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Tag Archive: Morality

The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2011 (1:57 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Friday, September 30th, 2011:

David Bentley Hart, from an On The Square article today over at First Things, on the inherently epistemologically-limiting nature of intellectual methodology, and the dangers of ignoring that fact:

The great danger that bedevils any powerful heuristic or interpretive discipline is the tendency to mistake method for ontology, and so to mistake a partial perspective on particular truths for a comprehensive vision of truth as such. In the modern world, this is an especially pronounced danger in the sciences, largely because of the exaggerated reverence scientists enjoy in the popular imagination, and also largely because of the incapacity of many in the scientific establishment to distinguish between scientific rigor and materialist ideology (or, better, materialist metaphysics).

This has two disagreeable results (well, actually, far more than two, but two that are relevant here): The lunatic self-assurance with which some scientists imagine that their training in, say, physics or zoology has somehow equipped them to address philosophical questions whose terms they have never even begun to master; and the inability of many scientists to recognize realities—even very obvious realities—that lie logically outside the reach of the methods their disciplines employ. The best example of the latter, I suppose, would be the inability of certain contemporary champions of “naturalism” to grasp that the question of existence is qualitatively infinitely distinct from the question of how one physical reality arises from another (for, inasmuch as physics can explore only the physical, and the physical by definition already exists, then existence as such is always “metaphysical,” or even “hyperphysical”—which is to say, “supernatural.”)

This interesting little aside into the role of methodology in the intellectual life got me to thinking about the role of religion in the academy. It seems to me, when you get right down to it, that the idea of methodology serving as a definition of the limits of knowledge, thus marginalizing thought which falls outside the methodology as non-knowledge (or “un-scientific”, as one hears it imprecisely put today), is essentially a superstition. Superstition, after all, is nothing more than a belief that a methodology (i.e. cult), whether in act or incantation, will cause effects which in reality are quite independent of their alleged explanations, despite appearances to the contrary (superstitions that did not appear to “work” some convincing proportion of the time would, of course, never have been held). This is not merely a conflation or confusion of correlation with causation (though it certainly can involve that), but an actual belief in the power of allegedly explanatory phenomena, which misdirects the intellect away from its proper end, which is the contemplation of truth. That’s a fancy way of saying that people are deceived by their own cleverness, and so take their eyes off of God.

The history of true religion, be it Christianity or the Israelite religion that spawned it, is a history of struggling against and overcoming the superstitions of pagan religions, and of pointing to the one, true, un-manipulable Cause. It’s ironic that the Yahwists of yore could be denounced essentially as atheists for their rejection of the cosmology, cult, and attendant morality of pagan religion, while their modern descendants are reviled as “religious theocrats” by people often calling themselves atheists, who are practitioners of a methodology (cult) believed to be bringing relief (salvation) to the human condition, but which superstitiously claims both to explain things clearly beyond its competence and invalidate ideas beyond its scope, furthermore is based on a cosmology of Original Violence, or intrinsic struggle – with its resounding similarity to pagan mythology – and is producing in its wake a social morality that resembles nothing so much as pagan hedonism.

It’s been said often enough that wisdom depends on an apt understanding of the meanings of words. Our society could benefit greatly from a non-obfuscatory working definition of religion.

The go-to tool for a go-to method of simply killing as many jihadis as possible

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (9:42 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Tuesday, September 27th, 2011:

 

J.E. Dyer, posting over at HotAir’s Green Room, on the implications of the increasing and expanding reliance of the United States’ military efforts in the Middle East on assassination via drone strike:

To use this kind of force, the implication is that you don’t need to have a traditional-warfare justification.  Alternatively, you could say that this kind of force – drone-targeting; anti-personnel tactics untethered to the idea of securing a “better peace” – is now a way war can be defined.

In either case, these suppositions raise questions in terms of the Geneva Conventions and the law of armed conflict.  More fundamentally, they raise questions as to what we are, in effect, doing.  It’s one thing if drones are used as an adjunct to an overarching strategy of closing in on militant jihadism by denying it territory and transforming the political conditions in which it has thrived.  But it’s something else when drones become the go-to tool, for a go-to method of simply killing as many jihadis as possible.

