Moral Immunology

When Fyodor Dostoevsky sent the manuscript of his celebrated novel, Crime and Punishment, to the publisher, he included a brief note: “This is the story of a university student who is infected by ideas that float on the wind”.  That image is one that stuck with me in all the years since I first encountered it. Is the idea/project/choice with which I am confronted something that is just floating in the wind or is it something with foundation and anchorage. Enter the age of the covid-19 pandemic and the idea of being infected by things that float in the wind has new meaning. We have taken great efforts over the last 2.5 years to limit infectious floating things and to build up our immune system against such infections so that if we can’t prevent infection we can at least mitigate the short-term and long-term effect. Continue reading

Who am I to judge?

An obvious answer to the question is, “nobody,” since God the Father has committed all judgment to his Son, Jesus Christ (John 5:22). So we should not be surprised that St. Paul to exhort the Romans “to stop judging one another” (Romans. 14:13). The context comes just a few verses before: “Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (14:10) The context is that final judgment is reserved to God. We are not meant to judge another person by closing the loop of justice on his or her life with a final verdict before God when the final verdict belongs to Christ, and Him alone. There is always hope for any man or woman this side of the grave to repent and return to the way of salvation. Jesus testified to this upon the cross when He forgave the repentant thief (Luke 23:43). Continue reading

Freedom, Monopoly, and Faith

You might have noticed that I seem to be focused on conscientia informata, or morally operating from an informed conscience – something beyond opinion or even conscience. It is a basic duty of every Christian, as outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I think it is a required skills and disposition for every Christian who operates in the public square or in private.

You have perhaps read in the news that the Twitter-alternative for the very-to-ultra-conservative voices, as well as Alt-Right, Parler, will go “dark” on Monday. Parler used Amazon’s AWS cloud to host it services. As well, the principle mobile app stores (Google and Apple) no longer have Parler’s app as a download. Parler needs to find an alternative large scale hosting service, port their data from AWS, rebuilt the core of the database, and find alternatives for downloading the app. They have the financial backing from like-minded deep pockets. And don’t assume that those “deep pockets” are aligned politically with the views on Parler. More on that later.

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Will you read the whole post?

WARNING: this post is excessively long and potentially soporific.

Recently I received a private email from someone who follows my musings. They expressed concern that I was “becoming political.” Their motivation was a recent posting on Calumny. In their view it seemed as though I was choosing a “side” in the on-going “political dialogue” (which is hardly much of a dialogue). And I was choosing a side – hopefully the side of truth and the teaching of the Catholic Church on the sin of calumny. That the backdrop is the unending, crafted message about voter and election fraud, is just the case writ large that serves to help faithful people understand the moral question about what they choose to repeat or assert.

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Jumping Queues

New Boarding.Amazon is an interesting marketplace for buying books. They know your purchase history and based on algorithms they suggest different books they think you might like. Many of the recommendations make sense. Occasionally, I have to speculate and connect the dots. And every once in a while, the recommendations seem to come out of thin air.  Such was the case with the book, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Market.” Most of the time I just pass over such things, but there was something about the title that piqued my attention. Continue reading