Saturday, April 19, 2014

Odds and ends 4/19/2014

Christopher Chantrill has insight on social liberals/economic conservatives:

The genius of teaching the educated professional class to be “socially liberal, economically conservative” for the last 20 years was that the economically conservative part came for free during the Great Boom from 1983-2007. When the economy looked good forever and everyone’s 401(k) was increasing, the professional class could easily be persuaded to look down on—and actually fear!—the bigoted Religious Right and vote for Democrats. Candidate Obama’s remark about bitter clingers captured the meme perfectly.

But now that gay marriage is a fact and the junior inquisitors from the gay Holy Office have shifted from the hard work of proselytizing to the exquisite pleasure of showing heretics at Mozilla the instruments of torture, what now?

Think casino magnate/Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson is looking for a full-spectrum conservative for 2016? His friend and associate Victor Chaltiel said:

He doesn’t want a crazy extremist to be the nominee. He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy.

Translation: a neoliberal who isn’t going to scare feminists and the gay mafia with talk of “taking us back to the ’50s.”


This was left over from my piece on Rand Paul’s vacuous outreach. In his talk to the same social conservative group,

He talked of “moral” and “religious” virtues that are imparted by family and community. He also called for the place of Christian forgiveness in reforming the criminal justice system, particularly regarding mandatory sentencing for drug-related felonies, and for the rehabilitation of non-violent drug offenders.

A voting majority is not going to be raised on relaxing drug laws. This illustrates a big problem for libertarians. They hedge around Leviathan, but they go to the mat with their half-allies on the Left to carve out licenses to pollute their bodies. They have no interest in asserting morality or tradition into the law in any meaningful way. They’re secularists.


Stella Moribito writes a blockbuster essay on same-sex marriage at the Federalist. Excerpts:

The tipping point came soon after certain big name conservatives and pundits swallowed the bait on same sex marriage. Folks like Michael Barone, John Bolton, George Will, S. E. Cupp, and David Blankenhorn have played a huge role in building momentum for this movement, which, as we will see, is blazing a trail to the abolition of state recognized marriage. And whether they know it or not, advocacy for same sex marriage is putting a lot of statist machinery into motion. Because once the state no longer has to recognize your marriage and family, the state no longer has to respect the existence of your marriage and family.

Without civil marriage, the family can no longer exist autonomously and serve as a wall of separation between the individual and the state. This has huge implications for the survival of freedom of association.

The notion of marriage equality was never about marriage or about equality. It’s all about the wrapping paper. It’s been packaged as an end in itself, but it is principally just a means to a deeper end. It is the means by which marriage extinction – the true target — can be achieved. If marriage and family are permitted to exist autonomously, power can be de-centralized in society. So the family has always been a thorn in the side of central planners and totalitarians. The connection between its abolition and the limitless growth of the state should be crystal clear. So anyone who has bought into this movement, or is tempted to do so, would want to step back and take a harder look.

...

The hard push for marriage equality was never about marriage. Neither was it about equality. It’s a convenient vehicle to abolish civil marriage, whether to rid the world of paternalism, evade responsibility for children, “privatize” relationships, or whatever. Abolishing marriage strips the family of its autonomy by placing it much more directly under the regulating control of the state.

Once the state no longer has to recognize the marriage relationship and its presumption of privilege and privacy, we all become atomized individuals in the eyes of the state, officially strangers to one another. We lose the space – the buffer zone – that the institution of the natural, organic family previously gave us and that forced the state to keep its distance.

Isn’t it ironic that feminists would replace the “paternalism” of marriage (what happened to strong women?) with the new paternalism of state regulation of personal relationships? Isn’t it ironic that singles in this scheme of things simply end up marrying the state?

At some point, we must conclude that freedom of association has its source in state acceptance of the core family as the primary buffer zone between the individual and the state. There is no escaping this fact, no matter a particular generation’s attitude or public opinion polling, or advances in medical technology, or whatever else comes our way.


Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being investigated for “rape.”

The woman says she felt lightheaded and went to the bedroom to lie down. She claims Kaepernick “came up behind her into the bedroom and started kissing her.”

“She advised they were kissing (mouth) and Mr Kaepernick started to undressed [sic] her. She got completely naked. Mr. Kaepernick told her that he was going to be right back and left the bedroom. They did not have sex.”

The woman told cops that while she was still naked in bed, Patton and Lockette opened the door and “peeked” inside. She says she told them to get out ... but she can’t remember anything after that.

The woman later woke up in a hospital bed ... but says she doesn’t remember how she got there or who took her there.

The woman also claims she has had a sexual relationship with Kaepernick in the past.

Guilty! String them up!


Robert Stacy McCain has been impressive lately on the topic of feminism:

Friedrich Hayek called “social justice” a mirage, and the same may be said of “gender equality.” It is a mirage, a will-o’-th’-wisp, a phantom goal whose pursuit is a fool’s errand because it can never be obtained. Worse even than that, as our laws and institutions are altered to fit the radical egalitarian plans of social engineers, attitudes and behaviors are altered in ways that actually make life worse for women, who are alleged to be the intended beneficiaries of the feminist project.

Also:

What the radical feminist rejects is the idea of sexual dimorphism as a natural basis for the division of labor between the sexes. Students of design are taught that form follows function, and the observable differences between male and female constitute a sort of scientific argument for a differentiation of roles between them. The biological purpose of sex is procreation, and if we expect both parents to contribute to the survival of their offspring, the pair-bonding of parents into a permanent unit — the basis of the family — requires a system of cooperation. Viewing sex roles from this natural or biological perspective, we see that child-bearing and breast-feeding tend to inhibit the ability of mothers to work outside the home, at least until their children reach a certain level of maturity.

Advances in technology and the pervasive affluence of developed industrial economies permit us to ignore sexual differences — and the natural or biological basis of sex roles — to a great extent. If “work” consists mainly of sitting in front of a computer terminal, after all, there is no obvious reason that men and women should not be equally capable of such work, whereas in earlier societies, the male role as breadwinner depended largely on physical labor for which men’s greater upper-body strength made them especially suitable. Modernity makes it easy (especially for college-educated professionals who have never earned their living by manual labor) to forget that the superiority of masculine physical strength still matters, just as the development of technology — including cheap, reliable contraception — obscures the centrality of childbearing to women’s biological characteristics.


I’m reading Bella V. Dodd’s autobiography School of Darkness. These excerpts leapt out at me:

In the days that have gone since we enunciated these statements so confidently I have had many occasions to see that this cataloging of people as either “right” or “left” has led to more confusion in American life than perhaps any other false concept. It sounds so simple and so right. By using this schematic device one puts the communists on the left and then one regards them as advanced liberals -after which it is easy to regard them as the enzyme necessary for progress.

...

More and more I wanted to talk and act only in terms of the future, of a future that would have none of the corruption of the present. It depressed me that people close to me could accommodate themselves to such a present. Only people I did not know, the great mass of unknown human beings, began to awaken in me a poignant sense of kinship. In fact, I began to transfer my personal feelings to this wholly unknown defeated mass. And so it came about that I began to seek my spiritual home among the dispossessed of the earth.

...

I myself was growing impatient with abstract scholarship, for it seemed to lead nowhere. I hated the emphasis placed in the school system on getting degrees. An M.A. was necessary to hold certain jobs and a Ph.D. was essential for a promotion and an increase in salary. I questioned the value of the many dissertations filed away in the archives. The topics chosen for dissertations seemed more and more inconsequential. And my eager youth longed for significance, for meaning, for participation.

...

My friendship with the Finkelsteins was to continue for years. In them again I saw the warmth of a family which was like-minded, closely knit, and determined to stay together, impervious to the corroding influences of a large industrial city. I asked myself why it was that other families I knew did not have this ability to hold together. I felt that family stability was in great part due to the cherishing of traditions, to the continuous renewing of the memories of the past which included their friendship with God and a boundless loyalty to each other. (Ch. 4)

I hear pangs of Dostoevsky and C. S. Lewis in the second quote. I hear Hillary Clinton’s “politics of meaning” in the third. In the fourth, Dodd the ex-Communist would completely reject tradition, the very thing she yearned for, and try to remake the world for the rise of the proletariat.

As for the first quote, I have realized “the Left” is too amorphous and indistinct a target for attack. It oversimplifies the varied machinations of thought processes of the enemy. If the evil is will, call it will. If it’s false equality, call it false equality. If it’s dehumanizing, top-down managerial statism, call it dehumanizing, top-down managerial statism. And so on.

I was conscious of the fact that here politics had become a matter of life and death. I was conscious also that the intellectuals, the teachers, professors, and scientists were arrogant in their pride but lacked the inner strength to play a salutary role in that country’s hour of need. Here were men of the highest intellectual achievements who were ready to attach themselves to the forces of violence. I did not then realize, as I now do, that for close to a century the educational world of Germany had been subjected to systematic despiritualization which could result only in the dehumanization now apparent. This made it possible for such despiritualized men to serve both the Nazi and later the communist power with a terrifying loyalty and efficiency. (Ch. 5)

...

Acts of daring, supported by the appearances of moral justification, have a terrific impact in building a movement, regardless of whether or not you win. This is a fact the Communists know how to use.

...

Today I marvel that the world communist movement was able to beat the drums against Germany and never once betray what the inner group knew well: that some of the same forces which gave Hitler his start had also started Lenin and his staff of revolutionists from Switzerland to St. Petersburg to begin the revolution which was to result in the Soviet totalitarian state. (Ch. 7)


Steven Rattner wants to make retirement saving mandatory:

The best solution would take up the question of mandated savings. I understand that in today’s world of stagnant incomes, forced savings mean less money for individuals to spend now. But would we seriously prefer that our children become impoverished senior citizens? The approach I like is Australia’s superannuation program, which requires that 9 percent of workers’ pay be diverted into retirement accounts. Tax incentives are also provided, to encourage additional deposits.

This qualifies as heresy to Keynesian demand-siders. It also appeals to the bureaucratic mindset of government knows best how to (not) spend your money. “Forced savings” sounds ominously like Social Security. I’m not counting on my Social Security “account” to be there when I retire in 40 years. I’m not even sure my 401(k) will be there in 40 years.


“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” –Ronald Reagan

Whenever someone throws this Reagan quote at you, remember libertarianism is an ideologically stunted rebranding of conservatism.


At the Federalist, David Corbin and Matt Parks send up Bill de Blasio’s Cooper Union speech:

As always, there’s more heroic work to be done. Create jobs. Build housing. Fix things. Engage parents in their children’s education. Hire more talented public employees. Be inclusive. And secure more state and federal funding to help pay for it all.

If you wonder what drives those engaged in this unending labor, you’re not alone. Playing the political psychologist, the Mayor asked, “Why do we do this work? Why are we so involved in our communities? Why do we engage the political process?”

Here the Mayor turned to Democratic icon Robert F. Kennedy for an answer. In making the case for universal human rights, then-Senator Kennedy argued before a South African audience:

Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile-family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children and a place to rest one’s head—all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people. Therefore, the essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer-not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people. (emphasis added)

In Kennedy’s construction, government must be accountable to—“must answer” to—the whole people because of the power it wields over the most fundamental elements of the good life.

It turns out, though, that the old-fashioned liberal Senator Kennedy was not Progressive enough. Mayor de Blasio’s understanding of what it means for a government to “answer ... to all its people” is fundamentally different from the original. First, he left out the clause in bold. We are not to be distracted by meditations on the dangers of despotic government. This striking (unnoted) omission is a clear window into the contemporary Progressive mind.

Moreover he reinterprets Kennedy, equating the duty to “answer” with the duty to “respond”: “That simple concept—that we must answer, we must respond, that it’s our obligation to see clearly what people are experiencing and to do something to make their lives better. That’s what we believe in.” Government, according to the Mayor, is not responsible to the people unless it is responding to the people, abuzz with efforts “to make their lives better”—that is, unless it is a universal call center ready to turn every inquiry into a governmental requisition.

That last sentence mocks de Blasio’s “New York, New York” call center, which gives “customers” of city services a voice to complain to.


Liberals needn’t concern themselves with turning Texas blue. “Conservatives” are doing a good enough job on their own. WOAI reports:

Even though a majority of Texan consider themselves to be “conservatives,” a comprehensive new poll released by Texas Tech University shows Texans are not toeing the conservative line on two key issues, 1200 WOAI news reports.

The poling, from the Earl Survey Research Lab at Texas Tech, shows the attitudes of Texans are changing markedly when it comes to gay marriage. For the first time in any poll, more Texans, 48% support gay marriage than oppose it, 47%.

...

“A majority of Texans believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship,” McKenzie said. A clear majority, 56% of Texans, say they support a “pathway to citizenship” for individuals in this country illegally today. Only 22% of Texans believe that illegal immigrants should be required to leave.

But on other key issues, Texans are as rigidly conservative as ever. President Obama has only a 23% approval rating, and 75% of exams feel that under Obama, the nation is moving in the “wrong direction.”

Except they couldn’t tell you why. Cognitive dissonance allows people to support bad policies and to reject their negative consequences.


In the UK Telegraph, Tim Stanley summarizes Christian love and ministry by moral shepherding:

For Christians, love is a multifaceted thing. It’s about giving, it’s about sacrificing. And it’s an act of love to tell people when they’re going wrong. Nice atheists don’t have to do that because there’s no commandment to rescue others from themselves. But we have to—and we need to do more of it.

The New American’s William F. Jasper’s take on the Bundy Ranch standoff:

“It’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Senator Reid, Nevada’s senior senator, is very incensed when the American people, i.e., ordinary citizens, “violate the law” — as he puts it — but he says nothing about the more serious violations of the laws and the Constitution by public officials, such as himself or the BLM officials.

This is the same federal BLM that Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada last year ruled had been engaged in a decades-long criminal “conspiracy” against the Wayne Hage family, fellow ranchers and friends of the Bundys. Among other things, Judge Jones accused the federal bureaucrats of racketeering under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, and accused them as well of extortion, mail fraud, and fraud, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.” In fact, the government’s actions were so malicious, said the judge, as to “shock the conscience of the Court.” Judge Jones granted an injunction against the agencies and referred area BLM and Forest Service managers to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Has Attorney General Eric Holder prosecuted any federal officials for criminal activity and violation of the Hage family’s constitutionally protected rights? No. Has Sen. Harry Reid denounced this lawlessness and criminal activity by government officials and call upon President Obama and Attorney General Holder to protect the citizens of his state from the depredations of federal officials under their command? No.

For what it’s worth, here’s my very short take.


The NBA playoffs are here, and the Spurs are the top seed. My hero Tim Duncan had a scare against the Mavericks last week. Here’s a sample of live reactions when Duncan’s return was in doubt:

Duncan did reenter the game a few minutes later. He put up 20 points and 15 rebounds in the win.

Duncan is old. He turns 38 this week. Time is running out to put another championship ring on his finger. The Spurs came so close last year, up 5 points with 28 seconds left in game 6 of the Finals, only to lose the game in overtime and lose game 7. It was a tough pill to swallow.

Sure, the fan base wants a fifth championship. But we want one more for Duncan, to send him out on top. He’s given so much to San Antonio.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Working moms left out of imaginary prosperity

Since having a non-white non-male workplace is the driving force of free-market enterprise, the drop in working mothers is a problem. Quentin Fottrell reports on how imagined prosperity is not freeing mothers from the hell of being with their children as expected:

Stay-at-home mothers have a complex relationship with the U.S. economy. As the job market improved in recent years, more families were either fortunate enough or could afford to have one breadwinner: From 2010 to 2012, for instance, the share of stay-at-home mothers (29%) was three percentage points higher than in 2008 (26%) during the height of the recession. But a growing share of stay-at-home moms — 6% in 2012 versus 1% in 2000 — also say they are home with their children because they can’t find a job.

It’s not complicated. The job market hasn’t improved. More mothers are staying home because the economy sucks, not because they can afford to. Incomes have fallen below the utility cost of leaving the kids at daycare. Fottrell’s narrative is false.

It’s reporting on the narrative that keeps economic reporters employed. Without it, economic reporting would focus on facts, which machines can do just as well as humans.

Everyone was less employed in 2012 compared to 2008. The labor force participation rate has steadily fallen since the recession technically ended. Jobs lost from September 2008 to June 2009 averaged 622,000 per month. The best 10-month job creation streak since then: 205,000 jobs per month.

Net jobs created since June 2007: -18,000. Net population gain: 16 million.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vacuous outreach

Senator Rand Paul has a bad habit of telling people what they want to hear.

I wrote last month about Paul’s conflicting approaches to Louis Farrakhan and Ted Nugent. At Howard University, he told a gallery of black college students they have a right to follow Farrakhan. And in February he tweeted Nugent should apologize for calling the president a bad name.

This illustrates the vacuity implicit in Republican “outreach.” Instead of spreading the truth, outreachers soothe liberal apprehensions by assuring them there’s room for them in an ostensibly center-right country. They don’t actually convince liberals they’re wrong ideas are wrong.

In an otherwise puerile political hit piece, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal notes:

Let’s move on to a YouTube video of Mr. Paul in April 2009, offering his insights to a college group on foreign policy. Channeling Dwight Eisenhower, the future senator warned “we need to be so fearful of companies that get so big that they can actually be directing policy.”

“When the Iraq war started, Halliburton got a billion-dollar no-bid contract. Some of the stuff has been so shoddy and so sloppy that our soldiers are over there dying in the shower from electrocution.”

Then he gets to his real point: Dick Cheney, who opposed driving all the way to Baghdad when he was defense secretary in the first Bush administration, later went to work for Halliburton. “Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he’s back in government and it’s a good thing to go into Iraq.”

Mr. Paul’s conclusion: “9/11 became an excuse for a war they already wanted in Iraq.”

Chances are slim Paul really believes this, but he thinks he can get away with saying it because it doesn’t decommit him from his policy agenda. Indeed, even though he may disagree with a faulty premise, he won’t take issue with it if it leads logically to conclusions he has reached on other grounds. For example, if I think the Iraq War was a strategic mistake, I don’t correct liberals on false claims that the Bush administration lied about Iraq’s weapons programs.

Slandering Republican Vice President Cheney was the straw that broke the GOP’s back, leading Frank Luntz to tweet: “GOP establishment declares war on Rand Paul 2016.” The disagreement is more personal than ideological. The Republican Party, including Paul, more or less supports marginally lower income tax rates and soft-peddling social liberalism. They are more likely to expel a member from their ranks for a liberal heresy than a conservative one.

Over and over again, Paul changes his pitch from one disenchanted group to the next. Which man is to be believed? The one who told a social conservative group:

Libertarian, or liberty, doesn’t mean libertine. To many of us, libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see freedom needs tradition.

Or the one who told a liberal website:

I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues. The Republican Party is not going to give up on having quite a few people who do believe in traditional marriage. But the Republican Party also has to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by those issues.

In other words, if we’re not careful, young people might start to suspect they’re wrong. Suspicion of our own knowledge tops the thoughtcrime catalog.

It’s easy for liberals to “agree to disagree” as the courts twist the Constitution to mandate their delusions. The status quo is favorable for them. Paul can harp on tradition and virtue until he’s blue in the face. As a legislator, the difference he makes is in the bills he supports and doesn’t support. His do-nothing approach ensures long-term victory for liberals.

Paul’s rhetorical bone throwing and verbal inclusiveness have made him a popular figure, but when he runs for president people are going to want to know what he is going to do. When he does (should he make it that far), he will alienate many people whom he failed to convert in the first place.

Further reading: “Failed fusion.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Communist sexual revolution

In 1926, the Soviet Union had redefined marriage once already, and was considering redefining it further. The effects of the first change, essentially no-fault divorce, left a trail of human wreckage. Anonymous reports:

When the Bolsheviki came into power in 1917 they regarded the family, like every other “bourgeois” institution, with fierce hatred, and set out with a will to destroy it. “To clear the family out of the accumulated dust of the ages we had to give it a good shakeup, and we did,” declared Madame Smidovich, a leading Communist and active participant in the recent discussion. So one of the first decrees of the Soviet Government abolished the term “illegitimate children.” This was done simply by equalizing the legal status of all children, whether born in wedlock or out of it, and now the Soviet Government boasts that Russia is the only country where there are no illegitimate children. The father of a child is forced to contribute to its support, usually paying the mother a third of his salary in the event of a separation, provided she has no other means of livelihood.

“In the event of separation” became not the exception, but the rule, as men whose sexual capital had continued to rise as their wives’ sexual capital fell cashed in.

At the same time a law was passed which made divorce a matter of a few minutes, to be obtained at the request of either partner in a marriage. Chaos was the result. Men took to changing wives with the same zest which they displayed in the consumption of the recently restored forty-per-cent vodka.

“Some men have twenty wives, living a week with one, a month with another,” asserted an indignant woman delegate during the sessions of the Tzik. “They have children with all of them, and these children are thrown on the street for lack of support! (There are three hundred thousand bezprizorni or shelterless children in Russia to-day, who are literally turned out on the streets. They are one of the greatest social dangers of the present time, because they are developing into professional criminals. More than half of them are drug addicts and sex perverts...)

Fatherless feral gangs are a byproduct of devolving responsibility from sex. A feminist proposes abortions to stop the problem dead in its tracks—or birth canal. A traditionalist proposes restoring sex to its proper role in life and love.

Several peculiar abuses sprang up in the country districts in connection with the shifting marriage regulations. Many women of light behavior found marriage and childbearing a profitable occupation. They formed connections with the sons of well-to-do peasants and then blackmailed the father for the support of the children. In some cases peasants have been obliged to sell their last cow or horse in order to settle such alimony claims. The law has created still more confusion because it is retrospective in its operation, so that women can claim support for children born many years ago.

Other peasants took advantage of the loose divorce regulations to acquire “summer brides.” As the hiring of labor in Russia is hedged about with difficulties and restrictions for the private employer, the richer peasants in some districts took to the practice of marrying a strong girl for the harvest season and divorcing her as soon as the work in the fields was over.

...

Some members of the League of Communist Youth, an organization which now numbers between a million and a half and two million young men and women, regard the refusal to enter into temporary sex relations as mere bourgeois prejudice, the deadliest sin in the eyes of a Communist. Some of the provincial branches of the League went so far as to organize “Down with Shame” and “Down with Innocence” circles; but these were sharply condemned as rowdy aberrations in the official report on the activities of the League at the last Congress of the Communist Party.

Both in the villages and in the cities the problem of the unmarried mother has become very acute and provides a severe and annoying test of Communist theories. In the early stages of the Revolution the Communists held the theory that children should be reared and cared for by the State. But it soon became evident that the State, especially in war-torn and impoverished Russia, was financially quite incapable of assuming such a heavy burden of responsibility. The figure of ten thousand foundlings, reported for thirty-two provinces of the Soviet Union over a period of six months, illustrates the danger that the present large number of vagrant homeless children may be swelled because of the inability or unwillingness of parents to provide for the offspring of temporary connections.

All of this sounds very familiar.

Further toying with definitions, the proposed change in 1926 would have legally equated unregistered marriages (trysts) to marriages. Also “wife and husband would have an equal right to claim support from the other.”

A working woman from Kostroma, with a shawl over her head, added her voice of general chorus of opposition. “In our factories,” she said, “you notice something very unpleasant. As long as a young man doesn’t participate in public activities he respects his wife. But as soon as he moves up a little, gets a little more education, something comes between them. He leaves his wife with a child, lives with another woman, and brings poverty and misery to both. I ask the working women to pass a law that will stop the practice of having many husbands and many wives.”

Mrs. Gypova, a peasant woman from Kursk Province, insisted that men and women must not be permitted to live like gypsies, continually changing their mates. The children suffered too much. “Many husbands who lived peacefully with their wives for twenty years suddenly begin to cry: ‘We have freedom now. Give me a divorce.’”

So much complaining. Mrs. Gypova hadn’t learned yet her life belonged to the revolution, not to God, not to family, not even to country. The breakup of the family and its many consequent miseries is the price of emancipation from the patriarchy. Enslavement to the totalitarian state is the price of liberty.

Emancipation from cause and effect has a price. Once men were given license to divorce, the options the liberated sexual marketplace provided made their previously content arrangement miserable by comparison.

Forty years later, the progressives and feminists spread the Communists’ success to America.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The grass isn’t greener

There was a farmer named Hershel. He had been farming all his life. His piece of dirt was all he knew. He didn’t want to know any more than that.

Hershel had inherited the farm from his father, just as his father had inherited the farm from his father. For four generations the farm had stayed in the family. And Hershel was intent on passing the farm to his sons.

Over the years, most of the farms in the county had been sold. Many were now abandoned properties or had been sold to agribusiness. Not Hershel’s farm.

Hershel’s farm had good soil, good fences, good workers, good equipment, and good buildings. Hershel had a good wife and good sons and daughters. They went to a good church, and they had good relations with the people in town. Nothing is perfect, but Hershel didn’t nitpick. He had all he needed, and he was content.

All of a sudden the farm next door went up for sale. The neighbors couldn’t meet orders, and they couldn’t maintain their equipment or pay for a steady staff of workers, so they were selling. With tears Hershel bid them goodbye.

It didn’t take long for the farm’s new owners to move in. They immediately began making improvements. They built a new house and a new barn. They built a new stockade and stocked it with young, healthy animals.

One morning, Hershel was working near the fence when his new neighbor walked up. He was a handsome man, with a full head of hair and clean, smooth skin. Handsomer than me, Hershel thought, scratching his balding, wrinkly scalp with worn, dirty hands.

His name was Steve Prescott. “Why don’t you bring your family over for dinner tonight,” Steve offered.

“I’m not sure you can feed all seven of us,” Hershel said.

Steve laughed. “See you tonight.”

That night, Hershel and his wife and two sons and three daughters walked to the Prescotts’ dressed in their Sunday best. The house was a great, big beautiful house, much larger and more comfortable than the old house they lived in. The wood smelled fresh, like it had been carried straight from the mill.

Steve’s family was lovely. He had one son and one daughter, both very well-mannered and well-dressed. His wife was beautiful and vibrant.

They sat to a splendid meal of turkey and beans. Hershel had not eaten so well in months. Why can’t my wife cook like this? he thought.

After dinner, they took a brief tour around the property. Steve showed them the new buildings and the new equipment. He also shared with Hershel his plan to build a new fence between their farms. Even though it was a better fence than the current one, Hershel refused to consider it.

“I built that fence with my dad when I was a boy. It’s shown no sign of wear. It does its job, and that’s all I ask of it.”

Steve relented and said he would shelve his plans for the fence for now.

When they got home, Hershel’s sons and daughters gushed about the neighbor’s house and the neighbor’s handsome children and the neighbor’s food. The family was full of envy. Even his wife was jealous.

“I wish I were as pretty as Mrs. Prescott,” she sighed, looking in the mirror at her sagging cheeks and grey-streaked hair.

Hershel didn’t know what to say, because silently he agreed with her. He wished his wife was as pretty. He wished his house was as nice. He wished he could change a lot of things that, a day ago, he wouldn’t change for the world.

The next day, Hershel’s son spent the morning next door helping the Prescotts lay down fresh sod around the house. The report from his daughters was he was smitten with Miss Prescott.

Hershel found himself working near the fence again. He stopped and looked across onto the Prescott farm, at the new buildings and the bright, green grass his son was helping lay down. He saw Steve’s daughter bring lemonade out to them while they worked. She stopped to chat with Hershel’s son for a minute. Although Hershel couldn’t hear what they were saying, he was certain they were in love.

He looked back at his house, with its small windows and leaky roof, with its peeling paint and dull, patchy yard. He could hear his daughters playing the piano. I wish I had a daughter to attract such a man as my son, he thought wistfully.

Hershel’s son returned from the Prescotts’ and asked if they could have them over for dinner. Hershel didn’t want them over but felt he couldn’t say no. He acceded to his son’s request and retired early to prepare the house for visitors.

That afternoon the house was a tornado of activity. Everything had to be prepared just right. They knew they couldn’t impress the Prescotts, but they would do the most with what they had to work with.

The Prescotts arrived early, so Hershel took them on a short tour about the property while his wife finished preparing dinner. The buildings he showed them were old, ancient compared to the new buildings the Prescotts had just built. The same could be said for the equipment, some of which Hershel’s grandfather had bought brand new. Nevertheless, the Prescotts showed a peculiar wonder at the modest farm. Hershel was certain it was a put-on.

For dinner they had beef and rice casserole. Hershel felt tense through the whole meal. He resented what was obviously Steve’s condescension in coming over, as if the families were on equal terms, when it was obvious they weren’t. Nevertheless, he was determined to endure this family visit and be nothing less than a gracious host until the last of the Prescotts set foot out the door.

It was a cool, cloudless night, and Steve proposed they have a smoke behind the house. Hershel agreed. They walked a ways from the house, where the noises of the children playing and women cleaning merged into a light, indistinct rumble. They stood staring out over the farm and at the stars, silhouetted in the moonlight.

Steve broke the silence. “I want to thank you again for having us over, Hershel. And for your son’s help this morning. He’s a terrific young man. And a hard worker! If only I could get my son to work half as hard as him.”

“Your son?”

Steve nodded as he dragged on the cigarette. “Steve Jr. would rather follow his imagination than follow instructions. Your son’s example is a blessing.”

“Don’t let him know that. As far as I know, he thinks you’re the one who’s blessing him by letting him nearer to your daughter.”

“Ah, yes. She’s been having that effect lately. In part that’s why we moved the kids out here, away from bad influences in the city, away from temptations.”

“Temptation is everywhere, even in the country.”

A wry smile stretched Steve’s lips. “It’s hard to tell by looking at your family. Had me fooled.”

Hershel pondered Steve’s words. Did Steve envy his family? Steve, with his pretty wife and two well-mannered children? The idea was absurd.

Indeed, how absurd was it? No more absurd than Hershel envying his family.

Hershel laughed, the tension releasing from his body. “I have been such a fool.”

“What?”

“Since last night I have been thinking of all the ways my life could be as good as yours.”

Steve looked at Hershel, nonplussed. “What do you want a life like mine for? Look at your life! Look at your big, beautiful family and the home you’ve built and the living you’ve made off this land!”

“I could say the same about you. Look at your pretty wife and your new house and the fresh start you’re making.”

They stared at each other, and they burst into giggles together this time.

“I do have a lot to be thankful for, don’t I?” Steve said.

Hershel looked at his house, teeming with life and vitality and the sounds of love and joy. “As do I.”

He extended his hand to Steve. “I’m glad you moved in next door, Steve.”

Steve took his hand. “As am I.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Esteemed perversion

My reservations about allowing students free speech protections while they’re in school correlates with the values and good sense of the teachers and school administrators. More important than children exercising their Constitutional freedom is learning what they’re to use freedom for. Parents teach that. Accountable, responsible schools teach that.

In 2006, Eugene Volokh reported on a California high school student who protested his school’s gay “rights” agenda. This being a case in which the school was proselytizing the moral equivalence of perversion and virtue, conscience compelled the student to speak.

Harper’s speech is constitutionally unprotected, the Ninth Circuit just ruled today, in an opinion written by Judge Reinhardt and joined by Judge Thomas; Judge Kozinski dissented. According to the majority, “derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students’ minority status such as race, religion, and sexual orientation”—which essentially means expressions of viewpoints that are hostile to certain races, religions, and sexual orientations—are simply unprotected by the First Amendment in K-12 schools. Such speech, Judge Reinhardt said, violates “the rights of other students” by constituting a “verbal assault[] that may destroy the self-esteem of our most vulnerable teenagers and interfere with their educational development.”

Ergo, schools have a constitutional obligation to churn out obliviots. They may be incompetent, but at least they don’t suspect it.

Teaching sanctimonious “vulnerable teenagers” humility is a boost to their educational development. It makes admitting when you’re wrong possible.

Eight years later, the gay athlete’s right of passage is “publicly acknowledging his sexuality” in the haziest, most congratulatory terms. ESPN celebrates:

Derrick Gordon, a sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team, stepped forward Wednesday as the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball, sharing his story with ESPN and Outsports.

The 22-year-old shooting guard came out to his family, coaches and teammates in just a few days at the beginning of April. That’s when he also decided to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.

Only a sliver of it, thankfully. The withholding of details belies just how much perversion liberal society is willing to acknowledge.

There’s a lot more to sexuality than being attracted to either sex. I, for example, am attracted to certain girls with certain attributes, with whom I participate in certain activities in certain scenarios. None of which is the public’s duty to acknowledge or accept.

My kinks are mine, and I deal with them. God gave us our kinks to enjoy, but outside of marriage they are perversion. They devour the soul.

Gordon doesn’t want to deal with his kinks. He has allowed his kinks to define him. He waged a good fight, but he’s given up. He is who he is. Take it or leave it.

“I’ve been crying,” Darryl told his brother. “This is something I can’t believe. This can’t be you. Maybe you need counseling?”

Derrick rejected that idea outright. No way. “This is who I am,” he said to Darryl. “I’m happy with who I am, and I just want you to support me.”

Of course he rejected it outright. Any recognition that he is in the wrong bursts the carefully constructed bubble that he is in the right.

The distinction between a sinner and his sins can be subtle, but it wasn’t subtle to Darryl Gordon. He loves his brother. He loves him so much that he had to think about that ultimatum, to actually consider pushing his brother away, by trying to help him rise above his sin.

Jesus said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” When everyone is led away from the path to eternal rest and holiness with God will there at last be no division.

Related: “Wrong as a person,” “Sacrosanct sinner,” “Proud spirit,” and “Center of being.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Odds and ends 4/8/2014

“I don’t know why we’re not having a revolution at this point.” –Opie Hughes

Because you don’t rebel against Big Mother.


College football is a big pie, and players are unionizing to get a piece of it. The NFL also is a big pie, and Raiderette “Lacy T.” wants a bigger piece.

But even as collective bargaining has caused players' salaries to skyrocket, cheerleaders are still treated with the expendability of borrowed college students. Of the 26 teams that employ cheerleaders, only Seattle publicly advertises that it pays its squad an hourly minimum wage. The tenuous position of NFL cheerleaders is exacerbated by the fact that six teams don’t fork out any cash for squads. The Packers occasionally employ the services of a local collegiate squad. Other teams, such as the Lions, Browns and Giants, rely on unofficial squads willing to finance themselves through public appearances and calendar shoots for the opportunity to dance in a high-profile setting. Beyond that, it boils down to a numbers game. There are more aspiring pros than there are slots on the sideline, so if one cheerleader slips up, there are hundreds of hopefuls waiting to take her place.

Like most performing arts, cheerleading is very competitive. This isn’t news.

Many former cheerleaders say the true perks of the job go beyond pay. Alumnae have leveraged the perch to find work as fitness instructors, dance studio owners, reality TV stars, even Playboy models. Jeanette Thompson, who cheered in the 1990s, ascended from the sideline to become the Raiderettes coach – a salaried team position (although earnings are undisclosed) – and a behind-the-scenes reporter for the Raiders’ website. Others find stability in the sports world through other means, like Paige Green, a Raiderette-turned-model who went on to marry John Elway. But for many Raiderettes, just making the cut was its own reward.

Opportunities for acquiring greater wealth are many for pretty girls chosen to attract male attention.

That being said, I hope Lacy T. fleeces the Michael Sam League for all it’s worth. The owners have it coming.


4wheelsnews.com reports (re: “$1 billion of prevention”):

Rear cameras are more effective than parking sensors in preventing collisions during a reverse, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. An IIHS study shows that around 292 people are killed and 18,000 injured annually by drivers reversing. Rear cameras were able to reduce the blind spots that could result to such collisions by up to 90 percent.

IIHS conducted the study with volunteer drivers in a parking lot where a pole was placed at varying points behind the vehicle. The pole was marked with different colored bands to indicate varying heights of children—with band representing a 12- to 15-month-old child being the hardest to see. Drivers could not see this band using glances and mirrors alone, even if the pole was 27 feet away from the vehicle.

“Right now cameras appear to be the most promising technology for addressing this particularly tragic type of crash, which frequently claims the lives of young children in the driveways of their own homes,” David Zuby, the institute’s executive vice president and chief research officer, said in a statement.

Do you spot the problem?

The pole is stationary. They didn’t test for objects moving in and out of the camera’s view.


At the Federalist, Georgi Boorman analyzes Duke porn star Miriam Weeks’s interview with Piers Morgan:

Read it carefully: “I think it’s extremely hypocritical that the same society that consumes me is also condemning me.”

