Thursday 12/4/14

  1. When homelessness ain’t half bad
  2. Living within a regime
  3. Kiddie Lit
  4. It’s just a little awkward
  5. Suicide by clericalism


Blogger David Mills identifies something of which I’m certainly a part, and suggests that it’s a hopeful sign:

Many conservative websites and writers, significant, sane ones, have become more and more critical of the police in the last few years and the number and the force of the comments have increased a lot in just the last couple of years. What had been — for decades — the conservative’s automatic deference to the police’s side in any conflict is no more, and growing numbers of serious conservatives are beginning to react in favor of the other side.

That many of the people I’m talking about are Christians is important. They have an identity and a source of belief and ideas completely separate from the organs of the right. The popularity of Stanley Hauerwas and Alasdair MacIntyre’s thinking among these people was an early sign of this movement toward a Christian and ecclesial identity distant from and to varying extents antagonistic to the society’s …

These Christians, who include lots of Catholics, especially those whose family traditions are working class Democratic, now instinctively take the side of the marginalized and question the agents of the state. They recognize that a gap has grown between Christian commitment and the America their fathers felt they could support without question.

Many of those who are still social conservatives are becoming cultural liberals (and economic liberals as well, but that’s a different subject). They are now the kind of people whose support for racial minorities and the civil rights movement in the sixties National Review made fun of.

And they’re now fine with that. They don’t care nearly as much as they did to be identified with the conservative movement. They’ve also ceased to be a reliable ally of the Republican Party, whose establishment many view with disdain or contempt …

This could mean a lot for American politics. Political observers have long discussed how long conservative Christians would support the Republican party. Everyone assumed that abortion would be the divisive issue, if the Republicans failed to deliver pro-life laws or gave up the party’s (formal) opposition, and to some extent it is. But more significant, I think, is this greater division over the marginalized, as seen in their growing criticism of the police. They are now in play in a way they were not before and not just in electoral politics ….

I bolded what strikes me, personally, as the pivot point. America has left me, not I her.

I’ve commented on the pivotal point for the Democrats, 1972, when the party was taken over by academics and sexual revolutionaries. But GOP opposition to the abortion and the sexual revolution is about a quarter-inch thick, its mockery of academics anti-intellectual, its pandering to different base instincts its own form of “vote your vice.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before: I’m a man without a political home, and considering the squalor in the two major parties, homelessness ain’t half bad.


People frequently misunderstand the full impact of the ideological regime which The Pill made plausible. People will sometimes say, “If you don’t approve of contraception, you don’t have to use it.” Or, “if you don’t approve of abortion, don’t get one.”

The misunderstanding behind these statements is to confuse an individual’s choice of behavior within a regime, with the choice of regime itself. We are all living in the Sexual Revolutionary Regime, whether we like it or not, whether we approve of it or not, whether we decline to participate in its main tenets or not. We all live in a society that is trying to say that sex is intrinsically a sterile activity, with all that this implies.

Part of living within a regime, is that one takes it for granted. These are the background assumptions, the parameters of our lives. Certain things make sense within the regime that would be unimaginable under an alternative regime ….

(Jennifer Roback Morse)


Mrs. Tipsy, a librarian in a Christian School, has “Book Fair” this week.

The vendor delivers giant rolling packing crates/bookshelves that she could just swing open and let the buying begin. But Mrs. Tipsy recognizes that some of the books delivered are not suitable for children, whatever the prevailing morays mores may be, so she reviews the offerings and pulls the morally objectionable stuff (the books implicitly trying to turn tweens into sex machines, for instance). It’s a lot of work.

She asked the vendor for more children’s classics and Christian themes, but the vendor apparently doesn’t get it (see item 1). The result is that even after culling, Mrs. Tipsy is unhappy with what’s left. It’s movie-themed and/or light as a feather. It’s not going to set any future Dostoyevsky’s imagination on fire.

So: should she hope for lots of sales anyway or hope that the moms and dads look at it and vote with their feet, saying “I’m not wasting my money on this stuff?”


I’ve criticized state Attorneys General who conveniently decide that laws instantiating traditional values are constitutionally indefensible, defaulting on their obligation to defend the laws and leaving supporters to scramble for legal standing to defend them.  California certainly comes to mind.

Indiana is now living out a twist on that sort of thing. Attorney General Zoeller is apparently meh less than enthusiastic about a multi-state lawsuit against Obama’s Executive Order on immigration, while Governor Pence is on fire.

So Pence is taking executive action against executive action. Legal blogger Doug Masson muses:

I wonder if it will be the Office of the Governor suing the President or if it will purport to be the State of Indiana bringing suit. If it’s the latter, I wonder what the basis would be for Gov. Pence to unilaterally bring suit against the President on behalf of the Indiana while maintaining his ability to criticize the President for unilateral action on behalf of the United States.

Of course, the Indiana Constitution may empower Pence to do things the national Constitution denies the President, but it is a bit awkward, no?


[A] classic case of a “Spirit of Vatican II” aesthetic terrorist in action. This kind of iconoclasm is a perfect example of suicide by clericalism.

(Rod Dreher on this story)

* * * * *

“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.