The latter model begins to resemble the methods of guerrilleros and the bloody conflicts of crime syndicates.  What those models presuppose is the absence of a possibility of strategic resolution:  a felt need to keep killing because, when baseline conditions aren’t expected to change, it’s the only option for harassing, culling, and deterring the enemy pack.  Is that the light in which we see this “war on terror” conflict?

Accountable nations fighting to win – fighting for what B.H. Liddell-Hart called a “better peace” – fight differently.  Their objective is not to kill as many people as possible but to transform the conditions of people on the territory they inhabit.  Bill Roggio is right:  if you don’t transform what’s going on on territory, the important things – the things that produced the need to fight in the first place – will not change.  That transformation need not involve forcibly changing foreign regimes, but it unquestionably involves changing foreign regimes’ will and intentions.

As usual, Dyer has produced a well-thought-out piece, and she asks some very important questions. It’s worth reading the entire (short) piece. Even the discussion in the combox is worth reading – and I don’t find myself able to say that too often!

Myself, I’ve been troubled for quite some time, from a strictly moral perspective, by this administration’s clear preference for using assassination techniques – whether by unmanned drones or more conventional tactics – to achieve its goals. I’ve been reluctant to say anything publicly because I don’t want to come across as a partisan hypocrite. A partisan, maybe; a hypocrite, sure; but not a partisan hypocrite, please.

It’s true that the Obama administration can pretty much do no good in my eyes, but the simple fact that this drone issue might be just another platform from which to clobber Obama with fault does not change the fact that it is so for morally valid reasons – perhaps especially since it appears to me to be of a piece with his overall approach to moral reasoning. One could reasonably ask why I didn’t similarly criticize George Bush for similar techniques, but the truth is, I can’t remember how drones and such were used during the Bush administration, and I haven’t bothered to find out. I simply don’t remember what I thought – assuming I paid attention. Beyond that, I will only make three brief points: (1) If I had said anything at all, I would have been similarly critical of their use by Bush in similar circumstances, though regarding circumstances, see Dyer’s main point on the strategic imperative, and also my following point. (2) For all his failures and mistakes, I understood Bush to be a fundamentally good, decent, and moral man who grappled deeply with the moral implications of his decisions, whereas I understand Obama to be the most cynical, calculating, and utilitarian politician to occupy the White House since Richard Nixon. I trusted Bush; I don’t trust Obama, and so my antennae are up – what can I say… (3) Neither Bush nor his supporters ever tried to pass him off as a “peace candidate” – talk about partisan hypocrisy!

Anyway, getting back to Dyer, she hits the nail on the head when she reminds her readers that, regardless of what they may think, either strategically or morally, of the use of this tactic in the current crises, it is behavior that is opening up a Pandora’s box of payback and proliferation of pre-moral, savage violence, untethered to anything remotely resembling just war.

It is hard to imagine zero-tolerance bullying prevention without schools becoming mini-bureaucratic-police states

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (3:10 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Wednesday, September 14th, 2011:

Mary Rose Somarriba, writing yesterday at Public Discourse, on the recent anti-bullying legislation recently enacted in New Jersey (hewing closely to Obama administration policies), in an article called “A Bully-Free World?”:

Why, one might ask, would the president lead a conference on preventing something like bullying, which is ultimately impossible to prevent? It could be, perhaps, because bullying is something that everyone agrees is wrong, and it is something that everyone can relate to, because everyone has been bullied at some point.

But sadly, bullying is like any unfortunate human conflict and will exist as long as humans do. This does not mean it is okay to bully; it means it is problematic to imagine that we can create a world in which conflict doesn’t exist. It is hard to imagine zero-tolerance bullying prevention without schools becoming mini-bureaucratic-police states—the likes of which only belong in films like Minority Report or Adjustment Bureau—where kids could be criminally charged for hurting each other’s feelings, “different” kids could be targeted as “likely to be bullied,” and so on. But that is exactly what this boils down to: a child’s version of hate crimes.

In reality, laws like New Jersey’s risk worsening the problems of bullying. There is reason to believe that hotlines where kids can anonymously text-message tips to incriminate bullies are yet another technology that kids will abuse for the purposes of bullying. Further, bullying prevention is arguably the wrong goal altogether. It would be better to focus on conflict resolution than on conflict prevention. Devoting all effort to preventing the inevitable is not only wasteful policy; it is a failure to do what actually might lessen the damage of real-life conflicts.

One of my kids – probably the youngest one – mentioned something during dinner the other night about the latest anti-bullying campaign at her school, and I was too tired and cranky to resist letting out a snort. The kids were a little flabbergasted when I said I thought the current anti-bullying hysteria is moronic. Of course, they assumed that anyone who didn’t “like” anti-bullying must therefore “like” bullying – that’s the way these things are framed society-wide, the way immature minds tend to work naturally, and certainly fits the Facebook zeitgeist we and they inhabit. I pointed out the hypocrisy of adults shoving anti-bullying propaganda down the throats of helpless populations of schoolchildren, and made some references to the long stream of social do-goodism in the schools, of which anti-bullying is not merely the latest fashion, but an almost inevitable consequence of previous efforts by the same kinds of “progressive” people to coddle school children, eliminate discipline, abandon authority, and eradicate the stain of “judgmentalism”.

I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining myself, and fortunately, Somarriba does a pretty good job in this article of explaining at least why the anti-bullying agenda is impractical. But I really dislike the agenda for reasons she comes close to, but doesn’t address. She suggests that perhaps President Obama wants to get out in front of this because everybody agrees that bullying is wrong, and she’s dead right about that: it’s a convenient platform for cheesy moralism. You won’t lose any votes by thundering denunciations against bullies, after all. And that’s the real problem here: it’s symptomatic of a culture that feels the need to find something phony with which to fill a glaring void, a void where genuine morality deserves to be found, but cannot be allowed expression lest it upset the libertarian apple cart of mutually assured disregard of vice.

A Final Note on Hvistendahl’s Incoherence

Posted: Monday, September 5, 2011 (4:36 pm), by John W Gillis


Prior to my summer blogging hiatus, I had posted a couple of entries on some responses to Mara Hvistendahl’s recent book on the social consequences of widespread sex-selection abortions in Asia. I ended up requesting the book from my local public library, and checked it out in mid-July. I couldn’t get past the prologue; it was dreadful.

As Hvistendahl laid out her project in the prologue, it was hard not to detect something like a sadness for a great hope gone bad; a belief that abortion should have been not just a means for individual women to “gain control” of their own lives, but a vehicle for social transformation, one sure to lift the world out of the darkness of an evil past. In other words, it was supposed to be a shining example of the fundamental piety (and conceit) of progressivism: the new, technologically-empowered order of Modernity triumphing over the evil institutions of tradition. And yet, something had gone terribly wrong, somehow:

While ultrasound technology was modern, like many people at the time I thought that using it for something as crass as sex selection had to be temporary; one last instance of sexist traditions rearing their ugly head. (p. xiif)

It’s scary to consider how normal this thinking appears to many people – especially educated people.

There’s not a lot of need to explore in too much further detail the fundamental intellectual and moral error embraced by Hvistendahl: as if it were morally unacceptable to select for boys, but perfectly acceptable to select for health traits or some other eugenic purpose – or more to the point: that the practice of adults deciding which children to kill in utero can be justified on the basis of any utilitarian calculation, but only as long as the intention does not violate the sensibilities of people like Mara Hvistendahl. Abortion can’t be wrong simply because it is murderous, but it can be a thought crime, if your reasons don’t pass muster. Imagine that.

I understand that professional academics generally occupy a rather different world than that of working stiffs like me: they travel within their own peculiar orbit of fashionable dogmas that seek to explain the world according to mythologies that place professional academics themselves at the epicenter of a deterministic universe, as gatekeepers to the science of the Answers to Everything™. They function as the Priesthood of Progress – and if they also wear a white coat, then they’re like high priests, or bishops, or something. I get that. But what is a simple thinking person to make of fatuity such as this:

If females are scarce, males may kill a female’s existing offspring to maximize their chance at passing on their genes, inadvertently speeding up the species’ path toward extinction. (p. xv)

It’s hard to know where to start. Although written as a support for her theorizing on the declining prospects for peace in the world given the new gender imbalance among mankind in Asia, it is clearly standard-fare, goofball Darwinistic mythology – applicable, as must be the case, to sexual species generally. It’s tough enough to come up with a credible scenario wherein men might find a scarcity of women an inducement to kill other men’s children in order to try to ensure their own progeny, but to postulate such a clever motivation to irrational, purely instinctual creatures is beyond laughable. Of course, it’s hard enough to see how anyone can reconcile a Darwinist orthodoxy with an abortionist mindset to begin with, unless it is out of utter self-contempt. Still, this may seem somewhat irrelevant to my assessment of her book, but I offer it as an exemplar of the intellectual quality of the work as a whole.

What we’re given in this prognostication is a transparently dubious assertion about reality, being pressed down for validation into the quasi-sacred space of Darwinistic “explanations-of-everything via the progressive/evolutionary struggle for existence”, an intellectual playground where all kinds of absurd explanations for the world around us (sometimes derisively known as just-so stories) are readily embraced without much comment, and are supposedly validated by the fact that things are indeed the way they are (i.e. the just-so explanation for why things are that way must be true, or they wouldn’t be that way, right?). This is the logical fallacy known as affirming the consequent. It attempts to ride the coattails of a meaningless tautology (whatever exists is that which had been most likely to survive), but reads that tautology backwards, via a neo-pagan cosmology of primordial chaos and violence, into an origins mythology of a universal struggle for survival, which begets magical thinking in various affirmations of causeless effects, and assertions of motivated matter and acting secondary substance (i.e. species).

Sufficiently coated now with enough Darwinist dogma-dust so as to be protected from serious intellectual questioning, the idea is then walked back from the murky mists of evolutionary just-so-ism to a place where it can be supposed to be applicable to human society. Again, I understand how popular this kind of mental processing is, but I just can’t stomach it. Now, whether or not a theory of evolution, recognizable as such to a modern Neo-Darwinist, will ever offer a satisfactory biological explanation for the mysterious analogy of life on Earth is quite beside the point here. The point is that the kind of cheesy magical thinking exposed above, coupled with the ideological credulity already evident in Hvistendahl’s thinking on abortion, rendered the idea of a close reading of the entire work, in my judgment, a waste of precious time – although I would end up spending a bit more time scoping out the other sections to better grasp the work as a whole.

Browsing further, I found an interesting section exploring the effects of the woman shortage on marriage norms in Asia, where young women are now routinely imported as sexual commodities into countries with more aggressive girl-aborting practices, where they are very often taken by abusive men with no understanding (or concern) of how to treat women properly. There is also, of course, a burgeoning market in prostitution. In short, Hvistendahl reveals that abortion has facilitated the subjugation of the region’s poorer women in a cruel and demeaning system of sexual slavery. Who would have thought that imposing a barbaric institution designed to kill children for profit and convenience could give rise to such blatant disrespect for women as persons? Go figure!

Hvistendahl might be right about the ominous practical implications of the Asian gender imbalance facilitated by abortion technology – and championed by Western “do-gooders” – but she is blind to the root cause, which is not the prevailing circumstances themselves, but the underlying moral imbecility of embracing pure evil as a vehicle for achieving a desired good. Moreover, little do the Mara Hvistendahls of the world understand what’s ultimately in store for women in the West, whose status, in order to descend to such complete depravity, has to fall so much further than it did in societies in which women have not traditionally been viewed through the dignifying lens of Christianity. But the chickens will surely come home yet to roost, as men – increasingly alienated from any sense of duty, purpose, or responsibility in a consumerist, “liberated” society – continue, progressively, to see women not as wives and as partners in the perpetual generation of civilization in the family, but as more or less useful playthings.

The “freedom to choose” touted by abortion apologists is nothing but a fraudulent license to kill, and the price of murder is the loss of all decency. The bill for this idiocy is coming due.

