Thursday, May 14, 2015

Odds and ends 5/14/2015

Some good commentary here about “turning the other cheek.”

George Neumayr erupts in a classic, must-read piece on same-sex marriage. Here it is in its entirety:

What Justice Kennedy regards as liberty, America’s founding fathers considered license. Casting license as liberty increasingly defines modern America, as it hurtles toward the full embrace of all things unnatural.

The founding fathers saw liberty as a gift from God, with limits set by God. For Justice Kennedy, willful man, not God, determines liberty. Whatever humans deem liberty, no matter how obviously it repudiates God’s order of creation, is liberty. Kennedy spelled this out in his famous description of abortion rights.

“These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the 14th Amendment,” he wrote. “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the state.”

The radical relativism contained in this passage continues to unfold, driving out of almost all discussions in modern America any notion of a God-based concept of liberty. In the absence of that understanding, the Supreme Court will inevitably endorse a constitutional right to gay marriage.

What God and the states have joined together in marriage, activist justices are eager to put asunder. At this week’s Supreme Court hearing on the question of the constitutionality of gay marriage, it appears that no one asked if Kennedy’s understanding of the 14th Amendment was actually shared by the authors of that amendment.

In a spirit of faux-objectivity, justices, including Kennedy, did ask advocates for gay marriage on Tuesday why the court should overturn a definition of marriage accepted by mankind for thousands of years. But given that these same justices have had no problem ignoring tradition on other issues such as abortion, those questions don’t indicate much. Kennedy, in previous rulings, has said that tradition should give way to claims of modern enlightenment.

One would think justices asked to assess the constitutionality of a national right to gay marriage might focus their questions on the views of the authors of the Constitution. But that’s a subject they wish to avoid, since it is so abundantly clear that the founding fathers never intended to deprive the people of the right to pass laws in accordance with God’s will. They would have considered a judicial denial of that right to be straightforward evidence of tyranny and a justification for the formation of a new government.

Homosexual activists claim overwhelming popularity for gay marriage, even as they rely upon judges to do what they can’t achieve democratically. These activists are not confident enough in the public’s support to pursue a constitutional amendment in favor of gay marriage. They know it would fail. So they need Kennedy and company to find gay marriage in the penumbras of the Constitution.

And they will. After the court declared the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, Justice Scalia predicted that Kennedy and company would apply the same reasoning to all state bans on gay marriage:

“It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here — when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will ‘confine’ the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.”

The justices appear to have concluded that that moment has arrived. They fear the backlash of opponents of gay marriage far less than the wrath of an impatient liberal elite, which can’t rest until all of God’s commandments have been shattered.

Justice Kennedy’s America is coming to pass, with the natural law replaced by man-centered delusions. Progress in it, from the reverential coverage of Bruce Jenner’s “journey” toward self-mutilation to the endless euphoria about gay marriage, is measured not by respect for God-ordained realities but by contempt for them. A Supreme Court ruling that dignifies all of this as “liberty” will not make the nihilism underneath it any less destructive.

David French sees the end game:

As the French revolutionaries learned, you can’t replace something with nothing. Thus, the revolutionary ideals themselves must be rendered sacred. In France, that meant the Cult of Reason or—if you weren’t willing to kick faith entirely to the curb—the Cult of the Supreme Being. Here, we’ve created the Cult of Sexual Autonomy, and this is its statement of faith from Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote in Obergefell: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

A note on technocratic reproduction from Jean Lloyd at Public Discourse:

As Katie Davis has put it, “Adoption is a redemptive response to tragedy that happens in this broken world.” It is a tragedy for any child to be separated from his or her biological family, the father and mother that are the source of that child’s being. Overall, adopted children have more difficulties than children raised by their biological families, even in married mother-father scenarios such as mine. Adoption serves to provide what was lost or not possible where there has sadly been a disruption of the natural family order.

But in cases like that of the “father” described above, the loss of a mother is not viewed as a tragedy at all. Rather, this motherlessness is deliberately sought; it is viewed as a triumph of technology to be celebrated. Who can deny that the child is being viewed only from the perspective of the adults’ wishes? No one considers the rights of the child who is deliberately deprived of the love of a mother.

Jack from Manhattan astutely observes progressives’ totalitarian annexation of the family:

Baltimore leads the nation insofar as using government as an instrument of social engineering. There’s a social program for every problem, real and imagined, in Baltimore, but as we all know, government programs are at the base of the decay. Social programs are designed to be the daddy to too many urban youth, who subsequently don’t know how to act because the father-figure, whose job it is to lay down discipline isn’t there.

And that is at the root of our social ills, the breakdown of the nuclear family. Correction: it’s not so much a breakdown as it is a systematic takedown of the nuclear family as designed by the American Left. The Democrat Party is the vehicle for statism in this country and the nuclear family is the last bulwark against statism.

Children who come out of families with both mom and dad present are less likely to end up on welfare, in jail, or plagued with other social pathologies that in the modern era are a drain on the taxpayers. Democrats needed to dissolve traditional familial ties so they could replace biological parents with their own ideas. It’s a subversion of all that is good and healthy for society to aggrandize those who think of themselves as morally and intellectually superior to everyone else.

Suzanne Venker asks and answers:

Why are men here and abroad avoiding the altar in spades?

1. Because they can: Men used to marry to have sex and a family. They married for love, too, but they had to marry the girl before taking her to bed, or at least work really, really hard to wear her down. Those days are gone.

When more women make themselves sexually available, the pool of marriageable men diminishes. “In a world where women do not say no, the man is never forced to settle down and make serious choices,” writes George Gilder, author of Men and Marriage.

Scoff if you wish. Call me a fuddy-duddy. But how’s that new plan working out?

2. Because there’s nothing in it for them: What exactly does marriage offer men today? “Men know there’s a good chance they’ll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and—if it all goes wrong—their family,” says Helen Smith, Ph.D., author of Men on Strike. “They don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over. Men aren’t wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment phobes. They’re being smart.”

Unlike women, men lose all power after they say “I do.” Their masculinity dies, too.

What’s left of it, that is. In the span of just a few decades, America has demoted men from respected providers and protectors of the family to superfluous buffoons. Today’s sitcoms and commercials routinely paint a portrait of the idiot husband whose wife is smarter and more capable than he.

There was a time when wives respected their husbands. There was a time when wives took care of their husbands as they expected their husbands to take care of them.

Or perhaps therein lies the rub. If women no longer expect or even want men to “take care of” them—since women can do everything men can do and better, thank you very much, feminism—perhaps the flipside is the assumption that women don’t need to take care of husbands, either. And if no one’s taking care of anyone, why the hell marry?

Because what goes for some people does not go for all. Buck the trend. Be the exception.

Vox Day comments:

Feminism has a) eliminated any need for ALPHA males to marry, b) significantly reduced the desirability of marriage for all men, and c) reduced the ability of non-ALPHA males to marry women congruent with their socio-sexual rank.

What it has predictably created is a quasi-harem situation where ALPHA males maintain stables of women over time who have sex with them instead of settling down to married life with lesser males until they are too old to be of interest to the ALPHAs.

Jeremy Warner sounds the alarm bells on our debt-addled growth miasma in the UK Telegraph:

Here’s an astonishing statistic; more than 30pc of all government debt in the eurozone—around €2 trillion of securities in total—is trading on a negative interest rate.

With the advent of European Central Bank quantitative easing, what began four months ago when 10-year Swiss yields turned negative for the first time has snowballed into a veritable avalanche of negative rates across European government bond markets. In the hunt for apparently “safe assets,” investors have thrown caution to the wind, and collectively determined to pay governments for the privilege of lending to them.

On a country by country basis, the statistics are even more startling. According to investment bank Jefferies, some 70pc of all German bunds now trade on a negative yield. In France, it’s 50pc, and even in Spain, which was widely thought insolvent only a few years ago, it’s 17pc.

Not only has this never happened before on such a scale, but it marks a scarcely believable turnaround on the situation at the height of the eurozone crisis just a little while back, when some European bond markets traded on yields that reflected the very real possibility of default. Yet far from being a welcome sign of returning economic confidence, this almost surreal state of affairs actually signals the very reverse. How did we get here, and what does it mean for the future? Whichever way you come at it, the answer to this second question is not good, not good at all.

What makes today’s negative interest rate environment so worrying is this; to the extent that demand is growing at all in the world economy, it seems again to be almost entirely dependent on rising levels of debt. The financial crisis was meant to have exploded the credit bubble once and for all, but there’s very little sign of it. Rising public indebtedness has taken over where households and companies left off. And in terms of wider credit expansion, emerging markets have simply replaced Western ones. The wake-up call of the financial crisis has gone largely unheeded.

The combined public debt of the G7 economies alone has grown by close to 40 percentage points to around 120pc of GDP since the start of the crisis, while globally, the total debt of private non-financial sectors has risen by 30pc, far in advance of economic growth.

This article in The Hill is great for pointing out Ben Bernanke’s lunacy and his passive-aggressive defense of QE, but this statistic is great by itself:

Before the Dodd-Frank bank regulation law passed in 2010, an average of more than 100 new banks opened each year; in the five years since 2010, only one new bank has opened.

Liberal scrooges have turned America into Pottersville.

The time is right to dust off this 2013 Bloomberg article, “Big-bank regulator targets the little guy.”

The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman joins the chorus of people calling for the NBA to change a rule that allows teams to take advantage of an opponent’s poor free-throw shooting:

With both coaches in this series having tried the strategy and failed, perhaps when they face off in Game 5 on Tuesday the contest can involve more basketball and fewer free throws.

Except intentional fouling wasn’t the reason the Rockets lost game 4 to the Clippers. They lost because of their 21 team turnovers and their poor shooting (41 percent).

The Spurs employed the Hack-a-Shaq strategy against the Clippers frequently in the first round, but it proved to not be the deciding factor. DeAndre Jordan missed an equal amount of free throws (6.7 per game) in Spurs wins as he did in Clippers wins (6.3 per game). The Spurs lost because they made fewer shots than the Clippers down the stretch. In games 4, 5, 6, and 7, the Spurs shot 45 percent to the Clippers’ 50 percent. (Turnovers were a wash.) Not surprisingly, opposing teams would rather live with DeAndre Jordan’s 42 percent free-throw rate than the Clippers’ excellent team shooting.

Like Shaquille O’Neal, DeAndre Jordan is a very good center who misses a lot of free throws. Unlike Shaq, Jordan’s team hasn’t been good enough to win a championship despite their fatal flaw. Yet. They could win it this year if they continue to shoot well.

What Hoffman implies by “more basketball and fewer free throws” is that free throws aren’t a fundamental part of the game, and that intentional fouling isn’t a legitimate strategy. But the strategy wouldn’t exist if free-throw shooting wasn’t an obvious flaw in Jordan’s game. Every team has flaws that opponents try to exploit. Changing the rule would give the worst free-throw shooting teams a competitive advantage. If no one can force Jordan to the line, he would be invincible on the court.

Listen to a real basketball mind, Gregg Popovich, break it down:

“There will be a lot of discussion about the fouling, as there should be. But principle-wise, I feel really strongly that it’s a tactic that can be used. If someone can’t shoot free throws, that’s their problem. As I’ve said before, if we’re not allowed to do something to take advantage of a team’s weakness, a trade should be made before each game. ‘We won’t foul your guy, but you promise not to block any of our shots.’ Or, ‘We won’t foul your guy, and you allow us to shoot all uncontested shots.’

“So we’d have to make a trade. On an intellectual or principle basis, I think you’re on high ground. Now, visual-wise, it’s awful. It couldn’t be worse. I tend to side on the principle side where it’s basketball, and if we have a guy who can’t shoot and it’s an important part of the game, I should probably get him off the court. We’ll see how it comes out. I’m sure the way it looks will be discussed very seriously by the league.”

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