Our Duke student is no dummy. She understands that as a porn star, she is a consumer good, a product on the market responding to the same laws of supply and demand as any lamp or can of beans. Feminists have fought for so many years against the subjugation and objectification of women, but Knox betrays the societal effects of the sexual liberation strain of feminism by freely admitting that society consumes her… she didn’t even refine her statement into something less obvious. For instance, she could have said, “The same society that enjoys my work is also condemning me.”

No, Belle Knox is self-identifying as the direct object, in multiple senses of the term.

Someone commented on Boorman’s piece:

Most of the time when Feminists say that they are choosing to degrade themselves so that makes it empowerment, they are simply rationalizing. I think there is an interesting trend of labeling everything “harmless.” Porn is “harmless,” pot is “harmless,” promiscuous sex is “harmless.” None of these things are harmless. And the increase in depression and suicide rates in our society is one consequence of the harmless lie. But if we told the truth, that in fact all of these things were harmful, less people would do them. And the Left wants people doing these harmful things because damaged people are easier to control than strong, empowered ones.

Bingo.

John Rogove writes at Ethika Politika:

[Weeks’s] strategy ... has been to present her decision as a way of reclaiming her autonomy from those who would shame her into conformity and submission to puritanical norms. It’s the classic libertarian “pro-sex” feminism, claiming “sex work” as the most daring way women can at once liberate their bodies and sexuality from patriarchal control and succeed as self-starting entrepreneurs in a market society, itself bursting with “norm-subverting” potential just waiting to be tapped by those daring and unhung-up enough to step up and “lean in”. The market wants to commodify women’s body parts? A poor but attractive women is “rich” in exploitable resources right at hand—the only thing that she needs to overcome are society’s hang-ups—and her own (any moldy old notions about dignity or intimacy, for example)! Her agency, her autonomy, is only that of the businesswoman willing and ready to leverage her resources at any cost. This liberal or libertarian ideal is behind this notion of “sex work” as “work” in the entrepreneurial sense, with the worker as CEO of the monadic start-up that is their own body and its raw capacities. In this way, it’s not fundamentally different from any other kind of work.

In reality, while this strategy of Knox’s might seem, in the short run, to neutralize the sting of her attackers’ bite, in the long run, the only thing it neutralizes is the very moral autonomy it claims to want to restore to womankind. “Sex work”—porn and prostitution—inherently negate the dignity of the worker, not only because it turns a subject, a person, into an object or commodity themselves, to be consumed, used up, and spat out; it turns one of the most intimate, vulnerable, life-giving and dependent parts of that personhood into a piece of meat, reducing a feeling, animated body capable of love to mere dead matter, a resource to be appropriated and dominated.

People as means to one’s ends is a terrible “advancement” feminists have brought us.


An allegory of technocracy? CNS News quotes Matt Briggs on a silly NASA study pushing centralized management of the economy. The bold is mine.

“The math is fine, it’s the interpretation that’s on top of it. There’s nothing empirical that went into these equations, if you understand me. There’s no observations that went into [them], all right, let’s look at the actual state of equality, whatever that is, let’s look at the actual sort of eco-dollars (I guess they call them, they never really quite define that), and let’s measure that somehow and then we’ll put these into an equation and then we’ll model that reality.

“They did none of that kind of thing. They just developed a set of equations and then said, ‘This is the way reality should look.’ And of course, reality doesn’t look anything like that, as I tried to point out.”


At Public Discourse, Christopher Spewock exposes the relative standard by which OB/GYNs decide they should or should not kill an unborn baby:

Doctors, regardless of what they claim their conscience dictates, are obliged to perform or refer for abortions if doing so promotes the mother’s “conception of well-being.”

Also in Public Discourse, Samuell Gregg makes some great points about inflation:

The short-term benefits—but also the long-term problems—associated with these approaches to money have been known for several centuries. In his 1597 Treatise on the Alteration of Money, the sixteenth-century Jesuit theologian Juan de Mariana stated that the equivalent of inflationary policies of his time—currency-debasement—was “like the drink given the sick person unduly, which first refreshes him, but later causes more serious accidents and makes the illness worse.”

Certainly, Mariana observed, depreciation may temporarily stimulate production and lighten the burden of debt. Nevertheless, Mariana also maintained, it would certainly result in inflationary price rises and undermine commercial productivity as more people turned their attention away from innovation in the real economy and toward the wrong types of financial speculation.

...

Looking at the present, even small levels of inflation help governments—and other debtors—to reduce the real value of their debts. If, for instance, a government takes on debt in the form of bond issues, but also insists on maintaining low interest rates and big spending programs, the inflationary effect will be to reduce the bonds’ real value. A 2012 analysis suggested this was precisely the path consciously chosen by successive British governments after 1945 to address the enormous debt burden taken on by the United Kingdom during World War II. As a result, close to 80 percent of the reduction of Britain’s post-war debt by 1970 was the result of inflation.


In the American Thinker, Janice Shaw Crouse reveals three truths about recreational sex. The bold is hers.

Recreational sex makes girls the losers. The bottom line is that only one third of girls who had early sexual activity describe themselves as “happy” as compared with over half among those who waited. More than a quarter of sexually active girls report depression, and they are three times more likely to commit suicide. As Dr. Miriam Grossman warns in her book, Unprotected, women are hardwired to attach through sexual behavior, and no condom will protect them from the psychological consequences of sexual permissiveness: empty relationships, feelings of self-contempt and worthlessness, and even depression.

A major contributor to today’s promiscuous culture is the unlevel playing field – 57% of students in college are women. In her Weekly Standard article about this situation, Charlotte Allen explained that the sexual revolution was supposed to do away with the double standard, but there is a harsher, more cruel double standard now – a supply-saturated, short-term sexual marketplace. Students at Yale University have a sad term for it now – SWUG-Nation, with “SWUG” standing for “Senior Washed Up Girls.”

I can’t believe I never thought of the sexual marketplace in these terms before. Imagine the demand and supply curves. By and large, boys are the demand, girls are the supply. The sexual revolution boosted supply by changing female nature. As supply has increased, prices have fallen. Women have been devalued.

