Thursday, January 29, 2015

Odds and ends 1/29/2015

In the last month I’ve bought a car (because I totaled my old one), I’ve gotten married, and we’ve bought a house. It’s been a whirlwind month. Here’s to a year of new beginnings.

“But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license; though man in that state have an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself.” –John Locke

George Friedman on Europe and Islam:

Europe’s sense of nation is rooted in shared history, language, ethnicity and yes, in Christianity or its heir, secularism. Europe has no concept of the nation except for these things, and Muslims share in none of them. It is difficult to imagine another outcome save for another round of ghettoization and deportation. This is repulsive to the European sensibility now, but certainly not alien to European history. Unable to distinguish radical Muslims from other Muslims, Europe will increasingly and unintentionally move in this direction.

Bobby Jindal states the obvious and gets crucified, George Neumayr writes at the American Spectator.

CNN has been browbeating him for discussing de facto “no-go” zones in European cities that non-Muslims and police tend to avoid. Jindal’s remarks haven’t been refuted, but the media treats them as unhinged anyways and demands to know when he will “walk them back.” For the media, the existence of such places is of less alarm than that politicians would talk about them.

Over at proudly enlightened MSNBC, guest Arsalan Iftikhar said Jindal’s remarks indicate that he “might be trying to scrub some of the brown off of his skin.”

CNN and MSNBC feel empowered to gang up on Jindal now that Fox News has apologized for its reporting on no-go zones in Europe, an apology that appears excessive in one line of it: “To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either [England and France] and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”

While it is true that governments haven’t formally recognized these areas as no-go zones, plenty of credible information confirms their existence. Even if police and non-Muslims can technically go into these areas, they don’t.

But even properly qualified references to Muslim-dominated neighborhoods, as Jindal made (he never claimed the areas are formally called no-go zones), are unacceptable to the media. It intends to shut down all discussion on the subject.

This is how you suppress truth, humiliating people who speak it.

Pat Buchanan just wants to shout: “You can’t put 5 million people under surveillance!” And he’s right. But what do you do with 5 million people who want sharia, who if given the chance would vote lock-step to destroy France as we know it?

More thoughts on the civil society from the inimitable Buchanan:

The Wall Street Journal writes today, “Especially in urban America, the police walk that line between civilization and mayhem every day.” Others say that the thin blue line stands between us and anarchy.

True. But what does it say about our country that, if the police took a week off, our cities would descend into mayhem. What does it say about the character of the people upon whom our democracy depends? Would the America of the Founding Fathers have descended into mayhem or anarchy if police were not a huge and visible presence? Would the America of the 1940s or 1950s?

The failure of police in America is the failure of the multiculturalists in Europe is the failure of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. When suppression and the threat of violence becomes necessary to social order, it’s time to re-strategize, perhaps even to resegregate.

At First Things, Carl R. Trueman explains how cultural Marxism came to influence economics:

The escalation of marketplace conflict is related to the emergence of sexuality as the political issue of the day, combined with a psychologized (and thus subjective and selective) view of oppression. The result is that traditional relationships between personal beliefs and life in the public square are rapidly breaking down. The marketplace is not simply becoming more contested, as [Paul] Horwitz rightly argues; it is also expanding its prerogatives into every sphere of life. Thus, when personal religious convictions collide with the morality of this expanding marketplace, then so much the worse for religious convictions.

This expanding marketplace has not become a field of combat through government overreach so much as through the pervasive influence of the entertainment industry and social media. Twitter and sitcoms have the ability to construct the impression of overwhelming moral consensus on whatever is the issue of the day. This manufactured moral consensus then becomes a necessary precondition for participation in any aspect of the marketplace, from entertainment to education. That is why celebrity speakers feel the need to withdraw from speaking for Catholic organizations upon making the shocking discovery that they are (mirabile dictu) committed to Catholic moral teaching.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput makes a Tocquevillian observation:

Our political system presumes a civil society that pre-exists the state. It’s an idea that is already emerging in Magna Carta’s demand for recognition of the rights of the Church, and the rights of persons in their legal relations with one another and with their rulers. In the American model, the state is meant to be modest in scope. It’s constrained by checks and balances. Mediating institutions like the family, churches, and fraternal organizations feed the life of the civic community. They stand between the individual and the state. And when they decline, the state fills the vacuum they leave. So protecting these mediating institutions is vital to our freedoms. The state rarely fears individuals. Alone, individuals have little power. They can be isolated or ignored. But organized communities—including communities of faith—are a different matter. They can resist. They can’t be ignored. And that’s why they pose a problem for social engineers and an expanding state.

This should be obvious, but to some who’ve swallowed if-it-doesn’t-hurt-me-I-don’t-care, it’s not.

“People are not born pedophiles, homosexuals, necrophiles, etc. Although there are different levels of choices regarding sexuality and one’s behaviors, no one with a particular sexuality dysfunction deliberately chooses all of its dynamics.” –Alessandra

It’s telling that a young British nationalist fights Islam for the right to “be” gay, whatever that entails. We should fight Islam for the right to worship God and His Son Jesus and the gospel of forgiveness, as Trevor Thomas says:

When His disciple Thomas asked, “how can we know the way?” Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The clearest picture and purveyor of truth in the history of the universe is Jesus Christ. Thus, those who stand opposed to Him often go to great lengths in their attempts to silence His message and His messengers. Whether the arenas of Rome, the pitch-soaked flaming pyres throughout Europe, the savage altars of the Aztecs and Iroquois, the brutal prisons in communist China, Russia and North Korea, or the Islamic swords and machine-guns in the Middle East and Africa, for two millennia, millions of Christians have suffered, many “even unto death,” for their faith in Jesus and His message.

