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Friday, December 02, 2005

Crunchy Cons by Rod Dreher
I'm really looking forward to this book. Here's a bullet point summary of his definition of crunchy conservatism:
1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”
Crunchy conservatism might be the route to a secure conservative majority. I'm sure most honest liberals would find themselves in agreement with these principles.

Quote of the Day
"The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it."

-- James Wilson (Of the Study of Law in the United States,
Circa 1790)

Touching The Tassel On His Cloak!
Matthew 9:20-21
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."

In each of the stories in Matthew 9, Jesus had mercy on individuals suffering from various conditions. In each case Jesus was merciful, but also, in each case the individual mentioned responded to God’s mercy by pursuing Jesus. The paralytic had friends carry him to Christ, Matthew had to get up and follow the Lord, the ruler whose daughter had died pursued Jesus and the two blind men cried out "have mercy on us." Perhaps the best example of pursuing God’s mercy is the woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years (vs 20-22). The Scriptures tell us that she reached out and touched the hem of his garment and she was healed. What was this hem? The Jews have traditionally worn a garment called a tallit.On the four corners of the tallit are tassels called Tzi Tziot. These tassels on the hem of the garment were tied in such as way as to represent the 613 commandments of the Old Testament. By desiring to touch the Tzi Tziot of Jesus garment, this woman was saying that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. What needs do you have in your life? Reach out and touch the hem of his garment today. Pursue mercy!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Turn Down the Static at Mass
As of this past Sunday, we have embarked together on a new liturgical year. So we might ask ourselves: What goals are we setting for ourselves spiritually?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Results from a poll by the Club for Growth, the nation’s leading free-market advocacy organization with over 33,000 members, show that a Rhode Island TV ad campaign by the National Republican Senatorial Committee designed to help liberal incumbent Senator Lincoln Chafee appears to be angering core Republican voters and driving up support for his Republican primary challenger, Cranston, Rhode Island, Mayor Stephen Laffey.
Good. They deserve this result.

Quote of the Day
"And the Democrats wonder why they are considered weak on national security? It's not because anyone doubts their patriotism. It's because a lot of people doubt their judgment and toughness.... Just a few years ago, it seemed as if the Democrats had finally kicked the post-Vietnam, peace-at-any-price syndrome. Before the invasion of Iraq, leading Democrats sounded hawkish in demanding action to deal with what [Senator John] Kerry called the 'particularly grievous threat' posed by Saddam Hussein. But it seems that they only wanted to do something if the cost would be minuscule. Now that the war has turned out to be a lot harder than anticipated, the Democrats want to run up the white flag" -- Los Angeles Times columnist Max Boot

delawareonline | The News Journal | Politics is deeper than skin color
I was City Republican Vice-Chairman for part of Greg's tenure as City Republican Chairman, and also managed Brad Zuber's campaign for Wilmington Mayor at the start of Greg's service, and I came to like and respect him a great deal.

Greg has never really gone into details as to how he's been stigmatized, and I certainly never felt comfortable asking, but some of the stories he's told has made it clear that it does hurt him when he's disregarded simply because of his political affiliation. It's always suprised me how people grew up being told they had to act a certain way or do certain things because of the color of their skin can turn around and do the same now that they've got their freedom. I can't understand why they don't see they're guilty of the same things they fought against.
African-Americans need to stop being loyal to political figures based on their party affiliation and assess people based on what they actually do. What's in a person's heart will surely come out in actions.
The advice Greg offers here is very good not just for African-Americans, but for all people. It's not the party affiliation that matters, but the positions someone holds and their character.

"Do not measure compassion by government. Measure it by what you are willing to do for the least of your brothers." —House Budget Committee Chairman, Jim Nussle

"America is, essentially, a conservative nation on most issues. Liberalism is an attempt to change the nation's culture more than an attempt to accurately represent it." —Mac Johnson

"Congress can no more repeal the law of supply and demand than physicists can repeal the law of gravity. If you restrict the profits you can make for something, you'll get less of that something. If you restrict prices, you'll get less conservation." —Jerry Taylor

"Republicans have a majority...so why can't Republicans do something about immigration or spending or taxes or energy or missile defense or marriage or right-to-life? I have a two-word answer: liberal Republicans. The media calls them 'moderate Republicans.' There is nothing 'moderate' about them." —Paul Weyrich

"Like bellbottoms and disco, all kinds of bad ideas from the 1970s are coming back with the surge in energy prices. Arguably the worst is a 'windfall' profits tax on oil companies... A new report from the Tax Foundation finds that the biggest profiteers from oil aren't the companies that produce and deliver it to gas tanks, but are the federal and state governments that tax it. Between 1977 and 2004, total taxes on gasoline sales have been $1.34 trillion—thanks to average taxes at the pump of about 40 cents a gallon—or more than double the $640 billion of oil company profits—and that's not including the taxes the companies also paid on their profits." —The Wall Street Journal

"Our college campuses have become the last safe haven of Marxists, largely because its adherents have never had to survive in the real world, much less in a communist dictatorship. Indeed, there are more communists teaching in the State of North Carolina than there are in the former Soviet Union." —Mike Adams

"In early 2009 [Hillary Clinton] could become not only the first woman president, but the first president to bring White House furniture in with her." —Joseph Sobran

"Thanks to [Democrats], Iraq is a quagmire—not in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. armed forces are confident and effective, but on the home front, where soft-spined national legislators have turned the war into one almighty Linguini Triangle." —Mark Steyn

Jay Leno... The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has a new slogan, "Incoming!" ... You probably heard this story—the M&M balloon in the Macy's parade struck a light post and was punctured, injuring some spectators. That's when you know you're in New York—even the balloons are mugging people. ... Al Gore said [recently] that global warming is more serious than terrorism. Unless the terrorist is on your plane, then that extra half a degree doesn't bother you so much. ... According to the Pentagon, Iraq detained 83,000 terror suspects, enough to fill a football stadium. You know what you call a football stadium filled with terrorists in this country? Oakland Raiders' games.

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Random thoughts by Thomas Sowell
I love these columns of his.
My tastes must be behind the times. When I see women in "before" and "after" advertisements, I often think they looked better before.[I feel the same way-PJS]

What enables ex-President Jimmy Carter to be taken seriously is that millions of people are too young to remember what a disaster the Carter administration was. He lost his bid for re-election in a landslide for a reason.

Is there something about being rich that makes some people go off the deep end? The limousine liberals among the Democrats and the country club Republicans are the most unrealistic people in each party.

Nightmare for the 2008 Presidential election: Hillary Clinton versus John McCain. I wouldn't know whether to vote Libertarian or move to Australia.

We are so much more rational about sports than we are about politics. No one considers it "unfair" that Tiger Woods does so much better than the average golfer, or resents him for it, or accuses him of "gouging" when he collects big bucks.

One of the many affectations of the political left and the intelligentsia is to disdain crass material things. But it is the increased production of crass material things which has released hundreds of millions of human beings from the curse of grinding poverty and endless toil, and given them longer lives.[Paging Anna White...]

It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.

Since neither the creationists nor the evolutionists were there when the world began, why are our schools teaching either set of beliefs, when there are so many hard facts that the schools are failing to teach?

A recent e-mail from a man who says that my writings have changed his mind notes that this has not been all to the good. He says he was perfectly happy as a liberal but now he is frustrated when he hears the kind of nonsense that he used to accept without having to think about it.

I have long suspected that there is a part of the male brain -- perhaps most of it -- which automatically shuts off at the sight of a good-looking woman.[Um...yeah. Unfortunately]

JIMMY AKIN.ORG: US Troops Beg to Differ
Tim Jones offers the following summary of American opinion on War:
  • Victory must be assured (victory being understood as universal approval from our both our allies and our enemies).

  • There must be guarantees that no civilians will be harmed. Failure to achieve this makes the U.S. guilty of war crimes.

  • There must be no U.S. troop casualties. Any loss of U.S. personnel will be taken as a sign that Things are Going Badly. Only bad guys should be harmed.

