The Limits of Tolerance

Back during the whole Charlie Hebdo event, a lot of people were defending Charlie on the grounds of free speech – I took a bit of an exception to that. Even though there was no justification for the murders, I still felt that it wasn’t appropriate for anyone to insult the deepest held beliefs of others. To be sure, Free Speech – but I’m not quite sure that our ancestors at Lexington and Concord were thinking, “if I die here today, at least people will be free to be vulgar and rude like no tomorrow”.

To make myself clear, I do believe in a very broad definition of free speech – but back in the days when men were a bit more like men, if you offered an insult to another man who had an ounce of manly virtues, you’d be called out to the dueling field. In other words, if you did decide that insult was your way of working, then you were required to put your life up as security…and if you didn’t, then you’d be known not just as vulgar, but as a vulgar coward. The historian Will Durant noted that men in 18th century England commonly carried swords – and this he identified as the place where England’s reputation for good manners developed. Knowing that the other guy had a sword and could run you through enjoined a cautious courtesy of speech. Eventually, it became ingrained into society – you just didn’t say certain things unless you were willing to fight about it.

For someone to sit safely behind soldiers and police and hurl insults right and left is not an act of liberty – it is not an act of bravery; quite the contrary…it is the act of a coward. It is to demand that other, rougher men protect you while you throw vile insults around. Man up – or manner up. Pick one.

I bring this up because the television show House of Cards has decided to get very insulting:

We’re barely into Lent, and Hollywood is already spitting on Jesus Christ on the crucifix. Netflix released the entire third season of the incredibly sleazy D.C. drama House of Cards on February 28, and in its fourth episode, as Kevin Spacey’s loathsome Frank Underwood character has schemed his way into the presidency, he wanders into a Catholic church.

The local bishop preaches to him as a friend that he’s supposed to love God and love his neighbor. Underwood proclaims that he understands the vengeful God he sees in the Old Testament, but doesn’t understand why Jesus would let someone kill him. Underwood asks for a moment alone to pray. Then he sidles up to the crucifix – just a few feet above his head – and mutters most cynically to God the Son.

“Love….that’s what you’re selling? Well, I don’t buy it!” Then he spits in the face of Christ…

This is free speech? This is an act of bravery? This is why men and women will sell their blood on a battlefield? I don’t think so. Now, the character spits in the face of a statue of Our Lord for one reason, only: spitting in the face of a depiction of Mohammed would get him killed. This is quite a lot of cowardice – cowardice in that the creators of the show are hiding behind the rougher men; cowardice in that the creators of the show only insult where it is safe to do so; cowardice in that if we Christians complain, the popular culture will condemn us for daring to be offended.

How much more of this are we Christians supposed to tolerate? Are there absolutely no limits? At least as far as we are concerned – because we know where the limit is: can’t do this with Muslims. I agree they shouldn’t do it with Muslims – but that is because I am trying, in my own weak way, to be a Christian gentleman; and such don’t offer insult. How much of a citizen of this Republic am I when my most deeply held beliefs can be held up to scorn? Do I not pay my taxes? Did I not serve for four years in our Navy? Did not my father and grandfather serve in war? Am I that much of a social nothing that you can do with me as you wish?

There are at least 100 million people in the United States who actually, sincerely believe as I do – that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. We are the backbone of this nation – we are the descendents of those who built this nation up from nothing. We have poured out our blood and treasure for this nation for more than 200 years – and I think we’re worthy of at least this much respect: don’t insult us. Dislike us all you want. Disagree with us till the cows come home. Be whatever you want to be – but don’t go out of your way to insult that which we hold dear. This is the common courtesy all human beings owe to each other.


Ah, But We Do Forget

That song was done by the Boomtown Rats and was made in response to the school shooting carried out by Brenda Ann Spencer on January 29th, 1979 in San Diego, California. I admit that I had mentally lost track of it, but it always has been floating around in my head, re-emerging from time to time.  I was 14 years old and living in San Diego at the time.  The shooter was 16.  When asked why she had done it, she answered, “I don’t like Mondays”.

Two people were killed, and 9 injured, including 8 children.  It was a horrifically shocking event which, I’m sure, everyone at the time said they’d never forget.  Ok, so how many of you who were 14 or older in 1979 remember?  How many of you have heard that Boomtown Rats song and never knew what it was about?

We forget and we forget and we forget – and then comes the next massacre and we wring our hands and swear we won’t forget.  But, we do – and then repeat the process.  If we want it to stop, then we have to remember….and keep remembering and start thinking about how it happened.  How is it that prior to 1979 we never had someone pick up a gun and randomly shoot at a school for no identifiable reason?  To be sure, you can find long lists of people who were murdered at schools over the ages – but in each case there was an identifiable cause; some grievance against the school, or the school authorities, or some of the students.  Something you could logically connect to the crime…not because a bored person decided they didn’t like Mondays.

We’ve lost our morals, my friends – that is it.  Only a people increasingly lacking in basic, human decency can breed people who will just kill for no reason.  Until we get back to basic, human decency we won’t get anywhere.  Just more massacres and more memorial services and more (empty) pledges to never forget.

UPDATE:  Rush gets it:

I said, “Twenty-five years ago we were warning about what was going to happen if X kept happening and Y kept happening and if we didn’t stop Z.”  Well, now, we’re there.  We’re no longer talking about what will happen unless we do something about it.  We’re living it.  We’re living the collapse.  We’re living the implosion of our culture and our society.  Politically, morally, religiously, you name it, and it all stems from the fact that no one is allowed to have values.  Values are judgmental.  You have no right to impose values on people.

The death of our civilization is proceeding precisely as predicted in decades past – stodgy, boring, old conservatives (and a few wise liberals) pointed it out and pointed it out and explained with charts and diagrams that all this would happen if we didn’t change course.  We didn’t change course.  We just doubled down on doing it wrong – and now people pretend to be all shocked about it?  Astounding.

Get ready to start imposing the old morality (and, of course, all of us must start by imposing it on ourselves) or get ready for death.  Pick one.  There are no other choices.

Liberal Morals

From the Ethicist over at the New York Times:

My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD

Don’t expose the affair in any high-profile way. It would be different if this man’s project was promoting some (contextually hypocritical) family-values platform, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The only motive for exposing the relationship would be to humiliate him and your wife, and that’s never a good reason for doing anything. This is between you and your spouse. You should tell her you want to separate, just as you would if she were sleeping with the mailman. The idea of “suffering in silence” for the good of the project is illogical. How would the quiet divorce of this man’s mistress hurt an international leadership initiative? He’d probably be relieved.

The fact that you’re willing to accept your wife’s infidelity for some greater political good is beyond honorable…(emphasis added)

A bit of Droit du seigneur, I guess – while there is little evidence that such a thing really happened in medieval times (t would be something directly in contravention of Christian teaching and thus it would have been condemned by Church authority if it ever reared its head) it does neatly encapsulate both the utter moral collapse of liberals as well as their servility to their lords.   The man feels that some government project trumps the vow his wife made to him.  Politics is everything to liberals and if Dear Leader needs to schtupp your wife a bit to make the working day bearable, then it is worth it…and you’ll get a pat on the head from the “ethicist” at the New York Times (who, however, figures that if the adulterer is some one of socially conservative morals then, please, expose away).  This does, also, greatly call in to question just why adultery was considered sufficient reason for the CIA director to resign – I mean he, too, was engaged in a pretty important government project, right?

It also leaves open the question:  what if it wasn’t adultery?  What if the leader engaged in a vital political project was also taking bribes?  Would exposing that at the risk of ruining the important government project be a no-no in liberal land?  Makes you wonder just how much corruption is out there among liberal leaders and not being reported about because it is “beyond honorable” to cover up for the sake of “political good”.

The Immorality of Government Debt

At Wednesday’s debate Mitt Romney said something I never thought I’d hear him say – or, indeed, hear anyone in government say:

LEHRER: … Governor Romney, you — you go first because the president went first on segment one. And the question is this, what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country?

ROMNEY: Good. I’m glad you raised that, and it’s a — it’s a critical issue. I think it’s not just an economic issue, I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives.

And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral…

One could almost leap and shout for joy.

It has been growing on my mind – for some time now – that it is not right for any government agency to have debt.  You see, when the government creates debt what it does is deny to future generations the right to make their own decisions.  As a true democrat, I refuse to bow to the tyranny of those who merely happen to be walking around at the time – I pay heed to those who are dead (ie, I revere tradition) as well as have consideration for those who are yet to be born (I won’t, if I can help it, make things more difficult for them by engaging in idiocy today).  Many of those who are walking around right now want all sorts of things which we cannot afford; and even those who want higher taxes still want even more spending than even the higher taxes would cover.  Anyone who wants anything which cannot be paid for out of current accounts is reaching in to the future and acting as a most tyrannical dictator.  People not yet born may want to expend their collective tax dollars on Project X but they won’t be able to because we, before they were born, spent their tax dollars on Project Y.  Is that in any way fair?

You can try to dress it up and say “well, true we’re mortgaging their future but we’re also providing them this wonderful thing”.  But suppose when the future arrives they don’t consider it all that wonderful?  Suppose even if it were wonderful they’d yet rather have something else?  Who are you, current person, to deny them their choice?

The future does not belong to us – the day after you vote to increase the debt on persons yet unborn you may well die.  You’re not there – you can’t convince anyone tomorrow, you can only deal with today.  Today we may have X amount of dollars to spend and it is up to us, by applying our wisdom, to figure out how to spend them and once we run out, that is the end of the matter.  You can try to hike taxes to get a bit more but everyone knows that after a while high tax rates have a diminishing return (even liberals know this – so ultra-liberal Governor Jerry Brown just extended lower tax rates for Hollywood…because he knows that if Hollywood were hit with a higher tax rate, Hollywood would move out of California and so California would get nothing…the pity, though, is that liberals won’t apply this to all spheres of economic activity…guess it helps if you can throw a swank, Beverly Hills party).  But no matter how you slice it, there isn’t an endless supply of money – there is just so much and then there is no more.  And there is the additional fact that no matter what we do there will never be enough money to satisfy all the wants – some will have to be set aside.  To borrow to meet wants is just criminal cruelty – and an undemocratic assault upon future generations.

Right now we are so jammed up with debt that we won’t be able to get out of it for quite a while but it is to be hoped that we are learning our lesson – and Mitt Romney’s statement at the debate shows that he, at least, is far ahead on the learning curve.  Much further ahead than Obama and his Democrats.  We have to balance our budget, pay our debt off and then never borrow another red cent.

Want a social program?  Pay for it out of current accounts.  Want a new road?  Pay for it out of current accounts.  Want to fight a war?  Pay for it out of current accounts.  And if there isn’t enough money for it, then  you’d just better not do it.  Its the only moral thing to do.

Massacre, Redux

A little later today the President of the United States will give a speech a little like this one or, perhaps, like that one.  The point is that the President will express his shock and grief over the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

For the next few days we’ll have all sorts of reports about the massacre – we’ll learn about the shooter and about the least details of his sorry life.  We’ll learn if this was just some sort of crazed attack or (less likely) some sort of terrorist attack.  If it was a terrorist attack then it will be swiftly played down by government and MSM because confronting actual terrorism is forbidden right now (too busy with electoral matters – if it was some sort of terrorist attack, the reaction will be akin to the reaction to the Cole incident in 2000).  More than likely, though, this massacre is just another crazed attack in a long line of them – both in the United States and around the world.  Zero Hedge put together a handy list of the major mass shootings of the past 20 years.  Makes for depressing reading – but not so much because of the shootings, but because of our blindness on what it all means.

Even if the attack turns out to be terrorism, the list is still depressing and still so because of our unwillingness to confront reality.  Once upon a time, there weren’t mass shootings.  Not that there were fewer:  there were none.  Crazed lunatics with access to repeating rifles did not go on murderous rampages in the 1880’s.  Crazed lunatics with access to the Thompson sub-machine gun (a fully automatic weapon firing a murderous .45 ACP round at 600 rounds per minute…and anyone could buy it in the 20’s or 30’s…didn’t even need a permit) did not go on murderous rampages in the 1930’s.  Crazed lunatics who have to jump through government hoops to obtain semi-automatic weapons do go on murderous rampages, today.  What has changed?  I mean, other than the fact that it is harder to obtain less effective murder weapons than were available in the 1930’s?

Morality has changed.

Back in the past we didn’t have a society where the family was half collapsed.  We didn’t have a society where lies were officially designated as “politically correct” and thus not to be questioned.  Where the government nanny-State has replaced men in a quarter of all households.  Where violence is glorified in “cool” movies, television shows and video games.  Where obscene and/or anti-social behavior is not a matter for concern (until, that is, the obscene or anti-social person picks up a gun and starts shooting).   The problem we have – the reason people go on shooting rampages – is because we are an immoral society.  Until we become, once again, a moral society this will not change – all you’ll get is ever more shootings and, likely, ever worse shootings.

Until we brace ourselves to the task of rebuilding the family, denouncing the politically correct lies, dismantling the welfare State and start censoring what goes on in our popular culture, none of this will improve.  It will, indeed, only get worse.  Carp and complain about what I just wrote all you want – shriek to high heaven about how I just advocated censorship…but if you don’t agree with me, then you are part of the problem.  Your head is stuck firmly in the sand (though a much more vulgar suggestion of where it is would be more accurate).  You are ignoring reality in favor of one politically correct lie or another.   This is what it is – our collapse in morality leads to mass shootings.  Just as our collapse in morality has led to increased illegitimacy, divorce, cross-generational government dependence, rape, adultery/fornication, child abuse/neglect/abandonment, massively widespread sexually transmitted disease, increased child poverty, crime of all sorts, decayed cities…

Want to end all that?  Then start insisting upon the enforcement of morality.  If you don’t then nothing else you do will work and you’ll just see more and more of this…

UPDATE:  Roger L. Simon gets on the right track:

From Oliver Stone to Quentin Tarantino to Clint Eastwood, many of our best known filmmakers have trafficked in extreme, sometimes even gratuitous, violence. It has long been their contention, and those of others, that violence in film does not beget violence in life.

As the mass murder in Colorado has shown, they were wrong. Yes, normal people are able to separate illusion from reality, but for the criminally insane like James Holmes, it is quite clear that ultra-violent films can act as an inspiration for unspeakable acts.

Given the horrifying death toll, rare as the likes of Holmes may be, we have to account for the similarly deranged and aberrant. We owe that to the dead of Colorado and elsewhere. Moreover, we should not encourage these events, wittingly or unwittingly. And by we I mean the people who make films (which includes me)…

But he doesn’t go far enough – he eschews censorship.  But censorship of films, television, radio and video games (especially) is a necessary act in bringing to an end these horrendous massacres.  It is simple calculation:  what is more important, human lives of the ability of entertainment people to make an easy buck?  It is my view that because we have allowed popular culture to become a cesspit that it has not only become soaked in violence and sex but that it has also become lousy – actors are worse, direction is worse, writing is worse than it was in the glory days of Hollywood.  This is because acting in the manner of Spencer Tracy, directing in the manner of John Ford and writing with the style and grace of Charles Brackett (Ninotchka, Sunset Boulevard, The King and I, etc.) takes hard work as well as talent – much easier to just grind out movies with spectacular special effects, a few flashed boobs, some cuss words and a couple catch-phrases.

Do not, I pray you, try to sell me the utter garbage that censoring violence and sex out of popular culture attacks freedom.  Men and women did not fight and die for the “freedom” to put out disgusting filth and charge $8 to see it.  The heroes of America’s past fought and died so that we could worship God, speak our minds and live our lives without let or hindrance from others.  If the only way you can feel free is when your watching someone be disemboweled in an action flick, then you are a complete slave, so pound sand and get out of this debate and allow the adults to take over.

UPDATE II:  Naturally, the left is trying to blame the TEA Party and the larger conservative movement for this.  They’ll never take aim at the purveyors of popular filth.  Oh, no – that would mean a drying up of invites to the cool parties as well as a drop off in donations…

UPDATE III:  Its not just me thinking along these lines.

How Much Nonsense Do You Believe?

Just a little test here, folks – a challenge, if you will.  It is my contention that most of us believe a series of falsehoods which distort our ability to make rational decisions.  This is far more prevalent on the left than on the right, but all of us are immersed in a sea of lies and thus even when we’re trying to get it right, we can often get it wrong because some facet of our action is motivated by a lie.  So, here’s something to think about – how many times have you heard the phrase, “believe in yourself”?  Ten thousand times?  A million?  I’ll bet that 100% of us have heard it and that 99% of us believe it.  If you just believe in yourself, you can get on.  Just this past Saturday morning I was watching the TV for a few minutes and there was Donald Trump saying “I believe in myself”.  But, is there anything to it?  A quote:

Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true. Once I remember walking with a prosperous publisher, who made a remark which I had often heard before; it is, indeed, almost a motto of the modern world.  Yet I had heard it once too often, and I saw suddenly that there was nothing in it.  The publisher said of somebody, “That man will get on; he believes in himself.” And I remember that as I lifted my head to listen, my eye caught an omnibus on which was written “Hanwell.”(the name of a lunatic asylum – ed.)  I said to him, “Shall I tell you where the men are who believe most in themselves?  For I can tell you.  I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar.  I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success.  I can guide you to the thrones of the Super-men. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”  He said mildly that there were a good many men after all who believed in themselves and who were not in lunatic asylums. “Yes, there are,” I retorted, “and you of all men ought to know them.  That drunken poet from whom you would not take a dreary tragedy, he believed in himself.  That elderly minister with an epic from whom you were hiding in a back room, he believed in himself.  If you consulted your business experience instead of your ugly individualistic philosophy, you would know that believing in himself is one of the commonest signs of a rotter. Actors who can’t act believe in themselves; and debtors who won’t pay.  It would be much truer to say that a man will certainly fail, because he believes in himself.  Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self-confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one’s self is a hysterical and superstitious belief like believing in Joanna Southcote:  the man who has it has  ‘Hanwell’ written on his face as plain as it is written on that omnibus.”  And to all this my friend the publisher made this very deep and effective reply, “Well, if a man is not to believe in himself, in what is he to believe?”  After a long pause I replied, “I will go home and write a book in answer to that question.” This is the book that I have written in answer to it. – G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter II, The Maniac

Kind of puts a new perspective on it, doesn’t it?  The phrase “believe in yourself” has been entirely ingrained in your existence (I speak here to the 99% who currently believe in the notion – if you are of the 1% who saw through it all along, then you may skip this).  It is just part of your mental make-up…it is a dogma you not only don’t question, but don’t even see a reason to question.   If you bother to read the rest  of the book, you’ll find the answer to what you should believe in instead of yourself:  God.   If you believe in God then you’ve taken that first step to wisdom (and if you maintain a genuine belief in God while you believed that you should “believe in yourself” then you avoided the worst errors attendant upon believing in yourself).  To believe in yourself is a form of idolatry – it is part of the first lie of hell (“you shall be as gods”).  And it leads to all sorts of errors – like, just for one in ten thousand examples, the man who will leave his wife and children so that he can pursue some dream or other…breaking his word and destroying a family because he “believes in himself”.

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Susan B Anthony List Plans Pro-Life 2012 Ads

From Hot Air:

Susan B. Anthony list, a pro-life advocacy group that last week released an ad dramatizing the obscene partnership between President Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood, aims to raise enough money to run the ad in key battleground states. To that end, they’re in the midst of a 72-hour campaign to come up with just $21,000 — so small a sum in comparison to the price of an Obama fundraiser.

As the ad depicts, the president’s support for Planned Parenthood runs deep. Even when states have legitimately — and through the proper legislative avenues — sought to defund the abortion provider, the administration has stepped in to override states’ decisions. Earlier this month, for example, after the Executive Council of New Jersey decided not to renew a $1.8 million contract with PP, the administration stepped in and awarded Planned Parenthood of New England more than $1 million in federal funding. Just days ago, the First Lady hosted a fundraiser with Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards and EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock…

Click on the link if you can donate – one thing we do know for certain is that the Obama Administration has been lock-step in favor of the Culture of Death.  If there has been a way to advance abortion, Obama has been right there.  And Obama is counting on a lot of pro-abortion money to help fund his 2012 campaign.  This is the best way to fight that – especially in pro-life States like Pennsylvania which Obama must win to be re-elected.