Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Is the Alternative to Ideology?

What is the alternative to ideology? You know what I am getting at, right? I mean, you've heard this accusation thrown around that the other side is, "motivated by ideology," as if that were some kind of sin, right? But why is that any kind of surprise? What would you be motivated by if not an ideology?

I can only think of a few possibilities that might be offered as serious alternatives.

Pragmatism: This is not a motivation for anything. This is a way of getting stuff done. If someone says they are just being pragmatic it is because they have not admitted what is motivating them yet.

Relativism: This is an ideology

Objective Truth: This is also an ideology. In fact, searching for and adhering to the objective truth is the “ideology” that motivates me. I particularly like the objective truth and I like the fact that there is an objective truth and that it is both true and objective. Of course, objective truth is kind of hard to swallow for many people since it only allows for one interpretation of reality. Relativism is much, much safer. I particularly like the fact that nothing both is and is not at the same time and in the same respect. But many people can’t handle that. They want things to be open to multiple interpretations. They want you to have your truth while they keep theirs… as long as they can push you around. Of course, if your truth is not what they like, they will do their best to stomp you out. But we will save that discussion for another day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is a test


Monday, October 12, 2009

Require Congressmen and Senators to take the same health care plan that they would force on us!

From an email my sister sent me:

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment, courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn which would require all Members of Congress and their staff members to enroll in any new government-run health plan.

Congressman John Fleming has proposed an amendment that would require Congressmen and Senators to take the same health care plan that they would force on us. (Under proposed legislation they are exempt.)

Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go to his Website and sign his petition.  The process is very simple.  I have done just that at: .
Senator Coburn and Congressman Fleming are both physicians.

Regardless of your political beliefs, it sure seems reasonable that Congress should have exactly the same medical coverage that they impose on the rest of us.

Please urge as many people as you can to do the same!

 Seems like a great idea to me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Being Good vs Having Fun

This is a false dilemma. If you hang out with people who reject all limitations of morality and law it quickly becomes apparent how little fun they actually have. On the other hand there are groups of people who are very strict about morality and are extremely bitter and cranky. However, I hang out with my friends. We live by a very lofty standard of morality and have so much fun it seems like there should be a law against it! You would think these restrictions of morality would hamper us and make it to where we can't have as much fun but in the end they don't. It seems crazy but it actually lets you have more fun and be more alive and free if you choose to live with high standards. It is amazing how free you actually become.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How about going after the judges and lawyers?

 Abortion support falls sharply, new research finds:

So, most people in the USA are for protecting the lives of unborn babies. In fact, polling is indicating that support among US criticizes for killing unborn babies is actually falling right now. This is good news. However, this will not change the law. This will not change the legal system that led to such heinous laws. Here is something that could lead to change:

'Factor' confronts negligent judge|judge

How about changing the legal system so that it no longer protects the killers of unborn babies? How about going after the judges and lawyers who messed our legal system in the first place?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When I Die

The funeral of Ted Kennedy and some other things that have happened in my life recently have made me stop and think. So I write this to my family, friends, and all those who care about me. Please, please, when I die, do not canonize me! Pray for me. I will, at that time, more than ever, need your prayers. If, by some stretch of the imagination, you imagine me to be a new saint in heaven on that day I pray to God you will stop and reflect on what I am telling you now. It is not true! You don't know that! I am not calling myself a monster. I am not suggesting that I have done horrible things, that there are skeletons hiding in my closet. But I am not a saint. I will need prayers. And on the day I die the worst possible betrayal that anybody could come up with is to assume that I am in heaven. Instead, pray with all your heart that I might be. Offer up that one last prayer, sacrifice, or mass that I might get that one last grace that I needed to slip through the door. Who knows? Maybe it will be that one last Hail Mary or Miserere that you pray for me that helps me retroactively to avoid mortal sin and die in a state of grace.

Kennedy's Funeral

So, the Cardinal of Boston has been getting some flak for attending the funeral of Ted Kennedy. I read his defense and justification for participating in this public spectacle. This whole situation makes me stop and think. What is going through someone's head when they get themselves into such a situation? Was he thinking, "What could I possibly do in this situation to promote the truth, the Catholic position, and advocate as effectively as possible for that position?"

The Cardinal's blog speaks for itself. Even just looking at the pictures you can tell that this funeral had a lot of politics behind it. Look and the wealth. Look at the star-studded event.

