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[P]
John Paul II, a popular pope, not a great one

By jubal3 in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 09:10:49 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Since the death of Pope John Paul II, headlines, pundits and entire news programs have been devoted to near deification of Karol Wojtyla.


If you've been watching TV, you've seen Karol Wojtyla credited with the fall of the Soviet Empire (a claim so vastly overstated it borders on the laughable) and represented as a champion of human rights, human life and human dignity.

These are exaggerations, selectively culled to provide a positive picture where either a morally neutral or morally contemptible view is far more accurate.

Karol Wojtyla was not a terribly good Pope. He wasn't a terribly BAD pope, but certainly nothing special.
He was, however, a very popular pope. The two things are not synonymous.

John Paul II traveled around the world and personally delivered hundreds of sermons to millions of people. This was truly something different, and something interesting. No pope had ever done this kind of thing. Interesting, but not terribly important, nor surprising.

No one ever accused Karol Wojtyla of being stupid. In the modern age, Catholicism needed selling and bolstering, and this is exactly what Pope John Paul II did. Good for him, and if you're a Catholic, I am sure it's nice to see an aggressive spreading of your message by the head of your church. But this is hardly a morally courageous act. In other words, yes, he traveled a lot and spoke a lot, but so does Madonna.

In comparison with other Popes of the 20th century, Pope John Paul II pales in comparison to Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, who oversaw the second Vatican Council. This is an accomplishment which dwarfs anything John Paul II ever did.

John Paul II and the fall of Communism in Europe
It's quite true that as Archbishop of Krakow and later as Cardinal, Wojtyla provided moral aid and comfort to the people fighting the oppression of the Polish communist regime. Later, as Pope, he loudly denounced Marxist political and anti-religious ideology.

While he may have had a role in bolstering the courage of the Polish people, he was hardly a Lech Walesa. Nor was he among the thousands of Catholic priests who risked imprisonment or death by the Communists in eastern Europe who really did personally fight to oppose their respective governments out of a sense of social justice and human dignity. Among these are Pavel Peter Gojdic, Bishop of Presov whose story is truly inspirational.

Yes, Pope John Paul II spoke out strongly condemning the excesses of communism and the anti-religiousness of Marxism, but how is this particularly laudable? It does not say great things about John Paul II that he did this, it says enormously bad things about the Church fathers before John Paul II that they took an accommodationist approach to Joseph Stalin and his successors.

How important was John Paul II in the downfall of communism? Not very.

Poland was not the Soviet Union. John Paul was a thorn in the side of the Polish communist government, but not to anyone else, certainly not the Orthodox, not Catholic Russians, who consider the Pope only slightly less heretical than the Anti-Christ. And certainly not to Leonid Brezhnev or his successors, who were worried about the things actually hurting the Soviet empire like...

1. Communism is a very inefficient system.
Let's face it folks, it doesn't begin to compare with a modern capitalist state in any way. Politically, socially, scientifically and economically, communism has been a big fat failure everywhere, most spectacularly in Eastern Europe. That's not a result of John Paul II, it's an inherent flaw of the system. This wasn't so bad when the Russkies could do things like jam western broadcasts, which pointed out just how bad the system was in comparison to the west but it became a real issue when...

2. Ted Turner
and the other global communication moguls set up satellite TV on a worldwide basis. These folks exposed the wholesale lying which the communist governments were engaged in. For the first time, average citizens could switch on a TV and see for themselves just how incredibly deprived they were in every way, compared with their western European counterparts.  The Russian and other eastern European people started demanding consumer goods.
As anyone who's played CIV III knows, a certain amount of luxuries is required to keep your citizenry in line. Luxuries the Soviet command economy simply couldn't produce because...

3. Ronald Wilson Reagan
and the other hawks of the 1980s bet the farm that the U.S. could out-arm the Soviets and still produce whatever consumers wanted. Though many people, myself included, opposed this risky enterprise, it succeeded. The U.S. spent the Soviets into the ground.

In the end, items 1,2, and 3 led to the collapse of the system, and whatever was happening in Poland was utterly insignificant to the rest of Eastern Europe's ruling elite. If you want to thank the conquerors of communism, go thank Ronnie Raygun, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner and Karl Marx. Pope John Paul II doesn't even make the also-ran list.

John Paul II, human dignity and freedom
The next myth currently being promulgated by the media is that John Paul II was a champion of human dignity. Well, not really. In fact, John Paul II made no bones about crushing dissent or alternate views within the church.

John Paul II and his buddies, the right-wing Latin American death squads
Probably the greatest personal moral failure of John Paul II was his systematic destruction of one of the great humanist movements within the church's history.

The one place where the Church was, during John Paul II's tenure, seriously addressing great moral needs, was Central and South America.

Here, a new brand of Catholic teaching was taking place, called Liberation Theology.

In response to wholesale murders of innocents, grinding poverty and oppression by a handful of oligarchs, many in the Church in South and Central America embraced Christ's often stated values about caring for the poor and oppressed. (A message central to Christ's actual teachings, as opposed to any word about birth control, homosexuality or the supremacy of men over women).

This new Catholic teaching embraced things like land reform, still today a central issue of basic justice in countries where 99% of the land and wealth both are controlled by far less than 1% of the people. John Paul seemed completely unable to grasp the difference between the peasant's struggle for basic human dignity and the Soviet State, even when his own Archbishops, like Oscar Romero, traveled to Rome to talk about it.

Instead, Pope John Paul II told Romero (who was later assassinated by the very people John Paul urged him to cooperate with) to shut up and stop stirring up the people. When he travelled to Nicaragua in 1986, he told the crowd again to shut up and give up "unacceptable ideological commitments."

He closed seminaries and schools, silenced individuals and replaced a whole slew of Bishops with picked men who wouldn't rock the boat of South American dictatorship and mass murder. It's one of the more shameful episodes of the Papacy in the last 100 years.

John Paul II and the "culture of Life"
Pope John Paul liked to talk about a culture of life. He liked talking about this a lot.

But apparently, "life" as valued by the Pope, is a hard thing to define.

It certainly didn't include the "life" of people under threat of AIDS, nor does it include the "life" of people dying from starvation while the Church's untold billions in assets continue to grow.

In the world today, about 16 million people die every year from hunger. This is primarily due to overpopulation in areas not able to grow sufficient food for the local population.

John Paul II didn't respond to this crisis by relaxing Catholic dogma about birth control, nor did he respond by following Christ's example, selling off the many billions of dollars in real estate and other financial holdings of the church to help the poor.

In Southern Africa in particular, an area where the Catholic church is experiencing growth rates of about 5% per year, AIDS is killing far more people than starvation or war, and is likely to kill many millions more because of the Catholic Church's stance on condom use. The one reliable way to prevent the spread of AIDS (since not even Catholic priests seem to be capable of chastity) is the large-scale use of condoms. The Church, under John Paul II's personal direction, has taken a vocal and zealous position opposing this cheap, life-saving measure.

So much for a culture of life.
Apparently the lives of the hundred people on Death Row in the U.S., Terri Shiavo and of sperm and embryos is the important life to the Catholic Church. -Vastly more important than the many millions of lives being lost annually due to easily preventable causes on which the church has largely remained silent or ineffectual in addressing under the leadership of John Paul II.

In fairness, I never expected the pope to change his mind on birth control until AIDS. The continuing opposition to condoms in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe is simply mind-boggling.

John Paul II and child molesters
And finally, let's not forget what is unquestionably one of the most despicable episodes in Catholic history; an episode so shameful it finally lost me as a fan of the Catholic Church, even when I had been willing to overlook the many failures and disagreements over things like birth control.

I'm talking of course, about the sex scandals.

I don't think pedophilia is confined to the Catholic Church. And in all honesty, I don't think the existence of pedophiles within the priesthood is an indictment of the Church itself. Pedophiles can be anywhere.

It is the Church's response to pedophilia that is so shocking.

"In the case of almost every predator priest, church officials had reports of abusive behavior, but allowed the priests to remain in ministry, documents show. In many cases, accused priests were sent for brief periods of psychological evaluation, then returned to parishes -- where they abused again." -Boston Globe

If you're a kid in a Catholic Church, you may not only be molested, but your molester will not be punished by the Church. In fact, the church will deny that you ever were molested, and if they do find out that you were, they'll quietly transfer the pedophile to another diocese to do it again.

One of the most basic principals of humanity is protecting our children. One of the main precepts of Judaism and Islam is obeying the laws of the land in which they live. But Church officials don't believe this. In fact, they were accessories after the fact to unknown thousands of molestations, following Canon law, rather than the Civil law of the countries where this thing was rampant. That half a dozen bishops and archbishops and cardinals were not indicted as accessories to these crimes speaks to a flaw in democracy.

Pope John Paul II spoke incessantly about the evils of women being ordained, use of condoms and abortion. In fact, Canon law holds that getting an abortion is an issue of automatic excommunication.  But priest child molesters were not defrocked, they were not turned in to civil authorities to answer for crimes, they were not excommunicated. In fact they were protected by the church and allowed to continue their reign of terror over Catholic children.

It's not just that this happened under John Paul II's watch, it's the fact that he very personally participated in setting this policy that's amazing to me. Any biography or obituary of John Paul II that does not include this is missing a central personal failure of the man and the Church.

So finally, in remembering John Paul II, let us remember the facts, not the myths. And the facts don't make the man anything special at all, other than being popular. But as I said before, so is Madonna. Who cares?

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o Vatican Council.
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John Paul II, a popular pope, not a great one | 233 comments (188 topical, 45 editorial, 0 hidden)
I was with your until... (2.55 / 9) (#1)
by benna on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:37:20 PM EST

I was with you until you showed your ignorance with regard to the causes of the fall of the soviet union.  Reagan's arms race played a small roll, but it was really very small.  Gorby had alot more to do with it than Reagan.  The Soviet Union would have fallen without any help from any outsiders.  And calling the Soviet Union Communism is a stretch.  I know its the popular thing to do, but really, it was a bastardized version of communism.  Look at Cuba.  It is far more effective (though granted not perfect).
-
"It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
I disagree (3.00 / 3) (#12)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:23:28 AM EST

And I was no fan of Reagan (still have my FBI file from opposing him:)

But truthfully, the story of the fall of the Soviet Union isn't complete without this piece of the puzzle.

It wasn't the only factor, and I've been careful to mention two others, equally as important. But to claim it had very little or no effect is simply not correct.

I didn't like RR, I opposed the arms build-up. But part of intellectual honesty is being willing to admit when you were wrong. And on this one, I was wrong.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Soviet Union was on its way down (2.40 / 5) (#14)
by kitten on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 01:52:01 AM EST

When Reagan took office.

His "economic pressuring" may have sped it up -- slightly -- but didn't do much more than that. The Soviet Union was rotting from the inside already.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Dont believe in the power of nightmares. (none / 0) (#77)
by communistpoet on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:04:05 PM EST

they are propoganda.

We must become better men to make a better world.
[ Parent ]
Soviet Union was on its way down (none / 0) (#135)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 01:51:43 PM EST

when Lenin took office. Somebody had to apply the final tipping pressure, though.

For my part, I started saying around 1975 that the USSR would stop the day that everybody just sat down and said no, we're not doing that anymore. That's roughly what Lech Walesa did, with support from, among others, the Pope, and when it became clear that Poland wasn't going to go the way of Hungary in '56 and Czechoslovakia in '68, that the Russians really couldn't do that sort of thing anymore, everything changed.

[ Parent ]

"We're not doing that any more" (none / 0) (#147)
by ElMiguel on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:03:21 PM EST

Any predictions on when North Korea is going to stop?

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#151)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:52:11 PM EST

I get "Concentrate and ask again", so who knows?

Kim Il Sung started running the joint in 1948, and my first guess would have been upon his death, but with Lil' Kim in charge now, I'd have to go with the simple calendar approach: 1917 - 1991 is 74 years, so Korea might run until 2022...or might collapse next week.

My main point is that it won't last a day past the point that enough of the North Korean people say, "Fuck it, kill me, I don't care" and stop.

Of course, I hope it will come sooner and more smoothly than that, because the collapse of a nation is a very hard thing.

[ Parent ]

After we get off our encounter-suited butts... (none / 0) (#153)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:11:21 PM EST

...and do something.

I opposed the Iraq war. I will oppose the Iranian air-strikes, and the Syrian war. And I will oppose a conventional or NBC war against North Korea.

But a war of infiltration and subversion? Hoo-aa.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

The arms buildup (3.00 / 6) (#30)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:12:01 PM EST

The arms buildup played a role, to be sure, but less of one than most Americans think.

American "containment" of the Soviet Union, as proposed by George Kennan in the late 1940s, was always based on the idea that, if the Soviet sphere was not allowed to grow, it would eventually collapse economically. That would have happened whether there was a massive arms buildup in the US in the 1980s or not; all we did was *hurry along* a process which was already happening.

That process wouldn't have mattered, however, if the Soviet Union and its satellite countries had not maintained some sort of civil society independant of the state. We see from North Korea, Cambodia, and Myanmar what happens when that civil society is effectively destroyed: in cases where there is nobody independent of the state who has any freedom of action, neither complete economic collapse nor genocide are sufficient to cause the fall of the state. The state only falls if the people are willing and able to stand up to it.

Regime collapse is often associated with economic collapse because it is only under extreme conditions that most people will actively resist their government. But economic collapse is not sufficient to bring about that resistance.

What Pope John Paul II did for Poland was preserve the independance of an actor seperate from the state. Absent such an actor, conceiving the possibility of resistance is impossible. The success of Solidarity in forcing the hand of the government would have been impossible without the previous actions of Archbishop Wojtyla; and the growth of resistance movements in the Warsaw Pact satellite countries in the 1980s would have been impossible without the example of Solidarity to draw on.

I don't think it's possible to exaggerate the despair that prevailed in the communist world after the collapse of the Prague Spring; it was quite clear that resistance was futile, that the people were going to submit, and that there was nothing anyone could do. The Polish Catholic Church of the 1970s was the primary institution to change that.

Was it the only thing? No. Was it sufficient, in and of itself, to end communism? No. Was it a necessary precondition? No ... but the existence of some sort of independent civil society was, and there was no other.

That's why Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, says Pope John Paul II was critical. That's why Vaclav Havel, the leader of Civic Forum and one of the primary Czech dissidents, says that Pope John Paul II did more to help end communism than either the government of the US or the government of the USSR. That's why Mikhail Gorbachev says that, absent the pope's activities, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact would have been impossible. Because the existance an independent civil society is critical for popular overthrow of a regime to succeed, and the Polish Catholic Church was, in 1975, the only independent actor in the entire communist world.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (2.66 / 3) (#49)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:06:28 PM EST

I think you are confusing two things. First, I think we're in large agreement over lots of things, so I don't mean to paint you as a fool or anything.

I think you're talking about the fall fo communism in Poland and the Velvet revolution...

That's all well and good, but only if the Soviets didn't do what they did in 1956 and 1968.

Why didn't they do this? A number of factors, including Gorby, who simply wasn't willing to do it.

Other factors include the ongoing Afghanistan war, the crippled state of the Soviet economy and possible Western response.

I honestly believe that the Sovs thought Reagan totally capable of starting WWIII over an invasion of Poland, for instance.

While this may not have been the only factor, it certainly was an important one. It's one of the things Gorby could use to keep the old guard from forcing his hand.

Everthing I've read on the subject suggests numerous complex factors in the fall of Eastern European communism. None of them suggest the Pope was a serious factor outside Poland.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

First impressions are the right ones, usually (none / 1) (#64)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 08:15:23 PM EST

The outrageously inaccurate intelligence information in Iraq wasn't a one shot deal. The CIA estimated that the Soviets had over 5,000 T-80 tanks in 1985, when in reality the tank was still a prototype.

The myth of the cold war arms race enriched technology companies. Everybody knew that there would be no "Red Storm Rising".

The Soviets were toppled by the mass demonstrations of disaffection in Poland and throughout the eastern bloc. Once the people lost their fear of the government, the house of cards collapsed.

[ Parent ]

Factually Incorrect (none / 0) (#85)
by teece on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:58:23 AM EST

Whatever role you think Reagan played, your post is in error.

Reagan did not "spend" anyone into the ground.  Soviet spending was flat throughout the Reagan presidency.  The cancer that destroyed the USSR had already metastasized by the time Reagan was in office.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Ok, you have my attention (none / 1) (#134)
by jubal3 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 01:50:02 PM EST

Thanks for the info, and as we speak,I'm researching your info. You certainly credit a well-respected journalist in your assertions.

Just thought I'd let you know, there really are some people left who are open to re-evaluating their opinions based on new info. I'm looking into this.

Thanks for the input.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Re-Insert His Feeding Tube! (2.62 / 16) (#2)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:41:21 PM EST

I don't care if he's dead. I wanna see him eat.


_____
I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weeke
exactly! hypocrisy! (2.71 / 7) (#4)
by circletimessquare on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:59:03 PM EST

OH MY GOD! TERRI'S BEEN BRAIN DEAD FOR 15 YEARS BUT WE SHOULD DO EVERYTHING TO KEEP HER VEGETATIVELY ALIVE!

meanwhile, in another part of a social conservative's brain...

alas, the pope's health is slipping, so it's all in god's hands now

wtf???!!!

do you think the brain cells in a social conservative's brain that insist on insane efforts at keeping terri schiavo alive ever meet the brain cells in the same hypocritical brain that makes such easy peace with the pope's NATURAL passing?

hey social conservative's, you either:

1. scream in bloody anger that they didn't keep the pope on a dialysis machine and a heart lung machine with a team of doctors and antibiotics and every medical gizmo conceived of by science geared to him getting 15 more minutes of life (isn't that the culture of life?)

or

2. accept the passing of a brain dead woman peacefully AND WITH DIGNITY (what is that you tell us about the dignity of life again? i couldn't hear you above the crowds of social conservative protesters and the media circus outside terri's window... dignity and respect, huh?)

ok?

but your anger at terri not being kept alive while so placidly accepting the pope's natural passing, all in a span of a few days, is total dumbfounding hypocrisy


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

thank you, circletimessquare. (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by the ghost of rmg on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:13:59 AM EST

your commentary is HARD HITTING as always.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
i can never tell with you (none / 0) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:23:12 AM EST

sometimes you support me, sometimes you abhor me


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
The secret with rmg is not to care /nt (3.00 / 4) (#13)
by topynate on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 01:08:47 AM EST

kidding, there's t.


"...identifying authors with their works is a feckless game. Simply to go by their books, Agatha Christie is a mass murderess, while William Buckley is a practicing Christian." --Gore Vidal
[ Parent ]
i was expecting (none / 1) (#17)
by forgotten on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 08:02:20 AM EST

the news channels to show over and over again the footage of his easter benediction as evidence that he wasn't really sick at all.

--

[ Parent ]

The Pope wasn't on life support? (none / 0) (#154)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:16:30 PM EST

Stab me, I just assumed that he was being treated with the best medical technology available.

He wasn't on life support?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

about the whole communism thing . . . (2.00 / 5) (#5)
by Phil Urich on Sun Apr 03, 2005 at 11:59:48 PM EST

sorry, but I'm going to have to take objection to some of your choices of wording . . . the Soviet Union was hardly following any Marxist blueprints, whether you believe they would have worked or not. From the very beginning, even those that actually believed in what they preached ended up compromising, starting with Lenin and his "New Economic Policy" and the idea of a dictatorship for the proletariat . . . quite different than one of the proletariat, which would be a quite different thing. Instead of being controlled somehow by a vast group of people, the Bolsheviks decided that the masses couldn't be trusted with power, so the retained it for themselves. Trotsky was ousted, browbeaten and chases off by Stalin, partially because he was advocating actually cycling in and out the people in charge, so that any person had a chance to hold positions of power and take part in the decision making process in this new workers utopia . . . "hopelessly idealistic" is certainly a charge that could be levelled, but neither did it come to pass.

I could go on, but really, it's not a big deal, it's just that your invocation of communism seemed a bit of a conceptual misnomer. It certainly failed because of inherent flaws in the system, but not entirely "marxist" flaws . . . the flaws that ended up popping up, and directly in nearly every regime propped up by the Soviets and revolutions that followed similar courses, are something a bit more complex and often quite different than the ideas that Marx and Engels hashed out (ironic, actually, that they wrote their system as a response to what they saw as naive idealisim, but even they ended up being at least a bit too idealistic by even a staunch socialist's retrospective understanding).

Okay, I could go on and on, and you'll probably disagree with me anyways, but still, it stands that you spent quite a bit talking about "Communism", being opinionated about it, but the strongest parts (and the on-topic parts) of this article are the ones dealing with John Paul II himself. Perhaps tone down the parts about commmunism, focus more on the details about the dead Pope himself. The issue of birth control and AIDS is particularily damning, and deserves a louder voice. The fact that the Cathlic Church is expanding and calling, on "moral" grounds, for a complete dismissal of even condoms, while parallel to it AIDS is spreading with terrifying speed, is certainly a gigantic fault with the current state of the Cathlic Church's ideology; how can it claim to be humanitarian and compassionate when it insists on turning a blind eye to the complete impracticality and downright wreckless danger of its dogma? You've done a good job of bringing up the issue; that, like the one below it about the molestations, could do great with a bit of fleshing out, maybe even a link or two.

I disagree with alot of what you've said . . . but other parts are things that really do need to be said. I'll certainly be keeping an interested eye out for how this shapes up.

I dont want to get into this (none / 1) (#10)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:19:03 AM EST

but basically, I just disagree.

I've heard this stuff before, I just don't agree with your conclusons.

Whatever you want to say about "theories" of Marxism, the actual living, breathing vaiants of communism that have been tried have all, without a single exception, failed to compete with modern capitalism. Even the Chinese had to embrace this fact or face oblivion.

The reason communism and its fall is so front and center in this article, is that honest to God, if you believed what I've seen on MSNBC, Fox and CNN, you'd think JPII had single-handedly defeated communism, which is a claim so completely fucking ludicrous it hardly bears repeating. Only this repeated claim on the part of JPII lovers makes me take issue with it in such a large way.

There's a reason for the edit queue, and I'm not close to finished with this, but I wanted to get some other views before the next draft. Ty for yours.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Capitalism is a failure, too, then. (3.00 / 2) (#123)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 12:08:28 AM EST

Because every capitalist state that I know of needs a socialistic government to stop it getting out of control.

If you didn't want to turn this into a debate on polical science, then you sholdn't have made such a strong statement about why the Pope was not responsible for the downfall of communism. You should have taken a more netural point of view, since communism vs capitalism isn't really part of this article, is it?

[ Parent ]

Note what I said (none / 0) (#140)
by jubal3 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:43:01 PM EST

"living breathing va(r)iants of communism <b>that have been tried</b> have all, without a single exception, failed to compete with <b>modern</b> capitalism."

Modern capitalism incorporates lots of things Adam smith didn't talk about. Just as communism in the Eastern Bloc countries varied quite a lot from what Marx wrote.

You're nit-picking, as was the original post on this thread.

If I were to change this article again, it would merely be to shorten the section on who was responsible for the fall of the Soviet empire.

The line you're referring to wouldn't be one of the things I'd change.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Communism fails it (none / 1) (#19)
by bobpence on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:08:07 AM EST

Sorry, while Marx was very smart for a social "science" major, the whole "communism has never really been tried, man, like, for real" bullshit make us all retch. No economist in the last two centuries has done anything more than refine Adam Smith, who clearly had a clue: We do things because they are good for us or possibly because they are good for our families, and a system that allows for that is going to thrive, while one that goes against it will collapse.

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Anyone who says different is a tard who is going to get crushed by the invisible hand.


"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

"social science major" (2.50 / 4) (#34)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:31:44 PM EST

Doesn't particularly mean anything with respect to the nineteenth century, i'm afraid. :)

It's an important piece of information in analyzing the intellectual history of Marxism that Leninsm represented a significant departure from traditional Marxist thinking. Prior to Lenin, the socialist line was that the workers would revolt and bring about a workers' paradise; after Lenin, the socialist line was that the intellectuals needed to lead a revolt on behalf of the workers, who would never revolt on their own.

Would state socialism imposed by workers have been any more successful than state socialism imposed by intellectuals? My guess is no, because state socialism presumes centralized control of the economy which is unworkable. But such a system would nonetheless have been significantly *different* from the russian system: state socialism brought about by the working class (and not by intellectuals operating in its name) would have enjoyed a much broader foundation of support across the country, and would not have required the extensive apparatus of political orthodoxy enforcement.

The "Prague Spring", wherein the government of a country in which a bare parliamentary majority had *chosen* socialism abandoned the externally-imposed Stalinist model and sought a more liberal-democratic form of socialism, represents a good model for what a voluntarily adopted socialist system in a previously capitalist state might have looked like. Unfortunately, it was crushed by the Soviets, who found the freedom it represented threatening (because, while such freedom could well have resulted in a continuation of socialism in Czechoslovakia, it would *not* have had the same result in other countries).

[ Parent ]

Yes, well... (none / 1) (#54)
by bobpence on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:23:04 PM EST

... nonetheless, I think we can all agree that the peasants are revolting.


"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

are they? (none / 0) (#59)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:42:06 PM EST



[ Parent ]
ha. (none / 0) (#63)
by waxmop on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:27:13 PM EST

No economist in the last two centuries has done anything more than refine Adam Smith

Ostrich.
--
fuck meatspace man I gotta level my dwarf cleric lonelyhobo
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#86)
by teece on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:06:52 AM EST

Sorry, while Marx was very smart for a social "science" major, the whole "communism has never really been tried, man, like, for real" bullshit make us all retch.

Speak for yourself, the truth doesn't make me retch.

On the Adam Smith thing:  smoking is certainly a part of economics.  It is not good for you or your family.

Your wording puts too much stock in rationality.  The reality is that irrationality plays a big part.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Smoking is good for you (none / 0) (#187)
by signifying nothing on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 09:05:19 AM EST

It satisfies nicotine cravings, and makes you look cool. The fact that it might compromise your health doesn't make it less a "good" in economic terms.

[ Parent ]
Adam Smith: half revered, half censored (none / 1) (#128)
by Viliam Bur on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 07:24:25 AM EST

What's currently being taught to Economics students, is a refined version of Adam Smith. More precisely, a refined version of one of his books. The other books by the same author on the same topic are carefully ignored.

For those really interested, in 1759 he wrote a book The Theory of Moral Sentiments. I did not read it, but it says something about human emotions and morality. The sequel, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, written in 1776, describes how the economy works, assuming both the self-interest of all participants, and their moral behaviour, as described in the previous book.

The original definition of "invisible hand" speaks about situations with perfect competition and perfect obedience of laws. Using it as a defence of monopolies ("if there are monopolies, surely the Invisible Hand wants them; and we cannot change it") or as a defence of wars or crimes ("if there are wars and crimes, surely the Invisible Hand wants them; and we cannot change it") is a misunderstanding; mostly made of ignorance. It means taking a sentence completely out of original context; making a dogma from the scientific text; a dogma often applied to contradict the meaning of the original text.

The ignorance is so common now, that even The Adam Smith Bibliography web page of Adam Smith Institute does not contain reference to The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Why? I do not know for sure, but I know about one similar situation. In former Communist countries, some books of Marx were considered holy (err... "progressive"), while other ones were discouraged to read. The difference was whether they agreed with the current paradigm, or not. So maybe Smith is following the fate of Marx - admired and misquoted by his followers; half raised to dogma, half hidden from sight.

[ Parent ]

Of course he wasn't following marxist blueprints (none / 1) (#33)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:25:34 PM EST

Among other things, Marx had presumed that a socialist revolution would happen in an industrialized bourgeois state which had already gone through capitalism. Russia had not.

[ Parent ]
meh (2.58 / 12) (#7)
by gdanjo on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:06:32 AM EST

Myth: Jubal3 is a talented geopolitical analist who is able to effortlessly fold together the complex nuances of religious-state organisations, with their limited method of "enforcong" behaviour, and their interplay with infinitely more powerful nation-states. Jubal3 is able to delicately juxtaposition, for example, the amount of direct influence politicians have with law and its variaous guarantors, and the amount of indirect influence the Pope has with words alone.

Fact: Jubal3 has done nothing for the geopolitical landscape, and knows nothing of it, outside of what the telly tells him.

The Pope is not Jesus Christ 2. It's nice to think that he might have had the power to Save the World, but he did not. Don't forget that liberalism (the stick against which you measure the worth of the Pope's acheivments), and it's other liftist cousins, have themselves similarly failed utterly in making the world a Perfect Place.

Bottom line is this: the Pope is widely loved, and will be greatly missed by peoples of all persuasions.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT

hem (2.80 / 5) (#24)
by killmepleez on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:58:27 AM EST

Myth: juxtaposition is a verb

Fact: juxtaposition is a noun; the verb is juxtapose

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
ahem (none / 0) (#71)
by gdanjo on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:44:05 PM EST

Myth: sentences do not require a full stop.

Fact: sentences require a full stop.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

"analist"? (none / 0) (#46)
by C Montgomery Burns on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 02:48:13 PM EST


--
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Intelligent design
[ Parent ]
Do you mean .. (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by nr0mx on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:10:10 AM EST

that he was a popular pope, not a great one ?

[ Parent ]
No (none / 1) (#116)
by gdanjo on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 09:59:27 PM EST

He was a Great pope, not a Perfect one.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Yeah, well.... (2.60 / 5) (#21)
by jd on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:24:36 AM EST

It is said an infinite number of monkeys can write the works of Shakespere, if given long enough. However, it only takes one to write a really bad, naive troll.

Even assuming your comments were all true, they say nothing about the man as either pope -OR- man. Theone you spew on longest about - that of communism - the guy didn't even make the claim himself! I find it disengineous of you to slam a person for someone else's view of him!

This is revisionist "history", written up to appeal to those who disliked the late Pope, but probably disgusted more than half of them. Those who have an honest dislike don't have to create dishonest reasons for it, or plain fraudulant accusations based on those dishonest reasons.

It is really hard for the dead to sue for slander, but the article has nothing of merit and nothing of fact about it and seems primarily designed to spur on a flamewar.

Report on alt.flame, alt.test - in fact, take this crap and put it anywhere but here.

So are you actually going to refute anything? (none / 0) (#178)
by 5inay on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:24:04 AM EST

All I see is a foaming-at-the-mouth rant. Do you actually have anything to say that indicates why the author is wrong and John Paul II was in fact a "great" pope?

[ Parent ]
Rebuttal (1.66 / 3) (#23)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:56:00 AM EST

Communism was very inefficient yet it failed to collapse in Cuba, North Korea and some other places that were not geographically or culturally close to Poland. There was nothing impending about the fall of iron curtain other than Polish people's dogged determination to change the regime. Once the Polish communist government fell the rest followed because communist leaders feared for their heads not their citizens' well being. Some of them (Nicolae Chauchesceu) were trying to stop the tidal wave and paid dearly for it. Thinking that it was all about economics is plain wrong. Very little of what happened in 1989 was about economics or luxuries. In fact, the Polish economy suffered the most in early eighties and was sorta recovering starting from 1986.

In the world today, about 16 million people die every year from hunger. This is primarily due to overpopulation.

This is primarily to redistribution. 50% of EU food production is thrown in the dump as waste because nobody wants to cover shipment costs. That ratio is probably even higher in North America.

If you're a kid in a Catholic Church, you may not only be molested, but your molester will not be punished by the Church.

There are cases of child molestation in the muslim, orthodox and other churches not to mention the US based sects like the Mormons or the Babtists where incest and sexual exploitation of children is order of the day. The Pope apologised and condemned the priests who sexually exploited children. He allowed any all kinds of inquirys into all cases. What more did you want him to do? Go and personally castrate those who were guilty? It was proved many a time that there were no cover ups at the Vatican level to any cases of child molestation although I believe some did happen at the local level in the USA. In the catholic church the local bishops have a high degree of autonomy and it is just not possible for the high Vatican officials to know all the going ons in every parish in the world. It is after all, the largest religion in the world.

As for the condoms, AIDS and Africa... nobody has found a solution yet. His view was that abstinence education is the answer, my (and your) view is that more sex education is needed. He meant well but had a different ideas about the solution.

There are more errors and misconceptions in this article than I care to point out.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

The Catholic church (1.33 / 3) (#25)
by GenerationY on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:26:42 AM EST

has an international reputation for child abuse and molestation. No other faith or sect has that. Forget the US, look at the UK, Eire, the Philipines, France, etc. Everywhere they have a hold, the same problems, the same rape of children, the same bullshit coverups and the utter failure of policy to deal with the issue either in an ongoing way or with regard to the last 50 or so years.

What I want the Pope to do is to stop child abusers from being promoted or shunted into other jobs to avoid trouble as has gone on in the UK (e.g., the Cardiff diocese). They should be fired at the very least.

[ Parent ]

Of course (none / 1) (#39)
by MSBob on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 01:37:51 PM EST

Unlike such pure religious groups as Mormons or Baptists or Muslims for that matter who we all know treat girls and women as equal and not as child making sex toys. Yeah, you're right on the money there brotha.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
And your point is? (none / 0) (#50)
by GenerationY on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:08:12 PM EST

Because some people are equally as guilty its OK for the Pope to turn a blind eye to it's church's international child abuse culture? This might make you feel OK but it does nothing for me. We aren't talking about Baptists or Moonies or Mormons or Scientologists, we are talking about Catholics.

(and you have obviously swallowed the kool-aid with regard to Muslims and women, I have a number in my classes which is odd considering your blanket statement - what are child making sex toys doing at University studying engineering?)

And before you howl, I can very much make blanket statements about the Catholic church and its leadership precisely because of its international record and because of its centralised control in the Vatican and weight of its dogma. Other religions are far harder to pin down because they aren't a centralised monoculture.

[ Parent ]

Ask your classmates (none / 0) (#103)
by MSBob on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:45:54 PM EST

how many of them are from Saudi Arabia.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
I know where my students are from (none / 0) (#221)
by GenerationY on Sat Apr 09, 2005 at 07:07:45 AM EST

and the answer to your question is in some cases yes. Again, what does that have to do with anything?


[ Parent ]
Strop trying to soft soap the Church's pedophiles (none / 0) (#28)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:22:50 AM EST

If you aren't outraged by JPII's <b>Personal</b> involvement in the church's coverup, I don't know what the hell you're using for a moral gauge.

It wasn't just the American bishops and Archbishops that did this,they did it at the behest of Rome.

It's not the presence of Pedophiles. That could happen in any church. It's the well-documented conspircy of silence on the issue, a conspiracy whcihdoesn't just border on the criminal, it is in FACT criminal.

And please, don't sit there and get people with an ounce of common sense to believe that Poland was so important to the Soviet empire that it's compromises (not fall, that didn't happen for a long time) with solidarity were the linch-pin of the Soviet demise.

I gave credit in the article for JP II's loud condemnation of communist idealogy.

But RUSSIA ISN'T CATHOLIC.  It's Orthodox!

No one in Russia gave a flying fuck about what the pope said. He had ZERO moral authority there.

Other things were going on at the time, like Afghanistan and a ruinous arms race with the West, and the presence of a man in the White House the Russians were convinced REALLY WOULD drop the bomb if pushed too far.

That's the reasons the Poles didn't get Russian tanks in the streets like the Czechs and Hungarians had.

Poland was Poland, NOT the whole Soviet empire. And while I give full marks to the courageousness of the workers within solidarity, and the rest of the Polish people, I give precious little to the Pope.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

ruinous arms race with the west? (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:23:38 PM EST

in 1979-1980? I thought the common wisdom was that that arms race didn't start until Reagan's time.

Also, you mischaracterize the argument. Nobody's saying the Pope's moral authority mattered in Russia. Of course it didn't; the Russian Orthodox church - unlike the Ukrainian one and the Greek one - is still vehemently opposed to Catholicism.

What I *am* saying is that the Pope's actions in Krakow, before he became pope, preserved civil society independent of the state, thereby creating the space in which Solidarity could work; and that Solidarity provided an *example* for the popular movements which eventually brought down the Czech/Romanian/German/Hungarian communist governments.

What happened in Russia was that Gorbachev, having come to the conclusion that the Soviet system as it was was economically unviable, attempted to revive the economy by granting a limited sphere for market economics, and attempted to revive a moribund political system by granting a limited sphere for independent civil society. The existence of that independent civil society, within a short six years, caused the collapse of the state.

[ Parent ]

Condoms: they lie about them. (none / 0) (#229)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 07:11:54 PM EST

If the church had an opinion and would leave it at that, there would be no problem.

The real deal is that they claim condoms are not effective and that the HIV can actually pass through the condom! Something that has been proven impossible.

Nevertheless in thrid world countries the Catholic Church prpagates this misinformation as a matter of fact.

They are lying, they know it, but they persist because the real life does not adjust to their dogmatic view of the world.

For gunnies sakes, if Iran's ayathollas would be claiming the same everybody in the West would be mocking them.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Myth: Aids and the Catholic Church (2.66 / 3) (#27)
by nkyad on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:05:54 AM EST

Myth (unabridged): The Catholic Church position against the use of condoms has a causal relationship on the incidence of HIV and other STDs in a given population.

Fact: Look at this map. Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world. Notice how the incidence of AIDS in Brazil is very similar to the incidence in US (actually, Brazil has an incidence around of 18 per 100000, the US 14 has per 100000. Notice also how India (with a very small relative Christina and/or Catholic population) has an incidence similar to the two other countries cited above. I won't deny correlation (see Italy and Spain), but I would propose that the African situation has deeper historical, cultural and social causes.

As a curiosity, the Brazilian bishops and priests have not stoped for a moment their critics to use of condoms - they have fought every Health campaign alluding to it to date. And lost, because the Brazilian people is Catholic but not suicidal (since nobody is buying the chastity thing anyway). The Brazilian Catholic Church has also fought recently against steem cell research - they lost again. And they are about to lose the abortion fight also. What I mean is that the Church and its positions are not to be taken as the law of the land, even in a very Catholic country.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


I do find it, in a case where not much else is, (none / 0) (#57)
by Phil Urich on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:58:49 PM EST

Defintely reassuring that people can draw the line between "devout" and "suicidal". Still, though the Catholic Church is by no means responsible for the problems, the fact reamins that their position, if widely adopted, would be pretty bad for those concerned (though yes, if completely adopted I suppose then no one would have sex before marriage, but there are other complications, but etc etc whatever).

The problem in Africa is, actually aggrevated sometimes due to the influence of Catholicism, because it's used as an excuse to continue with cultural squeamishness and distaste for birth control . . . people may westernize, but if they do so and adopt the western religion of Catholicism, then they're apt to continue what they were doing before, with the "unsafe sex" and all.

Again, though, your point is well taken (at least by me; I can't speak for anyone else, naturally). It remains a choice that can be made quite secularly, even in places that are predominately Catholic. However, the main point isn't entirely the result of the teachings, it's that the moral authority is somewhat questionable on this issue. And considering how many millions die in Africa from the effects of HIV, it's not all that unlikely that "millions more" will die due to Catholic doctrine (though over what time period is the question . . . but at the present rate, it'll be a factual reality eventually).

Yours was a quality comment, though; I think I'll vote for this story when it comes to it even simply on the grounds that I'm sure it'll stir up alot of discussion and debate. Yes, I know even really crappy articles could too, but this is at least articulate enough to encourage articulate rebuttals.

[ Parent ]
Moral authority (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by nkyad on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 06:00:51 PM EST

Speaking only about the Aids/Condom/Birth Control position of the Catholic Church, I think there is a confusion at the root of the discussion. Most people are not familiar with the whole teological justification, so they find they can pick and choose some points they like or dislike. It is not only illogical, it is intelectually dishonest - the argument is usually made to look like the Church is willing to let people die just to prove a point.

From the Church standpoint, one must first realize that a religion is not a grocerie store where you can pick this fruit but leave that vegetable for next week. Either you embrace it whole or you are in fault. Second, the ends do not justify the means. So, from this perspective, the Aids problem can't exist - if there are no homossexual relations, no sex outside monogamous marriage and the sole mean of birth control is abstinence, the virus simply can't spread. But this is a very hard philosophical standpoint, unfortunatelly one the late Pope thought it sensible to impose.

On the other hand, I think the pedophile scandals in the US, Brazil and elsewhere, added to the subsequent attempt to cover the acts and the criminals, are much more damaging to the Church's moral authority in the short run.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
one thing about extramarital sex (none / 1) (#127)
by Phil Urich on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:16:47 AM EST

One of the other complications is the high incidence of rape; often HIV will find its way into one of the two partners in what was intended to be a monogamous relationship. This is, in fact, actually a large problem; though the refusal in this case to use protection stems from quite a few factors. But the problem is that the Church is opposed to any programs that even make condoms easy to obtain . . . it's not just trying to restrict things for its followers, it's trying to force the issue for others that may not even buy into the "no sex before marriage" line. In other words; in a pure world it would make sense, but in a pure world we'd hardly need a Church. Lead by example, sure, but don't constrain to try to make an example . . . there's a difference between aiming for an ideal and blindly ignoring when the world doesn't work the same way that the ideal does.

I realize the rationalisation for it, but I reserve the right to take offence when someone tries to push something like that onto others.

[ Parent ]
That's not only a Catholic thing (none / 0) (#131)
by nkyad on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 11:56:13 AM EST

it's trying to force the issue for others that may not even buy into the "no sex before marriage" line

Just look at the US Protestant churchs fight against abortion, gay marriage, condom distribution, etc. Or at the religious laws in Muslim countries. Or the rabbinic pressure to keep all commerce closed at Saturdays in Israel (among other things).

That's a problem affecting most religions - their followers are never happy living their lives as they think they should, they also want you to live your live as they think you should. And that's why one of the most important political advances we managed to conquer in the last two or three centuries was the separation of the State from the Church. This way the field is a little more even and we ("we" meaning the scientific humanist crowd who inherit the Illuminism ideals) can get a victory here and there.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Saving Africans without ditching dogma (3.00 / 2) (#122)
by bodza on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:56:03 PM EST

It can (and has) been done. AIDS prevalence in Senegal is < 2%

Senegal contains the spread of HIV

"Educational materials were designed and training sessions organized for religious leaders. The issue of HIV/AIDS became a regular feature of Friday service (Salat-al-Jumah) in mosques throughout Senegal, and religious leaders discussed the issue on TV and radio. Brochures were produced to ensure that AIDS education was incorporated into religious teaching programmes. And Christian religious leaders, including those of the Catholic faith, also developed a supportive approach to prevention -- providing counselling and psychosocial support and advocating tolerance and care. Although the issue of condom promotion -- especially outside marriage -- remains an ethical minefield for the country's religious leaders, they have had the courage to refer people to alternative service providers."


--
"Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Émile Zola

[ Parent ]
Check the Philippines and Kenya. (none / 0) (#228)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 07:04:25 PM EST

In Latinamerica, people listen to the pope with reverence and then they get on with the realities of normal life.

People in other places are far more devout, with all the implications this brings.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Are they abstaining in Phillipines? (none / 0) (#232)
by nkyad on Mon Apr 11, 2005 at 12:28:36 PM EST

CIA FactBook link:
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 500 (2003 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%...

Impressive, indeed.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Pope acts like devout Catholic, screed at 11 (none / 0) (#35)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 12:55:53 PM EST

Golly, I'm not getting much more out of this than the Pope followed his convictions. If only he had consulted you on matters of Faith.

Pope acts like a really BAD Catholic (none / 1) (#53)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:12:01 PM EST

violating multiple central tenets of the faith, like protecting children from pedophiles and serving the poor.

RTFA please. I'm not making this stuff up.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

I repeat what I said elsewhere (none / 1) (#45)
by aphrael on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 02:25:14 PM EST

Both Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev have said that the fall of communism would not have happened had it not been for what Pope John Paul II did.

They may be wrong. But you don't make the case that they are.


Um, no (none / 0) (#48)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 02:56:21 PM EST

I think I make the case pretty strongly. It's just that you disagree with my conclusions.

Fair enough, it really is a matter of opinion.

However, to lay the foundations of civil society exclusive from the state at the feet of John Paul II is a vast overstatement.

There were thousands of priests and Bishops who were ding this long before He became archbishop an long before he became pope. Just because it happened on his watch doesn't give him causality.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

yeah right (none / 0) (#157)
by Goatmaster on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:57:58 PM EST

Let's see who shall we believe?  The people that were actually involved, or some dumbshit american nobody.  What a choice!


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
CIV III? (1.75 / 4) (#55)
by Back Spaced on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:00:05 PM EST

Real men play the original CIV.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.

should add an additional section (2.75 / 8) (#56)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:00:36 PM EST

Jon Paul II, a reasonable person

Believes in an all powerful imaginary friend. How can this be considered reasonable?



I think if you include this, you'd be just as persuasive as some of your other points: that is, you'll find agreement only from people who already agree with you. Since you attack his conclusions but not his supporting arguments, you don't persuade me as much as you probably could.

For example, why should the pope endorse the use of condoms when these would only be used for behaviors that he already opposes? This is like saying: you shouldn't kill anyone, but since you're going to murder someone anyway, the pope encourages using a .44 Magnum.

Also, recall the days of Quasimodo when he could hide out in the cathedral and yell, "Sanctuary", hindering all prosecution from the local constabulary. Maybe that has something to do with why "they were not turned in to civil authorities to answer for crimes." The church is in the business of forgiving, not prosecution. Maybe you forgot about this over the millenia (the Church has, from time to time) but this is the primary role of the Church: to assist you in finding salvation including those of its clergy and not to judge you.

