Prima donnas and principles

So what do yinz think I should do? (That was my attempt at a Pittsburgh accent, appropos of nothing.) I’ve stated my disinclination to do TV and radio here in the past, and most of the invitations I’ve declined have been greeted with complete indifference, but the producer of a show for a gentleman who has hosted me before took me by surprise by agreeing with my critique of the ear fodder game.

They’d like to discuss the Sheepskin Scam and promise that we can go into whatever depth seems suitable to the discussion. I’m still not inclined to return to the airwaves, but I’m beginning to feel like some sort of prima donna who doesn’t deign to dirty her voice with the ears of the masses – just to completely mangle a metaphor – and that’s not my motivation at all.

I don’t care, so I suppose what it really comes down to is what you all would like. Does anyone actually want to hear me yammering on about this, assuming it is broadcast on the Internet? Or should we, as a self-sufficient, heterodox community continue to blithely ignore the archaic mainstream and their outmoded methods of communication while we carry on with half-baked theology, German sperm samples and Biblical numeromancy?

In short, am I being a prima donna or am I simply standing by my principles here? I don’t actually know, so feel free to chime in. The Bell has M in 25, you take the under?

Mailvox: crunching the marriage numbers

MC sends the following info regarding the Israelites and their marriages:

Numbers 3:40-43 provides us with a census of the firstborn in Israel. The number given is 22,273 firstborn sons. We may safely conclude there were at least 22,273 families in Israel, since a family cannot have more than one firstborn son. There were, no doubt, families which had no sons.

That has no bearing upon this remarkable fact:

22,273 families are responsible for a total count of over 600,000 fighting men (Numbers 1:46). If you take 600,000 and divide it by 22,000, you get 27. The average Israelite household with sons had 28 of them!

The patriarch Jacob required four wives to get twelve sons. Is it too much to suppose that the typical Israelite needed twice as many wives to get 28 Sons? What about the daughters? If there was a daughter for every son, then there was 56 children per Israelite household, on the average scale. There is no way to know how many wives the average Israelite may have had, but it is impossible that the average woman could have had 56 children. Israelite society was a polygamous society.

So, a birth rate of more than twenty times the replacement rate versus one that is sub-replacement level. Here’s a question for the Christians: what supernatural entity wishes for the human race to multiply? And, on the other hand, what supernatural power actively works to see it extinguish itself?

Still confident that monogamy is God’s plan for Man?

The numbers aren’t quite right, though. The number of fighting men presumably included the fathers, so the correct formulation would be (600k – 22k)/22k, although this also assumes that the grandfathers are too old to fight which is unlikely considering that nomadic warriors usually don’t retire to Florida. Nevertheless, the basic point remains.

The siren song of liberty

Jonah Goldberg has apparently begun to realize that Republicans and conservatives can’t be trusted to use power properly either:

A bunch of readers wanted to know what I meant when I said that my views on “libertarianism” have “evolved” since my earlier, full-throated, attacks. Well, for starters, I no longer make jokes like: “Q: What’s the hardest part about being a libertarian? A: Telling your parents you’re gay.”

Again, more seriously, as I’ve watched compassionate conservatism, Buchananism, Crunchy Conservatism, and similar movements bubble-up since the end of the Cold War, I think it’s better for everybody concerned if we start from a foundation of libertarianism and build up from it. In public policy — as opposed to cultural politics — I think the default position should be libertarian and then arguments should be made for why we should deviate from libertarian dogma. I’m more sympathetic to arguments based on tradition and custom than your average libertarian. But I’m more hostile than I used to be to what you might call neo-traditionalism in the forms of “national greatness” conservatism, Buchananism, Crunchy Conservatism, and the rest. I am extremely susceptible to nostalgia, but intellectually I think it is more often than not a poison to clear thinking. Starting from libertarian assumptions puts you in a better place to identify nostalgic toxins. My problem with the so-called paleolibertarians is that they are often more nostalgic than the conservatives they denounce.

The intellectual strength of libertarianism is that it is a proactive argument from first principles rather than a reactive response to the presumed leftist. The bankruptcy of what passes for today’s conservativism is obvious in the way it is eager to read nearly everyone with any small government principles out of the party as those intoxicated with government power abandon everything they claim to stand for in a futile attempt to cling to its reins.

The reason Three Monkey Republicans are so prone to calling me a leftist – in spite of the copious evidence – is that they have been spun around so many times that they are no longer capable of rational thought. Good = Conservative = whatever Dear Leader proclaims it to be. So, the poor Three Monkey finds himself in support of Hamas, Sharia in Iraq and the right of the Afghani government to kill converts to Christianity and loses his temper whenever someone points out that he has become what he hates in the equally mindless Party of Asses.

I’m just worried about the Teutonic Clone Army

The New York Times on the travails of single spawners:

At long last, after something like 100 dates in the past 10 years and several serious relationships, she had found the man she refers to, tongue only slightly in cheek, as “the one.” It all began last summer, when she broke off a relationship with a younger man who wasn’t ready for children and got serious about the idea of conceiving on her own. She gathered information about fertility doctors and sperm banks. “Then a childhood friend of mine was over,” she told me. “I pulled up the Web site of the only sperm bank that I know of that has adult photos. There happened to be one Jewish person. I pulled up the photo, and I looked at my friend, and I looked at his picture, and I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ I can’t say love at first sight, because, you know. But he was the one.”

…. She told her parents and married sister what was going on, e-mailing the donor’s picture to her father with an invitation that he meet his son-in-law. She also printed the donor’s picture and kept it on the coffee table of her Manhattan studio apartment, where she sleeps in a Murphy bed. “I kind of glance at it as I pass,” she said of the picture. “It’s almost like when you date someone, and you keep looking at them, and you’re, like, Are they cute? But every time I pass, I’m, like, Oh, he’s really cute. It’s a comforting feeling.”

And thus we are quickly given to understand why no one wanted to marry this freak. But while it’s always fun to read about strong, independent and utterly insane women, I find it more intriguing to note that elsewhere on the same New York Times front page is a story about how hard black men have it, in part because absent fathers contribute so greatly to social pathology in the black community.

Combine that pathology with the 21 children engendered by the blond Aryan uberdonor and the pattern becomes all too clear. There are obviously some nefarious plans lurking beneath the helpful facade of your local neighborhood fertility clinic.

Banning the sub-optimal

It’s a toss-up as to who is more prone to confusing legality and morality, Scripture-quoting Christians or government-loving atheists. In either case, the complete silliness of the former with regards to the forthcoming polygamy debate is clear. The Evangelical Outpost features an interesting discussion of the subject, wherein the mindless monogamaniacs repeat Joseph Farah’s specious point last week about how monogamy is the Christian ideal.

First, I note that this is a stupid line of quasi-reasoning which no one with an IQ over 75 would dare to try with regards to any other subject. Baptism is a much more important Christian ideal and yet not even the Southern Baptists believe that baptism should be enshrined into law, let alone the Constitution. Better yet, why not mandate a public confession of Jesus Christ as Lord? That is not only the ultimate Christian ideal, it is inevitable anyhow.

Second, it betrays an impressive ignorance of Scripture. Monogamous marriage is absolutely NOT the Christian ideal. Paul states very clearly that it is better not to marry at all, but to live a celibate life in service to the Lord. Having pointed this out, I shall now wait with interest to see how long it takes all of these nominal idealists to begin calling for the banning of all marriage….

More relevant than the “one flesh” verse, (which says nothing about it being an exclusive or unrepeatable experience), is the very useful one about fruits and judging. The fruits of state-sponsored monogamous marriage are very clear, both here in the United States and across Western Europe. Considering how Christianity grew powerfully in various polygamous cultures, including Africa today, at least at first glance this would appear to be a clear strike against the notion that government-imposed monogamy is either godly or societally beneficial.

As I have written before, I do not think the state has any role to play in marriage, either pro or con. Christians who turn to the government to impose their vision of marriage on others are making a huge mistake and they will suffer the same disappointment that conservatives who elected George Bush to impose limited government are now experiencing.

The government that can dictate marriage to your liking is the government that will dictate marriage that is not to your liking.