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Table of Contents

Lengthy Incarceration Replaces Segregation for Social Control
“The Supremes” Cause Political Polarization
Some of Weigel’s Responses on C-SPAN Were Interesting for What was not Said
Introduction to The Sixth Commandment/God’s Plan for Men, Women, and Procreation


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Lengthy Incarceration Replaces Segregation for Social Control - (Preparatory note: The cable/satellite creation known as C-SPAN has been moving slowly but steadily toward more and more coverage of books and events bearing on two areas: 1) the Civil War, Abe Lincoln, and race relations, and 2) Islam, its differences with other cultures (eg Israel,United States), and fissures within Islamic culture (eg Sunni v Shite). These two trends in C-SPAN’s programming are understandable because of Israel’s inability to reconcile with its Palestinian underclass, the IRAQ/Aghan involvements of America’s military, the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, and the fact that C-SPAN draws a substantial part of its staff from the Washington DC area which is largely black.)

In any event, the mix of programs triggers recurring thoughts about how diverse groups possessed of different cultural (and perhaps biological) needs can successfully occupy the same geographic area. There seems to be a pattern of control of the less populous or less powerful group by the more populous or more powerful group in a geographic area, either through formal or informal means, followed by “push backs” which leads to some altering of the means or degree of control. These relative relationships can change through the acquisition of wealth by the dominated group, a change of attitudes on the part of the dominating population, a change of available technology that requires new social relationships, the acquisition of powerful friends by the dominated group, negotiated alterations of the arrangements, the selective use of “terror” to influence attitudes of the dominating group, or by a differential growth of populations giving the dominated group greater leverage.

Perhaps an example or two from history would serve to show how these work and how things change and yet remain the same:

The obvious first example would be the black experience in America from 1600 to today: 1) blacks were introduced to America as slaves and gradually gained their freedom, 2) they moved from a system with very formal social control (slavery) to various systems of less rigorous formal control combined with some informal social control (segregation in housing and education, discrimination in employment, denial of voter rights, exclusion from jury pools, etc.). And 3) to a system where all the old forms of social control formal and informal are either gone or roundly condemned, but where completely new forms of control are being introduced (mandatory minimum sentences that take wrongdoers, most of whom are young black males, out of circulation for long periods of time, welfare to work programs that force young black women to adopt a middle class white attitude toward work and child rearing, etc.). Here the means of social control change over time but they don’t go away. They can’t go away because any society must operate under a single “over arching” set of norms, rules, and laws. It should be noted that under slavery and later under segregation the “talented 10th “ among the blacks were forced into regular social contact with the rest of black society. Under the current system this talented group is able to escape their fellows, integrate into white circles, and thus deprive the black community of its natural leadership. The use of informal social controls require a reasonable leadership among the group being controlled; that is a leadership that can oftentimes get the dominated group to forgo behavior that is unacceptable to the dominate group. The absence of such leaders has contributed to the need to reimpose more formal controls (eg incarcerations, revised welfare rules, etc.)

It would be wrong to simply address the current dilemma of America’s blacks without saying a word or two about the history that saw the blacks move from slavery to their current state. This history is marked by several periods that saw the relative position of blacks and whites reverse. First, for several centuries blacks were held down in slavery by southern whites. Second came the civil war and its aftermath were blacks became the political leaders of the south and whites were down and kept out of the political process. The third reversal came with the 1876 election where the southern whites got their political rights back by allowing the Republicans to hold the presidency even through the Democrat, Samuel Tilden, had won; this deal put the whites in a position to gradually reassert their domination of the blacks. By 1896 the whites were able to force Jim Crow segregation on the blacks through Plessy v Ferguson. The fourth reversal came in the 1960 when the white political leadership in the south was forced to accept the end to segragation and affirmative action which gave blacks their rights and certain advantages in employment, housing, and education. In the 1980's and 1990's the blacks were faced with a fifth reversal which involved the imposition of high incarceration rates and changed welfare rules mentioned earlier.

