The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Although I am an ordained deacon of the Catholic Church, the opinions expressed in this blog are my personal opinions. In offering these personal opinions I am not acting as a representative of the Church or any Church organization.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Art Restoration

My first visit to the SistineChapel was in the year 2000, several years after the remarkable restoration of Michelangelo's work had been completed. I can recall the moment when Dear Diane and I first stepped through the doorway and tried to take in the overwhelming beauty of that work. It was truly breathtaking. I remember thinking that what we saw, all 5,000 square feet of it, was pretty much was Pope Julius II saw when the frescoes were finally finished after four years of work by the master. The restoration, accomplished by some of the best experts in the field, actually required 12 years to complete, which says much about the poor condition of the frescoes after nearly 500 years.

Unfortunately, all restorations are not handled quite so professionally. The other day I came across an article describing the "unofficial" restoration of a fresco in the church of Santuario de la Misericordia in Borja, Spain. The fresco, "Ecce Homo" (Behold the Man), which depicts Jesus crowned with thorns, had suffered damage over the years due largely to flaking as a result of moisture in the church walls. It seems a local parishioner, an elderly woman, decided to undertake its restoration with less than desirable results. The photos below show the fresco as it originally looked, in it's damaged state, and after its "restoration". One hopes it can be repaired.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pseudo-Catholic Joe

Over the years I've tended to avoid politics on this blog since there are so many more honorable things to write about. I'll admit that occasionally I haven't been able to resist touching on things political, but these have been rare occasions when the politicians forced the issue. This has been happening more frequently lately as some politicians have injected themselves into the religious sphere. I would ignore them if they showed any respect for religious views, but sadly most of these power-hungry hacks get the world backwards and believe religion should be subservient to the state.

For example, when Nancy Pelosi, the Bay area's self-proclaimed leading theologian, waxes eloquently on the teachings of the Catholic Church, I cannot often stay silent. I should, of course, simply ignore her since Mrs. Pelosi is just a make-believe Catholic of little understanding and no one with a working intellect need listen to her theological musings. The President, too, likes to lecture the Catholic Church on its teachings, but since no one, including Barack Obama himself, seems to comprehend the nature of his peculiar religious beliefs, I think we can ignore him as well.

And then there's Vice President Joe Biden, another cafeteria Catholic who obviously despises the Church to which he ostensibly belongs. Joe is a strange mixture of beliefs. During his earlier (2008) campaign for the Democrat nomination for the presidency, he displayed his personal racist beliefs when he described candidate Obama using the following words:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Yeah, man, nothing like a "clean" black man. Would that Joe were as articulate as the subject of his thoughts.

And then a week ago, in front of a Danville, Virginia audience made up largely of African Americans, good ol' Joe tells them the Republicans are "gonna put y'all back in chains." Uh, Joe, in case you've forgotten, it was the Republicans who cut the chains of slavery in the South. Remember that guy named Lincoln? He was a Republican. And it was the Democrats who tried to keep black people enslaved for the century between the end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Joe, you might want to check the congressional voting tallies for that act: 80% of Republicans supported the act but only 64% of Democrats. But what are history and facts to a demagogue like Joe Biden? C'mon, Joe, what are you, racist or race pimp? Enquiring minds want to know.

Years ago, at a business meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, I met a man who lived next door to Biden. At the time Joe was a freshman senator and I asked his neighbor what kind of man he was. His answer was telling. "Joe Biden," he said, "is the stupidest man I have ever known." Because he said nothing else, I dismissed the comment as something one might expect from a likely disgruntled neighbor, until Joe became Vice President and spent the next three plus years confirming his neighbor's opinion.

I've come to believe, as some have suggested, that the President and his staff keep Joe Biden around as a guarantee against assassination.

Aren't we blessed that God is in charge and not us?

Pax et bonum...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hate and Religion in Pakistan

From the Washington Post:

ISLAMABAD — A Christian girl was sent to a Pakistani prison after being accused by her furious Muslim neighbors of burning pages of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, in violation of the country’s strict blasphemy laws.

