Thanksgiving Leftovers

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In the aftermath of our blowout holidays, it is not uncommon to survey something of a culinary debris field—half-finished pies, cold turkey, a measuring cup full of gravy, half a pan of rolls, and you know. In order to finish up right, you have to take care of a bunch of different things at one go. Leftovers are an important part of the celebration.

There is a similar challenge we have with November, a season that is rapidly becoming something of a Reformed Festivus, in which we conservatives air our culture warrior grievances. But of course, we only do so in a manner consistent with the sermon outline posted right before this NQN installment.

Now what has happened to our November proceedings is that our ruling elites have started to beclown themselves at a pace that is pretty hard to keep up with. What are we to do? No Quarter April? Until we figure something out, the approach taken below will have to do. I say all of this by way of simple introduction. Today’s installment is going to address an array of issues, as sort of an NQN leftover table. Some of it, like revenge, is best served cold. Enjoy. After that, assured we have gotten most everything on the record that we needed to, there will be final NQN installment on Wednesday.

Subsidized Gunk Gremlins

Every single year, a new crop of thirteen-year-olds arrives in our midst. Nothing can be done about this, as the conveyor belt of time has no off-switch. And just as the conveyor belt of time has no off-switch, so also the hormone factories contained within those thirteen-year-olds never shut down either. They are on a wartime production schedule. Those kids have so many hormones going on inside them, they slosh when they walk.

And this is the moment when blinkered and purblind parents, swayed by the reassurances from other blinkered parents at church, decide to give their precious but still very adolescent “hormone-bundle-with-feet” his very own smart phone. The other kids have them, he needs to be able to text when basketball practice is over, they don’t want him to feel like that lone loser kid, and besides, how else is he going to be able to see thousands of naked women before he is fifteen?

These same parents will pay many thousands of dollars for a private, Christian worldview education, and on top of that they are paying for the phone, and so every night, after the work of the Christian school is done, like Penelope unraveling her work. the gunk gremlins come in to destroy everything. The only difference is that Penelope did the work, and then Penelope undid the work . . . actually, no, that’s not a difference.

The parents pay for the Christian school, and the parents pay for the gremlins also. They work both angles, just like Penelope.

Click Bait Whores

One saying attributed to Andy Warhol was that in the future everybody would be world famous for fifteen minutes. This is an interesting sociological observation in its own right, and we should ask all the scholars in our Thinkeries to ponder it a bit more.

But the real action has to do with the psychological implications of this. It used to be a sociological prediction, but it has somehow become a widespread person-by-person expectation, and all the people are anxiously waiting their turn. And some are doing more than simply waiting. The trouble arises with the strivers and the climbers and the yearners, those who will do absolutely anything to get that fifteen, or that might extend their fifteen minutes out to twenty. All the world’s a stage, Shakespeare said, but it took You Tube, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram to provide the means for everyone to clamber onto it for their allotted time.

Some of those who spend their time slandering this Moscow project of ours do so because they are full of bile, and have a lot of time on their hands. Others are calculating ideological enemies, and they circulate slander simply because they find that it is pretty effective. It works, and is nothing personal. They don’t believe it themselves, but they do expect it to work on gullible Christians, who remain plentiful. These marks have not yet realized that lying is a serious sin on both ends, both in the telling and the hearing (Prov. 17:4). Their expectation that “it works” is not without warrant, it must be said.

But the true foot soldiers of slander are frequently those who realize that an attachment to Moscow is very likely their Warholian ticket to ride. It is a pretty sure fire way into that fifteen minute spotlight. Move to Moscow with a bundle of problems. Seek counsel for the problems. If someone actually has grievously sinned against you, so much the better—and see the next paragraph for more on that. Don’t follow any of the counsel you receive because that involves humility and work and stuff. Head for the tall grass, somewhat disillusioned. Wait for your problems to catch up with you, which they surely will. Jump on an online platform that will enable you to tell your story. Wait for a call from an investigative journalist who will tell the world that you are stunning and brave. You will remain stunning and brave until that fifteen minute timer goes off, or they are done using you, whichever comes first.

And when a true victim, already mangled by some groomer, steps into this vortex, the stage is set for them to be mangled even further by groomers of a different sort, but every bit as selfish and cynical. They say that some publicity will bring some justice to bear on the sad situation, but what the publicity actually does is distort the record, defame those who tried to help, and drag unwilling family members into the mess. On the positive side of the ledger, those who retweet such things can experience for a time the sensations of virtue, almost comparable to the real thing.

So if an arsonist set fire to your house, the best bet for getting out to twenty minutes is to attack the firemen who came. Don’t bother with the arsonist. He already has an agent, and is more likely to get out to twenty minutes than you are.

Not exactly world famous, but that will have to do until the true moment of destiny arrives.

Democracy, Believing In

John Stott once said that fuzzy thinking was one of the characteristic sins of our age. Nowhere is the truth of this maxim more in evidence than when it comes a near universal faith in democracy. But instead of thinking of democracy as a reasonable mechanism for a large population to make decisions, it has morphed into an ideological faith in an ideal democracy, trusting that if the people just “spoke” it would inevitably lead to good outcomes.

From this blind faith in Ideal Democracy, it was child’s play for the commies then to affirm the consequent, and advance the idea that whatever leads to good outcomes therefore had to be democracy. And because they had in the meantime appointed themselves to be the editors-in-chief of our cultural dictionary, good outcomes were defined as such by them.

Bad outcomes—as when a hurtful candidate wins a straight up election—were then relegated to the status of a “threat to democracy.” Right. The winner of the election was the threat to democracy.

So we live in a time when democracy has been fundamentally redefined. Democracy is, for the left, anything that advances their agenda. Burning down federal buildings is therefore democracy, if it helps the left. Right wing riots are a threat to democracy, as in Ireland, while left wing riots are the voice of the people.

And so it is that winning the majority of the vote fair and square is also a threat to democracy if it impedes their program in any way. Look at the freak out that is happening over the recent elections in Argentina and in the Netherlands. And speaking of freak outs, I would like to ask you to consider what is likely to happen if old Donald J. wins this next time around. Now I recognize that our managers and handlers have declared this to be an impossibility, which doesn’t explain why they are working so hard to get him into a jail cell.

At any rate, if Trump wins, there will be riots in the streets protesting the majority’s assault on the marginalized voices of democracy. Count on it.

Fertility and Economics

The foundational error of the planners and schemers and engineers is that of refusing to budget for surprise. The central planners hate more than a couple of variables, because whenever you get above three variables, their pretensions to omniscience turn a little sickly and blue around the edges. And in a free economy what we are actually dealing with would be trillions of variables—the kind that only the living God can superintend.

Because they don’t deal with surprise, the planners operate with a zero-sum calculus, assuming that if anyone gets a bigger piece of the pie, then that means—by definition—that someone else is getting a smaller piece of the pie, which they define as UNFAIR. This zero sum approach to everything keeps the envy crackling, and also keeps the math simpler.

But this envy-ridden assumption only works because they assume that the pie cannot ever grow. If the pie grows, however, this changes everything. Would you rather have 1% of a million dollars or 50% of ten dollars? The fraction of the former is smaller, and that’s unfair. No, you can’t have paper and a pencil.

Yes, but what does this have to do with babies?

The left hates fertility because babies make the pie grow. And when the pie grows, it complicates their planning, and every new patent refutes their fundamental error every fifteen minutes or so. People are born into the world with two hands and only one mouth, which means that we should stop calling them “consumers.” How about producers. If they are born into a society that recognizes and respects the way God made the world, then people have to be considered to be the ultimate resource. As thinking, innovating, questioning individuals, they introduce the kind of surprises that central planners hate and despise.

Babies are green. More babies are greener. Environmentalists are a fustian brown, and always have been.

Paul Simon’s Significant Error

Paul Simon is to be praised for recognizing that all the crap he learned in high school was indeed crap, and that it was a wonder that he could think at all. Thus far he is to be praised. His significant error was in that follow-up shrug, as least as far as others were concerned. Simon did all right, I suppose, but if we are talking about the rest of the country, the sentiment is radically false—”though my lack of education hasn’t hurt me none . . .” Collapsing educational standards do in fact do a lot of damage. It is just hard to isolate and identify because everything is in slow motion.

It is not possible for a society to abandon the standards of first world education without, at some point, losing their first world status.

Civilizations not only must be built in order to be there at all, they also must be maintained in order to remain there. And the funny thing about deferred maintenance is this . . . after a short while, the mechanism decides all on its own to stop going along with the deferments, and just simply breaks. And it turns out that a competent, well-trained, highly motivated work force cannot just be whistled up when that day arrives.

And so one day it just happens. You are in your seedy little apartment, reading up on your upcoming surgery. You are doing this with great anticipation because you have concluded that you needed something like this to fix all your problems. Because you were 350 pounds and didn’t have any friends, the conclusion followed, as night follows day, that you must be another gender. You are trying to puzzle out why, since there are now scores of genders, the surgeons are only able to offer two. And because their client was already one of those two, they really only can offer one. But then, in the midst of your deep-dive research, you find out that because of a worker shortage, Door Dash won’t deliver your sub sandwiches anymore.

Those who saw the problem coming, and who tried to address the looming crisis beforehand by building a classical Christian school system across the country, one in line with biblical and traditional values, were of course enemies of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and were consequently tagged by you as theofascists and Christian nationalists. There is always something.

And Another Thing

And how did I get this far without mentioning the average Christian kid’s Spotify playlist? And the movies he watches? The ongoing Gramscian rot depends absolutely upon the corruption of morals, and the time to corrupt the morals is when they are young, still taking shape, and vulnerable. Gramsci carves his initials in your kids’ souls when the concrete is still wet.

Free republics are never built by slaves to sin. Decrepit republics are never restored by slaves to sin. Republican institutions cannot exist without republican virtues that are widespread in the populace. And you cannot have those virtues without a widespread acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But once that gospel is received and accepted, it is necessary to walk in a manner worthy of the grace of God that has been extended.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”

Titus 2:11-12 (NKJV)

When kids grow up in the grace of a true Christian home, this is not the enabler of low standards. And if it is not the enabler of low standards, it follows that it is not the enabler of low entertainment standards. Grace is not the co-dependent enabler of sin, but rather the destroyer of sin.

We have gotten to the point where some Christians, ever on the alert, will see grace doing what only grace can do, which is to crucify sin, and they call it legalism. They say we are “not under law, but under grace,” as though grace winks at sin, and law sternly prohibits it. This is not the complete picture, not even close. Law is that which prohibits sin to a slave of sin, thereby condemning him, and grace is that which liberates him from that bondage by liberating him from that sin. Being under law does not mean you don’t sin. It means that you can’t stop sinning, even though the law prohibits it. Being under grace does not mean you get to sin, but rather that you have been freed from having to sin.

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Romans 6:14 (NKJV)

This is what Presbyterian parents promised to understand and pass on to their children when they brought their children to be baptized. If that is not happening, they need to find out what the deal is and address it—by grace through faith. If they say they cannot, because all of this is a grand mystery, and child-rearing a crap shoot, then they should quit arguing with Baptists, and instead join them.

Women & Sports

There is at least one similarity between the Lord’s Supper and sports for your kids, particularly girls—and no, the comparison is not a disrespectful one.

This is a limited comparison, but if approached with the right understanding, there are blessings to be obtained in athletic competition that can be obtained in no other way. And at the same time, approached in a thoughtless or careless or perverted manner, it does far more harm than good (1 Cor. 11:17).

When everything is going swimmingly, this is because the parents have a wise understanding, the school has a wise understanding, and the coach has a wise understanding. That would be a sports program running on all cylinders. Sometimes when the home is a disaster, a good coach can make a dramatic difference in a kid’s life. Other times, when there is a poor coach, wise parents can teach their child some life lessons via their time on the team, and they can throw in some extra lessons about navigating life generally when under foolish authority like, say, the coach.

But if you want your daughter competing in the shot put, or you want her to be a defensive tackle on the boys’ football team, then you don’t know the first thing about any of this, and need to take a seat. A woman’s glory is a feminine glory, and if your daughter’s participation in sports is not helping and equipping her for that role, then you have lost the thread. There should be some sports that are for the boys only (football), and there should be others where the style of play is completely different (lacrosse). Wise coaches and wise parents cut with the creational grain, which means resisting the pressures of the world’s zeitgeist.

If you don’t want your daughter playing volleyball because of all the lesbianism in college athletics, and so you have her playing the violin instead, then you are being oblivious to the moral condition of most colleges of music.

In high school athletics, you are not primarily shaping future professional athletes. You are not even shaping future college athletes. The point of athletics is to shape people who will be living actual lives out in the world. And if your kid is a decent enough athlete to compete successfully in high school, but daydreams of the Big Time have impelled him or her to pursue Division I ball, the price of which is a fourth-rate education at Leviathan State U, even if he makes the team, then what you have done is taken the entire point of participating in athletics at all, and have burned the whole thing to the ground.

But, however wise the parent, team sports create a team culture, and that culture can be quite a bit stronger than the impact of just one families’ influence. As the adage has it, if there are twelve clowns in a circus ring, you can jump down there and start quoting Shakespeare, but to the audience you are just the thirteenth clown. There are certain team cultures where the game would not be worth the candle. But there are other marginal team cultures where a student athlete is actually being given the opportunity to step up and lead. Everything depends.

There are just a few principles to remember. Boys are not girls, and coaches and parents need to remember that. There are certain lessons that can be learned on a field that cannot be learned in a classroom, or from a book. The point of athletics is not promotion into future athletics—a program can achieve all of its goals even if only three alums go on to play college ball, and no one makes it into the pros.

Kvelling in Conclusion

The normal drill for NQN is that I provide no qualifications. You all know this. Whereas during other seasons of the year I usually embed a second paragraph filled with qualifiers to give my adversaries something to ignore, in the course of November I charitably do that work for them, and ignore all such qualifications myself. Now normally a qualification would take the form of saying something like, “Now please don’t understand my argument as saying that all Swedes are sociopaths because nothing could be further from my intention.”

But qualifications can be attached to positive statements also, as when I am about to say something that reflects well on, say, a family member. Under normal circumstance, it is important to say something like this: “All of this is entirely by the grace of God, and for which we give Him all the praise, but our third-grade granddaughter’s first novel has been shortlisted for the Newbery.” Under normal circumstances, I make sure to say soli Deo gloria about such things, which of course runs the risk of sounding like the Pharisee of the Lord’s parable, praying in the temple that way. Even with qualifications, the thing is risky.

But this is November, and I have something to say about the women in my family, and so it creates something of a dilemma. But I have resolved upon the plan, and I will keep my resolve. Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.

Things have progressed to the point where our adversaries are making a point of dragging our womenfolk into the melee, and of course the point they are trying to underscore is that I am a misogynistic purveyor of barrel-proof patriarchy. Yes, of course, but can we at least grant that, if this is the case, I am very, very bad at it? We have only one high-performance Jew among them, and the rest are high-performance Gentiles, and we all scarcely know how to keep up with even looking at what they do. Raising stellar kids, writing textbooks, making extraordinary sabbath dinners, writing regular books, considering a field to buy it, teaching seminars, being a merchant ship that brings goods from Spokane, running successful podcasts, featuring in documentaries and, of course, making spanking great again. Speaking somewhat frankly, I rate myself as the worst misogynist ever.

Feminism is a perverse doctrine, like a snake eating its own tail. They began with first rate women, and decided in the grip of an egalitarian fever to transform them into first-rate men, which resulted in a major crop of fourth-rate women. This in turn inspired the men to slouch down into becoming third-rate men, which gave the women even more to complain about, and so life between the sexes continued to circle the drain. But you really want to know where the first-rate women are, they do still exist, but they are all over here. Our churches are full of them. You should stop calling them names, and take some notes.

Relentless Giveaways!

November 27th-Dec 1:
Angels in the Architecture by Doug & Doug

Get the Angels in the Architecture kindle free and listen to the audiobook free on Canon+. Stay notified of everything we’re giving away at own NQN flamethrower preorder closes Nov 30th: The giveaway is over, but you can preorder a NQN-branded flamethrower for yourself through the end of November (no, we’re not kidding).

And the Mablog giveaway this week is . . .