This “who is up” “who is down” history is recounted not because anyone wants to hear it again, after all it is rather depressing. Rather it is recounted to show that while other countries where ending slavery with compensation for the slaveholder and training for the ex-slave, the US was engaging in the circus described above. Feelings on both sides have been rubbed raw by the process. Today “do-gooders” are grabbing at straws to find a band aid to heal things up (e.g. the Obama phenomenon), many working class whites are disgusted with governmental preferences shown blacks and will vote for anyone who promises less government, and most blacks ask when will real help be forth coming, they note that help provided so far has mostly benefitted the “talented 10th” who should be able to make it on their own without such help. Perhaps all programs for blacks should be canceled substituting free craft and work skills training programs for any black person of any age for the next fifty years. This training should be available to blacks in prison as well. This training should be focused on the 90% of blacks who are not destined for college.

The second example, the Palestinian experience is an example that illustrates a different situation where two groups occupy one territory. This differs from the American black experience in that a less populous group is able to dominate a more populous group. The domination is possible because the less populous group has advanced weapons from the US and Europe. The problem of population differential is being solved by dividing the territory into two and giving the larger population 22% of the land with little water and giving the smaller population 78% of the land with the majority of the water. To protect against terrorist infiltrations from one part to the other, a high fence has been constructed to separate the two populations. However, the dominated population is not left alone behind the fence, rather it is further divided into sub areas and check points are set up so the Palestinians have to wait in line for hours to be searched by Israeli soldiers just to visit relatives in the next town. The Palestinians population which was the best educated, most economially productive Islamic group in the mid east prior to WWII is being systematically crushed by this system. The effective incarceration of millions of people is working for now, but it is likely to fail in the long run as Israel’s patron, the United States, loses it ability or willingness to support such repression. It is also possible that the Israelis themselves will lose their stomach for such repression.

This business of social control or domination of one group by another is extremely difficult. It has to occur if the society is to function, but it has to be implemented in as thoughtful and sensitive away as possible. It helps if there is lots of available space so the two groups can spread out and get a bit away from each other. Fortunately the USA possess a lot of space so separation is possible. Israel is not so lucky. ........... (prepared by Hugh Murray on May 8, 2008)


“The Supremes” Cause Political Polarization - Moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats are becoming less numerous in Congress as ideologues take their places. The process of polarization is being fostered by the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, as they take up such controversial issues as abortion, same sex marriage, artificial human insemination, surrogate motherhood, etc.

Before the courts sailed into these waters, the US was operating under a set of moral rules which had been defined by Christian thinkers over 2000 years. These were areas unchangeable because the vast majority of Americans accepted that they were, and should be, untouchable. The reaction by believers was overwhelming. Suddenly long time Democrat voters who were liberal on labor, spending, and tax issues suddenly were told by their church leaders they had to support conservative Republicans. New organizations, such as National Abortion Rights Alliance (NARAL) and National Man - Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), sprang up to garner support for liberals who would support the immoral doctrines that had been legitimized by various courts.

The people, not understanding the virtual immunity from any “check” or “balance” that the courts enjoy, rapidly drove moderates from Congress mistakenly believing that Congress had the power to check the courts’ immoral departures. Good moderates in both parties lost primary after primary. Soon the likes of Tom DeLay and Nancy Pelosi began to occupy seats formerly held by such moderates as Carl Albert and Bob Michel.

These processes have not changed the horrid decisions handed down by the courts, but it has made legislating on routine appropriations very difficult as people with extreme mind sets attempt, oftentimes unsuccessfully, to find a middle ground. The Supremes have delivered unto this blessed land unspeakable immoralities while simultaneously tying the legislative branch in knots.

Even the executive branch is suffering from extreme urges. Consider the Presidency: a “dunderhead” who is incapable of seeing the immorality of a preemptive war that’s killed over 100,000 people, is likely to be replaced by a smiling fool who believes its “ok” to leave live babies, born in late term abortion clinics, in the corner to dehydrate and be starved to death. People like this use to be delivered to insane asylums now they go to the White House. Where is Eisenhower when we need him?

The Supreme Court is largely responsible for this growing mess, and it needs to be reigned in; but how, with its “self proclaimed” power to decide the meaning of every law and constitutional provision, there exists no effective reform short of revolution. Consider that any Constitutional Amendment to curb the court has to be “interpreted” by that same court before it becomes effective. Talk about the ultimate Catch 22.

