The Census

I received my census form the other day, and fortunately it was the short form.  That spared me from a lot of questions I wouldn’t dream of answering.  Unfortunately, it didn’t get me completely out of the woods.

As most readers probably know by now, Question 8 asks whether we are “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?”  If we are, then we are invited to be more specific, distinguishing Mexican ancestry from Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.  Question 9 then asks for each person’s race, offering us 14 specific options followed by “Some other race.”

I hate these questions.  For one thing, it seems to me there are now large numbers of people who have parents or grandparents in at least two of the Census Bureau’s 14 “race” boxes. What box are they supposed to check?  What box is President Obama going to check?  During the campaign, people used to write a lot of nonsense about whether he was too black, hardly black at all, not black enough, etc.  It was somewhere between unseemly and repugnant then, but now it seems the Census Bureau really wants an answer. Read the rest of this entry »

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“You’re suspicious to me.”

The Campaign for Liberty is a political organization formed last year to continue advocating the political and economic principles on which the Ron Paul presidential campaign was founded.  As a proud member, I was interested to learn that an internal report of the Missouri State Police lumped the Campaign for Liberty in with skinheads and Branch Davidians as a part of the “modern militia movement.”  The report (dated Feb. 20, 2009) listed a number of supposed hallmarks of domestic terrorist organizations, including opposition to the Federal Reserve system, advocacy for a gold standard, and a belief in the impending economic collapse of the United States.  In one particularly silly paragraph, the report stated,

Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups.  It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material.  These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate:  Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.

I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or amused by this, but C4L officials took it seriously, possibly because they were at that time planning a big regional conference in St. Louis.  The report was roundly condemned, impressively satirized, and subsequently withdrawn.  The Missouri State Police apologized to the named presidential candidates, and it seemed to be over.

But now there’s this:  Read the rest of this entry »

The best conservatives are liberal, and vice versa

I watched the inaugural address from the crowded and noisy balcony of the canteen at a local ski area.  There was some applause, though less than I expected.  There is, however, probably some sampling bias at work, considering that each and every person in the room could easily have been on the Mall but deliberately chose to ski instead.

I liked the speech very much, partly because its sobriety matched the seriousness of our problems, but perhaps more because of its repeated reliance on the broad sweep of U.S. history.  While some pundits have seemed unable to find any common theme in the speech, Read the rest of this entry »

One Final Shoe Drops: Redistributive Justice

Well, we really are living in the Age of the Blogosphere, because some jamoke found an absolute screaming bombshell of a radio interview.  It’s up on Drudge (www.drudgereport.com) and it’s an interview with Obama from Sept. 6 of 2001.  If there were any thoughts that the Joe the Plumber comment on “sharing the wealth” was an unfortunate choice of words in the heat of the moment, it is time to cast those thoughts aside.

Obama is a socialist.  Plain and simple.  He wants to do economic justice via confiscation and redistribution.  He thinks it would be fine if the courts did it, but isn’t sanguine about that route — legislation, in his opinion, is the more reliable route.

It is a legitimate position, a defensible theory of government.  The jury is still out on whether it can produce a just and viable society.  Until recently, it felt like something closer to capitalism was winning the day, but with what’s going on in the financial markets, the argument over the proper “amount of government” has certainly gotten more heated.

It is okay to agree with Obama on this, and ok to vote for him because of it.  But let’s stop pretending he’s something other than a socialist.  That is FLAT OUT what he is.

The VP Debate, the Expectations Game, and Eight Questions for the Candidates

Everyone is playing the expectations game in advance of tomorrow night’s Biden-Palin debate.  Most of it is just self-serving blather, but Jed Lewison’s piece on the Huffington Post stood out to me as an exception because Lewison included video of Palin’s prior debates.  Anyone who is expecting a complete face-plant by Gov. Palin may be disappointed.  See for yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ron Paul, “The Revolution: A Manifesto”

Last winter, when I donated to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, I made the mistake of buying a Ron Paul sweatshirt but no Ron Paul T-shirt. I do not remember whether that was simple inadvertence on my part or whether it reflected a conscious prediction that Dr. Paul would likely be irrelevant by the time it was too warm for the sweatshirt. Either way, it was a mistake, because Ron Paul’s role in the presidential election is today very much the same as it was back in January. He is a man who will not be president, but who will not stop asking some of the most important questions about the course our nation is on. It is perhaps no coincidence that he also provides the most philosophically coherent package of answers. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s a Catholic Voter to Do? (Part I)

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me, “When are you going to write something on the blog about how Catholics are supposed to vote?” We had a brief but thoughtful discussion about it, noting that the question is hard to answer because it is partly about objective morality and partly about practical considerations that depend on the options actually available. And when one looks at those “options actually available,” the question seems almost moot: Exactly which candidate are we supposed to vote for if we are not permitted to vote for anyone whose views are at odds with Catholic teaching? But it is a fascinating topic, and a well-crafted blog post about it might count as “views you can use.” For now, though, I’m still thinking.

In the meantime, another friend calls my attention to a recent piece by Douglas Kmiec, first published I-don’t-know-where and later posted on the Mirror of Justice blog by Michael Perry. It’s not a systematic analysis of the extent to which our votes should be influenced by our religious beliefs; it’s not even a systematic analysis of Catholic teaching on that score. Read the rest of this entry »