Monday, October 29, 2007

Life in the Big City

I mentioned in an earlier post that I spent some time in a few American megalopolises last month. Frankly, I’ve never been a huge fan of cites. The high cost, congestion and crime aren’t exactly my cup of tea.

Among Christian bloggers that I read and my paleoconservative brethren there is a noticeable and discernible sympathy for agrarianism, both as a lifestyle and an ideology.

The Bible says that the first city was created by Cain (Gen. 4:17), the son of Adam who murdered his brother, Abel. Yet the book of Revelation describes heaven as a place where city and garden come together. Well functioning cities are necessary and vital for civic health.

Historically the city has represented common life and faith and an extended family. It was a place where culture and civilization could develop. Cities offered material and physical protection through mutual defense.

The problem with modern cities is that they have embraced humanism, egalitarianism, and a bastardized multiculturalism, none of which can bind man to man, and thus the city becomes a place of conflict and alienation. Likewise, in modern warfare, cities are the most exposed and vulnerable arenas of battle. In short, rather than being a beacon and oasis for civilized life, cities are frequently sources of barbarism and violence.

There are a number of sources of alienation in American cities. First, there is ever growing ethnic balkanization. Whites are now minorities in one-third of America’s most urbanized areas and mass immigration continues to transform the urban landscape.

In 1950, 90% of Americans were of European descent. By 2000, it was impossible to speak of a typical American. Texas recently became the fourth state with a non-white majority population, joining California, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Five other states have populations that are 40% or more non-white. Non-whites are also a majority in 10% of all 3,100 counties in the country.

Such a massive demographic transformation has political effects certainly, but there are also economic consequences. Wages of the least skilled are declining, with young black men being particularly hard hit. Restricting immigration would strengthen urban life dramatically by tightening the labor market, thereby raising wages of residents and at least providing an opportunity for people to support themselves.

Mass immigration and the diversity wrought thereby also produces social disaffection. Liberal academic Robert Putnam recently admitted that diversity undermines trust, which is foundational to a social, political, and economic order. In the face of diversity, people tend to "hunker down" and surround themselves entirely with the familiar. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us," Putnam says.

Lest I take this too far, let me pull back for a moment to say that ethnic homogeneity alone by no means produces peaceful urban life. A second and more important source of disorder is the decline of religious unity, specifically Christianity which served as a common faith to hold men and communities together.

Polytheistic humanism is the order of the day in urban America. The proportion of professing Christians declined by roughly 10% during the 1990’s, confessing Protestants make up only one-half of the populace, unbelievers are now 15% of the population, and non-Western religions like Islam and Hinduism are spreading dramatically.

In truth, the situation is worse than the data would indicate as the number of Christians acting with a comprehensive Biblical worldview is significantly lower than those who might profess some abstract and mystical faith. Moreover, Christians have little or no willingness to impose cultural discipline.

To take one example, here is a quote from John Piper, a well-known Baptist pastor who is prominent among Reformed Baptists: "We express a passion for the supremacy of God... by making clear that God himself is the foundation for our commitment to a pluralistic democratic order-not because pluralism is his ultimate ideal, but because in a fallen world, legal coercion will not produce the kingdom of God. Christians agree to make room for non-Christian faiths (including naturalistic, materialistic faiths), not because commitment to God's supremacy is unimportant, but because it must be voluntary, or it is worthless. We have a God-centered ground for making room for atheism.”

But “making room” for the worldviews of atheism and pluralistic democracy has social consequences. The timidity of Christians has brought us to the point where we are sitting in the back of the proverbial bus culturally. The political and cultural polytheism that Piper seems to endorse leads to statism. A polytheistic faith is by definition limited, and man, naturally seeking order and unity, finds that order and unity in the state. As Americans syncretize race, culture, and religion, we became collectivists because pluralism can’t ultimately provide unity, and thus the state becomes, as Hegel said, god walking on earth.

Without the discipline and future orientation provided by a bold and comprehensive Christian faith, the city drowns in present-mindedness. Good cities are products of upper class mentalities with long time preferences and a future orientation. When a city becomes lower class oriented, it also becomes entertainment oriented and driven by consumption. In such places the enjoyment of the moment becomes the be-all and end-all of existence. In a lower class society, too, caste becomes increasingly important and lines of birth and color are hardened.

Lower class and secular society becomes dominated by politics. If most men are incompetent in the basic task of planning, and unwilling to learn because they are captured by the present, the state will be given the function. State planning will replace individual and family planning. Statist planning is by definition political planning and politics, especially democratic politics, is geared toward the maintenance of power. The state therefore adds to the problem by reinforcing the emphasis on present-mindedness.

Moreover, this seeps into foreign policy and leads to imperialism and meddlesome intervenitonism. A lower class and politically-oriented country becomes imperialistic because statist and socialist regimes are unable to produce goods successfully and wind up expropriating from others. Awash in debt and enslaved to it, we nevertheless have lots of cool toys.

Yet another consequence associated with a present-orientation is the collapse of the birth rate. From the Straits of Gibralter to the Ural mountains only Islamic nations like Albania, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan are producing enough children to replace the existing population (the "replacement rate" is 2.1 children per woman). Unlike Christians, Muslims have a vision and eschatology of victory.

Even these numbers are deceptive. In nations like Sweden and France, the birthrates of the foreign born far outpace those of native populations. In short, the people of the West are being displaced. Having swallowed the presuppositions of the contraceptive mentality and the culture of death, awash in the consumerism and bread and circuses of our day, white Christians are in the midst of committing suicide as a people.

In the United States marriage and family have become as disposable as a Sony VCR. Thirty-four percent of all births are to unwed mothers and fully 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years and ultimately nearly ½ of marriages fail.

There are about 1.3 million abortions per year, nearly 674 abortions for every 1000 live births. Somewhere between1/2 and 1/3 of women alive today have had at least one abortion.

Why are there so many abortions? Because we want more--now! "You lust and do not have; so you commit murder" (James 4:2). More money, more security, more education, more job opportunities, more sex without consequences. We crave absolute autonomy and we want our stuff. And kids are just messy and get in the way.

While in San Francisco recently, I walked from one end of the city to the other. How many small children did I see? Two! The stench of death hangs over an otherwise beautiful city.

To make up for the alleged shortfall of workers created by our love affair with the culture of death, we do what? Naturally, we import workers from abroad, thereby reinforcing the entire cycle and getting back to where this discussion started.

A loss of faith produces a short-sightedness and infatuation with the present. Our “gods” become our bellys, our wants and desires unmoored from any concern for our posterity.

The breakdown of family wrought by this atomization leads to an ever burgeoning state as all mediating institutions between the individual and the state are plowed under by the interlocking institutions of the Big Market, Big Labor, Big Media and Big Education. All of whom are doing the bidding of the Big State.

And yet there is hope. Revival is breaking out across Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Liberal denominations are slowly dying off and religiously orthodox Christians continue to have more and more children. At my little church in Louisville the nursery is bursting at the seams with babes who will be brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The same is true at such churches across our land.

Moreover, there are Christians all around who are resisting the spirit of the age and rediscovering the importance of family life. The agrarian movement along with the dramatic rise in homeschooling and Christian schools is one outward manifestation of this revival.

God gave to the children of Israel a command: Conquer.

"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."


Likewise, God has given His Church the command to go forth, occupy in his name and conquer the nations. "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

God does not leave His people without power. His Word, sharper than a two-edged sword, is empowered by His Spirit and given to His Church. Our theology must be one that resists evil rather than accommodates it.

Rather than wallowing in self-pity, a particularly dangerous temptation, we must pray for faith: "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Ultimately, our faith must rest in our Sovereign Lord, for He shall deliver a victory for His people, through His Son who rules and reigns from the right hand of the Father. "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Glimpse Into the Future

In the name of "non-discrimination" the British government has taken a foster child away from these good people.

Here is how the Daily Mail reports the story:

Earlier this year, Somerset County Council's social services department asked them to sign a contract to implement Labour's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal.

Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages.

They could also be required to take teenagers to gay association meetings.


When the Mathericks objected, they were told they would be taken off the register of foster parents.

Fearing God rather than man, Mr. Matherick would not compromise his beliefs: "I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God."

Let’s quickly analyze the spread of the civil rights mentality and its application to homosexuality.

Is homosexuality a right? Given that not all sins are crimes, what does that imply about homosexuality and the responsibilities of the state?

First, we need to define civil rights, which can be done in a number of ways.

Civil rights may be freedom rights, whereby individuals are free to act without legal coercion or the interference of the state (examples include free assembly, free speech, etc.)

Civil rights may also be benefit rights, implying that a person has the "right" receive something from others. The alleged right of the disabled or elderly to welfare provisions or the "right" to health care or education will suffice as examples.

A third possibility is that civil rights may mean non-discrimination rights; that services can’t be denied to people based on a characteristic (e.g, you can’t discriminate in housing against Blacks).

