Ice cream cones. And.. “They’ll like us when we win.”

From an episode of The West Wing:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JP Borberg says:

    If their religion forbids them from playing the trumpet, so be it.
    But I want those kids to… look at a globe. Be exposed to social sciences, history.
    Some literature.

    In other words, ‘if there are superficial difference, that’s fine, but if anyone is really different from us, that’s not ok’.

    How many ‘tolerant’ people do you know with that attitude?

  2. J Kusske says:

    “Just look at a globe”, eh? How many Americans can find even a bare handful of other nations in the world? I am continually shocked at how little my fellow countrymen actually do know about the rest of the world. The pot and kettle spring to mind.
    But I have more fundamental concerns. Yes, I know that’s the kind of thing that goes on in the corridors of power, and that most leaders and their staff really do mean well and not have dark plans for World Domination. The problem is that the process itself and the application of power to achieve those “worthy” ends inevitably results in more harm than good. Tolkien’s illustration of Lord Acton’s “power corrupts” is not fiction, but all too real. In neither case will the United States benefit in the above exchange: either they lay down the law and alienate further the general Muslim world, or they try to be the nice auntie who is trying to stop the naughty child from wetting the bed. Both are counter-productive, the one by being provocative and the other through being patronizing. Ever since the US decided that Wilsonian meddling with the world to make them “good”, or perhaps “forced to be free” in the Rosseauean tradition, this kind of thinking and action has resulted in much more harm than good. Those are my two cents, at any rate; I try to follow “put not thy trust in princes” generally speaking, and trust to Holy Mother Church and her founder Our Lord Jesus instead.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    “Our goal is to proclaim American values.”

    Libera nos, Domine!

  4. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Hey, I’m Canadian, but I think Americans have great values. And one of the things you can say for Americans, especially working-class Americans, is that they are generous. Americans love to give. Sometimes they try to give people things they don’t want, like a mom who can’t understand why you don’t wear that great pullover she bought you, but the generosity of Americans, both in charitiable giving (that would be primarily the working class), and in wanting to help out the rest of the world is undeniable. “The poor suffer because it is the will of God” (shrug), is not in the American vocabulary

    As for “superficial differences are okay”, Americans have this great thing called the separation of church and state. And yet they also have a law code based on Gospel values (popularly known as Judeo-Christian), which are light years ahead of the frightenng eye-for-eye crap that still rules Islamist legal thinking.

    This week the BBC reported that a Saudi man hurt his brother so badly that the brother is now unable to walk. Now Saudi judges are looking for a doctor to operate on the assailant’s spine so he, too, will be crippled. Surely I am not the only person who read that BBC story and felt her stomach turn over.

    There are bedrock values that make up a society. If they are lousy bedrock values, they add up to a lousy society without hope. If they are great bedrock values, they add up either to a great society or to the posibility of a great society. Both born-in-Canada Canadians and born-in-the USA Americans have become incredibly welcoming of such “superficial differences” as food, personal religious observances and other cultural traditions of immigrant groups. Up until now, immigrant groups have not sneered at what Canada and the USA had to offer by way of freedom, peace and social mobility, but tried to fit in and prove that they are as “good Canadians” or as “good Americans” as any native-born. But now those very freedoms (e.g. of blind people with guide dogs to take a cab home) are being threatened by people from undeniably failed states.

    Not being American, the USA would not be my first choice for my home. But I would rather live in the USA than in any Islamist country in the world. And, hmm, a lot of people from failed Islamist states think so, too.

  5. Ed the Roman says:

    JP Borberg,

    When really different is over such things as “should girls be allowed to go to school, or outside their house without a related man and a tarp over them?”, and “should the members of all other religions be under Jim Crow if they’re lucky and under the Final Solution if they aren’t?”, it’s time to put out the tolerance lamp.

    J Kusske,

    What to do if you ARE a prince or live in a state where you elect the prince(s)? Just say “screw it?” You can; it’s a free country. But don’t be shocked when those who aren’t functionally Amish politically take the same approach to you.


    I get it. You (don’t like us|think we could improve|are utterly appalled by Fox and all its works|can’t stand the idea of the country that inspired more peaceful immigration* than any other in world history thinking it might be on to something that other countries might usefully adopt).

    Or do you mean something else entirely?
    * yes, I know it wasn’t peaceful for the Indians. But the Irish, Italian, Polish, and Jewish etc. entry to this country does not really remind anyone of how the Visigoths came to live in Spain.

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    One of the best scenes from that series

  7. Kerry says:

    Curiously, (or maybe not…) author Stephen Ambrose wrote that the GI’s hated the Arabs, didn’t like the French, admired the Dutch, but the people they really respected, for their industriousness, were the Germans. (He wrote that the Germans wouldn’t wait around for someone else to clean up the rubble, but got out and did it themselves.)
    And a P.S. I thought the reason they hated us is we have toilet paper and they don’t. Heh.

  8. SimonDodd says:

    When I first started watching the West Wing, I didn’t live in the United States, and I couldn’t understand why members of Congress seemed to be treated as a barely-tolerated nuisance. Then I moved here and started following politics, watched a lot of C-SPAN, got to understand how Congress works, and like that old tab commercial, suddenly everything was clear.

  9. Eric says:

    Thanks for reminding me why I don’t have a T.V.

  10. Eric: It is harder to follow your baseball team without a TV. I’m just sayin’…

  11. yatzer says:

    I have had Arab friends in the past who actually remarked that the home folks generally respected whoever won just because they won. I don’t know the reasoning behind it exactly. Not my culture.

  12. TomG says:

    I’m with Eric. You have to slog through a lot of crapola to get to some of Sorkin’s (admitted) gems. Life’s too short.

  13. EXCHIEF says:

    Except for an occasional ball game I have not watched TV in over a year. It is, for the most part, a vast waste land and a waste of my time. It is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish “news” programs from series like West Wing as both are mired in political correctness to the point of having little connection with reality. Anyone who thinks Islam has any redeeming value is badly mistaken. The way it is practiced there is no way to separate the “religious” aspects from the political.

  14. wanda says:

    Dear Seraphic, Greetings from your neighbor to the south. Re separation of church and state, that phrase does not exist in our founding documents. People like to toss that old canard around so that faith and religion may not enter into the public discourse. Nay, not so. We have as one of our foundational principles the unalieanble (God given, not government given) right to ‘Freedom of Religion.’ (Although here lately, watch as the administration types will call it ‘Freedom of Worship.’ Meaning we can go into our little houses of prayer on Sundays, but other than that, sit down and shut up.)

    Blessings to our northern neighbors.

  15. Eric says:

    It is harder to follow your baseball team without a TV
    Since I’ve already sent this thread in the wrong direction, I’ll push it along further.
    The little leaugue team I played for 30 years ago has made it to the LLWS. If they win this afternoon they play Wednesday evening. My son has to be at school near Scranton on Thursday. We’ll be leaving a bit early and stopping by Williamsport on the way. I like my baseball, but in my opinion listening to baseball while playing cornhole is why God inspired Marconi to invent the radio.
    BTW: GO Reds!

  16. Peggy R says:

    I never watched West Wing.

    As for baseball and TV, I grew up with my parents and grandparents ALWAYS having the Cardinal game on the radio, just sitting and listening, chatting, working in the yard or house. Cable ruined that.

  17. SimonDodd says:

    Wanda, re the “wall of separation,” then-Justice Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion in Wallace v. Jaffree is well worth a read.

  18. chironomo says:

    The point being, if you win, it doesn’t REALLY matter if they like you or not. I think there are better objectives to be aimed for than whether an idea, or a person, or an event is “liked” or not. How about whether it is right?

  19. wanda says:

    Simon, I will certainly try to track that down and have a look. Thank you.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    “Or do you mean something else entirely?”

    Well, I have no love for Fox News, but I do consider it the lesser of two evils… I place my trust in Vatican Radio! And I was thinking more along the lines of the “values” that defend evils such as pornography and abortion, etc. And let us not forget the violent rebellion against a legitimate God-ordained authority.

  21. AMDeiG says:

    The clip cuts off too soon. After Andy leaves the office Toby says, “Softer language, meet Mr. Shredder….” cut to commercial.

    Eric, we’re with ya. We dumped the tube just weeks after the death of JPII. The two events were in no way connected but with 500 channels and nothing on the choice was easy. At that time the programming was half soft porn and half shopping mall. Sports? …often enough just a combo of the two… Must guess is that 5 years later its just more channels. How did I ever have time for TV before?

    A great TV show would be West Wing and 24 combined into one and played out for real where PC takes a back seat to…

  22. J Kusske says:

    I think we’re closer to each other than we think actually. I share in the disgust with the barbarities all too common in Islamic countries, and in no way want to let them go on unabated or encourage them. But the effect of outside parties trying to force the people to cease and desist through political means is counterproductive. As with the Afghans, who are at daggers drawn with each other when left to themselves, but will unite to oppose an agressor when faced with one (from British to Russian to now US). The way to succceed isn’t to come from the top down but rather from the bottom up: by spreading Christian (yes Christian, not Western–the West is far less Christian than it ought to be) morality through suasion, not compulsion. Ever since the fall of the Ottoman Empire Great Britain and after them the US tried to remold the Middle East and by extension the Islamic world into their desired shape, and it led to any number of undesired consequences, recently including the eviction of many of Iraq’s ancient Christians into exile. I but wish that we can appeal to the Muslims through Christian virtue, not modern American “virtues” and at the point of a bayonet.

  23. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Once again, one of the times I wish the REAL West Wing was more like the TV series “West Wing”

    Funny, I saw nothing wrong with the speech, it just would not be delivered in real life.

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    “And let us not forget the violent rebellion against a legitimate God-ordained authority.”

    As for “legitimate”: what about those Catholic princes, such as the good Cardinal Duke of York, future Dean of the Sacred College? Why do you consider the Protestant usurpers to be the legitimate God-ordained authority?

  25. Geoffrey says:

    “Why do you consider the Protestant usurpers to be the legitimate God-ordained authority?”

    That is the nature of Catholic teaching on monarchy. Saint Peter himself said: “Honour all men. Love the brethren. Fear God. Honour the Emperor” (1 Peter 2:17). The Roman Emperor was a pagan. And let us not forget that before the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom prayed for the British (Anglican) monarch after Sunday Mass. I assume this is done now after Masses in the Extraordinary Form…

    “The character of kings is sacred; their persons are inviolable; they are the anointed of the Lord, if not with sacred oil, at least by virtue of their office. Their power is broad–based upon the will of God, and not on the shifting sands of the people’s will… They will be spoken of with becoming reverence, instead of being in public estimation fitting butts for all foul tongues. It becomes a sacrilege to violate their persons, and every indignity offered to them in word or act, becomes an indignity offered to God Himself” (Archbishop John Healy, 6th Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam in Ireland, b. 1841, d. 1918).

  26. bookworm says:

    Every society has at least some good values, and every society has some bad values.

    A priest of my acquaintance, now deceased, used to tell this joke: “In Heaven the police are British, the chefs are French, the lovers are Italian, and the Germans organize everything. In Hell the chefs are British, the police are French, the lovers are German, and the Italians organize everything.”

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