conservatism

It’s a Mad, Mad World

The latest from Bjørn Vosskriger at Social Matter

Why Thrust Agency on Those Who Neither Have Nor Want It?

Inspired by the presentation of the Vagina Monologues, a Claremont McKenna College sophomore, Jordan Bosiljevac, a self-described queer woman of color, recently unleashed a broadside targeting California’s new “Yes Means Yes” law. In it it she opines that “Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity.“

My favorite line in the op-ed, however, was the following: “For me, and many others like me, consent isn’t easy. Yes doesn’t always mean yes, and we misplaced ‘no’ several years ago.“ Rarely does one see so clear an admission of such low agency. If, by her own admission, her “yes” cannot be trusted in any meaningful sense, why would she be given any of the burdens and responsibilities of adulthood, such as: the ability to sign contracts for student loans, vote, purchase cigarettes, and yes, consent meaningfully for sex?

In 2003, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published a highly influential behavioral economics paper entitled Libertarian Paternalism. The paper defends the idea that humans are often predictably irrational. They can–and should be–“nudged” into making better decisions (the paternalistic part), by changing default options, while still preserving their freedom to make sub-optimal choices (the libertarian part). Without any serious debate, most societies have adopted a default option regarding agency; rights and responsibilities are “granted” as citizens reach certain age-based milestones. Given that people mature at wildly different rates, and in the case of Jordan Bosiljevac, may never mature at all, is this not an incredibly arbitrary process?

Read the whole post here.

The Inquisition is Coming for You…well, for me anyway

The Advocate Bounces the Rubble

CEfJ0HiWMAAo9kZThat’s the cover of the June issue of the leading LGBT magazine. These people are winning and have won — they have the overculture and its institutions, including the Democratic Party — and yet they posit their religious opposition as skinhead types who are preparing a pogrom. The revolution will not be complete, I guess, until the last Evangelical pastor is strangled with the entrails of the last Republican state legislator.

Seriously, this tells you something about the next phase of the culture war, and if you’re a social or religious conservative, it’s not good.

Rod Dreher explains who the NYT editorial board hates more than anyone else

Guess who that may be!

Armed gunmen die in an attempt to shoot up a controversial cartoon exhibit in Texas … and the New York Times editorial board blames the people exercising their freedom of speech:

Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.

Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.

When a free people face execution in a free country for exercising their First Amendment freedom, it is disgraceful for a newspaper — a newspaper, for pity’s sake! — to equivocate in the defense of that freedom of expression. Charlie Hebdowas (is) an obnoxious, vicious, spiteful scandal sheet, but when religious fanatics take it upon themselves to murder its editors and cartoonists, there can be no question on whose side we must stand. Same too with Pamela Gellar and her provocateurs. They have a right to be wrong without having to fear for their lives. It is disgusting that the New York Times cannot grasp this basic principle of liberty.

Funny how the Times editorial board, back in 1998, took a different line when the matter was the cancellation, under Christian pressure, of a Manhattan theatrical production about a gay Jesus who had sex with his disciples. From that editorial:

What we are witnessing, once again, is the peculiar combat between freedoms that is repeatedly staged in America. The practitioners and beneficiaries of religious freedom attack the practitioners of artistic freedom — freedom of speech — without seeing that the freedoms they enjoy cannot be defended separately. There is no essential difference between suppressing the production of a controversial play and suppressing a form of worship. No one would have been forced to see ”Corpus Christi” had it been produced, but now everyone is forced not to see it. That sword has two edges, as Roman Catholics, indeed all the faithful, well know.

It is easy to appreciate the dilemma Lynne Meadow, the Manhattan Theater Club’s artistic director, found herself in, but it is impossible to approve her decision. That there is a native strain of bigotry, violence and contempt for artistic expression in this country is not news. But it is news whenever someone as well regarded as the head of the Manhattan Theater Club capitulates to it instead of standing firm and relying on the police for protection. This is not only a land of freedom; it is a land where freedom is always contested. When courage for that contest is lacking, freedom itself — religious or artistic — is terribly diminished.

Benign explanation: the Times editorial board are hypocrites and examples of the maxim that a liberal is someone who is afraid to take his own side in a fight. The explanation I actually believe: Who, whom? – that is, the Times figures out who the Enemy is (right wingers, conservative Christians, et alia) and deploys its journalistic energies to smiting them, with no regard to principle.

Read Rod’s bog here

Religious Liberty – Why you should care about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The New York Times’ David Brooks, Religious Liberty and Equality.

The American Conservative’s Patrick Buchanan, Stand Up for Indiana!

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, The Rise of the Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents and 10 Americans Helped by Religious Freedom Bills like Indiana’s.

The American Conservative‘s Rod Dreher, Indiana: The Holy War of the Left, The Last Liberal for Religious Freedom, and The Hypocrisy of Marc Benioff and Co.

and Governor Mike Pence in The Wall Street Journal, Ensuring Religious Freedom in Indiana.

 

Are Danes Really That Happy? The Myth Of The Scandinavian Utopia

Hahahaha – told you so. Check out courtesy of NPR this interview with Michael Booth, the author of The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.

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On Denmark’s high taxes and what Danes get for it

Let’s take Denmark for example. We do have literally the highest taxes in the world. The income tax is about — top measures are just over 50 percent. But there’s all sorts of other very heavy taxes. … Most people reckon about three quarters of your income ends up in the state’s coffers if you include all the various taxes. You know, if you want to buy a car, there’s a 180 percent tax on the car. [Value-added tax] is 25 percent. They have the highest energy taxes. … So basically I’m working until Thursday lunch time for the government, and the rest of the week for myself. …

What you get is free education, very cheap pre-school care, functioning public transports, a free health service — all the things that many Americans dream of. Now the big question is: You’re paying the highest taxes in the world, is the education system the best in the world? Are the hospitals the best in the world? No, they’re not.

Here’s the link to the article and the interview.

Obama is unpopular and that’s your fault Americans!

Here is the always excellent Jonah Goldberg on the U.S. midterms and an unpopular President:

Obama fatigue is setting in. Indeed, I’ve gone from Obama fatigue through full-on Obama Epstein-Barr to end-stage Obama narcolepsy. I hear him talking, or hear some MSNBC-type rhapsodizing about how misunderstood he is, and I start dozing off like a truck driver who took the drowsy-formula Nyquil by mistake. “Gotta stay awake! This is my job!” But then 20 seconds later, Jonathan Alter starts telling me how misunderstood the president is, and suddenly orange traffic cones are bouncing off my truck’s grill as I somnolently drift into a highway work zone. You could fill a cereal bowl with broken glass and barbed-wire shards drenched in hot sauce right below my face. All it would take for me to use it as a pillow is a 30-second loop of Obama saying “Let me be clear.” His speeches are like whale sounds, but with less substance. I’d say they’re all white noise, but I don’t want to get called a racist.

He goes on to explain how liberals and Dems are characterizing Obama’s unpopularity but here’s the highlight of the essay for me:

Other explanations are similar in their desire to place blame elsewhere. The fault lies not in Obama, but in ourselves. Let’s come back to this in a moment because I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. “Gosh, isn’t it about time Jonah quoted East German Communist playwright Bertolt Brecht?”

In Die Lösung Brecht famously quipped that if the people lose faith in the government it would be better if the government dissolved the people and elected another.

For progressives it’s always five minutes to Brecht-O-Clock. What I mean is this desire to fix the people, not the government always seems to be lurking behind liberalism. It was there when Woodrow Wilson said the first job of an educator is to make your children as unlike you as possible. It was there when Obama explained in 2008 that Hillary Clinton’s Pennsylvania primary supporters weren’t ready to vote for him because they were too busy clinging to their sky god and boom sticks. It’s the central theme of Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? It was whispering in John Podesta’s ear when he said the American political system “sucks.” It is at the heart of the Voxy “explanatory journalism” craze, which holds that if you call proselytizing “explaining” it will help the rubes come to their senses. It runs riot in the mainstream media and their sovereign contempt for these stupid, stupid, Americans and their parochial “unscientific” concerns about an organ-liquefying disease (even as the MSM caters to those concerns for the ratings they deliver). It runs like an underground river through the White House’s national-security policies, as they constantly downplay the dangers Islamic terrorism (“Let’s just call it ‘work place violence’!”) for fear of rousing the fearsome beast of public opinion on the side of the war on terror. It’s why the White House doesn’t want Congress to get involved in a deal with Iran, because Congress might actually listen to the people. It’s why the New York Times laments the “bumpkinification of the midterms.”

That’s how most liberals think. That’s what they think of you and me dear reader. And it’s not unique to the U.S. The sentiment runs through the Canadian progressive character. To them we are just rubes who need to be directed to the lefty utopia whether we like it or not.

The Politicized Life

Just discovered this terrific blog over at the Washington Free Beacon, thanks to Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

On Forbearance: or, Why I Pity Jonathan Chait

By Flickr user Simon CunninghamIn lieu of a movie review this week, we’ve published my chapter from The Seven Deadly Virtues. (You can buy it here!) If you’re a reader of this here blog, it may seem a bit familiar to you. Consider it a thesis statement on “The Politicized Life.”

Consider it also a rebuttal to Jonathan Chait’s sad statement of intolerance. In a much-discussed essay, Jonathan Chait celebrated the politicized life, implicitly called for political segregation, and announced that he would be saddened if his daughter came home with a Republican soulmate:

The Politicized Life, Ebola Edition

This Christian woman sews dresses for little girls in Africa. DISGUSTING. GROSS. UGH. / APPop quiz, hotshot:

You’re dying of ebola and have the choice between bleeding out in the street unloved by anyone or being cared for by a Christian missionary. What do you do? What do you do?

If you’re Slate‘s Brian Palmer, that’s apparently a tougher question than you might think. Here’s Palmer:

Boycott ALL the Things!

54352612One of the mouth-breathing conspiracy theorists at Vice thinks you should boycott the NFL because a couple of NFL employees have had trouble with the law and some of the folks who are paid a great deal of money to play a game that they love of their own free will wind up with brain damage.

The mouthbreather raises a good point! We should hold all of our entertainments to these standards! Indeed, we should boycott all the things.

Andrew W.K.: ‘Party, Don’t Politicize!’

LET'S GET A PARTY GOING (AP)Andrew W.K., America’s premier partier, is no more a fan of the politicized life than yours truly. In his advice column for the Village Voice, W.K. smacks down a guy who wrote in to complain about his dad, a “65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship …

The Totalitarian Impulse and Art

I don't judge artists by their terrible politicsJed Perl has an important essay over at the New Republic on the incessant politicization of the arts by the left. As someone who has made a hobby of taking on the politicized life, you can imagine how pleased I was to read it. Perl’s thrust is this: art is separate from the artist, and vice versa. Which is to say, you can disagree with a person’s politics and still approve of—or learn something important about humanity from—their art. Here’s a taste:

Lynn Stuart Parramore: The Saddest Person in America?

mob pitchforksImagine that your life is so hollow and devoid of meaning, that you, upon hearing a song played in a grocery store, feel compelled to go home, print out that song’s lyrics, and present them to a store employee demanding that, in the future, they refrain from playing that song so as to refrain from …

When Is the Politicized Life Okay?

mob pitchforksI participated in a Bloggingheads earlier this week with Kevin Glass; our topic of discussion was something I’ve been scribbling about for the last 18 months or so. If you watch, you’ll note that there’s a picture of one Adam Kredo over my left shoulder informing everyone that my office is a “den of borderline anti-Semitism.”

I want to drill down a bit deeper into a point Kevin and I touched on briefly near the end, about when it’s “okay”* to live the politicized life. When is an opinion so outré that we should shun the opinion holder? When should we seek to impoverish those with whom we disagree?

If You Don’t Like Jason Biggs’ Twitter Feed, Unfollow Him

This person's Twitter feed can only bother you if you let it. (Photo by Flickr user titi-)There’s this show on Netflix called Orange Is the New Black about women in prison. One of the actors on this show is Jason Biggs, who has a Twitter feed. One need not watch the show to enjoy his Twitter feed and vice versa. Neither is integral to the other. There is literally no requirement whatsoever that the two of these things be consumed in tandem.

And yet, there’s a Very Serious Post over at Salon by Daniel D’Addario in which he pronounces that “Jason Biggs’s awful Twitter feed is ruining ‘Orange Is the New Black.’” I am … puzzled. Well and truly puzzled. Because, as I wrote not 50 words previously, there is literally no requirement whatsoever that the two of these things be consumed in tandem. One can watch the show and understand every single detail without ever once reading a 140-character missive from Mr. Biggs. And one can read his 140-character missives about The Bachelorette without ever once watching even a second of his television program and still understand that he thinks the program is dumb. They are not related at all. If you think OITNB is amazeballs and that Jason Biggs’ Twitter feed is utter shite—two opinions I happen to hold—you can watch the show and not follow him on Twitter. The whole point of Twitter is that you can follow whoever you want and are required to follow no one.

D’Addario seems to misunderstand how “Twitter” and “acting” works:

The Scent of a Conservative

The Pacific Standard reports on a new study that suggests some people are attracted to “the body odour of others who share their political ideology”.

That’s right: To some extent, we emit red smells or blue smells, and consciously or not, potential mates can and do notice the difference.

“It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways,” a research team led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott writes in the American Journal of Political Science. As she and her colleagues note, this dynamic can be explained using evolutionary theory, noting that such compatibility increases the odds of successful mating and compatible child-rearing.

Read the whole article here.

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