Friday, July 17, 2015

That's not what good people do

It's that classic "what if" scenario: The pilot of the aircraft you're riding in suddenly becomes unconscious and unresponsive. Someone needs to take the controls and land the plane safely.

I have never in my life flown a plane. I have never taken a flying lesson. I've only seen this scenario on TV, and it looks pretty exciting. How hard can it be?

Being at the front of the plane, I'm first in the cockpit. I lock the cockpit door behind me, shove aside the pilot, and strap into the seat.

At the door are other passengers, pounding on the door. "I have a pilot's licence! Let me in!" one of them shouts.

But dammit! If I land this plane I'll be a by-God HERO. Nobody's taking that away from me.

A mountain looms ahead. Our trajectory is taking us directly into a cliff face. But nobody's taking this away from me. I'll just do this nifty maneuver I saw on TV and …


Well, I was trying to do the right thing: land the plane safely. Can you fault my motives? I didn't WANT to explode on that granite cliff. We just kinda did.

That doesn't make me a bad person.


But you see it actually does make me a bad person. An extremely bad person.

I knew that I didn't know how to fly a plane and I knew that someone else on board did. I saw that mountain looming ahead and understood that we were going to crash. I saw how my ineffective attempts to avoid the mountain weren't working at all.

But I was hell-bent on getting that glory, and so I killed everyone on board.

For my vanity.


Politicians who have steered the country into a cliff are likewise bad people. They know that their actions are logically, ethically, and Constitutionally untenable, but they do them anyway.

They see the cliff looming ahead and they refuse to listen to sound counsel on how to avoid it. THEY will do the steering, come hell or high water.

For their vanity.

Good people don't do that. They just don't.

No more rhetorical cover for the affable people who haved steered us into a cliff.

They're actually not good people.

Sorry, but there it is.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A better response to jaden @crazysexyhalsey

First, let me thank you for being a decent Twitterlocutor last night. You displayed no malice or other nastiness, you didn't scream "racist!" like an squid squirting obfuscating ink, and you didn't flounce off in a huff, blocking me.

That speaks well of you. You strike me as someone worth knowing. The other thing that speaks well of you is that you don't attend a university. Unless you want to train in a science-related subject, don't go. Those places will poison your very soul.

Second, after thinking it over last night I realized that I gave the wrong impression with regard to your experience in the world versus mine. I have no doubt that if you and I were to swap skins for a week, we'd both be surprised at how differently people treated us—surprised in good and bad ways.

It is absolutely true that because you and I have different complexions, we don't live in exactly the same country. It is also true that white people don't know what it's like to be a person of color in this country, and that racism isn't as bad as it was but it's still there.

I know what it's like to try to explain my experiences to people and have them blow me off. I have dysthymia, a mild but chronic form of depression, and trying to explain a mood disorder to someone who's never experienced mental illness is not only impossible, it's painful, because they just won't listen. WON'T.

So I apologize for giving the impression that I don't regard your experience as valid or that I can just sit there and tell you what your life is like. I hate it when people do that to me, so I should be more careful to not do it to others. Even on Twitter. :-)

Please let me explain what I was reacting to: the rhetorical framework of your assertions, which have their origins in the neo-Marxist fever swamps of university soft-science and humanities departments.

Here's the problem: During the Civil Rights era, the rhetoric was based on the following truths:
  • Race is purely cosmetic 
  • Race doesn't inform intelligence, talent, character, integrity, ability, worth, or personality. So there is no logical reason for anyone to be treated differently based on a superficial, cosmetic trait. 
  • The Declaration of Independence states explicitly that "all men are created equal" is the official base assumption on which this country is founded. However, people are NOT being treated equally, not by the law and certainly not by the culture. 
  • We as Americans need to live up to our stated standard of equality — to do otherwise is an offense to truth, to God our common Father, and to our own American ideals. 

The Civil Rights Activists invited white people to look inside themselves and consider whether the current state of race relations conformed to any standard of justice, fairness, or righteousness. Obviously, it did not, so most Americans came to realize that racial discrimination has no basis either in reality or morality. Hence the progress made since 1964: people changed their hearts and minds.

