This battle was lost even before I entered it, so I rarely mention it. Here goes anyway.
Where the reasons for infertility are known, we are free to develop treatments to cure them. But even if we intervene in an individual’s body to restore its reproductive function, conception still might not occur. Therapeutic interventions of this sort, which are certainly admissible for a Christian who seeks to be a parent, do not seek the conception of a child. They aim to remove known obstacles so that the couple may try to conceive a child. This may seem like a small difference, but it is not. A medical treatment of this sort seeks to enable a man and a woman to conceive. It does not seek to replace their roles in conception.
Matthew Lee Anderson, The Biblical Case Against IVF. Not surprisingly, there’s much more than this to Anderson’s argument.
I agree with Anderson’s conclusion against IVF, but not necessarily for the reasons he adduces. I particularly hesitate at the label “Biblical” in the title, as I don’t think one Christian in a thousand would reason his or her way to Anderson’s conclusion given only the Bible.
What I really agree with is thinking carefully and critically about new technologies presented to us.
We’re not going to take this any more
At various times before the nineteenth century, Byzantines, Arabs, Chinese, Ottomans, Moguls, and Russians were highly confident of their strength and achievements compared to those of the West. At these times they also were contemptuous of the cultural inferiority, institutional backwardness, corruption, and decadence of the West. As the success of the West fades relatively, such attitudes reappear. People feel “they don’t have to take it anymore.”
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
I wish I’d read this book decades ago. A mind-extender.
Knowing how little we know
A world of radicals needs incrementalists to make real change, Greg German and Aubrey Fox argue in Persuasion. “Gradualists know how little they know,” they write. “Anyone trying to understand a given problem these days is necessarily missing crucial information because there is simply too much information to process effectively. Gradualists acknowledge that, inevitably, errors happen. Building on this insight, an iterative, incremental process allows for each successive generation of reformers to learn from, and improve upon, their predecessors’ efforts.” Make no mistake, they continue: “We still need dreamers and visionaries and rabble-rousers who want to pursue moon-shot goals like curing cancer and ending hunger. But our default setting should be to admit the obvious: Our problems are big and our brains are small. Incrementalism is nothing less than the endless, ongoing effort to alleviate injustices. It is a way of greeting the world in a spirit of optimism even in the face of the daily conflicts, disappointments, and tragedies that life throws at all of us.”
Younger and older Jefferson
Jefferson observed at one time that it would be better to have newspapers and lack a government than to have a government and be without newspapers. Yet we find him in his seventieth year writing to John Adams: “I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much the happier.”
Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences
I’m a bit behind Jefferson.
Excerpts from Nellie Bowles’ weekly TGIF
Department of horrible ideas: State Democrats in Massachusetts want to offer prisoners reduced sentences for donating organs. Yes, I’m serious. In the new bill: If you, a prisoner, go under the knife to give up a kidney or some bone marrow, you could get up to a year of your prison sentence reduced. The lawmakers say the bill would “restore bodily autonomy.“
What in the free-market hell is this?
President of Heritage calling to cut military spending? What world am I in? This week, Kevin Roberts, the president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote about how America needs to cut defense spending. “For too long, Republicans considered it a victory to increase defense and non-defense spending by equal dollar amounts, without cutting a dime from the deficit.” And: “Congress needs to put away its kid gloves and put the Department of Defense and other agencies alike under the knife to excise wasteful spending.”
Getting riled up about military budgets is an age-old progressive hobby, and I still get mad looking at charts that compare U.S. military spending to every other country in the world. That Republican Heritage Foundation leaders are now saying we need to cut defense spending—and Democrats are pushing for more military spending—is amazing. The military and Big Pharma are somehow becoming pet projects of the left. Soon they’ll be advocating on behalf of Big Corn.
If you have a shit life, escape to the Metaverse.
Mary Harrington on the Rebel Wisdom YouTube channel. That about sums it up. Bread and Circuses for the new millennium.
Narrative, meet Reality
[T]his week, the former executive editor, Len Downie, a near-icon of the old school, published a report on journalism and found a broad consensus among his colleagues that, in the words of one editor-in-chief, “Objectivity has got to go!” So every story now assumes “white supremacy” as the core truth of the world.
So what happens when stories arrive which, on the face of it, seem to refute that entirely? Take three recent events: two mass killings of Asian-Americans within two days in California by an Asian-American (in Monterey Park) and a Chinese national (in Half Moon Bay); five black police officers in a majority-black police force with a black police chief all but lynched and murdered an innocent black man; and a trans woman was convicted of the rape of two other women with the use of her penis.
How on earth do these fit into the pre-arranged “white supremacy” template?
Andrew Sullivan, When The Media Narratives Meet Reality
I must travel in weird circles. I’ve never seen racist or homophobic or transphobic violence with my own eyes.
But considering how the media gaslight us on so much else (e.g., Russiagate, Hunter Biden’s laptop — I could go on, but these are the iconic gaslightings of recent years), why should I believe the press that white supremacy is everywhere when that defies my personal experience?
The US media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — of 46 nations, according to a 2022 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And “moral clarity” journalists seem intent on driving it even lower.
(Andrew Sullivan again)
(I am aware of structural racism. Here’s a video for you if you aren’t. or think it isn’t real. If you want to call that “white supremacy,” you’ll need to come up with some stronger term for things like the KKK and the Charlottesville “Jews will not replace us!” jackasses.)
You can’t make this stuff up
But what I find even more bizarre is this critique from the Buzzfeed piece:
Another huge problem: MrBeast’s video seems to regard disability as something that needs to be solved. He doesn’t say in the video or in any of his subsequent public statements whether he consulted with the video’s subjects about how they felt to have their disability treated as a problem. That’s something that’s been argued over in the days since the video was uploaded.
Really? I suspect the fact that these blind people signed up to be cured of their blindness is a really strong indicator that they thought being blind was a problem. Talk about denying the humanity and agency of the disabled; you fools should have been proud of your blindness.
Call me retrograde and bigoted all you like, but I think that curing blindness is good. I don’t think it’s so good that we should drag blind people into hospitals and operate on them against their will. But, again, short of something like that … shut up.
All I can say for the Buzzfeed take is that Jesus did once ask a lame or blind person (I don’t recall which) “Do you want to be healed?”
Yes, you can!
We can’t help but notice you haven’t read our emails in a while.
National Review email to me in the early morning hours of February 5.
Yes you can help notice: don’t put trackers in them.
What is “National Conservatism”?
National conservatism is a baggy term—for some it means traditional conservatism with a particular concern for the American nation-state; for others it signifies collectivist social policies combined with social conservatism.
Tearing my hair out
The Covid emergency ends when the Supreme Court says it ends.
President Joe Biden.
I shouldn’t have to tell you how perversely wrong that it, but it certainly captures a bit of how Congress and the President reflexively defer to SCOTUS for any heavy lifting.
It’s particularly baffling in this case, though, since Amtrak Joe has announced that the Covid emergency will end in May — not that he’ll petition the Court for that.
Hold them all accountable
There is something deeply, cosmically unfair about a group of elites force-feeding voters a lie about a stolen election, bilking them out of their money, demanding with the most overheated rhetoric that they “fight” to save the country—and then avoiding all responsibility while those people are hauled off to jail for doing what they’d been asked to do.
Sarah Longwell, Hold them all accountable
Haul them off anyway. If we can’t stop demagogues, we can deter the rubes who believe them.
Whatever self-advancement requires
Writing in the National Review, Jack Butler lamented Daniels’ decision in a piece that included this passage: “I cannot begrudge a man his choices, particularly when made with his characteristic thoughtfulness. However, I can’t help but to think that, even if he himself won’t regret bowing out, the country will. While the Mitch Danielses of the world will seriously reflect on whether to enter politics and decide against it, the opportunists in public life will make no such considerations. They will instead do or say or think whatever is necessary for their own self-advancement. This paradoxical asymmetry will benefit some — indeed, it already has — but will continue to make us all worse off. The ranks of the shameless in our politics will grow while the reserves of the honest will diminish. That is not a promising trajectory if it continues unabated.” For the full piece, here it is: “Mitch Daniels Declines to Run for Senate. That’s Bad News for Our Politics.”
Turnabout ain’t fair play
That the American right would eventually tire of [progressive control of schools] and take steps to combat it through acting directly on the public schools themselves should not be surprising to anyone. And if this unhappy tale in American public life is to end with anything other than tragedy, it will require significant steps to deescalate, steps that must begin with an attempt to sincerely understand the opposite side’s concerns. The catechetical agendas of both right and left will need to expand themselves to accommodate questions of peaceful coexistence and principled pluralism amidst our deep differences. Should we fail to do this or if this turns out to be impossible, as it may well be, then reason offers little hope for any happy outcome to these current controversies.
Jake Meador, Education, Catechesis and the State.
In the 1960s, the liberal-progressive establishment successfully managed black anger, which became explosive in major cities, by accommodating demands for civil rights and allocating vast sums for economic uplift while preserving America’s existing hierarchies of wealth and power.
R.R. Reno. Reno’s title, Anger-Politics on the Right, suggests an updated application for this political placebo.
In 2022, no institution (aside from the presidency) reflected a greater partisan trust gap than the police. A full 67 percent of Republicans expressed confidence in the police, versus only 28 percent of Democrats.
David French, ‘Bad Apples’ or Systemic Issues?. I believe this was French’s debut as a full-time Opinion Writer for the New York Times.
Republicans under the gestalt-a-scope
The Republicans—where to start? They’re riven by policy disagreements, some of which stem from philosophical disagreements regarding what conservatism is and must be in the 21st century. Weirdly, since politics is a word business, their Washington leadership can’t find the words to talk about this. They don’t know how to talk about public policy. In the debt-ceiling debate, if that’s the right word, they’re allowing themselves to be tagged as the Axe the Entitlements party, or at least as people who’d secretly like to do it but can’t admit it, but when they’re in power they’ll try.
If they do that they will never win national power, or at least presidential power, again. Which they kind of know. But they do it anyway. Because they haven’t decided if they’re a “limited government” party or a party that accepts, as it should, that the federal government will never be small in our lifetimes, and being mature means seeing that and turning the party’s focus toward the pursuit of more conservative ends, such as . . . helping families? Police the government, don’t spend like nuts, aim for growth, encourage dynamism, think long term.
In any case they should stop saying “limited” government. People think the federal government is already limited, as in slow and stupid. They’d like it to be able and efficient. Maybe lean into a government that doesn’t push us around, demanding more than it’s due. Everybody wants that.
Peggy Noonan, Our Political Parties Are Struggling
Tradition is a bulwark against the power of commerce and the dissolving acid of money, and by removing these, all revolutions in the modern period have ended up accelerating the commercial and technological shift towards the Machine.
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