domenica, giugno 30, 2013

“Smash it to atoms”

“Smash it to atoms”:
Capitalism, of course, is at war with the family, for the same reason which has led to its being at war with the Trade Union. This indeed is the only sense in which it is true that capitalism is connected with individualism. Capitalism believes in collectivism for itself and individualism for its enemies. It desires its victims to be individuals, or (in other words) to be atoms. For the word atom, in its clearest meaning (which is none too clear) might be translated as “individual.” If there be any bond, if there be any brotherhood, if there be any class loyalty or domestic discipline, by which the poor can help the poor, these emancipators will certainly strive to loosen that bond or lift that discipline in the most liberal fashion. If there be such a brotherhood, these individualists will redistribute it in the form of individuals; or in other words smash it to atoms.
– The Superstition of Divorce (1920).

sabato, giugno 29, 2013

What can we learn from the Ancient Greeks today?

What can we learn from the Ancient Greeks today?:
Wednesday 27 February 2013 –Great Hall, Hellenic Centre, London
University of Exeter scholars illuminated the background of the current financial crisis and the contemporary usefulness of ancient Greek healthcare methods. The event featured two short lectures followed by discussion by scholars from the University of Exeter, bringing out key insights from ancient Greece for modern society.
Organised by the University of Exeter and the Hellenic Centre, the event formed part of the Initiative on the Impact of Greek Culture in the ancient and modern world, which is sponsored by the A. G. Leventis Foundation.
Lectures

Professor Richard Seaford
Professor Richard Seaford: ‘Money: from its invention by the Greeks to the crisis of today’
The first society in history to be monetised was the ancient Greek polis. And so the Greeks – unlike us – did not take money for granted, and so could sometimes see the nature of money more clearly than we can. Though aware of it convenience, they were also shocked by its impact. They noted its tendency to replace all other values, and its unlimitedness: one can have enough of just about everything, but not of money, and this insatiability is, they believed, both unnatural and potentially destructive of society. Something like the ancient Greek culture of limit is precisely what we need if we are to avert economic crises and environmental catastrophe.

Professor Chris Gill
Professor Christopher Gill: ‘Healthcare and wellbeing: can the ancient Greeks help us?’
World-wide concern about the massive rise in obesity and depression, among other conditions, is leading people to look again at preventive medicine and the role of a healthy life-style. The ancient Greeks had highly developed ideas on this subject, including Galen’s ‘six-factor’ method for maintaining a healthy and balanced life. Classics scholars at Exeter have been exploring the usefulness of the Greek (especially Galenic) method under modern conditions, and are working with medical experts and community health groups to see what contribution the ancient approach can make to modern problems. This presentation sets out current work in this area and its larger implications.
Download Professor Gill’s Paper (93KB)
Download Professor Chris Gill’s Slides (PDF 14.1MB)

venerdì, giugno 28, 2013

13 ore di parole per nascondere la verità

13 ore di parole per nascondere la verità:

Wendy Davis


di Giuliano Guzzo
A volte la verità fa paura. Non sempre, naturalmente. Ma a volte è così; e si delinea all’orizzonte come un avversario minaccioso, un incubo da evitare comunque, costi quel che costi. Ne è un esempio l’impresa della senatrice texana Wendy Davis, 50 anni, la quale è giunta a parlare per ben 13 ore consecutive pur di impedire che il Senato si pronunciasse su un disegno di legge che contenava nuove restrizioni sull’aborto e che, se approvato, avrebbe messo il bastone fra le ruote a parecchie strutture abortiste.
Il ragionamento della senatrice Davis è il stato seguente: siccome non posso escludere che il Senato approvi una legge parzialmente antiabortista (non prevedeva l’abolizione tout court dell’aborto), tutto quello che posso fare è sabotarne la votazione. La votazione infatti si è poi tenuta ma, essendo stata effettuata poco dopo la mezzanotte – vale a dire a legislatura scaduta -, è stata subito resa nulla. Una vittoria, anzi un trionfo politico dei democratici, con tanto di festeggiamenti via Twitter di mister Obama. Che bello.
Apparentemente, in effetti, quello di Wendy Davis ha tutto il sapore di un successo: c’era un “pericolo” ed è stato evitato. Però è proprio questo il punto: il “pericolo” – guardandolo dall’ottica dei democratici e, più in generale, degli abortisti – non è stato sconfitto e nemmeno affrontato sul campo, ma solamente evitato. Evitato come si evita un “pericolo” vero, come qualcosa da cui è bene tenersi alla larga. Come un avversario minaccioso – lo dicevamo all’inizio -, come un incubo da evitare a tutti i costi.
Peccato che quel “pericolo” si chiami verità. Peccato cioè che anche nelle prossime legislature ed anche in altre assemblee legislative, popolate da altre pugnaci Wendy Davis, il giorno del “pericolo” si ripresenterà. E con lui l’obbligo, per chi sostiene la liceità dell’aborto, di spiegare le proprie ragioni. Di dire cosa c’è di giusto nell’impedire ad un bambino di nascere perché la sua mamma non si sente pronta ad accoglierlo, e cosa c’è di umano nel far pesare ad una donna le proprie difficoltà fino al punto di toglierle per sempre chi le è più caro.
Fino a quel giorno, fino a quando si continuerà a parlare tanto – fino a 13 ore – non solo senza dire nulla ma addirittura col solo scopo di rimandare un dibattito, siamo autorizzati a credere che il fronte abortista, in effetti, non sia unito che da questo: dalla paura per la verità e, di conseguenza, dall’amore per la menzogna. Del resto, è sempre stato così: già per depenalizzare l’aborto furono dette montagne di falsità, a partire dal numero degli aborti clandestini, regolarmente sovrastimato per plagiare l’opinione pubblica.
Non è un caso che proprio l’America, negli anni, abbia visto entrare nel fronte antiabortista notissimi ex abortisti: dal dottor Bernard Nathanson, grazie al quale in una grande clinica – il Centro per la salute sessuale e riproduttiva di New York – e in ambulatori privati furono effettuati 75.000 aborti, a Norma McCorvey, la donna – soprannominata «Jane Roe» –  per il cui aborto, nel 1973, fu emessa la storica sentenza «Roe vs Wade», che spalancò le porte alla pratica abortiva.
Non è un caso – dicevamo – che proprio in America, dove l’aborto legale è arrivato prima che in altri Paesi, molti che ieri lo sostenevano oggi lo avversano, e quelli che oggi lo sostengono, come Wendy Davis e Barack Obama ed altri, gioiscano già per il fatto che certi leggi non vengano discusse, e quindi che dell’aborto, in definitiva, non si parli. Non è un caso perché la verità, lo abbiamo detto, può far paura e pure fare male. Ma anche ripetere ed amare una bugia – per giunta una bugia colossale come quella che nega l’umanità del bimbo non ancora nato – non dev’essere facile.
fonte: http://giulianoguzzo.wordpress.com/

mercoledì, giugno 26, 2013

Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer-to-Peer Decolla in USA

Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer-to-Peer Decolla in USA:
Schermata 2013 04 11 alle 08.26.09 650x724 Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer to Peer Decolla in USA
Immaginate di andare su ebay e di “comprare un prestito” come se fosse un oggetto. E’ questo che fa Lending Club una piattaforma on-line professionale per il micro e medio credito, peer-to-peer ovvero senza una banca che fa da intermediario.
Qui non siamo di fronte ad un sistema di micro-credito per i paesi del terzo mondo, ma ci troviamo ad osservare una società con scopo di lucro che NON è una banca e che mette in contatto diretto chi vuole prestare denaro e chi lo vuole ricevere a debito nella ricca america.
Lending Club per ora è attivo solo negli Stati Uniti ( e neppure in tutti gli Stati dell’unione per ora), lo società ha standardizzato un processo di due diligence per determinare il merito di credito di ciascun soggetto che chiede denaro a prestito, assegnandoli un rating personale :
Schermata 2013 04 11 alle 08.32.37 Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer to Peer Decolla in USA

Di fatto Lending Club ha regole relativamente stringenti per escludere dal sistema debitori troppo poco affidabili in modo da evitare l’accesso alla piattaforma di truffatori:
Schermata 2013 04 11 alle 08.35.39 Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer to Peer Decolla in USA

La cosa interessante è che la piattaforma Lending Club offre dei tool per comporre un portafoglio molto diversificato di investimento per chi vuole prestare denaro. la compagnia infatti consiglia di prestare ad almeno 800 soggetti contemporaneamente frazionando così il rischio controparte.
Un secondo aspetto interessante è DOVE nasce Lending Club: in California, a San Francisco… vi dice nulla?  Si tratta propio della Silicon Valley il motore mondiale della rivoluzione internet si è acceso anche sui servizi di intermediazione del credito.
Il Mega Trend
Non so se Lending Club avrà successo oppure se sarà qualche altro soggetto in questo campo a diventare leader mondiale come ebay, ma sono sicuro che siamo di fronte ad un nuovo Mega Trend, ovvero la sostituzione delle banche nell’intermediazione del danaro. Lending Club (e fulgido) è solo l’ultimo esempio. E se pensate che siano solo piccole società pionieristiche ad operare in questo campo vi sbagliate.
Avete mai sentito parlare di M-Pesa?
No probabilmente no, M-Pesa opera in Africa ed è un sistema sicuro per depositare il proprio denaro …. in un telefonino Vodafone (non esattamente un azienda appena nata neh?)
da KeyforBiz
Trasferire denaro via telefonino è un’opportunità che ha cambiato la vita a molte persone nei mercati emergenti, dove spesso le persone non possono accedere ai circuiti finanziari tradizionali – per la mancanza ‘fisica’ delle banche o per gli alti costi dei conti corrente – ma possiedono, per la maggior parte, un telefonino.
 Un Mondo senza Banche: Il Prestito Peer to Peer Decolla in USASecondo uno studio diBerg Insight, il numero di utenti attivi dei cosiddetti servizi ‘mobile money’ nei mercati emergenti crescerà a un tasso di crescita medio annuale del 36%, passando da 61 milioni nel 2011 a 381 milioni nel 2017.
Il valore totale delle transazioni – sempre secondo le proiezioni di Berg Insight – crescerà a un tasso medio annuale del 44%, da 44 miliardi di dollari nel 2011a 395 miliardi tra 5 anni.
Vodafone, ad esempio, ha lanciato dal 2007 il servizio M-Pesa, diventato uno dei sistemi di pagamento più utilizzati in paesi come il Kenya. Il successo del servizio si basa sulla semplicità di utilizzo e l’economicità: i pagamenti o la ricezione di denaro avvengono via sms, senza la necessità di disporre di un telefonino troppo sofisticato e i costi delle transazioni sono molto bassi.
Ora, il gruppo britannico ha annunciato che M-Pesa potrà essere usato anche a livellotransfrontaliero, permettendo il trasferimento di denaro anche tra paesi diversi. M-Pesa sarà collegato all’hub internazionale HomeSend, gestito da BICS, società attiva nel settore dei trasferimenti di denaro in 35 paesi.
E sapete come si trasforma in contanti l’M-Pesa di Vodafone?
Se vivi in un villaggio sperduto africano si manda un sms ad un agente locale M-Pesa, il quale viene da te con una scassata motocicletta con il contante richiesto, il tuo credito viene scalato dal portafoglio elettronico (nei server di Vodafone che in pratica ti fa da banca). Se vivi in una città ti rechi dal primo negoziante di telefonini vodafone che trovi oppure da negozi convenzionati che recano lo stiker M-Pesa.
Avete capito?
Niente più filiali bancarie.
Ovviamente il servizio ha un suo costo anche se piccolo e però l’idea di M-Pesa come quella di Lending Club è la medesima. Usare la rete per intermediare il denaro saltando le banche.
E funziona.




martedì, giugno 25, 2013

Voltaire cattolico di Antonio Gurrado

Voltaire cattolico è il mio nuovo libro, edito da Lindau, che raccoglie tutto ciò che Voltaire ha scritto in Italiano. In queste pagine la sua voce suona sorprendentemente e distintamente cattolica, specie quando prende carta e penna per scrivere al Papa e chiedergli una reliquia di San Francesco o di poter baciargli la sacra pantofola. Si tratta di una prospettiva inconsueta sull'Illuminismo che emerge dal mio saggio introduttivo e dalla prefazione di Nicholas Cronk, direttore della Voltaire Foundation di Oxford. Quest'ultima la trovate in anteprima sul numero 25 di Tempi in edicola questa settimana.


Da giovedì 27 giugno nelle migliori librerie, ma anche in quelle così così.

lunedì, giugno 24, 2013

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail:
From small mistakes come large failures. Or, as Aristotle puts it, a small error in the premises may lead to a grave error in conclusions.

I have been listening to the Supreme Court oral arguments on gay “marriage” – 2 days of arguments, one on Prop 8 from Calif, the other on DOMA and an estate tax marital deduction. Among many smaller thoughts, one thing stands out that is remarkABLE but is absolutely, utterly unremarked by both sides, and illustrates perfectly the way a cultural attitude shapes gaps in perception: In all of the comments about Prop 8 and DOMA, nothing by either side (so far as I have heard, anyway) allows one to think that both these laws allow gays to get married. You would think that both laws state: Homosexuals cannot marry. That’s false. NEITHER LAW stands in the way of gays getting married. The mantra of the gays is that they are being blocked from marriage, which is a civil right. Utter hogwash.

Of course gays can get married. In all 50 states, any man who is of age and unmarried can marry a woman who is of age, not closely related, and not already married. That includes gays. A gay man can marry a woman. A lesbian woman can marry a man. The law does not pick out homosexuals and say “homosexuals cannot marry”. The law doesn’t even ask if you are homosexual. You can be gay, straight, bi-sexual, or whatever, the law _does_not_speak to whether you can get married. It only speaks to the gender complementarity of the people marrying. Any gay man can marry a woman, just as any straight man can marry a woman. Any lesbian woman can marry a man, just as any straight women can marry a man. There’s no discrimination against homosexuals in THAT. Equal before the law.


OK, you’re nodding and smiling and saying “well, of course, but no gay men WANT to marry women.” In point of fact, this isn’t accurate: there are some gay men who want to marry women because they want children, and they want the children naturally. They love and have a respect for the natural good of children, and they respect the natural order in bringing children into the world in the context of a natural family. These gay men DO actually want to marry women for the sake of children, even though women cannot satisfy their cravings for sexual love. They don’t want the women for satisfying sex, but they want do want marriage for children.

But even aside from these few gay men, the discriminating that is going on in the law is a discrimination not about your sexual orientation but about the gender-difference of the union. The law discriminates in favor of gender complementarity, and as a result stands against gender neutrality or gender irrelevancy. The law says absolutely nothing at all about the sexual orientation of the parties. No discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation occurs whatsoever.

Yes, of course, but marriage is about sexually satisfying love - romantic love - so walling off marriage so that gays cannot marry people with whom they desire sexually satisfying romance is against civil rights, isn’t it? Well, is it? Let’s pick that apart a little.

Not all societies are so totally roped in on rights to protect our romantic desires. In fact, in most societies before the 20th century, and in India today, many marriages have been arranged between families. Sometimes the families did the arranging without regard to romance at all, (especially among the nobility), and other times they arranged the marriages with romance being a secondary concern.

Yes, I can hear your howls of outrage: but that’s not American! Our culture doesn’t force people into arranged marriages! Are you so sure? My last used car I bought off someone whose family arranged their marriage. Admittedly, they had emigrated from India, but they were here in America, getting along just fine among all of us romantic lovers. One of my closest neighbors is a man whose family has arranged marriages for 3 of their children, right here in America – and they are not from India. I am not pointing this out to belittle the notion of romantic love, I am doing it to make a point about the narrowness of cultural perspective. People just won’t stop and reflect carefully on “what is marriage for”, they make assumptions about it, historically unreflective assumptions that don’t necessarily hold up in the light of day. In the upper class families of Europe, at least among those without strong Christian scruples, it was commonly said that marriage was for dynasty, mistresses were for personal satisfaction. Many French still have some of that attitude. On the other side of the coin, in ancient Athens there was a quite considerable streak of toleration for homosexuality, and openly gay people like Alcibiades were not treated with hatred. Because only men (typically) were educated, in some circles it was thought that marriage is for family and children, but if a man wanted a “true equal” in a lover he would seek out another man. It is, therefore, possible to hold no animus against romantic fulfillment, without assuming that it’s the core, essential thing marriage is about. And it is possible to have no animus against homosexual relationships, without in the least bit imagining that two gays ought to be able to marry each other. Just to finish out the thought: The couple from whom I bought my car reiterated the long tradition (from both east and west) that if a man and a woman commit to marriage with respect for each other and with a commitment to making loving choices on behalf of each other (including in the bedroom), romantic satisfaction tends to follow, through natural causes combined with human effort. It isn’t that they treat romantic love as being irrelevant to marriage, but that they recognize it as being not the sole determining concern, nor even the first.

There is no definitive reason why people who feel romantic love for each other have to get married. Heck, some romantic couples don’t want to even live in the same house, they want to continue to see each other regularly but have their own independent establishments to retreat to. Similarly, some people who are happy to live in the same house / apartment have absolutely no romantic feelings for each other at all. Suppose two bachelors shared the same apartment for 3 years, but who each (separately) enjoy an active sex life with various women, for example, neither having any intention of marrying, and they eventually decide to buy a house, half each, to continue to enjoy their stable play-boy arrangements. So, if two people love each other, and desire each other sexually, and have no intention of living together or having children, should we socially “recognize” their romantic and sexual feelings by according their condition the name and status “marriage”? Nobody has ever suggested it so far, and with good reason. If two people live together and expect to continue to live together for many years indefinitely, should we give that intention the name and status “marriage”? Nobody has ever suggested it before now, and with good reason. Is NOT calling their long term intention “marriage” a denial of a civil right? Of course not. There is no civil right to having society grant the recognition of the status called “marriage” on people like the above.

If you ask 50% of 18 year old men, they would LOVE to marry X, Y, or Z starlet, say Taylor Swift. But they cannot do so, even though that’s what they “desire”. So, is that against their civil rights? Of course, it isn’t what Swift wants. The “civil right” of a man to marry a woman who doesn’t want to marry him seems to be something of a misnomer, doesn’t it? The civil right of the man can’t be a right that runs roughshod over the civil right of the woman, so we say that no, the man’s civil rights do not protect his right to marry someone against their will.

Can we generalize and say that among consenting adults who have a romantic love, they have a right to marriage as a civil right? Well, again, the societal answer to that has ALWAYS been “not necessarily.” A father has no right to marry his daughter, no matter how much “in love” they are. Likewise, a brother and sister have no such civil right. Why? Well, the reason is obvious, of course: CHILDREN. There is too much danger of children being genetically short-changed. So, let’s follow this out along the lines of an argument that took up at least 5 minutes of the SC’s time: what if both father and daughter are sterile – suppose the daughter aged 35 has had an hysterectomy and the father aged 52 is sterile from chemo drugs.. Can they get married? There is no genetic problem with that. What possible social objection could there be, then?

The answer is deeper than that, and a 5 minute oral argument before 9 justices ready to break into each other’s thoughts is not the venue for sorting it out, unfortunately for 300 million people whose future is riding on their decision. Social recognition of a special state, with special benefits and special requirements, arose in connection with and due to the relationship of children to their parents. If you look at the 1000 ways society conveys social respect to married couples, it is easy to see that most of them arose within the context of protecting and promoting the welfare of the children which normally are the fruit of a ”marriage” as traditionally defined - a permanent, social, emotional and physically (sexually) expressed union of two people, which union is of such a character and power as to be capable of engendering children without outside agency, when not impeded by physical circumstances. Defined properly, the complementarity of the sexes required for the entity is manifest and integral.

Even many of the benefits that apparently are accorded simply between the spouses arose within a context in which those benefits protected and promoted the welfare of children. To take a simple and easy example, look at the estate tax marital deduction from one of the cases at stake here. Thea Speyer’s estate claimed a deduction available to married couples. But why did society even decide to grant a marital deduction for estate tax for married people? Obviously, when two people have spent decades together and built up a unified household together, splitting that household apart and taxing one half is an unsavory sort of burden to put on the widow. But THAT situation, is, itself, rooted in a still deeper set of needs, namely that a married couple will spend decades together building up a household – which is for the sake of children. That’s because marriage is for the sake of children: the permanence of marriage is one of its core aspects, and is due to the needs of children. (By the way, there is no necessary assumption that the ENTIRE estate needs to be protected by such estate tax marital deduction: it makes much more sense to protect the household and (subsistence) farm estate for this than it does to protect the portfolio of stocks for a married couple, and not too long in the past only half of the estate was so protected. This is consistent with some state laws in intestate deaths – the state-ordered division of goods put only half in the hands of the widow, and the other half went to kids outright.) Similarly, the needs of children are what drives couples to base their economy on one parent’s large(r) income from full time work, which allows the other parent either to stay home for the kids or work only part time – and this is the basis for treating the entire “estate” of the couple as being a joint effort and according that property a marital deduction, even though most of the property comes from directly from only one spouse’s work. The presumptive rationale for this deduction benefit falls apart when there ceases to be any relevant connection between marriage and children, and between the status of marriage and having a combined estate (of not-very-equal personal property between spouses) for the sake of something beyond merely an associated household during life (given that we don’t accord 2 long-term housemates such a deduction).

So, any benefits accorded to the status of marriage on account of its permanence or its distinctive combined living is also due to marriage’s connection (in principle) with children. Without that, nobody would have cared enough (historically) to award the status such benefit. This remains true even of marriages where both parties are sterile: the definition of marriage includes physical union of such a character and power as to be capable engendering children, if no physical impediments stand in the way.

(Lest we have people carping that permanence of marriage is something that belongs just as much to marriage due to the emotional bond as due to children, that emotional need is ITSELF related to children. Christian marital ethics teaches that God designed man as an integrated entity, with its parts being harmonious. Thus, He designed man so that his emotional capacities and needs would fall in harmoniously with his physical dimension: the very same design that makes children need two parents for so many years makes parents ready to commit to being together permanently: human sexual love (as distinguished from animal desire) is a love of rational self-giving, so that the permanent self-giving by which a parent commits to bringing a child into the world is ALSO a permanent self-giving to the spouse by which that child is engendered. (The fact that not each individual act of sex engenders a child is again irrelevant – the act is of such a nature and power as to do so unless impeded by physical circumstances.) It is impossible to say that the affective unitive aspect of marital union is separated from the good of children. Likewise, the human need of children to be raised in a family of permanent complementary love is borne of the same integral design: To grow complete psychologically, the child needs graphic, personal examples of both fatherly and motherly (self-giving) love. The harmony between personal satisfaction, sexual love and children (conceiving, bearing, and raising well) is proof of the integrity of the design.)

What has all this to do with civil rights? This: the state doesn’t grant to two people who have feelings for each other with a special status merely because they have those feelings. That’s not what the social recognition is for, and there is no civil right violated. Nor does the state grant special status on two people who want to live together really, really strongly – again that’s not what the social recognition is for, and there is no civil right violated. To combine the two situations into one couple - 2 people who have really strong emotional feelings and who want to live together - merely adds one irrelevant condition onto another, without creating a relevant condition thereby. If, within their feelings and living together they generate a physical union which is itself of such a nature and power as to engender children (unless physical circumstances hinder), THAT’s a new condition to the enterprise that matters to society in a fundamental way and bears social recognition.

What has all this to do with the Supreme Court’s deliberation, and a shoe losing its nail? Here’s my prediction for the outcome: Going by the tenor of his comments in March in court and his earlier judicial theorizing, Justice Anthony Kennedy seems to be leaning toward bringing eternal infamy upon his first name (ahem) and the Court by siding with the gays, unless he can carve out a middle path that satisfies neither the gays nor normal marriage. That middle path could take this form: Prop 8 could have been a legitimate law in a state that protects children’s welfare by reference to marriage explicitly. But in a state that allows gay adoption (even if not married) and adoption by singles, they have chosen to disregard the ancient connection between marriage and children, and so this state at least cannot argue that they intend a rational protection of children by allowing only straight people to be married. If he takes such a position, at least for those purposes the cause of normal marriage will have been lost earlier in the so-called “little” battles over contraception, abortion, sodomy, and allowing gays “civil unions”, and allowing gays (or single people) to adopt – all individual smaller battles over the nature of sex and marriage. People who said back in 2004 “well, why NOT allow gays to adopt, it doesn’t have any greater import than just taking care of that child” were wrong, demonstrably so. Thus in arguments on both days, lawyers for traditional marriage were hampered in attempting to argue anything like traditional marriage, and it showed in what they were left with. Lawyers for DOMA hardly even attempted to make a case for the traditional marriage in its own right, and lawyers for Prop 8 had to thread a much more difficult course than simply saying that sodomy and gay sex is contrary to marital love because marital love is built into a context that relates such love and children integrally. The SC itself will have been the agency by which marriage was undone, but earlier in the midst of Griswold, Roe, Lawrence, etc, where the Court repeatedly ignored underlying principles connecting sex and marriage, thereby making those arguments nearly impossible to make without also running afoul of accepted dicta about contraception, abortion, sodomy, etc.

If you listen to the debates, it will be immediately clear that if the SC vote goes for the gays and against normal marriage, there is no conceptual limit to “marriage.” Soon there will be 3 and 4 person groups who want to marry, and there will be no “rational” state basis for saying no. People will argue for, and attempt "temporary" marriages - which (if there are no children) might have the benefit of allowing the couple after the end of the term to call themselves "not married:" without having to go through a divorce, and without naming themselves "divorced". Ironically, line “marriages” will happen (6 to 15 or more people marrying, intergenerationally, adding new people as old ones die, so that a “line marriage” can last literally for hundreds of years) and will force a complete re-structuring of the marital deduction on estate tax after all. After things like that, people will attempt to “marry” the other partners in a limited partnership, and then the shareholders of a closely-held corporation will attempt marriage (thus putting a wrecking ball through the pension and health insurance systems organized with spousal benefits). Soon, governments will stop according X, Y, and Z benefits to marriage, and it will become a much less desirable status than it once was, so much so that many gays will wonder what the point was for pushing for gay “marriage” anyway. A pyrrhic (brimstone variety) victory, discerned only after they have brought down a whole culture. If we are incredibly lucky (after all that), we will eventually arrive at a “new”, separate status for people who want to have children within a permanent committed relationship of complementary love – and THAT status will again start receiving social benefits. But Hell forbid that we call it marriage.

sabato, giugno 22, 2013

Il Papa è re oppure no? [La giornata]

Il Papa è re oppure no? [La giornata]:
Una critica radicale del pensiero esposto qui da Roberto de Mattei, il problema dei Concordati in una chiesa povera e non costantiniana, altre delizie papiste. Interventi di Burini, Agnoli, Bandinelli, Rossi, Panella.
Continua sul sito del Foglio.it

giovedì, giugno 20, 2013

L’innominabile [La giornata]

L’innominabile [La giornata]:
Il termine “natura” è stato bandito dal vocabolario contemporaneo. E’ una parola indicibile, politicamente scorretta, una maschera che nasconde intenzioni sinistre, una categoria desueta che non va contrastata ma delegittimata ed espulsa dal discorso pubblico. E’ lo spaventapasseri linguistico che scaccia le opinioni perbene. Evocare l’idea di natura come datità organica che tende a un fine è vietato nei dibattiti sul matrimonio gay tenuti questa settimana alla Corte suprema americana e non compare nella doppia copertina che il Time ha dedicato alle unioni omosessuali (“Il matrimonio gay ha già vinto”), perché suggerisce l’esistenza di una inaccettabile dimensione oggettiva e regolativa nei rapporti fra viventi.
di Mattia Ferraresi e Piero Vietti
Continua sul sito del Foglio.it

martedì, giugno 18, 2013

Shadow Sculptures: Illusions from Clumps of Junk

Shadow Sculptures: Illusions from Clumps of Junk: [ By Steph in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]
Wiegman Shadow Sculptures 1
These chaotic and random collections of objects placed on pedestals don’t seem gallery-worthy on first glance, but shine a light upon them in just the right way, and something magical occurs. These bits of broken glass, disassembled furniture and household objects created by Diet Wiegman transform into Michelangelo’s David, the Venus de Milo, hovering chairs or Michael Jackson.
Wiegman Shadow Sculptures 2
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While Wiegman is not the only artist producing light and shadow art of this kind, he seems to have been the first; most of these works were created in the 1980s. In addition to these light and shadow sculptures, Wiegman is known for ceramics that mimic broken and rusted junkyard finds, from crumpled tin cans to pieces of old gears.
Wiegman Shadow Sculptures 5
Wiegman Shadow Sculptures 6
Wiegman has a gift for seeing beauty in the most unexpected places, whether in these surprising sculptures or in his still-life photography of his own art juxtaposed with trash and a cast of a human head. See his entire portfolio at his Tumblr.

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[ By Steph in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

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lunedì, giugno 17, 2013

Occasionally, the Media Invokes St. Judas Iscariot

Occasionally, the Media Invokes St. Judas Iscariot:
Sitting in their glittering multi-billion dollar skyscrapers, run by such humble Franciscans as Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner, multi-millionaires like Piers Morgan will wring their hand and ask of Rome “Why were these things not sold and given to the poor?”
By this, they mean “Why are art treasures, specifically dedicated to God by the artist so that any Roman beggar can see them for free to uplift his heart, not made the private property of one rich man and hidden in his villa?”  They also mean, “When will the Church start shoveling out the Scrooge McDuck swimming pool full of gold dubloons in the basement under the Vatican?”
Some reality:

Putting Things in Perspective

One often hears of the proverbial wealth of the Vatican.  An interesting comparison was made of the operating budget and the “patrimony” of the Vatican by John L. Allen, Jr.
  • Operating Budget:  (Vatican) $300 million  Harvard ($3.7 billion)
  • Endowment/Patrimony: (Vatican) $1 billion; Harvard ($30.7 billion)
Americans really need to focus on the fact that we are no longer an agrarian Protestant country who can whisper darkly about them rich sinister fancy pants Eyetalians vs us humble, hard-working po’ folk.  We are now the corrupt rich Byzantines whose ruling class hordes its wealth to buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes.  The spectacle of watching some manicured Talking Hairdo “confronting” the Vatican about its wealth while investing in Goldman Sachs and being paid a gazillion dollars to pontificate on he knows not what is one of the more sick-making pieces of hypocrisy on display in our media culture.  We Americans pay 1/300 of the Vatican’s annual operating budget to cover two nights of Joe Biden partying in Paris and London.  Joe, meanwhile, gives a whopping $369 to charity.

domenica, giugno 16, 2013

Duello



sabato, giugno 15, 2013

Questions and Answers on Cardinal Newman's Philosophical and Epistemological Commitments (Contra Tim Enloe)

Questions and Answers on Cardinal Newman's Philosophical and Epistemological Commitments (Contra Tim Enloe): [originally posted on 19 October 2004] For background, see my compilation of Tim's remarks: Cardinal Newman the Big Boogeyman (Tim Enloe's Negative Opinions), and my paper, The Philosophical Premises of Newman's Views on Doctrinal Development and Religious Belief . See also the previous version of the latter paper, which was a dialogue with Tim. Tim's words will be in blue.

venerdì, giugno 14, 2013

Sydney International Food Festival: Flags

Sydney International Food Festival: Flags:
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Good Food Month has been a Sydney institution. This year it make the transition to The Sydney International Food Festival. The brief was to get people excited about the festival and celebrate international food.
Advertising Agency: WHYBIN/TBWA, Sydney, Australia

Executive Creative Director: Garry Horner

Creative Director: Matt Kemsley

Art Director: Miles Jeffreys

Copywriter: Tammy Keegan

Photographer: Natalie Boog

Retoucher: Nick Mueller

Food Stylist: Trish Heagerty