Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Please End the Rantfest or Rename the Weblog

In reply to the query with which Michael ends his most recent post, I answer simply: no, the thesis is not worth considering - not in the slightest.  It is nothing more than another instance of a distasteful and unhelpful brand of paranoid invective that used to be confined to rightwing and leftwing echo chambers but now, sadly, is worming its way onto this weblog.  As for Patrick's latest queries along similar lines, I offer no reply at all.  For Patrick is right that these questions 'answer[ ] [themselves]' - which is precisly why they are neither serious, interesting, nor in need of response.

I encourage all readers simply to take a brief look at some of our recent post-headings at this weblog.  'Hideous Monsters.'  'Spiritual Rape & Treason.'  'fascist, retrograde, and incapable of understanding diversity.'  And so on.  When and by whom was it decided that we should henceforth constitute a tabloid rather than a forum for reasoned discussion?  And how has it come to pass that law professors at American law schools now lament at this site that the U.S. Constitution is 'godless' and difficult to amend in the name of instituting a  Christian theocracy? 

We call this site 'Mirror of Justice.'  If posts of the strange new variety now on display here continue, fair warning to the general public will counsel we rename it 'Mirror of Anger,' 'Mirror of Hysteria,' or some similar thing.  'God help us' indeed.



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As much as I admire Professor Brennan's scholarly work and some of your scholarly writings, I would not mind seeing an end to these tiresome exchanges where you seem to work each other into a frenzy. You both seem to miss how you are each engaging in hyperbolic, self-righteous posturing.

Cool it. Both of you.

Posted by: CLS | Apr 30, 2013 5:58:05 PM

"And how has it come to pass that law professors at American law schools now lament at this site that the U.S. Constitution is 'godless' and difficult to amend in the name of instituting a Christian theocracy?"

This is a blog, which in this case, it is an informal way to discuss issues of law, politics, and human nature as it pertains to the Catholic tradition. It is not necessarily a place for high brow posing and intellectual snobbery.

While I've seen others challenge Prof. Perry's various tabloid oriented and baiting posts, I haven't seen any MOJ author do so in an ad hominem way. Nor have I seen any other MOJ author lament that the blog has turned into the 'Mirror of [insert leftist sterotype]' because of Prof. Perry's posts.

Posted by: CK | Apr 30, 2013 6:06:35 PM

I'm not as concerned about the content of Professor Brennan's blog posts as I am about his tone, which almost sounds militant at times (and not in a good way). Regardless of the content involved, we need to set examples for what these disagreements can look like. So perhaps the question for all of us should look something like this: what should the tone of this argument sound like? Are aiming for something sounding like the Old Testament prophets or medieval philosophers? Undoubtedly we can find moments in Christ's own life where he sounded like one or the other, so perhaps we need to be a bit more pragmatic. What should we (as Christians) sound like today when we disagree? What's the tone we're trying to establish?

Posted by: Nick | Apr 30, 2013 7:14:07 PM

In my judgement, the problem, or more specifically our problem isn't what Mr. Weinstein said; it's that he would find no shortage of people willing to believe him.

From last week's Gospel: (http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042813.cfm)

"This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

If we were really living this Gospel, Mr. Weinstein could slander us all over the place, and nobody would believe him.

Should we confront his falsehoods? Yes. Is it concerning that someone who says what he says is in a position of influence over policy? Sure.

But more concerning is that many people's experience of Catholics and Christians do not lead them to immediately dismiss what we writes and says as nonsense.

Posted by: JohnMcG | May 1, 2013 12:15:06 AM

"What should we as Christians sound like when we disagree?"
Let us be honest, in this period of History, there are a magnitude of persons claiming to be Christian who do not believe it is necessary to abide in The Truth of Love, and treat one another with Dignity and Respect in public as well as in private.

Posted by: Nancy | May 1, 2013 9:19:53 AM

One addendum, and this seems the place to put it. Just as I was critical of Prof. Hockett for the use of the word "bacilli," so I think my use of the word "hysterical" to describe Prof. Brennan's post was misplaced. Obviously I thought his posts were overheated and outpaced the evidence, but I should have said just that without employing more colorful rhetoric. Apologies.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | May 1, 2013 9:33:10 AM

"The acceptable intellectual bandwith in American law schools is notoriously narrow, and I am not about to censor myself here at MOJ to conform to the spectrum that Bob desires MOJ, the Church, or the American law professoriate to reflect."

It is often confounding as to the narrow band of acceptable views that one can maintain under the banner of 'liberalism.'

This whole discussion reminds me of this dialogue created by Chesterton.


Posted by: CK | May 1, 2013 10:24:20 AM

I understand the desire to dial things down, but this post's reference to the over-the-top post titles seems possibly misleading to me. If you just read this post, it sounds as if Prof. Brennan was throwing out these terms about "hideous monsters" and "spiritual rape and treason" and such. If he originated such loaded terms, that'd be one thing. But he was, each time, quoting what others said in attacking. So it's not an example of "right wing extreme language" seeping into MOJ; it's merely pointing out some of the "left wing" vitriol flying around. If you want to similarly quote right-wingers attacking the Church in such terms, I think that'd be a legitimate concern, too.

Posted by: Joe Reader | May 1, 2013 10:38:14 AM

Wouldn't the relevant comparison be to quoting religious groups or individuals attacking those they perceive as adversaries or wrongdoers in over-the-top terms?

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | May 1, 2013 10:57:54 AM

Since it is true that in order to Mirror Justice, one must reflect Love onto every corner of the Earth, perhaps you could rename your blog, Mirror of Justice, no stone unturned.

Posted by: Nancy | May 1, 2013 11:19:22 AM