Unfortunately, such a change did not obliterate some of the more primitive tribal instincts, wherein "you may be equal but you're not my people," still holds sway. That's what you're experiencing, not the white belief that Africans are literally a lesser breed of humans and therefore should be treated with less respect and dignity. Or worse, the eugenics of the Progressive Era, wherein "lesser races" should be prevented from reproducing, thus to prevent the "mongrelization" of the human race. It's tribalism that informs racial animus today more than pseudo-scientific or culturally embedded nonsense about racial superiority.

That said.

The introduction of neo-Marxist "power structure" concepts into the discussion on race relations is NOT a good thing, even though you CAN accurately point to where power is held and maintained, and you CAN show how it breaks along racial lines.

The neo-Marxist preoccupation with power structures does not have as its goal the healing of racial divides nor the promotion of genuine equality or brotherhood among races. Instead, its purpose is to exploit the grievances of out-groups (racial, ethnic, religious, economic, linguistic) to defeat the current power structure (regardless of whether that's a good idea) so that the neo-Marxists can step into the power vacuum. Once there, they'll be just as oppressive toward their former allies as their putative enemies.

By regarding racism as a structural reality rather than a problem within the human heart, the solution stops being "how about treating everyone fairly, regardless of their appearance" and becomes "we have to bust up all the institutions and remove all the offending tribe (Whites) from their place."

Insisting that I have "white privilege" might be accurate in some ways but it doesn't lead toward a positive solution. Instead, it's most often employed in a type of Kafkatrapping, defined thusly:
the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.
This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals.
(Let me hasten to add that you don't seem to possess the kind of malice and sadism necessary to be a real Kafkatrapper — you're just using their language and some of their assumptions.)

My "white privilege" is not something I can control in any way. I didn't choose the conditions of my birth, I didn't set up the racial divide in this country, I don't use my "white privilege" to lord it over people of color, and what's more, there's nothing I can do to divest myself of this "white privilege."

It's guilt by existence, which I hope you can see is completely different from being guilty of thinking about race in a way that's contrary to reality or of harboring and refusing to reject racial stereotypes. I can change how I think about race; I cannot change my alleged "white privilege."

So right there I'm being put into a no-win situation, because the only way for me to escape my "white privilege" is to publicly and abjectly denounce myself and my "privilege" and a host of other things for which I am not responsible, including suspected "unconscious racism" which I am by-definition unaware of and therefore cannot control, assuming that it exists.

You should know that Freshmen Orientation in many colleges includes racial awareness sessions wherein white students are required to effectively denounce their own existence and "privilege" and to publicly confess their thoughtcrimes.

These "struggle sessions" were perfected in Mao's China, wherein people were humiliated until they confessed to crimes against the state. Other employers of "struggle sessions" are the leaders of creepy mind-control cults, wherein the "Cult of Confession," which keeps people afraid of their own very thoughts.

College campuses have not yet reached this level of mind control, but that's where they're heading. That's the trajectory. And so far there hasn't been anyone with the perspicacity or valor to call a stop to it.

So that's what sets me off about "structural racism" arguments and rhetoric: they're intended to exacerbate racial tension rather than heal rifts; to increase suspicion and animus instead of increasing understanding and empathy; to destroy existing institutions rather than reform them; to put the worst sort of people into power rather than encourage harmony among the races.

When you talk to me about my "white privilege," you're putting me on the defensive, because I can't control the structures that created said privilege. When you say "people of color can't be racist, only whites can," you're putting you and me on opposite sides of an unbridgeable chasm. How can we dialog across an abyss?

I am perfectly willing to listen to you tell me what your life is like. I am NOT particularly open to being told that my very existence is problematic.

You wouldn't like it either. If you want people to listen with the intent to understand, you have to make sure you don't alienate them first—the way I did when I seemed to deny that racism exists. :-)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The Price of Discipleship Is… Everything

The Anchoress just tweeted this insightful article on the "social detritus of gay marriage pile-up":
[M]y friend gave a template for how to handle friends who are not family. We really need to stand our ground. If the people we call friends do not respect us enough to allow us the space and personal dignity to hold our own beliefs and act on them, then the friendship is on sick and sad grounds.
I know from personal experience how painful this is. But there is nothing we can do but let them go.
That also goes for priests who have parishioners walk out on them when they teach what the Church teaches about marriage from the pulpit. Many of these walkers away will walk back later. But whether they do or not, priests must still teach the truth. …
Family members are a bit more difficult. … Children, in particular, are too willing to use their parents’ love for them, a love they do not doubt or they wouldn’t do this, as a form of blackmail. “If you love me, you’ll desert your faith and back gay marriage.”
Chose me, or chose Christ.
That is the thing in the balance.
All I can say is that you must never stop loving people because they are jerks and bullies. But no one — no one – can be put between you and Jesus. Jesus has to be your first loyalty.
That doesn’t mean you lecture them or even try to get them to change. Even if you do this with the intention of saving their souls, it is still the wrong thing in this circumstance. They are too set on their downward path to listen. Their ears are stopped and their hearts are hardened.
All you can do is love them and continue to love them and reach out to them in love. That, and keep the faith with your faith in your own life.
This is where we come to understand what the scripture meant in Matt 5:
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Also, Matt 10:
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Those who would be disciples of Christ have already got our instruction: the price of discipleship is everything, including friends and family, if it comes to that, but as Ms. Hamilton observes, the decision to break things off with family has to come from them, not from you. Don't toss out your kid for being gay or even being gay married.

Friends who won't respect your religious autonomy aren't actually friends and can be let go, however painfully. If any hatred and anger is to be generated, let it come from those who are merely following the example of THEIR master, and by "them" I mean those who are happy to dump steaming piles of name-calling, rage, and contempt upon Christians, whom they didn't particularly respect in the first place.

There are plenty of SSM supporters from all over the believing spectrum — atheist to agnostic to saint — who are NOT cool with trashing the losing side, NOT at all happy to see religious liberty curtailed (because they know their liberty of conscience is bundled up with everyone else's), and NOT impressed with SCOTUS overreach and the implications it holds for the rule of law.

Furthermore, they know our society, they know the Left, they know how dirty they fight, and they know that what the Left is after, ultimately, is to silence all dissent while they accrue ever more power into their hands, whether that dissent be religious or secular.

 before things get worse, I must thank the atheists and agnostic for being "righteous Gentiles" and to the believers who support SSM, thank you for not attributing our objections to bigotry. I understand your reasons for accepting SSM even if you don't understand mine for saying no.

 It's gonna get ugly. We need all the moral support we can get. INCLUDING from decent Muslims who love religious liberty. So let's not alie

Friday, May 08, 2015

WWJD do about the Mohammed cartoons?

Bill O'Reilly insists that Jesus would denounce Pamela Geller's Draw Mohammed Contest, so as not to gratuitously offend people, I assume. If we're talking about innocent people going about their daily lives, I suppose you could posit that reaction.

But what about offending murderous fanatics who are willing to kill those who defy them? Did Jesus encounter any of those?

Let's take a look:

In Mark 2 we have several instances wherein the scribes (academics) and Pharisees (religious rulers) questioned Jesus' blasphemous and irregular behavior: when he forgave the palsied man's sins (v.5-6), when he ate and drank with sinners (v.15-16), when they noticed that his desciples did not fast (v.18), when he and his disciples harvested grain on the Sabbath (v.23-24).

Jesus was violating their petty little rules right and left. These were not rules established by Moses but rather had accumulated after centuries of tradition, wherein the ruling classes sought to codify and micromanage every aspect of the people's lives.

And here was this upstart from Nazareth, brazenly violating the rules and causing much offense.

 In Mark 3:1-6 we have this (emphases mine):
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Knowing full well the intent of their hearts -- knowing how "offended" they were because of Jesus' many infractions -- he went ahead and healed a man in the synagogue on the Sabbath, RIGHT IN THEIR FACES.

Notice how in verse 5 he looked at them angrily, because he knew what hypocritical, lying sacks of excrement they were. He knew they had the ability as well as the desire to kill him.

Notice that instead of being astounded by the miracle, they straightway began to plot his destruction. Who does that? Misguided men or men given wholly over to evil?

After that incident, did Jesus moderate his behavior to appease them? Did he attempt to avoid causing offense?

Not in the least.

In fact, he repeatedly berated them for their corrupt religious teachings and practices, and kept doing it until they finally caught him and delivered him up to the Romans for execution. (Only Rome could administer the death penalty, so they had to find a reason for the Romans to find him threatening. That's why Pilate asked whether he were the King of the Jews, i.e., a subversive who wanted to overthrow the Roman occupation.)

So how would Jesus respond to Muslim fanatics who impose a false standard of blasphemy on the populace?

Judging from the record, whaddaya THINK?

Saturday, April 04, 2015

EZ Jesus

I've lost three entire days to the Twitterstorm in the wake of the Indiana RFRA signing and the subsequent Internet wilding of Memories Pizza.

One of the more vexing retorts from the SJWs (social justice warriors) has been "Would Jesus cater a gay wedding?" Given that Jesus never directly addressed the issue of homosexuality, that leaves a considerable lacuna for all and sundry to fill as they see fit.

Rather than take random stabs at the answer, why not look at what he did condemn and see if that reveals something about what he might have said or done. Here's one bit of insight (emphasis mine):

[I]t is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them. And if we do think about breaking them, we have already broken them in our heart. Does that sound like “comfortable” doctrine, easy on the ear and popular down at the village love-in?

And what of those who just want to look at sin or touch it from a distance? Jesus said with a flash, if your eye offends you, pluck it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off. “I came not to [bring] peace, but a sword,” He warned those who thought He spoke only soothing platitudes. No wonder that, sermon after sermon, the local communities “pray[ed] him to depart out of their coasts.” No wonder, miracle after miracle, His power was attributed not to God but to the devil. It is obvious that the bumper sticker question “What would Jesus do?” will not always bring a popular response.

At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once). — Jeffery R. Holland, Apostle, April 2014
Regarding marriage in general, Jesus' doctrine was harsher and more restrictive than anyone was willing to bear, including the Hebrews themselves! From Matthew 19:

3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
(Wow. Not even my church prohibits that the divorced remarry. Some Christian denominations preach that the divorced cannot remarry as long as the ex is still alive; others, that divorce should not be countenanced at all.)

Does it sound like Jesus upholds a loose, socially negotiable definition of marriage? Does he not specify that male and female, joined in marriage, constitute a whole person? Does it sound like he's open to marriage being redefined in the name of Civil Rights?

I'm going to go with no, no he wouldn't. There is no indication of a soft, comfortable god on this issue. In Matthew 15:19 he states that "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."

So he wasn't much on board with fornication, either (sex between unmarried persons). Given that  the sexual revolution declared that "if it feels good, do it," and from thence our current aversion to condemning nearly any sexual act (incest and pedophilia are mercifully still out of bounds), it sounds like Jesus' teachings originate from assumptions that are 180° opposite our current assumptions.

So would Jesus have catered a gay wedding? After all, he did consort with publicans and sinners — prostitutes, no doubt male as well as female. Let's look at that incident in Matthew 9:
10 ¶And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

He was teaching the sinners and calling them to repentance, not saying "check it out, ye marginalized: carry on! Defy the Man in all his hypocrisy. Be ye edgy and transgressive!"

I imagine that he treated them with all the gentleness of a father who, picking his child up from the mud puddle he fell into, says, "Come on, let's get you cleaned up." No punishments or harshness, to be sure, but he would never have encouraged them to continue sinning, because he would have perceived that sin is to the soul as cancer is to the body: a slow destroyer, not defiance of an arbitrary rule or a fun thing that the squares disapprove of.

I imagine that had he been asked to bake the gay wedding cake, he'd be more likely to take the couple aside and provide loving counsel about the relevant principle (not that anyone today could do that), and the couple would leave feeling loved and valued but without the cake.

If you want a wrathful Jesus, he did consistently unleash his wrath on a particular class of people, and it wasn't on the lost souls living in the streets or Ibrahim Q. Slacker who was behind on his tithes.

It was the educated class of the day, the intelligentsia, the ruling class that earned his wrath. The Scribes were the scriptural scholars, the professors and experts, and the Pharisees were the priests who had been charged with seeing to the spiritual well-being of the populace.

These people, hearing that Jesus was performing miracles such as healing the blind, immediately looked for a way to shut him down because there would be no other religious authority but theirs. So they found a pretext to condemn him: he was healing on the Sabbath.

The nerve. Mark 3:
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

 5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

 6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
There's the tell. This is how we know that the Pharisees and Scribes were not merely misguided or blind but given over fully to evil and corruption: Had they been misguided they would have been, at a minimum, astounded by a miracle performed right before their eyes. Or if not astounded then skeptical, declaring it a trick of some kind.

But no: upon witnessing an actual miracle, they immediately decided to destroy him. It's what you might call the Serpico Syndrome, wherein one NYPD cop declines to accept the shakedown money, and the rest cannot abide One Honest Man in their midst, so they must—compulsively must—destroy him.

Hence Jesus' many condemnations of those sociopathic, self-righteous, hypocritical little $!@*#s. Matthew 21:
28 ¶But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

That's one of the milder condemnations. You can find many more under "generation of vipers" and "whited sepulchers."

Among their many sins? Coming down like a ton of bricks on people for small infractions while ignoring far greater injustices. Moral posturing to hide their malevolent characters. Matthew 23:

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. ...

 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
They sought out any stray word whereby Jesus might be condemned. "And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words" (Mark 12: 13). They posed trick questions, hoping they could use an answer to condemn him either as speaking against Mosaic law or against Rome (paying tribute to Caesar, woman caught in adultery).

Eventually, they managed to whip up a hysterical mob and got the permission of the legal system to execute him.

But hey. That was 2000 years ago. Surely, surely, surely we have progressed beyond all that.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Twitter's too short for this, so lemme use this forum

To the yutzes who think I'm too much of a Debbie Downer:

I am a sixth-generation Mormon living in Utah. My ancestors were murdered and driven from this country at gunpoint by MOBS. My people were considered to be the worst kind of heretics (and still are, by far too many "Christians") and so the mobsterism went wholly unchecked.

The law didn't stop them. The Constitution didn't stop them. Christian sentiment didn't stop them. Joseph Smith went to the OVAL OFFICE in person to beg Martin Van Buren for protection and Van Buren blew him off saying, "Well, you people are pretty unpopular, and there's an election coming up." The governor of Missouri signed out an effing EXTERMINATION ACT on us, which remained in effect until the 1970s. Our property was stolen from us at least three times, our temples were seized or burned, and that has never been restored to us. (We're also not asking.)

A few Christian souls stood up for us but the rest wanted us dead, because we were wrong and they were right. The entire U.S. army was sent after us in the godforsaken Salt Lake Valley that we were forced to flee to. (They were called back at the last minute when the Civil War started: bittersweet event, that.) The Republican party was formed to combat two evils: slavery and polygamy. (Mind you, polygamy wasn't a thing until AFTER we were in Utah, so explain the animosity prior to that.)

I KNOW RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. I'm the Polish refugee who comes to America and freaks out about the leftward trends, but everyone says "It can't happen here: this is America. Most of us don't want that so we won't let it happen. Stop being defeatist. It's demoralizing. ELECT REPUBLICANS TO THE SENATE."

AND SO I KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING and what we're up against, and I know it better than YOU. My company has its HQ in Silicon Valley and an office in Utah, where I work. I fully expect that within the next few years, they'll either close the Utah office (can't have homophobes working for us!) or they fire anyone who won't denounce the Church's teachings on marriage, enumerated here:

I will gladly take that bullet (I can handle it financially) while rejoicing that I was worthy to be persecuted for Christ's sake.


My ancestors would have been colossal fools to think that they'd finally prevailed after the first time Joseph Smith and his brethren were released from jail, the trumped-up charges dropped. (He was subsequently jailed over and over on false charges and a mob eventually murdered him while under the "protection of the state.") They would have been naive indeed if they failed to recognize that they weren't up against mere popular sentiment but "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

One lovely gesture of generosity and solidarity has NOT shifted the momentum or changed the battlefield. It's cheering but it's transient. If you're losing 120-0 and you make a field goal at the top of the fourth quarter, YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO CELEBRATE or even to imagine that the momentum has shifted.

You don't QUIT nor do you stop trying as hard as you can. But if you get cocky over seven lousy points without doing the math (you're down by 117!) YOU WILL LOSE.

If Tony Soprano burned down a store to make a point, and the Good Townsfolk rebuilt it, how do you think he'd take that? Would he stop burning down stores or would he UP HIS GAME and make sure that next time the damage couldn't be undone by Kindly Souls.

STEP ONE IS TO NOT GET COCKY. Step two is to not resent it when someone points out that being down by 117 instead of 120 hardly constitutes a comeback. Step three is to get back in the game and see if you can anticipate the next team's moves and stop them from widening the point spread further.

Optimism is not a river in Egypt. It's not happy talk or cheerleading or Inspirational Statements. It's not believing that everything will turn out all right. It's not even seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty. Optimism is perceiving that you have a degree of control over your situation and then DOING WHAT YOU CAN.

I'm all ready to take a bullet — literal or figurative — for my faith; I'd shame my ancestors otherwise. I know that even if we ARE defeated by these wicked, wicked people during our lifetimes that Christ will eventually be victorious.

But I also know who and what we're up against, and I also know that Our Team does not currently have the game to beat this back. Not today, we don't.

So we'll lose the war unless we face up to our weaknesses, deficits, and liabilities with a cold stare and a grim determination. Curse my rudeness and bluntness and negativity all you want, but that won't win you either jack or squat.

Find out what the Left's next target is. Devise a method to counter it before it happens. THAT, not warm fuzzies, is the essence of optimism.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Jeff's talking about

This is such old stuff I'm bound to have forgotten much of it. But here goes…

The first Big Problem was Rush's "I hope he fails" comment and the conservative commentariat's scramble to distance themselves from it, based mostly on an egregious misinterpretation of Rush's intent, which was actually crystal clear.

Jeff responded with the Hot Air article, which demonstrated in great detail that many on "our side" were more concerned with being tarred by the left's always-broad brush than with declaiming the truth. Because Jeff had shined an unflattering light on people (including [said blogger]), he caught a lot of flak for it. That's about when Malkin stopped returning his calls.

The next Big Problem was with [said blogger]'s insistence on calling Obama a "good man" after his first election, despite the mountains of evidence that he was anything but. Jeff deftly exposed [said blogger] as a shallow sycophant who was angling for the croc to eat him last rather than declaiming the Known Truth about Obama.

The worst Big Problem was when [said blogger] decided it was time to put Stacey McCain in the dunking stool to distance himself from the Left's inevitable accusations of RAAAAACIST after something Stace posted.

Using nothing but theories of language, Jeff calmly identified [said blogger]'s ass-covering witch hunt as resting on corrupt, left-wing assumptions about how language works.

What ensued was a days-long dialog — mostly between Jeff and [said blogger] but a lot of us regulars chimed in — about Jeff's bailiwick: intentionalism, which is a description of how language works, that also identifies many of the Left's dishonest and incoherent attempts to hijack meaning and mold it to fit the mob's hysterical demands.

Jeff's demeanor for the first few days would make Job look like a hysteric. He used naught but logic, naught but explanatory language, eschewing utterly personal invective or insinuating that his interlocutor was a moron.

I still cannot tell if [said blogger] got what Jeff was saying but refused to accept it (he'd keep repeating back Jeff's ideas in a distorted way) or if he really could not grok what Jeff was saying. (Lawyers often do, because their concern is what you can prove, not what is.)

This dialog took place at proteinwisdom, at Little Miss Attilla's blog, at [said blog], and on a late-night IM chat involving me, Jeff, [said blogger], and a few of [said blogger]'s peeps.

After days of going back and forth, Jeff commented on [said blogger]'s blog (in response to some trash talk from [said blogger]'s peeps) that if they were going to hang him, he'd be glad to bring the tree.

[said blogger] went ballistic with glee. Finally (in his mind) he'd caught Jeff employing a violent threat, right there online, where Jeff couldn't delete it. He began to express his happiness at repeating the phrase that "JEFF GOLDSTEIN IS A LYING LIAR WHO LIES" (something to that effect). He described the satisfaction he got in typing those words and reveled in the chance to destroy Jeff both as an internet presence and as someone who could make a living as a writer.

[said blogger] got even weirder after that. He "Google-bombed" a lot of dead threads over at Protein Wisdom with links to allegedly awful things about Jeff. He circulated toxic emails to other bloggers on the right about Jeff's perfidy (Pablo can hook you up with those).

[said blogger] claimed that his efforts to destroy Jeff were a means to "protect himself." The only other time I'd seen similar behavior was from a bipolar lawyer (with Paranoid Personality Disorder) who went off her meds during a manic phase and did all kinds of crazy stuff to destroy an internet forum that had wronged her. She also claimed she was "protecting herself."

[said blogger]'s behavior was WAY out of proportion to the "offense" Jeff had delivered. Later digging shows that [said blogger] often pulls this kind of crazy shit behind the scenes when he feels that his honor has been sullied. His ties to Barrett Brown and Anonymous don't speak well of him.

So yeah, he's perfectly reasonable in most contexts, but when certain of his buttons are pushed, he goes apeshit.

And because of his reputation with the rest of the 'sphere, his smearing of Jeff's reputation stuck.

And that's as short as it gets.