Potpourri 6/1/17

  1. Religionbeat #Fail
  2. Spread salt on the ashes
  3. In Hillary’s shoes
  4. I was too short-sighted
  5. The dying mainline
  6. Free Peter Augustine Lawler conversations


The perfect complement to onion domes (or are they “minarets”) on the “Kremlin” creeping over the White House:

As Sarah Pulliam Bailey said:


When I assumed that George Bridges, President of Evergreen State College, was a spineless wimp, I gave him too little credit. He’s actually a conscious, card-carrying member of the Idiocracy:

Things began to change at Evergreen in 2015, when the school hired a new president, George Bridges. His vision as an administrator involved reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes. So Mr. Bridges tampered with the delicate balance between the sciences and humanities by, in effect, arming the postmoderns.

The particular mechanism was arcane, but it involved an Equity Council established in 2016. The council advanced a plan that few seem to have read, even now—but that faculty were nonetheless told we must accept without discussion. It would shift the college “from a diversity agenda” to an “equity agenda” by, among other things, requiring an “equity justification” for every faculty hire.

The plan and the way it is being forced on the college are both deeply authoritarian, and the attempt to mandate equality of outcome is unwise in the extreme. Equality of outcome is a discredited concept, failing on both logical and historical grounds, as anyone knows who has studied the misery of the 20th century. It wouldn’t have withstood 20 minutes of reasoned discussion.

This presented traditional independent academic minds with a choice: Accept the plan and let the intellectual descendants of Critical Race Theory dictate the bounds of permissible thought to the sciences and the rest of the college, or insist on discussing the plan’s shortcomings and be branded as racists. Most of my colleagues chose the former, and the protesters are in the process of articulating the terms. I dissented and ended up teaching in the park.

(Bret Weinstein in the Wall Street Journal)

Bridges is playing with fire, and I’m rooting for the conflagration. Burn the whole place down. Then spread salt on the ashes.


Losing a race to be the president of the United States after a campaign that lasts 18 months or longer must be a genuinely excruciating experience. Imagine being humiliated while the entire planet follows along in real-time as TheNew York Times updates its odds against you. Imagine also that you are a woman and that the unqualified creep who defeated you admitted on tape to sexually assaulting women. Imagine also that Anthony Weiner, of all people, played a key role in your loss.

Whatever you think of her and her campaign strategy, Clinton is nevertheless a human being who sustained the worst and most unexpected gut-punch in presidential politics since Thomas Dewey. To make matters worse, she knew that the consequences of her loss would be extremely dire for the country, as indeed they have been. Who can blame her if she needed to take long walks in the woods to recover her sanity?

(David Faris)

Faris goes on to lament the misogyny that’s (supposedly) behind “everybody still losing their minds over Hillary.”

“Whatever” on the misogyny front. Among the bitterest Hillary opponents of my acquaintance were middle-class working women. But I should also note that my family tree includes people who probably would deny that Hillary is “a human being.”


I kind of wondered what the cultural left would do after Obergefell, which seemed like a tough act to follow. In that, I was (uncharacteristically?) short-sighted:

As I wrote long ago on my old blog, the goal of the gay “marriage” push was never just about redefining and destroying marriage; it was always about deconstructing gender, destroying society’s alleged “heteronormativity,” and obliterating people and ideas that don’t agree that biological sex means nothing and one’s individual and personal definition of gender and sexual orientation is sacrosanct.

Here in Texas, we have seen that in the legislation that has been dubbed a “bathroom bill.” Even that phrasing is designed to make people think, “Oh, how silly. Who cares where small children use the bathroom?” The reality that this legislation covers other things like …

What is actually happening is that we are conducting a dangerous societal experiment in female safety. Many of us believe, not without evidence or reason, that attacks on women in private spaces actually will increase when both men and women are taught to see it as no big deal for a man to follow a little girl or young woman into a restroom or changing area. Just because he looks like a man, it doesn’t mean he is one! We must stand back and let “her” enter “her” preferred restroom or changing area–and until his victim starts screaming we are bigots if we are worried about the situation.

The safety of actual women and girls is being treated as something that is totally expendable in the war to promote the full LGBTQIA spectrum of identities, orientations, and behaviors. Finding that unacceptable is not bigotry; it is common sense.

(Erin Manning)

It’s also common sense to get your children and grandchildren out of places that are willingly or under compulsion are conducting that experiment — which, as of Tuesday May 30, effectively includes any public institutions in the states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, courtesy of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, formerly reputed to be “conservative.”


Time was when the demise of mainstream Protestantism in favor of alternatives relatively more conservative (“relatively” is a vital qualifier; by some accounts, there’s no such thing as a “conservative Protestant”) would have been a cause for rejoicing.

Now, I care too little to have noted until now the proliferation of dissident denominations-in-the-making. Thanks to Dale Coulter for bringing it to my attention:

Not only are there new denominations forming, such as the Association of Vineyard Churches (1982), networks of churches are emerging that are quickly becoming a nucleus for local congregations leaving mainline Protestantism.

The trend of realignment among mainline churches can be seen in the formation of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (2012), the North American Lutheran Church (2010), and the Anglican Church of North America (2009). Both ECO and NALC were formed from networks of ministers and churches that had decided that renewal from within existing Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Anglican denominations was no longer possible. This realignment first began with the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (1973).

Historians will look back on the half-century between 1973 and 2023 as the time when multiple new denominations and church networks came into existence and remade Protestantism within the United States. Ed Stetzer recently noted that if the decline of Mainline Protestantism continues, those denominations will cease to exist in 2039.

I was there for the birth of the PCA, and rejoiced as my oxymoronically “independent Presbyterian Church” in Dallas pondered affiliating with it. (It did, but after I left my short stay in Dallas.)

Now, I’m not so sure. It seems to me that some of these new bodies “drew the line” about three innovations/heresies too late, and that even “Evangelical” churches are on the same trajectory as the mainstream, only with a time lag.


If you were not familiar with the late Peter Augustine Lawler, here’s links to a couple of newly-free, high-class conversations with him.

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Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.