Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cads, Cads Everywhere!

In the senate, and running for president... but so few real men. No decorum, nor virtue: we have no leaders, only would-be rulers and demagogues. And the person in the White House now is the worst of the lot, a poltroon who at times rises almost to the level of being a cad.

What a stupid time to be alive. Or, perhaps the real moral is, "Trust not in princes..."

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Refugees Redux

As I noted yesterday, "Welcoming the stranger and housing the homeless are works of mercy. Refugees would certainly fall under this, and so we should seek to do what we can to help them: but not at the cost of allowing a flood of terrorists easy access to their targets. Unfortunately, these seem to be the two alternatives: turn away the stranger in need (not a good option) or allow in a flood of people who are a mix of refugees, legitimate asylum-seekers, and opportunistic terrorists."

 Me, I think we should consider building livable (but high-security) refugee camps, which gives us time to screen these people while also providing them temporary asylum in the meantime. I would also recommend expediting aide to Christians (the group actually being persecuted), widows, and orphans, or at least to these latter two groups if the first cannot be done feasibly. I would place these camps in relatively remote areas so that they do not have easy access to potential terrorist targets.

I think we should supply these camps with the basic necessities of food and water, shelter and clothing, and medical attention as needed and available. We should also allow for visits by clerics, be they Imams of priests or whatnot, according to the requests of said refugees--I think that religious freedom also applies to foreigners. It also occurs to me that the Christian refugees should be separated from the Muslim ones as much as possible if they request it--there is a reason why Christians are fleeing the area.

In short, I basically agree with the assessment of Dr. Taylor Marshal, and of the CATO Institute's Mr. Alex Nowrasteh. The latter notes that
About 4 million Syrians were forced out of the country by the conflict. Since October 2014, the United States has let in just 800 Syrian refugees. There are security concerns with Syrian refugees and the government needs to thoroughly review their individual backgrounds before allowing them to settle here, but more should be allowed to do so.

Settling here is just the first step; assimilation and integration are also important. Fortunately, past success bodes well for current groups....

The goal of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is economic self-sufficiency — refugees working and supporting themselves without public assistance. That is a worthy goal, but more strict denials of means-tested welfare or blocking it entirely for refugees can speed up integration.

Fewer welfare benefits mean that refugees more rapidly enter the labor market, search for jobs and work with Americans on a daily basis. Work boosts self-confidence, which increases refugee satisfaction and contentment with their new homes. A growing economy combined with smaller welfare benefits in Richmond, Va. helped to rapidly integrate that city’s refugee population in the 1980s and 1990s.

American taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill. Refugees have access to some means-tested welfare benefits before other immigrants do; that should end. Churches, charities and mutual aid associations should fulfill that responsibility.

There are over 150,000 Americans of Syrian descent, with a median household income of over $65,000, compared to about $53,000 for native-born Americans. They can help ease Syrian refugees into life in the United States. It’s enough for the U.S. government to allow more peaceful Syrians who have passed through national security, criminal and health checks to settle here — the government should not, and does not, need to support them.
There is a crisis in Syria, thanks both to the revolution and its exasperation of and by the rise of ISIS. We should help as we can: this is charity, mercy. We should go about it in a manner which minimizes the risk of allowing terrorists to slip through and commit an attack against us: this is prudence, justice.


UPDATE: Why are there so few (yes, few) Christian refugees from Syria? Given that they are the heavily-persecuted minority, you would naively believe that they should be over-represented rather than heavily under-represented among refugees. With my emphases:
Many Americans would happily have us take in some nice Syrians who have nowhere in the Middle East to turn, who are hunted, plundered, raped, sold and sometimes murdered. And since we have limited capacity in a world of more than 7 billion people, it makes sense to focus on those who have nowhere safe in the Middle East to turn. Yes, Sunni and Shiite Muslims persecute each other in the Middle East, but each group has Sunni or Shiite enclaves they can retreat to in the region. The Christians, meanwhile, aren’t even safe in the refugee camps.

So dangerous are the camps for Syrian Christians that they mostly avoid them. And the UN does its refugee head-counting in the refugee camps. If the Christians aren’t there to be counted, desperate as they are, then they don’t end up on the asylum lists the U.S. State Department uses for vetting potential refugees.... 
As bad off as the Muslim refugees are, they aren’t without politically well-connected advocates in the Middle East. Many Muslim powerbrokers are happy to see Europe and America seeded with Muslim immigrants, and would surely condemn any U.S. action that appeared to prefer Christian over Muslim refugees, even if the effort were completely justified. By and large, they support Muslim immigration to the West and have little interest in seeing Christian refugees filling up any spaces that might have been filled by Muslim refugees.

The deck, in other words, is heavily stacked against the Christian refugees.... 
And, by the way, while some have tried to equate Jewish refugees back then with Muslim refugees today, that argument doesn’t work. Muslim migrants have many places to turn to in the Middle East. But like the Jews under the shadow of Hitler, today’s Middle Eastern Christians under the shadow of radical Islam have precious few options. For many of them in this vale of tears, America is their last best hope for refuge.
This further underscores why I think that just opening the borders to Syrian refugees is the wrong approach, and also why I think that the Christian refugees should be separated from the Mohammedan ones as much as possible.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TMM: Syrian Refugees

My heart goes out to the persecuted people of Syria. This does not mean that we should be allowing them to come here en masse. The Mohammedan Jihadis are using the same tactic they always use, which is to use human shields. Allowing them into the country will guarantee that a few of ISIS' terror cells gain easy access to here.

I think that a strong amount of screening is necessary--I don't mind allowing them asylum in a a contained area while screening is completed, even if this idea sounds like a scary concentration camp. There's a bit of a difference between rounding up people who are already here and placing them into such camps while confiscating everything they have, and creating temporary centers of this sort for people who are trying to enter the country. It accomplishes the goal of getting them out of harm's way, while giving us a better chance of protecting our own.

Second, I think that the Syrian Christians are the ones in real danger (and they will largely tend not to be ISIS operatives), so fast-tracking them for asylum resettlement as refugees and perhaps eventually citizens makes more sense than indiscriminately opening the borders further. Plus, there is a much greater chance that Syrian (or, for that matter, Nigerian) Christian refugees can assimilate to (or better yet, become leaven in) our culture than could Islamic refugees (longer term). It makes much more sense to try to resettle the Islamic refugees in areas where Islam is a substantial part of the culture, or where the population is sparse enough for religious difference to not matter, just from a "longevity-and-assimilation" standpoint.

For that matter, there are a number of virtually unpopulated places around the world in which they could be settled easily, be they unpopulated islands or wilderness areas as in parts of Canada and Alaska and Siberia, or even the Falkland Islands. They may not be desirable places to live, but in a pinch they should function adequately until we can find more suitable permanent homes for these people. Even rural areas in the US mainland are fine, as temporary holding locations until a permanent solution is found.

It can function as "home" for a time.

Of course, that will never fly in the politically correct thing which once was Christendom.

