Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Contentment

As long as we live, we are after something. A body at rest will atrophy; inaction is death. Living is moving, working. Our work is never done because anything can be undone; the future is uncertain.

Even discounting greed and envy, no one is fully satisfied with what he has—or, rather, with lacking what he wants.

It’s our natural right to work and sacrifice for those things that are within our reach. Among life’s greatest rewards is appreciating the work you did in the troughs to achieve new heights.

The reward comes with risk. The risk is that the reward may not come, often will not come. In that case, contentment is key. Contentment is not flaccid complacency. It’s not making excuses for shortcomings. It’s relaxing one’s will in the face of forces greater than oneself.

If anyone has been dealt a bad lot (with respect to his professional football prospects), it’s Heisman Trophy winner, two-time national champion Tim Tebow. Like the Apostle Paul writing in Philippians 4, Tebow has learned the secret of how to be content. CBS reports:

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future,’” Tebow told KSAZ. “That gives you peace to just continue to work and you go after what your heart desires. When you do that, you don’t have any regrets. I think that’s the best way to live life.”

Or, “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Despite all the factors outside our control, we plan. An interviewer asked me where I wanted to be in 5 to 10 years. Increasingly I grow skeptical of this tedious question. I have an ideal in mind, but it’s not worth my breath. In 10 years I will be where a succession of unforeseeable opportunities and countless micro- and macro-decisions have brought me to. Two years ago I didn’t see myself living in San Antonio, much less joining a church and being baptized. In 10 years I could be more popular than Stephen King. In 10 years I could be bound to a wheelchair. I could have three kids and be a widower. Life isn’t a movie. The end isn’t scripted. It’s always different than what we envisioned in the beginning.

Where will I be 10 years from now? Ask me again in 9 and a half years.

Related: “Spaces between.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

Odds and ends 7/21/2014

“Whoever marries the spirit of this age will find himself a widower in the next.” –Rev. William Ralph Inge

More doing, less legislating, Mike Flynn says:

The real problem at the border is not that we don’t have the correct process in place, but that Obama and his Democrat allies will ignore any process or legal framework at the first point of convenience.

Rule of lawyers vs. rule of law. Those running the system prefer it to be broken so they can operate outside of it.

At the American Spectator, David Catron reports on new exemptions from Obamacare handed down by the arbitrary executive:

Obamacare’s supporters have long insisted that it is the “law of the land,” implicitly suggesting that it is immutable and permanent. Evidently, it hasn’t occurred to these people to mention that to their dear leader. His Majesty, Barack I, obviously thinks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a collection of royal decrees, any one of which may be altered at his pleasure. Thus, in a proclamation issued last week through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, His Highness declared that all U.S. territories are now exempt from most of PPACA’s morass of rules and regulations.

Republicans had their chance to do something meaningful and defund Obamacare last year. They would rather launch a feeble lawsuit that will take years to move through the courts.

The Washington Times reports:

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University, will say President Obama is trampling the founders’ vision for the country in his push to circumvent Congress, and he will demand Republicans and Democrats alike forget their party labels to unify against this White House’s power grab.

“What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest challenges to our constitutional system in the history of this country,” Mr. Turley said in a prepared testimony, saying it began with previous presidents but under Mr. Obama has “reached a constitutional tipping point that threatens a fundamental change in how our country is governed.”

The scorching testimony to the House Committee on Rules kicks off what’s expected to be a several-week push by Republicans that will end in the House approving a lawsuit against Mr. Obama, challenging his unilateral decision to ignore or waive parts of his own signature health care law.

To the Republican leadership, the lawsuit’s object is the appearance of fighting the president, not actually fighting the president.


Jen Kuznicki recalls reading a book about a Polish boy’s experience in the Soviet gulag, and produces this insight:

He saw that the Nazis’ ideology rested mainly on how pure your breeding was, and who your ancestors were, to determine if you were safe from their clutches or targeted for destruction. The Soviets, he called them the communists, were different from the Nazis because it was what they believed was inside your head, your thoughts, that determined whether you were sent to the gulag or not. Of course, in the end, just the fact that you were Polish or Slavic was enough for both regimes to want you gone.

At Stubborn Things, Trevor Thomas analyzes the current madness through the lens of paganism.

For millennia human beings have sought to shed the tenets of our Creator and go our own way. This is especially true when it comes to our sexuality. Much of the history of ancient Israel, as described by the Old Testament, included the struggle of the Jewish people with idolatry, false gods, and sexual immorality. Chief among these false gods which often drew Israel away from the God of Abraham was Baal.

Baal was the proper name for the most significant god in the Canaanite pantheon. When the judges ruled Israel, there were altars to Baal in Palestine. During the notorious reign of Ahab and Jezebel the worship of Baal was prolific. In spite of the warnings from the prophets (including the dramatic demonstration on Mt. Carmel by Elijah), the struggle between Baalism and the worship of God continued for centuries.

The worship of Baal included offering of incense and sacrifice—including human sacrifice. However, Baal worship was chiefly marked by fertility rites. It was believed that Baal made the land, animals, and humans fertile. In other words, Baal was seen as the god of “sacred sexuality.” To encourage the god to carry out these functions, worshippers would perform lewd sexual acts. Baal temples were filled with male and female prostitutes for such purposes.

The female consort to Baal was Ashtoreth. This goddess was also associated with sexuality and fertility. The worship of Ashtoreth also included obscene sex acts. Israel forsook the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and served “Baal and the Ashtoreths.” (Judges 2:11-23).

A third rival to the one true God was Molech (or Molek), the god of the Ammonites. The worship of Molech included the fire sacrifice of infant children. Ashtoreth is also seen as the female consort to Molech. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover describes the relationship between the “virgin-whore who copulates and conceives, but does not give birth (Ashtoreth) [and] the god to whom the unwanted offspring of these practices were sacrificed (Molech).”

With the rise of abortion (in lieu of sacrificing unwanted children at the altar of a heathen god, we do it in the hygienic atmosphere of a clinic), adultery, divorce, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, prostitution (especially the child sex trade), and so on, modern American culture makes the misled ancient Israelites look rather righteous. The same philosophy that led Israel astray is well at work in the U.S.: paganism.

Occultist, bisexual, and habitual drug user Aleister Crowley described the creed of paganism well: “Do What Thou Wilt.” As Satinover notes, whether expressed openly or tacitly working behind the scenes (with many individuals completely unaware of the philosophy to which they’ve surrendered), pagan principles are quickly coming to dominate our public morality, and “Do What Thou Wilt” is a guiding philosophy for one of the major U.S. political parties.

Social liberals inhabit the upper echelons of both parties, but I digress. The people don’t know what they worship, so they putter along on instinct, like I did for years, even after I had intellectually accepted the existence of God.

At First Things, Mark Movsesian samples George Washington’s farewell address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Liberal democracy and tolerance is over. George Will writes:

Time was, [William] Voegeli writes, a tolerant society was one with “a mutual nonaggression pact”: If your beliefs and practices offend but do not otherwise affect me, I will not interfere with them if you will reciprocate regarding my beliefs and practices. Now, however, tolerance supposedly requires compulsory acknowledgment that certain people’s beliefs and practices deserve, Voegeli says, “to be honored, respected, affirmed, and validated” lest they suffer irreparable injury to their sense of worth. And it requires compelling conformity for the good of the compelled.

When two Oregon bakers chose, for religious reasons, not to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding, an Oregon government official explained why tolerance meant coercing the bakers: “The goal is to rehabilitate.” Tolerance required declaring the bakers’ beliefs and practices intolerable. We are going to discover whether a society can be congenial while its government is being coercive regarding wedding cakes and teams’ names.

The mountain of evidence is incontrovertible. It’s beyond the pale to contend the two halves of America ought to continue to share the land with each other and be miserable.


Bill Whittle explains how we lost the “peace” in Iraq. Remember the Iraqi peace was doomed when we retreated. The effective parts of General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy were paying off the political opposition and projecting enough force to intimidate troublemakers into quietude.


Let’s return to the myth that abortions are only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services. Betsy Childs writes at First Things:

What is puzzling is why clinics run by Planned Parenthood are closing. According to the organization, just 3 percent of its services are abortion related. That’s equivalent to the percentage of McDonald’s sales made up by salads. If the Alabama legislature regulated salads out of existence (stranger things have happened), I would wager that all of the McDonald’s franchises in the state would remain open.

The closing of clinics across the South shows that Planned Parenthood’s intentionally ambiguous 3 percent statistic does not refer to the percentage of revenue earned from abortion procedures (Kevin DeYoung has suggested some plausible hypotheses for what the number might actually mean). Contrary to Planned Parenthood’s PR, it exists for and is sustained by the taking of lives in the womb.

Gregory Pine strikes at the heart of the matter, false equality:

Those who argue for a right to universal contraceptive coverage found their claims on the natural right of equality. But equality, when divested of the legitimate recognition of difference, becomes a frenzied pursuit of leveling in every aspect of material human existence.

Gracy Olmstead channels Robert Nisbet:

Nisbet predicted that, in a society without strong private associations, the State would take their place—assuming the role of the church, the schoolroom, and the family, asserting a “primacy of claim” upon our children. “It is hard to overlook the fact,” he wrote, “that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.” In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.

Brave New World was right.


When watching this, remind yourself that thought criminals like Cliven Bundy are the real threat to America.


Excellent perspective on illegal immigration and charity from John C. Wright:

We Christians are supposed to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. That means we help the poor until it hurts, but it does not meant that we set ourselves up to be chumps for con men. If you don’t know whether the bum on the street corner panhandling is going to spend your money on drink, don’t give him money. Call him by name, walk with him across the street, and buy him a meal at a burger joint. It takes more time and effort and more love, but that is how you act charitably without being a chump.

I never knew what shorting stocks meant until I read this:

He sold it short last week around $6 – which means selling stock you don’t own with a plan to buy it cheaper soon, pocketing the difference.

Now you know.


Pious cartoonists martyr their comic character to the gods of homosexuality and gun control. CBS reports:

Freckle-faced Archie will meet his demise when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on Senator Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, who’s pushing for more gun control in Riverdale. Archie’s death, which was first announced in April, will mark the conclusion of the “Life with Archie” series.

...Echoing the prejudice the future president showed by boxing rural Pennsylvanians into cultural tropes, like “they cling to guns or religion.”


Truths from Charles Hugh Smith:

Printing money out of thin air does not increase wealth, it only increases claims on existing wealth.
We all know the system is broken and the proposed policy tweaks aren’t fixing anything, but human nature being what it is, we hope our place at the feeding trough will somehow survive unscathed as the financially unsustainable house of cards collapses around us.

At the Blaze, Billy Hollowell examines ersatz Marxism:

Foreign policy expert Joshua Muravchik believes that American liberals — once among the strongest supporters of Israel — began opposing the Jewish state when they started viewing modern political struggles as being rooted in battles between racial and ethnic groups.

Muravchik, a fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, told the Christian Post that this worldview now dominates liberals’ ideology, replacing the class-based and poverty focus that was once predominantly seen as the culprit.

“Leftists/liberals/progressives believe that the great moral drama of our era is ‘the rest against the West’ or the ‘people of color’ against the ‘white man,’” he told the Post. “This has replaced poor-against-rich or worker-against-capitalist as the core idea of progressive thought.”

Andy Nowicki talks ethnic pride, and lack thereof, at Alternative Right:

One’s loyalty to kin should end when it causes one to violate clear moral strictures, but up to that point, ethnic pride is actually a sign of moral health.

Ethnomasochism, on the other hand, is plainly unnatural, and an indication of moral impairment, since it takes positive pleasure in its infidelity. The ethnomasochist doesn’t just reluctantly and with great trepidation turn on his nation as a last possible alternative, to stop a moral atrocity from taking place (after the manner of heroes like Sophie Scholl and Alexander Solzhenitsyn); instead, he takes positive delight in turning against his people, and even looks for the pettiest of excuses to do so.


I wrote last year at Red Pill Report about Baby Boomers’ legal push to force doctors to go against the Hippocratic oath and kill them. It is little surprise Boomers bite the bullet at a higher rate than any other generation:

More than today’s teenagers, more than the elderly, a struggling slice of the 76 million Americans born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s is showing a willingness to kill themselves. Some experts say that generation has always been more prone than others to self-destruction.

In living as well as dying.


Peggy Joseph, whom I referenced in this post 2 years ago, has come down to earth about her expectations of government:

“He had a very big voice, just like the Wizard of Oz,” Joseph said, comparing Obama to the famous phony wizard. “The wizard was this little teeny-teeny tiny man, and I think it’s the same thing with Obama, the man behind the curtain,” Ms. Joseph said in a reflective, disappointing tone.

Ms. Joseph looks back at the time of her 2008 interview, saying, “I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. That’s how I feel.”

“What I learned is never trust the Wizard,” Joseph now says. “It’s within ourselves to have the determination, the courage, and the brains, to bring us to our destiny.”

Is there a better metaphor to describe savior government?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My orientation made me do it

Narcissists have found the silver bullet to innoculate themselves against civil society’s requests to assimilate and adjust: non-discrimination.

Before Arizona’s failed SB1062, which would have protected people’s property from being forced to accommodate exhibitionists, activists, and sundry unsavories, there was San Antonio’s narcissist ordinance. Assuming the city of San Antonio still wants to enforce the law—which in the past it hasn’t—then, on the reasoning that you’re entitled to do whatever you want if you attribute it to your “orientation,” there’s a case here:

The first ‘public accommodation complaint’ has been filed under San Antonio’s year old gay, lesbian, and transgender Non Discrimination Ordinance, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

...

City officials say this is the first complaint that goes to the heart of what the NDO was passed to avoid, discrimination against gay individuals in so called ‘public accommodations,’ or businesses that are open to the public.

Two women are filing a complaint against a south side ice house and dance hall, which allegedly evicted them because they kissed on the dance floor.

...

The complaint says the ice house, ‘unlawfully denied Complainants the advantages, facilities, and/or services offered to the general public because of Complainant’s sexual orientation.’

No, they didn’t.

If we understand sexual orientation as innate attraction, nothing Sanchez Ice House did discriminated against the women for their sexual orientation.

Let’s assume the women are what we call “gay.” They were gay when they walked into the ice house, they were gay when they ordered drinks, and they were gay when they took to the dance floor. At no point were they discriminated against for being attracted to whatever they are attracted to.

How could the ice house owner identify what his customers are attracted to? How could the women themselves? Trained psychologists need hours of one-on-one time to unravel their patients’ pathologies, and even they get it wrong sometimes. (The subversive in me wants the case to go to a hearing of some sort, so everyone witnesses the foolishness of adjudicating matters like this.)

The women’s sexual orientation did not compel them to kiss. They are not beasts, enslaved to instinct. They wanted to kiss and willed to do so. For the proprietor of the ice house, whose property he may dispense with as he wishes, that was too much.

What if they went further? What if the women grinded up against each other on the dance floor and groped each other? Does the ice house have no recourse to devolving to obscenity?

Not according to Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Lawrence v. Texas:

The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.

There Kennedy goes, transferring constitutional protections of the person on a specific act of the person. In the end, what does it matter whether the activity is private or public? The greater point Kennedy makes is a person’s conduct, good or bad, is congruent with his right to life.

It’s said that our actions define us, but before that happens we define our actions. Matthew J. Franck expands on that in Public Discourse:

What distinguishes some persons from others where “sexuality” is concerned is not a different nature, as though “heterosexual” and “homosexual” were distinct human types or “identities,” but different desires, propensities, and, finally, behaviors. The choice to engage in particular sexual behavior is a matter of free will about which moral judgments can be made.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jealous competition

A study confirms common sense: Women see sexy women as competition and adopt a competitive attitude.

Elizabeth Daniels, assistant professor of psychology, studies the relationship between the media and girls’ body image. She conducted the project by creating two identical Facebook profiles for the fictitious Amanda Johnson, with one crucial difference: Hot Mandy’s picture featured her in a split-thigh red dress (garter and all), while Responsible Mandy’s photo saw her wearing jeans and a tee, with a scarf covering her breasts. Suffice to say, the lady in the red dress did not impress her female peers. Sensible, cleavage-free Amanda was responded to far more positively.

They talked down “Hot Mandy’s” abilities, because they know in a head-to-head competition on first contact with a man, she will be preferred over them. They lose the beauty contest, so they dig in and plant the seeds that she is an unsuitable relationship prospect—which isn’t a bad strategy, if the man is indeed looking for a relationship. If he’s not, then her ability, or lack thereof, to do anything matters little to him.

If men are looking for a relationship, if they’re looking for marriage, beauty becomes less of a factor in their decision-making, and the sexual marketplace is fairer to all women, although never completely level. A conservative sexual ethic, it turns out, is beneficial to women.

I’d like to see the same study done with married women, just to see if the women who react more jealously are still married to the same man 20 years later. My instinct says the correlation would be strong between lesser degree of jealousy and length of marriage. Women in satisfying and secure marriages don’t worry as much about competition from other women.

Looks matter to women, as a trait to attract men. Status matters to men, as a trait to attract women.

Men’s jealousiess are less publicized because, for women, since looks are often superficial, sexy women are easier to humble. For men it’s futile to talk down a sexy man’s status. Energy is better invested towards enhancing one’s own status.

You could run the same study with men, where one picture is a man on a yacht drinking champagne, or attending a boxing match scowling like a bad-ass, and the other is a man sitting at a desk.

I’m not jealous of the guy pecking at his keyboard. I’m jealous of Ray Liotta! When I see him cozy up to a model half his age, all kinds of thoughts run through my head, not least of which is: What’s he doing that I should be doing?

Resist that temptation. It’s a fabricated image intended to produce an unfulfilled desire, which is appeased by buying something to make one more attractive, or marketable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Río humano

Try reading this without setting your blood to boil:

In May 5,366 illegal immigrants were detained in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. Last month, that number skyrocketed to 30,380, according to a law enforcement document obtained by FoxNews.com.

This was already a crisis already in May, as a thousand children were being held in unsanitary, crowded barracks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. In June the human flow multiplied six-fold. The government’s response to the surge is to disperse the illegal immigrants around the American interior, like arranging deck chairs on a sinking ship.

Their countries of origin have problems, but the biggest problem illegal immigrants bring with them is in the coming here itself, which impoverishes them and lays their lives on the mercy of the state. What fate awaits them? They cannot stay. The number of people is staggering. They’re overwhelming the system. We cannot absorb this level of mass dislocation.

The government’s unwillingness to deport wouldn’t be half as bad if it wasn’t also unwilling to stop them from crossing the border.

With the facility crammed beyond its capacity, the undocumented immigrants are being bused and flown to several other processing facilities along the 2,000-mile border, in El Paso and in California, where angry residents of Murrieta, a small city just north of San Diego, have turned away hundreds of illegal immigrants brought by the federal government for processing.

The veteran Border Patrol agents know that with their attention diverted to women and children, the border at times in locations such as along the Rincon Peninsula appeared virtually unprotected from dangerous drug and weapons traffickers with motives far less innocent than finding a better life. During the first 90 minutes FoxNews.com spent with Gohmert, no Border Patrol agent, Texas Department of Public Safety officer or any other member of law enforcement was visible.

...

When a Border Patrol official finally approached our group, he told Gohmert there were only three Border Patrol agents assigned to this large swath of border. They know it is a busy route, but they were so busy with processing the steady flow of children and families that the area appeared largely unpatrolled.

A recent law enforcement bulletin put the crisis in the Rio Grande Valley sector in the flat language of bureaucrats.

“Total apprehensions in the RGV Sector are at historically elevated levels, and include greater numbers of other-than-Mexicans and unaccompanied alien children than any other sector along the U.S. –Mexico border,” read the bulletin obtained by FoxNews.com. “Total apprehensions are now highest in the RGV Sector, which represents a noteworthy change from previous years.”

On the ground, border agents explain the situation in more conversational terms.

“There’s been a dramatic, serious uptick beginning in January,” one border source told FoxNews.com. "We've never seen this before — unaccompanied alien children and big groups of families.”

How do you stop a mass of people? You have to push them back. Border enforcement means using at least the threat of force. No one is going to turn around if they know they absolutely will not be forced to turn around.

Governor Perry has asked the president for a thousand National Guardsmen as a show of force on the border. We need ten times that number, as well as rules of engagement that deter illegal immigrants from reaching American soil.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Glenn Beck’s finest moment

Glenn Beck took heat for announcing he was going to minister to illegal immigrants, and a lot of anti-illegal immigration activists were made foolish by their reactions. They let their anger at the government’s failures overflow onto the people whom the government is failing.

It is possible to separate the politics from the personal and serve your fellow man. In fact, it’s necessary if you take the Lord’s command to serve others seriously. The whole spectrum of life does not fold into the narrow band of politics. The torment of radical consciousness is best borne by totalitarians.

When I went on a mission trip to Honduras, no one told me I should have invested my resources and time on needy Americans instead. No one called me less patriotic. When a vagrant enters a soup line, do the volunteer servers question his immigration status? Of course not. The first principle of ministry is that everyone needs to be ministered to.

Because of government’s inability to govern, illegal immigrants are here. That doesn’t mean illegal immigrants should stay. It means we need an able government.

The fact that the government won’t deport illegal immigrants doesn’t deprive the latter of compassion. Beck’s action focused attention on that, and it may be his finest moment as a commentator. (I say this as someone who hasn’t listened to Beck in years.)

Designating 50,000 illegal immigrant children and counting, whose parents are God knows where, for resettlement in a foreign country is not compassion. It’s child abuse. En masse foster guardianship will leave them worse off, and the shock of so many hurting people to the civil society will be difficult to absorb, considering its own instability.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Odds and ends 7/13/14

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is attributed “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” ad nauseum, but that’s demonstrably false. Here are “[their] own facts” liberals entitled to:


“Sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” –Phil Robertson

Hedonism has an internal logic.


This news clipping is dated January 31, 1903 (hat tip Steve Goddard aka Tony Heller):

Reporters back then wrote well and had fun doing it. There was no AP Stylebook back then.


To “Dr.” Warren Blumenfeld at the “Good” Men Project, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy rides on whether it shares in his fantasy of free birth control:

We can add “Justice” Samuel Alito, “Justice” Anthony Kennedy, “Justice” John Roberts, “Justice” Clarence Thomas, and last, but certainly not least, “Justice” Antonin Scalia to the oxymoron list since this Supreme Court decision amounted to anything but justice.

Ditto for Rep. Keith Ellison. The pro-choice Eucharist: The blood of the unborn, the cup of salvation.

Matt Walsh is only half-kidding here:

Jesus was not a liberal.

Lucifer, on the other hand, probably fits the bill.

After all, modern liberalism is nothing if it isn’t the worship of self. It is an ideology that places self-fulfillment, pleasure, and convenience above everything. Liberalism bows to no one but its own reflection (and foreign bureaucrats, in the case of Barack Obama). Liberals believe that our personal desires are the ultimate arbiter, which is why life can be destroyed and institutions like marriage twisted and obliterated, all to serve the one god: self.

Satan has said many words, but they can all be summed up by those infamous four. “I will not serve.”

At the American Spectator, George Neumayr targets justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent in a related case involving Wheaton College:

Sotomayor, of course, sees no bias or irrationality in her conviction that the promotion of free contraceptives and abortifacients represents a sacred state interest, so vastly important that she must treat a temporary reprieve for one Christian college as a great crisis for the nation. She mocks Wheaton for making a mountain out of a mole hill while doing the same herself. She is certain that the modified mandate isn’t a “substantial burden” on religious freedom even as she treats the imaginary absence of free contraceptives for employees who went to work for a Christian college as a frightening prospect and crushing burden.

Sotomayor is writing more like a reproductive rights activist than a sober jurist. Far more worrisome than this “rare” reprieve to which she feverishly objects is the precedent she seeks to establish—that it is the business of “courts” to legislate what qualifies as true burdens to religious freedom.


Notes from the “right side of history”:

When I landed at Brown in the early ’90s, the tide was beginning to change. LGBQ (there was no T then) students were visible and popular. “Gay, lesbian, or questioning?” enticed their posters, which seemed to welcome everyone. I had female friends who switched from dating boys to girls and back again. I kissed a girl at a party. No one ostracized me; we were theater people.

...

Flash forward to 2010, when my daughter entered kindergarten in Brooklyn. Gay parents at the school were visible; it was normal to know kids with two dads or moms. She now has a trans schoolmate who changed pronoun and first name in first grade and uses the teachers’ bathrooms. When my daughter enters college in 2023, mores around sexual orientation will be so progressive they will make 1990s Brown look like the McCarthy era.

Notes from the wrong side of history:

A Christian friend of the Millennial generation and I were talking recently. She’s been living on the West Coast, and says that the shift in attitude among her friends, even Christian ones, on the gay marriage issue has been rapid and stark. I don’t want to put words into her mouth — she reads this blog, so she may wish to clarify her thoughts — but as I recall from our conversation, the velocity and ferocity of the shift has left her disoriented. The issue went from something up for discussion to “the conversation is over — and you had better be on the right side” virtually overnight. One thing that worries and depresses my friend is that there seems to be no basis for a conversation about why we believe what we believe. The assumption now seems to be that your beliefs don’t have to cohere, or even cohere within a religious tradition; it’s expected that you pick and choose your beliefs, so you will be held responsible for affirming those that the Church of What’s Happening Now declares to be bigotry, or outmoded.

