Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Odds and ends 9/2/2015

The Kentucky clerk rejects the march of history towards Sodom and Gomorrha. You have to expect this kind of reaction, and worse, when you cram homosexuality down Americans’ throats.

Ryan T. Anderson writes:

As I explain in my new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” there are ways in which public policy can create a win-win situation: where all eligible couples can receive a license and where as many employees as possible can be accommodated.

North Carolina provides a great example. The state legislature earlier this year passed a law that protects magistrates who object to performing solemnizing ceremonies for same-sex marriages and clerks who object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. It also makes clear that no one can be denied a marriage license, but magistrates or clerks could recuse themselves from the process behind the scenes should they have sincere objections to same-sex marriage.

Again, it’s a win-win for everyone. No one loses anything.

We lose the definition of marriage! Anderson is the most eloquent traditional marriage advocate in the press. Why does he hail redefinitionists’ accommodations for tradition as a “win-win”? This compromise does nothing to prevent marriage degradation or restore the proper definition of marriage to society. It smacks of “happy warrior,” “loyal opposition” loserism, a concession to be conceded at a later date to liberals, who are never satisfied and constantly press for more.

Mona Charen puts “rape culture,” such as it is, at the sexual revolution’s feet:

College campuses, like the rest of American society today, are struggling to contain the wreckage of the sexual revolution. Neither men nor women are happy with the chaotic and utterly unromantic world they’ve inherited. It’s a culture of drunken hook-ups and “booty calls,” where traditional courtship is dead and even dating is rare.

In pop culture, in entertainment, and even in redoubts of “higher” learning, crudeness and vulgarity have become commonplace. “No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal,” shouted a bunch of Yale University undergraduates marching past women’s dorms. Our kids grow up bombarded by what feminist Ariel Levy has called “raunch culture,” just as a hormonal fire hose drenches their bodies. At the same time, a thousand spiky barriers stand in the way of mutual respect between the sexes. As for romance, it is like a transplanted tropical plant, struggling to survive in frozen soil.

Managing the transition to adulthood has never been easy or straightforward, but it is hard to think of a time when the path into the world of sex, relationships, and love has featured fewer rules or common understandings. Nor has there been a time in American history when so much of what the young are taught to prepare them for this stage is a product of ideology rather than our best understanding of the truth.

We’ve told the young that sex is “no big deal,” except for those with non-traditional inclinations, in which case, sex is their whole identity. They’ve been instructed that the crucial moral lesson they should take away from sex education is hygiene. They’ve learned that anything goes so long as both (or all) parties consent; and, most crucially, they’ve been schooled that there are no differences that matter between the sexes.

That last one especially is at the heart of the current chaos. Men have been invited to assume that women are neither more nor less sensitive than themselves when it comes to sex. Women have been encouraged to believe that engaging in casual hook ups is another step on the ladder to full equality. As the Roman poet Horace said, “You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she will still hurry back.”

The mess on college campuses is part of the larger chaos between men and women that characterizes modern America. This failure is no orphan. It can count among its fathers the sexual revolutionists and the feminists.

Equality is a lie that holds sway over male and female sexual impulses by force and cognitive dissonance. It is in men’s nature to provide for their families. The provider role unleashes sexual, capitalist energy that the bachelor can’t muster for himself. Rachel Sheffield writes in Public Discourse about the “marriage premium”:

In a 2014 report published by the American Enterprise Institute, researchers Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia and Robert Lerman of American University report that over half (51 percent) of the decrease in male employment between 1980 and 2008 (and 37 percent of the decline between 1980 and 2013) is connected to the decline in marriage. The authors note:

When young men and women replace formal commitment with informal relationships or none at all, work becomes less urgent, especially for men, who have historically taken all kinds of jobs to support their families. With no wife or children to support, men become less focused on the job market.

Wilcox and Lerman’s research shows that the greatest decline in male employment since 1979 has been among unmarried men. This trend holds true across all levels of education. The authors also point out that median family income would be 44 percent higher today if the United States had the same rate of married-parent families as in 1979.

Studies show that marriage is connected with a wage “premium” for men, and it’s not just because men with higher wages or greater earning potential are more likely to wed. Wilcox and Lerman find that married men work more hours and hence earn more on average. Married men ages 28-30 with a high school degree or less earn an average of $17,164 more annually compared to their single counterparts. Married men between 44 and 46 years of age earn an average of $28,253 more than their single peers.

Marriage is connected with higher earnings for another reason: men and women who were raised by their married parents earn more, on average. Men who are 28-30 years of age with a high school education or less earn an average of about $4,504 more annually if they were raised in a married-parent family.

As unwed childbearing has increased, more children are raised without fathers. While both boys and girls are at higher risk for negative outcomes when raised outside of an intact family, research indicates that father absence puts boys at greater risk than girls for lower educational achievement—and thus, lower earning potential.

I can personally attest to this. I was perfectly content with my bachelor’s wages and my low-demand job until I wanted to get married. Then, I knew, I needed to get serious, I needed to compete for higher wages to support the family I’d always wanted, since I had found the woman I wanted to start it with. I wrote 2 years ago:

Possessing a fortune or not, inscribed on man’s soul is the desire to make some woman his wife. There is no stronger impulse than to risk his sexual capital, large or small, for marriage, except perhaps the impulse to avoid that risk, to cling to himself rather than to his wife.

George Gilder concurs. From Wealth and Poverty:

Divorced, separated, and single men of all races worked 20 percent fewer hours than married men, and even Ruth the same age and credentials bachelors earned less than 60 percent as much money as husbands and about the same amounts as single women.


Civilized society is dependent upon the submission of the short-term sexuality of young men to the extended maternal horizons of women. This is what happens in monogamous marriage; the man disciplines his sexuality and extends it into the future through the womb of a woman. The woman gives him access to his children, otherwise forever denied him; and he gives her the product of his labor, otherwise dissipated in temporary pleasures. The woman gives him a unique link to the future and a vision of it; he gives her faithfulness and a commitment to a lifetime of hard work. If work effort is the first principle of overcoming poverty, marriage is the prime source of upwardly mobile work.

Finally, Sheffield drops this, which bears repeating:

The spread of birth control and the legalization of abortion attempted to disconnect sex from childbearing. It ended up disconnecting childbearing from marriage, weakening men’s responsibility as fathers. As Brookings Institution scholars George Akerlof and Janet L. Yellen put it, “By making the birth of the child the physical choice of the mother, the sexual revolution has made marriage and child support a social choice of the father.”

Every other day in the fall could commemorate a hurricane event from the last hundred years. The caseworker’s dream of New Orleans, a cesspool of broken economics and families before Katrina swept through, returning the sub-sea level city to the bayou, figures prominently in these retrospectives. There have been a few retrospectives on 2011’s Irene, too. Why should Katrina victims get all the attention?

Irene caused a lot of flooding in New England, but it was a dud in the Mid-Atlantic. The day after my doofus governor, Martin O’Malley, declared a state of emergency, I left work early and went for a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The storm hadn’t reached shore yet and you couldn’t tell from the local weather that a hurricane was approaching. I stopped at a Barnes & Noble going-out-of-business sale in Warrenton, Virginia, on the way home, and the only excitement was over great deals on hardcover books.

I slept in the next day and watched this “hurricane” out the living room window. Peak winds in Baltimore registered a meager 30 miles per hour. I heard on the radio hardware stores explaining they were not accepting returns on power generators bought in the panic of the prior week. People had strapped themselves financially to be prepared for disaster, then found themselves financially unprepared for the non-disaster that virtually no one predicted.

Since then I’ve been skeptical of hurricanes. I’m probably due a correction in my thinking, just like the last 10 years corrected post-Katrina over-preparedness.

Of things young men are “vulnerable” to, their salvation in Christ is not one of them. reports:

An atheist group is demanding that publicly funded universities take immediate steps to bar Christian coaches and chaplains from “converting football fields into mission fields.“

“The words of coaches and chaplains make clear that their purpose is to instill Christianity in vulnerable young men,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) says in a new report, titled “Pray to Play.”

“Public universities and their employees cannot endorse, promote, or favor religion,” the report states. “Yet, many football coaches at public universities bring in chaplains—often from their own church or even members of their own family—to prey on and pray with students, with no regard for the rights of those students or the Constitution.”

Laugh or cry.

This comes as a surprise. I didn’t know the Federal Reserve was actively maintaining their portfolio by rebuying maturing securities. The New York Times reported in June 2014:

The Fed is gradually curtailing the expansion of its enormous portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage bonds, from $85 billion a month last year to $35 billion a month starting in July. It plans to end the expansion by the end of the year.

At the same time, however, the Fed reinvests billions of dollars from maturing securities—about $16 billion each month this year—to maintain the size of its holdings.

The Fed once planned to stop reinvesting, allowing its holdings to dwindle, soon after it ended the expansion of the portfolio. In 2011, the Fed said this would be its first signal that it was winding down the stimulus campaign. But there is growing support among Fed officials to preserve the portfolio’s size instead.

My research confirms this. The Fed held the exact same amount in Treasury debt, $2,462 billion, on August 19, 2015 as the day QE ended, October 29, 2014. They’re rebuying maturing debt.

Raul Ilargi Meijer comments on the market correction at ZeroHedge:

More QE is not an answer. And there is no other answer left either. Those tens of trillions will need to vanish from the global economy before any market can be returned to a functioning one, and by that time of course asset prices will be fraction of what they are now. It may not happen today, but that doesn’t matter: what’s important to know is that it WILL happen.

And if you keep being out there trying to outsmart a non-functioning market, you’ll get burned as badly as the millions of Chinese grandmas who already lost 20%+ so far just this month. And that’s just on their share holdings; Chinese property ‘markets’ will be at least as badly burned.

China’s leaders, and its people, have walked eyes wide open into an ugly albeit nigh perfect trap. They’ve all started to believe that borrowing more could make them richer. Outstanding credit across the entire society has reached idiotic proportions. We can get somewhat of a glance at what levels debt have reached in Steve Keen’s “Is This The Great Crash Of China?”, in which he argues that a crash is inevitable, simply given those levels.


Today may be just a warning sign, and it may take a while longer before the deluge, but it will come. And since China has nothing left to fall back on but even higher private and public debt levels, make that sooner rather than later.

The main advice we’ve always given with regards to debt deleveraging stands: get out of debt.

Meanwhile, the western financial press, which has been reporting on non-functioning markets for years as if they actually were still functioning, is worrying about a potential Fed rate hike, telling its readers and listeners that the US central bank ‘looks set to make a dangerous mistake’. But the real ‘mistake’ was made a long time ago.

Peter Schiff comments:

As I have been saying for years, the Fed has always known that the fragile economy created through stimulus might prove unable to survive even the most marginal of rate increases. But in order to instill confidence in the markets, it has pretended that it could. Wall Street has largely played along in the charade, insisting that rate increases were justified by an apparently strengthening economy and needed to restore normalcy to the financial markets.


If the Fed were to do what it pretends it wants to do (embark on a tightening campaign that brings rates to about 2.0% in 18 months), and in the process ignore the carnage on Wall Street, I believe we would see a consistent sell off in which most of the gains made since 2009 would be surrendered. After all, how much of those gains came from bona fide improvements in the economy? It was all about the twin props of Quantitative Easing and zero percent interest rates. The Fed has already removed one of the props, and it's no accident that the markets have gained no ground whatsoever in the eight months since the QE program was officially wound down.

As the market considers a world without the second prop, a free fall could ensue. Now that we have broken through the October 2014 lows, there is very little technical support that should come in to play. A free fall in stocks could be an existential threat to an already weak economy. It should be clear the Janet Yellen-controlled Fed would not want to risk such a scenario. This is why I believe that if the sharp sell off in stocks continues, we will get a clear signal that rate hikes are off the table.

Thus preserving the “recovery” which is speculation and bubbles in collective disguise. In my opinion, the Fed should hike rates even if stocks lose another 10 percent. They must let the market correct. And the money thus far retained from the liquidation won’t all be saved. It’ll be spent, driving up money velocity and inflation.

Murray Rothbard on the economic function of recession and depression:

What is seldom realized is that depressions, despite their evident hardship on so many, perform an important corrective function. They serve to eliminate the distortions introduced into the economy by an inflationary boom. When the boom is over, the many distortions that have entered the system become clear: prices and wage rates have been driven too high, and much unsound investment has taken place, particularly in capital-goods industries.

The recession or depression serves to lower the swollen prices and to liquidate the unsound and uneconomic investments; it directs resources into those areas and industries that will most-effectively serve consumer demands — and were not allowed to do so during the artificial boom. Workers previously misdirected into uneconomic production, unstable at best, will, as the economy corrects itself, end up in more secure and productive employment.

Twitter user, libertarian, and Episcopal @ScotsFyre defenestrated all the Torah law to defend her position on accepting homosexuality. She implied my position against sin is an interpretation, then she said I’m judgy, which reveals her true feelings that my view is no difference of opinion, but rather a bastardization of scripture. Show me the chapter and verse where the church fathers left so important a matter as sexual sin up for debate. You can’t, because Jesus’ teaching was explicit.

@Scotsfyre was defending atheist libertarian David Harsanyi, whom I had attacked for a pusillanimous article in the Federalist, a belated recognition that he made common cause with totalitarians to redefine marriage. There’s a reason the libertarian atheist agrees with the liberals, dear Episcopal. Do you expect someone starting from a position other than the divinity of Christ to reach the same conclusions as if he did start from that position?

Anyway, here’s a 5 year-old article from First Things by Jeremy Pierce to settle the “what about shellfish” red herring:

There’s a particularly bad argument against those who accept the biblical prohibitions against same-sex sexual acts, and I think I’ve just realized something new about the argument. The Torah prohibitions on male-male sex acts are declared to be an abomination. There are those who want to reconsider how to interpret the biblical texts who want to minimize this statement. They point to the fact that eating shellfish is also an abomination in the Torah, which means it can’t be all that bad to be an abomination in the Torah.

Anyone who has thought for a little bit about the relation Christians see between the Mosaic law and the New Testament should see through such an argument, because the New Testament explicitly affirms the judgment of male-male and female-female sexual relations as bad while explicitly rejecting the dietary laws that the ban on eating shellfish was a part of. So that objection is pretty naive. Any Christian interpretive grid that seeks to minimize the Torah prohibition on same-sex sex acts can’t do so merely because we nowadays think it’s all right to eat shellfish, because there’s explicit allowance of that in the New Testament and explicit continuance of the harsh language about same-sex sex acts.

What occurred to me today, when reading Christopher Wright’s discussion of Deuteronomy 25, is that there’s a further problem with this objection. It’s not that the occurrence of eating shellfish lowers the negative judgment on homosexuality because an innocent enough act gets called an abomination. It’s the evil of eating shellfish and the other things that fall under this same term that go way up, and that includes the example Wright discusses from Deuteronomy 25 (cheating people in commercial ventures). Eating shellfish in the covenant context of God’s people called together to be separate from their neighbors is tantamount to deciding for yourself what you think God’s standards should have been when he instituted the dietary laws. We can’t read our acceptance of shellfish-eating into how serious eating shellfish would have been taken among those at the time.

The dietary laws were an important distinguishing feature of how Israel was to live in contrast to those around them. It reflected both abandonment of pagan worship practices and an affirmation of the things in nature that, in the Mosaic covenant, represented wholeness and unity among God’s people. It’s easy to lose sight of how serious it is to reject that when you think about how easily Christians eat shellfish today. It’s a complete misunderstanding of the cultural, indeed covenant, context of the Torah to think that the inclusion of shellfish as an abomination makes abominations not very serious.

Those who continue to hold to a high view of scripture, including the Torah, aren’t going to be able to dismiss the Torah pronouncements against abominations as easily as pointing out that we all eat shellfish now and don’t consider it an abomination. Any Christian does consider it an abomination to do something with the import of what eating shellfish would have been in that context. We just rightly don’t think eating shellfish in our context would have the same import. So any reconciliation of the prevailing secular view of homosexuality of our day with a high view of Christian scripture is going to have to look elsewhere. I don’t think it’s all that plausible that we should lessen how serious we take the Torah prohibitions on what it calls abominations to be just because it’s called an abomination to eat shellfish. We should instead increase our sense of the horror an ancient Hebrew would have had at the idea of eating shellfish.

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