Aphorism CI

August 14th, 2016

Many religious leaders will claim to be middle of the road, and deny being either liberal or conservative, but there is a quick way to discern the difference:

A religious leader shows a liberal tendency when he or she ignores or dismisses numerous complaint letters from conservatives, but jumps sky high over a single complaint letter from a liberal.

A religious leader shows a conservative tendency when he or she ignores or dismisses numerous complaint letters from liberals, but jumps sky high over a single complaint letter from a conservative.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Lead Piping and the Chicago Plumbers Union in the 1980s

August 8th, 2016

Many have forgotten, but I didn’t. The removal of lead pipes and lead solder from water piping installations was fought bitterly by Local 130 of the plumbers union in Chicago in the 1980s, prior to federal legislation later in that decade that overruled local legislation and banned such use of lead. This is one clear case in US history in which organized labor defended a dangerous environmental hazard with which we are living today.

Here’s a quote from the Chicago Tribune on March 30, 1986 from an article by Casey Bukro: “More than a decade after other major American cities outlawed lead in drinking water pipes, Chicago officials hope to overcome resistance from the influential plumbers union and enact a similar ban here.” Read in the light of 2016, the rest of the article is damning.

Nowhere in the many lead-in-the-water stories today does one find the role of plumbers unions in fighting the removal of lead from the water piping installations, which was clearly and indisputably documented by the Chicago press in the 1980s.

Unions do many good things, but in some cases such as the above, when they put their own interest above the public interest, they can harm the common good.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism C

August 5th, 2016

Both Left and Right narratives are dangerous myths, driving accurate scientific and historic knowledge about what really hurts and benefits people and society into obscurity. Science and history have been subsumed by ideology, and has greatly lost its ability to check and balance ideology. Until we can strengthen science and history as independent sources of accurate information, and management as a liberal art, society will remain needlessly fragmented. Unless public policy is informed by science and history, terrible errors and mishaps can hurt the very people that both Left and Right claim to help.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Podcast of 2/10/15 Lecture and Discussion of Pius XI’s Great Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order

July 11th, 2016

Here is posted the podcast of the just-completed edit of the 2/10/15 talk entitled, Pius XI & Quadragesimo Anno: On Reconstruction of the Social Order, which was presented as part of the School of Catholic Thought at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center in Chicago.

© Copyright 2015, 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCIX

July 11th, 2016

One sure sign of ascendant fascism is a group that forcefully takes over a stage and microphone from another scheduled speaker. Such acts are especially offensive in a university setting, where theoretically freedom of speech and inquiry should rule.

This bullying tactic hearkens back to the shirt movements such as the Brownshirts and the Blackshirts that brought the Fascism of Hitler and Stalin to power in the 1920s and 30s.

Such public bullying today is no longer a virtual shirt movement online, simply multiplying tweets, but political thugs of the worst kind trying to wrestle control of the physical public square. Such a group will not moderate its use of force to simply take over stages from other speakers, but is capable of much more coercion and even violence.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCVIII

July 10th, 2016

Without a belief in God, and a respect for this belief in law and in the public square, the second part of the Great Commandment–to Love one’s neighbor as oneself (Luke 10:25)–degrades as a social reality. Social altruism does not persist and thrive in an atheistic society.

As atheism becomes dominant, the post-Judeo-Christian society fades. Judeo-Christian values respecting one’s neighbor echo temporarily as part of the cultural residue of Judaism and Christianity, and gradually give way to completely unbridled self-interest, and to the Roman law of ownership, utendi et abutendi, ownership’s right both to use and to abuse, the Lex Abutendi.

God is Love (1 John 4:8). Love becomes vapid narcissistic tautology – love is love is love – without God in the equation.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Medical Error: Third Leading Cause of Death in the US

July 10th, 2016

According to a Johns Hopkins study by Martin A. Makary and Michael Daniel, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US, with approximately 251,000 deaths annually due to this cause. Here’s the reference:

Makary, M. A. and M. Daniel (2016). “Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 353: i2139.

Deaths by medical error thus far exceed death by gun (34,000), by motor vehicles (34,000) – and therefore to a great extent by alcohol, by suicide (41,000), and by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD (149,000), and are second only to death by heart disease (611,000) and to cancer (585,000). It is also likely that medical error disproportionately harms the poor.

