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School as Indoctrinator? April 30, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Politics.
2 comments

LINK:

The story goes that two parents are suing a Massachusetts school district for reading material that normalizes homosexuality.

I wish to set aside the issue about the morality of gay relations. That is not the concern. The concern stems from the following quote:

"David Parker (one of the litigants) was jailed last year after he refused to leave a school when officials declined to exclude his 6-year-old son from discussions of gay parents. Parker initially complained after his son brought home a "diversity book bag" with a book that depicted a gay family.

 Note that Mr. Parker was arrested for not leaving the school, but he wasn't leaving because the school did not allow his son to be kept out of the session involving gay parents.

Now, what the devil is going on here?  Should not parents be given the right to question components of education?  We operate on the premise that the parents are the first educators of children, and have the right to determine under what conditions they are educated.  Given the vast diversity of opinions parents maintain, it would strike me as reasonable to allow parents the final word on instruction.  In doing so, schools easily safeguard the valued "diversity" that the public education establishment is always crowing about.

To do otherwise, as the Massachusetts district appears to have done, is to claim that the state is in a better position to determine what is best for kids.  That way lies tyranny of a special form; the tyranny of uniformity, and the suppression of diversity.

I don't really care too much what the issue is; evolution, school prayer, sexuality or the validity of the Pure Vegetable Kingdom:  If the parents wish to remove their kids from that questionable instruction, they deserve the right to do so. 

George as Head of State April 30, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Liberal Hypocrisy, Politics.
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Not that George.

As I've said elsewhere, it troubles me whenever I agree with agitprop democrats on ANY topic, and I do here. BUt before I get to the point of agreement, consider this picture:

Note the determined look. The American flag in the background.

And the attendant headline:

Celebs speak out against Darfur atrocities

Now, I have no trouble with advocating addressing the situation in Darfur. It is a human rights catastrophe of galactic proportion (and it even pits the Muslims against the Christians. What fun!!!)

Yet am I the only one who finds the picture of Clooney more than a little eerie and self-serving from the democratic party perspective?

LINK:

Berserk April 26, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Parenting, Personal.
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I cannot recall a more miserable Easter season.

The family is fine. Other than that, I have a boss who is ill and overworked, and consequently not making good decisions; a fellow co-worker who is also a good friend fearing she will be fired -and if this does happen it will be a serious miscarriage of justice-; another good friend who is considering looking elsewhere for a job because of the above injustice; an absolutely INSANE discipline issue I am managing where the parents involved are doing everything in their power to act like spoiled children and "save their little child from unfair consequences" -when in fact the child in question acknowledges his error, is more than happy to pay the piper, but will not disobey his berserk parents when they tell him not to comply.

The father in question has legal training, and is using his not-inconsiderable rhetorical skills to challenge everything; "the other kid is guilty; you aren't doing your job correctly." His logic is fantastically flawed, but he won't listen to reason, so I am not even going to begin engaging him in debate. It will too quickly degenerate into a swearing episode -on his part, I've already endured one of them- and I don't need to listen to anymore of that than necessary.

I'll say it again: I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE IT WHEN ADULTS ACT LIKE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!

The crowning glory of all of this is that this same parent demanded -in the name of being rigorous- that I all but expel other kids who committed a rather serious infraction some months ago. But now that his kid is guilty? All kinds of excuses and prevarications come to the fore.

See, other kids can -and should- pay the penalty. But his kid can't.

Disgusting. Hypocritical. Offensive.

Oh yeah: And this same set of parents pride themselves on their piety.

Idiots like this give MoonBat lefties all kinds of ammunition for their claim that Christianity is fraught with hypocrisy.

And in dealing with this lunatics, I have to agree.

One of the reasons to keep one’s head down in Mass April 23, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Catholicism, Personal.
1 comment so far

. . .is to avoid looking at the faces in the congregation that are a potential source of sin.  In my case, a family that is behaving in a most uncharitable fashion towards me, and yet we are at the same Mass, receiving the same Sacrament.

Please do not misunderstand.  At no point do I say to myself; "How can those people even THINK of taking Communion when they are being so uncharitable."  To quote Robert Bolt's St. Thomas More, "I have no window with which to look into another man's soul.  I condemn no one."

And that is true.  It is possible, hell, even likely, that I'm less worthy of Communion than they are.  I fully recognize that reality.

But the Church fathers maybe had some wisdom in focussing on the altar, and the Crucifix, and maybe just closing one's eyes, else be driven to rage and even further from Communion in seeing others that are such a source of anger.

At least for me.

And I know well the words of the Lord's Prayer: ". . .as we forgive those who trespass against us."  I literally hold these people up to God when saying that prayer. . .but it still doesn't do a whole lot to dampen the fire within my breast.

So, I close my eyes, and pray for mercy. 

De-Humanization of life April 23, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Liberal Hypocrisy, Mechanistic Relativism, Parenting.
3 comments

I do not dislike the French from the vulgar antipathy between neighbouring nations, but for their insolent and unfounded airs of superiority—Horace Walpole, 4th earl of Orford (1787)

A Frenchman must be always talking, whether he knows anything of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say—Samuel Johnson (1790)

I have heard some say homosexual practices are allowed in France and other NATO
Countries. We are not French and we are not other nationals. We are British, thank
God!—Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1965)

Actually, I do not post this to promote some type of fictional "francophobia" that I might have. I use them as illustrations of a pervasive anti-French sentiment that has existed -particularly amongst the English- for centuries.

The reason for this antipathy would seem to be almost self-evident:

Hilberg’s observations apply equally to today’s nuclear age, when destroying one’s “enemy” carries with it the possibility that one may kill most of humankind and devastate the earth in the process. To remove the moral obstacles to such a course, leaders, both political and religious, euphemize killing and the weapons of destruction and dehumanize the potential victims in order to justify their extermination.

Dr. Haig Bosmajian

There we have the basic reason why this dehumanization occurs. Killing is repugnant. Nevermind the Commandments and an "objecive, moral law that no one can touch or prove." Killing is not pleasant. It causes distress in the killer unless he is a sociopath. Veterans of the most moral of wars wrestle for the rest of their lives when they go home. My own grandfather had to kill a Japanese with his knife on a nameless South Pacific beach. He hated doing it, and it troubled him until his death over 45 years later.

Killing causes cognitive dissonance, a fundamental feeling of disorder, when one has information that somehow contradicts previous learning. The dissonance is often lessened by the sufferer somehow rationalizing the new information in such a way as to allow the previous thought patterns to remain intact.

Which brings us back to the discomfort that killing brings in the killer. Taught that killing is bad (or more likely, recognizing on a basic level without teaching that it is repugnant) the killer then rationalizes that in some fashion, it was OK. My grandfather essentially said; "It was either him or me. If I didn't kill him, he certainly would have killed me." Or others may say such things as; "I had nothing against him, but he was fighting for a bad cause."

When killing needs become widespread, such as in war or widespread repression, Bosmajian's words require re-visiting:

To remove the moral obstacles to such a course, leaders, both political and religious, euphemize killing and the weapons of destruction and dehumanize the potential victims in order to justify their extermination.

To de-humanize the potential victims in order to justify the extermination. The English de-humanize the French during the Hundred Years War, so as to better justify the taking of French land the killing of French soldiery.

Or lets look at a more contemporary example:

By dehumanizing Jews, the Nazi leaders began to prepare for Hitler’s “Final Solution.” The Nazi leaders knew that when the deportations began it would be much easier for the German people to watch friends and neighbors shipped away if they associated them with rats or with age-old stereotypes about cheating with money. The propaganda was able to play off the existing racial difficulties in Germany has well as to enhance the original nationalistic pride of the German people that they were somehow chosen or holy. Anti-Semitic propaganda was common in wartime Germany, and often depicted Jews in league with communists or another hated group causing harm to Germans.

