Only the 3WHH bartenders could possibly draw the connecting thread between the subjects of the passing of Pope Benedict XVI, the drama over the next Speaker of the House, and Thomas Hobbes. But with the help of a little fine whisky, we’re up to the job!

Steve and Lucretia give the Protestant John Yoo a tutorial (the first of two this episode) on why Benedict may have been the most serious theologian ever to serve as Pope. It might be summarized in two words—”Regensberg Address“—but there is much more to that story, including the lingering mystery of why Benedict abdicated the papacy ten years ago.

From there our spirits—both the distilled and mental kind—kicked in hard for our discussion of the intramural Republican struggle to elect a new Speaker of the House. Let’s just say Lucretia would prefer Charlie McCarthy to Kevin McCarthy and leave it at that.

This episode ends with Steve and Lucretia giving John his second tutorial, this time on Thomas Hobbes. John has recklessly agreed to a “great books” segment on Hobbes for Prager University, but as usual provokes significant disagreement among the 3WHH bartenders.

And because of this last segment, our exit music is “Am I Very Wrong?” (answer: when it comes to Hobbes—Yes!), by musical combo whose name shall not be mentioned here:

Am I very wrongTo hide behind the glare of an open minded stareAm I very wrongTo wander in the fear of a never ending lieAm I very wrongTo try to close my ears to the sound they play so loudAm I very wrongThe happiness machine is trying hard to sing my song

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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty.  I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    • #1
  2. Steven Hayward Podcaster
    Steven Hayward
    @StevenHayward

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    • #2
  3. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    What is this argument?

    Now I do remember something about Augustine against the Donatists and the seamless garment. It’ll even turn up in my next book. But that’s different.

    • #3
  4. Noell Colin the gadfly Coolidge
    Noell Colin the gadfly
    @Apeirokalia

    It comes with a heavy heart due to my general liking of Mr Yoo, coupled with my suspicions that he is wrong due to his squishiness on natural right/s/law,
    that I must make the observation:

    When Steve mentioned the Regensburg address: “One of the problems with Islam is that they have abandoned reason” and how it outraged radical islamists. I found it funny that John Yoo sounded very interested in reading and exploring it. Almost as if it was a divine excuse from the Pope for for Yoo’s involvement with the “Memorandum Regarding Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside The United States”.

     

     

    • #4
  5. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Problem of faith and reason? What problem?

    • #5
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Hobbes and Locke sounded good!

    • #6
  7. Lucretia Contributor
    Lucretia
    @Lucretia

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    What is this argument?

    Now I do remember something about Augustine against the Donatists and the seamless garment. It’ll even turn up in my next book. But that’s different.

    The seamless argument regarding the death penalty is respect/protection for life, from conception until natural death.  I think Steve is probably right, that it is a silly argument of moral equivalence advanced by liberal Catholic theologians.

    • #7
  8. Noell Colin the gadfly Coolidge
    Noell Colin the gadfly
    @Apeirokalia

    Lucretia (View Comment):

    The seamless argument regarding the death penalty is respect/protection for life, from conception until natural death. I think Steve is probably right, that it is a silly argument of moral equivalence advanced by liberal Catholic theologians.

    Can you explain more as to why that is a “liberal” take?

    Something based off of respect/protection for life seems like a safer bet for consistent justice.

    I am uncomfortable with the gov setting the criteria and reasons for that penalty. Especially in a society where the sphere is extended. For example, maybe not the best: all states are not consistent on the castle doctrine.
    A home defender becomes a murderer in one state and a hero in the next…

    Kind of like the separation of church and state, the gov also aught not have any say in who lives and dies for many of the same reasons.

    Maybe at the moment it’s for murder or something we all agree is bad, but what if it’s about the over use of carbon tomorrow? Or some other Bentham utilitarian or WEF related offence.

    I’m not a soft on crime person, I just see the imperfections of man and the court system not being able to justly administer the death penalty.

    I mean would you want your death sentence to be overseen by the likes of a court headed by Kaaaaaaamalaaa?

    • #8
  9. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Lucretia (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    What is this argument?

    Now I do remember something about Augustine against the Donatists and the seamless garment. It’ll even turn up in my next book. But that’s different.

    The seamless argument regarding the death penalty is respect/protection for life, from conception until natural death. I think Steve is probably right, that it is a silly argument of moral equivalence advanced by liberal Catholic theologians.

