Saturday, 31 March 2012

Redemptive Idols

Naive Simplistic Foolish Nostrums

Kim Workman: professing Christian, ex-bureaucrat, Maori, "largessee" of Helen Clark, and all round media "go-to" guy for issues of crime and punishment in New Zealand.

An interesting article on Kim has been published by Whaleoil  on his philosophy of prisons and prison "reform".  (We  disclose at the outset our belief that prisons are blighted institutions, severely compromised in many ways.  However, there is nothing better to take their place right now.  So we had better make the best of it.)  Workman's Christianity has apparently influenced his approach to crime and punishment.  He appears to believe that "loooooove" is the Great Redeemer of mankind.  When people commit crimes against persons or property it is to be condemned; to rehabilitate them, to prevent recidivism they must be loved.  In this Workman is simply not Christian.  According to him:

Friday, 30 March 2012

Making History


Sometimes its little things which can be significant.  We do not like to make predictions about politics.  After all, a week in politics can be a long time.  A very long time.  But sometimes portents appear of the future.  Take President Obama.  Will he be a shamed one-term president? 

Try this for a little portent: yesterday House Republicans forced a vote in Congress on President Obama's proposed budget.  The result: it was defeated 414-0.

Last year, the Senate voted on Obama's proposed budget back then.  The result: it was defeated 97-0.  And this at the time when US government debt is right up there as a candidate for Public Enemy Number One.

Some constitutional scholars have argued that the essence of power in the presidency is the power to persuade.  If that is correct, Obama must be one of the weakest, most ineffectual US presidents in modern history.

A Deep and Imperturbable Joy

Christianity Versus Ancient Paganism

Christianity proved to be revolutionary to the ancient world partly because it affirmed the creation and the material order as being (originally) holy, just, and good.  The material order was not--at least to Christians--a lower order of being.

(Christianity) was obliged to proclaim, far more radically than any other ancient system of thought, the incorruptible goodness of the world, the original and ultimate beauty of all things, inasmuch as it understood this world to be the direction creation of the omnipotent God of love.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Idiotic Atheists

The Next to Last Rock in the Avalanche

Atheism and Apologetics - Moist Robots
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 24 March 2012

I don't think I should be too severe in these reviews of Sam Harris' most recent book. When one of the country's leading atheists, the author of The End of Faith, trumpets the end of atheism, this is actually something that Christians should welcome and celebrate. Right? The fact that he doesn't (as of yet) know that he has done this thing is a bagatelle, a trifle. The logic is going to catch up with him soon enough.

Stories Society Tells Itself

Christendom's Blood

A dominant narrative, propagated by secular humanists and the Commentariat, is that the historical Christian church has been a notoriously bloody institution.  Moreover, it took the Age of Enlightenment to push the church back into cultural irrelevance so that the blood-letting would stop.

Swirls of cynicism should be layered upon this narrative, since it was the Enlightenment's Voltaire himself who declaimed history as "a trick the living play upon the dead".  In other words, modern narratives of the past inevitably serve the end of contemporary propaganda.  It's how one becomes accredited and a celebrated historian after all.It's for this reason, since we live in a world dominated by the Modern and Post-Modern Commentariat, that we tend to have a more-then-passing interest in iconoclastic historians that challenge the prevailing narratives of our day.

Clearly there have been times in the history of the West where the Christian church was guilty of shedding blood, bearing the power of the sword illegitimately and evilly.  But the question begged is whether such behaviour was characteristic or uncharacteristic, intrinsic to the history of the Christian church or an aberration.

David Bentley Hart argues that whilst such blood-letting did occur at the hands of the church, it was uncharacteristic.  It only occurred at such times as when the state, civil governments, were increasing and centralising their power.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Letter From America (On Saudi Arabia)

Destroy All the Churches

National Review Online

March 22, 2012 

Imagine if Pat Robertson called for the demolition of all the mosques in America. It would be front-page news. It would be on every network and cable-news program. There would be a demand for Christians to denounce him, and denounce him they would — in the harshest terms. The president of the United States and other world leaders would weigh in, too. Rightly so.

So why is it that when Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, declares that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula,” the major media do not see this as even worth reporting? And no one, to the best of my knowledge, has noted that he said this to the members of a terrorist group.

Alien Planet

Back Yard Plunder

Every so often people reveal the state of their hearts and minds with comments that "prove far too much".  Sometimes folk betray their origins.  They appear to be from distant planets: we are left wondering how they made it to this planet in the first place, and hoping that the return journey occurs soon.

Here is a spokesman for the Consumer New Zealand--Hamish Wilson.  He is quoted commenting upon pre-pay electricity plan, where consumers pay in advance for power.  Hamish gravely warns us that such plans are "unfair".  In Mr Wilson's bizarre world-view, power companies are one vast criminal enterprise. Get this:

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Sam Harris, Moist Robot

Atheism and Apologetics - Moist Robots
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 19 March 2012

So then, Sam Harris has a new little book out, and for such a small book (66 pages), it promises to be a lot of fun. I say this because the book appears to be filled with epistemological obliviousness, cover to cover. The name of the book is Free Will, released by Free Press (heh) in 2012.

"Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have" (p. 5).

Ooo! That was naughty. Shall we tell teacher? No, let's see if we can handle this ourselves.

Happy Warriors

The Joy of Battle

One characteristic of Christian warriors is that they are happy, upbeat.  This is so despite being often faced with overwhelming odds.  

One explanation for this strange state of affairs would come readily to hand for Unbelievers.  Many in our post-Christian world think being a Christian either reflects a simpleton-like mindlessness or a psychological malfunction to begin with--so being happy in the face of overwhelming odds would evidence the fundamental stupidity of believing in the Lord Jesus Christ in the first place. 

Despite the ravages of sin in our culture and a putative re-entry into the West by the Devil, Christians know that such things cannot last.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Letter From Australia

Spring Storms

Many outcomes are possible across the "Arab Spring"

Noel Weeks.
Republished from AP: Australia's Reformed Evangelical Periodical

Anybody who thinks history is irrelevant should follow closely the events consuming many Arab countries at the moment and the attitudes of Western governments and commentators to those events. It can be argued that the West is seeing the events in terms of its own dominant theory of history and ignoring the alternate possibilities.

The Western hailing of the turmoil as a “Spring” flows from reading the movements as democratic with all that connotes in the Western mind: free, progressive, secular. In turn that flows from a theory that sees democracy as the inevitable direction of history. The Arab world is following us in demanding freedom and rights.

A little knowledge of history, especially of history as experienced by Arab peoples, might allow other possibilities.

Exposing the Hypocrisy Beneath

"You First" Tax

We at Contra Celsum are proposing a new kind of tax.  We realise it's a bit different, but we believe it's way past time.

It is called the "You First" tax.  The radical component is that the You First tax will not just be targeted at legal persons-- whether corporations, groups, or individuals.  The principle of individually targeted tax law is well established.  Penalty taxes, for example, are applied only to those people who are late in paying their dues.

The radical and refreshing aspect of the new tax is that it focuses only upon those people advocating redistribution of income and wealth.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

City Folk

A Cowboy Named Bud
A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in California when suddenly a brand-new BMW advances toward him out of a cloud of dust.
The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses, and YSL® tie leans out the window and asks the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"
Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultrahigh-resolution photo.

The Biggest Fool in Christendom

The Jimmy Carter Hermeneutic

Mr James Carter unfortunately reads the Bible with his own autonomy firmly in place.  Clearly the Lord Himself must bow and conform to the ratiocinations of the former President.  Whether Mr Carter has ever been converted will finally be revealed on the Great Day.  But, whether he has or not, his understanding of the Scripture is offensive and shameful.  It is also puerile.

Here is one example of the "Carter Hermeneutic":

Friday, 23 March 2012

"Kangaroo Cuddle"

Touch of love a lifesaver for struggling newborn

NZ Herald
Friday Mar 16, 2012

As Kate Ogg hugged the body of her prematurely-born son to say goodbye after being told he had died, something unexpected happened.  Little Jamie, at only 27 weeks' gestation and weighing less than 1kg, started breathing. . . .

In March 2010, doctors at Sydney Hospital fought for 20 minutes to save Jamie's life when he and his sister were born too early. But they pronounced him dead and he was passed to Mrs Ogg, who placed him on her bare chest to say goodbye.  "We didn't want him to hear us crying while he was dying, we wanted him to hear our voices so we started talking to him quietly, telling him his name and that he had a sister," Mrs Ogg said.
"Next thing he's gasping more regularly and starting to move and cry."

Strict Islamic Orthodoxy

 By Their Fruit You Shall Know Them

A murderous Islamic shoots down Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse. He also murders French paratroopers.  He calls a radio station to boast of his crimes and expresses regret that he has not done "more". 

The supine western media, always fearful of Islam's long reach against them (death threats, etc.) quickly move to assure us all that killing is not part of Islam.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Willing Dupes: The West's Framing of Arabia Ludicruous

The Arabs, Fifty Years Ago

Life magazine misread the Arab world in 1962.
March 7, 2012 12:00 A.M.
By Daniel Pipes
National Review Online

‘Once mellowed and mouldering, the far-flung civilization of the Arabs is being swept today by invigorating winds of change. A fruitful kind of disorder is replacing the old fixed patterns of life.” Those contemporary-sounding words were published in 1962, in a glossy, picture-laden, 160-page book titled The Arab World.

The volume boasts three virtues that make it worth a review a precise half-century later. First, the editors of Life magazine, then the outstanding American weekly, produced it, implying cultural centrality. Second, a retired senior State Department official, George V. Allen, wrote the introduction, pointing to the book’s establishment credentials. Third, Desmond Stewart (1924–1981), an acclaimed British journalist, historian, and novelist, wrote the text.

The Arab World emphatically represents an artefact from another era. While not entirely sugar-coating his subject matter, Stewart offers a benign, gauzy, patronizing approach that would gag even the most euphemistic writers today.

Modernist Myths

 Sweet and Sour Reasoning

Rationalists constantly mock Believers as being anti-rational.  It is a dishonest slur--on two levels.  At one level the slur represents a confusion of categories as happens when one confuses medicine with poison.  Both alike are pharmacological, but with entirely different outcomes.  Rationalists believe in a particularly noxious kind of reason--that human reason is the ground of all truth and the highest and final court of appeal. Rationalists believe in human reason as master.  Christians believe in human reason as helpful servant. 

At another level the slur seeks to conceal a dirty secret (one which makes rationalism self-contradictory and at root irrational): rationalism is grounded upon a foundation which cannot itself be verified by human reason.  Try establishing rationally the premise that human reason is the ground of all truth, without arguing in a vicious circle (that is, irrationally). 

Here is David Hart's exposition of the matter.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Letter From the UK

Get the Cabinet to Patrol the Roads of Afghanistan

Peter Hitchens
Mail Online

If The Prime Minister and his colleagues think it is so important to have a British presence in Afghanistan, and they claim to, then they are the only people in the country who know why that is. So I suggest that they are given driving lessons in Warrior vehicles, or backpacks for foot patrols, and sent out into the roads and fields of Helmand Province, allowing soldiers, who are much more valuable than politicians, better-trained, smarter and immeasurably more honest, to go home.

We have been through so many idiotic justifications for this war that I thought the government had run out of them.  We all remember Dr Comrade Baron John Reid’s claim (at the start of this witless deployment) that our soldiers were going there as a sort of social work brigade and would leave without a shot being fired, which has ever since served to show that these people’s heads are as empty as their salaries are big.

Letter From the US (About Canada)

Steady Gradualism Can Deliver

An article published in National Review Online by John O'Sullivan compared three conservative political leaders in the Anglo-world: Tony Abbott (Australia), David Cameron (UK) and Stephen Harper (Canada).  The author's point was to highlight how he sees Cameron's stint as Prime Minister to be a disaster for the UK and for conservatism.  Cameron shapes up as Labour Double Lite.

What we found more interesting--since we in New Zealand are familiar with the usually charming eccentricities of Tony Abbott and somewhat aware of the insipid nature of Cameron's leadership--is the account of Stephen Harper in Canada.  The progress Harper has made and his accomplishments are all the more significant since Canada was well on the way to becoming an Orwellian state: a holiday camp for Western secular liberals. 

So, let's hear some good news:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Letter From America

Fleeting Glimpses of Harsh Truth

When governments arrogate to themselves powers and responsibilities not bestowed upon them by Almighty God, disaster is around the corner.  Since in our generation states in the West have arrogated to themselves powers upon powers, and dominions upon dominions calamity draws near.  Those who sow to the wind reap the whirlwind.

Every so often in frustration over the perpetual failures and contingent evils produces discouraged individuals who run up the white flag and call for capitulation.  In such brief moments, truth in its awful clarity shines through.  But then the clouds quickly shut it out.  Here is Victor Davis Hanson's Letter From America which represents for a brief moment just such an awful clarity.

What's Yours is Mine

For the Good of the Game

The moral outrage in New Zealand against ticket scalping is hard to fathom.  Upon what ethical principles might it rest? 

A chap goes into a local dairy and buys a pack of Rothmans.  He goes home, puts it on Trade Me and sells the pack to someone in Whanganui  for twice what he paid (where cigarettes have been totally banned due to a local member's Bill sponsored by Tariana Turia).  In the world of commerce its called arbitrage.  Everyone claps the chap on the back and calls him smart, insightful, and enterprising.    The same chap lines up to buy a ticket to a rugby test match, goes home, sells it on Trade Me for ten times the price, and he is called a scab, a thief, and an animal.  Right?  Right!

So, what gives?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Cistern for the Water

Theology - Life in the Regeneration
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 08 March 2012

My friend Toby Sumpter, no enemy of robust liturgy, recently posted the following on Facebook. "When people come to our church 'for the liturgy' I think I will begin asking how frequently they use porn, yell at their wife, or tell lies." On a related note, Mark Galli, author of Beyond Smells and Bells, noted that "it should not surprise us that the litugry is also one of the best places to hide from God" (p. 11). (I will interact more with Galli's book in another venue.)

When liturgists debate, there is a lot to talk about, and many fields of study to cover -- theology, history, aesthetics, and so on. I have certain decided convictions in all such debates, and am happy to participate in them. But there is one thing needful as a prerequisite to everything else, and this one thing is necessary to keep all the subsequent debate from being entirely beside the point.

King Henry VIII Redivivus

A Manifestly Ill-founded Case

In the UK, the government has decided it has the divine authority to declare and define and proscribe the Christian faith.  Its argument runs something like this:

The official statements of the churches define the Christian faith to be "x".
Adherents of the faith are practising "x" and "y".
"Y" is not defined or confessed in the official statements.
Therefore "y" is not part of the Christian faith.

One wonders what has happened to the principles of liberty of conscience and freedom of religion in this UK government position. 

The occasion is a court case being brought at the European Court of Human Rights by Christians against the UK government because it has refused to allow its employees to wear or display a cross whilst at work.  This from The Telegraph:

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Obama's Idolatry

Consistently Anti-Christian

President Obama has been accused of anti-Christian cant.  It is a charge he defends.  Clearly he has dabbled in "liberation theology"--which amounts to Marxism with a pseudo-Christian veneer. But was this just a passing phase?

One way of testing the claim is to document the actions of the Federal Government, for actions speak louder than words.  It appears very consistent and a damaging litany.  There is a prima-facie case to answer.

Just and Unjust Wars

Darth Vader Flies Again

As the weeks pass it is more increasingly obvious that the US-led attempt to "build" a nation in Afghanistan is failing and is all but over.  The US will withdraw as soon as it is politically less damaging to do so--sometime after the elections this November. 

At this blog we have consistently opposed the war since it morphed into Obama's "War we Really Need to be Fighting" (as opposed to the war in Iraq).  That was just a cynical election ploy to convince the electoral middle that he was not nearly as anti-war and radical as his opponents were alleging.  He was just a regular American imperialist.  But Obama could not bring himself to think of war as it must be thought of: legitimate and just only when it is exclusively focused upon defence of  citizens against armed aggression.  Obama had to morph the war into progressive political ideology by other means: Afghanistan must enjoy "nation building" at the hands of the US army.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Doug Wilson's Letter From America

Conservative Republican Monkeys

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mittevitability is having a rough go lately. Last night Santorum -- a Roman Catholic -- took what might be called the hard evangelical states of Alabama and Mississippi. Any thoughtful student of American political history needs to say huh over that one at least a time or two. It took an administration jammed with Chicago pinkos to pull it off, but they did it. I mean, credit where credit's due.

Newt Gingrich, a supernova of ego, is now heading into his dwarf star phase.

Ron Paul continues to accumulate delegates, in numbers large enough to be important . . . but only if they turn out to be important.

The Left's Social Contract

Do We Have a Deal for You!

The NZ Labour Party appointed a new leader late last year.  The faithful are still trying to work out what's inside their new package.  Blogger Dim Post has been adding his speculations to the mix, in a piece entitled Back to Basics

He writes:
I thought Shearer’s interview was a bit insipid – but he did say one thing that gave me a little hope about his ‘Ides of Mars’ speech this week, which was a reference to the Social Contract. Maybe I’m being wildly optimistic here, but it could be pretty smart for Shearer to go back to the very principles of left-wing political philosophy, and simply make the argument that we’re a society of people with obligations towards each other – in contrast to the right-wing view-point in which we are a competitive market-place with no responsibility to each other outside of inter-party transactions.
We think that paragraph sums up the simplistic ideology of the left.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Modern Inquisitions

Bureaucracy, Data Management, and the  Inquisition

Bring Out the Spanish Tickler
Christopher Caldwell
A Book Review appearing in The Literary Review

God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World
By Cullen Murphy (Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 310pp £25)

The Spanish Inquisition was not run by a bunch of blockheads. It sought to root out heresy, which was a 'crime of the intellect'. Inquisitors were not interested in the blurtings of drunks or in what we would call Freudian slips. Testimony gathered under duress was admissible only if it was repeated freely on a later occasion. Nonetheless holy interrogators did feel the need, once in a while, to haul out the Pear of Anguish, Saint Elmo's Belt, the Heretic's Fork and the Spanish Tickler. These were all instruments of torture, although, as Cullen Murphy notes, 'they could just as easily be the names of pubs, or brands of condoms, or points of ascent on a climber's map'.

Murphy is a US magazine editor whose elegant books mine the ancient world for lessons about our own.

Theologians of the Age

 Butt Ends of Days and Ways

We are well aware that our society is ruled by a bunch of people whose god is the autonomy of their own minds.  We accept that pagans have for a time, at least, won the battle i the West.  We acknowledge that they believe we Christians live here at their pleasure.  All of that is par for the course when Christians are a small minority in a pagan establishment. 

What is risible in the extreme, however, is when the pagans attempt to argue theology and tell us what Christianity ought to be about.  Even more risible is when they presume to lecture us about the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and turn them upon Him, calling good "evil" and evil "good".  Such hectoring misrepresents the commandments of our Lord and is rank dishonesty.  We have no truck with them.  Better to leave them in their own darkness.  Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool taken in his folly. 

In the UK the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church are opposing the attempt to institutionalise homosexual "marriage".  The Greek chorus has come out in force.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Ex Libris

Book of the Month/March 2012

Engaging the Culture - Book Review
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The World-Tilting Gospel
Dan Phillips
Kregel Publications, 2011

I want to start a new feature on this blog, if I can keep up the pace. I have occasionally done extended reviews of books, blogging through them, but I think I would like to start reviewing a book a month in more of a one-off, hit-and-run fashion. But a nice kind of hit-and-run. These reviews will be unabashed attempts to promote a book I think needs to be far more widely circulated and read. Critical reviews will have to find another venue, or submit to the chapter-by-chapter treatment.

And the book I chose for my shakedown cruise is The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips.

Tolerable Opinions

The Creed of the Commentariat

Often times we have referred to the Commentariat.  Some folk have inquired as to what this is.  Is it a club?  A secret society? 

Not at all.  It is an informal college of institutions and people who presume incessantly to tell us who we are, what we should be like, proclaim what ought to be done and declaim what ought not to be.  This loose collective is a self-reinforcing group who see themselves as leaders and intellectuals, a cut above the ordinary Joe.  The appellation "Commentariat" refers to the tiresome fact they these folk are always commenting  upon public issues, deigning to tell us what we should think, how we should act, and what we should be like.  Needless to say, the Commentariat reflects Orwellian "group-think".

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sloppy, Vacuous Darwinists

Uneasy Atheists

The following article appeared in the New Statesman.  The primer reads:  "To hardline atheists, it is now unreasonable and “dramatically peculiar” to argue that religion is not altogether evil. How did such intolerance become acceptable to rational minds?"  How indeed?

Bryan Appelyard reflects upon the strange Islamic-like fundamentalism of the neo-atheists, whom he charges with having all the behaviours of a tyrannical sect.  [For our part, we love these militant neo-atheists.  They are perfect poster-boys for what happens when men deny God and try to mean it. They are thus "useful idiots", to employ Lenin's phrase, because they offer many teaching moments.

Science and Magic

 Kissing Cousins

In all Unbelieving science there is an "irrationalist gene" waiting to break forth.  We have seen this with modern cosmologists such as Stephen Hawking who now propounds the existence of a potentially infinite number of parallel universes in order to "make sense" of our own.  Meaninglessness is required in order to cling to the possibility of meaning in our world.  The rational/irrational dichotomy lying within all Unbelieving thought has long been documented by Christian thinkers. 

A similar connection between post-Christian science and magic can be seen historically.  David Bentley Hart makes the argument:

Monday, 12 March 2012

Can We Prepare Our Culture to Receive the Gospel?

[A powerfully prophetic call from J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) for intellectual engagement in the culture as a means of pre-evangelism--Ed. Hat Tip: Justin Taylor]

We are all agreed that at least one great function of the Church is the conversion of individual men. The missionary movement is the great religious movement of our day. Now it is perfectly true that men must be brought to Christ one by one. There are no labor-saving devices in evangelism. It is all hard-work.

And yet it would be a great mistake to suppose that all men are equally well prepared to receive the gospel.

Lest We Forget

Oxymoronic Science

Over the past two years, Queensland and New South Wales have endured extreme climate events that have brought devastation.  Floods.  Last week people were evacuated from Wagga Wagga as they faced the worst flood in 160 years.

Back up the clock.  Two and a half-years ago the world was being warned that Australia was a poster-nation for the calamities that were coming as a result of global warming.  Drought and heat had ravaged the land for so long farmers left, right, and centre were committing suicide.  It was a harbinger of the devastation to come from rising temperatures.

At the time we read the following in the Los Angeles Times and jelly-fish ran up and down our spines.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Letter From the UK

Why I am so rude to Warmists

James Delingpole
From The Telegraph

[James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books, including his most recent work Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future, also available in the US, and in Australia as Killing the Earth to Save It. His website is]

Sharing a car back from the BBC Big Question debate in Cardiff on Sunday I had a tremendous bust-up with one of my fellow panellists which I think many of you would have enjoyed hugely. (Our driver could barely keep a straight face.)

It was prompted when I very vocally expressed my disgust at one of the standard phrases trotted out by Warmists and other eco-loons in these debates (as, of course, inevitably, they did again on Sunday): the one about "preserving the planet for future generations".

The reason this cant phrase makes me want to throw up every time I hear it is that it's such a grotesque inversion of reality.

Zero Credibility

A Mouth In the Shape of a Polygon

Let's assume that most governments around the world of any consequence study the utterances of the President of the United States.  Are his words to be taken seriously?  Is he bluffing?  Is there a hidden message?  What is hyperbole or literary license?  If so, what is the real message beneath the trope?

All political leaders eventually realise, if they did not know it to begin with, that credibility, if you have it, is an enormous boon.  It buttresses one's influence and power far beyond laws, rules, and institutional power.  In a democracy it is electorally life-threatening to lose one's credibility.  If it gets to the point where a growing majority of people disbelieve what a leader says, and he is sinking in the credibility, stakes it is only a matter of time until he is rejected by voters.

In recent decades we have seen politicians rise up--usually on the Left--who believe that politics is all about focus groups.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Alinsky Ball

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 06 March 2012

Recent days have seen the media and/or new media in an uproar over a couple of incidents that invite a bit more investigation from the intellectually curious. I refer to Rush Limbaugh's insult of Sandra Fluke, and Kirk Cameron's gracious response to a question from Piers Morgan about homosexuality.

Now in the interests of accuracy, it should be noted that Rush has apologized for calling Ms. Fluke a slut, and so we should address the apology first. I confess I haven't mastered all the details of this important situation as I ought to have done, but if Ms. Fluke indicated multiple guys, then the comment should stand. That's what a slut is. But if she has a steady boyfriend, and she is faithful to him, then it really was uncalled for to call her that. She would be something more like a concubine.

Of sociological interest here is the same reaction for very different behavior, and different reactions for very similar behavior.

Empty Vessels Making Dull Noises

Lazy Reasoning

We have been writing and publishing pieces on the "ethicists" who have advocating the killing of unwanted infants.  Self-proclaimed liberal, David Farrar has waded in to the debate, which is most revealing.  Farrar, of course, has repeatedly advocated abortion as a woman's "right". 

But Farrar objects to the ethicists' position.  We wonder why?  He has no grounds whatsoever to sustain an objection.  Just prejudice.  Just sentimental question-begging.  Here is his argument against the "ethicists":

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Dougla Wilson's Letter From America

Our Ruling Class

Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 01 March 2012

I wanted to make sure that I made at least a couple points about this particular travesty from The Journal of Medical Ethics, HA! (JMEH!).

The first point to make is that when men have lost their soul, they have not yet necessarily lost their capacity to reason. They can still say B, and do so because they said A earlier. They are exactly right that there is no moral difference between killing a child here and killing a child there. But there are two ways to remove the inconsistency -- you can say B, and then C, so on down the line until you get to H for Holocaust, or Hell, take your pick. The other way to remove the inconsistency is by repenting of having said A. God is in Heaven, and He remains just. It would serve us well to remember that God is angry at America's ruling class, with us for tolerating them.

The Christchurch Cathedral

Not One Stone Left Atop Another

God has told us in no uncertain terms that He is a jealous God.  He will brook no rival, no other "god" in His presence.  To tolerate idolatry is to kiss lies, and offer respect to the demons behind it. 

When His people elevate themselves or their accomplishments to the status of de facto idols we are warned that the wrath of God is kindled against us.  One modern manifestation of idolatry in the Church is the elevation of buildings to the status of demi-gods.  The brouhaha over the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral is just such a deformed imbroglio.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Easy Tools

 The Consequences of Denying Human Depravity

We watched Hillary Clinton announce the "food for halting nuclear weapons development" deal with North Korea.  We listened to the public celebration of a supposedly enormous breakthrough and triumph by President Obama.  Incredulousness is the only appropriate response.

Here is a regime combining the bestial cunning of Stalin with the ghoulish psychopathy of Pol-Pot.  Its horrors, once revealed, will make future generations blanch.  It takes food from the West supposedly to relieve famine and uses it to feed its huge army.  The rest of the population are left to starve.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Clouds of Nuance and Ineptitude

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I have been asked about my passing comment the other day that I thought military action in Afghanistan was justified, and probably in Iraq. This was coupled with my observations on the constitutional procedures for going to war -- Congress should declare war. Those who believe all the DC-lawyer-talk need to be asked what circumstances would have to pertain in order for Congress to declare war. Surely that provision of the Constitution means something. What does it mean nowadays? What does it mean in the 21st century? What countries would we have to declare war on before commencing hostilities? And why them, and not Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya?

Thus it is that I said we have had military actions that could have been justly pursued, but they weren't because the rule of constitutional law was by-passed.

But then  was asked about the justification for the fighting itself, not the constitutional procedures. My questioner said that he was assuming that I agreed that military action on our part was only justified in cases of self-defense. Close, and almost.

It's a Very, Very Hard Road--But Right

Dead Beat Men Hanging Around Like Flies

We have been very gratified at one particular note struck in political discourse over recent days by the Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett.  She is on a mission (not yet achieved) to move people off beneficiary rolls into work.  The opposition has not denied the intent, but has argued that it will fail miserably because there are just not enough jobs "out there".  It is inhuman, the opposition alleges, to move people off welfare on to work when there are no jobs to which one can go. 

As the debate progressed, qualifications crept into the opposition's case.  It was not that jobs do not exist (any glance at a job-seeking website puts the immediate lie to that allegation) but that not enough "decent" jobs exist.  We all know that there are lots of low-skill, low-paying jobs around, but to move people out of welfare on to those jobs is demeaning to them.  They need honourable jobs, worthy jobs that are high paying and deemed socially desirable. 

Bennett's retort has been right to the point.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

On Being a Lentendud

Liturgy and Worship - Church Year
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 23 February 2012

A few days ago I posted a little poem -- one of my periodic forays into high art -- about the affair of the sausages, as a result of which incident the Swiss Reformation began in earnest. It turns out that this poem and other related things generated some excitement on the Internet (and who does not believe that the Internet could always use a little more excitement?)

The poem was simply an application of some of the warnings contained in a joint statement that Christ Church and Trinity Reformed Church developed together. "We stand gratefully in the Reformation tradition which courageously freed the saints of God from those enslaving regulations related to saint days, penitential seasons, and superstititous fasting . . . [we] warn our people to likewise remember these lessons from the history of the church." Emphasis added, and you can read more on all this both here and here.

The S-Files

Smarter Than the Average Bear

ContraCelsum is pleased to announce that an S-Award has been given to Mr Dennis Roderick.

Mr Roderick is a truckie and, much to the chagrin of the intellectual elite, has probably never studied at a tertiary institution.  But he is far smarter and wiser than most.  This is what went down:

Saturday, 3 March 2012

In Memoriam

Achilles has Fallen

Andrew Breitbart has died.  He was a culture warrior for limited government, raised up by God in His common goodness to mankind.  Whilst not a Believer, Breitbart was a force in restraining wickedness and the demonic attempt to re-aggregate corrupt power to the former Ruler of this World.

Michael Walsh from National Review Online provides the eulogy.

Hell Bound

No Earthly Hope

The case of the Turangi child rapist has ended.  The details are disclosed.  Most will be left in despair wondering what on earth can be done to stop this kind of thing happening again. 

The family life of the rapist, Raurangi Marino has consequently come to light.  It is pretty much as we expected.  Broken home, alcohol and drugs, beatings, (rival) gang affiliations, parental desertion, family violence, and sexual assaults (2) upon the young Marino. 
Canterbury University sociology professor and criminologist Greg Newbold said children who got into this sort of trouble come from the worst families."You don't get many happy, stable families who produce kids who do things like this."
Stuff provides the litany:

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Advantages of Black Gospel Music

Singing the Songs of Zion

There is nothing to compare with the Scripture itself when used in singing.  But often Western musical idioms require substantial altering and editing of the text to fit the words of Scripture to music.  One extreme response has been "Scripture in Song" which, while employing scriptural phrases--usually out of context--it uses both the Scripture and music in an infantile manner. 

The Black Gospel musical idiom, however, has no such limitations.  It can far more readily be employed to sing whole portions of God's Word--especially the Psalms.  Here is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing Psalm 121 using the King James version.  (The choir consists mainly of non-vocally trained members.)

Egregious Self-Service

Competition is For Other Stiffs, Not Us

Unions are largely about protection--protecting themselves and their jobs against competition.  Unions are pretty happy about competition in general, as long as it is the "other guy" that is having to compete.  When competition lowers food prices and supermarket goodies, unionists approve.  When competition brings a flood of cheap, reasonable quality imports such as furniture, TV's, computers, and mobile phones into the country so that they become affordable, thereby raising living standards generally, unions applaud.

But when labour is overpriced and competition beckons, unionists protest with all the righteous indignation they can muster.  Competition is for the other guy, not our guys.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Letter From the UK

Wind No Longer in the Sails of "Green" Energy Companies

Command and control economies produce one thing consistently--massive waste.  The government push to "green energy", of which subsidized wind "farms" are an example, illustrates the problem.  Wind farms will never get off the ground literally until they can demonstrate that wind turbines can produce electricity as cost effectively and as efficiently as other energy sources.

To date, without massive government subsidies wind farming is like colonising the moon: a grandiose form of economic waste.

It seems that the mood is changing in the UK.  Wind farms are being seen for what they are.  Troughing big businesses--looking to cash in on a pile of government money--are now rethinking.  Risks are rising for them as government funding becomes more and more uncertain.

This from The Guardian:

Inevitable Expansions

The Killing Fields Extend

Two Australian ethicists have argued in the Journal of Medical Ethics that infanticide is perfectly acceptable if the newborn is not wanted.  If you happen to be a pro-abortion believer, it's hard to fault their logic.  In fact, impossible.

Now, no doubt there will be plenty of effete liberals who (at least initially) would recoil in horror at the suggestions of their ethicists.  But they will not be able to refute their arguments.  If you are prepared to "terminate" or kill a baby in the womb you will have little reason to object ten minutes after the baby emerges from the womb.  There will be those who wriggle around trying to find another sky-hook on which to hang some counter-ethical principle to justify in-uterus homicide and reject it ex-uterus--but it will all be without foundation, just a wish, a preference, a prejudice or a bias.