Tuesday 21st October 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Trivializing Bureaucracy, And Other Matters

August 9, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By GEORGE A. KENDALL

Almost everyone complains about bureaucracy (though a few deluded souls actually defend it, spouting oxymorons like “bureaucratic rationality”), but at the same time almost everyone seems to see it as something relatively trivial, as an inconvenience, a nuisance attendant on life in the modern world, one to which we need to resign ourselves. That is one of the great lies of our age.

In truth, bureaucracy is an abomination, an atrocity, a horror (ask anyone who has tangled with the IRS). It is a form of organization that wages war against the spirit, because it is grounded in a positivist-utilitarian picture of man, one which denies the dignity and goodness of the human person as the image and likeness of God, and treats us as mere organisms, to be manipulated and controlled by our elites in order to achieve the latter’s utopian fantasies. Because it rejects and attacks the image of God, it also rejects and attacks God.
Bureaucracy is not an inconvenience, anymore than cancer is. If cancer has invaded your body, it is a not a nuisance but a terrible reality that will destroy that body unless it is destroyed first.
Bureaucracy, embodied in the administrative state that rules everywhere today, is not something we can live with, but only die with. It is killing us. I don’t know whether it is possible to destroy it, or at least shrink it considerably, but if that is not possible, then it is not possible for any kind of tolerable society to survive. Ultimately, it will destroy the societies it infests, and then die itself, because it draws its own life from those societies.
The daily humiliations of life in bureaucratic societies do more probably to arouse people’s wrath than anything (I suspect that it is a major part of what brought down the Soviet Union). The constant intimidation and harassment which so characterize bureaucratic rule today have got to be a major factor in the explosion of mass murders perpetrated by unstable individuals.

+    +    +

Recently, the state of Michigan passed three laws intended to prevent, or at least discourage, the production of methamphetamine, an extremely dangerous drug whose production frequently results in explosions.
According to the Marquette Mining Journal, “one law prohibits buying or possessing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine — ingredients in cold medicine — knowing it will be used to cook meth….A second law makes it a crime to ask another person to buy ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. A third classifies [?] that soliciting someone to buy meth components is a felony carrying a penalty of up to ten years in prison.”
Granted that meth is really bad stuff, something few would dispute, we still have to ask whether laws like this, even if they achieve their goal, are justifiable in light of their cost. The heaviest cost of bad laws is usually the undermining of the rule of law, a central part of the common good. Laws like this take acts which are, in themselves, perfectly legal and criminalize them on the basis of the actor’s intent to do something illegal — in this case, buying cold medicine, not to treat a cold, but to make meth.
But this involves some rather subjective judgments on the part of law enforcement regarding what the guy who buys the cold medicine was thinking about when he bought it, given that we cannot read minds. The only real evidence of someone’s intention is the carrying out of the intention. We only know for sure that someone bought the medicine to make meth when he actually does so. As far as procuring it for someone else goes, the person doing that may honestly believe that the person he is procuring it for wants it for treating a cold. But here, too, the law calls for the authorities to read minds.
All of which means that such laws open up a substantial probability of innocent people being prosecuted and convicted, a real concern in a corrupt legal system where prosecutors who lack any qualms of conscience about convicting innocent people to advance their careers are hardly a rarity (anyone who doubts this should read Harvey A. Silverglate’s book, Three Felonies A Day).

+    +    +

Lately I seem to find myself talking a lot with people who have serious problems with forgiveness, people who have nursed grudges for years and years against people who have wronged them (ex-spouses, ungrateful children, parents who abused or neglected them, and so on). Now these people often have at least partly valid grievances, though I doubt that the fault is usually as exclusively on one side as they tell themselves it was. I try to tell these people that they have to forgive those who injured them if they hope to be forgiven for their own sins, not to mention that forgiving would do much for their own happiness and peace of mind even in this world — I like to mention the old adage that hating someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other guy dies.
They seem to understand this but fall back on saying that they just cannot let go. Some injuries are just too great to be forgiven. Indeed, there seems to me to be, underlying this whole attitude, a notion that when Christ told us to forgive those who wronged us, He had in mind only minor offenses, not the big ones. Even people who consider themselves devout Christians are likely to opine that if, for instance, someone murders your child, surely you could not be expected to forgive the murderer.
And yet — Jesus made no such exception. When I mentioned this to a friend, he added the obvious — that if you only forgive minor offenses, then presumably God will forgive your minor offenses, but when it comes to the major ones, the mortal sins, you’re on your own.
And really, couldn’t Hell be defined as being on your own for eternity?

