Red Queen Rising

I don't know what you mean by your way, all the ways about here belong to me.

After all those unpleasant choking sounds and the consequent demise of our constitutional republic, we are just a short way into the reign of our dear queen, the red one out of Alice. Her principal talent lies in her ability simply to insist on arbitrary authority, with no logic whatever to back it up. So in just the space of a few short weeks, Bruce Jenner identified as a woman, Rachel Dolezal identified as black, and I identified as svelte. Consider the possibilities before us! Okay, let us treat this thing for what it is -- an intellectually crippled attempt to build the Übermensch. This New Future Man has forearms that look like they came right out of 1930's Stalinist agricultural art, the better to pound you with, and a forehead that appears to be made of brass three inches thick, the better to not think very hard with. Allow me to cite one example before proceeding to some other words of sunshiny encouragement. Here is one tenet of the worldview that is being crammed … [Read more...]

7 Follow-On Thoughts to Crimson Carnage

There was a time when it took political courage to stand up to the Klan.

Occasionally something I write slips the leash and I have to spend a couple hours looking for it. That was the case here and so I thought it necessary to add a few follow-on thoughts. 1. Bryan Loritts said this on Twitter about my article: "@douglaswils blog is like using a eulogy to preach on evils of smoking to kids of the dad who died of lung cancer." He then linked to my Crimson Carnage article, but not to this one, or this one. In the first of these posts, I had explained why I was reluctant to say anything about whether the flag should stay up or down. I said: "It is unseemly to politicize these horrors when the families are still weeping. Whether the issue is gun control or something else, whenever a hard sell comes in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, the only thing it makes me want to do is wonder at how boorish some people can be." So let us make the illustration a bit more apt, shall we? I am the crazy uncle attending the funeral of a man who died of lung cancer, … [Read more...]

An Oddball Gallery of Flags

Here is the old Georgia flag, which was changed in 2001.

A couple posts ago, I wrote about why I was not going to say anything about South Carolina taking down their Confederate battle flag at their capitol building. Some mistook my point and jeered at the fact that I had a good deal to say about other stuff. But the other stuff was relevant, and I did not in fact demand that South Carolina #TakeItDown -- or leave it up for that matter. While I actually believe that a time might come when the flag should in fact come down, it should not be in response to hard pressure, soft logic, and a lot of yelling. So I put together a small visual gallery to make my point that this image is not about racism simpliciter. If you will bear with these little tongue-in-cheek examples, we will reserve a more serious statement for another time.   … [Read more...]

Jeb! Taken Another Way

Sorry, kid. Your dad is a criminal, and so we have given you the sentence instead.

I watched an extensive interview with Jeb Bush the other night, and tracked with quite a bit of what I was hearing. On my list of candidates in the Republican primary, he has not yet been crossed off my list of potentials I could possibly vote for -- for various reasons I will no doubt be called upon to explain later. But that is for another time. That said, I want to take him to task for a basic blunder that usually goes unremarked when pro-life candidates commit it, as he certainly did. It was only not a gaffe because no one ever treats it like one. I am talking about the "rape, incest, and life of the mother" question. The pro-aborts always kick every abortion question over to the woman and her doctor. Educated pro-lifers notice the discrepancy, but want to leave well enough alone because the candidate in question at least promises to stop the "at-will" slaughter. The problem is not this exception treated as part of a pro-life incrementalism. The carnage is still atrocious, … [Read more...]

That’s Trump Change, Not Chump Change

So Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for president, which reminded me of a story. A guy has a flat tire and, as it happened, it was right outside the grounds of a mental hospital. He was changing the tire, and enough things went wrong in the course of the operation that a small crowd gathered inside the fence in order to watch him and listen to him cuss. The crowning problem was that after he had the tire off he accidentally kicked the hubcap that had the loose lugnuts in it, and they all fell down the grate of a nearby culvert. Another round of cussing happened, and the motorist began to stomp off angrily toward town for some help. His cell phone had died, which was one of the earlier problems. One of the inmates yelled out after him, "Hey! Why don't you just take one lug nut off each of the other tires, and drive it into town with three on each tire?" The motorist stopped, thought about it, and said, "That's a good idea." So he proceeded to do just that, and everything … [Read more...]

