Friday, October 02, 2009

the cure for social ills

As a lead-in, I really like how today's "Quote of the Day" over there on the left sidebar fits so nicely with the topic of my post...

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. - Plautus

So, I'm finally getting around to rereading Keller's great book Ministries of Mercy (which I have mentioned before here and here) as part of my own prep plan for my upcoming overseas trip* with my church team. As usual, here it is, one week before I fly out, and I'm finally hitting hard some of the reading and general prep I should have been going full speed at months ago. What else is new? My ability to organize and discipline myself is just awesome. Good thing God will be the one really making things happen and not me.

Anyway, in the introduction I came across this excellent passage that sums up the problem with the approaches to poverty from the logical positions of the Left and the Right and the only real, lasting solution to this aspect of a fallen world:

While accomplishing that task [of confronting social problems], Francis Schaeffer said, Christians may be at times, "cobelligerents" with the Left or the Right, but never allies. "If there is social injustice, say there is social injustice. If we need order, say we need order....But do not align yourself as though you are in either of these camps: You are an ally of neither. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is different from either--totally different."

The ideology of the Left believes big government and social reform will solve social ills, while the Right believes big business and economic growth will do it. The Left expects a citizen to be held legally accountable for the use of his wealth, but totally autonomous in other areas, such as sexual morality. The Right expects a citizen to be held legally accountable in areas of personal morality, but totally autonomous in the area of personal wealth. The North American "idol"--radical individualism--lies beneath both ideologies. A Christian sees either "solution" as fundamentally humanistic and simplistic.

...Neither a simple redistribution of wealth nor simple economic growth and prosperity can mend broken families; nor can they turn low-skilled mothers into engineers or technicians.

Only the ministry of the church of Jesus Christ, and the millions of "mini-churches" (Christian homes) throughout the country can attack the roots of social problems. Only the church can minister to the whole person. Only the gospel understands that sin has ruined us both individually and socially. We cannot be viewed individualistically (as the capitalists do) or collectivistically (as the Communists do) but as related to God. Only Christians, armed with the Word and Spirit, planning and working to spread the kingdom and righteousness of Christ, can transform a nation as well as a neighborhood as well as a broken heart.

Not much one can add to that. The dichotomy of Left and Right thinking with regard to legalism is profound I think. Though people don't often express their views in such stark terms, he pins down the logical conclusion of a lot of what we hear today from both sides. And he rightly points out that neither side is fully on the mark but is simply pursuing its own goals and by happenstance borrowing some truth from the gospel.

Another good point here is the emphasis on relationships. People are led to change by other people, and that requires intimate relationships. All the money, programs, and good intentions in the world can only work to the extent that they enable people to form close bonds with each other and become involved in one another's lives. And that is one of the core tenets of Christianity--people forming close bonds with one another and sharing truth with one another. The progression or regression of social ills in our society in the years ahead will be directly tied not only to how well the church as a whole engages the culture as a whole but also how well individual Christians engage other individuals around them who are in need.


* I'll have the privilege of joining a team to go overseas and assist with mercy ministry and outreach in support of an HIV/AIDS program for two weeks starting next Saturday. Although I've gotten a little better at it over the years, the whole relating to people thing still isn't really my cup of tea, and so the trip will be challenging in many ways. But I've no doubt it'll be a great trip and a learning experience for sure. Any prayers for our team would be much appreciated!


Monday, September 14, 2009


Mined this one from the Boston Globe online comments a few days back, gotta love it...

The market has created in a year what government housing policy has tried and failed at for decades: affordable housing for the masses.

I still wouldn't say housing is all that affordable these days, but the bit about government intervention sure is on the spot. In fact, through all these mortgage bailouts and bank rescues and other such ways of using our money to pander to idiots who lost theirs, the government is actually trying to prevent housing from becoming affordable nowadays. As usual, leave it to the government to screw something up even worse than we could have expected. Real champions of common sense and responsibility, them.


Monday, September 07, 2009

tribute to tyree

In keeping with the video embed theme, here's another worth watching. Most of us have already seen this one live and in replays a few times but it just never gets old. Tyree got cut this past weekend so a tribute of sorts seems appropriate right about now. Forget that he had been a mediocre receiver up to that point in his career and had caught only four balls all year. That one put him solidly in the history books. Every football fan alive in early 2008 knows his name.

Without a doubt that's one of the best plays in the history of football, not just for the catch but because Manning had to somehow stay on his feet in the same play. I figure that one will be my generation's version of the Immaculate Reception, that play that will be talked about in every "best plays" conversation for the rest of my life and will never need any explanation to anyone who saw it.

Simply incredible.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

pat condell on islam in the netherlands

Just found this Pat Condell video over at Jihad Watch (linked in this excellent article about hate crimes legislation), which also has a few quotes from his take. Condell is a British stand-up comedian, but on this bit he's showing a lot less humor and a lot more smarts than I'd expect from any comedian. So listen and be enlightened...

Although I disagree with it, I do like his conclusion. I wish I could share his optimism that Europeans and the rest of the West as we know it will eventually rise up and resist this tide of political correctness and appeasement that threatens to relegate Western-style cultures of "enlightened liberal values," in Mr. Condell's words, to the annals of history. But alas, my confidence in the masses is far lower than that. I don't see people waking up in any significant numbers until it's too late to save their own nations from the destruction that will have already been sown.

Some money quotes:

"If I talked about Muslims the way their holy book talks about me, I'd be arrested for hate speech."

"Nobody should be compelled to respect an ideology that doesn't respect them."

"Stupidity in action is always pretty funny."

"The truth is sometimes offensive. There's no doubt about that. But that doesn't make it any less true."

"You can't change people's hearts by force."

"Nobody should be compelled to respect an ideology that doesn't respect them."

Okay, so I repeated one. That was intentional because we need to read it twice, and keep reading it until we grasp its truth. That sums up a lot of the problems in our culture today, this commonality of people demanding rights and privileges that they aren't willing to confer equally upon those being demanded of. And as usual, the problem is due at least in part to an overconcentration of power in too few hands at the top. As Condell says, it seems none of the majority who view Islam with an ounce of suspicion are currently in power in Europe.

But why should we expect any different? If it weren't cowering to Islam and PC tripe then it'd be something else--extortion of massive amounts of money from small sectors of the population, criminalization of petty offenses, comical overreaction to complex issues in the name of "doing something," and on and on. I'm telling you, big government always, always fails. Always. That's one of the great takeaways here: if people had more power to determine their own ways and interactions within the Netherlands, Islam would be nowhere near the threat it is now.

May the Netherlands see the errors of its ways and stave off a march backwards in human rights, but if not then may other nations learn from its unfortunate example of how not to confront a threat to liberty.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

the erosion of property rights, nantucket style

Not much that happens 'round these parts can really get me worked up anymore. This whole state is a laughingstock when it comes to just about all civic and political issues. Is there any "progressive" or "populist" idea Hackachusetts is not battling California to lead the charge on? Anything from subsidized health care to handouts to identity politics to rapidly increasing taxes to other ideas we haven't even heard about yet, it's there. Accountability and restraint at the top is a completely foreign concept up here, in which there is very little hope of people ever caring to even challenge much less change the status quo of ever-oppressive government--after all, the masses here would have overwhelmingly voted that pompous hypocrite Teddy K back to the Senate for another 300 years if given the opportunity. A real inspiration for hope, that.

Anyway, now that the obligatory rant is out of the way, on to something from the "rich people quibbling with other rich people" files that is actually so absurdly wrong and against the ideal of freedom that it caught my attention even in Hackachusetts. As this article details, apparently the concept of "private property" doesn't apply if that property deeded to you happens to be a beach on Nantucket.

Some waterfront property owners on Nantucket don't want vehicles on their front yard (i.e. beach) and so have succeeded in getting them prohibited. Fair enough, right? Your property, your rights, your responsibility to protect and preserve, your call. In the same way that someone living near a stadium wouldn't want a fan driving up and parking on their front lawn to go to a football game, or a rural property owner wouldn't want ATVs crawling through his woods and fields, or a riverfront property owner wouldn't want unannounced crowds paddling in with all their junk and camping on his land (or driving across his land to get there either, come to think of it), these folks don't want cars driving up and parking--or worse--right smack in the middle of their beach. I fail to see a problem with the logic here; this seems cut and dry to me.

