Thus spake Ralph Wiley

The man knoweth of what he speaketh ” (and to think, this used to be Page 2, where people like yours truly and the scurrilous, scandalous Hunter Thompson came for political and prosaic asylum)”

Now it’s whiny chicks, Hot or Not lists and gossip about Paris Hilton. As TMQ – formerly of ESPN Page 2 – would say, ye gods!

The godless party

Since we’ve been on the topic of God, it’s a good time to mention this piece by Rod Dreher. Mr. Dreher, formerly of National Review and now an editor with the official favorite newspaper of VD – sounds a lot better when TMQ says that, doesn’t it – the Dallas Morning News, wrote this excellent article on why the Democratic party is becoming increasingly marginalized. It also explains why the Republican party is getting so many new members whose commitment to smaller government and traditional values is slim to nonexistent, as they’re basically Democrats at heart who simply can no longer stomach the militant atheism of the new and improved and purified Democrats.

On this war

I am very sympathetic to those fellow libertarians and lovers of freedom who suspect that we have been led by the nose into this war, primarily for the purposes of destroying more American liberties and weakening our national sovereignty. However, I am also aware that while it takes two to tango, it does not take two to fight.

The jihad was not declared by America or the West, it was declared on America and the West. This is not a propagandistic fiction any more than were the Islamic invasions of Spain, France, Italy and Austria imagined. The war will be fought, whether we engage or not. Since it will be fought, I would much prefer to see the West – even the globalist, socialist godless West – win instead of the Islamic jihad. Those who have not spent time in Europe probably cannot imagine how it could ever be possible that Islam could become a serious force in the USA, but no one who has lived in France, the Netherlands or the UK has any problem doing so.

One-world government or sharia. Not much of a choice, is it? And yet, we will persist in upholding freedom and liberty to the best of our ability.

God of the machine

Reader DS writes: In your friends game if one of the characters committed an evil act how could your friend judge them as he is the one who created them to commit the evil act?

First, it’s not like our game had any sort of moral structure to it. That’s really taking the analogy too far. But if we insist on exploring this nontheless, then we should keep in mind that he didn’t program them to commit the evil act, he programmed them in such away that they were allowed to choose to commit evil, or to commit good. It is the quality of the decision that is being judged, which then determines the nature of the deciding character.

If you’ll excuse me going off on a judgment tangent, I’m not so sure that Hell should be seen primarily as some kind of punishment. The parable of the wheat and the chaff seems to suggest that those cast away are simply not useful or somehow worthless for God’s purposes. Again, I’m not saying that this is the case – obviously, I don’t know – only that this is the way it appears to me. And, of course, I have no idea what God’s purpose for us might be beyond this world, though I suspect it has little to do with sitting around playing harps.

The paradox of knowing everything

Reader TD writes: I am incredibly curious as to how you resolve the paradox of free will and absolute omniscience. If the Judeo-Christian God construct is absolutely omniscient and has temporal insight into said omniscience, how does free will actually function? This is, of course, the paradox of Calvinism.

I see two obvious flaws with this apparent paradox. First, omniscience does not imply omniactience. (probably incorrect – I want the word for all-acting). A being who is all-knowing and all-powerful still has the ability to choose not to act, or even, so to speak, not to look. Let me give an example. I designed a computer game with a friend which was never released, but possessed a sophisticated AI-system which is still more advanced than any game available today. As the programmer, my friend had complete control over, and complete knowledge of, each of the AI-controlled characters. His powers in that computer world were god-like, as at any moment, he could see precisely what was going through the character’s head and know not only what it was doing, but why it was doing what it was doing.

Nevertheless, most of the time, my friend chose not to look or to control. Instead, he sat back and watched what resulted from the interactions of his characters. He was certainly capable of working out all the probabilities beforehand, but he seldom did. I am not saying that I am sure God really opts to act in this manner, only that it is dangerous and borderline blasphemous to say that He cannot. Given the evil state of the fallen world, I would submit that this point of view is consistent with both the Scriptures and what we perceive as the world’s reality. To know is not to dictate, and by the same token, to be able to know is not to make the decision to know.

Second, I increasingly suspect that God is trans-temporal. I theorize he stands outside of time as well as our physical space, seeing both as a sort of small, self-contained structure. This may account for the strange “I am” terminology used by both the burning bush of Moses as well as by Jesus Christ himself. This would necessarily require some implications which are generally not taken into account by either side of the Calvinist question.

I am no theologian, and I don’t know the great theological thinkers anywhere nearly as well as I know the economists, philosophers and historians of yore. My lack of interest in this regard is mostly because Jesus and Paul both tell us that not only do we not understand God, but that we are not even capable of understanding God. I am content to put my trust in Jesus Christ, with the hope that one day, he will not only shield me from the righteous judgment of God with his grace, but also explain it all to me.

We lost the initiative

That’s how one Coalition officer, in the US after a recent tour in Iraq, described the situation after the deadly attack on the Italian compound in Nassirya. He believes that everything will have to change, since the Coalition forces had previously attempted to avoid offensive actions that risk destabilizing the situation. Instead of actively targeting the many foreign jihadists from countries such as Bahrain and Yemen, the forces have primarily been tracking and monitoring them. Now that the situation has been destabilized despite this restraint, this officer expects that it is now necessary to hit the Sunni triangle hard, while at the same time going after known guerilla fighters in various local hot spots.

He could not talk about the upcoming response, either from the US troops or the Coalition contingents, but he left me with little doubt that it is not only the US troops who are now ready to “kick ass”. My conclusion is that the talk about speeding up the process of turning Iraq over to the Iraqis is not to bring our troops home, but to free them up to move on to the next stage of the war, which is more likely to be in the direction of Iran instead of Syria.

Is this desirable? I am of two minds on the subject, which is why I have written very little about it. But in any case, I believe it is inevitable, as I have ever since the morning of September 11th, 2001.

In ogni caso, gli occhi del mondo piangono per il sacrificio dai giovanotti italiani.