Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tyranny Through Science

Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton (Cassell : 1922), p.76-77.
The thing that really is trying to tyrannise through government is Science. The thing that really does use the secular arm is Science. And the creed that really is levying tithes and capturing schools, the creed that really is enforced by fine and imprisonment, the creed that really is proclaimed not in sermons but in statutes, and spread not by pilgrims but by policemen — that creed is the great but disputed system of thought which began with Evolution and has ended in Eugenics. Materialism is really our established Church; for the Government will really help it to persecute its heretics. Vaccination, in its hundred years of experiment, has been disputed almost as much as baptism in its approximate two thousand. But it seems quite natural to our politicians to enforce vaccination; and it would seem to them madness to enforce baptism.

Thanks to Hard Won Wisdom.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Supreme Court -- The Supreme Joke At Our Expense

The new Obama packed Supreme Court is having a lot of laughs on us.  Obama gave us Kagan, who thought having Bork cross-examined on his ideology was great even though she herself was spared the indignity, and Sotomayor, a judge who was uniquely qualified by her "wise Latina" credentials.  Obama chose them, not for their ability to think critically about the bounds of federal interference nor for their ability to exercise judicial restraint (that thing Obama seemed to care SO MUCH about in the Citizens United case--and ONLY in that case) but for their empathy.  You see, they were uniquely qualified to decide cases sympathetically, not based on law, but on their feelings about the downtrodden.  You see, our "Constitutional law professor" President did not see this as a recipe for undermining our constitutional republic, but as necessary means of enshrining his liberal values in judge-made laws purporting to divine the mysteries of the "spirit" of our highest laws.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

DOMA: Bad Courtroom Theater by Justices

Jerry Lee Lewis and his 13-year-old bride,
coming to a state near you.
I can't seem to recall which famous Justice said that he often had had to find in favor of people or causes that he disliked because he was a judge of law.  I'm thinking it was Justice Holmes, who also said, "This is not a court of justice, young man; it is a court of law."

I wonder, if the state of Idaho were to determine that a man could marry a girl of 12 years, to what degree would another state be bound to honor that marriage?  What about a girl of 9?  How about 8?  According to the Supreme Court, if the state next door has sanctioned it, you'd better honor it.  "A pack of cigarettes, Mrs. Daisy Jo? Umm, maybe your husband can purchase them... How about some Bazooka Bubblegum instead?"  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Exodus International Apologizes and Folds: Just As I Am

Anyone who has had a history with American Protestantism will probably remember the sounds of an organ playing "Just As I Am" as people are welcomed to come up to the front and have their lives changed by beginning a relationship with God.  The song is often chosen, even over the favorite "Amazing Grace" because it emphasizes that one doesn't change himself to approach God but comes with all his many faults.

Since then, while I've been afforded many opportunities to see that the Church falls far short of the legendary grace of Christ, I've been impressed with the writings of Philip Yancey, who has posed the question of how a person would be treated if she approached the Church for forgiveness after prostituting her own children to serve her drug addiction.  This idea often shakes Christians to their core, long after their gratifying speeches about diversity and tolerance are over.  And it does something else, I think: it exposes the tendency to adopt the Progressive position that to demonstrate acceptance of the person the Church must embrace the practice.  If we don't embrace (even celebrate) the practice, we run the risk of alienating the people Christ died for.  That's the message that Christians are inundated with from journalists, educators, social scientists, etc. all through their lives.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Date Rape, She Says: Rape By Definition

Ever since Todd Akin's remarks were used to rally the abortion-friendly Left to resurge against the advancing public opinion against abortion, the subject of rape came into the limelight.  Many social conservatives were left wondering why the matter of how the unborn differ from the born became less important than how they got there (and therefore, why they receive capital punishment for another's crime), and Republicans in general were wondering why rape was being discussed when the party has always allowed the rape exception.

