Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Getting a Grip About Politics and Principles

Right now, in America, it's fairly easy to see most positions on social issues as being either "conservative" or "liberal."

I've been called a conservative. Some of what I think needs changing makes me look like a liberal. My views are too definite to let me seem 'moderate.'

Responsibility: Social and Personal

Growing up in the '60s colored my sense of social responsibility. I was, and am, concerned about how we manage the environment. I was even in a peace march, although I wasn't your standard-issue peacenik.

As a Catholic, I have to participate in my society and contribute to the common good: particularly where I have personal responsibility, like in my family and work. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1913-1917)

Remembering 'the Good Old Days'

I endured the end of 'the good old days,' and they weren't.

My memory is too good to let me imagine that we'd all be better off if 'she's as smart as a man' was seen as a compliment, and folks who didn't look Anglo had an unreasonably hard time finding decent jobs or housing.

I'm hardly a "conservative," certainly not the sort who seriously believes that turning the clock back is either prudent or possible.

On the other hand, I don't think that supporting the new status quo is a good idea. Replacing contempt for 'the poor,' 'minorities,' and a few other blocks of individuals with a sincere if misguided concern was a step in the right direction.

However, we've tried treating social ills by dividing people along ethnic, economic, and psychological lines. It doesn't work. My opinion.

I am not a "liberal:" not the sort who doesn't seem to realize that 1967 is history, not current events.

Local Standards, Unchanging Principles

I'm an American, living in the 21st century. I drive on the right-hand side of the road, often use forks but seldom eat with chopsticks, and wear pants instead of a kilt.

Those are accepted standards of behavior: today; here. Customs like those change, and that's okay.

Some things don't change. Natural law, ethical principles woven into creation, is constant. Exactly how we apply it changes: but not the principles. (July 11, 2012)

Laying Foundations For Generations to Come

Some folks seem unable to sort out personal preference, community standards, and unchanging principles. Insisting that a mid-20th-century style is the unchanging dress code of God can leave a regrettable impression: and that's another topic. (August 20, 2012)

The permanent rules are simple: Love God, love your neighbor; everyone is your neighbor.1

They'll still matter, when folks see Democrats, Republicans, Whigs, Tories, Optimates and Populares as roughly contemporary.

The society our descendants live in won't be perfect, but it could be an improvement on today's. I'm cautiously hopeful that we'll pass on a world that's a little better than the one we received: and that's yet again another topic.

I put together a very short summary of what the Catholic Church says how we should run things. Authority, by the way, doesn't mean that 'the boss is always right.' It's exercised legitimately only when acting for the common good. (Catechism, 1903)
  • Authority
    • Is necessary in a community
      (Catechism, 1897)
    • Must act for the common good
      (Catechism, 1902)
    (Catechism, 1897-1904)
  • The common good
    • Involves effects of
      • The community on individuals
      • Individuals on the community
        (Catechism, 1905)
    • Requires
      • Respect for each person
        (Catechism, 1907)
      • The well-being of the group
        (Catechism, 1908)
      • Peace
        (Catechism, 1909)
    (Catechism, 1905-1912)
  • Government
    • Should promote the good of
      • The community
      • Individuals in the group
      (Catechism, 1910)
    • Form of government and method of selecting rulers
      • Should be freely chosen by the citizens
      • Must follow ethical standards
      (Catechism, 1901)
Related posts:

1 One or two simple rules: Love God, love your neighbor; everybody's your neighbor.
(Matthew 5:43-44; 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-27; 29-37; Catechism of the Catholic Church 1822, 1825-1825)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.