Didn’t the Sage of Monticello say a revolution in America every twenty years might be a good idea?. ..........(prepared by Hugh Murray on May 20, 2008)


Some of Weigel’s Responses on C-SPAN Were Interesting for What was not Said - Over a weekend in early June 2008, George Weigel a prominent Catholic author appeared on C-SPAN’s In Depth to answer questions about the Catholic Church and particularly about Pope John Paul II , about whom he wrote a long and well received biography. Weigel is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington based think tank; he is also a regular contributor to First Things , a magazine devoted to Christian inter-denominational dialogue; and he is a weekly columnist whose work is syndicated to Catholic newspapers across America.

Weigel, a Doctor of Theology, is a as close to being a Catholic insider as you can be without a red sash. He did a wonderful job laying out periods of Church history, explaining doctrinal matters, and illuminating facets of certain Vatican personalities particularly Benedict XVI and John Paul II, As the call-in show progressed several issues came up some with frequency. These included the Vatician’s tardy handling of the pedophile problem, the likely importance of the re-introduced Latin Rite, the reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholic Christians, the civil liability system in America, the sequestering of Cardinal Law by the Vatican, and the great statements on freedom produced by two wartime leaders with limited formal education, Lincoln and Churchill.

Weigel handed these queries with skill and deep knowledge of Catholic teachings, but important facts were left out of his answers. Taking each in turn, Weigel noted on the pedofile problem that the American Church has only six percent of world Catholics therefore you wouldn’t expect the Vatican to take notice of the problem until the news reporting was over whelming. It doesn’t ring true because the Catholic Church in America represents more than 25% of the Vatican’s income and the pedofile problem had been perking in the background since the period following Vatican II , the late sixties. The Vatican had to be getting reports of improper priestly behavior, but they obviously didn’t want to rock the boat so long as the money kept flowing and the press wasn’t getting too excited.

The re-introduction of the pre-Vatican II Latin Rite didn’t excite any interest in Weigel he thought it would not catch on in a substantial way. He pointed out that priestly vocations were up at St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, but he didn’t mention that priestly vocations are up even more at seminaries around the world where young men are trained to say the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.

Weigel properly pointed out that the reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholics and Catholics who were publicly at odds with Church teachings was definitely wrong. He correctly explained that reception of Eucharist is a public act which announces that the communicate believes in and follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. All this is correct; but the bigger problem in the Church is the 50% of Catholics below age 50 who do not believe in the Real Presence. They attend Mass and receive Communion but have little understanding or belief in transubstantiation or the Real Presence. These people have not been Catechized into the Catholic Church and the current Catholic practice of communion in the hand and hand shaking all around following the consecration works against such instruction even if it is actually included in a homily. Weigel rightly pointed out the need for adherents to Catholic doctrine to receive communion with proper belief, but he spoke of a small problem in this area without mentioning the much bigger problem with the silent majority in the pews who don’t believe.

Weigel is an intelligent man and should have been able to connect the dots regarding the preceding three issues. The pedofile problem erupted between 1968 and 1982 in the confusion following Vatican II, the decline in belief in the real presence has accelerated following (you guessed it) Vatican II while the seminaries that teach the pre Vatican II way of administering the sacraments, including the reception of the Host while knelling, are full to overflowing. In a three hour call in show there is lots of time to flesh out these connections.

Now turning to the other issues: The Cardinal Law situation is a scandal. The Vatican has sequestered him amongst the dozens of Cardinals that roam the place. He is wanted back in Boston for questioning on his behavior regarding the reassigning of pedofile priests. He may be innocent, he may be guilty, but regardless he needs to answer questions. The only alternative would be for the Vatican to conduct is own public fact finding and adjudication. But the process can’t end with this man hidden from scrutiny. Weigel’s response on this was “why hound a 78 year old man” who probably was ill informed about what he was doing or was simply signing transfer documents on the advice of underlings. Given the scope of the problem and the cost to the Church of settling these charges, is asking Cardinal Law to take a little heat too much to ask?

