Wednesday 6/18/15

  1. You can’t un-see it
  2. Craven Bastard Update
  3. Bernie Sanders takes off
  4. Masters of the Cosmos


Rod Dreher poses the question and reader AJ comments:

How do Protestants settle theological disputes in a culture that prizes individual interpretation of Scripture? Can texts ever be settled? What hold does the past have upon the present?

When Protestants deposed the Pope and the Magisterium, they enthroned “Scripture alone,” sola scriptura as the ultimate doctrinal authority. But because they do not agree on a single hermeneutic for interpreting scripture, and because sola scriptura thereby becomes little more than a formless abstraction, Protestants generally settle disputes by separating from one another and starting a new denomination.

AJ distills a lot there, but his core insight is a key reason I “lost faith in” all Protestant Christianity.

It’s one of those things that you cannot un-see once you’ve seen it. You’re left with the choice of forsaking “organized Christianity” (i.e., forsaking Christianity), Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. (Okay, maybe you could throw in Byzantine Rite Catholicism, Oriental Orthodox, and conceivably even Anglicanism.)


Wow! I’m a microaggressor and didn’t even know it! I can kiss that UC teaching gig goodbye!

[Microaggression Examples:] “There is only one race, the human race.”

“I don’t believe in race.” …

Eugene Volokh, who, God bless him, is unrepentant:

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m just going to keep on microaggressing. I like to think that I’m generally polite, so I won’t express these views rudely. And I try not to inject my own irrelevant opinions into classes I teach, so there are many situations in which I won’t bring up these views simply because it’s not my job to express my views in those contexts. But the document that I quote isn’t about keeping classes on-topic or preventing presonal insults — it’s about suppressing particular viewpoints. And what’s tenure for, if not to resist these attempts to stop the expression of unpopular views?

But I’m afraid that many faculty members who aren’t yet tenured, many adjuncts and lecturers who aren’t on the tenure ladder, many staff members, and likely even many students — and perhaps even quite a few tenured faculty members as well — will get the message that certain viewpoints are best not expressed when you’re working for UC, whether in the classroom, in casual discussions, in scholarship, in op-eds, on blogs, or elsewhere. (Remember that when talk turns to speech that supposedly creates a “hostile learning environment,” speech off campus or among supposed friends can easily be condemned as creating such an environment, once others on campus learn about it.) A serious blow to academic freedom and to freedom of discourse more generally, courtesy of the University of California administration.

This is the kind of thinking that led another “UC,” University College London, summarily to sack a Nobel Laureate, no less, for a sexist joke for which he apologized.


The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bernie Sanders campaign is seeing surprising support.

Do you suppose it might be because he’s one of only two or three candidates of either party that might actually say, of the Too Big To Fail, “then break them into pieces small enough to fail”?

Of course, that version is pure projection, but it’s what I find endearing about Sanders and Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. That so few candidates would say that is a mark of who owns the government, though those forces don’t yet own these two.


Neoconservatism has prevailed, but only in foreign policy. Today the target is Vladimir Putin and Russia, and everyone in Washington agrees he needs to be taught a lesson. Congress voted last week voted to compel the administration to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, including offensive weapons—against the administration’s judgement. The Times story noted that the arms shipments would open a rift between the Washington and France and Germany, which are hesitant about any measure which would escalate the fighting. It would seem that Congress has bought whole hog into the Wolfowitz doctrine, widely derided as extremist when it was leaked in 1992, according to which the United States should maintain dominance in every region of the world, and that no other nation should aspire to a greater role, even in its own geographic area.

(Scott McConnell) Paul Saunders has also written on why arming Ukraine is a terrible idea, though it’s unlikely to dissuade adherents of the illusion that the U.S. can be the dominant power of all realms of the cosmos, visible and invisible, and who profit financially and politically by fostering it.

This is neoconservatism’s triumph: the creation of an entire Beltway industry, honeycombed through Congress and largely bipartisan, which finds political life not worth living without the prospect of confrontation with a distant enemy. The notion of treating Russia as a great power, acknowledging that Russia has serious security interests on its borders and treating those interests respectfully, does not occur to its members. Detente for them is a dirty word, akin to appeasement.

In the meantime, we are on the verge of losing Baltimore, a major American eastern seaboard city, to lawlessness. From the get tough conservatives, and the liberal interventionists allied to them, not a peep about that. From neither group does one hear either defense of the police or meaningful proposals to salvage a city on the brink.

It’s as if they recognize that restoring the rule of law to Baltimore would be difficult, requiring a thoughtful balance between economic investment, community organizing, and law enforcement—and would engage many layers of complicated politics. Foreign policy by contrast is easy: just send weapons to the good guys. If that doesn’t work, escalate. What could conceivably go wrong?


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“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.