Potpourri 6/28/17

  1. You are not alone
  2. Embrace liberty
  3. Is SCOTUS going to clean up its mess?
  4. Expect a coverup
  5. The real radicals (as seen by a showman)
  6. Hugh Hewitt sez
  7. Metaphysics today

1

God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I am left alone (κἀγὼ ὑπελείφθην μόνος), and they seek my life.’ But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Ba′al.’ So too at the present time there is a remnant (λεῖμμα), chosen by grace (κατ᾽ἐκλογὴν χάριτος, according to the choice of grace). But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11: 2-6)

(Sr. Vassa Larin) This came as an encouragement as I try to become more of a Constantine Project guy, less purely Benedict Option. But both rely on the reality that we’re not alone in the struggle.

I am very glad, by the way, that I did not have to write the hypertext to insert the Greek into this short quote (or whatever that mysterious hypertext was doing).

2

Regarding the Masterpiece Cakes case the Supreme Court has agreed to hear:

First, don’t let anyone tell you that this case is about status-based discrimination. The bakery is no more discriminating against gay people than a baker discriminates against white people if he declines to bake a Confederate flag cake. The baker bakes cakes for gay customers. He didn’t want to lend his talents to send a specific message — namely, approval of gay marriage.

Second, don’t let counterfactuals dissuade you from embracing liberty. A number of people are asking whether the state should “let” a baker decline to bake a cake for an interracial marriage. Here’s the bottom line: Creative professionals should never be required to lend their unique talents to express any form of message they dislike. Don’t make black lawyers oppose civil rights, don’t make liberal fashion designers design clothes for conservative politicians, and don’t require racists to design cakes for interracial couples. Some people use liberty wisely. Some people abuse liberty for immoral ends. But we can’t limit liberty only to the wise and just.

(David French) I added the suggested deletion, largely because “dislike” didn’t seem to fit. French, like me, prefers the “no compelled speech” theory over the religious freedom theory, so it suffices that “Creative professionals should never be required to lend their unique talents to express any form of message,” period, full stop.

3

Will Baude, son of my Constitutional Law professor, has been predicting that the court would not agree to hear the Masterpiece Cake case, even though he thought it should hear it. After all, they’d kicked that can down the road 14 times!

Having now been pleasantly surprised, he thinks there’s a theme shaping up in cases the court is going to hear:

[W]hat and how much is supposed to be settled by the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell. Was the decision supposed to basically end national debates about the status and rights of same-sex couples, or does it still leave space to debate the narrowing or extension of these rights? To be clear, I am not talking about the fundamental holding of Obergefell, which I suspect is already more secure than the holding in Roe v. Wade, but about the broader message to society — the music, not the words.

The way the wind was shifting on same-sex marriage before Obergefell, I suspect that several more states would have recognized it through democratic means by now, and eventually, all or nearly all states would have done so. I don’t like it, but I think it would have happened. In democratic debate, at least, cases like Jack Phillips and his cake shop could have been debated and compromises reached, a la Utah Compromise.

Maybe the court is going back to fix some of the problems it created with its usurpation. Neil Gorsuch apparently will be glad to help. See his dissent, here.

4

Holman Jenkins of the Wall Street Journal analyzes the Washington Post’s “tick-tock” story on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, noting that there’s not a whiff of Trump collusion, but concluding that

one Russian intervention, revealed by the paper’s own earlier reporting, that may really have, in farcical fashion, elected Donald Trump.

This was FBI Director James Comey’s ill-fated decision to clear Hillary Clinton publicly on intelligence-mishandling charges. His choice, it now appears, was partly shaped by a false intelligence document referring to a nonexistent Democratic email purporting to confirm that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had vowed to quash any Hillary charges.

If Mr. Comey had followed established practice, the Hillary investigation would have been closed without an announcement, or the conflicted Ms. Lynch or an underling would have cleared Mrs. Clinton. How would this have played with voters and the media? Would the investigation’s reopening in the race’s final days, with discovery of the Weiner laptop, have taken place? Would the reopening have become public knowledge?

But don’t expect to hear much more about that:

What also emerges from the Post’s tick-tock, as well as from public testimony by U.S. intelligence chiefs, is that Russia did not seek to hide its meddling. The Russian goal was to sow confusion and bring disrepute on the U.S. leadership class. If so, any investigation of Russian meddling that fails to focus on the Comey actions will amount to a coverup.

Expect a coverup: The truth is absolutely unacceptable to the establishment that Special Counsel Robert Mueller represents. There is no appetite for the truth among Democrats: They cling to Mr. Comey’s legal exoneration of Mrs. Clinton in the server matter.

There is no appetite among Republicans: Messrs. Comey and Mueller are Republicans, promoted in their careers by Republican presidents. There is no appetite in the Trump White House, which doesn’t want its win tainted in history by a Russian dirty trick.

There is no appetite in the Kremlin: Mr. Putin knows that relations with the American superpower are slipping toward an all-out hostility that he can’t afford.

In the U.S., to acknowledge the truth would be to complete the task Russia set itself in discrediting the U.S. leadership class.

A coverup is the only way to go.

5

Back in college days, my cohorts and I looked down on engineers. They wore plaid shirts with plastic pocket protectors and combed their hair with hair oil. We dressed like vagabonds and wrote unintelligible stories and exhaled cigarette smoke very stylishly and were cool, which they were not. And now, decades later, we look around at a digital world that they designed, laptops, Google, Facebook and a gizmo the size of a skinny sandwich that is telephone, video camera, compass, encyclopedia, weather monitor, newspaper, calendar, pinball machine, flashlight and hundreds of apps. And what did we do with our lives? We created little blips and blats of sensibility, like hanging wind chimes out in the woods.

Too late I learn that people who dress up as radicals turn out to be showmen. The real radicals are the ones who love to work puzzles and solve problems and that includes a lot of short-haired people in Sears Roebuck outfits.

(Garrison Keillor) Keillor here is laugh-out-loud funny, but some of the things that impressed him about the Norwegian engineers he was partying with have at least a whiff of engineers trying to remediate problems contributed to by prior generations of engineers.

And that, my friend, gives me a feeling of deja vu.

6

If GOP senators blow this, say hello to single-payer health care

7

Metaphysics: a reverent and vacuous section at your local Barnes & Noble, full of “new-age trash that sates the unaccounted-for superstitions and desires of the recently de-Christianized.”

(Inspired by James Matthew Wilson, The Vision of the Soul, p. 138, from whom also the quote.)

* * * * *

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

3 thoughts on “Potpourri 6/28/17

  1. I am very glad, by the way, that I did not have to write the hypertext to insert the Greek

    This is a lot easier than it used to be, now that we have Unicode (and Unicode is widely supported). Rather than putting a bunch of hex numbers into the HTML file, you just switch your keyboard encoding to Greek and type in the text. (Then switch back to English, of course.)

    If you “view page source” (Ctl-U on most browsers) you can scroll down and see that the Greek text is right there in the HTML, natively.

  2. I did see that, when I went into WordPress hypertext view, but it was surrounded by baffling codes. I often remove codes in things I’m quoting, but this was way too intimidating; I was afraid I’d end up with an unintelligible mess or a misquote.

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