    Sounds like a pretty lousy use of John 19:23-24. Augustine’s allegory had class, and you can even make a plausible argument that it’s correct based on the use of the verb schizo in the Gospel of John.

    Anyway, . . . thanks for the answer.  Yeah, I’m familiar with the line that we should respect all human life, etc.  That’s actually the point of the death penalty in Genesis, right after Noah.  Knowles (again) is right.

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):

    Something based off of respect/protection for life seems like a safer bet for consistent justice.

    Yes, compared to something built on a weaker foundation. But we still have to build on that solid foundation properly.

    I am uncomfortable with the gov setting the criteria and reasons for that penalty. Especially in a society where the sphere is extended. For example, maybe not the best: all states are not consistent on the castle doctrine.
    A home defender becomes a murderer in one state and a hero in the next…

    Kind of like the separation of church and state, the gov also aught not have any say in who lives and dies for many of the same reasons.

    Maybe at the moment it’s for murder or something we all agree is bad, but what if it’s about the over use of carbon tomorrow? Or some other Bentham utilitarian or WEF related offence.

    I’m not a soft on crime person, I just see the imperfections of man and the court system not being able to justly administer the death penalty.

    Death penalty for the wrong crimes or overseen by a bad government is, of course, death penalty botched to some very significant extent.

    None of that means the death penalty is inherently unjust. It just means it’s a dangerous tool.  But so is every other tool.

    • #10
  11. Noell Colin the gadfly Coolidge
    Noell Colin the gadfly
    @Apeirokalia

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):

    Something based off of respect/protection for life seems like a safer bet for consistent justice.

    Yes, compared to something built on a weaker foundation. But we still have to build on that solid foundation properly.

    I’m not sure building off a base without respect/protection for life is wise. I’m not sure how you can properly gate pure utilitarian instances of killing people without it. 

    To be clear, I’m arguing it not because there could be some utopian better way if we were all as good as angles. But we aren’t; so we have to factor in human nature, corruption, ambition, blablabla. And obvious side point, if we were so good as to be able to like angles, we probably wouldn’t need it in the first place… Kind of like the FP on the necessity of gov. 
    I don’t want to mischaracterize, so correct me if I’m not getting what you’re saying, but that’s like saying separation of church and state is passé because there could be a better way built on a better foundation…
    It’s there not for some purity thought experiment, it’s there because of various realities. 

     

    Death penalty for the wrong crimes or overseen by a bad government is, of course, death penalty botched to some very significant extent.

    None of that means the death penalty is inherently unjust. It just means it’s a dangerous tool. But so is every other tool.

    I’m not sure what society has justly implemented it. Even if there was some small tribe or group of very like minded people, doesn’t mean that they are implementing it for just reasons, even if they all agree. 
    Seems better to do away with it. Not saying you can’t lock someone up. Just seems like a step too far because no one has perfect information for every death penalty case.  

    I understand that “Seems better to do away with it”, will not persuade you due to the lack of citation of some wise text. We just seem very far off as a society from even touching a point that some “stronger foundation” will guide just implementation of the death penalty.  

    Things just fall into place better if you have the respect for life. Unless you can walk me through why that is wrong. 

    • #11
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):

     

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):

    Something based off of respect/protection for life seems like a safer bet for consistent justice.

    Yes, compared to something built on a weaker foundation. But we still have to build on that solid foundation properly.

    I’m not sure building off a base without respect/protection for life is wise. I’m not sure how you can properly gate pure utilitarian instances of killing people without it.

    Of course it’s not wise to build on a foundation other than respect for human life. Isn’t that what I said?

    To be clear, I’m arguing it not because there could be some utopian better way if we were all as good as angles. But we aren’t; so we have to factor in human nature, corruption, ambition, blablabla. And obvious side point, if we were so good as to be able to like angles, we probably wouldn’t need it in the first place… Kind of like the FP on the necessity of gov.
    I don’t want to mischaracterize, so correct me if I’m not getting what you’re saying, but that’s like saying separation of church and state is passé because there could be a better way built on a better foundation…
    It’s there not for some purity thought experiment, it’s there because of various realities.

    As it happens, I’m not getting what you’re saying.

     

    Death penalty for the wrong crimes or overseen by a bad government is, of course, death penalty botched to some very significant extent.

    None of that means the death penalty is inherently unjust. It just means it’s a dangerous tool. But so is every other tool.

    I’m not sure what society has justly implemented it. Even if there was some small tribe or group of very like minded people, doesn’t mean that they are implementing it for just reasons, even if they all agree.

    Of course. Just like no society has ever justly implemented juries, democracy, prisons, traffic lights, property rights, fines, or fiscal regulations. People are sinful. Everything is affected by our corruption, and especially the things government is involved in.

    Seems better to do away with it.

    An interesting conclusion, to be sure. Do you have a premise for it?

    Not saying you can’t lock someone up. Just seems like a step too far because no one has perfect information for every death penalty case.

    That’s not a good premise. No one has perfect information for anything. What makes this a step too far?

    I understand that “Seems better to do away with it”, will not persuade you due to the lack of citation of some wise text. We just seem very far off as a society from even touching a point that some “stronger foundation” will guide just implementation of the death penalty.

    I don’t necessarily need a wise text. Just explain your view, including your conclusion and your reasons for it.

    Things just fall into place better if you have the respect for life. Unless you can walk me through why that is wrong.

    Respect for life is one of the major reasons for the death penalty. Read the passage in Genesis.

    • #12
  13. Dr.Guido Member
    Dr.Guido
    @DrGuido

    I am a 76 year old cradle Catholic. Francis is easily, IMHO, the most careless Pope in my lifetime. His position on the death penalty (2000 years of the Magisterium say Francis is NOT on the right side of this issue) was NOT issued ex cathedra…..and  while we Catholics need to consider his opinion, out of simple respect for his position, we are in no way bound by it. Ditto his rambling incoherence and WOKE positions on the ‘climate’.

    When Benedict exited he gave Francis a large box….on very good authority (Priests who ought to know)I’ve been told it was loaded with cases yet to be resolved regarding the sexual abuse problem and the clergy and the ‘gift’ was Ratzinger saying to Bergoglio: “I’m not up to handling this…HERE—it’s your problem now”. I do believe this to be true.

    It appears Francis was and is also not up to handling that scandal. In fact, it appears that Francis is not up to a lot of the duties of the Papacy—the young JPII was but he was horrible betrayed by a traitorous Marcel Maciel, founder of the now disgraced and nearly defunct Legionaries of Christ.

    • #13
  14. WilliamWarford Coolidge
    WilliamWarford
    @WilliamWarford

    Lucretia (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    What is this argument?

    Now I do remember something about Augustine against the Donatists and the seamless garment. It’ll even turn up in my next book. But that’s different.

    The seamless argument regarding the death penalty is respect/protection for life, from conception until natural death. I think Steve is probably right, that it is a silly argument of moral equivalence advanced by liberal Catholic theologians.

    Steve and Lucretia, you can’t argue Catholicism will St. Augustine! :)

    • #14
  15. Noell Colin the gadfly Coolidge
    Noell Colin the gadfly
    @Apeirokalia

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):

    As it happens, I’m not getting what you’re saying.

    Respect for life is one of the major reasons for the death penalty. Read the passage in Genesis.

     

    Ok, I’m not sure what you are saying then. 
    I’ll read Genesis again with an emphasis on life and the death penalty. 
    For now I still don’t like it; but will admit for this subject I am not particularly familiar with all the past arguments for or against it. So I’ll exit until I do.   

    • #15
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    WilliamWarford (View Comment):

    Lucretia (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    What is this argument?

    Now I do remember something about Augustine against the Donatists and the seamless garment. It’ll even turn up in my next book. But that’s different.

    The seamless argument regarding the death penalty is respect/protection for life, from conception until natural death. I think Steve is probably right, that it is a silly argument of moral equivalence advanced by liberal Catholic theologians.

    Steve and Lucretia, you can’t argue Catholicism will St. Augustine! :)

    Y’all know I’m Baptist though, right?

    • #16
  17. Sal Reagan
    Sal
    @Sal

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    JPII was against the death penalty based on the prudential judgement that it was no longer needed since in our modern jail systems murderers could remain incarcerated indefinitely thus preventing them from murdering again. The teachings of the church were not changed. Obviously the great man could not have foreseen the current trends in criminal justice reform.

    • #17
  18. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    I’ve heard that JPII was impressed by Francis’s simple lifestyle when he made Pope Che a cardinal. He ignored complaints by Argentinians that Francis was arrogant and obnoxious. That’s not the first time that a good man was snookered by an evil man. As a RC colleague told me circa 2005, aren’t Jesuits supposed to be heretics. 

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Sal (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    JPII was against the death penalty based on the prudential judgement that it was no longer needed since in our modern jail systems murderers could remain incarcerated indefinitely thus preventing them from murdering again. The teachings of the church were not changed. Obviously the great man could not have foreseen the current trends in criminal justice reform.

    Thanks to you as well as @drguido for much-needed backstory on contemporary Catholic teachings/claims on the subject!

    I object neither to prudential arguments against the application of the death penalty in some circumstances, nor to the claim to compatibility of such arguments with official Catholic teaching.

    Now did JPII think the only reason for death penalty is deterrence?  Catholics can do better than that!  Read Boethius, guys!

    • #19
  20. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    I’ve heard that JPII was impressed by Francis’s simple lifestyle when he made Pope Che a cardinal. He ignored complaints by Argentinians that Francis was arrogant and obnoxious. That’s not the first time that a good man was snookered by an evil man. As a RC colleague told me circa 2005, aren’t Jesuits supposed to be heretics.

    So JPII was one of the longer serving popes, and with both JPII and Benedict serving for a total of 35 years.

    It’s not about just one cardinal.  Between the two popes, especially with mandatory age limits on actually voting for a new pope as a cardinal, they appointed a majority of the cardinals that voted Francis in.

    If Francis hadn’t have been appointed, it would have been someone else Francis like.

    As an aside, what’s ironic about JPII appointing Francis is that he had the perfect excuse  not to.  Jesuits are not supposed to be bishops, much less cardinals, at least according to the oaths they take to be a part of that order.  And I understand he had a few internecine fights against the Jesuits during his papacy.

    • #20
  21. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    I found the podcast to be frustrating. For one thing, during the discussion of Pope Benedict, they kept going into rabbit holes, taking away from having a serious discussion about him. At one point, Steve interrupted himself twice in a row, first to go down one rabbit hole, and then a rabbit hole within a rabbit hole.

    And during the Kevin McCarthy discussion, I found Lucretia’s ranting about both McCarthy and McConnell to be unrealistic. Leaders of legislative bodies are rarely leaders outside of those institutions. They are elected by the members of those bodies, to serve the members of those bodies, which is different than serving the electorate as a whole. Newt Gingrich was the exception that proves the rule.

    Steve did mention that the House of Representatives had more intellectual heft at the beginning, during the 19th century. But that was when the house was smaller, and they got away with having looser rules that encouraged, not limited, debate. At 435 members, the present house is too large for that kind of thing.

    From the time that Joe Cannon lost his prerogatives as speaker, the house became more seniority centric, and legislation was crafted by committees, with committee chairmen really running things. From FDR on, the house was run by Democrats, with only two 2 year interruptions in 1949, and 1953, remaining that way until 1993. The speakership had little authority, but under Sam Rayburn had quite a bit of power as de-facto party leader. But typical of legislative leaders, he was really a behind the scenes guy.

    When I hear complaints from Mollie Hemingway and Lucretia about our present legislative leaders, I roll my eyes. They represent their respective caucuses, and reflect their outlooks. Like most elected “leaders”, they follow more than they lead. Plus, in the U.S. system, there is no shadow cabinet or opposition that can coalesce the electorate while not holding the presidency. That’s the system we’re under. That’s what we have to deal with. I tire of wishful thinking.

    One other thing. Lucretia made a statement about elected officials trying to keep their jobs. She expects them to fall on their swords on principle, and lose the next election. That’s kind of rich from someone who has tenure at a major university, and in any case, chooses not to go by her real name.

    • #21
  22. Quickz Member
    Quickz
    @Quickz

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    When I hear complaints from Mollie Hemingway and Lucretia about our present legislative leaders, I roll my eyes. They represent their respective caucuses, and reflect their outlooks. Like most elected “leaders”, they follow more than they lead. Plus, in the U.S. system, there is no shadow cabinet or opposition that can coalesce the electorate while not holding the presidency. That’s the system we’re under. That’s what we have to deal with. I tire of wishful thinking.