Apologist Greg Koukl, writing about the martyrdom of Polycarp, a second-century disciple of the Apostle John and bishop of Smyrna, sums up well how so many Christians have been able to happily endure their persecution. Koukl asks, “How could Polycarp go to his redemption with eagerness?” The answer: “Because he understood the truth. And the truth changed everything.”

Indeed, in spite of the vain yammerings of Barack Obama and his liberal lackeys, the only way to bring real, lasting, and positive change to individuals or a culture is with the power of Christ. This is a truth—The Truth—that many, in spite of how they paint themselves, simply cannot “tolerate.”

Lowered standards in the Services is not the only point of objection to complete female integration. Serena Williams at her peak would be at least in the top 100 of the men’s ATP rankings. At some point a high-performing woman will pass the course. That doesn’t resolve the problem of sexual attraction, which we’re led to believe doesn’t exist in barracks or on submarines. Contrary to politicians’ wishes basic training does not transform recruits into sexless angels with no desire for female intimacy.

Jill Filipovic tries to disqualify Susan Patton:

Why was Patton invited on CNN to speak as an expert about campus sexual violence? She’s not a rape crisis counselor, a researcher on sexual assault, a lawyer who takes on rape cases, or a college administrator.

Filipovic isn’t those things, either, but that doesn’t stop her.

Patton’s status as “expert” comes from the fact that she gave birth to two sons who eventually went to Princeton. She wrote a book lecturing young women about how they need to “marry smart” and find a husband ASAP (Patton does not have daughters and is divorced).

It’s imminently sensible advice, considering how women’s socioeconomic status tracks over time. An unemployed co-ed is in a better position to marry, and to marry well, than an unemployed post-grad.

“We’re talking about nothing but rape on campus, it seems like, for the last several weeks or months, but I think what makes this conversation so particularly prickly is the definition of rape,” Patton said. “It no longer is when a woman is violated at the point of a gun or knife. We’re now talking about, or identifying as rape, what really is a clumsy hookup melodrama, or a fumbled attempt at a kiss or caress.”

This isn’t the first time Patton has blamed women for getting themselves raped, and then suggested it wasn’t really rape in the first place.

Filipovic would prefer not to talk about what rape is, just as marriage redefinitionists prefer not to discuss what marriage is. Rape is whatever she makes of it to parlay female victimhood into political license to rewrite the social order that a lot of people benefit from.

Becca’s stock continues to rise, on account of her refusing to kiss Chris last week and her understated reveal of her virginity this week. Her chastity boosts the likelihood her marriage will last, making her solid wife material, the attainment of which is the bachelor’s ostensible goal. ranks her third among the remaining women going into week 5.

The best thing she could do now is snag a one-on-one date with Chris and talk about her strong relationship with her father.

Matthew Rees reviews George Gilder’s Knowledge and Power:

Businesses can succeed in two ways. They can improve upon the stock of existing goods and services, or they can offer something new and different. The second course creates more value but faces more obstacles, as Henry Ford is said to have put it: “If I had listened to my customers, I would have built a faster horse.” Steve Jobs said something similar decades later: “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Individuals like Ford and Jobs are key figures in the economic paradigm that George Gilder lays out in Knowledge and Power. He calls for an “information theory of capitalism” in which the economy is driven by a dynamic marketplace, with information widely (and freely) distributed. The most important feature of such an economy, Mr. Gilder writes, is the overthrow of “equilibrium,” and the most important actors are inventors and entrepreneurs whose breakthrough ideas are responsible for “everything useful or interesting” in commercial life.


The journey is ultimately worthwhile, however, thanks to the freshness of Mr. Gilder’s heterodox judgments. In a chapter titled “The Outsider Trading Scandal,” he documents the ways in which U.S. securities law—by prohibiting the release of materially significant information unless it is made universally available—has reduced the amount of information that is available to market participants. “This well-meaning rule,” writes Mr. Gilder, “is supposed to create a level playing field,” but a level playing field, he notes, “means no information, since information is inherently unleveling.” What's needed is the release of more inside information from companies. Such information is the “only force that makes any long-term difference in stock performance.”

Among the beneficiaries of the information lockdown, according to Mr. Gilder, are venture capitalists and private-equity investors. Knowledge and Power explores Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain & Co., where Mr. Gilder was invited to speak in the early 1980s and learn about the firm’s views of the economy. “Romney could build value for his investors because he combined the financial power of Bain with an intimate knowledge of all the companies in his portfolio. ... [H]e exploited the legality of insider knowledge for owners and aspiring owners.”

You need to read anything written by Gilder you can get your hands on.

Perhaps Orwell’s 1984 is a softer tyranny than I thought. The popular impression is it’s a study in brutal oppression (“boot stamping on a human face—forever,” Room 101, etc.), not an instance of people enfeebled by their addictions and wanton entertainment. This excerpt belies popular impression:

Films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.

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