Thursday, 30 June 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Greece Fire

Money, Love, Desire - Foundations of Mercy
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The difference between secular conservatives and secular progressives is that the conservatives talk sense without a foundation, and the progressives talk nonsense without one. Take the truism that you cannot indefinitely spend money you don't have.

The secular conservatives believe that reality is not optional, but cannot give a thorough or consistent account of that reality. The secular progressives can give an account of their reality, but couple this with a firm belief that all such realities are optional, and can be altered by the will of the people.

This is the end result of believing that the State is the incarnation of their Deity, which is Demos, the people. Vox populi vox Dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God.

Beware The Energizer Bunny

Gender Quotients

Over at NZ Conservative, Andrei has published a cheeky little number.  Actually, we trust Andrei's life and slur insurance is paid up and ready to go, for he is living dangerously.  He has somewhat foolishly dared to criticise the established religion in Aotearoa.  Next he will be featured on I Shouldn't Be Alive.


The particular article in Aotearoa's secular creed  which Andrei has challenged is the official dogma of wimmin's equality in the workforce.  As our NZ readers will be aware there has been a bit of a stoush going on Down Under about whether female employees take more sick days than male.  The Public Service Association (a union of state sector employees) has done some statistical analysis and "proved" that the gender difference in sick days taken is so close as to be a rounding error.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A New Russian Revolution?

Medvedev Versus Putin

An intriguing article has just been published in Foreign Policy by Leon Aron.  Its provocative title is "Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union is Wrong".  Its thesis is two fold. 

Firstly, the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union was an emergence of a strong consensus amongst the governing classes and the educated that the Soviet Union was ethically wrong.  Without this, it would never have collapsed: the Evil Empire would have rumbled on. 

Secondly, a similar conviction is emerging now in Russia, that Russia itself has to change and de-Putinize.  Watch this space.

We shall see.  We fear that the theses are grounded upon the canard that underneath the skin of every human being lies the soul of a liberal Western democrat just itching to burst forth.  Its the same world-view that is leading the Commentariate to get all excited about the "Arab Spring".

Without God, Without Creed, Part V

Taking Offence at God

The sovereignty of Man is the end game of all idolatry.  Systematic, rigorous atheism is the final objective.  When a culture reaches this end point, Satan has it more in his grasp, than save only direct, demonic possession.  There is no culture so gulled by the Evil One as one which denies the existence of either the Living God or Satan.

In the nineteenth century, the West tipped from Belief to Unbelief.  There was a particular archimedean point; the transition appeared suddenly.  In one decade it was fashionable to believe in a god, called God; in the next it no longer was.  The power and credence of Unbelief appeared all the more compelling because its victory was sudden, all-embracing and complete.  Belief crumbled like a dessicated biscuit.  But as with the fall of all great kingdoms, it had been long coming; Unbelief had been seeping into the vapours of Christendom for over two hundred years, gradually extending its poisonous fumes.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

How Marvellous are Thy Works

The Power of Christ in the Dark Places of the World

It seems that many of today's prisons are becoming places of Amazing Grace.  We heard Pastor Alistair Begg, of Parkside Church in Cleveland reading some letters to the congregation received as a result of the church's radio ministry.  Several had come from prisoners.  One wrote:

I have been faithful in serving the Lord these last seven or eight years. I have been incarcerated now for over twenty years. As one brother put it, since I was arrested at 17, I know nothing of life.

I just finished listening to your study on the Father's discipline, from 1998. I may not know much about life but I can agree with the Psalmist when he writes,
Lord you are my portion and my cup of blessing;
You hold my future.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Indeed I have a beautiful inheritance.
This chap, is probably a lifer, and therefore likely to be a murderer. He may spend the rest of his life in prison. The same infinite power of the Holy Spirit which saved the thief on the Cross, causing him to be born again, in the most helpless and hopeless of circumstances, is blowing across the prisons. The wretched of the earth are becoming glorious citizens of the heavenly kingdom.

Similar testimonies and accounts can be heard from within our own prisons, here in New Zealand. 

Chuck Colson has written an essay on the power of forgiveness.  In it he describes some of the amazing things he has observed as a result of prisoners becoming Christians.  God is good and glorious indeed.

Ash Clouds and Risk

 To God, or to Government We Entrust . . .

Risk is unavoidable.  Life is filled with the uncertain and the contingent.  A society's approach to risk and risk-taking peels back the skin, exposing its heart and the gods that dwell therein.

Consider this contrast.  In Europe, Icelandic volcano ash results in governmental authorities shutting down air-ports and terminating air travel.  In New Zealand and Australia, Argentinian volcano ash results in (some) airlines continuing to fly.  Why the difference? 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Reaping the Whirlwind

The War Against Girls

Since the late 1970s, 163 million female babies have been aborted by parents seeking sons
By JONATHAN V. LAST
This review appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In Unnatural Selection, Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.

In nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. This ratio is biologically ironclad. Between 104 and 106 is the normal range, and that's as far as the natural window goes. Any other number is the result of unnatural events.

Peace in Our Time

Hone, the Negotiator

Maoridom's new messiah won his electoral contest over the weekend.  His first order of business is to enter negotiations with the Maori Party.  We expect those negotiations to be free, full, frank . . . and brief. 

Here is a preview of how the negotiations will run--from our inside operative, Wally Fly.

Without God, Without Creed, Part IV

The Necromancer is Back, and He is Cloaked in Morality

By the nineteenth century the church had so occluded the Gospel and the true faith with human idolatries that it was severely compromised.  This was true throughout Europe and the UK.  It was also true in the United States.

By making the creation autonomous--its own centre of authority over against the Living God--it was forced to "redefine" God Himself.  Like a Hollywood makeover, God was now conceived of as a localised authority--one centre of power alongside a host of others.  God was now unofficially an idol--a creation of human imagination and invention.  Baalism has returned to God's covenant people.  God became a localised deity, no longer the One Who was infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, goodness and truth.  He was no longer infinitely transcendent.  Consequently, He was no longer infinitely immanent in the Creation.  He was a demi-creature.

The outcome would be the same as had occurred in ancient Israel.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Now on Film

Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl Movie

Justin Taylor has spoken often of the subversive book by Nate Wilson, Notes From the Tilt A WhirlWe also have written several pieces on this remarkable piece of work, here, and here.  Wilson takes out out of the abstract tomes on general and special revelation and confronts us in the warp and woof of our lives, explaining that God speaks to us every day, all the time.  We need to listen to His story, to what He is saying to us, and become the characters in the story we would love to be.

Wilson skewers the idea--so prevalent amongst Christians--that God needs to speak to us, to guide us, telling us what course of study to select, or what car to buy.  God is speaking to us all the time about these kind of things, but we don't listen; we don't hear His voice. 

A film companion to the book has just been released.
Here’s the description:

Better Than Cheerleaders

Bounding Off the Reservation

Watching the spluttering apoplexy of the Commentariate in full throat is "so diverting", to borrow one of Jane's phrases.  When something beyond the pale happens, one sees an anger, grief, and outrage that resembles confrontations with blasphemy.  Which is what they are, of course. 

Alisdair Thompson, Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association has just run off the reservation.  He has suggested that (some) women have less productivity in the workforce because of severe monthly menstrual cycles.  To the Commentariate this action is not just duplicitous; it is a blasphemy against the established religion of Woman and her rights.  Consequently it has erupted.  As Gwendolyn Brooks would say,

And true, they are hurling spittle, rock,
Garbage and fruit . . .
The feminists have gone into a dervish, lacerating themselves, calling for vengeance.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Coming Ice Age

Don't Panic

Richard Littlejohn
First published in MailOnline

At last, some good news for polar bears. The world is about to enter a mini Ice Age. Scientists working for the American Astronomical Society are predicting a significant drop in solar activity over the next decade. Last time this happened, between 1645 and 1715, global temperatures plummeted and the River Thames froze over every winter.

While climate change alarmists insist we are heading for meltdown, the truth is that the world has actually been getting cooler in recent years.

Although the findings from the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico are bad news for the global warming industry, they are not necessarily good news for the rest of us. Politicians are bound to exploit the new evidence for their own purposes . . .

Turning Out the Lights

"Shocking" Power of Memorization

In his provocative book entitled Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child (ISI Books: Wilmington, Delaware, 2010), Anthony Esolen adopts the persona of an adviser giving parents some ideas on how to ruin their children's imagination.

One way is to discourage memory and memorization. He writes:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

Reusable Crud

Creation and Food
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, June 19, 2011

So recently some pesky researchers decided to investigate reusable shopping bags. They offered new reusables to shoppers leaving a grocery store, asked them a few questions about their treatment of the bags, and sent them on their way. Then they toted the bags off to the lab to test them.

Turns out the warm, dark, moist interior of a reusable bag is an ideal spot for growing bacteria, mold, and yeast.
But environmental groups retorted that this wouldn't happen if you washed the bags, duh. But since we are obviously not concerned about the environment anymore, make sure to wash them using lots of hot water, with lots of suds.

Nobody need know about that, but they will all see you walking into the store with the eco-sensitive bag in hand. And that is what it's all about, right? The globe is not really warming. It is just the glow of eco-smugness that makes it feel like that.

Without God, Without Creed, Part III

Man In Charge

Christendom lies broke and the temples of Baal are flush, svelte and in charge.  So it has come to be in the West.  Unbelief dominates the culture; the only kind of "Christian" faith tolerable is one which assumes from the outset that its God is finite, limited, a creation of needy minds.  Recognition of Christianity--when it occurs--in the West amounts to nothing more than a piteous condescension to a puerile superstition of yesteryear.  Christians are regarded as those with nothing more than a simplistic nostalgia for the past.    

Now when this kind of massive shift occurs in religion--from cultural dominance to subservience--devotees of the new god readily conclude that the old god, the now redundant and replaced god, was impotent and weak.  The Scriptures testify to this.  When Elijah was on Mount Carmel, he taunted the self-lacerated prophets of Baal by lampooning the weakness and powerlessness of  Baal.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Standing as the People of God

Dr Al Mohler on Homosexuality

This post is written by Justin Taylor.

One of the best talks I’ve heard on homosexuality, the church, and the gospel was delivered by Albert Mohler at the 2004 Desiring God National Conference. You can listen to it here. A chapter-length version was then published in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, which you can read online for free.

It might be helpful to reprint a few excerpts.

Praying for Islamic Lands

Breaking Satan's Ostensible Iron Grip

Christians are not allowed to preach the Gospel in Islamic lands. Under Islamic law, if an Islamic person converts and becomes a Christian he automatically attracts the death penalty. Satan holds these nations in a terrible grip, shutting up the people in a dark prison, effectively preventing them from hearing the Gospel.

Christians everywhere ought to pray with great boldness and strong faith that this oppression and tragedy will stop. In Revelation 20: 1--3 we are told that the Dragon, the Serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan has been thrown into the abyss so that he should not "deceive the nations any longer."

According to David Chilton, (The Days of Vengeance, p. 502) most Reformed scholars agree that this refers to Satan's inability to prevent the message of the Gospel from achieving success. Satan's opposition to the Gospel takes many forms. When he so controls a state or a people that the very law of the land outlaws the Gospel and prevents it from being heard by anyone, Christians have a biblical warrant boldly to remind the Lord that Satan has been bound and in the light of that to be praying very specifically that this travesty be brought to an end speedily.

How it will happen is beyond our ken. But, as ever, the Lord moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. We ought to take no rest, and give Him not rest until He does this. (Isaiah 62:6,7)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Failure and Success

Dealing With Sin
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, June 17, 2011

What are the odds that someone can be very successful, and yet mangage to walk humbly with his God? Well, the odds are pretty thin, say most, but what we neglect to notice is that the odds are not exactly great for those who are unsuccessful either.

Among believers, we have a deep suspicion that success means automatic compromise. If someone rockets to the top, we wonder, "who sinned? this man or his parents that this has happened to him?"

And of course, we have no shortage of examples of failed successes to point to. But our problem is that we don't point to the failed failures. There are a lot of those also. It does not profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, but neither does it profit him to lose the world and his soul along with it.

In God's calculus, success and failure are determined by His holy standards, which do not include money or fame. They are not included in either direction, and whichever way the money and fame are flowing, the temptations will correspond to that situation. So, whether well fed or hungry, do justice, love mercy, and walk with humility.

"The Office" in Real Time

Awkward

The Dalai Lama as advocate for an oppressed people is to be respected.  As an eastern guru propagating Tibetan Bhuddism, he deservedly wears the sobriquet of  a fool.  No doubt he is a nice bloke in his own way.

Recently, he was involved in one of the more awkward put downs of an Australian interviewer, unintended to be sure, but all the more funny as a result. This guy could become the Aussie Ricky Gervais.  If only he hadn't started laughing at himself in embarrassment.



Congrats to the Aussie presenter who mocked himself as a result. But its OK, because he "felt better" after  speaking with the Dalai Lama. Yeah, right.

Without God, Without Creed, Part II

In Baal We Trust

We continue our series upon the causes of modern Unbelief in the West.  The redemptive context is that the first Christendom has fallen, being replaced by materialism, atheism, and secularism.  This represents a divine curse upon God's people.  The Bible makes it very clear: when God's people turn away from Him, He will bring the curses (and not the blessings) of the Covenant upon them (Deuteronomy 28).  Being given over to the hand of Unbelief is one of those curses. 

James Turner, in his important book, Without God, Without Creed: the Origins of Unbelief in America argues that Christendom began to apostasize and disobey (thus, preparing for the triumph of secular atheism in the twentieth century) at the end of the seventeenth century.  At the time it appeared to be a small matter.  But it provoked God to wrath and eventually tore down Christendom.  It had to do with beginning to assert the autonomy or independence of the creation from the Creator.  Turner writes:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Christian Nations No More

End of the Middle East Christian?

By David Isaac
Republished from Big Peace. Originally from the Shmuel Katz website.

A little over a month after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fall, Ayman Anwar Mitri, a Coptic Christian, was beaten by Islamists inside his apartment, which they had torched.  “When they were beating me, they kept saying: ‘We won’t leave any Christians in this country,’” Mr. Mitri recalled to The Wall Street Journal.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, recently wrote: “Since [late February], a heightened campaign of violence is being directed against Egypt’s Copts and is presaging a mass exodus from the country…”

You’d never guess this listening to President Obama’s speeches. In a major speech on the Middle East in May he declared: “In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’” Apparently Obama didn’t get the memo that they are no longer one.

Chrestomathy

God's Kingdom is "Thick"

(. . . in the Clifford Geertzian sense)

It is unlikely that many of us will be famous, or even remembered. But not less important than the brilliant few that lead a nation or a literature to fresh achievements, are the unknown many whose patient efforts keep the world from running backward; who guard and maintain the ancient values, even if they do not conquer new; whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to their sons. Enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down; content to win the affection, if it may be, of a few who know us and to be forgotten when they in their turn have vanished. The destiny of mankind is not governed wholly by its “stars.”

F. F. Lucas

Easy Dupes

Pathetic and Destructive

Narratives are powerful.  They control what we identify as significant data or facts, how we empirically apprehend the data, what interpretations and shades of significance we place upon the evidence, and the conclusions drawn.  Absolute objectivity is impossible.  Only relative neutrality and disinterestedness are possible.  The cut of our jib determines the winds we catch and the sailing progress we make. True objectivity consists only in this: full disclosure of the jib's cut whilst our sailing exploits narrative unfolds.

Post-modernism has challenged our culture to face up to the inevitable and intrinsic cant in everyone's understanding.  That is why it is despised by those still claiming absolute objectivity, operating just by the facts, only the facts.  Every so often we see the pervasive power of narrative on ridiculous display.  It can lead to an easy gullibility and childish credulity. 

"Gay Girl in Damascus" had been lionised by the Commentariate--which, as it happens, relentlessly denies the cut of its own sailing rig--both to itself and its audience.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Descendants of a Mad Emperor

 Fiddling While Rome Burns

Here is Bill Gross--one of the more sane and sage voices in investment markets today.  He explains why the debt situation in the US is much worse than that in Greece. It will drown us all.  Politicians not facing up to this reality are beneath contempt, guilty of a swingeing dereliction of duty on the grandest of scales.  How long must we endure political leaders attempting to lead by focus groups? 

Such politicians either perpetually back up or follow the herd.  Either way they are supine vacillating fools, not leaders.

Emotive Twaddle

Deafened by the Cheering

We have often argued on this website that human society is invariably and inevitably bloody.  Bloodshed is as intrinsic a part of existence in this fallen world as mortality.  The issue is not whether a culture sheds blood, but which blood is shed, for what reasons, and on what grounds. 

The more a culture turns from God, the more unrighteousness twaddle bloodshed will come into prominence.  In our particular culture in the West we are increasingly offended at the sight of blood and the taking of life.  We wish that things were not that way.  So our killing has to be done away from sight and sound.  It is sanitized.  Meat comes from supermarkets, not from animals, don't you know.  When it becomes apparent that animals have had to be killed to provide food, then we are sickened and outraged. 

Here is an exemplar of our saccharin idiocy.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Churchillian Leaders

We Owe Them So Much

New Zealand is starting to feel the impact of the true costs of fighting climate change.  Led by our feckless Prime Minister, our nation has suited up into rusty armour and tilted recklessly at the climate windmill.  All the way down to the supermarket, where the price of food is rising far faster than any human calibrated temperature.  The world is now short of food because food is being re-deployed to fight the climate.  This has to be some sort of joke, right.  Sorry.  Life is stranger than fiction. 

Now, while our Prime Minister has allied himself to the Left in prosecuting this cause, that Greek chorus on the Left has begun to wail because "the poor" are no longer able to purchase sufficient food.  Dirty Fonterra, our dairy monopoly, is putting profits ahead of people.  Once again it's the capitalists ripping off the vulnerable--or so runs the narrative. We need price controls. These self-same duplicitous demagogues artfully conceal that they and their ilk are primarily responsible.  They have layered our economy with costly quixotic windmills and castles which must be assailed for the salvation of mankind--but let's keep that quiet.  Far better that everyone lies in gut-gnawing poverty than the world's climate change.  Never before in human history has so much damage been done by so few to so many.

It's going to get worse.  Much worse.  The UK is leading the way, and we, in New Zealand, are fast followers.  Well, we followed the good old Mother Country into two world wars, and countless regional skirmishes, so we might as well follow it into penury.  Here is James Dellinpole's take on what is happening in the UK--right now. 

Without God, Without Creed, Part I

We'd Better Get This Right

The first Christendom has been disassembled.  Unbelief and its attendant paganisms now hold the West in their pitiless thrall.  The decisive tipping point seems to be located around the middle of the nineteenth century.  What is surprising is how swiftly the shift occurred.  In the first half of the century "everyone" was Christian in the UK and the US.  Even non-believers hastened to assure everyone that whilst they did not accept orthodox Christian doctrine, they still believed in a god (which they spelled "God" to convey the notion that their deity was in the same ballpark as the God of orthodox Christianity.)  Suddenly, it all changed.  Within a few short decades secularism, materialism and atheism became fashionable, acceptable and dominant.  How this abrupt change occurred and its deeper causes are matters of considerable curiosity.   

James Turner, in Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) presents a diagnosis of how this pervasive change occurred.  Turner teaches modern US intellectual history at Notre Dame.  His central thesis would be surprising to many:  Unbelief was caused by religion.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

Love Tanks

Marriage and Family - Some Hard Words for Fathers
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Over the years my wife and I have referred to the problem of a child having a "low tank," meaning that it was time for us to pour on the affection. But this, like everything else in this sorry world, can be misconstrued and misapplied.

When a kid has a low tank, he is low on what he needs from you. She is low on what you ought to be giving. To simply assume that the only possible thing needed is "daddy dates" is a recipe for spoiling a kid.

As we have noted, the context of faithful child rearing is warmth and affection. Grace contains law, just as the Garden of Eden contained a prohibited tree. But it was not a garden full of prohibited trees, with one solitary available tree in the middle. Grace is the context, but limits are there for a reason.

Another illustration I have used is that of a check book. When a father has to make a decision that will be difficult for a child to accept, this amounts to writing a major check.

Palin is Our Kinda Folks

No Perfect People

We have written recently on Palin Derangement Syndrome which causes the Commentariate to vent its spleen so violently that stale blood  is sprayed splenetically into a hazy scarlet mist whilst the remainder dribbles down the collective chin.  Imagine, then, the cacophany of hacking coughs in the blood-red back rooms as the Commentariate delved deeply into Palin's e-mail secrets, generating more atmospheric discolouration than a Chilean earthquake.  

To be fair, one notorious e-mail has come to light.  Just one.  It was written by Palin to family members when they received news that their new in-utero baby was afflicted with Down's Syndrome.  It is written in the voice of  Trig's Creator--"your heavenly Father".

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Reading and Weeping

 More "Help" From Unlawful Government Acts

We posted recently on the looming global food shortages being caused by do-gooding government restrictions, rules, regulations, and rorts.  Oxfam's response to solve the shortages is to call for--you guessed it--more government.  Actually, the mother of all government--the big one--global government.  It's time for an international Five Year Plan.  Uncle Joe, where are we when we need you?  Come back  All is forgiven.  We are dump stupid sheep; we need an iron fist.  Go, Oxfam.

Whilst our mockery is holy, being joined to the scorn and laughter in heaven itself, (Psalm 2:4) it also includes an undertone of deep, abiding anger at the cupidity and hubris of men who would vainly attempt to banish God from our world.  The despite they cause! The destruction they wreak!  Another undertone is mourning and sadness for the millions of people who will suffer and die in squalid hunger as a result of these ungodly, unlawful exercises of government power.

ScrubOne kindly referred us to an article detailing yet another example of the genre--this time in Canada.  As he aptly said, "read it and weep". 

Nothing New Under the Sun

Sodom and Gomorrah Redivivus

Modern Israel has no direct connection or relationship to the covenant people of biblical Israel.  Those who assert such a connection are sadly misled.  The Israel of God broke the Covenant with God, and so fell under the curses of that Covenant.  After Solomon, the kingdom of Israel split; the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians in 720BC.  This was declared by the Living God to be divine judgment on the northern kingdom for their idol worship.  In Deuteronomy 28, He had long ago warned them that this would be the outcome if Israel were ever to break the Covenant in a perpetual and systemic way.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Palin Derangement Syndrome

Media Now in Palin's Pocket

Why the media and the Commentariate is so fixated upon Governor Palin is a curiosity.  Palin just has to twitch an eyebrow and the media makes it front page headline stuff, impugning Palin as being dumb, blond, stupid, wicked, ignorant, manipulative, destructive, murderous, cunning--or all of the above. So extreme and so bad is the fixation that effectively they have become captive to Palin's purposes.

She can now genuinely manipulate the media, using them to her own advantage.  And she has shown that she is pretty savvy when it comes to that. Her recent bus-tour was a classic illustration.  

Recently, under official information rules, Palin's e-mails during her time as Governor of Alaska were released.  The media foolishly assumed that, like Climategate, the e-mails would be released electronically.  They weren't.  They were released in hard-copy.  Ooops.  They did not see that one coming.  The New York Times and the Washington Post, and their fellow cluckers and tut-tutters had to mosey on up to Juneau in Alaska and take delivery of reams and reams of hard copies of e-mails.  So formidable was the task of working through the hard copy of Palin's electronic conversations that said news organisations had to advertise for civilians to help them out.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Truly they stoop to conquer.

Here is the Daily Telegraph  US correspondent's take on the whole unseemly spectacle:

S-Files

Cutting Cloth Properly

The ContraCelsum S-Award Committee has voted to bestow an S-Award on Sean Hughes.

Mr Hughes is our kinda guy.  The government recently created a new bureaucratic organ--the Financial Markets Authority ("FMA").  The intent and objective of the FMA is to keep all players in our financial markets on the straight and narrow.  Now this we regard as a legitimate role of government--lawful, if you will.  Detecting and punishing fraud, deception, dissembling and dishonesty with respect to the property of others is what God has instituted civil government for.


The FMA has taken over personnel and functions inherited from the Securities Commission.  But Mr Hughes has determined that certain staff perquisites which were part of the way the Securities Commission did things will not be part of the inheritance.  This from the NZ Herald

Monday, 13 June 2011

Rutting or Revolution

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Just last night we were having some family discussion about the tribulations of Rep. Weiner. We were talking mostly about God's sense of humor. Here was a man who wanted the smart set to run the whole stinking economy, and he can't even run his own Twitter account. Not only was he not able to run his own Twitter account, he did not seem to have any control over what is appropriate to do with digital images of one's own briefs, never mind the propriety of how those images came into existence in the first place. All this was risible enough, okay, but look at how long God took to set this whole story up. This is the ultimate shaggy dog story -- it went on and on, until it cultimated in the exposure of one Weiner.

And so we also concluded, back in this family discussion of ours, that God can be pretty tasteless. Doesn't God know that there are children down here?

But my takeaway conclusion from our discussion was -- how can Christopher Hitchens still maintain that there is no God? I resolved to do something in the morning to chide Christopher. "Do you really believe that this sketch had no writer?" Thus far last night.

Rent-Seeking Maori, Part II

Worse Than Fireblight

We recently posted on Maori rent-seeking in New Zealand.  This blight is now pervasive, affecting careers and employment.  BlairD commented on our post to this effect.  Read his testimony, here.   

Sober Warnings

Servants and Dumpsters

But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.  In those days the Lord began to cut off portions from Israel and Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel.
II Kings 10: 31-32.
In the middle of the ninth century BC, God raised up Jehu to destroy the Baal worshipping Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel.  Both had set themselves to establish Baalism as the official religion of God's people, Israel.  Eventually, as Elijah had warned, God's judgment fell upon the house of Ahab as as result.  God raised up Jehu, a rebellious army officer, to exterminate everyone in Israel who was either descended from Ahab, or was allied with Baalism.  It was religious-cleansing on a national scale.  Jehu was successful: "Thus Jehu eradicated Baal out of Israel."  (II Kings 10: 28)

But Jehu was not a true servant of the Lord.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

No Collateral Damage

 Unscathed Dog

OK--this post is for those who maintain a keen interest in military technology and hardware.  Enormous strides in recent years have made it increasingly difficult for the "bad guys" to hide.

We have come a long way since that deadly night fighter, the (wooden) Mosquito took to the air in 1942.

The circumstances and specifications are detailed below. 

This video was taken from inside the cockpit of an A-10 by the pilot.
It was a night view. What you see is from 9,700 feet away (almost two miles)..
Four terrorists are walking along a street with no clue that someone is watching them.....
from almost 2 miles away in the dark..
The A-10 fired a 30 mm cannon WITHOUT injuring the dog nearby, who escaped
unharmed. You can see the gun camera shake a bit as the pilot fires.
Then count about 4 seconds for the rounds to travel 2 miles. Every
tenth round is a tracer, so the bullets you actually see are every tenth.
They are getting hit with hundreds of rounds, but the dog is unscathed.
Muzzle velocity on the 30mm cannon is 2,430 feet per second. The result is that four
fewer guys won't be blowing up women and children anymore!
The dog, in the upper right, just safely gets  out of there.
video 

Thanks to our humble correspondent who sent this through.  

A Fool and His Money are Easily Parted

Not Worth a Tilt

Not long ago we were cutting down through Ashhurst on our way to the Manawatu Gorge, and then on to Mangatainoka (you will all know what that's famous for) and eventually Carterton.  Those of you who have travelled this route will know that as you approach the Gorge it is wind-turbine city.  Since someone else was driving, we were able to count the number of turbines we could see that were not turning.  Seven.  Seven broken down turbines--at a quick glance.

To fix them requires a 600 tonne capacity crane--trucked out into the wop wops.  Access roads have to be maintained on some of the steepest country in New Zealand.  Slips and washouts are common.

The New Zealand Herald has a piece on maintenance being done at the Makara West Wind Farm, the country's largest.  It has 62 turbines.  It went live on April 29th, 2009.  So it is almost exactly two years old, operationally speaking.

Friday, 10 June 2011

We are From The Elite Commentariate . . .

Here to Help

There is an old saw about treating people like mushrooms: keep them in the dark and feed them lots of dung. This is precisely what a recent report by Oxfam is proposing as the solution to rising food prices and possible famine in the world. That, and oh, of course, world government.

Matt Ridley critiques the elitist Oxfam report

Get the fertiliser out. We can feed the world

Matt Ridley
 
Oxfam’s chief executive, Dame Barbara Stocking, claimed this week in a BBC interview that there will “absolutely not be enough food” to feed the world’s population in a few decades’ time.

Such certainty about the future is remarkable, so I downloaded Oxfam’s new “report” with interest.

Rent Seeking Monster

Treating Maori With Respect

New Zealand is boldly arrogant and fiercely proud of its rejection of the Living God.  Consequently, it is not surprising that as a nation we are so often played for fools and given up to stupidity.  We have just been given another serving up of the pathetic genre.

Maori, by playing on white liberal feelings of guilt and pity, exploiting them with great cunning, have inveigled themselves into a position of great influence in our country.  Essentially, Maori, as the indigenous people, have manoeuvred themselves into a position of perpetual rent-seeking, by which they extract money every time somebody breathes.  The only debate now is over not whether, but what new rents can be extracted.  The issue as to whether Maori are entitled to extract rents was settled three decades ago.  This unfortunate affliction has come about because white liberal guilt met up with cunning Maori avarice and the latter very cleverly and successfully did over whitey. 

Traditional Maori animism believed in mythical monsters known as taniwha.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Right Kind of Bright in Your Eyes

Education - Education
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, June 04, 2011

Here are the remarks, in substance anyway, I gave at the commencement ceremony for the graduating class of New Covenant Schools for 2011. They have just finished their 20th year under God's blessing, and many congratulations.

. . . .  A caged-up thoroughbred might be tempted to lethargy and despair—unless there is a row of those cages lined up across the width of a racetrack. Then the thoroughbreds are all quivering with excitement . . . just like you are right now. You don’t mind this final cage because all you are thinking about is the track in front of you. You might not even notice the cage.

Scripture teaches us that to the pure all things are pure (Tit. 1:15). To the defiled, all things are defiled. The principle can and should be extended. To the dullard all things are dull. One of the central reasons why G.K. Chesterton is such a wonderful thinker and writer is that he had the gift of making us see how extraordinary all ordinary things are. He would cock his head sideways and describe the living room from that vantage, and all of us would learn new things about a place where we had lived for years.

Keeping Up Appearances

Quasi-Religious Evolutionism

In ancient Athens, no-one really believed in the gods.  But the city required a formal adherence.  Failure could be terminal.  So Socrates passed from the sight of mortal men because allegedly he corrupted the young men of Athens with a form of atheism.

In our day, atheism is more the established religion.  Failure to comply and do due deference can be devastating for one's career, social standing, or fiscal prospects.  Anyone in the media, academia, or the school system who dares to question the prevailing orthodoxy of evolutionism is subject to likely effective self-immolation.  But, underneath it all, as in Athens, few people really believe the prevailing narrative of existence evolving via randomness.  It's just that it's not politic to say so.  According to John G. West:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How Has It Come to This . . .? Part II

Murder Most Academic

Theodore Dalrymple's latest piece in City Journal provokes the lament of Theoden facing the destruction of his realm, "How did it come to this?"

We have broken the piece into two parts.  The first dealt with sadistic murders committed by a PhD candidate in the UK and the academic establishment which facilitated his crimes.  The second, below, deals with the academic treatment of his victims by UK elites.

The Witch is Dead . . .

Putting Biblical Spine Back into the Church

Jezebel stands in redemptive history as the epitome of incarnate evil.  The wickedness of this conniving, bloody tyrant, who strove to extinguish the Lord from Israel, stands as a byword for covenant children down through the generations.  Her end is a befitting epitaph.  Here is the account in II Kings:
When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it and she painted her eyes and adorned her head, and looked out the window.  And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, "It is well, Zimri, your master's murderer?"  Then he lifted up his face to the window and said, "Who is on my side?  Who?"  And two or three officials looked down at him.

And he said, "Throw her down."  So they threw her down, and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her under foot.  When he came in, he ate and drank; and he said, "See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter."  And they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.  Therefore they returned and told him.  And he said, "This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, "This is Jezebel." ' "
II Kings 9: 30--37.

Dale Ralph Davis writes in his commentary upon this text:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

How Has It Come to This . . .? Part I

Murder Most Academic

Theodore Dalrymple's latest piece in City Journal provokes the lament of Theoden facing the destruction of his realm, "How did it come to this?"

We have broken the piece into two parts.  The first deals with sadistic murders committed by a PhD candidate in the UK and the academic establishment which facilitated his crimes.  The second, which we will publish tomorrow, deals with the academic treatment of his victims.

Open Slather

A Self-Loathing Generation 

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in New Zealand have ruled that the unborn child has no right to life. 

 Thus we are entitled to conclude that as far as the law goes in this country it must be open slather upon unborn children.  Strike someone to cause a miscarriage--no problem.  Sell or supply abortion inducing drugs--no problem.  After all, these must no longer fall into the category of restricted medicines since there is no living person within the womb.  Backroom abortion facilities--as legal as back room prostitution--which, as we know, the law now protects and encourages.

Thus the wicked display their quality by consuming their own children in a mad bloodlust, offering up their bloody sacrifices to the goddess,  Woman.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Come Up, Come Up

Liturgy and Worship - Church Year
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, June 01, 2011

When the Lord Jesus was raised up from the grave, it was not long before He was raised up from world itself. Jesus first came up out of the earth, and He then came away from the earth. That departure from our world was His ascension into Heaven, a glorious transit between the moment of His resurrection and the triumphant moment of His enthronement in power and glory.

Scripture teaches us that He was ushered into the throne room of the Ancient of Days on numinous clouds of glory (Dan. 7:13-14). Contrary to a popular misconception, this prophecy is not referring to His Second Coming to earth, but rather to the Ascension. This is a glorious vision of the Lord coming into Heaven, not a vision of Him descending to earth. The one coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory is coming, not down to earth, but into the throne room of Almighty God. And when He arrived there, He was crowned with universal dominion and glory—power, majesty, and might, world without end. Amen.

The New Testament teaches this as well, and teaches further that we believers have a new birthright portion of this dominion and glory.

Below Stupid

 False Confidence in Princes

Dale Ralph Davis has written an excellent commentary upon II Kings--along with several other commentaries.  At II Kings 9: 6-10, where God pronounces judgment upon the house of Ahab, that most wicked king of Israel, he has some helpful reflections.  First, the text:
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "I have anointed you (Jehu) king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel.  And you shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel.  For the whole house of Ahab shall perish and I will cut off from Ahab every male person both bound and free in Israel.  And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah.  And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her."
Davis comments:

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The New Aristocracy

Extraordinary Men Must Have Special Consideration

Here is Mark Steyn reflecting on the nouvelle ancien regime in France, which seems to have been deeply offended at the American sleight to its honour in the way those boorish Yankees have handled Dominique Strauss-Kahn--one of their own.
A man is innocent until proven guilty, and it will be for a New York court to determine what happened in M Strauss-Kahn's suite at the Sofitel. It may well be that's he the hapless victim of a black Muslim widowed penniless refugee maid – although, if that's the defense my lawyer were proposing to put before a Manhattan jury, I'd be inclined to suggest he's the one who needs to plead insanity. Whatever the head of the IMF did or didn't do, the reaction of the French elites is most instructive. "We and the Americans do not belong to the same civilization," sniffed Jean Daniel, editor of Le Nouvel Observateur, insisting that the police should have known that Strauss-Kahn was "not like other men" and wondering why "this chambermaid was regarded as worthy and beyond any suspicion." Bernard-Henri Lévy, the open-shirted, hairy-chested Gallic intellectual who talked Sarkozy into talking Obama into launching the Libyan war, is furious at the lèse-majesté of this impertinent serving girl and the jackanapes of America's "absurd" justice system, not to mention this ghastly "American judge who, by delivering him to the crowd of photo hounds, pretended to take him for a subject of justice like any other."

Well, OK. Why shouldn't DSK (as he's known in France) be treated as "a subject of justice like any other"? Because, says BHL (as he's known in France), of everything that Strauss-Kahn has done at the IMF to help the world "avoid the worst." In particular, he has made the IMF "more favorable to proletarian nations and, among the latter, to the most fragile and vulnerable." What is one fragile and vulnerable West African maid when weighed in the scales of history against entire fragile and vulnerable proletarian nations? Yes, he Kahn!
Ah, Dominique, we are sorry.  Mea culpa.  Mea maxima culpa.

One of the Better Book Promos . . .

Paul Henry: Enfant Terrible



Clearly Henry is having fun. It's salutary to the body politic to have someone who holds a mirror up to New Zealand and shows up just how pompous and self-righteous and politically correct the nation is. We love to see the Commentariate spluttering over their pinot gris and tapas.

H/T Whaleoil

Too Important to Fail

Dumb-Ox Taxpayers on the Hook Again

New Zealand has a state-owned bank.  It was set up by socialists and greens as a populist and nationalistic move to counter the dominance of all our major high-street banks, all of whom just happened to be owned by Australian high street banks.  The current centre-right government has continued the policy. 

Kiwibank has proved very popular with what we call the "cardigan brigade"--the elderly, the welfare dependant, the average bureaucrat and state employees.  But commercial reality is biting.  Once it had hoovered up all those high-transaction, low balance, loss-making accounts from its competitor high-street banks--by offering higher deposit rates and lower fees--Kiwibank hit a commercial rut.  To grow further, Kiwibank needed more capital.  Its shareholder, the gummint refused to pony up--being itself severely cash strapped and deeply in the red. 

Faced with competitive marginalisation--no growth, eroding margins, weakening profits, bad debts to be written off--Kiwibank had few places to go.  The configuration of the tea-leaves in the latest mandatory General Disclosure Statement for Kiwibank portends trouble ahead.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Duoglas Wilson's Letter From America

You Play the Hand You Hold

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If you have any opinion at all about the Israeli/Palestinian situation in the Middle East, then your opinion, if implemented, could result in three possible outcomes. It could make things better, it could make things worse, or it could keep things pretty much as they are currently. Given the knife edge that everybody in that part of the world is walking along, the last option seems unlikely in the extreme. So let's go with better or worse.
This means we should be more than a little thoughtful before giving our input.

Slow Learners

 Foolishness Bound Up in the Heart

Sometimes we Christians find ourselves wondering at the foolishness on display in our society.  Things which to us are so self-evident and obvious appear  beyond the ken of the average Unbeliever.  Take something as basic as whether depravity and perverseness is native to the human soul, or not.  Christians, realizing that this is something about which we cannot be neutral, turn to the revelation of God to find that indeed we are all corrupt.

The doctrine of Total Depravity is often misunderstood.  The Scriptures do not teach that man is corrupt as can be, but that every part of the human being is to some extent corrupted by evil.  The "total" in Total Depravity refers to universality not degree.  The poison of sin is traceable in every part of our being.  In some times and cultures the poison is more advanced than in others.  The ante-diluvian civilization, for example, saw a maturation and flowering of evil everywhere: every intent and thought of the heart of men was only evil continually, we are told (Genesis 6:5).  But at other times the redemptive record reveals that Unbelieving cultures are a long way short of being filled up with evil (Genesis 15:16). 

This being so, it is expected that children, for example, will manifest aspects and manifestations of self-will, disobedience, contumacy, stubbornness, and selfishness from a very early age.  "I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me" says the Psalmist (Psalm 51: 5).  The Borg is already on-board the ship, as it were.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

An Inept Farmer With a Dull Knife

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, May 27, 2011

The (US) Constitution was the work of a corporate body, and that corporate body had different men and various factions in it. The Constitution was ratified by 13 states (eventually), but only with the proviso that the Bill of Rights be attached to it. These states ratified with varying degrees of enthusiasum and/or nervousness. And so we cannot say, "The Constitution was . . ." without adding a clause indicating what it was to whom.

The Federalists wanted to ratify the Constitution the way it came out of the convention. The Anti-federalists didn't want to. Under pressure from the Anti-federalists, who had a lot of good arguments, the Bill of Rights was added. This means that the Constitution, as it was adopted, was a moderate Anti-federalist document. The Tenth Amendment made it staunchly Anti-federalist. The moderation came in because there were Anti-federalists who believed that language like that found in the Tenth Amendment was explicit and clear enough not to get somehow ignored. The event has shown that this optimistic take was wrong.

Anti-Minimum Wage Convert

 A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

When we were knee high to a grasshopper we worked out that minimum wage laws are socially and economically destructive.  We know why they are the favoured populist tripe of government.  They appeal to our envious egalitarian instincts.  We are sufficiently stupid to clothe such perversity in high fashion, appealing to nostrums such as "justice" or "fairness" to cloak our covetousness.

The unintended effect is always perverse.  Minimum wage laws create a barrier for the least skilled and the least educated, making them unemployable.  Minimum wage laws increase unemployment. Thanks to  constantly inflating minimum wage rates in New Zealand in the last three years, under both Labour and National, youth unemployment rates have skyrocketed.  A quarter of the next generation is already on the scrap-heap.  Only naive economic ignorance would have failed to see this coming.

Brian Edwards, a doyen of the Left, appears to have seen the light--well, at least this particular lamp.  He has written a piece on his blog, slamming minimum wages.  Maybe even the chattering classes and some in the Commentariate are starting to get the point.  Either that, or Edwards is attempting to be satirical.  We think the latter.  (He got at least one of his audience going though--see the comment at the end).

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Natural Law and the Brownies

Goo-Mongers - Postmodernism
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, May 28, 2011 6:58 am

Let me see if I can do something to simplify the idea of natural law or, as I would prefer to state it, natural revelation.

A couple of boys go home after school, accompanied by a couple of their unbelieving friends. When they get to the house, they find it clean and in good order. There are some beautiful paintings on the wall, the work of the boys' mother. On the counter is a tray of brownies, still warm. This is natural law.

On the fridge is a note from mom, telling the the boys to help themselves to the brownies and, after they have done so, would they please help her out by carrying a desk upstairs, a desk she scored that morning in a yard sale. After that, they can do whatever -- study, go play ball, whatever they want to do. That is special revelation.

There are three basic ways to screw this up.

Grumpy

A Different Form of Fun

New Zealand does not have many resident bears (economically speaking).  Bernard Hickey is about the only one.  The vast majority of economists and investment market sages have a pollyannaish "she'll be right" attitude, possibly because they believe so strongly in the competence and power of the State to make things right.

It is refreshing to read Hickey.  He has a happy knack of pointing out the elephants in the room which his colleagues have chosen not to see or to dismiss and inconsequential.  Here is his most recent column in the NZ Herald.

A Man For all Seasons

Dagon On His Face

Here are some insights from an exceptionally good biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, entitled Rousseau--The Self Made Saint by J. H. Huizinga (New York, Grossman Publishers, 1976).

Rousseau is undeniably an important figure in the West.  To this day he is probably the most influential shaper of Western pedagogy and teaching methods.  He, more than any other, is responsible for "child-centred education"--that oxymoron of oxymorons.  Huizinga tells us that modern scholarship is besotted with him.
Never, therefore, was there an intellectual of immense renown whom it is so difficult to take seriously.  Yet few writers have been the object of such painstaking study.  Few have kept and are still keeping so many erudite scholars at work analysing and interpreting the maestro's every word; putting the most ingenious constructions on his chaotic incoherence so as to "unify his thought"; annotating his thousands of letters so as to reveal that words like "I have a cold" in the first draft were replaced by "I have a bad cold"; digging out yellowed documents so as to acquaint the world with the details of the great man's laundry bills (which--believe it or not--fill twelve pages in the latest edition of his collected works); . . . (Op cit., p. 20)
It is ironic that the Unbelieving West has chosen Rousseau as one of its patron saints.  It turns out that he was a self-inflated, opinionated gadfly, his writings riddled with contradictions and his life oozing hypocrisy from every orifice.