Friday, May 06, 2016
(Posted on behalf of Steve.)
After I reviewed the debate between Bart Ehrman and Tim McGrew on YouTube, I took a look at some of the comments. Village atheists swarmed the comment thread, so I interacted with some of them [here and here]. Their lack of rudimentary reasoning skills is something to behold. Here are some of my comments:
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Now, thanks to “Pope Francis”, that hermeneutic has been turned on its head, as Roman Catholics at all levels need an “interpretation” of the papal “interpretation”.
Instructions For Not Losing the Way in the Labyrinth of “Amoris Lætitia”:
“One month after the publication of the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Lætitia” it is ever more evident that in interpreting and applying it there is growing “uncertainty and confusion, from the bishops' conferences to the small parishes in the middle of nowhere,” in the forceful criticism of the eminent German philosopher Robert Spaemann, a peer and longstanding friend of Joseph Ratzinger.”
Donald Trump swept the Republican primaries in the Northeast Corridor in large part due to the turnout of angry blue-collar Catholics. He may do the same in Indiana today.
Trump’s biggest victory was in New York – which is 44 percent blue-collar – where he racked up an astonishing 61 percent of votes cast and carried all sixty-two counties. On Long Island where a large majority of GOP voters are Catholic, Trump received an astonishing 70 percent…In record-breaking numbers, they have come out to support the person who appeals to their gut, not to their mind – Donald Trump.
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
So this election has boiled down to a choice between the male version of Hillary Clinton and the female version of Hillary Clinton. As a Conservative, I am now doing my part to try to convince as many people as possible to vote for neither of them.
It’s been somewhat heartening seeing how many of my Facebook friends have already said they won’t vote for Trump. But unfortunately, there have still been dozens of posts I’ve seen from people saying, “Whelp, now that it’s down to Trump verse Clinton, I gotta hold my nose and vote for Trump.”
Let me try to persuade you that this is the absolute worst decision you can make as a Conservative.
Right now, the Republican Party consists of a coalition between various factions. Without giving any percentages (because I don’t know them), the party has social conservatives, social moderates, and even a few social liberals. I used to think that conservatives were a large proportion, even the majority, of Republicans, but I no longer think that is the case. Instead, we currently are just a fairly large minority.
Now, Republicans do not have enough moderates to win on their own in a general election. They need to establish coalitions to get enough votes. The problem is, for decades now—at least since I’ve been conscious of politics, and probably well before that—Conservatives have voted for Republicans no matter what. Republicans know they have the Conservative vote locked up.
So think of this logically, from the point of view of someone like, say, Karl Rove where your only desire is for Republicans to win, not for any particular policy. If you know that Conservatives will vote with the moderates no matter what, because they cannot abide the Democrat winning, then will you spend resources or political capital on Conservative issues? No. What need do you have to do that? You’ve already got them voting for you. Instead, what will you do? You’ll give favors and spend resources and use your political capital to try to convince the liberals to join the moderates too. And that means that you move the party leftward to make it more palatable for the liberals. Conservatives won’t like it, but they will vote Republican anyway. You lose nothing by moving left, but you gain liberal votes.
So how does this cash out? It means that as long as the Republicans know they can take the Conservative vote for granted, they will continue to give us candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney…and yes, even Donald Trump (who is the embodiment of the establishment regardless of what anyone claims).
Conservatives, if you vote for Donald Trump in this election then the Republican Party knows it can run the most liberal candidates and you will vote for them anyway. You will never again see a Conservative candidate in the Republican Party. The party will continue its leftward race.
Conservatives need to realize there are two things that must remain true in order for them to get their agenda into the public sphere. If either of these goes, Conservatism no longer has a voice.
1) Republicans must need Conservatives to vote with them to win elections. So far, this is true. If Conservatives do not vote with the Republican moderates, there are not enough Republican liberals and Democrat poached voters to make up the difference. But more importantly:
2) Conservatives need to show they will not vote for Republicans if Republicans ignore the Conservative agenda. And at this point, Conservatives fail. Conservatives are needed, but Republicans do not need to cater to Conservatives because Conservatives are obedient even when they are being abused.
Here’s the bottom line. If you want Conservativism to remain viable, then this election is the time to not vote for either Hillary. If you vote for Trump, then the party moves further to the left and at some point the party will gain enough members from the liberal side to counter-balance any support they would have gotten from Conservatives, and at that moment even the number (1) point that I mentioned above no longer applies for Conservatives.
But don’t just take my word for it. Consider the words of Ace of Spades, a social moderate/liberal who has until now been supporting social conservativism because he believed it was necessary to win elections. He’s been one of my favorite political commentators, despite being an atheist. Well, here’s what he’s seen:
…I don't think I'm going to be adapting my views to the socially-conservative mainstream any longer, because I'm not sure these views are actually the Republican mainstream any longer. I knew social conservatism wasn't quite as believed as was claimed; I knew many politicians claimed to be pro-life who were in fact pro-choice, and I knew many of the Beltway class of advisers, think-tank workers, etc. were pro-choice, or more pro-choice than the GOP was as a formal matter. They were certainly more pro-gay (if not always actually pro-gay-marriage).And again:
But the fact that a clear social liberal, who practically no one believes is "pro-life" or even pro-gun, is the runaway favorite for the GOP nomination is a fact with major implications for the party going forward. If Trump's liberalism can be accepted, why can't the liberalism of Giuliani (or a Giuliani type to be named later) be accepted?
I had thought a whole bunch of things were non-negotiable demand points from an important part of the coalition.
Now it seems they either are plenty negotiable, or that part of the coalition isn't as important as I thought.
Pro-life Trump supporters are making several points in the comments. Let me respond to them, or my paraphrase of them.Social Conservatives need to be unreasonable, we need to be uncompromising, we need to be unbending. We need to be willing to let Republicans lose elections when they don’t do what we want them to do.
"There are more important things to worry about at the moment, like protecting the integrity of the nation," is the general claim.
Understood -- and I agree. Pro-lifers are being, they say, tactical here, and reasonable about what can and cannot be done.
Here's the problem with that: If you want to maximize your leverage in political negotiations, you really have to establish you're unreasonable on the issue, and will not compromise -- if your demands are not met, you'll walk.
So yes, it's great to see pro-lifers are willing to compromise on this. Sure, it demonstrates they are flexible, adaptable, and willing to make tactical compromises for the greater good.
But now we know that going forward -- and you don't just get to say "Our flexible position only applies in 2016, and only to Trump." No, it applies going forward, generally.
We now know that this is not the deal-breaker some of us thought it was. (All emphasis original.)
It is myopic to focus on Hillary Clinton and say, “We cannot let her win” when the alternative is to destroy any chance the Conservative movement has to pass any policy. A Hillary win won’t destroy Conservativism, but Conservatives voting en mass for Trump most assuredly will.
Tuesday, May 03, 2016
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:26-27).
15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also (1 Cor 14:15).
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Eph 6:18).
19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 19-20).
Monday, May 02, 2016
In Jean-Paul Sartre’s short-story, The Wall, set during the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Ibbieta, a prisoner sentenced to be executed by the Fascists, is interrogated by his guards as to the whereabouts of his comrade Ramon Gris. Mistakenly believing Gris to be hiding with his cousins, he makes the untruthful statement to them that “Gris is hiding in the cemetery” (with the intention that they believe this statement to be true). As it happens, Gris is hiding in the cemetery, and the statement is true. Gris is arrested at the cemetery, and Ibbieta is released (Sartre 1937; cf. Siegler 1966: 130).
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev 21:8).
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44).
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 Jn 1:10).
4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 Jn 2:4).
22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son (1 Jn 2:22).
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar (1 Jn 4:20).
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son (1 Jn 5:10).
12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity” (2 Sam 12:1-6).