A police official said Monday there was little evidence that pages of the book had been burned and that the case would likely be dropped. But hundreds of angry neighbors gathered outside the girl’s home last week demanding action in a case raising new concerns about religious extremism in this conservative Muslim country.

Some human rights officials and media reports said the girl was mentally handicapped. Police gave conflicting reports of her age as 11 and 16.

Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad or defiling the holy book, or Quran, can face life in prison or even execution. Critics say the laws are often misused to harass non-Muslims or target individuals.

Police put the girl in jail for 14 days on Thursday after neighbors said they believed a Christian girl had burned pages of a Quran, gathering outside her house in a poor outlying district of Islamabad, said police officer Zabi Ullah. He suggested she was being held for her protection.

“About 500 to 600 people had gathered outside her house in Islamabad and they were very emotional, angry and they might have harmed her if we had not quickly reacted,” Ullah said.

Almost everyone in the girl’s neighborhood insisted she had burned the Quran’s pages, even though police said they had found no evidence of it. One police official, Qasim Niazi, said when the girl was brought to the police station, she had a shopping bag that contained various religious and Arabic-language papers that had been partly burned, but there was no Quran.

Some residents claimed they actually saw burnt pages of Quran — either at the local mosque or at the girl’s house. Few people in Pakistan actually speak or read Arabic, so often assume that anything they see with Arabic script is believed to be from the Quran, sometimes the only Arabic-language book people have seen.

But one police officer familiar with the girl’s case said the matter would likely be dropped once the investigation is completed and the atmosphere is defused, saying there was “nothing much to the case.” He did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the case.

A spokesperson for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Farhatullah Babar, said the president has taken “serious note” of reports of the girl’s arrest and has asked the Interior Ministry to look into the case.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the case “deeply disturbing”.

“We urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” she said.

The Associated Press is withholding the girl’s name; the AP does not generally identify juveniles under 18 who are accused of crimes.

The case demonstrates the deep emotion that suspected blasphemy cases can evoke in a country where religion Many critics say the blasphemy laws are often abused.


Let's see...a pre-teen Christian girl in Pakistan is accused, falsely it appears, of burning the Koran and the local Imam says she should be burned alive for this "crime" against Islam. (He was quoted in another report of this story.)

Think about it. This Down-Syndrome developmentally disabled child has been put in prison because the local Muslims want to kill her, burn her to death. This disabled child. This mob. This hate.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homily: Wednesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

Readings: Jer 15:10,16-21 • Ps 59 • Mt 13:44-46

I seem to come across a lot of unhappy people these days. Young folks worried about their future, anxious about what lies ahead, asking whether it even makes sense to get married and bring children into this world. Retirees bored by the freedom of their new lives and wondering about the meaning of all those decades of work. Young and middle-aged couples afraid that their jobs, their homes, their children’s futures – all they’ve worked for – could disappear overnight. And so many afraid of death, unwilling to accept either its inevitability or our faith-driven hope in eternal life.

I suppose we’re all searching for something better, something that will bring true and lasting happiness. How sad that so many look only to the world for what the world can never provide.

This is what today’s Gospel passage is about – about Jesus pointing the way for us, telling us that what we’re searching for only He can provide. He calls it the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven – a phrase that appears nearly 100 times in the Gospels. But what exactly is it?

Listening to Jesus, we know it’s something to strive for; that it’s harder to enter if you’re rich, but easier to enter if you’re childlike. We know it belongs to the poor, the humble, and the persecuted. It has humble beginnings and grows like seed and expands like yeast. It’s neither here nor there, but it’s among us. But even though it’s among us, we pray for its coming whenever we pray the Our Father.

The Kingdom is near because Jesus is near. It’s proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel. It’s been coming ever since the Last Supper, and in the Eucharist, it’s in our midst. But there’s more…

We learn it’s supremely valuable, something for which we should give up everything. This seems impossible, but Jesus says no. He likens possessing the Kingdom to a man who discovers buried treasure or a merchant who finds a precious pearl. Each sells everything to secure what is so very valuable. If we value God’s Kingdom and help build it up, we will possess it; if we hinder its growth by putting ourselves or other things first, we’ll lose it.

You see, brothers and sisters, to be part of God’s kingdom is to be part of God’s family, to be children of God, to become brothers and sisters of Jesus. To possess God’s Kingdom is to achieve the end for which we’re made, to enter into an eternal, intimate relationship with God.

This is Jesus’ message of hope, a message St. Paul repeats when he tells us that for those who belong to God’s Kingdom, all things work for good. Not only is God’s Kingdom the fulfillment of our destiny, but it also brings nothing but good. Just as there’s joy in finding the Kingdom, there’s joy in helping to build it – exactly what you and I are called to do every day.

We build the kingdom whenever we trust completely in God, whenever our selflessness overcomes our selfishness, whenever our love conquers sin and our faith overcomes suffering.

We build the kingdom whenever our hope conquers despair; whenever we visit the sick, comfort the dying, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless.

When married couples live their lives as an example to others, they build the Kingdom.

When our parishioners work courageously for life, changing the hearts of those who would promote the culture of death through abortion, euthanasia, or capital punishment, they build the Kingdom.

When our pastoral visitors bring love, compassion, companionship, and the Eucharist to the sick and the homebound, they build up the Kingdom.

When our catechists help parents build a solid foundation of faith for their children, they build the Kingdom of God.

When our outreach ministry assists families in need, they build the kingdom of God.

When prayer groups come together in praise and petition, they build the Kingdom.

And we build it in a special way in the Eucharist, when Father, acting in the person of Christ, makes present His redeeming sacrifice on the Cross.

Someday we’ll be asked: “Did you work to build up the Kingdom or to tear it down?“ Are we like all those unhappy people I encounter these days? Are we so caught up in our earthly lives that we define ourselves only by our work, or our family, or our political party? Are we willing to sacrifice everything for nothing? Or have we learned that happiness comes not from the things of this world; that only God can bring the lasting happiness we all seek.

Life is short, brothers and sisters, but it’s filled with opportunities to build the kingdom. Let’s not waste them.

Homily: 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Readings: Ex 16:2-4,12-15; Psalm 78; Eph 4:17,20-24; John 6:24-35

Some years ago – far too many years ago – during one of his vacations, I took one of our sons out to lunch at a local pub in our Cape Cod town. As we chatted over our meal, I couldn’t help but notice how he seemed to be enjoying his food. As I watched him, he looked up at me and said with a big smile, “You know, Dad, there’s only one thing better than food. And that’s free food.” I started to remind him that the food he was consuming with such gusto wasn’t entirely free, at least not from my perspective…but then I thought the better of it. No sense bursting his bubble. He’d learn soon enough that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so tolerant.

Indeed, in today’s passage from chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, we find Jesus speaking about this very thing to the people of Galilee – for they had just received what they thought was a free lunch. As you’ll recall, in last Sunday’s passage Jesus performed the great miracle of the loaves and fishes, feeding a hungry crowd of thousands. The miracle so excited the people they wanted to make Jesus their king, proclaim Him the Messiah, the one sent by God to return Israel to its former glory.

Yes, the only thing better than food is free food. And they want more of the same. They want more miracles, more healings, more food, more of everything. They want it all. If Jesus can feed them all so easily, if Jesus can heal the sick, if He can free the possessed, raise the dead…well, if He can do all these things, what can’t He do? He can do everything. And that’s what they want. Just imagine it. All our troubles, all our drudgery, no more working for our daily bread – all this is over.

But before they can grab Him and proclaim Him their king, he leaves them. But they will not be dissuaded. They track Him down and find Him. Jesus, though, turns the tables on them. He confronts them with the truth about themselves.

You don’t want Me. You just want your bellies filled. You just want the free food that I can give. You just want someone who can miraculously relieve all the hunger in your life.

