Wednesday, 5/25/16

  1. Breaking things
  2. Totalitarian kitsch
  3. Personal vs. Political responses
  4. Not you father’s DoJ

1

Everyone in my circles seems to assume that Hillary Clinton will beat Donald Trump in a landslide.

My advice: Don’t bet on it. The Republican party is littered with the people who should have trounced Trump. I wouldn’t bet against many Bernie Backers voting for Trump, not because of their substantive similarities in conventional political terms, but because they hate Hillary and think that someone needs to break “the system.”

Honestly, I wrote the prior two paragraphs before reading this:

The voting public, as evidenced by their votes for Trump and Sanders, want to break the system that no longer serves them. But in this, Sanders is the conservative; he merely wants to fix the system with a little welfarism. It is Trump who wants to break things; it is he who is the true revolutionary. And the revolutionaries in the Sanders camp will man the barricades of the Trump revolution.

2

Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.

Many explicitly Christian movies today qualify as kitsch, as defined by [Milan] Kundera. The ridiculous Tylenol commercial we talked about last week is a perfect example of LGBT commercial kitsch, à la Kundera.

(Rod Dreher)

3

Just so:

A correspondent recently asked (in a somewhat J’accuse! tone) why I spend all my time writing about LGBTQ matters. In fact, of course, I do not. That I do spend a fair amount of the time I devote each week to writing for First Things on this issue is undeniable. But, mirabile dictu, most of my time is not actually devoted to writing for First Things. Even so, why do I choose to write so much on this topic here? Certainly not because I have a particular interest in such things. Rather, because such things are being used to remake society in a manner that looks set to destroy not simply religious freedom but other basic freedoms as well. Were the presenting cause of this unfortunate turn of events, say, a government-sponsored program to make approval of the consumption of Cheez Whiz compulsory, I would spend my time talking about that particular abomination. But it is sex, and not Cheez Whiz, that has captured the political imagination—and thus that is where those who believe in freedom must focus their attention at this time.

… [M]any Christians do not make a basic distinction between the appropriate individual response to LGBTQ people and a broader social response to LGBTQism as a political ideology with very ambitious goals. And they are vulnerable to this category-confusion because of the way language has been manipulated by the LGBTQ ideologues.

(Carl Trueman)

4

I earlier noted an extraordinary Federal Court order against DoJ lawyers for their unethical behavior of its lawyers in defending President Obama’s immigration executive actions:

What’s the appropriate remedy for that kind of conduct—an ethics program, complete with annual reports by an AG-appointed compliance officer? I doubt it (putting aside whether a district judge has authority to order that program.) The lawyers didn’t forget some obscure Professional Responsibility curlicue; they knowingly committed an obvious offense. These people don’t need training; they need sanctions with consequences. I’m pretty sure that that’s also Judge Hanen’s sense. So why this perplexing order?

In a saner day and age a judge might simply have reported the lawyers to their DoJ superiors. They’d be fired; and if you get fired by Ted Olson or someone with an equally refined, near-obsessive sense of propriety, you might not work again any time soon, at least not as a lawyer. Alternatively or additionally, a judge might have sanctioned the attorneys and referred them to their state bar.

What this order is meant to signal, and what in fact it says, is that we no longer have that kind of DoJ. The lawyers in this case didn’t freelance; they were ordered to lie as part of a plan to create facts on the ground before some ornery judge could obsess over legal technicalities. And Judge Hanen pointedly cites and discusses other recent cases in which appellate courts complained of and cracked down on comparable DoJ misconduct. For what it’s worth this is consistent with what I hear, with increasing frequency, from my friends in the appellate bar: you can no longer trust government attorneys to play it straight.

(Michael S. Greve, emphasis added)

* * * * *

“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.