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As he likes it.

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, has published another missive on Mirror of Justice, in which he, holder of a Harvard JD, a Harvard Divinity MTS, and an Oxford DPhil, writes, "some of our friends at Commonweal seem to have figured out that I mean to express contempt for the claim made by signers of 'On All of Our Shoulders.'" He continues:

If those responsible for the statement want serious intellectual engagement from those of us who do not share their views, they can put out a serious statement, free of tendentious claims and characterizations and laughable pretensions to non-partisanship. There are people among the signers of "On All of Our Shoulders" who are capable of writing such a statement. Let them do it. Then we'll have a serious discussion, if they like.

It was late when George, adviser to the campaign of Mitt Romney, posted, so perhaps he confused his friends at Commonweal with his friends a tAmerica, where Vincent Miller, one of the authors of "On All of Our Shoulders," yesterday posted a series of substantive questions for George. Yet, given George's ground rules, it seems unlikely that Miller will receive an answer. Unless he's prepared to sign a statement parroting the Romney campaign's Catholic talking points, as did George in his critique of "On All of Our Shoulders." Interesting ground rules for discussion.

RESOURCES: Robert P. George, "We're Only Concerned for the Integrity of the Teachings of the Catholic Church," Mirror of Justice. Robert P. George, "Exposed!" Mirror of Justice. Robert P. George, "The Catholic Left's Unfair Attack on Paul Ryan," First Things. Vincent Miller, "Unfair to Ryan? Questions for Robert George," In All Things. Grant Gallicho, "Tendentious Tendencies," dotCommonweal. "On All of Our Shoulders," 150-plus Catholic scholars and ministers." Catholics for Romney Coalition," Romney for President, Inc. Mitt Romney, "On the Issues for Catholics," Romney for President, Inc. [.pdf]

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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Interweb flame wars are pretty weak when one of the guys lacks the wontons to allow commenting.

Abe, comments allowed on conservative blogs? It's not because of no wontons it's because they can't control their own wing nuts.

Grant Gallicho: Do you really not get it, or are you pretending not to get it? The statement On All of Our Shoulders A Catholic Call to Protect the Endangered Common Good was not a Catholic call to protect the endangered common good. It was a political statement. Also, your and other Catholic liberals frequent references to Professor Georges support for, and advisor services to, the Romney Ryan candidacy is hypocritical in view of your support for the Obama Biden candidacy. (If you are not a member of Catholics for Obama as you were in 2008, congratulations for wising-up, or at least for using better judgment.)Professor George as a serious thinker blessed by God with a superior intellect obviously has no patience for political posturing masquerading as a discussion of political philosophy. He has in the past and presumably will continue in the future to engage in discussion and argument with other serious persons similarly blessed with superior intellects with whom he disagrees. Most of us read their works to be informed and challenged.Partisan, attention grabbing consensus statements like the statement in question from a group of Catholic liberals intended primarily for the likes Commonweal Catholics (my characterization, not their) do not require or deserve serious attention from serious scholars and are properly dismissed by such scholars in their roles as political advisors for particular candidates as simply propaganda from the opposing side.

I don't know--maybe if you applied the word "serious" to him a few more times, I'd be convinced.

Actually, I have an MTS from Harvard, as well, and I know for a fact that serious people do not get that degree.

Mr George's blog post "Exposed" was most definitely sanctimonious. But was it intentionally so? I don't always get intellectual humor.

"Grant Gallicho: Do you really not get it, or are you pretending not to get it? Republicans are right. Not just on the right. But RIGHT, as in CORRECT. We just ARE. Trust us. You don't need to know details. We are smarter. We are not partisan. It's Natural Law. Divine right. The whole megillah. How can you not see that?"

I think we should all thank Robert George for exposing this nefarious plot by left-wing Catholic theologians to throw the election. This is going to be a very close election, and if only a small percentage of the millions of Catholics, who read On All of Our Shoulders were to be taken in by its tendentiousness, the Catholic vote could actually be split.

Robert George said today: "If those responsible for the statement want serious intellectual engagement from those of us who do not share their views, they can put out a serious statement," Ann Olivier replies: Do you mean he should answer in kind with the sort of statement you made yesterday??Robert George said yesterday: "Oh my. I'm in big trouble. My friend George Weigel tells me that Michael Winters at the National Catholic Reporter has declared (ex cathedra, I assume) that Grant Gallicho at Commonweal has "exposed" me for . . . sanctimony! (It was in my post criticizing the statement by Catholic liberals branding Paul Ryan as a Randian enemy of Catholic social thought.) Well, there it is. I have been exposed. The magisterium of liberal Catholicism has spoken. I am condemned. Woe is me. How does one stand up under an assault by such formidable personages? I mean, Michael Winters. And Grant Gallicho. Perhaps I should recant and throw myself on the mercy of the tribunal:"Paul Ryan is a Randian enemy of Catholic social thought! Paul Ryan is a Randian enemy of Catholic social thought! Paul Ryan is a Randian enemy of Catholic social thought! He really does want to dump old ladies in wheelchairs off cliffs. He really does want to dump old ladies in wheel chairs off cliffs! He really, really, really, really, does."Ann Olivier adds: And I didn't even quote the part about the Cowardly Lion. I really, really, really, really should have. Really, really. \


One problem with not allowing comments on your posts is that there is no venue for people to correct you when you wrongly attribute an inflammatory ad to the "Democratic Party" - and then you have no chance to demonstrate your integrity by correcting your no-doubt honest mistake. And there's no way for anyone to let you know when, in the process of disclosing your righteous contempt, you mix up your Looney Tunes characters. But such are the trials of serious thinkers blessed with superior intellects who deign to mingle on the internet.

As I read the statement, it was not written for the purpose of eliciting "serious intellectual engagement from those of us who do not share their views." It was written to call attention to a deformed and dangerously misleading representation of Catholic social teaching and to put forth a corrective. Does Professor George think this is all about him? What an ego!

Off-topic, I suppose, but is the word "serious" used in some special sense here? In Jane Austen's "Persuasion", Anne reflects on a suitor's character thus:"She saw that there had been bad habits; that Sunday travelling had been a common thing; that there had been a period of his life (and probably not a short one) when he hadbeen, at least, careless in all serious matters...."In that context, I took "serious matters" to imply that same rather Puritanical cast to the Church of England that made home play-acting so objectionable in "Mansfield Park". I don't quite understand how it applies to Catholics.

Ann Y: Aristotle uses the Greek term "spoudaios," which is rendered in English as serious person. However, I, for one, doubt that Aristotle would consider Robert George to be a serious person. I certainly would not consider Robert George to be a serious person. He's just part of the conservative noise machine in the United States.The German-born but naturalized American political philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-1985) uses the term spoudaios rather often. Because all 34 volumes of THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ERIC VOEGELIN have now been published, we can use the comprehensive index in volume 34 to locate specific places where Voegelin uses this honorific term.

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