Saturday, 31 December 2011

Anti-Christian National Cleansing

In Egypt, Christians endure their ‘Kristallnacht’

Charles Jacobs
Republished from Big Peace

Recently Jews in synagogues around the world heard an ancient prophesy about a time of tribulation for the Christians. In the haftarah, the Prophet Obadiah hears G-d warning the Edomites (traditionally a Jewish term for the people who eventually made up the Christian world): “Behold on that day… Your mighty ones to the South will be broken… every man will be cut off by the slaughter…”

How eerily reflective of the moment: Within just the last couple of weeks, the Washington-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a “Genocide Warning” for Christians and other religious minorities across the Middle East, and launched a petition urging President Barack Obama to speak up.

The “Arab Spring” seems to be rapidly springing shut on Middle East Christians, most clearly in Egypt

Baby Farming

A Dirty Little Secret

One of the worst experiences of my working life was practising law as a staff solicitor for a law firm in South Auckland.  Part of my role was to make applications on instructions from CYFS staff for care orders, guardianship orders and adoption orders for children under the care of the government.

I became increasingly uncomfortable with my part, not just as a professional doing my job, but as a human being.

Sadly, my experience was that the primary motivator for most of the adults involved with these children was money.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Deadly Vegetarianism

Ordering the vegetarian meal? There’s more animal blood on your hands

Mike Archer argues that vegetarianism kills more animals than a diet of meat eating.

The ethics of eating red meat have been grilled recently by critics who question its consequences for environmental health and animal welfare. But if you want to minimise animal suffering and promote more sustainable agriculture, adopting a vegetarian diet might  be the worst possible thing you could do.

Ozymandius Revisited

Lessons From an Antique Land

Drawing lessons from the past can be a risky business, fraught with over-simplification and naivety.  But the task is nevertheless inevitable, necessary and right.  If you believe, as all Christians do, that God's glory and wisdom is displayed in His handiwork and that His handiwork includes both creation and providence then history not only reveals God's glory, it must be seen as intrinsically instructive--for those who have eyes to see.

Historians have often noted the rapid spread of Islam in the 6th century.  Some even imply that it was miraculous.  Others, demonic.  Muslim apologists point to it as a sign of Allah's pleasure. 

Some things are clear.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Just Me Being Silly

Culture and Politics - A Second Battle of Tours
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, December 15, 2011

[We have often observed that most of the worst egregious statist overreaches ever inflicted upon  New Zealand have come from the National Party--the "right of centre" party.  Think Occupational Health and Safety, Resource Management Act, Children and Young Persons Service, and the Emissions Trading Scheme.  Partisan fools are somehow less aggrieved when "our people" are the ones putting us under the cosh.  This betrayal and folly is not restricted to New Zealand.  Doug Wilson reflects on just such a stupid move by Republicans in the United States. Ed.]

Yesterday the House approved the National Defense Authorization Act, and the Senate is likely to do the same today. There is a possibility that the president will sign it, but he might veto it, and things have come to a pretty pass when I am hoping that Obama will protect us from the Republicans.

Completely Unexpected

We Did Not See This Coming

Sectarian violence has broken out in Iraq before the dust had settled from the departure of the US army.  Shi'ite, versus Sunni, versus Kurds, with a dash of Iran, and possibly Al Qaeda.  Sixty people dead from terrorist bombs.

The reverberations will continue for a while.  It shows into high relief, yet again, that governing elites and the Commentariat of the West neither understand religion nor see its vital significance in human action. One reason for this is the West's self delusion that it has risen above, evolved beyond religion.  Its demeanour is to look down from a lofty height, dismissing all religions as something mature people grow out of when they start thinking for themselves.  The West sees itself as a-religious.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Small "C" Conservatism

Losing Our Soul

We at this blog are "small-c" conservatives.  The past, what we have inherited, represents the sovereign, providential governance of the Living God over His creation as He brings His glorious purposes to pass.  In respecting and studying and analysing our past, we see the glory of God writ large.  We see redemption.  We encounter the grounds of all life and hope.

Hence, we find novelist P D James to be right on the button in this quotation:

The Koran Cannot Be Its Own Interpreter

Perpetual Internecine Conflict

We have been re-reading Alfred Guillaume's Islam (Baltimore: Penguin, 1956).  It is well dated now and in many ways serves as a curio.  The author's hope for the future of Islam based upon certain modernising efforts he had observed in his lifetime has now been well and truly dashed by events in our generation.  But in other ways, Guillaume's volume remains relevant.

Some things stand out.  Islam's epistemological foundation is deeply compromised.  The text of the Koran is arranged in an arbitrary fashion,
. . . on the purely mechanical plan of putting the longest chapters first and the shortest last . . . (Ibid., p.58)
so that there is no certainty about which particular passages correspond to what time in the life of Muhammad.
. . . scholars, eastern and western alike, have been busy for centuries in trying to determine to what period of the prophet's ministry a particular sura belongs.  The problem is further complicated by the inclusion of verses which must have been spoken at Medina in suras which begin in Mecca. (Ibid.)
Why might this be a fatal problem?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

How the Kingdom Comes

Transformation Through Conversion

"I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and possess the land." (Exodus 23: 30)

God told the Israelites that their Biblical culture would come "little by little".  It did not come suddenly, or overnight.  It came gradually.  The covenantal society . . . can only come about the same way.  That is, if it is to survive, it must come about from the bottom up. . . . It can only successfully come about (and stick) if it takes holy at a grass roots level through evangelism

The expansion of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome serves as an example.

Lest We Forget . . .

Obsequious, Adoring and Useless

This is the state of the current NZ Labour Party, according to one of its stalwarts, Chris Trotter
Mr Shearer inherits a party in which rank-and-file members have sunk to the level of what one wit describes as “MP fan clubs”. At its upper levels, the party is caught in the grip of a sclerotic, self-selecting oligarchy based in Labour’s insular and largely unaccountable sector-groups. In effect, Mr Shearer’s Labour Party is rapidly disabling itself. His first and most urgent priority is to kick it back into life.
This, more than anyone else, is the legacy of Helen Clark.  She represented capture of the party by left-wing academics, career bureaucrats, homosexuals, and unionists. Most of them had never done a day's work in the real world in their lives.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Free From the Dictates of Men

Christian Liberty

Practical Christian Living - Dealing With Sin
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, August 23, 2010

The way others are to view your liberty is not the same way that you should view your liberty.
Other Christians should let you do what you want unless the Bible forbids it. That’s how we guard against legalism.

But you should use your liberty differently—you should be asking what the reasons are for doing it, and not what the reasons are for prohibiting it.

First Glimpses

The Hobbit

For those of you who missed it, here is the first trailer of  The Hobbit.

It looks like there will be plenty of integration with the Lord of the Rings.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Meditation

A Theology of Christmas Gifts

Liturgy and Worship - Church Year
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, December 17, 2011

One of the most obvious features of our Christmas celebrations is the gift-giving. How are we to understand this as Christians? What are the pitfalls? Are all the pitfalls obvious? Because our lives are to be lives of grace, and because charis means grace or gift, this is something we have to understand throughout the course of our lives, and not just at Christmas. But it has to be said that the machinery of our consumer racket does throw the question into high relief for us at this time of year.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Reflections on Christopher Hitchens

Occasional Services - Memorial Homilies
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, December 16, 2011

Scripture says that it is better to go down to the house of mourning than to the house of laughter (Ecc. 7:2). The reason given in that passage is that this enables the living to "lay it to heart." The death of Christopher Hitchens should in the first place remind us of our own mortality. We should lay it to heart. As Donne so memorably put it, "ask not for whom the bell tolls." Every funeral is our own. These are issues that affect every last one of us.

Those who hold to the gospel of Jesus Christ must always remember that the good news of Christ is set against the backdrop of the bad news -- we are all of us sinners, and we all need cleansing and forgiveness. Christopher Hitchens did not need to come to Christ to have his arguments refuted (although that would have happened). He needed to come to Christ to have his sins forgiven.

And the Point Is . . .

The Meaning of Christmas

Great stuff from a congregation in the UK. (Just love the Aussie classicist.)

That's Christmas (Short Film) HD from St Helen’s Church on Vimeo.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Letter From America

Merry War on Christmas!
I can’t wait to see what those courageous atheists come up with for Ramadan.


Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions — the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular “holiday” tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist’s “war on Christmas” column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing “Winter Wonderland” . . . 

This year has been a choice year.

Prophetesses of the Age

It's Not My Fault

As chutzpah goes, this was as big as it can ever get.  A despicable woman had systematically tortured and abused her children in the worst way--including ripping off toe nails and pouring salt and boiling water on the wounds--and justified herself by saying it was the fault of the state.  The government had not helped her enough. 

This grand effrontery was taken up publicly by the woman's lawyer, Lorraine Smith:

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Something Different

An Unusual Maiden Parliamentary Speech

Alfred Ngaro is the first Cook Islander to grace the NZ Parliament. Yesterday, he gave the first Address in Reply speech to the Parliament. It is worth listening to. His description of his background, his hard working parents, the strength of family life, their Christian faith, and his commitments to family and community are both laudable and encouraging.

We hope that he will not succumb to the insidious lie of the omni-competence of Government to fix all things and be the Saviour of the people, for that is the corruption of Parliament itself. So many of his predecessors have been suborned. We hope that Mr Ngaro will be made of better stuff.

It is encouraging to see such people becoming MP's. We could do with an entire chamber of them.

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

Beyond Reasonable Credence

Body Mapping and Blood Splatter

Life imitating entertainment.  That's what is happening in court rooms everywhere these days.  Turn on the TeeVee on virtually any night and you will have three or four forensic crime shows to watch.  Within short order you will become a relative expert on data matching, blood splatter patterns, bullet rifling, and finger-printing.  It's all comforting because the innocent are always vindicated, the guilty are always caught, and it is hard-evidence, fact-based.  Science, after all, gives certainty.  Many would say, the only certainty in this mad world.

Ah, sorry.  It all a figment of the febrile imagination of TeeVee moguls and their minions.  But it is having a  significant impact on law courts and juries.  It's got the Aussies worried.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim Jong Il

The Rage Against God
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, December 19, 2011

On the death of Kim Jong Il, one wit tweeted that he liked to think that God had let Havel and Hitchens decide who would be the third one to go. That's funny, but if ideas have consequences, and they do, then there are a few other considerations.

We often say, when someone passes away, that they have "gone to their reward." But given atheism, what is that reward exactly?

Principled Assassination

"Good on ya', Bro'"

Passing into the folklore of Western civilization is the heroic attempt by some, including the Desert Fox, to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  They failed.  But we have honoured their moral judgment and their courage.  All of which serves to prove that assassination, when attempted for right reasons and true moral principles, can be a worthy deed.

When John Key was first elected Prime Minister of New Zealand we were told his nickname was Smiling Assassin--earned from his time as an international currency trader with Merrill Lynch.  Three years have passed and and it is time to reassess the moniker.  We can testify to lots of smiling.  That much is true.  But not much assassination.  Definitely not true.

His predecessor, Helen Clark gave every indication that when it came to the "sense of humour" department she was a shingle short.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Chilling Revelations

 How Long, O Lord

Below are a series of clips manifesting the depth of depravity of the monstrous regime in North Korea.  They present testimony from defectors and escapees.  It's a dirty secret that no-one likes to talk about in the West. 

Praying the Imprecatory Psalms on behalf of those suffering is by far and above the best and most potent response Christians in the West can make. 

They Are Only Christians

Complicit Silence of the West

We have been watching media commentary upon North Korea, post the death of Kim Jong Il.  The overarching, meta-narrative is that North Korea is a paranoid country, ridden with fear.  The sub-narrative is that no-one should do anything to make it more paranoid.

Several observations can be made on this pop-psychoanalysis of  North Korea's regime.  Firstly, it is paternalistic.  Like much that passes for psychology these days, it looks down from a great height upon a lesser people, regarding them as children, immature, wilful, and troubled.  Secondly, it produces a "don't scare the horses" approach to the regime.  But one thing tellingly missing is a clear statement that the regime is evil.  Such ethical categories don't really fit in the polite salons of diplomacy, old boy.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Work and Save Like a German

The Hundred Years’ German War
Germany’s dominance was won by national character, not arms or handouts.

The rise of a German Europe began in 1914, failed twice, and has now ended in the victory of German power almost a century later. The Europe that Kaiser Wilhelm lost in 1918, and that Adolf Hitler destroyed in 1945, has at last been won by Chancellor Angela Merkel without firing a shot.

Or so it seems from European newspapers, which now refer bitterly to a “Fourth Reich” and arrogant new Nazi “Gauleiters” who dictate terms to their European subordinates. Popular cartoons depict Germans with stiff-arm salutes and swastikas, establishing new rules of behavior for supposedly inferior peoples.

Duplicitous Ethics


When governments do it, all is fine and dandy.  When the market does it, well then, it is evil, self-seeking, and greedy.  This is the mindset of so many today. 

It reminds us of the old saw that used to appear from time to time on car bumpers: "Don't Steal!  The Government Doesn't Like Competition."

An apt example of this double standard of duplicitous ethics is at hand courtesy of Bryan Gould, Vice-Chancellor of Waikato University, and British ex-Labour MP.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Reagan and Mao

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Conservatism is not a static ideology. It is not an ideology at all, actually, but it is especially not a static one. But ostensible conservatives today like to act as though the decision of the ages rests upon whether we want Obama in or out. Everything rides on the consequences of this election.

This is why history is left out of it. Historical icons are not left out of it, but that is a different thing altogether.

Christopher Hitchens


This from Justin Taylor.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

Christopher Hitchens died on Thursday night at the age of 62, after a 18-month battle with esophageal cancer.  He was a brilliant and entertaining man. He was enormously gifted, and in his final years he took those gifts and used them to mock God, using his considerable wit and sharp tongue to convince as many people as possible to do the same.

When I had a crisis of faith my freshman year at a secular university studying religion, I was deeply convinced that there were only two options: full-blown Christian orthodoxy or atheism. Liberal theology—with its fantasy of rescuing the “kernel” (or essence) of Christianity from the (disposable) “husk” of dogma—had no appeal to me. And this is one of the things I appreciated about Hitchens.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Scientism Paradox

An MIT Scientist Refutes Scientism

From Justin Taylor's blog.

“Scientism” is not the same as “science.”

Scientism is a philosophical belief about science, holding that science is the only rational approach to truth in the world, and that only scientific truths can be rationally accessed and believed. (A softer form of scientism would hold that the results of science are the most rational and most objective truths we can have or hold.)

I think it’s safe to safe this is the dominant worldview of the secular scientific community—despite the fact that it is a self-defeating position (since “scientism” itself is a philosophical position and not a scientific truth).

Those seeking a refutation of scientism might be interested in a new book by Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, entitled Monopolizing Knowledge: A Scientist Refutes Religion-Denying, Reason-Destroying Scientism.

You can also read quite a bit of the book online for free at the author’s website.

HT: Chronicle of Higher Education blog (via Gene Veith)

Self-Destructive Class Warfare

Striking Folly

The Port of Auckland is presently debilitated by rolling strikes which put the strike threat system into bold relief  as extortionate blackmail.  Thankfully, the export/import business can transfer to Tauranga.  Whilst this does not help owners of the Ports of Auckland (Auckland City) it does provide a boost to shareholders in the Ports of Tauranga.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Not Compassion at All

Money, Love, Desire - The Good of Affluence
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You have a button in front of you, placed there by a helpful genie. But instead of giving you the standard three wishes (and why doesn't anybody ever wish for ten wishes?), the genie has limited your options.

If you push the button, the real income of all the "have-nots" in the world will double overnight.

Freedom Blooms in Egypt

Ain't Democracy Wonderful

The Commentariat went into paroxysms of joy when Egypt revolted against Hosni Mubarak.  At last, the people were speaking out.  Elections would be held that would turn Egypt into a modern democracy and where the "will of the people" would produce a "Western style" democracy, where Egypt looked and acted like the Auckland City Council.  The ignorance and naivety of our chattering classes left us laughing and breathless.

It has become clear what we expected all along.  Parties which are consistently and seriously Islamic hold the clear majority.  Eventually, a democratically elected government (if allowed to form and exist by Egypt's military) will take authoritarian control of that country.  Here is a briefing on what is emerging at the grass roots of Egypt's polity:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Nanny State is Taking a Hit

 Taking Responsibility For One's Own Safety

As so often happens, we have another case of women leading social change.  This time it is in the United States.  Women are moving rapidly and in sizeable numbers to be pro-gun.  It's progress, Jim, but not as we know it.  This, from the Sydney Morning Herald:
Robin Natanel picks up a compact black pistol, barrel pointed down range. Gripping the gun with both hands, left foot forward, she raises the semi-automatic and methodically squeezes off five shots. The first one creases the left edge of a red bull's-eye on a target 7.5 metres away. The four others paint a 7.5-centimetre pattern around the first. If the target were a person's head or heart, he would probably be dead.

Natanel is a Buddhist, a self-avowed ''spiritual person,'' a 53-year-old divorcee who lives alone in a liberal-leaning suburb near Boston. She is 153 centimetres and has blonde hair, dark eyes, a ready smile and a soothing voice, with a hint of Boston brogue. She's a Tai Chi instructor who in classes invokes the benefits of meditation. And at least twice a month, she takes her German-made Walther PK380 to a shooting range and blazes away.
She joins a cohort of people that used to be regarded as anti-gun: liberal, progressive, homosexuals, college-students--and female.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Duoglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Brief History of Christmas

Church Year
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, December 10, 2011

We celebrate the birth of Christ, and we are able to do this because we have seen what His rule has accomplished in the world. Jesus told Thomas once that there was a blessing for those who would believe without having seen the risen Christ, as Thomas had (John 20:29). On this principle, our place in history gives us access to a greater blessing because we have not seen Christ with our eyes. But it goes the other way also. Those at the time of Christ had not yet seen what His rule would do in history (as we have). And so they are more greatly blessed looking toward the future—the same way that we will be blessed by looking forward to what Christ has yet to do (1 Cor. 2:9).

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Is. 9:6-7).

There are many lessons that can be drawn from a rich text like this, but our task this morning will be to consider just two of them. The first is the Christmas element—the fact that a child is born unto us, and that a son is given unto us (v. 6). The second has to do with this child’s relationship to what is here called “government.” We are told that this child was born in order to rule, for the government will be upon his shoulder. And the second thing we are told about His government is that it will continually increase (v. 7). He will bear the government upon His shoulder, and it will be a continually increasing government. This increase—unlike the growth of secular governments—will be a blessing, and not a pestilence.

Avoid Chinese Joint-Venture Partners in China

King Ahab Redivivus

Corruption is endemic in China.  A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald provides a vivid reminder of how bad things are.  An Australian businessman, Matthew Ng has been sentenced to 13 years in a Guangzhou jail.  Clearly he must be a low-life of a pretty bad order.

Actually, no.  He appears a decent, upstanding husband, father, and businessman.  His real crime is that he and his company were commercially successful.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The Kingdom Has Come

He Who Has Ears, Let Him Hear

And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the One who is coming, or do we look for someone else?'" . . . And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."
Luke 7: 19--23

The King is enthroned.  His Kingdom has come.  His Kingdom is coming.  The signs of His Kingdom are evident amongst us.
10-year-old Christopher Duffley was born premature, blind, and autistic, and was adopted by his parents at 15 months of age. God has given him the gift of music:

Self-Deception Rife at the UN

Can Kicking: It's What They Do

Ever since Copenhagen, we all knew that the UN Climate Change boondoggle was swamped in the Great Grimpen Mire.  The latest conference in Durban attempted to maintain a charade of life and progress.  Anyone with half a brain knows that the thing is gone.  But when the salvation of mankind is at stake, the true believers have to keep marching on, telling themselves that progress is being made.  They are all in denial. 

We are not wound up about their lavish UN bro-fest.  It's what the UN is.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

'Tis the Season

One of The Oldest Extant Christmas Carols

The Wexford Carol

Allison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma perform the Wexford Carol, “one of the oldest extant Christmas carols in the European tradition.”

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

None So Blind . . .

 What Our Culture Will Not Admit

Laments and dirges are becoming more common in our society.  We see more and more articles in the media like this:

A 6-month-old shaken and hit in the head so hard he could not see any more.

A 2-year-old struck so hard in his tiny tummy that one of his major organs split in half.

A 5-month-old with a liver injury so severe the organ later ruptured and killed him.

All three dead. All three in the care of people that were supposed to protect, love and nurture them. And all three are part of the very tip of the iceberg that is child abuse in New Zealand. For a small country, New Zealand has a shocking record of child abuse. And the numbers are looking worse than ever.  But why are our babies dying? Why are our toddlers bashed and bruised? Why are our children, society's most vulnerable members, being subjected to these sickening acts day after day?
When faced with the scourge of horrific infanticide at the hands of ostensible care-givers, the nation collectively wrings its hands and says, "Something must be done", by which it means, the government must legislate and spend the problem away.  Some of the things the government has done are just plain naive and stupid--and entirely misdirected.  The anti-smacking law is an example.  A lot of febrile heat, but definitely no light. 

We will see more of this guilt-driven, knee-jerk stupidity.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Why is Van Til So Significant?


The Most Important Christian Thinker Since Calvin?

(We reproduce this excellent piece from Justin Taylor.)

John Frame says that Reformed theologian and philosopher Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987) “is perhaps the most important Christian thinker since Calvin.”

Frame offers several qualifiers to his provocative claim:
To say that Van Til is the most important Christian thinker of our time is not to say that he is the most comprehensive thinker, or the clearest, or the most persuasive.
Certainly it is not to say (as some of his more fanatical followers assume) that he is beyond criticism.
Nor is it to say that he has had a greater impact on present-day Christian thought than anybody else; indeed, his isolation continues, and his influence remains relatively small.
So what does he mean?

More to Come?

The British Riots Risk Being the New Normal

Theodore Dalrymple has an excellent piece on the recent riots in Great Britain. Disaffected youth suddenly took the to the streets and took control.  The (liberal) British establishment shook its head and said, "We warned you.  This is what happens when inequality takes hold."  Dalrymple shreds the idea. It is timely given the Left's preoccupation in this country with the alleged national sin of the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Newt's Three Laws of Motion

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, December 07, 2011

As I have been musing on the current Newt FEEnom, observing how many ostensible conservative pundits have all the principled stability of a well-greased weather vane on a gusty day, it occured to me to jot down a few thoughts on the underlying laws that are involved.

These laws or principles are the result of ceaseless meditation and prayer on my part over a period of some years now, and I jot them down merely in the hope that someone might find them useful.

It's Freedom, But Not as We Once Knew It

 Loving the New Good Shepherd

Freedom is that peculiar social construct which "allows" people to go to hell in the way of their own choosing.  Our Lord once said--and still says, for both He and His Word abide forever--that the way which leads to destruction is wide and there are many upon it.  The way to life is via a narrow gate.  (Matthew 7:13)

God holds all people accountable for being on that "wide" path.  But they are perfectly free to choose their particular course and gait on that wide, wide easy road.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Secular Democracies Morph into Despotic Oppression

It's Either Conscience or Cops

Here is an interesting take on why democracies always morph into one kind of despotism or another.

The Law of Four C’s: Chaos, Community, Conscience, and Cops

Peter Kreeft:
Colson’s Law is named for the man I learned it from: Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. It is one of the fundamental laws of human history. It has always been true, and it always will be true, unless human nature itself changes in its very essence. It is the law of four “C’s”: Chaos, Community, Conscience, and Cops.

Colson’s Law can be remembered best visually, like the “square of opposition” in logic.

Envy and Secular Materialism

 That Boring Income Gap Once More

Income inequality is in the news again.  Apparently an OECD report has come out to say that income inequality has increased in New Zealand.  The socialist shills are apoplectic.  Most Kiwis, being closet socialists anyway, move uncomfortably around in their seats at such news. 

We well remember that great egalitarian, David Lange gravely telling us that if he had to choose between a society where income equality was widening, but that the income levels of the poorest were also rising, on the one hand, and a society where the gap between rich and poor was closing, and the income levels of the poor were static, on the other, he would always prefer the latter.    In other words the income gap was more offensive to Lange than income levels of the poor rising in absolute terms.  It is only envy that could lead one to such a perverted position.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Postmodernism and My Neighbor

Goo-Mongers - Postmodernism
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, December 03, 2011

Please let me take a moment of your time so that I might explain why I hate postmodernism so much. It is the same reason, at bottom, why I hate socialism so much. But I repeat myself -- they are at root the same thing, actually.

Modernity is a good thing, brought into existence by the influence of the gospel. Modernism was a parasitic ideology, sneeveling in to take credit for those good things it could not produce or sustain.

Reflexive Neanderthals

Looking Over the Fence, Green With Envy

It's the principle of the thing!  No-one really yet knows the details of how the pilot charter schools to be trialled in South Auckland and Christchurch are going to work.  But, with no details in sight all--yes, all--the education and teacher unions roundly condemned the new policy.  And their condemnation was as swift as it was universal. 

When there is such a tight phalanx of reflexive opposition to a concept it is clear that ideology is driving and forming one's position, not data or facts or circumstances.  Of course, union spokesmen felt forced to give reasons for their visceral opposition to trialling charter schools in New Zealand.  With nothing to go on, they provided made-up reasons, which only served to underscore just how hide-bound and ideologically strait-jacketed the education unions are.  Here is the bevy of reasons, offered up to the NZ Herald:

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Funniest Thing

A Really Good Interview

Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, December 02, 2011

Douglas Wilson's son, Doug is now not just an accomplished author, but has achieved a degree of public attention.

Below is a fascinating piece on his background, the home in which he grew up, and on his life's work to date.

Back to the Future

And Now, Import Controls

Stupid people who have been led by the nose to think that an international carbon credit trading system might work are now crying over spilt milk.  The "market" was an attempt by governments around the world to create something of value out of nothing.  Sadly for them, governments just don't have that kind of ex-nihilo powers.

The Emissions Trading Scheme mania attempted to "work" with market forces and "harness" them for the good of mankind.  What all protagonists stupidly forgot (if they had ever learned it) is that markets are decentralised decision making mechanisms.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Tolkien, C S Lewis, and Rowling?

One of the Great Christian Literary Figures?

The video below was posted by Justin Taylor.  It is an excellent piece.

Jerram Barrs on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Jerram Barrs—Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture at Covenant Theological Seminary, and Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute—talks about his love for the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Warning: contains spoilers!)

A Taxing Problem

It's Not Your Money, Its Ours

The "underground" economy has been around a long, long time.  It's probably the oldest economic system in the world.  It is the in-kind commercial exchange system--the "I will fix your leaky spouting if you repair my car" economy.  No money exchanging hands.  No bank accounts.  No tax (except GST, of course, if you have to purchase parts and materials).

This in-kind system, however, is very, very inefficient.  Money is required to make the exchanges easy, efficient, and equitable.  But the underground economy has a monetized solution.  Pay cash.  The benefit--no tax.  And that is the biggie. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Who's Who in the Horse Race

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, December 01, 2011

As we continue to watch the gaudy show that we call the primaries, we need to keep all the factors in mind.
Inductive arguments are not valid or invalid, but are rather strong or weak. In an inductive argument, you are reasoning from the particular to the general. If you say that you saw a crow once, and it was black, and that therefore all crows are black, that is an inductive argument -- a weak one. If you are getting your doctorate in crows, and have observed 100,000 of them on five continents, and they were all black, and therefore all crows are black, that is a strong inductive argument. It still may be wrong, because you missed all the white Antarctica crows, which is easy to do, what with the snow and all.

We have to remember that polling is a form of inductive argumentation, and that formally most of the arguments presented to us are weak.

Yesterday's Man Makes a Comeback

 The Best Dancer on the Floor

Prognostications on the expected outcome of political races are a very risky business.  But, with full disclaimers of the flakiness of such activity, we are starting to come to the view that Newt Gingrich will most likely be the Republican nominee for President and that he will beat Obama handsomely. 

Here are five reasons why.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Atheism As Failure to Grasp the Implications

Devil in a Blue Dress
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, October 28, 2011 7:37 am

"If the two of us [an atheist and Christian] were looking at a new report of the latest atrocity, I would say that at some point in the future, in some fundamental way, that will be put right. You want to say, as an atheist, that it will not ever be put right. But you refuse, for some reason, to tak the next logical step and admit that there is therefore nothing wrong with it now" (Letter From a Christian Citizen, p. 54).

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A Tempest in the Full Milk Lattes

Oh, Canada

Canada has let it leak that it is going to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol, the UN's "treaty" to combat global warming.  A spurious treaty to deal with a faux issue.  Kyoto and the global warming mob at the UN are a picture postcard for all that is wrong with the UN, which we believe to be irremediable and terminal. 

The Canadian government is not withdrawing because it believes that anthropogenic global warming is a crock.  Rather, it is going to "go it alone", believing it can do more and better under its own efforts.  This is a highly significant move for New Zealand, because the most potent rationale for our right leaning government to impose an Emissions Trading Scheme (aka, the grand tax on all human activity) has been its positive impact upon trade.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Rusting Hulk Encrusted with Barnacles

The USS Spendaholic

Mark Steyn has an unusual gift of putting things in perspective.

More More More

I see Andrea True died earlier this month. The late disco diva enjoyed a brief moment of global celebrity in 1976 with her ubiquitous glitterball favorite: 
More More More
How do you like it?
How do you like it?
More More More
How do you like it?
How do you like it?
In honor of Andrea’s passing, I have asked my congressman to propose the adoption of this song as the U.S. national anthem.

Bare Cupboards

Demagogues and Democracy

The public "debate" over asset sales has played out as expected.  The opposition parties have demagogued the issue, not because they are opposed in principle (with the possible exception of the Greens) but to attempt to win notoriety and curry favour with the electorate.

This issue illustrates why pure democracy is an unmitigated evil.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Maybe Bilbo Knew Something . . .

Human-Sized Hobbit House That Costs Less Than $5,000 to Build

(From The Blaze)

This is not some set left over from The Lord of the Rings. This hobbit house is an honest-to-goodness man-sized home. Not only does it fit a family of four, but it cost just over $4,650 to build.

Expect Self-Interest to Emerge Full Blown

We Can Trust the Pollies to Get It Right

There will be a brief flurry of interest in the Referendum held on the 26th November, 2011 as the votes are counted and the results come in.  It would seem that the public favours keeping Mixed Member Proportional Representation and giving the politicians the opportunity to tweak it.

We think it timely to remind ourselves that our system of MMP reproduces the German system.  No system is perfect; the MMP system--with all its quirks and frustrations--has worked reasonably well.  Its faults are well known.  But now the MP's will get to tweak it and make it better.  We now enter a potentially dangerous phase.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Baptism and Christian Education

Church Government - What to Expect at a CREC Church
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, November 25, 2011

CREC churches share a deep commitment to the pursuit of Christian education. We are convinced that the world must be understood in a distinctively Christian way, and young saints are to be trained up into that way of thinking about it. The reason the world must be understood in a Christian way is because the world was created by the Christian God. Apart from Him, it cannot be understood properly. But because of the presence of sin in the world, there are a great many obstacles to this proper understanding. It does not come easily.

Education is all about learning how to take your rightful place in the world, and this is something too important to leave to our young people to figure out for themselves.

The Greatest Wonder of the Creation

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized

This from The Blaze:

Alexander Tsiaras, an image-maker and the author of the book “From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds,” gave a recently-published TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk, during which he unveiled a spectacular video about fetal development.

Alexander Tsiaras's book, "From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds"

The video, which graphically shows the process of human progression, begins by showing an egg being fertilized and ends by illustrating a baby’s actual birth. Throughout the clip, viewers see the full fetal development, with explanations about what, exactly, is happening at each phase. But the imagery is spellbinding.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Thanksgiving 2011

Liturgy and Worship - Church Year
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving in the midst of war is not an incongruity; it is one of our chief weapons. The Lord prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies (Ps. 23:5). We are not yet privileged to sit down in Isaiah's hall, where the trumpet and spear are mounted in places of honor, where we may celebrate as those who never have to study war again. Until we are ushered into that era (by the conquering gospel), we must learn to keep our powder of faith dry and our hearts full of gratitude.

A Peculiar Election

Keeping Oaths

This has been a peculiar election season.  For the first time in ages, the issue of public debt has been a foundation of the public debate.  Does this represent a paradigm change?  In this fixation over public debt, we are not alone.  Public debt and government spending will be one of the major, if not the major, issue of the upcoming US presidential elections in 2012.  We have seen polities in Europe shaken to their  very foundations over national indebtedness that is bringing government to its knees before our eyes.  Ratings agencies have overnight had an epiphany: countries can become bankrupt.  They have started downgrading national credit ratings.  Unheard of in the West of living memory.   

We wonder whether the epiphany has been sufficient.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Some Things Don't Change

Milton Friedman on New Zealand's Disease

In the light of New Zealand's capitulation to socialist ideology, with almost all political parties trying to outdo the others in showing their commitment to the omni-competent state delivering nirvana, peace, prosperity and well-being to all, we find this thirty year old clip to be priceless.

It shows that we are very, very slow learners in this part of the world.  For all those political parties who range from mild-pink to flaming red, Friedman's words cut to the marrow. 

These Guys Deserve a DB

Hope They Get Recognition

One of the most spectacular things on display on the video of the crash yesterday afternoon at the Auckland Viaduct Harbour came after the helicopter had crashed.  Whilst not shown on some versions, the video below shows three men leaping up onto the wreckage and into the cab to assist the pilot.

In our view, these guys deserve a medal.  The downed bird could have gone up in a flash of exploding av-gas, but without a thought these guys jump up onto the wreckage to get the pilot out.  Selfless.  Very brave.

Bet they didn't give it a second thought. 

Makes you proud to be a Kiwi.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Arriving Penniless, Departing Millionaires

 The Real American Dream

The final decades of the Roman Republic were marked by fraud, graft, and simony on a grand scale.  Sarah Palin, writing recently in the Wall Street Journal describes the United States in terms eerily alike.  If this remains uncleansed, it does not bode well for that country. 

While many may deride and despise Sarah Palin, on this matter she is dead right.

Only Retired Politicians . . .

The Legalization of Drugs

In the West there is only one country which banned the production and sale of alcohol.  In the nineteen twenties, the United States initiated a policy known as Prohibition which outlawed grog.  It was a miserable failure.  Except for organized crime.  The Mafia went ahead in leaps and bounds.  It moved rapidly to control the illicit alcohol trade and became exceedingly wealthy as a result. 

Banning a substance risks it becoming very valuable, since a diminution in supply increases its market price.  When something becomes both relatively scarce and highly priced, organized criminal gangs get interested. 

One other lesson was on display.  Human beings cannot be controlled as to what they will eat and drink and consume.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It's Not Just Denmark that is Rotten

"We Fear Something is Wrong . . ."

When government arrogates to itself powers and roles not granted to it by the Living God bad consequences are inevitable.  One of these is that governments rapidly grow to incompetence.  Hence the never-ending jibes based on government folly sand stupidity and waste.  Here is yet another (real) example, from The Telegraph.

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.
NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day 

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact. Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

The Worm that Turned

 Professional They Ain't

How pathetic can you get.  The media's last remaining shreds of credibility have been torn away this election, leaving on public display a grotesque corpulence, festooned with pustules.  One would have thought that the media could not sink any lower when it tried to publish an illegally taped conversation, pompously asserting that it was "in the public interest".  Their hypocrisy knows no bounds it would seem.

But no.  It gets worse.

Socialism's True Face

 All In Denial

Socialism is an evil and corrupt ideology.  It is the spawn of Unbelief, and ultimately the Pit.  It looks to the State as Saviour and Redeemer of mankind.  It is to the State that socialist influenced men look to legislate and bring in nirvana.  It is sickening to see the way our politicians on the hustings all look to the government to "make things right".  But socialism is particularly bad because it proceeds on the basis of theft and covetousness, using the power of the state to steal money from citizens and bestow it upon grateful subjects.

Socialism always spawns a more and more authoritarian statist society.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A National Fail

Destructive At Every Point

There are several principles which eviscerate socialism as an ideology.  One is its institutionalising of theft and covetousness.  Another is the slavery that comes from its inevitable national indebtedness (more on that tomorrow). A third is the impact it has upon human beings, stifling their God-given instinct for risk-taking, hard work, and entrepreneurship.

The following is currently making the e-rounds.  It aptly highlights socialism's negative social and psychological impact upon human beings as they make their way in the world.  These factors are not imaginary, but real.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The King James Version

Still Speaking Powerfully

Here are excerpts from a recent article in National Geographic on the 400 hundred year anniversary of the King James Bible.  It's an amazing story, really.

Humble Pie

John Armstrong Faces Reality

We have blogged recently on the absurd media-induced brouhaha over Prime Minister John Key's private conversation secretly recorded.  The media, smelling sensation, circled like sharks.  Gone completely was any commitment to the law, to ethics, to morality.  The media overnight showed their dark, smelly side.

The self-important provocateurs proclaimed that the "scandal" would change the election outcome; a real contest was suddenly before us; the media had uncovered some dirt.  Meanwhile the police served search warrants upon the media.  Suddenly everyone involved on the media side became very tight-lipped and circumspect, except for the cacophany of demands from them for John Key to release the tape "in the public interest"  Sadly for them, the public was not interested.  It smelt a dirty rat. 

Leading Herald political correspondent, John Armstrong, initially a cheerleader for his colleagues, now starts to eat the inevitable humble pie.  He acknowledges there has been a complete disconnect between the media and the people.  Not surprising, since the media are the most arrogant and elitist amongst us.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Culturally Impotent Christians, Part II

Stigmatizing Unbelief

In a previous post we discussed some of the factors which historically have made Christians culturally impotent.  This is a critical subject for the church generally and all individual Christians to have considered and upon which to have come to some solid biblical conviction. If we fail here, whether out of ignorance or uninterest, we risk undermining the church and dishonouring the Name of Christ.

The essential factor as to whether Christians are culturally powerful or anaemic is the ability of the Church to endure from generation to generation, which, in turn means that it is critical that we are successful in raising our children to walk in the Way, and we have done.  Any faith which cannot bind its children into obedience and loyalty is not merely culturally impotent, it shames the Name of God Himself.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Studies in I Samuel

The Grave of Exile

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, November 12, 2011


Under continued pressure from Saul, David is forced to leave Judah and take refuge with Achish, who was the king of Gath. He had complained in the previous chapter that certain men were trying to force him to serve other gods (1 Sam. 26:19) which he was unwilling to do. He was willing, however, to look like he was changing sides. During this time, David was playing a high-stakes double game.

“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand . . .” (1 Sam. 27:1-12).

David said that if the situation continued unchanged, he would eventually be killed by Saul.

Overdone Egg

Self-Righteous Puffing

One can't help but be amused at the brouhaha currently playing out in NZ politics.  One one side is the pompous, self-righteous "mainstream media" (who now, we hear, have a "spokesman"); on the other is the Prime Minister.  The argument is over Key's refusal to permit the release of a surreptitiously recorded conversation while Key and another politician sat in a public coffee bar and had a cup of tea.

For the past week, the media has made it the story, as if it were the great issue of the moment.  The public is simply not interested.  But the Commentariat is indignant.  The august self-important pretension of the media has been impugned.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Tend To Your Own Knitting

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, November 12, 2011

One of the great Pauline principles we have to be reminded of on a regular basis is the principle called “minding your own business.” As soon as we move away from a realm of life that we are not directly responsible for (as in, our own job, our own family, our own sanctification), and we attempt to engage in a little voluntary help with the sanctification of others, we are activating many more things than simply a desire to lend a hand.

There are issues of authority and responsibility, there are issues of our own craft competence (or lack therefore), there is the example we set for other volunteers who now want to throw in their helpful suggestions, and so on. But face facts—a group of fifteen volunteer helping helper types couldn’t successfully organize a two-car funeral.

Goff, the Theologian

 The Gods of Theft and Covetousness

It is refreshing when political leaders cloak themselves in the nobility of religion.  Even more exhilarating is when they quote the Lord Jesus as a warrant for their pontifications.

Then we are transported up to the third heaven when the noble leader, whose platform is a deluge of guilt and envy, insists that his policies are Christianity in action.  At last, a Christian political leader.  At last a man who stands respectfully, head bowed, before the Lord, calling upon people to follow him in his quest for more theft, covetousness, and larceny.  That's what Jesus would have done.  How offensive.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

"Blue" Inequality

Intramural Fight Amongst Factions on the Left

Here is an interesting take on the OWS protestors--which are rapidly becoming a noisome stench in the nostrils of the Democratic and progressive elites in the United States.

It is more complex because — as noted by Kenneth Anderson, David Brooks and Walter Russell Mead among others — the Occupy protests are primarily an intramural fight among the factions of the Left.  As Brooks would have it, this is a fight about Blue Inequality, not Red Inequality.  But these analyses  — perhaps because they are primarily intellectual pursuits — tend to gloss over the more simple aspect.  The Occupy protests are about jobs.  The Occupiers are unemployed and they tend to have a certain class of college degree and cannot find a certain class of job.  Anderson strikes close to the heart of the problem with Blue Inequality:

Culturally Impotent Christians, Part I

When Worship Becomes Seeker Friendly and Entertaining

In his book One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), sociologist Rodney Stark  argues that there are at least two sociological conditions under which monotheistic faiths have been particularly strong.  These conditions are times of persecution and of adherence to the rituals of public worship.

"Strength" here refers strongly to maintaining traditions, beliefs, and practices and locking those attributes into the next generation.

His first example is the the sociological power of the rituals of public worship.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Those Asset Sales

Borrow and Spend

There is a good deal of rubbish being generated in the debate over the Government's proposal partially to sell down some assets to raise cash for spending elsewhere.  Some of the rubbish is coming from people who should know better. 

Take Brent Sheather, an investment adviser,  for example.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Finger on the Trigger

Obama Unbound

Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Richard Nixon went to Red China with political impunity. Had a Democrat tried that, he would have been branded a Commie appeaser.  To this day, liberals cannot conceive that during the two world wars, progressives like Woodrow Wilson, Earl Warren, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt trampled on civil liberties in a way unimagined by Dick Cheney.

Ronald Reagan signed the most liberal illegal-immigration-amnesty bill in history, and ran larger yearly deficits than Jimmy Carter had. “Read my lips” George H. W. Bush agreed to huge tax increases. And George W. Bush ran up the largest debt of any eight-year president, outspending Bill Clinton more than fivefold. The latter, remember, bombed Belgrade without either congressional or United Nations approval — and without anti-war protests. Without an opposition, almost anything goes.

Courage and Christian Ministry

Go Make Shoes

"Courage . . . is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry . . . If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinions, go and do something else. Go and make shoes to fit them" (Phillips Brooks, as quoted in Stott, Between Two Worlds, p. 300).

Friday, 11 November 2011

Atheism's Idiocy

Atheism As an Epistemic Hoot

Books in the Making - Chrestomathy
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"On your account I am one set of complex chemical reactions secreting something that I falsely believe to be arguments to another set of complex chemical reactions who falsely believes that he is reading them . . .  (I)f you apply reason and self-criticism to an atheistic examination of ethics, you should discover within ten minutes that there aren't any . . . You are a hodge-podge of neuron-firings looking into an abyss which you only think you understand. You don't really understand it because you are not thinking at all, but rather doing what chemicals always do under those conditions and at that temperature" (Letter From a Christian Citizen, pp. 98-99).

Catching Australia, Part II

The "Luck" Won't Last

Just how substantial is Australia's competitive advantage.  Huge--in every respect.  At least that is the received wisdom.  But some Australian's beg to differ. 

Here is a decidedly negative view out of Sydney.  See what you think.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Catching Australia, Part I

New Zealand's Slope is Steep and Slippery

Catching up with Australia (in terms of relative GDP and overall material prosperity) has long been a dream of successive governments in New Zealand.  It has come up again in the current election.  The field of debate roughly falls out into four camps.

The first camp's (centre right) dream has to do with out competing Australia and producing our way to relative prosperity.  The second camp (centre left) views it as a matter of legislating parity in things like wages, income levels, and living standards.  The view is that if you first create by fiat legislation, economic reality will kick in to match it.  Put wages up by law and suddenly everyone becomes more productive.  (Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds, but there you go).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Remarkable Immaturity 

In a “faux pas” for the ages, President Barack Obama conducted what he assumed was a private conversation about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy after the G20 summit on Thursday. The only problem, however, was that the microphones the two men were wearing from their earlier press conference, had not in fact been turned off. What ensued was a major public embarrassment after both Obama and the French PM disparaged Netanyahu, saying they  cannot “stand” dealing with him.


Alan Peachey

The news of Alan Peachey's passing beyond the sight of mortal men has not been unexpected; his battle with cancer over a number of years was well known. 

He will be remembered as a high performing, no-excuses teacher and principal.  He remained all his career thoroughly committed to the public education system.  That commitment led him into not infrequent conflict with teacher unions and educrats.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

UN "Science"

Thoroughly Discredited

Here is another review of Laframboise's little red book on the dishonesty of the IPCC.  This take is by Matt Ridley, and was published in The Australian.  (Another review has appeared in the London Book Review, here.)

Credibility in Tatters

Cooked Books In Pustule Stew

Well, we always knew this was going to happen: Labour's cooking the fiscal books again.  Challenged to provide costings for its election spending promises, it has eventually delivered--voodoo numbers. (Disclosure: we remain sceptical of the Government's numbers as well as being over egged when it comes to returning the Crown's books to surplus in the declared time frame.  But at least the Government's numbers would have had Treasury and Inland Revenue scrutiny.)

Let's put the finger on Labour's pustules:

Monday, 7 November 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Faith or Presumption in Child Rearing?

Marriage and Family - Some Hard Words for Fathers
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Because of the condition of our sinful world, words from God's law are frequently "hard words." But, for the same reason, but in a different sense, words of gospel and promise are even harder.

In my books on family, I have often emphasized that the rearing of godly children is not accomplished "by works," but rather "by faith." And this leads, naturally, to the standard questions about the relationship between faith and works.

This presents a problem of practical theology. How are we to understand our need to believe such promises, and how can we do it without veering into presumption? Here is an example of one such promise:

An Axis of Incompetence

Educrats and Teacher Unions

Teacher unions and the educrats have a lot to answer for.  They have systematically opposed every reform of note in the government run education system for the past twenty-five years.  The principles driving this reactionary bias are pretty obvious: firstly, teacher jobs and conditions must be preserved at all cost; secondly, if any proposed government policy would threaten teachers or the control of the unions over the sector, it will be vociferously opposed.

The tactics employed are crude, but effective.

The Scourge of Socio-Economic Inequality

A Modest Proposal to Reduce Poverty

It has become the new normal--particularly in these heady election days--to shriek and moan about income inequality in New Zealand.  OK, so it's not helped by parties on the Left loudly alleging that the current government has committed the unpardonable sin of causing wider wealth disparity than when it took office.

But, the government buys into the assumptions and the allegations as well, since its defence is to talk about what new programmes it is going to roll out to combat economic inequality.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fraud and Corruption

The IPCC At Work

Just a couple of years ago the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was revered as the highest, best, most prestigious institute of science on the planet.  Its processes were exacting.  It followed the truth wherever it found it.  Objective, hard scientific rigour were its watchwords. 

Anyone--anyone--who disregarded its findings was immediately exposed as an ignorant  Luddite.

If only . . .as the saying goes.

Donna Laframboise, a Canadian journalist (with all attendant biases intact) has published a book on the calibre and scientific rigour of the IPCC.   Laframboise has not just smelt a rat--she found the IPCC infested with an entire colony.  Tony Thomas reviews The Delinquent Teenager.

Quantitative Easing 101

Clarke and Dawe give us the idiots guide to Quantitative Easing

Friday, 4 November 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Ron Paul, Enemy of Liberty

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, October 31, 2011

Let me say at the outset that I don't know who I will vote for when the primary campaign finally wends its way to Idaho. The field will no doubt be a bit different, and we likely know a good bit more about the candidates, probably a bit more than we wanted to know.

I know which candidates are flat out -- Romney, Huntsman, and Gingrich -- and they are out for character/religious reasons. One of the fundamental qualifications for office in Scripture is that a man must hate covetousness.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

European Disease

Who Believes the Patch-Up?

Here is an excellent summary on the European debt crisis, reprinted from the SMH, originally published in the New York Times.  (And whilst you read this, keep in mind that it is only a matter of time before world capital markets start to look at debt levels in New Zealand.  All it would take is for government spending to ratchet up a few notches and the debt would be out of control--that is, getting back into balance and then surplus will never happen, without a grand default.  The New Zealand electorate has absolutely no appetite to see any serious reduction in government spending.  Keep the cash coming, baby.)

High Stakes Poker

We Deserve Job Security and High Wages . . .

The Qantas grounding was a big deal.  High stakes negotiation.  Reverberations in lots of places--if you were flying Qantas at the time.  But the whole mess illustrates the commercial realities of the early twenty-first century.  Realities that can be ignored only to one's commercial demise.  Regrettably, it is a lesson few in New Zealand have learned.

Qantas competes in what has become a global business.  Meanwhile it is an airline which has been nurtured under a cocoon of protections and indirect support by successive Australian governments.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Letter From America

A Nation In Nappies

Once people think they can leverage the power of the state to extort money from citizens and use it to achieve their social goal of choice there is no end to what will be devised.

Now, politico in the United States are calling for government funding of diapers--which is regarded as a major social cause.  The most effective thing to do is engage in a bit of good old fashioned mockery.  (But, a word of warning: mock at your peril if you believe that the state has a fundamental right and duty to engage in such larceny and interference.  For the arguments you employ will apply equally to your favoured rorts.)

Unfit for Public Office

Cynical Manipulation

In the recent history of our country we have had more than our fair share of venal politicians who cynically and deliberately set out to mislead the electorate.  Such politicians view the people as ignorant sheep, easily gulled. They come out with slogans or sound-bites they know are deceptive and misleading.  However, they also know that their sound-bites will appeal to the ignorant sheep.  They use such tactics to manipulate the electorate to gain support--all the while knowing that, once in government, they will never have to carry out their stated intentions. 

Our current proportional representation encourages that kind of venality amongst politicians.  The Greens, for instance, are masters of the art.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Blowing Smoke

Little Toot

In a PC-gone-mad world, this campaign video--a You Tube sensation--appeals to the inner rebel.  Great stuff. The MSM networks have been tut-tutting like Little Toot. Even better.

"Christian" Social Justice, Part III

Me Too Christianity

When  Christians and churches look at what the world of Unbelief is doing and start to say, "Me, too" there is always a whiff of brimstone in the air.

Once again, despite Paul warning us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2), Christians are taking up noxious pagan idolatries and attempting to baptise them with a bit of the Bible.  Why?

Monday, 31 October 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

When Talking Heads Explode

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, October 27, 2011

The race for the Republican nomination is still too early in the demolition derby to make too much sense out of it. It will be interesting to see what happens when there are only three very dented cars still running.

Question Begging on a Grand Scale

The Fallacious Case for Homosexual "Rights"

In the debate over homosexuality and homosexual "rights", the pro-homosexual camp makes a gratuitous assumption: homosexuality is a genetic, physical orientation.  It must, therefore, be regarded in the same category as the colour of one's hair.  Just as you would not discriminate, argue against, nor condemn someone for skin colour or having red hair, neither would you argue against homosexuality. 

We say the assumption is gratuitous because there is no foundation for it, despite assiduous research and many false alleys along the way.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Shaking in Our Boots

Not Feral Enough

The entire Western world is in the grip of a revolution that his shaking civilization to its foundations.  We wonder what will survive.  It is everywhere.  Occupy Wall Street has achieved that its instigators intended.  It has gone global.

