Archive for September 21st, 2014

Straw for the Fire V



A Return To Normalcy, Sort Of.

Well the baby is home, and he is doing better than I had imagined, toddling around and smiling and being Sam. The main thing that is different is that he gets fussy when it is nearly time for his pain medicine. And then there is the daily ordeal of bathing him and changing his bandages. He goes back for a checkup on Tuesday.

I posted on Facebook after Sam was scalded and updated about how he was doing regularly. I must say that while I am ambivalent about Facebook it was heartening seeing all the people who were praying for him, including a lot of people that I generally do not see eye to eye with on much. Sam had Catholics and Orthodox, Pentecostals and Evangelicals, Witches and astrologers and Buddhists, liberals and conservatives, communists and libertarians, all praying for him.

Even a couple of atheists, though they would not use the word.

It all counts, all good will directed toward a poor baby.

Sam thanks you, one and all.

My Hope

It is my hope that in the next political cycle the biggest issue in state elections will be the need for justly ordered congressional districts. The existing jerrymandered  quilt is a crime against democracy, insuring in many cases an entrenched minority rule. The maps are bizarre, a harlequin jigsaw puzzle of injustice. A simple grid, adjusted only for population, would assure a more representative electorate. Existing township grids in most places could serve as a rough template. But this is one step toward representative government that is long overdue.

The other issue everywhere in local elections should be the militarization of the police. Everyone is sick of bully wannabe commandos, who are in truth, like all bullies, brave only when they possess overwhelming force. Sheriffs and city councils and mayors, which appoint police chiefs, are directly elected, at a level where democracy can really work.

Nationally, the most important thing to be done is to establish momentum to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which gave corporations and billionaires incredible power and cloaks their activities in secrecy, as if the deck were not stacked in their favor already.

And I think we need a nonpartisan bumper sticker: DO NOT VOTE FOR MILLIONAIRES.

Weird Economics

I have been thinking how strange it is that erstwhile Christians endorse Capitalism with some enthusiasm, when that system is clearly based upon the love of money, which St Paul said is ‘a root of all evil’. I have never understood how someone can read the Sermon on the Mount and then say that an economic system based upon greed and predation is somehow compatible with the gospel of Christ. It may be compatible with our fallen nature, but that is what Jesus came to heal.

First Principles

Because among the things that have been stripped down to the bare bones essence in recent months has been my understanding of social principles.

The first principle of social justice is the Universal Destination of Goods. That is, ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’. All things are created for all creatures, loved by God. The earth is rich and fertile and generous. It is a sin against all that is holy that anyone suffer need in this world so full of beauty and abundance.

The primary virtue for a just society is solidarity. We are all in this together, brothers and sisters, children of God.

In other words, I am now a utopian communist.

No, I am not a utopian in the sense of thinking that human nature can be altered by force to make a perfect society. Indeed, I believe that every human endeavor however noble is doomed to unintended negative consequences (I call this ‘The General Principle of Fuckupedness’, or in polite society, ‘Fallenness’, or for short ‘The General Principle’). I am ‘utopian’ in the sense that I begin with Perfection and measure any human effort or theory in that light.

And I am not a ‘communist’ in the sense of identifying with any party or state that claims that name and then attempts to establish a bureaucratic monopoly, in the name of “The People” on the means of production. Let alone one that would oppress or silence or kill anyone.

But it is clear that in the perfect world, what Jesus calls Heaven or ‘the Kingdom’, and for which he gives clear instructions in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere, that state of being where Love rules, all would be held in common. The early Church intuited this and tried it. In keeping with The First Principle, it did not go so well, though monasteries, which exist because certain people are born with an urge to live a more perfect life, continue to live with all things in common.

Of course, given The General Principle, this always goes badly, sometimes even at the inception.

So I combine an intuition of the highest good with the utmost pessimism about attaining perfection. Keep the ideal in mind, but do not refrain from what limited good can be attained.

So for expediency’s sake, given the fact of a fallen world, I would settle for a distributist solution, as if that is any more attainable.

Art by Michelle Dick


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