Sunday, December 07, 2014

The psychiatrist who chose conscience over enabling government evil, and more

  • When should a psychiatrist refuse to treat a patient? If you were a psychiatrist assigned by the government to make torturers feel better about their lives, what would you do? That's not a rhetorical question. Back in the 1950s, the psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon was forced to answer that question, in his own life.
  • Daniel Nichols, at this point an old liberal who likes icons, writes: I am trying to imagine what the response of the right would be if cops had shot an open-carry Tea Party type instead of a twelve-year-old black kid with a toy gun. Plenty of people in my political bailiwick reflexively hate the cops. I'm not one of them. The orange tip marking the gun as a toy was missing. An open-carry Tea Party type, people who know and thus respect guns, wouldn't have been ignorant or stupid enough to brandish that. (Like the anti-Second Amendment politicians who give speeches holding a gun with the safety off and pointed at people.) A 12-year-old black kid with a real gun is as deadly as anyone.
  • Our beautiful animals:
    • Our messed-up, dog-loving, childless culture. Jeff Culbreath recently hosted a long discussion on this lamenting the degeneracy in our society in which people spend more on pets than on charity for people; the phenomenon of substituting pets for people, particularly children (demographic suicide). A former farmer, work that's often unsentimental about animals (the Amish run puppy mills), he and a college-educated Thomist son (I knew the son as a very little boy) offer a logical, hard-headed counter-argument: animals have emotions (which is why dogs are charming), sensitive souls, but not spiritual souls like God, the angels, and us ("love is a choice, so strictly speaking, our pets don't love us; we just satisfy their survival and emotional needs"), so not only is the inordinate spending on them a sin but animals don't even have an inherent right to comfort, etc.; they don't intend to excuse cruelty to animals but I think that goes too far. Rather, the common sense that animals are property (they're not filing the briefs to be treated like people) but the existing anti-cruelty laws should be enforced; animal husbandry or good stewardship. (Some libertarians hate the government so much — anti-authority daddy issues — they excuse cruelty to animals.) Hypocrisy because it's self-centered sentimentality, rather like its cousin, vegetarianism (a recent article claims most revert to eating meat anyway): bet nearly all of those pets-first people are pro-abortion. Finally, Jeff and I agree that anthropomorphizing our pets doesn't respect them as beautiful creatures of God. I'm thinking of dog and cat clothes (as opposed to practical horse-blanket-like dog coats for thin, short-haired breeds in cold weather); pet owners who put those on their animals almost deserve to be bitten or scratched.
    • Science! Brain scans of dogs confirm our feelings about them. They're intuitive and empathetic.
    • RIP Frank and Louie, 15. He was a rare example of a Janus cat (one being, two faces) who survived beyond a few days. Glad he had a loving home and a long life. It's a genetic glitch but usually not extreme conjoined twinning (modern human example of such twins, two heads, two arms, and two legs: Abby and Brittany Hensel, now grown) as classically thought.
  • Labor-force participation remains at a 36-year low.
  • Mass: Populus Sion, ecce Dominus veniet ad salvandas gentes.
  • Threads on an Orthodox board about Greek Catholicism (long) and Slavic history. Touches on OicwR nonsense (let's dump our doctrine and become Orthodox, denying that the second-millennium Western Church defended and spread the essentials of the faith). What strikes me is the long history of ethnic grievances: intra-Slavic fighting (Poles vs. Ukrainians, for example, even when the Ukrainians were Catholic). Pan-Slavism is from the 1800s: Russian imperial and Soviet propaganda. But what strikes me of course (which of course I'm not welcome to say as a guest on that board) is the Slavic and slavophile Orthodox take the leap from defending a rite and cultures that are good to assuming an East Slavic universality as opposed to real universality (not all such Orthodox are russophiles; Ukrainian and Rusyn patriots). The short trip from loving Byzantium (which is Catholic) to worshipping it (which is idolatry). Pan-Orthodoxy ("people shouldn't become Orthodox just because they're Ukrainian but because it's the truth") is an American convert fantasy; of course those churches are extremely tribal. (Christianity is both propositional — you choose to follow Jesus — and tribal: Irish, Italian, Ukrainian, etc.) And no, after all they've been through (the first East Slavs, Byzantine Christians, and traditional Catholics I knew 30 years ago were from the western Ukraine), Ukrainian Catholics in the Ukraine will never give up Catholicism to join an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox church. In their hearts, becoming Orthodox would mean what it historically did, selling out to the Russians and the Communists. (The only Rusyns who think they're Russian are in the OCA and America's Moscow Patriarchate parishes: the great-grandchildren of the Toth schism.) My guess: Constantinople in its prideful battle royale with Moscow (the only Orthodox church with clout) might side with the now-uncanonical Kyiv Patriarchate causing a split in world Orthodoxy. It would be like when Bulgarian Orthodox declared independence from C'ople in the late 1800s as part of Bulgaria breaking with the Turks. Give it 100 years to calm down and the independent Ukraine will have its canonical, autocephalous church. Fine with me as long as the Greek Catholics in the far west are left in peace, the majority church in their small turf. And the Ukrainian government has every reason to respect the Greek Catholics: they're among the most ardent Ukrainian (anti-Russian) patriots; they supported the recent coup. I'm hoping for a Ukraine that's a conservative Slavic state, not a pawn of the U.S. government or NATO, a Catholic-friendly mini-Russia (but actually the Ukraine is the biggest country entirely in Europe).

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