Blog Archive


Monday, August 31, 2009
Mark Steyn wrote a brilliant piece this week on the passing of Ted Kennedy and the lack of honest reflection going around about his life.

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation – or, at any rate, its "mainstream" media culture – declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists.
We are all flawed, and most of us are weak, and in hellish moments, at a split-second's notice, confronting the choice that will define us ever after, many of us will fail the test. Perhaps Mary Jo [Kopechne] could have been saved; perhaps she would have died anyway. What is true is that Edward Kennedy made her death a certainty. When a man (if you'll forgive the expression) confronts the truth of what he has done, what does honor require? Six years before Chappaquiddick, in the wake of Britain's comparatively very minor "Profumo scandal," the eponymous John Profumo, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for War, resigned from the House of Commons and the Queen's Privy Council and disappeared amid the tenements of the East End to do good works washing dishes and helping with children's playgroups, in anonymity, for the last 40 years of his life. With the exception of one newspaper article to mark the centenary of his charitable mission, he never uttered another word in public again.

Ted Kennedy went a different route. He got kitted out with a neck brace and went on TV and announced the invention of the "Kennedy curse," a concept that yoked him to his murdered brothers as a fellow victim – and not, as Mary Jo perhaps realized in those final hours, the perpetrator. He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn't, he made all of us complicit in what he'd done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation.
When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterward, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator's passing marked "the end of civility in the U.S. Congress." Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost "civility" of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution."
If you had to identify a single speech that marked "the end of civility" in American politics, that's a shoo-in.

If a towering giant cares so much about humanity in general, why get hung up on his carelessness with humans in particular? For Kennedy's comrades, the cost was worth it. For the rest of us, it was a high price to pay. And, for Ted himself, who knows? He buried three brothers, and as many nephews, and, as the years took their toll, it looked sometimes as if the only Kennedy son to grow old had had to grow old for all of them. Did he truly believe, as surely as [some] do, that his indispensability to the republic trumped all else? That Camelot – that "fleeting wisp of glory," that "one brief shining moment" – must run forever, even if "How To Handle A Woman" gets dropped from the score. The senator's actions in the hours and days after emerging from that pond tell us something ugly about Kennedy the man. That he got away with it tells us something ugly about American public life.
Doug Wilson has an excellent post on Obama's power grabs (of which the "torture" prosecution is only the latest).
[Obama] is going to do a lot of damage to the nation, and so I would like to lay the full responsibility for this current mess at the feet of Bush/Cheney. In the aftermath of Holder's decision to investigate some of the CIA interrogators, Dick Cheney said that their administration had kept us safe for eight years, etc. But here is the problem with that argument. They didn't keep us safe.

They kept us safe from another attack from Osama, sure, but they did not protect us from Obama. They helped to sustain, create, or grow monstrous government mechanisms that are being used to destroy the nation, and all that was necessary for the destruction to begin in earnest was one election. The mechanisms of big government, which were not rejected or dismantled during the Bush years, were just sitting there, waiting (Ecc. 10:14). They were sitting there invitingly.

Obama has already done more damage to the economy than Osama did. Maybe not on purpose like Osama, but trillions down the drain are still trillions down the drain. And Obama was able to do this damage by doing the same sort of things that Bush/Cheney did, only on a grand scale. And he was able to do these things because Bush and Cheney helped establish in our minds that this kind of governmental swollenness is "just the way it has to be."

But here is a governmental rule of thumb. If you have to create mechanisms of coercion, which is a good, working definition of what civil government is, then you ought to do it not knowing beforehand whether the winners of the next three elections will be honorable or dishonorable men. This is what our founding fathers did. They assumed that American rulers were every bit as capable of being skunks and graspers as rulers throughout the rest of history had been, and they shaped the form of government accordingly. There is a proportional relationship (and a necessary one) between what a government can do for you, and what a government can do to you. A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. Our modern big government "conservatives" are as muddled on this point as anyone, and it is long past time for us to stop listening to them.
Friday, August 28, 2009
This is just absurd.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Yesterday, Tony Jones posted this sad statement on the shape of the Emerging Church. Sad in that it looks like there is little that now separates it from all of the other dying liberal American churches, or for that matter, Unitarian Universalists. Upon reading it, I immediately thought of Titus 1:15-16. One has to be incredibly spiritually warped to deny what God says clearly yet infer where there is no warrant. Reading the entire Bible as a discourse on human sexuality is a disturbing hermeneutical method, to say the least.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thanks to a good post by Steve M., I got to pondering a question I thought I would pose on here. What makes someone a "good" Christian?

Here is one answer from Ann Coulter: “To believe with all your heart at every moment that God loved a wretch like you so much that he sent his only son to die for your sins.”

What about works? Don't works (like caring for the poor, reading our Bible consistently, praying diligently) factor into whether or not one can be considered a good Christian?

What say you?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Dalrymple also wrote a superb column in The Social Affairs Unit this week on the deep problems with a government that views itself as the parent of the populace. For example, currently in Britain, lawmakers are considering putting cameras in the 20,000 "worst" households (not sure how they decide which ones qualify). Isn't it funny how liberals complain about Cheney wanting to track terrorists domestically and how we should be so much more European, when it is Europe who has no idea what personal freedom means? I have a feeling that most of those same liberals would have no problem with cameras placed in the homes of middle class America (especially the red states).
In essence, it amounts to this: first the government creates the fiscal, economic, and ideological conditions in which social pathology is, if not quite inevitable, at least highly encouraged, and then it limps after it with technocratic solutions that don’t work, but that have the enormous advantage of employing large numbers of people.
Where once there was duty and self-respect, there is now the social worker and the child-protection officer - the latter terrified of being exposed either as a total incompetent or as an evil cradle-snatcher, or both, since they are not mutually exclusive.

