Monday 9/8/14

  1. How Not to Lose to ISIS
  2. Joel Salatin strikes again!
  3. Rotherham is in you (and me)
  4. Not with a bang, but a whimper
  5. Reaching “Peak Protestant”


“I am a United States Army general, and I lost the ‘global war on terror.’ It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous; step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem, to wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry.”

Lt. General Daniel Bolger

(John Médaille, How Not to Lose to ISIS) For a writer known better for Distributist economics, Médaille seems to have done quite a good job here. He makes me doubt that “stay out and let them sort it out” is an ethical course.

We broke it, we bought it. But some ways of intervening/responding will just break it even further.


Joel Salatin is a national treasure. Amanda Marcotte at Slate pled Let’s Stop Idealizing the Home-Cooked Family Dinner. Salatin, who has the virtue of knowing whereof he speaks, demolishes her. (H/T Rod Dreher)

I heard a story about him at the farmer’s market Saturday. I was told that Chipotle wanted to buy pork loins from him, to which he responded along the lines of “I raise hogs, not pork loins. What am I going to do with the rest of the hog?” Somehow, I was told, that sparked a conversation that eventually led to Chipotle changing some of how it did business better to reflect what they professed.


One of the most disturbing blogs I’ve read in a while went up late Saturday, and I saw it Sunday morning.

Rotherham Is Everywhere, proclaims Rod Dreher of the English city that allowed 1400 girls to be raped and otherwise abused lest the appear racist toward the Pakistani perps.

If you don’t think it can happen to you, you are lying to yourself. “It’s difficult for them to see whose paycheck depends on not seeing,” said Upton Sinclair. It is also difficult for them to see whose sense of well being depends on not seeing. And at some point, that is all of us.

It gets more disturbing when you follow his link to Ross Douthat (who is as excellent on this as Rod suggests) and, for me, Rod’s own 10-year-old blog Blowing the Whistle: Troubling Information on Priest Could Have Made Me a Hypocrite. That blog concludes:

I am left with two lessons: First, the church’s child-protection rules are only as reliable as those people whose job it is to enforce them. Catholic parents cannot have faith in bureaucratic procedures.

Second, I have more empathy with those I have denounced. I have never been able to understand why bishops and parents of abused kids would try to handle things quietly. Well, I get it now. The only reason I anguished over any of this was not for the sake of Father Clay, but for trouble publicly exposing his deception would cause innocent people.

In the end, though, kids have to be shielded, and the church has to be liberated from this curse of secrets, lies and clerical privilege. I did what I had to do, and am not sorry for it.

I wish I could say I’ve been struggling with ever since. I’ve probably given short shrift to “trouble” caused to “innocent people” as I’ve blown whistles a few times. When is the harm grave enough to outweigh that morally? Legally?

But the truth is it’s sitting there steeping, as I turned my attention Sunday afternoon to further reflection on Elizabeth Anscombe‘s Contraception and Chastity. I think that was easier than the subjects Rod raises, but I’m going to let it rest before publication just the same. It was a rewarding afternoon.


I also suspect that the rain of condoms pouring down upon us will lead nearly all countries to a Japan like fate of sexlessness and consumerist celibacy, rather than leaving some to provide us with laboring fodder.

This gives new meaning to Eliot’s, “Not with a bang but with a whimper,” doesn’t it?

Such a demographic situation could be a moment of triumph for Catholics, if they ever actually followed Catholic teachings on sexuality. That would be a lot easier if Catholics who have money would come up with ways to pick up the slack for the collapse of the extended family, instead of promoting the very Neo-Con system that disincentivizes fertility.

(Arthur Rosman)


We have reached Peak Protestant.”

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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.