“Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black.”
“Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose,
Today’s post will look at the Boydell & Brewer Early Modern & Modern History catalog and the de Gruyter Religious Studies/Jewish Studies/Theology catalog (series index):
Titles from Boydell & Brewer:
- Thomas S. Freeman & Thomas F. Mayer, eds., Martyrs and Martyrdom in England, c. 1400-1700 (April 2007)
- David M. D’Andrea, Civic Christianity in Renaissance Italy: The Hospital of Treviso, 1400-1530 (March 2007).
- Elizabeth T. Hurren, Protesting about Pauperism: Poverty, Politics and Poor Relief in Late-Victorian England, 1870-1900 (September 2007).
Titles from de Grutyer:
- Christoph A. Stumpf, The Grotian Theology of International Law: Hugo Grotius and the Moral Foundations of International Relations (2006).
- Stephen Lake, The Church and the Sick in the Latin West (4th-8th Centuries) (Fall 2007).
- Florian Mühlegger, Hugo Grotius: Ein christlicher Humanist in politischer Verantwortung [Hugo Grotius: A Christian Humanist and His Political Responsibility] (Summer 2007).
- Gene W. Heck, Charlemagne, Muhammad, and the Arab Roots of Capitalism (2006).
Who’s the Worst Nanny of 2007? No surprise the list includes PETA:
The competition is fierce. Vying for the title: Overzealous state legislators pushing bans on common food ingredients; health officials prohibiting full-grown adults from eating dessert; prominent food activists caught in acts of rank hypocrisy; and animal-rights fanatics using the force of law to make food companies conform to their radical anti-meat dogmas… Adria Hinkle and Andrew Cook, “Dumped Dogs Tell No Tales” Award — People for the “Ethical” Treatment of Animals (PETA) employees Hinkle and Cook admitted in court to picking up healthy dogs and cats from North Carolina-area shelters, killing the animals in the back of their PETA-owned van, and tossing the bodies into nearby dumpsters.
This one takes the cake too – literally:
Putnam County Office for the Aging, “86-ing Octogenarians’ Food Choices” Award — Health officials in this small New York county tried to take donuts from the elderly. To protest the ban on donated baked goods at local retirement centers, senior citizens wore signs to remind officials that they’re “86, not 8.”
Bet ya a buck all these self-appointed society nannies are "pro-choice" too.
[Don's other habitat is The Evangelical Ecologist.]
As we enter the presidential primary season, a look back at the 1976 Republican Primary is appropriate, considering it was a pivotal moment in American conservatism. It is a presidential race that conservative writer Craig Shirley calls a “successful defeat.” While Ronald Reagan ultimately lost the nomination to incumbent President Gerald Ford, this race would end up transforming the conservative movement, the Republican Party, the country, and eventually the world.
Reagan came into the 1976 North Carolina primary having lost the first five consecutive primaries to Ford. The national party establishment was against Reagan, the media started to write him off, and his campaign was broke and in debt. Needless to say, the pressure to drop out of the race was nearly overwhelming.
Tom Ellis and then Senator Jesse Helms helped resurrect Reagan’s campaign from the dead. By spearheading a grassroots movement and focusing on Reagan’s conservative credentials, it led to a shocking upset in the Tar Heel State. Reagan’s victory meant it was the first time a sitting president had been defeated in a primary of a state where he actively campaigned. Many more primary victories for Reagan would follow.
During the race in the state, Reagan continually brought up the issue of the Panama Canal, following a rumor the Ford Administration was going to turn it over to Panama’s dictator. With heated energy and anger Reagan would repeatedly shout at every campaign stop, “It’s ours! We built it! We paid for it! And we should keep it.!” It was classic Reagan, and North Carolinians loved it.
Reagan also hit the administration hard on federal spending, government regulations, and being soft on Soviet aggression. He also attacked leaders in the other party, taking aim at Senator Ted Kennedy’s universal health care proposal. Reagan warned:
What the nation does not need is another workout of a collectivist formula based on an illusion promoting a delusion and delivering a boon-doggle. It is up to the private sector to provide answers in the onrushing health care political battle. If not, nationalized medicine will represent one more instance of surrendering a freedom by default.
Part of the reason for Reagan’s eventual loss showcased the extreme power of incumbency and Ford’s ability to raise his political game as well. Ford was again overshadowed however, when he invited Reagan down from his sky box at the GOP convention after Ford finished his acceptance speech to lead the party. Reagan delivered some highly inspirational off the cuff remarks, which is still considered one of his best speeches. It has been reported that horrified party activists on the convention floor gasped, “Oh my gosh – we nominated the wrong candidate.” Reagan was 65 years old at the time, some undoubtedly saw his remarks as a farewell to the party.