I commented on “SWUG” last year at Red Pill Report.


Funny how the moneybags socialist Glenn Beck made a career of decrying agrees with him on soma. That’s the danger of thinking along a government/liberty paradigm. Libertarians can’t diagnose the rot, because they contribute to half of it. The virtue/license paradigm is superior.

The Washington Times reports:

With a cadre of like-minded, wealthy donors, Mr. Soros is dominating the pro-legalization side of the marijuana debate by funding grass-roots initiatives that begin in New York City and end up affecting local politics elsewhere.

Through a network of nonprofit groups, Mr. Soros has spent at least $80 million on the legalization effort since 1994, when he diverted a portion of his foundation’s funds to organizations exploring alternative drug policies, according to tax filings.


I got a kick out of this:

In our search data from English-speaking searchers (mainly Americans, Canadians, and British), Blacks are the most popular ethnicity, followed by Asians, with no other ethnicity in the top 100 most popular sexual searches. I say “blacks” rather than African-American because “black” is the term people always use in their searches. Blacks and Asians also have the most porn sites devoted to them, though Latino sites are also well-represented.

Porn searchers don’t have patience for political correctness.


“For some who favor the redefinition of marriage, tolerance appears to have been a useful rhetorical device along the way to eliminating dissent.” –Ryan T. Anderson
“In the new dispensation, opposition to same-sex marriage disqualifies you from leadership and may legitimately be used to bring about the ruin of your career.” –Pat Buchanan
“We are now in the odd position of supposing that sex is too trivial to require virtue for its exercise, but that it is simultaneously so significant, so determinative of a person’s identity, that to suggest any restraint upon its consensual exercise is an affront to the most important fount of human dignity. It is at once nugatory and holy. We are at once to think nothing of it, and everything. It is at once like scratching an itch, and worshiping a god. It requires no sacrifice from its exerciser, and the sacrifice of everything else to it: the welfare of children and the family, public morals, the common good, and liberty itself.” –Anthony Esolen

I’ve dealt with same-sex marriage sufficiently for the time being, so my reaction to the Brendan Eich controversy is short.

Mark Steyn warns:

I don’t want to live in the world of “greater civility” that Michael Mann and Mitchell Baker are building for us. Oh, to be sure, it’s technologically exciting: There will be a thousand different apps on which to download Jessica Alba warning you about Antarctic sea ice. But there’ll be only one Thought App. And it will come pre-installed.

And eventually there won’t be any Jessica Alba apps, either. Because a society that imprisons opinion as tightly as Mann and Baker demand is a society that will cease to innovate, and decline.


“Gender-neutral” basketball isn’t really gender neutral.

“They should have been playing a long time ago. The game starts like this. First quarter there is three men and two women, second quarter there is three women and two men, and it goes back and forth. It’s an awesome concept,” Scott explained.

It’s a ridiculous concept. It’s hard enough to have talent at the various positions in your starting personnel and bench unit. Now you have to stock your roster with less talent to meet gender quotas.

You can’t make this stuff up.

A set of seating is being torn down outside the Plymouth Wildcats varsity boys’ baseball field, not long before the season begins, because the fields for boys’ and girls’ athletics must be equal.

A group of parents raised money for a raised seating deck by the field, as it was hard to see the games through a chain-link fence. The parents even did the installation themselves, and also paid for a new scoreboard.

But, after someone complained to the U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, an investigated [sic] by the department determined the new addition was no longer equal to the girls’ softball field next door, which has old bleachers and an old scoreboard.


I’m listening to C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Letter 12 gave me a feeling of such sinking dread, the kind of dread I felt while I was reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I felt the irresistibility of sin, the devil’s snare that we fall into of our own free will, and the dark, lonely eternity of lost souls.

Anything is better than that he should realise the break he has made with the first months of his Christian life. As long as he retains externally the habits of a Christian he can still be made to think of himself as one who has adopted a few friends and amusements but whose spiritual state is much the same as it was six weeks ago. And while he thinks that, we do not have to contend with the explicit repentance of a definite, fully recognised sin, but only with his vague, though uneasy, feeling that he hasn’t been doing very well lately. This dim uneasiness needs careful handling. If it gets too strong it may wake him up and spoil the whole game. On the other hand, if you suppress it entirely—which, by the by, the Enemy will probably not allow you to do—we lose an element in the situation which can be turned to good account. If such a feeling is allowed to live, but not allowed to become irresistible and flower into real repentance, it has one invaluable tendency. It increases the patient’s reluctance to think about the Enemy. All humans at nearly all times have some such reluctance; but when thinking of Him involves facing and intensifying a whole vague cloud of half-conscious guilt, this reluctance is increased tenfold. They hate every idea that suggest Him, just as men in financial embarrassment hate the very sight of a bankbook. In this state your patient will not omit, but he will increasingly dislike, his religious duties. He will think about them as little as he feels he decently can beforehand, and forget them as soon as possible when they are over. A few weeks ago you had to tempt him to unreality and inattention to his prayers: but now you will find him opening his arms to you and almost begging you to distract his purpose and benumb his heart. He will want his prayers to be unreal, for he will dread nothing so much as effective contact with the Enemy. His aim will be to let sleeping worms lie.

As this condition becomes more fully established, you will be gradually freed from the tiresome business of providing Pleasures as temptations. As the uneasiness and his reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures of vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo (for that is what habit fortunately does to pleasure) you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes but also in conversations with those he cares nothing about, on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say, as one of my own patients said on his arrival down here, “I now see that I spent most of my life doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.” The Christians describe the Enemy as one “without whom Nothing is strong.” And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off.

I can’t think of anything more terrible than the realization, at the end of life, that I’ve wasted my time on earth and followed my short-sighted will into mediocrity, into “a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them.”

It’s occurred to me that this blog is a distraction from my walk with God. Since almost everything I write about doesn’t matter, why consume my precious time continuing to write about those things? I should be writing about stuff that matters. I should be working on discipleship.

The world provides endless distractions. Look over here, write about this. Look over there, write about that. I used to consider it a blessing—“I’ll never run out of things to write about, yippee!” How futile it seems, as I come to a fuller understanding of the commission Jesus gave me. I will not allow the world to distract me from my task, to serve God and to serve my neighbors.