Wednesday 1/29/14

    1. The vagaries of political English
    2. When siege mentality becomes perverse
    3. Don’t Cresent-Wrench the Iran Deal!


They say English is a very hard language to learn. A current example illustrates.

Mikheil Saakashvili, former President of Georgia, speaks of two possible futures for Ukraine. In one, they’re aligned with the U.S. via Western Europe. That’s called “independent, Western democracy.” In the other, they remain aligned with Russia. That’s called “restored Russian Empire.” It’s a little hard for me to see how they’re not both Imperial outcomes considering that the current Ukrainian leader was elected, and the U.S. is the world’s great Hegemon at this point, but such are the vagaries of modern English.

Oh, of course, “independent, Western democracy” needs some help in the form of Western “sanctions” (which aren’t to be confused with “meddling”), including fêting an ex-boxer protester as if he were a head of state:

The U.S. and the EU should sanction those in the Ukrainian leadership and their supporting oligarchs—no matter where they may be—who are responsible for the crackdown. Such sanctions should include visa bans and freezing personal overseas bank accounts. Protest leaders, including Mr. Klitschko, should be invited to Washington or another Western capital for high-level meetings, and Moscow should directly be warned to stop meddling in Ukraine’s affairs.

I wonder if it’s too late to learn Chinese?


There is, as I have noted (though I think I’ll be noting it less often in the near future at least),

an ongoing debate about faithful same-sex-attracted Catholics (who Crisis Magazine’s Austin Ruse calls “The New Homophiles.”) Central to the debate seems to be a desire on the part of these Catholics to feel truly welcomed within the Church, as both who and what, not least for the value of their witness to others who see the Church (and the cross) as offering nothing to them. The leper and the adulteress and the Samaritan woman all had to bring their whole stories into their evangelical actions; why would not our gay brothers and sisters?

These Christians are met with a sense of distrust by those who suspect an intention to subvert Church doctrine (this despite their stated acceptance of church teaching) and also with something like disgust. In combox debate it is more than hinted that, as regards our homosexual brethren, and only them, obedience is not enough; that even to experience temptation is to be guilty of grave sin. This is what writer Mark Shea calls “a perfect formula for inducing despair in the homosexual who genuinely wishes to follow Christ.”

Though “we” may be besieged, there is a point beyond which a siege mentality is perverse and unChristian. What Elizabeth Scalia describes going on in the combox debate crosses that line, it seems to me.


New York Times editorializes “Don’t Undermine the Iran Deal.” Meanwhile, the illustration screams “Don’t Crescent-Wrench the Iran Deal.”


I guess nobody in the Editorial offices has ever seen a monkey-wrench.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.