Monday, May 4, 2009

Personal Asides: Jack Kemp RIP…How the Newspapers Ram Babylon Down Our Throats…Ernie’s 1948 Lecture on Sex at the Old Saint John’s.


Jack Kemp R.I.P.

I knew Jack Kemp during most of his public life…starting the first day he came to the U.S. House…and continuing through his service as HUD secretary.

I met him then because he was representing Quaker’s subsidiary Fisher-Price which had two plants in his Buffalo, N.Y. centered district. I was so impressed with his engaging personality and bright mind that I tabbed him as a real winner—and indeed he was. Jack came late to ideas, having goofed around as a jock during his undergraduate days at Occidental. He took a deep interest in economics while a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills and read its literature thoroughly. He came into his own when he huddled with supply side economics guru Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski. By becoming a convert from the old, narrow root-canal type of economics that had characterized the conservative movement up to then, Jack revolutionized the movement’s thinking by authoring the Kemp-Roth bill which challenged both liberal and old-line establishment conservative thinking at the time.

The bill was introduced by Kemp along with Delaware Republican Bill Roth in 1977. It took a great deal of push but Kemp supplied it, getting it enacted four years later under Ronald Reagan. It proposed cutting statutory tax rates by 30% across the board, the bottom rate reduced from 14% to 10% and the top rate from 70% to 50%, both rates having been unchanged sine the John Kennedy tax cut of the early 1960s.

Since that time there had been massive inflation, one needing twice as much income in 1977 to live as well as 1963. This had the effect of raising the tax rates sharply since as workers took cost-of-living raises they were pushed into higher brackets. When Jack Kemp’s bill was introduced, most economists believed that budget deficits were responsible for much inflation, and favored tax hikes not cuts. This was the ruling credo of the Republican party at the time, George H. W. Bush having called Kemp’s tax cuts “voodoo economics.” In fact, Arthur Okun of Brookings declared that if Kemp’s cuts were to pass, the economy would shrink by 10% for every 1% fall in the inflation rate. Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) called it “a riverboat gamble.”

But to his credit, Ronald Reagan bought the idea, having made it his central issue in his campaign in 1980. The Kemp-Roth plan resurrected the economy; it not only recovered by inflation…the bugaboo of Okun, Bush and Baker…collapsed to about 4% throughout the 1980s. The great domestic success of Ronald Reagan’s presidency was the Kemp tax cut bill.

I got Quaker executives to back Kemp for president in 1988 over George H. W. Bush, tried unsuccessfully to get Bush the Elder to pick Kemp for vice president rather than Dan Quayle. Bush’s failure to understand Kemp was a failure of generations. To his credit Bob Dole chose Kemp for vice president in 1996 but Dole was far too mediocre a campaigner and lackadaisical political thinker to make much difference. Jack’s death from cancer is a great loss for the country. My condolences to his wife Joan and his children. Next to Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp contributed more to the resurgent economy than anyone else. It’s a shame that the dour economists whom he proved wrong have never been able to accept the rightness of his position.

More on Jack Kemp’s later career tomorrow.

Forcing Babylon Down Our Throats.

Last week the Chicago “Sun-Times” served up an appetizing front page to greet us, fit for instant regurgitation before breakfast. On its front page was a photo of two fat, black Lesbians kissing to celebrate their new won “right” to get married. Is that a derogatory description: two, fat, black Lesbians? Nope. What else are they? They are (a) two, (b) fat, (c) black (d) Lesbians. The paper is sending its number 3 columnist liberal lackey Mark Brown to Iowa to cover their “wedding.”

The point is that in a city where at least 15 items could have claimed the front page, this intellectually as well as economically bankrupt tabloid’s editors have endorsed same-sex marriage as a marketing device to lobby its anti-Judeo-Christian point of view to sway readers and corrupt kids, all to court the militant queen community by shoving this disgusting…in view of 5,000 years of heritage…photo down our throats with the mandate: like it or not, you have to take it. Moreover pro-abort Catholic Richard Roeper, arms folded arrogantly in his photo, says to critics in take-it-or-leave-it fashion “that’s life in the big city.” This from an over-age so-called “youth columnist,” whom Mike Royko rightly pegged as a mediocrity newsroom suck-up sycophant of Roger Ebert…who knows nothing about films…but who was picked up from boring feature column writing to sit on the TV after the death of Gene Siskel to nod his head affirmatively while Roger made pronouncements about films.

But the good news is this: No matter how fervently they court the decadent left, the sober truth remains that both major newspapers are justifiably failing, gone into bankruptcy and will shortly dissolve. Wouldn’t you think that just to exhaust the only remaining option, they would see if overtures to moderates and conservatives might work? No, they won’t because these aren’t, in the last analysis, business choices but demonic ideological ones…identical with the ones Hollywood makes: when films denigrating the country don’t work…CIA going berserk…slurring the Catholic church ala “The Da Vinci Code” by Ron Howard aka gap-toothed little Opie, the answer is to make others.

Revelations also surfaced last week that a passel of “Tribune” staffers objected to their unpublished stories being used as grist for focus groups highlight a longstanding ploy that has gradually converted much of newspaper-ing into a salacious culturally leftwing propaganda bazaar. There is no doubt that the choice of stories has always been subjective by editors (since journalism began, conservative publications chose to feature their favorites, liberals theirs)…but passing the buck (literally) to soulless marketing corporatists to torture the news so as to reach specific supposedly well-heeled publics is corrupt. Of course squinting, squat, little, tie-less Motorcycle Sam the Lucifer-look-alike of the “Trib” doesn’t understand nor do the carnal-hustlers of the “Sun-Times” including its pro-abort Catholic editorial page editor.

