Tasty Tidbits 8/13/11

  1. Kunstler hits the nail – mostly.
  2. Progressivism: a stupid heresy.
  3. Liberal bating.
  4. A Constitution interference with free speech.
  5. Bible as idol (powerful)?


“You can’t inflate gold.” (James Howard Kunstler) True, but it’s also true that you can’t eat, cook with, or live in it. If things get bad enough, contra Kunstler, I think the gold myth will get exploded. Now maybe things won’t get that bad, but we are facing incredible challenges, as Kunstler well knows.

Other than that, Kunstler’s current podcast, The Downgrading of America, is outstanding in its overview of the events of the last 9 days and I tend to agree with him that we need a more reality-based version of the Tea Party,* which may be built on the ashes of the Democrat Party.

He calls it “progressive,” but see Item 2 for why I can’t use that term uncritically. I prefer “reality-based” because the Tea Party is so full of deniers — of evolution, global warming., peak oil and just about anything else that it’s politically correct to ignore or accept — that it’s scary to think of them being in control.


The term “progressive” is ambiguous, and it has morphed so much over time that people don’t realize that Republican “establishment conservatives” are the right wing of progressivism. Clark Carlton, who I hereby channel, summarizes the errors of “progressivism” from an Orthodox Christian perspective.


In “Oh, look! A liberals asks whether something can be ‘squared with the Constitution,'” Ann Althouse has some fun with Ian Millhiser’s assertion that “there’s virtually no limit to what Congress can do in the name of regulating commerce as long as ‘it does not violate another textual provision of the Constitution.'” (He asserts that in defense of the “individual mandate” and to bitch at the 11th Circuit decision that struck it down.)

More specifically, since the famous 38-year-old right to abortion is not textual, but penumbral, lurking in the intersecting half-shadows of several textual provisions, Althouse asks whether Congress couldn’t outlaw abortion under the Commerce Clause. Would that the question were more than mischievous!


It may be rare for government to have warrant to interfere with free speech, but San Francisco’s BART interfered Thursday.

It seems that activists were going to use cell phones to organize flash mobs, who would assemble where BART police were absent or few, to disrupt BART service. BART cut off cell phone service inside stations and tunnels to prevent it.

UCLA’s Eugene Volokh thinks that was just fine. I agree, for several of Volokh’s reasons.


Skye Jethani, a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor wrote an excellent piece for Huffington Post, though I found it reproduced at an Orthodox site.

The gist? Some very common ways of reading the Bible were born in the Enlightenment, are unfaithful to Christian history, are ways of avoiding a relationship with God (“Who needs the Mechanic when you’ve got the Chilton Manual“?) and are functionally Deist.

I wish I could identify this as “a Protestant or Evangelical problem,” but it’s really more like “the Protestant or Evangelical version” (because it so distinctly involves a sort of idolatry of the Bible) of the human avoidance of God — which we accomplish, if necessary, by talking incessantly about Him, or His attributes, or His Tri-Unity, or His principles for good living, or whatever will brand us as pious while leaving us in the driver’s seat and in the spotlight.

We Orthodox have our own versions. I have begun reading aloud a full Kathisma (roughly 8 Psalms) of the Psalter nightly, with beginning and ending prayers, to try to get out of the avoidance thing. Even silently reading Psalms is too much like study. (As I write this, I realize I should resume audible reading of my morning prayer, too.)

Read it yourself. If you don’t recognize what he’s talking about, you haven’t been paying attention.

Bon appetit!