30 December 2009

Son of Meatless Friday Wednesday

Some random items to cover today, sure to amaze your friends and baffle your enemies:

1. When will people start to ask some serious questions about why it is that the federal government must be the entity to administer airline and airport security? The TSA fails time and time again in stunts carried out by journalists and watchdog groups. These stories get mentioned, occasionally, on page B23 of mainstream newspapers, usually under a headline like "Fraternity prankster sneaks knife onto flight". The latest reported failure concerns the Nigerian bomber, who is reported to have connections to Al-Qaeda. Early reports indicated that a passenger was responsible for neutralizing this guy-- more ominously, reports also indicate he was assisted in his quest by someone who helped him to board the plane without a passport.

The response by our supposedly benevolent and clearly incompetent government is to issue regulations that prohibit passengers from getting out of their seats. But the response is always some kind of limit to our freedom. Always. Regardless of the party nominally in power. Consider:
  • The 9-11 killings led to the execrable Patriot Act, which gutted the ancient right of habeas corpus-- which dated back more than 500 years.

  • The bureaucracy created to ensure "security" in our country makes up lists of potential "terrorists" that encompass pro-lifers, states-rights and individual liberties advocates.

  • The Real ID Act was also foisted on us, which is supposed to make us "safer" by laying the groundwork for a national ID card, and by computerizing sensitive personal information. This of course works really well to keep illegal immigrants from getting driver licenses and auto insurance, thus raising our insurance premiums and causing hit-and-run cases to spike. It doesn't work really well to keep airlines from being attacked, as this latest case shows. Also, it allows crooks to "skim" our personal information off of our passport and "smart" IDs.

  • Every reported failure by the government causes ordinary citizens to suffer greater governmental control, pay more money, and become accustomed to being treated as sub-human.

  • Long lines, no shoes, no belts, no water, no shaving cream. Now, the call is out for immoral "full-body scanners". Why? So we will be safer. Yet a foreigner without a passport but with a bomb waltzes on the plane.

When will people wake up? This is ludicrous. If these terrorist threats are real, why are we so content to allow the government to continue to administer airline security? It has failed miserably. Why not allow the private companies to take over this function? Private companies have a vested interest in their planes not being blown up. Bad for business, yes? Private companies are motivated to succeed because their very existence is at stake. Not so with the government. Private companies have experience in providing for the security of their assets and customers. Armored cars seem to be a good example of a security system, privately implemented, that works well. Obviously, the nature of the threat is different in an airport, but the principles involved are the same.

About the only reason the government still does this is because it wants to. It wants the control. It either believes that it can do this job better, despite every appearance to the contrary, or else it doesn't really want the airlines to be too secure.

Did I just say that? Yes, but you know I'm a little off, right? I mean, what if there really isn't a terrorist threat? Nah, impossible.

2. The reports of the "defrocking" of St. Christopher have been greatly exaggerated, despite what you may have heard. I overheard part of a conversation at a restaurant recently concerning this topic. No, I wasn't eavesdropping. The parties involved were members of what my brother labelled, in an attempt at humor, the BHC-- as in, the Blue-Haired Crowd. They were speaking very loudly. All of them proudly stated they went to 12 years of Catholic school.

Well, one guy begins on how he wasn't going to give any money to the local seminary. Another talks about the lack of certainty in religion, and how the Catholic Church can be wrong. "Just like when they defrocked St. Christopher." Loud agreement by most, complete bewilderment by one. So, the guy relates how they said he didn't exist a few years ago and just booted him from the calendar, and "now you're not allowed to wear St. Christopher medals anymore." At this point I am slightly tempted to try to intervene, because this is not true. But I hold back, just in time to hear this retort:

"But I saw 'em sold over at Catholic Supply."

Whoa! This was the first time I began to doubt myself. Being sold at Catholic Supply is, at best, a 64% indicator of Catholicity. Don't get me started. So, I thought, maybe I'll blog on this.

The deal is this: St. Christopher is a saint. He existed. He was a martyr. His cult goes back at least a thousand years. His feast day is July 25, shared with St. James the Greater.

In 1969, the same people who tried to destroy the ancient Mass also were thoughtful enough to denude the Roman calendar of many, MANY saints. I mean, who would want to venerate a Saint when they could instead celebrate the awe-inspiring Year II, Cycle B, Wednesday after the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time? Thank goodness, St. Christopher was not allowed to gunk up this new religious experience.

In any event, some of the saints were determined by somebody somewhere not to have enough historical evidence to allow them to be on the "official" calendar. This point of view is explained fairly well here. However, even the sceptics admit that he existed-- they just don't like the traditional pious stories believed about him.

But St. Christopher remains a saint, and his feast day is unchanged. It is still marked on the traditional calendar on July 25, and he is still listed in the Roman Martyrology-- the official listing of Catholic saints. Catholic Encyclopedia has an nice entry here.

3. The combination of the above two items leads me to conclude with a third. Somebody asked me over the weekend about how the blog was going. I made a polite reply, and then opined that my target audience might be very, very, very serious Catholics who love Catholic tradition, distrust the federal government, know what a tunicle is, believe that an apocalyptic event is about 5 minutes away at any given time, wish the Spanish Armada had won-- and those who love them.

That's why the seven of you reading this are my favorite people in the world. Have a great Wednesday!

Saint Christoper, pray for us!


Anonymous said...

Hopefully a bunch of people in Denmark will be fired for total incompetency, but why is the US to blame for what another government is supposed to do? Does the US have control over everything?

Sometimes private companies do a good job, but seriously, do you want a private company to have access to all the intel that the CIA, FBI, NSA and Dept. of Homeland Security has on each of us? Good point about the armored car industry ... but that seems to be negated by our experiences of Blackwater in Iraq - disappearances of billion of dollars, incompetencies, thug behavior including murders, rapes, etc.

LOLed about "the severn of you reading this."

Doubt, though, that you really "distrust the federal government" as fully as you think you do. Presumably, you still travel on airplanes and in cars, you still have fire and police protection, you still are able to eat food and drink milk that meets federal safety guidelines, you still can breath air that is relatively clean compared to 80 years ago, and on and on and on.

Some skepticism is due, of course, in all of life. At least, the 6 others here think so!

just wondering said...

well if passengers are no longer allowed to leave their seats, then that will put an end to j.q. public stopping a terrorist attempt to blow up a plane. i wonder if the government will mandate the airlines issuing diapers for their passengers, since they will no longer be allowed to leave their seats, i was just wondering.

just wondering said...

by the way i am reader #427,865,321

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, when did the federal government take over car "fire and police protection"? I don't tune in to the interwebs for a few days and this happens?!? That's what I get for attempting to reconnect with family and friends, I guess.

Government akbar, or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the suffering we've endured because "they" messed up the saints' days in the 60s, here's another good one. After begrudgingly being obedient these many post-Vatican-2 years and observing Epiphany on the 2nd Sunday after Christmas instead of January 6th, when the 12th day of Christmas has been traditionally obseved for CENTURIES, I just found out that most of the rest of the Catholic world DOES celebrate Epiphany onm Janaury 6th. It's only in the US (and a very small number of other places) that we are prohibited from observing Epiphany on January 6th (unless of course, you follow the Extraordinary Form) because that clown circus act they called the USCCB made that decision! Here I thought the Holy Father had done it! That's it for me! As for me and my house we will observe Little Christmas again on its proper day, January 6th, and will try to spread the word, too.

Sam said...

This is my favorite blog. I read it every day. Please keep up the good work and sacrifice you put into this. As a 21 year old male, it is edifying to know that there are others in St. Louis who are aware of how the world is. Thank you!

Peggy said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Barbara A. Schoeneberger said...

Great post. I must be one of the seven readers. St. Barbara got kicked off the calendar, too, even though some of the great sacred artists from 1100 on have painted her. Nevertheless, I invoke her protection whenever I fire a salvo over the bow of the heretics.

StGuyFawkes said...

Somewhere deep in the offices of America Magazine liberal Jesuits are hammering out a deal with irate American Jews to allow Pius XII to become a saint -- but disallow him a day on the Calendar.

(I'm kidding but doesn't it feel like something that COULD happen?)

Happy New Years

Peter said...

Unfortunately the "extraordinary form" calendar itself is already marked by rationalist vandalism, because in 1960 a number of "legendary" feasts were already expunged: e.g., Saint Peter in Chains (August 1) and the Invention of the Holy Cross (May 3) and the Apparition of Saint Michael (May 8).