It is returning to my prayer book that places me. Liturgy is not, in the end, open to our emotional whims. It repoints the person praying, taking him somewhere else.
From Lauren Winner via Tripp.
He means it
This Catholic thing he’s reviving. Not as an exhibition or an Indian reservation.
Pope Benedict XVI wishes that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter be entrusted, beyond the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, at as many places as possible, with the cura animarum, i.e. the full pastoral care.
This may be wishful thinking on the RC side but it’s still nice to think about:
And at a time like this, when many forces in the West (the European Union, the new US administration) seem to be aligning themselves in favor of a thoroughly secularized “new world order,” the ally most helpful to Rome may well be the ally who still celebrates a divine liturgy which has not been modernized: the Orthodox.

And the most numerous and powerful of the Orthodox are the Russians.

In this perspective, these attacks on the Pope and the Vatican may drive Rome to ally herself, after a thousand years of separation, with Contantinople, and with Moscow — reuniting the “three Romes”...
From Inside the Vatican via Dr Tighe on this.
Disgusting little Dem sock-puppet
For a Christian, what is the difference between a moral stand and a political stand? A political stand is a moral stand I disagree with.
From MCJ.
Onward, Christian soldiers
Before SWPL there were liberal Protestants. As I said earlier only those who believe bad movies about the late ’60s think the left are for peace. From TAC via Joshua.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From RR

Audit-the-Fed bill up for vote on Friday

Monday, September 21, 2009

Russian Orthodox official’s Vatican trip seen as pinpointing a thaw
By Sophia Kishkovsky

From here via Dr Tighe.

Seen by whom?

For all their talk of ecumenism, somehow I don’t think liberal Protestants really want Catholic reunion, do you?
Moscow, 21 September (ENI) — On a five-day visit to Rome, a Russian Orthodox official in charge of interchurch relations had a meeting with the Pope, and this is being seen as a sign of improved relations between the two churches under Benedict XVI and the new Russian Patriarch Kirill I.

An official Web site of the Moscow Patriarchate has reported that Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk met Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo, the pontifical summer residence.

Hilarion is chairperson of the external church relations section of the Moscow Patriarchate. He is reported as having told Benedict that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic positions on issues such as family values and euthanasia were identical, and distinct from the views of many Protestant churches.

On 19 September the Russian archbishop took part in a service at the Catacombs of St. Callixtus. According to a report on the Web site of his church, he spoke of the martyrdom of the early Christians in Rome.

“Now, when the Orthodox and Catholic churches are not in Eucharistic communion, and when many Protestant denominations have deviated from the fundamental principles of Christianity, we must understand clearly that division is a sin that tears apart the body of the Church and weakens the strength of Christian witness before the secular world”, Hilarion said.

During his visit, Hilarion also met other Vatican officials including Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and Cardinal Walter Kasper, who heads the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Kasper told Vatican Radio on 17 September, “The situation in Moscow has very much improved. We have overcome the tensions. We are in a new situation.”

Through much of the post-Soviet era, and under Polish-born Pope John Paul II, relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Vatican were marked by the flaring of centuries-old tensions over the issue of Uniates, who are Christians concentrated in Ukraine, and who observe the Byzantine rite but are loyal to Rome. The Russian Orthodox Church has in the past also accused the Vatican of proselytising in the former Soviet republic.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Hilarion raised the issue at his meeting with the Pope, according to the report on the patriarchate’s Web site. In addition, Hilarion mentioned another sensitive subject regarding relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Contact between the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchate have been tense since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the world’s largest Orthodox church, and it objects to Constantinople being compared to Rome. The Russian church says that Constantinople’s primacy is honorary and its jurisdiction does not extend beyond the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is based in Istanbul.

Still, leaders of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches have recently spoken increasingly of each other as allies in defending traditional spiritual values in the secular world. This has led to growing speculation that a meeting between Patriarch Kirill I and Pope Benedict could take place in the foreseeable future.

The Russian Orthodox Church reacted negatively both to Pope John Paul II’s desire to visit Russia, and his visits to former Soviet republics.

Signs now point to a meeting between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch on neutral territory. Plans for such a meeting in Austria in 1997 between the late Russian Patriarch Aleksei II and Pope John Paul II fell through at the last moment.