After the primary the political landscape in the United States changed. Jimmy Carter also ran against Ford as a Washington outsider, who sought to reform government. In addition he was a self avowed born again Christian, who promised to return a high degree of ethics to the oval office in the wake of Watergate.
But Carter’s enduring legacy was mismanaging the country and creating an election ripe for Reagan’s brand of conservatism. However, the 1976 campaign is where it all really started on the national level. Many Reagan biographers are correct in assuming without 1976, there would have been no campaign in 1980. The primary campaign in 1976 saw the power of conservative ideas on a national stage, and a reference to modern conservatism other than Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential campaign in 1964.
That Republican presidential candidates try to emulate Reagan only adds to his glory, but also creates an unrealistic expectation for themselves. But If conservatism is ever going to be revolutionary, anti-establishment, and popular again, the country and candidates will have to recapture some of the Spirit of 76.
[For a complete study of the 1976 Republican Primary Campaign and its significance check out Reagan's Revolution by Craig Shirley]
I’ve seen this commercial a number of times this holiday season and it bothers me more and more every time:
But what precisely is wrong with this ad, and the spirit that animates it?
Rev. Billy might say that the problem lies with the gifts themselves. While he might be satisfied if the gifts came from places such as “the shelves of mom and pop stores, farmers markets, artisans and on Craigslist,” he certainly wouldn’t approve of gifts from a “big box” store like Best Buy.
But I don’t think the problem is with the gifts per se. I think it’s with the “givers.”
Speaking of material goods, Augustine writes, “Sin gains entrance through these and similar good things when we turn to them with immoderate desire, since they are the lowest kind of goods and we thereby turn away from the better and higher: from you yourself, O Lord our God, and your truth and your law.” Material goods, just like any other created reality, can be an occasion for sin and idolatry.
So if that is the problem, with our immoderate desires, what is the solution? Reordered desires. Rightly valuing material goods and gifts as penultimate and limited created goods.
What might change in this commercial if we applied these solutions? How would the commercial look different? Rev. Billy might have the family give handmade gifts or secondhand items, or perhaps forego material gifts altogether and take a family walk. These things all have their own value.
But there are good things at Best Buy and other stores, too. That’s what makes it so important to be discerning about how we use good gifts, and that’s what makes Rev. Billy’s message so problematic.
An Augustinian solution to the problem in that Best Buy ad would be something more like this: the family would bring some gifts to Grandma to share with her, and the family would all spend time together enjoying each others’ company and the material goods associated with the holiday. The focus wouldn’t be exclusively on the gifts themselves (as it is in the commercial’s current form), but neither would such a view denigrate the objective, albeit limited, good of material gift-giving.
What’s wrong with Christmas consumerism? It isn’t the fact of consumption itself. It’s in the disordered and immoderate desires for earthly goods when compared with the truly and ultimately important spiritual goods.
So while the Best Buy ad runs afoul of virtue by over-emphasizing material goods, Rev. Billy goes to the opposite extreme by not valuing them enough. As Augustine also wrote, “He who uses temporal goods ill, however, shall lose them, and shall not receive eternal goods either.” This would include not appreciating the material benefits God bestows on us.
Acton has been called upon from several different outlets to provide commentary and analysis on Mitt Romney’s December 6 “Faith in America” speech. Following is a quick list of links to our various responses (which we’ll keep updated):
- Religion and Politics
- Romney and the Role of Religion in the Presidency
- Romney’s Faith and the Presidency
- Analyzing Mitt Romney’s Religion Speech
- Reflections on Romney’s Religion Speech
- Rev. Sirico on the Romney Speech
- Did Romney pass faith test?
- UPDATED: Mitt Romney — Reassuring Evangelical Voters?
Here at Global Warming Consensus Watch World Headquarters we’re bold. We push the limits. We tackle subjects that other bloggers just don’t have the guts to tackle (I’m looking at you, Ballor). And if that means we need to do a post on kangaroo flatulance, then that’s what we do.
But what, you may be asking, does the gassy emission of the herbivorous marsupial of the family Macropodidae, of Australia and adjacent islands, have to do with climate change? We’re glad you asked! It seems that our bouncy buddies from the land down under may play a central role in opening up a whole new class of offsets:
AUSTRALIAN scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say.Pardon me.
Thanks to special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroo flatulence contains no methane and scientists want to transfer that bacteria to cattle and sheep who emit large quantities of the harmful gas.
While the usual image of greenhouse gas pollution is a billowing smokestack pushing out carbon dioxide, livestock passing wind contribute a surprisingly high percentage of total emissions in some countries.
“Fourteen per cent of emissions from all sources in Australia is from enteric methane from cattle and sheep,” said Athol Klieve, a senior research scientist with the Queensland Government.
