Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Ultimacy of Right Reason

Goo-Mongers - Postmodernism
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I want to expand a bit on what I said about logic and the character and nature of God.

First, the problem. If logic is external to God, and is something that He obeys or conforms to, then we are saying that there is another God, senior to Him, whose dictates He must somehow obey. That is obviously out for the orthodox, on the basis of being ridiculous.

But if we say that logic is a created thing, fashioned as a could-have-been-otherwise sort of thing by God for this world, then absolutely anything goes, and God Himself becomes absolutely unknowable. I will explain this further in a moment.

This leaves the option that the font of all logic is somehow an attribute of God, like His love, like His holiness, and so on. More on this in a moment also.

Selling Our Souls Down the River

State Control of Stools and Urine

The electronic communication zone is running hot over some inane comments by some "researchers in public health".  These illuminati were interviewed on national radio and had the temerity to utter the following inanity:
Obesity, she said, was "not a problem with individual choice and self-discipline, which we've proved successfully doesn't work".  Instead it's the fault of "big institutions and the market".
Most of the criticism rightly points out that for 99 percent of the obese population their condition is caused by three things--what they ingest, how much, and what is not done to burn the calories off.  It is a completely self-inflicted condition.  Quite right.

Monday, 30 January 2012

File Cabinets in the Rat Tunnels

5 Thoughts on the South Carolinian Newtslide

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, January 23, 2012

1. The voters are apparently in the mood for belligerence toward liberals and the media. This is not the same thing as insisting on belligerence that is coherent and consistent over time (for that would have excluded Newt), but they clearly want a scrap. The other candidates should take note.

2. The South Carolina results punctured for good and all the inevitability myth that Romney had been cultivating for himself. Santorum took Iowa, Romney took New Hampshire, and Gingrich took South Carolina. As one web site put it, that looks a lot more like evitability than inevitability. But we should not waste a lot of energy wringing our hands over the blood-letting of the primary season. It is a good system -- call it blood-vetting. We ought not to be pining for a "more rational" primary system. We have an honest tournament system now. Reforms by uplifters will just get us a political version of the BCS system.

3. When someone like Ron Paul freaks out the Republican establishment, there is not much they can do about their panic. Whatever you say about Paul, reticence to express the constancy of his views is not usually on the list, and the GOP establishment doesn't have any handles on him. There is good reason to believe that Newt freaks out the GOP establishment in a different way. Newt is a long-time insider, knowing the twists and turns of every rat tunnel under the Capitol. In return, the establishment knows him, knows where the bodies are buried, and knows where the file cabinets are. I refer to particular file cabinets, the contents of which would be enormously damaging to the Gingrich campaign. Look for the leaks to start very soon.

4. Newt cheated on his first wife with his second wife, and cheated on his second wife with his third. This means, incidentally, that in her recent interview his second wife was complaining about what Newt had done to her, when that was she and Newt had together done to his first wife. She complained that Newt had wanted an open marriage, but why was she surprised? She had participated in a practice run with him a bit earlier on. So this point is not taking up her account as gospel.

But, at the very least, does not this particular set of tangles call the caliber of Newt's judgment into question? Suppose the charge is not adulterous philandering of the predatory variety, but rather a short attention span with regard to everything? As Santorum put it, Newt has "an idea a minute," and there he is, impulsively charging off after the most recent shiny thing. Sometimes it is another woman, and other times it is global warming or the individual mandate. Oh, great. That's what America needs -- another Nixon, only without the discipline.

5. One of the historic reasons why homosexuals were denied security clearances is because of the possibility of blackmail. They were denied security access, not because of "bigotry," but rather because they were a security risk. The same kind of thing would apply to adulterers. Now run a thought experiment. If Newt gets the nomination, does anybody seriously think there won't be more about Newt's sexual proclivities surfacing in the general campaign?

These bimbo eruptions will surface in one of two categories -- the charges will either be true or false. If true, then, well, there we will be, wondering how many more trillions Obama can get over the next four years from his secret bank account on the moon. If  false, then it will be slander, but it will be sticky slander. The public and acknowledged facts of Newt's life will make him particularly vulnerable to that slander. In other words, Newt is a nomination risk, and this aspect of his life is a no-lose proposition for the Democrats.

Subterranean Paganism

How Did It Come to This?

Just how Christianised was Western Europe in the first place?  Rodney Stark (One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001]) provokes readers with this question.  His answer: not very.

In the past two centuries we have seen a move away from the Christian faith--and a rapid collapse of the First Christendom--in the West.  What took centuries to build was gone by lunch time, so to speak. Why?  Naturally, in all such "big" questions, the causes are always complex and multifarious. However, some factors will inevitably be more influential and affective than others. 

Here is a summary of Stark's argument:  he draws a fundamental distinction between the quality and timbre of missionary effort of the Church before and after Constantine.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Roe Vs Wade

Radical, Legally Untenable and Immoral

The following article is taken from Justin Taylor's blog:

Law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen has a remarkably helpful and concise explanation of what Roe v. Wade (especially combined with Doe v. Bolton) actually means: “The Unbearable Wrongness of Roe.”

 Here are excerpts from his three critiques:

(1)The Radicalism of Roe
“I suspect that if more people understood Roe‘s and Doe‘s actual holding fewer would support that constitutional regime. Roe was a truly extreme decision, creating an effectively unrestricted constitutional right to abort a living human being for any reason the mother might have, throughout pregnancy right up to the point of birth.”

Corruption in China and New Zealand

Theft by Any Other Name is . . . . Theft

The Left has little or no respect for property rights.  What you own is yours only if the collective (society, the state) says you can retain ownership.  At any time, for the "common good" your property can be devalued, stripped, or confiscated.  In principle we are, therefore, slaves in our own country; any freedoms we may enjoy are at the pleasure of the collective. 

This plight is put front and centre in the Australian classic, The Castle.  Sadly, whilst this is a superb comedy, its dramatic tension actually relies upon a very serious matter that is all too real.  In The Castle, remedy comes to Darryl Kerrigan through the courts.  The High Court decided that the Constitution of Australia required that Darryl's "castle" could only be purchased on just terms. We have no such checks and balances in New Zealand.  Parliament is supreme.

The Government in New Zealand is about to decide whether a Chinese consortium can purchase around sixteen NZ dairy farms.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Studies in I Samuel

A Study in Failure

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, January 21, 2012

As 1 Samuel comes to a close, the life of Saul comes to a miserable end. As we will see, the manner of his death was a fitting picture of the way he had lived his life throughout the course of his reign. His reign was a long pattern of self-destruction, and in the end, Saul took his own life—the final act of self-destruction. He died the way he had lived, destroying himself.

“Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. . .” (1 Sam. 31:1-13).

The chapter begins with the Philistines attacking, and they routed the men of Israel. As they fled from the Philistines, the carnage took place on the mountain Gilboa (v. 1). The Philistines were in hard pursuit of Saul and his three sons, and they successfully killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua (v. 2).

A Curio at Te Papa

A Complaint and Its Aftermath

The following piece has appeared in Quadrant Online.  It concerns a visitor to New Zealand, a sojourn at Te Papa, a complaint, and what happened as a result.  The complaint?  It was about the museum's display on "Climate Change". 

Climate correction in NZ

by Tony Thomas
January 19, 2012
In November I was a passenger on the cruise liner Volendam, ex-Sydney and hopping from port to port in New Zealand. Note: this is NOT a piece about cruise liners’ safety or otherwise. About November 18 we tied up at Wellington and I scampered ashore to enjoy a visit to Te Papa, the wonderful science and nature museum alongside the wharf.

The best bit was ogling the 4.2m metre colossal squid, alas looking a bit puce in its tank of formaldehyde but nonetheless with eyes as big as basketballs, outstripping the dog in Hans Andersen’s Tinderbox story that had eyes only as big as saucers.

From there I wandered over to the “Awesome Forces” display of nature’s power, where among other activities you can stand in a mock living room and feel what happens when a house is shaken by a NZ-style earthquake.

Nearby was the climate change exhibit, showing how ice ages come and go. I moved along it to the end, and there I got a shock.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

It's a Girl, Part II


Ram Mashru

Gendercide in South Asia takes many forms: baby girls are killed or abandoned if not aborted as foetuses. Girls that are not killed often suffer malnutrition and medical neglect as sons are favoured when shelter, medicine and food are scarce. Trafficking, dowry deaths, honour killings and deaths resulting from domestic violence are all further evils perpetrated against women. This femicide has led the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces to report in ‘Women in an Insecure World’ that a secret genocide is being carried out against women at a time when deaths resulting from armed conflicts have decreased.

The brutal irony of femicide is that it is an evil perpetrated against girls by women.

Mis-Applied Civil Rights

Panty Waist Liberals and Criminal Gangs

The case of the Turangi child rapist has sickened the nation.  There has been a plethora of reports in the media about how the 16 year old, who has plead guilty, is an ordinary fellow.  His friends expressed puzzlement, disbelief, and confusion over his actions.  His community network spoke of his family being fine, upstanding people.  We were all left wondering, What on earth has gone on here?

Now, more sinister matters are coming to light.  This from Stuff:

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

It's a Girl!

The Three Most Deadly Words in the Language

Justin Taylor has posted the following:

A new documentary, It’s a Girl! The Three Deadliest Words in the World, explores the systematic gendercide taking place in India, China, and other areas of South Asia.

Ram Mushru, reviewing the film the Independent, writes:  “The trailer’s most chilling scene is one with an Indian woman who, unable to contain her laughter, confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.” That line makes me think of Romans 1:32: “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things [like heartless, ruthless murder---see vv. 29-31] deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

You can watch it here:

We are thankful for the expose, the disgust, and the opposition. May it grow to an unstoppable crescendo. But don't expect much support from feminists and liberals. How can they oppose in India and China and South Asia what they promote in their own back yards as a human right?

Sluggards, Politicians and the Poor

Nothing a Special Grant from WINZ Won't Fix

We are about to have another talk-fest on child poverty and income inequality in New Zealand.  This will be a politically inspired confabulation. 
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia are setting up a ministerial committee on poverty under the Maori Party's post-election agreement with the National Party.  (NZ Herald)
Some social researchers have discovered that children born to parents living in "poverty" are likely to be significantly poorer than others in their demographic cohort for the rest of their lives.  In other words, if they are born into poverty, it, more often than not becomes a trap, a deep slippery pit from which they never climb out.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Unscrewing the Inscrutable

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, January 20, 2012

So then. Let us have a little chat, you and I, about the exuberant Newtlove that is popping up in some quarters. Whence cometh it? I would like to identify the point of origin first, and then give perhaps something of an indication of what I think of it.

The meme that is circulating, mostly in Newt's head, is that he is a great debater, and we need someone on that stage who could smoke Obama in a presidential debate. And I do grant that smoke would be involved, along with other acrid smells, but I don't really think a debate with Newt would result in Obama's second term aspirations departing from him with a whoosh.

Why do some think that Newt is a great debater? To pose the question is to ask me, to use Mencken's phrase, to unscrew the inscrutable. They think it for the same reason that others think Obama is a great rhetorician, and still others think the musical soundtrack from The Little Mermaid is great art.

Letter From America

Voter Dissatisfaction

Here is Washington Times columnist, Charles Hurt's take on the Gingrich win in South Carolina.  It's an interesting perspective.

COLUMBIA , S.C. — It is always here in the birthplace of the Civil War that things go bump in the night for presidential campaigns. . . . But all the shady twists and turns of the past were nothing compared with the Spanish moss-draped soap opera that has unfolded here in the past week. . . .

Two candidates — former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — crashed and burned, each begrudgingly endorsing their former enemies as they withdrew. . . . It has been a week of more heartache and drama than "Gone with the Wind." More intrigue than a John Grisham novel. And the story has been so Southern Gothic as to make William Faulker wake from the dead to enjoy the show.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Global Warming and Evolutionism

Both are Junk Science

A post at The Resilient Earth discloses that Global Warming confabulators are calling for a new spring offensive.  Stuck in the trenches of the Somme they are not yet sufficiently war-weary to give up.  Just one more dash over the top, into the mud holes, bayonets fixed and we will have those global warming sceptics on the run.

Hoffman argues that it will not succeed because in the end global warming is just bad science--all conjecture with no experimental foundation.  Unfortunately, his exertions against global warming have addled his brain.  He is foolish enough to argue that global warming has no more scientific foundation than creationism.  In his mind, global warming is akin to creationism; anti-global warming is equivalent to evolutionism.  The latter pairing is scientifically founded; the former, not so.

But then he points out that evolutionists and global warmists are starting to team up as co-belligerents.  He cannot understand why.  It's because one of his premises is dead wrong.

Great Work We'd Rather Not Have

 Unpaid Government Agents

Zen Tiger has written an important piece on the increasing trend to make businesses an administrative and enforcement arm of government.

The current stoush is over controlling the Internet.  In the latest piece of legislative coruscation, the US Congress has been considering bills which would appear to make all internet businesses legally responsible if they do not take positive action to shut an offender down and out.

A wartime moral equivalent would be that if a village did not rush to dob in a resistance fighter, the entire town would be wiped out.  Au contraire.  Any government which contemplates such moral and legal monstrosities should be shown the door.  Immediately.  By democratic means, of course.

Unfortunately, as Zen points out, the principle is now accepted, and is expanding.  It's an inevitable result of Big Government.  All the citizenry, in the end, becomes unpaid workers for the Big Guy, Sharkey.  Or else.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Basic Math as Dark Horse

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I have made this economic point before, but it appears to me that I need to keep making it. This is because we live in a time when we will all need to be reminded, regularly and at periodic intervals, that red ink does not really exist. Related catastrophes do, but I should explain myself.

We are in the same position as two drunk guys who were out on the town, and on a friendly bender.

S-Files: First Award in 2012

Good One, Guys

ContraCelsum is pleased to announce the first S-Award of 2012.  The Award Committee has voted unanimously to recognise the heroic efforts of three water main contractors in saving the life of a three-year old, taking charge in an extraordinarily stressful situation. 

Here is what went down:

Friday, 20 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Heap the Size of Mt. Sinai

Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well, nobody can say that the Republican primaries have been deficient as entertainment. People blowing up left and right like there were no tomorrow. At this rate, we'll get to Jeb in no time.

Cain was glib but fun, and while solid on some stuff, he encountered a situation he couldn't quip his way out of, maybe because it was one he quipped his way into. Huntsman was the boutique candidate who couldn't get any WalMart shoppers to switch over. Perry is likely to be dropping out, and the report is that he will be endorsing Newt, at just the very moment when Newt's candidacy has an event that we used to call in the Navy a "reactor scram." One of Newt's exes is poised to dish the dirt on him, and no one is exactly shocked to find that she has the wherewithal.

Self-Serving Rubbish

Ram Secularism Down Our Throats

Kiwiblog doyen and chief purveyor, David Farrar has entered the lists to explain why he does not like Bishop Brian Tamaki.  Fair enough.  Everybody is entitled to his express his view.  Regrettably, in this instance, Farrar's comments are little more than pious, self-serving twaddle with a generous dose of confusion thrown in.

Farrar adopts the mien of humility to explain that he is really not qualified to pass judgement on the doctrines of Destiny Church.  Nevertheless there are some things which, to his mind, definitely put Destiny so far out of the corral it is way over the mountain range.  Wait for it.  Here it is . . .

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Sexual Obedience Outside Scripture

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, January 14, 2012

And so here is my final response to the issues surrounding the publication of Real Marriage. The fundamental issue here is hermeneutics -- how do we read God's Word, and more important contextually, how do we read God's Word in the context of God's world? This is actually an issue having to do with the intersection of natural revelation and special revelation.

My beginning assumption is that they are not two books in the library, which can somehow be checked out and read independently of one another. They are interlocking realities.

Calvin famously began the Institutes by saying that we cannot know God unless we know ourselves, and we cannot know ourselves apart from knowing God.

Working Amidst the "Decline and Fall"

Diaspora and Mission

Much debate over procedural issues concerning the global Christian mission to convert the world remains superficial and trite.  By "procedural issues" we mean, how do we (the Church visible) actually get the task of discipling all of the nations done?

Whenever this question comes up, sooner rather than later the discussion shifts to the book of Acts.  This is not unreasonable.  Yet, the outcome is not that helpful, more often than not.  One reason for this is that reading the book of Acts as if it were an operational missions manual--a "how to" book for dummies--necessarily strips that wonderful book of Scripture out of its redemptive and historical context.  Whenever you do that with the Bible little good will come. 

Let's throw down a particular precept as an example.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Letter From the UK

O Canada our only hope

The Telegraph

I love Canada. I love Canadians. I like very much what their government is doing. I have great faith in their future. And if it weren't for their winters, I'd go and live there like a shot. Weird, huh?

Well it's certainly weird enough for those of us old enough to remember Canada in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties when it was little more than an embarrassing liberal-lefty joke. Sure we still remembered the suffering and courage of those plucky Canucks from Vimy Ridge to Dieppe to the Low Countries, but that spirit appeared long since to have vanished under the noisome regime of Pierre Trudeau and his grisly communitarian successors. Canada was like a pale imitation of the US with all the worst aspects of European Socialism and political correctness tacked on to it.

But suddenly – sorry South Park – but Canada-is-crap jokes just aren't funny any more because they lack the key ingredient of truth.

UK Labour Critiques Welfare

Intriguing Developments

When conservative political parties turn mushy and move to the centre to make themselves more electable, left wing parties sometimes force themselves to face up to reality.  Ironically this can mean they adopt traditionally right wing ideas.

Something like this may be happening in the UK right now.  Labour, out-mushed by the Conservative-Liberal coalition, is starting to rethink social welfare.  The idea that the state should fund life-style benefit dependency in perpetuity is coming under Labour critique.  Leading the charge is the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne.  The Guardian reckons that Byrne is leading a significant redrawing of Labour's position on welfare.

Three things are in Byrne's sights:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Letter from the UK

Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton - review

A banal and impudent argument for the uses of religion

Terry Eagleton
Thursday 12 January 2012 10.00 GMT

The novels of Graham Greene are full of reluctant Christians, men and women who would like to be rid of God but find themselves stuck with him like some lethal addiction. There are, however, reluctant atheists as well, people who long to dunk themselves in the baptismal font but can't quite bring themselves to believe. . . .

Such reluctant non-belief goes back a long way. Machiavelli thought religious ideas, however vacuous, were a useful way of terrorising the mob. Voltaire rejected the God of Christianity, but was anxious not to infect his servants with his own scepticism. Atheism was fine for the elite, but might breed dissent among the masses. . . .  There was one God for the rich and another for the poor. Edward Gibbon, one of the most notorious sceptics of all time, held that the religious doctrines he despised could still be socially useful. So does the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas today.
Diderot, a doyen of the French Enlightenment, wrote that the Christian gospel might have been a less gloomy affair if Jesus had fondled the breasts of the bridesmaids at Cana and caressed the buttocks of St John.

Not so Fast . . .

Knowing Where the Butteries Are

The Scottish Nationalist movement is skirting a dangerous precipice.  How times have changed.

For years the SNP ("Scottish National Party") has pushed for a referendum where the people of Scotland get to decide whether they withdraw from the United Kingdom and establish themselves as in independent, sovereign nation.  Scotland is a net fiscal drain to the UK.  It could not easily survive if it depended upon its own taxation basis to support welfare payments and central government lolly scrambles. 

That has never been an impediment in the past because the plan always was to enter the European Union as a sovereign nation.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Serious Deficit Measures

When All Else Fails . . .

A thoughtful proposal to cut national deficits, from The Onion. In the end we all have to contribute and do our part to cut the national debt.

More Lanchashire Cotton Wool

Troglodyte Reactionary Syndrome, Part II

Economic ignorance amongst the left never ceases to surprise it seems.  Hidebound in ideology, leftists would appear unable to see what is right before their face.  

The latest example: the self-styled humble blogger, Danyl at Dim Post.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cocooned in Lancashire Cotton Wool

Troglodyte Reactionary Reflex Syndrome

Mike Lee--Auckland Councillor, former Chair of the now defunct Regional Council, and left-wing true believer--has weighed in on the Ports of Auckland stoush.  His argument draws upon a spurious ideology and is parlous economic on fact. 

Mike complains that competition between the Ports of Auckland and the Port of Tauranga is doing no-one any good.  It is driving down prices and operating margins so that big business (Maersk and Fonterra) can make a killing.  The people who suffer include every Aucklander (an argument likely to be less appealing to Bay of Plenty folk than a fetid, mildewed jaffa) and, of course, the unionised work force at Ports of Auckland.  This, from the NZ Herald:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine

 Stupid Is as Stupid Does

When a society or culture looks to government as its god, this is the sort of thing that happens.

Grand Pooh-bahs and High Priests

Religious Libertarians

We had to hoot with laughter over this one: Peter Cresswell, high-priest of libertarianism, has deigned to declaim libertarian Ron Paul.  The Grand Pooh-bah of the Orthodox Libertarian Church has pronounced that Paul is not an orthodox libertarian.  He is a sectarian libertarian, holding views and opinions that no true believer would dare hold.

Now, to be a true member of the true church of libertarianism you have to bow five times a day towards the last known resting place of Ayn Rand.  [For our readers not familiar with the wonderful attributes of the Goddess, we have posted a couple of times on her holy attributes, here and here.]  Paul does not bow and worship.  Therefore, he is not even an apostate--one who once genuinely believed, but then departed from the true faith.  He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

Paul's heretical belief?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Running on Fumes

It's All Going to End--Not

Part of the catechism of Green Catastrophism is describing the forthcoming horrors of Peak Oil.  You know, the world is running out of oil and the dislocation and suffering that will bring to humanity is unthinkable--so, the governments of the world (through the UN) had better come up with a government led solution to save us all, yah de yah de yah. 

But, we recall the sage words of Sheik Yamani.  He opined that the Coal Age ended not for lack or shortage of coal, and the Oil Age will also eventually end, but not for lack of oil.  The Sheik knew a thing or two about economic development, it would appear.

"Peak Oil" looks a more and more distant risk.  Take this as an example (it's not uncommon):

Harmful Utopian Dreams

Standing Up for Workers

At ContraCelsum we love to see employees win.  We get great satisfaction and much pleasure in seeing "workers" (to use the socialist, class-warfare term) get significant rises in income, working conditions, work satisfaction, enjoyment, and so forth.  Yet many--far too many--would accuse us of being "anti-worker".  Why would that be?

It's because we have a radically different perspective on how workers' pay and conditions should be improved.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Letter From America

The Left’s So-Called Empathy
Reprinted from National Review Online

Lest you doubt that we’re headed for the most vicious election year in memory, consider the determined effort, within ten minutes of his triumph in Iowa, to weirdify Rick Santorum. Discussing the surging senator on Fox News, Alan Colmes mused on some of the “crazy things” he’s said and done.

Santorum has certainly said and done many crazy things, as have most members of America’s political class, but the “crazy thing” Colmes chose to focus on was Santorum’s “taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after childbirth home,” whereupon he “played with it.”

The Myth of Social Equality

Cruel Envy

It's an old saw, but with all the nonsense swirling about calling for equality and the terrible evils of inequality, it's worth repeating.  What would happen if we introduced egalitarianism into sport?

The analogy is re-presented by Martin Robinson in the NZ Herald.  Yes, it has been said before, but worth repeating, especially because the champions of egalitarianism are lifting their lusty voice everywhere.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Some Preliminary Thoughts On "Real Marriage"

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, January 07, 2012

[Editor's Note: Mark and Grace Driscoll have written a book on sex and marriage which is stirring up controversy.  A summary of the controversy can be found here.  Douglas Wilson intends to interact with the Driscoll's book.  Here is his first piece.]

Lord willing, as time goes by, I will be interacting more with Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll. But here are some of my basic assumptions going into the discussion.

1. Words written are easier to interact with (and be concerned about) than words unwritten. Pastors like Driscoll frequently get in trouble for things they write and say. This book has been called "dangerous." In the meantime, other pastors rarely get in trouble for things they didn't write and didn't say. But -- and here I am convinced that the Driscolls are exactly right -- a lot of damage has been caused by the church's unwillingness to address certain topics, an unwillingness to bring the whole counsel of God to bear on this subject. Silence is also dangerous.

Sultans of Snide

 Bottom Feeders

Storm clouds are gathering around Rick Santorum--running to win the Republican nominee for this year's presidential elections.  Santorum is a Christian who takes the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ seriously.  Consequently to the Commentariat and the media, by definition he is stupid, dumb, and dangerous.  The spittle is in full spray.

We blogged recently about the mockery Santorum is starting to face because one of his children was still born and the parents took the deceased child home so that the rest of the family could grieve and make their farewells.  This is being pilloried as a sign of someone of unsound mind.  Weird.  Kooky.

Blogger Patterico opens up with both barrels at the Sultans of Snide.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Dog With Two Tails

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, January 05, 2012

Rick Santorum has said that those who are critical of his so-called "big government conservatism" are wrong, and they are libertarians to boot. Since he is not a libertarian, he rejects the label -- he reasons that if you are a virtual anarchist, then everything is going to look like big government to you. That's true enough, but there is more to it.

As Republicans have done their go-along-get-along thing for the last several decades, an awful lot of territory has opened up between the mainstream Republican right and the libertarian right. This is not the result of the libertarians moving. As the spending has grown, so the distance between the two has grown. There is a lot more distance than there used to be. If you were to show the editorial board of National Review (from 1965, say) what kind of budgets the 2012 conservatives were going to be urging, their temptation would be to sell their magazine and spend all the money at the dog races.

But Santorum's comments to the contrary, there are still conservatives around, not libertarians, who see him as too easy with the checkbook.

Stupid, Crazy, Ignorant and Dangerous

No Surprises

Secularism represents the most intolerant bigotry in the West.  Its megaphone is the media.  It consistently casts its opponents--religious believers, usually Christians--as ignorant and dangerous.  But that is its only consistency.  In all other ways it is hypocritical. 

Rodney Stark describes the syndrome:

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Journey of the Magi

Nobody Reads Eliot Like Eliot

In September 2009, Bob Toomey uploaded the vid below on You Tube. He commented:

A rare recording taken from a live interview T. S. Eliot did for the BBC, broadcast during World War II. The original audio was pretty bad, but I cleaned it up as best I could. The thing that comes through most clearly is that nobody reads Eliot like Eliot.

Hat Tip: Justin Taylor.

Bleeding Out

 Fonterra's Off

We have blogged several times on the crisis confronting the Ports of Auckland.  As its unionised labour force hold the company to ransom via the strike weapon, shipping clients are moving their business elsewhere.  The Port is in a vicious circle. 

Normally when the returns to shareholders are under threat the owners of the business either capitulate to the strike threat (and so kick the can down the road until another day of reckoning) or they get tough and break the union.  In this case, however, the owner is the Auckland City Council which is replete with left-wing old-style luddite socialists.  Better to have a Port that fails commercially than allow anti-union actions to be taken.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Iron Lady

Wonderfully, Conservatively Subversive

Rebecca Cusey

Conservatives have nothing to fear from the controversial and wonderfully subversive Margaret Thatcher biopic, “The Iron Lady.” Because the creators, whatever their personal political beliefs, had the artistic integrity to let Thatcher be Thatcher, the film becomes a rousing call to those who believe that “those who can do, must get up and DO.”

The film opens today in New York and Los Angeles, a common practice to make end of year films eligible for the Oscar race, and expands nationwide on January 13. Meryl Streep plays Thatcher, the powerful former leader of Britain who rose from humble roots to lead her country through economic turmoil, Irish Republican Army terrorism, military engagements, and the end of the Cold War.

The controversy stems from the framework of the film,

Remembering the Dead


Rick Santorum, contender for becoming the Republican Presidential candidate, was smeared last week as being weird, if not a little unhinged.  The proof: in the nineties, the Santorum's suffered under the tragedy of a still-born child.  Santorum took the dead child home for a couple of hours so that the other children could grieve appropriately and say farewell.  Weird, apparently. 

Here is an excellent post from Patterico, putting things in perspective.  Framing the narrative is everything.

Shaking Baradur

But As For Me and My House . . .

The human race is troubled, deeply so.  Existence is not what it should be.  Things are not right.  They must be put to right.  Who or what will do it?  Whilst there may be the occasional Pollyanna who believes in relentless universal goodness, the overwhelming majority of human beings think that things could (and should) be better. Since this is true of most nations and human cultures, we are faced with a dilemma: either we descend into bitterness, or we find a saviour in which we can place our faith and hope that things will improve and eventually be put to rights. 

The quest for, and hope in, a saviour of some kind is pretty much universal. Our age is no exception.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

An Iowa Caucus Nano-Margin

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Here are a few observations that conservatives can pack into their suitcases as they leave Iowa. Romney edged out Santorum by eight votes -- a victory so razor-thin close as to make no difference. Eight votes! And the way the expectations world is structured, Romney cannot really claim a triumph here and Santorum can.
In the meantime, Ron Paul came in a strong third -- not as well as I thought he was going to do, but still doing very well. After those "three tickets out," Iowa did what Iowa does well, which was to winnow the field.

Here are some thoughts:

Chutzpah Indeed

 Very Smelly

The poor old NZ Herald.  It claims to be New Zealand's Fishwrap of Record, but these days it is smelling decidedly stinky.  When anyone attempts to cloak naked self-interest by conjuring high moral principle the stench of decay usually becomes overwhelming.  And so it is in this case.  

Our Fishwrap of Record is continuing to beat up on the Crown seeking to recover costs from one over litigious journalist.  The "story" has been framed not just as a David versus Goliath struggle (although there has been plenty of that) but more importantly a struggle between individual freedom versus overreaching government power.  Now it is democracy itself which is at stake.  Wow.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Letter From America

Completely and Unreservedly

Posted by
It was forty years ago today (December 28, 1971) that I became a Christian. My conversion was Saul-like: sudden, unexpected, and decisive. I was eighteen, a freshman at university studying physics and math at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
I was not raised in a religious home. My memory holds only fleeting acquaintance with the church - a "Christening" in my early teens with just my mother, an Anglican vicar and myself present; the ritual of "confirmation classes" and the visit of the bishop followed by rebellion and atheism. By eighteen, I was, like most of my peers, a firm believer in science. The universe was the product of a Big-Bang and everything that exists - Mozart, The Beatles, Rembrandt, Salvador Dali, you name them - came from this primal event. Everything comes from nothing.

            Enter John Stott.

The World of Marxist Academia

Unmaking Decent Society

It's a terrible world--at least according to Tim Hazledine, Professor of Economics at Auckland University.  Tim has provided us with his peculiar version of festive cheer, declaiming systemic injustice in New Zealand society.  And what is this gross injustice?  It is deeply imbedded income inequality.  You know--same old, same old.  The rich are getting richer and the poorer are not keeping up. 

This egregious situation is a threat to what Hazledine nominates as the Decent Society (upper caps are his).  According to Hazledine the Decent Society appears to be one where there are no great disparities between the unseemly wealthy and the grinding poor.  It is a society where incomes cluster around the median.  "Unrestrained, short-sighted greed" is unmaking us all. 

Hazledine goes on to give an example of the very thing he is decrying.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Letter From America

Why and How to Read Calvin’s Institutes

Justin Taylor

If you haven’t yet read C. S. Lewis’s introduction to Athanasius’s On the Incarnation, I’d highly recommend it.

He wants to refute the “strange idea” “that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.”

Lewis finds the impulse humble and understandable: the layman looks at the class author and “feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him.”

“But,” Lewis explains, “if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator.” Lewis therefore made it a goal to convince students that “firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.”

I suspect this holds true with respect to evangelical Calvinists and Calvin’s Institutes. Are we in danger of being a generation of secondhanders?

Let me forestall the “I don’t have time” objection. If you have 15 minutes a day and a bit of self-discipline, you can get through the whole of the Institutes faster than you think. Listen to John Piper:

The Most Real of All Histories

Beloved for the Sake of the Fathers

In Romans 11, Paul gives the divine plan for human history.  It turns around redemption and deliverance of the human race.  A key dynamic driving the progress of redemption is the Jewish-Gentile relationship.  We learn that a hardness came over the heart of Israel, so that the Gospel could legitimately come to the Gentiles.  The latter, coming to reverence the God of Israel and worship His Messiah, make the Jewish people jealous, causing them, in their turn, to desire to return to the God of their fathers.  Then, in its turn,  return of Jewish people to the Messiah becomes the apex stone of blessedness for the entire world.

In certain periods of history, it has pleased the Lord to return to His ancient people, making the call of the Gospel life from the dead for them.  In such times, the veil appears removed.  It would seem that one such period of blessedness is occurring in the United States now.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

And Then, Wham

Money, Love, Desire - Wealth and the Christian
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, December 26, 2011

As news comes in that China is starting to teeter, allow me to take a moment to remind everybody that there are two kinds of money. Given that miscreants are often put in charge of economies, the boundary between the two kinds of money is frequently murky, but it is important to note the two kinds of money anyhow.

Wealth is made up of goods and services. One kind of money, the real kind, is a measuring stick for those goods and services. When men are being comparatively honest, paper money can work for a time,

It's an Accident

A Mere Drop in an Ocean of Chance

Harper's Magazine, in the December 2011 edition, carried an "emperor has no clothes" piece by Alan P Lightman entitled The Accidental Universe: Science's Crisis of Faith

The crisis of faith is occurring amongst the high priests of scientism--that religion-cum-philosophy which asserts that only matter exists and the study of matter alone reveals truth and knowledge.  And it is the high-priests of scientism who are in crisis.  The high-priests, of course, are the theoretical physicists. And the crisis is one of existence being so random that ultimately nothing has meaning.