In May 2009, shortly after he succeeded Kirill as chairperson of the external relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Hilarion told Ecumenical News International, “I think that if you look at relations between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches in the historical perspective, taking into account that such a meeting did not take place for ten centuries, then such a meeting is very close, as close as never before. I think it will happen as soon as the conditions for it mature.”

Orthodoxy came to what is now modern-day Russia, through Byzantium, in 988, less than a century before the schism divided the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches in 1054.
John of Ad Orientem:
An interesting report. Much most of what +Hilarion is quoted as saying however, has been said before. He has been an advocate of closer ties with Rome on cultural grounds for many years. This article does not mention any of the substantive theological points which divide us. That said, I think it is fair to say that relations between Rome and Russia are warming for a variety of reasons. I would not be surprised to see some sort of meeting between the Pope and PofM in the next few years. But that’s a far cry from restoring communion which I would be extremely surprised to see in my lifetime.
There’s only one such point but it’s irreconcilable.

Greek Catholics are concentrated only in the south-western corner of the Ukraine. To be honest they used to be in much of the region including Kiev and in Byelorussia but Russian expansion centuries ago squashed that. Their homeland has long been Galicia, Polish until Stalin grabbed it in WWII. Rome doesn’t proselytise in the old Russian empire. More.
Thy birth, O Mother of God, hath brought joy to all the universe; for from thee arose the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, who, having dissolved the curse, hath given his blessing, and having abolished death, hath granted us everlasting life.
Joshua’s political and economic briefs
From RR

Greatest Generation virtues
From Hilary
The changing missile plan for Eastern Europe

Ron Paul interview with Time
From here

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weber’s revisited: el car boss
From Taki
  • Race card. Six months ago, Obama’s approval rating was 70 percent. Does Carter think that number has sunk to 50 percent because tens of millions of Americans suddenly discovered Obama was black? He’s not really black (raised by whites in places without the usual American culture about race) but point taken.
  • A tale of two conservatives. Covers a lot of ground from human biodiversity (I read Steve Sailer but of course don’t want Nazi race laws, rather one race-blind high standard for all) to the folly of egalitarianism to the neocon takeover of the GOP and the religious right being played. BTW Irving Kristol died. Believe it or not a long time ago I thought neoconservatism was worth a listen: idealistic 1950s liberals horrified by the counterculture. Why is it so wrong then? The answer of course is their Trotskyite principles were bad to begin with and remained after their ‘switch’. LRC: Whatever was good, he purged or smeared, in the cause of what he dubbed “neoconservatism”: corporatism, global war, and imperialism, with a special orientation towards Israel. He also influenced the major conservative foundations, and used their resources to great effect. As might be expected, he had a special animus for libertarianism and Ludwig von Mises, whom he denounced to me. As a warmonger and promoter of the police state, he had much blood on his hands, and wanted more.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Identity crisis
I really wish these people like [Nancy Pelosi] would make up their minds! First, those who opposed socialized healthcare and Death Panels were Nazis, so I had to buy an armband. Then we were angry members of a mob, so I had to go make a sign. Then we were tools of sinister insurance corporations, so I spent all of one day looking for where I could pick up my tool paycheck. Then after that we were mindless, toothless, uneducated rubes controlled by Rush and Beck, and now we are assassins, so I gotta go take off my seedcorn cap and overalls and see if my Black Ops uniform still fits. Sheesh!
From here via MCJ.
A lesson never learnt
Civic piety on 9/11 from Mr Obama:
Remember how we came together as one nation, as one people, as Americans. This may be the greatest lesson of this day.
No. It’s ‘Why were we attacked?’
In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – while still a U.S. senator – Obama talked about the need to alleviate the root causes of terrorism: poverty; the lack of education; conflict, anarchy, and collapsed or collapsing states.
He wants to invade countries for their own good. Wrong again.
Like the Bush administration before it, the Obama administration continues to ignore the obvious: U.S. foreign policy – more precisely, U.S. interventionism.
Ireland, keep saying no to Lisbon
From LRC

Thursday, September 17, 2009

From RR

9/12 photos
I wasn’t there but old friend Paul Hayes was
Protesters came from every state in the Union. This man (with the “Blowing Mad Money” sign) came from San Antonio, Texas. He said that he was really sorry he hadn’t brought his family. He said that being a black conservative he was afraid to expose his children to what he expected would be a lot of liberal abuse. He was thrilled with the tenor of the event and the fact that no liberals were present to harass him. He spoke about how incredibly intolerant the left is to blacks who don’t bow to the party line.

A different level of civilized behavior and thought from Woodstock. Oh, and by the way, these people didn’t leave tons of garbage behind when they left. Actually they left no trash behind at all.
Maureen Dowd’s disgusting insinuation that Joe Wilson is a racist would land her in court in Britain
He’s right but the other ‘choice’ in mainstream American politics are wrong and liars as well
This isn’t a case of limey gutlessness. It’s to do with our legal requirement that if you accuse someone of a gross moral lapse, you have to prove your case.
From Damian Thompson.
Steve Sailer on popular music
A possible advantage about not knowing much about what I’m talking about when it comes to music is a certain ability to see the forest through the trees.

From that 30,000-foot perspective, the answer to what’s new in country turned out to be (as with most genres of popular music in the last couple of decades): not much.

Indeed, what seems odd for an old fogey like me is how much a country radio station these days sounds like a mainstream FM rock station in the 1970s.

Why did the 20th century see such sweeping changes in musical styles, while people in the 21st century still seem fairly satisfied with the genres that emerged in those few tumultuous decades after WWII?

In the very big picture, what revolutionized music over the last 100 years was electricity. Combined with other new electrical technology such as recording and radio, amplification created superstars whose magnitude we’ll likely never see the like of again.

By the early 1980s, technology allowed any conceivable sound to be produced on demand. Technical innovations since then, such as the Internet, have mostly served to allow fans to mainline their favorite styles without them having to put up with the crud other people like.

26 of the current Billboard Country Top 30 hits are sung by guys. And yet, country audiences appear to be around 55 percent female and women are widely considered within the industry to be the target.

Freud famously wondered, “What does a woman want?” Nashville music executives, though, don’t find that a perplexing question. Male country singers tend to be deep-voiced, good-looking, and tall.

Country songs sung by women now tend to be You-Go-Girl sassy, aimed at Oprah fans. Male singers, on the other hand, get to be sappy, to make fun of themselves, and do other things that wouldn’t be considered appropriately “empowering” for women to do. Not surprisingly, allowed a wider choice of songs, there are more male stars.

The typical country fan has a life. Indeed, having too much of a life is a common theme in country.

One striking difference between country lyrics and lyrics for rock, pop, or rap songs (in which it’s the default that the singer is single) is that singers are so often explicitly married or heading into (or out of) marriage, and may well have kids.

I find it plausible that all this pro-family propaganda in country songs actually improves the conduct of white working-class American men. Compare them to their distant cousins in Britain’s white working class and you’ll see the Americans come out better behaved on measures of things like burglary and binge drinking.
From Taki.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stories: Orthodox and RCs growing up together upstate in the 1950s
As I like to say, although they’re clear on who they are, unlike the converts they also acknowledge all they have in common and don’t have a chip on their shoulder about the other side

The ‘Living Church’ mentioned in one entry was a Soviet front group in 1920s Russia that won a few property fights in America which is why some churches are in the small Patriarchal Parishes group (not a diocese — it’s complicated) today (such as their cathedral, St Nicholas in New York).
US to send 1,000 more soldiers to Iraq
Michael Lawrence: Guess what? The government lied to you — again. Try not to be shocked.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RC Archbishop of Moscow says reunion with Orthodox could be achieved ‘within a few months’
I dare say I can speak for many people good and bad who follow this sort of thing when I say: what?
“There remains the question of papal primacy,” Archbishop Pezzi acknowledged, “and this will be a concern at the next meeting of the [Roman] Catholic-Orthodox Commission. But to me, it doesn’t seem impossible to reach an agreement.”
Explanation, Your Grace? The scope of the Pope (divinely instituted channel of the church’s infallibility or a perfectly good man-made rank, for the good order of the infallible church, of that church’s divinely instituted episcopate?) is the only real difference (a central command vs a communion held together only by a shared faith, doctrinally as tight as Rome but organisationally looser than Anglicanism) but as I say parallel paths don’t meet: I see what most of the experts see, an insurmountable difference between two Catholic churches.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On the tea-partiers and ‘who’s a conservative?’
I’ve got hope (ha ha, Obama fans) and am not looking down on this at all but one video I saw had someone holding a sign saying ‘Thank God for Fox News and talk radio’. No.
What happened to the work ethic?
Moral hazard or getting used to living off other people’s money. From TAC via Tea at Trianon.
From RR
From LRC
From Times Online
One more on Anglicanism

