ContraCelsum Backup

Dear Reader: Although Google professes to have a policy of free speech, there are now disturbing examples of Google peremptorily shutting down blogs on the Blogger platform espousing views which (presumably) Google wants to censor. Therefore ContraCelsum has set up a mirror blog via WordPress (http://contracelsum.com/). We update the latter weekly. If this site should suddenly go dark, you will find ContraCelsum alive and well at the above address. You may want to bookmark it now (just in case).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

 The Mind of a Free Man

Douglas Wilson
July 18, 2014

Villainy is not honest. I mean, c’mon.

This means that when rulers are ungodly, we should expect them to be like their father, the devil, who is the father of liars (John 8:44). When they lie, they speak their native language. Bitterness and cursing are under their tongue, but of course never at the press conference.

False teachers do not knock on your door with a brief case full of literature, and say, “Hello, I am here from the devil, and I have come to lead you into eternal torments.” That kind of stuff never makes it into the brochures.
False kings have confidence in the American people. They simper, flatter, and coo. They do what they do “for the children,” meaning of course the ones they haven’t chopped up — but all very constitutionally.

Now this is not just a character assessment. It has ramifications. And the ramifications directly affect, at the end of the day, our compliance. Or, I should say, if we are following the ramifications, our lack of compliance.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 23

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Outreaching Love

The next thing [Paul] mentions [in 2 Timothy 1:7] is ‘love’. Now I find this most interesting and fascinating. I wonder how many of you would have put love at this point on our list? Why, do you think, does he put it here? What does he mean by it? ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power....’ Yes, I understand that I need power. But love—why love? .. . Here is a superb bit of psychology, for what after all, is the main cause of this spirit of fear? The answer is ‘self’—self-love, self-concern, self-protection ... how can I do this, what if I fail? T—they are constantly turning in upon themselves, looking at themselves and concerned about themselves. And it is just here that the spirit of love comes in, for there is only one way to get rid of yourself.... You will never deal with self yourself. That was the fatal fallacy of those poor men who became monks and anchorites. They could get away from the world and from other people, but they could not get away from themselves.

There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is that you should become so absorbed in someone or something else that you have no time to think about yourself.

Greenist Folly

Not Cheap

Not good news at all.  This headline in the Daily Telegraph ought to make every self-respecting greenie shudder in paroxysms of guilt:

Wind turbine fires 'ten times more common than thought', experts warn

Study backed by Imperial College finds wind turbines prone to "catastrophic" fires but the true scale of the problem is unknown

Then came a spectacular image--that is, if you enjoy pyrotechnic displays:

A  £2 million, 100 metre tall wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland. The wind turbine was spinning so fast it caught fire. The engine of the giant turbine went up in flames and its blades were blackened by smoke. The turbine was one of 15 set up on hills overlooking the Scottish coast, built to supply green electricity to 20,000 homes.
A £2 million, 100 metre tall wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland, in 2011. Photo: STUART MCMAHON

Wind turbines catch fire.  In fact they are prone to do so, according to a study backed by the Imperial College London.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A New Diaspora

Jihadist-held Mosul free of Christians

July 21, 2014
The Daily Telegraph

IRAQ'S second-biggest city has been cleared of Christians, an Iraqi official says, as Mosul's final Christian families, facing an ultimatum from Islamist militants at home, fled to the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

"THE numbers of Christians in Mosul were around 50,000 people," said Bashar Kiki, a local council chief in the northern province of Nineveh, where Mosul is the key city.

"Since (the US-led invasion of) 2003, around 30,000 Christians have left the city. The rest have left the city after recent threats made by terrorist groups," he added. Kiki relocated the council to the town of Qushahwali, some 45km north of Mosul, after it fell to militants from the Islamic State terrorist organisation in June. "Now Mosul is free of Christians for the first time in its history."

Earlier this week, members of the Islamic State ordered Mosul's Christians to either convert to Islam or pay a protection tax or face death. The al-Qaeda splinter group gave Christians until mid-Saturday to make a choice.

A presidential spokesman in Kurdistan on Saturday called on the world to swiftly assist the Kurdistan government in sheltering and protecting the Christians they have taken in. According to Iraq's most senior Christian cleric, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, there were about 1.2 million Christians living in Iraq before the US-led invasion of the country. The figure has dwindled to around 500,000 at present.

The Islamic State has seized large chunks of territory in Iraq's Sunni heartland in the north and west in recent weeks. The chief of the radical Sunni group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, last month declared the establishment of an Islamist caliphate in the territory under its control, which includes parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, raising fears for the emergence of a regional militant enclave.

[We are thankful that the Christians have escaped and found refuge in Kurdistan.  May God bless those who have shown them refuge.  Ed.]

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 22

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

How faith grows

Faith does not work automatically ... you have to apply it. Faith does not grow automatically either; we must learn to talk to our faith and to ourselves.... Do you remember how the Psalmist puts it in Psalm 42? Look at him turning to himself and saying, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?’ That is the way to make faith grow. You must talk to yourself about your faith. You must question yourself as to what is the matter with your faith. You must ask your soul why it is cast down, and wake it up! ... Your faith does not grow mechanically, you have to attend to it. To use our Lord’s analogy, you have to dig round and about it, and pay attention to it. Then you will find it will grow.

European Progress

Breathing the Free Air

At this blog, we are all free-traders.  If Johnny Appleseed wants to sell his apples to customers in the Orange Free State, the respective states have no warrant to interfere with the property rights of Johnny nor his customers.  Secondly, free trade has a long history of demonstrating that, whilst economic dislocation might initially occur, in the longer term the population of poorer countries benefit from the opportunity to export to wealthier nations.  Free trade is one of the most effective modes of "foreign aid" ever seen--much more effective than dumping lashings of money upon less developed countries in some top-down, bureaucratic, government driven "we know best" model. Thirdly, free mutual trade is one of the most effective inoculations against the deadly virus of nationalism. 

To this end, we are heartened that finally the European Common Agricultural Policy ("CAP") is having its last rites read.  This from the NZ Herald:

Monday, 21 July 2014

Letter From the UK (About Australia)





17 Jul 2014, 
Breitbart UK

Australia has become the first country in the world to abolish its hated carbon tax - in fulfillment of an electoral "pledge in blood" by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The tax was introduced by the Labor-Greens coalition in mid-2012, despite earlier promises to the contrary by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  Prime Minister Abbott described the tax - estimated to have cost every Australian household $550 per year - as "useless and destructive." It has now been repealed, after much wrangling - and only on the third attempt - by the Australian senate.

As Phillip Hutchings reports at Watts Up With That?, the tax was indeed a total waste of time and money.
Among the reasons it was so misbegotten are:

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 21

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Not I ... but Christ in me

‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear.’ What, then, is the spirit He has given us? ... ‘... but of power.’ ... We have a task, we know our own weakness. Yes, but here is a power even for weaklings, and it means power in the most comprehensive sense conceivable. Are you afraid that you will not be able to live the Christian life?

The answer is: ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do.’ The fear and the trembling remain ... but you are enabled to work by the power ‘that worketh in you both to will and to do’... it means also power to endure, power to go on whatever the condition, whatever the circumstances, power to hold on and to hold out... it means that the most timorous person can be given power in all things, even to die. You see it in the apostles, you see it in a man like Peter who was afraid of death, afraid to die. He even denied his Lord because of that fear.... But look at him afterwards.... The spirit of power had entered into him and now he is ready to die. He will face the authorities, he will face anybody....

False Prophets

A Prescient Judge Points the Way

A judge in Downunder has caused discombobulation and outrage at his suggestion that there is nothing principially wrong with incest.  That incest should be advocated from the bench ought not be surprising to Christians.  When secular humanism becomes the regnant religion, anything that can be done will be done--and will likely be endorsed and approved.  The reason is that the ethic of secular humanism runs, "I am the master of my fate; man is the measure of all things; nothing human is foreign or absolutely wrong." 

When this ethic is applied consistently to sexual mores nothing is implicitly forbidden.  Explicit prohibitions are ignorant, primitive, time-bound prejudices and subject to change by the next more-enlightened generation.  We are in the middle of just such a sea change.

The secularists are actively pushing the boundaries.  But The Daily Telegraph in the land of Oz has been so outraged, it has called for a judge to be sacked. Why?  Because the judge has suggested that there is nothing wrong with incest, only sexual and physical mechanics which can easily be controlled.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

When the Bricks Start to Fall

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
Sunday, July 13, 2014

It is worthy noting that the Lord Jesus describes one of the features of hypocrisy as being manifested in an inability to read the culture.

“Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56).

A hypocrite does not know what is coming down because it does not suit him to know what is coming down. It is always handy to say, when things are comparatively calm, “well, that’s not my interpretation.”

But this simply reveals the narcissism of our age — as though our interpretations were in any way authoritative! Yes, yes, we know your interpretation, but is it correct?

When God shakes down a culture, He does it so that the things that cannot be shaken may remain (Heb. 12:27). This means that when the earthquake starts, and the bricks start to fall out of the building you are in, you have a moral responsibility to know where the shelters are.

True shelters are those congregations of God’s people that are not hypocritical, where the Word is faithfully proclaimed (not just taught), where the sacraments are faithfully administered, where discipline is faithfully practiced. In fact, it would be a good idea to start attending such shelters now.

Call it disaster preparedness.


Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 19

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

The test of our humility

... these Beatitudes as they proceed become increasingly difficult ... what we are now considering is more searching, more difficult, more humbling and even more humiliating.... The first Beatitude asks us to realize our own weakness and our own inability... it makes us feel we have nothing— But here, I say, is something which is still more searching—’Blessed are the meek.’

Now why is this? Because here we are reaching a point at which we begin to be concerned about other people. Let me put it like this, I can see my own utter nothingness and helplessness face to face with the demands of the gospel and the law of God. I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down. And I am ready to face both these things. But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us. I say of myself that I am a sinner, but instinctively I do not like anybody else to say that I am a sinner.... So far, I myself have been looking at myself. Now, other people are looking at me, and I am in a relationship to them, and they are doing certain things to me. How do I react to that? That is the matter which is dealt with at this point. I think you will agree that this is more humbling and more humiliating than everything that has gone before. It is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of my doing it myself.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 64–5

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Mockery the Best Medicine Now

The Wonderland of Oz and Other Places

We are all aware of the intellectual disingenuousness with which the global warming crusade has been conducted.  At the hands of UN and media propagandists, "global warming" was morphed into "climate change" so than any variability in climate could be claimed as "evidence" of the earth warming.  Colder temperatures thus became "proof" that global warming was actually occurring.  This has led to the perturbing situation we have at present.  Despite no rise in global temperatures for the past 16 years that very phenomenon is evidence of climate change, aka, global warming. 

In that perverse disingenuous spirit, we now present the latest evidence of global warming to alarm all men everywhere.

Firstly, the the whacky land of Oz, which boasts yellow brick roads, talking tin men, and other curiosities:

Friday, 18 July 2014

A Skirmish Won

Sensing the Wind's Direction

The normal modus of European Community politics is for extremist pressure groups to route their causes through the European Parliament or the European courts, seek affirmative resolutions or judgements, then turn around and demand that all member states comply post haste, or face court action.  These extremist groups tend to avoid the ballot box, where almost without exception they are soundly rejected. 

One of the latest moves has been to seek a judgement in the European Court of Human Rights to the effect that all member states must recognise homosexual marriage as a human right.  Thankfully, in this instance, the Court has soundly rejected the plaintiffs.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 18

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Christian—you are no ordinary person!

Timothy at the moment was guilty of the spirit of fear, he was gripped by it; so Paul reprimands him—’God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7)... our essential trouble, if we suffer from this particular manifestation of Spiritual Depression, is our failure to realize what God has given us, and is giving us, in giving us the gift of the Holy Ghost.... It is a failure to realize what God has done for us, and what God is still doing in us.... The Apostle has to tell Timothy to stir up the gift of God.

Our fears are due to our failure to stir up—failure to think, failure to take ourselves in hand. You find yourself looking to the future and then you begin to imagine things and you say: T wonder what is going to happen?’ And then your imagination runs away with you. You are gripped by the thing; you do not stop to remind yourself of who you are and what you are, this thing overwhelms you and down you go. Now the first thing you have to do is to take a firm grip of yourself, to pull yourself up, to stir up yourself, to take yourself in hand and to speak to yourself... the big thing that Paul is saying in effect to Timothy is: ‘Timothy, you seem to be thinking about yourself and about life and all you have to do as if you were still an ordinary person. But, Timothy, you are not an ordinary person! You are a Christian, you are born again, the Spirit of God is in you. But you are facing all these things as if you are still what you once were, an ordinary person!’

Spiritual Depression, pp. 99–100

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Death Valley

Can These Bones Live?

The roots of our rapid devolution from public and official Christianity in the West to radical secularism are fascinating to trace.  You can take a long bow, a short bow or a medium bow vista.  All are valid to some degree.

The "short bow" view traditionally commences with the sixties as the beginning of a time of rapid change: the Beatles, the pill, no fault divorce, secular feminism, a rapid expansion of a vast government income re-distribution system, the legalisation of killing unborn children on a mass industrial scale, the official promulgation of evolutionism as a religious certainty--to name but a few of the many devolutionary milestones--with the result that the West is now in a place which few foresaw when John Lennon and his mates boasted they were more popular than Jesus Christ.  Today the West is engaged in furious debates over whether homosexuals can legitimately be married, whether incest and pederasty should be classified as human rights, and how many genders there are.  As Theoden of Rohan once said, "How did it come to this?"  No doubt many folk today who were alive in the fifties are likewise shaking their heads in astonishment at the devastation wreaked upon the law and culture and religion which had stood unassailable for centuries. 

The causes of such a rapid and comprehensive devolution are complex to be sure.  But we suggest that one precipitous factor was the most widespread religion of the day.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Letter from the UK (About an Ethiopian Farmer)

Ethiopian Farmer Sues British Government 

- For Sending Aid to Ethiopia

16 Jul 2014, 4:13
Breitbart London

[The history of foreign aid does not make for pretty reading.  Like most government initiatives, the actual outcome is far from the original intent.  Now an Ethopian is suing the British Government because its aid grants to Ethiopia have cemented a one-man dictatorship in that country.  It's to the credit of the UK judiciary that the case is being allowed to proceed. Ed.]

A 33-year-old Ethiopian farmer has become so disillusioned with the way UK overseas aid is propping a “one party state” that he is suing. The man, who has been granted anonymity to protect his family, believes that UK overseas aid helped the Ethiopian government inflict “brutal treatment” on himself and others.

The court papers were filed in Kenya claiming that the UKs £1.3bn donation to Ethiopia is being used to oppress the population. The father of six known as "O" has come in for criticism of his action because his legal fees are being paid by the British Taxpayer despite never having been to the UK.

However "O" insists his action is necessary, and has pledged to give any compensation he wins to charity. The exact reasons for "O" bringing the case is unclear but it is known that he was forced from his home and ended up in a refugee camp after he was tortured for trying to protect his land.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 17

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
sourced from the OPC website

‘Little faith’—and its results

What then is this condition which is described by our Lord as being ‘little faith’? ... We can say ... in general that it is one which is confined to one sphere of life only. It is faith that is confined solely to the question of the salvation of our souls, and it does not go beyond that. It does not extend to the whole of life and to everything in life.

This is a common complaint among us as Christian people. On the question of the salvation of our souls we are perfectly clear.... We have seen ... that the only way of deliverance is in the Lord Jesus Christ.... And we believe on Him, and have that saving faith with regard to the present and to all eternity. That is saving faith, the thing that makes us Christians, and without which we are not Christian at all.

Yes; but Christian people often stop at that, and they seem to think that faith is something that applies only to that question of salvation.

Making Sport For All

Extraordinary Politicians

Politicians are past masters at making sport for the nation.  They tell themselves, of course, that they are performing Very Important Work, which in a few rare cases may be true.  And given that a large swathe of our population believes that the gummint is a minor deity it is no wonder that it swoons and gasps at the ruminations and peccadilloes of our pollies. 

Pollies are somewhere between used car salesmen and a B-grade comics.  They become more interesting as their comedic skills increase.  When they get to the point of being stupidly caught in their own nets, it can become mildly entertaining in a Three-Stooges kind of way.  But when they get us belly-laughing, they come close to earning their salaries.  After all, at that point they are dolling out the best medicine.

We have just recovered from the laughter and bemusement around the office which accompanied one pollie portentously proclaiming that he believed the momentous issue of the day was to accomplish a redivivus of the extinct moa.  The infamous Trevor Mallard has done this sort of thing before.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

On Ransacking the Penumbrae

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
Friday, July 11 2014

When confronted with the prospect of a devolution into tyranny, most Christians are clear on the nature of such tyranny, and the fact that it is bad, but are unclear on their liberty to oppose and disregard it. No, I should say more — on their duty to oppose and disregard it.

The evangelical baker and the Roman Catholic flower arranger who are hauled off into sensitivity training for refusing to strike an insufficiently celebratory pose over same sex mirage are being abused, no question. But . . . what about Romans 13, and the lions, and the coliseum? Shouldn’t we just take it?

Well, yes and no. If we were in the position of the early Christians, building a new civilization from scratch, we should do exactly what they did. When we are not starting from scratch, we should live up to what we have attained. And one of the things we have attained — because the Spirit has been at work in the world on this particular project for two thousand years now — is the rule of law.

Our current system of administrative rules, regulations, laws, and penalty kicks, is not just a bad system of governance, although it is that. It is — all of it — profoundly unlawful. Most of it has gone well past the point of being unconstitutional, and is now overtly anti-constitutional.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 16

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Do your part—and leave it in God’s hands

We are going to consider the case of those who ... are afraid of the future ... a very common condition and it really is most extraordinary to notice the way in which the enemy often produces the self-same fundamental condition in the same people by these apparently diametrically opposed methods. When you have put them right about the past, they immediately begin to talk about the future, with the result that they are always depressed in the present. You have satisfied them about forgiveness of sin, yes, even that particular sin which was so exceptional.... And then they say, ‘Ah, yes, but...’, and they begin to talk about fears concerning the future and what lies ahead.... Now it is right that we should think about the future.... But what we are always warned against in Scripture is about being worried about the future. ‘Take no thought for the morrow’, means ‘Do not be guilty of anxious care about the morrow.’ It does not mean that you do not take any thought at all, otherwise the farmer would not plough and harrow and sow. He is looking to the future, but he does not spend the whole of his time wondering and worrying about the end results of his work. No, he takes reasonable thought and then he leaves it... although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it....

Pots and Kettles

The Irresponsible Amongst Us

Every so often editorial writers get hopelessly confused.  Here is an example:  an editorial in the NZ Herald made this statement of fact:
Domestic violence . . .  is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.
Then, a few paragraphs later, the writer states:
Professor David Fergusson, who has studied the lives of 1265 people born in Christchurch in 1977, said his research suggested the rates of domestic violence by men and women are similar and in many instances involved mutual violence between couples. "Women do suffer more in terms of fearfulness and related outcomes," he said, "but what we do find in our study is that violence is usually mutual and there isn't a predominant aggressor."
The writer then adopts the tone of a scold with respect to the Professor and his research:

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

China, Abortion, and the Christian Church

China beachhead

China | Pro-life efforts are growing in the nation with the most abortions. But saving lives in the womb is an enormous challenge—even within the church

Issue: "China's abortion regime," July 26, 2014

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 15

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

The enigma of faith

This Beatitude [Blessed are the meek], this particular description of the Christian, causes real surprise because it is so completely and entirely opposed to everything which the natural man thinks. ‘Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.’ World conquest—possession of the whole universe—given to the meek, of all people! The world thinks in terms of strength and power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness. That is the world’s idea of conquest and possession. The more you assert yourself and express yourself, the more you organize and manifest your powers and ability, the more likely you are to succeed and get on. But here comes this astounding statement, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’—and they alone. Once more, then, we are reminded ... that the Christian is altogether different from the world. It is a difference in quality, an essential difference. He is a new man, a new creation; he belongs to an entirely different kingdom. And not only is the world unlike him; it cannot possibly understand him. He is an enigma to the world. And if you and I are not, in this primary sense, problems and enigmas to the non-Christians around us, then this tells us a great deal about our profession of the Christian faith.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, p. 63

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Destructive Hyperbole

Groping in the Fog

The office of ContraCelsum has been shaking over the past few days with bouts of belly laughter--which is, as we know, the best medicine.  We have been told in harridan-esque tones that we in New Zealand have a "rape culture".  Well knock us down with a feather duster.  We didn't see that one coming.

A rape culture.  What on earth is that?  Whence its origins?  Where is it to be found?  Does it come from from a particular ethnic group or immigrant ethnicity that just happens to sanction rape as part of their legal tradition?  Apparently not, because no particular ethnic, nor cultural group has been identified by the protagonist as having a culture of rape.  It's not a valued or traditional practice in British culture, Irish culture, Australian culture, or Chinese culture as far as we are aware.  Some may have said Indian culture celebrated rape in some circumstances, but recent legal cases against rapists in that country weaken that argument.  We are also aware that honour rapes take place in Islamic societies with the objective of removing shame from a family or village or town.  We grant that comes pretty close to an actual culture of rape. 

But in New Zealand?  So far, no evidence exists of such cultural practices here.  Thus we have no idea what is meant, or being referred to.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Numerous Piles of Blue Ruination

Douglas Wilson
Blog & Mablog
July 10, 2014

 
Boehner has announced that he disagrees with the growing calls for the impeachment of Obama. This is tactically shrewd, but nobody should mistake what I mean by tactically shrewd. When Jesus said that a king should take care to determine whether his ten thousand could take the king with twenty thousand, He was not saying anything about the actual merits of the case (Luke 14:31).

There is no question in my mind but that Obama deserves to be impeached. But he has gotten to this particular imperial point, disregarding the law with all the disdain of a sun king, for the same reason that any attempt at an orderly process of impeachment would devolve into a Washington circus maximus ten times worse than what happened with Clinton. He has gotten away with being corrupt because all of Washington is corrupt.

The impeachment process forced Richard Nixon out because the media was in full-throated cry against him, and then as a result his political base of support collapsed. Everybody thought that 18 minutes of conversation that went missing on the White House tapes was beyond fishy. We are now dealing with years of missing emails from Lois Lerner, and while there is outrage on the right, the whole thing can still be called contained. Call this fishiness inflation. If there is water to be carried, the media will carry it.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 14

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

I am what I am ... by the grace of God

What matters first of all if you are a Christian is not what you once were, but what you are. Does that sound ridiculous ? It is so perfectly obvious.... Yes, how obvious when I put it like this, but how difficult to see it sometimes when the devil attacks us. The Apostle said that he was ‘not worthy to be called an apostle because [he] persecuted the Church of God’, but he goes on to add: ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am.’ What does it matter what I was? ‘I am what I am.’ Put your emphasis there. Do not be for ever thinking about what you were. The essence of the Christian position is that you should remind yourself of what you are. Certainly there is this past with all its sins. But say this to yourself:

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like [me] His praise should sing?

The Lust for Power

A Pox on Both Their Houses

We commented recently upon a bizarre proposal by the Labour Party that cases of rape must take away the burden of proof from the accuser, and place it upon the shoulders of the defendant.  Innocent until proven guilty is a fundamental principle of judicature which the Labour Party is willing to toss aside whimsically in order to win a few votes from the radical feminists.  The NZ Herald continues the debate over this antediluvian proposal. 
Labour's justice spokesman Andrew Little did not think the party's proposal would lead to more innocent people being convicted.  "I don't see why. You're assuming that there is a propensity to lay false complaints. There is no evidence pointing to that."
There is no evidence of a propensity to lay false complaints. What planet is Little from?  This statement beggars belief and one wonders whether Little is just fundamentally ignorant of the real world, or whether he is being deliberately obtuse for political reasons.  OK, so let's put this claim to the test: if Little were to be taken seriously and in good faith, he would be claiming that in the past fifty years there has been no evidence of any person laying false complaints of rape

In August 8, 2005, the NZ Herald ran the following story:

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Letter from the UK (About Margaret Thatcher Redivivus)

Children held back by 'vested interests' in education, says Michael Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove attacks educational establishment for holding back classroom reforms, just as thousands of teachers prepare to stage a national strike 

By , Education Editor
08 Jul 2014 

Education standards risk being undermined “by vested interests determined to hold back reform”, Michael Gove has said on the eve of a major national teachers' strike. In a swipe at classroom unions, the Education Secretary says attempts to reform schools have “not always been easy” because too many teachers believe “things must stay the same”.
Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Gove says large numbers of pupils across Europe – including England – are facing a bleak future unless extra effort is made to raise standards and create more equal access to good schools. He says teaching standards must improve because too many children are still attending schools that “aren’t good enough”. 
Michael Gove is one of the most courageous politicians of our day.  He is not afraid to front up and confront the unions which have hitherto had a stifling stranglehold over education in the UK--as they do here in New Zealand.  Just as Thatcher stared down the coal miner unions during the UK miners' strike of 1984-5 and saw them off, opening up the pathway to necessary reform in the UK, so Gove is attempting the same.  Different unions, same reality.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 12

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Christ changes everything

Men who have been the hopeless slaves and victims of sin, and who have reduced their families and homes to conditions of abject poverty, once they have been converted and brought to Christ have proceeded to transform their whole surroundings and conditions. In regenerating a man, the gospel changes even his personal appearance. He begins to pay new attention to his clothing and that of his wife and children; the very furniture of his home is altered, and the aspect of his premises improved. Once the man himself is put right, he proceeds to put everything else right.

The great movement for popular education in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came as a direct result of the awakening of men, under the influence of the gospel, to the realization of the fact that they had minds and brains.

Liberty is a Fragile Treasure

The Politics of Guilt and Pity Trump Justice

People charged with a crime have to be proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt to be convicted.  This is not a tangential, but a fundamental, component of our system of justice.  The burden of proof is on the accuser, and his agents--the police and inquisitorial agencies of the State.

Judicature is structured this way--and has been for centuries--because the power, resources, and influence of the State are so much greater than a citizen's.  There are other principles set in concrete to afford similar safeguards and protections.  The accused cannot be compelled to testify against himself.  Again the reason is the mismatch of power between the State and the accused.  The State has the power to "lean" on an accused, with threats, intimidation, even torture.  "Confessions" under even the hint of duress are thrown out immediately--which is why interviews are extensively videoed and audio-taped.  They provide evidence of no duress by the State.

It is disconcerting, however, when the politics of guilt and pity intrude.  These fundamental principles of justice set down to maintain the integrity of judicature can be tossed overboard in an emotive tsunami.  The NZ Labour Party, polling in the twenties percent range, desperate to strike some resonance amongst the few identity-orientated groups which still maintain lingering vestiges of support, has come forth proposing to dismantle "proof beyond reasonable doubt".  This from the NZ Herald: