Men and Women
In honor of the ongoing California Supreme Court trial of Prop 8, I thought I would post a bit of wisdom about marriage in general. Many today say that marriage is not about child-rearing. On the contrary, they say, marriage is fundamentally about the partnership of two adults. That's not how most people used to think (I suspect it's also not how many think about it today).
Anyway, here's a young John Adams, in his diary, thinking through the question of when divorce ought to be legal. (Adams was a son of the Puritans, and Puritans, as you may recall, were open to legal divorce. For them, of course, marriage was a civil, not religious ceremony):
Is it for the benefit of society, for the convenience and happiness of human life, to allow divorces, in any cases. I think it is. I think that either Adultery or impotence are sufficient reasons of divorce. But Quere, if Dissonance and Disputations is a sufficient Reason." [Adams suggests] "this may be known, if sufficient caution is taken beforehand" [to get to know the person]. "But would an unlimited toleration of Divorces promote the multiplication of Mankind or the Happiness of Life.
Suppose every Man had a Power by law, to repudiate his Wife and marry another at his Pleasure. Would not such a power produce confusion, and misery? After a man and woman had cohabited 7 years and had as many Children a separation would be very inconvenient and unhappy. If either retained all the Children the other would be deprived of the Pleasure of educating, and seeing [them]. But if the Children were divided, each would want to see and provide for the others half.
James Ceaser's latest, The Roots of Obama Worship is characteristically insightful. I hesitate to quote any of it, for it's a deep analysis, but to whet the appetite, here's what I take to be the central paragraph (I didn't actually count), Ceaser writes:
The combination of confidence in science and a religious-like enthusiasm was the hallmark of the Obama campaign, just as it is the most salient characteristic of the contemporary progressive impulse. Confidence in experts and the pledge to "restore science to its rightful place" went hand in hand with chants of "Yes we can" and with celebrations of the gift of charismatic leadership.
When the modern "religion of humanity" meets political necessity, the result is not a happy one. The result may be post-partisan depression.
Update: I wrote a bit hastily yesterday. I should also note that Ceaser ties those ideas quite intelligently to Comte's "Religion of Humanity."
In the WSJ a leftist historian surveys the economic consequences of and responses to disasters from the Lisbon earthquake to Haiti. (Great artwork and photos.) I would add one reason for the suffering: The absence of Wal-Mart. (They've donated $600K to Haiti.) See David Brooks' column earlier this week for the importance of civil society institutions: "This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story." And "we don't know how to use aid to reduce poverty."
Since the New Deal, liberals have exploited Puerto Rico as an experimental subject for their Third-World poverty policies (e.g., artificial contraception). The telling instance is FDR's appointment of New Deal theoretician Rexford Guy Tugwell as the Commonwealth's governor. The Clintons can scarcely come up with something worse for Haiti.
The Civil War & Lincoln
There isn't a chance that these clowns will come up with the right answer, because they're the problem. Simply put, the reason our intelligence service keeps failing to connect the dots is because the officials in charge don't know how.
Remember the Amirault case in Massachusetts, about the family who allegedly sexually assaulted young kids in their care, in spectacular fashion? Dorothy Rabinowitz details Martha Coakley's role in the sordid prosecution. This is the world inhabited by liberals.
If the current attorney general of Massachusetts [Coakely] actually believes, as no serious citizen does, the preposterous charges that caused the Amiraults to be thrown into prison--the butcher knife rape with no blood, the public tree-tying episode, the mutilated squirrel and the rest--that is powerful testimony to the mind and capacities of this aspirant to a Senate seat. It is little short of wonderful to hear now of Ms. Coakley's concern for the rights of terror suspects at Guantanamo--her urgent call for the protection of the right to the presumption of innocence.
In case you've been locked away from media today, the impoverished Caribbean island of Haiti has been devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck near, and largely destroyed, the capitol city of Port-au-Prince. Thousands are thought dead, infrastructure has collapsed and the country is largely without electricity - all indicators that disease, hunger and desperation are staged to kill many more without a rapid response.
We offer our heartfelt prayers for the dead and mourning.
If you'd like to help save lives, may I recommend donating here.
Anti-Catholicism has been called the last acceptable prejudice, and its occurrences are consistently monitored by the likes of Bill Donohue's Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Of course, the bias can easily be extended to Christians as a whole ("poor, uneducated and easy to command," in the Washington Post's opinion) if not the entire conservative movement (consider NPR's bias).
Over here in the EU, Italy's Rocco Buttiglione was rejected as an EU Commissioner when it was revealed that he, as a Catholic, privately believed in marriage between men and women. Buttiglione lamented: "The new soft totalitarianism that is advancing on the left wants to have a state religion. It is an atheist, nihilistic religion - but it is a religion that is obligatory for all." Luxembourg's Viviane Reding may also be derailed for no reason other than reputedly being a practicing Catholic.
Yet such intolerance is not confined to Europe. Obama's nominees have been a virtual "who's who" list of extremists, from Van Jones to Cass Sunstein and John Holdren to Kevin Jennings (nevermind associates such as Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers). Recent nominees, however, go beyond merely anti-Catholic views.
Obama re-nominated Dawn Johnson to head DOJ's powerful Office of Legal Counsel, though she has published anti-Catholic literature and claims the Catholic Church ("The real enemy" of the U.S.) should be legally punished for promoting pro-life views. Obama appointed Erroll Southers to lead the TSA, though he has stated that the nation's highest security risk is posed, not by Muslims with bombs in their undies, but by the homegrown threat of ... pro-lifers and groups with a "Christian identity." As FRC notes: "Unfortunately, that makes him the perfect choice for Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano, who last year included pro-life and pro-marriage conservatives on the domestic 'watch list.'"
I'm reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, and he writes that he enjoys the liberal perspective of Christianity, which allows one to believe in large portions of the world's complimentary religious traditions, as opposed to the intolerance required by his former atheism, which forced him to conclude that nearly all people at all times in history were simply wrong on the most fundamental level.
I am wondering if the Obama administration thinks it vaguely dishonorable to be popular. If you mention to Obama staffers that they really have to be concerned about the polls, they look at you with a certain . . . not disdain but patience, as if you don't understand the purpose of politics. That purpose, they believe, is to move the governed toward greater justice. Just so, but in democracy you do this by garnering and galvanizing public support. But they think it's weaselly to be well thought of.
At the risk of injecting facts into the Reid dust-up: "Despite being hit especially hard by the bad economy, job losses and the high rate of foreclosures, African Americans' assessment of race relations and prospects for the future has surged more dramatically during the past two years than at any time in the past quarter-century, according to a new [Pew] poll." Here's the complete report.
This surge in black optimism was all to be expected. What the poll also confirmed is that most whites and Hispanics (if one takes this group separately) don't regard Obama simply as black, not that this particularly helps the embattled Majority Leader:
The study also found that Americans tend to construct their own view of the president's race based on their backgrounds. In response to a question about Obama's racial identity, 55 percent of black respondents said Obama is black, while about a third said he is mixed race. Among whites, the pattern reversed. Fifty-three percent said he is mixed race, while just a quarter said he is black. Hispanics were even more inclined than whites to see him as mixed race; 61 percent identified him that way.
Like Harry Reid, Bill Clinton is in a little trouble. During the 2008 campaign, Clinton told Senator Kennedy "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."
In the abstract, the phrase is not racially charged. Clinton may have, and probably has, used the phrase countless times to describe someone who has risen quickly, and, he thinks, undeservedly. That's often unfair, but not racially charged. But when he used the phrase about someone whose father is African, it is considered to be such. Not sure if that's right or wrong, or good or bad, but that's how it has played out, and how most pundits, and politicians, see it.
Three instances of conservatives saving Republicans and fellow conservatives from ludicrous arguments:
The Reid episode seems the work of leftists within his own party. He simply repeated what is common knowledge among American blacks: That there have long been separate social institutions for lighter-skinned blacks. Obama's Dreams from My Father grapples with such themes.
Since I've written so profusely on global warming - and because my lovely lady is a European, spoon fed the doctrine of environmentalism since birth and yet resistant to my rehabilitation efforts - I feel compelled to provide updates as scientists and politicians plug their ears and dig in their heels at the mounting evidence (mostly piling up just outside their windows) contradicting their beloved theory.
David Rose's article in Britain's Daily Mail (where "climate-gate" is coined "warmer-gate") reports that leading members of the global warming community are now admitting that the cooling trend which began during the last decade was only the beginning of a progressively cooler trend likely to continue for another 20-30 years! That's a total of 30-40 years of cooling.
Scientists are daily more able to explain why computer climate models have proven wrong 100% of the time, the Arctic (rather than two years from complete thaw) has expanded 26% in the last two years, and we are battling record cold even as we are supposedly on the brink of overheating. The article bears reading as much for the perspective it lends on "die-hard warming advocates" as for its evidence against global warming (man-made or otherwise).
UPDATE: I have belated become aware that the veracity of the underlying article for this post has been forcefully disputed. Such is the nature of real-time blogging that we must depend upon external reporting, and sometimes that reporting is inaccurate. Hopefully, the mockery of such media bias or cluelessness is the subject of a blog post. But, alas, sometimes we are taken in by such errors and opine on the basis of fallacies. For a refutation of the Daily Mail story, go here.