    I hear this, but I think it misses the point that I think Mollie and Luc are making about the last dozen or so Houses of Reps that have been sat.

    The Rules that were adopted had the Speaker as a dictator of sorts. All the seats on the Rules Comm would be their hand picked members that didn’t really represent the diversity of the GOP caucuses, as well as all the “important” Committee chairs. The Rules Comm would control what came to the floor to be voted on (breaking any other “rules” that were adopted because – well they can change the Rules), and often the CR, Omnibus or other versions of the Here’s-a-10k-page-bill-you-vote-yes-in-3-hours legislation was the rule. A rule that we now see could be ended and empower the diversity of the party but wasn’t. 

    Yeah I think that’s plenty to complain about. Having a handful of like-minded “leaders” horde power and direct the entire caucus in one direction has given us the results of the last dozen or so Houses.

    It would be nice if they just “represent their respective caucuses,” but they only represent the Speaker’s direction. Only when things are this close did a caucus have the power to flex – and flex they did – I look forward to what might become of this House. The new rules (if they pass) apparently go back to an open debate, bill offering, and amendment procedure that was done away with 60 years ago! I’m open to change that brings forward ideas – even when those “leaders” don’t like those ideas. They stomped on the Tea Party and they stomped on MAGA – it’s time to let the chamber loose.

    • #22
  23. Lucretia Contributor
    Lucretia
    @Lucretia

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    I found the podcast to be frustrating. For one thing, during the discussion of Pope Benedict, they kept going into rabbit holes, taking away from having a serious discussion about him. At one point, Steve interrupted himself twice in a row, first to go down one rabbit hole, and then a rabbit hole within a rabbit hole.

    And during the Kevin McCarthy discussion, I found Lucretia’s ranting about both McCarthy and McConnell to be unrealistic. Leaders of legislative bodies are rarely leaders outside of those institutions. They are elected by the members of those bodies, to serve the members of those bodies, which is different than serving the electorate as a whole. Newt Gingrich was the exception that proves the rule.

    Steve did mention that the House of Representatives had more intellectual heft at the beginning, during the 19th century. But that was when the house was smaller, and they got away with having looser rules that encouraged, not limited, debate. At 435 members, the present house is too large for that kind of thing.

    From the time that Joe Cannon lost his prerogatives as speaker, the house became more seniority centric, and legislation was crafted by committees, with committee chairmen really running things. From FDR on, the house was run by Democrats, with only two 2 year interruptions in 1949, and 1953, remaining that way until 1993. The speakership had little authority, but under Sam Rayburn had quite a bit of power as de-facto party leader. But typical of legislative leaders, he was really a behind the scenes guy.

    When I hear complaints from Mollie Hemingway and Lucretia about our present legislative leaders, I roll my eyes. They represent their respective caucuses, and reflect their outlooks. Like most elected “leaders”, they follow more than they lead. Plus, in the U.S. system, there is no shadow cabinet or opposition that can coalesce the electorate while not holding the presidency. That’s the system we’re under. That’s what we have to deal with. I tire of wishful thinking.

    One other thing. Lucretia made a statement about elected officials trying to keep their jobs. She expects them to fall on their swords on principle, and lose the next election. That’s kind of rich from someone who has tenure at a major university, and in any case, chooses not to go by her real name.

     

    • #23
  24. Lucretia Contributor
    Lucretia
    @Lucretia

     

    As a matter of fact, I do not have tenure in my current position.  I have a year-to-year contract.  And my nom de plume is not to hide my beliefs or my principles, as most Powerline/Ricochet listeners know who I am and where I work, but simply to give me plausible deniability when accused of speaking for my university in my administrative capacity.

    • #24
  25. LibertyDefender Member
    LibertyDefender
    @LibertyDefender

    Noell Colin the gadfly (View Comment):
    When Steve mentioned the Regensburg address: “One of the problems with Islam is that they have abandoned reason” and how it outraged radical islamists. I found it funny that John Yoo sounded very interested in reading and exploring it. Almost as if it was a divine excuse from the Pope for for Yoo’s involvement with the “Memorandum Regarding Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside The United States”.

    I have never thought that John Yoo needs any excuse , divine or otherwise, for his thoroughly defensible – and laudable – “involvement” authoring the “Memorandum Regarding Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside the United States.”

    However, as to his work as a political historian, I’m still trying to figure out if the Speaker “John Taylor [who] became President” (@40:10) was Zachary Taylor, or William Henry Harrison’s VP John Tyler who was elevated to the Presidency upon Harrison’s death 30 days after his inauguration, or John W. Taylor of New York, who never became President. (ha)

    • #25
  26. LukeWVa Listener
    LukeWVa
    @LukeWVa

    Sal (View Comment):

    Steven Hayward (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I don’t believe the Catholic church actually opposes the death penalty. Maybe some official statements say something against it, but I’d be very surprised if anything officially considered infallible says anything like that.

    In fact, I’d be a little surprised if nothing officially considered infallible did not actually affirm the death penalty.

    Knowles is fond of quoting major Catholic sources in favor of the death penalty. I bet I could find a nice Aquinas citation myself at NewAdvent.org pretty quickly.

    There is the whole “seamless garment” argument against the death penalty among many prominent (liberal) Catholics, but I don’t recall right now whether JPII ever lended his approval to this. Pretty sure Francis has though.

    JPII was against the death penalty based on the prudential judgement that it was no longer needed since in our modern jail systems murderers could remain incarcerated indefinitely thus preventing them from murdering again. The teachings of the church were not changed. Obviously the great man could not have foreseen the current trends in criminal justice reform.

    I think that JPII’s view gave too little attention to the safety of prison guards who have to be around “lifers.” The Church used to say that a fixed death date concentrated the mind and gave a chance to repent before it was too late.

    The Church won’t outlaw the death penalty because basic teaching does not change.

    • #26
  27. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Lucretia (View Comment):

     

    As a matter of fact, I do not have tenure in my current position. I have a year-to-year contract. And my nom de plume is not to hide my beliefs or my principles, as most Powerline/Ricochet listeners know who I am and where I work, but simply to give me plausible deniability when accused of speaking for my university in my administrative capacity.

    I’m aware that you’re a Dean and not in a teaching position at the moment.  But at most, if not all colleges, a Dean is a member of the faculty, and if removed from that position, still has an option to resume teaching duties as a tenured professor.

    I saw something similar at a college I was a staff member at, and something similar happened to Larry Summers at Harvard when he was removed as their president.

    You would lose something, but unlike those congressmen you want to lose the next election, you wouldn’t lose everything.

    • #27
  28. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Quickz (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    When I hear complaints from Mollie Hemingway and Lucretia about our present legislative leaders, I roll my eyes. They represent their respective caucuses, and reflect their outlooks. Like most elected “leaders”, they follow more than they lead. Plus, in the U.S. system, there is no shadow cabinet or opposition that can coalesce the electorate while not holding the presidency. That’s the system we’re under. That’s what we have to deal with. I tire of wishful thinking.

    I hear this, but I think it misses the point that I think Mollie and Luc are making about the last dozen or so Houses of Reps that have been sat.

    The Rules that were adopted had the Speaker as a dictator of sorts.

    But what Lucretia wanted was for McCarthy to yell “every day” about it.  When you yell the same  thing every day, people stop listening.  For that matter if you’re yelling every day about different stuff, people stop listening.

    It’s kind of like a 5 year old having a temper tantrum.  Parents generally ignore the kid until he gets over it.

    • #28
  29. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Quickz (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    When I hear complaints from Mollie Hemingway and Lucretia about our present legislative leaders, I roll my eyes. They represent their respective caucuses, and reflect their outlooks. Like most elected “leaders”, they follow more than they lead. Plus, in the U.S. system, there is no shadow cabinet or opposition that can coalesce the electorate while not holding the presidency. That’s the system we’re under. That’s what we have to deal with. I tire of wishful thinking.

    I hear this, but I think it misses the point that I think Mollie and Luc are making about the last dozen or so Houses of Reps that have been sat.

    The Rules that were adopted had the Speaker as a dictator of sorts.

    But what Lucretia wanted was for McCarthy to yell “every day” about it. When you yell the same thing every day, people stop listening. For that matter if you’re yelling every day about different stuff, people stop listening.

    It’s kind of like a 5 year old having a temper tantrum. Parents generally ignore the kid until he gets over it.

    The Ds yell every day about their issues and the media supports them.

    • #29
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