Paul Smith Jr has a new home for his blog: www.gazizza.net. Click to go there now!
Friday, July 30, 2004
National review Online Store
The Purpose of Marriage
It has some really funny stuff.
For example, the following quotations (along with a picture of John Derbyshire
) are available on sweatshirts, T-Shirts, coffee mugs, mousepads, and many other formats:
A Post 9/11 quote:
I've always believed that conservatives have much better senses of humor than liberals. (A favorite quote: "Liberals are a serious bunch. You would be too, if you were trying to save the world.") This is more evidence for that theory.
Cheap Shot Alert!
got me thinking about marriage.
When you get right down it, it should be common sense that the 2-parent, one mother, one father environment is best for raising a child, even for those who take a solely Darwinian view of humanity. After all, if animals are bred to adapt to their environment and those that adapt best reproduce the most, then those humans who adapt best to their environments have passed their traits on to us who are living now.
Given that for all of recorded human history, the overwhelming standard for family life was the 2-parent, one mother, one father household, it stands to reason that modern man is best suited for being raised in such a household. How many children how "expect" (genetically speaking) such an upbringing will be harmed for a political cause?
Link via Mark Shea
Thursday, July 29, 2004
This is laugh-out-loud funny
"What you see on TV, however, are the most committed, ideological -- and, to be honest, sometimes the most mentally unbalanced -- elements of the party. They no more typify Democrats than the Sears Tower typifies office buildings. They're at the convention because they're exceptional" -- Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman
I post this quote not so much for what it says about the Democrats at the convention, but because it supports one of my bones of contention with many Republicans while I was active in the Party: They always forgot that they aren't normal.
They would schedule events or do things in such a way that they would show up if they were invited, while not understanding that normal wouldn't respond to that. A postcard in the mail to an average person will not make them eager to come out to a partisan event. A personal phone call might. An invitation from somone they know is even better.
If political people really want their party to be more effective and broader, they need to assume that other people aren't like themselves.
George Will on the (lack of) differences between the parties
Kudzu is another good strip.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
St. Christopher is still a saint
French Jokes are still funny!
President Bush to the Urban League
"Greece asked NATO...for a presence in Athens in case the Olympics
are attacked by al-Qa'ida. Everyone's skills can be utilized.
The U.S. will provide the armor, Britain the air cover, Germany
the street patrol, and France the evacuation." --Argus Hamilton
"Lance Armstrong [has won his sixth straight]
Tour de France! The director of the Tour de France says he has
seen people in the crowd spitting at Lance Armstrong. The sad
part is, that's the best treatment an American has received in
France in probably 20 years. Fortunately, Lance was able to
scare them off by speaking German." -- Jay Leno
Punkin' Chunkin' Might Leave Delaware
"Does the Democrat Party take African-American voters for granted?
Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat Party truly served
the African-American community? Have class warfare or higher
taxes ever created decent jobs in the inner city?... I'm here to
say there is an alternative this year... I'm here to ask for your
The NAACP is not the be-all, end-all of black political organizations. Why should Bush have wasted his time with an organization that has never respected him?
Heathcliff's a Democrat!
This is awful. It will be a sad day for Delaware if this comes to pass.
Link via Al Mascitti's blog. (Yeah, he's arrogant, self-righteous and condescending, but he does find interesting links on occasion.)
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
More Same-Sex "marriage"
Another response from Mike M.:
(his full response can be found in the link.)
I would simply think there were bigger problems in the world than to worry about two people that decide to love each other and would like to make it official.
There's a few problems with this statement.
1) Does that mean we should ignore any problem that comes up if there are bigger problems to deal with? Sometimes we can handle the smaller problems more quickly and allow ourselves undivided attention on the bigger problems. It's also not like we're incapable of focusing on many issues at once.
2) But let's assume there are bigger problems and so we shouldn't worry about this right now. The problem with this statement is that it's the conservatives who are on defense. The "battle" was started by those seeking to redefine marriage. This argument should be directed to them, not to conservatives who are merely responding to a debate someone else started.
3) I'm not so sure it is less important than other things going on in the world today. Marriage is one of, if not the fundamental institutions in our society. Changing it will fundamentally alter our society. What's more important than that?
The Republican party--and, moreover, the conservatives at large--preach a creed of no government interference in the lives of Americans.
But, it's the liberals who really practice it. Check out the film "The People vs. Larry Flynt." Conservatives say no one's mature enough to look at porn. Today, they say gays can't get married. Wow...that's really the government staying out of our lives. Conservatives are all talk. Liberals want to solve the real problems in the world (ie...the quagmire in Iraq, the healthcare crisis, and those who are poor and need the help). Conservatives are into so-called "moral legislation." AKA...they want to morally legislate your life. No abortions! No gay marriage for you! No pornography!
Again, there are a few problems with these statements.
1) Conservatives don't preach non-interference; that's libertarianism. A very different animal. I think the general conservative opinion is summed up by "When it is not necessary to act, it is necessary not to act," or more colloquially "If it ain't broke; don't fix it."
2) Given that, this push to redefine marriage is
the interference. It's seeking government recognition and support for something we didn't grant it to before.
3) I can't speak for all conservatives; we're not as united as portrayed in the media, so what I'm about to say is my opinion and may not carry over to many other conservatives' views. I neglected to mention in my post about my vacation reading that I finished the book on Russell Kirk. One of his driving principles is that fundamental changes to society should not take place without a broad societal consensus it should. (I may have oversimplified.) There is no such consensus in favor of redefining marriage. In fact, to the extent a consensus exists, it's the other way: marriage should not be redefined.
4) These objections are of course in addition to the moral ones I described below.
5) I've never seen The People vs. Larry Flynt. Pornography by its very nature is exploitative of women and reduces the men viewing it to animals. Those engaged in the production should not be lionized, so I can't comment on the specifics of the film. However, a few general things to keep in mind:
a) Hollywood is almost never fair to conservatives
b) That movie in particular was supporting Flynt, so it had even more reason to demonize those opposed to him
c) I know no conservatives who listen to Falwell. I really think he's a straw man kept around by liberals since he is so easy to refute. We don't listen to his arguments, so don't take him (and what was no doubt an exaggerated portrayal of him) seriously.
I'm breaking the numbering scheme because I want to make a broader point now.
A question I've discussed with my conservative friends is what sins are so great that we should pass laws restricting them, and which should remain legal. We haven't come up with a good answer to that, and it may be that Russell Kirk's philosophy should be our guiding star on this one: don't ban anything that would cause a split in the society. Although, thinking about it now, that doesn't work. Abortion, despite the split it would clearly cause, must be banned, as it is the taking of an innocent human life. (I'm thinking "out loud" here.)
I took a break there and worked on some other stuff for a while. The best I can come up with for what sinful activities I would and wouldn't make illegal is "if all (adult) parties involved consent, and it's something society can look the other way on, then keep it legal." (Gay sex: legal. Gay "marriage": illegal, since there are societal benefits associated with it.) So, to refer back to one of your examples, I probably would keep pornography legal, but would do everything I can to keep it out of the hands of minors. And the government should be allowed to work to discourage its use and production.
Actually strike that whole paragraph. I can't, as yet, state a coherent philosophy on what stays and what goes.
And we liberals are simply on the sideline responding "No to War!!!".
But you're not. It was the liberals who picked the fight on redefining marriage. It was the liberals who wrote abortion "rights" into the Constitution in a horribly reasoned Supreme Court decision. (Even many pro-choicers admit that the logic used in Roe v. Wade is "sloppy" at best.) Liberals are the ones seeking the altering of our society on many levels, rather than passively resisting war.
Check out Fahrenheit 9/11. My republican friends are LOVING it.
I've never seen a Michael Moore movie and I never will. When I watch fiction (and he does spin tales), I want it labeled as such.
What I read on my vacation
[Republicans] need a divided America. But we don't.
The party that lives off class warfare doesn't need a need a divided America? How often do they talk about the greedy rich who won't do their fair share by paying more taxes? How often do they portray whites as racist in order to win black votes? How often do they denigrate business owners to keep unions in the fold?
It seems like all they do is divide.
By the way, this quote was the News-Journal's headline this morning. I'll have to remember to compare their fawning coverage of this convention with coverage of the Republican National Convention.
By the way, I didn't watch last night and I won't watch any of either convention. If I'm going to watch a pep rally, there'd better be cheerleaders in short skirts.
A Concise History of the Crusades
I thought this was an excellent read. Not overbearingly in-depth, but still a good source to learn the history of the Crusades and why the common belief that it was about power and prestige is not true. For most, it truly was seeking to do the will of God and free the Holy Land for Christians.
Taking Sex Differences Seriously
Another interesting read. At times even made me laugh out loud. It's a book that should be common sense, but it's written to respond to the current thinking in the more radical feminist circles and we should know better than to expect common sense from them.
Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power
I'm only about a quarter of the way through right now, but it's provided good discussions of why a small island was able to become the most powerful empire in the world through good financial systems and heady realpolitik
. It's also nice to see a British author acknowledge that the American Revolution wasn't just a bunch of greedy rich men against taxes; it truly was a revolution of ideas.
I really do enjoy his Impropmptus.
Break from the convention to consider this story out of Israel: "Israel's security minister warned yesterday of a possible attack on a Jerusalem mosque — Islam's third-holiest shrine — by Israeli right-wing groups seeking to derail a plan to pull out of Gaza."
Well, that's no different from what the Palestinians do, right? Warn Jews of impending attacks on their sites?