Monday, August 29, 2016

The Witch Hunt Targeting a Christian Judge

The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics wants to remove a judge from her job and disqualify her for service anywhere in the Wyoming judiciary because she maintains a Biblical view of marriage:
The story began on a cold Saturday morning in December 2014. Shortly after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals declared Wyoming marriage statutes unconstitutional, a reporter from the Sublette Examiner called Judge Neely to ask if she was “excited” to perform same-sex marriages. It was only because she had accepted a part-time job as a circuit court magistrate that this question had any relevance at all. In that unpaid position, she was authorized, but not obligated, to solemnize marriages. She gave a perfectly reasonable reply. She said that if she were ever asked, she would help the couple find someone to do the job. However, she would “not be able to do” it herself. 
Based on this solitary exchange about a hypothetical scenario, the commission has been waging what they call a “holy war” against her for more than a year. They are not content to send her a letter clarifying what she should have done, nor even a letter of reprimand. Instead, they are leveling the greatest possible punishment allowable by law—and the implications of their arguments are chilling.One central allegation against Judge Neely is the charge of bias. The commission claims that merely by publicly affirming biblical teaching on homosexual acts, she immediately and irrevocably rendered herself unfit to judge fairly or impartially in any matter whatsoever.
Publicly affirming same-sex marriage is not bias, but publicly expressing your personal disbelief in it brings out the Tolerance Police in their steel-toed boots.

The commission makes much of a private letter in which she discussed a number of biblically named sins. The commission was so shocked that she would agree with the Bible that her church (Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) was called “repugnant” in open court. Moreover, when the Alliance Defending Freedom asked to represent her, the commission filed additional charges against her for “affiliating with a discriminatory organization.”

Yes, this is happening in America--in the name of Tolerance and Diversity. Read more here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

KY Farm Bureau protesters "Big on Intolerance," says family group

Today's press release from the Family Foundation:

LEXINGTON, KY--The Family Foundation today called on the Kentucky Farm Bureau to stick to in principles in the face of calls by protesters and liberal politicians to abandon their pro-family positions on marriage and domestic partner benefits. "The Farm Bureau needs to stand with its conservative rural constituency and not give in to the ideological demands of liberal protesters," said Martin Cothran.

Protesters from the Fairness Alliance and Congressman John Yarmuth had gathered outside the Farm Bureau's Ham Breakfast yesterday demanding that the group drop its position in favor of the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman and providing benefits to "domestic partners" of employees. 

"The Fairness Alliance and its allies are Big on Intolerance" said Cothran. "They talk about diversity, but somehow manage to find the time to oppose it whenever they see it."

"The Farm Bureau needs to stand up for conservative rural values and ignore calls from intolerant groups in our society to abandon the views of people they represent."


###

Thursday, August 25, 2016

C. S. Lewis' List of Great Books

The blog A Pilgrim in Narnia has published a list of the books C. S. Lewis refers to in his book, Experiment in Criticism, a book about how to read books. The list tracks pretty well the books that a person concerned with preserving our culture ought to read (or aspire to read):
See the list here.

Ann Coulter Finds Out that You Can't Trust Trump

There is some kind of poetic justice in Ann Coulter having to admit you can't trust Trump on the very day of the release of her book In Trump We Trust

The invasion of the body-snatchers thing that has been going on with many so-called conservatives infected Coulter fairly early on. Why? Almost exclusively because of the immigration issue. He was the only one addressing it, she thought. 

Okay so far. I get that. I don't agree with the immigration panic, but I can understand why Coulter thought that. Trump is right on the immigration issue: I can understand why someone would think that. But where, precisely, did she get the idea that you could trust Trump?

I'm sorry, but that doesn't make any sense at all.

Trump is exactly the kind of candidate that you can never trust: One who has no moral or political center. One whose attitudes are determined by what will either get him attention or help him win. That's what demagogues do.

And that's all they are: attitudes. They are not positions. Positions are come to by a process of application of some underlying principle or philosophy. Trump is incapable of even having a principle. 

Attitudes change with the political wind. So now he's calculated that this new position, now different from Coulter's, will help him win. That is literally the only factor in his decision to make the change.


Coulter is no fool. But she now looks foolish. Why? Because she should have known better. Now let's just wait for the evangelicals who have backed Trump to get their comeuppance. He'll turn on them too in time.

As someone who does not suffer fools gladly, I wonder what Coulter thinks about herself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

U. of Chicago failing to protects it students' fragile little feelings

The mean, mean people in the University of Chicago administration are clearly insensitive to the feelings of the weakly-constituted generation of students attending our colleges and universities, who apparently break out in hives whenever they are confronted by anyone voicing an opinion at odds with their own.

Unlike Brown University, "which last year created a room 'with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies' because a debate on sexual assault was taking place on campus," the University of Chicago has chosen to place their entering students in the precarious situation of having to confront ideas they might disagree with.

What is the world coming to?


What the Humanities Can Tell Us about T. Rex that Science Can't


Monday, August 22, 2016

My comments in the Washington Post today on the Paul/Gray KY Senate Race

Lexington, KY Mayor Jim Gray
I was quoted in the Washington Post today about the Rand Paul/Jim Gray Senate race. The story centers on the fact that Gray is a gay candidate, one of a record number of gay candidates running for state and local offices.

The narrative is basically that the number of gay candidates running for office is an indication of greater acceptance of gays in our society. That's true as far as it goes, but my point was that Gray is not a "gay candidate" in the sense that he runs on the issue:

“He’s never run as a gay candidate,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation of Kentucky, a socially conservative group. “It’s not something he’s ever worn on his sleeve … For that reason, he’s not identified with gay issues.”

I also pointed out to the reporter that what social conservatives care about is where the candidate stands on the issues, not what their sexual preference is. That being said, I also pointed out that wearing the gay label on your sleeve probably wouldn't help a statewide candidate in Kentucky, largely because they would take that as an indication of where they stood on the issues.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The End of the Liberal Tradition?

As even liberals are now abandoning their own cherished principles of tolerance and diversity under the very guise of implementing them, it's not like there's anyone anymore who thinks Francis Fukuyama was right when, in his "End of History," when he said that we were approaching the liberal utopia where we would all live in peace and prosperity under a tolerant secular regime.

Still, it's interesting to read about the demise of liberal utopianism in places like First Things magazine where Mark Movsesian writes, in his article, "The End of the Liberal Tradition":
In fact, a fascinating new paper in The Journal of Democracy suggests that liberal democracy is losing ground even at home, in the West. Political scientists Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk review data from recent World Values Surveys and observe some truly remarkable trends, especially among young people. Young people often reject the traditions of their elders; that’s nothing new. What they seem to be rejecting nowadays, though, in increasing numbers, is the tradition of liberalism itself.
Read more here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wisdom and Happiness: What Classical Education Can Do for Your Soul

My most recent article on Memoria Press' blog:

One of the measures of how hard it is to articulate the case for the value of a classical education is that you have to use the assumptions of those who don’t value it in order to persuade them that it has value.

That’s a mouthful, I know. But what I mean to say is that whenever you are asked to give a reason why your student needs a liberal arts and humanities education, you are expected to give a thoroughly utilitarian explanation, an explanation that someone with a classical education would immediately see was not only beside the point, but a little subversive of the very goals of this kind of learning ...

Continue reading this article here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

#DonLemon 's Violent Campaign Rhetoric

The liberal media spent a full two or three days this last week castigating Donald Trump for using what it maintained was violent rhetoric. CNN anchor Don Lemon was particularly outraged by Trumps comments.

No one seems to have noticed yet, least of all the liberal media, but most of the rhetoric used in political campaigns is based on violent rhetoric. In fact, the chief metaphor used in any political campaign comes straight from warfare, where the rule of the day is killing and general mayhem.

Like a lot of terms in our daily vocabulary, campaign terms are metaphors from some other area of life (and, in this case, death) whose original usage we see right through because of our common use of them. 

