Thursday, May 05, 2016

Atheists to gather in Washington to pretend they're rational

One way to convince yourself that you are rational is to simply repeat words like "reason" and "rational" over and over again as a sort of mantra. The other way is to actually be rational by engaging in rational thought processes, such as observing the proper definitions of words, understanding what you are actually saying when you make statements, and observing the simple rules of logical validity.

The first way makes you a poser. The second way means you are the real deal.

As they did in 2012, the nation's atheists are getting together in public to repeat the appropriate catchphrases and to strike the appropriate rational poses so they can all pretend that they are logical. It's called the "Reason Rally," being held on the mall in Washington, DC on June 4. 

In 2012, I openly wondered if something called a "Reason Rally" would involve taking part in logical exercises like formulating valid syllogisms, identifying fallacies, and engaging in contests to see who can reduce syllogisms of the second, third, and fourth figure into first figure syllogisms, like we do in my logic classes. But, alas, all it really amounted to was a bunch of intellectually arrogant people with little to be arrogant about chanting slogans on the lawn.

This year, I was hoping to be available to travel to DC to stand on the lawn and lead them all in a chant of William of Sherwood's medieval mnemonic verse that includes all 19 valid syllogism forms to see if it would do any good.

In reality, these are people most of whom just simply have to scratch their heads when you ask them why secularism is somehow more inherently rational that religious belief. This idea is the unarticulated assumption behind all modern atheist thought. They will employ it in their argumentation, but if you ask them to justify it, they will descend into incoherence (if they haven't already).

For a fun exercise, recite to them various arguments from St. Thomas' Summa Theologica and ask them to identify which argument forms they exemplify.

These are also people who have made science into a religion and worship at the feet of the scientific method, which they seem to think is the only avenue to truth, a belief which itself cannot be proved on scientific grounds. In other words, their central belief is itself entirely irrational.


One of the themes at this year's rally is "LGBTQ Equality." It will be interesting to hear how reason and science support the whole concept of "gender identity," which basically consists of the belief that your gender is determined by your feelings and not your chromosomal makeup, like they teach in, well, science.

What IS the Christian Worldview?: An Introductory Book List

I have been giving a talk at homeschool conventions this year called, “What IS the Christian Worldview?” based on an article that recently ran in Memoria Press’ Classical Teachermagazine.
There are basically four parts to the talk:
1. How a lot of people use the term “Christian Worldview,” but few can define it
2. Where the term “worldview” comes from in the first place
3. The definition of the term “worldview”
4. What makes a worldview “Christian”
Unfortunately for those wanting to get a quick grasp of what goes under the label of “worldview” in Christian education circles, the literature out there on this subject really leaves something to be desired. There is no one book in which you can get a competent discussion of the topic. I wrote the article (and modified it in my talk) as a step in that direction.
great-ideasThe problem with any literature on this subject is that there is a tendency is to give a list of beliefs Christians are supposed to adhere to. But if we’re going to do that, we might as well just memorize the Nicene Creed. Now, we should probably do that anyway, since it is the best summary of what Christians believe. But there are many people who claim to affirm the ecumenical creeds who still do not have what I would call a Christian worldview.
There is something deeper than just our surface beliefs that partly dictates what those beliefs will be. I think this is more reflective of what we mean by a worldview.
If you really want to get a grasp on what a Christian worldview is, you’re going to have to devote yourself to reading a little philosophy and literature, with an emphasis on the history of ideas. I will say, however, that there are some great writers and great resources out there to get you started on this endeavor. What follows are the books I have recommended to my youngest son, who is now a philosophy major at the University of Kentucky. I think he would tell you that they have benefited him a great deal. For the most part they are books that simplify a lot of the main issues involved in the question of why we think what we think. But, also for the most part, they avoid oversimplification.
I would suggest starting with several books by Mortimer Adler. Adler was the executive editor of Encyclopedia Britannica and the general editor of the Great Books of the Western World series that was published by Britannica Inc. He became a public figure through the many interviews he gave over his lifetime, and particularly through the “Great Ideas” series hosted by Bill Moyers which PBS ran for several years in the 1980s. There are Christians who do not have a Christian worldview, and there are people who have a Christian worldview even though they are not professed Christians. Adler was not a Christian until much later in life, but he was on his way for quite a long time and, although he was not a believer, he championed what amounted to a Christian philosophy. Adler has some definite limitations that you will discover as you gain more mastery over philosophy and the history of thought, but he is a great simplifier and it is a good idea to begin with him in learning about the great ideas. The books I would most highly recommend are the following:
1. Great Ideas from the Great Books. This may be the most helpful book in my literary arsenal. Long out of print but readily available used, it is a masterpiece of simplicity and clarity. I call it my “secret weapon.” The many short chapters it contains were culled from a newspaper column he wrote for many years that provided responses to readers asking about the great ideas. “What is Justice?” “How to Think about War and Peace,” “What is Morality?” In addition to being the answers he gave in what was essentially a great ideas version of Dear Abby, these articles are distillations of the longer, more involved articles he wrote for his great reference work to the Great Books called theSyntopicon (vols. 2 and 3 of the Great Books set). If you want to go in depth, read theSyntopicon articles, but if you want to cut to the chase, read these little gems, each of which gives you an outline of the issues involved in each facet of the great ideas, and a summary of what the great thinkers have thought about them. After a lifetime of reading philosophy and literature, I still consider this little book indispensable.
2. Six Great Ideas. This book, perhaps Adler’s most famous, is a discussion of six basic philosophical questions about truth goodness, beauty, and life. A great introduction to philosophy for the beginner.
3. Aristotle for Everybody. In this little book, Adler gives one of the best easy-to-read summaries of the thought of Aristotle, the “master of those who know.” A knowledge of Plato and Aristotle is essential for anyone who wants to say anything about “worldview.” These two figures addressed most of the most important questions in Western thought. They don’t always have the right answers, but they ask all the right questions, and you can’t fail to learn from them. This book gives you an incomparable simplification of the second of these figures.
The Passion of the Western Mind, by Richard Tarnus. This may be the best one volume work on the history of ideas in print. A lot of people like Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder and Paulette Moller for a starter book on philosophy and the history of ideas, and it may well be the best one for a beginner. But if you don’t read Tarnus’ book first, it should be next. His sort of New Agey secularism unmasks itself at the end of the book, but despite this he gives the reader an accurate and engaging tour of Western ideas from the Pre-Socratic philosophers to Plato and on into modern times. It’s a bigger book, but well worth the time.
Everything Peter Kreeft ever wrote. Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston College, wrote a book in 1989 called Socrates Meets Jesus. I had a copy of it on the back seat of my car when I went out to lunch with a friend of mine who was a radio ad salesman in the early 1990s. He saw the book and asked if I would mind if he borrowed it. Two weeks later, he called me back. “Martin,” he said, “this is the best book I’ve ever read.” It is truly an amazing little book of apologetics. And, in fact, Kreeft went on to write a number of other “Socrates Meets” books, all of which I would highly recommend. They are written in Platonic dialog form, rendering them easy to read, but at the same time they are entertaining and informative. I have met and talked with Kreeft a number of times. Once (after Socrates Meets Kant was published) I asked him who Socrates meets next. He said, “Next He meets Descartes, then Hume, and then Kierkegaard, at which point he converts to Christianity. Together, these books may constitute the best introduction for beginners to the thought of the major modern Western thinkers.
1. Socrates Meets Jesus
2. Socrates Meets Descartes
3. Socrates Meets Machiavelli
4. Socrates Meets Hume
5. Socrates Meets Kant
6. Socrates Meets Kierkegaard
7. Socrates Meets Marx
8. Socrates Meets Sartre
Kreeft’s book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley, is also an excellent way to view the competing worldviews, and his Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas, is an excellent introduction to Christian philosophy and theology.
Finally, there are four books written by William Barrett that I have gone back and read over the last couple of years and am astounded at how well they hold up for what are ostensibly popular works. Barrett was a professional philosopher, but one who could write. He became an editor at Partisan Review magazine in the 1950s and 60s when it was one of the nation’s leading intellectual journals. He later became the literary and culture critic for the Atlantic Monthly.
1. Irrational Man may be the best introduction to existentialist philosophy ever written. The existentialists are right in the diagnosis of the disease of modernist scientistic rationalism, although most of them are wrong about the prescription, which is often, but not always, a rejection of God in favor of human freedom. Barrett explains them not, in many cases, to agree with them. But the wisdom he culls from their writings and the focus on the questions they ask is amazing. Many existentialists were atheists, but not all. This book covers, for example, Pascal and Kierkegaard, two of the greatest of Christian thinkers who openly defied the rationalism that has become prevalent in modern times.
2. The Death of the Soul is a clear and readable history of modern philosophy and, in the process, an account of what Barrett calls the “Doctrine of Two Worlds,” the central modern philosophical doctrine which Descartes inaugurates and Kant takes to its culmination: the belief in the isolated subjective self that is pitted against the objective physical world. It is a doctrine referred to frequently as “Cartesian rationalism,” and it is at the core of the modern scientistic thought that still dominates the Western mind.
3. The Illusion of Technique is a fascinating and insightful analysis of the genesis and cultural consequences of technology rivaled only by Neil Postman’s Technopoly. It contains one of the best accounts of the rise of modern logic, its assumptions and implications.
4. Time of Need. I have read quite a few books of literary criticism. This one remains the best. Barrett takes you on a philosophical tour of the great literary modernist writers and helps you to see what even the nihilism of twentieth century writers like Beckett and Hemingway can tell us about how the world really is. It is just another example of how the Western classical Christian worldview can extract wisdom from unlikely places.
Barrett will teach you how you can find truth even in those writers you would least expect to find it, sometimes in a way that would not necessarily have pleased the writers themselves. This is how powerful and universal the Christian worldview is.
Finally, I’ll recommend the three books I used several years ago in an advanced Christian Studies class (for high school juniors and seniors):
1. Fundamentals of the Faith, by Peter Kreeft
2. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis
3. Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton

All of these books address Christian theology, ethics, and apologetics, but in ascending levels of difficulty: Kreeft, the clearest and simplest of them, Lewis, whose book contains the talks he gave to a popular audience over BBC radio in the 1940s (an audience still far in advance of any comparable American audience today), and Chesterton, a much more literary writer whose prose borders on the poetic.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Devil Escapes from Hell, Set to Become Republican Nominee for President

The Republican presidential candidate who yesterday floated a story from the National Enquirer claiming that Ted Cruz's father was somehow involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination is now the obvious Republican nominee for president.

Wow.

So the Republicans are set to put up against the corporatist, corrupt, and dishonest Hillary Clinton a billionaire reality TV star who quotes tabloids to bolster his beliefs and boasts about the size of his junk on national TV.

Go Team!

How did this happen? There are several reasons:

1. Most Americans have had the practical equivalent of a lobotomy from getting our education in public schools;

2. No one took on Trump early enough. This is what happens when you self-professed conservative leaders out there stay silent in the face of evil (or, in this case, idiocy) hoping for the bad thing to go away. This is what conservatives do on a whole host of issues. They are doing it now on the gender absurdity that is now making the rounds. They're doing it on religious freedom. They do it, although less often, on life issues. The Republicans have a large and unvocal Surrender Caucus. If someone as devoid of intelligence as Trump can hang tough on what some of the preposterous positions he takes, why can't much smarter, supposedly conservative Republicans do it?

