Friday, October 14, 2005

Thuffering thukatash!

Chesterton said of "the modern martyr":
The incident of the Suffragettes who chained themselves with iron chains to the railings of Downing Street is a good ironical allegory of most modern martyrdom. It generally consists of a main chaining himself up then complaining that he is not free...The assumption is that if you show your ordinary sincerity (or even your political ambition) by being a nuisance to yourself as well as to other people, you will have the strength of the great saints who passed through fire. Any one who can be hustled in a hall for five minutes, or put in a cell for five days, has achieved what was meant by martyrdom, and has a halo in the Christian art of the future. Miss Pankhurst will be represented holding a policeman in each hand - the instruments of her martyrdom. The Passive Resistor will be shown symbolically carrying the teapot that was torn from him by tyrannical auctioneers...The truth is that the special impressiveness which does come from being persecuted only happens in the case of extreme persecution.

The rest of the essay (from All Things Considered) is well worth reading.

Mother Angelica says:
The Father chose suffering for His Son from His birth to His death and Jesus reminded us that the servant is not above the master. If He, as God-Man had to "suffer in order to enter into Glory," then we too must suffer in order to prepare ourselves for glory...Jesus knew that once He, the Son of the Father, was stretched out on the Cross, all men of faith would obtain the strength to endure the sufferings the Father permitted in their lives.

Jesus knew suffering would not pass from any of us after His Resurrection and He made sure we understood its role in our lives. Throughout the Gospels He promises us suffering and persecution and asks that we accept it with Joy.” (Healing power of suffering)

I think I smell a raaat, oh I think I smell a rat.

So there was this rat that walked into a bar...no, it was in our laundry room, fascinated with all the non-edibles it found there. We responded, like good hosts, with two boxes of rat poison, laying out the contents of one box and leaving the other to rest in its silent casing. The rat took all the rat poison - even that of the unopened package, which it voraciously ripped open. Gluttons never prosper.

But when it figured out that it was going to die, it, having a vindictive streak, decided to creep into the heater vents and expire there. "Nyeaaahaaa!" it chuckled with its last breath. Now, we have burninated rat corpse smell wafting gently through the house. Yum.

At least, we think it's that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pretty Words

Today I attended an abortion debate at U.C. Berkeley: Dr. Dennehy versus Ndola Prata - it was quite a nice debate, with Dr. Dennehy emerging from the skirmish with banners unfurled and St. Michael hovering in the wings.

The position of Prata was that in countries where there are "unsafe" abortions, there are also higher death rates for mothers ergo abortion should be made safe and legal for all countries - not a very sound argument, and inconsistent, too. Prata, you see, showed a slide that showed the number of deaths due to "unsafe" abortions versus number of deaths due to "safe" abortions. The quirk was that she posted the number of deaths from unsafe abortions but percentages from safe abortions in the U.S., calling the number of U.S. deaths 'negligible.'

Now the catch: the percentage point was 0.2 thru 0.5 of 1.3 million abortions (last year). The combined number of deaths due to "unsafe" abortions was actually *less* than the number of deaths due to safe abortions, according to the very statistics she provided. Who'd'a'thunk?

She also said that abortion was an ethical issue, that we can't tell whether or no a fetus is a human life, woman's body, etc.

Dennehy pounced at her clumsy arguments (in a nice way - Dennehy is always extremely polite towards his opponents) and pointed out the age-old example that hunters simply do not shoot into brush when it rustles. It is a Bad Idea. There is no clear view of what is being shot at and it could be a human being - if it is, and you shoot the person, the courts hold you responsible.

Likewise, one should not kill something that is has the potential to be a human being if we really don't know whether it actually is (which doesn't make sense as actuality procedes potentiality, but Dennehy didn't get into that) - because to kill a fetus without knowing whether or no it *is* a human being implies a willingness to kill a human being.

The arguments against abortion are so extremely simple and elegant. It is a wonder people simply don't agree with them. Arguments from appearances were denounced during the course of this debate, the human DNA unfolding versus parts being added to a fetus, conceptual thought was brought up, and Dennehy managed to slip in Ligers, the Terminator, and other pop-culture references that woo'd the class sympathy to his side, while Dr. Prata sat looking slightly uncomfortable and eternally serious.

In any case, Dr. Dennehy was in rare form, easily disproved the arguments of Dr. Prata, and effectively answered the questions that students put to him. It grieves me to think that he will not be able to do these debates for much longer as he is elderly - who will do them then?

The best quote was one of Dr. Prata's, who said something like: "Well, you can talk about philosophy and use a bunch of pretty words, and it sounds very nice, but you have to look at reality." Tee hee! Hee! Hee! Haaah.