Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Odds and ends 7/29/2014

I have some thoughts on The Fellowship of the Ring up at the Red Pill Report. I appreciate it more now than I did 13 years ago when it was released.

The recent Hobbit series lacks the civilizational peril and moral gravitas of The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is a children’s story. The Lord of the Rings is for grown-ups.


Juli Camarin studies Romans 7:8:

Sin existed before the Law was given and sin dominated the lives of every human being dating back to the fall of Adam. With Adams transgression, all authority that had been given to him by God was transferred over to Satan legally. Since that time Satan and the sin nature ruled mankind. Sin had dominion over everyone born into the world and we were subjected to Satan’s kingdom because of it. When the Law was given it merely strengthen the hold of sin upon our lives because pointed out the obvious, that we were sinners. It gave humankind the means of comparison between God’s standards and our shortcomings.

Because we were able to compare ourselves against God’s holy standard for the first time, the Law brought about the consciousness of sin. We fell short, then we experienced guilt, shame and remorse on new levels. Sin was allowed to express itself in the commandments and accuse us before God. The Law strengthened sin against us and awakened the desire within us to sin. Sin had always existed but the craving of our sin nature came through awareness of the Law. That is why Paul said that ‘apart from the law, sin is dead’ (Romans 7:8). Meaning that the knowledge between right and wrong is what gives sin power. It wasn’t dead in that it didn’t exist before the law was given, but dead in the sense that it was an inactive and lifeless thing. We still sinned in ignorance because of our sin nature, but knowledge brought about awareness and awareness brought about our willingness to participate.

This is why it is so important to understand several things concerning the Law, our sin nature and what was accomplished through Christ Jesus. First of all, the Law strengthened sin against in order that we would realize our inability to keep the law. (James 2:10, Romans 3:19-20, Galatians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:21-22) When we realize this, then we hopefully will realize our need for a Savior. (Romans 3:21, Galatians 3:13) When we understand that Jesus is able to save us from the curse of the law then hopefully we will also understand that he saved us from the sin nature as well. (Romans 6:6-7, Galatians 3: 13) Lastly he provided for us the righteousness that the Law describes as our new nature so that we would no longer struggle under the burden of sin or the law. (Romans 3:22, Romans 6:18, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:24) Understanding all of this will allow you to be free in Christ Jesus. (John 8:36, II Corinthians 3:17)

I love Romans.


Vox writes about how not to turn a woman on and how to turn her on:

There are three things that speak to a woman’s femininity.

  1. Be attractive
  2. Don’t be unattractive
  3. Competition aka (1) and (2) seen through the mechanism of other women

Choreplay doesn’t work. Romance doesn’t work. Vacations don’t work. Talk doesn’t work. Men have tried those things many, many, many times. Here is why it will never work to do what a woman says you need to do in order to make her want to have sex: the moment you do what she tells you is necessary, that “creates pressure” on her to fulfill her end of the implicit bargain. And women under pressure to have sex don’t want to have sex, because women don’t want to have sex under pressure, ergo doing what she tells you necessarily ENSURES that she will not want to have sex.

Did you follow that? It’s a Catch-22, or in this case, a Sex-22.

  1. She says she’ll want to have sex if you take her to Mazatlan.
  2. You take her to Mazatlan.
  3. She is now under pressure to want to have sex.
  4. Feeling under pressure prevents her from wanting to have sex.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

So, don’t bother taking her to Mazatlan. Don’t waste your time on whatever women advise no matter how many women blithely recite the usual mantras. Go back to the basics. Go to the gym, improve your style, focus on your career and making more money, and either a) she’ll be more attracted to you or b) someone else will.

Quid pro quo is no substitute for love.


Smart women don’t get the guy, Lauren Martin complains at Elite Daily:

Why don’t men want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them? When did the aversion to strong and intelligent women become a code orange? When did everyone just want to go to the Bahamas and lie around?

In an article by “The Wire,” financial reporter, John Carney, gives one explanation for this phenomenon, deducing, “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.’”

Basically, they want someone who isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first.

They want a woman who is dumb enough to make them a priority and, unfortunately, for all those sane, rational and intelligent women out there, there’s a hefty number of these women out there.

There are plenty of women who will give up their lives for men, who will refuse to challenge them, fight them and refuse to see them as their equals, but their saviors.

Brilliant deduction, Watson. Relationships aren’t about equality, they’re about complementarity, partnership. Equality is a utopian myth.


Thor Benson is indignant at the prospect of violence to defend the border.

The citizen militias are seeking out armed volunteers to line up at the United State-Mexico border with them for “Operation Secure Our Border.” The operation will supposedly consist of the armed volunteers giving spotted immigrants water and food while they wait for ICE and Border Patrol to pick them up. A video surfaced by McAllen Monitor, however, shows the commander of the movement, Chris Davis, saying things like, “You see an illegal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the border or you will be shot.’”

But this is the modus operandi of routine traffic stops and airport screenings. Comply or be shot. The balance of power is so skewed towards the authorities that you wouldn’t think about crossing them. It ensures law and order.

As for finding authorities who don’t abuse their power, that’s another matter.


Daniel Horowitz offers sage advice to Republicans re: the president’s request for $3.7 billion to deport illegal immigrants:

In June 2011, the Obama administration sent a memo (“Morton Memos”) to DHS law enforcement ostensibly suspending deportations against those illegals who would qualify for the Dream Act – a law the never passed Congress. This policy, which was eventually formalized into the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was fully institutionalized on June 15, 2012.

It’s bad enough for a president to violate even minor laws and serve as his own ad hoc law-making body. But it is downright dangerous for a president to shred our immigration laws, which are so fundamental to preserving our sovereignty and protecting our national security. Obama was clearly in violation of federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1225) which requires ICE to place aliens who are not “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted” to the United States into removal proceedings. In its place, he unilaterally created his own law, yet most Republicans huffed and puffed but did not fight back with the power of the purse.

Fast-forward two years and we are now witnessing the failure of such lawlessness in spectacular fashion. Hundreds of thousands of people from Central America are chomping at the bit to take advantage of the new open borders policy while the going is good. Now Obama is forced to ask Congress for more money to “clean up” his mess. It goes without saying that the first demand of all Republicans should be the suspension of DACA and the repeal of Obama other lawless acts – the very impetus for this request for funding.


In the Toronto Sun, Tarek Fatah looks at a double standard in the Middle East:

As I write, Muslims around the world have taken to the streets and social media to protest Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians.

Undoubtedly the death of 200 Arabs, many of them civilian women and children, is tragic and worthy of condemnation.

However, just next door to Israel almost 200,000 Arabs have been killed by fellow Arabs in Syria, but that tragedy has triggered no public demonstrations of anger in Islamic capitals, let alone in Toronto.

It’s simple. An Arab killed by an Israeli is worth his weight in gold on the world political stage. An Arab killed by an Arab is a statistic.

You see this dehumanizing double standard at work when a “white” like George Zimmerman kills a black. The majority of blacks are killed by blacks.


Mark Steyn is always interesting:

When I was a kid and watched sci-fi movies set in a futuristic dystopia where individuals are mere chattels of an unseen all-powerful government and enduring human relationships are banned and the progeny of transient sexual encounters are the property of the state, I always found the caper less interesting than the unseen backstory: How did they get there from here? From free western societies to a bunch of glassy-eyed drones wandering around in identikit variety-show catsuits in a land where technology has advanced but liberty has retreated: how’d that happen?

...

The state’s presumption that your children are yours only if you raise them in accordance with state diktats. Not so long ago we understood that kids are different, and certainly mature differently—the eight-year-old at Number 22’s sensible enough to go to the store and buy penny candy on his own, but the 12-year-old at Number 24’s a bit of a goofball and his folks have to keep more of an eye on him. But today the notion that Mrs Smith might know her child better than Constable Bozo is offensive to the hyper-regulatory mindset—and not seriously questioned by anybody else. Children are the property of the state and are merely outsourced to you for rearing. And, if you don’t do it right, they’ll re-allocate the rearing to somebody else.

...

As usual with today’s depressingly compliant “citizenry”, objections to the Bristol PD’s actions are tentative and sotto voce. Nobody’s calling for the police chief to either tear up this charge, rewrite his rule book, or get run out of office. So it seems likely that incremental state usurpation of parental judgment will continue—and that does indeed put us on the path to those glassy-eyed dehumanized sci-fi dystopias we came in with. That’s how you get there from here.


Patrick Deneen asks and answers:

What happened to limited government, you might ask? I answer: exactly what liberalism promised. For, liberalism was never about “limited” government, but the pursuit and exercise of potentially limitless power toward seemingly “limited” ends of securing Rights.

...

We should understand the fullest sense in which we live under a “limited government”: liberal government is “limited” inasmuch as it cannot assert or act on behalf of some preferred way of life that it deems to be better for its citizenry. It must take an official stance in which it is “neutral” or indifferent to varying ways of life. (Of course, liberalism does end up supporting a substantive worldview, but that’s a discussion for another time.) However, a government premised upon the “securing of rights” will require increasing exercise of power to “secure” a growing demand for the “rights” needed to ever-more fully pursue the variety of ways of life to which the citizenry is entitled.


Displaying big-league acumen and verbal virtuosity, Michael Hanby channels Berdyaev in a blockbuster essay on the inhuman, unnatural logic of assisted reproductive technologies. He works backwards from same-sex marriage:

We must first understand that the sexual revolution is, at bottom, the technological revolution and its perpetual war against natural limits applied externally to the body and internally to our self-understanding. Just as feminism has as its practical outworking, if not its theoretical core, the technological conquest of the female body—”biology is not destiny,” so the saying goes—so too same-sex marriage has as its condition of possibility the technological mastery of procreation, without which it would have remained permanently unimaginable.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have not always perceived this clearly. They maintain that partisans of ‘marriage equality’ redefine marriage as an affective union which makes the birth and rearing of children incidental to its meaning, a result of the de-coupling of sex and procreation in the aftermath of The Pill. But this is only half true. Since married couples normally can and typically do have children, same-sex unions must retain in principle some form of the intrinsic connection between marriage, procreation and childrearing if they are really to be counted as marriage and to be truly ‘equal’ in the eyes of society and the law. This can only be done by technological means. And so the argument for marriage as an affective union has been buttressed time and again in the courts by the claim that assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), surrogacy, and the like eliminate any relevant difference between a married man and woman and a same-sex couple, from which it is but a short step to the conclusion that the state has an obligation to secure same-sex couples’ rights and access to these technologies as a condition of their genuine equality.

...

Most proponents of same-sex marriage would probably deny that they hold a philosophy of human nature other than the freedom to love whom one will and equality before the law. We can concede that people support ‘marriage equality’ for what seem to be compassionate and humane reasons. But we’re talking about the objective logic of a position, its presuppositions and its practical implications, not the subjective content of one’s mind or the sincerity of one’s motivations and beliefs. And to declare that there is no difference between conceiving a child through procreation in a marriage and through the technology necessitated by same-sex unions is to say something definitive about what a child and the human being are, even if this goes unrecognized. Indeed it is all the more definitive the more it goes unrecognized.

Underlying the technological conquest of human biology, whether in its gay or feminist form, is a dualism which bi-furcates the person into a meaningless mechanical body made of malleable ‘stuff’ and the affective or technological will that presides over it. The person as an integrated whole falls through the chasm. This is the foundation of the now orthodox distinction between ‘sex’ which is ‘merely biological’ and ‘gender’ which is socially constructed, as well as the increasingly pervasive (and relentlessly promoted) idea that freedom means our self-creation of both. Technological dominance over procreation imposes this bi-furcated anthropology upon parents and children alike, and codifying it implicitly makes this anthropology the law of the land.

...

The technological dominance of procreation asserts, contrary to the child’s true nature and to his parents’ unquestionable love for him, that a child is essentially a product of human making, an assemblage of parts outside of parts that are the parts of no real whole, whose meaning and purpose, as with all artifacts, reside not in itself but in the designs of its maker.

The deep anthropological assumptions inherent in the push for same-sex marriage, in other words, are those of synthetic biology and the new eugenics, which promise to ‘seize control of our own evolution’ through bioengineering. Celebrity biologists such as Gregory Stock, Lee Silver, and J. Craig Venter, tireless evangelists (and sometimes powerful financiers) of this post-human future, have gleefully celebrated this possibility as the ‘inadvertent spin-off’ of the expertise acquired through ARTs and the increasing frequency of their use. Inadvertent as a matter of intention, perhaps—nobody really means to usher in the brave new world—but not as a matter of logic, for it is fated by the reduction of nature to artifice. This fate is almost certainly our future in any event—it has been a long time coming—and same-sex ‘marriage’ is more its symptom than its cause.

...

What seems at first glance to be the latest step in the forward march of freedom turns out, on closer inspection, to be a decisive moment in the triumph of technology over the human being, though these aren’t really the opposites that they appear to be. When freedom is understood as limitless possibility and is elevated to the highest good, it is inevitable that anything that would define us prior to our choosing—even our own bodies—will eventually be regarded as an obstacle to be overcome.


The gay mafia wants Tony Dungy’s head. Matt Walsh has the story.

My thoughts from May can be copied and pasted. Rinse, repeat. Welcome to the new normal. What more is there to say?


Praetorius responds to socialist Senator Elizabeth Warren’s assertion that “conservatives are guided by an internal motto: ‘I got mine; the rest of you are on your own’”:

Regardless of whether “we got ours,” the second phrase: “you are on your own,” in a healthy country would be sweet music to the ears of all the people.

Let’s review what used to be a typical country. Through most of history, the vast majority of countries have been some kind of monarchy, that had exactly two social strata: the leisured nobility and the struggling, gasping, toiling and dying masses.

What overcame that antiquated, millennia-old, oppressive system? One thing and one thing only: Capitalism. Capitalism is a very recent innovation. Sadly, though, we’ve never had anything resembling the “unfettered capitalism” the left whines so piteously about.

Capitalism has as its central tenet: the idea that a properly-constituted government should cede to the people free reign to invent, innovate, start businesses of their own and, most importantly, the government should leave the people largely alone — “on their own,” if you will — to keep most of the fruits of their own labor and of their own ingenuity.

Capitalism brought about a true revolution in people’s lives: social strata. And that implied something that had never existed in the history of mankind: economic mobility... and inequality. Absent capitalism, you had, and have, the antiquated, backward, oppressive societies described above. And you have one other thing the left loves so much: income equality. Incomes are all equally low, and there’s no economic mobility, so there’s always equality. This is the hallmark of the left: their equality leaves everyone equally impoverished, locked into their poverty, equally miserable, and, well... equal.

I should note that capitalism does have a downside. It’s: risk. You can lose it all in capitalism. Of course, you can also then regain it all, if you do the right things. However, the downside for non-capitalistic societies is pretty serious too: you cannot prosper. Capitalism’s worst case is non-capitalism’s norm.

Warren is recycling the timeless smear that Republicans are heartless objectivists, which got a lot of play at the 2012 DNC convention. To Marxists, all conservatives are Ayn Rand.

As far as government by coercion goes, they should be. Render to caesar what belongs to caesar. Render to the individual what belongs to the individual.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

License for Leviathan

Victor Davis Hanson roasts Silicon Valley:

In medieval times, rich sinners sought to save their souls by buying indulgences to wash away their sins. In the updated version, Silicon Valley crony capitalists and wheeler-dealers buy exemption for their conspicuous consumption with loud manifestations of cool left-wing politics.

...

Cool — defined by casual dress, hip popular culture, and the loud embrace of green energy, gay marriage, relaxation of drug laws, and other hot-button social issue — means that one can live life as selfishly as he pleases in the concrete by sounding as communitarian as he can in the abstract. Buying jet skis is as crass a self-indulgence as buying an even more expensive all-carbon imported road bike is neat.

If Silicon Valley produced gas and oil, built bulldozers, processed logs, mined bauxite, or grew potatoes, then the administration, academia, Hollywood, and the press would damn its white-male exclusivity, patronization of women, huge material appetites, lack of commitment to racial diversity, concern for ever-greater profits, and seeming indifference to the poor. But they do not, because the denizens of the valley have paid for their indulgences and therefore are free to sin as they please, convinced that their future days in Purgatory can be reduced by a few correct words about Solyndra, Barack Obama, and the war on women.

It’s these liberals Senator Rand Paul is reaching out to. Note the name they invent for themselves: “conservatarian.” What’s a conservatarian? A further betrayal of “conservative”, or yet another word for “liberal.”

Sure, they want the state to support a minimum standard of living for the beleaguered masses, but what’s really important to them is for the state to intrude less in their private lives. Thomas Edsall sounded the alarm bell on this evolution on liberalism in the New York Times:

There is a striking generational split in the Democratic electorate.

This deepening division is apparent in a June Pew Research Center survey of more than 10,000 people, “Beyond Red vs. Blue.” The Pew survey points up the emergence of a cohort of younger voters who are loyal to the Democratic Party, but much less focused on economic redistribution than on issues of personal and sexual autonomy.

Edsall is more worried than he should be. Liberals will tax themselves at redistributionist rates to unburden themselves of responsibility for their neighbors. Liberal praise for the pre-converted Ebenezer Scrooge proves it.

This is the libertarian compromise: peace with a tax-and-spend Leviathan; in return: maximum personal license, guaranteed by the state.

Charles Hurt writes a sober piece on marijuana legalization in the Washington Times.

Here is the thing that really bothers me now. Go ahead and smoke all the dope you want to. But why is it that I have to now pay these people’s health care bills, which are going to be much higher now that it is legal for them and their children to suck dangerous carcinogens down their windpipes?

...

I, for one, have never really cared one way or the other if people choose to smoke pot. My experience is that it appears to make most people dumber and slower. But it also seems to make some people happy and fall asleep, which I view as a real positive. Especially the part about putting them to sleep.

But I certainly don’t think that my long-developed and strongly held views against using drugs should be inflicted upon other people to whom I have no responsibility. Nor do I believe that someone else’s devotion to a weed pipe in any way impinges upon some high morals or precious views that I might hold.

The only way I can reach that conclusion is if I imagine a world in which people don’t lean on each other to discover the truth in themselves. But we don’t live in that world.

I’m not my brother’s keeper, the libertarian says, throwing up his hands. But if we aren’t in some sense, then government will be, and charge a high price and do a bad job to boot.

Getting high is a sad waste of freedom. Who can condone it and call himself your brother? We live in a liberal society where it’s safe to assume most people live by their own motivating truths. The law is a teacher, unifying the culture around positive secular values, at least. The absence of law is Balkanization, hedonism, and anarchy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Old covenant, new covenant

Before I was baptized, my fear about becoming a Christian was taking personal ownership of a draconian ethical code, letting it take over my life, and facing judgment for falling short. I was held at arm’s length from Jesus by the literary trope of the cold, rigid, fanatic busybody that I’d never encountered anywhere in real life.

As if the Mosaic law was not consuming enough, Jesus said, “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law... I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18, 20). Christians have to be more pious than the Pharisees, who held up the law as a list of do’s and don’ts, boxes to check on the one-way ticket to eternal life. Who would sign their name to such a cynical covenant?

Dig deeper and you’ll find Jesus’ ministry is different. The Son of God preached something greater than the law, indeed, the spirit of the law towards which the law had always pointed: love of and surrender to God; conversion of the mind and body and soul from the flesh. Jesus heals the broken relationship between man and God. Faith in His atoning sacrifice on the cross replaces salvation by observing the law. Paul summarizes, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

But, re: the law, how does one live? Without the old law, how does one avoid sin so as to remain pure and righteous before God? Paul spends much of Romans on the relationship between sin and the law, as well as on the new covenant.

  1. Via knowledge of sin, sin entered the world.
    • Genesis 3:1-7
    • Romans 5:12-13

    Before Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they were innocent. When they ate, they were no longer innocent. They knew sin. For example, it wasn’t until after they ate from the tree that they realized they were naked and covered themselves in shame.

  2. The law teaches what sin is.
    • Romans 5:13 “sin is not taken into account when there is no law”
    • Romans 3:20 “through the law we become conscious of sin”
    • Romans 7:7-9, 13 “through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful”

  3. The law convicts us of our sins, it doesn’t save us.
    • Romans 3:5-6
    • Romans 4:15 “law brings wrath”
    • Romans 7:10-11 “the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death”

  4. All are guilty.
    • Romans 3:23
    • Romans 5:12
    • Galatians 3:22 “the whole world is a prisoner to sin”

  5. Our transgressions demand God’s grace and mercy.
    • Romans 4:16
    • Romans 5:20 “law was added so that the trespasses might increase”
    • Romans 7:5, 8 “the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death”; “sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire”
    • Romans 8:3-4 “what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his Son”

    It’s impossible to fulfill all the law’s requirements. Even the most righteous cannot do it. Knowledge of sin entices us to sin. Law, being the epitome of knowledge of sin, causes our sins to increase, convicting us further and demanding God’s grace and mercy all the more.

  6. Jesus bears our transgressions, releasing us from conviction by the law.
    • Romans 3:21-22
    • Romans 4:23-25
    • Romans 7:6, 23-25
    • Romans 8:1-2 “through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”

  7. We are justified by faith, not by observing the law.
    • Galatians 5:4-6
    • Romans 2:28-29 “circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code”
    • Romans 3:21-22 “a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known”
    • Romans 4:12-15
    • Romans 5:1-2

  8. While we are liberated from righteousness by observing the law, we are not innocent. Sin is still sin.
    • Romans 2:12-15
    • Romans 3:31
    • Romans 6:1-23 “we died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

City fiefdoms

Julian Castro sucker punched San Antonio on his last day as mayor. He proposed a pay raise for the city council.

The argument for raises for the San Antonio city council is an awkward one. News Radio 1200 WOAI reports:

Currently, City Council is made up largely of people who own their own business, like Shirley Gonzales and Joe Krier, people who are fortunate enough to have a spouse who makes enough money to support the family, like Ron Nirenberg, attorneys like Diego Bernal who can continue to do legal work, and retirees like Mike Gallagher.

Supporters of council pay say it damages a council’s ability to relate to their constituents when few if any council members are in the position of the average citizen, working for an employer for a salary or wage.

In short, the city council, whose expertise we’ve been told to rely on, isn’t qualified to govern because they’re out of touch, and giving the city council a raise will make them less out of touch. Although they would like the extra income, you won’t hear sitting city councilors make that argument.

I would say they’re out of touch and they don’t deserve a raise. Career politicians won’t serve San Antonio any better than independently wealthy nabobs.

“There are a lot of people who might serve quite adequately on City Council, but they don’t consider it an option because they can’t live on that pay,” [David] Crockett said.

Other big city councils in Texas pay their members a generous wage. Austin Council members, for example, make $67,000 a year. Dallas Council members make $37,000.

This makes sense for political hires like city manager, not for elected officials.

Why would we want to be more like liberal hell holes Austin and Dallas? One of Austin’s “finest” is Mike Martinez, who has served on the city council since 2006. He wants to ban guns:

“There is no gun ban currently, but because of the work we’re doing here today, we will make your sign legitimate shortly.” –Mike Martinez to protestor

Last month Austin resident Gretchen Gardner lamented her rising property taxes:

“I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

The big picture is this: The greatest barrier to competent government is incompetent voters.

Giving elected officials a raise won’t disincentivize pandering to special interests and taxing and spending, which have been effective in duping voters like Gardner, who don’t connect their votes to their effects. It will make competition to retain political fiefdoms fiercer.

To be fair to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Castro, his exact words were “they deserve to be compensated fairly for what they do.” Compensation comes in many forms, from awards for good service to censure for mismanagement.

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.