Monday, August 24, 2015

Odds and ends 8/24/2015

Robert Weissberg gets us back on track:

This hodgepodge is a recipe for electoral disaster but far worse, the scattershot approach can only detract from the deeper problem we now face: radical egalitarianism, and it is that ideological disease, not ephemera like treating all people with respect (Kasich on same-sex marriage) is what self-defined conservatives should be addressing.

Radical egalitarianism asserts that people of different backgrounds possess equal ability and in an ideal world, there should be no differences in accomplishment. And if such variations exist, they, almost by definition, result from discrimination, racism, stereotypes, and similarly reversible evils. Thus, the medical staff at a top hospital is supposed to look like a cross section of America and, since this Utopian outcome rarely occurs, it is up to a coercive government to bring it about.

The bad news is that radical egalitarianism is metastasizing and the damage inflicted far outweighs anything the 17 GOP candidates mention, including Trump’s horror stories of criminal illegals.

Radical egalitarianism is easily detected. As Soviet apparatchiks had their specialized vocabulary (e.g., false consciousness) American egalitarians have theirs. Be on the lookout for gaps, as in the gap between whites and blacks in home ownership. Then there are ceilings, the most famous being the glass ceiling that prevents women from occupying the top rungs of industry. Add tests to sort out abilities that egalitarians denounce as “barriers” as if testing for physical strength is a ruse to hinder women from becoming firefighters. But, of all the tip-off words, the most revealing is diversity as in “diversity is our strength,” a sure sign that racial/gender quotas are on the way.

Wisdom is the true ends of knowledge. Control is the progressive ends of knowledge.


Andrew Levinson channels Pope Paul VI in an excellent article on sexual nature and the sexual revolution:

Most of us take atomistic individualism for granted, in contrast to the ancient understanding of man as the political animal. “Who are you to say what two consenting adults can and cannot do in private?” is taken to be an unanswerable rejoinder to traditional understandings of sex and marriage. Sex seldom remains a purely private affair, especially in the era of social media. Among other things, sex can lead to love, marriage, hate, murder, children, disease, happy homes, broken homes, social cohesion and social disintegration.

As Pope Paul described it:

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

In other words, marriage was once considered a more public institution than it is today, not through legislation but through social convention. Young men were incentivized to make themselves good husband material if they wanted sex and children. Young women were encouraged to remain chaste and marry young. Divorce was unthinkable for our great-grandparents. Then, as now, women were much more ruthless about slut shaming than men.

Above all, marriage was ordered toward children:

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.

In paragraph 17, Pope Paul predicts the consequences of the contraceptive mentality:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Players and sluts ye shall always have with you, but the world now incentivizes us to be this way. Men must constantly perform or else their unhaaaappy wives will blow up the marriage for cash and prizes. That is, if men choose to marry at all. Fewer do, and in all honesty, I can hardly blame them. Why should they? If they want sex, they can find plenty of willing ladies provided they have even a modicum of game, and they won’t have to risk losing their homes, their jobs, their children, and their sanity in the divorce grinder.

Women too have grown to devalue men. Would the carousel exist to the extent that it does if it weren’t for the pill? If they can have consequence-free sex, then they will pursue the apex alphas and ditch the frustrated betas who were the good husbands and providers of yesteryear. Women are more exquisitely sensitive to social pressure than men, and the social cues that existed in our great-grandparents day aren’t there anymore.

The key here is that artificial contraception radically separated marriage and sex from child rearing. Marriage used to be a recognized public institution that carried with it certain legal and social obligations to which the couple was expected to conform. If children are removed from the occasion, then marriage becomes all about romantic feelings.

If marriage is nothing but a public declaration of romantic feelings, then two consequences follow: if the feelings go away, that’s a legitimate reason to end the marriage; and if sodomites have romantic feelings for each other, then what reason do we have to exclude them from marriage?


Part of the war on men is the decision whether to have the child is exclusively hers. Michael Bargo, Jr. touches on this in his piece cataloging the war on men’s reproductive rights. I’m not being ironic when I say that. Bargo, Jr. writes:

Men have no reproductive rights with regard to saving the life of their child from abortion. The plain fact is if a woman becomes pregnant the right to abort is hers alone. The man involved, even the husband, has no legally enforceable right to prevent the abortion. This is particularly painful for men who, during courtship, told their fiancé they wanted to have a family.

Elizabeth Price Foley notices the Republican establishment’s fecklessness and hypocrisy:

They are now taking the position that deporting illegal immigrants is wrong. Oh, how the establishment loves to talk tough on immigration when it suits its purposes of ginning up conservatives on election day. But when a candidate comes along who actually wants to do something about the issue—and isn’t afraid to defy political correctness to do so—the GOP establishment suddenly cries foul, and brands him a fool, dictator, or police state zealot. The necessary implication is that the GOP establishment is all hat, no cattle on immigration.

Pat Buchanan calls this the issue of the century:

The six-page policy paper, to secure America’s border and send back aliens here illegally, released by Trump last weekend, is the toughest, most comprehensive, stunning immigration proposal of the election cycle.

The Trump folks were aided by people around Sen. Jeff Sessions who says Trump’s plan “reestablishes the principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”

The issue is joined, the battle lines are drawn, and the GOP will debate and may decide which way America shall go. And the basic issues—how to secure our borders, whether to repatriate the millions here illegally, whether to declare a moratorium on immigration into the USA—are part of a greater question.

Will the West endure, or disappear by the century’s end as another lost civilization? Mass immigration, if it continues, will be more decisive in deciding the fate of the West than Islamist terrorism. For the world is invading the West.


Who are these “some” who think San Antonio should legalize prostitution?

This week’s arrest of a San Antonio man who preyed upon college-age women is just the latest prostitution bust in Texas, but now some are wondering if it's time to end the war on working women.

“States have an obligation to ensure that sex workers are protected from exploitation and can use criminal law to address acts of exploitation,” human rights group Amnesty International writes.

The idea is that, when you take away the fear of being arrested, women are more likely to report abuse and seek health care. But groups that work with victims of human trafficking believe this would do more harm than good.

“If you decriminalize prostitution, you’re giving traffickers more ammunition and more fuel,” Kim Van Hooser tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

The founder of the group Ransomed Life says the way that traffickers get control of women is through blackmail. They threaten to expose the sex work to friends and family if they try to escape. And for that reason, she says decriminalization will not work, because there is still the fear factor.

“You can’t decriminalize prostitution without going after the demand,” she explains.

That’s true. Men would turn to Ashley Madison or online porn to fill their need. There are lots of sources to sate lust and loneliness. Anti-prostitution laws exist to protect women. The fringe benefits of prostitution include disease, abuse, drugs, and pregnancy.


Esther Goldberg writes the best article on the conservative thinking set’s consternation over Donald Trump that I’ve read, via the American Spectator:

The problem for Ruling Class Conservatives like Will and Cooke, is that the Left has emasculated them. They tremble lest they let slip a faux pas that the Left can jump upon. They must at all times show that their Conservatism is “intellectually respectable and politically palatable,” and worry that Trump will make them look bad to the Liberals and their media. They are unable to grasp the fact that, notwithstanding all their efforts, the Left will never regard them as respectable and palatable. To achieve that goal, they must first become Liberals themselves.

Trump makes it clear that he doesn’t give a damn what Liberals think of us. And everyday people of all political persuasions applaud when he stands up to the self-important elitist media, just as they did with Newt Gingrich in 2012. It’s time for the Right to man-up.


Jesse Colombo writes in the Fiscal Times about current market conditions and Fed futility:

Along with the persistent selloff in China and a collapse in commodity prices that has dropped crude oil below $41 a barrel for the first time since 2009, this suggests a sea change could be underway. Investors could be realizing that more cheap money stimulus isn’t coming... or isn’t going to work this time. If so, the long-term uptrend that has held stocks aloft since late 2011 is at risk, as shown above.

Indeed, a recent research paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that after six years of quantitative easing that swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion, the policy “has been ineffective in increasing inflation” and only seems to have boosted stock prices. Moreover, the policy could’ve very well driven the inequality gap noted by so many.

Correct.


There’s a lot of hot air in this Texas Monthly article bemoaning “partisanship” in expanding pre-K in Texas. Here’s the issue in a nutshell: Public education doesn’t work on the scale that its proponents need it to work. The problem is children not having family that supports their education. The fix isn’t getting kids into school earlier, it’s making sure children have a mom and dad who care that their kids learn something.


“No such thing as ‘equality’ has ever existed in the history of human civilization, nor will any measure endorsed by the Left bring about ‘equality’ in the future. The insistent demand for ‘equality’ is nothing more than a pretext for political aggression that the Left uses to gain power by pandering to those who hope to gain some advantage from the enactment of radical egalitarian policies.” – Robert Stacy McCain
“Any organization which is invaded by SJWs and directed towards social justice goals loses its ability to perform its primary function as a direct consequence of its new SJW-imposed priorities.” –Vox Day

This old First Things article sets the record straight on the Crusades:

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it “nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public.” There is the great Sir Steven Runciman, whose three-volume History of the Crusades is still a brisk seller for Cambridge University Press a half century after its release. It was Runciman who called the Crusades “a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost.” The pity of it is that Runciman and the other popular writers simply write better stories than the professional historians.

So we continue to write our scholarly books and articles, learning more and more about the Crusades but scarcely able to be heard. And when we are heard, we are dismissed as daft. I once asked Riley-Smith if he believed popular perceptions of the Crusades would ever be changed by modern scholarship. “I’ve just about given up hope,” he answered. In his new book he notes that in the last thirty years historians have begun to reject “the long-held belief that it [the Crusade movement] was defined solely by its theaters of operation in the Levant and its hostility toward Islam—with the consequence that in their eyes the Muslims move slightly off center stage—and many of them have begun to face up to the ideas and motivation of the Crusaders. The more they do so the more they find themselves contra mundum or, at least, contra mundum Christianum.”

One of the most profound misconceptions about the Crusades is that they represented a perversion of a religion whose founder preached meekness, love of enemies, and nonresistance. Riley-Smith reminds his reader that on the matter of violence Christ was not as clear as pacifists like to think. He praised the faith of the Roman centurion but did not condemn his profession. At the Last Supper he told his disciples, “Let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors.”

St. Paul said of secular authorities, “He does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” Several centuries later, St. Augustine articulated a Christian approach to just war, one in which legitimate authorities could use violence to halt or avert a greater evil. It must be a defensive war, in reaction to an act of aggression. For Christians, therefore, violence was ethically neutral, since it could be employed either for evil or against it. As Riley-Smith notes, the concept that violence is intrinsically evil belongs solely to the modern world. It is not Christian.

All the Crusades met the criteria of just wars. They came about in reaction attacks against Christians or their Church. The First Crusade was called in 1095 in response to the recent Turkish conquest of Christian Asia Minor, as well as the much earlier Arab conquest of the Christian-held Holy Land. The second was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Edessa in 1144. The third was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and most other Christian lands in the Levant in 1187.

In each case, the faithful went to war to defend Christians, to punish the attackers, and to right terrible wrongs. As Riley-Smith has written elsewhere, crusading was seen as an act of love—specifically the love of God and the love of neighbor. By pushing back Muslim aggression and restoring Eastern Christianity, the Crusaders were—at great peril to themselves—imitating the Good Samaritan. Or, as Innocent II told the Knights Templar, “You carry out in deeds the words of the gospel, ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’”


For the third time in 3 years, I’m trying to read Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder. The problem with Gilder is that he packs so much brilliance and insight into each chapter that I need frequent breaks to appreciate what I just read, hence my two failed attempts to even get halfway through this dense tome. The paradigm of selfless giving in supply-side economics that he describes in chapter 3 has influenced me tremendously.

Gilder’s exposition of the other-centered creativity of producers as the basis for non-entropic growth in wealth echoes James:

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. (James 3:17)

The greater the gift, the greater the growth. God gave His Son, the greatest gift, to His chosen people so that we may grow into Him and flourish. I don’t think this conflation of the fruits of faith with Gilder’s extolling of giving is inapt. The faith and good works of the Christian are founded on the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Paul writes:

Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Colossians 1:5-6)

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