22 Week Old Baby Survives Abortion Attempt

News from Italy:
The 22-week infant died one day later in intensive care at a hospital in the mother's home town of Rossano in southern Italy.

The mother, pregnant for the first time, had opted for an abortion after prenatal scans suggested that her baby was disabled.

However, the infant survived the procedure, carried out on Saturday in the Rossano Calabro hospital, and was left by doctors to die.

He was discovered alive the following day – some 20 hours after the operation – by Father Antonio Martello, the hospital chaplain, who had gone to pray beside his body.

He found that the baby, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached, was moving and breathing.

The priest raised the alarm and doctors immediately arranged for the infant to be taken to a specialist neo-natal unit at the neighbouring Cosenza hospital, where he died on Monday morning.

Italian police are investigating the case for "homicide" because infanticide is illegal in Italy.

The law means that doctors have had an obligation to try to preserve the life of the child once he had survived the abortion.
But abortion should be legal, right? Unrelated - what did they do with baby after they tried to abort him such that someone found him lying in a blanket? I thought they through dead unborn babies in biowaste containers, or something like that.


The State's Incentives

State funded health care necessarily incentivizes the state to increase the number of abortions, the practice of euthanasia, and the availability of contraceptives. The state is also perhaps paradoxically incentivized to regulate with great precision the habits of its citizens with specific regard to food, alcohol, tobacco, and exercise. This brief commentary will explain why this is the case and some of the first order ramifications for our culture.

One must begin with a clear conception of the nature of the modern state. The state is not a charitable organization with infinite resources, but a bureaucratic machine whose goal must be to efficiently collect and redistribute the wealth of its citizens. This collection and redistribution process is necessary to maintain the services (like health care) and programs the state provides for its citizens, for the state cannot create wealth and prosperity ex nihilo - persons create wealth and the state can only subsist off the wealth of these persons. The state has a budget and it must maintain its budget and eventually pay its debts, or the state will risk war with lending countries. In all of this it is clear that the primary interest of the state is not its citizens but money or wealth, for the collection and redistribution of money is the state’s modus operandi.

The state is interested in increasing abortions for the following, hopefully intuitive, reason. Abortion causes the death of an individual person, and death in general alleviates the financial and technical burden of the state (the less people within the state’s provision, the more effective the state’s control can be). The death of the young and the death of the old are of particular interest to the state, because these groups of people require the most care and the most money.

It follows from the same logic that contraception, which cuts off the source of life, is highly regarded by the state. The state may even have an interest in increasing the availability of contraception in populations that are particularly burdensome to the state. The state has an interest in maximizing the number of contributors to the state’s wealth, and also maintaining or minimizing the number of people who are dependent on the state. Contraception helps the state attain this goal.

Finally it is worth mentioning that this also applies, maybe especially, to the practice of euthanasia, which no doubt will be legal in our country soon. Old people are perhaps the most expensive to care for, and so they will be the most expendable. This will be further justified by the state’s alleged virtue of alleviating the suffering of its citizens, its true motives obscure from common public view.

In abbreviated terms, the state has an interest in minimizing the number of people for which it is responsible, and will accomplish this goal through the means of abortion, contraception and euthanasia. But this is only one half of the picture, only one means by which the state controls its citizens. The second is more insidious but less morally serious.

Let’s say you eat too much sodium. Too many cheeseburgers, or something. You will eventually require expensive health care, which is the responsibility of the state. But the state does not want to pay for your bad habits. It needs to reduce the money it spends, and so it has to regulate sodium consumption. But it doesn't regulate abortion because abortion eliminates the need to provide care for anyone in the first place. I suspect sodium is just the first in a long line of things that will be regulated. "It's for the common good!"

The state is thus concerned with the de-regulation and indeed proliferation of some things, and the precise regulation and control of others. The state is both liberal and illiberal, but it is above everything and directs the affairs of everyone. In the process it fosters a culture that is opposed to traditional morality and common sense. All people of good faith and good will ought to oppose the very far-reaching actions of the state. Limited government is a public good not because the government is evil but because there are practical limitations on what the government can be expected to do without having to disrespect the dignity of the human person.


A simple truth

I was listening to a new Peter Kreeft lecture the other day and he made an astoundingly simple point that struck me as worth writing down and sharing with others. He asks a question at one point: "Why should we love each other?" After all, everyone agrees we should. But most everyone disagrees about why we should. Modern culture teaches us that the answer must come from this world, that our reason for loving should be something in this life. But this answer is never and can never be enough. The true answer, and the only satisfying answer is because there is life after death. Because whether or not we love matters eternally. I think every human person knows this if they are honest with themselves.


Hospitals with wireless internet are neat!


I Can't Believe I Missed Equal Pay Day!

There I was, blissfully loafing around like the very pregnant lady that I am, and I somehow managed to miss Equal Pay Day! It's so hard to stay on top of these things when you no longer live on a campus and no one actually cares what the feminists have to say. The official holiday was on Tuesday, and is meant to "'symbolize how far into 2010 women must work to earn what men earned in 2009,' says the National Committee on Pay Equity."