+    +    +

We tend, in the modern world, to compartmentalize ourselves, segregating different aspects of our personalities from one another in such a way as to deny any connection between them. This can take the form of familiar statements like, “My private life, including my moral, or immoral, behavior, shouldn’t matter, as long as I get my job done.” This is partly true, of course — an engineer who cheats on his wife may still be capable of building an excellent bridge. And yet, adultery detracts from the integrity of the person who commits it, making that person less honest, less trustworthy, and who can deny that such a loss of integrity might affect the quality of the engineer’s work, perhaps making him more prone, say, to saving money by using low-quality materials, with possible repercussions on the safety of the bridge?
My experiences as an elderly individual experiencing various medical problems incidental to aging have led me recently to focus some attention on this question as it affects the medical profession. It has become customary to say that it really doesn’t matter if a doctor is an arrogant, self-absorbed egotist, provided he “knows his stuff,” that is, has a high level of medical expertise. There is a sense that you might be better off being treated by such a doctor than by one who is humble but not so skilled.
In particular instances, this may be true, yet it is becoming more and more obvious to me that, in work that involves the human person to the extent that medicine does, the virtue of humility, or its lack, can have huge effects on medical judgment.
An egotistical doctor can’t really take his patients seriously as human persons. He tends to think of them as complicated mechanisms to be kept tuned and functioning by his expert ministrations. He doesn’t really think he can learn anything from his patients. After all, they’re not doctors — what would they know? As a result, he does not take the time to get a complete history from the patient. He breezes into the examination room radiating the attitude that he is extremely busy, has many other patients waiting, and hopes you won’t take up much of his valuable time talking about your symptoms.
If you happen to be the kind of person who rambles, who takes an age to get to the point, the doctor will quickly lose patience, will interrupt you, and try to hurry you along. That is understandable, but it could have the result that the doctor will never learn things about this patient that are crucial to his diagnosis and treatment. Besides this, the egotistical doctor will often just refuse to believe what the patient tells him, if it conflicts with what the doctor has read in a textbook or a medical journal.
So the doctor’s egotism prevents him from respecting the dignity and value of the human person, and that prevents him from getting information he needs to treat his patients. And that could lead to serious harm to the health of the patient, maybe even to his death.

+    +    +

(© 2014 George A. Kendall)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

">

Cardinal Burke Confirms: Yes, Pope Has Demoted Me.

“Pope has done a lot of harm by not saying openly what his position is” Synod “designed to change Church’s teaching“ We post here for the record of current events all the quotes published by BuzzFeed from their interview with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke’s Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod

The world likes Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke very little or not at all.  And , if it is possible, the Church likes him even less than does the world.  On the other hand, this 66-year-old American from Richland Center, Wisconsin,…Continue Reading

Pope Paul VI to be beatified Oct. 19, 2014

popep6

Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, Oct. 19, during the closing ‎Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family.  Pope Paul VI was cleared for ‎beatification when Pope Francis on May 9…Continue Reading

Church Militant . . . Synod On The Family

Houston, we have a problem

Angry over voter lawsuit, city demands to pick through sermons, other communications from pastors who aren’t involved Monday, October 13, 2014 HOUSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Synod’s mid-term report “lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium”

Yesterday’s presentation of the mid-term report (Relatio post disceptationem) of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family was met with a remarkable level of interest among both Catholic and non-Catholic media outlets. The Vatican Radio site, in its introduction to…Continue Reading

Having Patience for the Sausage-Making Synod

The midterm report on the deliberations of the Synod on the Family has appeared and there is a fair amount of hysteria all around. John Thavis, a veteran Vatican reporter who should know better, has declared this statement “an earthquake,…Continue Reading

Advice for the Pope in Light of the Synod

The Holy Father has been very good in lecturing priests and telling us what to do. We are to go out into the world and “make a mess.” We are to “smell like the sheep.” We are to welcome all…Continue Reading

Catholic Church in Minnesota Settles Sex-Abuse Claim

MINNEAPOLIS—The Catholic Church in Minnesota and a lawyer for victims of sexual abuse on Monday announced the settlement in the first-of-its-kind lawsuit claiming that clergy abuse and subsequent inaction by church leadership constituted a “public nuisance.” The settlement also laid…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Francis: Middle East Without Christians Unthinkable

pope562

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the…Continue Reading

At Closing Mass For The Synod Pope Francis Beatifies Paul VI

pope561

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle.” Below, please find the complete English text of Pope Francis’s homily for the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Heaven In Our Hands

pope560

(Vatican Radio) The Holy Spirit is the “seal” of light with which God has placed Heaven in Christians’ hands. Often, however, Christians avoid this light in preference of a life spent in the shadows, or worse still, in a false light, that sparkles with hypocrisy. Pope Francis’ homily at Mass Friday morning, followed the First Reading from St. Paul who…Continue Reading

Synod: Working Groups Call For More “Christ-centric” Focus On family

pope539

(Vatican Radio) The vision of the world, and above all of the family,  must be one which “passes through the lens of the Gospel, to encourage men and women to the conversion of the heart”.  In short there must be a more “Christ-centric” focus on the family. This – in summary – is the conclusion reached by the ten Small…Continue Reading

Our Judicial Dictatorship

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Do the states have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage? Not long ago the question would have been seen as absurd. For every state regarded homosexual acts as crimes. Moreover, the laws prohibiting same-sex marriage had all been enacted democratically, by statewide referenda, like Proposition 8 in California, or by Congress…Continue Reading

The Government And Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This past week, FBI Director James Comey gave an interview to 60 Minutes during which he revealed a flawed understanding of personal freedom. He rightly distinguished what FBI agents do in their investigations of federal crimes from what the NSA does in its intelligence gathering, when the two federal agencies are…Continue Reading

Religious Freedom In Belarus . . . Strict Controls, “An Invisible Ghetto,” Continue

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University.) + + + Current events in the Middle East have drawn attention to the plight of…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Crisis Pregnancy Center Movement”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + “Speak, yourself, on behalf of the dumb, on behalf of all the unwanted; speak, yourself, pronounce a just verdict, uphold the rights of the poor, of the needy” (Prov. 31:8-9). + +…Continue Reading

Famed Dancer’s Daughter . . . Reflects On A Century Of Her Father’s Tradition-Breaking Legacy

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Before international fame shone on Pope Francis, he was an easily ignored man wearing a Roman collar, seated on the everyday benches of the Buenos Aires subway. A spotlight, when switched on, confers instant celebrity. But when the light’s not being brilliant, who knows who’s there in the next seat?…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Being Exposed To Synod’s Deliberations Is Not For The Fainthearted

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out — he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). “Peering into freedom’s ideal law,” as St. James’ letter exhorts and as the fathers of…Continue Reading

Debunking The Myth… Sola Scriptura Is Unscriptural

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Evidently, Jesus did not stay with the apostles and disciples for long after the Resurrection. He founded a Church, His Church. Now, did He found it as a visible Church, with authority to guide, teach, and sanctify the people? Or didn’t He? Either He did or He didn’t. It is one or the…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: R.H.T. of Florida writes to say that “this week’s question [The Wanderer dated October 16, 2014] about Doctors Without Borders caught my attention. If R.B. from Michigan is interested in supporting an organization like Doctors Without Borders, but one that is absolutely committed to strict adherence to the Catholic Church’s rules on things like abortion, contraception, etc., I…Continue Reading

Union With The Afflicted

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Exodus 22:20-26 1 Thess. 1:5c-10 Matt. 22:34-40 In the second reading today St. Paul commends the Thessalonians for the way they received the Gospel and for the manner in which they lived it out. First he says that they received the Word in great affliction, then he reminds…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ignatius Of Antioch

By CAROLE BRESLIN Who are the fathers of the Church? They were holy men of God; most were bishops, although some were priests and one man, St. Justin the Martyr, was a layman. They lived primarily in the first three centuries of Christianity, but one of the fathers died in 750, generally considered the end of the Church fathers’ era.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Denis, Patron Of France

By CAROLE BRESLIN On the hill of Montmartre, the French have built a Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Coeur de Paris. Since 1885, this church has held perpetual adoration; the practice began before construction on the church was completed in 1914. As tourists quietly walk through the church to admire the beautiful mosaics and woodwork, high above on the altar…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading