Sunday, July 31, 2011

Is Planned Parenthood Actually Racist?

A common charge levied against Planned Parenthood by pro-lifers is that the organization is racist.  It is undeniable that Planned Parenthood was once motivated by racism; it was founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger.  However, it is not necessarily the case that the organization is racist today or that charging it with racism is an effective tactic in the fight against abortion.

Those who call Planned Parenthood racist usually cite statistics on the number of black babies killed by abortionists.  According to the CDC, almost half of all black pregnancies end in abortion.  Pro-lifers have seized on this fact as evidence of racism in the abortion industry.  For example, this billboard in Soho, New York calls the womb the most dangerous place for an African American:
Statistically true, but in my opinion, relatively unimportant.  A lot of black women have abortions but a lot of white women have abortions too, and the murder of their children is no less tragic.  Furthermore, the fact that a disproportionate number of black women choose to have abortions does not necessarily mean that abortion providers are racist.  Black women are three times as likely as white women to have an unintended pregnancy.  Which is a more likely cause of black abortions, the disproportionate number of unwanted pregnancies among black women or a genocidal plot orchestrated by white eugenicists?

In pointing out that Planned Parenthood is probably not racist, I am not trying to defend abortionists so much as help pro-lifers.  It seems to me that the racism charge is weak and could reflect poorly on the pro-life movement, making it look like the politically correct liberals who see racists everywhere.  Even if abortionists are racist, is it really that important?  The KKK is infamous not because it is racist but because its members had a nasty habit of lynching people.  Racism is evil but murder is worse.  Pro-lifers have a limited amount of resources and they could be used more effectively than in pursuing dubious charges of racism.  We need to convince the public not that abortionists are racists, but that they are murderers. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Population Alarmists Hate Beckham's Baby

From the Wall Street Journal:
The nice thing about David and Victoria Beckham, as far as super-celebrity power couples go, is that they don't ask too much. She hawks fashion, accessories and the occasional Spice Girls reunion show; he accepts millions for endorsement deals and the use of his right foot.Beyond that, the Beckhams have largely refrained from giving unsolicited advice on how the rest of us should conduct our affairs or spend our money. More merciful still, their public lifestyles don't force us to contemplate the horrors of addiction, suicide or abuse. They're refreshingly easy to ignore, at least compared to many of their colleagues. 
So when Mr. and Mrs. Beckham welcomed their fourth child this month, the appropriate response seemed either to congratulate them or—better yet—to say nothing at all and let them get on with their lives, as they have largely done for everyone else. 
That proved too much for Simon Ross, the chief executive of the British nonprofit group Population Matters, which sees "overpopulation" as a culprit in everything from African famine to resource scarcity to poverty to climate change. Shortly after Mrs. Beckham gave birth this month, Mr. Ross told Britain's Observer that "The Beckhams, and others like London Mayor Boris Johnson, are very bad role models with their large families. There's no point in people trying to reduce their carbon emissions and then increasing them 100% by having another child."

Four kids is a large family?  If Ross knew about Catholic homeschooling families he would have a heart attack.  His statements are self-evidently stupid, but they seem truly unwise when one considers that Ross is telling a guy who could probably kick a person's head clean off that he should be ashamed of his newborn child.

Purgatory For Bloggers

If you are at all familiar with the Catholic blogosphere you will really enjoy this post by Larry D.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Introduction to Squirrel Hunting

Summer is the time to prepare for fall hunting, and for those who have never hunted, squirrel hunting is an easy and fun way to start.  Depending on the area, squirrel hunting season may begin as early as September or as late as November.  In the meantime, gear up for the hunt, scout out potential hunting areas, and familiarize yourself with the relevant laws in your area.  Many places in the U.S. are home to both grey and fox squirrels but not all states allow you to hunt both.  If this is the case where you live, make sure you know how to differentiate between the two species.

The first decision you need to make is a choice of firearm.  Shotguns, ranging from the small .410 gauge to the standard 12 gauge are effective and easy to use.  Shot sizes appropriate for birds work fine for squirrels.  The choke is a an interchangeable part of the shotgun at the end of the barrel that constricts the shot to varying degrees.  I recommend a full choke for squirrel hunting.

A rifle is another option for small game hunters.  A semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle such as the Ruger 10/22 is the standard for squirrel hunting.  Almost all rifles come equipped with open iron sights, but I recommend mounting an inexpensive scope if you want to actually hit a squirrel high in the trees.

