July 1, 2016

  1. Martyrs, Red and White
  2. Hope sans optimism
  3. Having kids
  4. Subsidiarity
  5. LOMI does Ontario
  6. Scofflaws

1

[T]he suffering of a Barronelle Stutzman does not become less real simply because liberal order has perfected the art of bleeding its victims slowly and invisibly through ten-thousand bureaucratic paper cuts, rather than with the sword or lions in the Colosseum. Certainly we must be grateful for that, and yet there is a peculiar challenge for Christian faith and witness in the fact that liberal order diffuses its power quietly, almost imperceptibly, without blood or spectacle or responsibility. It creates a real possibility that one’s sufferings may be visible only to God ….

(Michael Hanby, via Rod Dreher) I’m grateful to Rod for publishing this, which isn’t new but which I hadn’t encountered despite some passing familiarity with Hanby via Mars Hill Audio Journal. I’m also grateful that by “White Martyr,” Rod isn’t making a racial point; in Orthodox/Catholic translation, “Martyr” (Orthodox) = “Red Martyr” (Catholic), “Confessor” = “White Martyr.”

2

Things I care about having gotten far worse, far more quickly than I imagined possible, I am grateful for the possibility that “the worm is turning” and there’s some hope for pockets of sanity emerging.

Bruce Frohnen can be too strident for my taste at times, but not this time. Of the Brexit backlash:

The concern is not just with Britain’s leaving the European Union. It is with the entire notion of devolution—of people’s demanding a return to self-government in the face of ever-larger and more distant bureaucratic organizations taking control over more and more of their lives. From forbidding deportation of criminal immigrants to prosecuting shopkeepers for selling by the ounce instead of the kilogram, laws made by anonymous EU committees have sapped the legitimacy of the budding “United States of Europe.” The principle involved in devolution is simple: people in their local communities should control their own destinies and forge larger alliances on the basis of real, culturally based common goods. This principle is as universal as it is localist; it requires greater self-government for meaningful, geographically and culturally based communities everywhere.

There is no grand conspiracy at work in centralizing power. What we have been experiencing is a melding together of cosmopolitan elites into an increasingly single-minded group made up of people who see themselves as righteous rulers pushing the rest of us toward a better, more egalitarian, secure, and (of course) environmentally friendly future. Most of these people have studied at the same schools or under teachers from those schools. They see themselves as special because they work for, or are close with those who work for the same international bureaucracy of money, trade, and political management. They consider themselves people “of the world” and so identify less with their own cultures than with a liberal ethos entitling them to organize other people’s lives and minds to make them better, more “tolerant” individuals. And whether on Wall Street, in Berlin, or in Silicon Valley they see common people everywhere as largely interchangeable labor inputs whose political voices and cultural aspirations must be finessed or suppressed so as to nurture ever-growing structures of economic and environmental security and managed “free” trade.

The United States—for most of its history the home of local self-government—in recent years has become almost as much a victim of cosmopolitan centralization as Europe. Conservatives in particular have resisted this development, defending family, church, and local association against the charge that equality and progress demand uniformity enforced from Washington. That defense broke under the pressure of the second Bush presidency—perhaps the most profligate and expansionist in half a century ….

That puts as charitable a spin as reasonably possible on the progressives’ melt-down over Brexit, and has the added virtue of not being GOP propaganda.

I’m also pleased that the American Solidarity Party, with which I’m now cyber-registered (my home state doesn’t register voters by party) likely will have a Presidential nominee, and the first nominee is one of whom I think I’d approve — maybe even “highly approve.” I’ve ordered a book of which he was editor.

3

“My daughter asked me what it was like to have kids, so I interrupted her every 11 seconds until she cried.” (Shared with me from Pinterest by Mrs. Tipsy)

4

Today marks the overdue debut here of the category “subsidiarity,” needed because “conservatism” today is likelier to be centralizing and power-mad than anything resembling what’s meant by the new category.

No, I have no idea why it took me so long. Thanks for asking. Maybe I thought “small is beautiful” covered it.

5

The Law of Merited Impossibility* is alive and well in Ontario:

In Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, (CA ON, June 29, 2016), a 3-judge panel of the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld the decision of the Law Society of Upper Canada to deny accreditation to Trinity Western Law School because its religiously-grounded Community Covenant requires all students to “refrain from sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”  Finding that “the part of TWU’s Community Covenant in issue in this appeal is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community,” the Court held that the Law Society “did not violate its duty of state neutrality by concluding that the public interest in ensuring equal access to the profession justified a degree of interference with the appellants’ religious freedoms.” In reaching that conclusion, the Court relied in part on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1983 Bob Jones University decision. Similar battles over accreditation of the Christian law school are in progress in the school’s home province of British Columbia, as well as in Nova Scotia.  CBC News reports on yesterday’s decision.

From Justice Kennedy’s frequent refrain that the only reason sane people believe what they believe about sexuality is bigotry to the Ontario “deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community,” it seems that The Big Lie against sanity is now standard operating procedure.

* “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

6

Indiana has a law scheduled to go into effect today that bans abortion for a list of unsuitable reasons, such as disability of the preborn child. Predictably, the Indiana ACLU challenged it and, if ACLU attorney Ken Falk is to be believed (he really is a very good attorney), it won because Indiana just basically said “we don’t care what the precedents say; we’re passing this law anyway.”

What a far cry from when I was attorney for Indiana Right to Life and got bored because the Indiana Legislature’s attitude was “we’re not doing anything edgy or apt to generate a test case on abortion.”

But let it not be thought that “scofflaw” is an exclusive of the Right, or of Prolifers, or however you want to label them:

Earlier this month, the New York Senate passed a bill (S8017), co-sponsored by state senators Jack Martins and Todd Kaminsky, that would require New York public college and universities to

adopt rules that any student group … that receives funding from the [university] that directly or indirectly promotes, encourages, or permits discrimination, intolerance, hate speech or boycotts against a person or group based on race, class, gender, nationality, ethnic origin or religion, shall be ineligible for funding, including funding from student activity fee proceeds….

But the First Amendment forbids the campus rules that the bill would require. When the government funds student groups, it must do so in a viewpoint-neutral manner. …

The Court in Christian Legal Society split on whether this no-viewpoint-discrimination First Amendment rule bans policies that restrict a certain kind of conduct (student groups’ exclusion of students). All nine Justices there agreed that the First Amendment bans policies that restrict speech of certain viewpoints.

Yet the law demands that universities do precisely what the First Amendment forbids — engage in viewpoint discrimination. A ban on speech that “promotes” or “encourages” “discrimination, intolerance … or boycotts” would be viewpoint-based: pro-discrimination, pro-intolerance and pro-boycott speech would be banned, while anti-discrimination, anti-intolerance and anti-boycott speech would be allowed.

The bill doesn’t define “hate speech” (a lack of definition that would itself pose First Amendment vagueness programs). But it seems very likely that whatever definition is ultimately applied would be viewpoint-based — “hate speech” generally refers to the expression of certain views that are seen as “hateful.” (See, e.g.,R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul [1992].)

(Eugene Volokh)

* * * * *

“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.