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Friday, April 10, 2015

Words Mean Things

I think a lot about our socio-political culture, because I like politics, and more importantly, I like people. An important concept in politics is called "framing". One frames the issues or the opponent in such a way to make the political situation more favorable to one's own position.

Your average Democrat knows that defending the senseless murder of innocent children in the womb is almost impossible, so she frames the issue with euphemisms. Euphemisms, recall, are words to obscure or soften the blow related to something morally unacceptable or otherwise unpleasant. Important people know that telling the truth about abortion would turn most sensible people against it and the Democrats faster than admitting they mostly agree with Bernie Sanders on economics.

"The right to choose," "women's rights" "reproductive freedom," these are all euphemisms for abortion. One doesn't have to convince all the people, or even most of them, that it is acceptable. Only enough to get people distracted, or worried about something a little closer to their experience. After all, I can't worry about every problem in the world, right?

And so it goes. The deep irony of all this is that the abortion issue and related issues are the only time that a Democrat worries about the size of government. The only time you can witness this is when we want the US government to perform its most primary task: defending the fundamental right of people against unjust aggression. It would be funny, if it were not so grave.

We have one more thing to talk about. One other way that an abortion advocate obscures the fact of what he or she is advocating is to mention the hard circumstances in which people tend to find themselves when the killing of an innocent person is on the table. They know that most ethical systems hold that the gravity of an offense is lessened by external pressures. The powers that be want you not to consider the circumstances in the abstract, but always through the eyes of a person, down on her luck, so to speak. You want to feel for her; you want to like her. If they can get you to burn with anger toward the selfish man who got what he wanted, and "left her alone," so much the better. Even Planned Parenthood pines for the '50s, when it suits them.

Our popular culture is loaded with stories and instances of consequentialism, which is a philosophical position that judges the morality of a thing based on its anticipated consequences. Did anyone see the film, "Million Dollar Baby"? It won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2004, I think. Great movie. Well acted, great characters, great story...except for the end, when Clint Eastwood kills his boxing protege, severely disabled from a cheap shot in the ring. She doesn't want to live "like this," which is dependent, and in a wheelchair. I get it, man. If you watch it, you'll feel what they want you to feel. But after the feelings died down, you'll feel what I felt, and what I know. It is never morally acceptable to take the life of an innocent person. That's what an "intrinsic evil" is: a thing which cannot be morally acceptable, regardless of the circumstances.

It's probably passe to believe there are intrinsic evils in the world, and to believe that governments have no right to sanction them. I don't care; I'm tired of people not saying what they think, and what they know.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

God Is Great, Beer Is Good...

You finish it. I know that Dr. Murray has been telling us that class divisions are becoming more pronounced, and technology allows us to wall ourselves off from ideas and people we don't like. This is the reason our politics is so nasty: we lack a shared culture, and we are not motivated by reason, but by emotion.

Each coalition looks over and says, "They aren't like us," and so no method or tool of destruction is off the table. One side thinks the president is a secret Muslim who hates all that we stand for, and the other side thinks their opponents are constructing gulags for racial minorities, gays, and poor people. That's what really bothers me: I don't have to exaggerate that much.

I wish it were just a plea for civility, but it can't be. The Democratic Party is the abortion party. That's what they exist to defend. Democratic elected officials can compromise nearly every other tenet of progressive thinking, but not that one. This is why Republicans will have to take the lead on traditionally liberal issues like criminal justice/capital punishment; pro-lifers not unjustly throw the high-sounding rhetoric right back in the Democrats' faces. This is why interventionism is now a "conservative" thing. The party that can't be bothered to defend defenseless babies has no moral authority to advocate for the victims of genocide. I have trouble listening; I'm just being honest.

That one remaining blunt instrument for the progressive is the apparent hypocrisy of conservative religiosity, combined with the robust defense of an obviously broken, unjust economic order. But with "liberalism" being the driving force behind the destruction of the family, they bear some of that guilt as well.

One the one hand, no amount of sermonizing on virtue will wish our system of social support out of existence. One the other hand, no degree of devotion to that system will make it work on behalf of free people, in the absence of virtue.

You will forgive me if I state the obvious. What's obvious isn't terribly popular these days.

It Follows

I was enjoying the Facebook members' forum for Christ and Pop Culture, where someone mentioned the horror film, "It Follows." And it got me thinking: What would a horror movie I could relate to be like?

[Creepy, Old Voice-Over Guy] This spring...one man [blood-curdling screams from D.G. Hart, Leithart, Mathison, etc.] takes your theology where it doesn't want to go! This absurdity...is a nightmare! [Bryan Cross laughs maniacally] "It Follows." Coming to theaters near you.

And...scene!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

God Is Bigger

We've been arguing about cakes and conscience for a while now, and that's not an unworthy activity, but how I respond to the illiberal tendencies of some who don't really believe in any sort of freedom says a lot about who I really believe God is.

Do I really believe that sexual sin, including homosexual practices, separates me and others from God? Do I really believe that to be with God in Heaven is the reason I live? Do I really believe that sinners are hiding from the God who loves them? If I believe this, then I must believe what I once wrote:

"You don't stop existing, you know. And most people know that they want to like themselves, and even that they're supposed to. So they have to construct a reality where they are happy, and where they are good. That's why the public space is so absurd: some people are trying really hard, and they have a lot of shame."

Tell you what, guys: If you are so wounded that you need to throw me in jail, or ruin my life because I won't tell you what you want to hear, go for it. I could scream and raise Cain because the land of the free is gone, and is never coming back, but the truth is, it died a long time ago. If I really believe in God who speaks in the quiet, you won't be able to stand against that Love. And if you try, you will answer for the injustices you commit against me or others when your guilty conscience gets too loud to bear.

Are you sure you know who hates whom?


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

What About The Yankees?

I think they could win the AL East. Everybody says they're too old, hurt, and thin in the starting rotation. Bupkus. In three months time, we'll be talking about breakout pitching star Nathan Eovaldi, along with Tanaka and Pineda. The Yankees offense doesn't terrify, but it's good enough. Really. And while much has been made of the decline of CC Sabathia--perhaps rightly so--if he posts 16-10, 4.20 ERA, you'd take it. And he can do that.

They'll catch it well, too. Saving runs is as important as scoring them these days. They'll figure out who the closer is, also, and it will be fine.

Most importantly, the manager isn't some fool. I have no idea how I'd order the top 5 managers in baseball, but Joe Girardi is one of them. If it's close, he'll push them over the top. Yes, I actually believe this.