29 Mar 2015

It’s interesting how we have a peculiar interest in certain cultural figures. I think back sometimes on the men who were giants in 1970s and 1980s culture. A generation exists now that knows their names but little about them. In another generation or two even their names may be largely unknown.

When I was growing up, the talk show host Johnny Carson was possibly the biggest celebrity in the country. His lawyer, Henry Bushkin, recounts how Carson went to an A-list party in 1979 at the home of Henry Mancini. Cary Grant, James Stewart, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, famous composers, directors, etc. were there, but Johnny Carson was the man these people anxiously awaited.

The exuberant Tonight Show theme and Ed McMahon’s booming voice would sound every weeknight at 11:30, the air full of possibility, the good life, a party. Carson had broad appeal. Old people liked his small-town charm. Young comics admired him and sought his approval. He had an urbane swinging feel and a mystery about him that appealed to middle aged men and even dumb kids like me. His interactions with regular folks and zoo animals were legendary, as was his repartee with Ed McMahon, Tommy Newsom, and Doc Severinson (much of it scripted, it turns out). Johnny was funny and self-deprecating. He always knew what to say. He was a guy you wished you knew, small town and L.A., a bon vivant living the dream.

In the American Masters biography of Carson, one of the commenters noted that Carson and Hugh Hefner were the forefathers of the sexual revolution. While overstated, I think there is somewhat of a tie. Carson was a more refined proponent of Hefner’s joie de vivre. Hefner was a legend in his own mind who gave the pretense of high culture amid the nudie pictures, but it was a layer of varnish and glitter over a seedy core. He wasn’t the kind of libertine you’d bring home to meet mom and dad.

Carson was more like the guys in the Rat Pack. The double entendres and flirtations were there but never alienated his audience. He could appeal to a Vegas crowd, a class reunion, students and teachers. Johnny dressed well. He made millions from his own suit line because men wanted to look (and be) like him. Like so many in the industry he had multiple (4) wives, trading in old models for new each go-round. The marital woes became a running joke and part of his image.

Johnny stayed atop the Hollywood heap for several decades, known and feted everywhere. Never an actor himself, he hosted the Academy Awards many times. He hosted the first Reagan inaugural at the behest of Frank Sinatra. Of course, sexual temptation is relentless for the famous, like a fat man presented with cake and candy at every table. Carson had flings and long-term girlfriends. He was a star attraction who did Vegas shows a few weeks yearly for many years. Craven casino owners created for him a playground of self-gratification: fancy suites, food, gambling, saunas, and of course women. After he finally tired of Vegas, there were yearly trips to Wimbledon and the south coast of France. He had huge mansions in Bel Air, then one in Malibu overseeing the Pacific. A private tennis court. A staff to cater to his needs.

As these things usually go, image and reality didn’t align: Bushkin thought Carson a generally unhappy soul (incidentally, Johnny started out as an illusionist). The allure of hobnobbing with the rich and famous wore off as he realized that so many of them were as dull as flat paint and had little of interest to say without a scriptwriter. Carson himself was often a loner, preferring home with his drum set or telescope, a private bar stool at Jilly’s, or playing alley cat to holding court at a party. The famous deal with similar problems: Who can you trust? What does this guy contacting me really want? Weirdo fans. Celebrity so often breeds a desperation to stay on top. Bushkin notes that if A-listers find themselves at a party with a bunch of nobodies, they get paranoid, thinking that someone is trying to “demote” them. Such are the stresses of status.

Carson finally called it quits from the Tonight Show in 1992. He never did specials after that so the mystique remained. As his life wound down, he became increasingly remote from others including his final wife. The last few years of his life were spent largely alone, staring out at the sea and sailing in his boat, until the longtime smoker contracted emphysema and died in 2005 at age 79. It is a sad and empty spectacle to ponder a longtime toast of the town dying nearly alone. Even the great Tonight Show theme can’t cover that.

I find these types of biographies profitable on occasion. The titans of the earth go naked to the grave like the rest of us, and what good is celebrity in front of the Lord? If you end up in hell, what profit lies in the self-gratification of decades past or some guy watching a Youtube clip of you 30 years hence? Even if, unlike Johnny Carson, you die among a crowd of adoring friends you can’t take them to act as character witnesses at the judgment seat.

Fame seems more curse than blessing, offering up great distractions from God’s reality and eternity itself.

Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall. (Matt. 7:26-7)

21 Feb 2015

Occasionally you run across a “wisdom of the wise” whopper so risible that only a college professor could come up with it. A few days ago, President Obama informed us that “here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”

Say what? Was the hit put out on the Barbary pirates part of this weave?

28 Oct 2014

In libertarian or internet circles, you sometimes hear people talk about the “false left-right paradigm.” The idea is that manipulators create divisive issues that get people riled up to expend their energies fighting one another, while nothing much changes behind the throne or curtain. Same bureaucracy. Same elites running the show. Same face, different mask.

I think there’s some truth in this.

Barack Obama is a terrible president, but when I hear someone bringing everything back to Obama this, Obama that, I check out. Not because it’s mean. Or dull (although it is really dull). No, mainly because it’s destructive.

For one, it obscures systemic issues. Obamacare is terrible, but it’s just another brick in the socialized medicine wall that’s been under construction for a half century. Yes, Obama is a state worshipper, but George W Bush was a great enemy of liberty too. The Republican party doesn’t want you poking into why federal spending has gone up every year since 1946. They’d rather keep you focused on why Obama went golfing again yesterday. Petty resentments must be a boon for contributions (back when I was a teen, “Ted Kennedy” was the magic word in fundraising appeals). If only we could get the latest jerk out of office, why then we’d have what… Mitt Romney, the pre-eminent Rockefeller Republican of his generation? Even after the Obama hand has been played, haven’t we been around long enough to know that there’ll be another joker dealt in the next round? Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren, anyone? There’s always a long supply of rotten eggs seeking political power.

More importantly, this focus on the daily “How is Obama falling short today?” political grind yields a bias toward the now, toward winning the news cycle. Ebola has been all over the news recently, and thanks partly to Republican pressure Obama acted now and we got another (unconstitutional) czar. George W Bush acted now back in 2008 with his back against the wall, and we got TARP. Acting now never involves acting wisely. (I think back, with some amusement,to when oil was $4 a gallon a few years ago and conservative Republicans were lamenting the lack of a “national energy policy.” Why if only the Fuhrer would come up with a plan to drill more oil wells! Such is the state of modern conservatism.)

In his book on democracy, Hans Herman Hoppe noted that an absolute king will try to act in ways that further the long-term wealth of his realm (he’s like a private owner of the kingdom), whereas a president or legislator in a democracy owns only the current use of the treasury. As short-term caretakers and not owners, our “public servants,” as the government-lovers call them, lack the incentive to act wisely, to think long-term. Instead they act with an eye toward whipping up the most votes in the next election. They’ll empty the till as long as they can keep the party going until they’ve left office.

The party hacks and campaign consultants are cut from the same cloth as our “public servants.” They care about power. They care about this election cycle. They care about now. They want you to care about now too and help them win the next election. If I can’t convince you to disregard these ad men altogether, at least step back and be discerning. They’re good manipulators.

13 Oct 2014

Honestly, I thought Ernest Angely died years ago. But he’s still up in Akron, OH, with his toupee and faith-healing “ministry.” And now this.

Disgrace and heresy are ever-present in televangelism. Pedophilia, child abuse, sodomy… sadly nothing new there. Forced vasectomies, though? That’s a new one.

27 Apr 2014

I liked Jars of Clay’s first CD back in the 1990s, so hearing Dan Haseltine’s (at best) mealy-mouth words about gay marriage was disappointing. But it wasn’t surprising. I gave up on the Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) scene long ago… too treacly, too effeminate, too prophetically weak.

On its surface, I guess it’s better that people are listening to watered-down CCM praise music than Beyonce’s songs about sex acts, but when people take a deeper look into what their Christian artists believe, they’ll probably hear about the need to affirm sinful behavior, avoid “organized religion,” “deeds not creeds,” etc. When I listened to Christian Rock a generation ago, the bands I liked believed it then, and the culture is intensifying the propaganda against Biblical morality. People can sometimes discern the “wide road” appeal of the latest secular acts since their error is mixed with little truth, but Christian artists can hide potentially damning beliefs like the ones above behind a spiritual facade and carefully-tousled hair. “Inoffensive” is better for the bottom line while they’re popular, so you may have to mine a bit to find it, but once the popularity recedes a bit then you tend to find out what people really think. Or at least you hear how they’ve drifted downstream with the culture.