3. The leadership of the national Republican Party made Trump possible, and when he became possible, he became necessary. Pat Buchanan pointed out that, of the three greatest issues in the presidential race, Trump is right on two and wrong on one. He's right on the exportation of jobs overseas. He's right on the stupidity of an expansionist foreign policy. But he's a liberal (despite his more recent opportunistic proclamations) on social issues. The national Republican Party has, like much of modern conservatism, bought in to the Religion of the Free Market. It's one thing to believe in the Free Market; it's another to think that "free market principles" should dictate everything, and be adhered to even when it is clearly to our country's disadvantage to do so. The Republican establishment is also deep into the neoconservative foreign policy idea that, rather than a republic, the United States should be an empire, ready and willing to force democracy on the world. Hand it to Trump, he has completely turned the table on the establishment on economics and foreign policy, and he beat other candidates like Cruz because they are still wrong on the first two of these issues.

I agree with Trump on the economic and foreign policy issues and I'm still not going to vote for him. The Republican Establishment, however, ever opportunistic and unprincipled, is going to support him despite the fact that he violates their most deeply held beliefs. This is what politic prostitutes do.

Just watch, even Lindsey Graham, who has warned that Trump will destroy the Republican Party, will surrender his principles and report to the nearest Trump reservation.

Even now, the conservative faithful are being told that their only two options are Trump and Hillary.

I guess if my only choice was between the Son of Sam and the Devil himself, I'm supposed to go with the Son of Sam. But the fact is those are not my two options. There is a third: Don't vote for either.

The short term argument is correct: Hillary will get to pack the Supreme Court. But maybe that's the best thing. Maybe we should let the liberals have the Court so it can be seen by everyone for what it already was before Scalia's death: A rogue group of unelected judges who think they can rewrite the Constitution in accordance with their liberal political beliefs.

But no one it talking about the long-term consequences of Trump. If you thought George W. Bush destroyed the Republican brand, wait till you see what Trump does.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Donald Trump Gives Birth to Alien Spider from Hell

A new report has revealed that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has secretly given birth to an alien spider from Hell that could threaten life on this planet. According to the report, immediately after birth, the creature ate the doctors alive and demanded free college tuition before leading police on a three state chase. 

The revelation could affect the real estate mogul's chances of gaining his party's presidential nomination.

The report was published by ...

Oh, wait a minute. It was tabloid. And tabloids print ridiculous stuff that no one with half a brain would believe. I must not have checked carefully enough.


Never mind.

Monday, May 02, 2016

James Ramsey and Greg Fischer begin effort to remove historical monuments from public view

The Buddhas of Bamiyan
It used to be that colleges and universities were in the business of studying history. Now they're doing their best to erase it.

The scandal-plagued president of the University of Louisville, James Ramsey, has teamed with Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher to kick-off the Kentucky effort to remove historical monuments.

It's inaugural effort at historical cleansing involves removing a historical monument erected in 1895 by a women's group to honor the Confederate war dead. There were  apparently (unlike in Memphis) no Confederate graves to dig up, so Ramsey had to settle for moving a monument in the vicinity of its Belknap campus on city property.

It's got to be hard to be a liberal Democrat knowing that your party was the pro-slavery--and later pro-segregation--party, the party of George Wallace, and the party of West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd (a former KKK "Exalted Cyclops"), and the party which brought up the rear in the support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or that your party still conspires to create gerrymandered congressional and state legislative districts that minimize minority representation and maximize representation of White liberals who need these political platforms to engage in politically correct posturing while doing little to really help those they claim to represent.

The chief question about the liberals' effort to efface history is how far we are going to let them go. Will we take down other statues, such as those portraying those who owned slaves? Goodbye George Washington. Goodbye Thomas Jefferson.

Are we going to shut down parties with a racist past? Goodbye Democrats. Newspapers with a racist past? Goodbye Courier-Journal.


No wonder these people want to erase history.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The rock bottom criterion for a presidential candidate that Trump doesn't meet

There is one rock bottom criterion that should be applied to all presidential candidates. If you want to be president, you can be a Republican or Democrat, man or woman, Black or White, short or tall, old or young, rich or poor. But if you do not know what form of government we have, then you have no business running for the nation's highest office. 

