Wednesday, July 01, 2015


Remember when King v. Burwell came down, and conservatives cried blackmail? Actually it's gotten to the point where every time Roberts rules against them, conservatives assume it's blackmail.

Well, today I saw this from the Ole Perfesser Instapundit:
JESSE WALKER: Whatever Happened To Jim Webb? The populist Democrat and his barely-visible campaign. At a guess, Hillary’s got some dirt on him.
I know the Clintons are rich, but I'd advise Hillary to start a little higher up the Enemies List if she's going start blackmailing people. Why waste perfectly good Clinton Crime Family blood money on Jim Webb?

I think I'm pretty cynical, but if I started seeing the world this way I'd have myself committed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


How goes the rear-guard, dead-ender attack on gay marriage? Hilariously! Have a look at this symposium at Opus Dei strokebook First Things featuring the Douthats of Tomorrow. Say what you will about snake-handlers and desert mystics, there's no crazier Christian than than Christian intellectual; they dress  like Chesterton and talk like the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne. All the symposiasts  want to see overturned (or, in Scaliaese, o'erturned) not only Obergefell but also America's sexual freedoms in general. Some have interesting ideas as to how to achieve this. Hadley Arkes, who like many of his compatriots compares Obergefell to the Dred Scott decision (because having to live in a world with married gays is the same as slavery), suggests this: must start with the voice that rings out the depth of the wrong and summons the resistance—that “this shall not stand.” We will learn here right away, from the reactions springing from our political class, just who among our political figures may be up the task and adequate to the moment. But it may not be a man in office, or someone running for anything. Rick Santelli, emitting a cri de coeur on CNBC, triggered the coming of the Tea Party movement. A Robert George, with the attention properly focused, might accomplish the same thing.
A Tea Party, only anti-gay! Presumably instead of tricorners and knee-breeches, they'll all dress in Eldridge Cleaver codpiece pants and other affectations of extreme butchness. And with Robert George as their inspirator! This would be the same Robert George who's been wowing the West for years with his rap about how "masturbatory, sodomitical, and other sexual acts which are not reproductive in type, cannot unite persons organically" and other such keep-it-in-your-pants perorations. Put him out on the town square with a bullhorn and watch the next Great Aweakening unfold. (Arkes also calls for a Constitutional Convention, which should go about as well as that schtick always does.)

Some are enraged by the brands who waved their rainbow flags for the decision, and want a holy boycott. Mark Bauerlein:
It’s time for conservatives to apply principles to their purses. Coca-Cola, ESPN, and Walmart are prominent cases of corporate culture warfare, and every time a conservative buys a Coke, watches SportsCenter, or enters the megastore, he helps them do their damage.
I can see the faces of Bauerlein's readers falling, then their wheels turning: Maybe they can drink Coke on the down-low.
No conservative likes to turn his consumption into a political act...
Ha ha -- no conservative, he says! Someone buy that cowboy some Chik-fil-A! Peter J. Leithart wants the brethren to cease with the happy-clappy love-one-another bogus Christianity and cut to the chaste:
And we might as well say it plainly: We oppose gay marriage because we believe homosexual acts are sinful, and we believe that for biblical and theological reasons. Unbelievers already know it. Let’s admit it.
Noted! Rabbi David Novak suggests they "stop co-officiating (i.e., along with the marriage license clerk) at civil weddings, and thus remove their names from the civil marriage registry" -- which is actually sensible, and so will probably not catch on, as his comrades seem to think that when a single God-botherer doesn't like a party it's the party that should leave, not him.

Some of them reach back to root causes, none further than Ephraim Radner, who has half decided that democracy itself is inconsistent with his religion:
Second, the vitality and moral usefulness of the liberal state is increasingly in question: has this form of rule by procedural decision-making served its purpose and collapsed under the weight of its own outsized reach? We are perhaps about to enter times of political revolution and re-inventing government analogous to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Maybe he can mob up with ISIS; really, what's for them to wrangle over except the name of God? Melinda Selmys, meanwhile, blames it all on the disastrous abandonment of arranged marriages. Once upon a time, there was forced marriage for the godly stuff, and "concubinage" for funsies:
The difficulty that presents traditional marriage in the modern world is that over several centuries we’ve undergone a major social shift. The keeping of mistresses or concubines stopped being socially acceptable at about the same time that the idea of “marrying for love” first started to gain traction in the public imagination. The institution of marriage began to change: the focus slowly shifted from the creation of family alliances and provision for the continuation of the line, to the happiness of the couple and the love that they have for one another. In the process, a lot of other concepts (consent, for example) also shifted. The relationship in which people joined their lives on a permanent basis in order to have children became, at the same time, the relationship in which people enjoyed intense erotic attraction and emotionally satisfying interactions.
Now, in a lot of ways this was a good development...
Marrying for love isn't all bad! See, she's meeting you halfway. But:
...Simply put, mutual responsibility towards offspring naturally demands a long-term commitment (at least eighteen years) while mutual attraction and erotic desire does not... The battle over the institution of marriage is basically a battle over which of these two purposes of marriage ought to have primacy.
So if you're not as sexually voracious as you were when you were 20, Selmys doesn't see why you stay in your otherwise meaningless modern marriage. Well, she might win a convert or two among unhappily-marrieds looking for a loophole.

But above all, whining -- always whining. "We have entered Canaan and been swallowed up before Moloch in the same way that Israel was enveloped by a surrounding religion of idolatrous violence," cries Radner. "On the bright side, we’ve entered an era that will make for some of the bravest Christians we’ve ever seen," consoles Mark Regnerus; we will see them huddled in the food courts, enduring the sight of men holding hands. Patrick Deneen compares himself and his buds to Solzhenitsyn, and wails:
What has been most striking all along is not the division, the passion, at times the vitriol. What has been most remarkable is the insistence by same-sex marriage proponents that all dissent be silenced—whether through threats of economic destruction, legal bludgeoning, and now, increasingly by appeal to the raw power of the State.
Did they have a straight Holocaust and I missed it?
The firing of Brendan Eich was a bellwether for what has now become a commonplace: the fanatical insistence that all opposition be squelched, and more—that even belief in an alternative view of marriage be eradicated.
Ah, Brendan Eich -- the rich CEO dismissed by his rich Board of Directors, and therefore a martyr (in fact Rod Dreher -- yeah, they couldn't have this party without him -- declares "We are all Brendan Eich now." I wish! I could probably live on his pool fees).  You know, if one of these Jesus freaks got as upset when, say, a minimum-wage worker got fired for talking to the Washington Post about her shitty job, maybe people would take them a little more seriously.

I'm tempted to say it wouldn't be half bad if an actual Gay Gulag appeared for them to be sent off to, but you can't even joke like that around these guys -- in an hour it'll be added to their list of oppressions. I'll say this for them -- their persecution mania is so intense it almost overpowers the smell of their gay-hate. Say, maybe that's the idea!

UPDATE. Had to gender-correct a pronoun for Hadley Arkes because the gay oppressors forced her to have a sex change. (No, actually he was always a man from what I know.) Also comments are so fun you should just dive in. For example, John Wesley Hardin reveals the revolutionary agenda: "'Taste the Rainbow' is now a diktat from our fabulous cultural commissars!" And there's this cautionary tale from Jay B.: "First they came for flowers and I said 'Since when did fags like flowers?' Then they came for the cake and I said 'Pastries are sacred.' Then there was no one to have cake and flowers with me." I think he speaks for us all.

Monday, June 29, 2015


At the seething cauldron of post-gay-marriage panic that is Power Line, Paul Mirengoff has a theory, important enough to be expounded in not one but two posts. How could a court with all these Reagan-Bush appointees so disappoint Mirengoff as this one did? For one thing,
It’s commonly acknowledged that the trajectory for young men is to move to the right as they begin to assume the responsibilities of adulthood, including paying mortgages and helping to support and raise children.
But Supreme Court Justices are almost always past age 50 when they are appointed. By then, the children are, or soon will be, raised; the mortgage has, or soon will be, paid off; and the Justices are looking forward to grandchildren.
These developments shouldn’t drive anyone to the left, but I believe the aging process itself often does. Why? Because conservatism, especially conservative judging, is predicated on the absence of a certain kind of sentimentality (I say “certain kind” because there is a sense in which the main strand of conservatism is quite sentimental). It is predicated on not letting “feelings” dominate the decision-making process...
Let me see if I'm getting this: Men get more rightwing as they age, except for some of them, who grow childish-foolish and want to be nice like the Bird Lady in Mary Poppins. But why would lawyers, of all people, be the ones to go "sentimental"? Anyway:
The same-sex marriage opinions illustrate the point. Justice Kennedy’s opinion overflows with sentiment. It is sappy. (Kennedy’s sentiments, by the way, are in line with those of Mr. Conservative, Barry Goldwater, the classic example of a conservative who moved leftward in his advanced years).
Yeah, Goldwater's gay rights stand wasn't a natural outgrowth of his libertarianism, it was just senile dementia... Hey, wait a minute, Goldwater was never a lawyer. Why didn't he get more conservative?
...The Obamacare cases also were arguably influenced by age. Forget about what Justice Scalia calls the the Chief Justice’s “sommersaults of statutory interpretation.” In my view, Roberts’ opinions are really about caution. In the first case (on the individual mandate), he was at pains not to overrule the legislature. In the second (on subsidies), he was desperate not to upset the health insurance market.
Caution is an attribute associated with advanced age.
So judges and Barry Goldwater, but not other people, get liberal as they get older, but some also get cautious... This isn't really hanging together, so for his follow-up post Mirengoff hauls in some guy  to spell it out: These judges who don't vote his way are just "soft," Some Guy says, partly because they "have essentially made it in life," but mainly because the evil spirit of liberalism steals upon them and drains their essence:
For virtually all my lifetime, liberalism has ruled the culture (including and importantly academia), and being a conservative just takes a lot of energy. For example, it is not only anti-male and anti-white bias that accounts for the fact that so many leftist airheads get jobs as professors; it’s that when you’re on board with the received liberal wisdom, you swim with the tide rather than against it. 
Swimming against it produces harder thinking (which is one important reason conservatives like debates and more often than not win them), but it also requires a lot of energy. Sooner of later, for most people, it starts to run out.
So liberalism challenges conservatives, thereby making them mentally stronger, but also physically weaker, which is how the Court's conservatives lost the secret Feats of Strength that actually decide their cases. (Ginsburg's thin but she's wiry!)

I guess Mirengoff's beginning to despair that he'll ever get on the High Court and has decided to grace his readers with his Scalia-grade bullshit. Or has the conservative breakdown reached the stage where they're just trying to confuse people?

Friday, June 26, 2015


This old tune jumped into my head today for some reason. 

•   So far, the most delicious reaction is from the American Life League:
Today’s Supreme Court decision strikes at the heart of our nation just as Roe v. Wade did decades ago. Now, by judicial fiat, we are called to honor the fictional union of two people of the same sex. A nation that has lost its values has lost its soul. Our nation has become like a dead body floating downstream, to what destination only the devil knows.
But I'm sure someone will top it by this afternoon.

•   National Review is awash in anti-gay-marriage tears now. Michael Potemra asks whether we could have avoided all this gayness if only the Senate had approved Robert Bork in 1987:
...I’m not saying merely that if Bork hadn’t been rejected, President Reagan wouldn’t have appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote today’s opinion: I think that if Bork had been on the Court, that platform would have given him an outsized opportunity to influence America’s cultural and constitutional discussion – and that America would have been significantly less likely to embrace the sort of the change the Court affirmed today.
Except that Bork was a fucking nut, a gay-hating would-be censor, out of step with ordinary Americans even in that more conservative time -- hell, even Ole Perfesser Instapundit couldn't get with his narrow view of liberty. Also, he looked like an Old Testament prophet cross-bred with Bozo the Clown. Someone, perhaps a kindly intern, may have pointed this out to Potemra, for he continues:
What if, instead of my hypothesis, the American people came to dislike Justice (or eventual Chief Justice!) Bork intensely, and as a result moved even faster in the direction of anti-originalist “living-Constitution” views? But I submit that, in my experience, even legal scholars who are in strong opposition to Bork’s views recognize that he would have been one of the most ferociously intelligent and effective justices ever to serve on the Court. He would, in my opinion, have been a game-changer.
As as our legal scholars go, so goes the nation! Well, these are the same guys who thought we'd all fall in love with Sarah Palin.

•  On gay matters Rod Dreher simply cannot disappoint: He tells his fellow Christians that "persecution is coming" and they should "prepare for resistance." Wonder if that means he's going to postpone his European  trip:
James C., Sordello, and I are going to celebrate the Fourth of July in Lyon at the Café des Fédérations. We will have dinner the night before with Prof. J-F Mayer at Le Boeuf d’Argent, and Sunday lunch at Café Comptoir Abel. My liver will spend the rest of the summer recovering. 
Any other foodie stops in Lyon to consider? I’m thinking probably Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Help me out here.
I'm guessing not. Resistance prep is for the rubes. But when he gets back, he expects to see those filtration systems assembled!

•  Oh, Rod:

Obergefell is a sign of the times, for those with eyes to see. This isn’t the view of wild-eyed prophets wearing animal skins and shouting in the desert. It is the view of four Supreme Court justices, in effect declaring from the bench the decline and fall of the traditional American social, political, and legal order.
It's interesting that he feels the need to draw this distinction. I guess in the new, air-conditioned and artisanally-fed Benedict Option, old-fashioned Simon of the Desert-type prophets are déclassé. See you jokers at the next Livin'-as-Exiles Brunch!

•   National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke predicts that "the long-term path the Republican party will take after today’s Supreme Court decision" will be mellow and accommodating --
Those hoping to determine which long-term path the Republican party will take after today’s Supreme Court decision need to look no further than to the RNC itself. In a message released immediately after the ruling, Reince Priebus mildly criticized the ruling (correctly, in my view) while acknowledging its “finality;” struck a magnanimous note, confirming that the GOP “[respects] those on the winning side of the case” and remains “committed to finding common ground”; and identified the key priority going forward, which is to ensure the protection of conscience rights and the maintenance of religious liberty.
Meanwhile Cooke's colleague David French froths:
This is the era of sexual liberty — the marriage of hedonism to meaning — and the establishment of a new civic religion. The black-robed priesthood has spoken. Will the church bow before their new masters?
Common ground, indeed.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Don't drink all the King v. Burwell tears, you'll get a stomach ache. However, please enjoy responsibly Wayne Root from Glenn Beck's The Blaze:

Is the idea implausible that this same Obama administration that orders IRS attacks, then orders destruction of key evidence, would stop at nothing to save Obama’s signature achievement? Is it impossible to believe that Obama and his socialist cabal that learned from Saul Alinsky that “the ends justify the means” would hold something over a Supreme Court justice’s head?... 
Just blackmail one or two key conservative leaders to stop the GOP from blocking Obama’s agenda. Just find out the weak link of a key opposition leader or government official and hold it over their heads. It’s that simple... 
Am I being too cynical? Really? Did anyone suspect former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was a child molester who commited crimes with underage boys?
No, no, I'm stuffed, positively stuffed...

Still hasn't had actual sex yet, I see. (Yeah, but would you rather believe he had, and still wrote that tweet?) As a digestif, how about some more-sorrow-than-anger nonsense from Matt Lewis:
The upsetting thing is that Roberts was essentially the poster child for what a conservative nominee was supposed to be — that is, if we were to avoid another stealth nominee (like Souter) or a failed one (like Robert Bork). Conservatives invested a lot of effort into creating the infrastructure that would incubate a young John Roberts — and then actually get him confirmed. His end of the bargain? Simply being the kind of justice who honors the rule of law and doesn’t legislate from the bench… And now this happens.
We raised him, incubated him to be impartial -- yet he ruled for someone other than us! That's it, next time we're using a Skinner Box. Also: To be fair, I haven't read the entire opinion, but I'm guessing Flopping Aces' hed "The Roberts Court renders all laws meaningless as written" is figurative.

This has all made me a bit light-headed; maybe I should steady myself with something dry and dull, like crackers, or this press release:
ObamaCare Decision Raises Issues Of Justices' Impeachment, Explains Larry Klayman
Well, that's it for me.
....Freedom Watch has grown especially concerned about the independence of the Supreme Court due to reports from a whistleblower that private information about Chief Justice John Roberts, and other judges and justices, were "harvested' illegally by the U.S. Government. Although it is illegal for the Central Intelligence Agency to operate within the domestic United States, a contractor whose company was hired to perform the "harvesting" for the CIA has come forward to blow the whistle. He claims to have proof that the CIA harvested personal and private information about Roberts and other federal judges and may be intimidating or subtly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court with the fear of personal attacks...
Hear that, Wayne? You've got some backup! Now we just need Sarah Palin or a backwoods preacher to step up and that'll make three, and we'll have a legit "questions remain" for Meet The Press.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Funny, isn't it, this update on Rich Lowry's latest Confederate flag whine at National Review:
Further to that point: The fact is that if anyone banging on about the Confederacy at the moment on Twitter were born in the 1840s in the South, outside of a few select areas, they, too, would have fought for the Confederacy. (UPDATE: It should go without saying that this isn’t true of blacks.) That should lend a measure of modesty to this debate.
Here's some extra cream for the jest: You may recall I've been reading The Confederate States of America 1861-1965 by University of Georgia professor E. Merton Coulter, who was very much a man of his time and place (that is, per Wikipedia, a white supremacist). His research generally seems sound, but there are places where you can really see where the professor's head is at, and his chapter on "Agriculture, Subsistence, and Negroes" is in this regard a corker.

We hear, for example, about how cheerful the slaves were during the war: "An Alabama editor in recording his observations of Christmas time wrote of the 'sleek fat Dinahs and plump jowled Sambos' who had paraded the streets of Selma, and he contrasted them with the 'hollow-eyed, care-worm faces' of the whites, adding 'we seldom see a merry white man except when he is drunk.'" That statement is in itself a ripe object for contemplation.

Coulter also tells us that some slaves took advantage of the war to join the other side -- "invasions were bound to upset the slaves and lead many of them to follow after the armies... many 'willing wenches' submitted to the Federal soldiers and thereby increased the mullato population of the South..." -- and some even joined the Union Army but "being poorly trained, most of them were not conspicuous either for bravery or skillful fighting." (Yes, I know, you saw Glory, but Coulter presumably heard this from some old rebel and he should know.)

But here's the part that may interest Lowry: toward the end of the war, the South in desperation floated the idea of black Confederate troops --
It was contended that slaves could be easily disciplined and would make good soldiers, that slave soldiers would ennoble still further the institution of slavery and lighten its rigors after the war that without more soldiers the war might be lost, and that as slaves had fought for American independence during the Revolution they should now help gain Southern independence...
But, naturally, opposition to making slaves into soldiers was deeply embedded in Southerners. It seemed bizarre and grotesque and wholly at variance with the very essence and character of Southern civilization. How could white people ever look a Negro in the face again, knowing that they owed their very existence to their own slaves? It would be the end of slavery and the beginning of social equality and miscegnation. Senator Wigfall said he "wanted to live in no country in which the man who blacked his boots and curried his horse was his equal." It would bring a blush to the cheeks of the old soldiers to have to tell their children and grandchildren that the Negroes had won independence for the Southerners. Once in his lifetime Howell Cobb was to find himself in agreement with Governor Brown on a public question, when both held that arming the slaves would be a negation of everything for which the South was fighting.
So that was why they didn't hand rifles to their own slaves and tell them to go fight the people who wanted to free them -- not because they were scared, but because it was an insult to their heh'tage, suh! I guess if we can forgive Coulter for making a distinction between "Negroes" and "Southerners," we can forgive Lowry.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


There are plenty of reasons to celebrate the sudden consensus on the Confederate battle flag. For one thing, since the ball really got rolling there appears to be practically no one left on the sidelines to claim that the neo-Confederates are being oppressed. Usually these days, when someone points out outrageous beliefs -- or even just promotes non-outrageous beliefs of his own -- the counter-strategy is to claim oppression. Schoolbook writers wish to inform AP U.S. History students that antebellum slaveholders believed in white supremacy? "Orwellian," says Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal. Want to see more minority writers? Then you want to "crack down on the number of Fitzgeralds or Faulkners or Cormac McCarthys," says Ian Tuttle at National Review (because literature is a zero-sum game). Don't want public money used to pay for privatized schools? You're George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door, howls NR's Kevin D. Williamson! Conservatives have become the nation's biggest drama queens, yet scores of them are abandoning the Lost Cause and not even crying Boot Human Face Forever about it. That's impressive!

Well, not all of them. "Behold the Cultural Power of the Left," wails Rich Lowry at National Review:
On the Confederate battle flag, we are once again witnessing the sheer cultural power of the Left: take an irrelevancy (or at the very least a sideshow), make it the central, all-consuming issue, move the debate with astonishing speed, and then, after achieving the initial victory (in this case, removing the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol), demand yet more (now Wal-Mart and other retailers aren’t going to sell Confederate-flag paraphernalia and there will be a broader assault on anything associated with the Confederacy). This is the grinding wheel of the Left’s cultural war in action.
Sarah Palin gave him starbursts, but Nikki Haley has left Lowry limp. Now, I know Haley's just made a calculation here to sacrifice this many goobers for this much national cred. And I suspect, as the tide turned, Republicans both Southron and otherwise looked on the bright side and saw the big upside in severing the Party's connection to this symbol of Treason in Defense of Slavery. (Some of 'em are even trying to pin the flag to Hillary Clinton!) But that's politics, kids -- the scumbags who rule us won't get their asses off the stove unless someone turns on the heat. And now a significant number of citizens won't have to explain to their kids why their town tells them every day that they would put them in irons if they could, at least by that medium. Let us enjoy the moment.

UPDATE. Jonah Goldberg makes everything worse!
I agree with you, of course, about the moral horror that was slavery. I basically agree with you about the ultimate issues at the heart of the war. I may or may not agree with you about the extent to which southern soldiers saw the war for what it was, but that’s probably as much a matter of my ignorance as anything.
No comment.
...As a matter of reason alone, the United States flag stood for “white supremacy” too, at least when looked at through the eyes of African slaves and Native Americans. But I think everyone here would agree that while that may have once been one of many arguable interpretations of the Stars and Stripes, it no longer is (though I have no doubt there are plenty of professors out there who would like to argue the U.S. flag still stands for white supremacy).
I wonder if Goldberg knows what flag the Union soldiers carried into Richmond, and which flew when Lincoln came and the city's freed slaves gathered to celebrate their emancipation?

UPDATE 2. How's this for a Forced March through the Institutions? Rand Paul is agin' the battle flag now! The same Rand Paul who just five short years ago was explaining that the Civil Rights Act is anti-freedom. I've heard politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is practically Man on Dog.

UPDATE 3. Now Mollie Hemingway is comparing taking down Confederate flags and statues with the Taliban blowing up Buddahs, bless her insane little heart.

UPDATE 4. "I’ve been getting the feeling over the past few days that the Left is trying to troll us into defending the Confederate flag, simply by way of the trivial, obnoxious, and gratuitously partisan way they’re campaigning against it." I wonder if Mollie Hemingway is miffed that Robert Tracinski apparently doesn't read her stuff. In short, Tracinski wants some of the traitor relics to come down, but because of "love," not for the eee-vil reason the Left (whoever that is) is asking for it -- that is, as part of their endless "chipping away at America’s culture and seeking to expunge the parts of its history that don’t suit their ends." For example:
I have no problem striking the name of Jefferson Davis from our roadways, but I wouldn’t entirely expunge Robert E. Lee, and here’s where I think the campaign smacks of totalitarian-style overreach, attempting to send inconvenient history down the memory hole.
Orwell! Drink!
Lee’s reputation is not as a tyrant or fanatic but as a good and honest man fighting for a bad cause. I think it’s worth honoring him here and there, just so we are reminded that this combination can in fact occur.
You can read here the testimony of one of Lee's slaves on Lee's goodness and honesty ("Gen. Lee, in the meantime, stood by, and frequently enjoined Williams to 'lay it on well,' an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine..."). Well, we all make mistakes; Lee probably had his slaves whipped but seldom, being so busy arranging to keep them in bondage through treason.