This guy thinks the Christian music industry has many homosexuals. I believe him because famous artists- actors, musicians, etc.- tend more than the general public to come from unstable backgrounds, discernment isn’t usually at the top of their list of gifts, and the life of a popular traveler is one of multiplied temptations. People tend to get addicted to fame.

The wise men in this age of triumphant mockery can laugh as they will, but for those with ears to hear, who know that the beyond the grave and the approving multitudes lies judgment, I think it is wise to be more discerning with “Christian” than non-Christian artists.

01 Mar 2014

A fitness article recently instructed readers to be careful because the fitness industry is largely unregulated. I reacted the way I often do when reading this common sentiment: Oh no! What are we going to do? I feel so unmoored and helpless!

Seriously folks, while you should exercise discernment with all of man’s wisdom, would introducing the government into the fitness industry really improve it? This unfounded belief in the goodness of regulation is why the government regulates in some fashion just about everything in our houses. It’s why the federal register is north of 70,000 pages. It’s a reason why the government spends half of the national GDP. I would love to do a study of an average business and see how much time and money is wasted complying with regulations. In my job, I see the distortions introduced by the tax code all the time.

Oh yes, people say, but if it were unregulated why our cars would be blowing up and our food would be poisoned! There are easy answers to this one. First, this stuff occurs despite the government. Approved drugs get recalled, government-inspected plants sell infected meat, etc. Second, in a free market a seller has something supremely valuable called a reputation. You don’t get a good reputation by poisoning and killing people. Buyers use private means such as watchdog articles and Amazon reviews. There are outside firms – UL comes to mind – that put their own stamp of approval on things. These could and should 100% replace the government.

The best argument against regulation is this: the government doesn’t do anything well. It lacks incentives. It lacks a price system to guide it.

Only dishonest politicians attach the words “smart” and “cost-effective” to government actions. We rarely hear of an industrious government worker. Instead the government is slow, corrupt, ham-handed, stupid. Its claim of independence is phony. Why would we want that entity regulating us?

09 Jan 2014

Almost every time someone comments that a certain Christian or Christian group isn’t being Christ-like, it’s when they actually are being Christ-like by calling sin – usually sodomy – “sin.” If those who make this glib comment actually understood the Scriptures, they would consider Jesus the least Christ-like person of all. Of course, this is because their understanding of Christ as a cosmic, “do as thou wilt” back-patter is a fiction.

28 Dec 2013

Reading A&E’s reasoning for reinstating Phil Robertson reminded me of an old Joe Sobran quote:

Liberalism wants us to ‘set aside our differences,’ as if our differences don’t really matter as much as the things on which we can all agree with liberalism itself. You can almost define a liberal as one who demands that others reach his conclusions from their premises.

The usual buzzwords of unity, tolerance, and acceptance are all present. These words all mean the same thing in liberal parlance: those who disagree can privately do so but must avoid saying anything that brings about conviction of sin or that calls cherished perversions “perversions.” We tolerate those who agree with us. We also tolerate those who mildly disagree, but if you disagree root and branch, or if you aren’t part of the narrow band of colors in our rainbow of diversity, you will see your careers threatened. If possible, we’ll get laws passed to force you to comply. And we’ll force our views on you (at your expense) via public schools and government agencies. We’re defining what kind of dissent is reasonable here, so get on board. Or else.

04 Nov 2013

I heard a radio host say that most people support a “right” to health care. However, support vanishes once people realize that coverage will go down and costs will go up. All true. But arguing from the vantage point of negative personal impact not only exposes you to the charge of selfishness, it fails to get at the root problem.

The real issue is the same twofold problem with all government spending. First, it involves the up-front of a commission of a crime. The government doesn’t have any money, so it takes money from people who would not voluntarily give it otherwise (i.e. it steals). Second, we live in a world of scarcity and limited resources. Unlike the free market, the government has no price system to guide it into sustainable behaviors. Instead, it thinks and acts politically. Politicians buy votes to maintain power. They do this by delivering booty: grants, subsidies, handouts, competition-stifling regulations, entitlements, etc. This rewards bad behavior in countless ways. The government is inefficient, it’s corrupt, and it wastes scarce resources.