Donald Trump (and apparently the rest of his family) do not seem to have a clue that we live, not in a pure democracy, but in a Constitutional republic. They are apparently under the impression that no procedure for electing a president is legitimate unless the process for doing it is directly democratic in nature.

Hence Trump's criticism of the delegate process in the Republican (and Democratic) Party. Trump doesn't like the delegate apportionment process because when he wins a state, he doesn't get as many delegates as he thinks he should get. This is the guy who, for example, only got 45.7 percent of the popular vote but got 100 percent of the delegates?

When he got all these delegates, were the other candidates calling the system rigged? If he thinks the system is rigged because delegates aren't assigned in proportion to the popular vote, is he going to give those delegates to the other candidates in proportion to the percentage of votes they received?

Don't count on it.

Do these people not realize that when it comes to the general election, they will not be involved in such a process? Do they not realize that they will be elected, not directly by the people, but by delegates to the Electoral College? And that that's the way the founders set it up? And that the founders were justifiably suspicious of a pure democracy and that all the checks and balances that they put into our republican form of government were to avert the dangers that were implicit in the direct kind of democracy that Trump and Co. seem so enamored of?

And why in the world are supposed conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan backing Trump up on this?

I'm sorry, but if I'm given the choice between Jefferson and Trump, I'm picking Jefferson every time.

The problem (from Trump's perspective) is that he doesn't like the rules each state party has set up for selecting a president. And he's calling on the national Party to change the process.

Now let's get this clear: He's wanting to nationalize the presidential election process in the Republican Party. Is that a very conservative thing to do? Can we look for more of this approach when he becomes president? If he doesn't like things that states do, is he going to have the federal government force them to change it?


Heck, if he's going to do that, then why NOT elect Hillary?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Why Should Christians Read the Pagan Classics?" A Highlands Latin School Lecture this Friday

If you are in the Louisville or even Lexington area, you may be interested in Highlands Latin School's Community Lecture this Friday: "Why Should Christians Read the Pagan Classics," with special guest speaker Louis Markos. 

Admission is free and open to the public.

Dr. Markos is the author of numerous scholarly books, including Lewis AgonistesHow C.S. Lewis Can Train Us to Wrestle with the Modern and Postmodern WorldOn the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and LewisApologetics in the Twenty-First CenturyHeaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition, and Pressing Forward: Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the Victorian Age

He has also produced several lecture series for The Teaching Company, including “The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis,” and “Plato to Postmodernism: Understanding the Essence of Literature and the Role of the Author.”

Just as importantly, he is a popular and engaging speaker.

In past years Highlands Latin School's Community Lecture Series has featured speakers such as Tracy Lee Simmons, Peter Kreeft, Christopher Kopff, and Ralph Wood.

Join us for this informative and enlightening discussion on why it is important for Christians to have a familiarity with the Greek and Roman classics. For more information, please click here.

Just in case you wondered whether Donald Trump knows we live in a constitutional republic (He doesn't)

Just a question: How can we trust that Donald Trump is going to nominate Supreme Court justices who respect the Constitution when his own rhetoric betrays an almost complete lack of respect for our republican form of government?

Not only does Trump himself, on a daily basis, advocate purely democratic processes in the electing of a president--processes which the founders themselves shunned in institutions like the Electoral College--but he has now deployed his equally ignorant sons to articulate the same anti-Constitutional principles.

On Sean Hannity's radio show yesterday, Donald Trump, Jr. that the delegate selection process in the Republican Party presidential nomination process was a sign that we are "not a democracy anymore."

Um, yo, Donald, Jr., we have never lived in a democracy. We live in a republic. A republic has a lot of democratic elements in it, but is representative all the way down. In fact, there is no aspect of decision-making in America's republic that is anything other than representative. No one gets together and directly votes in any decision made by government. Not the executive branch (whose chief executive is selected by the Electoral College, which Donald Trump must really hate), not the Congress (whose members, like Republican delegates, are free to defy those who elected them), and certainly not the judiciary.

Some of these offices are directly elected, but no decisions are made except by representation, directly (as in the House of Representatives and the Senate (after the 17th Amendment)) or indirectly (as in the Supreme Court).


The Republicans have a delegate selection process that is also representative and no one who wants to change it because it is representative in nature should have any pretensions about being in favor of the American form of government.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Obama's education chief knows that many "conservative" education policymakers don't

One small sliver of light in an otherwise pretty dim Obama administration has been the people heading the U. S. Department of Education. Arne Duncan, who was far from perfect, was at least willing to take on the teachers unions and push charter schools.

Duncan's replacement is John B. King, Jr. I don't know much else about him, but his first comments as Secretary of Education indicated that he is in favor of, get this, "a well-rounded education." Get out!

He is also against the Cult of Testing that plagues education from sea to shining sea. 

King's remarks place him in stark contrast to the many voices on the Materialist Right who want to shun the arts and humanities in favor of math and science. If you listen to prominent Republican policy voices on education, it is clear they think STEM is the answer to our education problems, when, in fact, the chief education problem is that we are not passing our culture on to students--a culture that is best passed on in our history and literature.

I'm sure King, who was the head of New York State schools, has other beliefs I would not be quite as sympathetic toward, but his one idea--that education should be broad--puts him head and shoulders above the mindless STEM rhetoric we are constantly hearing from people who clearly got a poor education in the arts and humanities.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why I'm supporting Ted Cruz for president (and wish Crump was running)

Even though I am a conservative Trump detractor, I'm not sure I would feel any more comfortable in a gathering of other such people than I would among Trump supporters.

Why?

Because half the reasons the people who say Trump is not a conservative would, outside of neoconservative circles, be considered reasons that he is a conservative, and the reasons he is really not a conservative are reasons that the new, hip, politics of what's-happenin'-now, socially liberal Republicans doesn't really want to talk about any more. 

Talk about a Surrender Caucus.

The two primary reasons given by Trump detractors that he is not a conservative are, first, that he is an economic populist, and, second, that he is not a foreign policy expansionist. This is the reason, for example, that Pat Buchanan supports Trump: Buchanan ran against George Bush, Sr. on these very issues.

The problem, of course, is that Trump is largely right on a large part of both of these issues. Trade deals have cost American jobs, and the Iraq War was a mistake—and one we should not make again.

To say that these are not conservative positions is to betray a blithering ignorance of historical conservatism. The political movement that began with Edmund Burke and today can claim a figure like Pat Buchanan has no sympathy for the Religion of Democracy or the Religion of the Free Market. Conservatism has always balanced an acknowledgement of the macroeconomic realities of the free market with the microeconomic realities of real people, and has always believed (as Buchanan once said) that we are a republic, not an empire.

Contrary to what all the Rush babies out there seem to think, conservatism is not a political ideology. An ideology is a political religion. It seeks salvation in the political realm. It looks at elections as eschatological events with the potential to usher in the Millenial Kingdom. This attitude should be left to the liberals. Instead, we have conservatives (people like Sean Hannity come to mind) who are just as politicaly utopian as liberals: If we could just establish a society in which there was a completely free market—or one in which America rules the waves (and the fields and mountains), then all would be bliss. 

But it is supposed to be liberals, Richard Vogelin pointed out, who "immanentize the eschaton," not conservatives. This is secular religion and no conservative worthy of the name could embrace it. And yet many who claim the title do.

When it comes to social issues it is as Michael Barone has said: Trump "speaks conservatism as a second language he hasn’t bothered to master." He doesn't need to speak conservativese when he talks about shipping jobs off to foreign countries or opposing American imperial foreign policy because conservatives just don't talk about these things, except to defend them on the basis of "free trade" and "exporting Democracy."
But he does talk this way when it comes to social issues, which is why he made the blunder about punishing women who have abortions. He just didn't know the issue well enough to know that that is not the pro-life position. It's also why he talks very little about the marriage issue. And its why, when he talks about being a Christian, he sounds like someone who just fell off the theological turnip truck.