I don't think it would hurt if the Cardinal were to reflect more carefully on the implications of his actions before hand. The Kennedy funeral is not the first time this the Archdiocese of Boston has demonstrated a lack of zeal on behalf of the unborn and Catholic teaching. The last time the Archdiocese of Boston came to my attention it was working on merging its health care facilities with a group that supports abortion and contraception.

Maybe next time there is an opportunity to advocate on behalf of the poorest and most defenseless in our society the Archdiocese of Boston will take that opportunity seriously. I pray to the Lord that it will.

Here is another very good article on this funeral.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Value of a Man

In order to continue a discussion which began on Facebook I want to comment here on what it means to judge a man. Here is how this conversation started:


Brian Williams: Death ≠ One last soap box from which to inflate your ego by announcing your differences with the deceased. Death = A chance to celebrate life or, given that inability, to sit quietly for the sake of those grieving. Senator Kennedy RIP.

August 26 at 9:26am · · Like / Unlike
Jenny Allen likes this.
Tory Albertson
Tory Albertson
Nicely put.
August 26 at 9:47am
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
yeah I really want to start putting not equal signs in my posts...please share Brian.
August 26 at 11:20pm
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
In fact, your uncle in his first book and again in his more recent book, says that the value of a man is equal to his moral value. That is how I would sum up Ted Kennedy.
August 28 at 8:22am · Delete
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
You can just paste in anything you want from Microsoft Word:♠♣♥♦.
8 hours ago
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
Brandon: The articles contradict one another, which is your position?
Chesterton writes of philosophies that, while complete, turn on a narrow circle; they are true unto themselves but force the thinker to limit his mind. From a anti-abortion perspective, Senator Kennedy usually missed the mark. I only suggest that his death demands a more wholistic view than prolife/prochoice. Any response must respect his grieving family and the awful mystery of death itself.
8 hours ago
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
Brandon and Brian if you haven't read this already you might like to...
8 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Re the articles: I think Patrick Madrid is much more charitable and intelligent is his article than the writer for America Magazine is in his. This seems like an obvious statement to me.
Re Kennedy: I think the only honest way to analyze the value of a man is to analyze his moral value. Senator Kennedy, although a very powerful man, did not stand up to defend the widows and orphans of our day (the unborn and their mothers). This seems like a very grave moral fault to me. Any man who refuses to stand up to defend the weak and defenseless ones is a gravely immoral man. May God have mercy on the soul of poor Senator Kennedy. Luckily, I am not his judge. But here, I state these things, so that we may teach ourselves how we should behave and not behave. We should not behave like Kennedy did.
7 hours ago · Delete
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
Man has intrinsic value that is unrelated and independent of the choices they make in life.
7 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Perhaps there is a little equivocation going on here.
6 hours ago · Delete
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
To call it equivocation is to exactly miss the point.
2 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Brian, seriously? Listen, I am obviously failing to adequately express myself here. Because the limits of the comment length here I will continue this on my blog.
2 seconds ago · Delete
So that is the context. However, I think we obviously need to lay a lot more context to make this discussion clear.
I do not disagree with Maggie that man has an intrinsic value which is independent of any choices he makes. I recently made this point in a discussion on torture. No matter how evil a particular person is that person deserves the respect due to every human being. I strongly defend this point every chance I get. It would be rather difficult to gather together all of my writings on this but you get the point.
Looking back I should not have said "...the only honest way..." The value of a man can have different meanings. That is why I brought up equivocation. I meant nothing harsh by it.
However, when I discuss the moral value of a man as I was doing here I am talking about value in exactly that different sense. The sense of "should we behave like him?" Nobody was suggesting that we should torture Ted Kennedy. I was, however, suggesting that we should not emulate him. He gave a bad example of what it means to be a man. Perhaps silence as Brian suggests is an even better option and as this discussion continues I am beginning to wish I kept silent. However, I did not think that it was inappropriate for Patrick Madrid to point out that we should not be canonizing Ted Kennedy. He actively sought to promote many grave evils. He completely failed to defend the weak and defenseless in the face of the threat of violence. Even just the failure to stand up against the evils that are around you makes you worthy of shame but to actively promote violence against women and children?
Perhaps you believe we should not judge any other human being. But are we not bound to judge our saints? To point out the particular actions which made them saintly? And if you are a student of history, are you not bound to make judgments about the moral qualities of the historical figures you study? As a historical figure Ted Kennedy will surely be judged. I object to canonizing him. I think it is appropriate to object to canonizing him. Patrick Madrid did a great job in voicing his objections. Perhaps, if I start to become more articulate, I will be able to make a coherent objection to canonizing him as well.
Brian, I fail to completely understand your reference to Chesterton. Perhaps you believe that I subscribe to a philosophy which limits my mind?
You might say that abortion was not the only issue Ted Kennedy cared about. I would agree with you. I am sure that there were many issue that he cared about. On many of them he might have even been right. He was definitely wrong on other moral issues besides abortion. But in the end you can be right on every other issue and still fail morally because of one issue. You have to be good all the way around before you are truly good. And I am not talking about complete perfection. But something serious like abortion is definitely enough to sink one's character.
In the end perhaps silence is a better choice but since we have already forgone that route I believe that we should be ashamed of Ted Kennedy and not canonizing him.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are you only comfortable with violence if it is behind someone else's closed doors?