Can you picture that crowd, brothers and sisters? Can you see them pushing against each other, pressing in on Jesus, not really sure what they want, but knowing somewhere, somewhere deep within their being, that Jesus can provide it? And so they ask Him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

Yes, indeed, people hunger for food. But humanity’s deepest hungers are not expressed by the rumblings of its collective stomach. We hunger for meaning in our lives: “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” We hunger for the hope that comes with the promise of eternal life. We hunger for peace – peace in our world, peace in our families, peace of mind, and the peace that only Jesus can bring: peace of soul – God’s peace.

Do we see ourselves in that crowd? Do we hear those same words come from our lips? Do we realize that even after 2,000 years, we’re still asking the same question? Can we accept the answer?

No, it’s not the bread from the deli, the belly food, that will satisfy our deepest hungers. What we seek, what all humanity seeks, is the food that only God can provide. We seek His very life, His divine life within us. We seek God’s presence, His indwelling in our hearts; for this and only this can give us “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.”

Some in the crowd sensed this. Some realized that Jesus spoke of something greater, something beyond their understanding: “bread…which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They begged Him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Yes, they’re thinking…what wonderful bread this must be.

And what is this bread, this gift? The manna in the desert was a mere foreshadowing of God’s greatest gift to His people. For this bread, this gift, is Jesus Himself. You know the words: "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

This is Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, the Bread that comes down from heaven. He showers Himself upon us, multiplying the bread made by human hands, sanctifying it, making it divine, filling it with His own life, His own being, offering us a gift so great it boggles the mind. It is pure grace, food for our souls, food that will never leave us hungry, food that will lead us to holiness despite all that the world can throw at us.

Yes, when the nights are long and painful, and dawn brings only more hardship and hurt, Jesus answers our question not simply with words, but with an act of divine generosity. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” And it remains with us through the gift of the Eucharist.

You see, brothers and sisters, the only free food is the world’s junk food, the food that perishes. Jesus wants us to work for “the food that endures for eternal life” – for we are called to repent and believe in the Gospel. Instead of junk food, we must seek God’s true soul food, the bread of life, the food that always satisfies, always fills, no matter what we encounter in life.

Like the one who pleaded with Jesus, we too can demand, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Did they know what they were asking of Jesus? Do we know? For like the father who takes his son to lunch, Jesus too must pay. But He pays with His very life. He pays for our sins, our hungers, and does so on the Cross.

The result? Well, here it is, brothers and sisters, right here on this altar…the Eucharist, the bread of life, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The heart of humanity cries out in hunger and God places His answer right in front of us, a gift from God Himself, of God Himself.

“Sir, give us this bread always.” We sure do demand a lot of the Lord, don’t we? And yet He complies. He gives us this bread. The Father invites us to the living table of His only Son, and at this table, the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the peace that only God can give.

Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. How blessed are we to be called to the supper of the Lamb.

Homily: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: 2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15

As some of you know, Diane and I are pretty heavily involved with the Wildwood Soup Kitchen. And if there’s one thing that involvement has taught us it’s that God takes care of His people. It’s really remarkable, you know. Well, I suppose it’s really not all that remarkable because we should expect God to take care of His people. After all, He’s promised to do so again and again. And the history of salvation we encounter in Scripture is all about God fulfilling those promises.

Anyway, last year we served over 75,000 meals and this year we’ll serve even more, and do you know what? We always have enough. We never run out. Just like the crowd on the mountainside, everyone gets fed. Whenever we need something – whether it’s a few hundred pounds of frozen chicken, or money for a walk-in freezer, I don’t care what it is -- we don’t have to ask people for it. Someone just shows up on our doorstep with exactly what we need. Or a large check arrives in the mail. It just appears. And I’m not exaggerating. I don’t have to, because God takes care of his people.

And this is certainly one message that comes across loud and clear in today's readings. Not only does He feed them with food for the body, He also provides food for the soul, and everything else they need to live fully human lives in close union with God, the Source and Goal of all life.

