Saturday, June 29, 2013

Murder, so what

In the seventeenth century, Galileo was famously forced, after a complex process with fault on both sides, to recant his position, but is then said to have muttered, eppur si muove (“And yet, it [the earth] moves.”) Nancy Pelosi and all like her who self-righteously have spoken of bringing back science-informed public policy have now reached a Galileo moment of their own. Party politics may dictate that you pretend the science is not indisputable, but we’re waiting now for someone prominent with a D for party affiliation to mutter: “And yet, it’s alive.”

With all due respect to Robert Royal, it does not necessarily follow that abortion is wrong from the premise that abortion is murder. The commandment to not murder, the one atheists and secularists argue can be reached logically without a deity’s imposition, is not binding on those with a different deity, or on those who subordinate the deity to Marxist ideology. Priorities, after all.

For Marxists/nominal Catholics like Nancy Pelosi, abortion is not a moral issue. It is a power issue, a struggle for power between men, the bourgeoisie, and women, the proletariat. Hence women, victims of the biological lottery in being the only sex capable of bearing children, “level the playing field” by reversing that biology; so, the only interest one has in restricting abortion is to keep women down.

Leading feminist Camille Paglia boldly admits abortion is murder, but this has no effect on her pro-choice outlook:

My argument has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature’s fascism.

Despite that all adults, male and female, begin life in the womb, the imagined right to end that life belongs exclusively to women. There is no morality that trumps the class struggle. Morality is a prison to keep women from reaching parity with men. Punishing them with a baby, to paraphrase the ostensibly Christian American president, “will banish women’s voice from the core of our political life,” as the atheist former Australian prime minister predicts. Interesting how often those two worldviews coincide when the Christian is a liberal Democrat.

Last week, Texas State Rep. Wendy Davis filibustered an abortion regulatory bill. Charles C. W. Cooke writes:

The law that Wendy Davis and her fellow “pro-science” acolytes so bravely stood against would have rendered it illegal to kill the child after [20 weeks in the womb]. And when I say kill, I mean kill. I mean break bones, rip apart limbs, crush skulls, drain fluids, still a beating heart, annihilate a brain that is capable of dreaming, and crush a nervous system. I mean: Kill.

It’s obvious to any honest person presented with the facts of prenatal development that the “lifeless clump of cells” in the womb is a human life. Abortion is murder. That doesn’t matter to some.

How do you persuade such people to become pro-life? I prefer to guilt them by shredding their self-serving premises, appeal to their long-term wants in life, and highlight the destruction that abortion and other effects of the sexual revolution have wrought on the civil society. For people who are lost in search of meaning in the notion of an unlimited self, comfort and confidence can be found in acknowledging the limits of human nature and past models of success.


This article was adapted from “Life of Julia (Gillard)” at the Red Pill Report.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ingredients for incivility

In 2008, U.S. Servicemen and -women reported 2,923 sexual assaults. In 2012, reported sexual assaults rose to 3,374. Whether this constitutes a spike, given the varying extent to which the majority of sexual assaults in the military go unreported, is moot. Obviously there is something wrong with our military.

But what can the military as a cultural institution do about it? Consider these trends:

  • The U.S. military’s mission has changed dramatically since Vietnam. Winning hearts and minds and peacekeeping have replaced the straightforward objectives of identifying the enemy and defeating them. Further, combat has changed with technological advances, diminishing the usefulness of traditionally masculine attributes of strength, stamina, and bravery. A woman is just as qualified as a man to defend against cyberterror threats or to serve as an Air Force air traffic controller or drone operator.
  • With less risk to life and limb entailed in new mission objectives and advanced technological warfare, the Services cater to the career-minded as much as to the red-blooded patriot. Many recruits see military service as an opportunity where they can acquire marketable skills and college scholarships. Twenty percent of Air Force recruits are women. It’s no surprise, then, that Lackland Air Force Base, home of Air Force basic training, is ground zero for military sexual abuse.
  • The days of classy, alluring pin-up girls like Rita Hayworth are gone. George C. Scott’s rendition of General Patton (in which he chides one soldier, “This is a barracks, not a bordello”) would be horrified by the crude, senses-dulling images in modern pornography. It’s not just magazines. Any fantasy or fetish can be sated at any time at an Internet terminal, mobile or stationary. Navy Lieutenant Michael Howard, a licensed therapist and chaplain who specializes in treating sexual addiction, says he wouldn’t be surprised if 20 percent of military personnel were addicted to online porn.
  • Since the advent and popularization of reproductive circumvention, we have moved steadily from a courtship culture to a competition culture. “Liberation” from the consequences of sex has alienated men from women. The appreciation and respect due to women is a stark anachronism in modern times, as everywhere the unnatural dogma is enforced that men and women are equals in every aspect of life, especially in the workplace.

These trends originated outside the military and have seeped into it, and since their inception they have been borne aloft by the inevitability of time.

Not only have these trends pushed men and women closer together, increasing opportunity for sexual temptation, but they also have robbed men of the mental mechanisms that help to humanize women, to elevate women above the level of objects that exist or don’t exist for their pleasure.

It cannot be repeated enough times. Man’s attraction to the female form is the most powerful instinct in his life. Civility requires discipline taught by fathers and sexually tactful public values. Today we have fewer of both.

This is not an excuse for sexual assault. The majority of men marinate in this toxic stew and don’t become sex offenders. For that, credit is owed to the residue of a culture that respected the differences between men and women, a culture whose foundations we razed a long time ago.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Odds and ends 6/21/2013

Well, that sucked.


Occasionally I come across an article so well-written, so conclusive, so final in attaining the object of clarity that I consider, but for a moment, retiring as a writer. This Anthony Esolen piece on the gender/sexual contortions of the emerging orthodoxy is one such classic.

On Wednesday, the keepers of our national morality inveigh against a priest or a coach who entices a teenage boy into sodomy. On Thursday, the same keepers inveigh against the Boy Scouts, for shying away from scoutmasters who might do the same. The unnatural experience of sodomy is so crushing to the heart of a normal boy—who simply wants to grow up like all the other boys, falling in love with a girl, getting married, and having children just as his father did—that he cannot get over it, not ten, not twenty years later, but breaks down in public, in mingled rage and shame. But within a single day, one might even say a single sentence, the same pundits will celebrate the same perversion as just an ordinary human variation, such as being left-handed or having a taste for kumquats.

...

On Saturday, we are told that no man is an island. On Sunday, we are told that every woman is an island. On Monday, a bad man is sued to support a child conceived out of wedlock. On Tuesday, a good man is told to shut up when he sues to support his child conceived within wedlock, rather than have it aborted. On Wednesday, we complain that there are no good men to marry. On Thursday, we make sure to destroy the last institution that made for good men.

On Friday, we complain about “government in the bedroom,” by which is meant no Bureau of Bedrooms, but the least social or legal restraint against sexual vice. On Saturday, we vote for increases in funds for government in the classroom, government in the board room, government in the laboratory, government in the doctor’s office, government in the hospital, government in the warehouse, government in the stockyard, government in the shipyard, government on television, government on radio, government on the highways, government over the churches, government over the government, government in the cradle, government at the tomb.

A comic nightmare comes to mind. I see a man jiggered and wired to a hundred machines, each jolting him at irregular intervals. His cheek twitches, his head jerks, his fingers drum, his knee wobbles, his feet tap, his breath is interrupted with coughs, his blood runs hot and cold. I invite him to leave that contraption, and take a walk with me over to a chapel nearby, and say a quiet prayer.

“You can’t make me!” he cries. “I’m free to choose!”

Orwell would call this “doublethink.”

Deborah Savage hits a home run for natural law at Public Discourse. Don’t miss the 1984 reference at the end.

Raising a child requires that I help my daughter grasp that there can be no debate whatsoever about whether or not any of us—gay or straight—get to define reality for ourselves.

I am also pretty sure that, even though the Supreme Court seems to have ruled that we all get to do that (remember Planned Parenthood v. Casey?), in the end we will discover that nature’s laws determine what is so.