Welcoming the stranger and housing the homeless are works of mercy. Refugees would certainly fall under this, and so we should seek to do what we can to help them: but not at the cost of allowing a flood of terrorists easy access to their targets. Unfortunately, these seem to be the two alternatives: turn away the stranger in need (not a good option) or allow in a flood of people who are a mix of refugees, legitimate asylum-seekers, and opportunistic terrorists.

UPDATE:
The right response is to accept Christian refugees (after some screening to verify that they are whom they claim to be), but to be a bit more skeptical about accepting Islamic refugees. ANd then to send what aide we can to all the refugees:
As Dr. Taylor Marshal notes:
Justice and charity demand that I care for the less fortunate and it is a Catholic belief that our salvation depends on how we treat the hungry, the naked, the homeless, and the sick.

MOREOVER….

I am not obliged to take the homeless into my house and have them sleep in my daughter’s bedroom at night. I am not obliged by justice or charity to give the homeless a vote over my financial decisions. He does not have the right to choose what’s for dinner. The homeless man does not (by my charity) receive a right to my continued support. The homeless man cannot share a bed with my wife when I am traveling. Nor may he presume a right over my children’s belongings....

The common good is the peace of society so that life and faith can thrive. Babies can be born and have a happy life. Grandparents can grow old together. Anyone who seeks to destroy the common good should be, according to Thomas, destroyed....

Have no doubt that Thomas Aquinas would have stated that Christian nations should receive Christian refugees but refuse Muslim refugees for the sake of national justice and the common good. The Muslim’s official declaration of faith denies natural law (eg, polygamy), religious liberty (eg, Sharia), and implicitly Muhammad’s doctrine and example of political violence....

We Christians should be generous with humanitarian aid toward Muslims and all people. We should send money and resources to those who have been dispossessed. We should be loving and generous with Muslims. Kindness brings about conversion and understanding. We should also try to topple the Islamic State and eradicate terrorism in our lands and in the Islamic lands.

Remember the Good Samaritan! He did not take the roadside victim home with him. Rather, the Good Samaritan put the victim up in a hotel and paid for him to get better. The Good Samaritan was good and commended by Christ. The Good Samaritan did the right thing: humanitarian aid.

We are not required by Christ to take victims that oppose our faith and our way of life and make them into our political heirs. We are not required to take them into our homes.

But we are obliged to help them. And if terrorists use our charity as a pretense to hurt us, then, as Thomas Aquinas says, they should be swiftly destroyed.

Well put.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More About #BlackLivesMatter Protests

It is beyond me why it is racist to say that "All Lives Matter." In other news, the #BlackLivesMatter protests are (not surprisingly) turning violent, especially against whites (NSFW).


The barbarians have long since breached the gates.

Define Hypocrisy

Planned Parenthood has a tweet in support of the Mizzou Mob which is the very definition of hypocrisy:


Hypocrisy means holding others to a different (harder) standard than what one holds oneself to. It means insisting that everyone live up to and follow a moral code which one does not actually believe in. This is what Planned Parenthood has done here. They don't believe that every child has any particular right to live--denying this right is their current purpose for existing.


 They also were originally founded to specifically prevent black lives from mattering.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Another Rebuttal

Ross Douthat has published a letter in rebuttal to the previous letter by allegedly Catholic Academics who are hailing from a variety of allegedly Catholic Universities:
the development of doctrine is supposed to deepen church teaching, not reverse or contradict it. This distinction allows for many gray areas, admittedly. But effacing Jesus’ own words on the not-exactly-minor topics of marriage and sexuality certainly looks more like a major reversal than an organic, doctrinally-deepening shift.

At which point we come to the third argument, which makes an appearance in your letter: You don’t understand, you’re not a theologian. As indeed I am not. But neither is Catholicism supposed to be an esoteric religion, its teachings accessible only to academic adepts. And the impression left by this moving target, I’m afraid, is that some reformers are downplaying their real position in the hopes of bringing conservatives gradually along.

What is that real position? That almost anything Catholic can change when the times require it, and “developing” doctrine just means keeping up with capital-H History, no matter how much of the New Testament is left behind.

Ross Douthat is one of the few actually good writers working for the New York Times. By this, I mean that he is intelligent, if not always right, and typically makes as good a case for his position as can be expected in a thousand words or so. And he usually seems to have some grasp, not only of the issues and his own position on them, but of the other side's position. Unlike a number of the other writers for the New York Times, he rarely demonizes his intellectual and political opponents, and he is the only one who seems to actually understand conservative Christians in general, and in particular orthodox Catholics.

He's the only one there who takes seriously the claim that the Christian religions are based on someone, let alone something. Those who do not take this claim seriously have no business commenting on what these religions should or shouldn't do.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Quote of the Day:Rowe's Rebuttal

Today's quote is passed along without further comment. First, some context, which is given by one of the hostesses from MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry:
HARRIS-PERRY: “I want us to be super careful when we use the language “hard worker.” I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work really looks like. But in the context of relative privilege, when you talk about work-life balance, the moms who don’t have health care aren’t called hard workers. We call them failures. We call them people who are sucking off the system.”
And now today's quote, a rebuttal from Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe:
To me, it sounds as though Melissa is displaying images of slavery or drudgery in her office to remind herself of what hard work really and truly looks like. That’s a bit like hanging images of rape and bondage to better illustrate the true nature of human sexuality. Whatever her logic might be, it’s difficult to respond without first pointing out a few things that most people will find screamingly obvious. So let’s do that.

First of all, slavery is not “hard work;” it’s forced labor. There’s a big difference. Likewise, slaves are not workers; they are by definition, property. They have no freedom, no hope, and no rights. Yes, they work hard, obviously. But there can be no “work ethic” among slaves, because the slave has no choice in the matter.

Workers on the other hand, have free will. They are free to work as hard as they wish. Or not. The choice is theirs. And their decision to work hard, or not, is not a function of compliance or coercion; it’s a reflection of character and ambition.

This business of conflating hard work with forced labor not only minimizes the importance of a decent work ethic, it diminishes the unspeakable horror of slavery. Unfortunately, people do this all the time. We routinely describe bosses as “slave-drivers,” and paychecks as “slave’s wages.” Melissa though, has come at it from the other side. She’s suggesting that because certain “hard workers” are not as prosperous as other “hard workers,” - like the people on her office wall - we should all be “super-careful” about overly-praising hard work.

I suspect this is because Melissa believes - as do many others - that success today is mostly a function of what she calls, “relative privilege.” This is fancy talk for the simple fact that life is unfair, and some people are born with more advantages than others. It's also a fine way to prepare the unsuspecting viewer for the extraordinary suggestion that slavery is proof-positive that hard work doesn’t pay off.

Now back to work!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Tabsclearing

Another day, another link dump.


Life this semester seems to be constantly hectic. And it doesn't look to get any easier next semester, either.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Surgeon General's Warning PSA

Warning: taking one of my classes may be hazardous to your grandparents' health. I'm not sure why, but I figure I should put the PSA out there given the large number of my students who have to attends funerals of various "family members" in any given semester.

In any given semester, about 8 grandparents will die (as measured by funerals) in any given 50 person lecture. Fermi problem: how many should we expect? I got 1-2, but to be fair the point of the Fermi problem is to get a ballpark estimate, so maybe 8 is not unreasonable.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Tabsclearingday

I have a lot of open tabs in my browser, and not much time to discuss them right now.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gene Wolfe Reviews Tolkien

The review is nearly a decade and a half old, but it was recently re-posted on John C. Wright's site, thus giving me (and you) the occasion to read it.

Some excerpts:
It is said with some truth that there is no progress without loss; and it is always said, by those who wish to destroy good things, that progress requires it. No great insight or experience of the world is necessary to see that such people really care nothing for progress. They wish to destroy for their profit, and they, being clever, try to persuade us that progress and change are synonymous.

They are not; and it is not just my own belief but a well-established scientific fact that most change is for the worse: any change increases entropy (unavailable energy). Therefore, any change that produces no net positive good is invariably harmful. Progress, then, does not consist of destroying good things in the mere hope that the things that will replace them will be better (they will not be) but in retaining good things while adding more.
And also:
Sam Rayburn, a politician of vast experience, once said that all legislation is special-interest legislation. Of our nation, and of the 20th century, that is unquestionably true; but it need not be. We have — but do not need — a pestilent swarm of exceedingly clever persons who call themselves public servants when everything about them and us proclaims that they are in fact our masters. They make laws (and regulations and judicial decisions that have the force of laws) faster and more assiduously than any factory in the world makes chains; and they lay them on us.

It need not be so. We might have a society in which the laws were few and just, simple, permanent, and familiar to everyone — a society in which everyone stood shoulder-to-shoulder because everyone lived by the same changeless rules, and everyone knew what those rules were. When we had it, we would also have a society in which the lack of wealth was not reason for resentment but a spur to ambition, and in which wealth was not a cause for self-indulgence but a call to service. We had it once, and some time in this third millennium we shall have it again; and if we forget to thank John Ronald Reuel Tolkien for it when we get it, we will already have begun the slow and not always unpleasant return to Mordor. Freedom, love of neighbour, and personal responsibility are steep slopes; he could not climb them for us — we must do that ourselves. But he has shown us the road and the reward. 
Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Big Government

There are, we are told, certain projects which are so big that only a large government can undertake them. Going to outer space, for example, is often cited as something that the government (e.g. NASA) can do but private individuals can not.

The odds-makers in Las Vegas now beg to differ.:
NASA may believe that it'll be the first to land humans on Mars, but don't tell that to Las Vegas betting houses. Popular Mechanics has asked Docsports' Raphael Esparza to set odds for the first organization to put people on Mars, and he believes that SpaceX stands a much better chance of reaching the Red Planet (5 to 1) than anyone else, including NASA (80 to 1). To put it bluntly, SpaceX has the money and the motivation that others don't -- NASA would be the favorite, but its budget cuts are holding it back.
Granted, SpaceX and other private pioneers of the space age get some of their funding from the government via grants--but if NASA can't do it on account of lacking money, whereas SpaceX can, it seems to me that there is more than merely government money at work here.

I support NASA's mission to explore space, and think that this is one of the more worthy things that our government is doing (especially our current government), but I also welcome the fact that individuals in the US may be able to do this--with or without NASA's help.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dear Bill Nye

I was originally going to write a longer sequel to my previous post, "Dear Lawrence Krauss." It was going to be a bit longer than the original, because I can only do so many terse and dismissive posts in one week. However, it looks like Robert George and Patrick Lee have already written something which is more worthwhile than what I was going to write.

I'm a bit sick of seeing celebrity scientists of all stripes prostituting the field out to various bad ideologies. They only wreck the endeavor of science as a means of increasing knowledge and understanding--and with it awe and wonder--in the process. Indeed, they are subverting what may be the most important qualities of a true scientist: humility and reverence.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

CMP's Editing

The Alliance Defending Freedom has a post about the "editing" of CMP's videos. Are the videos edited? Yes. Lots of stuff is cut from them. But "editing" is not the same as "doctoring". You can cut a lot of material without changing the meaning of the video. Editing is what CMP has done. Doctoring is what Planned Parenthood does with its abortion services statistics (though not to its patients).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dear Lawrence Krauss

Dear Lawrence Krauss,

Just shut up man. You don't know what you're talking about.

Sincerely,
A fellow physicist.

Update: Edward Feser has a rebuttal to Krauss--no surprise there.

Friday, September 25, 2015

On a Related Note to My Last Post

Posting has been pretty light because I've been really busy around here. Anyway, the folks at Lutheran Satire have made a video which was too good not to share--and it ties in to my last post.

Enjoy:


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Modern Pharisees

I've often mused on the pharisees of the Gospels. Jesus always seems to excorciating them, or at best holding them up as a standard of what not to be. Many today seize on this as yet another stick to beat conservative Christians with. The pharisees were, after all, religious leaders (or scholar, if their be much difference in that day and age). Well, at least they were one school of religious thought, if not actually the most conservative one.

I've wondered at times if it isn't the progressives who more nearly resemble the pharisees in modern times. They have many, many little rules which have crowded out the big rules. And these little rules are often byzantine: witness the fury of the social justice brownshirts against any minor infraction against their unspoken (and often capricious) code of ethics.

As if to provide more evidence for this, the progressives at Buzzfeed have made a "cringeworthy" (and link-unworthy) video "I'm Christian, but I'm Not..." As Mollie Hemingway points out, the video is rather bigoted, but the true irony is that the thing reads like a modern version of the parable of the publican and the pharisee found in Luke 18:
This weekend, BuzzFeed posted a video called “I’m Christian, But I’m Not…,” in which five women and one man said they were Christians but they weren’t, you know, like all the other men and women who are Christians. They cheerfully reminded God and others that they weren’t homophobic or closeminded, or uneducated, or judgmental, or placing themselves on pedestals. Featured respondents proudly announced they fasted twice a week were “queer” or “feminist!” or listened to Beyonce. One said she wished people knew that “Just because we prescribe [sic] to a faith that has some really terrible people in it doesn’t make all of us terrible,” followed by someone saying that “love is the most important thing.”

It was easily the most unintentionally hilarious, if shockingly bigoted, BuzzFeed video ever produced.
Buzzfeed may not be the worst the "viral vector" sites (I think that may be Upworthy), but it's still pretty risible.
I don't always link to Vox, but when I do, it's because they've posted something worth reading. This is such a time. I love my job in academia, and I especially love teaching (well, except maybe for the physical science classes, which are populated at best by the students who the guy in this article describes). However, I have heard plenty of gloom-and-doom speeches about the state of academia in general--including from the administrators who run my own university. I suspect that there will be a  reckoning in the next few decades, and I hope that I am able to keep my career when that happens.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Unions

The propaganda:

The rebuttal:
Lol... lets pretend the premise that unions being solely responsible for all of those things isn't fiction, and that those things aren't federal law... now why, oh why, would I want to like, let alone support, organizations who have done nothing in the last 80 years but embezzle money from their members, assault people, bilk taxpayers for billions of dollars with thier health-insurance schemes, support politicians that're contrary to the interests of the worker. I don't want to see unions banned, but I think every worker should be able to CHOOSE not to be part of these organizations (Right to work.) Maybe then unions would have to stand up for the worker's interests, instead of thier own, in order to retain membership.
That seems about right.

Bonus:


Come on. There's a bit of a difference between wanting to see lower taxes and smaller government with less bureaucracy and more accountability, on the one hand, and wanting to see the government cease all services of all sorts. Yes, there are probably some "libertarians" (or anarchists) who do want such a thing. The Tea Party with all its faults has never struck me as being such a group. This kind of "irony" is rather tepid next to the corporatism of the Occupy Wall Street mobs:


Anyways, there's no disconnect between saying that we need less government and using such services or products as the federal highway system or relying on EMS personnel, policemen, or even our military. Less government is not the same thing as "no government."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Props Due--Hilton Hotels

The worldwide hotel chain Hilton has removed all porn channels from its hotels. Good for them--and good for the folks who launched the email campaign to get this started:

The worldwide Hilton hotel chain has removed all porn channels from its hotels in 85 countries after a campaign that saw top executives each getting as many as 1,000 emails a week opposing the presence of porn in the hotels.

"Partly it was the public pressure," said Pat Truman, president and CEO of the National Center of Sexual Exploitation, which organized the three-year public campaign that convinced Hilton to make the move. "But to give Hilton credit, they thanked us in the end."

Truman told LifeSiteNews that Hilton already had in place a serious policy to prevent their hotels being used for sexual exploitation. "They realized it didn't make sense to be against that while promoting pornography, which is so closely connected to it. Sex traffickers use pornography to sell prostitution. It's all connected," said Truman.

Here is one small victory for the goodguys in the culture wars.

Jindal vs Planned Parenthood

I don't think that Governor Bobby Jindal will be the Republican nominee, nor that he will likely win election for president if he is. But this has certainly made him move up a few notches in my book:
Louisiana governor and GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal will counter pro-Planned Parenthood protests today with a protest of his own -- in the form of a continuous video loop of the seven undercover videos showing illegal abortions and fetal harvesting by Planned Parenthood clinics.

The videos, some of which include graphic footage of abortion workers sorting through the dismembered arms, legs and other body parts of aborted babies as old as 20-weeks gestation, will show on an outdoor movie theater outside the Louisiana governor's mansion....

Jindal, who was one of the first governors to pull funding of the abortion giant, said in a statement earlier today that, "Planned Parenthood has a right to protest...but Governor Jindal’s office will ensure that anyone who shows up will have to witness first-hand the offensive actions of the organization they are supporting."
Give props where they are due. They are definitely due here.

Update: To no one's surprise, a) the protest was paltry, and b) the protesters refused to watch the videos. Reality isn't their strong suit.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Physical Science as a College Class

Here is an amalgamation of several comments I have received concerning my physical science class: "This class is so hard. I put in two whole hours doing homework this week. The math is impossible, and it feels like a physics class. This isn't like the physical science class I had in high school. I did badly on the first quiz--where did he get these questions from? They seem really hard compared to the homework. I skimmed the notes and the chapter, why couldn't I do better on the quiz? Waaaaaaaaaah!"

The only appropriate response, which I obviously can't actually post: "Welcome to college, assholes."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's the Difference Between Planned Parenthood and Kermit Gosnell

What's the difference between notorious abortionist (and criminal) Kermit Gosnel and Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion committer? Well, Gosnell was caught red-handed a few years back, and ultimately lacked the resources to keep the story buried. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, is a giant in the industry, and thus will be radically protected at every step of the way. They've now been caught--this is video 7 of something like 12 to be released by CMP--delivering an infant alive, then killing the infant to remove his brains for profit.

Shocking, yes. Surprising, no.

Remember: when it was Gosnell, the media talking point quickly became that this is why we need Planned Parenthood and others--that they run "high-class" operations which follow the laws, and all that. If they're breaking this law in such a grotesque and obvious manner, what other laws might they be breaking?

A full-fledged investigation should be following, but Obama and his cronies are too closely linked to Planned Parenthood to allow for this. The investigation should go beyond the show-trial (meant to prove no wrongdoing) given to Louis Lerner. A real investigation might just find even more damning evidence of criminal activity, and perhaps also criminal negligence. Gosnell was no better than the worst terrors of the so-called "back alley abortion," and that perversely became a defense for the other abortion providers. I think a real and honest investigation may show that the defense is base don a lie (the whole industry is, after all).

Planned Parenthood et alia delenda est.

----
Update: My friend Chelsea Zimmerman makes some good points about this being just the tip of the iceberg--in more than one sense.

Update 2: Also worth a read, since I basically am on the side that says that lying is itself evil. Key passages:
I have neither said nor do I believe any of that, just as when St. Thomas Aquinas said that all lying was sinful, he did not mean the Hebrew midwives were culpable for sin or that lying was worse then killing the firstborn of Israel. I think it is obvious that all these parties are trying to honor God, and I reckon they will hear “Well done” at the Pearly Gates.

1. It is consequentialist thinking to argue “Let us do evil that good may come of it.” It does not matter to the Church that the evil is a small one and the good end a large one. Because once you grant the premise that you can do evil for a good end, you have given away the farm and granted the very premise that ultimately makes abortion thinkable in the first place. After all, as any number of people will tell you, a fetus and a zygote are just teeny tiny things too. What are they compared to a lifetime of poverty and suffering for a teenage girl who just made a mistake?

2. It is what the Church means by “scandal” to try to get somebody to agree to commit grave evil for the sake of a photo op. And, indeed, it is more serious to do this when you know that they are likely to agree to it due to habits of sin, just as it is a sin to press a drink into the hands of an alcoholic when you *know* he is an addict, while there is no sin to offer a friend a beer.

This is a pretty good summary of my stance here, too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TMM: Puppies and Fandom

The line from the social-justice brownshirts is that the "Sad Puppies" and "Rabid Puppies" have ruined science fiction. From my perspective, they have broadened its appeal somewhat. According to the Hugos official site, a record number of people took part in the voting this year. The number of nominations turned in were also up (and the "Puppy" slates did very well). That should be a very good thing, since this is supposed to be the highest honor awarded by science fiction fans.

I should add my own perspective here. I bought a membership for the first time, because I learned (from puppy-affiliates) that this is how one gets to vote, and also because of the benefits of receiving so many fun science fiction works for free. And while I have always been a fan on some level of science fiction--I read Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novels when they first came out (I was in elementary school at the time), and later expanded from Star Wars and Star Trek to other science fiction. I have, however, been loathe to subscribe to much in the way of SF magazines (I've contemplated If, or Analog, or Azimov's), and the only one I've read much of is the Sci-Phi Journal (a new publication, which I have largely enjoyed, and which I found thanks to John C. Wright). I tend to read mostly anthologies and a few novels, older stuff, and new materials from a small group of authors whom I've come to enjoy.

