Daily Archives: Monday, July 1, 2013

On Refusing to Live in Pinkletown

A little while ago, a few weeks back, we had a discussion here in this space about my insistence on using um, flamboyant and non-PC language when discussing the homosex phenom. We had a good time in that discussion, but we weren’t done yet.

Let me appear to change the subject for a minute. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says something profound, something that very few conservative culture warriors, God bless them all, get. He argues that the wise general first attacks the enemy’s plans, then secondly, his alliances, and then third, his army or his forces. Get that? You don’t attack the enemy in the first instance; you attack what he is doing. You attack his plans first.

The push for homosexual marriage is very recent, and it is still ongoing. That particular battle is still in process, and no, we haven’t actually lost it yet. But we did lose some earlier battles, which is why the challenges are so great now. Conservatives tend to think that “the plan” is to corrupt our laws as a way of corrupting our youth, and so on. But that is a later phase of the strategy. The plan, as Orwell could have told us, was to corrupt the language first. The goal was to do this by establishing themselves as the sole arbiters of what constitutes “hate,” what puts the phobic into homophobia, what forms of discourse are automatically out of civilized bounds, what qualifies as hate speech, and so on. They put on the robe, walked up behind the bench, and have been issuing decrees ever since.

Unless we draw the line sometime, there will soon be laws against putting those foamy hand soap dispensers in homeless shelters, on grounds of hobofoamia. We are up against it, people.

For some strange reason, mainstream conservatives have tried to fight these characters on the explicit issues of law, but have not challenged them in this central corruption, the corruption that gives them the power to pursue all the rest of it. To be sure, conservatives have complained about the weird standards as they have been applied (“How is it ‘hate speech’ to simply say that I believe Prop 8 should have been enforced in California?), but complaining to the ref does one thing that we should never want to do in this instance, which is acknowledge that these guys have any right to act as refs. As soon as we grant that fundamental usurpation, surprise, surprise, we will have plenty more weird calls to complain about.

What we must needs do is this, confreres? What is their plan? They want to be the discourse cops. Instead of making them discourse cops, and then spending our time pointing what a bad job they are doing at it, why not gleefully embrace the duty and high responsibility of tweaking them every lawful chance we get? We tweak them by doing whatever it was they just prohibited. This is quite different from objecting to them applying their bogus standards all the times when we didn’t do anything.

Now I say “lawful chance” because, while they are not the discourse cops, there is such a thing. The Holy Spirit wants us to keep our speech gracious, seasoned with salt. Jesus tells us that we shall give an account for every idle word we utter. We should shun corrupt speech, and steer completely clear of the shrill malice of the Westboro Baptists. But we only do this because Jesus requires it. We frankly don’t care what the harridan in charge of Speech Codes at Behemoth State Cow College thinks of it. Do we? We care for her good opinion about as much as we care for the good opinion of the Westboro Baptists.

So what is their plan? They have assumed the center by seeking to regulate what we may and may not say. Before all marriage law battles, before every legislative clash, before any of that. And I have sought to assume a different center — the center of a conservative resistance to their central hubris, a hubris that was in evidence decades ago, and which they are taking full advantage of now. I promised at the top that I would be writing about my refusal to live in Pinkletown. Someone might point out that in fact I am doing so, so what about that? I should rather say that I refuse to live in Pinkletown while calling it by its approved name, which is something like DignityandAffordableHousingforAllville. And by refusing to acquiesce in this aboriginal corruption, this perversion of words, I am making it possible for my great-grandkids to live somewhere besides this linguistic shantytown.

The reason conservatives are dismayed today by how the ground appears to be shifting beneath their feet is that they do not recognize how complicit they have been in this whole process. Let me make up an example, and I will leave it to you to decide how true to life it might be. A junior research assistant for the DC office of FamiliesRUs is talking to some reporters the day after the Supreme Court debacle and in response to a question, off the record, he said he “really had to hand it to the homos. They were dedicated to their mistaken cause, far more dedicated than many of our people are,” etc. Despite being off the record, a tape of the exchange was leaked, and the uproar was lurid and overdone. Of course, FRU started apologizing like crazy, fired the assistant on the second day of the controversy, and then started apologizing for not having fired him on the first day. And when I say “apologizing,” I mean apologizing like Paula Deen would have for having said kaka in kindergarten. At least, that’s what it sounded like. Press releases, video tape, a second video tape, a press conference, and then pressuring a conservative publishing house — that was going to publish this hapless young man’s book in the fall — to spike it.

Impossible, you think? Conservatives! The opposition of the today’ radical proposals, enforcers of yesterday’s.

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Book of the Month/July

Iain Murray

I have read and enjoyed and profited from a number of Iain Murray’s other books, and in the realm of enjoyment and edification, this book was no different. But it was very different from his other books in several other respects.

The book-of-the-month this time around is The Undercover Revolution, and it is about how infidel novelists wrecked Great Britain. He gives a detailed treatment of two writers, Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy, then moves on to show how a swarm of writers transformed British culture, and concludes with a fine statement of the basic Christian gospel.

Murray usually writes what might be called “in-house” biographies or histories, and this book details a much broader intersection of faith and infidelity. Also Murray usually writes expansively, and this book is very short — less than a hundred pages. At the same time, he fits an awful lot into it. This is a good book for jump-starting your brain. Here are a few thoughts that came out of my reading of it.

First, it reinforced the point that has been made multiple times by other capable writers. Consider Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals, E. Michael Jones’ Degenerate Moderns, xxxx’s Architects of the Culture of Death, and Kevin Swanson’s Apostate. A basic review of the lives of those who led the exodus out of the “hypocrisy” of Christian faith shows that they were themselves fourteen carat hypocrites. What they said and what they did were entirely different things. And the fact that they were challenging the Christian establishment on the basis of hypocrisy makes us want to present them with the Hypocrisy Chutzpah Award.

Second, this book reinforced the power of story. In this instance, fiction was used to tell lies instead of what good and godly fiction will always do, which is to tell the truth. In the early stages of this revolt against Christ (for that is what it was), the infidelity was located more in the life of the writer than in the pages of the story (e.g. Stevenson). But as time progressed, the unbelief began showing itself more and more in the course of the stories told (e.g. Hardy, Wells, Shaw). Orthodox faith took far too much for granted, and failed to prepare herself against the onslaught of an unbelieving imagination. Believers were caught flat footed. Murray shows that while this falling away was done in the name of science, actual science had virtually nothing to do with it. This was a narratival conquest.

This leads to the third point. At the time, infidelity was fresh and new and exciting, as the initial moments of an apostasy always are. I am prepared to bet that the very best parties that the prodigal son ever threw were in the first three weeks away from home. But it gets old after a bit, the hypocrisy of the authenticity posers becomes evident, and the unbelievers just run out of stories. In terms of their unpreparedness for an imaginative challenge, the infidels are just past the crest of their high Victorian period.

As Murray wrote about how infidel authors undid British culture, another book could be written about how American movie makers undid ours. English novelists established the novel as a new and exciting (and freshly respectable) form of telling a story. Americans did the same with the movie, and the arc of corruption for both forms of story telling has been generally the same. Currently, they are also both in a teetery state, and the time really is ripe for some subversive story telling.

There is another point that Murray doesn’t make here, but which I cannot imagine him differing with. While these authors made a cultural mess by weaving their lies, it has to be said that the reading public at this time was in a mood to be lied to.

As Murray shows in the last chapter, there is no hope apart from Christ. But Christ — He who is raised to life and seated at the right hand of the Father — must be manifested as alive in the worship, preaching, lives, and stories of genuine believers. Murray tells the story of an actor who was once asked why people would rather go a theater than to a church. He replied that it was because actors portrayed fiction as though it were a fact, while in church they portray fact as though it were fiction.

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