August 25, 2008

Dis 'n Dat

Kim of "bingo fame" (oxymoron?) sent a cheering note:
I was so sorry to hear about the end of your vacation. May you always remember it with fondness and know that is in a better place.
Indeed I will remember it with fondness. I see I received no love from my blog friends; it took an actual, real-live person to proffer sympathy. Although tis true her note had the ulterior motive of asking me to help at bingo Thursday. But let he among us whose motives are unmixed cast the first stone! (Speaking of ulterior motives, Kim, if you're reading this, will you take care of our dog when we go on vacation next time? We'll pay you!)

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But enough about me, we're all interested in Joe Biden nowadays. Biden says of anyone who questions his faith that they can "pry my rosary beads from my cold, dead hands!".

Of course he didn't say that but that was the jist of it. The money quote I found was the following, culled from "On the Issues" website:
Q: You have changed your position on abortion. When you came to the Senate, you believed that Roe v. Wade was not correctly decided and that you also believed the right of abortion was not secured by the Constitution. Why did you change your mind?

A: Well, I was 29 years old when I came to the US Senate, and I have learned a lot. Look, I'm a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.
Political responsibility or political viability?

* * *

As a kid, I thought Catholicism was going the way of Judiasm: similarly ethnic, i.e. cultural, and not at all evangelistic. What I didn't realize was how evangelistic Catholicism was during the '40s and '50s, from the television show of Fulton J. Sheen to the street corner apologetics of Frank Sheed.

* * *

I read some of Alexander Solzhenitsyn last night. (Wouldn't his multi-syballic name have fit well in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"?). I read his thirty-year old Harvard speech to see what the great man was right and wrong about. My perception of him as a sort of right-wing are wrong. He was an environmentalist, worried about over-population and calling for conservation of energy resources, ala Jimmy Carter. Some would say that he's prescient now, but the conservation of oil merely puts off the inevitable, doesn't it? It's sort of like putting your money in a mattress - you'll be okay for awhile but eventually inflation will make you a pauper.

This is pure speculation but perhaps part of the appeal of the environmental issue for him was simply that it gives the West an opportunity to exercise self-restraint. If George Soros wants to save the environment so as to force a one-world socialistic government, perhaps Solzhenitsyn wanted to save the environment in order to save our souls. He saw the value of spiritual reality greater than material, and environmentalism could be a means to that end - i.e. conserve energy for it takes self-restraint. If Thoreau's message was "simplify, simplify", Solzhenitsyn's message to the indulgent West is "restrain thyself, restrain thyself". It's hard to disagree, seeing how most of our ills, from the foreclosure crisis to Enron to abortion-on-demand are at root about a lack of self-restraint.

The biggest chink in the armor seemed to be his overestimating the might of the Soviet empire. In '78 he thought Angola would never be the Soviet's Vietnam but another country starting with "A" - Afghanistan - was.

It was also interesting to see how he dissed the Middle Ages as being way overconcerned about the spiritual, to the neglect of the material, and how today we go in the opposite direction. It is hard to the hew to the middle! It takes great...oh, what's that word? Self-restraint...?

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