It is thanks in large part to the puppies campaigns that I have expanded considerably form this (I tend to not take Amazon's recommendations seriously, as their system is often well off the mark in trying to guess what I may want). And while this may help larger sci-phi publishers like Baen or Tor, a number of the people whom I have started reading are at smaller publishing houses (not just Vox Day/Theodore Beale's Castalia House) and, more importantly, some independent/self published writers.

It is this last group that I think the Puppies can (and have) helped the most, by helping to make fans of good sci-fi aware of these independent writers. Baen or Tor have marketing departments, and they can get the word out easily for new products; independent writers cannot do this so easily. And, I've noticed, the puppies have held a few "book bomb" days in which they encouraged a large number of people to purchase selected works from specific authors from amazon. Perhaps they could consider some re-branding of their own, e.g. by forming a "Independently-published book of the fortnight club" to do bookbombs every other week, and maybe a second one to focus on small publishers every week, year-round? Then poll their members to draft a recommended Hugo nominations list. I don't entertain any notions that this will reduce the criticisms against their group from the social justice brownshirts, but it would be still more evidence that such criticisms are unfounded.


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*Once a month seems a bit sparse, but then once a week seems a bit frequent. I figure that the puppies consist of only a handful of dedicated writers, however large their fan-base and list of friends, and asking a small group to select one book per week might become a bit taxing....

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Euphemisms

Euphemisms are often used to conceal the nature of an action--or a worldview. Being "pro-choice" sounds innocuous to anyone who doesn't understand what the "choice" in question involves. "Tolerance" and "Equality" are often euphemisms for tyranny of another sort, as truth is refused the tolerance extended to "lifestyles" and some people or worldviews become more equal than others.

There are two other euphemisms of sorts, in which one word is added to another and taken to mean the first word's opposite. "Social Justice" as applied by the social-justice brownshirts is often such a phrase. Now, once it may have meant justice as applied to the poor and the weak; this is a fine thing, and it is what is or should be defended by Christians as a part of our moral and social teachings. Then it became mercy towards the poor and downtrodden, but now without regard to justice. This is already a corruption which would act unjustly towards people who are not poor nor downtrodden--a mere mockery of mercy. Now it increasingly means showing favoritism to a privileged class, and giving fealty to a hierarchy of victimhood. Neither mercy nor justice can be recognized in the movements actions nor aims.

Which brings me to "Hate Crimes," which may not be so euphemistic and yet which still smack of intentional deception. The motivation "hate" is bad, but that fails to make an action any worse than if the motivation is greed or envy or pride or lust or wrath. As Prof. Budziszewski puts it,
A man beats up a woman because he hates women. Hate crime.  
A man beats up a woman because she was promoted and he wasn’t; because he tried to steal her purse and she resisted; because he derives pleasure from inflicting pain on others; because she was seen in public without a head scarf; because the wife of another man paid him to do it; because he was ordered to do it by the leader of his gang; or because he was rioting and got caught up in the moment. Not hate crimes.  
Each of these acts is despicable. But how is the first one worse than the other seven? Answer: It isn’t.
Hates crimes legislation exists to further the goals of the social justice brownshirts: that is, to make some groups of people more equal (and more openly and obviously privileged) than others.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back in 1952

Back in 1952, even Planned Parenthood would openly admit to (and be repulsed by) a claim which they deny today: namely, that abortion "kills the life of a baby." They were still a generally bad organization in 1952, but since then they've basically become worse. Nor should this be surprising. As Chesterton notes, man may keep at a sort of level of good, but he cannot keep at a level of evil: that road just goes down and down. This observation is also true of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sometimes It Really Is That Simple

Cutting funding for places which commit abortions will reduce the number of abortion committed. It's that simple. Ross Douthat has a nice rebuttal to those who say otherwise. And his conclusion is spot-on:
But to concede that pro-lifers might be somewhat right to be troubled by abortion, to shudder along with us just a little bit at the crushing of the unborn human body, and then turn around and still demand the funding of an institution that actually does the quease-inducing killing on the grounds that what’s being funded will help stop that organization from having to crush quite so often, kill quite so prolifically – no, spare me. Spare me. Tell the allegedly “pro-life” institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding. But don’t bring your worldview’s bloody hands to me and demand my dollars to pay for soap enough to maybe wash a few flecks off.
Planned Parenthood does not exist to provide social services. These are just one more cover for their real purpose, which is to kill babies. They are certainly content to also make money, and the other services (many of which they only claim to provide) are mostly there as a mask. Sometimes the mask slips a little. Sometimes it is yanked off. Often, it does not matter, because many people are convinced that the mask is the real face, and still others (perversely!) believe that the real face is a good face which is meant to be adored.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

PC Dukes of Hazzard

I never really watched the original Dukes of Hazzard show--it was before my time, and never really held much to interest me. Nor did I watch the movie remake. But the fact that it's been pulled after being available for literally decades because of the prominent confederate flag on top of the car has me considering buying the series. No, not because I like waving the confederate flag; I may live in the deep south, but I'm not the sort to have much to do with that. Rather, my newfound support of the series is because I strongly oppose the busy-body cultural censors and social justice brownshirts who want to shut it down.

In the meantime, there's always the blue-collar comedy spoof of the show done by Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.


Political correctness, like other ideologies, tends to ruin everything it touches. The social justice browshirts have taken this to the extreme. They may not be going after something that I love in this particular instant, but they have done so in the past, and will certainly do so again, until the whole country is filled with goose-stepping morons marching to the beat of the progressivists' drums.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Slippery Slopes--Does A Lead to B C and D?

The first problem which I mentioned is the difficulty of decisively projecting forward from A (e.g. "gay marriage") to B, C, and D (e.g. its unintended consequences, bad results, etc.) In some ways, this is the most serious objection to the slippery slope argument; it is at least the objection which makes sense wen discussing the issue with somebody who is neutral as concerns A but is opposed to B, C, and D. There's always a way to rationalize that A won't necessarily lead to B, C, or D. "Gay marriage" won't lead to legal recognition of incest, polygamy, or even pedophilia as "legitimate expressions of sexuality," we are told. It is a risible claim, we are told; perhaps as risible as appeared the idea that "gay marriage" would be legal in the US from the vantage point of 15 years ago, or even 10*.

And, in some cases, a few counter-arguments are in fact presented. Just because we accept that there is nothing significant about a difference in sex between the to partners doesn't mean we can no longer accept that there is something significance about the number 2 (how many spouses), or 2 (steps removes for consanguinity), or 18 (age of adult consent in most states). It's not like there's historical or cultural precedent for removing these restrictions or anything. Ahem.

This does, of curse, disregard the fact that "gay marriage" was itself another step along a slippery slope of sorts. Sometimes the slippery slope arguments are actually prophetic, and they do in fact come to pass. Ideas have consequences, they do not merely exist in a vacuum. It is true that there is not always a direct and tangible link from A to B, C, and D: but we don't always act in a direct and logical manner, either as individuals or as a society.

Case in point, one of the bad effects predicted for the "A" of "gay marriage" was a "B" of churches losing their tax-exempt status and the "C" of limiting religious freedoms, then a "D" of outright persecution. Within a day or two of the Supreme Curt's decision, there were issued some calls to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they refused to perform "gay weddings;" this is itself a rather blatant violation of  religious freedom as it basically means tat the state will now be privileging some churches over others on the basis of a single longstanding religious belief. There have been other calls in a similar time frame, and within a week the social media sphere is abuzz with calls to revoke tax-exempt status or otherwise curtail religious freedoms of those churches who won't go along with this decision. The next front in the culture wars looks like it may be over whether or not people actually can practice their religions, including the moral aspects of their religious beliefs; and whether they can speak of those beliefs in public (including within the confines of their own churches).
The only condition in which "no" is not an acceptable answer.

And as for persecution, well, the soft-persecution has long since begun (just ask any Christian photographer, baker, etc. whether he has the right to not provide services to a "gay marriage" celebration). Indeed, in one case the bakers in questions have been told that they can no longer speak out about their case, in which they lost their business and then were fined $135000 for "emotional damages" because they refused to provide a cake to a pair of lesbians for their "wedding reception."


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*I did have one conservative friend, a fellow student at the university, who predicted this would come to pass. He made this prediction in writing around the year 2004 or 2005.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Queen Bess?

Suffice it to say that I agree with Fr. Longenecker's assessment of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. She was a tyrant as bad as the rest of her dynasty, a dynasty which happily ended with her. Oh, her reign was certainly good for England if one wants to argue that it keep England distant from those foreign powers which happened to have (at least nominally) Catholic rulers. Of course, England could have been made great without systematically persecuting the Church, and could have been more than great in the merely secular sense. The Catholic Church in England and Scotland may have been one of the more corrupt branches in those days. But what came after was no improvement:
What I have never understood is why Elizabeth did not avoid all the difficulties and simply maintain the Catholic faith that her half-sister Mary had re-established. She could have legitimized her claim to the throne through a marriage to Philip of Spain or a French Catholic prince. She could have won the hearts of her people who were still much more in favor of the old Catholic faith, and if she had borne children would have established security during her reign and secure dynasty. She chose not to, and the only reason one must assume, is that she did not wish to share her throne with anyone—especially a powerful husband.

Her intransigence brought about continued insecurity in England and division in war-torn Europe. It necessitated the murder of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, and kept her country on a knife edge of religious strife, immanent civil war and the threat of external invasion....

For indiscriminating fans of popular history she might still be the red-haired, haughty monarch—the proud and popular Protestant queen, “with the heart and stomach of a king” but for many others she remains the true daughter of her father—a stubborn, cruel and heartless tyrant.
Come rack, come rope... The Church in England, indeed in Europe, did indeed need reforming. The problem of the Reformation is that it threw out good doctrines along with bad practices, and then implemented some bad practices of its own. England under the Tudor dynasty was not only no exception to this rule, but was indeed arguably an exemplar of it.

On Slippery Slopes--Four Problems with the Argument

There are at least four problems with slippery slope arguments in general and with the argument as applied to the issue of "gay marriage" in particular. Here are the four which I have in mind:
  1. The argument fails on account of being unable to prove that A will lead to B, C, and D.
  2. The argument fails because A is worth the risk of B,C, and D.
  3. B, C, and D are not so bad as A itself.
  4. B, C, and D are actually desired ends of A.

Note that here "A" is the stand in for gay marriage," and B,C, and D are stand-ins for additionally consequences which might follow from it (not necessarily three in number). These 4 problems are essentially the counter-arguments deployed against the slippery slope argument. It should also be noted that there can be more than one set of B, C, and D. For example, "gay marriage" can be said by one slippery slope to lead to legal recognition of polygamy, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, etc. until marriage is utterly meaningless; it can also be said to lead to the loss of tax-exempt status of religious organizations, restrictive speech codes, requirements that conscientious objectors participate in events celebrating "gay marriage" (whether pride parades or the actual "wedding" ceremonies, receptions, etc.), to loss of religious freedoms in general and ultimately a persecution of certain religions (namely, faithful Christians).

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Media Lies--American National Catholic Church Edition

They lie. All. The. Time. But these days they seem to be going out of their way to tell lies about the Catholic Church. Specifically, I suspect that soon we will hear about every single "American National Catholic Church" in the US. I suspect this for the simple reason that these churches are actually completely independent from and not in communion with Rome, and hence much more progressive than the "Roman" Catholic Church (the one true Catholic Church, albeit only one rite within the Church). I suspect they will do this in an effort to "encourage" the Catholic Church to change her teachings to conform more with the secular zeitgeist--she won't.

Here, for example, is an article from a year or so ago titled "Meet the Catholic priest who performs same-sex unions." The mention at some point in the body text that he is a part of the American Catholic Church--but not that the American National Catholic Church a relatively small and unknown communion of churches--is not in any way affiliated with the actual Catholic Church (e.g. in communion with Rome). Nor, for that matter, is it affiliated with any of the various Anglican Churches which incorporate "Catholic" into their names, including some episcopal churches; I suspect we may be hearing some reports of the more progressive among these, too.

Oh, but it gets worse:
He answers to his congregation, and he doesn't hide who he is.
"I was born and raised Roman Catholic," he said. "I went to the seminary to study for the priesthood. And I'm a gay priest."

He felt the call to the collar from the second grade.

"Friends used to call me Father Phil when I was in second grade," he said.

Father Phil said Catholic churches aren't usually welcoming to the people who sit in this sanctuary. Here they are home and so is he.
Note the deliberate bait-and-switch here. He was born and raised Roman Catholic. He felt called to the priesthood from an early age. Nowhere is it stated clearly that he left the (Roman) Catholic Church in order to become a priest of the American Catholic Church. Also, there are a few swipes at the actual Catholic Church and the fact that a) our priests and bishops are not just accountable to their congregants (though they ave a duty to teach their parishioners the Faith), and b) that "Catholic churches aren't usually welcoming to the people."

And all of this is without addressing the rather flagrant job of misleading in the embedded video. "Church teachings don't usually allow Catholic priests to perform same sex unions, but one Catholic priest in St. Louis has done several of them." The video goes on to say that all Catholic Churches in St Louis impose ashes on their parishioners' foreheads (while superimposed over an image of the American Catholic priest doing just that).

Then in the interview, they make him sound like just another Catholic priest at just another Catholic parish: "We're very Catholic in essence!... We celebrate the same seven sacraments!...Where we change in is that practical way in which we embrace our Catholic faith." He then goes on to recite a large part of the progressivist laundry list: married priests, women priests, open acceptance of gay and lesbian unions... They mention that he disagrees with Rome, but not that his Church is not in communion with Rome. They also highlight that he went to seminary as a Roman Catholic. Yeah, nothing misleading here. No lies or propaganda in this article.

For that mater, no lies are being told by the American National Catholic Church (and won't be told about various Anglican Churches which call themselves "Catholic") in their choice of name. I am reminded of what was one of the most popular Biblical passags during the Counter-Reformation, and which should become more well known as a warning against today:
"And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds" (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).
The devil is the father of all lies. The media, even this independent (schismatic, frankly heretical) "Catholic" church, are just more tools he uses to do his dirty work.


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Update: I'm sure there are some Roman Catholic clergy who would happily go along with this too. Not all of our clergy is good and faithful, and so neither are many Catholic parishioners. It's bad enough when the media harps on this incessantly; it's worse when the find small and obscure schisms like this one and then pretend that they are genuine Catholics, as if to deliberately sow disunity within the Catholic Church.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Few God Links (vol. 22)

I think after this week I may undergo a self-imposed moratorium on discussing "gay marriage" and the Obergefell v Hodges case, for a little while at least:
  1. One thing which has long bothered me about this issue is the amount of deliberate deception practiced with regards to what Christ and His Church have and haven't aught regarding marriage in general and "gay marriage" in particular. Mark Shea has a good rundown of three lies employed in the present war against (Christian) marriage.
  2. On a related note, seminarian Joe Heschmeyer has a good rebuttal to all of those ridiculous (insulting, and to be blunt, lying) flow charts put out as propaganda against the Christian position on marriage. I suspect that this set of propaganda--these charts, their approach, their successful misleading of many otherwise faithful Christians--have done more to directly erode the societal opposition to gay marriage than any other propaganda. I should also include a link to a good chart which upholds the Christian argument.
  3. On a related note, The Gospel Coalition has a post on their blog asking 40 questions of those Christians who have been waving rainbow flags (and participating in "pride parades" etc.) in the wake of the Obergefell v Hodges decision. The blog is geared mostly for Protestants (in particular evangelicals)--and specifically ones who take their faith at least somewhat seriously--but most of these questions work for Catholics as well. Actually, a few of the questions are good reflection questions for all of us in general, on whatever side of this culture war battle we happened to fall on. "Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?" or "Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?"
  4. If marriage is a dignity-granting institution, where does that leave all the single people? When marriage--or at leas "romantic" (sexual") relationships--becomes the only way to know love, where does that leave friendship and the other loves?
  5. You know that the "pro-gay" propaganda has an ulterior motive when we Christians have to introduce ourselves by saying, "I'm a Christian, not a bigot." The churches have always been the target and their destruction the goal here, not some mythical "equality" or "dignity."
  6. Some forms of incestuous marriage are currently legal in some states. Did you assume I meant Alabama or Mississippi? No, I meant a progressive and urban state, like New York.
  7. Double standards? What double standards? Whatever do you mean that their is an agenda against the Church among progressive fools and the societal elite and the media moguls (but I repeat myself)?
  8. Where do we go from here? I agree with some of the suggestions that we should evangelize by our lives--show not tell--but I also admit that this is a very difficult proposition:
  9. On another topic, it is necessary to put the pope's words in context. That is often needed, since our media likes to quote him out of context (at best) and then further misconstrue what he says or does (that is, they like put lies in his mouth which he never uttered).Here, for example, is some context about his recent remarks about weapons manufacture and arms trade.
  10. A haunting and timely warning to America: no power on this earth lasts forever.
It's hard to discus other topics when one so large is looming on the horizon, or when one becomes the forefront of most discussion in society.

Consistency Isn't Their Strong Suit

A few days ago, I mentioned a possible silver lining to the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell vs Hodges: "a fairly welcome "side-effect" of the SCOTUS Obergefell decision would be the enforcement of concealed carry reciprocity for all 50 states + DC. But, I suppose it is probably too much to ask for the Court to be consistent."

Unfortunately, consistency is not the strong suit of progressives in general--their strong suit, alas, is persistence--and consistency is also not the strong suit of this court in particular:
"[Proponents of "gay marriage"] have a history of making whatever assurance seems necessary, before discarding it in due course. It used to be that prominent supporters of gay marriage pooh-poohed the idea of a judicial imposition of their view on the country. 
In the Supreme Court’s prior pro-gay-marriage decision, just two years ago, it said that domestic relations were exclusively a matter for the states — before turning around and throwing out state marriage laws not to its liking."
I suppose it is too much to ask that we be governed by consistent laws or even ruler by consistent oligarchs. It's a sure sign of tyranny that the rulers become unfettered by established law and legal tradition and cease to act with consistency.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mark of the Beast

"[The beast which arose out of the earth] deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast should even speak, and to cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.  Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name" (Revelation 13:14-17).

A friend suggested this passage a few weeks ago in connection with the possibility that Andrew Jackson be replaced by Margaret Sanger on the $20. Sanger is the founder of Planned Parenthood and as such was a devoted servant of Moloch. Now we find that it is not to be President Jackson, founder of the Democratic Party, who will be replaced--that would have been a good riddance--but rather Alexander Hamilton (founding father) on the $10. We do not yet know who will replace him hopefully someone worthy like Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks or Elizabeth Ann Seton, but we'll see.

I do not think that my friend's assessment is wrong or misplaced, assuming that it is indeed someone like Sanger who appears on the bill. However, we are seeing it unfold even now that we need not wait until then to see the mark of the beast appearing prominently in public. And it is done willingly, in the name of celebration. Those of us who do not go along with this--which actually might be a majority and certainly otherwise a substantial minority--are nevertheless not allowed our place in the "marketplace" of ideas. The few who have spoken out at all have been quickly and vitriolically shouted down.

This is not to say that we live in the end time now. I do not insist on only a rigidly literal interpretation of revelations as occurring only at the end of the world, and thus I can see it play out time and again in history, both in big and small ways.

Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, pray for us! Saint Athanasius, Pray for Us! Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, pray for us! Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

And lest anybody mistake my intentions: no, I am not publishing this because I hate "the gays." I am at times very frustrated with certain people, but I don't hate them. I do, however, hate sins. I also hate ideologies which glorify sins, especially those which do it blatantly for the sake of the sin. The reason why I hate sin and ideologies, especially of this sort, is because they tend to separate the sinners from god, and they put enmity between their followers and the Church. That is truly the worst effect of all of this, and it is precisely one of the effects in which "the beast" would rejoice.

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Update: Case in point, I may be on the same side of the culture wars as the fellow in Tennessee who put the "No Gays Allowed" sign on his hardware store (assuming he isn't doing this just as a parody), but I really don't stand with him. That is to say, I think he should have the right to refuse service, but I don't think that he is right to do so.

Also note that even some of the people who are simply opting not to engage in the "marketplace" are receiving their 2 minutes' hate for that decision. Witness some of the reactions--often on social media, but beyond that--to the Mississippi woman who is resigning from her position of 24 years as a county clerk rather than issue "gay marriage" licenses. There's plenty of vitriol focused on her, despite the fact that she is essentially doing what that side of the culture war claims we should do when we can't in good conscience provide a service to some sets of people (mostly, gays): that is, close up shop. Well, the Church has been through harder persecutions than this one so far is, and yet she has survived.

