The self-righteously PC dogmatism with which it was responded to and moderated were, of course, utterly predictable.
The self-righteously PC dogmatism with which it was responded to and moderated were, of course, utterly predictable.
Thread grenade -- sometimes, it's better to pull out the pin and walk away, letting a thread develop on its own.
No points for style -- this fellow seems miffed (poor guy) that I can't be bothered to respond to these two posts. Take a look at them for a perfect example of contentless argument-from-style -- in one post he, advises NeMon'ess that the only way to win an argument is to avoid bringing facts of your own, and instead use words like `fallacy' and attack the other debater's style. In the other, he manages to ramble on on questions of style for a page or so before making his first factual claim -- a claim which had already been thoroughly disproved in the part of the thread he couldn't be bothered to read before posting.
For those who are curious, my own take on the Abramoff scandal is that:
What do y'all think?
It's been two years. Last I remember you were quite a Bush defender. Any political stuff you'd care to talk about that didn't turn out quite like you expected?
Without limiting my comments to Mr. Bush's performance, which I'm generally quite happy with (certainly more than enough that I voted for him again in 2004), let me comment on what has pleased and displeased me in the last year
Things that have pleased me, from Mr. Bush and elsewhere:
These days, as a duly elected non-interim government of a free and democratic Iraq prepares to take office, as Saddam Hussein sits in the dock for his crimes against his own people, and as US troops begin to draw down, I'm prouder of the US war in Iraq than ever before.
Things that have displeased me, from Mr. Bush and elsewhere:
Things which don't really show up on my radar:
``Another year older and no wiser'' category
These guys seem to be carrying on pretty much where we all left off:
``Dude, why were you on my `foes' list again?'' category
On the other hand, these guys, still on my foes list for reasons long sunken in time, seem to be making a good amount of sense these days:
So that's the foes list, for good record. Before I review the old `friends' list, any recommendations for posts worth reading in the time I've been away?
Thought for the day:
``In the perfect world, the schools would be held to the same standard of excellence that our military is, and the teachers unions would have to hold a bake sale when they want to buy a Senator.''
I'm gaining a lot of respect for Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and other novels. Some time ago, I had pointed people here, in several posts, to this piece he wrote on Iraq and North Korea, and ellem and others have pointed out his recent piece, picked up by the Wall Street Journal, on the campaign of hate and fear being waged by the Democrats and many in the media against Bush and against the battle in Iraq.
Today, in his regular column over at The Ornery American, Card takes on the stunning lack of intellectual diversity in our allegedly diversity-happy campuses:
The reason our university faculties are full of people who accept hogwash in the name of political correctness is not because they are stupid or dishonest -- quite the contrary. It is simple human nature to accept as truth whatever the people around you unquestioningly believe. So P.C. dogmas that are outside of a faculty member's area of expertise are accepted without question simply because nobody else seems to be questioning them.
But this is precisely why litmus tests in hiring are so deeply harmful to the whole educational enterprise. It is not just students who need to be exposed to diversity of belief -- it is the faculty themselves who need people to disagree with them in order to stir their thoughts and bring out their best thinking.
Go read the whole thing -- he may be wrong about some things (he opposes the US decision to restrict where we spend our own Iraq reconstruction dollars, not (IMHO) adeequately considering that others are free to spend their reconstruction dollars in any nation they please), but he's quickly becoming one of my favorite registered Democrats.
This gem comes via NewsHax:
Bush Endorses Dean for Democratic Nomination
NewsHax wire -- In a move that has stunned and surprised long-time poltical observers, President George Bush today endorsed Dr. Howard Dean for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The Bush endorsement quickly eclipsed the furor that has arisen over former Vice-president Al Gore's endorsement of Dr. Dean on Tuesday. Many had been shocked that Mr. Gore would endorse a candidate who agrees with him on virtually none of the issues, a point that was clearly not lost on President Bush in announcing his own endorsement of Dr. Dean.
``Mr. Gore has demonstrated that you don't necessarily have to agree with someone to want him to win the Democractic nomination,'' President Bush told reporters, ``And, believe me, though I don't agree with a word the man says, there's no one I want to see win that nomination more than Howard Dean''.
Dr. Dean was reportedly pleased with the Bush endorsement, and has called on the other Democractic candidates to abandon their own campaigns and rally around him as the likely nominee and, indeed, as the only candidate to have obtained endorsements from both of the men who were elected President in 2000.
So far, the only person to heed Dr. Dean's call is Green Party leader Ralph Nader. Mr. Nader announced today that the Green Party would not field a presidential nominee in 2004, because, according to Mr. Nader, ``With Howard Dean as the Democratic nominee, this election really doesn't need a spoiler''.
Seems fitting in light of today's Fawning
Two more threads, both fun ones:
In this thread, we get a look at correct and incorrect use of the term `Orwellian' before diving into a look at the cold war and how it was won.
In this one we look at exactly how much of a crock Michael Moore's ``documentary'' Bowling for Columbine really was (hint: Moore is dumb enough to lie even about things that aren't useful to make his point, and even when his statements are easy to fact-check), and at how far some on the left will go to defend their own when they are caught in misdeeds
And just to keep things fun, our little circle seems to have grown a troll of our own, albeit not a particularly bright or witty one -- as always, don't feed the trolls, it only encourages them.
In 1999, Fr. Thomas Hopko (OCA) wrote:
In modern secularized society, the language, structures, symbols and rites of classical, biblical Christianity remain, while their content and meaning are radically altered. In the post-modern "deconstruction" of the modern worldview -- by way of radical personal and cultural existentialism, the sexual revolution, the mystical quest, the politicization of theology and ethics, and the explosion of material and spiritual hedonism and avarice -- traditional language, structures, symbols and rites are recreated to the point where their original content and meaning no longer remain at all, but are replaced by a whole new reconstruction of reality.
If more than a half century ago H. Richard Neibuhr could say that in modern American liberal Protestantism "a God without wrath brings man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross" (The Kingdom of God in America, 1937, p. 193), it can now be said that in the new age of most-modern pluralism divinity without sovereignty brings humans without dignity into an age without responsibility through the exploitation of a god or goddess of your choice without tragedy.
Does this apply to other religions and sects as well (from my own upbringing, I'd say that it's at least as applicable to Judaism in America as to liberal Christian churches; from my experiences now, I'd say it applies as much to the `high church' sects as to protestantism; am I right?)? Can this problem be solved? Is it a problem worth worrying about at all? How does this change compare to changes in other institutions (governmental, educational, etc)? Discuss.
It has long been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression (although I do not choose to put it into a newspaper, nor like a Priam in armor to offer myself as its champion), that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the constitution of the Federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow), working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little to-day and a little to-morrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidatee into one. To this I am opposed; because, when all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Hammond, August 18, 1821
Every thread should have a punchline as good as the one I've been linking to in the past two JE's does.
After post after post in which a particular user has asserted that the story of Onan could not possibly be interpreted as having an anti-contraception message, and that the idea that any Christian might oppose contraception was invented by the Vatican to `keep people in guilt and fear', and but a single post after I linked to evidence that not only has the Catholic church derived this belief from the story of Onan since at least the fifth century, and that many other sects Christian and Jewish hold the same belief, we finally get to see where he's been getting his theological interpretations from.
I'm not a Catholic (though I am a Christian), but if all the church's opponents are as loopy as this, I have no fear of the church being destroyed for many years from now.
Update: don't miss GMontag's latest JE, either. Definitely a winner.
Kind of a fun thread developing in this JE of GMontag's. Another sign of how desperate many on the left are to grasp at any wild claim -- no matter how long since discredited -- to back their wild conspiracy theories.
Now, does this mean that Diebold's election systems are well implemented? I'm not going to touch this one with a ten foot pole. But it certainly does the argument against Diebold no credit if it rests so much of its case on sources no more reliable than a discredited party hack like Bev Harris.
Also, for those of you who had already checked my last JE before I updated it, this thread is a good demonstration of how sloppy bad ideas (in this case anti-Catholic bigotry) get when they go unchallenged in the public square for so long.
