Some Holiday or Other 2016

  1. Amir Azarvan 2016!
  2. Why abandon the Big Two?
  3. Why bash only Trump?
  4. “Bad Optics”
  5. Indelible Knowledge
  6. Banned Book Week makes me retch
  7. Arguing with Atheists

1

Amir Azarvan, an Orthodox Christian, is running for (and seems to me likely to get the nomination) President of the United States on the American Solidarity Party ticket.

This is a pleasant surprise for me as a newly-registered member of the party. Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.

Or is it Phoenix rising from ashes?

2

Setting aside candidate personalities in the 2016 Presidential race — a race that has some mock-wishing for a death meteor to arrive before the general election — why would I abandon our “two parties” for a third?

Well, first there are those scare quotes around two parties. I tend toward the “not a dime’s worth of difference” camp on economic policy.

Each party makes itself unacceptable on at least one big issue that matters to me: the Democrats on sanctity of life and the debasement of our cultural ecosystem, Republicans on endless wars of choice (and there, the Democrats are little if any better; Hillary out-hawks most of the GOP).

And then there’s the clincher: I don’t think either party can fix itself. I don’t think it makes sense to “wait for 2020.”

I once heard the concept “institutionally corrupt” glossed with an element along the lines of “lacking internal resources to correct course.” In that particular case, for instance, it was being suggested that a major religious institution was institutionally corrupt and that it would take criminal prosecutions — i.e., an outside agent — to break it so it could get well again.

That’s where I think the two parties are. Maybe I’ll elaborate that thought some day.

3

I’m not actually that interested, intellectually, in Hillary Clinton. She is a Democratic machine pol who can be relied on to advance an aggressively neocon foreign policy, and to attack with equal vehemence anyone who gets in the way of her hard-blue social agenda. She’s the devil we know. The devil we don’t know is Donald Trump, and that’s why I’m so interested in what he means. I don’t see my role on this blog as helping anyone get elected, nor not elected.

Well said, Rod Dreher. Very well said.

UPDATE: Read Dreher’s full blog to see if you think the Trump/Duterte analogy, implied from the headline and picked up by those commenting, is strained.

4

[W]ho on earth could be more trustworthy than (a) a former president who has been impeached and disbarred for giving false testimony that obstructed judicial proceedings and (b) the steward of American history’s most politicized Justice Department, who swore to enforce the laws right after testifying (at her confirmation hearing) that the executive branch need not enforce the laws?

(Andrew McCarty on the “bad optics” of the Bill Clinton/Loretta Lynch airport runway tête-à-tête.)

5

The New York Times digital edition celebrates the Independence Day weekend with, inter alia, an article on Gay Marriage, a Year Later.

J Budziszewski wrote a whole book titled What We Cant Not Know. I predict that “gay marriage” will never shed some adjective or another to distinguish it from real marriage. The difference, I hope and believe, is one of those indelible things, written on the heart, of which Budziszewski writes.

6

Saturday evening, an arts program on WFYI featured a guy who feigned being a prisoner (for having read a banned book) for one week — think of it! 10,000 minutes! — in the window of the Kurt Vonnegut museum to solemnize Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is nearly insufferable any year I notice it going on. Even Slate, for goodness’ sake, acknowledges the preening and category confusion, now miraculously made even risible by this young fellow and those TV enablers who’d set him up as a new Ghandi.

We’re told that his commitment is “superhuman” — just before he talks about being allowed to leave the window for bathroom purposes and we are shown meals being brought to him by local restaurants who want to get in on the virtue signaling.

This is all the more nauseating since I’ve become familiar with the hagiographies of real martyrs.

I’m sorry, but for all the problems this country has, book banning isn’t one of them.

7

“It is difficult, my brethren, to dispute with an atheist; it is difficult to converse with a stupid man; it is difficult to change an embittered man. It is only with the greatest difficulty that you will convince an atheist, a stupid man, or an embittered man, with words.”

(Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic via Abbot Tryphon)

This is not intended to say “Hey, Atheists! You’re stupid!” It distills, though, my experience with the futility of trying to talk an atheist out of atheism — an effort I’ve rarely made but which I’ve repeatedly observed.

It also includes a tacit hint for planting a seed, an idea I’ve had for a while but without a chance to try it out:

  • “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in. What is he like?” (More atheism is rooted in bitterness, I suspect, than in rigorous ratiocination.)
  • “What if God isn’t really like that, and you’ve been misled about Him?”

I’m pleased to say without equivocation that the God I know is good and gracious, loves mankind, and desires the death of no person. That’s not mooshy-gooshy sentimentality. We’re told all this repeatedly in the services of the Church, both directly and implicitly.

* * * * *

“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.