Rather than admit that all its policies have conduced to the development of psychopathy as a pronounced social trait, and therefore reverse them, the government wants to install CCTV cameras in bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms: with what one might call the enforcement apparatus of romanticism, of the view that the greatest freedom which a man can enjoy is the freedom from consequences. But consequences are like nature: though you toss them out with a pitchfork, yet they return.
Dalrymple wrote a humorous piece this week for the Wall Street Journal comparing the health care received by humans in the UK to that given to canines.
In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.

The conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist; above all, the atmosphere is different. There is no tension, no feeling that one more patient will bring the whole system to the point of collapse, and all the staff go off with nervous breakdowns. In the waiting rooms, a perfect calm reigns; the patients’ relatives are not on the verge of hysteria, and do not suspect that the system is cheating their loved one, for economic reasons, of the treatment which he needs. The relatives are united by their concern for the welfare of each other’s loved one. They are not terrified that someone is getting more out of the system than they.
Nevertheless, there is one drawback to the superior care British dogs receive by comparison with that of British humans: they have to pay for it, there and then. By contrast, British humans receive health care that is free at the point of delivery. Of course, some dogs have had the foresight to take out insurance, but others have to pay out of their savings. Nevertheless, the iron principle holds: cash on delivery.

But what, I hear social philosophers and the shade of the late John Rawls cry, of British dogs that have no savings and cannot afford insurance? What happens to them? Are not British streets littered with canines expiring from preventable and treatable diseases, as American streets are said by Europeans to be littered with the corpses of the uninsured?

Strangely, no.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Last year, Major League Baseball was overwhelmed by the feel-good story of Josh Hamilton, a former top draft pick who had wasted away his life and talent on drugs and alcohol but had an amazing comeback after cleaning up his life and committing himself to Jesus Christ. The most impressive baseball aspect was how quickly God resurrected his baseball career (though, as Hamilton says, it was to bring all glory to God and not to get glory for himself). From being out of baseball to being the best player for the first half of the 2008 season (including the most impressive home run derby performance ever!), Hamilton shot to prominence, giving him numerous opportunities to share the gospel. And from everything I've seen, he's always shared it well... even when the media wants to heap the praise on him. It's been nauseating to see how badly they missed the point, yet wonderful to watch Hamilton not once miss a beat and just point all the praise back to his Savior.

But the story just got even better... this past week it became public that in January he had a one-night relapse with his alcoholic past, and worse, had it lead to some very indecent activities with other women at a bar. And still the media misses the point, unwilling to acknowledge Hamilton's God. But Hamilton wisely recognized this as an opportunity to remind the world that he isn't perfect and is still human (rather than a hypocrite), isn't doing it on his own power, and that God was using it to teach him a valuable lesson. The world needs to see that while God does offer an abundant life in the here and now, it's not without loving discipline and ups and downs. To some extent or another, every Christian is a Josh Hamilton.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
An acquaintance of mine recently had this first-hand experience with the British universal health care system. THIS is what Obama plans to bring across the pond?
The hospital is one of the grossest working buildings I have every been in. There is no air-conditioning. The walls and floor are dirty. There is used gum stuck to various things... The lighting is dim, and several lights flicker or are not working.
The room I enter is even more disgusting. There is a thick layer of dust and dirt on the floor. The bright green (again 1960’s) chairs are torn. The cieling panels are broken and some have yellow stains on them. There is a broken table across from me with ripped and torn magazines on it, and a big piece of chewed gum stuck on the front. The windows are so smeared that it is difficult to see out of them, and many have the insulation torn and hanging down in dried, cracked strips. Ants are crawling on the floor near my feet.
I go to urgent care. Again, the conditions are such that it takes me a moment to remember that I am in a hospital in one of the world’s richest countries. The walls are scratched and gouged. Large red signs warn against violence and aggression. There are police in the room. The reception is blocked by thick glass windows to prevent violence against the hospital workers.
I am admitted to see another doctor. He tells me that I actually have a serious problem with my finger - that it is broken and also out of joint. He says that I need to see a specialist right away, because it is “unstable” and could be more severely damaged with just the slightest movement. He goes and tries to call a specialist but gets no answer. He gives up and then writes on a piece of paper “needs hand appointment ASAP” and tells me to give it back to the receptionist.

I go back into the main room and give the receptionist the doctor’s note. She passively takes it and sets it aside. She then dryly tells me that it will be at least a month before I can see a specialist. The government will make an appointment for me and call me with orders about where and when to go.

I leave the hospital at 3:30pm after starting my visits at 9:30am that morning. I have no concrete diagnosis, no appointment, nothing has been done, my broken (maybe?) finger is not taped, casted or otherwise treated, and I have no idea when the government will next be able to see me. I may be without treatment for up to a month - hopefully my finger does not incur more problems while I wait for the government to start caring for my heath.

By the time I see a doctor, another $222 will have been taken from our income so that I can have this wonderful “free” healthcare.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
It would be funny if it weren't so sad...

Saturday, August 01, 2009
This story hasn't seen much national press, but it offers another glimpse into the soul of radical environmentalism... and it isn't pretty. In short, the government has diverted water shipments from farms in California to fish reservoirs to help increase the population of smelt. So, thousands of farmers are losing their crops because of this state-imposed drought. That's what our society has come to, valuing fish over humans. Thank you Darwinism.
It was announced this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that... surprise, surprise... organic food is no healthier than normal conventionally-produced food. Don't ya love it when the science confirms your suspicions?

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »