You are here

An email I sent to

An email I sent to Carrier Air-Conditioning Corporation:

Gentlemen:

I understand that Carrier Air-Conditioning Corporation has stopped funding the Boy Scouts because of BSA policy on homosexual leaders.

I consider that a very serious mistake, and in fact a gross violation of the respect for diversity that is no doubt intended. If “diversity” doesn’t include acceptance of people who believe that youth leaders should be held to a moral standard, and that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, what can it amount to?

Moral opposition to homosexual conduct is widespread and deeply rooted worldwide. It has been shared by eminent philosophers and religious thinkers, and by many intelligent, well-informed and thoughtful people today. “Diversity” that excludes such people is no diversity at all, it’s dictatorship.

In addition, the current scandals in the Catholic Church, which mostly have to do with homosexual priests who prey on teenage boys, emphasize the need to put safety first in situations in which vulnerable youth are entrusted to adults. The Boy Scouts does so, even though it has found there is a price. They deserve support.

In view of these considerations, I hope that you will reconsider your decision.

Sincerely,

James Kalb

What triggered the email was a notification I received from some people called “grassfire.net” who are organizing support for the Boy Scouts. They have a petition I would urge anyone to sign. When you go to the page you can sign other petitions and get put on various lists if you want.

Share/Save

More on those horrible crusaders:

More on those horrible crusaders: The Real History of the Crusades.

The PC version is so bizarre: the Muslims conquered the Christian Middle East, Christian Egypt, Christian North Africa, Christian Spain, Christian Asia Minor and the Christian Balkans. They invaded France, raided throughout the Mediterranean, and as recently as 1683 besieged Vienna. And a short-lived Christian counterattack 900 years ago demonstrates the wickedness and intolerance of the Christian West.

Share/Save

Is it universal that men

Is it universal that men accuse others of their own offenses? Whatever is true in general, the failing is demanded by modern PC liberalism. If you’re a moral skeptic who defines the good as equality and inclusiveness, because in the absence of legitimate grounds for making distinctions hatred and oppression are the only possible motives for drawing lines, then you’ll judge those who do so as either ignorant or, if they resist re-education, willfully evil. The greatest tolerance thus calls for the greatest intolerance.

Something of the sort is at work in the Carroll book discussed a couple of posts ago, at least as the book was described to me. Another example is the European reaction to Le Pen. With anti-Le Pen rioters in the street and something not far short of a riot in the European Parliament, Chirac denounces Le Pen as a violent extremist, and in the name of openness and tolerance refuses to debate him.

Share/Save

Speaking of the accusations regarding

Speaking of the accusations regarding the conduct of Pius XII during the Second World War, here’s an interesting link on a recent academic conference in which James Carroll and others participated.

Share/Save

I had a talk yesterday

I had a talk yesterday with a friend about James Carroll’s book The Sword of Constantine. I hadn’t read it. The recent anti-Catholic books by Carroll, Cornwell, Goldhagen, Wills and so on strike me as mostly hate literature. They may be important in a sense, because they’re part of a movement, but individually they don’t much matter. Or such has been my impression.

Still, it appears that Carroll’s book is of some interest, at least as an example, because for 800 pages it repeats the same form of argument, essentially:

  1. Christianity exists.
  2. To exist is to assert something as opposed to something else, and in the case of Christianity the “something else” is Judaism.
  3. Since there is no truth, and all assertions are groundless expressions of the will to power, and their only possible content is negation of the thing to which they oppose themselves, the essence of Christianity is necessarily antisemitism—groundless aggression against Judaism.
  4. Christianity can claim to be good only to the extent it claims Judaism is bad. So e.g. to claim Christ is God is to claim the Jew is the Devil.
  5. Therefore, if you say “I like the Gospel” what you’re really saying is “Auschwitz was a good idea and we ought to do it again.”

Since I haven’t read the book, I don’t know how closely Carroll actually holds to this line of thought. Some of the quotes my friend read to me over the phone did sound pretty extreme. Still, it seems to me something of this logic is implicit in a lot of present-day liberalism and in particular a lot of the discussion of Christian conflicts with Jews.

There’s a metaphysical notion floating around that to exist is to engage in groundless aggression and so to incur guilt. The alternative is the view that God created the world and called it good. From the standpoint of the former view the latter is really a sort of self-satisfied Naziism. Hence the tone of current anti-Catholic polemics.

