Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Same-Sex "Marriage" Advocates Can Be So Intolerant

David Mills:

It’s basic good manners not to ask people to do something they don’t think they can do. They’re happier and you’re happier if you find someone else who wants to do the job. You might call this “anticipatory tolerance.” It’s one of the things that makes a diverse society work. I don’t push you if I can help it, you don’t push me if you can help it, and we can keep saying “hello” to each other when we pass on the street.
Not everyone does this. Bakers, wedding photographers and bed-and-breakfast owners, are being abused for declining to support causes and behaviors they can’t support. Some homosexual activists, and their allies, can’t leave them be.
I can understand being hurt or annoyed or even angry, but their reaction to disagreement is often excessive, even hysterical. The rest of us would just shrug and go to another baker or call another photographer. If a local baker has a big picture of Richard Dawkins in his window, I’m not going to ask him to make a cake saying “God Loves You!” or “Jesus is Lord” or “Atheism is stupid.” I definitely won’t ask him to do it and then sue him if he doesn’t.

The Way People Rub Along Together

Most of us see the dangers of taking unnecessary offense. Live and let live, give and take, different strokes for different folks, even turn the other cheek: these are the slogans of a mutually respectful society. Being courteous may inconvenience me from time to time, but it’s a fair trade, since being nice to me will sometimes inconvenience others.
But, as I say, not everyone feels this way. Some same-sex attracted people and their allies refuse to practice the anticipatory tolerance that others find a natural part of living with people who are different from you. You must do what they want or else you’ll hear from their lawyers and any state agency they can pull in. They could just walk down the street and find another baker, but no, you’re going to suffer for saying no. You Can’t Be Allowed To Refuse Them What They Want. You Will Submit.
This strikes me as odd. I understand that their sexual attraction is for them part of “Who I am” and that they don’t like someone implying “There’s something wrong with who you are.” I wouldn’t like it either. But the extremity of their reaction, that’s a little puzzling, especially their siccing the law upon the poor baker who hasn’t done anything to hurt them.
St. Paul helps explain this kind of reaction. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Judge Posner on Homosexual "Marriage"

This is posted at lawyer and philosophy of law professor, Keith Burgess-Jackson's blog:

Richard A. Posner on Homosexual "Marriage"

Richard A. PosnerA decision by the Supreme Court holding that the Constitution entitles people to marry others of the same sex would be far more radical than any of the decisions cited by Eskridge. Its moorings in text, precedent, public policy, and public opinion would be too tenuous to rally even minimum public support. It would be an unprecedented example of judicial immodesty. That well-worn epithet "usurpative" would finally fit.
(Richard A. Posner, "Should There Be Homosexual Marriage? And If So, Who Should Decide?," review of The Case for Same-Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment, by William N. Eskridge Jr, Michigan Law Review 95 [May 1997]: 1578-87, at 1585)
Note from KBJ: By 2014, Posner had changed his mind. I wonder what changed in 17 years. The text of the Constitution certainly didn't change

A Question for the (Il)liberal Christian Audience

For those of you who were in favor of yesterday's historic, Supreme Court decision (and it was a decision and not an interpretation) what do you honestly think about private institutions like colleges who refuse to hire practicing homosexuals?  I will presume that most of you were against the recent Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, so you have little problem with the government using its coercive power to either fine/imprison small business owners or make them violate their conscience.  And you were in favor of forcing every single state in the union to recognize gay "marriages" rather than letting the people of the states decide.

Are you also in favor of coercing every single private college either to hire practicing homosexuals or be denied federal aid in the form of grants and loans?  I don't see why you would be opposed to this given the reasons I have seen (and I know what a lot of my secular colleagues think.)  I assume that you would be in favor of coercing them too by cutting off funds.  But I'll be interested to hear whether my assumption is wrong and what your reasons are.  (I'd be particularly interested to hear from any of my colleagues but I'm open to thoughts from anyone).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Now Playing: "Rage Against the Machine" Edition

Might as well fiddle (loudly!) on the axe while Rome burns restores.