A shotgun is a good option, but I prefer a rifle for several reasons.  Even with a scope, it takes more skill to hit a squirrel with a rifle than with a shotgun.  Also, .22 cartridges are significantly cheaper than shot shells.  Most importantly, the rifle simply does a better job of killing squirrels.  A .22 bullet will go in one side of a squirrel and out the other, while a shotgun pellet will barely penetrate its thick hide.  A squirrel shot with a rifle will usually be dead when it hits the ground, but one hit with a shotgun will often be found wounded but alive, presenting the hunter with the unpleasant task of cutting its head off.  The main advantage of the shotgun is its versatility; it can be used to kill everything from small game to home invaders, but if your principal interest is in squirrel hunting, I recommend a .22 caliber rifle.

You still need a few more things before you go hunting.  Unlike the squirrels in your city park, forest squirrels are wary of humans, and it pays to invest in some camouflage clothing.  If nothing else, at least get a camo hat.  You will also need a knife to clean squirrels in the field, and a bag or two to store snacks, ammo, and dead squirrels.  If you want to keep your hands clean while gutting your kills, bring latex gloves as well.  Now that your all geared up, its time for some hunting tips.

Squirrels live near food and though they may eat a variety of things depending on the region, bushytails can always be found near acorns.  If you can find oak trees, then you can find squirrels.  Once you locate some hardwoods, you can either stalk quietly along, hoping to find a squirrel, or sit down and wait for one to appear.  When in doubt, employ the second approach.  Wait for 15 to 20 minutes for squirrels to come out of hiding, and if they don't show, move on to another area.  The waiting is a great time to pray the rosary.  Keep watch on the trees for any movement and listen for the telltale signs of a squirrel jumping from one branch to another.  Then simply aim, shoot, and collect your kill from the forest floor.  If an area seems productive, stay  another 20 minutes after bagging a squirrel and you will probably get another one.  With patience and luck, you should be able to kill enough squirrels to make a nice meal for two.

During a lunch break or after you are done hunting for the day, be sure to clean your squirrels.  Opening the body cavity cools down the meat and prevents spoilage.  If the weather is warm, put the squirrels in a cooler with some ice.  Then bring them home, skin, cook, and eat!

Traditionally, squirrels are boiled and then fried, but I especially like them fricasseed and served with pineapple and rice.  For a particularly papist squirrel dish, I refer you to John Zmirak.

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

B52's vs Veggie Tales

After quitting my summer job early in order to go to a family reunion, my former employers retaliated by giving me the flu.  I don't feel much like blogging at the moment so I will just ask my readers a question.  Which song is better?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Philosophy, Morality, and Saying Dumb Things to Girls

  • There is perhaps no greater proof against materialism than the obvious existence of that terrible yet intangible thing called evil.
  • I spend far more time thinking up arguments against Distributism than against Socialism.  Distributism is far more worthy than Socialism and thus deserving of more consideration.  Also I have great respect for Catholic distributists and should I ever meet Mark Shea, Kevin O'Brien, or those of like mind, I would like to be able to have an intelligent debate on the issue.  George Orwell and Jack London are my favorite Socialists and they're both dead, so I needn't prepare to argue with them.
  • It occurred to me too late that a discussion among girls about their dream wedding was not the best time to mention the Pauline teaching on the superiority of celibacy.  Sadly, this was not the dumbest thing I have ever said to the opposite sex.  That distinction belongs to this gem: "So your name is Kathleen?  That's my mom's name, but I won't think of you as my mother."
  • Well meaning Christians tend to misuse the word "justice."  For example, someone might say that it is unjust to execute murderers or deport illegal immigrants.  On the contrary, neither act is lacking in justice but rather in mercy.  It is good for Christians to show leniency to wrongdoers for the sake of mercy, but we ought to keep in mind the distinction between justice and mercy and the importance of both.
  • I have found that the downside of being a borderline libertarian is that half the people you agree with are insane.
  • The importance of the double effect principle cannot be overstated.  The simple formula composed by St. Thomas Aquinas is the solution to every single moral dilemma that ever has been or ever will be proposed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Herman Cain: Federalist

On Herman Cain's campaign website, the Republican presidential candidate has this to say about federal entitlements: 
The federal government has imposed expensive and often counter-productive social and welfare programs on the states and the people. It is time to admit the mistakes, and get the federal government out of the way. This will allow states, cities, churches, charities and businesses to offer a helping hand instead of a handout where they live. People closest to the problems are the best ones to solve the problems effectively.
Cain's position reflects the principles of federalism.  Federalism is well summarized by the tenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that all powers not granted to the federal government belong to the states or to the people.  Besides the constitutional mandate, federalism fulfills the Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity, which requires that all governmental and economic functions be performed at the most local level at which they are effective.  Sadly, both federalism and subsidiarity have been neglected by politicians on both sides of the aisle.  Besides Ron Paul, Herman Cain is the only Republican presidential candidate with the courage to apply the principle of federalism to federal entitlements.  He will probably not win the Republican nomination, but it is refreshing to see someone on the national stage stand for what is right.