Well, enter the sensibilities of throngs of beachgoers. Unhappy that their cars and trucks and SUVs are no longer welcome on property that isn't theirs, the masses have resorted to an all-too-familiar approach: cry to the government--via eminent domain in this case--to strong-arm those you disagree with into submitting to your concept of "fair." Never mind that the vacationer types still have reasonable access* to the beach and can still bring all of their beach party necessities, even pets, with them. No cars doesn't mean no people or no access, after all. They can still swim, picnic, bury themselves in sand, and do all those other fun summer things that come with being at a beach. They just can't drive right up on the sand to avoid walking more than 10 feet to get there. If you ask me, the property owners are being plenty reasonable in still allowing more or less open use of their property. And they're being reasonable in expecting that those using it respect and preserve it as well.

Moreover, the property owners are even accepting some risk and giving some ground (no pun intended) here. More people means more crowds, more noise, more trash, more disturbance of the natural environment, etc. These owners can't limit who treads on their sand so they just have to accept the disrespectful folks with the decent ones. But it's not hard to understand their desire to limit the wild parties vehicles help to enable, or the damage to the beach by the vehicle's mere crossing of it, or the leftover debris from a bonfire party, or the other things that a few drivers would no doubt bring with them. Go landowners!

Now forget about the property rights angle for a sec. A lot can be said here about the nature and shiftlessness of people who would drive right up to their beach spot. Come on, people, is it too much to ask that if you want to get to a beach then you take off your shoes, get off your arse, and walk a little? If you want to get to your favorite fishing hole, how about just parking and walking with your pole and box to where you want to be? You know, people were fishing and sunbathing and swimming and picnicing and frolicking about all along the beach well before the advent of the automobile. Do you bums think they got there by just flying or teleporting in? No, they walked. Heck, I bet they even carried stuff with their hands and arms too! They did have to get off their horses every now and then, you know. Those poor souls! The lazy, spoiled nature of some people is just pitiful.** Three cheers for that celebrated aspect of American culture.

So, not only are people lazy and unwilling to put themselves through some minimal physical exertion to get to their reward, but they also think it's just swell for the government to step in and enforce what they would get busted for doing on their own. I don't know which is worse, the masses that clamor for such bullying and theft of rights or the public officials that go along with it. The stupidity of the government is merely a reflection of the stupidity of those electing and supporting it.


* Even this kind of access would bother me were I a homeowner there. I don't know the ins and outs but I get the impression that people basically can't be prohibited from hanging out on your beach. So in what way can a homeowner even attempt to control the crowds on his beach? I guess that's something you have to understand going in if you buy a house there. But that in itself is a problem I'll certainly never have to deal with, so I'm more concerned with the repercussions it could have in the world of us common folk.

** It's worth noting that it takes an especially large excess of laziness for someone as lazy as me to be able to poke fun at it. I'm not some marathoner or anything. But heck, even I'm willing to get up and walk for a little every now and then, especially on vacation. The more I think about their sloth the more these spoiled beachgoer types really make me sick.


Thursday, September 03, 2009


From John Adams, with my emphasis added:

Democracy...while it lasts, is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

And the U.S. won't be the first. The enemies and freedom-haters abroad aren't the ones we should be concerned about. It's those within our own borders who will be this country's undoing.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

wise beyond his years

With all the immaturity already in the NBA and the huge money being thrown around at kids barely out of high school, some youngsters are still able to realize that sometimes becoming a multimillionaire superstar as a teenager isn't the best way to transition into adulthood. Enter Ricky Rubio, the point guard phenom in Spain who turned down a lucrative offer from the Timberwolves and all the glitz and glory with it to remain in his homeland for a couple more years.

This strikes me as a win for all sides: former team DKV Joventut gets mega cash out of the deal, new team FC Barcelona brings in a star who's sure to attract lots of fans and attention to the club for the next two years, Minnesota still gets a shot at him in the near future and can still watch him and build a relationship in the meantime, and Rubio gets to spend two years in his home country honing his skills on and off the court. Very wise move by the kid, if you ask me.

What 18-year-old, especially these days, is ready to take off to a foreign country and be showered with millions of dollars and become a focal point of the national sports media? I understand the demand from fans and franchise alike for a quick ROI and all, but I'm still a little surprised the T-wolves tried so hard to make a deal happen. Sure, it might work, but you're relying on that kid keeping his head together despite all that madness and hype that surrounds a draft pick of his stature. And that doesn't even account for the other upheaval he'd be going through or just the typical challenges of becoming an adult. Seems a risky proposition to me; if I were the Wolves I'd have wanted him to spend a year or two in a D-league somewhere anyway, just to make the adjustment slower and prove to the franchise he was ready for the responsibility of being a big-time player. After all, if you've got a high draft pick and a lot of team planning invested into a young player, you want to do everything you can to make sure that player develops well and becomes a boon to your team--even if it takes a few years.

I suspect the player and the team will both be better off for it in the long run. It's a shame more young guys don't show the same kind of patience.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

i love logan

I predicted this the moment I bought my tickets. I'm sitting in Detroit waiting to board my flight to Boston Logan and--surprise!--it's freakin' delayed. Shocker. That makes me 4-for-4 on my last four encounters with Logan. Outgoing delayed flight that resulted in me missing happy hour with former co-workers, check. Two-hour incoming delay on the return flight that resulted in me getting home at about 1:30 am, check. Outgoing delay that cost me a connection and resulted in a couple of lost hours on this weekend's short trip, check. Ongoing delay getting out of here back to Boston in advance of another hectic week of long hours at work before yet another flight out, check.

At least I'm flying out of Providence next weekend. Logan sucks. As with many other things, the capital of Hackachusetts is leading the way in poor service when it comes to airports. Go Massport!

Avoid that airport if at all possible, folks. You'll be better off for it.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

as if i needed more demotivation

I'm not one to hang around kids much anyway. Not that I dislike children or whatever, it's just that they seem to require tons of emotion and silliness to really relate to, and I don't have an abundance of either. So it's not like I was previously lining up to do nursery duty on Sunday mornings or whatever. But anyway, here's another reason to not spend too much time with kids. Sad...very sad. And as a single guy, I have to figure that the older I get, the "creepier" I'll get in the eyes of lots of folks, and I could even be an easy target for a life-destroying charge of harassment or abuse or whatever. Awesome...I just love living in a matriarchy.

The fact that our society still exists after all these decades of crap, not to mention its detrimental influence on other societies around the world, kinda makes me question God's justice sometimes. Ah well, we will all have the privilege of answering for our actions eventually.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

white mountains

Finally got around to uploading some pics from last weekend's hiking trip along a portion of the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. (For those who care and/or know the area, we stayed at some AMC huts between Franconia and Crawford Notches.) Good stuff...even if the weather did suck pretty much the whole time. Hiking in mud and across slick rocks is tougher than hiking across dirt and dry rock. And it's even more arduous with a large pack on your back that never wants to behave as you expect it to when you're on all fours crossing boulders, trying to balance your way across streams and mud pits (of which there were plenty), struggling up large rocks with little or no footholds, or simply trying to avoid getting yourself maimed or killed. But it was well worth the effort and workout, even for a guy like me who realized he's not as young and in shape as he once was. The views were great (when the fog lifted enough to allow views, at least), the company was cool, and I succeeded in getting out of the rut for a few days and doing some outdoors stuff. Need to do more of that for sure.

Next up: the entire AT, whenever I next find myself with several months off. I'm almost hoping I get laid off this coming winter in time to plan for a spring-summer trek. Almost.

On to some pics...


Saturday, June 20, 2009

reminder of the times

Form last week's issue of The Week:

47% of Americans rate President Obama's Choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court as "excellent" or "good." 20% consider the choice "fair," while 13% view the nomination as "poor." (Gallup)

Given the masses we're working with, let's assume the other 20% were too stupid to understand the question. So well over half of people even intelligent enough to respond think Sotomayor is a good choice. Do I even need to add anything more?

We are getting the government we deserve.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

the church's future strength in america?

Just finished commenting on a thread over at Novaseeker's (see previous post for link) and figured I'd post it in slightly expanded form here too. An anonymous commenter over there made some interesting remarks...

...[T]he blue-state white birthrate is far below replacement.

What you are going to get are red-state Jesus-freak women who do indeed breed at replacement levels. The GenX and GenY women simply aren't making enough babies to clone themselves in 30 years time. Only about 70 of them will be "here" out of the 100 that you see now, easily outnumbered by Hispanic, Black, and Muslim cultural adherents.

White Jesus freaks, who are building an insular culture, will still be here then. In a way, SWPL-ism is a huge generational scam/fraud practiced on its own adherents. People with a birthrate of 1.6 children per female pretty much half their youth in what...70 years? We are in about years 15-20 of this trend now. We probably have maybe 15-20 more years for it to turn around before the demographic momentum damns these people (SWPLS-and-secular whites) to political irrelevance...

I live near two large churches. The parking lot is full of kids. If anything, I'd guess those folks have about 2.5 kids per family, and they provide all sorts of "social stuff" to keep the kids there from what I've been told... These folks will still be around electorally...but these Power Grlzzzz will not be around in 40 years.

As Sailer has noted again and again, who controls the future is who shows up for it.

Good observations, but he misses the mark significantly as a result of his unfounded assumption that all of those children born into "Jesus Freak" households will grow up to be strong Christians themselves. History doesn't support this, nor do current societal trends. I don't see Christians becoming a more influential voting bloc through the demographic suicide of other ideologies; instead, its influence will also wan over time due to its "spiritual birth rate" being well below replacement from generation to generation. I hope he's right and Christianity makes a resurgence, and it's certainly never impossible, but I can't say I'm expecting it either.

Just look at recent decades as an example. Children attending church used to be a most common thing in America. And look how well that has held up to the feminist onslaught over the years. I don't see the coming generations of churchgoers, who will have been raised in ever-weakening churches and an ever-desensitizing culture, holding onto that faith in droves. Christianity will continue its decline in the U.S. I think, for at least the short term and for the worse for the country. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see how.

For one, most of these children attend public schools. Not all, and there are many who don't, but most do. So they're getting all the indoctrination they need to rebel against whatever mores their parents try to instill. And this goes many times more so for those who attend mainstream universities. It's a well-known statistic within church circles that more than half of churched kids who attend college turn their backs on their faith by the time they graduate--regardless of public, private, or home/group schooling. And folks like me, who only started attending post-childhood, are rare, and I'd say exceedingly rare if my own anecdotal evidence mirrors my generation's trend.

In light of that, I think it's fair to speculate that as a generation moves from youth to young adulthood to middle age, its overall percentage of traditional religious belief (i.e. not trendy or modern but handed down from previous generations) declines significantly. Many people drop those beliefs and much fewer take them up.* In recent times the churches in our society have not done a great job of providing foundations for lasting faith in young people, due in no small part to the steeping of the young (not to mention their parents) in secular thinking.

Also, more government presence and oversight in society will result in less devotion to religion as a source of morals and truth about the world, if history is any indicator. (Not only does the 20th-century U.S. come to mind but also Rome under Julian the Apostate; we in the States are merely stealing pages from his book.) While I suppose this might not be the case if we end up with an Islamic theocracy or variant thereof when the smoke clears, that would of course bring issues of its own and the resulting power structure would not at all resemble what we have today. So, does anyone really see government presence in and control of daily life abating or even slowing anytime soon? At the current pace that won't happen until we have anarchy, and even that "freedom" will only last until some strong-man or group can establish dominance at the controls.

Those are a couple of starting points; there are more. So let it suffice to say that I don't think we can look at the number of children being raised in churchgoing families as a prelude to what our culture will be shaped by. After all, had that held in the recent past then we wouldn't even be having this discussion.


* This may not be true as people move past middle age into their elder years, but that would be beyond the time frame we're talking about wrt today's generation of children. And I can't imagine it being significant enough to offset the lack of said beliefs among the younger crowd anyway.



Just mined this gem from the comment thread at a good Novaseeker post about some fembot's wailing about how her divorce "just happened" and whatnot, apparently through little or no fault of her know the story. Another one of those. Anyway, on to the good stuff, courtesy of Whiskey:

We are indeed looking at the end of marriage. Talk about reforming divorce, custody, alimony is a fantasy. There is not enough political willpower, demographic strength, or anything approaching organizational effectiveness to do this. To create that, every politician must be afraid of losing his/her seat and gravy train in order to vote for that program of reform. Against a hostile media dominated by women.

Not going to happen.


We just have to adjust. To a culture of single motherhood, zero fatherly investment in kids, pump and dump, the usual violent matriarchal societies.

Them be prophetic words there. We can all see it coming, it's just a matter of time--for the societal effects to set in, I mean. The demeaning of marriage has already been accomplished enough for society to suffer; whether or not marriage itself weathers the coming storm as anything more than a loose business partnership remains to be seen.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

sports vs. common sense

As a lead-in, let me briefly recount the situation at my alma mater in the years during and surrounding my attendance--and I don't figure much has changed--with regard to funding of athletics. The engineering department could barely get funding to keep its programs reasonably modern, the campus was hurting for more and better dorms, parking and commuting were terrible due to hilariously poor planning and infrastructure, and on and on. Yet the athletic department had more money than it knew what to do with. Football stadium expansion? New baseball stadium? New track stadium? New practice facilities? Coaches' salaries that make inflation look flat? Sure! And all because the program had boosters lined up that forked over hefty sums of cash to help fund such exploits. In other words, the athletic department was not balancing its budget on its own via ticket/merchandise sales or whatever; were that the case then there would be no complaint. But it was getting huge infusions of cash from rich alumni and folks in the state--who were choosing sports over the future viability of the school as an educational institution with every dollar they donated.

Well, seems we weren't as unlike Los Angeles as we might have thought back in the day in flyover country. Now I have nothing against the idea of a victory parade to celebrate a championship, but...people are forking over big money in "donations" for a sports parade? Really? That's the best "cause" they can come up with to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to? The article even talks about all the troubles the city of Los Angeles is having--unemployment is at 12.5%, the school district is underwater big time, homes are being foreclosed on, etc., etc. Even if those causes aren't at the top of one's list, surely they're ahead of enabling a basketball championship party, right? Call me cynical, but something just doesn't seem right about that whole picture.

Some priceless quotes from Mayor Villaraigosa:

"We're going to come together as a city at a time when we need to come together. The reason why so many people from the private sector came forward is because they know this town deserves to revel in itself for a day. We need it."

"At a time in the city when the unemployment rate is at 12.5 percent, when 21,000 people have lost their homes due to foreclosure, it's important for us to celebrate this great day. It's a victory for us, for the fans."

"If I declared a day off, I'd get beat up for that. People are going to take off whether I declare a day off or not. Some will say they were sick, others will take vacations. Still others don't have a job and will be there."

Okay, I gotta give him humor points for the last one. But the first two? They "need" it? It's "important" to celebrate "this great day" by throwing loads of money at it? I would say the guy must have Hollywood screenwriters doing his prep work for him, but I'm not sure they could even come up with stuff that fun to read.

And you can really see that 60s-era liberal feel-good-ism in full force there: "Huh? Never mind that there's some major change and upheaval going on that we need to plan for and ride out. Never mind that there are front-and-center problems that demand whatever effort and resources we can come up with. What we really need is to just all come together and celebrate and just feel good about ourselves for a while. 'Cause nothing beats reality like a quick emotional high. Yeah, that's the ticket!"

And, as usual here, a political twist: apparently the government's failure to prioritize has trickled down to its citizens. If that's the case then here's a PSA to Californy folks: All hope has officially been lost. Get out. And if you're in the greater L.A. area tomorrow then arm yourself or hide someplace safe, because we all know that when large crowds of excited people gather on L.A. streets the result usually isn't pleasant and wonderful. (Unrelated aside: I'm shocked that Barack rebuffed Cali's first swipe at bailout cash, but I'm sure we haven't even heard the end of the beginning of the begging yet. I mean, they haven't even played up the "for the children" angle yet.)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

thoughts on voxiversity iii, session 1

Just took my first Voxiversity quiz on Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. (I didn't know about VI until it was already rolling and was too lazy to jump into VII in time to keep up, so VIII is my first.) Given that Vox is off the high end of the intellectual scale, I figured the quiz would be a killer, at a minimum all fill-in-the-blank. In other words, something that would kick the collective *** of students such as myself who aren't great at reading comprehension to begin with and didn't spend a lot of time studying up for this one.

Well, I was wrong. It was more like something out of college, a simple 10-question quiz to verify that one actually did read the assigned material. So I'm a bit surprised he didn't ratchet up the difficulty more...or maybe that's coming with later sections since this only covered the intro to the book. Time will tell.

As for the book itself, it's shaping up to be a good read so far. (For anyone curious as to the subject matter of the book, EW provided a lengthy review several months back.) Goldberg appears to be going beyond the typical noise level in political books, in which authors just pick a flaw of the other side and start blasting away and citing contemporary examples here and there. He's reaching back into history and providing a common thread for understanding both contemporary liberalism and its predecessors. I'm looking forward to getting into it more.

And from what I can tell, it's meticulously researched, as the large amount of footnotes attests to. Goldberg isn't just shooting from the hip or taking huge logical leaps where convenient to make his view of events come into focus. He did his homework.

But I can already agree with the Wapiti's review on one thing: his frequent breaks in the action to emphasize that he's not, in fact, haphazardly throwing the "fascist" or "Nazi" or "anti-Semite" or whatever labels around among his ideological opponents are getting a little tedious. That he's taking care to choose his terms accurately and precisely should be obvious to anyone reading the book. The types who would take undue offense to his writing and fire slanderous accusations back in response are the types that do not operate from a basis of logic and reason in the first place. So there's no point in trying to hold their hand throughout by giving them reminders based on argument. Jonah is working on a thinking level and that's not going to trickle down to someone reading and responding on a feeling level. So I hope he just gives that crap up after the Introduction, but I'm afraid he's not going to.

Some money quotes:

Today's liberal fascism eschews talk of Christianity for the most part, except to roll back its influence wherever it can (although a right-wing version often called compassionate conservativism has made inroads in the Republican Party).

Excellent. I was really hoping Goldberg wasn't going to weaken his case substantially by focusing only on the "left" while giving the "right" a pass on the errors of big government. But it looks like he's going to dole out truth to causes or figures regardless of their political stripes. The credibility of the book when up a bit when I read that statement.

...[I]t's worth recalling that the success of Nazism in Weimar Germany partially stemmed from the unwillingness of decent men to take it seriously.

Amen! Freedom-loving Americans take note. The erosion of liberty has been happening here for decades (since the Wilson regime, if Goldberg is to be believed, and methinks he ought to be) and it's about time more people started taking it seriously.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

tracking the hacks

It's not easy trying to keep up with all the various types of hacks crowded around the public trough. It seems like every time we look, another species has spawned and is fighting for its share of the gummint slop. The feeding frenzy is just too furious to follow, especially here in Massachusetts, or Taxachusetts, or Hackachusetts, or whatever your name of choice is for this California of the East.

But thankfully, Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr has provided an indispensable field guide to the hackerama that is leeching the government to its death and crowding out any species that might be beneficial to the welfare of the nation. This piece is both amusing and informative, and a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand just a few of the hackasaurus species roaming the lands of America.

His opening salvo says it all:

Tracking the not-so-elusive hackasaurus greedicus of Massachusetts is a lot like exploring the vast Amazon rain forests or the Marianas Trench - new species are constantly being discovered. The difference is that in the Massachusetts hackerama, no species of hack ever goes extinct.

Ain't that the species of hack ever goes extinct. Nowhere is that more true than in the deep, dark jungles of Hackachusetts.

Howie has done his homework here, covering everything from hack-ademics to double-dipper hacks to green hacks to lobbyist hacks. Each is provided with its biological classification as well as a brief description of its identifying characteristics and behavior. However, I am a little disappointed that he left out one of the most prolific and dangerous types of hack. He included some of its breeds, such as Globe hacks and MBTA hacks, but he didn't identify the species itself. So I'll take the liberty of adding it to the list...

Union hacks

hackasaurus noworkus

This numerous species is known more for its voracious appetite that has brought about declines in industries that were once pillars of strength for the U.S., as well as its ongoing devouring of other previously healthy sectors of the economy. But despite the success of some breeds in bringing down private enterprises, many other breeds of this insatiable hack are always found close to a source of government spending. These hacks forage in packs, using their strength in numbers to overpower the good intentions of government functions. Often responsible for channeling significant amounts of taxpayer largesse to themselves and their members and servants, no efficient program is safe when they draw near. In times of duress, the older, more powerful hacks of this species have been known to display utter disregard and even cannibalistic tendencies toward their younger, less experienced cohorts. (The recent behavior of the Globe hacks is an example.) Despite their differing traits and habitats, one thing is certain: when these hacks take over the show, the credits are soon to follow.