Friday, January 12, 2018

The Real Issues Underlying the Dreamer Debate

by John Horvat II
The problem with the “dreamer” debate is that it has little to do with children or their dreams.
Most of the “dreamer children” are now adults. On average, the 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who entered America illegally as minors—alone, or brought by parents or relatives—are about 24-years-old today. Their dreams are also nothing unique or special. They consist of a path toward U.S. citizenship, a goal shared by millions worldwide.
Put succinctly, the only difference between “dreamers” and the millions of other minors who entered America illegally over the last half-century is a bureaucratic one: At some point within the last five or so years “dreamers” filed a DACA application.

Forgotten Considerations
This lackluster distinction notwithstanding, the DACA rescission debate has been framed in the imagination of many Americans as a highly emotional narrative. It evokes images of Elian Gonzalez-likechildren being torn at gunpoint from the arms of sorrowing relatives; aspiring high school and college students removed from dorms and classrooms; enterprising youngsters removed from jobs where they are esteemed by their co-workers. Supposedly, they are now to be deported by heartless ICE agents to a home country they barely knew and where they now lack roots and the loving support of family and friends.
While dishonest, this framing of the narrative is powerfully effective. An ocean of emotions drowns out anyone trying to focus attention on the tortured issue’s important elements. The organized crime role of “coyotes” and enablers who helped “dreamers” enter America illegally goes unaddressed. Forgotten is the fact that the parents of “dreamers” are just as likely to be undocumented, so families need not be broken up but can stay together as they return to their home country. The same goes for the unfairness, nay the injustice, in rewarding the dreamer parents’ scofflaw entry into the country, their cutting in line ahead of the millions of others who respect and obey the country’s sovereignty and immigration laws. Likewise, the anarchical behavior of President Obama himself who admitted he had no authority to implement a DACA-like executive measure granting administrative amnesty, and then did it.
Anyone raising such considerations is shouted down and denounced as lacking compassion. Ironically, the compassion toward the dreamers is not extended to the citizen realists who raise legitimate concerns about the nation’s future.
Using Young People as Pawns
Thus, the debate over DACA is not about children and dreams. It has turned these poor young people into hostages of a contrived narrative, using them as mere pawns in a bigger game—the charting of America’s course as a nation and the determining of what role government will continue to have.
In this broader struggle for America’s soul, liberals see DACA as an ideal battlefield. They have occupied the higher ground by wrapping themselves in the flag of fuzzy warm compassion. They have infused the issue with emotional hype, making rational debate impossible. This passionate framing of the narrative has divided conservatives. They are torn between Christian compassion and the need to uphold the rule of law. With the media as its willing partner, liberals see this conservative division as a win-win situation to be exploited.
A Debate Clouded by Emotion and Political Positioning
When policy becomes clouded with emotion and political positioning, it endangers the nation. The longer a solution is delayed by emotional stewing, the more difficult the problem will be to resolve. That is why the implications of DACA extend beyond immigration.
When nations allow themselves to be run by emotions and feelings, they place themselves on the fast track to destruction. When feelings can be evoked to create “rights” for every individual who calls himself the victim of injustice, then nothing is sacred. When emotions control the granting of entitlements, then no budget can endure.
When feelings become the leading standard of judgment, they are easily turned against those who oppose these expressions of false compassion. There is no fury equal to that of those who attack the defenders of duty, virtue, and the rule of law. There is no greater tyranny than those whose passions are unleashed against God and reason.
How the DACA debacle will be resolved is still unclear. However, one thing is certain: Only a return to sound principles coupled with a practical wisdom in their implementation can provide just, quick, and compassionate solutions.
Maneuvering to a Better Battlefield and Victory
Since the ocean of emotions is a battlefield upon which conservatives cannot win, they should pivot to where they hold the advantage. This new battlefield must be based both on the rule of law and on principled compassion. Accordingly, it should be informed by the following principles and considerations:
1. It is the natural right of the State to regulate immigration into its territories in the interest of the common good of its citizens. It also has the duty to protect the nation’s best interests in the realms of defense, economy, health, culture, and social harmony and cohesion.
2. While every individual has a natural right to immigrate, this is not an absolute right enforceable against an established nation. From time immemorial, an immigrant’s admission into a host country has depended and continues to depend on the approval of that nation’s government. Government consent, freely given, is what distinguishes immigration from invasion.
3. The natural moral law obliges those who immigrate to respect the laws of the country in which they settle and to obey its government.
4. Illegal immigration is subversive of a nation’s common good and order since it disobeys just laws. It anarchically upends government policies, programs, and quotas implemented to regulate and order immigration prudently.
5. While there is much truth in Bismarck’s statement that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable—the art of the next best,” the first natural duty of officeholders in a representative democracy is to honor their campaign promises. In so doing, they keep faith with their constituents and build much-needed social trust in their pledged word as political leaders. This is a rule of honor, but it also guarantees their political base’s continued support.
6. Just as uninterrupted adverse possession (“squatters rights”) under common law can engender property rights over time (Montana’s time limit is five years, New Jersey is thirty), so also, analogously, an illegal immigrant’s long-tolerated illegal presence—even when due to the negligence or complicity of previous administrations—can gradually engender an equitable right to his continued stay. Thus, in deportation proceedings, it is wrong to treat all illegal immigrants equally. Clearly, one who has been in the country uninterruptedly for thirty years has a different standing than one who has only been here for three.
7. An immigrant’s assimilation of the country’s heritage and culture is essential in maintaining social cohesion and harmony.
8. Saint Thomas Aquinas defends this cultural assimilation and explains that since it takes time, citizenship should not be immediate but should be delayed.
9. Federal law cannot be ignored. The enacting and changing of immigration laws are the purview of Congress. The role of the Executive and Judicial branches of government is to uphold the law. All three branches should strive to collaborate harmoniously for the nation’s common good.
The immigration crisis involves situations that need to be analyzed with great care. Solving this issue entails moral and prudential judgments that are best made quietly, without a media circus. It should not be simplified and infused with emotion. Rather, it must be addressed wisely by government.
With this practical wisdom, both the legitimate rights of illegal immigrants and the common good of the nation can and should be harmonized in keeping with the principles of justice and charity. Failure to respect this balance can lead the country to chaos.
No one will contest that immigration policy should be just, ample, and equitable. It should be charitable and compassionate. Reasonable efforts should be employed to alleviate hardships and adapt to particular circumstances. However, the system should be fair for all by rewarding compliance and punishing subversion. It should inspire social trust through its solid grounding in legal and equitable principle and good policy.
The debate over DACA is not about children and dreams. It is about a bitterly divided America. It is about grave concerns that there will soon no longer be an America about which to dream. It is the struggle between one America that wants a return to order and the rule of law, and another that dismisses sovereignty, borders, and the very concept of a nation.

