He has no dog

What a strange thing for the editor-in-chief of a publication which is regularly dismissed by the Left as being both vehemently conservative and lockstep Republican to write! Joseph Farah’s column today defends MoveOne.org and its anti-Bush ads.

The Republican Party was complicit in designing these rules limiting what special-interest groups can say and do in campaigns. The Democrats, the party preferred by MoveOn.org, was complicit in designing those rules. The Supreme Court, supposedly the experts on the Constitution, surprised everyone by upholding the clearly unconstitutional law these two parties conspired to impose on us all.

Two factions. One party. And yet some still wonder why I don’t care if George Delano or Jean Francois wins in November. Perhaps now people are finally starting to believe Mr. Farah when he says, as he did in 2000, that he has no dog in this hunt.

Has anyone checked on the whereabouts of Dr. Eco

In comparing the Madrid bombings to the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the United States, there are some interesting numerical ties. There were 911 days in-between the terror attacks in Madrid and Sept. 11, 2001 – or 9-11 as it has become known – when al-Qaida-backed terrorists slammed planes into the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania and the World Trade Center towers in New York, destroying them. The Madrid bombings – which happened on 3-11 – also came 2-1/2 years to the day after the 9-11 attacks.

This is obviously the reason that the Patriot Act required the ability to search library records. Clearly we’re dealing with a group of amateur numerologists. Conspiracy-minded historical novelists of the future are going to have a field day with our era.

He likes it, he really likes it

Confusticated World writes: Bruce Bethke has written numerous short stories, including the short-turned-novel, Cyberpunk; in which he coined the term “cyberpunk.” His style in Headcrash is fresh, witty, and is NOT a gratuitous Doug Adams imitation. Headcrash falls under the science fiction comedy sub-genre, one of my least-favorite sub-genres in fiction as a whole. After reading about how good it was, I had high expectations of Headcrash. It exceeded all of them. Headcrash is so good, it is the first book that I have ever gone back and bought additional copies for friends and family, simply out of fear that I’d never get my copy back if I lent it out.

Go read the rest of the review.

There are choices and choices

From USA Today: As Melissa Ann Rowland’s unborn twins got closer to birth, doctors repeatedly told her they would likely die if she did not have a Caesarean section. She refused, and one later was stillborn. Authorities charged 28-year-old Rowland with murder on Thursday, saying she exhibited “depraved indifference to human life,” according to court documents. One nurse told police that Rowland said she would rather “lose one of the babies than be cut like that.” The case could affect abortion rights and open the door to the prosecution of mothers who smoke or don’t follow their obstetrician’s diet, said Marguerite Driessen, a law professor at Brigham Young University. “It’s very troubling to have somebody come in and say we’re going to charge this mother for murder because we don’t like the choices she made,” she said….

The doctor who performed an autopsy found that the fetus died two days before delivery and would have survived if Rowland had undergone a C-section when urged to do so.

I don’t know, we don’t seem to have much trouble charging someone for a crime when they choose to blow away a convenience store clerk. As I have repeatedly stated, I have no more sympathy for these murderous non-mothers than for death camp operators, although in this case it was a crime of omission, not a crime of commission as in the case of abortion. I don’t believe in thought crime, but I have to admit that those who believe that their potential college degree or smooth bikini line are more important than a child’s life make me feel uncharacteristically less hostile to the notion of forced sterilization.

And check out the picture – it’s not as if the doctors were contemplating ruining the Taj Mahal here.

Thoughts of Spain

When I played calcio as a practice scrub for a third-division prima squadra, one of my friends on the team was a hot-blooded Spaniard. He was a really good guy with a cute girlfriend and a great little dog named Psycho (seeko). He hooked me up with some software I needed, and I left my old Playstation with him, although I doubt he got much use out of Maddens. He collected more yellow and red cards than the rest of the team combined, but I never once saw his temper flare off the field, not even when I called him rather early in the European morning to announce that the USA was leading Portugal 2-0 in the World Cup.

It made me laugh, though, when I asked him one day which team he supported in La Liga. He looked at me as if in disbelief and said: “Madrid… alla morte!” I sure hope he wasn’t on one of those trains.

Good luck, Joe

Evangelical Outpost writes: Although completely unwarranted, Hugh Hewitt has included me among an illustrious list of MilBlogs (Sgt Hook, Smash, MudvilleGazette, Blackfive, and Chief Wiggles). As he points out, my blog “ends more towards the cultural, religious, and political than the military.” That, however, will soon be changing as I just recently found out that I’m scheduled to leave for Iraq this fall. Now I’ll finally get to call myself a “warblogger” (or perhaps more fittingly, a “reconstruction blogger”).

Give Joe a visit and wish him well in his coming deployment. He’s a solid blogger, a Marine, and a stand-up Christian. Here’s hoping that he’ll be able to keep blogging in Iraq, and that he’ll stay safe and well while he’s there.

Mailvox: control freaks come out at night

Daniel writes: In other words God promises to micromanage every detail of history to produce a good outcome for His people.

You’re still evading the point. I was not criticizing a broad transhistorical notion, I was criticizing the very common idea that God controls every single action of every single person every single day for the benefit of every single individual. Hence the appellation uber control freakdom. One reason that I have very little regard for the control freaks’ arguments is that their intellectual disputation tends to be either disingenuous or dishonest – giving them the benefit of the doubt in assuming that they even understand simple concepts like sovereignty in the first place – and continuously attempt to bring back the discussion to ground on which they feel comfortable without addressing questions that have been put to them.

If I have no free will, if I am not an acting individual, then God, the great puppet master, is simply amusing himself with his perfect plan by pulling everyone’s strings. Does God promise to micromanage every detail of Daniel’s life to produce a perfect outcome for Daniel? Does he promise to micromanage every detail of my life to produce a perfect outcome for me? That is the question that the control freaks are doing their best to dodge and evade, because the implications are both obvious and distasteful, but that is precisely what the average non-theologian in the pews believes when they talk about God’s plan for their life and isn’t it wonderful that God killed little Jennifer as part of his perfect plan.

This clumsy thinking is precisely what prevented me from becoming a Christian for more than 20 years. It’s why I thought Christians were a bunch of idiots who didn’t even understand their own Bible. Now, it is not for me to judge God, nor do I, but I can certainly judge the quality of the thinking of those who look at God’s sovereignty and from a misunderstanding of the concept develop a dogma that leads large quantities of Christians to believe they are helpless victims of what might as well be called fate.

You have said that you believe that God is sovereign but that He chooses to limit Himself to acting through human agencies.

Yes, I believe that because Jesus Christ said that. What do you think the point of all the parables about stewards and managers was, if not to point out that we are the ones responsible for the management of the place on the owner’s behalf. The control freak concept reminds me of the servant who receives his coin, does nothing with it and says, “hey, it’s your coin.” If God is at least in part limited to acting through angelic agencies on occasion, why is it inconsistent to theorize that he’s got other limitations as well, especially when there is Scripture to support the notion?

Of course remember this: Vox is more commited to his theory than letting Scripture reform his theory.

The fact that no control freak has directly answered a single point I’ve made, but has either a) reacted angrily; b) quoted Scripture that is tangential at best; or c) gone evasively off in an entirely new direction, does not mean that I am inextricably wedded to my theory. I’m even open to concepts that I see as far more dubious than control freakdom. But if you can’t even understand the very simple statement “I don’t know and neither do you”, then I have serious doubts about your perfect understanding of God’s perfect plan. I don’t question your faith, I don’t question your motives and I don’t question your heart; I do, however, question your understanding, and in some cases, your basic reading comprehension.

Hootie shows the way

4,400 news stories later, Augusta National is still standing firm. The power of the cultural Left is not unlike Freddy Krueger’s in the first Nightmare on Elm Street – it can take you apart only if you allow it to do so. Hootie weathered the firestorm of media attention, took care to reduce his exposure to weaker wills that would be tempted to give in, waited patiently for Martha Burke to reveal herself for a fool, and now life goes on as before.

There’s a lesson in that.

Mailvox: Am I annoying?

A reader who shall remain anonymous asks if they are annoying me and if I would prefer that they refrain from posting. The short answer is no.

The longer and more precise answer is: probably, but so what? If you’re annoying me enough that I actually want you to stop posting, I will tell you in the Comments that you are annoying me and I want you to stop posting on that subject. If you ignore the warning, I will ban you and delete your future posts should you use a different IP address and continue to post in a recognizable manner. The ban is nothing personal, and if you post reasonably in the future, I don’t mind at all if you’re back under another name or whatever. In any case, this hardly ever happens. Otherwise, annoy away. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, heck, I’m usually surprised so many people do.

However, I do not feel that I need to explain myself every time I dismiss an argument. Those posting here are not only politically diverse, they are of varying levels of age, knowledge, education, experience and intelligence. What is new to one may well be old to another, indeed, it may be thousands of years old. I, for one, was shocked when I learned that women in the military as social engineering was first broached in Plato’s Republic. There is nothing new under the sun, not much, anyhow.

If I am short and dismissive of your argument, I suggest that you ask your fellow blog readers why they think I am doing so. There are plenty of smart people here, and chances are that they not only know why but will be more inclined to explain than me. Believe me, I’m not going to write my one-thousandth critique of the Labor Theory of Value every time a Marxian pops up, instead I will almost surely mock them briefly and move on. While it’s true that insulting isn’t persuading, neither is it an automatic admission that you know what you’re talking about. Sometimes, it’s just my recognition that it will take a good bit of reading before you can even begin to have a reasonable conversation with me.

Since politics has much to do with economics, and since very few people know anything at all about economics while I happen to be trained in the theories of the three (four if you count monetarists separate from Keynesians) economic schools, this is bound to happen from time to time. I’m always pleased to argue arcana with a true believing macro number cruncher like WB, but if you don’t know C+I+G, well, I just don’t have any interest in revisiting 101. But maybe someone else does.

So, develop a thick skin and learn to choose your shot. If I survived four years of Marxians and Keynesians doing their best to slash apart my Austrian arguments, you’ll survive the occasional metaphorical spanking and perhaps even deliver one from time to time.