Monday 8/18/14

  1. Against Obsessive Sexuality
  2. SPLC does something unexpected
  3. The tone-deaf Cardinal
  4. Steyn on Police Lethal Force
  5. Not a real sabbatical

1

This past March, I wrote a feature essay for First Things called “Against Heterosexuality.” Today, I published a follow-up Web Exclusive entitled “Against Obsessive Sexuality.” Those will be the last two pieces I write on that subject for a very long time.

In part, this is because I’m entering religious life at the end of this month and won’t be writing much of anything for the next several years. (Please pray for me.) But I also have a more principled reason to sign off before I ship off. I have come to believe that spending all of our time talking about these venereal issues does more to compound the problem than to solve it.

The sexual chaos in our culture is real and tragic. But it’s more an effect than a cause. The root problem is not so much sex as it is the lack of anything but sex. By failing to present people with higher goods more worthy of their love and attention, we keep the sex-as-summumbonum lie securely embedded in their minds, which will continue to damn nearly every attempt we make to set them straight on the particulars.

This inordinate obsession leads people today to expect more from sex than it can ever possibly provide, which in turn gives rise to the wide array of dysfunction we see in this realm all around us, from Facebook’s 50 genders to Newsweek’s 500,000 polyamorous couples. “I notice things about my personality that aren’t straightforwardly entailed by maleness even though I have male genitalia.” Why yes, yes you do, because there’s a lot more to who you are than just your sex. “Having a single sexual partner doesn’t bring comprehensive fulfillment to my life.” Why no, no it doesn’t, because there’s a lot more to the good life than just sex.

(Michael W. Hannon at Ethika Politika) There are several paragraphs more, not to mention the prior work Hannon links to.

2

I always learn something at the advanced practitioner seminar in my legal concentration, held around now each August. This year, for instance, I learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center actually has compiled some useful information on, of all things, poverty. As you can imagine if you visit SPLC’s homepage, it wasn’t easy to find actual poverty information, but I trusted my colleagues, and eventually found an example.

And here I thought SPLC’s sole purpose was to track hate groups – real ones like Klan and Neo-Nazi’s, but also those whose hate is an SPLC projection because the group is opposed to SPLC positions on the trendy issues of LGBT Rights.

It seems pretty clear to me that SPLC has strayed far from its roots, capitalizing on poverty just to become a prominent general-purpose lefty group. Its slanderously broad “hate group” brush, ironically, makes it a sort of hate group itself, and pandering to other haters.

So I definitely will not be joining the lawyerly Groupies when Morris Dees comes to my fair state in a month or two.

3

I’ve never been Roman Catholic and I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a Latin Mass, but having sung many Masses (which really are concert pieces, not church pieces) I can understand a deep affection for the Latin Mass by some Catholic faithful.

For that reason and another (bolded below), I’m kind of appalled at the tone-deafness of of Cardinal Dolan:

The archdiocese of New York plans to close Holy Innocents, a parish in a business district a few blocks from Times Square, well known not only for its Latin Masses but for its pro-life work, and as place for people working nearby and visitors to the city to pray.

The reasons cited for the potential closure were that the church is not considered by the advisory board to be “an active, vibrant community of faith,” according to a letter from Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, sent in response to concerned parishioner and Frick Institute employee Valeria Kondratiev. “A parish church is meant to be a center of worship and not a museum,” he went on to say, addressing her concerns for the enormous, exquisite and priceless Constantino Brumidi mural affixed above the altar that would, in her opinion, most likely be unsalvageable if the church were closed.

This comes right on the tails of an immense $700,000 renovation project undergone just last year with most of the money going to restore the Brumidi mural. The project was paid for in major part by donations from parishioners and partly overseen by the same Archdiocese that may have known far in advance of the church’s potential for consolidation. “Some people … gave until it hurt,” parishioner Ron Mirro said. “It’s just very upsetting.”

(David Mills and the New York Observer, emphasis added)

4

American police have grown too comfortable with the routine use of lethal force. To reprise a few statistics I cited three months ago:

So the biggest government in the free world chooses not to keep statistics on how many people get shot by law enforcement. So be it. It does keep figures on “justifiable homicide”, which it defines as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement official in the line of duty“. When is a police homicide not “justifiable”?Ah, well. At any rate, for 2012, the corpse count was 410.

By comparison, for the years 2012 and 2013 in England and Wales:

‘No fatal police shootings.’

In the Netherlands:

‘The average for the last 35 years is three dead and 15 injured…’

In Germany, a nation of 80 million people, police in 2011 fatally shot six persons. In Denmark, police shot 11 people in 11 years, and this was felt to be so disturbing that the National Police Commissioner held an inquiry into why his cops had gotten so trigger-happy. In Australia, 41 people were shot by police in eight years, and the then Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone (whose friend thinks I’m “eminently shaggable“, but I digress) thought that that was too high. In Iceland, police have fatally shot just one suspect. That’s one guy in the entire history of the country. He was killed by police last December.

So comparisons between the kill rates from American police and those of other developed nations aren’t worth bothering with. Indeed, the “justifiable homicides” of US cops are more like the total murder count for other advanced societies….

(Mark Steyn. H/T Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy) Let the chorus of American Exceptionalists begin.

5

My reasons aren’t Michael Hannon’s reasons, nor are the shades likely to go down completely, but a reshuffle of priorities, with a neglected matter or two shooting way up the list, is likely to reduce my blogging to well below almost every day.

But I think I agree with Hannon, so sexualia is (unless I break my resolve) going to figure less prominently. If I ever decided that same sex marriage is an ontological possibility, and not a solecism on the grammar of the universe, I’ll be sure to let you know. Legal topics touching on the fiction referred to as “same-sex marriage” are likely to continue.

In general, religion is likely to become more prominent, too, though not to the exclusion of all else. That’s been happening without explicit mention recently anyway.

* * * * *

“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.