The Real Issues Underlying the Dreamer Debate - Return to Order

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Why I am Renewing my 2017 Resolution to Keep My Sundays Internet-free -

Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution that I would make my Sundays Internet-free. It was not easy but, with one small exception, I was able to make a complete break with the worldwide web on Sundays. As we enter 2018, I will be renewing the resolution.
I made the resolution because I was frustrated by how the Internet can waste countless hours. There is so much more to life than emails, websites or social media. I was sickened by the allure of pop-up notifications that never deliver the boost they promise.
Something had to be done.
Making the Break
However, I knew I could not cut off all Internet connections. I needed these links to survive in our modern world. Not having email is the closest thing to non-existence. I also needed to read articles and publications if I were to fight effectively against the evils of the day. The complete no-web option was not, and still is not, an option for me.
However, making Sunday Internet-free is a refreshing and restful option for me and others like me. Sunday was a free day. I did not need to be connected for work purposes. And so I decided to make the break, cold turkey. No Internet, email or social media would be permitted on the Sabbath thus made holy. The break had to be total.
Getting Used to Disconnecting
I must admit it was not easy in the beginning. The desire to check email was constant. Every possible excuse came to mind to shake my resolve. In such a state of withdrawal, the mind fantasizes and tries to create situations that might justify a quick virtual fix. Perhaps there were important messages that needed immediate attention. Maybe there was a schedule change that I needed to know about before Monday.
On one trip, for example, I received an urgent text message on Saturday night informing me that my early Monday morning international flight might be delayed due to weather conditions. I was advised to check the website on Sunday for more information. I resisted the temptation, thinking how I had survived similar situations before the Internet. I calmly went to sleep Sunday night and awoke to find there were no problems at the airport.
Things Could Wait
At times, I found myself helpless. When I needed urgent directions or other information only found on the Internet, I was reduced to the humbling position of asking others to help me. This almost medieval situation helped me rely on the charity of others. It taught me patience. I soon found that I did not have to have everything instantly. Things could wait.
When friends told me that they were going to email me an article or document on Sunday, I had to ask them to print it out or put it on a thumb drive. Likewise, I could not send anything to them and often had to make an old-fashioned phone call. Friends quickly learned not to ask me for things on Sunday. I found they respected my Internet fasting and I suspect that some even envied my state.
The Benefits of Internet Fasting
With each passing Sunday, I found myself increasingly disengaged from the frenetic world around me. I could read and write without interruptions. I had more free time to do things I wanted to do. I would engage in more conversations because frankly there was no other option. Everything was calmer like Sunday should be.
I now find my Sundays uncluttered. It is a welcome break from a frantic pace of life.  There is time to think and reflect on things. Being disconnected from the web connects me more to God. It is easier to pray in disconnected silence.
My Reasons for Continuing
Thus, as we enter 2018, I will renew my resolution to keep my Sundays Internet-free. I list again my three reasons for doing so. These reasons come in handy because they steady me in my resolve when tempted.
The first reason is that it is the Lord’s Day. This day is not mine; it is His. It is only right that it be consecrated to God. I should be spending my time thinking about Him and the wonderful universe He created for us, I should be praying, worshiping and giving Him glory.
Secondly, Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. It is proper that we leave our daily rat race for at least one day to ponder and rest to prepare for the week ahead. As we are social beings, it is a perfect occasion to visit and converse with others.
Finally, I believe that a true culture can only come from those who take the time to contemplate the meaning of life during their leisure. The failure to seek psychological repose leads to much anxiety and stress. An Internet-free Sunday is my personal and positive way of contributing to a culture in much need of rejuvenation.
I am not claiming that this one resolution will transform lives completely. After all, it is but one day out of seven.  However, it will help people slow down and think about those things that matter.
From experience, I am encouraged by the fact that I know it can be done. I survived Sundays Internet free for a whole year. Others can also do this. It is something practical and feasible for those who are frustrated by their Internet usage. For those looking for a New Year’s resolution, it is well worth a try.

Why I am Renewing my 2017 Resolution to Keep My Sundays Internet-free -: Why I am Renewing my 2017 Resolution to Keep My Sundays Internet-free

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Victory! Satan Kicked Out of Boca Raton -

Over 200 faithful Catholics in Florida converged on Boca Raton’s Sanborn Park Square on December 1 to protest a satanic “Christmas” display next to a Catholic Nativity scene. They soon learned to their joy that the display would not be appearing this year as it has for the past two years.
Sponsored by the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its Return to Order and America Needs Fatima campaigns, the protest quickly became a “victory and thanksgiving” rally. Jubilant protesters praying the rosary were thrilled to hear that Satan was kicked out of Boca Raton.

To challenge this affront to God, the Return to Order campaign collected over 50,000 signatures this year asking that a permit be denied. Local press coverage reported earlier that city officials were resigned to allowing the display since they did not have the legal resources to fight it.For the last two years, a Boca Raton middle school teacher has placed an inverted pentagram display inscribed with satanic slogans in the park. It has triggered widespread protest from Catholics offended by horrendous slogans such as “May the Children Hail Satan.” The school teacher told the media that he had every intention on bring the display back to the park this year.
Working with local activists, Return to Order decided to confide in Our Lady’s power over Satan and protest with a rosary rally on the actual site of the display on December 1 when it would have been installed.
As the finishing touches were being put on the rally preparations, news suddenly circulated that the school teacher had “missed” the permit deadline. Satan was defeated.
“This display has been the talk of the town for this upcoming Christmas season,” said activist Willy Guardiola with the local Christian on a Mission group. “After this powerful protest, the city will not be displaying the satanic atrocity.”
The Boca Raton victory rosary rally came after a similar victory on November 4. The Return to Order campaign protested a huge porno-sculpture of a naked female figure that was scheduled to be displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for four months. The moral disaster was averted when the National Park Service denied a permit to the sponsoring organization.
These successes show that protests do work. Satan can be kicked out of town if people let their voices be heard.
“Our Lady of Fatima is more powerful than Satan,” said Sergio de Paz of the outspoken Miami-based Cuban exile group Cubanos Desterados. “We just need to be out there to fight for her. She will do the rest!”
Victory! Satan Kicked Out of Boca Raton -

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christ at the White House Inn -

Christmas_Novena_Day7_300x300 Christ at the White House Inn

As Christmas approaches, there is much talk of a post-Christian America. No one can dispute that the Christ Child finds no place in many secular hearts. For these, Christmas is merely a time of holiday and sparkle with little real significance.
Over the ages, so many have followed the route of those who dismiss Christmas as foolish. They claim Jesus has no power over souls and nations. And yet the Christ Child has always overcome the hardness of human hearts. The Infant King has triumphed and will triumph in the end. Foolish are those who refuse Him a place in their hearts.

To those who boldly claim America to be post-Christian, let them consider that even in these most secular days, Christ is honored and glorified in surprising ways. The mighty machines of industry stop on the blessed day of His birth. Government halls darken on this day. All major institutions pause to give him honor. Families everywhere gather to celebrate the grace of Christmas when one can still sense the sweetness and perfection that emanates from the Divine Infant in the manger in Bethlehem.
Even now, the most powerful nations bow before Him. Let them consider the fact that for decades, the Christ Child has found shelter in the White House.
The United States is the most powerful nation in the world. Its president is the most powerful world leader. And yet in the house of the President, a crowned Christ Child occupies a place far more honorable and important than that reserved for the president himself. He resides there as king, and the house is decorated at its best to pay Him homage. No foreign leader is treated with more honor and respect than this tiny Child.
Indeed, this Christmas, this Presence shines with particular pomp and splendor. There is open mention of Christmas in addresses and greeting cards. It is as if some forbidden decree has been lifted. This year’s refreshing celebration, while not ideal, reflects a desire of countless Americans that He be treated in a privileged way. This new splendor is welcomed by a society long stifled by politically correct diktats.
For too long, the nation has suffered by those in power who have tried to minimize the event. They have even tried to make it non-religious or politically correct. They have avoided mentioning Him by name.
But the force of that compelling grace of Christmas has proven stronger. No president has dared to expel the Child from the inn. For decades, the beautiful Nativity Scene has always been set up. While failing to acknowledge Him properly, there at least has always been room in the White House Inn—even in supposedly post-Christian America.
That is why winning the war on Christmas is so important. America will not be post-Christian as long as Christ has a place in the hearts of its people. The Christmas season is an annual time to renew that bond full of tender goodness and innocence. America must not allow Christ to be expelled from hearts and society. Christmas must be merry again.
If enough Americans recognize God, God will indeed bless America. Christmas is a reminder that all things are possible with God. Indeed, on that ineffable night when a Savior was born to Mary ever Virgin, an immense impossibility became possible: the God-man was born.
In these days so much like those of Christ’s time when everything seemed impossible, similar wonders can happen. The seemingly impossible return to Christian order will be possible as long as He is recognized and still finds a place in hearts, society and at the White House Inn.
Humanity is given the unimaginable on this sublime day. Puer natus est nobis, Et filius datus est nobis, says a passage from the Christmas liturgy. “For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us.”(Is. 9:6)

Christ at the White House Inn -: Christ at the White House Inn

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Why Ladies and Gentlemen Are Forbidden on New York Trains

organic_society Why Ladies and Gentlemen Are Forbidden on New York Trains
Passengers, customers or whatever you want to call them are welcome to ride in the New York City transport system. Just don’t call them ladies or gentlemen. The city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has outlawed the expression in yet another bizarre episode of the politically correct Culture War.
“Ladies and gentlemen” is not inclusive enough for the thought police patrolling the lines. Never mind that conductors have been doing this for a century. Never mind that the automatic announcement systems are programmed with the old courtesy formulas. Never mind that passengers might even like to be addressed in this manner.

All this must be changed immediately on buses, trains and stations. The MTA has ruled that conductors must now use new formulas that scrap the traditional “Ladies and gentlemen” suggesting “passengers” or “riders” as replacements. Conductors will be monitored by management for compliance. They must even manually override the automatic systems until new recordings can be made. Thus has it been decreed, and let no one dare do the contrary.
The Little Things are the Culture
Some people might think these small changes are insignificant. Such things make no difference in our daily lives. However, things like this are indicative of what is wrong with America today. They change the culture because little things are the culture.
Whenever a revolution breaks out, there is always an attempt to change the little things. Curiously, revolutionaries always change the manner of addressing people. The French Revolution of 1789 quickly stripped people of their titles, however humble, and insisted that everyone be called “citizen.” The Russian Revolution in 1917 likewise made people equal by calling them “comrades.”
These were changes in the culture that indicated a shift in society’s way of understanding people. They were tiny alterations forced upon the people, and that promoted an ideological agenda. During these revolutions, the neutered terms of address signaled that everyone was completely equal in everything, including intelligence, ability and talents. Using “comrade” signaled to all that the person was part of the communist tyranny that leveled society and controlled all aspects of life.
A Postmodern Diktat
Suppressing ladies and gentlemen has a particular postmodern overtone. “Citizen “and “comrade” at least identified people as something permanent. The new designation of “passenger” or “rider” resists a permanent condition and merely describes someone’s temporary state.
It fits well with the postmodern ambiguity that blurs all distinctions and hates all definitions. People are what they decide to be at the moment. People are encouraged to self-identify as what they perceive themselves to be. It is not a coincidence that the suppressed terms were changed because they were not inclusive of “transgendered” passengers who did not feel comfortable being defined by our God-given male-female binary categories.
The train authority diktat is postmodernity at its worst. It reduces people to mere simulacra (to use their term) in which everything becomes insubstantial forms or semblances of something.
The Meaning of Ladies and Gentlemen
That is what is wrong with suppressing ladies and gentlemen. It strips people of their dignity. It takes away from both women and men all that is distinguished, honored, or worthy of respect.
When a woman was called a lady, it used to be a compliment. In accepting this title, the woman is held to the high standard of behaving like a lady that appreciates grace, modesty and beauty. It assumed a desire to be feminine and glory in those qualities that today are so neglected.
When a man was called a gentleman, it was also a compliment. It assumed a willingness to be held to high standards. Men were asked to overcome the more brutal part of their nature and display masculine gentleness that spoke of courtesy, consideration and protection—virtues that are now neglected.
When a group was addressed as ladies and gentlemen, it expressed a complementary and mutual respect between the two sexes. It had none of the class struggle overtones of feminist propaganda. Instead, it celebrated the differences between the two with ceremony and distinction.
This treatment is the fruit of Christian civilization. It was the Church that first recognized and elevated the dignity of men, but especially women who were so degraded in pagan lands and times. Christian morality created an atmosphere of charity, trust and respect that both harmonized and protected the sexes.
Return to Barbaric Ways
Thus, the seemingly-insignificant suppression of ladies and gentlemen on New York’s trains represents a giant step backward. It affirms that we need no longer behave like ladies and gentlemen but rather like whatever we want to be or happen to be at the moment.
We are free to revert to the barbaric ways of old. People are free to disrespect, harass and offend everyone equally bad. Other people become merely the instruments of our gratification.
The recent sexual harassment scandals should come as no surprise. They are the product of a rotten culture where people no longer treat those around them as ladies and gentlemen.

Why Ladies and Gentlemen Are Forbidden on New York Trains