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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ave Maria: theocratic police state or apartheid gated community?

First, look at the law school.




This place has more official websites than the Vatican. But wait, there's more.

Ave Maria, Discover!

Read the scrolling information on the right. If you don't make it to the end, I'll throw you a bone...

Community resources will include an on-site fire/sheriff/EMS building, as well as medical facilities provided in partnership with the NCH Healthcare System; all will be operational when the community opens.

A significant network of parks and recreational areas has been included; in fact, about 45% of the total town area is devoted to lakes and open space. The Collier County Public Schools have been gifted land for both an elementary and a middle school, and the University plans a K-12 parochial school to be operational when the first phase of the community opens.

It is anticipated that the first phase of the University and Town, including representative housing and commercial areas, will be operational in mid 2007.

Wikipedia: Holy Roman Empire

Contemporaries did not quite know how to describe this entity either. In his famous 1667 description De statu imperii Germanici, published under the alias Severinus de Monzambano, Samuel Pufendorf wrote: "Nihil ergo aliud restat, quam ut dicamus Germaniam esse irregulare aliquod corpus et monstro simile ..." ("We are therefore left with calling Germany a body that conforms to no rule and resembles a monster"). Voltaire later described it as "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire".

James "Jim" Pinkerton (watches news) explains everything.

Holy Roman Empire USA (read the whole thing)
(I'm already concerned.)
The Liberal-Left Establishment has never liked suburbia and exurbia, which are dismissed as "sprawl." And we know what the Liberal Left thinks of the Catholic Church. So what do you suppose Liberal Lefties think about a plan for a Catholic exurb? Talk about a bad twofer, in their eyes. Even worse, the new town of Ave Maria, Florida is being bankrolled by Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza, the leading conservative Catholic philanthropist in the world. Yikes! No wonder it's so easy for the mainstream media to descend into name-calling -- The Times of London has mocked him as "the pizza pope," and it's likely to get worse in the future.

On the other hand, Monaghan is not without resources on his side. And by resources, I mean not only his own billion or so in wealth, much of which he has given away already. But the greater resource he has is the tradition of the Catholic Church, and its proven power, over two millennia, to create and sustain institutions. So while nobody can know the future of Ave Maria, the town, here's a prediction: It will be around longer than the Liberal-Left Establishment.

Jim's calling them out.

Now he's on a roll.
The Left has never forgiven the American working class for becoming the American middle class. Through the middle of the last century, the Left had high hopes for the Masses; Lefties hoped that Proletarians, guided by a Revolutionary Vanguard (Stalinist or Trotskyist, there was division here) would build a good Soviet United States. But even before World War Two, instead of socialism and communism, Americans embraced capitalism, consumerism, and suburbanism. Whereas the Left wanted urban renters, who could be whipped up into rent strikes and other forms of urban protest, those darn American people preferred to become suburban owners; the folks in Levittown wanted to wage war on crabgrass, not their bosses.

This is good.

So then it came: the Left's effort to eject Monaghan and his mini-metropolis right outta de game.

An article on the Lefty website tossed around the obligatory buzzwords, such as "ultraconservative," before warning that Monaghan's charitable ventures "appear to be walking a thin line between conservative organization and radical cult."

More mainstream-y publications were a bit less inflammatory, while still making their anti-Ave feelings apparent. Newsweek's understated hostility toward Ave Maria began with its headline, "Halfway to Heaven." For those not familiar with Newsweek's worldview, trust me -- the magazine intended that as an ironic joke. Reacting to reports that Monaghan might seek to prevent pharmacies in his new town from carrying contraceptives, the magazine echoed the tone of the American Civil Liberties Union, which declared itself to be "worried." Happily, according to the mag, ACLU Florida executive director Howard Simon "will be watching Ave Maria for any signs of Monaghan's requests becoming a demand." And lest any reader be too thick to see the gravity of the situation, Newsweek added, "Planned Parenthood is similarly alarmed."

A subsequent AP story was even more explicit in expressing Liberal-Left fear: Ave Maria would offer "no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control." And the same Howard Simon was quoted again, this time more threateningly toward Monaghan & Co.: "If they attempt to do what he apparently wants to do, the people of Naples and Collier County, Florida, are in for a whole series of legal and constitutional problems and a lot of litigation indefinitely into the future."

Such attempted legal bullying led Human Events columnist Mac Johnson to snap, "What do you bet this town will have low crime, high test scores, good neighbors, a healthy rate of reproduction, and be sued every day that it exists by the ACLU?"

Just a few years ago, given the correlation of forces -- people on one side, liberal litigators on the other -- one would have had to bet on the liberal litigators. But the judiciary has changed and continues to change, such that the Right is now winning victories, not just at the ballot box, but also in the courts. So it's possible, just possible, that the ACLU won't be able to clobber Ave Maria.

(More links in original)

Contrast MSNBC's story on Monaghan with Matt Lauer's treatment of Bennish.

For Tom Monaghan, the devout Catholic who founded Domino's Pizza and is now bankrolling most of the initial $400 million cost of the project, Ave Maria is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to spreading his own strict interpretation of Catholicism. Though he says nonbelievers are welcome, Monaghan clearly wants the community to embody his conservative values. He controls all the commercial real estate in town (along with his developing partner, Barron Collier Cos.) and is asking pharmacies not to carry contraceptives.

Rumblings of litigation and unhappiness from the ACLU.

1 comment:

lowandslow said...

In the ACLU's eyes it isn't really a community till there's a charming little strip club with a quaint crackhouse next door.