So be of good cheer. We’ll all be better off as these papers which should be printed on soft paper and rolls disappear appropriately where they belong: flushed down the toilet. The culture of life will triumph over the culture of death.

Ernie on the Human Sexual Condition.

[NOTE: Background of his lecture can be found in this blog on May 1 where two students of Ernie’s class took widely divergent paths in an attempt to enjoy sexual fulfillment outside marriage…one through heterosexual liaison, the other though homosexual importuning which was not fulfilled. Both were speedily expelled and Fr. Ernest Kilzer, OSB, chairman of Philosophy, determined to make use of their example as a teaching moment. By now the student Bede Hall, an ex-GI as old as Ernie, about 45, grey-haired, consummate smoker out of the classroom and always wearing his GI jacket, had undertaken the role of devil’s advocate with Ernie’s support and while Hall filled a great purpose, Ernie would cuff him up verbally to the delight of the class. Both were fast friends outside the classroom].

Fr. Ernie. I notice a much larger attendance for this class than normal due to the fact that others not of this class have decided to audit this lecture for today…and I welcome them. However understand, the only questions to be entertained will be from regular class members as their grades depend often on the quality of their questions or comments. Mr. Bede Hall’s questions are exempt from this, of course. [Laughter].

As the two scandals have been well publicized at Saint John’s. I do not need to repeat the details, save to say that as you know, one episode involved immoral heterosexual sexual conduct and the other while not consummated importuned homosexual conduct. I shall observe that like many of you, I was in the bleachers at the basketball game and heard the shouting from the gym basement. And like many of you, I ran down there, drew the obvious conclusion…viewed the scene that had its comedic ironies by the way… and was witness to the expulsion on the spot of one of our colleague-students by the Dean of Men—an action with which I fully approve. Several days later, I was consulted by the Dean of Men on the expulsion of the other colleague of ours…but in Phil 101…with which I also fully approve.

And so now we begin.

Heterosexual Promiscuity.

I shall begin with the Church’s and the traditional Catholic attitude of the morality of sexual pleasure as contained in the 6th and 9th commandments of the Decalogue. They cite these facts: first, that sexual organs were given to men and women by God for an exquisitely noble purpose—the continuation of the human race….second, that the sexual act in marriage is not just good but desirable for a twofold purpose: generation of children and an expression of mutual love between the spouses…third, that sex among believing Catholics and Christians is inherently unselfish since it is directed proximately to one’s marriage partner and ultimately to the progeny that God may give to us as reward…fourth that when contraception is used—as was attempted in the gym basement, by the way—sex’s ultimate purpose is frustrated to satisfy one or both partners’ selfish desires for pleasure, transgressing the privilege belonging only to married partners between themselves.

We see that on all counts the heterosexual liaison between the two in the gym basement was immoral. Then you say, why can’t their sin be forgiven with the sacrament of confession? It can and I understand the sacrament was offered to them both. Whether they partook I have no knowledge. Notwithstanding the sacrament’s absolution, to allow them to continue in their universities would constitute grave scandal for others who are living chaste lives so the decision to expel them both was sound.

We turn now to…I see we have a question from who else? Mr. Bede Hall. You say, what? WHAT? Would it have been less serious if the man had not practiced contraception? Come now, Mr. Hall! Of course not. Contraception is morally wrong—period. Then you say, could it be said that the Church believes that if you’re going to do it, avoid contraceptive devices? No, Mr. Hall, you fail to comprehend the law of the Church and morality. The Church says don’t do it. But if they disregard the moral law and if their union results in birth of a child, great responsibility placed on them for the rearing of the child including the prospect of their marriage. Conception should never be frustrated. Intercourse can be modulated with both partners’ agreement, of course and then with the proper moral acts undertaken—rhythm, natural family planning—but birth should not be prevented artificially.

Nor at any time is birth a sin. Illicit sexual union always is. Mr. Hall has another question. What? WHAT? He asks if the same law pertains in the case of rape that conception should not be frustrated either before or after the crime. Conception should never be frustrated because that is the prevention of life, Mr. Hall. Difficult for you to understand, I know but work at it. [Laughter].

Mr. Hall was hinting that I should consider one of two deviant theories: one that it would have been less sinful to forego contraception and two that it possibly would be less sinful to conceive. Nice try, Mr. Hall [laughter] but their sin was in fornication; contraception is included in the sin of fornication, in that by this means the parties derive illicit pleasure without risk of conception. The action with and/or without is still a grave sin. But by no means is birth…by itself …ever to be categorized as sin. It must not be prevented by any means or ended by abortion. Nor does conception mitigate the essential sin of fornication. It heightens the responsibility of the parents to see the child is raised well within the strictures of the Church--which may or may not involve their marriage. In the case of rape, you do not punish the unborn child for this horrendous crime with resultant murder which is what abortion is. Illegal as it is, it is practiced under wraps and should be viewed with both hands upraised in horror.

Now do you get it, Mr. Hall? Aha! Mr. Hall does get it which undoubtedly is long after other members of the class have—but thank you for the query, Mr. Hall [laughter].

I turn now to the question of homosexuality.


The second and end part of the lecture will be presented tomorrow.

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