Tuesday, 7/21/15

  1. Consistency
  2. Education in the new America
  3. Obergefell’s substantive due process
  4. Greek conservatives and leftists both vindicated
  5. Proto-libertarianism in America
  6. Divorcing economics and ethics
  7. Freeloaders
  8. The Straight and Narrow


Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago

(Bernard Berenson via The Browser)


My own daughter just finished 7th grade at a magnet school … that has very high academic standards and achievement. That didn’t stop a boy from threatening to tie her to a tree and hurt her. In 6th grade, she hadn’t even finished two weeks of school before 8th grade boys were asking her for oral sex. … This past year, a friend of hers came out as lesbian, and my daughter didn’t celebrate along with the rest of the school, which led to other kids ridiculing her. (The lesbian girl and my daughter are still friends, and my daughter said nothing negative—just didn’t join in the celebration.)

She legitimately doesn’t know any other real Christians in her school, other than one nominal Catholic. I told her that maybe she should be friends with the Muslim girls, because they at least believe in something greater than themselves. She laughed. “Dad, (Muslim girl) has dedicated herself to being the sexiest girl in the school, and she’s pretty well succeeded. And (another Muslim girl) is a total rebel and doesn’t obey any of the teachers or listen to what anyone tells her to do.” In other words, they have been just as conformed to the Anti-Culture as everyone else.

The American model of a “Christian school” is destined for utter failure, for a number of reasons. These schools are run as businesses, and the cost serves to make them places for the children of the upper-middle class to make social connections. They are fundamentally modeled after public schools, and their goals are thoroughly worldly: to get students into the best universities with the best scholarships. Thus, the goals of private schooling and the goals of Christian schooling will increasingly come into conflict, as de-accreditation and social disapproval of orthodox Christianity remove the current social and career benefits that are associated with Christian schools.

[T]he primary goal of Christian education has to be discipleship. And I don’t think there’s any reason to separate church education from academic education. In a BenOp community, those two things should be very tightly connected, if we even think of them separately at all.

(Ryan Booth via Rod Dreher)

Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley writes, “we should expect [Obergefell] to inaugurate the greatest crisis of religious liberty in American history.”

Finally, as our children are taught about Obergefell in the same breath as Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia, they will come to see their religion’s marital ethic as bigoted. It may soon be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for our children to finish school believing the truth about sex and marriage—or to die in a Church that holds fast to it. How to pass on the faith intact may indeed be the Catholic question after Obergefell.

(Sherif Girgis)


More from Sherif Girgis:

Here’s a quick primer. The Constitution requires government to give people “due process of law” before denying them life, liberty, or property. On its face, this rule just requires fair procedures for government actions that curb those interests. But the Court has long read it to prevent governments from abridging some rights at all. Which ones get absolute protection? The Constitution doesn’t say, of course, so the risk is high that courts will make it up as they go along. To prevent that, our law has required liberties protected under this clause to be (1) “deeply rooted” in our nation’s traditions and (2) “careful[ly]” defined.

A right to have the state recognize your Number One companionate bond is neither of these. So Kennedy just declared that (1) and (2) needn’t always be limits at all. “That approach may have been appropriate for the asserted right” in an earlier case, he wrote, but not here. In plain terms, judges can play fast and loose with the liberties given absolute protection under Due Process just when … they sense that they must. This clears the path for cartwheels of judicial policy-making, for years to come. Our self-government has taken a blow.


On a lighter (?) note, Greece is in deep trouble:

Viewed from either side of the political spectrum, the EU looks like a disaster right now:

  • The conservatives are proved correct about the way the EU takes away national sovereignty: The Greeks voted in a referendum to reject the bailout … but were forced to accept it anyway.
  • And the leftists are proved correct about the way the banks control everything and everyone else gets screwed: The Greek economy has been brought to its knees by debt, provided first by private investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and then by Europe’s ruling German-French elite in the IMF and the EU. The entire bailout is structured to benefit the lending banks the most, not the people of Greece.

(Business Insider via Rod Dreher) James Howard Kunstler had his own spin last week.


Governmental prohibitions do always more mischief than had been calculated; and it is not without much hesitation that a statesman should hazard to regulate the concerns of individuals as if he could do it better than themselves.

(Albert Gallatin, 12/18/1807, via Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz)


The main problem with capitalism is that the philosophical foundation behind it is essentially a utilitarian view that allows people to separate economics from ethics and can result in tremendous injustices for the common man.

(David W. Cooney)


[Suppose] some imaginative racists did frame their objections as the claim that interracial marriage was a threat to the integrity of the institution of marriage. First, for the reasons just noted, it would be impossible to make any rational argument to that effect; one can’t plausibly claim that the purpose of marriage is undermined when the spouses are of different races. But second, the existence of such outliers would do nothing to change the overall character of the anti-civil rights movement, which was a movement, again, not to defend marriage but to keep blacks in a socially and politically subordinate position.

By the same token, some anti-gay bigots today may oppose same-sex marriage on the grounds that the law should in general seek to harass and humiliate gays. Such objectionable arguments, however, cannot reasonably or justly discredit the efforts of serious and sincere defenders of marriage. That such people are not motivated by a desire to disparage gays can be seen by the fact that they tend to understand their definition of marriage as having various other implications regarding, for instance, divorce and non-marital sex.

(Carson Holloway) I don’t know if I’ve gone on record before on “other implications,” but I’m going to stick my neck out and do so now: those who enter into “marriage” with the intent of remaining barren (“child-free” was and may still be the euphemism) are freeloaders. Considering the fabled 1000+ legal benefits of marriage (a common argument for same-sex marriage 5 or 10 years ago), I use that term advisedly.

That doesn’t mean (since I’m not a statist) that we should have couples swear on a stack of Bibles that they intend to make babies. It does mean that intentional barrenness is inconsistent with the meaning of real marriage and, absent some grave genetic concerns, morally culpable.

And it means that I would seriously entertain measures like tying favored tax treatment not to the status of “married persons,” but to the presence of dependent children in the home – after solid reflection and debate on unintended consequences.


Abba Ammonas was asked, “What is the ‘narrow and hard way?” (Matt. 7.14). He replied, “The ‘narrow and hard way’ is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. This is also the meaning of the sentence, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (Matt. 19.27).

—Abba Ammonas, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers via Eighth Day Institute.

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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.