Saturday Brunch, April 28, 2018

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Hungry for some brunch?

Image result for brunch meme

In the true spirit of brunch, we have tried to offer up a little of everything: pictures, odd stories, serious issues, potty humor, beautiful cars, shower thoughts, and whatever else comes to my mind.

A friend from Brazil posted this on Facebook last night. And you thought your commute was bad:

When they first invented the clock, how did they know what time to set it to?

Is a cashless society a good thing? William J. Luther defends cash in Reason, not, primarily on utilitarian grounds, but for far deeper reasons:

The case for cash presumes that we should be free to go about our lives so long as our actions do not harm others. It maintains that governments are not entitled to the intimate details of people’s lives.

Whether they realize it or not, Rogoff and other demonetization advocates hold a progressive view of government. They think that existing laws and regulations have been rationally constructed by enlightened experts or are the product of an enlightened electorate. Adjust the requisite policy levers and one can fine-tune the social system.

Demonetization advocates are not utopian, to be sure. They understand that the world is complicated, that bad rules are occasionally adopted and once-good rules can persist long after their usefulness ends. But that just means a little more adjusting is in order. Eliminating cash, in their view, patches the hole in an otherwise well-designed system.

There is, of course, an alternative view of government—one that is skeptical that laws and regulations are so rationally designed. It maintains that they are far more likely to be a hodgepodge passed down and amended over time. Some of these rules do promote just conduct between individuals. But others merely reflect existing power structures: They were constructed to benefit some at the expense of others or to bolster a set of values that are not universally shared.

Classical liberals believe an individual has the right to pursue her own ends up to the point where her actions violate the rights of another. In general, therefore, they think the power of the state should be limited. Sure, governments might be used for good. But both theory and experience show that they will not always make the right choices. It is more important to limit the harm such a powerful institution might cause.

It is easy to see how these two views can lead to opposite conclusions regarding the desirability of cash. Physical currency enables one to disobey the government. If the government is a force for good, efforts to circumvent its orders are generally bad for society. On the other hand, if the government must have a compelling interest before it can justifiably interfere in people’s lives, a blanket ban on cash is too broad. Individuals should be more or less free to act privately. And governments should only invade those private spaces if there is sufficient reason to believe someone is being harmed by someone else. Call it a moral presumption of liberty.

Importantly, this argument for cash is not merely a defense of crime and tax evasion, as some on the other side might have you believe. It is a case for due process and financial privacy—bedrock jurisprudential principles in the West.


From my sermon prep this week: “The tragedy that attends the rather thoroughgoing loss of hope in contemporary Western culture is that we are now trying to make the present eternal” — Gordon Fee, Paul’s letter to the Philippians

Why is the letter “W” in English pronounced “double-U”? Shouldn’t it be called “double-V”?

Just in case you were wondering:  No, electrocuting yourself into losing weight isn’t a good idea.

Well, we have some scienty news. Scientists have discovered that Uranus stinks. The finding comes courtesy of a study in Nature Astronomy, revealing that the cloud tops of Uranus are made principally of hydrogen sulfide, the gas that is principally responsible for the foul smell of rotten eggs and, yes, human flatulence. Of course, I only mention it here so I can reprint some of the headlines reporting this news:

And another finding announced last week: Scientists just recreated the horrendous substance found deep inside Uranus.

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The Senate this week confirmed CIA director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state. Trump says he’s excited, and looks forward to working with him for the next week or so.

Lutheran Concordia Publishing House (CPH) says Google has refused to let them advertise:

You can distinguish between an alligator and a crocodile by paying attention to whether the animal sees you later or after a while.

Check out this guy:

This is the Mary river turtle, which is only found on the Mary river in Queensland, Australia. It made the news this week, as, unfortunately, part of  a new list of the most vulnerable reptile species compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). It sports a green mohican, fleshy finger-like growths under its chin and can breathe through its genitals.

The Pew Research Center has released a large and detailed study of the religious beliefs of Americans. You can find the details here. Here are some of the more interesting infographics:

The Mayor of Hobeken, New Jersey has declared that all city-owned, single-occupancy restrooms, will be “gender-neutral” and will have signage to that effect. And Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla plans to take it a step further asking the city council to vote for an ordinance that will make all bathrooms, including those in private establishments, accessible to all gender identities. After announcing the sweeping new policy, Bhalla then went on to complain that conservatives were obsessed with bathrooms. Okay, he didn’t really say that. Yet.

Big news from Korea, of course. The 65-year war between the north and south is over, after a historic meeting between the two presidents

893.35 quadrillion to one. That’s the likelihood of one person being attacked by a bear, a rattlesnake, and a shark. Guess what’s happened to Dylan McWilliams…all in just over three years. The 20-year-old man from Colorado recently survived a shark bite in Hawaii [1 chance in 11.5 million]. Less than a year before that, he was attacked by a 300-pound black bear [1 chance in 2.1 million]. And a few years before that, he was bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking [1 chance in 37,500]. People who do math say that works out to 893.35 quadrillion to one. Which is … a lot of zeros. So Dylan McWilliams is either the most unlikely man on earth…or the most tasty.

“In Italy, there was the pope and then there was Enzo.” This from Luca Dal Monte, biographer of Enzo Ferrari. His massive (over 1,000 pages in Italian) bio of the legendary car-maker has won rave reviews in Italy, and has just now been translated into English. You can read a fine review here, or you can just gaze at some of the most beautiful Ferrari’s ever built. Let us know your favorites in the comments:

Ferrari 125 S, 1947(the first ever road Ferrari)
250 Mille Miglia Berlinetta (1953)
250 GT California Spyder (1959)
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider
Image result for Ferrari 250 GTO
250 GTO, 1962-1964. The rarest.  One recently sold for $52 million.
Slide 5 of 15: 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinette
Ferarri 275 (1967)


Ferrari 308, 1975-1985
Ferrari 348 spyder, 1995
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Ferrari 458 Italia, 2009-2015
Ferrari 488 Spyder, 2016

One of this year’s most talked-about books is Why Liberalism Failed, by the political scientist Patrick Deneen. To summarize all too briefly: The book makes the case that the American political tradition of individual rights and liberties—a tradition many regard as, well, liberating—is in fact responsible for much of what ails America today. In a review in Christianity Today, Jonathan Leeman agrees with much of Deneen’s critique

At its best, Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed is a book that helps fish like us see the water. For that reason alone, you will benefit from it. The water in question here is the political philosophy of liberalism, what Deneen calls “an encompassing political ecosystem in which we have swum, unaware of its existence.”

When Deneen, who teaches political science at Notre Dame, writes of “liberalism,” he isn’t writing about the views held by contemporary Democratic politicians or self-described “progressives” (at least not directly). Instead, he has in mind the governing philosophy that animated the American Founders and has defined America ever since, influencing modern conservatives and liberals alike. Think freedom of speech and religion, individual liberty, equality under the law, private property rights, and other values most Americans take for granted. Think “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Looking at the Western world more broadly, “liberalism” evokes the legacy of the Enlightenment, with its commitments to reason, scientific progress, tolerance, and liberation from all the allegedly oppressive traditions (political, social, ecclesiastical) of the past.

His argument is straightforward: Liberalism has failed by succeeding. It achieved what it set out to achieve, and we are all worse off for it.

Liberalism, for instance, claims to limit government and keep it accountable to the people. But now the state expands into nearly every area of our lives. And it’s run by an unaccountable executive-branch bureaucracy.

It affirms the equality of all people and seeks better standards of living. But it generates growing economic inequality and anxiety.

It pays lip-service to diversity and multi-culturalism. But beneath the different clothes, it homogenizes our worldviews. We all think the same.

It seeks to free us from the constraints of nature through science and technology. But it turns us into consumers who rob the future for the sake of immediate gratification.

In short, liberalism aspires to free us as individuals from all the traditions, values, judgments, and relationships that burden us, but we’re left feeling lonely, empty, and unfree.

How did this happen?

The basic problem of liberalism, argues Deneen, is its individualistic anthropology. It views human beings as fundamentally autonomous….No duties, responsibilities, debts, or relationships must finally define me. I must be free to define myself. The government’s job, furthermore, is to remove such obstacles to my freedom.

Ironically, as Deneen observes, the growth of individual freedom is connected to the growth of the state. The state moves into more and more areas of life to ensure people remain “free.” In other words: “Statism enables individualism, individualism demands statism.” No longer do we view ourselves in relationship to this middle layer of community and culture—churches, families, and all the cultural institutions which comprise our local communities. Rather, we become dependent on this large, abstract, impersonal state to maximize our freedom.

Both sides of today’s culture war, moreover, have been duped. The only real difference is method. Conservatives work for individual liberty and equal opportunity through a free market. Progressives aim at economic equality and freedom from traditional social norms through the government. Yet right and left are the two sides of “the same counterfeit coin,” says Deneen.

Liberalism might pretend to be neutral between different views of the good life, but in fact, it colonizes our institutions. It shapes how we think. It’s a sectarian wolf in a non-sectarian sheep’s clothing.

Leeman agrees with this analysis so far, but he adds:

Any view of government that does not place government under a higher authority makes government absolute. This is what liberalism has done. The original liberal theorists might have offered nice-sounding toasts to the laws of the Almighty. (Consider the Declaration of Independence, with its invocation of “Nature’s God” and inalienable rights endowed by our “Creator”). But they didn’t actually write God into the social contract. The contract is for believers and unbelievers alike. It stipulates that our obligation to obey government doesn’t come from God (how could you require that of an unbeliever?). It comes from our own consent.

Once a people view themselves as their own highest authority, whatever they most value becomes their god. And that god will rule their nation. Indeed, such a nation will even take good, God-given gifts and turn them into tyrannical idols. Communism did this with equality. Liberalism does this with liberty.

The culprit is not anthropology, per se. In fact, liberalism learned to affirm the dignity of every individual from Christianity. Liberalism’s trouble is that it wants the flower (the dignity of every individual) while cutting off its roots (the fact that we’re created in God’s image). It wants the anthropology without the theology. And such flowers never last.

Don’t you hate when you out in the woods, shirtless, when the Abercrombie photographers keep following you? I know I do.

Men, haven’t you wanted more advertising in your life? I mean, the stupid video ads blaring over the gas station pump are nice, but don’t you just wish for something more intrusive? Well, your prayers have been answered:

Mr. Friendly is a waterless public urinal that integrates a video screen to show you ads while you pee. From the Dutch manufacturer:

Every gentleman knows that a toilet break is a moment of relaxation. This is when we have “time on our hands”. We seize that perfect moment with our unique Mr.Friendly urinal. Sponsors of environmentally friendly urinals are happy with that moment when they can display a nice video to introduce themselves.

As a location holder you can also use the built-in display. Communicate your message at a unique moment.

But really, why stop here? Why not a projection into the bowl itself? That would be epic. I can see specially-produced ads that get your attention with a moving target . Sort of like Pong, with urine: Pee-Pong! And, coming soon, no doubt, some sort of ad playing in the poo stall. While you’re pooping it’s quietly whispers from behind.“You know what would be great after this? Ben and Jerry’s”.

Yes, I’m basically a middle-school boy.

Some pictures of the week, courtesy of the Atlantic:

Members of the Honourable Artillery Company fire a 62 gun salute from the Tower of London to welcome the birth of Prince Wiliam and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, in London, Britain April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay – RC14D8FF2AC0
A migrant, part of a group intercepted aboard two dinghies off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, rests on a rescue boat upon arrival at the port of Malaga, Spain April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC199AD50190
PORTADOWN, NORTHERN IRELAND – APRIL 22: Competitors take part in the annual Mud Madness event at Foymore Lodge on April 22, 2018 in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The adult version of the event includes two laps of an 8km course through 25 obstacles while the kids event is run over 2kms. The race is in it’s eleventh year and is sponsored by McVities Jaffa Cakes and event charity partner Marie Curie together with other numerous charities and fundraising groups. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
This photo taken on April 25, 2018 shows people rock climbing past a 100-meter-high convenience store on a cliff in Pingjiang in China’s central Hunan province. – The store was opened to offer food and water for rock climbers. (Photo by – / AFP) / China OUT (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
A man enjoys the sunset at Pescadores beach in the Chorrillos district of Lima, Peru April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo – RC1A5CB2CF80
Newly ordained priests lie on the floor as Pope Francis leads a mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile – RC1D40B5DFA0
A statue of a chained man is on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new memorial to honor thousands of people killed in racist lynchings, Sunday, April 22, 2018, in Montgomery, Ala. The national memorial aims to teach about America’s past in hope of promoting understanding and healing. It’s scheduled to open on Thursday. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
A worker drives a vineyard fumigation tractor to spread an initial phytosanitary treatment against mildew and powdery mildew, two of the main diseases which threaten vines and develop notably due to rain, in the Bordeaux wine-growing region in southwestern France, on April 24, 2018. (Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILOMATH, OR – APRIL 25: Delivery robot ‘DAX’ rolls down a neighborhood street on April 25, 2018 in Philomath, Oregon. Joseph Sullivan, the inventor of DAX is a native of the small town. He says he plans to deploy 30 DAX-like robots to perform various delivery tasks in the next few months. Sullivan says with more Americans shopping online, delivery robots could reduce traffic and pollution. (Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – APRIL 27: A South Korean weeps watching Kim Jung-Un’s crossing the MDL(Military Demarcation Line) for Inter-Korean Summit in live news streams through television broadcast at the Seoul Railway station on April 27, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.

Finally, I hope you will take the time to listen to this amazing worship song, paired with some wonderful pictures:

Well, that’s it for this week, friends. Be nice in the comments, and we’ll see you next week.


183 thoughts on “Saturday Brunch, April 28, 2018

  1. “that the majority of the bishops in attendance had scars on their bodies from the Diocletian persecution”

    I don’t care. Didn’t stop most of them from ordering similar persecutions against others. They were lackeys, first to last, happy to wait on power.


  2. Regarding all the Uranus jokes in the original posting, here’s a little Momento from classic Doctor Demento:

    (This short clip was all I could find of a much longer song…)


  3. Apparently cheap Italian labor was shipped in to make up for some of the slack that was left when the enslaved African-Americans were emancipated. Also, southern Italians (and especially Sicilians!) were thought to be lower on the racial pecking order than Northern Italians; in fact, southern Italians weren’t considered white. As I’ve said before, I like to think that the blood of African kings runs trough my Sicilian body.


  4. Leeman’s solution?

    Everybody go back to Sunday School and resume tithing.

    Furtick Mansions and Creflo Dollar private jets are expensive.


  5. In the Seventies SF wargame ruleset Space Marines, “GPR” meant “Galactic People’s Republic”, an interstellar Communist state.


  6. Ever read collections of Stephen Jay Gould essays?

    He also taught “History of Science” at Harvard, and one historical subject he kept returning to was how bad science citing Darwin as authority was used to prop up White Supremacy. (Apparently they’d evolved beyond “God Saith” and “Curse of Ham”.

    One of these manifestations was the “Scientific Racism” of the late 19th/early 20th Century, grasping at any straw to PROVE not only was the White Race the MOST advanced/evolved (using Evolution as linear upward progress) but the Scientific Racist’s own sub-tribe of Whites were THE MOST EVOLVED of Whites. As I said elsewhere, Irish weren’t White, Jews weren’t White, Italians weren’t White, Slavs weren’t White…

    “White Man” was defined much more narrowly in those days; I know by the standards of Scientific Racism I am not a White Man (half-northern Italian). For instance, to English-speaking Scientists of the time, “the Anglo-Saxon Race” — tall, blonde, blue-eyed (where have we heard that combination before?) — was The Pinnacle of Human Evolution and all other races (even other “White” ones) would fall before it.

    The only pattern as to which races were Really White seemed to echo the Reformation Wars — European “Races” who were Protestant in the Reformation Wars were White, those who were Catholic (including Irish, Italians, and Poles) were Not White.


  7. Hello Burro, since ontology is the study of ‘being’, I thought you might be interested in something I wrote as a comment on an SBCtoday blog. My comment dealt with seeing a trans person as a human being first, in particular as a child of God first.

    I am conscious of people’s discomfort with those who are ‘different’ and that often not knowing how to ‘fix it’ for them or ‘make it right’ for them, how it is that we seem too eager to distance ourselves from them in ways that are not Our Lord’s Ways.

    What there is that makes us ‘human’ is something even more basic than our ‘maleness’ or ‘femaleness’ . . . and that IS a difference that invites us to engage with people who have gender issues on more common ground: our common human origin . . . the very soil from which we were formed and the very life breathed into us by God.

    Some in the Church are wanting to surround and care for those who are ‘different’ with great patience over time with gentle care and unremitting hope for their salvation,
    whereas others seem impatient in how quickly they are ready to cast transgender folk out from their midst . . .

    I think it important not to be afraid of encounters with those who suffer from differences so many of us cannot understand;
    or worse, not accept them as having one kind of ‘presenting form’ of that far more basic fallen human condition we all suffer from, each in our OWN way.

    The person who was ‘outed’ as ‘transgender’ IS, first and last, a child of God.
    What could be more important for us to know?

    October 5, 2017 | Reply

    BURRO, here is the site:


  8. Oh yes, New Orleans.
    Read about that one in both Gumbo Ya-Ya and Asbury’s The French Quarter (AKA “Gangs of New Orleans”).

    Didja know back then they used to call Italian immigrants “White N*gg*rs”?


  9. As my parents said that one time in an analogous context, “That’s YOUR Problem! We’ll be gone by then!”


  10. There’s a private Ferrari museum (private collection) in a Tustin industrial district near me that used to open itself to the public once a year. Don’t remember seeing a 250 there, though. (Though there was a Shelby Mustang and an original Sixties-vintage Mercedes 300.)

    The only time I remember seeing a 250 GTO for real was once in downtown Los Angeles when I was in my teens (which would have made it around 1970).


  11. There’s a bright red Avanti (appears to be of recent manufacture, judging from the 21st-century bumpers) in the area where I work; I sometimes see it going down Bake Pkwy towards the 5/405 while I’m waiting for the 86 bus at the end of the day.

    And a couple years ago I built the old AMT 1/24th kit of the Avanti for IPMS. Never again — AMT kits have lousy fit; took me twice as long as normal just sanding, filing, and fitting. (Never mind the front suspension that was almost a dozen parts, the largest maybe half an inch long, all of which had to be held in alignment and assembled all at once.)

    Actually, what I’d like to see is an “E-Vanti”, an electric using Tesla components. I remember how the Avanti didn’t have a grille, just a camouflaged radiator intake below the bumper. Now a Tesla-based electric wouldn’t need a radiator grille at all, so an Avanti body would be a natural. (Yet the Tesla itself has a blocked-off grille as part of its styling — what gives?)


  12. Everything from the most fundamental question in Horology (what to set the clock to) to Australian turtles.
    I must say I-monk, you truly do have a catholic (small ‘c’) brunch buffet!


  13. Burro (Mule) I think the owners of the Studebaker Avanti would have the same sentiment as you when the car was in production.


  14. I think Mueller must take a longer time if Trump refuses to come in for an interview. Personally, I think everyone knows Trump would be crazy to do it, but Mueller has the right to expect Trump not to be ‘above the law’. We shall see what happens, but IF Mueller is left alone to work, the results will likely be extremely thorough and trustworthy.


  15. When I drive to San Francisco down the US 101, as soon as I cross into Marin County I am guaranteed to see at least one Ferrari on the road, usually more.



  16. I think there’s truth here. The European “settlers” (invaders) of North America came from wildly different ethnic groups, the fact that we’re all called “white” now notwithstanding. That they were able to unify into a single nation, across such a great geographical expanse, has to be credited to the skilled constitutional deal-making of the Founding Fathers, and guarantees of personal as well as regional liberties played an important part in that.


  17. Worse than that, it appears that even if we had a level of global governmental control that made Airstrip One or Gilead look like the Shire and could completely eliminate all hydrocarbon emissions, we’d still suffer through the next two centuries due to what we’ve already done.

    Facing that, a last-weekend-in-port bender seems entirely rational.

    Those of us with children and grandchildren are already feeling guilty, but I think the genie was already out of the bottle when my grandfather left the farm.


  18. StuartB, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I am blissfully unaware of the workings of Facebook, Google and You Tube, the apex of my skill level in the computer area is e mail and I can use Google. So it is seems to that Google is certainly a for profit site as well as Facebook and You Tube, they are not a public service but a profit making capitalistic enterprise. That is great and I have no problem with it. I do think that the public is becoming aware of how much of their personal information is sold, used, analyzed and mined due to their signing the privacy statements and small print no one reads.

    I say on an issue like this the consumers if they are upset, oppose, disagree or feel they are be taking advantage of can just not participate in the internet world. However the old fashioned part of me which is the main part of me is very concerned about the amount of power that the gatekeepers to the internet have. What if Gutenberg had the power to control all the information that was published on his invention , that would be the age when the world was Guten free. As G.W. Bush said so well, who is the “decider” of what is to be retargeted and what is misleading or false.

    The genie is out of the bottle and I know that there will never be the wide choice of information platforms that we had in the past. If it is not on google, it seems it does not exist or if it is way down on the google list it will not be noticed.
    Would you support banning retargeting or to have simple layman language to alert consumers of the internet products what they are subjecting themselves to.

    Thanks for the good explanation on retargeting.


  19. Thank heaven, Trump doesn’t believe in global warming, or he might leave talks with Kim Jong Un and solve two problems at once.


  20. The monument will certainly serve as a powerful counter to idiocies like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson’s memories of the happy, contented black people of his childhood, and make it impossible to deny that the racism of the .Jim Crow era was anything but abominable.


  21. Regarding Ferraris —
    I see they have my all-time favorite represented, the Ferrari 250 GTO of the early Sixties.


  22. So we should all just curl up and die (or wag fingers going “I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO!”) like the PTA scene from Interstellar?


  23. Like Nuclear Winter and Star Wars (Ronald Reagan’s, not George Lucas’s), there is almost exact correlation between Pro/Anti and whether there’s a (D) or (R) on your voter registration card.

    Culture War Without End, Amen.


  24. Somebody at the Pew Research Center thought it was salient enough an identifier to use it in a variable for interpreting their results.


  25. Yes, this. Karma is an attractive thought when so many people can be seen to do vile things without apparent consequences.


  26. Remember the big immigration waves in the North?

    Germans, Jews, Italians, Poles, Slavs…
    Each wave expendable subhumans, stomped on by the Real Americans who arrived before them.

    Each wave getting a foothold in America, climbing up out of the slums, then turning around and stomping on the next wave of subhumans who would mongrelize the White Race.

    In their day, Irish weren’t considered White People, Italians weren’t White, Jews weren’t White, Slavs weren’t White… Until a couple generations passed and another “Non-White” race was coming off the boats.


  27. I suspect Kim knows that he needs friends, and a formal end to the Korean War would be a good start in making them. Of course, Trump’s “negotiating” tactics may blow the whole thing (literally, but I hope not) up
    Or Trump’s blustering may garner Kim sympathy. It certainly won’t get Kim to get rid of his nuclear weapons, if he continues to feel threatened. .


  28. I once asked an evangelical friend of mine to consider the prospect of the Christ’s return might be 5000, or 10,000, or 25,000 thousand years from now. He was stunned. He said that was not possible.

    Christians NEED to have a Future other than the one in Late Great Planet Earth and Left Behind.

    For when you have no Future, the Future has a way of happening all on its own; and without your participation to influence that Future, you WILL find yourselves Left Behind.


  29. What StuartB said. That perfection is impossible is no reason that we can’t work to make things better, whether you’re waiting for the Second Coming, or not.


  30. In the North, it was more Cheap Immigrant Labor than cheap black labor.

    Totally expendable, use and discard; there were always more where they came from.


  31. There *is no* solution this side of the Second Coming.

    Got my fill of that — and its results — with The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay.

    Passivity, Fatalism, Navel-gazing, sitting in your little box in the basement avoiding Heathen contamination, clutching your Fire Insurance Policy and Rapture Boarding Pass. “It’s All Gonna Burn… Any minute now… Any minute now… Any minute now…”


  32. I’d go with the skill of the Founding Fathers, I think. American successes without its form of government would have been much more difficult, despite the abundance of fertile land available. Without recognizing the essential freedoms, and responsibilities, of citizens, I believe that we would have been a much more stratified society than we are at present–at least in theory, since the 1% seem to have nearly all of the country’s money–under much less control by the country’s citizens. We might well have broken up our early confederation of states into separate countries, more like the modern European Union, than to have stayed united, had it not been for Madison, et al.


  33. But there is no going back to the purity of the earliest church.

    Like the Wahabi going back to the Purity of the earliest True Islam as It Was In The Days of The Prophet?


  34. Hello Pail,

    I think that in feeding ‘the hatred’, you can offer many different targets and still the ones who need to hate are never going to be satisfied . . . . . whatever we want to call the great sickness of ‘the Pharisee’, it seems to consume him from within if not constantly fed stronger and stronger ‘red meat’.

    I think that it really doesn’t matter which ‘target’ you plug in to these very sick people, they just must have someone to point to or to say ‘God, I’m glad I’m not like that sinner’ OR they begin to doubt themselves as ‘chosen’, ‘saved’, ‘elect’ (whatever their term is for their being set apart).

    So maybe today, it’s ‘the gays’, but wait a day or two and the same commenter will be posting on a xenophobic article against immigrants, and next week, the target is the entire Muslim population of the world . . . . .

    my point is this:
    it’s not the ‘target’;
    it’s the sickness that consumes the hater within until it is fed, like an addiction, and yes, it is satanically inspired . . . . . the sickness of pride gone on steroids . . . . . the sickness that no longer sees ‘the others’ as human persons . . . . .

    very sad, but take a look at the comment sections in many ‘extremist’ religious blogs . . . . . these people pride themselves in being ‘mean’ but in reality, they are suffering from a sickness and in need of Christ’s healing


  35. Yes, indeed. And it is still something that has to start with each person hearing God on the matter.

    Very few people actually “change the world” – many more changes for the better happen at the local level.
    The more organic thing is for that local initiative to spread, but be spearheading other local initiatives – e.g. community gardens, or what happened in NT Wright’s diocese while he was bishop, when a group of people acquired an old bank building in one former mining town and turned it into a credit union, an education center, and, I believe, a facility with workers who helped incapacitated disabled adults. Real, lasting change is in the particular, because that’s how God works – not with generalities, but in particulars. Even though we all participate in Christ’s resurrection, this is so because we are incorporated into the life of the particular GodMan.



  36. I like the lyrics of “So Will I” – much better for me as a poem than a song. Fine use of imagery, simile, alliteration. I found the visuals a little distracting; my mind wanted to see its own images on its own screen.

    The music, like many contemporary worship songs and today’s popular music in general, is rather more complicated than the average person can sing. But so is Byzantine chant 🙂

    Sometimes I miss non-liturgical “worship music”; I think for me it’s bound up with a lot of nostalgia for the good things about E’ism, as has been discussed lately. There is definitely a cohesiveness in the collective emoting, which I valued at the time, but found less and less satisfying. I eventually wanted off the “emotional versus intellectual worship” merry-go-round entirely. An Orthodox friend who also used to be a worship leader told me that she grew disillusioned when she realized she had been trying to manipulate people’s emotions every week, even with the best of intentions – doing so was supposed to bring everyone to an experience of meeting God. She and her husband had considered Orthodoxy, but decided it wasn’t for them – until her realization caused them to re-evaluate.



  37. It still makes me laugh that whiteness has become such a widespread and generic identifier. The Europeans that invaded North America were from wildly different ethnicities, and they themselves were very aware of it. When my father and grandfather came here from Italy in the early twentieth century, the resident Euro-Americans considered them a different and inferior race. If I’m white, it’s because I’ve been inducted into that category, by those with the power to change definitions in this society, and for reasons of their own choosing ; I know for certain that the blood of African kings flows through my Sicilian blood!


  38. Yes, that’s why I chose another identifying phrase for God as Christians understand him. “God as described in the Bible ” just doesn’t cut it, and sets us up for all the wrong questions asked.


  39. Agree, Dana. That would be a start to healing.

    I do want to point out that this is a case in which we both agree that it doesn’t take a special revelation from God for us to want to make a change for the better in the world far beyond (though including) our own souls (and families), our neighborhoods, and out towns; I might add that I think there are a good number of other cases like this one, too.


  40. I have laboratory evidence that niacin and fish oil have brought my cholesterol and triglyceride levels to the low end of normal.

