The failure of the pro-life movement

I know, I know I haven’t posted in a super long time and I apologize for that guys. Life has been busy, but this post should keep you satisfied until I make another post, which should be coming soon!

Athanasius Contra Mundum

46_lady_of_laundryIt cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and power of Capitalism. It is Capitalism that has forced a moral feud and a commercial competition between the sexes; that has destroyed the influence of the parent in favor of the influence of the employer; that has driven men from their homes to look for jobs; that has forced them to live near their factories or their firms instead of near their families; and, above all, that has encouraged for commercial reasons, a parade of publicity and garish novelty, which…

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Protection or Paranoia: Reloading the Gun

Now, this is the part 2 that I promised in my post about a week ago. I won’t cover everything, since I believe this is going to be more of an ongoing “series” than anything else. For this one, I want to talk about the idea that guns provide “protection” or “self-defense”. People seem to increasingly feel it is within their rights to own ludicrous firearms that go above and beyond that dictum.

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Self-defense is a simple enough concept. It is the action of defending oneself from an aggressor, or an individual who strikes out at your person first. The US has long been a proponent of it, courtesy of our 2nd Amendment. Over the more recent years, there has been an extension of this action by virtue of Stand Your Ground Laws and others.

For the Catholic what does this mean for us? The CCC dictates, “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.” (taken from http://www.vatican.va/) In short, it boils down to intention. This is why I have to take issue with those persons that wish to defend their property with more lethal weapons and assault rifles that are much more likely to kill someone than a handgun.

In truth, the Church would rather there be no violence, but in dealing with humanity’s fallen nature that cannot be so. Instead, there have to be concessions, which by no means make killing acceptable. The quote that I offered before is in context about protecting yourself and/or loved ones. That is all. It is quite simply as that.

Therefore, this attitude of paranoia towards neighbors, strangers and the rest of the world is entirely unfounded, especially for Catholics. The Conservative Right has hijacked Christianity by consistently claiming that we align the most with their values, but in reality Christianity does not at all. The Catholics that do consider themselves part of the GOP(because they need to belong to some political party for some reason) agree with this need to be armed to the teeth or to pull the trigger first and ask questions later.

This is not only hypocritical of Catholics and Christians everywhere, but just incredibly wrong to believe such a thing. I am not saying that we have to be pacifist in a break in or threatening situation, only that we keep our intentions purely for defense rather than attack.

I will return to this topic yet again to talk about how the principle for self defense should not be extended beyond our individual persons, but until then stay safe and warm during this wintery months.

Silent For Too Long

It has been over a year since I last blogged. It was a crazy year and I also believe I needed a break from blogging. I have kept numerous blogs in the past five/six years and I think I was getting burned out on the exercise.

Well, it has come to my attention that I need to come back to it. It is an outlet that I haven’t used in a while and I’ve been told by a few individuals that I need to get back to it.

So, this leaves me with the thought of what blogging should be to me now. It has always been a mix of my thoughts, rants, writings and reviews of various books/film. I think I will continue with just that, but I am also going to speak about current events and issues in the media.

Social justice has always been super important to me and it has come clear to me that it needs to be discussed more. The only way to make this happen is to discuss and open more dialogue. I will try and do this in the vein of those American writers that came before, such as Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and Flannery O’Connor. It is a bit lofty of a goal, but I believe this coming year will be a transitional year for this blog and myself.

-Alexander

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The USA: The Land of No Middle-Ground

Yeah, I said it.  It’s either you are with us or against us.  You’re either blue or redDemocrat or RepublicanLiberal or conservative. I could keep going and list a near infinite number of false binaries and false relations that have been created thanks to our media, culture, and interests.  America may be the most diverse and colorful nation in the world, but it is also (at least ideologically) the most divided and these roots go deep and sharply divide persons from one another.  The unity of the USA is something that at this point is at least partially fictitious in my view.  The strong united America of the early 20th century is pretty much far gone and something to be appreciated in historical senses now.(This is just my opinion, but please prove me wrong)

This may be an unfair way to pitch the USA, but all you have to do is look at the current climate of our nation in order to understand that ‘fuzzy feelings of unity’ are few and far between.  If you want to see examples of how divided we are, you just have to turn on the T.V. to look at the different news stations, which literally bad mouth each other on the air(CNN&FOX).  The fact that we often have given a bad taste in our mouth about the fact that our neighbor’s views differ from our own seem to give no one any real pause anymore. There’s a reason why the old conversation taboo of ‘no religion or politics’ came about; not only because they tend to be impassioned topics, but the fact that they are topics, of which two differing views could never talk civilly through.

It’s funny to understand that the ‘American experiment’ has morphed into a cemented ideal of where America gets its way or no way.  This has bled into our discourse amongst citizens, given that we are apparently either ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’.  These political ideologies are not even that adequate to divide the country, given that their issues don’t even encompass what each person holds to.  We all have interests and passions that differ. Some wish to help the global situation. Others wish to help the local level. Other still want to create projects so that even more persons can collaborate together. All of these are done in innumerable ways, which cannot even be fully grasped by one person or another.  Yet, we seem to be okay with simplifying our issues/views into a 50/50 dichotomy.  Even for those individuals that have interests on either side of the spectrum are demonized(yes I’m going extreme), because they don’t hold to either full set of dogmatic values.

Debates are argued so parallel that they are painful to watch nowadays and in other cases, the majority of persons just do not honestly know that there’s something wrong with there only being two sides of an issue or topic(at least in the context that we hold to n0w.  We use deceptively similar terms, but in reality the definitions of these terms to either side are entirely different from one another.  It doesn’t help that when we go to talk amongst peers that agree with us, we only reinforce our own views and become more and more closed off to any sort of new idea or contradictory view.  I’m not going to say that there is anything wrong with holding to convictions or certain views.  I mean we have to have our perspectives based from somewhere(and its unavoidable that we have certain preferences).  The idea we can’t sit down and listen to the other side is something drastically wrong with our rationality in America.

In closing, I guess I will just say we need to start creating middle ground.  Life isn’t necessarily a black or white issue, so why do we make this our starting point?  There is plenty of gray to go around for everyone.  And this goes for the problems and interests that grow around us in our culture.  The first way to tackle this is by opening dialogue with that other-side and starting to spread out the points of conflict.  I know this is asking a lot, but someone has to offer the ear first. We’ll find common ground there, because as much as we’d like them to be the enemy(in whatever field we find them in) they are much more likely to being our allies.

Women Don’t Need Protection, They Need Intimacy

Alright, so I expect some Christian gentlemen to get on my case about this title.  Or I even expect to hear a small outcry from Catholics over this post.(Maybe I’ve giving myself too much credit)  With the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade coming up in the next week, many may oppose me on this idea that women don’t need protection.  I wanna take a step back from what ‘traditional chivalry’ has been saying for years toward women and also take a step back from the conservative, Protestant heritage that American Catholicism has somewhat adopted and inherited.  It has placed women up on this imaginary pedestal that has in a sense kept them out of harm’s way.  At the same time it has also fed the everlasting idea that women are unequal in the eyes of men.  Sure, we could go back and forth on this issue and deal with the perplexing mentalities of Misogynists or Feminists, but that’s not my point here.

What I want to do here is go in an opposite direction.  We have continually proclaimed this idea that women are meant to be ‘protected’, ‘cherished’ and ‘guarded’.  Yet, this is an idea that seems to treat women as objects.  They are these ‘treasures’ that are meant to be kept under lock and key.  Or they are these delicate flowers that have to be protected and kept away from all harm.  These are nice metaphors for women, ones that I have used myself at times, but some(well most) of what I’ve heard from masculinity talks, they tend to keep women framed this way.  Which in a sense is ironic, since it is often secular culture that seems to demean women to objects….apparently it’s not solely secularism’s sin.  Sure, these images/metaphors makes it easier to paint the cliche picture of man being a warrior, protector and all that other crap.  This still doesn’t drive at the root of the problem.

The real problem here is the fact that this framing of women as these precious objects in need of protection/guarding sets them at a distance from men.  It could even be said that it places women behind man, where the man has his back to the woman.  This is the true problem and what I want to really talk about.  This ‘distance’ is what hurts both men and women, because it does a disservice to both parties.  We can go into the differences of how women like to talk about feelings and have emotions and that men like to do things and discuss events, but these are just generalizations(though for the most part true).  Setting aside the obvious psychological differentiations between men and women, there are some key things that need to be pulled out to show that this ‘protecting’ of women should be muted at the very least.

There is a thirst of intimacy that comes from the core of personal relation.  We can see this in how the majority music lovers enjoy those piercing, honest lyrics of a certain band.  We can see this in how romance movies always strike a cord in a crowd, because they too wish for someone to sit down with them and say, ‘Let me love you.’  We see this in how we are moved by people doing charitable acts for complete strangers.  These are all doors to the intimate domain of being a person.  While, the culture may seem to ignore this and merely say it is only ‘sentiment’, I’d like to say that’s bullshit.  There’s this consistent illusion that American culture builds up for itself, which is essentially a wall.  We like to get close, but never close enough.  We will say that ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s beautiful’, but if we were asked to do it ourselves we’d opt out.  Intimacy requires vulnerability and that is often the last thing that people want.  I mean, who wants to be vulnerable?  It hurts.  It can suck.  It can be brutal to a heart.  Yet, we know of those persons that are so free with their heart and love that they always give of themselves to another, rather than hold back.

Women are predisposed to intimacy this way.  Intimacy goes hand in hand with the feminine temperament.(This is a conjecture of mine, but I think we can all agree on this.)  And now we return back to what I spoke of in the beginning of this post.  The idea that man ‘protects’ a woman, figuratively places the women behind the man and treats her as an object as I have already mentioned.  In reality, women are a lot tougher than they appear.(I mean, think of childbirth)  Men have been told consistently through the decades that it is better to be physically strong than be in touch with their emotions.  It is better to get mad or violent than cry.  It is better to ignore feelings rather than embrace them.  Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m just polarizing these ideas.  I think that there are positive things that come out of men that adhere to chivalry and the like, but there has to be balance.  I mean, that is how it is with Life, it’s a balancing act.

The reality is that men avoid intimacy.  I’m not saying that men need to become mushy gushy sissies, but they do need to be more self aware by how their heart is pulling them.  The inner life of men is something of a mysterious thing, on the fact, that men simply ignore it.  They carry on and simply bear with how life runs them ragged and sometimes(extreme example) they find themselves at the bottom of a bottle with no idea how they got there.  The need to address the inner workings of an individual as such as this, is incredibly important to developing personal relationships and relationships with people in general.  Women have been hurting for a long time, because men have simply carried on.  There has to be a willingness of men to bravely confront what their inner life tell them, even if it’s to become intimate and vulnerable.