I'm not opposed to Trump because he's wrong on all the issues; I'm opposed to Trump because he's a less intelligent version of Willy Stark, the Huey Long-like protagonist of Robert Penn Warren's All the Kings Men, a basically decent person deep down who discovers the usefulness of political populism, the use of which for seemingly noble purposes corrupts him in the end.

This is the dilemma for traditionalist conservatives like me: If we could create our perfect candidate, he would have about half the qualities of Trump and about half the qualities of Cruz. Let's give him a name: "Crump."

Crump would have the following Trump characteristics:
  • Masculinity (e.g., throwing reporters out of press conferences, and talking back to them before he does; taking no guff from others running for the same office, refusing to kowtow to the Approved Opinions, etc.)
  • Opposition to Political Correctness (e.g., bearding the feminists)
  • Opposition to trade policies that result in job loss for Americans
  • Opposition to nation-building foreign policy
  • A willingness to defy the establishment
Crump would also have the following Cruz characteristics:
  • A functioning brain
  • A mouth that will cease operation before something idiotic comes out of it
  • A principled opposition to abortion
  • A principled opposition to same-sex marriage
  • A willingness to defy the establishment
Problem is, I can't have Crump. I must settle for either Trump or Cruz. So I have chosen Cruz and here's why:

First, the good aspects of Trump are the things that this country can still have even if Cruz wins and does something else by hopefully finding a candidate with better foreign and economic policies later. Besides, we're not in danger of any new, unnecessary war anytime soon, partly since the Iraq War is still fresh in our memories (we'll need a better candidate 20 years from now, when everyone has forgotten the last time our nation-building efforts failed).

Second, the good aspects of Cruz are things that the failure to secure will ruin everything else. The culture of death and the anti-marriage movement are things that will destroy the culture if not quenched. You can talk about all the foreign policy and all the economics you want, but if we lose the concept of the value of life and we end up with a culture in which most children are raised without a father or a mother, then we're hosed. It's over. Bring on the next civilization because this one's finished.


Oh, Crump, thou Blessed Hope. Whence art thou? Thy people fail for lack of hope of you. In the meantime, thy people (or at least this one) shall support Ted Cruz.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Hypocrisy Alert: Bruce Springsteen, call your record label.



Excuse me while I extract myself from the saccharine self-righteousness of the stories I've been reading about businesses and celebrities who are boycotting North Carolina and Mississippi for their Political Incorrectness.

In addition to the hypocrisy of punishing people they disagree with under the label of tolerance and diversity, they have added another level of insincerity to their hypocrisy portfolio by boycotting whole states that engage in discriminatory behavior--or what passes for discriminatory behavior among the fevered ideologues who have taken over the culture.

Here's Brandon Morse at RedState on the sad condition of the liberal cultural schoolmarms now wagging their fingers at other people for violating the new moralistic tolerance standards:
PayPal decided they weren’t going to build a global HQ there, even though they have HQ’s in places like Singapore, which arrest gays on site just for being gay.
And then there's the Boss, who has willingly let himself be Blinded by the PC Light:
Bruce operates under the Sony label, who does business in countries where you can be jailed, or even killed for being gay. Is Bruce going to drop Sony in solidarity with the freedom fighters? If he’s that into moral grandstanding, then that would be his next logical move, right?
But moral posturing doesn't really involve any logic. It's just a cheap way to make yourself feel like you have really struck a blow for some revolutionary progressivist principle. It doesn't cost them a thing and it gets you applause among your progressivist friends.

The Classical Reason for Calculus

From my post today at Exordium, the blog of the Classical Latin School Association:

 In a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal, Tianhui Michael Li and Allison Bishop question the utility of teaching calculus in high school. The reason? There are other fields of mathematics better suited for preparing a student for the job market.

... The irony is that classical education, whose purpose, along with passing on a common culture, is to train the mind, is the only philosophy of education that can provide a justification for calculus. Why study it? Because it will help a student to think better.

Read the rest here.