In fact, the term 'campaign' is itself a martial metaphor. Before there were ever democratic forms of government, armies when "on campaign," meaning they went off to kill people and break things. In fact, the earliest occurrence of the political use of the term in English dates only to the very beginning of the 19th century A.D.

And the military metaphors don't end there. 'Win', 'lose', 'victory', 'defeat', 'war room', 'battleground' states, 'fight', campaign 'foot soldiers', an election constituting a 'rout'—not only is it common in political language, it is the dominant metaphor.

So let's all panic now and run around telling everyone the political sky is falling because virtually every politician out there is using explicitly martial language, clearly indicating that they are advocating death, rape and pillage—even Hillary. I'm expecting that any second now Don Lemon will go into full apoplectic mode, warning everyone that they should head for their basements and stay there until after the election is over.

Oh, but wait. 

It is not only politicians who use these terms, but journalists who cover their "campaigns." In fact, Don Lemon uses them on a daily basis.

Don Lemon. Advocating death, rape, and pillage. So sad. Maybe he could conduct three consecutive days' worth of overheated interviews with liberal commentators on what a hypocrite he is.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Eunuchs in the Palace of Liberalism: Modern conservatism and what Ailes it

Sean Hannity, conservative ideologist.
I still, unaccountably, hear people who consider themselves conservatives talk about how much progress conservatism has made over the last ten to twenty years and how much that is attributable to media institutions like Fox News.

The first thing to say about this attitude is that it is utterly preposterous. Yes, there is a conservative media that didn't exist before the mid-90s, but what needs to be explained is why the rise of the supposedly conservative media has been accompanied by an almost complete loss of the culture.

Clearly conservatism is NOT winning. In fact, the influence of conservatism on our culture has ebbed to such an extent that if it were an animal, it would have to be put on the Endangered Species List.

So why do some conservatives like these think that conservatism is somehow thriving?

The reason is that for them (and this is perhaps the central problem with modern conservatism), conservatism is an ideology. In order to tell whether it is winning or not, one need only tally up the political offices inhabited by Republicans, compare that number to the offices held by Democrats. If the former number is bigger than the latter (or if it is growing in relation to the latter), then conservatism is in good shape.

This is malady that infects conservatism as it is represented by Fox News: The idea that the way conservatism wins is to gain political power. The more control conservatives wield over the engines of government, the better off everybody is—particularly conservatives.

This is Sean Hannity Conservatism. Roger Ailes Conservatism. It is the conservatism of the neoconservatives who have, for all practical purposes, dominated the Republican Party since the departure of Ronald Reagan from the political scene. 

Reagan himself was not of this sort. Reagan was the product of the National Review conservatism that produced him. National Review, which until the 90s was the flagship conservative voice in America, particularly when it had in its stable of writers people like Russell Kirk and Joseph Sobran, and to a certain extent its editor William F. Buckley, could be said to have had a soul, a soul that left the body some time, oh about the time that Reagan's vice president George Bush, Sr. took office.

What Reagan and the old National Review conservatism recognized was that politics was the effect in relation to which the culture was the cause.  

Go back and look at a copy of the old National Review (I have boxes of them in my attic). Note the prevalence of social commentary, film criticism, and book reviews—reviews of books of every kind, including poetry, fiction, literary criticism—in addition to books on policy. Then compare it to today's conservative publications (including National Review), which, if they don't actually harbor writers who suffer from it, at least appeal to readers who are poorly read and largely unfamiliar with the Western culture that magazines like NR were founded to defend.

It was the culture, stupid—the culture which has served as the battlefield on which conservatives have been completely routed—on marriage, on education, on bioethics, on sexual ethics—in addition to the size and scope of government.

Conservatism now shares the liberal impulse to achieve some sort of earthly utopia, the only difference being that for liberals this utopia consists in a thoroughly administered life through the agencies of government while for conservatives it is realized in a free market economy.
If you listen to someone like Sean Hannity, you'll hear the eschaton being immanentized (something the conservative political theorist Eric Voegelin and his cheerleader Buckley spurned) on a daily basis. The purpose of political theories, in this reading, is to write and implement the program by which heaven can be brought to earth. It is the substance of ideology, which is, as Russell Kirk, whose book The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot single-handedly founded the conservative movement, pointed out is political religion.

