Thursday, 12/3/15

  1. Zero to Versimilitude in five days
  2. Diningenuous posturing
  3. ISIS is sui generis
  4. Wood v. Jaklevic kinda makes my mouth water
  5. Something Weird from Focus on the Family

1

The New York Times has diligently accomplished zero to versimilitude in five days. That is what we want from the Press, right? Making sense from senselessness:

The man she had married professed to be deeply religious. But after more than seven years with Robert L. Dear Jr., Barbara Micheau had come to see life with him as a kind of hell on earth.

By January 1993, she had had enough. In a sworn affidavit as part of her divorce case, Ms. Micheau described Mr. Dear as a serial philanderer and a problem gambler, a man who kicked her, beat her head against the floor and fathered two children with other women while they were together. He found excuses for his transgressions, she said, in his idiosyncratic views on Christian eschatology and the nature of salvation.

“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Ms. Micheau said in the court document. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”

Sources are not totally consistent with each other, so you can cherry-pick the parts that particularly please you, as I’ve just done.

The Washington Post version cuts to the progressive talking point immediately:

Before his arrest for last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Robert Lewis Dear had on several occasions been accused of erupting in bursts of violence, particularly toward women.

Having been a reader of both for a while now, I’m disappointed in the Post, which generally seems saner than the New York Times on social issues.

But I shall now walk around proudly announcing that I understand this all fully: Robert L. Dear, Jr. is a mentally ill, sex-crazed one-point Calvinist with prophecy obsession.

Case closed. Just in time for San Bernadino. Look! A squirrel!

2

Sometimes, I can be a little slow. I posted yesterday on how people object to supposedly intemperate language when what they really object to is the substantive position being advanced.

Well, duh. We’re seeing a firestorm of this sort of thing in the wake of the Colorado Springs shooting.

Pro-life bluntness, which nobody intelligent claims is incitement unprotected by the First Amendment (see Popehat’s bullseye on this Tuesday), is nevertheless excoriated because there are unhinged people in the world who might become marginally more unhinged by hearing or reading the blunt truth.

Except the real point for people like, say, Katha Pollit, is that the speech isn’t true at all. Abortion is just fine, and building a business on legal abortion is The American Way.

A majority of Americans, according to recent Pew data, believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Do we want to live in a country where extremists use violence to deny women legal health care, and people whose words may well spur them to action insist they have nothing to do with it?

I think it says something about guilty consciences when people seize on the tone of a condemnation, or to pick away at it’s periphery (as happened to Carly Fiorina’s characterization of the summer Planned Parenthood exposé videos), rather that trying to refute its substance

Pre-publication update:

I had already written the foregoing when Ross Douthat said it better:

As [Ramesh Ponnuru and Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry] note, pretty much all passionate, justice-seeking movements risk attracting a violent fringe, and while activists in those movements are obliged to condemn and marginalize that fringe, their larger case and public rhetoric can’t be held hostage to the fear that someone, somewhere, might commit violence in their name.

Do read Ponnuru and Gobry, too.

3

[W]hen his friends and parishioners were being killed or fleeing for their lives, [Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew] White did what he had often done before when confronting an enemy. “I invited the leaders of ISIS for dinner. I am a great believer in that. I have asked some of the worst people ever to eat with me.” He did receive a reply to this surprising initiative. The ISIS leader said, “You can invite us to dinner, but we’ll chop your head off.” …

“Can I be honest?” White asked. “You can’t negotiate with them [ISIS]. I’ve never said that about another group of people. These are really so different, so extreme, so radical, so evil.” White made clear that he was not talking about all Muslims. There are “many good Sunni leaders,” he said. But the ISIS radicals who perpetrate terror in the name of God need to be dealt with “radically.”

(After Dinner, A Beheading)

4

Eugene Volokh and Popehat cover the same incident.

Volokh title: Felony prosecution for distributing pro-jury-nullification leaflets outside courthouse.

Popehat title: Heroic Judge Peter Jaklevic Defends Justice System From Anarchy of Jurors Maybe Not Convicting Everybody.

I prefer Popehat this time, partly because he names the Judge who personally put this outrage in motion and includes a picture of the Judge looking, appropriately, like a total doofus.

Judges, of course, are immune from liability for their judicial acts, but not everything a judge does is ipso facto “judicial.” Ordering the arrest of a leafleteer outside the courthouse does not strike me, passing by on my proverbial galloping horse, as a judicial act, even if setting extortionate bond is judicial. So I will watch eagerly, rooting for Wood when Wood v. Jaklevic gets filed.

5

Well this little brochure certainly is strange for the reasons discussed by Lydia McGrew.

At the moment I’m typing this, I kinda miss James Dobson, though I’ll probably be over it by the morning (since I never put him or Focus on the Family on any pedestal).

* * * * *

“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.