Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Odds and ends 4/2/2014

Why do statists adore birth control and population control? Daniel Greenfield knows:

The post-Human left seeks to put the species in its place, to keep down its breeding and reduce it from the lords of creation to only another species of animal to be shepherded and culled by their masters.

Beyond all the lies, that is the final endgame of the environmentalist movement. It isn’t out to save mankind. It’s out to destroy it. It wants to treat it like any species of animal, to control its reproduction, control its food distribution and its living spaces. It wants to reduce its numbers to a manageable level so that it takes its place within the animal kingdom.

I thought progress was supposed to improve the human condition. Progressives’ “progress” degrades the human condition by destroying our likeness in God.

William Murchison riffs on the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court:

There is a sense in which the government’s, and the [New York] Times’, counter-claim gee-haws with reality. Religion? We’ve got lots of that around here. What if the Quakers tried to put the military out of business? Until recent years, we sidestepped such questions by working out accommodations that honored religious thinking without impeaching certain public necessities. That was when religion was seen as a different kind of necessity: reflecting truth and reality, shaping conscience, giving form to public institutions. Such as marriage.

Such as marriage. Ah, yes. Recent court decisions on same-sex unions tend to push away religious understandings of marriage — universal as they have been — from consideration of what marriage ought to be. On the federal courts’ current logic, marriage ought to be whatever its participants want it to be — never mind ancient teachings (which we’ve Gotten Past, right?) on the union of man and woman and the attendant duties of procreation and child rearing.

Sex is the realm in which the secular spirit, seeking satisfaction, collides hardest and most often with religion. Religion, with both eyes on some divine personage no telescope has ever revealed, lays down understandings, formulates rules it commends in one form or another to everyone. Secularism says in response, hey, you can’t talk to me like that! I’ll call the government in!

The government duly comes in, with guarantees, formulated to suit the occasion, of the American right to do pretty much what an American desires to do with his body. Or hers. The secular understanding of what you ought to be allowed to do pretty well trumps the religious understanding — as old as civilization itself — that there are certain things you ought to want to do, and other things you ought not to want to do. All you have to prove in federal court these days, seemingly, is that you reject someone’s attempt to regulate your instincts out of deference to some old book or religious code.

The religious understanding that the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga companies advance before the Supreme Court is pretty much — sad to say — the understanding to which courts these days display cool indifference. Maybe particular birth control devices, as alleged, do cause abortion. So what? That’s a religious scruple the Supreme Court generally shoves aside in behalf of the secular claim that, hey, it’s my body we’re talking about! Which it isn’t: not when a second body figures prominently in the case. But that’s Religion, right? We don’t do that stuff around here much anymore.

The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney writes a can’t-miss column on the issue:

Many liberals have a different idea of liberty. Liberals often don’t distinguish between government power and non-government power. They note that employers have real power over employees. Because liberals don’t see employment as a fully voluntary arrangement in which both parties are free to set the terms, they don’t value employers’ pleas for “liberty.”

More important, Haidt notes, this is about the sacred on both sides. Christian conservatives think marriage is a sacred bond, tied up with family formation. Christians also believe in the sanctity of life from conception. Secular liberals, Haidt has concluded, hold sacred the plight of the traditionally oppressed — including women and gays.

Feminist [Amanda] Marcotte was explicit about this: “Hobby Lobby is angling to deprive women of their religious liberty to use their own health care plans as they see fit,” she writes in the Daily Beast.

The Pill is not just a pill to them. It has become something holy. And they won’t tolerate any burden between them and their Blessed Sacrament.

The culture war isn’t religious versus secular. It’s a clash of two faiths.

Aha! Carney strikes the dark heart of secular theology.

Aside from polarizing women, what is the “war on women” political meme about? It’s about stigmatizing thoughts that the inherent sexual, psychological, social-political differences among men and women ought to make a difference in the world. It’s about advancing gender Marxism and radical egalitarianism by casting it in secular holy terms such as “rights” and “identity.”

“All the women, and the men, who work in corporate America have a right to their religious freedom. And, for all the arguments that I’ve heard, the fact that people would be so passionate about denying women birth control in the 21st Century is shocking.” –Senator Barbara Boxer

Did Boxer imply birth control is a sacrament? Episcopal “Rev.” V. Gene Robinson would agree. Here’s an excerpt from his grotesque piece in USA Today:

As a pastor, I have seen firsthand what a gift it is to be able to control when and whether one has a child. It offers women some measure of control over their lives.

Daniel Larison of the American Conservative writes:

Suspending Russia from the G-8 will be received in Russia with the same dismissive mockery that has greeted Western punitive measures so far. Imagine how hawks here in the U.S. might greet news that our president was not allowed to attend some multilateral meeting dominated by unfriendly governments, and you’ll begin to get an idea of how little most Russians will care about this.

Or imagine being rejected from the Peoples Temple.

I fear Jill Filipovic more than I fear Vladimir Putin. She writes:

We need a wholesale recalibration of how we talk about girls and boys, and how we help men and women grow. That means no more chiding boys to “be a man”, no telling girls to act “ladylike”, no teasing the tomboys or the girly-girls or the girly-boys, no marginalizing the kids of color as aggressive or threatening or having “behavior problems”.

She calls creep Woody Allen a misogynist for the most innocuous statement about his marriage to a younger woman:

Need more evidence that Woody Allen is a big-time misogynist? via @KateHarding here's how he describes his marriage:

— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) February 8, 2014

“Inequality” is probably what set her off.

Vox brings reality to the fore:

When we are challenged, we instinctively want to vanquish and crush the opponent, no matter who it is. But bat your eyelashes and ask for something sweetly, and it makes us want to launch a thousand ships on your behalf.

Steve Cornell pinpoints the problem with Joel Osteen:

Osteen’s messages, as uplifting and encouraging as they may feel, ignore large portions of important biblical truth. There is nothing abnormal about trials and afflictions — especially for godly people.

Being a follower of Christ does not necessarily translate into decreased suffering and trials. Believers will most likely face more challenges because they are called to fellowship with Jesus in His sufferings. Jesus called us to a self-renouncing, cross-carrying life.

I’m not mad at Kevin Spacey for shaking down Maryland lawmakers. I’m mad at Maryland lawmakers for putting themselves in a position to be shaken down.

This is not a parody.

“I think the House has got to come together and agree that it’s good for Maryland. I personally am a fan of House of Cards and I think it’s just a fantastic show,” Senate President Mike Miller said.

You get no argument from Cindy Busch. The House speaker’s wife was an extra in the show.

“I had a really great experience. Kevin Spacey. Holy smokes!” she said.

At First Things, Pete Spiliakos pegs the powers’ recent abrogations of free speech:

[Mireille] Miller-Young’s violence is of a piece with Stanford’s initial response. The opposition’s ideas constitute oppression within society. The physical presence of the opposition constitutes an immediate physical danger. The people who only see peaceful protestors practicing their constitutional rights don’t have their minds right. There can be no “peaceful” opposition to the priorities of the Miller-Young’s of the world. From her ideological perspective (which was also the stated ideological perspective of the Stanford University administration), she was practicing a form of self-defense.

Multiculturalism fail: Peaceful disagreement physically threatens me.

“In the absence of equality before the law, the law becomes arbitrary, and as such, a matter of mere selective force used by a police state to control the population, with governmental agencies and politicians picking life’s winners and losers.” –Jeff Goldstein

Wendell Berry would be appalled.

“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or, you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” –U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley

I presume Braley means a non-agribusiness, overalls-wearing rube.

“It is as absurd to assume that, for any long period of time, the variables in the economic organization, or any part of them, will ‘stay put,’ in perfect equilibrium, as to assume that the Atlantic Ocean can ever be without a wave.” –Irving Fisher

ZeroHedge is under the impression inflation is happening in Japan. The Japanese can be forgiven for thinking so. The yen hasn’t moved in over 20 years.

The world’s most clueless prime minister, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, has suddenly found himself in a “no way out” situation, with inflation for most items suddenly soaring (courtesy of exported deflation slamming Europe), without a matched increase in wages as reflected in the “surprising” tumble in household spending, which dropped 2.5% on expectations of a 0.1% increase in the month ahead of Japan’s infamous sales tax hike. How does one explain this unwillingness by the public to buy worthless trinkets and non-durable goods and services ahead of an imminent price surge? Simple - while the government may have no options now, the same can not be said of its citizens who have lived next to China long enough to know precisely what to do when faced with runaway inflation, and enjoying the added benefit of a collapsing currency courtesy of Kuroda’s “wealth effect.” That something is to buy gold, of course, lots of it.


While the Japanese consumers know what is the best defense against runaway inflation and purchasing power destruction, the government also knows that just like in India, where massive gold imports to satisfy local demand so skewed the current account deficit that India spent most of 2013 imposing gold capital controls, it simply needs to make gold purchases impossible in order to redirect spending into more Keynes-approved products and services.

However, for now Japan is happy just to crush its population’s meager disposable income with soaring energy prices. Which also means the locals can allocate their personal capital in the most efficient way: one which discounts a very unpleasant future.

This guest post at ZeroHedge has some insight into why loose monetary policy doesn’t necessarily result in inflation.

Hadley Mears recaps the 1928 failure of St. Francis Dam outside Los Angeles.

“There’s a much deeper understanding on the Left about the way government power changes society. People just aren’t the same after decades of dependency. The unspoken premise behind expansions of the central State is that we cannot trust one another – we must be forced to provide the correct answers in a growing list of social questions. As we accept more political control over every element of our lives, we are transformed by our rising comfort level with the proposition that wise and just central planners should dictate our attitudes, and dissent from their judgment is intolerable.” –John Hayward

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