Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today is the 45th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.  In it, Pope Paul made four predictions consequent to artificial contraception:
  1. a general lowering of moral standards; 
  2. increased marital infidelity; 
  3. the reduction of women to instruments for the fulfillment of male desire; and 
  4. public authorities engaging in coercive population planning programs. 
In the realm of Science! the validity of a theory is judged by how many of its predictions prove factual.  We will leave the application of scientific reasoning to Humanae Vitae as an exercise to the Faithful Reader.  How many of the four predictions do you see today?

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, career women are not 'reduced' to being instruments for the fulfillment of male desire? Is that because men don't use career women to satisfy their sexual desires, or because for a career woman, uncommitted sex is an increase, not a reduction? Or there's just less fornication going on now than in 1968, regardless of the prevalence of career women?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Unfortunately, the world seems to define terms creatively these days. Let me see if I got it right:

    1. a general lowering of moral standards;

    You don't like current moral standards? They're clearly way better than they used to be, if you're into infidelity, cheap sex, easy divorce. You used to get ostracized for that kind of stuff, if you can believe it.

    2. increased marital infidelity;

    Like that's a bad thing? It's clearly a badge of enlightenment to be worn proudly. Only some sort of Neanderthal would hold marital infidelity against anyone.

    3. the reduction of women to instruments for the fulfillment of male desire; and

    Reduction? And they like it, anyway.

    4. public authorities engaging in coercive population planning programs.

    About time!

    You'd actually need to think that the way people used to think about things was *better*. That's turning back the clock, the unforgivable sin.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There are two additional comments on the Auld Blogge:
    http://m-francis.livejournal.com/290573.html#comments

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, there are, aren't there?

      We have the unassailable mythology that insists people simply CANNOT have ever behaved better, that all evils (except we never call them evils) were greater in the past, because back then people did the same things but were just repressed and guilt-ridden and hypocritical. So, we can dismiss the millions of faithful husbands and wives today as well as the millions who preceded them as some sort of weird aberration from the norm caused by shame, if in fact the whole idea of faithful love isn't a lie. (Let's not even talk about happy, well-adjusted celibate people - heads would explode!).

      And those with no daughters or no shred of common sense will stare blankly at toddlers dressed as pole dancers, at ubiquitous pornography and at impoverished single-mother households and see - progress? Nothing at all? Nope, my wife, to take an immediate example, is clearly enslaved because, for the past 21 years, we've divided the labor so that I make the money and she cares for the family. She only tolerates this situation - she even appears happy with it! - because she is so unenlightened as to not see how badly I am using and enslaving her by supplying food, clothing and housing for her and our children. It is tacitly assumed that she will remain faithful to me until death do us part. Oh, the humanity!

      And so on. The idea that freedom and self-control are aspects of the same thing is not dead so much as simply unimaginable to the products of our schools and culture.

      Delete
  5. Previously, 'coercive population planning programs' occurred at the level of the family, now it seems the type of thing the government has to plan from the top down.

    And 'women as instruments' is a laugh. The real cause of all four troubles is the systematic disenfranchisement of men, or more specifically, the Rights of Man, which in the current legal environment simply do not apply to a husband, a father, or a lover.

    Predicting that things today might get worse is all well and good, actually taking action to ensure that they do not get worse is the measure of a true hero. The current pope seems highly unlikely to say these things, sadly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Campaign For Humanae Vitae
    http://bellarmineforum.org/humanaevitae/

    ReplyDelete
  7. Humanae Vitae and the history following it should be a document beloved of economists, really: nowhere else is the thesis argued so brilliantly, and proven so clearly, that activities whose immediate tangible costs are reduced will increase even if their long-term costs remain identical.

    The one thing Humanae Vitae neglects to cover (that I know of) is the role of Romanticism-descended sentimentalism in the Sexual Revolution's effects: as I remarked in a comment on John C. Wright's blog, "[T]he crossbreeding of the Romantic belief in the necessity of sex to love with the Revolution’s belief in the irrelevance of love to sex produced the worst of both worlds — the Revolution broke the physical, practical, external restrictions on intimacy, while Romanticism taught us to reject the spiritual, honorable, internal restrictions, and it was the combination of both that has sent our marriage breakdown rate soaring."

    ReplyDelete
  8. Out of curiosity, where did you find the image? It seems to be the title page, not of Paul VI's encyclical, but of the autobiography of a 17th-century Jewish skeptic named Uriel da Costa, entitled "Exemplar Humanae Vitae."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sadly, there's an article out there by a secular news network basically saying Pope Pius was right with the Humanae Vitae. The sad part about it is that most people probably disagree with it for some reason, probably the cultural rot they were raised in that indoctrinated them with "free love" and "women's rights".It's hard not to see the connection it has with the travesty of same-sex marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the spiral arm the writing life thomism thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play xmas you can't make this stuff up