I’ve also heard that rumor about reality being socially constructed. But I experimented with that when I was in my twenties and I have empirical evidence that it just isn’t true. No, really. And I think it will continue to be false no matter what our legislature says, no matter what the president says, no matter what the Supreme Court says. Even the media can’t make it true.

...

When you ask my daughter to accept that a man may marry another man, that a woman may marry another woman, you are asking her to suspend her capacity to judge the world around her and judge it truly. You are requiring her to declare that 2 + 2 = 5 as an act of victory over her natural inclination toward the true and the good. You are trying to trap her in a world where nothing is as it seems.


At Townhall, Kurt Schlichter is fed up with the Gang of 8:

There is no immigration “crisis.” It’s not a “crisis” when people who shouldn’t be here anyway don’t have all the privileges of people who do have a right to be here.

That’s how it should be.

There are a lot of people who shouldn’t be here who are here, but this is a “problem,” not a “crisis.”

It’s this so-called problem—illegal immigrants “living in the shadows”—Senator Rubio is motivated to fix, not the far greater problem of government’s unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law.

The National Review editors make a subtle dig at American education in a dynamite salvo against the Gang of 8 bill:

The Gang of Eight bill does not serve the economic interests of the United States. The fact is that our public schools do an excellent job of producing an abundant supply of unskilled workers with little or no proficiency in English, and the national labor force is not achingly in need of a few million more.

Rich Lowry concisely shreds the “de facto amnesty” the pro-amnesty set are making:

They call the status quo a “de facto” amnesty, but refuse to make the basic concession to logic that codifying the “de facto” amnesty makes it a “de jure” amnesty.

Mark Steyn assails the PRISM program:

Hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone records have been subpoenaed by the United States government. In 2011, Eric Holder’s assistant attorney general Todd Hinen testified to the House Judiciary Committee that “on average, we seek and obtain Section 215 orders less than 40 times per year.” Forty times per year doesn’t sound very high, does it? What is that — the cell phones of a few Massachusetts Chechens and some Yemeni pen-pals? No. The Verizon order will eventually be included as just another individual Section 215 order, even though it covers over a hundred million Americans. Ongoing universal monitoring of mass populations is being passed off to Congress and the public as a few dozen narrowly targeted surveillance operations. Mr. Hinen chose his words more carefully than his boss, but both men are in the business of deceiving the citizenry, their elected representatives, and maybe the judges, too.

Perhaps this is just the way it is in the panopticon state. Tocqueville foresaw this, as he did most things. Although absolute monarchy “clothed kings with a power almost without limits” in practice “the details of social life and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his control.” What would happen, Tocqueville wondered, if administrative capability were to evolve to bring “the details of social life and of individual existence” within the King’s oversight? Eric Holder and Lois Lerner now have that power. My comrade John Podhoretz, doughty warrior of the New York Post, says relax, there’s nothing to worry about. But how do I know he’s not just saying that because Eric Holder’s monitoring his OnStar account and knows that when he lost his car keys last Tuesday he was in the parking lot of Madam Whiplash’s Bondage Dungeon?

I sure picked a bad time to dismiss Big Brother. Head on over to the Red Pill Report for my take on PRISM.

Steyn is one of the most effective writers of our time. He combines wit and perspective, and he’s not a downer. Here’s the last line of the piece:

When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.

Hey, I said it first!

In the end, there is no civil society. There is only the government the civil society left behind, with all the authority but none of the discernment.

Writing in Forbes, Tim Maurer gives 7 reasons why he quit Facebook. May I offer one more?

  1. The government is watching.

George Neumayr explains President Obama’s and Eric Holder’s opaque conceitedness:

Eric Holder [...] got nabbed for hacking into the emails of journalist James Rosen on a subpoena that defined him as a criminal spy. Instead of quitting, Holder dug in, casting the scandal as a learning experience for the nation, as if he had nothing to do with it. Now Obama is trying out that tactic to mollify Americans over the exposed NSA program. He is open to a “healthy” debate about it. Holder and Obama are like drunk drivers who cause a pile-up and then stroll back innocently to see if they can “help.”

More Tocqueville appreciation, courtesy of Niall Ferguson in the Wall Street Journal:

What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: “Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations ... but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools.”

Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States.

...

Genius that he was, Tocqueville saw this transformation of America coming. Toward the end of “Democracy in America” he warned against the government becoming “an immense tutelary power ... absolute, detailed, regular ... cover[ing] [society’s] surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way.”

Tocqueville also foresaw exactly how this regulatory state would suffocate the spirit of free enterprise: “It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”


Boy genius Michael W. Hannon echoes “Paradigm of place” in this Public Discourse review of Rod Dreher’s biography of his sister:

Having cut the ties that bind us geographically, we have become in many ways a placeless people. We have lost what St. Benedict called “stability,” man’s permanent attachment to a particular home in this life. “St. Benedict considered the kinds of monks who moved from place to place all the time to be the worst of all,” Dreher recounts. “They refused the discipline of place and community, and because of that, they could never know humility. Without humility, they could never be happy.”

At National Review, W. Bradford Wilcox celebrates fathers—or, rather, laments the lack thereof:

Matthew Yglesias notes in Slate that the Left sees an “expansive welfare state” as the primary vehicle for supporting unmarried women and their children.

It’s debatable whether the nation has the money, the ability, or the political will to launch new government programs and initiatives dedicated to “supporting America’s increasingly nontraditional family units.” I certainly have my doubts. But at least the Left is honest enough to recognize that less marriage means more government.

However, most proponents of the “live with it” approach conveniently ignore, or are in complete denial about, the most fundamental consequence of the American retreat from marriage: growing rates of fatherless families. In our public conversation about how best to accommodate today’s family diversity, what usually goes unsaid is that fewer marriages also means fewer fathers in our nation’s homes.

That is because marriage is the institution that binds men to their children. There is no substitute. Cohabiting couples with children are much more likely to end up on the rocks than their married peers (even in Sweden). Divorced and never-married fathers often have difficulty getting or making the time to stay in regular contact with their children once the relationship with the mother of their child is over. By contrast, fathers who are married to the mother of their children are much more likely to enjoy the day-in-day-out relationships with their children that enable them to give their kids the attention, discipline, and affection they need to thrive.

Marriage is good for men, in that it roots their lives and commits them to work towards a future beyond the horizon. It’s good for women, who have someone to carry them through the troubles of childbearing and childrearing. It’s good for children, who have a stable foundation to develop strong, moral character. Marriage is even good for government, if one prefers government with relatively few duties in maintaining family order.

Don’t miss this nugget from Charles Blow’s latest column:

In almost every case, the states that went for Barack Obama in 2012 had the higher ages of first marriage, and the ones that went for Mitt Romney had lower ones.

Marriage (early and often) is about two people becoming responsible for each other and their children. Non-marriage (late and never) is about individuals caring only about themselves. Generally speaking, of course.


“The very same progressives who despise guns also want to socialize boys into an anodyne existence.” –Thomas Lifson

Daniel Greenfield writes a thoughtful piece juxtaposing urban social relativism and statist efficiency:

The same efficiency that compresses the maximum number of people into an existing space is also applied to every other area of their lives. In cities of strangers, there is no area of life too intimate to be examined and made more efficient.

Freedom is measured in terms of space, both physical and conceptual, but in the city freedom is largely conceptual, rather than physical. The city man and woman are less likely to go camping than to explore their inner psyches. With little physical space available that is unoccupied, the urbanite retreats to the one sanctuary where no one can trouble him. His own mind. Despairing of physical space in his cramped conditions, he takes refuge in the space of his own psychic attic.

...

The social codes that might resolve such conflicts elsewhere are difficult to sustain in an environment that is always changing. Anonymity brings with it a freedom from peer pressure and community mores, but also eliminates the power of those things to maintain social norms.

Urban social norms are evolved to avoid conflict. Urbanites studiously ignore each other or maintain a distant politeness in their interactions. Not noticing other people is the height of good manners. The truly civilized man is expected not to notice uncivilized behavior. Relativism is the expected response to any violation of human norms, but not to violations of any element of the petty codes of urbania. It is very well for a man to strip naked on a train and run from car to car shouting that the aliens are coming, but not to throw his recycling into the trash.

I wrote about this a little bit in “Density, dependence, destruction.”


President Obama spoke in Northern Ireland this week. Here’s what he said:

Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity — symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others — these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it. If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation.

Interesting how Obama lectures religious schools—not the identitarian LGBT crowd—on “divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds.”


Yale professor George Chauncey recalls the sexual revolution (hat tip John M. Smoot):

All around them, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men saw their heterosexual friends decisively rejecting the moral codes of their parents’ generation, which had limited sex to marriage, and forging a new moral code that linked sex to love, pleasure, freedom, self-expression, and common consent. Heterosexuals, in other words, were becoming more like homosexuals, in ways that ultimately would make it harder for them to believe gay people were outsiders from a dangerous, immoral underworld. Moreover, the fact that so many young heterosexuals considered sexual freedom to be a vital marker of personal freedom made lesbians and gay men feel their quest for freedom was part of a larger movement. Ultimately, both gay people’s mass decision to come out and heterosexuals’ growing acceptance of them were encouraged by the sexual revolution and became two of its most enduring legacies. I think this did not represent the assimilation of gay life into the Normal so much as the transformation of the Normal itself.

At the American Conservative, Patrick Deneen picks apart doofus E.J. Dionne’s book, Our Divided Political Heart:

Dionne certainly has a point concerning a main current of American conservatism today, and he rightly notes that there is a strong intellectual tradition within conservatism that supplies correctives to the libertarian, Randian leanings found among some on the contemporary right. Among those correctives he identifies the work of such thinkers as Robert Nisbet, Peter Berger and Richard John Neuhaus, and the early George Will. However, Dionne is so exercised about the rise of the Tea Party in Republican politics that he somehow misses that “individualism” is hardly a pathology to be found exclusively among denizens of the American right; arguably, it pervades the very essence of the contemporary American left. He makes a fundamental category mistake by supposing that the left’s “balanced” position, and especially its support for “community,” can be discerned in the left’s support for the role of the national government.

A serious, rather than glancing, engagement with Nisbet would have been educational for Dionne, and would have helped him move beyond the partisan limits of his analysis. Dionne posits that “the American quest for community has taken national as well as local forms,” but throughout the book he equates the left’s identification with “community” to its willingness to support an activist federal government. With a seemingly uncontroversial reference to Robert Nisbet’s 1953 book The Quest for Community, Dionne inadvertently reveals a superficial familiarity with the conservative tradition he purports to recommend—and he unintentionally reinforces the continuing relevance of Nisbet’s analysis.

Nisbet spoke of the “quest for community” as an inherent longing of every human person. But modern society increasingly had been organized to thwart, undermine, or re-direct that longing away from local forms of membership. The modern project, as Nisbet described, could trace its origins back at least five centuries to such thinkers as Bodin, Hobbes, and Rousseau and consisted of the organized effort to align the supposed mutual interests of autonomous individuals (demanded by the rise of capitalism) and centralized government power, both working toward undermining a range of constitutive and “limiting” human associations such as church, guild, schools, and even families. As a result, the “quest for community” became pathologically redirected toward identification with the state. Government becomes, as Nisbet anticipated, the “only thing that we all belong to”—a line that was highlighted during the introductory video shown at last year’s Democratic National Convention. But this “quest for community” in fact results in the effective strengthening of centralized government power and individualism alike, at the expense of more local forms of constitutive community.

Great stuff.

Lisa Fabrizio of the American Spectator refutes the myth of conservative “meanness”:

Are conservatives really deaf to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged? Is it true that they actually ignore the fact that there are many in this country who, through physical or mental disabilities, are unable to provide for themselves and their families? Naturally, the answer to these questions is a resounding “of course not”! But can it be that conservatives believe that the responsibility of caring for these unfortunates lies not with the federal government, but elsewhere? In a word, yes.

It is commendable to have compassion for the poor and to want to help them, but this is not the role of the U.S. government. It would be wonderful if everyone in this country enjoyed the high level of healthcare afforded to the likes of unions and other groups, but it is not the role of government to provide it. I’d like to see each American child educated to his fullest capacity, but this again, is not the role of the federal government. In fact, all these are worthy and vital goals but they do not fall under the authority granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, under which auspices we allegedly continue to operate.


Here’s a bizarre story out of Britain: Three Oxford professors are paying to have themselves cryogenically frozen when they die so they can be resurrected in the future. For some reason, I thought about these men’s families. Will their children and grandchildren have closure knowing that technology 40, 60, 80 years down the road might bring their loved ones back from the dead?


In Time, Lauren Sandler explains why you should have just one child:

The world will tell you — from grandmothers to sitcoms to strangers in the supermarket — that money shouldn’t be a factor in deciding to have more children.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I’m not aware of “the world” telling couples money is no object in having children. I am aware of the implicit pressure the culture places on procreation. Having babies is what makes the world go round. Would Sandler rather the culture be neutral in its own prospects?

Insofar as lack of money is used as an excuse for not having babies, what Sandler perceives the world is saying is right. If you want children, and you really don’t have enough money to have children, make more money! If you don’t have a support system—family, friends, and church—to help with the child, cultivate those connections. It takes a village, after all.


Sad commentary:

When Google Glass goes mainstream, users won’t ever want to take the eye-wear off because they will risk feeling “cut-off,” Andreessen said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“The idea of having the Internet with you all the time, being able to see, literally to be able to have the Internet in your field of vision ... and to be able to talk to it, it basically just wraps you in all the information you would ever need all the time,” he said. “I think people are going find they feel, basically, naked and lonely, when they don’t have this at some point.”


This is scary:

When a journalist on the panel said he didn’t see “how to get the rich world to consume less,” [Kavita] Ramdas said: “You force it ... you can force women to have less children, you can force people to consume less ... Suck it up!”

“The world order has to change,” said [Babtunde] Osotimehin, a Nigerian family doctor. “Not only about the environment, it has to change about rights, it has to change about transportation. It won’t do any country any good to stick to some norm that is actually hurting the rest of the world. It just won’t fly.”

The irony is that the article puts forth Osotimehin as a moderate compared to Ramdas and Peter Singer, who attempts to morally justify such a totalitarian regime:

“It’s possible of course, that we give women reproductive choices, that we meet the unmet need for contraception but that we find that the number of children that women choose to have is still such that population continues to rise in a way that causes environmental problems,” he said. Women have more children because of their “ideological or religious views.”

Singer added that “greenhouse gases ... are getting very close to a tipping point,” and climate change could become a “catastrophe and cause hundreds of millions or billions of people to become climate refugees.”

In that case, he said, “we need to consider whether we can talk about trying to reduce population growth and whether that’s compatible with the very reasonable concerns people have about women’s right to control their life decisions and their reproduction.”

This reads like the leading academics of 100 years ago talking about eugenics. He’s talking about forced abortions. China does this, and the atheist Singer justifies it.

This is why I fear the technocracy, epitomized by the cold calculations of men like Singer, who don’t recognize people’s humanity or the ability of those people to run their lives according to the moral order set by God.


At RealClearMarkets, Diana Furchtgott-Roth reviews Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why It Matters Today by Christina Hoff Sommers:

President Obama should read this book. Last week in the Rose Garden, at an event celebrating the Equal Pay Act, he once again repeated the myth that women earn 77 cents on a man’s dollar.

“The day that the bill was signed into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned on average. Today, it’s about 77 cents,” the president said. “Over the course of her career, a working woman with a college degree will earn on average hundreds of thousands of dollars less than a man who does the same work.”

Nonsense. The 77 percent figure is bogus because it averages all full-time women, no matter what education and profession, with all full-time men. Even with such averaging, the latest Labor Department figures show that women working full-time make 81 percent of full-time men’s wages. For men and women who work 40 hours weekly, the ratio is 88 percent.

Unmarried childless women’s salaries, however, often exceed men’s. In a comparison of unmarried and childless men and women between the ages of 35 and 43, women earn more: 108 cents on a man’s dollar.

...

Women make less than men because they choose more humanities and fewer science and math majors at college. Then, when they graduate, more enter the non-profit or government sector. Finally, many choose to work fewer hours to better combine work and family. In May, 2013, according to Labor Department data, 23 percent of women worked part-time, compared to 11 percent of men.

In The End of Sex, Donna Freitas writes (hat tip Wesley Hill at First Things):

In all of my research and visits to campuses in the past several years, I have found that men are the most talented actors of all within hookup culture. They have been taught to appear sex-crazed and reckless, even if what they really feel is something else. The idea fostered in American culture that young men are hypersexual is largely false, and therefore a destructive stereotype to maintain. It not only perpetuates hookup culture on campus but also stunts the ability of young men to grow emotionally. It teaches them to silence their real feelings and desires, which also keeps them from finding fulfilling romantic relationships.

Reminds me of “Ready or not” and “A future to outlast our lives.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Advantage Miss Utah

A pretty girl gives a garbled answer at a beauty pageant Q&A, and what follows is a display of even greater vanity. The intelligentsia piles on the tongue-tied maiden, smugly congratulating themselves. Brains best beauty again, so it goes. A killer dress and a pound of makeup can’t hide a lack of ability to think on one’s feet. Take a knockout outside her comfort zone and she falls from a Bo Derek 10 to a Roseanne Barr 2, like getting a Lamborghini stuck in the mud.

Contrary to what the brainy set wishes were true, beauty almost always commands more sexual energy than brains (see Kamala Harris). Melissa Powell’s femininity and poise will do more things for her than high IQ will do for most other people. The qualities she displayed at the Miss USA pageant are all she needs to attract a rich, successful man to worship the ground she walks on. And since marriage is a big part of leading a full, happy life, I say advantage Marissa Powell. She is getting the most out of the gifts God gave her.

The same cannot be said about the people snarking. If they were secure enough in their superiority, they wouldn’t need to make themselves look good by painting Marissa Powell as an idiot. They put their ugliness on display, and it’s not the outer sort.

What’s really going on here is an effort to find supporting evidence for a bias that women in beauty pageants are stupid — and the media are happily jumping on one instance of a clumsy, misspoken answer as confirmation.” –P. Z. Myers

I’ve read oodles of articles and books on the subject of men’s underachievement in the modern family. It’s impossible to summarize the problem in 30 seconds, much less provide any real perspective. It’s even harder when you don’t know beforehand what the question is going to be about, and your cheeks are burning from smiling so much, and techno elevator music is playing in the background. Candidates for president are under less pressure.

Lost in Powell’s hurried answer is the kernel of truth that there is a gap between the American education apparatus and the jobs employers need to fill. Men are falling behind. Women want men who lead. Our society has gotten away from that. Given such a loaded question in a historically PC venue, that probably would have been the most she could have gotten away with without rocking the boat.

Further reading: “What Miss Utah Should Have Said about the Gender Pay Gap” by Hadley Heath, and “In Slight Defense Of Miss Utah, A Little Bit, With Reservations” by Linda Holmes.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Outreach

After 2012, a conundrum
GOP brass issues a dictum:
“We’re too old and pasty,” they say
“With latinos we must make headway
To cure our electoral adversity
Drink this elixir of diversity”

From different cultures, different folks
Partial to big government yokes
The truth they do not understand
So white wrist slashing on demand
Foul, obsequious apologies
To emotions at fault appease?
Hardened hearts don’t assimilate
Envies stoked produce an ingrate
But!: outreach, outreach, outreach
Fools efface as opposed to teach

Enter stage right Marco Rubio
Ostensibly a tea party hero
Of limited government he sings
To thrill and vex both wings
Rhetorical gifts sublime
A man tailormade for his time
To bridge the cultural divide
A one-way road to the wrong side
To sound principle once devout
The practiced salesman sells out

Nothing’s wrong with being wrong
The new majority’s harvest song
Fruit of the past greedily consumed
Seeds and all, next season doomed

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Akin obsession

Maybe it’s my preference for “right-wing” news sources, but I sense greater hysteria on the right over Todd Akin than on the left. Here we are, almost a year after Todd Akin’s innocuous comment about “legitimate” (i.e., forcible) rape, and the GOP consultant class is still obsessing.

The latest to libel Akin is Jonathan Tobin over at Commentary:

If there was one conclusion that surely everyone in the party agreed upon it was that GOP candidates and officials needed to avoid mentioning rape, especially when discussing their opposition to abortion. The spectacular idiocy of Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin—who publicly doubted that women could become pregnant as a result of rape—didn’t just transform his opponent Claire McCaskill from a certain loser to an easy winner and sink Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, when the latter said something not quite as foolish. It also allowed Democrats to trash all Republicans as Neanderthal nitwits seeking to abuse women.

I am beyond exhausted with this gratuitous piling on. Akin is pro-life. So are a majority of Americans. Logical consistency dictates a child of rape is as valuable and precious as a child of a loving marriage.

fetusAkin said a woman’s body “shuts down” a pregnancy after rape. He said this to throw cold water on pro-choicers’ beloved rape exception, which for them serves as a slippery slope, a gateway to a hundred other kinds of exceptions to allow abortion.

You would think, the way the question is framed, that thousands—maybe tens of thousands—of pregnancies result from rape every year. This isn’t true. For every 170,000 estimated rapes in the United States every year, between 0.1% and 0.2% result in pregnancy. That’s between 170 and 340 pregnancies per year.

To avoid the question about rape exception, which Tobin wants, is to concede to the terms of political correctness. To point out the rarity of pregnancy resulting from rape, as Akin did, is to bring proper perspective to the abortion debate, perspective Tobin doesn’t want.

Tobin continues:

But apparently Arizonan Republican Representative Trent Franks didn’t get the memo. Franks demonstrated that yesterday when he claimed during a Judiciary Committee debate that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is “very low.” But Franks had to repeat the assertion even in a later clarification before he realized what he had done. With a single phrase, Franks had handed Democrats on the committee and elsewhere a chance to revive their fake “War on Women” theme that helped mobilize the Democratic base in 2012.

Regardless what the pro-choice scoundrels do, Franks’ point is accurate. The physical and emotional trauma of rape significantly reduces the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. Why is this so difficult to understand? Is it the consultant class’s anxiety that the mindless, phony perception of the misogynistic GOP will be reinforced by the phony perception of the GOP giving tough love to rape victims?

If so, then we should remind people, when truthtellers like Akin and Franks speak up, that counseling and support for rape victims are a given. That is not the issue being debated! The issue is the sanctity of life. On that, pro-lifers have a winning message.

P.S.: Why is there such mortal fear of the truth? The beginning of an answer can be found here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Headwinds

“Every student should feel safe at their graduation ceremony and should not have to worry about religious bullying,” said the atheist. The “bullying” in question? The valedictorian recited the Lord’s Prayer at a high school graduation ceremony.

“It’s more important to them to push around an 18 year-old than it is to make the school a safe space for its students,” said the transgendered teen. There’s nothing quite as threatening as your given name being read aloud at graduation.

Not long ago, such a combination of egotism and hypersensitivity was satirized in comic depictions of royalty. Now, it’s a cocktail prescription for political domination.

The fool and his pet cause are inseparable. He has so wrapped himself in his ideology that anything that does not affirm said ideology is a threat to his personhood. In the name of “safety,” he seeks every accommodation, including his opponents’ silence.

Where are the champions of multiculturalism now? Where are their invectives against insensitivity to opposing views?

Their silence betrays their true motives. The goal never was tolerance. It was always to undermine our culture and replace it with something new, something contrary to the Judeo-Christian heritage that freed men from tyranny and respected his place in the natural order.

The president likes to blame the slow economy on “headwinds” like the so-called Arab Spring and the Japanese tsunami. The real headwinds are the fatally flawed premises of the new culture, which he heralds as “fundamental transformation.”

This transformation is already complete. Read the above quotes again. The prideful atheist and the transgendered hold court, bringing the adherents of the old order to heel. The schools, the media, the communities they supposedly are members of—they have no answer. None. At least, none that makes sense anymore.

Much of our present-day success is the result of tailwinds, the rapidly waning momentum of the past. When that energy is used up, we will suffer the full consequences of change.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Odds and end 6/7/2013

Let’s begin with IRS scandal fallout. Ross Kaminsky of the American Spectator sounds off:

Money will find its way into politics as long as politicians involve themselves in money. While the federal government is picking winners and losers, crushing competitors, giving earmarks (even if just called stimulus spending), it will be in the interest of many to try to influence the process.

The answer to “too much money in politics” — and the answer to so many problems caused by the federal government — is to substantially reduce the federal government’s involvement in the private sector and in the lives of Americans.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal:

What we are witnessing now is not a crisis of democracy but a crisis of authority. The administrative state, in thrall to a decadent cultural elite, has lost the consent of the governed.

Mark T. Mitchell of Front Porch Republic:

How to tame a minotaur whose essence is to devour? How to redirect a force whose mass is orders of magnitude larger than any one person and whose momentum has been uni-directional for decades? On the one hand, our democratic republic is a system that is intended to be responsive to the people. The Founders placed checks on the process, but they believed that the will of the majority would eventually prevail. On the other hand, from the start, power began moving toward the center and despite the warnings of various writers along the way, the steady centralization of power has been the persistent theme of our history. We have not been attentive enough to the basic fact that power, itself, tends toward centralization and that, as Tocqueville put it, the longer a democracy endures, the more centralized its power will become.

Our feeling of impotence and anger in the face of such obvious and serious problems is a toxic combination that can lead to either complacency on the one hand or revolution on the other. Neither option is compatible with ordered self-government. A democracy can only thrive when people perceive themselves as citizens with real voices who can effect real change. I fear that many Americans today see themselves primarily as subjects or beneficiaries or even victims but not as citizens.

...

Until the entire centralized, bureaucratized system is restructured to conform to the shape and scale of human affairs, all we have in our defense are lawyers threatening to sue. It’s some comfort. But not much.

Jonathan Turley in the Washington Post:

President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions in the State Department, or the Justice Department, or the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It was as if the government functioned by some hidden hand.

An invisible hand, you might say. The invisible hand of human instinct, of liberals defending their turf from small-government types.

“Do you think people willing to sacrifice lucrative private sector careers to work in tax administration...are genuinely going to support the party directed by Grover Norquist?” –IRS employee

John Eastman writes in USA Today:

For months before March 2012, the pro-gay marriage [Human Rights Campaign] had been demanding that my group, [National Organization for Marriage], publicly identify its major donors, something that NOM and many other non-profits refuse to do. The reason is simple. In the past, gay marriage advocates have used such information to launch campaigns of intimidation against traditional marriage supporters.

Just as gay marriage proponents were demanding the information, the IRS appears to have illegally given them exactly what they were looking for. The tax return released by the HRC contained the names and addresses of dozens of major donors to NOM. And there's little doubt where the documents came from. The tax returns contained internal coding added by the IRS after the returns were originally submitted.

This is a trend. I left this on the cutting room floor of “Internal Reconnaissance Service”:

In 2012, the Maryland Marriage Alliance started a petition to put the definition of marriage on the November ballot. The Maryland Board of Elections published the names and addresses of over 100,000 signatories. A faculty member at Galludet University found the name of Angela McCaskill, chief diversity officer at Galludet, on the petition and filed a complaint with the university. The university president placed McCaskill on paid leave while publicly condemning the petition’s goal of letting the people of Maryland decide—as opposed to the government—whether to redefine marriage. (She was reinstated 3 months later.)

John Stemberger of OnMyHonor.net writes about the Boy Scouts’ capitulation to the gay mafia:

The Boy Scouts of America has a logo that bears the phrase ‘Timeless Values.’ Today, the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith. It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization’s values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion.

The saddest part of today’s decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program.

The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values become unpopular, just change them.

...

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

BSA is teaching our kids through its new mission that we don’t make ethical and moral choices through the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law but we make them like an unprincipled politician does, by putting your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing or by looking at the latest polling results.

Russell Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

This change is more than this. It doesn’t speak in terms of temptations but in terms of the claiming of a sexually politicized identity as morally neutral.

Mark Tooley:

A male-only organization still steadfastly devoted to Victorian masculinity and Christian virtues could have become ruggedly countercultural and therefore appealing to many youth no doubt bored by their often emasculated schools and churches. Instead, the BSA corporate culture seems determined to echo the preening voice of the sort of nagging school guidance counselor whom every adolescent boy dreads and seeks to avoid.

Keith Pavlischek writes about just war at the Institute on Religion & Democracy:

[Vitoria] argues that although one can never intentionally kill the innocent in war, one may nevertheless engage in actions that will in all likelihood [emphasis mine] kill the innocent so long as those deaths are accidental in the sense of not being intended. He gives the example of besieging a city and attacking it with artillery and fire. Such actions, he asserts, will cause the death of innocents, but they are permissible so long as they are necessary to attain victory (recall the notion of “proportionality” mentioned above) and the death of the innocents is neither intended, nor or desired.

Joan C. Williams worries about workplace “inequality” in the Harvard Business Review:

This “long hours problem,” analyzed so insightfully by Robin Ely and Irene Padavic, is a key reason why the percentage of women in top jobs has stalled at about 14 percent, a number that has barely budged in the past decade. We can’t expect progress when the fast track that leads to top jobs requires a time commitment that excludes most mothers — and by extension, most women.

Curse you, biology!

Not only is work devotion a “class act” – a way of enacting class status – it’s also a certain way of being a “real” man. Working long hours is seen as a “heroic activity,” noted Cynthia Fuchs Epstein and her co-authors in their 1999 study of lawyers. Marianne Cooper’s study of engineers in Silicon Valley closely observes how working long hours turns pencil pushing or computer keyboarding into a manly test of physical endurance. “There’s a kind of machismo culture that you don’t sleep,” one father told her. “Successful enactment of this masculinity,” Cooper concludes, “involves displaying one’s exhaustion, physically and verbally, in order to convey the depth of one’s commitment, stamina, and virility.”

Alas. sexual capital.

Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs dish out straight wisdom on this issue, and Megyn Kelly can’t handle it.

Defending Erickson, Neal Dewing opens up about his own marriage:

[Men and women] have different motivations, different priorities, and different ways of understanding and engaging with the world. Part of what makes a man different is an imperative, articulated or not, to provide for his own. The act of providing tells him that he is essential in a way that words cannot. Women derive satisfaction from the security a man provides and men derive satisfaction from the act of providing that security. At the very least a man likes to feel useful.

...

The other day on Twitter I decided to share a bit of personal history in response to the near-universal denouncement of Erickson and his views.

...

I remember that when I finally, finally earned more money than my wife there was an actual sensation of a weight being lifted.

It's a petty metric, who makes more. But what really made a difference to me was how my wife looked at me when I became the provider.


Concerned about the malaise of the modern man, Brett McKay writes:

There are five switches that every man must turn on in order to power his spiritedness and flip on the motivation that allows him to reach his full potential:
  • Legacy
  • Providing
  • Physicality
  • Nature
  • Challenge

“Please explain why your managers are ordering BUTTER!!!” the apparatchik roared.


Matt Purple flogs bipartisanship at the American Spectator:

Imagine a line with two poles at the end, one labeled “liberal” and the other labeled “conservative.” Simply because a law occupies a median point on the line doesn’t mean that it’s somehow more virtuous—or even remotely effective.

It’s also misleading to measure conservative and liberal principles on this sort of linear scale. Liberals believe that the federal government should tinker with society to make people’s lives better. Conservatives generally don’t think Congress has any business solving such problems. It’s difficult to argue that a federal law draws from both liberal and conservative principles when conservatives oppose federal intervention in the first place.


Jonah Goldberg reflects on Obama’s commencement address at Ohio State University:

Obama’s vision of America is one with only two meaningful institutions: The individual and the government.

...

Self-government is not captured simply by working through the federal bureaucracy in Washington. It starts, to borrow a line from “America the Beautiful,” with the need to confirm thy soul with self-control. It builds from there, through local communities, businesses, congregations, associations etc.

But Obama constantly collapses all levels of civil society and all appeals to community in order to equate them with support for federal initiatives in Washington. Either you’re with the administrative state or you’re on your own. As he said in his push for gun control “government is us.”


Alan Jacobs of the American Conservative comments on subsidiarity:

I believe that almost all of our social evils and shortcomings can be handled better by small, local organizations and empowered persons than by national institutions or for that matter even state-level institutions. There is no question that local communities can be cruel and indifferent to sufferings in their midst, but they are also more subject to shame and other forms of correction than high-level political systems. They can be more easily altered, turned, reformed. A great deal of suffering in America today is caused by the evacuation of intermediary structures: the church, the family, voluntary organizations. These intermediary structures are in desperate need of renewal and that can only happen if there is a systematic shift of power, wealth, and influence from state and national governments to local units.

At Public Discourse, Julia Shaw revisits a dark time in American history: the 2012 presidential election. She quotes the book After Hope and Change:

Apart from his image problem, Romney’s strategy was incomplete. “It was not enough to point to unemployment figures, which were themselves improving,” the authors write. Romney “needed to offer an alternative explanation for the 2008 financial crises and make a case for why continuing economic troubles should be laid at Obama’s feet. This adaptation, however, would have forced him further into the uncomfortable terrain of ideas.”

For perspective, read my second debate review. Excerpt:

Elections aren’t just about winning, they’re also about changing people’s minds. Most Americans know we’re headed in the wrong direction. What many of them don’t know is why.

The presidential debates are Mitt Romney’s opportunity to tell them, but he is not up to the task. His debate strategy is to eschew points of contrast and just hammer away at President Obama’s record. For example, it’s not clear how Romney’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy differs from Obama’s, but Obama’s version is evidently worse because of the skyrocketing price of gas. Hey, the proof is in the pudding.

...

Whether Romney wins or not, I’ll remember these debates as squandered opportunities. Never before have Republicans had such a large audience so eager to hear the truth. The town hall format in particular affords us a chance to connect our message personally, to describe the effects of conservative reforms on real people.


Also at Public Discourse, Valerie Huber and Greg Pfundstein take on negative reaction to abstinence education:

Each teen deserves the caring encouragement to wait for sex. They deserve to have their dignity affirmed, along with their lack of culpability if they were sexually victimized.

Sounds familiar:

When a woman is raped, does she lose her sexual purity?

Not if her sexual purity is a function of her consent, which I argue it is.

...

The rapist does not “steal” a girl’s virginity. Technically he is her first; the evidence is left on her wounded body. But he cannot steal what can only be given. He cannot steal her heart.


Marcus Brotherton writes on neighborliness:

Something changes between the days of being a guy and the days of being a man. When it comes to where he lives, an immature man tends to see his neighborhood only as a place to hang his hat. But a mature man sees his neighborhood as a place he helps create.

It’s in every man’s best interest to live in the best neighborhood he can. And by “best neighborhood,” I don’t mean a gated community filled with McMansions. I mean a neighborhood filled with belonging, identity, empathy, understanding, and a strong sense of community.


Over at the American Prospect, Paul Waldman tries to explain the liberal media’s ratings funk. Shorter version:

Fox News predictably enters Waldman’s crosshairs:

Fox’s continued success is a testament to the fact that anger is what keeps their audience coming back. As Palpatine says to Anakin, “I can feel your anger. It gives you focus. Makes you stronger.”

I prefer Jonas Hodges’ version: “Stress is the fertilizer of creativity.”

Doofus E.J. Dionne moans: “What is President Obama fighting for? What is the point of his second term?” The point is to administrate the Leviathan and hold the office for the next socialist.


Larry Thornberry of the American Spectator has the right take on the “Gang of 8” immigration bill:

There are only two sure consequences of the current 800-page immigration hairball before Congress. The first is that a minimum of 11 million citizens of other countries, more Mexicans than anyone else, will become permanent, undeportable residents of the U.S., and can immediately begin working to get all their relations here. Second, the bill, if we are foolish enough to pass it, would create a powerful incentive for millions more south of the border to come here once word gets around that if you can sneak into El Norte now, you’re here to stay.

None of the other stuff will happen – the sweeteners that open-borders advocates are buffaloing the marks with: border security, back taxes, fines, no welfare, English proficiency. These things won’t happen because we lack both the bureaucratic infrastructure and the political will to do them.

One party doesn’t want to do these things, or anything else that would staunch the flow of undocumented Democrats into El Norte and thereby into American voting booths. A disturbingly high fraction of the other party will not oppose this invasion and capitulation of sovereignty because they are terrified of being called anti-Hispanic. Of course, insisting on sovereignty, enforceable borders, and standards for citizenship is not anti-anyone. But that’s not the way it will be played by the media, Democrats, and various Hispanic indignation groups.


Boy genius Michael W. Hannon echoes “Paradigm of place” in this Public Discourse review of Rod Dreher’s biography of his sister:

Having cut the ties that bind us geographically, we have become in many ways a placeless people. We have lost what St. Benedict called “stability,” man’s permanent attachment to a particular home in this life. “St. Benedict considered the kinds of monks who moved from place to place all the time to be the worst of all,” Dreher recounts. “They refused the discipline of place and community, and because of that, they could never know humility. Without humility, they could never be happy.”

Dreher reminisces:

I was under the illusion that if only I could make it to the right place, All Would Be Well. Now I know that while some places are more conducive to happiness and harmony than others, there is no place in the world in which all will be well.

I realized that shortly after I moved back to Texas, and it was a big part of my turning to God.


I’m a big San Antonio Spurs fan. No, it’s not because I live in San Antonio. I grew up in Corpus Christi, and half my fandom has been endured in faraway Maryland, listening to Bill Schoening’s radio broadcasts between nationally televised games on ESPN and TNT. It’s because of the “boring” Tim Duncan. Following his quietly successful, Hall-of-Fame career has been a delight and an inspiration. He’s one of the constants in my life, like breathing and quality Chris Nolan movies.

At Pounding the Rock, Trey Felder, lifelong Spurs fan, basks in appreciation of his team:

Father Time, of course, will eventually finish the job on Old Man Riverwalk’s professional career on the hardwood, and perhaps we’ll yet see Timmy languish in the throes of a pedestrian finale to a glorious tenure. But right here, right now, is the time to admire the unqualified success of not only this season, but also of the career of the greatest legend to don the Silver and Black.

Taylor Young gets sentimental:

I've been forced to grow up a lot this past year, graduating college, starting to work, becoming a husband, and just this week I moved to a new town where I literally know nobody. But my first week in this new town has been met with an excitement and familiarity from my childhood. Not all that I grew up with is lost, even though the places and faces around me are different. Because my Spurs (yeah MY Spurs) are in the NBA Finals. I watched Avery Johnson bury a dagger in the hearth of the Knicks when I was nine years old and proceeded to dance with joy in my parents living room. And when this series against the Miami Heat concludes I will either dance with joy or feel like I've been stabbed in the heart. Because at 9, 13, 23, 33 and 73 I love this team, and they are one of the biggest familiarities in a life where everything changes.

At 48 Minutes of Hell, Andrew McNeil marvels at Duncan’s and Coach Gregg Popovich’s relationship:

Popovich sat Duncan, who looked like he was dragging in the second half, at a time when most coaches wouldn’t have the job security or the stones to do it.

I’ve been more nervous about how people would react to jokes I send out over Twitter.

