National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Distinctly Catholic

In Defense of Liberal Internationalism

 | 

In the last two days, I have been highly critical of certain foreign policy positions articulated by the neo-isolationists of both left and right, as well as that of the neo-conservative hawks. What, then, should be America’s role in the world? In a word, actually two words, America’s foreign policy should be pursuit of liberal internationalism, an engagement with the world with a view towards promoting liberal values such as personal freedom and human rights, as well as the promotion of democratic governments and open societies. Our policy today should be based on the same values that inspired the greatest foreign policy minds in American history, those brilliant men who gathered around Harry S. Truman in the wake of World War II and devised the Marshall Plan, NATO, and the policy of containment of expansionist Communism.

One of God's Gifts

 | 

I am up here in Connecticut for a fortnight while the bathroom at my home in DC is gutted and rebuilt. Summertime in New England is one of God's special gifts to humankind. I am biased, of course, having grown up here. But, last night, I took my Dad for dinner at Skipper's Dock, a restaurant which, as the name suggests, sits astride a dock in Stonington harbor. In the distance, you can see Fisher's Island and countless sailboats plying the waters of Long Island Sound. A fishing trawler came into the harbor while we had the fresh whole belly clams. A sailboat headed out as we downed the lobster. The sun set across the harbor. A cool breeze blew. Life does not get much better.

Note to Readers

 | 

The mouse on my computer seems to have a cold and I am having great difficulty navigating with it. The extrenal mouse I purchased yesterday seems to make the situation worse. Being a computer Luddite, I am clueless as to how to fix the problem. Additionally, I am on vacation and do not have my usual, reliable computer doctor nearby so I will be searching for a new computer doctor who might be able to fix it. Hopefully, all will be well soon.

Conservatives Take On Rand

 | 

Like the manna that came from heaven in answer to the prayers of the Jews, conservatives are stepping up to the plate to take on Ayn Rand and point out that this fight has been going on for some time. Mark Silk, at Spiritual Politics, has a post with some very helpful links to National Review which is carrying on its own best traditions in taking up this fight for the soul of the conservative movement. It is not often you find me praising the writings of the good folk at National Review, but I am with them on this one.

Foreign Policy & The Left

 | 

Yesterday, and prompted by Ross Douthat’s column, I looked at the growing cleavage within the Republican Party on foreign policy between the libertarian isolationists and the neo-conservative hawks, and why both tendencies take a sound idea and push it too far. Today, in the interest of fairness, I shall consider the foreign policy views of the Democrats. In a word, the Dems are so hopelessly confused on foreign policy, I almost wish they were having the kind of clarifying intellectual fight the Republicans are having. The GOP, at least, is debating ideas. The Dems, and the Left generally, seem to be swimming in hash.

We Need More Bishops Like This

 | 

In his weekly blog, Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap wrote about the Church's relations to gays and lesbians with a compassion that is too often neglected by his fellow prelates.
To be clear, O'Malley is a unrelenting in his defense of traditional marraige as any prelate in the country, but he understands first that the hierarchy must place the Church's teachings about sexual issues within the context of the Church's teachings about compassion and human solidarity. He also notes that other pernicious forces such as the increasing frequency of divorce pose as much if not more of a threat to traditional marriage than civil laws that will only affect maybe one percent of the population.

O Great Jehovah!

 | 

Hard to imagine a hymn being sung - with harmony no less - as a game of U.Sl football, but at rugby match in Wales, "Guide me Thou, o Great Jehovah," was lustily sung by the entire crowd, many of whom are brandishing cups of beer in their hands. New Evangelization anyone?


















(h/t to Rocco)

Medicare & Rationing

 | 

Over at the New Republic, Jonathan Chait has an important comment about the debate over Medicare and the fear of government "rationing" of health care. He shows how this fear is being stoked to make Medicare look so bankrupt that dire "solutions" like Paul Ryan's privatization plan, seem more necessary.
No side in the debate over Medicare is entirely free from the charge of fear-mongering - and it does not take much mongering to get people afraid. That fear is in direct relation to the deep affection that people have for Medicare. Which is a good thing to remember next time you hear someone denounce "government-run health care."

Libya: Embracing Our Limits

 | 

This morning’s New York Times as an essay by Ross Douthat comparing the foreign policy visions of two Republican rising stars, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Douthat uses their competing concerns about Libya – Rubio thinks we should be striking harder and Paul thinks we should not be involved at all – to highlight the struggle between the neo-conservative wing of the GOP with its libertarian competition.

During the George W. Bush years, there was virtually complete consensus within the ranks of the GOP. Bush used the fear and anger resulting from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to abandon his campaign call for a “humbler” foreign policy and to embrace the neo-conservative vision of an armed and active America, re-making the world in America’s image. I had almost written “making the world safe for democracy.” Indeed, there was something of Wilsonian idealism in the neo-conservative vision.

Pages

Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

August 1-14, 2014

08-01-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.