Thursday, 8/27/15

  1. Worse than Hitler
  2. Fear of death
  3. The water torture of infants
  4. Purdue’s high standards


[T]his is a man whose lifework has been putting up giant buildings that resemble bowling trophies, some of them in the service of one of the worst activities of our time, legalized gambling, which is based on the socially pernicious idea that it’s possible to get something for nothing.

I daresay that legalized gambling has had a possibly worse effect on American life the past three decades than illegal immigration. Gambling is a marginal activity for marginal people that belongs on the margins — the back rooms and back alleys. It was consigned there for decades because it was understood that it’s not healthy for the public to believe that it’s possible to get something for nothing, that it undermines perhaps the most fundamental principle of human life.

World leaders considered Hitler a clown in the early going, too, you know. But the Germans were wild about him. He pushed a lot of the right buttons under the circumstances. Trump is worse than Hitler. And the American people, alas, are now surely a worse lot of ignorant, raging, tattooed slobs than the German people were in 1933. Be very afraid.

(James Howard Kunstler) JKH did get pretty far “out there” this week. I cannot, for instance, unequivocally endorse this, even in a broad screed:

The thought of Trump actually getting elected makes me wonder where Arthur Bremer is when we really need him.


The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else: it is a mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.

(Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, via Sheldon Solomon) This jumped out at me because in my supplementary catechetical study 18 years or so ago, the instructor emphasized how Orthodoxy views death (not hell) as the wage of sin and how it tends to see fear of death as a primary human motivator. In this, I’m not claiming that it was unique. Apparently this view was common among the ancients. But we’ve preserved it uncommonly well.


We all agree that responsible parents should wait until a child is seven or eight years old before letting them pick their gender. Why can’t we agree that children should have to wait at least that long to pick whichever religion they’ll eventually leave for Buddhism during their junior year of college? Besides, imagine how psychologically damaging it’s going to be when these kids find out that their pastor stood up in front of the congregation and said they were sinners who deserved to be condemned, or even worse, when he said that God sent Jesus to be condemned in their place and to win eternal life for them and to pour out His unconditional, unyielding, unlimited, inextinguishable love and mercy and forgiveness and favor upon them in those baptismal waters. What kind of a monster could say that to a little child?

(Daphne Jacobson, president of Oregonians for Kids Because Science, ardent foes of cultic “baptism” of infants)


Purdue University is my hometown university, although I’m not an alum. So it’s kind of a matter of pride for me that they have apparently only graduated about 31 rabid idiots. Apparently, however, several have gone on to become reporters for TV-18, which is unwilling to let die the pretense that Indiana’s RFRA was a real casus belli.

The real story, once again, would seem to be that something self-evident (the surpassing importance of religious freedom) can become highly controversial and contentious in just 20 years. That, unfortunately, is getting no coverage, as it would require actual thought and analysis.

* * * * *

“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 “Thursday, 8/27/15

  1. Did you forget to point out that the piece about the evils of baptizing children is satire?

    1. I didn’t forget, but I didn’t point it out, either. I’ve already had a member of my extended family say, in a different forum, that for her it’s not satire.

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