We should therefore have a walk / run for the cure, ribbons, etc. to reduce medical error!

If our government were aligned to truly better the human condition, we would systematically address medical error, and diseases like sickle cell, which itself confers a likely death sentence on 100,000 US citizens and on 5 million Nigerians! Yet activists by and large ignore sickle cell disease, perhaps because gun violence draws more media and political attention. Anti-gun activism reinforces media viewing and drives political action. But it potentially saves far fewer lives than an effective campaign against medical error, or against smoking.

US Hispanics, who face similar poverty among their ranks, tend to outlive African Americans by six years – probably due to lower smoking rates among Hispanics, according to a 2013 report from the Population Reference Bureau. Anti-smoking activists are still waiting for President Obama, a former(?) smoker, to speak out loudly on this critical public health issue.

Politics, not public health concerns, therefore drives our public health priorities. If our priority was human life, the medical error and other larger public health challenges would be addressed.

Addressing societal ineffectiveness and inefficiency is therefore indeed a social justice issue. This is one point almost universally missed by political and by religious leaders especially. Every time Pope Francis speaks out against modern society’s drive for efficiency, I cringe, thinking of the annual 251,000 US deaths due to medical error, and of the untold number of such unnecessary deaths worldwide.

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, 2012, Bloombury Press, by Marty Makary MD, ISBN 978-1-60819-838-2, has some good suggestions on reducing medical error.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCVII

July 8th, 2016

Patients are in better hands when the physician believes that someone else, not the physician, is God.

Those physicians who claim to be atheists are only truly atheists if they also renounce their own deity.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism XCVI

June 28th, 2016

Sodomy is not a sacrament.

A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.

“The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1131 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s1c1a2.htm

Sodomy was not instituted by Christ, and does not give grace or divine life.

Sodomy does not participate in God’s act of creation of new human life. Nor does sodomy engender human life.

Because sodomy is not life-giving, it expresses a substantially lesser intimacy than that sexual intimacy expressed in sacramental, heterosexual matrimony.

Sodomy may only give pleasure to one or both of the participants.

Sodomy will always be an expression, if of love, of a lesser love than in sacramental heterosexual matrimony. Sacramental matrimony joins body, soul, and spirit. Sodomy does not.

No Catholic pope or bishop or clergy can ever make sodomy a sacrament.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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The Wit of St. John Fisher

June 22nd, 2016

St. John Fisher, 1469-1535, who was executed on this June 22nd date, wrote several documents defending the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. In one, the Licitum fuisse matrimonium Hen: 8: cum Catharina relicta fratris suj Arthurj, probably written in 1529, Fisher displays particular wit. According to the late scholar Edward Surtz SJ, Fisher employed the Latin adage or proverb “quite effectively”:

In striving to discover a basis for the invalidity of Henry and Catherine’s marriage in the Levitical prohibition (Lev. 18:16, 20:21), his adversaries are engaging in an activity as futile as seeking wool on a donkey (“lanam ab asino quaerunt”), or hunting a hare outside its burrow (“Inanis est venatio leporis extra sedem suam”), or shaking a bush from which the bird has already flown (“frustra dumus excutitur, in qua non residet avis”). By failing to reconcile the prohibition in Leviticus with the leviratic precept in Deuteronomy (25:5), they are keeping the two farther apart than treble and bass (lit. than a double octave: longius quam bis diapason). Nevertheless it is plainer than any sun (omni sole clarius) that the wife whose husband has died childless is exempt from the Levitical prohibition against marriage to one’s brother’s wife. Yet Fisher can apply a proverb to himself also. In trespassing on the territory of canon lawyers, he realizes that he must face the criticism: The cobber should not go beyond his last (Ne ultra crepidam sutor).

From: Surtz, E. L. (1967). The works and days of John Fisher; an introduction to the position of St. John Fisher (1469-1535), Bishop of Rochester, in the English Renaissance and the Reformation. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, pg. 352.

For more on St. John Fisher, and why he should be named a Doctor of the Church, please see my previous posts.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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