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Friday, September 10, 2004

Delaware.gov one of 5 best state websites
I brag about this since it was my company, Diamond Technologies, that developed their look and feel.

Diamond Technologies developed a common look and feel for all Delaware state government websites, and Diamond Technologies will be working with many of the state agencies to put their sites into the common look and feel that was developed by Diamond Technologies.

In case I forgot to mention, the look and feel of the website was developed by Diamond Technologies.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

New evidence that Jimmy Carter got fooled in Venezuela
Mr. Hausmann told us that he and Mr. Rigoban also "found very clear trails of fraud in the statistical record" and a probability of less than 1% that the anomalies observed could be pure chance. To put it another way, they think the chance is 99% that there was electoral fraud.

Bob Novak on Hate in America
Organizers of last week's protests in New York threatened to repeat the havoc of 1968, when blood was spilled in pitched battles with the Chicago police. But there really is no comparison. The Chicago protesters were trying to force a change in Vietnam policy by a Democratic Party where close to half its party and half the delegates supported anti-war demonstrators. The attempted disruption in New York had nothing to do with changing the position of a political party. This was an attack on "The System."
While the 1968 demonstrators foolishly risked street combat with the Chicago cops, their 2004 brethren wisely kept their distance from New York's finest. Unlike their predecessors of 36 years earlier, last week's protesters wanted to single out individuals with verbal abuse that was often vile for the sole reason that they were presumed to be Republicans.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Catholic Social Teaching
Subsidiarity: The Part of Catholic Social Teaching Catholic Liberals Ignore (Seriously, I attended a talk on Catholic Social Teaching where the lecturer went through the other principles in great detail, but never once mentioned subsidiarity.)
The principle of subsidiarity, which teaches that a community of a higher order should not interfere in the activities of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, is a first principle in genuine Catholic social teaching. It requires each of us to be responsible for those who are suffering in our midst. Families, friends, associates, churches, local charitable organizations — these should be the first to respond to the needs of their brothers and sisters. Government should only be directly involved as the organization of last resort and should implement policies designed to support rather than replace intermediary groups. In this way, people are induced to serve one another, as Christ commanded.

While this sounds fine in theory, how does it play out in real life? Pope John Paul II presents an example in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. In discussing the social problem of unemployment, the pope outlines the roles of the players in solving it. Government should be involved, he says, both directly and indirectly. Its direct activities include defending the weakest, limiting the autonomy granted to determine working conditions, and ensuring that a minimum of support exists for those who are unemployed. Indirectly, government should create an environment conducive to the free exercise of economic activity. Entrepreneurs then have the opportunity to create and operate businesses, leading to abundant employment and myriad sources of wealth. In this way, government and private actors both have their roles to play and neither seeks to do that which the other can do more effectively.

Subsidiarity respects the proper roles of all the players. It allows government to have a role, as the final source of assistance, and as implementer of policies encouraging to the practice of subsidiarity, while, at the same time, being respectful of human freedom. It allows businesses and entrepreneurs to use their unique talents and abilities to serve the common good by, among other goals, fulfilling the responsibility to make a profit justly. It takes into account the insights offered by economics, as well as Catholic theology, and it allows everyone to take the lead in caring for those in need, instead of simply allowing a government agency to do so.

"I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of this phrase, but it seems safe to say that one sure sign you are a girlie man is that when you're called one, you whine humourlessly about it." --Mark Steyn

"Did you see the pictures in the paper today of John Kerry windsurfing? He's at his home in Nantucket this week, doing his favorite thing, windsurfing. Even his hobby depends on which way the wind blows." -- Jay Leno

Sunday, September 05, 2004

I'm still reading. It's a very dense book. I can only read a few chapters at a time, until my brain is too tired to continue. It's very good, though. Chesterton has a great deal of insight into he limitations of non-Christian belief systems.

So, so true

Dr Bunsen and Beaker named Top Scientist

Fictional Scientists, that is, in British poll.

The Best Writer on The Planet
Who else but Peggy Noonan?

Another Reason to Love Steubenville

This Sunday's Second Reading
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
This quote is from Sunday's Second Reading, which is from St. Paul's letter to Philemon, who Paul had converted to Christianity. Onesimus, the person referred to in the third person above, was a slave who belonged to Philemon who apparently stole something from Philemon and ran away.

Paul is saying that he would have liked to keep Onesimus with him to train him as a Christian, but would respect Philemon's claim to Onesimus and send Onesimus back to him, hoping that Philemon would view "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord." (verse 16)

Paul knew the right thing to do, but did not wish to "force" it on Philemon, reasoning that it is better to convince someone of the right thing to do, rather than force them to do it. Forcing someone to do the right thing might embitter them against doing the right thing in the future. It's better to persuade them and convert their souls than to focus solely on the action taken, regardless of the means. Persuading Philemon to do the right thing will be more beneficial to his sould since 1) you'll have converted him to right and 2) he can feel the pleasure that comes from doing the right thing. Also, allowing Philemon to make the decisions will allow for a more friendly "loving" relationship between Onesimus and Philemon, as Onesimus would know that Philemon freely accepted him.

It's for this reason that private charity should be favored over government welfare. When someone performs a charitable act of their own free will, they grow in love and are more likely to give more in the future. In the saem respect the receiver of the charity knows that it is truly a gift and appreciates it and the giver that much more.

When the government takes money from a taxpayer, it creates a resentment in the taxpyer the money is taken from. ("I would happily die for my country, but I will do all I can to get out of paying income tax. No-one is patriotic about taxes."---George Orwell) This resentment can extend to recipients of the tax money, driving the person further from a spirit of charity and a resentment towards the poor, rather than the positive preference we're supposed to have.
When Uncle Sam dips in your pocket
For most things you don't mind
But when your dollar goes to all of those
Standing in a welfare line
--"American Honky-Tonk Bar Association", Garth Brooks
Similarly, the recipient of the money loses his sense of gratefulness. When any benefit is seen as coming from the government, it becomes a right or and "entitlement," rather than charity. Rather than being grateful for the gift from others, the recipient of the money begins to think he deserves it.

Then, because money was taken from the taxpayer through taxes, he gives less to charity, as he has less disposable income. This in turn causes the recipient of the "government" money to view the other as uncharitable and selfish for not sharing his wealth.

Government welfare programs, then increase class tensions, and reduce opportunities for people to exercise charity and gro closer to God.

Note: This argument is not intended to deny all government intervention in charitable activities. Simply put, government should be the last refuge, rather than the first, as it is so often is now.

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