Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Facebook declaration of independence

Since I normally use Facebook to maintain my relationships, I don't indulge in a lot of commentary or proselytization there ... just the occasional quip or grump over some headline, article, or event. When I was younger, I decided I didn't want to risk my friendships by being too obnoxiously opinionated.

I can't do that anymore. But I couldn't just say, "F**k you, I'll be opinionated if I want to be." So I posted the following warning last night:

This is gonna be a long one:

In Robert Bolt's "A Man for all Seasons", St. Thomas More tells the court which has just convicted him of treason, "I do none harm; I say none harm; I think none harm. And if that be not enough to keep a man alive, then in faith I long not to live."

I've been blessed in that my friends and family are wise enough to know that to love someone in spite of their faults is not to pretend that they have no faults. However, the rhetoric in the public square has been devolving over the last few years. Commentators on both the left and the right almost compulsively reduce each other to two-dimensional comic-book villains without any redeeming human traits. Conservatives are big, mean poopy-heads out to repress and enslave everyone (except the one percent); while liberals are jack-booted statists who want to micromanage all human actions (except sex). Nobody on the other side can be granted to have good intentions, let alone good ideas.

To paraphrase St. Thomas Aquinas, society can't function if people can't trust one another to tell each other the truth. However, according to the
Zeitgeist, we're losing any sense of a common truth; and it's becoming more important to protect each other's feelings of self-worth than to speak the truth in love. Moreover, to do any less than give full-voiced approval to the Zeitgeist is to risk being damned and marginalized as a "hater". Yet, as the Latin maxim reminds us, to be silent is to consent; and to remain silent in the face of error is to endorse it.

So I guess I'm saying that, in the future, I will continue to speak the truth as I best understand it, fully realizing I'm a flawed, failing mortal, that I'm not omniscient or omnicompetent. If I offend you, I'm sorry; if you feel you must block or unfriend me, I should regret it. But I'm not really entitled to my own opinion if the only opinion I can say in public, the only opinion I can base my votes on, is that which the
Zeitgeist says I must have.

Semper Fi. Carry on.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Yabba-dabba-D'OH!

“One woe doth tread another’s heel, So fast they follow.” As if things weren’t already looking bad enough, here comes some more embarrassing news

Jurassic World” may have been a documentary as far as millions of Americans are concerned.
A recent survey by YouGov — a for-profit research firm that conducts all sorts of online polls — found that 41 percent of those queried think dinosaurs and humans “probably” or “definitely” once co-existed on Earth at the same time.
The online poll (PDF) of 1,000 adults was conducted between June 15 and 17 and has a 4.4 percent plus-or-minus margin of error. ...
Note that with 16 percent “not sure,” it’s entirely possible that I’m actually living in a country where most people disregard the scientific consensus that dinosaurs lived tens of millions of years ago and tens of millions of years before the first humans emerged.
Perhaps these results shouldn’t be so shocking when we consider that there are entire museums, like Kentucky’s Creation Museum, devoted to showing how dinosaurs fit into the biblical timeline of history, complete with this animatronic display of a dinosaur hanging out with an Old Testament kid tending a fire.
YouGov also notes a clear religious split in the survey results. Most Americans who identified themselves as “born again” (56 percent) for the survey said that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, as opposed to just 22 percent who did not identify that way.
(This is all a little confusing, though, when you consider that there are also groups out there, such as Christians Against Dinosaurs, that consider the very existence of dinos to be a Jurassic-size hoax.)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Post-Charleston liberal screaming at imaginary conservatives

Dylann Roof, Thursday afternoon.
(Image © Reuters/Jason Miscek.)
One difference between liberals and conservatives: Liberals tend to think that mental illness excuses crime. Conservatives don’t agree; to them, it’s just another reason the perp should be off the street. Hence the liberal uproar over one guy — one guy — saying that mass-murderer Dylann Roof “probably has some mental issues”.

Of course Roof has mental issues. He’s also a racist. The one doesn’t preclude the other ... unless you have a political agenda which requires certain facts to be bent or ignored.

Conservatives tend to make fun of the degree to which certain liberals obsess over the prevalence of racism in society. Even a knee-jerk liberal rag such as HuffPo is occasionally amused and bemused by the reductionist silliness which allows academics to find racist microagression in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Conservatives don’t deny that racism can be an issue, or that it’s an ongoing social problem; they simply resent the extent to which certain liberals cram every example of human conflict into the racism paradigm.

But that Roof killed nine members of an AME congregation precisely because they were black, that Roof's killing spree was racist by definition, no one denies. No one has begun to deny it. No one has begun to begin to deny it. As Charles C. W. Cooke points out in the National Review, liberal pundits like Anthea Brown and Arthur Chu are vigorously, viciously taking conservatives to task for denying what no conservative has denied, for excusing what no conservative has excused, for failing to condemn what conservatives have roundly, loudly condemned. Such liberals are screaming at phantoms of their own imagination, products of their own stereotypes.