But let's not go out tonight on that defiant, rockin' note.  I'll lay head-to-pillow with Bob, and suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

White (outside?) Woman Chooses not to Have Any White Kids

Ali Michael, Ph.D., who is Professor of Economics, Professor of Physics, Professor of Mathematics, Professor of....?   Administrator of....?  Director of P-12 Consulting and Professional Development at the Center for the Study of Race Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania decided to adopt rather than populate the world with more white privilege.  

Well, good for her.  Given all that "Whiteness has done" it's probably a good thing that she doesn't have offspring.  [All that "whiteness has done?"  Doesn't she mean all that "Whitey has done?"  Do abstract entities like whiteness have causal powers?]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Confederate Flag

 I'm from the North but now live in the South. As such I have no strong ties to the Confederate Flag (in fact, I have no emotional ties at all.) But I have a friend Jay who is Southern. Let it be noted that Jay is the furthest thing from a racist as anyone who knows him will tell you; he also loves the South and thinks the following about "the flag": It is sometimes thought of as a symbol of racism. But for him, he does not think of it as a symbol of racism. He realizes that some think of it as (at least in part) a symbol of racism, but as he views the matter it is one of the primary symbols of the South (the land of BBQ, blues, the SEC, etc.) with which he identifies. In fact, he wants to take the flag back and reclaim it, not as a symbol of racism but as a symbol of all (and only) the good things he thinks it once stood for and can stand for. Moreover, he argues that the flag is a symbol of a region (or states or nation) which has a complicated past and that all flags are symbols of a similar mixed bag. (A number of progressives I know shutter in horror more at the U.S. flag than the "Hammer and Sickle."  I know numerous Christians who loathe their own Christian flag.)

When I was growing up in the Midwest, the Confederate Flag was rarely thought of as a symbol of racism. Everyone I knew identified it with the Dukes of Hazard and country music. For various reasons, race relations have gotten worse in the last couple decades and the Confederate Flag is thought of by many now as (only) a symbol of racism.   As few as four years ago, most blacks did not have a negative view of the flag

Some questions: Why is that?  How was it that people in favor of Clinton were able to use the flag seen above just a few years ago without weeping and gnashing of teeth?  Why is it that some say today that the flag is "too toxic for public use."  (Do they think it caused nine murders?) How did that happen and who turned it toxic?

The who is fairly easy: the left (and people who jump on the bandwagon--the mindless "memers" who want to be on the "right side of history" and form beliefs on the basis of volume and not arguments.)  But why?  Well here is a theory subject to empirical disconfirmation.  The South, post-Clinton has turned strongly Republican.  Moreover, the South is one of the final strongholds in support of traditional marriage, gun-rights, anti-abortion, Federalism, and all the things progressives hate.  Slavery and racism are only a small part of what accounts for today's reaction to the flag I reckon, except insofar as progressives would be out of a job if not for their Marxist bent to turn every issue into an issue of class, race, and gender warfare and then exploit said warfare.  If there is one group that has universal scorn heaped upon it in my own corner of the cultural elite--academia--it is the South.  Your chance of landing a job drops if you are a white man with a southern accent.  (If you ask your favorite professor if this is true and he denies it, he is either lying or a dolt.)  And how many people in the media have a southern accent?  Hardly any because they don't want to sound southern.

So the hatred of the Confederate Flag, I suggest, is not due entirely to its history with slavery or racism.  And it is not because the South has become more racist in the last couple decades that the ire is hire.  (Ask yourself this: how many white Southerners do you actually know who are racists?  How many do you know who are not?  Are there more or fewer racists today than 20, 50, 100 years ago?  What are the percentages?)

The flag is a symbol.  And like any other symbol its meaning can be complicated and its meaning can change.  

So we are faced with either of two options:

(1) Get rid of the flag.
(2) Change its meaning for good.

The KKK burns crosses in yards.  For some, the sign of the cross is associated with hatred and racism.  One could thereby not use the cross as a symbol.  Or one could redeem the symbol.
Is the Confederate Flag as a symbol irredeemable? I fail to see that it is.  (And please, no swastika comparisons unless you care to fully tease out the analogy.)  If Obama, Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and so forth all stood together and said,

"We know the flag has such and such a history.  We know that in the eyes of many it is a symbol of slavery and racism....But we also know the good of the South and how far it has come.   The Confederate Flag was once a symbol of division and racism but we will not let racists own the meaning of the flag just like we will not let the KKK own the meaning of the Cross...."
you cannot tell me that if there were this concerted effort by the right and left to pour new meaning into the Confederate Flag that eventually more people would think of it positively than negatively.

So those are the options and I have no dog in this fight.  I can predict that (1) will prevail and not (2).  That is because progressivism is on the upswing and there is no great love of the South therein.  Slacktivism is too tempting especially when accompanied with a feeling of moral superiority.   

Monday, June 22, 2015

Church Sign in Town

It's been a while, and that's a good thing...

Hmmmmm...I'm not sure whether to chalk this up to general or special revelation.

Obama on Gun Control and Charleston

Like clockwork, after an inexplicable shooting every so many years Democrats are out in force calling for gun restrictions. As Obama and Clinton operative Rahm Emanuel said, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

Now I have heard it said ad nauseam on the left that certain conservatives are crazy for ever thinking that Obama or other Democrats would ban all guns.  But is it that crazy?  Is it crazy to think that if he had the means to do so that he would abolish the Second Amendment or confiscate all guns?  Is it unreasonable to think that a progressive would steer us more towards being like hallowed Europe?

Consider this article from The Atlantic where Obama says (in light of the recent tragedy)
“...once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

Hillary Clinton has said similar things.  But neither of them offer specifics about exactly what laws they have in mind to keep the bad guys from getting and using guns.  So let us ask: short of  removing all guns from the hands of citizens, what law would have prevented the murder of these nine victims?  Can we get a little help from progressives on this issue?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Can Bugs Talk?

Sam (six-year-old): Dad, can bugs talk?

Me: No.

Sam: Why not?

Me: They don't have a language.

Sam: Are bugs like dolphins?

Me: Dolphins seem to have a language. Bugs are more like robots.

Sam: Robots can talk.

Me: Bugs are like non-talking robots.

Sam: Oh.

Dylann Roof

UPDATE: It looks like Salon has ruled Roof is not mentally ill.  It's the death penalty for Salon (unless he gets off on "societal-illness".)

Will many be arguing in the mainstream press that he should be spared the death penalty?

Friday, June 19, 2015


In finishing Dave Cullen's very well written, "Columbine," I am reminded of something that seems to me true: there are no complete explanations for actions which are evil.  One chooses an evil action if and only if one chooses a lesser good over a greater and there can be no complete explanation for why one would do such a thing.  In the end, the will wills because it wills.

From the "basement tapes":
Dylan: "Hey mom. Gotta go. It's about a half an hour before our little judgment day. I just wanted to apologize to you guys for any crap this might instigate as far as (inaudible) or something. Just know I'm going to a better place. I didn't like life too much and I know I'll be happy wherever the fuck I go. So I'm gone. Good-bye. Reb..."
Eric: "Yea... Everyone I love, I'm really sorry about all this. I know my mom and dad will be just like.. just fucking shocked beyond belief. I'm sorry, all right. I can't help it."
Dylan: (interrupts) "We did what we had to do."
Eric: "Morris, Nate, if you guys live, I want you guys to have whatever you want from my room and the computer room."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Celebrate Diversity in Our Brave New World

I give you the American Indian (i.e., what most American Indians have called themselves in spite of PC-whipped progressives) Native American, Republican,  Stalking Cat:

"Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You....

...ask what you can do for your country."

Taken at face value without qualification, JFK offered a false dilemma.  While it is not true that we should ask our country "what's in it for me," it is also not true that we should ask ourselves what we can do for our country as if our country's well-being is (or should be) an end in itself.  The well-being  of a country holds only if and because individual humans are flourishing and rights are being protected.  As such, I am to promote the well-being of my country in the same way that I promote the well-being of my car: as a means to an end--in the case of my country, the end is the flourishing of individuals (primarily the country's citizens and secondarily the humans it has no jurisdiction over.)  But I can and should promote as an end the flourishing of individuals, and it is primarily individuals within my own sphere of influence (family, neighbors, etc.) whose flourishing I am to promote.  Better to take care of what one has the means to care for than to pine for and opine about the utopia not in one's care.