Also, did East Germany have CNN? How is it that these depraved people could afford satellite dishes but not Civ 3-style luxuries? I think you're overrating the influence of Ted Turner because you're so blinded by aggression.

So, at this point, I'm going to have to give this a -1. It could have been thought provoking but instead is just celebrating the death of someone you hate.

-Soc
I drank what?


It's not just Church policy (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:11:27 PM EST

It's the rampant inconsistency even within its own doctrine under JPII.

Take the Church's stance on abortion for instance. I've never criticized the church for this stance. It seems wholly in line with basic teaching.

But contrast its policy, in which a woman who gets, or a doctor who performs, an abortion is considered automatically excommunicated, with its sheltering pedophiles and then foisting them on an unsuspecting public to molest yet more children.

This is very well documented.

Further, contrast his basic teachings on human dignity with his actual response to genuine peasant revolution rampant right-wing opression in South America.  Human dignity is important as long as it's communists who violate it. But when right-wing death squads are killing priests and civilians alike, then it's not so important.

The church hasn't practiced sanctuary in centuries. That's a straw man.

Further, condom use AMONG MARRIED PEOPLE would do a great deal to prevent the spread of AIDS in places like Africa.
No one has asked the church to support extra-marital sex.

And finally, as I said, it's not just the birth control issue over condoms. For that, I take no issue other than strong disagreement. It is the opposition to condoms in particular as a public health measure, not as a method of birth control. And the price of this lunacy is millions of dead people.

This is in contrast with this supposed "culture of life" the pope was always talking about.

As for East Germany, etc and satelite dishes, yes, people had them. Not everyone, but enough so that the word spread.

I actually travelled to East Germany at the time, and the few conversations I had with people who weren't afraid to talk with a westerner gave light to this growing understanding of the big lie. Also, friends of mine who were very active in Czechoslovakia's velvet revolution described the ability to see unfiltered western broadcasts as pivotal in convincing people the state was entirely bankrupt.

I don't know where you're getting "blinded by agression." JPII was not a very good pope. I din't hate the man, I just wasn't impressed.

He served his own people poorly in many regards, was rampantly hypocryitcal on maters of life and death and didn't do anything to make the Church grow in places it was dying, like the entire northern hemisphere.

To see this man sanctified like a saint is just repulsive. It's the most disgusting case of celebrity worship I've ever seen, moreover, the worship blindly omits glaring immorality on a number of fronts UNDER CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, not just Jubal3's opinion.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

not just wrong, maliciously wrong (none / 1) (#100)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:04:06 PM EST

From my experience about what you've said, you're only familiar with conclusions and not premises. You're not really pointing out inconsistency. Are liberals inconsistent with regard to the capital punishment/abortion issue or is it perhaps that their standards arrive at seemingly contradictory results from a consistent set of ideas? In the abortion case, you have the irreversible death of a person. In the molestation cases, you end up with at least two people that need help. Can you seriously not see the purpose for the greater standard on one more than the other?

The church practices sanctuary; the law simply doesn't recognize it as a right. The church's mission did not change. Do you really think governments appreciated places where criminals may be free from prosecution? It's not a straw man, it's just your ignorance showing. It still happens, nonetheless, and the church recognizes it even if the laws do not.

But, no, you say that the church was committing fraud. Of course, you don't harbor any special enmity, they just deliberately wanted predators on the street. Never mind that most of these cases the priests had undergone counseling and were deemed fit to resume their duties. They were wrong but that's a failure of the therapy, not of their desire to cause maximum harm. Still, you say "foisted". You're right about one thing: it is well documented and you would do well to read the material.

The church has always been a place where sinners can go for salvation and confess their sins. How many molesters will come forward if they know that doing so will lead, as you suggest, to being handed over to the police? This is especially true if they know this is a problem and they want to free themselves from their sin and confession is part of the way. This is why Pope John Paul II said that the church should hold private tribunals to deal with clerical pedophiles. If the church made a mistake, it's in underestimating the predatory compulsion and not giving the priests the full treatment they would have needed. Outside of this is the world of law and the church does not owe it any special obligation.

And again, you talk about the effects of condom use to prevent AIDS but don't offer his point of view. He has said nothing about condom use either positively or negatively but you seem to think he is obliged to do so. The pope's solution to the AIDS problem is to increase prevention through education, chastity and fidelity. You paint him as complacent.

Also, in your ignorance, you seem to forget that the pope has blasted the imperialist tendencies of the northern hemisphere and recognized problems with capitalism too but don't let me get in the way of your soundbites. Right wing death squads, indeed.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
AMONG MARRIED PEOPLE (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by adimovk5 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:55:32 PM EST

.....Further, condom use AMONG MARRIED PEOPLE would do a great deal to prevent the spread of AIDS in places like Africa. No one has asked the church to support extra-marital sex.....

If married people in Africa were only having sex with their spouses, the spread of AIDS would be hindered. Lack of condoms within marital relationships is not the cause of the spread of AIDS. Sex outside marriage with multiple partners in a dangerous environment is the root of the problem.

[ Parent ]

Sexual transmission .... (none / 0) (#227)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 07:01:32 PM EST

.... is not the only means.

And in a couple, one may be religious and submit to the needs of a non religious partner under instructions doctrinally impecable of the catholic church. Thus the religous person is put at risk by an inflexible dogma dreamed up by people that pratcice no sex (or at least pretend to do so). Talk about unfairness.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

exactly. (2.00 / 2) (#81)
by gzt on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:23:37 AM EST

There are some interesting criticisms of JPII that can be made, but they require a familiarity with the documents and intentions of Vatican II that I cannot expect any kur0n to have [the one I like is that Vatican II intended to restore a more conciliar model of church authority which JPII blatantly worked against, but I'm not familiar enough with the docs to do it and really don't care enough]. I disliked this article enough to log on with a dupe account and vote it down.

[ Parent ]
Telling Catholics not to use condoms... (none / 0) (#155)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:44:12 PM EST

...is forgivable.

Actively fighting the use of condoms by anyone, of any religion, is insanely callous in the face of the AIDS epidemic. Using the Church's financial, social and political power to bully non-Catholics into line is an act of extreme negligence causing the deaths of millions.

This applies to all faiths, incidentally; if the Dalai Lama tried to impose Tibetan Buddhist morality on those who don't follow it, I'd be fervently against it.

(me=buddhist, btw.)

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

focus, please (none / 1) (#163)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:38:07 PM EST

If you're saying that the Pope is responsible for the actions of every member of the Catholic Church, I'd say you're probably not aware that bishops enjoy a lot of autonomy and the pope cannot control them even if he wanted.

On the other hand, if you're saying the pope fought the use of condoms, I'd again disagree since this pope was practically the first to be silent on the issue, saying nothing for it nor against it. He's actually sort of famous for dodging the issue.

Either way, I'd say that the pope was not "actively fighting the use of condoms" and if that's what you're suggesting, that you're probably misinformed.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
No, he was actively fighting them. (none / 0) (#168)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 06:14:31 PM EST

The Pope has considerable power to change Church practices, yet did nothing to stop bishops and Vatican officials using lies, bribery and political deception to fight the use of condoms in the face of the AIDS epidemic.

There is simply no excuse for this; the magnitude of this monumentally obvious reality washes away any arguments based on Papal weakness or ignorance. It is well-established that the Pope was a popular figure, and a famously powerful speaker; to deliberately fail to use that ability, when faced with the deaths of millions due to a shortsighted Catholic tradition, is the act of a monster.

Which is why I am still unable to understand why JP2, who was not a monster, acted in that way.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Everyone's talking about beliefs and reason (2.16 / 6) (#66)
by D Jade on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:36:22 PM EST

One person has said that believing in an imaginary god is unreasonable. Others have said that many things the church does contradicts its own doctrine and its own teachings. People even think that it's a requisite that these people believe in God or His/Her teachings.

The Catholic Church is not a religious organisation. They are the oldest and most successful corporation ever to exist on this planet. They are the blue-print, the mold, for corporate America, for multinational companies, for the Bush Administration and Evangelical Christians.

The Catholic Church is not about spreading their beliefs, it's about making YOU believe them.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive

Hmmm (none / 0) (#69)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 09:41:39 PM EST

Well, yes, as a person who has attended a lot of masses and worked with the Church for years as a volunteer, I can tell you every Catholic I ever knew believed what they said they did.

You have to be a really special kind of conspiracy theorist to believe the Catholic Church hierarchy are all closet athiests.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

I never said they were atheists (3.00 / 4) (#76)
by D Jade on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:48:17 PM EST

I said they didn't have to believe in the Catholic teachings to make you believe them.

Martin Luther way back in fifteen hundred and something saw this duplicity in the church. He exposed the church for what it was.

A MASS corporation that contolled the world. One documented example that contributed to his disillusionment was during his first visit to Rome. Now, Martin Luther was a devout Christian until his dying day. When he lead the congregation in Mass, he did so with passion and with the knowledge that he was doing God's work.

So he goes to Rome and in a church asks to perform a Mass. Being a devout Christian who truly believes he is doing God's work, he seeks to give meaning to his Mass, instead of just performing its rites. What this means is that he crapped on about God and Jesus for a while. That is, until some priest whispers to him, just get on with the rites.

This was what was wrong with the church. When this practice is so embedded in a system, it doesn't go away.

I never said that there was a mass conspiracy, it's not a conspiracy because this duplicity is well documented and is evidenced simply by reading the Bible (which most people will never do).

Most of the policies outlined by the Catholic church are not principles which the Bible applies. If this was the case, then wouldn't all Christian groups adhere to these policies?

Like it or not though. Large religious corporations like Catholicism and the Evangelical movements are not set up to spread their word. They are set up to spread their control. Just look at organisations run by the likes of Falwell and Robertson who openly admit that their goal is to educate and place people with their Fundamental Christian principles in positions of power and influence so that they can control the US government.

Now people all say that this is all hullaballo and that they are just religious nuts with overexaggerated agendas. Well, I say that you're right. But lots of nuts still achieve their ends.... Let's see, George W, Saddam, McCarthy, Hitler, Constantine, Brutus and so on and so forth...

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

For a hell of a lot of people... (none / 1) (#91)
by skyknight on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:52:09 AM EST

religion is a mindless set of rituals that they can perform on a regular basis in a community environment. It gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of constancy. What sucks is that by doing so they add mass to movements that are utterly non-intellectual. If they want to waste their Sundays, that's their own business, but when they take the crap to the voting booths I have a problem.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Hey, im Catholic.... (none / 1) (#102)
by The Amazing Idiot on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:37:12 PM EST

And this dude's right.

We built a new church, as we have about 200 per service. Our old church, we barely had standing room.. very very cramped.

We ran a big donation drive and had pledges from everyone in the parish to build a new church.. You know, this was going to almost be self-funded just from this drive. That when I found out the extent of these finances..

Ok, in our church, 1 weekend (4 masses) nets the church in about $5000 of religous tax free "profit". Do you know how much of that goes to the archdiocese? ALL OF IT. The archdoicese "gives" it back to the church for basic costs and things like heating, AC, those 'crackers' and other things.

What Ive heard (yes, heard, I didnt view this directly) is the excommunication comes in for those who keep money back (and out of the sight of the Church). Whether our preist has done so is a big question mark, but Id support it as long as our money stayed more locally, in which it doesnt now.

[ Parent ]

Voting is also... (none / 0) (#158)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:03:09 PM EST

a set of rituals that people can perform on a regular basis in a community environment. It is entirely mindless for many people.

The interesting question is: does mindless group A largely overlap mindless group B?

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Are you only just now realizing... (none / 0) (#161)
by skyknight on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:17:22 PM EST

that voting is but one circus in an array of breads and circuses provided to the citizens of democracies so as to keep them in a state of bovine complacency?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
No. (none / 0) (#166)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:56:56 PM EST

But hopefully just one person who reads my comment goes through exactly that epiphany.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

And then what? (none / 0) (#167)
by skyknight on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 06:00:59 PM EST

They can go around like us, morbid and cynical, knowing that the world is a sham? Well, maybe if they are lucky they can pull of condescending and cynical instead. That's my goal. These days, when people bring up politics my typical reaction is to roll my eyes and sigh dismissively.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Perhaps. (none / 0) (#171)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 08:56:14 PM EST

I want to jam a little wedge in their mind, so that each new load of crap gets a good look before they eat it.

I want to free them of the slavery they don't know is there, so they don't have to take any of that crap from anyone ever again.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

You know... (none / 0) (#172)
by skyknight on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 09:28:52 PM EST

I am thusly enlightened, but it's really not doing anything for me. I think I need more Jesus, beer, football and women.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I hate to agree with tha tpost (none / 0) (#206)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 07:02:11 PM EST

but it's right on the money. I'm a Christian, but I very rarely step inside a church. Too many hypocrites, often including the preacher. Instead, I do "church" like Jesus said you should: "Whenever two or three people gather together in my name, I will be there."

Meaning, of course, that he is HERE.

Crap, I hope he doesn't read my diaries... I'm going to hell I guess ;)

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

We can generalize it a bit more... (none / 0) (#209)
by skyknight on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 11:23:01 PM EST

and say that virtually all large organizations of people are bad news. There's something about people such that when they reach a critical mass there is suddenly a chain reaction of unfathomable stupidity. Two is company, three is a crowd, and any more than that is an unruly mob.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Ahem (none / 0) (#194)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:36:34 PM EST

The Catholic Church is not a religious organisation. They are the oldest and most successful corporation ever to exist on this planet.

That's one of the oddest retrojective mythologizations of history I've seen in a while.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
It IS unreasonable... (none / 0) (#205)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 07:01:01 PM EST

to believe in an imaginary god. It is far more unreasonable to NOT believe in something you have personally witnessed.

An athiest trying to convince a Christian (or a Jew or a Muslim) that God doesn't exist is like a blind man trying to explain to a sighted man why this "color" thing they believe in can't possibly exist.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

okay then, so (none / 0) (#212)
by Phil Urich on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 06:43:32 AM EST

(this is going to sound a bit snide, but) all Christians, Jews and Muslims have seen miracles, or directly experienced God himself reaching out to them, or something of the sort?

Though I suppose on an abstract level; it's possible to argue that most people feel that they've had some such experience. And at very least, once you believe in a God, you're going to see it everywhere, since the idea of an all-powerful being can easily be worked into the existence of everything around oneself. And this is going to be something hard for someone else to shake off of a person, as it is with any belief that shapes the way they interpret what they see and experience (and I exclude nothing, not even my own atheism, from that category).

[ Parent ]
Oh, Lookie ... (3.00 / 4) (#73)
by Peahippo on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:01:21 PM EST

... the rest of the world has a few dissenters to Papal worship:

The Pope has blood on his hands
by Terry Eagleton

Select quotes:

"The result of centring all power in Rome was an infantilisation of the local churches. Clergy found themselves incapable of taking initiatives without nervous glances over their shoulders at the Holy Office. It was at just this point, when the local churches were least capable of handling a crisis maturely, that the child sex abuse scandal broke. John Paul's response was to reward an American cardinal who had assiduously covered up the outrage with a plush posting in Rome."

... and:

"The greatest crime of his papacy, however, was neither his part in this cover up nor his neanderthal attitude to women. It was the grotesque irony by which the Vatican condemned - as a "culture of death" - condoms, which might have saved countless Catholics in the developing world from an agonising Aids death. The Pope goes to his eternal reward with those deaths on his hands. He was one of the greatest disasters for the Christian church since Charles Darwin.""

And now, some inspired doggerel:

The Pope-ular One
JP2: he's dead, he's dead.
Made his mark fightin' the red
When it came to the darker skinned
He followed the monied whim.



Front Page (3.00 / 5) (#75)
by mtrisk on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 10:34:12 PM EST

Very few media outlets are going to criticize the pope at all, and your article makes good note of this, as well as John Paul II's shortcomings.

I have to disagree, however, about Ronald Reagan having any more influence over the fall of the Soviet Union than the Pope. Did the U.S. spending massive amounts of money really affect the Soviet Union? I'm not exactly sure of this, but I think any rise in spending by the USSR in the 80's would have to be attributed to their involvement in Afghanistan, where it was their turn to be a superpower beaten by a backwards country. I think it had more to do with the famines and Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, which began the domino we don't hear about; once people had a little freedom, they used that freedom to demand even more, and so on, until the Communists lost effective control. However, the fall of the iron curtain is rather complex, and I don't pretend to be any authority on it.

However, outspending our enemies isn't exactly a way to defeat them. If it's as easy as that, why hasn't Chinese Communism fallen? Or Iran? It certainly didn't cause the recent changes in Krgyzstan, and I highly doubt it would open up Burma. Oh well.

Soviet Spending (none / 1) (#107)
by teece on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:00:20 PM EST

Was flat in the 80s.

The idea that Reagan spent the Soviets into the ground is pure fiction, a myth created by the likes of George Will to try and create some Republican mythology.  That it has survived, in spite of being factually wrong, is a testament to the power of the Republican marketing machine.  It's amazing how many people put this myth forward without having ever actually bothered to examine the data on late USSR spending.

From 75-84, Soviet defense spending rose at a rate of 1.4%.  From 85-88 it rose at a rate of 4%.  In 1989 spending was cut drastically.  All of this spending was right in line with spending plans put in place in 1975.  There was no reaction to Reagan.  Further, they were fighting a war in Afghanistan! (Numbers courtesy of Frances Fitzgerald, courtesy of the CIA).

Glasnost brought down the USSR, and that was Gorbachev.  Reagan deserves some credit, but for precisely the opposite reason he is given it today.  He deserves credit for ignoring the hawks and reaching out to Gorbachev.  It was his peace efforts that prevailed, not his saber-rattling and 8% military spending growth rates and his completely non-functional SDI plan.  Those were all spectacular blunders.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

*giggle* (none / 0) (#136)
by SnowBlind on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 01:59:24 PM EST

You are so funny!

RR had no  impact? But you state clearly in your own post that from 1985-88, when he was in his second term, spending jumped to 4% instead of 1.5%. Then it drops in 1989, after he leaves office... sounds like impact to me!

You did know he was President then, right?

There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
[ Parent ]

At the risk of feeding the trolls.. (none / 0) (#141)
by jreilly on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:47:37 PM EST

Are you capable of reading an entire paragraph before you respond to it? The very next sentence says "All of this spending was right in line with spending plans put in place in 1975." 1975 is when people were laughing at the idea of a second-rate Hollywood actor becoming president.

Of course, I suppose that Reagan was such a god among men that his impact could have extended 6 years before his presidency began</sarcasm>

Oooh, shiny...
[ Parent ]
Did you read his comment before replying? (none / 0) (#144)
by ElMiguel on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:55:27 PM EST

Perhaps you missed this sentence:

All of this spending was right in line with spending plans put in place in 1975.

[ Parent ]

In the interest of posterity (none / 0) (#181)
by teece on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:06:06 AM EST

Is there posterity in a dying thread?

Anyway, the numbers in this quote were off the top of my head.  I decided to look them up, and I was off by a little bit.

The increases were 1.3% from 75-84, and 4.3% from 85-87, the cut was back to 1980 levels in 1988 (rather than 89).

A more elaborate version of this comment on this thread:

here.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Wow (2.00 / 2) (#120)
by jubal3 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:39:07 PM EST

I should just cut and paste this into every comment similar to yours.

It's not personal, I don't think you're an idiot or anything.

It's just that out of a 2,000 word (roughly) story
Ronald Reagan got a grand total of about 25, in a story with several major points. Yet this has generated more comments than anything else.

Geez, I know people hated Reagan, and as I said in the piece, I wasn't a fan.

But Jesus H. Christ on a Cross, it's like a kneejerk automatic reaction to instantly claim he hadn't the slightest effect on the fall of communism.

I mean, fine, if you disagree, disagree, I am just amazed at all the energy and vitriol that goes into marginalizing anything good the guy might have had a part of.

I gave him PART let me say again PART PART PART...
of the credit, in an opinion peice. And you'd think I had written a long dissertation praising him to the high heavens.

Geez guys, give the Hating Reagan thing a rest already.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

no no no (none / 0) (#125)
by mtrisk on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 12:56:59 AM EST

I wasn't really trying to go on an all out attack, just to comment on one aspect of you story. I didn't really put all that much energy into my reply, I just had an opinion and thought I would write it down. Otherwise, your piece was fun, so what else would I talk about?

[ Parent ]
Reagan was a monster. He ate babies. (none / 1) (#162)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:23:37 PM EST

He spread smallpox in orphanages, and marched corpse-puppets down White House halls to frighten tourists. He killed JFK in a nefarious scheme involving three Swedish backpackers, a crescent wrench, and radio-controlled zeppelins.

Reagan made the cheese that drove Rupert Murdoch mad. Mormons are frightened of him to this day because of what he did on January 4, 1967. A secret cabal exists among florists just to provide flowers for his grave, to ensure the myth of his death is believed.

He will be the catalyst for the Martian invasion of 2087, and the pilot of Interstellar Flight 291. His shoes overthrew the British government in 1996 so cleverly that no-one noticed except Princess Diana.

Palm trees will be extinct in four years from now because they provided insufficient shade for his daughter's 10th birthday party on the island of Tuvalu.

However, his hairstyle rocked. So I'm undecided.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Chinese Communism hasn't fallen... (2.00 / 2) (#159)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:09:43 PM EST

...because the Party leaders in China aren't stupid enough to allow an independent civil society to flourish.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

I find it interesting that you feel (3.00 / 5) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:04:18 PM EST

the Pope compares poorly with Lech Walesa when Walesa himself insists the Polish church was more important in bringing down communism than he himself was.

The one thing I heard on the radio was that the priests and bishops of Poland risked death and imprisonment by providing meeting and hiding places for the Solidarity members.

I also find it endlessly bewildering when lefitsts complain that the pope did not embrace communism in south america, simply because it dressed itself up as religion. Having worked to bring it down in his homeland, you wanted him to export it to other countries?

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?

Well, it's really a matter of opinion (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by jubal3 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:18:38 PM EST

and the identity of the opiner doesn't really matter.

Seriously, I don't doubt that my interpretation could be wrong, though I don't think it is. This is equally true of the poeple who are so vigorously dissenting however.

I doubt this issue is going to be settled for a long time. But I've read precious few historians who credit the fall of communism to JPII.

While the Pope may have refrained from keeping silent, he's hardly the hero that the priests and bishops who actually DID SOMETHING were.

Not like the guy was continualy in jail or anything. People were, Walesa among them.

I'm not saying he accomplished nothing. I'm saying Poland was NOT that important, and that other factors the Pope had nothing to do with prevented the Sovs form pulling a Prague Summer there.

That's good luck, Gorby's personal good will and maybe a healthy dose of a side threat from the U.S.

As for liberation theology, try again. It was basically more of a socialist movement, rather than a hard line communist one. And it was religious in essence, not merely political.

And yes, I expect the head of the Church of over 1 billion people to be able to discern the difference between Leonid Brezhnev and Oscar Romero and Daniel Ortega.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

yeah (none / 1) (#87)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:37:22 AM EST

and he said precisely the same thing about Ronald Reagan when *he* died. I think the man likes to be centre stage a bit too much.

Ciao

[ Parent ]

It's still an opinion. (3.00 / 3) (#113)
by adimovk5 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 07:06:12 PM EST

.....Lech Walesa when Walesa himself insists.....

The insistance of Lech Walesa does not make it truth. It is still only Lech Walesa's opinion. Many times in history the great minds of the time have been proven to hold the wrong opinion even in the face of overwhelming facts.

[ Parent ]

*cough* quantum mechanics *cough* [nt] (1.33 / 3) (#184)
by Empedocles on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:45:28 AM EST



---
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home

[ Parent ]
JPII and the Roman church (2.77 / 9) (#88)
by IHCOYC on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 07:49:01 AM EST

I suspect that anyone else here runs a distant second to myself in their loathing of the Roman church and the Papacy as an institution. I tend to the opinion that the Papacy is the greatest evil that has ever been thought up by the imaginations of sinful men; at least, the greatest in western Europe. It is a religious institution dedicated to the proposition that Christians ought to be persuaded to worship images of multiple quasi-deities. It is headed by a pretended representative of Christ whose predecessor, more ambitious than his principal, accepted his earthly throne from Mussolini. You might say that the Nazis and Fascists were worse: but they were successors to the traditionalist politics of throne and altar that came out of the Vatican.

Had it not actually happened, it would have been inconceivable that any Christian leader could ever have the hubris to declare himself infallible. This institutional megalomania, these presumptuous claims of grandiose authority, make it far too easy for them to paint themselves in a corner.

You mention the issues involving clerical pædophilia. This relates directly to the idolatrous sacramental theology of the Roman church. The rule of clerical celibacy discourages recruitment of normally constituted people and depresses the number of potential candidates. It makes the priesthood relatively attractive to people who are conflicted about their sexuality. It leads to a personnel shortage, which turns every priest into extraordinarily valuable human capital. Second, the franchise model of sacraments makes institutional affiliation the decisive factor in clerical status. God's grace is channelled through these rituals, and so long as they got their ticket punched by the One True Church, the individual sins of the priest do not matter: but outside the franchise, no one has the magic fingers that force God into a cracker. This is what comes from believing that God is literally present in a piece of bread. So since the priests who can work this magic are valuable human capital, there's a large incentive to keep them available to serve despite their personal failings.

Even so, the late incumbent seemed after a fashion to be a man of genuine moral courage, and his legacy includes good as well as evil. He did have a hand in standing up to the Warsaw Pact. Moreover, his flaws were those of his predecessors. The grand claims of papal authority cornered him: were he to announce a change in policy, on condoms or ordinations of women or priestly celibacy or whatever, he would be put into the position of publicly announcing that his predecessors were wrong, and if so why should anyone continue to take him seriously? This is part of what makes the Roman church irreformable, and the only option in good conscience is to part company with it.

God will save those with faith, on the basis of nothing other than that faith, and in His secret counsels He has appointed some sinners to have such faith as is needed before the world itself was made. I cannot judge, but only suspect, that John Paul II may well have been one of those faithful in private, and may have been saved despite his own sins and the sins of the institution he headed.
--
Ecce torpet probitas, virtus sepelitur;
Fit iam parca largitas, parcitas largitur;
Verum dicit falsitas; veritas mentitur.

the arrangement with mussolini (3.00 / 4) (#99)
by aphrael on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:36:43 AM EST

The arrangement with Mussolini came after the pope spent 69 years pretending to be locked in the Vatican in an international campaign to embarass the Italian state and encourage foreign allies to help them overthrow it. While i understand the liberal disdain for the man, making peace with the government of Italy - whatever the government of Italy was at that time - was really the only practical option for the Pope at the time.

[ Parent ]
Your analysis of the sex-abuse (none / 1) (#148)
by jolly st nick on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:17:06 PM EST

This relates directly to the idolatrous sacramental theology of the Roman church. The rule of clerical celibacy discourages recruitment of normally constituted people and depresses the number of potential candidates. It makes the priesthood relatively attractive to people who are conflicted about their sexuality. It leads to a personnel shortage, which turns every priest into extraordinarily valuable human capital.

I think this first part of your analysis is highly pereptive, except that technically speaking clerical celibacy is not a theological requirement. Non-monastic clergy were the norm in the church until the tenth century, and only after two hundred years of Cluniac activity did they become rare. There are currently within the RC church married priests, either converts, or priests in eastern rite churches that are theologically and organizationally Catholic while culturally and ritually resembling Orthodox.

I would also point out that for people with sexual orientations considered sinful, celibacy is an honorable course of action.

Second, the franchise model of sacraments makes institutional affiliation the decisive factor in clerical status. God's grace is channelled through these rituals, and so long as they got their ticket punched by the One True Church, the individual sins of the priest do not matter: but outside the franchise, no one has the magic fingers that force God into a cracker. This is what comes from believing that God is literally present in a piece of bread. So since the priests who can work this magic are valuable human capital, there's a large incentive to keep them available to serve despite their personal failings.

While this is an interesting critique of Catholic sacramental theology, it doesn't in my mind establish anything like a direct connection to the sex abuse crisis. There wasn't always a priest shortage, and this problem hs been going on forever. I think it has more to do with pride -- it is considered a sin to bring the church into disrepute. It's very easy in any organization to go from the idea this means living an exemplary life, to the idea that disreputable behaior has to be hidden.

[ Parent ]

Priest shortage (2.33 / 3) (#160)
by IHCOYC on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:16:51 PM EST

There wasn't always a priest shortage, and this problem hs been going on forever. I think it has more to do with pride -- it is considered a sin to bring the church into disrepute. It's very easy in any organization to go from the idea this means living an exemplary life, to the idea that disreputable behaior has to be hidden.
The priest shortage has multiple causes; clerical celibacy seems to me to be one of them, but it is not the only one. Even Catholics have been moving towards lower birth rates, which are historically associated with education, prosperity, and mobility. It used to be that the priesthood was a seriously considered career choice for any boy with the gifts that lead to literacy; but it's much more attractive the fewer other options there are.

Priest recruitment works best in poorer, agricultural societies in which there is little physical or social mobility; and in which primogeniture means that only one son will keep the farm going. This vision of the good society frames the political stance of Roman Catholicism on topics from aristocracy to contraception.

They thought long and hard about how they would counter the move to a bourgeois society founded on general literacy and democratic republicanism. In social encyclicals from Quanta Cura through Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno, various Popes have mishandled the problem badly. They didn't abolish the Index of Forbidden Books until the mid-1960s; the Roman church is still fundamentally mistrustful of a society in which most people can read and write. I suspect that the current Pope was chosen from Poland, not only because of Cold War issues, but because Poland was a relatively poorer and more rural country where the lifestyle the Roman church deems virtuous is still practical. We may well get a Third World pope this time, for very similar reasons. I'd bet money on it.

I certainly do not disagree that institutional pride also had a lot to do with the scandal.
--
Ecce torpet probitas, virtus sepelitur;
Fit iam parca largitas, parcitas largitur;
Verum dicit falsitas; veritas mentitur.

[ Parent ]

Little problem with your argument... (none / 1) (#226)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 06:53:21 PM EST

... is that the papacy was stablished by Jesus himself, electing a man to head his church that had denied him 3 times on his time of need. i.e Jesus had no false illusions about the nature of the people that was going to lead his church. Heck, had Judas not commited suicide who knows...

As for the idolatry nonsense, you, as most non catholics from other christian traditions, simply don't understand the role of the saints in the catholic church and turn that misunderstanding (or plain ignorance) in an unfair weapon. Iconography is not idolatry for bunnies sakes.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

How Come (1.16 / 6) (#93)
by minerboy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 09:49:50 AM EST

So many here hate catholics, and Christians, but tolerate, and even embrace Muslims, Zorastrans, Hindus, Shinto's and Buddhists ?

Yes even Buddhists can suck

"- By Imran Khan, IANS. Monday, December 16, 2002 Patna, December 16 - A section of Indian Buddhist monks has demanded that Tibetan leader Dalai Lama be deported from this country. The monks associated with the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar demanded that President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam order the deportation of both the Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorji, who heads a sect of Tibetan Buddhists. All India Monks Association general secretary Bhadant Anand, in a memorandum to the president, alleged that the Dalai Lama, through his "questionable" acts and "pretensions", had caused avoidable tension between India and China. The Tibetan leader's deportation, he argued, could improve Sino-Indian relations. India gave the Dalai Lama political asylum in 1959 after the Chinese entered Tibet. He has since been based in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and runs the Tibetan government-in-exile from there. Anand, who is based in Buddhism's birthplace Bodh Gaya, told IANS on the telephone: "The Dalai Lama's stay is against the interest of India as he is involved in activities harming the country. The Dalai Lama is causing harm to the Buddhists as well as Tibetans and Indians." This is not the first time Anand has targeted the Dalai Lama and Karmapa. A few months ago he alleged that the Dalai Lama was involved in "anti-India activities" and was harming this country's image. Monks led by Anand had staged a daylong demonstration Sunday in Gaya demanding the immediate deportation of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa. Their memorandum alleged the Karmapa and his mentor, the Dalai Lama, were misusing India's hospitality. Anand claimed that two years ago the Karmapa had hurt the sentiments of millions of Buddhists across the world by entering the Mahabodhi temple -- which stands near the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago -- with his shoes on. He called it an attack on Indian culture and a deliberate act to humiliate Indians. Indians generally do not wear shoes in places of worship. Anand said when Taliban were destroying massive stone images of the Buddha in Afghanistan's Bamiyan region, neither the Dalai Lama nor the Karmapa had protested despite the fact that the international community had in one voice appealed to the militia not to damage the statues."



Ya, sure, (none / 1) (#96)
by jubal3 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:16:53 AM EST

Cause the actions decribed in the article are CLEARLY as serious as co-signing millions of deaths.

Sheesh, get therapy.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Jihad, Jihad - no condoms for you. (none / 0) (#97)
by minerboy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:26:50 AM EST

And let's incite another war Between India and China

But the Pope is the most evil - from the Sinead O'Conner school of Politics



[ Parent ]
Because Catholic bashing (2.00 / 2) (#104)
by MSBob on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:47:41 PM EST

is the last socially acceptable form of prejudice in the United States.

I say this as an atheist.

I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget smokers [n/t] (2.00 / 2) (#137)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:05:26 PM EST


---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
rednecks are fair game too /nt (none / 0) (#139)
by Battle Troll on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:30:55 PM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
And the French. (none / 0) (#165)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:43:44 PM EST

That's okay pretty much everywhere except Paris.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Not according to my gf (none / 1) (#175)
by lamont116 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 10:39:58 PM EST

who is Catholic and gets really mad when I refuse to become one.

[ Parent ]
No it's not (none / 0) (#203)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:58:39 PM EST

It's still ok to bash heterosexual white men, rednecks, white trash, and other such scum.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Much of the Catholic bashing comes from ... (none / 1) (#105)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:51:00 PM EST

... Catholics or (tellingly) former Catholics.

[ Parent ]
that's hardly surprising, since (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by Phil Urich on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:03:03 PM EST

anyone can suck, it's something humans have a huge capacity for. And honestly, the only thing that the Dalai Lama is accused of here is forgetting to take off his shoes, and not speaking out against one specific event that didn't actually harm anyone in other than an abstract sense . . . the truth of the matter is just that the Indian sects of Buddhism don't like the Dalai Lama. Well, that's 'cause Buddhism, as a religion, is even more fractured than Christianity could ever hope to be (indeed, Buddhism completely disappeared from India centuries and centuries ago, and only recently returned; the Buddhist institutions there have zilch in the way of historical precendent anymore).

In other words, Indian Monks are coming from a very different background and sect than Tibetan ones, so realise this when mentioning them (something the article completely fails to mention). There's more behind this than just the words uttered on the surface.

Or, to be a bit more straightforward, take these accusations with a grain of salt.

[ Parent ]
I'm not saying Buddhists can't suck, but... (none / 1) (#164)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:41:29 PM EST

...an Indian Buddhist saying that the Dalai Lama should bugger off back to Dalaistan stems more from nationalistic pride, IMO.

A more cogent example would be Pol Pot, and the rest of the Khmer Rouge, killing more than 2 million Cambodians in a bloody campaign of slaughter and starvation. They were cultural Buddhists, and claimed to be following Buddhist practices even while literally building hills with the skulls of their victims.

The moral of the story is: Someone who says that they are Buddhist just might be the leader of a large group of murderous thugs who will chop you up with a machete after making you watch your children starve to death.

Of course, that moral applies to pretty much every religion on the face of the planet.

Especially Jainists. I'm watching you, you sneaky buggers. One day you'll strike, and I'LL BE THERE!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Because (none / 1) (#202)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:56:32 PM EST

Christian-bashing is the new sport. Plus, most of these guys are PoleTM smokers and, like Jews thinking any criticism if anything they do is "anti-sematism," so too the K5 Turd Burgle Brigade will brand anyone or any organization that dares opine that homosexuality is neither normal nor natural nor moral and is likely (considering 50% attempt suicide) a mental health issue as a "homophobe" who "hates fags."

Since the Christian Bible explicitly states that sodomy is a sin, the sodomists must, of course, be against not only the Bible, but God.

There are also fanatical athiests who can't stand the heresy of the idea that there may actually be a God, and that the theory of evolution may have flaws.

As to why they don't hate Jews and Arabs, why, that would be politically incorrect. Anti-semitic, you know.

But mostly, it's because they're a bunch of tards.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You're quite insane (none / 0) (#217)
by actmodern on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:35:26 PM EST

Where did you come up with 50% suicide rate for homosexuals? I know, personally, a handful who are quite happy being gay. Of course they live in places where they are not persecuted so they don't need to turn to suicide.

Get your facts straight. The pope was a homophobe through and through.


--
LilDebbie challenge: produce the water sports scene from bable or stfu. It does not exist.
[ Parent ]

The guy's dead, so this is ancient history. (2.12 / 8) (#101)
by Anonymous Howards End on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:11:53 PM EST

Personally I'm far more interested in your views on the significance of Pope Urban's 1095 speech at the Council of Clermont.
--
CodeWright, you are one cowardly hypocritical motherfucker.
Reagan and Soviet Spending (3.00 / 20) (#108)
by teece on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:24:54 PM EST

 I'm gonna post  this, even though it is tangential to this story, because I hate seeing falsehoods perpetuated.

 Reagan did not spend the Soviets into the ground.  There are no facts to back that up.

 Soviet spending was flat in the 80s.

 The idea that Reagan spent the Soviets into the ground is pure fiction, a myth created by the likes of George Will to try and create some Republican mythology.  That it has survived, in spite of being factually wrong, is a testament to the power of the Republican marketing machine.  It's amazing how many people put this myth forward without having ever actually bothered to examine the data on late USSR spending.

 From 75-84, Soviet defense spending rose at a rate of 1.3%.  From 85-87 it rose at a rate of 4.3%.  In 1988 spending was cut drastically, back to the 1980 level.  All of this spending was right in line with spending plans put in place in 1975 (with the exception of the spending cut).  There was no reaction to Reagan.  Further, they were fighting a war in Afghanistan! (Numbers courtesy of Frances Fitzgerald, courtesy of the CIA).  During this time, American defense spending was rising at 8% per year, and we were not fighting a foreign (and losing) war.

The Soviets had no fear of SDI, for one simple reason:  they, too, could see that the technology did not have a snowball's chance in hell of actually stopping an all-out attack.  It did nothing to help or hinder the American strategic position.  Gorbachev argued against it, probably because, given his preference, he'd rather not have to react to his hard-line military planners that demanded an expensive response, based upon the extremely remote possibility that the Americans might get it to work.   But by the fall of the Soviet Union, the Soviets had not implemented any plan to react to SDI with a like system.

 Glasnost brought down the USSR, and that was Gorbachev (well, the broken Lenninist model brought down the USSR, glasnost hastened the end).  Reagan deserves some credit, but for precisely the opposite reason he is given it today.  He deserves credit for ignoring the hawks and reaching out to Gorbachev.  As late as 1990, the hawks still had absolutely no idea the Soviet system was on the verge of collapse, and were still advocating furious defense spending to try and counter the overpowering threat of Soviet military might.  It was Reagan's peace efforts that prevailed, not his saber-rattling; nor 8% military spending growth rates; nor his completely non-functional SDI plan.  Those were all spectacular blunders.

-- Hello_World.c, 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...

+1FP (2.75 / 4) (#109)
by MMcP on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:25:18 PM EST

I don't care about the pope-bashing article, but this is an incredibly interesting post, detailing facts I haven't seen before.  

[ Parent ]
IAWTP... (none / 0) (#201)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:53:01 PM EST

Please expand and submit.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Actually... (3.00 / 4) (#111)
by jd on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:51:30 PM EST

They could see it didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of surviving any kind of attack. Launch a single rocket into orbit, filled with nothing but metal foil, and you'd have jammed the entire system. Even if it had been built to the full initial specifications and everything had worked 100%, it would still not have been more than 30% effective.

To give you some idea of scale, sub-launched systems of that era could carry between 40-100 independently-targetted warheads. EACH. That's ONE device. Land-based systems would likely have carried more, as they wouldn't need to be so mobile.

I believe stockpiles of the era are usually quoted as being around the 400,000 mark.

Frankly, given the current ABM fiasco, this would seem to warrant a front-page article far more than a blitzkreig on a guy who is hardly in a position to answer back. (Well, if lightning bolts start smiting the article author, I guess that might be considered answering back.)

[ Parent ]

"in a position to answer back" (none / 1) (#142)
by ElMiguel on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:52:42 PM EST

this would seem to warrant a front-page article far more than a blitzkreig on a guy who is hardly in a position to answer back

It's not like the pope was going to post his rebuttals to Kuro5hin if he was alive, is it? Let's face it, just because some famous person has just died it doesn't mean that the only acceptable comments on his life are 100%-uncritic eulogies.

[ Parent ]

That assumes... (none / 1) (#170)
by jd on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 07:37:34 PM EST

...that the only way to critically review is to cynically flamebait. Errr, no. There are many ways to criticise in a way that is civilised, there are many ways of pointing out flaws without mud-slinging and rock-hurling.

Sure, he was unlikely to post on K5 when alive. So? Am I to expect K5ers to post inferior-grade articles and flammage, "just because"? Why? I don't accept inferior-grade anything from anyone else. Linux isn't inferior, even though anyone can post a patch, so why should K5 slide by just because anyone can post an article?

And just because he was "unlikely to" doesn't mean he couldn't (he obviously could have, just like anyone else) or that he wouldn't (the Slashdot interview list is damn impressive). He was a great fan of the Internet and high-tech ways of communicating, so it wouldn't even have been out of his character.

As far as I can tell, the mudslinging isn't about genuine examination of reality, it is about dissing a guy who is dead, because the dead can't talk back. And I won't be convinced otherwise, until I see a genuine examination of the claims, rather than redneck ranting and right-wing frothing.

[ Parent ]

Wait (none / 0) (#124)
by jongleur on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 12:56:05 AM EST

I heard SDI made them nervous, and that before they'd do some negotiations they wanted SDI taken off the table (or something like that). Also that they'd started their own but it didn't do well (maybe). You seem to know a lot about this, do you know what I'm talking about? It was something more than a rumor that I heard, I thought.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]
Also economics (none / 1) (#220)
by isdnip on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 09:23:08 PM EST

I agree with the gist of the post, but want to add even more (non-Papal) factors that brought down the USSR.

One was Japan.  Its economy was ascendant during the 1980s, and it demonstrated that the Soviet model was failing.  The centrally-planned Soviet economy (Bolshevik more than Marxist, since Marx didn't demand central planning, a feature of Soviet government that could not cope with complexity) was simply unable to cope in an increasingly-complex world.

Two was oil.  The Soviet Union exported oil to Eastern Europe, which, as part of the Comecon soft-currency zone, would have had a hard time paying world market prices.  The Soviet oil industry started to run low (poor technology, and the cheap oil was tapped out) so its economy started to run out of steam (literally).

Reagan claims credit for both, which is a bit like claiming credit for the weather. Neither he nor Wojtyla brought down the Soviet empire; it simply wore itself out.

[ Parent ]

Congrats (1.09 / 11) (#115)
by godix on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 09:06:33 PM EST

You have managed to achieve the same lack of values and basic humanity as the bible thumping morons who protest homosexual funerals with 'God hates fags'. Way to go, you too have managed to become a vile piece of shit. Please be sure to invite me to your 'The pope is dead, lets rape his corpse and dance on his grave' party.

Incidently, if it matters I'm agnostic. I just happen to have enough respect for others to not post an article that boils down to 'boy he sucked, I'm glad he's gone.'


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

Sure Godix (2.40 / 5) (#117)
by jubal3 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:21:47 PM EST

You know we usually tend to agree, but not on this case.

"special commission of US cardinals and Vatican officials appears to have significantly undercut the clergy sexual abuse policy approved by American bishops in June by eliminating a requirement that church officials report allegations of abuse to civil authorities.

The US bishops, meeting in Dallas, enacted a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that said any diocese ''will report to the public authorities any allegation of sexual abuse of a person who is currently a minor.'' But revisions to the policy proposed by the special commission and released yesterday do away with that mandate." -Boston Globe

I fail to see how you think this is no big deal.

You can't hide behind your religion when your religion "says" to do something that is universally considered morally abhorent and then expect to escape criticism.

And furthermore, the article above is not a hit piece. Those take a lot more effort and research.
It's a quick response to the near deification of a pope who wasn't much of a success for the Catholic Church, which is dying a slow, inexorable death everywhere people are educated.

Nor did he do much for humanity, which has to live with the consequences of this pope's continued adherence to the no birth control/no condom policy.

These are accurate and reasonable criticisms. As for the Liberation Theology thing, it's shameful. Simply shameful, and I have no more tolerance for the disgusting behavior he exhibited in regard to the serious issues of poverty and oppression among the people of Central and South America than I did for Reagan when he was practicing escallatio on the Nicaraguans.

I wouldn't have written the thing if every TV network and major news outlet in the U.S. wasn't printing/broadcasting fawning, poorly reasearched and factually incorrect drivel that made the man out to be a saint.

I never said he was a piece of shit, I still don't. I said he wasn't much of a pope, and I think that's very accurate.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

I know you're being sarcastic, but.. (2.66 / 3) (#118)
by Driusan on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:37:59 PM EST

Me and some friends are having one this Saturday, if you wanna tag alone.


--
This space for rent.
[ Parent ]
JOHN PAUL II ROCKED!!!! (1.14 / 14) (#119)
by Juggalo on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 10:38:52 PM EST

MUTHAFUCKA ROCKED THA VATICAN!!!  IN TEN DAYZ HE COMIN BACK TO ROCK WIT TEH ICP!!!  VIOLENT J AN JOHN  PAUK II LIVE AN INSANE!!!1!  AIGHT!

JUGGALOS REPRESENT!!!

WOOOOOORD MAN (none / 0) (#197)
by OxymoronicAgnosticKnowItAll on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:38:28 PM EST

man you stole my wordz we love the pope, the pope used to smoke dope in the 80s

[ Parent ]
David Peel and the Lower East Side (none / 0) (#207)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 07:11:11 PM EST

The pope smokes dope, God gave him the grass
The pope smokes dope, he likes a smoking mask
The pope smokes dope, he's a groovy head, ah...
The pope smokes dope, the pope smokes dope
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeeeeeeah

God is high on mescaline, Satan's high on smack
Popes in Rome get stoned on grass, Jesus freaks are back
Jesus Christ a super-hippie never shoved junk
Popes in Rome get stoned alone, priests in church get drunk

The pope smokes dope, God gave him the grass
The pope smokes dope, he likes a smoking mask
The pope smokes dope, he's a groovy head
The pope smokes dope, the pope smokes dope
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeeeeeeah

Now Jack 'n' Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of water
Jill forgot to take her pill, now she's got a daughter
Taking pills is not a joke for a groovy Pope
Birth control can be a toke of marijuana smoke

The pope smokes dope, God gave him the grass
The pope smokes dope, he likes a smoking mask
The pope smokes dope, he's a groovy head
The pope smokes dope, the pope smokes dope
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeeeeeeah

The pope is getting higher, higher, higher!
The pope is getting higher, higher, higher!
The pope is getting higher, higher, higher!
The pope is getting higher, higher, higher!

The pope smokes dope, God gave him the grass
The pope smokes dope, he likes a smoking mask
The pope smokes dope, he's a groovy head
The pope smokes dope, the pope smokes dope
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeeeeeeah

Cha! Cha! Cha!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Wow, David Peel... (none / 0) (#222)
by ktakki on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 12:04:32 AM EST

I'm afraid to admit that I actually hung out with Peel back when I was in high school (mid- to late-'70s NYC). Steve Giordano, someone I used to jam with back then, played bass in Peel's band for about a year, and we'd all get into Mill's Tavern on Bleecker St. for free whenever Peel was playing.

Peel was creepy, the quintessential Greenwich Village burnout, trying to parlay his 5 femtoseconds of association with John and Yoko into something resembling fame (he doctored the cover of the Let It Be album cover to include his photo). In '77, when it looked like punk rock was here to stay, he renamed his band David Peel and Death and wangled a couple of gigs at CBGBs.

The Pope Smokes Dope was pretty much his best tune. Which isn't saying much. David Peel was a Monty Rock III who didn't shower as often.


k.
--
"In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart." - Anne Frank

[ Parent ]

Welcome to DailyKu5 (none / 1) (#129)
by minerboy on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 08:48:47 AM EST

I can't believe no one has questioned the trash in the - John Paul II and his buddies, the right-wing Latin American death squads - Section. So JP II was against marxism, and attempts to use the church to promote it. that makes him eeeeviiil, I guess, and in league with the death squads. As if embracing the marxists would have stopped the death squads. I suspect it would have led to even more bloodshed, and made it less likely that the more rational governments that are begining to pop up in south and central America could occur



Liberation Theology (none / 0) (#132)
by jubal3 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 12:26:04 PM EST

<blockquote><i>"Liberation theologians agree with Marx's famous statement: "Hitherto philosophers have explained the world; our task is to change it." They argue that theologians are not meant to be theoreticians but practitioners engaged in the struggle to bring about society's transformation. In order to do this liberation theologyemploys a Marxist-style class analysis, which divides the culture between oppressors and oppressed. This conflictual sociological analysis is meant to identify the injustices and exploitation within the historical situation. Marxism and liberation theology condemn religion for supporting the status quo and legitimating the power of the oppressor. But unlike Marxism, liberation theology turns to the Christian faith as a means for bringing about liberation. Marx failed to see the emotive, symbolic, and sociological force the church could be in the struggle for justice. Liberation theologians claim that they are not departing from the ancient Christian tradition when they use Marxist thought as a tool for social analysis. They do not claim to use Marxism as a philosophical world view or a comprehensive plan for political action. Human liberation may begin with the economic infrastructure, but it does not end there."</i> <blockquote>

To call liberation theology a marxist movement is to profoundly misunderstand liberation theology.
You are making the same mistake that JPII did in this area.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

Liberation was not rejected... (none / 1) (#138)
by cr8dle2grave on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:13:00 PM EST

...because it was Marxist, but because it conflicted with core tenets of RCC dogma. Most importantly, it diminishes the importance and centrality of Church and of God. You can argue that RCC dogma shouldn't be what it is, but don't cast the rejection of Liberation Theology as example of simple minded anti-Marxism.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
More rational governments?!?! (none / 0) (#189)
by codejack on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 10:24:06 AM EST

You mean the ones that the U.S. is actively trying to subvert by propping up people like Pinochet? Sorry, this is pretty clear-cut: There are the "Capitalist" regimes and the marxist "rebels", and the pope, regardless of whether it would have stopped anything, supported the killers over the victims.

I suppose there would have been less bloodshed in WW2 if Russia and Great Britain had just let Hitler come on in and take over, huh?


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
no, like Chamarro, and Lagos (none / 0) (#190)
by minerboy on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 11:22:55 AM EST

Or would you perfer marxist governments like Castro, Ortega, and Chavez ? Who are the killers ?



[ Parent ]
What a load of unadulterated crap! (none / 1) (#196)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:57:56 PM EST

Every single one of the supposedly "marxist" revolutionary groups in Latin America had hands every bit as bloody as those belonging to the regimes they were vying to replace. The only pure "victims" were the anonymous multitudes caught in crossfire.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#198)
by codejack on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 05:33:32 PM EST

But the death squads were killing the "anonymous multitudes" because they were supporting the guerillas! Ah, yes, democracy at gunpoint. Brilliant.


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
And the guerillas... (none / 1) (#204)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:58:44 PM EST

...were killing those very same multitudes for "conspiring," when they felt obliged to even make excuses. And as the elections over the last decade have demonstrated, the "revolutionaries" never had the popular support they claimed to.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
The Medicis, now those guys were great Popes. (none / 0) (#130)
by claes on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 11:03:34 AM EST

Selling indulgances, living with mistresses, starting wars, getting poisoned. Those guys knew what to do in the office.

-- claes (Just finished Tuchman's "March of Folly")

Fall of Communism (3.00 / 2) (#143)
by jolly st nick on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:53:52 PM EST

Don't forget to credit James Earl Carter, who made human rights a centerpiece of his foreign policy.

Credit has to be given to Reagan of course; it wasn't just that he starved the Soviet system out of existence in an arms race -- he kept it off balance by being threatening on one hand, then negotiating strategic arms reductions. But I think Carter, by promoting human rights in the climate of international affairs, introduced the ill-starred idea that would prove fatal to the Soviet system: that they could have state socialism without brutally aggressive thought control. Freedom wasn't something they could possibly compete with the West in.

If you remember those days, the "fall" of the Soviet Union didn't so much resember a fall, as it was pushed over from the outside. It was more like it flew apart once ideas like "restructuring" and "openness" (perestroika and glasnost) weakened the system of terror that kept people in line.

In Poland, not that much Carter... (none / 0) (#146)
by OpAmp on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:02:43 PM EST

...but his advisor, Zbigniew Brzeziński is commonly given credit as well.

[ Parent ]
Carter had absolutely NOTHING (none / 0) (#200)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:52:18 PM EST

His was a failed Presidency. He accomplished not one single thing, except to get the US farther in debt. The US was in a recession with runaway inflation when he took office and worse when he left. Not a single person on the globle gained a single measure of freedom because of anything he did.

Until Dubya was elected, I considered Carter to be the worst President I had seen in my lifetime. I still consider him to be the worst President I ever voted for. He broke every campaign promise.

Although the Arabs surely should love him. Gasoline was 50 cents per gallon when he took office, and a buck ten when Reagan took over. And Carter, unlike Dubya, wasn't even getting any money from the deal! He pissed them off as bad as Bush is now doing, or worse - the Shah of Iran (our sock puppet) was ousted and American consulate employees were taken hostage by the new Iranian government.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

His was a failed presidency (none / 0) (#214)
by jolly st nick on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 12:04:07 PM EST

You're reasoning backwards here. He may have had a "failed" presidency, but it doesn't follow that everything he did was a failure.

[ Parent ]
On Pope and communism (3.00 / 4) (#145)
by OpAmp on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 02:56:04 PM EST

I have a feeling that you are trying to prove that the role of the Pope/Catholic Church in the dismantling of communism was negligible (one cannot claim important role of the Church without at least Pope's acceptance of its actions, due to the way the Church works). This argument cannot really hold.

The fall of communism began in Poland. Poland is 95% catholic, with 75% of that practicing (practicing as in going to church every Sunday). At that era, the number of practicing people was even higher. That basically means, that if the head of the Polish Church (and, conversely, his boss, i.e. the Pope) ordered his letter to be read at the Sunday mass, over 70% of the population would hear it on the same day. Moreover, Poland was the only communist country where the Church operated legally (although it was harassed, and priests even killed). This shows that the Church had a real power, while being largely independent of the state. Additionally, due to various earlier historic events it was the Church, and not the state, that was seen as a guardian of national values. Hence, the church was the only institution capable of effectively supporting the anticommunist opposition. And given how the Church works, such support couldn't be given without the acceptation of top Church hierarchy.

One may of course claim, that such support had not been given. Unfortunately this goes against the facts and witnesses. But most of all it goes against the common sense: how come that a totalitarian state couldn't really cope with Lech Walesa, a single trade union leader? Even much more so at the beginning of his carrier, before he was commonly known and before he was given a Nobel Prize? He must have had very strong supporters, clearly, and the only institution capable of supporting him was the Church. Unless, of course, you claim that he was a communist agent, at which point you'd be crediting the communist secret services for dismantling the communism.

Also note that the above analysis completely skips the psychological effect the Pope's visit had on people. What about telling people in a totalitarian state that they have rights and these rights must be obeyed? And saying that in public, on live TV, in the country, in the presence of the communist officials, who couldn't do anything about it? He was basically showing all the people that the Church he represented was stronger than the regime. And that the Church was these people.

Finally, you seem to be accusing Karol Wojtyla that he did not really oppose the communists because he was not killed. Well, from a practical standpoint, getting yourself killed for the cause is maybe glorious, but not very practical. The heavily documented [link in Polish] fact is, that Wojtyla, when being a bishop was being actively invigilated and harassed by the communist secret police. Granted, he had much luck, because the communists were mostly attacking his superior instead and wrongly didn't consider him that important until it was too late, i.e. he became the Pope. But then who do you think the guy who shot him in 1981 worked for?

On Ted Turner (3.00 / 3) (#149)
by OpAmp on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:18:47 PM EST

I think that you grossly overestimated the infuence of satellite TV on the fall of communism. Satellite TV is not a good technology for disseminating subversive information under a totalitarian regime, because:

(a) It requires relatively large outdoor antennas (especially at the time, before better amplifiers were developed). If you live in the state that outlaws satellite TV (an obvious thing to do for a totalitarian regime), planting a 2 meter dish outside your house is asking for trouble. Of course, I remeber people having satellite antennas in Poland in late 1980s, but before that it was illegal (though I don't know if at the time it had already been legalized, or the regulation was simply not enforced).

(b) The equipment is relatively expensive (and was even more expensive at that era), and must be imported/smuggled from abroad. Also keep in mind that the money issued by communist governments was not convertible to other currency (well, not for an ordinary citizen) so you'd have to first buy dollars on the black market at black market price... while earning a couple dollars a month!

(c) Signal coverage. As the transceivers cover limited area, they were aimed at the Western European countries, where the viewers resided. That meant that while in e.g. East Germany or Poland you could receive the signal (with a large(r) dish...), that was not really an option in the USSR. Not to start on encrypted channels...

(d) Even if you get it working somehow, you get TV in the language you don't know (except if you were from East Germany), as communist schools weren't really good at teaching languages (guess why).

On the other hand, you are right about media involvement, but it wasn't CNN: it was Radio Free Europe, broadcasting in Polish on AM waves from Germany. Sure, listening to RFE could get you in trouble, but almost everyone was doing that, as you were were hard to catch (headphones!). And the needed equipment was legal and available in the country (needed tuning in the worst case).

Aside from that, people in Poland were allowed to travel abroad, even to Western Europe and U.S (Poland was probably the most liberal country in the Eastern block). Sure, not everyone -- but there was nevertheless enough exchange that people had some (second-hand) knowledge of the Western countries. As they were necessarily gaps in this knowledge, the result was that the Poles had an idealized view of the West. It wasn't until 1990s that the popular opinion understood that capitalism does not mean a paradise on Earth (!).

Next, people were commonly aware of some things, like the truth about Katyn, which were going contrary to what the goverment was saying. It wasn't wise to talk about such things, but people talked to trusted ones nevertheless.

So, in short, everyone in Poland knew that the governemt was lying. No need for CNN for that. (Actually we were surprised when we learned that they were telling the truth about things like that they were numerous homeless people in the U.S. Heh.)

A popular pope? (none / 0) (#150)
by Langley on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 03:37:31 PM EST

Or a pope-ular pop?

/No, I'm not sorry for that one.
A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. -Abraham Lincoln (Sixteenth President of the United States of America)

Total Fag.. (none / 1) (#173)
by JohnLamar on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 09:46:36 PM EST

Karol?

A total queer's name!
The worst thing you've ever seen
[ Parent ]
And some of his good points: (3.00 / 5) (#152)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 04:07:09 PM EST

  1. Solidly anti-war the entire time he was in office. Gotta respect a guy who constantly reminds millions of people that if people just decide not to make war on anyone ever again, war will never be a problem again.
  2. Formally forgave the Jews for their supposed complicity in Christ's death, thus rendering Catholics free to treat Jews as actual people. Preinforced that by speaking well of Judaism on many occasions.
  3. Cared not a fig if his opinions were politically convenient or not, and shouted them from the rooftops (or at least a really high balcony). Listened not to right-wing or to left-wing arguments, but to his interpretation of Catholic dogma. While this is close-minded, it strictly maintained the integrity of his position.
These opinions filtered through the lens of my agnostic, empirical, Buddhist, contrarian mind. Make of them what you will. (Except cake.)

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

If number one is true (none / 1) (#186)
by Have A Nice Day on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:48:41 AM EST

Then my respect just shot up. It's true and everyone needs to know it. We can stop the killing by not killing any more people.

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
The only admirable accomplishment is the third (none / 0) (#188)
by Zealot on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 09:45:13 AM EST

The first two being basic decency and good sense. And the third is not the sort of accomplishment for which he should be put on a pedestal; indeed, an appropriate way to acknowledge it would be to get on your own rooftop and start shouting - which I believe a great number of the commentators on this article are already doing, with no persuasion from the late pope.


[ Parent ]
Why are #1 and #2 not admirable? (none / 0) (#193)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:06:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Sadly, basic decency and good sense... (none / 0) (#195)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:44:26 PM EST

...is rare these days. He could have gained favours for the Church by endorsing Bush's war; he said, more politely, "fuck off Mr Warmongering President".

In any case, what he did for the Jews was above and beyond the call of duty for a Catholic leader. I really admire him for this, because I can't think of any reason to do it apart from genuine feelings of shame and compassion.

Compassion, especially, is a rare thing in leaders.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Communism... (none / 0) (#169)
by naitha on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 07:10:04 PM EST

All I heard in your statements on communism were the 50s era "Oh no, the pinkos are coming to get us!" Communism didn't work in eastern europe because no one wanted it. It was impressed on people unwillingly.


"To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also."
-Igor Stravinsky,
What other way is there? (none / 0) (#177)
by John Miles on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 10:54:16 PM EST

It was impressed on people unwillingly

What sort of moron voluntarily gives up his ability to buy and sell goods and services? You know your politico-economic system sucks when the only way you can convince people to try it is by sticking a gun in their backs.


For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Not Necessarily (none / 0) (#179)
by naitha on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:26:48 AM EST

I believe there could be a period in human development where the mass of humanity realizes to work for the greater good rather than their own selfish ambitions. I also realize that it's highly unlikely. The indigenous people of the Americas had no concept of personal property and lived in small communes dispersed over the two continents, so you can't say it didn't work.


"To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also."
-Igor Stravinsky,
[ Parent ]
Already tried... (none / 0) (#213)
by John Miles on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 11:06:50 AM EST

I believe there could be a period in human development where the mass of humanity realizes to work for the greater good rather than their own selfish ambitions. I also realize that it's highly unlikely.

We already went there, most likely, somewhere between the protozoal and mammalian stages of evolution. Communism works great, if you're an ant. :-P

The indigenous people of the Americas had no concept of personal property and lived in small communes dispersed over the two continents, so you can't say it didn't work.

Well, no, it apparently didn't work very well, because those cultures have all but vanished from the face of the Earth. Regardless of whose

The only goal that actually counts is survival, right? As humans, we have to take care of that little problem before we have the leisure to indulge various philosophical whims.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Uhhh (none / 0) (#216)
by naitha on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 01:26:28 PM EST

They vanished from the face of the earth because capitalist societies overtook them. Their only mistake was valuing life and helping out the conquering armies of Europe. Anyone who took fourth grade history knows this.

God knows how long they survived peacefully and happily as their own cultures.


"To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also."
-Igor Stravinsky,
[ Parent ]
Yep (none / 0) (#218)
by John Miles on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:56:13 PM EST

They vanished from the face of the earth because capitalist societies overtook them. Their only mistake was valuing life and helping out the conquering armies of Europe. Anyone who took fourth grade history knows this.

That's basically what I thought I'd typed before I hit 'Send' and realized I left the thought incomplete. My point is (was going to be) that it doesn't matter in a cosmic sense whose "fault" the native cultures' extinction was. No one is keeping a hidden karma variable that goes up when you behave communistically and down when you behave capitalistically. If a culture decides to plop down six feet outside the cave entrance and rest on its laurels, then the only certainty in the life of its people is that the good times aren't going to last.

God knows how long they survived peacefully and happily as their own cultures.

Probably quite awhile, but hey, if Columbus hadn't found them, some Asian guy would've, and the outcome would have been the same. You might as well cry for a squirrel that's been nailed by a Buick.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Oh, and... (none / 0) (#219)
by John Miles on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:57:35 PM EST

Their only mistake was valuing life

Yeah, as lunch.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Uh... (none / 1) (#182)
by der on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:28:58 AM EST

What sort of moron voluntarily gives up his ability to buy and sell goods and services?

The kind of moron who is severely repressed by people exploiting them in order to sell goods and services?

You know your politico-economic system sucks when the only way you can convince people to try it is by sticking a gun in their backs.

So democracy and capitalism suck then.



[ Parent ]
The people who couldn't buy goods and services (3.00 / 3) (#192)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 02:04:44 PM EST

Late 19th-century capitalism sucked for the poor worker. Imagine working 12-hour days, 6 days a week, for enough money that you couldn't afford anything other than rent and food. Imagine having to send your children off to engage in such work at the age of *8* in order to pay for clothes and food for them. Imagine watching a wealthy leisure class profit off of their investment in the capital you used to do your work, which wasn't profiting you really at all.

That's the capitalism Marx was revolting against, not the pretty modern capitalism.

[ Parent ]

Ummmm, it's only April the 6th, (none / 0) (#174)
by Sesquipundalian on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 10:24:11 PM EST

is it too late for him to come back to life? I mean the rigor mortis thing could last for up to a week, but that's seven business days right?


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
Eh? (none / 0) (#185)
by Have A Nice Day on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:46:50 AM EST

What you babblin' about Timmy?

--------------
Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
[ Parent ]
What exactly does one do (none / 1) (#176)
by lamont116 on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 10:43:16 PM EST

to become a great Pope? Start an Inquisition? Spark some Crusades? Burn a million witches? As much as I think that John Paul One was the coolest Pope of all, John Paul Two did do a lot more useful stuff for the world than most of the previous Popes ever did.

RIP (none / 0) (#180)
by danbloom on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 12:51:38 AM EST

Well, JPII, aka Karol W., had 25 years or so of unlimited access to global TV, newspaper, magazine, radio, Internet and blog presence....

...so for the first time in the history of the unChurch, he got great PR and photo opps galore.

In the end, however, he added more superstitious shite to an already overly supersuperstition-fueled world.

What we need is no more churches, no more synagogues, no more mosques.

What we need is a global town hall, for open minded people not afraid of death. We live once, make the most of it, folks.

Down with all superstitions everywhere!

Why do most people remain so dumb?
Global writer, global thinker

how do you reconcile these two ideas: (none / 0) (#191)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 01:31:13 PM EST

"What we need is a global town hall, for open minded people"

and

"What we need is no more churches"

How can you be open minded but call for the abolition of orgnaized faith?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
It's easy... (none / 1) (#199)
by mcgrew on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 06:45:12 PM EST

he's a fanatical athiest. Religious nuts like him are seldom consistant.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

True followers (none / 0) (#210)
by baseball on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 12:40:07 AM EST

of most organized faiths are not open minded. But I agree that abolition of organized faith is wrong. People should be able to believe whatever they want. I just wish they'd stop trying to impose their beliefs (which are based on faith, not knowledge) on others.
* * *
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
and is this any different? (none / 1) (#215)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 12:47:50 PM EST

There are probably more closed minded people in the secular crowd than you'd care to admit and statements such as this demonstrate it. Your permissiveness puts just as many undesirable demands on religious folk as their standards may have on you. Your actual resentment is that you cannot impose your moral relativism on them.

A culture of tolerance imposes as much of a tyrannical worldview as a culture of intolerance. Adherents of tolerance are so closed minded to the idea of discrimination that the this is now a dirty word--I guess people with a "discriminating palette" can be treated with derision. Because of moral relativism, there is just as much dogmatism in defending the reprehensible actions of others. Where one group sees murder, the other says that we should tolerate a woman's right to choose. In this case, a plea for tolerance is unacceptable to the opposition.

Tolerance does not permit judging of others--not just pre-judging (i.e. prejudice) but even plain vanilla standards. It does not permit me, for example, to hold you to any particular standards. The one exception to this is in law where it's ok to judge others because material harm is the only acceptable case where judging is worthwhile. Social improvement, however, is never permissible to legislate. There's something equally wrong in that picture as there is in one where everything is discriminated.

The better way, I think, lies in a balance between tolerance and intolerance: having standards that lead you to success while permitting enough flexibility for improved efficacy of your own worldview.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#223)
by baseball on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 12:46:29 AM EST

and war is peace and day is night.
* * *
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
Get your fact right (2.75 / 4) (#183)
by the womble on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 03:41:46 AM EST

  1. Populations growth has very little to do with the church's teachings - according to the US census the countries with the highest population growth, in order, were: Somalia, Afghanistan, Niger, Uganda, Yemen, Congo, Mali, Chad, Angola, Burkina Faso
  2. Population does correlate with poverty, poor people need children for economic reasons - to help far, too look after them when they are old
  3. Population growth also depends on healthcare, if there is a high probability children will die, you have more to make sure some survive
  4. Most catholics, including a high proportion of priests, do not accept that there is anything wrong with contraceptives.
  5. The church as at fault in covering up child abuse, but no more so than other organisations (for example British local authorities that ran children;s homes).
  6. If some one does not use a condom because they follow the church's teaching, they presumably follow the rest of the church's related teaching which would mean they would have a very low risk of HIV or other STD infection.
  7. Cafod distributes condoms in places with high rates of AIDS - more helpful than you who just say they should use them
  8. Neither the pope of the church ever had the aim of undermining communism, and quite rightly so. Therefore it is hardly a failure if they failed to do so.
  9. Most of the rest of your comments reflect the fact that he was conservative on various issues - yes, but I think everyone noticed that long ago.
Finally this whole piece has far more spin than content. This is not a neutral reviews, it is an ill-informed hatched job. I am no fan of the pope but if you demand facts, present them yourself. Before you demand neutrality form others, be neutral yourself.

I think your point 6 misses the point (none / 0) (#208)
by izogi on Thu Apr 07, 2005 at 08:03:59 PM EST

I'm not an expert on this at all and I'll welcome being corrected, but:

If some one does not use a condom because they follow the church's teaching, they presumably follow the rest of the church's related teaching which would mean they would have a very low risk of HIV or other STD infection.

I was of the understanding that the main problem is the Catholic Church opposing the very distribution of condoms as a remedy to the problem, instead preferring to try to convince people of its own ideals to abstain from having sex. This does not mean that people will actually listen to the Church's message and follow "good moral guidelines set by the church".

It only means that distribution of condoms is more likely to be blocked somewhere along the line where the Catholic Church has enough influence. At worst, people are less likely to have access to condoms when their situation would benefit from one.

Whether the people with the problem at the end of the line are catholic or not seems to be immaterial. If someone more familiar with the situation wants to correct me, though, I'm interested to hear it.


- izogi


[ Parent ]
Thats half right (none / 0) (#211)
by the womble on Fri Apr 08, 2005 at 05:28:57 AM EST

The church has said that sticking to sex within marriage is a better way of preventing the spread of AIDS than condoms.

I suspect some conservative people within the church may have gone further and opposed the distribution of condoms altogether.

On the other hand CAFOD, which is a church agency does distribute condoms in some countries. I have also been told by people in family planning organisations that the church works with them in some (poor) countries.

BTW the way in which you phrased the church's ideals is rather misleading. The ideal the church puts forwards is not to "abstain from having sex" but to have sex only within marriage. Very different. It is also the same as the teaching of other christian churches - and not that different from any other major religion.

[ Parent ]

Actually some conservatives did go further (none / 1) (#231)
by lysozyme on Mon Apr 11, 2005 at 11:39:40 AM EST

Some "conservatives" did go further than just opposing distribution of condoms - they lied and said that condoms are unable to stop HIV.

[ Parent ]
Condoms (none / 0) (#225)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 06:45:10 PM EST

In a relationship one of the partners could be a fervent catholic and the other an absolut ignorant about religious matters.

If the person that is not religious or does not care about the opinions of a religious leader is HIV infected then the only protection for the religious person may be a a condom.

The catholic church has lied about condoms' effectivity because they can't bear the thought that people may actually have sex because they enjoy it. Such attitude is putting innocent people at risk, the facts of normal life in many countries just don't match with the dreamy thought of heavenly purity that the pope and his accolades were dreaming for their flock.

They are killing with kindness, if there is a god I am pretty sure that it would be giving a thorough grilling to a pope that did not understand that it is more important to love your neighbour than to impose your beliefs on him.

Were is the love in forcing people to choose between a piece of fucking latex and death?

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

I don't get it (none / 1) (#233)
by knitt on Thu Apr 14, 2005 at 06:16:02 PM EST

who's forcing people to choose between a piece of fucking latex and death? as far as I know Church says quite clearly that if you want to have sex with a woman, you first have to marry her. it's as simple as that. having one sexual partner in your entire life, your chances of catching HIV are really slim. and in case you decide to have sex with someone you're not married to, every catholic priest will tell you that using a condom doesn't make your sin bigger. c'mon it's the different matrix you're talking about.
There's more you need to know than you even know you need.
[ Parent ]
Communism (none / 1) (#224)
by paranoid on Sun Apr 10, 2005 at 11:45:47 AM EST

We are all held captive by the myths. You escaped the myth about JP2, but your world-view is still defined by the myth of communism.

1. Communism is a very inefficient system.
That is not true. The wealth of Western Europe and USA are the result of colonialism, sucking the colonies dry to build-up capital. Russia could not afford doing that, because its colonies were part of the Empire (later the Soviet Union). The later success of Asian "tigers" is the result of external investment. It doesn't really matter whether you have free market or a planned economy - what matters is whether you can invest enough. You can easily see that people in formerly communist countries live today worse (or barely better) than they did 15 years ago. Capitalism by itself doesn't really help. Furthermore, the issues of the efficiency of communism and Soviet economic history are extremely complex and any attempt to brush them off by claiming "communism is inefficient" is so wrong, it's laughable. But it's what the Western propaganda tells you.

2. Ted Turner
This is ridiculous. Satellite TV was obviously not allowed in USSR or Easter Europe and you can't really hide a dish (not to mention that in 1980s it was hardly feasible to transmit satellite TV signal the way you imply). :) And in any case the external influence had very minor importance. It's the fifth column that proved disastrous, people spreading the lies such as this - basically amounting change the system and everyone will become twice as rich immediately.

3. Ronald Wilson Reagan
The implications of the arms race are relatively minor, compared to the real reasons why the USSR has collapsed.

I will not even attempt here the gargantuan task of explaining why the USSR has not succeded. But if there is one main rule about history is that it's never as simple as newspapers, conspiracy theorists and kuro5hin authors are trying to make you believe. It's hard work to understand the real causes in all their complexity. But if you can ever understand the history of the grand social experiment that was the Soviet Union, may be your contempt for it will change to a much more deserving respect...

Communism in Eastern Europe and Russia (none / 0) (#230)
by Anateus on Mon Apr 11, 2005 at 10:08:59 AM EST

Simply: It wasn't! People in the "west" are under the false assumption that those countries tried to implement communism. WRONG. They were controlled by the "communist party" with an eye towards setting up communism some day, but communism is CERTAINLY not what they had. And that was an openly "admitted" fact. USSR = United Soviet Socialist Republics. It was a socialist country with a system of Planned Economy as opposed to the capitalistic socialism that exists right now in countries such as France or Finland. Communism didn't "fall" because it NEVER EXISTED IN EASTERN EUROPE. What fell was the totalitarian proto-communistic socialist regimes.

John Paul II, a popular pope, not a great one | 233 comments (188 topical, 45 editorial, 0 hidden)
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