Saturday, October 10, 2015

Odds and ends 10/10/2015

“Within the frame of Modernist schemes of development, Revelation and the Dogmas of the Church are merely historically conditioned transitional stages at the end of which stands the self-divinization of man. The Revelation in Christ and its heretofore history would only be a preparatory stage for an understanding of God, world, and church in which man himself is subject and object of the Revelation at the same time.” –Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Here’s a double dose of Mark Steyn, because a single dose of my favorite Canadian pundit is never enough. First, he sounds off on a report that illegal immigrants are represented in the electoral college. Since it’s not the people, but states’ representatives in the electoral college, who elect presidents, illegal immigrants effectively add to the votes of the majority in their states. Read:

On Tuesday night I joined Sean Hannity on Fox News to check the state of the Republican race, and a certain structural advantage the Democrats have. Most people are aware that the President is elected not by the popular vote but by the votes in the Electoral College. And most people are also aware that the more densely populated states have more electoral votes than smaller states: California has 55 votes, Vermont has three.

But most Americans, I would wager, assume that those proportions are based on the number of citizens in each state. Not so. As Politico reports, each state’s share of the Electoral College votes is calculated by using the “whole number of persons in each state”—including those who shouldn’t be there. So the more illegal immigrants you have in your state, the greater the votes you have in the Electoral College. Thus, the armies of the undocumented don't need “a pathway to citizenship” in order to change election results—or, as Politico's headline puts it, “Illegal Immigrants Could Elect Hillary”:

This math gives strongly Democratic states an unfair edge in the Electoral College. Using citizen-only population statistics, American University scholar Leonard Steinhorn projects California would lose five House seats and therefore five electoral votes. New York and Washington would lose one seat, and thus one electoral vote apiece. These three states, which have voted overwhelming for Democrats over the latest six presidential elections, would lose seven electoral votes altogether.

So, as I said to Sean, California’s illegal immigrants have a greater representation (five votes) in the Electoral College than my entire state (New Hampshire’s four votes). Which seems a very perverse system.

So Democrats don’t need to nurse illegals through to citizenship; simply moving them into California and other blue states bulks up the Electoral College math in their favor.

California can have all the illegal immigrants for all I care, as long as they don’t come here.

Seriously, though, what the hell?

Secondly, Steyn on Obama’s no good, horrible UN address:

Obama’s just mailing in a Hallmark greetings card for Happy Geostrategic Analysis Day: “You can jail your opponents, but you can’t imprison ideas.” Whichever overpaid speechwriter came up with that, the President of the United States is the one who agreed to utter it. It’s a superficial credentialed twerp’s idea of “smart”—when you're in a room full of hard-faced men from Russia, Iran, Syria and France, but you think the same cute lines that work on “The View” will see you through. As Putin no doubt assured the mullahs et al in private, the people you are dealing with in Washington are not cruel but they are dumb.

Deportations have gone down 42 percent since 2012. Mark Krikorian at National Review explains why:

In short, the drop in deportations is a policy choice made by the White House, not some development out of its control.

Perhaps the more important question, though, is why is Obama pulling the plug enforcement now rather than when he first took office? It’s true that during the first several years of his administration, deportation statistics were artificially inflated by counting many people caught at the border as deportations, which they were not previously. But why end the charade of “record deportations” now?

The reason is “comprehensive immigration reform.” It was necessary to appear credible on enforcement when passing an amnesty/immigration-surge bill was still a real prospect. The political message at the time was that Obama could be trusted to enforce immigration laws after an amnesty, to prevent the growth of a new illegal population, because he was deporting such large numbers of illegal aliens. Sure, it was never plausible to me, but the hope was that it would deceive enough voters who pay little attention to politics to provide pro-amnesty Republican sufficient political cover.

But when, despite this fairy tale, Senator Rubio’s amnesty bill died in the House, with no prospect of revival, there was no need to continue the charade. Obama and his people could take off the disguise (“not much of a disguise,” to quote Agent L in Men in Black) and follow their anti-borders instincts. We see this not only in the deportation collapse but also in Obama’s lawless amnesty edicts and his many machinations to negate the various numerical limits and standards imposed by Congress (the most recent one is discussed here).

These latest deportation numbers vindicate House Republicans’ refusal to vote on Rubio’s amnesty bill. It’s now indisputable that this administration had no intention of enforcing immigration law tomorrow if it was given an amnesty today. Obama’s promises of future enforcement, never very credible, are now exposed as lies. Why did Rubio and the other 13 Republicans who voted for the Gang of Eight bill believe him?

They don’t get that liberals will destroy the country if given free rein, that’s why. Read “Compromise is futile.”

Leon Wolf considers House Republican moderates in this RedState piece. He quotes House Republican moderate so-and-so on how he can’t get along with conservatives:

The next Speaker should not appease those who make unreasonable demands. There are a number of members of our conference. You cannot get the yes on anything. For them the end will be the good. In my view it's come time to marginalize those members who doesn’t want to be part of the governing majority.”

We might have to assemble a bipartisan coalition on the floor to elect the next speaker then. I mean, that’s what it could come down to.

I don’t know what will happen. Anything is possible now. It’s pretty clear to me that a number of us are not going to simply appease or exceed to those who will make unreasonable demands. And so I suspect in order to govern around here we need a bipartisan coalition on all major bills. If we can’t get 218 Republican votes for a Speaker, then we'll have to try other options. I don’t know what those options are, but I certainly don’t want to put somebody in the Speaker’s job who is going to appease those who are making unreasonable demands. (Emphasis added)

There’s that word, govern. As occupiers of the mushy middle, they have their pick of whom to coalition with. They’re willing to govern with liberals, but not with conservatives. Let that sink in.


I’m less proud I live in San Antonio because of this idiocy:

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports that a measure to be introduced at City Hall later this month would change October 12th from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in San Antonio, and would encourage the same change from schools, businesses, and other groups which celebrate Columbus Day as a holiday.

Councilman Rey Saldana says the change is in line with this year’s designation of the Spanish Missions as a World Heritage Site.

“We are doing this as a way to recognize and celebrate, and also to acknowledge and celebrate our history,” he said.

Native American prayers were heard at City Hall as the proposal was discussed.

Rudy Perez, a representative of the Native American peoples of San Antonio, said this designation is a long time coming, and he hopes it will bring to an end some misconceptions about Native Americans, like they are a ‘mixed race’ people.

“A lot of people say we got mixed,” he said. “We didn’t get mixed. We are still here. You got mixed with us. We never left from here.”

Set aside the retarded “mixing” remark. How does “Indigenous People’s Day” dovetail with the designation of the missions as a World Heritage Site? Those missions were built by Spaniards following in Columbus’s footsteps, ministering to polytheistic Native Americans. The history of San Antonio is the history of European exploration, missionary work, settlement, and technological progress. This smacks of historical revisionism.

But here’s something I feel better about:

A coalition of environmental, neighborhood, and grass roots groups has emerged to fight the proposed SAWS Vista Ridge Water Development Project, and the large water rate hikes which are set to come before City Council later this month, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Meredith McGuire, a sociology professor at Trinity University is one of the leaders of the ‘Mi Agua, Mi Vida Water Coalition,’ and she says many coalition members remain upset that SAWS pushed this through last year without hearing or considering any input from the public.

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She says SAWS currently has enough water resources to serve the people and businesses who are already in the city, and it isn’t fair to ask existing residents to pay as much as 43% increases in their water bills over the coming five years to provide water for people who now don’t live in San Antonio, but may arrive in the future.

She’s right.


Let’s see if the “science” of global warming will accept facts, or discard it and simultaneously shed the fig leaf covering its ideology. Perth Now reports:

A former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.

He has found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly. He has fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.

It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.

“Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.

Dr Evans says his discovery “ought to change the world”.

“But the political obstacles are massive,” he said.

His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.

“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”


Jonathan Keiler analyzes the president’s post-Oregon gun control press conference. The italics are Obama himself.

That Obama doubled down on his politicization effort at [a] recent press conference shows that he thinks he has a political winner. Here we might take some comfort that Obama is often wrong. In this as in most things he differs from Socrates, who took the Oracle’s pronunciation that he was Athens’ smartest man to mean that he was the only man who knew how much he did not know. Obama falls on the other end of the ledger, a fool for believing he is always right.

Observing his press conferences, it is hard to believe that Obama was ever a “student of history” or a Constitutional Law professor, much less at any time the “smartest man in the room.” Socrates is credited with developing the method of using probing questions and direct answers to develop dialogue to search for truth. Obama avoids such opportunities, and when he does engage the press (though they are almost never challenging or hostile) does so in the turgid, blustery, and run-on manner of people who use words to hide meaning rather than enhance it. One observer at FOX clocked in his responses at an average of 9 minutes each during last weeks’ presser. A look at the transcript makes this appear reasonable. One wonders what his Con Law classes must have been like, and whether administrators passed out stimulants to keep his students awake.

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“And if we’re going to do something about that, the politics has to change. The politics has to change. And the people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and as organized and as adamant about this issue as the folks on the other side who are absolutists and think that any gun safety measure is an assault on freedom, or communistic—or a plot by me to take over and stay I power forever or something.” (Laughter.)

Let’s leave aside Obama’s usual rhetorical tics, e.g., repeating phrases, referring to himself, and calling good hearted Americans that disagree with him “the other side.” As anyone who has raised a teenager understands, Obama here is trying to divert attention from one misstep by accusing us of thinking he’s doing much worse as in “No I didn’t miss curfew dad, and you probably think I’m using drugs and having sex too!” It’s a juvenile way to address an important issue, and insulting to anyone with half a brain listening to it. And what does that say about the lap-dog press corps’ supportive laughter at such a sophomoric attempt at humor?

I don’t know if Obama is a closet communist or secretly plans to install himself as a dictator, but nothing he’s said in the past few days would reassure someone who did. At the very least, his desire to turn an explicitly guaranteed liberty in to a political contest shows he has no appreciation of the freedoms the Constitution protects, especially for minorities, or the traditions of Western governance that led there. Had he lived in ancient Athens he’d have gladly poured Socrates his cup of poison.


The Onion skewers fatherlessness. This is heartbreaking and hilarious:

Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

“When he was a little boy, I thought it was really sweet that Dylan believed in his dad, but now that he’s older, it’s beginning to worry me a bit,” said Rivers, adding that she had always assumed this phase would have been over well before he reached adolescence. “He can’t play make-believe forever. Dylan will be a teenager soon, and he needs to start growing up.”

“He’s just getting too old for it, you know?” she continued. “This is kids’ stuff, and he has to learn to let go of it.”


In Public Discourse, Melissa Moschella sees the connection between marriage redefinition and Brave New World-style, totalitarian childrearing.

The view of marriage as a mere creature of the state to be redefined at will goes hand in hand with the idea that children “belong” primarily to the state, which then delegates (limited) childrearing authority to whomever the state defines as the child's parents.

We see this trend in Canada, where the 2005 bill redefining marriage to include same-sex partnerships replaced the term “natural parent” with “legal parent” throughout Canadian federal law. Similarly, in at least nineteen US states as well as the District of Columbia, same-sex partners can now both be listed as parents on a child's birth certificate, substituting politically correct legal fiction for the implacable (hetero)sexism of biological reality.

We also see the state encroaching on parental authority in order to enforce the new orthodoxy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. “Equality” requires teaching that all family forms are equally good, and public schools do this by introducing “diversity-oriented” activities and readings—including books like Mommy, Momma and Me—across the curriculum.

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The ideology that would justify this sort of intrusive behavior on the part of the state was trumpeted by Melissa Harris-Perry in an MSNBC promo spot a couple of years ago. Harris-Perry claimed that “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Her claim reflects the troubling but not uncommon view that the education of children, particularly their formal education, is first and foremost the task of the state rather than parents.

This idea is echoed in the pro-same-sex marriage amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court by historians of marriage, which claims that “states have sought to limit the public’s responsibility for children by looking to married couples to provide support for minor dependents,” implying that married couples are agents of the state to help the larger community to raise its children.

This is effectively the position of political theorists such as Amy Gutmann, Stephen Macedo and others. They deny the primacy of parental educational authority and argue that the state can and should require children to be exposed to values and ways of life that conflict with those they are learning at home, that the state at least in principle has the right to mandate “diversity education” programs even in private schools and home schools, and that parents in principle have no right to opt their children out of such programs, even if they have a moral or religious objection to their content. These theorists would probably applaud, for instance, the law, recently passed in Alberta, which disallows parents from exempting their children from classroom discussions of homosexuality, and which requires all schools, including faith-based schools, to allow pro-homosexual student clubs like gay-straight alliances.

Of course, the views of Gutmann, Macedo, and Harris-Perry are mild when compared with progressive communal experiments like the Israeli kibbutzim of the mid-twentieth century (which broke down within a generation) or the radical communal childrearing scheme proposed by Plato in Book V of the Republic (though whether he proposed it sincerely or as a kind of reductio ad absurdum is a matter of debate).

What all of these approaches have in common, though, is the denial of primary and pre-political parental educational authority. And this same denial is also, strikingly, a key feature of the totalitarian regimes of the past century, both fascist and communist. While Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Mao were hardly following Plato’s blueprint for the perfectly just society, they certainly understood, as Plato did, that the most effective (and perhaps the only) way to inculcate unquestioning acceptance of the regime’s ideals was to educate a whole generation in those ideals from childhood, and to minimize as much as possible any potentially contradictory educational influences, particularly the influence of parents. Just think of the tight state control of education in these regimes and the further indoctrination of students outside of schools in groups like the Hitler Youth, the Maoist Red Guard, or the Soviet Komsomol.

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But if the intact biological family is a natural pre-political community—if parents, not the state, have primary and pre-political educational authority over their children—then the family is effectively a little sovereign community within the larger political community, and, like any sovereign community, it has the right to direct its own internal affairs free from coercive external interference (except in clear cases abuse, neglect, or serious threats to public order).

So I’m not crazy.


This is a great letter from C. S. Lewis on porn and masturbation:

For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself . . . . And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination.

The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce, art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world—e.g. picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.

That’s self-defilement, enfeeblement, and a loss of ability to function with any serious orientation toward the good or the future. Further reading: “In the service of sin.”


Igor Shafarevich recounts Plato’s Republic:

In Plato’s state, power belongs to the philosophers, who govern the country with the help of warriors known as “guardians.” Plato’s main concern was with the way of life of these guardians, since not only were the philosophers to be chosen from among them, but they were also to control the rest of the population.

He wanted to subordinate their life completely to the interests of the state, and to organize it so as to exclude the possibility of a split and the emergence of conflicting interests. The first means of achieving this was the abolition of private property. The guardians were to own nothing but their own bodies.

Their dwellings could be entered by anybody who wished to. They were to live in the republic like hired laborers, serving only in return for food and no other reward. For the same purpose the individual family was also abolished. All the men and women in the guardian class were to share their mates with all the others. Instead of marriage there was to be brief, state-controlled sexual union, for the purposes of physical satisfaction and the production of perfect progeny. To this end the philosophers were to yield to distinguished guardians the right of more frequent sexual union with the more beautiful women.

Children, from the moment of birth, would not know their own fathers or even mothers. They were to be cared for communally by all the women who happened to be lactating, and the children passed around all the time. And the state would take care of their subsequent upbringing.

These are retrograde ideas. The abolition of private property and forcing families apart, against their nature, disconnects the sources of inspiration for work and innovation from men who are expected to sustain past levels of prosperity and productivity. Will love of the “nation” be enough? I seriously doubt it, for men of the same nation, even neighbors, by nature have private interests they want to pursue.


John C. Wright strikingly describes liberals’ sins:

All these projected beliefs of the Leftist media repeat the creed and the idolatry of the postmodern postrational posthuman Leftists. They are pro-sodomy because of lust, anticapitalist because of envy, pro-uncelibacy because of lust, pro-infanticide because of lust, pro-divorce because of lust, and pro-green because they are are anticapitalist because of envy. Lust serves Asmodius, infanticide serves Moloch, envy serves Leviathan.

A glimpse of reality in Europe provided by the “refugees”:

Conservative politicians back the calls for separated refugee centres, claiming Christians in the homes are being harassed and persecuted by hardline Muslims.

The former minister of the interior Hans-Peter Friedrich said: ‘It is sad, but obviously necessary that we require the separation of asylum seekers according to religion.’

Before, they were segregated by country, Muslim countries for Muslims, secular countries for seculars and Christians. And peace reigned. What was wrong with that?


Bravo, Ben Carson:

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, called for a focus on families with “traditional, intact values” and denounced the “PC police.”

“We have got to stop paying attention to the PC Police who say every lifestyle is exactly of the same value. No, it’s not of the same value,” Carson said. “It is very clear that intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values do much better in terms of raising children. So let’s stop pretending that everything is of equal value.”

Criminal behavior and poverty are directly correlated to the single-parent household, Carson argued.

“When young girls have babies out of wedlock, most of the time their education ends with that first baby,” he explained. “Those babies are four times as likely to grow up in poverty, end up in the penal system or the welfare system. You know, I’m not making this stuff up. That’s well-documented. That’s a problem.”


At the Daily Signal, Paul Winfree explains how the welfare state chews people up and spits them out:

Far from being a compassionate series of programs worthy of defense against reform, the current welfare architecture has been a disaster for struggling communities and has done its gravest disservice to recipients themselves. The damage has been twofold.

First, the existing welfare system undermines work. By offering a generous system of entitlements to able-bodied adults without any obligation to work or prepare for work, welfare undermines the need and motivation for self-support. Welfare is primarily a system of one-way handouts: Only two out of more than 80 means-tested welfare programs include even modest work or training requirements.

Second, nearly all of these means-tested welfare programs impose significant penalties against marriage. For 50 years, welfare has driven fathers from the home. As a consequence, single mothers have become increasingly dependent on government aid. Meanwhile, low-income fathers, deprived of meaningful roles as husbands and breadwinners, have drifted into the margins of society. Their attachment to the labor force has deteriorated, and the tendency toward self-destructive and anti-social behavior has increased.

The surest way out of poverty is intact families, as George Gilder explains further in the following excerpts from Wealth and Poverty:

In modern capitalism, wealth is a dilemma; its value on the one hand is embodied in ever more specialized, complex, and inflexible forms, and on the other is utterly subject to ever more rapid and unpredictable changes in knowledge. Both more solid and more pervious, capital is now a Maginot Line for any determined hoarder of it.

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In general, the more liquid wealth is, the closer it is to money, the less likely it is to grow fast, the more vulnerable it is to the changing money supplies. Savings accounts, after inflation and taxes, have lost money for decades. The less liquid an asset, the more likely are large returns or losses. The least liquid and most promising of all is to build and own a company.

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Individuals with cash comprise the wild card—the mutagenic germ—in capitalism, and it is relatively risky investments that ultimately both reseed the economy and unseat the rich, as the iron rule of gamblers’ ruin plays itself out in the arena of business.

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Most of us work for money and enjoy leisure. The poor, it is implied, despite their generally more onerous jobs, do not. They so lust for labor, so they tell all inquiring scholars, that their willingness to work is unaffected by levels of welfare and in-kind support substantially higher than the available wage; they even clamor to enter the workforce in the face of effective tax rates on work (through reductions in welfare payments) of nearly 100 percent.

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Every successful ethnic group in our history rose up by working harder than other classes, in low-paid jobs, with a vanguard of men in entrepreneurial roles.

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Poor people tend to ride up rapidly and will be damaged by a policy of redistribution that will always hit new and unsheltered income and wealth much harder than the elaborately concealed and fortified winnings of the established rich. The poor benefit from a dynamic economy full of unpredictable capital gains (they have few capital losses!) more than from a stratified system governed by educational and other credentials that the rich can buy.

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Effective work consists not in merely fulfilling the requirements of labor contracts, but in “putting out” with alertness and emotional commitment, workers have to understand and feel deeply that what they are given depends on what they give—and they must supply work in order to demand goods. Parents and schools must inculcate this idea in their children both by instruction and example. Nothing is more deadly to achievement than the belief that effort will not be rewarded, that the world is a bleak and discriminatory place in which only the predatory and the specially preferred can get ahead. Such a view in the home discourages the work effort in school that shapes earnings capacity afterward. As with so many aspects of human performance, work effort begins in family experiences, and its sources can be best explored through an examination of family structure.

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Living from day to day and from hand to mouth, lower-class individuals are unable to plan or save or keep a job. Banfield gives the impression that short-term horizons are a deep-seated psychological defect afflicting hundreds of thousands of poor.

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The short-sighted outlook of poverty stems largely from the breakdown of family responsibility among fathers. The lives of the poor, all too often, are governed by the rhythms of tension and release that characterize the sexual experience of young single men. Because female sexuality, as it evolved over millennia, is psychologically rooted in the bearing and nurturing of children, women have long horizons within their very bodies, glimpses of eternity in their wombs. Civilized society is dependent upon 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 disciplined his sexuality and extends it into the future through the womb of a woman.

Radical feminism has actually tried to abolish the long-term sexual temper of women, the key natural civilizing force in men’s lives. The “measurable” incentives of material redistribution displace the breadwinning male as family head, and predictably commits single women and their vulnerable children to lives of consumption, or convenient consumers in the demand-side Keynesian economic model.

Reading that last excerpted paragraph by Gilder gives me the chills. You just don’t read anything like that except when you’re reading Gilder. It’s so true, it hurts. The first book of Gilder’s that I read, Men and Marriage, is like that.

More to come.

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