24 Apr 2013
Howard Phillips, RIP
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
Past and future alike
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 brave new world of marriage
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.