  • We must know exactly how long the conflict will take. We are a busy people.

  • There should be a clearly set spending limit. Any overage will deducted from the next war.

  • We reserve the right to Change our Mind in the middle of any conflict. We consider that the above rules are binding, just not on us.
Unfortunately, it's hard to argue with this list.

delawareonline | The News Journal | Bishop affirms pope's stand on gays
I've held off on commenting on this until the actual document is released. I haven't had a chance to read the thing yet, but will once I get a chance.

First, this isn't "the Pope's stance." it's the stance of the Church, and pretty much doesn't break any new ground. (Except in America, where the American Church has been doing what it wants for a very long time.)

At a quick glance, what does this document say? That men with same-sex attractions who aren't able to comply with the priesthood's mandatory celibacy whose actions or opinions might undermine Church teaching should not be ordained. Take the phrase "with same-sex attractions" out of that sentence and it's still true. [M]en who aren't able to comply with the priesthood's mandatory celibacy whose actions or opinions might undermine Church teaching should not be ordained.

Where's the controversy in that?

The issue comes up because there are some in Church heirarchy (especially in America) who have been knowingly admitting active homosexuals to the seminary and then ordaining them without helping achieve celibacy. Michael Rose's book Goodbye, Good Men dealt with this topic, among others. I haven't read the book and have never been to seminary, so I can't comment from personal knowledge, but I've seen responses covering everything from he overblew the situation to he downplayed it. The one thing I haven't seen is someone saying he's completely wrong. This instruction isn't some new policy designed to "exclude gays from the ministry," as Steve Elkins misinterprets it. How could it be when it explicitly allows homosexuals with a proven capacity of living celibately into the seminary and priesthood? Rather, it seems designed to correct abuses that have been happening in the seminary system.

The bigger issue seems to be a worldview that denies any ability of people not to act on their yearnings; that sees same-sex attraction a requiring homosexual relations. "Have an urge? Act on it!" seems to be the motto of those who hold this belief. (Or maybe, "If it feels good, do it!") Such a view is antithetical to Christian living. How many times have we all felt the urge to hit someone, or yell at someone? We may not do it for a variety of reasons, but hopefully, the primary reason is that it's wrong to do so? That's a big part of the Christian message: just because we feel like doing something doesn't mean we should. Our goal, as Christians striving to perfection, is to eventually purge those sinful feelings and inclinations. As is mentioned in the linked article, it's not enough to just remain celibate, our goal is to purge those baser instincts and align our soul, mind and will completely with the will of God. Few, if any, actually achieve this, but fortunately God takes effort into account. But should we really admit those to the priesthood who aren't making the effort?

Of course not, and that's all this document says.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

SatireWire | Feature: Interview with the Search Engine
This is laugh out-loud funny.

Link via Catholic and Enjoying It!.

The Road to Serfdom
I mentioned in my last post on my current reading that I couldn't remember if I had read The Road to Serfdom before or not. I really assume I hadn't since I didn't remember any of it and I was blown away by how good it was. I'm sure I would have remembered something this great.

In all seriousness, this book should be required reading in high school or college. The point of the book is to show how Communism and Fascism are really the same thing, and how easily even free countries can easily fall into either through a misguided faith in economic planning. (He uses the term "liberal" to reference a system that shows respect for property, the Rule of Law and individual rights, so he's clearly using it in the classic sense, not the modern sense which is just warmed-over socialism.) An attempt to control even part of one part of the economy inevitably leads to an attempt to control more, as inequities from the initial control are noticed. This leads to control over even more of the economy and the cycle repeats. Eventually you reach a point at which the people will begin to resist, which can lead (rather inevitably) to the use of force to get the people to go along with the program.

Reading this book can make clear a lot of economic errors that members of both parties across the political spectrum make every day. (It's not for nothing this book is dedicated to "socialists of all parties.") Read it if you want to understand how to prevent America from falling into totalitarianism.

Quote of the Day
"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Rights of British America, 1774)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., 1:209.

Al Qaeda Killed Kenny!
South Park: the key to victory in the War on Terror.

What's really interesting is that the authors may be right.

Monday, November 28, 2005

delawareonline | The News Journal | Sisters get arrested for 'Nothing'
Here we go again.

For purposes of full disclosure, I used to know Anna White very well. We lived on the same floor freshman year of college and remained friends, despite our widely divergent political views, for the rest of our time in college. I last spoke to her in 1998 or so, though, as we drifted apart after college. Very nice, sincere girl whose political views are not exactly focused on reality. (I also met Laura, but only in passing. Just long enough to harass her as well about her political views.)

Having said this, she continues to baffle me. She's right, of course, that Christmas is too commercial. However, the answer is not to buy "nothing" but to focus on the true point of Christmas: God becoming Man. Use the Season of Advent to examine ourselves and make sure we're worthy of the gifts God gives us. Rather than buying nothing, give aid to the poor and needy, attend Church more often, examine your conscience, pray more.

As others have noted (Hube and PolitaKid, among others), they were on private property, and therefore have a code of conduct they should be expected to abide by. (Hube: "Because the mall is private property and as such gets to establish its own rules regarding conduct. And one of those rules is an anti-solicitation policy, as mall marketing director Christina Steinbrenner stated earlier in the article.")

PolitaKid points out:
While last year's protest may have simply a humorous act designed to bring chuckles, this year's was more of a publicity stunt. The protesters had to have had a good idea that they would be arrested, especially after refusing to leave. However, in the end, getting arrested worked out well for them. What better way to make headlines? In a press release sent to PolitaKid and other media, organizers enticed the media with promises of "great visuals". As usual, the News Journal ate it up, giving the protesters the attention they wanted.
The Whites and their henchmen are lying to themselves or us when they say they didn't expect to be arrested. They got arrested last year for doing what they intended to do this year. You repeat an action, you get the same results. How is this surprising?
"The mall security kept saying you can't be here," White said. "They said, 'You have to leave.' But if we're being told to leave, they should tell us the grounds why they're making us leave."
(I believe it was Anna who said this.) Do you really need this explained, or are you merely posing for the media? If you don't know why you were being asked to leave, maybe you don't deserve the right to be protesting.

On the other hand, maybe we're expecting too much from someone who works for a group started by Ralph Nader.

"We are either a United people, or we are not. If the former, let us, in all maters of general concern act as a nation, which have national objects to promote, and a national character to support. If we are not, let us no longer act a farce by pretending to it." —George Washington

"The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state. The history of the West, from the age of the Greek polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders." —Ludwig Von Mises

"We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. If the foundation be firm, the foundation will stand." —Calvin Coolidge

"Sometimes, even empty symbolism can be harmful. Unfortunately, quite a few voters in San Francisco don't seem to realize that. If they did, they might not have approved Proposition I, a non-binding resolution that claims the city opposes allowing U.S. military recruiters in their public schools. Legally, the measure changes nothing, but it sends our service members a troubling message: You're not welcome here. What a profound misstep now, with our country at war and the military as critical as it's ever been...There are almost a million brave men and women in our military. They are all volunteers, protecting their fellow Americans and asking for very little in return. The least we can do, especially during the holidays, is support them. San Francisco, are you listening?" —Ed Feulner

"The Middle East is a complicated place—well not really a place, it's more a state of mind. A disordered mind." —Ronald Reagan

"France always thought it had one last resort, one ready strategy for fending off the rage of its Arab street: beyond avoidance lay appeasement. No country in the West has done more to cultivate world Arab opinion, to appease Arab terrorists, to ostentatiously oppose American Middle East policy (Iraq above all), to champion the signal Arab cause of Palestine. It was no accident that Yasser Arafat chose Paris as his place to die—Paris, after Jerusalem, his second holiest city. Paris burns anyway. As the French seem to learn every 70 years, appeasement does not work. It merely whets the appetite." —Charles Krauthammer

More Thomas Jefferson
"For example. If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Joseph Milligan, 6 April 1816)

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