Tony Soprano died at the diner

Look, it was never a mystery. I have not seen one second of The Sopranos, but when I heard it was coming to an end, I knew that Tony would be whacked. I knew he would be whacked because he HAD to be whacked. Any half-skilled dramatist – and by all accounts, David Chase is a highly skilled one – knows that a drama has to end in death, redemption, or the completion of an odyssey. Since there is no secular redemption other than a wedding (or its extra-marital substitute) and I assumed that no HBO series would end in Christian repentance, and because Tony Soprano was an overt antihero, (therefore precluding the odyssey), there simply was no other dramatically possible option.

And no one who has ever seen The Godfather should fail to grasp the metaphorical significance of someone walking into a bathroom at a restaurant. Especially not in a television series about the Mafia. I would give no more credence to the idea that the fade to black at the end – which ended on the word “stop” – meant that the lead character got arrested than it meant he left his wife, moved to Las Vegas, and became a poledancer at a gay club.

Actual persecution

As atheists continue whine about how no one likes them and how they are second-class citizens, Christians are still being murdered for their faith around the world… as they have been for the last two thousand years:

Islamist militants divided into two groups who accessed the Coptic homes through the roofs of their neighbors’ houses. The survivors say the masked attackers of the first home were led by Ibrahim Hamdy Ibrahim. They killed Joseph Waheeb Massoud, his wife Samah, their 15-year-old daughter Christine, and their eight-year-old son Fady Youssef. The other masked group was led by Yasser Essam Khaled. They killed Saleeb Ayad Mayez, his wife Zakia, their four-year-old son Joseph and three-year-old daughter Justina, his 23-year-old sister Amgad, their mother Zakia, and Saniora Fahim.

Richard Dawkins likes to assert that a child cannot have a religious identity. But the fact that a child can be killed for a nonexistent identity clearly disproves that assertion. It certainly hasn’t stopped others who share Dawkins’s lack of religious identity from killing them. Given the way in which secularism has proven demographically barren, science has proven morally neutral, and democracy has proven to be a two-edged sword, it is time for the secularists and atheists of the West to seriously rethink their intransigent opposition to Christianity.

The choice is the same as it has always been for Europe and the West, between Christian civilization and pagan barbarism. The third option simply doesn’t exist. It’s not that Christianity needs the support of non-believers to survive, history from Rome to Communist China proves that it will survive and even thrive during periods of pagan persecution. It is Western civilization itself that requires non-believers to support Christian institutions and traditions; if secularists continue to align themselves with the pagans against Christendom, they will find themselves destroying the very aspect of society which they wished to save.

Men are the real romantics

Betas, Deltas, and Gammas may do well to keep this interesting fact from the Pew Research Center in mind the next time they hear a woman sailing off on what they believe to be her heartfelt romantic fantasies:

Men (31%) are a bit more likely than women (26%) to say that every person has only one true love.

In other words, nearly three-quarters of women don’t buy into the Disney myth by which many men believe women live. This is one reason it often surprises men when they discover how ruthlessly calculating women can be, especially when those men happen to buy into the Disney myth themselves.

Never put a woman on a pedestal. Never put anyone on a pedestal. Statues belong on pedestals, not living people.

Krugman catches up

What’s going on here? It means that we’re either overstating inflation (and hence understating income gains) or overstating economic growth. Both the BEA (which measures GDP and related) and the BLS (which does consumer prices) work hard and honestly at their tasks; the difference probably arises (I’m sure someone has done this more carefully) in how you value new or improved goods. My sense has always been that the GDP accounts overdo their hedonics, but that’s very much a matter of opinion. Maybe the real point here is to remember, always, that economic statistics are a peculiarly boring sub-genre of science fiction; extremely useful, but not to be treated as absolute truth.

From RGD Chapter 4, No One Knows Anything: “Another indication that GDP growth may be exaggerated stems from comparing the data for the GDP deflator, which purports to correct GDP for inflation, with the Consumer Price Index, which is more commonly used as the primary measure of inflation. If one chooses 1983, the base year of index to which all of the historical CPI data are chained, one will find that the GDP deflator reports inflation of 79.1 percent over the last 26 years, while the CPI figure shows 114.1 percent inflation over the same period. While the two statistical measures are based on different criteria, their comparison shows the inverse of what one would tend to expect since CPI reflects the price of imported goods while the GDP deflator does not. And, as anyone who has been paying attention to the balance of trade over the last two decades will recognize, foreign imports tend to cost less than domestically manufactured products. Another oddity is the way in which an increase in the price of imported oil reduces the GDP deflator, thereby exaggerating GDP growth when the price of oil rises and reducing it when it drops. It’s interesting to note that when GDP is corrected for inflation using the CPI rather than the deflator, the real U.S. economy appears to be significantly smaller than it is presently believed to be. For example, whereas the GDP deflator shows growth from $3.1 trillion to $8.0 trillion over the last 26 years in 1983 dollars, using GDP-CPI would indicate a real 2009 GDP of only $6.6 trillion.”

My conclusion, of course, is that inflation has been erroneously defined and economic growth has been significantly overstated. This will become readily apparent once it is no longer possible to conceal the bad debts that are still being recorded as positive assets on the corporate and government books. And it is more than a little amusing to see Krugman admit that economic statistics are “a sub-genre of science fiction” and “not to be treated as absolute truth” considering the way in which he attempts to use them to macromanage the global economy.