Saturday, October 28, 2017

"We ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence."

"As to whether we can even contrive a reopening of genuine public debate about rival conceptions of the good in contemporary America, let alone bring such a debate to an effective conclusion, the evidence, as I understand it, suggests that we ought to be as deeply pessimistic as is compatible with a belief in Divine Providence.  But as to the remaking of ourselves and our own local practices and institutions through a better understanding of what it is that, in an Aristotelian and Thomistic perspective, the unity of moral theory and practice now require of us, we have as much to hope for as we have to do, and not least within the community of this university."

     Alasdair MacIntyre, "The privatization of good," The review of politics 52, no. 3 (Summer 1990):  360-361 (344-361).

"When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it may be, is rendered dim and doubtful, by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated."

     [James Madison], The Federalist no. 37 (the Daily advertiser (New York), 11 January 1788, on "An abstract view of the subject"). 

"a proper distribution of the public burthens"

"Happy it is when the interest which the government has in the preservation of its own power, coincides with a proper distribution of the public burthens, and tends to guard the least wealthy part of the community from oppression!"

     [Alexander Hamilton], The Federalist no. 36 (the New-York packet, 8 January 1788, on "The representations of interests and federal taxation").  Hamilton is speaking here of "commercial imposts" imposed by federal rather than state regulation, and argues that "any real difficulty in the exercise of the power of internal taxation . . . must naturally tend to make it a fixed point of policy in the national administration to go as far as may be practicable in making the luxury of the rich tributary to the public treasury, in order to diminish the necessity of those impositions, which might create dissatisfaction in the poorer and most numerous classes of the society."

Monday, October 23, 2017

"Our transgressions, by which [our] adversaries" rule over us

Our transgressions, by which (the) adversaries rule, wipe away, O Lord, and in your compassion everywhere defend us.

"Delicta nostra, domine, quibus adversa dominantur, absterge, et tua nos ubique miseratione custodi."

     Opening 8th-century collect (Gelasian etc.) for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost later dropped from the Roman missal in favor of its contemporary, "Largire, quaesumus, domine, fidelibus tuis indulgentiam placatus et pacem", itself (I think) abandoned after Vatican II.  According to Corpus orationum no. 1062, the last occurrence of "Delicta nostra, domine" was in the mid-11th-century Udalricianus.