So far this liturgical year we’ve been listening to Mark’s Gospel, but today, instead of hearing Mark tell us of the feeding of the 5,000, we hear John’s version, a Eucharistic version, an introduction to Jesus’ discourse on the Bread of Life. Indeed, we’ll stay with the 6th chapter of John's Gospel for the next five Sundays.

John begins by telling us that Jesus and His disciples crossed over to the opposite shore of the Sea of Galilee. And as we heard in Mark, the crowds had gone before them on foot. What made people walk nine miles to see Jesus? Well, John tells us…because "they saw the signs that Jesus was doing for the sick". Like people everywhere, like us, they had a deep hunger and longing for healing and wholeness in their lives. Of course, some were simply curious, and wanted to see this Jesus perform one of the miracles they’d heard about.

You and I won’t be any better than these if we see this story only as a miraculous multiplication of a bread and fish. All gospel stories are steeped in symbolism and this is especially true of John.

We’re told first that Jesus "went up the mountain" – a reference to Moses on the mountain bringing God's Law to the people. But there’s a significant difference: Jesus is no mere intermediary; He speaks with the same authority as His Father. Unlike Mark, who has Jesus teaching the people first, in John the teaching, as we’ll see in the coming weeks, flows out of the multiplication experience. And, while Moses went up the mountain alone, Jesus brought His disciples with Him. They would be partners in His work, continuing that work after His resurrection. And just as Moses gave the Jewish people God's teaching in the form of the Law and later fed them with manna, so Jesus, the new Moses, will feed the bodies and souls of those who come to Him.

John also mentions that "now the Passover festival was near". Passover, the great feast of the Jews, celebrates their liberation from slavery in Egypt when God led them into freedom as his chosen people. At the Last Supper, just before his death, Jesus gave His disciples -- and the Church -- the great ongoing sign of a new Passover, the Eucharist.

And in today’s miracle, Jesus anticipates that Last Supper scene where He "took the bread, gave thanks, and distributed it to them all…" For in this new Passover Jesus is the central figure, and His suffering, death and resurrection will liberate us from sin and death.

But let’s step back a moment and look first at what leads up to today’s miracle. There is the dialogue with Philip, who always comes as across as rather naive and simple; the guy who takes things literally; who says the things the rest of us think of but are too embarrassed to say. Jesus sets the stage by asking Philip, “Where will we get food for all these people?" Philip looks at the crowd and says, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”

A little like our first reading, isn’t it? Elisha asks God, "How can I serve this to a hundred men?" "Give it to the people to eat," is the simple answer. How does the Gospel promise it? "Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” [Lk 6:38] Then Andrew breaks in to tell of a gift: "There is a small boy here with five loaves and two fish." And echoing the words of Elisha adds, "But what use is that among so many?" The next thing we know Jesus has taken those few loaves and fish, and, after blessing them, begins to distribute them.

Note that Jesus didn’t feed the people with nothing. He started with something that was already available. This miracle was made possible because a young boy was willing to share what he had with others, including thousands of strangers around him. You see, God gives life through what is already available to us. But someone has to be the little boy and start the ball rolling.

People are dying of hunger and malnutrition in our world, and it’s not because there isn’t enough food. In some instances they’re being intentionally starved because of hatred. They practice the wrong religion, or come from the wrong tribe or ethnic group. Others are starving because their governments are unbelievably corrupt…still others simply because of inefficiencies and selfishness on the part of others.

You and I can’t do much about some of these things, but we are called to do something, because just like the miracle on the mountainside, the Eucharist we celebrate today is also about giving and about loving. Jesus gave His life on the cross for our salvation, and in the face of such love, we are almost overcome. But He does even more. For the God of the universe makes Himself our food. He gives everything to us, even Himself.  And He does so day after day…and He does so miraculously.

For the bread and wine we offer here today will be consecrated, miraculously changed into Jesus’ Body and Blood, broken, divided, given out to many. But to benefit from this miracle, to receive the Eucharist worthily, we must reflect it in our lives. St. Paul has some harsh words for Christians who want to celebrate the Eucharist but refuse to help the needy members of their community.