To soften the beachhead of German moral thought (Germany being a highly moral culture), Hitler and the Nazis systematically de-sensitized the German people to the humanity of the Jews, as well as the Gypsies, Catholics, Russians, English and anyone else who stood in the way. By removing the fundamental armor of the humanity of the Jews, any atrocity against them became acceptable; little different than looking at them as cattle, and culling out the defectives so that the overall herd might be strengthened.

One of the principal means through which the perpetrator will attempt to clear his conscience is by clothing his victim in a mantle of evil, by portraying the victim as an object that must be destroyed. (Link)

The Nazis of course are an obvious example; almost excessive to the point or comic if it weren't so tragic. The French and English might appear to be a tad less obvious, but the reality of the dehumanization is there all the same. And there are so many other examples:

  • Americans and Native Americans. General Sherman to General Sheridan: "it would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America… for a Grand Buffalo Hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all." Where here the Buffalo are a metaphor for the Native Americans
  • Militant Islam and the West (Find your own examples, they are everywhere)
  • Current Democratic and Republican party rhetoric (again, find your own examples, they are everywhere).
  • Materialistic atheism and the unborn.

Now perhaps this last one may not seem to fit in. But it is the reason I wrote this little exegesis in the first place. I have often wondered at the remarkabl callousness of the abortion lobby towards unborn life. How, with so much evidence in place that abortion itself is murder, can this lobby still pursue it so relentlessly?

OK, maybe I'm dense, but I finally got it fully when reading the following exchange (From Indian Cowboy):

1. The ‘it’s a parasite’ argument. This discussion took place on a blog that deals with evolution day in and day out. You’d expect better from these people. I mean, if you ascribe to evolution, then you kinda have to accept that the ultimate point of sex and well, life, is making babies. To call a baby a parasite when you are evidently an evolution enthusiast just shows you how dogmatic some of these people are.

And there it is. I had never yet seen the fetus described as a parasite, but Indian Cowboy had been involved in a discussion here that suggested that very thing. And the Cowboy (a noted libertarian) said "ridiculous."

Then, PZ Myers (of Pharyngula infamy) responds:

Not at all unreasonable, and actually, fits right in with modern evolutionary theory. The interests of the fetus and the interests of the mother are not entirely coincident. The mother’s evolutionary goal is to produce as many babies as possible; the fetus’s goal is to maximize its fitness, even if it means Mom is too exhausted to have more kids afterwards.

Boom.

"We must be rid of the Jews, they are subhuman."

"We must eliminate the Native Americans; they are little better than animals."

"We must eliminate the godless Western infidel."

"We must eliminate the French; they have no culture and they smell bad."

We must kill our babies. Until they are born, they are simply the same thing as a tapeworm.

And the MoonBat Left wonders why we of the Pro-Life movement find their morals so repugnant. To reduce a helpless child, one that evolution has programmed us to protect, nurture and care for to the level of a tapeworm is to trod the same ground all the moral equivocators from Julius Caesar on down to Hitler, bin Laden and Stalin have trod in their time.

And so we pave the path of our own destruction. At least those others assaulted aliens. In reducing life to parasitism, we make war upon ourselves.

Not Dead April 21, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Blogging, Cultural Pessimism, Personal.
3 comments

Just that work is getting insane once again.

Isn’t it interesting that it is so very common that the people in your life that once caused you great pain. . .despite your best efforts at holding them at bay. . .keep coming back and causing you still more pain?

And on another note: Why is it that so many kids strive to act like adults. . .which is normal, yet there are also so many adults that insist on acting like children. . .in the worst possible way?

What European City do I Belong In? April 16, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Polls.
3 comments
You Belong in Amsterdam
A little old fashioned, a little modern – you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

Hmmm. . . Sounds unbelievable, in that this city is known for deranged debauchery. . .and that ain't me.

Oh well.

Link:

HT: The Indian Cowboy.

Link for Fascinating Post article April 15, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Catholicism, Cultural Pessimism, Liberal Hypocrisy, Stupid Party vs Evil Party.
2 comments

Now we're gonna break it down:

If I were Christian, I'd have to guess that Christ doesn't care what the heck you call yourself, Republican, Democrat, Boy Scout, Muslim, Hindu or even atheist; it's your deeds that count, your actions that matter, and your character that defines you.