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mere Comments: sanctimonious twits
So it’s OK to criticise a mainline Protestant church and while so doing argue ad nauseam about WO, even say ‘priestess’, but if you move beyond that to bring up the infallible-church/fallible-denomination issue (so who’s to stop the liberals innovating? ... conservative Protestants have no more authority than they do) it’s offensive, un-ecumenical, and you’re threatened. The problem wasn’t the big, bad late ’60s or even the ‘Enlightenment’ although they too brought in much evil. It was the ‘Reformation’. Deal with it.
Fr Hunwicke on clerical marriage
  • Part I. Few things are more indecorous than the old Anglican custom of a young curate arriving in a parish and being competed for by the unmarried young women of that parish. And the Great Tradition is not very welcoming of the concept of priests marrying. Anglicans of that peculiar type that rejoices in finding areas where our tradition coincides with the Byzantine tradition and stands against the Roman praxis tend to forget that Byzantines are far from keen on priests marrying.
  • Part II. “It will solve the problem of pædophile priests”, kindly Roman Catholics confidently assert. They tend to be surprised when I explain that allowing married clergy does not achieve this end. I can tell them all about Anglican priests — and bishops — who disprove this assumption. And I go on to tell them jolly tales about Anglican priests — and bishops — who have been sacked for adultery. I have often found celibate clergy nervous about the the Great Tradition in its lack of enthusiasm about unnatural methods of conception-prevention. Also most of the problem priests weren’t pædos. They were gay.

Two on 9/12
From The Bovina Bloviator.

High Mass drawing young crowd
From Fr Z. Not surprising as bloggers like Derek show. But there’s a difference between this and Catholicism.

Fr Z fisks this.
Newly got relics and reliquaries
Of SS. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents, in Gothic ones

Sic transit gloria mundi
Atque historia mortis et resurrectionis:
the rectory at ex-Transfiguration of Our Lord Church, Cedar Avenue between 55th and 56th streets, comes down and the school is reborn as the Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. The parish was obviously the anchor of this rowhouse neighbourhood in the 1950s when it was Irish. I know someone who was baptised and grew up here. It’s sad to see this sturdy basilica-style building idle (but better I suppose than it going to Protestants) and the school without the cross on top or a statue in the empty niche but the latter’s being put to good use, teaching bright and motivated boys to discipline their minds in a time-tested way. The uniforms even look like the old school’s probably did.

More here, here and here.

The old days:

A more ‘consumer-driven’ health-care system?
A genuine libertarian or conservative healthcare solution would terrify the American public as much as the Left-liberal vision does. That’s why the Republicans aren’t offering much of an alternative.
From a Democrat and businessman who lost his father to bad hospital care. This doesn’t look purely libertarian but he looks at a business model for many things (for example Lasik is seldom covered by insurance and look how the price has gone down; competition might improve quality).
We will need to reduce, rather than expand, the role of insurance; focus the government’s role exclusively on things that only government can do (protect the poor, cover us against true catastrophe, enforce safety standards, and ensure provider competition); overcome our addiction to Ponzi-scheme financing, hidden subsidies, manipulated prices, and undisclosed results; and rely more on ourselves, the consumers, as the ultimate guarantors of good service, reasonable prices, and sensible trade-offs between health-care spending and spending on all the other good things money can buy.

We all believe we need comprehensive health insurance because the cost of care — even routine care — appears too high to bear on our own. But the use of insurance to fund virtually all care is itself a major cause of health care’s high expense.

We’ve become so used to health insurance that we don’t realize how absurd that is. We can’t imagine paying for gas with our auto-insurance policy, or for our electric bills with our homeowners insurance, but we all assume that our regular checkups and dental cleanings will be covered at least partially by insurance. Most pregnancies are planned, and deliveries are predictable many months in advance, yet they’re financed the same way we finance fixing a car after a wreck — through an insurance claim.

Insurance is probably the most complex, costly, and distortional method of financing any activity; that’s why it is otherwise used to fund only rare, unexpected, and large costs. Imagine sending your weekly grocery bill to an insurance clerk for review, and having the grocer reimbursed by the insurer to whom you’ve paid your share. An expensive and wasteful absurdity, no?

