These are the natural human rights that Thomas Jefferson thought most worthy of mention in the the document that justified our rebellion against the tyranny of the British government of King George III in 1776. They were well understood and well appreciated by the people of the 13 colonies that formed the core of the United States of America. How is it that they are so poorly understood and appreciated today? There are many reasons, too many to catalog in a single post.
The title of this reflection is, in part, inspired by what Wikipedia refers to as "a feat of smooth and ruthless efficiency", the historic "double play" action of infield basemen of the 1906-1910 Chicago Cubs that also inspired a short poem, entitled "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," also known as "Tinker to Evers to Chance", by Franklin P. Adams. (See Baseball's Sad Lexicon.)
A political cartoon by Steve Kelly (see Steve Kelly at Creator's Syndicate) on October 19 (to be posted on Halloween) brilliantly captured our current political climate. I'll leave it to my readers to puzzle out its full significance...
Steve Kelly, Creator's Syndicate, October 19, 2019
Hint, "Dorothy" threw cold water on the Wicked Witch and her plans and she began to melt before everyone's eyes..
It’s a curious thing about President Trump. The average pundit tends to think of him either as a devil or as a knight in shining armor. A couple of recent political cartoons picture him as the Roadrunner - and the political pundits playing the roll of Wile E. Coyote, genius extraordinary. One advantage of that picture is that it can help us appreciate why progressives hate Trump’s tweets so much. Wile E. hated Roadrunner’s expressive tongue, too.
Victor Davis Hansen’s perspective is a tad more nuanced.
Although I have yet to take much interest in the debates, I've gotten the impression the Democratic candidates this year are engaged in a bidding war. Bright, shiny voting blocks are up for bid. Which candidate will promise the most free stuff? Will any of these voting blocks consider the deep questions of funding, or will they just be impressed by all the Monopoly money on the table?
Some people wonder why the President hasn't yet solved the border crisis. Some people, of course, believe that he has created the border crisis. Either way, it should be clear we have a crisis. So why hasn't the President succeeded in fixing it?
I find it extraordinary that, after years of debate, millions of voters still don't know what an assault rifle is. I don't understand why they never bothered to look up the definition, even though there are perfectly good definitions readily available, for example, on the Internet. See, for example, the excellent article on Wikipedia.
In the beginning, there were tribes.
Very quickly, there evolved super-tribes, which came to be called kingdoms.
But, kingdoms were too small to defend themselves against powerful kingdoms,...
...powerful ancient kingdoms ruled by Chinese, Assyrians, ...
...and there emerged Empires.
...but, not right away.
For, kingdoms had to first learn how to dominate, then subjugate.
Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Persians,...
...prepared the ground for the colossus of Nebuchadnezzar's dream...
And then history saw the empires...
As everyone (presumably) knows, Dennis Prager is a conservative. As everyone (presumably) knows, Candace Owens is a conservative. Progressivism, 21st century style, is more totalitarian about matters of identity politics than their 20th century forebears.
For an interesting sense of perspective on this developing social/moral/political collapse, see "The Candace Owens Show: Rob Smith".
Some scripture favorites, etc.
- "What did you go out to the desert to see--a reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom scripture says: 'Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
- Jesus, commenting on John the Baptist — Luke 7:24b-28, NAB
Desert scene, originally uploaded by Bitterroot
- If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
- Jesus commenting on the perennial project of evil to co-opt the good — Matthew 24:23-28, KJV
Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
- [Isaiah 1:18-20]
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, "We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn." For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon"; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.
- Jesus comparing how people received him, John the Baptist (and the prophets) — Matt 11:15-19, RSV
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me." For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
- [Romans 15:1-7]
A good hermeneutic cannot mechanically apply the criteria of inspiration, or absolute truth, in the extrapolation of a sentence or expression. The level on which it is possible to perceive Sacred Scriptures as the Word of God is that of the unity of God's history, a totality in which single elements are reciprocally illuminated and open themselves to understanding.
- Pope Benedict XVI message to Cardinal William J. Levada, president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and the members of that commission. The message was issued on the occasion of the commission's annual plenary assembly, which focused on the theme of "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible," and made public on May 5, 2011.
If I ever do wind up in hell, I suspect my punishment will be to teach math to politicians and journalists. Then again, it might be, instead, locating and fixing all of the grammatical and spelling errors in everything I've ever written. (Myth of Sisyphus, anyone?)
- Fr. Larry