Friday, July 24, 2015

P. P. is in deep Doo Doo

"Round it goes until the money's all gone" as the song goes. And it looks like the sugar daddies are starting to leave Planned Parenthood. Excerpt:

The news organization Daily Signal contacted several companies on the list asking about their purported donations to Planned Parenthood in light of videos revealing the organization’s harvesting of fetal organs. Representatives from Xerox, Ford, and Coca-Cola deserted the abortion giant, saying they were “incorrectly listed as donors… They said their companies do not contribute to Planned Parenthood and do not match employee gifts to the organization. All three said they have contacted or will contact Planned Parenthood to be removed from its website.”

 Maybe I'll call Microsoft later to see if they're like Coke in more ways than one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ben Shapiro fights back, Jenner's lack of bravery, funny versus serious, etc.

...all in a 7 minute video. This is NSFW and it is horribly painful to listen to the description of junk-alteration, but it is so funny. "He turned into a dude."

This video "Wakes you up to the myriad of genders...." Indeed it does.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rod Dreher's Benedict Option astroturf blog

Are you familiar with the political marketing technique known as astroturfing? It's

the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participant(s).

Anyway, this astroturf blog is called The Benedict Post*, and so far it is dedicated solely to promoting Rod Dreher's Benedict Option.

While I cannot say for certain who actually authors it - because the author so far remains anonymous - it already bears a remarkably convergent resemblance to two prior Dreher efforts, his covert "Muzhik" campaign and his self-launched, since-self-deleted Bonnie Blue Review. Here's an archived snapshot of the late, great BBR (scroll down the page for the hilarious "Defamation" post).

The Benedict Post is reminiscent of Dreher's earlier self-launched Bonnie Blue Review in several respects. First, the formal, artificial titling of the blog, replete with over-explanation the typical blog reader could care less about but which the professional blogger would find grandly self-resonant; and, second, that comments are not allowed but, like the Bonnie Blue Review, you can email "tips" in to the owner. You can also get TBP pushed into your email inbox, saving you the trouble of that daily hunt for your Benedict Option apologetics.

The Benedict Post is ostensibly written by a Catholic and sprinkled with Catholic material which is entirely beyond my pay grade.  I would invite Catholics reading this to evaluate the nature and value of that Catholic-specific material and in particular its treatment. Rod Dreher is of course an apostastic ex-Catholic, but there are those, perhaps including the blog owner itself, who might maintain that, once a Catholic, always a Catholic, thus rendering the blog owner's faith claim true for any current or ex-Catholic identities.

Although, as I mentioned, TBP is festooned with Catholic references, even a cursory reading by a non-Catholic like myself is enough to determine that the blog is neither primarily about nor does it primarily promote Catholicism.

The green shoots of a manufactured idea

What it is primarily about and what it does primarily promote - and so far the only thing - is Rod Dreher's Benedict Option - in a landscape so radioactive green and plastic I would be remiss if I didn't warn you about the possibility of getting a rug burn just from reading it.

*I've italicized the blog name to avoid confusion with posts about Benedicts.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Better ideas than the Benedict Option

Here we have a better "self-interview" than Keith's, if I may make so bold, about what the so-called Benedict Option most likely is, and why it probably is only good to help someone sell books, and is a nonstarter as a long term solution for religious people currently inhabiting planet Earth. Excerpt:

And Dreher wants Christians to drop our involvement in pro-life and pro-family politics and get busy doing . . . whatever it is. Except that when you confront him about how suicidally crazy that idea is, he pivots on his heel and insists he never meant that at all. All he meant was that we can’t save our souls and bring our children to God by voting Republican. When you ask him who ever said that we could, he never gives an answer. Because no one since AD 33 has ever made such a claim.

This is obligatory for anyone to point out because it is constantly being brought up by the Dreherites and paleocons, over and over.

Q: OK, so maybe we shouldn’t trust the messenger, but what’s wrong with taking St. Benedict as our inspiration? 

A: St. Benedict himself would find the idea puzzling. That mystical ex-hermit never tried to organize laymen, but monks—men who could live and work together only because they took vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience. Benedict drafted his famous Rule to teach monks how better to obey these particular, difficult vows. Married people make very different promises. They don’t obey an abbot but are subject to each other. They’re called to be fertile, not celibate; thrifty and prudent, not poor. The proper bourgeois virtues of responsible Christian parents are almost the diametrical opposite of monastic communalism. Most historical attempts to found such communities among married couples have ended in farce or disaster.

Emphasis mine. This is another thing to constantly point out. We shouldn't have to, but we do for the same reason that young lovers need to be told that someday they will be just like their parents. I.e., immaturity, laziness and reluctance to face the Truth.

Today Christians face something that behaves much more like Islam. It is a rising empire of aggressive secularism, with a deep historical grudge against our faith. Gay activists, New Atheists, radical feminists, population controllers, multiculturalists, and other powerful interest groups see orthodox Christianity as their enemy. We once wielded power throughout the culture as they lived on the margins, and now they are looking for payback. They will know where to find us. Subjecting faithful Christian churches to a crushing, punitive tax is just the beginning. Think of it as the jizya.

Speaking of Islam, the Muslims are not going to help us with our religious freedom struggles one bit. Attacks on Judeo-Christian morality of the west are good for them since they have a moral code with very little overlap.

As we always suggest about good articles, read the whole thing. The author links to a really funny but serious article which he wrote with Jason Jones a few weeks back. Basically it is plea for young people to get a real job and quit self-impoverishing by bad major choices.

Choose this election who will serve

John Zmirak lays out the stark choice ahead of voters.

That is how clear American politics is becoming. Here’s what the next election should be about, if we do our jobs: The Little Sisters of the Poor vs. The Big Merchants of Baby Parts.

It really is that simple. We must press every politician in America to take a clear, explicit stand on two critical issues which can rouse the right passions of Americans: Religious freedom and abortion profiteering. No Republican who won’t support the First Amendment Defense Act and zero out federal aid to Planned Parenthood is worth even two seconds’ consideration. We should flee them as near occasions of sin.

So no, he's not "giving the GOP a pass" as some of us sensible Christian conservatives are accused of doing from time to time.

There’s a lot of junk in the Republican pond, but it still supports life from time to time. The Democratic, by comparison, is a mauve-coated pool of radioactive, flesh-eating bacteria. Their connection with any meaningful concept of the Good has long been tenuous, but now it has snapped. How else to explain apparently sane people who would use police and prisons to punish Christian bakers, but not the merchants of unborn children’s lungs and livers. The Republicans are imperfect but not committed to such monstrosities, showing glimmers of right reason on a list of important issues. Theirs is the only party where at least some leading politicians
  • Don’t want to actively persecute the church with punitive taxes and lawsuits if we don’t bless acts of sodomy at our altars and teach our kids to approve them in church schools.
  • Don’t want to send the police to stop nuns from caring for the poor unless they hand out abortion pills.
  • Don’t want to shovel half a billion dollars every year to the abortionists of racist-founded Planned Parenthood, who appear to be making a tidy profit selling organs from butchered babies.
  • Aren’t in the pockets of self-serving public employee unions that want to vote themselves the kind of benefits that just bankrupted Greece.
  • Aren’t so drunk on multiculturalist absinthe that they mix up jihadist thugs with Christian preachers.
  • Don’t want your taxes to fund sex-change operations for recently amnestied illegal aliens and felony prisoners.
Seems simple enough to me.

What is Rod Dreher's Benedict Option good for?

Academic Christian logrolling, of course.

Let's imagine you're Rod Dreher's close friend Patrick Deneen and you establish something called the Tocqueville Forum at your university, Georgetown, in order to raise your profile and prestige above that of the other academics employed there. Helpful come salary review time, true, but there's also a cost: now you have to feed your new pet, and it eats content.

On the other hand, let's imagine you're Rod Dreher, also seeking to raise your profile and prestige by trying to montgolfier a phrase called the Benedict Option into The Religious Question of Our Time but, above all else, into a book you desperately hope might sell this time. You, in turn, need a friendly forum to act as if your idea had intellectual importance so a publisher, any publisher, will take you seriously this time.

Academic Christian forum needs content-fodder to legitimize and justify its existence. Vaporous Christian-sounding phrase needs academic Christian forum to legitimize and justify its existence.

Academic Christian means meets academic Christian ends meets...
This is the reciprocal, mutually referential push-pull marketing of the business of academic Christianity.

Patrick, Rod. Rod, Patrick.

Tocqueville Forum, Benedict Option. Benedict Option, Toqueville Forum.

Excellent. Now, who will be discussing Rod Dreher's Benedict Option at the Tocqueville Forum?

Who cares? Just as who cares that the Benedict Option itself is a no more than a completely elastic, indeterminate, all-inclusive tabula rasa? Both are entirely secondary concerns. The one and only important thing is that each serves as the mutually beneficial means to the ends of the other.

We anticipate including some thoughtful, constructive critics of the Benedict Option as well.

Of course we do.

But first, let's review our Christian priorities in play here. An indeterminate academic Christian forum of as yet non-existent panelists is already set for an all day discussion of an inchoate phrase of indeterminate intellectual and practical dimension.

What's important is that both parties are gainfully employed in support of one another. All the rest, including any Christianity involved, is merely detail filler. Have your disciples contact my disciples.

Mark Perkins says:
July 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Intriguing. Alan Jacobs or Ken Myers speaking?

[NFR: We haven’t nailed down the line-up yet. Watch this space. — RD]

Yes, we know that. We already understand the line-up is only of trivial, derivative importance relative to the joyful, transcending congress of forum-to-be-filled and filler-to-be-forumed.

Guess who won't be in the line-up?

Rod Dreher's TAC colleague Noah Millman.

His "Three Questions"? Not only is that piece still dead, deliberately deleted and suppressed by TAC for being thoughtfully and constructively critical far above and beyond the call of duty to Rod Dreher, but now TAC has deliberately contacted Google and had Google's previously cached version wiped as well.

So much for TAC's cover story of just a little "technical turbulence". And, obviously Georgetown, Patrick Deneen, and his Tocqueville Forum have no problem with a little TAC wet work of that sort in service of the greater cause outlined above.

John Zmirak Nope, neither thoughtful nor constructive. Obviously not enough tongue. Definitely not.

Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille Nada. Too thoughtful and constructive.

Alasdair MacIntyre, author of After Virtue, whose prestige and utterance of the term "Benedict" is the only concrete element in this whole charade.

You're joking, right?

Patrick Deneen, far right, and Rod Dreher exercising a strategic Benedict Option withdrawal at New Orleans' legendary Galatoire's
This is how the ends-in-themselves links of academic Christian sausage are made these days, and this is the nature of the hygiene employed in their manufacture, including both the unclean hands and the diligent scrubbing of all wrongthinking.

Still, with any luck, both Dreher and Deneen will successfully manipulate your angst about the times you live in into another wonderful meal at Galatoire's like the one they enjoyed above this past March.

You, of course, won't be invited, nor would you expect to be, huddling in your own strategic retreat from life, nibbling a Ritz cracker, and grateful to the both of them for showing you the Way.