Wednesday, 8/5/15

  1. Depravity Watch
  2. Higher education tomorrow
  3. The Un-Falwell
  4. Distress at my Twitter feed
  5. Stop evading, Starbucks
  6. Katha Pollit, abortion’s Jerry Fallwell
  7. Epilogue


From the annals of The Best Defense Is A Good Offense:

More videos will be released in coming weeks, according to David Daleiden, the California-based anti-abortion activist who said recently in an interview that he had recorded thousands of hours of video over 30 months. The initial videos show long conversations with Planned Parenthood officials over lunch at restaurants or in clinics — including a graphic scene in a laboratory where clinicians, Mr. Daleiden and his undercover companion discuss fetal parts shown in a dish.

As part of Mr. Daleiden’s ruse, he filed state papers in 2013 to create BioMax Procurement Services, a company based in Norwalk, Calif., that participated in conferences sponsored by Planned Parenthood and other organizations to establish its credibility. He also established a nonprofit organization, the Center for Medical Progress. He has denied any wrongdoing, though Planned Parenthood has suggested that there might have been state and federal violations.

Ms. Richards said, “The depravity of these tactics and the invasion — the willingness of this group to invade the most personal, private space and to violate the medical relationships — I’ve never seen anything as low.

(Emphasis added) Look in the mirror, Cecile Richards. Look in the mirror.

(I wrote this before reading a Rod Dreher blog that highlighted the same quote.)


So some conservative critics say that the main problem in American higher education today is that tenured faculty don’t teach enough …

The truth is the number of tenured and tenure-track faculties is rapidly diminishing as a percentage of our instructional work force.  People with tenure and on tenure track now are still fairly unoppressed and I admit often fairly clueless minority.  There are doubtless good reasons why in some places tenured and tenure-track faculty should teach more.  It would be better if more students had their personal touch.  But given how cheap adjunct faculty are — they work for less than subsistence — it is a big mistake to believe that tenured faculty taking on an additional class or two would produce a significant savings.

It’s often even the case that our administrators would rather they not teach more.  At some places at least, although not at Purdue, of course, the situation seems to be that administrators are buying off tenured faculty with low teaching loads and various research perks.  That incentivizes them to become compliant with the transfer of instruction to adjuncts and other temporary faculty.  It also helps them accept the emptying out of the content of general education, those courses required of all students …

[T]he biggest outrage in higher education right now is not this or that report of students or administrators whining about micro aggressions or being insufficiently trigger warned.  Here is the biggest outrage.  It is that Notre Dame might be about to surrender the requirement of courses in philosophy and theology for all students in favor of competency based goals.  If you want to worry about outrage, worry about that.

(Peter Lawler, The Future of Liberal Education) The aside about Purdue probably means Lawler followed Mitch Daniels:

The one that comes to mind most is one has to adjust to the slower clock speed at which red lights stop. I served a sentence or two in the Federal Government so this was not new experience, but early on it brought to mind an old joke which I’m glad came back to mind.  We were having a conversation, I don’t even remember the subject matter, one of the faculty members present made a really good suggestion.  I said great, that is terrific.  Let’s do that.  How long will that take?  And they huddled up for a minute and they said six months.  I said six months, I was thinking next Wednesday.  And all of a sudden I remember this old line which is that a turtle is mugged by a gang of marauding snails and when the policeman gets there and says, “Who did this?”  He said, “I don’t know Officer — it all happened so fast!”

… I’ve told my colleagues at Purdue if we are going to be around in 20 years among other things we are going to have to pass the pajamas test which is to say there are a lot of very smart people backed by a lot of very big money who are already telling students or potential students what do you want to pick up and move somewhere for at enormous expense for four years or more when I can bring the best professors in the world right into your living room, sit there in your bathrobe and get it on the cheap.


Evangelical Christianity has long had a stranglehold on how Americans imagine public faith. Vague invocations of “religion”—whether it’s “religion vs. science” or “religious freedom”—usually really mean “conservative, Protestant, evangelical Christianity,” and this assumption inevitably frames debates about American belief. For the other three-quarters of the population—Catholics, Jews, other Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, secular Americans, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc.—this can be infuriating. For some evangelicals, it’s a sign of success, a linguistic triumph of the culture wars.

[Southern Baptist official Russell Moore] rails against people who merely perform their Christianity, who assume that following Jesus is the same as being a “shiny, happy Republican.”

In the Bible Belt in particular,“Christianity became a totem to secure a happy marriage, a successful career, well-behaved children—all that, and eternal life, too,” he writes. “Such a Christianity doesn’t have a Galilean accent, but rather the studied clip of a telemarketer.”

Moore is calling for more fidelity to this Christian sexual ethic. This means talking about “chastity,” not just “abstinence,” he says; condemning “fornication,” not just “premarital sex.” It means eschewing divorce and recognizing traditional gender roles and rejecting the values of the sexual revolution. (“Can we really pretend that the culture around us is an increasingly safe place for women or for their children?” he writes. “What is this but the brutal patriarchy of a Bronze Age warlord? All of these things empower men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male in search of nothing but power, prestige, and the next orgasm.”)

(Emma Green in The Atlantic) I join Rod Dreher in my inability to think of a better Southern Baptist today than Moore. It certainly appears that he knows how Americanized Evangelicalism has become and how toxic that has been for Evangelicalism and (because of its “stranglehold on how Americans imagine public faith”) on public esteem of Christianity generally. And a Baptist who actually talks about chastity instead of just abstinence is truly wise (I certainly hope he’s not just as slick as the religious telemarketer types he takes a swipe at).


I was a conscientious objector back in the day. I’m no longer quite so certain I was correct, but I still detest cringe at lethal violence. (For that matter, I’m not too fond of 34-second knockouts in savage Women’s MMA either.)

My Twitter feed is mostly full of cultural conservatives, particularly Orthodox and Catholic.

There is a connection between the two preceding paragraphs.

My Twitter feed, in the throes of Center for Medical Progress sting videos and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, has become almost unbearable. I’ve been a staunch prolifer for roughly 35 years, and I know how evil and euphemism-laden the abortion biz is. I’m rather in support of defunding Planned Parenthood, which is poisonous in its origins and in most of what it does (unless you’re so naïve that you think it’s meaningful to equate (a) an abortion and (b) filling a BC pill request as each a “service” and then saying abortions are “only 3% of our services”).

Apparently, the videos are moving public opinion, but I’m not one who needed persuading. This is not to say “Enough is enough! Please stop now!” It’s a comment on my personal tolerance for even culture war when the war necessarily involves explicit discussion of barbarous killing and sociopathically-seared consciences on the other side.

Oh, and I suppose it’s partly a reaction to an overtone I think I hear that defunding Planned Parenthood will usher in the eschaton. Caveat: I’ve never been very good at hearing overtones, and that a good is not sublimely good doesn’t make it bad.


My question to Starbucks (italics added):

I read the exchange between you and Megan Fox (whoever she is). I thought your first reply was evasive: “may be listed as a donor of an organization the company does not directly sponsor.”
Does Starbucks sponsor Planned Parenthood directly?
I’m considering quitting Starbucks when my card is depleted.

What prompted it (the second page is where the quote is).


Katha Pollitt is helpful to the “pro-choice” cause like the Moral Majority was helpful to Christianity.


For someone distressed by the whole matter, I’ve certainly gazed at the pile-up a lot today, haven’t I? Kyrie eleison!

* * * * *

“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.

2 thoughts on “Wednesday, 8/5/15

  1. From Starbucks’s reply to Megan Fox:

    “Starbucks does not have a corporate relationship or sponsorship with Planned Parenthood.”

    It would seem, then, that the answer to “Does Starbucks sponsor Planned Parenthood directly?” is No.

    If they are telling the truth, that is.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response. You are correct. I overlooked the disclaimer of “a corporate relationship or sponsorship.” All I can say in my defense is that it strikes me as buried after the more wishy-washy stuff.

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