24 March 2015

Counting The Cost

Mike Adams:
There are many across the political spectrum that will claim Barack Obama has let them down at some point over the last six and a half years. The reasons for their disappointment with the Obama presidency vary. Regardless of political persuasion, everyone should agree that among the greatest disappointments of this administration is its failure to secure the release of Saeed Abedini. This American citizen has been imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and denied medical treatment in an Iranian prison for the “crime” of sharing his religious faith. Any other administration in American history would have already secured his release. That is, any other administration but this one.
Actually, I don't agree that this is a failure at all.  If Mr. Abedini wishes to preach Christ to muslims in a country where such preaching is banned, than it is his duty to shoulder the God-given consequences of his decision.  Morever, he should strongly consider the example of his forebear, St. Paul, who, after recounting his suffering for Christ, said, "That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Note that he didn't ask for the imperial government to deliver him from persecution.

Christ made it very clear that those who wish to be his disciple need to count the cost of doing so.  Those disciples who are called to spread the word will pay a high price indeed, and must be willing to pay it without complaint.  While it is certainly disheartening to see a brother in Christ tortured for his faith, it should not be surprising, for the world hated Christ, and will most certainly hate those who aspire to follow after him.

More to the point, though, petitioning for the release of a persecuted Christian is a tactically foolish decision.  Martyrdom, though discouraging, often has the effect of inspiring followers, for it necessarily begs the question of what is so valuable that someone found to be worth dying for?  This is warfare on the moral level, and Muslims have been winning this ground for decades with their willingness to die for their cause.  Christians will not begin to win until, paradoxically, they are willing to die.  If a Christian is not willing to suffer or die for his beliefs, just how valuable are his beliefs?

This is not to say that persecution is easy to endure, or even enjoyable.  However, it is utter foolishness to think that persecution is to be avoided or escaped.  "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

Seeing the Dark

Time Magazine:
Well, the debate over whether one of our era’s most renowned pop stars identifies as a feminist appears to have finally been put to rest. 
“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities,” Swift said in an interview with the Guardian. “What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all.”
I suspect the main reason why feminism has become a bit of a punchline of late is precisely because it is a sort of Rorschach test.  It means whatever one wants it mean.  So, for some, feminism means supporting basic political equality while for some it means stacking the legal and political system against men.  More to the point, the mere fact that feminism is used to both condemn and defend female stars* should indicate just how useless of an ethic it really is.  Fittingly, deciding whether something or someone is feminist is merely a matter of picking a plausible rationalization for one's position.  (Consequently, every assertion is subject to endless debate because every position conceivable can be rationalized in a plethora of ways.)
In fact, it’s Swift’s friendship with the indefatigable Lena Dunham that appears to have swayed her view. According to the Guardian, Dunham and Swift became friends when the creator of Girls sent the pop singer a direct message over Twitter that said “Can we be friends please?” Things pretty much went naturally from then on. 
“Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so,” Swift said.
More likely, Lena Dunham is a dishonest self-admitted pedophile who is used to manipulating more naive females in to giving her what she wants, and probably said whatever it took to get Taylor Swift to feel comfortable admitting she was a feminist.  Or maybe Ms. Swift was all along.  Still, it feels like more than a coincidence that Taylor Swift didn't come out, so to speak, until after the Human Toad hung out with her.

* On one hand, some feminists view porn as demeaning to women.  On the other, some view it as empowering.  That both views are plausible indicates how little moral fiber feminism, as a philosophy has.  Perhaps that's why its best to not let women be moral leaders.

23 March 2015

Maybe They Want To Be Raped

Via Steve Sailer, the Grey Lady's editorial board:
Americans who have criminal histories are often stymied when they encounter college entry applications that ask if they have ever been convicted of crimes. The process, which often brings greater scrutiny to people who answer “yes,” is driving away large numbers of people who present no danger to campus safety and are capable of succeeding academically.
Similar problems have faced people with records when they look for jobs, but progress on that front could be a model for reforming college admissions. Fourteen states and about 100 local governments have worked to minimize job discrimination by barring public — and, in many cases, private — employers from asking about criminal convictions until later in the application process, when the person has had a chance to prove his or her worthiness for the job.
Given the current rape crisis on college campuses across the nation, it's hard to see how allowing criminals on campus is going to make the problem go away, or even improve.  It's almost as if the idiots/leftists calling for this reform want more rape on campus...

More to the point, it is starting to seem obvious that women are, as the phrase goes, protesting too much.  Maybe women just want to be thrown around and sexually ravished by strong, dominant men.  Maybe this is especially true of young women in their prime (i.e. coeds), so perhaps the rape crisis is a figment of young women's imaginations in the sense that it's a fantasy they are hoping will come true.

Of course, given that colleges are majority female, and given that a lot of male college students tend to be nerdy and socially awkward (think engineers or other spergy types), it really shouldn't be all that surprising that young women feel sexually frustrated, especially since the feministic professorial cabals that comprise campus faculty are doing their damnedest to neuter young men.  Frankly, it's astonishing that any sort of healthy intersexual relations can take place at all on colleges, given that the choice facing young women is between either getting used and abused by near-criminal stud athletes or "dating" effiminate manlets who are possibly eunuchs that lack even the strength to throw a woman around, to say nothing of ravishing her.

Given the increasing prevelance of these male lesbians, is it any wonder that women can't stop fantasizing about self-made, dominant men?

22 March 2015

The Essence of American Politics

Is Hillary Rodham Clinton a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Chipotle burrito bowl? A can of Bud or a bottle of Blue Moon? JCPenney or J. Crew? 
As she readies her second presidential campaign, Clinton has recruited consumer marketing specialists onto her team of trusted political advisers. Their job is to help imagine Hillary 5.0 — the rebranding of a first lady turned senator turned failed presidential candidate turned secretary of state turned likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee. 
Clinton and her image-makers are sketching ways to refresh the well-established brand for tomorrow’s marketplace. In their mission to present voters with a winning picture of the likely candidate, no detail is too big or too small — from her economic opportunity agenda to the design of the “H” in her future campaign logo. 
“It’s exactly the same as selling an iPhone or a soft drink or a cereal,” said Peter Sealey, a longtime corporate marketing strategist. “She needs to use everything a brand has: a dominant color, a logo, a symbol. . . . The symbol of a Mercedes is a three-pointed star. The symbol of Coca-Cola is the contour bottle. The symbol of McDonald’s is the golden arches. What is Clinton’s symbol?”
Ultimately, the essence of modern American universal democracy is that it is nothing more than a marketing campaign.  Complaining that presidential debates don't offer much in the way of in-depth of foreign policy discussion is about as ludicrous as saying that Microsoft press conferences don't offer much in the way of in-depth foreign policy discussions.  There is no seriousness in politics because consumers want flash, not depth.  Politics is merely shopping for a symbol; the currency is votes.

Thus, it should not be surprising that politicians talk about branding and marketing themselves to voters.  Voters are merely consumers, unconcerned with the ramifications of their decisions.  Politics is a game to be played; it's a way for voters to feel self-important and connected to the world at large.  If American governance seems insane, it's only because the citizens are crazy.  The inmates vote on how to run the asylum.

Thus, the often suicidal policies enacted by politicians come about not because politicians are completely unaware of the consequences but rather because the voters are.  When even a healthy chunk of Tea Partiers want to keep one of the largest (and unconstitutional) chunks of government spending, you can tell that there is no fundamental opposition to big government or excessive spending.

Consequently, the reason why there is hardly any practical difference between Democrat and Republican politicians is simply because neither party's supporters wants to alter the status quo all that much.  Rather, what people want are figureheads who "speak for them."  No wonder politicians are so full of hot air.

A Sign Of Things To Come

If you were watching the news last year, it was hard to escape the impression the world was falling apart. Now the data is in. And yes, it turns out the world’s most violent conflicts got a lot bloodier in 2014 — almost 30 percent bloodier, in fact. 
According to an analysis of data from the world’s 20 most lethal wars last year, at least 163,000 people died in conflict. That compares to just under 127,000 in the 20 worst wars the previous year, a rise of 28.7 percent. 
That’s a pretty disturbing spike by anyone’s terms. And if you look at the first few months of 2015, the violence doesn’t seem to be waning. 
What’s even more worrying is that this seems to be part of an ongoing trend that now goes back eight years. According to the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), global violence — as defined by a range of measures from conflict deaths, to displaced persons, to homicide rates — has been rising since 2007. 
This news is in many ways surprising because up to 2007, the data suggested the world was becoming a much safer place. 
According to the IEP, global violence had been broadly subsiding since the end of World War Two. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker traces it back even further. Since the dawn of prehistory, Pinker’s research suggests, mankind has been becoming less violent.
I believe what we are witnessing is post-peak diversity.  Since it is axiomatic that people like being around people who are similar, it should come as no surprise that diversity has its limits.  To put it simply, there is a limit to how much differentness people are willing to tolerate.  We've gone past the limit.

The solution to this problem is segregation mediated by trade.  Let each culture/ethnicity have its own place and its own order, and let various ethnicities/cultures engage in trade with one another.  Segregation will help to avoid the conflicts arising from the friction of daily interaction with "the others," and trade relations help to ameliorate the desire for "the others" abroad, as doing so will lead to some degree of impoverishment.

Trying to encourage or force a coalition of different ethnic groups to live in close proximity to each other is recipe for violence.  Trying to use force in lieu of trade is also a great way to build distrust and breed violence.  Given the US foreign and domestic policy is, to use Steve Sailer's phrase, "invade the world, invite the world," it should not be at all surprising that the world is becoming more violent.  And it shouldn't be surprising if this trend continues for quite some time.

05 March 2015

Racist Students

There's yet another front in the war on white racism:
Last month, a study documented the extent to which students use different sets of words (many of them with gender implications) to discuss their male and female professors. Now a new study looks at how students on Rate My Professors rate instructors who have Asian-sounding last names, and the results suggest that these instructors are getting significantly lower scores than those with other last names in Rate My Professors' categories of clarity and helpfulness. 
The author of the study, who also examined comments students make about the instructors, said that his findings raise questions about whether American colleges and universities are as international in outlook at they boast of being -- and whether Asian instructors are being reviewed fairly. The study -- "She Does Have an Accent But" -- has just been published in the journal Language in Society (abstract available here). 
Over all, he found that instructors with "American" last names received clarity scores that were 0.60 to 0.80 points higher than did those with Asian names (on a five-point scale), and that they received scores 0.16 to 0.40 points higher on the helpfulness scale.
Of course, the only explanation for why American students would possibly rate Asian professors as less clear and helpful than their American counterparts is the well-known intrinisc racism of Americans (especially the white devils).  It is simply inconceivable that the stereotype of Asians being less than perfectly fluent in English have any sort of a sliver of a kernel of truth to it.  Yes sir, Science has once again proved that Americans are Racist (TM).

18 February 2015

Clinging to a False Ideal

Therefore, we demand enactment of the following Amendment to the Constitution:Section A: 
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution or Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, no entity, organ, authority or sub-unit of government in the United States or its possessions may issue or maintain debt except; 
1. In anticipation of tax revenue to be collected within a 12 month period via tax anticipation notes, with each such issue binding the specific sequester of tax revenues so-anticipated; 
2. During a time of declared war, the declaration of which contains a specific statement declaring and defining an existential threat to the continued existence of or liberty in the United States, and only to fund the specific and identifiable costs of said conflict with a maturity of no more than 10 (ten) years beyond the termination of hostilities;
So, per Denninger’s proposed amendment, the government would be able to issue debt as long as there is a declaration of war and the bonds mature within ten years of the termination of hostilities, provided the funds were used to pay for the conflict.  So, it could hypothetically be the case the government could engage in an expensive war that has no apparent end in sight, which it then funds with debt.  Further, the government could perpetuate the war by funneling arms to resistance groups which in turn rebel against the government that gave them the weapons, and incite the public to fear by arguing loudly for the need to stand up to, say, terrorists.  Additionally, the government could a) redefine budget items as pertaining to war and b) simply shuffle money from the armed forces to other branches.  Honestly, it doesn’t look like Denninger’s proposed amendment would really change that much given its loopholes.

The reason for this is pretty simple:  good government is a function of good men, not good laws.  The only thing Denninger’s amendment could do is change the government paperwork that makes its current behavior kosher.  The bigger issue is not that the law isn’t sufficiently thorough, it’s that politicians and bureaucrats are almost morally bankrupt and the average voter completely so.  If the American people were sufficiently outraged, no change in law would be necessary for the people would vote the current bums out of office.  That the American people have yet to do so indicates that they are indeed well-represented by their elected officials.

Sadly, Denninger is stuck on the modernist myth of America, a nation of laws.  Unfortunately, laws without morality are merely hoops to jump through, and no number of codified regulations can save a nation that is morally corrupt for, fundamentally, laws must interpreted and enforced by men.  Thus, Denninger is clinging to the false god of rule of law.  The truth is that we have always been ruled by men all along.  Now that men are thoroughly corrupt, we see what a charade rule of law really is.

Is Euthanasia Really So Necessary?

Speaking of end-of-life, assume doctor-assisted-suicide is legal by the time this city is built. I plan to make sure that happens in California on the next vote. Other states will follow. In this imagined future you can remove much of the unnecessary costs of the cruel final days of life that are the bulk of medical expenses.
The nominal defense of euthanasia is to reduce pain and suffering as life draws to its close.  While this can be a somewhat noble motivation (after all, who really wants to defend pain and suffering on their intrinsic merits?), it is a rather shallow way of solving the problem of end-of-life pain and suffering.*

To wit, a large chunk of age-related pain is self-inflicted.  For example, beingoverweight is generally linked to a plethora of health risks which require panoply of medication to “treat.”  While it is obviously better to not be overweight in the first place, many people choose instead to be overweight and thus bring upon themselves a wide variety of health complications that make their lives miserable, particularly as they get older. This thus makes dying more painful than it needs to be because it first made living more painful than it needs to be.

Furthermore, a lot of end-of-life suffering is brought on by the attempt to extend life artificially instead of letting nature run its course.  Euthanizing someone on life support, or extensive system support is that radical a solution, especially since the alternative is not intervening in the first place.  While letting nature take its course may be painful, it is arguably less painful than trying to intervene with machines and medicine.

Ultimately, the biggest issue with euthanasia is that its proponents and probable practitioners don’t really value life properly while alive.  If they did, they would be more inclined to take care of themselves while alive and not cling so tenaciously, yet futilely to life support as the end nears.  They are a soft people who see pain as an indignity yet lack the spine to triumph over indignity with stoicism.

Arguably, the ultimate failure of the euthanasia crowd is moral:  they are too weak-willed to take care of their bodies properly and too cowardly to face the consequences of their choices.  They wish to abuse their bodies and then escape the pain when it arrives.  No wonder life is cheap to them; they are not willing to make the sacrifices a good life—and death—require.

* Also, isn’t it curious to find people who support euthanasia but oppose the death penalty on the grounds that the drugs administered cause suffering?

Is Eric Posner Sexist?

So Eric Posner has an op-ed explaining why universities and colleges should ignore students' rights (hat tip).  The tag/thesis/subtitle/whatever of his article is, “Students today are more like children than adults and need protection.”  However, roughly 56% of college students are female, which means that Posner is acting like just another privileged white male in asserting that a female-dominated institution is in need of patronizing male guidance and protection.  Someone should tell the feminists about this.

12 February 2015

Fixing Science

With Vox Day and Karl Denninger weighing in on yet another global warming scandal, and Scott Adams arguing that science has completely failed in the realm of health and fitness, it seems appropriate to offer a tentative solution to the problems currently facing the practice of science.  The biggest problem, it appears to me, is that an unfortunate number of the practitioners of science are morally bankrupt, and thus can (and are) bought and sold by vested interests, usually big business, big government, or big business and big government working in tandem.

That an appallingly large number of scientists are corrupt enough to fudge data and publicize almost meaningless “studies” and “surveys” shouldn’t be all that surprising given how secularized the practice and dissemination of science is.  If one thing is true, it’s that secular philosophy does a downright terrible job of maintaining a moral order.  Furthermore, science offers no intrinsic moral guidance whatsoever, and so its practitioners must rely on some outside source.  Since many practitioners reject supernatural sources of moral order, it should come as no surprise that said practitioners are thus morally bankrupt and can easily be persuaded of the value of representing certain, well-funded ideas.

Given that the corruption of rich businessmen and power-seeking politicians and bureaucrats is so common as to be mundane, it should also come as no surprise that those who have a vested interest in the scientific validation of their marketing plans and/or policy prescriptions are both willing and able to buy morally suspect scientists’ opinions.  This, of course, is called research funding.

Ultimately, the biggest issue with science is that is practiced and funded by morally suspect people.  Therefore, the solution to this problem is the remove the morally bankrupt from the process altogether and let the whole of scientific practice by carried out by those who are both and intelligent and honest.  To this end, I propose that scientific research be church-funded and conducted in theological seminaries (preferably Roman Catholic seminaries) instead of being funded by big business and conducted in state universities.

The obvious objections are that a) the church is anti-science and b) the church is more dishonest than secular authorities.  Both of the objections are patently wrong.

In the first place, the modern conception of the scientific method was originated by a Catholic theologian in the 13th century.  Furthermore, the Catholic Church hardly limited the exploration of scientific concepts, and in fact generally encouraged scientific research.*  The church was also quite tolerant of controversial research, perhaps to an even greater degree than modern secularists are.**

In the second place, the church is more forthcoming about its failures than the state.  All human institutions are imperfect, but the church doesn’t engage in near the coverups that the state does, nor does it make near as many attempts to alter its history and protect its herd.  Of course, the main reason for this is that the church is composed primarily of Christians who aspire to Godliness while the state is generally composed of assholes who aspire to power.  Christians fear God, while those of the state fear and envy their superiors.  Unsurprisingly, those with a fear of the Lord tend to do a better job of behaving themselves, even if they are not sinlessly flawless.

While no human endeavor will be free from failure, especially of the moral kind, I think that a strong case can be made for putting science back under the purview of the church.  While it may not eliminate the dishonesty and shoddy practices that currently dominate the realm of science, it should reduce them considerably.

** For example, the Catholic Church was more tolerant of the theory of evolution way back in the 13th century than modern secularists are of the study of human biodiversity today.  So tell me, just what are the dark ages when scientific truth was suppressed?

09 February 2015

Growing Up

As I grew frustrated with Gottlieb’s bullheadedness, I started thinking that modern Christian women have been taught to think like Gottlieb – to be what she calls “maximizers”:  people who will only accept the absolute best.  The fear of settling for a less-than-totally on fire for God man is implanted in Christian girls from at least junior high on, both in church and in Christian media.  How many times have Christian girls been warned not to marry a man who doesn’t TOTALLY LOVE JESUS WITH ALL HIS HEART, with dark implications or outright warnings that life will be TERRIBLE otherwise?  How many times have Christian girls been told that the man must be the Spiritual Leader, with the implication that if he’s not leading the charge to go to Sunday School and lead devotions and pray all the time, that he must be disqualified as a potential husband?  Conversely, how often have Christian girls been told to give Christian men encouragement to grow in their faith and to have patience with them if they weren’t as “strong” in the faith as the women?  The bar has been raised so high that hardly any Christian man can be marriage-worthy.
The problem that Haley strikes at is that there is no room for growth in a relationship.  This is mostly a cultural problem, and one that is not going to disappear soon.  America is a democracy, operates on an assumption of equality, is rather youth-oriented and anti-tradition.  Unfortunately, the common man is an idiot, equality doesn’t exist, youth is fleeting, and tradition is useful in helping people avoid the mistake of their ancestors.

Consequently, there is a strong bias in modern America for having a perfect life in place by your mid-twenties (basically after you get out of college).  Practically speaking, this idea is completely nuts but it never ceases to amaze me how many white middle class Americans spend their twenties trying to acquire a perfect life.  Thanks to clever marketing and absolutely no perspective, a lot of people appear to have convinced themselves that need everything to be just perfect right off the bat.

The wisdom of tradition is that there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to human nature and as such young people are often immature and need some to grow up and mature into the role of, say father or husband.  As such, it was important to note not only what someone was, but what someone could become in, say, forty years.

The truth is, few men under the age of thirty are natural leaders, and even among those who have the personality for leadership, almost none have the wisdom or life experience for it because of their age.  The American fascination with youth is rather a pity since young people are generally inexperienced in life, and impatient to boot. As such, there is rarely any value in their words, and little to respect in their behavior.

Fortunately, this is not a permanent state.  As people age and experience life, they change.  The loss of parents and the birth of children change a man (or a woman).  Adjusting to reality and letting go of unrealistic dreams bring a newfound depth and maturity to a person.  Feeling the pain of injury or the humiliation of failure can bring about self-reflection.  However, this process takes time and cannot be forced or rushed.  It has its own schedule.

As such, it is truly lamentable that many women, particularly single young white modern evangelical American women, are unable to think in terms of long-term potential and instead insist on focusing on the here and now.  They are fools, lacking wisdom, and it is a pity that their elders have not either the balls or the brains to impart unto them the wisdom that they lack.

Form Without Substance

Here’s an old Return of Kings post that I’ve been mulling over for far too long.  Entitled “Why I Quit Going To Your Church,” here are some excerpts:
1. Your music is saccharine 
Christians assume that a distorted guitar is the definition of rock music. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Rock music is as much a philosophy as it is a sound. I heard time again growing up, “The only problem with secular music is the lyrics.” This is nonsense because in every genre, music and lyrics are innately connected. Imagine “Something in the way” by Nirvana with Jesus lyrics. It just doesn’t work. 
But of course churches soften the “guitar and drums” element, and you’ll never hear a guitar solo that has any integrity. Perhaps there was some merit to early Christian rock (perhaps), but songwriters now simplify the chords so that churches can play it. So you’ll never find an A7 #9 in a church with “contemporary rock”. Because, you know, those extra two notes in the chord are just too hard to pull off. You might even have to have an extra volunteer guitar player, and the mild dissonance could make people uncomfortable with their edgy new form of worship. 
“But worship is about lyrics, not music!” cries the Christian who glossed over everything I just said. Your lyrics are also sacharine. If you look at Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” (1979), you’ll find that at least there were a variety of topics on display. Not every song was a praise song. Some were simply doctrinal teaching songs, like the old hymns. Today, your lyrics are so hollow that many musicians are rewriting (and ruining) old hymns on their Christian rock praise albums. 
2. Your sermons sound like a high school assembly 
It seemed like every sermon was either about getting through hard times or being obedient to God. Most pastors I ran into knew fuck-all about the Bible and basic doctrine, which I guess is a product of giving a seminary degree to anyone with “a call from God.” 
3. Your buildings are ugly 
I was in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is this massive evangelical church called Calvary. I mean, this is the kind of thing you see on TV, and not at 3am either. I went in one day to look around. They had this beautiful old organ several stories high, and they tacked two ugly screens on it so the people could read the lyrics. It completely upset the whole aesthetic of the room, but it was necessary since Jesus condemns the use of hymnals. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the latest, most innovative praise chorus, would you? 
The Catholic Church is actually having a substantial number of converts from protestantism. The Eastern Orthodox are being jump-started back to life with converts, and the break-off Anglo-protestant groups are finding evangelical converts demanding Anglo-Catholic worship. Why is this? There are a variety of reasons, but part of it is because people enjoy looking at pretty things and listening to pretty music. Even the Catholic Church is finding its own people are tired of bluegrass masses and dadaist architecture. For all its lies and manipulation, consumerism is right that what you are surrounded by affects the way you feel about that place and about yourself.
While the whole thing is worth reading, the general complaint, whether the author realizes it or not, is that protestant/evangelical sects are just terrible because they fundamentally must rebel against tradition.  There are two major orthodox churches:  The Greek catholic church and the Roman catholic church.  Most protestant and evangelical sects trace their roots to rebellion against the Roman catholic church (the Mormons and JWs being the most obvious exceptions).  As such, this generates an unresolvable tension within most of these denominations because they have the impossible task of getting their believers to reject some traditions but not all of them.

Fundamentally, it is impossible maintain a democratized religion, for it becomes necessary to pick and choose which traditions to keep, which traditions to discard, and which traditions to modify and in what ways to modify them.  Once tradition becomes a buffet table, so to speak, it is simply a matter of time until virtually all traditions are discarded or corrupted.

As such, it should make sense that protestant and evangelical denominations generally suffer from the problems listed above because these denominations have no basis of tradition (other than a hatred of tradition), and cannot therefore reasonably object to alterations to traditional practices.  If you reject, say, papal authority, then on what grounds could you not reject a council of churches?  If you reject the doctrine of transubstantiation, then on what grounds could you criticize those who would do away with observing The Memorial altogether?  Or altering its observed frequency?  If you are willing to toss away one tradition, or one aspect of a tradition simply because you don’t understand it or it doesn’t jive with your personal understanding of God’s word, then how can you criticize those who would do likewise for similar reasons?

Unfortunately, discarding tradition usually to cultural depravity, which should help to explain why protestant/evangelical music, liturgy, and aesthetics are generally devoid of beauty and craftsmanship.  There is no solid foundation to build upon, which is why so many denominations end up chasing trends instead of adding to a tradition that is built to withstand the tests of time.  Worse still, given that the trends are set by “the world,” the aesthetics that come to play are both shallow and complex.  Since the rebellious denominations are often populated by simpletons and clever sillies, the result of chasing trends is often works that are shallow but lacking complexity.

Deep down, evangelicals and protestants yearn for the depth, which is why they try so hard to make their services meaningful.  They dress their liturgies in bright colors and ridiculous props because they want there to be a depth of meaning to their teaching.  Depth, though, is a function of maturity and time, and there is no substitute for either.  The clown show that is evangelical preaching is a mask to hide the immaturity and emptiness of their theology.

The rock show that is passed off for evangelical worship is simply a stimulant, meant to help listeners simulate the emotion of feeling depth where none actually exists.  It is akin to a toddler watching Sesame Street.  The bright colors and loud noises are meant to draw attention to the most rudimentary of lessons while distracting one from noticing that very little is actually happening.  Praise can certainly help one see the mystery of God, but it takes a lot of time and tradition to build an edifice that enables just that.  It should be telling that the longest-standing traditions do not need smoke and mirrors to open the minds of men.

Sadly, most evangelicals and a healthy number of low-church protestants* seem completely unaware that they are striving to solve a problem that the catholic churches solved many centuries ago.  They denigrate the orthodoxy for its reliance on the traditions of man but fail to realize that they are trying to instill their own traditions and thus maintain their own faith for posterity.  Because their primary tradition is denigrating tradition, they will always be doomed to failure and depravity.

* High church protestants, like Lutherans, Anglicans, and Presbyterians, are more generally aware that they are essentially Roman Catholic knockoffs.  In spite of this, their rebellion against the orthodoxy of the church has led them, for the most part, to embrace ungodly traditions, such as the ordination of female clerics.

08 February 2015

Eh, Not So Much

So Yahoo! news describes Robyn Lawley as a, “model with normal body,” and then goes on to describe said body:
The thing is, when you look at Robyn Lawley, who is 6’2” and wears a size 12, you hardly see a plus sized woman. Lawley has a banging body. Not “a great plus size body” or “a great skinny body,” she just has a great body! And while plus size should not be taken as an insult, it’s just ridiculous to call this woman “plus size.” Even though Lawley has built a career as a plus size model, she has expressed that she dislikes the term, “In the beginning, I didn’t mind getting called (plus size), but I am not a plus-size person,” she said in a press release earlier this year, “I don’t think anyone should be called plus size.”
The only problem with this line of reasoning is that while the average American might be a size 12 (actually 14), the average American woman is 5’4”, not 6’2”.  Plus, given the sheer variety of women’s sizing options (see this for considerably more info), the whole notion of size 12 being average is simply useless.  The truth that everyone can see is that Robyn Lawley is not some fatass size 12 with “real curves,” but rather a relatively slender girl with pretty much ideal proportions.  She is larger, to be sure, but this is mostly a function of height and having a skeletal frame solid enough to support it.

Using a model like Robyn Hawley to make fat women feel good about themselves is nothing but disingenuous mythologizing. Most size 12 women look nothing like Ms. Hawley, and certainly need no further encouragement to maintain their probably corpulent size. If anything, Ms. Hawley’s looks should serve as an inspiration to women everywhere to lose weight and make the most of what they’ve got.  And, frankly, it’s utterly ridiculous to even suggest that just because a tall woman looks good as a size 12 means that all women will look good as size 12s.

31 December 2014

The Subjective Objective

From Yahoo:

It's bad enough that the Panthers made the playoffs with a losing record. But the historic ineptitude of the division also had a wide-ranging effect on which other teams made the playoffs.
Two of the three divisions with multiple playoff teams this year are the NFC North (Lions and Packers) and the AFC North (Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens). Not so coincidentally, those are also the two divisions that got to play all four NFC South teams.

The NFL is the only sport to which I pay attention these days (though Roger Goodell appears to be trying his damnedest to dissuade me), and this controversy over the NFC South is utterly confusing to me.  I simply cannot wrap my head around why some people are upset that a) a team with a losing record is in the playoffs and b) why said team is hosting a playoff game in the first round of the playoffs.

Allegations of some cosmic “unfairness” are bandied about (as in the linked article)—as if the matter in question is of supreme importance instead of being merely a boys’ game played by men—while some also wish to completely alter a system generally well-geared for parity on the basis of a highly irregular aberration.  This is somewhat troubling to me, as it is indicative of a rather significant intellectual failure and also a rather significant moral failure.

The intellectual failure is rather straightforward:  In complaining about how a supposedly “bad” team has made “the playoffs,” one makes the mistake of confusing the subjective with the objective.  The goodness or badness of a team is a purely subjective valuation; for proof, look at any set of power rankings that have been updated weekly throughout the season.  Astute observers will note, for example, that FOXSports had the Seahawks ranked first and the Titans ranked last in week seventeen, but in week eight those teams were ranked tenth and twenty-ninth, respectively.  Incidentally, I do not quibble with those rankings in either of those weeks because, at the time, those teams were roughly playing at those ranks.

My point, then, is that the “best” team in the league is more or less always in a state of flux.  Some teams look good on paper, while others look bad.  Some play well early in the season and then fade a little, like the Broncos.  Some look good when playing poor teams but get beat up by playoff contenders, like the Colts.  Some teams look dominant the first week, have a rough stretch, then regain their dominance, like the Seahawks.  What is obvious is that the best team in the league is generally in flux, and its status is contingent on a host of variables.  Would the Broncos still be considered a good team if they lost Peyton Manning?  Would the Patriots be favorites if Belichick died and went straight to Satan’s bosom?  Clearly not.  Thus, it is obvious that a team’s value is not only subjective, but also dynamic given that no human is immortal or infallible, and that all teams and management are comprised of humans.

The beauty of the playoff system of which the NFL makes use is that it is objective and temporal, which is to say that the system is rigidly defined by time.  There is a champion for every season, and the process by which a champion is decided is objective.  The purpose of the system is clarity and decisiveness, which is why playoff games are not allowed to end in ties.  The point is to crown a champion in a straightforward manner.  Concessions are made towards the more-accomplished teams by way of determining seeding, home-field advantage, etc.  However, the whole point of the playoffs is to introduce the element of uncertainty into the championship process.  The NFL could skip the playoff process altogether and award the title to the team with the best regular season record.  Tiebreakers could be decided as they are now:  divisional and conference records, strength of wins, etc.

Frankly, those pushing for an upheaval of the playoff system make absolutely no sense.  If the whole point of the playoff is to make sure that the best team wins, then the playoffs themselves are meaningless; the regular season records will suffice to determine that, especially given how the NFL schedule works.  However, if one concedes that the point of the playoffs is to introduce a greater level of uncertainty into the process of determining a league champion, then giving a mediocre team a long shot to win the Super Bowl would do the trick.  Thus, altering the playoffs to only include the best teams or favor the teams with better records over the winners of weaker divisions will only undermine the playoff system and ultimately lead to its undoing.

Of greater concern, though, is the moral failure of the intellectual half-wits who blindly champion this change in the name of fairness.  Of utmost concern is the sheer amount of energy spent arguing about a trivial detail of a game.

Of even greater concern, though, is how there are a not insignificant number of people who are willing to considering radically altering a tradition simply because of a highly irregular aberration.  There have been remarkably few teams with losing records in the playoffs, and no losing team has ever played in a Super Bowl, let alone won one.

Some might argue that it’s “unfair” for a losing team to not only make the playoffs but host a game.  This is simply not true.  The rules for the playoffs have existed in their current state for quite some team.  Every team and organization, and probably even most fans know what those rules are. There is no mystery about how to make the playoffs; the only question is of execution:  can you do it.  And every year, twenty teams cannot.

The rules and processes are straightforward and clear.  If you want to make the playoffs, you need to win.  If a team doesn’t make the playoffs, it’s because it didn’t win enough games. Relying on luck for victory is the mindset of losers, so those who complain about not winning the schedule lottery have no place in the playoffs because they don’t have the mentality of winning.

Frankly, it is disgusting that anyone heeds this nonsensical celebration of pusillanimous loserdom.  Throwing out tradition because one time a mediocre team got a chance to make a playoff run while other teams with better records are sitting out in spite of having ample opportunities to knock of their competitors is sick.  Everyone knows the rules, so don’t complain about them when you can’t execute well enough to make the playoffs.  You had your chance and you lost; deal with it.

Is luck a factor?  Yes.  It’s funny, though, how often it is the case that the lucky teams also happen to be pretty damn good.  It’s also funny how the good teams don’t use bad luck as an excuse.  Maybe there’s a lesson in that.

24 September 2014

Attempting the Impossible

Via Buzzfeed:
“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man hating,” Watson said. “If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.” 
Watson, a U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, was in New York to launch “HeForShe,” a campaign for men and boys worldwide to advocate an end to gender inequality. She spoke frequently about the role men have in helping women and girls achieve equal rights, and said that liberating men from stereotypes ultimately benefits women.
There's a lot to pick through, of course, and the talking points are familiar:  advocates of female equality do tend to be man-haters, women's rights aren't actually rights in the traditional sense, etc.  One thing that's always interesting, though, is the utter absurdity of the call for men to help women achieve equal rights.
This call is absurd because it is intrinsically self-contradicting.  It would be one thing to say that men should recognize women's equal rights (which assumes that equal rights exist and can generally be exercised by anyone); it's an entirely different matter to say that men can help women achieve equal rights.

Either women already have equal rights or they do not already have equal rights.  If women already have equal rights, then there is no need for women to achieve equal rights.  If women do not already have equal rights, then the question becomes why this is the case. The obvious answer is that men and women are not equal to each other (i.e. they are different from one another).  A less obvious answer is that men are trampling on women's rights.

If it is the case that men and women are not equal, then it is logically necessary to ask whether they can have equal rights in any meaningful sense.  After all, why would anyone expend energy trying to redress an intractable problem?

However, if the real problem is that men are suppressing women, then the question becomes:  why haven't women successfully overcome male oppression?  For, if women are equal to men, then how can it be that they are oppressed?  If women are intrinsically the same as men, how can it be that they are taken advatange of?

If there is a race of two runners of equal speed, the race will result in a tie.  If there is clear winner, then the two runners do not have equal speed.  In like manner, if women are the exact same as men, how is that they end up oppressed?  This brings us back to the prior observation that men and women are not equal, which in turn begs the question of whether there can actually be equality.

When all is said and done, Ms. Watson's pablum is simply an attempt to spur people to attempt the impossible: getting two intrinsically unequal groups to be treated as if they are equal.  I'm guessing it won't work.