    I’ll keep taking my 100% MDR vitamins as well. Most Americans don’t eat a balanced diet. Better than taking vitamin supplements, though, would be to stop eating salty and sugared foods, and cook at home – that’s when we would see a reversal in the obesity numbers.



  41. @Robert

    Yes. And then convene at least annually a service of mourning – by all Christian leaders and every Christian who can get there – and prayers acknowledging our sin in enslaving and murdering Africans and Native Americans, and begging God, and the descendants of those so murdered and enslaved, for forgiveness. Then we might see some beginning of healing.



  42. Saw it in Spain when Franco died.

    I like the Byzantine ideal of ‘symphonia’ but like theosis it’s hard to achieve and maintain, and it stinks like hell when it’s false. Other than that the Lutheran ideal of ‘let whoever wants it the most wield the sword’ is pretty appealing.

    PS Looking at the gap in God-thought between White and non-White democrats left me thinking that the GPR Utopia vs the Tiki-Torch Republic is an intramural conflict.


  43. “God as described in the Bible”

    Another wildly imprecise description, able to be injected with anyone’s interpretation, though probably trying to describe what is taught by American minimally liturgical Protestantism.

    Wrong questions, indeed.



  44. This. And the world I need to work on improving is first my own soul, and then my neighborhood, and my town. Farther afield than that would, in my view, require some kind of direct revelation from God. What has a vote actually given us? A choice between the types of liberals Deneen describes (in quotes I’ve read – haven’t read the book), nearly all of them wealthy and beholden to lobbyists and Wall Street. Not much of a choice.

    Christ is risen!


  45. If you think we have a Nones/Dones problem *now*, just think what it would be like after a generation or two of forced Christianized conformity…


  46. In the South, absolutely not. In the North…? Well, cheap black labor certainly didn’t hurt.


  47. By the way, Ms. Dozier considers the second fall to be Israel’s rejection of God in favor of a king.


  48. We do have a long way to go. I once asked an evangelical friend of mine to consider the prospect of the Christ’s return might be 5000, or 10,000, or 25,000 thousand years from now. He was stunned. He said that was not possible. I can’t really blame him. I like a quick fix as much as the next guy.


  49. It actually look like we’re going to get the currently developing Hungarian illiberal democracy.


  50. For the GPR Utopia you need a lot of privileged idealistic people, preferably white with inculcated guilt. I think we’re at Peak That.


  51. Despite its experience, the church, generally speaking, was not pure enough to resist the temptation. There have been a few Christians down through the ages who have been, but the church as an institution has never been up to the challenge. We still aren’t. Perhaps Christ will not return until the church refuses that power? In which case, we have a long way to go, I think.


  52. True, but it seems to me that the government the Founders designed – brilliant as it was – was never going to be a good fit outside the pre-“imperial” agrarian/light industrial isolated nation it was built for. I’m glad it’s held out as long as it has, and if love to see it hold together still longer – but I’m not optimistic.


  53. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – any governmental action WRT climate change/carbon emissions is never going to get past the window dressing stage. They ALL KNOW that civilization as we know it is impossible apart from massive fossil fuel use. None repeat NONE of them are going to offer up their countries for economic suicide, which would inevitably be the result of the level of action required to effectively reduce emissions.

    We’ve painted ourselves into a corner, and God have mercy on our children and grandchildren.


  54. Screw the demographics. From the looks of things you aren’t going to get the globalist pansexual regulatory Utopia but something like the rotating-felon system of government that obtains in Miami.


  55. I am reading a little book by Verna J. Dozier called The Dream of God. In it she decries the ascension of Constantine and his co-opting of the Christianity as the “Third Fall”. It’s hard to argue with that. The institution that is the church is, in the end, to blame. When will she learn that political power, in whatever form, is the essence of the antichrist?


  56. Actually, the name has been removed. It is really not a Trump tower, though it was intended to be.


  57. It may have no more to do with him other than some Azerbaijani mogul paid Trump the franchise fees to use his name on a building.


  58. There are places where “the Church” is savoring the innocence of political powerlessness even now. But unless it willingly turns away from power proffered, its innocence remains untested, and weak. Perhaps only Christ himself, along with a few Anabaptists and saints that he gives special inspiration, can turn away from such an offer and toward the purer innocence. Lord, have mercy.


  59. The problem with projections like that is that it will be very hard to draw direct lines of causality, because the system is so freaking complex. Continuing to pump billions of tons of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere is most certainly having effects… but its hard to pin down specific events to specific causes, if that’s the level of specificity you demand. Of course, that’s not how systems work, but if you want an excuse to keep doing nothing you’ll not find a better one.


  60. Rage against injustice, certainly. Just recognize that the oppressed of today can often be the oppressors of tomorrow. It is not dispensationalist despair to say this… Just a blunt recognition of historical facts.


  61. I’d never voluntarily give them one thin dime Stephen whether or not you’d call me a denier or a skeptic. Nary a dime Bro.


  62. seneca when you look up the difference between CLIMATE and WEATHER also take the time to look up the difference between SKEPTICISM and DENIAL.


  63. “Relatively few religious ‘nones’ believe in God as described in the Bible.”

    It is an assumption that the Bible describes only one kind of God. Is the “Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” of James 1:17 the same as the one who sent a plague because of a census? Is the God petitioned in an evangelical prayer circle to fix a car transmission the same as say, David Bentley Hart’s? Two books that I found helpful on this were God: A Biography by Jack Miles and A History of God by Karen Armstrong.


  64. I’ve watched its construction over the last year (?) or so here in town. The museum is directly across from my old office window. It last housed an attorney’s office with a car park in the garage beneath it. The monument itself sits on a hilltop where a raggedy old apartment complex once stood, burned by the fire department in a controlled practice burn some years ago. I admit that the design puzzled me at first, but reading the reactions from visitors this week, I see how it works. I’ve avoided all the hoopla this week. I’ll tour it later. It’s been interesting to hear the conversations among co-workers. race permeates everything in Montgomery. A local journalist pointed out there are 60+ confederate memorials of various types within walking distance of the EJI memorial. We’ll see how this plays out. Please check out our local paper for some great photos and some initial takes from visitors from all over the US. They even apologized for their response to lynching over the years. they’ll hit you up for a subscription after 6-10 clicks, just clear your cache and keep reading.


  65. CLIMATE CHANGE! Ah the shibboleth of the progressive mind. It can’t be proved, it can’t be fixed but how dare you question it. And yet I do.


  66. Don’t worry, Robert. I have no doubt the Church will once again savor the innocence of political powerlessness, even the Russian one, and that by her Lord’s design.


  67. I like cash. I like credit cards. Don’t do google pay or the like. I like near-instant amazon purchases arriving at my door two days later. I’m not worried about big brother tracking my online furnace filter purchases and deducing I don’t change them often enough, and then knocking on my door to upbraid me for the efficiency loss and waste of electricity. I do worry about the ‘system’ not working. About visa locking out my account due to suspected fraud and not having an active card to buy something (happened twice). So, I like cash. I keep some around. I like the freedom and anonymity of handing someone cash and their handing me something I bought. At a yard sale. At an estate sale. In the parking lot of Chick-fil-A when I’m trading engine parts on a Sunday to finish tricking out the jeep or whatever. Cash equals freedom for me. Credit and electronic systems equal convenience and efficiency.


  68. Watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, I was struck when Commander Waterford said “We were trying to make things better, but things are never better for everyone. For some people, they’re worse”.

    I thought to myself they should erase the Enlightenment propaganda of the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial and replace it with that, ’cause that’s politics in a nutshell.

    My jury is still out on whether the American experiment resulted in unprecedented freedom and prosperity for a large number of mostly white people because of the genius of our Founding Fathers (James Madison in particular) or because we had a rich and fertile mostly empty continent to exploit.


  69. Maybe as part of Trump finding religion he’s burning all his old records…

    Have you washed your documents in the cleansing fire?


  70. YUPPPP.

    And Google asks people all the time to alter 1) the ad or 2) the page/site people are sending ads to. It’s normal, standard procedure. I’m sure you can think of dozens of examples of ads promising something and then dishonestly sending people to a page that is totally unrelated. And if Google has blanket rules for legal purposes on topics they avoid, to dance around that would be wrong. “How to lose 50 lbs” > website promising the Daniel Diet and “Those who don’t lose weight are sinners going to hell”, etc.

    You know, I am amused and tired of the people who say I’m being outrageous and “that’ll never happen”, when it does. It’s like it’s kicked into high gear since 2016…


  71. Another Trump tower is on fire, in Azerbaijan. Three Trump Tower fires in one year. It strains credulity.


  72. But, but, but PERSECUTION! SOMEONE IS PERSECUTING ME. WAAAHHH! (Please donate using the button below to aid us in the fight against Godless persecution….)

    On the other hand, I have had many, many run-ins online with one of the main officials of CPH. A more difficult, unsavoury character is hard to find. He had been admonished and even temporarily banned because of his hatefulness and nastiness even on very conservative Lutheran sites like Game Veith’s Cranach. I am not referring to Bruce Kinz.


  73. Leeman’s solution?

    Everybody go back to Sunday School and resume tithing.

    Gosh, does that sound cynical? Look, these folks see the handwriting on the wall (pardon the awful pun). They know their time is short (sorreeee…). Trump and his reign of error is a last ditch attempt to hold back a cultural and social tsunami that is coming. They might delay it…slightly. Look at the demographics.


  74. I think you’re right. Using eschatology as an excuse to escape the necessity of active and intentional participation in politics and society is wrongheaded, and the wrong approach. If the world can’t be improved, then Christ was a fraud.

    But I don’t believe that any amount of effort can bring in the Kingdom. Those who have believed this possible (both religious and secular) have been among the most fanatical agents in history, because they would not compromise in any way, and because they were unable to see or acknowledge their mistakes.


  75. Good news! You’ll be able to do that for many years to come. Did you hear about Ford’s announcement that they are shutting down most sedans and car lines in favor of SUVs and Trucks?


  76. I should be more intentionally political than I am. Voting in elections is not nearly enough; I should be involved at the local level, which, to my embarrassment, I’m not. I routinely hear people at work talking about how corrupt politicians are, as if we are not all natural-born politicians, and as if corruption doesn’t love the vacuum that lack of civic and political participation creates.


  77. Do you promise not to use Police Powers to accomplish that goal?

    I’m not familiar with this group, but are most of them Calvinists?


  78. All that said, there is a huge noticable difference between taking Vitamin D in the winter and not taking Vitamin D.

    Some placebo I’m sure, but it was a night/day difference with SADs and winter in general.


  79. Imperfectible is different from throwing up hands and saying there’s no perfect solution so why bother. No. Rage against that idea and fight for a better world.

    If this world can’t be improved, if the kingdom can’t come here, THEN our faith is meaningless, and we were following a madman dreamer.


  80. So since I work with Google and digital advertising every single day, let’s see what Lutheran Concordia Publishing House is talking about.

    Ah. Couple of things.

    1 –

    Good summary. “In a nutshell: 1. Google knows which sites you visit. 2. They allow advertisers to show ads to people who have visited certain sites. 3. Once you visit those sites, it’s really hard to get Google to stop showing you those ads.” So, to do retargeting on Google’s Ad Platform, you have to give Google permission to place a pixel on your site, and then you have to submit Ads based on Google’s Ad Platform’s rules.

    Normal stuff. If you want to use our stuff, you have to abide by our rules.

    2 – Their page makes an explicit promise that can’t be delivered: “Discover God’s promise”. That’s akin to saying “Discover how to make one million dollars now.” Google tends to reject both because of that phrasing and wording, the explicit promise to do something or to provide the best something. In short, they level the playing field and remove cheap copywriting tricks.

    3 – Privacy is HUGE HUGE HUGE. That link above puts some strong examples, ie a teen googling stuff about the vatican, ads showing up later for “how to become a catholic”, parents flip out and disown kid.

    I really hope that LCPH didn’t do retargeting ads similar to “find god’s plan for your life…or else you get hell”. Really effective remarketing campaign there, you know they’ve seen the original content, don’t worry, they’ll see your ad about missing out on God and that hell awaits them. Plus they missed that sale on indulgences!

    4 –

    “Google is playing a risky game here by even doing retargeting. Europe is passing legislation (look up “GDPR”) to shut this sort of thing down. That’s why Google’s policy for retargeting is so strict. It doesn’t allow for any sensitive subject matter including religious belief but also including: “Negative financial status”, “Relationships“, “Abuse and trauma”, “Sexual orientation”, “Political affiliation”, “Race and ethnicity”, “Marginalized groups”, “Transgender identification”, “Birth control”, etc.”

    In short, you aren’t special, persecuted, or singled out.

    5 –

    As innocuous as CPH’s ads might seem, they were actually violating Google’s clearly stated policy, which is written to protect customer privacy. That’s a noble goal for Google. This is a good thing for Christians. Respecting our privacy is something we should really care about.

    So my original thought was, is CPH misinformed, made a mistake, or lying?

    They might be misinformed, but I think they are lying too. CPH can advertise all they want on Google, but their ads strictly violated the Remarketing rules. Instead of whining, they can Do Better. After all, the selling the product to the customer is more important. But congrats on the lazy dishonest influx of traffic.


  81. You may find this amusing but I agree with you. The ontological categories of Homosexuality and Heterosexuality are indeed modern inventions. Homo Sap is naturally bisexual and like gender, sexuality exists on a conitnuum.


  82. You don’t have to be a dispensationalist to believe that this world is imperfectible. You just have to look at death and suffering close up, and the pain of separation and finality they carry. If Christ is not raised from the dead (and we with him, at the Parousia), then our faith is meaningless, and death is lord.


  83. @ Mule, That’s a fair critique. You’re probably right: we would likely all, or most of us, succumb to the same temptation, and perhaps with less reason.

    At the same time, there is no justification for looking back at the Constantinian shift as an unambivalent victory for Christianity, as has been the wont of the churches when left to their own devices; it was a strategic surrender and compromise, at best, that quickly led to excess and corruption, and we should remember it as such. Thank God secular history has made us face the facts; we should not wish to do otherwise.

    But there is no going back to the purity of the earliest church. It was a church that had not been tempted as an institution to accept worldly power, so it was, in that respect, an untested church, whatever the martyrs may have undergone.

    And why do you assume that we are all of us on this board “well-fed”?


  84. There *is no* solution this side of the Second Coming.
    Sigh. No. It’s sad you think that.

    ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ says otherwise. Things will keep getting better. Things can keep getting better.

    That vestige of pessimistic dispensationalism needs to die out…


  85. The impetus for a “cashless” society is coming primarily from the banks and big corporations rather than the government. Of course the government makes the regulations and the banks and the big corporations run the government so there you go. (It’s strange the horror people have of giving their private information over to the “government” when they’ll turn around and reveal the most intimate details of their social and economic lives to big business without blinking an eye. Oh well just as long as somebody is making a buck I guess. All is well.)


    Here’s a really interesting article from the current online HARPER’S MAGAZINE. “Exiled: Mike Pence and the Evangelical fantasy of persecution” A go at explaining the still mysterious support of Trump by evangelicals.

    Christians have been reading their concerns back into the Hebrew Bible since day 1 (or Day 3 I guess). Compelling article.


  86. Leeman’s book sounds like it will be great for people who like to sit around and do what I call “educated bitching.”


  87. I love burning millions of gallons of irreplaceable fossil fuel in my ridiculously Ford 3500.


  88. “””For the well-fed on this board to complain about them becoming Imperial lackeys”””


    Humanity is a disappointing lot. And more of them should run for office and seek after power. Abdication of power is to willingly be ruled over by one’s lessers, and to permit those lessers to rule over even those weaker than oneself.

    The best of one’s tribe may be disappointing, but less so than the worst of one’s tribe.

    Meneldur’s Choice: “””I am in too great doubt to rule. To prepare or to let be? To prepare for war, which is yet only guessed: train craftsman and tillers in the midst of peace for bloodspilling and battle: put iron in the hands of greedy captains who will love only conquest, and count the slain as their glory? Will they say to Eru: At least your enemies were amongst them? Or to fold hands, while friends die unjustly: let men live in blind peace, until the ravisher is at the gate? What then will they do: match naked hands against iron and die in vain, or flee leaving the cries of women behind them? Will they say to Eru: At least I spilled no blood? “””

    There is no tidy moral path; stop looking for one. I like the advice: “Do your best. Weep. Get back to work” – origin unknown.


  89. Speaking of global warming:

    Ignoring Frigid Winter, Jerry Brown Screams That 3 Billion Will Die of Global Warming
    Never emind the strikingly cold winter we are just now finally coming out of. Jerry Brown shouts that if we don’t drastically increase taxes and regulation with a cap and trade program, 3 billion will die of “heat events” — and that’s just for starters:

    “The prospect is 3 billion people on this planet will be subject to fatal lethal heat events – 3 billion – and 1 billion will be subjected to vector diseases that they’re not now subject to now,” he said. “This is a horror.”

    If you’ve had all you can take, don’t wait passively for the Sweet Meteor of Death to finally put an end to the moonbattery. Just turn on a few extra lights or eat some ranch dressing so as to produce carbon emissions. If the hysteria keeps escalating at its current rate, Governor Moonbeam will promise the complete eradication of the human race within a year.

    [ A billion people here, a billion there, sooner or later that will take care of global warming. ]


  90. I remember something said about Nicea, that the majority of the bishops in attendance had scars on their bodies from the Diocletian persecution. For the well-fed on this board to complain about them becoming Imperial lackeys lacks a bit of resonance with me.

    Its all well and good to complain about the bishops falling under some Imperial spell and to puff one’s own chest out that one would be too righteous and Christlike to wield the recently obtained lightsaber against the Arians, but somehow, I don’t think so.


  91. It could have happened. Things get ‘randomly’ kicked out. You can appeal or just reapply, and then sometimes they go through.

    The Cloud is arbitrary and inconsistent. Reading coherent motive into what happens may be incorrect.


  92. Deenen is towards the less-scary end of the spectrum of that tribe.

    Yet it is a tribe which must make someone who lives very peaceably and productively along side gay, asexual, black, brown, and muslin neighbors, at least uncomfortable.

    And the question still stands: that arc you draw through **your** history, do you truly believe that is the same history experienced by those people? If not, and your conclusions are drawn from the arc you see in your history, how do you reconcile that with the very different arcs from which others are arriving into this moment? It often sounds, on the ground, like your answer is to MAINTAIN the distinction of these histories, somehow. Do you promise not to use Police Powers to accomplish that goal? Because you’re tribe **IS** using Police Powers, today, to accomplish that goal; through land use policies (Zoning), transportation policies, financial rules, or actual guys with guns and uniforms. Can you talk about that please.

    Many of the same questions I have concerning the openly religious Benedict Option.


  93. If Gays didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent them.

    As an ontological category, that’s pretty much what happened in the past eighty years.


  94. A count of monuments, to have a ratio, in different nations of monuments-of-celebration vs. monuments-of-mourning would be interesting.

    Thinking about my own city – – – we do not have many monuments-of-mourning.

    Disclaimer: based upon the quotes|verses used out memorials for war veterans lean celebratory, although one could certainly have legitimate arguments about that.

    I wonder if the ratio of celebration vs. mourning should have a great deal of variance, or be something like a level line.


  95. I agree. But I think that Eeyore is referring to the time before the Constantinian shift, and the reluctance of much of the church of those earlier times (not a universal reluctance, but widespread enough to be called a powerful consensus) to allow its members to serve in government. They should’ve taken the same attitude to power at the time of Constantine that they did earlier, but alas, they fell for the temptation.


  96. While you’re pooping it’s quietly whispers from behind.“You know what would be great after this? Ben and Jerry’s”.

    And from the stall you would here me shout:


  97. I went to the site. Deenen has 183 posts, and exactly 1 of them is about homosexuality (and this was about the legality of same-sex marriage). Not exactly an obsession.


  98. I am *absolutely* certain that nobody at Google refused Kintz’s ads because they were christian. That just strikes me as a thing that didn’t actually happen.


  99. Oh for sure, I don’t doubt it. But The Gays are just the most-irresistibly delicious of all the White Whales in the sea to be hunted.


  100. I’m not a Porcher fan – but this is unfair. They dislike many categories of people.


  101. Eh. A lot of those early fathers stood up when Constantine entered the room at Nicea. They remained standing until he sat down. They’re fine with power when it’s power that gives them goodies.


  102. On principle I have a lot of sympathy for Deenen’s points on localism, autonomy, community, etc…

    My objection, on principle, is that these power dynamics are not part of an arc. They’ve always been. The pieces rearrange themselves and fly different colors. The narrative arc, his progression-of-history, is deeply flawed – selective – as such a thing must be; and conveniently points to outcomes he and his cronies [and he has them] prefer. In the end it is a trope of “see, carefully selected history, so X must be true next” rather than “here is a problem, lets break it down and consider available options”. These Libertarians have learned all of Marx’s tropes.

    “””my radiologist to give my a solution to the problems she identifies”””

    With porchers it is how they rhetorically box the problems to ensure there are solutions you will not come to. Like, maybe, a radical concept such as adequately funding stuff; that perhaps the issue is that these terrible systems have been progressively defunded for ~30 years – and, lo and behold – many of them are struggling. Clearly, that proves they represent a metaphysical failure.


  103. Why don’t you just come out and say it, Deneen? It’s The Gays, isn’t it? Ever and always The Gays. Whatever HUGE body of ‘christian’ philosophy is written, rest assured it’s some reactionary working backward from there in order to to Get The Gays. If Gays didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent them.


  104. “But that doesn’t take away from his analysis.”

    Doesn’t it? Theoretical beliefs about theoretical problems are cheap and plentiful.


  105. I don’t doubt the South Korean president’s sincerity. Its Kim Jong Goon that I worry about…


  106. Great generalized arcs are also the foundation of systems studies, and history. And we ignore them at our peril. 😉


  107. Because it offers at least some sense that the bad things that happen/people do will eventually have consequences, apart from being a charcoal briquette in Hades for eternity.


  108. Nah, there are plenty of solutions. First, one needs to be specific about what the problem is.

    Great generalized arcs are the foundation of civic despair. And they are rubbish, unless we choose to believe in the them.


  109. As I’ve found in my actual work, your analysis can be as True as True can be, but if it points to Bad Things Happening and offers no solutions, it’s hard to get an audience.


  110. Like just about everything else in modern white middle class/evangelical culture, it’s driven by an uncritical nostalgia for the “goid old days” when they didn’t have to worry about things like racism, cut pensions, and other post modern irritants.


  111. I don’t know whether Deenen gives a solution or not; I haven’t read the whole book. But that doesn’t take away from his analysis. I don’t expect my radiologist to give my a solution to the problems she identifies; I just want her to make the correct diagnosis.

    If the diagnosis of the problem is correct, then we all can talk about how to fix he problem (or, whether the problem can be fixed; maybe we just have to live with it).

    In my opinion, Deenen’s analysis is quite helpful.


  112. A dietician once told me that most of the vitamins from pills just pass right through our system. Our bodies are much better at extracting the vitamins from the food we eat. IOW, pills are no replacement for a balanced diet.


  113. Vitamins: a waste?

    And here’s another example of the same phenomenon, not mentioned in the Perkins speech, but currently in the news. Vitamin supplements! Do you take them? Bloomberg News is reporting just this morning that “There’s not much evidence that they do any good.” Read the article, and you’ll realize that a more accurate headline would say “no” evidence, as opposed to that “not much.” The Bloomberg piece principally relies on an April 3 post from Liz Szabo of Kaiser Health News titled “Older Americans are ‘Hooked’ on Vitamins.” Bloomberg’s summary of the Kaiser piece: “The story . . . detailed a litany of scientific studies showing vitamin supplements either failed to deliver benefits or caused harm.”

    From the Kaiser piece itself:

    There’s no conclusive evidence that dietary supplements prevent chronic disease in the average American, Dr. Manson said. And while a handful of vitamin and mineral studies have had positive results, those findings haven’t been strong enough to recommend supplements to the general American public, she said. The National Institutes of Health has spent more than $2.4 billion since 1999 studying vitamins and minerals. Yet for “all the research we’ve done, we don’t have much to show for it,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, director of cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute


  114. I see. Sort of the opposite of the incarnational social practices of the early church. No better than Rapture mania, just more intellectually respectable (at least in appearance).


  115. Fair enough. But then there is also no solution in returning to an earlier stage of cultural/societal development, or in decrying the failures of liberalism, which after all could only have been constructed on the previous failures of earlier stages of development.


  116. See – it is a superficially areligious [yet White Christian] Benedict Option. And just as problematic in terms of economic feasibility not to mention racial and economic segregation.

    It is a devolutionary concept which would immensely benefit the powerful corporations and other centralized powers of which they are so deeply cynical.

    I am not impressed; anyone who can draw a clean narrative arc through history, pointing to a clear what-happens-next, should not be taken seriously. But some people really dig that kind of thing. Narrative is more important than solutions. 😦


  117. If I could get there, I would like to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. We as a country need this place, and many more like it, as correctives to all those Confederate memorials and monuments that continue to exist throughout the South. Tell the whole story, not just the false-memory creating revisionism of people unwilling to face the history and national legacy of their own racism and brutality.


  118. There *is no* solution this side of the Second Coming. People will always find the loopholes in any system of governance. The powerful will always seek to increase that power and wield it to their benefit and the detriment of others.

    The longer I live, the more I see the Early Fathers’ point about Christians being wary of government service.


  119. Based on my admittedly limited personal experience, recent generations seem to have a much stronger belief in karma than I remember earlier ones having. Where all other religious/spiritual beliefs fail and falter, the belief in karma (“what goes around, comes around”) proliferates.


  120. Porchers? I kind of like the sound of that name, but what is its definition and derivation? A quick google search has turned up nothing; it keeps trying to divert me to the word poacher.


  121. I had heard “So Will I” on the radio before, but until I watched it, I never really heard it. It is a great worship song. Thank you Daniel for sharing.


  122. Pew data.

    “””about three-in-ten U.S. adults say God (or a higher power) talks back.””” – that is higher than the estimate I usually hear, that 20% of people are crazy.

    Snark aside, the spread by age is interesting. The **ONLY** category of belief which increased is “has punished them” @ +11% …. Wow! (65+ @ 33%, 18-15 @ 44%).


  123. > what is Leeman’s solution?

    He|They [the Porchers] don’t have one. Setting aside that the premise is a very narrow selective reading of history and political thought – you know we MUST have EXACTLY TWO distinct sides – the solution eventually is: everyone should be better, more conscientious, and something or another. Which is about as helpful as handing a bag of Doritos to someone dying of thirst.

    “”””No longer do we view ourselves in relationship to this middle layer of community and culture…””” I am sorry that they that way. If he was interested I could introduce him to many contrary data-points. His degree of feeling out-of-relationship is a privilege of the affluent; the category of people who have time to write books. The true great sadness is that these smug narcissists – known as “porchers” – are the vogue among those in charge of that great ponderous state whose purpose they cannot comprehend [like say, maybe: health care, clean water, and transportation]. You won’t get any solutions from that crowd.


  124. I am not impressed with the Mary river turtle being able to breathe though its genitals, as a young man from the age of 15 to perhaps 23 years I thought though my genitals. It is no compliment to the Mary river turtle to tell them they are a breath of fresh air or to catch their breath.

    I am sure the Mary river turtle was the muse of the Sting classic song, Every Breath I Take. I am sure the male Mary river turtles hate to hear they are not getting enough oxygen.


  125. Heck, my birth family have been devotees of the Higher Power god, rather than the God and Father of Jesus Christ, since at least the middle of the last century, though they have continued on as nominal members of the Roman Catholic Church all their lives. This is nothing new in the cultural landscape. I think the people doing these studies have been, and probably still are, asking the wrong questions. I no longer put much trust in the studies.


  126. So far what has happened between the Koreas is optics. Good and hopeful ones, but optics nonetheless. Now lets hope that real substance is actually put into the pretty packaging.


  127. When has government ever been practiced as if it were “under a higher authority”? Oh, the claim that government was under a higher authority, and that those who governed were doing so on the basis of that authority and under its limitations, has often been made in history; but when has that claim ever actually directed the behavior of those who govern, rather than merely acting as a sacred facade from behind which they exercised ruthless power over and manipulated others? Anyway, what is Deneen’s solution? Theocracy? It’s been tried and found wanting. Russian illiberal democracy is reviving a cozy state-church partnership that would seem to sidestep liberal values in the name of religio-nationalistic ones, but we see how that works: investigative journalists thrown to their deaths from apartment buildings on weekly basis.

    Oh, first!


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