It is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 (6:21 am), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Monday, May 9th, 2011:

A second helping from the wonderful essay by David Bentley Hart: John Paul II Against the Nihilists:

For the late pope, divine humanity is not something that in a simple sense lies beyond the human; it does not reside in some future, post-human race to which the good of the present must be offered up; it is instead a glory hidden in the depths of every person, even the least of us – even "defectives" and "morons" and "genetic inferiors," if you will – waiting to be revealed, a beauty and dignity and power of such magnificence and splendour that, could we see it now, it would move us either to worship or to terror.

Obviously none of this would interest or impress the doctrinaire materialist. The vision of the human that John Paul articulates and the vision of the "transhuman" to which the still nascent technology of genetic manipulation has given rise are divided not by a difference in practical or ethical philosophy, but by an irreconcilable hostility between two religions, two metaphysics, two worlds – at the last, two gods.

And nothing less than the moral nature of society is at stake. If, as I have said, the metaphysics of transhumanism is inevitably implied within such things as embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, then to embark upon them is already to invoke and invite the advent of a god who will, I think, be a god of boundless horror, one with a limitless appetite for sacrifice.

And it is by their gods that human beings are shaped and known. In some very real sense, "man" is always only the shadow of the god upon whom he calls: for in the manner by which we summon and propitiate that god, and in that ultimate value that he represents for us, who and what we are is determined.

Amen. We are not only created in the image of our Creator God, but we are continually shaped in to the resemblance of the gods we worship. This, it seems to me, is pretty much the entire point of the Old Testament.

There are no negotiable or even very perplexing issues regarding our moral obligations before the mystery of life

Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 (3:29 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Sunday, May 8th, 2011:

David Bentley Hart, in an excellent essay posted on a remarkably robust “Religion & Ethics” section of the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which highlights the irremediably divergent visions of God inherent in the worldviews of modern, materialist “transhumanists,” and orthodox Christianity – particularly as expressed in Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body:

To one who holds to John Paul’s Christian understanding of the body, and so believes that each human being, from the very first moment of existence, emerges from and is called towards eternity, there are no negotiable or even very perplexing issues regarding our moral obligations before the mystery of life.

Not only is every abortion performed an act of murder, but so is the destruction of every "superfluous" embryo created in fertility clinics or every embryo produced for the purposes of embryonic stem cell research.

The fabrication of clones, the invention of "chimeras" through the miscegenation of human and animal DNA, and of course the termination of supernumerary, dispensable, or defective specimens that such experimentation inevitably entails are in every case irredeemably evil.

Even if, say, research on embryonic stem cells could produce therapies that would heal the lame, or reverse senility, or repair a damaged brain, or prolong life, this would in no measure alter the moral calculus of the situation: human life is an infinite good, never an instrumental resource; human life is possessed of an absolute sanctity, and no benefit (real or supposed) can justify its destruction.

This essay does a splendid job of articulating succinctly the great Christian eschatological doctrine of theosis, or deification, and of demonstrating how the most wicked and patently absurd eugenic philosophies and anthropologies emanating from the penumbra of the academy are really just mockeries of the great truth of God’s end for mankind in sharing His glory.

via First Thoughts

Through obedience, we become who we really are

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 (7:06 am), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Tuesday, April 26th, 2011:

David Mills, from an On the Square post over at First Things, from an interesting, if somewhat bizarrely sensationalist, reflection on the moral significance of being true to the self:

No one objects to being told to live like Jesus. But to live the way St. Paul says to live, or the way the Catechism of the Catholic Church says to live, that we dislike. Being chaste, or giving alms, or stifling our desire for profit, or going to confession, or watching our language, or suffering a fool gladly, that rankles, especially if we have to do it. But through obedience to the accumulated and refined wisdom of the Church, we become who we really are. It’s worth it.

Mills hits on a truly significant point here about the easiness of conforming to a vague notion of Jesus-ism (i.e. What Would Jesus Do?), which can be (and too often is) readily reduced to a projection of self-interest by anyone seeking “religious” justification for their own delusions. Not so much, as he says, with Saint Paul, or the teaching Church.