Society’s excess cost from health insurance’s administrative expense pales next to the damage caused by “moral hazard” — the tendency we all have to change our behavior, becoming spendthrifts and otherwise taking less care with our decisions, when someone else is covering the costs. Medical ads on TV typically inform the viewer that a specific treatment — a drug, device, surgical procedure — is available for a chronic condition. Many also note that the product or treatment is eligible for Medicare or private-insurance reimbursement. In some cases, the advertiser will offer to help the patient obtain that reimbursement. The key message: you can benefit from this product and pass the bill on to someone else. But there’s no one else to pay the bill.

What amazed me most during five weeks in the ICU with my dad was the survival of paper and pen for medical instructions and histories. In that time, Dad was twice taken for surgical procedures intended for other patients (fortunately interrupted both times by our intervention). My dry cleaner uses a more elaborate system to track shirts than this hospital used to track treatment.

Technological innovation — which is now almost completely insensitive to costs, and which often takes the form of slightly improved treatments for much higher prices — would begin to concern itself with value, not just quality. Many innovations might drive prices down, not up.

In 2002, the U.S. had almost six times as many CT scanners per capita as Germany and four times as many MRI machines as the U.K.

In competitive markets, high profits serve an important social purpose: encouraging capital to flow to the production of a service not adequately supplied.
As for pure libertarianism IIRC even the great man Ron Paul sees the need to take a peace dividend (if the US quits Iraq and Afghanistan, closes most of its other overseas military bases, with more soldiers abroad than the British at their height, and stops propping up Israel) and help people through this depression and those who’ve become dependent on state aid literally to survive, while changing to a better way to pay for these things.

More. I know what’s wrong with some of it.

From Secular Right.

’50s-early-’60s-theme film fest: The Idolmaker
Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • What’s with so many converts? Or why online religion usually s*cks. One of my favourite writers answers this.
  • Newman: It was no heavenly body which the Eternal Son assumed, fashioned by the angels, and brought down to this lower world: no; He imbibed, He absorbed into His Divine Person, [Mary’s] blood and the substance of her flesh; by becoming man of her, He received her lineaments and features, as the appropriate character in which He was to manifest Himself to mankind. From here.
  • Fr Stephen Freeman on doctrines and opinion. “Agathon, we heard that you are an adulterer and full of pride.” He answered, “Yes, that’s true.” “Are you the same Agathom who gossips and slanders?” “I am.” “Are you Agathon the heretic?” “No, I am not a heretic.” “Why did you patiently endure it when we slandered you, but refuse to be called a heretic?” Agathon answered, “Your first accusations were good for my soul, but to be a heretic is to be separated from God. I do not want to be apart from God.”
  • An overview of the Roman Breviary with a nice explanation of how feasts are ranked.
  • Episcopacy and the ‘Reformation’ featuring friend Dr Tighe.
  • How non-monolithic Catholicism is different from broad churchmanship/‘comprehensiveness’. That’s right: the infallible church. We have many differences of opinion and sadly, we do not always enjoy unity of doctrine with every Catholic. However, that is not the point. The point is that with an infallible authority we have the resource and focus for unity of form and unity of doctrine. This unity is not the same thing as uniformity. Catholics may disagree with the infallible authority, but the authority is still there. They may disobey and dissent, but there is something to disagree with and dissent from. In the Catholic Church the authority that is there provides a rock on which to build. This is what separates Bad Catholics from Protestants and Modernists.
  • On Anglicanism and polyamory in which Paul and Brother Stephen suggest the Catholic position makes more sense (if two men why not three or more people?). As a libertarian I’m all for decriminalising both homosexuality and polygamy; it’s the church’s job to teach they’re wrong, not the state’s.
  • RIP Bishop Noël Jones. Like my late rector a Navy man and real Anglo-Catholic.
  • Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival: Irish cathedral bans secular songs.
  • To clank or not? The thurible in the Roman Rite.
  • Looking east: suspended Russian bishop to be defrocked. Bishop Agafangel in the Ukraine, now apparently a metropolitan of his splinter sect (one of a few ‘true ROCORs’), was a ROCOR bishop against reunion with Russia. On different kinds of Eastern churches.