Wednesday, December 13, 2006

An iconic moment

The pre-literacy of Mark Shea's bleatings are crystallized into chemically-pure form here. In the context of an article about a silly anthropologist-with-tenure griping about the Mayans Mel Gibson's APOCALYPTO, he tries this effort at parody:
Of course, some of the anti-human sacrifice absolutists out there will complain of her eagerness to condemn Gibson and her peculiar quietude about ritually slaughtering human beings. Some of the most arrogant of these Human Sacrifice Pharisees will even charge that she is a "Human Sacrifice Apologist." In fact, however, she is simply "anti-anti-human sacrifice." All she really wants is for us to be open to the rich diversity of religious options in life's colorful pageant. Can anyone fault her for that?
Does one laugh or cry? And thanks for defending me, Mark, and providing more proof of what a twit Shea is; you know the guy has brought tweezers to a gunfight when he's reduced to "all my libel-suit-threatening flake-pal Comerford (or I myself) are doing is saying 'torture bad'."

But ... I digress ... to The Professionally-Aggrieved Lady. She was arguing from cultural relativism.

If you are reading this, Shea, (and I know you do) ... please cite where Torq or I have ever argued from cultural relativism. With a link or a precise citation. Not your telepathic powers about "what I really mean." But a cite.

I speak only for myself (though I'm 99.99% sure that Torq agrees) ... but I don't believe "autre temps, autre moeurs" is much of an argument.¹ Whatever else might be said about what I have argued on torture or other matters, I am very far from a cultural relativist on moral matters and it is simply false for you to imply otherwise (even by sarcastic indirection). I have sometimes argued things about Church teaching from certain historical facts that some dumb sophomores use to argue for cultural relativism ... but I'm certain you understand the difference.
¹ Actually, that requires a bit of unpacking. Like all sane persons, I of course know that societies differ across space and time on many fronts, mores and morals being one. And there are many matters about which we should be indifferent and nothing more need be said than "autre temps, autre moeurs" (to pick an easy one: eating horses or cows or pigs or dogs). What I'm saying is that "autre temps, autre moeurs" is not a principled, foundational argument -- i.e., you see a different more or act, so it must be a matter of indifference. Rather, I think that some things are a matter of indifference, but some are not. "Autre temps, autre moeurs" is meaningless in determining what act or more is in which category.


Anonymous said...


Remember, boys and girls, this is Boycott Shea Week....

Then again, every week should be Boycott Shea Week...

The preceding was an unpaid, apolitical announcement....

Oh, I almost forgot....


Victor said...


You've made your point. Please discuss the subject matters of future posts.

That said, your second paragraph is most brilliant .... "every week should be Boycott Shea Week."

Anonymous said...


Out of respect for you, Victor, I shall comply.

Anonymous said...


After having read the linked thread, I must say that Mark Shea's attempts to justify himself at my expense are getting preciouser and preciouser. To wit:

One of the regular posters in the Coalition comboxes has repeatedly called for mass murder publicly, yet nobody in the Coalition does an investigation of him, despite the fact that his ravings are far more liable to sway public opinion given that they are featured on Front Page Mag and in the Jerusalem Post. As ever, the Coalition has a very oddly skewed sense of the public good.

First of all, what's to investigate? Beyond this, however, is the implication that "the public good" involves silencing somebody whom one member of The Catholic Blog Establishment does not like.

That's nothing but the kind of arrogant totalitarianism associated with Nazis, Communists and Muslims.

Now, to be clear: I am not advocating adopting the slimey tactics of the Coalition. I don't think working for the Washington Times means much of anything (though I do think Front Page mag disgraces itself by printing maniacs like D'Hippolito and the Coalition disgraces itself by treating him as a serious "partner in dialogue".)

As far as "slimy tactics" are concerned, consider the following exchange from Jimmy Akin's blog just today concerning the late pope's views of capital punishment. I had been arguing with three or four other people about the meaning of Scripture and statements from Augustine and Aquinas concerning the issue. Mark enters in the middle thus:

One gets the distinct impression that Hippo's Bible consists of about three verses, all of them calling for death.

"I am come that they might have death and that abundantly." - The Gospel According to Joseph.

It really is an obsession for him: as though the main point of the gospel was to make sure that as many people as possible are killed and that any variation from that Presiding Goal is a disgusting perversion of the Faith.

You go, SDG!

(SDG was one of the people I was arguing with. Guess who 'Hippo' is?)

More from the Illustrious Mr. Shea:

You will find that Joe has a small treadmill of ideas (not all of them compatible) that he rehearses again and again and again. Theologically, he's an Evangelical (Arminian, Calvin is in Hell, according to Joe) who retains a Catholic attachment to the Eucharist, but who holds large portions of Catholic ecclesiology in complete and utter contempt. His main treadmill issues are political: the death penalty, which he appears to regard as one of the principle sources of revelation, lots of hatred for Islam (and corresponding contempt for Church teaching which says that Muslims worship the same God we do, albeit with grave defects), various kneejerkisms about the superiority of the American Way to the Church, various pronouncements on just who is in Hell (most notably, Pope John Paul II). If you talk to him for long, you'll soon get a sense of what I mean. The main theme that comes through his writing is a deep love for death and vengeance on as large a scale as possible. Christ's mercy seems to be largely restricted to Joe and those Joe approves of. For the rest of the human race, bloodshed on a vast scale followed by eternal torment is too good for them.

(Notice, gentle reader, that Shea, as a professional apologist, never cites any ideas, texts or even any work that he might have done on the issue to refute my points. All he does is pile on).

I respond:

Now to you, Mark P. Shea:

Don't you find it just a little bit pathetic that, as a professional apologist, the only way you can even attempt to rebut any of my points is through personalized insinuations and attacks, even to the point of stooping to the level of the crackers on this thread to make fun of my last name?

Then again, what else should I expect?

Mark responds:

My apologies for making fun of your name. As to the rest of your complaint, it is completely meaningless. I attacked not your person but your (endlessly restated) views.

(Notice again, gentle reader, that Mark never really addressed my views but caricatured them so that he wouldn't need to address them).

I respond:

Mark, your apologies have less value than Confederate money because you make no effort to change your obnoxious behavior toward me or anybody else.

Besides, vain apologies still do not get you off the hook from failing to respond to my points like an intelligent human being instead of as a terminal adolescent.

Mark's final response unintentionally reinforces what I said about him earlier:

Your points make no sense. Essentially, you have not given one bit of thought to anything anybody has said. You are still basically arguing that (somehow) we are obliged to execute as many people as possible. This is nonsense. You are also arguing that John Paul contradicted the teaching of the Church. This is double plus nonsense. And you are talking as though some Doctor of the Church makes it impossible for the Holy Father to say, "Try to execute as few people as possible." Triple nonsense. In all the years you have obsessed over this, that is all you have ever been saying. You position comes down to saying, "I want as many people as humanly possible executed! John Paul disagrees with me and I hate him so much I hope he is in Hell. Now I will dedicate my life to repeating this meme again and again and again throughout St. Blogs." About 1/4 of your total posts over the past few years could be replaced with that summary and nothing would be lost of the substance of your "argument".

(First, my opinion of JPII's eternal state is irrelevant to the discussion. Second, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that I have been using substantive arguements to support my point, most of which can be found here:

Why do I bore you with all of this? Because this is just another example of how Mark distorts, lies and otherwise obfuscates when dealing with people he doesn't like or disagrees with.

The man won't learn until his ordinary smacks him down.