Well, some amount of buzz has surrounded Brian Anderson's recent piece on South Park Republicans and the state of the culture wars in City Journal (also reprinted in the Wall Street Journal).
"The left's near monopoly over the institutions of opinion and information -- which long allowed liberal opinion makers to sweep aside ideas and beliefs they disagreed with, as if they were beneath argument -- is skidding to a startlingly swift halt. The transformation has gone far beyond the rise of conservative talk radio, which, ever since Rush Limbaugh's debut 15 years ago, has chipped away at the power of the New York Times, the networks and the rest of the elite media to set the terms of the nation's political and cultural debate. Almost overnight, three huge changes in communications have injected conservative ideas right into the heart of that debate. Though commentators have noted each of these changes separately, they haven't sufficiently grasped how, taken together, they add up to a revolution. No longer can the left keep conservative views out of the mainstream or dismiss them with bromide instead of argument. Everything has changed."
This is certainly true, as far as it goes. A lot of the energy and enthusiasm in our culture is indeed starting to lean in the right (and Right) direction these days. But Jonah Goldberg over at National Review warns against being too triumphalist, as these small steps in the right direction are still dwarfed by the old elite culture with it's ingrained biases (CBS News, the least well-off of the broadcast news outfits, still has more viewers than all of cable news put together, for example). He writes:
"Think about it: If we'd really won a culture war -- with all of the aggrandizement of territory implied by such a term -- wouldn't our troops be raising our flags in a few more enemy forts? Sure, we've mounted a few heads on a few pikes. But Phil Donahue did most of his damage 20 years ago. By the time he suited up for MSNBC, he was less a formidable culture warrior and more like one of those WWI veterans who sits outside the VFW talking about putting the kibosh on the Kaiser. And, sure, David Brooks now writes for the New York Times, and hooray for that. But he's still the "house goy" over there, ideologically speaking. Meanwhile, I don't see Harvard, Yale, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Hollywood, the Episcopal Church, or the Courts, getting demonstrably more conservative.
Which brings me back to Harrington's pie. If conservatives have such a lock on the culture these days, as Al Gore, Al Franken, and others keep insisting, why don't we just switch sides? The Left can have Fox News, the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, the lavish offices of National Review and The Weekly Standard, as well as Sean Hannity's and Rush Limbaugh's airtime. The gangs at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation will clear out their desks, give John Podesta the code to the Xerox machine, and tell Eric Alterman where in the neighborhood to buy the best gyros.
In return, we'd like the keys to the executive bathrooms at ABC, CBS and NBC, please. We'd like the cast of Fox and Friends to take over The Today Show's studios ("and tell Couric to take her Cabbage Patch dolls with her!"). We want Ramesh Ponnuru as the editor of the New York Times and Rich Lowry can have his choice between Time and Newsweek. Matt Labash will get Esquire and let's set up Rick Brookhiser at Rolling Stone (that way they won't have to change their drug coverage). Andrew Sullivan can have The New York Times Magazine. Robert Bork will be the dean of the Yale Law School and the faculty of Hillsdale and Harvard will simply switch places. Cornell West will be airbrushed out of The Matrix and Harvey Mansfield will take his place (though convincing him say anything other than "you call that a haircut?" will be hard). NRO will get the bazillions of dollars spent by the editors of Salon and Slate, and those guys can start paying their authors with chickens and irregular tube socks made in Albania.
In other words, talk to me about how we've won the culture war when Dinesh D'Souza wins a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and Maya Angelou has to blog about it because no one at the New York Times will run her pieces.
I guess I fall somewhere in between. It's not time to declare victory -- a lot of progress would have to be made before the `culture' as laid out by media and other elites is anything but to the left of the mainstream here in America, but I'm happy with where the momentum is right now. What do y'all think?
(PS: I'm back. Or at least I intend to be, albeit perhaps with a slightly slower posting rate than in the past. So if you've seen me post recently, here's your confirmation, and if you haven't, well maybe you're finding out here.)
Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.