• Some aren’t cheering my governor’s brand of liberalism. Some even oppose his efforts to increase access to abortion. Shocking. His diagnosis: “Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is ­themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro–assault weapon, ­anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Strange that I wasn’t asked if I agree with Cuomo when I registered to vote. Must have been a clerical oversight.

  • A couple of issues back, I wrote about the paradox of liberalism. What starts out as a campaign for freedom circles around to become a philosophy encouraging state control. That happened in economics. I predicted it would happen in culture. Today’s proponents of liberated personal life will be tomorrow’s advocates of state-sponsored paternalism.

  • James Rogers wrote me, agreeing in the main, but pointing out an important difference. “The analogy between the injury of nineteenth-­century economic laissez-faire and twentieth/twenty-first-century social laissez-faire breaks down at this point: Those trapped by market forces in the nineteenth century knew they were indeed trapped and not free. They recognized, however ­inchoately, that their lives were ­dominated by external forces beyond their control.


    “I dare say, except under the rarest of circumstances, the victims of social laissez-faire do not recognize themselves as victims. The porn addict, the drug addict, the promis­cuous girl, may lament the consequences of their choices, but nonetheless recognize them as their choices.”

    And because they feel free, “building the case against social laissez-faire is more difficult than building the case against economic laissez-faire. Quite often, the victims will simply reject the claim that they are indeed victims.”

    Yes and no. It is true that social laissez-faire feels like freedom to many, perhaps most. But I’m willing to bet that ordinary people will begin to recognize that they’re trapped. Case in point: marriage. There’s a growing awareness, even among the privileged, that it’s hard to get and stay married. Nobody’s stopping them, just as nobody was preventing textile workers in Manchester from starting their own companies. But it’s an increasingly empty freedom.

  • There are times when theology achieves an almost transcendent ­importance and relevance in human affairs. The syllabus of coffee errors formulated by the Rev. Fr. ­Andrew ­Stephen Damick is such a moment. From his blog, Orthodoxy and ­Heterodoxy:
  • Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.
  • Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and ­replaced.
  • Frappuccinos are essentially a form of Monophysitism, having their coffee nature swallowed up in a milkshake.
  • Chicory is Arian, not truly coffee at all but a separate creation.
  • Irish coffee is Nestorian, being two natures conjoined solely by good will.
  • Nitro coffee (coffee + Red Bull) is Montanist, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
  • Affogato is Adoptionist, being merely topped with espresso.
  • The Café Bombón is Sabellian, appearing at some points to be foam, at others coffee, and at ­others sweetened condensed milk.
  • The Caffè Americano is a form of Unitarian Universalism, being so watered down so as not even to qualify as coffee.
  • The Cafe Mocha (espresso + steamed milk + chocolate) is syncretic and polytheist, for it ­presumes to adulterate coffee with another nation’s gods.
  • The Doppio (espresso + espresso) is Monothelite, permitting only one will to dominate.
  • Half-Caf is another form of Adoptionism, being a hybrid of disparate natures.
  • The Pharisäer (drip coffee + 2 shots rum + whipped cream) is nothing but sheer ­Antinomianism.
  • The Red Eye (drip coffee + 1 shot espresso) is Ebionite, for it would swallow up pure faith in the Law.
  • A rigorist exclusivism for Fair Trade Coffee is a form of Donatism, insisting that only sinless hands may produce a true ­beverage.
  • “Coffee is bad for you”: The watchwords of the Iconoclast.
  • One wonders what Fr. Damick makes of tea. Sin against the Holy Spirit?

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