Math is hard

Gail Collins doesn’t understand the basics of sex:

This is what happens when a bunch of guys go to a place where their families can’t keep tabs on them. Of course, there are women in Albany — about a quarter of the lawmakers, although very few with any significant power. But the political culture, incubated over several centuries, is about guys on a road trip. The best argument for electing more women to State Legislatures might be that they put a damper on the fun.

Or, far more likely, this would lead to significantly more scandals since in addition to more female politicians, there would be more female staffers, interns, and lobbyists, since women generally prefer to surround themselves with women. Adding more women into the equation, and therefore creating more opportunities for sexual contact, isn’t terribly likely to reduce the incidence of sexual activity. One would think this conclusion would be totally obvious since the very scandal Ms Collins cites was an affair between the new governor of New York and an employee in the governor’s office. By Collin’s reasoning, if only more women had worked in that office, Mr. Paterson would have found it easier to resist temptation.

Chick logic… I’m never sure if I find it more amusing or appalling.

Toastama

I never thought Obama was anything but a rabbit; now that the rabbit has foolishly refused to gracefully exit the race, he’s being thrown to the hounds:

Jesus is black. Merging Marxism with Christian Gospel may show the way to a better tomorrow. The white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation. Those are some of the more provocative doctrines that animate the theology at the core of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Barack Obama’s church.

If the Lizard Queen doesn’t completely destroy him in the coming Pennsylvania primary, I have no doubt that we’re going to see some seriously ugly and well-documented information released about B. Hussein Obama. At this point, my guess is that he backs down quietly behind the scenes after losing badly in Pennsylvania and agrees to accept the VP slot, the “race” continues with both candidates suddenly electing to take the high road, and after some pretend drama at the convention, the “surprise” peace accord and unity ticket is announced to the public. Otherwise, if he chooses to stubbornly fight on, his Magic Negro persona will be destroyed too thoroughly for him to remain a viable candidate of national scope.

Enlightenment and liberty

Like most Americans, Scott Hatfield doesn’t understand what the Enlightenment represents. Nor does he understand how completely I reject it:

Again, you’ve boxed yourself into a corner because of your rhetoric. The hyperbole about the Enlightenment era as a whole was not needed to make the point that absolute secularization has born some bitter fruit, but you just had to have your broad-brushed flourish. I guess that’s the Vox Style. Oh, well, dead horse. You haven’t addressed the central point that good things came out of the Enlightenment (such as the Bill of Rights). If I’m wrong, please show me where the First Amendment can be derived purely from Christian theology as widely accepted prior to 1800.

The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment are absolutely not products of the Enlightenment. First, for Scott’s edification, I point out that the Enlightenment is a fundamentally authoritarian movement:

The first major Enlightenment figure in England was Thomas Hobbes, who caused great controversy with the release of his provocative treatise Leviathan (1651). Taking a sociological perspective, Hobbes felt that by nature, people were self-serving and preoccupied with the gathering of a limited number of resources. To keep balance, Hobbes continued, it was essential to have a single intimidating ruler. A half century later, John Locke came into the picture, promoting the opposite type of government—a representative government—in his Two Treatises of Government (1690). Although Hobbes would be more influential among his contemporaries, it was clear that Locke’s message was closer to the English people’s hearts and minds. Just before the turn of the century, in 1688, English Protestants helped overthrow the Catholic king James II and installed the Protestant monarchs William and Mary. In the aftermath of this Glorious Revolution, the English government ratified a new Bill of Rights that granted more personal freedoms.

In other words, PRIOR to the publication of Locke’s work and long before 1800, the English Protestants established a Bill of Rights that explicitly rejects the Enlightenment concepts of Hobbes and most of the French philosophes who came along later. There was little new about the American Bill of Rights, it was mostly an explicit extension of its English predecessor, which includes freedoms of speech and religion, from Parliament to the individual. Even the original Bill of Rights built upon the concepts of the Magna Carta Libertatum of 1215 and Henry I’s Charter of Liberties of 1100. When viewed from a historical perspective, it is obvious that democracy, divided government and guaranteed rights cannot reasonably be considered Enlightenment concepts, as all three predated the Enlightenment by centuries. Indeed, the distinguishing factors of the American and French Revolutions were that while the former was a) Christian and b) skeptical of government power, while the latter was a) anti-clerical and b) trusting in government power. One has merely to examine the broad limitations on the “human rights” of a genuinely Enlightenment-based government, such as the First French Republic, the European Union, or the United Nations, to understand that the concept of unalienable individual rights endowed by a Creator is not only foreign to the Enlightenment, it is downright antithetical to it.

In summary, the Bill of Rights did not come out of the Enlightenment, it was the result of combining the medieval tradition of the English Common Law with 18th century American Christianity. This latter influence is overt, because it was from their shared Christian tradition that the American revolutionaries derived the concept of God and God-granted rights as being superior to government, whereas the Enlightenment tradition does not recognize God and therefore accepts no supra-governmental limitations; all Enlightenment rights are expressly granted by government and can be freely abrogated by it at will. I recommend that Scott examine Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 17 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner may have best summed up the primary challenge of a post-Christian Europe. “I knew what was the West, and I don’t know what the West is now.”