Thursday, 12/11/14

  1. Just two requests: …
  2. We used to say “under the radar”
  3. You knew, didn’t you?
  4. Abandoning chemical uterine defoliants is a start
  5. Our sincere, untrustworthy Governor

1

May I make two requests? Love me, but remember that you cannot be more merciful than God. It isn’t mercy to affirm same-sex acts as good. Don’t compromise truth; help me to live in harmony with it.

(Jean Lloyd)

2

If you keep your eyes fixed on your goal and make a concerted effort to make n steps of progress in its direction for every n steps you take, then you will quickly happen upon a wall with a gate in it, and a guard at that gate will demand to see your permit, degree, qualification or certificate before letting you pass through that gate. And the process of you getting that permit, degree, qualification or certificate will end with somebody else telling you what your goal ought to be. The goal is, universally, to accumulate things: dollars or stripes on your uniform or publications and citations, or earwax. Details don’t matter, but what matters is that these things never have much of anything at all to do with your original goal. And although many people rationalize that such things are necessities, or means to an end, it is very hard to convince yourself that expending all your energies in lifelong pursuit of earwax so that you can get back to your original goal—what was it again?—is at all reasonable. These, then, are your two options: march (almost) in place, or accept somebody else’s marching orders—and march off to spend your whole life collecting earwax.

(Dmitri Orlov at Club Orlov) Orlov then goes on to describe Venkatesh Rao’s third option, which makes a little more progress than marching (almost) in place but keeps one from getting credentialed or defenestrated: the strategy of Minimum Viable Sociopathy, which pretty well describes this blog.

3

More Orlov:

After the National-Socialist episode in Germany, many good Germans voiced regrets at not speaking up, claiming that they didn’t know what was being done in their name. But we do not have that excuse: we all knew all along.

Seriously: who is surprised at the torture report? Didn’t we all know in our hearts what was going on, and didn’t many rejoice secretly that our “necessary” dirty-work was being done discreetly for us, so we could plausibly deny knowledge? I have at least one old friend from Christian boarding school days who seems positively exultant that we did such things to human beings.

4

Well, I suppose this is a start: The Return of the Rhythm Method.

It’s good that young women are rebelling against chemical uterine defoliants, even if they’ve underestimated the side-effects. Now they need to take the next steps: abstain during fertile days (instead of using condoms) and then start abstaining entirely if you’re not willing, in case of failure, to have a baby now, or with this particular hot guy, or whatever.

Nobody’s going to get to heaven by “abstaining,” but it’s sorta kinda in the same general objective neighborhood as chastity. Who knows what else you’ll encounter in that neighborhood?

5

Governor Pence is going on a trade trip to Israel, funded by Christians United for Israel.

CUFI is educating tens of thousands of Christians across the United States about the biblical mandate and moral imperative to stand with Israel through 40 events a month.

We believe that the Jewish people have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right.

(CUFI Website, italics added) In other words, CUFI adheres to the unhistoric but common Evangelical même (which may have spread beyond Evangelicalism, but it’s still unhistoric) that the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophesy (and that we’d better do Israel’s bidding if we want God’s blessing).

CUFI may believe more than that of the Dispensationalist errors, but that’s enough to make me less than thrilled that the Governor is traveling on their tab, and to count this as another reason why I’m not keen on him becoming a Presidential candidate. (Yes, it does matter what you believe, especially if you’re sincere, and the Governor hasn’t given me much reason I recall to doubt his sincerity – other than calling this a “trade trip.”)

* * * * *

“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.