There’s another detail worth noting here. In all three of the Synoptic Gospels, the disciples are told to distribute the bread and fish among the people. This of course is a sign of their future mission to bring Christ to the world. But here in John, it’s Jesus Himself who distributes. As we will see in the coming weeks, Jesus will proclaim Himself to be the Living Bread that gives life to the world. You see, John wants to emphasize that Jesus is the source of all spiritual and bodily nourishment. And even though He will use intermediaries, it is always Jesus who comes to us in Word and Eucharist.

In the end, what happened? After 5,000 people had their fill, the leftovers filled twelve baskets -- another sign of the liberality with which God cares for us. The people are so excited they want to make him King, declare Him the Messiah. And they’re right: He is King and Messiah, but they’re also wrong. They’re wrong because of what they missed. They saw the miracle, but missed the message. The only King they’ll see is one in nakedness and shame, a falsely convicted criminal among criminals, hanging on a cross. And where will these crowds be then?

No, the real teaching here is that Jesus is the true source of nourishment for our lives. And if we want that nourishment we must obey the Father who declared, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him". As St. Paul instructs us in the 2nd reading, we must “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received…striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”

Brothers and sisters, be prepared to enter totally with Jesus into the paschal mystery of His love-centered life, to mirror His self-giving as a way to life. For when we as a people listen to Him and trust in Him…well, as we’ve already seen, God takes care of His people.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman

Perhaps the 20th century's greatest apostle of economic freedom was the late great economist and Nobel laureate, Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006), whose hundredth birthday was yesterday. If you're unfamiliar with Friedman, read his books. His 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom, taught me a great deal and years later I read and enjoyed his Free to Choose, another excellent book.

Let me say at the outset that I am unabashedly in favor of a free market economy over any other economic system that has been tried by humanity. This preference for the free market is especially strong when compared to socialism in any of its forms. Communism, fascism (including Hitler's "national socialism"), the cleaned-up social democracy practiced in much of Western Europe -- they're all just socialism dressed up in other clothes. All eventually lead to either totalitarianism or collapse, or both. The free market, what Karl Marx cleverly but incorrectly called "capitalism", is the only economic system that has brought prosperity to the greatest number of people. The free market fails when government gets involved. For example, Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" should more properly be called a War on Prosperity since the poverty rate has only increased since the federal government began waging this war in such an ill-advised manner.

When I was in graduate school and forced to suffer through more than one tedious course in economics taught by dull, unthinking professors, it was the books and articles of Milton Friedman that helped me maintain my sanity. These professors of economics were always making remarkably stupid statements. For example, one once exclaimed to our class, "The nice thing about government spending and so-called national debt is that the government can always print more cash to pay its debts. Businesses can't do that, so the government is obviously the better economic engine." Another actually complained about the expression "free markets" stating that there was nothing very special about the so-called free market because markets were anything but free. "You've got to pay for all that stuff," he added somberly. (With thinking like this I suspect these men are probably holding down jobs in the current administration.) In my own perverse way, I used to enjoy asking seemingly innocent questions based on Friedman's thought, questions that forced the professor to try to defend what was logically indefensible. They never succeeded.

I discovered that yesterday was Friedman's 100th birthday when I stumbled across an article celebrating the fact by offering five of the famous economist's best known quotes. They're worth repeating here...
 "Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." 
"Governments never learn. Only people learn."

"Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned."

"I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, and for any reason, whenever it's possible."

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand."
These are good, but I have a few other favorites:
"The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power."
"A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."
"Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow man, The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority."
"The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather 'What can I and my compatriots do through government' to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom?"
Contemplating these truths today will help us understand better why our nation is facing its current crisis. At its core it is less an economic crisis than a crisis in freedom, and as history clearly tells us, freedom is a very rare commodity.

The following is a brief video of a Friedman appearance on the Phil Donahue Show in 1979. Donahue, in denouncing free market economics, tried to rename the "pursuit of happiness" by calling it greed. Friedman comes to the defense of free markets leaving Mr. Donahue almost speechless.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad