Tofu Tidbits* 12/10/11

  1. Medical toking.
  2. Humorless, grim Soviet conservatism.
  3. I’m insular; how about you?
  4. Fashion forecast: stasis.
  5. Humanists find a god.
  6. Progressivism in 4 points.
  7. Polar political points.
  8. The heart led the head.

* Temporarily renamed in honor of the Nativity Fast, about which Mystagogy has some more information.

1

Medical Marijuana is back in the news, with the feds taxing the hell out of dispensers in the Bay Area that pretty clearly are pushing the envelope under California’s liberal law, and with a column about how it helped a prim and proper pancreatic cancer sufferer in 1997. (From the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies.)

My position hasn’t evolved slowly; it’s more like punctuated equilibrium. I’ve never toked in my life and wouldn’t be likely to start if it were legal. I’m under no illusion that its a good thing, or even harmless, for people to get drunk or stoned.

But it’s also a bad thing to live in a nanny state or, worse, one where you can be locked up, at great taxpayer expense, for ingesting something that doesn’t by itself turn you into a menace or drive you to things that do.

2

It’s like the “conservatism” Fox now represents has become a sort of ghastly reflection of a micromanaging, humorless, grim Soviet ideological purity bureaucrat for state media.

Mark Shea commenting on Fox’s insistence that the new Muppet Movie is leftist propaganda. He imbeds the Fox clip. It’s as bad as you might fear. And then the clip continues with Bosomy Boopsy spouting off while her Masterful Masculine Compadre shouts down the token liberal they invited.

This sort of thing appears to me to be part of an ideological rabble-rousing that’s not unique to the Thing that Used to be Conservatism, though strident, paranoid progressivism has no present broadcast analogue to Fox News. I’ve seen glimpses of how the Left keeps its troops on high alert (almost all the political junk mail I get is from the Right, though), and local Righties did this same sort of paranoid deconstruction of the comic “For Better or Worse.”

3

I’m starting to feel like the liberal who said she couldn’t believe Reagan had won because “I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”

I don’t read anyone who supports Newt Gingrich for President. I can recall no acquaintance who has expressed support. And it’s not because he’s either too conservative or too liberal. It’s temperament.

And now, from a prominent Catholic convert, someone who’s concerned about his soul if he keeps running (or worse):

[A]bsolution of sins does not eradicate all the effects and consequences of those sins on the shaping of one’s character. This requires ongoing conversion, including detaching oneself from those things that may provide an occasion for sin.

It seems to me that a man whose sins arose as a consequence of the pursuit of political power and the unwise use of it after he became Speaker of the House should not be seeking the most powerful office in the world.

Newt Gingrich, to be sure, changed my life, and I am grateful for that. But it is far more important that Gingrich’s new life change his soul, and for this reason, I will not support him in the Republican primary.

(HT Rod Dreher) I can’t believe Newt’s so high in the polls.

4

Good news! We’re not making pointless fashion innovations fast enough to suit Vanity Fair!

5

The New Humanist (“ideas for godless People”) has found a god: female orgasm.

(What?! You expect commentary!?)

6

The progressive agenda is always a New Deal.  It means:

  • All stories start in Washington
  • Equality and democracy are rules of nature
  • Politics trumps religion
  • Everybody can be bought.

(John Willson)

7

The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.
–Daniel Patrick Moynihan

(HT The Imaginative Conservative)

8

I noted yesterday that Othello should have believed his heart instead of his eyes. Then I encountered the story of a former Calvinist who, as he tells it, began his journey to Orthodoxy when an icon captivated his heart for reasons his theological system didn’t account for.

Who hears may be incredulous
Who witnesses, believes.

(Emily Dickinson, “1722“) His third year at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, he wrote a paper on “The Icon and Evangelical Spirituality.” But he remained Evangelical for a while.

Still, he was haunted. He couldn’t reconcile icons with the writings of Iago Calvin. He “tackled [the] problem[] in the typical fashion of a graduate student: I wrote research papers.”

It’s sometimes joked that Orthodoxy is “the parts of the Bible you [Evangelicals] didn’t underline.” As he discovered, it’s not even that the Orthodox understanding was better than Calvin’s, but icons are a part of the Bible that Calvin just flat didn’t deal with.

Read more: How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.