“And if you look at another country such as New Zealand, which has got a much higher agricultural base, they’re actually up around 50 per cent,” he said.
Link courtesy of Weasel Zippers. One wonders – who was the courageous scientist who discovered that kangaroo gas contains no methane?
This development may prove more important to Australia that it seems at first glance, as on the heels of this report comes news that new Aussie PM Kevin Rudd, fresh off an election victory over John Howard, has already backed away from an election pledge to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions after finding out that in doing so, electricity costs would skyrocket:
PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd last night did an about-face on deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, days after Australia’s delegation backed the plan at the climate talks in Bali.
A government representative at the talks this week said Australia backed a 25-40 per cent cut on 1990 emission levels by 2020.
But after warnings it would lead to huge rises in electricity prices, Mr Rudd said the Government would not support the target.
The repudiation of the delegate’s position represents the first stumble by the new Government’s in its approach to climate change.
You’d think that would be something he could have looked into before making the promise. Ah well, no matter – There are other things that Australians can do to make up the difference…
In one of this week’s Acton Commentaries, Ray Nothstine and I juxtapose a static, sedentary dependence on government subsidies with a dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit of innovation.
The impetus for this short piece was an article that originally appeared in the Grand Rapids Press (linked in the commentary). I have two things to say about these stories and then I want to add some further reflections on the world of agricultures subsidies.
First, I found the article’s “hook” to be quite shoddy and lame. The blatant attempt to “shock” the reader into a reaction of disgust that a billionaire like Dick DeVos, yes, “that Dick DeVos,” got a whopping “$6,000 in federal farm subsidies from 2003 to 2005.” That’s roughly $2k a year for three years.
Unsurprisingly, DeVos’ spokesperson didn’t know anything about it. It’s ludicrous to think that a guy with as much on his plate as Dick DeVos would have any time for what is essentially pocket change for a billionaire. Does the fact that DeVos got a subsidy even though he campaigned on eliminating government waste make him a hypocrite?
Judge for yourself, but I think these payments say more about the government’s inefficiency and waste than they do about DeVos’ integrity. People of all income brackets pay tax professionals to maximize their returns. For the very wealthy, it’s simply a process that’s on a bigger scale, that’s much more thorough, and with many more loopholes than when you or I go to H&R Block. The more diversified your holdings, the more likely there are a plethora of tax breaks for you to exploit. The breathless lede to this story was simply off-putting to me, especially given the rather clear political undertones of the insinuations.
What’s the real lesson? As a recycling hippie once told The Simpsons‘ Principal Skinner in a quite different context, “Simplify, man.” Simplify the tax code and eliminate all these special interest loopholes.
But the complaint about the story’s hook is really a minor quibble compared to my second point. In a companion piece, Lisa Rose Starner, executive director at Blandford Nature Center and Mixed Greens says that farm subsidies are essentially about “social justice.” That’s right, subsidies are about social justice. They’re about the social injustice of subsidizing a product so that people from poorer nations around the world, who would like to do more than simply engage in subsistence farming, can’t compete in a global marketplace because prices are artificially deflated. So, our subsidies are feeding the rich at the expense of the poor in more ways than one.
Of course, the pat response is that other nations are subsidizing too, so our subsidies are just leveling the playing field. To be sure, the world of agricultural business is a complex one, as many of the commenters on our piece point out. Direct farm subsidies are just one thin slice of the government’s intervention into agriculture. Perhaps they’re the most obvious, but they may also not be the most insidious. As one astute reader wrote to me, “The web of market interference in ag is broad and complex.”
Update: The Detroit News ran a version of the original piece here.
Awhile back in a PowerBlog exclusive I asserted, “Many, if not most, young evangelicals are just as conservative on life issues as their forebears.”
Here are some references to back that up:
- 70% Evangelicals 18-29 who favor “making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion.”
- 55% Evangelicals 30 and older who favor this.
(HT: Go Figure) From: “Young White Evangelicals: Less Republican, Still Conservative,” Pew Research Center.
And next, “In attitudes toward education, drugs, abortion, religion, marriage, and divorce, the current generation of teenagers and young adults appears in many respects to be more culturally conservative than its immediate predecessors.” From: “Crime, Drugs, Welfare—and Other Good News,” Commentary.
On second thought, perhaps what I said before was even an understatement.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, is scheduled to join Fox Business host David Asman tonight to discuss the new documentary, “What Would Jesus Buy?” They’ll be joined by documentary producer Morgan Spurlock and performance artist Bill Talen, of the “Church of Stop Shopping.” The segment is set to air between 7-8 p.m. Eastern time. Check your local listings — and expect a lively debate.
Update: Here’s the interview…