Protests to focus on doctor who performed 60,000 abortions

I know some people are not comfortable with violence. I myself do not believe that an evil means should ever be used to bring about a good end. However, it makes me wonder how many people are comfortable with this kind of violence because it happens behind the closed doors of an abortion clinic. Are you only comfortable with violence if it is behind someone else's closed doors? Safely out of the streets?

Too Religious

Court says homeschooled girl is too religious and therefore needs to go to public school:

My question is what is going to happen to this judge? Are there no consequences for him? Shouldn't there be?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Women are objects

Of course, this is not what I believe but it is an assumption that most people in the United States seem to live under. Although it is easy to single out women, they also believe this about men too. Men are objects. Women are objects. They can be used. Thrown away. Like a horse. Or a paper towel. After all, we are just a bunch of molecules (or that is an excuse we use).

To be continued.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hypothetical interview with C.S. Lewis - on tolerance

Just found this great article:

Hypothetical interview with C.S. Lewis - on tolerance

"I believe that we are called to love, not merely tolerate, our neighbors. This includes our neighbors that we especially disagree with. Tolerance, in the proper sense, the Christian sense, means that we love our enemies even. Enemies of the truth, God’s enemies, as well as our own. But this love for them never implies that we pretend that we agree with them. To the contrary, if we believe in absolute truth (as Christianity calls us to), the most loving thing we can do for our enemies is to attempt, with love, to dissuade them from believing their errors. A sentimental tolerance that says, “I’ll let my friends believe whatever makes them happy—its’ none of my business anyway,” is not the kind of love that Christ envisioned when he told his disciples to rebuke those who sinned against them. Every rebuke presupposes an appeal to absolute truth. If I rebuke my neighbor for hurting me, I’m saying that what they did was really wrong, not simply that I didn’t like it. True tolerance means loving people, but it also means loving the truth. It means loving people enough to tell them the truth, even when they don’t wish to hear it."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Winners and Losers

In our world of modern relativism the winners are politicians and the losers are philosophers. I recently came across this quote, “To ask an indelicate, pre-modern question: is this true?” The original sophists who Plato fought against (and prevailed, in the long run) were politicians. It was useful for them to play fast and loose with the terms they used because they could manipulate a situation to fit their wishes. As a politician, if you can manipulate people it makes for better PR, better campaigns, etc. However, as a philosopher, if you can no longer ask, “Is this true?” there is no longer any point to philosophizing. As a philosopher, the ability to manipulate people or situations for the sake of PR, campaigns, power… holds no appeal. This is precisely the difference between a philosopher (lover of wisdom) and sophist (Plato’s sarcastic name, wise, for the politicians of his day). So the dictatorship of relativism that has taken our world firmly in its iron grip plays perfectly into the hands of politicians and leaves philosophers out in the cold.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Should Stupid Opinions be Tolerated?

I, for my part, do not think stupid opinions should be tolerated. I think the people who have stupid opinions should be tolerated but their stupid opinions should be discarded and disregarded. The person has value. The person should always be respected and tolerated because of the dignity that is inherent in every human being. That can never be compromised. Opinions only have value in so far as they represent the truth. If an opinion is false or silly it should not be respected in so far as it is false or silly. If it contains some grain of truth it should only be recognized for the grain of truth that it has.

Take for example the case of Miss USA runner up Carrie Prejean. One side of this debate has a legitimate truth to defend and the other side does not. One side is defending a falsehood and promoting a falsehood whereas the other side is defending and promoting the truth. So Carrie is right in her "opinion" about marriage, but she is wrong that every "opinion" should be respected and tolerated.