A Few Assorted Thoughts about Propaganda

I have long considered John Stewart to be a complete hack as a comedian; on the other hand, he is one of the most successful propagandists of this generation. His protege, Stephen Colbert, is often a bit funnier, and often a bit let hackish as a comedian; he engages in propaganda--a lot of it, to be honest--but not always at the expense of his comedy routine. However, comedy at times takes a back seat to propaganda in his shtick, too. He's not alone by any stretch here, not among comedians, not among other entertainments outfits, and not even among what once might have been called "serious news outlets."

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A funny observation about certain types of propaganda: sometimes an image which would seem to be intuitively obvious as "good" (that is, visually effective) propaganda can misfire. Case in point, this image made (presumably in photoshop) after the Supreme Curt's ruling in Obergefell v Hodges:


I saw this, an immediately understood its intent to be that it takes courage to stand against a culture which is collectively in the wrong (or heading towards the wrong), to seek freedom by doing what is right and not doing what is wrong even if the rest of the world has gladly embraced injustice and slavery by following its passions. The image was posted with the quote by Chesterton that "The Catholic Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age." The originating site, while mostly not in English, does not seem particularly friendly to social liberalism. Thus, I read the man who is in the circle and thus not under the rainbow flag to be those few people who aren't quietly (or worse, enthusiastically) going along with the whole "gay rights"/"gay marriage" movement.

Yet, some people saw this image and read the opposite into it. This rainbow fag of celebration is made possible by the one guy who refused to condemn homosexual acts (such as sodomy) as sinful and thus not worthy of legal protections and privileges. I suppose that 30 years ago, such an image might have at least reflected the reality that most people still called a sin a sin, though it would have been a rather perverse recognition. Thirty years ago, he majority was not necessarily silent on this issue, and it was right. Now, there is a small majority (or else a very vocal minority), and certainly a larger and more vocal one in the social media, which marches in perfect lockstep to the beat of the progressive drum and salutes the rainbow flag as the sign which leads them on the victory.

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Most people who speak out publicly against this march to privilege sexual deviancy and to codify the rights of immorality are shouted down (at best). Where once homosexuality was "the love that dare not speak its name," opposition to homosexual acts is the viewpoint which dare not speak its name.

We are moving out of the propaganda phase and into the outright persecution phase, soft persecution first and then maybe hard persecution will follow. There is certainly somebody who will be happy with this result. Especially if it leads to some more "results."


It might be fair to say that we lost this (big) round of the culture war, because we lost the propaganda war. In fact, we barely seem to have engaged in the propaganda battle until the end. Well see what results after the persecution:

God is not mocked, yet we have taken a symbol which if figuratively the sign of His covenant with us, and turned it into the symbol for the sin that cried out loudly from Sodom and Gomorrah. Perhaps there were other reasons why God destroyed these cities, and so the rampant homosexual sins were only the most visible symptom of a deeper evil. Perhaps, for that matter, "God's destruction" is again a metaphor for the cities' own inevitable demise. Is that a great comfort for a civilization bent upon following their example?

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Few Good Links (vol. 21)

For those who do not know, I am being promoted to Associate Chair of my department, effective August 1 of 2015. My duties in that capacity commence then, but I've been fairly busy trying to learn how to do some of these ahead of time from our outgoing associate chair. On to the links:
  1. Here's a roundup of a few Catholic reactions to the disastrous Supreme Court ruling from Friday.
  2. And a few more reactions. It is a "tragic day for America's children." And not, coercion does not lead to love.
  3. Rod Dreher's Benedict Option is looking pretty good these days.
  4. Getting "gay marriage" is not enough. You must be made to celebrate. To quote the leadership of "Believe Out Loud" (a "gay Christian" organization), "As we look ahead to a movement beyond marriage equality, we know that the work of affirming Christians is not yet finished. It’s now time for churches to move beyond simply accepting what we understand, to affirming LGBTQ people as they are." They are not alone in hoping to go after the Church, other ecclesiastical communities, and other religious organizations. 
  5. There's also more than a few who are happy to twist, corrupt, distort, or ignore Christianity--Scripture, Tradition, historical Christianity as practiced, and even the authority of the Church--to somehow "make gay ok." They might as well ask, "Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?"
  6. It's been corrected by now, but this was originally a very awful job of "reporting"/framing the issue concerning the Church and so-called "gay marriage." As in, appallingly bad (and you can still get a sense of it from the first few comments posted there, and for that matter from the parts of the article which aren't edited). Now it is merely "pretty bad," or "average lazy newsreporter bad," complete with the original title "Austin Catholic church will conduct same-sex weddings." The article has been updated to clarify that this is an "American Catholic" (that is, Anglican) church. The leading photo was originally of Bishop Vasquez. The oppening line is "As Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, bishop of the Diocese of Austin, says he is 'deeply saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision to require States to recognize same-sex marriages,' another catholic church — with no affiliation to the Roman Church — in the Austin-area will be officiating a same-sex wedding mass on Saturday." The bold color change represents what they added in after the fact. Agenda? What agenda? (N.B. the article was published June 26 2015 at 2:59 PM and "Updated" by 4:10 PM on the same day)
  7. This would be a fairly welcome "side-effect" of the SCOTUS Obergefell decision would be the enforcement of concealed carry reciprocity for all 50 states + DC. But, I suppose it is probably too much to ask for the Court to be consistent.
  8. Some inconvenient facts (including US murder rates) for the gun-grabbers, which will of course be roundly ignored.
  9. A defense of memorization as one of the important aspects of education. To be honest, memorization is the first step in a good education--and as such, it is a crucial step. This includes training oneself on how to remember facts and other information.
  10. Here's a long post about propaganda.
  11. A lot of people were making fun of that pro-marriage pastor,Rick Scarborough, who threatened to set himself on fire if the Supreme Court legalized "gay marriage" (a threat which turns out to have been a bit of an exaggeration). They often would argue that this shows how darned nutty everyone on the "Traditional marriage" side was. As far as I know, he never set himself on fire. But tragically another pastor in Texas did immolate himself. This pastor was actually in favor of "gay marriage," and while his last note does not explicitly say that he did this to promote "acceptance" of "gay marriage," it's not a stretch to read that into his actions.
  12. A few states--so far Oklahoma and Alabama--are considering completely nullifying all side in the "marriage" debates by ceasing to issue any marriage licenses at all.
  13. Here are 5 Things Jesus Might Say to the Gay Community. It is a Protestant perspective, but I agree with quite a bit of it. They even managed to catch that Jesus does, in fact, have something to say about/against "gay marriage" (Matthew 19:4-6). I don't like the (accidental?) contrast between being rejected by "the church" and yet embraced by Jesus, so I would reiterate that the Church does not "reject" anybody, and that Jesus is ultimately found in the Church and with her, since she is His bride. 

Sometimes hatred is charming, while love must show itself severe (St. Augustine).