Regarding the civil court system and the American system of determining damages one can only agree with Weigel. He is right. Lawyers are getting rich and the damage awards are totally disproportionate to the injuries, however, where is Weigel’s outrage for others who have been skewered by this system in other civil proceedings. The Ethics and Public Policy Center shows little or no concern over the daily outrages which the American legal system visits on civil litigants as well as criminal defendants. Weigel heaps praise on the Ethics and Pubic Policy Center but its current head appears to be a lawyer. How does a person of Weigel sensibilities square being associated with an “Ethics” organization headed by a lawyer? If you think a legal outrage was perpetrated on the Catholic Church, roll up your sleeves and get on with the task of redesigning the American legal system to give fairer results more quickly and less expensively. The Germans and the French know how it can be done; all America has to do is humbly acknowledge that other people sometimes have better ideas.

Finally Weigel compliments both Lincoln and Churchill on their fine uplifting retoric. No doubt but such comments should not go unqualified. After all acts are more important than words and both Lincoln and Churchill are known for their horrible acts. Their failure to negotiate when their opponents sought negotiations was a clear violation of Church doctrine, and their willful destruction of civilians, their property, and their means of survival were evident in Sherman’s March to the Sea and the fire bombing of Germany cities, such as Dresden. Weigel , an informed Catholic apologist, should not have missed this opportunity to educate the listeners on these moral questions.

All the above should not negate the fact that Dr. Weigel’s answers were laced with historical and theological insights and facts that any Christian should love to hear. ........................(prepared by Hugh Murray on 6/10/2008)


Introduction to The Sixth Commandment/God’s Plan for Men, Women, and Procreation - God’s design for man’s sexuality accommodates several important factors. First, God invented a system where man’s free will is respected and made an integral part of His system for populating the earth and eventually heaven. Second, God invented a system where the formation of the next generation is dependent on a long term, stable, & compatible relationship between one man and one woman. Third, God invented a system which gives most persons urges to procreate. These urges impel some toward good and some toward sin; indeed, over time these urges can impel a single person first toward good and later toward sin or vis versa. Fourth, God invented a system that challenges society in general and specific social institutions in particular to adjust their rules to facilitate God’s system for family formation.

The rest of this chapter from the Catechism on the Sixth Commandment deals with these issues in greater detail. Other essays will explain these issues more fully. At this point, a few provocative questions might serve to prepare readers to think “outside the box” on this subject:

1) In traditional Muslim society women are kept at home and when they occasionally go out they are fully covered, or at least dressed very modestly. Marriages are arranged by parents, aunts, and uncles because they feel they know which pair of young people is more likely to create a good, long term, stable, and compatible relationship. Is it good for society to have such a rigid structure? Consider the divorce rate is very low, the birth rate is quite high, but the considerable skills of the women are lost to the broader society. Have Muslim religious institutions adjusted properly to God’s challenge to let society adjust to support family formation without unnecessarily impinging on the freedom of people, particularly women.

2) In Protestant northern Europe, in countries, like Sweden, young couples are encouraged by the older generate to experiment with living together before marriage, child bearing outside of marriage is not frowned on, in fact it is subsidized by the state. The society tries to lessen the sense of sinfulness that comes from fornication and men failing to take responsibility for their offspring. Consider the pathologies that proliferate in such a society: increased use of pornography, prevalence of sexually transmitted disease, childhood psychological disorders from missing fathers, even nudist camps.

3) In the US there is still a preference for childbirth within marriage although illegitimacy is increasing. Americans feel more comfortable living in some sort of marriage - even if the marriage is the third or fourth in a string, which anthropologists describe as serial polygamy. There is a low birthrate but not quite as low as Europe. Woman are not lost to the work force in fact their presence and contribution is seen everywhere. This makes the US more economically competitive but the emotional and societal cost to family life are significant.

This paper is not intended to substitute for the orthodox Catholic essays that are coming. Rather it presumes to point out how totally confused various societies have become as they try to invent rules for the procreation and rearing of children without reference to authentic Catholic teaching. .....................(prepared by Hugh Murray 6/24/08)


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This page hopes to bring a common sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed on this page were prepared by Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at hvm@aol.com