Well, that seems dead on.  Jesus was quite clear in saying that everyone was welcome at his table, regardless of affiliation.   I might question the validity of Muslims and Hindus having quite so easy a time of it, but no question they too can find what Jesus' early followers called "The Way."

Good people are identified as good by the good deeds they do, while evil people are identified by doing evil deeds.

By your fruits, you shall determine the value of the tree.  OK.  HOWEVER, we must remember that evil deeds do not make for evil people.  All people in the end are good.  Yes, even Lucifer himself started out at least as good.  So a bit of editing needs to go into this paragraph.

I'd point out clearly that arguing for the cult like worship of any human being, in any nation, as an inerrant God like leader, praising warfare or terrorism, the repression and bombing of innocent civilians, arguing that torture or murder or genocide is a good thing, and defending the wealthy and powerful, is completely at odds with what Christ clearly taught.

Also sounds very solid. Also seems to be a rather scathing indictment of some of the actions of the Bush Administration.  And I would not disagree.  For further commentary on this, go see Catholic and Enjoying It, the Mark Shea blog.  Wander around some.  There you will see a consummate follower of Christ tilting at all kinds of crazy windmills, especially the torture windmill.  Shea does not stint in his loathing of this practice. 

If I was a Christian I'd thank God for including me in this Cosmos in all its resplendent majesty. I'd study every branch of science I could and hunger for more every day. I'd be teaching biology and chemistry and astronomy in Sunday Schools along side Biblical verse to eager young Christian children who would learn reverence for those fields of knowledge. I would note the truth that molecular biology has revealed: We are all one family, every man a brother, all women sisters, and each of us is our brother's keeper. They would "ohhh" and "ahh" at the pictures of God's cosmos from powerful telescopes. They would be fascinated with God's intricacies found speck of blood under the microscope. They would be inspired assembling a model of life's DNA double helix, or an atom. And they would look in fascination at the image of Creation itself borne across an ocean of space and time on the gossamer wings of invisible light. All part of God's infinitely artistic Universe.

In philosophy, this is known as at least on argument in favor of the existence of God, one of Aquinas' "Five Ways", the Design Argument.  You might also say it is part of the Aesthetic Experience Argument.  And it make WONDERFUL sense.  Again, nothing wrong here.

Rather than trying to deceive people about God's prowess, I'd work to reveal it to them. Because science inspires mankind with precious insight into the mind of the Creator of all that exists. Far from being something to fear, science is the most powerful testimony to any Creator who crafted our natural world. And freed from the confines of politically expedient dogma, who knows what further wonders those young people might uncover to one day teach their children?  

 To some extent, this backs up the previous paragraph, but there is a codicil that requires further attention: Rather than trying to deceive people about God's prowess, I'd work to reveal it to them. . .freed from the confines of politically expedient dogma, who knows what further wonders those young people might uncover to one day teach their children? This is fine IF you are also not using this argument for either of the two following purposes: 

  1. To give a carte blanche to all scientific inquiry.  THere are some avenues that ought not be explored.  There is ample precedent for putting the breaks on here.  Such as "human endurance testing" as was done by the Nazis in the '30s. subjecting test subjects to extremes of pressure and cold.  Just because one CAN examine an area of scientific inquiry, does not mean that we SHOULD do so.
  2. This argument must not be used to forward the belief that God CANNOT exist.  And it is often used in just that fashion right now.

If I was a Christian, I'd guess Christ wouldn't really give a hoot about gays or abortion,

Here, we run into our first real, obvious problem.  I agree that Christ doesn't care about gays anymore than he cares about straights.  What he DOES care about is whether or not we follow Him.  And that means, do we attempt to avoid sin?  If so, then all is fine.  If not, there is a separation.  And straights are just as likely to fall into the trap of sin as any other group, including gays.

On abortion, the author is dead wrong.  How can a Christian square the notion of "love thy neighbor" with the killing of an innocent?  This is an obviously monstrous contradiction.  Does Christ sympathize with the plight of the pregnant woman?  Of course.  Does he think that killing is a good means of showing sympathy?  I cannot find even a hint of that anywhere in any of His teachings.  

and would in fact minister healing and grace to those people in God's name, and shower them with His love. There's only one or two verses in the entire Bible even mentioning homosexuals or abortion, as opposed to so many telling us to help the poor and sick and even those we might not approve of if we want to honor His Name.

Just because the Bible makes few mentions of abortion and homosexuality does not lessen the validity of them.  God and Christ did not say; "OK.  This is the 27th time I've told you DO NOT KILL, so you ought to figure that I really mean it this time."  The Bible speaks out against abortion and active homosexuality?  Then they are wrong.

So if I was a Christian, I'd also shower anyone persecuted by religious opportunists with all the love they could stand, and tell them God loved them deeply and forever, no matter what they do or did. I would tell them that nothing they can do will ever stop God from loving them dearly.

Eloquent. Wonderful.  Just so long as we remember that it requires repentance as well as being open to His love.  It requires a bit more than saying; "Whoops.  My bad!" and simply expecting that there might not be a mess that needs to be cleaned up.  When we sin, there is always a mess requiring cleaning.  Repentance is part of that cleaning.

If I were Christian, I'd have to guess that Christ, who was after all beaten to a bloody pulp and then nailed to a cross to die a horrible, lingering, death, for our sins, wouldn't think very highly of a party, a faction, a group, a pharaoh, a Caesar, or a President, that thinks they should be able to legally whisk people off to torture chambers to foreign shit-holes run by despots, with no trial or charges ever held for them! And were I a Christian, I'd have to guess that any beliver would and absolutely should be very nervous about being associated with torture in any way, shape, or form.

Yeah.  We already covered that.  If you missed it earlier, awnder around this site

Then again, maybe it's easy for me to say what I would do IF … if I was a Christian. Maybe I have this all wrong. Or maybe it's much harder than it all sounds. But honestly, much of what I've written above doesn't sound that hard to do, does it? It begins with common decency, common sense, and common courtesy, that we all learned by the time we left kindergarten. I'm already doing a lot of it now and I bet most people are.

I can't tell if the author is trying to oversimplify here or not. 

But I'd also have to guess there is one huge difference between Christ and me: I have little patience for folks that use religion as a tool of manipulation. And for the mad bombers and their enablers, whether they justify their killing sprees with passage's or sura's, I wouldn't mind if they spent the rest of their days in prison mumbling holy hatred to themselves while strapped to a gurney in a straitjacket. Christ was an inspiring example, and that's true regardless if the underlying theology is accurate or not. But I'd have a hard time living up to His standard.

It is at times the easiest thing and the hardest thing to live up to His standard.

It would be challenging for me to forgive some of those people, including I'm sad to say those that are destroying this nation from within and without. But I'd pray for the strength to do so, if I were Christian.

And herein lies the political bias.  The only thing I can say in response to this is that the reader is objecting to the Stupid Party's work in fouling us up these past few years.  

And they would have a point.

However, the solution is not in castigating the Stupid Party, and replacing it with the Evil Party (for meanings, go see Mark Shea again.), just as castigating the Evil Party and saying the Stupid Party has all the answers is equally misleading.  The solutiions are not in thought, reason, science or politics.

The solution is in the love that God taught us through his son, Jesus.

Still want to know where the link came from?  You might hardly believe it. Right here.

Fascinating post April 15, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Catholicism, Cultural Pessimism.
2 comments

that I found at another site.  I am not going to attribute it right now (I will at a later date) because I want my very limited readership to read it on its own merits, rather than where it originated from.

On surface evaluation on my part, I found it to be quite thought provoking.

f I were Christian, I'd have to guess that Christ doesn't care what the heck you call yourself, Republican, Democrat, Boy Scout, Muslim, Hindu or even atheist; it's your deeds that count, your actions that matter, and your character that defines you. Good people are identified as good by the good deeds they do, while evil people are identified by doing evil deeds. I'd point out clearly that arguing for the cult like worship of any human being, in any nation, as an inerrant God like leader, praising warfare or terrorism, the repression and bombing of innocent civilians, arguing that torture or murder or genocide is a good thing, and defending the wealthy and powerful, is completely at odds with what Christ clearly taught.

If I was a Christian I'd thank God for including me in this Cosmos in all its resplendent majesty. I'd study every branch of science I could and hunger for more every day. I'd be teaching biology and chemistry and astronomy in Sunday Schools along side Biblical verse to eager young Christian children who would learn reverence for those fields of knowledge. I would note the truth that molecular biology has revealed: We are all one family, every man a brother, all women sisters, and each of us is our brother's keeper. They would "ohhh" and "ahh" at the pictures of God's cosmos from powerful telescopes. They would be fascinated with God's intricacies found speck of blood under the microscope. They would be inspired assembling a model of life's DNA double helix, or an atom. And they would look in fascination at the image of Creation itself borne across an ocean of space and time on the gossamer wings of invisible light. All part of God's infinitely artistic Universe.

Rather than trying to deceive people about God's prowess, I'd work to reveal it to them. Because science inspires mankind with precious insight into the mind of the Creator of all that exists. Far from being something to fear, science is the most powerful testimony to any Creator who crafted our natural world. And freed from the confines of politically expedient dogma, who knows what further wonders those young people might uncover to one day teach their children?  

If I were Christian I would be filled with pride and wonder that my blood, organs, skin, and hair, are made from the elements cooked inside of ancient stellar furnaces. That the mortal coils we each inhabit were bequethed to us via countless generations of living things and exquisite constructs, from primate to bacteria, from organic protien to cosmic proton. And I would weep with the glorious knowledge that I am made of star-dust.

If I was a Christian, I'd guess Christ wouldn't really give a hoot about gays or abortion, and would in fact minister healing and grace to those people in God's name, and shower them with His love. There's only one or two verses in the entire Bible even mentioning homosexuals or abortion, as opposed to so many telling us to help the poor and sick and even those we might not approve of if we want to honor His Name. So if I was a Christian, I'd also shower anyone persecuted by religious opportunists with all the love they could stand, and tell them God loved them deeply and forever, no matter what they do or did. I would tell them that nothing they can do will ever stop God from loving them dearly.

If I were Christian, I'd have to guess that Christ, who was after all beaten to a bloody pulp and then nailed to a cross to die a horrible, lingering, death, for our sins, wouldn't think very highly of a party, a faction, a group, a pharaoh, a Caesar, or a President, that thinks they should be able to legally whisk people off to torture chambers to foreign shit-holes run by despots, with no trial or charges ever held for them! And were I a Christian, I'd have to guess that any beliver would and absolutely should be very nervous about being associated with torture in any way, shape, or form.

Then again, maybe it's easy for me to say what I would do IF … if I was a Christian. Maybe I have this all wrong. Or maybe it's much harder than it all sounds. But honestly, much of what I've written above doesn't sound that hard to do, does it? It begins with common decency, common sense, and common courtesy, that we all learned by the time we left kindergarten. I'm already doing a lot of it now and I bet most people are.

But I'd also have to guess there is one huge difference between Christ and me: I have little patience for folks that use religion as a tool of manipulation. And for the mad bombers and their enablers, whether they justify their killing sprees with passage's or sura's, I wouldn't mind if they spent the rest of their days in prison mumbling holy hatred to themselves while strapped to a gurney in a straitjacket. Christ was an inspiring example, and that's true regardless if the underlying theology is accurate or not. But I'd have a hard time living up to His standard. It would be challenging for me to forgive some of those people, including I'm sad to say those that are destroying this nation from within and without. But I'd pray for the strength to do so, if I were Christian.

 

Comment.  What do you think? 

More of that good old time Liberal compassion II April 14, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Liberal Hypocrisy.
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Michelle Malkin has it all in its gory detail here