I swallowed my pride and wished a successful marriage for Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki, but it wasn’t meant to be. McIlroy said:

“The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.”

All that marriage with Wozniacki entails, he means. Gary Player was onto something, and Sarah Spain was wrong. Wozniacki wasn’t the partner McIlroy needed her to be.


“We have to go through each of those emails to make sure it has no 6103 material.” –John Koskinen, March 26, 2014, when he knew the emails didn’t exist

To Koskinen, the truth is tactile. He testified in June that he found no evidence of wrongdoing...without actually investigating whether there was evidence of wrongdoing.


When I’m out hiking, nothing irritates me more than seeing human waste marring nature’s beauty. If people can’t manage on their own to pack out their trash, they deserve bans.

Driven by the judge’s order throwing out the so-called ‘can ban,’ Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports tubers and rafters packed the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, and they left behind mounds of trash. Yes, most of it in the form of non-returnable bottles and cans.

John C. Wright on why the likes of NMWA hate beauty:

Beauty points to a world beyond this world, a higher realm, a country of joy where there is no death. Beauty points to the divine.

Wright explains the Left-wing artist’s sucker punch (à la Arctic Rising):

It is common enough in movies and books to hide a Leftwing ‘sucker punch’ beneath what otherwise seems an innocent story, or whip out an anti-Bush joke in the third act that has nothing to do with the story, or suddenly make an old wizard or a comedy relief viking a sodomite, in order to make the homosexual disorder seems harmless and unremarkable. These are called sucker punches because they are the opposite of deep propaganda: their whole effect comes from them being unexpected to the point of being extraneous.

So imagine listening to a comedian telling ninety nine jokes about his mother in law, and one remark that is not a joke at all to the effect that everyone who regards homosexual acts as sinful, or even imprudent, is a hateful bigot with no right to a polite hearing: and Christ was evil for preaching sexual purity, and the Antichrist is Our Master.

In this case, the ninety nine jokes was nothing more than the patter of a confidence trickster, a con job to get you to lower your guard, to lull your suspicions, so he could punch you while you were nodding, you sucker.  When you reel from the blow, you dare not voice any objection, lest you be accused of being overly sensitive or hysterical. “Why look! You complain about one joke out of Ninety-Nine! Only Batwoman is a Lesbian out of countless comic book heroines! All the other wizards of Hogwarts are heterosexual! You are oddly obsessed with what is a trivial bit of character development!”


The Washington Examiner and ZeroHedge observe a disproportionate rise in part-time jobs:

The Labor Department’s household survey reveals that the economy lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. At the same time, it gained an astounding 799,000 part-time jobs – the largest such monthly jump in two decades. Part-time jobs now top 28 million for the first time since last July.

This shift to part-time labor is an echo from June 2013, when the economy added 360,000 part-time jobs and shed 240,000 full-time ones. So why has history thus seemingly repeated itself? One possibility is that Obama decided last July to delay Obamacare’s employer mandate from 2014 to 2015.

Employers added 700,000 part-time workers between April and July 2013 to what were already historically high levels of part-time work. Such numbers may reflect employers who were bracing for a mandate they expected to begin in January 2014 – a requirement that businesses with a certain number of full-time equivalents provide health insurance for all of their full-time workers or else pay per-employee fines.

The lack of actual hiring continues to persist. In fact, while job openings may have soared by nearly 300K in May, the actual number of Hired declined by 52K to 4,718K.

What does this mean? Well, aside from the obvious, namely that US employers just refuse to pick up the hiring pace (and as a result make the Initial Jobless Claims category yet another mockery of the New Normal as they certainly do not reflect a normal hiring environment), it also means that hiring has barely recovered half the losses it sustained relative to the pre-Lehman “Old Normal.”

Ironically, the Fed may be preparing to begin hiking rates even as the economy remains stuck in a structural funk in which jobs are somehow added, even if hiring is far below levels that would suggest a normal labor market. Thank you part-time jobs.


“I am burdened when Christians, and especially churches, make decisions that are not compatible with Scripture. It seems too easy to be lured into unbiblical positions of belief by the power of today’s culture. Scripture is clear that the practice of homosexuality is sin and is not harmonious with teachings and traditions of a New Testament congregation.” –California Southern Baptist Convention executive director Fermín Whittaker

At the American Conservative, Donald Devine on the American tradition of marriage redefinition:

In the modern dispensation, the purpose of marriage was not lifetime mutual support whose love’s goal, if not necessarily actual fruit, was biological children; it instead had morphed into an alliance of two individuals maximizing their own interests in any way that suited them, dissoluble anytime either party desired. Transitioning from men and women to same-sex partners was a small step once marriage was so redefined.

Here’s the rest of the C. S. Lewis quote I wanted to use in “We’re not okay,” but I had not the room:

Before Christ has finished with Miss Bates, she is going to be very ‘nice’ indeed. But if we left it at that, it would sound as though Christ’s only aim was to pull Miss Bates up to the same level on which Dick had been all along. We have been talking, in fact, as if Dick were all right; as if Christianity was something nasty people needed and nice ones could afford to do without; and as if niceness was all that God demanded. But this would be a fatal mistake. The truth is that in God’s eyes Dick Firkin needs ‘saving’ every bit as much as Miss Bates. In one sense (I will explain what sense in a moment) niceness hardly comes into the question.

...

It is very different for the nasty people—the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people, or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them. It is taking up the cross and following—or else despair. They are the lost sheep; He came specially to find them.

...

If you are a nice person—if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.

But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual, perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive.


Reason is upset some Republicans are against online gambling. Libertarians get exercised over limits on vice.

When I think how this will result in fewer deadbeats, I am gratified. That’s why I say no to casinos.

Gary Johnson engages in self-parody:

“We think we have the creme de la creme of marijuana products,” [Gary Johnson] told Politico. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product. One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”

Johnson ran for president once. His innovation in the political marketplace was cost-benefit analysis.


Theodore Dalrymple gave an amazing talk at Hillsdale College in May. Here’s part of it:

I have taken the example of heroin addiction as emblematic of what, with some trepidation, I may call the dialectical relationship between the worldview of those at the bottom of society and the complementary worldview of what one might call the salvationist bureaucracy of the government. In the old Soviet Union there was a joke in which the workers would say to the party bosses, “We pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” In the case of the heroin addicts, they might say, “We pretend to be ill, and you pretend to cure us.”

One of the possible dangers or consequences of such a charade is that it creates a state of dishonest dependency on the part of the addicts. They wait for salvation as Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play; they wait for something that will never arrive, and that at least in some part of their mind they know will never arrive—but that officialdom persists in telling them will arrive someday.

Dishonest passivity and dependence combined with harmful activity becomes a pattern of life, and not just among drug addicts. I remember going into a single mother’s house one day. The house was owned by the local council; her rent was paid, and virtually everything that she owned, or that she and her children consumed, was paid for from public funds. I noticed that her back garden, which could have been pretty had she cared for it, was like a noxious rubbish heap. Why, I asked her, do you not clear it up for your children to play in? “I’ve asked the council many times to do it,” she replied. The council owned the property; it was therefore its duty to clear up the rubbish that she, the tenant, had allowed to accumulate there—and this despite what she knew to be the case, that the council would never do so! Better the rubbish should remain there than that she do what she considered to be the council’s duty. At the same time she knew perfectly well that she was capable of clearing the rubbish and had ample time to do so.

This is surely a very curious but destructive state of mind, and one that some politicians have unfortunately made it their interest to promote by promising secular salvation from relative poverty by means of redistribution. Whether by design or not, the state in England has smashed up all forms of social solidarity that are independent of it. This is not an English problem alone: In France the word solidarité, solidarity, has come to mean high taxation for redistribution by state officials to other parts of the population, which of course are neither grateful for the subventions nor find them sufficient to meet their dreams, and which are, in fact, partly responsible for their need for them in the first place. And not surprisingly, some of the money sticks to the hands of the redistributionist bureaucracy.

By a mixture of ideology and fiscal and social policies, the family has been systematically fractured and destroyed in England, at least in the lowest part of the society that, unfortunately, needs family solidarity the most. There are even, according to some researchers, fiscal and welfare incentives for parents at the lower economic reaches of society not to stay together.

Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children—usually more than one—who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide. In the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.

A hands-off government is congruent only with a conservative populace adhering to the ancient truths and winning ways of human nature.