Friday, October 25, 2013

Odds and ends 10/25/2013

“The truth exists in spite of us. Our spiritual role in the matter of truth is not that we “create” it, but that we conform ourselves to it as something already given to us. Our freedom means that we do not have to do this. We can, in other words, lie to ourselves.” –James V. Schall

Romans 1:18-22:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

In her ode to the childless, Jill Filipovic breaks down and tells what she really wants:

A vision of a gender-egalitarian world that has never before existed; a vision of living as one’s true self, including one’s true gender, when you were labeled something else at birth; a vision of equal rights and opportunities regardless of skin color; a vision of public and private spaces accessible to those whose bodies are deemed outside the norm.

In other words, a vision of no normalcy, no boundaries, no morality. Chaos.

Only in one area does Filipovic make sense, when she describes equal opportunity “regardless of skin color.” What she really means is “regardless of merit.” Judging from her past writings, I bet she doesn’t see individuals of varying merits and circumstances, but groups of differently pigmented people, whose collective station in life relative to other groups is the measure of the “just” distribution of society’s wealth.

Speaking of skin pigment, it’s what makes the man, don’t you know.

Other than color and living in Florida, Dwyane Wade’s sons and Trayvon Martin don’t have much in common.

Trayvon Martin is not a unique individual with a unique background, unique aspirations, and—yes—unique flaws. All the traits that make him human the racial tribalists discard. He is first and foremost a black.

Hans von Spakovsky explains how the government “shutdown” wasn’t really a shutdown.

Liberal Peter Beinart thinks Republicans won the shutdown.

In early September, a “clean” CR—including sequester cuts—that funded the government into 2014 was considered a Republican victory by both the Republican House Majority Leader and Washington’s most prominent Democratic think tank. Now, just over a month later, the media is describing the exact same deal as Republican “surrender.”

Partly, that’s because of Ted Cruz. Starting last month, as we all know, the Texas Senator—in conjunction with his fellow Tea Partiers in the House—forced GOP leaders to abandon the very “clean” CR proposal they had once championed. The new Republican position became no funding for the government and no increase in the debt ceiling without the defunding (or at least delaying) of Obamacare.

Now that Republicans are backing off those demands, the press is saying they’ve caved. But that’s like saying that the neighborhood bully has caved because after demanding your shoes and bike, he’s once again willing to accept merely your lunch money.

The sequester (aka one-half of the “fiscal cliff”), over which there was much handwringing last December, has been a boon for (relatively) small government. Art Laffer (of the famed Laffer curve) and Stephen Moore write in the American Spectator:

Washington is experiencing one of the biggest fiscal retrenchments in modern history, and almost no one is paying attention. In the wake of the Bush-Pelosi-Obama spending splurge from 2008-11, federal spending has fallen by 3.1 percentage points of GDP. In the second quarter of 2009, according to National Income Products Account data, federal spending hit 26.5 percent of GDP, thanks to the Obama stimulus and the Bush recession. As of the second quarter of 2013, just as the sequester was beginning to take effect, federal spending as a share of GDP is down to 23.5 percent and, barring some unforeseen emergency, is on track to fall to around 23 percent by the end of this year. The turning point in spending from the binge years of 2009 and 2010 came when the Republicans took control of the House in 2011.

On the other hand, writes Ross Kaminsky...

Barack Obama, already intensely narcissistic and focused on destroying those he considers political enemies, will be emboldened. A strategy of “I will not negotiate” paid off; he will feel even more invulnerable and it will lead to a steady stream of intransigence on every important issue facing the federal government until at least the end of 2014, and probably until the end of his presidency. Stubbornness and language about Republican “extortion” and “hostage-taking” and “ransom” will become the first plays in the administration’s Playbook of GOP Doom.

One-and-a-half cheers for Speaker Boehner!

My view: Rolling back Leviathan is the object. That will not begin until we have new Republican leadership or a new president. I worry about a government-dependent class growing to a permanent majority, over which Democrats and Republicans compete. I worry about an ensconced political class—beyond our direct representatives—that crushes families and people’s dreams. America’s future is being shortened as it consumes its resources in the present.


Let’s go back in time, to July 2013, when the Obama administration announced it was going to delay the employer mandate a year. Jeffrey H. Anderson writes at Weekly Standard:

In a blatant exercise of arbitrary rule, the Obama administration announced this evening that it has unilaterally decided not to implement a key provision of Obamacare on schedule. By law, Obamacare’s employer mandate — its requirement that businesses with 50 or more workers provide federally sanctioned health insurance — should go into effect next year. By executive fiat, it won’t go into effect until 2015.

In addition to being a naked display of lawlessness, this action is an embarrassing setback to the Obama administration and — more importantly — to President Obama’s centerpiece legislation. More than three years after Obamacare’s passage — a passage marked by such shady backroom deals as the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and Gator Aid — the administration is now admitting it has failed to get Obamacare up and running on time.

As I explain over at Red Pill Report:

Obama may end up doing on his own what Congress demanded in exchange for raising the debt ceiling: a delay of the individual mandate. But it would not be the political shamefest some predict it will be. Totalitarian government needs leeway to micromanage the affairs of 300 million people. American voters, in their endless capacity to be infantilized by Big Mother government, will understand. What they won’t abide are Republican efforts to merely bring the law up to date with its sordid execution.

“With some Republican critics echoing the media line, the tea-party message may never fully penetrate, but — at the end of the day — there’s a truth of the matter, and the truth is the Tea Party did everything in its power to stop a law that is inflicting huge costs on the American people. That was the right decision, and it was the compassionate decision.” –David French

William L. Gensert writes in the American Thinker that the American people must suffer:

Delaying the individual mandate for a year was the wrong victory to seek. ObamaCare must proceed unencumbered. Americans must suffer, or they will continue to elect incompetent community organizers, preaching “hope and change.”

This is the tide that turns. ObamaCare must be allowed to collapse on its own lack of merits. It is a Ponzi scheme, government style. It relies on ever-increasing numbers of the young and healthy willing to pay more, in order for the sick and elderly to pay less.

I hope Gensert doesn’t get what he wishes for, because Americans don’t always learn the right lessons from their suffering. The logical leap from an Obamacare failure is to elect the likes of Martin O’Malley to spearhead a sustainable, “competent” technocracy. “Competent” is a relative term. It’s impossible to amass enough knowledge to reorganize society.

On that score, Dean Kalahar writes:

Knowledge as a resource has the greatest scarcity and is also the most scattered throughout society; and yet it is the most important component for economizing. As such, knowledge must be preserved, harvested, and packaged from divergent sources.

If accurate utilization of knowledge is essential in making informed economic decisions, then economic decision making must be based on utilizing knowledge to its greatest extent to move resources efficiently and promote economic growth.

The key question then becomes: what knowledge is the most accurate? The answer: That which is found closest to its source. Or In simple terms, he who is most affected knows best; or as an old proverb teaches us, “a fool can put on his coat better than a wise man can put it on for him.”

Vital individual knowledge is traded and shared through a market-based system where widely dispersed information that is highly specialized based on individual situations can be brought together effortlessly. Millions of individual decisions best guide the movement of resources to their most valuable use.

The invisible hand.


“Obama is a powerful and skillful pol, but he’s not unbeatable in every battle. Why should Republicans treat him as if he were? By their repeated failure Republicans have trained Obama and his congressional allies to expect Republicans to roll over. Obama and Harry Reid have no expectation of different conduct in the future. The congressional leadership has already eschewed future government shutdowns. What else is there but surrender?” –Jed Babbin

At First Things, Mark Barrett reviews the New York casino fight:

What’s most remarkable is how today’s conservative opponents are the ones advancing the arguments of the older progressives like Mayor LaGuardia. It is they who are reminding voters that casinos redistribute wealth from the poorest in society up the ladder towards the most affluent, make no contribution to long term economic growth, and cause social ills in the communities where they are built. Countering these arguments, Andrew Cuomo has cobbled together a coalition to support his amendment, the most vocal of which have been the business leaders who stand to profit from casinos and public sector workers, primarily teachers unions, who will be the beneficiary of increased state revenues.

This fits with my view.


Headline: Republican Mega-Donors Quietly Celebrate Chris Christie’s Marriage Surrender. Takeaway: They don’t want to talk about marriage during the 2016 presidential race. Maybe there really is nothing a Republican president can do, legally, to return a correct understanding of marriage to the federal government. But I’ll be damned if I hold back the truth just to placate a few stupid people in the “middle.”


Christine Jeske writes in Christianity Today about “haters”:

I heard of one professor who argued that believing in absolute truth means believing in divisions, and divisions lead to violence and war. Therefore, he reasoned, the foolish Christians and their Truth with a capital T are responsible for all the divisions and wars on earth.

The flawed assumption, from both the Christians and the non-Christians, is this: They say that to disagree is to hate.


George Weigel writes:

In his acute analysis of the character and institutions of the United States, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, a nineteenth-century French liberal, stressed the importance of what we call “civil society.” American democracy, Tocqueville understood, wasn’t just a matter of the state, here, and the individual, there. Between the state (or government) and the people there were the many free, voluntary associations that formed the sinews and musculature of America. Those free associations performed many essential social functions: they educated the young, served the poor, and cared for the sick.

Writing a century and a half after Tocqueville, Pope John Paul II also highlighted the importance of voluntary associations for the free and virtuous society. Those associations, the pope argued, shape the human personality of a political community—what John Paul called, in his philosopher’s vocabulary, the “subjectivity of society.” Thus, in a democracy—a way of self-government that depends on the character of a people—the institutions of civil society are schools of freedom: the elementary schools of democracy.

Think about it this way: Every two-year-old is a natural-born tyrant, a beautiful bundle of willfulness and self-absorption who demands (sometimes winsomely and often loudly) that he or she get what he or she wants—now. Who, or what, turns all those two-year-old tyrants into democrats: mature men and women capable of being democratic citizens? Where do we learn what Tocqueville called the habits of mind and heart, and what moral philosophers from Aristotle to John Paul II have called the virtues, that are necessary for the machinery of democracy to work well?

We learn them first in the family, which is the fundamental, irreplaceable institution of civil society. We also learn those habits of heart and mind in friendships and in school, in clubs and sports and in religious communities. Men and women who, later in life, take responsibility for making government work first learned how to do so, not from the state, but from the civil society institutions in which they grew up. Adults who take the responsibilities of citizenship seriously did not learn their sense of civic obligation from a governmental agency. They learned to be responsible and civil and tolerant, flexible but principled, in more humane schools: the free, voluntary associations that Tocqueville and John Paul II celebrated.

Can American democracy survive a rabid, narcissistic ethos that seeks to remake society in its own fanciful image?

Marriage is the primordial civil society relationship, for it is the basis of the family, which is the primordial civil society institution. That is why, for millennia, states have protected marriage, understood as what it is: the stable union of a man and a woman ordered to the begetting and raising of children. When a state claims the right to alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, it is tacitly claiming the right to redefine the number of persons who may make a marriage (why stop at two?); it is also tacitly claiming the right to redefine, by governmental fiat, every other pre-existing free association of civil society.

Isn’t it normal for teachers to give their students condoms? They’re going to have sex anyway, right?

[Isabel Diaz-Almaraz] was suspended without pay in September 2012 after an investigation into accusations that she had paid for a $1,000 hotel room for prom-going students and had stopped by the suite.

...

During the investigation, Diaz-Almaraz confessed to having purchased the suite with her PayPal account, explaining that she had reserved the room for the students, who later reimbursed her, the Miami-Herald reports. She also admitted that she had visited the hotel suite before prom and the day after. But she denied allegations that she gave students alcohol or condoms -- items that appeared in a gift basket that a student posted to Instagram and reportedly captioned, “Thank you Mrs. D!!!”

...

However, school board members did not heed the judge’s recommendation, and instead affirmed the proposal of the superintendent to fire the teacher. In a unanimous decision, the board voted to officially terminate the dance instructor, who had taught at South Miami Senior High since 2009, for violating school policies.

Isn’t Diaz-Almaraz virtuous for providing a safe, controlled environment for students to have sex? Given teachers’ inability to discourage students from rutting, she did everything right. Just kidding.


Alan Weisman wants to reduce carbon emissions. He presents four carbon emission-reducing strategies. Last, but not least:

If we can’t control consumption, we can control the number of consumers. This is technology we already have, and it’s cheap. Every woman, everywhere, could have contraception.

Most of us would find coercive government limits on child bearing abhorrent. But giving women access to contraception and to education makes draconian edicts unnecessary. An educated woman has an interesting and useful contribution to make to her family and her society. Since she can’t easily do that with seven children hanging on her skirts, most women who get through secondary school want two children or fewer. Providing access to contraception and educating women may be the fastest path to giving our planet a break.

Brilliant! Women will think we’re trying to improve their lot in life, but really we just want them to have fewer kids. That kind of contribution we need less of!

But if that doesn’t work—well, the ends justify the means.


“It’s true that scientific technocracy is a real danger, but it’s not clear to me why a pseudo-scientific reduction of the human being to a mere material body is more dehumanizing, or more on the rise in our culture, than a pseudo-humanist reduction of the human being to a mere receptor of aesthetic stimuli, or a mere participant in identity politics.” –Greg Forster

John Stossell writes about how government infantilizes us and disincentivizes self-growth and self-overcoming:

I had to overcome stuttering to work as a TV reporter. Had today's disability laws existed when I began work, would I have overcome my stuttering problem? Maybe not. I might have demanded my employer “accommodate” my disability by providing me a job that didn't demand being on-air.

Now that the laws exist, it's no coincidence that more Americans say they are disabled.

Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute writes that this is part of a disability-industrial complex: collusion between specialty law firms, doctors vouching for applicants with dubious claims and federal administrative law judges awarding benefits.

It changes the way people calculate their options.


“It requires irony beyond my reserve—and I think my well is far from dry—to do justice to the harm caused to families with dependent children by Aid to Families with Dependent Children.” –Anthony Esolen

Peter Ferrara is pissed off, less at Terry McAuliffe than at the stupid Virginians who are going to vote for him for governor:

McAuliffe and the Democrats think women in Virginia are too stupid to know what their constitutional rights are, and that they can be played for fools into voting Democrat.

They are that stupid. Paul Bedard reports:

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s roaring campaign has jumped out to a 17-point lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, aided greatly by the public support of Hillary Clinton and the government shutdown, according to a stunning new Rasmussen Reports poll.

In the poll, likely voters preferred McAuliffe over Cuccinelli 50 percent to 33 percent. Third-party candidate Robert Sarvis receives 8 percent support. McAuliffe’s lead is his largest to date.

...

McAuliffe has also held his own and more on key issues that typically favor Republicans, said Rasmussen. For example, Virginia voters trust McAuliffe more than Cuccinelli to control government spending, taxes and social issues like abortion.

If the effects of the shutdown on Virginia are enough to sway the electorate to McAuliffe and embrace big government, then Virginia is gone. It is no more than D.C. South.

In the Washington metro area, the shutdown has meant a roughly $200 million hit each work day in loss of federal wages, loss of federal contractor wages and the effects of those lost wages on the economy.

[Stephen] Fuller’s analysis doesn’t include other impacts, including tourism.

“Some of these losses are permanent,” Fuller said, stressing that much depends on how long the shutdown lasts.

In Fuller’s survey the Washington metro area covers Washington itself, five counties in Maryland and eight counties and six cities in Northern Virginia stretching down to the Fredericksburg area.


Joel Osteen wants you to know he isn’t a homophobe. His anti-judgmentalism is nauseating.

“I believe every person is made in the image of God, and you have accept them as they are, on their journey. I’m not here to be preaching hate, pushing people down. I’m not here telling people what they’re doing wrong.”

Why not? Are people doing wrong, or aren’t they?

Osteen has said numerous times that he believes living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin in accordance with his understanding of Christian scripture.

So, you’re sinning, but let’s not talk about that. I don’t want to alienate you from the Gospel.

Absent the reality of sin, the Gospel is pointless.

Note how Osteen qualifies his view of homosexuality with sycophantic praise:

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday in 2012, Osteen discussed his position on homosexuality by telling host Chris Wallace that he “doesn’t dislike anybody” and believes gays are some of “most loving people in the world,” despite his strongly held conviction that homosexuality is a sin.

“I believe the scripture says that being gay is a sin. But, you know, every time I say that, Chris ... people say, well, you are a gay hater and you’re a gay basher,” Osteen told Wallace during the interview. “I’m not. I don’t – I don’t dislike anybody. Gays are some of the nicest, kindest, most loving people in the world. But my faith is based on what I believe the scripture says, and that’s the way I read the scripture.”

“Being gay” is a simplification of what the Bible condemns as sinful. We are all full of sinful urges, and with Jesus’ help we can resist them, the devil’s temptations.

By the way, there is no tension between gays being the “most loving people in the world” and the fact that homosexuality is a sin. The author’s “despite” is gratuitous and wrong.


The gay mafia is advancing in San Antonio. The ridiculous non-discrimination ordinance passed, forbidding the city to do business with common-sense thinkers on sexuality and gender. Now at Lackland Air Force Base the idol of self worshipers, narcissists, and identitarians are teaming up with the PC police to root out bibliophiles.

I wrote about anti-Christian persecution at Lackland at the Red Pill Report in August.


Gary DeMar writes:

Antonio Gramsci’s philosophy for cultural and social change was the model for the new Leftists. Gramsci (1891–1937) considered Christianity to be the “force binding all the classes—peasants and workers and princes and priests and popes and all the rest besides, into a single, homogeneous culture. It was specifically Christian culture, in which individual men and women understood that the most important things about human life transcend the material conditions in which they lived out their mortal lives.” Gramsci broke with Marx and Lenin’s belief that the masses would rise up and overthrow the ruling “superstructure.” No matter how oppressed the working classes might be, their Christian faith would not allow such an overthrow, Gramsci theorized. Marxists taught “that everything valuable in life was within mankind.”

Wynton Hall of Breitbart wants to get back to basics:

Quantitative easing is when the Federal Reserve buys securities to drive down interest rates and prop up the economy.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds wants to defederalize the drinking age:

I strongly recommend that the GOP get behind defederalizing the drinking age. Not only is it the right thing to do — the federal 21-year-old drinking age was a dumb idea of Liddy Dole’s and never should have been enacted into law — but it would help them with the youth vote. Seems like a natural issue for, say, Rand Paul, but any of the new Tea Party crowd in the Senate could run with this.

I see the constitutional/limited government argument. But why would it help with the youth vote? Because it would give youth license to drink. What a platform! This smacks of Rand Paul appealing to drug users and Louis Farrakhan followers.

I support defederalizing the drinking age, too, but I would counsel temperance.

For perspective, read my proposal to attract alcoholics to the GOP.


Mollie Hemingway discusses “fecundophobes,” people who fear fertile women:

There is much more than a whiff of the misogyny in denigrating mothers of multiple children as brainless, in stating that mothers who are homemakers are inferior to those who “earn” their living, or in attacking women for prioritizing fertility above independence. It’s not just that nobody on planet earth could be truly independent — which is to say completely self-reliant or free of any other human support. It’s not just that we each depended on others from the moment of our conception to birth, but all of society is comprised of individuals who work with each other and depend on each other throughout their lives. Or healthy societies are, at least. It may be impolitic to suggest that men and women are in any way different, science be damned, but many women have a particular specialty in cultivating relationships and family.

Related: Susan Reimer of the Baltimore Sun boldly juxtaposes the Redskins name controversy and the death of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s 2 year-old son:

In the days since the child’s death, it has come to light that the unmarried Mr. Peterson may have had as many as five children by four different women. They include a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy by his current girlfriend, a 4-year-old with a dancer in a “gentleman’s club” in Dallas and a 3-month-old with a waitress in Minnesota. He is said to be providing financial support to those children.

All of this transpired at the conclusion of a week when the call for the Washington Redskins to abandon a nickname viewed by some as offensive reached fever pitch, culminating in sportscaster Bob Costas’ self-righteous address, delivered during halftime of Sunday Night Football.

President Barack Obama has suggested that owner Dan Snyder think about changing the name, the league is applying pressure on the team, and any number of sportswriters have said they will not use the name in their reporting.

But, so far, nobody has criticized Adrian Peterson for his careless and cavalier sexual behavior.

The question we should be asking is not whether Mr. Peterson should have played football Sunday. But whether he should have worn a condom when having sex. Or whether he should be having sex with waitresses and dancers at all.

Peterson was a 2 year-old boy’s absentee sperm donor, whose mother took up with a criminal who beat the boy to death. I don’t know upon whom to heap more scorn: the mother for endangering her child, or the father for not being around. This could have been prevented if Peterson and the woman were married.


Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal comments on the president’s lack of credibility:

Not enough notice was given to Sen. Marco Rubio’s statement that the chances for success on immigration reform are about dead. Why? Because, said Sen. Rubio, there is “a lack of trust” in the president’s commitments.

“This notion that they’re going to get in a room and negotiate a deal with the president on immigration,” Sen. Rubio said Sunday on Fox News, “is much more difficult to do” after the shutdown negotiations of the past three weeks.

Sen. Rubio said he and other reform participants, such as Idaho’s Rep. Raul Labrador, are afraid that if they cut an immigration deal with the White House—say, offering a path to citizenship in return for strong enforcement of any new law—Mr. Obama will desert them by reneging on the enforcement.

Welcome to reality, Rubio.


“The obtuse feminist-dating dichotomy outlined in the article suggests a naive distinction between the male id and the progressive alterity of a non-conformist constructivist framework for sexual equality. Consequently, the alienating ideology of the patriarchal idealism of a male-dominated dating essentialism helps expose the idea of “leveling the romantic playing field” as introspective discourse at its very worst.” –commenter “brizsam,” responding to Jill Filipovic

Got that?


In closing, Wikipedia summarizes the backlash against New Coke:

Despite New Coke’s acceptance with a large number of Coca-Cola drinkers, a vocal minority of them resented the change in formula and were not shy about making that known — just as had happened in the focus groups. Many of these drinkers were Southerners, some of whom considered the drink a fundamental part of regional identity. They viewed the company’s decision to change the formula through the prism of the Civil War, as another surrender to the “Yankees.”

Company headquarters in Atlanta started receiving letters expressing anger or deep disappointment. Over 400,000 calls and letters were received by the company, including one letter, delivered to [Roberto] Goizueta, that was addressed to “Chief Dodo, The Coca-Cola Company.” Another letter asked for his autograph, as the signature of “one of the dumbest executives in American business history” would likely become valuable in the future. The company hotline, 1-800-GET-COKE, received 1,500 calls a day compared to 400 before the change. Coke hired a psychiatrist to listen in on calls and told executives some people sounded as if they were discussing the death of a family member.

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