Saturday 10/8/16

  1. Between utopian and cynic
  2. No compelling interest, no specific problem
  3. Sympathy for a Trumpista
  4. Professor declares “No B.S. Zone” around his mouth
  5. The poles are flipping


[M]any people are quick to call things like the Benedict Option “utopian” as a way to avoid having to think critically of the problems with the way we live today, with regard to community and social life. In cases like this, a proper skepticism of the allegedly utopian project becomes (unwittingly, I’m guessing) a self-justifying excuse not to have to take the “utopian” critique seriously.

It’s hard to walk a responsible, realistic line between utopianism and cynicism.

(Rod Dreher, #NeverUtopia)


The ordinance requires centers to post signs in their waiting rooms stating that they do not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth control services. The court, applying strict scrutiny, held that this compels the pregnancy center to speak, delivering information that it would not otherwise transmit. The court said in part:

The City identifies two interests to support the Ordinance: (1) to protect the public from deceptive business practices, and (2) to promote public health by “ensuring that individuals who seek reproductive health services have access to truthful information about the services available at Pregnancy Centers.”…

[H]ere, even if there had been bountiful evidence of misleading advertising, there is no evidence that women were coming to the Center under false pretenses and suffering harmful health consequences because of it. Thus, the City has not satisfied the “demanding standard” of showing that the Ordinance actually promotes a compelling interest in solving a specific problem.

(Religion Clause blog report on Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, (D MD, Oct. 4, 2016))

It’s nice to know that there are some topics on which government still may not compel speech.

I regret that some cities and states think there’s a specific problem with same-sex couples being unable to get wedding cakes, bouquets, engravers, photographers and other goods and services, that the government interest in assuring that they can get them from anyone, regardless of objection, is compelling, and that the pusillanimous courts play along (so far, mostly).


She told me that every week, it seemed there was another default letter, another foreclosure, another bank demanding more blood from her dry veins. To her, that pile of default notices and demands for payment looked suspiciously similar to Hillary Clinton’s top donor list.

This is not a person who is stupid or racist. She knows Bush caused the economy collapse with his irresponsible tax policies and wars. But she saw liberals as fighting for the banks’ recovery, to hell with her needs. She sees in Hillary someone who celebrates that approach. Who measures US success by the success of multinational mega corporations — corporations who undercut and destroy local businesses. This is a person who grew up in a town with a friendly neighborhood general store, a locally-owned hardware store, farmers’ markets, florists, and auto shops. All of these businesses closed when Walmart moved into town. All their owners now work at that Walmart for a fraction of their previous wages, no benefits, and no hope for something better, something of their own. And now, she sees a free trade supporting former Walmart executive about to come in to office, and it feels like salt in her community’s wounds.

This is a wounded person. Insulting her or continuing to hurt her isn’t going to help. She’s swept up in Trump’s message because she feels someone’s finally listening. Right-wing populism is an awful thing. But desperate people with their backs against the wall will grasp on to whatever they feel will bring a change. Neoliberal capitalism is not sustainable for these people.

(David Hill, Hillary voter sympathetically explaining the intended vote of a rural Ohio voter he grew up with and respects.)


Here is a fascinating interview with Jordan Peterson, apparently a man of the left, who is not going to let anyone put Orwellian neologisms in his mouth.

It’s not the role of society to make people feel included. That’s not the role of society. The role of society is to maintain a modicum of peace between people. It’s not the role of society to make people feel comfortable. I think society is changing in many ways. I can tell you one thing that I’m very terrified of, and you can think about this. I think that the continual careless pushing of people by left wing radicals is dangerously waking up the right wing. So you can consider this a prophecy from me if you want. Inside the collective is a beast and the beast uses its fists. If you wake up the beast then violence emerges. I’m afraid that this continual pushing by radical left wingers is going to wake up the beast.

Bully for him!


I think I’ve figured out why we’re having extreme weather: the poles are flipping.

Democrats are now prudes. Republicans are now libertines. Evangelicals apparently are okay with voting for a man who brags not merely of adultery, but of sexual assault, of going for the, er, jugular (is that a workable euphemism?) without any foreplay or even a “hello.”

* * * * *

“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.