Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Archive for April, 2008

Global Warming: A Rational Examination and Theological Implications

Posted by Tony Listi on April 30, 2008

http://www.acton.org/media/20080417_christians_and_global_warming.php

This is one of the best rational examinations of the issue of global warming that I have ever seen. The guy is a philosopher by training, so he knows how to break down an issue rationally. He provides a very good holistic look at this hot topic.

As Christians, we have a duty to be stewards of God’s creation, including earth itself. But we also have a duty to think critically in practically applying theological beliefs. We have a duty to the truth and to the poor. The truth is that global warming may not be bad, may not be caused by human actions, and may be beyond our control to do anything about. And the proposed policies coming from the alarmists will hurt the poorest and most vulnerable among us. These reckless and disastrous proposals have made global warming a moral issue for conservatives!

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Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Global Warming and Environment, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Religion and Theology, Science and Politics, Science and Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pride in Your Gay Genes?

Posted by Tony Listi on April 27, 2008

Hypothetically, let’s suppose that homosexuality is completely and ineradicably genetic. Let’s suppose that people actually are born gay. The breakdown of the traditional family and our hyper-sexualized society have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Then I have a question: how can homosexuals possibly take pride in their homosexuality?

Typically, we take pride in the things that we personally choose and accomplish. Can one conceive of pride in any other way? We can have pride when we set goals, choose to pursue them, put our best efforts into them, and then, hopefully, succeed. We can have pride in a culture that we choose to identify ourselves with because of the values and beliefs that it upholds. But homosexuality supposedly has nothing to do with this. We are constantly told that homosexuality is not a choice. But no choice means no pride. How can one take pride in one’s genetic makeup? How can one take pride in something that one has/had no control over whatsoever?

Regardless of whether homosexuality is good or bad, if it is genetic, then not only can one not take pride in it, but one should not take pride in it. This is because there is something extremely perverse and dishonest in taking pride in something that one played no role in. Blacks have no reason to take pride in the genes that make them black. Hispanics have no reason to take pride in the genes that make them hispanic. Women have no reason to take pride in the XX chromosomes that make them women. The Nazis had no reason to take pride in the genes that supposedly made them Aryan.

But somehow this conflict between pride and genetics within the so-called “gay rights” movement has been ignored or overlooked.

If homosexuals want to reasonably take pride in their homosexuality, then, at the very least, they should back down from their claims that they were born gay. They need to revert to their previous position that homosexuality really is a choice to have sexual relations with people of the same sex. Like other minorities have done, they need to claim (however absurdly) that homosexuality is a culture, a lifestyle. Otherwise, those gay pride parades can be nothing other than silly, ridiculous nonsense.

Posted in American Culture, Feminism, Government and Politics, Homosexuality, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action, Science and Politics, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Liberal “Innovation”

Posted by Tony Listi on April 24, 2008

Liberal Innovation

Posted in Energy, Government and Politics, Science and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Al Gore’s Movie Fabricates Images

Posted by Tony Listi on April 22, 2008

Watch the video here:

http://media.newsbusters.org/stories/al_gore_used_fictional_video_inconvenient_truth.html?q=blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/04/22/abc-s-20-20-gore-used-fictional-film-clip-inconvenient-truth

By Noel Sheppard | April 22, 2008 – 09:53 ET

It goes without saying that climate realists around the world believe Nobel Laureate Al Gore used false information throughout his schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth” in order to generate global warming hysteria.

On Friday, it was revealed by ABC News that one of the famous shots of supposed Antarctic ice shelves in the film was actually a computer-generated image from the 2004 science fiction blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Adding delicious insult to injury, this was presented by one of ABC’s foremost global warming alarmists Sam Champion during Friday’s “20/20″….

Posted in Global Warming and Environment, Government and Politics, Politicians, Science and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A Heart Both Frightened and Free/Love Isn’t Just for Day

Posted by Tony Listi on April 22, 2008

This is one of my favorite hymns. It expresses what our relationship with God should be and what love really means.
We are called to both love and fear God. We are called to love Him, each other, and especially our spouses as He loves us: not “just for a day,” but with a “faithfulness [that] never grows old.”

All That We Have

Refrain:
All that we have and all that we offer
comes from a heart both frightened and free.
Take what we bring now and give what we need.
All done in His Name.

1. Some men rely on their power,
Others put trust in their gold.
Some men have only their Savior
Whose faithfulness never grows old.

2. Sometimes the road may be lonesome;
Often we may lose our way.
Take courage and always remember,
Love isn’t just for a day.

3. Sometimes when troubles are many,
Life can seem empty, it’s true,
But look at the life of the Master,
Who lovingly suffered for you.

Posted in Catholicism, Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Individual Freedom: A Tenet of Christian Prudence

Posted by Tony Listi on April 21, 2008

Within limits, human beings should respect the individual freedom other human beings because this freedom, our free will, is a gift of God. I believe our freedom is also a reflection of the freedom of God, a reflection of his image and likeness perhaps.

However, we live in a fallen world such that people do not always use this gift responsibly. Human beings must endeavor to order themselves correctly as best they can, though knowing all the while that everyone, even our leaders, are fallen and prone to the disorder of sin. So for the sake of ordered society, we cannot tolerate the abuse of that freedom in certain circumstances, especially when they cause harm to others. And because human beings are dependent on each other for learning and practicing good order, widespread abuse of freedom could ultimately destroy a community or a nation. In such cases, power and coercion (i.e. government) must be brought to bear to curb individual freedom.

Therefore, the social and political life of human beings is characterized by the tension between order and liberty (which is a key insight of conservatism). Theoretically, if the state could in fact order human beings’ lives and society well (totalitarianism), would Christians have any reason not to support state intervention into all aspects of their lives? Yes, because such a fact would deny the value of human freedom. There would be no value in a hypothetically all-benevolent state controlling each and every citizen like a remote controlled robot. Individual freedom does have value in and of itself.

Also, for all the imperfections of the human soul and the free market, more often than not, government intervention in the market and the lives of individuals does more harm than good. The concentration of power necessary for a supposedly benevolent government to totally order society, that concentration of power is itself corrupting and thus a cause of disorder.

Therefore, individual freedom, for the Christian and conservative, is not a matter of absolute principle but rather one of prudence (as is requiring obedience to human authorities). And thus the exercise of reason is required too. Harm to others must be weighed against individual freedom.

Thus the conservative certainly believes that prudence dictates much more economic freedom than we have currently in the US. The conservative, though, may struggle on a variety of issues relating to personal freedom (gay marriage, prostitution, drugs, etc.). The struggle arises because the harm to others may be less apparent or immediate and little to no coercion is involved.

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Clinging to Religion AND Guns AND Bigotry

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Barack Obama almost wiggled out of this one. He had a very clever response at a CNN Compassion Forum to the accusation that this comment showed him to be elitist, trashing religious people and their values, and being out of touch with the common American:

“Well, first of all, you know, scripture talks about clinging to what’s good. And so it’s very important – my words may have been clumsy, which happens surprisingly often on a presidential campaign…but this is something that I’ve talked about before, I’ve talked about in my own life, which is that religion is a bulwark, a foundation when other things aren’t going well. That’s true in my own life, through trials and tribulations.”

Obama’s statement is correct: clinging is not necessarily a bad thing. Any religious person would have no problem with people clinging to God. That is the whole point!

But the problem with this is that Obama linked religion to guns and bigotry. And Obama is NOT a supporter of the 2nd Amendment; he is pro-gun control. So he must think that clinging to guns is a bad thing. And Obama has always claimed, at least, to be against bigotry. And yet he says “cling to guns or religion” or bigotry. The clear implication is that ALL THREE are bad! He wisely avoids this fact.

Obama made a Freudian slip. He really thinks that Christianity, as practiced by middle America (as opposed to his own heretical, racist, hate-filled, liberation theological TUCC), is harmful and dangerous.

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Political Psychoanalysis, Politicians, Politics and Religion, Second Amendment/Guns, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What It Means to Be American

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

In discussing the issue of illegal immigration with a liberal friend of mine, a very interesting and important question was posed to me: what is your definition of “American”?

True conservatives recognize that America is more an idea, a creed, than anything else. For practical purposes, America is also a place, a distinct area of territory. But even those who live within its physical boundaries as legally recognized citizens may be less American, in a sense, than those outside its borders who share the American creed. America is more than a place or a government certification of citizenship.

Thus, subscribing to a specific set of beliefs is what makes an American at the deepest level. What are these beliefs? They are embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as originally intended and interpreted by the Founding Fathers who framed these documents (and their Christian roots). And because conservatism, by definition, seeks to preserve the principles of America’s founding, the American creed is the conservative creed.

One of the most important of these beliefs is the rule of law (yes, even immigration laws). Two other important beliefs are the right to the fruits of one’s labor and to minimal taxation used only for public interests that cannot be satisfied any other way (both of which go together). Therefore, certain government run services and wealth redistribution, which illegal immigrants often take advantage of, are not American in a very profound sense. Another important tenet of the American credo is suspicion of government and government interference. The corollary and logical outgrowth of this is a belief in very limited government. And the logical implication of that is a belief in freedom, including the free market.

Therefore, those immigrants, legal and illegal, who do not accept this creed are a threat to America. This is why the English language must be preserved, assimilation must be a top priority, and multiculturalism should be opposed.

Of course, the implications of my definition of “American,” automatically implies that liberals are in some sense un-American because they do not hold to this creed as it has been written and passed down through the generations. They are opposed to limited government, the free market, etc. And they have already hurt America because of the semi-welfare state that they have created over the past century or so. Therefore, one might say that liberals’ un-American activities (creating the welfare state and insisting on multiculturalism) are really at the heart of what is wrong with the situation of illegal immigration. If government were more limited, illegal immigrants would not be able strain and/or drain public treasuries. If government were more limited, then government employees would be less able to socially engineer the country away from its roots.

Posted in American Culture, American History, Economics, Government and Politics, Illegal Immigration, Intellectual History, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, The Constitution, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Contraception: Why Not?

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

Dr. Janet Smith explains why the Catholic Church keeps insisting, in the face of the opposite position held by most of the rest of the modern world, that contraception is one of the worst inventions of our time.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0002.html

My topic for tonight is the Church’s teaching on contraception and various sexual issues. As you know, we live in a culture that thinks that contraception is one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. If you were to ask people if they wanted to give up their car or their computer or their contraceptive, it would be a hard choice to make. It’s really considered to be something that has really put us, greatly, into the modern age and one of the greatest advances of modern medicine and modern times. Yet, there’s this archaic church that tells us that, really, this is one of the worst inventions of mankind. According to the Church, contraception is one of the things that’s plunging us into a kind of a disaster.

So we have this great polarization: a world that thinks contraception is one of the greatest inventions of our time and the Catholic Church that says it’s one of the worst. I am going to try to help people see tonight why the Church’s teaching certainly deserves serious consideration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in American Culture, Catholicism, Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Moral Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Science and Religion, Sex | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Rush Limbaugh, Divorce, and Contraception

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

I’ve always been a fan of Rush, but nobody’s perfect. For quite awhile, I’ve vaguely sensed that he seemed to lean more towards the libertarian side of conservatism than the traditional, Christian side.

http://www.americandaily.com/nucleus/plugins/print/print.php?itemid=1736

By Matt C. Abbott (06/21/04)

I couldn’t help but (figuratively) shake my head when I heard the news. Rush Limbaugh, famed conservative radio talk show host who has millions of listeners and millions of dollars, is getting another divorce. Number three, to be exact. Aye.

I’ve been listening to Rush for several years now, and while I don’t agree with him on every issue, I do agree with him on many issues. He’s pro-life, albeit not overly outspoken about it. He doesn’t subscribe to the homosexual agenda. And he seems to recognize the libertine nature of the mass media.

Not too bad for a soon-to-be thrice-divorced rugged individualist, no?

Yet, the fact that Rush can’t seem to get his marital life in order is quite troublesome, especially considering the multitude of liberals who now are accusing him of hypocrisy because he has defended the institution of marriage against the onslaught of homosexual activism. Not that these pro-homosexual marriage liberals have a leg to stand on, but still…

I obviously don’t know what caused the break-up of Rush’s marriage(s), but I do think there is an oft-overlooked, indirect factor in many broken marriages: the use of contraception.

So does Dr. Janet E. Smith, Chair of Life Issues at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. In a popular and published lecture titled Contraception: Why Not?, Dr. Smith discusses why the divorce rate doubled between 1965, when 25 percent of marriages ended in divorce, and 1975, when 50 percent of marriages ended in divorce (same as today).

Dr. Smith cites the research of social scientist Robert Michael, who concluded
“that as the contraceptive pill became more and more available, divorce became more and more popular.” In fact, Michael attributed “45 percent of this increase [in divorce] to increased use of contraceptives.” Why is this so?

There are three reasons, according to Michael. First, his statistical data showed “that those who use contraceptives have fewer children and have them later in marriage…those who have the first baby in the first two years of marriage and another baby in the next couple years of marriage, have a much longer lasting marriage than those who don’t.” (Rush has no children.)

Dr. Smith observes that married couples who have children “become better people…almost instantaneously.”

Secondly, Michael found that “since contraceptives have arrived on the scene, there is much more adultery than there was before.” Observes Dr. Smith: “People have been tempted, for the history of mankind. It’s easy enough to think about wanting to have an affair but wanting a child out of wedlock is another story. But if most every woman is contracepting, then most every woman is available in a certain sense and there is no real reason to say no. Adultery is absolutely devastating to marriages.”

The third explanation, says Dr. Smith, is “that women are financially more independent. They do have fewer children. They do go into the work place. And, again, when they have difficulties in the marriage, it’s much [easier] to say, ‘Take a walk,’ than it is to work it out because they need their husband for one fewer reasons than they did before.”

Dr. Smith also says that widespread pre-marital sex and cohabitation has contributed to the increase in divorce. Obviously, those who fornicate often use some type of contraception, and, if that fails, they can always have the unborn child killed through abortion.

“So contraception hasn’t made for better marriages,” concludes Dr. Smith.

Indeed. Now consider that the divorce/separation rate for married couples who use Natural Family Planning – that is, periodic abstinence from sexual intercourse – is less than one in eight, according to Brian Clowes, Ph.D. of Human Life International (www.hli.org).

Sadly, many married couples are either ignorant of Natural Family Planning methods or have been duped into using contraception by the abortion industry, the pop-culture, and not a few “mainstream” doctors.

It boggles my mind, too, that so many health-conscious people will buy all kinds of “natural” products so that they don’t have to put “chemicals” into their bodies, but seem to have no qualms about using artificial and even poisonous means of contraception. Not to mention that most so-called contraceptives are actually abortifacients, that is, they can and do cause an early abortion by preventing implantation of the living human embryo into the uterine lining.

Look, I do realize there are several factors that can contribute to a divorce. But I would submit that if married couples would use Natural Family Planning instead of contraception, far fewer of them would end up in divorce court.

Perhaps even Rush would still be married.

(For more information about Natural Family Planning, see http://www.ccli.org and http://www.popepaulvi.com.)

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Feminism, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Sex | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »