Sunday, December 23, 2007

Derb on Dr. Paul

I've often said that John Derbyshire, despite his many flaws, is the only reason to read National Review. Well, here is Derb endorsing Dr. Paul.

Other Paul items:
Here is Tucker Carlson in The New Republic on his conversion to Austrian economics: "The first time I heard Paul talk about monetary policy, I'd felt like a hostage, the only person in the room who didn't buy into the program. Then, slowly, like so many hostages, I started to open my mind and listen. By the time we got to Reno, unfamiliar thoughts were beginning to occur: Why shouldn't we worry about the soundness of the currency? What exactly is the dollar backed by anyway? And, if the gold standard is crazy, is it really any crazier than hedge funds?"

"Ron Paul Will Surprise You" says pollster John Zogby. After chronicling the problems with the alleged GOP "front runners", Zogby says look out for Paul: "He's going to do better than anyone expects...He's his own brand. All he needs to do is beat a couple of big names in Iowa, then New Hampshire is friendlier territory. After all, the state motto is "Live Free or Die."

Ann Coulter on Huck's social conservative credentials, or lack thereof.

Michelle Malkin
on Jim Gilchrist's zany endorsement of Huckabee.

Limbaugh is going after Huckabee, too. Hey, maybe Huck is worthy of my vote.

Huck's Foreign Policy

I haven't read Huck's love-letter to the CFR yet (what's the point, really?) but here is Raimondo's analysis.

Frankly, I think the big problem is that Huckabee appears to be largely ignorant of foreign policy questions, like the current Oval Office occupant, and thus will likely be led by his advisers.

Recall Richard Perle's comments about Dubya: "The first time I met Bush 43, I knew he was different. Two things became clear. One, he didn’t know very much. The other was he had confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn’t know very much. Most people are reluctant to say when they don’t know something, a word or a term they haven’t heard before. Not him."

The neocons tutored Bush the Younger, filling the empty vessel with their globalist, imperialist, democratist pabulum. Would a Huckabee presidency be any different?

Notes on the Huckster From the Backwater

Many Dow Blog readers are likely aware that I cross-post many of my meanderings at Lee Shelton's Contemporary Calvinist and the Backwater Report.

A couple of recent posts at Backwater Report about Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney merit your attention.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Darwinian Foolishness

Lawrence Auster on the stupidity and inconsistency at the heart of Darwinism:

"As I have illustrated over and over, liberals admire and keep making appeals to values that liberalism formally excludes as discriminatory and non-egalitarian, such as family, patriotism, intelligence, and beauty. The reason liberals keep making these obvious exceptions to their own liberalism is that liberals are human beings, and human beings are so constituted that, whatever their formal ideology, they find life unendurable without such values as family, patriotism, intelligence, and beauty.

In much the same way, Darwinists keep injecting into the Darwinian "story line" the very elements that the Darwinian theory of evolution by random mutation and natural selection formally excludes: intention, purpose, teleology. The reason Darwinists keep making these obvious exceptions to their own Darwinism is that Darwinists are human beings, and human beings are so constituted that they cannot live, they cannot make sense of the world, without a notion of purpose."

Writing about another "Darwinian Fairytale", so-called biological errors, or errors of heredity, David Stove writes:

"Wherever Darwinism is in error, Darwinians simply call the organisms in question or their characteristics, an error! Wherever there is manifestly something wrong with their theory, they say that there is something wrong with the organisms. Their theory implies that there is no such thing as natural celibacy, contraception, or feticide, and where all other species are concerned, it is true that there is no such thing. But in our species, those and many other anti-reproductive characteristics do exist. And so, Darwinians, rather than admit that their theory is simply not true of our species, brazenly shift the blame, and designate all of those characteristics 'biological errors'"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Is This a Hate Crime?

Headline: "Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them"

Where are Abe Foxman, Alan Dershowitz and Marvin Hier to condemn this?

Interestingly, Pat Buchanan cites Israel as a model to maintain national identity.

"Israel fights ferociously to preserve her religious and ethnic identity. Immigration is restricted to those who are Jewish by birth or faith while Jews from all over the world are urged to settle in Israel or on the West Bank, no Palestinian is permitted to return to the home of his father or grandfather. The rights of land ownership extended to Jews are not extended to non-Jews.

Jewish history is taught in the schools. The Hebrew language has been revived. A Jewish currency, the shekel, has been created. There is talk of annexing all major Jewish settlements on the West Bank, and in exchange, giving up Israeli land contiguous to the West Bank where Arabs reside.

Many Israelis say openly that while they wish to keep their Jewish population they would let the Arabs go. They seek an overwhelming Jewish majority in a Jewish state. Israelis understand it is not ideology that makes a nation. It is not democracy. Jews are a people. And Israel is unapologetic about preserving its ethnic and religious character."

Well, Pat is obviously a raving, hateful anti-Semite.

Baldwin Rebukes the Christian Right

Another excellent essay by pastor Chuck Baldwin, where he again stings the Christian Right: "One would think that Christians--more than anyone else--would understand the devilish nature of globalism. One would think that their study of the Sacred Text would lead them to resist any attempts at building modern-day Towers of Babel. One would think that Christians would love liberty enough to recognize its enemies. One would think that they would recognize that Washington, D.C., is a far greater threat to their freedom than either Baghdad or Tehran. But, alas, the Christian Right just doesn't get it."

For more, read my thoughts on the Revoliting Elites.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Death Penalty: WWJD?

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

--John 8:1-11

I had better things to do than watch, but the GOP/You Tube presidential wannabe gabfest earlier this week apparently included a snarky question regarding the death penalty. Presumably a young bible student, some kid from Tennessee asked former Arkansas head honcho Mike Huckabee about the death penalty. You know the evangelical lingo, right? What Would Jesus Drive? What Would Jesus Buy? Blah, blah, blah. Well, this fellow tossed a hand grenade into the mix and asked, "What Would Jesus Do about the death penalty"?

Here is the transcript of the question and Huckabee’s non-answer:

Tyler Overman: Hi. This is Tyler Overman from Memphis, Tennessee. And I have a quick question for those of you who would call yourselves Christian conservatives. The death penalty, what would Jesus do?

Cooper: Governor Huckabee?

Huckabee: You know, one of the toughest challenges that I ever faced as a governor was carrying out the death penalty. I did it more than any other governor ever had to do it in my state. As I look on this stage, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only person on this stage that's ever had to actually do it.

Let me tell you, it was the toughest decision I ever made as a human-being. I read every page of every document of every case that ever came before me, because it was the one decision that came to my desk that, once I made it, was irrevocable.

Every other decision, somebody else could go back and overturn, could fix if it was a mistake. That was one that was irrevocable.

I believe there is a place for a death penalty. Some crimes are so heinous, so horrible that the only response that we, as a civilized nation, have for a most uncivil action is not only to try to deter that person from ever committing that crime again, but also as a warning to others that some crimes truly are beyond any other capacity for us to fix.


Now, having said that, there are those who say, "How can you be pro-life and believe in the death penalty?"

Because there's a real difference between the process of adjudication, where a person is deemed guilty after a thorough judicial process and is put to death by all of us, as citizens, under a law, as opposed to an individual making a decision to terminate a life that has never been deemed guilty because the life never was given a chance to even exist.

Cooper: Governor?

Huckabee: That's the fundamental difference.


Cooper: I do have to though press the question, which -- the question was, from the viewer was? What would Jesus do? Would Jesus support the death penalty?

Huckabee: Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office, Anderson. That's what Jesus would do.

The passage I quoted at the top is frequently cited by death penalty opponents and antinomians to posit that Jesus "tempered" the law with "love" or demonstrated the importance of "love" rather than the harshness of the law.

But Jesus came not to abrogate the law, rather He came to fulfill it; to free His people from the yoke of the law as a death sentence, and to liberate them to the law as a source of holiness, righteousness and sanctification. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:17-20).

Had the incident with the woman taken in adultery been a repudiation of the law, the Pharisees would have been able to charge and condemn Jesus with lawlessness. The purpose of the incident was to embarrass Jesus, but the Pharisees left confounded because Jesus confirmed rather than denied the law.

The Pharisees took the woman in the act of adultery and brought her before Jesus. They obviously had police powers or the support of the regime and could compel not only her compliance but also require Jesus to preside over the hearing.

Our Lord was seemingly in a bind. Adultery was common and not typically punished as prescribed by the law. What would He do? To ask for a full enforcement of the law, the death penalty, would invite hostility. But denying the death penalty would lay Jesus open to the charge of hypocrisy and lawlessness. The trap had been set: "'In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him" (v. 5-6)

What was the response? "But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger" (v. 6). What was Jesus doing? He was reviving the trial by bitter water from Numbers 5. The ordeal was intended to provide either vindication of innocence or conviction of guilt. Read the passage:

12 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'If a man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure- 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt.

16 " 'The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, "If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband"- 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath-"may the LORD cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away."
" 'Then the woman is to say, "Amen. So be it."

23 " 'The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LORD and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, and she will become accursed among her people. 28 If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

The incident in question occurs in the temple (John 8:2). Thus the temple dust met the requirements of the law and Jesus, by his actions, places every accuser on trial. The scribes and Pharisess had brought the charge against the woman and Jesus had turned the tables by placing them in the husband’s category by invoking Numbers 5 and writing in the dust.

When Jesus says, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (v. 7), he is not referring to sin generically, but to the sin of adultery specifically. Obviously all men are sinners, and such a general statement would make law courts impossible. Rather, Jesus is saying that men who are guilty of a crime are not free to condemn the crime. In effect, Jesus is confirming the death penalty by demanding that honest witnesses step forward to condemn the woman.

Rather than condemning the death penalty, Jesus is reproving Phariseeism and exposing their sin. Not only had they denied a biblical pattern and doctrine of salvation, they had also become perverters of the law. Though professing to be champions of the law they had become its enemies by subverting it with the traditions of men. Christ, thus, was not denying the law or weakening its strictures, but restoring it.