Sundry, 4/6/16

  1. The 3-way race
  2. Who’s your Outgroup?
  3. Trust us, for no particular reason
  4. More than MTDs can stomach
  5. The Harpies hit NC
  6. NSFW: Googled at last
  7. “Listless” will do

1

“There’ll be riots if I’m not the nominee.” (Donald Trump)

“The people will quite rightly revolt if the nominee of a contested convention isn’t me or Trump.” (Ted Cruz)

“I can actually beat a Democrat in the Fall.” (John Kasich)

I have a friend who thinks Cruz could win a majority with Kasich out of the race. I tend to think that only Kasich’s continued presence denies Trump a majority so that a contested convention can nominate someone, Kasich or not, with lower negatives than Trump and Cruz.

Both Trump and Cruz have very high negatives, including with me. I like some of Cruz’s positions (especially his constitutional views) “on paper.” In the flesh, not so much. Kasich’s negatives with me are low.

2

[I]f you’re part of the Blue Tribe, then your outgroup isn’t al-Qaeda, or Muslims, or blacks, or gays, or transpeople, or Jews, or atheists – it’s the Red Tribe.

(“Alexander,” cited by Alan Jacobs) This is not limited to the Blue Tribe, either:

[M]any Americans are happy to treat other people unfairly if those other people belong to the alien Tribe. And — this is perhaps the most telling finding of all — their desire to punish the outgroup is significantly stronger than their desire to support the ingroup. Through a series of games, Iyengar and Westwood discovered that “Outgroup animosity is more consequential than favoritism for the ingroup.”

One of my consistent themes over the years — see, for instance, here and here — has been the importance of acting politically with the awareness that people who agree with you won’t always be in charge. That is, I believe that it is reasonable and wise, in a democratic social order, to make a commitment to proceduralism: to agree with my political adversaries to abide by the same rules. That belief is on its way to being comprehensively rejected by the American people, in favor of a different model: Error has no rights.

What is being forgotten in this rush to punish the outgroup is a wise word put forth long ago by Orestes Brownson: “Error has no rights, but the man who errs has equal rights with him who errs not.”

3

Carl Trueman asks some questions about a draft Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth policy in his local public school district:

On the one hand, it asserts that a student’s asserted gender identity has to be accepted, and must not be questioned or disregarded by staff. Moreover, the only exception is if staff have a “credible basis” for believing the student is “improperly” asserting a gender identity, vague and undefined terms that are open to abuse. Yet, the policy also claims that a student’s transgender status may constitute confidential medical information that should not be disclosed to parents or others, suggesting it is a medical condition. Which is it?

I also wonder why the child who is distressed at a student of the opposite sex using the restroom should be the one effectively forced to use the single user restroom. What this does, in effect, is place the moral burden—and, in the current climate, the risk of being accused of bigotry and ostracized—upon those merely with concerns about personal modesty.

(Emphasis added)

Why shouldn’t students with gender dysphoria use single-user bathrooms if those of their biological sex are unbearable? How crazy is it to compromise what may remain of, say, maidenly modesty of the many so that the one (who genuinely is in a disordered state) can feign the normalcy of the sex he or she is not?

4

We have to stop caring about what the world and the media think.  They will call us bigoted no matter how loving, winsome, and fair-minded we are–see the actual Ryan Anderson vs the caricature of him, or the actual Doug Laycock vs. the activists’ efforts to subpoena his email and phone records.  We have to figure out how not to care.  And that will require far more withdrawal from mainstream media than most people can stomach.

Is there a way to develop alternative media, or might it be healthier for all of us to treat withdrawal as a kind of dieting or fasting?  All I know is that ingesting the New York Times’ worldview over a long period of time gradually builds toxins if one is not primarily exposed to other outlets.  I think it means reading a lot more older books and fewer modern ones, and finding healthy examples of flourishing Ben Op communities, from the G.K. Chesterton scuola to the monasteries both here and abroad, as in Norcia.  This also does involve the local church just being what it is called to be–but remarkably few people seem to realize how much more they should be than most are.

(Professor Kingsfield, Rod Dreher’s pseudonymous source for reality checks; emphasis added.)

I emphasize the last clause because I know self-styled Christians who have already sold out and will lift neither finger nor voice in defense of Christians who resist the zeitgeist, let alone resist the zeitgeist themselves.

There’s a name for this: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Some aphorisms come to mind, too: “only a live fish can swim against a stream.”

I suppose a few of the dead fish neurotically think the zeitgeist must be right. “310,000,000 Americans can’t be wrong.” But I suspect MTD’s far oftener the culprit: “To get along, you’ve got to go along.”

The risk of not caring what the world and media think is that it will unleash some genuine sociopathy — people who truly are sick in the head and will take great comfort in the illogic that if the world hates Christ and Christians, and if the world hates what they spout, then they must be exemplary Christians. It ain’t necessarily so. You might just be a twisted bastard.

I’ve known some of those, too. They tend to be loud, loutish, embarrassing and, in the end, their own worst enemies. But though they stand out and make you flinch when they talk, they’re not so numerous as the MTDs.

Whoever said life was tidy, logical, and without risks?

5

The absurdity of the freakout over North Carolina was made so vivid by Rod Dreher that I kept coming back to it asking myself “Is this really so good that I should share yet another Rod Dreher blog? Yes, it is.

People who were willing to come to North Carolina before some cities passed open potty laws are suddenly unwilling because the legislature restored the sane status quo ante. This isn’t reasoning. It isn’t morality. It’s an attempt at bullying, because like attempts have been on a roll lately.

(Regarding this trannie bathroom fad, size up this video. One, including me, could quibble with it, but ….)

6

I finally decided I must find out what NSFW means. “NS” I had figure out from context. FW was a total mystery. You’re one click away from finding out.

7

I’ve been feeling what, for blogging purposes, can probably best be described as “listless.” Some tentative entries in this blog felt pointless and/or futile. Thus the delay in getting some worthy content.

For non-blogging purposes I suspect what I’ve been feeling is ineffable, though not in a particularly good sense. Suffice that my “despair” of reversing a very bad course I see my country taking is making me feel “well, then, why don’t you shut up about it? You’ve said it enough times in enough ways to say ‘I told you so’ when the time comes.”

* * * * *

“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.