“I just made that choice,” Pop said after the game with regards to if there was anything physically wrong with the Fundamental, indicating that the decision was based solely on how Duncan was playing.

And Duncan accepted it, trusting that Pop’s decision was what was best for the team. I can’t imagine Duncan was happy with it, he’s so competitive that I’m sure he wanted to be out there, and was likely angry he wasn’t. But not liking a decision is a totally different matter than not accepting it. Duncan accepted it, and the Spurs were better for it.


John Goodman (no, not the actor) predicts a two-tiered healthcare system:

We are about to see a huge increase in the demand for care and a major decrease in the supply. In any other market, that would cause prices to soar. But government plans to control costs (even more so than in the past) by vigorously suppressing provider fees and the private insurers are likely to resist fee increases as well. That means we are going to have a rationing problem. Just as in Canada or Britain, we are going to experience rationing by waiting.

...

Those who can afford to will find a way to get to the head of the line. For a little less than $2,000 a year, for example, seniors on Medicare can contract with a concierge doctor. These doctors promise prompt access to care and usually talk with their patients by telephone and email. They serve as an advocate for their patients, in much the same way as an attorney is an advocate for his client.

But every time a doctor becomes a concierge doctor, he (or she) leaves an old practice serving about 2,500 patients and takes only about 500 patients into the concierge practice. (More attention means fewer patients.) That means about 2,000 patients now must find a new physician.

Because the two tiers of health care will compete with each other for resources, the growth of the first tier will make rationing by waiting even more pronounced in the second tier. As a result, waiting times in the second tier could easily exceed those in Canada.


The moral basis of law has been supplanted by a health basis. Thus does Starbucks advocate same-sex marriage while banning smoking within 25 feet of its stores. Health is the new morality. And morality is passé.

“I don’t think we’ve had a continuous problem with anybody, not being considerate. I mean...people are adults. And you know, they’re smart and courteous,” said Jake Paleschic.

Apparently not, Jake. If they were, we wouldn’t need nannies to tell us not to blow cigarette smoke in each others’ faces.


The Daily Caller runs down the examples of gun hysteria at schools across the country. Try to hold your breath from beginning to end.

A six-year-old boy was punished because he took a plastic Lego gun roughly the size of a quarter on a school bus headed to Old Mill Pond Elementary School in Palmer, Mass.

An eighth-grader in West Virginia was suspended and, astonishingly, arrested after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association returned to school on Monday. The courageous 14-year-old then returned to school wearing exactly the same shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.”

Officials at an elementary school in small-town Michigan impounded a third-grader boy’s batch of 30 homemade birthday cupcakes because they were adorned with green plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers. The school principal branded the military-themed cupcakes “insensitive” in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

At Genoa-Kingston Middle School in northeast Illinois, a teacher threatened an eighth-grader with suspension if he did not remove his t-shirt emblazoned with the interlocking rifles insignia of the United States Marines.

At Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, a student was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a strawberry, pre-baked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun.

At Poston Butte High School in Arizona, a high school freshman was suspended for setting a picture of a gun as the desktop background on his school-issued computer.

At D. Newlin Fell School in Philadelphia, school officials reportedly yelled at a student and then searched her in front of her class after she was found with a paper gun her grandfather had made for her.

In rural Pennsylvania, a kindergarten girl was suspended after she told another girl that she planned to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty toy gun that bombards targets with soapy bubbles.

At Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Maryland, a six-year-old boy was suspended for making the universal kid sign for a gun, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” That boy’s suspension was later lifted and his name cleared.

Whew! Did you make it?


In the American Spectator, Lewis E. Lehrman goes Gilder (re: “Numbers on a screen”):

Along with the wheel, money joined parochial communities to one another, enlarging the fellowship of production by trade. In a mere 4,000 years, money transformed the closed economy of the tribe into the open and integrated economy of the whole world. Money became the permanent link among work, family, past, and future. It was no less than the lifeblood of an enduring culture, the hemoglobin of commercial civilization.

...

Because money is based on trust, it entails moral obligation. Not all forms of money are equally acceptable to free men; those without real substance tend to break down, leading to depreciation of value, decline in long-term purchasing power, and ultimately disorder.

Inflation means the destruction of an essential instrument of the marketplace: the political institution of stable, trustworthy money—which is to say, money that preserves purchasing power over the long term. The endurance of civilization is linked to a stable monetary standard. Inflation or monetary depreciation entails a price revolution. It often precedes, and indeed it may cause, a more thoroughgoing political revolution.

Inflation prevails in America and the world today because of a breakdown of the institutions of trust that convertibility to gold once provided for the dollar.

What does it mean to “go Gilder,” you ask? It means to bathe in the shocking light of truth, appreciating the weightiness of inspired revelation, usually aided by an extended metaphor.


Hannah Rosin’s The End of Men continues to garner attention, this time from Elizabeth Scalia at First Things. The first two paragraphs quote Rosin.

“To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women—not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind.

“For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.”

In other words, women have succeeded in becoming the men they hated.

...

In her upcoming book Men on Strike, [Helen] Smith offers up statistics and her own research to suggest that men are consciously boycotting marriage, fatherhood, and the “American Dream” because they feel beaten down by politically correct preferences and practices—in school, in the workplace, and in society in general. If the women want the world and all the power, the thinking goes, they can have it; the men will simply retire to whatever man-caves they are permitted.


Ross Douthat touches on the paradigm of place:

It’s easy to assume that America’s current crisis of community — the fragmentation of family life, the retreat from civic and religious engagement — is related to people being too quick to pull up stakes and leave their existing communities behind. But the surprising reality is that the recent weakening of social ties has coincided with a decline in mobility.

“Nothing precedes God, but family does come before faith, at least from the standpoint of each new family member.” –Brad Miner

Lars Walker offers this nugget in an American Spectator piece on the Bible’s presence in the civil society:

As Paul Johnson notes in Modern Times, moral relativism always leads to Totalitarianism. Because in a morally relative age, power alone can settle any question.

In reaction to the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado strike, Dave Sterrett airs out the problem of evil in the Washington Post:

Natural disasters and so-called problems of evils, are not just something for the Christian to try to answer, but a reality that every worldview, whether atheist, Buddhist, Muslim or agnostic, should consider.

Christian Philosopher Norman Geisler points out that, “The infinite power and perfection of God guarantee the eventual defeat of evil. The fact that it is not yet accomplished in no way diminishes the certainty that it will be defeated. Even though evil cannot be destroyed without destroying free choice, nonetheless, it can be overcome.”

Human beings may not know all the answers of “why” God allows natural disasters or other evils in the universe. Although we personally would prefer that such disasters never occurred in the universe, we recognize intellectually that angry feelings towards tornadoes does not logically disprove God’s existence. Religious individuals who have rationale for affirming non-physical realities like “evil” also affirm non-physical realities of “hope” and “love.” Ethicists acknowledge that many of the virtues such as “helping” and “courage” would not exist unless there was evil and privation.

MaryAnn McKibben Dana writes in the Christian Century:

Who is this God who makes it all better? Who punishes the wicked and rewards the good with uncanny precision? Tell me, New Atheists, about the God you don’t believe in. I don’t believe in that God either.

And yet, like Wiman, I continue to wrestle in faith, even though conclusions are increasingly hard to come by. I continue because there is heart-wrenching beauty happening in Oklahoma—it’s in the caring efficiency of hospitals and shelters; it’s in the scrabbling through the rubble; it’s in embraces between neighbors. That beauty is not the work of God. That beauty is God. That’s all I can say for certain… and even that’s not very certain at all.


“Without a moral framework, there is nothing left but immediate self-indulgence by some and the path of least resistance by others. Neither can sustain a free society. Disruptive activists indulge their egos in the name of idealism and others cave rather than fight.” –Thomas Sowell

“There are really two choices before us as we think about the future of jobs in an age of information. Either most human beings are about to become economically obsolete, or the information economy can find a use for their talent and hard work. Much depends on which of these two pictures turns out to be the best description of the future.” –Walter Russell Mead

The latter, please.


