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marylandblue's Journal
marylandblue's Journal
October 20, 2018

Social Psychologist Ted talk on moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Jonathan Haidt has done a lot of research in moral psychology and politics. He identified the basic inborn categories of moral thinking we all share, but liberals and conservatives weight them differently. His work is a great resource for anyone who wants to understand the other side better, or for that matter our side too. If you want to think all conservatives are racists, this might not be for you. 18 1/2 minutes.

This is from 2008, but still applies and he continues speak about current topics.

October 6, 2018

The October March - What a bunch of angry women can do


The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands. Encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace, and in a dramatic and violent confrontation, they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly to return with them to Paris.

These events ended the king's independence and signified the change of power and reforms about to overtake France. The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the French nobility and favored the nation's common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. Bringing together people representing sources of the Revolution in their largest numbers yet, the march on Versailles proved to be a defining moment of that Revolution.

September 29, 2018

Is "God and Man at Georgetown Prep" why Judge was hiding out at the beach?

He wrote the book about his time at Georgetown Prep. He was also the publisher of the schools underground newspaper, which would mean he has information on everything and everyone. Hmm.


"God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling is a 2005 memoir about Catholic school, alcoholism, binge drinking and hookup culture at Georgetown Preparatory School, written by Mark Gauvreau Judge."

"The book recounts how the author published the school's underground newspaper which had information on wild parties.[7][8][13] The paper was distributed among students at Georgetown Preparatory School, and titled, The Unknown Hoya, also released under the title The Heretic.[13] In one periodical, the newspaper showed an image of a music teacher attending a bachelor party.[7][13] According to Judge, the music teacher was shown, "chugging a beer, surrounded by a group of us with raised mugs, sitting down while being entertained by the stripper."

September 23, 2018

New Yorker: 2nd Woman accuses Kavanaugh


Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of the Supreme Court nominee, has described a dormitory party gone awry and a drunken incident that she wants the F.B.I. to investigate.
September 15, 2018

I am sure they put something in his drink to keep him quiet this long

But everything wears off eventually.

September 9, 2018

On collective punishment of the RCC

Disbanding the church is unlikely to happen. There is no real mechanism to do it, and many people will still oppose it. But the church and every priest in it will suffer for the latest scandal if the RCC does not respond appropriately. Fewer people will go to church or donate money. There will be more lawsuits and more investigations. Priests will get less respect. Fewer people will want to become priests. The church's moral authority will be diminished for both Catholics and their non-Catholic sympathizers.

You can see how this type of collapse played out in Ireland, even though the worst abuses happened more than 50 years ago. The church has no moral legitimacy anymore.

This will all be through the actions of individual people. None of them will inquire of their local parish priest what his individual responsibility is. Each person will decide for themselves what the level of collective responsibility is and what punishment they will impose.

So whether you think 0.375% or 100% of priests are culpable, you have already been overruled. By the mystical body of Christ itself.

September 5, 2018

Is the President really the chief law enforcement officer of the United States?

I've seen this said from time to time, but it is not listed in the Constitution as one of the powers of the President. On the other hand, one of Congress' powers is

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

So what did Congress say about what is necessary and proper for carrying out law enforcement?

28 USC 516 Conduct of Litigation Reserved to the Department of Justice

"Except as otherwise authorized by law, the conduct of litigation in which the United States, an agency, or officer thereof is a party, or is interested, and securing evidence therefor, is reserved to officers of the Department of Justice, under the direction of the Attorney General."

So the Attorney General, not the President is the chief law enforcement officer. At least that's what the law says. No doubt this will be litigated someday too, but it seems pretty plain to me.

September 3, 2018

The myth of moral equivalence

There can be perverse attempts to "contextualize" human failings by decontextualizing. One version of this goes like this.
-People commit crimes.
-Institutions cover up criminal behavior.
-Therefore all people who commit crimes and all institutions who cover up crimes are all morally equivalent.

To demonstrate the fallacy of this. I will compare two theoretical Catholic Diocese on opposite ends of an extremes.

In Diocese A, there is a network of janitors who steal cleaning supplies and sell them on Ebay. About 5% of the janitors are in this network. They assist each other in locating valuable supplies and removing them from church property. The bishop of this diocese is aware of the theft, but does nothing to stop it.

In Diocese B, there is a network of serial killer priests. About 5% of the priests are serial killers. They assist each other in locating victims, killing them and hiding the bodies. The Vatican is aware of the murders, but does nothing to stop it.

Are these two situations morally equivalent? Even though we know each component of each story happens individually, when we put them all together, do both shock the conscience equally? Do both have the same implications for the church as a whole? It's simply absurd to think they do. Yet that's what some argue.

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