Copping a Plea

So we need to spend some time talking about the police, about police misbehavior and brutality, and about the hard partisan line taken by some who rant against the cops on Facebook. Let's talk policy first, and justice second. As a matter of law and policy, I believe that citizens should be absolutely free to take video of police doing their jobs, I believe that cops themselves should be wired up with body cams, I believe that cops should write tickets for the sake of traffic safety and not for municipal revenue, I am against militarizing our police forces, I am against deploying SWAT teams because of an overdue library book, and no knock raids in the middle of the night at the wrong house are perfectly appalling. When police misbehavior occurs, I am in favor of stiff penalties and hard prosecutors. Nothing that follows is coming from a "cops-can-do-no-wrong" perspective. With my sanity credentials thus in order, let me divide opponents of police misbehavior into two categories … [Read more...]

Renewing the Patriot Farce

Big Brother

This weekend will determine whether or not the metadata collection of the Patriot Act will be renewed. I do not wish to speak to this as any kind of insider, for I clearly am not. Rather I think we all ought to step back and take a look at this from fifty yards away. Let us take an honest look at our corruptocracy, and let us do it from downwind. Let us do this having read the arguments that our Founders appealed to when they first established our liberties. Defenders of metadata collection say that it is necessary in order to protect our liberty from terrorists, and besides, no evidence exists that such collections have ever been abused in any way. The federal government is like some porch climbing burglar who thinks we are crazy to be worried about them pilfering the yellow house on the corner because why? Because all the controversy concerns the brown house and the red house on either side. We haven't even thought about the yellow house. So the metadata has not yet been … [Read more...]

The After Deck of the Pirate Ship

Whenever I write on things like liberty and taxes, it is easy for some to try to stuff me into the wrong box. And upon my making this objection, some might expect me to go on to say that I hate labels. But actually I love labels, which are the precondition of all honest discourse. Con artists hate labels. But the label should be accurate. I am no anarchist, and I actually am in favor of both liberty and taxes. I'm against parodies of either, and because these parodies are currently dominating the landscape, they are the problem which must be addressed. The parody of liberty is found in the libertarian image of the fornicating pot smoker – but you can get high and get laid in a 6' x 8' prison cell. There is one who defiantly cries out that he wants more liberty – so that he can enslave himself ever more tightly in chains he has forged himself. But no tyrant has ever been successfully resisted by cluster of lotus eaters, however big the cluster might be. Virtuous people cannot be … [Read more...]

Three Senators and a Leper

One of our great cultural problems today is that Christians do not understand civics. And by civics, I do not mean the "how a bill becomes a law" kind of civics, but rather I refer to our very common misunderstanding of the true nature of our appointed government. We have a particular form of government de jure, laid out for us in the Constitution, and we have another, very different, form of government, de facto, sitting atop Lady Liberty, strangling her to death. Too many Christians, not wanting trouble, just blithely assume that whatever the Feds are doing is "more or less" in accord with the Constitution. There may be encroachments here or there, they think, but in the main things are okay. They further believe that our duty outlined for us in Romans 13 requires us not to look too closely at it. Actually, it is the reverse. Our responsibility is found in Romans 13, but it requires us to look at this far more closely than we are accustomed to do. It is not the case that the … [Read more...]

Ukraine #5

So as I wrap up my discussion of issues surrounding Ukraine, I want to do three things, which I will take in the standard order of 1,2,and 3. First I want to provide a handful of links (from various sane perspectives) to help illustrate how much this is like trying to unscramble a pan full of eggs. My paramount concern, as I have already mentioned, has to do with the plight of fellow Protestants in Ukraine -- as this short piece illustrates well. Crimea presents some unique tangles, as my friend Peter Hitchens points out. Alexander Motyl gives a critique of the "realist" understanding of Russian/Ukrainian geopolitics here. And Timothy Snyder takes the discussion way back. Second, the question that many have wanted me to get to is what I think we should do about all this. How does this cash out? The simple part concerns what I would not do. I do not believe that we should commit American troops to any conflict like this. I am not an isolationist, but I believe that any … [Read more...]

Ukraine #4

Please allow me just one more set of background observations before I say what I think ought to be done in Ukraine. When we teach math to kids, we are not training future mathematicians, although some will wind up there. We are training future grocers, carpenters, housewives, etc. We want what they learn about math to be consistent with what the future mathematicians will eventually learn, but it need not be anything like so complicated. When we teach history to kids, we are not training up future historians. We are educating Christian kids to be faithful citizens in the country where God has placed them. God wants them here, and God wants them to honor their father and mother. As a third grader honors his fathers and mothers, there is no way to keep this from being "simplified" and coming across to academic historians as yet another instance of "monocausality." Fine, but monocausality shows up in biblical histories. Why did Herod get eaten by worms? And at the same time, … [Read more...]

Ukraine #3

We have already noted how complicated things in Ukraine are, and I trust I have cast suspicion on any approach that wants to reduce everything to clear and simple (and therefore ideological) talking points. To the extent we are involved in this kind of thing at all, our chief job is to stay out of the current pending disaster, and possibly the one right after that. Our first task is not to set up shop to redress grievances going back to the 1300's. We are not competent to untangle that skein of yarn, and this is why we need a Day of Judgment, with a more competent Judge than anything the Security Council could ever have. Our task is more simple, which is to keep things from spiraling out of control now. In the medieval period, the Church attempted to restrain the constant violence by means of the Pax Dei and Treuga Dei (the peace of God and the truce of God respectively). The former attempted to establish a permanent set of "off limits" regulations, while the latter restrictions … [Read more...]

Ukraine #2

Back in the old days, when Americanism was more robust than it is now, it used to be said that "politics stops at the water's edge." What this was supposed to mean is that our domestic disagreements paled in comparison to whatever it was the Nazis were doing. Now there was a time when this was at least plausible, whether or not it was correct. When there was, or seemed to be, a more cohesive cultural unity tying us all together domestically, it was easier to present a united front to the world, and it was easier to get Americans to all pull together in order to do so. But at home that cohesive cultural unity is now long gone, and it is taking conservative Christians some time to recognize that it is long gone overseas as well. In short, if Obama is creating so much wreckage here at home, as we all recognize, then why should we believe that he is somehow spreading sweetness and light abroad? If Hillary is as corrupt elsewhere as she is here, then we have every reason to believe her … [Read more...]

Ukraine #1

In the past, I have made passing references to Ukraine, and those references have made clear my distaste for Putin's brand of Russian adventurism, along with my sympathies for Ukraine, stuck as they are with us on their side, us being such a hapless chump of a superpower. For example, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had a bunch of nukes. We talked them into surrendering those nukes in exchange for us guaranteeing their borders. They were stupid enough to believe us, so it is partly their fault I guess. But this promises to descend into the particulars too quickly. I do want to get there in subsequent installments, but first I want to make some distinctions between two different kinds of political issues. There are the "do triangles have three sides?" issues, and there are the "did Smith shoot Murphy on the night of the 13th?" issues. Whether minimum wage laws are a good idea is the former kind of issue, and who should own the Crimea is the latter … [Read more...]

And Now a Brief Word on Vaccines

Someone with a loathing of guns can certainly refuse to have one in his home. And if he lives in a part of town that is otherwise heavily armed, his home can enjoy the same kind of safety from burglars as do the armed ones. Such is the nature of the world. One of the reasons why we are even able to have a debate about vaccines is that vaccines have been so successful. The gunless fellow is certainly free to claim that his house is left alone because of the good vibes put out by his multi-colored wind chimes. We all think that's cute, and are glad we live in a free country where there are guys like that. But the analogy breaks down with something like whooping cough. That's not so cute. Now I do have views on the efficacy of vaccines, but I want to address another element of this -- the idea that even if they were effective, a requirement that everyone get vaccinated is necessarily statist and tyrannical. Why isn't this a matter of personal choice and conviction? The answer is … [Read more...]