Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Every Vote Counts

Reason number 65 to avoid voting:

A new statewide [New York] database of registered voters contains as many as 77,000 dead people on its rolls, and as many as 2,600 of them have cast votes from the grave, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal computer-assisted analysis.

Oh yes, every vote counts, so make sure you walk to the polls.

Because if you don't vote, dead people will.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Brief Paglian Diversion

Camille Paglia from Vamps and Tramps:

My disaffection with American Catholicism, which began during my adolescence in the late Fifties, was due partly to its strident anti-sex rhetoric and partly to its increasing self-Protestantization and suppression of its ethnic roots. Within twenty years, Catholic churches looked like airline terminals--no statues, no stained-glass windows, no shadows or mystery or grandeur. No Latin, no litanies, no goregous jeweled-garments, no candles--so that the ordinary American church now smells like baby powder. Nothing is left to appeal to the senses. The artistic education of the eye that I received as a child in church is denied to today's young Catholics.

Her disagreement with the Church's teaching on sex is fundamental, and requires a greater mind than my own to discuss, though were I given the opportunity, I would recommend to Miss Paglia the late Pope's talks on the Thelogy of the Body.

That said, I cannot agree with her more about the second reason for her disenchancement with American Catholicism. Bring back the Latin! Bring back the candles, the stained-glass
the statues!

There is little that bothers me more than a boring church--perhaps heresy from the pulpit. I do not know if anyone really enjoys the sterility of the modern churches, but I know I am not alone in clamoring for more traditional churches. People still spend hours in the churches of Europe--though seldom to worship, and less frequently are the worshippers Europeans--for good reason.

No one is going to want to visit a mega-church in fifty years, let alone five hundred. I hope God burns every one of the monstrosities when he returns. It's not as if any of them spend a lick of time talking about his Son's death and ressurection anyway.

It's back to Wise Blood for me, in which Hazel Moates founds the "Church Without Christ". Someone should have told wayward Christians that Flannery O'Connor intended sarcasm, not a plan for action.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lode 10-25

Two more columns from the Lode, printed here with my original headlines:

The Portentous Rejection of Marriage

Don’t look now, but as a portion of American households, married couples are now a minority. It doesn’t take but maybe five braincells to figure out that this isn’t good news. Allow me to elucidate.

First, children are in dire need of the stability that marriage brings. It is hardly surprising that illegitimacy is the single most significant factor in determining whether or not a child will grow up in poverty.

Second, marriage between a man and a woman is still the ideal. True, abusive mothers and alcoholic fathers seem to suggest that the nuclear family is not perfect—but it was never purported to be. Yet both a male and a female presence are necessary. For those who suggest that men and women are only physically different, I suggest you work on doubling that braincell count. Would you really want me and myself—two people now, in hypothetical land—raising a child? You think maybe the little bloke would have trouble relating to womenfolk? Thought so. I reckon men and women are a bit different.

More importantly, things aren’t getting better. Men, traditionally not too bright when it comes to women, are realizing that the “modern girlfriend” will do that which strict morals once prevented all but a wife from doing. Throw in the astronomical divorce rates, three-quarters of which are undertaken at the behest of women, and the “family” courts, wherein a man gets robbed to pay for children he can no longer see when he wishes, and it takes a considerable fool to tie the knot, barring religious reasons of course.

As the western world continues to reject Christ and the morality he and his followers promulgated, man starts to look out for number one, and marriage is tossed aside like a used condom. Post-Christian western civilization is in for one bumpy ride.

War: Antithetical to Conservatism

It has been fascinating to watch loyal Republican pundits explain that while the party has failed to act upon its conservative principles, we must all stand with her because we are at war with terror. Yet fighting the War on Terror is inimical to the ethos of conservatism. Alexis De Tocqueville explains:

War does not always give over democratic communities to military government, but it must invariably and immeasurably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost compulsorily concentrate the direction of all men and the management of all things in the hands of the administration. If it does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it prepares men for it more gently by their habits. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and the shortest means to accomplish it. This is the first axiom of the science.

Despite Bush’s insistence that America is both free and democratic, he seems to have no problem in destroying liberty through the vehicle of foreign war. For myself, I cannot decide whether he is the most corrupt man to ever disgrace the office of Washington, waging a senseless war only to increase his own personal power, or merely a useful idiot. But from the perspective of a peon in the throes of a paradoxically increasingly autocratic government and dying civilization, it makes precious little difference.

The founding principle of conservatism could be taken from Thomas Paine: “That government is best which governs least.” Conservatism ought to always oppose the expansion of government, and, as war only leads to exactly this, it must be opposed.

There are exceptions to this principle, however: conservatism does not equate with pacifism. When the mother country is being invaded, troops should be called to send the barbarians back from whence they came. Incidentally, as illegal immigrants march across the border at a rate of one every thirty seconds, President Bush clamors for citizenship for all, though he is careful to explain that he is “against amnesty.” And while he reminds us that these illegals merely seek better conditions in the United States, it is wholly unreasonable to suppose that no terrorists are to be counted among the estimated twelve million undocumented aliens within our midst.

Now the base needs little prodding to defend the border. It is not hard to guess which party the Minutemen affiliated with—affiliated as in past tense; complacency on behalf of the president has given Jim Gilchrist, founder of the border defense group, impetus to seek the Constitutional Party’s nomination in 2008. Would Bush only adhere to his oath to protect and defend this nation, Gilchrist and his followers, formerly filled with righteous indignation, would assuredly return to their home in the Republican Party.

If Bush was really and truly concerned with the War on Terror, we would not be leaving the border unsecured. The President has shown that he is bereft of principles, completely lacking in common sense; his thinking is marred with inconsistency. It is manifestly imbecilic to go in search of foreign enemies to destroy whilst allowing those who would do us harm to waltz merrily across the U.S.-Mexican border. In his haste to protect the chickens, Bush has gone to the woods to hunt the fox. But the door to the chicken coop remains wide open.

I do not support the War on Terror for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that, by ill-defining the enemy, we risk Orwell’s “perpetual war.” Yet if we are going to defeat “Terror,” a secure border is paramount. As waged presently, Bush’s War on Terror is futile, and only serves to increase the size of the government behemoth. Sincere conservatives cannot and should not support him or the party that once nominated the pusillanimous quisling.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Thou Shalt Report Thy Smoking Neighbors

When in Omaha... don't just refrain from smoking, but call the cops if someone else is lighting up.

Omaha's tough new anti-smoking ordinance banning the practice in nearly all public places comes with an even tougher enforcement policy.

The Nebraska city's elected leaders and police department are urging residents who see violations to call the 9-1-1 emergency system for an immediate response.

Omaha banned smoking in public Oct. 2. Penalties are $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second and $500 for the third and subsequent infractions.

Remember when we were busy defeating those durned Red Soviets? Now we are trying to emulate them. Police your neighbors; anyone could be a nefarious smoker. And, since the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, we need not worry about the government telling us to report when a neighbor: doesn't vote, goes to Church, eats a doughnut... fill in the blank.

Only the historically ignorant can pretend that the removal of one "insignificant" liberty would never lead to others, or that a government can instill an insidious habit within its citizens and still show some modicum of restraint in utilizing the maleable population to its advantage.

It's getting a little weird here in America.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Withdrawing From the Schools

I head over to WND almost every day. Home to some of my favorite commentators, their news section is often worthy of at least a glance. A large number of the articles seem to bemoan the present state of the public school system, and end with a pathetic proclamation for change. Thus I was presently surprised to see that the Southern Baptists appear to have gotten it right:

If you like sexually transmitted diseases, shootings and high teen pregnancy rates, by all means, send your children to public schools. That's the word from a leader in the fast-growing movement within the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention for parents to pull their children from those schools in favor of homeschooling...

In an interview with WND, he said that those problems and others are prevalent in public schools, and some Christian leaders even have said it could be considered child abuse just to register children in such a facility...

"Dr. Mohler is right, Southern Baptists, and Christians generally, need to plan a Christian educational future for our children," Wiley said. "First, Christian parents are obligated to provide their children with a Christ-centered education. Anyone who thinks that a few hours of youth group and church will have more influence on a child's faith and worldview than 40 to 50 hours a week of public school classes, activities, and homework is simply not being honest with himself...

"The experiment with government schooling has failed," said Bruce Shortt, a co-sponsor of the "Exit Strategy" resolution. "What Baptists need to do now is create a new public education system, a system that is public in the sense that it is open to everyone and that takes into account the needs of orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged. With our existing buildings, our talented people, and the educational technology available today, it is now possible to create rapidly an affordable, effective Christian education alternative to the government schools."

About time. Yes, the schools once used the Bible in the classroom, and didn't attack Christianity at ever opportunity. But that was then, and it is imbecilic to hope for a return to the past, especially in an increasingly post-Christian society. The obvious move then, once reform has failed, is to withdraw.

I see three possible problems with the pending withdrawal.

First, parents can be naively supportive of their own public schools. The majority of public schools are cess pools, inimical to both rational thought and moral living; while there are exceptions, they are few and far between. Chances are, your particular school isn't as good as you wish it would be. Withdraw.

Second, many families are either dependent on both parents working, or percieved to be as such. I see several ways out of this conundrum. First, pool with a relative. Trust a brother or a sister or even a close family friend to teach if they are so willing. Christians are called to be Christ to one another, and ought to do anything they can to prevent children from being sacrificed to the public school system. Alternatively, churches could award scholarships to help families make due with one working parent--I am unsure of the legalities involved with this particular solution; this is merely a brain-storming session. Lastly, sacrifice for your children. Perhaps one parent could become a part-timer, or parents could arrange to work different hours. Home-schooling only takes a few hours a day, and a parent need not be home for the entire school day--so long as the child would have somewhere to go which would not serve to undermine the effects of homeschooling.

Lastly, parents will need to make the move to home-school. This will involve sacrifice, and it runs counter to everything that parents have learned--courtesy of the public school of course. It may prove especially difficult to get women to give up careers for their children. Yet I have hope that Christians realize that there is more to life than cubedom, and many will rise to the occasion.

The movement grows. Our children may have a chance yet.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lode 10-18

uulMy apologies to my readers. School has been less than kind as of late, and my free time has been reduced substantially. Nontheless, I will provide the links to, not one, not two, but three articles which have been published in the Michigan Tech Lode. Refreshingly, the subject is no longer the futility of voting, but the dry, sarcastic, Jacksonian wit is present. As always, enjoy responsibly.

On a related note, my editor chooses these ridiculous headlines. I'm not sure if he reads the articles beforehand or not. I wouldn't be surprised either way.

I hope to return to regular blogging shortly. More importantly, a friend and I are currently in discussions over forming a group blog of sorts. If this gets off the ground, I will most likely do most of my posting there, in which case I will also provide a link to the new blog.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lode 10-11

Only one column this week, but someone wrote a response to my two part series on not-voting, or, as EP puts it, "refusing to feed the beast".

Still refusing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Still Not Voting

A good friend of my family and probably my most loyal reader sent me a link to a plea from Bill Bennett for folks like me to vote. As I value this reader's opinion and greatly respect him, I thought I'd take the time to respond yet again on the subject of not voting.

Okay, look. Now is the time for all good men—and women—to come to the aid of the party...

Look, if you want John Paul Stevens replaced on the Supreme Court with a carbon copy, pro-choice, pro-racial preferences Justice, stay home.

As opposed to a a pro-choice, pro-racial preference Sandra Day O'Connor. If republicans consistently nominated strict constructionists, this might be a convincing argument. Then you recall that the court contains seven out of nine justices who have been nominated by republicans. Neither is this new; President Eisenhower nominated Earl Warren, the judge who gave us Roe v. Wade.

Keep a close eye on how Bush's appointees rule, especially if the high court decides to take up the lower court's decision which declared unconstitutional a ban on partial birth abortion. If conservative justices can't even overturn such an egregious decision, this argument is officially worthless.

If you want Donald Rumsfeld hauled before Congress every week justifying the war rather than fighting it, stay home.

Actually, as I oppose the war, I would like him to justify it, though he cannot do so. That the democrats haven't a clue on foreign policy doesn't mean the republican alternative is tenable or palatable. I don't like interventionism, even if we're going after bad guys.

If you want spending to increase even above the levels you are unhappy with now, stay home.

I can't believe Bill Bennett is actually offering this as an argument. The present administration has outspent everyone: Bill Clinton, FDR, LBJ, etc. Yes, it's possible that the democrats would spend more, but it is doubtful. If the democrats capture the house--which looks fairly likely--the Senate should be able to thwart government spending by failing to compromise; if they capture both houses--a rather more doubtful prospect, at least presently--Bush can finally start vetoing spending bills. Deadlock is a good thing; it slows government down--something which conservatism also ostensibly does.

If you want Henry Waxman holding hearings on every aspect of the administration's actions, stay home.

I have no idea who Henry Waxman is, but if he holds hearings on the seizure of civil rights by the Bush administration; if he holds hearings in regards to the irresponsible spending being conducted by Congress; if he holds hearings on the President's dereliction of duty in failing to defend the border from an invasion of illegals, I will applaud. If he conducts hearings on the misleading evidence regarding the war in Iraq I will be mildy amused. Government hearings also slow the government down.

If you want to see the war in Iraq defunded to the point of withdrawal so that the worst elements in Iraq take over and a repeat of the helicopters-fleeing-Saigon-type-images come back all over again, signaling a decade-long disrespect and doubt of American power, stay home.

I do want to see the Iraq war defunded, and although this will again "signal a decade-long disrespect and doubt of American power", this is unavoidable. We cannot win in Iraq, and the burden of guilt does not rest upon those of us who grew tired with supporting an immoral and irrational war, but upon those who foolishly had us attack and attempt to democratize another nation. For we are, to borrow a title of a Buchanan tome, "a republic, not an empire". It is high time we remember as much.

If you want to keep the border unsealed, stay home.

Again, a laughable assertion. The republicans have had six years to do something about illegal immigration and have offered little. Moreover, this is the one issue upon which a large portion, if not a majority, of the American population agrees with the conservative stance. And yet, the cowardly representatives do nothing.

The fact that Bill Bennett, among others, is writing articles about this is indicative of the trouble the republicans could be in this election. The fact that we are only given a choice between republicans and democrats, that is, no real choice, does not mean we must vote. Throughout history, very few people have had the opportunity to vote. The fact that our recent ancestors had the chance to do so is interesting and perhaps even moderately neat, but we must accept the fact that democracy no longer exists in any real sense of the word.

More on point, conservatism is a failed idealogy. I did not completely understand this, despite my avowed libertarianism until I read a Vox Day column in which he explained thusly:

The problem with both catenaccio and conservatism is that any positive movement is largely the result of luck, not purpose. They are defensive strategies, and as any military historian will tell you; defense never beats offense, it only staves off defeat for a time. In the end, even the most intrepid defenders will weary and the gates will finally fall to the barbarians.

Although it sounds ludicrous in a time when conservatives nominally rule the airwaves, the legislative, judicial and executive branches; 2006 may well be one day viewed as a low point for the American conservative. For politics is not mathematics and it knows no transitive law. It is true that many institutions and individuals are Republican, and certainly the Republican Party is supposed to be America's conservative party, but this does not equal conservative dominance of the political scene.

For neither the institutions nor the individuals can be relied upon to work toward conservative goals. Most of the conservative actions taken in the last 20 years can be best described as holding actions, not actions intended to lower the rising tide of central government influence or combat societal devolution.

There is hope for a triumph of "conservatism", if by conservatism one means an idealogy wherein government espouses the principles delineated in the constitution, but it cannot come through the republican party, and certainly not in its present form. We cannot hold back the tide forever; at some point we must attack. Yet republicans do not promise to attack, and indeed seem to eek a living out of futile promises which only mean future failure.

When the republican party decides to fight the monolithic government beast I will consider voting for them; yet so long as they only claim to be less evil than their democratic counterparts I shall not waste my time. It matters little whether the republic is destroyed in ten or twenty years. A dead republic is a dead republic.

Vote Because (Insert Lame Excuse Here)

David Limbaugh hopes you don't think too hard about what he's saying:

I don't care how many times I hear it, I refuse to believe that significant numbers of conservatives will stay home in November and thereby assist the Democratic Party to regain control of Congress...

Conservatives are generally rational creatures and sophisticated enough to understand that the national interest will not be served by turning national security over to a party wholly incapable of safeguarding it for the sake of punishing Republicans.

Stay in line kids. We can't let the Democrats win because then we'll lose the war on terror--whatever that means. Or something.

I don't believe conservatives will conspire to assign control over immigration to the wide-open border Democrats, notwithstanding the Republicans' tardy and so-far inadequate response to the immigration problem. My assessment is reinforced by news that Congress passed a measure to erect a 700-mile border fence. Conservative angst forced recalcitrant politicians to act. This is how you get results – not by replacing a highly imperfect party with an incomparably egregious one.

But that is not how you get results. You get results by demanding that, in exchange for your vote, certain things are done. Limbaugh believes that the Republican's position on security is enough to merit voting for them; this despite the fact that the GOP is no longer "conservative" by any stretch of the imagination.

Limbaugh thinks that if you go to a restaurant, and when the coffee is cold, the toast burnt, the eggs dry, and the bacon fried to a crisp--but less fried than the competitor's bacon--the coffee will reach the level of warm if you continue to patronize the restaurant. I hope we all understand the fatal flaw in that reasoning. In lieu of a genuine incentive, we must trust in the beneficiency of the GOP.

If you want something to be done about illegal immigration, spending, out-sourcing, abortion, etc., call your republican congressman and/or senator. Tell him that since he didn't do X, you're going to stay home. Or, tell him you'll vote for the Democrat to teach him a lesson.

The only "power" we have is our vote. True, because a sizeable portion of the American public is, apparently, dumber than a box of rocks, that power is minimized, still it is our only real power. Until we recognize the viable option of removing consent, we'll forever be stuck between two parties of people we really don't like, perpetually voting for the lesser of two evils. Pardon me for failing to be sufficiently joyful concerning the opportunity.

It is time for conservatives to ignore the Democrat and Old Media propaganda and vote in even greater numbers in November. If Democrats and the Old Media keep reporting that conservatives are going to stay home, they might be in store for the upset of their lives on Election Day – just maybe.

I really don't know how many "most important elections of our lifetime" we can sit through before we realize that the pundits are selling us a crock of crap. If conservatives were actually rational creatures, and not pragmatic ones, the majority would stay home come November.

I'm going home for a wedding this weekend, and, aside from impressing the ladies with my incredible inability to cut a rug, my goal is to convince as many people as possible to sit this election cycle out.

I like to think myself as a kind super-hero. Sort of like Under-Dog.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thoughts on North Korea as it Pertains to Iran

I finished my Point-Counterpoint (PCP) for the paper, and I'll post a link to that come Wednesday, but at the risk of ruining PCP, a few words are needed on North Korea.

Predictably, Bush is upset:

US President George W. Bush branded North Korea's nuclear test "a threat to international peace and security" and called for an immediate response by the UN Security Council.

This the same council which Bush spurned in going to war with Iraq. I'm betting they're thrilled to go along with whatever it is we're going to do to show North Korea we mean business.

"Once again North Korea has defied the will of the international community, and the international community will respond," the US president said in a hastily arranged public statement at the White House.

Just how they will respond is unclear. It will probably remain so for quite some time--barring an October surprise. Iran anyone? Don't mind me, just speculating.

Bush, who declined to confirm Pyongyang's claim to have tested a nuclear device, said that he had discussed the crisis with the leaders of China, South Korea, Russia and Japan, Washington's chief partners on North Korea.

China has us by the balls from an economic standpoint, and they're not going to do a thing about North Korea because, as Joseph Farah observed: "We have some allies – notably Japan, Taiwan and South Korea – but Russia and China know North Korea's nuclear weapons are not targeted in their direction. They are targeted at us."

He failed to mention that America has either treaty obligations or verbal commitments to the defense of all three of our "allies.

Meanwhile, over at HuffingtonPost, someone gave this clown a metaphorical microphone:

We have as proof today the news that a true danger to America in North Korea has gone ignored and unchecked by the Bush administration, while we continue to hemorrhage blood and money in a war of choice, against a country that posed no danger whatsoever to us.

Evidently he would have given Bush the rubber-stamp on taking out Kim Jong-Il. Perhaps he secretly pines for a war with Iran. Alternatively, he may simply be a complete moron.

Have we learned nothing at all in the last six years? Pre-emptive war is immoral, stupid, and ineffective. As Vox Day observed some days ago:

There are two ways to defeat an insurgency, the Roman way and the British way. The Roman way requires killing and enslaving a statistically significant portion of the populace and colonizing the land. The British way requires dividing the potential resistance and constantly playing the various parties against each other.

Simply pointing machine guns at people and telling them all to play nicely together will never cut it. Since Americans possess neither Roman ruthlessness nor British mercantilism, there is no point in playing at occupation. Once it became clear that no one was ever going to be interested in buying condos overlooking the Euphrates, the occupation was doomed.

I do not like the fact that North Korea may be nuclear. But there isn't a good way to prevent a country, however despicable, from doing just that.

It will be fascinating to see how the left will choose to oppose the war with Iran. The neo-cons now have nuclear North Korea to scare up the fearful minions who hold safety--or the illusion therof--sacrosanct. By opposing the war with Iraq, not on moral or even practical grounds, but instead because Saddam wasn't a real threat, the left has made it more difficult for them to oppose a prospective war with Iran.

Moreover, the Democrats are shamelessly Machiavellian; if a case can be made to the American people that those who oppose a war with Iran are insufficiently "tough on terror" the left will be an unenviable position. All hinges on the gullibility of the American people.

In Which I Discover an Election Wherein I Would Bother to Vote

South Dakota asserts its tenth amendment rights:

Circled around a living room, sipping coffee, five long-acquainted couples grappled with their stark differences on a topic they would have skirted in the past but now cannot avoid _ abortion.

Like other South Dakotans, people in this tiny farming town are confronting a historic opportunity on Nov. 7. They'll sway a tortuous national debate by making a choice no statewide electorate has faced before: whether to approve a sweeping ban on virtually all abortions.

"None of us think abortion is a desirable thing," said Tom Dean, a family physician who hosted the discussion along with his wife, Kathy. "But it's not a problem for government to solve by passing a rigid law."

Oh, but it is, Dr. Dean; it is. People have pointed out the supposed contradiction that I am a pro-life libertarian. But there is no contradiction at all. The pro-life libertarian holds that pre-born babies be given the same right to life that the rest of us have. Even a limited goverment must still defend the right to life by punishing those who extirpate it. This is what separates libertarianism from anarchy.

It will be interesting to see how this vote pans out. It will be even more intriguing to watch the federal courts, including the Supreme court, now packed with two Bush appointed justices, overturn the will of the people of South Dakota.

If and when that happens, there will no longer be a single reason to support the Republicans. If Republican appointees will not allow a state to ban abortion, one may as well vote for the Democrats, as they are infinitely more honest about their support for infanticide.

One hopes my pessimism is, for once, unfounded, and states will again be allowed to do what the constitution explicitly allows. Alternatively, the state of South Dakota could pull a page from Andrew Jackson's playbook. Old Hickory once told the court, "[They] had made their decision, let them enforce it."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lode 10-4

Two more articles this week, including a second column on why voting is futile, and, indeed sanctions a system which is not legitimate.

I'm hoping to be able to blog a little more frequently, but school has be bogged down, and I've been using the little free time I have to get some reading done. It should be noted that it is a bit unwise to attempt to read four books whilst still maintaining a reasonable GPA and/or a vigorous social life.

In other news: Go Twins! I need to talk to Major League Baseball about scheduling games during classes.