Daily Potpourri 7/16/12

  1. More than an ethical code.
  2. One of many things wrong with the world.
  3. Whatever attracts viewers for our advertisers ….
  4. Serendipity.
  5. Christianity and Culture.
  6. Ill Fares the Interviewer?
  7. The Loathsome Romney Candidacy.

1

What Jesus revealed there on the mountainside [the “Sermon on the Mount”] was no mere ethical code, but a whole new existence – admittedly, one in which an ethos is also immediately evident.

Romano Guardini

2

Modern Pacifier

3

The popular press is equally happy to hype Saturday’s big game or to hype how coverups of mid-week molestations in the locker room prove that we’re too obsessed with sports. That’s because – well, see the link to this item, above.

4

From the Department of Serendipitous mash-ups, I noted within an hour on Sunday both this motto/picture and this article on eugenics.

If we try eugenics, the smart Gurus of Genetics will want to try to breed for “tree climbing ability” (school-smart people like themselves) and we’ll lose the joy of geniuses conceive through serendipitous genetic mash-ups.

5

[T.S. Eliot’s] central point in this essay [Christianity and Culture] is that Britain’s (and by extension America’s) society is neutral, rather than Christian, precisely because the formal profession of Christianity is tolerated, while the structures and aims appropriate to a Christian society are not even considered. While “a society has ceased to be Christian when religious practices have been abandoned,” it also has ceased to be Christian “when behaviour ceases to be regulated by reference to Christian principle, and when in effect prosperity in this world for the individual or for the group has become the sole conscious aim.”

Bruce Frohnen at The Imaginative Conservative. “Prosperity in this world for the individual or for the group has become” the aim of some of Romney’s ostensibly Christian political support (see item 7).

6

I used to enjoy Christopher Lydon’s program The Connection from WBUR in Boston until WBAA dropped it. Now Lydon has Radio Open Source, and he’s still good – with one quibble.

I have now listened to podcasts of maybe eight of his interviews. In every single one, Lydon has brought up Tony Judt and his book Ill Fares the Land, tying it in with something his current guest says or asking his guest about it. If I were a guest, I might think “What!? Does my opinion matter only when it’s about Tony Judt?!”

I’ve put Ill Fares the Land on my Amazon Wish List just in case it’s the most important book of the millennium. But I think OCD is a likelier explanation.

7

Scott Galupo at The American Conservative blog asks “The Loathsome Romney Candidacy: How Did We Get Here?

The problem isn’t Romney’s wealth; we’ve had rich public-spirited guys run before.

In contrast, Romney and his ilk are … are trying to persuade voters — and for all we know may have persuaded themselves — that, in effect, “As Goes Bain Capital, So Goes America.”

After reprising the failure of the main primary challengers (including a few who never entered the race), he approaches his conclusion:

The reality is, Romney slipped through — and there are troubling factors that buoy his campaign. The complete rejection of mainstream macroeconomic theory is one such factor. Cultural animus toward Obama is another. Liberals overstate its extent, but it’s undeniably real.

Most decisive is what I’ve been calling the theological fusion of social and economic conservatism. Too many evangelical Christians seem incapable of even questioning Mammon. Now they enthusiastically welcome the money changers into the temple. Like the Calvinists of old, they glorify market outcomes as a sign of divine favor.  And the cliche “class warfare” has served as a handy tool to shut down any deviation from this new orthodoxy.

I have no better explanation than that, and it seems congruent with T.S. Eliot’s view, above. It might be easy to overrate the fusion of social and economic “conservatism,” but the phemonenon is real, as shown by the YouTube video embedded in Galupo’s previous analysis. “Capitalism as the new Social Gospel” is a good way to put it.

Galupo’s conclusion is that 4 more years of Obama is a less ghastly prospect than any years of Romney.

I’m thinking we’re going to get to see how 4 more years of Obama play out, like it or not. It’s still more than 3 months from the election, but Team Obama’s opposition research staff, of which Galupo is not a part, is itself starting to air some troubling stuff.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.