Sunday, July 13, 2014

Odds and ends 7/13/14

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is attributed “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” ad nauseum, but that’s demonstrably false. Here are “[their] own facts” liberals entitled to:


“Sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.” –Phil Robertson

Hedonism has an internal logic.


This news clipping is dated January 31, 1903 (hat tip Steve Goddard aka Tony Heller):

Reporters back then wrote well and had fun doing it. There was no AP Stylebook back then.


To “Dr.” Warren Blumenfeld at the “Good” Men Project, the Supreme Court’s legitimacy rides on whether it shares in his fantasy of free birth control:

We can add “Justice” Samuel Alito, “Justice” Anthony Kennedy, “Justice” John Roberts, “Justice” Clarence Thomas, and last, but certainly not least, “Justice” Antonin Scalia to the oxymoron list since this Supreme Court decision amounted to anything but justice.

Ditto for Rep. Keith Ellison. The pro-choice Eucharist: The blood of the unborn, the cup of salvation.

Matt Walsh is only half-kidding here:

Jesus was not a liberal.

Lucifer, on the other hand, probably fits the bill.

After all, modern liberalism is nothing if it isn’t the worship of self. It is an ideology that places self-fulfillment, pleasure, and convenience above everything. Liberalism bows to no one but its own reflection (and foreign bureaucrats, in the case of Barack Obama). Liberals believe that our personal desires are the ultimate arbiter, which is why life can be destroyed and institutions like marriage twisted and obliterated, all to serve the one god: self.

Satan has said many words, but they can all be summed up by those infamous four. “I will not serve.”

At the American Spectator, George Neumayr targets justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent in a related case involving Wheaton College:

Sotomayor, of course, sees no bias or irrationality in her conviction that the promotion of free contraceptives and abortifacients represents a sacred state interest, so vastly important that she must treat a temporary reprieve for one Christian college as a great crisis for the nation. She mocks Wheaton for making a mountain out of a mole hill while doing the same herself. She is certain that the modified mandate isn’t a “substantial burden” on religious freedom even as she treats the imaginary absence of free contraceptives for employees who went to work for a Christian college as a frightening prospect and crushing burden.

Sotomayor is writing more like a reproductive rights activist than a sober jurist. Far more worrisome than this “rare” reprieve to which she feverishly objects is the precedent she seeks to establish—that it is the business of “courts” to legislate what qualifies as true burdens to religious freedom.


Notes from the “right side of history”:

When I landed at Brown in the early ’90s, the tide was beginning to change. LGBQ (there was no T then) students were visible and popular. “Gay, lesbian, or questioning?” enticed their posters, which seemed to welcome everyone. I had female friends who switched from dating boys to girls and back again. I kissed a girl at a party. No one ostracized me; we were theater people.

...

Flash forward to 2010, when my daughter entered kindergarten in Brooklyn. Gay parents at the school were visible; it was normal to know kids with two dads or moms. She now has a trans schoolmate who changed pronoun and first name in first grade and uses the teachers’ bathrooms. When my daughter enters college in 2023, mores around sexual orientation will be so progressive they will make 1990s Brown look like the McCarthy era.

Notes from the wrong side of history:

A Christian friend of the Millennial generation and I were talking recently. She’s been living on the West Coast, and says that the shift in attitude among her friends, even Christian ones, on the gay marriage issue has been rapid and stark. I don’t want to put words into her mouth — she reads this blog, so she may wish to clarify her thoughts — but as I recall from our conversation, the velocity and ferocity of the shift has left her disoriented. The issue went from something up for discussion to “the conversation is over — and you had better be on the right side” virtually overnight. One thing that worries and depresses my friend is that there seems to be no basis for a conversation about why we believe what we believe. The assumption now seems to be that your beliefs don’t have to cohere, or even cohere within a religious tradition; it’s expected that you pick and choose your beliefs, so you will be held responsible for affirming those that the Church of What’s Happening Now declares to be bigotry, or outmoded.

I swallowed my pride and wished a successful marriage for Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki, but it wasn’t meant to be. McIlroy said:

“The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.”

All that marriage with Wozniacki entails, he means. Gary Player was onto something, and Sarah Spain was wrong. Wozniacki wasn’t the partner McIlroy needed her to be.


“We have to go through each of those emails to make sure it has no 6103 material.” –John Koskinen, March 26, 2014, when he knew the emails didn’t exist

To Koskinen, the truth is tactile. He testified in June that he found no evidence of wrongdoing...without actually investigating whether there was evidence of wrongdoing.


When I’m out hiking, nothing irritates me more than seeing human waste marring nature’s beauty. If people can’t manage on their own to pack out their trash, they deserve bans.

Driven by the judge’s order throwing out the so-called ‘can ban,’ Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports tubers and rafters packed the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, and they left behind mounds of trash. Yes, most of it in the form of non-returnable bottles and cans.

John C. Wright on why the likes of NMWA hate beauty:

Beauty points to a world beyond this world, a higher realm, a country of joy where there is no death. Beauty points to the divine.

Wright explains the Left-wing artist’s sucker punch (à la Arctic Rising):

It is common enough in movies and books to hide a Leftwing ‘sucker punch’ beneath what otherwise seems an innocent story, or whip out an anti-Bush joke in the third act that has nothing to do with the story, or suddenly make an old wizard or a comedy relief viking a sodomite, in order to make the homosexual disorder seems harmless and unremarkable. These are called sucker punches because they are the opposite of deep propaganda: their whole effect comes from them being unexpected to the point of being extraneous.

So imagine listening to a comedian telling ninety nine jokes about his mother in law, and one remark that is not a joke at all to the effect that everyone who regards homosexual acts as sinful, or even imprudent, is a hateful bigot with no right to a polite hearing: and Christ was evil for preaching sexual purity, and the Antichrist is Our Master.

In this case, the ninety nine jokes was nothing more than the patter of a confidence trickster, a con job to get you to lower your guard, to lull your suspicions, so he could punch you while you were nodding, you sucker.  When you reel from the blow, you dare not voice any objection, lest you be accused of being overly sensitive or hysterical. “Why look! You complain about one joke out of Ninety-Nine! Only Batwoman is a Lesbian out of countless comic book heroines! All the other wizards of Hogwarts are heterosexual! You are oddly obsessed with what is a trivial bit of character development!”


The Washington Examiner and ZeroHedge observe a disproportionate rise in part-time jobs:

The Labor Department’s household survey reveals that the economy lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. At the same time, it gained an astounding 799,000 part-time jobs – the largest such monthly jump in two decades. Part-time jobs now top 28 million for the first time since last July.

This shift to part-time labor is an echo from June 2013, when the economy added 360,000 part-time jobs and shed 240,000 full-time ones. So why has history thus seemingly repeated itself? One possibility is that Obama decided last July to delay Obamacare’s employer mandate from 2014 to 2015.

Employers added 700,000 part-time workers between April and July 2013 to what were already historically high levels of part-time work. Such numbers may reflect employers who were bracing for a mandate they expected to begin in January 2014 – a requirement that businesses with a certain number of full-time equivalents provide health insurance for all of their full-time workers or else pay per-employee fines.

The lack of actual hiring continues to persist. In fact, while job openings may have soared by nearly 300K in May, the actual number of Hired declined by 52K to 4,718K.

What does this mean? Well, aside from the obvious, namely that US employers just refuse to pick up the hiring pace (and as a result make the Initial Jobless Claims category yet another mockery of the New Normal as they certainly do not reflect a normal hiring environment), it also means that hiring has barely recovered half the losses it sustained relative to the pre-Lehman “Old Normal.”

Ironically, the Fed may be preparing to begin hiking rates even as the economy remains stuck in a structural funk in which jobs are somehow added, even if hiring is far below levels that would suggest a normal labor market. Thank you part-time jobs.


“I am burdened when Christians, and especially churches, make decisions that are not compatible with Scripture. It seems too easy to be lured into unbiblical positions of belief by the power of today’s culture. Scripture is clear that the practice of homosexuality is sin and is not harmonious with teachings and traditions of a New Testament congregation.” –California Southern Baptist Convention executive director Fermín Whittaker

At the American Conservative, Donald Devine on the American tradition of marriage redefinition:

In the modern dispensation, the purpose of marriage was not lifetime mutual support whose love’s goal, if not necessarily actual fruit, was biological children; it instead had morphed into an alliance of two individuals maximizing their own interests in any way that suited them, dissoluble anytime either party desired. Transitioning from men and women to same-sex partners was a small step once marriage was so redefined.

Here’s the rest of the C. S. Lewis quote I wanted to use in “We’re not okay,” but I had not the room:

Before Christ has finished with Miss Bates, she is going to be very ‘nice’ indeed. But if we left it at that, it would sound as though Christ’s only aim was to pull Miss Bates up to the same level on which Dick had been all along. We have been talking, in fact, as if Dick were all right; as if Christianity was something nasty people needed and nice ones could afford to do without; and as if niceness was all that God demanded. But this would be a fatal mistake. The truth is that in God’s eyes Dick Firkin needs ‘saving’ every bit as much as Miss Bates. In one sense (I will explain what sense in a moment) niceness hardly comes into the question.

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It is very different for the nasty people—the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people, or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them. It is taking up the cross and following—or else despair. They are the lost sheep; He came specially to find them.

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If you are a nice person—if virtue comes easily to you—beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.

But if you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched upbringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual, perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive.


Reason is upset some Republicans are against online gambling. Libertarians get exercised over limits on vice.

When I think how this will result in fewer deadbeats, I am gratified. That’s why I say no to casinos.

Gary Johnson engages in self-parody:

“We think we have the creme de la creme of marijuana products,” [Gary Johnson] told Politico. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product. One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”

Johnson ran for president once. His innovation in the political marketplace was cost-benefit analysis.


Theodore Dalrymple gave an amazing talk at Hillsdale College in May. Here’s part of it:

I have taken the example of heroin addiction as emblematic of what, with some trepidation, I may call the dialectical relationship between the worldview of those at the bottom of society and the complementary worldview of what one might call the salvationist bureaucracy of the government. In the old Soviet Union there was a joke in which the workers would say to the party bosses, “We pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” In the case of the heroin addicts, they might say, “We pretend to be ill, and you pretend to cure us.”

One of the possible dangers or consequences of such a charade is that it creates a state of dishonest dependency on the part of the addicts. They wait for salvation as Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play; they wait for something that will never arrive, and that at least in some part of their mind they know will never arrive—but that officialdom persists in telling them will arrive someday.

Dishonest passivity and dependence combined with harmful activity becomes a pattern of life, and not just among drug addicts. I remember going into a single mother’s house one day. The house was owned by the local council; her rent was paid, and virtually everything that she owned, or that she and her children consumed, was paid for from public funds. I noticed that her back garden, which could have been pretty had she cared for it, was like a noxious rubbish heap. Why, I asked her, do you not clear it up for your children to play in? “I’ve asked the council many times to do it,” she replied. The council owned the property; it was therefore its duty to clear up the rubbish that she, the tenant, had allowed to accumulate there—and this despite what she knew to be the case, that the council would never do so! Better the rubbish should remain there than that she do what she considered to be the council’s duty. At the same time she knew perfectly well that she was capable of clearing the rubbish and had ample time to do so.

This is surely a very curious but destructive state of mind, and one that some politicians have unfortunately made it their interest to promote by promising secular salvation from relative poverty by means of redistribution. Whether by design or not, the state in England has smashed up all forms of social solidarity that are independent of it. This is not an English problem alone: In France the word solidarité, solidarity, has come to mean high taxation for redistribution by state officials to other parts of the population, which of course are neither grateful for the subventions nor find them sufficient to meet their dreams, and which are, in fact, partly responsible for their need for them in the first place. And not surprisingly, some of the money sticks to the hands of the redistributionist bureaucracy.

By a mixture of ideology and fiscal and social policies, the family has been systematically fractured and destroyed in England, at least in the lowest part of the society that, unfortunately, needs family solidarity the most. There are even, according to some researchers, fiscal and welfare incentives for parents at the lower economic reaches of society not to stay together.

Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children—usually more than one—who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide. In the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.

A hands-off government is congruent only with a conservative populace adhering to the ancient truths and winning ways of human nature.

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