Teens don’t even have an authority to rebel against

Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 (11:23 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for April Fools’ Day, 2011:

Townhall.com columnist Kathryn Lopez, writing last week on the appalling apparel that dominates the American teen girl’s consumer environment:

Two generations, in other words, are feeling the pain of the feminism that has wreaked havoc on the sexes, leaving us with a boundary-free horizon where teens don’t even have an authority to rebel against.

I grabbed this quote not because I thought the article was all that interesting, but because Lopez nails a tremendously important point here about the repercussions of generations of permissiveness having produced not only that moral paralysis in the face of licentiousness that so characterizes modern “political correctness” ethics, but also ultimately deprives children of any sort of serious moral norms against which to measure their lives.

The great feminist revolt against “patriarchy” has not only far too often turned men into self-serving philistines, and women into shameless tramps, it has corroded expectations for the social function of the family to the point where the very notion that wisdom exists appears quaintly anachronistic – and authority subsequently withers into a dirty word that only manifests itself in violence, which is the ultimate end of all revolt against wisdom.

It’s not that feminism alone bears the blame for the loss of authority in the modern moral consciousness – anti-authoritarianism is the basic impulse of all leftist idealism, after all – but it served as a fulcrum for delegitimizing the basic function of the family as the basic unit of that great web of human compassion which is society, wherein the strong protect the weak in all manner of ways.

At any rate, a very appropriate topic for April Fools’ Day.

They couldn’t help noticing the disgusting conditions, the dazed patients, the discarded fetuses

Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2011 (11:47 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Thursday, January 20, 2011:

From page 8 of the Grand Jury report of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania concerning the long-unfettered illegal practices of abortionist Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D:

Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did, not even after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. In the end, Gosnell was only caught by accident, when police raided his offices to seize evidence of his illegal prescription selling. Once law enforcement agents went in, they couldn’t help noticing the disgusting conditions, the dazed patients, the discarded fetuses. That is why the complete regulatory collapse that occurred here is so inexcusable. It should have taken only one look.

This is a gruesome report, which paints a picture of both bureaucratic incompetence and political depravity, while managing to miss the more fundamental causes: crass indifference and moral imbecility. Gosnell – and accomplices – is being charged with murdering viable babies following botched abortions, among other charges.

However, from the first paragraphs, it was evident to me that this is a poorly written, and not particularly well reasoned, document – high on dramatic flair, and full of disturbing facts, but lacking precision. I imagine that’s not uncommon for Grand Jury reports, but this one includes such luminous idiocy as this:

We believe, given the manner in which Gosnell operated, that he killed the vast majority of babies that he aborted after 24 weeks. (pg. 115)

The idiocy is by no means limited to the jurors. The report includes quotes (e.g. pg. 101) from “assistants” who made a living for years in this detestable operation, and who themselves personally participated in and performed the post-natal murderous act with scissors they all called “snipping,” and yet who took photographs of a 34-week old baby after he’d been killed, because they were disturbed by the killing, since the baby was so big. So big! Well, thank God for occasional bigness, I suppose.

A society that can routinely look the other way while evil like this gets perpetrated is a society in its own death throes.

On the Need to Call Evil Good

Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 (9:53 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Wednesday, December 8th, 2010:

Robert R. Reilly, concluding a smart essay originally published by the National Review in November 1996, entitled “Culture of Vice”, which discusses the psychological origins of moral disorders that threaten whole cultures:

Controversies about life, generation, and death are decisive for the fate of any civilization. A society can withstand any number of persons who try to advance their own moral disorders as public policy. But it cannot survive once it adopts the justification for those moral disorders as its own. This is what is at stake in the culture war.

Reilly does a terrific job in a short space of exposing the process that moves inexorably  from personal immorality, toward a society-wide capitulation to systemic evil, skirting cognitive dissonance on its way.

With rare exception, the human person is not much capable of embracing evil per se. In the absence of a will to pursue righteousness through the inculcation of virtue, he will not only rationalize his personal immorality, but will ultimately be satisfied with nothing short of a social affirmation of the “goodness” of his immorality – even to the point of overturning the public moral order. Un-resisted personal vice, in other words, eventually demands the destruction of the good in the public sphere.

Well worth reading.

HT to James V. Schall, posting at The Catholic Thing, for the link.