Being inundated for weeks last year by unthinking opinions on the matter, I have taken issue with many aspects of these national "dialogues," not least of which is the Left's sneering at the word "forcible."
Eric Holder, lover of all things progressive and corrupt, in addition to his already fine resume of corruption and ideologically-driven justice (guns, voting, abortion, transgender, etc.) has enlarged to scope of rape to include the gray areas of date rape, because rape is rape.

Take Amelia McDonnel-Perry's horror story of rape.  It has many explicit details about the encounter that I won't repeat here.  She notes that her experience was "by definition" a date rape.  After she finally decides to lose her virginity to her virile boyfriend, it comes out that she actually lost it two nights before to him.  Because she lost her virginity two nights before she thought she did, she breaks up with her rapist... a few weeks later.  It wasn't, she avers, because of his offensive politics or because his job was not nearly as impressive as she believed when she wanted to go all the way with him.  No, it's because hanging out with your rapist gets to be a drag after a couple of weeks.

Now, you might be wondering, if the whole point was to take advantage of a drunk woman who didn't know what was going on, why this guy let the cat out of the bag by incredulously saying, "But we had sex two nights ago!"  Clearly, this guy flunked out of scumbag school.  He obviously got away with it, and he confesses to his heinous crime.  Unless he was genuinely confused--something it has taken McDonnell-Perry several years and many therapy sessions to accept.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie Review: Beautiful Creatures

Not that this will reassure everyone, but, hey, it's better than Twilight.  Aside from some silly caricatures it's kind of a smart, funny movie at a time that we've been inundated with movies about teenagers and young jobless adults coming to grips with various supernatural powers in a supernatural world.

The silly caricatures I mention do figure into the messaging that I really want to discuss here.  The worst is Emma Thompson's depiction of a Southern church lady.  We see her tormenting her teenage son over Bible lessons at the beginning, and afterward her son disparages her by wondering aloud to his friend how loving Jesus can make her so crazy.  This, dear reader, is how the Left sees the South, the Bible Belt, and most of church-going America.  In case you miss the point, this character later exclaims before the whole town that “atheists, homosexuals, liberals, Democrats, and Greenpeace" are, along with the movie's witches, the sort of “unnatural abominations” from which they are obligated to protect their town.  This caricaturish delivery isn't just limited to Thompson but is supported by the most superficial high school girls in town being the most religious.  They even pray in class, which the teacher reminds them is not allowed.  Is there anything political about "prayer in school" being depicted as something intended to offend and isolate?  The movie also ridicules the idea of evil being something promoted or led by a powerful spirit (i.e. Satan); spirits merely inform powerful wizard humans, silly!  They don't actually wield power of their own!  By the way, what is The Dark that claims some witches on their 16th birthday?  Is that some kind of sentient entity?

To be fair, the movie develops a meaningful spiritual theme, and even has a minister's sermon support that theme.  One of the most knowledgeable people in the "wizarding world" of this film is a woman who does in fact go to church and believe in God, but this curt nod is practically lost in all the attempts to compare religion unfavorably with the leftist notion of embracing the world and embracing ideas.  One of the few "muggles" in the town to be introduced to this dark underworld of magic, we are informed, claims the local library as her church, and her love of "ideas" she finds there is presented as much more valuable and cosmopolitan than the theological ideas in their local church.  Getting out of your parents' little town and getting that larger view of the world at a university filled with anti-conservative messages is what frees the soul from its shackles.  Otherwise, one might just end up like the ultra-stupid religious folks in the movie; or worse, married to one of them.

The filmmakers probably think they are being subtle and ironic by making the superficially good to be bad and the superficially bad to be Christ-like.  It is the irony that is superficial and anything but subtle.  Behold the face of evil:
Crazy church lady
Based on other movies  reviewed on this blog, I'll give it a 7.0 on the Lib-o-meter for its barely restrained secular liberalism.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cloud Atlas Reprise: The Conservative Hunger for Exploitation

There is a word very commonly used these days: "anti-communism." It's a very stupid word, badly put together. It makes it appear as though communism were something original, something basic, something fundamental. Therefore, it is taken as the point of departure, and anti-communism is defined in relation to communism. Here is why I say that this word was poorly selected, that it was put together by people who do not understand etymology: the primary, the eternal concept is humanity. And communism is anti-humanity. Whoever says "anti-communism" is saying, in effect, anti-anti-humanity. A poor construction. So we should say: that which is against communism is for humanity. Not to accept, to reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. It isn't being a member of a party.  ―Solzhenitsyn, Washington D.C., 1975*
The weak are meat,
and the strong do eat.

    ―Old Georgie, c. 2400 A.D.
This review has some spoilers...

Having had a change to view this movie myself, just extra tidbits to follow up Contrariwise's review. The Fine Art Diner blog also had a thought-provoking analysis of the movie, but I thought a key point that it gets wrong is the idea that the fabricants are robots.  The fate of the fabricants should confirm for the viewer that they are organic.  (There is also a reference to the "genoming" of fabricants.)  I don't think we are given any indication that anything other than genetic predisposition and various forms of psychosomatic conditioning (including the "Catechisms" alluded to) produce the illusion of sentient beings without "free will." The post is worth reading for exposing the misuse of Solzhenitsyn as a general commentator on abuse rather than an all-out enemy of the great lie of socialism, though there are other gems as well.  For Solzhenitsyn, it was socialism that, in its penultimate incarnation as communism, had erased the humanity of human beings.

Movie Review: Man of Steel Liberalism [spoilers]

Well, this is possibly the best one yet in terms of a less caricaturish, more fleshed out, so to speak, son of Krypton.  Brave attempts by the film to bring out the alien character of Krypton, and to make real the humanity of a boy who at an early age must come to grips with not being human.

Major spoilers follow.  While I won't be getting into how the movie ends, I'll still be getting into the backstory of Kal-El's origins as exposited by the film, and talk about various revelations made in the film, all of which may differ significantly from the canonical story you grew up with.

If the story line of the movie seems weak in points, realize that the story line was never very strong.  Sometimes making a story more realistic only makes the weaknesses more obvious.  The traditional explanation of Superman's powers is so ludicrous, scientifically speaking, that it makes the most other comic book superheroes plausible by comparison.  It's a difficult story to "update" in the sense of lending it more plausibility in terms of modern scientific understanding.

What destroyed Krypton?  Tired of the old idea that Jor-El was the one scientist smart enough (in a planet full of technologically advanced aliens) to figure out Krypton's impending doom, in this retelling Krypton's doom is obvious.  The planet is falling apart around them.  What isn't common knowledge is that Krypton is so close to destruction there's no point in even evacuating it.  Jor-El's advanced mind grasps this.  Jor-El was working on his documentary A Belated Truth after selling his tv channel to General al je-Zod for stacks of Kryptonian cash.

Here is where we get our first politically charged message--in one of the first storyline changes:  Planet Krypton is destroyed not from natural causes but from a short-sighted energy policy.  Nice bone thrown to the environmental activists.  But it gets even weirder... The whole planet appears to be a collectivist, statist regime run by a global Supreme Court oligarchy, but in spite of not being burdened by a Senate or other republican sort of legislature, the planet was doomed because, as General Zod puts it, they were too deliberative to take action sooner.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Power of the Liberal Imagination

This struck me funny:
Most actors are either independents or liberals. Conservatives aren't creative enough to be actors or artists.*
 Well, aside from the obvious, that liberals would think that a homogeneously conservative field was an example of exclusion, it seems to me that this could be re-stated thus:
Most conservatives are generally too grounded in reality to sufficiently suspend their disbelief, to pretend convincingly that their lives are other than they are, or to master the use of words well enough to make others' emotions override their sense of reality. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hillary Rodham: Born-Again Ideologue or Macchiavellian?

What kind of person is Hillary Rodham?  Curiously, the Wiki article on her lists her as getting caught up in the "Civil Rights Movement" and then the link for that Movement lists 1968 as its end.  Hillary got on that bandwagon after 1968.  Is this equivocation?  Was the militant Black Power movement embraced by Leonard Bernstein and radical chic rich liberals, the same movement--or even the same fight--as Dr. King's movement?

Dr. King opposed most of the anti-family and anti-morality values of liberalism and gravitated to the Republican Party's long-time policy toward equal treatment -- which is very different from the Democratic Party's advocacy for unequal treatment and their advocacy for unequal protection under the Civil Rights Act, as interpreted by liberal federal judges.

Somewhere between the deaths of JFK and MLK, the Democratic Party shifted gears from wanting blacks to sit at the back of the bus to wanting whites to sit at the back of the bus.

I find it interesting that Hillary Rodham changed her mindset completely at school under the tutelage of university professors.  Nixon, whose statist tendencies are often maligned, used the power of the federal goverment to further the impact of the Civil Rights Act and to advance de-segregation, yet the what wonders why Progressives weren't new to the Democratic Party.  They were allied with the Democratic Party before the supposed "sea change" and afterward.  The support for the Civil Rights Act was mostly from the GOP, JFK was a johnny-come-lately to supporting it, and Nixon, who is now hailed by the Left as a typical conservative when it comes to anything negative, gets no credit for his not-atypical Republican support for Dr. King's conception of civil rights.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Movie Review: The Purge [liberalism]

I'll try not to give away anything important about the ending, however this review has some potential spoilers about The Purge.  Ironically, it serves the cathartic urge to see people heroically defending their families -- but in spite of the film's premise, don't expect the national crime rate to magically drop.

On the surface of things, The Purge seems a little hard to peg in terms of its philosophy.  When the security system fails, as you know it will, the family must rely on guns and the good ol' 2nd Amendment to protect themselves.  There was at least one pro-military nod in it as well.

The basic premise of the film, also presented in the official trailer, is that America has solved almost all its domestic policy problems.  Crime is extremely low and unemployment is down to a ludicrous 1%!!!!  Wow.  Unfortunately, the lynchpin of this new American society seems to be a national holiday in which America takes a total break from law and order.  No law enforcement and no emergency services from dusk till dawn on Purge Night.  High government officials are exempt from this glorious tradition, kind o' like our Congress wants to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act.

I don't know if I'll spend much time on the plausibility of this premise here, but it is implied that most crime stems from people's resentments and that this is mostly solved by giving them a single night each year to, as Fox Mulder would say, get their "ya-yas" out.

So why would liberal Hollywood make a movie about a family needing to protect itself from home invasion with guns.  Well, first of all, it's implied that the only reason any guns are necessary is that the police are not available during Purge Night.  Yes, otherwise, the police would always arrive in time to prevent the crime instead of clean up after the crime.

Next, Purge Night is wrapped in patriotic fervor.  The new American government sends messages to the public about Purge Night that are wrapped in God and country, very explicitly so.  This was all set up by the "Second Founding Fathers."  Yes, this second set of Fathers have re-Constituted America, and their God-and-country formulation has them make the public dependent on a national system of emergency services (that CNN maligned Romney for insufficiently supporting) that can be suspended on a national level.  And this is done, so the movie implies, to weed out the poor and inconvenient, just as the recent, even less plausible sci-fi In Time has also troped.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Get Rid of Public Schools – If It Saves Just One Child

If it saves just one child...

Public school has for many been a cesspool of child-on-child abuse (and adult-on-child abuse as well).  How many future criminals found their beginning in being raised in the impersonal environment of the school as peers abused them while teachers were busy trying to avoid trouble and their parent(s) were too busy staying employed.  Yes! Bullying!  Liberals are anti-bullying, right?  Cause-celebre.  I don't remember liberals having much to say about bullying before it could be used as an excuse to preach same-sex normalcy in the schools.  In fact, I don't see them doing anything to prevent the harrassment of the overweight, the mildly autistic, the shy, the geeks, the defenseless.  It's all about the liberal reinvention of the family, not a wit about the kids that have always been abused and continue to be abused.  In fact, the aggressive kids are coddled and repeatedly shown that there are few consequences for being nasty.  (Few consequences as long as they don't express themselves in a way that is pro-gun, pro-God, or pro-military, anyway.)

I've seen a lot of mental illness develop from immersion in the hostile environment of public schools, and I think many kids have been irreparably hurt by it that would have had a much better chance of mental health if home-schooled.  I myself was largely self-taught, and I believe public school would probably have succeeded in destroying my self-esteem and made my performance more average and ordinary in the No Child Moves Ahead lockstep of the public school system.

See, Progressivism desperately needs this implied contract: You need to work (both of you parents) in order to send us that check--in return we will teach your children how to think, in addition to teaching the children of whoever manages to sneak into this country.  Keep producing that income for us.  We do the rearing, you make the goods.  Then later your children will make goods for us, like properly taught  collectivists.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

American Exceptionalism in the Movies

What has happened to the movies?  In 1979, when people had enough of the liberal cynicism of All In The Family and Carter malaise, Superman flashed his red and blues in the name of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way."  According to Obama now, there only thing special about America is that we just happen to live here, just like Brits happen to live in the UK and Iraqis happen to live in Iraq.  That's it.   Like most Progressives, he's ashamed of America and thinks that Founding Fathers were a bunch of rich, white jerks whose ideas are obsolete, if they were ever useful.  (Until the election of her husband, Mrs. Obama hadn't discovered any reason to be proud of America.)

If there was anything more special about America, there would be an American Way worth fighting for, uniquely American ideas that allowed for extraordinary growth of this nation as an economic and political power capable of bringing at least two major totalitarian threats to their knees, checking the expansion of Chinese communism and Islamofascism as well.  The Obama brand of liberal "anti-imperialism" faults America with deriving its economic power mainly from greed, in the uniquely liberal-Marxist zero sum logic.

But in 1979, while the Meatheads were living off the conservative Archies till they got their degree to teach liberalism to the next generation, Superman was still championing The American Way as a transcendent force of liberty.  A far cry from the Progressive disarmament advocacy of the wrong-in-so-many-ways Superman IV in 1989.

Cut forward to 2012.  Captain America brings back an echo of American exceptionalism, anti-cynicism, pro-God, pro-country, pro-military but not so pro-military that he blindly trusts our government.  In The Avengers, Nick Fury tells the Captain that America could "use a little 'old-fashioned'."  The Avengers brings together Captain America's virtues of American virtue with Tony Stark's American pioneering individualism and spirit of entrepreneurship.   A rich man that isn't villainized for being unapologetically rich.  There are other ways, of course, to read the subtext, but some of this seems promising.  Maybe the Zeitgeist is changing again.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Escape From America, I Mean, Escape From Planet Earth

Another children's film planting liberal messages in the minds of your children.  Because there just aren't enough liberal messages bombarding our kids as they grow up.  I give this maybe an 8.3 on the Lib-o-meter (or Progresso-meter for those identifying with the Woodrow Wilson fascists since the hippies have gotten a bad rap).

Over all, it's cute.  Funny in a few places, nice sentiments, but over all, a little on the mediocre side.  Not as forgettable as Space Chimps or as boring as Mars Needs Moms.   But as at least one other reviewer has noted: "there are a lot of liberal political undertones that parents should note."

We got the tired mean army guy stereotype (as seen in the sci-fi film Avatar) amalgamated with the other tired kill-the-aliens-before-they-get-you stereotype.  The most original play on the former stereotype has been in Monsters vs. Aliens, which was surprisingly good. For the latter stereotype see James Woods in Contact.  It seems to be written to play into the tired anti-Bush narrative of the evil conservative that wants to decimate other nations on the off-chance that they might pose a danger to us.  (Slightly better than the evil conservative that does it to build an oil pipeline.)  The "conservative" folly of The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Yes, this is about the uselessness of fear and warmongering.  While the recent Avengers movie plays favorably against most Hollywood movies on the Lib-o-meter, there is a cynical skepticism about the need to develop advanced weaponry after Earth is invaded by a powerful immortal villain, soon to be followed by an army of powerful villains.  Yes, to a Progressive that believes that citizens needs to be unarmed and dismantling your weapons is the key to stopping the aggression of totalitarian political movements, this makes a whole lotta sense.  (Though it sure wasn't the key to the Berlin Wall coming down.)  Enter the current administration that believes in having no more weapons of mass destructing than the next nation, does believe in arming genocidal radicals so they can have the anti-American theocracy they've been dreaming of, and believes that only police and government agents should be armed.  Oh, it's a liberal fascist dream.

The point is, your children need to be taught that a person who wants weapons to be safe or thinks that he or she is under any threat is paranoid and dangerous and wants desperately to kill and destroy.  Or so the moviemakers think.  They were probably as disappointed as Chris Matthews that the Boston bombers weren't Tea Partiers from some anti-government militia group.

And what is the biggest threat to our planet?  The best alien minds of the galaxy answer that for your kids: It's Global Warming, kids!  In the 80s, the answer probably would have been nuclear holocaust, as played up in the movie Dreamscape.  That liberal trope is old news, since the success of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy.  Global Warming is now the narrative of choice for the progressive trend toward the One World Government.

This even makes its way into this movie, which blames our wars on our silly division into nations.   Yep, borders lead to wars, just like property lines and fences lead to breaking-and-entering.  I mean, all China needed to end the wars between its states was a ruthless Emperor to force them to be one country, which was the message of the Jet Li flick Hero.

The liberals that made this movie were not content with these as the only progressive messages in the film.  The movie is deliberately vague on the gender of the Grey Aliens, but the Greys turn out to all have male voices, and in the final scene of the movie, it is revealed that the three Grey Aliens are a married unit. Not a married couple, if you catch my meaning.  It happens so fast, most reviewers didn't even notice it.  As they share kleenexes while witnessing the exchange of wedding vows, one alien says to the other two, "Let's never break up, guys."  Same sex polygamy, folks.  Boy, when liberals set out to do a children's movie, they go all out.  Personally, I think there's something very cynical about it.

So, while Fun Size beats this at a 9.6 on the Lib-o-meter, and so does Para-Norman with an 8.7, the libs would love to introduce your kids to their more inclusive, less fearful universe with Escape From Planet Earth.  While reminding the young audience that it is the U.S. that is particularly stupid about alien invaders (unlike the more general story of the sci-fi District 9), they decided not to call it "Escape From America," something liberal radicals are often promising to do, but rarely follow through on.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bork on Modern Liberalism

Modern liberalism may not be quite the correct name for what I have in mind. I use the phrase to mean the latest stage of the liberalism that has been growing in the West for at least two and a half centuries, and probably longer. Nor does this suggest that I think liberalism was always a bad idea. So long as it was tempered by opposing authorities and traditions, it was a splendid idea. It is the collapse of those tempering forces that has brought us to a triumphant modern liberalismwith all the cultural and social degradation that follows in its wake. If you do not think "modern liberalism" an appropriate name, substitute "radical liberalism" or "sentimental liberalism" or even, save us, post- liberalism." Whatever name is used, most readers will recognize the species. The defining characteristics of modern liberalism are radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than of opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification). These may seem an odd pair, for individualism means liberty and liberty produces inequality, while equality of outcomes means coercion and coercion destroys liberty. If they are to operate simultaneously, radical egalitarianism and radical individualism, where they would compete, must be kept apart, must operate in different areas of life. That is precisely what we see in today's culture.
Modern liberalism is very different in content from the liberalism of, say, the 1940s or 1950s, and certainly different from the liberalism of the last century. The sentiments and beliefs that drive it, however, are the same: the ideals of liberty and equality. These ideals produced the great political, social, and cultural achievements of Western civilization, but no ideal, however worthy, can be pressed forever without turning into something else, turning in fact into its opposite. This is what is happening now. Not a single American institution, from popular music to higher education to science, has remained untouched.
(Robert H. Bork, Slouching Toward Gomorrah, pp. 4, 5, 6.)