That’s why the government should be out of the health care business.

And another thing: I’m tired of ignorant diatribes against profit. Profit is another word for sustainability. If you’re making a legitimate profit in your business, you’re not only serving customers who freely buy your products, you also have the means to sustain yourself so that the rest of us don’t have to. And you’re in a position to help others. From where do you think the government steals its money?

06 Oct 2013

I support the government shutdown, especially if they quit teasing me and make it permanent. Of course, only a small part of the government is shut down. And as has been said here many times, any politician who talks about cutting spending or “reining in the deficit” without proposing massive cuts in defense and entitlement spending is blowing smoke and unworthy of your attention.

But let’s focus on the government worker. They think that their jobs are what they are, and that they deserve to exist. But as with any job funded out of government tax receipts, the jobs only exist because of the threat of fines, jail time, or worse.

I’m amazed at how many people do not care about the burdens they impose on others. An outraged government worker is little different than a welfare recipients who believes that productive society isn’t giving them as much as they deserve. Both of these groups rely on the state to steal on their behalf. Imagine someone who makes unwanted crafts getting a law passed saying that everyone must buy his handiwork because this is his livelihood. His family is counting on him! How dare you starve his children!

I don’t wish job loss on others, but government workers at all levels need to lose their jobs permanently so that they are in sustainable work that doesn’t force others to carry them like slaves toting Pharaoh’s platform.

12 Sep 2013

Well, if I can issue a slight compliment to Barack Obama, the abortionist’s friend, he does seem a bit more reluctant than your average Republican to play bombs away in other countries. Of course, lots of killing continues in Afghanistan, and I do wonder how many innocents the Nobel-winning Dronemaster and his order-takers have destroyed via the joystick.

Sorrowfully, it seems as if some Christians do believe in some sort of jihad. Eh, if there is some collateral damage over there, what the heck, that’s what they get for having terrorists in their midst. They were probably secretly supportive. And they’re Muslims anyway. I think many people believe it thoughtlessly, from repetition on Fox News or conservative blogs.

Remember what Gandalf said to Frodo: “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.” While we await the day of the Lord when his enemies will be crushed, we should remember that vengeance is the Lord’s. He is just. He is the Creator. He knows the ends. The Turk may be the wrath of God and the servant of the raging devil, as Luther said, but still the Muslim is made in the image of God. There is no Biblical warrant for us to go off destroying those who have not attacked us.

Twenty years ago I joined the chorus of people calling Bill Clinton a draft dodger. Now I would refuse to fight. Why should I murder a man who has not attacked me for the red, white, and blue, or for a cold war, or for a politician? It’s unjust.

21 Aug 2013

I highly commend the series of Riddleblog articles on “the buzz” in Orange County in the second half of the 20th century. Start at the beginning or with its terrific conclusion. The series explores the cool factor of many SoCal celebrity ministries and what happened after the crowds stopped pickin’ up good vibrations.

You know the names: Paul and Jan Crouch, Chuck Swindoll, Robert Schuller, Pastor Chuck (Smith), Walter Martin. And of course, Rick Warren.

A teaser:

[Rick] Warren is now old news here in the OC, suffering the fate of every “new” ministry when the “new” wears off. “Now what do we do?” “How do we keep it all going?” I’d bet the farm that figuring out what strategic step to take next occupies the time and energy of the staffs and governing boards of the remaining evangelical megachurches. Pity the poor staff person or board member who suggests going back to the basics of preaching the gospel!

10 Aug 2013

Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. -Matt 10:16

I get the sense that I didn’t learn the lesson “Fruitvale Station” intended. It’s a movie about the last day in the life of a black man named Oscar Grant. We learn he has a live-in girlfriend and a young daughter he loves (Do not even the tax collectors do the same?). He tries to reclaim a job he lost due to tardiness. He considers selling drugs, but thinks better of it. It put him in the clink in the past and he doesn’t want to go back.

That evening attends a birthday party for his mother. He’s a flawed but often decent man.

Then he takes the fateful trip to watch a fireworks show in the city. After an enjoyable time downtown, he ends up in a fight that he did not start at an Oakland BART station. The cops nab him before he can escape, and he is wrestled to the ground in Fruitvale Station. Angry and hostile, he resists arrest to some degree, although he is not violent. As an officer tries to subdue Grant’s hands to cuff him, Grant is mortally wounded.

It’s unclear why the officer shot him. Was there malice? Did he panic? Did the cop mean to tase Oscar Grant and mistakenly shoot him instead?

Let me pause here to say that I do not trust the police any more than I trust any other government agency, and for the same reasons. They can legally oppress you. Like everything else the government does, they are bureaucratic, expensive, and often corrupt. They lack the profit motive that leads them to serve their supposed customer. They waste everyone’s time and money enforcing non-offenses (e.g. handing out tickets for expired license plates). Fully privatized security would be much better.

That said, consider The Man’s vantage point at Fruitvale Station. They come upon strangers in a train station who are verbally abusive and making semi-aggressive gestures. The cops deal all day with drug addicts, domestic abusers, and criminals. They get a jaded view of things. They don’t know Oscar’s back story that humanizes him in our eyes. Adrenaline is rushing in a tense situation.

Stop the tape! A lesson present itself: you may not like that you are being detained, but this is not the time to fight the power. Afterward, with an attorney, through peaceful marches, or in the media… yes. In the heat of an amped up scene… no. You’re being rassled by a guy with superior firepower. If anything happens, the deck is stacked against you and in favor of the government bureaucrat. That’s the way it is.

Oscar Grant fought the law and the law won. Like the house in a casino, it usually does. There’s a time for war and a time for peace.

19 Jul 2013

One thing I’ve noticed over the last 30 years is that when liberals go on about our need for “dialogue” and “conversation,” what they really want is a monologue. We talk, you listen. We: bench. You: dock. “Dialogue” now means dealing in bad faith.

I’m hardly a fan of the establishment neocon Rich Lowry, but he makes salient points here. As he notes, during “such an open discussion, it is particularly important that dissenting voices be swiftly condemned.”

C.S. Lewis once noted that there are “people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.” I think this explains a lot of the media coverage of events like Martin / Zimmerman, which has little to do with getting at the truth and a lot to do with whipping up resentments (better ratings) and political sentiment (more contributions).

06 Jul 2013

Nothing ruins a career faster than the use of the “N” word. You may have used it 20 years ago, but no matter. From here forward, the world has been served notice: you are an unreliable element. You have hate in your heart. You are damaged goods. There’s no coming back from this one.

Men may free themselves from Christianity, but they will invent new moralities to replace the old. Usually it’s a corrupted form of something that is right. I enjoy getting to know people of other cultures. It’s noble to treat others with dignity. We should avoid giving unnecessary offense– the “N” word gives plenty of that. But of all the ways in which we fall short in loving our brother, in which we show a corrupted tribalism, why is this one plucked from the multitude of sins and seen as the transgression that is irredeemable?

The “N” word now functions as an arbitrary litmus test that allows people to feel morally superior to others, and this is so often a tasty morsel. You can have 2 abortions, 5 “affairs,” dress like a whore every day, support perversions, worship mammon, and curse others. You can be downright hostile. But don’t use that word!

If we took a panel of wise men selected across time and cultures, and this panel judged our culture against others, I wonder if ours would be judged the silliest in the history of the world?

14 Jun 2013

Wish hard enough fathers, and this can be you. Possibilities. I mean, who woulda thunk it? OK, wealth, fame, and power cover a multitude of sins, but anyhoo…

Think of all the young women out there who’ve benefited from this role model’s guidance and kindnesses.

24 Apr 2013

Howard Phillips died a few days ago, and I trust he went to be with the Lord. He ran for president several times on the Constitution Party ticket. He was a principled conservative who was a founder of the Moral Majority and a Ron Paul supporter.

Back in the deathly dull vacuum of the 1996 Dole-Clinton presidential “contest,” Phillips and Libertarian Harry Browne were third-party candidates and frequent guests on shows like Larry King. Trust me, they were the only interesting things about that campaign. Their debates were funny and illuminating, even if they bounced right off Larry King’s uncomprehending noggin.

Phillips was always great at soundbites. He was a frequent guest on CNN’s influential show “Crossfire” in the 1980s (he may have been an occasional co-host; time is the tide to a seashore on one’s memory). I actually remember watching his testimony where he was nearly alone in warning (from the right) against David Souter’s nomination to the Supreme Court. This was while we were being continually assured by Souter’s promoters in the Bush Sr. Administration (e.g. John Sununu) and elsewhere that Souter was a reliable conservative.

Souter ended up being reliable all right: reliably liberal. Later we were told that the Souter choice was a mistake, but how could anyone have known that this unassuming, retiring bachelor from New Hampshire would be another Earl Warren? Well, Phillips warned them ahead of time. (Cynical me, I think they knew better all along, but at least Howard made those excuses seem hollow).

A hefty man with a booming voice, Howard Phillips never minced words. He spoke naturally in concise, strong tones. He believed what he said, and I think he saw the wit in throwing a good, hard punch. He was a voluminous intellect and a fun listen.

The public airwaves are emptier without men like him.

20 Apr 2013

History always has its progressives and collectivists who push for a better world through authoritarian measures. Violence– forcing people to do what they don’t want to do — is an inseparable part of all collectivism. The symbols of progressivism are the whip and the truncheon. How do you force people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise? You threaten them with jail time and fines, you propagandize them at their expense (e.g. public schools, public service messages, etc), you create competitive disadvantages by funding compliant competitors, and so on.

A liberal will tell you that his point isn’t to threaten jail time, it’s to help vulnerable kids. But as Dr. Zhivago responded to the commissar who said that an enemy village had to be burned down to make a point: “Your point. Their village.” You are still applying the whip. There is no getting away from the involuntary nature of it. There is no getting away from the assault on another man’s liberty.

As some look to better world in the future, others think longingly of the past. Of course, there are times of war and tranquility in our lands, and times of joy and sorrow in our personal lives. However, C.S. Lewis’s words remain true:

Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. … We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life”. Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of cries, alarms, difficulties, emergencies. -from “Learning in War-time”

Sinful men doing sinful things, that is what our world is and has been. Heresies, the poor, wars and rumors of wars, these things we will always have among us until the consummation of Christ’s kingdom. Progressive attempts to play God and create a substitute world for Christ’s coming kingdom are always a disaster waiting to happen, and Christians should never tire of opposing salvation through statism. But none of us should substitute the progressive myth by looking to a past that probably, on closer examination, wasn’t much better.

I’m prone to romanticizing the past, so I write this to remind myself as much as anyone.

11 Apr 2013

The Westminster Confession states that marriage is between a man and woman, “ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.”

Marriage is hurriedly being relabeled. It’s clear that the “marriage equality” movement will see to it that all of us are forced to accept it with a smile. It’s not good enough to obey Big Brother; you must love him.

Question: If “marriage” is redefined to be a mere ceremony between two committed parties, why just stop at two men? Let a man marry his mother. His uncle. Twelve women and three men.

Gross, you say? Well, how dare you deny others their equality, you white-wigged freak! How daaaarrrreee youuuu!

Grandpa should be applauded for marrying an 8 year old. Oh for Pete’s sake, you say, it has to be “consenting” adults. Hey man, why all these rules? Who made you jury? Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.

Let’s follow Marlin into the Wild Kingdom, too. Let a man marry his dog. Let him have a mixed arrangement with three women and a goat. Don’t give this nonsense about consent either. Our cat never consented to being adopted, never signed off on the residence we bought, and she has definitely never bought off on the yearly vet visit.

Yes, you want equality, let’s have equality. Affirm every man to do what is right in his own eyes and skip all the outmoded morality crap. If you’re going to erase the line, don’t redraw it.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

31 Mar 2013

Douglas Wilson has his eye on the ball on this gay marriage situation:

The same sex marriage crusade has nothing whatever to do with what people can do sexually in private, and it has everything to do with what you will be allowed to say about it in public. We are not talking about whether private homosexual behavior will be penalized, but whether public opposition to homosexual behavior will be penalized.

It finally dawned on me a few years ago that the whole push for “gay marriage” is being falsely, albeit effectively, couched in terms of personal freedom when it’s really about violating the free conscience (and wallets) of those who disagree.

27 Mar 2013

This “gay marriage” movement is like one long, tiresome political propaganda campaign. Come on everybody, get on board or get left behind!

The Supreme Court, from what I can tell, fills two roles. First and foremost, it puts the seal of approval on government usurpation of power, like the political equivalent of a sacrament. Second, from time to time it puts its foot on the seesaw of contentious topics based on whatever direction the political wind is blowing. I expect that the court will do its damage soon. Typically it tries to avoid an F5 storm in favor of an F3 or F4. Moderate damage. It’s the judicious thing to do.

NBC News informed me the other day that this change in the culture is because “gays” are coming out of the closet, and we all know them now. We all know they have their problems. Before we were all just dense and lacking in compassion (principled opposition is unthinkable). Agitpropsters always assume that their targets are fools and their opponents are knaves. They’re often right about the first part.

What’s really going on is that a determined minority has used television propaganda and benefited from the rise of desensitizing internet pornography and the decline of Christendon to persuade a large minority of the populace. The bandwagon gets rolling and there is a sea change in the culture where something once unthinkable becomes reality– snap, just like that. Most people are what Joe Sobran once called Gerald Ford: political driftwood.

Speaking of Sobran, he once asked how the immoralists would resist the next degradation in a probing and hilarious 1974 sendup of Hugh Hefner:

Still, Playboy [magazine] has to be careful how it gets indignant; it is paradoxically inhibited by its own libertinism. When, in a survey of current porn films, Contributing Editor Bruce Williamson tried to put his foot down, there was nowhere to put it. Straight and even gay films were okay with him, but films of bestiality… and sex with children were, he said, “weirdo junk” which “even dedicated swingers” “might” find “hard to stomach.” He didn’t go so far as to can for police action, or even to speak of a “shock to the conscience” (Williamson is no bluenose). He couldn’t: he could only sniff, mustering up the withering contempt of the tastemaker, that kiddie and doggie sex are sort of infra dig [beneath dignity], or infra dog, as the case may be. Weirdo junk indeed, frowned on by the right people.

So here we are, near the top of hill, our rollercoaster car ready to crest the next great mountain in the legitimization of homosexual degradation.

11 Feb 2013

How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God. -Martin Luther

Tim Bayly wrote today about something I mentioned in passing a few months ago. When abortion is raised, we almost instinctively now think about the president, Planned Parenthood, and assorted other scoundrels. We don’t really look to the main problem: the women having them. That’s ground zero.

I think this is another outgrowth of the success of feminism and focus-group demagoguery. Women are a victim class to many, and so the pro-life movement likes to play a victimhood tune that the world knows by heart. (For me, it’s more like an annoying jingle that I can’t get out of my head).

This kind of dealing in politically-correct PR may have its short-term advantages, but I think it does more damage than good. Its muddies instead of clarifies. It’s a form of dissembling that plays into a phony victim narrative. It does get politicians who aren’t going to do anything about the matter some fired-up campaign volunteers, though.

Unlike government-directed slaughters which are an ever-present facet of this world, abortion is millions of individual decisions. We can rightly scourge the assassin (Lee Roy Carhart) and his driver (Planned Parenthood, politicians, etc), but the one(s) who orders the hit is most at fault. After all, as abortion’s guardians and the (unjust) law itself tells us, it’s “her body.”

03 Feb 2013

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” -John 19:15

One thing I notice in Facebook posts, articles, and TV snippets here and there is the unvarying faith of the media and much of populace in the state. With every policy discussion, the solution is invariably another law, more “investment,” more bureaucracy, more regulation, fewer impediments, more adherence to the state’s whims. The state must increase and liberty must decrease. For anyone who cares about liberty, it really is like wandering through a desert when you listen to these people. There are no signs of life. Their absolute faith in the state puts my own faith in the heavenly kingdom to shame. At times it’s eerily like watching different parts of the same organism (“I… am Landru.”)

Joe Sobran once asked a shrewd question:

What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?”

Four trillion a year in spending, a $16 trillion on-budget debt, $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities, and 75,000 Federal Register pages later, we still haven’t hit that point. I don’t think we ever will.

27 Dec 2012

Sometimes I am teleported back to my days growing up in liberal protestantism. With certain people– Hillary Clinton comes to mind– you just get that stilted joylessness of one who quaffed from its poisoned wells of unbelief. “I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air.” Other times you witness people celebrating evil with a modulated ickiness that recalls the unmistakable odor of decaying protestantism. Take this egg for example, which appears as if it were nurtured and hatched in a mainline Sunday School classroom back in 1977. Gag.

29 Nov 2012

Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery. – Benjamin Disraeli, 1874

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