Share/Save

Additional thoughts on “gay marriage”

Additional thoughts on “gay marriage” provoked by a discussion I started, in connection with the Rauch piece, in the Atlantic discussion forum on Politics and Society:

Share/Save

Current wisdom suggests that

Current wisdom suggests that if right-wingers like marriage so much it’s really stupid of them to object to “gay marriage.” After all, shouldn’t long-term commitments be encouraged by respect, ceremony, and the web of custom and observance that has gathered around marriage? Isn’t that sort of thing the essence of social conservatism?

No doubt it would be if social conservatism were a sort of social engineering with no use for human nature and a firm conviction that it can make anything so by pronouncing the proper words. Custom and culture do not hang in the air, however, without reference to nature. The reason marriage is marriage is that it has a natural function, the union of a man and woman for procreation and the rearing of children. That is a function necessary to society, so people support it. It immoveably demands long term loyal cooperation, so the habits and attitudes that developed in connection with it promote those things.

Take the function away, which is what the expansion of marriage to same-sex relationships would do, and there’s no reason why the the same habits and attitudes would remain. The standard would become one of personal fulfillment, which is no standard at all. So “gay marriage” would in the end be no benefit to homosexuals who see it as a check to hedonism. Rather, it would complete the process that has been turning marriage itself into just another expression of the universal right of self-expression.

Share/Save

Vatican II has certainly

Vatican II has certainly worked out badly, although the documents are much more limited than what they led to. What happened was natural. An ecumenical council is an extreme measure, so if there’s no fundamental dispute to resolve, why have one?

Share/Save

The reason classical liberalism

The reason classical liberalism looks better than contemporary liberalism is that it existed within a system of unspoken presumptions that kept freedom, tolerance and so on from becoming the operative final standards for the political system. The liberal standard of justice, equal freedom, had not yet forbidden public recognition of substantive goods like virtue and religion, which some people and parts of society take to more readily than others and so are hard to square in the long run with the liberal standard.

The effect was to liberalize the substantive goods—to let people hold to them in a more flexible and adaptable way—without destroying them. That was pleasant and seemed to realize the best of both worlds. That system lasted longest in the Anglo-Saxon countries. The inhabitants of those countries habitually ignore issues and refuse to draw conclusions, and as a result have routinely been accused of stupidity, hypocrisy, philistinism and so on. The accusations may have been true, but those qualities had their benefits. In the end though the logic of equal freedom conquered all—it was impossible to find anything to oppose it within liberalism—and led to what we have now.

Share/Save

The Europeans are terribly

The Europeans are terribly upset that an “extreme rightist” got 17% of the vote. They’ve had a lot of upsets lately. A couple of days ago it was the massacres they claimed (on very little evidence) had taken place at Jenin.

Paranoids find the world alarming but so do people who try to maintain a system of unreality. The Europeans are convinced that everything can be managed—all you do is put the right people in charge and keep everyone else quiet with bribes, amusements, and a comprehensive system of supervision. When that doesn’t seem to work, as in the Middle East, they get upset and blame it all on whoever involved looks like an adult. And when someone suggests there are aspects of public life, like culture or ethnicity, that can’t be reduced to a rational administrative system, they go berserk. It’s an attack on the foundations of their world.

Share/Save

Liberal openness

There’s something admirable in a liberal outlook that maintains interest in new ideas and sympathy with other ways of life. It shows an awareness that the world is bigger than what we think about the world, which is all to the good. It’s not an outlook that can be turned into a final standard, though, since it would lose all definition and become useless. Any answer it gave would have to include the proviso that every other available answer is most likely at least as good, or at least there’s no reason to think otherwise.

Share/Save

I’ve been reading Plutarch

I’ve been reading Plutarch lately, in the Dryden translation. 10 years ago he bored me, now I think he’s wonderful.

He’s a cultivated and broadminded moralist who knows men and affairs. Already that sounds dull, I’m afraid. I don’t think people read him much today although Harry Truman liked him.

Share/Save

Why care about copyright

Why care about copyright anyway? It’s a dry topic, but in a world of mass media and computers it’s an absolutely fundamental issue.

Share/Save

There’s something odd about

There’s something odd about intellectual property. Rules are necessary to prevent conflict in the case of tangible property but not intellectual property. So unlike other kinds of property, which would be found in almost any society, patent and copyright are visibly things we made up. The phrasing of the U.S. Constitution reflects the situation: Congress is empowered “[t]o promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”.

Share/Save

A “professional liturgist” is

A “professional liturgist” is somewhere between a “professional writer of love letters” and a “professional composer of sacred scripture.” There’s no such thing, and if someone claims to be one it demonstrates he has no idea what he’s talking about.

Share/Save

I went to a

I went to a Latin mass here in Brooklyn today, so far as I know the only one celebrated in the borough. I liked it very much, and will continue to attend.

One reason is that the traditional mass is not specially about the priest or the congregation, it’s about God, the saints, the church everywhere and always, and only then about those particular people who happen to be present and would like to be part of the picture.

The priest’s role is entirely formal. From the standpoint of someone who until recently attended a church in a thoroughly corrupt Episcopal diocese that just had two insane rectors in a row, that’s a huge benefit. In the traditional mass it becomes unimportant who the priest or the bishop or your fellow worshippers are—the visible participants and what they do is the least important part of what’s going on. I can’t help but think that approach stands up better than the current notion of liturgy as mainly a communal celebration.

Share/Save

Why the obfuscation?

An oddity of the coverage of the current sex scandals in the Catholic Church is the persistent use of the term “pedophilia” for homosexual predation that involves adolescents and young men rather than children.

Another is the mantra that homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals. If that’s so why is there no North American Man-Girl Love Association? A footnoted study by the National Association for a Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) covers what I think are the basic points:

Share/Save

Now that I have

Now that I have a blog, I decided to look around and see what was out there. It’s not a random collection of views. So far as I can tell, most of the prominent blogs (vpostrel.com, andrewsullivan.com, The Instapundit) are libertarian or at least have sympathies in that direction—fiscally conservative, less government regulation, socially liberal.

Why is that? I suppose in part it’s the general tendency of net political discussions toward libertarianism. On the internet people who like technology and the idea of spontaneous order have always led the way. Also, libertarianism has a wonderful way of giving provocative and very clear answers instantly to almost any question. A traditionalist or even Marxist instapundit is almost unimaginable. The web is a setting in which stimulating brightly colored fragments that can be taken in immediately without reference to context are at a premium. Hence what we see.

Share/Save

An oddity of the

An oddity of the coverage of the current sex scandals in the Catholic Church is the persistent use of the term “pedophilia” for homosexual predation that involves adolescents and young men rather than children.

Another is the mantra that homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals. If that’s so why is there no North American Man-Girl Love Association? There’s a footnoted study by NARTH that covers what I think are the basic points:

Gay advocates correctly state that most child molesters are heterosexual males. But this is a misleading statement. In proportion to their numbers (about 1 out of 36 men), homosexual males are more likely to engage in sex with minors: in fact, they appear to be three times more likely than straight men to engage in adult-child sexual relations (footnote). And this does not take into account the cases of homosexual child abuse which are unreported. NARTH’s Executive Director Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, for example, says that about one-third of his 400 adult homosexual clients said they had experienced some form of homosexual abuse before the age of consent, but only two of those cases had been reported.

While no more than 2% of male adults are homosexual, some studies indicate that approximately 35% of pedophiles are homosexual (footnote). Further, since homosexual pedophiles victimize far more children than do heterosexual pedophiles (footnote), it is estimated that approximately 80% of pedophilic victims are boys who have been molested by adult males (footnote).

So it appears once again that media sympathies, pressure groups and political correctness are uniting to keep the obvious off the public stage.

Share/Save

Off to the races!

Off to the races!

A problem with being a right-winger is that we’re constantly being drenched in what we reject. The media and experts are always with us, and on the whole they’re on the left. They like centralized rational solutions—the media want to tell a story that applies to everything and has a punchline, and experts like arrangements that make expertise important. It’s hard to see what will change that.

So we right-wingers are always having to edit, supplement and reformat the things we’re presented with. That of course is healthy mental exercise, but one man can’t do it all. So whatever any of us can do, it seems to me he should share.

Hence this weblog. Every day I’ll be adding comments on passing events, links worth pursuing, grand speculations—whatever seems interesting. The exposure should at least keep me on my toes, and if anyone finds something of interest that will be all to the good.

Share/Save

Pages

Subscribe to Turnabout RSS