George Friedman of Stratfor sounds the alarm from Spain:

To our 22-year-old in Spain, the debate has become irrelevant. He is broke, scared and bored – not something you want a mass of young men to be. That is the point at which history turns. Over time, they become men with nothing to lose; they become violent men, trying to reshape the order by any means necessary. Looking around the violent parts of the world, it is young men with nothing to lose and fantasies of glory, led by older men who understand them and their needs, who wage the civil wars that tear countries apart.

The same happened in Europe after World War I. Sometimes the disaffected youth turn to crime, sometimes they turn to political crime and sometimes they become a political party. In Europe, it was a generation that felt betrayed by World War I, then an older generation crushed by unemployment and inflation and finally a younger generation with nothing left to lose. Then came World War II and the stunned realization that there were indeed things left to lose.


There is a hint of “Hey, you dropped your bag” in Anthony Lane’s rundown of the Woolwich murder in the New Yorker:

As the speaker delivers his peroration, a middle-aged woman approaches from behind, pulling her cart, passing him, and carrying on by. She either does not notice what is happening, or prefers not to, or pretends not to, and who can blame her? We cling to the dictum voiced by W. H. Auden, that suffering “takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.”

“One reason the idea of gay marriage, or ‘marriage equality,’ spread so fast is that it seems obvious once you think about it.” –Michael Kinsley

Support for same-sex marriage requires no thought. It requires unthought, a deconstruction of millennia of ethos.


The execrable Mayor Michael Bloomberg opines in the UK Guardian:

New York City embodies America’s commitment to freedom and opportunity, diversity and tolerance, and that is why we remain such a magnet for immigrants, visitors and investors. People want to live in places where they are free to be themselves – to practise their religion as they wish, to express their political views as they wish, and to love and marry whom they wish.

But if you want to drink a large soda, formula-feed your newborn child, or smoke a cigarette, New York City is not for you.

“Freedom” to live off the welfare state, “opportunity” to have the rules of your business dictated to you by middling bureaucrats, “diversity” without integration and shared love of country, and “tolerance” except for the traditional moral categories that make everyday life possible. Have I got that about right, Hizzoner?

I like Daniel Greenfield’s to describe Bloomberg’s vein of despotism: “nudgery.”


Jason Richwine acquits himself:

There is absolutely no racial or ethnic agenda in my dissertation. Nothing in it suggests that any groups are “inferior” to any others, nor is there any call to base immigration policy on ethnicity. In fact, I argue for individual IQ selection as a way to identify bright people who do not have access to a university education in their home countries.

To see how the furor over my dissertation is so inextricably linked to today’s heated debate over immigration, consider that no less a mainstream-media institution than the New York Times reported on some of my dissertation’s ideas in 2009. The newspaper’s Idea of the Day blog discussed my proposal for IQ selection in neutral terms. No moral panic ensued. What’s different now is that immigration reform is at stake, and the whole conversation is hopelessly politicized.

...

A student petition is currently circulating that calls on the Harvard administration to reject all scholarship based on “doctrines” that the signers don’t like. The petition, which at last count had nearly 1,000 signatures, isn’t just shameful, it’s worrisome. Many of these students will come to positions of national leadership, yet they openly oppose intellectual freedom. Going forward, I wonder what other thoughts they will seek to ban.


You can’t make this up (hat tip College Insurrection):

A student’s bid to become associate vice president of diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University was derailed last Wednesday over accusations that his status as a white heterosexual male would make it impossible for him to perform the position’s duties.

The Wednesday hearing began with student senator Jesse Seitz reportedly asking the nominee, Stephen Piotrkowski, how he could possibly interact and serve a minority community as a white male.

Piotrkowski reportedly attempted to appeal to the Student Senate on the grounds that he identifies as a religious minority and has a lesbian sister, but it was to no avail.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unweaned masses

Note: This is a companion piece to “Big Mother.”

“There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” –O’Brien, 1984

For all the debt we owe to George Orwell for probing deep into the instruments and internal justifications of fascism in 1984, Aldous Huxley’s “soft” tyranny in Brave New World has proven to be the more accurate vision of the evolution of Western society.

In 1984, Soviet-style state propaganda is everywhere, but it is not particularly convincing. The omnipresent Thought Police, officers of the surveillance state, keep the people in check, but they do not police thought per se. Winston still has private thoughts; it’s his actions that get him into trouble.

Fear is what makes it work. The state answers dissent with brute force. Faced with having his face torn off by a rat, Winston gives in to his torturer and confesses that 2 and 2 is 5. Indeed, he will testify to any “reality” the regime feeds him. It is an undeniably masculine method of coercion, physical and confrontational.

At no point does Winston believe what he is saying. That’s fine by his masters. They don’t want to change his mind. They want to imprison his mind.

Such a deterrent is not necessary in Brave New World, where the mind itself is the prison. There is no dissent because people are formed in the image of the state. Human genetic models are churned out of laboratories, engineered for certain tasks and capable of only certain thoughts. Minds are further softened by use of the drug, soma. The people believe in the system’s perfection, so they perpetuate it among themselves. They cannot rebel.

Opposite 1984’s “force” model is Brave New World’s “nurture” model. It is the subtler power the O’Brien character referred to in the opening quote. It is less provoking and thus harder to fight. Its apotheosis is the nanny state, which smothers the individual in its engorged bosom. Rather than break men’s spirit, it appeals to our infantile yearning for safety, security, and approval.

In our time, there are no Room 101s in which resistance to the state is crushed; instead, there are sensitivity training seminars, historical revisionism, and gender studies and the like. There are no Thought Police monitoring everything you say and do; instead, there is an army of true believers—including your friends, your family, your employer, your peers, everyone—prepared either to convince you that you’re at fault for thinking the truth, or to denounce and disown you for your heterodoxy.

Society will be completely co-opted. To retain membership, we will collaborate in our own submission.

One of the most sickening sounds you will ever hear is the crowds of North Koreans who wept hysterically over dictator Kim Jong-il’s death.

Are they faking it, or are the tears real? Have they been told, 1984-style, to put on a show for the cameras—or else!—or has their nature been so thoroughly undermined that we hardly recognize them as human?

I am more fearful that the tears are real, because then there really is no hope. If people are truly content under tyranny, who will overthrow the tyrant?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What’s left of Europe

“We have seen so many immigrants coming to Sweden that really don’t like Sweden. They do not want to integrate.” –Ingrid Carlqvist

Don’t want to, or can’t? Integration (aka assimilation) means accepting the primacy of the new home culture. That is difficult when positive arguments for the home culture are limited to appeals to material dependency with no mutual obligation, which don’t exactly call upon the nobler instincts of men.

That cultural barrenness is the reason Europe needs immigrants: to replace the dying generations who, lacking motivation to extend timeless values into the future, had fewer children and exhausted their cultural capital on themselves. Someone is going to inherit what’s left of Europe; only it won’t be Europeans.

“Relatively generous welfare benefits enable those in the ethnic ghetto to stay there, stay unemployed, and seethe. Without government subsidies, they would have to overcome the prejudice against them and integrate into the mainstream working culture. Work, in this sense, is anti-terrorist medicine.” –Mickey Kaus

The Swedish riots confound the welfare statists. The immigrant underclass lashes out at the host country “despite” receiving the most generous assistance payments in Europe, as if having nothing better to do than to riot is a deterrent against rioting. Handouts don’t buy peace. Good values do.

In the beginning, individuals realized they were better off when they banded together, forging mutually beneficial associations that gave rise to a civil society. Individuals created the civil society, and the civil society nurtured individuals, sometimes through the government. Government strengthened the civil society.

In the end, there is no civil society. There is only the government the civil society left behind, with all the authority but none of the discernment. Rudderless, it lords over naked individuals unbound from each other, subduing them by whatever means are convenient.

Further reading: “Socialism doesn’t work in Sweden” and “A future to outlast our lives.”