The country (or state, or city...) is fundamentally for the individuals not the individuals for the country.  This brings to mind the following anecdote which bears repeating:
During the Great Depression, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia famously walked into a city welfare office to make an unannounced inspection and found one employee sprawled back in his chair, his feet on his desk, his hat on his head, and a sandwich in his hand. The mayor made an inquiry, and the welfare worker growled through his well-stuffed mouth that he was eating his lunch. LaGuardia strode over to him, knocked his hat off his startled head, and barked, “Stand up and take your hat off when you talk to a citizen!” To the reporter following him, he remarked, “There’s another son of a bitch who has no job.”

Right and Left on Race

This seems about right from KBJ:

Examine the following diagram (click to enlarge), which I just constructed:
Today's Left ranks the categories as follows: 4 > 2 > 1 > 3. Thurgood Marshall, the former Supreme Court justice, was not just biologically black; he was psychologically and culturally black. If you can't be in category 4 with the likes of Marshall, the next best place to be, to the Left, is in category 2. Individuals in category 2 are biologically white but think, feel, and act black.
It gets interesting after this. I think the Left ranks category 1 over category 3. Clarence Thomas is biologically black, like Marshall, but he's psychologically and culturally white, like John Roberts Jr. (Indeed, he has a white wife.) The Left hates this. I'm sure you know the names Thomas has been called, such as "Uncle Tom," "Oreo," and "Stepin Fetchit." The Left prefers the likes of John Roberts Jr, who is both biologically and culturally white, to the likes of Thomas. They would say that Roberts, but not Thomas, is authentic.
Rachel Dolezal was at one time in category 1. She wanted desperately to be in category 4, but, alas, that was ruled out by biology, so she did the next best thing: she moved to category 2. What say you?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Moral Hazards of Bailouts and Welfare

Consider two moral hazards:

#1 The Hazard of Wall Street Bailouts: When you rescue people from their own behavior, then they are more likely to engage in even riskier behavior.

#2 The Hazard of Welfare: When you rescue people from their own behavior, then they are more likely to engage in even more unproductive or foolish behavior.

Progressives will balk at #2.  People who are on welfare, they will say, are on welfare due to no fault of their own.  They are victims of circumstance.  Of course to anyone with common sense, this is right to a point.  Everyone to an extent is a "victim of circumstance."  Children raised by relatives because their parents have died are prime examples.  At the same time, if this line of thinking goes too far there is a denial of agency and with it personhood.

But then notice that something similar can be said about #1.  Individual investors face stiff social pressures from their bosses to engage in risky behavior.  They have a job on the line and a family to support.  Those bosses have pressure from stockholders.  The stockholders face pressure from wives or husbands.  And so forth.  And then there are the people who work for the investment firms who are not engaged in any risky behavior, who will suffer from their company's collapse if there are no bailouts.

I am offering neither a condemnation of welfare nor support for bailouts, just a caution that both practices should be engaged in with a heap of trepidation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On What is Left of Our Culture

Theodore Dalrymple on his communist father, political correctness, feminism, and more here.


FrontPageMag: You make the shrewd observation of how political correctness engenders evil because of “the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” Can you talk about this a bit?

Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.  

I take it as given that man, having contradictory desires, is always subject to frustration, even when happy. For example, we want both adventure and safety, and when we have the one we long for the other. All forms of human happiness contain within themselves the seeds of their own decomposition.

Modern man particularly - or so it seems to me - is particularly bad at recognising that much of his unhappiness or discontent stems from this inevitable source. Rather, he blames the structure of society and thinks that a perfection that will resolve all contradictions and eliminate all frustrations can be achieved, if only we abolished private property or followed the example of the 7th century followers of Mohammed. The attempt to force people to do so gives meaning to their existence, and of course a lot of sadistic pleasure into the bargain.

FrontPageMag: You discuss the horrifying suffering that women endure under the vicious and sadistic structures of Islam’s gender apartheid. You touch on the eerie silence of Western leftist feminists on this issue, noting “Where two pieties – feminism and multi-culturalism – come into conflict, the only way of preserving both is an indecent silence.”

To be sure, the Left has long posed as a great champion of women’s rights, gay rights, minorti rights, democratic rights etc. Yet today, it has reached out in solidarity with the most fascistic women-hating, gay-hating, minority-hating and democracy hating force on the face of the earth – Islamism.

What gives? It’s really nothing new though is it? (i.e. the Left’s political pilgrimages to communist gulags etc.)

Dalrymple: I think the problem here is one of a desired self-image. Tolerance is the greatest moral virtue and broadmindedness the greatest intellectual one. Moreover, no decent person can be other than a feminist. People therefore want to be both multiculturalist and feminist. But multiculturalism and feminism obviously clash; therefore, you avoid the necessity to give up one or the other merely by disregarding the phenomena. How you feel about yourself is more important to you than the state of the world.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

No Fundamental Right to Marry...PERIOD?

Public Discourse typically has some pretty good articles.  This is not one of them.  The author argues, in short, that homosexuals have no fundamental right to marry, since no one has a fundamental right to marry.  There just are no rights when it comes to marriage.  Like playing the violin, marriage is good, but there's no right to it.
The author is wrong.

Could Dennis Rodman Marry Himself?

Remember Rodman claiming that he was bisexual and was going to marry himself, way back in the simple days of 1996 when Democrats were neither trying to force every state to accept gay marriage nor claiming that it is a constitutional right buried in the 14th Amendment?  Remember those backward times?

Well, could Rodman have married himself?  One can love oneself (I plan to blog about self-love in the coming week.)  One can have sexual relations with oneself.  One can promise to be committed to oneself.  So why can't one marry oneself?  If marriage is not a natural kind of relationship (like the friendship relation, which can hold without government or societal sanction, recognition, or approval) but is merely a social construct, then surely one can marry oneself.  In fact, potential marriage relations on this way of thinking seem limitless.  It's almost as if we humans are godlike in our creative capacities.

Dick From the Internet

This is pretty funny.

Friday, June 5, 2015

It Follows

Meh.  Not even in my top twenty scariest movies.  Why Bob Mondello felt the need to review the film, and why I took his review as good evidence that the film would be an extraordinary horror flick is now a greater mystery to me than whatever it is that follows.  Pretty standard fare with all the usual plot devices.   I will give it this: the music was great and reminiscent of John Carpenter.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Celebrate diversity with me!

OTTAWA — When he cut off his right arm with a “very sharp power tool,” a man who now calls himself One Hand Jason let everyone believe it was an accident.
But he had for months tried different means of cutting and crushing the limb that never quite felt like his own, training himself on first aid so he wouldn’t bleed to death, even practicing on animal parts sourced from a butcher.
“My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do,” he told the body modification website ModBlog.
His goal was to become disabled.
Read the rest.  (Whatever you decide to do, we will fully support it.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Worst Day of the Year

I love this birthday girl.

Me: Birthdays are the dumbest day of the year.

Malea (12-yr-old): No, Dad, that's Labor Day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Animals Go to Heaven or God Doesn't Exist

Eternal Salvation: It's not our place to judge
How could a powerful and loving God allow so much animal suffering?  In the case of humans, an answer might seem easy and forthcoming: free will.  Humans bring a lot of suffering on themselves, but the good of freedom makes the suffering worth it.  Not so, it seems, with non-human animals.  If God knew that non-human animals would suffer so much, why would he create them in the first place?  And if he were to create them, why would he allow so much suffering?  It seems that he wouldn't. So we have reason to think that God doesn't exist.

Philosopher, Trent Dougherty, has recently written a book on the issue.  He thinks that it's reasonable to believe that at least some animals go to heaven.  Not only that, but they will end up like the talking animals in Narnia. (!)  

Here is a link to a short podcast at Dale Tuggy's website on animal suffering (click on the arrow at the top left to listen.)  I haven't quite finished listening to it, but so far it's not only interesting but entertaining.  (I believe at about 6:30 he makes a reference to one of my philosophy colleagues who did a dissertation with Dougherty on this very issue.)  Tuggy interviews Dougherty about his own conversion to Christianity as well the Problem of Evil more generally in another episode here. I have listened to this interview in its entirety and also recommend it to the reader.  In some ways it sets the stage for the talk on the Problem of Animal Suffering in the first link.  

There's also an interesting discussion of cats, so cat lovers might find the first link particularly interesting.