How many times have you heard a conservative spokesperson use the expression "conservative ideology" as an expression of approval? If you were to say this in the presence of the old conservatives, they would lift their aged heads and fell you to the earth.

Not only is the expression "conservative ideology" an oxymoron, it is blasphemy to the ears of a real conservative. It is the unwitting declaration that conservatism is merely another political religion designed to give us secular salvation—through "the market," or the Republican Party. It implies that, as liberalism has always maintained, if we can just get society structured properly, we can all live in peace and contentment, free of external evil (the only kind of evil liberals believe in).

It is the denial of Original Sin, the doctrine which Chesterton maintained was the only Christian belief that could be empirically proven, and the denial of which underlies the fatal conceit of political utopianism.

Conservatives have ceded the culture to liberals, and think the way to fight it is to get their hands on the levers of power. They are sorely mistaken.

What Fox News has done is to redefine conservatism so as to hide the defeat. For example, the network did little to stand up to the judicial fiat by which the legal doctrine of traditional marriage was swept away—a judicial fiat it would have been called by its proper name in the days when Robert Bork was still alive. It holds tenuously to the prolife position only because it has to appease its more culturally conservative audience. And not only is homosexuality fully accepted on every program its runs, but it now regularly refers to the "transgender community," an expression pregnant (if one can use that word in such a context) with ideological assumptions no conservative could ever accept.

Modern conservatives are Eunuchs in the Palace of Liberalism, having been culturally emasculated and reduced to doing the bidding of their liberal overlords, and are receiving the appreciation they deserve.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Watch Don Lemon get put in his place after the ridiculous charge that Trump was encouraging people to mass insurrection

The comical imbroglio over Donald Trump's Second Amendment remark gets more comical by the hour. Trump makes one of his usual unintelligent, off-the-cuff, meaningless remarks, this time joking about what Second Amendment advocates might do if Hillary puts judges on the Court who want to do away with gun rights through judicial fiat (and barely even doing that).

Just watch CNN's Don Lemon go completely apoplectic, accusing Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who backed Ted Cruz in the primary with being a "Trump surrogate," all the time acting himself as a Hillary surrogate.

Three minutes in, Bongino: "For twelve years of my life I was a secret service agent ... while you were learning how to be a TV personality."

OUCH.

Trump's comments didn't even approach irresponsibility, and as jokes go, it was pretty poor. But folks, bad taste and inarticulateness (not to mention being ungrammatical) do not constitute a threat to the Republic.

But, as you might expect, Hillary and her surrogates in the liberal media fell all over themselves, acting like Trump had just suggested mass violence and insurrection.

C'mon.

In fact, one of the funny things about all this is that, even if Trump were encouraging people to take up arms for the right to take up arms, he would only be doing the very thing the founders intended for people to do under the Second Amendment. Even Allan Dershowitz, commenting on CNN (I think) made the point that the Second Amendment is not about the right to hunt. It was put there to ensure that if the government became tyrannical, people would have the means to preserve their freedoms.

This is a liberal talking here and he's absolutely right. That's why the Second Amendment is there. And that's why Dershowitz was so outraged by what he was convinced in his conspiratorial liberal mind Trump was doing: the very thing the Second Amendment authorizes people to do (but which Dershowitz doesn't happen to like, but which doesn't matter because all a liberal has to do is ignore plain constitutional language and change the definitions of words and generally make things up).

But still the more important lesson here is that the media has now as become as trivial and unserious as the candidate they are trying to convince everyone is trivial and unserious--except when he's calling on Americans to start firing their weapons at public officials in which case he is a threat to our system of government which they don't really care about anyway which we know because they support Supreme Court justices who want to rewrite it.

Don Lemon and his liberal media colleagues are a far more serious threat the Republic than Donald Trump.