Here are three independent reviews/reports from the most intrepid amongst us.  Firstly, breaking news from the US, courtesy of Michelle Malkin:

"Christian" Social Justice, Part II

Demanding God's Mercy as a Right

The concept of "social justice" has its origins in socialism.  Fairness or equity in society is believed to require a fundamental equality of outcome: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  The achievement of this more just outcome requires the compulsion of the state to redistribute forcibly, through a progressive taxation system, taking from some to bestow upon others.  In doing so the state necessarily claims the right to suspend the eighth and the tenth commandments. 

When Christians buy-in to this non-Christian worldly ideology they often do so because they think it is a means of complying with the biblical injunction to take care of the poor and the needy.  They could not be more mistaken.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Just Call Me Old-Fashioned

Money, Love, Desire - The Good of Affluence
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This coming Thursday, Jim Wallis and Al Mohler will be debating the question of social justice and the mission of the church (HT: Justin Taylor). Click here for more. The question before the house will be this: "Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church?" Wallis will be arguing the affirmative and Mohler the negative.

If you listen to the debate, be sure to keep track of two distinct questions.

"Christian" Social Justice, Part I

Satanic Knock-Offs

A new fad is starting to make inroads into the reformed and evangelical world.  The fad of "social justice". 

The ideology of "social justice" has long been the preserve of socialists and progressives--folk who believe in omni-competent government and that the duty of the state is to enforce a progressive equality in wealth, health, education, and income.  In this context justice means equality of outcome or result: the role of the state, as the institution of justice, is to ensure (usually through the taxation system) that equality is progressively achieved.

The ideology of "social justice"--as contrasted with civil justice and criminal justice--is the spawn of Fabian (or gradualist) socialism.  One is left wondering how on earth Christians could get tied up in such a pagan Unbelieving ideology. 

The answer, however, is ready at hand.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Conspiracies Against the Son Doomed to Fail

Humble Pie on the Menu

As we go to press this morning it does not look good in Europe--depending on your point of view.  There are those who have held the view for a long time that the concept of a federal Europe which subordinates national sovereignty is doomed to fail.  For these, what is now happening in Europe is an "I told you so" moment. 

Europe is between Scylla and Charbydis--and the passage is narrowing by the hour.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Consequences of Living Beyond One's Means

Europe: Grimmer by the Minute

Here is a good summary from CNNMoney of the issues swirling around the debt crisis in Europe--revealing why it is a crisis indeed.

Light Shining Amongst the Gentiles

Globalization of the Faith

The West is falling under the curses of the Covenant due to its rebellion against the Living God.  Once it feared and reverenced the God of the heavens and the earth, and His Only Begotten Son.  Now it murders millions of its children in a Molech-like sacrifice to the Rights of Man.  But, as is indicated in the Scriptures, when those who were the people of God come to consider themselves unworthy of eternal life, God turns to the Gentiles.

Thus, in our time the Gospel is being heard and welcomed amongst those who have grown up in lands which have not heard of Christ.  One sign of this is how churches in the West are now increasingly filled with non-Caucasians.  This from Timothy Tennent:

More Light Rising in Libya

Deafening Silence

Further to our recent piece on the confused ambivalence in the West towards Libya--hailing the overthrow of a tyrant and welcoming the introduction of popular suffrage, whilst turning Nelson's blind eye to the Islamic nature of the regime--here is a piece from the Telegraph.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

One Vast Boneyard

Life in the Regeneration
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, October 23, 2011

The end of October approaches, and as we mark and celebrate the great Reformation, our heart's desire and prayer should be for future historians to be able to describe it as the first reformation, as the small one. "Small" does not mean insignificant, but in this case it does mean early on. Eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has prepared for those of us who love Him. As we emphasize the five solas (as we should), let us exult in the one which is the true intersection of all of them -- solus Christus.

Christ died for the world, and if we are to follow the apostle Paul's argument, this means that we have an obligation to see that world differently.

A Light Rising in the East

Not What We Meant, At All

We fear the inane ignorance of the Western Commentariat is about to be exposed once again.  The prevailing narrative in the West is that a tyrant has been defeated in Libya.  The people of Libya will now speak up and a true democracy will emerge.  The sub-text--hinted at, but never quite stated overtly--is that Libya will now become a secular state, with a separation of church and state, a non-religious public square, and a deep devotion to Western conceptions of human rights. 

Let's grant for the moment that Libya will become democratic in the sense that the people will ultimately control the government.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Triumphalism of "Joy, Joy, Joy . . ."

Do Our Worship Songs Have Room for Lament?

Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries (of lament) and regards them as little short of embarrassing.

Carl Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages of Spin (pp. 159-160):

A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.

Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?

. . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.

Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?  If not, why not?

Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?

H/T: Justin Taylor

Salute the French

 Almost . . .

The old rugby adage, "never underestimate the French" has been proven true again.  Those who were nervous and cautious were vindicated.  Those who thought the All Blacks would win by thirty points had their "on-paper" calculations exposed as artificial. 

What an amazing game the French played.  And amidst the perpetual debate about the relative merits of northern and southern hemisphere rugby there are few games that kept us on the edge of our seats right to the last second as this final did.  What a torrid game. 

It also shows how difficult it is to win the Cup away from home.  Congratulations to the AB's.  They will go down in history as one of the great teams developed in turn by a great management team .  Its great to see personal egos submerged beneath a common goal, yet in such a way that each individual played his heart out.  It was also great to see the mix of old and new in the team--and it is pretty evident that the lack of experience of the younger players would have had them crumble last night were it not for the steely resolve of the older heads. 

For us, one of the best moments was the appearance of Donald at first five.  It represented a resurrection motif--and how we love that theme and motif, all us Christians! 

Now, back to the real world!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Unrepresentative Parliaments

When The Tail Wags the Dog

The principle of proportional representation has inherent merit.  It reflects a principle of justice.  In a democracy, government should reflect the will of the people collectively expressed as much as possible.  The diversity of "wills" should be represented to some degree in the deliberative and legislative chambers.

The principle becomes somewhat more necessary and compelling in a state where there is a unicameral parliament--such as we have in New Zealand, and where the executive branch of government is an extension of Parliament.  Checks and balances are rather thin on the ground in Aotearoa.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Muddy Waters

Are Theologians Necessary

Canadianchristianity Magazine interviewed J I Packer--and asked him, amongst other things, whether theologians are necessary to the Church.

Distinguished theologian J.I. Packer is the author of more than 40 books -- including Knowing God, which has sold nearly two million copies and has been translated into 25 languages. He is the Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College.
Meg Johnstone: You've been quoted as saying: "In all my teaching and writing, I am trying to show that theology is extremely practical." So, are theologians really necessary?

J.I. Packer: (chuckling) I think the answer is yes, but you have to define what a theologian is. His business is to make sure that the church has what I will call a pure water system -- thinking of the word of God as the water of life. You could describe him, therefore, as a kind of ecclesiastical plumber, or sewage engineer. In the church, there's always going to be muddy water, there's always going to be mistaken ideas going around; theologians are the people whose business is to keep the flow clear and pure. In order to do that, they have to understand the faith as a whole, and that usually means that they have to do something like specialist work in the exposition of Bible truth -- because the people who are stirring up the mud are also doing specialist work. . . . Any section of the church which doesn't have theologians -- as point people and whistle blowers and plumbers and water engineers -- is, sooner or later, going to be bogged down in muddy water.
Hat Tip: Justin Taylor