Thursday, April 16, 2015

Selective Timidity

It is gratifying that David French decided to flick Dreher and his Bunker Option* off like flies. Just a quick requote of a couple paragraphs from his piece:

I’m sorry, but I have a real problem — in an era when Christians are getting their heads sawed off in the Middle East — with the idea that, say, an American sociology professor feels to scared to proclaim his real beliefs on a liberal campus. I have a real problem — in an era when young Americans have been dying by the thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq in defense of liberty — with the idea that Americans on campus are too timid to even attempt to exercise those blood-bought freedoms. I have a problem with Christians — despite the example of Christ and the Apostles — who are too fearful to share the reason for their eternal hope. No one’s asking you to be a street preacher or some kind of unthinking loudmouth, but you should be ashamed of your timidity.

Every single person who is a Christian who stays “in the closet” — who’s timid about his or her faith — provides fuel to the PC fire, contributing to the notion that there really is something to be ashamed of, that what he believes is somehow wrong.

David French is correct to call Dreher's behavior timidity. The TIME piece was plaintively timid, first explaining that non-Christians should understand that Christians don't see not baking a cake as equal to lynching blacks in the Jim Crow south, then going on to use the analogy of racism himself and include lines like "It is understandably offensive to have a baker refuse on religious grounds to make their wedding cake." This is pure concession and surrender. It should not be offensive to them. That's the real point here. It is no wonder that liberal TIME magazine hand-picked Dreher to write this weak-tea, weak-kneed response in their gay issue.

But here's the thing about Rod Dreher's timidity. It is very, very selective. Dreher is all for "standing up" if he is "stand[ing] up to people like Governor [Scott] Walker." Being outraged that someone doesn't share your high value for a liberal arts education is fine. But let's stay in our bunker over religious issues. Being outraged at your family, dead sister and all, so much that you tell the story over and over again is fine because they didn't like you enough, and they didn't run anyone out on a rail when you got a couple wedgies on the field trip and wouldn't eat your French fish soup. No turning the other cheek for those atrocities. But if some gays are upset about a baker or a pizza place or who knows what other humiliation, well... that's understandable, everybody. After all, we heterosexuals wrecked marriage by getting divorced. (We did? Oh, yeah, some of us did. That's the "Royal We", sorry.) Let's be wiser in choosing our battles, people.

Rod Dreher has a history of showing no timidity when he "stands up" to people like Rush Limbaugh, Ted Cruz, Olympian Michael Phelps (no, really), etc. And of course those horrible Catholic Bishops.

He has always had a softer touch for cases like Andrew Sullivan, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, etc. And, of course, Russian Orthodox pedophiliacs.

Certainly it is almost impossible at this point not to be able to predict how Rod Dreher will react to any event based on a small number of factors. He will come out of his Bunker Option to shake his fist when he perceives that conservatives have behaved badly. He will go back into the Bunker Option to read his Bible where it won't offend gays and atheists. And he will come back out again to take food selfies until it's time to cut the grass and he is taken back to the Bunker Option on a stretcher.

What an unreliable moral guide. Only a Judith Regan would look at this guy and see a Virgil.

* - I refuse to take St. Benedict's name in vain on the Pope Emeritus's B-day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

At last: David French calls out self-dealing sellouts like Rod Dreher

At last.

David French at NRO says what I've been saying all along, in a higher profile venue with better credentials than I can muster.

Ever since the Battle of Indiana, Rod Dreher has been quoting anonymous e-mails and other conversations with conservatives in higher education. The message from each of them is roughly the same: It’s worse than you think, if our views were known, we’d have real trouble on campus, and the campus is closing to Christian thought — with even Christian campuses bowing to the PC gods.

And concludes:

Every single person who is a Christian who stays “in the closet” — who’s timid about his or her faith — provides fuel to the PC fire, contributing to the notion that there really is something to be ashamed of, that what he believes is somehow wrong.

In reality, the timid Christian has already lost. Without a single act of overt censorship, the forces of PC intolerance end debate, silence a thoughtful voice, and make other Christians feel more isolated than they should.

The courageous Christian (“courage” is a strong word when there’s no physical danger), however, not only calls their bluff, he or she finds allies, and also discovers that even individual Christians still have extraordinary legal and cultural power to impact their campuses (and the broader culture). In real war, it’s typically safer inside the foxhole — huddled outside the sight of the enemy. In the culture war, the foxhole is exactly where the other side wants you, while they roam free, unopposed, across the cultural landscape.

Timid Christians are the masters of self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, things are getting worse. Partly because of you.

Like the native African brokers on the docks in Ghana singing "Sail Away" to their captive fellows as they ushered them aboard the cruise ships to their own Benedict Options, when someone is selling you out the way Dreher is, they're usually getting some kind of personal cut out of it for doing so.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Should conservatives take a bite out of Apple?

Bite this

Full disclosure: I own no Apple products and probably never will. Nor am I an orthodox Christian; as I've mentioned before, at best I'm a bad, lapsed libertarianish Methodist. Not only will my ox not be gored in anything I have to say further in this post, it probably won't even be nudged academically. And I've already ridiculed Rod Dreher for getting on his high horse about religious liberty while still enjoying subsidizing Tim Cook's lifestyle.

This said, why would any conservatives not immediately boycott Apple products? Wouldn't that still be a valid response even if made by my avatar while gazing into a jungle cam?

Apple's CEO Tim Cook blithely made a high profile splash for himself and his company with a sanctimonious, lying Op-Ed which helped fuel a boycott of Indiana in general and the reigning down of Hell itself upon the owners of Memories Pizza.

Why should that cost him absolutely nothing at all while he continues to rake in exorbitant profits on his Chinese slave labor-built devices from the very conservatives whose freedom of expression he cheerfully stomped upon?

If, like me, you don't already own Apple products there's admittedly not much boycotting you can do. And if you do, throwing away a device that still delivers good service is also a step that many without a Rod Dreher income just couldn't justify.

But, in the wake of Indiana's RFRA and Tim Cook's involvement (instead of just making electronics, like a good boy) why would any conservative now buy a new Apple product or service or spend money to repair a failing one?

It's not as if there were not now a vast market of products comparable or superior to Apple's. Does Apple cachet really weigh in that much on the scale opposite religious liberty among conservatives?

Why am I, full-disclosured above, even the one raising this? Why isn't it already being exhorted on every conservative outlet? Why is Tim Cook jauntily bringing a gun to the gunfight while conservatives are merely spitting in resentment into the potato salad they've decided they'll bring instead as their most appropriate offering there? That'll show him. Ptui! Giggle!

Because Barack Obama is supposed to be fighting these battles instead? Because there will always be room in Rod Dreher's Benedict Option for refugees with chubby little potato salad-smeared fingers?

Instead of mooning for the Sweet Meteor of Death (SMOD) to sweep away the corrupt GOP - Ace, and others - this situation is really pretty cut and dried: sacrifice a marginal bit of habit-comfort in exchange for demonstrating what gratuitously treading on religious liberty really costs. It's really just that get off your lazy ass simple.

Make what Tim Cook did hurt Tim Cook right now and in the future, and make others fear doing the same thoughtlessly stupid thing if it happens to be percolating in their dim little heads.

Because it really isn't turning the other cheek to turn in one's Christian card and make a potato salad for cheap demagogues instead. It's demonstrating that one might not be worth very much as anything at all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Robots with sense of humor

Look what advertisement the robots of the internets decided to plop down on Rod Dreher's latest advertisement post for his book How Dante Can Save Your Life.

8 Shocking Ways Coconut Oil Will Change Your Life. Not "can", mind you. WILL.

Coconuts are awesome.

Some things really are relative

Smart people who deal in absolutes a lot can tend to forget that many things are relative, even though they might seem like they are not. One million dollars may seem like a large amount of money, but it is only large relatively speaking. It was worth more yesterday and will be worth less tomorrow, to you and me it's a lot but to some men it's change. To the dead it's worth nothing, even if those dead men's faces are imprinted on the bills.

Mistaking relatives for absolutes is a mistake which Stephen Krason makes in the following paragraph in this article:

We see shamelessness in corporate America. Besides the surrender to the homosexualists, we witness CEOs getting large bonuses even when their companies don’t perform well and their employees’ pay stagnates. We see the national Chamber of Commerce pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants because, in the final analysis, they want more workers who will be willing to take minimum wage jobs. In other words, so companies don’t have to pay a just wage.

The CEOs getting the large bonuses even when their companies don’t perform well is something that really makes me shake my head. If it was the CEO who didn't perform well, then all right. But evidence is never brought forward for this. Instead the reflex is to look at the company not meeting bottom line expectations for a period of time and say "That's it; no bonus for anybody!"

It is forgotten or summarily dismissed that companies have many external factors to deal with. Markets, competitors and lawsuits just to name three. And it's possible though for a company which posted a loss of $10 million to have been saved from a loss of $100 million by the quick acting of C-level personnel. I've seen this first hand. Many haven't because this scenario doesn't play well on TV. Who ever heard of a "near-disaster movie"?

It is in a company's best interest to keep these types of people on their staff, and acknowledge their contribution to averting further disaster atop the bad performance. One might argue that the CEO should just accept the fact that he's not going to get a bonus this year because it would look bad. Yeah; looks are so important. The same people who think bonuses for key players are shameless are the ones yammering about the bottom line being God and "unsustainable" business plans which are too short term. So which is it?

As for the workers not getting bonuses, who says they don't? Yes, the loud people who didn't get anything. When I was a worker I used to get a discretionary bonus, sometimes in cash, at the end of the year with the understanding to keep my freaking mouth shut. That's the way it's done right, and that's how I'd do it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Your Easter question

588 Yeah, as a conservative professor in a minor corner of academia, I can sympathize with Professor Kingsfield. I don't hide my beliefs, but I don't advertise them either.

Posted by: Keith Eppich* at April 03, 2015 04:19 PM (V72vb)

If you have to ask what the question is, you're probably on the wrong blog.

Happy Easter, all.

* no relation

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A long rant by Ace you must read

Having chided him in private (not personally) for letting himself be gulled into promoting Rod Dreher's Benedict Option book campaign yesterday, let me turn about and post a long rant by Ace you really must read if you hope to prevail religiously in America. Whining and screaming and hoping Teacher stops them from pulling your pants down on that hotel room floor is probably not going to cut it anymore, no matter how productive that sort of marketing might be in flogging book sales for someone else. There are naughty words involved, for any who need such warning.

Dear Bill Quick...

Of course, if your life is only of the mind, you can just retreat there and hope others take care of things for you the way you instructed them to through your megaphone from deep inside there.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Has Rod Dreher dumped his Apple products yet? Why not?

In a recent Washington Post editorial, Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed Indiana's recent RFRA law says

"...individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law..."

False. A lie. But a high profile lie then used to inflict painful and costly boycotts on Indiana individuals and businesses.

Make no mistake, Rod Dreher is shaking the collection tambourine to high Heaven outside the seal tent, trying make a fast buck on Indiana's troubles here, here, here, and here, troubles massively compounded and accelerated by Tim Cook's high profile lies.

And maybe Dreher is also suffering along with Indiana by working up to seven hours a day blogging, the brutal Victorian labor burden that finally did in his role model, Andrew Sullivan.

Except, of course, when that mono and other stress Dante didn't save him from kicks back in - see, Dante saved him from that other mono and stress, not this current mono and stress - and all he can manage is maybe a couple hours a day between naps and delicious meals.

Even so, though, if Dreher has any genuine interest in anybody's religious freedom, why is Dreher still buying and using lying homosexual Tim Cook's expensive Apple products, products whose purchase drove Apple not long ago to replace AT&T on the Dow and will shortly make it the first trillion dollar company in history?

Dreher's laptop. His wife's laptop. Their kids' laptops. Their Apple TV streaming service. Their iPhones. Their kids' iPhones. Their Apple Store service. Any of it. All of it.

Because the religious freedom problems of Indiana and everyone else are for them to suffer and for Dreher to make money from without the slightest inconvenience to his own swinish material or moral sloth.

It will not surprise readers here to learn that I (do not impute this to other writers here) find the following quote a useful, if not strictly Christian parable:

Malone: You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.

When Tim Cook pulls a knife, though, does Dreher even just pull an equivalent knife and inconvenience himself by boycotting Cook's pricy products and depriving Cook of their revenue? Nope.

Does he pull a gun? Heavens, nope.

Does he pull out a recipe and whip up a fabulous chocolate mousse cheesecake for Cook? Nopey-nope.

Well, what, then, does he pull?

Well... here's a hint.

Because surely at the bottom of all this inconvenience and loss Indiana and others must suffer from Tim Cook for Dreher's religious freedom there will be another, heart-rending book to be written. About Rod Dreher's suffering.

[Update: I edited this a tad. -Pauli]