The first and third understanding of civil rights are obviously connected. If you cannot legally discriminate that presupposes that the behavior is a freedom right. It would be contradictory for the law to protect (say in employment or housing) what it does not allow as a freedom.

The problem with granting non-discrimination status to homosexuals is that it deprives Christians, and many others, of their right to shun moral perversion.

Greg Bahnsen put the matter succinctly: "If someone feels that Christians are wrong to feel such aversion to practicing homosexuals and that, therefore, they must be compelled by civil law to refrain from discrimination, he will be imposing his own moral principle or conviction on them. Moreover, he will create a favored class of people who gain an unfair position in the job market, for by making his sexual perversion known the homosexual is likely to court with a discrimination suit."

In short, there is no neutrality, and we will be governed either by the law of God or the word of man.

Jena Myths

A journalist from Jena who has actually taken time to do some reporting tells the story that you haven't heard on MSNBC:

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.


Read the article in its entirety.

Dissin' the Huckster

Mike Huckabee's rise in the polls in Iowa and the fawning press coverage he continues to receive is finally producing a backlash. But there is a fair amount of substance to the critique and "conservatives" ought to take note.

Writing in The American Spectator, Quin Hillyer describes numerous ethical mis-steps made by Huck and his wife during his tenure as Arkansas governor. Hillyer writes:

Fourteen times, the ethics commission -- a respected body, not a partisan witch-hunt group -- investigated claims against Huckabee. Five of those times, it officially reprimanded him. And, as only MSNBC among the big national media has reported at any real length, there were lots of other mini-scandals and embarrassments along the way.

He used public money for family restaurant meals, boat expenses, and other personal uses. He tried to claim as his own some $70,000 of furniture donated to the governor's mansion. He repeatedly, and obstinately, against the pleadings even from conservative columnists and editorials, refused to divulge the names of donors to a "charitable" organization he set up while lieutenant governor -- an outfit whose main charitable purpose seemed to be to pay Huckabee to make speeches. Then, as a kicker, he misreported the income itself from the suspicious "charity."

Huckabee has been criticized, reasonably so, for misusing the state airplane for personal reasons. And he and his wife, Janet, actually set up a "wedding gift registry" (they had already been married for years) to which people could donate as the Huckabees left the governorship, in order to furnish their new $525,000 home.


Huckabee also did a Dukakis impersonation, pardoning a serial rapist named Wayne Dumond, who upon release promptly sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri.

Writing at the WSJ, John Fund writes that Huckabee "is not the 'consistent conservative' he now claims to be."

Admittedly, everything that comes from Fund's mouth or oozes out of his pen must be carefully scrutinized, to say the least. But Fund isn't alone. The head of the Eagle Forum in Arkansas says, "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal. Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."

Phyllis Schlafly goes one further saying, "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles." I'm sure that part of Schlafly's critique has to do with Huck's enthusiasm for immigration, which he is now trying to hide.

Those "easily manipulated" Values Voters ought to beware, too. During the battle between conservative and moderate factions in the Southern Baptist Convention, Huckabee sided with the bad guys. According to Paul Pressler, Huck never appointed a conservative when he headed up the Arkansas Baptist Covention.

Huck was also a tax-and-spend machine as governor of Arkansas according to The Club For Growth (OK, another dubious source, but check it out anyway).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

FRC Poll Results

Though the press will likely fawn over Huckabee's near victory among the "Values Voters" contingent, it is interesting that Ron Paul did so well, finishing a strong third.

Does Huckabee pose a threat to Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson? In Iowa, he is presently polling at 18%, a whisker behind Thompson and within range of Romney. However, more than 1/2 of Iowa Republicans are ready to ditch the war in Iraq and immigration has become an issue as well. The immigration issue clearly hurt Brownback, a fervent supporter of mass amnesty, for example.

Huckabee has a problem in that he continues to support the "surge" and also has alienist sympathies. Don't look for David Brooks or David Broder to let people in on those secrets, though.

Despite the positive press, Huckabee doesn't have much money, either. Iowa and New Hampshire are, of course, conducive to retail politicking and there have certainly been upsets in the past. But it is unlikely that the Huckster can compete beyond those early states.

As support begins to plunge for the major candidates in both parties, there is room for an upstart. With his fervent band of supporters and some newfound cash, Ron Paul's stock will continue to rise.

Though most in the MSM are still mocking Dr. Paul and his supporters, others are beginning to take notice.

The primary issue driving a Paul campaign is his strident and continuing opposition to the war and the folly of interventionism. Yet ABC is reporting that Dr. Paul will not reference the war in his radio ads introducing himself to a broader constituency. This is a mistake, and if this is the political advice he is getting then...well, he needs to look elsewhere for political advice.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lots of Links

I've been busy and unmotivated of late. Hence no original content will be forthcoming. Hasn't someone already said it better anyway?

I love Chuck Baldwin. He is one of the few pastors willing to criticize the univeralism embraced by our ostensibly Christian president: "When a professing Christian President can openly acknowledge his belief in universalism and attack the supreme doctrine of Christianity, that Jesus Christ is the Creator-God become flesh, and there is not an uproar of protestation and denunciation from pulpits all over the country, the church is in a state of apostasy. And that is exactly what has taken place."

Here Baldwin criticizes Bob Jones' embrace of Mormon Mitt. He pulls no punches: "Christian leaders such as Bob Jones III have succumbed to the temptation to become glorified politicians. They surrendered their convictions thirty years ago when the old Moral Majority married the Republican Party. Ever since then, Republican politicians have made a living by making dupes out of the so-called Religious Right."

Here is more from the "lesser of two evils" crowd in the person of David Bahnsen, son of the great theologian, Greg Bahnsen. Davie commends Rudy's "courageous" defense of free trade, calls Ron Paul "morally confused" and thinks the great need of the hour is to defeat the Boogie Woman, Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, I think there may actually be a large group of Coulterite/Hannitized/Limbaughfied "conservatives" who agree with such tripe.

In the presidential race, I see that Sam Brownback has folded up shop. Other campaigns will now vie for his seven supporters. The likely beneficiary is Mike Huckabee, who continues to get rave reviews from elite journalists and some of my deluded fellow homeschoolers. What continues to puzzle me, though, is the support that Rudy is receiving from "Christians." In a recent Gallup poll, a plurality of Republicans (27%) who attend church weekly chose Giuliani when asked their presidential preference. "Even more startling," writes Bob Novak, "was the result of interviews with adult voters without regard to party preference. Among churchgoing Catholics, Giuliani led with a plus-38 favorable rating (trailed by Sen. John McCain with a plus-29 and Clinton bringing up the rear with a minus-9). "

Richard Land approves of political polytheism and spews forth the myth of religious neutrality: "
Since our beginning as a nation, the American experiment has intertwined the religious character of its citizens with the religious neutrality of the state." Yes, that is why 3/4 of the states ratifying the Constitution had state-supported churches. He says that Winthrop is no role model for civil leadership because he didn't like democracy (long, painful sigh).

Not speaking specifically to Land's book, Doug Wilson disagrees: "Of course, because Christianity does favor the separation of church and state. But this is quite different than saying, to run a series of examples by you, that Christianity favors the separation of the Lordship of Jesus and state, or biblical morality and state, or God and state, or justice and state. I am enthusiastically in favor of separating ecclesiastical government from civil government. So was Machen. But that is a matter of government, and does not touch the question of how righteousness is to be defined in the civil realm at all...Getting souls into heaven apart from politics has been the unique American truncation. The most ardent evangelical lobbyist in DC is nothing compared to the millennium and a half of established churches, a practice which American Christians successfully rejected for the first time in the history of Christendom."

Reconstruction in Iraq (anyone remember why there needs to be reconstruction?) is moving at a tortoise-like pace. "'Improvement . . . is likely to be slow and will require years of steady engagement,' Stuart Bowen the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told a House panel." Did you catch that? It's going to take years!

There are a number of reasons that my family homeschools, but the moral degradation of public schools is certainly one reason. Here is a middle school handing out birth control pills and condoms to students. Absolutely wicked.

The Russo-phobia of our political elites, especially among wicked neo-conservatives, is mystifying to me. The end of the "Cold War" provided an opportunity to embrace the largest nation on earth, a natural ally. What happened instead? Pat Buchanan answers: "
We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our "indispensable-nation" arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles. Who restarted the Cold War? Bush and the braying hegemonists he brought with him to power. Great empires and tiny minds go ill together."

Want to avoid WWIII? The president says the solution is to invade Iran. Well, yes, that makes sense.





Saturday, October 13, 2007

Odds and Ends

David Frum is now advising Rudy on foreign policy?

"President Bush Defends Rapist-Murderer to Appease Mexico." The headline says it all.

William Lind has been spot-on in writing about the war. Here is his latest where he says that the surge is not working. "The only meaningful definition of 'winning' is seeing the re-emergence of a real Iraqi state, and by that standard we are no closer to victory than we ever were. Nor can I see anything on the horizon that could move us closer to such a victory, other than a complete American withdrawal, which begins to look as unlikely under Hillary as under George."

Georgie Anne Geyer (she's been on the money, too) wonders why we didn't learn anything from the British experience in Iraq. Well, history is pretty much bunk, right?

This just made my skin crawl.

A relatively fair article about Doug Wilson and New Saint Andrews College in the New York Times.

No, we aren't running out of workers.

George W. Bush--Theologian!

Is Bush a Holocaust Denier? Conservatives from Buchanan to Limbaugh, as well as the CFR, foreign-policy establishment types, are up in arms about a House-sponsored resolution calling the Turkish slaughter of Armenians genocide. Why? Can't Christians be victims, too?

I hadn't seen this, but Izzy wrote a piece at Taki's site. Here is how she describes me: "Darrell Dow, a Baptist and another enthusiastic homeschool parent, also doesn’t shy away from airing impolitic thoughts about schooling and the Almighty."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Update

I don't like to muck up my blog with too many links or other extraneous items. I save that for my website, which until this evening I had not updated in...well, much too long. In any case, visit if you would like.

Immigration and the Rise of the Nanny State

The survival of culture depends not merely on the necessary work of reproduction, but also upon the care and nurture of the young. Families are designed to be a culture—each with their own set of customs and traditions. “God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it,” says Doug Wilson.

As the industrial revolution socialized production and moved it from the home to the factory, the rise of educational factories, in the guise of compulsory state education, and the socializing of childrearing has likewise undermined family authority.

The school has appropriated familial functions and assumed the role of a surrogate parent. I have argued elsewhere that education is primarily the responsibility of the family. But statist schools have gone far beyond reading, writing, arithmetic and the teaching of basic facts. Functions as diverse as vocational training and the household arts, instruction in manners and morals and sex education—all this training and much, much more has been commandeered by the state and fills the days of America’s youth as they aimlessly wander the halls of our public schools.

Not frequently considered is the role played by mass immigration in the rise of compulsory education and the nattering Nanny State embodied in the helping professions.

It is commonly assumed that our 19th Century ancestors were backward rubes. But by 1840, prior to the rise of compulsory public education, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 91% of the white population could read and write. In Massachusetts, home of Horace Mann, the literacy rate stood at an astounding 98% prior to the state's compulsory education law. Barry Simpson writes, “Between 1800 and 1840, literacy in the Northern States increased from 75% to 90%, and in Southern States from 60% to 81%.”

Starting around 1840 what had been a trickle of immigration became a flood. “The years from 1845 to 1854 saw the greatest proportionate influx of immigrants in American history,” writes historian George Tindall. Approximately three million immigrants entered the United States during this period, nearly 15% of the total population in 1845.

“Beginning with the Irish in the 1840’s,” writes Christopher Lasch, “the immigration of politically backward elements, as they were commonly regarded, sharpened the fear, already an undercurrent in American social thought, that the United States would regress to a hated old-world pattern of class conflict, hereditary poverty, and political despotism.”

Into the breech and eager to manipulate these legitimate anxieties were the likes of Horace Mann and Henry Barnard, who were able to receive a hearing for compulsory education. From that point on the need to acculturate and “Americanize” alien populations became central to the American educational regime. Education thus became a form of social control, and schools developed into institutions designed in part to initiate immigrants into American life and culture.

Fearful of surging Catholic immigration, some northern cities like Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia developed publicly-sponsored education for children. Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school attendance laws in 1852. New York followed closely behind in 1853. A tidal wave soon followed and compulsory education soon became the norm in American life.

Likewise, the rise of family therapists, social workers, and experts in “marriage and family life” arose in the 19th and 20th centuries to bring “salvation” to the family with the undergirding presupposition that families could not provide for their needs without assistance from the helping professions and beneficent state.

According to Lasch, these experts “distrusted the immigrant family and saw the parent-education movement as part of a wider effort to civilize the masses” by Americanizing immigrants. Mass immigration thus became a blunt instrument in the hands of the enemies of the family.

Much too often Americans are cowed by the canard that immigration is a symbolic representation of freedom; that our essential nature and identity as a free people is inextricably tied up in the “liberty” of those who wish to “become Americans.” Unfortunately it is often the case that mass immigration undermines trust and social cohesion thereby becoming an excuse and a tool used to limit the freedom of Americans by augmenting the power of the state to manage ethnic conflict.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Potpourri

Though I'm supporting Ron Paul's presidential bid, I'm not a zealot. I was bitten by the political bug earlier in life and now, well, I'm frankly just too busy for such nonsense. But I must say the Paulites over at LRC and other dark, dank corners of the Net are giving me some hope in his candidacy.

Raimondo is of course in the tank for Paul. His essays supporting Buchanan in 2000 always were too optimistic, though. One of the constant themes in the links I'm about to regurgitate is the thought that volunteers and non-professional politicos can drive a campaign. I'm not sure about that, unfortunately. What I noticed about Buchanan's runs is that his earlier efforts (1992 and 1996) were much better organized. By 2000, he was relying on consultants and aides who were castaways, people who couldn't work for the major parties. All the way down to congressional district organizers your campaign winds up being swollen by volunteers who may be committed and zealous, but just don't know what they're doing. I guess we'll see how it goes come winter in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tom Roeser provides some unsolicited advice for the Paul campaign. He suggests focusing on radio as a means of getting his message out.

Alan Bock calls the Paul campaign "the most significant pro-freedom mass movement in modern American history, perhaps in all of our history." Hmm, seems a bit embellished.

James Ostrowski and Rick Fisk make strong cases that Paul can indeed pull off the miraculous.

Paul's strength politically is his opposition to the war, which has been consistent and unrelenting. In the Washington Post today is an article demonstrating the folly of "reconciliation" in Iraq. "I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."

A war with Iran lies just over the horizon, too, as General Petraeus accuses the Iranians of fomenting violence in Iraq. When will the Iranians stop meddling in the affairs of a sovereign Iraqi state?

A column I missed earlier from Pat Buchanan on crime in America. After a litany of stats related to crime committed by blacks, Buchanan concludes: "What do these statistics tell us? A message the Post will not report. The real repository of racism in America – manifest in violent interracial assault, rape and murder – is to be found not in the white community, but the African-American community. In almost all interracial attacks, whites are the victims, not the victimizers."

The politics of immigration and identity roils the waters in Belgium and Switzerland. Language, culture and race all matter.

Paul Findley on policy in the Middle East:

"Two powerful religion-driven lobbies are prominent in Israel’s entry into bold criminality. One consists of a relatively small group of Jewish zealots, whose most prominent and effective voice is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC], founded a half-century ago. Its membership is relatively small, consisting mainly of secular Jews often called Zionists and others who are ultra-Orthodox. The other lobby, whose influence emerged in the last twenty years, consists of millions of fundamentalist Christians who accept a controversial interpretation of the Bible’s Book of Revelations. This lobby is loosely-organized but effective, with televangelists like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell providing most of the leadership."

I was surprised to see how rapidly the defense budget is expanding. Doug Bandow writes, "Military spending ran $305 billion in 2001. The Bush administration has proposed outlays of $607 billion next year." To put this in perspective, the Chinese "accelerated" their military spending this year to...$45 billion.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Some Random Musings



I knew Rudy reminded me of someone.


Maybe some conservatives are waking up. Rudy's lead in national polls is leading some on the "Right" to consider the possibility of jumping ship.

Pat Buchanan says that things look bad for Republicans but that the Dems are frankly no picnic:

"All the Democratic candidates but Hillary favored a federal law banning smoking in public places. Would that mean U.S. attorneys prosecuting bartenders for letting patrons puff away. Are Democrats going to take the nanny state national? Do they think Middle America is Mike Bloomberg's Manhattan?

All the Democratic candidates except Dennis Kucinich favored the Federal requirement that states outlaw drinking by 18-year-olds, which means high school kids who join the Marines can't have a night of beer with their buddies before heading to Anbar.

All the Democratic front-runners favored second-graders being read stories in school about a homosexual marriage between a pair of princes. This would result in the absurdity of 6-year-olds, forbidden by the U.S. Supreme Court from learning about God, Adam and Eve in school, being introduced to sexual unions between Adam and Steve. America is just not that far down that road."

A sad article about what life for Christians in Iraq is like in the aftermath of their "liberation."


Andrew Sullivan with some strong words: "We have war criminals in the White House. What are we going to do about it?"

The war isn't popular with Republican voters in Iowa. Fifty-one percent of likely caucus goers want all military out of Iraq in six months. This is an opportunity that needs to be exploited by Dr. Paul.

The actions of Blackwater "security" details are inevitable in the sort of conflict we entered in Iraq.

This is how "evangelical" churches are "reaching" young boys with the Gospel? Maybe they should take them to a strip club. That would get 'em through the door.

I don't hear much these days about Afghanistan, but violence is up 30%. Is there any way to actually do anything productive in Afghanistan without more support in Islamabad?

An interesting article about lotteries in the NY Times. Turns out that the promises related to school funding have been oversold. I'm not a big anti-gambling guy, like many of my fellow Christians, but I think that state-sponsored lotteries and the rise of gambling are grounded in some very damaging anti-Christian presuppositions. Specifically, the rise of gambling and games of chance is fundamentally grounded in a rejection of a Calvinistic understanding of God's providence. I also think gambling is harmful because it emphasizes immediacy and instant gratification rather than thrift and a future-orientation, both of which I think should spring from the Christian faith.

Homosexuality is a conservative value--as long as they support the war!

Planning to vote for Fred Thompson? Read this and this from Richard Viguerie first.

It's Almost Enough to Make Me Take Up Drinking

According to a survey conducted by Baptist Press 77 percent of senior pastors and 59 percent of laity believe "Christians should not use alcohol as a beverage." Forty-one percent of SBC pastors and 34 percent of Southern Baptist laity agreed with that statement "Scripture indicates that people should never drink" alcohol.

Outside of rare social circumstances, I don't partake frequently in the consumption of adult beverages, but I do believe that the Lord's Supper should include wine, and I find the sort of extra-biblical assumptions expressed in this survey to be troubling.

Surely given that our Lord was at least tangentially in the wine-making business (see John 2:1-11) and that the apostle Paul commends wine to Timothy (I Tim. 5:23) it's implausible to argue that Scripture forbids the consumption of alcohol.

It is this sort of legalism, sometimes evolving into Phariseeism, which separates us from other Christian brothers. Even worse, I have found on a number of occasions that it actually creates a stumbling block for those outside the faith.

For example, I recall traveling with a friend once who asked why SBCers were so opposed to alcohol consumption. He "grew up Catholic" and found his Baptist kin to be insufferable. Grandma and other aunts and uncles seemed more concerned about drinking than anything else--it was the unpardonable sin. Meanwhile, Grandpa had to hide a little flask from his wife if he wanted a drink.

My friend was exposed to dangerous combination of legalism and hypocrisy which had marred the actual message of the Gospel, that Christ came to earth for purpose of dying, to recreate the world to its original perfection and create a bridge whereby man could be reconciled to a perfect and holy God.

So what was I to do? Well, I ordered a brew and tried to make the central focus of the Scriptures clear. Perhaps I was sinning by not ordering a Diet Coke.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Look Out For the Boogie Man!

In my last post, I wrote about the current divisions racking the GOP and how that discord plays into the hands of Ron Paul.

One constituency that hasn’t quite settled on a candidate is the leadership of the Religious Right.

James Dobson, who has been frequently criticized here in the past, is standing up and saying “No” to Giuliani and Thompson. It is interesting that he was blowing kisses to Newt Gingrich, but we’ll set that aside for another day. My concern with Dobson is that he has criticized Thompson, McCain, and Giuliani because he’ll wind up backing Mitt Romney. I hope that I’m being too cynical.

In any case, Dobson was criticized by his former underling, the diminutive neo-con Gary Bauer. Bauer said, “So I hope that we can, as a movement, be very wise about this, and not savage candidates that we may very well have to support in 2008 if they’re running against Hillary Clinton.”

Ah nothing like the specter of a Clinton ascending the thrown to send Bauer into spasms. This is what John Lofton has rightly called “Boogie Man Politics.”

Meanwhile, the omnipresent Dr. Richard Land also criticized Dobson’s remarks as “harsh.” Land went on to compare Thompson to Saint Ronald, a sure sign of the direction he is leading.

I also noticed yesterday this essay by Land where he discourses on the “complexity” of ethical considerations when considering how to vote. Here is an excerpt:

But consider a much more complicated scenario in which voters with a particular worldview are facing a decision about which candidate to support in a field where there is Candidate Baker, with whom the voters have 100 percent agreement on moral issues; Candidate Jones, with whom the voters have 80 percent agreement on moral issues; and Candidate Smith, with whom the voters have 10 percent agreement on moral issues.

This slate of candidates does not provide a clear choice between two
starkly contrasting candidates. Instead, the voters are faced with a more complex choice among several candidates. In fact, the candidate the voter has the most in common with (Candidate Baker), may be the weakest candidate across all voting blocs.

Thus, you have a scenario in which the voters are faced with supporting a candidate they agree with 100 percent of the time while fully recognizing the fact that in supporting Candidate Baker, they will help ensure the success of another candidate they agree with on moral issues only 10 percent of the time (Candidate Smith), and the defeat of a candidate they agree with 80 percent of the time (Candidate Jones), as well as their "first choice" (Candidate Baker).

However, if they choose to vote prudentially for Candidate Jones (80
percent agreement), there is a very good chance that their support might ensure the defeat of Candidate Smith (10 percent agreement) and the victory of Candidate Jones (80 percent agreement).

If they know this and still vote for Candidate Baker, do they become
morally responsible, at least in part, for Candidate Smith's win? Also, in the general election that follows, voters would be faced with the grim choice of not voting, voting for Candidate Smith (10% agreement), or voting for a candidate 100 percent opposed to their values.

In such a hypothetical scenario, if they choose to vote for candidate Jones in the primary, are they choosing the lesser evil -- or the lesser good?

Is it more moral to choose prudentially to vote for the candidate who
agrees with them 80 percent of the time on moral issues (Candidate Jones), knowing their support will ensure that candidate's victory, thus giving the nation a choice between someone they agree with 80 percent of the time and a person they don't agree with at all?


OK, so I’m guessing that in our little allegory that candidate Baker is someone like Brownback or the Huckster, candidate Jones is Fred Thompson, and candidate Smith is Rudy. There is also a Boogie Man (Hillary) hiding out over the next ridge (November, 2008) who we find no agreement with on any “values” issues.

What Land is arguing is the old canard that we have to choose the lesser of two evils even in primary elections, not merely in a general election campaign featuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

So what has the “lesser of two evils” politics practiced by religious conservatives wrought? Well, it has joined them at the hip with the Republican Party. How has that marriage fared?

Since 1968, GOP presidents have nominated 12 of 14 Supreme Court justices and Republican appointees now control 75% of federal appellate jurisdictions, too. Since 1968 abortion and sodomy laws have been struck down, affirmative action programs have expanded and the courts have blessed the theft of private property via eminent domain, to name just a few of the more egregious dictates of our “justice system.”

After controlling the White House for 20 of 28 years, when Bush II leaves office we will have the largest, most intrusive, debt-ridden, fiscally irresponsible, un-Constitutional government in history.

You want more of this? Then follow Dr. Land into the voting booth and pull a lever for Fred Thompson. Had enough? Send a check to Ron Paul.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ron Paul Rising?

Though I don't think Ron Paul can duplicate the success of Pat Buchanan's insurgencies in 1992 and 1996, he does seem to be gaining traction.

The Paul campaign reports raising $5.1 million in the 3rd quarter, an amount five times greater than the paltry sum raised by Mike Huckabee--don't you recall that bounce he was going to get after the Iowa straw poll?-- and about 1/2 the amount raised by Rudolph Giuliani.

Meanwhile, the Religious Right is making noise indicating that Giuliani is unacceptable given his extreme positions on social issues and, um, personal faults. With the McCain implosion and the less than stellar performance of Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney has become the likely standard-bearer for the GOP. As Bob Novak says, "Mitt Romney still looks anemic in the national polls, but his lead in the early primary states is making him the Republican presidential candidate to beat. He is not much of a frontrunner, but he is beginning to look a little like a favorite."

Will my evangelical friends support a slick character like Romney, a Mormon who supported abortion rights until his conversion on the road to Des Moines? Mitt is also the son of George Romney, a typical Rockefeller Republican who attacked Barry Goldwater in the 1960's, and there is no indication that the apple fell far from the tree in the younger Romney.

Finally, the GOP is heading straight for the proverbial cliff ala "Thelma and Louise" with its failure to ditch the Bush Doctrine. The war is an abysmal failure morally and strategically and the political chickens will soon come home to roost.

In the GOP field of also-rans, Paul is a shining light. He is the only one looking to extricate us from the war in Iraq and has succinctly identified the neo-conservatives as the source of the problem politically for the GOP and ideologically for what remains of the Old Right.

Paul's chief strength politically is his opposition to the war which is mirrored by most of the country, though unfortunately not necessarily most of his party. For example Paul has raised more money from the military than any other GOP candidate. It is likewise helpful that the GOP establishment, including the "Religious Right", has not yet fallen in line with one candidate.

With no clear and demonstrative front-runner and a dispirited party, along with the rise of various means of communication that allow for the mobilizing of constituencies outside the traditional GOP fold, it is no longer a given that Dr. Paul will fade into obscurity.

But should he rise in the polls and become a true a threat to the duopoly governing the regime the silence of the MSM will turn quickly into the braying and snorting of ravenous wolves.