How does the enlightened individual celebrate such a holiday, you ask? Why, with the feminist trifecta, of course: rallies, speak-outs, and bake sales. Nothing says "I deserve a higher salary" like a chocolate chip cookie baked with love. Equal Pay Day is also a great excuse to indulge in some (legal) substance abuse: "NOW suggests women gather together at local bars for “Un-happy Hours” where they can share their dissatisfactions. 'See if a local bar, club, or restaurant (try the women-owned ones first!) will give you drink specials [where] women pay 78% of their tabs and men pay 100%'." Women are allowed to own bars now?! Wow, thanks feminists!

Anyway, Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI takes the feminists to task over the idea that women earn 22% less than men for doing the same work.


What happened, Peggy?

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks Peggy Noonan has lost her appeal as a thoughtful political commentator: Professor Francis Beckwith expresses my thoughts exactly in a comment over at What's Wrong With the World.
Peggy "A thousand points of light" Noonan often confuses a turn of a phrase with an insight in thought. The lady who is "all words and no action" wrote the speeches for the first President Bush who was "all action and no words."

I used to like Noonan, but now I find her to be pretentious and annoying. Ever since she went after Sarah Palin, I began to see Peggy as a smoldering cauldron of rage carefully hidden under an overly polite literary smugness.
Case in point: a recent op-ed of hers was titled "How to Save the Catholic Church". One would think a Catholic would acknowledge that only God was capable of that prodigious task. But Ms. Noonan would now lead us to believe that all one needs to do is look to a human idea scrawled in an op-ed. It's just silly to me.

But please do not get me wrong, I do not revel in saying this. Ms. Noonan was friends with one of my heroes, the Late Father Richard John Neuhaus, and I know he had great respect for her. I wonder if Father Neuhaus would have respect for her columns as of late?


The Impracticality of Distributism

Why is distributism overlooked? Because it's nice in theory but in practice requires a centralized administrative state to ensure everybody follows the rules.

Distributists have some serious questions to answer: how do we implement distributism in practice? Where are the historical models we can look to in forming the new distributist economic arrangement? How will distributism change our political institutions, and what kind of political institutions are required to sustain a distributist economy? How does a distributist economy interact with other, free economies? How do the limitations imposed by a distributist economy affect the culture? I'm not the person to answer these questions, and I haven't found anyone who can answer all of them persuasively. Such a great political thinker the world has not yet seen. Maybe he will someday arrive. Until then it is best to spend our energy reforming and perfecting the current political and economic arrangements, because they are what we have now. There is something to maintaining the status quo, especially when the status quo has been conducive to prosperity and peace, two things which are not the historical norm. So people, rightly so, are not concerned with distributism because the implementation of distributism requires a full scale socio-political revolution. No one wants to wage a revolution because things are, on whole and considering the witness of history, pretty good.

The truth of the matter is that no one has laid out a persuasive practical plan for a distributist society, and until this happens distributism will continue to be marginalized by political philosophers everywhere.

Lastly a remark about distributism and what can correctly be called "beyondism". Distributists are often concerned with "getting beyond partisan divides," i.e. getting beyond capitalism and socialism. This is a particular temptation for Catholics, who are correct in thinking that Catholic morality (personal and social) transcends partisanship, but incorrect in thinking that a parallel truth exists for Catholic political thinking. Partisan political divides within and without the Church are not a bad thing. The only way we can expect all Catholics to agree about the best political and economic arrangements is if such truths (a) exist and we can know them and (b) such truths are divinely revealed. We know definitively, as the Church repeatedly teaches in Her social thought, that the specifics of politics and economics are not part of revelation. Therefore we should not expect Catholics to speak with one voice about politics: we should expect a healthy plurality of political and economic opinions grounded in the divinely revealed principles of Catholic Social Teaching.



My husband was pretty excited to find this post over on the First Things blog yesterday. He and I have about five giant bookcases in our small one-bedroom apartment... and that doesn't even account for the books we have squirreled away at our parents' homes. To be frank, we love books. Like, really love them. Old books, new books... I enjoy just looking at all their spines, ready and waiting for someone to pluck them off their sagging shelves. I adore reading with and to children, and we've already started a small collection of books to enjoy with Baby Boy once he decides to arrive...assuming he savors the written word as much as his parents.

The First Things post is about a study which finds that “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books. This is a large effect, both absolutely and in comparison with other influences on education,” adds the research team, led by University of Nevada sociologist M.D.R. Evans. “A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.”

Now, to me, this just seems obvious. Children take their cues from the world around them, and if Mommy and Daddy spend hours a day watching television, then the children tacitly understand that television is highly valued. Children have far more common sense than we give them credit for - just take a look around you the next time you're at Mass. Find the children who don't kneel or sing along or reverently receive the Eucharist - are Mommy and Daddy kneeling or singing along or reverent? It follows that a home with books (and not just as decoration, but as something read and shared and discussed) will foster children who see that reading and thinking are worthwhile endeavors.


Congress Members Caught in a Lie

Apparently the Congressional Black Caucus members accused tea party protesters of shouting racial slurs at them while they walked into a Congressional building. Trouble is, there is video footage of the event that gives no evidence of such a thing ever happening. Andrew Breitbart has put out a $100,000 reward for any person who can produce a video tape of the supposed racially charged comments. If it happened, there is a good probability that such a video exists because of the all the new-fangled technology that exists (small video recorders, etc), and may people were recording the event. As of yet Mr. Breitbart has been unable to hand out his reward and there so there is no evidence that the alleged racially charged comments were ever made.

The Congressmen have backed away from their original remarks and have refused to talk to media outlets since the event occurred (this includes the AP). This is a problem, not just because they lied about what happened, but because of the content of the lie. The intention of the lie was to produce animosity between different races in this country - to create a conflict that doesn't really exist, and to distract the rest of the country from the real debate, which is about the role of government in our lives today. This is, in my opinion, deplorable. We should work to vote these Congressmen out of office in the next election.

But of course, we won't, because we don't pay attention to politics and we have a short memory and we never hold our politicians accountable. This is what will make America fail. We do not participate in our democracy.


Flushing an Extra Time

National Review has a funny piece up that nicely details some of the frustrations of modern life. Please permit to quote ad nauseum:
Bleary-eyed, I crawl out of bed, shuffle into the bathroom, and flip on the lights, but the bulb is out. I remind myself to get to Home Depot and stockpile a few cases of good, old-fashioned incandescent bulbs while I still can. After my morning business, I flush an extra time, since 1.6 gallons just doesn’t seem to do the trick. But at least we’re saving water, huh? Hop in the shower, where the water trickles out at an EPA-limited 2.5 gallons per minute. I think I’ll stay in here for an extra ten minutes or so.

I walk out to get the morning paper and take out the trash. “Honey, make sure to put out the recycling, too.” Right. I hope we sorted this stuff correctly. As I’m contemplating whether you can recycle pizza boxes, my dog fertilizes the lawn, so I go looking for a plastic bag (without holes).

I load my daughter into my fuel-inefficient SUV, asking myself how many hybrids the manufacturer had to make to offset the hit against Department of Transportation CAFE standards. She’s comfortably seated in her state-mandated booster seat. With no time for a decent breakfast, we hop in the drive-through lane at McDonald’s. I wonder how they’re going to get all that nutrition information required by Obamacare on the drive-through menu. Or how I’m going to be able to read it. Not to worry, though — at least no insurance company can refuse to cover me for my high cholesterol now. Who says there is no such thing as a free breakfast?

On the way to the office, my cell phone rings, but I can’t answer it because I can’t find my hands-free device. I drop by the bank for some cash and ponder whether I’ve exceeded the six withdrawals per month permitted by the Fed’s Regulation D. I spend my day at work trying to save a client facing possible extinction from a federal regulation that would effectively shut his business down. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with such oppressive regulations in my daily life.

On the way home, I stop at the drugstore to pick up some cold medicine. They ask for my ID and check the log to see the last time I bought any. The feds want to make sure I’m not manufacturing crystal meth. Me, manufacture meth? I have a hard time making pancakes.
The whole article is great.


Our Formerly Decent Society

Even a casual observer of American society can tell that there is a certain sinister chaos spreading throughout every aspect of public life these days. Naturally, as it filters through society it finds its way into our homes, families and personal lives as well. The reports of monumental breakups and takeovers, meltdowns, dysfunctions, cutbacks, disasters, protests, catastrophic events, scandals, and just plain moral chaos are, shall we say, legion, and it does not look like there will be any let up in the dismantling of our formerly decent society any time soon. Public officials and the movers-and-shakers of social communications long ago divorced American culture from authentic Christian values, and the result is that modern America has found itself first wandering then running down a very slippery slope to moral and social anarchy. The darkness has settled upon us.
Father Eutenheuer is right.


This Guy Makes Biden Look Like a Genius

Rep. Johnson's reply to the general public's shock is below, too. Judge for yourself...

Rep. Hank Johnson responds:
“I wasn’t suggesting that the island of Guam would literally tip over I was using a metaphor to say that with the addition of 8,000 Marines and their dependents – an additional 80,000 people during peak construction on the tiny island with a population of 180,000 – could be a tipping point which could adversely affect the island’s fragile ecosystem and could overburden its stressed infrastructure. Having traveled to Guam last year, I saw firsthand how this beautiful – but vulnerable island – could easily become overburdened, and I was simply voicing my concerns that the addition of that many people could tip the delicate balance and do permanent harm to Guam.”

Hmmmm. Somehow I think that if this is what he had actually meant, he probably would have said this. Instead of implying that the island was a giant Ritz cracker, floating precariously on the ocean.