Why I am grateful for the Reformation and Martin Luther

We have just had a big thread about the Catholic Church and it has brought something into focus for me. I do not believe the modern world would have happened without the Reformation. The Catholic Church supported Monarchy, centralized control, and a few men accumulating power.

As conservatives we talk about Scottish and French Enlightenments. Well, one was in a Catholic country and one was not. We know how they turned out. Northern Europe, with its Protestant Work Ethic has long been less corrupt in function that Southern, Catholic, Europe. Capitalism as we understand it was born in Northern Europe, with the Dutch, and later spread to England. Would a Catholic England have taken it up?

Further, it was primarily Protestants who settled America at first. The idea of religious tolerance was born from the friction of different Protestant faiths. Granted, it was also born of that fact there was a Church of England, but the marriage of Church and State is something that Church inherited from the Catholic Church, and America continued the Protestant move away from it. I do not believe that any such thing would have happened in a Catholic dominated America. Indeed, since the Catholic Church supported the Divine Right of Kings, it is hard to imagine that America ditching Kings at all. Maybe, even, not to rebel, since no matter how bad the King, rebelling is in violation of God’s law. Then again, the Catholic French did rebel against their King, so maybe those Americans would have too. One hopes with better results. In England, of course, there was a civil war over that Right. Would that have happened if the nation was still Catholic?

The Reformation also put pressure on the Catholic Church to reform. They don’t engage in people buying their way into Heaven anymore (I know buying out of Purgatory, but since you exit into Heaven, it is still buying your way into Heaven). 1517 Luther posted Thesis. 1567 They were banned. Certainly, in matters of temporal corruption around Monarchy it is much better.

It is clear to me that the world in which we live, the one with America as the Shining City on the Hill would not exist without the Reformation. I do not think that capitalism would have flourished, and with it, all the innovations. We would not have gone to the Moon, or have instant communications around the Earth. Progress would have been slowed, weighted down by an organization more concerned with maintaining its temporal power than with saving souls, as indulgences indicated. Thesis 82:

Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter’s church, a very minor purpose.

I Praise God, and I mean that honestly, that 500 years ago, God inspired Martin Luther to take a stand against the corruption of the Catholic Church, and it allowed the great flourishing of Christianity in the world. Without the Protestant Reformation, there would have been no Adam Smith, no capitalism, No Scottish Enlightenment, no British Empire, and no United States of America.

Thank God, for Martin Luther and his great and grand courage to stand up for what was right against a corrupt regime intent on its own glorification, rather than the glorification of God.

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The Khashoggi case demands context

I found this interesting:

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-ugly-terror-truth-about-jamal.html?m=1

In high school, Jamal Khashoggi had a good friend. His name was Osama bin Laden.

“We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere,” Khashoggi reminisced about their time together in the Muslim Brotherhood. “We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

Hmm. Maybe this man was not, in fact, a fearless champion of free speech. Maybe there is more going on. Maybe sometimes, the United States is allied with nations who also are bad actors. Maybe things are more complex than the media want to make themout to be.

Closing quote:

Before the media and the politicians who listen to it drag the United States into a conflict with Saudi Arabia over a Muslim Brotherhood activist based on the word of an enemy country still holding Americans hostage, we deserve the context.

And we deserve the truth.

The media wants the Saudis to answer questions about Jamal Khashoggi. But maybe the media should be forced to answer why the Washington Post was working with a Muslim Brotherhood propagandist?

The real mystery isn’t Khashoggi’s disappearance. It’s why Republicans aren’t asking those questions.

The media’s relationship with Khashoggi is far more damning than anything the Saudis might have done to him. And the media should be held accountable for its relationship with Osama bin Laden’s old friend.

Nothing is every simple as the headlines want them to be.

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Are libertarians Dupes? or Why do libertarians ignore the Binary Outcome?

Over at American Greatness, Edward Ring has an article titled Libertarians Are Marxist Dupes. In it, he shows some really scary facts:

In the 2016 election, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, Gary Johnson, attracted just over 4.5 million votes. The Leftist equivalent, Green candidate Jill Stein, received only 1.5 million votes demonstrating the superior understanding the Left has of political mechanics. Despite being a deeply flawed candidate, this Libertarian moved the national popular vote from a toss-up to a clear Clinton edge. In the Electoral College, Johnson’s influence was even greater.

At the state level in 2016, Gary Johnson very nearly handed crucial states to Clinton. In Pennsylvania, where Trump’s margin was a 1.3 percentage points, Johnson got 2.4 percent. In Wisconsin, where Trump won by 0.6 percentage points, Johnson got 3.7 percent. In Michigan, where Trump won by a razor thin 0.3 percentage points, Johnson got 3.6 percent.

So we see that Johnson, the Libertarian candidate had higher percentages than Trump’s win in these states. Attracting a few more votes could have turned things over the Clinton. Indeed, his margin in some states Trump lost was the factor.

Not only did Gary Johnson very nearly leave the “Blue Wall” intact for Democrats, he also took states out of play that might have been toss-ups. In Colorado, for example, Trump lost by 3.6 percentage points, but Gary Johnson got 4.7 percent. In Nevada, Trump lost by 2.7 percentage points and Johnson got 3.1 percent.

What about “purple states”? Florida went for Republican Trump in 2016 by a margin of 1.4 points, but Johnson got 2.2 percent. By 2020, assuming the biased media can continue to brainwash hundreds of thousands of recent Puerto Rican refugees into thinking Trump deliberately neglected their hurricane relief, Trump will need that 2.2 percent.

I am left aghast. Never Trumpers told me, in no uncertain terms that their votes did not matter, so they were going to vote for whomever they wanted. The Binary Outcome was denied. Still, we see here, by going after right of center voters, Libertarians may well have pushed the election over to Clinton. While I understand that libertarians don’t seem to see much, if any, difference between the Republicans and Democrats, any rational observer would be forced to conclude that the Republicans are more on the side of personal liberty and smaller government than the Democrats. Oh sure, not as much as libertarians want, but they are closer to the mark than the Democrats.

Now, in 2018, Ring points out:

The stakes in 2018 could hardly be higher, but Libertarian Party candidates don’t seem to care. In states where the races for U.S. Senate are too close to call, and in similar cliffhanger congressional races across the nation, Libertarian candidates are runningNone of them have the slightest chance of winning, but dozens of them are capable enough to attract two-percent or more. If more than a few of them do, Republicans will lose control of Congress.

Emphasis added.

What on Earth are libertarians thinking? What is helped by running races that they lose, know that they will lose, that may give the edge to the Democrats. Do libertarians actually believe that is no worse for the nation? Really?

First—and sorry to have to state the obvious—America is not a parliamentary system. Even if Libertarian Party candidates attracted five percent of the vote, that would not translate into 22 seats in the House of Representatives. These votes for Libertarian candidates will do only one thing: help Democrats win.

We need to quit indulging the preposterous talking point that Libertarian Party candidates siphon as many votes from away from Democrat candidates as they do from Republican candidates. No, they don’t. Libertarians, for all their incoherence, agree on one thing: smaller government. And Democrats, for all their incoherence, also agree on one thing: much bigger government. Get real.

Whatever may be the flaws of the Republican candidates and elected officials out there (and there are many), Libertarians need to grow up, and recognize a painful fact. The lesser of two evils is the lesser of two evils. The real world isn’t perfect. You take what you can get, because if you walk away, you’ll get something worse.

Libertarians, as a party, they have never been able to make the sale with the American people. Those voters they attract would have had a home with Republicans. There will be Democrats or Republicans in control. That is the brutal fact, and pitching a fit about it won’t change it. I am not saying that the Republicans have a right to anyone’s vote. I am saying that Libertarians seeking votes from the pool of voters on the right helps to elect Democrats. The math bears it out.

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I am so with David French on Police Shootings

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/police-shootings-david-french-changed-writing/

Moreover, there are legal doctrines that need to be reformed or abolished (such as qualified immunity, but that explanation requires a whole separate piece). And there should be a culture change in the way officers are taught to perceive risk, a culture change that thoughtful veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars could help initiate.

The police get too much leeway. Their job is not to come home at the end of the day, their job is to serve and protect. Their job is to die, if necessary, so that citizens don’t have to.

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AI cannot talk

It irritates me in immersing games that none of the characters can speak my name. All prerecorded speech. Why can’t the vaunted AI which is going to just be able to do anything,  actually be able to talk?

I have no faith at all in the promise of AI because it cannot talk.

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I am not a “white nationalist” and I do not think “great swaths” of Republicans are either

Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

-Mona Charen, August 29, 2018

 

What an offensive thing to say. You can read the whole thing here. You cannot read it at National Review, because it seems it was an article too far for National Review. Ignoring the insane idea that using the a specific term is racist (apparently only for Republicans), I find it a huge slur on Republicans. I will leave that to others, such as National Review to condemn.

And what was the other thing she cited? Not changing the name of a building from one old guy to honor another less old guy. How conservative is it to jump on the renaming buildings bandwagon? For the record, I did not want to rename the National Airport Ronald Reagan National Airport. Unseemly. I am against naming roads and building after people, generally speaking, but I am totally against renaming them with whomever popular today. To me, being conservative means you honor a few people, truly worthy of it after good consideration. And they ought to have been gone a good, long while. And once done, leave it be. Find a new building. But no, those sentiments to Ms. Charen are evidence not of a conservative tendency, they are clear evidence that I am a white nationalist.

It is funny, by the way, because the person she wants to honor, is exactly the sort of person to go on and on about how great a former Senator was, regardless of how bad the man was in real life. How fitting, really, for a name change to be blocked on such grounds. McCain might even approve. I think he had a pretty good sense of history.

I understand that Ms. Charen does not like the direction of the current Republican Party. Indeed, I can see how she gets passionate and gets carried away. However, just as she is complaining about one word in a prepared speech, she uttered a sentence where she calls the majority of republicans supporters of white nationalism. Since she is unwilling to give any grace at all, then she herself deserves none. In fact, using the same logic as Ms. Charen, we can take this statement to look deep into her heart, and we can there see the burning contempt she has for the racists in the GOP. She clearly sees anyone willing to work with Trump as sell outs to save their skin: “Thus does cowardice masquerade as pragmatism.” And they are cowards in the face of the white nationalist Trump supporting voters, who are racists.

I applaud National Review for not running this column. It is the right thing to do, as a publisher to not publish a column that unfairly slurs others as racist. It is good business sense to not to publish a column that applies that slur to the paying readership of your publication.

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What if all focused on giving and receiving Joy?

Right now, it seems like all the forces are focused on bringing anger to the world. Imagine if each of us, instead of worrying about what others are doing wrong, spent all that energy focused on bringing Joy to others. Imagine, when someone tries to bring joy to us, we are able to actually accept it.

It is easier to focus on what is wrong. It is easier to hate another, and to be honest, to hate what we don’t like about ourselves. Our brains look for what is going off, so we can protect. But if we charge around in protection mode all the time, we are not doing more than just staying alive. It is not living and thriving.

I am going to try to focus on giving Joy and Receiving it more. I need God to help me on this one.

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To the Left, everyone on the Right Supports Trump

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/stephen-colbert-trump-jonah-goldberg-alliance/

This may make me pause in my idea that Never Trump hurts us.

Now, Jonah is no Jennifer Rubin, or Bret Stephens. He has approved of some of Trump’s policies. Still, to say he is a Trump ally is just wrong.

I guess we all look alike to them.

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The Challenge of Free Trade: How Does One Side Win When Everyone Cheats?

Posted this at Legacy: What do people think here?

I used to be a believer in Free Trade. No matter what, I thought the trade policy of America should be that there are no limits whatsoever to trade. If the other side had all sorts of restrictions, it did not matter, because it was always better for Americans on the whole to have total free trade. Why did I believe this? Because learned people said it was so, and that was good enough for me.

However, as I have aged, I have grown more an more uncomfortable with the idea that one side trading free and the other side putting up restrictions is always best for the most Americans. It is counterintuitive, to say the least. For instance, how can it be better for me as an American, that American farmers cannot sell their goods in the EU so that EU farmers are protected? How does that help Americans as a whole, exactly, when American farmers have to compete on an uneven playing field? Less competitive EU farmers get the benefits of higher prices, while American farmers have to run even leaner. How does that help the average American?

From a security standpoint, the US armed forces are buying electronics from one of our two rivals. I cannot imagine that the Chinese government is using this to spy on us somehow, but setting that aside, if we went to war with China, where will get the parts? It makes no sense to outsource a strategic industry to another nation. At least to me. I am sure it makes 100 percent sense to the Free Traders. All Free Trade, no matter what, all the time. Nothing is zero-sum, everything is win-win, even when the other partner is a geopolitical rival. Germany should not worry if it is dependent on Russia for its power, because that is the best way to get power, and if the whole Germany power industry goes down, well, that is just free trade to Russia. No worries.

So, I no longer believe in Free Trade at all times. If you are a free trader, I’d love to have my mind changed.

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My kids are fine. I don’t think “Gen Z” is that bad off.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/generation-z-depressing-look/

 

Generation Z appears to demand safety over intellectual discomfort on campus. It is too early to tell whether other students will push back against this campus shift in favor of open debate and academic freedom, but the trend is not at this moment favorable.

I do not agree. This is based on my kids, their friends, and the boys I have worked with as an Assistant Scout Master. Now these are all post 2000 kids, not yet in college, but to a one, they seem to ignore race, think there are only three genders (male, female, attack helicopter), and generally think that the heat of the left is something to be ignored at best, or laughed at at worst. Most tend to think Trump is a weird, wild man, but think it is more funny than serious. That seems to be the theme: All the rage of the Gen Y and Boomers is funny, not to be taken seriously.

Now, maybe I am biased here, but that is what I am seeing.

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