Open letter to Glenn Beck

February 4, 2015

Dear Mr. Beck,

I have never turned any of your broadcasts off in anger, until today, at 11:25 or so.

You were discussing the latest atrocity by the Califake, and the necessity for an Islamic Reformation. And you said (as nearly as I can quote from memory), “What if there had never been a Martin Luther time? We’d be back in the Crusades.”, thus equating Catholicism with radical Islam, and in the process insulting a large swath of your listeners.

There’s so much wrong with this that I scarcely know where to start. But let’s start with those Crusades. Do you think they were a BAD thing? Yes, bad things happened during them (and some Crusaders were excommunicated for those bad things.). But would you say that 4 centuries of Muslim aggression demanded a response, or not? Anyway, they were long over by the time of the Reformation. Constantinople had fallen 64 years before the 95 Theses, and if there was a final “we lost the Crusades” point, that was it. But of course, Muslim aggression didn’t end there. Hungary fell within Luther’s lifetime. There was the great Catholic naval victory at Lepanto in 1571 … during which the Protestant Dutch were cheering on the Turks, saying  Liever Turks dan Paaps (“Rather Turkish than Papist”) Luther himself denounced the Crusades, on the grounds that “to fight against the Turk is the same thing as resisting God, who visits our sin upon us with this rod.” He saw Catholics and Moslems as morally equivalent, much like America-hating progressives today. And there was the Battle of Vienna, where the siege was lifted by the Catholic Polish king Jan Sobieski. In short, those Crusades and after-crusades battles kept Europe Christian.

And how was that Catholic Church? Evil, and becoming more evil? Actually, the eve of the Reformation was a high point in Church history. Yes, there were abuses; there had always been abuses. But popular piety and the stability of the Church had never been higher. It’s even been argued that the energized laity contributed to the Reformation, by wanting “more”, Anyway, there was the Counter-reformation and the Council of Trent, which itself was no big deal (arguably, Vatican II was more radical in practice). They clarified some doctrines in contrast to Protestantism, curbed some abuses, simplified and unified the liturgy, ordered Gregorian chant to be bowdlerized. What made the Counter-Reformation a big deal was the saints that it inspired to New Evangelization, 16th-century style….saints frequently at loggerheads with the hierarchy.

Did the Church, in combination with the secular arm, do things that we consider barbaric? Sure. EVERYONE did.  The Calvinists and Lutherans were just as enthusisatic about witch-burning and Jew-killing as Catholics were (and it was a Jesuit, Friedrich Spee, who was one of the first to speak out against the witch trials).  What about punishment and religious freedom?  There’s “bloody Mary” and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. But then came Elizabeth, and Catholicism was considered high treason…the punishment for which was drawing and quartering. Tell me, Glenn, if you can: between that and burning a guy alive in a cage, which is worse? Tough call, isn’t it?

OK, look: you got excited and said something stupid. We all have done that. But we generally only say stupid things if we’re carrying around stupid assumptions. And the stupid assumption of most Protestant supporters of Islamic reformation is that the Reformation was a good thing, and the Catholic Church was a bad thing. Thus, an Islamic reformation will replace a bad thing with a good thing.

On the contrary, this is the Islamic Reformation. What was the Christian Reformation about? It was about getting rid of “doctrines of men” and returning to the pure state of the first-century church as enshrined in a holy book compiled several centuries later. Isn’t that what radical Islam is about? Doing what Mohammed did, obeying the Koran to the letter, bringing back the glory days? If an Islamic Reformation were about everyone interpreting the Koran for themselves, and letting everyone do their own thing, it might be worthwhile…for us. Several centuries from now, we’d have an Islam split into 40,000 pieces, claiming that Mohammed didn’t really mean all that violent and anti-woman stuff (and the Koran was a forgery from several centuries later anyway), and where a few people went to the mosque to drink coffee and talk about being nice.  But that’s not the Islamic Reformation we have in front of us, and it’s not the kind of religion that will effectively counter it.


In defense of Lena Dunham??

November 3, 2014

Lena Dunham wrote an autobiography which contained a few disgusting passages, which several people on the Right were disgusted by. Apparently one isn’t allowed to express disgust at a disgusting book (and by extension its disgusting author) or to give free publicity to such a book, because Ms. Dunham has lawyered up. 

Lena, dear, I belong to the generation that invented “letting it all hang out”. (Well, almost; I was old enough to identify with the hippies, but too young to actually be one.). We did creative writing in high school, as I’m sure you did. And being the rebellious and hormonal youth that I was, I pushed the envelope on topics. I had a pricky teacher who called me a pervert for it; I had a nice teacher who politely asked me not to write about those topics, because she didn’t want to read about it. Either way, I learned that one wrote for an audience, that one didn’t always have control over who that audience was, and that the audience would draw its own conclusions, so best to try to look through their eyes. You can draw your own conclusions about whether we masturbated or whether we had siblings in bed with us while we did so, or whether we touched their genitals. But that was nobody else’s business. There was a name for those who wrote about it, and a name for the writings:  pornographers and pornography, respectively.

Our teachers were editors, but they were editing us, not just our work.  That’s out of style; teaching morality, or even teaching how to deal with prevailing morality, is now considered to be too much like religion. But surely you had an editor for this book.  Did she pull you aside and say, “Lena, you’re going to have problems over this passage”? Or did she too see absolutely nothing wrong or even socially questionable with these acts? Or that your life was not “about” this; that it was a distracting side plot, that it was “TMI”? If so, this is not just your kinkery… pace Williamson, you ARE the voice of your generation… and that generation is totally depraved.

Now, if people are going around saying, “Lena Dunham is a child molester”, as opposed to saying, “Lena Dunham molested a child”, then you have a moral case at least.  I’m sure you aren’t molesting children now. (Not that that keeps us from haunting every 18-on-15 lover until death.) I’m a Christian; I worship the God of second chances. But that implies contrition and repentance. You don’t sound contrite at all in the book. And you aren’t contrite now; you’re pissed because people now think ill of you.  If these incidents were good enough for the book, why aren’t you proud of them? Why aren’t you doubling down on your right to examine your sister’s cooch?

You know, Williamson was in some ways harder on your parents than on you. You haven’t come to their defense; are they defendable? It probably never occurred to you to take personal responsibility for your words, or for much of anything else. You appear to have been morally crippled by your upbringing.  I’m sorry that my generation raised the generation that raised you in the way we did. But we can’t change that now. All you can do is fix yourself as best as you can. That’s going to require looking to the past through literature and seeing how others did it, and questioning all the assumptions you grew up with.  You won’t be “the voice of a generation” anymore; you’ll be a voice crying in the wilderness. But you’ll be your own person, which is after all what we most wanted in the ’60s.

Another quiet unfriending

June 12, 2014

I knew that was going to happen. When a flock of hens discusses poor lil’ chickies being tossed into a grinder, and some evil heartless man explains to them why that has to happen, and argues that the method under discussion might be the least bad option, the evil heartless man must be made to go away, lest the page owner lose face. Arguing is no use, as it just means accepting EHM’s premise that life has a value. And in my experience, even fewer women than men can carry on a clean intellectual argument; they’ll go to emotion, ad hominem, red herrings and the rest of the weasel games, in a heartbeat. My wife is at least honest about this: “If they don’t accept my argument, my next argument is ‘Fuck you!” So it had to be. And silently of course, because men and rape culture and confrontation.

The irony is that I’m the guy raising chickens because I hate the thought of caged hens. I saw that at a young age, and didn’t like it. I can make an anti-cruelty case for caged hens (I’ve seen what happens when dogs are part of the free range), but I’m a libertarian; I’d rather be free in a dangerous world than safely caged.

I rather wish I didn’t have such an addiction to the truth. When I see see people wringing their hands over something they know sod all about, I reflexively put them some knowledge, as politely as I can. And if there’s anything that we Americans are pig ignorant about, it’s agriculture. If there’s anything I’ve learned on Black Water Farm, it’s how little I know… and knowledge of my own ignorance puts me miles ahead of most. Truth exists. I always knew that. Back in my pagan days, I would insist that there were moral absolutes, and the response was generally, “How Christian of you!” It was not meant as a compliment.

There really needs to be a setting on Facebook where you can block yourself from responding to certain friends. You could still do it, if you changed that setting back, but it would be a pain.  Oh well, there are more mezzos on the mezzo tree.

With such friends, who needs enemas?

August 8, 2012

Vanderbeogh takes down Hoover Tactical Firearms for “unnecessary nanny state ass-kissery”, in this case, demanding an ID to buy ammo (not required by Alabama law.)

Last week Jereme Alcede of Tactical Firearms, Katy TX, got himself in big doo with the estimable Tamara K. for advocating a ban on mail order ammo sales.

Guys, shut up and do business. And while you’re at it, just to reduce the humor factor, can we stop with the word “tactical” already? I mean, which firearms DON’T involve tactics of some sort or another?

Ay yi yi yislands

April 17, 2012

There’s a certain amount of chortling in the dextrosphere over Obama confusing the Malvinas with the Maldives. It’s kind of understandable; the Maldives are much close to Sweet Home Indonesia than the collection of rocks in the South Atlantic. And if one is going to object to the exploitation of the various gaffes of President Bush, it is only fair not to exploit the gaffes of President Fifty-seven States.  The real gaffe was in not saying “the so-called Islas Malvinas” or “as Argentina calls them, the Malvinas”.  But that would have implied a commitment to Do Something, when Britain no longer can and Obama never would. And it might have been confusing to the Argentines, who seem to have a problem of late with the concept that Words Have Meanings. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, their Presidentess, said upon stealing her third private company, “I’m the head of state, not a thug”, which in the face of such evidence to the contrary is mightily redolent of Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook”. (We will for the moment ignore the argument that “head of state” and “thug” are synonyms.). Sine $18B or so is worth more in the modern world than 3140 humans and some possible oil, I suspect we’ll be seeing a warmup act for the coming Reunion of China, at which point the President will affirm that the Island of Thailand must remain independent.

The Derbyshire thing

April 9, 2012

John Derbyshire is out at National Review. I don’t have a lot of opinion about that, any more than I had a lot of opinion about the piece that sparked it.  The premise was flawed, because most of us don’t have “the talk“; the talk happens incrementally, and for better or worse, most of us have the race thing figured out by puberty (and the “us” there is race-inclusive).  The timing was colossally bad for such an article. And any collective conclusions on race, no matter how exhaustively hotlinked, are by definition racist. If I were to write, “Ashkenazi Jews are more intelligent than the rest of us,” that would be a racist statement, because the individual Jew in front of me could be a complete moron.

But that word “racist” is the issue. The boy has cried “wolf!” once too often. (Wait, can I use “boy” in a discussion about race?). It’s the new “Witch!”  When people can seriously suggest that Mary J. Blige singing about fried chicken for Burger King supports a racial stereotype, the concept is bankrupt…. because of course all black people like their fried chicken cut into strips and served in a tortilla with three cheeses and lettuce, just as they eat cut and seeded watermelon from sherbet glasses, and a wealthy and accomplished black artist had to take Burger King’s money and turn race traitor because she’s oppressed.

Does anybody really truly give a shit about what one blogger has to say, except insofar as it can be used to score points against National Review (where, it should be noted, it did not appear)?  Well, National Review does, because it’s their brand, and Derb is associated; that’s understandable. But if nobody cared, and nobody complained, what then? And if people really gave a shit, wouldn’t they try to refute Derbyshire’s links, to discredit the idea, instead of deciding that the author had, in the memorable words of one commenter, “intellectual lice”?

Let’s talk about some real racism. A guy in his 20s shoots a teenager. That’s a tragedy, not only for the now-dead teen, but for the shooter, who must second-guess his own actions, run the legal gauntlet, and know he is responsible for taking a human life.  Then let’s add the element of race. Now the tragedy for the shooter is multiplied, because he lives in fear of mob violence. But that’s only the beginning, the stone in the pond creating its ripples. Neo-Nazis and New Black Panthers (but I repeat myself) walk the streets of Sanford Florida (or at least pretend to). An old man in Toledo is beaten by teens avenging Trayvon (or so it’s at first claimed) . Black people in Tulsa are shot for no apparent reason, possibly by a white man. A video surfaces of a white man being beaten and robbed by a black mob.

To my white friends pushing the “Racist!” meme to score a few cheap political points: most of you live in mixed race or even white-minority areas. How fucking stupid is it to foment a race war in which you are highly likely to be a casualty?

And in Laurens Co. SC…

March 9, 2012

…they’re getting serious about Republican orthodoxy and character issues.

This has freaked a lot of folks out. Even our own guys over at Ace of Spades are overreacting. MOst of this stuff I have no problem with: pledge to uphold the platform, or don’t run. The sexual stuff is a little silly, unenforceable, and even un-Christian; if Jesus can forgive your past infidelities, why can’t the Laurens Co. Republicans?

And since there’s no legal way to enforce any of it, one has to ask: WTF were they thinking in pushing this, given that it plays directly into the Progressive libel that Republicans are theocrats?