Monday, May 23, 2016

Unpacking the dumb

John C. Wright continues his broadside against the unprecedented dumb being hammer into our brains by our education systems, our media, and with the help of President Obama, our federal government.  It's almost so stupid, I think we were caught off guard.  And yet, it's not just stupid, but it's set to become the law of the land.  And unless you bow and accept stupid, proclaim stupid, and are prepared to join in persecuting any others who challenge stupid, you could wind up the target of life destroying lawsuits and vocational termination.  It's a dire time, and one that reminds you ever empire, no matter how grand, must die eventually.

The way it is in politics today

Is demonstrated by the fact that the two least liked candidates in America, who are about the only ones capable of losing to the other one, are the two nominees brought to us by the two major political parties in our nation.  The only question remaining is which one will prove to be the least popular.  Right now Donald Trump is the least liked candidate.  But Hillary Clinton, in keeping with the Democratic party's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is closing on him.  At least, if nothing else, this election cycle hasn't been predictable.

Resist the Tyranny

Again, a reminder that the entire Gay Rights movement and subsequent 'Transgenders pick a bathroom' movement has absolutely zilch to do with Gay Rights or the ability of Transgender individuals to pick their favorite bathroom.  It's a ploy, a tool, a weapon being used to crush the last remnants of the Judeo-Christian heritage of Western Civilization and its bastard child America.  As long as we do nothing, cases like Barronelle Stutzmen's will become the norm, not the exception.

Quote of the day

Courtesy of Theodore Dalrymple, by way of Nate Winchester:
"Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves."
Read the entire piece here.  I can add no more to what was said.  

The legacy of Capitalism

Is mused upon here.  So I'm a pack-rat.  Not because of sentimental reasons.  My wife is a sentimentalist.  She keeps things because of various emotional attachments.  I think I do so out of conditioning.  When I was growing up, my parents moved.  Not because they had to, but because they wanted to.  It was a glaring blot on an otherwise pretty impressive parental resume.  We would move into a house.  Stay a couple years.  Dad would fix it up, make some improvements, and then get bored.  Before I knew it, things were boxed up, the sale sign was in the yard, and it was off we go.

In addition to constantly being pulled away from the neighborhood kids and tossed into new areas with kids I didn't know, my parents had a tendency of tossing things when the moves came.  And that included, at times, my toys.  Not just old, worn out and forgotten toys.  Sometimes it could be the toys that were at hand, whether I was currently playing with them or not.  Boxed up, sealed, sold or given away.

Believe me, I've never let them live it down.  To this day, I remind my Mom about the awesome aluminium castle set I had when we left our house in the country and moved into Mt. Gilead, Ohio.  That was just one of many.  So I imagine it's because of that I have a tendency to hold onto things.

Nonetheless, every now and then, we'll do some spring cleaning.  Perhaps it's bad stewardship on my part, but most of what I have is the result of gifts through the years. I don't buy much for myself, apart from DVDs and perhaps and odd hobby or two (which I don't get rid of).  Other things come from presents: Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas.  So I decide to give things away rather than sell them.  Plus, my Mom and Dad were the garage sale royalty back in the day, and I remember the work that went into those things.  I'd rather give to charity.

So we had a couple old TV sets in our basement.  Not horribly old, but before the whole 'digital/flat screen' revolution.  I decided to take them to Goodwill.  Guess what.  They wouldn't take them.  I asked why.  They said they were incompatible with modern television broadcasting.  I argued that they were still compatible with all but the most recent video game systems, and they could hook up to DVD and even Blue Ray just the same!  Nope.  That does't matter.  The TVs would likely just sit and take up space since nobody will get something that only works for old games and DVDs.  With Netflix and PS4s, there just isn't a point.

Ahem.  So class, the lesson is, the legacy of Capitalism:

What the poor in America won't settle for
The legacy of Socialism:

The poor in Venezuela scrounging for food

I'm the first to criticize the abuses of Capitalism, and admit that without Christ, the end result may be no better than what Communism or Socialism produced.  Christ, not economic theories, being the source of salvation. But still, let's keep it real.  I know there are homeless people.  I've worked with them before in inner city missions.  But even then we had extensive networks of help for them based upon our country's abundant financial resources as well as mostly religious based charities.  Beyond the homeless, however, you have a class of poverty that balks at the idea of a television that does't play the latest PS4 video games.  

Compare that to poverty around the world, especially in nations that are so close to the Socialist ideal, the same ideal yearned for by the American Left, embraced by Europe, and increasingly advocated by Catholics, as well as Catholic leaders including, but not limited to, Pope Francis.  Compare and contrast.  Not that wealth equals salvation.  But we don't talk about salvation do we?  We talk about the importance of helping the poor.  I would suggest the best way to help would be reclaim Capitalism from the new paganism and get it back on track to doing what it seems to do the best.

Pope Francis is wrong

Sometimes when I hear Pope Francis, I wonder what world he is talking about.  If he isn't a liberal Catholic child of Marxist inspired Latin American liberation theology, he keeps coming across as one.  And even if the endless legions of Francis apologists will descend upon the Internet en masse to correct the liberal interpretations and tell us, once again, what Pope Francis really meant, I can't help but notice the Left is more than happy to accept the initial meanings that most attribute to his statements.

I know this isn't the first time. And many of Pope Francis's biggest supporters will try to draw parallels to the misunderstandings of Pope Francis and those of previous popes.  But here's the thing.  Those who hated and loathed Pope Benedict or Pope John Paul II because of their stances on homosexuality, women priests, abortion and contraception, or other issues near and dear to the liberal heart, were right.  In typical form, those popes were accused of hate and bigotry and sexism and the usual.  Those who defended them knew exactly what they meant.  Nobody said 'well, Pope Benedict really meant, or Pope John Paul II actually said.'  They might have ignored inconvenient teachings, but everyone knew what they stood for and what they meant.  When they were disagreed with, attacked, or celebrated, it was done based upon the biases, stances, beliefs or traditions held by those doing the commenting, defending or attacking.

But with Pope Francis, we have an entirely new dimension to the age old pope wars.  We have those who don't like him because of stances he has taken that they don't like.  We have those who cheer him because he speaks to issues from the point of view that is near and dear to their hearts.  But we also have this new level of debate, the 'what Pope Francis really intended to mean when he said what everyone misunderstood' level of debate.

 Apart from Pope Benedict attacking Muslims at Regensburg and his call to allow condoms for gay prostitutes, misunderstanding was not a hallmark of the last two papal debate cycles. But with Pope Francis it is a twice daily event. It allows those who subscribe to liberal religious doctrines to disagree with Pope Francis on several key issues (most of which cleave heavily unto the regions of the genitals), while nonetheless finding solace in various statements he makes, believing that they are simply ways to assure them that not now, but soon, the Church will finally come around to their way of thinking. So we have this that I commented on the other day.  It turns out I'm not the only one throwing the yellow flag on this one.

In 2004, Sam Harris, a radical proponent of the new, aggressive evangelical atheism, published a book titled "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason."  Of course there were a million problems with the book, and greater minds than mine had no problem unpacking those problems and pretty much skinning the thing and leaving it out to dry. Despite its problems and its premise - that it's high damn time non religious types get aggressive and start being open about their desire to eradicate religion from the planet - it was met with much praise and adoration by many in the Christian community who were, shall we say, left of center. The president of Union Theological Seminary famously gave the book two thumbs up.

One of the most often referenced points of agreement between Harris and those liberal Christian leaders I knew was his insistence that only by embracing secularized societies can the world have hope.  The more secular, the more peaceful.  The more religious, the more horrible, violent, and oppressive.  Even folks like me didn't take more than a minute to say 'The Soviet Union?  North Korea?  The Khmer Rouge?'  Eventually Harris did back down and drop that as part of his stump speech.

Enter Pope Francis.  His latest interview is, once again, drawing attention to say the least.  The idea that converting people to Christianity and jihad might be the same thing has found stunned reactions by many in the Christian community.  Likewise the idea, much embraced by Western liberals, that Christianity and Islam are two of many sides of the same coin, just like any other religion, seems to have gotten a jolt from him, especially when he added his praise to London for electing a Muslim mayor and seemed open to a potentially Islamic dominated Europe.

Over at The Catholic World Report, Carl Olson takes apart some of this, pondering why Pope Francis seemed so reluctant to ascribe Christian influence to the roots of European Civilization.  If Pope Francis is a child of Latin American liberation theology, that's easy.  I don't know Catholic liberation theology, but the Protestant brand was a simple nut to crack. Basically, there is no Satan or Hell, there's only the Democratic, Capitalist West.  That is pretty much the source of all evil and suffering in the world.  A child of Latin American theology might well chafe at the idea of associating Christianity too closely to the Western Tradition.  In the same way Gnostics chafed at the idea of an Incarnation.  What is by definition evil can't possibly have a spark of the divine.

Perhaps Pope Francis means to distance Europe from exclusively Christian origins in order to separate the Church from always bearing the brunt of Europe's sins.  There were, after all, other historical ingredients in the soupy mix that would become the European stew.  Charity suggests I might take that approach to understanding his statement.  His follow up statements, however, suggesting that appealing to Christian roots equated to triumphalism and even colonialism make that interpretation difficult.

But on the factual level, his subsequent dismissal of confessional states in preference to secular states is even more baffling.  Again, Pope Francis seems to say it doesn't really matter.  Things like Global Warming, open borders for immigrants, Socialized economies and tolerance and mercy for liberal sexual norms are the key positions to have regarding life and death, blessings and curses.    Other things don't seem to be much more than opinions with which we can respectfully disagree, and as a result, it doesn't really matter what religion is running the ship or what religious ship people want to board.

As I looked at the interview a couple more times, his preference for a secularized society was most troubling.  Assuming Pope Francis isn't hardcore to the Left and speaking the words of his heart, then he seems almost tone deaf to the majority of the secularized world that hears his words and rejoices to hear a leader of one of the world's largest religions conceding the superiority of secularization.

Beyond that, you have the basic problem that he is wrong.  There is absolutely nothing historically to suggest that going secular is the key to happiness and embracing religious confessional states will kill an empire.  In fact, after the 20th century, you would be hard pressed to find a more wrong statement to make.  And given the track record that arguably could be attributed to secularized nations, it goes beyond just wrong to being dangerously wrong. It is so wrong that even Sam Harris finally had to concede and change his spiel to acknowledge the facts.  And yet, it is something of which our Pope appears convinced.  If he is not a liberal Catholic child of Marxist inspired Latin American liberation theology, he makes less and less sense every day.  For it to make sense, well, you know.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Facebook is innocent of wrongdoing

Phew.  That was close.  Turns out all of the stories about Facebook deliberately suppressing conservative friendly news in its trending section was just the result of some wild and crazy employees.  Just like all of the other instances where journalists have been caught lying or making up stories to discredit conservative views, or government agencies have appeared to target conservative agencies.  It's all just a coincidence, or some unfortunate employees, or nothing but a couple incidents that can be explained away.  That in almost every case the instances point to something or someone making conservative views look bad or attacking conservatives outright is just dumb luck.  Doesn't mean a thing.  Good to hear.

Can you support homosexuality and freedom at the same time?

I'm sure you can.  Somehow.  But you'd never know it today.  So I saw this story and had to do a double take.  The eye-opener is this part:
A Phoenix law required Brush and Nib to create invitations and other artwork for same-sex wedding ceremonies. It also prevented Brush and Nib from explaining to customers and the public why they could only create art consistent with their beliefs about marriage. And this law did all this through criminal penalties.
It also prevented them from explaining?  Ahem:
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.  
Again, it should be obvious to anyone that the whole LGBTQ gender abstract movement has nothing to do with these people who, at various times in the recent past, would have been considered as mentally off balanced as a pedophile.  Those who don't see that are either fools, or liars, or both. What it will do with them once the goals are accomplished I can only guess.

But right now, they are useful fools, being exploited in order to seize the civilization that the radical, secular Left has long desired.

Communist Christians: A different perspective

It's common in liberal Christian circles to imagine that the early Church was a socialist paradise, or that the intentions of Jesus were closer to a pseudo-Marxist flavored society than some vial, greed laced Capitalist nightmare.  True, Capitalism in the hands of a godless, hedonistic and narcissistic culture will likely prove to be no better than Communism.  That's something advocates of Capitalism and the Free Market must remember.  Today, Capitalism embraced by our godless age has turned the best of Capitalism on its head.  Sure, the worst results haven't been felt - yet.  Right now, we still see the boon that historic Capitalism brought to the world.

But it's not hard to see how this boon could fade away.  Shorn of a Christian foundation, a Protestant work ethic if you would, Capitalism has turned away from the old idea of increased quality at lower prices while providing opportunities for expansion and job creation as the preferred consequences of a market free form outside interference.  Instead, what we increasingly see is a market trying to figure out how to give the least possible, with the lousiest quality and smallest quantity, for the highest prices possible while employing as few people with the lowest possible benefits imaginable.  That isn't good.  But it isn't necessarily Capitalism either.

Like most things in human history, Capitalism is man made and therefore less than divine.  As such, it will have flaws built into it; flaws that can either be overcome or exploited.  In our age of godlessness and greed, narcissism and hedonism, they have become exploited.  And they have been exploited precisely by those forces of individual self focus and disregard for the divine that traditional supporters of Capitalism once believed to be so important; exploited precisely by those advocates of Socialism who are using the decay of godless Capitalism as a reason to embrace Socialism.

Despite this, we need to look beyond the abuses of the Capitalist approach to what Socialism and Communism have done in their best of days. I've often said that the Christian West, as well as America, were at worst on the same level as other civilizations when those civilizations were at their normal.  But at best, the Christian West and especially American experiment soared beyond what humanity had ever seen.

The same is true for Capitalism.  Abused by godless and self-focused generations, of course the results will be bad.  But it's unlikely it will be as bad as the worst that Socialism and Communism have produced. On the other hand, Capitalism, when done right, even if it will always fall prey to fallen human nature, has brought more well being, more prosperity, more care and opportunity than all of the Socialist and Communist experiments have in their best days.  Given that fact alone, it's difficult to imagine that Jesus had in mind an approach that, when tried time and again, has all too often brought poverty and want, oppression and squalor.  It's equally hard to imagine that the early Church thrived under a system that, when tried today, produces societies that are at best no better than Capitalist nations and often far worse.

In this article, a different alternative to the Communist Jesus spiel is presented.  It's worth the read.  If for no other reason than to remember that there are alternatives to the propaganda presented by much of our media and educational institutions and heartily embraced by not a small number of Christians and Christian leaders.

Friday, May 20, 2016

GOP shoots self in foot

And demonstrates why so many are sick to death of the GOP and will support anyone, even Donald Trump, as long as he doesn't represent what the GOP has produced for the last two decades or so.  I understand that with abortion proclaimed a Constitutional right that any attempt to curb it will be thrown out by the courts.  Liberalism is now the interpretive canvas upon which most legislative and judicial decisions are made.  Much in the same way that a grande mixture of European Enlightenment and historic Judeo-Christian views and philosophies once occupied that position.

As a result, the bill was doomed to die.  And Governor Fallin could have had a justifiable concern about its ultimate success.  But right now, the headlines read variations of  "[GOP] Governor Vetoes Anti-Abortion Bill."  Somehow, in some way, she could have done it differently.  I don't know how involved she was in the process, so I don't want to judge that, nor judge her too harshly overall.  But the way in which she did it simply gives fuel to those who are pro-choice, those who are fed up with the GOP, and of course, those who insist they're conservatives at heart but seem to search for any and every reason under the sun to support liberal Democrats.

There is a John Lennon Airport?

I didn't know that.  I wonder what Paul must think.  Or Ringo or the family of George Harrison for that matter.  Ah, but John was the prophet of the Boomer generation, and they're still calling the shots.  He gave them their mantra, their holy hymn.  He taught them that there is nothing to believe in but me, Yoko and me, that's reality.  That school and education was a bore.  And of course, that Jesus was OK, but his disciples were thick and ordinary, it's them twisting it that ruins it for us.

The most important thing he did, however, beyond proclaiming a world where there is nothing worth killing or dying for (that is, nothing more important than me), he pioneered the John Lennon Principle, which is an essential element of the emergent Left today.

So I guess, in hindsight, it's a good thing that they named an airport after him.  After all, if it was someone else, I might have to believe in Zimmerman after all.

Censorship takes a holiday

Good to see.  While the Left makes unimaginable strides in stripping away the notion that anyone has a right to not be liberal, there occasionally are a few missteps.  This is one.  Yeah.  If a guy has an almost spotless record and is a decorated war veteran, canning him over daring to think and talk like a non-liberal could have consequences.  True, this is an editorial on FOX, so it will be brimming with a more Conservative take on the story.  But even if the story was divided in half to assume bias, it's still unthinkable.

BTW, the credibility of the editorial's take is buttressed by the all too common instances of stories like this.  Right to an opinion?  This is America.  Where do people think we are?

More on Pope Francis and the good that comes from judging others

Is demonstrated here.  Again, few popes in modern history have so perfected the art of judging, and doing so brutally, as has Pope Francis. And the Left, that for so many generations insisted that judging was wrong, and subsequently hoisted an endless stream of sins and stupidity on the unsuspecting West as a result, is the first to line up and cheer.  Once more this reminds us that it is time to rethink some of those lofty principles that Christians have been forced to accept.  Especially since the ones who forced us to accept them seem to be the first ones happy to abandon those same principles when convenient - assuming they ever believed in them at all.  Not only does following such folly weaken the Faith's ability to proclaim Truth to a fallen world, but if we're not careful, just like the emergent Left has demonstrated time and again, we can become the type who declares principles to be things that are merely convenient for getting our way at the moment or being awesome in the latest argument on the blogosphere.

Why I will not visit

Catholic and Enjoying It again is best summed up in this and this.  Two links sent to me since I mentioned it was up and running. Personally, I'd rather go to Jack Chick's blog to learn about Catholicism, or the Friendly Atheist to learn about Christian history.

As I said, I don't care for Donald Trump, and that includes the many imitators out there who might despise Trump, but can't seem to resist acting like the very things in him they so zealously condemn.   A Catholic apologist representing the Church who resorts to declaring himself in perfect obedience and fraternity with the infallible interpretation of the Holy Catholic Church, while accusing anyone who disagrees with him of being murderers and torturers and blasphemers with blood lust can barely rise above the level of a Jack Chick.  And often being no more balanced or informed than Donald Trump, CAEI is not the place to go for spiritual edification or doctrinal instruction.

Those who continue to cheer Mark while continue to trash Trump (or Jack Chick for that matter), simply illustrate the point my boys were trying to make about the Facebook generation in the first place.


Meanwhile in other minor news

Making territory grabs and threats are becoming China's official policy towards the United States.  It's almost mind-boggling how so few nations have any real concern or respect for the United States anymore.  Of course liberalism knows this is a good thing.  Liberalism believes that the Christian West and its bastard child America are the primary forces of evil and oppression and human suffering in the world.  How this will square with what will happen in the future remains to be seen.  It doesn't really square with what happened in the past, but that hasn't stopped the Left.  So we'll see.

Democrats explain liberal tolerance

Here.  The House narrowly missed a passing vote designed to protect LGBT individuals, so defined by liberalism, from discrimination.  At least on the federal level.  The inside baseball part of it has to do with procedure and the nuances behind the voting.  But read through and see the reactions on the part of the Democrats.  Note the ease with which they toss out words like 'discrimination' and 'bigotry.'  Again, are we finished with this silly old notion that we want a nation of tolerance and diversity where all morality is opinion and we all just agree to respectfully disagree?  I hope so.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

An opinion about the Obama pro-Transgender crusade

Is here.  I don't vouch for it personally,  nor do I know about the facts cited.  That might seem a bit cowardly.  If I don't vouch or confirm, why post it?  Because it is a voice representing a point of view that has become maligned overnight.  With no public debate, no scientific consensus, no legal definitions, the Obama White House has used the power of the Federal Government to legislate morality by threat of retribution.  And those who are bothered, including women and young girls?  Variations on 'shut up and deal with it you bigots!'  Whenever something like this happens in a society, it's worth paying attention to.  And if you have to appeal to some serious table pounding and even a few choice words, then that is what needs done.  A few more leaps forward like this, and the First Amendment and our traditional concept of liberty and freedom won't be worth a roll of used toilet paper.   At least not for those who don't embrace the modern secular way.

When Japan apologizes

Perhaps.  But as long as Japan's official attitude toward apologizing to America is variations on 'you had it coming', I'd say the apologies can wait.  I hate it for the victims of the war that Japan started, including those innocents killed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But it was Japan's fault.  Besides, as I said here, if we do blame the US for using the bombs, then we blame the entire world that had embraced the philosophies of the age allowing the use of such things.  Things that, had Japan possessed the resources and ability to produce, it would have used in a fast heartbeat.  That the US was capable of doing what other nations gleefully would have done should say to us be careful about being coerced by the world into accepting the latest, hippest philosophies of the age.

If you have seven or eight hours to kill

Then go to John C. Wright's website and read through this post.  Here, he takes on the notion that the media is absolutely fair and balanced when it comes to covering Islam and the modern terrorist culture that has arisen from that one primary source in the world today.

In the post, Mr. Wright links to multiple cases where various pundits, politicians and journalists have done what seems to be a double-step to avoid, at least initially, linking Islam to anything negative.  Which always makes me think of this.   It's a long list that he's compiled, though I'm sure it's by no means exhaustive.  I know in our own neck of the woods, an Islamic immigrant attacked a Jewish business owner but, at no point, was the obvious link dwelt upon or even mentioned more than in passing.  So read away.  It will take some time, but it's worth it, especially when coupled with other sources of non-liberal same think.